No. 992
April 17, 2019

About The UjianNasional@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of

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On The Surface


APRIL 10, 2019

arrowup.gif  Joe Hinrichs. Editor-in-Chief's Note: Ford has basically given the keys to The Show to Joe Hinrichs, 52, who is currently president of global operations. He now becomes president for all automotive, including manufacturing, product development, marketing and sales and purchasing. He will also be in charge of the company's global business units in North America, South America, China, Europe and the International Markets Group. Joe is essentially running the whole shebang now, which means anything and everything to do with the core business is under his command. And he's clearly in line to be the next CEO after Jim Hackett's tenure. This is a very good thing for the Ford Motor Company. -PMD

arrowup.gif  Ford. Editor-in-Chief's Note: The other part of the Ford announcement today has to do with Jim Farley, 56, Ford's president of global markets. He will be taking over Marcy Klevorn's mobility role (she's retiring), and his new title will be president of new businesses, technology and strategy. He'll be in charge of strategy, its autonomous vehicle unit, research and advanced engineering, Ford's Smart Mobility subsidiary, corporate partnerships and global data insight and analytics, according to the press release. This is even bigger news from Ford because "New Business" is a euphemism for the fact that Farley is clearly being moved off to the side where his damage to the core business will be minimized. Ford's chief Bad Actor and enfant terrible now gets to play with the esoteric nonsense that Hackett values so much while putting his head firmly in the clouds. I'm already hearing from the denizens of Dearborn who are ecstatic with the changes. The prevailing vibe is that Joe is the guy and this change is long overdue, and that Farley's next move hopefully will be - and should be - out the door. And this would be an even a better thing for the Ford Motor Company. -PMD

(Mercedes-Benz images)
Mercedes-Benz is introducing the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 at the New York International Auto Show. The AWD four-door-sedan (called a four-door coupe by Mercedes) is powered by 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder Turbo with 302HP and 295-lb-ft of torque. The CLA 35 accelerates to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and it will be available in the U.S. late this year, although no price has been announced as of yet.

The 2019 TT RS makes its U.S. debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. Audi has made little tweaks throughout the new TT RS, but the important stuff remains: 
The 2.5-liter TFSI® five-cylinder engine generates 394HP and 354 lb-ft of torque, and the TT RS can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission offers a launch control program. The standard quattro® permanent all-wheel drive system has the ability to send nearly 100 percent of available torque to the rear wheels, and a traction control system, specifically calibrated for the TT RS, manages distribution for optimal acceleration with minimal slip. The refreshed 2019 TT RS will join the Audi Sport model line this spring and is available in seven exterior colors. New for 2019 are Turbo Blue (above), Tango Red metallic, and Kyalami Green. The starting MSRP is $66,900.

(Photo by Jennifer Altman for Chevrolet) 
Chevrolet Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra make their way 
down 7th Avenue near Times Square in a camouflaged next generation, mid-engine Corvette on Thursday, April 11, 2019, in New York. The all-new Corvette will be unveiled on July 18. 
(Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)
Chevrolet Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra stand next to the all-new mid-engine Corvette 
near Times Square in New York on Thursday, April 11, 2019The much anticipated next-generation Corvette will be unveiled on July 18, the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that landed astronauts on the moon.

It's all in the drive, Part II.

Editor-in-Chief's Note: 
It's feast or famine when it comes to getting press fleet cars here at AE. Well, mostly famine, since when it comes right down to it we go for months on end between getting cars to drive. So, it's somewhat of a shock to have two cars in three weeks, especially when this week has us in the 2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD. Full disclosure, I had a Cadillac DTS as a personal driver for a couple of years, and even though it was classic "yestertech" at the time, I enjoyed it, particularly when dealing with the urban--freeway slog. So I was looking forward to the CT6 Sport, especially since it was designed and engineered back in the days when Cadillac had its sights on the luxury-performance German machines from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 
As I've said before, the CT6 looks great coming at you on the road, especially with the Sport grille, as our tester had. And the look of the front lighting at night is borderline spectacular. In total the CT6 design is crisp and purposeful from the front, too elongated from the side, and fairly nondescript from the back. The Red Horizon Tintcoat paint is an interesting look on the CT6, especially in the sea of black and the various shades of gray seen on most luxury cars, but it wouldn't be my first choice. I get the "Sport" connotation, but it didn't seem quite appropriate for the $83,215 sticker price. 
I found the interior to be better than I expected it would be, looking sleek and seamless in all the right places. The instrumentation was superb, and Cadillac's move to more control knobs and clear-read graphics was welcome. If you notice in the specs below, this CT6 Sport AWD was super-loaded with $15,000+ of options. I should pause right here and say that I didn't try even 20 percent of the technology in this car, including the vaunted Super Cruise. Why? I am not technology averse, but to me it's all about the drive. And too much of the technology available on cars in this era has little to do with enhancing the way they drive. I didn't want to overdose on the technology, when I could spend more time concentrating on the driving (although to be fair, plenty of the technology intruded on the driving anyway).

