MotorWeek

As the Emmy® Award-winning host, executive producer and creator of MotorWeek, television's longest running automotive series, John Davis is seen by millions of viewers on PBS, SPEED and V-me Spanish-language network. One of the most trusted and recognized automotive journalists in the nation, Davis has been featured on CNN, Weekend Today, Live with Regis and Kelly, PARADE magazine and The Baltimore Sun, as well as local media throughout the country. He has also written regularly on automotive industry topics for The Washington Post. As MotorWeek's host and executive producer since the series debuted in 1981, Davis oversees all editorial content, and has put every new car and truck model manufactured in the last 30 years through extensive road tests to judge their practicality for buyers. He recognizes that as the second biggest purchase Americans make, car buyers must be well-informed before they enter a dealer showroom. That's why MotorWeek's focus is on helping consumers make smart choices based on their lifestyles and finances, as well as safety considerations and the vehicle's impact on the environment. As one of the first mainstream media outlets to provide regular coverage of alternative fuels and "green" vehicle technology, Davis and MotorWeek have worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to promote public awareness about the impact renewable fuels can have on petroleum dependence and the environment. He has been a speaker at DOE's "Clean Cities" conferences and makes presentations to industry leaders and federal officials. Davis has also been involved in raising public awareness about other important automotive-related issues. In 2004 and 2005, he served as a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation's program promoting annual automotive emissions inspections. In 2002, Davis was spokesperson for the "Smooth Operator" initiative to combat aggressive driving in the Washington Metro region. Davis is one of the founders of the North American Car & Truck of The Year Awards, the only independent journalistic automotive award in North America. He served on its executive board from 1994 to 2008. He is also one of the organizers and an original member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. Davis is a former president of the International Motor Press Association, the oldest and most prestigious organization of automotive journalists in North America. Davis has received some of the highest awards in automotive journalism and television, including two Emmy® Awards. In 2007, he won an Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) National Capital Chesapeake Bay Region, and in 1998 from the NATAS Chicago-Midwest Chapter. Davis also received an International Automotive Media Award in 2005 from the International Society for Vehicle Preservation. He was honored with International Wheel Awards in 2004 and 2003, and two Golden Wheel Awards in 1999, including the grand award, from the Detroit Press Foundation which recognizes the best in automotive journalism. A 1970 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate of North Carolina State University, Davis also holds a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina. He was the 1969-1970 recipient of the W.D. Cartwright Memorial Engineering Scholarship and a member of the Pi Tau Sigma honorary scholastic fraternity. Prior to joining Maryland Public Television, Davis worked for the Wall Street brokerage firm of Kidder, Peabody and Company as a transportation analyst. He has owned a variety of high performance cars, including a vintage Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and deTomaso Pantera.

From MotorWeek

  • This Just In: Big Rig Safety, Data Deal, More Demon Reveal
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Driving behind a tractor trailer appears to be getting safer for drivers in cars.&nbsp; The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has issued its new TOUGHGUARD award to five North American semitrailer manufacturers.&nbsp; The award focuses on rear underride guards.&nbsp; Those are the bumpers that hang from the back of a semitrailer to prevent a smaller vehicle from sliding under the trailer in a crash.&nbsp; There are federal safety standards for the guards, but IIHS research shows many of them can break or buckle in a crash.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the link to see which companies are standing out:<a href="http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-recognizes-semitrailers-with-good-underride-guards">&nbsp;&nbsp;http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-recognizes-semitrailers-with-good-underride-guards</a></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="/images/full-width.png" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">There&rsquo;s a new deal for drivers of some premium cars.&nbsp; Jaguar Land Rover owners who have InControl Wi-Fi, can get a prepaid AT&amp;T unlimited data plan for $20 per month.&nbsp; This will allow up to eight devices in the vehicles to stay connected to the internet.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/jaguarftype18myrerunapp10011709.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;The slow reveal continues for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.&nbsp; The company has released the 11-th video in its teaser campaign.&nbsp; The &ldquo;Lock and Load&rdquo; video highlights TransBrake, which the company says will produce launch forces previously unattainable by street legal production vehicles.&nbsp; The Demon reveals itself just before the New York International Auto Show in April.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the link to the latest video:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ifyouknowyouknow.com/" target="_blank">www.ifyouknowyouknow.com</a></h4> <h4><img src="/images/srt_demon_lockandloadotdh0sq10d4echc7piqk28un2t.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></h4>
  • This Just In: Big Rig Safety, Data Deal, More Demon Reveal
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Driving behind a tractor trailer appears to be getting safer for drivers in cars.&nbsp; The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has issued its new TOUGHGUARD award to five North American semitrailer manufacturers.&nbsp; The award focuses on rear underride guards.&nbsp; Those are the bumpers that hang from the back of a semitrailer to prevent a smaller vehicle from sliding under the trailer in a crash.&nbsp; There are federal safety standards for the guards, but IIHS research shows many of them can break or buckle in a crash.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the link to see which companies are standing out:<a href="http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-recognizes-semitrailers-with-good-underride-guards">&nbsp;&nbsp;http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-recognizes-semitrailers-with-good-underride-guards</a></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="/images/full-width.png" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">There&rsquo;s a new deal for drivers of some premium cars.&nbsp; Jaguar Land Rover owners who have InControl Wi-Fi, can get a prepaid AT&amp;T unlimited data plan for $20 per month.&nbsp; This will allow up to eight devices in the vehicles to stay connected to the internet.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/jaguarftype18myrerunapp10011709.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;The slow reveal continues for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.&nbsp; The company has released the 11-th video in its teaser campaign.&nbsp; The &ldquo;Lock and Load&rdquo; video highlights TransBrake, which the company says will produce launch forces previously unattainable by street legal production vehicles.&nbsp; The Demon reveals itself just before the New York International Auto Show in April.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the link to the latest video:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ifyouknowyouknow.com/" target="_blank">www.ifyouknowyouknow.com</a></h4> <h4><img src="/images/srt_demon_lockandloadotdh0sq10d4echc7piqk28un2t.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></h4>
  • Over The Edge: Autobahn Go-Karts
    <p class="normal">As the story goes, the first racing &ldquo;go-kart&rdquo; was built with scrap, from scratch in California in the mid 1950&rsquo;s. It was quickly cloned around the world, and today remains the foundation of modern motorsports. So, recently, our MotorWeek team decided it was time to freshen our competitive skills, and go over the edge with Zach Maskell, in the most up to date karts we could plug into.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_left" height="171" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" /><span class="img_left">ZACH MASKELL</span></strong>: While professional sports teams, or an office full of suits may see this as an exercise in team building, our crew, is out for blood.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know about you but when I see an empty warehouse, I think &lsquo;Man, the possibilities are endless.&rsquo; Now you slap an Autobahn sign up there. Well, that just sounds like an invite to me.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: It&rsquo;s a simple philosophy. No Speed limit! Named after the famous speed-no-issue motorways in Germany &ndash; we&rsquo;ve come to White Marsh, Maryland to see how we fare on the Autobahn Speedway.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;Well just your average day at MotorWeek. Instead of seeing who has the fastest time on asphalt, we&rsquo;re going to see who can throw down the fastest time on concrete.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Safety dominates all forms of racing. This Grand Prix style track has some of the safest reflexive barriers made. And, these Italian-made karts have 4-point safety harnesses, dual disc brakes, and steering that really gives you a feel for what &ldquo;raw&rdquo; motorsports is all about.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_right" height="189" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />BRIAN</strong>: &ldquo;The torque on these electric go-karts are just amazing, very responsive.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Similar to today&rsquo;s electric cars&hellip; these deliver near instant power.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;Many big names in racing got their career started in karting. Jeff Gordon and Lewis Hamilton just to name two. So, parents out there, if you think your kids might have a taste for motorsports, these karts can go up to 50 MPH. So, it,s a pretty good start.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Not what you were expecting, huh? Well, the youth karts don&rsquo;t go quite as fast. They can still hit 30 MPH&hellip; potentially molding your child, into the next Mario Andretti.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>WILLIAM ROBY</strong>: &ldquo;It just shows me the earlier that they start out, it&rsquo;s crazy to see where they would be if they kept racing at my age.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Not only can kids experience the thrills of high performance karts&hellip; they also learn they must obey the rules of the sport. These signal flags are direct descendants of the ones used in professional motorsports, so they&rsquo;ll take in a lot more than they realize.