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Old 04-26-2012, 08:34 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Nine-Speeds Are Coming, Legalizing Side-View Cameras, and Audi Bags



http://blog.caranddriver.com/the-con...+and+Driver%29

Quote:
Now that seven-speed manuals and eight-speed automatics have become the “benchmark,” who wants more gears? I don’t, but it seems that the industry soon will have us consider nine-speeds as state-of-the-art. Daimler and Chrysler will be reunited in an odd way, as the leaders of this trend. Chrysler will launch the ZF-sourced 9HP nine-speed automatic in some of its front-wheel-drive vehicles. I now hear that Mercedes-Benz will also offer a nine-speed auto beginning in 2013; the NGS (Neue Generation Stufenautomatik), in its W9A and high-performance K9A variations, will be standard on a number of rear-wheel-drive Mercedes vehicles. You can bet several competitors will follow suit in the escalating gear-count wars. It’s interesting to note that Benz is taking pride in its nine-speed slushbox, while—as we’ve reported before—its six-speed manuals will be purchased from ZF in the future. Priorities.

Mercedes has released photos of its Citan light commercial vehicle (shown above), which is a rebadged Renault Kangoo. I’ll refrain from comment on the styling, but want to share the company’s official statement that the lower air intake is “a typical styling element of Mercedes-Benz, from compact passenger cars to the Actros.” The Actros, of course, is a brick-shaped heavy-duty truck. If true, this statement explains a lot about Mercedes’ current styling.





Diesel Chatter

At the New York auto show, I helped present the World Green Car Award to the Mercedes-Benz S250 CDI. A full-size luxury car is an unlikely recipient for this award, but putting a 2.1-liter, four-cylinder turbo-diesel under its hood is worthy of recognition—particularly since this behemoth gets mileage far superior to most hybrids. The award is on its way to Sindelfingen, and there is little chance this car will be offered in the U.S. But the refreshed GLK, a New York debut, will be sold in the States with the same OM651 engine.

Mercedes has slowly switched from straight-six engines to V-6 units from the late 1990s, but the inline-six will be back. Beginning in 2018, Mercedes will make a straight-six diesel. A relaunch of the V-8 diesel is not planned, however.

While Mercedes-Benz and BMW have abandoned them, Audi will keep its V-8 diesel. The 4.2-liter TDI engine—currently available in the A8 and Q7, as well as the VW Touareg—will receive a significant power increase, according to sources. Figure close to 400 hp. The naturally aspirated 4.2-liter FSI gas V-8 will be replaced by the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, and the 6.3-liter W-12 will be turbocharged and thus receive a very substantial power and torque increase.

German Styling Issues
For years, I’ve wondered about those tiny cameras on concept cars, peddled to us as an alternative to the conventional exterior mirror. I hear now that they could finally move beyond the eternal-gimmick stage: The VW Group is pushing to legalize them as an alternative to the exterior mirror as we know it. The move comes not a moment too soon: Recent EU regulations threaten to transform exterior mirrors into add-ons of gigantic size—in the name of safety, of course. Who cares about style, aerodynamics, and the vaunted “pedestrian protection”? Time to launch alternatives to the mandated elephant ears.


Audi’s Great Light Hope

When it comes to advanced headlight design, Audi is the industry leader. The brand’s style is consistent, and Audi is typically first to market with true innovations. Maybe the Lexus LS600hL’s LED headlights came out at about the same time as the Audi R8 V-10’s, but they’re ultra-heavy units bundled with halogen brights. BMW is showing laser lights on its i8 concept, but, as shown, I don’t see them working in an automotive environment. Audi’s technological lead mainly is the work of Wolfgang Huhn, head of lighting and visibility, and Stephan Berlitz, who leads advanced lighting and reports to Huhn.

Additional expertise will now be provided by Michael Hamm, the longtime voice and mind of Automotive Lighting, a former Bosch/Magneti Marelli joint venture. In the small world of automotive lighting, Hamm is considered one of the best. Starting May 1, he will be chief of headlight development and report to Huhn. His expertise won’t be available to Audi’s competitors anymore.


Is Kia Design Losing It?

I’ve really like Kia’s new styling direction ever since former Audi and VW designer Peter Schreyer took charge. I think that Miklós Kovács’s Optima is the most beautiful four-door sedan on the market, and Massimo Frascella’s cars (Rio hatchback, Sorento, Sportage) are a triumph of style. (Frascella recently moved to Land Rover to take care of strategic design, and is now head of production exterior design for Land Rover and Range Rover). Former Lamborghini designer Ralph Kluge’s Kia interiors are among the best in their class.



All of this is why I don’t get the new K9. Kia’s luxury sedan—which started out as a promising project (CH/KH) half a decade ago—was designed by a Korean team under the close supervision of Schreyer. It is derivative on so many fronts that it is virtually impossible to identify an original element. From the grille and headlights to the daylight opening, the trunk and the taillights, it flashes Maserati, BMW, and Lexus cues everywhere. The wheels are a variation of the VW Phaeton’s “Spirit” rims. That this textbook example of design by committee is intended to be Kia’s ultimate sedan is simply unbelievable. Without exception, every other car in Kia’s lineup has more stylistic merit. The best thing about the K9 is its name. In Korea, the Optima is the K5, the Cadenza is the K7. I think that naming scheme is cool.

