Property

Battersea Power Station secures £600m financing for third phase

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:33
Battersea Power Station has completed the financing of the third phase of the development, with a £600m loan from a group of core lenders.
Categories: Property

Council investment in shopping centres on course to reach £1bn by close of 2020

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:28
Local authority investment in shopping centres is on course to hit £1bn by the end of 2020, according to a new survey.
Categories: Property

Cushman & Wakefield appointed as agent at 101 Embankment

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:18
MMA Holdings has appointed Cushman & Wakefield as the joint letting agent at 101 Embankment in Manchester.
Categories: Property

Blackstone agrees $4.5bn Dream deal

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:16
Blackstone has agreed to buy Dream Global REIT in a $4.7bn deal – less than a week after the US private equity firm raised $20.5bn for its latest real estate fund.
Categories: Property

Mondelez renews lease at Uxbridge Business Park

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:54
Mondelez UK has renewed its commitment to Arlington’s Building 3 at Uxbridge Business Park in west London by signing a new 55,000 sq ft on a 10-year basis.
Categories: Property

Regional REIT to be net buyer of property in 2019

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:24
Regional REIT intends to be a net buyer of property this year and is looking to conclude deals in the office space in the coming months.
Categories: Property

Newcore reaches final close for £150m fund

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:50
Newcore Capital Management has announced the final close for a new £150m fund.
Categories: Property

​Chancerygate Novus business park development underway

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:49
Work is about to start on Chancerygate’s largest scheme, the Novus business park in Knutsford, Cheshire.
Categories: Property

​ Chancerygate Novus business park development underway

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:49
Work is about to start on Chancerygate’s largest scheme, the Novus business park in Knutsford, Cheshire.
Categories: Property

Aldi to double its London stores with £1bn push

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:28
Aldi plans to open a new store every week during the next two years and to double its presence in the M25.
Categories: Property

Your Guide to the C8 Corvette’s Digital Gauges

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:00

All-digital instrument clusters are all the rage these days. High-resolution screens give you nearly unlimited options for displaying vehicle information, so it’s no surprise the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette has one standard. Join us behind the wheel to see what it can show you.

If you ever sat in a seventh-generation Corvette, you’ll be familiar with some of this. The C7 had a combo analog/digital instrument cluster with a customizable screen, and the C8 ditches the needles and dials for an expanded screen. Although it’s super customizable, there are a few digital gauges that don’t move: water temperature and fuel are always on the bottom, and speed is always in or just off the center of the screen. As before, there are different screens for each driving mode, but you can also select your favorite screen and keep it up all the time. Everything’s controlled from the right spoke of the steering wheel, and you get cool animations as the screen changes.

If you leave the screens tied to the driving mode, you’ll become most familiar with the default Tour screen, indicated by a drawing of a road in the bottom center and cool blue tones. It features a dial-style tachometer in the center with speed and gear position in the center. To the left are two customizable tiles (top and bottom), which in these photos are displaying the electronically controlled limited-slip differential’s status on top and tire pressures and temperatures on the bottom. You can choose from those as well as battery, fuel economy, g-force, oil temperature, oil pressure, and transmission fluid. On the right is the Driver Information Center, a multifunction display that scrolls through six pages: the trip computer, stereo, performance, maintenance, options (settings), and “Simplify,” each with its own submenus as you scroll down. In the photos, ours is on the Performance Timer display in the Performance page. “Simplify” makes the tiles on the left side disappear.

You’ll be next-best acquainted with the Sport screen, as the car will restart in Sport mode if you left it in Sport the last time you turned it off (same for Tour, but it won’t work for any other mode). Sport gets angrier red tones and a more stylized tachometer to let you know it means business, and the gear position indicator moves to the center and bumps the speedometer down and to the right. In case you’re unsure, a drawing of a twisty road and a tachometer at the bottom also indicate Sport mode. The customizable displays to the left and right of the tachometer remain the same as Tour mode.

If you’re like us and prefer to set up a car exactly the way you want it, you might skip both Tour and Sport and go straight for Z mode by pressing the Z button on the left spoke of the steering wheel. This is your custom mode, where you can pick and choose engine, transmission, exhaust, and suspension settings, and it gets its own display screen, too. We’ve got ours set up to look like the Sport display screen, but with oil temperature and g-force on the left side of the display. A stylized Z icon at the bottom center indicates Z mode, as does the light-up Z on the steering wheel button.

Your other two displays are dependent on external conditions. You’re likely to use Weather mode more often, so we’ll start there. It looks almost identical to Tour, save a snowflake and raindrop icon in the bottom center. You’ll also notice the limited-slip display has been replaced with the battery voltage in the top left of our display.

Then there’s the fun mode: Track. This is where the big changes happen. All the other modes keep the same layout, but Track tosses most of it out the window. The tachometer is now a strip across the top of the screen, closest to the driver’s line of sight. The gear indicator is big and smack in the center where you can’t miss it, the speed just below that. To the left, there are now four customizable tiles with big, easy-to-read fonts. Ours is set up to show the limited-slip differential status, oil temperature, tire temperatures and pressures, and g-forces. The right side display remains the same as the other modes with its multiple pages and submenus, and the water temperature and fuel gauges stay where they are at the bottom. A drawing of a racetrack at the bottom center reminds you, in case you couldn’t tell, you’re in Track mode.

Lastly, there’s a secret stealth mode. Turn the interior dimmer switch all the way down to its lowest setting, and everything on the instrument cluster screen will disappear except the speedometer.

Check out this video for a closer look.

Video Source: Jeremy Welborn via YouTube

Interested in the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette? See our comprehensive coverage HERE.

The post Your Guide to the C8 Corvette’s Digital Gauges appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Build the 2020 Land Rover Defender of Your Dreams

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:00

The first Land Rover Defender was an automotive icon that was heralded for its utilitarian looks and go-anywhere, do-anything capability. The original was so rugged that some owners would wash out the interior with a garden hose. Although you might not get away with hosing down the insides of the new one, the return of the Defender for 2020 is still a big deal for people who want a small but extremely capable SUV.

The new model looks to be a leader in its segment both on- and off-road. That said, production for the new car hasn’t started yet, so we won’t get our hands on the real thing for some time. While we’re left wondering what it’s like to drive, MotorTrend staffers descended on the Land Rover configurator to build their ideal Defender. Everyone had to pick a 110 model to spec because we aren’t getting the 90 until later next year.

There are hundreds of ways to customize the new car, too. Want something perfect for off-roading? You’ll need the Explorer Pack and some stubby all-terrain tires. Going for a more urban feel? Skip the roof rack and raised air intake and opt for the Meridian sound system and three-zone climate control instead. There’s no right or wrong way to spec a Defender; the only sin here would be opting for an Evoque instead.

Given our druthers, here are some of the ways we would build our perfect Defenders.

I’ll start us off. I’m a city boy born and raised, so I’d never even use half of the Defender’s off-road capability. That’s why my build has a focus on city driving. Remember what I said about the only sin being picking an Evoque? For some people, this spec will be sacrilege, but we live in a world where most SUVs never see anything but paved roads. Sorry, not sorry.

First off, I’m sticking with the base four-cylinder because gas is expensive in SoCal, and I don’t need the extra get-up-and-go of the 3.0-liter six. The first option box I’d tick is the Urban Pack; it only adds a few things like the metal pedals and a spare wheel cover. That keeps the outside free of useless clutter like a roof rack and mud flaps. Next I’d take the black exterior pack. Acorn leather and 14-way heated and cooled seats will keep me nice and cozy as I sit in L.A. traffic, and the Comfort and Convenience Pack plus the three-way climate control will certainly make my time on the 405 a breeze. I went with a white top and Tasman Blue body simply because it’ll compliment the tan interior–plus contrasting roofs are just cool. After the addition of some 22-inch black five-spoke wheels, I’m looking at $69,162.07 all in. Pricey, but I’m willing to bet this is what most Defenders will end up looking like. – Nick Yekikian

 

Any SUV I buy has to be overland ready, and that’s what I kept in mind when spec’ing my 2020 Land Rover Defender 110. Despite dropping $12,000 on options, I think I deserve a pat on the back for my Defender configuration; it’s quite simply everything I need and nothing I don’t. I started off with the base four-cylinder (because the plug-in hybrid isn’t on sale yet), and then dropped about $4,300 on the Explorer Pack, which includes everything from extra body armor to a snorkel and roof rack. That’s a tremendous value for all that kit, considering the same equipment would cost triple that on the aftermarket. I then splurged on green paint with a contrasting black roof, the black exterior package, and 18-inch steel wheels with all-terrain tires for their superior strength and ride quality.

I couldn’t resist splurging on the interior, adding the front bench seat purely for the novelty, heated seats, and a three-zone A/C to keep my pups comfortable in back. I rounded out my Defender with every single off-road package available (again, it’d cost way more to replicate the same feature set on the aftermarket) and a tow hitch. For $63,221.55 (I love that the Land Rover configurator includes cents), I’d get what looks to be a tremendously capable SUV for not much more than a loaded Jeep Wrangler Rubicon—and for significantly less than a Toyota Land Cruiser or Mercedes-Benz G 550. – Christian Seabaugh

The Defender is meant to be an elemental go-anywhere vehicle, so it seems stupid to option one up as a Range Rover wannabe. So hold the fancy Windsor leather, oak and walnut veneers, top-heavy pano-roofs, matte paint, Meridian audio systems, and giant alloy rims. I’ll take a base 110 with steelies and the $4,287 Explorer Pack to heighten the authenticity with mud flaps, wheel arch protection, a raised air intake, and a side-mounted gear carrier. I also can’t resist the $710 Pangea Green paint with an $870 contrasting white roof and a $600 black-out trim package. Inside I’m super bummed the fabric upholstery only comes in black, but I livened things up with a $200 white cross-car beam. My only other must-haves were the $1,630 towing package (which also buys the highly desirable All-Terrain Progress Control and configurable Terrain Response 2 off-road enhancing systems), the $1,275 Driver Assist Pack (radar cruise control is addictive), a cargo net, and carpeted floor mats for when we’re doing city duty. All in, I’m at $60,932. – Frank Markus

Going against the grain, I’m building a Defender ready to tackle Southern California’s mall parking lots and smoothie stands. My Defender will make the rappers and Kardashians of the world take notice. Unfortunately, the bank account doesn’t benefit from a make-up empire or reality TV show, so I’ll opt for the base Defender 110 model with an MSRP of just under $50K on my beer budget.

When it comes to the exterior, I’m aiming for the murdered-out look. Luckily the Santorini Black exterior metallic paint ($710) fits that bill nicely. And of course, the Black Exterior Package ($600) is a must-have. When it comes to wheels, no self-respecting baller would be seen with anything less than 20s. Thankfully Land Rover has seen fit to provide a set of 22-inch dubs in gloss black ($4,700) for the Defender. On the inside the Ebony Windsor leather interior ($6,725) would be great, but I must practice some restraint and go with the regular fabric seats. Here’s a curveball: The Smokers Pack ($50) adds a lighter socket and ashtray. Why? Because this option will make my Defender ultra-rare, and it would be a great conversation piece. My baller on a budget total comes in at $57,385…boo-ya! – Tom Rosquin

Land Rovers are luxury commodities. Their owners should have an air of mystique about them. So a Santorini Black exterior is a must, although going with the cool Acorn leather interior is also a must in sun-soaked SoCal. Because I’m urban most of the time, the added sidewall of the 19-inch wheels helps with ride comfort. And also because I’m urban and need to dodge and weave through traffic, the sub-6-second 0-60 mph time of the 3.0-liter turbo is a must, as well as smart cruise control for when there’s no beating the slog. If you have a Landie, then you likely have a doggie, so the Country Pack (with the cargo separator and the portable rinse system) is how you keep the Sir Barksalot from muddying up the rest of the car (which will be leather everywhere, of course). A refrigerated center console will keep the bubbly chilled until we reach our destination, and the thunderous Meridian sound system will keep us entertained along the way. – Mark Rechtin

Looks rather plain, doesn’t it? With intention, I assure you. I am truly enamored with the Defender, so I tried to spec it out the way I might actually buy it. That starts with the base model P300 AWD Automatic and the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as I’m hoping the inline-4 will be the lightest, simplest, and therefore most reliable of the powertrain options (which include a twin-charged, mild hybrid straight-six as well as a probable plug-in hybrid model). I skipped the accessory packs. Even though there is value to them, I couldn’t stand some of the sillier options like the goofy side-mounted gear carriers mounted near the vehicle’s rear corners. They don’t appear to hold much, but they do seem to block your view out of the rear side windows, which is kind of essential when off-roading.

Despite trying to keep the costs down, I still managed to add nearly $12K in accessories, like the blacked-out roof and trim package. I would probably go for that in real life, especially if the dealer offered a badge delete option (no need to spell out Defender across the nose). Coolest feature I love aside from the 18-inch steel wheels? The front jump seat. More car makers need to bring back the front middle seat, especially as shift-by-wire becomes the de facto way to control the transmission. Why not put your honey, honeychild, or pup where the mechanical shift linkage used to be? The question is, why can’t you select the jump seat and the optional third row to make the Defender an eight-passenger (3/3/2) off-road MPV. Because I dream less of transcontinental overlanding and more of Baja surf camping trips these days, I kept the options light. The Off-Road Pack ($1,345) swaps the all-seasons for knobbier tires, a power outlet, and a brake-based torque vectoring system, and goes well with the towing pack ($1,630). My accessories are similarly surf focused—longboard-appropriate crossbars ($342, which didn’t make it into the pictures for some reason), the longer, Classic mud flaps ($107 each for front and rear sets), along with two pricey items: a raised air intake snorkel at $834 and the integrated air compressor ($974). I rationalized those costs by adding the winch, a relative steal at $233.58. Why did I avoid the power rinse system ($406.98)? Because I have one already. So, would I buy this $61,716.58 Defender? Not before I drive it. – Ed Loh

For my Defender, I initially thought I’d want a 110 with steelies and nothing else. But the more time I spend playing around with the configurator, the more I realized that’s not at all what I wanted. I went with a Defender 110 X, with the six-cylinder engine—because power. Next, I went with a brown (Gondwana Stone) exterior with the $3,800 satin protective film because I would bash this thing off every shrub and rock I could. Ask Land Rover; they know me. Ideally, I’d like black five-spoke 18-inch wheels so I could get meatier tires. All Land Rover will sell us are big 20-inchers, though, so I’ll have to look to the aftermarket. There are 19-inch wheels available on the configurator, but they ain’t for my rig! 18-inch wheels probably won’t clear the brakes. Anyhow, 20s will work.

I wanted to get some of the available accessory packs, but the ones that add stuff I’d want (roof rack, snorkel) also add tons of crud I don’t (spare tire cover, mud flaps, that weird box that hangs off the C-pillar). As such, my car looks a bit more stripped than I thought it would going in. But you know what? I like it. Especially with the matching interior. Now, if I can just figure out how to delete those preposterous rectangles from the side glass… – Jonny Lieberman

A Defender should stand for one thing only: rugged capability. So why did Land Rover have to make the new one so damn stylish? I tried to balance this polarity into my 110 build, with a simple silver exterior contrasted by a black roof, grille, hood lettering, and wheels. As rad as those basic steel wheels are, I couldn’t resist bumping up to split-six-spoke 19s also finished in black. Off-road tires are a must, of course. Seats dressed in Khaki leather with its greenish hue seemed appropriately classic yet distinctive, and I chose the refrigerated center console compartment to keep beverages cold while traveling through the desert sands.

This being a Defender, I had to check every off-road option box I could find. That meant standard and advanced off-road capability packs to add the electronic differential, brake-based torque vectoring, and Land Rover’s suite of dirt-oriented technology. The raised snorkel, four-corner flaps, and deep-sided rubber floor mats will only encourage me to get muddy, and the portable rinse system hose attachment will let me spray it all down. Still, road driving is an inevitability, so I added adaptive cruise control. And since my mountain bike will likely accompany me on most Defender drives, a roof-mounted carrier system bolts to the top crossbars. Time to get out there and get lost. – Alex Leanse

Old Defenders, Land Cruisers, and Patrols surrounded me as a kid. That’s one of the reasons the 2020 Land Rover Defender is so nostalgic. My ideal configuration starts with the 110S trim with 19-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, and a Pangea Green exterior. From there I’d add heated and ventilated front seats, two-tone Acorn Windsor leather upholstery, and virtually every option package available except the cosmetic-focused ones for maximum comfort, capability, and safety. Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0-liter turbo-four makes a healthy 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty in my book and should serve well for crawling over rocks and going through trails. Total price for my ideal 2020 Defender? $62,865. Not bad considering you can load this truck up to over $80,000. – Stefan Ogbac

How would you spec your ideal Defender? Check out the 2020 Land Rover online configurator here.

The post Build the 2020 Land Rover Defender of Your Dreams appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

4WD vs. AWD: What’s the Difference?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:00

These days most people are buying trucks and SUVs. A significant percentage of them are opting for hardware that allows the powertrain to drive all the wheels. This makes their vehicle “authentic.” After all, if one’s new trucklet looks like it can go anywhere, it would be disingenuous not to equip it with the gear it needs to actually go—well, if not exactly anywhere then at least everywhere you want people to think you go. But how do you decide which of the myriad all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD or 4×4) systems is best matched with your off-pavement aspirations?

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

In MotorTrend speak, 4WD connotes a system aimed at more serious off-road use, by including provision for a legitimate low-range gear. This gear, mounted in a transfer case, provides torque multiplication in every transmission gear, typically by a ratio in the 2.xx:1 neighborhood. This roughly doubles the engine speed at any vehicle speed (or conversely halves the vehicle speed at any engine speed in any gear). More important, it boosts the torque available at these speeds. Slowing things down and multiplying the torque makes it easier to very precisely tiptoe over rocks and scale ledges off-road.

The simplest, most old-school versions have no center differential, meaning they permanently split torque 50/50 front/rear and hence should not be driven on dry pavement in 4WD mode because the difference in average speed of the front and rear axle will cause the tires to scrub or skid in turns. Center differentials can have a built-in torque bias other than 50/50, and they can either be open (in which case torque flows to whichever axle has the least grip), or they can have a limited-slip device or an outright lock.

4WD systems have drawbacks. They’re typically bigger and heavier (often adding more than 200 pounds) than AWD systems, and they usually create more friction. Part-time systems without a center differential also have no “auto” mode, and hence when the weather or road surface conditions degrade, the driver must remember to proactively engage 4WD, perhaps after coming to a complete stop. That’s vastly less convenient than an AWD system.

Basically, 4WD is of very little use on-road, so if you never plan to venture well off the pavement and into the rough stuff, you’ll likely be better off with AWD. There are a couple of obscure on-road 4WD benefit cases to be aware of, however: 4WD transfer cases almost always include a “neutral” position, which disconnects both axles from the powertrain. This makes it safe to flat-tow the vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, so if you’re one of those road-train RV vacationers, take note. Low range could also be useful for towing a heavy boat out of the water up a steep, wet boat launch.

Note: Jeep offers a quasi-4WD system called Active Drive Low. This setup, standard on Compass and Renegade Trailhawk and optional on other variants of those models, simply involves a shorter (numerically higher) axle ratio (4.33:1 vs. 3.73:1), which means that the nine-speed automatic’s 4.71:1 first gear provides a reasonable crawl ratio of 20.4:1. That’s a decent ratio for light rock climbing, but because there’s no low-range multiplication in the other gears, we don’t consider it a full-fledged 4WD setup.

Trucks and SUVs that currently offer true 4WD systems include:

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel-drive systems started out primarily as a foul-weather countermeasure that sent most of the power to one axle most of the time (often the front) then fed power to the other axle whenever wheels at the primary axle began to slip. More recently, they’ve also been employed as a means of improving the driving dynamics of front-drive-based sport sedans and utilities. Systems bringing AWD to a rear-drive-based architecture with longitudinal powertrain arrangement typically use a transfer case mounted to the back of the transmission to split power and send some of it forward.

Electrification brings yet another category of AWD to market—one that fits an electric motor on one or both axles in a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. The Porsche 918 Spyder uses an e-axle in front; front-drive-based e-AWD vehicles like the Volvo XC60 and XC90 T8 PHEV and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid put it at the rear. These systems are less suited to off-road use—especially the hybrids—because depleting the battery can limit the power available at the e-axle and hence the all-wheel tractive force available.

Setting the electrified AWD systems aside for the moment, the front-drive-based AWD systems tend to be the lightest, most fuel-efficient setups available (typically weighing well under 200 pounds and reducing EPA combined economy by 1–3 mpg). The most efficient new systems can disconnect the propeller shaft that runs between the two axles, reconnecting it in a matter of milliseconds when traction needs arise. During steady-state cruising this greatly reduces the amount of energy lost to friction and rotational inertia.

By their nature, AWD systems have the capability built in to be driven full time on dry pavement, and because so many of them have a torque-on-demand feature, some pretty ingenious power takeoff setups have been employed through the years.

Viscous Coupling
This simplest of center differential systems consists of a set of closely spaced discs—some attached to the front axle, others to the rear—surrounded by a special fluid that essentially solidifies under the shear force of those moving discs to lock the them together when there’s a certain speed differential between the axles. Some manufacturers build in a bit of speed differential by making the front and rear axle ratios slightly different (the front-drive-based Land Rover Freelander worked like this) so that a bit of torque was always routed to the rear. Subaru Symmetric All-Wheel Drive has long used this setup with its manual transmissions.

BorgWarner/Haldex
When slippage occurs in this system, a ring turns, causing balls to travel up little ramps to create a clamping force that locks a wet multiplate clutch back that transfers torque to the secondary axle. Today’s systems also include elaborate electronic controls. First used in the 1998 Audi TT, Haldex units are now widely used across the VW group (mostly in transverse-engine vehicles but also in the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and Bugatti Chiron), in most Volvos (except T8 models), and in the Ford Fusion and earlier Buick LaCrosse and Regal.

Torsen
A portmanteau of torque-sensing, these differentials use internal gears (helical or planetary) to apportion torque according to a predetermined ratio in such a way as to send the most torque to the wheel/axle with the best grip. Audi Quattro models with longitudinal drivetrains use Torsen center differentials, as do those that enable the auto-AWD functions on the 4WD Lexus GX, Toyota Sequoia, and Nissan Frontier Pro 4X.

Electromagnetic Control Device (EMCD)
Another way to achieve a variable front/rear torque split is simply to use an electromagnetic ram to vary the pressure applied to a wet multiplate clutch pack, like the one in a Haldex coupling. EMCDs are also used as limited-slip devices to control the torque split of an open planetary center or spider-gear front/rear differential.

