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Former New England Patriots receiver Terry Glenn killed in car crash at age 43

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn was killed in a car crash early Monday morning in Irving, Texas.

Glenn, the No. 7 overall pick of the 1996 NFL Draft, played six seasons in New England before playing for the Green Bay Packers and finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was 43 years old.

According to a statement from the Irving Police, they are currently investigating a single-vehicle crash that occurred at 12:14 a.m. Monday morning. Police say the vehicle left its lane “for unknown reasons” and struck a concrete barrier. Glenn, the driver, was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. The passenger in the vehicle sustained minor injuries.

News of Glenn’s death was first reported by Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The news was later confirmed by former teammate Damien Woody:

Additional details on the accident from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

A dynamic receiver out of Ohio State, Glenn burst onto a scene as a rookie in 1996, catching 90 passes for 1,132 yards and six touchdowns as the Patriots went on to reached their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Glenn remained one of the league’s most dynamic receivers, but clashed with coaches during his time with New England, particular former head coach Bill Parcells — and later Bill Belichick.

His final season in Foxborough came in 2001, during which time he caught the first touchdown pass of Tom Brady’s career.

Glenn’s season was marred by continued conflict with the coaching staff, and a four-game marijuana suspension.

Glenn remains eighth on the Patriots all-time receiving list with 4,669 yards. He ranks ninth all-time with 329 receptions.

Article source: http://blog.masslive.com/patriots/2017/11/former_new_england_patriots_re.html

Harrison Ford comes to the rescue of woman in California car accident – Tribune

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Article source: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/12975404-74/harrison-ford-comes-to-the-rescue-of-woman-in-california-car-accident

Police to offer car seat inspections in Westmoreland County – Tribune

Updated 2 hours ago

State police will conduct free car seat safety checks in Westmoreland County during the next week as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Troopers request that motorists make appointments, but they are not needed.

Scheduled checks in the area include:

• Friday, 3-7 p.m., C. Harper Chevrolet Autoplex, 100 Harper Drive, Rostraver Township. Appointments: 724-929-6262.

• Nov. 27, 2-9 p.m., Hyde Park Plaza, 451 Hyde Park Road, Allegheny Township. Appointments: 724-832-6485.

• Nov. 28, 3-7 p.m., Planet Fitness behind Westmoreland Mall, 5256 Old Route 30, Hempfield Township. Appointments: 724-832-6485.

For a list of checks across the state, visit the Pennsylvania State Police website , psp.pa.gov. Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

Article source: http://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/12975925-74/police-to-offer-car-seat-inspections-in-westmoreland-county

Jackson will speak at AN World Congress

Mike Jackson, CEO of the country’s largest publicly traded dealership group and one of the industry’s most influential leaders, will speak Jan. 16 at the Automotive News World Congress.

The outspoken AutoNation chief has played a key role in modernizing auto retailing over the last two decades.

At AutoNation, he has pushed a brand-extension strategy: buying and adding AutoNation-branded collision centers, used-only stores and parts.

The company now operates over 360 new-vehicle franchises at 274 stores, 77 collision centers, three auto auctions and three stand-alone pre-owned sales and service centers, in 16 states.

This month, AutoNation said it was forming a partnership with Waymo to service Waymo’s fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids.

Before joining AutoNation in 1999, Jackson was CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.

Article source: http://www.autonews.com/article/20171120/OEM09/171129968/jackson-will-speak-at-an-world-congress

2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S first drive: A class of one?

You’re already familiar with the Mercedes GLC compact SUV, the curvaceous successor to Benz’s boxy GLK, and a competitor to both the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. It’s one of our favorite small utilities around here, particularly in hotter Mercedes-AMG GLC43 guise, which teams the responsive chassis with a twin-turbo V6 for just-right performance.

