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What the experts say about the 2017 BMW X5 Cars is your go-to resource for coverage of local car news, events, and reviews. In the market for a car or truck? Check out our new car specials and used car specials curated by our local dealer network.

In this ongoing series, talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.

2017 BMW X5

For nearly two decades, the BMW X5 has been a stalwart among luxury SUVs, competing as a sportier alternative to rivals from Porsche or Mercedes-Benz. Now in its third generation, the X5 remains at the top of the class, not only for athleticism but its choice of six powertrains, too.

The SUV’s base trim delivers 300 horsepower using a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and comes with a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The xDrive50i trim gets a 445-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, and the SUV’s high-performance M badge delivers 567 horsepower. A diesel variant delivers 255 horsepower with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. An all-electric model gets a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that delivers 308 horsepower.

Inside, the cabin is decked in leather trim and wood accents. The base model seats five passengers, but buyers who need more space can opt for the $1,700 seating package that adds a third row, boosting capacity to seven. Two USB ports, Bluetooth, navigation, and the brand’s iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-inch touch screen come standard. BMW has introduced an available Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless device charging for the 2017 model year. Note that buyers who have time to spare might choose to wait for the release later this year of the 2018 model, which ushers the BMW X5 into its fourth generation with a full redesign.

The BMW X5 received a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and superior scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its crash avoidance and mitigation equipment. The X5 comes standard with parking sensors. A rearview camera and head-up display come with the brand’s optional $1,400 Driver Assistance Package. The $1,700 Driver Assistance Plus package adds blind spot detection and other advanced safety features.

The base sDrive 35i trim with rear-wheel drive starts at $55,500. The xDrive50i and X5 M start at $72,300 and $98,800, respectively. A diesel version of the BMW X5, called the xDrive35d, starts at $59,300. The xDrive40e all-electric model, which will arrive at dealerships later this year, begins at $62,100.

What the experts are saying

An extensive, sporty lineup

“Although the 2017 BMW X5 is called a ‘sports-activity vehicle’ or SAV by its maker, we know a luxury SUV when we see one. Going head-to-head against the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GLE, the 2017 X5 emphasizes the ‘sport’ part of sport-utility vehicle. The resulting lineup of luxury SUV models includes a hybrid, a diesel, and even a fire-breathing M version, all of which are fun to drive. The X5 is big, but still midsize, so it’s easy to manage through traffic and parking lots, while remaining roomy and comfortable.” – Keith Buglewicz, senior associate editor,

Still undergoing safety tests

“The Institute hasn’t fully tested the BMW X5.  In our moderate overlap front and side impact tests, the X5 earns the highest rating of good.  It also earns a superior rating for front crash prevention when equipped with its optional forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking system. However, it hasn’t yet been through our small overlap front test, roof strength test, rear impact evaluation, or our new headlight evaluation. Sometimes manufacturers will nominate vehicles for testing if they know from their own internal tests that the vehicle will likely earn Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. BMW hasn’t done that with the X5 even though this generation has been around since the 2014 model year. It probably means the current X5 wouldn’t qualify for our highest safety designations. But there’s a redesign around the corner for the 2018 model year.  Since this is a popular model, we’ll likely test the new version when it’s available.” – Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A customer favorite

“I don’t think you’ll find a better all-wheel drive system on the market than the X5. Visually, it’s the best marriage you’ll see between form and function. It’s got such a presence on the road, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. A huge percentage of our business goes to the X5 and X3 (the X5’s compact counterpart). The X5 has a little more of a masculine, aggressive look to it, and it has more interior space with the third row in the back. But the backseat is a little cramped for adults; it’s really for children unless you’re an adult who’s 5’5” or under.” – Melissa Steffy, general manager at Herb Chambers BMW

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The Porsche Macan proves to be a sure-footed beast in the snow

I rarely succumb to envy. On a journalist’s salary, it’s better not to.

I lust not for the Range Rovers, the BMW X5s or the Audi Q5s driven by parents at my fifth-grader’s fancy pants private school. When my daughter, my wife and I drive up to Lake Tahoe from Berkeley — as we do nearly every weekend in the winter — it’s in our solid, practical, low-cost Subaru Forester.

Those luxury SUVs? Ungainly vehicles that drive less like cars, more like trucks. Snow handling’s no better than in my Subaru. Cushy, yes. But worth twice the price? Not for me.

Then there’s the Porsche Macan.

90 seconds: 4 stories you can't miss
90 seconds: 4 stories you can't miss
Cal State trustees vote to increase tuition

Caption Cal State trustees vote to increase tuition

The California State University Board of Trustees voted 11 to 8 Wednesday to increase tuition as a way to fill a looming gap in state funding. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The California State University Board of Trustees voted 11 to 8 Wednesday to increase tuition as a way to fill a looming gap in state funding. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Twitter: @russ1mitchell

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First Drive review: Bugatti Chiron

THERE IS a moment driving the new Bugatti Chiron when you appreciate precisely what it is that the world’s wealthiest individuals are paying for. And that moment happens the first time you floor the throttle and feel the 8-litre, W16 engine passing 3,800rpm.

Before this point, only two of its gigantic turbochargers, which are roughly the same size as your head, are helping force air through the sixteen combustion chambers. At 3,800rpm, a bypass valve opens and two more turbos gatecrash the party and you get an idea of how it must feel when a rogue wave hits a ship.

Where before it felt as quick as the fastest Ferrari, with all four turbos spinning the Chiron feels jet-fighter fast.

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“This is what you came for!” the engine seems to shout, as there is a small explosion of power and noise and the world starts to rush by as though Captain James T. Kirk has given the command for warp speed.

There is nothing remotely like it. Which is why, for the world’s wealthiest individuals who like nothing more than to indulge in a spot of one-upmanship, the Bugatti Chiron is worth every penny.

That’s a lot of pennies, by the way. The successor to the legendary Veyron 16.4, which was £810,000 in 2005, costs €2.4m plus taxes, or a shade over £2.4m in today’s money.

But money isn’t an object for the sort of people that will buy a Chiron; Bugatti says that they are typically spending £260,000 personalising theirs. That’s enough for a new Ferrari 812 Superfast.

The likelihood is, however, that they will already own all manner of Ferraris, and any other luxury car you care to mention. Veyron customers owned an average of 42 cars.

In the 12 years since it was launched, nothing has come close to even catching up with the Veyron

So far, half of the 500 Chirons that will be built have been sold. The expectation is that once reviews from a select group of the world’s most prestigious media hit the shelves and start trending on social media and fire up the forums, the task of selling this multi-million pound plaything will take care of itself.

When the Bugatti Veyron first turned a wheel, in 2005, and set its turbochargers whistling like a doodlebug dropping from the sky, it left the world shell-shocked.

The Veyron was a hypercar without peer. But getting to that point pushed everyone involved in the project to breaking point. Like supersonic flight, or putting man on the moon, the engineers had had to venture into unknown territory.

They needed to figure out how to cool a 1,001hp engine that was in the middle of the car, out of the airflow. A gearbox had to be designed that could handle more power than a Formula One car but last for a lifetime, rather than one race. And the tyres should be able to handle being spun at the equivalent to 3,800 times the force of gravity.

The result was a car so fast that, according to Jeremy Clarkson, it made France the size of a small coconut. In the 12 years since then, nothing has come close to even catching up with the Veyron.

Now Bugatti wants to go faster still, and has spent the last five years perfecting its new baby. Next Spring, there will be an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the top speed of a production car. The Veyron Super Sport achieved 267.8mph in 2010.

