East Sussex-based K2 Transport  has updated and extended its truck fleet with more peak performers from Mercedes-Benz, after joining the Pall-Ex network. Dealer Rossetts Commercials has supplied the fast-growing operator with six Mercedes-Benz Actros 2545 BigSpace tractor units, and a pair of 18-tonne Antos 1824s with curtainside bodies by Lawrence David, of Peterborough. All are the subject of contract hire agreements with Rent-a-Merc, like Rossetts a member of the Northern Ireland-based Inspired Business Investments Group, and are now being inspected and serviced at the Dealer s Eastbourne workshop. K2 Transport operates from headquarters in Uckfield, close to Gatwick Airport. The company is still a relative newcomer, having been founded as recently as 2013 by Nick Pearce, a former pilot in Australia. He was joined shortly afterwards by Kim Brand, a seasoned transport industry professional who spent 25 years working in Botswana. The two began trading with a single truck, which they took turns to drive, then acquired a second. The following year they took on their third truck and employed their first driver, since when the business has really taken off. K2 Transport offers a range of customer-focused haulage and light storage services. As well as undertaking a wide range of general assignments, its trucks carry timber from ports to customers of a leading merchant located throughout London and the South-East. K2 is also now sending vehicles each night to the Pall-Ex hub in Leicestershire. The operator was running Mercedes-Benz trucks supplied by an independent rental specialist prior to the arrivals of its new Actros and Antos, so already had an after sales relationship with Rossetts Commercials. We get on very well with the Dealer s Eastbourne team, who provide an excellent level of support, confirmed Kim Brand. Our trucks go into the workshop on Friday nights for inspections and maintenance, and we pick them up again the following morning. You ll always get issues from time to time but they understand how important it is to minimise downtime and can always be relied upon to keep us rolling. He continued: The contract hire deal put together by Rossetts was attractively priced, while Mercedes-Benz trucks suit our business admirably. Not only are they fuel-efficient, reliable and popular with the drivers those with the Actros tractors particularly like their spacious, flat-floored cabs but they also help us to convey the upmarket image of quality we have sought to project from the outset. With their colour-coded bumpers and mirrors our new trucks look great. Explaining the decision to name the company after K2, the world s second-highest mountain, Nick Pearce added: It is short and catchy, and highlights our determination to keep striving for the next goal. Our Pall-Ex appointment is a good example of this. We are keen to offer a greater range of services to our customers and this membership will act as a catalyst for business growth, allowing us to diversify into new markets and increase our client base. It represents a very important stage in the company s development. References ^ K2 Transport (www.k2transport.co.uk)
Category: Greater London
Reference Library – Local Blogs – Greater London
DETROIT With the new models that automakers are rolling out for 2017, you can wrap yourself in luxury, get thrown back in your seat with the thrill of high horsepower, sit high in an SUV or load your stuff into a functional new hatchback. But there’s also a host of new technology, with nearly every company offering autonomous emergency braking in more models, as well as new electric and hybrid entries. Automakers definitely are emphasizing luxury and performance, though, with new models like the 573-horsepower, $156,000 Acura NSX and the 770-horsepower Lamborghini Centenario that can go 217 miles per hour and costs almost $2 million. Alfa Romeo comes out with a midsize sport sedan called the Giulia, while there are new vehicles from Cadillac, Lincoln and Buick that could make or break traditional luxury brands that have had trouble over the years competing with European and Japanese brands. The SUV boom has spread to Luxury brands, too, with Jaguar and Maserati both rolling out their first utility vehicles that handle like cars. Jaguar’s F-Pace starts at $40,990, while the Maserati Levante costs $72,000. Cadillac gets a badly needed new entry in the competitive midsize SUV race with the XT-5, which starts at $39,990. Lincoln is banking on the first Continental in 14 years to boost sales with a starting price of $44,560, and Buick has a new LaCrosse full-size car that starts at $32,000. New technology abounds. Cadillac’s CT-6 big sedan gets “Super Cruise,” the software and sensor suite that can practically drive itself on the highway. The General Motors brand, however, is refining a system that will make drivers keep paying attention despite the automation. Chevrolet introduces the Tesla-fighting electric Bolt, a cost-effective mainstream car with more than 200 miles of range on battery power. And Hyundai’s Ioniq will come with a choice of three power systems battery, gas and electric hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid. For the practical buyer, both Chevrolet and Honda are betting that Americans are ready to buy hatchbacks again. Honda’s Civic compact gets a hatchback version, as does the Chevrolet Cruze. Here are new or significantly refreshed cars and trucks coming in the 2017 model year, by brand: NSX: Acura is resurrecting its NSX supercar 12 years after the last one rolled off the line. The NSX is a technology showcase, starting with its twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V6 engine. The engine is augmented by twin motors that independently drive the two front wheels and a rear motor for instant torque. There’s also a new nine-speed dual