All posts in “Cars”

Ferrari SF90 Stradale shows how it was made in new video

Supercar geeks! Stop what you’re doing and watch this, preferably somewhere quiet where you can listen to the ambient, ethereal music. It’s a nearly 10-minute video Ferrari released titled “Manufacturing the SF90 Stradale,” and it offers a dream-like look at the production of its first-ever plug-in hybrid ahead of its launch this year.

What we see isn’t exactly sequential — 3D digital modeling and virtual reality are shown at the end, after we’ve seen the physical car being built — but it’s nonetheless an interesting look at the artistry side and painstakingly detailed preparation of manufacturing a 986-horsepower Italian supercar.

The video opens with a visit to the foundry, where molten aluminum is poured into molds and we see gloved hands and robots assembling parts for the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, its most powerful V8 yet at 769 hp. Ferrari says its engineers increased the capacity on the F154-heritage engine to 3,990 cc from 3,902 cc via a larger, 88-millimeter bore. There’s also a new, narrower cylinder head with a central injector, a Ferrari V8-first 350-bar GDI and a larger intake and redesigned exhaust system.

From there, there’s lots more eye candy, as we’re taken through body assembly, the paint shop, digital and clay modeling, interior parts assembly, and so forth. It finishes with a shot of the completed car in red against a dark background.

Other notables in the SF90 include four powertrain modes controlled by buttons on the steering wheel, including up to 15 miles in all-electric with front-wheel drive relying on the two front electric motors. The hybrid modes activate a third e-motor located at the rear axle, between the engine and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The SF90 is also the first Ferrari to use all-wheel drive, which the company says was necessary to fully exploit the hybrid power.

The video can only mean that we’re getting close to launch, and it’s sure to whet the appetites of those privileged enough to afford one.

Everything You Need for a 500-Mile Winter Motorcycle Trip

Last December, I had a wild idea. Instead of renting a car or buying a train or plane ticket, why not ride a motorcycle home for the holidays?

Now, this notion might not be a big deal if I lived in Southern California, or if my family resided nearby. However, I’m in New York City, and my destination was Northern Virginia. We’re talking about a 540-mile round-trip journey, much of it on major highways, at the start of an East Coast winter. That’s not the kind of expedition one takes lightly, even during a relatively mild December — so I knew I had to get serious about gearing up.

Spoiler alert: I survived the ride. Here are five major things I learned along the way, plus a rundown of all the gear I used to keep from freezing to death on this little cold-weather adventure.

1. Layer Smart

As you probably know, layering is critical to keeping your core temperature up and your blood circulating out to your extremities. It’s even more important on a bike, because once you get rolling on the highway, 65-mph wind makes things feel a lot colder. So rock plenty of layers (I maxed out at five on my upper body, including my jacket’s liner), and keep additional ones easily accessible by stashing them near the top of your saddlebag or luggage.

Make sure you have the ability to ditch layers, as well. You’ll want to shed some if you find you’re over-bundled; otherwise you’ll start sweating, and then you’ll really be cold if the temps drop.

2. Get Creative

Our good friends at RevZilla will tell you that one of the best ways to stay warm is to don heated gear, and they’re probably right. I have not yet taken this step, nor have I ridden a bike with heated handgrips — but I did recognize that Gore-Tex gloves and boots might not be enough to cut it with all that highway wind.

So in addition to doubling up on socks and adding a liner under my gloves, I took a friend’s unorthodox advice and put some of those magic chemical handwarmers on the backs of my hands and the tops of my feet. That move just might have warded off frostbite.

I also got creative with some of my layers: who needs “motorcycle-specific” apparel when the mountain-spec gear you’ve already got does the same job just as well, if not better?

3. Follow the Sun

Speaking of the sun, I can’t stress enough how ideal it is to ride when that nuclear ball of light and heat is high in the sky. I was cruising along with nary a care in the world on the last weekend of 2019 — when, maybe a hundred miles from home, night fell.

In a matter of moments, it felt like the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. I was chilly AF — and the combo of darkness, fatigue and frosty fingers made the whole affair suddenly seem a lot more precarious. I buckled down and powered through, but not before making a permanent marker mental note to leave at least an hour earlier next time.

4. Respect the Weather

I’ve done this NYC-to-greater-D.C. ride a few times before in warmer weather, and one of my previous trips taught me a painful lesson that served me well this time around.

That spring, I brushed off a minor rain forecast. Of course, less than an hour in, down came the drops, forcing me to spend all day drying off and praying for the precipitation to cease at a coffee shop before completing the journey at about 11 p.m. as a frozen and shivering mess. During my trip last month, I left a day early to beat some Sunday morning showers — and happily rolled along under the clearest of Saturday skies.

5. When in Doubt, Overbike

During a recent gravel biking camp in Arizona, I learned a fun new term from some cycling industry friends: underbiked. Like undergunned, it describes a situation where your set of wheels isn’t quite up to the terrain you’re tackling. Extreme example: riding a banana-seat Huffy on Whistler’s single-track mountain bike trails.

On the flip side of that coin, for winter riding, your best bet is to be overbiked. My daily city ride is a beautiful black Bonneville T-100, but I realized for this trip it might help to have a moto with real storage capacity, highway-crushing displacement — and, you know, an actual windshield. So I lined up the majestic Indian Chieftain Elite you’ll see below. It was a total overbike move…and it was spectacular.

Kali Protectives Catalyst Helmet

It took me far too long to realize highway riding is much more pleasant with a full-face helmet. This badass matte black one just happens to be super-comfortable, streamlined and stylish.

WileyX WX Hayden Sunglasses

That little rock dropping off the back of a truck can turn into a bullet at 80 miles per hour. Good thing these tactical shades meet ANSI Z87.1 industrial standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection.

BlackStrap The Hood Balaclava Facemask

Bandannas are cool and all, but winter demands a bit more coverage. BlackStrap’s breathable, moisture-wicking balaclavas feature a helmet-friendly fit that comes in equally handy on snowboarding trips.

Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Long Sleeve 2.0

Lululemon’s combination of good looks and seamless comfort have pretty much ruined all other first layers for me.

