BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

i-Next continues the language explored in the electric i family

This is Vision iNext, BMW’s latest all-electric, part driverless car. This prototype isn’t pure futuristic fantasy either. A car based on the iNext will head for production at the BMW Plant Dingolfing in 2021. Company chief Harald Krüger says this latest concept car provides what he sees as “building blocks for the future from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit.” The iNext, he feels, “represents a new era of sheer driving pleasure.”

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

A car based on the iNext will head for production at the BMW Plant Dingolfing by 2021

The iNext SAV (as in BMW’s sports activity vehicle category) is automated, emission-free and fully connected. What’s more, it can be self-driven or chauffeured. In the first scenario, the “boost” mode triggers the electric drive system to deliver, what BMW promises to be, a dynamic and silent driving experience on zero emissions. Then in the “ease” autonomous mode, the car takes over all driving functions for a vehicle that offers a space for a wide range of activities. The idea is for this multi-functioning hub to be at once a mode for transport, a space for work and a sanctuary for relaxation, interaction and entertainment.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

Adrian van Hooydonk: “It shows how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.”

The iNext offers the vision increasingly being put forward by leading car manufacturers. The near future will see a first wave of cars that act as a bridge between the more conventional present with the hyper-futuristic fully-autonomous future. It is a vision that is radical enough without being unrealistic. The cars Audi, BMW, Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes have planned don’t necessarily challenge the visual language of conventional cars. Yet through high technology, they offer a very different and versatile car experience, something that will evolve further as tech and digitalization advance. Expect to see this first stage on the roads in the early 2020s. The next stage, we are promised, will take on more exciting avant-garde form.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

BMW Vision i-Next is an all-electric, part autonomous car

The BMW Group’s strength in this competitive scenario is that the marque benefits from over a decade of R&D in electric driving through “project i”. The electric sub-brand formed in 2007 has overseen the creation of the i3 city vehicle and i8 performance car, both in their second life-cycle. What’s more, technology from these i cars is constantly feeding into the gradually electrification of the BMW and Mini range.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

Inside has been designed to feel more like a living room with a blend of cloth and wood materials that resemble furniture.

“BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas which transform the way we think about mobility,” says Adrian van Hooydonk. “The Vision iNext marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful,” adds the BMW Group senior vice president of design.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

BMW says the future will be about “shy tech”, whereby various functions can be operated through surfaces

The form is sculptural and full of visual movement with an expansive panoramic roof to flood the interior with light. It continues the language explored in the electric i family. The large, interlinked double-kidney grille, the iconic side window graphic and the blue accent surfaces at the front, sides and rear have clearly adopted the i electric design featured on the i Vision Dynamics last year.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

BMW iNext will become the marque’s technology flagship

Inside has been designed to feel more like a living room with a blend of cloth and wood materials that resemble furniture. There are two individual seats in the front and a single bench in the rear for up to four people to sit comfortably in this car. BMW has kept the physical steering wheel and digital driver displays, but other than this there are no conventional screens and mechanical controls here. Technology has been hidden away from rear passengers to enhance this homely, living-space character. Only when required by the driver or passengers does technology becomes visible and operable. BMW says in the future it will be working with “shy tech”, whereby various functions can be operated through surfaces – wood or cloth – altogether eliminating the need for displays.

BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

i-Next shows the possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and connectivity

The iNext will become the marque’s technology flagship. “Personal mobility is set to experience significant change,” says Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW board of management responsible for development. “The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey.” He explains: “We have designed the all-electric iNext as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new ‘favorite space’ in which we can be ourselves and relax.” Fröhlich says all products made at BMW going forward will “revolve around people and their needs and desires when it comes to mobility”.

Source: BMW Presents The Future With The Piloted Electric Vision iNext

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Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

Behold, the biggest toy car on Earth: a full-scale, drivable version of the Bugatti Chiron crafted almost entirely out of LEGO parts.

