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2018 BMW 530e Plug-In Hybrid

Meet John Green, the 42-year-old, single, surfer, fit, gluten-free target customer for the 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance, the newest plug-in-hybrid version of the 5-series.

He’s a startup star in L.A.’s Silicon Beach, where he stands around the office froyo machine discussing disruption, the firm’s desire to float an IPO, and the CEO’s McLaren P1. Green is image conscious, socially aware, and—when he isn’t flying to Vegas for dinner—environmentally friendly. His Toyota Prius, his third in a row, is no longer cutting it. The last venture round went well, and Johnny wants to treat himself to something new. Something that looks more at home in the garage next to the Porsche 911 Targa that he drives around Manhattan Beach on the weekends. He’s going to love the 530e.


Batteries Must Work

BMW claims that it’s now the third-largest supplier of electrified cars in the world, even if total volume in America remains quite small. The company’s eDrive system—which combines its turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four with an electric motor and a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack—has now found its way across much of the German luxury brand’s lineup, including the 3-series, 7-series, and X5 SUV.

In the 530e, the four-banger is rated at 180 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque and the electric motor at 111 hp and 184 lb-ft, for a combined output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft. That matches the stated totals for the 330e plug-in hybrid, but it’s quite a bit less than the output claimed for the larger and heavier 7-series plug-in and the X5 xDrive40e.

They all use the same ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic transmission, but the torque converter is replaced by the electric motor. Having it in this position just upstream of the transmission allows its ratios to be used in all-electric mode, which keeps the 530e from feeling like a leather-lined golf cart.

Although it’s slow compared with any Tesla Model S, the 530e will dust Green’s Prius, and it’ll keep up with his neighbor’s 530i. BMW claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.0 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive 530e and 5.8 seconds for the xDrive all-wheel-drive model, matching the times for the standard, gasoline-only 530i. Top speed is 146 mph, according to BMW.

In the freezing rain on the unrestricted section of Autobahn 8 east of Munich, we saw 130 mph. We were impressed by the car’s ability to get there quickly as well as its stability considering the weather and the snow tires fitted for Bavaria’s lingering winter. The 18-inch wheels wear 245/45 run-flat all-season tires as standard.


No Anxiety Here

The 530e will travel about 30 miles on electric power alone at speeds up to 87 mph. That is, it will if you never put the gas pedal on the floor. Leadfoot the throttle and the 2.0-liter joins in, but the transition is seamless. The turbo four turns on and off so smoothly you don’t feel it, and it’s very quiet. At low speeds, you’ll completely miss its operation if you have the radio on. BMW says charging takes three hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet and less than five hours on a standard 120-volt wall socket. But it’s a hybrid, so total range is about 400 miles before you even have to think about charging.

We almost said “before you even have to think about plugging it in.” But a wireless charging system is on its way, and BMW expects it to be very popular. Parking the car atop an inductive-charging pad, which can be installed indoors or out, generates an alternating magnetic field with a secondary coil integrated into the underside of the car (the two never touch). BMW says it’ll take about 3.5 hours for a full charge. Unfortunately, the pad itself is not yet past the prototype stage of development. BMW expects it to be approved for production in 2018—when it is, the in-car technology will be waiting.

The big battery pack does encroach into the sedan’s trunk space. Cargo volume drops from 19 cubic feet in gasoline models to 15 in the PHEV, but BMW managed to retain the split fold-down rear seat. The gas tank is smaller, too, down to 12 gallons from 18.


Every Mode of a Modern Motor/Generator

This is a BMW so there are settings—lots of settings. There’s the usual Driving Dynamics Control with Eco Pro and the default Normal mode, plus Comfort and Sport alternatives, which basically change the rate and readiness of the gas engine’s involvement. In Sport, the gauges glow red and the engine is always on, adding power.

The eDrive button adds three modes for managing the battery. In the default Auto eDrive mode, the powertrain optimizes the interaction of the two power units depending on the driving situation. Max eDrive puts the car in electric mode all the time, unless you press through a detent in the throttle’s travel, when the gas engine will fire up because you’ve demanded more acceleration than the electric system can deliver. Battery Control mode allows you to save a determined level of battery power for later or even charge the batteries as you drive.

We don’t expect Johnny Green to dive into those selections often, although it would be sinful for him not to play with Sport mode and manipulate the 530e’s eight-speed automatic with the standard paddle shifters. When the driver does that, the transmission matches revs on the downshifts and the car almost feels like a standard gasoline 5-series. While the 530e has regenerative braking, it is not as strong as it is in most electrified cars, including the BMW i3. Back off the throttle and the 530e coasts freely like the cars we’re all familiar with driving.

Hypermilers may appreciate the graphic coaching prompts built into the gauge cluster to aid in maximizing the car’s efficiency. It shows a little arrow pointing up at a foot, telling you to back off when it thinks you’re having too much fun. And at the end of the journey you’re given a one-to-five-star rating based on how lightly you accelerated and other dynamics. It’s all easily ignored, if you so choose. We scored one star on our drive.

Weight is up compared with that of the gasoline-only 530i, but BMW has done a masterful job of hiding the additional 500 or so pounds. The ride is supple, and the sedan’s balance hasn’t been compromised. With more weight lower and in the rear, the weight distribution is even better than other 5-series variants, and it certainly has a lower center of gravity. We were able to maintain a satisfying pace over the twisting two-lane roads south of Salzburg in a rear-wheel-drive 530e, but the weather kept us from pushing hard.

Blue kidney-grille slats, blue rings around the BMW roundels on the wheels, assorted badges, and the charge door on the driver’s-side front fender distinguish the 530e from the rest of the line. Otherwise, it’s standard 5-series down to its dual exhaust pipes.


Now How Much Would You Pay?

The car is sold globally, but BMW expects that Americans like our Mr. Green will be the largest market for the 530e, which already is on sale. For a while, it enjoys a monopoly among German-built mid-size luxury sedans as Mercedes-Benz and Audi drag their feet on plug-in-hybrid versions of the E-class and the A6. The 530e iPerformance costs about $10,000 less than BMW’s former ActiveHybrid 5 (which had a turbocharged inline-six handling the gas-engine duties and boasted 335 combined horsepower). Whereas the ActiveHybrid 5 topped the pyramid for non-M 5-series sedans, the new 530e slots between the 530i and the 540i in the lineup, and it costs just $200 more than the 530i. Pricing starts at $52,395 with rear-wheel drive, and xDrive all-wheel drive adds $2300.

That makes this car a bargain—with more peak torque and better fuel efficiency—even before factoring in any applicable government tax incentives or fuel savings. Mr. Green is going to look so smart.

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Review: Honda opens the hatch … and a third Civic pops out

Boston.com 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.

Be careful what you wish for. When it arrives, it might be very nice, but not quite the fulfillment of your dreams.

Take today’s test car, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport, which might fit that description.

The Civic lineup has needed a hatchback since … well, since they stopped selling them in 2005. Now the Hatch is back. And that’s a good thing. It’s the third Civic body style, joining the coupe and sedan in the 10th generation of this perennially best-selling vehicle.

In keeping with other Honda models, the hatch comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport (our tester), EX, EX-L, and Sport Touring.


At rear, two spoilers, cladding, extra body lines, big taillights, and twin exhausts clutter the view. —Bill Griffith

If you want a third pedal—a manual transmission—it’s available in the base LX and the Sport, which is the second rung in the pricing pecking order. If you also want Honda Sense, the suite of advanced safety systems, it’s standard on the Sport Touring package and available on other trims—except the Sport.

We’d have liked both features, but they are mutually exclusive.

There’s a big price difference, too. Our Sport cost $22,175 (including destination) while the Sport Touring comes with a $29,175 bottom line. That’s almost 25 percent more.

Enjoying a week with the Sport was almost enough to think one could dispense with the advanced electronics.

However, that brings up another issue. If I were faced with having to go into a dealership to pick one of the five trims, I’d likely go with the EX or EX-L Navi, the latter if I wanted to opt for leather and navigation.

The base LX comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights and taillights, 60/40 split folding rear seats, cruise control, automatic climate control, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, manual front seats (with height adjustment), 5-inch display screen, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a 4-speaker sound system.

Our Sport adds a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that boosts horsepower from 158 to 180 and torque from 138 lb.-ft. to 177. This turbo version is more responsive, quicker, and delivers better fuel economy.


KNOBS! Honda’s five-inch screen seems size-appropriate in this Civic and features the volume and tuning knobs owners have missed in recent models. —Bill Griffith

There’s a big green ECON button on the center console. We pushed it, drove for a day, then said, “Uh-uh,” and enjoyed the normal driving program. ECON modifies throttle mapping, HVAC output, and CVT shift points (in automatic transmission models). It also mutes the engine response and thus much of the driving pleasure except for hypermiling (trying to squeeze every possible mpg).

The throttle operates on drive-by-wire. Fortunately, it feels as though there actually is a throttle cable attached “down there somewhere,” so you quickly get over the empty feeling of driving by sensors that operate the throttle body responses.

Other Sport equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a center-outlet dual exhaust, aerodynamic bodywork, rear center armrest with cupholders, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Step up to the EX and you have the CVT and sunroof standard, heated side mirrors, eight-speaker audio system, the Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, 7-inch touch screen with satellite radio, Pandora compatibility, and smartphone app-based navigation.

Civic seems to be an ideal vehicle for a manual transmission, and this six-speed is smooth and easy to operate, though you can’t blame any Boston driver for opting for the automatic—a CVT in this case—to deal with our consistently horrible traffic.

Something unusual happened in the normally conservative Honda design studios when creating this hatchback. After designing a pretty normal nose and sides, the bosses apparently went home and let their graphic art interns run amok on the rear.

Maybe it was to keep the rear from looking like a hatch, but they incorporated two spoilers, a wiper in the middle of everything, a sharp bend in the rear window, and big splotches (for lack of a better word) of black cladding. It’s very un-Honda-like. The one bright spot is the center-placed dual exhaust outlets.

The final design might have been to appeal to buyers elsewhere because Civic Hatchbacks are being built in Swindon, UK, for worldwide export.

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a subjective component of any vehicle. But my review is: “Are you kidding me?”

That said, there’s always a spot in every review when you ask yourself: Would I like this car to take up long-term residence in my driveway?

Absolutely.

The engine is quick and rated at 30 mpg in city driving, 39 on the highway, and 33 combined. We were averaging 41.7 over 400 miles until the car spent a goodly time idling while we posed it for photos. Then the onboard computer cut our rating to 39.8. Meanwhile, 400 miles was about the Sport’s driving range, thanks to a 12.4-gallon fuel tank.

The smaller tank might have been to maximize interior space, both for passengers and cargo. Space is OK, though taller passengers had to be careful not to bump their heads getting into the rear.

Steering was sure and steady, a description that also fit the suspension. The Sport model has fluid-filled bushings that balance the ride, keeping it firm but not too stiff.

The main infotainment screen seems small because it is in comparison to the trend to ever-bigger displays. However, it looks right, and radio knobs—yes, Honda has brought them back—are a huge plus.

Civic competes in a tough segment with the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, and VW Golf. You can be sure those hatches weren’t thrilled to see this entry from Honda.

But a lot of drivers will be.

Bill Griffith can be reached at wgriff@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrAutoWriter.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

THE BASICS

Price, base/as tested (with destination): $22,175/$22,175. Fuel economy, EPA estimated: 30 city/39 highway/33 combined. Fuel economy, Globe observed: 39.8. Drivetrain: 1.5-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder, 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel-drive. Body: 5-passenger compact hatchback.

THE SPECIFICS

Horsepower: 180. Torque: 177 lb.-ft. Overall length: 177.9 in. Wheelbase: 106.3 in. Height: 56.3 in. Width: 70.8 in. Curb weight: 2,864 lbs.

THE GOOD

Total value proposition, ride, engine performance, fuel economy, versatility, configurable center console space, hidden power ports for charging; cargo cover retracts side to side instead of front to back, making it easy to load larger objects.

THE BAD

Rear styling, twin stalks coming from speedometer housing for changing displays.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A welcome addition to the Civic lineup.

ALSO CONSIDER

Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Veloster, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, Volkswagen Golf.

Article source: https://www.boston.com/cars/cars/2017/05/23/review-honda-opens-the-hatch-and-a-third-civic-pops-out

Review: Honda opens the hatch … and a third Civic pops out

Boston.com 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.

Be careful what you wish for. When it arrives, it might be very nice, but not quite the fulfillment of your dreams.

Take today’s test car, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport, which might fit that description.

The Civic lineup has needed a hatchback since … well, since they stopped selling them in 2005. Now the Hatch is back. And that’s a good thing. It’s the third Civic body style, joining the coupe and sedan in the 10th generation of this perennially best-selling vehicle.

In keeping with other Honda models, the hatch comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport (our tester), EX, EX-L, and Sport Touring.


At rear, two spoilers, cladding, extra body lines, big taillights, and twin exhausts clutter the view. —Bill Griffith

If you want a third pedal—a manual transmission—it’s available in the base LX and the Sport, which is the second rung in the pricing pecking order. If you also want Honda Sense, the suite of advanced safety systems, it’s standard on the Sport Touring package and available on other trims—except the Sport.

We’d have liked both features, but they are mutually exclusive.

There’s a big price difference, too. Our Sport cost $22,175 (including destination) while the Sport Touring comes with a $29,175 bottom line. That’s almost 25 percent more.

Enjoying a week with the Sport was almost enough to think one could dispense with the advanced electronics.

However, that brings up another issue. If I were faced with having to go into a dealership to pick one of the five trims, I’d likely go with the EX or EX-L Navi, the latter if I wanted to opt for leather and navigation.

The base LX comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights and taillights, 60/40 split folding rear seats, cruise control, automatic climate control, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, manual front seats (with height adjustment), 5-inch display screen, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a 4-speaker sound system.

Our Sport adds a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that boosts horsepower from 158 to 180 and torque from 138 lb.-ft. to 177. This turbo version is more responsive, quicker, and delivers better fuel economy.


KNOBS! Honda’s five-inch screen seems size-appropriate in this Civic and features the volume and tuning knobs owners have missed in recent models. —Bill Griffith

There’s a big green ECON button on the center console. We pushed it, drove for a day, then said, “Uh-uh,” and enjoyed the normal driving program. ECON modifies throttle mapping, HVAC output, and CVT shift points (in automatic transmission models). It also mutes the engine response and thus much of the driving pleasure except for hypermiling (trying to squeeze every possible mpg).

The throttle operates on drive-by-wire. Fortunately, it feels as though there actually is a throttle cable attached “down there somewhere,” so you quickly get over the empty feeling of driving by sensors that operate the throttle body responses.

Other Sport equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a center-outlet dual exhaust, aerodynamic bodywork, rear center armrest with cupholders, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Step up to the EX and you have the CVT and sunroof standard, heated side mirrors, eight-speaker audio system, the Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, 7-inch touch screen with satellite radio, Pandora compatibility, and smartphone app-based navigation.

Civic seems to be an ideal vehicle for a manual transmission, and this six-speed is smooth and easy to operate, though you can’t blame any Boston driver for opting for the automatic—a CVT in this case—to deal with our consistently horrible traffic.

Something unusual happened in the normally conservative Honda design studios when creating this hatchback. After designing a pretty normal nose and sides, the bosses apparently went home and let their graphic art interns run amok on the rear.

Maybe it was to keep the rear from looking like a hatch, but they incorporated two spoilers, a wiper in the middle of everything, a sharp bend in the rear window, and big splotches (for lack of a better word) of black cladding. It’s very un-Honda-like. The one bright spot is the center-placed dual exhaust outlets.

The final design might have been to appeal to buyers elsewhere because Civic Hatchbacks are being built in Swindon, UK, for worldwide export.

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a subjective component of any vehicle. But my review is: “Are you kidding me?”

That said, there’s always a spot in every review when you ask yourself: Would I like this car to take up long-term residence in my driveway?

Absolutely.

The engine is quick and rated at 30 mpg in city driving, 39 on the highway, and 33 combined. We were averaging 41.7 over 400 miles until the car spent a goodly time idling while we posed it for photos. Then the onboard computer cut our rating to 39.8. Meanwhile, 400 miles was about the Sport’s driving range, thanks to a 12.4-gallon fuel tank.

The smaller tank might have been to maximize interior space, both for passengers and cargo. Space is OK, though taller passengers had to be careful not to bump their heads getting into the rear.

Steering was sure and steady, a description that also fit the suspension. The Sport model has fluid-filled bushings that balance the ride, keeping it firm but not too stiff.

The main infotainment screen seems small because it is in comparison to the trend to ever-bigger displays. However, it looks right, and radio knobs—yes, Honda has brought them back—are a huge plus.

Civic competes in a tough segment with the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, and VW Golf. You can be sure those hatches weren’t thrilled to see this entry from Honda.

But a lot of drivers will be.

Bill Griffith can be reached at wgriff@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrAutoWriter.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport

THE BASICS

Price, base/as tested (with destination): $22,175/$22,175. Fuel economy, EPA estimated: 30 city/39 highway/33 combined. Fuel economy, Globe observed: 39.8. Drivetrain: 1.5-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder, 6-speed manual transmission, front-wheel-drive. Body: 5-passenger compact hatchback.

THE SPECIFICS

Horsepower: 180. Torque: 177 lb.-ft. Overall length: 177.9 in. Wheelbase: 106.3 in. Height: 56.3 in. Width: 70.8 in. Curb weight: 2,864 lbs.

THE GOOD

Total value proposition, ride, engine performance, fuel economy, versatility, configurable center console space, hidden power ports for charging; cargo cover retracts side to side instead of front to back, making it easy to load larger objects.

THE BAD

Rear styling, twin stalks coming from speedometer housing for changing displays.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A welcome addition to the Civic lineup.

ALSO CONSIDER

Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Veloster, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, Volkswagen Golf.

Article source: https://www.boston.com/cars/cars/2017/05/23/review-honda-opens-the-hatch-and-a-third-civic-pops-out

Maruti Suzuki Swift Price in India, Images, Mileage, Features …

Maruti Suzuki Swift has completed over a decade in India and it continues to be one of the most loved cars in the segment. The hatchback will go through a generation change in 2017. Codenamed YSD, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will be built on Baleno’s platform and will receive styling updates to the exterior, better equipped more upmarket interior and mechanical changes for improved performance. Expected to launch in India in 2017, the new Swift will sport design updates with most of the changes made to the front as it gets a trapezoidal grille with chrome finish, headlamps with integrated LED DRLs, redesigned bumpers with wide intake and black finished fog lamp housing. Side profile remains largely the same save for the new diamond cut alloy wheels. The rear end is expected to remain intact with minimal changes like new LED tail lamps etc. Inside, it will be more premium with a new twin-pod instrument cluster replacing the older one and a new flat steering wheel. There could also be a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sharing underpinnings with Baleno, the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will weigh 890 kg, around 15% lighter and 10% rigid than the  model it precedes. Mechanicals will remain same, with the 1.2 litre K-Series and 1.3 litre DDiS engines powering the new Swift. As for the transmission, along with the five-speed manual gearbox, there will also be an automatic unit.

Maruti Suzuki Swift is one of the most easily spotted cars running on Indian roads. Launched in 2005, Swift has been here for more than ten years. Like most of the Maruti cars, Swift price is positioned competitively with entry level variant priced at Rs 5.96 lakh and the top-of-the-line variant available at Rs 6.3 lakh. Clearly the most contemporary looking hatch in MSI’s clan until Baleno came Swift has had an easy run amid rivals topping the popularity chart. During its product cycle, Swift has undergone one comprehensive facelift in 2011 followed by a couple of mild overhauls and various limited editions. Prepping to take a leap into the next generation, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will receive vital changes to the exterior and interior. Dimensionally, it will be 50mm longer implicating more space inside the cabin. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift will underpin the new global platform used in Baleno and Ignis, implying lighter body as compared to the 3rd gen-model. Launched first in 2005, Maruti Suzuki Swift was a runaway success and its popularity continues in B segment.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Exterior

The current generation model looks largely the same as the third gen version; albeit few additions were made to the exterior and interior. Cabin styling is mediocre, plastic used on dash and other materials appear compromised. The hatchback is available with a choice of 1.2 litre petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines. Despite various modifications, Swift range lacks an auto box and is still available with a manual tranny. 

Maruti Suzuki Swift Interior

Wheelbase measuring 2430 mm means a spacious cabin, although front seats offer more legroom than rear seats. Dashboard gets a single colour tone, centre console features AC vents on the top followed by an audio system flanked by buttons and dials. Temperature dials are positioned beneath audio system. Driver’s side window features mounted buttons for power windows. Various storage points are provided within reach of the occupants. Seats are covered with fabric upholstery and door pads get bottle holders.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine Spces Performance

Petrol powered variants of Swift derive power from 1.2 litre, K-Series VVT engine featuring four cylinders. Maximum power generated is around 84.3 PS at 6000 RPM and top torque on offer is 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. Diesel variants feature Fiat sourced 1.3 litre, CRDi powertrain generating 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM. For transmitting power, Swift still relies on a five-speed manual unit; there is no automatic or AMT transmission available on the model series.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Features

Electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors are standard on mid and high end trims save for the base variant which gets manually adjustable ORVMs. Similarly, side turn indicators are missing in the base trim. Front windshield gets two-speed intermittent wipers. Cabin features sporty wraparound door trims highlighted by a hint of chrome. Other features like day and night inside rear view mirror, three-spoke steering wheel, high volume glove-box, parcel shelf, inside chrome door handles etc are stuffed in the cabin. The instrument panel features tachometer, reminder is provided for driver’s seat/light off/key-off and warning for door closure/low fuel. There is a multi-information display, digital clock and odometer among others.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Performance Mileage

With the last dose of updates on the petrol engine there is a slight drop in power output, but performance has improved in terms of mileage. Diesel engine remains unchanged, but it continues to deliver excellent economy. Claimed mileage for the petrol engined Swift is marginally up at 20.4 kmpl. Diesel variants as tested by ARAI can return an excellent run of 25.2 kmpl in one litre.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Accessories Infotainment

Base petrol and diesel variants come devoid of audio system and other entertainment related features. Mid-level trims get stereo with radio and CD player, an intelligent speed based auto volume, auxiliary input and USB socket and 4 speakers including two in front and two at rear. Top spec variants along with the above mentioned fitments get additional features such as 2 integrated front tweeters, steering mounted Bluetooth and audio switch in steering wheel, steering mounted illuminated audio controls and rear sporty antenna.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Braking Handling

Power is decelerated by ventilated disc brakes in front axle and drum brakes at rear axle. With the right ride height and ground clearance, Swift offers a great visibility to the driver. Suspension set up works well absorbing most of the jerks. Diesel engine although is a bit noisy hence hindering the ride quality. It is a suitable city car but at the same time offers a decent run on long stretches as well.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Safety Security

Standard safety provisions across line-up include 3-point ELR front seat belts, rear seat belts, rear door child locks, front head restraint, dual horn, high mounted stop lamp, side door impact beams and iCats. Eminent safety equipment available exclusively on the top-spec variant are reverse parking sensor, new generation anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, airbags in front for driver and co-passenger. Of these features, ABS with EBD and brake assist is available exquisitely on the VDi trims while giving a miss to the petrol variants.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Comfort Convenience

Prominent comfort goodies packed inside are engine push start, electric power steering, 60:40 split rear seats, power windows in front/rear, driver side power window with auto down function, accessory socket, tillable steering wheel column, rear seat back folding, central door locking, keyless entry, rear window defogger, rear wiper and washer, height adjuster for driver’s seat, automatic climate control and lane change indicator.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Wheels Tyres

Entry level variants in the line-up feature 165/80 R14 steel wheel with centre cap, mid-level trims get 165/80 R14 steel wheel with full wheel cap and top spec variants come with 185/65 R15 alloy wheels with centre cap.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Competition 

Maruti Suzuki Swift is a strong player in B segment, over a period of ten years the hatchback has seen many rivals come and go, while some stayed for good, others became victim of dud sales. Presently Swift has potential threat around from hatchbacks like Ford Figo, Toyota Etios Liva and Hyundai Grand i10.

Article source: https://auto.ndtv.com/maruti-suzuki-cars/swift

Maruti Suzuki Swift

Maruti Suzuki Swift has completed over a decade in India and it continues to be one of the most loved cars in the segment. The hatchback will go through a generation change in 2017. Codenamed YSD, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will be built on Baleno’s platform and will receive styling updates to the exterior, better equipped more upmarket interior and mechanical changes for improved performance. Expected to launch in India in 2017, the new Swift will sport design updates with most of the changes made to the front as it gets a trapezoidal grille with chrome finish, headlamps with integrated LED DRLs, redesigned bumpers with wide intake and black finished fog lamp housing. Side profile remains largely the same save for the new diamond cut alloy wheels. The rear end is expected to remain intact with minimal changes like new LED tail lamps etc. Inside, it will be more premium with a new twin-pod instrument cluster replacing the older one and a new flat steering wheel. There could also be a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sharing underpinnings with Baleno, the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will weigh 890 kg, around 15% lighter and 10% rigid than the  model it precedes. Mechanicals will remain same, with the 1.2 litre K-Series and 1.3 litre DDiS engines powering the new Swift. As for the transmission, along with the five-speed manual gearbox, there will also be an automatic unit.

Maruti Suzuki Swift is one of the most easily spotted cars running on Indian roads. Launched in 2005, Swift has been here for more than ten years. Like most of the Maruti cars, Swift price is positioned competitively with entry level variant priced at Rs 5.96 lakh and the top-of-the-line variant available at Rs 6.3 lakh. Clearly the most contemporary looking hatch in MSI’s clan until Baleno came Swift has had an easy run amid rivals topping the popularity chart. During its product cycle, Swift has undergone one comprehensive facelift in 2011 followed by a couple of mild overhauls and various limited editions. Prepping to take a leap into the next generation, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will receive vital changes to the exterior and interior. Dimensionally, it will be 50mm longer implicating more space inside the cabin. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift will underpin the new global platform used in Baleno and Ignis, implying lighter body as compared to the 3rd gen-model. Launched first in 2005, Maruti Suzuki Swift was a runaway success and its popularity continues in B segment.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Exterior

The current generation model looks largely the same as the third gen version; albeit few additions were made to the exterior and interior. Cabin styling is mediocre, plastic used on dash and other materials appear compromised. The hatchback is available with a choice of 1.2 litre petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines. Despite various modifications, Swift range lacks an auto box and is still available with a manual tranny. 

Maruti Suzuki Swift Interior

Wheelbase measuring 2430 mm means a spacious cabin, although front seats offer more legroom than rear seats. Dashboard gets a single colour tone, centre console features AC vents on the top followed by an audio system flanked by buttons and dials. Temperature dials are positioned beneath audio system. Driver’s side window features mounted buttons for power windows. Various storage points are provided within reach of the occupants. Seats are covered with fabric upholstery and door pads get bottle holders.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine Spces Performance

Petrol powered variants of Swift derive power from 1.2 litre, K-Series VVT engine featuring four cylinders. Maximum power generated is around 84.3 PS at 6000 RPM and top torque on offer is 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. Diesel variants feature Fiat sourced 1.3 litre, CRDi powertrain generating 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM. For transmitting power, Swift still relies on a five-speed manual unit; there is no automatic or AMT transmission available on the model series.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Features

Electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors are standard on mid and high end trims save for the base variant which gets manually adjustable ORVMs. Similarly, side turn indicators are missing in the base trim. Front windshield gets two-speed intermittent wipers. Cabin features sporty wraparound door trims highlighted by a hint of chrome. Other features like day and night inside rear view mirror, three-spoke steering wheel, high volume glove-box, parcel shelf, inside chrome door handles etc are stuffed in the cabin. The instrument panel features tachometer, reminder is provided for driver’s seat/light off/key-off and warning for door closure/low fuel. There is a multi-information display, digital clock and odometer among others.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Performance Mileage

With the last dose of updates on the petrol engine there is a slight drop in power output, but performance has improved in terms of mileage. Diesel engine remains unchanged, but it continues to deliver excellent economy. Claimed mileage for the petrol engined Swift is marginally up at 20.4 kmpl. Diesel variants as tested by ARAI can return an excellent run of 25.2 kmpl in one litre.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Accessories Infotainment

Base petrol and diesel variants come devoid of audio system and other entertainment related features. Mid-level trims get stereo with radio and CD player, an intelligent speed based auto volume, auxiliary input and USB socket and 4 speakers including two in front and two at rear. Top spec variants along with the above mentioned fitments get additional features such as 2 integrated front tweeters, steering mounted Bluetooth and audio switch in steering wheel, steering mounted illuminated audio controls and rear sporty antenna.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Braking Handling

Power is decelerated by ventilated disc brakes in front axle and drum brakes at rear axle. With the right ride height and ground clearance, Swift offers a great visibility to the driver. Suspension set up works well absorbing most of the jerks. Diesel engine although is a bit noisy hence hindering the ride quality. It is a suitable city car but at the same time offers a decent run on long stretches as well.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Safety Security

Standard safety provisions across line-up include 3-point ELR front seat belts, rear seat belts, rear door child locks, front head restraint, dual horn, high mounted stop lamp, side door impact beams and iCats. Eminent safety equipment available exclusively on the top-spec variant are reverse parking sensor, new generation anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, airbags in front for driver and co-passenger. Of these features, ABS with EBD and brake assist is available exquisitely on the VDi trims while giving a miss to the petrol variants.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Comfort Convenience

Prominent comfort goodies packed inside are engine push start, electric power steering, 60:40 split rear seats, power windows in front/rear, driver side power window with auto down function, accessory socket, tillable steering wheel column, rear seat back folding, central door locking, keyless entry, rear window defogger, rear wiper and washer, height adjuster for driver’s seat, automatic climate control and lane change indicator.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Wheels Tyres

Entry level variants in the line-up feature 165/80 R14 steel wheel with centre cap, mid-level trims get 165/80 R14 steel wheel with full wheel cap and top spec variants come with 185/65 R15 alloy wheels with centre cap.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Competition 

Maruti Suzuki Swift is a strong player in B segment, over a period of ten years the hatchback has seen many rivals come and go, while some stayed for good, others became victim of dud sales. Presently Swift has potential threat around from hatchbacks like Ford Figo, Toyota Etios Liva and Hyundai Grand i10.

Article source: https://auto.ndtv.com/maruti-suzuki-cars/swift

Maruti Suzuki Swift Price in India, Images, Mileage, Features …

Maruti Suzuki Swift has completed over a decade in India and it continues to be one of the most loved cars in the segment. The hatchback will go through a generation change in 2017. Codenamed YSD, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will be built on Baleno’s platform and will receive styling updates to the exterior, better equipped more upmarket interior and mechanical changes for improved performance. Expected to launch in India in 2017, the new Swift will sport design updates with most of the changes made to the front as it gets a trapezoidal grille with chrome finish, headlamps with integrated LED DRLs, redesigned bumpers with wide intake and black finished fog lamp housing. Side profile remains largely the same save for the new diamond cut alloy wheels. The rear end is expected to remain intact with minimal changes like new LED tail lamps etc. Inside, it will be more premium with a new twin-pod instrument cluster replacing the older one and a new flat steering wheel. There could also be a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sharing underpinnings with Baleno, the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will weigh 890 kg, around 15% lighter and 10% rigid than the  model it precedes. Mechanicals will remain same, with the 1.2 litre K-Series and 1.3 litre DDiS engines powering the new Swift. As for the transmission, along with the five-speed manual gearbox, there will also be an automatic unit.

Maruti Suzuki Swift is one of the most easily spotted cars running on Indian roads. Launched in 2005, Swift has been here for more than ten years. Like most of the Maruti cars, Swift price is positioned competitively with entry level variant priced at Rs 5.96 lakh and the top-of-the-line variant available at Rs 6.3 lakh. Clearly the most contemporary looking hatch in MSI’s clan until Baleno came Swift has had an easy run amid rivals topping the popularity chart. During its product cycle, Swift has undergone one comprehensive facelift in 2011 followed by a couple of mild overhauls and various limited editions. Prepping to take a leap into the next generation, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will receive vital changes to the exterior and interior. Dimensionally, it will be 50mm longer implicating more space inside the cabin. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift will underpin the new global platform used in Baleno and Ignis, implying lighter body as compared to the 3rd gen-model. Launched first in 2005, Maruti Suzuki Swift was a runaway success and its popularity continues in B segment.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Exterior

The current generation model looks largely the same as the third gen version; albeit few additions were made to the exterior and interior. Cabin styling is mediocre, plastic used on dash and other materials appear compromised. The hatchback is available with a choice of 1.2 litre petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines. Despite various modifications, Swift range lacks an auto box and is still available with a manual tranny. 

Maruti Suzuki Swift Interior

Wheelbase measuring 2430 mm means a spacious cabin, although front seats offer more legroom than rear seats. Dashboard gets a single colour tone, centre console features AC vents on the top followed by an audio system flanked by buttons and dials. Temperature dials are positioned beneath audio system. Driver’s side window features mounted buttons for power windows. Various storage points are provided within reach of the occupants. Seats are covered with fabric upholstery and door pads get bottle holders.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine Spces Performance

Petrol powered variants of Swift derive power from 1.2 litre, K-Series VVT engine featuring four cylinders. Maximum power generated is around 84.3 PS at 6000 RPM and top torque on offer is 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. Diesel variants feature Fiat sourced 1.3 litre, CRDi powertrain generating 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM. For transmitting power, Swift still relies on a five-speed manual unit; there is no automatic or AMT transmission available on the model series.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Features

Electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors are standard on mid and high end trims save for the base variant which gets manually adjustable ORVMs. Similarly, side turn indicators are missing in the base trim. Front windshield gets two-speed intermittent wipers. Cabin features sporty wraparound door trims highlighted by a hint of chrome. Other features like day and night inside rear view mirror, three-spoke steering wheel, high volume glove-box, parcel shelf, inside chrome door handles etc are stuffed in the cabin. The instrument panel features tachometer, reminder is provided for driver’s seat/light off/key-off and warning for door closure/low fuel. There is a multi-information display, digital clock and odometer among others.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Performance Mileage

With the last dose of updates on the petrol engine there is a slight drop in power output, but performance has improved in terms of mileage. Diesel engine remains unchanged, but it continues to deliver excellent economy. Claimed mileage for the petrol engined Swift is marginally up at 20.4 kmpl. Diesel variants as tested by ARAI can return an excellent run of 25.2 kmpl in one litre.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Accessories Infotainment

Base petrol and diesel variants come devoid of audio system and other entertainment related features. Mid-level trims get stereo with radio and CD player, an intelligent speed based auto volume, auxiliary input and USB socket and 4 speakers including two in front and two at rear. Top spec variants along with the above mentioned fitments get additional features such as 2 integrated front tweeters, steering mounted Bluetooth and audio switch in steering wheel, steering mounted illuminated audio controls and rear sporty antenna.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Braking Handling

Power is decelerated by ventilated disc brakes in front axle and drum brakes at rear axle. With the right ride height and ground clearance, Swift offers a great visibility to the driver. Suspension set up works well absorbing most of the jerks. Diesel engine although is a bit noisy hence hindering the ride quality. It is a suitable city car but at the same time offers a decent run on long stretches as well.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Safety Security

Standard safety provisions across line-up include 3-point ELR front seat belts, rear seat belts, rear door child locks, front head restraint, dual horn, high mounted stop lamp, side door impact beams and iCats. Eminent safety equipment available exclusively on the top-spec variant are reverse parking sensor, new generation anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, airbags in front for driver and co-passenger. Of these features, ABS with EBD and brake assist is available exquisitely on the VDi trims while giving a miss to the petrol variants.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Comfort Convenience

Prominent comfort goodies packed inside are engine push start, electric power steering, 60:40 split rear seats, power windows in front/rear, driver side power window with auto down function, accessory socket, tillable steering wheel column, rear seat back folding, central door locking, keyless entry, rear window defogger, rear wiper and washer, height adjuster for driver’s seat, automatic climate control and lane change indicator.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Wheels Tyres

Entry level variants in the line-up feature 165/80 R14 steel wheel with centre cap, mid-level trims get 165/80 R14 steel wheel with full wheel cap and top spec variants come with 185/65 R15 alloy wheels with centre cap.

Maruti Suzuki Swift Competition 

Maruti Suzuki Swift is a strong player in B segment, over a period of ten years the hatchback has seen many rivals come and go, while some stayed for good, others became victim of dud sales. Presently Swift has potential threat around from hatchbacks like Ford Figo, Toyota Etios Liva and Hyundai Grand i10.

Article source: https://auto.ndtv.com/maruti-suzuki-cars/swift

Consumer Review of the Week: 2017 Nissan Rogue

CARS.COM — Winner of Cars.com’s Family Car of the Year award for two years running, the Nissan Rogue is a favorite with car buyers as well, frequently ranking among the top 10 best-selling cars each month. Its flexibility in terms of seating and cargo make it a versatile choice for families.

KickinWing from Dalton, Penn., writes:

“This is my second new Rogue. The 2017 is beautiful and has many features that help with our growing family. I love how the rear seats slide and tilt! The shelving system in the back is awesome for storage! We did the SL Platinum with emergency braking to be safe. This car rocks.”

Related: 2017 Nissan Rogue Video Review

Get 2017 Nissan Rogue DetailsFind a 2017 Nissan Rogue Near You

We get millions of car shoppers to Cars.com each month, and they would benefit from your experiences, so please, review your own car here. We’re giving you the megaphone, now tell the world what you think about your car, good or bad. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to our Reviews landing page and select the make, model and year of your car.
  • On that page, click on the green “Write a Review” button.
  • When you reach that page, offer your scores in the seven categories.
  • Next, give your review a title.
  • Add your comments (there is a 100-word minimum).
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  • Tell us your screen name, city and state if you’d like, as well as your email address. We will only[MP7] use your email to notify you of the status of your review (meaning, has it been accepted, etc.)
  • Then, click the green “Submit Your Review” button, and you’re good to go. You can also preview your review to see how it will look on the site.

Remember, other shoppers will thank you for your efforts.

Editor’s note: Some comments have been edited to improve clarity.

Article source: https://www.cars.com/articles/consumer-review-of-the-week-2017-nissan-rogue-1420695376082/

2018 BMW 530e Plug-In Hybrid First Drive | Review | Car and Driver

Meet John Green, the 42-year-old, single, surfer, fit, gluten-free target customer for the 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance, the newest plug-in-hybrid version of the 5-series.

He’s a startup star in L.A.’s Silicon Beach, where he stands around the office froyo machine discussing disruption, the firm’s desire to float an IPO, and the CEO’s McLaren P1. Green is image conscious, socially aware, and—when he isn’t flying to Vegas for dinner—environmentally friendly. His Toyota Prius, his third in a row, is no longer cutting it. The last venture round went well, and Johnny wants to treat himself to something new. Something that looks more at home in the garage next to the Porsche 911 Targa that he drives around Manhattan Beach on the weekends. He’s going to love the 530e.


Batteries Must Work

BMW claims that it’s now the third-largest supplier of electrified cars in the world, even if total volume in America remains quite small. The company’s eDrive system—which combines its turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four with an electric motor and a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack—has now found its way across much of the German luxury brand’s lineup, including the 3-series, 7-series, and X5 SUV.

In the 530e, the four-banger is rated at 180 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque and the electric motor at 111 hp and 184 lb-ft, for a combined output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft. That matches the stated totals for the 330e plug-in hybrid, but it’s quite a bit less than the output claimed for the larger and heavier 7-series plug-in and the X5 xDrive40e.

They all use the same ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic transmission, but the torque converter is replaced by the electric motor. Having it in this position just upstream of the transmission allows its ratios to be used in all-electric mode, which keeps the 530e from feeling like a leather-lined golf cart.

Although it’s slow compared with any Tesla Model S, the 530e will dust Green’s Prius, and it’ll keep up with his neighbor’s 530i. BMW claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.0 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive 530e and 5.8 seconds for the xDrive all-wheel-drive model, matching the times for the standard, gasoline-only 530i. Top speed is 146 mph, according to BMW.

In the freezing rain on the unrestricted section of Autobahn 8 east of Munich, we saw 130 mph. We were impressed by the car’s ability to get there quickly as well as its stability considering the weather and the snow tires fitted for Bavaria’s lingering winter. The 18-inch wheels wear 245/45 run-flat all-season tires as standard.


No Anxiety Here

The 530e will travel about 30 miles on electric power alone at speeds up to 87 mph. That is, it will if you never put the gas pedal on the floor. Leadfoot the throttle and the 2.0-liter joins in, but the transition is seamless. The turbo four turns on and off so smoothly you don’t feel it, and it’s very quiet. At low speeds, you’ll completely miss its operation if you have the radio on. BMW says charging takes three hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet and less than five hours on a standard 120-volt wall socket. But it’s a hybrid, so total range is about 400 miles before you even have to think about charging.

We almost said “before you even have to think about plugging it in.” But a wireless charging system is on its way, and BMW expects it to be very popular. Parking the car atop an inductive-charging pad, which can be installed indoors or out, generates an alternating magnetic field with a secondary coil integrated into the underside of the car (the two never touch). BMW says it’ll take about 3.5 hours for a full charge. Unfortunately, the pad itself is not yet past the prototype stage of development. BMW expects it to be approved for production in 2018—when it is, the in-car technology will be waiting.

The big battery pack does encroach into the sedan’s trunk space. Cargo volume drops from 19 cubic feet in gasoline models to 15 in the PHEV, but BMW managed to retain the split fold-down rear seat. The gas tank is smaller, too, down to 12 gallons from 18.


Every Mode of a Modern Motor/Generator

This is a BMW so there are settings—lots of settings. There’s the usual Driving Dynamics Control with Eco Pro and the default Normal mode, plus Comfort and Sport alternatives, which basically change the rate and readiness of the gas engine’s involvement. In Sport, the gauges glow red and the engine is always on, adding power.

The eDrive button adds three modes for managing the battery. In the default Auto eDrive mode, the powertrain optimizes the interaction of the two power units depending on the driving situation. Max eDrive puts the car in electric mode all the time, unless you press through a detent in the throttle’s travel, when the gas engine will fire up because you’ve demanded more acceleration than the electric system can deliver. Battery Control mode allows you to save a determined level of battery power for later or even charge the batteries as you drive.

We don’t expect Johnny Green to dive into those selections often, although it would be sinful for him not to play with Sport mode and manipulate the 530e’s eight-speed automatic with the standard paddle shifters. When the driver does that, the transmission matches revs on the downshifts and the car almost feels like a standard gasoline 5-series. While the 530e has regenerative braking, it is not as strong as it is in most electrified cars, including the BMW i3. Back off the throttle and the 530e coasts freely like the cars we’re all familiar with driving.

Hypermilers may appreciate the graphic coaching prompts built into the gauge cluster to aid in maximizing the car’s efficiency. It shows a little arrow pointing up at a foot, telling you to back off when it thinks you’re having too much fun. And at the end of the journey you’re given a one-to-five-star rating based on how lightly you accelerated and other dynamics. It’s all easily ignored, if you so choose. We scored one star on our drive.

Weight is up compared with that of the gasoline-only 530i, but BMW has done a masterful job of hiding the additional 500 or so pounds. The ride is supple, and the sedan’s balance hasn’t been compromised. With more weight lower and in the rear, the weight distribution is even better than other 5-series variants, and it certainly has a lower center of gravity. We were able to maintain a satisfying pace over the twisting two-lane roads south of Salzburg in a rear-wheel-drive 530e, but the weather kept us from pushing hard.

Blue kidney-grille slats, blue rings around the BMW roundels on the wheels, assorted badges, and the charge door on the driver’s-side front fender distinguish the 530e from the rest of the line. Otherwise, it’s standard 5-series down to its dual exhaust pipes.


Now How Much Would You Pay?

The car is sold globally, but BMW expects that Americans like our Mr. Green will be the largest market for the 530e, which already is on sale. For a while, it enjoys a monopoly among German-built mid-size luxury sedans as Mercedes-Benz and Audi drag their feet on plug-in-hybrid versions of the E-class and the A6. The 530e iPerformance costs about $10,000 less than BMW’s former ActiveHybrid 5 (which had a turbocharged inline-six handling the gas-engine duties and boasted 335 combined horsepower). Whereas the ActiveHybrid 5 topped the pyramid for non-M 5-series sedans, the new 530e slots between the 530i and the 540i in the lineup, and it costs just $200 more than the 530i. Pricing starts at $52,395 with rear-wheel drive, and xDrive all-wheel drive adds $2300.

That makes this car a bargain—with more peak torque and better fuel efficiency—even before factoring in any applicable government tax incentives or fuel savings. Mr. Green is going to look so smart.

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2017 Audi RS7: Our View

I’ll admit I pre-judged the 2017 Audi RS 7 when I looked at its price tag. The highest-performance version of Audi’s stylish A7, it starts at $111,650 — a lot of scratch. Things escalated quickly from there in my test vehicle, which was an RS 7 Performance, a new trim level for 2017.

