Some of you may have noticed that the links provided in some newer articles do not point back to the older story anymore. This is an unintended consequence of altering the headers to make room for Virtual Collection. Eventually we hope to search out these links and modify them, but -- in the interim -- should you come across a broken link to a previous story, follow these simple steps. If, for example, you click on the embedded link for the 2012 feature Alphabet Soup Agonistes in another story, you are likely to get a "Page Not Found" alert containing the offending URL. Change the section of the URL that says "analysis-opinion" to "analysis", and you will be taken to the story. Or you can use the website search function to search for "alphabet soup agonistes", and it will take you to a search page containing that item. We apologize for any inconvenience these changes may have caused.
July 29, 2016: The week opened with Nissan introducing the Titan Single Cab, an entry-level version of its full-size pickup that puts it in the fleet/commercial use segment. Though the true entry-level buyer will have to wait until the V6-powered version becomes available next year. Audi also showed a new model, the 2017 A4 allroad quattro. If you know anything about Audi, you already know this means this is an A4-based, high-riding station wagon with all-wheel drive and unique trim, which makes it the un-crossover. Morgan, on the other hand, announced a partnership with Selfridges to sell a very limited-edition all-electric three-wheeler. And we discovered two cars up for auction that aren’t Virtual Collection material, but are interesting nonetheless. The cars that did make it into the collection, however, have something in common: they’re all Ford GT40s. The week continued with a review of VW’s Beetle Dune that is not much more than a trim package, looked into why more and more young Brits are putting off learning how to drive, and investigated a new motorsport/performance turbocharger from Owen Developments. But the highlight is the week was a film from Carfection on the men and women involved in the DeLorean project. This group — including former Group Lotus CEO and friend Mike Kimberley — tell a tale different from what you think you know about John Z’s stainless steel GT car. It’s well worth a watch.
July 15, 2016: The keen-eyed among you will notice that the section banner has a new addition, Virtual Collection, and that the other section headings have been modified or moved to reflect changes that have taken place in terms of staff, topics and focus. This week’s Virtual Collection looks at the BMW 3,0 CSL and the 1935 Miller-Ford; a front-drive racer that brought together Harry Miller, Preston Tucker and Henry Ford in pursuit of Indy 500 glory. Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey has had plenty of glory on the race track, but F1’s restrictive regulations have left him a bit restless. How better to deal with that restlessness than to design a hypercar to be built by Aston Martin? The imaginatively named AM-RB 001 goes on sale in 2018. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always the drop top version of Ferrari’s LaFerrari supercar. Except that you’ll have to wait for one to hit the auction houses as the allotment has been pre-sold before the car’s official launch. On the technology front, Voyomotive introduced an app and module combination that gives vehicles built since 1996 two-factor authentication for greater theft resistance. Ford and Kuka place a collaborative robot in the Ford’s Cologne, Germany, assembly facility. Opel/Vauxhall add an advanced lighting unit that could make its way to your Buick dealer. And Renault and its U.K. advertising agency use cameras and a vehicle registration database to send personalized messages to target customers. Elsewhere, the folks at WalletHub rate the best and worst U.S. cities for drivers. We drive BMW’s 650i, a large rear-drive 2+2 coupe that is many things to many people, but is it true to what made BMW what it is today? And Audi’s latest TT steps out from behind its “hairdresser’s car” image to create a surprisingly complete and beautiful German luxury/performance coupe.
July 1, 2016: We open the month with a new feature, The Virtual Collection. Compiled by Editor at Large William G. Sawyer (Innovation and the Death of Innocence, Why I Love the Mitty, Never Eat Hamburgers in Manhattan), it’s a look at some of the more interesting race and road cars up for sale, and what made them that way. Next, we look at some potential future classics. First up is the 2017 Ford GT Heritage Edition. Nothing says, “Take me to Barrett Jackson,” quite like a limited edition six-figure Le Mans winner lookalike built by Ford. For the less financially well-endowed there’s the road-going version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3, the AMG GT R. Painted “AMG Green Hell Mango” and sporting a toothy vertical bar grille, it’s sure to make the short list. And, finally, the long shot of this group is the Arrinera Hussarya GT, a supercar designed and built in Poland, but powered by a 6.2-liter Chevy V8. Almost as rare, but pushing the aerodynamic boundaries for track day specials, is the Elemental Rp1, which produces hundreds of pounds of downforce through the use of a Formula 1-inspired underbody. Like the AMG, it’s perfect for the Nurburgring. If the idea of traversing that fearsome track intrigues, but you’d rather let an expert do the driving. Jaguar has just the thing for you, the Jaguar Co-Pilot Nordschleife program. Don’t for get your Dramamine. On a more serious note, we delve into the proposed settlement between the U.S. government and VW, and see what consumers could get, and what it might cost. One car that won’t be affected by this accommodation is the 2017 Porsche Panamera. Bristling with technology, the new car is one thing the old one wasn’t: good looking. We also drive Toyota’s RAV4 Limited, a well-equipped small crossover that trades dullness for style. Then we delve into why the Mazda3, like the brand itself, isn’t more popular, and Buick drivers had better cover their ears.