Made up of 339 different types of LEGO Technic elements totaling more than a million pieces (and assembled without glue), the LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron can accommodate up to two passengers and showcases many of the same design details as the original.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The fully functioning vehicle is comprised of more than a million individual LEGO parts supported by a steel frame.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

It can accommodate up to two passengers and showcases many of the same design details of the original Chiron.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

That includes everything from the seats and the dashboard to the steering wheel (emblazoned with a custom silver-coated Bugatti logo crafted out of 72 Technic bricks) and outer shell, which is coated with a custom “skin” built of interconnected triangular segments—a type of LEGO Technic fabric that can be adjusted to shape the car’s exterior form.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The detachable steering wheel is emblazoned with a custom silver-coated Bugatti logo crafted out of 72 LEGO Technic bricks.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The vehicle is covered in a custom LEGO Technic fabric that can be adjusted to shape the car’s outer shell.

Tipping the scale at 1,500 kilograms (about three-fourths the weight of the original), the Technic Chiron touts working doors (whose open-close mechanism is constructed entirely out of LEGO bricks), along with a functioning brake pedal, 11 buttons to control the LED lights and motors, replica turning indicator signals and wiper arms, a working speedometer and rear spoiler (both fully made out of Technic elements), and actual seat belts.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The LEGO Technic is fitted with real Bugatti wheels.

LEGO Group designer Aurelien Rouffiange worked with a team of 16 specialists to formulate the one-of-a-kind vehicle, which required more than 13,400 man hours to develop and build.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

“This life-size model is a first of its kind in so many ways and with it, we wanted to push the boundaries of our own imagination,” Lena Dixen, LEGO Group senior vice president of product and marketing, said in a statement. “It’s a fascinating example of the LEGO Technic building system in action and its potential for creative reinvention.”

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

Bugatti tapped Le Mans champion Andy Wallace to test drive the Chiron’s LEGO lookalike.

The”toy”Chiron is strikingly similar to its namesake, but it’s not nearly as powerful. Its engine—made up of more than 6,000 LEGO Technic gear wheels and cross axles and 2,304 LEGO Power Function Motors—only produces 5.3 horsepower and 92 Nm of torque, giving it a top speed of about 18 mph.Meanwhile, the purebred Bugatti—equipped with a quad-turbocharged 8-liter W16 engine that generates a whopping 1,500 horsepower and 1,600 Nm—is the world’s fastest production car, boasting a top speed of 261 mph.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The awe-inspiring auto is the toy company’s first large scale mobile creation to date, but it’s far from the biggest LEGO structure in the world. That title belongs to a 42-foot-tall replica of London’s Tower Bridge, commissioned by Land Rover to promote the automaker’s Discovery SUV in 2016.

Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

The span—comprised of 5,805,846 LEGO bricks—is strong enough to hold two SUVs, with room for a third beneath its functioning drawbridge.

The life-size model doesn’t seem to be available for purchase—but if you really want to take home a Chiron (and don’t have $3 million to spend on the real deal), you can still buy the miniature LEGO version for a relatively low $350.

Source: Meet The Life-Size LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron You Can Actually Drive

2019 Ram 1500 4×4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

How does it compare to the V-8?

Our introduction to the next-generation Ram 1500 took place earlier this year when we drove testers with the 5.7-liter V-8, purported to be the volume engine. We walked away impressed, deeming it a truck that drives like a car. In our First Test, we reported better acceleration, handling, and ride than its predecessor, which was very competent already. How does this equation change when we look at the Ram 1500 equipped with a V-6 engine and new eTorque technology?

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

For 2019, Ram is ushering in the mild-hybrid pickup. The Ram 1500 uses a belt-driven motor generator unit in place of a traditional alternator on the engine. This unit feeds a 48-volt battery pack mounted to the rear wall inside the cabin. With this new system, drivers are supposed to experience more natural start/stop deployment and additional torque at low rpms to help out the engine. It adds a temporary 90 lb-ft of boost to all V-6 models, or 130 lb-ft to the V-8 models equipped with the technology. The mild-hybrid system also recuperates brake energy, with the intent of increasing responsiveness and fuel economy.

After a spin in the V-6 Ram, several editors said the eTorque is almost imperceptible. The start/stop system worked as promised, staying out of the way of clean acceleration. Whether we can feel it providing extra juice is another question.

As expected, the V-6 models have a clear power disadvantage compared to their V-8 counterparts. Normal output sits at 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, versus 395 hp and a peak of 410 lb-ft. Those numbers make a difference on the road. A number of us had issues with the truck’s power delivery, at least when driven back to back with V-8 testers with and without eTorque. It doesn’t deliver power quickly enough, we lamented.