Backcountry Timpanogos Tech Fleece Hoodie

Timpanogos is the second-highest mountain in Utah’s Wasatch range. It’s also a damn good mid-layer piece featuring stretch fabric, handy thumbholes and a hood that could save your neck if you forget your balaclava.

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket

I take this jacket with me just about everywhere I go. It packs down to the size of a peanut butter jar, then expands to provide way more down-based warmth than you’d expect from such a minimalist garment.

AlpineStars Ray Canvas V2 Jacket

The exact jacket I used on my ride, the AlpineStars Kinetic, is no longer available, but this one is pretty dang similar. Key features include Level 1 CE-certified BIO-Light shoulder and elbow protectors, plus a durable, water-repellent shell.

HotHands Hand Warmers

Ten hours of warmth for less than a dollar a pair? Sign me up.

PearliZumi Men’s Cyclone Gel Gloves

These cycling gloves served as a perfect liner to my moto gloves. Bonus: the index finger works on touchscreens, like the one between the handlebars of the Chieftain.

Dainese Nembo Gore-Tex Gloves

Thanks to Gore-Tex Grip technology, these gloves are water- and wind-resistant while also providing exceptional grasp of the handlebars. They boast knuckle protection and a gauntlet that will make you feel like a medieval knight — and shield you from harsh weather, of course.

Lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tight

Sure, they’re designed for winter running. They just happen to be an excellent first-layer liner, too.

Dainese D-Explorer 2 Gore-Tex Pant

Where to start with how much I love these pants? A Gore-Tex membrane, removable liner and zippered thigh vents mean they’re tough enough to ward off wind, rain and cold, yet can be streamlined for summer riding, too. They are so comfortable you’ll forget all about the Trixior inserts that could save your knees if things go awry, and there’s even a matching all-season jacket.

Darn Tough Hiker Boot Sock Cushion

Darn Tough’s socks are unquestionably burly. What some people may not realize is that they are also super-comfortable. And in the case of these thicker ones, super-warm.

Darn Tough Vertex 1/4 Ultra-Light

I threw an extra sock on top of the first one for just a bit more warmth, and once the sun set on the return ride, I was quite glad I did.

Vasque Clarion ’88 GTX Waterproof Hiking Boot

I’ve been effusive in my praise of this boot in the past, asserting that its throwback tech is perfectly suited to many modern activities. Thanks largely to waterproof Gore-Tex, a grippy Vibram outsole and plenty of cushioning, you can add long-distance winter motorcycling to the list.

Indian Chieftain Elite

Last fall, I raved about the 2019 Indian Chieftain Limited, which I also took on a 500-mile trip. This 2020 bike in the same family is even better. It has everything that bike does and more, including three features that came in especially handy: a more user-friendly touchscreen navigation system; life-saving antilock brakes; and the coup de grâce: booming 400-watt speakers integrated into the front fairing and rear saddlebags for a true surround sound experience. It’s a real mood booster when the weather — or the traffic — gets you down.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Steve Mazzucchi is Gear Patrol’s outdoors and fitness editor. Outside the office, you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycling or sipping a dram of Laphroaig and daydreaming about such things.

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This Is One of the Nicest Camper Vans We’ve Ever Seen

You’ve probably never heard of the Polish company Affinity. We hadn’t either — at least, until they unveiled their new camper van at the 2020 CMT Show in Stuttgart. Sleek and modern, Affinity’s new ride has one of the best layouts for a camper van we’ve ever seen.

The main innovation is in regards to the sleeping areas. There’s a de facto master suite in the rear, though the double bed at the back serves as a lounge area during the day. The bed can also electrically raise and lower to accommodate gear such as bicycles in a storage bay below.

The bed sits alongside a rear wet bath, which opens up the rest of the living space. The dinette area at the front folds out into bunk beds; in total, thus, this compact van offers sleeping accomodations for a family of four.

Other features include an L-shaped kitchen for extra counter space, a winterized cabin with a Truma Combi 4E heater/water boiler, and front and rear skylights that provude ample natural light.

The Affinity Camper Van comes in two versions, and they’re relatively affordable, considering everything you get. There’s a Fiat Ducato version (starting price: $83,300) with a nine-speed automatic, and can also be based on a Peugeot Boxer (starting price: $77,700) with a six-speed manual. Scandinavian manufacturer KABE AB will produce the vehicles starting this month.

Sadly, it does not appear that the Affinity van will be available in the U.S. anytime soon. But FCA does sell the Fiat Ducato in the U.S. as the Ram Promaster, the base for the Winnebago Solis, so the vehicle doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to recreate here.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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Top 5 most expensive cars at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction

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This Awesome E-Bike Can Take the Pain Out of Your Commute

Urban commuting can be a trying experience. You may only have to travel a few miles, but there’s no easy way to do it. Taking the train can be circuitous and dispiriting. A car is impractical, and bad for the environment. Cycling? Awesome…if you can avoid the potholes and have a private shower waiting for you at the office. Motorcycles can be expensive, and you need a license. Even if you’re the freaking genius who figured out how to commute via jet-ski, you can’t do that year-round.

What’s the ideal commuting solution, then? An e-bike.

The Super 73-S1 Universal Motorbike currently for sale on Huckberry looks like an old-school motorbike, but it’s a bicycle. It’s street-legal. It requires neither a license nor insurance. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and can be parked anywhere you put a bike. It ships in a box, with minimal assembly required; you just have to screw on the handles and pedals.

The Super 73-S1 delivers a battery range of 35–45 miles, depending on conditions, and a top speed of 20 mph. It offers a headlight and brake light, and heavy-duty tires to handle all types of terrain — urban or otherwise — in comfort. The bike can be recharged by plugging into a standard wall socket.

While $2,200 for the Super 73-S1 e-bike may sound expensive, the best e-bikes on the market can cost much more (and require you to sit on a much less comfortable bicycle seat). Even high-end commuter bikes can approach or eclipse that price point. And, hey, that monthly subway pass is not cheap, either.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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The Best Used Car Bargains from 2010–2019 You Can Buy

It’s human nature to look backwards. We reminisce about what was, viewing the past with rose-colored glasses; we rewind past our mistakes again and again, scanning for details about how to prevent things from happening that way again. Thinking backwards is as much a part of us as wondering what’s next.

But looking in the rearview mirror, when it comes to car shopping, is a pretty good way to spot some bargains. (Not literally, of course; if looking in the rearview mirror of an actual car reveals anything than what’s directly behind the trunk, see your doctor.) The years between 2010 and 2019, being not so long ago, are still fresh enough for us to remember the fresh-faced vehicles we were excited to see and drive — yet are now far enough in the past that those rides have grown to fill used car lots across the land.

So now that we’re into the third decade of the 2000s, we thought it was worth taking a peek back at some of the cars that were on sale in the last decade that still make for good rides today. Don’t be afraid to check back every so often, either; we’ll likely add more vehicles as time goes by.

Acura TSX

Acuras are well-known for their reliability, but the TSX brings an added dose of spriteliness that the carmaker’s current lineup can sometimes be lacking. A six-speed manual is available, albeit only with the 201-hp inline-four, but that engine suits the car better than the 280-hp V6 that only comes with a five-speed automatic. (If you find one of the rare Sport Wagon variants in good condition, snap it up as quick as you can.) Low-mileage ones are rare, but you can find good ones with 60K miles or less for $14,000 or below with ease.

Nissan Leaf

It may not be the sexiest electric car, or the roomiest, or the one offering the most range — but a used Nissan Leaf is one of the best deals you can grab on an EV. First-gen models at four-digit prices (yes, less than $10,000) with less than 60K miles abound across America, making them an ideal second commuter car for folks who might not have considered adding an electric to their household before. Plus, the inherent simplicity of an EV powertrain — with just a handful of moving parts compared to the hundreds of an internal-combustion one — helps make the Leaf plenty reliable.

Toyota Tundra

Toyota’s sterling reputation for reliability extends to their full-sized trucks just as much as it does their cars and SUVs, which means the Tundra ranks among the most reliable half-ton rigs on the road. Add in the fact that the truck on sale today is mechanically almost identical to the one sold in 2010, and there’s practically no reason to buy a new one instead of one of these. You can find tons out there with less than 50,000 miles for between $20K and $30K; or, if you want to go cheaper, there are plenty still under 100K that have prices in the teens.

Lexus GS

The fourth-generation GS was one of the first vehicles to prove Lexus was serious about adding some dynamism to its traditionally-staid cars. With a well-balanced chassis and nimble handling, it was the sort of four-door that proved worth holding up alongside the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 as an entertaining option of its day. It’s also proven itself one of the most reliable luxury sedans you can buy. So long as you can live with the frustrating infotainment system, you’ll likely find it a great fit. You can find high-mileage ones (figure just over 100K) for around $16,000, but just a couple grand more will net you one with less than 60K miles on the clock.

Porsche Boxster / Cayman

Granted, no new Porsche is going to be outright cheap to buy or take care of, but the 981-generation model sold from 2012 to 2016 is about as good a deal as you’ll find. The last generation of Boxster/Cayman to be powered by flat-sixes across the board, the 981 is generally seen as reliable and fairly cheap to own by Porsche specialists — and you can find solid examples in the mid-$20K-to-low-$30K range all day long.

Hyundai Genesis

The car currently known as the Genesis G80 started off as the second-generation Hyundai Genesis half a decade ago — and it makes for an even better used car today than it did a new one then. A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty means you should have plenty of coverage on your used car’s moving bits into the near future. It still rides smoothly and comfortably, and still looks like an Aston Martin at a glance. And they’re dirt cheap: V6 models with less than 50,000 miles can be yours for less than $20,000 all day long, while V8s with around 50K-80K can be yours for the same amount.

Toyota 4Runner

Not unlike its Tundra cousin, a 2010 4Runner is mechanically pretty much identical to a new one you can buy in a dealership today. As with the Tundra, that means used ones make for an excellent choice when seeking a car of Twenty-Teens provenance. Unlike the big pickup, though, the boom in overlanding has led 4Runners to hold their value quite well. Still, it’s cheaper than a new one — and better than most other four-wheel-drives you can buy. Good ones with less than 40,000 miles generally run in the mid-to-high-$20Ks; those looking to spend less can find plenty of ones with 75K-100K miles for prices around $20,000.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS Ditch Four-Cylinder Engine

Porsche took the covers off of the 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS this morning. The release had been expected, the inclusion of the 4.0 litre inline six, less so.

The GTS ditches the 2.5-litre flat four engine from its previous generation in favour of the six cylinder unit found in the GT4. It is detuned compared to the GT4, making do with just 400 hp. The six cylinder model is available with a manual six-speed transmission and sports exhaust system for full driver engagement. It manages 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 293 km/h.

It’s also quite efficient. Porsche offer adaptive cylinder control as standard which switches off one of the two cylinder banks at low loads, direct fuel injection with piezo injectors and a variable intake system.

The GTS is intended to bridge the gap between the hardcore GT4 and the road-focused S models. As a result, it gets Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) sports suspension, a 20 millimetre lower ride height and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) as standard. Sport Chrono is also standard.

Inside, black contrasting design elements and a dark Alcantara interior have become typical of Porsche’s GTS models. Porsche fit Sport Seats Plus and the optional GTS interior package adds another contrasting colour: either Carmine Red or Chalk. The new models should be available in Germany from March 2020. Pricing details are yet to be announced.


Koenigsegg reportedly bringing ‘Mission 500’ concept to Geneva

Koenigsegg has a thing for the Geneva Motor Show, introducing its first customer car there, the CC82, in 2002. Since then, the Swedish carmaker has trucked wares like the CCX and CCXR, Agera, Regera, and Jesko from Angelholm to greet the world in the Romandy region of Switzerland. According to a report in The Supercar Blog, the ritual takes place again this year, with Koenigsegg supposedly debuting a concept called Mission 500. The concept, so the story goes, will preview the vehicle the hypercar maker plans to use to crack the 300-mile-per-hour barrier. The “500” in the name refers to 500 kilometers per hour, which equates to 310.6 miles per hour. There are rumors of two more cars on display, but the Mission 500 concept is the centerpiece.

