2020 Toyota Supra - Cover

2020 Toyota Supra – Video Review

2020 Toyota Supra - Cover

2020 Toyota Supra – Video Review

Introducing the all-new BMW Supra... Wait, I meant to say Toyota! Check out our video review below!

Since the end of the fourth-generation Supra in 2002, fans have been begging for a return of the Supra. While in between, we were given a severely insufficient Toyota 86 to hold our tongues; finally, the Supra has made its return. An exoskeleton of the BMW Z4, Toyota has built upon that along with a little Toyota flare to become the by-product of the next great sports car.

Underneath, the Supra shares a platform, running gear, engine, gearbox, and large chunks of the interior with the latest Z4. Not being the first example of Toyota partnering with others to collaborate on a version with a Toyota badge. (Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS/Toyota 86).

But this partnership is different because the Supra is a huge deal. It’s not a run of the mill newly introduced small coupe. The Supra badge has a history as a staple in Japanese car culture alongside the greats like the Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline, and Nissan GT-R.

While the DNA is the same, The Supra, in my opinion, is better looking than the Z4, no doubt about it. It’s well proportioned, striking, and eye-catching throughout.

Under the hood sits BMW’s B58 single turbo 3.0-liter straight six, developing identical power figures (335bhp and 369lb ft of torque) to the Z4 M40i. This is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. 0-100km takes 4.3 seconds. The body is more rigid than the Lexus LFA’s, weight distribution is 50:50. Leaving aside the BMW controversy, you’ve got to admit it looks good on paper.

It’s excellent to drive. The Supra is crisp, responsive, well connected, confidence-inspiring, and quick. The fact that Toyota has been able to take the same mechanicals as BMW and shape them into a proper sports car that’s perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Supra. But it is not all entirely successful, so let’s start there. The paddle downshifts can be a fraction delayed and upshifts can surge on you.

Similarly, the engine has plenty of mid-range shove, but at higher RPM’s there’s not much point. The brakes do fade, but it does have bigger brakes, using 13.7-inch vented discs in front and 13.6-inch vented discs in the rear, 1.0 inch and 0.8 inches larger than the old car (which also had vented discs). But it’s the good stuff that dominates the experience. The front wheels unfailingly go where you aim them, and the rear axle is communicative and well supported. What this means is that the Supra moves into corners well, and it gets out of them well, too. The steering set-up – especially in Sport (that or Normal are your only choices) – is lovely, well-weighted, and responsive. It’s too light in Normal. Turning is decisive, and it feels agile, thanks to its short 2,470mm wheelbase.

Here is the thing; we can forgive the non-Toyota engine, but it’s hard to forgive the lack of innovation in the cabin. The Supra is a BMW inside. Of course, this means it’s got the material quality and tactility it wouldn’t have had otherwise, and some people will see that as a plus. And once again, if you aren’t familiar with BMW, it’s not going to offend you. But here’s Toyota, the world’s largest car company, having slapped a body on top of a BMW, It’s just an odd thing to do with a brand with such history for Toyota.

The rev counter is Toyota’s own, but the steering wheel definitely isn’t. The same goes for the heating controls, graphics, USB slots, switchgear, door handles, etc. Ignoring the BMW influences then: the driving position is excellent. You sit low, the standard seats wrap around your back as bucket seats do, however over the shoulder visibility is horrible. Two seats and two people have adequate space inside. The infotainment is intuitive as BMW’s go. No complaints as the rotary are easy to manage and operate.

After all is said and done, it’s like BMW built a better Toyota. It’s impossible to separate the new Supra from its underpinnings – not least because they are always staring you in the face when you get in. But in the end, Toyota has built a very talented driver’s car. It’s a very complete coupe. Big enough inside, well equipped, handsome, rapid, and good-natured. It’s grown-up yet compact, agile, and smooth. It’s a smart piece of engineering. A car you’d enjoy driving anywhere, a car that probably strikes the best compromise of GT and sportiness of any car in its class. 

