By Jens Meiners
Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.
Another New York auto show has come and gone, and this year’s was a good one. Most manufacturers were present in the Big Apple last week, and there was a number of new vehicle launches. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf won World Car of the Year honors, and the Porsche Boxster/Cayman duo was voted World Performance Car. The Tesla Model S earned the World Green Car nod, while the Jaguar F-Type roadster took the well-deserved World Car Design of the Year award.
Consulting firm Prime Research surveyed the 66 World Car Awards jurors, a global group of motor journalists which includes myself, and came up with some interesting results. While connectivity and efficiency still rank among the most important topics worthy of coverage, E-mobility has most definitely fallen out of favor. It dropped to sixth—from third last year—out out of ten topics of focus.
Asked only about alternative powertrains, journalists ranked the most conservative approach—the plug-in hybrid—above the range-extended electric vehicle, reversing the two options’ rankings from last year. Only the plug-in hybrid was evaluated more positively than last fall, while ratings for the range-extended EV, fuel-cell-electric, and battery-electric dropped sharply. The media’s love affair with the EV—which I was never quite able to understand—seems to be over.
Just before the New York show, BMW let a few journalists sample a prototype three-cylinder engine in a European 1-series hatchback body. Contributing editor Csaba Csere has already levied a thorough assessment of the technology, and I too liked the little engine—it is a cheerful, lively motor with a sporty exhaust note. BMW readily admits that the three’s 1.5-liter displacement is not ideal in terms of noise and vibration, but it is the best compromise for fuel economy. The three-banger is part of an engine family that will include four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. It might sound odd, but I found the three-cylinder engine to have more character than most four-cylinder engines. Bring it on. A quick side note: The upcoming BMW M4 and its four-door sister model, the M3, will get an engine based on the current N55 straight-six, not a member of this new engine family.
BMW rival Audi presented the A3 sedan, but not exactly at the show itself. Not wanting to spoil its own upcoming Shanghai show debut, Audi definitely wanted to spoil the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG‘s big reveal. So it put …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver