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Archive for the ‘speculative’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Prius TRD

We here at TopSpeed don’t shy away from exploring the weirder and wilder side of performance vehicles. In fact, we relish in it. Any chance we come across to break away from convention and blow your mind is worth it, especially if it gets the unruly mobs up in arms. And that’s exactly the sort of reaction we’re expecting with this – a performance-oriented Toyota Prius TRD. Here’s the formula – ditch the eco tires, slap on some real rubber, boost the engine, stiffen the suspension, add the proper cabin gear, and voila – the perfect solution to a dearth of jimmy rustlin’.

But here’s the thing – we’re actually totally serious. This isn’t some April Fool’s joke. We legitimately think there’s a real case to made for a performance Prius. Don’t believe us? Then read on. We dare you.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Prius TRD.


PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini’s Fourth Model Could Arrive…In Five Years

It was only a few years ago when Lamborghini set benchmarks to sell 1,000 units per year. Times have changed since then and House Raging Bull has changed with it. Now, Lamborghini is ready to bring out the Urus SUV, it’s third current model and the ticket to carry sales to 7,000 units per year by 2018. But the Urus isn’t the end of the company’s aggressive expansion because a fourth model is on the horizon.

Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali refused to dive into great detail about the fourth Lamborghini model, telling only Car Advice that the company won’t rush into expanding to a four-model family until its current three-model lineup is stabilized. That would require a few years to get the Urus up-to-speed with market forces while helping maintain relevance for its two supercars, the Huracán and Aventador. Domenicali foresees this stability to arrive after the first wave of production, possibly around 2022 or 2023. From there, discussions of a fourth Lamborghini model could start depending on what market trends are taking place at that time. The timetable is still at least five years away, so fans of the Raging Bull shouldn’t get too excited just yet. But, it’s possibly in the cards. That’s more than what anyone could expect a few years back when exclusivity was at the height of Lambo’s priorities.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW 8 Series Concept Images Leaked Ahead of Official Debut

The BMW 8 Series Concept has allegedly leaked online only a day before BMW’s official debut of the two-door coupe at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 26. The leak was picked up by Carscoops, but no information about the source or details about the 8 Series were given. While the three images are likely real shots of the BMW concept, there is a chance these could be renderings from a skilled digital artist. The truth won’t reveal itself until tomorrow when BMW pulls the sheets off the concept GT car.

The debut is set along the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. The high-class concourse event has long been a place where automakers showcased their latest exclusive models. It’s fitting, then, that the 8 Series concept should make its arrival there. Earlier this month, BMW CEO Harald Kuüger was quoted saying, “The BMW 8 Series Coupe will build on our tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car to our line-up – a slice of pure automotive fascination. The 8 Series Coupe will underpin our claim to leadership in the luxury segment. I can tell you today that this will be a true luxury sports coupe.”

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Is Ram Dumping its V-6 & V-8 For A Boosted Inline Four- & Six-Cylinder?

Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are a changin’” back in 1964, but the singer/songwriter’s words have never been truer than today. Rumor suggests Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expediting development of the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine dubbed the Hurricane and its big brother, the turbocharged inline six-cylinder named Tornado. The high-tech engines are said to be replacements for the well-loved 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.

Sadly, this isn’t the first we’ve heard about the Hemi getting the axe. Back in February, Allpar cited its multiple insider sources saying FCA was stockpiling 5.7-liters ahead of a planed discontinuation of the V-8 engine sometime after the 2018 model year. Allpar is now reporting the Hemi’s replacement, the Tornado, could be ready within four to five years. There’s a rather large discrepancy between those dates, but it’s easy to speculate FCA is planning some big changes. The Pentastar reportedly has a slightly longer lifespan, lasting another six to 10 years before it’s completely replaced by the Hurricane. The fates of the larger 6.2- and 6.4-liter Hemis are still unknown.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon How Should the Fast and Furious Franchise Evolve from Here?

Alright, let’s not beat around the bush. The first Fast and Furious movie wasn’t exactly well thought out. At the time, Vin Diesel was just getting to be known, and the most popular name in the whole film was arguably Ja Rule, who is still probably kicking himself in the nuts for turning down a role in the second film. How many gears did those cars have in the drag racing scenes? It was certainly more than the five or six that they should have had, that’s for sure. And, I still can’t get past that floor pan falling out of Brian’s Eclipse during the first big race. Then we had 2 Fast 2 Furious, which at least tied into Brain’s story, but was followed up by Tokyo Drift. Now, Tokyo Drift was a decent movie with plenty of action and some interesting race scenes, but it was completely void of the main character(s) in the franchise.