“Feels like you’re driving into a headwind,” Ed Loh summed it up. “Noticeably down on giddyup.”

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

Features editor Christian Seabaugh also noted that it felt underpowered at freeway speeds. “Lots of shifting because the power is up high—I feel like if Ram invested as much as it did in eTorque, that power should be available sooner.”

“You’ve got to rev it out to make power, and it comes alive at 4,500 rpm,” noted features editor Scott Evans. “It feels weird to always be revving up the engine for a hill or a pass, but it’s effective,” Scott said, adding that eTorque is seamless and the truck has plenty of power overall.

But what do the numbers say? In our tests, the prudent V-6 Ram hit 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. As you may expect, that’s a little slower than the Ram V-8s we’ve tested. Featured in a previous First Test, the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4 Crew Cab with a V-8 and without eTorque hit the mark in 6.1 seconds. A similar Long Horn 4×4 Crew Cab V-8, also without eTorque, came in at 6.3 seconds. A top-of-the-line Limited Crew Cab 4×4 V-8, the heaviest, managed 6.5 seconds with eTorque (the latter two trucks were tested at the same time as our six-cylinder eTorque tester).

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

The 2019 Ram with a V-6 is also slower than a rear-drive 2013 Ram 1500 Big Horn V-6 we tested. That truck made the same exact standard horsepower and torque as the new V-6, but it managed the 0-60 run in 7.4 seconds.

Our tester came with an optional air suspension, costing $1,795 and worth every penny. Although pretty much all of the Ram 1500s we’ve tested minimize bumps in the road, those with the air suspension are even more poised. We weren’t shy about our praise for the suspension.

“Amazing suspension for a truck, even a large car,” noted road test editor Chris Walton. “The highway ride was of the ‘magic carpet’ variety.”

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

This level of refinement is particularly impressive compared to the Ram’s rivals. Our tester cost $55,485, but it tackled bumps in the road with more aplomb than a more prestigious 2019 GMC Sierra Denali. Some noise seeps into the cabin, but not enough to disturb the driver or passengers.

In the quarter mile, our tester was a bit on the slower side at 16.5 seconds at 84.5 mph. It’s a bit slower than the new V-8 Rams and below the 2013 model’s 15.7 seconds at 88.3 mph. It was behind the game in the figure eight, with a time of 29.7 seconds at 0.54 g. Compare that to the 2019 Ram 1500 Limited with a time of 28.3 seconds at 0.60 g or the 2013 Ram at 28.6 seconds at 0.59 g.

A number of editors noted a squishy brake feel. However, the brake power comes through in a linear and predictable manner. It took a full 132 feet for the Ram to come to a stop from 60 mph, where it took the V-8 Rams between 122 and 130 feet, except for a Ram Rebel we tested, which took 135 feet. The 2013 Ram was able to stop in 123 feet.

One of the Ram’s strong points is its light and maneuverable feel in the corners. This characteristic becomes even more pronounced in towing, as it feels more nimble than the V-8 models. It still takes time for the Ram to get up to speed—17.7 seconds to 60 mph, to be exact—and you can feel some vibration from the back seat while towing around 50-55 mph. But it shifts more smoothly from second to third compared to the V-8 models.

Although the eight-speed feels abrupt sometimes, the rotary shifter makes it easy switching between Park, Reverse, Drive, and Neutral. It moves between the gears more easily than the traditional steering wheel shifter seen on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierras. In general, Ram has designed an interior that is more functional and premium than its rivals.

2019 Ram 1500 4x4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

The Rams come with a useful center console box that offers 12 different storage combinations. The cupholder area slides fore and aft, and there’s plenty of room below for purses, small backpacks, or a laptop. Premium materials cover the cabin, from the leather and metallic accents on the dashboard and even the cloth seats. No surface was neglected.

“The cloth seats have a premium look and are more than the average cloth seats that you usually find in a truck,” said Motor Trend en Espa ol managing editor Miguel Cortina. Loh even likened the cloth interior to the Range Rover Velar.

The 8.4-inch touchscreen can be figured out pretty easily. There’s a slight delay once you press on a button, however, unlike the infotainment system on GM’s new Silverado and Sierra. Editors praised the clear picture provided by the rearview camera.

