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William Maley

Subaru News: 2018 Subaru BRZ tS and WRX STI RA Come With Added Performance for the U.S.

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Subaru hasn't forgotten about their performance models if two new special editions are anything to go by. Today, Subaru unveiled the 2018 BRZ tS and WRX STI RA that will go on sale early next year.

The BRZ tS (tuned by STI) is said to deliver "the highest level of “fun to drive” and “pure handling delight” through greater flexibility, better control and stability." If you were hoping this would include more power, then we have some bad news for you as the tS doesn't see any increase in power. It's 2.0L Boxer-Four still only produces 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. What STI has done is a fair amount of work on the chassis. There are new SACHS dampers and coil springs for the front and rear, and flexible V-braces in the engine compartment. The tS ditches the low-rolling resistance tires for a set of sticky Michelin Pilot® Sport 4 tires with lightweight 18-inch wheels. A set of Brembo brakes finishes off the chassis.

Visual changes include a new carbon fiber wing with manual adjustment, front and rear diffusers, STI fog light covers, and red accents on various trim pieces. The interior comes with a set of Recaro seats and red accent stitching. 

As for the 2018 WRX STI RA - short for Record Attempt - Subaru is using this name for an upcoming attempt to set a lap record at the Nürburgring sometime this summer. Subaru has done a weight loss program for the WRX STI RA with a carbon fiber roof, carbon fiber rear spoiler, removing the spare tire, and equipping a set of lightweight BBS 19-inch forged alloy wheels. Power sees a slight bump from 305 to 310 thanks to a new cold air intake and new exhaust. A revised third-gear ratio is said to improve acceleration.

Subaru only plans on building 500 of each model. Pricing is expected to be released later this year.

Source: Subaru 
Press Release is on Page 2


Subaru Debuts Limited Edition WRX STI Type RA And BRZ tS® With Higher Performance For Driving Enthusiasts

Cherry Hill, N.J. -  Subaru of America, Inc. has announced two new performance models: the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA and 2018 Subaru BRZ tS. Both are performance focused derivatives engineered by Subaru Tecnica International, Inc. specifically for driving enthusiasts. Each vehicle is limited to 500 units and vehicles will arrive at Subaru retailers in early 2018.

WRX STI Type RA
The RA designation stands for “Record Attempt” and has been applied to various Subaru performance models. The original venture took place in 1989 when a competition version Subaru Legacy broke the FIA World Speed Endurance Record by clocking over 62,000 miles in 18 days and set a top speed record of 138 mph. Furthering this spirit of endeavor, a special race model WRX STI Type RA NBR Special will attempt a Nürburgring speed record this summer.

In keeping with this tradition, the 2018 WRX STI Type RA delivers increased performance through weight reduction, suspension and engine upgrades. The new, numbered limited edition model comes standard with a carbon fiber roof panel, the removal of the spare tire, a carbon fiber pedestal wing and lightweight BBS® 19-in. forged alloy wheels shod with 245/35R19 Yokohama Advan Sports tires.

Powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged BOXER engine, the limited edition WRX STI Type RA increases horsepower to an estimated 310hp with the help of an STI-specified new cold air intake and high flow performance exhaust. A retuned ECU and stronger pistons also contribute to the increased engine performance. The six-speed transmission features a revised 3rd gear ratio paired with a short throw shifter. The weight reduction, additional horsepower and revised gearing all contribute to faster acceleration.

Handling has been upgraded with inverted front struts and rear double wishbone suspension all with Bilstein® dampers. A modified multi-mode VDC gives the car better stability control to keep it on its intended path. The Brembo® brake system, with monoblock 6-piston front calipers and dual-piston rear calipers, features an exclusive silver finish and is paired with cross-drilled rotors for better heat dissipation.

The WRX STI Type RA is immediately identified by an exclusive Cherry Blossom Red accent around both the front mesh grille and new rear bumper cover. An STI front underspoiler has also been added for better stability at high speeds. The exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, a roof-mounted shark fin antenna and STI fender badges now come in a black finish. The rear deck lid displays the WRX STI Type RA badge.

In addition to the eye-catching exterior, the WRX STI Type RA cabin features Recaro® performance design front seats with red bolsters and stitching as well as an embossed STI logo on the head restraints. The signature red stitching and accent trim is visible throughout the cabin. The steering wheel is wrapped in Ultrasuede® for better grip and has a black gloss-finish center spoke insert with STI logo. Push-button start with Keyless Access is also standard equipment. Each of the 500 WRX STI Type RA produced for retail sale has been individually numbered with a plaque mounted on the center console.

BRZ tS
The 2018 BRZ tS (tuned by STI) delivers the highest level of “fun to drive” and “pure handling delight” through greater flexibility, better control and stability.

BRZ is renowned for its ultra-low center of gravity and precision handling, and the new BRZ tS adds STI-tuned front and rear SACHS® dampers and coil springs as well as flexible V-braces in the engine compartment. New draw stiffeners are added to the chassis and sub-frame to improve steering response. The BRZ tS is also equipped with 18-in. lightweight STI wheels (the first time that a BRZ has been offered with 18-inch wheels) mounted with 215/40 R 18 Michelin Pilot® Sport 4 tires for superior grip and quicker turn-in. Brembo® brakes at all four corners round-out the package.

The exterior also adds a more aggressive look with an exclusive STI rear carbon fiber spoiler. The spoiler is manually adjustable to fine-tune rear downforce. The addition of STI front, rear and side underspoilers helps control airflow for better traction and stability.

The BRZ tS is also adorned with an exclusive Cherry Blossom Red accent around the front grille and unique rear bumper cover. The rear hatch displays the official BRZ tS badge. The exterior foldable mirrors, roof-mounted shark fin antenna, BRZ and SUBARU badging all have a black finish. Also, the fog lights have been removed and replaced with STI fog light covers.

The cabin features black leather and Alcantara® upholstery with contrasting red stitching and accents throughout the interior, including steering wheel, door and dash panels, knee pads, shifter and emergency brake boots. front seats have red leather bolsters and the seatbacks are embroidered with the tS logo. The visor over the gauge cluster is unique to this model, as is the interior door trim. The center console has been updated to a cast black finish. The BRZ tS also comes standard with red front seat belts and a frameless interior rear view mirror.

Both the 2018 WRX STI Type RA and BRZ tS will be available in WR Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica and Crystal White Pearl. Both models will be distributed throughout Subaru’s retailer network beginning in the first quarter of 2018.

Exact specifications and pricing will be announced later this year.


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Is this what we get with Toyota buying GM's majority ownership of Subaru. Bland boring Toytaish rides? Sorry but the auto in the pictures is very bland and conservative and does not inspire me the way Subaru under GM ownership did.

Cool spec's but FAILURE for inspiring me to want one. I used to love the look and sound of the STI and while it still has an awesome sound, the WRX STI has gotten bloated as well as blah in the style department. Even with loosing weight, based on their new conservative style approach, I am not hopeful that I will be inspired by the new upcoming version.

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They could at least massage the intake and exhaust equipment for 220 horsepower or so. The car's power is way too underwhelming to warrant a giant wing, Pilot Sport tires, brembos, and aggressive suspension. It would be like if GM put V-equipment and a manual trans on the ATS 2.5L. WHO IS THIS FOR.

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19 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

They could at least massage the intake and exhaust equipment for 220 horsepower or so. The car's power is way too underwhelming to warrant a giant wing, Pilot Sport tires, brembos, and aggressive suspension. It would be like if GM put V-equipment and a manual trans on the ATS 2.5L. WHO IS THIS FOR.

The dozens of people running autocrosses on Sunday morning.

26 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Is this what we get with Toyota buying GM's majority ownership of Subaru. Bland boring Toytaish rides? Sorry but the auto in the pictures is very bland and conservative and does not inspire me the way Subaru under GM ownership did.

Cool spec's but FAILURE for inspiring me to want one. I used to love the look and sound of the STI and while it still has an awesome sound, the WRX STI has gotten bloated as well as blah in the style department. Even with loosing weight, based on their new conservative style approach, I am not hopeful that I will be inspired by the new upcoming version.

It's not an SUV, so...

I still really like the car, but the power is indeed underwhelming.

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27 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Is this what we get with Toyota buying GM's majority ownership of Subaru. Bland boring Toytaish rides? Sorry but the auto in the pictures is very bland and conservative and does not inspire me the way Subaru under GM ownership did.

 

I am sorry, but you must be drunk if you think previous Subarus looked exciting.  They were always boring looking cars with jacked up performance.

AT least now they have decent interiors compared to previous generations.

Edited by ykX

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1 minute ago, ykX said:

I am sorry, but you must be drunk if you think previous Subarus looked exciting.  They were always boring looking cars with jacked up performance.

AT least now they have decent interiors compared to previous versions.

The current BRZ is a decent car.  If interior quality is what you want, buy a Mustang, it is orders of magnitude better in the interior department.

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1 minute ago, ykX said:

I am sorry, but you must be drunk if you think previous Subarus looked exciting.  They were always boring looking cars with jacked up performance.

AT least now they have decent interiors compared to previous versions.

:o Guess I know now you are more Drunk than me. The Toyota interiors and blah exteriors of today's auto's are worse than the ones under GM. I agree to disagree with you as today's are pathetic, especially their Crosstrek with the weird camera system they put at the top of the windshield.

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Just now, dfelt said:

:o Guess I know now you are more Drunk than me. The Toyota interiors and blah exteriors of today's auto's are worse than the ones under GM. I agree to disagree with you as today's are pathetic, especially their Crosstrek with the weird camera system they put at the top of the windshield.

Just FYI their EyeSight system considered one of the best if not the best out of today's active safety systems.  

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5 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

The dozens of people running autocrosses on Sunday morning.

Please tell me that's sarcasm. This package is totally overkill for autocross.

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Just now, ykX said:

Just FYI their EyeSight system considered one of the best if not the best out of today's active safety systems.  

That might be so, but it is poorly integrated into the auto and is distracting. plus having a coworker who got one for her husband who is a rabid Subaru fan, it cuts into the windshield vision for anyone that is over 5'8" tall and when you are inside of the auto, it looks like an afterthought of implementation into the auto. 

