Just Car Blog
|Next Nissan GT-R Nismo Said to reach 60 mph in about 2.0 seconds||
It seems the Nissan GT-R has slightly slipped into the background when it comes to the growing mix of sports and exotic cars lately. For some enthusiasts, the GT-R remains to be king of the streets while there is undoubtedly a lot of untapped potential for Godzilla’s VR38 Twin-Turbo V6 engine, just ask the guys at performance shops like Switzer, Cobb Tuning and AMS Performance. Supposedly, an unnamed Nissan insider source at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed mentioned that ‘a new’ GT-R Nismo edition would be able to run 0-60 mph in about 2.0 seconds.
This statement, whether it has any credibility or not, will follow the natural progression of the GT-R receiving even more power in the next year’s model with an even lighter body. Do you think the GT-R would reach 60 mph in 2 seconds flat straight from the factory? We can only hope and wait.
|2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Second Look||
The all-new 2013 Lexus ES350 is the six-generation of Lexus’ most popular luxury sedan and the new ES 300h with Lexus Hybrid Drive marks the first time the popular model benefits from the hybrid system. It features the signature Lexus spindle grille, a progressive new design and enhanced handling. It is sure to impress new and loyal Lexus ES consumers.
The ES 300h features a 2.5 liter, DOHC, all aluminum, in-line four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing on the intake (VVT-i). This new, low friction engine utilizes a sophisticated power management system and high compression ratio (12.5:1) to increase its overall efficiency. It is equipped with an electric water pump, electric rack & pinion power steering system and an integrated Lexus Hybrid Drive System comprising an electric motor/generator. As a result the engine does not require any accessory belts thus helping to improve fuel economy and overall reliability. The gasoline engine generates 156hp at 5,700rpm with 156lb.ft. of torque at 4,500rpm. Combined with the Lexus Hybrid Drive total horsepower is bumped up to a total of 200hp. With this gasoline/hybrid engine EPA mileage ratings are 40mpg/city and 39mpg/highway. After more than 425 miles of city and highway driving, I received, according to the trip computer, 38.8 combined mpg. That’s good news for a mid-size luxury sedan.
This high-tech gasoline/hybrid engine is mated to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), turning the front wheels that provides enhanced driving performance, which I wasn’t expecting, including very smooth, imperceptible shifts.
Further enhancing the fun-to-drive experience is the Drive Mode Selector dial located on the left side of the center console. Three modes are available-Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is best for everyday driving, Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode increase powertrain and steering responsiveness. When in the Eco or Normal mode the left gauge features a hybrid power monitor and when you change to Sport mode, you’ll see a full tachometer. It is a perfect way to see how well you are saving fuel in Eco or Normal mode, and the available and current RPMs in Sport mode. There is also an EV button that allows short distance driving in all-electric drive from the hybrid battery pack. The other button is to turn the traction control/vehicle stability control off/on.
I enjoyed the ride in any of the modes thanks to the fully independent suspension system. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup, gas-charged shocks, an anti-roll bar and opposite-wound coil springs that help with straight-line stability at high speeds. The revised rear suspension features dual-link MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar to keep body lean to a minimum. The new rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics further enhance ride comfort when traveling over poorly paved road surfaces. Increasing my confidence when attacking curving roads in the Sport mode is the 13.8:1 steering gear ratio that give a more responsive and direct steering feel with a great on-center touch. Giving back more fun-to-drive excitement is the increased body rigidity that is achieved through the use of more lightweight, high-tensile strength steel, added bracing and more spot welds. Airflow around and underneath the new ES 300h are underbody panels, a front spoiler, deep side extensions, a rear spoiler and rear diffuser. It also helps improving stability at high speeds, increases fuel economy and reduces drag. The co-efficient of drag is just 0.27. The new ‘L’ design motif of the 300h is reflected in the LED daytime running lamps and combination rear LED lamps. Foglamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia. The ES 300h also feature an exclusive rear design with hidden exhaust pipe for a clean look. Other details specific to the hybrid include blue badging and exclusive 17X7 aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with Bridgestone 215/55R17 inch Turanza low-rolling resistance all-season tires.
Slowing the all-new ES300h down from speed are large four-wheel disc brakes that are regenerative making electric power that is transferred back into the battery pack. Up front are 11.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers while in the rear are 11 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers. Keeping control of the car during severe braking situations, like when driving on wet or slick pavement are standard ABS, EBD and BA. Standard Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control systems work with the braking systems to ensure the car stops quickly and straight.