Anytime you’ve got a division like AMG lurking around, though, there’s the opportunity to cast just right to the wind, opting instead for, “Here, hold my beer” antics. In this case, the result is a high-riding, cargo-hauling version of the C63 AMG supersedan, complete with AMG’s Speedshift nine-speed transmission, a quick-shifting automatic with a wet clutch in place of the torque converter. A performance version of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system sends power to each corner, and a limited-slip differential (mechanical on regular GLC63 models, electronic on GLC63 S trim) helps make sure it gets delivered to the correct wheel.

How much power? The GLC63 gets AMG’s 4-liter twin-turbo V8, one of those Midas engines that turns everything it touches to gold — 510 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque worth in the S trim. Unfortunately, in America the S will be available in the frumpy “coupe” body style only, a moniker applied these days to anything with a sloping roofline. The more useful and better-looking GLC63 SUV uses the same engine maxed out at 476 hp, which, to borrow a line from Rolls-Royce, is more than adequate. 

Performing support duty is Mercedes’ now-familiar multichamber air suspension; the basic tune is adjustable between comfort, sport and sport+ via an in-cabin Dynamic Select switch. If the GLC detects hard cornering or heavy braking, it’ll automatically firm up the appropriate dampers to keep things stable. The speed-sensitive electric power steering also responds to Dynamic Select settings with variable assist between comfort and sport modes; again, the system can automatically dial in more or less assist based on driving conditions. Bringing everything to a stop are 15.4-inch ventilated discs front and rear.

What pops the most upon first laying eyes on the GLC63 is the so-called Panamericana grille, that toothy vertical statement evoking Mercedes’ AMG GT sports car. Behind it, the GLC’s compact body lends itself to AMG’s assertive styling touches, which include 19-inch wheels standard on GLC63 models; S trims get 20-inch wheels, and optional rims run up to 21-inch front and rear. From the driver’s seat, the already good GLC design continues with AMG badging, synthetic suede detailing and additional switchgear on the center console to control Dynamic Select, stability control, suspension settings and, optionally, the exhaust flap. Optional packages let buyers tailor the interior to their hearts’ content with fancy quilted leather, carbon-fiber trim and badges galore among the available choices. 

The Execution

Weather, a limited number of test vehicles and German tire laws conspired to shortchange my GLC63 drive: It was 40 degrees and raining, we only had S-trim GLCs to drive and all were on 21-inch wheels with Pirelli winter tires. Thus your experience will almost certainly vary, but hopefully not by too much — even in these conditions, the GLC63 was way more fun than an SUV has any right to be. The drive mode controller delivers very different experiences, and after some experimentation, Sport ended up being just the right amount of aggressive fun for the murky conditions. In dry weather on performance tires, sport+ almost certainly would have gotten the nod, with race best reserved for controlled track conditions or loud, showboating rolls through your high-end shopping district of choice.

Like any AMG63 product, the GLC63 is perfectly content to eat up miles at triple-digit speeds, behaving like a proper luxury vehicle in the process. In the right settings, it’s neither harsh nor loud. A flick of the drive-mode switch can instantly dial up that glorious V8 bark and firm up the suspension, though, letting the driver rip up mountain roads at least up to the limits of the squishy Pirelli winter tires. Yes, there’s a more dramatic sense of weight transfer than one would experience in a C63 sedan, but it’s not alarming, though the initial steering turn-in can be slightly too sharp until you get used to it. There’s also real, usable cargo space behind the three-person rear bench seat, at least in the proper SUV version of the GLC63. The Coupe is just pointless.

If there’s a flaw, it’s one not exclusive to the GLC63: Mercedes’ latest infotainment system offers multiple ways to interact with it, none of them intuitive. Best to sync your phone, pick a radio station and then ignore the rest, instead placing both hands on the wheel and pointing the GLC toward your favorite twisty road.  

glc amg engine

The 4.0-liter twin-turbo AMG V8 is what sets the GLC apart from its peers.

The Verdict

If you absolutely have to have an SUV instead of a lighter, better balanced sports sedan –- and, looking at sales numbers, a lot of you do –- it’s hard to imagine a more entertaining choice than the GLC63. Dynamically, the Porsche Macan is at least its equal (if not slightly better), but when you squeeze the throttle and that AMG V8 bellows its full song, the Porsche’s advantages get lost in the sound of an era that may soon be behind us. Enjoy it while you can.   


