AD #1200 – Tesla Considers New Plants, New Drop-Top Chevy Camaro, BMW X5 Gets Hybrid

August 23rd, 2013 at 11:35am

Runtime: 7:40

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company is considering opening factories in two new major markets. The new Chevrolet Camaro convertible will make its debut in Frankfurt next month. BMW announces a plug-in version of it X5, called Concept X5 eDrive. All that and more, plus we look at how safety regulations can affect automotive design.

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone and Dow Automotive Systems

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher | YouTube

Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily and TGIF. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John once again. We’ll preview Autoline This Week in just a moment which is all about exterior design but first today’s top stories.

TESLA OVERSTATES SAFETY RATING
Earlier in the week Tesla boasted that the Model S received the highest safety rating of any car the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ever tested. But the agency says that isn’t true. While NHTSA did award the Model S with a 5-star rating, Tesla said it received a score of 5.4. The agency countered that it doesn’t rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and that it doesn’t rank vehicles either.

TESLA CONSIDERS NEW PLANTS
And in other Tesla news, CEO Elon Musk says the company is considering opening factories in Europe and Asia. Bloomberg reports that the plants would be used to build a new mass market, low-cost EV that’s expected to be introduce within the next five years. Despite having the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles at the former NUMMI plant in California it now owns, Musk says he wants factories in other locations to make it easier to get cars to customers.

CAMARO GOING TOPLESS IN GERMANY
We’ve got more reveals of new cars that will take a bow in Frankfurt next month. First up is the new Chevrolet Camaro coupe and convertible. While not much has changed in terms of styling, it does have a new front fascia, sculpted rear deck lid and horizontal tail lights. The car is powered by the new 6.2L V8 that cranks out a little over 430 horsepower and when mated with the 6-speed manual will race to 60 miles-per-hour in 5.2 seconds. That time increases by 2 tenths of a second for the convertible version. When the Camaro hits European dealerships later this year it will carry a price tag of 40,000 euros for the coupe and 45,000 for the convertible, that’s $53,500 and $60,000 U.S. dollars respectively.

THE REFRESHED AUDI A8
Next up is the new Audi A8. And like the Camaro, not much has changed in the way of styling other than a few more sculpted bits in the front and rear but it can be equipped with Audi’s anticipated Matrix LED headlamps. The car has a variety of powertrain options, including 3 gasoline versions, one of which is a W12, 2 diesel options and hybrid system. It comes standard with an 8-speed transmission. The A8 arrives in German dealerships this November with a starting price of 74,500 euros, which is just under $100,000.

BMW X5 GETS HYBRID
Also set to get a hybrid drive system is the BMW X5. The German automaker will show off its plug-in Concept X5 eDrive at the Show. Exclusive to this hybrid are the specially designed roof rails and its aerodynamic 21 inch wheels. It’s powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 70 kW electric motor. The concept can travel up 19 miles and has a top speed of 75 miles-per-hour in full electric mode and average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle is 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres or about 75 miles-per-gallon.

OH IT WILL FIT
We all know that the best environment for EVs is in cities with lots of stop and go traffic, but there’s still the problem of having to find a parking space in a big city. So in stepped the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology with a cool new prototype that we just had to show you. It’s called the Armadillo-T and it folds in half to help fit into the tightest of parking spaces. The folding action can even be activated using a smartphone. Click the link in the show notes if you would like to learn more about the prototype.

Coming up next, a look at how safety regulations can affect design.

HOW SAFETY REGULATIONS AFFECT DESIGN
On Autoline This Week the topic is all about exterior design. In the following clip, former GM designer David Lyon who is currently a partner at Pocketsquare Design, explains how safety regulations can put a lot of pressure on designers.

(Clip from ATW can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Also joining John for that show is John Manoogian a teacher at the College for Creative Studies and Design Handbook’s own Jim Hall also of 2953 Analytics. If you want to learn more about car design and how it’s evolving, this a great discussion to watch. As always you can view that entire show right now on our website, Autoline.TV.

And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

55 Comments to “AD #1200 – Tesla Considers New Plants, New Drop-Top Chevy Camaro, BMW X5 Gets Hybrid”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    TESLA’s ‘ new ‘ plants

    Overseas of course …. cause TESLA in Musk’s own words is such a completely ‘ American ‘ company

    But … errr … as to those cheaper TESLA’s at half the cost of the ‘ S’ Musk is planning to offer overseas ….. errr……

    …. wasn’t the Number One stipulation in the contracts of all those Tax Payers funded Grants – Loans – Subsidies and Loan Guarantees that …

    TESLA manufacture a ‘ Reasonably Priced ‘ ( anyone here consider $70k + to be ‘ reasonable ? ) Family Friendly EV ?

    Why ….. looking at the contracts … yes it was

    Point two of why I’ve had my fill despite voting for him twice of ObamaClaus . Not only does the man hand over our hard earned cash left and right to pretentious science fair projects with little or no hope of surviving ( without all that government funding ) … but once he does he Does Not hold the recipients to the clearly stated terms of the contract

    ———-

    TTAC – Ooops ! Another one bites the dust I’m afraid . Truth wise that is . Now that there’s new management in town TTAC has gone the arschkussen route …. even with the likes of GM . So much for investigative and unbiased reporting .. A moment of silence …. if you please ….

    ( ‘ Taps ‘ playing in the background )

    ———–

    Design – Yes I know all these safety regs … aero wanna be concerns etc are the main determining factor ( along with an utter and complete disregard for the driver – blind spots etc ) when it comes to automotive design today : which is why I stated/suggested yesterday that we ….

    Give up on the whole Survival Cell /Infotainment riddled / Aero Wanna Be BS and ..

    …… go back to designing C-A-R-S …. instead of overly homogenized appliances on wheels

    Honestly … having gone to Geneva and KC last year … the pundit friend and I completely agreed ..

    When it comes to 90% of the new cars out there

    Take the badge off the snout
    The signs off the displays …

    and …

    You’d have no clue what brand or nine times out of ten what model you’re even looking at ;-)

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As far as ‘modern design’ goes,I cannot for the life of me understand the incredibly high beltlines that permeate most cars.suv’s/cuv’s.I hate that chopped look,always did….even on the old mercs.Senseless and useless,and damned hard to see out of.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here is some good design:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/2006_Scion_xB_.jpg&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2006_Scion_xB_.jpg&h=1196&w=1860&sz=287&tbnid=36VWVeFo7ZyEBM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=140&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dscion%2Bxb%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=scion+xb&usg=__g9li7bOtG7oerLs-Tztllpb7Xmw=&docid=PgKn7w4zJ6qxdM&sa=X&ei=-ZwXUp-rDaOdyQGEiIEo&ved=0CG8Q9QEwBQ&dur=8888#imgdii=36VWVeFo7ZyEBM%3A%3BV8vUjzTfw9J1SM%3B36VWVeFo7ZyEBM%3A

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3,
    I don’t know how the wheels turn, though.

  5. drew Says:

    GA – I hate the high belt lines, too. But when I look back at some of the very low belt lines from the late 80s/early 90s, they now look too low. The best low belt lines were on the Hondas from the mid-80s. Those low belt lines were married to low hood lines, enabled by double wishbone front suspensions. But double wishbones represented amjor crush space challenge for the “Bully Pulpit” of 5-Star NCAP and IIHS Top Safety Pick.

    Great designs are a function of many things. I have simplified the starting point to be an organic flow of the belt line to the fender line, hood line, and/or the base of the windshield. Show me a vehicle that fails at this, and I guarantee you it fails at many other things (aesthetically). So, herein lies the design challenge called “Pedestrian Protection.” Let’s not forget the main cause of pedestrian-related accidents – drunk pedestrians!!!!

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “So, herein lies the design challenge called “Pedestrian Protection.” Let’s not forget the main cause of pedestrian-related accidents – drunk pedestrians!!!!”

    …and especially drunk pedestrians on cell phones.

  7. HtG Says:

    Design

    That’s a real good Autoline today. Below is a link to a Jag F-Type designer sketching out the key elements of the new convertible. I notice at 1:50 that they’re using a light catcher along the lower half of the door in order to balance the govt required pedestrian catcher. I see the same solution on a lot of cars. Also a long line back from the top of the fender is found on ATS and CTS(as Bob Boniface talked about last night). I hadn’t appreciated how much the high cowls are affecting the whole car. When’s happy hour?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e0n1Ed3O70
    GA, I think these high beltlines are there for side impact standards. Go sit in the Dart; German pillbox in Sicily inspired, no doubt.

  8. HtG Says:

    I would personally praise the way C7 designers worked in the ankle chuckers on the lower nose of the car. It looks neat and not a lot of people will are going to think it a safety feature.

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Ya know guys,I’ll stick to my trucks.I can roll down my window and rest my arm on it just like when I was a kid.Today’s high beltlines you can’t do that unless your comfortable with your arm at about a 20 degree up-angle.The exception to that is fords f series that have that stupid door design where it goes up right where you put your arm.Better idea my ass.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9,
    G.A., I never was never one to rest my arm on the window sill of a vehicle, but when I had a truck, (S10 standard cab) I never even liked driving with a window open, except at very low speed; the wind noise was really bad from the air hitting the inside rear of the cab. G.A., as a truck lover, maybe you know, but does having an extended cab help with the wind noise, or maybe an opening back window, or do “truck guys” just like wind noise, or at least, not mind it?

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    #3 – An object lesson on how Not … to design a car . Take one box . Stuff four wheels underneath . Tack/Glue another box on front to hold the motor …. and call it …. well ….. y’all know what I would call it now … don’t you ;-)

    #9 Gotta tell you G.A. … the used cars I was seeing when in Aspen last week that never failed to catch my eye were the resto mod CJ’s ( and earlier .. and oh that Jeepster ) and classic Broncos . And yeah even in my ‘ F ‘ words in the past I’d put the arm on the window sill … which you cannot do with todays Survival Pod designs . Por moi that ‘ Trucker’s ‘ Tan was almost as much a right of passage ( as a touring musician ) as a biker ( as in bicycle ) tan was .

    #8 IMO the only thing GM did right with the pre adolescent C7 was to make it look better than the pretentious asthmatic kitty .. e.g. Jaguar ‘ F ‘

    —————

    And speaking of truly bad and excessively overly homogenized design ..

    Am I the only one seeing a very distinct resemblance the more I look at the Camaro to the current raft of Mustangs in the …. cough ….. hack …. sputter …. ‘ new ‘ Camaro convertible ?

    ———

    Aspen revisited ;

    Saw one of these toddling on the streets as well ;

    http://microcarmuseum.com/tour/fiat500jolly.html

    The FIAT Jolly … jeeze that thing was cute ! Too bad the driver … errr … wasn’t ;-)

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11,
    That FIAT Jolly, an Italian Mini Moke?

  13. HtG Says:

    11 ‘pre-adolescent C7′

    I guess they accomplished the objective of Ed Welburn of appealing to younger people more than the ‘white hairs.’

