A number of Audi purists (and a couple of intenders around the office) groaned when I showed them the new S5 with its V6. And it turns out they are on to something. Not that the car isn't responsive, but there is a point where the power flattens out right when you think it will keep coming. You actually have to be good about selecting gears and reading the situation ahead. Welcome to the new downsized world -- and to actually driving, not just throttle pressing. … Read more
During today's event announcing the new iPhone and iPod, Apple V.P. Phil Schiller spent a little time talking about the Lightning connector, the port replacing the old 30-pin port on iOS devices. Although Schiller pointed out how Apple's adapter for the port would ensure backward compatibility, some car models are not likely to work with Lightning or the new adapter.
Schiller specifically mentioned how the adapter would work with existing iPod integration in cars, showing an image of an iPhone cabled to a car. The car shown in the photo was an Audi, identifiable by the distinctive … Read more
BMW started the trend in 2004, offering native integration between car and iPod. Now almost every new car sold has some method of plugging in an iPhone or iPod. This integration is very convenient for drivers, as they can select music from the device through a car's own stereo controls.
However, reports of a smaller, 19-pin connector for the iPhone 5, replacing the current 30-pin connector, may bork iPhone integration with car stereos. Short of getting a new car to match your shiny new iPhone, what is a driver to do?
The good news is that many cars, such as those from Ford, BMW, and Honda, use a standard USB port to connect to the existing white iPhone cable. The new 19-pin connector is likely to use the same sort of adapter cable as current iPhones and iPods, so should plug right in. However, those existing cars may not be able to decode the signal from the iPhone 5 and its connector, depending on how much Apple reengineers its interface.… Read more
You only need to look at a smartphone to realize the usefulness of an Internet connection in a car. And the advent of smartphones is playing a big part in getting automakers to integrate connected features. People used to looking up an address on a smartphone can now do it right in their car's dashboard, and save that address to the navigation system. Other apps that can come in handy on the road, as deemed by these automakers, bring up Internet radio, social networking, and dinner reservations.… Read more
Celebrating both its win at Le Mans with a diesel-electric hybrid race car, and the upcoming production release of the R8 e-tron electric vehicle, Audi set a lap record on the Nurburgring for a production electric car. The Audi R8 e-tron ran the 12.92-mile lap in 8 minutes, 9.099 seconds.
Previously, Toyota set a lap record of 7 minutes, 47.79 seconds for an electric car on the Nurburgring, but its EV P001 is not a production car. Both the Audi and Toyota laps fall behind the 7-minute, 11.57-second record set by a Gumpert Apollo Sport for … Read more
Ricky Bobby said "If you ain't first, you're last", but the driver of Audi's No. 2 R18 e-tron quattro probably did not feel particularly crushed to come in second, behind Audi's No. 1 R18 e-tron quattro, at this weekend's 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race. Both cars not only used Audi diesel engines, which have dominated at previous Le Mans runnings, but also an electric boost system.
The wins not only prove the efficiency of these drive systems, which helped the drivers to victory through the need for fewer fueling stops, but … Read more
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This year's International Engine of the Year Awards saw many repeats from 2011, but stealing the show was a new sub-1-liter engine from Ford. Using direct injection and a turbocharger, this 999cc engine manages to generate 123 horsepower, enough for most subcompact and compact cars. And in European test cycles, the engine manages well over 50 mpg.
Despite the economy of Ford's engine, the Green Engine Award went to GM for the range extended electric power train in the Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera.
Here are the various … Read more
Among the deluge of new features Apple talked up in the keynote for WWDC, integrating Siri with cars, in conjunction with automakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Honda, and GM, generated a lot of buzz. Siri has proved a popular voice command feature in the latest iOS, and so naturally users would want that functionality integrated into their cars.
But, knowing how the auto industry works, I was skeptical about a number of aspects of this announcement. I could not believe automakers would actually put dedicated buttons just for Siri in their cars. They would also not necessarily want to … Read more
Summer is upon us, which means that it's officially open-air motoring season. However, not all cabriolets are created equal; there are actually many different types of convertibles to choose from. We've rounded up seven of the most obvious convertible classes and the best examples of each. … Read more
While just about any navigation system on the market will get you where you're going, not all of them are created equally. This is especially true in the world of OEM in-car navigation systems where screen size, interface design, feature sets, and (most importantly) price vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some automakers offer cutting-edge GPS navigators with innovative features that you'll wonder how you ever got along without. Others will make you wish you'd skipped the pricey navigation package and just packed a smartphone.
We've taken a look back on the most recent OEM navigation systems to have graced the Car Tech garage and picked out a few manufacturers, in no particular order, that consistently knock it out of the park when it comes offering the best in-dash technology for getting from where you are to wherever you want to be. … Read more