Again this looks like a shortcut of Toyota adding it as an option and poorly integrating it into the car.

I am glad it rates so well and people like it, but they are missing a major piece of how it integrates into the auto and the external vision it takes away. To me, this also leads to less attentive drivers who are more wanting to be in a self driving auto than actually drive.

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45 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

Please tell me that's sarcasm. This package is totally overkill for autocross.

Depends...we actually did an experiment with a highly modified Acura Integra running it with and without the wing.  Running it at even low speed with the wing made a small but noticeable difference, even accounting for different drivers and different track surfaces. I was thinking more along the lines of the Ecoboost Mustang actually.  For every day driving, the GTI, WRX, Ecoboost Mustang and the like are much more livable.  The few cards the BRZ has it plays very very well though.

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45 minutes ago, cp-the-nerd said:

Please tell me that's sarcasm. This package is totally overkill for autocross.

Actually, besides the wing it is perfect for the autocross:  better suspension, brakes and sticky tires.  And they make only 500 of these, so makes sense.

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5 minutes ago, ykX said:

Actually, besides the wing it is perfect for the autocross:  better suspension, brakes and sticky tires.  And they make only 500 of these, so makes sense.

Agreed. A big part of the fun back when I was running it was how close the competition was...often it came down to hundredths or thousandths of a second.

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22 hours ago, cp-the-nerd said:

Please tell me that's sarcasm. This package is totally overkill for autocross.

Actually the more I think about this the more it is clearly not overkill especially when it comes to Autocross. If all auto's are equipped the same, we truly get down to who is the better driver and reaction speeds.

Maybe the focus should be on driving skill and not the engine performance.

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23 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Actually the more I think about this the more it is clearly not overkill especially when it comes to Autocross. If all auto's are equipped the same, we truly get down to who is the better driver and reaction speeds.

Maybe the focus should be on driving skill and not the engine performance.

Autocross is for fast drivers, drag racing is for fast cars!

55 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

YAWN

You wouldn't be yawning if you were trying to find a few hundredths for the last run of the day...

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This car needed an optional turbo 2 years ago.

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6 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

This car needed an optional turbo 2 years ago.

I do agree, I think this engine is still under powered when you compare to competitive alternatives. Yes they have a higher trim, but I think Honda is still out of sync with the rest of the market. Yet for die hard Honda fans, this will still be a popular car for them.

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34 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

This car needed an optional turbo 2 years ago.

It then pushes the price point to where it would have to compete with the Golf R, 5.0 Mustang, V8 Camaro, WRX STI, Focus RS, and the like.  it would still be wildly out gunned.

35K will also buy a really nice used Vette or M series BMW.

The BRZ is a cheap light weight sports car, nothing more.  the funny thing is probably one decent amateur driver in 200 can drive a base Miata or BRZ to its full potential, and maybe 1 amateur driver in 500 can drive an Audi R8 or Corvette to its full potential.

In an alternative parallel universe, a bunch of sports cars and muscle cars are sitting around on internet forums complaining about the lack of talent and Cajones/ovaries of their owners/drivers.

"Gee if any of these humans had the skill and the nerve to keep their foot  in it and take that last apex at the limit...it's a wonder these humans can even breed...."

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Motor Trend just had Head to Head comparison between hardtop Miata and BRZ.  They mentioned many times how they enjoy these cars on twisty roads much more then any other high dollar/high horsepower cars they drove recently.  I guess  most people misunderstand joys of driving cars like that.  

To be honest, personally, when the time comes I probably will choose Mustang GT over the Miata, I would love to have them both but there something magical about having big V8 snarl.  Plus, having back seat for kids and bigger, more comfortable car are serious considerations.

Edited by ykX
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34 minutes ago, ykX said:

Motor Trend just had Head to Head comparison between hardtop Miata and BRZ.  They mentioned many times how they enjoy these cars on twisty roads much more then any other high dollar/high horsepower cars they drove recently.  I guess  most people misunderstand joys of driving cars like that.  

To be honest, personally, when the time comes I probably will choose Mustang GT over the Miata, I would love to have them both but there something magical about having big V8 snarl.  Plus, having back seat for kids and bigger, more comfortable car are serious considerations.

Ohhh I can totally see that.  The Mustang GT is a heck of a car...if the GTI and Miata are the good buys for 25K, a Mustang GT at roughly 10K more is the buy of the century for what it is. Going into the 40K plus range ones options open up...

But even then the Mustang has one of the best exhaust notes on the planet.

 

435 HP is hard to argue with....

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12 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Ohhh I can totally see that.  The Mustang GT is a heck of a car...if the GTI and Miata are the good buys for 25K, a Mustang GT at roughly 10K more is the buy of the century for what it is. Going into the 40K plus range ones options open up...

But even then the Mustang has one of the best exhaust notes on the planet.

 

435 HP is hard to argue with....

Nice but have to say there is a bit of Tiny sound in the exhaust that I am not a fan of. This shows how nice the Camaro and Challenger is and the 3rd auto is an MB and talk about sucky exhaust sound.

 

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21 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Ohhh I can totally see that.  The Mustang GT is a heck of a car...if the GTI and Miata are the good buys for 25K, a Mustang GT at roughly 10K more is the buy of the century for what it is. Going into the 40K plus range ones options open up...

I would only go for Miata Club which is about $30k, and that's puts it very close to either new Mustang GT with some nicely timed discounts or slightly used Mustang GT premium.

Anyway, personally I will not be in position to get either one for at least another 3-4 years, so ...

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35 minutes ago, ykX said:

I would only go for Miata Club which is about $30k, and that's puts it very close to either new Mustang GT with some nicely timed discounts or slightly used Mustang GT premium.

Anyway, personally I will not be in position to get either one for at least another 3-4 years, so ...

....so either beats the heck out of a fully loaded Altima...

51 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Nice but have to say there is a bit of Tiny sound in the exhaust that I am not a fan of. This shows how nice the Camaro and Challenger is and the 3rd auto is an MB and talk about sucky exhaust sound.

 

See I like the Mustang exhaust note better...I find it deeper and more melodic...

...and you can tell that Challenger is not a Ford Mustang because it didn't hit anything leaving the parking lot...

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Just now, A Horse With No Name said:

....so either beats the heck out of a fully loaded Altima...

Unless, you need 4-door sedan, and there are better choices then Altima for $30k :)

