Motortrend First Drive of the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300

Mercedes has stepped up the E’s semiautonomous game quite well. The system is called Drive Pilot, and here are the big bullet points: The E300 can follow the car in front of it at up to 130 mph. As long as the lanes are clearly marked, you can keep your hands off the wheel. Every now and then a graphic will pop up telling you to grab the wheel, but you can just lightly brush one of the two thumb buttons on the steering wheel, and the car will keep driving forward hands-free. While Drive Pilot is engaged, you can hit the turn signal to change lanes in either direction. Once you’re in the lane you want, just cancel the turn signal. In the States the system uses GPS to automatically adjust for posted speed limits, though you can override that (i.e. speed) by pushing up on the cruise control stalk.

This is a design and interior feature I can agree on! In this case, maybe when I make captain again this would prove to be a comfortable "airport" car as a certified pre-owned vehicle. Cheers to the new E-Class W213!

Comparing the 2015 Toyota Prius to the Brand New Redesigned 2016 Toyota Prius

It's been a while (almost a month to be exact) since my last post, but I've been around.  Lately, it's that my 1999 BMW 5.28 iT (wagon) is on it's last leg.  And with that, I'm out with the necessity of yet another car payment.  So with that, here's to 2016! 

Over a gentle drive of 22.5 mostly highway miles, we got a dashboard display of 67.3 mpg. But when you add in a similar stretch of more stop and go driving and some winding roads, our total for 48.8 miles was 57.3 mpg. That's a great number, even if the overall average amount of fuel you'll save over the course of a year with the fourth-gen Prius instead of a third-gen model is negligible. Given 50 mpg combined in the third-gen and an estimated 52 in the new Prius, you'll save around 12 gallons if you drive 15,000 miles a year

Toyota dealerships are giving around $4,000 - $6,000 off the outgoing 2015 model. That's around $65 - $100 a month in savings at 0% APR which they don't offer on the 2016 model.

Essentially, 12 gallons a year which equates to $36 a year at current rates, it's probably best to take advantage of the 2015 deals.  Don't get me wrong, I've always believed in getting the latest and the greatest, and with the new tech in the 2016 Prius, it makes it even more tempting but let's face it; the deals they have going right now are just down right ludicrous.  

Can You Guess Which "New Car to Avoid" Came in First?

BMW’s flagship sedan seems to have lost its edge in recent years. It’s wrapped in languid styling and just doesn’t feel as sporty as it did in earlier renditions; an odd product lineup includes an expensive and not especially efficient gas-electric hybrid model. Consumer Reports takes the 7 Series to task for being “a ponderous, technology-laden vehicle with ungainly handling,” and is included in the publication’s lists of lowest-scoring cars, worst overall values and most expensive operating costs in its class. Not to pile on, but it also gets a rock-bottom resale value rating from ALG and a below average performance score from J.D. Power.

I'll admit that it was great owning an E66 (2008 BMW 750Li), but damn if I owned it past it's warranty and into the 100k mile range. They don't build them like they use to and never mind the amount of electrical glitches, failures and mishaps that can happen! I love their cars but my 5 series has proved to be too costly to maintain. When is enough enough?

Ludicrous Speed Really is Ridiculous

The Ludicrous Speed upgrade combined with the "Fast and Furious"-ready Model S P90D makes for some shocking acceleration numbers. With Ludicrous mode engaged and using the new launch control feature, 60 mph in the Tesla comes in a staggeringly quick 2.6 seconds with the driver experiencing a peak of 1.1 g up through 14 mph. Given the Model S P90D hangs with hypercars in acceleration from 0 to 60 mph, the list of cars the P90D beats to 60 mph is a long one, including everything from the vaunted Nissan GT-R to the big, bad Lamborghini Aventador and Bugatti Veyron. Only two cars that we've tested can outright beat the P90D to 60 mph: the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari. As for the "other" hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1, the Tesla ties it in a race to 60 mph.

Just to summarize a summary, faster than the Nissan GT-R, Lamborghini Aventador and Bugatti Veyron. Ridiculous! (And so is the price at $130,000 but then again, those super cars cost more). If you see an underlined P90D, he/she just might be a tad ludicrous.

A $27,000 Civic? It's Getting Absurd

Just my opinion, but at that price, for around $27,000 for the 2016 Honda Civic Touring Edition, you can grab yourself a Certified Pre-Owned Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus or for that matter, a hopped up Toyorta Camry or save a few thousand and go with a Corolla or the Honda Fit.

Motortrend's Frist Test Review proved pretty awesome, but the vehicle that they used was the top of the line Civic Touring Edition, which by the way, did I mention, is $27,000!!! It's powered by an awesome brand new turbo engine but paired with an automatic CVT, I'm leaning more and more towards the no. How much is the Si or even the rumored Type-R going to be? Abusrd.

The Search for the Commuter Car (cont.)

A few months ago, I wrote about VW's awesome performing TDI Sportswagen Wagon along with my aspirations to buy one. With the 2016s around the corner, I called up a few dealerships last Friday about deals on the 2015s. Not surprisingly, I got a response to start with that they'd be discounting them around $2k.

