In this episode, Hannah fights LA's worst traffic using the Mercedes-Benz Level 3 Drive Pilot system that beat Tesla to advanced hands-free driving. Matt drives the Nissan Z Nismo Edition around Manhattan but he barely fits inside the cabin, and he really needs a manual gearshift. Then, Hannah and Matt discuss the merits of electric sedans like the BMW i7 and Porsche Taycan--can you cross-shop those against a Volvo XC90? Plus, Matt wants a Porsche 911 S/T or a Porsche 911 R, but Hannah says the S/T is a cash grab and the R is wildly expensive even if you can find a used one. And maybe the Porsche 911 Carrera T is better pound for pound, anyway?
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I'm Hannah Elliott and I'm Matt Miller. This is hot pursuit. All right. Coming up on the podcast, we're gonna talk about a self driving Mercedes, the new drive pilot technology. Hannah tested it out. Have they beaten Tesla to the punch. We're also going to talk about the BMW I seven. This is the fully electric version of their seven series, their flagship executive limousine. Hannah's driving it this week. I have driven it before and it gave me ideas for the next car that I need. Plus, we'll talk about Porscha. They came out with earnings that were obviously good because they're Porsche. I'm also driving a much cheaper I guess caman competitor in a way that we'll talk about, and they could electrify them a con. I want an ST. I tried to get a nine to eleven R. There's so much to talk about in terms of Porsche. But hey, let's start with the Mercedes Drive Pilot, which is their level three autonomous driving system. Tell us about it. Yeah, I have to say this is the big deal because Tesla has been talking about their full self driving for years and they do sell something that they're calling full self driving FSD, but it actually requires a bit of hands on the wheel and attention on the road. So Mercedes swoops in with something they're calling drive Pilot, which is level three driving, which does not require your hands on the wheel ever, and doesn't require your eyes on the road. So literally you can sit back and read a book, or watch a video, or have video conference calls, or watch a movie play on your phone. So it is kind of a big deal. There are limitations that we can talk about, but as somebody who's not especially excited about the idea of self driving in general, I have to say it did kind of win me over. I was pretty impressed. Yeah, so let's talk first about the benefits of self driving technology before we get into the limitations on the Mercedes system, and also the cost, which I think is interesting. You live in one of the most congested places on the planet, so for you it can actually like make your life better. Yeah, that's really true. And I actually when I tested it, it was on the Tin which basically goes, you know, from downtown out to the ocean, and I used to drive that way every day to work. It is some of the most horrible traffic in town. And the benefit was that I was in my car, but it felt like I had a driver, and that was a huge thing for me. I mean, the idea of having a driver is such a great luxury, and this technology, this drive pilot, really did make it feel like that. It drives the car for you. It only drives the car for you on highways that have two lanes or more and that have a solid barrier down the center. So this is already getting into some of the imitations. But the benefit is I got a lot of things done on my way to work, like answering emails, I was looking at videos, I was playing on Instagram. That's a huge benefit. And in a more general sense, I was a lot less peeved and annoyed by the time I got to the office, having not have had to fight with you know, people that I think are terrible drivers. I think we can agree that Prius drivers are the worst. I did not have to fight these people on my way into the office, and that was a huge benefit because the car took care of it. Yeah. So I mean for me, for my commute, I drive into Manhattan from Scarsdale every day. It's an hour in the morning, really and an hour on the way back. And I like to pretend that I can drive a lot myself, but the truth is I'm mostly in bumper to bumper traffic, and it would be awesome if I could do work, you know, while while I was driving. The problem is I'm sometimes slowed to a halt, like when I'm heading on, for example, to Henry Hudson. But also there are times when I'm doing sixty you know. It's like back and forth, back and forth. And one of the main limitations of this system I know from reading your story on the Bloomberg Terminal, is that it doesn't work above forty miles an hour. So I just can't imagine how it would work for me, because it would be awesome for a few minutes and then all of a sudden, what it just stops working. Yeah, actually, yes, that's exactly right. It is awesome. And then if you need to speed up and you push the gas or you even want to change lanes, it just cancels out the system. So this is actually an interesting note because level two driving will change lanes for you. It's kind of like a glorified cruise control or if you've heard of jam super cruise. It's basically that Level three will fully drive the car for you and you don't have to touch the steering wheel at all, but it won't change lanes. And it also is only legal right now in California and Nevada and Germany, so there are limitations. Yeah, and that I mean to me, it's kind of like a deal breaker because, yeah, I need it to be able to go more than forty that's really slow if you think about it. Yeah, but I guess it'll come. As you wrote that, they're pushing to get to eighty miles an hour as the next milestone, which is going to be I think when it really works, well maybe in LA people will drive faster than that on the ten. But I think one of the coolest parts of the story is that they have like special designated tail lights that are not police blue, but they're kind of like lavender, And there's a picture in the story and I thought that looks so cool. So eventually you're going to be able to know when other people have automated driving on Yeah, those lights are very cool, and they're actually primarily so that law enforcement know that this car is being driven automatically and not by a human. It's the lights actually have not yet been approved for new models, but they're trying to get Mercedes is trying to get that color approved. You know, they have to run everything through the standards and regulations to make them legal. But on these tester cars that we had, they did have these like very it's like almost a teal, just like you say, And that is largely so law enforcement know that the car is being driven autonomously and not so. You know, if a cop sees you and you're like watching a video on your phone, he doesn't pull you over. Basically all right to me. The only other problem with this is, you know, I like to do extreme tailgating, so I'm right on your bumper if you're in front of me in the left lane, because I don't think you should be in the left lane. It's only for passing, and I'm the one who's trying to pass. Also, I don't like it when someone ducks in front of me, you know, trying pass on the right and cut in front of me. So rude. And it doesn't follow that closely, does it. No, it doesn't. And if you try to follow that closely, it'll just cancel the system. So yeah, I don't I agree with you. I don't like that these new programs don't allow aggressive driving, because sometimes we do need to drive aggressively. I like your term extreme tailgating. That sounds like a hobby kind of and maybe that should go on our list of hobbies. I've taken that from college football. Yeah, fandom. That's that's very good. And you know, I think these are all steps forward. Level five is the top level of autonomous driving, and that is basically a robotax, you know, something that totally drives itself for you. So we're at level three. It's a new threshold that's been passed. They're trying to get it up to speed, no pun intended, and you know we're moving in that direction. Well it is sometimes you really do feel like you need a driver. So let's move on to the next topic, and that is what are you driving this week? You have the BMW I seven, which is the EV version of the you know, legendary seven series. I had a chance at it, and I have serious thoughts. But tell me what you're thinking about driving it right now? Well, you know what, I surprisingly kind of liked it and currently like it, and it's really funny because last week I had the BMW XM was not so much of a fan. That review is coming out next week where I'll really go on my rant about the XM. So I kind of got into the I seventh, you know, with a little bit of a cringe in my neck. But I started sort of listing out all the things that I was thinking about the I seven, and I looked at the list and I realized, wait a second, these are all positives pretty much. You know, it's very comfortable, it's large, and I think if you want a large car, this is this is great. It certainly feels more luxurious than competitors like the Porscha Ta Can or any of the Tesla models. I think it actually is priced pretty fairly. Starting prices around one hundred and seven thousand. There are tons of ops, a bunch of executive packages you can get that will make it a lot more expensive, but I actually think the starting price is pretty fair. Does this ring any bells for what you thought about it, Matt? Yeah? For me, mostly positives. I absolutely loved it, and I feel like my test drive in the I seven was almost life changing. Wow. Oh, I love the brand. I'm a huge fan of BMW and I always have been. I now have a greater appreciation for big executive limousines, and I didn't really give them much thought previously. No, I was in Stuttgart with all the Colonias when they put out the new S class, and it was cool to be in Stuttgart and to be with Ola, But I didn't really care about the S class, like I'm not buying one of those things. But this, to me kind of showed what's possible there. First are some negatives, though, I think it's the ugliest of all the executives. Sedan's, I mean, the split headlights up front reminds me of a Fiat Multipla, and I don't I don't know how the designer, the designers at BMW have been getting away with what they've been getting away with since Chris Bangle. I just don't get who approves all that junk. The other thing is not not specific to BMW, but with all electric cars. It makes me nervous watching the range tick down and realizing that at some point I'm going to have to fight some other adults for a position at a charger, or find that all the chargers that I just got to are broken. Or realized that charging it at my house is going to take like thirteen hours, like you know, just it's not a good experience for me yet. Electric electric car the range thing for sure is real. I have to I actually think it looks kind of cool. I don't know what color you had when you drove it, but I've got this sort of matt blacked out everything black. It's brown, real what it's a very dark brown. Yeah, I had the same color. I love it. Yeah, see, I think