On-Demand Rear-Axle Couplings
Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive was first to market with this idea, which replaces the rear differential with a simple ring-and-pinion set to turn the power 90 degrees toward the left and right wheels, then uses electromagnetically controlled planetary gear sets to send power to either or both wheels on demand. The neat trick with the SH-AWD system is that the planetary gears can overspeed the wheel on the outside of a turn to provide quite noticeable torque vectoring. More recently, GKN’s Twinster system uses simple EMCDs to power each rear wheel. In its late, great Ford Focus RS application, by giving it a slightly different rear ring/pinion ratio, fully locking either clutch overspeeds that wheel in much the same way, enabling the RS’ “Drift mode.” Note that most GKN Twinster axle fitments do not employ this overspeeding concept, in vehicles like the Lincoln Continental and MKZ, Cadillac XT5, current Buick LaCrosse and Envision, Range Rover Evoque, and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Obviously, simply adding a clutch at the front of the prop shaft gets you the fuel-saving benefits of isolating the prop shaft and differential gears when no rear torque is needed.

All of these systems make their own torque distribution claims, but the extreme numbers quoted are always based on some ideal set of circumstances that may be impossible to replicate in the real world. Certainly any claims of a front-drive-based system sending 100 percent of torque to the rear axle are bunk except possibly when the front axle is off the ground. Look for buttons to lock the center differential, as this guarantees a 50/50 front/rear split, which will usually enhance traction in the worst of conditions.

A Cheaper, Potentially More Effective Solution …

If you’re mostly just worried about occasional snow and ice and you live in a pretty flat area, look into spending less than the typically $1,200 and up option price of AWD and instead buy a set of winter tires mounted on rims. This solution saves money in both the initial purchase and the running costs, and it improves performance in both acceleration and braking (something AWD/4WD systems can’t claim). If you’re not going off-roading and you have no steep roads or driveways to negotiate in your typical commute, a two-wheel-drive car or SUV with winter tires might be cheaper, more fun to drive, and safer in the long run.

The post 4WD vs. AWD: What’s the Difference? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

4WD vs. AWD: What’s the Difference?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:00

The simplest, most old-school versions have no center differential, meaning they permanently split torque 50/50 front/rear and hence should not be driven on dry pavement in 4WD mode because the difference in average speed of the front and rear axle will cause the tires to scrub or skid in turns. Center differentials can have a built-in torque bias other than 50/50, and they can either be open (in which case torque flows to whichever axle has the least grip), or they can have a limited-slip device or an outright lock.

4WD systems have drawbacks. They’re typically bigger and heavier (often adding more than 200 pounds) than AWD systems, and they usually create more friction. Part-time systems without a center differential also have no “auto” mode, and hence when the weather or road surface conditions degrade, the driver must remember to proactively engage 4WD, perhaps after coming to a complete stop. That’s vastly less convenient than an AWD system.

Basically, 4WD is of very little use on-road, so if you never plan to venture well off the pavement and into the rough stuff, you’ll likely be better off with AWD. There are a couple of obscure on-road 4WD benefit cases to be aware of, however: 4WD transfer cases almost always include a “neutral” position, which disconnects both axles from the powertrain. This makes it safe to flat-tow the vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, so if you’re one of those road-train RV vacationers, take note. Low range could also be useful for towing a heavy boat out of the water up a steep, wet boat launch.

Note: Jeep offers a quasi-4WD system called Active Drive Low. This setup, standard on Compass and Renegade Trailhawk and optional on other variants of those models, simply involves a shorter (numerically higher) axle ratio (4.33:1 vs. 3.73:1), which means that the nine-speed automatic’s 4.71:1 first gear provides a reasonable crawl ratio of 20.4:1. That’s a decent ratio for light rock climbing, but because there’s no low-range multiplication in the other gears, we don’t consider it a full-fledged 4WD setup.

Trucks and SUVs that currently offer true 4WD systems include:

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel-drive systems started out primarily as a foul-weather countermeasure that sent most of the power to one axle most of the time (often the front) then fed power to the other axle whenever wheels at the primary axle began to slip. More recently, they’ve also been employed as a means of improving the driving dynamics of front-drive-based sport sedans and utilities. Systems bringing AWD to a rear-drive-based architecture with longitudinal powertrain arrangement typically use a transfer case mounted to the back of the transmission to split power and send some of it forward.

Electrification brings yet another category of AWD to market—one that fits an electric motor on one or both axles in a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. The Porsche 918 Spyder uses an e-axle in front; front-drive-based e-AWD vehicles like the Volvo XC60 and XC90 T8 PHEV and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid put it at the rear. These systems are less suited to off-road use—especially the hybrids—because depleting the battery can limit the power available at the e-axle and hence the all-wheel tractive force available.

Setting the electrified AWD systems aside for the moment, the front-drive-based AWD systems tend to be the lightest, most fuel-efficient setups available (typically weighing well under 200 pounds and reducing EPA combined economy by 1–3 mpg). The most efficient new systems can disconnect the propeller shaft that runs between the two axles, reconnecting it in a matter of milliseconds when traction needs arise. During steady-state cruising this greatly reduces the amount of energy lost to friction and rotational inertia.

