Cadillac chills ATS-V and CTS-V with Crystal White Frost Editions




The paint is still drying on Cadillac’s ATS-V and CTS-V sports cars and the company is already releasing a special version of both called the Crystal White Frost Edition. Only 99 will be built; 29 will be CTS-V sedans, 39 will be ATS-V coupes and the rest will be ATS-V sedans.

The package on the ATS includes Cadillac’s Crystal White Frost matte-finish paint, polished forged-aluminum wheels, carbon fiber front splitter, hood vent, rear diffuser, black rocker extensions and a body-color rear spoiler.

The CWF ATS-V also comes with the “luxury package,” though items like an enhanced version of CUE, sport alloy pedals, a universal home remote, HID headlights, split-folding seats and a 110-volt power point don’t seem particularly upscale to us considering the car’s $70k+ starting price. Convenient, just not upscale.


The CTS-V gets 19-inch wheels, as opposed to 18s on the ATS and the same carbon fiber upgrades. The luxury stuff looks a little more…luxurious, with tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats and a power rear sunshade.

According to Cadillac a few additional options can be installed, depending on dealer. They include Recaro performance seats, a performance data recorder, the ultra-view sunroof and painted brake calipers.

Cadillac also notes that “Crystal White Frost paint is engineered to be as durable as normal paint but requires special attention for cleaning.” Special care and cleaning instructions can be found here.

The ATS-V Frost Editions start at $71,640 for the sedan and $73,660 for the coupe, including destination. The CTS-V is priced at $94,990. They’ll be at dealers by the end of this month. Buyers can call Cadillac Customer Support at (800) 333-4223 to find a dealer.




Check the recall status of your diesel Volkswagen by its VIN

Volkswagen launches VIN lookup tool on its diesel information website


Volkswagen has added a VIN lookup tool on its diesel recall information website that allows owners to check if their cars possess the emissions-cheating software and will require a fix, the details of which have yet to be announced. You can check whether your vehicle will be part of a recall here.

The automaker had already added similar features to its German and British websites, in addition to publishing a list of the vehicle models and model years thought to be affected by the software, which include:

VW Jetta TDI (2009 — 2015)
VW Jetta SportWagen TDI (2009 — 2014)
VW Golf TDI (2010 –2015)
VW Golf SportWagen TDI (2015 only)
VW Beetle TDI and VW Beetle Convertible TDI (2012 — 2015)
VW Passat TDI (2012 — 2015)

Volkswagen stresses that the cars are safe to drive and that owners do not need to take any action at this point in time. The automaker plans to inform owners of a recall schedule once its fix for the software is approved by regulators in the U.S. You will note that this list does not include the Audi A3 that also has this engine (though it should) and it does not include the diesel Touareg, which is not believed to be part of any upcoming recalls since it uses the 3.0-liter V6.

VW’s Canadian diesel information site does not have a similar VIN tool yet, and it refers to affected models as being all 2.0-liter diesel models from the 2009 model year onwards. Volkswagen’s Canadian lineup is a little different from the U.S., though the cars from that market will also face a recall. The Canadian website, however, lists the Audi A3 from the 2010 through the 2013 model year, as well as the 2015 model year as being affected, though the U.S. site makes no mention of Audi at all.

The site contains a curious Q&A section that, much like its U.S. counterpart, attempts to allay the fears of current owners of affected vehicles. But some of the questions and answers are pretty telling. Here’s one:

“Are there no processes in place to prevent something like this happening?” a question on the info site asks.

“The discrepancies resulted from software installed at the time of manufacture and could not be detected by the quality and regulatory compliance testing that was undertaken at the time,” VW states, asserting that its current quality control processes could not have detected the presence of the emissions-cheating software. This suggests that VW did not test the diesel models the old-fashioned way — in real-world conditions with sensors in the tailpipe, and that it did not carry out testing on diesel emissions outside of a laboratory environment.

During VW U.S. CEO Michael Horn’s testimony on Capitol Hill a week and half ago it was also revealed that 2016 model year diesel-engined cars that were scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. contained another type of emission control device that has yet to be evaluated by the EPA, one that the EPA classifies as an “auxiliary emission control device.” The EPA indicated that it has yet to evaluate the legality of this second device, which is stated to be part of a catalyst “warmup strategy,” helping it reach an optimal operating temperature sooner.

Volkswagen has withdrawn its 2016 diesel models from certification in the U.S. until it develops a fix for the all of the affected cars, which are thought to number 482,000 in the U.S. alone.



BMW all-wheel drive is older than you think

It all started with a 3-Series sedan at the 1985 Frankfurt motor show




When we think German all-wheel drive systems from the 1980s, it is inevitably Audi’s Quattro system that springs to mind. But Volkswagen AG’s competitors were also converts to the all-wheel drive philosophy, even though it took them a little longer to really get going.


This fall BMW is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the date when the Munich-based automaker allowed for the possibility that there could be something more awesome than rear-wheel drive… in those rare instances you had to drive on ice or snow. It was at the 1985 Frankfurt motor show that BMW unveiled the 325i “Allrad” sedan, a 3-Series of the E30 generation.




The system wasn’t named xDrive at that point and it was not as sophisticated as it is today, but it immediately gained praise from the automotive press. BMW’s all-wheel drive system sent 63 percent of the power to the rear wheels and 37 percent to the front, with visco locks in the rear differential and in the transfer case sorting out the differences in speed, assuring that the all-wheel drive system felt as much as a rear-wheel drive setup as possible.


The first model to feature the new all-wheel drive system was the 325iX, with the wagon arriving for the 1988 model year. North America only received the sedan version of the 325iX, having been shut out of the wagons, but the all-wheel drive sedan was still a bit of a novelty on our shores. The next model to receive all-wheel drive was the 525iX of 1991 — the E34-generation model already halfway through its product cycle. The all-wheel drive system in the larger sedan was now electronically controlled, with multi-plate clutches splitting the power 36:64 front to rear in accordance with signals from the ABS system.


Until relatively recently — 1999, to be precise (OK, that was a while ago) — all-wheel drive goodness was confined to the 3- and the 5-Series cars. That’s when the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), or SUV as everyone else called it, arrived using a planetary gear system to split the power 38 to 62 percent in favor of the rear wheels, adding such systems as DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), hill descent control and an automatic differential brake.




An all-new reengineered xDrive system arrived four years later, in 2004, to replace the older all-wheel drive system. Debuting in the X3 and in the X5 at the same time, xDrive had the ability to send 100 percent of the power to the front or rear axle, using Dynamic Stability Control data such as accelerator position, steering angle and lateral acceleration to continuously adjust the drive power split.


It’s hard to find a BMW model now that does not offer all-wheel drive — one third of all cars BMW sells are xDrive models, over than a hundred in all — more in some markets than in others. But it all started with the smallest sedan in the range at a time when all the various models from Munich could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Now that’s a long time ago.






2016 Volkswagen Passat starts at $23,260; no diesel offered

New midsize VW sedan gets fresh tech, safety features … gasoline engines


Volkswagen, when it’s not battling #dieselgate, is still building and marketing cars like the new Passat, which unfortunately launched just as the diesel scandal broke. We told you all about the Passat here, and now VW says pricing starts at $23,260, including destination, for the S model with an automatic transmission. That’s the same price as the outgoing model, but VW claims the new Passat has $1,315 in additional content.


Two engines will be offered: a 1.8-liter turbocharged I4 making 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, as well as a 3.6-liter VR6, which makes 282 hp and 258 lb-ft. A diesel powertrain would normally slot right between those two, but there’s no word on if or when VW will release a new TDI Passat.


Touchscreens will proliferate throughout the range with the company’s second-generation “modular infotainment platform,” known as MIB II. It uses capacitive touch sensors, similar to those found on cellphones, to enable swiping, pinching to zoom and other features. Response time is improved as well, according to VW. It also works with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.


The base S model comes with 16-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera and automatic post-collision braking, which means that if the car senses you’re in an accident, it holds the brakes to prevent any further drama.


The R-Line, with unique rocker panels, a new front bumper with black accents, bigger wheels and a modified rear diffuser, starts at $24,795. The SE adds a sunroof, satellite radio, a second USB port, a bigger screen and a bunch of safety features for $27,100. Adding the tech package lumps on $2,130 for a grand total of $29,230.


The 1.8-liter SEL starts at $31,315; the SEL Premium goes up to $35,540. The V6 SEL Premium is at the top of the range and starts at $37,655.


The 2016 Passat goes on sale before the end of this year.






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