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2019-Mercedes-Benz-CLS-53-AMG-Cover

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 AMG – Automotive Video Review

2019-Mercedes-Benz-CLS-53-AMG-Cover

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 AMG – Automotive Video Review

"With the new 53-series models we are extending our portfolio in a first step towards a hybridized future with a leading-edge combination of sporty design, performance and efficiency… “ - Tobias Moers

The most impressive innovation found in the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 AMG is the new, electrified 3.0-litre engine that offers twin-turbocharging by way of a traditional exhaust gas turbocharger and the new electric auxiliary compressor. This provide almost instantaneous boost, as when the CLS 53 is starting at zero, the electric auxiliary compressor can immediately build up a high-pressure charge, delivering a faster increase in torque for acceleration until the large conventional exhaust gas turbocharger is deployed. As a result, the CLS 53 is able to zip around, with a glorious turbo lag-free response. It is as if this car gets all the benefits of both a supercharger and a turbo for all our lead foot needs. The new 3.0 L. engine provides the CLS 53 with 429 hp and a maximum torque of 384 lb-ft. The electrified EQ Boost starter-alternator briefly provides an additional 21 hp, plus 184 lb-ft of torque while still feeding the new 48 V on-board electrical system. This impressive new system clearly works as the CLS 53 4MATIC+ rockets from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.

The newly available 48 V on-board electrical system is also available to provide the CLS 53 with more robust traditional functions like; shifting, gliding and restarting of the engine by the start/stop function.

The new Mercedes CLS 53 features the twin-blade, silver chrome radiator grille, previously reserved for the V8 Performance models. As standard, the CLS 53 comes with 19-inch light-alloy wheels with optional 20-inch wheels available to add another layer of opulence if you so wish

The optional ENERGIZING comfort control is another interesting highlight on this vehicle. It links together the numerous comfort systems in the vehicle and harmonizes their specific functions such as; air conditioning and seating heating, cooling, and massaging, steering wheel heating, lighting and audio. Depending on your selection it generates a unique environment that Mercedes claims can enhance well-being and the drivers experience.

Finally, the CLS 53 4MATIC+ features the latest generation driving assistance systems pioneered in S-Class. Standard features are Active Braking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and ATTENTION ASSIST. Other standard features include PRE-SAFE®, the occupant-protection system, and the new PRE-SAFE® Sound, which prepares your hearing for any accident noise when the car believes there is a risk of a collision.

Key Features:

  • MSRP $92,000
  • 3.0-litre 6-cylinder in-line engine
  • 429 hp at 6100 rpm with and additional 21 hp of boost
  • 384 lb-ft at 1800-5800 rpm with an additional 184 lb-ft available
  • AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission
  • Acceleration 0-100 km/h 4.5 s
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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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2019 Jaguar F-Type

2019 Jaguar F-Type – Automotive Review

2019 Jaguar F-Type

2019 Jaguar F-Type – Automotive Review

This quintessential Jaguar all aluminum sports car, comes in so many variations, there is something for almost everyone

Overview/Summary

From a turbocharged 4-cylinder kitty, to a roaring 575hp SVR lion, the Jaguar F-Type is the classic sportscar you expect from Jaguar. With a long history of sexy coupes and convertibles the F-type easily picks up the pouncing cat logo and runs with it. We got the chance to drive multiple different models in different configurations, and each one completely satisfied that sportscar itch. Getting behind the wheel of the F-Type SVR, kicking it in sport mode and dropping the top I was grinning from ear to ear; with each eye widening roar from under every overpass on Hwy 1 back from Vancouver… Don’t even get me started on the sound it made in the tunnel

 (+) – Available in so many different options, there is a F-Type for everyone

(-) – Classic 2-seater sportscar, don’t expect to have many guests

Highlights

Only real new thing in the 2019 is the Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen.