clutch transmission. The system produces 573 horsepower. Like the previous NSX, which was the world’s first all-aluminum sports car, the new NSX experiments with lightweight materials. The thin but sturdy A-pillars, for example, were made from high-strength steel that was heated and robotically bent. This NSX will be the first built outside of Japan; production has already begun in Ohio. Acura will make around 800 each year; they start at $156,000. ALFA ROMEO GIULIA: High-performance luxury sports sedan goes on sale in the fall. It draws on Italian racing heritage. Base model has the signature triangular grille and a 276-horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that takes the car from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. High-performance Quadrifoglio goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 191 mph, propelled by a 505-horsepower 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. Inside it has an asymmetric instrument panel and premium leather with carbon fiber and aluminum accents. Giulia starts around $40,000; the Quadrifoglio starts around $70,000. ASTON MARTIN DB11: Aston Martin’s DB series dates to 1948, when a sporty car produced by Aston’s then-owner, Sir David Brown, debuted at the London Motor Show. The model was later known as the “DB1.” Later DB high-performance models became the car of choice for James Bond. The latest incarnation, the DB11, will be the most powerful production DB ever, with a 5.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces 600 horsepower. It’s also the fastest, with a top speed of 200 miles per hour and a zero-to-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds. The design pays homage to past Astons with its elongated hood and side vents, but it has a more chiseled surface and narrowed headlights. Fuel economy hasn’t been announced, but Aston switched from a naturally aspirated engine to a turbocharged one in part to meet increasing U.S. fuel economy standards. It also made greater use of lightweight aluminum. On sale later this year; it starts at $211,955. A4: Audi’s midsize sedan, last redesigned in 2013, gets a major overhaul. It has a more angular, sportier design than the previous model and a standard power sunroof. Audi has updated the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine to deliver 252 horsepower, up from 220. It’s mated to a new seven-speed transmission. More use of lightweight aluminum has helped the A4 shed 99 pounds on front-wheel-drive models and 66 on all-wheel-drive models, improving handling and fuel efficiency. The A4 gets up to 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The interior is more spacious, with better headroom and rear legroom. New 12.3-inch color display screen and a newly available heads-up display, which projects information into the driver’s field of vision. Went on sale in the spring; starts at $37,300. R8: The second generation of the R8 supercar is the most powerful production Audi ever. It shares half its parts with the R8 LMS race car, including the same 5.4-liter V10 engine. That’s mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The base R8 produces 540 horsepower and goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. On the top-of-the-line V10 Plus, the same engine is pushed to 610 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 3.2 seconds. The R8 achieves a top speed of 205 mph. There are significant updates inside. There’s also a 12.3-inch display screen controlled by a tablet that recognizes handwriting. Starts at $162,900. Q7: Gets long-awaited update for 2017. The three-row crossover has a crisper design, arrow-like LED running lights and a standard panoramic sunroof. Drivers can select one of seven driving modes, including comfort and off-road; a separate off-road option can raise the ride height by 60 millimeters. Has a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds. Inside, there’s a host of new technology, including a 12.3-inch display screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Powered by a 333-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 with an eight-speed transmission. It gets 21 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Went on sale early this year starting at $54,800. BENTAYGA: The super-exclusive Volkswagen brand’s big SUV gets an all-new W-shaped 12-cylinder twin-turbo engine that puts out 600 horsepower and can carry the Bentayga to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. The new engine can run on six cylinders under certain conditions to save on fuel, and it has stop-start technology that shuts it off at stoplights. Diesel, high-performance, plug-in hybrid and 7-seat versions are coming. The Bentayga starts around $229,000. i3: The funky carbon-fiber gas-electric hybrid gets a more powerful 33 kilowatt-hour battery to extend its electric range by 50 percent to 114 miles in combined city-highway driving. When additional range is needed, a 650 cc 2-cylinder gas engine with 38 horsepower is available to generate electricity. It now has a 2.4 gallon fuel tank compared with 1.9 for the current model. Total gas and electric range for the 2017 hasn’t been certified by the federal government, but it will be higher than the current model’s 150 miles. Price starts at $43,600 without the range extender gas engine and $47,450 with it. Both prices exclude shipping and electric car tax credits. 2 SERIES: The small coupe gets the next generation of BMW four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines and a slight change in numbers. The 228i goes to 230i and gets a new 248-horsepower turbocharged 2-liter four. The M235i becomes the M240i and gets a new inline 3-liter, 6-cylinder twin-turbo engine with 335 horsepower, 15 more than its predecessor. There also are convertible models. Pricing for the 230i starts at $32,850 excluding shipping, while the M240i starts at $44,150 without shipping. 3 SERIES: The new engines go into the 3 Series small sedan, which also gets number changes. Gone is the 328i, which becomes the 330i and it gets the new four-cylinder engine. The 335i becomes the 340i and gets the new inline six. There also are sport wagon and Gran Turismo models. The 330i starts at $42,650 excluding shipping, while the 340i starts at $47,600. LACROSSE: General Motors’ near-luxury brand keeps fighting in the shrinking big-car segment with a redesigned version of the Buick LaCrosse. The brand’s flagship repeats the common GM theme for new vehicles: longer, lower, wider and lighter. Engineers were able to take out about 300 pounds in the redesign by using lighter high-strength steel and lower-mass, sound-absorbing materials. The car gets a new grille inspired by Buick’s acclaimed Avenir concept car. Also new is a revamped 3.6-liter V-6 with 310 horsepower, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 can operate as a four-cylinder engine on the highway to save fuel. A four-cylinder option from the 2016 model year was scratched. The LaCrosse also gets stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at stoplights and automatically turns it back on. All the changes push the car’s highway mileage to 31 mpg for the front-wheel-drive version, up 3 mpg from last year’s V6. The car went on sale in late August and starts at just over $32,000 excluding shipping. ENCLAVE: Buick’s big people-hauling SUV is due for a makeover in 2017, but nothing has been announced yet. CT6: The General Motors luxury brand’s full-size entry was new last year, but it gets some important changes for 2017. First is Super Cruise, which will let the car practically drive itself on the highway, coming early next year. Drivers will still have to pay attention, though. A plug-in gas-electric hybrid version also is scheduled during the first half of 2017. A premier version was announced earlier. Price not available yet for either feature. XT5: First of a new generation of GM midsize sport utility vehicles, the XT5 went on sale in April as a 2017 model. It’s longer and 278 pounds lighter than the old SRX that it replaced. New 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine and eighty-speed automatic transmission. Engine can go to four cylinders for better fuel economy on the highway. More luxurious interior. Starts at $39,990 excluding shipping. BOLT: Long-awaited, all-electric Tesla fighter goes on sale late this year as a 2017 model. Company says it will go more than 200 miles on a single charge. While it’s a compact car, it has a hatch and looks a little like an SUV. The five-passenger Bolt, priced about $37,500 excluding a $7,500 federal tax credit, has a 10.2-inch touch screen and can be recharged to 80 percent of its battery capacity in an hour on a 240-volt charger. CRUZE: Vastly improved compact car gets a sporty hatchback version. Due out in the fall. Starts at $21,315 excluding shipping. EQUINOX: Chevy’s midsize SUV is likely to be revamped in 2017, but GM hasn’t released details. TRAVERSE: Ditto for the people-hauling Traverse. Its sister, the GMC Acadia, was revamped for this model year, so it’s likely the Traverse will get similar treatment. No details announced yet. TRAX: Subcompact SUV gets interior and exterior freshening, but the guts remain the same. 2017 model available this fall starting at $21,000 without shipping PACIFICA: Chrysler tried to make the minivan cool again with its much-anticipated minivan that came out in the spring as a 2017 model. The company also plans to introduce a gas-electric late this year that can go 30 miles on battery power with total range of 530 miles. The new van is curvier than old models that looked like bread trucks. It sits lower to the ground and has bigger wheels. It looks more luxurious. Comes with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with 287 horsepower. It’s about 200 pounds lighter than its predecessors. Starts at $28,595 excluding shipping. ESCAPE: The Escape small SUV Ford’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. after the F-Series truck gets major updates for 2017. Buyers have two new EcoBoost four-cylinder engine options, a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter, both with slightly improved horsepower. Fuel economy is unchanged; the Escape gets up to 26 mpg in city and highway driving. The interior has more storage areas, including a cubby for smartphones, while the outside was redesigned to give it a beefier, more SUV-like feel. Went on sale in the spring. Starts at $23,600. F-150 RAPTOR: Ford introduced the pumped-up Raptor version of its F-150 pickup in 2009 and it quickly gained a following among off-road enthusiasts. It was discontinued in the 2014 model year as Ford prepared to launch a new, aluminum-bodied F-150. Now, the Raptor returns with aluminum body panels, which make it 500 pounds lighter and a lot more nimble. Has a 3.5-liter V6 engine; numbers haven’t been released, but Ford says it’s more powerful than the outgoing 411-horsepower V8. New 10-speed transmission. Another new feature is a terrain-management system for driving on rocks, sand or snow. The Raptor goes on sale later this year. Price not released; likely will start around $50,000. GT: The supercar returns later this year after a decade-long hiatus. Recently won at LeMans for the first time since 1980. The eye-popping GT, with its deeply scooped sides, has a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces more than 600 horsepower. It’s a laboratory for Ford, debuting innovations like an adjustable rear spoiler and lightweight Gorilla Glass which is also used in smartphones for the windshield. Ford will only sell around 250 per year to people who apply. Starts around $400,000. SUPER DUTY: Like the F-150 pickup, which debuted an all-aluminum body two years ago, Ford’s Super Duty lineup is getting an aluminum makeover. New body panels cut around 350 pounds off the weight, making it more nimble and improving fuel economy (although Ford’s not required to report the fuel economy for this heavier class of vehicles). The body sits on a frame that’s more than 95 percent high-strength steel and 24 times stiffer than its predecessor. Ford says the new trucks will have best-in-class towing of up to 32,500 pounds and best-in-class payload of 7,630 pounds. The three engine choices are upgraded versions of the previous engines. There are two gas, a 6.2-liter V8 or a 6.8-liter V10, and a 6.7-liter V8 diesel. On sale this fall starting at $32,535. G80: Hyundai split off Genesis as a separate brand this year, and it renamed the Hyundai Genesis the G80 and added more standard safety features. On sale now, starts at $41,400. G90: The flagship of Hyundai’s newly separated luxury brand is designed to rival top German sedans in comfort and performance. Outside, the G90 looks a bit like a Bentley with a large hexagon front grille. It has a plush leather interior with wood accents. The G90 is powered by either a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 365 horsepower or an optional 5-liter V8 with 420 horsepower, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The car also has a full suite of safety features including automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping. On sale in September. No price released. ACADIA: The big family-hauling crossover SUV got surprisingly smaller in a revamp for the 2017 model year. It’s 700 pounds lighter than the old model and is 7 inches shorter and just under 3 inches narrower. The shrinking boosts the gas mileage to 26 mpg on the highway with a new 194-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder motor. It also has an available 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. The Acadia also gets GMC’s first use of stop-start technology that turns off the engine at stop lights. GM’s market research showed that people wanted a smaller, more efficient and maneuverable SUV, yet they still wanted three rows of seats. The Acadia gives the driver a visual reminder near the speedometer to check the rear seats, so as not to leave children or valuables behind. Starts at $29,070 excluding shipping. Went on sale in the spring. ACCORD HYBRID: After a year’s absence, the hybrid version returns. The restyled exterior has a brighter grille, standard LED fog lamps and a sharper nose. Updated hybrid powertrain that combines two motors and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with up to 212 horsepower, 16 more than the previous model. Fuel economy improves 1 mpg to 48 in city and highway driving. Advanced safety features including forward collision warning, lane departure warning and pedestrian detection are standard, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. Went on sale this summer; starts at $29,605. CIVIC HATCHBACK: The hatchback version of Honda’s Civic small car returns to the U.S. market more than a decade after it was last sold here. It has sporty styling and a 174-horsepower 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine; in the Sport and Sport Touring models, that’s cranked up to 180 horsepower. There’s a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic. Gets 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Options include a full set of driver-assist technology, including forward collision warning and automatic braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control that can work at high and low speeds. On sale this fall. Price not announced. RIDGELINE: A decade after its introduction and three years after it was pulled from the market Honda is reintroducing its midsize pickup. The new truck ditches the old, funky styling for a more rugged look. Longer and wider bed features industry-first truck bed audio system for the tailgating crowd. Honda says payload capacity is 1,584 pounds, the most for a midsize truck. Can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Comes with a new, 3.5-liter V6 that with 280 horsepower is 30 more than its predecessor. It’s mated to a six-speed transmission. Honda says the Ridgeline is 78 pounds lighter and more aerodynamic, helping fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive version gets 21 mpg in city and highway driving, up from 17. Went on sale in June. Starts at $29,475. IONIQ: The new Ioniq is about as unique as it gets, offering customers three methods for making it move battery power, gas and electric hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid that can travel over 25 miles on battery alone. The Ioniq looks normal, not much different from the popular gas-powered midsize Sonata. The hybrid versions have a 1.6-liter, 104-horsepower engine made specifically for hybrid use. Hyundai paired it with a 6-speed automatic transmission to give the car better acceleration and driving performance. The electric Ioniq can go up to 110 miles per charge. Some versions will be in showrooms starting in the fall. No prices announced. ELANTRA: Hyundai compact gets revamped and restyled. It’s about an inch longer and wider than its predecessor, and its interior is large enough to be classified as a midsize car under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules. Hyundai says the car is nice enough to compare favorably with small luxury models. Hyundai added high-strength steel to make the chassis more rigid for better handling, yet the company says it has lower noise and vibration. The car gets new engines including a 2.0-liter four with 147 horsepower with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Also a new 1.4-liter turbocharged four on the Eco model with 128 horsepower mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Eco gets 35 mpg in combined city-highway testing, Hyundai says. Starts at $17,150 excluding shipping. On sale now. Q60: Infiniti’s two-door sports coupe gets a bolder, more glamorous look, with a larger grille, narrowed headlights and a higher beltline. Two available engines: a 208-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a new, 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine that can be tuned to 300 horsepower or in the Red Sport model due out later this year 400 horsepower. Seven-speed automatic transmission. Available features include second generation of Direct Adaptive Steering, a steer-by-wire system that sends electronic signals from the steering wheel to the wheels. Gets an estimated 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city. Went on sale in August. Starts at $38,950. QX30: Infiniti enters the hot small SUV market with the QX30. Like its bigger sibling, the QX60, it has deeply undulating sides and side windows that come to a sharp angle at the rear. Under hood is a 208-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed transmission. Fuel economy and pricing haven’t been released. Expected to go on sale in September. CLUBMAN: Gets Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system for the first time. New system is lighter and more compact that the BMW-owned brand’s current systems. The Clubman Cooper S All4 starts at $29,450. MITSUBISHI MIRAGE: The subcompact gets a new sedan sibling called the G4, powered by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine with 78 horsepower. It’s a little longer than the hatchback Mirage with a bigger cargo area, Mitsubishi says. Comes with base 5-speed manual or optional continuously variable transmission. The tiny car even offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to link smart phones to the car electronics. Otherwise, the hatchback gets a freshening with a redesigned front fascia, a new rear bumper fascia, new hood and a new rear spoiler. Hatchback starts at $12,995 excluding shipping, while the G4 starts at $13,995. XE: Compact sports sedan came out last spring in the U.S. with three engine choices: a 340-horsepower V6, a 240-horsepower inline 2-liter 4-cylinder and a 2-liter, 180-horsepower diesel. It has a cab-rearward stance and a low driving position. Starts at $34,900 excluding shipping. F-PACE: Jaguar’s first SUV also went on sale last spring, and the British automaker says it’s got the driving dynamics of a sports sedan and the versatility of an SUV. It also has three engine choices, a 3-liter, 340-horsepower V6, and a 3-liter, 380-horsepower V6. All have standard all-wheel-drive and eight-speed automatic transmissions. Starts at $40,990 excluding shipping. NEW COMPACT SUV: Fiat Chrysler isn’t saying much about the replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot, two archaic creatures of Chrysler’s previous owners. The new SUV, whose name hasn’t been released, is due out early next year and may be scheduled for introduction this fall at the Los Angeles Auto Show. CADENZA: Kia’s full-size sedan, which debuted in 2010, gets overhauled. Has more subtle and elegant styling with a wide, concave grille and distinctive zig-zag lighting elements in headlights and taillights. Upgraded materials inside with luxurious touches like a driver’s seat with a sliding cushion extension. Kia says it has twice the amount of high-strength steel in the body structure, improving safety and handling. The 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine has been retuned for greater fuel economy, although numbers haven’t been released. Also has new, lighter eight-speed transmission. Goes on sale later this year; pricing not announced. NIRO: Kia wants to triple its green car lineup by 2020, and the Niro hybrid subcompact SUV is a first step. Looks sporty with a short hood and a long, swept-back roofline. Powered by 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 146 horsepower when combined with an electric motor. Kia expects it to get 50 mpg in city and highway driving. Eventually, the company plans a plug-in hybrid version. Engine is paired with a new six-speed transmission. Hybrid battery is tucked under the rear seats to preserve cargo space. Has Kia’s first application of coasting guide, which coaches the driver to maximize fuel economy, and predictive energy control, which decides when to recharge the battery or expend stored energy based on topographical road changes. Goes on sale later this year; price not announced. SPORTAGE: Fourth generation of Kia’s small SUV has a more sophisticated design, starting with chrome accents and grille, which is now separated from the headlights and sits significantly lower. Inside, there’s more headroom, legroom and cargo room and more creature comforts, including a 10-way power driver’s seat. Kia says increased use of high-strength steel on the frame has significantly improved safety and handling. New safety features include automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. Two engine options: 181-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, or on the SX Turbo, a 2.0-liter, 240-horsepower four-cylinder. Gets up to 25 mpg in city and highway driving. Start at $22,990. LAMBORGHINI CENTENARIO: Limited edition Centenario celebrates the 100th anniversary of Ferruccio Lamborghini. Has a 770-horsepower V12 engine that can go from zero to 60 mph in a ridiculous 2.8 seconds. Top speed of 217 miles per hour. Only 40 20 coupes and 20 roadsters will be delivered to fans and collectors in 2017. The starting price? $1.97 million. LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER SVAUTOBIOGRAPHY DYNAMIC: Following last year’s release of the long-wheelbase, $200,000 Range Rover SVAutobiography, Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations unit introduces