3-Series coupe replacement to be unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show
The 4 will take on the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe and make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will come here later this year as a 2014 model in either rear- or four-wheel drive.
The 4-Series was shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show back in January and is based on the 3-Series platform. The front and rear tracks are wider for a lower and wider look. Stylistically, the new car borrows from the latest 3-Series, especially up front where the 4's headlamps butt up against the kidney-shaped grille.
The 4-Series is about an inch longer and 2 inches wider than the 3-Series coupe. The wheelbase is up 2 inches, and the track widened 2 inches in front, 3 in the rear. Significantly, the car's widest part is across the rear wheel arches -- helping provide it with a more aggressive cab-backward stance.
Whether it was obvious before or not, AAA is calling for automakers to limit voice activation only for 'core driving-related activities.'
Based on what it calls "landmark research," the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that "hands-free is not risk-free" when it comes to using voice activation to access in-car infotainment features.
The nonprofit organization said that even while using voice-to-text technology, as a driver's mental workload and therefore distractions increase, "reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them, including stop signs and pedestrians."
Based on the research from its new distraction study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is urging the public not to use voice-to-text features while driving to access infotainment features, and AAA is taking its case to lawmakers, government agencies, safety organizations and directly to car company executives.
"This research is unique because it is the first study to comprehensively measure the effects of mental distraction and driving," Jake Nelson, the director of Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA told MSN Autos. "The results demonstrate that you are not necessarily safer just because your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road."
One-of-a-kind Ford Mustang with 900 horsepower will fill the ‘hero car’ role for the 2014 film.
Fans of the long-running "Need for Speed" series of video games have had a banner week. Not only was the upcoming installment "Need for Speed: Rivals" showcased at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, but fans and the gathered media saw the announcement of a "Need for Speed" movie, to be released next year with "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul in the lead role.
Well, the lead human role, anyway. Every great car-centric movie or TV show needs a "hero car," an iconic automobile that is so fast, loud and cool-looking that it’s what you think of when you hear a movie’s title, or the starring actors and plot. "Bullitt," "Gone in 60 Seconds," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Knight Rider," "Cannonball Run" – the list goes on and on.
The pitch for the entire "Fast and the Furious" series may well have been a whiteboard with “Hero cars zip across screen, dozens at a time, like energy-drink-chugging bees” scrawled across it. With the "Need for Speed" movie paying homage to the car-culture flicks of the '60s and '70s, it definitely needed a hero car, and thanks to Ford, it has one.
Redesigned CTS gets hefty price bump
The base 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan will cost $46,025 when it goes on sale this fall. That’s a $6,035 increase from the current model’s $39,990 price after shipping charges.
For 2014, the CTS sedan is seeing a major overhaul, with a longer, leaner body and a new optional twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 420 hp. The twin-turbo V6 can be had with the new Vsport trim, which starts at $59,995 after shipping charges.
The CTS is also available with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter 321-hp V6 mated to a new eight-speed automatic in rear-wheel-drive models or six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 rated at 272 hp and paired with a six-speed automatic.
New Supra-like sports car developed with BMW could be in the automaker's future.
Toyota's next sports car should be like the Supra so that it doesn't overlap with the 86 coupe, Takeshi Uchiyamada said in an interview today in Osaka at a gathering of members of the Keidanren, Japan's biggest business lobbying group.
Still, such decisions are up to engineers, Uchiyamada said.
"That's what I want but it's not me who makes the decision," said Uchiyamada, who's known within Toyota as the "father of the Prius" for his work developing the world's best-selling gasoline-electric car.
Cars from the 2006 and 2007 model years are affected.
The 2006-2007 Honda S2000 and 2006 Acura RSX have brake boosters that can cause "decreased brake assistance over time" and make it harder for drivers to stop the vehicle. Honda said that it received many warranty claims related to the issue, but that no injuries or accidents were reported.
In total, 5,239 S2000 models and 13,113 RSX models are affected. Dealers will replace the brake booster starting in mid-July. Owners can visit www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls.acura.com for more details.
On Wednesday, Toyota recalled 242,000 hybrids worldwide to fix weakened brakes due to a cracked pressure accumulator, including about 87,000 in the United States.
BMW, Honda provide motorcycles for study to determine how vehicle-to-vehicle communication can reduce accidents.
One of the most dangerous aspects of riding a motorcycle is not being seen by other motorists in traffic. But using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, drivers in cars, trucks and buses would be able to know that a motorcycle is nearby -- without ever having to look for or even hear it.
This could go a long way toward lowering the recent rise in motorcycle traffic fatalities, which is why the two-wheel vehicles have been added to the federal government’s massive connected-car field trial currently under way in Ann Arbor, Mich.
For the study, which kicked off in August and involves more than 3,000 vehicles, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), automakers, technology suppliers and others to determine how V2V as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication can help reduce accidents. At the end of the field trial, NHTSA will determine whether to mandate the technology for new vehicles.
Now two motorcycle manufacturers -- BMW and Honda -- have partnered with UMTRI and Cohda Wireless, which provides communication technology for the project, to take part in the field trial.
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This week, General Motors joins the frenzy of electric-car discounts, Audi gives the scoop on three new diesels, and an old Saab lawsuit against GM is thrown out by a federal judge.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5
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