Category: ‘Uncategorized’

BMW Z8 At Auction in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 4th, 2016

This is a very rare car, most widely known for its starring role in the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, where it met an unfortunate end when it was sawn in two.

Not so this grade 4.5 BMW Z8 that was auctioned in Japan today. This is a pristine car that is surely going to appreciate in value even more in the future. Check out the video below and learn more.

Here are the auction photos and the inspector’s report so you can get a closer look.

BMW Z8 Front

BMW Z8 interior

BMW Z8 rear

BMW Z8 auction sheet

The 2016 Toyota Camry XSE

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Of all the cars on the market, Toyota quite easily comes in as the most heavily scrutinized brand – with good reason. Toyota sells over 10 million vehicles per year, spread out over their entire line – Scion, Toyota and Lexus. That makes Toyota the world’s No. 1 selling automaker in the world – yes, exceeding that of Detroit-based General Motors (and former challenger, VW).

One of their top selling cars which sell around 400,000 units per year in the United States alone is the Toyota Camry. Toyota sets the standard for the rest the market. When people want to see the industry standard, they look to Toyota. Toyota, at least on the consumer level, is synonymous with automaker quality. That means one thing – Toyota has a reputation to uphold.

2016 Toyota Camry

Toyota’s Reputation

Every year the Toyota makes the Camry, we never cease to be impressed – especially since Toyota has risen the bar for other automakers to follow. It’s not just price that makes Toyota so enticing. It’s the value – what people can get for that price. Toyota has set the standard for reliability, safety and value – and they usually use the Camry to get there. Here’s what we found with the 2016 Toyota Camry XSE.

What We Think: the Pros

This Camry doesn’t have a turbocharged powertrain. In fact, it’s one of Toyota gas-saving secrets. What many people don’t realize is that you don’t really need a turbocharged powertrain. Toyota proves with this 2016 Camry that can play with the big boys that come equipped with the turbocharged powertrain engines. With 178 horsepower and 170-pound feet of torque, the Camry enjoys smooth acceleration and excellent highway driving. The clearly capable traditional setup of this Camry gets 35 miles per gallon highway and 28 miles per gallon city. These aren’t top stats either – these are stats that real drivers will get in real conditions in the real world.

It doesn’t stop there. Even if you elect to purchase this Camry with the optional 18-inch wheels, Toyota delivers an experience that is smooth, quiet and painless. When you’re parking the car, the Toyota has an excellent turning radius, almost as if it was designed for the parking lot.

One might expect the Toyota Camry to start losing some of its grace at some of the higher highway speeds. However, at 70 mph, the cabin was smooth enough that liquid in a cup was at a standstill – truly a stellar and smooth performance.

The depreciating car value on the Toyota Camry remains excellent – even three to five years down the road. That’s something to think about for people who value their purchase enough to keep it that long before selling.

Our Thoughts: the Cons

Believe it or not, the Camry offered few things we didn’t like. With some of these things, we thought Toyota could do better. The first one had to do with its reputation directly. Driving the Toyota Camry 2016 feels so much like a midlevel, run-of-the-mill, settling-for-less-than-the-best kind of feeling. There were other cars in the same price range like Mazda’s A6 or Chevy’s Malibu that feels more luxurious and more fun to drive. Perhaps Toyota is worried about stealing sales from Lexus?

Even the aesthetics feel average – and that’s saying a lot for a car that sets this industry standard. Other cars provide better technology and more of a high-end look and feel. Mazda’s A6 and even the Ford Fusion look and feel better than the Camry. The only vehicles that this year’s Camry distinguishes itself from are, well, older Camrys. Honestly, Toyota has done such a good job setting the bar the other companies are beginning to do it better. Almost every car across the board knows how to give the car a high-end, luxurious feel.