Finally, things turned around for the franchise with the fourth installment, bringing the group back together. Eventually, we ended up with movies that showcase a sense of family and never giving up on them – all the way up to the most recent film when Dom ends up turning his back on his family altogether. Foe have become friends, and friends have become foe. The family has wreaked havoc to the tune of an estimated $514 million over the course of eight films. What started out as a B-movie has turned into some pretty intense and highly successful films. With Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel reportedly feuding during the filming of Fate of the Furious, and Brian O’Conner officially out of the mix, where should the franchise go?

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Maximum Evil – What Is The Dodge Demon's Top Speed?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a proverbial rock for the last few weeks, you’re most likely familiar with the specs for the newly released Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Just in case, here’s a quick refresher – 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 running on 100-octane race fuel. 0-to-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. 200 pounds lighter than the Hellcat. 9.65 seconds at 140 mph in the quarter mile. 3-foot wheelies off the line. Dodge is quite clear on the matter – the Demon was built to do one job very, very well – traverse the quarter-mile run as quickly as possible while maintaining some semblance of street legality. At this point, it’s obvious this beast-mobile is quick, but there’s one tidbit of info Dodge has conveniently left out of the conversation thus far – how fast is it? To find out, we pulled out our calculator and did a little thought experiment.

Speculating on the top speed of a car like the Demon is actually a pretty complicated proposition, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy answer, here it is – 168 mph. That’s the maximum-rated velocity for the Demon’s Nitto NT05R drag radials, which means that’s pretty much the car’s top speed if you don’t swap out the rubber.

But let’s presume you did change the tires – given ideal conditions and a long enough track, how fast could the really Demon go? Read on to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Is Volvo Working on Another Version of the XC60 or Just Showing Off?

The second-generation Volvo XC60 made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show with an all-new design inside and out, new safety systems, and a new climate control system called “CleanZone.” It’s a beautiful car, insanely comfortable, and it has all of the right technology. So, why did we catch it cruising around the streets of Paris this weekend under extremely heavy camo? At first, we thought this might be a next-gen XC70, but once we compared the two shots we have here to older spy shots, it was pretty clear that this is an XC60 mule. But again; why?

Perhaps Volvo was just trying to pull one over on us since April 1st just so happened to fall on Saturday – you know, to generate more interest in the new generation before it goes on sale later this year. Or, are they testing that T8 hybrid version? It does have an opening for the charging port on the front, left fender. But, then again, so did the old test mules. It could be that Volvo is prepping a Polestar variant of the new XC60 and wants to put in the work under camouflage since the new XC60 isn’t available quite yet. That would be a nice surprise come fall when the new XC60 goes on sale, don’t you think?

Either way, this thing was cruising around Paris all weekend, so Volvo has something up its sleeve. Keep reading to find out what I think is going on.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Will There be a Wait List for the Kia Stinger?

When Kia came to the U.S. market, it became known as a producer of affordable but reliable cars that were fairly comfortable and looked decent. But, none of the models were really anything to write home about, and certainly couldn’t be compared with models like the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, or anything else outside of the affordable segment. When the 2014 Detroit Auto Show kicked off, Kia Debuted the GT4 Stinger along with a promise to bring such a model into production and, three years later, Kia kept its promise and debuted the Kia Stinger at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Offered in the U.S. with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 365-horsepower, twin-turbo, V-6, along with a very comfortable and upscale interior and a sexy exterior shell, the Stinger was a show stopper for the Korean brand as it steps into the luxury performance market. But, now that the world knows about the Stinger, it has raised a pretty interesting question: Will there be a wait list for the Stinger when the books officially open?

There’s really no way of telling quite yet, but outside of small shortages for models like the Kia Sportage, it’s hard to recall of any significant waiting period for any Kia model in the past. But, the new Stinger is a completely different breed of car that comes to offer a significantly cheaper alternative to more expensive luxury and performance models. Should Kia actually lock in even a small portion of those that are really interested in the car, it could find itself unable to keep up with demand. It comes down to a couple of factors that include when production officially starts, when the order books officially open, and that initial demand.