By their nature, AWD systems have the capability built in to be driven full time on dry pavement, and because so many of them have a torque-on-demand feature, some pretty ingenious power takeoff setups have been employed through the years.

Viscous Coupling
This simplest of center differential systems consists of a set of closely spaced discs—some attached to the front axle, others to the rear—surrounded by a special fluid that essentially solidifies under the shear force of those moving discs to lock the them together when there’s a certain speed differential between the axles. Some manufacturers build in a bit of speed differential by making the front and rear axle ratios slightly different (the front-drive-based Land Rover Freelander worked like this) so that a bit of torque was always routed to the rear. Subaru Symmetric All-Wheel Drive has long used this setup with its manual transmissions.

BorgWarner/Haldex
When slippage occurs in this system, a ring turns, causing balls to travel up little ramps to create a clamping force that locks a wet multiplate clutch back that transfers torque to the secondary axle. Today’s systems also include elaborate electronic controls. First used in the 1998 Audi TT, Haldex units are now widely used across the VW group (mostly in transverse-engine vehicles but also in the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 and Bugatti Chiron), in most Volvos (except T8 models), and in the Ford Fusion and earlier Buick LaCrosse and Regal.

Torsen
A portmanteau of torque-sensing, these differentials use internal gears (helical or planetary) to apportion torque according to a predetermined ratio in such a way as to send the most torque to the wheel/axle with the best grip. Audi Quattro models with longitudinal drivetrains use Torsen center differentials, as do those that enable the auto-AWD functions on the 4WD Lexus GX, Toyota Sequoia, and Nissan Frontier Pro 4X.

Electromagnetic Control Device (EMCD)
Another way to achieve a variable front/rear torque split is simply to use an electromagnetic ram to vary the pressure applied to a wet multiplate clutch pack, like the one in a Haldex coupling. EMCDs are also used as limited-slip devices to control the torque split of an open planetary center or spider-gear front/rear differential.

On-Demand Rear-Axle Couplings
Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive was first to market with this idea, which replaces the rear differential with a simple ring-and-pinion set to turn the power 90 degrees toward the left and right wheels, then uses electromagnetically controlled planetary gear sets to send power to either or both wheels on demand. The neat trick with the SH-AWD system is that the planetary gears can overspeed the wheel on the outside of a turn to provide quite noticeable torque vectoring. More recently, GKN’s Twinster system uses simple EMCDs to power each rear wheel. In its late, great Ford Focus RS application, by giving it a slightly different rear ring/pinion ratio, fully locking either clutch overspeeds that wheel in much the same way, enabling the RS’ “Drift mode.” Note that most GKN Twinster axle fitments do not employ this overspeeding concept, in vehicles like the Lincoln Continental and MKZ, Cadillac XT5, current Buick LaCrosse and Envision, Range Rover Evoque, and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Obviously, simply adding a clutch at the front of the prop shaft gets you the fuel-saving benefits of isolating the prop shaft and differential gears when no rear torque is needed.

All of these systems make their own torque distribution claims, but the extreme numbers quoted are always based on some ideal set of circumstances that may be impossible to replicate in the real world. Certainly any claims of a front-drive-based system sending 100 percent of torque to the rear axle are bunk except possibly when the front axle is off the ground. Look for buttons to lock the center differential, as this guarantees a 50/50 front/rear split, which will usually enhance traction in the worst of conditions.

A Cheaper, Potentially More Effective Solution …

If you’re mostly just worried about occasional snow and ice and you live in a pretty flat area, look into spending less than the typically $1,200 and up option price of AWD and instead buy a set of winter tires mounted on rims. This solution saves money in both the initial purchase and the running costs, and it improves performance in both acceleration and braking (something AWD/4WD systems can’t claim). If you’re not going off-roading and you have no steep roads or driveways to negotiate in your typical commute, a two-wheel-drive car or SUV with winter tires might be cheaper, more fun to drive, and safer in the long run.

The post 4WD vs. AWD: What’s the Difference? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

St Modwen appoints former CBRE director to board

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 08:25
St Modwen Properties has appointed former CBRE director Sarah Whitney as a non-executive board member.
Categories: Property

Springfield strengthens board

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 08:20
Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties has appointed Colin Kenneth Rae as a non-executive director.
Categories: Property

NAV at REI dips, but revenue rises

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 08:15
Midlands-focused property group Real Estate Investors (REI) has posted a slight dip in net asset value (NAV) and a sharp decline in profit in its half-year results.
Categories: Property

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 16:45
Others have imitated the look (even some cars sitting across the same showroom) but the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class started the four-door “coupe” trend and it still wears it best. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is mostly unchanged from last year’s version, which was a ground-up redesign for the luxury mid-size sedan. This year...
Categories: Property

The Mercedes Simplex Concept Is the Coolest Housewarming Gift You’ve Ever Seen

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 12:00

Mercedes just gave itself one heck of a housewarming gift. The Vision Mercedes Simplex is a modern take on the classic Mercedes 35 PS (or 35 HP) as well as an excuse to let designers stretch their muscles and have some fun. We got up close to the Simplex concept at Mercedes’ new design center in Nice, France. Here’s what you need to know.