The interior cabin of the all-new ES 300h is pure Lexus luxury, comfort, connectivity and safety. It features enhanced sightlines and visibility, logically placed controls, and new cabin materials that express a high level of craftsmanship. I really appreciated the new stitched leather dashboard and door trim plus the luxurious dark bamboo wood trim. The modern interior has been designed to give the consumer a sense of openness and security for up to five passengers. Great rear seat legroom and knee room are the hallmark of the redesigned, more spacious passenger cabin. Rear headroom is increased by 0.8 inches, knee room is increased by 2.8 inches and legroom is lengthened by 4.1 inches. Additional foot room below the front seats further enhances rear passenger comfort. The newly sculpted 10-way power adjustable driver/front passenger seat is so comfortable and very supportive. The sporty, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and has a new angle reduced from 24-degrees to 22-degrees for a more natural control position. The wheel has redundant buttons for the audio system, trip computer and cruise control. The cockpit features a separate electroluminescent instrument cluster and separate operation zones to help keep your eyes on the road. The instrument panel with its long, layered look, places the optional 8-inch VGA navigation screen into a separate, centered backed in space to keep the sun’s glare to a minimum. Below the center display is a self-illuminating LED analog clock. All of the dials, buttons and switches are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.
The second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) allows you to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, optional navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller (like a computer mouse) located on the center console. RTI also reduces eye and hand movement, helping to decrease effort and distraction. It takes a little to get used to but it is really neat and intuitive. Lexus Enform provides seamless connectivity with Bing search, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp and Facebook Places through compatible smart phones. The standard Lexus Premium Sound system features eight-speakers with automatic sound leveler, in-dash CD player, USB/iPod connectivity, and an integrated SiriusXM satellite radio receiver.
Other standard features inside includes NuLuxe seating and piano black trimmed interior, electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror, electrochromic heated outside mirrors, one-touch open/close sunroof, automatic dual-zone climate control system Bluetooth technology, USB audio plug, power windows all express up/down, power door locks, Lexus Personalization settings, carpeted floor mats, four-grab handles, dual map lamps, push button start/stop, intermittent windshield wipers/washers, dual lighted vanity mirrors, dual cupholders on the center console with a padded armrest and deep storage box, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, remote trunk release and remote fuel filler door. My test ES 300h came with the optional HID headlights, heated front seats, Hard Disk Drive Navigation system with backup camera, voice command. The Premium Package aboard included Lexus Memory system for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, and the power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry with entry linked memory, leather trimmed shift knob and wood/leather steering wheel, cargo net and trunk mat. I think that’s enough to keep any luxury sedan consumer pleased.
Standard safety systems include five-three-point safety belts with front/rear outboard seat pretensioners/load limiters, 10-airbags including dual front airbags, dual front knee airbags, front/rear seated-mounted side impact airbags, side curtain airbags front/rear, Smart Stop Technology, front/rear crumple zones, side door beams, theft-deterrent system, Safety Connect, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency SOS button, auto on/off headlamps, daytime running lamps, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Driving the all-new 2013 Lexus ES 300h was fun and sometimes exciting when in the Sport mode. It gave me a smooth, quiet ride, plenty of comfort, luxury and connectivity with way too high mpg compared to regular gasoline mid-size luxury sport sedans. It is another Lexus winner!
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Base ES300h $38,850.00 / As-Tested $44,524.00
- Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (156 horsepower) with two hybrid electric motors for total output of 200 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 199 lb.ft. of torque
- Wheelbase: 111 in.
- Overall length: 192.7 in.
- Overall width: 71.7 in.
- Overall height: 57.1 in.
- Track: f/r-62.6/62 in.
- Headroom: f/r-37.7/37.5 in. with glass sunroof
- Legroom: f/r-41.9/40 in.
- EPA cargo volume: 12.1 cu.ft.
- Curb weight: 3,660 lbs.
- Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
- Turning radius: 18.7 ft.
- 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
- EPA fuel economy: 40 mpg/city 39 mpg/highway
- Range: 688 miles city / 670.8 miles highway
|Tour de France winner’s Sexy Jaguar||
If winning the grueling Tour de France wasn’t enough, this year’s winner, African-born Chris Froome, has received a (very) nice congratulatory gift from Jaguar.
The man that took on France and conquered has been giving a brand new bespoke Jaguar F-type from the UK-based company for enduring and eventually winning the 2013 Tour de France.
Froome’s new ride features a lovely two-tone paint job with Froome’s riding team, Team Sky Pro, livery, sponsor decals and some selected pictures from fans. These pictures formed part of Jaguar’s #GetBehindTeamSky campaign that took social media by storm.
Although it has not been stated exactly which model Froome received, the S badge on the car might give us a hint. Judging by the badge itself, it should either be a F-type V6S or a V8 S.
Jaguar’s ferocious F-type S uses a supercharged 3.0 liter V6 engine that delivers 280kW and 48Nm of torque. The F-type V8 on the other hand, has a 5.0 liter V8 engine that produces 364kW and 625Nm of torque. No guessing as to which model Froome hoped for…
The interior of this car features a driver-focused philosophy. The interior is beautifully designed with dramatic, eye-catching architecture with unique technical grains that tailor the trim materials. This all contributes to a one-of-a-kind look and feel.