I will say that when it comes to the driving, the CT6 Sport acquits itself well, especially with the "sport" mode on. Not having been in a big sedan in a while, but very familiar with them, the CT6 Sport felt slightly big and ponderous at first, especially at slow urban speeds. But as with its competitive set of German sedans, the CT6 comes to life when the speeds come up. The ponderousness goes away, it gets lighter on its feet and no surprise, it feels slightly Germanic, although with a crisper, engineered-in-Detroit feel. And the Twin-Turbo V6 performed flawlessly, with an enjoyable level of response and notable thrust. Yes, the ride is slightly on the harsh side, but it is not overly rough or objectionable in the least, even on Michigan's now traditional - and monumentally shitty - roads. 

The CT6 Sport was surprisingly much better than I thought it would be, certainly better than the criticism leveled at it. But at the same time, in a SUV/crossover obsessed world, the CT6 is destined to operate on the margins. Not Cadillac enough for the traditional - and dying out - Cadillac intenders, and not elevated enough for the logo-obsessed, flavor-of-the-moment auto grazers. Would I consider a CT6 Sport AWD if I was shopping competitors from Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz? I would. But then again, I think this loaded tester should sticker for just under $70,000, all-in. That's what happens when a brand's image doesn't live up to its obviously well-executed, real-world presence. -PMD UPDATE: With more time spent in the CT6 Sport AWD, the more I realized the kind of effort the True Believers at GM/Cadillac put into this car. In sport mode and at higher speeds, the chassis feels planted, capable and really good. And the Twin-Turbo V6, as I said, provides plenty of thrust, especially in the 70-100 mph range needed to get around sluggish traffic on the freeway. So, as a driver-oriented machine the CT6 acquits itself quite well for a big sedan. I did try out Super Cruise, and I have to say that although it worked as advertised, i found it to be eerie and more than a little disconcerting. If this is a limited preview of our driving future, I think I will enjoy working the steering wheel for a long time to come. I do appreciate the technology displayed in the Super Cruise system, however, it's just not appealing to me. -PMD
2019 Cadillac CT6 Sport AWD: $83,215 ($66,595 Base Price; Red Horizon Tintcoat, $1225; Jet Black interior; 3.0-liter, Direct Injected, Twin Turbocharged V6 with 404HP and 400 lbs-ft of torque; 10-speed automatic transmission, Electronic Precision Shift; All-Wheel-Drive; 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS; Four-wheel independent suspension; 19" multi-spoke alloy wheels; LED headlights and tail lamps; Intellibeam headlights; Sport grille; Black finish window moldings; Leather seating surfaces, 16-way power bucket seats, front; Driver and front passenger memory seats; Heated front seats; Power rear window sunshade with manual rear side sunshades; Heated steering wheel; Auto-dim inside rear view mirror;  Automatic climate control, dual zone; Power adjustable and heated body color outside mirrors; 8" gauge cluster; Cadillac User Experience with 10" diagonal color display; Navigation, Apple Carplay and Android capability provided by Apple and Google; Bose premium ten speakers audio; Wireless charging; SiriusXM and HD radio (first three months free); Ultraview sunroof; Auto parking assist; Power deck lid, hands free; Super Cruise Package - Super Cruise driver assistance feature includes the first three years of OnStar to support Super Cruise functionality, Forward and reverse automatic braking, Advanced adaptive cruise control, Night vision, Magnetic ride control, Active rear steering, 20" multi-spoke alloy wheels - $6,000; Bose Panaray sound system including 34 speakers, $3700; Rear Seat Package - Rear seat infotainment, HDMI module, Quad-zone climate control, ionizing air cleaner - $2,700; Comfort and Technology Package - 12" color gauge cluster including driver personalization, Rear camera mirror (with washer), Head-up display, Ventilated driver and front passenger seat backs, Heated rear outboard seats - $2,000; Destination charge, $995)

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