The currentAudi TT-RS is powered by a 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 360 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 343 pound-feet of torque at a super-low 1,650 rpm. Impressive results for such a tiny sports car, but not impressive enough considering that Mercedes obtained an almost similar output from an even slower engine: the 330 HP 2.0-liter four-cylinder set to be used in theA45 AMG .
As a result, Audi decided its time to update this famous engine. The timing’s right, too, because by September 2014, the German automaker will have to comply to EU 6 regulations. In order to achieve this update, Audi will be working on the engine’s combustion processes, while also working on the catalysts and "from there it’s just geometry", according to quattro development boss Stephan Reil, who also added that the "air coming in to the cylinder in rolling waves to produce as little pollution as possible."
During the entire process, Audi will also be working on improving the engine’s performance numbers, especially if you consider that Tobias Moers from AMG claims that the A45 AMG is around six seconds faster around the Nurburgring Nordschleife than the RS3 - which is also using the five-cylinder engine.
The new 2014 E-Class will be the first Mercedes model to feature the company’s new fully autonomous system called Steering Assist. This new system works in conjunction with the Distronic Plus system and it is being effective to speeds up to 124 mph.
The Distronic Plus adaptive control system helps the driver to keep the vehicle at the desired distance from the vehicle in front, even in stop and go traffic. With the latest additions, once the driver is activating the Distronic Plus, the Steering Assist is also being activated. This new system supports the driver with lateral lane guidance. On straight roads and even in gentle bends, it helps the driver to remain in the center of the lane by generating steering torque.
Watch the video to see how the company’s new Steering Assist system works and expect to see it in all the upcoming Mercedes models.
Click past the jump to read our preview of the 2014 S-Class’s Intelligent Drive system.
The development of the Bugatti killer from Britain has entered a critical stage that decides whether Jaguar’s newly developed hybrid system and the C-X75 project as a whole deserves the green light or no.
For the past three months, Jaguar has been testing the hybrid system on a test bed and is now confident enough to install it on a rolling chassis to create a working prototype. Now the anticipation meter is back to its highest point after months of silence.
When it was first revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the Jaguar C-X75 featured two turbines that looked like rockets attached. Since Jaguar was gunning for the top-spot in performance, the rockets did make sense. But, they weren’t there to launch the car down the road like a Wile E. Coyote contraption; they were actually a pair of gas turbines to power the car once charge for the four wheel-mounted electric motors had expired.
What looked promising when Jaguar bragged about was later scrapped when the Leaping Jag announced the production of the hypercar in 2011.
The gas turbine system was replaced with a hybrid system that combined a 1.6-liter boosted engine that produced more than 500 horsepower and four insanely powerful electric motors powered by a highly sophisticated liquid- and air-cooled battery pack.
So far, the tests conducted on the hybrid system have been a success in the test bed but the real nail-biting situation will arise when Jag installs the system into a chassis to make a functional prototype.
If Jaguar succeeds this phase, then hypercar fans, start clearing your bedroom posters for space...
The continued evolution of carbon fiber doesn’t appear to be slowing down in the auto industry. With the material already being used extensively in almost all sectors of the industry, it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with some new way to use carbon fiber.
Turns out, Carbon Revolution has that new product with the first production one-piece carbon fiber rim.
The claim is that the carbon wheel is 40% to 50% lighter than its aluminum counterparts, improves fuel consumption by 2% to 4%, reduces CO2 emissions, and increases overall efficiency by 5%.
The product was born as a result of what the company says is a decade-long attempt at research and development. Take the admittedly obvious benefits of a lighter and sturdier wheel, and this new product is certainly worth the buzz it’s generating.
“Creating a composite wheel that is made entirely in one piece from continuous fibers is particularly challenging given the significant geometric complexities”, Brett Gass, Carbon Revolution’s engineering director, said.
As a man that has been with the company from the start, Gass’ extensive knowledge in the technology and the subsequent applications allowed them to push past the tribulations of producing a product that could potentially revolutionize the industry.
As far as meeting industry standards are concerned, Carbon Revolution has said that the carbon fiber wheels have met OEM And Certificate Body standards, including SAE 2530, TUV German Aftermarket, and German OEM AK-LH 08 standards.
So when we are reviewing supercars with killer V-8 engines, we are typically talking about 300-plus cubic-inches and hundreds of horsepower. Well, in the world of scale-model building, you have to take all of that muscle and scale it down to a size that can fit into a one-quarter scale model, and that takes some serious engineering.
For anyone that has ever assembled an engine, you know that keeping track of everything, putting the valves in correctly, seating the rings property, and other steps are immensely tedious, due the their complexity. Imagine doing so with everything shrunk down to a quarter of its original size.
That just so happens to be the specialty of Conley Precision Engines, and it has also just released for sale the world’s smallest supercharged, four-stroke V-8 engine. The Conley Stinger 609 displaces 0.1 liters, 100 cc, or 6.09 cubic-inches, depending on which standard of measurement you follow. Regardless of the measurement semantics, this engine is tiny, as it measures just 14 inches long x 6 inches wide x 8.25 inches tall and weighs in at a svelte 11.25 lbs.
As for power, this relative beast can crank out 5.5 horsepower at 9,500 rpm in its naturally aspirated state and hits 9 horsepower when you bolt up the optional supercharger. It’s the latter version that earns this engine it notoriety as a world-record holder.
You can have this engine for a base price of $5,695. Additionally you can add in stainless steel manifolds for $279, a set of polished-stainless manifolds for $595, painted valve covers for $125, high-duration camshaft for $279, and a supercharger for $1,695. That means in total, you can spend upward of $8,353 for this engine – obviously the price isn’t one-quarter scale.
Nine horsepower may not sound like much on the surface, but put in a one-quarter scale car, you will have a car that will easily eclipse the 100 mph mark. To boot, Conley engineered the engine to have the same rumble as any classic muscle that came from Detroit, just a little more high pitched.
So you may have never heard of QNX, but you likely interface with it on a daily basis, given you have a car with a computer-based infotainment system (Toyota Entune, BMW ConnectedDrive, GM’s OnStar, etc.). QNX is essentially to a car what Windows is to a PC – it allows the software and hardware to do their delicate exchange of ones and zeros to turn them into what you see on the screen.
QNX is actually in development of its second-generation operating system, which it has dubbed QNX CAR 2. This may sound like just another small and meaningless software changeover, but CAR 2 will include something that may revolutionize automotive infotainment systems – an HTML 5-based interface.
As it sits now, QNX builds the OS, but the manufacturer works the front end of its software in its own way, leaving the customer out of the equation. The HTML 5 interface will allow the manufacturer to set up the basic functions of the infotainment systems, but ultimately allow you to customize it as you see fit.
Additionally, the usage of HTML 5 will also help lower the gap between consumer electronics and automotive electronics, which currently have a 7- to 10-year gap between product cycles. Heck, your laptop is obsolete before you ever walk out of the store, yet some cars run the same cruddy infotainment systems they did in 2005.
Another huge relief that HTML 5 would bring to the automotive world would be the development of apps. As it stands now, cars are much like the iPhone – you have to buy licensed apps from the app store, which cost loads of money over time. With the introduction of HTML 5, you get the option of more open-source apps, like you do with an Android-based smartphone or tablet. No, we’re not trying to start a Mac vs. Android war; we’re just stating the obvious.
In turn, all of this should – theoretically – make bringing more advanced infotainment systems to the consumer at a lower price.
QNX expects to see CAR 2 start being used sometime in 2013 or 2014. We’ll keep an eye on this and bring you more information as it becomes available.
Check out the above video to see QNX CAR 2 in action, it’s pretty awesome.
In the land where the Transformers were born - no, we’re not talking about Cybertron - a new robot franchise is set to be born and it’s serving notice to everyone that they’ve got the perfect car-to-robot set-up that could potentially replace Optimus Prime and company.