How much faster might the Chiron go? Its electronically ‘limited’ top speed is 261mph. But the bets are on that the Chiron will top 280mph.

To achieve such feats, the W16 engine has been heavily reworked, with a lighter crankshaft, stronger, titanium conrods for the pistons and exhaust system, and a cooling system that can pump 800 litres of water through the engine every minute. At that rate of flow, a bath would be filled to the brim in 11 seconds.

These are merely tinkering compared to the main change: four huge turbochargers, which help generate an additional 500hp over the original Veyron – nearly as much as the engine in a Porsche 911 Turbo.

It takes the motor’s total power output to a comical 1,500hp – 1,479bhp total output. Getting to that point reduced grown men to tears, apparently. But their achievements are celebrated by stamping ‘1500’ on the top of the engine, which is uncovered and visible to the crowds that will gather at the petrol station.

To contain this pent-up energy, there’s a new generation carbon fibre monocoque, claimed to be stiffer than an LMP1 Le Mans racing car. The new Michelin tyres (at £10,000 for four, half the price of the Veyron’s run-flat items) had to be proved safe on a testing rig used for aircraft tyres. The larger brake callipers have pistons made from titanium.

That’s just for starters. New suspension with adaptive dampers and active aerodynamics adapt according to five driving modes and the speed of the car. And in a sign that Bugatti wants the Chiron to be as fun to drive on an Alpine pass as it is impressive to power along a deserted autobahn, the four-wheel drive system has been programmed with an “easy to drift” feature, addressing criticisms of the Veyron’s handling, which, understandably, erred on the wide of caution.

Before driving the Chiron, I asked Wolfgang Dürheimer, the man in charge at Bugatti, if it’s noticeably faster than its predecessor. “It smokes the Veyron,” he said. He has raced the two side by side, from a rolling start, and says the Veyron “is a postage stamp in Chiron’s rear-view mirror” by the end of the five-mile straight at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessein test track.

I suggest Bugatti is going to need to build a bigger test track for whatever will be the Chiron’s replacement. He thinks I’m serious, and agrees, solemnly.

The Chiron sticks with a proven analogue speedometer. Why? Because when children peer through the windows, they’ll be able to see that it winds all the way around to 310mph

This is a more exciting looking car than the Veyron, one that should do the job of rankling fellow superyacht owners in Monaco harbour. The lower nose, menacing looking headlamps and broader shoulders give it a more muscular appearance, like Daniel Craig in a dinner jacket.

The interior shows off the car’s carbon fibre construction, with acres of the stuff on the centre console, dashboard, doors and steering wheel. The seats are comfortable, as is the driving position, and with relatively slender A-pillars it’s a relief to find the view of the road ahead is better any family car.

While most cars move to all-digital instruments, the Chiron deliberately sticks with a proven analogue speedometer. Why? Because when children peer through the windows, they’ll be able to see that it winds all the way around to 500km/h (310mph).

Despite all this talk of mind-warping power and eye-watering performance, the first impression is that even your grandmother could drive the Chiron to Eastbourne for a day by the seaside. At everyday speeds, it is no more challenging than a Nissan Micra.

The light steering, smooth brake pedal and seamless automatic gearbox make the tiger feel like a pussycat.

Potholes, cobbled roads and speedbumps are all shrugged off by the suspension, as are wayward cambers in the road.

It’s impressive stuff. But it’s only when you find an open stretch of road, free from other traffic, that you get your money’s worth.

Obviously, any car with this much power will be “I think I’ve just had a small accident in my trousers” fast. The Veyron had considerably less power and weighed more than the Chiron, and that car could set eyeballs spinning in their sockets.

But the clever trick with the Chiron is that it’s so docile and measured when pottering around. The throttle, steering and brake pedal all have the sort of perfectly measured, linear progression that lets a driver get to know a car without beads of sweat forming across their brow.

Nothing, however, can prepare you for the first time you pin the throttle pedal to the floor.

The W16 (16 cylinders in a “W” configuration) slams you back into the driver’s seat and the world starts to pass by in a blur. Then, at 3,800rpm, you experience the ‘hyperdrive’ moment. There’s a small explosion of noise, another kick from the engine as the second pair of turbochargers are effectively switched on by a bypass valve, and the Chiron knocks the wind out of you.

Bugatti Chiron review

From this point, regardless of the gear selected, the Chiron is capable of manipulating the skin on your face. There is a grotesque helping of torque, with 1,180 lb ft from just 2,000rpm — more than twice that of a Porsche 911 Turbo S.

This is the true measure of muscle power, and it’s what gives the car its character. Squeeze the throttle through just half of its travel and you will surge past slower traffic like Valentino Rossi on a superbike at full throttle.

The Chiron is able to power to 200mph in what feels like as much time as it takes to sneeze. At such speeds, it’s as stable as a nuclear bunker.

Yet the eerie thing is that it’s only just getting warmed up. This is where the Chiron laughs in the face of cars from Aston, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche. Their fastest machines start running out of puff beyond 200mph. Whereas this one is just getting into its stride.

Bugatti claims it can accelerate from 0-62mph in under 2.5 seconds, reach 124mph in less than 6.5 seconds (the time it takes a Golf GTI to reach 62mph) and hit 186mph in under 13.6 seconds.

At everyday speeds, it is no more challenging than a Nissan Micra

Lifting off the throttle above 112mph, the rear spoiler changes its angle to act as an air brake. So even without touching the brake pedal, there is noticeable deceleration, akin to lifting off the throttle in an electric car as the motors turn into generators and recovery energy to the battery.

Switching to the winding roads outside Lisbon, and respecting all local laws, the Chiron continues to leave your mind boggling. Select the ‘Handling’ mode and the car hunkers down, the steering weights up and you can feel a surprising degree of information about how the tyres are coping with the demands of delivering 1,500hp to the road surface.

It’s composed, planted and feels smaller and more agile than a two tonne, 8-litre machine has any right to. But no matter how long the straights between bends are, they’ll pass by in the blink of an eye. So you’ll never feel more relieved than when you put the brakes to the test, which perform an emergency stop from extreme speeds without a hint of drama.

Pulling over to catch our breath and take photos, the rear spoiler remains raised on its hydraulically powered aluminium legs. Passersby might think the driver’s showing off, but there’s a legitimate reason for leaving the ironing-board wing in the air: it keeps ventilation duct above the exhaust muffler clear, which throws out heat like a white-hot barbeque.

In fact, every aspect of the Chiron’s bodywork has been designed to achieve just two things: cool the engine, so it doesn’t explode at 261mph, and pin the car to the ground, preventing unintended skyward acceleration above 200mph.

There wasn’t the opportunity to test its top speed but these will happen in time, says the company. Even so, the Chiron has done more than enough to leave us in awe.

Bugatti has taken another giant leap forward, showing what man and machine are capable of achieving. More significantly, it seems the company has built a machine that makes a Veyron feel like it’s got its shoelaces tied together.

The Chiron comes at a price. But for the world’s wealthiest drivers, it will be a price worth paying.

Warp speed approaching: 20 mind-blowing facts about the 2016 Bugatti Chiron supercar

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Porsche tackles the Great White North

ESTÉREL, QUE.-You can’t quite believe Mecaglisse when you first see it.

In summer, it looks like someone built a beautiful race track on the moon.

Except for all the trees.

In winter, it looks like someone built a beautiful race track at the North Pole.

Except for all the trees.