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      In the Audi e-tron, the brand introduces a new generation of quattro drive as standard: electric all-wheel drive. This new system enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in a variety of weather conditions and on challenging road surfaces. In a similar way to the mechanical quattro with ultra technology, the second axle – in this case, the one at the front – can be connected predictively. This happens if the driver requests more power than the rear electric motor can supply, or predictively even before grip noticeably declines in wintery conditions or in dynamic cornering. The electric motors are an ideal power source for the high-precision, ultrafast electric quattro. Torque can be controlled spontaneously – the output can be redistributed between the axles within a fraction of a second.
      Towards the limits of driving dynamics, torque vectoring enhances handling by means of brief wheel brake applications. The dynamic talents of the Audi e-tron are especially apparent on a low-friction surface, such as snow. For the first time in the e-tron, the quattro torque vectoring are integrated on the central suspension controller, distributing the torque with a slight rear bias.
      The innovative traction control regulates wheel slip by the millisecond directly via the electric motors’ power electronics. The powertrain control unit is integrated with the built-in brake control system and helps maintain an optimum power flow between tires and road surface. Together with the electric all-wheel drive, this produces the high traction and directional stability that are typical of an Audi. This is especially evident in the four-stage Electronic Stabilization Control, which offers the “sport” and “offroad” modes and can also be fully turned off when desired.
      The SUV’s driving character can be adjusted with the standard Audi drive select across seven profiles – from comfortable, through efficient, to distinctively sporty – according to the driving situation, road condition or personal requirements. Some of the modes also influence the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers.
      Depending on road speed and driving style the suspension adjusts the body’s ride height by up to 76 millimeters (3.0 in). Especially on long journeys, a lower ride height improves the air flow around the body, thus helping to increase range. In the “offroad” mode, the Audi e-tron is primed for driving away from paved roads: Its ground clearance is increased by 35 millimeters (1.4 in) compared with the standard level. If the driver activates the additional function “Raise” in Audi drive select, the body can adapt to another 15 millimeters (0.6 in) higher.
      The electric SUV is both uniquely dynamic and stable in changing driving conditions. The low position of the drive components helps in that regard: The battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi e-tron body and is located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. That places the Audi e-tron’s center of gravity a few centimeters lower down than in a conventional SUV.
      The axle load distribution is balanced at approximately 50:50, and self-steering behavior is neutral. The front and rear suspensions take the form of five-link designs. The standard progressive steering adjusts its ratio according to steering angle and provides speed-dependent assistance. The further the steering is turned, the more direct it becomes – this helps make the vehicle agile and precise to move with little effort. This advantage comes into play in city driving and for tight maneuvering.
      The optionally available trailer tow hitch can increase the Audi e-tron’s versatility, for example as a sport and leisure vehicle. When equipped with the tow package, the Audi e-tron has a maximum tow rating of 4000 lbs. It can also be used for mounting a cycle carrier, for example.
      95 kWh of energy: the high-voltage battery system
      The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and is 2.28 meters (90 inches) long, 1.63 meters (63.6 inches) wide and 34 centimeters (13.4 in) high. It comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoe box. They are arranged on two levels, known as “floors” –a longer lower floor and a shorter upper one. At market launch, each module is equipped with twelve pouch cells having a flexible outer skin of aluminum-coated polymer. The battery operates with a nominal voltage of 396 volts and stores 95 kWh of energy.
      A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery’s high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module. In what is a particularly resourceful solution, the gel evenly transfers the waste heat to the coolant via the battery housing.
      A strong surround frame and lattice-type aluminum structure that holds the cell modules is designed to protect the battery block. A substantial aluminum plate provides protection against damage from flying stones or curbs, for instance. These measures demonstrate how the Audi engineers have developed the batter and cooling systems with safety in mind. The weight of the battery system including the housing pan with intricate crash structures is roughly 700 kilograms (1543.2 lb). It is bolted to the underbody of the Audi e-tron at 35 points. This increases the torsional rigidity of the body, which in turn integrates numerous aluminum parts such as the floor plate in the rear structure, the doors, as well as the hood and tailgate. The cabin features components made from heat-formed ultra-high-strength steel.
      At up to 150 kW: charging on the move and at home
      Designed for efficiency and integration, the e-tron is engineered for both AC and DC charging via the widespread SAE J1772 and Combined Charging System (CCS) standards. In an industry first to-date, the e-tron debuts a DC fast charging capability of up to 150 kW available at select high-speed public charging stations, this capability can deliver up-to an 80 percent charge in only approximately 30 minutes.  For customers’ residential charging needs, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a fresh charge overnight. This charger will include plugs that can utilize both a standard 120-volt household outlet (1.2 kW) as well as a fast-speed 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet (9.6 kW).
      Audi e-tron buyers will have the opportunity to ready their homes for their all-electric SUV with available Amazon Home Services in the first-ever home charging collaboration between Amazon and an automaker. “Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services” offers e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of home charging set up as easy as ordering the millions of others items and services U.S. customers depend on from Amazon.
      Furthermore, customers can define their own personal priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive where available. With the myAudi app, it can be accessed from the convenience of the home. It can be used to plan, control, and monitor the charging and pre-heating/-cooling of the electric SUV. The customer can set a departure time, for example, so that the Audi e-tron is charged and/or heated/cooled at the desired time. Customers can even choose to heat or cool certain zones in the car. On cold winter days, for example, customers can turn on the optional seat heating. The app also displays charging and driving data.
      For charging on the go, the e-tron will be supported by a nationwide charging network, “Powered by Electrify America.” By July 2019, this network will include nearly 500 fast-charging sites complete or under development throughout 40 states and 17 metro areas. Offering advanced charging, Electrify America’s chargers are capable of delivering up to 350kW. With the purchase of the Audi   e-tron customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership.
      Place of relaxation: the interior
      The interior of the Audi e-tron represents performance, intelligence and lightness – attributes that are manifested in an array of details. A generous arc, the wraparound dash, envelops the stepped dashboard as far around as the sculptural door trims. The entire cabin has a strong driver orientation and in addition to the central Audi virtual cockpit featuring a slim, visually free-standing display, the two MMI touch response displays are angled towards the pilot. When off, the upper screen blends almost invisibly into the large black-panel surface. In clear contrast, the lower display sits on the broad center console. The central tunnel rests on open side panels and incorporates a storage compartment, cup holders as well as the standard Audi phone box for inductive smartphone charging. This solution combines lightness with functionality. The hand rest that incorporates the gear selector appears to float above the console. The driver selects the drive position in a one-touch action with a movement of the thumb and index finger.
      In every equipment line, the interior of the Audi e-tron presents exceptional upholstery materials, colors, and inlays. The Audi e-tron meets our highest quality standards in terms of interior build quality and choice of materials such as the available Valcona leather seats or the natural wood inlays. The stitching on the seats creates a motif that evokes the precision of electric circuit boards.
      Typically full-size: spacious and comfortable
      Not only does the interior have an airy design, it genuinely offers ample space. The Audi e-tron offers excellent interior packaging –interior length, second-row leg room, and headroom front and rear provide comfortable seating for five adults. In the rear, there is a flat plateau instead of the center tunnel usually found in conventional models –resulting in additional space.
      The luggage capacity totals 28.5 cu ft, including an additional handy storage compartment beneath the front lid. This storage space is designed to accommodate the vehicle tool kit and mobile charging cable. With the rear seat backs folded down, the Audi e-tron has up to 57.0 cu ft of luggage space. The tailgate can be opened and closed electrically as standard for ease of loading, and can be operated by a foot gesture when the key is in your pocket or purse.
      As well as the car’s spaciousness, its standard of comfort and convenience is what you would expect from a typical Audi. The standard panoramic glass sunroof helps keep the interior bright and intensifies the impression of airiness and space. In addition, four-zone automatic air conditioning is standard with the option for available air quality package. The latter helps to maintain premium air quality by means of an ionizer and aromatization, the intensity of which can be adjusted over several levels. Multi-adjustable customized contour front seats with massage function are available as well. The available contour/ambient lighting package creates highlights after dark: It illuminates surfaces softly, edges sharply, and also back-lights the e-tron badge on the dashboard.
      A new level: acoustics and sound
      With its combination of electric drive and a comfortable, sophisticated interior, the Audi e-tron creates a new feeling for mobility. Especially when driving in the city, it radiates an almost perfect sense of calm. The only sounds are from its tires and the gentle hum of the electric motors.
      The body has special soundproofing in all zones that could transmit noise interference and help reduce wind vibrations. This makes the Audi e-tron the perfect platform for the standard Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 3D sound in the front. It allows the music to be enjoyed precisely how it was recorded.
      Digital world: operation and displays
