After 18 years of Le Mans racing it’s pulling the plug and heading to greener pastures: Formula E.
Dieselgate defeats Audi’s Le Mans racing dynasty
Until 2007, the reborn Mini lineup offered just one model in many different variants. That changed when the Clubman arrived for the 2008 model year. Although it was longer than the standard Cooper hatch, the first-gen Clubman was still very much a small car. The second-gen model retains much of that Mini character, but it’s much more maxi than before.
The second iteration of the Clubman is more than a foot longer and 4.6 inches wider, and it has a wheelbase 4.8 inches longer than the model it replaces. Length- and width-wise, the new Clubman is the biggest Mini yet—about the size and heft of a Volkswagen Golf. It’s positioned as a more premium model, an impression you’ll get from the interior and also from its smooth (for a compact) highway ride. The new Clubman also becomes a little more practical, ditching the single passenger-side half-door for a pair of actual front-hinged rear doors for access to the rear seat. (The cargo doors are pretty much as they were in the first generation.) In addition, the Clubman adds the option of all-wheel drive.
To find out how these big changes to the Clubman formula affect the most wagonlike Mini in the lineup, we’ve taken delivery of a long-term 2017 Mini Clubman Cooper S ALL4. Being an S model, our car comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, which produces the same 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque it does in the Hardtop and Convertible Cooper S. That power is routed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, which was first offered in the Countryman.
The peppy Cooper S turbo-four combined with all-wheel drive is good for 0–60 mph in 7 seconds flat, which is decently quick when you consider this Clubman weighs 3,451 pounds. Not only is our long-termer as heavy as Minis come, but it’s also heavy on price. The Clubman S ALL4 base price rings in at $30,300, but ours comes loaded to $38,750 with options such as the Sport and Technology packages, not to mention the extra $1,750 for the automatic transmission. Picking the eight-speed over the manual saves you 1 mpg in both highway and city driving.
There’s frankly nothing mini about the new Clubman, but does it still offer that combination of fun, style, and practicality that we loved about the original? We hope to find out during the next year.
|2017 Mini Clubman Cooper S All4|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$38,750|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||2.0L/189-hp/207-lb-ft* turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,451 lb (58/42%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||167.4 x 70.9 x 56.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.0 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.4 sec @ 88.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||107 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.5 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||22/31/26 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||153/109 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.77 lb/mile|
|*221 lb-ft with temporary overboost|
The post 2017 Mini Clubman Cooper S ALL4 Arrival: Fun, Stylish, and Practical? appeared first on Motor Trend.
The long-term 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is sitting in the #MTGarage with a new top and an air conditioner that works again. I mentioned the soft-top issue in a previous update, but A/C troubles surfaced during a recent road trip from Los Angeles to Canada and back down the beautiful Oregon Coast. The 2,800-mile trip was close to perfect until the A/C stopped blowing cold air when I needed it the most—during a six-hour leg through Central California in triple-digit heat.
A trip to the dealership revealed a busted weld connecting a pipe to the compressor. The service techs couldn’t determine what caused the failure, but our ever-mindful associate road test editor Benson Kong speculates it could be collateral damage from a recent fender bender. Either way, Mazda completed the repair under warranty and the A/C is once again blowing cold air.
This visit also addressed the issue with the soft top, which was showing premature wear and fraying in multiple spots due to the fabric rubbing against the frame when the top is down. The fix required a replacement fabric soft top (including the rear glass) and a completely new frame that’s been redesigned to prevent the rubbing. There’s no noticeable difference between the old and new top, though the new one does appear to sit a tad higher in the down position. On the upside, the new top pops up higher when unlatched from the down position, which makes it easier to reach from the driver’s seat and close. Hopefully this resolves the issue because the repair wasn’t cheap—the invoice noted that the new soft top (fabric, glass, and frame) totaled $6,396, thankfully covered under warranty.
According to my service advisor, Mazda hasn’t issued a service bulletin for this issue, though other owners might be experiencing it as well (it’s a popular topic on Miata forums). Some owners have reported fraying caused by the top rubbing against the roll hoops and others have reported failing support straps, though it appears the automaker has largely solved both problems.
More on our long-term Mazda MX-5 Miata Club:
The post 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Update 5: A New Top and Cold Air appeared first on Motor Trend.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Update 5: A New Top and Cold Air
No matter how many snarky Internet comments and social media posts are made, Mini’s model lineup will continue to grow in length, width, and height. Like the majority of small car manufacturers, Mini capitalized on the burgeoning SUV and crossover market with the release of the Countryman in 2010. The BMW-owned automaker intends to continue the trend by rolling out the all-new 2017 Mini Countryman, which will make its public debut next month at the 2016 Los Angeles auto show.
Unlike the minor refresh the Countryman received in 2014, this is a comprehensive redesign. Visually, the new SUV sheds the first generation’s “lifted hatchback” appearance and moves closer to a coherent crossover design. It’s 7.8 inches longer than the outgoing model, including a wheelbase stretch of 2.9 inches. To scale the appearance with the growth spurt, the Countryman wears bulging fender flares and sizeable wheels, moving well away from the first generation model’s tall and ungainly appearance.
Predictably, the available engine and transmissions are sampled from the rest of the Mini model lineup. Settle for the base drivetrain and you’ll receive a Countryman with the 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder we’ve come to know and tolerate; output remains at 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, with power routed to the front two or all four wheels. Front-wheel drive models arrive with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, whereas the All4 all-wheel drive variants come with a choice of the manual or the slick eight-speed auto.
Springing for the Countryman Cooper S gets you a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 offering up 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. The Cooper S is only available with all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic.
Thanks to a curb weight hovering between 3,300 and 3,600 pounds, performance isn’t spectacular. The best 60 mph sprint the existing three-cylinder Mini Countryman can muster is 9.3 seconds in front-wheel-drive configuration and 9.5 seconds for the all-wheel-drive model. Climb up to the hotter Cooper S drivetrain, and 0-60 mph times drop to 7.0 seconds.
Despite the growth in external proportions, rear legroom shrinks by 0.7 in. The trade-off is that cargo capacity grows by 5.4 cubic feet, now swallowing 17.6 cubic feet; volume grows to 47.6 cubic feet when the rear seats are stowed. To maintain Mini’s trademark quirkiness, each Countryman arrives with a cushioned, foldable “picnic bench” stored in the rear storage area.
Mini purports the 2017 Countryman as a nicer place to be than the previous gen, with leatherette upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and a back-up camera coming as standard features. If you spend a little more coin for some technology packages, Mini installs an 8.8-inch touch-screen display that makes its debut on the crossover.
In addition to the regular powertrains, Mini pulled the covers off a production plug-in hybrid variant of the 2017 Countryman, which becomes Mini’s first hybrid and its first electrified vehicle to enter series production (only several hundred units of 2009’s Mini E were made). Bearing the easy-to-digest moniker of Countryman Cooper S E All4, it uses the base model’s 1.5-liter I-3 to power to the front wheels and an electric motor fed by a 7.6 kWh battery to power the rear. Combined power is an impressive 221 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque.
Mini says that the PHEV Countryman will cover 24 miles on the battery alone with a maximum speed of 77 mph. Thanks to the ample torque, 0-60 mph arrives in a quick 6.8 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 137 mph.
Mini has not released pricing information on the new Countryman, but confirms the regular SUV will arrive on dealer lots in March of 2017, with the plug-in made available from June 2017. Check back for more information on Mini’s newest SUV at the official debut next month at the LA auto show.
2017 Mini Cooper Countryman
ON SALE: Spring 2017
PRICE: $26,000 (base) (est)
ENGINE: 1.5L turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3/134 hp @ 4,400 rpm, 162 lb-ft @ 1,250 rpm; 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/189 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 207 lb-ft @ 1,250 rpm; and 1.5L turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3/134 hp @ 4,400 rpm, 162 lb-ft @ 1,250 rpm plus electric DC motor/87 hp, 122 lb-ft; combined 221 hp
TRANSMISSION: 6-, 8-speed automatic, 6-speed manual
LAYOUT: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE: N/A
L x W x H: 169.8 x 71.7 x 61.3 in
WHEELBASE: 105.1 in
WEIGHT: 3,300-3,671 lb
0-60 MPH: 6.8-9.5 sec
TOP SPEED: 122-137 mph
See the original post here:
First Look: 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman
In America, pickup trucks often double as large and rugged status symbols, with some buyers caring more about bling than capability. Given this background, it’s easy to see why it seems odd for Mercedes-Benz to launch a premium pickup for Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia, but not North America.
While Concept X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara mid-size pickup, much of the truck’s architecture has been altered to fit the flowing Mercedes-Benz bodywork and structural pieces that make it a true Mercedes product. Powering the X-Class will be what Mercedes proclaims to be a class leading turbocharged V-6 diesel, though horsepower and torque figures have not been released.
For its drivetrain, the X-Class uses a permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system coupled to an advanced electronic traction control system. It is equipped with two transfer cases with reduction gears and two locking differentials that help manage torque and traction in off-road situations.
Mercedes-Benz states the pickup will be able to carry a payload of more than 2,400 lbs and tow more than 7,700 lbs. This, according to the company, will all be accomplished while maintaining the ride quality Mercedes-Benz is known for.
“With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment,” stated Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The interior is described as a “Stylish Explorer” that is uniquely Mercedes. It appears to use plenty of parts from its corporate siblings, including the GLA and C-Class. The interior space seats five individuals, as Mercedes-Benz wants to attract both luxury consumers and those that need a work truck alike.
The launch of the production X-Class is expected to happen by late next year. Price hasn’t been released yet, but production vehicles will roll out in Europe, Australia, and South Africa first, with Latin America starting later.
As mentioned previously, the X-Class isn’t slated for the United States, in part likely due to the infamous “Chicken Tax,” which levies a 25% tariff on all imported trucks. Mercedes didn’t name a factory, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t share a production line with the Navara at Nissan’s Barcelona, Spain factory. We won’t rule a change of heart due to strong customer interest (it wouldn’t be the first time for Mercedes — e.g. the G63 6×6 and G500 4×42), but production would likely have to shift to Nissan’s truck plant in Canton, Mississippi or Mercedes’ plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make economic sense.