The 280-plus hectare property about an hour and a half due north of Montreal in the eastern Laurentians is a former gravel pit that was transformed by the father-and-son team of Vincent and Frank Kirchhoff into a world-class driver training centre.



Porsche uses it for its Camp4 program, designed not only to show off the all-weather capabilities of its cars, but to help its customers, employees and — yes, us media — learn how to better handle these cars in inclement weather conditions.

Three programs are offered, and you complete one before advancing to the next. All programs include accommodation at the Estérel Suites hotel, and most meals.

(A remarkably good lunch at Mecaglisse, I must say …).

The prices indicated below were for the 2017 programs which have now run their course. The 2018 schedule will be announced later, but the prices are expected to remain the same, or very nearly so.

Camp4 ($5,295), a two-day, three-night program, starts with the basics, including how to sit and where to look.

A series of exercises illustrates how the laws of physics apply to a vehicle in motion, and how you as a driver can bend them to your will.

Or else the laws of physics may bend the car to their will.



There are huge advantages to learning this stuff on snow. You can make the car do crazy things at speeds which still allow you time to recover.

And of course, snow is way softer than concrete walls or steel guard rails.

Camp4S ($6,495) is one day and one night longer, and ups the speed and complexity of the exercises to further explore the limits of both car and driver.

Camp4RS ($7,495), back to two days and three nights, raises the level even further.

Also Read:  All the Porsches you’ve ever wanted for $3,495

The two earlier programs run on Nokian winter tires, equipped with 1.5-millimetre studs. Camp4RS lengthens those studs to 3 mm so you can experience how much grip these add, and how much more challenging these exercises get as the speed increases.

Chief instructor Jonathan Urlin has assembled a staff of teachers, most of whom are current or former race car drivers, some young, some — well, getting up there.

One such is the still-youthful 59-year-old Kees Nierop from Kelowna, B.C. (Happy Birthday this past Thursday!), who won the first-ever Rothmans Porsche Challenge Series back in 1986.



It has always amazed me how these people can get into cars with complete strangers and ask them to toss the cars sideways, usually having little knowledge of how good a driver the student is. The more experienced instructors like Nierop can usually tell from the very first application of steering input to the car.

All have been trained to give just the right amount of advice to their students — criticize when necessary, back-pat as needed.

A huge fleet of Porsche sports cars — rear-drive Caymans and Boxsters, rear- and four-wheel drive 911s in a variety of models — is on hand to give you the opportunity to see the differences in drivetrain behaviour.

The students are organized into groups of six or so, and each group attacks different exercises in different order to keep everyone as busy as possible. Nonetheless, a fair amount of time is spent watching your fellow students hopefully looking worse at it than you were … bring warm clothing.

Typically, the cars run the exercises one at a time, maybe two, if the handling circuit being used allows enough space.

Judging entry speed into a corner, initiating understeer (plowing) or oversteer (fishtailing), learning how to recognize each and how to correct each with throttle and/or steering correction — these are skills which in the real world can be the difference between a near-miss and a real miss. A ‘near-miss’ of course is a ‘hit,’ which, especially in a Porsche, can be very expensive.

The most fun exercise was the ‘Scandinavian flick,’ a technique used by rally drivers (who disproportionately still are from Sweden or Finland, hence the name).



Sure, the fastest way through any corner is the classic racing line — wide entry, steer in toward the apex, steer out and apply the power, all to keep the radius of the corner as large as possible so you can maintain the highest speed possible coming out of the corner.

But this assumes you know where the corner goes.

In rallying, this isn’t always the case. So they came up with this technique:

You generally know if it’s a right-hander or a left-hander you are approaching. If it’s a lefty, then the ‘flick’ starts with a quick but decisive steering motion, non- intuitively to the right, this to initiate the weight transfer on to the left wheels.

Once they take a bit of a set, then a quick steering motion to the left causes the weight to shift to the right wheels. Done correctly, this will apply more force than those tires can handle, and you initiate a tail-out slide with the nose pointing into the corner.

If the corner tightens up, you maintain the slide which scrubs off speed. If the corner opens up, unwind the steering, apply the power and off you go.

(For a right-hand corner, obviously, reverse above procedure …).



Done right, it’s a thing of beauty. Done wrong — well, that’s why we’re all here to learn.

James Hinchcliffe, the Oakville-born Indy car driver, still maintains he can’t dance even after finishing second on that TV show. And he’s a racer, not a rallier. But you should be able to see that understanding where the weight goes and how to manage it is as important to a fast car driver as it is to a dancer.

I have attended an average of at least one driver-training program a year during my entire career, either as a student or as an instructor, and have never failed to learn something new every time.

OK, so, maybe I have more to learn than most …

The one tidbit I picked up here was how different four- and rear-wheel drive cars need to be handled when sideways.

When a car is sliding sideways and you want to correct that slide, the basic rule always applies — look in the direction you want to go, and steer that way.

But if you are trying to apply power, remember that when some of the drive torque is shifted to the front wheels in the four-wheel drive car, that’s going to try and pull the car in the direction the wheels are pointing. So, if you are countersteering to correct a rear-wheel slide, take it easy on the loud pedal or it can pull the car to outside of the corner and into an unfortunate coincidence in time and space with something hard.



Courses like this aren’t cheap, but I think they are great value, from at least two perspectives.

First, if they save you one fender-bender, they may pay for themselves right there should you severely damage or write off your car.

True, insurance may cover the immediate cost, but you know which direction your premium is going …

Second, we all have a budget for entertainment. For many of us, that budget doesn’t stretch this far.

But here is a three-word testimonial from a friend of mine whose entertainment budget does stretch that far, and who completed Camp4RS this year:

“It’s a blast.”

Also Read: Getting Schooled: Driver Training that makes a difference.


LEVI, FINLAND-Levi is Finland’s largest ski resort, situated some 170 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Porsche started our two-day tour of Lapland which included a visit to their Finnish winter driving experience and a test-drive of their latest Macan variant, at this spot.

And no, it is not where they make the jeans.

There are a few things you should know about Finland, if you don’t already. First, it’s a small country, with only about five-and-a-half million people, i.e., fewer than the GTA.

It produces a wildly disproportionate number of world-class athletes, in motorsport, hockey, cross-country skiing and other traditionally Nordic enthusiasms.

Their language, which has way more vowels than any language really needs, apparently is related only to Magyar from Hungary — I’m not sure anybody really knows why.

And the Finns do a lot of things extremely well.

Their prison system really does rehabilitate wrongdoers, it doesn’t just inventory them. Their recidivism rate — prisoners returning to prison — is among the lowest in the world.

Their public school system outperforms just about everybody in the world, too. Those two statistics may not be unrelated.

Three things they do well which were of specific interest to us on this trip.

First, we departed the hotel in Levi at 7:30 in the morning. It had snowed quite heavily during the night (although it actually was colder in Toronto that morning than it was in Levi). But even at that early hour, in this tiny town maybe 10 km from where Santa Claus is supposed to live, the roads had already been perfectly plowed. Even the lay-by parking areas where truckers can take a rest were cleared. Impressive!

Second, these trucks and most buses are equipped with massive driving lights on their roofs, the better to see and avoid hitting elk or reindeer. You could play night baseball under these things. Of course, it is illegal to buy and use these lights in Canada. We don’t have any deer or moose on our roads, do we?



The third thing the Finns do well, perhaps too well for our purposes on this visit, is enforce speed limits. We were constantly warned about speed cameras, and how there really is no ‘buffer’ — you get caught at 110 in a 100 zone, you get nailed for 10 over.