Unfortunately, the V-6 isn’t a top performer in fuel economy. Our EQUA Real MPG results came in at 15.4/19.7 mpg city/highway. That’s not much different from the V-8 Long Horn 4×4 Crew Cab we tested (14.7/21.6 mpg). Meanwhile, the eTorque V-8 Limited nets 18.7/22.6 mpg. EPA ratings for our test trucks include 19/24 mpg for the four-wheel-drive V-6, 15/21 mpg for the Long Horn truck with a V-8 and four-wheel drive, and 17/22 mpg for the Limited tester with V-8, four-wheel drive, and the eTorque system.

Our tester has the same basic formula that makes the Ram 1500 such a competent truck: a confident ride, ergonomic and attractive interior, and value for the money. That said, the V-6 gives this truck a different flavor than its larger-displacement counterparts. However, the V-8 may be the more alluring variant, since it accelerates well without a fuel economy penalty.

The 2019 Ram 1500 V-6 eTorque, Limited V-8 eTorque, and Long Horn V-8 were tested in extreme-heat conditions and performance was adversely affected. We will attempt to retest and update these results at a later date.

Source: 2019 Ram 1500 4×4 V-6 eTorque First Test: Same Truck, Different Flavor

Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

Lister Cars tentatively reveals further details of the 200mph F-Pace-based LFP

Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

Lister Cars has released a few new details on its upcoming LFP SUV. Initially teased with an ambitious claim of being the world’s fastest SUV, we now know it’ll reach a top speed of 200mph and reach 62mph in an estimated time of 3.5sec.

Based on the incoming F-Pace SVR, it’ll share that car’s basic chassis, powertrain and design, but with a set of mechanical upgrades shared with the LFT-666, the brand’s first model based on the F-Type SVR  Coupe. Grunt is generated from Jaguar’s 5-litre supercharged V8 engine, funnelled through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox on to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Maximum power is estimated at 670bhp, pretty much the same as the LFT-666.

Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

These figures do indeed compare favourably to the current world’s fastest SUV, the Lamborghini Urus. The Lambo is nearly 30bhp down with 641bhp, 0.1sec slower to 62mph at 3.6sec, and crucially some 11mph down at a meagre 189mph top speed. Jeep’s more powerful Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk also boasts some impressive numbers, producing 697bhp from its supercharged Hemi V8, but thanks to its armoire-like aerodynamics (and underpinnings, let’s be honest) tops out at a mere 180mph.

Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

Stopping the Lister LFP will be a chunky set of carbon-ceramic brakes. Meanwhile new wheels and revised bumpers with extended use of carbonfibre will differentiate the Lister visually from lesser Jaguar F-Paces. Lister has released a vague price, with the LFP expected to cost somewhere around £140k when it finally reaches customers. Not too bad against the Lamborghini’s £165k starting price, but quite a lot when you consider that is over £100k more than an entry-level F-Pace.

Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

Lister MD Lawrence Whitaker is quietly bullish that the new SUV will make good on the ‘fastest SUV’ claim. That said, the British marque has stopped short of qualifying exactly what it means by ‘fastest’, so whether this means acceleration, top speed or quickest over a quarter-mile time is currently unknown.

When questioned about future products to follow the Thunder and the SUV, Lister did not rule out more Jaguar-based models. This news should come as no surprise, as the company received deposits for 22 of its limited-run of Thunders within the first 24 hours of the order book opening.

Source: Jaguar F-Pace-Based Lister LFP ‘Potentially’ The World’s Fastest SUV

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

Prototype 10 honors the evocative spirit of early Californian speedsters

Prototype 10 honors the evocative spirit of early Californian speedsters. Revealed today at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this elegantly-proportioned vehicle by Infiniti is an electric performance concept car. It implies where the premium Japanese marque is heading visually in the next three years when every new model will benefit from some form of sustainable powertrain.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

Prototype 10 is Infiniti’s electric performance concept car

“California is intrinsically linked to the speedster body style and remains a cultural center for independent car tuning and coachbuilding,” offers Karim Habib at Pebble Beach. Prototype 10, says Infiniti’s executive design director, taps into this sense of self-expression in its design and its performance.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

This is a pivotal time for Infiniti as the marque explores its own brand identity in the age of electrification

Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury arm and as such has access to a great deal of eco technology with electrification a natural next step for the marque. From 2021, the company is aiming to have every new model electrified with hybrid or battery electric technology. This Prototype 10 provides a window into what to expect from this sustainable family of cars.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

