Blog Archives

Using Corporate Culture To Make Cars Lighter – CAR MBS 2016

August 1st, 2016 at 2:35pm

Aluminum and carbon fiber are one way to make cars lighter. But GM sees corporate culture as the fundamental pillar in its light-weighting efforts. There’s technology too, of course. In fact GM has figured out a way to weld steel and aluminum together, which gets officially announced today.

#InternYazaki: Technology Trends & More at CAR MBS 2016

August 1st, 2016 at 1:53pm

Autoline is partnering with Yazaki to offer a unique perspective of the 2016 CAR Management Briefing Seminars. During the week of CAR MBS, Yazaki interns will be posting their insights to Instagram and Twitter using #InternYazaki as well as Snapchat. We’ll be sharing some of the most interesting of those posts right here on, so check back often. The opinions and reports from the intern correspondents are their own and do not reflect the editorial position of Autoline.

continue reading »

Seat Time: 2016 Audi TTS – Flawed and We Love It!

July 30th, 2016 at 3:00pm

Audi TTS Coupé

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Vehicle: 2016 Audi TTS
Price: $57,600 (as tested)

Final Impression:

The Audi TTS is the biggest and baddest TT you can buy. The 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder kicks out 72 more horsepower (292hp) and 22 more lb.-ft. of torque (280 lb.-ft.) than the standard TT. That’s good for a 0-60 MPH time of 4.6-seconds. The TTS is also upgraded with magnetic ride suspension and unique wheels. The car rides on VW’s modular architecture, called MQB and despite sharing similar underpinnings with other cars, like the Golf, the TTS both earns and deserves its “sports car” moniker.

This car is just waiting for you to tap the Drive Mode button into “Dynamic” and mash on the gas. It seems to want you to push it harder each and every turn. But even if you do push a little too hard the brakes are more than adequate to bring you back into reality. And the TTS is so well balanced that if the back end does want to creep out, you never really feel out of control. It could make even a novice driver feel like a real racer. I’m sure a lot of that forgiveness has to do with the AWD system but a good set of 19-inch summer tires doesn’t hurt either. Actually, I would have loved to slap a set of race tires on this thing and thrashed it out on a track or autocross. With race tires this thing has got to be a whole lot of fun.

But all this love I have been spewing for the TTS is about to switch to the other side of the equation. Like any TRUE sports car, the TTS is flawed. And in its case, it comes down to normal, everyday driving. The set of roads I take on a daily basis are a fantastic way to test NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) in any vehicle. While the TTS does an OK job of limiting that Harshness factor, a big thanks to its magnetic ride suspension, and is not the worst I’ve ever been in, I’m pretty sure you can guess how a small sports car with 35-series tires feels to ride around in. It’s not a car I would want to be in for any long period of time. But I will say, the seats are very comfortable and have lots of adjustments for lots of body types.

So if you’re looking at getting into an Audi TTS as a daily driver I really hope you don’t have a very far commute and have access to a track or to the kinds of roads befitting a REAL sports car.

continue reading »

Seat Time: 2017 Cadillac CT6 – A Story In Steering (With All Four Wheels)

July 29th, 2016 at 3:35pm


Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: John McElroy
Vehicle: 2017 Cadillac CT6
Price: $53,495 – $87,495

Final Impression:


Cadillac is by no means the first to the market with 4-wheel- steering. I believe that distinction goes to the Honda Prelude, which offered a mechanically operated system in the late 1980’s. Mazda offered an electrically operated system in the 626 around the same time. And General Motors briefly offered it in the early 2000′s on pickups and SUVs. Several automakers offer it today, but this is a technology that never fired up the public’s imagination.

That’s probably because four-wheel- steering is not very noticeable, unless you really pay attention. At low speeds you might think, “Hmm, this car has a good turning radius.” At highway speed you might think, “Hmm, this car steers well.” But you’ll never think, “OMG, four wheel steering is the best thing that ever happened to me!”

And yet, 4WS truly enhances the Cadillac CT6 driving experience. This is a 17- foot long sedan, as long as a Cadillac Escalade. But it has a turning radius that is two feet smaller than the Escalade. That makes it much easier to maneuver in tight parking or U-turn situations.

