Archive for the ‘Volkswagen’ Category
Volkswagen is launching a new initiative – create a world with self-driving vehicles that transport people in living room-like comfort, all without the need of a driver’s license, eyesight, or even the physical ability to drive. Leading the charge is the first concept car from Volkswagen Group. It’s named Sedric, which is short for self-driving car. VG says Sedric is the “father” of other autonomous concepts soon to come, each branded from different subsidiary brands under the VG umbrella. These “children” and “grandchildren” will build on Sedric’s foundation, eventually providing ride-sharing and private ownership experiences unlike anything known today.
Granted, this is a tall order for Volkswagen. There are a ton of moving parts that must be incorporated, not the least of which is the proliferation of the Internet of Things. Still, the new world previewed by Sedric is one of comfort and convenience, without the hassles inherent to driving. Think inner city commuting or the daily grind of chauffeuring kids to school, parents to work, and the insane scheduling that surrounds after-school activities. Sedric’s self-driving and autonomous nature alleviates the stress of transportation. Or so Volkswagen hopes.
Sedric’s overall design is one of originality. It doesn’t need to conform to the traditional configuration of a car or SUV. It has almost no overhangs beyond its wheels, it doesn’t waste interior space with driver controls, and it incorporated technology in nearly every aspect of its design. Its all-electric drivetrain offers clean, quite transportation, while requiring minimal space under the floor.
Now Volkswagen isn’t trying to kill the joy of driving. Rather, the automaker is trying to revolutionize personal transportation for busy families, older children, and senior citizens. The local Porsche dealership will still have go-fast fun machines ready to tackle the back roads and by-ways.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Sedric Concept.
When you have a car that already holds the Nürburgring lap record for a front-wheel drive production car, there’s little reason to expect the car to be capable of bigger and better things. While that may be true in a production sense, the aftermarket world is a different beast altogether. Previously thought of to be improbable are being made possible with the right program and no more is that evident than ABT Sportsline’s newest aftermarket program, one that specifically takes on the record-setting Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport, otherwise known as the king of the ‘Ring as far as FWD cars are concerned.
So how exactly did ABT Sportsline get to improve on a car that already packs 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in standard guise and a ridiculous 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque in its more powerful “S” configuration? The short answer, of course, is tuning know-how. The German automaker is one of the most respected tuners in the aftermarket scene, a level it has attained after years of churning out impressive tuning kits for a wide range of makes and models.
ABT’s program for the Golf GTI Clubsport is no different as it packs a comprehensive list of upgrades that includes a new aero kit, interior upgrades, suspension improvements, and of course, an engine program that revolves around the tuner’s award-winning New Generation tuning module.
The results on the Golf GTI Clubsport and the Clubsport S are significant. The GTI Clubsport, for example, gets its power up to 335 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque while the Clubsport S sees its output shoot up to 365 ponies and 339 pound-feet of torque. For a hot hatch that already boasts of being the standard-bearer among all hot hatches, it seems unfair that both versions of the Golf GTI Clubsport still has a room for improvement.
Then again, that’s why ABT Sportsline is considered as one of the best in the business.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport by ABT Sportsline.
If you like watching 600-horsepower rally cars going wheel to wheel on loose-surface racetracks with huge jumps and lots of contact, then odds are you’re excited for the upcoming 2017 season of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship. Carrying the momentum after a dominant performance in 2016 is the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team, which just revealed a duo of race-ready Beetles decked out in fresh racing liveries at the Chicago Auto Show. Once again taking the helm will be two-time title winner Tanner Foust, as well as defending champ Scott Speed.
“We’ve been working really hard to improve our cars over the off-season,” said Speed, “and I can’t wait to get to racing so we can defend our title again.” Speed managed to secure an impressive back-to-back championship win last year, and will once again pilot the No. 41 Beetle. No. 41 is covered in green, red, and white, and features prominent branding from sponsors Oberto All Natural Beef Jerky and Circle K, both of which appeared on the car previously, but now enjoy a more permanent spot on the Beetle’s body panels.
Meanwhile, former Top Gear USA co-host and Scott’s current teammate Tanner Foust will once again pilot the No. 34 Beetle, which is draped in long-time sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink’s black and yellow livery. Foust managed a record-breaking 25 consecutive Heat wins last year, as well as a second-place championship finish. This will be his 12th consecutive year with backing from Rockstar.
