Detroit Auto Show: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [w/ poll]

Here’s our take on the hits and misses of the Detroit Auto Show, make sure to let us know what you thought in the poll and the comments section!

BMW 5-series

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Bart: Hit

Packed with new technology and undoubtedly again being one of the best driving sedans in its class, the new 5-Series will (depending on your personal preferences) either come close to or beat the standard set by the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But where the E-Class was mostly criticised for looking too much like its larger and smaller siblings, the 5-Series looks too much like the previous model. Did I miss the news that BMW hired a former Volkswagen designer? However, this doesn’t mean I don’t like its looks. With the right (M-Sport?) bodykit and wheels and a color a bit more inspiring than the obbligato fifty shades of grey, blue or black, this can be a very desirable looking car that will remain the obvious choice for the decreasing number of luxury buyers who still prefer a sedan over an SUV.

Kriss: So-so

I agree with pretty much everything Bart said, and yet I still can’t rate the BMW a “Hit”. Why is that? Objectively, the car has everything going for it – technology, BMW’s legendary chassis tuning, straight-six engines, and a smart and light construction (recently read a comparison test with the E-class, and saw that the 4wd 530d xDrive is 100kg lighter than the 2wd E-class 350d). However, subjectively the car is lacking that certain “want it” factor – the one that made the E34 and E39 generations so achingly desirable, no matter what specification or color they were in. While the E-class boast a stunning interior, the BMW looks too much like its predecessor inside; to me this is especially disappointing given that BMW showed us with the i3 and i8 of creating genuinely stunning interiors. Call it a case of sky-high expectations, but the new 5-series is just not a “Hit” to me.

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Lynk & Co shows off its first car, the Volvo-based 01 SUV

Say what you will about Chinese carmakers, but one thing can’t be denied – they have made progress faster than any other country, faster than even Korean carmakers, the previous record-holders for how quickly they went from making shoddily-built copies of models that were past their “best by” date to building desirable, potentially segment-topping cars. The latest evidence of such progress can be seen with the 01, the aptly-named first car from the newly-formed brand of the Geely conglomerate, Lynk & Co.… Continue Reading …

BMW releases new 5-series… no, really! [w/ poll]

Late last week BWM finally pulled the wraps off the long-awaited 5-series replacement, causing a lot of head-scratching among its fans and the general public. The unaffiliated were left wondering why BMW had re-revealed the 7-series, especially when looking at the front lights and the detailing on the side of the car, while BMW aficionados were left staring at the shape of the C-pillar and wondering “is this just a very elaborate facelift?”.… Continue Reading …

Poll results: Audi A5 sedan/wagon, French family chariots

Here are results of some recently-conducted polls:

1.    Audi A5 sedan/wagon renderings fail to convince Audi sceptics

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Poll results: Kia Rio, Škoda Kodiaq and VAG crossovers

Here are results of some recently-conducted polls:

1.   New Kia Rio fails to impress

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Audi A4: missed opportunity? [w/ poll]

I usually don’t like to engage in speculation about what could have been, but I recently came across two renderings of Audi A5 sedan and Avant that got me wondering: how much more attractive the uber-conservative new Audi A4 could have been if the brands’s designers had been given a free hand?… Continue Reading …

Snap poll: which French family chariots do you prefer?

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Following our snap poll last week on which of the VAG crossovers our readers preferred, this week I thought we’d jump off from the debut of the newly crossover-ized Peugeot 5008 and ask our reader the question: which of the French family chariots do you prefer?

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Snap poll: which of the VAG soft-roaders do you prefer?

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Over the course of the last year, VAG has finally shown off the flexibility of its MQB platform by releasing not one, not two, not even three, but four distinct crossovers based on the ubiquitous component set. Ranging from 4.2m (Audi Q2) to 4.7m (Škoda Kodiaq) in length, and varying in styling, market positioning and global appeal, they will nonetheless often find themselves fighting over the wallets of similar customers, at least in Europe. So now the question to our readers: which do you prefer?

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Škoda releases long-awaited Kodiaq [w/ poll]

After what seems like years of speculation, spyshots, teasers and leaks, Škoda finally released its take on the 7-seat family crossover: the Kodiaq. But for once all the buildup may actually be justified, as the Kodiaq is not just another Škoda model – it is the harbinger of a bevy of new crossovers from the Czech carmaker, and has the potential to become one of its best-sellers. That, and it’s probably the ultimate answer to the question “why should Škoda enter the US market?”.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: New Kia Rio and… [w/ poll]

Just yesterday Kia released pictures of the new Rio, and it looks reassuringly familiar – those solid flanks, the handsome front, the slightly aggressive lights. However, unlike with so many new cars these days, this is not because the new Kia Rio looks much like the old one (think most VAG, BMW products). In fact, the new Rio looks surprisingly unlike its dynamic and uniquely-styled predecessor. Rather, it is reminiscent of another car…… Continue Reading …