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Entries in Mercedes (3)

Friday
May022014

May 2014

May 30, 2014: Automobile restoration is never easy, fast or economical, but it can be worth the pain when you get a project back on track. Especially when you have help from friends, family and the truly talented. On the new vehicle front, we test Volvo’s twin-charged XC60 SUV. Is a four cylinder enough? Earlier this week, VW announced the new Euro Passat, a car different than the vehicle of the same name Americans get. We take a look at that car and what’s happening behind the scenes with the U.S. sedan. Mini showed its Superleggera Vision concept to the world at Villa d’Este, but is it the car some commentators claim it to be, or something else entirely? Bultaco, the Spanish motorcycle maker, has risen from the dead, and the result is electrifying. Meanwhile, Britain’s National Motor Museum takes time to rearrange its wares and tell The Motorcycle Story. And our own Al Vinikour talks about something from which you can go blind.

 

May 16, 2014: Is the 2015 VW Golf all it needs to be to support Volkswagen’s stated goal of selling 800,000 VW’s per year in the U.S.? We’re straight back from driving the car in San Francisco with our initial

 impressions. Hyundai also brought the new Genesis sedan to town, touting its new-found handling prowess. But are the ministrations of the best talent Lotus has to offer enough to pull the Genesis even with the established sport/luxury players? We review a new book about American air ace, former Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner, and legend Eddie Rickenbacker. If you’re like us, you won’t be able to put it down. Finally, Al Vinikour looks at the space some drivers leave between the vehicle in front of theirs, and wonders if this distance is the measure of the driver or proof they don’t measure up at all.

 

May 2, 2014: May has been a month of change, and it’s only just started. Peter Kirwan-Taylor, the chartered accountant who designed the original Lotus Elite died, and Mark Fields took the reins at Ford. Sergio Marchionne, on the other hand, has his own boardroom drama brewing. We take a look at what it may contain. Mercedes showed a Coupe SUV Concept Beijing Auto Show that will soon go into production. Mini showed a small pickup its apprentices and their instructors created that reinforces the need for an affordable, sporty, small pickup. Speaking of pickups, we test the Ram 2500, and ask if its deserving of all the accolades, while GM hires an Italian firm to make custom car covers for its full-size pickups. The General also updated its driving simulator to handle semi-autonomous driving system testing. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson has launched a new school for beginning riders, and Al Vinikour keeps getting zapped by the sun.

 

Thursday
Dec062012

December 2012

December 28, 2012: We’re off this week, and will be back in the New Year. However, we want to send a shout out to Jack Yan, publisher of the fashion magazine Lucire and the automotive encyclopedia Autocade, and Keith Adams, publisher/founder of AROnline. It seems Keith posted a comment on, and link to, Editor Sawyer’s Lincoln story on his Facebook page, and Mr. Yan decided to take a look. That resulted in this e-mail to The Virtual Driver: “I haven’t bookmarked an automotive site for some time. You’ve just broken the drought. Keep up the great work.” Talk about an unexpected Christmas present!

 

December 21, 2012: We’re just a few days short of Christmas, and a week off, but loaded for bear. First up, Chris Sawyer tests the 2013 Buick Regal GS, a vehicle that rekindles the relationship between Buick and Opel. Next, he gets the inside story on Ford’s Transit van. Al Vinikour drives the Toyota Venza, a high-top Camry with a unique style. Infiniti rethinks its naming strategy, comes up with—surprise!—letters and numbers, and announces a new model to be built in Britain. Speaking of the English, McLaren launches a line of clothing and accessories for MP4-12C owners, all in basic black. Chris Sawyer buys a book (!) about a different kind of horsepower, and reviews it. And Al Vinikour takes on people who hog parking spots.

 

December 14, 2012: It didn’t start out as a Mercedes week, but it sure turned into one. First, Chris Sawyer came across photographs of old Mercedes concepts and styling models on its media web site. He downloaded a few to share, with commentary. While he was there, he found Mercedes’ explanation of the new CLA-Class 4Matic system; a first for the company in that it is used on a transverse front-drive platform. Finally, there is the update of the E-Class for the 2014 model year. Still on the luxury car track, Sawyer shares his memories of his encounters with Lincoln. See why he isn’t filled with confidence in the Lincoln Motor Company. And while all that was happening, GM introduced its new light-duty pickups. Darwinian in their adherence to evolution, are they enough to stem the sales tide? Finally, Al Vinikour combines Talk Radio, infotainment systems and the Civil War in a single column.

 

December 7, 2012: Though this may be the 71st anniversary of the event behind FDR’s most famous speech, there’ll be no sneak attack in this week’s issue. First up is Al Vinikour’s First Run review of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible. Al was pleased with the drop top, but not the weather he encountered on the trip. Next, Chris Sawyer drives the Chevy Sonic, and discovers that GM can build a decent small car. Speaking of surprises, he also finds a press release that is the automotive equivalent of junk food; worthless but oh-so tasty. Finally, Al Vinikour asks when a safety feature actually becomes a liability.

 

Thursday
Jun142012

October 2011

October 28, 2011. Other than oxygen, the most vital element for the continuation of life on earth is water. Yet the EPA is pushing electrification of the vehicle fleet as an answer to the twin “problems” of climate change and oil use. For skeptics of anthropogenic global warming, like the Editor, this rush to electricity has major pitfalls. One of which is that it uses far more water and greatly increases CO2 output compared to current fuels. On a lighter note, Al Vinikour gets a pain in the neck, and takes a drive in a four-cylinder Mercedes near the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Plus, Mini’s German arm creates a Union Jack sneaker fit for Austin Powers.

 

October 21, 2011. We have a packed issue this week. Al Vinikour takes a drive out Oregon way, and brings back his report on Hyundai’s Veloster. The Editor, meanwhile, stays near home and drives the Scion iQ around the streets of Detroit. Al and the Editor speak their minds about where designers get their inspiration. And, on a more serious note, Sawyer asks if there might be more to the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S sports car than meets the eye.

Our Apologies to all those who tried, and failed, to post a comment to our opinion piece on Racing's New Realities. There was a glitch, but hard work by our Web Development Director and the fine folks at Squarespace has fixed the problem. In light of the tragic accident that took the life of Indy Car's Dan Wheldon, Chris Sawyer has posted his thoughts in the comment section. Please feel free to add your own.

 

October 14, 2011. Even though he didn’t always listen to him when they were growing up, the Editor takes stock of his brother’s look at the problems facing racing, and asks if there isn’t a better way. (Leave a comment if you wish — a first for us — but be civil.) Kia launches a new Rio 5-door in Texas. Is it another boring penalty box, a game changer or something in-between? We examine this new B-segment competitor, and find ourselves both applauding and scratching our head. Speaking of scratching your head over questionable decisions, Al asks why some power windows go down with just a touch, but don’t come back up the same way. 

 

October 7, 2011. Former CART Marketing Director William Sawyer takes a stroll down memory lane and a look at the future, and wonders if racing has a future. Chris drives the Lincoln MKX, and asks if this Lincoln is too close to the Edge. Jeremy Clarkson and the folks from Forza Motorsport produce a game trailer that should be the rallying cry of everyone who likes to drive. We review a book about lost U.S. fighter concepts, and Al comes to the rescue of mutts everywhere.