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_left" height="161" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />GREG CARLOSS</strong>: &ldquo;The thing that I was most shocked about was that you still need to get some heat in the tires. And by your 3rd or 4th lap and everything is the temperature you want. You get the most grip, really. It handles a lot like a an actual car.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>DAVE SCRIVENER</strong>: &ldquo;A Lotus Elise maybe for cars. It&rsquo;s pretty darty, fast brakes, really responsive. Steering is awesome. I wish I started my diet a little earlier. There&rsquo;s definitely a weight advantage for the thin guys.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: I&rsquo;ll call that an excuse for a poor lap time&hellip; while one of us used &ldquo;racing&rdquo; as an excuse to get even.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BEN DAVIS</strong>: &ldquo;I love running fender to fender with my boss. I look over at him, he&rsquo;s like&hellip; and I maybe just give him a legal tap here and there. And, the wind rushing in my face and I&rsquo;m right on the ground.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BRIAN ROBERTS</strong>: &ldquo;These boys have skills. But, I was a little faster I think.&rdquo; Show laughter after&hellip;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PATRICK LUCAS</strong>: It&rsquo;s not about the numbers for me. It&rsquo;s just about having a good time with my co-workers.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_right" height="161" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_5.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Even if you were forced to drive, you&rsquo;d come out pleased.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BEN KONECHNE</strong>: &ldquo;A Valentine&rsquo;s day gift from my wife. She surprised me. My friend&rsquo;s kidnapped me and brought me here. I had no idea.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal">&ldquo;I like these high speed karts because they&rsquo;re so much more fun than, if you go to some amusement park.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Well, our lap times were in, and a winner was to be crowned. But I&rsquo;m pretty sure that staffer would prefer to stay out the spotlight and avoid all those naggy sponsors and interviews. I&rsquo;m a pretty busy guy as it is.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ERIC EARHARDT</strong>: &ldquo;Every kid or adult that comes through here that gets in the car enjoys themselves. And that&rsquo;s the biggest thing this place does for people. Makes them smile. Makes them laugh.&rdquo;</p>
  • This Just In: Toyota Tech Deal, Mercedes Memories, New McLaren
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">Toyota and Microsoft's relationship continues to grow; as yesterday, Microsoft announced&nbsp;a new patent licensing agreement with the Japanese car maker. &nbsp;Toyota hopes the deal will allow them to &ldquo;innovate faster to deliver new, contextual and immersive experiences to our customers.&rdquo; &nbsp;What that means for you and me, is Toyota plans on installing Data Communication Modules into a broader range of their vehicles starting with 2017 models in the U.S. market. &nbsp;</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/toyota_logo_20131217160531183.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">If you caught our coverage of the most recent&nbsp;Geneva Motor Show, you'll know that&nbsp;Mercedes-Benz is launching an all-new Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster this Spring.&nbsp; The brand can only hope that it will make as big of an impact on the automotive world as the&nbsp;300 SL Roadster has after it was&nbsp;unveiled 60 years ago at the 1957&nbsp;Geneva Motor Show.&nbsp; The topless version of the legendary gull-wing coupe has clearly become&nbsp;one of the most coveted of all Benz's; bringing well over a million dollars any time one crosses an auction stage. &nbsp;</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="/images/1998DIG18.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">McLaren continues to reveal details of their upcoming&nbsp;&lsquo;Hyper-GT&rsquo; car, code named&nbsp;BP23.&nbsp; And while we can't glean too many specifics from this sketch, the company claims this three-seat hybrid will be the most powerful and aerodynamic car they've ever built for the road.&nbsp; Just like the legendary McLaren F1, only 106 will be made.&nbsp; And even though they won't be hitting those roads until 2019,&nbsp;McLaren claims they&rsquo;ve already been spoken for.&nbsp; But don't give up hope just yet.&nbsp; If your checkbook has the necessary funds, and you know the right people; chances are you should be able to get your hands on one.&nbsp; Just be sure to bring it by MotorWeek so we can "kick the tires". &nbsp;</h4> <h4><img src="/images/7599104629McLaren.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></h4>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Acura MDX
