The 2017 BMW M760i xDrive Is a $154,795 Car With A $50 Flaw

7 Feb

The 2017 BMW M7 is an amazing car with an Achilles heel. Its decklid badge doesn’t say M7. What else would you call a $154,795, 2.5 ton, 6.6-liter, twin-turbocharged, 601 horsepower, 12-cylinder ultra-luxury sedan from Munich that will do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and 193 mph? I call it an M7. My French dad? M sept. A child living in Bavaria? M sieben.

But what does BMW call it?

A 2017 BMW M760i xDrive with M Performance.

That’s a big cactus to swallow, and an even bigger clusterf**k of decklid badging. Literally everyone who buys, leases, finances or rents this state-of-the-German-art sedan — and I promise you anyone who understands depreciation and long-term V12 reliability will lease it — would prefer it to say M7 on the trunk. No one dreams of a BMW M760i xDrive M Performance. If you’re a BMW person, you dream of M. “M” stands for something, like AMG, S, RS, GT and Turbo. Continue reading

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 3.0 Review: The World’s Best Fourth Car?

31 Jan

The Tesla Roadster is a machine out of time, a gorgeous and maddening sports car with a boot in the future and a high heel in the past. If you were shopping for an exotic in 2006, this car had everything: a new manufacturer no one believed would stay in business, a questionable electric drivetrain stuffed into a stretched Lotus Elise, a $109,000 base price that would have bought you a fully-optioned Porsche 911, and exclusivity that would make Ferrari owners weep.

Elon Musk has said they were crazy to build it. I would have said you were crazy to buy one, but after driving one of the last, best versions ever made—a fully-upgraded, optioned-out 2011 Roadster Sport 3.0—I’m not so sure.

I take that back.

You had to be crazy to buy one. But not any crazier than someone who bought a Lotus, Morgan or TVR. These are cars you buy with absolutely no expectation they will be good, or even work. At least not all the time. That’s why Porsches makes sense, and even modern Ferraris, but those have become so reliable as to remove what was once required for anything foreign with two seats and a high horsepower-to-weight ratio:

Faith. Continue reading

Faraday Future’s Killer $290,000 Feature Revealed

16 Jan

Faraday Future

The saga of Faraday Future could fill a book, but every story needs an ending. Here’s one: Jia Yueting, CEO of LeEco and Faraday’s primary investor, just leaked the price of the FF-91, their first production vehicle.

It is $290,000.

I’ve said all along that Faraday’s problem isn’t their financing, it’s the car. I was wrong. It’s not just the car. It’s the management that demanded this Chinese Homer, a cost-no-object vehicle incorporating a laundry list of every conceivable feature except common sense. That decision could only have come from one man: Jia Yueting himself. In no universe would any of the auto industry veterans he hired approve of this monstrosity. Continue reading

Lucid Motors Reveals Their Tesla-Killer—But Is it, Really?

15 Dec

Lucid Air

The stench of “mobility” was pierced today, as California-based Lucid Motors revealed the Air, a stunning $100,000+ electric sedan hailed as a “Tesla-killer.”

But is it?

The answer is no, because the Lucid Air is deliberately in a class of its own.

First, the Lucid Motors Air is gorgeous. For the first time since the release of the Tesla Model S, we have a clean-sheet design for an electric sedan that doesn’t include stupid neon green or blue accents to indicate environmental cred. The Air isn’t some Wall-E inspired, emasculatory blob on wheels penned by the guy from The Kooples. Primed by last year’s stillborn Faraday reveal, I walked into the Lucid event ready for disappointment, but when the spotlights fell upon the Air I joined the crowd of reporters quietly mouthing “Yeeeeeeees.”

Lucid’s “luxury mobility” messaging may resemble Tesla’s, but that’s only because Musk was first to recognize the hinges upon which a startup car company must swing: 1.) you must launch with a premium product; 2.) electrification, connectivity, and autonomy will be ubiquitous.

With the Air, Lucid wisely chose to one-up Tesla, not by trying to build a better Model S, but by moving “luxury mobility” even further upmarket. The top-of-the-line Air is targeted at the Model S customer who wants more interior space and luxury, doesn’t want an SUV, and is willing to spend $160,000—or approximately 10 percent more than a loaded Model X.

Read the rest over at The Drive

C’Etait un Rendevous: Alex Roy Reviews the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

17 Oct

Jaguar F-Type SVR

Like the Russian submarine in The Hunt For Red October, the 2017 JaguarF-Type SVR is a car built for one purpose. I’m not talking about tunnel sprints, which is how Jaguar launched it earlier this year. I’m talking about the penultimate road test. Have you seen Rendezvous? If you have to ask, stop andwatch it now.

Everyone else knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Now that we’re on the same page, what is the F-Type SVR? It’s the top of the line F-Type in a range starting at just over $60K, and topping out with the nearly $150,000 example generously (and unbelievably) lent to me, no questions asked. There was one stipulation: that I wouldn’t put more than 500 miles on it.

Translation: Alex Roy, you are forbidden to drive our car cross-country.

Cross-country — nonstop except for gas — is the ultimate road test. Trust me, from the moment I laid eyes on it, cross-country was not my plan. A 200mph Jaguar with 567 horsepower, all-wheel drive, two seats and minimal interior storage space? How about that twin-supercharged 5-liter V-8? The EPA highway rating is 23 mpg? I got 12. A Cannonball record-breaking cruiser this is not. Throw in the loudest exhaust ever installed on an English car — and that’s even on its standard, “quieter” setting — and you won’t want to take long rides in this one. Nine hours round-trip to Watkins Glen and back, with a few hours on-track? That’s better than 29 hours cross-country, but I wasn’t really interested in the trackday Jaguar offered with the car.

Read the rest over at The Drive

Why I Plan to Reassess the Mercedes-Benz DrivePilot System

10 Aug

DrivePilot

I’ll give Mercedes-Benz credit: I didn’t expect to hear from them after my recent story comparing their DrivePilot to Tesla’s Autopilot. I took a flamethrower to Stuttgart’s latest semi-autonomous driving technology, calling it a disaster—and, worse, potentially unsafe. In a world where manufacturers regularly attempt to sidestep bad press, Mercedes could easily have stayed silent.

Then, six days after Musk gloatingly retweeted the story, my phone rang.

I should note that it’s rare for a blatantly negative review to appear in the mainstream media for any consumer product, let alone about a juggernaut brand whose tagline is “The Best or Nothing.” When one does show up, it’s generally centered around criteria with little real-world impact—things like design, or zero-to-sixty times. Criticizing a major manufacturer for a perceived issue at the heart of their latest safety technology is basically unheard of.

Read the rest over at The Drive

The War For Autonomous Driving: 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class VS. 2017 Tesla Model S

27 Jul

Drive Pilot

Looking for a comparison of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the 2016 Tesla Model S? This is not that. Both are brilliant, gorgeous cars—best-of-breed luxury sedans in the war between internal combustion and electricity—but who cares?

The future belongs to Autonomous Driving.

The 2017 E-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz available with Drive Pilot—the brand name for their latest semi-Autonomous Driving (AD) suite—and is the first direct assault on Tesla’s Autopilot, which has captured the public’s imagination, for better or worse, since its release in 2015.

What is AD? It’s what happens when you combine Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Automatic Steering, and then a car begins to drive itself. How long, how well and how safely it does this is the difference between today and tomorrow, between semi-Autonomous and truly Self-Driving Cars.

Does Mercedes’ Drive Pilot deliver what it calls The Best or Nothing? Or is Autopilot—despite recent controversy—still the state-of-the-semi-Autonomous-art?

That depends on your expectations.

Read the rest over at The/Drive

Can The Vanderhall Laguna Cure Automotive Cancer?

21 Jul

Vanderhall Laguna

“It’s cancer,” said Mr. Sardonic, “with a key.”

He wasn’t talking about the Vanderhall Laguna. He was talking about the Lamborghini Espada, and I knew exactly what he meant. The two would appear to have nothing in common, but don’t be fooled. They are inextricably linked by illness. The Espada is one of its clearest symptoms, and the Laguna seeks to be its cure.

Mr. Sardonic, like myself and countless others, suffers from an acute case of Petrolicious-itis. It starts with a lust for Fourth Cars — which are cars you don’t need because you’ve got three others — and frequent visits to Petrolicious. The most common risk factors are spare time and disposable income. Combine Nostalgia for the Dream Cars of Youth and Chronic Desire To Be Different, and the diagnosis is guaranteed. I should know. I own or have owned all the most unreliable supercars of the past. OK, maybe not supercars. A Porsche 928 GT. With a stick. An E24 BMW M6. A Citroen SM. Cars that were very expensive new, and whose running costs make them — even after decades of depreciation — a bargain by no measure.

Read the rest over at TheDrive.com…

Alex Roy’s Digest: 5.5.16.2: Charging, Gumball 3000, Ford, Tesla, Porsche, Satan

5 May

Gumball 3000

I was arrested, then kidnapped during the Gumball 3000. How amateur. Actually, wait. I was too. Once. Article coming.

A map of Electric Vehicle charging sites from 1914. Thanks, pluginsites.

Continue reading

My Tesla Model S P90D Ludicrous Quick Review

29 Apr

Alex Roy Tesla Model S P90D Ludicrous review

The Tesla Model S P90D Ludicrous is the perfect car. Except for the interior. And the electronic glitches everyone says are inevitable. And the GPS that’s always lying. OK, maybe it isn’t perfect, but it exists in a different and better universe than everything else.

To what, then, does one compare it? It’s a $120,000+ electric sedan with the acceleration of a new Porsche 911 Turbo S, the range of a mercilessly flogged 1977 Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9, and the interior of a 1990 Lexus LS400 that’s been converted for taxi use. It’s a surreal package of supercar performance and price-point engineering for a luxury price point. It’s a work of genius that forcibly redefines how cars are classified.

Read the rest over at The Drive