2017 North American International Auto Show: Families–rich or otherwise—rule!

14 Jan 2017 | 566 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Most of us car writers usually try to pick a main theme every year following the 2017 North American International Auto Show, now underway in Detroit. Sometimes it's sports cars. Sometimes it's sport utility vehicles. Other times it's hybrid or electric cars. Whatever. Well,  this year, it's clearly family cars. And that means a totally new affordable family sedan like the 2018 Toyota Camry. Or the livery for the well-heeled family--the also all new Lexus LS500. Or a dependable ride for big families like the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse or 2018 Honda odyssey, which both were totally revamped models this season. So, here's a rundown of the introductions: 2018 Toyota Camry Wow! Toyota really went all in, so to speak on the new Camry and it looks way sportier, way sleeker and much more interesting than ever before.  But be warned: This isn't your Dad's Camry. At first you may experience some shock because it simply is not what you expected. 2018_Toyota_Camry_XSE_01_801A0656131BD1E73F9CA07E81070805C2D76D4C But Toyota knows full well that it has big-time competition in the hotly contested family sedan segment---I think Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima are all overdue for major rehauls, and Chevy's Malibu knocked it out of the ballpark with its all-new 2016 redo-- and just picking at the edges for Toyota Camry would not have gotten the job done for the venerable family sedan. So Toyota went full tilt with the 2018 verion, and I say kudos for doing so. Three new powertrains will be available on the new 2018 Camry: They include a new 3.5-liter V6 with D-4S Fuel Injection and an all-new 2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline engine, which comes paired to a new 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission (8AT), and a next-generation Toyota Hybrid System (THS II). Toyota also took major steps to improve handling and provide a more sporty and fun-to-drive ambiance for the Camry. First there's the high-strength body/platform structure. Through the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel and the application of a new molding technology it delivers enhanced structural rigidity. Toyota also is using an innovative new double wishbone rear suspension system that imbues the chassis with responsive handling and precise steering control while simultaneously delivering ride quality on par with premium luxury vehicles, Toyota says. A new four-point engine mounting system adds to Camry's already civil road manners as it greatly reduces unwanted noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) from permeating into the passenger compartment. None of this was easy for Toyota to do, according to a news release. "The biggest challenge for the Camry engineering team was to figure out how to convey the driving dynamics of a soul-stirring sedan.  Driving dynamics were always at the forefront of the engineering philosophy for the new Camry.  They wanted a new Camry in which the driver will be highly impressed with the handling capability and composure of the new design.  So much so, that drivers will notice the dramatic improvements within the first few seconds of driving," the release says. Among the many safety features on the 2018 Camry is standard Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P). This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles cutting edge active safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB). Select models will also come with standard Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). All 2018 Camry’s have 10 standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology®. All Camry’s also come equipped with a standard backup camera. 2018_Toyota_Camry_XSE_Int_01_4C790F0405071D3B61BE8D59F9901F24B79CFE4C On the entertainment side of the equation, Toyota' Camry will have a new Toyota Entune™ 3.0 multimedia system.  The new 2018 Camry will feature Entune 3.0 on all models, offering an enhanced set of connected vehicle technologies. The Entune 3.0 system will feature navigation and App Suite Connect for everyone.  All Camry four-cylinder and hybrid models will come standard with the Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps.  Camry V6 models will offer the new Dynamic Navigation system, providing improved map accuracy.  The wireless map updates provide over-the-air map downloads of recently added roads and point-of-interest not contained in the existing head unit map. Entune 3.0 delivers several new technologies including available Remote Connect, which provides remote start and door unlock capability, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor, and vehicle finder.  Keeping up with your vehicle’s health status has never been easier.  Available Service Connect will provide up-to-date vehicle information on fuel level, maintenance alerts, and more.  Entune 3.0 will also offer available WiFi Connect, allowing up to five mobile devices to connect using 4G LTE. The new 2018 Camry will also offer a JBL premium audio system that features new advancements in sound quality.  Sound enhancements include Sound Staging, which positions speakers directly in front of the listener to help emulate a live concert venue; Low Frequency Sounds, made possible by an added 10.1-inch subwoofer; Clari-Fi, a technology that “un-compresses” music to help restore an audio track’s dynamic range; and nine speakers that are specifically tuned to the Camry’s cabin dimensions and materials. 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Chevy's all-new 2018 Traverse, the brand's mainstream family hauler, hit the auto show floor with a brand new, more elegant and rich looking exterior design and plenty of new and upgraded features. [caption id="attachment_8532" align="alignnone" width="713"]Built for style and purpose – inside and out, the completely redesigned 2018 Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages and lifestyles comfortable and connected. Traverse will deliver what is expected to be best-in-class third-row legroom, maximum cargo room and passenger volume with an enhanced roster of available active safety features. Built for style and purpose – inside and out, the completely redesigned 2018 Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages and lifestyles comfortable and connected. Traverse will deliver what is expected to be best-in-class third-row legroom, maximum cargo room and passenger volume with an enhanced roster of available active safety features.[/caption] The 2018 Traverse will be the fourth updated crossover or SUV from Chevrolet within a year, joining the Trax, Bolt EV and 2018 Equinox, further strengthening the brand’s crossover and SUV lineup. The  new look is inspired by Chevrolet’s full-size SUVs, with purposeful proportions complemented by premium cues such as chrome accents, LED signature lighting and available D-Optic LED headlamps. Chevrolet is adding two new trim levels for the 2018 Traverse — the sporty RS and luxurious High Country — to offer customers more choices for a personalized appearance. The new RS package includes unique, blacked-out exterior cues with a black chrome grille, black bowtie, 20-inch wheels and more. The High Country trim features premium content and technology, including a unique interior trim featuring Loft Brown leather appointments with suede accents, 20-inch polished wheels, High Country badging, D-Optic headlamps, standard twin-clutch AWD and power-fold third row seats. “The all-new Traverse blends Chevrolet’s characteristic SUV cues with capability and refinement,” said John Cafaro, executive director, Global Chevrolet Design. “Inside and out, it offers style with a purpose.” [caption id="attachment_8534" align="alignnone" width="375"]The 2018 Traverse High Country trim features premium content and technology, including a unique interior trim featuring Loft Brown leather appointments with suede accents, 20-in polished wheels, High Country badging, D-Optic headlamps and standard twin-clutch AWD. The 2018 Traverse High Country trim features premium content and technology, including a unique interior trim featuring Loft Brown leather appointments with suede accents, 20-in polished wheels, High Country badging, D-Optic headlamps and standard twin-clutch AWD.