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20130816/BLOG06/130819929/how-white-haired-vette-owners-helped-shape-stingrays-design#axzz2conDVTDZ

    don’t get me wrong, I was underwhelmed by the C7 in NY, but I’m waiting to see one coming at me on the highway at 140mph.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CK, maybe you missed this while you were gone:

    http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/chevrolet-corvette-stingray-first-drive-2013-08-19

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    14 – I aint a talkin bout how it performs … its the looks I’s a commenting on . TonkaToy HotWheels pastiche .. no matter what angle or where its viewed from . Suffice it to say as I’ve done before … the C6 is a car I’d be proud to show up anywhere in … whereas the C7 i wouldn’t drive one to a Red Neck jamboree for fear of anyone seeing me in it

    #13 – I rather doubt it . If anything the C7′s design only serves to place it right in the sights of the ‘ Mid Life Crisis ‘ bunch .. whereas the kiddies’ll be looking elsewhere ( Nissan GT-R etc ) …. assuming they’re looking at all

    12 – Read the history of that little bug ( Jolly ) The story alone is fascinating as to how and why it came about . To of seen one in person ( rare as hens teeth ) was a hoot as well as one heck of a shock !

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15,12
    I’ll find some info about it. I’ve never seen one that I remember, even when I was in Italy for a couple weeks. Yeah, I suspect they are extremely rare in the US.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s some interesting Jolly info:

    http://www.coolbeachcars.com/page2.html

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #15-14
    The Top Gear guy certainly liked the performance, but didn’t seem to mind the looks of it either, and he rather liked the interior.

    It seems that with the C7, aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder. I still haven’t seen one “in the flesh,” and will form my opinions when i do.

  19. drew Says:

    HtG #7 – High beltlines are beneficial for FMVSS 226 (Ejection Mitigation) to help the side air curtain overlap with the belt line to retain occupants. This is another example of NHTSA piling on a low value regulation (nearly all ejections are from small population of unbelted occupants) that has side effects to the entire population (poor visibility or overly still bags that don’t absorb energy as well).

  20. HtG Says:

    thx, Drew. Do you know if people wearing seat belts were being ejected in meaningful numbers? Is it mostly those not buckling up?

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to me that the small window thing is more for “style,” than to meet federal standards. A Subaru Forester certainly has lots of glass, as does a Nissan Vera, for its class. They may both be tall for their class, and have high beltlines with taller greenhouses, but both probably have lower beltlines than competing vehicles.

  22. HtG Says:

    jerk bmw drivers.

    that is all(I don’t work blue)

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11, 13
    From what I have seen, pre-adolescents like monster trucks, and aren’t much into cars of any description.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ #10,Kit: No,you still have to put on those ventvisors.Want to have your head pounded into the ground real fast? Drive an equinox at about 40 to 45 mph with the drivers window down.The worst pounding I have ever had with any vehicle,especially at low speeds.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24,
    Thanks for info.

    It seems that recent vehicles are not designed with windows open driving in mind. It so happens that my first generation Dodge Caravan is the best vehicle I’ve had in my memory for windows open driving. What really works is to have one or more of the swing out windows and/or the cowl vent open. There is no buffeting/thumping, and surprisingly little other wind noise, compared to my more “modern” cars. Could the rain gutters be good for keeping wind noise down? I think those first gen Chrysler vans, and OmniRizons were about the last vehicles with gutters, and both were good for windows down driving.

  26. HtG Says:

    The rule which failed to apply this evening is that you should always press your boot down on the neck of the bmw driver. Then there are no problems.

    jerks

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26,
    Do MINI’s qualify as BMW’s. I hope not:-)

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #26 I hope BMW X5 drivers are not included, although my WheelWoman has gotten a bit more particular since getting the used X5. More study is in order.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    @ #10 Both my 91 S-10 and 93 Dakota had the sliding rear windows and it was very comfortable with the driver’s window and rear slider open. Very noisey with the slider closed. The noisest vehicle I ever drove (wind noise) was a 1996 Olds Delta 88 with the driver’s window partially open and the other windows closed there was much buffeting. The only way to overcome it was to open another rear window equally to the driver’s window.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29,
    It seems that experimenting is the best way to figure how to drive with windows open in a specific vehicle.

    Given that I want the driver’s window open (at up to ~45mph), my Prius seems to work best with the right rear window about halfway down. The MINI works best with the right window about 1/3 of the way down, with the driver’s window fully open. Neither works nearly as well, windows open, as my old minivan, with the swing out windows and/or cowl vent open. Those first generation Chrysler minivans must have been the last vehicles sold in the U.S. with cowl vents.

    At highway speed, I never have windows open; I use heat/AC as needed. In my old age, I’m not into noise. It surprises me how many people I see going 75-80 on the interstate with windows open, in vehicles new enough that the HVAC probably works.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 they still think they save gas with open windows regardless of speed and it has been proven that driving with open windows at high speed causes enough drag to use as much fuel as using the a/c. So why put up with the noise and heat?

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    Corvette Design Evolution

    Well … since design is the subject of the week and I brought up the C7 I thought I’d post my view of the Vette’s design evolution over the years ;

    C1 – A bit ungainly , yet appealing . The epitome of the French idiom ‘ Jolie Laide ‘ ( ugly/beautiful ) Looked like nothing else on the road , screamed ” I’m American ” with each subsequent evolution improving the looks right up to the final version ( oh for a return to the days of GOOD design subtly evolved )

    C2 – Oh yeah baby . Revolution done right . Yet again completely different that any car made . You could spot a C1 from a mile away … with again every evolution of the design improving it . THE classic Vette IMO

    C3 – The beginnings of where things went wrong . GM’s attempt to be America’s Ferrari etc. Pastiche design . OTT add ons and body bits . The car looking like four different people had designed it without ever working together .

    C4-C5 – … and then things got only worse . Bad design .. unneeded extra bulk and girth …. the thing screaming ‘ Mullet ‘ hair do from every angle . A travesty for the terminally ‘ Mid Life Crisis ‘ set .

    C6 – Finally ! After suffering thru three versions of from bad to worse design …… GM got it right …. again … in every way shape and form . Balanced …. elegant yet aggressive .. completely different again to everything else on the road ..all while once again saying ” American and proud to be one ” As well as functional as a daily driver .

    C7 – Back to the bad ol days . OTT pastiche derivative design . Tacky add ons and Carbon Fiber Boy Racer Aero pretense . Losing any semblance of Class what so ever . In essence its all the mistakes of the C3-C5 all wrapped up into one ugly package seemingly aimed right at the Mullet/ Mid Life Crisis / Successful Plumber crowd

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – They don’t call most BMW drivers @$&hats for nothing you know .

    Did you catch the link I put up a few days ago to the NYTimes article showing scientific proof that most BMW drivers are @$&hats ? It was …. interesting

    —————-

    Kit – As to glass … another reason we got the GLK . Lots and lots of glass … which equals unobstructed vision . As to the FIAT Jolly …. I think if I’m remembering the article in a past issue of MT Classics right …. there was a grand total of 100 made with an estimated less than 35 surviving . I remember the author saying there were more Bugatti Type 35′s existing than FIAT Jolly’s

    I’ll tell you when I first saw it coming down the block I thought it was another of those EV/GolfCart things that some private owners in Aspen had done the ‘ make it look like a car ‘ modifications …… until I heard that familiar rasp of a well tuned and slightly modified FIAT 600 engine …. then I knew .. and having it come right up to us … well …. Wow !

  34. T. Bejma Says:

    #11

    “ColoradoKid Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 2:24 pm
    #3 – An object lesson on how Not … to design a car . Take one box . Stuff four wheels underneath . Tack/Glue another box on front to hold the motor …. and call it …. well ….. y’all know what I would call it now … don’t you ;-)

    Range Rover? Mercedes G500? Ford Flex? Any pickup? ;-)

  35. T. Bejma Says:

    #32

    Your buddy PDL seems to like the C7 – A Lot!

