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Archive for the ‘Infotainment’ Category

Tesla’s Looking to Hire Designers — Video Game Designers

CEO Musk tweeted that V9.0 will have some Atari video games in it.

by on Aug.02, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to recruit new hires to the company: video game designers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is certainly known for his unconventional approach to his businesses, as well as his proclivity for espousing his ideas about them on Twitter.

Those two things met again recently when Musk put out a call to video game designers.

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“If you’re into video game development, consider applying to Tesla,” Musk tweeted Wednesday. “We want to make super fun games that integrate the center touchscreen, phone & car [in real life].” (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

The hills are alive with the sound of…a 715 hp V-12.

by on Aug.01, 2018

The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera becomes the 3rd in what will become a 7-model line-up.

We’re not quite at the top of the world, but from our perch high up in the quaint Bavarian mountain town of Berchtesgaden, one can see nearly forever. But it’s the guttural roar echoing off the steep and rocky Alpine cliffs that has caught our attention. Faint, at first, it grows ever louder, until the sleek GT coupe pops into view, racing through the mountain pass towards our hotel. The good news is that the driver will soon be handing us the keys to the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, the car we’ve crossed an ocean to drive.

Low, wide and finished in what Aston dubs “satin xenon” paint, the Superleggera has an imposing presence. Not surprisingly, it bears a strong resemblance to the DB11 that came to market barely a year ago, as well as the more aggressive Aston Vantage that followed. Indeed, all three share their underlying platform, albeit with some notable revisions to DBS to handle its incredible power. It is, in fact, the third in what the British automaker promises will be a series of seven distinct models and, for at least the moment, replaces the familiar Vanquish nameplate – though there are hints that badge may yet return.

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The DBS Superleggera also shares the same 5.2-liter twin-turbo V-12 found in the DB11, albeit with some notable revisions, including significantly more boost, meant to punch it up to a spectacular 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. With its heavy emphasis on lightweight carbon fiber, the 2+2 weighs in at around 3,725 pounds. Do the math and you’re talking about a foreboding power-to-weight ratio that allows for 0 to 60 launches in a mere 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph. It also gives Aston bragging rights when compared to a Ferrari 812 Superfast, which has about 147 lb-ft less torque.

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Audi Rolls Out All-New, 2019 Q3

Crisper exterior, bigger interior, more tech toys.

by on Jul.26, 2018

Audi has a new entry for the small luxury utility market that is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S.: the 2019 Q3.

Audi has been moving on two critical trends in the luxury car market, both moving both down-market and expanding its presence in the fast-growing utility vehicle market. It scored with the original Q3 that combined both trends into one package and, for 2019, it’s hoping to hammer another one out of the park with the second-generation of its compact crossover.

The Q3 comes along at a busy time for Audi which, among other things, is also launching a new range-topper, the big Q8 utility vehicle. For the U.S., the Q3 is the smallest crossover it offers, and the all-new version comes just four years after the North American debut of the original.

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The new model grows in every dimension, both outside and in, while also adopting a bolder, more muscular appearance that bears the clear stamp of Marc Lichte, Audi’s design director who came onboard a few years back, promising to shake up the brand’s styling language. But what may particularly appeal to the generally younger buyers is that the 2019 Audi Q3 features a suite of new, high-tech features. (more…)

Internet Connectivity Becoming Commonplace in US Cars

More than half of motorists connecting to internet in car, study suggests.

by on Jul.02, 2018

Ford is offering Waze and its turn-by-turn directions and alternate routing based on current traffic conditions.

The cliché says that the world is shrinking, however, these adages are often born out of a significant truth and if you look at the automotive world, it’s definitely true.

A new study from Metova, which produces mobile, connected car, connected home and IoT Solutions,shows that more than half of respondents own a car that connects to the internet – either direct or via phone, while two-thirds would switch to a different entertainment service if that service is readily available in their new vehicle.

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The connection to the “outside” world in vehicles originally took form in getting wifi internet access in the car, truck or minivan. However, now with services like Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto combined with infotainment systems from automakers, vehicles – and people – are more connected than ever. (more…)

Volvo Hopes to Electrify Customers – and Investors

All-electric models now expected to generate half its sales by mid-2020s, with 1/3 self-driving.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with the marque's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo took a lead in the push into electrification last year, announcing it would use some of battery-based drive system on all future products, whether mild, conventional or plug-in hybrids, or pure battery-electric. And, last January, it gave us a hint of what that first BEV would be with the debut of its 40.2 concept.

The production version will follow in 2019 and, if Volvo’s latest forecast is any indication, so will plenty of other all-electric models, as the Swedish automaker now says it wants them to generate half of its sales by mid-decade.