[/caption] Company officials say that  with available seating for up to eight and a longer wheelbase than the current model, the Traverse "has few peers when it comes to capacity and roominess. In fact, the new Traverse is expected to offer best-in-class passenger volume as well as max cargo room at 98.5 cubic feet (2,789 liters), while greater storage options and larger bins throughout the ergonomically optimized cabin are designed to enhance convenience and versatility. And loading the Traverse is a breeze with a new Chevrolet bowtie logo lamp feature illuminating the ground to show where drivers need to place a foot to activate the available hands-free power liftgate." A new split-folding second-row seat improves on the Traverse’s original Smart Slide® feature. The curbside seat is capable of tipping up and sliding forward, even with a forward-facing child seat in place, to provide open and easy access to the third row.  Third-row legroom is expected to be the most spacious in the segment at 33.7 inches (856 mm). Chevrolet says that the 2018 Traverse offers purposeful technology designed to help keep passengers safe, comfortable and connected. Chevrolet’s latest connectivity technologies include available 7- and 8-inch-diagonal MyLink infotainment systems designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are products of Apple and Google and their terms and privacy statements apply.  Requires compatible smartphone and data plan rates apply.) Passengers will have access to USB charging ports in all three seating rows, available wireless charging and steering wheel-mounted phone and audio controls. Chevrolet’s Rear Seat Reminder feature is standard on all trim levels. When it comes to helping to protect passengers, a comprehensive suite of available safety technologies and adaptive crash-avoidance features offers ease of use and added peace of mind, with new available features including:
  • Surround Vision
  • D-Optic LED headlamps (standard on High Country and Premier)
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Low and High-Speed Forward Automatic Braking.
Teen Driver is standard, allowing parents to set certain controls and review performance in order to help encourage better driving habits, even when parents are not in the vehicle. A new 3.6L V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission form the standard propulsion system, expected to offer nearly 10 percent more horsepower than the current model and a GM-estimated 25 mpg highway (FWD). The combination also supports an estimated 5,000-pound (2,268 kg) trailering capacity when properly equipped. Sporting the new RS trim, the Traverse will exclusively feature a 2.0L turbocharged engine that provides a unique driving experience, with more maximum torque than the V-6. It is also paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Both engines feature new intelligent stop/start technology that determines the best times for fuel-saving engine-stop events, based on a variety of driving factors. New Traction Mode Select is standard on all models and allows the driver to make real-time adjustments to the vehicle’s driving mode to account for varying road conditions. On available AWD models, it also allows the system to be completely disconnected from the rear axle, which helps save fuel and enhances refinement. High Country’s exclusive Advanced AWD system employs twin-clutch technology that optimizes traction for every condition it encounters. It is engineered for optimal performance in wet, snowy and icy conditions, while also providing enhanced stability in dry conditions. 2018 Honda Odyssey Honda's popular minivan took its turn in the show spotlight with an all new model that featured more flowing, unified and contemporary styling along with a long list of new innovations that should keep it at the head of American consumers' list for favorite minivan. [caption id="attachment_8526" align="alignnone" width="600"]2018 Honda Odyssey 2018 Honda Odyssey[/caption] Already the most popular minivan with individual American car buyers for seven years running, the next-generation Odyssey brings a host of new features and technologies for 2018, including a uniquely versatile new Magic Slide™ second-row seat; new CabinWatch and CabinTalk technologies; new Display Audio touchscreen with Honda-developed OS; 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity; new Rear Entertainment System with streaming video; and Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, now offered standard on EX and above trims. "This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment," said John Mendel, Executive Vice President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination." In a news release, company officials said, "The Odyssey's sophisticated and modern new styling adopts Honda's signature flying wing front grille flanked by available LED front headlights. The bold and sporty front fascia also conceals a new Active Shutter Grille for improved fuel efficiency when cruising. The Odyssey's signature lightning bolt beltline now provides an even more elegant design element with the sliding door tracks hidden in the lower portion of the rear quarter windows. At the rear there are LED taillights and an available new hands-free power tailgate with foot activation." The release adds, "Inside, the new Odyssey features high-grade materials including a soft-touch instrument panel. The driver's meter features a new 7-inch, full-color TFT display, and in the center of the dash there is an available 8-inch high-resolution Display Audio touchscreen interface (EX and above). In upper grades, stain-resistant leather first- and second-row seating surfaces and door trim and black carpeting and black seatbelts are designed to conceal stains, while a new grooveless tambour lid on the spacious and versatile center console resists the accumulation of crumbs and debris." Connectivity is a big deal with families these days and that is doubly true for minivans. For the all new Odyssey, officials said, connectivity "is taken to a whole new "family connectivity" concept.  Old-fashioned family connectivity – sometimes called a conversation – is made easier than ever with the quietest cabin in the class, and is augmented with a multitude of new connected-vehicle features and technologies, including:
  • New Display Audio – featuring a new Honda-developed operating system, more intuitive menus and customizable app tiles, this 8-inch high-resolution (720P) touchscreen interface serves as the nerve center for a multitude of new audio and telematics options, including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, and adds a physical volume knob for improved usability.