another performance-oriented Range Rover in a smaller package. New driver assist technologies like tow assist, lane-keeping (which keeps the vehicle centered in its lane) and an intelligent speed limiter that automatically adjusts speed to the speed limit. Also a larger, 10.2-inch touchscreen dashboard and 20-way adjustable leather seats. Shares its 550-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 with the SVAutobiography, but has a specially configured suspension to hold tighter to the road. There’s an eight-speed transmission. On sale later this year starting at $170,995. IS: Lexus’s smallest sedan gets a refresh for 2017 with a more aggressive, angular version of the brand’s spindle grille to better match big siblings like the midsize GS. LED headlights now standard. New standard safety features include adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Inside, there’s an optional 10.25-inch dashboard screen. The engines are carried over from the previous model. Gets up to 22 mpg in city and highway driving. On sale in October. CONTINENTAL: Ford’s luxury brand revives the big sedan 14 years after the last one rolled off the line. The new flagship has gently undulating sides, wraparound taillights, a panoramic glass roof and an elegant mesh grille. Unique features include doors that open with little effort and snap closed by themselves, patented seats that adjust 30 ways and a 19-speaker Revel audio system. Top-of-the-line engine is a new, 3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 400 horsepower that gets 29 mpg on the highway. A 2.7-liter V6 and a 3.7-liter V6 are also offered. Goes on sale this fall in the U.S. and China starting at $44,560. MKZ: Midsize sedan, last redesigned in 2013, gets significant updates. New mesh grille and optional LED headlights and new driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control that can slow the car in stop-and-go traffic and resume speed when traffic clears. Atop the engine lineup is a new 3.0-liter, 400-horsepower V6. Also a 2-liter turbocharged four with 240 horsepower, and a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain with 188 horsepower and an estimated EPA combined rating of 40 mpg. Went on sale this summer. Starts at $35,010. LEVANTE: Maserati’s first SUV gives it access to a fast-growing market. The four-door Levante named for a warm, ever-changing Mediterranean wind has coupe-like lines and Maserati’s unique styling cues, including a trio of chrome-trimmed air inlets on the front bumpers and chrome trident logos on the rear C-pillars. U.S. buyers can choose between two variants of the Ferrari-made twin-turbo 3-liter V6: The base has 345 horsepower and the S has 424 horsepower. Diesel version available in Europe. All-wheel-drive is standard. Inside, leather seats are standard and safety features include adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic. Gets 16 mpg in city and highway driving. Starts at $72,000. MX-5 RF: “RF” stands for “retractable fastback,” a nod to its sloped roofline and retractable hardtop. This is the hardtop version of the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata, which went on sale last year. It’s big business for Mazda; the company says half its Miata sales were hardtops by the end of the third generation. The hardtop has a unique design, featuring back window glass that fully retracts with the roof. The roof stows behind the rear seats, so the trunk capacity isn’t compromised. Roof opens or closes with the flip of a switch, even at speeds of 6 mph or less. The engine is a 2-liter four- with 155 horsepower. Manual or automatic transmissions are available. Goes on sale next year. MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS: Mercedes’ E-Class midsize sedan gets its first full redesign since 2010. The tenth-generation E-Class is longer than its predecessor and has the elongated hood and sloped roof of its siblings, the S-Class and C-Class. Inside, there’s an optional 12.3-inch dashboard screen and touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel that let the driver control the infotainment system with smartphone-like swipes. Another perk: 64 color choices for interior ambient lighting. Has Mercedes’ most advanced semi-autonomous technology, including automatic lane changing and Drive Pilot, which can maintain a set speed and keep the car within lanes. For now, only one engine choice, a 241-horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged four. That’s less power than the outgoing 302-horsepower V6, but more versions will be added. New nine-speed automatic transmission. Gets 25 mpg in city and highway driving. Starts at $52,150. G550 4X4: G-Class SUV family gets an off-roader. It has a ground clearance of more than 17 inches and “portal axles,” which allow the axle input and the wheel’s center to be at different heights. Under the hood is a newly developed, twin-turbocharged 4-liter V8 that makes 416 horsepower. Paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy and pricing not announced. Goes on sale early next year. AMG C63 CABRIOLET: Joining Mercedes’ C-Class small car family is the C63 Cabriolet, a soft-top, two-door convertible. But don’t let its size fool you; it has serious power. The 4-liter biturbo V8 under the hood, developed by Mercedes’ high-performance AMG division, can produce either 469 horsepower (in the C63) or 503 horsepower (in the C63 S). Goes from zero to 60 mph in four seconds, and the C63 S has a top speed of 174 mph. Also an AMG-developed seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Pricing and fuel economy not released. On sale in the fall. AMG S65 CABRIOLET: This four-seat, soft-top convertible has ridiculous power thanks to its 6-liter V12 engine with 621 horsepower. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and goes from zero to 60 in four seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. The soft top, which gives the car a coupe-like profile when closed, can be automatically opened and closed in 17 seconds at speeds up to 37 mph. Creature comforts include a touchpad to control the infotainment system and an optional a neck heater and heated armrests for when the top is down. Fuel economy not released. Starts at $247,900. SLC: Two-door convertible roadster joins the C-Class family, replacing the SLK. Has a sportier, more angular nose and a larger grille. The hardtop roof can open at speeds of up to 25 mph. When open, drivers can opt for a neck-heating system. When it’s up, the glass roof can be darkened or lightened. Drivers can choose a 241-horsepower four-cylinder engine (in the SLC300) or a 362-horsepower V6 (in the AMG SLC43). Both have a nine-speed transmission. Gets up to 27 mpg in city and highway driving. Went on sale in the spring starting at $47,950. ARMADA: Full-size SUV, introduced in 2003, gets its first major redesign. It’s still boxy, but with a bolder, chrome-accented grille and other updates, like side fender vents, LED lights and an angled rear window. New 5.6-liter V8 with 390 horsepower, up from 317 previously. Nissan says that’s the most for an eight-passenger SUV. New seven-speed automatic transmission. Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds. New safety features include forward collision and blind spot warnings. Goes on sale in fall. Price not released. GT-R: Supercar gets its most significant updates since 2007 debut. It now has Nissan’s “V-motion” signature grille, a new, reinforced hood to enhance high-speed stability, and a higher rear to make the car look wider and more aggressive. Body structure is more rigid throughout, Nissan says. The 3.8-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine now produces up to 565 horsepower, an increase of 20 horsepower from the previous model. Six-speed transmission been refined to shift more smoothly. Gets 18 mpg in city and highway driving. Starts at $109,990. BOXSTER: Gets significant updates in 2017 after the last full redesign in 2013. The engines: Porsche has replaced its flat-six cylinders with more fuel-efficient and more powerful flat-four cylinders. The turbocharged 2-liter engine in the 718 Boxster produces 300 horsepower, 35 more than the old six-cylinder. A 2.5-liter in the 718 Boxster S makes 350 horsepower, also an increase of 35. Porsche says the engines are 14 percent more fuel-efficient than previous engines; the 718 Boxster gets up to 25 mpg in city and highway driving. Porsche has also retuned the chassis and added a system to automatically lower the suspension. It also added new creature comforts like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Went on sale in June. Start at $56,000. FORTWO CABRIO: The tiny two-seater convertible returns as a 2017 model after a one-year hiatus and is being billed by the Mercedes-owned brand as the most inexpensive ragtop in the U.S. The top can work as a sunroof or a full-fledged convertible. The car’s power soft top can work at any speed and retracts in 12 seconds, Smart says. The car gets Smart’s 89-horsepower, three-cylinder engine coupled with six-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmissions. Like other fortwo models, the cabrio is 8.8-feet long, about 5-feet tall and is about 5-feet wide. It weighs just over a ton. Hits showrooms in the fall. Starts at $18,900 excluding shipping. IMPREZA: The fast-selling all-wheel-drive brand rolls out two new Impreza compacts: the four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Both are 1.6 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider and a half-inch lower for more interior room and better aerodynamics. The Impreza is built on a new, stiffer platform for improved handling and better crash resistance. Inside, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. Revised 2-liter 4-cylinder engine boosts horsepower from 148 to 152. Subaru will keep selling the 2016 model until December when the new versions arrive. Pricing not announced. CROSSTREK: New version of the rugged SUV coming in 2017 but no details released. MODEL X: Tesla Motors doesn’t have model years, since it constantly modifies vehicles through over-the-air software updates. But the Model X, which went on sale last fall, is the brand’s latest. It’s a seven-passenger electric SUV with a large, panoramic windshield and innovative rear doors than open upward and swing out. Four battery options, which provide between 200 and 257 miles of range. The Model X comes only in all-wheel-drive. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Comes with driver assist features including automatic emergency braking; Tesla’s more advanced Autopilot semi-autonomous system, which includes automatic lane changing, is optional. Starts at $74,000. 86: With the death of Toyota’s Scion brand, the FR-S sports car becomes the Toyota 86. The name is a nod to Toyota sports cars of the 1980s. It’s jointly developed with Subaru and is a twin of the Subaru BRZ. Toyota made some styling changes after bringing the car over from Scion, including a new bumper for better turning response and all-LED lighting. It made the body more rigid for improved handling. It also bumped up the horsepower to 205 when the 2-liter, four-cylinder Boxer engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The 86 gets up to 27 mpg in city and highway driving with the automatic transmission, and 24 mpg with the manual. Starts at $26,255 for a manual version. PRIUS PRIME: Plug-in hybrid version of the Prius is now dubbed the Prius Prime. It has a more pronounced and deeply grooved nose to set it apart from siblings, and there are automatic grille shutters to help reduce drag. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and Toyota’s first dual motor hybrid system. Toyota has also doubled the car’s energy capacity with an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It can drive in electric mode for up to 22 miles, double the range of its predecessor, and can go up to 84 miles per hour in electric mode. Drivers can go more than 600 miles on a full electric charge and one tank of fuel. Toyota says it takes five-and-a-half hours to fully charge the car on a 110-volt outlet and less than half that on a 240-volt outlet. Goes on sale in October. VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE DUNE CONVERTIBLE: Convertible version of the rough-and-tumble Beetle Dune, which went on sale last year. Four-seater sits higher and wider than a regular Beetle for a more rugged stance. Distinguishing features include black trim strips to look like the running boards on the original Beetle, Dune graphics on the doors and a large rear spoiler. Cloth top can open at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. Fuel economy hasn’t been released, but the non-convertible version gets up to 27 mpg in city and highway driving. On sale later this year. GOLF ALLTRACK: Volkswagen has a Subaru fighter with the Golf Alltrack, a version of the small Golf SportWagen. It has a unique honeycomb grille and other design features to set it apart from its sibling. Normally operates in front-wheel-drive to save fuel, but automatically switches to all-wheel-drive when the car detects wheel slip. A drive mode selector includes “off-road,” which optimizes traction. Shares a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with the SportWagen that puts out 170 horsepower. For now, it’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual comes later. Fuel economy not released, but the SportWagen gets up to 29 mpg in city and highway driving. Automatic emergency braking is among available safety features. On sale this fall; price not announced. S60, XC60, V60: Volvo is losing its 5- and 6-cylinder engines, replacing them with 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged or supercharged powerplants. There’s a 240-horsepower turbo four and a 302-horsepower turbo and supercharged four. Models with new engines arrive in showrooms soon. S60 midsize car starts at $33,950 without shipping while the V60 SUV starts at $36,150. XC60 SUV starts at $40,950.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Ryan Newman’s championship hopes were dealt a blow Wednesday when NASCAR docked him 15 points before the final qualifying race for the playoffs. Newman was already on the outside of the 16-driver field and trailed Jamie McMurray for the final spot by seven points. He is now 22 points behind McMurray after the penalty for failing post-race inspection at Darlington Raceway on Sunday night. The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field will be set Saturday night after the regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway. Richard Childress Racing will not appeal the penalty, and blamed failing the laser inspection on the car hitting the wall during the race. “There was clear damage to the right rear fender and tire,” RCR said. “NASCAR has told us that the (laser) standard is clear and the car must pass post-race inspection even if damage has been sustained.” There are currently three available spots in the Chase field, assuming Chris Buescher finishes Richmond ranked 30th or higher in the standings. Buescher qualified for the Chase with a win at rain-shortened Pocono, but he’s got to remain inside the top 30 to be eligible for the playoffs. Buescher has an 11-point lead over 31st-place. If he drops a position, a fourth spot would become open in the Chase field. The three drivers currently in position to make the Chase are Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and McMurray. Newman would need to pass one of them in the standings to overcome the penalty. In addition to the points deduction, NASCAR also fined Newman crew chief Luke Lambert $25,000. NASCAR on Wednesday also docked 15 points from Kyle Larson, but he’s already qualified for the Chase based on his victory at Michigan. Chad Johnston, his crew chief, was fined $22,500 because the car failed post-race inspection. Newman has been an interesting participant in the Chase the last two years because he’s used consistent finishes to advance through the elimination rounds rather than wins. Newman has not won a race since 2013, but he mathematically figured out a way to advance to the 2014 championship finale and finished second in the standings. It was an improbable showing that defied NASCAR’s desire to put a greater emphasis on winning. Newman again went winless last year, but again threatened to advance deep into the playoffs. He was ultimately knocked out after the second round of eliminations and he finished 11th in the final standings. He’s been on the Chase bubble before, and in 2013 had to win the race at Richmond to make the Chase. He was leading when Clint Bowyer intentionally spun to set off a chain of events that cost Newman the race and allowed Bowyer’s teammate at the time, Martin Truex Jr., to win the race and claim the final spot in the Chase. NASCAR was rocked by the manipulation scandal and kicked Truex out of the Chase in favour of Newman. The elimination format did not exist in 2013 and Newman finished 11th that season. Notes: NASCAR did not issue any penalties surrounding the finish in the Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. John Hunter Nemechek used an aggressive move on Cole Custer to nudge Custer from the lead, and the two drivers raced door-to-door through the grass to the finish line. As NASCAR tried to sort the finishing order, Nemechek went to the flag stand to take the checkered flag. Custer then ran and tackled Nemechek in the grass. By Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press