Sunday, April 30, 2023




Alas, we bear sad news. Perhaps you are already aware of it, but that doesn’t lessen the impact any.

After a sparkling run that began with its introduction as a 2014 model, Jaguar will end production of its beautifully styled, rapid-response F-Type sports car with the 2024 edition.

The reason? The company is moving to an all-electrified portfolio in 2025 and away from the supercharged V8s that were the beasts of its past fleets. No doubt you saw that coming.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary and send the F-Type out on a high note, Jaguar will put out a couple of special editions of the current models with the F-Type 75 and F-Type R 75 in both coupe and convertible form. 

The 2023 Jaguar F-Type comes in three trim levels all with a supercharged V8 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and in coupe or convertible form.

Changes from the 2021 mild refreshing are reflected in all three trims, though the 4- and 6-cylinder engines were dropped last year. The V8 in the P450  and P450 R-Dynamic trims check in at 444 horsepower while the 2023 Jaguar F-Type R that this review is based on is tuned for 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, moving it from zero-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

The P450 trim comes with rear-wheel as standard while all-wheel drive is optional on the P450 R-Dynamic and standard on the 2023 Jaguar F-Type R.

Fuel economy is about what you would expect from a performance-oriented sports car, which is to say not very much. The EPA rates the 2023 Jaguar F-Type P450 and P450 R-Dynamic with rear-wheel drive at 17 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway and 19 combined. All-wheel-drive models are rated at 16/24/18, using premium grade fuel, of course.

Jaguar at one time seemed to lag behind competitors when it came to tech features with such quirks as a tiny screen display for navigation maps and fussy controls, but the list of standard comfort and convenience features on the 2023 Jaguar F-Type R is pretty complete.

They include a power tailgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power Windsor leather seats with lumbar support, keyless entry and push-button start, a 10-inch touchdown that includes navigation, Meridian Sound System, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Other standard features on the 2023 Jaguar F-Type R include LED  headlights and daytime running lights, Jaguar Drive Control with selectable modes that include snow and sport, upgraded brakes, and 20-inch wheels.

Safety features (all standard) include emergency braking, front and rear parking aid, lane-keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition.

That all is covered by the starting MSRP of $108,500. My 2023 Jaguar F-Type R for the week came with options that included a Climate Pack, Blind Spot Assist Pack, ultra metallic paint with a gloss finish, suede headliner, park assist, and more that, with the $1,275 destination and delivery fee, ran the final bottom line to $121,780.

If the six-figure MSRP doesn’t exactly light your fire, the 2023 Jaguar F-type P450 starts at $74,675, the P450 R-Dynamic at $85,175 (including destination and delivery). F-Type convertibles run from $2,700 to $3,300 higher.

What I liked about the 2023 Jaguar F-Type Coupe:
The F-Type R is a kick to drive, living up to its leaper logo by figuratively leaping at a touch of the accelerator. It has a classic Jaguar look — there won’t be any confusing it with another luxury model — and the V8 sings a sexy tune from its quad dual exhausts. Trunk space is generous for the segment.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Jaguar F-Type Coupe: Infotainment features can be frustrating to operate, but at least there are knobs for manual control of the climate system. It’s not a quiet vehicle, and the ride may be too stiff for some.

Would I buy the 2023 Jaguar F-Type Coupe? Actually, I would prefer the convertible version but the coupe is not without its virtues so yes, it’s a definite buy with me. With seats only for two, you’re driving a classic sports car, not a vehicle for families.

Friday, April 21, 2023



Sitting at the top of the electrified versions of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class portfolio is the AMG model reviewed in this space last month.

Sitting in the middle of the non-AMG EQE sedan lineup, however, is an electric E-Class that leans more to the practical side of the German automaker’s EV products.

That would be the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4MATIC that serves as the subject of this review.

Two other models are offered for the EQE in addition to the EQE 350 4MATIC and the Mercedes AMG EQE. The rear-wheel drive EQE 350+ and the EQE 500 4MATIC round out the lineup.

The major difference among the three is that the base EQE 350+ is rear-wheel drive and gets its power from a single electric motor that generates 288 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. The EQE 350 4MATIC and EQE 500 4MATIC are all-wheel drive (hence the 4MATIC designation) with motors powering each axle.

The dual motors on the EQE 350 4MATIC pump out the same 288 horsepower as the EQE 350+ but bump torque up to 564 pound-feet. The dual motors on the EQE 500 are rated at 402 horsepower and 633 pound-feet of torque.

Mercedes puts zero-to-60 times for the EQE 350+ at 6.2 seconds, the EQE 350 4MATIC at 6.0 seconds and the EQE 500 4MATIC at 4.5 seconds.

Each of the EQE models is offered with one of three trim packages in the U.S. market. You may choose from Premium, Exclusive, or Pinnacle packages.

The Premium includes the company’s MBUX infotainment features with navigation, a parking package with surround view system, heated front seats, MB-Tex upholstery, power tilt and sliding panoramic roof, Burmeister Sound System, keyless entry and push-button start, and 64-color ambient lighting.

The Exclusive trim offered on my test vehicle included all the features of the Premium trim plus the MBUX Augmented Reality for Navigation system, Active Driver Assist, and active ambient light that allows you to pick your own personal shade.

Pinnacle trim covers all that plus 4-zone climate control, an Air Balance package, head-up display, and a digital light package.

What you wind up with are nine different MSRPs running from $74,900 for the EQE 350+ with the Premium trim to $91,500 for the EQE 500 4MATIC with Exclusive features.

My test EQE 350 4MATIC with the Exclusive trim checked in at $80,000 plus the $1,150 charge for destination and delivery.

The “Augmented for Reality” navigation system included in the Exclusive trim level is worth mentioning.

When setting a specific address the front camera flashes a picture of what to expect when you get close to your destination. The problem is that image is projected on the touchscreen and, at least on the example I was using, obscures the details of the map as you reach your destination.

Frankly, this whole system seems to me to be a great example of Germans over-engineering what looks like a good idea.

One other thing. We couldn’t go through a EV review without mentioning driving range. Mercedes reports that EPA-determined driving range for the single motor EQE 350+ at 305 miles, which is pretty good.

But range with a 100 percent battery charge is trimmed to 260 miles for the dual motor EQE 350 4MATIC and EQE 500 4MATIC, which really doesn’t give the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4MATIC any advantage over its competitors.

That’s all from the Mercedes-Benz media website. Yet when I charged my test vehicle (the EQE 350 4MATIC) to 90 percent, the computer showed a range of 293 miles, which calculates to a fully charged range of 325 miles.

Maybe it’s a voodoo magic.

What I liked about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4MATIC: Electric driving is lively, even in Econ mode. The cabin is roomy, comfortable, and quiet. There are lots of standard tech features once you get the hang of operating them. It’s an overall impressive vehicle inside and out.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz 350 4MATIC: The luxurious interior is a bit overwhelming as is the operation of the tech features. There is no AM radio band. The voice command system can be overly sensitive at times. Driving range (for all but base model) is modest by today’s standards. The touchscreen collects fingerprints like a CSI investigator working a double homicide. 

Would I buy the 2023 Mercedes-Benz 350 4MATIC? The short answer is no, because I don’t feel comfortable with the infrastructure we have today to keep an EV powered up. With the EQE, the higher-up you go on the food chain the less driving range you get.

Friday, April 14, 2023




With a major — some would say overdue — overhaul apparently in the works for next year, the 2023 Infiniti QX80 is pretty much unchanged in appearance or details from recent years, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As a roomy, comfortable vehicle with easy to operate tech features it offers a competitive price in the large luxury SUV segment and now features Infiniti’s  complimentary Premium Care package that provides three years of inspections, oil changes and tire rotations and more.

Actually, all 2023 Infiniti models sold in the U.S. now come with that program included, not just the QX80. But it’s still worth mentioning.

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 comes in three trim levels — Luxe, Premium Select, and Sensory, all equipped with a 5.6-liter V8 engine and Infiniti’s All-Mode 4-wheel drive as an option to the standard rear-wheel drive. With the V8’s 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, it has a towing capacity of up to 8,500 pounds depending on the configuration.

The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with Snow and Towing modes for specific conditions. Fuel economy, however, is a lack-luster 13 miles-per-gallon city, 19 highway, 15 combined, though some segment competitors are rated just as thirsty.

This is definitely not a vehicle for three-huggers, but then you can say that about any 7-8 passenger SUV with a full-throated V8.

This review is based on the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensory trim, but all trims come with a long list of standard safety features and provide passengers with lots of comfort and room.

In addition to the usual collection of seatbelts and airbags, all QX80 models get forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, predictive forward collision, rear cross-traffic alert, around view monitor (a necessity in a vehicle this size), blind-spot warning and intervention system, and lane-departure prevention. Front-pre-cash seat belts also are standard on Sensory models.

This review is based on the 2023 Infiniti QX70 Sensory. Standard features included Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen for functions and navigation, Bose Premium Sound, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, wi-fi, wireless phone charging, leather-wrapped steering wheel, semi-Aniline leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated seats for the second row, and power-reclining seats for the third row.

Exterior features include LED headlights and foglights, a power moonroof and roof rails, a fixed running board, power rear liftgate.

Sensory and Premium Select models ride on 22-inch cast aluminum wheels. Luxe models get 20-inchers.

In addition to the cabin’s classiness, it also is spacious. Second-row legroom is actually a bit more (41 inches) than than the front row (39.6), but the third row is not really suitable for adults with only 28.8 inches of legroom and 19.7 inches of knee room.

With a length of 210.2 inches, all that passenger space still leaves room for good cargo capacity, starting with 16.6 cubic feet behind the third row. With those seats folded, space is increased to 49.6 cubic feet. Max capacity is 95.1 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 starts at $74,405 (including the hefty $1,605 destination and delivery charge) for the Luxe trim with RWD,  $78,905 for Premium Select, and $85,955 for the top-of-the-line Sensory. For models with 4WD add $3,100.

