Monthly Archives: March 2017

Dodge Demon Teases Intake Cooling Technology [Video]

The Dodge Demon has been the subject of an elaborate string of teaser videos with FCA unleashing a new one every Thursday for the past few weeks. This latest video highlights the unique intake cooling technology that aims to help give the Demon some extra kick when it thunders its way down the drag strip.

FCA claims that the Dodge Demon will be the first production model to feature a liquid- to-air chiller for the charge air cooling system. But what is a liquid-to-air chiller? And how does such a system exactly work? you might be asking.

Well it’s actually deceptively simple when you take a closer look at it. Unlike other air cooling systems which either use ambient air or coolant to help reduce the air induction temperature, the Demon’s system actually uses the interior’s A/C system to help cool the air even further. This novel feature is only active in Drag Mode, and FCA claims that it cools inducted air by 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

While this technology may sound a bit wonky, this technology will please drag racers looking to take their Demon’s out onto the strip. That’s because heat is the enemy of performance in any engine, and cold dense air is a crucial element in achieving maximum performance. This is especially true of forced induction engines like the Demon’s which generate even more heat from the supercharger, on top of the heat already generated by the engine.

This all sounds golden but there are two flaws in this otherwise perfect technology. The first is that air conditioning systems (as well as other accessories) often draw power away from the engine, an unwelcome trait for many racers. Also, the system inadvertently creates a safety hazard out on the drag strip, with many tracks barring this method of power increase due to the small puddles of water that the resulting condensation creates on the track.

If these two attributes don’t bother you (and its safe to assume it won’t matter for many Demon buyers) then stay tuned for the final teaser video which will be revealed next week, as well as to Autoinfoquest.com for our live coverage of the Demon’s New York debut on April 11th. In the meantime you can check out the current teaser video in all of its glory below.

Acura Teases Updated TLX Ahead of New York

With the New York Auto Show fast approaching, Acura has revealed the first teaser image of its updated TLX luxury sedan.

While the lone image does not reveal too much at first glance, it does showcase Acura’s new diamond pentagon grille which originally made its debut on the Precision Concept, and later on the 2017 MDX.

Acura claims that the revised TLX will be much more aggressive than before, while also bringing newfound sportiness to the car at the same time. This newfound aggression could also help reverse the TLX’s lagging sales, which have taken a pounding in the wake of increased CUV demand the past few years.

“The 2018 TLX will receive new styling elements that ratchet up its emotion and reflect Acura’s focus on Precision Crafted Performance,” said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president and general manager. “Acura customers embraced the MDX when we raised its game with bold, new styling, and we’re pumped to show how we’re elevating the TLX experience.”

Look for the updated TLX to make its debut at the New York Auto Show on April 11th, and stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for live coverage of the 2017 New York Auto Show.

Honda Civic Si Torque Figure Revealed

With all the attention focused on the range topping Civic Type R, its easy to forget that the Japanese car maker is also preparing to unleash an updated Civic Si to appeal to budget minded enthusiasts. Honda has kept the bulk of the details under wraps so far, but it appears that this tight cloak of secrecy is beginning to unravel.

While it is currently unknown how much horsepower the next generation Civic Si will produce, an email that was sent to a prospective buyer has revealed the amount of torque that the upcoming model will produce. The message was posted on the CivicX forum last Thursday, and proclaims “The all new Civic Si features a turbocharged engine and 192 lb-ft of torque, making your everyday errands more exciting than ever.

If this figure is true, then the 1.5 liter turbocharged engine that will be powering the Si will be significantly less potent than the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder that will be powering the Type R. For reference, the Type R’s engine will produce 295 lb-ft of torque. As a matter of fact, this figure is actually not that much higher than the 177 lb-ft of torque wielded by the Civic Hatchback Sport.

However, look for the Si to stand out from that model by offering more horsepower with early projections suggesting that it will have at least 200 horsepower versus the 180 horsepower that the Sport possesses.  This would also support Honda’s plans to formally revive its performance intentions, and create ample separation in performance numbers for each of its models.

Despite this relatively modest figure, 192 lb-ft is still an impressive number from a 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, and it would also finally resolve the lack of torque that defined older iterations of the Si, which embraced higher rev limits and a pure naturally aspirated layout in terms of power delivery.

Dodge Demon Teases Exhaust Note [Video]

Dodge is at it again, and has unleashed a new teaser video that puts the spotlight on the soundtrack that highlights the Demon’s exhaust system, while also revealing yet another cryptic code.

Dubbed “No Pills,” the video highlights the novel solution that Dodge engineers created to control the immense levels of torque generated by the Demon’s souped up engine (a make it or break it factor out on the dragstrip.)

To help keep things under control, Dodge engineers have equipped the Demon with an all new torque reverse launch system that allows the engine to build up boost without scorching the tires or the brakes. When paired with the sticky Nitto drag radials, and the suspension tweaks Dodge has made, it should produce some mean quarter mile times at the drag strip.

The magic here is how the system works, and it is pretty straightforward when in use. Essentially a bypass valve on the supercharger closes, “prefilling” the blower with boost as a result. To help keep the torque and revs balanced, the onboard computer can regulate fuel flow as well as the spark at each indvidual cylinder.

 

The system kicks in when Launch Mode is initiated, and the engine is turning at least 1,000 RPM. The goal here is to reach peak boost quicker, while also delivering power more efficiently to the ground at the same time, a winning combination in drag racing.