Andrew Stoy


Andrew Stoy

– Digital editor Andrew Stoy has spent the past 20 years wrenching on and writing about cars. He’s worked everywhere from dealer service bays to the headquarters of the world’s largest automakers.

See more by this author»

On Sale: Spring 2018

Base Price: TBD

Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, 9-speed automatic, AWD

Output: 476 hp, 479 lb-ft torque (GLC63); 510 hp, 516 lb-ft torque (S)

Curb Weight: 4265 lbs (mfr)

0-60 MPH: 4.0 sec (0-62 mph)

Fuel Economy: TBD(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Stupid fast; roomy interior; glorious V8 power

Cons: Unintuitive infotainment

Article source: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2018-mercedes-amg-glc63-s-first-drive-class-one

Lexus NX 300 Review: Why It’s a Best-Selling SUV

The Lexus NX, the smallest SUV in Lexus’ lineup, is a most credible offering, with a nicely trimmed cockpit, long-distance comfort for four adults, and a choice of mainstream, sporty, or hybrid versions. The NX is the best seller in the compact/luxury category thanks to Lexus’ reputation for quality and a base price several thousand dollars less than its primarily German competitors.

The model year 2018 midlife refresh further improves the NX, and addresses shortcomings such as a small navigation screen and quirky touchpad infotainment controller. The Lexus Safety System is now standard, including adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. But blind spot detection still requires a separate package costing $980 to $4,705.


Behind the Wheel of the NX 300h Hybrid

I drove the hybrid version of the 2017 NX, which came nicely equipped at $51,187 list, including more than $10,000 in options on the 2017 model. The cockpit seating and trim was finished in buttery-gold and black leather. Front seat cabin overhead lighting works by pushing the light itself, not a switch you have to hunt for. The dome light over the second row seats is a soft, diffused moon glow. Lift the top off a sunglasses bin in the console and the underside is a mirror. Minor niceties, but you notice. The rear seats recline, and rear seatbacks power-fold up and down.

Total output of the 2.5-liter gasoline engine and the hybrid electric motor is 194 hp, propelling 4,180 pounds (21 pounds per hp, far from class-leading). The gasoline engine powers just the front wheels of the hybrid version. The rear is electric-drive only, adequate unless you’re driving a lot in heavy snow areas. I found the acceleration just-adequate at about 9 seconds 0-60 mph. Once the car reaches highway speed, the noises common to a hybrid die down and it’s a quiet ride.

Standard wheels and tires are 225/65R17, with a 225/60R18 option available. The 65 or 60 series profile, meaning the sidewall is 65 or 60 percent as high as the tire is wide, is relatively high. That means you are far less likely to suffer pothole damage relative to competitors who offer 50 or 45 series tires. A 65 series tire would hurt your lap times on the racetrack, which is where you’re most likely not going in a Lexus SUV. And you’ll feel better hearing how your X3-owning co-worker has already blown out two of his $400, 45-series tires. This is why the word schadenfreude was invented.

The seat trim is attractive and comes in several color combinations. Here, Creme with Black. Our favorite is deep Rioja Red with Black.

Driver Hemmed in By the Console

The driving position feels cramped because of the largish center console, providing just 22 inches from the the console to the armrest, or only a few inches more than a coach class airplane seat. Competitors aren’t this snug. The side of the console is nicely padded if the driver rests his or her leg there.

The center stack is a busy place, too, with an overhanging top section that bring switches and buttons closer to the driver and passenger. The 7-inch LCD is set well back (toward the windshield) and felt small; the 2018 has a standard 8-inch screen, or 10.3 inches if you get navigation. The touchpad with a push-to-click feature is difficult to use, so Lexus has reworked it for 2018 with a larger surface and better tracking, the company says. You can also use voice input, but there’s no touch-screen input.

