No. 992
April 17, 2019
 

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

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On The Surface


Monday
Mar252019

MARCH 27, 2019

Daimler AG. Editor-in-Chief's Note: Word comes from a Handelsblatt report that Daimler is considering dumping the Smart brand at the end of the year. Really? You mean Dieter Zetsche's Folly, in which the self-appointed German automotive genius pissed away billions on Smart since its intro back in 1998? You mean the brand that never really was and probably - no, make that definitely - never should have been? When Zetsche takes his victory lap - he's retiring in May - soaking up accolades left and right, I'm sure no one will point out that the Smart brand should be and is the biggest black eye on his record. His vacuous so-called "vision" and stubbornness to keep Smart around in spite of the obvious failure cost Daimler AG billions of dollars. Maybe they could cut back the retirement celebrations by a couple? Just asking. -PMD

 


(Aston Martin images)
It's becoming clear that exotic car companies are the most creative when extricating money from their enthusiast fan base. The latest evidence of this? Aston Martin's release of the 
first detailed renderings of the new DBS GT Zagato, which will be the second half of the DBZ Centenary Collection. This Collection was created to celebrate the centenary of the legendary Zagato signature, and "is a unique project that pays tribute to an icon of the past and creates a classic of the future... (it) extends a remarkable creative partnership spanning almost 60 years. One that has consistently generated bold and breathtakingly exciting designs, the latest of which being the DBS GT Zagato, " according to Aston's PR boffins.
Using the DBS Superleggera as its starting point, the DBS GT Zagato delivers a modern twist on the DB4 GT Zagato’s classic form. And yes, the key design feature of the original remains in the iconic double-bubble roof. Stretching the full length of the canopy, this fresh interpretation delivers a clean and sculptural form that flows from the top of the front windscreen to the car’s rearmost tip, discarding the traditional rear windscreen in favor of a purer roof line.
The muscular rear haunches on the DBS GT Zagato are good, while a unique wheel design, headlamps and a striking front grille deliver a modern twist on the DB4 GT Zagato’s classic form.
The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Continuation. You can have the new car, we'll take the Continuation, thank you very much.
And this is where the ca$h money comes in:
 Paired to the build run of 19 DB4 GT Zagato Continuations, the DBS GT Zagato will only be available as part of the (gulp) £6m ( taxes) DBZ Centenary Collection. First deliveries to customers will commence QTR 4 2019 for the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation and QTR 4 2020 for the DBS GT Zagato.
It's all in the drive.

Detroit.
 I will admit that when I first saw the Cadillac XT4 in the flesh it did not sit well with me. Maybe it was the example I was looking it, but it didn't feel premium to me or at least it didn't feel like it represented the Cadillac brand all that well. This week, I had a chance to experience one for myself for the first time. Now granted, this XT4 AWD Sport press car was absolutely loaded, and that presented an issue for me, because I think $57 grand is too much for this car (read more in this week's Rant - WG). But I will say this for the XT4, it's an excellent driver. Composed, agile and responsive, it has a taut feel that suggests GM's True Believers really understand what a driver-oriented machine should feel like. The power from the 2.0-liter Turbo was more than adequate, although the exhaust note needs to be tuned-up as it sounds anemic. But it was definitely capable of getting you down the road at a pleasing pace. And the interior was better than I expected too. Fairly tasteful, decent materials, and functional. And the diameter of the steering wheel was dead-on perfect, which is always a barometer for me. I kept asking myself "why not?" with this car. As in why wouldn't I consider one after my Stelvio? And I have to admit, other than the price of this overloaded example, I couldn't really come up with a negative that would preclude me from getting one. For me, it's all in the drive, and for that reason alone the XT4 AWD Sport is definitely worth a closer look. -PMD
2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport: $57,135 ($41,795 Base Price; Autumn Metallic, $625; Jet Black interior with Cinnamon Accents; 2.0-liter, Direct Injected, Turbocharged 4-cylinder with 237HP and 258 lbs-ft of torque; 9-speed automatic transmission; Twin Clutch All-Wheel-Drive; 4-wheel brakes with ABS; Four-wheel independent suspension; 18" 10-spoke alloy wheels; LED headlights and tail lamps; (ATTENTION: This XT4 is loaded, so every interior feature you can imagine is standard, we're just not going to list them all), Comfort and Convenience Package - Leather seating surfaces, 8-way power seat adjuster - passenger, Ventilated front seats, Massage control, front seats, Hands free liftgate - $2450; Power tilt/sliding dual panel glass sunroof, $1550; Cadillac User Experience with embedded Navigation - AM/FM Stereo with connected navigation providing real-time traffic, phone integration for Apple Carplay and Android compatible phones, Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound Audio System with thirteen speakers and an auxiliary amplifier - $1500; Enhanced Visibility Package - Dual, power folding/adjustable, heated outside mirrors with turn signals and driver side auto dimming, rear camera mirror with washer, Automatic Parking Assist with braking, HD surround vision (replaces rear vision camera) - $1500; Technology Package - Wireless charging, Air ionizer, Power tilt and telescoping steering column, 8" color gauge cluster, Head-up display - $1400; Active Sport Suspension, $1200; 20" Diamond cut alloy wheels with Titan satin finish, $1100; Driver Assist Package - Advanced adaptive cruise control with full-speed stop and go, Forward and reverse automatic braking - $1100; Cold Weather Package - Driver and front passenger heated seats, Heated rear outboard seats, Heated steering wheel - $850; Driver Awareness Package - Forward collision alert, Front pedestrian braking, Intellibeam auto high beam control, Following distance indicator, Lane keep assist with lane departure warning - $770; Trailering equipment - Heavy duty cooling, trailer hitch - $300, Destination charge, $995)

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