Getting any production car to reach 300 miles per hour is a stellar feat, one accomplished last September by the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. The task is so difficult that every extra mile per hour beyond 300 could be considered its own Herculean conquest of several categories of physics. The Molsheim coupe ran 304.77 mph (490.48 kilometers per hour) at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien track. If Koenigsegg can hit the magic 500, that additional 6 mph represents a gargantuan achievement.

It’s not clear if the Mission 500 concept is a new vehicle or based on the Jesko. Company boss Christian von Koenigsegg has said he has a 300-mph variant of the Jesko in mind that only needs some extreme aero to manage the task. The CEO has practical math to work with for his claim, his company having got the Agera RS up to 277.87 mph in 2017 — that speed averaged after runs in both directions, unlike the Chiron Super Sport run that was timed in one direction only. If the Mission 500 is Jesko-based, we’d expect to see the 5.0-liter V8 amidships that makes 1,577 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque on E85, or “just” 1,262 hp and 941 kW on 95-octane pump gas.

Top Fuel NHRA racer Brittany Force set a national record last year at 338.17 mph through the speed trap, using a 500-cubic inch (8.19-liter) supercharged V8 with 10,000 horsepower to do it. The idea that we could see a passenger car with navigation and two cupholders get within 30 mph of that speed is outstanding. Even better is the idea that, assuming the Swedes pull it off, Hennessey or SSC might attempt to beat it. Come on, Geneva.

Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Too Pricey? Buy a Mazda CX-9 Instead

The 2020 Mercedes GLS-Class is, as Mercedes likes to put it, the S-Class of the carmaker’s SUV lineup. It’s a paragon of luxury, driving dynamics and state-of-the-art technology. The GLS stands a cut above its peers; it’s a delightful car, whether you are chauffeuring your loved ones about or having yourself chauffeured.

The biggest drawback to the Mercedes -Benz GLS is the obvious one, though: it’s freaking expensive. The entry-level GLS 450 starts at $75,950. The top-tier GLS 580 with a V8 begins at $98,900. Buyers building realistically will spend at least a few thousand dollars more than that; maxing out Mercedes’s active driver assists alone is a $2,250 proposition. We’re not talking G-Class-grade extravagance, but the GLS price tag will be beyond the means of most buyers.

Mercedes does offer a GLS in miniature, the all-new GLB-Class. It’s stylish, practical, tech-laden, and starts under $40,000. You can — with a fair bit of squeezing — cram seven passengers (if they’re not all adults) into that compact vehicle.

But to get that GLS gravitas and premium feel for a reduced cost in a similarly-sized car, you must look outside the Mercedes brand. Consider: the Mazda CX-9.

The CX-9 brings distinction and luxury you wouldn’t expect from a car made by a mainstream brand. I drove the highest-level Signature trim over the holidays ($47,855 as tested); while the exterior gave off a stately (if price-appropriate) appearance, inside, it felt like a much more expensive car. Our tester had Parchment Nappa leather and real Santos Rosewood trim — the sort of materials one would expect to find in a Mercedes. Heated second-row captain’s chairs proved a comfortable place to relax in the back. Even the ambient lighting felt like a high-end touch.

The CX-9, like the GLS, drives impressively for its size. One of Gear Patrol‘s own once called it “the best SUV (he’d) ever driven.” It only comes with a turbocharged inline-four, rather than a V6 or V8, but with 320 lb-ft of torque, the engine never feels overmatched. You don’t get the GLS’s fancy E-Active Body Control, but the CX-9 is smooth, refined, and consistent on the road; there’s a low center of gravity and hardly any body roll. It’s not a Mazda sports car, but it handles like a smaller machine.

Sure, there are some ways the CX-9 won’t measure up to the Merc. The GLS is a lot bigger, with 84.7 cubic feet of potential cargo space to the CX-9’s 71.2. The Mazda’s third row is tight, as is the trunk with those seats raised. The CX-9’s tech does not quite feel as advanced as the Benz’s; it offers just one 9.0-inch display to the Mercedes’ dual 12.3-inch ones. The infotainment system is a bit cumbersome and laggy, and the backup camera had the worst picture quality of any car I’ve driven recently.

That said, while the CX-9 does not offer everything the GLS-Class does, it offers a lot of the appeal for less than half the price. The base model CX-9 starts at just $33,790.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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Toyota GR Yaris Revealed with 272hp and AWD

Are we seeing the return of hot hatch homologation specials? Last week, at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2020, Toyota released a special version of its Yaris supermini. The Toyota GR Yaris takes inspiration from Toyota’s WRC winning race car, with a powerful Gazoo Racing engine and a four wheel drive system. It will be available for 6 months as a limited edition model.

Over the years, WRC and its predecessors have inspired a number of highly collectible hot hatchbacks. While the GR Yaris is not a homologation model, WRC has different rules these days, it is sure to be as collectible in years to come.

It get a potent 1.6 litre Gazoo Racing in-line 3 cylinder engine. Combined with a single turbocharger, it produces a production record 272 hp alongside 370 Nm of torque. For the ultimate driving experience, Toyota link this to an iMT 6-speed manual transmission.

The power is routed to a “GR-FOUR” sports 4WD system. The GR Yaris uses a multi-plate clutch to transfer the power alongside 2 Torsen limited slip differentials. Three settings are available to the driver ranging through Normal, Sport and Track.

There is plenty of modification to the three door bodywork too. Front and rear bumpers are entirely new. Body panels are machines from aluminum for the hood, trunk lid, and door panels. A carbon fiber-reinforced plastic roof panel formed using the sheet molding compound method saves weight.

The Toyota GR Yaris weighs in at 1,280 kg which should ensure that it hits 100 km/h in good time. Toyota are yet to release performance details. The special-edition RZ “High-performance First Edition” is planned to cost 4.56 million yen (including consumption tax) which translates to a staggering 37,252 euros in European money.


Lamborghini Pulls Out as Geneva Motor Show 2020 Absentee List Grows

We are a little over a month from the biggest car event of the year, the Geneva Motor Show 2020. It usually pays host to more than 100 new car and tuning releases, making it one of the biggest events of the year. This year might be a bit quieter than usual though.

Hidden within Lamborghini’s financial reporting earlier today was a small, but significant statement; “Lamborghini will not be present at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show 2020”.

The Italian brand has been a mainstay on the Swiss stage, releasing cars like the Veneno and Centenario.

Lamborghini isn’t the only manufacturer planning to sit it out either. Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Opel and Hyundai were notable absences last year. This year, Maserati, Citreon, Peugeot, General Motors, Nissan, Mini and Mitsubishi are also confirmed as not attending. Hyundai appears to be the only manufacturer planning a return to Geneva.

So why are so many manufacturers pulling out? The answer is likely complex. Costs are probably the biggest driving force. Why spend millions competing to advertise at a trade show when you could spend less at dedicated events and online.

It’s well publicised that manufacturers’ development budgets have swollen in recent years with an expensive and rushed period of electric vehicle (EV) development.

It’s likely that falling sales and economic uncertainty in key markets such as China are also to blame.

Despite the prominent absentees, there won’t be any shortage of highlights at Geneva though. The biggest names are still confirmed to attend. Among the releases that matter, Audi will debut the new Audi A3, Mercedes-AMG is rumoured to have the GT 73 4-door Coupé, there should be a new Porsche 992 Turbo too!


Which Ford Should You Buy? Let Our Quick Guide Help You Figure It Out

Describing the Ford Motor Company as a fixture of the American automotive scene would be an understatement. Ford essentially invented the mass-produced automobile with the world’s first moving assembly line. One of America’s greatest automotive icons, the Mustang, is a Ford. America’s perennial best-selling vehicle for nearly 40 years running, the F-150 pickup, is a Ford. American engines have powered 13 Formula 1 championships and six outright wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race… and all of them were Fords.

The American automotive industry is currently undergoing massive changes — and so, consequently, is the Ford Motor Company. It is reorienting toward a future as a multifaceted mobility and tech firm, yet in the here and now, the Blue Oval has shorn its model tree of nearly everything but trucks and SUVs in search of present-day profitability.

So if you’re shopping for one today, what’s the best Ford vehicle to buy? It depends on what you’re looking for…and maybe whether you’re willing to wait for the Mustang Mach-E or the new Bronco. Here’s a quick, helpful guide to help you figure out what you need.

Want the best performance value? Get a Mustang GT

You can find greater precision and refinement in a sports car than the Ford Mustang has to offer, but the car has made major strides in recent years — so it’s nearly impossible to beat the Mustang GT as a value proposition. Ford will give you a 460-horsepower V8 and a six-speed manual transmission with which to wield it for less than $40,000. (Those with some extra cash to spend may wish to level up to the Bullitt edition, however.)

Want something fuel-efficient? Get a 2020 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid

The Ford Fusion sedan is soon to die, but it’s still available for the 2020 model year.  The plug-in hybrid variant is currently Ford’s most fuel-efficient vehicle. It earns 42 mpg combined in city and highway driving, and also offers 26 miles of electric-only range in EV mode.

Want a family hauler? Get a Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition is enormous, but it’s far from ogreish on the road. The latest generation lost weight, thanks to an aluminum body. It makes 375 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, routed through an excellent 10-speed transmission. It has a very usable third row of seats, can be outfitted to tow more than 9,000 pounds, yet can accelerate from 0-60 mph in the low six-second range. Fuel economy — about 20 mpg combined — is quite reasonable for a vehicle this size, as well.

Want the best all-around vehicle? Get a Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle by a wide margin. The reason for that: Ford offers proven quality, whether you’re buying a $30,000 work truck or a $70,000 luxury ride. Ford dragged the full-sized truck market into the 21st Century with the current-gen F-150, with its lighter aluminum-based construction and turbocharged V6s in place of V8s. Even bigger changes should be in store for 2021.

Want the best all-around vehicle under $30,000? Get a Ford Ranger

Ford brought the mid-cycle Ranger back to the U.S. for the 2019 model year. Some may be upset the Ranger Raptor did not come with it, or that there is no V6 option. But the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and 10-speed transmission deliver a solid, capable truck, with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Ford has been steadily adding off-road options to compete with the rest of the midsize segment.

Want to drive on a track? Get a Shelby GT500

Ford built the Shelby GT500 to embarrass supercars that cost three times the price. Mission accomplished. It’s the 760-hp monster you expect in a straight line, reaching 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and traveling a quarter-mile in 10.7 seconds. But besides being faster than its predecessor, it’s also refined and well-balanced in the corners. No manual transmission is available, but the modern tech makes it significantly easier to drive.

Want to (pretend to) run the Baja 1000? Get an F-150 Raptor

The F-150 Raptor is Ford’s off-road performance beast. Its 3.5-liter V6 puts out 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in a little more than five seconds. The Raptor gets Ford’s best off-road tech, Fox Racing shocks, and a special long-travel suspension. Sure, it’s freaking enormous, and complete overkill for the off-roading most people do. But being complete overkill is why it’s so popular.

Fine, you just want a crossover? Get a Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is all-new for 2020. Running on the Focus platform, it’s the de facto replacement for most of the Ford car lineup. There are four different engine options. You can equip a fairly decent one for around $30,000, making the Escape a competitive option in the compact SUV segment. It’s not exciting, but it’ll do what you need it to do.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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The Secret to Airstream’s Future? Trailers Full of Smart Home Tech

Airstream didn’t have a booth at this year’s CES 2020 convention in Las Vegas, but CEO Bob Wheeler thinks his presence on the show’s floor is extremely worthwhile. For a brand that melds the automotive and residential realms, emerging technologies from both industries showcased at the event help inform the legendary camping giant as to what’s available, what’s desired, and what’s possible.

Smart home tech bleeds seamlessly into what we do,” Wheeler tells Gear Patrol, noting that while the brand’s illustrious heritage may be built on unchanging exterior design, its customers want the same convenience of connectivity and technology they enjoy in their homes.

“We want to be just ahead of the curve. We don’t want people to pay for something they don’t want to use,” he says.

Wheeler adds that the Airstream Smart Control app has been a gamechanger for clients. While not new, the Smart Control app dovetails with Airstream’s Multiplex control system to give your smartphone power over things like climate, lighting, awning extension, and tank and resource levels.

“What’s new will be the ability to link this system to the cloud, so you can understand, control and monitor your Airstream from anywhere,” Wheeler says.

Airstream is already starting to write AI systems that will use your data to help send warnings and tips to owners. “Say you’re on a hike and there’s a storm system approaching your area. We could send you an alert that it’s coming and offer to retract your awning. Or if the temperature is rapidly dropping, we can offer to turn on the heater to warm up the water in your tanks so it doesn’t freeze,” he says.

The AI could even understand your water and other resource levels (like propane or electricity) and calculate when you’ll need to top off — and how much you’ll need — before you head into the wilderness. Given that most of his customers are now trying to get further off the grid on Bureau of Land Management or National Forest Service land far from assisted campgrounds, this added level of help should be monumental.

Everything in development at Airstream is aimed at easing pain points for customers, whether they’re new to trailering or veterans of the wilderness. “We’ve found that Airstreamers love to stay near other Airstreamers, so adding a community component to the app, with a Waze-style interface, can help owners plan and navigate trips, and the roadside systems, making it more convenient,” says Wheeler.

To maximize efficiencies — and the Airstream experience — the brand will require some added buy-in from external partners. “We can’t get a refrigerator to tie into the Multiplex system yet,” he says, “which may not seem like a big deal if you’re in a house. But when your fridge is running off limited resources, your temperature can vary drastically and your food could spoil. We’d love to help prevent that by monitoring it.” He adds that the company is constantly talking to appliance makers at places like CES.

Wheeler is also keen to keep relationships strong with vehicle manufacturers. The dream would be to ingrate the Smart Control app into a vehicle’s infotainment system, making everything behind you controllable from inside your the truck or SUV towing the rig. Also on the docket for a collaboration with a manufacturer: camera systems that can be displayed inside your tow unit.

“We can put cameras on the outside of a trailer, but people blow tires all the time and don’t know it and keep driving, damaging the rim. If you could view those cameras from your car, you’d know instantly,” he says.

While Airstream’s strongest relationship is with General Motors, it is deeply interested in the electric vehicle space, paying particular attention to what upstarts like adventure-minded Rivian are bringing to market.

“EV sales are rising, though it’ll be a long time before the market saturates,” Wheeler says. “We know our customers are more likely to own an EV, even if they’re not currently using it to tow an Airstream, so how can we offer them something that can be towed by an EV without loss of range or significant battery drain?”

In the bid for range neutrality (i.e. not causing a car’s battery to drain faster than it would without a trailer), making Airstreams light is the obvious first step, but Wheeler also says adding a battery cell in the chassis of the trailer could supplement the towing EV. “Those cells can work in concert, maintaining the range, perhaps even enhancing it when the tow vehicle’s battery gets low.”

This requires OEM participation, though, so a third option is being mulled: adding a battery cell and a drivetrain directly into the trailer. Airstream’s parent company, Thor Industries, recently acquired Hymer, Europe’s largest manufacturer of RV trailers –which is significant because Hymer was responsible for eCoco, a functional concept of this very model.

“It’s got an axle drivetrain system with regenerative braking and control software that so that it’s self-propelled,” Wheeler says. “The trailer can never push the tow vehicle, but it can sense being pulled and accelerate to match the speed.”

Another advantage of a self-driving trailer? Get to a tight campsite, detach the trailer, and control it from your phone to maneuver it into the parking space under its own power. Plus, established campsites have power poles that could double as charging stations, giving you medium-to-fast charging at a number of places.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Novitec N-Largo Kit Revealed for the McLaren 720S Spider

Novitec announced an addition to its N-Largo range of body kits this week. The Novitec N-Largo 720S Spider adds a widebody look to the McLaren 720S Spider. If you have seen N-Largo kits before then you will know what to expect from the latest model.

The latest addition to the Novitec range includes a widebody kit with forged carbon elements. This gives the 720S Spider a look inspired by the McLaren Senna.

The bodywork has been created, once again, through a collaboration with German designer Vittorio Strosek. Width is increased by six centimetres at the front and by thirteen centimetres at the rear axle. The front fenders and the rear fenders are complete replacements.

The N-Largo gets a unique side skirt and a set of air intakes aft of the doors. The front bumper is entirely new with a new front blade and several naked carbon elements. The trunk lid, side mirror covers, side skirt strips and rear wing attachment, all come finished in forged carbon fibre.

It sits on 20 and 21 inch Vossen wheels. The design is MC2 and they are manufactured to customer’s individual finish. They have a centre lock look

Power receives an upgrade too. The 4.0-litre V8 engine puts out an impressive 806 hp and 878 Nm of torque. Performance gets a similar boost with 100 km/h arriving in 2.7 seconds and 200 km/h in just 7.5 seconds. Terminal velocity is 346 km/h.

Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S Spider

Other changes include the addition of an extremely light Inconel exhaust system. The ride height can be lowered too, with a special set of Novitec sports springs. These bring the N-Largo 35 millimetres closer to the ground.

Novitec also offers a complete series of customisation options for the Novitec N-Largo 720S Spider. Just 15 examples will be made worldwide. Novitec is expecting it to sell out quickly, just like its Coupe brother! If you are after something a little less extreme, Novitec have you covered too.


2020 Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Door Review: One Car to Rule Them All

Brand: Mercedes-Benz
Product: AMG GT 63 S 4-Door
Release Date: Early 2019
Price: $162,200+

Will all due respect to Jeff Foxworthy: if you’ve ever heard of the “One Car,” you might be a car nerd. It’s a term bandied about in barstool arguments and forum threads, one that’s usually some variation of, if you could only drive one car for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Obviously, different enthusiasts have different desires, but for most gearheads, it comes down to some sort of vehicle that’s fast, fun to drive, is capable of handling real life’s real roads and has enough room for four people and some luggage. Good looks are appreciated, but not required.

Enter the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-Door coupe, a sleek sedan packing the best performance bits AMG has to offer — including a twin-turbo. 4.0-liter V8 that makes 631 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque and performance-tuned all-wheel-drive (that can be switched to rear-wheel-drive alone when it’s time to make the donuts). Seems like a solid choice for a One Car, no? Your humble author took it for a week to find out.