What I liked about the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensory: The V8 engine provides plenty of punch and towing capacity. Braking power is excellent (as I found out when people twice ran red lights crossing my lane). Though critics decry the dated look of the interior, it is very sophisticated. The standard running boards give easy access to the cabin, and the power adjustable steering wheel automatically raises when the engine is cut off to get out of the way of the driver’s legs when exiting. Tech features are user-friendly. Seats are comfortable and the ride is quiet.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensory: All that power makes for a thirsty engine. Rear storage room when the third-row seats are left in place may be inadequate to handle all the stuff/gear a large family might bring along for vacation. That is typical of three-row SUVs.

Would I buy the 2023 Infiniti QX80 Sensor? I’m not a fan of big, ponderous full-size SUVs so I would not go for the QX80. If you are dreaming of one (like my Nissan Armada-owning neighbor) and can live without updates that are in the works for 2024, you might find a bargain in the 2023 model and be happy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

2023 BMW i7 SEDAN


BMW tiptoed into the world of electric vehicles about a decade ago with the nifty little i3 hatchback, but goes all in this year with the introduction of the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60, an electrified take on its full-size flagship 7 Series sedan.

Fittingly, the German automaker loaded it up with all kinds of luxurious touches and technological features to take on competing full-size models from Mercedes-Benz and Tesla.

Frankly, though, many of the tech systems can be overwhelming when it comes to their operation. Scrolling through the horizontal touchscreen to get to the proper menu for the desired function can be distracting if you are driving alone. A couple of knobs might help simplify the whole operation.

The 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 comes in only one trim level, though it also is offered with specific option packages that allow for customization of the vehicle. Those packages are designated Convenience, Sport, and Performance models that boost MSRP from the base $119,300 to $124,250, $123,250, and $122,640, respectively. 

All 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60 sedans come with standard all-wheel drive (as the xDrive designation suggests) and two electric motors (one on each axle) that produce a combined 536 horsepower and 549 pound-feet of torque. I’d say this is strong evidence that horsepower wars aren’t ending with the phase-out of gas-powered V8s and V12s.

Company clockers pegged the zero-to-60 mph time at 4.5 seconds. The gasoline-powered 760i is a bit quicker at 4.1 seconds and the 740i is a bit slower at 5.2 seconds.

BMW puts all-electric driving range of 296-to-318 miles depending on wheel and tire sizes. The standard 19-inchers can be upgraded to 20 or 21s. The government gives models with 19-inch wheels a rating of 89 MPGe, those shod with 20-inchers 83 MPGe, and the 21-inchers at 87 MPGe.

Fast chargers can get battery capacity up from 10 percent charge up to 80 percent in 34 minutes, according to the company. 

Standard features covered by the $199,300 starting MSRP include tech features like a head-up display, navigation, digital instrument panels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry and push-button start, soft-close doors, full LED headlights, parking assist system, and Sport, Efficient,, and Personal drive modes.

Many “extra features” such as a heated steering wheel, glass controls, multifunction rear seats, wireless device charging, and more were included on my test i7 at no extra charge, but optional packages jacked up the price to $156,595 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.

Those packages included an upgrade to the parking assist system as well as some cosmetic touches like $5,000 for the “frozen deep gray” exterior color. The Rear Executive Lounge package (reclining seats and footrests, rear console, and rear BMW theater screen) came at a cost of $7.250.

The M Sport Package that includes the 21-inch wheels, M steering wheel and M design elements added an extra $1,300.

An interesting feature found in the Executive Package — not to be confused with the Rear Executive Lounge package mentioned earlier — includes automatic doors that close at the push of a button.

That allows you to exit the vehicle by pushing either of two buttons, one on the armrest and one on the strip of controls that run along the loweer dash panel, or pulling on the familiar door handle. Rear passengers also use buttons to open the doors from the inside.

It seems a bit of an overkill to have three ways to open the front doors but that’s the Germans for you. If they can over-engineer a function, they’ll get right to it.

The Executive Package also includes massaging front seats and active roll stabilization.

Hey. If you’re starting with a car that costs you $120,000, what’s an extra $6,650?

What  I liked about the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60: The ride is exceptionally smooth and, of course, very quiet. Acceleration is typical of electric vehicles, which to say exceptional. The interior is impeccable and filled with high-quality, premium materials. It’s not a new feature for BMW, but soft-close system doors automatically secures them if they are not completely closed when you get in.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60: The plethora of tech functions are plentiful but have a steep learning curve. Some knobs and even buttons might simplify things. There is no AM radio band as German engineers have yet to come up with a way to prevent the electric motor from interfering with the AM reception. Range falls short of some luxury competitors.

Would I buy the 2023 BMW i7 xDrive60? The price is way on the steep side and, as with all EVs, the infrastructure to support them isn’t all there yet so no, probably not. It’s a beautiful car, though, so that would be my loss.