June 17, 2016: With the 24 Hours of Le Mans taking place this weekend, we thought we’d start with a pair of videos from Ford. The first takes a look at the simulator work necessary to prepare the drivers for the event. The second is culled from amateur video of Ford’s first victory in the event 50 years ago. Staying with Ford, we also preview the new Ka+. Unlike its predecessors, it is a non-premium super mini that shares its underpinnings with the Fiesta while drastically undercutting it on price. Price, on the other hand, is no object if you are in the market for carbon fiber bodywork for your Lamborghini Aventador. If so, the folks at Vitesse AuDessus have just what you need. A little closer to financial sanity, Maserati introduced the latest version of its venerable Quattroporte sedan. The 2017 update gets a little nip and tuck, a revised model lineup, and needed infotainment and other upgrades. On the technology front, Nissan is working on a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell that could be the ultimate range extender for electric vehicles while also supporting SOFC-powered light-duty trucks and SUVs. Nearly as exciting is the new technology in door latch systems from Kiekert. The German company has everything from electric latches to LED safety lighting to a technology guaranteed to eliminate self-inflicted door dings. And we close with a look at the effect Turbulent Jet Ignition technology has had on Formula 1, the similarity between Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault’s recent leap into the tech, and Honda’s apparent resurrection of CVCC technology for its F1 motor.
June 3, 2016: Memorial Day made for a short week, and a slow news cycle. VW launched its #PinkBeetle (that’s its official name), and Audi the new A5 Coupe, but one wasn’t important to anyone other than Barbie or a Mary Kay devotee, and the other was short on information. On the other hand, the folks at Advanced Innovative Engineering in the U.K. showed off its latest rotary engine design in a Westfield sports car, and touted it as the perfect motor for a light sports car, series hybrid or range-extender EV. It’s chock-full of interesting tech, including a closed cooling system that reduces oil loss. Staying with cooling, Honda outlined the work necessary to remove the excess heat from its Acura NSX sports car while improving downforce and reducing aerodynamic drag. British Motor Heritage, those hearty folks who supply everything from panels to bodies for MGBs, Minis and more have been using racing to improve the breed. A range of parts are available for MGB racers, and Midget and Sprite owners can order race-proven complete tubs for their restoration or race projects. Jeep’s Renegade is the first member of the family to be built outside of the U.S. on a non-Jeep platform. Does it measure up, or is its true calling in attracting the young at heart with deep pockets?
May 20, 2016: A scheduling conflict replaced a Fiat 500L with a Chrysler 200, giving us the opportunity to evaluate FCA’s mid-size sedan. Is it as bad as we’ve been lead to believe, or is Chrysler’s future orphan a misunderstood bargain worth considering? BMW, meanwhile, has updated the powertrains of the 2017 2 Series coupe and convertible, changing nomenclature, power outputs, and lowering 0-60 times. Volvo showed its 40 series concepts and flexible CMA modular architecture it will share with parent Geely. How close the hatchback and crossover concepts are to the production model is anyone’s guess, but the tech is what we’ll see when the production versions debut in 2017. This week, Hyundai poached Korean designer SungYup Lee from Bentley. We take a look at who he’ll be working with, and what they’ll be working on. What South African GP car was inspired by the Ferrari 156, but failed to qualify for its home grand prix? Give up? So did we, until we stumbled upon the story of the Assegai, and the man who gave it a new life in historic racing. If that piques your interest, you can read about the 1974 VW Beetle bought by an old man to make his weekly trip to church easier, before being put away in a barn with just 54 miles on the odometer. Staying on the topic of old cars and restoration, we look at what the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has done to ensure that talented young people learn the craft and find employment restoring vintage cars, and how electronics may be the downfall of future restorers unless automakers, suppliers and other interested parties move quickly to save components and source codes. In Snippets, we contemplate coffee with Cadillac, and talk about three things you never thought you’d see mentioned in one sentence: Donald Trump, Oprah, and sex toys.
May 6, 2016: Eating hamburgers in Manhattan may not be good for your career but, as Bill Sawyer points out, attending The Mitty brings back the intimacy that once made racing so seductive. Hybrids may be the most common alternative powertrain, but full-electric drive is the fastest growing. Yet NADA says their share of the overall market is shrinking as traditional powertrains continue to dominate. Want to make your head explode like the people in those Jet.com commercials? Run your cursor over our interactive map to see how your state’s average annual cost of car insurance compares to neighboring states as well as the rest of the country. Always on the lookout for bargains (especially after paying our car insurance), we buy a real Ferrari for $22.89, and take a look at the possible outcome of Google’s agreement to build autonomous development vehicles with FCA. Sticking with autonomous vehicles for a moment, we analyze the mad rush toward self-driving vehicles, and the very real possibility that this technological myopia may drive automakers to give away what makes their product special. On the technology front, we have two entries from Ford. The first is a look at its new, portable aeroacoustic wind tunnel that increases quality and reduces time and cost by allowing on-site testing at the assembly plant. The second unveils the second generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission that debuts on the 2017 F-150 and Raptor. Meanwhile, the folks at GMPartsOnline.com compare the 1986 and 2016 Chevy Suburbans, and — despite praising its advancements — ask why it costs nearly twice the price, even after adjusting for inflation. Elsewhere, Fiat’s 124 Spider lineup is laid out, the color palette and option packages are revealed, and the prices announced. And we discover how adding some personality and style makes the 2016 Lexus RX350 a luxury crossover worth considering.
Copyright 2011, The Virtual Driver