that's so cool. Well, I actually think, you know, Adrian von hoydnk is the is the current design director, and he I do like I do like his esthetic. I mean, I remember Chris Bangle was a bit controversial back in the day. People he was polarizing back in the day. And sometimes I think these things tend to age better than when they're first presented on the market. So the looks didn't bother me. My question is what did you think about the sound? This sort of fabricated electric were you know? And so in other electric cars the sound has made a big impression on me. In the EQUS by Mercedes, I really liked the fake sound that they pump into the cabin they've got to make it have some kind of sound so that you know you're driving, and so that other people know you're driving. I didn't notice it in the BMW, just because I was so positively impressed by the driving manners of this giant, hulking vehicle. It was so much fun to drive. Part of that is down to the electric drive train, which is I think flawless. But another part of it is that BMW focuses so much on the structure, on the rigidity, on you know, they what's their tag one, the ultimate driving machine. It really is true, whether you're talking about the the two series, which I love, or the seven series, which I love. I also really like the way what do you call the UX you know, the way you interact with the car's infotainment system. I've loved it since day one of the eye drive and I still love it. And obviously the materials, the build quality, like it's all a one in my opinion, Yeah, yeah, I agree, I'd buy it. I wish this daring was a little bit tighter. I think it feels slightly numb, but then I go back to, well, this is a huge executive sitan and honestly, if that means that the backseat is just really smooth and totally cocoon from the world. Then that's fine. I'm not going to like quibble with that. Really, So my house, so the reason that changed my life is that we have, you know, a baby now and a baby on the way, and so my life is all about rear facing car seats. And we have a Volvo XC ninety as the kind of family truckster at my house. But the Mercedes, sorry, the BMW seven series, I think is a Volvo XC ninety killer. And no one else is cross shopping these cars, but I think they should be because the stretch rear of an executive sedan. And it's true about I'm sure the S class or the S eight two is perfect for rear facing car seats. There's never enough room in even the biggest SUVs, the biggest European SUVs, for rear facing car seats without moving the passenger seat forward or moving the driver's seat forward, and so I think this is ideal. Plus, you know, it's the top of technology and luxury and everything that a car maker can do. The BMW seven Series, same with the Mercedes S Class, but they are so expensive to start I think the the BMW M seven sixty, which is the one I love, just they just stopped making it. With the V twelve. It was one sixty five to start, and I've seen them two or three years old with twenty or thirty thousand miles. They're clearly coming off lease for sixty five. Wow, it's just massive depreciation. So now it puts it in the range of an XC ninety plus. I get it's a BMW. It's so much more fun to drive, and in the case of the M seven sixty, it's a V twelve and it's the last one they're ever gonna make. So my next car is gonna be I'm gonna say it a BMW M seven sixty as soon as I convince my wife that she doesn't need evolthough the BMW is just as safe and even better if you have two kids. I like, I really like that. I think you've convinced me. I can totally see that, And I can also see the partners sort of saying, well, it's not enough, and you know it doesn't have the catch back loader. But I can actually see it. I can kind of buy what you're saying. Let's go to topic number three, which is like Porsche in general. Because I have a million questions for you about Porsche, I will first say that I'm this week, I'm driving the little Nissan Z and I'm actually driving the supposedly pre production version of the Nismo edition for next year. It's an awesome car. I've driven the ZB four. I love the total late seventies early eighties styling, but I think it needs a stick in order to be fun. There's no way I'm squeezing myself into something that tiny unless I'm using a manual transmission. Also, I'm just too big that they clearly made it for the Japanese market. Americans just don't fit in them. How tall are you, Matt, I'm six four. And the reason I bring up the Nissan with the Porsche's that I think it's a pretty clear competitor to a Cayman or a Boxer right in that it's just a very small, dedicated sports car. It's obviously much cheaper and doesn't have the status of a Porsche. But if you're in the market for one of these tiny little things, I don't think it matters that it's front engine instead of mid engine. I would put it up against a Cayman any day. Yeah, that's cool. Did they say what the Nismo Edition gets? You? Like? Is what extra? Does that mean? They probably do get just paint. I wasn't paying attention. No, I think it's more than more than paint. But I quickly passed it along to Barry Ritholtz, and because his wife, I think, really wants to buy one, so I thought might as well give him a chance in it. But it's a competitor to the Cayman, although probably not a lot of people will be cross shopping the two, they're not in the same exact price range. In terms of Porscha. I just have a million questions for you. So what do you think about the Taikon? I mean, what do you think about Porsche's uh drive into