Today we’ve got a special edition for the New York Auto Show with previews from Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, and Smart. And in Reality Check we run down the Cars.com list of most annoying car features.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE
Mercedes-Benz will be at New York with their new 2016 GLE series, the wide-band mid-section of their SUV lineup.
First of all, what you are looking at here is the crossover SUV previously known as the ML-Class, now renamed as the GLE with Mercedes-Benz new naming system. Add this to a styling refresh and we have a new model right?
For 2016, the GLE comes in five different models starting with the mainstream GLE350 powered by a 3.5 liter V6. Then there is an upgrade to a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 GLE400, both fed by gasoline.
Those wanting to save fuel can enjoy the 2.0 liter turbo-diesel GLE300d. And for 2016, a new plug-in hybrid joins the fray with the GLE550e.
The latter gets the twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor, a huge lithium ion battery pack and the ability to drive up to 81 mph on electric power alone. All in, that one has a healthy 436 system horsepower.
But if horsepower is truly your bailiwick, you get the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. Here you get the choice of two AMG 5.5 liter V8’s. One has 550 horsepower, the other 577. You decide.
Making a decision on your interior will also be part of your buying experience as several colors, trims, themes and technology options will be available here.
The list of driver assistance, dynamic driving systems, and infotainment options will seemingly require customer workshops at dealers when you go to buy. No matter now you outfit it, that cabin looks like a pretty nice place to spend some time doesn’t it?
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE will start production later this year at their Alabama assembly plant. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
At the New York Auto Show, Aston Martin is bringing what looks like a concept but is actually a track only super-car with over 800 horsepower.
The rather stunning Aston Martin Vulcan will be a highly exclusive production model for those privileged enough to acquire a less-than street legal track toy.
Thus its styling and construction can push design limits we can’t test for street cars. In such it gets wildy conceived air splitters front and rear, with no need for bumpers and pedestrian safety concerns.
The cockpit too is free of design constraints like airbags and budgetary concerns for mass production. Exposed roll-cage tubes stand along side leather racing seats and a Formula One style instrument display.
Under the hood is a front-mid mounted 800-plus horsepower 7.0-liter V12 engine which will drive exclusively the rear wheels.
This will likely make it hairy to drive, but don’t fear as Aston Martin will provide an intensive track driver training session with their race car drivers such as Darren Turner to make sure you know your way around its capabilities.
Each Vulcan will be available to custom order for an entirely bespoke model for colors, trims and options. Even it if is for track use only, it has to be nice doesn’t it?
The price was not announced as of our show today. But as the saying goes, if you have to ask you likely can’t afford it.
2016 Smart ForTwo
Launched in Europe last fall, the next-generation Smart car is coming to the U.S. with its debut this week at the New York Auto Show.
With its iconic size and profile largely intact, meaning it didn’t grow larger like cars often do, it has all-new styling inside and out.
The interior gets upgraded with finer quality ingredients and all the latest infotainment technologies. Luckily it retains its not-taken-too-seriously style that can be infinitely customized with color and materials.
A new facial expression has a more mature yet still playful demeanor and the side profile still has its trademark Tridion passenger cell exoskeleton framework for all to see.
Safety is said to be enhanced with increased use of high strength steels. Parent company Mercedes-Benz brings some of their trademark safety technology down to the ForTwo like crosswind assist and forward collision warning systems.
Chassis improvements too bring a more mature driving experience at least in terms of refinement. A front suspension derived from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and a new DeDion rear axle offer up increased suspension travel. And there is an optional sport suspension.
In the States we get a singular engine option, an 89 horsepower .9 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine mounted in the rear under the cargo floor.
We’ll get two transmission choices for the first time though including both a five-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Nice.
While EPA fuel economy figures haven’t been yet released, we can only hope they are better than the current model which hardly does better than the average compact car.
In our test drives this week, we sampled two ends of the crossover vehicle market starting with the all-new 2015 Lexus NX200t F Sport.
Part of the new luxury compact crossover segment, the Lexus NX200t shares its size and some bones with the Toyota RAV4 but has entirely unique exterior and interior design. It’s sharp and edgy as we’ve come to expect of Lexus these days.
Inside it gets a top-notch interior with quality materials and switch gear, lots of creature comforts and wild sport seats. Less sporty is its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine however which seems only adequate for its weight.
Pushing the sport wagon realm into crossover status is the new 2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country which we took back-packing out into the Sonoran Desert for an afternoon. On pavement and the soft dirt-roading trails it showed itself well capable.
It gets 2.6-inches of additional ground clearance, off-roady styling elements and a capable all-wheel drive system powered by a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. All in, the Volvo V60 Cross Country brings an interesting mid-range option to buyers in this class.
You can see our full reviews on these as well as many others by clicking the links below in the information section or on our website.
Reality Check: Cars.com Top 10 Most Annoying Car Features
While I don’t usually report on stories about our major media peers, Cars.com mostly got it right this week with their list of Top 10 Most Annoying Car Features. And I agree with most of them.
Number one, Touch-Sensitive Controls. They’re meant to be cool and high-tech, but often on the road they suck because they don’t always work as advertised.
Number two, Touch-Screen-Dependent Controls. You take the aforementioned touch-sensetive controls and force drivers to use them instead of hard buttons or knobs, it sucks twice.
Number three, Stereo Tuning Buttons Instead of Knobs. Duh! It’s much easier to spin a simple knob that press an arrow button 24 times in rapid fire to get to that station you know.
Number four, Navigation Systems That Lock Out Passengers. Hates it! We’re all grown ups here, let us use the technology we paid for.
Number five, Giant Key Fobs. This is less an issue for me, but some cars do come with huge big blocks that don’t live will with a smartphone in your pocket.
Number six, Square Cupholders. I’m not so sure I’ve dealt with this one. But I will insert here my own which is driver assistance features like lane keeping or blind spot warnings that default to on or must be turned off. Very annoying. Maybe some people like the electronic mother in-law in the back seat, but I like to be able to turn the bitch off.
Number seven, Auto Stop-Start. To help save gas yes, these systems turn off your engine at stop and restart it when you lift off the brake. I can’t wait to see what that’s like when the car is 10 years old.
Number eight, Voice-Controlled Systems. Yeah well luckily so far, most cars don’t require you to use this feature and that’s good because most don’t work well at all.
Number nine, Car Alarms. They don’t bother me much so let me insert safety alert seats that jolt you when you do things like veer our of your lane. Creepy.
Number ten, Small Side Mirrors. Again, not one I come across much so I will plug in here traction controls that cannot be entirely turned off. What a buzz kill.
Granted, many of these features might at the surface sound like fun to prospective car buyers, but when you live with them every day you often find that they can be a pain in the ass.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot, where we take the hottest photo from this weeks automotive news and we show it to ya!
Last week they were hot-dogging it around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, literally as the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile took laps around the course for a photo opportunity. There was no word on whether the tires plumped when they cooked them. Wait, that’s another brand.
Well that’s it for Motoring Monday. Click on the link to subscribe to our Channel where we’ll keep you update on all our news this week from the New York Auto Show in addition to our regular test drives and automotive news.
You can also follow us on the Google, the Twitter and that Facebook by clicking the links to the upper right.
I’m Sam Haymart for TestDrivenTV, I hope you enjoyed the ride.