Gallery: A happy man in a sexy car –
It goes without saying that Froome was over the moon about this (very) generous gift. He was also very thankful to Jaguar for their support during his campaign and race and eventual win at the Tour de France.
Froome was ever the gentleman and thanked Jaguar in a wonderful manner: “Every young cyclist dreams of one day riding in the Tour de France, let alone winning it. I haven’t done it alone though. Team Sky has a great set of partners, and I’d like to thank Jaguar for their brilliant support over the past four years. They’ve invested a lot of time and ingenuity into designing the XF Sportbrake, which is the perfect race support car for us. It has been crucial to keeping the team on the road throughout the competition.”
With a Tour de France title under his belt and a Jaguar F-type in his garage, I guess it’s easy to say Mr. Froome is one happy cyclist!
|Chrysler Jeep Cheroke 2014||
Chrysler Jeep Cheroke 2014
The last Jeep product to wear the Cherokee nameplate was so beloved it survived three corporate ownership changes and an onslaught of more advanced competitors before finally meeting its demise at the hands of Daimler in 2001. Launched in 1984, that Cherokee—known internally as the XJ—and its boxy looks and loyal-bulldog reputation became an icon, and Jeep had no choice but to leave the name off its replacement. Calling the first-gen Liberty a Cherokee would have been akin to McDonald’s trying to pass off a tofu and bean-sprout sandwich as the Big Mac. (Of course, that didn’t stop Jeep from selling the Liberty as the Cherokee overseas.) But now, with a 12-year production run of the Liberty serving as buffer, Jeep is bringing back the Cherokee name to America, this time applying it to a vehicle that appears to be more CUV than SUV.
Chrysler is making new model of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which were slated to start next week in Seattle. This car won’t effect the actual on-sale date of the new Cherokee, which is set to hit showrooms in September.
|2015 Acura NSX Prototype On Track: Video||
The upcoming 2015 Acura NSX is a long-awaited exotic vehicle that many enthusiasts are curious about in a mystical way. The mystical aspect of the new NSX is its supposed revolutionary drivetrain and something exciting out of Honda/Acura after a long hiatus. Acura has released an extremely short 7-second clip of the new Acura NSX giving us a glimpse of it in action and a couple small sound bites. Of course this video is just leaving us wanting more but we will have to wait… a while.
Also, check out the Acura NSX Prototype in the rain on the track.
If you want to watch something longer than a few seconds, check out our post on a video tribute to the Acura NSX.
|Chris Harris in a Jaguar C-Type||
Check out this video of Chris Harris showing us his experience of driving in a phenomenal Jaguar C-Type.
This 60-year old car is still used regularly for racing and is a true beauty when it comes to classic cars.
And, as usual, Chris is informative AND entertaining.
|2014 Kia Sorento SX FWD Review & Test Drive||
It was only three years ago that Kia brought out its first mid-size crossover utility vehicle, the Sorento, and now Kia has made significant changes such as new refined styling, a new V6 engine, an improved chassis/suspension, comfort and convenience upgrades that make the all-new Sorento more enjoyable to drive and to be a passenger(s).
The new engine is a 3.3 liter all-aluminum DOHC V6 with dual CVVT and gasoline direct injection (GDI). It pumps out a healthy 290hp at 6,400rpm and 252lb.ft. of torque at 5,200rpm. Power is routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four wheels using an enhanced Torque On Demand and all-wheel drive system that seamlessly directs power to the tire with the most traction and now includes the benefit of Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) that aids stability under several driving conditions. The smooth shifting six-speed automatic OD transmission is standard and comes with Kia’s Sportmatic Sequential shifting capability that enabled me to keep the transmission in a gear all the up to redline for a more spirited driving experience. Power delivery is strong and steady, especially when I was merging onto fast moving highway traffic. Also standard in the 2014 edition is an Electric Motor Driven Power Steering system that replaces the hydraulic unit from last year’s model. It has improved efficiency and is quicker with 2.95 turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock. This new system also features an optional Flex Steer system that offers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. It is a terrific system that lets me choose how fast I want my steering inputs to play with the current driving situation. I choose normal for everyday driving or Sport when I wanted to take on some steep curving roads.
Just three years into its product lifecycle, Kia’s engineers saw fit to bring the new 2014 Sorento to market on an all-new chassis that increases torsional rigidity by 18%. A major focal point in designing the new chassis was to improve ride and handling. Within the engine bay, strut-tower bracing increases chassis strength and provides a solid platform for the redesigned independent MacPherson strut setup with coil springs, new dual-flow gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar, that is mounted to a stiffer H-shaped subframe cradle for improved ride comfort, handling prowess and NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness). In the rear a reinforced multi-link setup includes coil springs, dual-path gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar. It also includes new, larger bushings and mounts to improve road noise, vibration and straight line stability at high speeds while its compact design allows for more interior space. The new front and rear suspension geometry really can be felt by how well the 19X7.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with new larger 235/55R19 inch tires that grip the road for a more solid feel, stability and quiet aboard with the enhanced NVH inhibitors.
