No. 1001
June 19, 2019

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

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On The Surface


JUNE 5, 2019

arrowup.gif  VW. The German manufacturer today launched its new direction for the brand in the U.S., with a spot called "," which will debut tonight during game three of the NBA Finals. VW has been working since 2015 to atone for the damage of the diesel scandal, and is now focused on conveying a message "built around responsibility, innovation and how a major automaker can credibly contribute to the greater good," according to VW's PR minions. Created by New York-based Johannes Leonardo, VW's new lead brand agency, "Hello Light" is a limited-run spot that will be replaced by the broader "Drive Bigger" part of the campaign, which will debut on June 11. In fact, "Drive Bigger" sounds like they're trying to recreate the magic of VW's famous "Think Small" ad campaign in 1959 for the Beetle. We like this new spot. It is an example of true brand advertising, which is a rarity (if not entirely nonexistent) in the auto ad biz these days. We can only imagine showing this to clients at GM or Ford, and getting the typical response, "I'm not paying for all that black screen time!" Add in the whole darkness/light thing (electricity=light, get it?), the use of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" - I thought sure they were gonna use that to highlight the silence of EVs - and "Introducing a new era of electric driving" instead of referencing EV, because it changes the framing of this whole thing in a good way - and the result is a spot that I like more each time I see it. It may just be the "1984" of EV advertising up to this point. Apple's iconic ad in 1984 forever changed the way the world looked at the personal computer and still resonates to this day as a singular example of true brand advertising. -WG. Editor-in-Chief's Note: WordGirl is so right about the black screen time - this would never fly at Ford or GM, as in no frickin' way. And it's rare to see a brand image spot these days from a major auto manufacturer, because they're either pushing a specific vehicle or some sort of retail spot. The new direction for VW is smart and "Hello Light" is dramatic, original, well conceived and flat-out excellent overall. And if this is a preview of what's coming from VW, we're sufficiently impressed and look forward to the new work. Nicely done, ladies and gentlemen. -PMD.

(Cadillac Images)
Cadillac unveiled the 2020 CT4-V (in blue) and CT5-V (in orange) in Detroit tonight (5/30), expanding the choices for the brand’s V-Series performance sub-brand. The new V-Series machines "represent Cadillac’s realigned sedan portfolio, characterized by new proportions, innovative technologies and more appearance and performance choices. Each is built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel-drive Alpha architecture, with the V-Series models developed to deliver the ultimate blend of performance, presence and road-going refinement," that is straight from the Cadillac PR minions. Both sedans share the latest standard V-Series performance technologies, including Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which is tuned specifically for V models to enhance comfort without sacrificing performance-oriented responsiveness, and drive modes that include new V-Mode personalization. Each model is available in RWD or AWD and features a 10-speed automatic transmission, Brembo front brakes with eBoost electronic assist and a limited-slip rear differential on CT4-V and electronic limited-slip differential on CT5-V. Cadillac’s exclusive Super Cruise, the first true hands-free driver assistance feature for the freeway, is available on more than 130,000 miles of limited-access freeways in the U.S. and Canada. It will be available on both new V-Series models. "The new lineup expands the V-Series ethos, drawing more customers into the Cadillac Performance family, and the newest Vs are focused on elevated athleticism and luxurious refinement for customers wanting a dynamic daily drive,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “And this is only the beginning of the V family. Cadillac’s passion for performance shines on a racetrack. Stay tuned." Editor-in-Chief's Note: These new V machines are part of a two-pronged strategy that revolves around the idea of getting more people into the V-Series. I applaud that, because although the current V-Series machines to date have been magnificent, not enough people have been able to experience them. But this doesn't mean that the True Believers at Cadillac are going soft, far from it. When Reuss said "stay tuned," you can expect wilder V-Series machines are on the way. -PMD
The CT4-V is based on the car formerly known as the Cadillac ATS. It is powered by Cadillac's high-output 2.7L Turbo 4-cylinder featuring a unique three-step sliding camshaft that helps optimize performance at all speeds. It is rated at a Cadillac-estimated 320HP, pending SAE certification. The CT4-V and CT5-V go on sale early in the 2020 calendar year, with production at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility in Michigan. Additional product information, as well as details on additional V-Series variants and CT4 Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport models, will be announced at a later date. 
The CT5 is powered by Cadillac’s high-output 3.0L Twin Turbo V-6, which uses low-inertia turbochargers to enhance power production across the rpm band. It is rated at a Cadillac-estimated 355HP, pending SAE certification.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: The CT5 is yet another effort from GM Design that looks good from the front 3/4 view, but then falls away once you get around to the side and rear 3/4. The C-pillar seems to have nothing to do with Cadillac, in fact it looks more like a Cruze. This is a disappointing effort. -PMD

