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2013 Audi A4

It is the bestselling car in the Audi’s line-up. One of the two vehicles Audi sells is an A4. This should be revamped with new features and a new face and has a fuel economy.

A4 competes in the class with the Mercedes C class and the BMW 3-series but some of us think it is the best looking vehicle among them. Now Audi has taken a lot of the details on the A4 reforms we worked this year but kept a lot of work to make it handsome. It made the headlights a little bit trimmer-looking and grills have got a little bit more subdued. They have also expanded forward glance to make it a little bit more bulky.

Inside the A4 is an option for wood or metal trim: whether you choose aluminum or ash, it really warms up the interior. Audi has also repositioned some control buttons to make a little easier to use some of the high-tech features that they have added this year.

Now more than ever the A4 offers some exotic features that can make it complex, hi-tech, peaceful machinery. The usual leather upholstery, power features are all standard. Satellite radio is too but oddly Bluetooth has an option. MMI, the Multimedia interface takes surge of available navigation system and it also controls the A4’s beautiful Google Earth and Google Street-view mapping. That set-up requires a monthly subscription to Audi to connect which also adds 3 G wireless internet service, which turns the A4 into rolling wireless hotspot. MMI can also control an optional audio system. An expensive option but one of the cleanest sound system we have heard.

The A4 has good interior volume, especially for front passengers. The front seats are really comfortable. In the back taller passengers are gonna realize that Audi has much head room. In the back, seat bench actually sits a little low so taller passengers are gonna feel like their knees are sitting a little bit high.

The trunk is little bit small than most compact Sedans in its class and it is about 12.5 cubic feet.
The A4 scored well in safety test and it offers a rear-view camera and blind spot monitors. This year they have adopted a cruise control as an option that brings the car to 4 star in the sense of approaching obstacle up to 90 miles per hour.

The A4 comes with a single engine 2013 model. It is 211 horsepower, turbo-charged with two doors.
It is a front drive car. That gets a continuously variable transmission. That version could get gas mileage while making you feel it is still quick and responsive.

A4 with clutch all wheel drive with either all six manual shifter or an excellent eight-speed automatic with a sport-shift mode. The only thing that needs change is to add pedal controls. It gets about 31 miles per gallon. The A4 handles well in its basic suspension steering setup. It has a slowly front ride and decent electric-powered steering. The buyers can choose drive-setup: it is a special setup that adds valuable settings for throttle, suspension steering and transmission. But in our experience the stock is more pleasant and more predictable.

So what is the bottom line with the 2013 Audi A4. It is not that it is the first choice when shopping for German premium sport Sedan. But it is always improving and it is always finding buyers who are interested in something a little different.

2013 Alpina B7

The B7 is large, luxurious, four-door Sedan that just happens to be fast. We measured zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds and the top speed is 188 miles per hour.

As few BMW fans, you might have heard the name of Alpina and those figures don’t surprise you. But Alpina is really not that well-known in America. It is a German company that specializes in modifying BMWs for fifty years. The company got its start back in early 60s when BMW introduced the 1500, its first model in the car. A guy in Germany named Burkard Bovensiepen looked at the car and saw it had only one carburetor and he decided to put two and added 12 horsepower which was a fair chunk in those days in that car and this is how Alpina got its start. They have been modifying and racing BMWs for the fifty years since then.

Of late, Alpina has started distributing some of its cars to BMW dealerships in America. If this sounds a little bit like AM and GM Mercedes, you are not far off. But there is a difference. Mercedes and AMGs started collaborating in that way about 20 years ago and 10 years ago Mercedes bought AMG. So it is a wholly owned subsidiary. Alpina is still an independent company. They were close to BMW but they still have their own facilities and those facilities are really vast. So this is no backyard tuning operation. And since Alpina is based in Bouveria, not BMW’s headquarters, they know that their cars had to perform high speed because when they make a car to go faster, a German customer is gonna go out to buy and drive it fast. So the brakes, the tires and the suspension are all upgraded to match the additional horsepower.

The strongest characteristic of this car is performance. You floor the throttle and the car just shifts away and shoves you into the sea in blast off. Now at 140 mph, it will be taking no time at all. That is what 540 horsepower does even in a 5000 lb torque. You will never get tired of floating the throttle like that. If you do it 70 miles per hour, you climb up to 100 and it just keeps accelerating all the way until it hits180, which is this car’s top speed.
But there is a split personality to it. And that is you get that tremendous performance when you match the throttle to the floor.

The heart of any Alpina is the modified engine and under the hood of B7 we have basically the same 4.4 liter twin-turbo charged V-8. That powers a regular BMW 750. Except in this case the power is going up from 445 horsepower to 540 and the torque has gone up from 480 foot lb to 538. You might think of the turbo engine in any backyard tuning just cranking up to boost and do that. But Alpina has not done it the easy way because they want this engine to live. So they have increased the boost but have also added larger turbo-charged. They can efficiently run with low restriction run and greater amount of airflow into the engine. They have also upsized the inner cooler so that a greater airflow can be properly cooled and brought down the temperature. Internally they have put new pistons into the engine that are more durable and withstand high heat developed by the higher horsepower engine. And of course they have recalibrated the power training so that it makes this horsepower but still meets the emission standards in the United States and the rest of the world.

In order to make sure that the car lives with its elevated power level, Alpina has completely reworked the cooling system. In the centre (front side) , the main radiator pack is larger with a much bigger inner cooler that deal with a higher airflow in the engine. In its bottom, there is transmission oil cooler because the transmissions have got a harder work, especially when it has 540 horsepower. The two openings are the brake ducks to make the front brakes more effective and this whole lower assembly is designed to reduce lift from front axle. Alpina says it cuts by 75 percent.

In order to deal with the higher speed at the higher power it can produce, Alpina has completely reworked on B7: the shocks have been recalibrated; there are new springs which lower the car; and we have a new wheel entire package. These are 21’’ wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport tires. These 21 inch tires are the characteristics of Alpina design; they came up for racing some years ago. They are lighter than conventional wheels and are really pretty elaborate. Let me show you a trick: if you notice, there is no air valve around the periphery of this wheel. If you pull off the Alpina wheel cup at the centre and put the key in, you can pull off the cover and that is where you add the air. And to make this work, of course, this spoke has to be drilled and allowed to communicate with this area (rubber). So this is not an easy thing to do but it helps make the wheel lighter. It pulls this out of periphery and it does not intend to imbalance your car that much.

One of the easiest ways to distinguish the B7 from regular 7 series is this rear spoiler. It is not a pretty well spoiler but it also cuts rear lift by 75 percent and this is not a just random off the market spoiler; this is a device that Alpina designed, developed and tested in the BMW wind tunnel. So it works well.

Inside the BF7 is like the stock B7 regular 7 series, which means it is a very roomy and luxurious. But there are a few key details to distinguish the Alpina. First, there are B7 silver plates. We have an Alpina instrument cluster and we have a special Alpina steering wheel. It has its own leather rim; it has its parallel stitching that holds it all together so it is easier to glide your hands along the rim. And it has buttons on the back that let you do for manual control shifting when you want it.

This B series is available in four basic configurations: short wheel base; long wheel base; rear drive; and all wheel drive. The Alpina BF7 is also available in four versions. This one happens to be a long wheel base.
Now you might wonder why anyone needs a long wheel base version of what is already a pretty big car. But it actually has a feature: the luxury seat package that allows me to adjust the rear seat and really recline the seat too if I want to. And when I start doing that I certainly see a reason for an extra room. Because as I recline the seat the leg room starts going away and actually needs a little bit more space. So if you really want to be comfortable from the back seat of the car, get this seat package with a long wheel version.

One of the most important aspects of the many high-performance cars is steering feel. In this generation, 7 series have not been known for steering feel and I would say B7 is not a tremendous exception. However, the fact is that steering is very accurate; it is nicely weighed; in the great sense of feedback.

The brakes of this car are very powerful; they look to be stock calibrates, but they are grabbing very large voters and they have got lots of cooling airflow. I can’t imagine owners overpowering this easy brakeage.

Now one thing you might wonder about when you see those 21 inch tires, how do this car ride? The fact is the ride is firm; it is a high-performance car; it needs a lot of wheel control; speed is capable of achieving it; but by and large the track calibration are very good and the car does not beat you up.

But if the pavement is really broken, you will be going to notice that 21 inch wheel entire package. The tire is only 30 or 35 series, have not been very compliant, and broken pavement, the suspension is going to deliver a rattling feeling into the body.

Before you buy one of these cars you always have to take a test drive to make sure you can put up with that pavement in your area. Good handling has been an Alpina’s virtue for years and this car is no exception. It has 0.9 3G as a grip which is quite a big for a car like this. And it is very comfortable and a hard point.

But you will never lose side effects: this is a pretty big car and it is not the sort of machine that I feel very comfortable trying a side and get sideways. In particular this all wheel drive is not going sideways at all but you can go through corners very well.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

If you care about fuel economy and polls show that most people do these days, you may be tempted to go with a car that gets great fuel economy ….a hybrid.

This car is a case example of German classical efficiency and simplicity. There is nothing extravagant there you can see outside the car. Yes, it does have stylish looking head lamps but the rest is U-lined. It is a good design for someone who is not interested in something flashy. The lines are there. There is a little bit of a cool cut line in the shoulder. It’s got nicely styled wheels. But it is very basic in a good way.

The heart of Passat TDI lies under the hood just as you think would be. This is a TDI motor which means it is Turbo Diesel. This is a four cylinder unit and it is good for 140 horse power and 236 pound-feet of torque. And that is part of what makes the diesel more engaging to drive than a hybrid. All the power of this engine you get in just one is at just 1750 RPM. Now that power does make it fly off because it is a diesel so you will be shifting early to stay in the power bands but that will also going to help you with fuel economy. This is why these are more exciting than hybrid. You have got power and fuel economy.

I have mentioned efficiency a couple of times while talking about Passat. What I am referring to there is beside effective use of design, the car has effective use of space. The back seat of this car has plenty of leg room. This front seat, the driver seat is situated exactly where I have sit in and I am 6.3. Now when another 6.3 person is behind it you can tell this car is built for Germans because I am quite comfortable and there is a tall bunch. Still they are not going into a trunk here. The trunk is huge and there is plenty of space back here. So you have got good space of front, great space in the back and plenty of cargo room. That is efficiency.

Besides the diesel engine and its other things that make this car surprisingly fun to drive is right here. You can get six speed manual gear box. You can get with an automatic too but if you want to extract the most from the engine and yet the most enthusiast bang for your green buck, right here manual gear box comes up.

So the real thrill of driving the Passat TDI does not come from the overall driving experience. Yes it does appeal to the enthusiast. But the thrill you get is when you see how well you are doing in the fuel economy department. This car is ready to hit 43 miles per gallon on the highway and around 35 miles per gallon in the city. Now we are not driving it super late back like the EPA would. We have the fun with the car because it has got a manual gear box and it has got over 200 pound-feet of torque. We are doing about 34 or 35 miles per gallon in combined driving. We are pretty happy with that too because that is a great number. We put over 250 miles from the car and still get plenty of fuel left. That is why this car is great. Because it is not a boring hybrid, you are gonna actually be able to enjoy yourself and get the good fuel economy. This is the best of both worlds.

It is not all lovely though from an enthusiast driving standpoint. There are a few things that remind you that this is definitely not a sports car. It is just a fun to drive diesel. Our example here is the clutch. Folks have been having trouble with some of the clutches and there is still no feel with this clutch. The shifter is than Volkswagen Shifter Appass for getting a little notchier. We mean that in a good way that there is actual feel here and it is now steering to get ready. We wish there is a little bit better. But besides that, the brakes are good; the handling is fine; the interior is well-refined even though it is base lower trim SE model you have still got a nice radio system here with touch screen buttons. You can pair your phone with Bluetooth very quickly.

So what is the cost of getting inside the TDI? Well this car is $27, 000. Under $30,000 for a car like this is a great price point. Sure, if you want navigation, if you want a few extra goodies, you have to spend for it, for it is very easy to push the car amid $30,000 and probably take about $40,000. But at this car, $27,000 is a great value proposition.

Driverless Car

Google’s Driverless Car

Let me tell you a little bit about self-driving cars. I saw this kind of stuff in the DARPA grand challenges where the US government issued a prize to build self driving cars that could navigate the desert. And even though a hundred teams were there, these cars went nowhere.

So we decided at Stanford to build a different self-driving car repeating hardware and software. We made it learned from us and we set it free in the desert. And the unimaginable happened. It became the first car to ever return from the DARPA grand challenge winning Stanford 2 million dollars.

Since then, our workers have been focusing on building driving cars that can be driven anywhere by themselves, on any street in California. If driven a hundred forty thousand miles, our cars have sensors or we can say “magic” with which they can see everything around them and make decision about every aspect of driving. It is the perfect driving mechanism.

If driven in cities like in San Francisco, or driven from San Francisco to Las Angeles, on busy highways, toll booths, all this will be without a person to look. The car just drives itself. In fact while we drove a hundred forty thousand miles people did not even notice it.  We drove it on mountain roads, day and night, and even on crooked Lombard streets in San Francisco.

Sometimes our cars get so crazy that they even do the little stunts.

Now I can’t get my friend back to life. But I can do something for all the people who died. We know that driving accidents are the number one cause for death of young people.

And do you realize that almost all of those undo to human error and not machine error and can never be prevented by machines? Do you realize that you could change the capacity of highways by effect of two or three?  If you didn’t rely on one human’s precision on staying in the lane then what’s about everybody’s precision? They are driving little bit close together, on little bit narrow lanes, and do over with all traffic jams on highways.

Do you realize that you, Ted users, spend on average of 52 minutes per day in traffic wasting your time on your daily commute?

You could regain this time. There are four billion hours wasted in this country alone. And its 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline are also wasted.

Now I think there is a vision here- a new technology. I am really looking forward to a time when generations after us look back at us and say how ridiculous it was that humans were driving cars.

Thank you!

BMW i8 2013

BMW i8 2013 BMW New Brand 2014

 

It is not designed like a traditional car.

Very low, very sporty.

So transparent!

Like just freshness.

More angles, new perspectives

The car demonstrates a big step into the future … The Vision of BMW.

This is the exciting look and all efficient dynamics.

This is a sports car of the future the way BMW imagines it.

It has a three-cylinder engine in the back.

It has an electric drive also on the rear axle as well as on the front axle. So with that the vehicle can drive without any noise or without any emission.

It can drive under electric power and it can also drive under both the diesel engine power and the electric drive. And then it will perform like you would expect from a BMW. It will have acceleration like an M3, for example.

This car drives up to 150 kilometers an hour by using 3.7 liter diesel per 100 kilometers.

You have the possibility to drive this car for about 50 kilometers purely electric.

There are two flaps: a connection for power supply and a normal flap which you can refuel.

The can also recharge its battery with the internal combustion engine.

For the design, lightweight was important and aerodynamics was also important. And those are the two things that I believe you can see very well on the vehicle.

This car expresses lightness. We stretched the proportions of the car and made them passionate. We showed that we are passionate about dynamics and we made it look light.

This has lightness, these are new angles and there are new perspectives.

A very distinct graphic!  Very simple, but still very dynamic

It’s a very radical concern which will show that it is possible in future that you have a car that is fun to drive, expresses joy and is very efficient, and in terms of personal mobility, a sustainable answer.

With this product we thought a lot about sustainability. And all the material in this car actually has a sustainable story behind it.

We used light material such as carbon and simply cut down on brackets and other components.

The idea behind the interior was that we take everything out. We analyzed it and had a look at what we can put back in to make the car in the future lighter with fewer elements but without losing the emotional touch that is needed.

This car in particularly demonstrates that we are planning to be a leader in sustainability, and this mostly by doing at a typical BMW way, namely with action.