Archive for the ‘Ars gallery’ Category

Sportbacks, TIE fighters, and the Panthermobile: the 2016 LA Auto Show

November 20th, 2016

Jonathan Gitlin

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—There was quite a varied selection of four-wheeled delights on display at this year’s LA Auto Show. We’ve already covered the grid full of new racing cars that Porsche, Mazda, and others unveiled, as well as taken closer looks at the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV, Chrysler Pacifica minivan Jaguar’s I-Pace electric concept, budget performance cars from Honda and Nissan, a new compact SUV from Ford, and a connected concierge service from Volvo. But as one of the nation’s three major auto shows (along with Detroit and New York) there was obviously a lot more going on. After pounding the floors of the LA Convention Center’s halls for a few days, the gallery above represents some of our highlights.

Audi usually does something to impress, and this year was no exception. The company’s new A5 Sportback wowed us in particular. It has all the brains of the A4 sedan, but in a lither body that keeps four doors and a capacious trunk. Audi brought the S5 (a sportier variant) along, and while we couldn’t get official confirmation I’d bet good money that a carbonfibre-clad RS5 version will join the fray before too long. With all-wheel drive and plenty of practicality to go with performance, I may just have found the eventual replacement for my trusty Saab 9-2x Aero.

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Mazda and Porsche race cars unveiled at the LA Auto Show

November 19th, 2016

Jonathan Gitlin

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Unusually, Mazda and Porsche chose this year’s LA Auto Show to reveal to the world their latest racing cars. In fact, a host of racing machinery was on display at the LA Convention Center, joining the regular mix of new production cars and cool concepts. Normally, race cars get unveiled at pre-season tests or at the beginning of the year, so for both companies to choose LA as their venue is a vote of confidence for the health—and importance—of their factory racing efforts.

Mazda RT24-P

Let’s take a look at the Mazda RT24-P first. It’s built to contest the IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s Daytona Prototype International class, an offshoot of the LMP2 category that runs at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship. But LMP2 is a pro-am class. Although teams can choose a chassis from four different constructors, they all have to run the same kind of engine and electronics. IMSA’s DPI category, on the other hand, is for OEM-supported teams, and it has given car companies like Mazda a little more freedom to use their own engines, ECUs, and body work.

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Vision Next 100: Meet BMW’s vision of the future in the coming years

October 15th, 2016

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—On Tuesday, BMW showed off its four new concept cars under one roof together for the first time. These cars included not only the new BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, but also a new futuristic Rolls-Royce, Mini Cooper, and BMW. Each shows us that marque’s view of its place in a world where our vehicles are intelligent and drive themselves, which some see as an existential threat to companies, like BMW, that have made their reputations by focusing on driver engagement.

The star of the show, which took place in the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hanger, was BMW’s new motorcycle, which combines previous models revealed in Munich, London, and Beijing. The concepts also build on ideas that BMW showed us at CES in January, notably the triangle-based UI for the BMW VISION NEXT 100, as well as the way its seats move and cant together when in self-driving mode.

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The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the flexible motorcycle of the future

October 11th, 2016

Cyrus Farivar

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—BMW has been celebrating its centenary this year under the tagline, “The Next 100 Years.” As part of that celebration, the company has created a number of concepts that imagine its future vehicles, and, today in Los Angeles, the company took the wraps off the latest, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100.

Concept cars and bikes fall into two distinct categories; thinly veiled production machines designed to get consumers ready for a new model and more outlandish, forward-looking affairs that often include technology that’s still just a twinkle in the design team’s eye. The latter is definitely the case for BMW’s Vision Next 100 concepts, but that makes them no less interesting.

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Electric vehicles at altitude: Pikes Peak qualifying day

June 24th, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Racing at Pikes Peak starts early, really early. At this point I’m no stranger to the fact that a day at the track means leaving the house before dawn. But here at the mountain, the road is reopened for two-way traffic at 8:30am—so 4am it is. We’re here because Giti Tires and Team APEV with Monster Sport invited Cars Technica to embed with them as Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima attempts to become “King of the Mountain” for the eighth time.

Tajima-san runs in the Electric Modified class for purpose-built machines. On Thursday morning, we got our first look at his 1.1MW (1,500hp) Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One as well as some of the cars from other classes. Acura is here with three NSXes. There’s an almost-stock NSX in Time Attack 2 Production, a second NSX—minus its AC and some interior trim—running in Time Attack 1 and silhouette NSX with four electric motors and torque vectoring in Electric Modified. There’s even a Tesla Model S that is being campaigned by Blake Fuller.

Later in the day, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb inducted its 2016 Hall of Fame. On the way in we were greeted by Arrow’s latest Project SAM—a Corvette Z06 that Sam Schmidt will drive on Sunday after the final race up to the top and back to lead the entire field back to the start line. Between this and Frédéric Sausset at Le Mans, it’s inspiring how motorsports is using technology to make itself more accessible, particularly because it’s leading to real-world applications.

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The Ars 2015 pictorial year in review

January 2nd, 2016

Not all that long ago, Ars was the rare outlet where your 5,000-word-plus treatise on some scientific techniques or operating system would be scant (or completely devoid) on images. In fact, it was only 2013 when a redesign required a new focus on visuals for all staff. In the years since, we like to think the pictures have slowly but surely caught up to the rest of the work done around the Orbital HQ. And while we can’t all be Aurich Lawsons (or Jennifer Hahns, to say nothing of our growing video cache), 2015 gave staff plenty of opportunity to flex their artistic muscles.

So to celebrate “the year that was” one final time, we’ve compiled a collection of our favorite pictures and images from 2015. You’ll find links to the relevant stories embedded in the image captions (and hopefully the sizes will be acceptable for all your Pinterest/Instagram/wallpaper/etc. needs). Let us know if we overlooked a particular looker in the comments, otherwise enjoy some of what stands out to the staff below.

Ars Visits…

If it wasn’t already evident, 2015 was a busy year here at Ars. We visited movie sets and fallout bunkers, poured molten lava, and toured a recycling plant among our many excursions. (No rest for the weary, however, as staff are set to attend CES this month.)

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Ars Technica’s (virtual) Performance Car of the Year

December 26th, 2015

2015 has been the year of the performance car here at Ars. We’ve spent some time behind the wheel of some quite powerful and exotic machines, from high-powered luxury sedans like the Tesla Model S P90D and Audi RS7 to mid-engined supercars from McLaren and Lamborghini. With a couple of exceptions though, we’ve had to be content with driving all of these cars on the road. That’s been both informative and fun, but if you want to really get to know a car there’s only one place to push it to its limits: the race track. Unfortunately we weren’t able to arrange a big track test this year, so we’ve done the next best thing—we conducted it virtually at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), using Forza Motorsport 6.

Almost all of the cars we drove in meatspace are digitally recreated in Forza 6, although we are missing the Porsche 991S, Volvo XC90 T8, and BMW i8. For a couple of other models we’ve had to substitute slightly—Audi’s more track-focused TTS stands in for the regular TT, and the Model S P85D represents Tesla, since there’s no Forza P90D yet. And finally, we’ve used two coupes (Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06 and the McLaren 650S) where the convertible versions were unavailable.

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2015 Los Angeles Auto Show: The sporty stuff

November 23rd, 2015

LOS ANGELES—We’ve already taken a look at the interesting technology on display at this year’s LA Auto Show, as well as the cool concepts and custom cars. Today it’s the turn of the sportiest stuff. Many of the big names we saw in New York—Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren—were absent. A few reappeared, inching closer to production like the Ford GT and Acura NSX. The former is Ford’s celebration of its first win at Le Mans in 1966. The latter a hybrid sportscar that’s more focused than BMW’s i8 but a lot more affordable than any hybrid sports car McLaren, Ferrari, or Porsche has made.

Think of Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio as an Italian take on the M3—rear wheel drive, 505hp, and that endangered species, the manual gearbox. The fire-breathing one with the four-leaf clover will cost around $70,000, but the Giulia range starts at $40,000. We’re still a little unsure how we feel about Fiat’s Italian take on the Mazda MX-5. From some angles the new nose looks great, and the 1.4L MultiAir engine is interesting.

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2015 Los Angeles Auto Show: Concepts and customs

November 22nd, 2015

LOS ANGELES—Concepts and custom cars are—in our opinion—one of the best things about auto shows, this year’s LA Auto Show included. Quite a few of the concepts in the gallery above have been seen before, although for most it was their first visit to the US. There was Volvo’s Concept 26, which we got an early and in-depth look at. And the Audi e-tron quattro electric SUV that’s going on sale in 2018. A particular stand out for us was the Honda 2&4, a track day car meant to evoke the sensations of being on a bike.

Other treats included James Bond’s new company car, the Aston Martin DB10, the Lincoln Continental, and Volkswagen Golf GTE. Hyundai brought along the car it designed for Gran Turismo‘s Vision GT series of digital concepts, and the Fiat 500e Stormtrooper was rather adorable (perhaps not the look it was going for).

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2015 Los Angeles Auto Show tech: Augmented reality manuals and retina-display maps

November 21st, 2015

LOS ANGELES—The LA Auto Show got underway this week with press preview days on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a relatively low-key show this year, with only a few cars blowing our socks off with excitement. We’ll have multiple reports from our time at the show, following this post with a roundup of the coolest concepts and customs and another with the sporty stuff that got Cars Technica’s pulse racing. But to start, we’re going to highlight the whole reason we attended the LA Auto Show in the first place—we wanted to see the industry’s most interesting technology up close. In this light, even some new production cars piqued our interest.

Particular highlights include the really clever use of augmented reality by Hyundai with its new owner’s manual, the BMW 7 Series which features gesture control, wireless charging for your smartphone, and a host of other cool features, and the latest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment system and Virtual Cockpit in its Q7 SUV.

Hybrid SUVs were in abundance at the show, including the Volvo XC90, BMW X5 xDrive40e, and a hybrid Toyota RAV4. Unlike last year’s LA Auto Show (or the 2015 NYIAS for that matter), there felt like much less emphasis on fuel cell vehicles—though Honda did bring its new Clarity fuel cell sedan.

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