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 3.5 liter </p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 290</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 267 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 6.3 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 14.9 seconds @ 94 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway</p> <p><span>Energy Impact:</span> 15.0 barrels of oil/yr</p> <p><span>CO2 Emissions:</span> 6.7 tons/yr</p> <p class="normal">You might think Acura&rsquo;s compact RDX crossover would be their top selling model, or even one of their sedans, but it&rsquo;s actually the midsize MDX that carries that badge for the brand. So, now halfway through its life cycle, it gets some updates to keep sales up, and give lessees a reason to re-up for another go &lsquo;round.</p> <p class="normal">At the risk of giving everything away right off the bat, we&rsquo;ll say that the Acura MDX is one of the best crossover utilities at any price point.</p> <p class="normal">And why that continues to be the case, is with well thought-out constant refinements, like what the 2017 MDX has to offer.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">But then again, we always celebrate the little things around here. So, having a real volume knob for the radio and genuine wood trim that comes with the MDX Advance makes us almost giddy. And it is in up-level Advance trim where you&rsquo;ll see the most updates.</p> <p class="normal">3-row seating is standard in all MDX trims, but Advance now comes with new 2nd row Captain&rsquo;s Chairs. Also new are a heated steering wheel, 6-USB ports, and a surround-view camera.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_left" height="173" src="/images/road_tests/2017_acura_mdx_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Access to the 3rd row is push-button simple, and there&rsquo;s a wide-open entryway; but just child size space for actually sitting.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Still plenty of room for hauling cargo however; 15.0 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 38.4 behind the second, and maxing out at 68.4 with all seats folded.</p> <p class="normal">As for the driver&rsquo;s perch, there&rsquo;s plenty of room to operate, and great comfort in the seat. There are a lot of controls on the steering wheel, but they&rsquo;re logical and easy to master.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Gauges are very traditional with a relatively small info display; while the center stack still features Honda&rsquo;s odd dual screen setup.</p> <p class="normal">The MDX has always been good looking, with enough presence to wear Acura&rsquo;s large pentagonal-shield grille without looking awkward. Well, upgrades for &rsquo;17 include a new version that does away with the chrome band, and it looks miles better.</p> <p class="normal">The rest of the front fascia, fenders, and hood are finely tweaked as well. And, there is new brightwork on the rockers, between this Advance&rsquo;s 20-inch wheels; as well as a new rear bumper and updated tailpipes.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_right" height="272" src="/images/road_tests/2017_acura_mdx_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />All MDX&rsquo;s now add the full AcuraWatch suite of safety features including Collision Mitigation Braking.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">No changes to suspension or powertrain; so the ride continues to be composed but athletic, and power from the 3.5-liter V6 remains more than adequate. No turbo-4 here, yet the fully-modern 9-speed automatic transmission will keep you from having ratio envy.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">The V6&rsquo;s output is a stout 290-horsepower and 267 lb-ft. of torque. Super Handling all-wheel-drive is optional on all trim levels.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Variable Cylinder Management and Idle Stop help Government Fuel Economy Ratings, which are 19-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined with all-wheel-drive. Our 22.3 miles-per-gallon average on Premium matched that almost perfectly.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">For an average Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels of annual oil use with C02 emissions of 6.7-tons.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Performance numbers are also quite good. At the test track, our MDX exhibited a slight hesitation off the line; but then almost immediately, power came on fast and hard, taking us to 60 in 6.3-seconds.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">There&rsquo;s actually a fair amount of engine noise creeping into the cabin, but it sounds strong and pleasing as it revs fairly quickly; while the 9-speed attempts to keep up, shifting through gears with a smooth hastiness. The &frac14;-mile results were 14.9-seconds at 94 miles-per-hour.</p> <p class="normal">On our slalom course, the MDX got through with typical Honda/Acura efficiency; fully competent, yet nothing to get overly excited about.</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_left" height="171" src="/images/road_tests/2017_acura_mdx_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />There is a very slight amount of understeer and body roll; but both are kept well in check with Super Handling all-wheel-drive diverting power to where it can be used best.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Steering feel is a little numb, though it tightens up considerably in Sport mode.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Our 120-foot average stopping distance from 60 was quite good for a 3-row crossover; but some fade did seep in as the brakes got hotter, and pedal feel was inconsistent. However, it stayed very stable throughout.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">The much bigger MDX news for &rsquo;17 is a new Sport Hybrid version that arrives this summer. We&rsquo;ll be behind the wheel of that one very shortly, so stay tuned for a full review.</p> <p class="normal">MDX pricing starts very reasonably at $45,025; add $2,000 more for Super Handling all-wheel-drive. To get the most for your money, and to experience the &rsquo;17 updates to the fullest; Advance trim starts at $55,475.&nbsp;</p>
