APRIL 2023
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Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE –motoringtampabay.com








And so it begins, as they say. Genesis has launched the first dart from its arsenal, possibly causing disarray among established electric vehicles companies (Tesla, pay attention!) Within no time of hitting the roads, the stunning all-electric 2023 GV60 has won numerous accolades from the automotive press.

Sharing a platform with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the compact SUV is equipped with a 77.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that assures the driver of going almost 240 miles on a full charge. Dual 160 kW front/rear electric motors crank out 429 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. Believe it or not, that takes the GV60 just four seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph in boost mode. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs nearly 4,890 pounds! On a 240-volt, it will take about seven hours but a fast DC charge (350 kW) can load up 80 percent in just 18 minutes. The good news is that Genesis is offering a three-year courtesy charge at any Electrify America station. The single-speed direct transmission is instant and seamless.

Up front, a clamshell hood meets up with jewel-like, parametric-pixel two-line LED headlights to convey a distinctive presence. As you near the vehicle, flush automatic door handles are a sight to behold! Our Performance test version came with two high-tech 12.3 screens for infotainment and a digital instrument cluster of speedometer, power gauge, charge level and trip odometer. The floating center console features an illuminated Crystal Sphere shifter that rotates 180 degrees when the car is turned on. Switch off the GV60 and the orb floats emanating ambient lights. Other high-tech perks include: electronic active sound design (e-ASD), so you can choose E-motor (reimagines motor sounds), G-engine (sounds like a gas engine) and futuristic (signifies imminent mobility); facial and finger detection to enter without a key. And with Vehicle-to-Load feature, you can charge electric bikes, scooters and other gadgets via the outside port or another interface. A vision roof with power shade, heated/cooled front Nappa leather seats, dual auto a/c, 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio, head-up display, heated rear seats and hands-free liftgate come at no extra cost.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, electronic stability and traction controls, brake assist, blind spot, forward-collision, park-collision and rear-cross traffic collision avoid assists, front avoid, lane keep and follow assists, front crumple zones, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Its innovative looks, inside and out, plus cutting-edge technology make the GV60 an enticing choice. And with scarcely a carbon footprint to leave behind. Move over, Tesla, for this sensational electric Genesis entrant into the market, with more promising EVs on the way.

Tires: 255/40R21
Wheelbase: 114.2 inches
Length: 177.8 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Height: 62.4 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multilink rear
Steering: motor-driven power
MPGe: 97 city, 82 highway, 90 combined
Base price: $67,890
Price as tested: $69,560
Web site: www.hyundaiusa.com










Remember the EQ moniker! Why? Because in the near future, it will be applied to every electric Mercedes-Benz. According to the German carmaker, EQ stands for “emotion and intelligence,” two guiding tenets that serve as a stepping stone to reduce carbon footprint. Toward that end, the all-electric large EQS sedan hit the roads a year ago. As a follow-up, we now have the EQE, its smaller and lighter sibling. And a remarkable one at that.

Our test drive, the 2023 EQE 350 4MATIC, is equipped with a 90.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that assures the driver of going at least 300 miles on a full charge. Two electric motors with 215 kW total system output produce 288 horsepower and 564 pounds-feet of torque. Believe it or not, the midsize luxury sedan reaches 0 to 60 mph in around 6 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs over 5,400 pounds. On a 240-volt outlet, it will take 9.5 hours to charge the car but a fast DC charger (170 kW) can juice up to 80 percent in a mere 32 minutes. As an incentive, Benz offers a two-year complimentary charge at any Electrify America station. The single-speed direct transmission is instant with comfort, sport, eco and individual modes.
The EQE portrays a cab-forward, one-bow body shape and a coupe-like roofline appearance. Up front, the ‘black panel’ unit (driver assistance systems are located behind) in a deep radiator grille is surrounded by digital light LED headlights. Take a seat behind the robust steering wheel and the red seat belts amid AMG line black/space gray leather convey class. Ambient lights (64 colors) add sparkle to the dashboard and doors. A 56-inch rounded dash called Hyperscreen features two 12.3-inch driver and front-passenger displays and an enormous 17.7-inch central OLED touchscreen. Personal infotainment system or the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) works through voice, touch and even hand gestures (just say, Hey Mercedes!). Other creature comforts include a 15-speaker Burmeister sound system, power tilt/sliding sun roof, heated/cooled front seats, wireless phone charger and more.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, Presafe, electronic stability/traction control, active brake/blind spot and lane keep assists, 360-degree camera, forward collision/lane departure warnings, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights ensure the well-being of occupants.

With gas still hovering at $3 a gallon, the EQE is a no-brainer. Thanks to an astounding performance, futuristic looks and cutting-edge technology, the all-new electric sedan is an attractive buy, i.e., if the hefty price tag isn’t an issue. Move over, Tesla, for this fresh entrant into the market with more competitive EVs to come from the admirable Benz stable. Let the rivalry begin, we say, in all seriousness!

Tires: P255/40R20
Wheelbase: 122.8 inches
Length: 196.6 inches
Height: 59.5 inches
Width: 82.8 inches
Suspension: multilink
MPGe: 131 city, 110 highway
Base price: $78,950

Web site: www.mbusa.com









That Tesla is a leader in electric vehicles is a given. But the frontrunner isn’t going to be able to keep the position for long if Hyundai has a say. Or several says (i.e. EVs), for that matter. After all, the Korean carmaker can proudly claim its Ioniq 5 electric SUV as the 2022 World Car of the Year, as well as tout the Kona electric, Tucson PHEV (plug-in hybrid) and regular Santa Fe hybrid. To showcase and experience the diverse lineup, we were recently invited to drive the vehicles in the lush Coconut Grove/Miami neighborhood along the bay and surrounding areas.

The top 5 Southern region markets for electrified vehicles are Miami, Tampa, Orlando while BEV (battery electric vehicles) are again Miami, then Orlando and Tampa. It is no wonder that Hyundai held the ‘electrification’ media experience in ‘The Magic City.’ The strategy is to sell one million Hyundai electrified vehicles per year worldwide, revealed Loren Wong, assistant manager of Product Planning at Hyundai Motor N.A. Looking further, the auto manufacturer will produce 11 EVs by 2030. Toward that end, the company has planned a dedicated EV factory in Bryan County, Ga., with production to begin in 2025. And Hyundai is already offering a two-year complimentary charge at any Electrify America station.

Also present was Andre Carter of Hyundai division Supernal, an advance air mobility company, that seeks to address congestion and pollution. Its aim is to develop a family of electric air vehicles such as a battery-powered and autonomous Electric Vehicle Take-off & Landing or eVTOL (4-5 passengers) for intra-city passengers by 2028. “We are taking the time to create a safe, light-weight commercial eVTOL that provides our future passengers with the security and comfort they find in their own cars,” said Carter.  

Supernal is aware that the novel electric air vehicle concept cannot be dropped into cities unless a system has been fashioned that works for everyone and effortlessly integrated into current transit networks. Why Miami? Because Mayor Francis Suarez has been receptive to public-private partnerships integrating into his city. Carter terms the air mobility concept as “subway in the sky.”
While the Ioniq 5 can go up to 300 miles on a full charge, the Kona electric stretches to 258 miles, thanks to lithium-ion battery packs and electric motors. Fast charging times range from just 18 to 55 minutes for 80 percent. With an electric motor and battery pack, the Tucson PHEV travels in electric-mode only for about 33 miles before fuel kicks in. And the Santa Fe hybrid ekes out 37.1 mpg in city, beating EPA estimates of 33.

As noted earlier, an array of hip Hyundai EVs is gearing up to hit the market – the midsize Ioniq 6 sedan and the larger Ioniq 7 SUV – are just two examples. It’s only a matter of time before the Korean carmaker takes the lead in the EV market, leaving the rest of the rivals far behind!


LEXUS LC500 Its origin goes way back to 1982. Then the Benz 190 was labeled as ‘Baby Benz.’ Over a decade later, the ‘kid’ earned the C-class designation and worldwide sales of more than 10.5 million units with China holding the lead for the past six years. The rest, as they so lovingly say, is history.

But Mercedes engineers have not just kept up with history but taken a step ahead by redesigning the C300 for 2022 inside and out. Under the hood of the steel unibody structure still resides a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder turbo engine putting out 255 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque @ 3200 rpm. An integrated starter-generator with a 48-volt capacity provides mild hybrid power delivery of an extra 20 hp. Zero to 60 is possible in just 6 seconds with top speed of 130 mph in this fine, snug and effective ride. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive vehicle is mated to a standard 9-speed automatic, which can be driven in eco, comfort, sport, sport+ and individual modes. The independent four-link axle front and multilink rear suspension works splendidly to absorb unpleasant highway bumps and sudden sharp turns. Returning a weighted response to the driver’s input is razor-sharp, electromechanical power rack-and-pinion steering.

