By on June 17, 2019

Which SUV looked like a 1995 Range Rover at its debut in 1984, but was less reliable and more expensive?

Why, it’s a Laforza of course.

(Read More…)

By on January 3, 2019

Trademark applications filed by Daimler with the United States Patent and Trademark Office may indicate a soon-to-be expanded lineup for its premium line of Mercedes-Maybach vehicles. According to some detective work by AutoGuide, the automaker recently filed three applications with the USPTO for vehicles using the names GLS 600, GLS 680, and S 680.

While it wasn’t alway the case, Mercedes currently uses automotive designations above 600 to denote vehicles reserved for the ultra-luxury Maybach sub-brand. The GLS-Class’ trim presently tops out at 550 before qualifying as an AMG-enhanced model. While that doesn’t guarantee a Maybach SUV, it does make it a likely prospect. At the very least, it would seem Mercedes wants to introduce a more lavish GLS in the near future.  (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2018

Where were you when you first saw an Escalade? Do you recall the lesser but identical Yukon Denali? Twenty years have elapsed since the Escalade’s introduction, and the luxury brand of wreath and crest has never looked back.

But today, we’re going to.

(Read More…)

By on March 7, 2018

Jaguar Land Rover previously mentioned it was working on a two-door flagship sport utility vehicle for Range Rover —  a model it promised would be the most expensive in the brand’s 70-year history. It certainly kept that promise. With a starting price of $295,000, the Range Rover SV Coupe fits the bill.

Ditching the “utility” portion of sport utility vehicle, the SV Coupe is all about style over substance. However, it is not the first two-door model offered by the company. Long after the Classic left the lineup, Range Rover built the Evoque Coupe until 2017. But that model was comparably pedestrian and didn’t come anywhere near the SV’s price tag. Nor did it boast the same level of hardware. (Read More…)

By on February 16, 2018

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

We did it! Thanks to the modern obsession with larger vehicles and opulence, domestic luxury brands are taking off like a rocket. It’s going so well, in fact, that American automakers are starting to steal market share from high-end import manufacturers. Of course, this is only applicable to SUV and crossover sales.

As you know, sedan sales are losing ground to their high-riding counterparts. While this hasn’t resulted in the obliteration of the passenger car market, despite claims to the contrary, those vehicles are being massacred by wayward consumers. Sedans are becoming passé and this has allowed sport utility and crossover vehicles to amass a significant portion of the pie.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury market. The rapid growth of the luxury truck segment has substantially increased the United States’ share of domestic models sold with an average transaction price of $60,000 or more. Apparently, the inarguably phenomenal Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t have jack squat on the GMC Yukon Denali.

Suck it, cars.  (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2018

Range Rover SV Coupe interior

Range Rover has announced it will introduce a new flagship model called the SV Coupé. Now, before you allow your head to come apart like a meat-filled piñata at the thought of Range Rover building a car, recall that upscale automakers have all agreed that literally anything can be considered a coupe now. The new Range Rover should have about as much in common with traditional coupes as Chevrolet’s K5 Blazer.

Limited to no more than 999 examples, the model pays tribute to Land Rover’s original two-door Range Rover for the company’s 70th birthday. The automaker promises unparalleled refinement on the inside and and elegant styling outside. It’s a vehicle for those of discerning tastes and a flush bank account — definitely not for plebeian society(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2017

2018 Audi Q5 - Image: Audi

North America’s love affair with SUVs and crossovers arose so suddenly and with such passion that manufacturers were left scrambling to meet demand. Luxury brands certainly aren’t exempt from this but, unlike mainstream marquis, the sudden shift in product demand has thrown those marques a bit of a curveball.

Since prestige brands tend to possess substantially higher leasing rates than their more-affordable contemporaries, luxury automakers are getting stuck with off-lease sedans that nobody seems to want. While that’s terrible news for corporate accountants, it’s good news for anyone looking for a good deal on a used Lexus ES or Audi A4.  (Read More…)

By on October 19, 2017

2012 Lamborghini Urus Concept - Image: LamborghiniThe company that sells SUVs together stays together.

So it goes, or is likely to go, with Lamborghini. Keep in mind that the Volkswagen Group supercar manufacturer has already seen massive sales growth. During the half-decade before Stephan Winkelmann took over as boss at Lamborghini in 2005, the brand was selling only 800 cars on an annual basis. But by the time Winkelmann was done a decade later, Lamborghini was averaging 2,300 annual sales. In 2016, Lamborghini sold 3,457 vehicles around the world, including more than 1,000 in the United States.

Those figures will soon seem paltry because the unfortunately named Urus SUV will double the brand’s volume. But what does such a massive change do to Lamborghini’s operations? (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

2015 Infiniti QX70 - Image: Infiniti2017 was the 15th and final model year for the Infiniti QX70, formerly known as the Infiniti FX. Sad, sad the day.

But is the QX70/FX, a dramatically curvaceous take on the modern idea of a crossover, dead and gone for good? Perhaps not. “We are now asking ourselves what is the QX70’s role?” Infiniti president Roland Krueger rhetorically asked Automotive News, “And what should it be?”