And we had heard stories that traffic fines in Finland are not fixed, but are based on a percentage of your income. Apparently (and possibly apocryphally …), the CEO of Nokia got hit with a fine of many thousands of dollars for one speeding infraction.

Given that publishers take the term ‘free-lance journalist’ too literally (my concept of ‘expensive-lance journalist’ not having caught on as I had hoped), that shouldn’t have proved a huge issue for me.

And when we got home, someone told me the fines are based only on your income earned IN Finland, which for me is absolute zero.

I could have sped scot- and cost-free. But, I really didn’t want to test that penal system, no matter how progressive …

Our drive from Levi to Kemi on the Gulf of Bothnia from whence we would fly to Helsinki and home, was split between Porsche’s fastest SUV, a Cayenne Turbo S, and the new Macan Turbo with Performance Package, more details about which follow.

The midway point was Porsche’s Arctic Winter Driving centre in Rovaniemi, just 6 km south of that Arctic Circle.

Time constraints meant we had but a taste of the driver-training exercises similar to what we would experience in more detail in Camp4 a few weeks later.

Because our mounts this time were SUVs rather than sports cars, the activities were more oriented toward safety than going fast — a Cayenne or Macan is more likely to have other family members in the car.

Still, we were encouraged to shut off the stability management control system during the slalom exercise to get maximum sideways attitude between the cones. Really, done right, you could hear a Strauss waltz playing in the background. I wish we could have run three or four cars together on that course, going in counterpoint order through the cones. Would have looked lovely.

Unless …

An icy hill also showed how various settings of the traction control system could make the ascent easier or more challenging. Given the grip provided by the studded tires, the cars really had no problem negotiating the hill, and the fastest way up was actually to just nail the throttle.

You had to make sure you, the ABS, or some combination thereof was able to bring your speed back down to handle that tight left-hander at the top of the hill.

All of which went to prove that despite the advances in chassis management over the past couple of decades, you still have to drive the car. The technology gives you more leeway for mistakes, and will bail you out under a remarkably wide band of lousy driving.

Best you learn how to drive, and not use up all that safety bandwidth.




ROVENIEMI, FINLAND-The mid-size Macan SUV has been exceptionally popular for Porsche.

Using the already-excellent Q5 from corporate cousin Audi as a starting point, the Macan has been thoroughly “Porsche-ized,” adding styling details inside and out, as well as increasing levels of performance commensurate with the brand.

The base model with a four-cylinder engine is also by far the least expensive entreé to the brand, with an MSRP of $54,100.

Of interest today is the new range-topper, the rather inelegantly if appropriately named ‘Macan Turbo with Performance Package.’

It starts at a healthy $97,600. Toss in a few options — on a Porsche, there are always lots of options — and you could buy two base Macans for the price of one of these.

‘Performance’ starts as it always does with the engine. Essentially the same 3.6-litre, twin-turbo V6 in the regular Macan Turbo (non-Performance Package, the poor dear …), has the screws tightened to deliver 440 horsepower and a peak of 442 pound-feet of torque, increases of 40 and 36, respectively.

This reduces the 0-100 km/h time by 0.4 seconds, to 4.4.



The seven-speed PDK (Porsche doppelkupplungsgetriebe, dontcha know, meaning Porsche’s twin-clutch gearbox) has been massaged for faster, crisper shifts.

A new air suspension system lowers the car by 10 mm in static mode, and a self-levelling feature keeps it on an even keel, regardless of load.

A new brake system brings larger front rotors, and the calipers, six-piston at the front, are painted a can’t-miss-it bright red.

The Sport Chrono package and a sportier-sounding exhaust system are both included in this model.

That option list includes things like the ‘Premium Package Plus,’ which for $4,100 brings you lane-keep assist. OK, I don’t much care for that either, but doesn’t a $16,000 Toyota Corolla have that as standard equipment?

Can’t get ceramic composite brakes on a Corolla, although the $9,300 option charge gets you two-thirds of the way to buying one.

As noted elsewhere today, Finland’s draconian enforcement of speed limits means it might not be the ideal place to try the highest-performance variant of the Macan model range.

Then again, playing in the snow at Rovaniemi allowed us to get a whole lot more sideways than we ever would have dared on public roads, and it proved that the added agility afforded by the improved suspension made the Macan even more entertaining to drive than it already is in its lesser forms.

The confident handling, comfortable supportive seats (even if the rear is a bit snug) and strong performance mean Porsche probably isn’t pushing credibility too far when it dubs the Macan the “sports car of SUVs,” although such as the Jaguar F-PACE and Maserati Levante might vie for that title as well.

The question higher-end Macan prospects will have to answer for themselves is whether the increases in performance are worth nearly 12 large more than the already very impressive Macan Turbo ‘without,’ which seems like a fairly substantial hit.

Would be lovely to be in a position to have to make that decision.



2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package

Body Style : 4-door, 5-seat, mid-size SUV. Full-time four-wheel drive.

Price: base — $97,600.

Engine: 3.6-litre, V6, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, direct injection, twin-turbocharged.

Power/torque: horsepower / lb-ft: 440 @ 6,000 r.p.m. / 442 @ 1,500 — 4,500 r.p.m.

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters.

Transport Canada Fuel Consumption City / Highway (L/100 km): n/a. Premium fuel.

What’s hot: The fastest, best-handling, best-stopping Macan you can buy, and that’s a pretty strong field; particularly excellent steering.

What’s not: Rear seat a bit snug like all Macans; price hit over the ‘normal’ Macan Turbo seems a little steep

Score: 8.0 / 10


Competitors: Audi SQ5; BMW X5 M; Jaguar F-PACE; Maserati Levante; Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC; probably Alfa Romeo Stelvio, although I have yet to drive it.

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Bolt EV impressions, Kia Niro mileage, small-car bargains, what Trump told EPA: The Week in Reverse

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Porsche Mission E concept electric car

Porsche Mission E concept electric car

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What did President Trump actually say he’d tell the EPA to do when he spoke to automakers in Detroit on Wednesday?

Why did one longtime reader decide to cancel his order for a 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Friday, we covered President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would reopen the comment period on EPA emissions for 2022 through 2025 vehicles.

We looked at what Trump said, and what he didn’t, and tried to provide context for his announcement that we felt was missing from many media reports and environmental-group statements.

He didn’t “roll back” fuel-economy regulations—and the White House might find that hugely challenging if it ever tried to do so.

2017 Kia Niro Touring, Catskill Mountains, NY, March 2017

2017 Kia Niro Touring, Catskill Mountains, NY, March 2017

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We also wrote about our four-day gas-mileage review of the 2017 Kia Niro hybrid wagon. It didn’t hit its EPA ratings, but we liked it as a car.

On Thursday, we noted that the Porsche Mission E electric car will cost less than the Panamera, a larger gasoline-powered sedan, when it hits the market in 2019.

We also covered the Volkswagen ‘Electrify America’ electric-car charging infrastructure plan that’s now been submitted to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board—and asked, now what?

Our Tesla-owning contributor, David Noland, gave us his impressions after a Chevrolet Bolt EV test drive—and revealed his decision on whether he’d trade in his Model S for one.

Wednesday, we covered Tesla’s offer to South Australia for battery energy storage within 100 days of signing a contract. CEO Elon Musk claims the system will be free if it isn’t installed during that time.

Even as President Trump and EPA head Scott Pruitt plan to end all U.S. government efforts to fight climate change, a bipartisan group of state governors has urged Trump to support wind and solar, citing the economic importance of those industries.

Electric-car rally in Geiranger, Norway [Image: Norsk elbilforening via Flickr]

Electric-car rally in Geiranger, Norway [Image: Norsk elbilforening via Flickr]

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On Tuesday, we noted an accomplishment in Norway: hybrids and electric cars now account for half of the country’s new-car sales, and officials have a plan to get that to 100 percent by 2025.

Volvo says it plans to launch a long-range electric car in 2019, although the Chinese-Swedish automaker still has a number of crucial details to work out.

We kicked off the week on Monday with an article by a long-time Green Car Reports reader that explained why he cancelled his Chevy Bolt EV order.

We also noted that bargains on small, fuel-efficient sedans and hatchbacks are surging as their sales take a nosedive in the face of public enthusiasm for utility vehicles of all sizes, kinds, and prices.

The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal may start to wind up after VW pleaded guilty to three felony charges, a major step toward resolving the criminal aspect of the scandal—at least in the U.S. (Europe is another story altogether.)

Volkswagen TDI 'clean diesel' television ad screencap

Volkswagen TDI ‘clean diesel’ television ad screencap

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Over the weekend, we covered another Tesla Energy project. The electric-car maker’s SolarCity unit opened a solar-energy array supported by energy-storage battery packs on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The facility will supply power to a local utility.

Finally, some good news for the sales prospects of electric cars: a coalition of 30 cities is planning a joint purchase of 114,000 plug-in vehicles, to be split among their municipal fleets.

Those were our main stories this week; we’ll see you again next week. Until then, this has been the Green Car Reports Week in Reverse update.


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2018 Porsche 911 GT3

Sold out since early 2015, the current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 has finally returned into dealerships with updates similar to the 991.2 911. Unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the track-prepped 911 is making a comeback after nearly two years with revised styling, a retuned chassis, and more importantly a new drivetrain.

Not surprisingly, the race-bred coupe didn’t change much inside and out, and most of the new stuff is borrowed from the regular 911 that was upgraded in 2016. However, the revised chassis brings new dynamics, while the troublesome 3.8-liter flat-six was replaced by the slightly bigger, 4.0-liter unit from the GT3 Cup race car and the range-topping GT3 RS. The really big news about the new 911 GT3 is that Porsche finally brought the manual transmission back, giving enthusiasts a new reason to celebrate.

Developed on the same test track and manufactured on the same production line as the 911 race cars, the GT3 returns to a market that has a brand-new competitor, the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Launched in 2016, the AMG GT R is the first track-prepped car to actually compete in the same niche, something that hasn’t happened in quite a few years. Will the 911 GT3 continue to dominate this demanding segment? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3.


Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

Exterior comparison New 911 GT3 vs Old 911 GT3

Much like the rest of the 911 lineup, the GT3 was updated to the recently introduced 991.2 design. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot to talk about here since the update is more about nips and tucks, but most changes are noticeable. While the front fascia wears the same nose and headlamps, but bumper was revised with a big focus on aerodynamics. The intakes are significantly larger, while the side vents sport additional winglets for enhanced downforce.

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

There isn’t a lot to talk about here since the update is more about nips and tucks, but most changes are noticeable.

It doesn’t appear as if Porsche modified anything on the sides, but the rear end gained new taillights and a redesigned diffuser. The light units are taken off the latest Porsche 911 and have a more angular design as well as a new LED layout. The diffuser isn’t radically different compared to the outgoing model, but the mild changes deliver optimized airflow. The carbon-fiber wings also sports minor changes, the license plate has a different shape, while the side air vents are significantly larger.

Porsche 911 GT3

All told, the new 911 GT3 isn’t that new, but I can’t say I was expecting major changes. Porsche rarely takes the revolutionary route on its cars, so it’s far from surprising that there aren’t many details to set the new and outgoing models apart.


Porsche 911 GT3 Mercedes-AMG GT R Porsche 911 GT3 Mercedes-AMG GT R

Exterior comparison 911 GT3 vs AMG GT R

The front-engined layout with the long hood and short rear deck is very appealing if you’re a fan of the classic grand tourer design.

The Mercedes-AMG GT R may look entirely different due to its front-engined layout, but it was actually developed to compete against the 911 GT3 on both the road and the track. In creating the GT R, Mercedes-AMG used pretty much the same recipe as Porsche, building the track-prepped model around the base AMG GT. But while it retains the overall size and shape of the road model, the GT R features a much more aggressive design and advanced aerodynamics that make it more nimble at the track. Setting it apart from the standard more are the new front bumper with larger intakes, wider fenders for bigger wheels, a massive double diffuser with a center-mounted exhaust tip, and a fixed rear wing. From an aerodynamic standpoint, the AMG GT R seems just as capable as the 911 GT3 at the track. It’s also menacing in a good way and the front-engined layout with the long hood and short rear deck is very appealing if you’re a fan of the classic, race-spec grand tourer design.


Porsche 911 GT3

Same as the exterior, the interior carries over mostly unchanged styling-wise. As before, it uses a sports steering wheel based on the 918 Spyder and standard sports seats with mechanical fore/aft adjustment and electronically height and backrest adjustment. No rear seats are provided as a weight-saving measure and in order to emphasize on the car’s track-bred orientation.

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

The standard equipment list also features the Track Precision app, which enables drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on smartphones.

Porsche offers three additional seat variants for the new 911 GT3. There’s tge adaptive Sports seats Plus with electrical adjustment of all seat functions (18-way) and sports bucket seats with folding backrest, integrated thorax airbag, and manual fore/aft adjustment. Finally, customers can opt for full bucket seats made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic in carbon-weave finish for the ultimate race car experience.

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

As far as tech goes, in addition to the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system that includes an online navigation module with real-time traffic information, the standard equipment list also features the Connect Plus module and the Track Precision app. The latter enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphones.


Porsche 911 GT3 Mercedes-AMG GT R

Much like the 911 GT3, the AMG GT R bridges the gap between the regular model and the race-spec version.

Much like the 911 GT3, the AMG GT R bridges the gap between the regular model and the race-spec version, in this case being the AMG GT and the AMG GT3, respectively. While the dashboard, center console, and center stack are virtually identical to the road car’s, other features have been revised to give the GT R a more race-like feel. For starters, there’s a lightweight, manually adjustable sport bucket seats wrapped in Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber. Another important addition is the new AMG Interior Night package. Included as standard equipment, it adds shift paddles, steering wheel bezel, door sills, and boot cross member in high-gloss black. You can’t have a race-inspired interior without loads of details in black, right? Combined with the standard-specification AMG Interior Piano Lacquer package, it further emphasizes sportiness. As an option, customers can order the trim in matte black carbon-fibre. As you’d expect from a car built for the track, it also comes with a flat-bottom steering wheel and bespoke displays focused of performance data.


Porsche 911 GT3

The previous 3.8-liter flat-six engine was replaced by a larger, 4.0-liter unit.

It’s here where the main novelties come into the spotlight. For starters, the previous 3.8-liter flat-six engine was replaced by a larger, 4.0-liter unit. The swap is far from surprising, as the 3.8-liter caused quite a few issues in the previous model, prompting Porsche to issue a massive recall after a few engines caught fire.

The 4.0-liter flat-six is shared with the GT3 Cup race car and is rated at 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 25-horsepower and 15 pound-foot increase over the previous GT3 and makes the new sports car as powerful as the GT3 RS. The seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK transmission remains standard and pushes the 911 GT3 from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the outgoing model. Top speed has increased from 195 to 197 mph, too.

