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VOL. 2 ISSUE 17 SUPPLEMENT

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FEB 20, 2014- FEB 26, 2014

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It’s now official: BMW goes front-wheel drive his is it - BMW’s first EVER frontwheel drive car. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, it’s called the 2-Series Active Touring. And it’s neither a convertible or a coupe. Eh? Let’s get the first bit over with. Frontwheel drive. Yep. That’s happened. You might remember the Active Tourer Concept, which previewed the company’s intentions to take on the Mercedez B-Class. It’s in the same engine family as the Mini too, which means it’ll get three of the company’s new units at launch. There’s the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol (yep, it’s the same as the i8’s) 216i, which manages 57.6 mpg and 115 g/km of CO2. It’s followed by the four-cylinder 218d, which does 68.9 mpg, 109 g/km, and musters up 243 lb ft of torque. Top of the pile is the 2.0-litre four-pot 225i petrol, which does 47 mpg, makes

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The all new Subaru Legacy

231bhp, 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds and goes on to 146 mph. Everything’s a six-speed manual as standard, while you can spec six- and eight-speed autos. Now, there’s the small issue of dynamics. BMW prides itself on making cars go round corners well. A task, as Jeremy demonstrates, made harder when the front wheels are doing the steering and the powering. In a bid to make the cornering traditionally BMW-tastic, the 2ATs get a multi-link rear end under the 2.67-metre wheelbase. The Active Tourer also uses a mix of lightweight high tensile steels to keep weight down. As low as 1320kg in the 218i three-pot, that’s 75kg less than the lightest B-Class. Inside, there’s all the treat-yourself premium stuff you’d expect. As well as a head-up display and many leathers, the

Honda Civic R Concept revealed This is the new Honda R concept, debuted ahead of its official reveal at the 2014 Geneva motor show. Which means we’ll definitely be getting a new Civic Type-R. Several clues lead us to this assertion. Firstly, this drawing.

Dubbed by the manufacturer’s design team as a ‘racing car for the road’, it’s been created ahead of a real-life version that’ll land in Switzerland next month to test public reaction. Secondly, Honda’s already built a Type-R mule.

And it has a 2.0-litre single-turbo four-pot engine that makes 280bhp. Thirdly, it’s about bloody time. Since most people were fist-fighting for a can of dog food in the post-crisis mire, the carmaker decided not to plough its resources into

anything remotely fun, instead concentrating on the constrained-means end of the market. Stuff like the Civic Tourer, CRV, and Jazz. Fourthly, Honda told us. The 2015 Civic Type-R lands next year.

Active Tourer gets the full gamut of BMW Connected Drive kit, including things like variable cruise control, automatic parking, autonomous emergency braking and the ability to self-drive in heavy motorway traffic. All very much on a par with that B-Class, then, apart from pricing. There’s no official word yet, but expect it to be pitched around - you guessed it - B-Class territory, which starts at £22,000 for a really miserable one. Now, the name. We thought BMW had settled on even numbers for coupes and convertibles (2, 4 and 6), and odd numbers for saloons and estates. But no. The company reckons this deserves to be a 2-Series because - despite being conspicuously neither coupe nor convertible - it’s bigger than the 1-Series, and will be more expensive.


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US wants cars to talk to each other WASHINGTON -- Raising hopes of preventing many deadly collisions, US transportation officials said Monday they plan to propose requiring automakers to equip new cars and light trucks with technology that lets vehicles communicate with each other. A radio beacon w o u l d continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Cars would receive the same information back from other vehicles, and a vehicle’s computer would alert the driver to an impending collision. Some systems may automatically brake to avoid an accident if manufacturers choose to include that option. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been working with automakers on the technology for the past decade, estimates vehicle-to-vehicle communications could prevent up to 80 per cent of accidents that don’t involve drunken drivers or mechanical failure. The technology holds the “game-changing” potential to prevent crashes in the first place, while the government’s focus until now has been on ensuring accidents are survivable, David Friedman, the head of the safety administration, said at a news conference. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the Obama administration decided to announce its intention to require the technology in new vehicles in order to “send a strong signal to the (automotive industry) that we believe the wave of the future is vehicle-to-vehicle technology.” However, it will still be a least several years and perhaps longer before manufacturers would have to put the technology in vehicles, officials said. The safety administration plans to issue a report later this month on the results of its research, and then the public and automakers will have 90 days to comment. After that, regulators will begin drafting a proposal to require automakers to equip new vehicles with the technology. That process could take months to years to complete, but Foxx said it is his intention to issue the proposal before President Barack Obama leaves office. “It will change driving as we know it over time,” said Scott Belcher, president and chief executive of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. “Over time, we’ll see a reduction in crashes. Automobile makers will rethink how they design and construct cars because they will no longer be constructing cars to survive a crash, but building them to avoid a crash.” Government officials declined to give an estimate for how much the technology would increase the price of a new car, but the transportation society estimate it would cost about $100 to $200 per vehicle. Automakers are enthusiastic about vehicle-to-vehicle technology, but feel there are important technical, security and privacy questions that need to be worked out first, said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Au-

tomobile Manufacturers. Vehicle-to-vehicle “may well play a larger role in future road safety, but many pieces of a large puzzle still need to fit together,” she said. The safety benefits can’t be achieved until there is a critical mass of cars and trucks on the road using the technology, and it’s not clear what that level of market penetration is. It takes many years to turn over the nation’s entire vehicle fleet, but the technology could start preventing accidents long before that. Research indicates safety benefits can be seen with as few at 7 per cent to 10 per cent of vehicles in a given area similarly equipped, said Paul Feenstra, a spokesm a n for the transportat i o n society, an umbrella organization for the research and developm e n t of new transportat i o n technologies. O n c e automakers s t a r t a d d ing the technology to all new cars, it would take 15 years or more for half the cars on the nation’s roads to

be equipped, according to the communications technology company Qualcomm. There are about 5 million to 6 million new cars sold each year. There may be a way to speed things up. About 45 per cent of Americans use smartphones, and that share is growing. The average lifetime of a smartphone is two years. If smartphones, which already have GPS, came equipped with a radio chip they could be used to retrofit vehicles already on the road so that they can talk to each other. The phone would be put in a cradle to sync with the car’s computers. That would help make it possible to achieve a 50 per cent market penetration in less than five years, according to Qualcomm. Using cellphones could also extend the safety benefits of connected-car technology to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, Belcher said. Drivers would be alerted to a possible collision with a pedestrian carrying a smartphone that continually sends out information to cars in the vicinity, even if it’s too dark to see the person or if the pedestrian darts suddenly into traffic. More than 4,700 pedestrians were killed by vehicles and 76,000 injured in 2012. But there are significant technical and standardization hurdles to using cellphones to support connected car technology. Cellphone batteries typically last only about three hours if used continually. They would need antennas, there are issues with what radio frequencies would be used and their GPS functions may not be as precise as those in a vehicle manufactured with connected car technology, for example.


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The San Francisco Post Feb. 20, 2014 Automotive supplemental insert