In honor of the 60th anniversary of Porsche Club of America a limited number of these 911s are being released.
Celebrating six decades of the largest Porsche club organization in the world, Porsche Cars North America is commemorating this milestone with a 60 unit limited-production run of the Club Coupe based on the 911 Carrera GTS. Known as the GTS Club Coupe, the 430 hp sports car is painted in a color unique to this model appropriately named “Club Blau,” which was created exclusively for this anniversary edition by the Porsche Club of America.
“The Porsche Club of America is home to passionate ambassadors who have been fostering the appreciation and recognition of Porsche for 60 years,” said Andre Oosthuizen, Vice President of Marketing for Porsche Cars North America, as the car was unveiled today at Porsche’s new headquarters at One Porsche Drive in Atlanta. “We are proud and honored to celebrate this anniversary with a very special edition of Porsche's most storied sports car - the 911.”
The GTS Club Coupe features the 44 mm wider body of the 911 Carrera 4 models with a rear wheel drive platform. SportDesign side mirrors, black framed Bi-XenonTM headlights with Porsche’s Dynamic Light System, and taillights tinted in black are standard, while the doors are marked with black “Club Coupe” model designations, clearly distinguishing this unique 911. Painted in the newly created “Club Blau” color, the limited-edition model is also characterized by the SportDesign package, which is fitted as standard. A more pronounced front fascia as well as a “ducktail” rear spoiler gives the special car a striking, yet classic, appearance. 20-inch Sport Classic wheels painted in semi-gloss black with polished wheel centers and rim flanges are also standard on the GTS Club Coupe.
The interior is highlighted by the GTS Interior Package. The stitching, seat belts, and rev counter are held in contrasting Carmine Red, while the dashboard trim strips, door trim and center console are finished in carbon fiber. The striking steering wheel has a Red 12 o’clock marker and two-tone stitching in Carmine Red and Blue. The center compartment lid is embossed with a “60” and the dashboard trim is personalized with “GTS Club Coupe 60 Years Porsche Club of America” lettering above the glove compartment. Stainless steel door sills which read “GTS Club Coupe” serve as a further distinction.
An Extended Club Coupe Package is available as a unique option. It consists of a vehicle key painted in “Club Blau,” a leather key pouch and leather-edged floor mats, both with two-tone stitching in Carmine Red and Blue. An individual personalized indoor car cover is also available as an option.
Powering the GTS Club Coupe is an enhanced version of the Carrera S engine, which is also found in the 911 Carrera GTS model variants. 430 hp propel the GTS Club Coupe from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds when equipped with the optional PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. The top track speed is 190 mph (189 mph on PDK-equipped models). A third center radiator ensures consistent performance in all conditions. A standard Sport Exhaust system with black chrome tips accentuates the Boxer engine note in particularly exhilarating fashion.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), incorporating adaptive dampers and a 10 mm lower ride, and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), as well as the Sport Chrono Package with dynamic engine mounts, contributes to the car’s optimal handling characteristics.
The GTS Club Coupe will be launched in the United States in June 2015. Porsche Club of America members will have the opportunity to purchase one of 59 vehicles and PCA members will also be eligible to win the initial display vehicle. Official details will be announced February 1st, 2015 on www.pca.org. The MSRP is $136,060, not including a destination charge of $995.
One will no longer be the loneliest number.
Almost two million units of the BMW 1 Series have been sold worldwide over the last ten years, and this latest edition is poised to set another new benchmark in driving pleasure in the premium compact segment. The new 3-door and 5-door BMW 1 Series models come with a comprehensively revised engine line-up and additional measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, allowing them to lead the way once again in the introduction of new BMW EfficientDynamics technology.
The selection of engines available for the new BMW 1 Series model range has been enhanced by the addition of latest-generation petrol and diesel units with three and four cylinders. The torquey and high-revving engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology team up with rear-wheel drive – still a unique selling point in the compact segment – to deliver a suitably intense driving experience. And an even broader spread of standard equipment, an output boost for the six-cylinder in-line engine powering the BMW M135i M Performance Automobile and cutting-edge innovations from BMW ConnectedDrive also imbue the brand’s hallmark characteristics with renewed vigour.
Modified exterior and interior design includes familiar BMW styling cues underlining sports performance and premium characteristics.
Carefully considered updates to the exterior design of the new BMW 1 Series shine the spotlight on its sporting elegance and high-end presence. A newly designed BMW kidney grille and larger air intakes help to emphasise the car’s dynamic potential in familiar BMW style. Headlights with a significantly flatter geometry play a similar role. They come with LED daytime driving lights as standard and can now be specified in full-LED specification as an option. The rear lights have also been completely remodelled. They now display the “L” shape characteristic of BMW models and reveal LED-powered lights. Elsewhere, the sophisticated design of the upper centre console with the controls for the radio and climate control system is foremost in accentuating the premium ambience on board the new BMW 1 Series.
Automatic air conditioning, BMW Radio Professional and BMW iDrive fitted as standard; new equipment variants.
Standard equipment for the new BMW 1 Series model range now also features automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, the BMW Radio Professional and the iDrive operating system, complete with a high-resolution 6.5-inch display integrated in the instrument panel as a freestanding monitor. And the Advantage, Sport Line, Urban Line and M Sport packages available as an alternative to standard specification provide fresh scope for targeted individualisation.
New generation of engines, new benchmarks in efficiency.
An extensively updated line-up of engines and extended BMW EfficientDynamics technology ensure that the new BMW 1 Series model range once again sets new standards in its class by further reducing fuel consumption and emissions. BMW 1 Series customers will now be offered three- and four-cylinder power units from the BMW Group’s new engine family. The new efficiency pacesetter in the brand’s model range is the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition with 85 kW/116 hp and average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100 kilometres (83.1 mpg imp) combined with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km in the EU test cycle.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, there is the option of an eight-speed Steptronic transmission (standard in the BMW 125d, BMW 120d xDrive and BMW M135i xDrive). The latest version of the automatic unit now also offers transmission management supported by navigation data.
A 5 kW increase in output (to 240 kW/326 hp) from its six-cylinder in-line engine allows the new BMW M135i (average fuel consumption: 8.0 litres/100 km [35.3 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 188 g/km) to strengthen its position as the elite sports performer in the BMW 1 Series’ competitive segment. Like the BMW 120d and BMW 118d, the BMW M Performance Automobile can also be specified with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system xDrive which, as well as serving the causes of traction and directional stability, also enhances the car’s dynamics. The new BMW M135i xDrive (average fuel consumption: 7.8 litres/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 182 g/km) sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds.
Sophisticated chassis technology, Tyre Pressure Indicator fitted as standard.
Advanced chassis technology teams up with rear-wheel drive and an almost perfect (50 : 50) distribution of weight between the front and rear axles to give the new BMW 1 Series unmistakable handling traits headlined by agility and dynamic excellence. Options include adaptive suspension, M Sport suspension, Variable Sports Steering and an M Sport braking system. A Tyre Pressure Indicator showing each individual wheel is now part of the standard specification.
New assistance systems and services from BMW ConnectedDrive.
The selection of optional driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive available for the BMW 1 Series now also includes the radar-based Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. The latest-generation Parking Assistant now enables parallel parking in tight spaces restricted either by two obstacles or on one side only, as well as automatic transverse parking. Features such as the camera-based Driving Assistant, rear-view camera and Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display can also be specified.
All models in the new BMW 1 Series line-up come as standard with an embedded SIM card, which allows use of the likewise standard Intelligent Emergency Call and BMW TeleServices functions, as well as access to optional internet-based mobility services. In addition to BMW Online and Real Time Traffic Information, customers can also enjoy the Online entertainment function. Further online services can be integrated into the car using smartphone apps and operated safely, intuitively and conveniently via the iDrive system. Meanwhile, the new Navigation system Professional also offers automatic map updating by mobile phone via the embedded SIM card, which is free of charge to customers for the first three years following registration of the car.
Mini size, maxi fun—and a maxi price.
Story by: Will Sabel Courtney
What makes a Mini? Size is the smartass answer, of course. But that’s less true in 2015, when five-door hatchbacks and crossovers have the “Mini” badge slapped to their ass. So it’s not a big deal that the new Mini Cooper is larger and heavier than its predecessor. It’s still plenty mini. Trust me. You’ll appreciate it when you’re parking; you won’t appreciate it when you try to fold your six-foot-four inch body into the car. (Obviously, this may not apply to you.) But the new Mini is by no means anything but a subcompact car.
What else makes a Mini? Well, dynamics, to use an automotive buzzword. Or to break it down into layman’s terms, the fun-to-drive factor. Minis have always been zippy little things, fun to hustle down a back road or a city street—and the 2015 model’s no different, in spite of its weight gain and electric power steering.The base model Cooper punches above its weight, thanks to a torquey turbo three-cylinder…but, if you dig driving, you’re gonna want the Cooper S. 207 pound-feet of torque doesn’t sound like much—but when it comes on at 1,250 rpm, and when the car weighs less than 2,800 pounds, it feels like some real power. The engine makes 189 horsepower from 4,500 rpm to 6,000, too, but that diesel-esque slug of torque makes more of an impression than those ponies do. You could short-shift your way around town for the rest of your life in this car and never realize what you were missing.
But Mini’s aren’t about shredding tires or ripping off 11-second quarter mile cars; their performance cred come from their ability to claw through corners, and the new Cooper S holds up its end of the bargain—especially when equipped with the Sport Package and Dynamic Damper Control (which, at a combined $1,250, is a steal). The active dampers swap from soaking up potholes to two-by-four stiffness at the flip of a switch; the Mini’s rigid little body and lightweight build mean that a fair amount of harshness bounces its way up into the cabin even in the more relaxed suspension mode, but it’s a small price to pay for kart-like handling.
There’s one last part of what makes a Mini a Mini—and that’s the looks, baby. Most people who buy this car could give half a damn about its performance, and probably barely think about its size (except that one day a year they’re trying to move furniture)…but they think about the car’s looks every single day. Nothing else looks like a Mini. It’s a design as iconic as the VW Beetle or the Porsche 911—and like those cars, its creators have a very strong interest in keeping that distinctive style from changing too much from generation to generation.
So the 2015 Mini Cooper looks like, well a Mini Cooper. Bug-eyed headlamps, a rounded-off cube of a greenhouse (usually with contrasting roof), a guppy mouth, and wheels pushed out to the corners. Well, not quite all the way to the corners, in the new models’ case; the 2015 Mini’s front wheels are actually a surprising distance back towards the cockpit, giving it a slightly front-heavy look from dead on the side. It’s the tiniest of nitpicks on an otherwise solid renovation of a classic design, though.
Inside, though, Mini went comparatively buck wild. The bloomin’ onion-sized central speedo has been bounced, and a smaller version installed in the traditional location behind the steering wheel. (A sad semi-circular tach grows, goiter-like, from its left side.) There’s still a giant round space on the dashboard halfway between the driver and passenger, but now it holds a widescreen display culled from the BMW iDrive parts bin. Around 270 degrees of the circle’s perimeter is made up of a LED that shifts colors in response to other stimuli—changing driving modes, cranking up the stereo, etc. It’s a neat little gimmick. There are a other changes around the cabin—a better shifter handle, a new red start/stop toggle, an improved steering wheel—but for the most part, the interior’s rounded design motif should seem pretty familiar to anyone with experience in a recent Mini.
The price likely will, too. Since the new models arrived under BMW’s umbrella back in the late 20th Century, Minis have always been among the more expensive small cars on the marketplace. The 2015 Cooper S bases at $24,395—more than a Honda Civic Si. And while the Honda tops out below $26,000, Mini’s options list is nigh-on endless. My tester came in at almost $34,000—this for a car whose back seat is largely, uh, academic.
That’s not to say the Mini’s a poor choice—it isn’t. It’s quick, fun, and, yeah, I’ll say it, kinda cute. (At the very least, it has a lot more personality to its style than most other cars in its price and size range). Just be careful when ticking boxes on the order form.
Model Tested: 2015 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
Price as Tested: $33,795
Power: 2.0L turbo infline-four; 189hp, 207 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 25 city, 38 hwy
This is the type of things that dreams are made of.
Ford today unveiled the all-new GT, an ultra-high-performance supercar that serves as a technology showcase for top EcoBoost® performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction.
The GT is one of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020. It joins Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R in the growing Ford Performance lineup.
