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  New technologies are everywhere and especially in our cars: ABS, airbags, lane change detection, GPS and more...

Tech Review: Automatic Link Makes Diagnostics and Driving Data More Streamlined

Car insurance companies are always trying to find some way to better monitor your driving style and habits to help adjust their premiums accordingly. In fact, yours truly fell for the Progressive scam of plugging a small transmitter into the data port on my Mazdaspeed MX-5 with the promise that I could “save up to 30 percent.” Well, this little gadget sensed every time I tapped the brakes a little too hard or pushed my little turbocharged roadster into a corner just a little harder than usual, then it would beep and upload this information to the company.

Well, after noticing what this gizmo was up to, I quickly unplugged it and overnighted it to Progressive with a thanks-but-no-thanks letter. Well, now more insurance companies are getting into the tracking game with even more technology. In fact, State Farm has taken it a little further by installing an app on your Android 4.0 (or higher) smartphone. According to State Farm this app will collect “basic information about your driving,” but the insurance giant doesn’t offer a bit of info about what it will use this data for.

So, why would you allow your insurance company to track how, when and where you drive? Because they grease your palm, of course; State Farm is offering up a $50 gift card to the first 5,000 volunteers to give up their driving privacy and test the system. In fact, you don’t even have to be a State Farm customer to do this test and get the $50.

We say stay away from this deal and the insurance tracking devices altogether, regardless of how much they choose to offer you in return. Chances are that this information could potentially jack up your car insurance just because you park in a less-than-ideal area semi-frequently or brake a little harder than others. Plus, having your insurance company knowing what you’re up to at any given time is pretty dang scary.

What’s next, health insurance companies strapping devices on us to monitor our food intake and exercise?

Posted on by TB +  

How do you protect your supercar’s paintwork from stone chips? Two possible answers: Either never, ever drive it, or pay thousands to have clear films mounted to protect the trouble spots: nose, hood, rockers and wheel wells. An exciting new product called 3M Paint Defender offers all the benefits of permanent shields in an easy-to-use, crystal-clear spray-on film.

3M invited some auto journalists up to their Minnesota headquarters last week to unveil their latest innovation: a spray-on Paint Defender film that’s perfect for DIY car guys.

Keeping a supercar showroom fresh is a constant struggle, and the exterior paintwork is the hardest piece of the puzzle, right behind the engine and electronics. Buyers will walk right past a supercar with purring mechanicals if it has bad paint. Any visible paint scars from stone chips can be a deal-breaker and can easily knock 15 percent off the car’s total value.

Bad on a $10,000 Toyota but utterly devastating on a $200,000 Carrera GT .

Making things worse, low-slung supercars pick up more road scars and any other type of vehicle.

Click past the jump for the full review and the tech that makes this product one-of-a-kind.


We’ve all been there and done that; you’re cruising down the road and the “Check Engine” light pops on. Then you have three choices. Choice No. 1 is simply ignoring the light and risking damaging important components on your car. Choice No. 2 is taking the car to the shop and pay upward of $100 just to have the light diagnosed. Choice No. 3 is to buy your own scanner for $50-plus and hope that you can sort out the problem.

Well, now there is a product named Automatic Link that takes the place of the standard OBD-II scanner and spits out the code that the check engine light was caused by and a general summary of the code right on your Bluetooth-compatible smartphone.

On top of being a rolling and wireless scanner, it also keeps tab on your driving style, mpg and so much more.

Click past the just to read our review on the Automatic Link

Peugeot RCZ R Concept

Magna Steyr, the same company that gave us the 3-in-1 MILA Coupic Concept last year, is coming back to the Geneva Motor Show and it appears that it’s bringing a modified Peugeot RCZ with it that it apparently has turned into an "exciting coupe concept.”

No details were given on exactly what kind of model this is going to be - no name even - but according to a company press release, the entire objective is to present the RCZ Coupe Concept with what the company calls View Top, an innovative sliding folding roof with integrated glass elements that creates a unique open-air feeling.

The inspiration behind the concept, it appears, is the aforementioned MILA Coupic Concept, a vehicle that turned heads last year for its innovative approach to multi-functionality.

“The inspiration for this concept car stems from Magna Steyr’s MILA concept series, which demonstrates the unique product design and engineering capabilities that we can deliver to customers,” explains Magna Steyr president Günther Apfalter.

“We are excited to take our original View Top design concept and bring it closer to reality by showcasing it as a concept on a sports car production vehicle.”

Suffice to say, we’re more than interested to see what Magna Steyr has up its sleeve. We’re still not quite sure what the concept is going to look like, which makes the whole thing even more interesting.

*Note: Photo is of the Peugeot RCZ R Concept


The future looks quite promising for Audi and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the German company unveiled a variety of new technologies, including a new adaptive light for the xenon plus headlights. The new Matrix LED headlights will have small diodes that can be dimmed or individually switched on and off to provide optimal illumination.

The small individual diodes, backed by lenses or reflectors, always provide excellent illumination without needing a swiveling mechanism. This new system will obtain the information they need from a camera, the navigation system or additional sensors. If the camera detects other vehicles, these innovative headlights fade out the appropriate area of the high-beam headlights, which contain various light-source sectors.

The headlights can also illuminate the areas between several vehicles in complex situations. Based on navigation data, the high-beam headlight anticipates the bend and swivels to illuminate the road before the driver has even turned the wheel.

Audi also presented new laser taillights generated by a laser diode that provides drivers behind with a bright, clear signal and a new OLED technology made from an organic material.

Hit the jump to see the new technologies in video.

More often than not, videos that last over four minutes are probably 30 seconds to a minute too long, but not this one. In this case, four minutes just isn’t enough.

German automaker, Porsche , engaged in the concept of "motionless driving" by taking us on a unique and visceral experience that highlights the almighty Porsche 911 . Porsche accomplished this through projection-mapping technology, a concept that highlights the emotions of driving a 911, all while doing it with a unique platform at the company’s Porsche Center Padova at an event where the 911 served as a projection screen for this rather amazing presentation.

This video is certainly worth your four minutes. Heck, after watching it, you might just ask for more time from Porsche. We won’t blame you because we feel the exact same way.

In any case, give it a watch and you’ll understand exactly what we’re talking about.

Source: Porsche
Audi TT-RS

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 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.

Posted on by Aravind
Jaguar C-X75

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...

Source: Autocar

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.


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