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Translogic 163: Acton Rocket Skates

  • Translogic 163: Acton Rocket Skates
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd
  • 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the newest KODO designed crossover

Why turbo compounding may be the next big thing in powertrains

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 5:00PM

Cutaway of a turbo compounding setup in a gasoline engine.


Turbo compounding is the process of using a turbo run off exhaust gasses to provide additional power to the crankshaft via gearing or a hydrodynamic coupling, or to power a generator that distributes energy via a power electronics module. The technology isn't new - the aerospace industry introduced the concept in the 1940s - but an article in Car and Driver says it could be "the next big thing in energy recovery" for automotive engines.

Turbo compounding is a way to take advantage of wasted exhaust gasses to provide more power to the engine. In the cutaway above, the compressor in the upper right (blue arrows) is powered by the turbine wheel to its left (red arrows) to send boosted intake air to the engine. The turbine, however, is also sending exhaust gas down the plumbing to its left, where another turbine connected to a shaft drives a set of gears, essentially a high-ration transmission ultimately connected to the crankshaft in the lower left.

Bowman, which engineers electrical compounding systems for power generation and heavy vehicle sectors, says its solution can increase efficiency by to seven per cent with no negative impact. Mechanical compounding is said to supply gains of around five percent, but can have a negative impact depending on engine load.

Engine maker Detroit Diesel won the Truck Writers of North American Technical Achievement Award for its DD15 engine that uses mechanical compounding, and Scania and Volvo also use the tech for their truck engines. When it comes to automaker implementation, we might be looking at Formula One engine makers first: the new 1.6-litre turbo V6s use electrical compounding to run the MGU-H motor/generator to power a battery that provides extra boost during a lap.

News Source: Car and Driver

Google Glass may be dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 4:00PM

Google Glass Tesla Model S

The debate over wearable tech like Google Glass continues to rage, with questions still being raised about the safety of using the technology while driving. Now, a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, is claiming that not only is Google Glass dangerous to drivers, but it poses a real threat to pedestrians, as well.

According to the Cal study, the concern doesn't focus so much on the distraction posed by the technology, but the ability to create blind spots for its wearers. In particular, and unsurprisingly, the worst blind spot was caused in the upper right corner of the right eye, where the display is located. According to The Daily Telegraph, the study recommends that those driving or riding a bike avoid using the wearable, due to the way it impedes peripheral vision.

"The Google Glass hardware produces a significant blocking effect of the right peripheral vision," UCSF clinical ophthalmologist Dr. Edward Koo told the broadsheet. "The defect would not be compensated by the left eye and thus may negatively impact daily activities such as driving, cycling and running."

The news comes as a particular blow for Google and its automotive partners, like Mercedes-Benz, The Telegraph reports. With these findings in hand, Koo and his team have confirmed that they'll be developing larger, wider-reaching study into the effect on visibility and attentiveness and the effects, and that it will be done in conjunction with Google.

News Source: The Telegraph

Image Credit: Jurvetson - Flickr CC 2.0

Mitsuoka manages to make Orochi even weirder with Evangelion edition

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 3:00PM

Mitsuoka Ocochi Evangelion Edition

Sports cars don't come more bizarre than the ungainly Mitsuoka Orochi. We thought we were rid of the puckered-face, Toyota-powered Japanese oddity when Mitsuoka revealed the Final Edition earlier this year, but it seems the Orochi has a little more left to give of its awkwardness, as you can see from this latest Evangelion edition.

Created in tribute, such as it is, to the cult classic Neon Genesis Evangelion anime television series, this limited edition Orochi is distinguished, as you can plainly see, but its colorful treatment that makes it look like something George Clinton (of Parliament-Funkadelic fame) would drive.

Aside from the psychedelic paintjob, the Evangelion edition is essentially the same as any other Orochi, right down to the 3.3-litre Toyota-sourced V6 and five-speed automatic transmission. It's based on the Gold Premium spec and comes fully loaded with nav, backup camera and Alcantara upholstery.

Only eleven examples will be made, available by application at 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan (yes, really), each carrying a price tag of ¥16,000,000 – about $155k at today's rates. Which may seem like a princely sum, but if that's what it takes to send the Orochi into retirement once and for all, we say it's well worth it.

Related GalleryMitsuoka Orochi
Mitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka OrochiMitsuoka Orochi


News Source: Mitsuoka, 7 Eleven

BMW says SUVs killed the sports car market

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 2:00PM

2014 BMW Z4

In many ways, we're living in a golden age of automotive performance. After all, it's possible to show up at a Dodge dealer, hand over about $60,000 and storm away with a 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat. Or for those who prefer a touch more luxury, the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63 and latest Cadillac ATS-V offer between 425 and 503 horsepower, depending on your pick, with a bit more poshness. However, none of these powerful vehicles fit the classic definition of a two-place, droptop sports car, and according BMW head of sales Ian Robertson, that's because the segment is very much in the doldrums.

According to Robertson, two factors seriously wounded the classic sports car market. First, the global economic crisis of a few years ago put a serious hurt on sales, according to Bloomberg. Further worsening the situation, the boom in popularity of luxury SUVs and crossovers in the past few years hasn't allowed for much recovery. Even car-hungry China hasn't helped much because of the smog in many cities and preference among some of the very rich there to be chauffeured.

Combined, Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK sales peaked around 114,000 units a year in 2007, but they are only expected to reach 72,000 annually by the end of the decade. Robertson is pretty pessimistic about the market's comeback too. "Post-2008, it just collapsed. I'm not so sure it'll ever fully recover," he said to Bloomberg.

