Okay, think Okay guys, here we go, here we go, come on car alright.
Maserati Ghibli, third time a charm.
We'll make some hand gestures, at a Mercedes technology.
And run down Cnet's top rated cars of 2014 mid year.
Time to check the tech, we see cars differently.
We love them on the road.
And under the hood.
But also check the tech
And, are known for telling it like it is.
Ugly is included, at no extra cost.
The good, the bad, the bottom line.
This is Cnet on Cars.
Welcome to Cnet on Cars, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving, I'm Brian Cooley.
Maserati Ghibli, has just arrived in it's third generation trim.
Go back to its first generation 1967, that was a great looking car, real sensation.
The second gen car 1992, not so much so.
But now in its third gen looks, technology and performance.
This may establish Maserati as more than a micro niche brand.
They wanna go right after high trim models from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW.
Let's drive the new Ghibli, check the tech and see where Maserati might land.
Driving the Ghibli is not so much a question of how fast is it?
But how fast does it feel?
Last time we had a Maserati, we had in the Grand Tourismo and I was absolutely smitten.
Even then, it's cabin technology, its a pointless it's line, and its responsiveness were all super strong.
Let's see if the Ghibli can match up.
Let's face it, if you wanna sell really big volume in the car biz these days, you're doing it with four doors.
Look at a BMW six grand coupe, look at a Pan America Cayenne, now look at Maserati.
For the first time ever, they have two four doors in a line up at once.
Ghibli is the latest.
Now inside the Ghibli, you find a nice Maserati interior.
They've always had a real, sort of a distinctive design, and a real sense of taste.
It is of a lower scale than their upper-range cars, that are absolutely sumptuous.
This one is more like very nice.
Dominated by, as you can see, two LCD screen, a slightly smaller but, ample one here between the gauges, and the big boy, this 8.4 inch center stack unit.
Now, unless you review cars all the time like I do, you may not notice this as a buyer.
But there is that day in the Maserati owner's life, when they're gonna drive to the airport in their Ghibli, fly down to a business meeting, pick up their Dodge Dart rent-a-car, and see the same stuff, that's a black day in their calendar.
The sharing though is just a little awkward, especially in a brand of this prestige.
Everything works well, touch response on this particular implementation, as well, is very quick, big buttons and fast response, I like that.
235, 2nd St., San Francisco, California.
Voice command is also quite good, they give you lots of prompts on the screen, so you know what you can say without memorizing things, and it lets you dictate addresses in one go not piece by piece, I like that as well.
It's only painful once in a while when the garment Nav is full screen giving you directions and looks a little cartoony, in this car, that's jarring.
There are three audio systems available on this car, so we have the full deal, we got the Bowers and Wilkins, 15 speaker, 1,280 watt monster.
Now, I always check a sound system to see what it does to make mediocre sources sound good like highly compressed satellite radio, this one doesn't wow me in that respect.
Feed it a good source, like a high bit rate file here on that SD card, it really comes alive.
Up here behind the mirror you may have noticed cameras looking forward.
This one is part of an intelligent high beams system, it can go into a high beam mode, automatically docking, you can also set it to go manual like a normal car.
There's a town beam mode, which is kind of like a smarter in town low beam.
For customers who live on the continent and cross the channel a lot, this car will figure out what side of the road you're driving and curve the lights appropriate.
Of course, as with almost every Italian car we review, there are little quirks that make it Italian.
These knobs for volume, and for tuning, very important.
They aren't illuminating, at night they're gone.
This shifter is so persnickety and such a slight movement, I defy you to put this car in reverse, accurately three times in a row.
And you're best advised to put your cd's in while you're driving, because when you're in park, you almost can't get the disk in there.
In all, we've got a fairly high functioning cabin with a few quirks, and a really nice sense of style.
Charlie's in the front there, and he's set the seat where it's comfortable.
He six feet tall, very normal height, and I just can't sit behind him.
Not sure if I can close the door, which is a shame because the headroom's phenomenal back here and the trunk is huge, but this is a problem.
Now, the biggest bragging right to any Maserati is under the hood if you're into engines, because you can pretty incredibly say it's got a Ferrari engine, the Maserati design but it is built by Ferrari on the modern a line, so it's got some real pedigree.