  • Road Tests: 2017 Dodge Viper VooDoo II Edition ACR
    <p class="review_title">Vital Statistics</p> <p><span>Engine:</span> 8.4 liter</p> <p><span>Horsepower:</span> 645</p> <p><span>Torque:</span> 600 lb-ft.</p> <p><span>0-60 mph:</span> 3.6 seconds</p> <p><span>1/4 mile:</span> 11.7 seconds @ 128 mph</p> <p><span>EPA:</span> 12 mpg city / 19 mpg highway</p> <p><span>Energy Impact:</span> </p> <p><span>CO2 Emissions:</span> </p> <p class="normal">I really don&rsquo;t know much about voodoo, other than it&rsquo;s something that&rsquo;s a bit scary and potentially evil. You know, much like the Dodge Viper! So, it&rsquo;s only fitting that as the Viper once again exits the new car stage, it does so with a Voodoo II Special Edition ACR. So let the spirits be with us, as we tempt fate one final time in Dodge&rsquo;s venomous Viper!</p> <p class="normal">It&rsquo;s not too often a car celebrates its 25-year anniversary while also commemorating its final year of production. That&rsquo;s the unfortunate situation of the 2017 Dodge Viper and our VooDoo II Edition ACR.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Consulting Google will tell you that the original Viper Voodoo Edition ACR was a special model limited to just 31 examples for the 2010 model year, right before the Viper went on its 3-year hiatus.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">This VooDoo II Edition ACR celebrates that original, and likewise will be restricted to just 31 copies. And, FCA delivered the very first one off the line to us, at a race track no less.</p> <p class="normal">So, we wasted no time getting out and on with it at; naturally, our winter proving grounds; Roebling Road Raceway outside Savannah, Georgia.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">And yes, this Viper is still a little intimidating, yet oh so capable.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">As we noted in our last Viper ACR test, the American Club Racer comes with just about everything you need to be considered a true track car except for a roll-cage. There are multi-adjustable Bilstein shocks, a more aggressive suspension alignment, huge carbon ceramic matrix brakes, bespoke Kumho race compound tires, and the most aero treatments you&rsquo;ll find outside of an airport.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_left" height="170" src="/images/road_tests/2017_dodge_viper_voodoo_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Vents reside on top of the front fenders to allow some air to escape, or they can be removed entirely for maximum airflow.</p> <p class="normal">All of it works together to provide amazing grip. And, this latest ACR went after track dominance with a vengeance, making a case that the Viper no longer had to be a handful just to prove its merits.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">It&rsquo;s a locked-down, properly set up, single-purpose car; that is able to put its monstrous power and direct steering to good use, providing a near perfect track experience. As the harder you push it, the better it responds.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Likewise, the brakes showed no signs of fading or wavering; no matter how hard we worked them.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Essentially, the VooDoo II ACR is simply a blacked-out version of the ACR with metallic red-trimmed stripes plus about every available ACR option.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">All the Viper trademarks are still here as well; crosshair grille, long bulging hood, and of course side pipes expelling exhaust from that old-school pushrod V10.</p> <p class="normal">And that unique sound! It&rsquo;s more like a monster truck than a high-performance car, but we&rsquo;re not complaining.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Horsepower is 645, and there are 600 lb-ft. of torque attempting to deploy to the pavement.</p> <p class="normal">The Viper may have allowed traction control and ABS to slip in over the years, but there&rsquo;s still a Tremec TR6060 manual transmission ahead of the drive shaft, and a big &lsquo;ol ball shifter for manhandling it.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Inside the cabin, there are the usual metal pedals, though foot room is still at a premium down there. You&rsquo;ll also find the checkered-flag Alcantara material, bronze-like plastic trim, and the unique Voodoo II silver stitching. It may not be the greatest design theme we&rsquo;ve experienced, but it is special.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Elsewhere inside, you&rsquo;ll find SRT Performance pages on the touchscreen, and just about everything else you&rsquo;re looking for in a modern car.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">There&rsquo;s a launch control button right on the steering wheel. Hit it, mash the gas, say a quick prayer, and you&rsquo;re off to a skating 0-60 time of 3.6&ndash;seconds.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">The search for true traction seems to continue the whole &frac14;-mile, and if all goes right and you&rsquo;re able to stay on the gas, you&rsquo;ll arrive at the end of the &frac14; in one piece, in 11.7&ndash;seconds at 128 miles-per-hour.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">The shifter works the same way it always has, no need to be gentle with it, as it works better the more you mistreat it.</p> <p class="normal">But yes, the Viper still mistreats the environment with Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.</p> <p class="normal">Ironically, the last Viper is by far the greatest Viper. As after years of being the &ldquo;barely controllable beast from the midwest&rdquo;, it has matured into a fantastic track car that gets by pretty well as a street car when you need it to.</p> <p class="normal">So, &ldquo;get &lsquo;em while you can&rdquo; is the mantra here, as Voodoo IIs sticker for $135,290; and once they&rsquo;re gone, they&rsquo;re gone.&nbsp; As will all current Viper models. Although, Fiat-Chrysler has not ruled out a much more modern Viper somewhere in the future.</p> <p>Still, after a &frac14;-century of V10 Viper-madness, with this 2017 Dodge Viper VooDoo II Edition ACR, we&rsquo;re saying goodbye to the Viper once again. But what we&rsquo;re really saying is&hellip; come back soon!&nbsp;</p>
