Looking to improve both fuel economy and performance in its future products, the Volkswagen Group is reportedly working on the development a new family of turbocharged V-6 and V-8 engines. Although no timeframe was given for when these engines will debut, they will first appear in Audi and Porsche products before making their way under the hoods of other VW Group brands, including Volkswagen, Bentley and perhaps evenLamborghini.
The source of the information is unknown, but Autocar reports that the new engines will share common elements, including a 90-degree layout with each cylinder having a 0.5-liter displacement. This means that the V-6 will be a 3.0-liter engine, while the V-8 will be a 4.0-liter. Making these new engines even more intriguing is that each will be fitted with a standard turbo at launch but could eventually switch to an electric turbo in the future. Audi could also be developing a downsized version of the V-6 – around 2.5 liters – that will be used on entry-level products and use the Atkinson cycle.
Based on the report that these engines will be utilized by Porsche, it would seem that they are being developed for larger passenger cars and SUVs such as the Porsche Panamera and Porsche Cayenne.
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Remember how cool it was the first time you made a phone call through your car’s audio system via Bluetooth? That was only the beginning, and that integration has been taken to a whole new level with Volkswagen’s second-generation Modular Infotainment platform. There are four different head units available for 2016 Volkswagen models — all of which include a touchscreen display and smartphone integration via Apply CarPlay, Android Auto or Mirrorlink.
Apple CarPlay works with the iPhone 5 or newer with at least iOS 7.1. Android Auto will work with any Android phone that runs Android 5.0 – codenamed Lollipop – or higher. Most newer Samsung and HTC phones have MirrorLink capability along with Sony’s Xperia Z3 and Fujitsu’s Arrows NX handset. Android Auto and MirrorLink also have support for some third-party apps like Spotify and Skype. MirrorLink has its own list of apps that can be integrated, including WeatherPro, Parkopedia and Glympse, among others.
All models include standard features like an auxiliary input, USB interface, SD card slots, Bluetooth and a reverse camera display. Entry-level models have a 5-inch screen, while most mid-level trims have a 6.3-inch screen. The 2016 VW Golf stands by itself with a 6.5-inch screen, and the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf has an 8.0-inch screen with 3D Navigation, nearly 10 gigabytes of storage and a wireless hotspot. All other premium models include the Discover Pro, which has SSD Navigation and other features not found in the sub-premium systems.
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As battery technology advances and capacities increase, recharging methods must keep pace. If EVs are to ever eclipse the internal-combustion engine, they’ll need to be equally easy-to-use, convenient and quick when it comes to topping off the juice. To that end, Volkswagen has announced an automated quick-charge system called e-smartConnect.
Currently, rapid DC charging requires the use of heavy, awkward cables. VW wants to take the responsibility of connecting these cables out of the hands of the driver and put it into the mechanical grip of a robot.
Using a lightweight “LBR iiwa” automaton from the German robotics company Kuka, the system fixes a low force/moment cable into the EV’s recharge socket automatically. The robot uses seven drive axles and integrated torque sensors to make sure the connection is snug, while an integrated camera on the robot’s gripping device calculates the socket position with millimeter-precision.
Paired with this is an automated parking system. To initiate the recharge process, the car communicates with the charging station, sharing information via a set profile, which is interpreted by the recharge station. The station then responds with exact coordinates on where the car should be positioned, which the automated parking system then executes.
Once the car is charged, the robot arm removes the charger from the car’s socket and stores it on the station, which is then transported via conveyor belt to the next EV awaiting electricity.
VW says this effectively takes the human element out of EV charging, ensuring “safe and reliable human-robot collaboration (HRC).”
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Volkswagen of America has just announced its new Car-Net app platform that enables Apple Watch users to control a variety of functions on several VW passenger cars. The free app is currently available for download at the iTunes App Store, and promises “enhanced connectivity on the go.”
Functionality includes controls for both safety and convenience. Users can remotely lock and unlock the doors, as well as view the status of the doors, windows and sun roof to see whether they are open or closed. There’s a locater function that enables users to pinpoint their cars in a crowded parking lot, with the app providing walking or driving directions if needed. The app also provides the ability to honk the horn or flash the headlights remotely for easier location. Alert notifications can be sent for excess speed or boundary crossing if certain parameters are set.
Owners of VW vehicles with either gas or diesel engines can check fuel levels, while those driving the all-electric 2015 e-Golf can check current battery charge, view estimated driving range, turn charging on or off, and adjust the climate control.
Car-Net is currently available for select trim levels of the 2014 and later Beetle, CC, Eos, Jetta, Passat and Tiguan. All trim levels of the 2015 and later Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and e-Golf are also supported.
You can find more information here.
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Like all hot hatchbacks, the Golf R is not an old person’s car. While the 2016 model slated for arrival in the U.S. will be equipped with four doors, it’s still the fastest and most powerful Golf ever sold to the American public. It’s a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive speed bubble. It’s a bullet with sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, and tight, bolstered seats. The tires are thin, the brakes are grabby, and the exhaust burbles and pops. It’s a pumped up, track-oriented performance special. Obviously, this is a complicated machine aimed at a younger crowd.
Grip and power are good, and the Golf R practically oozes with both these attributes. But the car for tomorrow, the kind of vehicle that anyone under 30 might want, needs more than a collection of high-performance statistics. To effectively reach the new consumer, a car needs connectivity, innovative infotainment, and the latest interior technology. For a growing number of customers, it’s the cabin gadgetry that either makes or breaks a car sale.
With this in mind, Volkswagen is using the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show as a springboard to unveil the Golf R Touch, which integrates a huge variety of forward-thinking user-interface technology to enhance the experience for both passengers and the driver.
While the rest of the vehicle is unchanged from a production Golf R, it’s fascinating to see the direction VW wants to take in a bid to stay at the forefront of cabin tech. Say goodbye to buttons and switches- in their stead, you’ll find screens, haptic feedback, and gesture control. It looks complex, but if you’re the kind of person who can smell free public WiFi from a mile away, you should feel right at home.
Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf R Touch.
Back in December, we profiled a few of the more interesting apps out there for the motor-minded. Now, it looks like VW is getting in on the action with its own branded software/hardware combo. Using an OBD II reader called a LogBox on the 2016 Golf R, which sends a Bluetooth signal to your dash-mounted smartphone running the Race App, users are treated to a variety of recorded performance parameters. These include acceleration figures, Google Maps-based tack outlines, lap times, horsepower, torque, boost pressure, g-force readings, and distance measurements.
In my opinion, the coolest feature is the ability to record live footage of your track experience and overlay it with data. This should make improving those lap times that much more efficient. Exactly what line did you take to get onto the front straight? How early did you get to full throttle? How fast were you at the exit? These are the questions you can run through back in the pits between sessions to start eating away at those tenths.
As track days get more and more popular, these kinds of apps are popping up with increasing frequency. Finding the best is really a matter of preference; tuners like the mechanical data, racers want the performance figures. It’s a great way to casually put numbers to the thrills of speed. Just be warned: once you get a taste for it, odds are you’ll be back for more.
Click past the jump to read about the Volkswagen Golf R.
Volkswagen’s new commercial for the Golf GTI might as well be called "notice your environment." The whole concept is pretty unique: get a new Golf GTI, stick around 30 GoPro cameras on it, and then have Tanner Foust do whatever he wants with the sports hatch.
It seemed simple enough, at least until it appeared that we also had a chance to "interact" with the commercial to see multiple views of specific moments in the ad.
So when you’re watching Volkswagen’s "Turbocharge The Everyday" commercial for the Golf GTI, pay attention to the left side of the screen. At certain moments, you’ll be given a choice of different views you can switch to. That’s when the video jumps to another part of the ad, showing the exact same scene from the view of a different GoPro camera.
It admittedly took us a while to get it, but once we did, the commercial became a lot more enjoyable to watch. Watching Tanner Foust do all those burnouts on the Golf GTI didn’t hurt our viewing experience either.
About a week ago, we shared with you something that Volkswagen had cooking on its backburner. With the growing popularity of the iPad, VW saw it fit to jump into the bandwagon and launch it’s very own iPad-exclusive digital magazine. Calling it "DAS", which is short for Digital Automotive Space, the new virtual magazine allows the user to enjoy a multitude of functions, including a total of five chapters that show different aspects of what goes on behind the scenes in and around Volkswagen.