As of the time of this writing, neither its release date or pricing point has been officially announced, but a price tag in the range of $35,000 to $40,000 is expected while the order books should open sometime in the fall or early winter of 2017. That expected price point puts the Stinger at roughly $4,000 cheaper that the entry-level C300 from Mercedes, $6,000 cheaper than the entry-level 4 Series Gran Coupe, and a staggering $9,000 cheaper that the entry-level BMW 3 Series GT. With comparable comfort, luxury, and technology, it should be a no-brainer for those who aren’t overly loyal to the Stinger’s German competitors – as long as their willing to give the brand’s first performance luxury vehicle a chance, that is.

So, with such a low price point in comparison to its competition, the Stinger could see a lot of initial interest that could lead to a sizable waiting list. As such, it’s quite possible that dealers will find themselves in a predicament they aren’t used to: dealing with customers that want to take delivery today but simply can’t. We all saw how that went for Ford with the Focus RS, so hopefully Kia has a plan in place, just in case.


PostHeaderIcon Is This a Leaked Photo of the New Kia Fastback?

Last week, we brought you news of video post by Kia that shows onboard camera footage of its new performance fastback. Just shortly afterward, Kia-World.net posted a picture of what appears to be the Kia GT without any camo and all but prepped for its debut on Kia’s website on January 8, 2017, and later at the Detroit Auto Show. It has been said that it would be based on the Hyundai G70 sedan, and from what you can see in the photo, it’s looking pretty sporty – especially for a Kia. One could argue that it is a slightly smaller version of the Kia GT Concept, and it’s certainly toned down a bit, but the look is more than aggressive to compete with German models like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 Sportback, to name a couple.

For now, nobody knows what will provide the motivation, but Hyundai’s Genesis brand just shoved the G90’s 3.3-liter V-6 under the hood of the G80 and dubbed it the 3.3t Sport. So, it’s quite possible that Kia will use the same twin-turbo powertrain and eight-speed automatic transmission to power its beastly little fastback. If so, it should have upward of 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It should also be rear-wheel drive, so it should be a fun little car to pilot around, don’t you think?

For now, we can’t say with 100-percent certainty that we’re looking at the Kia fastback, but it certainly seems that way. What do you think from what you see so far? Is Kia upping its game the right way, or do you think the car will be a flop? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!


PostHeaderIcon Could Saab Be Making A Dramatic Return To The Auto Industry?

The cautionary tale that is Saab still serves as a reminder to everyone in the auto industry about the fickle nature of the business. The once proud Swedish automaker closed shop in 2010 and has never been heard from since. But a new report from Swedish newspaper SvD Naringsliv could point to the return of the Saab name in the industry. The only caveat is it’s not going to be the same Saab that folded six years ago; it’s the aviation and defense company Saab Group, the same firm that split from the automaker in 1990 after General Motors bought the latter.

See, as much as Saab the automaker was a failure since the brand split, the Saab Group has thrived as a military contractor, developing aircrafts, missiles, computer software, and radar systems. The company’s expertise in these respective fields is a big reason why the company is looking at making a push to enter the auto industry and have the success its old partner failed to get on a consistent basis.

Don’t expect this Saab to start building cars anytime soon though because the company is specifically looking into autonomous driving technology with the idea that it could adapt its “Gripen E” radar to self-driving cars once that market has matured into something that could revolutionize the auto industry. According to Saab, Gripen E is a revolutionary radar system that can handle information more than the conventional systems that are being developed by automakers. The software’s capability is largely tied into its circuits being made from Galliu nitride, which can handle extremely high power loads, something that’s going to be expected for radars that will be used by self-driving cars in the future.

Saab’s interest isn’t just being thrown around as a possibility; it’s actually already had discussions with a number of European automakers about a possible venture down the road. CEO Hakan Buskhe also said that it’s already making preparations to start a new company by the first quarter of 2017, one whose sole purpose would be to assemble the software solutions it needs to make as it begins to make its move towards the auto industry.

Think of this new development anyway you can. The point is that the Saab company that saw its business thrive is banking on being a major player in the rapidly evolving self-driving car business. Only time will tell if it’s going to succeed, and that “success” will be largely tied into how self-driving technology evolves. But it is nice to see the words “Saab” and “cars” being mentioned in the same sentence again. It’s been a while.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The luxury SUV bug has bitten its share of automakers in recent years. Up to now, Rolls-Royce has been an exception. Come 2015, luxury automaker has confirmed it is working on an SUV of its own.