Comparisons (F-Type SVR – CAD 143,500.00 As Tested)

  • 2019 Porshe 911 Carrera – $111,000 – 4.2s 0 – 100 km/h
  • 2019 Mercedes SL 550 Roadster – $128,900 – 4.3 sec 0-100 km/h
  • 2019 Aston Martin Vantage – £123,850.00 – 3.6 sec 0-100 km/h

The Jaguar F-Type was a really fun car to drive around town. It was low to the ground and had a tight glove like sports car type feel, but when you want that, this jag is what you are looking for. Sure, it’s maybe not an economic friendly daily drive, but that is not what this car wants to be. The F-Type wants to be both seen and heard, and when you are behind the wheel, that is completely okay.

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2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

2019 Mazda3 - Cover

2019 Mazda3 – Automotive Review

“Despite sharing the same Mazda3 model name, the two forms represent entirely different personalities”. The completely new design of these vehicles is on the border of drastic and subtle, you could almost call it perfect

Overview

Mazda graciously lent me the all-new Mazda 3 Sport AWD in a beautiful Polymetal Grey Metallic paint. I fell in love with this car as soon as I laid eyes on it and I was not disappointed after driving it. It was comfortable, quiet, smooth, and aesthetically pleasing. It ticks just about every box when it comes to sporty hatchbacks. It’s fun, its AWD, it’s nimble, and the price isn’t outrageous. During my “Month of Mazda” test driving the CX-9, MX-5, 3 Sport, and 6 Signature, the 3 gets the top spot in my books and my heart. There’s a reason the Mazda 3 has been Mazda’s best-selling car since 2003, and this year’s model shows you why.

Styling

When coming across a 2019 Mazda 3 in the wild, you will look twice. The new design is on the border of drastic and subtle. You could almost say perfect, almost. The 3 has a new aggressive face and a round and sporty looking back end. The hashmark grill sits well between 2 narrow and long LED headlights while the shiny and large Mazda emblem sits dead-center and also doubles as the front-view camera when parking. The taillights are a gem to stare at, and they help the 3 give it it’s the wide-body look. The model I had the honor to test had the 18” alloy rims finished in black which went exceptionally well with the Polymetal gray body color. The 2019 Mazda3 finally adopts the all-new Kodo design. The Japanese styling is on point and not in your face about it at the same time. There aren’t any swooping, sharp body lines as you usually see these days on sporty cars, but the silhouette of the 3 is what definitively separates itself from the pack — nothing else in its class like it.

When hopping inside, the sleek styling continues. The Mazda3 seemed to be the only vehicle of Mazda’s 2019 line-up to have the slightly upgraded and tweaked interior. This interior is with the times and well thought out while the other models were a tad dated and a little annoying. In the Mazda6 Signature, the armrest was set a little too far back for your arm to sit comfortably. The CX-9s infotainment system was the previous version, and the cameras were low resolution and tough to use. This was not the case in the Mazda3, as Mazda clearly saw these flaws and gave the driver a clear, almost 4k like back-up camera, and an adjustable center armrest with plenty of cargo space. The red leather accents throughout the dash and door panels, color matching the seats, set a very luxurious and high-end feel. The infotainment is clean, modern, and user-friendly. Android Autoplay and Apple CarPlay work fine, but I found myself using Mazda’s software as it just looked more natural to the inside of the car. Digital tachometer doesn’t look digital at all and is wildly smooth. The quietness of the cabin is one of the first things I noticed when driving. It is quiet. Scary quiet. The cabin was designed with a “double insulated” structure. Engine noise and road noise are reduced immensely. Being 6’1”, I didn’t feel cramped, and visibility was ample. As for the back seats, don’t expect your taller passengers not to complain when squeezed back there.