Maybe these questions come a year or two or 15 too late, but the fact that Krueger even broaches the subject suggests a high degree of willingness to reinsert the vehicle back into Infiniti’s lineup. If Nissan’s upmarket brand could copy the degree of success the FX earned early on in its tenure — more than 30,000 were sold in America in 2004 — then the rebirth can’t come soon enough. (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2017

New Volvo XC40 - exterior - Image: VolvoOf the 1.4 million new vehicles sold in the United States of America each month, premium auto brands account for slightly more than one out of every ten new vehicle acquisitions.

More than 55 percent of the vehicles now sold by premium auto brands in America are utility vehicles. Of the nearly 100,000 luxury SUVs/crossovers sold in America each month, 7 percent are subcompacts, vehicles positioned below the compact BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and a variety others.

It’s a sliver of a slice of a chunk of a pie. But that sliver is growing far faster than the overall U.S. auto market, far faster than the U.S. luxury vehicle market, and far faster than the U.S. luxury SUV/crossover market.

Into that four-vehicle premium subcompact crossover segment now jumps the Volvo XC40, timed to roughly coincide with the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace. It’s a segment that, to date, no automaker has yet found a way to dominate. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

2018 Land Rover Discovery - Image: Land RoverThe new 2018 Land Rover Discovery (née LR4) is not the automatically handsome successor to the Discovery 4 you assumed it would be.

The front end is visually softened. Viewed from the side, there’s enough bodywork between the windowline and wheelwell to empty the paint shop. The need to maintain a traditional Discovery shape was compromised in part by aero demands, and the result is flat rather than boxy. The C-pillar leaning far forward is more reminiscent of a Lexus RX than a Discovery Series I.

But it’s around the back where Land Rover’s own design boss, Gerry McGovern, has his own problem. “Overall, I like the design of the back of the Discovery for its asymmetry,” McGovern tells Auto Express, “because it’s tipping its hat to the Discoveries of the past.”

The problem then, Mr. McGovern? License plates. Yes. License plates. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2017

2019 Porsche Cayenne pixelated rendering - Image: PorscheOn this, TTAC’s authors and TTAC’s audience are largely in agreement: luxury sport utility coupes are not the answer to the vehicular challenges of this age.

So Porsche is probably going to build a Cayenne Coupe.

It’ll probably have four doors. It’ll probably be more expensive than a regular Cayenne. It will almost certainly not be as good or half as attractive as a Porsche Cayenne. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera - Image: PorschePorsche revealed a new, third-generation Cayenne on a new platform late last month, but the U.S. arrival of the third version of Porsche’s original SUV won’t take place until the second half of 2018.

While the new Cayenne will be sold in some markets as a MY2018 vehicle, the 2018 Cayenne on this side of the Atlantic is the outgoing Cayenne. Yes, that Cayenne, the Cayenne that’s suffering from a sharp sales decline.

In August 2017, the Cayenne’s gradual and not entirely unpredictable old-age decline was matched to a sudden downward shift from its smaller sibling, as well. Macan sales plunged 29 percent last month. Cayenne volume was down 28 percent. Jointly, the duo lost 1,003 sales, year-over-year.

You know what that means. The overwhelming majority, the lion’s share, most, nearly half, more than a third of the vehicles sold in Porsche’s U.S. showrooms in August 2017 were sports cars. Yes, Porsche still builds sports cars, rather decent ones, in fact. And in August, Porsche’s sports car sales were very healthy indeed. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

2017 BMW 5 Series - Image: BMWBMW’s North American CEO, Bernhard Kuhnt, blames inventory issues for the brand’s sharp utility vehicle sales decline in August 2017.

BMW reported only 8,847 utility vehicle sales in August, a harsh 21-percent year-over-year drop for the five-model lineup. Sales of Spartanburg, South Carolina-built X3s, X4s, X5s, and X6s plunged 30 percent as BMW was fortunately boosted by — strange as it may sound — elevated passenger-car sales.

Has the tide turned? Is America’s BMW buyer forsaking his X3 for a 330i; her X5 for an M550i?

Don’t believe it for a second. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2017

2015 Aston Martin DBX Concept - Image: Aston MartinYour dreams of an upmarket, V12-powered, British version of the 1996 GMC Yukon GT can be put to bed. The production version of 2015’s Aston Martin DBX Concept will not maintain the concept’s bodystyle.

Production vehicles periodically trace very little back to the concept vehicles that were originally intended to act as previews. Indeed, the defining element of the DBX shown in Geneva in March 2015 is gone. “There are aspects of the car that have changed dramatically,” Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says, “perhaps none more so than the fact that it is now a four-door.”

Although the coupe format has been cast aside, Aston Martin’s boss believes the company will not have to trade beauty in exchange for true 4×4-ness. “If Aston Martin wants to survive, it must do a SUV,” Palmer says. And in this era, there are aspects of perceived SUV-ness that simply aren’t compatible with a two-door format. (Read More…)

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