  • System updates – users can download available updates to the Display Audio operating system and rear entertainment system at their convenience via 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, or USB.
  • CabinWatch – using a camera, CabinWatch lets the driver and front passenger keep tabs on passengers both day and night via the 8-inch Display Audio screen.
  • CabinTalk – enables the driver to talk to second - and third-row passengers though the second-and third-row speakers and rear entertainment system headphones.
  • Connected Rear Entertainment System – second- and third-row passengers can enjoy streaming video on the ceiling-mounted, 10.2-inch WSVGA Rear Entertainment System, including PBS Kids, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more, through the available in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi, public Wi-Fi or user's cellphone data plan. A new "How Much Farther?" app lets passengers track the family's trip progress.
  • CabinControl – using a downloadable app, users can use a smart phone to control the rear entertainment system, rear cabin heat and air conditioning, and send destinations to the embedded Honda navigation system.
  • Social Play List – part of CabinControl, Social Playlist operates like a virtual jukebox, allowing up to seven family members to upload their music choices to the audio system via their smartphones."
Cabin quietness is enabled by new features and technologies including triple door seals, available acoustic front and side glass, and increased use of sound deadening materials under the floor, in the engine compartment and under the fenders, along with standard Active Sound Control technology. One major innovation to family-friendly cabin seating flexibility that is likely to be quite popular is the Odyssey's new Magic Slide™ second-row seat, easily reconfigurable for optimal passenger comfort, people- and cargo-hauling flexibility, and easy access to third-row seating – even when one or two rear-facing child seats are placed in the second row. Use modes include:
  • Easy Access mode – with the center seat removed, the outboard seats slide laterally through five selectable positions, allowing for easy access to the third row even with one or two rear-facing child seats installed in the second row. And with the center-most seat slid forward, a child is put within easy reach of the front seat occupants.
  • Super mode – like Easy Access mode but with the driver's side seat set to walk-in position (slid full forward with the seatback tilted) for maximum access to the third row.
  • Wide mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats in their outer most positions, providing a wide center walkthrough to the third row (and no more "Dad, he's touching me again!").
  • Buddy mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats abutting one another in the center of the vehicle, putting two people in close proximity and within easier reach of the front seat occupants.
  2018 Lexus LS500 Perhaps the most stunning introduction at the show  was the 2018 Lexus LS500, which showed off a reathtaking, slinky and totally visionary design for tomorrow's luxury cars. With the almost astonishing new design, Lexus now catapults to the head of the class for upper end luxury cars, sure to turn heads wherever it appears once it hits the street. 2017_NAIAS_2018_Lexus_LS_500_004_125EF9585DDD2A9ED152A76D0F7673E2FA239F89   It's not surprising however, that the company decided to go for the stars with this design. This is Lexus' signature car, the one that started the  brand on its march toward luxury car prominence. And as a news release says, this fifth generation model reflects "a strong, uniquely Japanese identity and approach to luxury. Yet, the LS was designed to be the brand’s latest global citizen, available in about 90 countries." “Not only will the LS symbolize the Lexus brand, it will become the definitive new-generation luxury car embodying Japanese tradition and culture,” said Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the new LS. “As such, this global pinnacle must go far beyond what the world expects from a luxury car.” The release adds, "Longer and lower than the sedan it replaces, the all-new LS debuts a strikingly bold design with a coupe-like silhouette punctuated by the Lexus design language. A new driver-centric performance feel comes from building the LS on the company’s all-new global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L). This premium rear-wheel drive platform, an extended version of the one used for the stunning new Lexus LC 500 coupe, will offer a more dynamic experience on the road while further elevating renowned Lexus comfort. " 2017_NAIAS_2018_Lexus_LS_500_018_EB2FE0731F08D6FB9DB60BEF2FF10A18C53F9CB7 It adds, "The original Lexus LS won acclaim by anticipating what luxury customers would want, rather than simply amplifying what established luxury automobile brands offered at the time. In that spirit, the 2018 LS sedan’s spacious cabin, unique appointments and visionary technology will once again surprise customers by resetting expectations for a global flagship sedan." “We set previously unheard of targets and resolutely pushed ahead towards these ambitious goals,” said LS chief engineer, Asahi. “The customers who are going to want to own a Lexus flagship are already surrounded by luxury on a daily basis, people who have a sharp eye for authenticity to begin with. We wouldn’t turn their heads with a conventional premium product.” Explaining the theory behind the design, a Lexus designer said, "A common thread going through all LS models remains: Omotenashi, the concept of Japanese hospitality. Applied to a luxury automobile, it means taking care of the driver and passengers, anticipating their needs, attending to their comfort and helping to protect them from hazards. More than ever before, luxury sedan drivers demand greater handling agility and performance feel without sacrificing comfort. It’s one of the most difficult balances to achieve in a vehicle, yet the new Lexus global architecture for luxury vehicles (GA–L) meets the challenge. The new platform debuted in the LC 500 coupe and now, with a longer wheelbase, underpins the new LS. To enhance center of gravity height and weight distribution, the new LS has a wide and low design." The GA-L platform is the stiffest in Lexus history, setting the stage for enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. The 123-inch wheelbase is 1.3-inch longer than the current LS long-wheelbase model. Helping to provide the uncanny ride and handling balance in the new LS is the latest generation of a chassis control technology known as Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM). This system implements cooperative control of all vehicle subsystems – braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension – to control basic longitudinal, lateral and vertical motion as well as yaw, roll and pitch. Optimal control of these motions helps to enable exceptional ride comfort, enhanced traction and safety and handling agility. Handling can be further enhanced by active stabilizer bars and the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) System with independent front and rear steering. VDIM is capable of aiding stability when the car is traversing split-friction surfaces, such as dry pavement and ice. In creating the new LS, engineers used lightweight materials including ultra-high tensile steel sheet and aluminum to carve over 200 pounds from the current LS platform and body. These savings, along with the implementation of the new V6 engine and enhanced body rigidity, allow for a more dynamic driving experience. Critical to its driving performance, the new platform lowers the car’s center of gravity by placing most of the mass, including the engine and the occupants, in a position more centralized and lower in the chassis. Special braces in the engine compartment, stiff aluminum front and rear suspension towers, and other features help bolster the strength of key chassis structures. The multilink suspension employs double ball joints on the upper and lower control arms to help allow for control of the smallest movements from the driver inputs and road conditions. Beyond sharing workload, a dual ball joint arrangement helps optimize suspension geometry to increase wheel control and yield more precise steering response with better initial effort. To reduce unsprung weight and therefore aid agility and comfort, aluminum is used extensively in the suspension. Lexus designed an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine specifically for the new LS with all-new twin turbos developed through the company’s F1 technology. This new engine in the LS is indicative of the more dynamic approach being taken by Lexus, offering V8-level power without sacrificing fuel economy—all while minimizing noise and vibration. The new LS engine offers the output one would expect in a flagship sedan: 415 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, sizeable gains over the current LS model’s V8. The long stroke and optimized stroke-to-bore ratio contribute to high-speed combustion and the efficiency of the twin turbos, which assist the LS with a projected 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds (RWD). Perhaps more critical is how Lexus tuned the engine and transmission to deliver instant acceleration and a constant buildup of torque toward the engine’s redline. A ladder frame structure in the cylinder block, redesigned engine mounts, electric wastegates and numerous other features help ensure the remarkable powertrain smoothness, a Lexus hallmark. The driver will be able to tailor powertrain response and feel by choosing from Normal to Sport to Sport+ modes, and just enough of the exhaust note can be heard to enhance the sporty feel. The first-ever 10-speed automatic transmission for a premium passenger car, having already debuted in the Lexus LC 500, is also used in the new LS flagship sedan. It is a torque-converter automatic, yet with shift times that rival those of dual-clutch transmissions. The wide bandwidth afforded by ten closely spaced ratios is ideal for all forms of driving, helping to provide an optimal gear for all conditions. Shifting via paddles is available, yet many will prefer the advanced electronic control system, which anticipates the driver’s input. The system chooses the ideal ratio by monitoring the acceleration, braking and lateral-g forces.   2018 Kia Stinger Kia's 2018 Stinger stole the show--and hearts--in Detroit. [caption id="attachment_8535" align="alignnone" width="592"]2018 Stinger 2018 Stinger[/caption] It's a striking A five-passenger fastback sports sedan that the company says is "poised to redefine a segment currently populated by European automakers" and it ", promises to be the highest-performance production vehicle in the company’s history and is backed by Kia Motors’ industry-leading quality and reliability.  Offered with multiple engine and drivetrain configurations and luxurious accommodations, the Stinger is planned to go on sale in the U.S. late this year.  Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch date. “Unlike any Kia that has come before it, the Stinger really is a dream car for us, and here today in Detroit, that dream is now a reality after years of commitment and hard work from a passionate group of designers, engineers and executives around the world,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America. “From its GT concept-car origins to the years of tuning and refining on the legendary Nurburgring circuit, no detail was too small to be obsessed over, and the result is simply stunning.” [caption id="attachment_8536" align="alignnone" width="447"]2018 Stinger 2018 Stinger[/caption] Instantly recognizable as a direct evolution of the concept that preceded it, the all-new 2018 Kia Stinger design was overseen by Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors’ chief design officer, and his talented team of designers in Frankfurt.  Ride and handling development was looked after by Albert Biermann, head of Kia’s Vehicle Test and High Performance Development and his group of engineers in Korea and on the grueling Nurburgring racing circuit. Turning a concept into a production car is no small task and Schreyer looked no further than Kia’s Frankfurt studio – the birthplace of the GT concept – to bring the Stinger to life, a Kia news release said. “A true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace,” notes Gregory Guillaume, chief designer, Kia Motors Europe.  “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey.  It’s about passion.” From its sleek front clip through its svelte flanks, and up to its powerful haunches, the Stinger exudes a muscular confidence.  Key to its road presence are the rear-wheel-drive proportions; a long hood and short front overhang, an extended wheelbase to deliver a spacious cabin, and a long rear overhang with strong shoulders.  