Driving

Out of the two engines offered for the 3, 2.0L and 2.5L, I was given the 2.5L. 186hp and 186 ft/lbs of torque powering all four wheels with the i-ACTIV AWD.  Seven seconds after the light turns green you can be at 60mph, and for a bit of added fun, you can give the paddle shifters a flick, or 6.  It’s a hair faster than its competition, the Honda Civic Touring, which comes with a 1.5L turbocharged engine. As fun as a turbo is in most cars, its fastened to a snooze-fest of a CVT engine. I can go on for hours about how annoying the CVT engine is, but I won’t, today. The Mazda 3 after 4000rpm sounds nice, and maybe after a few minor upgrades, it can sound great on the daily. The G-Vectoring Control Plus, MacPherson struts, and a newly developed torsion bar in the rear keep the Mazda 3 planted and in control when cornering hard; it’s quite impressive. It gives the driver plenty of control regardless of the circumstance. The safety features seem endless. With a plethora of acronyms on the invoice, just know you will be safe out there. Lane-keep assist, Auto breaking at low speeds, Rear Cross-traffic sensors, Driver fatigue warning, Windshield active driving display, and the list goes on.

Summary

For my money, there isn’t a car that will make you feel special like the Mazda 3 will in this class and for this price point. You’ll forget you’re sitting in a Mazda. The only thing I could muster up to criticize is the lack of excitement. It holds itself together well. No loud noises. No aggressive and darty steering. The engine has some “pick-up-and-go” but nothing surprising. A turbo would be nice to get the juices flowing. Other than that, the 3 is an exceptional car for Mazda. It shows the progression Mazda is making, and it’s setting a new standard for this, and other classes. Here’s to hoping the competition sees the progress and steps up their game, because currently, Mazda’s getting my money.

Key Features

  • As tested: $33,295 (Fully loaded)
  • Fuel Economy: 9.8L/100km (City) 7.4L/100km (Highway)
  • 2.0l SKYACTIV-G
    • 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
    • 150 ft-lbs torque @ 4000 rpm
  • 2.5l SKYACTIV-G
    • 186 hp @ 6000 rpm
    • 186 ft-lbs torque @ 4000 rpm
  • 8.8” MAZDA CONNECT infotainment screen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard
  • Available 12 speaker BOSE premium audio system
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Automotive Reviews Car Compact

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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2019 BMW M850i – Video Review

2019 BMW M850i – Video Review

A pinnacle of BMW styling, power, and technology. Truly worthy to wear the 8 Series badge.

While it has come a long way since its very first introduction in 1989, the BMW M850i remains one of those cars made only for the affluent. It is smaller in length than the 7 series and even the 6 series. However, the 8-series BMW styling can only be directly compared with the Gran Coupe. Sculpting in the double-bubble style racing roof, with a gaping air intake in the frontend and subtle swivels in the hood, the BMW M850i provides a design unlike any other in the BMW line-up.

In terms of performance, the M850i has shed the V12 -engine option from 1989 and replaced it with its twin-turbocharged and intercooled dual overhead cam 32-valve V-8 engine. This is propelling the driver to 100km/h from a standstill in 3.7 seconds thanks to its launch-control program, 523 horsepower, and 553 lb-ft of torque. Controlling that power the M850i series is the equipped adaptive steering control, and awd control. The technology seamlessly displaces power to each of the four wheels as needed in order to maintain control through corners, and launch off a standstill. During testing, this car experienced less than ideal weather conditions, and surprisingly, the M850i felt solid on every type of puddle, corner, and bump. To top it off, the counterbalanced wheels with 245/35R-20s up front and 275/30R-20s out back improves its handling.

The BMW M850i starts at $124 000, but given all the optional packages including executive package which includes a crystal gear shift, professional driver assistance, and optional carbon-fiber roof the price quickly climbs to $136 860. Buyers are going to have to consider spending the extra dollars to climb from a 6 series to 8 series for more-or-less prestige status. In any regard, the BMW M850i was a pleasure to drive, for a more in-depth analysis, please check out our video review:

Key Features:

  • Starts at $124 000
  • Engine: twin-turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block, and heads, direct fuel injection producing 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode
  • Dimensions: Wheelbase: 111.1 inches / Length: 191.2 inches / Width: 74.9 inches / Height: 53.0 inches / Trunk volume: 12 cubic ft / Curb weight: 4643 lb
  • Fuel consumption (combined): 11.5L/100km
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