2017 Infiniti QX30 Sport Driven: The Euro-Hatch Version

-Another cushy compact crossover may or may not be what the world needs now, but it’s exactly what Infiniti needs. Enter the swoopy, stub-tailed QX30—which Infiniti is pitching as a “premium active crossover”—to give the brand an entrant in a segment poised for explosive growth. We tested an all-wheel-drive QX30 and found it does a reasonable job of being a cushy compact crossover, with its 8.0 inches of ground clearance, skid plates, and roof rails joining the creature comforts and chrome that come with being an Infiniti. READ MORE ››-
Source: caranddriver

First Drive: Updated 2017 Subaru BRZ

-Change, it’s said, is the only constant. Consider Fuji International Speedway, now in its fifth configuration. Resting in the foothills of Japan’s picturesque Mount Fuji, the historic circuit was founded in 1963 with the intention of building a NASCAR-style 2.5-mile superspeedway. After one banked turn was built, it was evident there weren’t enough funds for such a track, so it was completed as a 15-turn, 3.7-mile road-racing circuit with one wicked-fast banked corner; it opened in 1965. After a double fatality in 1974, the banked portion was eliminated, and the rest of the track was reconfigured as an eight-turn, 2.7-mile course. Beyond hosting a pair of landmark Formula 1 races in 1976 and 1977, Fuji had significance for many racing fans as the first real-world racetrack they learned by heart while playing the Pole Position arcade game in the 1980s or, more recently, the Gran Turismo series of video games. The track was extended to 10 turns in 1982 and 12 corners in 1993, the layout it had when Toyota bought it in 2000. A revamped 16-turn track, now 2.8 miles long, opened in 2005; F1 action briefly returned in 2007. READ MORE ››-
Source: caranddriver

Land Rover Doesn’t Leave Off-Roaders Out of Connected Future

-Like so many carmakers, Jaguar Land Rover is getting ready for a future that includes more connected and autonomous features on cars, but unlike most other auto companies, JLR is working to integrate those technologies into off-road driving, too.-The company recently provided a glimpse of several features that are in the early stages of development, and we got a chance to try them out. These aren’t ready for the market yet. But if your next safari is a few years away, keep an eye out for these three off-road-themed technologies:-Surface ID-What It Is: Sensors scan the road to determine if the surface is tarmac, grass, sand, gravel, mud, etc.-The Technology: Front-bumper-mounted ultrasonic sensors.-Details: Currently, when a Land Rover’s Terrain Response system is in Auto mode, the vehicle determines the type of terrain based wheel-speed, steering-wheel-angle, and other in-vehicle sensors. Surface ID instead looks ahead to see what type of terrain the car is about to drive onto. Using ultrasonic sensors mounted near the front license plate scan the road roughly 15 feet ahead to read the surface. Once it determines the terrain, it gives the driver a readout—which is fairly unspectacular in practice. In theory, it also could automatically optimize the car by selecting the corresponding Terrain Response system mode.-Future: This tech is in its early stages. Ultrasonic sensors would need to be integrated and productionized (development units looked like a GoPro stuck on the license plate). Also, LR is just starting to build a database of measured surfaces, which is necessary in order for the system to recognize them. Still to be determined is whether this system would aid low-speed, off-road situations only, or whether it also could be for higher-speed on-road driving (recognizing icy conditions, for example).–Terrain-Based Speed Adaption (TBSA)-What It Is: A supplement to the current All Terrain Progress Control (a low-speed, off-road cruise control) that automatically varies a set speed in reaction to obstacles and/or changing terrain.-The Technology: Uses current stereo cameras, plus inputs from existing vehicle sensors that measure body motions, steering-wheel angle, and wheel speed, as well as parking sensors.-Details: TBSA works only with All Terrain Progress Control engaged. Cameras scan up to 100 or so feet ahead of the vehicle; looking also at steering-wheel angle to map the intended trajectory, the system looks for objects ahead on the trail such as rocks, ruts, crests, and water. “Reading” the objects, it then calculates the best vehicle speed for driving over them, automatically slowing the vehicle if necessary, then resuming the set speed when safe to do so. In addition to looking ahead, it also can react to current conditions, such as if the truck encounters an unseen rock or rut when driving through water. The net result takes almost all of the challenge out of off-roading.-Future: Would seem to be ready now, but no market details were forthcoming.-Off-Road Connected Convoy-What It Is: Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, applied specifically to off-road driving.-The Technology: Uses Dedicated Short Range Communications technology.-Details: This JLR-engineered tech allows a lead connected vehicle to share information relevant to off-road driving with following connected vehicles. Information includes the location of the lead vehicle, its Terrain Response setting, its All Terrain Progress Control set speed, as well as whether the vehicle has stopped. Future functionality could include the ability of the driver in the lead vehicle to drop a pin to indicate a particular hazard or a good photo spot.-Future: This system faces perhaps fewer obstacles than on-road V2V systems, since it’s for off-road use. It might also skirt regulatory requirements for the same reason. Also, unlike larger-scale V2V systems that require cooperation among all manufacturers to be truly effective, this one could be a Land Rover–exclusive system, since off-road-driving groups often are single-marque specific.—-Jaguar Land Rover Incorporates Tile App into Infotainment System-Jaguar Plans Test Fleet for Connected and Autonomous Tech-Land Rover’s Discovery Concept Include Vanishing Hood —Undeniably, the notion of automating the off-road driving experience runs counter to what off-road driving is all about: mastering a difficult driving challenge. But these new technologies are really only the next steps on the road we’ve already started down with hill-descent control, LR’s Terrain Response system, and All Terrain Progress Control. That said, after we drove this latest tech, we took to the trail in an utterly analog, 1979 Land Rover Series III station wagon, with manual steering, a manual transmission, and manual shifting into low-range—and that was the vehicle we really wished we could have driven longer.-
Source: caranddriver

