Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pininfarina inkless metal pen will write forever

(Credit: Pininfarina)

What if you could have a writing implement that draws a line like a graphite pencil, but in permanent, non-smudging ink like a pen?

Car design company Pininfarina — which has worked with the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Peugeot, and Alfa Romeo — unveiled just such a thing at the global stationery trade fair Paperworld in Frankfurt, Germany.

The 4.EVER Pininfarina Cambiano (PDF) is a luxurious-looking, tapered affair with a machined aluminum barrel inset with wood sporting the company’s logo. But the barrel itself is solid, not hollow: instead of ink, it has a tip made out of a metal alloy called “ethergraph” that writes, the company claims, forever.

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We’re not entirely sure what ethergraph is, but it sounds awfully similar to a … [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Kia Soul EV joins electric car ranks

Kia converts its Soul model to an electric.

(Credit: Kia)

Kia chose the Chicago auto show, beginning this week, as the debut venue for the Soul EV, the electric version of Kia’s boxy little hatchback SUV thing. The standard Soul model received a major update for the 2014 model year. The Soul EV will be Kia’s first electric car.

As one of Kia’s more distinctive models, the Soul seems a good choice on which to base an electric vehicle. It will go up against cars such as the Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500e, and the veteran Nissan Leaf.

In that crucial measure of EV performance, range, the Soul EV offers no surprises. Kia cites figures of 80 to 100 miles on a full battery, fairly standard in the current market.

Two charging ports hide under the front of the Soul EV.

(Credit: Kia)

The Soul EV’s charging ports live under a … [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Subaru’s large sedan is a lesson in managing expectations

When it first debuted in 2009, the Legacy struck a more muscular, more aggressive figure than its slab-sided contemporaries from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Today, the sedan still looks more aggressive than your average Camry or Accord. Muscular fender flares serve as reminders of the all-wheel drive system beneath the sheet-metal and the sporting heritage that it shares with the likes of the smaller, more nimble WRX. Large, eagle-eyed headlamps house high-intensity discharge (HID) projectors that crisply illuminate the road ahead. The Legacy is just a giant wing and a set of plus-sized mags away from looking like a FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) racer. She looks fast, but does so in a way that doesn’t scream boy-racer.

Proportionally, however, it’s just as big and imposing as its more pedestrian competition; which is sort of unavoidable if it hopes to offer the passenger and cargo volume that will keep it competitive in this class. Its performance — which we’ll come back to — is also just as conservative as the rest. As it turns out, building a car that looks fast is quite different from building one that is fast, though I’m not sure that the latter was ever Subaru’s goal with the Legacy’s 2.5i configuration.

The 2014 Legacy is aggressively styled, but its performance is more subdued than you’d think.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Cabin tech Hop behind the wheel and y… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

BMW adds two doors to its new coupe

BMW fits two rear doors to its all-new 4-series, making it into a Gran Coupe.

(Credit: BMW)

With its latest product strategy, BMW seems poised to please, yesterday announcing the 4-series Gran Coupe. It’s just like like the all new 4-series coupe, but it gets two rear doors.

The 4-series is a recent addition to the BMW line-up, a model designed to take over the spot formerly used by the 3-series coupe. However, the new 4-series, longer and wider than the 3-series, is its own model. For the newest model year, the 3-series can only be had as a sedan, wagon, or the oddly-shaped Gran Turismo.

BMW retained the length and width of the 4-series model, despite adding the two more doors.

(Credit: BMW)

The 4-series was launched with the coupe and a convertible.

The just announced 4-series Gran Coupe has the same width, 6 feet, and length, 15.2 feet, as the standard coupe version, but BMW notes that the roof is about half an inch higher, and holds its height longer towards the rear of the car. That should enhance accessibility to and comfort in the rear seats, which BMW describes as a 2+1 configuration.

The 4-series Gra… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

CNET on Cars: Three things that make the 2015 Ford Mustang (CNET On Cars, Episode 34)

Three things that make the 2015 Ford Mustang (CNET On Cars, Episode 34)


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In this episode:

  • The three things that make the new 2015 Mustang new
  • Dealing with red-light cameras and stop-and-go traffic lights with new car tech
  • Top 5 new car technologies Cooley wants to see in 2014
  • Explaining how Chrysler HEMI engines are — and are not — hemi engines!

As always, e-mail me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

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Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET