Monthly Archives: December 2013

Google reportedly partners with Audi for on-board Android

Google is reportedly hitting the road for its next battle with Apple for mobile OS market share.

The Web giant has teamed with carmaker Audi to develop in-car entertainment and information systems based on the Android operating system, according to the Wall Street Journal. The aim of the partnership, which is expected to be announced next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, would allow for in-car integration of music and navigation apps currently available on smartphones, sources told the Journal.

The partnership is expected to generate a challenger to Apple’s iOS in the Car, which aims to integrate users’ iPhones with their car’s onboard receiver or “infotainment” system. Unveiled in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the feature is expected to provide an interface that lets users control things like music, messages, and maps right through the vehicle.

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Lamborghini unveils 610hp Huracán luxury super sports car

(Credit: Lamborghini)

For years, whenever someone at a party would ask me, “so what’s your favorite car?” or “what’s the coolest car you’ve driven?” I’d blurt out “the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera” faster and with more flourish than you could say “Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle.” It’s embarrassing, but I’ve been in love with the impractical wedge-shaped supercar ever since I got a chance to track one back in 2009. I know — it doesn’t make sense, but supercars have a way of affecting men that rarely does.

But all good things must come to an end and Lamborghini has recently put the 10-year old Gallardo out to pasture. Its replacement has been unveiled today: the lighter, slicker, more powerful Lamborghini Huracán. Is it a worthy successor to my favorite car? We’ll have to wait until its public debut next year to find out. Until then, we’ve got all of the newly confirmed details below.

It’s called the Huracán The Huracán is a Lamborghini, so naturally its name comes from the world of bullfighting, like the Murciéllago, Gallardo, and Aventador that came before it. According to Lamborghini, “the fighting bull Huracán of the Spanish Conte de la Patilla breed was known for hi… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Behind closed doors at Mercedes-Benz’s tech-filled Silicon Valley R&D facility

(Credit: Tim Stevens/CNET)

If you gather a room’s worth of automotive historians together and ask them who made the first car, you will surely stir up some spirited debate. But, once it settles down a bit, the majority will nod and point toward Dr. Karl Benz’s 1886 Patent-Motorwagen. It only had three wheels and not a single USB port but is generally considered the first vehicle designed from the ground up to be powered by a non-equine engine. You could call it Victorian-era forward thinking.

Automotive progressivism is a rather different thing today. Spend a few months investigating the wrong alternative power train or saddle your car with last year’s iPhone connector and you might as well just tell your dealers to pack in and go home. Car buyers are savvier than ever, and while there are few international brands more decidedly Germanic than Mercedes-Benz, its many designers and engineers are well aware that a global perspective is required to stay globally competitive.

Touring the Mercedes-Benz Sunnyvale R&D center (pictures)

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Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)

Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)

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In this episode:

  • We revisit the Bugatti Veyron in California’s Wine Country
  • Tour many of the same roads where we shot the Veyron video
  • Top 5 high tech cars of 2013, according to CNET review scores
  • Another look at alcohol interlock technology to prevent drunk driving

After you watch out Car Tech 101 on hemi engines… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

CES 2014 will showcase the near future of driving

Toyota will bring its latest Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept to CES, demonstrating its green car development.

(Credit: Timothy Hornyak/CNET)

Auto shows make great places to see the cars coming to showrooms in the next year, but CES shows how we will be driving by 2020. Automakers and suppliers are participating in CES 2014 to show off their latest tech concepts, designed to make driving safer and easier than ever.

At CES 2013, both Lexus and Audi made important announcements about their efforts to develop autonomous vehicles. While those efforts have not come to dealers yet, Audi will be demonstrating its test vehicles at CES, showing how the future car will drop off its passengers, then go find a parking spot on its own. At CES 2013, Audi executives displayed the hardware that would make self-driving cars practical, including a sensor array much more compact than that seen on the tops of Google’s autonomous cars. The company is working to integrate its sensor array into cars to enable self-driving capabilities.

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First Drive: 2014 Toyota Corolla Review

 

All New 2014 Toyota Corolla

All New 2014 Toyota Corolla

The longstanding reputation of reliability and frugality has always earned the Corolla top seed in the best overall subcompact sedan for decades.  At a consumer perspective, the excellent fuel economy and low maintenance cost made the Toyota Corolla the default choice for anyone who sought for a  simple and reliable method of transportation.  On that note, the subcompact industry has raised its bars significantly, offering both higher technology and  better looks.  Being one of the largest Automotive manufacturers in the world, Toyota took initiative in its own hands and gave the all new 2014 Corolla a complete makeover inside out.