  • Motor News: 2017 Geneva International Motor Show
    <p class="normal"><strong>&nbsp;</strong><img class="img_left" height="168" src="/images/motor_news/3629_motornews_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />: The Geneva International Motor Show has been called the &ldquo;cat walk of the auto industry&rdquo;.&nbsp; The title is quite apropos considering European car makers certainly strutted their stuff this year.</p> <p class="normal">Starting with the Germans-- as Mercedes-Benz premiered the AMG GT Concept, a hybrid four-door performance coupe.&nbsp; While this new Cabriolet completes the E-Class&hellip;.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">BMW adds a Touring wagon to the 5 series.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Porsche showed this wagon-like Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo. Active all-wheel drive is standard, along with a very large tailgate.&nbsp; They also revealed the 500-horsepower Porsche 911 GT 3.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">The Italians added muscle to Geneva with the 640 horsepower V-10 Lamborghini Hurac&aacute;n Performante.</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_right" height="157" src="/images/motor_news/3629_motornews_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />Ferrari debuted its most powerful production car ever&hellip; the 788-horsepower V-12 Ferrari 812 Superfast.</p> <p class="normal">This McLaren 720S starts the second-generation of their Super Series.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">While Audi&rsquo;s contribution to speed is the third-generation Audi RS 5 DTM.&nbsp; This race version is packed with a 500 horsepower V-8. The 400 horsepower Audi RS 3 Sportback also shared the spotlight.</p> <p class="normal">Volkswagen presented the new Arteon. Replacing the sleek CC, this sharper lined four-door slides into the line-up above the Passat. VW also introduced Sedric&hellip;their first autonomous concept.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">An even more futuristic idea came from Italdesign and aircraft builder Airbus. Their Pop.Up pod can travel by ground OR air.</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_left" height="163" src="/images/motor_news/3629_motornews_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />This Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept is the prestige brand&rsquo;s first EV.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Jaguar&rsquo;s I-PACE Concept made its European motor show debut in a new color&hellip; Photon Red. And, the mid-size, ultra-modern Range Rover Velar arrived in Geneva fresh off its London premiere.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">American buyers will be most interested in Volvo&rsquo;s all-new XC60 middle-weight crossover.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Not to be left out, Asian carmakers were represented with the long rumored, 306 horsepower Honda Civic Type R&hellip;, and an all-new Subaru XV, our Crosstrek.</p> <p class="normal">And that&rsquo;s all the automotive highlights from the Swiss City of Geneva, and this week&rsquo;s Motor News.</p> <p class="normal">&nbsp;</p>
  • Goss’ Garage: Dress For Success
    <p class="normal">The term &ldquo;dress for success&rdquo; may not seem like it applies to motorcycles, but it actually does. And to explain that term, we have Lyndon Abel from Rommel Harley-Davidson in Annapolis. Lyndon, welcome back to Goss&rsquo; Garage.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>Lyndon</strong>: Thank you for having me, Pat.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PG</strong>: Alright, explain the term, please.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_left" height="166" src="/images/goss_garage/3629_goss_1.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />LA</strong>: So dressing for success on a motorcycle ride, you really wanna be protected of course, but also comfortable and visible. This is an example of a jacket that will really allow you to do all three. Protection is the ultimate. This is a heavy-weight leather jacket, that includes body armor. So, in case of an unintended dismount, you have both the top of the line protection with the leather, as well as some impact&nbsp; protection that the body armor provides.</p> <p class="normal">On top of that, some additional visibility is provided by these reflective stripes that bounce light back to the light source. When a car driver points their lights at you, you&rsquo;ll really light up like a Christmas tree. However, when it&rsquo;s warm outside, this jacket can still keep you comfortable, with a removable inside liner, and a triple vent system. It allows a tremendous amount of air flow that makes you feel air conditioned out on a warm ride. If it starts to rain, this leather is specially treated to be waterproof. And the zippers are waterproof as well. So really, the ultimate in protection.