Toyota TNGA to Adapt Powertrains for Faster Product Creation

Toyota is a company known for its unexpected offerings–think back to the Lexus LFA, the first-ever attempt at a supercar and the ensuing success. The brand is quite strategic in all aspects of operations, using advanced and flexible modular platforms in order to create new models with greater ease. The upcoming Toyota TNGA platform will gear things up further, offering a strategic base from which to build future products at a reduced cost, which ultimately leads to more.

Resources could be spared at a rate of 20% or higher with the Toyota TNGA platform, freeing up funds for more development and exciting new models. While money and funding are always an issue, TNGA is driven further by efficiency and performance qualifications. Improved laser welding and a revisit to the center of gravity have molded great expectations for future vehicle capacities. This paves the way for completely new powertrains with dramatically improved fuel economy.

Toyota TNGAWhat the new Toyota TNGA vehicles will look like: The first of the TNGA-based vehicles are slated to roll out as soon as 2015. Rumors indicate that the next-gen Prius may be the first to be fitted with the specialty platform. While that is not exactly thrilling, larger versions of the base will be crafted for other offerings like the bulkier FWD offerings and SUVs. There should also be an option created for the RWD Lexus cars, which could become quite exciting if they continue along the same path they have traveled since the birth of the LFA supercar and its siblings. In the end, Toyota is taking charge of managing the way it builds from the ground up to ensure a successful future and continued improvements along the way, with the occasional wow-factor.

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Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter Takes Backseat Driving to New Level

Ford has launched a car that actually prevents drivers from speeding. The new Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter certainly takes the notion of the backseat driver to an entirely new level! It seems that not everyone is going to be ecstatic about this one, especially the gearheads of the world. The system will only be offered in Europe and in the Ford S-Max model, for the time being, so take comfort in that if you are on the other side of the pond.

How it works: The Ford S-Max is packing a sinister technology called Intelligent Speed Limiter. The system reads the speed limit signs along the roads and electronically limits the vehicle to adhere to them, slowing down accordingly. It reads the speed limit postings via a camera mounted on the dash, which I suppose could be removed in the event one needs to pull a 007 maneuver to escape impending danger. In reality, overriding the system only requires a nice delivery of pressure to the gas pedal–signaling to the engine to ignore the pesky advice. Also, the driver must manually turn on the system, which is comforting. The electronic components of the Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter simply adjust the amount of fuel the vehicle receives in efforts to lower the speed.

Ford Intelligent Speed LimiterFord of Europe’s active safety supervisor Stefan Kappes addressed the system as follows: “Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they are going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement. Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit.” Apparently, the idea to develop the system stemmed from consumer based research in Europe, meaning some drivers actually want their speed controlled. It would be interesting to see how Americans would react to the same questions.

Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter

Overall, the Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter is yet another futuristic feature along the road to autonomous vehicles. Will cars become personal trains someday? We shall see!

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Video: The Turbo Ferrari 488 GTB Behind the Scenes

Now that the first-ever turbo Ferrari is out, let’s check out the footage below of the 488 GTB behind the scenes in action:

See the turbo Ferrari 488 GTB negotiate turns and rip it up on the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia and some roads in Tortosa and Saragozza. These are clips from the official video shoot for the new model.

The Prancing Horse always kept thoughts of a turbocharged engine in the back of the barn. The Ferrari 488 GTB was met with much surprise with her turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine. The engine is not shared with any existing Ferrari model thus far. Many expected a potential turbo variant of the Ferrari 458, but the brand opted to change up the game and kick out something that seems to be quite its own animal. In the power arena, the Ferrari 488 GTB produces 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, even with the changes. Downsizing from that naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V8 does not seem to be a bad thing, as engineers have ensured that the 488 still delivers in the power sector. The twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 used is a tweaked variant of the 3.8-liter found in the 2015 Ferrari California T.

Turbo Ferrari Power is distributed via a seven-speed dual transmission and because the chassis was developed based on track versions like the Ferrari FXX, the Ferrari 488 uses that delivered power to produce an impeccable thrust and ride. It will be interesting to see what direction the brand takes in the future in regards to turbocharging and power upgrades. Will the future track focused Ferrari cars begin to become even faster, or will this be a one-time experiment?

laferrariWould you rather rent the Ferrari 488 GTB or the LaFerrari? 

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Porsche Plans to Remain Exclusive Even as Demand Rises

Luxury automaker Porsche plans to remain an exclusive brand, even as demand for its products continues to rise. This is a hot issue in the industry, as those with the funds and desire can be shot down when attempting to purchase because the brand only produces a certain amount annually, sometimes with special restrictions to the purchasers.

PorscheFerrari is known for maintaining a similar approach, favoring the exclusive nature of its beast to mass production. After all, if many people were rolling around in an exotic sports car like a Ferrari or a Porsche, the special factor would begin to dissipate and it would be as exciting to see as a Ford Focus on the streets. Porsche is not completely set on all of its offerings staying exclusive, however, as is seen by burgeoning sales of the Cayenne and Macan SUV units and perhaps its more modestly priced underlings. But for the foreseeable future, the top-of-the-line Porsche sports cars will remain quite out of reach for just anyone.

PorscheSales for Porsche offerings have grown impressively since the introduction of the Cayenne, with the potential to surpass the 200,000 unit mark this year. So where will Porsche end up hitting the brakes in terms of units? According to Porsche CEO Matthias Muller: “Our response is simple: we limit availability.”

PorscheOverall, the brand is examining global markets nonstop to determine just how many units it needs to sell to remain exclusive yet profitable, as with any luxury automaker. The challenge has been the recent rise of wealth in various markets, which has led to an increase in interested buyers across all luxury car companies. The companies are still in the process of deciding how exclusive they shall remain, with Porsche and Ferrari being the most vocal on their stances. It will remain to be seen how long those stances will stand, though it is likely the brands will remain in the specialty arena.

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Why You May Be Selling the Ferrari FF Short

There is more to love about the Ferrari FF than there is to loathe, with those who have a distaste for the machine focusing on the outward shooting brake appearance. While the exterior is a turn-off to some, it is difficult to find fault with the power components and performance capacity of the Ferrari FF. It can not only equal other V12 supercars, it can surpass most thanks to a few intricate features that others lack.

Ferrari FFCall it a hot hatch, a shooting brake or a rather sophisticated family car–the Ferrari FF is a rival to many with superior power. Though she may look different from her siblings, the FF still drives very much like a Ferrari supercar, with the added advantage of the ability to take on various weather conditions like snow and ice! Try doing that in a Ferrari 458 Italia or a California. It is simply not common for a V12 supercar to have the capacity to drive in all-weather conditions, making this specimen a special one, indeed.

Ferrari FFThe Ferrari FF at a glance and why it is different:

  • Rather than stick a robust 6.0-liter V12 engine into a grand touring body and call it a day, Ferrari made certain that the FF could perform. It packs 650 horses, which are strategically delivered to all four wheels, with separate gearboxes for front and back. The special system is called 4RM and it is both complicated and effective.
  • The top speed is around 210 miles per hour, give or take and it boasts 503 pound-feet of delicious torque. The power is harnessed via a seven-speed F1 transmission, similar to the Ferrari 458 Spider.
  • It can travel from not to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.6 seconds
  • Because the weight is distributed low and close to the road, handling is improved in all conditions.
Ferrari FF

In the end, how the Ferrari FF compares to other V12 supercars is that it is able to match them in every aspect, and then come out ahead with added cabin space, luxury interior features and yes, that all-weather beast mode.

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A Hidden Bubble Speeds to the Surface: The Bugatti Veyron Cristal Edition

Amid all of the fuss surrounding the final Bugatti Veyron produced, the Grand Sport Vitesse La Finale, a gem was missed that has finally risen to the surface: The Bugatti Veyron Cristal Edition. The Cristal Edition is also a Grand Sport Vitesse Veryon, and was commissioned by a Chinese collector for his girlfriend, who took delivery of the pristine pink beast back in January. The event remained quite secret until it hit the interwebs recently!

Paris Hilton must be seething with envy: The pink accents on the Bugatti Veyron Cristal Edition are enough to win any woman’s heart. This is certainly not an ordinary gift!

It is possible that the special edition Bugatti Veyron Cristal Edition was kept under wraps to prevent it from stealing the limelight from the La Finale car. That theory makes the most sense, considering the massive amounts of publicity and auto shows involved in the grand farewell to the Bugatti Veyron. The La Finale Veyron was the very last car produced of the 450 unit run, so a fitting goodbye was definitely in order for such a praised machine.

Bugatti Veyron Cristal EditionThe Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Cristal Edition at a glance:

  • This lovely lady is fitted with the standard Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse engine, it is presumed. That means over 1,000 horses and that glorious 8.0-liter W16 engine. The engine is two V8 units paired together–resulting in a mean streak that only a few other machines have rivaled.
  • The differences in this special edition are aesthetic, with a soft two-tone wrap and delicate pink accents on the top of the car and wheels.

What do you think of this rather ladylike Bugatti Veyron? While it likely will not be serving as the girlfriend’s daily driver, it is a unique slice of the Veyron production run!

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Google Hits The Road With Android Auto

Google has made the official announcement that the Android Auto system is a go. Consumers in the United States, Australia and the UK are able to access the technology now. Does this mean Google intends to continue biting from the big Apple? You betcha!

Android AutoA little healthy competition is always a good thing when it comes to services provided because it keeps the technologies interesting and the costs somewhat down. The new Google Android offerings have stolen a percentage of dedicated Apple lovers already, and they seem to be digging in for ways to attract even more. The Google Android Auto interface works with Android Lollipop 5.0+ smartphones and Pioneer head units, for the moment. Because that is but a small slice of the market, it seems that will expand based on user interaction figures as they begin to emerge. To begin, just download the Android Auto companion app from the Play Store.

Android Auto

The Android Auto interface offers users most of the typical perks they have grown accustomed to using, such as navigation and in-dash communications functions like Bluetooth. It is designed to function more like an integrated part of a vehicle rather than an add-on, so the buttons are all front-and-center in efforts to make them easily accessible to the driver. Traditional Google applications like Maps, Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, Voice and Search are all there, but there is no YouTube or other apps created for video watching at this juncture. Presumably the Android Auto interface is for the driver and all safety measures are in place to keep the focus on the road. Some third-party apps can be added to the system. Hey, passengers can watch videos on their personal devices, after all.

The main safety function of Google’s Android Auto is that it is completely voice-enabled, clearing the roads of fumbling fingers, swearing and dangerous distractions. Supposedly, one can simply plug-in their device and the system will begin to work its magic on the vehicle’s infotainment screen based on voice commands. If the system works as smoothly as they say, it will be popular in the competitive market. If the voice system fails to live up to expectation, they will need to revise it until it is acceptable—hopefully before too many users are deterred.

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Will There Be Two More Lamborghini Huracan Options Emerging?

Word has emerged that the Raging Bull is working on two additional Lamborghini Huracan options and that both will offer RWD. The Lamborghini Huracan was released exclusively with AWD, leaving drivers who prefer RWD to look elsewhere. Did the AWD only option cost enough sales to lead the Bull to create more versatility among the siblings?

Lamborghini Huracan optionsThose left distraught over the AWD only Lamborghini Huracan may soon have two RWD options to mull over. The model has enjoyed very healthy sales since the introduction, so more options should lead to even more success. 