      In keeping with the all-new Audi C and D segment portfolio, the Audi e-tron features the MMI touch response operating system. Its two large, high-resolution displays – the upper one with a diagonal of 10.1 inches and the lower one 8.6 inches – take the place of almost all conventional switches and controls. Operation is swift and simple: When the finger activates a function, it triggers a tactile and acoustic click by way of confirmation. The few remaining buttons, for example for the lights, are also available with touch response technology if desired.
      In the upper display, the driver controls the infotainment, telephone, navigation, and special e-tron settings – this allows the activation of a charging timer or specifying the type of desired recuperation, for example. In the lower screen text input, comfort function selections and the HVAC are all managed with the wrist resting comfortably on the gear selector lever with integrated support. The menu structure is intuitively logical and flat like on a smartphone, including freely configurable favorites and start screens.
      In addition, the driver can activate a wide range of functions using natural language recognition. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or can be delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The system understands spoken commands; the dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices, and also defers to the speaker when interrupted.
      Alexa has been fully integrated into the MMI system and is on board for customers to access the many of the same features and services in the Audi e-tron as they can in their home or through other Alexa-enabled devices. You can check news, weather and sports scores, order groceries and add things to your to-do list, stream music and audiobooks via Audible, Amazon Music and TuneIn. And you access the wide variety of Alexa skills. And with smart home controls, you can lock the doors, turn off the lights, and close the garage door directly from the vehicle – all you have to do is ask.
      The digital display and operating concept in the Audi e-tron is rounded off by the standard feature of the Audi virtual cockpit, which can be operated from the multifunction steering wheel. Its display benefits from the very high resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels and new e-tron-specific graphics. The driver can choose between three views: In the classic view, the power meter and speedometer are presented as large dials; in the infotainment view, they appear smaller and the focus is on the navigation map. Additionally, with the standard Audi virtual cockpit plus an additional view is shown that puts the power meter center stage. The head-up display complements the displays as an option. It projects important information straight onto the windscreen.
      Top-caliber connectivity: navigation, Audi connect
      The Audi e-tron is equipped with MMI Navigation plus as standard. The top-end media center supports the high-speed data transmission through LTE Advanced with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers’ mobile devices through a 6-month unlimited Audi connect PLUS trial subscription. The navigation system can make predictive destination suggestions based on previous journeys. The route is calculated both on-board in the car and online on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, using real-time data for the overall traffic conditions.
      The online services of Audi connect PRIME ideally complement the navigation system, especially the e-tron route planner. The customer can use it either in the in-car MMI touch system or in the myAudi app. In both cases they are shown the suggested route with the available charging points. The navigation system considers not only the battery’s charge but also the traffic conditions and includes the required charging time in its arrival time calculation. The e-tron route planner provides charge locations as part of the route planning.
      Arrive more relaxed with comprehensive driver assistance systems
      Whether parking, in the city or on long journeys, the Audi e-tron can make life easier for its driver in life’s many situations. The system at the heart of the optional Driver Assistance Package is adaptive cruise assist, which comfortably provides longitudinal and lateral control in traffic jams or at highway speeds. It supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance. The system can detect lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. In construction zones, the Audi e-tron automatically adapts its speed to the traffic situation, taking into account the speed limit. If the lane is too narrow to allow side-by-side driving, adaptive cruise assist enables offset driving through narrow stretches. In conjunction with efficiency assist it predictively slows down and accelerates the Audi e-tron based on its evaluation of sensor and navigation data as well as road signs. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts. The system can maintain a driving style that reflects the driving program selected – from every day to sporty.
      Driver assistance features for urban areas include intersection assist, rear cross traffic assist as well as lane change and vehicle exit warning. The 360 degree cameras provide multiple views to facilitate centimeter-precision maneuvering, while showing crossing traffic. The 3D view with freely selectable perspective is the highlight. Park steering assist eases the parking process. It steers the Audi e-tron independently into parallel parking and perpendicular parking spaces – forward or backward. The driver only has to accelerate, select the gear and brake.
      Operating as standard behind the driver assistance systems in the Audi e-tron is the central driver assistance controller. It continuously computes a differentiated picture of the surroundings. The required data is obtained – depending on the selected options – from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors and the laser scanner.
      e-tron Reservation System
      Accompanying the debut of the e-tron, customers are now able to configure their e-tron and reserve their vehicle with a fully refundable $1,000 reservation fee ahead of delivery in mid-2019.
      This new Audi reservation system is part of how Audi of America will create a digital ecosystem for Audi owners to confidently go electric. After customers place a reservation, they will be able to track it online and with their local dealer.
      As an electric SUV that includes integrated digital tools, in-home charging solutions, and the support of Audi of America’s 303 dealer partners —e-tron owners can confidently choose electric performance knowing they have the support of a full Audi ecosystem.
      Pricing & Equipment:
      The Audi e-tron is being will arrive in the US during the 2nd quarter of 2019. The entry Premium Plus trim is very well equipped to appeal to premium buyers and make going electric easier than ever. Available premium equipment such as available massage and cooled seats no longer need to be left out when going electric.  
      To celebrate our first electric vehicle, we are introducing a limited build First Edition model in the US, with only 999 units making their way to the US market. The special equipment combination includes Daytona Gray exterior, 21-inch bi-color Black wheels, Alu-Optic exterior trim complemented by Dynamic orange brake calipers matching the Dynamic orange highlights surrounding the e-tron nameplate lettering located near the charge port. The interior is further elevated from the standard e-tron offering through Black Valcona leather with gray contrast stitch and Volcano Gray Ash Natural Wood inlays.
      Model year 2019 e-tron manufacturer suggested retail prices are listed below:
      PREMIUM PLUS
      PRESTIGE
      FIRST EDITION
      $74,800
      $81,800
      $86,700
      20-inch wheels w/ all-season tires Top view camera system Comfort pre-conditioning Audi side assist w/ cross-traffic alert Full LED exterior + interior lighting Matrix design headlamps MMI Navigation plus w/ virtual cockpit 3D 705W B&O Sound w/16 speakers Audi phonebox + smartphone interface 12-way power front seats, heated + cooled 4-spoke power adj. steering wheel Leather seating surfaces Illuminated aluminum door sills Panoramic sunroof Premium Plus equipment and the following:
      Head-up display Driver Assistance package Individual Contour seats w/ massage Power-door closers Rear window sunshades Dual-pane acoustic front side windows Valcona Leather + extended leather Memory for front passenger seat Air quality package + ionizer  
      Prestige equipment and the following:
      21-inch bi-color Black wheels, A/S tires Daytona Gray pearl effect paint Alu-Optic exterior trim (sills, air inlet, diffuser) Dynamic orange painted brake calipers Black Valcona leather interior w/gray contrast stitching Volcano Gray Ash Natural Wood inlays LED puddle lamp “edition one” projection Night Vision Assistant  
      Prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices and do not include destination and delivery ($995), taxes, title, options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.
      Production and U.S. Market launch
      The Audi e-tron will be manufactured in the brand new Audi Brussels facility, which was certified as CO2 neutral by the Belgian testing company Vincotte and will begin deliveries in the U.S. market in the 2nd quarter of 2019.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      September has become electric-vehiclepalooza as various automakers have revealed either production or concept electric vehicles. Audi is the latest automaker to join this as last night, they unveiled the 2019 e-tron crossover.
      Unlike the Jaguar I-Pace or Mercedes-Benz EQ C, the e-tron looks very conventional. The basic shape, grille, and lighting fits in line with Audi's other crossovers. There are some little touches that reveal this isn't your normal crossover such as the closed-off grille and aerodynamically optimized 20-inch alloy wheels. One item that the U.S. version will miss out on are the cameras that take the place of the side-view mirrors. Audi is working with regulators to get approval for them.
      The interior is instantly recognizable as an Audi with a modern design for the dash and dual-screen layout for the infotainment. One interesting touch is the uniquely styled wrist-rest on the center console that has a toggle on the edge for switching gears.
      The e-tron's drive system is comprised of two electric motors, one powering each axle. Audi hasn't published official power figures for the e-tron, but said it will hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 124 mph. Audi will also be offering a towing package for the e-tron that will allow it to tow a max amount of 4,000 pounds. Depending on the load, the e-tron can be driven on just the rear motor. The front motor will kick on when more power is needed or the quattro system detects a loss of traction.
      A 95-kWh battery pack sits between the two electric motors. Audi hasn't revealed range for the U.S. e-tron, but did say the European-market version will travel up to 248 miles based on WTLP testing. All e-trons will come with a home charger that can support charging via 120-volt or 240-volt outlets. The model also supports DC fast charging via the SAE Combo plug and will be the first vehicle that can take advantage of 150 kW charging - currently the max amount is 90 kW on the SAE Combo plug. Audi is partnering with Electrify America (the company set up by Volkswagen as part of the diesel emission settlement) to provide 1,000 kWh of no-cost charging to e-tron buyers. Electrify America is planning to build out 500 charging stations throughout 40 states and 17 metro areas. 
      Pricing for the e-tron is as followed,
      Prestige: $75,795 Prestige Plus: $82,795 Edition One: $87,695 All prices include a $995 destination charge. Audi says the e-tron will be eligible for $7,500 Federal tax credit.
      Those interested in picking up an e-tron can head down to their Audi dealer to pre-order one a place $1,000 deposit. Deliveries are expected to begin next spring.
      Source: Audi