The compact luxury sedan is 2.6 inches longer with a wheelbase up by 1 and width more than .4 than its predecessor. Also receiving a lift are elbow, head and knee room. Up front, the trademark three-pointed star on the power dome hood meets up with a larger Benz emblem centered in the A-shaped radiator grille with chrome surrounds. It is flanked by horizontal LED headlights. A lavish, elegant cabin is expected of any Mercedes with dual auto a/c, 40/20/40 rear seat, steering wheel paddle shifters, Apple CarPlay and Android wireless phone capabilities, illuminated door sills, panoramic sunroof and heated front seats. The flattened round sets of air vents with ambient lights are a sight to behold, especially at night. A central and jet-black tablet-like 11.9-inch touch screen, now tilted toward the driver, serves as a audio, navigation and phone infotainment guide. Indeed, top-notch materials and craftsmanship give the car a rich vibe.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program, pre-safe (partial braking in an emergency), active brake assist and blind spot assist, forward collision warning, rearview camera, keyless go/start, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

There is no doubt that the revamped fifth-gen C300 augments the Benz sedan lineup. If in the market for a gorgeous sedan that provides punch around town, impressive handling/balance, and a sumptuous cabin bar none, take the C300 for a test-drive. It will be well worth your time and effort.

Tires: 225/45R18 front; 245/40R18 rear
Wheelbase: 112.8 inches
Length: 187 inches
Width: 80 inches
Height: 56.6 inches
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
City: 23 mpg
Highway: 33 mpg
Weight: 3,957 pounds
Base price: $45,550
Price as tested: $57,270
Web sitewww.mbusa.com


VW ID.4 PRO (RWD)Last year, we test-drove the Q50 Red Sport version of this midsize luxury sport car from Infiniti with 400 horsepower. For 2023, the carmaker dispatched over the lesser trim Sensory model boasting 300 hp @ 6400 rpm. Both have the same 3.0-lier V-6 twin-turbocharged engine under the hood. But kid you not, the sedan didn’t feel much different on the road, navigating sharp curves and turns with self-assurance and grace. And except for adding Premium Care maintenance program (three years of oil changes, tire rotations, inspections), the Q50 maintains its status quo.

Putting out 295 pounds-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm, and available as a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the lively midsize sedan is coupled with a slick 7-speed auto gearbox. An independent double-wishbone front and a multilink rear suspension ensure safety for occupants in adverse road/weather conditions. Credit for the superbly accurate steering goes to a power-assist, rack-and-pinion system. Behind the wheels hide large rotors: front dual-piston 12.6 inches at front and rear single-piston 12.1 inches to inspire confidence in the driver. Lest we forget, you can enjoy the Q50 in personal, eco, snow, sport and standard modes.

Up front, the double-arch grille and wide hood are surrounded by LED headlights and daytime running lights. Dual chrome exhaust tips deck the rear. If anyone tells you that the Infiniti cabin isn’t on par with its German rivals, point out the top-notch materials and gloss levels. The InTouch infotainment system, which comes with dual 8- and 7-inch touch screens atop each other, is functional. Also standard are eight-way power heated front leather seats, dual auto a/c, 60/40 rear seat, overhead sunglass holder, Bose audio with 16 speakers, aluminum sill plates with ‘Infiniti’ insignia, and power tilt/telescopic steering column and moon roof. But the 13.5-cubic-foot trunk could use with slightly more space.

Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, vehicle dynamic and traction controls, front seatbelts with pretensioners, remote keyless entry, rearview camera, zone body construction, blind spot, lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, rear cross traffic alert, auto brakes with pedestrian detection, hill start assist, energy-absorbing steering column, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

A clever and fine choice for a potential sport sedan buyer, the Q50 displays impressive handling, superb grip and a strong steering feel. And it is a head-turner ride to boot.

Tires: P245/40R19
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 189.6 inches
Width: 71.8 inches
Weight: 3,966 pounds
Fuel capacity: 19 gallons
City: 19 mpg
Highway: 27 mpg
Base price: $50,350
Web site: www.infiniti.com


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