Despite the downturn, there's no reason to start eulogizing the sports car. The ones that are available or are coming make for some fantastic offerings. They range from the V8 power of the Chevy Corvette to the more lithe styling of the upcoming 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Plus, a new Audi TT droptop is on the way. There's no reason to write the segment off yet.

News Source: Bloomberg via Live Mint

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL / BMW

Hear this sports announcer realize moment when ball hits his rental car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 12:00PM

Cricket ball hits announcer's rental car

We don't tend to cover a lot of cricket on Autoblog – the sport or the insect, really. It's just somewhat rare that either of them intrude upon the automotive domain. However, it's hard not to at least muster a grimace – or even a laugh – when watching this cricket announcer calling a game, only to see a ball sailing out of the stadium and land right on the roof of his rental car.

What are the odds?

It's amazing to watch as the sportscaster initially shows almost no response, and then the gravity of his misfortune starts to sink in. In just over a minute, he goes through a spectrum of emotions, with hints of anger and depression, plus outright denial by the end. Check out the video below to witness this announcer's fantastic reaction.

News Source: Sam Je via YouTube, Jalopnik

Infiniti Synaptiq concept 'spinal lock attachment' makes you one with your car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 11:00AM

A rendering of Infiniti's SYNAPTIQ concept created for the LA Auto Show Design Challenge.

The theme of this year's LA Design Challenge is "Sensing the future" and asks, "How will cars interact with us in 2029?" Infiniti has kicked off entries in the LA Auto Show's yearly visionary party with its low, wide and versatile Synaptiq concept. Less a car and more of a set of interlocking pieces, the Synaptiq is termed a "universal fuselage pod," a teardrop-shaped capsule with a liquid-crystal canopy that can be fitted to different propulsion devices: a Formula One-like chassis, a desert buggy rig and a jet airframe.

Yet it answers the challenge not by being able to fly through deserts and air, but with its human-machine interface. The driver/pilot wears a Synaptic S.U.I.T. (Symbiotic User Interface Technology) fitted with biometric sensors and synthetic muscles, and through a "spinal lock attachment," he or she is made one with the car.

You gaze upon its gewgaws in the gallery above, and read more about it and other concepts from Acura, CALTY, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peterbilt, Qoros, Subaru and Volkswagen that vied for the King of the Future title at last week's LA Auto Show.

Image Credit: Infiniti

Mini John Cooper Works gets ready to rumble

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 10:00AM

Mini John Cooper Works

Mini gave us our first taste of its next-generation John Cooper Works Hardtop in concept form at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. And in fact, we already know that the production version will make its debut at the 2015 Detroit show in January. Fitting, then, that this most recent round of spy shots shows a JCW that's pretty much ready to roll – peel back that yellow swirly paper, and you've pretty much got the final deal.

It's easy to make out the final design for the revised front and rear fascias, and we can clearly see a more robust brake package nestled behind those alloy wheels. Speaking of, we must admit, the wheels here look rather pedestrian for a JCW model, but they could just be prototype rollers and not indicative of the final rolling stock. We expect the flashy red decals of the concept to be offered on the production model, as well, though they could be optional kit.

As reported earlier, power is expected to come from a 230-horsepower turbo-four – a modest increase over the 208 hp from the outgoing Mini JCW. Expect that to route through a six-speed manual transmission, sending turbocharged oomph to the front wheels.

We'll know more when the final product is revealed in Detroit.

Image Credit: CarPix

Lincoln dons the Black Label

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 9:00AM

Custom Program Launches In December On MKZ, MKC

2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label

"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms." – Paul Bucek

Lincoln is launching a Black Label service and customization program in December at 32 dealerships across the country in a bid to attract new and more upscale customers.

The Black Label program will be available on the MKC crossover and the MKZ sedan for US$5,995 (no word on Canadian availability yet) on top of the purchase price. It includes custom design themes – with colours and materials only available through Black Label – plus free routine service and car washes for four years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km). It will be offered through dealerships in California, Michigan, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Black Label was originally previewed during the week of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Lincoln said it would take more than a year to get the program launched. Though that seemed like a lengthy lead time, Lincoln said it had to upgrade dealerships, train employees and has added more choices to the program.

News Source: Lincoln

This Mercedes Silver Arrow image started out like A-ha's iconic 'Take On Me' music video

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 8:00PM

Iconic Racers Came Back To Live With Drawings, Photos And 3D Graphics

Mercedes composite images

The image above might look like a fairly interesting painting of some old Mercedes-Benz grand prix cars getting, but in reality, it showcases far more than just paint on canvas. To celebrate this year's 80th anniversary of its Silver Arrows racecars, Mercedes commissioned some very talented digital artists to craft a series of 12 depictions of important moments in the company's racing history to display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Silver Arrow legend starts with Mercedes showing up for the 1934 German Grand Prix with its W25, a car that weighed 751 kilograms – a kilo over the 750-kg (1,653-pound) maximum. Team boss Alfred Neubauer told his mechanics to strip the paint of the cars, leaving them in gleaming bare aluminum in order to shed a little weight. Apparently, it worked, because one of the Mercs took victory in the race and the look became part of the company's legacy.

What makes anniversary project's artistic process so intriguing is that each of these celebratory images is a composite of real-world photos of extras in period-correct dress and digital recreations of some of the cars and venues. As this video shows, it all starts with line drawings that remind us a lot of that iconic '80s music video, Take On Me by A-ha. All of these disparate techniques were eventually combined together to create these fascinating, hyper-realistic pictures of the past.

The video below takes you behind the scenes to show just some of the incredible work required to create this unique look. If you want to learn more about how all of this was done, there's no need to go hunting high and low, Mercedes has a website with additional reference images giving a deeper view of the process.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz via YouTube

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