Most motorcyclists spend the majority of their time dreaming about extremes: cruiser fan-boys fantasize about gliding from coast to coast, adventure riders imagine tackling the harshest of terrain, and wannabe knee-draggers superimpose themselves on a screaming rocket negotiating one of MotoGP’s 18 world circuits. To help you imagine my palpitations as i found myself astride a pulsing 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale R in pitlane of the newly minted Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX; bestill my racing, speed-loving, pre-adolescent heart.
On the surface, Ducati’s latest land missile looks like a boy-racer version of its flagship superbike, with obligatory carbon fiber bits, snazzy white stripes as well as a clearcoated bare aluminum tank. But your hard-earned $29995 (a $7000 premium over the S model) mainly goes to the bike’s mechanicals, whose primary purpose is to beat the area in World Superbike Racing.
Peak power comes 500rpm higher, with maximum revs attained in a bellowing 12000rpm, although the 1198cc L-twin produces the same 195hp as its less expensive stablemate. Ducati also claims the R version returns 18% more torque during full-throttle acceleration from 124mph.
New titanium connecting rods as well as a lighter flywheel trim nearly 3 lb, while a diamond-like coating on the rocker arms ensures safe operation as the famous Desmodromically actuated valves do their business at the top end.
Revised ECU settings boost midrange torque, which resolves with a peak of 98.1 lb-ft. Two extra teeth in the rear sprocket effectively shortens the six-speed’s ratios, balanced with the higher redline to yield a similar top speed as the S model.
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r bike line upadd a bubblier windscreen for high-speed aerodynamics, an aero piece included with the fairing, and an adjustable swingarm to optimize grip or maneuverability. Included with your purchase is a free-breathing, track-only Termignoni exhaust system.
That can bring us to Circuit of the Americas, where Panigale R’s rumbling big-twin feels lusty, alive, and eager to pounce on every and any apex it encounters. Yours truly? Well, sometimes it seems the greatest thing to do at the new track on a fire-breathing bike is kick up the sidestand, click into gear, and go with the 195hp flow. Although with MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden in attendance and running some demonstration laps, the stress was definitely on.
Pitlane is the perfect location for a first taste of the Panigale R: this lonely uphill straight is quickly conquered after easing into first gear, that is engaged by way of a relatively light release of the slipper clutch-enabled left lever.
Set to “Race” mode, throttle response is heightened yet smooth, thanks to the re-mapped injectors. First gear is exploited faster than you are able to say “redline”, and the bike’s quick shifter enables you to tap up to the next gear instantaneously, without bothersome and time-consuming clutch-pulling rigmarole.
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r riding
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r riding
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r rider
The 417 lb Duc leans into the first corner with an inherent feeling of surefootedness, along with the über-sticky Pirelli Supercorsa SC tires – chosen specially for this track due to its relatively virgin tarmac – convey enough steering feel to encourage ballsier entry speeds than you initially thought possible.
Upon exit, ginger throttle application is normal (after all, who wants to be that guy? ), but as confidence mounts, a healthier dose of throttle twist reveals inspiring grip from the 200mm rubber mounted for the forged rear Marchesini wheel.
Gradually quickening the pace around the course requires self and vigilance-control; after all, it’s seductively easy to go in over your face on the high speed, decreasing radius sections like turns 3 through 5, where F1 cars enter at a mind-bending 181mph, and exit in a mere 120mph.
Dial in the touch more throttle, along with the Panigale voraciously chomps at the pavement ahead; grab the right brake lever, and dual 330mm Brembo front discs shrink speed while slamming your man parts from the tank.
Though it roars its way through space, managing this crimson Italian can be a delicate business, even with the electronic safety net – from traction control to electronically adjustable damper ABS and settings – lurking inside the background, promising to save your bacon.
Is Ducati’s 1199 Panigale R the right ride for any well-heeled Tom, Dick or Harry to spend thirty large on? Sure, it’s a high-priced slap in the face to (perfectly capable) road racers like Hondas $13800 CBR1000RR, Yamaha’s $14490 YZF-R1, Suzuki’s $13799 GSX-R1000 and Kawasaki’s $14299 ZX-10R. However the R’s magic lies in knowing you’re straddling some of the most innovative mechanical artistry this side of a World Superbike.
