2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: Benz Gets Serious about EVs

Mercedes-Benz launches the first model from its electric EQ sub-brand.

The switch from the internal-combustion engine to the electric motor is not something the German auto industry was particularly keen on. Granted, there have been a number of EV concept cars and prototypes, but the main effort was invested in perfecting conventional powertrains.

Now comes the first indication that times may be changing. Although it’s still not clear whether a comprehensive switch is feasible or even desirable, if it happens, Germany will be prepared. At Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s EQ sub-brand has been created for the purpose of developing and marketing a lineup of fully electric cars. The first one is the Mercedes-Benz EQC, unveiled today at an event in Stockholm.

The EQC is based on the Mercedes-Benz GLC, but the design team under Gorden Wagener has succeeded in creating a highly original and forward-looking styling language. There is an EQ-specific grille, with the headlights connected by a central LED strip at the top of the grille. The rear end, similarly, is dominated by a wide horizontal light bar that will be a signature of every future Mercedes-Benz EQ model. The three-pointed star on the grille is illuminated, and on the liftgate, the badge incorporates the handle release and the backup camera. The wheels range from 19 to 21 inches, and some versions feature blue accents. There is even an optional AMG Line appearance package with package-specific bumpers, grille, and other styling bits.

Built at the same Daimler plant in Bremen, Germany, the new model shares many interior features with the GLC as well. But unlike the current GLC, this cockpit is fitted with the new MBUX user interface, an industry-leading system that includes cutting-edge infotainment and telematics functions, housed within two 10.3-inch display screens. Rose-gold accents on parts of the interior including the stitching and the slats in the HVAC vents are an exclusive EQ touch

We’ve ridden in a late prototype and were duly impressed by the quietness and straight-line performance of the new model. The EQC400’s powertrain, fed by an 80.0-kWh Accumotive lithium-ion battery pack, consists of two induction motors, one coupled to the front axle and one to the rear. Total output is 402 horsepower delivered to all four wheels. (Coincidentally, that is exactly the same as the iconic W140-series 600SEL that launched in 1990.) With 564 lb-ft of torque available at launch, it accelerates even faster than that V-12 S-class of yore: Zero to 60 mph is said to take just 4.9 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is far less impressive, with the EQC electronically governed at 112 mph. Five driving modes are offered: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport, and Individual. There also are five levels of regenerative braking, selectable via steering-wheel paddles, the most aggressive of which allows for one-pedal driving.

Mercedes-Benz claims a range of up to 200 miles. Using the standard DC fast charging, refilling the battery from 10 to 80 percent will take an estimated 40 minutes. Of course, the range comes with a penalty: The batteries alone weigh a whopping 1433 pounds. Total weight of the vehicle is estimated to be around 5350 pounds. The EQC400 moniker hints that there may be further versions to come, whether more powerful or less.

The fact that this car is based on the GLC platform means that it doesn’t fully take advantage of the theoretical benefits of an electric-only architecture, making for an interesting situation. The GLC is now offered with gasoline, diesel, gasoline plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel-cellpowertrains. Together with the EQC, that makes five different powertrain concepts. Never before have the merits of so many different propulsion systems been so directly comparable. Most buyers, though, will be comparing the new EQC to the Tesla models and the Jaguar I-Pace. Pricing is yet to be announced, and production starts in 2019 with the model going on sale in the United States in 2020.

Damn, the New Toyota Corolla Wagon Looks Good


Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely to come to the U.S.

Toyota’s attractive new Corolla hatchback has injected the Corolla nameplate with a shot of energy, with enticing styling and a significantly better driving experience. In Europe, the Corolla renaissance is going a step further with a new wagon version called the Corolla Touring Sports—and we love the way it looks.

Granted, Toyota has been selling small wagons on the Continent for years now, but this is the first time one of them has worn the Corolla name; previously, Toyota sold its range of compacts across the pond under the Auris moniker, but that has been scrapped with this latest generation. Plus, the Auris wagon never looked as good as the Corolla Touring Sports does, with its aggressive but not overwrought front end, chunky side profile, and nice detailing.

