The New 3D-Printed Wheels From HRE Have Us Drooling With Anticipation
HRE Wheels presents the first-ever titanium 3D-printed rims. Named HRE3D+, the rims are the result of a joint project with GE AddWorks and were made to showcase the possibilities available when additive manufacturing is employed to create state-of-the-art car wheels.
Gone are the days of alloy wheels. Even magnesium wheels seem antiquated now that HRE and GE have come forth with a prototype 3D-printed rim made out of titanium. The process of making these wheels is complicated, but the results are astonishing. Basically, you can’t get such a design using a traditional CNC machine.
WTF? Strange, Crazy, Amazing, and Downright Stupid Things at SEMA 2018
You can pretty much see anything and everything automotive related at the SEMA show. From pure-bred muscle cars, wild exotics, monster trucks, and full-on race cars. SEMA has something for everyone to love. On the other side of that spectrum, there is a lot that may not be to your taste. From the crazy awesome to the crazy clueless, here you can find a bit of each.
If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy powerful and sporty cars (especially of the big engine displacement or forced induction type), and you might even be thinking about upping the soundtrack of your drive with an upgraded exhaust.
We’ve all heard cars buzz by us with all sorts of exhaust systems (or lack thereof), and sometimes it’s just nothing but unenjoyable noise, like two beehives having a fight inside a coffee can, or grandpa’s flatulence after soft serve ice cream. Most common, cheap, ready-made exhaust systems are—to be frank—crap, and most of the cars you hear those on are crap, too (or are owned by those who have no idea or care what they’re slapping on their cars).
Exhaust systems are supposed to be more than some pipe and a round can with a little bit of sound deadening. The majority of car manufacturers put significant effort into R&D, desiring a specific sound (or lack thereof) from their exhausts via the use of various mufflers, resonators, equalizers, and flow dynamics. Different materials make different sounds. This is lost on many aftermarket exhaust companies since they’re trying to sell basic crap in mass quantity to the naïve. On the other hand, there are many companies who value style, design and quality materials, and who create quality products for your vehicle.
Why would you want an aftermarket exhaust anyway? It goes FAR beyond just a good soundtrack. Car companies have to make exhausts fit their vehicles so sometimes good dynamics are not top of the list. They have to fulfill emissions and noise requirements, among other requirements. Some low-quality products are made of crush bent metals, making them extremely restrictive. When exhaust is restricted, the engine has to work harder to expel used exhaust gases. Using a quality exhaust, perhaps with larger piping and fewer restrictions, you are freeing up that previously restrained power. Also, factory exhaust tends to be heavy, and when you get into the more exotic materials (like 304 stainless and titanium), you see fewer weight savings as well.
Again, why would you want an aftermarket exhaust? The answer is simple: more power, better sound, less weight AND better fuel economy. Yes, better fuel economy! It can, however, be a double-edged sword, because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to make the same power, so you can be lighter on the long pedal, BUT the sound from the upgraded exhaust is usually so enjoyable that you’ll find yourself accelerating more than usual, so those fuel savings can go right out the window!
When picking your exhaust system for your vehicle education is important, so let’s review types of exhaust and materials used in them.
Leaked Accessory List for the 2019 Ford Ranger Proves Ford isn’t Playing Around
Ford’s not messing around with the list of accessories available to the upcoming 2019 Ford Ranger. Leaked documents shown via the Ranger5G forum reveal an extensive list of accessories that includes bull bars, racks, carriers, tow hooks, cup holders, and different versions of roadside assistance kits. The list of accessories points to one inevitable conclusion: you’re going to have to drop a serious amount of money to get what you want.
Why Is The Manual Transmission Living On Borrowed Time?
Just the other day I was reading that some teens have given up carjacking because the car they wanted to lift had a manual transmission. First, I thought that they perhaps didn’t know how to drive a car with a manual at all, but then, it hit me. Maybe they gave up the idea of stealing that car because it is much harder to find someone who would actually drive it later.
Now, regardless of my train of thought, I believe that the former is the truth in this very instance. This got me to thinking - how and why is the manual transmission losing the war against automatics? Is it that bad, or are there some dark forces at play here? Why is the manual transmission living on borrowed time?
Flyin’ Miata Offers a Roll Bar for the Miata RF but It Comes at a Cost
Flyin’ Miata, the company responsible for the best Mazda MX-5 upgrades on the market, is now offering a roll bar for the Targa-style RF model. The protective device was added to the catalog as a result of customer requests and makes the MX-5 RF safer at the race track. But there’s a catch — you lose the ability to lower the roof!
Bugatti Reinvents the T-Top Roof, Makes the Glass Permanent, Calls it Sky View
The T-Top roof design has roots that go back to the late-1940s, but Bugatti has taken the idea, christened it new (since the glass is fixed, of course,) and will offer it as “Sky View” on the Bugatti Chiron. In fairness, it’s not exactly a T-Top since the glass isn’t removable, but that almost seems like a missed opportunity, though, doesn’t it?
According to Bugatti, each glass panel measures 25.5-inches wide and 17.3-inches long. It’s apparently a laminated structure that consists of thin glass and “four intermediate layers.” They are said to reduce noise at speed, reflect infrared radiation, and filer UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation. Bugatti also says that the design of the glass panels improves the stiffness of the roof and has no ill effect on crash safety. The glass panels are also tinted for privacy and actually add in just over an inch of extra headroom in comparison to the standard roof.
Of course, this is nothing new. The T-Top roof design has been around since 1948 when TASCO debuted the styling on a prototype that went nowhere. GM reintroduced it again with the 1968 Chevy Corvette. It’s since been found on a number of cars, with the most prominent example being the Pontiac Trans-Am. The big difference, however, is that all of those cars were fitted with removable glass panels – allowing you to have the luxury of an open roof without the weight or packing of a convertible top. It almost feels as if Bugatti missed the mark here as a T-Top Chiron would be pretty damn cool if Bugatti could manage to keep structural strength intact.
In that case, maybe Bugatti is offering the best it can, as it might be hard to maintain structural stability without a full roof – it’s the same reason third-gen, unibody Camaro’s need subframe connectors to handle any engine with real torque. All that’s left now is pricing, and Bugatti has yet to reveal that tidbit of information. The first Sky View-equipped Chiron will be on display in August at Pebble Beach, so stay tuned for updates and pictures from the scene.
The Bentley Bentayga Now Comes with the Tiniest Little Biometric Safe
As if the Bentley Bentayga isn’t opulent enough on its own, Bentley is throwing in a new feature that’s going to help owners keep their valuables in a secure location. Courtesy of the Mulliner personalization division, Bentayga owners can now avail of a biometric stowage space in the SUV’s center console that can only be opened through capacitive fingerprint sensor technology. Fingerprint technology on the Bentayga? All in a day’s work for Mulliner.
Rally Wheels And Knobby Rubber Make For Quite The Off-Road Package
With its Impreza-based bones under the skin, standard symmetrical AWD system, copious rock-deflecting exterior trim, and sizable 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Subaru Crosstrek makes for a pretty decent choice when tackling the great outdoors. I mean, that’s kinda the whole point, right? Load up the capacious rear trunk with your lifestyle equipment of choice (mountain bike, camping gear, inflatable raft, etc.) then set out for the trail head. That’s all well and good, but whaddya need to take it even further? Well, a set of rally wheels and knobby rubber would certainly do the trick.
That’s exactly what the owner of this particular hatchback Scooby did, throwing on a set of what appears to be ten-spoke Method rally wheels wrapped in General Grabber all-terrain tires. It’s a pricey set-up, for sure, but we think it’s worth every penny. Not only that, but the combo looks fantastic on the Crosstrek, turning it from mall marauder to trail buster in an instant.
Pirelli Has Six Different Tire Options for the Lamborghini Urus
The Lamborghini Urus is not your standard SUV so it’s not beholden to standard industry practices. That’s the case when it comes to choosing tires for the Lambo SUV. Whereas most tire makers prepare up to around two to three tire options for the standard SUVs, Pirelli doubled that number to six different tire options for the Urus to account for the SUV’s performance capabilities.
Audi Introduces Amazon Music Services On All 2017 and 2018 Models
In what can be considered an early Christmas present from Audi, owners of 2017 and 2018 model year Audis will now have access to Amazon’s music services, including Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Prime Music. The two services are now embedded into the infotainment systems of these models, as well as in the Audi MMI Connect smartphone app.
Renault and Mercedes Debut new 1.3-liter Engine!
Automotive partnerships come in many forms. In the case of Renault and Mercedes, we see that partnership come to life in the form of a newly developed 1.3-liter gasoline engine. The new engine is expected to debut in the Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic MPVs before other Renault models get their turn with it sometime in 2018.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit
The Jeep brand’s foundation is based on utility and preparedness, so it comes as no surprise that the 2018 Wrangler JL comes with its own toolkit. The kit comes with a socket wrench and the drivers needed to remove the doors and fold the windshield – two very important aspects of Wrangler ownership.
The toolkit trend started a few years ago with the Wrangler JK, but Jeep is keeping the idea alive. The kit comes in a snazzy nylon pouch with a Velcro latch. Inside are elastic bands that hold the tools in place. The kit includes a min socket, a T40 and T50 Torx bits and an M15 socket. The T40 is used for the various parts of the soft top, while the T50’s main job is removing the bolts holding the door hinges in place. The T50 is also used to remove the track system of the Sunrider soft top.
Folding the windshield requires removing the windshield wipers. That takes the M15 socket. Simply pop off the caps at the wiper hubs and remove the nut. Use the T40 to remove the four bolts holding the windshield header bar to the Sports Bar support and boom – the windshield easily folds down. Two more T40 bolts on the windshields two hinges will have the entire windshield assembly removed from the Jeep.
Best of all, the Wrangler offers a custom-fit storage holder for all this hardware. Lift up the cargo floor, and holes are pre-made and labeled in the plastic tray found underneath.
Jeep also includes a handy instruction guide with photos and labels. The instructions are on thick, laminated paper that should last a while, especially when kept in the clear plastic pocket inside the took kit pouch.