Lexus Enform, the infotainment system, takes effort to learn and then operate. Plus, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Lexus and Toyota fear with some justification that its system would look much that of every other car when running the Apple/Android apps (it would). As of 2017, Lexus bundled the Scout navigation phone app for buyers who want to replicate smartphone navigation on the car’s bigger LCD.

The rear seats on NX are roomy for two adults (there are seat belts for three). But rear seat lacks USB jacks or a 12-volt adapter.

The NX Trim Walk

Unlike many cars, the Lexus NX has three parallel but not ascending trim lines — that is, the NX does not have good-better-best variants, each with more gear, leather, and gadgets. Instead, you choose your driving and economy preferences, and then you choose from the handful the options packages.

The 2018 Lexus NX variants are:

  • The gas-engine Lexus NX 300, $37,385 including $945 freight, comes with a 235-hp turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive. It is $1,400 less for front-drive. This is the mainstream NX model and is rated at 22 mpg city / 28 highway / 24 overall mpg for all-wheel drive. Front drive is 22 / 28 / 25.
  • The NX 300 F Sport costs $40,920 for AWD. It has the same engine and adds bolstered sporty seats and driver-adjustable electronically generated engine sounds (Active Sound Control), plus a G-force meter and turbo boost gauge for the multi-information display. The F Sport has the same 7.2-second 0-60 time as the base NX 300, but slightly different fuel economy, 22 / 27 / 24.
  • The hybrid NX 300h, $39,330, is AWD-only. If you want an upscale compact SUV that is also a hybrid, this is pretty much your only choice as of the end of 2017. In a week’s city and highway driving, I averaged 33 mpg with NX 300h. The hybrid’s EPA rating is 33 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 31 mpg combined on premium gas for both 2017 and 2018 models. That’s one-third better economy the the gasoline-powered NX. On an annual basis, the EPA says would burn $1,250 of gasoline, while the non-hybrid NX models would use $1,900 worth.

The pick-no-more-than-one options include the Comfort, Premium, or Luxury packages. The Comfort Package, $980, adds blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, heated and ventilated front seats, and auto-dimming outside mirrors with auto-tilt-down in reverse.

The Premium Package, $3,270, includes the Comfort Package features plus a moonroof, 18-inch (instead of 17-inch) alloy wheels, enhanced LED daytime running wheels, front seat memory, and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The Luxury Package, $4,705, incorporates the Comfort and Premium Package features and includes black shadow wood interior trim, perforated leather trim, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated leather-trim steering wheel. People who cross-shop mainstream SUVs may be surprised that it costs $3,270 to get seat-memory buttons, or $4,705 to get your main mirror to automatically dim, but that’s how Lexus currently arranges the placement of desirable features.

There is also a Navigation Package, $1,800, with a 10.3-inch display (instead of 8 inches), Destination Assist (live operators for telematics), premium audio with 10 speakers instead of eight, a second USB port, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with HomeLink (garage door openers). A Towing Package, $160, allows pulling up to 1,500 pounds; many direct competitors tow 3,500 to 4,000 pounds while mainstream compact SUVs (like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V) are more often limited to 1,500. These two options are independent of your Comfort-Premium-Luxury (or none) choices.

Note that ad teasers say $35,985 buys a Lexus NX, meaning the base NX front-drive without shipping. The base price of the second-best-seller Audi Q5 starts at $41,500, with standard all-wheel-drive. The most promising new-for-2018 model, the BMW X3, has a base price of $42,450, also for all-wheel-drive.

The Lexus NX measures 183 long, 74 inches wide (mirrors folded in), and 65 inches high. That puts it squarely in the compact SUV class, meaning 180-190 inches long.

Should You Buy the Lexus NX 300? Which One?

The Lexus NX should be part of your initial consideration set because of its clear price advantage, about $3,500 to $4,000 over the Germans if you compare all-wheel-drive vehicles comparably equipped. This could be your car if you want room for four adults on long drives, if you want a hybrid, if you want integrated telematics, if you want a well-priced premium car, or you want a brand ranked high for reliability. It could also be your car if you don’t like being hassled by pushy sales reps; Lexus dealerships rate high on customer satisfaction.

