Yeti in Namibia, Valmet Saved, and VW’s Blue GT

Each week, our German correspondents chime in and chop the most recent thunder, information and quick-hit driving impressions from the opposite facet of the pond. His byline might say Jens Meiners, however we simply name him. , , continental.

I simply received again from spending per week in Namibia with Skoda, the Czech subsidiary of Volkswagen. I used to be amongst eight journalists who have been accompanied by two koda PR guys and two guides on a convoy with 5 koda Yeti compact crossover automobiles within the East German colony. The primary car was, considerably fittingly, a Volkswagen—an Amarok pickup.

The journey supplied a wonderful alternative to follow my off-road driving expertise. Based mostly on Volkswagen’s PQ35 platform, probably the most distinguished spinoff of which is the Golf, the all-wheel-drive Yeti is a surprisingly succesful off-roader. Within the deep sand, the key was to maintain tempo; An ally needed to be taken out by Amarok as soon as after being high-focused (the Yeti’s floor clearance is nothing spectacular). Rocky stretches weren’t a lot of a problem, because of the crossover’s skid plates. There isn’t any low-range switch case, however the diesel proved to be fairly torquey within the terrain we encountered. Stability on gravel was distinctive as much as three-digit speeds. Drift was restricted, a fault of a stability-control system that might not be turned off.

Skoda Yeti

I like the type of the Yeti, which was conceived by Peter Wooda, now head of exterior design at VW’s Potsdam Design Studio. They drew the Geneva and Frankfurt idea automobiles in 2005, and the general public response was so constructive that the venture was fast-tracked into manufacturing with out compromise. On this uncommon case, the choice was made after the idea automobile was proven, not earlier than. Curiously, the venture’s inner title inside koda Design was Yeti: it was nice off-road, however nobody was positive it will ever be seen. Behind the wheel, the sense of accuracy that permeates all VW Group merchandise is nicely current. I will take a Yeti over a Nissan Qashqai or a Hyundai Tucson anytime.

2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Saving the Finnish Auto Business

Valmet is saved. The proud Finnish coachbuilder has constructed a number of profitable automobiles previously, together with the Saab 900 and Porsche’s Boxster/Cayman sibling. A number of years in the past, champagne was flowing when Valmet gained the contract to provide the Fixer Karma, at a fee of about 15,000 yearly. As an alternative, with each delay, Karma began trying like the ultimate nail within the coachbuilder’s coffin. I’ve heard about 3000 have been constructed to date, with over half nonetheless unsold.

However now Valmet has orders to construct greater than 100,000 Mercedes-Benz A-Class fashions from 2013 to 2016 – a determine that may actually be relied upon. Elevating manufacturing so shortly will likely be a significant problem, and Valmet’s high quality and efficiency will likely be intently monitored. However the firm is actually transferring additional and upward. Valmet can also be near securing contracts with different automobile makers.

Volkswagen Polo BlueGT

dangerous and good in vw

Within the meantime, I hear that VW Group is going through so many issues with its panoramic sunroof that provider Webasto is dropping the key contract. The unsuccessful Beetle launch was solely the tip of the iceberg. The ramp-up of the non-obligatory panoramic roof was so gradual that many sellers received the primary batch with a set roof as a substitute.

After a disappointing expertise with the cylinder-deactivation system within the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8—sure, it delivers higher mileage, but it surely looks like a 3.2-liter 4 bar—I used to be curious concerning the Volkswagen Polo BlueGT, which has a 1.4- liter TSI EA211 engine geared up with cylinder shutoff. (Learn our deep dive into the engine’s expertise.)

Volkswagen Polo BlueGT

The TSI does not have a stability shaft, however it’s a light-weight rotating machine and a dual-mass flywheel with a really comfortable setting for two-cylinder mode and a tough setting for four-cylinder mode. You may solely inform the distinction in case you pay numerous consideration – which my co-driver, fellow journalist Alexander Ostern, and I did. After VW stated we could not find the Swap, we made a recreation to guess the mode with out trying on the indicator on the dashboard. We have been proper greater than 75 % of the time. Then again, even in two-cylinder mode, the engine runs extra easily than most different engines on this class. It is even sooner: The Polo BlueGT reaches 62 mph in a claimed 7.9 seconds, and high velocity is 130 mph. VW engineers have outdone themselves with this automobile and engine.

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