Luca de Meo, Volkswagen’s head of marketing, had this to say about their new brainchild: "DAS is an important building block in Volkswagen’s digital marketing strategy and gives us the opportunity for an interactive dialog with our customers."
If you’re interested to know how the DAS works on the iPad, you can check out this demo video prepared by Volkswagen.
Count Volkswagen in on the Apple iPad’s official bandwagon, proving that just about anybody will jump into the slightest opportunity of being featured in today’s latest fad.
The German auto giant will be developing a digital customer magazine exclusively for the iPad, which will then be published on a quarterly basis and will be available in five different languages to cater to the European and US markets. VW is calling their latest marketing brainchild ’DAS’, which is short for ’Digital Automotive Space’, with the goal of using a new medium or tool to transmit interest in Volkswagen from the brand to the consumer in a new digital environment that will be accessible all over the world.
According to Luca de Meo, Volkswagen’s head of marketing, "DAS is an important building block in Volkswagen’s digital marketing strategy and gives us the opportunity for an interactive dialog with our customers."
Now, if you don’t own an iPad, you won’t need to worry about accessing the DAS because Volkswagen has already announced that it will publish an Internet version of the quarterly digital magazine at the end of June, making it accessible to just about anyone who has a working Internet connection from every corner of the world.
Exactly one month ago, we brought some interesting information about an Audi TTS that was planning on making the Pike Peaks International Hill Climb without a driver sitting in the driver’s seat. That technology was brought forth by the masterminds over at Stanford University who have spent a lot of time working on the automobiles of the future. This technology is rapidly approaching reality and eventually there will be no need for drivers at all. Case in point is the Volkswagen Passat by the name of Junior. The VW was wired up before the Audi TTS (Shelley) was born and has even placed second in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) 2007 Urban Challenge, a race in which an autonomous car must navigate city streets, obey traffic laws, avoid obstructions, and, crucially, drive well among other cars in traffic. The video shown here illustrates Junior’s capabilities as they were back in 2007 when it was attempting to qualify for the Urban Challenge. The folks over at Stanford University came across some problems with Junior, but in the video shown after the jump, the solution to these problems is explained.
A little late in the game, but here nonetheless, Volkswagen is now going to join the likes of Ford, Audi, Volvo, etc. in hyping up their infotainment systems. They, however, are the first who will be leaving it in the hands of the public. Volkswagen has announced the Open Innovation Contest, “App My Ride”, which allows users to collaborate with Volkswagen to create applications for their system while competing for prizes for creativity.
"Our aim is to invite the international developer community to take part in designing a future system," says Prof. Dr Jürgen Leohold, Head of the Volkswagen Group Research.
Changing the passive role of the user to a more involved one has worked in many cases such as for smartphones, video games, etc. and Volkswagen’s decision to involve the public is probably based on taking in a piece of that pie.
"A quiet revolution is taking place right now," explains Dr Johann Füller, CEO of the innovation agency partner to Volkswagen through the "App My Ride" competition, Hyve AG. "The customer-orientated culture of the internet places an enormous power in the hands of the users. Leading organisations are starting to harness this power to develop better solutions and increase their competitiveness." And I am sure a little (and by a little, we mean a lot) of it is based on making a little bit (again, a lot) of money and popularity.
Hit the jump for the press release and contest details.
There is something decidedly fantastical about this scene: We observe the approach of a Passat estate, it stops, the driver gets out, slams the door shut and, as he walks away from the car, he aims a remote control back at it. That car now proceeds to reverse park itself into the available space, it then independently cuts the engine and activates the door locks. End of performance. In reality, there is nothing at all fantastical about this demonstration.
The live performance by Volkswagen can be viewed at this year’s Hanover Fair (21 to 25 April), where the carmaker is premiering its “Park Assist Vision”, a system with the ability to guide a Passat prototype with absolute precision into a perpendicular parking space, i.e. the kind available on parking lots and in underground car parks. These parking spaces are often too narrow to allow drivers and passengers to get in and out of the car comfortably. In the not too distant future, “Park Assist Vision” will put an end to that.