Check out this video to see 4WS in action:

At highway speeds 4WS gives this car excellent stability. You can snap the steering wheel to dart into another lane with almost no body sway or steering corrections. And while I don’t recommend driving that way, this is exactly what you want in an emergency situation.

Cadillac is offering 4WS as part of a $3,300 option package which includes magnetic ride control and 20” aluminum wheels. In my book, if you are a serious driver, it’s worth it.

This was my first driving exposure to the CT6 and I was impressed by several features besides 4WS. The new 3-liter twin-turbo V6 is flawless. Powerful and responsive, most people could be fooled into thinking it’s a V8. I averaged 22 mpg, slightly better than the EPA label.

The interior design of the car is well crafted and now rivals that of its best luxury competitors. And the CUE infotainment system is much improved, though it’s still too easy to trigger the volume control when you’re trying to change a radio station. But there was one flaw that made me hate stop and go driving in this car. As you come to a slow stop, there’s a lurch as the 8-speed transmission downshifts from 2nd gear to 1st at around 4 mph. I don’t expect to find that in any car, much less the flagship of a luxury brand.

Cadillac is getting very close to becoming a serious player in the luxury segment again. But a car that is 99.9% good is not good enough. Nothing short of perfection will pry people out of their Benzes and Bimmers.


AAH #340 – Choosing Cars That Could Become Classics

July 29th, 2016 at 10:57am

Audio-only version:

Download MP3

SPECIAL GUEST: Ray Arondoski III, owner 1971 Cadillac Eldorado


01:00 – Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s
18:00 – McElroy’s Future Classics
37:40 – More Chinese buying pickups
41:00 – VW US Marketing to name next SUV
44:57 – FCA under investigation for sales reporting
01:01:49 – Bonus Footage: Post Show!

All that and more with host John McElroy from, and guest panelists, Todd Lassa with Automobile, and Chris Paukert of Roadshow by CNET.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

Stitcher-Icon-1 YouTube

Thanks to our partners and friends and for embedding AAH!

Seat Time: The Name’s Q50, Infiniti Q50

July 26th, 2016 at 12:36pm


Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Vehicle: 2016 Infiniti Q50
Price: From $33,950

Walking Around The Red Sport: VIDEO FEATURE

Final Impression:


Q Branch, in James Bond film lore, was the gadget department of MI5 which created everything from his “loaded” attache case to the “weaponized” Aston Martin DB5. And though Bond was the super spy hero of the series, who didn’t enjoy the spice that Q and his “tools” brought to each movie?

And speaking of spice, that’s what the Infiniti brand is bringing to its own branch of Q products, namely the three versions of the Q50 sport sedan.

The Q, you might recall, replaced Infiniti’s G sedan back in 2013. And now Nissan’s premium nameplate is rolling out three new versions of this compact luxury car. All come with a refreshed sexy exterior styling and the safety/security systems we’ve all come to expect. What differentiates the vehicles are some Performance/Technology features, optional add-on packages and the fact that all three versions have their own new engine.


The 2016 Q50 starts with a new base engine, a 2-Liter turbocharged inline 4 with 208 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque with 24 miles per gallon combined. Our loaner vehicle was an All-wheel drive model which was definitely fun to drive. The vehicle’s MSRP, almost $43,000 ($33,950 base), was disappointing on the interior; with the “Leatherette seating surfaces” and the faux wood trim. For $43k, you’d think you might be getting a little nicer cockpit.

But if you’re looking for a little more power, Infiniti equips the Q50 with what it calls its lightest, most powerful, cleanest and most fuel-efficient V6 ever offered. Built in Nissan’s famous Iwaki Plant in Japan — home of previous award-winning engines — you can move up to the Q50 Premium which delivers 300 horsepower and starts at $40,000.


However, if you’re looking for the big gun, Infiniti didn’t let you down. The third model of the Q50 sport sedan is actually called The Red Sport and it’s this new V6 powertrain mentioned above with not only 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, but coming in only a couple of mpgs behind the 2-Liter with 22 combined. In addition, the luxury quotient goes up on this model with leather seats, aluminum and maple wood interior trim and three different optional packages that bring the price of the Red Sport up to $57,475.