The RS 7 Performance adds more horsepower, suspension upgrades and larger wheels … for a cool $130,450, including destination charge. Add a few more safety options and a black Alcantara headliner, and the final sticker was $136,975.

This puts the RS 7 in rarified air competing against other high-performance, four-door luxury vehicles like the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-AMG CLS63. Compare the RS 7 with those vehicles here and with last year’s model here.

To justify its price, the RS 7 has to deliver both performance and luxury, and it does — in excess.

Exterior









From afar, the RS 7 keeps a low profile; it’s only when you get up close that it becomes apparent this is no “normal” A7.

The RS 7′s grille is larger and flanked by large air inlets on the lower portion of the bumper. The car is also distinguished by full LED headlights and taillights, oval exhaust outlets and larger side sills. The Performance trim level takes the aggressive aesthetic even further, with a rear diffuser, black tailpipes, carbon-fiber housings for the side mirrors, and a gloss-black grille with a mesh pattern that continues over the air inlets.

The styling of the A7 has always been a favorite of mine; it stands out against the more symmetrical proportions of Audi’s other sedans. So it’s no surprise that I really like the look of the RS 7, as well. It’s understated in a luxurious way, with small hints about its true nature — that of a beast.

Serious Speed


The RS 7 is blisteringly fast. It starts with the engine: a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. In standard RS 7 models, it makes 560 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. That figure jumps to 605 hp in the RS 7 Performance, which also adds an overboost function that can temporarily bump torque output to 553 pounds-feet for even more acceleration.

An eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is standard, as is all-wheel drive with a rear sport differential that allows torque to move from left to right when slippage is detected.

That extra horsepower doesn’t shave a lot off the car’s zero-to-60-mph time, though: Regular RS 7 models make the sprint in 3.7 seconds, while the Performance does it in 3.6, according to Audi. The Performance’s top speed does bump up to 190 mph, versus 174 mph in the standard RS 7, but I didn’t get anywhere near those speeds in my week of testing on public roads.

The RS 7 isn’t small; it has a curb weight of nearly 4,500 pounds and a pretty big footprint. But the engine moves it along like it’s made of paper, with effortless acceleration from any speed. It’s seriously addicting.


Press the accelerator slightly and the RS 7 remains pretty docile; even with all that power, it’s easy to drive slowly on the street. Tilt the pedal past a certain point, however, and the world turns instantly blurry — the sheer acceleration this car is capable of is shocking.

The RS 7 isn’t small; it has a curb weight of nearly 4,500 pounds and a pretty big footprint. But the engine moves it along like it’s made of paper, with effortless acceleration from any speed. It’s seriously addicting.

The sport exhaust that comes on RS 7 Performance models is incredible. It spits and crackles on shifts, roars when accelerating and causes general mayhem anywhere above 3,000 rpm. Whenever I found a tunnel or underpass, I cranked the RS 7 into sport mode, dropped all four windows and rousted the dead. I loved it.

Beyond Acceleration


The RS 7 Performance adds two components that aid the driving experience in ways besides power. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, adding needed stopping power to this monster. Also standard is Audi’s Dynamic Ride Control system, which helps keep the RS 7 from being a one-trick pony: it’s not just fast, it has agile handling to match. In contrast to other performance cars’ electronically controlled adaptive shock absorbers, Dynamic Ride Control is a fully mechanical system. It works by joining the shock absorbers at opposite corners of the RS 7 through central valves. Those valves control the flow of oil from one shock to the other, and by doing so help create counterforce that keeps the RS 7 flatter when cornering, accelerating and braking.

Though this is an older system than modern adaptive suspensions, it still works wonders. The RS 7 may be a heavy car, but it doesn’t drive like one. All that power is more than enough to make it feel quick off the line, and it’s incredibly stable in corners, removing much of the body roll that would unsettle the car laterally.

Fuel economy is predictably poor at 15/25/18 mpg city/highway/combined on required premium fuel. This is midpack among competitors. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe is 2 mpg worse in combined driving, and the Porsche Panamera Turbo is 3 mpg better.

Interior and Technology






The RS 7′s interior is very close to the A7 in design and layout, even coming with most of the same standard features, including four-zone automatic climate control, navigation, front and rear parking sensors, and heated front seats, though the RS 7 has four seats rather than five.

Materials and ergonomics are excellent, especially in the RS 7 Performance. That car adds sport seats that — as seen in my test car — can be covered in optional black Valcona leather and Alcantara, with honeycomb blue stitching and carbon-fiber inlays with blue accents. I found them to be more comfortable and accommodating than most sport seats, while providing enough bolstering to keep you secure during enthusiastic driving.



Audi’s multimedia system comes with standard support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but there’s a caveat to using them. Due to the screen’s placement high on the dash, it’s not a touchscreen — all inputs to the multimedia system come through a rotary knob controller between the front seats. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are designed with touchscreens in mind, and using them with a physical controller is cumbersome. In Android Auto, I was unable to access a few functions within supported apps like Spotify and Google Maps that I use regularly.

If I had one more nit to pick with the RS 7, it would be on the safety front, where many driver assistance features — such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keep assist and a corner view camera system — are optional. On a car that starts north of six figures, it feels a bit cheap.

Conclusion


Parting with the 2017 RS 7 had no sweetness to it, just sorrow. My initial skepticism about it began melting the first time I hit the accelerator, and within a few hours, it was gone completely. The speed in this car is addicting, and the suspension keeps it balanced and stable even during rapid acceleration. Some might crave styling that hints more at the car’s performance potential, but I like it as it is.

Article source: https://www.cars.com/reviews/2017-audi-rs7-our-view-1420695527307/

Sphero Lightning McQueen review

What is the Sphero Lightning McQueen?

If you’ve heard of Sphero, you’ll probably know that they make spheres. Awesome – but expensive – robotic spheres that you can make whizz around your floor using a smartphone app.

Sphero has finally taken this concept of tech-powered toys and applied it to a car, specifically Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie franchise. It’s the company’s first remote control car, and took a year and a half to build. A big part of that time, Sphero CEO Paul Berberian tells me, was spent going through numerous reviews with animators at Pixar “to make sure he’s as true to character as possible”.

That work has paid off; the car looks and drives like an animation, showcasing Sphero’s incredible attention to detail and the company’s clear passion for toy-making. With playful handling, authentic voice scripting, and a bevy of features and easter eggs, this is a brilliant testament to the colourful Cars universe.

But the crunch comes by way of its huge £299 price tag, which many parents will struggle to justify. Can a toy car ever really be worth that much money?

Related: Best toys

Sphero Lightning McQueen – Design

As far as design goes, Sphero’s latest creation is hard to knock. The car is based on Cars protagonist Lightning McQueen, which first arrived on screens back in 2006 as a rookie race car hoping to compete in the Piston Cup. We’re soon to see Cars 3 (June 16, 2017) and Lightning is, arguably, as beloved as ever.

As far as authenticity goes, this is the real deal. Sphero and Pixar have made sure that every detail about the car is accurate. All the paintwork – and it’s all paintwork; no cheap stickers here, folks – is exactly as you’d see it in the movie, right from the racing red chassis to the ‘Rust-eze Ointment’ sponsorship logos and the Lightyear tyres. There’s no mistaking it – this is Lightning McQueen.

Although the car is built from lightweight plastic (and rubber, for the bumper), Sphero went a step further to boost realism. This comes from the custom-built trapezoidal screen that renders animated eyes in real-time. These eyes dart around in different directions, making Lightning feel truly alive. There’s also a motorised mouth on the front bumper that’s synced with speech, so when Lightning deals a classic quip, it looks like he’s actually saying the words.