Porsche 911 GT3

Requested for many years by purists, the manual finally made a comeback on the GT3.

However, the really big news is the optional six-speed manual. Requested for many years by purists, the manual finally made a comeback on the GT3 some years after Porsche said it’s unlikely to offer a high-spec 911 with three pedals. But before any of you purists pop the champagne, you should know that the manual GT3 is slower, needing 3.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. Top speed, on the other hand, is slightly higher at 198 mph.

Another feature that sets the two apart is curb weight. While the PDK version comes in at 3,153 pounds, the manual model is 37 pounds lighter, tipping the scales at 3,116. Definitely another good reason to get the manual if you’re looking to get a road car that’s as close as possible to the GT3 Cup racer.

The new 911 GT3 also rides on a redesigned chassis with the company’s recently introduced rear-axle steering.

On top of getting a new engine, the new 911 GT3 also rides on a redesigned chassis with the company’s recently introduced rear-axle steering. Specifically tuned to the new engine output, the chassis benefits from Porsche’s motor racing experience and delivers even better driving dynamics. The active rear-axle steering system is also responsible for the enhanced characteristics. By steering either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels depending on speed, it also improves the vehicle’s agility and stability. Finally, the revised, dynamic engine mounts and the rear differential lock also boost the car’s dynamics, making it quicker at the track compared to the previous 911 GT3.


Mercedes-AMG GT R

Here’s where the AMG GT R is yet again a different beast. While the 911 GT3 uses a naturally aspirated, somewhat classic flat-six engine, the AMG is equipped with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. Specifically developed by the high-performance firm for several AMG-badged model, the V-8 cranks out 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque in this configuration. That’s 77 horsepower and a whopping 177 pound-foot more than the 911 GT3. But while it may seem like a massive difference, the AMG GT R, which uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, is only three tenths quicker than the manual 911 GT3 and three tenths slower than the PDK-equipped versions. Yet another lesson that power and torque isn’t everything. However, the GT R can match the 911 GT3’s top speed at 198 mph.

While the 911 GT3 uses a naturally aspirated, flat-six engine, the AMG is equipped with a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8.

The AMG GT R’s chassis received its fair share of attention compared to the standard model. The coupe rides on an adjustable coil-over suspension, a nine-way adjustable traction control derived from GT3-spec racing. an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and active rear steering. All told, although it might not be quicker than the PDK-equipped 911 GT3 in a straight line, it should give the 911 a run for its money on any race track.


Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

The new 911 GT3 is on sale as we speak and first deliveries are scheduled to commence in June 2017. Pricing starts from €152,416 in Europe, including VAT and country-specific equipment, and from $143,600 in the United States. For reference, the 911 GT3 is $24,600 more expensive than the GTS, but costs $41,300 less than the 911 R.


The Mercedes-AMG GT R retails from €165,410 in Germany, which is adds a bit more than €10,000 to the 911 GT3’s sticker. U.S. pricing is not yet available, but I expect it to fetch at least $160,000 before options. Being significantly more expensive that the 911 GT3 doesn’t play well for the AMG GT R, especially considering Porsche’s performance and heritage in this niche, but an extra $15,000 to $20,000 isn’t that much if you’re looking to stand out in the crowd.

Other Options

McLaren 570S Sprint

McLaren 570S Sprint McLaren 570S Sprint

Much like the 911 GT3 and the AMG GT R, which bridges the gap between the standard and the race-only version of the sports car, the 570S Sprint was developed to slot between the road-going 570S and the track-prepped 570S GT4. However, the big difference here is that the Sprint is for track use only. It’s widely available to customers without restrictions, but you can’t drive it on public roads. While this is indeed a disadvantage, the catch is that the Sprint is fully upgradable to GT4 specifications, meaning you can turn your weekend track car into a vehicle suitable for various FIA-supported championships. Pretty cool, right?

On the outside, the Sprint shares many of its features with the GT4 version, including the more aggressive bumper and diffuser and the big rear wing. The drivetrain, on the other hand, is borrowed from the road-legal model, which uses a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 rated at 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. However, due to a lighter curb weight a better aerodynamics, the Sprint is quicker in straight line and quite agile on the race track. Pricing for the 570S Sprint starts from £148,000, which converts to around $181,000 as of March 2017.

Find out more about more about the McLaren 570S Sprint here.


Porsche 911 GT3

Needless to say, the new 911 GT3 doesn’t disappoint performance- and feature-wise and if the outgoing model is any indication, the 991.2-based coupe should be at least as exciting and popular with Porsche fanatics. I remember that last year I was thinking how cool it would be for Porsche to reinstate the manual transmission for the GT3, but I wasn’t really hoping it to happen. Well, it turns out I was wrong and I’m actually very happy that the Germans did the unexpected. The 911 GT3 deserves to continue with a manual transmission and I do hope that this won’t change with the next-generation model.


Porsche 911 GT3

Updated History

Updated 07/20/2016: If a few days ago we brought you the first leaked patent images of the upcoming 911 GT3, today we decided to create a rendering of the sports car to help you make an idea what a cool car it will be. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it.

Updated 07/18/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming 911 GT3 out for a new testing session. They also managed to take some shots of the interior, making it pretty clear that the GT3 will be offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Updated 07/14/2016: The first “images” of the facelift 911 GT3 surfaced online offering us a first glimpse on the upcoming sports coupe. Of course, this is a clear indication that an official debut will happen shortly.

Spy Shots

October 27, 2016 – Porsche 911 GT3 caught testing on the Nürburgring without any camouflage

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

July 18, 2016 – Porsche 911 GT3 out for a new testing session

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

March 16, 2016 – First testing session

Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 Porsche 911 GT3

Press Release

The Porsche 911 GT3 delivers motorsport-like performance, a systematic lightweight construction and an unfiltered driving experience. In the new generation of the radical 911, the connection between everyday driving and the racetrack is even more intense. At the heart of the latest enhancement beats a four-litre flat engine. The extremely high-revving naturally aspirated engine with 368 kW (500 hp) remains virtually unchanged from the thoroughbred 911 GT3 Cup racing car. The redesigned chassis with rear-axle steering and the systematic lightweight construction are specifically tuned to convert the engine power into superior driving dynamics. Developed on the same test track and manufactured on the same production line as the racing cars, Porsche’s motorsport technology has once again been incorporated into a road-approved sportscar.

Porsche 911 GT3

The majority of Porsche GT drivers also like to take their sportscars for a spin on the racetrack, which is where the new 911 GT3 really comes into its own thanks to its weight-to-power ratio of 3.88 kg/kW (2.86 kg/hp). With seven-speed double-clutch transmission (PDK) as standard, which has been specifically tuned for use in the GT, the two-seater weighs in at 1,430 kg with a full fuel tank and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Its boasts a top speed of 318 km/h. For proponents of pure unadulterated driving, Porsche also offers the 911 GT3 with a six-speed sports manual gearbox. This allows the high-performance 911 to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 320 km/h.

Porsche 911 GT3

Fast on the corners, stable on the straights: Rigid chassis with rear-axle steering

The chassis of the new 911 GT3 benefits from Porsche’s motor racing experience and its tuning has been reworked for even better driving dynamics. The new two-seater sits around 25 mm lower than the 911 Carrera S. In addition to the further refined basic design, the chassis also boasts superior handling characteristics, thanks in large part to the active rear-axle steering. Depending on the speed, it steers either in the opposite or the same direction as the front wheels, thereby improving the vehicle’s agility and stability. The dynamic engine mounts and the rear differential lock also boost the car’s driving dynamics.