Slowing the all-new Sorento SX down from speed are new, larger four-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.9 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.9 inch solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers. Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Hill Start Assist and Electronic Stability Control are work together to help me maintain control during severe braking maneuvers and when braking hard on wet or slick surfaces.
Powertrain, steering, suspension and brake dynamics have all been improved to increase my feel of security when at the wheel plus giving me a more fun-to-drive feeling when driving in slow city traffic and at speed on the highway.
The exterior styling has been refined for a more dynamic and sophisticated look. Redesigned front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a more substantial and round front bumper with a lower, broader appearance and a visually wider stance in the rear. The ubiquitous Kia tiger-nose grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal mesh appearance and the lower valance has been opened to expose and aggressive cross-hatched opening. Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows while new HID headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses. The new foglamps on the SX have been upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. A front aluminum skid plate helps with airflow. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lamps, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2014 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind. A rear spoiler sits on top of the new programmable power liftgate. Down below is an aluminum diffuser and a wide exhaust tip on the right side. From the sideview you’ll see little space between the tires and the molded wheel-wells, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, pull-out door handles, aero-styled power-remote, power-folding, heated sideview mirrors, a chrome strip running along the bottom of the greenhouse and deep lower side extensions. The new refined look is taut and athletic, a welcome change from the bland designs of many mid-size CUVs.
The new interior features a new level of sophisticated elegance. A redesigned instrument panel is soft to the touch and combines technology with proven ergonomics. The large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD screen that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine coolant temperature. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates. The center stack’s appearance and layout has been modernized and button positions have been rearranged for a more user-friendly experience. I also noted the dressed-up aluminum trim surrounding all of the vents, center stack, audio system control panel and buttons/switches. The new design also provides room for Kia’s new larger touch screen. Diagonally spanning 8-inches, the SX comes with navigation, SiriusXM Traffic with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics.
Other standard features in the SX model are Kia’s first-ever programmable power liftgate, a redesigned panoramic double sunroof with a one-piece power-operated shade, integrated 2nd. row sliding sunshades, comfortable and supportive 10-way power adjustable front driver seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat with heated/ventilated air-cooled functions, a 115-volt inverter and illuminated door handle pockets. More standard equipment inside the SX trimmed Sorento not mentioned above includes dual zone automatic climate control, rear A/C system, push button start/stop, quality faux dark wood trim on the dashboard and doors, cruise control, variable speed wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer, leather seats trim 1st. and 2nd row, 60/40 3rd row seats, with tilt/slide 2nd. row seats, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, front center console with dual cupholders, storage bin with padded armrest, an open storage bin up front, storage in each door, aluminum door kick plates front/second doors, grab handles above each passenger door, auto-dimming rearview mirror, aluminum roof rails, dual map lamps, 2nd. row and 3rd row reading lamps, pull-down 2nd. row armrest with dual cupholders/tilt back/slide fore and aft, cargo net, 1st., 2nd. and 3rd row and cargo area carpeted mats.
Standard safety features include front/side impact airbags, 3-point seatbelts for all seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, Blind Spot Metering, front/rear parking sensors, 1st. and 2nd. row side curtain airbags, front active headrests, height adjustable front seatbelt anchors, front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, LATCH system for child seats and child prove rear doors.
It’s good to see that Kia is serious about improving the all-around characteristics of their crossover sport utility vehicles making them drive with higher levels of performance, safety, ergonomics, comfort, luxury, connectivity and infotainment. It’s another winner from Kia.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: $35,000.00/$36,050.00 as tested
- Engine: 3.3-liter DOHC Direct-Injection V6 290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm / 252 lb-ft. of torque @ 5,200 rpm
- Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
- Total length: 184.4 inches
- Total width: 74.2 inches
- Total height: 68.3 inches
- Track: f/r-64/63.9 inches
- Ground clearance: 7.3 inches
- Approach angle: 16.8 degrees
- Departure angle: 22.3 degrees
- Headroom: f/m/r-39.2/39.2/36.7 inches
- Legroom: f/m/r-41.3/38.8/31.7 inches
- Cargo volume: all-rows down/3rd row down/behind 3rd. row-72.5/36.9/9.1 cu.ft.
- Turning circle: 35.8 feet
- Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,722 pounds
- EPA mileage: 18mpg/city, 25mpg/highway
|Super Supercar Sounds||
If you like the sound a supercar makes just as much as the actual car, then this video is for you!
Posted by Supercars of London, this video compilation features several different super cars and their unique sounds. A proper show reel of performance and sound and something that will definitely get your engines roaring!