It isn’t only the car’s looks that will pull you into the Cars universe though; it’s how the car moves, too. Lightning boasts six independent motors that allow the vehicle to bob and tilt while stationary. He’ll sit there wiggling and looking around, as if he’s eagerly waiting for you to play with him. Unfortunately, sometimes he shuffles a little too much, as I found out when I heard him falling off the kitchen worktop while charging and crashing onto the floor. Beware of where you set him down.

However, there are plenty of other details that breathe life into Lightning too. For instance, the charging cable plugs directly into Lightning’s petrol filler hole. The downside to this, however, is that the rubbery filler cap is seriously awkward to unplug and re-plug, and I even managed to tear a bit off trying to open it. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to see him sitting there looking like he’s being pumped full of gas.

Another quirky feature is the lighting. The red tail lights seem to be turned on all the time, but the headlights are activated courtesy of an ambient light sensor. This means that if you drive Lightning under your sofa, his headlights will turn on – just like a real car.

The chassis of the car features five capacitive touch panels that respond to your touch, prompting Lightning to tilt away from your finger.

Even the instruction manual – usually jettisoned at the first instant post-unboxing – is carefully crafted to look like a service manual. A great touch that adds to the excitement when first unboxing the toy.

So aside from a few minor niggles, there’s nothing to really complain about with regards to Lightning’s design. He’s certainly the most lifelike toy I’ve ever used, blowing the still-impressive Sphero BB-8 toy (of Star Wars fame) straight out of the water.

Sphero Lightning McQueen – Setup

In my experience, I found Lightning’s setup a slick and quick process. As soon as you take the lid off the box, you’ll find the car just pulls right out – no wires or cables tying it down. Beneath the car you’ll find the service manual and the charging cable – and that’s it. Simple and efficient; it was very similar to unboxing an Apple product.

The app, too, is quick to get started. It’s sizeable at 215MB (iOS), which is about the same as Crossy Road (225MB), and heavier than Messenger (186MB), LinkedIn (178MB), and Uber (161.MB). But it’s packed full of features, which I’ll detail later.

Once installed, you simply activate Bluetooth on your phone, and then place the handset near the car. After a short while, the car will sync with the phone, and install any necessary firmware updates – of which I’ve only had to suffer one, which took about five minutes.

As soon as you’re into the app, hit the ‘Push to start’ button and you can start driving – no faff, just play. It’s also worth noting that if you haven’t had time to charge the car fully yet, you can still play with some of the additional app features while Lightning is charging.

Sphero Lightning McQueen – App Features

Beyond the driving, which I’ll tackle next, the app is chock-full of features. For instance, there’s a game called Pit Stop Panic, where you have to make sure that a virtual Lightning McQueen (and friends) is ready to race by selecting appropriate tools from a rolling conveyor belt. There are several difficulty modes, and your Lightning car will even say relevant phrases out loud while you’re playing.

Then there’s a scripting feature, which lets you create custom scripts for Lightning to say. There are more than 300 phrases that were all recorded for the product by Lightning’s actual voice actor, Owen Wilson (the Wedding Crashers actor). You can assemble a few in an interesting order, and then roll Lightning up to a friend and launch the script.

There’s also a ‘Drive In’ mode, which is similar to the Sphero BB-8’s movie viewing feature. When you activate Drive In, you can stick on the Cars movie and set Lightning up nearby. As the movie goes on, Lightning will respond to scenes in the film. He’ll even feel awkward about the way he acted in earlier movies, because he’s moved on so much since the first film.

Sphero has also built a race mode into the app, where you get the chance to win the Piston Cup. However, this feature didn’t seem to be working when I reviewed the product. Similarly, the Achievement Centre –ffor prizes earned while racing – was also inaccessible. I’ll update the review if that changes.

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Sphero Lightning McQueen – Driving Performance

All features aside, the main reason anyone will buy Sphero’s Lightning McQueen is to drive him around – and the good news is that it’s really quite fun.

The driving mechanism is app-based, and follows the same basic format as other Sphero products. The main joystick can be moved around in a circular space; this lets you control direction and speed. The further you tilt the virtual joystick towards the edge of the circle, the faster he’ll go. It’s tricky to get used to controlling his speed at first, but it’s a breeze if you’re used to Sphero toys.

Near to the joystick is a small orientation button that syncs Lightning to the direction you’re facing. This allows you to move around the room without your direction de-calibrating. I found that Lightning barely ever became disorientated, so you’ll probably have to do this once before each play session.

There are three other buttons that are integral to the driving experience. The first is ‘reverse’, which is fairly self-explanatory; although note that speed is reduced while backing up. The second is ‘drift’, which, when held down while turning, lets you perform an endless series of donuts for maximum happy fun time. The third is a turbo boost, which amps up your top speed.

As far as handling and performance goes, the Sphero Lightning McQueen is a real blast to drive. He won’t go blisteringly fast (RC die-hards, beware), but it’s more than quick enough to cause high-speed collisions in an open-plan kitchen living room.

When turning at high speed on smooth surfaces, Lightning will often start drifting. However, Sphero promises this is by design, and it makes total sense. Watching Lightning’s body lean into turns and career around self-made obstacle courses is fantastic fun, so I thoroughly recommend trying him out on wooden flooring with some sharp U-turns.

The amount of control you have over Lightning depends on your skill, and it’s mostly a matter of reducing speed as you enter corners. All in all, Sphero has crafted a very compelling driving experience that somehow manages to feel cartoonish in just the right way.

It’s also worth mentioning that I didn’t have a single issue with the Lightning McQueen losing connection to my phone, even when driving it across the office. And as far as battery life goes, Sphero quotes an hour; I haven’t used it until the battery died, which means the battery life is certainly enough for your average half-hour play session.

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Should I buy the Sphero Lightning McQueen?

If you’re weighing up purchasing the Sphero Lightning McQueen, there should be no question about whether it’s fun. It’s guaranteed joy for kids and adults alike, and will be a dream toy for anyone who likes the Cars movies.

The app is packed with features, the car is great to drive, and the animation-style design is wonderfully unique. There’s basically nothing to dislike about it as a remote control car, unless you’re used to seriously high-end, all-terrain RC vehicles.

But the big advantage Sphero’s Lightning McQueen has over conventional RC cars is that it feels truly alive. Lightning feels like he was pulled straight out of the movie, and this makes it a much more attractive proposition for children – as well as fans of the franchise at any age.

The problem – as is often the case with Sphero – is the price, which is more egregious than ever before. To pay £299 for it simply feels like too much to ask of most parents; a moment of silence for any mum or dad with a Cars-loving child this Christmas, please.

Given the fact that you can pick up a Sphero BB-8 for as little as £89 now, this is a really hard sell. You could buy three BB-8s for the price of one Lightning McQueen, and have loads of fun doing family races – with a bit of cash to spare for building your own racetrack. You could even get your child an Xbox One S with five games, and they’d arguably get more hours of use out of it.

We’d find it a much more compelling proposition if it managed to squeeze in under the £200 mark, or even £250. But at £300, it’s seriously tough to recommend unless you’re an absolute Cars nut – or you’re the silver spoon-wielding child of a city banker with lots of money to spare.

Sphero’s Lightning McQueen is on sale from May 24, 2017, and is available to buy from Amazon, Apple, John Lewis, Disney Stores, and Disney Retail Stores for £299.

Verdict

Undoubtedly one of the most fun toys – especially from a movie franchise – ever built, but the high price tag will make even the most dedicated Cars fans wince.

Article source: http://www.trustedreviews.com/sphero-lightning-mcqueen-review