November 16th, 2011 at 12:05pm
We’ve got a couple unveils from the L.A. Auto Show. Cadillac finally showed off the new XTS, which replaces the DTS and STS in the line-up. And Ford debuted the all-new Escape, which comes with a host of new features. GM’s VP of U.S. Sales says this month’s seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, could hit 14 million units. All that and more, plus guest host Peter De Lorenzo shares his thoughts on the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera.
Yes, it’s me again, Colonel De Lorenzo here, the original recipe Autoextremist, bringing you a big ol’ bucket of news, a Porsche 911 review as the gravy, and maybe a mint julep for dessert for Wednesday. November 16th, 2011. But we’ll get to those fine vittles a little later because there’s something going on out in Los Angeles. Now, what could it be? . . . Oh, right, an auto show, which is where Mac Daddy is.
CADILLAC XTS UNVEILED
We’ve seen the concept, heard the rumors, and shared teaser shots, but it’s finally here. Cadillac unveiled its new XTS sedan at the L.A. show today. This big four-door will replace the ancient DTS and lackluster STS. It’s designed to go after cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6, but it’s a little bigger than the competition. At 18 cubic feet it has more trunk space than all of them. It also offers more back-seat legroom than a BMW 5 Series . . . but then again, so does a Nissan Versa. The XTS’ mechanicals are standard GM fare. It will be powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 delivering “approximately” 300 horsepower. A six-speed automatic with “tap-shift” is the only gearbox offered. All-wheel drive will be available. Cadillac is really pushing technology; its CUE infotainment system debuts here. The car also gets magnetic ride dampers, adaptive cruise control and a battery of other safety and convenience features. The really big news about the XTS? It has great design presence on the road, and Cadillac is going to do well with it. Look for the XTS at Cadillac dealers across the U.S. and Canada in the spring.
NEW FORD ESCAPE
If you thought yesterday’s exciting Mustang news was all Ford had up its sleeve for L.A., think again. The blue oval is also showing off a brand-new Escape. This popular utility gets a clean-sheet design that’s reminiscent of the Focus, which is convenient, because they share the same architecture. This is the 10th vehicle Ford is building off its global C-platform. Not surprisingly, the Escape’s innards were also completely overhauled. Matching the avant-garde design, it gets a bucket-load of tech including the latest version of MyFord Touch. A hands-free power liftgate will also be available – a neat feature. It can be activated by simply waving a foot under the rear bumper. Three engines will be offered. The base is a 2.5-liter four-banger. Buyers can step up to a one-six EcoBoost with about 173 horsepower, but the range-topper is a 2.0-liter turbo delivering around 237 ponies. A V-6 is no longer offered. With a standard six-speed automatic trans, the 2013 Escape should deliver best-in-class performance AND fuel economy. You heard it here first, folks, the new Escape is going to be a grand-slam home run in the market. Count on it.
AUTOLINE LIVE FROM L.A.
Speaking of L.A., please, Please, PLEASE make sure you join us this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time for our special LIVE coverage of the show. Autoline El Presidente John McElroy has a laundry list of great interviews lined up. Some of the A-list folks he’ll be talking to include Mark Reuss, the President of GM North America; Derrick Kuzack, Ford’s Group VP of Global Product Development; and John Krafcik, the President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. See? I told you it was an all-star lineup. Again, join us at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv for all the action.
CHRYSLER ADDS JOBS AT TOLEDO PLANT
Yesterday Chrysler announced it will temporarily lay off workers at its GEMA plant, but today the company says it will add workers at another. According to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler will add over 1,100 jobs at its Toledo Assembly Complex, which builds the Dodge Nitro as well as the Jeep Wrangler and Liberty. The company plans to invest $365 million in the plant to produce the next-generation Liberty.
GM SAYS SAAR COULD HIT 14 MILLION
Car sales in the U.S. have been slowly increasing this year and a General Motors executive says November could be the best month of the year. According to Bloomberg, GM’s VP of U.S. Sales says this month’s seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR, could hit 14 million units. This estimate also includes medium- and heavy-duty trucks. That would be a big jump from last month’s score of 13.3 million.
TOYOTA MOST LIKELY TO RETAIN VALUE
Even with all the negative press Toyota has faced over the last year or so, the resale value of its vehicles is still the best in the business. Kelley Blue Book named the brand the most likely to retain its value after five years. Subaru was number two on the list. KBB also named Lexus as the top luxury brand. Toyota was able to claim the top spot because it offers low incentives and it doesn’t have many fleet sales.
Coming up next, I test drive the finger-lickin’ good Porsche 911 Carrera.
2012 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA
I had the pleasure of driving the next-generation 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera last weekend, and if there was only one word that best captures the essence of the new 911, I can’t think of a better descriptor than the word “more.”
Slightly longer with a longer wheelbase, slightly lower and wider – especially in its front track – and most important, lighter, the new 911 – or the 991, as Porsche insiders call it, is 90 percent new from the ground up and from the inside out. And I found it to be absolutely stunning on the road, with the wider front track enhancing the 911′s “turn-in” ability while taking it to an even higher level of responsiveness.
Porsche purists are already decrying the switch from hydraulic to electro-mechanical power steering for instance, yet I found the new car’s steering to be exemplary and I took to it immediately.
But then again, is this new 911 too good? Does the technological transformation make it too comfortable and too easy to drive?
Make no mistake, though the new 911 has been made slightly more appealing to a broader spectrum of drivers, it is a machine with two very distinct personalities. Yes, you can negotiate the vagaries of urban driving with ease and with more comfort in the new car. But the moment you put your foot in it and drive it with purpose, it transforms into something much more akin to one of the factory’s 911 GT3 RS racers. A machine that is able to deliver fantastic levels of performance and blistering speed, while doing it with a level of competence unavailable in previous iterations of the iconic sports car.
For those lamenting the disappearance of some of those yesteryear qualities of the original 911s that solidified the machine’s reputation for generations to come, I’ve got some bad news: those days are gone forever. I’ve owned several of those timelessly brilliant cars and I hold those experiences and those cars dear.
But time does indeed march on, and Porsche has put a stake in the ground suggesting that they will push aside the heavy cloak of preconceived notions that hangs over the 911 when and if they deem it the right thing to do, if it will result in a better car.
And the new 911 is not just a better car, it’s the best Porsche ever built.
It’s everything they know so far. And more.
Much, much more.
And that’s the High-Octane Truth for Wednesday, November 16th.
Hey, thank you for joining us today. We do appreciate your patronage, and hope you join us for our LIVE webcast starting at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv. Anyway, for more of my thoughts, please swing by my website, AutoExtremist.com. It’s chock-full of the High-Octane Truth and more great stuff. So do a drive by and check it out. Anyway, thanks again, I’ll see you tomorrow.