Compare photos of the new Mercedes concept to the turn-of-the-20th-century car that inspired it in our photo gallery.

It’s Got That New Design Center Smell

When we visited earlier this month, the new European design center (officially dubbed an international design competence center) had been open for just four weeks. Mercedes plans to use the Nice complex for all kinds of design, from the ones we all instantly think of—exterior and interior—as well as a few focus areas some of us may not, like color, UX, and communication.

Our peek behind the Mercedes design curtain revealed a few fun pieces of art incorporating the Mercedes and Maybach badges, plus teams of excited staff experimenting with future-car design. We used VR to simulate walking around (and inside) two concepts and appreciated light projections on a dashboard of everything from directions to a calming nature scene. I’m not sold on this technology’s future value in practical applications, but as an advanced new form of mood lighting, it’s amazing. Keep in mind that this design center is a place of exploration, so it may take years before various projects directly or indirectly influence a future car’s design, if they ever do at all.

How the Mercedes Simplex’s Design Got Approved

Gorden Wagener, Mercedes’ chief design officer, tells us the Simplex concept was started in secret, but the executive team liked it once it saw the four-wheeled link to Mercedes’ heritage. And that’s the whole point of this concept, of course: to subtly reinforce Mercedes as a luxury brand that’s been around for well over 100 years, yet also indicate it’s looking to the future.

Mercedes Stars Are Everywhere

Play a game when you see the Simplex concept at an auto show or event: See how many Mercedes three-pointed stars you can count. From the leather-covered straps low on the body to the digital ones on the grille and on the tire treads themselves, they’re everywhere.

Mercedes isn’t the only luxury automaker to apply this design strategy; Lincoln uses emblems as part of its grille design and even incorporates them in the grippy black lining of some interior trim pieces.

Why Mercedes Is Connecting to a Nearly 120-Year-Old Car

The Mercedes 35 PS is a famous car that raced successfully in 1901 in the French Riviera on a route close to Mercedes’ new design center. As if that connection weren’t enough, the automaker took part of its name from the businessman for whom the car was built, a man who nicknamed his daughter Mercedes.

Something Old, Something New

“Everything is a symbol of transformation from the original into the future,“ said Steffen Köhl of Mercedes design about the way the Simplex concept is updated from the original. There’s no windshield, as on the classic Mercedes, and just like that car, the new one has a small info screen. It can show a map or vehicle info.

Actually, the original car’s interior is much busier than this concept’s, which can, of course, take some liberties with practicalities production cars must wrestle with.

A Little Bit of Fun

Not many concept car unveilings end with the chief design officer and international journalists getting behind the wheel for photo ops. And granted, Mercedes primed us journalists for the moment after offering photos in a Simplex model (a car from the same era as the 35 PS earlier that day). Even so, if Mercedes were brave (or foolish) enough, this white, black, and rose gold concept could be a real draw for auto show goers who want photos of their kids behind the wheel.

What’s With the Split Paint Job?

The original 35 PS had a similar paint scheme, and the Mercedes Simplex concept’s azure blue seats are said to be inspired by the colors of the French Riviera.

What Else?

For a concept whose process only took about eight months, the Mercedes Simplex concept is a charming car. The exterior was designed in the automaker’s California design center, while Europe played a greater role in the simple yet effective interior.

The concept reestablishes Mercedes as the luxury brand with significantly more heritage than most of its competitors. That shouldn’t make newer luxury brands any less attractive, and if we’re honest, some luxury customers may not care about flashy concepts like the Simplex or the impractical yet stunning Genesis Essentia; they might focus more on how a C-Class or G70 makes them feel. Nevertheless, the Mercedes concept remains a fun footnote in the automaker’s design progression that, only earlier this month, starred the sleek Vision EQS concept.

The post The Mercedes Simplex Concept Is the Coolest Housewarming Gift You’ve Ever Seen appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Nissan Rogue investigated over sudden braking

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 20:12
An investigation into sudden, unnecessary emergency braking by Nissan's compact Rogue crossover will continue, NHTSA announced Tuesday, after an automotive safety advocacy group petitioned the agency to advise Nissan to conduct a recall campaign. According to the original defect petition submitted by the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation in...
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