So, do you have a favourite supercar AND a favourite super sound?
|Next Generation (2015) Ford Mustang Visualized||
There has undoubtedly been an emergence of controversy over what Ford may do to the design of the next Mustang. A few folks have drawn there own conclusion and thus far enthusiasts have not liked much of what has been passed around as rumors for what the next Ford Mustang will become. Some say it will be ‘Fusionized’ creating a new-age breed with a lot of the current Ford Fusion inspiring its design. Other speculations have hinted around some force-feeding of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines. Either way you have it, a lot of ‘things’ about the current Mustang are going to change by time we see it drop on the floor of an upcoming international auto show. What you see here is one of the latest renderings of what the next Ford Mustang may look like. Like it or not, this is probably a “close” representation of what is to come. What do ya think?
|Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Gets Our Full Attention||
If you have never watched any of the eccentrically forthcoming episodes from Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee featuring Jerry Seinfeld, we urge you to do so NOW. Most die-hard car enthusiasts know Jerry Seinfeld has a vast collection of cars, mostly Porsches, but lately he has broken out of the traditional mold to head-up off-beat episodes of him picking up other well-known comedians in classic vehicles to share a few laughs over a cup of coffee.
The idea of this show is simply amazing where some believe it pays homage in a way to the concept of the infamous Cars and Coffee shows put on by enthusiasts across the globe. Of course Jerry’s show only involves him and another one of his comedic friends, but the cars they take a ride in to get the coffee really sets the tone.
We really dug the latest episode featuring Chris Rock and the astonishing Lamborghini Miura. Hit up the full episode link below and be sure to check out the rest at comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com.
|Chris Harris On Cars: 2014 BMW 435i Road and Track Tested – Video||
We recently said that the new BMW 435i, the new coupe replacement for the 3 Series, is starting to grow on us considering how its initial perception was not all that great in our minds. Chris Harris, well known for his criticism of… everything, takes the newest Bavarian Motor for a spin on the road and track. Hit up the video below to check it out!
|Madiba’s Magnificent Merc||
Nelson Mandela is probably one of, if not the most important public figure in South Africa. An incredible man that has accomplished many incredible things.
There are many stories about Mandela’s release in 1990, some more famous than others, and this story definitely grabbed our attention:
In 1990, as the release of Mandela is cultivating, a Mercedes-Benz plant in East London then comes up with an idea to gift Madiba with a brand new, top of the range Mercedes-Benz.
Fast forward to Madiba’s ultimate release, and the plan to honour this incredible man springs into action.
The workers and bosses of the Mercedes plant built an exceptional car for Madiba in their spare time and for no pay. With the extra hours put in, they assemble the car quickly – in just 4 days.
Some might think that it is strange that a luxury brand such as Mercedes would associate themselves with someone like Mandela so soon after his release, while apartheid culture is still running rampant through the country.
However, this is not the first time Mercedes-Benz South Africa has supported a controversial cause. During the late 1980‘s, the company became the first local automotive company to formally recognise a black labour organisation.
This union was NUMSA – the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
Because of the support from Mercedes, NUMSA then decides to ask them in creating a beautiful, luxury gift to give Mandela upon his release. And so, Madiba gets his wonderful, top of the range, red Mercedes-Benz S500.
Gallery: An iconic car for an iconic man –
Madiba’s car was beautiful. A W126 model of the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. It is not defiitely know whether his car was fitted with a V8 or straight-6, but considering all the effort and care they put into this car, it would have probably been a V8 in either a 5.0 liter or 5.6.
Madiba’s wheels was something quite spectacular and unique to him. The chassis was inscribed with the South African flag and his name. It is also said that Madiba’s car left the factory “blemish free” and that this was the absolute best S Class ever built by the East London Plant.
The iconic car was eventually presented to Mandela on July 22nd, 1990 at the Sisa dukasha stadium in Mdantsane near East London.
A Mr. Philip Groom, who is still a Mercedes-Benz employee, recalls how he was asked to hand over the keys to Madiba. Understandably, he was extremely nervous having to hand over the keys to an icon such as Madiba in front of 30 000 people and even asked his father to help with his speech.
Naturally, the former president was humbled and thus a friendship sparked between Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Madiba.
Years later, in 1998, Daimler Chrysler AG chairman, Professor Jurgen Shrempp, announced that they would be investing a whopping one billion rand into the plant in East London – the day he announced this, Mandela was standing right beside him.
At this same ceremony, Madiba was given a brand new S Class and his old, iconic red S500 was retired.
Luckily for us, Madiba’s iconic red Merc is now on display at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. It is now registered with a personalised number plate reading: 999 NRM GP – NRM obviously being Madiba’s initials, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
With all the famous stories about Madiba, his struggle and release and term as president of South Africa, it is always nice to find out something like this. Maybe less news worthy, but definitely heart warming!
|2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite Review & Test Drive||
Minivans continue to be a big seller for large active families that can take care of their local personal needs and take them in comfort and safety to their favorite weekend or vacation locations. It continues to lead its class in fuel economy (19mpg/city/28mpg/highway), safety while giving up to eight passengers a spacious comfortable interior with a refined and fun-to-drive experience.
