2018 Acura RLX
Introduced in 2013, the RLX is one of Acura’s newest nameplates. Designed to replace the severely outdated second-generation RL, the RLX was received with mixed reviews. While praised for its powerful V-6, hybrid drivetrains, and technology, the full-size sedan was criticized for its bland looks and relatively high prices compared to its rivals. This is probably why Acura is introducing a new styling for the RLX only four years after the original model hit the market. The redesigned sedan was just previewed ahead of the Monterey Car Week, where it will make its public debut on August 15.
Although a four-year-old vehicle usually gets a mild facelift, the RLX was redesigned from the ground up on the outside, now reflecting the company’s new Precision Crafted Performance styling language. Granted, the interior carries over unchanged save for additional equipment and the drivetrain options all have the same specifications, but Acura solved one of the RLX’s biggest issues: the dull design. Let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table in the review below.
Updated 11/06/2017: Acura announced prices for the 2018 RLX which is now on sale at dealer nationwide. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.
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2018 Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover is Jaguar Land Rover’s flagship SUV, offering surprising off-road capability wrapped up in a luxurious, premium package. The latest model year smartly keeps these basics intact, while also adding a dash of tweaked exterior styling, a heavy dose of the latest infotainment and driver assist tech, and most importantly, a brand-new plug-in-hybrid powertrain. If you prefer power rather than efficiency, a supercharged V-8 is on hand as well, as is a diesel option and a gas-powered V-6. Inside, the rear seat gets as much as 7.3 inches in extra legroom, which works wonders while relaxing in the high-end long-wheelbase iteration. Leather upholstery and wood trim pervade throughout. Read on for more.
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Car Throttle Looks At Six Fantastic Facelifts: Video
As we get deeper and deeper into auto show season (get ready for Tokyo!), we are often reminded of that age-old industry practice known as the facelift. In order to keep older models feeling fresh and new, automakers will often apply an update wherein certain exterior design features get tweaked ever so slightly, thus creating a somewhat different appearance. These design reworks are usually pretty mild – an extra crease here, a larger intake there, you know, that sort of thing. But sometimes, a facelift works some real magic for a car, giving it just the right sort of aesthetic, the sort of style that makes you stand up and shout “Yes! That’s what it’s supposed to look like!” In the above-featured three-and-a-half-minute video, our friends over at Car Throttle highlight six such instances when a facelift was just done right.
Included in the video is the Ford Mustang, the Nissan GT-R, the BMW E46 3-Series, the Jaguar XF, the Peugeot 306, and the Mazda MX-5 2.5. Throughout, Car Throttle points out what’s different in the new model versus the old model, highlighting why it works along the way. Indeed, the art of the facelift is in subtle effectiveness, with tweaks done that result in a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is the key, boosting what works, and diminishing what doesn’t. We think Car Throttle is on to something here, and as we dive headlong into a fresh batch of revisions and updates for the upcoming model year, it pays well to take note of what a good facelift looks like.
2018 BMW 2 Series Coupe
A few years back, someone at BMW thought it would be fun to place the magical name game. Instead of the 1 Series being sold as a coupe, convertible, three-door, or five-door, BMW decided to take the coupe and convertible models and call them the 2 Series. It was a little confusing at first, but a lot of good came out of it. The 2 Series coupe is larger than the model it replaced and came complete with a four-cylinder that was more powerful and offered better fuel efficiency compared to the V-6 in the old 1 Series coupe. And, of course, don’t forget that we were also blessed with the gorgeous BMW M2. Come the 2018 model year, and the entire 2 Series lineup is due for an update. BMW’s PR talk would leave you to believe that we’re talking about a new generational model, but truth be told, the changes are quite thin for 2018. Exterior changes are limited to new lighting units, while the interior gets a mildly revised dash and updated iDrive infotainment system. As far as motivation goes, you’ll have your choice of three-, four-, and six-cylinder mills (depending on market) that deliver between 136 and 340 horsepower.
Just to be clear, BMW says the 2018 2 Series is a new-gen model, but all evidence points to the contrary. Changes are minimal, and the 2 Series has really only been around since 2014, so it wouldn’t make sense for a new-gen model to be ushered in so quickly. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what the 2018 model will offer when it goes on sale in July of 2017.
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2018 GMC Yukon Denali Gets a New Grille and Two Extra Cogs
The popular GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Denali are getting a few welcomed updates for 2018. General Motors’ new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission makes its first appearance in a GM SUV, first appearing in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Denoting the model-year changes are a new Denali “cheese grater” chrome grille and a new, real-wood interior trim called Mastique Ash. As before, the Denali comes standard with GM’s powerful 6.2-liter V-8 derived from the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 small-block V-8.
