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Ask AutoGuide No. 37
GM has been working to revive its Cadillac division for a decade and a half. After much hard work and many billions of dollars things are really starting to fall into place instead of falling apart. They’ve transformed the brand from an also-ran into a genuine competitor to German luxury hegemony.
Like it or not Consumer Reports is an extremely influential publication. Buyers pay close attention to the products they recommend, especially when it comes to cars. If a particular vehicle fails to earn the outlet’s accolades you can bet people will shy away. Surprisingly two Japanese luxury sedans failed to make the grade.
Despite being an unmitigated flop in the US and not doing too much better in Europe, VW’s flagship has found a much better reception in China, where long wheelbase sedans are proving a hit with more affluent consumers. In fact this has led to certain manufacturers introducing LWB versions of smaller cars, notably BMW with it’s 3-Series.
Given the relative popularity of the Phaeton in China, as well as VW’s long established presence there, a second generation model makes more business sense now than it did before.
As we previously reported, much of the car’s engineering will be shared with the next generation Audi A8, which will mean some form of aluminum monocoque construction. That said, despite the reduction in mass and smaller displacement engines, likely four and six-cylinder motors, plus the possible option of a Plug-in Hybrid driveline, the new Phaeton will actually be dimensionally larger than the old, with even the short version sporting a 196-inch wheelbase.
The next generation Phaeton is set to bow in 2015 and aimed at the same kind of buyer as its predecessor. It’s “a sedan for the person who’s successful but doesn’t feel the need to show it,” remarked a VW spokesperson. “Volkswagen doesn’t change course between generations of a car. It’s always easier to keep the customers you have than to lose them and go find new ones.”
Whether sticking to the same principles proves a wise move for the second generation Phaeton, remains to be seen. Nonetheless, you can’t help but admire VW for doing so.
[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]
All new for 2013, the Lexus ES has been completely revamped starting with a bold new grille with more angler and fewer curves. The result is more of the new GS from the front and more of the flagship LS from the sides and back.
Powering the new ES is a familiar 3.5-liter V6, although Lexus is now also offering, for the first time, a hybrid engine option. To find out more about the new ES and the ES300h, watch AutoGuide’s first look video from the NY Auto Show below.
GALLERY: 2013 Lexus ES
Gallery: 2013 Lincoln MKS
According to Mercedes-Benz, the next generation S-Class, when it goes on sale late next year, will strengthen its position as one of the world’s best luxury sedans, retaining not only the luxury and quality buyers expect, but also adding new features and technology to make it even more capable and efficient.
The new S-Class will be built off a version of Mercedes’ modular rear-wheel drive architecture, already used on the current E-Class and will boast greater use of aluminum in order to save weight, including the body panels and suspension. Speaking of the latter, it will also incorporate Mercedes’ Magic Ride control system, which uses cameras to detect road conditions and alter spring and shock rates in order to maintain a desired level of ride comfort, without sacrificing handling (fast reacting airbags at each corner are designed to eliminate body roll during cornering).
Engines will include a range of diesels, as well as hybrid powertrains and conventional gas engines. In Europe the 250 CDI and 350 CDI diesels will likely remain, joined by S300 and S400 BlueTec hybrids which mate a 2.1-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 oil burning engines respectively with an electric motor. Higher up the scale there will also be S500 V8 gas and S600 V12 models, both designed to meet ultra stringent 2015 EU6 regulations (no word yet on which powertrains will make it to the US, though the V8 and V12s are probably the most likely candidates, at least in the short term).
Further aiding fuel efficiency is a 9-speed automatic transmission, a development of the current 7G-Tronic, though whether it will be standard on all models, especially the lower priced diesels remains to be seen.
Mercedes will offer five different body configurations for the upcoming S-Class, a regular, short wheelbase four-door sedan, two long wheelbase derivatives, including an extra long Pullman, plus a coupe (which replaces the current CL) and a cabrio, marking the first time since the 1971 W111 280 SE 3.5, that Mercedes has offered an open top S-class model.
In terms of styling, the 2013 S-Class is said to break away from the current “Gothic” look in favor of a more “contemporary appearance .” Translated, that likely means a bolder grille, more defined character lines, plus roofline with more pronounced curvature, think CLS meets the F800 Style concept (shown above). Inside, the new S-Class is rumored to set new standards in terms of quality and ergonomics and will likely be considerably cleaner, with a free standing centrally mounted multi-media screen, plus a greater use of more natural materials for trim, such as marine inspired wood and aluminum.
The BMW 7 Series Composition really tickles our ivories. Developed in partnership with Steinway pianos and BMW Individual (BMW’s bespoke service), the 7 Series Composition comes in a (*groan*) ebony or ivory paint scheme, with a contrasting merino leather interior.
A gold pinstripe, 20″ wheels unique to the composition and lambswool carpeting help give some exclusivity to the Composition. Naturally, the interior trim is rounded out with…piano black trim! Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but interestingly, the package can also be ordered on the 7 Series ActiveHybrid.
Audi has just announced its U.S. prices for 2011 Audi A8, its luxury flagship sedan and the 2011 Audi R8 V8 sports car, which is coming soon.
“With this 2011 pricing strategy, Audi is determined to hit the sweet spot of performance, technology and value,” said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. “The model year ahead offers great promise for the Audi brand to build on its momentum story in the U.S.”
The all-new Audi A8 will start in price at $78,050, while the Audi R8 4.2 quattro price remains the same as it did in 2010. As for the Audi TT, which is due out in early 2011, this vehicle will start at an affordable $38,300.
Expect a broad range of advanced features in the Audi 8, including the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and the next-generation of the Audi MMI system with the industry exclusive MMI touch technology. It also comes equipped with a touchpad feature with handwriting recognition, which allows your to enter multimedia, navigation and communications commands. Other features include quattro all-wheel-drive technology and aluminum ASF construction to keep weight down.
Check out all the official release after the jump, and read all about our take on the Audi A8 here.
Stephanie Rice, a 22 year old Australian swimmer who endorses Jaguar products in her home country, was let go after she tweeted a homophobic slur in response to Australia’s victory over South Africa in a rugby match.
Rice, who had been given a Jaguar XF as part of her sponsorship package, will have to return the car to Jaguar. “We made a decision yesterday, and we’ve terminated the agreement with her,” said Mark Eedle, Jaguar Australia’s marketing and PR manager. We will be taking the car that she’s been using back.”
Rice apologized for the comment and deleted it. In a statement on her blog, Rice wrote”I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologise[sic]. Jaguar stated that Rice was the only athlete they sponsored and they had no further plans to add other sports starts to their roster.
[Source: The Telegraph]