Automakers used the 2007 Frankfurt auto show to launch a set of hot new cars and updates. These aren't all supercars, but they are all superfast. Exotics are displayed by Ferrari and Lamborghini, while Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, and Audi represent Germany. And there's a significant British contingent from Bentley and McLaren. These are the cars you dream about.
BMW showed off its entry-level 135i sport coupe at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. But with BMW, "entry-level" means one of the most exciting small cars available. Although the 135i is BMW's smallest four-seater, the company packs its incredible twin-turbo, 3-liter, straight six-cylinder engine under the hood. And best of all, BMW will import the 135i to the U.S.
The new models and concept cars just keep on coming at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. One notable trend at this year's event is the willingness of luxury German automakers to finally embrace hybrid technology, with Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes all either announcing production hybrids or showing off advanced hybrid concepts. Meanwhile, the 2009 Jaguar XF shows that concept technology can make it off the auto show floor, as the latest Big Cat retains its futuristic shifter for production. On the subject of cabin gadgetry, automotive equipment manufacturer Siemens VDO showed off its next-generation in-car touch screen technology, … Read more
At the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, German automakers had hybrid cars and concepts on display. Up until now, European automakers seemed uninterested in employing hybrid technologies, but Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, and Audi have all stepped up to the plate. Mercedes-Benz has an actual hybrid SUV ready for production, while the other automakers have concepts that strongly indicate future hybrid powertrain development.
Or maybe BMW your Google? At BMW's ConnectedDrive exhibit at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, the company showed off the first ever implementation of Google local search in a car. You can enter any search term in your BMW's navigation system, and it will find any Google matches for local businesses either within the vicinity of your car or another location you choose. It amounts to having a points-of-interest database searchable by keyword that always gets updated.
Or, if you're not the hands-on type, you can just use an entry in the navigation system to call BMW'… Read more
BMW rolled into town last night with a fleet of Hydrogen 7 sedans for us to test drive. Having already driven hydrogen cars from Honda and GM, we were intrigued to get behind the wheel of a hydrogen Bimmer, which differs from most other hydrogen-powered cars in that it doesn't rely on a fuel cell and electric drive train. Instead, it uses a modified version of the BMW 760Li's V-12 internal combustion engine to burn hydrogen in the cylinders in the same way as gasoline. It also differs from the pack in that that the hydrogen is stored … Read more
Besides Toyota Motor and BMW, automakers haven't done a great job of building fleets that emit less carbon dioxide, according to an Environmental Defense report.
The organization's 80-page report, called "Automakers' Corporate Carbon Burdens" (PDF), evaluated the carbon dioxide emissions of vehicles from major automakers between 1990 and 2005. Companies graded were: Ford Motor, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Subaru and Mitsubishi Motors.
"The rate of carbon dioxide emissions from new cars and light trucks in the U.S. dipped for the first time in two … Read more
In the midst of all the bleak news for the American car industry, there was a ray of hope of sorts. A recent survey on "retained value" (what percentage of retail price a car maintains on the used market) has the Hummer coming in the top 10. As Autoblog reports:
"[T]he new Power Information Network retained value rankings for the automakers came out, and while the top ten list is pretty much owned by imports, Hummer crashes the party, coming in at the #8 spot. Hummer vehicles retain 63% of their original value, an increase of … Read more
A big fuel cell from UTC Power was in the news here in Silicon Valley this week when Fujitsu installed it as a backup power source for its local campus. CNET's Michael Kanellos wrote a good story about the event here, and took pictures ("Photos: Fujitsu unveils king-size fuel cell").
Although the fuel cell itself runs on hydrogen, there's no convenient source of pure hydrogen in Silicon Valley, so UTC Power also provided a steam methane reformer that yields hydrogen from natural gas.
One place where pure hydrogen is readily available is NASA's Cape Canaveral … Read more
A survey released today says the 2008 model year will yield the highest percentage of gadget-filled cars in history.
The study, conducted by Telematics Research Group (TRG) and based on 100 cars announced for the 2008 model year, says almost 70 percent of cars for sale in North America will offer voice-activated, hands-free Bluetooth phone support. Navigation systems will come standard in 80 percent of announced MY08 models.
Portable music player support will also be at an all-time high. According to TRG's Technology Availability Index, 50 percent of cars will have direct iPod connectivity, and 90 percent will have … Read more