Tag archives for Luxury Car
On this episode of Wide Open Throttle, Angus MacKenzie and other Motor Trend hosts discuss the Tesla Model S controversy stemming from a review in The New York Times after discussing the unexpected popularity of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Additionally, Ed Loh, Carlos Lago, Arthur St. Antoine and Mike Floyd ponder the possibility of diesel-powered sports cars in the U.S.
The hosts begin by discussing the relevance of the F-150 SVT Raptor with its high base price and increasing fuel prices. St. Antoine points out how sales of the “do-anything truck” are above Ford’s projections. While Lago is surprised that Ford built the truck, he says the Raptor makes him “feel like a kid in a sand box.” Still, some owners have had issues after taking jumps too fast or too high. While the panel believes most Raptor buyers pay for its off-road capability, some buyers go for the image and the compliant on-road ride as well.
Next, the discussion switches gears to the controversy surrounding the Tesla Model S regarding its range after a reporter from The New York Times said that during an East Coast trip his tester ran out of range before reaching the next EV Supercharger, to which Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired back saying the test was flawed. Floyd notes Loh’s Model S range test from the Las Vegas strip back to Los Angeles, during which he exceeded the EPA-rated range estimate. Previous to that trip, Motor Trend took the Model S from L.A. to San Diego and back on a single charge and Frank Markus and Jessi Lang drive the car to Las Vegas.
Finally, the hosts discuss the possible future of diesel-powered sporty cars in the U.S., such as the Volkswagen Golf GTD and BMW 335d, and whether the low redline is fit for a sporty car. Watch the full discussion below.
By Jason Udy
The Tesla Model S is brilliant. While we’re smitten with the quick electric car – the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year – Tesla CEO Elon Musk tells us there’s much more to come, including the Model X, an electric truck, and possibly self-driving cars. Musk also reaffirmed that the more affordable and higher-volume Tesla car is on the way.
In an interview with Motor Trend, Musk has revealed a bit more about the company’s future, looking past the production version of the Model X prototype — a three-row, seven-passenger SUV with gullwing style doors. We’ve also previously reported Tesla is planning a BMW 3 Series challenger that could arrive in 2015 after the Model X rolls into dealerships early in 2014. What Musk calls “an electric supercar” is part of Tesla’s plans as well, perhaps as a loose successor to the original Tesla Roadster. Most surprisingly, Musk admits he’s also been thinking about producing an electric truck. “We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology.”
Musk would also like to dip into autonomous cars. “I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google…” With the reelection of President Barack Obama, Musk hopes hybrids and electric cars will continue to become more affordable. He told Reuters that he would support tax credits of up to $10,000 on electric cars.
Read the full Motor Trend interview with Tesla’s Elon Musk right here.
Source: Motor Trend, Reuters
Greg Emmerson of European Car joins the roundtable discussion on this episode of Wide Open Throttle to discuss his recent Head 2 Head comparison of the BMW E30 M3, Scion FR-S, and Volkswagen GTI. Jessi Lang, Jonny Lieberman, Angus MacKenzie, and Ron Kiino also discuss the crowded entry-luxury segment as well as the future of new and existing electric vehicle manufacturers.
Despite the classic BMW’s high cost of entry when it was new and similar performance to the more affordable FR-S, Emmerson defends the E30 M3 and GTI against the rear-drive Scion sports car. Next, the conversation moves to the entry-luxury market with Scion and Mazda wanting to move up and Mercedes-Benz and Audi strengthening their entry-level presence with the CLA and A3 four-doors. After talking about Scion’s original purpose of bringing younger buyers into the Toyota fold and then move them into Toyota and Lexus products, Lieberman questions how the youth brand can move upmarket. The panel then debates what constitutes luxury.
Just a day after Fisker executives were questioned by a government committee about the company’s $529 million loan, the latest Wide Open Throttle video crew discuss the fate of struggling Fisker, profitable Tesla, and newcomer Detroit Electric. Emmerson notes that BMW will soon introduce the i3 and i8 electric vehicles, and wonders how it will affect other mainstream brands as well as the newer EV makers.
Check out the video below to hear the full discussion.
By Jason Udy
George Blankenship, Tesla’s VP of worldwide sales and ownership experience, recently took the opportunity to allay future Model S customer concerns with an update on the electric family sedan.
With production scheduled to commence in mid-2012, the first 1000 units built will be part of the North American Model S Signature Series. In acknowledgment of these initial models, they’ve been deemed “limited edition” and will come with their own unique badges and special options. All North American Model S Signature Series sedans will have the big 300-mile batteries.
We’ve long heard the Model S will start at $57,400 with the smallest 160-mile battery. Blankenship also disclosed the 230-mile battery will add another $10,000 to that cost, while the 300-mile battery will be a not unsubstantial $20,000 on top of the base price. As an incentive, a federal $7500 tax credit is being touted, and state governments may have their own financial perks for supporting alternative propulsion. Final MSRP and option prices are due this summer.
With the 300-mile packs expected off the line first, the 160- and 230-mile batteries will follow later in 2012. Left-hand drive deliveries to Europe will also begin in late 2012 and right-hand drive applications for Europe and Asia will follow suit in mid-2013. Tesla anticipates a grand total of 5000 sedans produced in 2012 at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. By 2013, the EV builder will be targeting an annual total of 20,000.
A few months ago, we found that Tesla expects the 20,000-unit production mark to bring them to profits. Stay tuned as we continue to follow the progress of this much-hyped electric sedan from Silicon Valley.
By Benson Kong
Tesla’s out to prove its electric Model S luxury hatchback is unique in its technological advancement. To make that happen, the company has released three videos featuring Peter Rawlinson, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, talking about the car’s structure.
We’re expecting to find more information about the Model S at the Detroit Auto Show next week but, for now, we’ve got these videos highlighting the aluminum structure.
“We’re particularly pleased with this,” Rawlinson says, “it’s a very advanced form of architecture, which is a combination of castings, extrusions, and stampings.”
Currently, the Model S is in its Alpha testing and development stage. In other words, it’s in stage one of two. As though having an electric powertrain wasn’t enough, the Model S will also distinguish itself from other luxury vehicles with its seven-passenger seating.
“Model S has such extraordinary package efficiency, it’s possible to endow it with a third row of occupants,” Rawlinson says.
Underneath that third row you’ll find the compact electric motor and rear suspension — we’re eager to see just how comfortable that third row will truly be.
Rawlinson continues in the third video, discussing how the battery pack helps increase torsional rigidity. Many still doubt whether Tesla will be capable of introducing the Model S quickly enough and selling it at a reasonable price.
“We have a very lean team,” Rawlinson says. “We have people from different disciplines sitting right next to each other and sharing the collective experience of designing and packaging the car.”
Auto News, Detroit Auto Show, Future/Spied, Green Cars, Hatchback, Hybrid Car/EV, Luxury Car, Tesla, Video Find
Our Cars: 2010 Ram 2500 HD – Highway Cruising and Moving Duties
By Zach Gale
In response to criticism surrounding Tesla’s announcement on its new financing option, CEO Elon Musk has revised the terms by offering a new resale guarantee and longer-term loans, both of which should make owning a Model S a little easier.
“When we first did the financing option, we didn’t get it quite right,” said Musk during a live webcast on the subject. We found Tesla’s claimed savings were too exaggerated when we broke down the numbers last month, but Tesla says they’ll make more sense now. To start, the company now guarantees a resale value of 50 percent after three years (ratings by ALG), up from the previous 43 percent. That figure will be adjusted in the future to keep it above its luxury sedan competition. “If we really believe we’re making the best car, we believe it should have the best resale value,” Musk said. That means Tesla’s guarantee should assure the residual value will be higher than premium sedans from Mercedes-Benz BMW, Audi, Jaguar, and Lexus.
In addition, the company has extended loans to 72 months instead of 63 months. The 12,000-mile annual limit has also been increased to 15,000 miles. Tesla’s True Cost of Ownership Model S Calculator online is a bit more conservative now, as well.
After the first financing option was announced, Tesla has seen more interest in the 60 kW-hr model, but most buyers still go with the 85 kW-hr car. “What we’re saying is you’ll get 20 percent more cash in three years,” Musk said.
With Tesla’s ultimate goal of making the Model S more accessible to interested consumers, we’re thinking the best way to accomplish that goal is to simply introduce a less expensive car.
Although initially slated to go on sale this year, the Tesla Model S seems to be inching closer to production. The electric car maker has just released new pictures of its Model S Alpha pre-production test vehicle, and, at least on styling alone, it looks ready to take on the competition in the midsize luxury market.
Looking similar to the silver Alpha test car Tesla showed us a while back, this sinewy black model sharpens its sheetmetal with sleek headlamps, chrome detailing, and smoked taillights. Compared to the original concept car we first saw back in early 2009, the latest rendition of the Model S has exchanged many of its rounded edges for taught creases and a more aggressive front clip. More traditional air inlets on the lower front fascia, wheels that look production-ready, and squarer side mirrors help to better bring into focus what the final car will look like.
The Model S won’t go on sale until late next year, starting at $57,000 before a $7500 federal tax credit. That is for the 160-mile range battery pack – a 230-mile pack will run buyers $67,000, and the 300-mile range Model S will start at a cool $77,000. The first cars to roll off of the Freemont, California assembly line will all be limited-edition Model S Signature versions with the 300-mile range pack, each of which required a $40,000 refundable deposit from prospective customers; all other Model S versions require $5000 down to save a spot. As of May 2009, Tesla already had over 1000 orders for the car.
According to Tesla’s website, the second phase of the testing for the Model S — called Beta — will begin this fall with will be production-intent vehicles built at the factory, and full series production will begin in the middle of 2012.