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PG</strong>: Very clever design.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_right" height="190" src="/images/goss_garage/3629_goss_2.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />LA</strong>: Now here&rsquo;s another example of a jacket that can keep you comfortable and protect. It gives you the protection of leather, but has perforated panels to allow flow through...air flowing through it at all times. So in the summer time, this&rsquo;d be a very comfortable jacket. Not as warm in the winter, but a great summer jacket.</p> <p class="normal">There are some new textile jackets out that give a lot of features, and this is an example of one. It&rsquo;s a textile material that has pockets for body armor. and mesh panels that allow the air to flow right through it. However, it also has a removeable liner for warmth, and one for water.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PG</strong>: Oh, that&rsquo;s a good idea.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>LA</strong>: So it&rsquo;s going to keep you acceptably dry if it&rsquo;s not raining too hard, and acceptably warm if it&rsquo;s not too cold.</p> <p class="normal"><img class="img_left" height="186" src="/images/goss_garage/3629_goss_3.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />Now, if you don&rsquo;t have waterproof leather, you really want a rain suit. And one of the things you want to look for in a great rain suit is, as well as keeping the water away from you, is visibility. This is an example of a jacket that gives you conspicuity, by the bright colors, as well as this reflective material. So it really is possible to be both protected and comfortable...when you&rsquo;re out on a ride.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PG</strong>: And something like a rain suit is easy to store on the bike.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>LA</strong>: You should always have a rain suit on your bike. That way it doesn&rsquo;t rain!</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PG</strong>: Lyndon, thank you. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line. Right here at <em>MotorWeek</em>.</p>
  • Over The Edge: No Speed Limit
    <p class="normal">As the story goes, the first racing &ldquo;go-kart&rdquo; was built with scrap, from scratch in California in the mid 1950&rsquo;s. It was quickly cloned around the world, and today remains the foundation of modern motorsports. So, recently, our MotorWeek team decided it was time to freshen our competitive skills, and go over the edge with Zach Maskell, in the most up to date karts we could plug into.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_left" height="171" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_2.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" /><span class="img_left">ZACH MASKELL</span></strong>: While professional sports teams, or an office full of suits may see this as an exercise in team building, our crew, is out for blood.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know about you but when I see an empty warehouse, I think &lsquo;Man, the possibilities are endless.&rsquo; Now you slap an Autobahn sign up there. Well, that just sounds like an invite to me.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: It&rsquo;s a simple philosophy. No Speed limit! Named after the famous speed-no-issue motorways in Germany &ndash; we&rsquo;ve come to White Marsh, Maryland to see how we fare on the Autobahn Speedway.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;Well just your average day at MotorWeek. Instead of seeing who has the fastest time on asphalt, we&rsquo;re going to see who can throw down the fastest time on concrete.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Safety dominates all forms of racing. This Grand Prix style track has some of the safest reflexive barriers made. And, these Italian-made karts have 4-point safety harnesses, dual disc brakes, and steering that really gives you a feel for what &ldquo;raw&rdquo; motorsports is all about.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_right" height="189" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_3.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />BRIAN</strong>: &ldquo;The torque on these electric go-karts are just amazing, very responsive.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Similar to today&rsquo;s electric cars&hellip; these deliver near instant power.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: &ldquo;Many big names in racing got their career started in karting. Jeff Gordon and Lewis Hamilton just to name two. So, parents out there, if you think your kids might have a taste for motorsports, these karts can go up to 50 MPH. So, it,s a pretty good start.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Not what you were expecting, huh? Well, the youth karts don&rsquo;t go quite as fast. They can still hit 30 MPH&hellip; potentially molding your child, into the next Mario Andretti.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>WILLIAM ROBY</strong>: &ldquo;It just shows me the earlier that they start out, it&rsquo;s crazy to see where they would be if they kept racing at my age.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Not only can kids experience the thrills of high performance karts&hellip; they also learn they must obey the rules of the sport. These signal flags are direct descendants of the ones used in professional motorsports, so they&rsquo;ll take in a lot more than they realize.