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Lexus LC 500 gives virtuoso performance in ‘Exit Music’ short film

While a great symphony orchestra deserves a concert hall stage, a concrete car park provides the ideal acoustic platform for a virtuoso performance by the Lexus LC 500 in Exit Music, a new short film celebrating the thrilling sound of the muscular coupe’s V8 engine.

True to its commitment to delivering exhilarating performance in its cars, Lexus has tuned the LC 500 flagship coupe specifically to produce a great sound, adding another dimension of driving pleasure to the car’s high style and performance appeal.

To create Exit Music, Lexus handed the keys of its flagship sports car to stunt driver and three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins. The master wheelman hustles the car through the tight confines of Bristol’s Cabot Circus multi-storey car park, using throttle and brake to produce a roaring crescendo of noise.

With the area closed to the public and working in controlled conditions, he explores the LC’s amazing aural range, with quick flicks of the paddle shifts to move through the ten-speed automatic transmission, brushing the 7,300rpm red line as the car power-slides between pillars and descends the car park’s spiral ramps. The wail of the naturally aspirated engine is matched by the scream of the car’s Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

Higgins, who has experienced many of the world’s most desirable and powerful cars, was impressed: “The LC is a lovely car and it looks gorgeous,” he said. “It gives you everything you want in terms of luxury but it’s fun to drive as well. And the sound it made through that car park at two in the morning was amazing – it echoed out all over Bristol. It’s a car that I would be very, very happy to drive every day.”

Further posts this week will explore precisely why the LC 500 sounds so good, and how Mark Higgins approached this tricky driving assignment.


2019 Toyota RAV4 Is All About Risk and Reward

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, California — A niche vehicle at its inception 25 years ago but now practically an entire industry unto itself, the Toyota RAV4’s 2019 redesign sees it take a dramatic turn for the rugged. But rather than being a wanton risk, the change enhances the RAV4’s stature as Toyota’s bestseller and the truck/utility market’s top non-pickup.

The 2019 lineup incorporates nine trim levels—five with the gas-only powertrain and four with the gas-electric hybrid one—and all now share a platform with the Camry and Avalon rather than the Corolla, as in the past. The new RAV4 is a bit wider and offers up to 8.6 inches of ground clearance, but the roofline is slightly lower. The chassis is claimed to be 57 percent more rigid yet lighter than before, and it accommodates wheels up to 19 inches in diameter on the top-of-the-line Limited. The RAV4 has a new 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, and the all-wheel-drive setup now has available torque-vectoring and rear driveline disconnect.

The thoroughly revised hybrid uses a version of the four-cylinder but routes its power instead through a continuously variable transmission and a unique, electric-assist all-wheel-drive system. Body designers received a green light and, evidently, a set of sushi knives, so the outgoing model’s squinty and somewhat dorky face has been supplanted by a craggy and puckered countenance that suggests that, after years of pursuit, Prospector Pete finally got a smooch from Madame Kitty. LED forward lighting is standard across the board to illuminate the way from your favorite trail back to civilization after a day’s paddle-bike-climb. The scalloped and sculpted sides challenge one’s eye; overall, we see a strong resemblance to other Toyota trucks, especially the Tacoma and 4Runner, and the design holds together pretty well.

Compared with the outgoing model, the new interior offers better outward visibility, a wider center console with side-by-side cupholders, and more backseat legroom. Options such as a panoramic sunroof, digital rearview mirror, eight-inch info screen, and wireless phone charging highlight the features list. The crystal-clear radiance of the optional 11-speaker JBL audio is a shock in a vehicle that costs from $26,545 to $36,745—it’s better than the system we have at home. When the RAV4 is equipped with Remote Connect, you can use a smartwatch app or Amazon Alexa’s Toyota skill to warm up the engine or find out how much fuel is in the tank.

Safety is a primary consideration for RAV4 buyers—and there were about 408,000 of them in 2017, or basically the population of Tulsa—and thus active safety features have increased. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard even in the entry-level LE and includes pre-collision sensors that, among other things, can detect bicyclists in the daytime (no word as to whether unicyclists will also be spared). The adaptive cruise control is good from a stop all the way to 110 mph, the lane-departure alert with steering assist now can read roads’ crumbly edges, and the RAV4 will also peruse road signs for you and send alerts if necessary. Passive safety includes eight airbags and a trial subscription to Safety Connect for emergencies. Trailer sway control helps, well, control trailer sway, with the Adventure model able to tow up to 3,500 pounds. (The other gas models are capped at 1,500 pounds, the hybrid at 1,750.)

