September 25, 2015: When the news broke this week that VW had fitted a “defeat device” to its four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines, you would have thought the end of the world was near. Unlike the GM ignition lock scandal, where hundreds of people actually died, the VW imbroglio will have a very minor health effect. We take a look at this growing scandal, and put it in context. We also look into what may have caused VW engineers and executives to follow this path, and one of the reasons may surprise you. Just before the VW situation exploded, we went to a private launch of the 2016 Honda Civic sedan. It’s new from the ground up, and surprisingly aggressive in both look and content. A happy coincidence gave us the opportunity to test the BMW M4 and Lexus RC-F back-to-back, and the comparison isn’t always flattering. On the technology side, Brembo introduces a new fixed caliper design for high-performance cars. Automotive supplier Brose tests the waters with an e-bike design that uses a repurposed power steering motor. The American Chemical Society put forward a video about a new rubber formulation that is self healing and could radically change the idea of run-flat tires. And Nuance, the folks behind Dragon voice-recognition software, gives us a look behind the curtain at how it develops this software for vehicles, and what’s on the horizon. Just when you thought it was safe to like automotive technology, Al Vinikour chimes in about the need for fail-safing these new systems. While the well-heeled kids out there can forget the technology overload with a new pedal car from Land Rover and stunning powered F1 lookalikes from the folks at Pocket Classics.
September 11, 2015: The closer we get to the Frankfurt Motor Show, the more cars break cover. It’s enough to make you wonder what automakers get out of blowing the surprise comes with a grand unveiling on the show floor. Nevertheless, a number of new vehicles were introduced and we picked a few for special mention. They include the 2016:
If that’s not enough to get your attention, we take a look at a British barn find made of fiberglass that’s named after a short-lived cigarette brand, and it’s not a Lotus. Plus, we take a look at new technology from Land Rover that could make towing a trailer a more relaxing experience. Also, driven by search engine politics, we bite the bullet and introduce a new feature, Worthy of a Mention, that pulls snippets from other car web sites that we think you’ll find interesting. And for those looking for their ration of road rage, we took pity on Al Vinikour, and gave him some time off.
September 9, 2015: Click here to watch the live reveal of the next generation Toyota Prius at 12:00 am EDT.