The NX is not your car if you want lots of cargo room without folding down the rear seats; Lexus comes up short because of its steeply raked rear window. Nor is it your car if you want sporty driving; sport seats and bigger road wheels do not a sportster make. The primary drivers should sit for a while in the cockpit and see if they’re comfortable with the space behind the wheel; it’s snug.

The changes for 2018 seem minor, but should make driver and occupants more comfortable: a bigger center stack LCD especially with navigation, larger and improved touchpad, and the now standard Lexus Safety Suite, needing only an options package to complete the most needed safety features.

Lexus NX has been at or near the top in sales it debuted in 2015.

Lexus vs. the Competition

Who is the competition? The Volvo XC60, the Lincoln MKC, and the Buick Envision share luxury attributes with the NX; the XC60 offers a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. If you want something sportier, look at the others in the top five on sales: Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3. The Porsche Macan is often regarded as the best small SUV, but like Lexus is saddled with just 18 cubic feet of cargo bay capacity and the Porsche costs more. The base Macan is $47,000, but you can option your baby Porsche up to $132,000 (leather-edged carpet mats for $650, anyone?). The Jaguar F Pace, new in mid-2016, is like the Macan: excellent handling, luxury cockpit, and priced higher than the norm. The Infiniti QX50 has a strong engine and drivetrain; a long-awaited redesign comes next year.

If you’re partial to Lexus, look also at the midsize Lexus RX, 10 inches longer than the NX’s 182 inches, with an even tastier cockpit, and about $8,000 costlier. (There is no subcompact Lexus SUV, not yet at least.) As for the NX, the most desirable version may be the hybrid 300h followed by the regular NX; the NX F Sport isn’t as sporty as other Lexuses with their F Sport badging. If you’re offered a 2017 NX on closeout, make sure you understand the three or four things you aren’t getting — a bigger center stack LCD, a bigger touchpad, blind spot detection unless you buy an options package (though the same goes for 2018), a second USB jack unless you buy the Navigation package — and factor that into your decision.

Most of all, remember: There are very few unhappy Lexus owners. They typically love their cars, the dealer experience, and the reliability.

Article source: https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/258993-lexus-nx-300-review-best-selling-suv

Philippine auto sales back in the green in October 2017

Brent Co / AutoIndustriya.com | November 20, 2017 15:47

Auto sales gain 6-percent in October steering back towards positive trend of 2017

Philippine auto sales bounced back into the green after three consecutive months of decline. The latest report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA). Sales registered 36,511 units sold which resulted in a 6% gain compared to the previous month.

Year-to-date growth continues to be optimistic with 339,380 units sold from January to October, a 16% growth compared to last year’s 292,502 units. Passenger car sales remain optimistic at +4.4% while Commercial vehicle sales remain healthy at +22.9%.

Compared to the same month in 2016, October 2017 reflected a 17.3% gain against the 31,132 unit total the previous year.

Comparing with the previous month, Passenger Car sales surged by 11.1%, while Commercial Vehicle sales grew by 3.7%. Still driving industry sales was the Commercial Vehicle segment which sold a total of 24,825 units, capturing 67.99% of the market. Passenger Car sales totaled 11,686, taking the remaining 32.01% share of the pie.

“October sales result increased compared to September sales result because of the continued robust trend as the year comes to an end. Higher sales for October was driven by the continued surge in demand as well as promotional support to further support the key models. The outlook for the succeeding months remains strong, driven by the good sales performance of key models from major players. In addition to this is the competitive promotional support and marketing activities to further push vehicles,” according to CAMPI president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez.

