Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 8) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held its annual Fall Rally last week, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive 70 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally offered journalists plentiful opportunities to put brand-new vehicles through their paces on track, on street and off road. The vehicle lineup was robust, ranging from a 2019 BMW i8, a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, a 2019 GMC Sierra Denali to a 2019 Subaru Forester, to name just a few.
Lexus kicked off the morning with a breakfast presentation to highlight the all-new 2019 ES – short for “elegant sedan” – including the ES 300h and first-ever ES 350 F Sport. Bob Gleich, education administrator at Lexus College, delivered the presentation.
“The seventh-generation luxury sedan offers a more daring design, sharpened performance, advanced active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment,” said Gleich. “We were thrilled to be able to show off the vehicle’s dynamic capabilities at the MAMA Fall Rally, a key area for the Lexus brand.”
The Lexus ES features an all-new Global Architecture-K platform – enabling a new, more daring design, a new level of dynamic performance and a new sense of confidence for the driver. All versions of the ES feature the new Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. Already one of the most sophisticated systems of its kind, LSS+ 2.0 adds new features that further expand its capabilities such as daytime bicyclist detection and low light pedestrian detection. The ES is also Amazon Alexa-enabled, so drivers can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions, including car-to-home and home-to-car commands.
Lexus had both the ES 300h and ES 350 F Sport on hand for media to test-drive.
Following the morning session of driving on track, on street and off road, Maserati refueled Fall Rally attendees with lunch and a presentation on the 2019 Maserati Levante.
Matt McAlear, head of product marketing for Maserati North America, led the presentation on the Levante, which is positioned as a good value compared to its competitors in the luxury SUV segment. While the base “S” model starts at $75,980, McAlear focused on the GTS trim level, which hovers around $119,000.
“Our all-new 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo and GTS SUVs represent the pinnacle of modern-day Maserati engineering. Their Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged V8 engines and standard all-wheel-drive systems are perfect for conquering any Midwest road, no matter the conditions,” said McAlear.
“Presenting the 550-horsepower Levante GTS to the Midwest Automotive Media Association marks another important step as Maserati continues to grow in the Midwest and across North America.”
Maserati didn’t miss the opportunity to have a Levante GTS on hand for media members to take for test drives.
Throughout the day, journalists had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included a 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel, 2019 GMC Sierra AT4, 2019 Subaru Forester, 2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 4MOTION.
MAMA also encouraged members to test-drive contenders for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and the new-for-2019 Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award. To qualify, candidates for each category must be four-door, family-capable vehicles and be present at our spring or fall rallies. Voting MAMA members chose the following FVOTY finalists at the 2018 Fall Rally: the 2019 Honda Pilot, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2019 Nissan Altima, 2019 Subaru Ascent and 2019 Subaru Forester. The LFVOTY finalists are the 2019 Lexus ES and the 2019 Maserati Levante. These finalists will join our 2019 Spring Rally finalists for a final round of online voting to decide the overall winner in each category.
Both the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award winners will be announced at the MAMA opening breakfast during the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 7.
The MAMA Fall Rally is one of two track events the organization hosts each year. MAMA also hosts monthly meetings for its members; the upcoming-event schedule can be found at www.mamaonline.org.
Photo Credit: Christian Lantry, Cars.com
About the Midwest Automotive Media Association
The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) is a professional non-profit press association, with a 27-year history, that brings together automotive journalists and manufacturers to provide a platform for automakers to release news. MAMA's membership has grown to more than 260 members and includes journalists covering print, broadcast, and online, as well as media-relations professionals within the automotive industry. For more information, visit www.mamaonline.org.