That was last week. Of course, we have all come to find out that VW has been duping the EPA by programming their TDI vehicles to hide the truth; that they were emmiting up to 40% of the standard requirements. All this while still producing an amazing 50+ mpg! The NYTimes and other various news outlets have created an infographic on exactly how they were able to hide the pullutants which is quite ingenious as we've come to find out that other car manufacurers have been trying to game the system for quite a while .

So what now? Looks like Honda's new 2016 Civic, their Fit (which was in the running for Motortrend's Car of the Year, losing to VW's Golf) or Toyota's new Prius might have to be the key to "saving" me money on my weekly commute to Long Beach. Although, driving up to 28,000 a mile measured at 3x a week (most unlikely), maybe a more comfortable car with autopilot would fit the bill much better. =)

I'll be updating my "search" for a while. Right now, with my current 1999 BMW Wagon, I'm at ~ $0.14 a mile where the VW would have been $0.05. The Honda Fit and Toyota Prius would respectively cost $0.08 and $0.06. These calculations do NOT include the monthly payments or maintenance fees or tax, title and insurance. But that's where I'm at right now. All the new calculations show that over time, the Fit would be the way to go. If you want to peep my Google Sheet, check it out here.

VW's TDI Golf SportWagen Wagon

For as long as I've known, I've always been into cars. From the earliest a memories of my little white '94 Porsche 911 Micromachine to owning a Mercedes-Benz W123 300D and W203 C55 AMG, what car I get next is always a question.

With just the paragraph below, I might have made my decision especially in lieu of how unworthy and unreliable my BMW E39 5.28iT (wagon) had been.

Yet while the E.P.A. rules tend to overstate hybrid mileage, they vastly underestimate diesels’ real-world economy. In my testing, the TDI effortlessly delivered 50 to 53 m.p.g. even as I cruised at 65 to 70 miles per hour and passed dawdlers at will. And in an admittedly Prius-like run, holding at a resolute 55 m.p.h., the TDI sipped at a wallet-friendly 60 m.p.g.

Then again, if anyone can actually provide me reliability records and lifetime performance, I'd be sold TODAY! I want the new VW Golf SportsWagen but maybe might just settle for the hatchback. Last I saw, VW wanted around $33k for a fully loaded TDI SportWagen.

Also just announced and obtained by VWVortex, the full lineup changes for Model Year 2016 (MY2016) which highlights the inclusion of MIB2 (audio / nav system upgrade) and a full set of driving safety features such as lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control and park assist to name a few. Exciting stuff for 2016 models which can be expected to debut around September in a showroom near you.

She's pretty isn't she? 

She's pretty isn't she? 

This Should Be Your Next Car

That last sentence summarizes it perfectly. This might be it folks, my last car! If you didn't already hear from the previous unveiling at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, it Mercedes new C-Class is touted to be, "Larger, lighter, quicker, more elegant, more spacious, more powerful and more luxurious than the current sedan." So if you're looking at buying a 2014 on a heavy discount, just wait a few months! You won't regret your baby S-Class.

2015 Mercedes C Class

It was the early 1980s when German automakers began introducing their aspirational four-wheeled ladders, and there are still three sedan Leitens to choose from depending on what you want your ladder to say: there's the C, E, S, the 3, 5, 7 and the A4, A6, A8. The point of any ladder, though, has always been to climb – the only reason you stepped on the bottom rung was because you intended to get to the top, or at least as close as you could muster.

That might change with this car, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It might be so good that there's no need to climb any higher.

via Autoblog

Grand Turismo 6 for $39.99 for 1 Week Only!

If you're into racing games, the quintessential and ultimate racing game for Sony's Playstation 3 is on sale for $39.99! What makes this deal so special is that it also includes $1 million in in-game racing credits allowing you customize your car to your wildest dreams! That's $20 off the current going price plus $1M credit for the finest racing game ever made. Taking full advantage of the PS3's power and ability, this game came close to looking better or at least just as good as some of the next generation console titles. Buy it now at your favorite retailer or use my link below to help support this site via Amazon. You can get a code to download it right away via the Playstation Store or receive the physical disc, but whatever you do, you have one week! See you on the track!

Grand Turismo 6  GT6 PS3


Tesla Reveals Gigafactory Plans

The Tesla Gigafactory announcement is here! I can't wait till the economies of this scale trickle down to everyone. One of the bigger questions is whether this awesome factory will be built in either Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona or Texas. I'm thinking that maybe Texas or Arizona might win this contract especially with how nice both states have been playing with other Silicon Valley companies. This about it. This Gigafactory will actually manufacture more batteries than the entire world does today!

As we at Tesla reach for our goal of producing a mass market electric car in approximately three years, we have an opportunity to leverage our projected demand for lithium ion batteries to reduce their cost faster than previously thought possible. In cooperation with strategic battery manufacturing partners, we’re planning to build a large scale factory that will allow us to achieve economies of scale and minimize costs through innovative manufacturing, reduction of logistics waste, optimization of co-located processes and reduced overhead.

The Gigafactory is designed to reduce cell costs much faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. By the end of the first year of volume production of our mass market vehicle, we expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30 percent. Here are some details about what the Gigafactory will look like.

Tesla Gigafactory

via Tesla