</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_left" height="161" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_4.jpg" style="float: left;" width="300" />GREG CARLOSS</strong>: &ldquo;The thing that I was most shocked about was that you still need to get some heat in the tires. And by your 3rd or 4th lap and everything is the temperature you want. You get the most grip, really. It handles a lot like a an actual car.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>DAVE SCRIVENER</strong>: &ldquo;A Lotus Elise maybe for cars. It&rsquo;s pretty darty, fast brakes, really responsive. Steering is awesome. I wish I started my diet a little earlier. There&rsquo;s definitely a weight advantage for the thin guys.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: I&rsquo;ll call that an excuse for a poor lap time&hellip; while one of us used &ldquo;racing&rdquo; as an excuse to get even.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BEN DAVIS</strong>: &ldquo;I love running fender to fender with my boss. I look over at him, he&rsquo;s like&hellip; and I maybe just give him a legal tap here and there. And, the wind rushing in my face and I&rsquo;m right on the ground.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BRIAN ROBERTS</strong>: &ldquo;These boys have skills. But, I was a little faster I think.&rdquo; Show laughter after&hellip;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>PATRICK LUCAS</strong>: It&rsquo;s not about the numbers for me. It&rsquo;s just about having a good time with my co-workers.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong><img class="img_right" height="161" src="/images/over_the_edge/3629_ote_5.jpg" style="float: right;" width="300" />ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Even if you were forced to drive, you&rsquo;d come out pleased.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>BEN KONECHNE</strong>: &ldquo;A Valentine&rsquo;s day gift from my wife. She surprised me. My friend&rsquo;s kidnapped me and brought me here. I had no idea.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal">&ldquo;I like these high speed karts because they&rsquo;re so much more fun than, if you go to some amusement park.&rdquo;</p> <p class="normal"><strong>ZACH MASKELL</strong>: Well, our lap times were in, and a winner was to be crowned. But I&rsquo;m pretty sure that staffer would prefer to stay out the spotlight and avoid all those naggy sponsors and interviews. I&rsquo;m a pretty busy guy as it is.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>ERIC EARHARDT</strong>: &ldquo;Every kid or adult that comes through here that gets in the car enjoys themselves. And that&rsquo;s the biggest thing this place does for people. Makes them smile. Makes them laugh.&rdquo;</p>
  • This Just In: Competition for Autonomous Driving, Customer Satisfaction Survey, And A Dodge Demon
    <h4 style="text-align: center;">While it seems many manufacturers are in the race to be the first to put fully autonomous cars on the road, no one is really sure where the actual finish line is.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.autonews.com/article/20170316/MOBILITY/170319870/auto-industry-diverges-on-timeline-for-self-driving-cars">Automotive News</a> is reporting the timeline varies by company; due to the many different levels of self-driving, which makes it difficult to pin down a definitive date.&nbsp; The report also states that while most semi-autonomous vehicles today are at level 2, it takes getting to Level 5 to be considered a fully autonomous vehicle.&nbsp; Last fall, the U.S Department of Transportation&nbsp;established a <a href="https://www.transportation.gov/AV/federal-automated-vehicles-policy-september-2016">Federal Automated Vehicles Policy</a> in an attempt to keep pace with&nbsp;autonomous vehicle developments, and establish some ground rules for manufacturers going forward. &nbsp;&nbsp;</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/AV_guidance_logo_0_1.PNG" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">While no one really enjoys taking their car to the dealer for service, there's good news if you own a Lexus or a Buick.&nbsp; It's seems the experience is not as bad for you as it is for the rest of us; at least according to the <a href="http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/jd-power-2017-us-customer-service-index-csi-study">J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Customer Service Index Study</a>.&nbsp; As usual, the survey based study looked at the quality of the work performed, as well as the overall customer experience at the dealership.&nbsp; The study also found that the service adviser was a key part to overall customer satisfaction.&nbsp; More than 70,000 owners and lessees of 2012 to 2016 model-year vehicles took part in the study.</h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="/images/jd_power_luxury.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/jd_power_mass_market.jpg" /></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">The slow reveal continues for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, as FCA has just released the tenth video in their teaser series.&nbsp; This one, called &ldquo;No Pills&rdquo;, shows the Demon in what will surely be its natural habitat, a drag strip.&nbsp; The Demon will reveal itself in full just before the New York International Auto Show in April, and of course we'll be there to cover it.&nbsp; Until then, here&rsquo;s the link to the latest video:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ifyouknowyouknow.com/" target="_blank">www.ifyouknowyouknow.com</a></h4> <h4><img src="/images/Dodge_Demon.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></h4>

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