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An Icon Reborn: New Mercedes-Benz G-Class Is Old Modern

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New, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV

It’s been a long time coming, but Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled an all-new G-Class. It’s almost hard to believe that this is the first ground-up redesign of the iconic off-road SUV since its introduction in in 1979.

Looking at it, it would be easy for someone to think there is nothing “all-new” about the 2019 G-Class — it doesn’t look all that dissimilar to the original 1979 model, after all — but that was intentional. The G-Wagen’s boxy shape, much like Jeep Wrangler, has become a styling icon, so designers didn’t want to risk messing too much with a good thing, even going as far as to maintain the exposed door hinges, fender-mounted turn signals, rounded headlights (LEDs this time around) and a hatch-mounted spare tires.

Peeling back the familiar skin, however, reveals the latest in modern engineering. Its construction is a blend of high-strength steel and aluminum construction , while the historically large panel gaps have been tightened.

The new G-Class has grown by 2.1-inches in length and 4.8-inches in width, providing more room for occupants and their cargo. Despite its bigger footprint, it is 375 pounds (170 kg) lighter than the model it replaces.

Power is provided by the same 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 as before, this time mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter to deliver 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The SUV features three locking differentials and has a electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h).

New, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class dashboard

Inside is where you would find the biggest improvement, with the German SUV finally featuring the kind of premium materials and interior design one would expect from a vehicle costing $120,000. The new center stack has the same switch layout as the latest S-Class, while higher trim models borrow Mercedes’ flagship sedan’s high-tech digital dash (base models come standard with a conventional gauge cluster) and handled mounted on the passenger’s side of the dashboard is a clear nod to the past. After 39 years, there are finally real cupholders in the G-Class!

Comfort has also been improved thanks not only to the G-Class’ larger size, but also to a more spacious cabin layout. Both front- and rear-seat passengers enjoy more leg, head and elbow room, with the former further benefiting from an optional Active Multicontour Seat Package that adjust sections of the seat based on driving conditions.

Mercedes’ DYNAMIC SELECT allows the driver to select from five different drive modes — Comfort, Eco, Sport, Individual and G-Mode. Comfort, Eco and Sport tailor the G-Class’ shift points, throttle response, electronic steering and exhaust note accordingly, while individual lets you mix and match between all of the settings.

G-Mode, the off-road setting, can’t be selected using a dial. Rather, it is activated when the vehicle is put into low range or when one of its three differentials is locked, adapting steering, throttle response and adjustable dampers to improve off-road capability.

As to be expected, the G-Class is available with as suit of the latest safety and convenience tech, including keyless entry with push-button start, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and active brake assist with traffic sign assist. It also comes standard with a Burmester Surround Sound System and 19-inch wheels.

The all-new, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class goes on sale in late 2018 with a starting price that, considering its numerous improvements, should be higher than the $123,600 commanded by its predecessor. Are you happy with how it turned out?

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Concept Car

Infiniti Previews Its Future Design And Technology With Q Inspiration Concept

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Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti took the wraps off a concept vehicle that it says previews its future.

Not only does the so-called Q Inspiration Concept preview Infiniti’s new design direction, but it also ushers in a new era of technology for its vehicles.

It features the company’s next-generation ProPILOT system, which supposedly “liberates the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations.” However, because it can be overridden at any time, it doesn’t completely cut the driver out of the equation.

Power is provided by by Infiniti’s new Variable Compression (VC) turbo four that is said to continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. The VC also powers the new QX50 crossover, where it produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in the

Jumping to styling, the Q Inspiration Concept is a four-door sedan with coupe-like profile that’s sleeker, more sculpted and more flowing than any of Infiniti’s current models, even Q60 coupe. Rear-hinged rear doors give excellent access to a futuristic interior.

Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President, stated:

“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”

Although the Q Inspiration Concept is only a design study and isn’t destined for production, there is a chance it will influence the next-generation Q70 sedan or even a spiritual successor the Q45 flagship sedan.

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Detroit Auto Show

Ford Will Release 40 Plugin Hybrid And Electric Vehicles By 2022

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Ford logo

Like crosstown rival General Motors, Ford Motor Co has an onslaught of hybrid and electric cars on the way, having confirmed plans to release 40 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2022.

This includes electrified versions of the popular F-150 pickup and Mustang sports cars and a fully-electric performance SUV (possible called ‘Mach 1’) that offers at least a 300-mile range and goes on sale by 2020. In fact, 16 of the 40 models will be fully-electric.

To make this happen, Ford will invest more than $11 billion by 2022 and has formed ‘Team Edison’ to “own the strategy, own the planning, and interface into the trend” of EV development and production.

The Ford Escape and Expedition, as well as the Lincoln MKC and Navigator, are expected to get plug-in hybrid versions soon. Speaking of Lincoln, the brand is expected to offer a hybrid version of each of its models.

Ford is clearly sinking its feet into the inevitable electric future.

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Detroit Auto Show

New, 2019 Toyota Avalon Puts On Bold Face, Gets New Tech

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New, 2019 Toyota Avalon luxury sedan

Sedan sales aren’t what they used to be — heck, they’re in a free-fall — but that doesn’t mean there is no longer a market for them. At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota Motors unveiled the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon, which it hopes will standout in an automotive landscape increasingly dominated by crossovers.

Based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which also underpins the Camry and Prius, the fifth generation Avalon is longer, wider and lower than before, adopting a new design philosophy that Toyota calls “Technical Beauty.” It’s bold, different and, with that gaping whopper of a grille, not for everyone.

The interior is what you would expect from a car described as a ‘mid-premium’ sedan, offering just about every luxury amenity you could want and featuring more soft-touch materials than in the previous Avalon. The design is clean, sophisticated and elegant and centers around a 9.0-inch infotainment system (supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Android Alexa) and a 7.0-inch central display on the instrument cluster. Higher trim levels get a massive 10-inch head-up display that presents vehicle and engine speeds, navigation information, audio settings and other data.

The new Avalon is the first Toyota-badged model to be available with adaptive variable suspension for improved ride quality and handling.

Power comes from a choice of either a 3.5L V6 or a hybrid system that utilizes a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, two electric motors and its Nickel-Metal battery situated under the rear seat. The former is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid system makes due with a CVT.

Toyota likely hopes the Avalon’s bold new styling, new technology and refinement will appeal to more buyers after sales in 2017 tumbled by 32 percent in the United States, it largest and most important market. Sales begin in late spring 2018.

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