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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Technology

Countrymen, Lend Me Your Gears! (Video)

On: Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Chris Salamone


Mini Countryman X-raid test 2

Much has been said about Prodrive-enhanced Minis as the latest and greatest Mini modification. Step aside, Prodrive, X-raid has entered the arena. Sponsored by Monster, the German-based Baja racing team X-raid plans to enter five excruciatingly excellent Minis in a high-stakes South American desert rally race starting January 1, 2012 and concluding two weeks later across the continent.

In addition to five brightly-colored Minis, X-raid also intends to throw in three BMW X3s in the 2012 Dakar rally which spans from Mar del Plata, Argentina to Lima, Peru.


Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever (Video)

On: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda Creates Most Awesome Beer-Pouring Robot Ever test 2

After several years of covering the technology industry, one of the trends that I found was that the entire field of robotics seemed to have been created just so that we had robot-servants to get us beer out of the fridge while we while the days away watching television or tanning on a lounge chair. Forget production automation, space exploration or other potentially life-changing objectives, robot after robot was created to keep man lubricated and jovial with Heineken upon Heineken.

While I ran into numerous beer-popping robots in the technology world, this Honda ASIMO is the first I've come across in the automotive world. It's also one of the most human-like and awesome robots I've seen.


Ford To Update MyFord Touch (Video)

On: Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford To Update MyFord Touch test 2

Despite offering a cutting-edge technological interface, the MyFord Touch system hasn't proven all that popular among reviewers and drivers. In fact, MyFord Touch was a big reason that Ford slid dramatically in Consumer Reports' recent reliability survey.

Ford hasn't let those complaints go unheard. It will simplify the MyFord Touch system beginning with the 2013 Escape, Flex and Taurus models.

The 2013 MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems will get an easier-to-use interface, simplified graphics and faster touchscreen graphics, addressing some of the loudest complaints among existing users. Those existing users will be included in the upgrade, receiving the revised Touch system via a free software upgrade.


Volvo Unveils Pricey Polestar Tuning Option

On: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 1:45PM | By: Chris Salamone


Polestar Volvo C30 test 2

Volvo Cars of North America announced yesterday that factory-approved tuning software would be available for purchase next week. The software can be mated to any new or slightly used Volvos mated with T5 engines sold from model year 2008 and up. Volvo enthusiasts will have something to smile about because official Polestar performance upgrades do not affect that almighty factory warranty, so we can all avoid any sad buyer’s remorse commonly associated with performance purchases and voided warranties.

There is some bad news mixed with the good, however. Volvo’s Polestar tuning option runs a jaw-dropping $1,295 installed, yet adds a mere 23 horsepower and 29 lb.-ft. of torque to upgraded vehicles.


 

BMW Opens Apps To Developers

On: Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 4:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Opens Apps To Developers test 2

 In 2010, BMW became the first automaker to throughly integrate the iPhone into a vehicle with an app-based interface. It launched the interface in the Mini line, with the Mini Connected system. The BMW version followed a year later, and BMW was officially part of the app world.

BMW has been developing apps at two different facilities: one in Mountain View, California and one in Munich. It will add a third facility in China and will open up apps to developers all over the globe, moves that should steadily increase the number and scope of apps available to BMW owners.


BMW Special Sneak Preview On November 9

On: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 4:16PM | By: Peter C Sessler


BMW Special Sneak Preview On November 9 test 2

BMW will host a special sneak-preview event to unveil for the first time in North America what it considers to be the cars of the future: the BMW i3 and BMW i8 concept vehicles. These concepts represent the first purpose-built electric and electric-hybrid vehicles to be made primarily of carbon fiber when they become available in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The unveiling will take place in New York City on Wednesday, November 9th at 11 AM (EST) at Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street between 10th & 11th Avenues).


Mercedes Building Ultralight Carbon Fiber E-Class

On: Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes Building Ultralight Carbon Fiber E-Class test 2

Carbon fiber and other composites are clearly the way of the future. Currently they're primarily seen in race cars and high-end supercars, but assuming that costs eventually drop to a somewhat manageable level, we'd expect to see these type of NASA-esque materials slowly work their way into luxury cars and other more everyday models. After all, carbon fiber is one of the surest ways to save weight and weight savings = more efficient cars, something that every automaker is looking to build.

In a sign that carbon fiber is coming, an Auto Bild report states that Mercedes-Benz is hard at work on an ultralight version of the E-Class. The German automaker plans to cut serious pounds with carbon fiber construction.


Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 9:09AM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid test 2

When Nissan confirmed that it's developing its own hybrid powertrain earlier this month, there were two ways of thinking about a potential plug-in hybrid. On the one hand, it would only make sense to merge the pure hybrid system with the all-electric powertrain of the Leaf to develop a plug-in system that's greener than the Altima Hybrid, but farther-driving than the Leaf. On the other hand, since Nissan was the first major automaker to commit to an electric vehicle, and because the Leaf has had a strong sales start, handily outpacing the Chevy Volt, maybe it would make more sense to focus all R&D efforts on all-electric technology, which offers the greatest long-term potential for clean vehicles.

Well, Nissan is going the safer route, admitting to Reuters that it will launch a plug-in within four years.


Audi Flashes 2013 A4 Models, Including Allroad And S4

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 2:19PM | By: Chris Salamone


2013 Audi Allroad test 2

With a new BMW 3 Series headed to market, Audi has chosen an ideal time to launch a modernized lineup for the currently aging set of A4 models. Expect big changes to overall design and powertrains coming in the summer of 2012, listed as 2013 models, when the next wave of all-new Audi A4s comes to fruition.

From a distance the latest A4 looks very similar to previous generations. However, perusing the pictures, it’s easy to appreciate just how dramatic this redesign will actually be. The front fascia, bumpers, hood, headlights, accent lines, and overall shape have been modernized. The one characteristic that harks to Audi’s past, and may also have the effect of lulling viewers into a false sense of out-datedness, is the vehicle’s stance. The 2013 Audi A4s remain squat, sturdy-looking vehicles.


British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 11:16AM | By: Chris Weiss


British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending test 2

Right now, limited range and the fear of getting stranded by a drained battery—a fear that's colloquially called 'range anxiety'—are the biggest factors hampering the viability of electric vehicles. A car is a means of getting from point A to point B, after all, so if your point A to point B is often, or even occasionally, longer than the 100 miles or so that current generation electric vehicles offer, an EV really isn't a sound option.

In the US and abroad, municipalities and EV charging companies are working to address this issue by installing charging stations. After all, a gas powertrain doesn't have enough range for some longer trips, but, thanks to the fact that there are gas stations in towns and on roadways across the world, this isn't an issue for gas-vehicle drivers. So, once electric charging stations are as diffuse as gas stations, the EV will be viable for everyone, right?

Not so fast, says a U.K.-based Polar Network, an electric charging manufacturer that's been building level 2 charging stations in the U.K. Charging stations are meant to top your juice off, not fully recharge and boost your range.


SSC Tuatara Gear Ratio Testing Video, 0-To-200 MPH In Under 16 Seconds

On: Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Weiss


SSC Tuatara Gear Ratio Testing test 2

Remember the SSC Tuatara? Of course you do. How do you forget a 1,350-hp hypercar with a completely new, sexy Castriotta design and world speed record intentions? You don't. But in case you did, a new video is here to remind you about this awesome supercar.

SSC was out testing gear ratios for its latest car on an Ultimate Aero prototype. As is the company's M.O., it wasn't on any fancy track but on a piece of public road (Shelby's last car, the Ultimate Aero TT, broke the world speed record on a piece of Washington highway).