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.
Jaguar proves yet again it's shooting for the top spot.
Story and photography by: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
When it comes to high-end luxury cars, Jaguar seems to have found the perfect harmony between luxury, performance and styling. The 2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD is no exception as it covers every base and blows expectations out of the water.
Although this body style has been around for a few years and had mixed reviews at first, it seems that maybe the XJ’s aesthetics were just ahead of its time. The longer-wheelbase XJL is simply sexy from it attractive front fascia to the sweeping C-pillar and even the rear is nice to look at as well. Rarely is a car’s exterior absent of a weak spot and the XJL simply does not have one. And with its uncanny looks, you also get a car that stands out amongst its $100k sedan competitors as the others simply fall short parked next to the XJL.
Everything about the interior is just right. The driving position is perfect, there is touches of chrome and wood but not too much and not too little. Some luxury cars like to overload you with opulence, which in turn makes it seem as if they are trying too hard yet the Jaguar XJL confidently gives you just enough. The digital instrument cluster never gets old as it produces an animated start-up image upon ignition and then settles back into your standard gauge cluster afterwards. The infotainment system is fairly easy to use although I’d like to be able to get to some of the controls with a few less actions. The funny part about that is, when scrolling through all those screens you tend to appreciate the car and its options even more.
Although the XJL is a long, large vehicle it certainly does not feel like it when behind the wheel. It’s actually quite mind-boggling when you think about how much of a sports car the XJL feels like. And even though this particular model has a V6 under the hood, the fact that it is supercharged and pumping out 340 HP proves it certainly does not lack performance, even in such a large vehicle. What that means is that you don’t necessarily have to purchase the V8 versions of the XJL to enjoy it. Oh, and the supercharged V6 will also help quite a bit in the fuel efficiency department which aids in justifying the purchase of such a ride. The 8-speed automatic transmission makes for a silky smooth commute in any condition. Whether you’re romping down on the gas pedal or simply accelerating through traffic, the tranny never skips a beat. In addition the drivetrain, the suspension has a nice blend of comfort and performance even in the standard driving mode.
The 2015 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD has an as-tested price of right under $90k which is more than fair as you get much more for your money compared to some of the XJ’s competitors. I also like that every option outside of the seat massagers and illuminated door sills come standard so my as-tested price was very close to the base MSRP. Again, another attribute I found quite rare in the luxury car segment.
After reviewing the XJR earlier this year (the car in which I still dream about every night), the F-Type V8 convertible and now the supercharged V6 XJL, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jaguar has become my favorite luxury brand of 2014. Jaguar has proven time and time again that – at least on the higher end – they produce the best pound-for-pound luxury vehicles in the game. Props!
Power: 340 hp
0-60: 6.1 sec
MPG: 16 City, 24 Hwy
Miles Driven: 350
Mercedes looks to take on BMW with new GLE Coupe.
Mercedes-Benz is combining two classes of vehicle – each with its own distinct style – to make a new model, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. The sporty nature of a coupe dominates, imbued with the striking characteristics of a robust SUV. In addition to convincing on-road vehicle dynamics, the GLE Coupe looks impressive as well. With its flowing side contour, elongated and low greenhouse, striking radiator grille with central chrome louvre and rear end design, the GLE Coupe cites styling features typical of particularly sporty Mercedes-Benz models. In the U.S. market, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe features a biturbo V6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the generous amount of standard equipment, the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, the Sports Direct-Steer system and the driver assistance systems typical of the brand, the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe comes standard with the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
The GLE Coupe is the new addition to the successful portfolio of Mercedes-Benz coupes. Alongside the classic, two-door C, E and S-Class models and the four-door CLS- and CLA-Class coupes, the new coupe displays a highly individual interpretation of the physiognomy and light-footed approach typical of this family of vehicles. For example, the GLE Coupe displays attributes typical of coupes such as sportiness, dynamism and agility, while also exuding the self-assured presence, versatility and ruggedness of an SUV.
For as nasty as the FXX K is it probably could have used a third X.
FXX-K, the new research and development programme being embarked upon by Ferrari with a highly select group of Client-Test-drivers, will be unveiled next weekend during the Finali Mondiali at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The programme centres around a laboratory-car based on Maranello’s first hybrid, LaFerrari. The K in the new car’s moniker refers to the KERS kinetic energy recovery technology used to boost performance on the track. The FXX-K joins the non-competitive XX Programmes managed by the Corse Clienti Department in Maranello and thus far aimed at the owners of the exclusive FXXs and 599XXs.
Unfettered by homologation and racing regulations, the FXX K was developed to be completely uncompromising, incorporating technological innovations that will guarantee an unprecedented driving experience.
The car’s enormous potential can be summed up in a few short but telling figures: an overall power output of 1,050 cv of which 860 are punched out by the conventional V12 engine with the remaining 190 cv delivered by the electric motor, plus total maximum torque exceeding 900 Nm.
A focus on delivering maximum efficiency at every stage of every track lap has resulted in extensive but integrated work on the entire car body in terms of both active and passive aerodynamics.
The FXX-K also incorporates highly effective downforce generation and aero balance concepts debuted and developed in the GT category of the WEC, which Ferrari won on three consecutive years. The result is downforce of 540 kg at 200 km/h.
Vehicle dynamics are further improved by the adoption of Pirelli slicks complete with sensors that monitor longitudinal, lateral and radial acceleration, as well as temperature and pressure. This ensures an accurate analysis of the interaction between the tyre and track surface, providing even more vital data to enable the traction control system to guarantee maximum performance.