    “But I’m happy to report that he 2014 Corvette positively bristles with everything that the Corvette should be. Emotionally compelling to look at, powerful in its performance, dynamic in its handling and its cat-quick reflexes and smartly executed, I would think Messrs Earl, Arkus-Duntov, Cole and especially Bill Mitchell – the man who refused to let the car die or become an afterthought – would be very proud.”

    http://www.autoextremist.com/current/?currentPage=2

  36. john897 Says:

    To me Elon Musk is just an egotistical man who at the time being is on a roll and can do not wrong. But ultimately he will come down as fast as as he came up if he keeps bragging to no end and keeps putting down his competitors. That will only inflame his competitors who will try to drive him out of business and they can easily do it. The skateboard design he’s using on the Tesla car is not a new idea and comes from GM. Really, he has not made anything but a real expensive car who other car builders could easily have done. Once he saturates the rich people with those expensive cars, he will have no other buyers. He claims to be on his way in building much cheaper cars, but so are the competitors. Good luck Elon because you will need it.

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    F1 News

    Das NJ F1 race ist kaputsky ..

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130824/F1/130829891

    Bummer . I was looking forward to an excuse to visit the old homestead as well as possibly having a face to face with HtG . Not a surprise though after the expenses incurred by ‘ Sandy ‘

    ——-

    T Bejma – Give it a rest son . This is becoming boring ;-)

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    #36 – + 1 … and …..Finally . Someone who truly ‘ gets it ‘ when it comes to Elon Musk

    Two huge thumbs up !!!

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #11, re #3,
    Actually, CK, I thought you might like the “design” of the first generation xB, since it has big windows, and good visibility. Yeah, the one in that picture is ridiculous, with wheels that don’t fit in the wheel wells.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, CK don’t go to Japan cause your eyes will hurt from all the Kei cars running around there, the original xB was the only one that crossed the Pacific to make it here and it did well until Toyota payed attention to the critics and started addressing issues and went too far with the ’08 redesign, just using the Corolla engine with some additional sound insulation would have worked better.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,
    If they keep the Scion brand around, I hope the next xB is more like the original, both in size/powertrain, and in appearance. The current one should be called something different, like Toyota Matrix Mk III or something.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37,
    I think there is more than one person who should “give it a rest,” at least regarding the appearance of the C7. After about the 10th. rant, we all pretty much know how you feel.

    As far as Corvettes through history, I like seeing C1′s and C2′s at shows, not only because they are old, but because they were something out of the ordinary, for American cars, when new. Also, I generally like the looks of C1 and C2, both now, and when they were new.

    I never particularly liked the looks of C3′s, and still don’t. Also, a lot of them were from the early emission control years, before they figured out how to make engines both clean, and powerful. They don’t much appeal to me, even though some of the earlier ones were quite fast in a straight line.

    I’m not crazy about the looks of C4′s, but I like the cars, because they were the first ‘Vette to be a serious sports car, and the first one to move much beyond being a factory-built kit car. By the end of the C4 run, they worked pretty well, both the power train, and the chassis.

    C5 and C6, to me, are just fast, good handling sports cars, but the styling of neither does much for me. They work well, though, both as sports cars, and as daily drivers, if you are so inclined.

    The C7 will no doubt drive better, and have a better interior than any Corvette before, but not having seen one, except in photos, I’ll withhold judgement on how it looks. I think that side view of the convertible at the end of PDL’s post looks pretty good, though.

  43. ColoradoKid Says:

    42 – My ‘ give it a rest son ‘ comment was aimed at T Bejma’s constant , futile and becoming somewhat pathetic attempts to contradict each and every comment and opinion I express .

    As far as my C7 ‘ rants as you put it …. when the issue of design is on the table …. its a subject I’ll most likely end up returning to time and time again in the future as the car is a prime example ( among many unfortunately today ) of abject pastiche OTT Xerox vulgar design .

    As to the xB comment . There’s ‘ box ‘ design ( all car designs are based somewhat around the ‘ box ‘ concept ) … and then there’s the Too Lazy to Add Any Style or Design to the …. ‘ Box on Wheels school of ( lack of ) Design …. the Xb being the later .