Better late than never, Rolls-Royce.

News of Rolls’ interest in developing a luxury SUV came to light after design chief Giles Taylor told Autocar that his design team had begun tinkering with sketches of a potential SUV, possibly to gauge the feasibility of building one in the future. Taylor was also quick to point out that the team was still in the infancy stage of an SUV design and that any talk of “proportions and three dimensions” were premature. This changed dramatically in February 2015, when Rolls revealed that it’s working on a car “that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain.”

Although Rolls-Royce has no history with SUVs, the company cited vehicles from the past which have been successful in events such as the Scottish Reliability Trials and the Alpine Trials, and had the ability to carry their owners “over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort” in Australia, India, and other parts of the world. The SUV’s true purpose is to challenge Bentley’s upcoming Bentayga, but the two won’t meet face to face earlier than 2017. Meanwhile, let’s see what Rolls-Royce might have in store for its first-ever SUV.

Updated 03/14/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming RollS Royce Cullinan out for a new testing session, somewhere in Sweden and next to a prototype of the new Phantom.

Continue reading to learn more about the future Rolls Royce SUV.


PostHeaderIcon Are Automakers Force Feeding Us Subliminal Messaging in Regards to Autonomous Vehicles?

With fully-autonomous cars on the horizon, automakers and regulatory boards everywhere are pushing the envelope as hard as possible. We keep hearing about how great, safe, and time-saving a world full of autonomous vehicles will be, but do you honestly hear anyone you know saying something like “I can’t wait for self-driving cars” or “I’m so ready to give put my life in the hands of some complex computer algorithms?” No, you probably don’t, and some studies even show that a majority of people aren’t ready to give up the steering wheel. But, autonomous cars are still being pushed on us anyway, with new vehicles including semi-autonomous features like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control built in without the user option to disable.

Then there’s Tesla who’s practically heading off the self-driving idea and allowing its customers to put their life and that of others in risk to help build awareness that the technology is safe. Still, there are lots of people who enjoy driving, and will do their best to not give up the wheel, myself included. So, what’s the best way to build trust in something new with the masses quickly and efficiently? Easy, force them to use the features (think emergency braking) then subliminally convince them to trust those systems via tacky and annoying commercials.

There are quite a few out there, but I’m just going to highlight two because they are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Let’s dive in.


PostHeaderIcon Is There a Chance that the Honda Prelude Could Make a Return to the Market?

The Honda Prelude was introduced to the world for the 1979 model year and lived through five different generations, with the final generation ending with the 2001 model year. If you’re someone who is into Muscle, then the Prelude may not have meant much to you, but for fans of the Honda brand, or tuners in general, the Honda Prelude was an important item. Based very loosely on the Honda Accord, the Prelude was a bit more cramped inside, but as it evolved from generation to generation, it got better and better. Unfortunately, sales weren’t all that good dropping from more than 330,000 models sold from 1983 to 1987 to less than 60,000 examples between 1997 and 2001 — ultimately leading to the demise of the sports coupe. Well, for those of us who have missed the sporty little coupe, there may be a little bit of hope yet, as the senior planner for the Civic, Rob Keough, reportedly told Car Buzz that there have been “hallway conversations” within Honda about the car’s revival.

What “hallway conversations” means is really unclear, as it could mean just about anything. Maybe there’s just some lonely engineer talking with a couple of buddies around the water cooler about how awesome it would be to see a new Prelude go into production. Or, maybe it’s a serious conversation between an engineer and someone who might have a little bit of say or persuasive power. Either way, the fact that a car that was discontinued 15 years ago is still floating around in the heads of some over at Honda is a big deal. The question is, whether or not there’s a real business case for such a model to come back. It would be a travesty to call something other than a sports coupe a Prelude. That would be like giving a new SUV the NSX nomenclature. Right now, the only real competition out there would be the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, and those aren’t exactly performing quite as well as they would have 20 years ago when the sports coupe market was strong.