Lamborghini confirmed that it is indeed working on two RWD Huracan cars to add to the mix. The cars will be even more extreme, lightweight and powerful than the AWD version. The RWD Huracan cars will be more comparable to the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and provide competition for others in the class. It is going to be similar to the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera in terms of pure beast action, bells and whistles. The best part: one of the RWD Huracan siblings will be the more affordable option, possibly named the LP610-2 (the original AWD was the LP610-1). It is discernable from the possible names that the less expensive offering will likely possess the same horsepower as the original AWD.

Lamborghini Huracan options

It seems that Lamborghini’s chief test driver, Giorgio Sanna, spilled the news to British Car Magazine amid the launch of the spectacular LP620-2 Super Trofeo racer in Malaysia. He also shared that some of the best track focused features of cars like the Ferrari 458 Speciale would be incorporated into the process, making for a force to be reckoned with. More chatter on the subject will commence in 2016 as official plans and concept versions emerge.

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2016 Audi: The Big Brand Is Set to Launch 10 New Rides

Amid the fierce competition throughout all markets, for 2016 Audi is poised to bring it on by releasing ten new rides. While that seems like quite a tall order, it may be a must in order to stay on top of the game against big players like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

2016 AudiAudi plans to unleash some fury in the form of tons of new vehicle options. With a healthy bank account and ample able engineers on their team, it will be an exciting few years to come.

The often-comical competition between the leading three continues as Audi announces intentions to introduce the ten new models as early as this very year. The endeavor is much less dramatic because many of those will be revamped versions of their predecessors, though there will be new models involved in the mix. It is armed with that endearing Audi attitude and an ample and enviable budget that the brand presses forth in the competitive arena to further the fleet. Just how enviable is their budget? That would be to the tune of approximately 24 billion euros by 2019. That should get some engines revving and raise the pulses of all rivals!

2016 AudiThe close competition between Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW has gone on for eons it seems, but neither has been able to successfully match Audi’s sustained growth pattern. The burgeoning Asian markets have led to tremendous sales for all three brands, and all remain focused on keeping traction there for as long as the opportunity plays out. All markets rise and fall like a breathing pattern, so nothing lasts forever. It is for that very reason it is vital to all automakers to provide versatility in terms of model offerings and also pricing ranges. Audi will stand as leader of the pack and hopes to keep a stronghold on that position with the new plethora of offerings coming soon.

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2 Millionth BMW 1 Series Produced—Popularity is Good

A decade ago, the BMW 1 Series rolled onto the scene. Since that time the mega-brand has produced two million units of the 1 Series, a true testament to the popularity of the more affordable option. It would certainly seem that everyone wants to drive a BMW.

BMW 1 Series(Photo from BMW official blog)

BMW will be touting the next version of the 1 Series at dealerships all over, and has much to celebrate in terms of success. To commemorate the long-term love of the model, car number two million is a BMW 120i M Sport Package. It was created for a client in Japan and boasts five doors and a special Estoril blue coat. The 1 Series has long served as the little sportster of the brand, providing an ideal balance of power and fuel efficiency while remaining a touch gentler on the bank account. Equipped with the brand’s EfficientDynamics technology, new versions will be available in both three and five door formats with diesel and standard fuel options. Buyers can also choose from three or four cylinder TwinPower engines or a robust in-line six TwinPower Turbo with M Performance feature.The BMW 1 Series began its journey as but a small offering and has since split into two distinct lines. The much-loved three and five door hatch cars will remain a part of the 1 Series family, while coupe and convertible options have become members of the 2 Series pack. The updates over the years have kept the design and powertrains current and continued to provide more striking cabin features and technology. Aside from attractive full LED lighting, the new generation will offer some pretty enticing perks in the way of technology, including the following options: BMW ConnectedDrive, radar-based Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Parking Assistant with camera and also Driving Assistant.

Overall, it seems that rather than merely keeping up with the Jones, BMW intends to blow them away by giving the 1 Series everything it needs to lure in buyers.

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