    Abject laziness IMO in the pursuit of the Suburban/Urban Hipster market

    At the risk of …. errr …. retribution …. I gotta tell you Kit that PDL’s sudden and complete 180 on the issue of the C7′s design has me more than a bit suspicious of his …. motivations behind it all

    As to the past Vette’s .. I love the C1 C2 and C6 because twenty years from now they’ll still be desirable classics … whereas the C3 C4 C5 look like the plastic they’re made of … and the C7 will find itself in the relegation zone …. e.g …. no one will care

    Added performance ? Who in truth really needs it .. or really cares ? 99.999% of Vette owners aren’t capable ( due to lack of ability ) of using 20% of the C4′s capacity … especially on todays roads …. so exactly what good does a couple miles an hour faster terminal velocity … a minor increase in handling … and a slightly quicker 0-60 et do when the car looks like a bad joke from some demented teenagers dream ?

    IMO ( with the likes of Freeman Thomas etc sharing this opinion ) …… What we need are truly better looking cars that are fun to drive … rather than uglier/faster and your aging Gram can drive it as fast as you can . Give me ( architects ) Peter Zumthor ( usable livable and functional ) over the likes of Frank Gehry and Liebiskind ( pretense and unusable ).. any day

    ;-)

  44. HtG Says:

    I think if you go read PDL, CK, you’ll see that it’s the convertible C7 that he likes, rather than the coupe.

    But as to what cars have become…, I struggle with it.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Recently 2 young guys I know bought new cars, when I went to see them ALL they showed me was the infotainment system and how they can get music through their smart phones and blue-tooth and yellow teeth and all that crap, not one word about engine, transmission, driving dynamics NONE of that is important I guess, only how many ways you can play music through the damn system. BTW they all require major distraction from the actual driving of the thing!

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43,
    I certainly agree on the pointlessness of “added performance.”. A base MINI with a 0-60 time of about 9 seconds is fast enough and sporty enough to keep me entertained.

    As far as the first xB, I always liked it because of the big greenhouse, round wheel wells, and wheels out at the corners, but also because it was something “different” in the US market, a Japanese home market microvan, modified as little as possible to sell in America.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45,
    Pedro, what are the cars? I’m curious.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Optima and Altima,both yanked out perfectly nice factory radios and speakers to put expensive gear in there, could care less about power trains or 0 to 60 or 60 to 0 or lateral G forces, only distractions and more distractions, we’re doomed!!! Mobile entertainment units these cars have become and while they’re showing me this stuff they’re not even looking ahead and I was freaking out, more so than when I was doing those 130 mph laps as a passenger in Homestead racetrack

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had been looking for a used 1st gen xB but compared to a used Corolla, they’re kind of expensive and I feel you get “more” car for the money in the latter, besides you gotta wonder if it was owned by some kid that abused the thing!

  50. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Now you know the reason behind the ‘push’ for autonomous cars.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA I just don’t get it, I just think that when you’re driving you should be putting all your attention to the task at hand, leave the infotainment crap for when you get home!

  52. HtG Says:

    51 Pedro, last week I watched a young gal driving up a hill toward me, and she was only looking down at her phone. There’s a whole generation that is melded to their screens. Driving is the distraction.

  53. HtG Says:

    I get freaked in traffic when I see people looking down, as I’m used to watching drivers in order to read which way a car will go. My limbic system is getting a work out at least.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    As much time as I spend on the road, I know it is only a matter of time b4 I get whacked by some distracted idiot and my fear is that my car is worth almost nothing by the book, so they will most likely declare it a total loss and they won’t pay for my repair and it won’t be nearly enough to replace it and I’ll be stuck with another 5 yr loan.

  55. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: I don’t get it either.As far as ‘leaving the infotainment crap at home’,those people will probably have even bigger and better at home.The world is changing and so is our world of driving.Another reason to get another truck for myself.Not for my driving skills,but more for protection against the ‘auto infotainment crowd’.