This one is a three liter V6, true twin turbo not a two stage single turbo so there's one for each bank on this car.
Direct injection, highly variable cam timing, pretty much all the modern tricks are in here.
Some numbers, 410 horsepower, 405 foot pounds of torque, zero to 60 happens in 4.7 seconds, for a car that weighs over 4,100 pounds.
Yet gets pretty good MPG of 15/25, and all that through an eight speed automatic on all Ghibli no matter which trim you get.
Because we have a Q4 all wheel drive, we of course have all four wheels driven on demand.
That means the rear does all the work normally, but when the car needs traction because of slip or for performance, they can call in the front wheels and get almost a perfect split of traction across the two.
Speaking of perfect splits, by the way, this car's weight on the ground is perfect 50/50, that's pretty good accomplishment.
Yep, got a crick in my back, standing kind of funny.
That's because I got the Maserati key on the right side, oh!
This isn't the biggest heaviest key yet, Maserati say's it's okay it fits in a purse, and you'll never have to use it cuz it's all keyless.
Well it's pushing a quarter pound that thing, compared to an iPhone, it's just about the same league that's huge.
It's interesting driving the Ghibli is quite quick.
But how fast does it feel?
And how fast does it sound?
They spent a lot of time laboring over the exhaust note in this car, give it a lift.
This engine is incredibly smooth, Audi-like, to be honest, that's the first thing that came to mind.
Shifts are quick, especially when you engage two things here, M for manual mode, that's the toggle between manual and automatic, and S for sport mode, also a toggle.
Engage in both and you have your sharpest possible Ghibli.
Now of course we got a turbo V6 instead of a larger V8, what we're looking at here is a car that has very limited turbo lag, but it does have turbo motor feel.
It's not got that immediate kick or grunt, what it does do though is breathe amazingly well.
Once you get to about 2500, wow, there's just no end to the longs on this car.
But that super low bottom end umph, that is definitely got a little delay around it.
Now we start our little Odyssey with the Ghibli I said cheaper, and that's because that's what it is.
We're starting at about $77,000 base on this car.
Then you start to add the Cnet style toy.
The premium set up is 1800 bucks for power, movable pedals, remote start, rain sensor for the wipers, and parking sensors.
The biggest thing on the list though, is Bowers and Wilkins audio, at over $5,000.
I was impressed, not sure I was that impressed, a power sunshade is 670.
A Hotspot, although I wouldn't get it, is $720, the Skyhook Adaptive suspension's a little over three grand.
And if you're gonna splurge on BMW audio you may as well kick in another 1,200, to get laminated sound-deadening glass down the sides of the car, to match that that's in the windshield [UNKNOWN].
Now we're at about 89,500 all in, still comfortably below $100,000 Cnet style, and comfortably differentiated in the Maserati lineup.
You can find our full review of that new Maserati Ghibli at cars.cnet.com.
I've got a little pet theory, check this out.
There are two kinds of people in the world, those with nice, neat, tidy trunks, and those who have trunks that are basically something out of storage wars, you know which one you are.
But if you think about it, there are a lot of safety and technology products you'd probably should carry around in the back of your car, and that's of interest to the smarter driver.
Alright, if you're like most people your trunk is kind of this place of last resort in your car.
Not unlike that place in the ocean where all the plastic gathers and goes around in circles, and never comes out.
State Farm and KRC Research talked to 1,010 U.S. drivers, and found that 60% of them had a lot of non-essential stuff in the boot, while only 9% had the essentials.
That includes jumper cables, road flares or reflectors, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a little water, a blanket and of course a spare tire.
Interestingly, SUV drivers were more likely to have the basics, the right stuff in their trunk, than Sedan drivers by a fair percentage, more of a survivalist mentality, I guess.
Now on top of that list of basics, here are a few things I like to carry in my trunk, you may like to, as well.
First of all, one of these compact, portable jumpstarters, this will jumpstart your car, seriously.
And when you're not using it for that, you've got USB ports to charge your portables.
Some pet food, to attract those strays out there that might need rescue and, can be pretty skittish.