The Commercial Vehicle sub-segments were still led by Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV), comprising 66.55% of CV sales with 16,521 units sold; 2.4% more than last month’s 16,137 total. AUV/MPV segment sold 6,858 units, an 14.7% surge from 5,981 last month. Truck and bus sales were mostly negative. Light truck sales dropped 25.6%, selling a total of 809 units compared to the previous month’s 1,088 unit total. Category 4 Heavy Duty Truck and Bus sales totaled 412 units (-21.5%) compared to last month’s 525 units. Category 5 Heavy Duty Truck and Bus were up with 225 units sold, (+13.6%) compared to last month’s 198 units.

Sales performance were mostly positive for most brands in October. The top 3 advancers*: Volkswagen (ACEI) experienced 63.8% gain due to deliveries of pending units, BMW (ACC) sales continued to gain by 36.3%, Mazda (BAP) saw a 27.7% increase in sales. Top three decliners for October* were Ford (FGP) with a 17.6% drop despite continued aggressive sales promos, Nissan (NPI) with a 8.1% decline, and Isuzu (IPC) down by 3.6%.

*only brands selling more than 100 units per month were included.

The top five performing manufacturers for the month of October are:

1. Toyota – 16,612 units (45.5% market share)

2. Mitsubishi – 6,281 units (17.2% market share)

3. Honda – 2,893 units (7.92% market share)

4. Ford– 2,598 units (7.12% market share)

5. Isuzu – 2,152 units (5.89% market share)

The total count for the first ten months of 2017 sees Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation with its commanding lead of the market with 44-percent. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation followed in second with 17.61-percent. Ford Motor Company Philippines, Inc. remains in third with 8.42-percent. Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. retains fourth with 6.98-percent, Isuzu Philippines, Corp. holds fifth position with 6.70-percent.

Article source: https://www.autoindustriya.com/auto-industry-news/philippine-auto-sales-back-in-the-green-in-october-2017.html

Motor Trade Finance braces for auto industry disruption with brand …

Motor Trade Finance’s underlying annual earnings dropped 7.6 percent, despite increasing both sales and its market share, and the lender says it’s adapting its brand to face upcoming change in the vehicle market.

Net profit rose to $7.5 million in the year ended Sept. 30, from $7.2 million a year earlier, but underlying profit after tax, which removes the volatility of unrealised fair value movements, fell to $7.3 million from $7.9 million in 2016.

Sales jumped 36 percent to $567.4 million, which the company said was due to a “very buoyant year” in the industry along with initiatives such as its release of a non-recourse lending option. It announced the non-recourse lending partnership with Turners Automotive Group last November. The offering allows MTF franchisees and dealers to sell vehicles to people with higher credit risk. A pilot was launched in early December with a progressive roll out from January.

The company said its market share – as measured by the government’s Personal Property Securities Register registrations – rose to 13.6 percent in the year from 11.6 percent in the prior period, and non-recourse lending contributed $58.6 million in sales in the year. Non-recourse receivables are not included on the company’s balance sheet as they are funded by Turners, but the company included them in its sales and market share figures because they are generated through its business channel, it said.

Assets under management rose to $721 million in the year, from $596.6 million a year earlier.

MTF will drop references to vehicles in its branding “to reflect and encourage broader asset lending,” it said. The vehicle industry is changing with the advent of car-sharing, autonomous vehicles and new technologies, and digitisation is expected to drive changes in financial services, it said.

“The worldwide speculation surrounding disruption in the areas where we operate, being the automotive and financial markets, has intensified over the past year,” the company said. “What we do know is that our markets are set for change, and while the extent and pace of this change remains unclear, we know we must position ourselves to adapt early and not wait to react. The board and management are confident that because we are agile, adaptive and put the customer at the centre of everything we do, we can look for new opportunities to support sustainable growth and profitability.”

The board declared a 7.37 cent dividend, payable on Nov. 30. That brings the annual payout to 13.37 cents per share, down from 13.96 cents per share in 2016.