If you’re loyal to Toyota, you’ll be pleased to know that Toyota certainly isn’t lacking. There’s plenty to enjoy and Toyota has and does live up to its standard. However, if you’re a cross-shopper who doesn’t care about the brand of car you drive, there’s probably not enough in the Toyota to tip the scales in the Camry’s favor.
As stable as the Toyota Camry resale value remains, the Subaru Legacy does even better. That’s something to keep in mind if you like to sell your car down the road.

2016 Lexus LX 570 Review

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The new 2016 Lexus LX 570 is out. What’s different? What makes the LX 570 unique among the Lexus lineup? It got a chance to get a good review in Australia, even though the demand in Australia is expected to be at about 20 units per month.

It seems to have some excellent off-roading capabilities, but the real question is this. Lexus is a luxury brand. At the price that Lexus is asking, the LX 570 remains out of reach for many people. Out of the few people who can comfortably afford the LX 570, how many people are going to take it off-roading?

Almost a Complete Makeover

This new Lexus received several new style features over its predecessor. In fact, the entire thing almost looks brand-new. The only parts that appear to have remained the same since the 2015 model came out are the doors in the roof. The brand is instantly becoming recognizable due to its new “Spindle Grill.” Any way you look at it, this SUV is a beast.

More Features Than You Can Shake a Stick at

As a luxury vehicle with a higher price tag, standard features become a joke. It includes: keyless entry and push-button start, quad-zone climate control with ventilation for all three rows, easy entry air suspension that drops the car for better access, leather trim, heated front seats with driver’s side memory function, electric steering column adjustment, a fridge between the front seats, LED headlights with auto high beam, auto lights and wipers, electric sliding second row seats, electric folding third row seats, power tailgate, 20-inch wheels and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system that is controlled via a 12.0-inch media screen with satellite navigation and traffic updates.
Whew – that’s a rather long-winded list.

Don’t Forget the Safety Features

Safety is always in the forefront of people’s minds. This model has a surround-view camera (with configurable forward-view monitor for off-roading), front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, forward collision warning and auto braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and radar cruise control and 10 airbags.

The Optional Enhancement Pack

Toyota’s team didn’t stop there. Shell out extra cash and you can get their optional enhancement pack which includes 21-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated and ventilated second-row outboard seats.

That’s a lot of car for the money.

Multiple Drive Modes

There are several different drive modes – Normal, Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom. Each of these modes changes the reactions of the steering, suspension, engine and transmission, with “Custom” allowing you to select your own preferences.

Rack and Pinion Steering System

Such a large SUV can appear to be difficult to control. Toyota took this into consideration and gave it a rack and pinion steering system over an electronic steering system. Many buyers of this vehicle probably aren’t going to take it at high speeds the unless they’re on the highway and the rack and pinion steering system provides a smoother experience in stop-and-go traffic and at slower speeds.

Crawl Control

The “Crawl Control” is a feature that was borrowed from Toyota’s Land Cruiser. It is a cruise control feature for low speeds. More and more neighborhoods are enforcing a lower residential speed limit which can be difficult to maintain manually. This feature is aptly named “crawl control” instead of “cruise control,” allowing you to stay under the speed limit with ease.

The Multiview Camera System

The Multiview camera system is excellent because it allows you to see over crests when cruising at speeds as low as 20 km/h. When you pair it with the “Turn Assist” feature that locks the inside wheels and powers the outside wheels, it makes tight turning safe and easy. With a vehicle this size, it honestly makes it feel as if you were driving a smaller car.

Central Media Screen

This vehicle sports a 12.3-inch LCD screen that controls the radio and acts as the GPS. The toggle system controls the display, which can prove difficult to control whether you’re parked or traveling at high speeds on the highway.

60/40 Third Row Split

The third-row bench seat is split in a 60/40 fashion. This allows you to fold down one of the seats and get more cargo space than you normally would in a 50/50 system while still allowing one of the seats to remain upright for a passenger.

It Does Best on the Highway

Most luxury vehicle brands, the Mercedes and BMW included, get better gas mileage and handle better at higher speeds than they do at lower speeds. The Lexus LX 570 is no different. In fact, it’s almost a disservice to have so many different driving modes, when one or two would do perfectly.