Then again, the Civic Si and Civic Type R have been met with massive enthusiasm this year, so there is hope that little Japanese sports coupes can make a comeback, but I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath as it’s definitely a reach hoping that the Prelude comes back anytime soon. Still, hang onto that little bit of hope, because as someone who’s driven one in the past, I sure do.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Tiguan R

The Volkswagen Tiguan is in some ways, a trailblazer in its segment. As one of the first of the modern premium compact crossovers to hit the market in 2007, the Volkswagen Tiguan opened the door for many of its rivals. The intentions may have been pure, but the results were anything but. That’s because for better or worse, the Tiguan hasn’t been as dynamic as Volkswagen intended it to be. You might even say that the crossover has languished in the face of increased competition, partly due to VW’s decision to keep the Tiguan’s design muted for the better part of its existence.

Now it appears all that’s about to change. According to Autocar, Volkswagen is preparing an onslaught of new crossovers and SUVs, beginning in 2016. The Tiguan will play a prominent role in this renaissance of sorts. To make things more interesting, there’s also talk of a range-topping performance variant that will combine a new design language with the company’s renowned R performance engineering. Nothing has been made official at this point, but Volkswagen’s timetable for its Tiguan family points to a 2017 launch for the R-badged model.

It’s also not yet clear whether the R will be based on the standard Tiguan or feature a revised body. Initial rumors pointed toward a coupe-style crossover, likely dubbed Coupe R, but such a launch would imply additional development costs for the German brand. More recently, our paparazzi caught a beefed-up Tiguan wearing the standard roofline on the Nurburgring, which suggests that Volkswagen is sticking to the standard crossover configuration. The coupe is not completely out of the question as stranger things have happened within the Volkswagen Group, but for now, this prototype is the only thing we have.

Check it out in our speculative review below and stay tuner for updates.

Updated 10/21/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Tiguan R out for a first testing session at the Nürburgring.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Tiguan R.


PostHeaderIcon The New Toyota Supra Could Be Electrified

Look, I get it – you want a new Toyota Supra. I want a new Toyota Supra. The whole performance world wants a new Toyota Supra. Well, I’ve got good news – it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to get it, as a pre-production mule was spotted last month doing some street testing in a full camo exterior. Now, to really whet your appetite, we’re bringing you a few tantalizing hints as to what’ll be used under the hood. Reading between the lines of a few recent comments made by a high-ranking Toyota rep, it’s looking more than likely that the new Supra will use a hybrid drivetrain.

That’s the news coming from the U.K. publication Auto Express, which recently spoke with Toyota Europe president and CEO Johan van Zyl about the possibility of using hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology for an entry in the sports car segment. His response: “I would imagine that in the future that will definitely happen.”

He continued, “We already have some sporting models with hybrid powertrains on the Lexus side. But on the Toyota side, I think we will find that if we can have a World Endurance Championship racing car with hybrid technology, it can happen on a road car,” adding, “I do not have any doubt whatsoever that in the longer-term future there will be a real Toyota sports model using electrification.”

Le Mans-inspired performance paired with the legendary Supra nameplate? Yes, please.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Is Tesla Preparing To Unveil The Model Y?

There’s been a lot of talk about Tesla’s upcoming product unveiling next week and speculation is growing that the electric car maker is preparing to debut a new model, specifically the Model Y. While there’s still no confirmation from Tesla about which product it plans to unveil, the sentiment is that it’s going to be the small crossover that will officially kickstart the company’s second “Master Plan” vision that CEO Elon Musk outlined back in July 2016.

The unexpected launch of the Model Y would certainly come as a surprise, but it isn’t too much of a shock given that Tesla has already confirmed plans to build it at some point. Details are still scarce surrounding the crossover but it is expected to be based on the Model 3’s architecture and will carry some styling similarities with the bigger Model X, minus the latter’s controversial falcon doors.

Other than these bits and pieces of rumored details, Tesla has plenty of information to share next week about the crossover, if it does end up being the subject of the company’s hastily organized (or is it?) product launch. That said, it’s also possible that the company could go a totally different direction and possibly reveal more information about the Model 3, or it could launch a new hardware version of its Autopilot system.

Whatever the case may be, there’s going to be a lot of people who’ll be keeping tabs on the product launch as it happens. That includes us, of course.

Note: Tesla Model X shown above.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Mini Countryman

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the New Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman is currently being built alongside the Paceman by Magna Steyr in Austria. With the facelifted version of the current model having arrived in dealerships for the 2015 model year, the Brits are already working on the next-generation Countryman.