The remainder of the Yukon Denali remains unchanged. That’s not completely terrible, as the Yukon still feels fresh, having debuted for the 2015 model year. The new transmission features a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio that offers a shorter first gear of 4.70:1 and taller 10th gear of 0.64:1. Combined, the result is better acceleration off the line and improved fuel economy at highway speeds over the outgoing eight-speed automatic’s 4.56 and 0.65 respective ratios. Helping the 420-horsepower V-8 keep cool are larger openings in the new Denali grille. As before, active grille shutters ahead of the radiator close when extra cooling airflow isn’t needed in order to improve aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.
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2017 BMW M240i M Performance Edition
The BMW M240i represents a lot of things to the 2 Series family. It’s not quite on the level of the M2, but it also offers better performance cues and styling upgrades over other variants of the 2 Series that fall below it in the pecking order. In other words, the M240i is the bridge that connects the 2 Series to the M2. It also happens to be well-endowed with new equipment that helps shape its identity as the M2’s baby brother.
So as we welcome the arrival of the refreshed BMW 2 Series, it comes as no surprise that a limited edition M240i M Performance Edition is following suit with plenty of its own tweaks that help, in BMW’s own words, “express the athletic appeal of the compact sports coupe even more.” We like how BMW phrased that to describe the limited-run M240i M Performance Edition. It’s basically saying that while there are already enough reasons to love the M240i for what it inherently is, there are still ways to make it even better. The special edition M240i does its part in filling those gaps. Only 750 units of the sports coupe will be built so expect the special edition model to sell out quickly once it hits the market this coming July.
Continue after the jump to read more about the BMW M240i M Performance Edition.
Pops’ Rants: Facelifts are BS; Someone at Rolls-Royce May Be Smoking Pot
Boy, I sure miss the good old days when car updates were more about the update and less about meaningless words in press releases. Things were much simpler back in the 1960s when most cars received yearly updates. No three-year planning, no bullshit. "Welcome to the new model year, have some redesigned features and a few extras," was the norm and it was absolutely brilliant. Nowadays, we just get facelifts with new headlamps and new speedometer needless. Pfeh!
If you haven’t been reading the news, BMW just upgraded the 2 Series and M2. And, by upgraded, I mean that it launched a big press release about nothing and made fewer improvements than the number of cups of coffee I have each morning. And trust me, I don’t drink too many. That’s slightly revised headlamps and taillights, new dashboard trim, and some minor changes to the instrument cluster. Facelift? I think not! You know what this is? Removing a mole off your nose and calling it a rhinoplasty.
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2016 - 2018 BMW M2
BMW needed a successor for the 1 Series Coupe, so it created the 2 Series in 2014. It took a couple of years, but BMW finally graced us with the BMW M2 To put it simply, BMW created a car with some of the 1M’s charm mixed in with the aggressiveness of the BMW M4. The exterior featured a menacing front fascia with large air inlets while the rear featured a sculpted fascia with deep character lines and vertical reflectors in the corners. The interior was driver-focused and littered with M-specific features like exclusive gauge needles, sport seats with adjustable side bolsters, M steering wheel, and an infotainment system that featured a GoPro and M Laptimer app. All told, it was the compact M coupe we’ve been waiting for since the 1M was discontinued in 2012.
It would be hard not to say that the M2 was essentially an M235i on steroids, but that doesn’t change the fact that the M2 is still tied to iconic models like the E30 M3 and the 2002 Turbo from 1973. Even though it’s hard to consider something smaller like the M2, when you could just as easily get an M4, it’s the power that comes with the little coupe that makes it worth its weight in gold. The 3.0-liter engine under the hood features M TwinPower Turbo technology and develops 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to send Bimmers smallest M to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds or 4.2 seconds with DCT.
Updated 05/12/2017: BMW dropped the official details on the facelift M2 sports car, with just a few weeks before its market launch in July 2017.
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series
Unveiled back in 2011, the second generation of the 1 Series is now part of a growing family of BMW compact models, having been accompanied by the 2 Series Coupe, Cabriolet model and Active Tourer variant back in 2014. Available in either three-door or five-door guises, the smallest BMW model is rivaled by the likes of the Audi A3, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Lexus CT, but unlike any of the aforementioned models it is the only car in its segment to be based on a rear-wheel drive architecture. Its engine lineup consists of a host of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF, while all-wheel drive xDrive traction is available on selected models.
With the model now a little over three years old, the Bavarian carmaker has recently facelifted its five and three-door range, restyling much of its controveral exterior design and refreshing the entire engine lineup. Bringing a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 12 percent, new 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines now constitute the base models, having been borrowed from the latest MINI. The model with the lowest fuel consumption in the entire range will now be the 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, whose 116 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque are paired with a combined fuel economy of just 69.2 mpg. The biggest surprise comes on the outside though, as the new BMW 1 Series Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) shows an completely different look. Gone are the "Angry Birds" headlights, having been replaced by restyled ones that are more in line with the current BMW design theme. Small improvements to the front and rear bumpers have also been made, while the square-ish taillights are now L-shaped, just like on pretty much every other BMW model.
Update 5/9/2017: BMW will update the current 1 Series Hatch one last time before it ushers in a new-gen, FWD model to replace it. Check out our special section below to see the new spy shots and to learn more about it.
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BMW M2 Facelift Shows Just How Lazy BMW Can Be
When I woke up this morning, I fired up my iPad and went about my usual routine of seeing what was going on in the world today. Before I could make it through even half of the usual drama associated with this country’s current political state, I got a message from a buddy overseas saying the facelifted M2 leaked on a Belgian website along with a link back to our friends over at Bimmer Today. Sure enough, the story checks out, but right away I noticed that this facelift will be nothing to write home about. And, in all honesty, is really not even worth mentioning. But I thought maybe one or two of you might like to know what to expect when the 2018 BMW M2 goes on sale and why you’ll probably want to hold off on upgrading to a newer model.
To put things simply, the only changes to be had come in the form of new exterior lights. Up front, the headlights will keep the same shape and form, and even the weird little eyelid at the top of the light, but the LED adaptive lights will now take on a more angular look with clearly defined points that creates a broken hexagonal look. Around back, the only real difference is that the darker area of the taillight lens will now sit flat in the center and the reverse light will now sit at the very bottom of the taillight, toward the lower, inner corner. The reverse light will be a bit thinner and longer than before. This is great and all, but sadly, those are the only changes that you should expect from the 2018 M2, and it’s enough for me to suggest that you wait if you were considering on trading in an updating to a newer model.
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2017 Acura MDX – Driven
The Acura MDX has been roaming streets since the turn of the new millennium. It has held fairly strong sales numbers, with 2014 being its best year with 65,603 examples finding homes. That makes sense, as the 2014 model year marked the first year of the current generation. But sales have slowly slipped, with Acura only moving 49,252 MDX models in the first 11 months of 2016. However, the three-row crossover has a new hope – a heavily refreshed face for the 2017 model year.
The new MDX loses the unloved “shield” or “beak,” as some called it, trading it in favor of a pentagonal grille with a massive Acura logo affixed front and center. It takes after the Acura Precision Concept. A revised rear fascia and chrome rocker panels further add a level of luxury not present before.
Matching the updated looks are a slew of updated safety systems. AcuraWatch is now standard on every MDX and includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Thanks to these new systems, along with the LED headlights that scored an “Acceptable” rating with the IIHS, the MDX made the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ list for 2017.
The underpinnings continue almost unchanged, however, including the 3.5-liter V-6, nine-speed automatic transmission, and Acura’s available Super Handling AWD system. That’s not a big deal, as the V-6 continues to offer excellent power and efficiency. The i-VTEC and direct-injection 3.5-liter makes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque while achieving 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined on models equipped with SH-AWD.
To get a feel of the refreshed 2017 MDX, Acura sent me an example to test for a week. I used it as a daily driver – chauffeuring the kid to school, picking up groceries, and making runs across town. Here are my thoughts and impressions.
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Volkswagen to Reveal Updated Golf in November
Volkswagen has just announced that the updated version of the seventh-generation Golf will make its official debut in early November 2016. The German brand describes the facelift, which is less than a month away, as a "major update," but gives no specific information as to what the new hatchback will bring to the table. Instead, Volkswagen brags that it has sold more than 32 million Golfs between the nameplate’s introduction in 1974 and the end of 2015, whle also listing other records the hatchback has broken so far.
For instance, it reminds us that the Golf outsold the iconic Beetle in 2002 and that it is being built in five different factories and exported to 155 countries. Volkswagen also takes pride in the Golf being the only car in the world that is available with five drivetrains: gasoline (petrol), diesel, hybrid, electric, and gas.
Pretty impressive, but this says nothing about the upcoming update. So what will change with the facelift?
To be honest, not much. The Germans may view it as a "major update," but the facelifted Golf VII won’t get more than just a few nips and tucks. If the past is any indication, Volkswagen will only meddle with the front grille, add new wheel designs, and maybe a couple of new exterior colors. More changes are in store inside, but mostly in the technology department, with the design layout to remain unchanged. If previous reports are accurate, the Golf should get the infotainment system and instrument cluster from the Golf R Touch Concept. The 9.2-inch display should also include gesture control, a feature that Volkswagen debuted at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.
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