Porsche 911 GT3

When it comes to its appearance, the 911 GT3 leaves little doubt as to its purpose. The dominant carbon rear wing emphasises the fact that the sportscar’s form is determined by aerodynamics. The lightweight front end and front spoiler have been optimised for an even better airflow. The aerodynamic enhancement is also evident on the lightweight rear end with exhaust air openings and on the new diffusor.

Interior: Experience centre for exceptional driving dynamics

The interior of the new high-performance sportscar is tailored to the 911 GT3 driving experience. The GT sports steering wheel with a diameter of 360 mm originates from the 918 Spyder. Both the driver and passenger experience the dynamics in Porsche Sports seats Plus with enhanced seat side bolsters and mechanical fore/aft adjustment. The seat height and backrests are adjusted electronically. As the 911 GT3 is traditionally a two-seater, the seat pans in the rear are covered.

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche offers three additional seat variants for the 911 GT3: The adaptive Sports seats Plus boast electrical adjustment of all seat functions (18-way). The second option is sports bucket seats with folding backrest, integrated thorax airbag and manual fore/aft adjustment. And the third variant is full bucket seats made from light carbon fibre-reinforced plastic in carbon-weave finish.

Porsche Track Precision app as standard

In addition to Porsche Communication Management (PCM) including an online navigation module with real-time traffic information, the standard equipment also includes the Connect Plus module and the Track Precision app. The Track Precision app enables 911 GT3 drivers to display, record and analyse detailed driving data on their smartphone.

Porsche 911 GT3

Market launch and prices

The 911 GT3 is available to order now. It will be launched in Germany from mid-June. Prices for the new high-performance 911 start at 152,416 euro, including VAT and country-specific equipment.

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New Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo breaks cover at Geneva Motor Show

Porsche has revealed the Panamera Sport Turismo at the Geneva Motor Show, a new shooting brake version of Panamera four-door saloon adding a dash of practicality to Porsche’s four-door coupe which will arrive in showrooms this October.

• 2017 Geneva Motor Show: Live

The practical new Porsche has been on our radar for a while now, having been snapped numerous times by our spy photographers and confirmed to Auto Express by Porsche CEO Oliver Blume last year. It’s one of two new models for Porsche at this year’s Geneva show, appearing alongside the new 911 GT3 4.0-litre. 

Little changes from the 2012 Panamera Sport Turismo Concept. The new Mercecedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake rival takes the second generation Panamera and adds an estate style boot, additional passenger space and an extra seat in the back, squeezed into the same 5,049mm length body.

At the back, the shape of the new rear end is kept true to the Panamera’s four-door coupe mantra with a roofline that gently bleeds out, keeping bulk to a minimum. A new rear spoiler with an active wing element sits above the rear window, the angle of the spoiler changing depending on speed and vehicle settings. It can generate up to 50kg of downforce, but most of the time it’s tucked away to minimise drag and save fuel. 

In terms of boot space the Panamera Sport Turismo offers 520-litres of storage capacity – an additional 25 litres on the standard Panamera. However, the restyled roofline means wider door openings for rear seat passengers, and importantly, more headroom.

One of the biggest changes served up by the Panamera Sport Turismo is room for an additional passenger – the rear pew is now available with three seats, using a central third seat creating a 2+1 rear bench. The seats can be folded down together or individually in a 40:20:40 split, opening up 1,390-litres of room. Alternatively, two separate electrically adjustable seats separated by a centre console can be specced instead, as found in the Panamera Coupe.

Order books for the Panamera Sport Turismo are open now, and a total of five engines are available – every option fitted with all-wheel-drive. 

The entry-level model will be a Panamera 4 Sport Turismo, using a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with 327bhp and priced from £73,017. A pricier £93,979 4S Sport Turismo with 434bhp will sit above it, alongside a 4S Diesel model with 416bhp from £97,067. Porsche claims the diesel model can do 42.2mpg.

The £117,247 range topper will be the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, boasting a 4.0-litre V8 turbo with 542bhp. A 456bhp E-Hybrid model will be on sale too from £83,288 with a claimed 56g/km and 113mpg, though the plug-in hybrid powertrain takes a toll on practicality, knocking down boot space to 425-litres.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo - front quarter

The Panamera Sport Turismo may not be the only Panamera derivative Porsche is plotting, though. Speaking to Auto Express in 2014, Porsche’s head of research and development, Wolfgang Hatz revealed that the platform underpinning the latest Panamera model could support even more bodystyles, though only after careful consideration. 

“The reason we have done this [new platform] is so all things are already included; could be coupe, could be convertible, could be Sport Turismo. And now we have to decide which is the one that hits our needs,” Hatz told us. “Convertible? For me we already have so many good convertibles with the Boxster and 911. Is it something we really need? It’s something more for the luxury segment.”

Do you like the look of the new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo? Let us know below…

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2017 Aston Martin DB11 First Test Review: Desire On Four Wheels

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Every once in a while, a moonshot car comes along and defines the future of a brand. Think about the Porsche 959. What was a limited-run hypercar in the mid 1980s was essentially in production two decades later. The same can be said about the 2003 Bentley Continental. Sure, there were Bentleys built before and after, but that Continental was the road map for the brand’s way forward. When I say the Toyota, you think Prius. Certain cars are simply mission statements. With all that in mind, meet the DB11, the machine that will define every Aston Martin from here on out.

Should you peruse the press materials, you’ll see a line from CEO Andy Palmer that states, “We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world.” It must be a great work environment for the design team, huh? Anyhow, the DB11 is beautiful. Deeply, willfully, unabashedly beautiful. Admittedly, when I first saw the DB11 in print, I dismissed it as just another good-looking Aston Martin. When I saw one in the flesh at last year’s Geneva show, I thought the DB11 was sporty but not fist-bitingly sexy.
2017 Aston Martin DB11 front three quarter 02

2017 Aston Martin DB11 front three quarter 02

Counter-intuitively, auto shows are among the worst places to get a good look at a car. Tom Gale, the former head of Chrysler design, has said you have to see a car in sunlight before you can fully pass judgment. Not long ago I saw a white DB11 on the road and nearly snapped my neck trying to get a longer look. For those of you who haven’t seen the DB11 in person, I implore you to go hang out in Beverly Hills for the day. For those of you who have seen it and still don’t like it, all I can say is that sometimes people gaze upon the future and blink.

I kept finding new styling details to drool over. The most obvious are the “Curliques,” that pen on paper gesture enveloping the front wheel that makes the DB11 look like it’s rocketing forward at full speed while it’s sitting still. The Curlique first appeared on Aston Martin’s track-only super duper hyper car, the Vulcan—also done under the sharp eye of chief creative officer Marek Reichman—though the flourish looks even better here on the street-legal car.

Part of what allows such a stunning shape is the single-piece aluminum hood—the largest piece of aluminum used in the auto industry. In fact, the aluminum hood is so large that it uses a soft-close mechanism in order to minimize warping. Under that hood you’ll find one of my favorite features of the DB11: vents. These vents look remarkably similar to the vents found on the front fenders of the 991 Porsche GT3 RS. Functionally, vents like these are needed in high-performance cars because they release high-pressure air from the wheelwells, reducing lift. Aesthetically, they look lousy on the Porsche. Thankfully, Aston had the good sense to cover them.

