Audi Showcases 2018 A8 Model Family

Audi’s venerable A8 flagship has always served as a compelling glimpse into the current state of the luxury car market. However, when it came time to unveil the 2018 A8, Audi instead chose to use the model to showcase the future, and if all goes according to plan, the future could indeed be a very different battleground for luxury car brands.

 

The exterior styling of the 2018 A8 then can be viewed as the perfect camouflage, with a look that does not stray too far away from the current generation A8. It’s a little bigger in appearance, and Audi designers will have 12 different color choices for buyers to ogle over, but its conservative suit of clothes, as well as the subdued approach it takes to styling will no doubt please the Audi faithful. A key change can be found at the front fascia which features an all new Singleframe grille, as well as equally futuristic HD Matrix LED headlights that feature lasers.

While the lasers are still a step or two behind from replicating your favorite sci-fi battle scene, they do help double the visible range of the high beams at speeds above 43 mph. It is currently unknown if the system will formally make its way to the U.S. due to our country’s strict safety regulations, but look for Audi to possibly make tweaks to the system to help it comply with U.S. regulators and give buyers across the pond something to look forward to.

 

 

The nifty lasers are cool, but it is the cabin where the A8’s leap into the future becomes more apparent. The flagship model gets an all new iteration of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system with a digital instrument cluster that now displays various readouts in crystal clear HD quality. The 10.5 inch dash mounted infotainment system is virtually flush with the dashboard itself, and arrives with fewer buttons than the old car. This is due to the Multi Media Infotainment system utilizing more touch and voice commands to access various features. Audi lists a lofty 400 commands for the system, but thankfully, they were kind enough to leave the steering wheel controls intact as well as various oral and tactile feedback cues to let occupants know a task has been executed.

As expected from a car befitting of its status, the 2018 A8 offers a whole host of amenities to its occupants. These include 3D sound for the rear passengers, a host of climate and electronic amenities, and so much more. Our favorite feature is the all new “relaxation seat.” Only available on the passenger side rear seat of the A8L, this enviable throne offers the usual assortment of heating/cooling and massage functions as well as a trick foot rest that comes equipped with massage capability. This novel feature would also be the first time that a massaging foot rest has ever appeared in a factory vehicle, and look for it to be replicated by rivals such as the Mercedes S-Class, as well as the BMW 7-Series in the near future.

 

 

Meanwhile on the mechanical front, Audi engineers left their mark on the forward thinking 2018 Audi A8 in a number of ways. Big news here is that every A8 model is now a hybrid. The 2018 A8 will initially launch with a pair of turbocharged V6 engines – a petrol powered 3.o liter turbocharged TFSI V6 good for 340 horsepower, as well as a 3.0 liter TDI engine that produces a slightly lower 286 horsepower. Each engine is paired with a mild hybrid system that allows the beefy A8 to coast for up to 40 seconds without the engine being activated at speeds between 34 to 99 mph. The novel system also allows for slow speed operation as well as start -stop capability.

After those engines launch, Audi will be bringing out a pair of 4.0 liter V8 engines for both gas and diesel buyers, as well as the return of the silky smooth W12 engine, and the green e-tron plug-in hybrid model. All 2018 A8 variants will send their power to all four wheels through an eight speed automatic transmission, as well as the latest iteration of the company’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. The suspension also gains new moves, and aims to help improve the A8’s composure in corners. Audi dubs the system “AI Suspension,” and the new system incorporates and electric motor, as well as separate components for each wheel. According to the company,  the end result is a two toned experience with the 2018 A8 having the comfort oriented compliance of a luxury car, while also having the agile stance of a sports car at the same time.

The new 2018 Audi A8 will make its initial appearance in German showrooms this fall, and will command a hefty price tag for its futuristic take on motoring. The V6 model leads the charge with a base MSRP of €90,600 while the A8L wields a slightly higher €94,100. These figures roughly translate to $103,000 and $107,000 U.S. dollars with various options and other equipment potentially pushing the price as high as $120,000 a far cry from the current model and its $82,500 base price.

V90 Cross Country

Volvo To Produce Only EV and Hybrid Models By 2019

When Volvo first announced that it intended to seriously pursue electrification a few years ago, the world wondered what it would entail for the Swedish brand, and its lineup of vehicles. In a new announcement released earlier today, the car giant further detailed its ambitious plans while perhaps signaling a broader shift for the industry.

A key item of note here is that every new Volvo offering will be either a full EV or hybrid vehicle starting in 2019. Volvo also promises to include at least one electric motor in each of its new offerings.