Although it probably goes without saying, the wagon features a different roofline than the Corolla hatch, and its wheelbase is a few inches longer, too. More space is on offer inside, with a larger cargo area and fold-flat rear seats that maximize the practicality of this body style.

Unlike in the United States, Toyota is emphasizing hybrid powertrains for the Euro Corolla lineup, and the wagon comes with either a turbocharged 1.2-liter four-cylinder or a choice of two gasoline-electric drivetrains, one with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder and another with a 2.0-liter four. A diesel engine has been dropped from the lineup, as with the hatchback, as Toyota moves away from this engine type across its European lineup.

We reached out to Toyota to see whether the wagon version of the Corolla has any chance of making its way to the U.S. market, but we aren’t holding our breath. Toyota hasn’t sold a Corolla wagon here—or a wagon of any kind, for that matter—since the 1990s, and the market for compact long roofs in America is so small that it probably wouldn’t make business sense. Even so, we’ll be able to see more of the Corolla Touring Sports when it makes its official debut at the Paris auto show in a few weeks, and we think it would make a pretty great basis for a revived Corolla All-Trac to do battle with the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

It Took McLaren 18 Months to Painstakingly Restore this F1 GTR to New


The first car in McLaren’s F1 Certified restoration program is a historic stunner.

Among the pantheon of top-level sports-car-makers—your garden-variety Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc.—a common thread has emerged: Each one offers its own in-house verification services for its classic models, as well as restoration facilities. McLaren has recently caught on to this trend, forming its own “certification service” on par with Ferrari Classiche, Aston Martin Works, and Mercedes-Benz’s Classic Center. And the British supercar-maker has ginned up one hell of a way to promote its new service, by fully restoring an F1 GTR race car to like-new spec.

The McLaren F1 is one of the all-time great supercars, as excellent as it is rare—and the GTR examples are rarer still. This GTR in particular, chassis no. 25R, has both a substantive history and happened to be a prime candidate for restoration. After retiring from the circuit life in 2005 (a good long while after having served new in the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans in Gulf-Davidoff livery), F1 GTR no. 25R hibernated in a Japanese collection until it found its way back to the U.K. in 2016. Its new owner, a longtime McLaren devotee, commissioned McLaren Special Operations to refurbish the car, a process that eventually slid into a full-blown restoration under MSO’s certification program. You’ll note that we’re a long way from 2016.

It goes without saying that the refurb was worth the undertaking, given how just 106 McLaren F1s were built, and only 28 of those were GTR racing-spec variants. F1 no. 25R is now good as new, having been brought back to life with new/old-stock parts that McLaren says it had in containers that hadn’t been opened in 20 years. It isn’t presently clear whether or not the first certified McLaren F1 GTR will find its way back to a track somewhere, sometime, but it will be displayed at the 2018 Hampton Court Concours of Elegance.

Ford Won’t Sell the Focus Active in America Thanks to Trump’s Tariffs


Earlier this year, Ford declared AN audacious conceive to move aloof from rider cars, instead focusing the whole complete on trucks, crossovers, and utility vehicles, together with the pony. That meant that whereas us would not get the main focus, it’d get the main focus Active, a lifted, crossover-y version that will be foreign from Ford’s works in China.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Thanks to new tariffs being placed on Chinese imports by the Trump administration, Ford is scrapping those plans, which means that the U.S. is going to be while not a spotlight for the primary time in nearly twenty years.

It’s strictly a business call. the main focus Active will be created in Europe, however, the margins are such commerce it from the European nation would not build any money sense. which means the loss of the main focus Active in America is only a casualty of the escalating trade war between us and China. Ford told Automotive News that even though the tariffs were backward, the corporation would not gybe and import the Active.

When reached for comment, a Ford advocator did not appear too involved with the modification to its future plans, telling the North American nation that Ford did not expect to sell over fifty,000 of the vehicles annually within the U.S. market within the 1st place, which implies that impact on sales volume would be negligible. which will sound sort of a ton of cars, however to Ford that produces the main focus Active “low volume.”

Ford is not at once abandoning all cars, of course. The pony is not going anyplace, whereas the fete can stick around a lot of} year and therefore the Fusion can soldier on for a couple of more subsequently. however, the main focus, as we all know it, is dead.

Volvo’s Autonomous Commuter Pod Concept Lets You Spend More Time Working

Perhaps more than any other automaker besides Tesla, Volvo has embraced the idea of autonomous cars. The latest manifestation of that enthusiasm is this 360c concept, an electric driverless pod designed to explore the possibilities of Level 5 autonomy—the highest tier, which requires no input whatsoever from a driver other than entering a destination.

And wouldn’t you know it, one of the key benefits is that freed of the responsibility of driving, we’ll be able to work more and commute longer distances. As Volvo enthuses, the 360c is “an autonomous driving, fully functional, connected, comfortable, mobile office space.” A key benefit is that it will allow workers to commute farther, as they will be “less reliant on proximity to cities.”

Besides being a mobile office, the 360c also can be configured for less productive activities such as napping. This function might be useful in autonomous cars’ other disruptive possibility: replacing short-distance air travel.

Before autonomous cars can seamlessly ferry snoozing travelers or laptop-engrossed commuters, however, some protocol needs to be established to get them to communicate their intentions to other road users, similar to the way human drivers learn to read signals from other drivers. With the 360c, Volvo proposes a means of communication via lights, sounds, and moving elements, which the company hopes all automakers can agree on in order to create a single industry standard.

What about the car itself? There’s little information given beyond the fact that it’s fully electric. The overall shape of the car almost appears to be unidirectional aside from two finlike wings at the rear. The images show gullwing doors; the seating can be configured so that passengers face each other, a deployable work table, or beds. Unsurprisingly, Volvo has addressed the safety concern of reclining passengers not being effectively protected by three-point seatbelts; the concept uses a “special safety blanket” that restrains passengers who are lying down.

Really, though, the design of the 360c seems to be the least important issue. That’s because Volvo is looking beyond automobiles. As the company says: “The 360c represents Volvo Cars’ vision for a future of travel” that “may allow Volvo Cars to enter new growth markets.”

The 2019 Acura ILX Finally Looks Like a Sports Sedan


The Acura ILX seems to finally be coming into its own late in its life cycle—at least looks-wise. An update for 2019 brings fresh new styling that’s attractive and sporty, although the car’s mechanicals isn’t changed at all to match the athletic design. Some new tech features join the menu as well, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Acura’s diamond pentagon grille headlines the visual updates; the ILX is the last model in the lineup to adopt this design to replace the old shield grille. LED headlights are new, too, and the rear end gets a new trunk lid, restyled taillights, and a new bumper that incorporates a faux diffuser and an exposed exhaust. The A-Spec package carries on and gets a new 18-inch wheel design, while there are more exterior and interior colors available across all trim levels.


Inside, there are new seats front and rear, with standard adjustable lumbar support for the driver and additional silver trim for the dashboard. While the infotainment system still uses the same clunky two-screen setup, it now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and supposedly features quicker response times and better-organized menus. Several active-safety features, previously optional as part of the AcuraWatch Plus package, are now standard, including forward-collision warning, active cruise control, lane-departure warning, and a few other systems.

Acura isn’t changing anything about the ILX’s chassis or powertrain, however. The sole engine remains a 2.4-liter inline-four with 201 horsepower that mates with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the only chassis upgrades available remain the A-Spec package’s different wheels and tires.

So while Acura’s smallest sedan may still pale in comparison to the Honda Civic with its wide range of high-performance variants, it at least now looks more upscale and jibes better with the rest of Acura’s lineup. When it goes on sale in October, expect the 2019 ILX to start somewhere close to $30,000, a slight uptick from the current car’s base price of $29,095.