Then there is the Miklós Kovács–styled Cee’d. It is an overall better design than its Hyundai i30 sister model, and actually better than those of most of its other competitors. Details such as the C-pillar and the headlights’ night design are superb. But the Cee’d bears little family resemblance to other Kias. Most important, I am not impressed by the new reverse grille, an element that wasn’t Kovács’s idea. You can argue it is a logical evolution of the tiger-nose grille, but why evolve for the sake of it? Not only have we seen this look everywhere else, it also is a decisive step away from the geometric, super-clean look of current Kia front ends. And instead of creating a pseudo-Maserati nose, how about a real brand logo?
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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Re: side view cameras

They're great when used as BMW has to create a birds-eye-view of the area around the car, or to see around obstructions at intersections.. but for a rear-view they convey no depth perception to the driver.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
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My bike has 6 gears and it's too many. 7 would be irritating. 8 would be frustrating. 9? Why? At some point you need to bite the bullet and go to a CVT...

At least in a car you can skip gears, I guess.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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I've driven 10 speed trucks before and I hated it. Sometimes its needed to have that many gears, but it's kind of overkill in a car.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
Calamity Jesus
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Well, they're talking about an automatic.. so what's the problem?
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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I've driven the 8spd 300. It's really nice. The shifts are quick and seemless and it feels much faster than a 5spd 300. I look forward to the 8spd Dodge Rams.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Jesus View Post
Well, they're talking about an automatic.. so what's the problem?
Because it is overly complex. Overly heavy. In variable driving circumstances, it spends more time changing gears, than remaining IN gear. Each gear has to be smaller to fit in the same space... which makes the parts less robust.

All the time spent changing and synchronizing gears is time spent heating the hydraulic fluids, and heat is the enemy of automatic gearboxes.

And it is a solution to a non-problem, really. Complication for the sake of expense. they can brag about it in marketing, charge more for it up front, and when it breaks, it is more revenue for the mechanics and dealer service departments, and dealer parts departments.

it is to feed the supply chain, not to make it a better car for the customer.

frankly, I am getting VERY sick of car companies operating as if their customers are economic sheep to be sheared of their money, through planned obsolecense, and complexity that pays them up front, and on the back end too.

Where is the nicely equipped car, that is built so well as to not need repair if the car isn't damaged in an accident?

Maintenance is one thing. Changing fluids and perishables. That is fine.

A transmission, a turbo, a wheel bearing, a suspension bushing or linkage, interior and exterior trim, are not supposed to be perishables, at least not at the rate they seem to occur, across pretty much all brands.

I don't like looking across the used car landscape and have to discount a majority of things, because if they aren't clapped out already, the parts and service in the future are prohibitively expensive.

"Nickel and Dime" used to be the description of handling a used car or an older car that one has owned quite a while, to keep it going.

That is becoming 500$-1000$ for any amount of service more complex than just changing the oil, and it is happening earlier and earlier in car's service lives.

Damage happens, I get that. Maintenance has to be done, I get that, too.

It seems to be getting worse with part failures that shouldn't be happening, and wear that is happening too quickly because corners have been cut up front.

Free maintenance agreements while under warranty are a red flag to me... because it just means that the up-front price is too high, to cover that and shield the real ownership cost from the owner, and that once it expires, chances are the real cost of ownership and maintenance will likely be higher than expected.

A 9 speed automatic gearbox is just begging for complexity-induced problems, without huge advantages over a 5 or 6-speed well-geared transmission, manual or automatic.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HipToBeSquare View Post
INTRODUCTION



1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster
for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of
those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have
destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected
human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological
suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have
inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued
development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly
subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage
on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social
disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased
physical suffering even in "advanced" countries.

2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break
down. If it survives, it MAY eventually achieve a low level of
physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a
long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of
permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to
engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine. Furthermore,
if the system survives, the consequences will be inevitable: There is
no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from
depriving people of dignity and autonomy.

3. If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very
painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the
results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had
best break down sooner rather than later.

4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system.
This revolution may or may not make use of violence: it may be sudden
or it may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We
can't predict any of that. But we do outline in a very general way the
measures that those who hate the industrial system should take in
order to prepare the way for a revolution against that form of
society. This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be
to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis
of the present society.

5. In this article we give attention to only some of the negative
developments that have grown out of the industrial-technological
system. Other such developments we mention only briefly or ignore
altogether. This does not mean that we regard these other developments
as unimportant. For practical reasons we have to confine our
discussion to areas that have received insufficient public attention
or in which we have something new to say. For example, since there are
well-developed environmental and wilderness movements, we have written
very little about environmental degradation or the destruction of wild
nature, even though we consider these to be highly important.
Yup.. I thought that sounded familiar.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #9
arghx7
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You haters have never driven an eight speed. I just drove an Audi A6 with the 8 speed a couple weeks ago. It's awesome actually. 9 speed could be even better. They're Actually equal or less complicated than most 4 speeds.

Don't talk **** about something you don't understand. Modern AT's have drastically simplified by reducing the amount of solenoids, valves, and gears required. The key is clutch-to-clutch shifting and Ravigneaux gear sets with linear-type solenoids that integrate the spool valve.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #10
AVANTI R5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arghx7 View Post
You haters have never driven an eight speed. I just drove an Audi A6 with the 8 speed a couple weeks ago. It's awesome actually. 9 speed could be even better. They're Actually equal or less complicated than most 4 speeds.

Don't talk **** about something you don't understand. Modern AT's have drastically simplified by reducing the amount of solenoids, valves, and gears required. The key is clutch-to-clutch shifting and Ravigneaux gear sets with linear-type solenoids that integrate the spool valve.
I had a 2012 A4 loaner with the 8 speed auto. In auto / sport mode it shifted fast and kept the turbo right in the sweet spot. In the manual mode a would forget what gear I was in combined with pushing up for shifts and down for down shifts had me all messed up.

I thought the 2012 A6 had an updated Dl501 dual clutch tranny, up from 7 gears to 8??
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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I'm really curious on what the repair bill will be on these seven,eight, and nine speed autos will be. Then again, maybe they are nothing more than throw away autos.
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