What We Like

Good god, this thing is fast. Like, make-you-angry-every-highway-isn’t-the-autobahn, leave-you-unironically-quoting-Top Gun fast. Galloping along at 80, 90 miles an hour feels effortless. Even the tight, winding turns of narrow, old-school highways like the serpentine Merritt Parkway seem like child’s play at speeds that would have you anxious in almost any other car. You can merge onto any road, with any amount of runway. Trust me: I had to launch control onto said parkway (where stop signs for on-ramps sit next to 70-mph traffic) more than once, and I could dive in with ease. In fact, “with ease” is being too subtle; this thing blitzes forward.

Plus, it makes the best sound when you hammer it. AMG has long been a master of squeezing beautiful music out of a V8, and the GT 63 S’s full-throated powerboat roar never grows old. 

But the GT 4-Door Coupe’s claim to fame (and reason for its own naming convention, instead of being lumped in with the E-Class/CLS-Class sedans it’s based on) is that it’s been developed by AMG to be not just a sport sedan, but a true four-door sports car worthy of running apace with the AMG GT. As such, it handles like a dream.

The suspension isn’t too harsh for the real world, and I’ll proudly state that anyone who says so is a wimp who should buy an S-Class instead; it only rides rough on roads where the potholes are harsh enough to pain anything short of a Rolls-Royce or F-150 Raptor. Yet it’s as well-planted as any car this size in the turns, always clinging to your desired line. I didn’t have a chance to track it — but let’s face it, even most who spring for this car won’t do more than push it hard down back roads, where it feels as fast as any super sports car.

(That said, should you be considering taking it to the track, you might be curious to know that, in Car and Driver‘s hands, the GT 63 S was able to lap Virginia International Raceway’s difficult TK-mile road course in 2:49.3faster than a Ferrari F12berlinetta or 458 Italia, Acura NSX or Chevy Camaro ZL1.)

It’s a delight to drive at lesser speeds as well, thanks to steering that’s well-weighted and perfectly-ratioed. It’s intuitive and quick, without feeling nervous, and has more feel than most fancy German cars these days — though the new M5 Competition shows BMW’s trying to rediscover that old-time religion. (The tiller of the Cadillac CTS-V may still be slightly superior, but that beloved Caddy is already out of production.)

Indeed, perhaps just as stunning as its performance is the fact that it’s so damn usable. AMG-tuned 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive is great for lapping tracks, sure, but it also helped me conquer some of the worst roads Vermont could serve up in December (with the help of some Michelin Pilot Alpin snow tires, admittedly). The seats are comfortable even on long hauls; plus, unlike the pillbox interior of the GT coupe and convertible, the bigger cabin allows riders plenty of room to sprawl out and appreciate the fine interior. The rear seat is a tad tight, especially with the elegant Executive Rear Seat package of my tester that turns the back bench into a pair of snug captain’s chairs, but it’s still possible to put one adult behind another.

As for the looks, they grow on you. At first, the GT 4-Door seems almost too conservative for such a raucous machine; it’s lacking the brutality and sharpness traditionally associated with four-wheeled Teutonic terrors. (Blame, if it needs to be handed down, lies at the foot of Daimler’s “Sensual Purity” design language, which avoids creases and hard angles the way vampires avoid tanning beds.)

But the longer you look at it, the more the beauty reveals itself. The rear has almost a Porsche 911-ish curve to its fender flanks, while the nose makes you think so vividly of the AMG GT sports cars, you have to do a side-by-side comparison to realize it isn’t the exact same face. It’s long — three inches longer than the E63 S sedan — but that length makes it look sleek and lean. It’s an utterly classy design that looks simple on a computer screen or magazine page but ever-so-complex in person. 

Watch Out For

It’s pricey, even for what it is. That barely-smaller, barely-slower E63 S starts at $54,000 less than ; even if you opt for the more expensive, more-versatile wagon version and load it all the way, you won’t hit the GT 63 S’s price. Granted, the GT’s a bit more fun — it’s made for driving even more than those cars are, with more of a sports car’s spirit — but if you’re the type who craves bang-for-your-buck over maximum-thrills-at-any-price, this car will probably be a tough cell. 

The center console’s tiny color LCD-screen displays for various driving controls (manual shifting, stop/start, exhaust mode, etc) look cool, but the toggles switches used to manipulate them are less intuitive and harder to use than the old click knobs found in the pre-facelift AMG GT. And, unlike those eight cylindrical wheels, they don’t suggest a V8 engine’s layout, either.

A minor quibble, but in our smartphone-centric, a valid one: with three USB ports shared between the driver and shotgun rider, why is the only one with Apple CarPlay connectivity is situated where using it blocks one of the cupholders? Come to think of it, why is the 12-volt plug located where it blocks the other cupholder? With my radar detector and phone both plugged in, I was forced to use the door’s cupholder for my Wendy’s cup. (Yes, I’m complaining that this 630-hp supercar with eight cupholders made my life slightly inconvenient.)

Perhaps more relevant for the AMG GT 63 S’s target audience: what the hell is with all the confusing levels of dynamic options? As if being able to decide between the regular drive modes of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual wasn’t a lot to handle, the GT 63 S also offers a quartet of driving algorithms — Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master, each of which fiddles with the stability control, AWD and electronically-controlled limited slip differential, among other things. They can change in concert with the drive modes, but you can also fiddle with them separately. I’m sure some German engineers are very proud of giving people the option, but it seems likely most drivers will never even play around with it. 

And perhaps it’s pedantic to complain about such things, but as a writer who cares about language and a journalist who has to find something to complain about, the name “GT 4-Door coupe” is ridiculous, because a) four-door coupes are just sleek sedans, and b) it’s awkward to say when you’re describing them. The AMG GT sports cars go without numbers in their names — they’re just AMG GT, AMG GT C, AMG GT R — so let the alphanumeric names do the work of differentiating the four-doors from the true coupes.

Other Options

The $153,000+ Porsche Panamera Turbo is the most direct competitor, sharing not just pricetag and performance but also shape and even hometown with the GT 63 S. The BMW M8 Gran Coupe ($130,000+) and forthcoming Audi RS 7 (price not yet set) also stack up pretty precisely against this AMG; or, if you’re willing to trade away a bit of sexiness and sharpness for added space and savings, the E63 S Wagon ($111,750+) might be just the thing.


Sure, with a pricetag of $162,200 to start and pushing past $180,000 as my tester came equipped, it’s hard to make a value-based case for the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-door. For that money, after all, you could have an E63 S and a Mustang Bullitt, or a C63 sedan and a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS, or a CLS53 and Mazda MX-5 and a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. But all those, of course, would require multiple parking spots, juggling multiple maintenance schedules, and so forth. Double (or triple) the cars, double (or triple) the trouble.

That’s the beauty of the One Car: Make the choice once, and live happily ever after. It’s a game that’ll keep going as long as there are cars to be bought, one that’s fun to play over and over again. I’m sure my tastes may change as new models arrive on the scene, but if I could have but one car to drive for the rest of my years and had to choose from all the new ones on sale today…I’d pick this one.

Mercedes-Benz provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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CES Automobitive Highlights 2020

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 is the first major show of the year for customer tech and a lot more. Since cars these days have more tech on board than your computer at home it is no surprise that more and more car manufacturers find their way to Las Vegas. We had a look at what the car manufacturers, suppliers and other tech companies had to offer in the automotive and picked our top highlights.

Sony wows the world with an electric car

The biggest news, by far, was that Sony had been working on autonomous car tech in relative secrecy. As you would expect, entertainment is firmly in the driving seat with this concept car. The Japanese behemoth isn’t expected to put the Vision S into production any time soon, but it is expected to offer its technology to the wider industry.

What Sony presented is a fully operational electric car, packed with technology. It is 5G-enabled and capable of over-the-air system updates. There are four main cameras around the outside of the vehicle – back, front and the two sides – all fitted with Sony’s high-end CMOS sensors and an in-car 360 Reality Audio system.

What’s most impressive though, is that a company with no history in the automotive segment (as a traditional manufacturer at least), can put together something so polished. The project is supported by automotive supplier Magna but even then we’re sure it had some of the traditional manufacturers scratching their heads.

Mercedes-Benz teases organic battery

Mercedes-Benz had a concept car to release this year. Tied with the upcoming Avatar 2 film, the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR previews the future of autonomous driving. There is no steering wheel, much like James Cameron’s characters, Mercedes-Benz believes that the vehicle will blend with the driver, recognising the human driver’s heartbeat and breath.

It gets a 110-kilowatt-hour electric motor that can produce 469 hp and a range of roughly 435 miles. But it is not the powertrain which makes this concept very interesting but the battery tech: The batteries are presented as a graphene-based concept. The organic material was discovered in 2004 and is currently the strongest material known to man. While no commercially available battery exists at this point, research has found that graphine batteries charge 12 times faster than lithium-ion batteries and can be produced and recycled in a very environmentally friendly manner. Perhaps this is the future?

Hyundai presents their vision of mobility with Uber

Hyundai and Uber’s joint vision for the future of the automotive looks suspiciously like an aeroplane. Developed under the title Uber Air Taxis, this concept is called the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) model, S-A1.

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It has a cruising speed of up to 180 mph (290 km/h) at altitudes of roughly 300 to 600 metres above the ground. Trips will be limited to 60 miles on 100% electric propulsion. Each ‘car’ will seat four passengers.

Amazon sets aims to invade the automotive industry with Alexa and Fire TV

Amazon extended its Alexa and Fire TV offerings in the automotive industry. It announced new partnerships with Rivian and Lamborghini to bring Alexa into their vehicles. They join Ford, Audi, BMW, GM, and Toyota who had already announced partnerships. Even if you don’t buy one of these vehicles, the Echo Auto device will soon be available to make your car Alexa-ready.

Alexa gets new auto-specific skills including the ability to pay for gas at Exxon stations through the voice assistant. BMW and Fiat Chrysler add Fire TV systems to their vehicles too with the ability to stream TV shows through an onboard LTE connection.

ZF presents Level 2+ and Level 4 autonomous driving tech

ZF Level 2+ and Level Autonomous

ZF Automotive also presented new technology. The German giant is a market leader in autonomous driving technology. It presented an update on progress with its Level 2+ systems for consumer vehicles and Level 4 systems for commercial vehicles. The level 3 system hurdle which transfers responsibility in certain autonomous driving modes from the driver to the manufacturer is proving a big step to tackle with regulators around the world withholding manufacturers permission to homologate their systems. Level 2+ is a temporary solution that offers customers the most of the available tech with the restriction that the driver remains responsible at all time.

Its releases for the Level 2+ market focused on its coASSIST system, an affordable system which is expected to enjoy demand from a range of manufacturers. For a price of around $1,000 it offers feet-free and hands-free operation, automated lane change and overtaking, automated garage parking and route learning.

In the meantime ZF among others offers Level 4 systems for applications on non-public roads and private grounds like airports, factories and harbors. The demand for these full autonomous systems is stronger than ever and it is just a matter of time until we will see the first autonomous cars on the road.


Tali’s Tech-Savvy LED Helmet Could Bring Motorcycle Riding into the Future

Tali, a French startup, unveiled its new smart motorcycle helmet at CES 2020. With advanced features like innovative LED lighting and connected technology, it could well herald the future of motorcycle riding gear.

LED lights, including a brake light and turn signals, are predominately located on the helmet for better visibility for other road users. A photochromic visor offers the rider superior visibility.

The helmet can pair via Bluetooth with Tali’s smartphone app to automatically call emergency services if it detects an accident, as well as provide theft detection services. The Bluetooth connection also provides all of the low-distraction connectivity a rider could want: this lid can play music, make calls, provide turn-by-turn navigation, respond to voice commands, even integrate with the rider’s voice assistant of choice.

Roadshow reports that Tali is targeting a starting price of $1,200, which seems reasonable, given how expensive traditional motorcycle helmets can be. The one catch is that it will also be a few months at least before you can buy one. Tali does not expect to have a full production unit available for testing until spring.

If you need a helmet right now, however, RevZillais offering $700 off on a top-of-the-line AGV Pista GP R Carbon series helmet.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

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