      Electric goes Audi: all-electric Audi e-tron SUV unveiled and available for US customers to place reservations
      First all-electric, fastest charging Audi e-tron SUV makes global debut and is available for customers to place reservations Audi e-tron is a spacious five-seater, electric mid-sized premium SUV that is very well equipped to meet premium buyer expectations Innovative battery design engineered for repeatable performance, longevity, and safety as well as highest levels of Audi infotainment and driver assistance systems Customers can enjoy the convenience of exclusive home charging installation through Amazon Home Services and complimentary 1000 kWh of charge powered by Electrify America. HERNDON, Va., September 17, 2018 – With the introduction of the Audi e-tron, the Audi brand presents its first fully electric production model. The mid-size SUV is electrified, performance oriented and fit for every aspect of daily life. In combination with a comprehensive range of available charging solutions for home and on the move, customers can enjoy fully electric driving without compromise.
      The Audi e-tron is an electric SUV for sport, family and leisure. It is 193 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 65.5 inches high. It offers the spaciousness and comfort commensurate with an Audi. With a wheelbase of 115.1 inches, the Audi e-tron has ample space for five occupants and cargo. The total luggage capacity is 28.5 cu ft. (57.0 cu ft. seats down), equipping the electric SUV for short jaunts and long road trips.
      Electrification visualized: the exterior design
      The Audi e-tron reflects the fundamental idiom of Audi design – translated into the electric age by new, stylistically refined aerodynamically focused details. Consistent with one of the brand’s SUV models, the Audi e-tron bears the octagonal-design Singleframe grille with vertical struts. Its uniquely enclosed grille is presented in platinum gray – identifying it as a fully electric model. At the lower edge of the standard LED headlights, four horizontal struts, reminiscent of a charging status indicators, create the e-tron-specific signature in the daytime running lights. For the first time this is integrated directly into the headlights. Light is used as a signature design feature.
      Another important design element is the continuous shoulder line. It extends from the headlights, along the flanks, to the rear lights, giving the Audi e-tron a sense of stature and presence. The expressive design approach of the sill area with the black inserts on the door trim visualizes the location of the battery and thus the energy center of the Audi e-tron. Meanwhile, the roof stretches across the muscular body, which displays clear SUV attributes with its quattro blisters over the wheels and prominent D-pillars.
      At the sculptural rear, the long roof spoiler and wide diffuser accentuate the sporty look. One distinct element on the e-tron is the light strip connecting the LED rear taillights, consistent with the brand’s D segment offerings including the Audi A7, A8 and Q8. With their horizontal emphasis, the tail lights echo the graphics of the daytime running lights that are graphical representation of full battery charge. Meanwhile the four cross-slats in the diffuser draw attention to the absence of tailpipes, another reference to the fully electric drive.
      Every detail matters: aerodynamics and efficiency
      When developing the Audi e-tron, the exterior designers worked in close collaboration with the aerodynamics experts. The result of this attention to aero is an array of high-tech efficiency solutions, such as the regulated cooling air inlet with ducts for cooling the front brakes and the adaptive, speed-dependent air suspension that is standard on the Audi e-tron. The standard-fit 20-inch wheels are aerodynamically optimized and fitted with 255/50 tires. These are especially engineered for their ultralow rolling resistance. The fully clad underbody including aluminum plate to help protect the high-voltage battery likewise plays a vital role in lowering drag. The screw connection points are recessed to deliberately create minor vortices so that the air flows even better.
      In addition to aerodynamics, thermal management has an important role to play. The standard equipped heat pump uses the waste heat from the electrical components – up to 3 kW of the actual power loss are used for cabin heating and air conditioning as well as cooling the electric motor. Depending on ambient temperature, the heat pump’s design at can help contribute to the Audi e-tron range by up to ten percent. Highly flexible thermal management also allows fast direct-current charging to help maintain a long battery operating life and repeatable road performance.
      Sporty efficiency: drive and recuperation
      From high-efficiency to high-performance – the particularly appealing component of the Audi e-tron’s drive is its breadth. The two electric motors accelerate the e-tron from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph.  The advantage of the electric motor is felt especially in its impressive off-the-line starting performance from a standstill. The maximum drive torque is reached in 250 milliseconds – a performance worthy of a sports car. US horsepower and torque figures will be available closer to launch.
      The two asynchronous motors (ASM) of the Audi e-tron are especially robust. Their sophisticated cooling concept is designed to keep the temperature level low. Single-stage transmissions transfer the torque to the axles via the differentials. Each motor is supplied by power electronics that act in close consort with the powertrain control unit. When the Audi e-tron is traveling at moderate speeds, in the interest of efficiency it is powered mainly by the rear motor. When coasting, the motors operate free from magnetic drag torque – another strength of ASM technology.
      The Audi e-tron uses an innovative recuperation system encompassing both electric motors, to boost efficiency. On average, our engineers estimate that this system is responsible for as much as 30 percent of the e-tron’s range depending on the conditions, terrain and driving style. The electric SUV can recover energy in two ways: by means of coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by means of braking recuperation by depressing the brake pedal. When pressing the brake pedal, the electronic control unit computes within milliseconds how much pressure the system needs to build up for the specific braking process required. A high-performance electric motor supplies the necessary energy. The integrated brake control system is approximately 30 percent lighter than a conventional system thanks to its more compact design. The conventional vacuum pump is no longer needed in this configuration.
      According to the driving situation, the brake control system decides whether to use the electric motors as alternators or to use the friction brakes – all without the driver noticing. Up to 0.3 g, the Audi e-tron is decelerated solely by the electric motors – that covers over 90 percent of braking scenarios. So energy is returned to the battery in practically all normal braking instances. Above this deceleration value, for example in a full brake application, the friction brakes come into play. Thanks to a newly designed electro-hydraulic activation principle, they are particularly quick to respond. The driver can select the degree of energy recovery in three stages by means of paddles on the steering wheel. In the lowest setting, the Audi e-tron glides with no additional braking torque. At the highest stage the electric SUV is slowed more noticeably – the driver can slow down and accelerate solely via the acceleration pedal, if desired. This creates what is referred to as a one-pedal feeling.
      The efficiency assist additionally promotes an economical driving style by prompting the driver when he should move his foot off of the accelerator pedal. It does this by using the navigation system’s route data, radar information and camera images, Depending on the traffic situation the predictive system makes the Audi e-tron slow down proactively and in turn, recuperate.
      Strong performance on a variety road surfaces: electric all-wheel drive and suspension
      In the Audi e-tron, the brand introduces a new generation of quattro drive as standard: electric all-wheel drive. This new system enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in a variety of weather conditions and on challenging road surfaces. In a similar way to the mechanical quattro with ultra technology, the second axle – in this case, the one at the front – can be connected predictively. This happens if the driver requests more power than the rear electric motor can supply, or predictively even before grip noticeably declines in wintery conditions or in dynamic cornering. The electric motors are an ideal power source for the high-precision, ultrafast electric quattro. Torque can be controlled spontaneously – the output can be redistributed between the axles within a fraction of a second.
      Towards the limits of driving dynamics, torque vectoring enhances handling by means of brief wheel brake applications. The dynamic talents of the Audi e-tron are especially apparent on a low-friction surface, such as snow. For the first time in the e-tron, the quattro torque vectoring are integrated on the central suspension controller, distributing the torque with a slight rear bias.
      The innovative traction control regulates wheel slip by the millisecond directly via the electric motors’ power electronics. The powertrain control unit is integrated with the built-in brake control system and helps maintain an optimum power flow between tires and road surface. Together with the electric all-wheel drive, this produces the high traction and directional stability that are typical of an Audi. This is especially evident in the four-stage Electronic Stabilization Control, which offers the “sport” and “offroad” modes and can also be fully turned off when desired.
      The SUV’s driving character can be adjusted with the standard Audi drive select across seven profiles – from comfortable, through efficient, to distinctively sporty – according to the driving situation, road condition or personal requirements. Some of the modes also influence the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers.
      Depending on road speed and driving style the suspension adjusts the body’s ride height by up to 76 millimeters (3.0 in). Especially on long journeys, a lower ride height improves the air flow around the body, thus helping to increase range. In the “offroad” mode, the Audi e-tron is primed for driving away from paved roads: Its ground clearance is increased by 35 millimeters (1.4 in) compared with the standard level. If the driver activates the additional function “Raise” in Audi drive select, the body can adapt to another 15 millimeters (0.6 in) higher.
      The electric SUV is both uniquely dynamic and stable in changing driving conditions. The low position of the drive components helps in that regard: The battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi e-tron body and is located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. That places the Audi e-tron’s center of gravity a few centimeters lower down than in a conventional SUV.
      The axle load distribution is balanced at approximately 50:50, and self-steering behavior is neutral. The front and rear suspensions take the form of five-link designs. The standard progressive steering adjusts its ratio according to steering angle and provides speed-dependent assistance. The further the steering is turned, the more direct it becomes – this helps make the vehicle agile and precise to move with little effort. This advantage comes into play in city driving and for tight maneuvering.
      The optionally available trailer tow hitch can increase the Audi e-tron’s versatility, for example as a sport and leisure vehicle. When equipped with the tow package, the Audi e-tron has a maximum tow rating of 4000 lbs. It can also be used for mounting a cycle carrier, for example.
      95 kWh of energy: the high-voltage battery system
      The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and is 2.28 meters (90 inches) long, 1.63 meters (63.6 inches) wide and 34 centimeters (13.4 in) high. It comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoe box. They are arranged on two levels, known as “floors” –a longer lower floor and a shorter upper one. At market launch, each module is equipped with twelve pouch cells having a flexible outer skin of aluminum-coated polymer. The battery operates with a nominal voltage of 396 volts and stores 95 kWh of energy.
      A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery’s high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module. In what is a particularly resourceful solution, the gel evenly transfers the waste heat to the coolant via the battery housing.
      A strong surround frame and lattice-type aluminum structure that holds the cell modules is designed to protect the battery block. A substantial aluminum plate provides protection against damage from flying stones or curbs, for instance. These measures demonstrate how the Audi engineers have developed the batter and cooling systems with safety in mind. The weight of the battery system including the housing pan with intricate crash structures is roughly 700 kilograms (1543.2 lb). It is bolted to the underbody of the Audi e-tron at 35 points. This increases the torsional rigidity of the body, which in turn integrates numerous aluminum parts such as the floor plate in the rear structure, the doors, as well as the hood and tailgate. The cabin features components made from heat-formed ultra-high-strength steel.
      At up to 150 kW: charging on the move and at home
      Designed for efficiency and integration, the e-tron is engineered for both AC and DC charging via the widespread SAE J1772 and Combined Charging System (CCS) standards. In an industry first to-date, the e-tron debuts a DC fast charging capability of up to 150 kW available at select high-speed public charging stations, this capability can deliver up-to an 80 percent charge in only approximately 30 minutes.  For customers’ residential charging needs, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a fresh charge overnight. This charger will include plugs that can utilize both a standard 120-volt household outlet (1.2 kW) as well as a fast-speed 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet (9.6 kW).
      Audi e-tron buyers will have the opportunity to ready their homes for their all-electric SUV with available Amazon Home Services in the first-ever home charging collaboration between Amazon and an automaker. “Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services” offers e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of home charging set up as easy as ordering the millions of others items and services U.S. customers depend on from Amazon.
      Furthermore, customers can define their own personal priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive where available. With the myAudi app, it can be accessed from the convenience of the home. It can be used to plan, control, and monitor the charging and pre-heating/-cooling of the electric SUV. The customer can set a departure time, for example, so that the Audi e-tron is charged and/or heated/cooled at the desired time. Customers can even choose to heat or cool certain zones in the car. On cold winter days, for example, customers can turn on the optional seat heating. The app also displays charging and driving data.
