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The News for October 10th, 2014

Greg Kachadurian October 10, 2014 The News! 18 Comments

Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7

Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Porsche 911 continues to reproduce, this time it’s pretty cool

  • Ferrari F60 America is our special gift from Italy

  • Tesla surprises with its D and other stuff

  • Volvo just got 450 horsepower out of a four-cylinder

  • Hyundai goes underground racing with new BTR Genesis show car

  • AAA finds just how distracting in-car tech can be

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7

Surprise! It’s another Porsche 911. As we all know by now, Porsche loves building as many different variants of their bread-and-butter sports car as possible, but this “new” variant is one of the ones enthusiasts have been waiting for. Making its internet debut this week is the 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and Carerra 4 GTS, a car that bridges the gap between the Carrera S/4S and the track-focused GT3.

Even the 911 GTS itself is available in four models: 911 Carrera GTS ($114,000), 911 Carrera 4 GTS ($120,900), 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet ($126,100), and 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet ($132,800). Each GTS model is optimized for performance on a level that many current Carrera S owners and Porsche enthusiasts would find tempting.

Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7

That tempting level of performance is brought to you in part by a 3.8-liter flat-six – the same one found in the Carrera S – which is specially tuned to deliver 430 horsepower by something cool called the “Powerkit”. The Powerkit adds 30 extra horsepower and the Sport Exhaust, active dampers, and the Sport Chrono package, which adds a new performance driving mode, a lap timer, and other goodies, is icing on the cake. The excellent seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is available and permits a 0-60 mph time of just 3.8 seconds (add .2 seconds to the Cabriolet). Those who would rather shift their own gears will be happy to know that a seven-speed manual transmission is available, at least according to the interior photo which shows a third pedal and a proper shifter boot. Top speed, depending on the model and transmission, ranges between 187 and 190 mph.

P14_0895_a4_rgb

The GTS, despite the extra performance, doesn’t have huge wings or carbon diffusers. Its visual tweaks are a bit more subtle, such as the lightly flared wheel arches, gloss black twenty-inch center-locking wheels, black trim, and black chrome tail pipes. The body itself on every GTS model is based on the Carrera 4 body, which gives it those aforementioned flared wheel arches as well as a wider track. As far as the interior goes, Alcantara. Alcantara everywhere.

Each of these four GTS models will be arriving in North American Porsche showrooms by the end of 2014.

[Source: Porsche]

Ferrari F60 America

F60a1

This year marks Ferrari’s 60th year doing business in America, and Ferrari loves celebrating things, which is why we’re staring at this today – the Ferrari F60 America. Essentially a drop-top F12 Berlinetta, the F60 America is a car built exclusively for America so we can all come together as Americans to celebrate a fine Italian brand few of us will ever get to own.

This very unique Ferrari is limited to just ten examples, all of which have been sold already, because that’s how Ferrari rolls. It gets the same 6.3-liter V12 from the F12 Berlinetta as well, which produces 730 horsepower and 509 lb.-ft. of torque. It wouldn’t be a car for America if it didn’t have tire-roasting power, right? 0-60 mph takes just 3.1 seconds and the top speed of this open-air masterpiece is over 200 mph.

f60A2

What’s perhaps more unique than the exterior is the interior, which has the driver’s seat and his/her entire part of the cabin in red while the passenger sits in black with blue trim. Having the driver sit in a different color than the rest of the cabin is apparently a throwback to some of Ferrari’s older racing cars as is the blue paint with a single white stripe down the center.

As ridiculous as it seems, this hoon loves it. Partially because it’s a blue Ferrari.

[Source: Ferrari via ]

Tesla’s D

teslasD

Photo source: Automotive News

Tesla Motors made a bit of news this week with the introduction of “the D”. Elon Musk initiated a storm of juvenile jokes (guilty) when he first teased the D by tweeting “about time to unveil the D and something else”. That D, as it turns out, is insane. And that something else may be even more insane.

At Tesla Motors, the D stands for dual-motor. Since the only car they currently produce is the Model S, you can see where this is going. Two motors, the traditional electric motor over the rear axle and a new electric motor powering the front wheels, transform the Model S into an all-wheel-drive monster. Combining the dual-motor power and torque with active all-wheel-drive translates to a 0-60 mph time of just 3.2 seconds, meaning this is likely the fastest sedan in the world right now. As a reference, the 520 horsepower Porsche Panamera Turbo I drove last year was quoted at a 3.8-second 0-60 mph time.

Despite the extra weight, Musk claims that the range actually improves thanks in part to extra regenerative braking, resulting in an extra ten miles (275 miles total) of range per charge. The Ds will start making their way to market starting this December as the Model S 60D, 85D, and P85D.

At Tesla Motors, “something else” means AutoPilot, or that the Model S is on its way to being completely autonomous. Available in the Model S within a few months is an array of 360-degree cameras that can detect objects, keep the car within lanes, and provide adaptive cruise control. More impressively, it uses those cameras to changes lanes on its own just by using the turn indicators (people use those?) and read speed signs to maintain the legal speed. This technology also has the ability to park itself completely and even drive itself to you when summoned – whether or not it’s allowed to is a different story.

Every Model S built within the last two weeks already has this functionality built in and existing Model Ss will get a software update. According to Musk, a fully autonomous Tesla is six years away.

[News source: | Photo source: Automotive News]

Volvo’s 450 horsepower four-cylinder engine

We all know nearly everything about the all-new Volvo XC90 by now, like how attractive it is, how safe it is, and how amazingly efficient it is. But as it turns out, we didn’t know everything, at least not about the awesome new engine option that might soon become available.

We knew their new top-of-the-line engine in the XC90 would produce more than 400 horsepower, but what we didn’t know about until now is the new High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept, which eventually could be offered in the XC90. This concept consists of a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine from the XC90 as a base with the addition of two parallel turbochargers fed by an electrically-powered turbo compressor. The compressed air from the electric turbo thing is then fed directly to the parallel turbochargers to spool them up faster than any other current turbocharging system. This triple-boost setup results in huge power density and zero turbo lag. Not only will it significantly reduce emissions according to Volvo, but it also produces 450 horsepower.

This means that Volvo has produced a four-cylinder with the same kind of power as a Corvette Stingray which carries an engine three times larger by displacement. If this is how Volvo downsizes, count me in. The new XC90 will go on sale early next year, but as of now, no word on exactly when this engine will enter production. But at this point they pretty much have to build this thing.

If you want more details on this thing, check out the video embedded above to hear Nigel Thornberry narrate this engineer’s wet dream.

[Source: Volvo]

BLIPS

image004

Because we can never have too many SEMA show cars (to an extent), Hyundai has revealed their second car for this year’s SEMA show. Built in collaboration with Blood Type Racing, Inc. out of Chicago, this Genesis Coupe has been extensively reworked to produce nearly 1,000 horsepower at the crank (“over 800” to the wheels) using the stock 2.0-liter four-cylinder as a base. A custom wide-body kit makes it look like 1,000 horsepower and embodies the spirit of underground racing in a city with no speed bumps. Just like the engine, the interior is all business with all the proper racing harnesses and roll cage included. There’s also Nitrous so you can relive your favorite Fast and Furious scene. [Source: Hyundai]

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah conducted some research on distracted driving, and more importantly, the technologies designed to help drivers. They looked at how technology in vehicles which can be marketed as safety features may actually increase mental distractions on the road. They looked at, among other things, the level of distraction caused by performing basic tasks and by using automakers’ infotainment systems. Their findings in graph form are below.

AAA2 AAA1

So… how distracted are you after looking at all of this?

[Source: AAA]

  • nanoop

    Autonomous Tesla, I believe in it: software folks make something autonomous, and the car is, um, not convincing. Car engineers doing software? Look at the center consoles today and praise them without blushing.
    But Tesla seems to be that what Google was ten years ago.

  • dukeisduke

    What's the recharge time on the Tesla? If I went 250 miles, would I have to spend the night in a motel waiting for a recharge?

    • BradleyBrownell

      A Tesla "Supercharger" station can charge a car (for free for a limited time) in under an hour.

      They're currently working on a battery swap program which will take about 90 seconds and the cost will be somewhere around 60 bucks per swap (about what it costs for a tank of gas).

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        Where are you getting the "for a limited time" qualifier? From Tesla's website:

        How much does it cost to use the Supercharger?
        Supercharging is free for the life of Model S, once the Supercharger option is enabled.
        How long does it take to Supercharge?
        Superchargers are capable of delivering up to 50% battery capacity in about 20 minutes.
        Why is it free?
        We want to encourage Model S owners to take road trips.
        Will it always be free?
        Yes, Superchargers will be free to use for Supercharging-enabled vehicles for the life of Model S.

        Source:

        • BradleyBrownell

          Admittedly, I don't remember where I heard that the charging stations were going to start charging, but I do remember hearing it. Perhaps NPR?

          Forgive my ignorance.

          • Scandinavian Flick ★

            I wasn't being accusatory or anything; I was genuinely curious. I've heard others say it as well, but I've never seen a source, and I've never seen Tesla imply otherwise.

  • peugeotdude505

    As someone that works in IT and deals with "state-of-the-art" software, I'm more than a little skeptical of self-driving cars.

    • Devin

      Yeah, every time I see someone get excited about self-driving a car, I wonder if they've ever used a computer before. These things get confused by things a lot simpler than driving.

    • I work in IT as well and I understand your skepticism. As long as the developers are competent and test the crap out of their stuff I expect it to work fine in normal conditions. When things start to go bad though, like inclement weather or an emergency situation on the freeway (or both), I'm skeptical about how it would handle that. Changing lanes on its own though, should be no problem… most of the time.

    • wunno sev

      as someone who drives on the roads regularly, i'm more than a little skeptical of human drivers.

  • BradleyBrownell

    Technically the "Powerkit" doesn't include anything but the extra 30 horsepower. The sport exhaust, PASM, and Sport Chrono are all packages that are optional on the Carrera S, but are included standard on the GTS.

    The GTS basically just offers a discount for a car that you can order as a Carrera S, then gives you a widebody, bespoke centerlock wheels, some black trim, and some nice alcantara centers in your seats. That said, a Carrera S with powerkit (a $17,800 option), PASM, Sport Exhaust, and Sport Chrono would run $124,185 as compared to the Carrera GTS which is, as you state $114,000.

    • Ah okay, I guess I got confused by the wording in the presser and thought that all came with it. Thanks!

  • Krautwursten

    Yeah, but will the Tesla's top speed be 130 mph again?

    • No it's limited to 155 on the P85D, the highest performance spec model.

  • skitter

    Yo, Volvo, I herd you like turbos, so I put two turbos, and a turbo on that, and an electric motor on that. Even Tesla can't touch that.

  • The MyTouch in the Fiesta is turrrible. If I want to program in a destination, I delegate that task to passengers, and even then it is impossible to use.

    • JayP2112

      It was an easy decision to pass on the nav in the Focus.
      I've been using Waze for years and it's been great for a 'free' app.

  • craigsu

    So, Porsche is getting 430 HP out of a flat-6.

    Volvo is getting 450 HP out of a 4 cylinder.

    Well, alrighty then…so much for the Ford Ecoboost 4 as the next engine for my 245.

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