2016 Mazda MX-5
Mazda finally unveiled the all new fourth generation 2016 MX-5 this week in Monterrey, the next chapter in the best selling roadster of all time.
At a packed house of Mazda enthusiasts with Duran Duran on stage, the all new 2016 MX-5 roadster was unveiled by Mazda Director of Design, Derek Jenkins.
Sharing that developing the new MX-5 was a careful balance of keeping what is good and pushing the envelope with that is new, the car rolled out on the stage to thundering applause.
The new car does push the envelope indeed with tighter and more angular design loosely pulling cues from the brand’s Kodo design language.
Its nose is lower with sharply wedged headlamps and the rear gets a completely new look with inset tail lights. A pronounced crease now creates an interesting hip line over the rear wheels too.
Mazda didn’t reveal much in the way of specifications, but says the new car is lighter by over 200 lbs. If that’s true for our U.S. Spec model, that’s a huge accomplishment.
Power will come from a yet unspecified SkyActiv naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. We can speculate it will be either 2.0 or 2.5 liters and have a bit more than the car’s current 167 horsepower.
The new 2016 Mazda MX-5 will go on sale next spring, with specifications and pricing to be announced closer to launch.
My opinion having owned a number of MX-5’s is still not yet set. This is one I really need to see in person before deciding whether I love or hate it.
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover unveiled their newest baby this week, the entry level 2015 Discovery Sport.
Starting at $37,995, the all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport is loosely based on the same platform architecture as the ever popular Range Rover Evoque, and priced just below it in the range.
It brings to the table a longer wheelbase to make room for a third-row of seats which employs and innovative five plus two arrangement for a total of seven passengers.
The cabin will offer rich leathers and natural materials as expected from the brand as well as a host of new and competitive technologies for infotainment as well as driver assistance aids.
Styling is unmistakably Land Rover, bringing some of the sportiness and flair from the Evoque but with a much more formal roof line and traditional demeanor.
Power for North America comes from a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower mated to the same well behaved nine-speed transmission we have come to know in the Evoque.
It will drive the wheels through a highly articulate all-wheel drive system which will have Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response suite of controls, traction aids, and off-road capabilities.
The 2015 Discovery Sport arrives in dealerships early next year.
2015 Lexus RC 350 Coupe
If you had wondered when the next big thing from Lexus was coming, well this week we got our answer.
Lexus is now launching their all new RC 350 coupe which is loosely based off the GS and IS platforms, employing much of the driver centric hardware both offer up.
The new coupe is styled aggressively with familiar DNA but wrapped together much tighter and lower to the ground than the sedans it shares its bones with.
Due to compete with the BMW 4 Series and Infiniti Q60 for starters, the new Lexus RC 350 will come with the company’s rip snorting 306 horsepower 3.5 liter V6.
A quick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission will be the sole gearbox with multiple driving modes and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The power-train has been one of our favorites in the IS and GS sedans and we’re sure it wont disappoint here.
Lexus will also offer the RC 350 in an F Sport trim with more aggressive exterior style, a more sporting interior, and additional drive modes for the enthusiast.
Inside, the RC Coupe has familiar DNA and Lexus quality in its style and execution. The company says this cabin is inspired by the LF-A supercar and you can see that as you look around.
Notable is the next generation infotainment controls now with a console mounted touch pad, which is something I look forward to trying out for myself very soon.
The new 2015 Lexus RC 350 arrives late this fall with pricing to be announced closer to launch
2015 Lexus RC F Coupe
With the launch of the new 2015 Lexus RC Coupe, the company had one more story to add.
Also part of the new RC family is the ultra rich and thick RC F, the living continuation of the ever hot and gritty IS-F sedan.
Taking the RC Coupe to an even higher level of performance, the RC F gets the 5.0 liter V8 from the IS-F, but raises the output to 467 horsepower.
The newest evolution of the 5.0 liter V8 can rev to 7,100 rpm and how has a 12.3:1 compression ratio. Major changes and enhancements have been made to the engine, including an Atkinson cycle for improved economy when in normal driving.
It’s gonna sound real good too, even better than the IS-F. With an active sound control system the driver can adjust intake, exhaust and mechanical sounds which are piped into the cabin electronically.
Power goes to the rear wheels through a close-ratio version of the eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission and an available Torque Vectoring Differential.
With the most powerful V8 Lexus has ever offered, the RC F gets wider wheels and tires, an active rear wing, air scoops, cooling ducts and available carbon fiber body components.
Obvious is the bulging bodywork unique to the RC F which includes a different hood, fascias, wheel arches and that active rear wing just to name a few.
It deploys from the trunk lid at 50 mph to increase down-force as vehicle speed increases and goes back down when speed drops below 25 mph. For those who want the look, the driver can control rear wing manually from the cockpit.
There are obviously too many bits, pieces and technologies to list here this new car brings to the table. But we will bring you a far more detailed review when we get behind the wheel for a test drive very soon!
What we have driven this week is almost as exciting as the Lexus RC Coupe, the 2015 Audi A3 2.0T sedan.
The entry level for the Audi brand, the A3 sedan is the first of an entire new family of models and competes against the Mercedes-Benz CLA and BMW 2-Series.
Starting at about $33,000, the A3 2.0T Quattro we drove offers up the same sense of solid high-quality goodness you expect in the company’s larger models, in a more petite package.
Handling is nimble and tight, if not downright fun. Power from the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine comes on strong with shifting being handled by a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The car made it to our “Id Buy It List” but there were still a couple minor complaints. See our full review to learn more at TestDriven.TV or our YouTube Channel.
This week we are testing the 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R. Subaru’s flagship of the Legacy line is all new this year continuing with all the traits that has made the model so popular.
While it looks like a wagon from a distance, it has all the room and capabilities you expect in many contemporary crossover SUV’s like the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder.
We’re busy getting it dirty as you watch this, so come back later this week for our full review!
In our Reality Check this week, we bring you a success story about of all companies, Chrysler.
While the Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Fiat brands have had their challenges in the past few years while digging themselves out from bankruptcy, this month the company posted their highest sales since 2002.
Moreover, the Chrysler family of brands this month had the highest market share gains of any car company, exceeding 30% growth year over year.
The top sellers for Chrysler group included the 2014 Jeep Cherokee crossover selling over 18,000 copies, bolstering the Jeep brand overall to post a near 50% sales gain over last year and their best month ever in history.
Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler both hit at or near 18,000 in sales for August as well, posting gains over last year. Even the aged Patriot and Compass saw 15% plus gains in sales.
Ram pickups made news with a stunning 33% increase in sales pushing them to a volume of 43,000 for August, eating into GM and Fords market share quite handily.
Dodge wasn’t left out with exceptional sales of their Dart, Charger and Challenger. Even the Journey crossover which is relatively old in design set a sales record this month at over 9,000 copies out the door.
While we often poke at automakers in Reality Check, I love to share good news too. Good going Chrysler and good luck continuing your success.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we pluck a hot photo from this week’s press releases and show it to ya!
This week the torch goes to Lexus with their Molten Pearl RC F. In this shot the wall behind it casts a perfectly aligned shadow across its paint. That color Lexus says takes a special four-layer paint process. I bet that shade is optional and costs extra.
That’s it for Motoring Monday this week, now you can be well armed for car talk this week at work. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking the link below and we’ll keep you updated on our latest news, drive reviews and Motoring Monday episodes.