      For charging on the go, the e-tron will be supported by a nationwide charging network, “Powered by Electrify America.” By July 2019, this network will include nearly 500 fast-charging sites complete or under development throughout 40 states and 17 metro areas. Offering advanced charging, Electrify America’s chargers are capable of delivering up to 350kW. With the purchase of the Audi   e-tron customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership.
      Place of relaxation: the interior
      The interior of the Audi e-tron represents performance, intelligence and lightness – attributes that are manifested in an array of details. A generous arc, the wraparound dash, envelops the stepped dashboard as far around as the sculptural door trims. The entire cabin has a strong driver orientation and in addition to the central Audi virtual cockpit featuring a slim, visually free-standing display, the two MMI touch response displays are angled towards the pilot. When off, the upper screen blends almost invisibly into the large black-panel surface. In clear contrast, the lower display sits on the broad center console. The central tunnel rests on open side panels and incorporates a storage compartment, cup holders as well as the standard Audi phone box for inductive smartphone charging. This solution combines lightness with functionality. The hand rest that incorporates the gear selector appears to float above the console. The driver selects the drive position in a one-touch action with a movement of the thumb and index finger.
      In every equipment line, the interior of the Audi e-tron presents exceptional upholstery materials, colors, and inlays. The Audi e-tron meets our highest quality standards in terms of interior build quality and choice of materials such as the available Valcona leather seats or the natural wood inlays. The stitching on the seats creates a motif that evokes the precision of electric circuit boards.
      Typically full-size: spacious and comfortable
      Not only does the interior have an airy design, it genuinely offers ample space. The Audi e-tron offers excellent interior packaging –interior length, second-row leg room, and headroom front and rear provide comfortable seating for five adults. In the rear, there is a flat plateau instead of the center tunnel usually found in conventional models –resulting in additional space.
      The luggage capacity totals 28.5 cu ft, including an additional handy storage compartment beneath the front lid. This storage space is designed to accommodate the vehicle tool kit and mobile charging cable. With the rear seat backs folded down, the Audi e-tron has up to 57.0 cu ft of luggage space. The tailgate can be opened and closed electrically as standard for ease of loading, and can be operated by a foot gesture when the key is in your pocket or purse.
      As well as the car’s spaciousness, its standard of comfort and convenience is what you would expect from a typical Audi. The standard panoramic glass sunroof helps keep the interior bright and intensifies the impression of airiness and space. In addition, four-zone automatic air conditioning is standard with the option for available air quality package. The latter helps to maintain premium air quality by means of an ionizer and aromatization, the intensity of which can be adjusted over several levels. Multi-adjustable customized contour front seats with massage function are available as well. The available contour/ambient lighting package creates highlights after dark: It illuminates surfaces softly, edges sharply, and also back-lights the e-tron badge on the dashboard.
      A new level: acoustics and sound
      With its combination of electric drive and a comfortable, sophisticated interior, the Audi e-tron creates a new feeling for mobility. Especially when driving in the city, it radiates an almost perfect sense of calm. The only sounds are from its tires and the gentle hum of the electric motors.
      The body has special soundproofing in all zones that could transmit noise interference and help reduce wind vibrations. This makes the Audi e-tron the perfect platform for the standard Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 3D sound in the front. It allows the music to be enjoyed precisely how it was recorded.
      Digital world: operation and displays
      In keeping with the all-new Audi C and D segment portfolio, the Audi e-tron features the MMI touch response operating system. Its two large, high-resolution displays – the upper one with a diagonal of 10.1 inches and the lower one 8.6 inches – take the place of almost all conventional switches and controls. Operation is swift and simple: When the finger activates a function, it triggers a tactile and acoustic click by way of confirmation. The few remaining buttons, for example for the lights, are also available with touch response technology if desired.
      In the upper display, the driver controls the infotainment, telephone, navigation, and special e-tron settings – this allows the activation of a charging timer or specifying the type of desired recuperation, for example. In the lower screen text input, comfort function selections and the HVAC are all managed with the wrist resting comfortably on the gear selector lever with integrated support. The menu structure is intuitively logical and flat like on a smartphone, including freely configurable favorites and start screens.
      In addition, the driver can activate a wide range of functions using natural language recognition. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or can be delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The system understands spoken commands; the dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices, and also defers to the speaker when interrupted.
      Alexa has been fully integrated into the MMI system and is on board for customers to access the many of the same features and services in the Audi e-tron as they can in their home or through other Alexa-enabled devices. You can check news, weather and sports scores, order groceries and add things to your to-do list, stream music and audiobooks via Audible, Amazon Music and TuneIn. And you access the wide variety of Alexa skills. And with smart home controls, you can lock the doors, turn off the lights, and close the garage door directly from the vehicle – all you have to do is ask.
      The digital display and operating concept in the Audi e-tron is rounded off by the standard feature of the Audi virtual cockpit, which can be operated from the multifunction steering wheel. Its display benefits from the very high resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels and new e-tron-specific graphics. The driver can choose between three views: In the classic view, the power meter and speedometer are presented as large dials; in the infotainment view, they appear smaller and the focus is on the navigation map. Additionally, with the standard Audi virtual cockpit plus an additional view is shown that puts the power meter center stage. The head-up display complements the displays as an option. It projects important information straight onto the windscreen.
      Top-caliber connectivity: navigation, Audi connect
      The Audi e-tron is equipped with MMI Navigation plus as standard. The top-end media center supports the high-speed data transmission through LTE Advanced with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers’ mobile devices through a 6-month unlimited Audi connect PLUS trial subscription. The navigation system can make predictive destination suggestions based on previous journeys. The route is calculated both on-board in the car and online on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, using real-time data for the overall traffic conditions.
      The online services of Audi connect PRIME ideally complement the navigation system, especially the e-tron route planner. The customer can use it either in the in-car MMI touch system or in the myAudi app. In both cases they are shown the suggested route with the available charging points. The navigation system considers not only the battery’s charge but also the traffic conditions and includes the required charging time in its arrival time calculation. The e-tron route planner provides charge locations as part of the route planning.
      Arrive more relaxed with comprehensive driver assistance systems
      Whether parking, in the city or on long journeys, the Audi e-tron can make life easier for its driver in life’s many situations. The system at the heart of the optional Driver Assistance Package is adaptive cruise assist, which comfortably provides longitudinal and lateral control in traffic jams or at highway speeds. It supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance. The system can detect lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. In construction zones, the Audi e-tron automatically adapts its speed to the traffic situation, taking into account the speed limit. If the lane is too narrow to allow side-by-side driving, adaptive cruise assist enables offset driving through narrow stretches. In conjunction with efficiency assist it predictively slows down and accelerates the Audi e-tron based on its evaluation of sensor and navigation data as well as road signs. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts. The system can maintain a driving style that reflects the driving program selected – from every day to sporty.
      Driver assistance features for urban areas include intersection assist, rear cross traffic assist as well as lane change and vehicle exit warning. The 360 degree cameras provide multiple views to facilitate centimeter-precision maneuvering, while showing crossing traffic. The 3D view with freely selectable perspective is the highlight. Park steering assist eases the parking process. It steers the Audi e-tron independently into parallel parking and perpendicular parking spaces – forward or backward. The driver only has to accelerate, select the gear and brake.
      Operating as standard behind the driver assistance systems in the Audi e-tron is the central driver assistance controller. It continuously computes a differentiated picture of the surroundings. The required data is obtained – depending on the selected options – from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors and the laser scanner.
      e-tron Reservation System
      Accompanying the debut of the e-tron, customers are now able to configure their e-tron and reserve their vehicle with a fully refundable $1,000 reservation fee ahead of delivery in mid-2019.
      This new Audi reservation system is part of how Audi of America will create a digital ecosystem for Audi owners to confidently go electric. After customers place a reservation, they will be able to track it online and with their local dealer.
      As an electric SUV that includes integrated digital tools, in-home charging solutions, and the support of Audi of America’s 303 dealer partners —e-tron owners can confidently choose electric performance knowing they have the support of a full Audi ecosystem.
      Pricing & Equipment:
      The Audi e-tron is being will arrive in the US during the 2nd quarter of 2019. The entry Premium Plus trim is very well equipped to appeal to premium buyers and make going electric easier than ever. Available premium equipment such as available massage and cooled seats no longer need to be left out when going electric.  
      To celebrate our first electric vehicle, we are introducing a limited build First Edition model in the US, with only 999 units making their way to the US market. The special equipment combination includes Daytona Gray exterior, 21-inch bi-color Black wheels, Alu-Optic exterior trim complemented by Dynamic orange brake calipers matching the Dynamic orange highlights surrounding the e-tron nameplate lettering located near the charge port. The interior is further elevated from the standard e-tron offering through Black Valcona leather with gray contrast stitch and Volcano Gray Ash Natural Wood inlays.
      Model year 2019 e-tron manufacturer suggested retail prices are listed below:
      PREMIUM PLUS
      PRESTIGE
      FIRST EDITION
      $74,800
      $81,800
      $86,700
      20-inch wheels w/ all-season tires Top view camera system Comfort pre-conditioning Audi side assist w/ cross-traffic alert Full LED exterior + interior lighting Matrix design headlamps MMI Navigation plus w/ virtual cockpit 3D 705W B&O Sound w/16 speakers Audi phonebox + smartphone interface 12-way power front seats, heated + cooled 4-spoke power adj. steering wheel Leather seating surfaces Illuminated aluminum door sills Panoramic sunroof Premium Plus equipment and the following:
      Head-up display Driver Assistance package Individual Contour seats w/ massage Power-door closers Rear window sunshades Dual-pane acoustic front side windows Valcona Leather + extended leather Memory for front passenger seat Air quality package + ionizer  
      Prestige equipment and the following:
      21-inch bi-color Black wheels, A/S tires Daytona Gray pearl effect paint Alu-Optic exterior trim (sills, air inlet, diffuser) Dynamic orange painted brake calipers Black Valcona leather interior w/gray contrast stitching Volcano Gray Ash Natural Wood inlays LED puddle lamp “edition one” projection Night Vision Assistant  
      Prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices and do not include destination and delivery ($995), taxes, title, options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.
      Production and U.S. Market launch
      The Audi e-tron will be manufactured in the brand new Audi Brussels facility, which was certified as CO2 neutral by the Belgian testing company Vincotte and will begin deliveries in the U.S. market in the 2nd quarter of 2019.
    • By William Maley
      By 2025, BMW is planning to have 25 electrified vehicles in its lineup - 12 being full electric. One of those models will look somewhat similar to the Vision iNext concept that has been revealed today.
      Lets address the elephant in the room, the exterior design. The overall shape is very polarizing (we know, huge understatement) with a grotesque take on BMW's iconic double kidney grille, square fenders, large glass area, and wheels that looked liked they were pulled off from a fan. No side view mirrors are to be found - instead a set of cameras handle that. There are also door handles. Instead, the surface of the car will light up, indicating where to touch to open the doors.
      Moving inside, BMW's designers went for a wide-open lounge design with an end table masquerading as a center console and the backseat looking more like a love seat. The steering wheel and pedals can pop out or tuck away with a touch of the BMW logo on the transmission selector. Two large screens dominate the dash - the smaller one serves as the instrument cluster and the larger one is for the infotainment system. 
      BMW has also fitted some interesting tech to the Vision iNext. The rear seat has integrated touch control surfaces and LED lighting that allows a passenger gestures to control certain functions. For example, you can turn on the audio system by drawing a musical note. Intelligent Beam is a projector over the rear seat can turn any surface - like a piece of paper into an interactive screen. The image follows whatever object it is being projected on, meaning you don't have to hold it steady. BMW has also fitted a Intelligent Personal Assistant like Apple's Siri. It responds you when you say "Hey BMW' and allows you to control various functions.
      BMW hasn't detail the Vision iNext's powertrain, but did reveal that it has Level 3 autonomous capability.
      A production model that will carry a number of traits from the Vision iNext will launch in 2021.
      Source: BMW


      The BMW Vision iNEXT. Future focused.
      At the BMW AG Annual General Meeting in May 2018, Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at the BMW Group, described iNext as follows: “The iNEXT project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit.”

      iNEXT addresses the big question that is at the heart of the BMW Group’s day-to-day work: “How will we be moving around in future?” iNEXT builds resolutely on the idea that first took shape in 2007 with “project i” and evolved into the launch of the BMW i3 in 2013. The BMW Group has already achieved a great deal on this front: it now has over ten years of experience with electric mobility under its belt in both small-scale and large-scale production, the BMW i models are being improved all the time, and their technology is being employed to gradually electrify models from the BMW and MINI ranges. The next step now is the complete in-car integration of the strategic innovation fields Autonomy + Connectivity + Electric + Services. 

      The Design, meanwhile, is a visual expression of the innovation fields and answers the question about what the driving pleasure experience is going to look like in future. The car we know today as BMW iNEXT will come onto the market in 2021.
      The BMW Vision iNEXT.
      “The BMW Vision iNEXT represents a new era of sheer driving pleasure,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “It underlines the leading role Germany plays in the future of mobility.”

      Highly automated, emission-free and fully connected, it brings together the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields into a Vision Vehicle for the first time and provides revealing answers to the question: “What does a vehicle look like which no longer needs to be driven by a person but can be if desired?” At the heart of such deliberations are, more than ever, people – with all their emotions and desires.
      The series-produced version of the BMW iNEXT will assume the role of a new technology flagship; production at Plant Dingolfing is slated to begin in 2021. It will take the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields (“D+ACES”) onto the road for the first time as a single package. 
      A future-focused Vision Vehicle – the BMW Vision iNEXT – provides a tangible preview of how the BMW iNEXT might look. “Personal mobility is set to experience significant change,” explains Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development. “The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey. With this in mind, we have designed the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new “Favourite Space” in which we can be ourselves and relax. Indeed, all of BMW’s endeavours will continue to revolve around people – and their needs and desires when it comes to mobility – in the future,” adds Fröhlich.
      Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design sums up the creative approach: “BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas which transform the way we think about mobility. The BMW Vision iNEXT marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.”
      The exterior – modern elegance, expressed with confidence.
      Boasting the size and proportions of a modern BMW SAV, the BMW Vision iNEXT cuts an authoritative figure. The vehicle instantly conveys its trailblazing character through clearly sculpted forms and surfaces. Striking paintwork and sophisticated details strengthen this impression further. The Liquid Greyrose Copper exterior gradually changes in shade from warm copper to dark rose and injects the vehicle with dynamic flair even when stationary.
      The large, interlinked double-kidney grille, the iconic side window graphic, and the blue accent surfaces at the front, sides and rear have clearly adopted the BMW i styling that already featured on the BMW i Vision Dynamics presented in 2017. Unlocking the vehicle causes the blue accents to light up, accentuating its eye-catching lines. Glass surfaces such as the large windows and the lights are integrated seamlessly into the design and have the appearance of elaborate inlays.
      Kidney grille and “four-eyed” front end provide identity.
      In the centre of the front end stands a large, upright kidney grille. As with all electrically powered vehicles, the grille is blanked off. With no combustion engine to require cooling, the kidney element now serves as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. 
      A 3D-printed pattern points to the technology below the surface. Super-slim headlights are part of a modern interpretation of BMW’s signature four-eyed front end. The windscreen extends smoothly into a large panoramic roof, lending the rump of the car a visual lightness and ensuring the innovative interior is clearly visible from the outside.
      Modern appearance with opposing doors.
      The BMW Vision iNEXT displays the powerful, robust stance of a modern BMW SAV when viewed from the side. The vehicle’s functional two-box proportions and long roofline hint at the ample space inside. The long wheelbase and short overhangs, meanwhile, give the silhouette a dynamic edge. Powerfully sculpted surfaces curve along the flanks like well-defined muscles. Precisely placed lines intensify this interplay and lend added impact to the wheel arches. The large (24-inch) wheels are aerodynamically efficient, and their three-dimensional, sculptural design represents both a stylistic and functional highlight. Cameras assume the job of the exterior mirrors, while touch-sensitive illuminated graphics take the place of conventional door openers, underlining the modern, enclosed appearance. There are two large opposing doors with no B-pillar separating them. When opened, they provide an unobstructed view of the spacious interior, while the frame reveals carbon-fibre surfaces. Black cladding brings the bottom edge of the flanks to an SAV-style conclusion and incorporates a blue accent strip as a marker of the vehicle’s electric drive system.
      At the rear, the horizontal arrangement of the lines and surfaces creates a wide and dynamic stance. The slender and distinctive rear lights extend a long way into the car’s rear end and emphasise its appearance. The air flows along the roof and this combines with a diffuser – that is illuminated for added impact – to enhance the car’s aerodynamics.
      Interior – My Favourite Space.
      BMW Vision iNEXT drivers can choose to either drive themselves (in “Boost” mode) or be driven (“Ease” mode). “Boost” mode uses the electric drive system to deliver a highly dynamic and virtually silent driving experience with zero emissions. In “Ease” mode, the vehicle offers the driver and passengers a space in which to engage in a wide range of activities. The BMW Vision iNEXT can be a place of relaxation, interaction, entertainment or concentration, as desired; the possibilities are as manifold as the occupants’ needs. Accordingly, the cabin is more akin to a comfortable and fashionably furnished “living space” on wheels – a new “Favourite Space”.
      Relaxed interior ambience. 
      The large panoramic roof floods the interior with light, creating a cheerful, welcoming atmosphere. Two individual seats in the front plus a one-piece bench in the rear mean there is room for up to four people. There are just a few, clean-cut lines defining the interior – a geometry that truly brings the materials and colours to the fore. A blend of cloth and wood materials produces a high-quality impression and makes various elements resemble furniture. The nude shade Purus Rosé, Brown and Beige are mainly used for the cockpit’s colour scheme, with accents in the shimmering metallic Mystic Bronze. The rear compartment is dominated by the chiefly petrol-coloured Enlighted Cloudburst cloth upholstery with its intricate Jacquard weave, which runs asymmetrically across the seat area and extends into the side panelling and parcel shelf. The result is a visual separation between the cockpit and the rear that produces the effect of different furnishings in an apartment.
      “Boost” and “Ease” modes alter the driver’s environment.
      Inside the generously sized cockpit, the driver’s area is defined by the two visible digital display panels and the steering wheel. The flat dashboard with beige cloth covering teams up with touches of wood and a clearly patterned wooden floor to create a pleasant, homely ambience. In “Boost” mode, the steering wheel and displays are positioned clearly towards the driver. When “Ease” mode is engaged, the driver’s immediate environment changes: the steering wheel retracts slightly, creating a more open sense of space. The display panels switch from driving-related content to “Exploration Mode”, which provides the driver and passengers with suggestions of places and events in the surrounding area that could be of interest to them. Plus, the front seat head restraints can be folded back, allowing the people in the front to communicate more effectively with the passengers in the rear.
      Centre console resembles a high-quality piece of furniture.
      The centre console between the front seats has all the makings of a high-quality piece of furniture, thanks to both its design and materials. A matt, open-pore wood finish gives it the appearance of a floating coffee table that continues right through to the rear. Under the fine wooden panel is a shell made from exquisite, illuminated crystal glass sitting atop a delicate, bronze-coloured base. The crystal’s faceting refracts the incoming light, splits it up into a multitude of colours and bathes the interior in light reflections.
      Inviting rear compartment.
      At first glance, the rear compartment has the appearance of a modern, high-end living space. A generously sized, continuous seat area gives the rear a laid-back lounge character and invites its occupants to stay a while. The handwoven Enlighted Cloudburst Jacquard cloth extends across the entire seat area and into the side panelling, gradually changing from Petrol to White in the process, but still lends the cabin a very modern touch.
      Shy Tech: Innovative technology integrated out of sight yet always available.
      Apart from the steering wheel and displays in the driver’s area, there are no other screens or controls to be seen in the BMW Vision iNEXT. In order to preserve the homely character of the rear compartment, and therefore keep the people on board at centre stage, the intelligent technology is integrated out of sight. Only when it is required by the driver or passengers does the technology becomes visible and operable. For example, in future it may be possible to operate various functions via surfaces made out of wood or cloth. Displays would no longer be essential, as intelligent projection could turn any surface into an interactive display. The BMW Vision iNEXT highlights three different, visionary applications for this “Shy Tech” in the form of Intelligent Personal Assistant, Intelligent Materials and Intelligent Beam.
      Intelligent Personal Assistant. The vehicle’s Intelligent Personal Assistant switches on in response to the prompt “Hey BMW”. The BMW Vision iNEXT forms an integral part of the digital world and is seamlessly interlinked with the BMW Connected, smart devices and smart home network, making it possible for drivers to close the windows of their house, for example, by voice command.
      Intelligent Materials. When driving in “Boost” mood the Control Display can be operated in conventional style using its touch functionality. But in “Ease” mode, the centre console’s wooden surface assumes this control function instead. Arm and hand posture is just as relaxed as when using the iDrive Controller: the hand simply lies on the perforated wooden surface and, whenever any inputs are made, points of light resembling a comet’s tail will follow the finger. The Jacquard cloth in the rear also possesses integral control functionality. It comes to life at the touch of a finger and allows music playback to be controlled using various gestures, which are given visual emphasis by LEDs that light up underneath the cloth.
      Intelligent Beam. In the use of media, as with vehicle operation, the digital and analogue worlds will merge into one more and more in future. It is becoming increasingly possible to visualise information in projected form, which could dispense with the need for displays in the long term. The Intelligent Beam technology being showcased in the BMW Vision iNEXT already goes one step in this direction, as it can serve as both a reading light and an interactive projection screen. This enables, for instance, the text in a printed book to be supplemented by images, moving content and interactive graphics, all of which can be controlled by touch.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      By 2025, BMW is planning to have 25 electrified vehicles in its lineup - 12 being full electric. One of those models will look somewhat similar to the Vision iNext concept that has been revealed today.
      Lets address the elephant in the room, the exterior design. The overall shape is very polarizing (we know, huge understatement) with a grotesque take on BMW's iconic double kidney grille, square fenders, large glass area, and wheels that looked liked they were pulled off from a fan. No side view mirrors are to be found - instead a set of cameras handle that. There are also door handles. Instead, the surface of the car will light up, indicating where to touch to open the doors.
      Moving inside, BMW's designers went for a wide-open lounge design with an end table masquerading as a center console and the backseat looking more like a love seat. The steering wheel and pedals can pop out or tuck away with a touch of the BMW logo on the transmission selector. Two large screens dominate the dash - the smaller one serves as the instrument cluster and the larger one is for the infotainment system. 
      BMW has also fitted some interesting tech to the Vision iNext. The rear seat has integrated touch control surfaces and LED lighting that allows a passenger gestures to control certain functions. For example, you can turn on the audio system by drawing a musical note. Intelligent Beam is a projector over the rear seat can turn any surface - like a piece of paper into an interactive screen. The image follows whatever object it is being projected on, meaning you don't have to hold it steady. BMW has also fitted a Intelligent Personal Assistant like Apple's Siri. It responds you when you say "Hey BMW' and allows you to control various functions.
      BMW hasn't detail the Vision iNext's powertrain, but did reveal that it has Level 3 autonomous capability.
      A production model that will carry a number of traits from the Vision iNext will launch in 2021.
      Source: BMW


      The BMW Vision iNEXT. Future focused.
      At the BMW AG Annual General Meeting in May 2018, Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at the BMW Group, described iNext as follows: “The iNEXT project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit.”

      iNEXT addresses the big question that is at the heart of the BMW Group’s day-to-day work: “How will we be moving around in future?” iNEXT builds resolutely on the idea that first took shape in 2007 with “project i” and evolved into the launch of the BMW i3 in 2013. The BMW Group has already achieved a great deal on this front: it now has over ten years of experience with electric mobility under its belt in both small-scale and large-scale production, the BMW i models are being improved all the time, and their technology is being employed to gradually electrify models from the BMW and MINI ranges. The next step now is the complete in-car integration of the strategic innovation fields Autonomy + Connectivity + Electric + Services. 

      The Design, meanwhile, is a visual expression of the innovation fields and answers the question about what the driving pleasure experience is going to look like in future. The car we know today as BMW iNEXT will come onto the market in 2021.
      The BMW Vision iNEXT.
      “The BMW Vision iNEXT represents a new era of sheer driving pleasure,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “It underlines the leading role Germany plays in the future of mobility.”

      Highly automated, emission-free and fully connected, it brings together the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields into a Vision Vehicle for the first time and provides revealing answers to the question: “What does a vehicle look like which no longer needs to be driven by a person but can be if desired?” At the heart of such deliberations are, more than ever, people – with all their emotions and desires.
      The series-produced version of the BMW iNEXT will assume the role of a new technology flagship; production at Plant Dingolfing is slated to begin in 2021. It will take the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields (“D+ACES”) onto the road for the first time as a single package. 
      A future-focused Vision Vehicle – the BMW Vision iNEXT – provides a tangible preview of how the BMW iNEXT might look. “Personal mobility is set to experience significant change,” explains Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development. “The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey. With this in mind, we have designed the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new “Favourite Space” in which we can be ourselves and relax. Indeed, all of BMW’s endeavours will continue to revolve around people – and their needs and desires when it comes to mobility – in the future,” adds Fröhlich.
      Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design sums up the creative approach: “BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas which transform the way we think about mobility. The BMW Vision iNEXT marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.”
      The exterior – modern elegance, expressed with confidence.
      Boasting the size and proportions of a modern BMW SAV, the BMW Vision iNEXT cuts an authoritative figure. The vehicle instantly conveys its trailblazing character through clearly sculpted forms and surfaces. Striking paintwork and sophisticated details strengthen this impression further. The Liquid Greyrose Copper exterior gradually changes in shade from warm copper to dark rose and injects the vehicle with dynamic flair even when stationary.
      The large, interlinked double-kidney grille, the iconic side window graphic, and the blue accent surfaces at the front, sides and rear have clearly adopted the BMW i styling that already featured on the BMW i Vision Dynamics presented in 2017. Unlocking the vehicle causes the blue accents to light up, accentuating its eye-catching lines. Glass surfaces such as the large windows and the lights are integrated seamlessly into the design and have the appearance of elaborate inlays.
      Kidney grille and “four-eyed” front end provide identity.
      In the centre of the front end stands a large, upright kidney grille. As with all electrically powered vehicles, the grille is blanked off. With no combustion engine to require cooling, the kidney element now serves as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. 
      A 3D-printed pattern points to the technology below the surface. Super-slim headlights are part of a modern interpretation of BMW’s signature four-eyed front end. The windscreen extends smoothly into a large panoramic roof, lending the rump of the car a visual lightness and ensuring the innovative interior is clearly visible from the outside.
      Modern appearance with opposing doors.
      The BMW Vision iNEXT displays the powerful, robust stance of a modern BMW SAV when viewed from the side. The vehicle’s functional two-box proportions and long roofline hint at the ample space inside. The long wheelbase and short overhangs, meanwhile, give the silhouette a dynamic edge. Powerfully sculpted surfaces curve along the flanks like well-defined muscles. Precisely placed lines intensify this interplay and lend added impact to the wheel arches. The large (24-inch) wheels are aerodynamically efficient, and their three-dimensional, sculptural design represents both a stylistic and functional highlight. Cameras assume the job of the exterior mirrors, while touch-sensitive illuminated graphics take the place of conventional door openers, underlining the modern, enclosed appearance. There are two large opposing doors with no B-pillar separating them. When opened, they provide an unobstructed view of the spacious interior, while the frame reveals carbon-fibre surfaces. Black cladding brings the bottom edge of the flanks to an SAV-style conclusion and incorporates a blue accent strip as a marker of the vehicle’s electric drive system.
      At the rear, the horizontal arrangement of the lines and surfaces creates a wide and dynamic stance. The slender and distinctive rear lights extend a long way into the car’s rear end and emphasise its appearance. The air flows along the roof and this combines with a diffuser – that is illuminated for added impact – to enhance the car’s aerodynamics.
      Interior – My Favourite Space.
      BMW Vision iNEXT drivers can choose to either drive themselves (in “Boost” mode) or be driven (“Ease” mode). “Boost” mode uses the electric drive system to deliver a highly dynamic and virtually silent driving experience with zero emissions. In “Ease” mode, the vehicle offers the driver and passengers a space in which to engage in a wide range of activities. The BMW Vision iNEXT can be a place of relaxation, interaction, entertainment or concentration, as desired; the possibilities are as manifold as the occupants’ needs. Accordingly, the cabin is more akin to a comfortable and fashionably furnished “living space” on wheels – a new “Favourite Space”.
      Relaxed interior ambience. 
      The large panoramic roof floods the interior with light, creating a cheerful, welcoming atmosphere. Two individual seats in the front plus a one-piece bench in the rear mean there is room for up to four people. There are just a few, clean-cut lines defining the interior – a geometry that truly brings the materials and colours to the fore. A blend of cloth and wood materials produces a high-quality impression and makes various elements resemble furniture. The nude shade Purus Rosé, Brown and Beige are mainly used for the cockpit’s colour scheme, with accents in the shimmering metallic Mystic Bronze. The rear compartment is dominated by the chiefly petrol-coloured Enlighted Cloudburst cloth upholstery with its intricate Jacquard weave, which runs asymmetrically across the seat area and extends into the side panelling and parcel shelf. The result is a visual separation between the cockpit and the rear that produces the effect of different furnishings in an apartment.
      “Boost” and “Ease” modes alter the driver’s environment.
      Inside the generously sized cockpit, the driver’s area is defined by the two visible digital display panels and the steering wheel. The flat dashboard with beige cloth covering teams up with touches of wood and a clearly patterned wooden floor to create a pleasant, homely ambience. In “Boost” mode, the steering wheel and displays are positioned clearly towards the driver. When “Ease” mode is engaged, the driver’s immediate environment changes: the steering wheel retracts slightly, creating a more open sense of space. The display panels switch from driving-related content to “Exploration Mode”, which provides the driver and passengers with suggestions of places and events in the surrounding area that could be of interest to them. Plus, the front seat head restraints can be folded back, allowing the people in the front to communicate more effectively with the passengers in the rear.
      Centre console resembles a high-quality piece of furniture.
      The centre console between the front seats has all the makings of a high-quality piece of furniture, thanks to both its design and materials. A matt, open-pore wood finish gives it the appearance of a floating coffee table that continues right through to the rear. Under the fine wooden panel is a shell made from exquisite, illuminated crystal glass sitting atop a delicate, bronze-coloured base. The crystal’s faceting refracts the incoming light, splits it up into a multitude of colours and bathes the interior in light reflections.
      Inviting rear compartment.
      At first glance, the rear compartment has the appearance of a modern, high-end living space. A generously sized, continuous seat area gives the rear a laid-back lounge character and invites its occupants to stay a while. The handwoven Enlighted Cloudburst Jacquard cloth extends across the entire seat area and into the side panelling, gradually changing from Petrol to White in the process, but still lends the cabin a very modern touch.
      Shy Tech: Innovative technology integrated out of sight yet always available.
      Apart from the steering wheel and displays in the driver’s area, there are no other screens or controls to be seen in the BMW Vision iNEXT. In order to preserve the homely character of the rear compartment, and therefore keep the people on board at centre stage, the intelligent technology is integrated out of sight. Only when it is required by the driver or passengers does the technology becomes visible and operable. For example, in future it may be possible to operate various functions via surfaces made out of wood or cloth. Displays would no longer be essential, as intelligent projection could turn any surface into an interactive display. The BMW Vision iNEXT highlights three different, visionary applications for this “Shy Tech” in the form of Intelligent Personal Assistant, Intelligent Materials and Intelligent Beam.
      Intelligent Personal Assistant. The vehicle’s Intelligent Personal Assistant switches on in response to the prompt “Hey BMW”. The BMW Vision iNEXT forms an integral part of the digital world and is seamlessly interlinked with the BMW Connected, smart devices and smart home network, making it possible for drivers to close the windows of their house, for example, by voice command.
      Intelligent Materials. When driving in “Boost” mood the Control Display can be operated in conventional style using its touch functionality. But in “Ease” mode, the centre console’s wooden surface assumes this control function instead. Arm and hand posture is just as relaxed as when using the iDrive Controller: the hand simply lies on the perforated wooden surface and, whenever any inputs are made, points of light resembling a comet’s tail will follow the finger. The Jacquard cloth in the rear also possesses integral control functionality. It comes to life at the touch of a finger and allows music playback to be controlled using various gestures, which are given visual emphasis by LEDs that light up underneath the cloth.
      Intelligent Beam. In the use of media, as with vehicle operation, the digital and analogue worlds will merge into one more and more in future. It is becoming increasingly possible to visualise information in projected form, which could dispense with the need for displays in the long term. The Intelligent Beam technology being showcased in the BMW Vision iNEXT already goes one step in this direction, as it can serve as both a reading light and an interactive projection screen. This enables, for instance, the text in a printed book to be supplemented by images, moving content and interactive graphics, all of which can be controlled by touch.
    • By William Maley
      A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers  Which one of these crossovers is right for you?
      Exterior
      Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint.
      Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as  “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. 
      Interior
      The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics.
      The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan.
      Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. 
      The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded.
      Infotainment
      A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it.
      For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints.
      Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue.
      Powertrain
      Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package.
      With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate.
      Fuel Economy
      The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway.
      Ride & Handling
      When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside.
      Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel.
      Value
      The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away.
      The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge.
      Verdict
      It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-5
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $30,945
      As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,395.00
      Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00
      Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00
      Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Tiguan
      Trim: SE 4Motion
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400
      Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $30,230
      As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00
      Front Fog Lights - $150.00

      View full article
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