(BusinessDesk)

Article source: https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/motor-trade-finance-braces-auto-industry-disruption-brand-refresh-b-210150

Auto industry braces for artificial intelligence – but the tech still has limitations

November 20, 2017

An interview with computer scientist Markus Glaab reveals machine learning’s potential to transform automotive RD – and the challenges this nascent technology must first overcome. By Tristan Honeywill

Machine learning seems like an obvious way to enable highly automated driving modes, but there’s a big difference between beating a human at checkers and getting a family home safely by car. The technology has some way to go before it is robust enough to take human drivers out of the loop….

This content is available only to members of Automotive World with a valid subscription.

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2017-11-20

Article source: https://www.automotiveworld.com/analysis/auto-industry-braces-artificial-intelligence-tech-still-limitations/

2018 Jaguar E-Pace First Drive Review: The No-Brainer Jaguar

No Obligation, Fast Simple Free New Car Quote

There was a certain inevitability to the Jaguar E-Pace. With its midsized F-Pace, Jaguar’s first ever SUV, powering an 80-plus percent increase in global sales for the storied British brand over the past year, and demand for the compact Range Rover Evoque blasting past 600,000 units worldwide since 2011, the decision to build a small Jaguar SUV was a no-brainer. Especially as the Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport had provided Jaguar with a platform and a parts bin as a starting point.

The E-Pace shares its basic body structure, powertrains, and sundry other pieces of hardware with the Evoque and the Discovery Sport. But JLR has worked hard to keep the two brands distinct, giving the E-Pace a unique character that’s more than skin-deep. Quicker and sportier, the E-Pace is more fun to drive than either of the Rovers. Which is as it should be. Eager to see it? It has just gone on sale in the U.S., priced between $39,000 and $55,000,

Critics will note that this is only the second-ever Jaguar built on a front-drive architecture, with a transverse-mounted engine under the hood. (The other? The unloved X-Type sedan, which was based on the Ford Mondeo.) Nevertheless, the E-Pace successfully morphs the studied emotion of Ian Callum’s design language onto a tall package with a short dash-to-axle ratio. The trapezoidal grille, power bulge on the hood, and slimline taillights are key Jaguar family visual triggers. A bold, crisply defined haunch over the rear wheels and a greenhouse that riffs on that of the F-Type sports car give the E-Pace its own personality.

Inside, the PRNDL shifter and the flying buttress that arcs down from the dash to the center console give the E-Pace cabin a dash of F-Type spice. And the TFT instrument panel and InControl Touch infotainment interface are straight from the JLR parts bin. But careful attention to materials—both in terms of quality and execution—has made the E-Pace cabin appear more discreetly upscale than that of the F-Pace. Impressive, given the price leap to the larger crossover. Significantly, there’s no wood trim available, not even as an option. The E-Pace truly is a modern Jaguar.

Dimensionally, the E-Pace is an inch longer than the Range Rover Evoque, a half-inch taller, and has a wheelbase nine-tenths of an inch longer. The difference in wheelbase is due to a different rear suspension. Whereas the Evoque has struts, the E-Pace rear axle has the same integral link design as the F-Pace and the Discovery Sport; the rear knuckles are the same as the F-Pace’s, and the subframe and control arms are shared with the Discovery Sport. The E-Pace therefore has a different rear floor to the Evoque, with more legroom for rear-seat passengers and more room for luggage—there are no strut towers intruding into the load space.

Early in the E-Pace development program insiders acknowledged the biggest problem with using the all-steel Evoque platform—which traces its ancestry back to Ford’s ownership of Jaguar and Land Rover—was its weight. Developing a new, lighter platform from scratch simply wasn’t an option, so the engineering team applied what weight-saving countermeasures it could. The E-Pace’s hood, front fenders, roof panel, and tailgate are aluminum, delivering weight savings of almost 75 pounds over comparable steel parts. The bodysides are also stamped from special, thinner steel that saves almost 8 pounds. Even so, a base E-Pace still weighs 155 pounds more than the entry-level version of the larger F-Pace, which is built on JLR’s aluminum-intensive D7a architecture.