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The mid-term plan Volvo is laying out is nothing if not ambitious. It also predicts that half of the Chinese-owned automaker’s sales will come from self-driving vehicles, and that half of its volume will come through its Care by Volvo subscription service, rather than conventional sales and leasing. Oh, and add a goal of boosting volume – and profitability – to match other premium manufacturers.

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More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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First Drive: 2019 Acura RDX

Design, performance and tech add up in an appealing new package.

by on May.31, 2018

Acura has delivered an almost entirely ground-up remaker of its compact RDX crossover for 2019.

Its been more than three decades since Acura helped redefine the luxury car market, the original Legend model proving a Japanese sedan could stand up against key European and American competitors. But what would Honda’s highline brand bring to market if it were to debut today? The answer is pretty much unambiguous: a ute. Or, more precisely, a crossover like the new 2019 Acura RDX.

It’s not just the names on the field that have changed since Acura’s 1985 debut. The luxury market has, like more mainstream segments, rapidly shifted from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs in a broad array of sizes and shapes. And the good news for Acura is that while its traditional passenger car models have lagged behind, it has done reasonably well with utility vehicle offerings like the big MDX. But it’s the compact CUV market where most of the growth is taking place, so it’s no surprise that Acura has put so much effort into developing the third-generation RDX model.

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The Japanese marque has focused on three key pillars: design, performance and technology. And the payoff is readily apparent. While there are limits to what you can pull off with a so-called “two-box” design, the RDX is one of the more handsome CUVs to reach market lately, while also delivering a fun-to-drive experience. Add to that an array of new comfort, convenience and safety systems – though not everyone is going to be enchanted by the RDX’s distinctive True Touch controller.

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Acura Launches NextGen 2019 RDX at $37,300

Add $6,200 for reborn A-Spec.

by on May.29, 2018

With the launch of the 2019 RDX, Acura brings back the A-Spec performance design package.

Acura was the first of the Japanese luxury brands but, in recent years, it has lagged behind rivals Lexus and Infiniti. Could the stars finally be coming together for Honda’s high-line marque, however?

While Acura’s passenger car models continue to struggle, the automaker has done far better with its SUV line-up, and it expects to gain even more ground with a complete makeover of the compact RDX. The timing likely couldn’t be better considering the U.S. luxury market’s accelerating shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. Add the fact that Acura is bringing back the A-Spec version of the RDX for 2019.

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The first new model to really deliver on the promises of Acura new Precision Concept design language, the 2019 model offers an array of new and updated features, from its new turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplant to a completely redesigned infotainment system dubbed AcuraLink with True Touch. But what may garner even more interest is the fact that the 2019 Acura RDX starts at the same price as the outgoing, 2018 model: $38,295, which includes $995 in delivery charges. (more…)

Tesla Model 3 Not Faring Well in Media Spotlight

Consumer Reports, Edmunds point out problems with new sedan.

by on May.21, 2018

Tesla's Model 3 isn't getting the rave reviews from some media outlets the company would like.

Tesla’s Model 3 is slowly working its way on to the driveways of the tens of thousands of folks who ordered one — including Consumer Reports and Edmunds, and the results are not what the EV maker had hoped.

Consumer Reports said it “found plenty to like about the luxury compact sedan (which starts at $35,000 but goes all the way up to $78,000), including record-setting range as well as exhilarating acceleration and handling that could make it a healthy competitor to performance-oriented cars such as BMW’s 3 Series and the Audi A4.”

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However, it quickly pointed a few flaws in the new model, primarily long stopping distances in the magazine’s emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls, that prevented it from earning a recommendation. (more…)

Ford Offers New Waze to Help Drivers Deal with Traffic

Traffic app being integrated into Sync 3

by on May.17, 2018

Ford Motor Co. now has Waze available for navigation for use through Sync 3.

Millions of Ford customers have purchased vehicles with built-in navigation technology, and the latest versions often come with the ability to show where traffic is backed up. But the Metro Detroit-based automaker plans to take things a step further.

Owners will now be able to access the Waze app through Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Waze, which was developed in Israel and then purchased by Google for $1.3 billion in 2013, goes beyond traditional navigation programs. It offers up routes that are designed to specifically avoid traffic, often detouring off clogged freeways and main arteries onto back roads and through residential neighborhoods.

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There is a caveat, however. First shown at the Consumer Electronics Show last winter, the feature will only be able to work on Ford vehicles with the carmaker’s latest infotainment system, Sync 3. And, at least initially, it will only be available for those with an Apple iPhone using a relatively recent operating system, iOS 11.3 or later. (more…)

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