I tested the ‘top-of-the-line’ Touring Elite Odyssey and was impressed with all of the attributes that makes today’s minivan such a favorite among families.
All Odyssey models (there are five) are powered by an advanced 3.5 liter, 24-valve, SOHC, all-aluminum V6 engine with i-TEC and variable cylinder management. It generates 248hp at 5,700rpm and 250lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm combining a balanced combination of fuel efficiency and low emissions. The engine gives excellent responsiveness and acceleration that I really enjoyed while maneuvering around slow city traffic and when merging on the highway. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission turning the front wheels. This Honda six-speed changes gears quickly with no perception of each change. It pulls strongly all the way up the gears.
The body of the Odyssey is very rigid utilizing 59% high-strength steel to help isolate noise and to reduce body weight for agile handling and excellent fuel efficiency. This strong and rigid body structure and long 118.1 inch wheelbase, ensures a comfortable ride and confident driving performance further enhanced with the fully independent suspension. Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with gas-charged shocks and a 24mm stabilizer bar. The rear features a unique multi-link double-wishbone setup with gas-charged shocks and a 24mm stabilizer bar. This suspension keeps body lean to a minimum when traveling on curving roads and flattens out poorly paved road surfaces. Standard Vehicle Stability Assist and traction control keep you in control when driving on steeply curving roads at speed. Variable power-assisted rack & pinion steering gave me an excellent feel for the road, good on-center feel and light steering effort when driving slow and heavier steering feel at highway speeds. It was responsive to all of my steering inputs. It is one of the best driving minivans that I have tested over the years.
Slowing the Odyssey Touring Elite down from speed are large, power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid discs clamped with large single-piston calipers in the rear. Braking control and power are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD and BA. Whenever I used the brakes hard the feel was very linear and assuring.
The Honda Odyssey Touring Elite rides on 17X7 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 235/60R18 inch all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth, quiet ride.
The Odyssey Touring Elite has a distinctive body design with a signature ‘lightning bolt’ side character line that creates a dynamic appearance, and improves the outward view for third-row passengers through a large rear window. The profile also shows a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, chrome door handles and blacked-out aero-styled sideview mirrors. The front fascia shows the Honda grille with three chrome horizontal bars. Down below is another air-intake in black with foglamps at the sides. The cat’s-eye’ HID headlamps of the Touring Elite also feature a full-perimeter chrome strip. The rear features a flat power liftgate, rear wiper/washer, a step-up bumper with a rubber insert and a black spoiler at the top of the liftgate to help with rear downforce.
The interior of the Odyssey Touring Elite is one of the most spacious, comfortable, luxurious, high-tech and safe of all of today’s minivans. It offers a range of seating versatility to accommodate child seats, adult passengers and cargo. The passenger volume is 172.5 cu.ft. and the cargo volume ranges between 38.4 cu.ft. of cargo volume with all seats up, to 148.5 cu.ft. depending on the seating configuration. With the second-row seats removed, a 4X8 ft. sheet of plywood can fit inside the Odyssey’s cargo bay. With the available front console removed, 10 ft. long 2X4 studs can fit inside the vehicle. The Odyssey’s interior provides three rows of comfortable seating with generous legroom in each row. Up to five LATCH child seats allow parents great flexibility in locating car seats. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable and the passenger-seat is 4-way power adjustable for maximum comfort. A three-mode second-row seat design provides the ability to attach up to three child seats across the second row by relocating the outboard seats to alternate positions closer to the doors. The one-motion, 60/40 split third-row Magic Seat, one of Odyssey’s most versatile features, is easy to operate with one hand. The instrument panel is made from soft-to-the-touch material and the instrument cluster is easy to see and understand with trip computer readouts seen in the middle.
Standard features in the Odyssey Touring Elite that I tested, not mentioned above includes a leather trimmed interior Honda Navigation system with voice recognition and multi-view rear camera, hard disk drive FM-Traffic, ultra-wide 16.2 inch DVD rear entertainment system with HDMI and wireless headphone, a Dolby 650-watt AM-FM-CD surround-sound audio system with 12 speakers and a subwoofer with MP3/WMA playback, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands free phone, Bluetooth audio, MP3/auxiliary input jack, USB audio interface, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio/Bluetooth/cruise control buttons, tri-zone automatic climate control, two-position memory, front express up/down windows, second-row power windows, power door locks, power side-doors/rear liftgate, 115-volt power outlet, locking glove box, cupholders at each seat, storage bin under the center console under the dashboard, and in each door, 12-volt power outlet, exterior temperature gauge, floor mats front/middle/rear, Home-Lind system and a maintenance minder system with the trip computer, heated sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, variable-speed windshield wipers/washers, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, remote entry, grab handles above all doors, and middle/rear reading lamps.
Standard safety features include 3-point safety belts for all 8-seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, driver/front passenger dual-stage airbags, driver/front passenger side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, active front head restraints, tire pressure monitor, front/rear parking sensors, Blind Spot information system, ACE body structure, and daytime running lamps.
There are many first-class minivans on the market today but the 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite is one of the best with excellent driving characteristics, plenty of seating and cargo carrying versatility, luxury, convenience, connectivity and safety.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: $43,925.00 as tested
- Engine: 3.5-liter 24-valve SOHC V6 248 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 250 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,800 rpm
- Total length: 202.9 inches
- Total width: 70.2 inches
- Total height: 68.4 inches
- Track: f/r-68.1/68.2 inches
- Turning circle: 36.7 ft.
- Curb weight: 4,541 pounds
- Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
- Headroom: f/m/r-38.3/39.4/38 inches
- Legroom: f/m/r-40.9/40.9/42.4 inches
- Passenger volume: 170.1 cu.ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.8 seconds
- EPA Fuel mileage estimates: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway
- Fuel tank: 21 gallons
|The Mercedes ‘Vision’ Golf Cart||
Mercedes-Benz has come up with their rendition of a (very) futuristic looking new age golf cart.
This plug-in electric golf cart is electrically driven and powered by a solar panel charged battery. So it is not only a sleek, modernised version of a traditional golf cart, but a greener, eco-friendly option too.
The concept of this golf cart, being called ‘The Vision Golf Cart’ was developed by the Mercedes Advanced Design Centre in California. The design and the idea of the car is based on ideas that were submitted by golf and car fans for a competition. The winners would then be invited to the Open Championship.
The interior of this golf cart is definitely a far cry from today’s ‘simple’ golf carts. Firstly, both the ‘passenger’ and the ‘driver’ can drive the cart; there is a console mounted joystick in the center.
The cart also features a multimedia panel which includes a docking station for Apple products (iPad’s, iPod’s, iPhone’s). From this dock, various features can be controlled: the air-conditioning, and the head-up display.
The head-up display truly looks like something straight out of a movie. It can be integrated into the windscreen to show the course layout and an updated leader board.
Gallery: A futuristic golf cart –
If you have missed a shot or gone a bit skew, the ‘force-button’ will enable you to warn other players if they are within a danger zone – instead of embarrassing yourself and yelling “FOUR!”
Other features, that are typically Mercedes, include heated, electronically adjustable seats, optional click-in lightweight doors, a retractable lightning rod and cup holders that will keep your drinks either hot or cold.
This space-age golf cart might make you feel like you’re going for a game on Mars, but it sure makes the (sometimes tedious) game a whole lot smarter!
|2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD Review & Test Drive||
The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has already set in motion a new movement by Hyundai to attract buyers seeking an affordable crossover utility vehicle with room for 5 and several highly sought after amenities wrapped in a good looking versatile package. With the introduction of the new Santa Fe GLS and Limited trims with third row seating, the crossover segment has a much larger reach for Hyundai proving to set the bar just a bit higher when you factor in the over-all value.
The newest Hyundai Santa Fe gets a complete redesign for the 2013 model year introduced last year (2012). Since the conception of the new Santa Fe Sport model Hyundai promised a new trim level to offer third row seating, which is an adored feature for many who are shopping crossovers and have the need to transport 6 or 7 passengers. The two trim levels offered for a 3-row Santa Fe is the GLS and Limited. My 2013 Santa Fe Limited featured a 6 passenger seating setup where the 2nd row has captain chairs and the rear a two-seater 50/50 split-folding bench. Both 3-row capacity Hyundai Santa Fe trims are equipped with a new 3.3-liter DOHC V6 engine producing 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 252 ft-lbs. of torque at 5,200 rpm.
The new powertrain on the Santa Fe Limited mates the V6 engine to a 6-speed automatic transmission with either front wheel drive or an advanced all-wheel-drive system. All trim levels for the new Santa Fe can be equipped with an optional all-wheel-drive system. My front-wheel-drive Santa Fe Limited test vehicle has a respectable amount of power for what is considered to be an extended wheelbase over the base Sport and Sport 2.0 Turbo trim level’s standard 5-passenger setup. Power delivery, though, is somewhat unpredictable due to a lofty rpm where the torque peaks.
The 3.3-liter V6 in the Hyundai Santa Fe Limited coupled with the transmission’s initial eco-mapping is like a virtual on-off switch at times. Basically, pressing the throttle through mid-range does not give you enough over-taking power on the highway. Subsequently, you are required to press the pedal nearly to the floor for a substantial downshift to take place and for the engine to really turn over to generate passing power. Unfortunately, this shortcoming tends to develop a bit too much of an abrupt power surge to the front wheels to either break them loose activating traction control or at least accentuate your senses to counteract a rash of mild torque steer. You can say the V6 engine and 6-speed transmission may need new ECU programming to give the Santa Fe Limited a better communicating mid-range power output, especially considering the V6 engine is capable of a decent 290 horsepower and 252 ft-lbs. of torque.