A side effect though is that it also gives the Demon a very distinctive exhaust note, with Dodge freely admitting that it may make it seem like the Demon is broken, even though it really isn’t. For those who are curious, Dodge has even released a ringtone version of the noise which can be easily mistaken for a blown phone speaker.

Rounding out the festivities is a new license code (3.9 + 221 = 405) that is just a cryptic as the first one that was released. Other teasers have floated the numbers 757 and 815 repeatedly, and we suspect the former figure is the torque while the 815 could be the new horsepower rating (a 108 horse gain if proven true.

 

 

Ford, Magna Develop New Carbon Fiber Subframe

The quest for higher fuel economy has forced many automakers to explore alternative solutions to overcome this dilemma with Ford and Magna revealing an interesting solution to this challenge that could redefine the way we think about vehicle underpinnings.

Unlike the bulk of new technologies that focus on the engine compartment, Ford and Magna’s new innovation focuses on the vehicle’s subframe, with the new unit embracing carbon fiber construction versus traditional steel.

In addition to the obvious weight savings this provides, the new frame also uses fewer pieces, and has simpler construction than before. This is thanks to the elimination of 45 steel pieces which are replaced with two molded parts and four metallic mounting points. This slashes the part count by 87 percent, and the moldings even use high strength adhesives and rivets to help hold the entire unit together. Magna also revealed that despite the 34 percent drop in weight, the prototype frame does not skimp on safety, and will not sacrifice rigidity or crash worthiness.

Currently Magna is producing the subframes for continued development and testing at Ford. The auto giant will evaluate factors such as corrosion, stone chip resistance, as well bolt load retention. Look for elements of this technology to eventually trickle into production vehicles though it could be a while before the cost and feasibility challenges are surpassed for mass vehicle production.

Alpine Won’t Sell A110 Coupe In U.S. Market

For eager enthusiasts that were interested in perhaps slaying the USA’s toughest driving road’s in Alpine’s resurrected A110 coupe, those dreams have been dashed, according to a new report that has emerged from the halls of the Geneva Motor Show.

In an interview conducted with the folks at LeftLane news, Alpine CEO Bernard Ollivier revealed that the stylish, and distinctively French alternative, to the Porsche Cayman will not be making the trek across the pond to our shores anytime soon.

“At the moment we are not planning on selling the A110 in the U.S. Relaunching the brand is a big project. Right now we’re focusing on markets like Europe and Japan” said Ollivier.

This is a disappointing decision, but it is understandable at the same time, especially due to Alpine’s relatively low awareness among U.S. customers. At one point, the brand nearly arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, but Renault’s collapsing foothold on the U.S. market as well as the chaos caused by the demise of AMC forced Alpine to shelve those plans.

Meanwhile in its home European market, demand for the quirky two door is very strong. This is buoyed by its potent 252 horsepower engine, as well as its sleek and lightweight aluminium body. The first wave of A110s to roll off the assembly line will be part of a limited edition series dubbed the “Premiere Edition.” Production of this series will be limited to 1,955 copies, and fans have already claimed a good chunk of the production run especially before the coupe even made its official debut at Geneva.

GM Announces Sale of Opel/Vauxhall To PSA

Confirming long suspected rumors and speculation that such a deal was indeed in the works, GM officially revealed that it has sold both Opel and its British cousin Vauxhall to PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) ahead of the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The €2.2 billion sale marks the end of an era for GM, with the automaker completly leaving the European market after a decades long presence. While both Vauxhall and Opel had considerable history in the British and German markets respectively, they also transformed into a colossal money pit for GM in recent years, with both brands not being able to make a profit in the last sixteen years.

This is despite the shuttering of Chevrolet’s European sales division two years ago, which was supposed to give new life to lagging Opel sales, but ultimately failed to achieve the turnaround GM wanted.

GM revealed that it will still be involved with Opel via its rights to purchase warrants of PSA shares, which could resolve some issues regarding the use of GM technologies in the current lineup of Opel/Vauxhall models.

As for PSA, the French auto giant believes that it can return Opel to profitability by 2020 thanks to slashes in research and development costs, as well as the sharing of platforms and technologies across their portfolio of brands.

PSA CEO Carlos Tavarres, the man who helped Peugeot and Citroen rise from the brink of collapse a few years ago, is confident that he could pull the same feat for struggling Opel and its British sibling Vauxhall.

“We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while still respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees.” stated Tavarres in an online statement.

The U.S. market will feel some of the ripple effect from this action, since many of Buick’s product offerings like the Cascada and Encore trace their roots to Opel based products. GM revealed that PSA will continue to honor existing supply agreements with Buick and Australia-based Holden, but it could throw a sizable monkey wrench into plans for their next gen replacements, especially those currently on the drawing board.

That said, the next generation Buick Regal could provide an opprotunity for PSA to expand its reach into the U.S. market where its main Peugeot and Citroen brands still have a poor reputation among buyers, versus the more favorable history associated with Buick.

Finally, the deal was preceded by several minor collaboration efforts that took place back in 2012 when GM bought a seven percent stake in PSA. Several Peugeot-Citroen models are already built by Opel and vice versa, with the upcoming Citroen C3 Picasso sharing its components with the Geneva bound Opel Crossland X.