Every engine in the Q50 family was fun behind the wheel. The choice really becomes what do you want surrounding you in the cockpit : an upgraded interior and technology that makes the car darn close to its luxury competitors, or fewer features to bring the price down.

In the end this Q50 may not be a “weaponized” Aston Martin, but if you’re driving the 400 horsepower Red Sport you almost feel like you’re flying Q’s “Little Nellie” (the Wallis WA-116 autogyro) from “You Only Live Twice” and you just may not want to come down.


AAH #339 – Back When Fiat Did Not Want Chrysler

July 22nd, 2016 at 10:48am

Audio-only version:

Download MP3

SPECIAL GUEST: Steve Miller, CEO, IAC Automotive
- A life in Automotive – Steve Miller
- Tesla Master Plan

All that and more with host John McElroy from, and guest panelists, David Welch with Bloomberg, and Doron Levin of Forbes.

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

Stitcher-Icon-1 YouTube

Thanks to our partners and friends and for embedding AAH!

Seat Time VIDEO FEATURE: The Caddy That Zigs

July 21st, 2016 at 1:36pm

John McElroy tests the 2017 Cadillac CT6′s 4-Wheel Steer System. Check out the video above to see how it works.

Seat Time: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune

July 21st, 2016 at 9:00am

2016 VW Beetle Dune

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Vehicle: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune
Price: $26,760 (as tested)

Final Impression:

As we reported in Autoline Daily earlier this year, Volkswagen is ending production of the new Beetle at the end of 2018. But before the Bug rides off into the sunset, the company just introduced a cool version inspired by the Baja Beetle, the Dune.

Compared to the standard Beetle, the Dune features new front and rear fascias, side moldings, a unique wheel design, a rear spoiler and a raised suspension. Inside the differences include sport seats with yellow stitching and a yellow front dash in the version I drove.

2016 VW Beetle Dune - Interior

The Beetle Dune is powered by a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s rated at 25 MPG in the city and 34 on the highway. During my time in the vehicle I averaged around 26 MPG, which is a little disappointing. But I mainly drove it in the city and it was hot and humid the week I drove it, so the AC was cranked up, which dragged down the average.

continue reading »

Seat Time: Imagine A VW w/Emojis

July 20th, 2016 at 1:29pm


Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Katherine Gritzinger with Carmen Erickson
Vehicle: 2016 Volkswagen Passat
Price: Starting at – $22,000, as tested – $38,000

Final Impression:


Pros – Apple CarPlay, Safety technologies-adaptive cruise, lane detection, post-collision braking, USB ports; zippy – accelerates quickly, paddle shifter nice. Large trunk and spacious backseat.

Cons – Boring styling, other drivers thought bright headlamps active during normal driving.

“Wow, this car’s cruise control slows itself down?” was my first thought when I drove the 2016 Volkswagen Passat. As a millennial a year post-college, I don’t often find myself in a vehicle model with a production date past 2010; my personal car being a 2008 Saturn Astra accruing 170,000+ miles.

The Passat put my little bucket of bolts to shame.

For starters, the Passat has adaptive cruise control that works like a charm. I drive about an hour round trip from home to the office on all kinds of roads, and it gives me quite a bit of testing time to notice the bugs in a system. As far as the Passat’s cruise goes, I’d say it’s nearly flawless. Driving home is normally a chore for me. My Astra has a manual transmission, making the heavy traffic miserable. With the Passat, I didn’t have to slow myself down or push anything… the car did it for me!


This car has a lot of features, but I have to say that the one that stands out the most to me is Apple CarPlay and the USB port. It’s amazing to have my entire phone on the giant screen in front of me. Apple CarPlay is incredible because it allows me to navigate with the touch of a finger, or with the sound of my voice. It displays any relevant icons I might need in the same design they would be displayed on my iPhone. Even Spotify is available with an icon. A little easter egg that I noticed and LOVED as well was, when I called my boyfriend through the Apple CarPlay, his name, which is followed by a kiss emoji on my phone, was announced as “Calling Boyfriend ‘Kissing Mark’.” I loved it.