In the fourth episode of Wide Open Throttle, Jessi Lang tops off the hottest stories of the week, starting out with more than a dozen models coming from AMG in the next few years, electric-powered BMWs, and spy shots leaking out of the upcoming seventh-generation Corvette just around the corner, and Tesla’s sporty new Model X electric crossover. Finally, editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie talks with Jessi about Acura’s upcoming NSX.
We’re all fans of high-performance models, so whenever we hear more are coming, we get excited. And in the case of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance AMG division, we’re not just getting a few, but 17 new hot-rod Benzes, most of which are expected to come to the U.S. as well. Starting off, two AMG versions of the new SL roadster are coming, the V-12 SL 65 and V-8 SL 63, both twin-turbocharged. Next up is a Black Series version of the SLS gullwing with 600+ hp from the beloved naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter AMG V-8. Finally, AMG is aiming for the Porsche 911 with the new SLC model in 2014, expected to be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing 550 horsepower with a rear-mounted transaxle.
BMW is hoping it can balance mean and green with its new “i” series models, retaining the brand’s reputation for superb driving dynamics, while offering a more environmentally-friendly choice for enthusiasts.
Corvette traditionalists will be relieved that the C7 Corvette will still be front-engine, rear-drive, and V-8-powered. Although many expected the iconic “split window” from the 1963 model would be applied to the new model, it looks like the C6’s conventional one-piece glass hatch will carry over. The biggest news, other than the direct-injected fifth-generation small block V-8 under the hood, is a dramatically improved interior, something that’s been a constant criticism of the car since the C4.
Testing Director Kim Reynolds takes a look at the new Model X crossover, and talks with Tesla chief designer Franz Von Holzhausen about the vehicle’s “falcon wing” doors, and their practicality as well as their dramatic looks.
Regarding the upcoming Acura NSX, Angus discusses how much further the bar has been raised in the supercar segment with the Ferrari 458 Italia, with the previous NSX coming out around the same time as the Ferrari 348, one of the low points for Maranello. Can the new NSX compete with what many consider to be the zenith of Ferrari’s development?
Stay tuned to the Motor Trend YouTube channel for a new episode of Ignition on Monday, where we take a look at the new F30 BMW 335i.
We’ve tested the Tesla Model S and driven Elon Musk’s personal car to test its range — what else is left to evaluate about the fully electric premium four-door? A drag race with a new BMW M5 would be a good place to start, and that’s exactly what Automobile magazine has done in a new video.
The contender with an internal combustion engine is the new BMW M5 sedan, which is powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 producing 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Though the 2013 M5 still carries a gas guzzler tax, the eight-cylinder super-sedan is EPA-rated at 14/20 city/highway with the twin-clutch automatic and 15/22 with a six-speed manual — marked improvements over the last-generation M5′s 11/17 mpg with its V-10 engine.
Then there’s the Tesla Model S, which has “just” 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque from its electric powertrain but, in top P85 trim, is more expensive than the German four-door. The Tesla is EPA-rated at 88/90 MPGe. While the Model S of course lacks an engine note, the car can launch off the line far quicker than the M5.
Though one of the four-doors is clearly ahead by the time they reach the finish line, the other appears to be closing in. Watch the video below to find out which car wins in Automobile magazine’s drag race.
Source: Automobile magazine via YouTube
By Zach Gale
Starting a new car company is hard. Tesla has been finding that out, and it has reported larger losses in 2012 than it did in 2013. It’s not all bad, though – the company is now building 400 Model S cars per day and is on track to produce 20,000 of them this year.
Indeed, the automaker says much of its red ink stems directly from ramping up production of the Model S, the company’s sole product at this point in time. The company says it is now churning out 400 units a day, and is allegedly on track to build roughly 20,000 copies by the end of 2013.
The negative numbers don’t seem to have placed a damper on Tesla’s outlook. CEO Elon Musk stated during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, “We really have a very high confidence that we will have a profitable first quarter, and this is the very first quarter that we have been at our target production rate.” It’s because Tesla has only just got up and running with its 400-unit-per-day rate that we don’t have full sales numbers yet; the company is still working through a backlog of orders on the Model S – unsurprising, given how impressed we were when we named the Model S our Car of the Year. That said, it still reported sales of 2400 cars in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has grown its international store total to 32. A total of 2650 Model S cars were sold in 2012.
Tesla is aiming to increase its global retail footprint to 52 stores by the end of this year, and also hopes to roll out a leasing program for the Model S and to continue expanding its Supercharger network. Musk stated that the expansion plans will only help to propel the company’s growth, as it currently has “over 15,000″ reservations for the Model S and expect to post a quarterly profit for Q1 of 2013. Ambitious goals, and we’ll have to wait and see how they shake out over the course of 2013.
Sources: Telsa, Automotive News (Subscription required)