Beginning production late next year, the GT hits the road in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“As we at Ford drive innovation into every part of our business, it’s worth remembering that our first innovation as a company was not in a laboratory, but on the racetrack,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer, referring to Henry Ford’s win of a 1901 car race that inspired financial backers to invest in his company. “We are passionate about innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
The all-new GT supercar features rear-wheel drive, a mid-mounted engine, and a sleek, aerodynamic, two-door coupe body shell. It is propelled by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower.
The GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum – enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency.
Ford’s commitment to and capability in delivering technologies typically offered only in elite vehicles is evident in the GT. These include advanced active aerodynamics, such as a deployable rear spoiler, and a host of material and technology innovations to help better serve the driver, such as SYNC® 3 – the latest version of Ford’s advanced connectivity system.
“The GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “GT includes innovations and technologies that can be applied broadly across Ford’s future product portfolio – another proof point that Ford continues raising the performance bar while ultimately improving vehicles for all of our customers.”
Carbon fiber innovation
Few innovations provide a more wide-ranging performance and efficiency advantage than reducing weight. All factors of a vehicle’s capabilities – acceleration, handling, braking, safety, efficiency – can improve through the use of advanced, lighter materials.
The all-new GT features advanced lightweight composites, which will help serve Ford’s entire product lineup moving forward. With the broad application of structural carbon fiber elements, the GT will exhibit one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.
Anchored by a carbon fiber passenger cell, the GT features aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels. Carbon fiber is one of the world’s strongest materials for its mass – enabling an ultra-stiff foundation for chassis components, while creating a lighter overall package for increased dynamic performance and efficiency.
Most powerful production EcoBoost ever
Ford EcoBoost technology is available in every new Ford car, utility and light-duty pickup in North America beginning this year.
EcoBoost engines power a growing number of Ford performance models, including the new Mustang, just-announced F-150 Raptor, as well as Fiesta ST and Focus ST.
Based on the same race-proven engine architecture serving Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racing efforts, the next-generation twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in the GT features a wide powerband with impressive time-to-torque characteristics.
The engine demonstrates remarkable efficiency – a key attribute of its endurance racing-derived powertrain, where exceptional performance combined with efficiency is a critical competitive advantage.
Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 raced to three wins in its first season of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, including a win in the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring, along with seven podiums over more than 15,000 endurance racing miles.
The GT features an all-new, port/direct dual fuel-injection setup to improve engine response, plus a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 will be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle for near-instantaneous gear changes and exceptional driver control.
Aero innovation gets active
Aerodynamic efficiency is at the heart of the GT design, actively reducing drag while aiding downforce and stability.
From its optimum tear-drop shape to its aircraft-inspired fuselage and visibility-enhancing curved windshield, every slope and shape is designed to minimize drag and optimize downforce.
Although each surface on the GT is functionally crafted to manage airflow, it also features fully active aerodynamic components to improve braking, handling and stability.
An active rear spoiler is keyed to both speed and driver input, reactively deploying and adjusting its height and/or pitch angle depending on conditions.
Designed for purpose
While it shares a legacy with classic Ford racing and performance cars, GT is a fully contemporary and functional shape that communicates modernity and pure beauty.
The state-of-the-art chassis is suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height. The 20-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires featuring a unique compound and structure designed specifically for the Ford GT. Multi-spoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.
The narrow-profile canopy reduces frontal area and caps a purposeful interior that provides state-of-the-art technology to ensure control, comfort and safety. The two-seat cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors, and features driver and passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell.
This configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis. The fixed seating is combined with adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate a very wide range of driver statures.
An F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows uncluttered access to the transmission paddle-shift controls. A fully digital and configurable instrument cluster provides a wealth of driver-focused data. The display is configurable for multiple driving environments and different driving modes.
“While we hope enthusiasts rejoice about this all-new GT, all Ford customers will benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,” said Nair.
Three may be wee, but it’s just right for me.
Story by: Will Sabel Courtney
The entry-level luxury car segment, much like Hansel, is so hot right now. Mercedes-Benz is selling every CLA-Class they can crank out. BMW’s 2 Series is making waves (in large part thanks to the M235i, a.k.a. the son-of-those-old-M3s-you-loved). Lexus has…well, the less said about the CT 200h, the better. And on top of that, everybody from Infiniti to Lincoln has some sort of entry-level luxury car somewhere in development.
The Audi A3 is the latest entry into the segment. It’s also, quite possibly, the best example of it.
No, it doesn’t have the Bimmer’s whee factor, nor the CLA’s Kate Upton-catching looks. But it best typifies the segment’s primary values: It’s small, packed with tech features, and designed to appeal to a new audience of millennials with money.
A quick bit of backstory here: The A3, like the 2 Series and CLA, largely exists because of inflation—automotive size, not monetary. As a a model of car evolves, it usually winds up growing a little here and there. Over the course of a few generations, those small growth spurts add up—and the car that used to be, say, a compact has ballooned up into a midsize. But the name remains the same—which means now there’s room for a new car below it on the sizing chart. The A3, for example, is almost exactly the same size as the B5-generation (1994-2001) Audi A4.
The A3 starts out as front-wheel drive, but c’mon, it’s an Audi—buying it without quattro all-wheel-drive is like ordering an ice cream sundae without hot fudge. Picking up quattro means ponying up for the 2.0 liter turbo engine over the base 1.8 liter turbo four—but since that upgrade nets you two additional driven wheels, 50 more horses and 59 more pound-feet of torque for only an extra $3,000, going quattro becomes one of those “uh, duh” decisions.
It also turns the A3 into a pocket rocket. 0-60 flies by in around five and a half seconds; midrange torque is on point, and the six-speed dual clutch gearbox clicks from gear to gear with finger-snap timing. The $800 sport package is a must have, too; not only does it add on a the always-handy paddle shifters for the steering wheel and sportier front seats, it also opens up the ability to switch the steering and throttle response between multiple modes—and best of all, subs in a sport suspension that gives the A3 nimble reflexes without an ass-thwackingly-firm ride. And that accelerative oomph, surprisingly enough, doesn’t come at the expense of gas mileage—a thousand-plus miles of mostly high-speed interstate driving still turned in north of 30 mpg.
Inside…well, it’s an Audi, so you expect it’s going to be nice. What you don’t necessarily expect is that it’s going to be so clean. Relegating the MMI screen to a retractable panel (think an iPad mini that slides up out of the dash) means the interior seems startlingly empty at first glance. It’s only when you start the car and the screen glides out of its covered recess that the MMI click wheel located behind the shifter has something to do. (Should you feel like running dark, though, you can retract the screen with a touch of a button—and without muting the radio, which is a nice touch.) Audi’s MMI system has always been among the best infotainment systems on the market (even if the click wheel does, counter-intuitively, rotate the wrong direction, which is a statement that doesn’t make sense until you try it for yourself), and the A3 packs the latest version—which includes a touchpad atop the click wheel for writing in addresses with your fingertip.
Good as the A3 is, though, there’s still no way around the fact that it’s a tiny car. A pair of average American couples might be able to fit inside, if the five-foot-nine guys took the front seats and the five-foot-three girls piled in back. Stick a six-foot-four guy like your scribe in the captain’s chair, though, and the only things fitting in the seat behind him are groceries, pets and amputees. And when he turns his head to check his blind spot, he’ll find the B-pillar dead even with his face.
But the A3’s target audience—stylish upper-middle-class people in their late 20s/early-to-mid 30s—doesn’t have much need for commodious back seats. On the off chance they already have kids, the tykes are likely still in car seats. What the target audience does want, though, is a stylish, comfortable, zippy yet fuel-efficient car that’s loaded down with the latest tech. And that’s exactly what the Audi A3 is.
Plus, at a well-equipped as-tested price of less than $41K, it’s actually something close to a bargain.
2015 Audi A3 2.0T quattro Premium Plus
Price as Tested: $40,295
Power: 220 hp, 258 lb-ft
MPG: 24 city, 33 hwy
The 550 mile journey will showcase Audi's latest advances in self-driving technology.
The test drive from the west coast of California to Las Vegas demonstrates our leadership role in piloted driving “, said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member and Head of Technical Development. The test drive in real world traffic and road conditions represents a joint effort by the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) und Volkswagen Group Research and Development, begins today in Stanford, CA. The Audi A7 piloted driving concept will drive more than 550 miles, approximately 900 kilometers.
The A7 piloted driving concept utilizes the latest technologically advanced systems developed by Audi. The concept relieves the driver of driving duties from 0 to 70 mph, or just over 110 km/h. The car, that has been affectionately been named „Jack“ by the development team, can initiate lane changes and passing maneuvers. In addition, the A7 piloted driving concept accelerates and brakes independently. Before initiating a lane change to the left or the right, the vehicle adapts its speed to surrounding vehicles. If the speed and distance calculation is deemed safe, the vehicle initiates the lane change with precision and in a timely manner.
The piloted concept vehicle utilizes a combination of various sensors, many of which are close to production ready. The long range radar sensors of the adaptive cruise control (ACC) and the Audi side assist (ASA) keep watch of the front and rear of the vehicle. Two mid-range radar sensors at the front and rear respectively are aimed to the right and left to complete the 360 degree view. Laser scanners are mounted within the Singleframe grille and the rear bumper skirt. The scanners deliver redundant information to provide detailed recognition of static and dynamic objets during piloted driving. The technologies are production ready including their vehicle integration and cost structure for vehicle production in the near future. A new hi-resolution 3D video camera, already integrated into the next generation systems found in the new Q7, takes a wide-angle view out in front of the vehicle. Four small front and rear mounted cameras view closer surroundings. Navigation data is used for basic vehicle orientation.
Before the piloted driving system reaches its limitations, in city environments for example, the driver is requested to take control of the vehicle to ensure proper safety. Multiple warning signales work in unison: colored LEDs at the base of the windshield, signals in the driver information display, a Central Status Indicator (CSI), as well as a acoustic warning indicator requires the driver to retake control. Should the driver ignore the signals, the system activates the hazard lights and brings the car to a full stop while minimizing any risk. In most instances the vehicle is stopped on the right emergency lane.
The training for the jounalist test drivers taking part in the 550 mile trek took place several weeks ago at the Arizona Proving Grounds. Each journalist will drive approximately 100 miles utilizing the piloted driving system. A trained Audi professional test driver will accompany the media from the passenger seat for added safety.
BMW is gearing up for CES next month with news of their new tech set to debut.
BMW was already demonstrating at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 how perfect control technology can provide highly automated mastery of all drive statuses right through to very tight margins. Innovative sensors will allow BMW to demonstrate a number of features at the CES 2015 (6 to 9 January, Las Vegas) including the possibility of entirely collision-free driving. This success plots another benchmark defined by the specialists at the BMW Group on the road route to individual mobility free of accidents with a driver and also in fully-automated mode with no driver at all.
The platform for 360-degree collision avoidance is secure position and environment recognition. The research vehicle is a BMW i3. Four advanced laser scanners record the environment and reliably identify impediments such as columns, for example in a multi-storey car park. If the vehicle approaches a wall or a column too quickly, the system brakes automatically to prevent the threat of collision. The vehicle is brought to a standstill very precisely with centimetres to spare. If the driver steers away from the obstacle or changes direction, the system releases the brakes. This system relieves the burden on the driver in an environment with poor visibility and makes a further contribution to enhanced safety and comfort. Like all BMW assistance systems, this research application can be overridden at any time by the driver.
Fully automated parking in multi-storey car parks – dynamic and safe even without the driver. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant in the BMW i3 research vehicle combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building, for example a multi-storey car park. If the driver uses the Smartwatch to activate the fully-automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant, the system will steer the vehicle independently through the levels, while the driver has already got out of the car and is on his way to a business appointment. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant recognises the structural features of the car park and equally reliably steers round any obstacles that appear unexpectedly – such as incorrectly parked vehicles. Once the BMW i3 has arrived at the parking space, the vehicle locks itself and waits to be called by Smartwatch and voice command. The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant then calculates the exact time until the driver arrives at the car park and starts up the BMW i3 so that it arrives at the car park exit at exactly the right time.
BMW has succeeded in achieving fully automated control of the vehicle by connecting up vehicle sensor systems and a digital site plan. This avoids dependence on the GPS signal, which is not at all precise in multi-storey car parks. Alongside the laser sensors, the research vehicle also has the processing units and necessary algorithms on board and this means it can determine its exact position in the car park, monitor the environment perfectly, and carry out independent and fully automated navigation. It is not necessary to provide car parks, for example, with complex infrastructure in order to allow cars to orientate and navigate around the area safely.