This is also good for you in the next recession.
An FRS radio, you know, a family radio service, but one that runs on double as that you also keep in the trunk.
Most of these are rechargeable, and they're usually dead when you need them, just make sure that doesn't happen.
And here's one if you travel a lot, this is a solar battery tender, you put this on your dash.
You run the other end into your cigarette or 12-volt lighter outlet, and it trickle charges your battery.
You leave your car at the airport for a week or longer, this might save you a dead call to triple A. And one more thing that doesn't literally go into your trunk, but underneath it, is keep at least half tank of gas in your car at all times.
For two reasons, one, your mobile during a disaster, or even if you're gonna shelter in place.
It's a great source to syphon gas for your generator at home.
It pays to double check what's in your trunk and make sure it's more than just old clothes and garbage.
Coming up, how Mercedes sees the future of the dash, when Cnet on Cars rolls on.
We've had some pretty cool crew cars in the past, but the one stands out the most has to be our invincible Toyota Hilux.
Weathering storms, traversing treacherous mountain trails, or wading waist deep through swamps.
But now we've got a new Behemoth in town, the Volkswagen Amarok, and they [UNKNOWN] a relatively blank slate.
It matches the Hilux's imposing stature, but the Hilux's name positively dwarfs it.
Can the Amarok even begins compete with it?
I'm here to put it to the test, and try to see objectively, which one is been the better cruise car.
Buy more from the xcar team of Cnet UK at cnet.com/xcar.
Welcome back to CNet On Cars, coming to you from our home at the Marine Clubhouse of Cars, Dawydiak, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you watched our last episode, you know I mentioned a new segment coming and where starting it now, it's called Road to the Future.
Here we're gonna focus on single technologies that are coming out of the advanced labs, of the carmakers around the world.
We're gonna start now with a nod to the fact that gesture control, and bigger head up displays, are very much the buzz around AutoDome.
We'll take you now to the Mercedes-Benz Silicon Valley lab, just reopened, and a major new facility, where they showed us something called DICE.
Now it's the future of head up displays, Mercedes will put this to you, DICE.
Dynamic and Intuitive Control Experience.
It's a mockup here of a future vehicle, but look what this does.
You see the entire windscreen is being used as a head up display.
Things can appear anywhere in your field of view, not the limited space that we see in cars today.
Interacting with it is also much more immersive.
Your hand can also create this sort of cursor on the screen you see as a grid of dots, so you know where it sees your intention, by your hand movements.
I can put my hand over this restaurant, let's say, and I'll get information about it.
I might see a message come in from one of my contacts, I can push to read it, I can draw down to save it into my main dash, or I can go sideways to discard it for the moment.
The big idea here is to take the HUD, make it expensive, but not make it virtual reality, that would blow out your view.
It remains augmented reality, but with a full scope of vision.
So you're still looking where you would look anyway as a driver.
The size of the head up displays will get larger and larger, and as you get into let's say, a space where you can do augmented reality.
You know, features and innovation like we have shown here in this DICE, in this dynamic and intuitive control experience, will be possible.
You just learned some new gestures instead and of course the fact that we are augmenting reality, is a trend that's bubbling up all over the place in consumer electronics.
To be especially able to project the images you know, further away from the car cuz at the end of the day, driver's are still driving themselves, and that should be the primary task.
Now you may recall Mercedes has been showing Google Glass integrated with their cars, but they don't see you using that while driving.
The main reason why we do not want customers actually to use it while driving is, we cannot control what is being projected on that screen.
We would never allow any information or anything to be distracting you while driving.
Instead Mercedes sees something like glass as a pre-drive informational tool, and then perhaps a last block navigational tool, after you park and arrive.
Additionally it's not completely in your field of view, so, that means that you would have to look away from the road.
Edmonds.com has done a survey of the market that suggests the number of cars who head up display, will have nearly tripled in the lats five years up to nearly 40 models in 2014.
In a moment, top cars of 2014 so far, and why do dashboards suck?
When Cnet On Cars continues.
To some people, an SUV is the be all and end all, yes, they [UNKNOWN] and all that jazz, but What the Macan adds to the mix is a little bit of that DNA.
That something that made Porche [UNKNOWN] the household name that it is today, and you can have some serious fun with it.
It could be your everything car, or you could just park it on the drive and take it to the shops every now and then.
No matter what their intended use is, tell you one thing, this is gonna sell by the thousands.
Find more from the XCAR team of Cnet UK at cnet.com/xcar.
Welcome back to Cnet On Cars, I'm Brian Cooley.
Now let's get to some of your email.
E.J. writes, why is it that car head units are laggy, and poorly designed all together?
Processing guts are no longer expensive as seen on well made $200 tablets, why can't they just use those?
Why can't they hire decent IT experts, to actually make these decent units?
PS, he says, I'm happy just using my AUX jack, my three year old Galaxy S2 smart phone does the job better.
Ouch, DJ you've got a point, there are three things going on here, with a reason that, let's face it, most car head units are not as, good in a general sense, as our smart phone.
First of all, cars are developed on very long lead times, as you know, and they have to lock things early.
So, a car that comes out today, might have been baked, technically, a year or two ago.
Secondly, the components going to your smart phone are not automotive grade.
They can't stand the vibration, the dust, the moisture, the extreme temperatures in a car, just no way.
They can't just take off the shelf consumer electronics and stick it in the dash.
So, that means it's a little more difficult of an innovation cycle, with them and their vendors.
Thirdly, car makers have a lot a hubris and pride, to be honest, they think that they can do, envision, or spec everything in the car the best, but they're starting to realize they don't always.
Notice the integration recently of Apple via CarPlay, Google is coming to dashboards through the Open Automotive Alliance.
And a lot of devices may come to the dash through a technology called MirrorLink.
If you wanna learn more about those, go check out our Episode 39, we dug into all of those.
Now, we're right around the midpoint of 2014 as this show is coming out.
So it's time to do our traditional look at Cnet's latest car reviews, for roughly the first half of 2014, and let you know what the five best cars are in our opinion.
Here are the top five cars, as rated by Cnet, midway this year.
Number five is a tie, the Cadillac ELR and the BMW 428i.
They both got the exact same Cnet score, but these two have little in common otherwise, aside from fifth place, and charting new directions for their makers.
The ELR is Cadillac's sporty upscale Chevy Volt if you will, while the 428 is BMW's way of slicing the three series just a tad too thin.
The other difference is, the four is selling like hotcakes, while a two year supply of ELRs is sitting on dealer lot.
Number four, the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, a sort of gentleman's hot rod, both with four doors and performance beyond your abilities.
Inside the advanced M Drive settings, nicely counterpoint the connected infotainment system.
And it plays out on a huge 10" widescreen, for what is perhaps the best single car, at doing what BMW does for a living.
And isn't it great to walk behind one, and not see a really ugly ****?
Number three, the Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid, I might say, hybridized to be weaponized, pretty good tagline, huh?
Infinity did not drop in the electric motor here, solely for efficiency, shall we say, it's largely there for go-ficiency.
Its also got more cameras than a press conference, and an electric steer by wire system, that launches a new era in production cars.
Inside, gobs of tech you'll use and a fair dose you won't.
Number two is Mercedes 2014 S Class, when Mercedes set out to re-write the S Class, they didn't just get out a clean sheet of paper, they grew a new forest to make the paper from.
What emerged is a big, fast Limo, with cutting edge self steering technology, a vast swath of LCD everything in the dash, but not a single filament light bulb in the whole thing.
Its better in every way than the S before it, and that's not easy.
Our number one rated, 2014 car so far this year is the Audi RS7, its actually my favorite car we've reviewed in years.
It helps you get around the track in a awful big hurry, but then settles down to become this [UNKNOWN] daily driver on the street.
Now, Audi's connected cabin tech needs no introduction, it's really good.
And the seven is perhaps the only four door they make, that people routinely call [UNKNOWN], nice car.
Hope you enjoyed tis episode, thanks for watching.
Don't forget, keep sending us those emails, that's what makes this show go.
Your ideas for topic segments and feedback about our show are always welcome.
I'll see you next time, we check the tech.