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The News for November 4th, 2016

Greg Kachadurian November 4, 2016 The News! 11 Comments

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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Audi debuts their first laser high beam module in US with exclusive R8

  • Audi drops the top on the new A5/S5

  • Chevrolet wants to turn your Gen-6 Camaro into a 10-second car + COPO returns

  • Mercedes-Benz debuts their new first inline-six since 1999

  • Ford Performance App launches next year with on-board telemetry on your phone

  • What’s your automotive news?

Audi R8 V10 Plus Exclusive

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Audi and BMW both introduced new laser headlight technology which was supposed to help brighten up our roads and use less energy while doing so. The general consensus was that this tech seemed promising, but like many new innovations it was subject to an uphill regulation battle that delayed both of their American rollouts. That battle seems to be over now that BMW has begun selling i8s with optional Laser Lights that act as high-beams on steroids. Now it’s Audi’s turn.

The first Audi you can get in the US with their new laser high beam module will be the Audi R8 V10 Plus Exclusive but only 25 fortunate souls will get to take one home. Consider this a soft launch; yes, only 25 examples of a $229,200 car will be available with the tech for now, but now that Audi has clearly overcome the regulatory hurdle we should be seeing this on a lot more cars very soon.

news-2017-audi-r8-exclusive-5

The cars come standard with full LED headlights with an integrated laser module for enhancing visibility wherever possible. There’s a lot of cool science terms in the press release that do a better job of explaining it than I ever could, so here’s the quote:

Each headlight contains one laser module that operates with four high intensity laser diodes. Each module bundles these diodes into a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter then transforms the blue laser beam into a very bright and pure white light. The R8 exclusive edition is also the first Audi vehicle to couple the laser light with dynamic front turn signals.

An identifying characteristic of the laser headlights is their blue light signature in the headlight housing. The laser beam pattern, which is active at speeds of 40 mph and above (when conditions permit), supplements the LED high beam and greatly enhances visibility for the driver by projecting a low and wide beam of light on the road ahead.

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There’s also a   that shows you how it actually looks – it’s worth checking out because it looks really really cool.

Besides the new lighting system, the R8 V10 Plus Exclusive gets a few other unique touches to help it stand out during the day. It features Quantum Gray paint and a titanium black-optic exterior package with a gloss anthracite finish to the front grille and the twenty-inch wheels. Sharp Solar Orange accents applied to the carbon side blade add just enough contrast to really set this thing apart. It also comes loaded with a carbon fiber rear diffuser, front lip spoiler, rear wing, and carbon ceramic brakes. The interior gets a full leather package with Solar Orange accents of its own down the side of the seats.

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That all is just enough to make this R8 look stellar. We’re also anxious to try out the laser headlights of the future… as soon as you don’t need to spend nearly $230K for the privilege.

[Source: Audi]

Audi A5/S5 Cabriolet

Audi S5 Cabriolet

Following the recent debut of the all-new Audi A5 and S5 Coupe, Audi has just dropped the top on the shiny new luxury sports coupe. The A5 and S5 Cabriolet will launch next Spring to offer buyers a chance to experience the fastest and most advanced A5/S5 ever with unlimited headroom. Not a lot of the car’s internals are changed compared to the Coupe, but it gets several new features to make sure you can have the best open-top driving experience possible.

They went with a soft top design and worked to retain the Coupe’s roof line as much as possible when the top is up. The cloth is highly insulated for reduced wind noise and its operation is as simple as a single press of a button and a 15-18 second wait. The trunk has a soft top compartment that moves up out of the way a bit with the roof up to allow more space; when the top is folded down, it offers 13.4 cubic feet of storage space.

Audi S5 Cabriolet

Both the driver and the front passenger also have a standard seatbelt microphone for better Bluetooth communication with the top down, because I guess that’s a thing people do.

“Can you just put the top up? I can’t hear a word you’re sayi -“

*Hurricane-like wind in the background* “WHAAAT?”

Audi A5 Cabriolet

All of the same chassis improvements that debuted on the A5/S5 Coupe mean that torsional rigidity is hardly affected by them chopping off the roof. Compared to the outgoing Cabriolet, rigidity is improved by 40% and the weight has been reduced by 88 lbs. In its lightest configuration (using a diesel engine we definitely aren’t getting in America), curb weight is  3,726 lbs. The engines we’re most likely to get are the 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder with 252 horsepower in the A5 and a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 354 horsepower. The eight-speed automatic could be our only option too.

So far there’s no indication as to what US pricing will be like but it starts at €49,350 for the A5 Cabriolet and €67,800 for the S5 Cabriolet in Europe.

[Source: Audi]

Camaro SS Drag Racing Program + COPO Camaro

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The Chevrolet Camaro has practically been synonymous with drag racing for 50 years now given the legendary performance people were able to extract from it. At SEMA this week, Chevrolet announced plans to push that legacy forward with the new Camaro SS Drag Racing Development Program and the 2017 COPO Camaro. The program explores the quarter-mile capability of the sixth-generation Camaro with concept (for now) parts for a production-based model and the COPO Camaro offers the first look at the factory-built race car program kicking off next year.

Chevrolet knows many amateur drag racers start with factory-fresh Camaros and add their own parts to achieve quicker times and those are the exact people they’re targeting with this program. They’re exploring components that make for faster 1/4 mile times but also improve durability. They’re testing parts that add power and are of much greater strength for dealing with the harsh loads drag racers put on their drivetrains.

So far no parts have really been confirmed for production yet as tests are ongoing, but they built up a prototype to mimic the way a serious drag racer would build up to their dream race car. The development car has many parts from the Camaro ZL1 as well as various other custom components and has made over 100 passes without breaking once. So far the car has delivered up to 600 horsepower, a 60-foot time of 1.425 seconds, an eight-mile time of 6.764 seconds at 100.85 mph, and a quarter-mile time of 10.685 seconds at 125.73 mph. They ran those times with the Camaro SS production-spec eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Chevrolet’s 2017 COPO Camaro show car – serial number 01 of

We’ll learn more about what the Camaro SS Drag Racing Program delivers soon enough, but Chevrolet has already given us a preview of what a factory-built Gen-6 Camaro will look like next year. This extends the legacy of the original COPO Camaros from 1969, which were special-order high(er)-performance Camaros built for the strip. The new COPO is an all-out drag racing car designed to compete in the NHRA Stock Eliminator classes.

69 of these will be built next year (starting with this show car) and they will come standard with a full racing chassis, safety equipment, a solid rear axle, lightweight unassisted brakes, fuel cell, and everything else needed to go drag racing right out of the box. Buyers can pick from a supercharged 350 (5.7-liter V8), a naturally-aspirated 427 (7.0-liter), and an LT-based 376 (6.2-liter), each paired with an SFI-approved ATI TH400 three-speed automatic transmission.

The show car also features unique Weld racing wheels and custom “anodized” Hyper Blue Metallic paint the 350 engine option. The car seen above is serial number 1 and will be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson in January 2017 to benefit United Way.

Look for these COPOs and other GM-backed drag racing Camaros at your local drag strip next year.

[Source: Chevrolet]

Mercedes-Benz Inline-Six

Umfassende Motorenoffensive bei Mercedes-Benz: Stärker, sparsamer und sauberer

Mercedes-Benz unveiled four new engines that will make up its next generation of powerplants across an all-new model range. Two of those engines are the ones making the biggest buzz because they’re both straight-sixes, something a silver arrow hasn’t had since the turn of the millennium.

The new straight-six is known internally as the M256 and it’s a 3.0-liter unit with a turbocharger and lots of new tech to help back it up. All four of the new engines have an Integrated Starter-Alternator, a single electric motor that sits between the engine and transmission and helps with cold starts, engine assistance under acceleration, and helps with high-efficiency energy recovery. There’s also a new 48-volt electrical system to go with it. The M256 also gets a new electric auxiliary compressor (Kompressor?) that can spin up to 70,000 RPM in a third of a second to provide additional boost in the fight against turbo lag.

All that helps boost efficiency and – more importantly – power. The new M256 straight-six is rated at 408 horsepower and 368 lb.-ft. of torque which is significantly higher than the V6 it replaces. Straight sixes are wonderful engines for their balance, smoothness, and performance capabilities so it’s great to see another automaker make a return to the platform.

Mercedes-Benz will likely put this in their mid-range cars like the C-Class and E-Class and whatever SUVs they feel like making a little cooler. They will start releasing this into the world next year and  it will eventually be followed up by a diesel version.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz via ]

Ford Performance App

Ford revealed two big things at SEMA, one being a race car that Bradley will talk about in his motorsport recap and the other being a performance app for their track day-loving enthusiasts. The new Ford Performance App will be a smartphone app that integrates with the Sync-3 infotainment system to provide real-time data logging, advanced analysis, and video recording.

The big draw of integrating this with a phone app is that it makes for easy sharing of your session data and your recordings. Prove to your Twitter friends that you left the car show without killing anyone and show your family on Facebook that clip of you topping out on the track with ease. The video is captured from the phone camera and all on-board data analysis and logging (including course overlays, virtual gauges, and timing stats) is synced to your device as well, so you can take everything with you in your pocket when you’re done.

The Performance App will launch with the 2017 Ford GT and will eventually migrate to other cars as well.

[Source: Ford]

What’s your automotive news?

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That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2016 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]

  • So the high beams look good – but most important is that one can identify them even when off.

    • Rover 1

  • So I can’t get the Ford Performance app now, to use with my C-Max Energi?

    • So you like starting your comments with “so”, too?

      • So, is that not a thing? I so thought it was a thing.

  • Greg Kachadurian

    I’m rapidly approaching the 100,000 mile mark with my E90. Looking at replacing the spark plugs and considering doing the fuel filter – BMW says its lifetime, but I see lots of people on the internet who recommend changing that at 100K anyway. Has anyone else done that by chance?

    I also need to get off my ass and replace the weather stripping on top of the windshield which is cracking and starting to peel away in some spots. I found some 30 minute DIY guides that I’m hoping work, because if not the official BMW procedure involves taking off the whole windshield. Fun.

  • Zentropy

    Yes! A new inline 6. Best configuration out there.

    • Rover 1

      Yay !!! My W124s now have an indefinite life.

      Like they didn’t already.

      • outback_ute

        Saw a W124 advertised recently with a GVM 3800 V6 swapped in…

        • Rover 1

          Blasphemous but cheap.

          There’s more than a few I’ve seen converted with Lexus/Toyota V8s, (and W201s) which are perhaps a little more acceptable.

          Though not to MBCC members

  • peugeotdude505

    Speaking of W124s, what should I do about this rust on top of my a-pillars? Water is starting to leak inside

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