No. 946
May 16, 2018

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

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On The Surface


MARCH 21, 2018

Editor-in-Chief's Note (3/23, 5:00 p.m.): As I wrote a while ago - "The Detroit Auto Show Is Dead. Now What?" - the Detroit Auto Show is in desperate need of a total rethink, for myriad reasons. Mercedes-Benz announced it was pulling out of the Detroit Auto Show weeks ago, now Forbes is reporting that BMW is pulling out of the show too. Jaguar/Land Rover, Mazda, Porsche and Volvo have already exited the show, but the exit of BMW is another huge loss, because many European-based journalists won't bother to come to Detroit if BMW (and Mercedes-Benz) aren't at the Detroit Auto Show. The Detroit Auto Show organizers finally realize that pretty much everything about the show needs to change - starting with the announcement that they are moving the show to October - but it might already be too late. The Detroit Auto Show is now officially a second-tier auto show, just slightly above a regional show in the U.S., but not in the league of L.A. or New York, not to mention Frankfurt, Paris or Geneva. It's the end of an era. -PMD

Cadillac has unveiled the CT6 V-Sport, which will be the V-Performance model of its large sedan. The big news about this news? The CT6 V-Sport has an all-new Cadillac 4.2L Twin Turbo V-8 Cadillac estimated at 550HP (410 kW) and 627 lb-ft of torque (850 Nm). The engine is "a clean-sheet design and introduces unique design elements developed to balance performance and efficiency with compact, mass-efficient packaging," according to Cadillac PR minions. At the center of the Cadillac Twin Turbo V8 is a “hot V” configuration that transposes the conventional layout of the cylinder heads’ intake and exhaust systems to mount the turbochargers at the top of the engine — in the valley between the heads — to virtually eliminate turbo lag and reduce the engine’s overall packaging size, as the German luxury-performance manufacturers have done for years. “The all-new CT6 V-Sport provides the perfect balance of performance and luxurious refinement. With the introduction of the all-new CT6 V-Sport, Cadillac begins a new chapter in its performance legacy with the introduction of the brand’s first-ever twin-turbo V-8 engine,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “It is the centerpiece of the new CT6 V-Sport, an engaging sport sedan infused with DNA of Cadillac’s world-renowned and championship-winning motorsports program.” Editor-in-Chief's Note: World renowned? Please. GM Racing decided to brand its IMSA DPi cars as Cadillacs for political reasons, there is nothing "world-renowned" about it. It was a decision of convenience, at best. And by the way, this will not be an exclusive "Cadillac" engine as some reports are suggesting. Look for it to show up in the next-generation, mid-engine C8 Corvette in 5.5-liter configuration, and in a super high-end Escalade. Wait, what? Yes, you read it here first. You don't think GM is going to spend the kind of cash necessary to develop this engine for what will amount to be less than 2,000 CT6 V-Sport sedans a year, do you? (If that.) The Cadillac release goes on, and on, and on, so if you want to find out more about this car - and the rest of the "refreshed" CT6 lineup - I'm sure you won't have to look very hard. We, on the other hand, don't care. Why? This week, Cadillac is the company with the genuine performance legacy, which is truly unmitigated bullshit. Next week, at the New York Auto Show, Cadillac will be all about how it's an SUV company with its new XT4 compact SUV. And the week after that Cadillac will return to its regularly scheduled programming as an "occasional" luxury automaker that exists for the Chinese market only. And so it goes. -PMD
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Take a long, hard look at GM's new Twin-Turbo V8, Corvette fans. It's going to show-up - repackaged, of course - in the next-generation, mid-engine, C8 Corvette, as well as in a super high-end Escalade. -PMD

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Rumors suggest that Cadillac is going to build the Escala, which the manufacturer unveiled as a concept at Pebble Beach in 2016. On the one hand, this is good news, because it's a compelling design. On the other hand, Johan de Nysschen's mission to remake Cadillac in Audi's image has been an egregious mistake, and should the Escala come to market without its name - or with some bullshit designation like "CT8" - it would be tragic. And while we're at it, what about the Ciel, and the Elmiraj? What's wrong with bringing out those concepts while Cadillac is at it? These concepts were some of the most stunning machines of the last decade, and not only that, they were truly in context with the historical legacy of Cadillac. That de Nysschen's quest has been Quixotic since the beginning is no secret. The rationale for jamming alphanumeric Audi-esque designations on Cadillacs revolves around catering to the Chinese market, because Chinese buyers might not appreciate names. I say bullshit to that. What's the hottest-selling Cadillac? The Escalade. This just in: it has a name. Cadillac operatives will point to the equally strong selling XT5 as proof of their naming regimen, but I say bullshit to that too. It's an SUV in an SUV-crazed market, so of course it's going to do well. I would hope Cadillac operatives see the light with the Escala, but then again it's a giant "we'll see" as far as I'm concerned. -PMD

Volkswagen has announced that it will be building a new five-passenger SUV based off of Volkswagen’s MQB platform at its Chattanooga factory. The new Volkswagen SUV will be a variant of the seven-passenger Atlas and will be designed and engineered for the American market. Volkswagen will invest approximately $340 million to bring the vehicle to market, in addition to approximately $900 million already invested to expand the plant for Atlas production. The five-passenger Atlas variant will mark the third Volkswagen model assembled at the Chattanooga factory, along with the Passat and Atlas. A concept version of the new SUV will be officially unveiled at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.
Ford will be offering an all-new "Need for Green" color on the 2019 Mustang, and it will be available this summer. "Jolly Green Giant" was apparently taken.
Volkswagen will offer the R-Line® package on the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon. The R-Line package offers "performance-inspired" design treatments, according to VW, including the option of unique 19- or 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Also included are stinkin' R-Line badging; a unique front bumper with air intakes in a gloss black finish; R-Line air inlets and cover panels; and a gloss black rear spoiler. Inside, the R-Line logo appears on the start screen of the Volkswagen Modular Infotainment Platform (uh, wow). Other stuff? Contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shift knob; steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters; metallic décor pieces; black headliner; stainless-steel sport pedal covers; and stainless-steel door sills with the R-Line logo. All Arteon models are powered by the Volkswagen 2.0-liter TSI® turbocharged engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen's 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system is available as an option on every trim level. The Arteon R-Line package will be introduced at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, and it will go on sale in the Fall of 2018, with the R-Line package being available at launch.
Audi Tradition celebrates three big anniversaries at the Techno Classica in Essen from March 21 to 25. The 50-year-old history of the Audi 100 will be the leading brand presentation theme at the world's largest exhibition of classic vehicles. Audi will also display its famous 1938 Auto Union Type D racing car (above), a machine it debuted 80 years ago. In 1938, the great Tazio Nuvolari won the Grand Prix races in Italy and England with the 420HP machine, and in the following year Auto Union won the French and Yugoslav Grands Prix. Audi will also bring the 1988 Audi 200 quattro TransAm to the event. Hurley Haywood won the championship for Audi that year.
Silky Smooth.

If the TT RS is Audi's edgy hot rod, the S5 Coupe is its sophisticated, grown-up sibling. Resplendent in its Daytona Gray Pearl Effect paint and its contrasting - and beautiful - Magma Red leather, the S5 Coupe has an air of sophistication about it that's undeniable. Now, evaluating any machine on the dismal roads around here is extremely difficult, as you're worried whether or not the super trick wheels will survive the intermittent pounding from the potholes and various types of broken surfaces you're bound to encounter everywhere you go, but the Audi S5 Coupe handled the chaos with aplomb for the most part. With crisp steering and an overall competence that shines through, the S5 grows on you as the miles accumulate. And as impressive as the little rocket 5-cylinder in the TT RS was last week, I much preferred the silky smooth power delivery of the S5 combined with its 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. It's pleasingly quick and goes about its business with little effort, and it sounds good doing it too. The Magma Red interior in the S5 was executed to perfection, with the usual Audi penchant for detail apparent everywhere you looked. This is a sophisticated GT car in every respect, and the fact that it's a cool $15,000 less than the TT RS we had last week put things in perspective. The one word that keeps coming back to me when discussing this car is "sophisticated," but other words apply, too, like "pleasing" and "satisfying." If you're in the market for a performance coupe, the Audi S5 is a good place to start. -PMD
2018 S5 Coupe 3.0T quattro tiptronic: 
$64,750 ($54,600 Base Price; Daytona Gray Pearl Effect, $575; Magma Red interior; 3.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged V6 with 354HP and 369-lb-ft of torque; 8-speed tiptronic transmission with quattro all-wheel-drive; 18" 5-double-spoke-star design wheels with 245/40 summer tires; Energy recuperation system with start/stop; Full LED headlights; Leather/Alcantara interior, LED interior lighting; Three-spoke, flat-bottom, multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles; Heated, 8-way, power front seats with driver memory and 4-way lumbar adjustmentSiriusXM All Access service with three-month trial subscription; Power sunroof with tilt and slide; Navigation Package - Audi MMI Navigation with MMI touch, Audi connect PRIME + PLUS with six-month trial, Audi Virtual cockpit - $2600; Sport Package - Red brake calipers, Sport adaptive damping suspension, Sport rear differential - $2500; Fine Nappa leather interior, $1250; Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound - $950; 19" Wheel Package - 19" 5-spoke-cavo design wheels, 255/35 summer tires - $800; Carbon Atlas inlays, $500; Front filler panel (included); Destination charge, $975). 

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