Looking past the unpredictable power delivery, the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited has an excellent ride aided by its long 110.2 inch wheelbase and large 19-inch wheels and tires found on my test vehicle. Handling is for the most part assuring and rarely sloppy in confides of a “conservative” driver. In other words, the Santa Fe Limited feels firmly planted and somewhat light on its feet as it should being that it tips the scale at a surprisingly low 3,915 pounds for a 3-row crossover vehicle. The steering feel is somewhat numb especially when the new Driver Selectable Steering Mode is set in Comfort. The new Driver Selectable Steering Mode allows three different settings to adjust the steering effort offering comfort, normal and sport modes. Sport mode does add effort to the steering, however, it does not added any substantial feedback from the road. Most enthusiasts would notice this trait right off of the bat but considering the target demographic for the Santa Fe Limited, the Driver Selectable Steering Mode may prove to be an essential feature for those who want a bit more confident feeling in their steering effort, especially when traveling at highway speeds. Fuel economy estimates come in at 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for the Santa Fe Limited FWD. I saw an average of about 21 mpg during my drive consisting of a mix between local town roads and interstate travel. On the highway I was only able to get my best estimate of 23.5 mpg and around the city I saw slightly better than the EPA city estimate landing around 18.8 mpg.
On the outside the new Hyundai Santa Fe Limited has a new look slightly different from its smaller Sport-trimmed siblings. The front grill on the Limited trim is larger and has a much more substantial look overall. The rear taillights are re-sculpted and the dual exhausts are separated with integrated chrome tips in the lower bumper. One could easily mistake the two vehicles from a reasonable distance but up close the differences really stand to define the larger Santa Fe Limited’s presences and larger size.
The interior of the new Santa Fe Limited takes much of its cues from the Sport trimmed models with the exception of the added room and 3rd row of seats. In the GLS trim you will get the full 7-passenger configuration. The dashboard and front seating area of the Sport, GLS and Limited trims remain to be virtually identical. The wood trim on my Limited test vehicle seemed somewhat out of place as much of the interior was laced with dark soft-touch plastics and accented by larger beige surfaces.
The center-stack infotainment controls take some getting used to especially considering how the volume is the smaller of the two turn knobs, the other being for the a/c fan speed. Using the latest interface for Hyundai vehicles equipped with GPS navigation fed through a high-resolution LCD touch screen, standard equipment on the Santa Fe Limited, proves to be a user friendly environment for entering destinations with minimal steps while navigating other vehicle controls. Additionally, other menu sets do not require an extensive learning curve for most. Hyundai’s new Bluelink telematics proves to serve as a nice liaison for those needing assistance on the road whether it be to dial-in to check the details of a check-engine light, get directions fed to the built-in GPS navigation system, or request emergency help. The system also serves as an automatic dial-up response to a call-center in the event of a serious accident.
For obvious reasons, you will never go thrashing around on an autocross in the new Hyundai Santa Fe in any given trim level, even if the 3.3-liter V6 seems eager to get the job done at wide open throttle. Of course you would get an abundance of oversteer when really pushing the big Santa Fe Limited around sharp turns. Although, the Santa Fe Limited’s handling abilities are no worse than its 3-row crossover competition. When it comes to the larger Santa Fe Limited, enthusiasts can still have the left-over crumbs of the performance pie but with a bit of extra whipped topping due to the cargo and passenger space of a tightly knitted crossover.
Adding to all of our impressions of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T we drove last year, we can say that the new Santa Fe Limited improved upon the over-all family-hauler equation without compromise by adding ‘one additional seat’. Having saying it that way really makes you wonder if a minimum of a $6000 premium is worth it to tote around an extra live body in comfort totaling out for a base price of $33,100. Then again, the Santa Fe GLS may be one not to pass up as it serves up a smaller starting price ($28,350) and a space for 7 passengers.
The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 6-passenger crossover starts at just $33,100, which is an attractive buy when pitted against direct competition. Nevertheless, considering the abundance of standard features and recent proven track record of Hyundai, this is one crossover with a 3rd row (one extra seat woohoo) that should not be passed up for a test drive.
My 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited has an as-tested price of $36,980 which includes a tech package ($2,900) featuring GPS navigation with an 8-inch touch screen LCD, backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, 550-watt Infinity sound system, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof and rear side-window manual sunshades. Also added to the vehicle were 19-inch alloy wheels and a power liftgate.
Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: BASE Santa Fe Limited FWD $33,100 / As-Tested Limited FWD $36,
- Engine: 3.3-liter DOHC V6 290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm / 252 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,200 rpm
- Wheelbase: 110.2 in.
- Total length: 192.1 in.
- Total width: 74.2 in.
- Total height: 66.9 in.
- Track: f/r-64.5/64.5 in.
- Headroom: f/r-39.6/39.4 in.
- Legroom: f/r-41.3/41.3 in.
- Turning circle: 36.9 ft.
- Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,915 lbs.
- EPA Fuel mileage estimates: 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway