Archive Page 2

2011 Chevy Camaro Z28. Proof that the General is starting to get it?

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Last week we got word that GM had green-lighted the CTS-v Wagon, which might be the awesomest news for the wreath and crest in years. It truly signals GM’s desire to make Caddy a world-beater. But THIS! This is tremendous news as well, because the 2010 Camaro is off to a strong start already. A case could be made that the market is absorbing every single Camaro being made, and the current 426-hp Camaro SS 6-speed is plenty fast. But green-lighting the Z28 with the amazing 556-hp supercharged 6.2liter V8 shows that GM is beginning to understand that the car business is a momemtum game. Mercedes learned that each new iteration of the AMG has only benefitted the brand as a whole, and BMW’s continued success with the M-series is the true case study for why a brand needs high-performance variants. Kudos to Chevy and GM. We can’t wait to drive the Z28.

2011 BMW X1 could either solidify or ruin BMW’s reputation.

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I’ve seen it doing huge loops from the beach to downtown and back on Sunset Boulevard the last few months, and my feeling is always the same. Is the upcoming 2011 BMW X1 yet another step in their quest to be the world’s volume luxury brand, or yet another nail in the premium brand? After successfully stretching the brand’s promise with the original X5, BMW has added a steady stream of ever-more interesting models to the line-up. One need only witness the upcoming 5-Series GT, which is a super ugly way of saying a 5-Series sedan with a sloping hatchback and tall, Subaru Forrester type side panels. But this X1 looks pretty slick. Certainly not pretty PRETTY, with the new 7-Series inspired nose, but otherwise slick and premium. The interior especially looks great, and will be years ahead of the godawful Mercedes GLK interior. Here in LA, this will be a hit for sure. What actress on her way to yoga wouldn’t want one?

2010 Audi S5 Sportback. Possibly the best looking car we won’t be getting in the States.

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Just like the drop-dead gorgeous, rob-a-bank-if-you-have-to-get-one Alfa Romeo 8C, the Audi S5 is a seriously fantastic looking car that we will not be getting in the States. This is criminal. And defies logic. Let’s take that last point first: Why not bring it over? Does Audi feel it’d rob sales from the S6? Do the corporate brass feel it’d steal thunder from the hideous and hideously expensive upcoming Porsche Panamera? I’d wager the answer to both is “yes”. But that’s for the market to decide, not Audi. And for a brand set on dominating luxury sales charts, this isn’t about slicing the pie too thin, this is about bringing over the best damn cars, period. What’s more, this car reinforces the quickly emerging meme that Audi is the new definition of luxury. Folks, call your congressman. Say your prayers. Write letters. We need this car.

Loving the Mercedes SLS AMG.

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The internets are ablaze with the Mercedes SLS Gullwing AMG 6.3 How Many Ways Can We Name It. But whatever its called, it’s the right damn car for MB, and soooo much better than the tacky, Sunset Strip-only SLR. Between Paris Hilton and the Mt. Olympus contingent, that car was ruined before it had a chance to drive itself into douchebaggery. Let’s face it, the thing was never pretty. Sure, it made go-fast sounds and sure looked expensive, but it always struck me as an SL550 with some ill-advised “coachwork”. But this. This looks luscious. Not pretty. But hard-core mouthwateringly good. This is no museum piece, and nowhere near “instant classic” people seemed to be anointing it, but it’s got horsepower for days and looks mean as shit. We likey long time.

CTS-v Coupe, and Wagon up next?

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To no one’s surprise, the Cadillac CTS-v Coupe is a go, and slated to be introduced alongside it’s non-v brother in May ’10. Hhhhhhhhot. But what’s even cooler is the buzz that Caddy might do a CTS-v Wagon. Even if they sell 500 of them, this is a total brand boost and something they can do relatively cheaply and get a good brand boost. Here in Los Angeles, E-class AMG wagons are pretty popular, and a total stealth/cool choice.

How many brands have to go so that one can live?

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Four, to be precise. If the new Cadillac SRX is any indication, GM’s decision to jettison Saab, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac seems like smart business if it means better products for the brands GM is keeping. Certainly, this isn’t a new or novel insight. But for those who think that Detroit and GM still don’t get it, I’d say this new SRX is proof that they do. Here in Los Angeles, one need only hold their breath for, oh, about 14 seconds before one will see a Lexus RX. They’re everywhere, and with good reason. Outside of the LS, it’s Lexus’ most dialed-in, most focused product. They invented the segment and they’ve earned their leadership position. But if the Escalade proved that Cadillac can provide a new spin on the lux-SUV, then the SRX can occupy a similar, Caddied-up take on the lux-crossover niche. Straight up, this thing looks GOOD. Fantastic looking interiors, 20-inch rims (what?! no chrome?!) and all sorts of Caddy bling. Plus, the available 2.8T engine (300-hp, 295 lb/ft torque) looks like a winner.

Hank Ford just added me as a Facebook friend.

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Dad has discovered the internet. “KIDS!! Time to let your old man use the computer terminal! I’m getting on Facebooks.” And here’s the thing with Ford — I’m actually loving them as of late. No bailout funds needed, a strong line-up of cars people actually want to buy, a prescient move away from trucks 3 years ago, and savvy non-Detroit management. What’s not to respect, right?! Now, layer on top of this Valetster’s obvious love of social media (hey, follow us on Twitter!) and you’d think that seeing Ford create a profile on Facebook would be a good thing. But HANK FORD?! Are you kidding me?! Are they trying to sound like the obviously 60-something ad guy in Detroit that probably spawned this hacky execution? Sigh. So. Not. Cool.