Under the hood, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder meets the battle call readily but is a tad reedy under acceleration. The engine and other components are arranged to look respectable and smart, like a good review of municipal officials. Is this powerplant sophisticated? The 16 variable-action inlet and outlet valves are schooled to jump back and forth between beats as varied as disco, AC/DC, and techno. The high compression ratio of 13.0:1 (14.0: 1 in the hybrid) is like living on Bolivia’s Altiplano and never having a headache while running a marathon. This paragon of a four-banger eschews turbocharging but, in nonhybrid versions, still makes 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque while running on 87-octane fuel. The hybrid’s version of the four is rated for 176 horses and 163 pound-feet, but electric assist pushes total horsepower to 219 and allows the gas-electric XSE to dash from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, according to Toyota. The automaker says 8.3 seconds is the best a gas-only RAV4 can do. The hybrid’s electric-drive components are more fit and efficient than ever, and its nickel-metal-hydride battery slots neatly under the backseat. The AWD-only 2019 hybrid can achieve an estimated 39 combined mpg—up 7 mpg from the 2018 model.

As mentioned, gas models get an eight-speed automatic transmission, a big upgrade with a wider ratio spread than the previous six-speed. In our driving, it operated invisibly. The hybrid’s continuously variable transmission is responsible for the same old counterintuitive engine mooing under acceleration. Indeed, our enthusiasm lags when a CVT is involved, even as Toyota is attempting to sell the XSE hybrid on its performance—it also has a sport-tuned suspension, they say. “Our goal is to broaden the appeal of the hybrids,” said Lisa Materazzo, Toyota Motor North America vice president, who expects the take rate to jump from 10 to 25 percent.

Our favorite of the bunch was the Adventure, the only gas model not available with front-wheel drive. We sampled a one of those in the alluring Lunar Rock gray with Ice Edge white roof, and the experience and color combo brought to mind a fun time we had years ago with an FJ Cruiser. Today’s two-toner has a skid plate and black slotted wheels with discreet machine finishing—quite easy to touch up after rubbing against rocks—and the Adventure also features the latest AWD driveline with torque-vectoring that funnels power to the wheel or wheels that have traction. We careened around a course at Carmel Valley Ranch, where Toyota hosted this preview, and found ourselves marveling at its tenacity and ability. And it could do even better, we suspect, with rubber more aggressive than the Yokohama Avids fitted to the vehicle we drove.

On the road, every iteration of the new RAV4 impressed with high levels of composure, substantiality, and refinement. The interior is quite serene, although some trim in the Adventure rattled over Carmel Valley Road’s indifferent pavement. The seating position and comfort are tremendous, as is the control layout. USB points abound, and the trim is imaginative and vibrant. We didn’t see our test cars after the wine was poured at dinner, so we can only transmit rumors of excellent nighttime ambience and the digital mirror’s backlighting.

The RAV4 was introduced in Europe and Japan in 1994 and came to North America in 1995. How well we remember our Four Seasons test of that first RAV4. I personally drove it thousands of miles in 1996 and 1997, including a sortie from Automobile’s former home of Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Tacoma, Washington, and back, to interview Richard Griot, founder of the Griot’s Garage catalog. Montana had no posted speed limits back then, and the RAV proved its cheek and contributed to my hearing loss by achieving 90 mph. (The cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind didn’t help). Everybody at the magazine loved it; none had an idea it would lead a gargantuan category in the United States, selling roughly 14,000 fewer units in 2017 than Audi, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover combined.

Now turning 25 years old, this pioneer of compact crossovers has completed its MBA and hasn’t lived with its parents in years. For my own college frat brother who asks what to do when trading in his Honda CR-V next year, the answer is, “Yes, turn your pointy head toward the RAV4.” Moms, dads, doctors, retirees, adventurers, humanities majors, human-resources managers, acolytes, activists, zealots, and zombies will like this vehicle. Sales are going to grow, maybe because the category is expanding but also because the 2019 RAV4 is so appealing, especially compared to baby Jeeps and dowdy Subarus. Toyota’s risky redesign is rousing, and the rewards will be large.

ON SALEDecember 2018/March 2019
PRICE$26,545/$36,745 (base/as tested)
ENGINE2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4, 203 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm/2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4, 176 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 163 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm + front/rear electric motors, 118/54 hp, 149/89 lb-ft; total system output 219 hp
TRANSMISSION8-speed automatic/continuously variable
LAYOUT4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD or AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE24/26 city-32/34 mpg (city/hwy); 41/37 mpg (city/hwy) (hybrid)
L x W x H180.9–181.5 x 73.0–73.4 x 67.0–68.6 in
WEIGHT3,370–3,620 lb/3,710–3,800 lb
0-60 MPHN/A


2019 WSBK season sees Kawasaki Racing Team ready to defend fifth consecutive championship win

With four-time World Superbike Championship winner Jonathan Rea leading the charge, Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) is geared up for the 2019 race season. With the first round of WSBK being held in Australia next month, both Rea and team mate Leon Haslam will be conducting on final test in Jerez, Spain on 23 and 24 January, followed by two more days of testing in Portimao on the 27 and 28.

After two successful test sessions last year, KRT will be campaigning an updated version of the Kawasaki ZX-10RR, said to be higher revving that the previous model. This was achieved partly through the use of finger follower valve design.

Rea, who has won the championship four times in a row for Kawasaki is excited about the upcoming season. “The tests at the end of last year were all about trying out different items and now we can put them all together and begin performance testing. I am excited because we were fast in Jerez in November, so I hope we can have some good weather this time,” said Rea.

Haslam, son of former 500 cc Grand Prix racer Ronald ‘Rocket Ron’ Haslam, won the British Superbike Championship in 2018 riding a Kawasaki ZX-10R. “It has been a short winter for me because I got some surgical screws taken out of my ankle. I have done a two-week training camp out in Barcelona, riding Supermoto, flat track and doing numerous other things. Getting used to the bike and how to use it in terms of riding style and electronics, is the key,” Haslam said.

The 2019 WSBK calendar covers 13 rounds with the first round kicking off at Philip Island on 22 February with the season ending in Qatar on the weekend of 24 October. In Malaysia, the 2019 Kawasaki ZX-10RR retails at a price of RM159,900.


Miss Out on the Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6? One’s Headed to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale

It takes more to stand out today than ever before. Where you may once have been able to made do with a standard Mercedes G-Class or even an uprated AMG version in the past, now you need something truly different to pique the interest of your Instagram followers. And what better way to do it than with the six-wheel-drive G63 AMG 6×6? Fortunately, the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction will provide a chance to put this G63 6×6 in your garage—or driveway, if your garage is too small. This is a 19-foot-long, seven-foot-wide SUV, after all.

With a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 under the hood sending 536 horsepower to all six wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission, you should be able to conquer just about any sort of traffic situation. Acceleration is actually fairly impressive given that the 6×6’s curb weight tops 8,000 pounds: Mercedes claimed a zero-to-60-mph time of less than six seconds (the Barrett-Jackson listing says the sprint takes more than seven, for what it’s worth). Top speed is limited to 100 mph. With an off-road reduction gear, five differentials that can be locked electronically via dash-mounted switches, and 37-inch tires wrapped around beadlock wheels, any G63 6×6 will make your neighbor’s Hummer H2 look positively pedestrian. Its capability certainly will allow you to explore practically any hinterland, including Beverly Hills.

When we drove a Brabus-tuned G63 6×6 back in 2015, we noted that “there’s a sense of sitting on a huge ocean liner leaving port under full steam, a slight shuddering from the G-wagen’s pseudo military drivetrain acting as a counterpoint to the cultured decorum of the plush interior.” The interior of the one headed for auction features two-tone white and black leather on the seats and dashboard, as well as contrasting red stitching and diamond-pattern quilting on the seat inserts and door panels.

Brand new, the G63 6×6’s MSRP eclipsed half a million dollars, so we’ll be interested to see what effect 607 miles of driving has on this one’s value. That said, only 20 to 30 examples are said to have been built, so if you’re not buying this one, you may be waiting a while for another.

Be sure to check our auctions page for live coverage of the latest news, results, and highlights from Scottsdale, and tune into the Motor Trend Network and Discovery from January 15 to 20 to watch tons of cool cars cross the block.


McLaren confirms another record year in 2018

McLaren has announced its eighth consecutive year of increasing sales since its formation in 2010, going against a general industry downturn for 2018.

The Woking-based brand sold 4806 new cars last year, representing a 43.9% jump from the 3340 cars sold in 2017. News of McLaren’s success comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recorded a 7% drop overall in UK new car sales in 2018. 

Last year also saw McLaren sell its 5000th car in the US, the company’s largest single market with a third of its global sales. Sales in China increased by 122.5% on the year with the introduction of the 570S Spider and 720S. The Chinese market now accounts for almost 7% of McLaren’s global sales.

The British sports car manufacturer retained strong sales figures in the domestic market, with 49.2% more cars sold in the UK than in 2017, thanks in part to new dealerships opening in Leeds and Hatfield.


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GM Thailand not involved in US plant closures, layoffs

The plan by General Motors to close five North American assembly plants next year and cut up to 15,000 jobs as part of a major restructuring programme does not involve its operations in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports.

The restructuring plan, which will involve plants making slow-selling or end-of-line passenger car models (US consumers are gravitating towards SUVs and trucks) is to help the biggest American carmaker focus on autonomous and electric vehicles. The headcount cut could amount to as much as 8% of GM’s global workforce of 180,000 employees.

According to Sean Poppitt, director of communications for GM Southeast Asia, GM’s Rayong plant in Thailand continues to be a manufacturing hub for Chevrolet pick-up trucks and SUVs, plus Duramax diesel engines. “The Rayong plant has 1,900 employees without any impact from the parent firm’s policy,” he said.

GM’s Southeast Asia business has been restructured before. The carmaker entered Thailand in January 2000, and later established two factories in Rayong at a cost of US$1.4 billion – a vehicle assembly plant with annual production capacity of 180,000 units, and a powertrain factory with annual capacity of 120,000 units. Output from Thailand is exported to ASEAN, Oceania, the Middle East, and North and Central America.

In February 2015, GM announced a strategic transformation plan to restructure its Thai operations, and in the process withdrew itself from the second phase of the Thai government’s eco-car programme. It saw 500 job cuts and the discontinuation of Chevy Sonic, Cruze and Captiva production. Today, Rayong makes the Colorado pick-up truck and its sister Trailblazer SUV.

At the same time, GM closed its plant in Bekasi, Indonesia, which produced the Spin MPV. With that, Rayong became its sole manufacturing hub in the region, alongside a partnership assembly plant in Vietnam.

While not in the position to challenge Thailand’s market leaders, Chevrolet’s Thai sales are higher compared to last year. In the first 10 months of 2018, the brand sold 15,444 units, up 8.2% year-on-year. The rebound started in 2017, when sales grew for the first time in five years (18,772 units, up 25.7%). The company is studying the feasibility of launching a new Chevrolet SUV in Thailand next year, the Post report mentions.

In Malaysia, GM is yet to announce its new local Chevrolet partner, after Naza Quest ceased to be the brand’s distributor from November 15. “Chevrolet is here to stay in Malaysia and we will be announcing our new distributor partner as soon as possible,” GM Southeast Asia general director Vanchana Unakul said last month.


Nissan: Nissan announces U.S. pricing for 2019 Frontier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan today announced U.S. pricing for the 2019 Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup, which is on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. The starting MSRP of $18,9901 is unchanged from 2018, continuing Frontier's reign as "America's most affordable pickup2." Frontier has also been named "the highest ranked midsize pickup in initial quality3"  for three years in a row by J.D. Power in the company's Initial Quality Study.

Enhancements for the 2019 Frontier include the addition of standard 7.0-inch color audio display touchscreen for S and SV grades and expanded availability of the popular Cayenne Red Metallic exterior color.

In addition, the Midnight Edition Package, introduced last year, continues with the 2019 Frontier. The Midnight Edition creates a dramatic look with the combination of a gloss black grille, 18-inch gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels, semi-gloss black step rails, body-color front and rear bumpers, black outside rearview mirrors and door handles and black badging. It is available in Crew Cab SV 4x2 and 4x4 automatic transmission models and in a choice of Magnetic Black, Gun Metallic and Glacier White exterior colors.

The 2019 Frontier is available in both King Cab and Crew Cab body styles and in 4x2 and 4x4 driveline configurations, along with a choice of two powerplants: a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 engine rated at 261 horsepower or a 152-horsepower 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine (King Cab only). Five trim grades are offered: Frontier S (4-cylinder and V6), SV, PRO-4X (4x4 only), Desert Runner (4x2 V6 only) and SL (Crew Cab V6 only).

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices1 (MSRP) for the 2019 Nissan Frontier King Cab: 



Frontier S King Cab 4x2 I4 5MT

$18,990 USD

Frontier S King Cab 4x2 I4 5AT

$23,060 USD

Frontier SV King Cab 4x2 I4 5MT

$23,860 USD

Frontier SV King Cab 4x2 I4 5AT

$24,910 USD

Frontier SV King Cab 4x2 V6 5AT

$25,620 USD

Frontier Desert Runner King Cab 4x2 V6 5AT

$26,300 USD

Frontier SV King Cab 4x4 V6 5AT

$28,510 USD

Frontier PRO-4X King Cab 4x4 V6 5AT

$33,430 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices1 (MSRP) for the 2019 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab: 



Frontier S Crew Cab 4x2 SWB V6 6MT

$24,950 USD

Frontier S Crew Cab 4x2 SWB V6 5AT

$26,000 USD

Frontier SV Crew Cab 4x2 SWB V6 5AT

$26,750 USD

Frontier Desert Runner Crew Cab 4x2 SWB V6 5AT

$27,730 USD

Frontier SV Crew Cab 4x2 LWB V6 5AT

$29,360 USD

Frontier SL Crew Cab 4x2 SWB V6 5AT

$34,010 USD

Frontier S Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 5AT

$29,390 USD

Frontier SV Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 6MT

$32,780 USD

Frontier SV Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 5AT

$29,940 USD

Frontier SV Crew Cab 4x4 LWB V6 5AT

$30,360 USD

Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 6MT

$33,140 USD

Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 5AT

$34,190 USD

Frontier SL Crew Cab 4x4 SWB V6 5AT

$36,850 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD.

For more information on the 2019 Frontier and the complete Nissan vehicle lineup, please visit

About Nissan North America 
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at and, or visit the U.S. media sites and

About Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen. On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen. As part of Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, the company plans to extend its leadership in electric vehicles, symbolized by the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world's largest automotive partnership, with combined sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles in calendar year 2017.

For more information about our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.

# # #

  1. MSRP excludes applicable tax, title, license fees and destination charges. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice. Destination and handling $995.
  2. Ward's Small and Large Pickup Segments compared. 2019 Frontier vs. latest in-market competitors. Based on lowest MSRP models. Price is Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). MSRP excludes tax, title, license, destination/handling fees and optional equipment. Dealer sets actual price. Comparison based on manufacturer websites.
  3. The Nissan Frontier received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles reflecting higher quality among midsize pickups in the J.D. Power 2016, 2017 and 2018 Initial Quality Studies. Your experiences may vary. Visit


Audi Q8 to Start at $68,395 in America

Audi of America has announced pricing for the 2019 Q8. The 5-seat Q7 variant will start at $67,400 (plus $995 destination) in Premium trim.

Premium Plus, meanwhile, will start at $71,400 while the Prestige trim is set to start at $76,550.

All three trims will be powered by Audi’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine, making 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The hot V six-cylinder even gets a revised valve lift system to improve response and performance, giving it more power over a wider torque range than the Q7.

That’s good enough to get it to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds.

Standard quattro AWD will join a standard 48-volt mild-hybrid system, ensure that this is green as it is red hot.

Every Q8 is fitted with adaptive damping, but the Adaptive Chassis package gives the Q8 an air suspension for changeable ride height and sitffness.

And if you buy the 2019 Q8, you can also buy the Year one package, which includes 22-inch Audi Sport 5-V-spoke anthracite wheels, black optic exterior kit, roof rails, black S-line bumpers, fender badges, door sills, and red brake calipers.

All trims come standard with LED head- and taillights, dynamic turn signals, heated, power folding mirrors, and according to the Audi:

  • Standard Q-design three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles.
  • Standard three-zone automatic climate control or available four-zone.
  • Standard panoramic sunroof adds light to the cabin.
  • Standard leather seating surfaces and available leather dashboard.
  • Standard heated eight-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment.
  • Available Luxury package adds Valcona leather and individual contour front seating surfaces with ventilation and massage function and passenger seat memory, dual pane glass, extended leather on center console and door armrests.
  • Standard gray brown fine grain ash natural inlays or available eucalyptus lava brown inlays.
  • Standard interior lighting package or available interior lighting package plus adds multicolor ambient light.
  • Available heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

As well as:

  • Standard MMI touch response® with 10.1” upper display used for controlling infotainment and navigation functions and 8.6” lower display used for climate control, comfort and convenience functions and for natural handwriting input with whole-word recognition.
  • Standard second generation Audi virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3-inch display that offers HD resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The driver can choose between two viewing modes – classic and infotainment. The virtual cockpit helps to enhance the infotainment and navigating experience through the large Google Earth™ imagery or 3D city maps (requires Audi connect PRIME subscription) supported with 4G LTE (where available).
  • Available Audi phone box connects compatible smartphones with the vehicle’s antenna and can charge the phone inductively (standard on Premium Plus and Prestige).
  • Standard on Prestige models, the full-color head-up display projects relevant driving information in the driver’s field of vision.
  • Standard Audi smartphone interface provides access to Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto for compatible devices.
  • Two optional sound systems are offered on the Q8. Standard on Premium Plus and Prestige models is a Bang & Olufsen Premium 3D Sound System. Available on Prestige models is the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System, which delivers nearly true-to-life surround sound through 19 speakers, powered by the 19-channel BeoCore amplifier and ICE power amplifiers with a peak output of 1,820 watts.


  • Available Adaptive Cruise Assist (ACA), a “hands-on” system that helps the driver with acceleration and braking, maintaining speed and following distance, and with lane tracking over a speed range of 0-95 mph and during traffic jam situations.
  • Standard Audi pre sense city helps detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in the vehicle’s forward path, at speeds of up to 52 mph and can initiate braking if a potential collision is detected.
  • Available Top view camera system (front, rear and side views) with virtual 360osurround view combines four wide-angle cameras on the outside of the vehicle to project a virtual real-time 3D model of the Q8, allowing the driver to toggle around the vehicle and zoom in and out to help with maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Available Intersection assist helps monitor cross traffic when pulling through an intersection or crossing lanes and can help notify the driver of a potentially hazardous situation by applying the brakes at speeds of up to 6.2 mph or with visual and audio warnings at speeds of up to 18.6 mph.
  • Available Turn assist can help notify you of an oncoming vehicle when turning left by applying the brakes and keeping the vehicle within its own lane.
  • Available Traffic sign recognition including vehicle speed warning, can help detect speed limits and can display the information in the Audi virtual cockpit. New for 2019 are “Right Turn on Red” signs as well as recommended exit and on-ramp speed limit signs.
  • Available Audi side assist (standard on Premium Plus and Prestige trims) can provide blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph.
  • Available Audi pre sense rear (standard on Premium Plus and Prestige) helps monitor the traffic following behind the vehicle and can close the windows and sunroof and tension the safety belts in the case of a rear-end collision.
  • Available Vehicle exit warning (as part of Audi side assist) can help notify you when moving objects are approaching from behind as the vehicle doors are opened with a visual red indication on the interior LED light strip of the door trim, acoustic warning, and new for Q8, a one-to-two second delay in the door handle release.
  • Available Rear cross traffic assist (as part of Audi side assist) can support the driver when reversing out of a perpendicular parking space and can help alert the driver through a brake jolt in certain situations, for example in the case where an approaching vehicle is detected.


Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 2018 review

Toyota’s efforts to add interest to the styling of its cars takes another step forward with the all-new, fifth-generation RAV4 SUV, which is certainly more distinctive than its bland predecessor. Some of the polygon-inspired sculpting about this latest RAV4’s flanks might look strange, but the overall effect is of a more dynamic and individual machine.

But the overhaul is about a lot more than styling. This new RAV4 uses Toyota’s highly versatile Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is 57% stiffer in this application, lowers the car’s centre of gravity and provides the sophistication of double-wishbone rear suspension, improved steering feel, optimised weight distribution and a suite of safety features. In spite of the lower centre of gravity, ground clearance increases by 15mm, and the overhangs have been trimmed by extending the wheelbase within a fractionally shorter length.

Visibility has been improved, too, by slimming the A-pillars, lowering the beltline, enlarging the side windows, repositioning the door mirrors and optionally offering a camera rear-view mirror that virtually removes the headrest and pillar structures obscuring your view.

The effect of all this is to create an airier cabin, and one of subtly and satisfyingly improved tactile quality. There’s more soft-feel trim, interesting upholstery that actually features some colour (a novelty for Toyota), a rubber finish to the door pull handles and climate controls and a leather-capped gearknob. It’s not quite premium, but this is a more interesting, well-made interior and a vast improvement on RAV4s past.


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