The Stinger’s stance and visual balance are designed to lend the car an air of elegance and athleticism, rather than boy-racer aggression. The wide front and rear track, along with the recessed contours along the doors, enhance the visual power of the Stinger’s shoulder line as well as its fastback silhouette.  Other purely functional elements of the exterior design – the front air curtains, wheel arch gills, smooth underbody, and integrated rear diffuser – aid its aerodynamic efficiency.  The rear valance houses four oval exhaust pipes. Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille sits proudly between complex LED headlamps. The low-slung cabin with its steeply raked windshield and backlight, sits toward the rear of vehicle, creating a fast silhouette.  Inside is a space dedicated to the thrill of driving while cossetting the occupants in luxury.  Available ultra-soft Nappa leather covers the deeply contoured seats and the driver’s seat has available air-cell bladders in the seatback and bolsters for optimal support and comfort. A confident dashboard creates a strong horizontal plane for the driver to work.  The center console is intuitively split into two specific areas: the infotainment controls sit neatly below a large color touchscreen, while the climate and ventilation controls nestle beneath.   Front and center of the driver is a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a single instrument binnacle with a combination of analog and digital instrumentation.  The large gauges are ringed in metal and accentuated with sweeping red needles. A color TFT screen between the gauges relays performance data such as cornering G-forces, lap times and engine-oil temperature, along with ancillary information such as the trip computer, driver settings, navigation and diagnostics.  Aeronautically-inspired spoked circular vents are found front and rear and a tasteful satin chrome trim piece encircles the cabin.  The effect is a feeling of cocooned intimacy.  But the long wheelbase allows for generous front and rear leg room and the low seating position provides ample head room front and back.      At 114.4 inches, the Stinger’s wheelbase is longer than the Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, BMW 4 Gran Coupe and even the Lexus GS and Mercedes CLS1.  It’s also longer overall (190.2 inches) and wider (73.6 inches) than the others in the segment, allowing for spacious accommodations.  The Stinger’s cargo area is also larger than many in its class, with enough space for full-size luggage or golf bags and a power liftgate with Smart Trunk functionality is available. Riding on a chassis comprised of 55 percent advanced high-strength steel, the Stinger provides an ultra-stiff foundation for the ride-and-handling engineers to work with.  This rigidity also contributes to reduced NVH and a quiet cabin.  The MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension has been tuned to provide optimal feedback to the driver. A Kia first, ride-damping and vehicle handling traits may be modified by the driver through an electronically adjustable suspension known as Dynamic Stability Damping Control.  While always reacting predictably to the driver’s inputs, depending on road conditions and driving style, the Stinger can be tuned to respond with more agility through corners as the system softens the front shocks and firms up the rear.  Conversely, improved high-speed stability is achieved when the system stiffens the front shocks and softens the rear.  The system is accessed through five drive modes (another Kia first): Personal, Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart. Standard variable ratio Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS) offers razor-sharp feedback through direct mounting of the electric motor on the steering rack, enhancing steering response and reducing unwanted vibration from transmitting through the column.  Steering boost is also adjustable through the five selectable drive mode If the chassis symbolizes the bones of a gran turismo, then surely the available powertrains represent its heart.  Oriented longitudinally and set rearward beneath the long, sculpted hood, a choice of two turbocharged engines are available. The standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Theta II engine produces an estimated 255 horsepower at approximately 6,200 rpm.  Max torque of 260 lb.-ft. is available from 1,400 – 4,000 rpm.  Performance credentials are further enhanced through the available 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 Lambda II engine, which is anticipated to produce 365 horsepower at an estimated 6,000 rpm and offer max torque of 376 lb.-ft. from 1,300 – 4,500 rpm.  Kia is targeting 5.1 seconds to 62 mph and a top speed of 167 mph with the twin turbocharged V6. The Stinger features a second-generation eight-speed rear-drive automatic transmission. First offered in the K900 luxury sedan, the gearbox has been designed in-house and rewards drivers with crisp shifts and maximized fuel efficiency.  More typically found in aviation- and racing-engine applications, the transmission features Kia’s first use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) torque converter to help reduce torsional vibrations through the drivetrain. Drivers can let the gearbox manage shifts on its own or may selectively run through the gears via paddle shifters mounted aft of the steering wheel.  As with the suspension and steering, up to five different shift patterns may be selected through the vehicle’s electronic drive-mode system.  Throttle mapping is also adjusted accordingly. The Stinger is Kia’s first sedan available with rear- or all-wheel drive.  Rear-wheel biased for optimal control in the wet or dry, the AWD system features a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control system which monitors driver inputs and road conditions and automatically applies power and braking force to the appropriate wheels to maintain course in adverse conditions.  Rear-drive vehicles get the benefit of a mechanical limited slip differential to help evenly distribute power through the rear wheels. A choice of alloy wheels and tires are also offered.  The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder models ride on 225/45R-18 performance tires while the 3.3-liter V6 is shod with staggered ultra-high performance rubber; 225/40R-19 in front and 255/35R-19 at the rear. Vented Brembo®2 disc brakes are standard on the 3.3-liter twin turbo and feature quad-piston front calipers and dual-piston rear calipers. Offering luxurious amenities and unexpected features have become part of Kia’s DNA and the Stinger continues that tradition.  Multiple Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) seamlessly work together to enhance the driving experience. A Kia first is the new Driver Attention Alert (DAA)system to help combat distracted or drowsy driving.  The system monitors a number of inputs from the vehicle and the driver and will sound a warning chime and display a graphic in the instrument binnacle that it’s time to take a break from driving if it senses the driver’s attention level has been significantly reduced. Forward Collision Assistance (FCA) with integrated Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection can detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the car to a halt.  Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) maintains a pre-set distance between the Stinger and the vehicle in front and can bring the car to a full stop in congested traffic. Lane Keep Assist (LKA) actively monitors the vehicle’s intended lane and will alert the driver with an audible warning along with providing steering input to help maintain the vehicle’s position.  Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)3 scans the area behind the vehicle when backing from a parking space and will alert the driver with an audible warning if cross traffic is detected. The height-adjustable color Head-Up Display (HUD) display enables the driver to see key driving information reflected on the windshield glass, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation, audio and cruise control settings and Blind Spot Detection information.  Resting within the center console is a wireless Smartphone charging pad and Bluetooth hands-free operation is standard while many of the vehicle’s subsystems may be accessed through the steering-wheel-mounted controls. Long-distance travel is a hallmark of the gran turismo ownership experience and there is a trio of high-performance audio systems designed to turn the interior into a dynamic concert hall as the miles blur by.  The base audio system for the 2.0-liter turbo features six-speakers and a seven-inch haptic touchscreen with the latest version of UVO, Kia’s award-winning telematics systems.  The standard system found in the 3.3-liter twin turbo ups the speaker count to nine and includes an external amplifier.  The available premium Harman/Kardon audio system pumps out 720 watts through an external amplifier to provide crystal-clear music.  With 15 speakers and Kia’s first under-seat mounted subwoofers tucked beneath the driver and passenger seats, the system features Clari-Fi, a patented music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals that are lost in the digital compression process. This technology returns a high-fidelity listening experience to any compressed digital source.  The system also comes equipped with next-generation QuantumLogic™9 Surround Sound technology, which extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail. Infiniti QX50 Concept Infiniti has become quite the master when it come to small, sexy crossovers. Now comes the QX50 Concept, which the company says "marks the next stage in Infiniti's continued renewal of its product range. Infiniti designs concepts with production intent, such as true-to-concept production versions of the Q30, QX30 and Q60 concepts. The creation of each of these has previewed the design and layout of the brand's next-generation models. The QX50 Concept previews the evolving signature Infiniti design elements, demonstrating how they could be adapted for a mid-sized premium crossover," a news release said. [caption id="attachment_8539" align="alignnone" width="750"]Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language. A ‘cabin-forward’ silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover. Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language. A ‘cabin-forward’ silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover.[/caption]   "With its ground breaking proportions, the 2003 Infniti FX45 set the template for future crossovers to follow throughout the last decade. The world's first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the Infiniti FX is still considered a crossover design icon today. Last year's QX Sport Inspiration sought to rekindle that excitement – and in an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the new QX50 Concept now illustrates how these design themes could be translated into a production reality," the news release adds. Influenced by the design of the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept, which is seen by the company a being the latest example of Infiniti's "Powerful Elegance" design language, expresses its crossover purpose through proportional clarity, clearly telegraphing its power and dynamic capabilities," the company says. " The QX50 Concept eschews many of the familiar, 'me too' design forms and themes shared by established models in the mid-size premium crossover segment. The result is a highly original yet practical new crossover form, demonstrating how the design of Infiniti's earlier concept could be adapted for future production models." The QX50 Concept also is the latest embodiment of the luxury brand's  'Powerful Elegance' design language and is both aesthetic and functional, an Infinti design spokesman said. [caption id="attachment_8540" align="alignnone" width="375"]Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language. A ‘cabin-forward’ silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover. Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language. A ‘cabin-forward’ silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover.[/caption] " The exterior of the concept combines taut and muscular lines with flowing, heavily profiled surfaces. A sharp, straight character line runs from the clamshell hood and along the length of its shoulders, giving the QX50 Concept a commanding presence and extending the vehicle's visual length. A wide, muscular stance accentuates its versatile capability." Infiniti's signature design elements are evident on the QX50 Concept, each subtly evolved for their new application. At the front, brand's  double-arch grille conveys an immediate sense of power and purpose and provides a focal point for every line on the concept's body. A taller, wider and more practical vehicle than the QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept's grille adds a greater sense of presence to the front of the car. At the rear of the vehicle, the leading edge of the crescent-cut D-pillar is higher than on any current Infiniti production car, further extending the visual length of the roofline. The interplay of the exterior lines and surfaces is accentuated by a newly-created Forged Bronze paint finish, with three times the amount of metal flake compared with standard production paint finishes. In profile, the hood is shaped like the rise of a snake's head, with a pair of sharp creases extending upwards from the base of the A-pillar, then plunging down the hood, leading into the edges of the expansive 'double-arch' grille. These lines disguise the hood's relatively short length, suggesting how the appearance of a production car could be adapted for a more compact engine, such as Infiniti's VC-Turbo, applying power to the road through an intelligent all-wheel drive powertrain. Functionality is a necessity in the mid-sized crossover segment and is central to the QX50 Concept's design. More practical than its QX Sport Inspiration progenitor, the QX50 Concept has a 'cabin-forward' silhouette and a slightly more vertical rear hatch, both reference points for a versatile and accommodating interior. The new shape of the crescent-cut D-pillar provides clearer over-the-shoulder visibility for the driver and a better view out for rear passengers. Inside, the QX50 Concept blends  progressive design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship, the cabin of the QX50 Concept demonstrates Infiniti's desire to challenge and reinterpret conventional thinking on premium crossover interior design and material usage. In the place of high-gloss woods and soft-touch plastics, the interior of the QX50 Concept features a more modern application of wood, leather and stitching. Each material is treated and applied in a way to establish new trends in the design of premium crossover interiors. Deliberately articulating a sense of advanced human artistry, the QX50 Concept's cabin espouses a handmade feel and is the result of two Japanese approaches to craftsmanship – 'mitate' (pronounced "mee-ta-teh") and 'shitate' ("shee-ta-teh"). 'Mitate' relates to the practice of curating and bringing together the best possible selection of materials. 'Shitate' is the desire to tailor the chosen combination of materials, bringing out the best. With fine attention to detail and finish, such an approach creates an appearance and ambience throughout the cabin greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of materials and the way in which they have been applied has allowed designers to demonstrate some of the highest levels of craftsmanship ever seen in a crossover in this segment. The QX50 Concept is wrapped in a variety of different leathers – genuine, semi-aniline, and synthetic nubuck – for a rich variety of textures and visual depth. The eyes naturally follow each different surface as it flows around the cabin. The QX50 Concept's cabin hints at a widening range of interior finishes for Infiniti customers to choose from, including a carefully selected three-tone color scheme. Adopting different leathers for the interior allows Infiniti to imagine how this three-tone cabin could look. Rich, brown leather lines the upper layer of the cabin, contrasted with white leather for the lower dashboard, door trim and seats. Between the two runs a line of navy blue synthetic nubuck, which also finishes the front center console. A line of close twin stitching runs along the top of the dashboard and doors, and around the seats.   2017 BMW 5 Series BMW's 5 series has always been the epitome of the perfect sports sedan, and this year's model, introduced at the auto show for its American unveiling, will likely keep up the tradition. P90237217_highRes For 2017, the company endowed the 5 Series with improved performance and dynamics with improved steering feel, available Adaptive mode and all-new 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engines, with an output increase of 35 hp on the 6-cylinder.Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph by up to 7/10th of a second on the BMW 540i xDrive model. The new model is lighter, too--weight has been reduced to up to 137 pounds  through extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel . It also has the latest Latest iDrive 6.0 system and improved Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Thanks to the available state of the art chassis systems including Dynamic Damper Control with Adaptive Mode and Integral Active Steering, now combinable with xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, Advanced Driver Assistant Systems and Parking Assistance Systems the all-new BMW 5 Series once more defines the athletic and executive design of a true sport sedan. Featuring a new user interface (iDrive 6.0) including an 8.8-inch Dynamic Instrument Cluster, available Gesture Control, the latest generation of Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved Voice Control with natural voice input, the 2017 BMW 5 Series marks a new era of personalized connectivity. The BMW 5 Series is the most innovative BMW 5 Series to date clearing the way towards semi-automated driving. At launch, the 7th generation BMW 5 Series will be available starting at $51,200 plus $995 Destination and Handling. BMW M550i xDrive and BMW 530e iPerformance and 530e xDrive iPerformance models arriving at dealers in spring.  
The exterior dimensions of the new car are only slightly larger than those of its predecessor. The new BMW 5 Series Sedan is 1.2 inches longer than the outgoing model 0.3 inches wider and 0.6 inches taller. Its wheelbase measures 117.1 inches (+0.2 inches). The familiar BMW kidney grille is flanked by twin circular headlights with the headlight housings now connecting seamlessly with the kidney grille, emphasizing the car’s width. The standard LED Adaptive headlights already make the BMW 5 Series a captivating prospect, its concentrated gaze locked onto the road. Adaptive Full LED Headlights alter the light graphic and can be specified as an option. With Adaptive Full LED Headlights, the LED tubes of the daytime running lights are hexagonal and extend to meet the kidney grille, creating a stylistic connection that accentuates the wide, low-to-the-road appearance of the front end. The passenger cell is set back and leads the eye over a flowing roofline to the rear end, while a short front overhang underscores the car’s sporty appearance.