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus Test: The Rolling, Roaring 8500-rpm Museum

-Encased under glass and lit up like a museum piece, Audi’s ten-cylinder totem to human ingenuity looks as if it should be accompanied by a soft-spoken docent to narrate its very existence: At 610 horsepower, this naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10 is the most powerful engine ever put into production by Audi. It revs 20 percent quicker than its predecessor, spinning from idle to full load in 0.66 second, and maxes out at 8500 rpm. READ MORE ››-
Source: caranddriver

How to Sell Your Car the Modern Way: We Put Online Services to the Test

-Selling a car or truck is a question of time versus money: Do you go for quick cash by trading it in at a dealership or wait it out and sell your vehicle privately to secure a higher price? Neither option is particularly pleasing. The trade-in process at a dealer always feels like it’s lacking in transparency and the private market is full of time-wasting tire kickers who don’t seem intent on buying. READ MORE ››-
Source: caranddriver

Tesla Driver Involved in Fatal Crash While Using “Autopilot” Mode

-In April, Tesla Model S owner Joshua D. Brown recorded and posted to his YouTube channel a video that showed how the “Autopilot” feature in his car helped him avert a collision. About one month later, the semi-autonomous system was active when he was in an accident that resulted in his death.-Brown, a 40-year-old resident of Canton, Ohio, was identified in police records as the victim in a fatal crash that occurred May 7 in Williston, Florida. Federal safety regulators and Tesla Motors acknowledged Thursday the crash occurred while the car was operated in a self-driving mode.-The incident marks the first known time a motorist has been killed in a car while it operated with autonomous features engaged.-Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tesla recently notified them of the crash. They’ve begun a preliminary investigation into the collision that will examine the design and performance of the 2015 Tesla Model S. Investigators could upgrade their probe into an engineering analysis at a later date.-The crash occurred at 4:41 p.m. in clear conditions at the intersection of U.S. highway 27 and Northeast 140th Court, according to police records. Officials say a tractor trailer owned by Okemah Express, LLC, turned left in front of Brown, who was headed east on highway 27 with his Model S’s “Autopilot” mode engaged. A Florida Highway Patrol investigation into the crash is ongoing.-In a written statement, Tesla Motors said, “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer.”-The Tesla’s roof struck the underside of the trailer, according to police records. But the car continued eastbound in the lane for an undetermined distance before it crashed through a wire fence, crossed a field and finally came to rest after impacting another wire fence. A first-responder with the Levy County Fire Rescue pronounced Brown dead at 4:51 p.m.-Brown was an 11-year veteran of the Navy, and had been a member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Following his discharge, he worked for Tactical Electronics, and then established his own company, Nexu Innovations Inc., according to his obituary.-Only one month earlier, on April 5, Brown recorded a video of a near-collision with a utility truck that had swerved into his lane along a multi-lane highway. Below a posting of that video on YouTube, Brown notes that he had nicknamed his ’15 Model S “Tessy,” and that it had roughly 39,000 miles on the odometer. He described the incident and praised the car’s performance.-“Once I was beside the truck as it slowed down on the ramp, the guy gestured a ‘sorry!’ ” I gave him, ‘It’s okay’ wave,” Brown wrote. “Tessy did great. I have done a lot of testing with the sensors in the car and the software capabilities. I have always been impressed with the car, but I had not tested the car’s side-collision avoidance. I am VERY impressed. Excellent job Elon!” Later, he wrote the Model S was, “Hands down, the best car I have ever owned.”-Thursday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted, “Our condolences for the tragic loss.”-Tesla introduced the Autopilot feature in late 2015. The company said the fatality is the first in 130 million miles of Autopilot driving. Company officials noted the feature remains in a “public beta phase” that requires its users to acknowledge they remain ultimately responsible for the vehicle and its performance. “Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” says the automaker’s statement, which at times comes across as defensive and somewhat dismissive, failing to directly address the victim until the closing paragraph.—Tesla Offers Free One-Month Trial of Autopilot to Owners-Tesla Adds “Summon” Remote-Parking Ability, Restricts Autosteer Function-Instrumented Test: 2015 Tesla Model S 70D—Since Autopilot requires human oversight, it remains categorized as a semi-autonomous system. Tesla and other automakers are rushing to develop similar automated systems. Features like automatic emergency braking are already available in many models on the road today, and many automakers project more advanced autonomous systems will be available by 2020. The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to announce formal guidelines that address the development and operations of those vehicles next month.-This story has been updated to include information from NHTSA and the investigating law-enforcement agency.-
Source: caranddriver

