2019 Audi A8 DetailedAudi’s flagship sedan, the A8, is receiving a new model, designed from the ground up, early next year marketed as a 2019 model year vehicle. The new A8 will be packed to the gunwales with new technology, with a few key pieces highlighting the technology package. The most impactful technology is the mild hybrid system included in every A8 that will be sold. The American market will have both a V6 and a V8 available, both of which will feature a 48-volt electrical system. The heart of this system is a combined starter/alternator connected to the engine via an accessory belt. This combined 48V unit enables up to 40 seconds of coasting at speed with the engine off, as well as quicker stop-start functions, with the 48V system allowing the car to move with the engine off for very short amounts of distance; say when a car is pulling away from a stop light suddenly with the engine off.
While this system will be in the background of many owner’s minds, owners outside of the US will have a much more impressive new technology to distract them: the first level 3 autonomous driving mode available to the public. Dubbed Traffic Jam Pilot, the system can take complete control of the car at speeds under 37mph. Designed with long traffic jams in mind, the system uses a single camera, a LIDAR system, and 5 other radars to guide the car at low speeds, so long as the road is a divided highway. Drivers—or passengers at this point—can safely, although doubtfully illegally, pull out a phone for some brief Facebooking, as the car needs no driver inputs. Audi will assume responsibility for any accidents which are the cars fault while the system is properly engaged. When speeds over 37mph are reached, the driver must assume control, or the car will slow to a stop, put the hazards on, and call Audi Emergency Services. No sleeping while driving here.
The car also utilizes its new electrical system to have a new active suspension system, which is much too complicated for me. Car and Driver broke it down nicely:
“A fist-sized electric motor at each corner acts through a strain-wave gear with a reduction ratio of roughly 200:1, a torsion bar, a titanium torsion tube, and a lever arm to impart up to 811 lb-ft of torque to compress or extend the suspension. When tasked with improving ride quality, the motors can reduce the force conveyed into the cabin and lift the body slightly prior to impact to increase the suspension travel over a bump.”
Using the same sensors that enable the Traffic Jam Pilot, as well as further sensors at all four corners, Audi can truly move each wheel independently of the other as road conditions dictate. The A8 is also filled with further technology, including many screens, a few buttons, and a new rear-seat foot massager. Featuring Audi’s ubiquitous Quattro system, the AWD A8 can waft anyone along in comfort, in most conditions.
Look for the A8 on sale early next year.
Haggerty Official Insurer for Dodge DemonAt this point, the Demon has roasted enough tires, sent enough smoke signals, and flashed its undersides to enough people that anyone who cares about cars will have heard about it. Featuring 840hp, wheelie-popping abilities, and sub 10-second quarter mile times, the Demon is surely a drag-strip racer for the road. While the 3000 American customers and 300 Canadian customers may be too busy drooling over their new toy to worry about insurance for their new monster, Haggerty has been thinking about them. On offer to every customer of the Demon, Haggerty promises specialized, tailored coverage; which makes sense as the car itself is specialized and tailored in nature. Haggerty is clearly happy that muscle cars are making a comeback, and would like to see them remain, as their press release states, “The insurance industry had a hand in ending the first great muscle car era, and we’re here to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself”.
Haggerty will also allow owners to take their cars on drag strips, provided it is discussed beforehand, as they know the car is built to be used. Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America said, “We didn’t build the Demon to be a halo car that never sees the light of day – we want to make sure that Demon owners have access to the insurance they need to get these cars out on the street, for all the Dodge//SRT enthusiasts to see and appreciate their performance.” Interested owners can call Hagerty’s dedicated hotline at (844) 840-8733 for more information. The new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the fastest quarter-mile car in the world, begins arriving at Dodge//SRT dealerships this fall at a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $84,995 (including $1,700 gas guzzler tax, excluding $1,095 destination); its full 840 horsepower can be unleashed for $1 via the Demon Crate.
Volkswagen Touareg is Dead in AmericaVolkswagen entered the premium-midsize SUV market in 2004 with their Touareg people-hauler. Updated normally alongside other Volkswagen models over the years, the model’s popularity has been on the decline: last year only 1630 units were shifted from dealer lots. In a move that is unsurprising to those who actually thought about it, the company has announced the axing of the Touareg model from their US lineup. Combined with the low sales, the physical growth of the once-smaller Tiguan, as well as the introduction of the seven-seat Atlas SUV to America negate the need for the Touareg on dealer lots. Goodbye Touareg; someone, somewhere may miss you.
BMW Joins Formula E as SupplierBMW has announced that they will officially join Formula E for their 5th season as a supplier to the Andretti racing team. While they have previously worked as a technical support base for various teams, as well as providing the leagues i3 and i8 safety and pace cars, BMW is upping its commitment level to the racing league by providing uniquely designed powerplants. BMW stated that they plan to use the experience as a “development laboratory” for their road cars, as the realm of motorsports provides a unique, high-intensity testing ground for new technology. You can find the full Formula E schedule for the 2017/2018 series HERE.
I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.