On Motoring Monday today we’re covering the hot new cars revealed over the weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey,CA.
These include the new 2016 Lexus GS, the 2017 Mercedes C-Class Coupe, and an even hotter BMW M4 in the new high-end Concept GTS.
First Look: 2016 Lexus GS200t
Lexus won’t be teasing owners of their German competitors about feeling powerful with a four-cylinder engine any more, as they introduce the 2016 GS 200t
At Pebble Beach, the updated and redesigned mid-size Lexus GS was unveiled with several updates that start with the next generation look of the brand’s spindle grille design language. Satin chromes soften the look in the day time, and new LED headlights sharpen it at night.
A new front fascia and lower rocker trims carry the new style as do its new tailights and rear deck trims. Offered in a number of new colors, the 2016 Lexus GS also gets new wheel designs across the lineup.
What’s truly new is under the hood however with a new baseline engine, a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The GS 200t will have the same engine just announced for the IS 200t with 241 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque.
With a standard 8-speed automatic, it’s expected to offer up to 33 mpg highway. But this has to be a price play as the GS 450h hybrid achieves this or better, albeit a far more expensive proposition to buy as it’s the most expensive GS model.
The mid-range GS 350 remains available for 2016 now with a few more ponies, now rated at 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The hottest variation of the GS 350 will be the F Sport, but don’t forget the 5.0 liter V8 comes this year as well in the fire-breathing GS-F.
Inside, the 2016 Lexus GS gets revised colors and trims, and there’s an enhanced suite of Enform features and connected services available to go with its 12.3 wide screen infotainment system. There’s also the new Lexus Safety System + suite of driver assistance features.
The 2016 Lexus GS 200t, GS 350, and GS 450h will go on sale later this year. Pricing for them will come soon, and I’m curious to see what the new GS 200t will start at.
First Look: BMW Concept M4 GTS
BMW M brought the their Concept M4 GTS to Pebble Beach this year, teasing the enthusiasts on hand with a car just spitting distance a production model due in the not too distant future.
The BMW Concept M4 GTS continues the tradition of performance bred from racing. This includes a bump in power, a crash diet weigh-loss program and a production car offered in extremely limited numbers that will cost way more than the base line model.
The Concept M4 GTS teases some features that BMW says will come to production cars soon such as water injection for increased power and torque. In short, a water vapor injected into the intake air cools it down considerably, which allows a more aggressive tune for boost and fuel mixture.
This might mean feeding your car a regular diet of Evian each time you fill the tank with premium unleaded at the gas station if you are a lead foot. But this is the price we pay for high performance.
Also showcased here is organic light-emitting diode or OLED lighting which is the next big trend coming to high-end cars near you. The technology allows for more design creativity, giving a full-surface of illumination.
In addition to lightweight wheels, the BMW Concept M4 GTS has a manually adjustable front splitter and rear wing made of carbon fiber. The hood is carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic as well all to reduce weight, which will also come out of your wallet as a result.
It’s a pretty nice looking ride, though we weren’t given much in the way of specs. BMW will tells us more about a production version later. For now, we are on a need to know leash.
First Look: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe
While not unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe was revealed while they had everyone’s attention on deck.
The new two-door version of the latest generation C-Class comes to North America next spring as the C300 to start with, also available in an all-wheel drive 4MATIC model. With a sexy new shape and modern details, it’s sure to continue getting attention.
While the details might appear less dramatic than you’d expect, its shape and silhouette have grown some muscle, particularly in the rear flanks which are bolstered by a relatively high belt line a C-Pillar which lingers longer toward the rear.
Like the C-Class sedan, the coupe has grown considerably from its predecessor with a wheelbase more than 3-inches longer, a total length almost 4-inches more, and a width which grows just more than an inch. Even though larger, Mercedes-Benz says it’s lighter.
Under hood of the C300 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque which will drive the rear or all four wheels through an seven-speed automatic transmission.
There was no word on whether the C400 variant with the twin-turbo V6 will be available in North America for 2017. It’s likely our market may skip that model and see a more powerful AMG model instead. Time will tell.
Its suspension features a new 4-link front axle with spindle uprights separate from the struts for a bit more interesting take on dynamics. The rear suspension is of course a multi-link layout and AIRMATIC air springs will be optional.
The cabin will be packed with all the latest and ultimate when it comes to leathers, woods and trims. Technologies for infotainment, connectivity, driving aids and safety will also be everything you can dream of. I hate to gloss over these things, but if I listed them all, the entire show would be about them.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 will arrive in spring of calendar year 2016. Pricing will be announced closer to then as I am sure the more powerful and exhilarating AMG version.
Test Drive: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T
We recently had the occasion to drive the new 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T, one of the latest players in the luxury coupe segment powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS is a lot like its German competitors which while offering more powerful six-cylinder engines, offers a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder as the starting point. There is just some kind of magic with that 2.0.
Here the new for 2015 ATS brings design and style that is however quite different from the German brands, forging its own presentation in form and detail in a way that cannot be called copycat. I like it. It’s crisp and original, and looks every bit the $50,000 price tag of our tester.
Power from its 2.0 liter engine is higher than many of its competitors at 272 horsepower, available with either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, something not all its peers give you the option of. While some reviewers find this engine a bit rough, I was impressed with its refinement in my drive.
It has a fat power curve, though you do need to rev it higher than larger six-cylinder engines to really feel its power. And when it comes to feel, the chassis here impressed me again more than I expected.
It feels sharp, light and agile in a way BMW’s used to press my buttons back when…they used to really do that. And that is really the the rub here. The Cadillac ATS might just be the best BMW 3 or 4 Series you can buy right now in terms of its pure and sharp reflexes as well as its fun factor.
Less fun inside is the Cadillac User Interface known as CUE. It’s slow and fussy, but otherwise the only blemish on an interior which is yet another well orchestrated shattering of expectations. The materials are top notch, the fit and finish flawless, and its overall execution right in keeping with its peers.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS 2.0 is the one you’ll find on lease specials being advertised, and in my opinion won’t disappoint most people for an all-around luxury sedan. It’s refined and playful, and doesn’t feel like the cheap seats.
If you do want more power, there is the larger 3.6 liter V6 or the even more potent twin-turbo V6 ATS-V but it’ll cost you almost as much as two of these.
Reality Check: Nissan Sport Sedan Nostalgia
At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance it’s actually more about the classics than the showboating of new cars by the automakers to a captive audience of wealth. And Nissan cashed in on both, staging a nostalgic journey down sport sedan lane.
So when you think sport sedan, this is where it all starts so says Nissan. As part of their Pebble Beach schmooze, they staged a road trip up the coast with classic icons of their sport sedan lineage with the 1967 Datsun 411 and 1972 Datsun 510.
The roadshow called “The Evolution of the Sports Sedan” was of course a play to paint their new 2016 Maxima four-door sports-car with the classic and historic good vibes that many indeed have for their modest sedans from almost five decades ago.
As Nissan says, “The Datsun 411 and Datsun 510 helped establish Nissan in the United States, while the Maxima today continues as the flagship of our sedan lineup. We think the three vehicles will attract a lot of interest and we look forward to sharing them with car enthusiasts from all over the world gathering for the weekend’s various activities.”
Well there is truth to that. I am old enough to remember these cars on the road, though they were old cars even in my youth. But what I remember well is the fondness and value these things had to many car enthusiasts. They were the poor-man’s BMW many said.
Powered by a 1.6 liter four-cylinder with just under 100 horsepower, they weren’t terribly fast, but neither was much of anything in their class back in the day. What they offered was sharp handling at their limits, no American car could muster.
So people, if you love your new Nissan Maxima, these are its parents. Honor them.
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take the best photo from this week’s automotive news and we show it to ya!
While the high-class auto elite were uncorking their fine wines and nibbling cheese in Montery for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Gas Monkey crowd was in Detroit partying down at the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Seen here, the big party Dodge threw called Roadkill Nights had rolled all of what the annual Detroit Muscle cruise is all about into one very vivid picture. Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. Which party do you want to go to?
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