(Cadillac images)
Mark Reuss, president of General Motors, promised that there was more to come in Cadillac’s new V-Series family. So, Cadillac surprised Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix attendees on Saturday with a sneak peek at the future of Cadillac’s V-Series when two prototypes took to the track. Drivers were Reuss and Ken Morris, vice president of Product. Cadillac PR operatives say that the cars you see in the photos take the V-Series to the next level and will offer customers a track-capable experience, but no more information was forthcoming, only that "we will keep you informed as more details are made available."

(Lamborghini images)
This is a concept we could have done without. 
Lamborghini is calling the Huracán Sterrato its "unconventional" concept. Uh, no shit. Based on the the V10 Huracán (obviously), the Sterrato is looking to create "a new dimension of Lamborghini ‘fun to drive off-road’: a transfer of technologies creating a super sports car for challenging environments." Why? And no.

(General Motors images)
Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology, the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype (or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”), at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility today. GM intends to develop this airless wheel assembly with Michelin and aims to introduce it on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. GM will initiate real-world testing and validation of the Uptis Prototype on a Michigan test fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs later this year. Airless technology makes the Uptis Prototype eliminate flats and blowouts. This means Uptis offers significant potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste by: Reducing the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle; reducing the use of raw materials, energy for production and emissions linked to the manufacture of spare tires and replacement tires that are no longer required; lasting longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation; and reducing dangers related to flats and blowouts. More information on the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype can be found .

(BMW images)
The latest from the "Bring Money" File: BMW M GmbH has officially introduced the 2020 M8 Coupe and Convertible, 
the new top performance models in the M brand’s lineup. Available in standard and Competition variants, these new M cars supposedly take the proven M5 and M5 Competition near-supercar capabilities "to an even higher level, while offering all of the luxury and styling that the 8 Series has to offer," according to BMW PR minions. The M8 Coupe and Convertible have 600HP; the M8 Competition Coupe and Competition Convertible have 617HP. 0-60 mph is as quick as 3.0 seconds with a top speed up to 189 mph. Production begins July 2019. How much? The new 2020 M8 Coupe is $133,000; the M8 Competition Coupe is $146,000. The 2020 M8 Convertible is $142,500 and the M8 Competition Convertible is $155,500. Pricing does not include $995 Destination.


With an output of up to 416HP, the completely new Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter M 139 engine is "the world's most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production," according to Mercedes PR minions. Mercedes-AMG has exceeded the previously most powerful M 133 engine by 40HP. Maximum torque has also increased from 350 to up to 369 lb-ft. With an output per liter of up to 208HP, the new Mercedes-AMG high-performance turbo engine even ranks ahead of many well-known supercar engines. The highly efficient new engine is produced on an innovative production line in Affalterbach, on the "One Man, One Engine" principle. The four-cylinder engine is available in two output versions for the compact models of Mercedes-AMG: 416HP for the S-model and 382HP in the base version. Apart from its performance figures, the new engine specializes in immediate response. To this end, the torque curve was carefully balanced with "torque shaping": The peak torque of 369 lb-ft (354 lb-ft for the base version) is available in a range of 5000-5250 rpm (4750-5000 rpm in the base version). The maximum engine speed is up to 7200 rpm.


Editor's Note: I didn't really have any expectations going into this week's tester - the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD - nor had I read any of the reviews yet, which is probably why I ended up thinking it was pretty decent! (Too expensive in a very crowded crossover field, but decent.) If you're thinking back to the original Chevy Blazer (and don't forget the GMC Jimmy), introduced in 1969 and based on the S-10 pickup, there's not much in the way of a connection (unless you count the name.). Slotting beween the Equinox and the Traverse in size, the 2019 Blazer sits squarely in mid-size crossover segment and I'd argue also in the middle of the pack (turns out most of the reviews on the new Blazer are also decidedly middling). It is arguably better looking than many of its competitors - it allegedly takes some of its design cues from Camaro both inside and out (to which I say, Huh?, but a lot of people seem to think that really means something and that it's a good thing - me, I'd prefer my Camaro styling on an actual Camaro). The Blazer certainly has some style - and it seems perfectly competent (like way too many GM vehicles, it veers toward cheap in look and feel inside, but why beat a dead horse?). I also found the side and rear visibility less-than desirable (oh wait, that's another Camaro 'styling cue'!). Our Premier AWD tester had the V6, so there was plenty of power (and it made itself known, rather unpleasantly, as in, the engine does not sound good). So while the 2019 Chevy Blazer starts out at $29,995, you have to shell out nearly $50k to get a vehicle that you'd actually sort of want. It's more than just 'okay and maybe even more than 'decent' - but it doesn't approach awesome, and there are way too many other choices in the segment that merit serious consideration (Kia Telluride, anyone?) In short, I do not think the 2019 Blazer is gonna set the world ablaze. -WG

Editor-in-Chief's Note: My expectations for the new Chevrolet Blazer were pretty low. I think the exterior design is one of the better efforts from GM Design as far as SUVs/Crossovers go, although the Camaro connection is meaningless to me since I don't find the new Camaro to be a good looking car in the least. And my personal barometer for an engaging machine - drivability - is just so-so. The 3.6-liter V6 has plenty of torque and power, but it's certainly not a pleasant sounding engine in the least. It always sounds like it's laboring to get where it's going. It's not, really, but that's what it sounds like. And the Blazer has a disconnected feel lacking in overall sophistication, as the suspension, steering and braking seem to be working on their own individual agendas. It certainly pales in comparison with the seamless cohesiveness and agility of the Stelvio, for instance, which is what I compare all of these SUVs and Crossovers to these days. The Blazer name has some accrued goodwill to it, but I'm not sure this product lives up to it. Add to this the fact that the pricing seems way out of whack, and it's no wonder the Blazer lands in the middle of the pack, or lower. -PMD

2019 Chevrolet Blazer Premier AWD: $49,290 ($45,600 Base Price; Graphite Metallic; Jet Black/Maple Sugar interior; 3.6-liter, Direct Injected, DOHC V6 with 308HP and 270 lbs-ft of torque; 9-speed automatic transmission; All-Wheel-Drive; 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS; Four-wheel independent suspension; 20" Medium Android machined-face alloy wheels; High-intensity discharge headlights; LED daytime running lamps and tail lamps; Deep-tinted glass; Power adjustable and heated body color outside mirrors with integrated turn signals; Power rear liftgate, hands free; Remote vehicle start; Automatic climate control, dual zone; Driver and front passenger heated seats; Driver and front passenger ventilated seats; Heated rear seats, outboard positions; Heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column; Memory settings; Perforated leather seat trim; OnStar capable; SiriusXM and HD radio (first three months free); Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium with 8" Diagonal HD color touchscreen with voice recognition, Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple Carplay and Android Auto capable, In-vehicle APPS and personalization capable Bose Premium Audio System; 4G LTE WI-FI Hotspot capable; Sun and Wheels Package - Power Panoramic sunroof, Tilt-sliding with power sunshade, 21" Pearl Nickel Aluminum wheels - $2495; Destination charge, $1195)


By Tom Pease

Los Angeles. This past Saturday was the 25th year for the Gilmore Auto show at the historic Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax in LA. This year's theme was American Muscle and featured more than 100 cars parked on Gilmore Lane and throughout the market. Being right next to the Grove shopping mall, (in fact, the Farmers Market, while not part of the Grove has become the defacto food court for it) it was fairly crowded when I got there when the festivities started at 11 a.m. I wasn't there at 5:00 p.m. for the drive-off, which was written of as a symphony of American V-8 thunder as the participants revved their engines and exited the Market. The Farmers Market has been a part of LA since 1934 and is well worth a visit if you're in LA. The Grove, is well, the Grove. You can read more about the history of the Farmers Market here: 

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