       "For the first time, the new BMW 5 Series Sedan brings together two traditional BMW design elements which are normally separate from one another. The swage line turns up as it heads rearwards, moving from shadow to light and sweeping up the Hofmeister kink in its path rather than continuing into the rear. This upwards motion lends the car a forward-surging character, and the expressive, swooping surface imbues it with an undeniable muscularity,” a company design spokesman said. Around the back, "The low-slung, expressive and width-accentuating design of the rear end points to the dynamic, direct handling of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan. The rear lights reach deep into the sides of the car, creating a visual connection between its flanks and rear end. Cutting-edge LED bars enable a slim interpretation of the hallmark BMW “L” shape and underline the width of the new sedan. Another defining element of the rear end are the exhaust tailpipes, which are now arranged symmetrically on both sides on all model variants. Depending on the engine and equipment package specified, the tailpipes will be circular (four-cylinder engines) or trapezoidal (six-cylinder versions and cars with the M Sport package)," the news release said. Two non-metallic and 11 metallic color shades are available for the new BMW 5 Series. Customers can choose from a total of 4 different light-alloy wheels (18-inch, 19 inch and 20-inch). The M Sport package will be available from launch. It includes the M Aerodynamic kit (front apron with larger air intakes, side skirt trim, a diffusor-style rear apron and an exhaust system with two rectangular tailpipes), Shadowline exterior trim, lowered M Sport suspension and 19-inch M Double-Spoke Wheels with Mixed Performance Run-Flat Tires or all-season Run-Flat Tires.  The interior includes a new M Sport leather steering wheel, a SensaTec upholstered dashboard and aluminum pedal covers and footrest, with exclusive floor mats when selecting the option of Black Dakota Leather with contrast Blue stitching and piping. The all-new 5 Series offers increased  trunk capacity  (18.7 cubic feet), capable of carrying 4 golf bags. The lowered instrument panel, freestanding display, and the cabin’s enlarged dimensions provide additional room and comfort. Passangers in the rear now have more space to spread out, thanks to the increased kneeroom and extended legroom (+1.2 inches). As part of the interior’s acoustic design the headliner is equipped with built-in sound absorbing materials to reduce interfering sounds, which increases the driver and passenger’s ability to communicate. Additional storage spaces in the door pockets, able to hold regular sized bottles, have been created. The cupholders in the center console  have been designed to allow easy access control switches. The storage compartment in front of the cupholders can be equipped with an optional wireless charging tray. The standard front Sport seats are 16-way electrically adjustable, including adjustable side bolsters for optimum lateral support, and offer tremendous safety and comfort together with a wide choice of materials. Other enhancements include decorative stitching for the optional Dakota and quilting for the optional Nappa leather upholsteries can be selected. The available 20-way adjustable Multi-contour seats for the driver and passenger can be additionally equipped with ventilation and massage function. Eight different massage programs, each with a choice of three intensity modes, relax the muscles in the back and relieve the strain on the spinal discs while driving.
     The massage function uses 20 air chambers incorporated into the seat backrest and cushion, which are alternately inflated and deflated. The driver is now able to set temperature thresholds for activating the seat heating and seat ventilation, as well as the steering wheel heating – a highly convenient feature that starts these functions automatically when the temperature falls below or rises above the respective limit. There is room for up to three adults on the rear seats. When the middle seat is not occupied, rear seat passengers can make use of the center armrest and its integrated cupholders. When equipped with Multi-contour seats, new seat adjustment switches contain touch-sensitive sensors. Touching the switch located on the outside edge of the seat, activates one of five sensors and the corresponding menu opens in the iDrive display. Lightly pressing on the switch again then carries out the desired adjustment, all clearly illustrated by a matching animation in the display. The latest version of Gesture control which premiered last year in the all-new BMW 7 Series is now available as an option in the all-new BMW 5 Series. Navigation, telephone, entertainment features and vehicle functions can be visualized on the standard high-resolution 10.25-inch screen and controlled not just in the usual manner using the iDrive Controller, but also by means of gestures, voice commands or simply touching the display. Available content is arranged in a total of six large tiles over two screen pages, providing the driver with direct access to functions as well as a live display of the associated content. The interactive and live tile for entertainment, for example, shows the current song selection with an image of the album cover.
When navigation is active, the driver can see the route the vehicle is taking in the main menu’s navigation tile. If the driver now touches this map section, the navigation screen opens, showing the detailed map view. Touching a tile’s header line, opens the respective function’s main menu, in this case the navigation menu. This allows for easy and quick access to all information stored, saved or currently enabled.  The two sets of three pads can be rearranged as desired, allowing drivers to position the content they use most frequently in the first screen. Users select menu options and the associated functions in the usual way with the iDrive Controller or by simply tapping the button on the iDrive Touch screen with their finger. The all-new BMW 5 Series can also be operated using voice control or with optional Gesture Control which offers a particularly intuitive and easy way of operating commonly used infotainment system and telephone functions. All that is needed are simple movements of the hand or fingers, which are detected by a 3D sensor in the vicinity of the center console and translated into commands: pointing at the screen with the index finger is all it takes to accept a phone call, for instance, while a swiping motion with the hand rejects it.
The swiping action can also be used to open submenus. Tracing a circle with the index finger adjusts the audio system’s volume, and the driver can pull their thumb and index finger away from the navigation map towards them to zoom in on that section of the map. In addition, the two-finger point towards the iDrive screen can be used to carry out an individually selectable command, such as instructing the navigation system to start route guidance to the home address or skipping to the next track in a playlist. The Intelligent Voice Control offers the most advanced level of natural voice control currently featured in a BMW.  Now, the driver can formulate their request in everyday language and simply ask, for example, where the nearest Italian restaurant is located. Intelligent Voice Control is currently available in English, Spanish and French.
   

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