As an unfettered expression of Italian speed and style, the Ducati 1199 Panigale R is one hell of a way to embrace the most, although it may be expensive and can eventually expire into obsolescence like last year’s Paris couture.compression and rebound
Wheels & Tires 17×3.5 f, 17×6 r, 120/70 ZR17 f, 200/55 ZR17 r
Exterior LED lighting
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r cornering
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r at the track
2014 ducati 1199 panigale r ZR17 tires
Power 195hp at 10750rpm
Torque 98.1 lb-ft at 9000rpm
-60 mph N/A
Top Speed N/A
Weight 417 lb
Fuel Economy N/A
Once the 2014 E-Class Sedan received its mid-cycle facelift @@@@@ A revamp of the E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet was inevitable. As a result, both the two-door models wear the four-door’s larger grille, as well as headlights that dispense with the earlier “four-eyed” look in support of two rows of LED on either side. The gaping air intakes on each side of your front license plate also bring a sportier attitude to the handsome new appearance.
Although they’re card-carrying members of the E-Class family, the Coupe and Cabrio have almost no exterior parts in common with the sedan. The styling is sleeker, the windshields more raked, and optional 19 wheels fill their wells with purpose. They also have a shorter wheelbase: 108.7 compared with 113.2”.
For MY14, North American drivers will see the E350 and E550 both in hard- and soft-top form. The former packs a 3.5-liter V6 under its elongated hood, with 302hp and 273 lb-ft, which is shipped to the rear wheels through a seven-speed transmission (the Coupe also comes with optional 4Matic all-wheel drive). The E550 brings a V8 snarl, developing 408hp and 443 lb-ft from 4.6 liters of turbocharged displacement.
Whilst the E550 can reach triple-digit speeds within a ridiculously short time, it’s the E350’s output that will fulfill the demands of the majority of drivers. The smaller engine also results in a lighter front-end, sharpening the steering and giving the nose a crisper turn-in to corners.
Select “Sport” mode for that two-stage adjustable suspension and things become even crisper. But “Comfort” never relinquishes body control, it simply soaks up irritating surface imperfections better. Think of them as two complementary flavors of the same dish.
Amidst its power and magnificence, the E-Class is now legendary for its inventory of safety equipment. Front-facing stereoscopic cameras as well as other radar sensors around the car report to your central “brain” that constantly assesses road conditions, driver alertness and behavior of other road users. It’s then capable of decide whether to brake a wheel or two, or four, to help you avoid a collision. It will flash a stern warning light about the dash or perhaps in the side mirrors to alert you to what it perceives as a potential problem.
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet front fascia
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet v6 DOHC 24v direct injection
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet rolling shot
We reviewed several accident avoidance systems in your earlier E-Class Sedan reviews (EC 6/13 & 7/13), and Mercedes-Benz claims the Cabrio is definitely the safest in their class because of the equipment that also includes standard Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist and 11 airbags to get it beyond dispute.
It’s that the large camera unit is set behind the rearview mirror and takes up lots of real estate if there’s a gripe. The rakishly sloped A-pillars already hamper visibility to an extent, and the two together mean you’ll sometimes crane your neck to view pedestrians or traffic lights properly.
The E-Class Coupe is a fine machine, however. There’s even a respectable amount of space in the back for passengers. It’s not terrible, though getting into the rear quarters might present a challenge.
The Cabriolet also seats four which is possibly the most interesting car of the two. The fabric roof has several layers to keep noise and weather out. It can be operated at speeds of up to 25mph and takes about 25sec to operate.
On top of the windshield is an (optional) retractable flap called Aircap. It deflects wind on the car, not simply over the front seats. There’s also a small deflector involving the rear seats, which means you can conduct a conversation with all the top down at freeway speeds.
The top seats house of one the Cabrio’s most in-demand options: Airscarf. Hot air blows from the vent in the seat at neck level. With the added convenience of heated lower cushions, the auto can easily be driven with the top down even on winter days.
The E550 Coupe will probably tempt hardcore drivers. It’s a fantastic choice therefore we recommend an evaluation drive. But think for the second: since the decision was already made to purchase a two-door E-Class, why not go all the way and have the fun of the Cabrio? And even though the E350’s engine is potent enough, those who don’t mind waiting until next year could possibly get a new 333hp E400 Coupe or Cabriolet, which will replace the E350 versions being a 2015 model.
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet rolling shot
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet center console interior
2014 mercedes benz e class coupe cabriolet airscarf option
2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe
Layout Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive (optional E350 Coupe 4Matic)
Engine 3498cc V6 DOHC 24v, direct injection
Drivetrain seven-speed automatic, shift paddles
Suspension multi-link f&r, Agility Control, electro-mechanical, speed-sensitive steering
Brakes 12.7 discs f, 11.8 r
Wheels & Tires 17×7.5 , 235/45 R17
Peak power 302hp at 6500rpm
Peak torque 273 lb-ft at 3500-5250rpm
Top Speed 130mph
Weight 3619 lb
Economy 20/28/23mpg (city/highway/combined)
MSRP from $52120