“This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose which electrified Volvo you wish” explained Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

However this sudden embrace of electrified powerplants doesn’t mean that Volvo’s iconic internal combustion engines will get the figurative pink slip anytime soon. Buyers will be asked to choose from either mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full electric technology for their Volvo purchase, which will help retain customer flexibility and loyalty.

Volvo also plans to release a 48 volt hybrid system before the end of the decade, and to also roll out five all new battery electric models. Three of them will join the main Volvo lineup, but the other two will be performance tinged Polestar entries. Look for all five models to roll out between 2019 and 2021 with information being released possibly in late 2018.

 

BMW Showcases 2018 X3, Introduces M40i Model

BMW has a good thing going with its hot selling X3 SAV. Based on the equally successful 3 Series sedan, the X3 has proven to be a strong draw for young families during its production run. BMW aims to keep it that way with the revamped 2018 BMW X3.

The exterior styling retains elements of the current design that many buyers have come to love, but slightly increases the overall proportions. In fact, thanks to tweaks made to the vehicle packaging, BMW engineers were able to stretch the wheelbase 2.2 inches which helps open up more room in the X3’s interior.

Despite the rather discreet suit of clothes, BMW didn’t want the sport portion of the X3’s purpose blurred, and has added several dynamic touches to keep that from happening. This includes sharper full LED headlights, as well as a muscular hood that draws eyes to the all new 3D front grille which is the first time it has made an appearance on a “X” model. Rounding out the changes are tweaked tail lights, as well as a pair of exhaust tips.

 

A key feature that is a relative rarity in the broader crossover segment is its perfect 50:50 weight distribution, which works with the chassis to help make the X3 more honed and agile than before. The bulk of X3 buyers will most likely not take their vehicles off road, but for just the occasion, BMW has equipped the SAV with a dynamic stability control system that can adjust the power split between all the wheels to ensure maximum traction on all surfaces.

 

The interior of the 2018 X3 carries on the exterior’s theme of familiarity, but it has a few new tricks that help it stay relevant to buyers. This includes an all new three zone climate control system as well as individually adjustable angle for the 40:20:20 split/folding rear seats. Occupants can also remotely fold the seats from the trunk to boost cargo capacity to 62.7 cubic feet.

The X3 will arrive globally with a host of engine choices, but buyers in the U.S. will only have two models to choose from at launch, the xDrive30i and the performance tinged M40i. The xDrive30i replaces the old xDrive28i, and is motivated by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine which makes 248 horsepower (a gain of 8) and 258 lb-ft of torque with all the power being channeled to all four wheels through an eight speed automatic transmission. It’s also capable of making the sprint to 60 mph in six seconds before topping out at 130 mph. However for buyers that crave even more horsepower, the M40i should be enough to satiate their needs. The first M labeled X3 ever produced, it gets its grunt from the bigger 3.0 liter inline six that produces 355 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque. An eight speed automatic also manages power, and launches the M40i to 60 mph in a brisk 4.6 seconds as well as a final top speed of 155 mph.

After the 2018 X3 makes its launch, the engine lineup will grow with the possible addition of a diesel model as well as an all electric version with the latter not arriving till 2020. As expected, the xLine design package is standard issue for all 2018 X3s, but buyers can opt for the “Luxury” package that brings several minor changes to the X3 including a shinier grille, revised interior upholstery, and two tone bumper trim finishers. An M Sport package brings up the rear, and offers a beefier look, as well as bigger 20-inch rims.

Like its predecessor, the 2018 X3 will be built in the United States at BMW’s Spartanburg facility where it will share the line with the X4, X5, X6, as well as the recently confirmed X7.

 

 

2018 GT Stinger

Kia Rules Out Range Topping Stinger GTR, Says Its Too Early To Go All In

While the Kia Stinger has yet to fully complete its distribution to all of the world’s markets, Kia is already shedding some light on potential variants of the already desirable liftback, including perhaps a range topping performance model that would slot above the current GT model, and possibly adopt the GTR moniker.

These revelations come from Albert Biermann the chief exec behind the company’s performance models during a recent interview with the folks at Motoring magazine. Biermann revealed that while “The car technically has more potential no doubt” the reason why Kia has not introduced any variants of the Stinger yet is actually very simple and straightforward.