The design team are working to find a unique and compelling visual language to best express Infiniti

This is a pivotal time for Infiniti as the marque explores its own brand identity in the age of electrification. Even though Infiniti has been selling its premium cars globally since 1989, with notable success in some markets, independence from Nissan only happened five years ago, when management was separated while maintaining technological and engineering links. “The concept of what the brand stands for is managed separately,” explains Habib, noting that this sense of sovereignty has helped Infiniti form a much stronger identity, something he wishes to explore further.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

Its form is about expressing driving pleasure and thrilling performance

This means discovering a unique and compelling visual language to best express Infiniti. Habib is candid when he says although design is consistent now, it still needs to be developed. “My mission is to nourish the brand. It is about working across the visual inputs and outputs, the ads, dealerships. We participate in all these areas now,” he told me a little while ago. Prototype 10 represents the first project under his direction. Habib joined the company from BMW last summer where, as head of design, he was responsible for cars like the latest 7 Series. This project hints at how he hopes to evolve Infiniti’s visual language with the next-generation of production cars.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

The “monoposto” single-seat cockpit reflecting Infiniti’s driver-focused approach

The concept car shown at Pebble Beach today is very much a global project creatively conceived at the Japanese design center, designed digitally in the Paddington studio in London and crafted in San Diego, California. It is an evolution of the form-language explored with the company’s last two concept cars – the Q Inspiration and Prototype 9. The design director describes the latter as evoking “the thrill and drama of early open-wheeled racing”, thus imagining alternative histories for the brand. He sees this Prototype 10, however as a car with its eye firmly on the future of Infiniti, showing the possibilities created by adopting electrified powertrains and flexible vehicle platforms. Its form is about expressing driving pleasure and thrilling performance with the “monoposto” single-seat cockpit reflecting Infiniti’s driver-focused approach.

Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

Infiniti Prototype 10 looks back to go forward

Habib explains, “this car represents another passion project for our designers. This idea of ‘looking back to go forward’, and combining the inspiration of an earlier aesthetic with future technology, showing how excited we are about the era of electrification. Prototype 10 draws on some of the most iconic and evocative car designs of all time to illustrate this excitement.”

He says he set out to echo the layout and design of early speedsters, a period when “power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of driving.”

Source: Infiniti Prototype 10 Electric Speedster

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

Chevrolet still cares about its cars. At least, it cares enough that it updated the Spark, Cruze and Malibu for 2019. There’s no mistaking the Blue Oval it’s aiming at when Steve Majoros, Chevy marketing director, brags about having the newest passenger car lineup in the industry.

The most significant change Chevy brought to the Malibu for 2019 is the transmission. We lose the six-speed torque converter trans and gain a GM-designed CVT. Chevy says the decision was simple. It expects to get a 2-mpg boost in fuel economy.

There was nothing unpleasant about the six-speed it replaces, and CVTs are typically a bore, if not downright annoying, to drive. A properly sorted CVT can cut down on the buzzing most people complain about, but there’s no way to truly disguise the rubber-banding effect when pulling away from a light.

The Malibu RS is added to the mix for 2019. As is tradition, the RS trim is essentially a sport appearance package. This one slots in between the LS and LT trims and offers a pleasant combination of niceties for the approximately $1,000 you’ll pay over the LS. A redesigned front fascia gets the black-out treatment, black bowties and RS badge, so people know you’re one of the cool kids. New 18-inch wheels with staple-inspired design give it a more outlandish look. Chrome dual-exhaust tips with little pipes hiding (but visible) within are out back. And a rear, slightly more-than-a-lip spoiler completes the RS look.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

The inside is where the RS package becomes slightly better than the LS. Soft leather wraps both the steering wheel and shift lever. It’s a nice addition to make a cheap car feel a bit more premium. Sadly, everything else in the interior makes the Malibu feel its price. Hard plastic is everywhere, and the center stack just feels old compared to competitors.

If you were wondering, yes, all other 1.5-liter turbo Malibus get the CVT. You’ll have to pony up to the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, which comes with Chevy’s slick shifting nine-speed auto to escape the continuously variable unit. We find it a bit ironic that the new “sporty looking” Malibu comes with the least sporty feeling type of transmission there is.