electric? Well, I think the Porscha Tekon was the first electric sedan that was really better than Tesla and was the first one that really showed what a proper professional car company with heritage and real German engineering can do when they decide to go electric. Because before that we had obviously some other electric vehicles out there, but if you wanted a quote unquote luxury electric sedan, Tesla was the only option. And so when Porsche finally brought up the Taykon and I remember that debut it was like twenty eighteen, I believe at Niagara Falls. It was a big deal. It was like finally, finally, like the actual big guys who've been doing this for seventy five years are going to bring a competitor, so we're not stuck having to satisfy our craving for evs with Tesla, which is not a luxury experience. Yeah, no, it's very spartan. I don't know if Portia has cracked the the range nut, because it seems like that's one of the things that Elon Musk has really been able to do. But yeah, I went to the I went to the launch on the Polish border is where they had it in Germany. I rode my multi Strata out there and I was impressed. But Walter Rural, who was the you know, the famous Elly driver, he was testing it, apparently for Portia, and he made a comment some something along the lines of it's the greatest car I've ever driven in terms of power, delivery and handling, but I would never buy one, which I thought it totally sums up the way I feel about it as well. That's fine, and honestly, I'd expect nothing less from this old guard of driver, of racing champion, especially someone who made their entire career on you know, a certain engine. I I would expect nothing less from him. It's definitely a different proposition, but I know that the market wants it, you know. I noticed in Q three earnings sales of the Taie Hun are up more than fifty percent year over year, and so I think as long as as many as Porschia can make, they will probably be able to sell. Now I want to ask about some of the special editions because when they came out with the nine to eleven are I was like, I felt like I was at the front of the line, or at least one of the first people to know about it. And when I tried to buy all, they said, no, it's already been sold out. Now they have another real purest nine to eleven in the st, which is exactly what I want. You know, I don't want any of the crazy technological enhancements. I just want a big, naturally aspirated flat six in the back and you know, a nine to eleven that can steer. Why do they charge so much and make so few of these perfect vehicles and then only offer us the vehicles that we know aren't nearly as good. The short answer is because they can. And I have to say, I love your impulse to go for the nine to eleven R, because, as opposed to the ST, which I'll get to in a second, the R has a specific vehicle from nineteen sixty seven that it's taken off of. If you remember, the sixty seven nine to eleven R was a actual race car. They made fewer than twenty five of them. It was an actual real car, never available to the public, but it actually was an actual racing car. Now, the STS from the seventies were not actually a real car. You could sort of buy a nine to eleven and spec it to ST specs. It's a combination of the nine to eleven S and the nine to eleven T, but there was no actual portion nine to eleven ST sold. You had to kind of spec it yourself from the factory. So the fact that Porsche is now offering almost three hundred thousand dollars nine to eleven ST with a very unfortunate optional heritage livery on it just seems a bit like a cash grab. The new nine to eleven R I could kind of see. They made nine hundred and ninety one of them because it was built on a nine to nine to one chassis, so that's, you know, sort of creative. But those I just checked on bring a trailer this morning. One sold in June for almost four hundred thousand dollars and that's used. So the nine to eleven RS, I can actually see the reason. But the st to me, feels like a straight up cash grap and they've got the same engine in that that they have in the GT three RS, so it's like, spend less money, get an actual proper GT three. That's my rant. I think I would go for the tea at this point because I'm getting old enough. Yes, the Caarer tee is a nine to eleven is a thinking man's nine eleven because you get everything you need nothing you don't. Also, it's way more livable. Let's not forget to use stands for touring. It's way more livable. It's honestly like the smart adult choice. It's a better compliment that I've been given in years. But I appreciate the compliment. We have the same choice in nine to eleven New nine to elevens. That does it for the podcast this week. I want listeners to know you can tune into my radio show every weekday from ten am to one pm. You can watch me on Bloomberg TV from one pm to two pm most weekdays as well, and I'm on Instagram at Matt Miller nineteen seventy three. I'm on Twitter on the same handle, but I don't really tweet that much. And if you want to find me, you can find me on Bloomberg dot com under Bloomberg Pursuits. That's where all of my car coverage lives. You can find me on Instagram at Hannah Elliott XO. That's Hannah Elliott with two l's, two t's, two h's QE of everything. And you can also find me on on Twitter splash x, although I'm not on there very much these days either. All right, catch Hot Pursuit again next week, same time, same place. I'm Matt Miller, I'm Hannah Elliott, and this is Bloomberg
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