The Worst Thing about This Vehicle?

It’s a gas-guzzler. The ladder frame chassis and air suspension in the vehicle don’t make this the most stable vehicle in the world. You need to put it in the Sport or Sport+ driving mode to really get a smooth ride. Although the V-8 engine does provide more power over the V6 engine, fuel is on the expensive and without a diesel or hybrid option.

2015 LX 570 at Auction in Japan

This is a beautiful grade  6 vehicle with only 81 KM on the clock. It was first registered in November 2015 and is at auction today. By the time you read this, you may well have missed your chance to bid for this particular one, but don’t worry! With between 7 to 8 million vehicles passing through the auctions every year, there will always be more along in the future.

Here is the translation of the inspection report:

Grade 6, nterior A, first registered November 2015, LX 570 model, four-wheel-drive, FAT, AAC, service book, sunroof, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, leather, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, one owner, Mark Levinson sound system, rear entertainment system with 2 monitor screens, beige leather seats, seat heater, seat ventilation, eight-seater, 81 kilometres, Lexus safety system plus, powered tailgate, multi-Lane monitoring with four cameras, blindspot camera, pre-crash safety system, radar cruise control, charging point, cooler box, marks as per map

Lexus LX570 auction sheet

Lexus LX570 front

Lexus LX570 rear

Lexus LX570 interior

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept Unveiled in Paris

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

We first looked at the quirky-but-sleek Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept a couple weeks ago when the premium Japanese automaker first previewed the new sports car. Now, with the Q80 Inspiration’s official debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, we have a bunch more pictures and more information to cover.

Paris Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Most importantly, Infiniti has officially confirmed that the Q80 Concept is an actual production priority, although it’s still a design study at its core. Infiniti’s VP Francois Bancon says that one of the most appealing aspects of manufacturing the Infiniti Q80 is that it would have no direct rivals. We have to agree with him on that; the mold-breaking design and face-melting performance are more than enough to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s start with the mold-breaking design:

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti says that the Q80 Inspiration was meant to deliver “feminine elegance and muscular menace in equal measure,” and they somehow pulled it off. The simple silver design almost seems to flow with the air around it, and it’s easy to imagine this car going really, really fast. The Q80 also has that luxurious floating glass roof made from lightweight acoustic glass, similar to the Toyota C-HR Concept we looked at last week.

With the Q80 Inspiration’s official debut, Infiniti has told us more about what to expect from the car’s interior. The Q80 is just as advanced inside as it is out, and you’ll find a host of futuristic technologies showcased inside the cabin.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept Doors Open

Most notable is the incorporation of Infiniti’s driver-activated autonomous driving system, which can be activated at the press of a button next to the steering wheel. When pressed, the Q80 will use a Heads-Up Display (HUD) projected onto the windshield to offer assistance and make both visual and audible suggestions to the driver. However, the final action is always taken by the man (or woman) behind the wheel.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the underlying theme for the Q80 Inspiration’s interior is interaction. So, in addition to the autonomous driving system, Infiniti also incorporated an on-board entertainment touch-screen for not only the driver, but every rear-passenger. Meanwhile, the cabin is plush with quilted leather seating, exquisite Alcantara and leather upholstery and crisp metal accents, all brought to life through the panoramic glass roof.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept interior

Finally, many of you will agree that the best part of the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration is its performance. This car may look refined on the outside, but it’s a savage under the hood, boasting a mean 550hp from a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 hybrid powertrain. Apparently, this hyper-performing sports hybrid is a precursor to a whole new family of engines that’ll be introduced “within the next two years.”

The good news with all this is that Infiniti definitely wants to produce a Q80 sports car. The bad news is that it’s at least three years off, and we may have to wait as far out as 2020. Still, we should hopefully see at least one more Q80 Concept between now and then, so keep your eyes peeled for the next iteration.