It’s called Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter - no idea what that means - and the early renderings of the characters show some definite promise, particularly the licensed vehicles that are expected to be part of the franchise. Check out the photos and you’ll see that there’s a Toyota GT 86 , a Mazda RX-8 , a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO , and the Godzilla itself, the Nissan GT-R.
Created by Square Enix, the people behind the Final Fantasy video game franchise, Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter was first launched recently as an arcade game with an animated film version set to be released later this year.
No word on yet on whether this new animated franchise will head outside Japan, but from the looks of things, we’re expecting a lot based on what we’ve already seen.
On August 31st, the sun spewed a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) that dwarfed the Earth and on September 3rd, it came close enough to Earth to connect with our magnetosphere and cause an Aurora to appear. So what in the world does this have to do with cars? Well, let’s have a look.
In 1859, a huge CME – the last one since, by the way – caused a geomagnetic storm that then caused telegraph systems to fail, shock their operators, and even work while unplugged. Fortunately in those days, they didn’t rely on all of the high-tech things that we do.
Autonomous cars are all the rage lately, as we continue to cover the advances that Google and Cadillac are making in this area. Autonomous cars actually use one of the technologies that Mike Hapgood, a pace weather scientist near Oxford England, says will be hugely affected by a geomagnetic storm of large proportion – GPS.
Imagine if a moderate portion of the cars on the road are using autonomous technology using GPS in some way, like the Google car. People by nature become complacent and comfortable, therefore leading to many of these drivers not paying attention to the road, but instead playing video games, reading the paper, or eating lunch.
If a CME-caused geomagnetic storm should take place and knock out GPS satellites, imagine the massive traffic it would cause, at best. Even worse, it could result in major accidents, should these cars veer off of the road and out of control. That’s a scary possibility that this recent solar flare close call should bring to the forefront. The engineers must devise a backup plan that overrides the GPS part of autonomous driving, should the signal be lost.
This additional engineering process may ultimately delay the public release of these automated cars. If this simply goes by the wayside without any safety measure, besides human intervention, it could cause a serious issue.
Just in case living in Singapore isn’t expensive enough for you and your supercars, a new high-rise residential tower is offering the kind of living arrangements only those with obscene amounts of money can afford.
Forget about the actual home, really. What makes the Hamilton Scotts “Sky Garage Apartments” so unique are the built-in garages that come connected to the actual homes. That’s right, no more worrying about parking spaces on the street because you can take your exotics up to your house with you!
High-tech elevators are in charge of bringing your cars straight from the ground floor all the way up to your home and straight into a glass-enclosed garage. With this kind of set-up, you won’t have to worry about leaving your high-priced exotics where you can’t see them, thus eliminating the dangers of these cars getting stolen.
So what’s the trade-off to have the opportunity to live in one of these homes? A home with a two-vehicle garage will set you back $7.5 million while a penthouse suite with a four-car garage will loosen up your pockets by a whopping $24 million.
Over the past three years, we’ve heard a great deal about Shelley , the autonomous Audi TT-S that was being co-developed between Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab and the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab.
Development for Shelley began back in 2009 and since then, the car has been blazing its trails, including its successful run up Pikes Peak in 2010.
Recently, Shelley was back in the hands of Stanford mechanical engineering Associate Professor Chris Gerdes who brought the car to the Thunderhill tracks for the latest round of high-speed tests and software upgrades. These new digs now instruct her when to brake, how tight to take turns, and when to punch the gas. Better yet, Shelley was able to complete the Thunderhill lap in under two and a half minutes, which isn’t stunningly fast, but otherwise impressive for a machine. Shelley is even getting close to the times achieved by actual human, professional drivers.
The testing is still far from completed and Shelley seems to gain new and more important layers in its quest to become one of the first fully autonomous cars. One particular sticking point that has yet to find a solution is the problem of getting a spinning wheel to grip the pavement akin to how it can recover from a slide on a patch of ice.
For now, testing and development for Shelley continues on. If you’re interested to see how the latest round of test runs went, you can check out the video above.