Escort’s new flagship detector boasts more signal, less noise

Escort’s Passport Max brings few new tricks to the radar detector’s bag of tricks. It’s got GPS connectivity, which it uses in some innovative ways. It uses new signal-processing tech to tune out the noise that triggers false alerts. It’s even got a new suction cup.

Design The Passport Max attaches to your car’s windshield with a new Sticky Cup suction mount, similar to that of the Bracketron Mi-T Grip. While it looks like a standard lever-activated suction cup, the Sticky Cup uses a tacky, indeed, sticky semiadhesive material for its cup. With this change, the Passport sacrifices a bit of liberty for security, as the new suction cup is less forgiving during positioning (as it sticks to rather than slides on glass and has only one hinged point of articulation) and is more difficult to remove, but holds to the windshield glass with great strength.

Escort refers to the Passport Max as “compact” but at 1.3 by 3.2 by 5.3 inches, it feels pretty big to me. Imagine about three Nexus 4s stacked sandwich-style, and you’ll have an idea of its size. Still, size doesn’t really matter here, as the Max isn’t really the kind of thing that you’d carry around all day, though it does ship with a nice soft carrying case for it and its accessories.

The Passport's OLED screen displays … [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Lexus teases possible IS-F coupe for Detroit auto show

(Credit: Lexus)

Lexus just released the first teaser photo for a new model set to debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in just a few weeks.

The shape of the fender seems to indicate an IS-F replacement.

(Credit: Lexus)

From the looks of the closely cropped teaser photo, the so-called F Performance Coupe appears to be based on the automaker’s IS sedan, largely sharing its styling. The photo also reveals a slight hood bulge, into which is inset what appears to be a functional hood scoop. We expect that the rest of the body will also receive a round of “more aggressive and sporty” updates — not that the 2014 IS 350 F-Sport‘s already overly-aggressive fascia needs any help.

The automaker says that the new model will have “Half the doors, twice the roar”, presumably when compared to 2014 IS sedan, indicating that it will be a coupe and a powerful one. Just how powerful remains to be seen, as no engine specs were released with the image.

Will this be a 416 horsepower, 5.0L V-8 powered challenger to the M3, the C36 AMG,… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Biggest Buick gets updated, still feels sort of old

With space for six or seven passengers, a whisper-quiet cabin, a respectable load of safety tech, and an available rear-seat entertainment, the 2014 Buick Enclave AWD Premium seems like it would be a nice minivan alternative for moms and dads. However, the presence of the tri-shield Buick badge places it firmly in many prospective owners’ minds as more of a grandma and grandpa kind of ride.

The automaker has been making great strides to update its image and appear more youthful with a string of sporty sedans with greatly improved tech. Has any of this young DNA seeped into the big crossover? We hopped behind the wheel of the Enclave to figure out just how “old” this crossover really is.

IntelliLink tech package At the center of dashboard (and at the center of the Buick’s dashboard tech) is a 6.5-inch color touch screen surrounded by capacitive buttons and powered by the IntelliLink infotainment system. This system offers a similar level of app integration that you’ll find in the Chevrolet MyLink system. That means that you’ll be able to command the Pandora, Stitcher, and Slacker apps on your smartphone via the touch screen interface, with access to your custom stations, podcasts, and more.

The Enclave has a new look and new tech.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

IntelliLink also gives the driver control over the AM/FM radio with HD Radio decoding and the SiriusXM satellite ra… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2015 Mustang joins Need for Speed Rivals as free download

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Getting a little bored with the chase-or-be-chased gameplay in Need for Speed Rivals? Maybe a little pony power is all it will take to get you back on the streets of Redview County.

The 2015 Ford Mustang, unveiled with no shortage of pomp just last week, today joins the ranks of playable cars. A patch hitting all platforms sometime before the day is through will add the car to the game. Also included will be a series of liveries, some created by the devs, others voted on by the fans.

2015 Ford Mustang in Need for Speed Rivals

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We had a chance to take the car for a spin ahead of its release. Sadly, the physics engine in Need for Speed is too limited to really enable this car to feel significantly differe… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET