2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 - Sedan Cover

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 – Automotive Review

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 - Sedan Cover

2020 Mercedes-Benz E 450 – Automotive Review

With over 14 million cars sold globally since 1946, the E-Class represents the best-selling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz.

Overview/Summary

The Mercedes E-Class is available in Coupe, Sedan, Convertible, and Wagon… you want it; they got it! While this car does sit on the higher end of the price tag with a starting MSRP of $72,300 CND if you are in the market for a high-end luxury sedan, the E 450 is certainly worth checking out.

(+) – When one wants comfort, style, speed and luxury the E 450 Sedan easily fits the bill

(-) – Jack of all trades often means the master of none

Highlights

Only slight modifications from the last years refresh. Maintaining the 2019 name change from the E 400 sedan to the E 450, accounting for the larger V6

Comparisons

  1. 2020 BMW 540i xDrive Sedan – $74,499.26 CND
    1. 335 hp
    2. 9.5 l/100 km.
    3. 4.7 s 0-100km/hr
  2. 2020 A6 Sedan – 55 TFSI Quattro Technik S Tronic – $ 76,750.00 CND
    1. 335 hp
    2. 9.7 l/100 km.
    3. 5.2 s 0-100km/hr
  3. 2020 Genesis – G80 3.3T SPORT AWD – $62,000 CND
    1. 365 hp
    2. 11.9 l/100 km.

Options

  1. Technology Package ($2700) – HUD, 360 Camera, Active LED system
  2. Premium Package ($5000) – Panoramic Sunroof, Burmester Surround Sound system, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Added Comforts and Conveniences
  3. Comfort Package ($3900) – Climate Comfort/Drive-Dynamic multi-contour front seats, ENERGIZING Comfort, Air Balance cabin air purification and fragrance system

Driving

The 3.0L V6 Biturbo engine generates 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which in the larger E 450 sedan allows you to still feel the acceleration when hammering it to pass someone on the freeway. The drive feel on this car is exceptional with minimal negative feedback like noise, bumps, and over/understeer, providing you the ability to entirely focus on the pleasures of driving a luxury automobile. For example, technologies like the Electromechanical Direct-steer feature automatically varies the ratio based on how aggressive you are on the wheel, providing tight, responsive feedback at higher speeds and minimal effort in low-speed activities like parking.

Styling

The Mercedes E-Class Sedan features the standard wide grille with the iconic logo front and centre. While style is always something of a personal taste, I like the direction Mercedes has taken in recent years. Even without the dinner plate-sized logos manufacturers are using these days, the car looks like a Mercedes from every angle. Even better is the changes to the grille in the Luxury Package, as remove the logo cleaning up the lines, and add the famous Three-Pointed Star on the crown of the hood, where it rightfully belongs

Tech & Safety

As expected at this price point, the Mercedes E 450 comes loaded with options and tech features. Starting front and centre with a standard 12.3-inch central display, and an available second 12.3-inch screen as a customizable instrument cluster. The available Head-Up Display projects a 21x7cm full-colour graphical display showing information like navigation, driving speed, cruise-control settings, and more. Upgrade to the Burmester® 3D system for a 1,450-watt amp powering 23 speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer with its own 400-watt amp. The E 450 is fully equipped with a slew of safety technology and features noteworthy available options like Route-based Speed Adaptation. This feature automatically adjusts the car’s speed in anticipation of curves, traffic circles, and highway interchanges, then resume up to the posted speed limit afterward.

Key Features

  • Starting at $72,300 CND
  • 3.0L V6 Biturbo with 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission
    • 362 hp and 369 lb-ft torque
    • TBD l/100 km.
    • 5.0 s 0-100km/hr
  • 4MATIC all-wheel drive
  • 5 Passenger capacity
  • 530 L Cargo capacity
  • 3-inch high-resolution central display
    • Apple CarPlay / Andriod Auto
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Automotive Reviews Car

2019 Mercedes AMG C 43 Wagon – Automotive Review

2019 Mercedes AMG C 43 Wagon – Automotive Review

A Canadian treat, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC, is an unexpected solution for those who are looking for the space and room provided by an SUV but want the feel and performance of a sporty car

Overview/Summary

Honestly, at first, I was a little hesitant while picking up this car. It brought back memories of my Dad’s ugly old Ford Taurus; the backward-facing bench seat allowed my brother and myself to make faces at the vehicles behind us. However, that hesitant feeling vanished because the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC looks nothing like that old car. Mercedes-AMG as always has produced a very sleek and sophisticated vehicle, from the sweeping exterior lines to the premium look and feel of the interior.

After packing all the gear required for a weekend away at the lake, I was then entirely sold on the idea of a wagon. Unlike many of the smaller SUV’s and Crossover’s we’ve tested lately, everything just seemed to fit, and when taking an eight month old little girl camping… I mean everything. While it may have been packed full everyone still was comfortable on the long trip out to Port Alberni from the mainland.

It wasn’t only the space that had me sold; it was the drive. Just like it’s smaller brother the C43 sedan, the vehicle was just a pleasure to drive. The snapping and crackling exhaust notes found in the Sport+, mode could always put a smile on my face. With AMG tuning the 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine to have a whopping 385hp, the wagon can shoot down the road with almost criminal ease.  While the 69% rear axle torque bias, and low center of gravity, kept that classic racecar feel. Keep in mind depending on the era, the muscle available in the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 could easily have been in an actual race car. As for the first time in 1986, AMG implanted the 5.0-liter V8 into an E-class coupe, which received worldwide fame under the nickname “The Hammer.” As per this 1986 Car and Driver review,

“The Hammer we tested leaped from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat. It hurtled through the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 107 mph. And it pounded down a long, flat straightaway to a top speed of 178 mph. Like the Corvette, the 911 Turbo, the Testarossa, and the Countach, the Hammer covers ground so quickly that you swear you can feel the earth’s curvature racing to meet you.”

Boy, it sure is crazy to see how far things have come… With a starting MSRP of $59,990 CND, this wagon available exclusively in Canada, while still expensive, when you compare it to the rest of Mercedes lineup or a luxury SUV it is actually quite reasonable.

  • (+) – Really fun and responsive to drive, but still has room for the whole family
  • (-) – In Sport/Sport+ mode, sometimes when accelerating hard from a stop and then easing off of the gas can cause the computer to shift like a 16-year-old learning a manual transmission for the first time

Highlights

  • Exclusive to Canada in the North American Market
  • 385-hp bi-turbo V6 with a nine-speed quick-shifting transmission
  • 4MATIC all-wheel drive with a 31:69 base front/rear torque split
  • 7-inch high-resolution central display
  • Cargo Capacity of 460L behind back seats and up to 1480L with back seats folded

Comparisons

  • Volvo V90 Cross Country
    • MSRP $62,500 CAD
    • 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm; 295 lb.-ft. @ 2,200 – 5,400 rpm
    • Cargo Capacity 1,953L
    • Combined Fuel Efficiency 10.0L/100 km
  • Audi A4 allroad Quattro 45 TFSI Technik S tronic
    • MSRP $57,300 CND
    • 248 hp @ 5000 – 6000 rpm; 273 lb-ft @ 1600 – 4500 rpm
    • Cargo Capacity 1510L
  • BMW 330i xDrive Touring
    • MSRP $48,900 CAD
    • 241 hp @ 5,000 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1,250 – 4,800
    • Cargo Capacity 1500L
    • Combined Fuel Efficiency 8.9L/100 km

Recommended Options

  • AMG Driver’s Package $2000 CND
  • Intelligent Drive Package $2700 CND
  • AMG Head-Up Display
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Automotive Reviews Car

2019 Ford Fusion Energi – Roadtrip

2019 Ford Fusion Energi – Roadtrip

After taking the 2019 Ford Fusion - Energi on an extended road trip around BC. Our conclusion; Ford is providing some much needed relief at the pump

The new Fusion Energi is projected to offer an electric-only range of 40 km, which is an almost 20% improvement on previous generations. Ford’s engineers have accomplished what all our bosses regularly ask of us; do more with less, in the form of a new 9.0-kilowatt-hour battery with higher energy capacity, and no change to the physical size of the cell.

With the highway robbery that happens at a gas station these days, it’s great to see manufacturers offering more fuel-efficient technologies. The week we had the new Ford Fusion Energi coincided with the unaffordable $1.60+ a litre gas prices in Metro Vancouver. So, we decided to put this car through the paces and take it on an extended road trip to put the fuel savings to the test. In our previous experiences, we have found that the PHEV, fits more closely with our lifestyle, as we often must use the vehicle beyond the capabilities provided by an all-electric car. (Unless you have access to the proper charging infrastructure) 

With the 20-degree weather, we had this spring; it was a perfect time to do an extended trip up the Fraser Canyon. Leaving the house with the sunrise, we left the valley and headed out to Hope. Here in the shadows of the mountains, we filled up the car and our stomachs to get ready for our little adventure. Driving north through the canyon is a sight that is quite amazing, with steep vertical mountain cliffs, twisting highways with dark tunnels, and lush wet green forests; you see the BC that I picture in my head.

Upon leaving the canyon, you exit the Trans-Canada and turn off on to the Cariboo highway leaving the mountains behind as the landscape slowly turns to the rolling pasture land for the cowboys. Much of this highway follows the route of the original Cariboo Wagon Road, which in the early 1800s was a critical part of BC’s gold rush history. There were many neat little historic markers dotted between the small rustic farming and logging communities. A sad thought throughout the trip was seeing the devastation caused by the recent terrible wildfire years.  There were many times where on one side of the highway was a green forest, and out the opposite window, the view was kilometers and kilometers of charred stumps with not much else.

Our first day ended in Williams Lake, which presented us with one of our most surprising insights of the trip. But to get that I should first start with, a few months ago, we were visited by some family from Saskatchewan. They loved seeing so many electric cars driving around Vancouver, but lament the fact that without the proper infrastructure, they couldn’t see many people in their community adopting to them anytime soon. When they said this, I agreed and thought that made sense, however now after this trip; I think I might disagree! Most Canadian cities provide access to power for their block heaters! When we parked at our hotel in Williams Lake, we were surprised to see each stall had a wooden post with 120v power access. Now while it won’t solve all the world’s problems at once, this does seem like something that might actually give those more electric resistant places a leg up in terms of charging infrastructure. The power required to start your cloud spewing diesel truck in the dead of winter, might also just help speed up the adoption of a greener alternative. In our situation, it provided us with a free 40kms! (one full charge of the Ford Fusion Energi).

After another day on the road and a night in Quesnel, we were on our way home. Having never driven the 99 through Lillooet, we decided to take the scenic route and turned west just before Cache Creek. Boy were we happy that we did that, Highway 99, must be one of the most beautiful drives in BC. I thought the canyon was stunning but, on the way home we were pulling over what felt like every 30 minutes to try and take in the breathtaking view. The twisting mountain pass must have also been one of the quietest, as we must have only seen a dozen vehicles as we drove through the emptiness between Lillooet and Pemberton. The only thing we regretted about the detour (and we did regret it at the time,) was after a late lunch in Whistler; we arrived in North Vancouver just in time for the horrible Friday rush hour traffic.

After all, was said and done, we had spent almost 24 hours and drove nearly 1500 km’s in the Ford Fusion. Having carefully tracked our fuel receipts, we calculated that we spent only $150 on the gas for the entire trip, stopping in 100-mile House both ways.  The onboard computer gave us a trip average of 5.7l/100km, which was pretty impressive real-world numbers.

Lineup

  • Fusion SE
    • Starting at $24,090
    • 1.5-litre EcoBoost
    • 10/7L/100km
  • Hybrid SE
    • Starting at $29,695
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Hybrid SEL
    • Starting at $30,890
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Energi SEL
    • Starting at $32,590
    • Electric-only range of 40 km
    • 2.3/2.2L/100km
  • Hybrid Titanium
    • Starting at $34,540
    • 2.0-litre 188hp Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder
    • 5.5/5.6L/100km
  • Energi Titanium
    • Starting at $35,590
    • Electric-only range of 40 km
    • 2.3/2.2L/100km

Key Features

  • Ford Co-Pilot360™ Technology
  • Standard 17” Aluminum rims, with available 18
  • Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS)
  • SiriusXM® Radio with Traffic and Travel Link®
  • SYNC® 3 with 8-in. LCD touchscreen and Apple CarPlay™/Android Auto™
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Automotive Reviews Experiences

2019 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

2019 Mazda CX-5 – Automotive Review

"From a simple commute to an epic road trip, experiences are formed, and memories are made. Mazda vehicles are more than a mode of transportation"

Granted the opportunity to test the Mazda CX-5 for an extended period, I felt it was the perfect time to put the constant praise to the test. Having now experienced the CX-5 for over 1000 km’s and almost a month of driving in different conditions, I can say that this compact crossover lives up to the hype.

As one of Mazda’s best-selling vehicle, with over 2 million units sold worldwide this vehicle is widely acclaimed including being one of the top 3 finalists for World Car of the Year. Having driven it thoroughly now, I can see why. Mazda had built a car that works, from the highway to city, snow to sand, the CX-5 drives with excitement and style. The high-quality materials mixed with the latest in technology and safety, leaves few things that one could say are missing.

Highlights

  • Great drive, full of the latest conveniences, fuel efficient, all around great value

Lowlights

  • Coffee cup was right near my sleeve! When loaded up with a large baby car seat and a bulky stroller didn’t leave much room for anything else

What’s New

Most significant change in the 2019 CX-5, is the new Signature level trim which features a turbocharged 2.5L SKYACTIV-G engine, and all the premium technology and materials that enhance the driving experience. Also noted that the G-Vectoring drive system, Apple CarPlay™, and Android Auto™ infotainment is now standard on all trim lines.

Comparison

  • Toyota RAV4 Starting From $27,990
  • Honda CR-V Starting From $27,490
  • Ford Escape Starting From $25,899

Options

  • Mazda CX-5 GX FWD – $27,850 AWD – $29,850
  • Mazda CX-5 GS FWD – $30,750 AWD – $32,750
  • Mazda CX-5 GT AWD – $37,450
  • Mazda CX-5 GT Turbo AWD – $39,450
  • Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD – $40,950

Driving

The CX-5 fully loaded with all the bells and whistles, was a pleasure in every environment; and we mean every environment. We took the CX-5 to the ocean, up mountains, through desert, and snow… from our daily commute to an extended road trip, this vehicle surely delivers. With Mazda’s six-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission, mated to the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, (which is also found in the CX-9 and the Mazda6), produces 310lb-ft of torque from just 2,000 RPM and up to 250hp.  Currently, Mazda is the only automaker to offer cylinder-deactivation on a 4-cylinder engine, which further improves its efficiency at low cruising speeds. Finally, the G-Vectoring Control Plus helps work in the background to change variables to ensure a smoother ride for everyone on board.

Styling

The new Signature trim takes an already refined CX-5 and intensifies the sophistication even further. With the use of materials like Napa leather and genuine wood, you feel like you could be in an SUV that is easily twice the sticker price. With the available 19-inch alloy wheels, and a wide front grill with large badging the Mazda CX-5 not only can get you anywhere, but it does also so dressed for all occasions.

Tech and Safety

With the package of safety features found in the Mazda i-Activsense technology, the CX-5 helps provide confidence, and assistance to the driver while they are operating the vehicle. The technology like voice command, a vibrating steering wheel when leaving your lane, and a Heads up Display with your speed and the posted speed limit shown on the road ahead of you, helping to minimize distracted driving by providing clear alerts and information to the driver to ensure a safer trip. Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™, and the ten speaker BOSE surround sound system helps to provide all the entertainment needed on any journey you are headed.

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Automotive Reviews

2018 Dodge Durango SRT – Automotive Review

2018 Dodge Durango SRT – Automotive Review

The all-new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is one mean, stuff moving machine. The SRT Durango is the fastest, most powerful three-row SUV. Using Dodge’s tested and proven HEMI V-8 provides this SUV with 475 hp and best-in-class towing capability of 8,700 pounds.

This is one beautiful SUV, where everything is functional and highly refined. With the wide rectangular front grill and LED headlamps, and the full-width tail lamp, the classic Dodge Detroit muscle car styling can be found everywhere on the Durango. The SRT takes this styling even further with large 15” red Brembo performance brakes, 20” gloss black rims on Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde’s, and a widebody exterior with a hood featuring a functional cold-air duct and heat extractors.

“This is what you get when you take everything great about the Durango and combine it with the performance of the Charger SRT: a 12-second quarter mile, 8,700-pound-toy hauling, three-row muscle car.”

-Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – FCA N.A.

The SRT badge is positioned as the ultimate in performance of the Dodge brand, and the SRT Durango lives up to the expectations. Featuring the time-tested and well received, 6.4L 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8, delivering in this situation 475 horsepower with 470 lb.-ft. of torque and an impressive NHRA certified 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. Possible when combined with technology like the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, and track Mode providing 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Even the exhaust is tuned to offer an unmistakably deep, high-performance Dodge SRT exhaust note modeled after the Dodge Charger SRT. While to make things more rational there is the Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder-deactivation seamlessly alternates between smooth, high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode and the track inspired V-8 when demanded.

The impressive styling and quality are continued on throughout the interior, with Durango SRT featuring heated and ventilated second-row captain’s chairs for six-passenger seating. Large families will find the captain’s chairs with pass through especially helpful as multiple car seats can be latched into each of the second-row seats, and there’s still easy pass-through for passengers to access the third row. Keeping the minions entertained and quiet is easy with the class-exclusive Blu-ray video rear entertainment system. On the back of front headrest is an HD 9” screen. With the provided inputs for HDMI or RCA, passengers can watch their media or play their gaming systems independently on each screen. Parents will be extra thankful of the included wireless headphones and remote. The specific SRT styling can be found in the interior via the carbon fiber trim, the flat-bottom performance steering wheel with paddle shifters, premium SRT embroidered velour-bound floor mats, and suede-wrapped headliner and A-pillars.

Of course, while the Durango is styled like a muscle car this machine still has all the safety and tech that consumers require these days for peace of mind while transporting their families around safely and conveniently. With things like lane departure, parking assist, and stability control you know that there is support and systems in place that will help you while you undertake the critical role of a taxi driver for your passengers. In total there are over 60 available safety and security features that combined with Dodge’s 3 and 5-year warranty and 24hr roadside assistant will provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.

Key Features:

  • Dodge Durango SRT starting at $68,845 CND
  • 6.4L 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8
    • 475 horsepower with 470 lb.-ft. of torque
    • 12.2L/100Km Hwy, 18.3L/100Km City, 15.6L/100Km Combined
  • 7-inch full-colour customizable in-cluster display centre
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect® 4C NAV multimedia centre
    • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • 506 Watt Beats audio system
  • 3 Year / 60,000km Basic Warranty
  • 5 Year / 100,000km Powertrain Limited Warranty
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Lexus IS 350 – Automotive Review

2018 Lexus IS 350 – Automotive Review

The 2018 Lexus IS 350 is a perfect example of Lexus’s commitment to today’s newest generation of luxury buyers. Already a strong player in the entry luxury segment, the IS 350 offers drivers a balance of power and handling with a more unique and eccentric Japanese styling. Aggressive lines and angles that stand out from the more common and traditional European luxury sedans.

The IS lineup is produced in the Tahara Toyota Motor plant, which is one of the most computerized and robotized automotive plants in the world. The plant is spread out over four million square meters, and it even has direct port access for more efficient international shipping. The Lexus brand represents the pinnacle of the already well-respected Toyota brand, with track like performance added to the top of the line quality and reliability expected from the company often quoted as the inventor of many of today’s manufacturing processes and standards.

Test driving the Lexus IS 350, was quite enjoyable. It was exciting and responsive which helped bring some joy to what is normally a dreary commute. Our car came with the F Sport package, which included some further refinement in styling such as the dark mesh front grill and larger and more functional brake cooling ducts. The interior was also heightened with some sportier vented and heated front seats, a 3-spoke steering wheel, and fancy aluminum brake and gas pedals. The 10.3 display is controlled by the annoying Lexus Remote Touch input, while the haptic feedback was nice, I found myself continually overshooting the chosen icon and having to fiddle with it more than I would have liked too. The available 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound Audio system provided home theater like quality, and the IS 350 includes all the features expected from a luxury sedan. The F Sport package also included some performance features like Sport S/S+ modes providing faster gear changes, with reduced body roll through Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) damping the force of the shock absorbers.

The Lexus IS 350 is powered by a 3.5L V6 producing 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The AWD models use a six-speed automatic transmission where the RWD model uses an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. While this is plenty of power for the average daily drive, at this price point on paper the IS 350 does fall behind some of its direct competitors. 

Competition – Entry Level Performance Luxury (50-60k)

  • INFINITI Q50 Red Sport 400
    • Producing 400-hp from a 3.0-litre V6 capable of doing 0-100km/hr in 4.5sec
  • BMW 340i xDrive
    • Producing 320hp from a 3.0-litre V6 capable of doing 0-100km/hr in 4.9sec
  • Cadillac ATS Premium Luxury
    • With a 3.6L V6 335 hp engine capable of doing 0-100km/hr in 5.6 sec

Key Features:

  • Starting from $53,100 CND
  • 3.5L V6 with 311hp and 277lb-ft
  • 12.3/9.1/10.9 city hwy combined
  • Lexus Safety System Plus+
  • Heated and Air-Conditioned Front Sport Seats
  • Dimensions
    • Height 1430mm.
    • Length 4680mm.
    • Width 1810mm.
    • Gross Vehicle Weight 2125 Kg.
    • Cargo Capacity 306L.
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Automotive Reviews

2018 BMW 440i – Automotive Review

2018 BMW 440i – Automotive Review

The 2018 BMW 440i, a unique blend of sportiness and elegance, that can be built to suit the demands of even the pickiest consumer.

2018 brings a refreshing update to the 4 series line-up, which was first introduced in September 2013. With a notably wider stance and longer wheelbase than its predecessor, the BMW 4 series is available as a Coupé, Convertible, and a 4-door Gran Coupé.

“The maxim guiding the BMW 4 Series model update was ‘stick to the proven formula but add extra richness to the cars’ character’. That’s why the exterior design shines the spotlight most brightly on the dynamic and elegant qualities of the BMW 4 Series family”

                  -Domagoj Dukec, Head of Exterior Design BMW Automobiles.

Major Updates Include:

  • Restyled nose, keeping with the broad muscular almost bulldog BMW styling.
  • Larger central air intake that increases in size toward the exterior edges
  • Similar front headlights but now new bi-LED headlights as standard, with available Icon II full-LED adaptive headlights
  • Elongated design of the rear end with everything focusing on giving the impression of the car sitting wider, lower and having an enhanced muscular look
  • The rear LED lights are no longer divided into individual lights but are given a more cohesive look that tapers off towards the center.
  • Signal indicators take up more space, and the inner section of each rear light is now used for signaling as well

Exterior

New exterior paint finishes have been made available for the 2018 BMW 4-series. The first is called Snapper Rocks Blue Metallic, which is a new shade of turquoise, and the second is called Sunset Orange which is a burnt orangey-red color.

Interior

The interior of the BMW 440i was everything you would expect from a luxury import vehicle. With extra fine materials used throughout, the refresher for 2018 had only minor improvements like the finishes added to the air outlets, and the controls on the door panel. However, when sitting in this car you can tell there was an army of engineers who were tasked with ensuring maximum functionality of even the smallest unnoticeable details. Also new to 2018 is some additional interior colors, such as Midnight Blue, Cognac, and Ivory White, all complete with coordinated contrast stitching and piping. We tested the BMW 440i convertible in the new Snapper Rocks Blue mixed with the White Dakota leather interior, and it looked like the car was straight from Miami Vice. I swear the creamy white interior was getting dirt marks on it from just looking in the same direction as the car.

Driving

The 4 series has a lower center of gravity and a wider\longer wheelbase compared to the 3 series. Combine that with the stiffer M sports suspension with advanced damping technology and an upgraded steering set-up, the 440i drove more like a sporty coupe compares to a full sized 4-door sedan. All the engine options for the 4 series are from the latest modular BMW EfficientDynamics family and include the BMW TwinPower Turbo. The inline 6 found in the 440i coupe generates 320 hp and has an average combined fuel consumption rate of 9.6 l/100km. These engines are mated to a standard eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission, with an available six-speed manual gearbox for no-cost only on the BMW 4 Series Coupé.

Technology & Safety

Redesigned iDrive 6.0 infotainment system

  • Highlights include:
    • New main menu structure with configurable tiles featuring live content.
    • Intelligent Voice Control system including Natural Language Understanding.
    • Automatic over-the-air map updates up to 4x annually.

Key Features:

  • Pricing
    • 440i Coupé starting at $56,850 CND
    • 440i xDrive Gran Coupé starting at $57,550 CND
    • 440i xDrive Cabriolet starting at $71,050 CND
  • Power
    • Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 4.9s (440i xDrive Coupé)
    • 320hp & 330 ft-lb of torque (440i xDrive Coupé)
  • Fuel
    • Combined in 9.6l/100 km (440i Coupé)
    • Combined in 9.6l/100 km (440i Grand Coupé)
    • Combined in 10.2l/100 km (440i Cabriolet)
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Mazda CX-9 – Automotive Review

2018 Mazda CX-9 – Automotive Review

The 2018 Mazda CX-9, proving that being altruistic doesn’t mean you can’t also take care of yourself. As the pilot that everyone is depending on to get them to their destination, the CX-9 shows us that you don’t have to give up your driving passion when buying a large SUV.

Voted the best large utility vehicle in Canada for 2018 by AJAC and as a top IHSS safety pick, the Mazda CX-9 is full of premium design, craftsmanship, and materials all for an affordable price. Every effort was made to make driving less distracting and more relaxing, in this three-row 7-passenger crossover SUV.

Design

The impressive KODO design is very prominent and unique, with a sleekness and agility combined with a deep muscular stance. The attention to the smallest details is found throughout the vehicle with handcrafted materials such as Nappa leather-trimmed seats, and genuine aluminum and Rosewood trim. I mean even the paint is revolutionary! They specifically designed a new “Soul Red” which is able to deliver an enhanced level of vividness and depth. Mazda’s TAKUMI-NURI robotic painting technology aims to create the most innovative mass production painting process using a semi-transparent paint layer coated on to a reflecting layer comprised of regularly arrayed aluminum flakes, finished with a clear layer that emphasizes translucence.

Drivability

The innovation continues throughout the driving experience, starting with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T 4-cylinder with Dynamic Pressure Turbo.  The Dynamic Pressure Turbo provides a higher level of power at lower levels of rpm with no noticeable turbo lag. A class-leading 310 lbs-ft of torque at a minimal 2,000 rpm gives you immediate power exactly when you ask for it. The Mazda CX-9 also is equipped with SKYACTIV Vehicle Dynamics, which was the winner of the AJAC award for Best New Innovation Technology for 2017. This technology works behind the scenes to provide a smoother, less tiring drive for both you and your passengers. The i-ACTIVE AWD monitors 27 sensors 200 times per second, so everything from steering angle, windshield wiper use, exterior temperature, and braking patterns is considered to perfectly deliver the right amount of traction right to when and where you need it. At 200 times per second, the CX-9 can start to lose traction, use the electromagnetic clutch to shift power from front to rear tires, and regain traction all before your brain could even compute the minor changes in road conditions. Also, ensuring optimal distribution of torque, minimizing drivetrain energy loss, allowing you to only be using fuel to power AWD when required, providing an exceptional combined fuel economy of 9.6L/100 km. As for the size and available room in the CX-9, the 3 rows of seating provided enough room for us to drive 6 full grown adults out to dinner on a few occasions while testing. Although the people in the back rows might not be the most comfortable if they are over 6ft and have to sit back there for an extended period of time. For use as a family vehicle, you could easily take the kids and all their toys out for an extended road trip without any worries.

Safety and Warranty

Mazda offers plenty of standard and available passive/active safety features to help keep you and your passengers/family safe. Using all the latest innovations such as cameras and radar sensors gives your CX-9 an awareness of what is happening in the world around it. The i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies support safe driving habits by helping the driver recognize potential hazards, as well as provide pre-crash systems which help attempt to avert collisions or reduce their severity in situations where they cannot be avoided. Now while these systems are not a replacement for safe and attentive driving, like the backup camera or heads-up display, they provide an extension of your natural abilities and reactions. Mazda provides Canada’s only unlimited mileage warranty program. It features unlimited mileage on the 3-year New Vehicle, 3-year Roadside Assistance, 5-year Powertrain, and 7-year Anti-Perforation warranties. Allowing you to drive the vehicle as you intend, not having to worry about how far or long you are driving.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $36,400 CND
  • Seating 7
  • Towing capacity 1,588Kg. (3,500 lbs.)
  • Cargo volume
    • Behind front seats 2017 L
    • Behind middle seats 1082 L
    • Behind rear seats 407 L
  • Headroom
    • Front – 998mm
    • 2nd Row – 978mm
    • 3rd Row – 899mm
  • Legroom
    • Front – 1041mm
    • 2nd Row – 1001mm
    • 3rd Row – 754mm
  • Fuel Economy
    • 6 L/100 Km Hwy.
    • 4 L/100 Km City
    • 9.6L/100 Km combined
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Automotive Reviews

2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Automotive Review

2018 Range Rover Sport SVR – Automotive Review

The Range Rover Sport SVR, a thoroughbred English racehorse SUV, that is good enough for the royal family.

It’s no wonder we see so many luxury car manufactures releasing super high-performance SUV’s. I mean what’s not to love? Besides the fact that the whole idea seems to run counter to everything we know about sports cars. Take a look at the styling of almost every supercar.. Low to the ground, aerodynamic, lightweight, minimal features and creature comforts. However “we have the technology!” with the blank cheques from companies like Range Rover, engineers all over the world have been working around the clock to develop superpowered, ultra luxury SUV’s like the Range Rover Sport SVR

The iconic English brand has a long history of luxury and sophistication, for example, Queen Elizabeth II’s herself is a big fan, having a relationship with Land Rover that extends back to 1948, when her father King George VI was presented with the 100th production vehicle. The Range Rover Sport SVR stands proudly on that history as the highest refinement of production Land Rover technology. The SUV is built in the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) state-of-the-art facility – (the Jaguar Land Rover Center of Excellence), which is located near Coventry, England about an hour and a half drive north of London.

“SVO is about pushing boundaries and making vehicles that stand out. These are not just great-looking vehicles. We make outstanding vehicles. Vehicles with real substance and real integrity”

- John Edwards Managing Director of SVO

The SVR is the most expensive production Range Rover available.  With an incredible 575 HP V8 supercharged engine, capable of sending the SUV racing down the road from 0-100km/hr. in 4.5 seconds, making it also the fastest Range Rover created.

Having that much power in an SUV might seem absurd, but when you mate it to an ultra-luxury SUV with all the latest features, technology and comforts you really get the best of everything that the industry has to offer. I mean sure you won’t be able to beat that similarly powered 575hp Jaguar F-Type SVR coupe on a racetrack but believe me… going 0-100 in under 5 seconds is way more than enough for 99.9% of the driving this vehicle will ever do. Plus, with the switchable Active Sports Exhaust, featuring a two-stage active exhaust system letting you set the V8 exhaust notes truly free, allowing you can roll up to any situation as if you were driving a Formula One Racecar

The features of the Range Rover Sport SVR are designed to be either in your face or so refined that you barely even notice them heightening the entire experience. Examples of this refinement can be found in things like the Automatic Access height, which lowers the vehicle slightly helping you to get in and out of the vehicle when parked. As well as the almost $5000 Meridian Signature Sound System, with 28 speakers and 1700 watts. The system tailors the sound experience to the precise acoustics of your Range Rover’s interior and with the Trifield 3D Technology the cabin space is expanded to a 3D audio experience. For a more public display of affluence, available features like the $10,000 carbon fiber exterior package complete with carbon fiber trim and hood, matched with the $10,000 Special SVR paints including chroma and pearl will make you easily stand out from the rest of us plebs.

Key Features:

  • Starting at $133,000 CND
  • V8 Supercharged Engine with 575hp and 700 lb-ft torque
  • Maximum speed 283 km/h
  • Acceleration 4.5 (secs) 0-100km/h
  • Fuel tank capacity – usable 104 liters
  • Cargo space volume Rear Seat Upright 780 liters
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Automotive Reviews

2019 Acura RDX – Automotive Review

2019 Acura RDX – Automotive Review

This BC day long weekend, the wife and I decided to go explore our backyard and really enjoy what was left of our summer. With an invitation to visit a relative’s slice of paradise out on Vancouver Island, and the keys to the all-new 2019 Acura RDX we had it all figured out.

I mean what’s not to love about our beautiful Canadian summers. I’ve always believed that we get so excited about summertime because it is such a fleeting event. Like the feeling of you get from a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day, it is only momentary, so you savor every second.

Lucky for us the newly redesigned 2019 Acura RDX, I was testing was more than capable of delivering us in style to our destination. This is the third generation of the RDX and it really showcases the direction Acura is going. With a low wide aggressive stance and long sculpted lines, this SUV really caught our eye, and we loved the new styling. The look was accentuated in the exclusive new A-spec with a different front and rear fascia, dual oval exhaust tips, sharp 20” shark grey rims, and a diamond pentagon grille that is massive and just really in your face.

Our adventure started well before we actually left, as everyone knows the amount of stuff truly required to leave the comforts of home behind. I mean if I plan on sitting lakeside for hours on end in the sweltering heat, there better be some icey cold ones to keep me alive. However, with the Acura RDX’s class-leading 2,178 litres of carrying space and a full 881 litres of just cargo capacity, with handy underfloor storage, we fit everything we needed and way more comfortably in the backseats.

So, after a week of planning, preparing and packing we were set to go. We decided to try and beat the long weekend rush so Thursday night we took off towards the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Not leaving anything to chance we arrived well before our reserved sailing time and was surprised to see how many other people had the same idea. Thankfully our 2019 Acura RDX came loaded with the ELS Studio® 3D premium audio system, and those 710 watts kept us bouncing around, probably to the annoyance of everyone else around us. Yet having to use the all-new True Touchpad Interface (TTI), wasn’t something I was a fan of it right away, it took some getting used to and the 10.2-inch HD display was surprisingly missing touch capabilities. But after an hour or so of waiting, we started to board the ferry, it was one of those massive new ones and it looked like the whole parking lot, with even the horde of latecomers was going to get to go for a ride. We parked and rushed towards the top deck, there’s just something about watching the city get swallowed up by the horizon and seeing the surrounding blue ocean and the majestic coastal mountains take over your view. While I have never personally experienced it, I assume it must be a similar view provided by those cruise ships that people take up the coast to Alaska and back.

In what seemed like no time at all we were docking in the city of Nanaimo and with another hour or so of driving to go we were quick to get the RDX back on the road. Leaving the ocean behind we jumped on Highway 19 and really let this SUV loose. The new RDX was a real pleasure to drive, with its finely tuned turbo VTEC® engine producing 272hp and 280 lb.-ft of torque (peak torque at a surprisingly low 1600rpm) mated with a smooth shift 10-speed automatic transmission. Even more useful on the windy up and down driving on our coastal mountain highways was the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD.) The onboard computer continuously directs engine power to match weight distribution, available traction, and other road conditions. It can determine the optimal level of power distribution between not only front and back but even between the rear wheels themselves. Changing power distribution based on an analysis of wheel speed, steering angle, lateral G-force gives the RDX the feel of high-performance cornering typically only felt in a high-end sports car.

Just slightly after dark, we finally arrived at our destination, and thanks to the 2019 Acura RDX the travel was almost as enjoyable as the vacation. Well not really because while the newly redesigned RDX was impressive on so many levels, nothing can compare to spending the weekend away, unplugged from the world with no cares or work to do. That’s exactly what we did, soaked up every ray, listened to every story, and savored every moment.

Key Features

  • The RDX redesign features a new, Acura-exclusive platform
  • Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)
  • VTEC Turbo®, direct-injected, inline 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter
  • 272 horsepower @ 6,500 and 280 lb.-ft. of torque (both SAE net),
    • the highest power output among key competitors (X3, Q5, GLC, XC60)
  • Acura True Touchpad Interface with 10.2-inch full-HD display
  • Acura/ELS Studio 3D™ premium audio system
    • 710-watt system utilizes 16 discrete sound channels and 16 speakers
  • Cargo Volume 31.1 cu. ft.
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