The new Countryman has been spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014, but the thick camouflage and the pre-production components offered very little hints as to what will change. Come 2016 and the test vehicles are closer to their production forms, meaning there are more details to run by. Having just received a new set of spy shots, we decided to have a closer look at the upcoming Countryman before it makes its official debut. Speaking of which, expect the crossover to break cover at the next Geneva Motor Show in March 2017.

Updated 09/12/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Countryman out for a new testing session – most likely the final one before the car’s official debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Countryman.


PostHeaderIcon AM-RB 001 Hypercar Could Have Hybrid Drivetrain and Active Suspension

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that Red Bull and Aston Martin’s AM-RB 001 finally makes its debut. Sure, we’ve had the chance to see it pretty close up in its current state, but there’s still a lot about it that we just don’t know. What we do know is that the car will feature a bespoke V-12 that has the “potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.” It will also have a race-spec transmission that was conceived by Adrian Newey himself.

Something new has popped up, however. If you take a quick journey over to Red Bull Racing’s career website, you’ll see that they are looking to hire a number of people for a number of jobs including mechanical design engineers, controls engineers, and there’s even an opening for a project manager. When I first stumbled onto the page, I laughed a little and thought to myself: “What? Did they fire the whole team?” But, I started looking into some of the descriptions and noticed some interesting wording.

In specific relation to the AM-RB 001, RBR is looking for mechanical design engineers that have experience with “automotive drivetrain integration – including hybridization.” Furthermore, it is also looking for a controls engineer that has experience with the specification of automotive control systems, including “gearbox/powertrain/hybrid/semi-active suspension.”

Keep reading for the rest of the story.


PostHeaderIcon Tesla's Autopilot is About to get a Serious Hardware Update

Tesla and its AutoPilot system have fallen under a lot of scrutiny lately with all of the AutoPilot-related accidents and subsequent investigations. To be blunt, the company has seen a lot of negative headlines lately. It even broke down and changed some wording on its Chinese website after a recent accident in China. But, despite all the negativity, neither Elon Musk or Tesla as a whole is backing down from pushing the AutoPilot system. That brings us to our topic of discussion today: AutoPilot 2.0.

Apparently, the system is already well into development, despite the fact that Tesla and MobileEye have gone their separate ways. According to the guys over at Electrek, the upgraded AutoPilot system will feature new radar sensors on each corner of the vehicle as well as a new front-facing, triple camera system. Of the three cameras, one will be a wide-angle camera used to scan all lanes ahead, another will be used to scan directly in front of the vehicle, and the third is a backup that can be used by the system in a pinch should there be an unexpected failure.

The new hardware will help push the AutoPilot system into the next stage, and will enable what Tesla is calling “level 3 autonomous driving.” For now, no production vehicles have been fitted with the new hardware, but some sources are reporting that new models already have the proper mounts and wiring, which means the option of retrofitting is a possibility in the future. Even when the new sensors and cameras are installed on production models, it isn’t likely that they’ll go into use right away. Tesla will wait until software is perfected, then roll out over-the-air updates to activate the hardware. With this new hardware, it could be possible for full autonomy to be activated with a future OTA update, but something tells me we still have a while to wait on that one.

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PostHeaderIcon The Model S and Model X Could Get a Battery Update in the Near Future

News about Tesla has been more bad than good lately, but today I’m here to talk about something other than car crashes and Autopilot. Today, I’m here to talk about batteries and what could be coming for the Model S and Model X. It wasn’t that long ago that Tesla almost silently discontinued its 85-kWh battery, taking at versions of the 85-kWh Model S off the market. Very quickly rumors began to surface about a new, more powerful battery, and one hacker even found a “P100D” hidden within the source code for his Model S after an OTA update.

Tesla has remained largely silent on the subject. But, a Dutch forum, Kenteken, did some investigating and found something very interesting. Over in Europe, manufacturers can choose which company approves their vehicles to be sold and used on the road. Tesla uses a company known as RDW, which happens to have a part of its collective database published as “open data.” Kenteken decided to do some searching of this open database and discovered that there are, in fact, references to approval for a “100D” and a “100x.” It also discovered that there was a range of 613 KM (about 380 miles) associated with the model variant “100D.”

Here at TopSpeed, we took the time to do some searching of CARB’s database and couldn’t find anything related to a 100-kWh battery or any reference to a P100D or 100X. Then again, Tesla is still silent on the matter too, but with this new battery pack already being approved for European sales and use, it’s only a matter of time before Musk spills the beans and we start getting official word on the matter.

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