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BMW M8 Prototype: Munich Forecasts New Peak Performer at Nurburgring

BMW M8 Villa d'Este concept

Two days after BMW unveiled the Concept 8-series at the famous Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como, it’s using the 24-hour sports-car race at the Nürburgring to preview the hottest new 8-series coupe: the M8.

Unlike the Como concept, this prototype was entirely covered with camouflage wrap, so the presentation was more of an aural than a visual treat. What we could see were fat tires, large aerodynamic addenda, four round exhaust tips, typical M-spec mirrors, and huge air intakes. Behind the intakes is a powerplant that is hungry for air, both to ingest and for cooling: the next-gen twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that probably will make something north of 600 horsepower. This is the same engine that powers the next M5, and it will be mated solely to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive will be standard, although drivers will be able to select a rear-wheel-drive mode to induce powerslides or to drift at will.

The M8, we’re advised, will be at least 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing M6 it replaces. While the new M8 will be the spiritual successor of the M6, there is a historical precursor that was called M8. It was a prototype derivative of the 1990s-era 8-series, fitted with a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at about 540 horsepower and equipped with a manual transmission. BMW decided against building it and went for the 850CSi instead.

There is a good reason for the Nürburgring to serve as the venue for this car’s announcement. That’s because BMW will build a racing version of the new M8 called the M8 GTE, which is set to make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January—months before the roadgoing car comes to market.

BMW M8 Villa d'Este conceptBMW M8 Villa d'Este concept


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/bmw-m8-prototype-munich-forecasts-new-peak-performer-at-nurburgring/

BMW M8 Prototype: Munich Forecasts New Peak Performer at Nurburgring

BMW M8 Villa d'Este conceptBMW M8 Villa d'Este concept

Two days after BMW unveiled the Concept 8-series at the famous Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como, it’s using the 24-hour sports-car race at the Nürburgring to preview the hottest new 8-series coupe: the M8.

Unlike the Como concept, this prototype was entirely covered with camouflage wrap, so the presentation was more of an aural than a visual treat. What we could see were fat tires, large aerodynamic addenda, four round exhaust tips, typical M-spec mirrors, and huge air intakes. Behind the intakes is a powerplant that is hungry for air, both to ingest and for cooling: the next-gen twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that probably will make something north of 600 horsepower. This is the same engine that powers the next M5, and it will be mated solely to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive will be standard, although drivers will be able to select a rear-wheel-drive mode to induce powerslides or to drift at will.

The M8, we’re advised, will be at least 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing M6 it replaces. While the new M8 will be the spiritual successor of the M6, there is a historical precursor that was called M8. It was a prototype derivative of the 1990s-era 8-series, fitted with a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at about 540 horsepower and equipped with a manual transmission. BMW decided against building it and went for the 850CSi instead.

There is a good reason for the Nürburgring to serve as the venue for this car’s announcement. That’s because BMW will build a racing version of the new M8 called the M8 GTE, which is set to make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January—months before the roadgoing car comes to market.

BMW M8 Villa d'Este conceptBMW M8 Villa d'Este concept


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/bmw-m8-prototype-munich-forecasts-new-peak-performer-at-nurburgring/

CAR BREAK-IN: From Jessica:

Two reader reports to share:

CAR BREAK-IN: From Jessica:

My car was broken into (Wednesday night) in the Seaview area at 48th Ave SW and SW Juneau. The person used some sort of remote keyless device as there was no smashed windows/forced entry and the car was 100% locked. They rummaged around to find not that much: some loose change and a couple old gift cards with probably less than $15 left on them.

BICYCLE FOUND: Behind Charlestown Center (3727 California SW):

The finder, who sent the photo, says: “Some cobwebs and pollen on the bike lead me to believe it has been there a while.”

Article source: http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-car-break-in-bike-found/

Porsche Plans Crackdown on GT-Car Speculators and Flippers

2018 GT3 front

Like many of the world’s most desirable cars, Porsche’s GT models attract the interest of buyers who are more keen to buy them as investments than for driving pleasure. But now the automaker says it is planning to crack down on those who have been betting on the rising value of some of its rarer GT variants and flipping them for profit.

“I personally like to see my cars being used. That’s what we build them for. They are just too good to be left to stand and collect dust,” Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s head of GT road-car development, told us at the launch of the 2018 911 GT3. “I don’t like this business of people buying our cars to make money on them. That was never our intention. The purpose of limiting a car is not for it to gain value. We don’t want to be laying money on each car’s roof when they run out of the factory.”

Preuninger admitted that the decision to offer a manual transmission in the new GT3 has upset some buyers of the manual-only 911R, who fear their cars will lose some of the exclusivity that has propelled their values skyward.

2018 Porsche 911 GT3

“When I said we’re not a hedge fund, I’m talking to those people who are yelling at us for offering the manual transmission similar to the R,” he said. “But if there are people wanting to buy cars like that, then as a company we should try to fulfill that, to meet that demand.”

While it’s hard to prevent buyers from selling cars for a profit, Preuninger said that doing so will mean such a customer is far less likely to be able to buy one of Porsche’s limited-production GT specials in the future.

“We are monitoring very closely who is flipping cars,” he said. “We do not build too many cars and we know most of our customers well—we like to have a name for every car before we build it.

“If you’re flipping cars, then I think it’s understandable that you won’t get on the list for the next car if we have more demand than supply,” Preuninger concluded. “It’s not a punishment but a strategy: to supply the cars to the customers who will really use them. I think that’s just fair.”


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/porsche-plans-crackdown-on-gt-car-speculators-and-flippers/

Fording New Waters: More Leadership Changes at Ford

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2015 International CES

Following the departure of former Ford CEO Mark Fields and the appointment of Jim Hackett to the position, Ford is continuing to revamp its leadership team. Behind the bombshell news of Fields’s ousting and Hackett’s welcoming were the appointments of Jim Farley, Joe Hinrichs, and Marcy Klevorn to the respective roles of executive vice president and president for global markets, executive vice president and president for global operations, and executive vice president and president for the Ford Smart Mobility subsidiary.

Now Ford is revealing more about the individuals who will report to this quartet of executives. Notably, Raj Nair (photo above) now holds the position of executive vice president and president of Ford North America, a good sign if you ask us because Nair notably served time on the engineering team for the 2005 Ford GT supercar and was a key figure in developing the latest GT. He also played major roles in performance products such as the Mustang, the Focus RS, and the F-150 Raptor. While autonomy may be the future of the automotive industry, Nair’s new role gives us hope that Ford’s North American operations won’t completely forfeit enjoyment behind the wheel on the way to our inevitable self-driving future.

Helping shape that future will be Sherif Marakby, who will serve as the VP of autonomous vehicles and electrification. Marakby rejoins Ford after jumping ship last year to take on the role of vice president of global vehicle programs at Uber. Both men will report to Jim Farley, with Nair’s role becoming effective as of June 1 and Marakby’s as of June 12.

Meanwhile, Nair’s old job, executive vice president of global product development, now will be occupied by Hau Thai-Tang. He will report to Joe Hinrichs beginning June 1. Thai-Thang is no amateur in the world of product development, either, as he’s served more than a quarter-century as a member of Ford’s product-development team, eventually helping bring to fruition the 2005 Mustang as the vehicle’s chief engineer.

Assisting Marcy Klevorn in shaping Ford’s future in the mobility industry are Jeff Lemmer and Neil Schloss. Lemmer takes on the role of vice president and chief operating officer for information technology, while Schloss will serve as the vice president and chief financial officer of Ford’s mobility program. Both are career employees at Ford, with Lemmer’s appointment effective as of June 1 and Schloss’s as of August 1.


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/fording-new-waters-more-leadership-changes-at-ford/

The Lexus CT200h Is Dead: Hybrid Hatch Won’t Return for 2018

2017-Lexus-CT200h-PLACEMENT

The Lexus CT200h has reached the end of the line. Lexus said the hybrid hatchback won’t return for the 2018 model year, at least in the United States; it’ll continue to be sold elsewhere for the foreseeable future. The CT first arrived in 2011 and has been Lexus’s smallest and least expensive offering for several years now.

We’re not too surprised by this news, given the CT’s age and dwindling sales numbers. Lexus sold just 8903 copies of the CT200h in 2016, a fraction of the sales numbers enjoyed by other entry-luxury models such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA-class (25,792) and the Audi A3 (31,538) during the same time frame. The CT200h’s hybrid drivetrain, shared with the previous-generation Toyota Prius, had also started to look outdated, with its 42-mpg EPA combined fuel economy far outclassed by the latest Prius and its 52-mpg rating.

2016 Lexus CT200h

So what’s next for the low end of Lexus’s lineup? A new subcompact crossover called the UX is on its way, and it is likely to have a hybrid variant that will act as a sort of de facto replacement for the CT. Until then, the cheapest way to snag a new L-badged vehicle will be the $36,260 NX crossover—or perhaps a discount on one of the remaining 2017 CT200h models still found at Lexus dealers for now.

2018-Lexus-CT200H-REEL


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/the-lexus-ct200h-is-dead-hybrid-hatch-wont-return-for-2018/

President Trump’s new limo spotted testing at high speed

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Article source: http://www.autoblog.com/2017/05/25/president-trump-limo-the-beast-spy-shots/

President Trump and the German Car Imbroglio

“Free Trade” – my assemblage currently featured at the Barrett Art Gallery in Santa Monica.

With the usual gross exaggeration, the media has been reporting that President Trump told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk that “the Germans are bad, very bad” for making and selling lots of cars, contributing to their trade surplus, due to all their exports.

Juncker said it never happened and the conversation was about Germany’s trade surplus and it was quite civilized. When you’ve got an arrogant, supercilious, disdainful European Union official such as him defending Trump, you know he must be telling the truth. Via Google Translate, the quote disavowing the media claims is here in Der Spiegel:

Trump had in no way been aggressively put forward. “‘Bad’ does not mean evil – bad enough,” said Juncker. The atmosphere was constructive. “He did not say the Germans behave badly. He said we have a problem,” said Juncker.

Still, there’s a bit of an argument worth looking at given the issue at hand. Trump is criticizing the Germans for their cutting-edge industry selling first-rate cars? How could that be bad? Or a problem? Shouldn’t every nation do what it does best? Some nations produce the world’s best hoteliers, others produce the world’s finest agricultural products, still others produce the world’s best chess players and computer programers. Germans do precision tools and cars. The metal-working industry has been a German area of excellence since the rise of Nuremberg, in Bavaria (where the cars are now made), on a major trade route to Italy. Albrecht Durer, the greatest painter Germany ever produced, was the son of a Nuremberg metal worker in the 15th century and his life and work were intimately connected with the commercial rise of this city, showing that great art arises from great commercial prosperity. The city itself fell into decline when wars took over. But Bavaria remained Germany’s industrial center.

Which brings me to my real point. They’re Germans. What do Germans do when they aren’t busily cranking out cars? It’s either Germans making and selling cars, or else they go Nazi. Germany has a hideous record of military aggression when they are not kept busy with commercial pursuits. Is it a really good thing to tell Germans not to make cars anymore?

And to address the trade surplus issue that comes of it, it’s worth noting that the lines are not as clear as the statistics suggest. Trade is a complex thing which is why some of the best free market economists say deficits don’t matter. Germany is one of America’s largest foreign investors, with $208 billion in investments here, employing 620,000 American workers. They locally source when they produce their cars here because it’s the most cost-effective way to do it, visiting German auto executives told me a few years ago. So when Germans build cars for the German market, they like to use Romanian factories because they are closest to the spare parts makers around the region and this cuts inefficiencies and transport costs. Same thing with the U.S. BMW cars sold in the U.S. are assembled at plants in South Carolina, and Mercedes-Benzes sold in the U.S. are made in Alabama. (Volkswagen is now mostly in Mexico, but that keeps the illegals employed in their home country.)   Japan, too, locally sources its production, with Toyota’s operations in Kentucky and Texas, and Nissan’s in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Juncker pointed out that the argument Trump was making was directed at Germany but insisted there was no going to Germany directly, any dealings with Germany would have to be done through the EU which makes no distinction between countries.

“I was making clear that the U.S. cannot compare their trade situation with individual member states of the European Union. They have to compare their performances with the global performances of the European Union and I made it clear that the commission is charged with trade issues and not the member states.”

That may be what Trump really meant to get at and he is likely right that bi-lateral agreements based on individual countries’ particulars is a better way to go in negotiating better treaty deals, which seems to be what he wants with Germany. There’s no sense applying the same muscle to Greece as is required in a deal with Germany – and that is where Juncker slides into unreality.

In any case, it’s an unfortunate thing that car-making is what Germany is being criticized for – there are so many things the Germans need to be blasted for – their laziness on defense, their kowtowing to the gamier elements of the Middle East, their open-borders migrant policy, their miserable socialist taxes that keeps their birthrate down and their intrusive government structure that discourages religion and family formation, in addition to their disgusting affinity for the European Union. But car-making isn’t what makes Germany ‘bad’ or a problem. Juncker pretty well explained that the EU would be a roadblock toward any adjustment of trade terms with Germany. That’s where the real problem is and it will likely be a chronic one until the European Union breaks up. It really isn’t German cars. 

 

Article source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/05/trump_and_the_german_car_imbroglio.html

In Ordinary Trash, Volvo Sees Autonomous Treasure

Volvo-garbage-1

Far from the sleek and futuristic concept cars often showcased by automakers, the first iterations of self-driving vehicles to reach the road may be no more glamorous than garbage trucks. That’s because they may literally be garbage trucks.

Volvo has started work on joint research and development with Renova, a waste-disposal company in western Sweden. The project explores how automated garbage trucks can make pickup more efficient and safe in urban environments. Renova is owned by 10 municipalities in western Sweden and operates a fleet of 220 heavy vehicles. The work is expected to continue through the end of 2017.

“There is amazing potential to transform the swift pace of technical developments in automation into practical benefits for customers and more broadly, society in general,” said Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer of Volvo Group.

The project emerged as an offshoot to the company’s ongoing research into self-driving trucks, which continues in the Kristineberg Mine in northern Sweden. Volvo says the technology used for mining operations is similar to what’s needed for a garbage truck, and it’s easy to see why the company would consider the latter as a potential opportunity.

Volvo-truck-2

Many of the first automated vehicles to first reach public roads, especially in complex environments like cities, will need to operate at low speeds and travel along predefined or pre-mapped routes. Garbage trucks, with their predictable schedules and inchworm pace, fit both parameters. Further, commercial operators could cut the labor costs of two-person crews, electing instead to let the vehicle drive itself while a human handles the trash collection.

Autonomous operations could offer environmental upsides, with the truck optimizing its gearchanges, steering, and speed for the lowest possible consumption. Along with that, there could be other, more unexpected human advantages.

“One important benefit of the new technology is a reduction in the risk of occupational injuries, such as wear in knee joints—otherwise a common ailment among staff working with refuse collection,” Stenqvist said.

Volvo didn’t detail what types of sensors the vehicles are using to detect and navigating through their environment. In pictures of test vehicles, there appear to be lidar units affixed to the four corners of the garbage truck, data from which is likely fused with radar- and camera-based information.

Although it has kept a lower profile than some of its competitors, Volvo has been active in pioneering autonomous technology. It has partnered with Uber, providing autonomous XC90 SUVs that are later outfitted with Uber’s self-driving system. Separately, Volvo has begun efforts to equip approximately 100 ordinary families with self-driving vehicles for use within a geofenced area in and around Gothenburg, Sweden, by the end of 2017. Late last year, Volvo teamed with Autoliv, one of its primary suppliers, to announce the formation of a new company, Zenuity, which houses the development of autonomous-driving software and driver-assistance systems.

Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/in-ordinary-trash-volvo-sees-autonomous-treasure/

Worthersee Sauce: Volkswagen Shows Off Hybrid All-Wheel-Drive GTI at Annual Car Meet

Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade conceptVolkswagen Golf GTI First Decade concept

Volkswagen will take the wraps off two Golf concepts at this year’s Wörthersee car meet in Maria Wörth, Austria. Both cars are the brainchildren of Volkswagen’s group of young apprentices from the company’s German manufacturing facilities.

Marking a decade of concept cars presented by Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg apprentices at Wörthersee, the aptly named Golf GTI First Decade concept sports an innovative gasoline-electric powertrain that pairs the company’s ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a rear-axle-mounted electric motor. The all-wheel-drive concept offers three drive modes: a front-wheel drive mode that leaves forward momentum to the 402-hp four-cylinder engine and its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, an all-wheel-drive mode that lets the 16-hp rear-mounted electric motor get in on the action, and a rear-wheel-drive mode that allows the concept to drive short distances on electricity alone. Power to the rear motor is supplied by two rear-mounted batteries, and charging is done via the car’s regenerative-braking system. Custom paintwork, a rear spoiler from the GTI Clubsport, and chunky 20-inch wheels separate the GTI First Decade from your typical run-of-the-mill GTI.

Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade conceptVolkswagen Golf GTI First Decade concept

Although the powertrain advancements may be the GTI First Decade concept’s most interesting bits, the apprentices dressed the car’s interior with a pair of handmade seats draped in smooth leather and suede that offer massage functions for occupants of both front seats. All seat adjustments are made via a custom mobile application. Meanwhile, the rear seats have been tossed entirely. In their place sits the two batteries and various electronics for the electric motor, as well as key parts of the concept’s deafening 1690-watt stereo system.

Volkswagen will also show off the Golf GTE Estate ImpulsE concept. Unlike the production Golf GTE, which relies on an 8.8-kWh battery pack, the ImpulsE concept relies on a chunky 16.8-kWh pack that Volkswagen claims doubles the model’s all-electric range. When the production GTE was formally announced, Volkswagen stated the model had a 31-mile range on the notoriously optimistic European cycle. Volkswagen made no mention of changes to the ImpulsE concept’s powertrain, meaning the concept likely shares a 148-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four and a 100-hp electric motor with the production GTE.

While the Golf GTI First Decade and GTE Estate ImpulsE concepts may be the only two Volkswagen concepts created by apprentices at this year’s Wörthersee meet, they won’t be the only concepts on display by Volkswagen at the famous Austrian show. The brand will also formally unveil the Up! GTI concept.

REELREEL


Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/worthersee-sauce-volkswagen-shows-off-hybrid-all-wheel-drive-gti-at-annual-car-meet/