The list of design-led engineering features—like the Curlique—on the Aston Martin DB11 is rather long, but the Aeroblade is noteworthy enough to deserve mentioning. Reichman’s team didn’t want the DB11’s shape to be interrupted by a spoiler or a wing on the back. They wanted to maintain the sloping shape of the back deck, keeping pure the rear end of the machine. Working with the engineering team, the designers discovered that passing air from vents in the C-pillars through and out the trunklid created a virtual spoiler that reduces drag. Pretty nifty, no? Should more downforce be in order, there’s a slender pop-up Gurney flap that rises in front of the Aeroblade’s holes. There’s no “BMW mode” for the Gurney flap, so you can’t pop it up while the car is parked.

Did a DB9 ever drive as good as it looked? Well, not really. You sort of gave that big old beauty a pass because, well, just look at it. As for the DB11, look, it’s not a Miata. It’s not even an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The DB11 is, however, a big grand touring machine. And I mean big—4,194 pounds of Britishness, a number that I initially found quite shocking, especially considering that the last DB9 we weighed clocked in a relatively light 3,890 pounds. True, the DB11 is longer and wider (but shorter) than the car it replaces, but I’ve got no clue as to where the additional 22 stone come from. (That’s 306 pounds to us Yankee types.) That’s the remarkable thing, however. The DB11 is brilliant to drive. Think of it as a baby Bentley, as the latest DB is easily a half-ton lighter than a 600-horsepower Continental. Viewed through that lens, the DB11’s driving character is suddenly phenomenal. The steering is great, the road holding—even on the preposterously named Bridgestone S007 tires—is stellar, and power is exactly how it should be.
2017 Aston Martin DB11 front end in motion

2017 Aston Martin DB11 front end in motion

When international bureau chief Angus MacKenzie first drove the DB11, he said the best all-around suspension setting was Sport. For cruising, perhaps, but for beating up back roads, Sport Plus is the way to go. However, I’d suggest putting the powertrain into Sport—Sport Plus makes the engine too twitchy, a nifty achievement in lag reduction—while selecting Track for the traction control. That latter adjustment allows plenty of slippage before the nannies kick in. When the traction control is left in normal, the computer intervention is far too frequent, to the point that it actually slows down your canyon carving. In Track, the nanny’s about as good as these sorts of systems get. The DB11 is sorted on the road. The track, as you’ll see, is a different story.

Before we get to what our resident hot-shoe and 24 Hours of Daytona winner Randy Pobst thinks of the DB11, let’s talk about what our test team was able to coax out of it. Zero to 60 mph takes place in 3.8 seconds. The quarter mile is dispatched in 11.9 seconds at 124.7 mph, the sort of trap speed you’d expect from a 600-hp car. Do you want the DB11 to be quicker? I’d answer with a question: Does it need to be quicker? For whatever it’s worth, road test editor Chris Walton noted that there’s no launch control program, and it’s tricky to put all that power down without breaking loose the rear wheels. Braking happens from 60 mph in a tidy 105 feet. Grip, as mentioned, is great. The DB11 pulls 0.98 g’s. The big Aston can complete our figure-eight handling course in 23.9 seconds, and anything in the 23-second range is excellent.

Randy was able to pilot the DB11 around Big Willow’s 2.42 miles in 1:30.38. That’s quicker than the AWD Jaguar F-Type R or the Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary, both of which took 1:30.48. Walton, however, was quick to point out that the Chevy Camaro SS 1LE, which can be had for about a fifth of the cost of a DB11, runs Big Willow in 1:28.29. True enough, but if that’s your criteria for buying a car, you probably ought to look elsewhere. (Aston Martin just launched an entirely new sub-brand devoted to track toys called AMR. Although there’s nothing official yet, my sources tell me there will be an AMR DB11 track special. Problem solved.)

For his part, Randy was certain the DB11 would put down a better time. “I started with a bit of a trot, in equestrian terms if you will. The twin-turbo V-12 builds thrust so smoothly it initially felt like less than the massive advertised 600 horsepower. The transmission was satisfyingly quick with the paddles, though it wasn’t smart enough in full auto. The brakes suffered from a long and mushy pedal with very low bite, probably due to abuse in earlier testing. I was sure I’d left a lot of time on the table in warm up because I was saving tires for the real thing. However, when I whipped this thoroughbred up to a full gallop, its luxury mission and heft made it pretty clear that the DB11 was much happier at a canter. Suddenly going out, I only gained a couple seconds, with much greater levels of roll and secondary motions.” As it sits, the DB11 is not an ideal track car.

Like that’s actually a problem. Every once in a while a car comes along and resets my internal metrics. It makes me both rethink and remember why it is I love the automobile so very much, why I devote so much critical thinking and time to mechanized objects with four wheels. The Pagani Huayra is one such car that springs to mind. The Aston Martin DB11 is, too. Color me impressed. Saddened, too, that we’ve reached the end of the review, and I forgot to mention the mind-bendingly gorgeous interior. Brogue all the leather! More reassuringly, the DB11 is the first of seven products to emerge from Aston Martin’s Second Century Plan, a scheme to keep the historically bankruptcy-prone concern afloat for its next 100 years. Here’s to the future.

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Top 5 Porsche Concept Cars [VIDEO]

Porsche has made a lot of concept cars over the years. Some of them made it to production while others were cancelled during development. The top 5 include the 754, 989, Cayenne Cabriolet, 918 Spyder, and the Mission E all-electric car.

According to a report by Road and Track, the German luxury automaker made a recent video of their top 5 concept cars. The list and the video can be found below.

Porsche 754. The T7 754 is the 911′s ancestor. This is the concept car the 911 is based off and is sometimes also called the 695. The concept was rejected due to the rear end, but the front end is unmistakably the 911. It was originally proposed in 1959.

The 695 was a 1961 model, although it could be the very same car. It was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. A year later, it was officially released onto the roads as the iconic 911 model.

Porsche 989. The 989 was a 4-door performance touring sedan that was developed sometime between 1988 to 1991. It was never produced and development was halted and eventually canceled in January 1992.

An increase of sales of the 928 model in the eighties resulted in executives considering another large touring. They wanted a 4-door that could also serve as a more practical but equally powerful alternative to the 928. The vehicle needed to be both luxurious and comfortable but still sporty. They wanted something similar to a large saloon car from BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

The original engineer assigned to the vehicle, Ulrich Bez, left Porsche in September 1991. As a result, the vehicle lost momentum and was eventually halted completely.

Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet. The Cayenne Cabriolet was actually a secret, according to Car Mag. It was designed in 2002 and is one of the craziest concept designs by the German automaker. Now that the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet is already available it actually does not seem as bizarre anymore.

Porsche 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder was a mid-engine plug-in hybrid. It was first shown as a concept at the 80th Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. It was eventually released as a limited edition Hypercar with 918 units sold as a 2014 model.

The Spyder had a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 engine which could develop 608 horsepower. It also had two electric motors that could deliver an addition 279 horsepower. The 918 had a combined output of 887 horsepower and had a top speed of around 210 mph.

Porsche Mission E. The Mission E is the final car in the top 5 concept car lineup. This was first shown in 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Mission E is the German automaker’s first fully electric car. It has 2 electric motors controlled by a Torque vectoring system and can produce over 600 horsepower. It has super-fast charging and can even be charged in around 20 minutes or less. It can go from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds and can run over 155 mph. Currently, the Mission E is said to be under development and is set to launch in 2020.

Those were the top 5 concept cars according to Porsche. The video can be found below. Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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