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Detroit Auto Show

An Icon Reborn: New Mercedes-Benz G-Class Is Old Modern

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New, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV

It’s been a long time coming, but Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled an all-new G-Class. It’s almost hard to believe that this is the first ground-up redesign of the iconic off-road SUV since its introduction in in 1979.

Looking at it, it would be easy for someone to think there is nothing “all-new” about the 2019 G-Class — it doesn’t look all that dissimilar to the original 1979 model, after all — but that was intentional. The G-Wagen’s boxy shape, much like Jeep Wrangler, has become a styling icon, so designers didn’t want to risk messing too much with a good thing, even going as far as to maintain the exposed door hinges, fender-mounted turn signals, rounded headlights (LEDs this time around) and a hatch-mounted spare tires.

Peeling back the familiar skin, however, reveals the latest in modern engineering. Its construction is a blend of high-strength steel and aluminum construction , while the historically large panel gaps have been tightened.

The new G-Class has grown by 2.1-inches in length and 4.8-inches in width, providing more room for occupants and their cargo. Despite its bigger footprint, it is 375 pounds (170 kg) lighter than the model it replaces.

Power is provided by the same 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 as before, this time mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter to deliver 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The SUV features three locking differentials and has a electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h).

New, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class dashboard

Inside is where you would find the biggest improvement, with the German SUV finally featuring the kind of premium materials and interior design one would expect from a vehicle costing $120,000. The new center stack has the same switch layout as the latest S-Class, while higher trim models borrow Mercedes’ flagship sedan’s high-tech digital dash (base models come standard with a conventional gauge cluster) and handled mounted on the passenger’s side of the dashboard is a clear nod to the past. After 39 years, there are finally real cupholders in the G-Class!

Comfort has also been improved thanks not only to the G-Class’ larger size, but also to a more spacious cabin layout. Both front- and rear-seat passengers enjoy more leg, head and elbow room, with the former further benefiting from an optional Active Multicontour Seat Package that adjust sections of the seat based on driving conditions.

Mercedes’ DYNAMIC SELECT allows the driver to select from five different drive modes — Comfort, Eco, Sport, Individual and G-Mode. Comfort, Eco and Sport tailor the G-Class’ shift points, throttle response, electronic steering and exhaust note accordingly, while individual lets you mix and match between all of the settings.

G-Mode, the off-road setting, can’t be selected using a dial. Rather, it is activated when the vehicle is put into low range or when one of its three differentials is locked, adapting steering, throttle response and adjustable dampers to improve off-road capability.

As to be expected, the G-Class is available with as suit of the latest safety and convenience tech, including keyless entry with push-button start, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and active brake assist with traffic sign assist. It also comes standard with a Burmester Surround Sound System and 19-inch wheels.

The all-new, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class goes on sale in late 2018 with a starting price that, considering its numerous improvements, should be higher than the $123,600 commanded by its predecessor. Are you happy with how it turned out?

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Detroit Auto Show

Subaru WRX STI S209 Is The Most Powerful Subaru Ever

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New Subaru-WRX STI S209 Sports Car

The long-rumored, limited edition Subaru WRX STI S209 is here, and it’s the most powerful car ever built by Subaru.

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto SHow, the S209 transcends the standard WRX STI in power, aerodynamics, and handling. Engineers reworked Subaru’s 2.5-liter boxer engine, giving it a larger HKS turbocharger that increases boost pressure from 16.2 psi to 18.0 psi and stronger yet lighter pistons and connecting rods.

The result? A significant boost in power from 300 horsepower to 341 horsepower, while midrange torque jumps by 10 percent at 3,600 rpm. All that power is sent to the four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

Inspired by the the WRX STI Nürburgring Challenge racecar, the WRX STI S209 looks the part with wider fenders, front canards and a large rear wing. Handling benefits from a revised chassis and suspension, a flexible strut tower bar and tensioned draw stiffeners, along with 19×9-inch forged BBS alloy wheels covered in sticky Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires.

The Subaru WRX STI S209 will be available exclusively in the US market, and only 200 units will be manufactured. You will be able to choose from two color combinations: WR Blue Pearl with gray wheels and Crystal White Pearl with gold wheels.

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Coupe

New Lexus RC F Track Edition Joins 2020 RC F Lineup With Less Weight, More Performance

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2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition

A track-focused version joins the updated RC F for 2020.

The new Supra was Toyota’s big debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, but luxury subsidiary Lexus tagged along to remind everybody that it already has a performance coupe, one with a V8 to play with.

The RC F has received some upgrades for 2020 model year, and to make it more compelling for sports car enthusiasts, Lexus has added a new Track Edition to the lineup for 2020. The so-called RC F Track Edition is a stripped-down, track-only spec model that benefits from more aggressive aerodynamic elements and a weight-reduction regime.

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Like the regular RC coupe, all Lexus RC F models get new headlights, a restyled grille and new taillights. The 5.0L V8 has been caressed to squeeze out an extra five horsepower and 6 lb-ft. of torque, bringing the total to 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft. The eight-speed automatic transmission carries over but now has a higher final drive ratio (3.13 vs 2.93).

With the RC F Track Edition, major panels like the roof and hood are carbon fiber, and the standard RC F’s rear seats have been replaced by a carbon fiber partition.

Engineers also equipped 19-inch BBS forged-alloy wheels, Brembo with lightweight carbon-ceramic brake rotors, and a titanium muffler and tail pipes. These lighter pieces come together to reduce the Track Edition’s weight by 176 pounds from the RC F, and Lexus estimates that using the standard launch control system propels it to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just under 4.0 seconds (3.96 seconds, to be exact).

Standard on even the stock RC F, the new electronic launch control automatically adjusts the traction and throttle control for maximum acceleration from a stop. All the driver has to do is press and hold the brake pedal, engage the system, floor the accelerator to bring up the engine speed, and release the brake.

To help the RC F Track Edition stand out, designers gave it a red leather interior with Alcantara seat accents and red carbon trim on the doors and dashboard. Only two exterior colors are available: Ultra White and Matte Nebula Gray.

Production of the updated Lexus RC F and RC F Track Edition begin in the second half of 2019. Pricing notwithstanding, do you feel compelled to buy one?

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Crossovers

Kia’s New Telluride SUV Is Big Enough For Your Whole Family

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New, 2020 Kia Telluride SUV

Kia’s biggest-ever SUV has enough room to accommodate eight occupants in relative comfort.

The Kia Telluride has finally seen the light of day, giving Kia a spacious modern SUV for the whole family.

Designed in California specifically for the North American market, particularly the United States, the Telluride stands out with a boxy shape, a blunt hood, and a wide grille flanked by a pair of blunt vertical headlights. It’s distinctive, attractive and should turn some heads in the rather soft and puffy-looking full-size SUV segment.

Power is provided by a 3.8L V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, good enough for a 5,000-pound tow rating. An 8-speed automatic transmission drives the wheels.

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The Telluride also features four-wheel independent suspension with an optional self-leveling system and all-wheel drive. ‘Comfort’ and ‘snow’ odes distribute just 20 percent of torque to the rear wheels, while ‘sport’ has a 65-35 front-back split and ‘lock’ divides power equally between all corners.

Inside, the clean, BMW-esque dashboard is fitted with a 10.25-inch touchscreen that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibile, while a 10-speaker, 630-watt Harman Kardon sound system makes it easy to blast you favorite tunes throughout the cavernous interior. There’s also a wireless charging pad and a total of six USB charging ports.

Buyers looking for a more premium look and feel can splurge on a number of luxury interior appointments, ranging from quilted Nappa leather to matte-finish wood.

On the safety front, Kia’s big SUV is available with tons of safety tech, including forward collision warning, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, a blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, and a head-up display.

The all-new, 2020 Kia Telluride goes on sale in the second half of 2019 in LX, EX, S, and SX trims. Would you consider it as your next family-hauler?

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