According to Biermann before the company can introduce a “GTR or something” Kia has to know how  the current iterations of the Stinger will do in terms of overall sales, as well as their long term sustainability in the broader marketplace. Biermann also revealed that Kia needs to identify the customer base for the car, and after that it will then make its mind up on whether there should be a spicier version of the Stinger for buyers that want to have even more performance than the current range topping model, the Stinger GT.

With that said, it appears that for the moment, the Stinger GT (which is the fastest accelerating car Kia has ever produced) will remain the flagship version. As for U.S. buyers, the StingerGT will arrive in our country by the end of the year in either rear or all-wheel drive with a 3.3 liter biturbo V6 producing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to propel the car to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds, so look for the proposed performance model (whenever it arrives) to shave some seconds off of that figure as well as a higher top speed than the GT’s 167 mph.

Source: Motoring

Apple

Tim Cook Confirms Apple’s Stance On Autonomus Vehicles

Apple has had a shroud of secrecy over its autonomous vehicle efforts for the past several years. While the tech giant’s Project Titan in-house vehicle program is largely dead when it comes to building a vehicle from the ground up, Apple revealed that t is still exploring other projects in this burgeoning segment of the automotive world.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple is officially exploring self-driving technology that could potentially make its appearance in production automobiles .

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems” said Cook. It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” Cook claimed that the technology is “the mother of all AI projects,” and that it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”

This news follows on a previous statement by Apple’s Director of Product Integrity Steve Kenner. At the time, Kenner laid out a vision for developing and testing autonomus vehicles on public roads as part of a letter that he wrote to the NHTSA. The letter stated that Apple “is heavily investing in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.

 

 

2019 Ram 1500

Spied: 2019 Ram 1500

It’s not too often we have a chance to encounter upcoming model, but that’s exactly what happened when we had the opprotunity to encounter this 2019 Ram 1500 quad cab tester in the wilds of Michigan.

Being an early stage mule, this particular tester does not shed a whole lot of light on the styling direction that the next generation Ram 1500 will embark on. However, a closer look does showcase glimpses of whats in store. For example the switch from the traditional 5-lug setup to an all new 6-lug arraignment for its wheels could suggest that the new Ram is gaining weight, and that in turn could lead to increased towing and payload capacities.

Extensive interior camoflauge thwarted our efforts to get a clear view of the IP and dashboard. But the appearance of a Chrysler Pacifica derived steering wheel, as well as a mysterious contraption on the front grille could indicate that some of the van’s technologies will carry over to the 2019 Ram 1500. These could include lane keep assist, collision detection software, as well as adaptive cruise control.

Performance hardware is unknown at this juncture, but look for the familiar 3.6 liter V6 and 3.0 liter diesel engine to make their respective returns. The 5.7 liter Hemi V8 however could be axed, and replaced with an all new engine that would embrace turbocharging. This would allow Ram to follow Ford’s lead in this area, while also improving fuel economy.

Look for the 2019 Ram 1500 to eventually make its debut either later this year, or early next year at a future auto show, most likely in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, or the Chicago Auto Show.

 

Model Y

Tesla Teases Model Y CUV

Following the launch of its Model X SUV, Tesla has released a shadowy teaser image of the next step in its plans to dominate the CUV market the Model Y.

Like Tesla’s other teaser images, this one does not reveal too much detail. However, it does give a preview of the basic styling direction Tesla is trying to achieve with the Model Y, as well as the proportions for the front end. Unlike the Model X, the Y is expected to feature a more traditional apperance, and that could include ditching the X’s glitchy falcon doors for more conventional units.

While the Model Y is based on an all new platform, Tesla admits that the Y will eventually outsell the Model 3 due to the high demand from CUV buyers. Tesla also admitted that it wanted to avoid some of the styling compromises that emerged when designing the Model X.

“I think we really made a mistake trying to derive the design for the Model X from the Model S platform” Musk revealed at a recent shareholders meeting.

Look for the Model Y to also feature a more approachable pricing ladder albeit in the higher end of the CUV segment where it will compete with rivals from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

Fisker Shows Official Images of EMotion EV, Confirms $130k Pricetag

Fisker’s EMotion EV has big ambitions, and aims to make up for all the sins that were committed by Henrik Fisker’s prior attempt at an EV, the Fisker Karma. Following the prior unveiling of several teaser images, Fisker Inc has released several new photos of a prototype, as well as confirmed the official price tag for the stylish coupe.

The new round of photos showcase several changes between the renderings and the prototype, with a key revision taking place in the front fascia. Unlike the renderings, the prototype appears to have toned down the styling in this area somewhat, with the car ditching the faux air intake ducts on the hood and front bumper. Other than those tweaks, the basic design retains select traits from the Karma which has been reborn separately under the umbrella of China’s Wanxiang corporation, but with a wedge shape versus the more organic lines that defined the Karma.

In addition to the new images, Fisker Inc also revealed to the folks at TechCrunch that the EMotion will have a starting price of $129,900 (excluding various taxes and options.) This pricing ladder appears to suggest that the company is aiming to position the EMotion above Tesla’s Model S P100D. While its 161 mph top speed is lower than the Tesla, the EMotion would have a higher 400 mile driving range, which should please buyers that have range anxiety. Other goodies include weight reducing carbon fiber and aluminum wheels, 360 degree optical sensors, as well as fast charge technology that can allegedly provide 100 miles of driving range in less than nine minutes.

If the EMotion eventually makes its way to formal production, it would be built from carbon fiber as well as aluminium to help shed weight, while also increasing overall fuel economy at the same time. The EMotion would also be a technological showcase, and could possibly arrive with advanced levels of autonomy, especially with LiDAR sensors and specially designed mirror cameras.

Fisker revealed that the company plans to begin accepting pre-orders from prospective owners on June 30th, but official production is expected to not begin until 2019 or later.  In the meantime, look for the company to release more information as its reveal draws near including pictures of the interior.

Mercedes-AMG Showcases Limited Edition GT3 Edition 50

Mercedes is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its AMG performance in bold fashion and has unveiled the limited edition of its Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer as part of the broader festivities.

Dubbed the AMG GT3 Edition 50, this special edition model is based off of the standard GT3 race car which was first introduced to the world two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. Unlike that model however, the AMG GT3 50 features everla unique upgrades that aim to make it standout on the race track. For starters, the Edition 50 is bathed in a “real black” color which is actually a slick matte black finish. The appearance of this color is the first time that an AMG car has ever been equipped with this type of paint.

Each door features a “50 YEARS OF DRIVING” logo made out of carbon fiber, and even the seat belts get in on the act thanks to a stitched “AMG 50 YEARS OF DRIVING” emblem. Other than these minor tweaks, the bulk of the styling is largely unchanged which is a good thing given how sinister it already looks.

The performance hardware also carries over largely unchanged with the 6.2 liter “hand built” V8 still lurking under the hood. However, AMG engineers have slightly tweaked the exhaust system, and the Edition 50 sidelines the restrictor plates, which in turn increases power. While this may hinder its ability to be raced on some circuits, we are confident that the extra noise and velocity will be appreciated by both owners and racing fans.

As a bonus, each AMG GT3 Edition 50 will be delivered to buyers at AMG’s  headquarters in Affalterbach with buyers also having the opportunity to participate in a one on one racetrack coaching session to allow them to better wield their potent track weapons when thrashing them around the twists and turns of the world’s racing circuits. They will also be able to do so with impeccable timing thanks to the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” watch that will be provided by IWC Schaffhausen.

Buyers looking to add an Edition 50 GT3 to their paddock will have to contend with the biggest difference between it and the normal GT3, volume. Unlike the “standard” GT3, Mercedes will produce only five examples of the Edition 50 with each example arriving with its own distinct number plaque.

BMW 8 Series Concept Leaks Ahead of Debut

The BMW 8 Series Concept was not supposed to make its debut for another few hours, but thanks to a few leaked images, we get a compelling glimpse at whats in store for BMW’s flagship coupe.

While the quality of the images is not the sharpest, it does reveal that the posh coupe will adopt a relatively fresh design, with slender headlights and a bolder interpretation of the twin kidney grille accenting the front fascia. The bulging hood adds a hint of menance, with the lower front bumper featuring beefy cooling vents.

The side profile features a prominent crease, and the elegant roofline flows seamlessly into the lip of the rear mounted spoiler. The concept also eschews door handles, though we suspect those items will ultinately reappear in the production car for safety and cost reasons. Big wheel arches house large multi-spoke alloy wheels, and yellow brake calipers nicely contrast the blue body.

The rear fascia doubles down on its high tech theme, and features wide tailights that incorporate slick L-shaped graphics as well as a rear bumper that features prominent side vents, as well as trapazoid shaped exhaust tips.

Look for BMW to formally introduce the 8 Series Concept later today at the Concorso d’Eleganza Ville Este before launching the production version next year. Look for the interior to also make its debut later today, and showcase its high levels of opulence and technology.

Source: Autotijd.be