First-Ever Shelby Cobra Could Bring $10M at Auction

-Interested in buying a legend? The original Shelby Cobra, the very first car that Carroll Shelby hand-built, the one that kicked off the Shelby legacy that still carries on today, is going up for sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction on August 19. We have a feeling this car is going to generate some intense bidding.-When we say original, we mean it. This is the very first of the Cobras—created in 1962 when Carroll Shelby shoehorned a 260-cubic-inch Ford V-8 between the wheel wells of a British-made AC Ace roadster. When that engine met that body, a legend was born.-The car, known as CSX 2000, served as the development prototype for what would become the Shelby empire. And it never left the founder’s hands—Shelby maintained this car as his personal Cobra from day one. It is truly a one-owner car.–That’s not to say it was pampered, though. In a tale that is now legendary, Shelby pulled a little scam on the car magazines that tested this car. After the Cobra was made public, CSX 2000 was sent out to every major car magazine for testing. But Shelby, wanting it to seem like he’d already built a fleet of Cobras, had the car repainted a different color before each magazine test. The magazines each thought they’d gotten a different car, and Shelby’s legend was sealed.-“It is the actual pen with which he signed his declaration of war and the idea upon which he built his company and revolutionized American racing—and the greater auto industry as a whole,” RM Sotheby’s writes. “It is, without exception, the single most important and history-rewriting sports car ever offered at auction, after over 50 years of ownership and without ever leaving the care of its founding father.”--Hyperbole? Maybe not. It’s hard to think of a single automobile that changed the course of sports-car history as definitively as the Cobra. This was the car that sealed Shelby’s career, that led Ford to become a 1960s racing powerhouse, that founded the American tradition of front-engine, rear-drive, hairy-chested roadsters that still beats in our veins today.—-Car and Driver Tested: The 12 Quickest Cars of the 1960s-Shelby American Is Building Brand-New Daytona Coupes-Watch Oak Ridge National Lab 3D-Print a Replica Shelby Cobra—And among all the immensely collectible Shelby products of skyrocketing value, this will assuredly be the most coveted. Dave Kinney, publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, estimates that this Holy Grail Cobra could bring $10 million—or more. Carroll Shelby had an unerring sense of the value of his cars; no wonder he held onto this one.-A version of this story originally appeared on Road & Track.–
Source: caranddriver

2016 Mazda 3 Review: It’s Near-Perfect Porridge

-Overview: The Mazda 3 is again the brand’s entry-level model (now that the 2 is being sold as a Toyota) and also one of the best small cars. Like the Volkswagen Golf with which it competes, it’s a stalwart of our 10Best Cars list. As Mazda’s budget leader, not every 3 comes loaded with features, but even the base 155-hp 2.0-liter sedan delivers pleasing dynamic behavior, solid build quality, and impressive fuel economy. Upgrading to the 3 s model brings a 184-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with more thrust, nets standard features such as heated leather seats, and makes available options that include active safety features. It is offered with a choice of automatic or manual transmissions in a pair of four-door body styles: sedan or hatchback. READ MORE ››-
Source: caranddriver