  • Base Price: $24,995
  • Powertrain: 1.5-liter I4, CVT, FWD
  • Output: 163 hp @ 5700 rpm; 184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
  • Curb Weight: 3,135 lb
  • Pros: Comfortable, solid infotainment, smooth driver
  • Cons: Cheap interior, overwrought styling, a tad slow

The Execution

Just as Chevy says, the RS line is strictly about the appearance and doesn’t change the driving experience from a different trim level. That’s not to say the Malibu is failing at its purpose, though. It rides comfortably and competently down the road, soaking up bumps and generally being an easy place to ride along in. If you’re looking for a sedan that will reward you with a bit of fun when you want it, then look elsewhere, maybe to the Honda Accord or Mazda 6.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

Chevy had us drive through miles of narrow, twisting roads in the Pacific Northwest, and while it’s more confidence-inspiring than a similarly sized crossover, there’s no doubt that it was a bit out of its element. The body rolls around haphazardly when taking corners in quick succession and dives hard under braking. There’s a lack of feel through the steering wheel, but that’s sort of the point of this car. It gets you where you need to go without drama or discomfort while being sufficiently insulated from the road at this price point.

Now for the elephant in the room: the CVT. Chevy decided to do what many others have done to assuage folks’ annoyances with this kind of transmission — it added “steps” to simulate a conventional auto. It feels counterintuitive, but they help a lot when you’ve got the throttle pinned, begging for all 163 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The little turbo four-pot will rev up at a slightly hurried but natural pace until about 6,000 rpm. Then it drops 500 rpm, goes back up to 6,000 and falls back 500 rpm again. This pogoing between a couple set rpm is sort of comedic to watch on the tach, but it still feels better than a constant buzz.

However, for more sedate maneuvers the transmission is pleasant. The revs will stay low and quiet when putting along but quickly pop into the boost if a little acceleration is needed. Strangely enough, the most obtrusive drivetrain sound that makes it into the cabin in normal driving conditions is a higher-pitched whistle from the turbo. Play some music at even a low volume and this noise all but goes away. Extracting power from the little four-cylinder doesn’t ever feel strained, but if you desire a little more shove back into your seat, then the 2.0-liter turbo is the one to go for.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

In about 70 miles of driving that a typical person would do on a commute, we achieved 34 mpg, according to the digital readout. That included a mix of mostly highway speeds, with some city driving mixed in. Not too shabby compared to the 30-mpg combined rating of the equivalent 2018 model year car, but we’ll need a lot more miles to come to a definitive answer about whether the CVT is worth the mileage savings.

Chevy’s stop/start function carries over with the refresh. It’s still impossible to turn off, if that’s a deal breaker for you. As far as these fuel-saving systems go, though, GM has a good one on the Malibu. Any vibrations or shudders from the engine cycles are nigh undetectable, which makes living with it a bit more palatable.

Something Malibu owners will enjoy is the now-standard 8-inch touchscreen with Chevy’s latest infotainment system. You’ll get the usual Apple CarPlay/Android Auto duo there, which is one bonus if the other option you’re considering is a Camry. This newest iteration of Chevy’s infotainment is truly a joy to use. Lag is nonexistent, and motions/animations feel smartphone-like. One thing the front needs is another USB slot. With only one there now, somebody is guaranteed to be left out of charging if multiple people are riding along.

As far as other new tech goes, Chevy redid the headlights and taillights. We didn’t get to test at night, but Chevy says they throw more light. Because of the new headlights, the turn signals had to move to separate modules, creating that dual-light design we see up front.

The Takeaway

2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap

There isn’t a whole lot different in this Malibu midcycle refresh. The RS trim is even relatively similar to the Redline package available for the 2018 model, although you had to go with the more expensive LT trim level to get the looks.

They’re not released yet, but the expected higher EPA numbers should help draw more people who are cross-shopping into dealers. Unfortunately for Chevy, the gains it’s expecting will only put them on par with the current base four-cylinder engines in the Accord and Camry. Not to mention the Accord is much more engaging to drive. However, if you’re in it for a comfortable cruiser to eat up highway miles in RS style, then this 2019 Malibu is worth a look at $25,000.

Source: 2019 Chevrolet Malibu RS First Drive: Flashy Looks For Cheap