The E-Pace is the first Jaguar in history available only with four-cylinders under the hood. No V-6. American-market buyers can choose between two different versions of JLR’s 2.0-liter turbocharged Ingenium gas engine, driving through a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission. The regular E-Pace, which is available in standard, S, and SE trim levels, gets a 246-hp variant that also develops 269 lb-ft of torque from 1,200 to 4,500 rpm. In E-Pace R-Dynamic form, available in S, SE, and HSE trim levels, the engine has been tweaked to deliver 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. Peak power in both arrives at a modest 5,500 rpm. Jaguar claims the R-Dynamic’s extra horsepower cuts the 0-60-mph acceleration time from 6.6 seconds to 5.9 seconds.

JLR’s 2.0-liter Ingenium engine isn’t the smoothest in class. There’s almost a diesellike graininess at idle and under light throttle at low speed, especially when cold. But it delivers good performance and drivability on the road. The nine-speed automatic transmission has been recalibrated to deliver smoother and faster shifts, especially in Dynamic mode, and R-Dynamic models also benefit from having paddle shifters on the steering wheel for drivers who like DIY driving in the twisty bits.

Although the platform is front-drive-based, all-wheel drive is standard across the E-Pace range. There are, however, two systems available. The regular E-Pace lineup gets a conventional setup that simply varies torque between the front and rear axles, depending on load. The R-Dynamic models come equipped with Jaguar’s electronically controlled Active Driveline, which is capable of rapidly shifting 100 percent of the torque to either the front or rear axles and between the rear wheels. In steady state cruising, the Active Driveline switches to front-drive only, decoupling the prop-shaft to the rear axle to help save fuel. But it can funnel needed power back to the rear wheels in just three milliseconds. Two electronically controlled wet plate clutches on the rear axle also send precise measures of torque to each rear wheel to help control understeer and oversteer.

Subtle chassis and suspension tweaks have given the E-Pace a more alert and agile rear-drive feel than the Evoque. On the rear axle, positive camber has been increased to help initial turn-in response, particularly at low to medium speeds, and brake-induced torque vectoring is standard. Up front, there’s more negative camber to help get the nose of the car into corners, and the two rear-mounting points of the front subframe have been bolted directly to the body to deliver a more rigid platform. The E-Pace is 20 percent stiffer than an Evoque and 25 percent stiffer than a Discovery Sport, says lead engineer Matt Eyes. In turn, that stiffness improves steering feel and response.

What’s more impressive is that this fun-to-drive character happens with smoothness and silence, too. Our tester, a loaded R-Dynamic HSE riding on 20-inch alloys and 245/45 R20 Pirelli P Zero summer tires, felt calmer, quieter, and more relaxed on jittery British back roads than Evoques we’ve driven on 20s. Impact harshness is better suppressed, and there’s much less tire noise from the rear axle.

In terms of off-road capability, the little Jaguar doesn’t give much away to the baby Range Rover. All E-Pace models can be switched between four drive modes—Normal, Dynamic, Eco, and Rain, Ice, and Snow. The latter setting allows drivers to activate the standard All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), the low-speed, off-road “cruise control” system developed by the off-road specialists at Land Rover. ASPC is masterful at exploiting every last vestige of available traction, especially when working with the Active Driveline system.

Worldwide sales of compact SUVs last year totaled 9.8 million vehicles, according to JLR, and are forecasted to grow substantially in the near future. As it gives Jaguar the opportunity to play this white-hot segment for the very first time, the E-Pace is arguably one of the most important new Jaguars in history.

Although comparisons with the Range Rover Evoque are inevitable, the E-Pace’s real targets are BMW’s X1, Audi’s Q3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, along with buyers moving up from mainstream U.S. and Asian brands. Its mission is one of conquest, and early indications show that’s exactly what’s happening—more than 90 percent of customers who’ve placed an order for an E-Pace in the U.S. are newcomers to the brand. A lot of buyers are looking for a stylish, accomplished, competitively priced premium compact SUV, and they are likely going to see that Jaguar has a definite place in this segment.

Article source: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/jaguar/e-pace/2018/2018-jaguar-e-pace-first-drive-review-no-brainer-jaguar/