“It feels like the 2016 season ended a long time ago,” Foust said, “so I’m really eager to get back behind the wheel of this ferocious machine. Last year we had a lot of great results, and I’m confident that with all our hard off-season effort we can be up at the front of the field again in 2017.”
The 2017 season of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship will feature 12 events taking place at venues across the U.S. Look for the season opener on April 29th in Memphis, Tennessee.
Continue reading for the full story.
The Volkswagen Atlas made its public debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show as the company’s largest SUV to date. A three-row SUV with plenty of room for seven people, the Atlas rides on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which is shared with the slightly smaller Skoda Kodiaq. As the crossover is being prepared to arrive in dealerships in the Spring of 2017, Volkswagen unveils the Weekend Edition at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.
Designed to demonstrate how the Atlas can be “enhanced with smart accessories,” the Weekend Edition is actually more of a concept car rather than a limited-edition model scheduled for production. Volkswagen says it is inspired by the “Weekender” packages offered on the classic Vanagon and Eurovan pop-up camper models and integrates several accessories that enhance the its versatility.
Simply put, Volkswagen is preparing the Atlas for a tough North American market disputed by offerings from Ford, General Motors, and FCA, by matching the vast customization options buyers can get for Detroit-made SUVs. We’ve seen a similar strategy at Chevrolet recently, with many almost production-ready concept sporting upcoming accessories and features.
Many of the accessories showcased on this conceptual Atlas will be available from Volkswagen dealers when the Atlas goes on sale in Spring 2017. Let’s see what the Germans are offering in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Edition.
Volkswagen’s 2017 Chicago Auto Show lineup includes a new Weekend edition of the Atlas crossover, and now it is not named after the pop singer. The Volkswagen Atlas Weekend, according to the manufacturer, is an homage to the brand’s go-anywhere spirit which is another way of saying they are still very much hipsterish.
As for what makes the Volkswagen Atlas Weekend a suitable car for going anywhere, well, it apparently boasts clever solutions for lugging cargo about and entertaining the occupants on long journeys. It’s all about the accessories, the main highlights of which include a modern pop-up roof in form of Urban Loader cargo box, 18-inch Prisma wheels finished in a custom anthracite gray, carrier bars for attaching accessories for skis, snowboards, kayaks or bikes, a special place for you dog in the back, universal tablet mount, and Media Control feature using Wi-Fi technology for Android and iOS tablets and smartphones.
And that is not all. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Weekend also gets window and hood deflectors, a heavy-duty trunk liner with seat-back coverage, a privacy cargo cover, all-weather rubber mats, splashguards, and wheel locks. But this is not a vehicle for carrying around all these goods. The Atlas is a fairly capable crossover what with a 276 hp 3.6-liter VR6 engine and an eight-speed transmission, paired with Volkswagen’s advanced 4Motion all-wheel drive with Drive Mode Select. That is a setup suited for driving adventurously.
The post Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Bows at Chicago Auto Show appeared first on Motorward.
Caught red handed cheating on emissions tests, Volkswagen is still struggling to obtain settlements in the “Dieselgate” scandal. However, the German firm is also looking to create a more sustainable future for itself by embracing electrification. Having announced a plan to launch several EVs over the next few years, Volkswagen is unveiling an increasing number of concept cars that feature electric motors instead of standard gasoline or diesel mills. One such vehicle is the I.D. BUZZ, which made its official debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show as an electric, multi-purpose vehicle based on the I.D. Concept hatchback.
Described as a next-generation vehicle that “forges links between the origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future,” the I.D. BUZZ is based on the company’s new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform and pays homage to the original Volkswagen Type 2, commonly known as the Microbus in the U.S. According to Volkswagen, the “BUZZ” name is a phonetic word play on “bus” and refers to the silent buzzing of the electric drivetrain.
“The Volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture. That is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market. By 2025 we want to be selling one million of these vehicles annually. We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen,” said dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand.
There’s no word whether the I.D. BUZZ will become a production model anytime soon, but given that the Frank Welsch, who’s in charge of development of future models, referred to it as a “next-generation vehicle,” it’s safe to assume that the Microbus will return sooner or later, albeit in all-electric form.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen I.D. Concept Van.
The debut of the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept represented two different things for the company. The first takeaway is that the German automaker is serious about pushing its way into the electric car and autonomous driving conversations. After all, the I.D. Buzz is the second model bearing the I.D. nomenclature, a nod to Volkswagen’s intention to break into these rapidly developing markets and move as quickly as possible past the Dieselgate scandal that rocked the entire auto industry. But we’re not here to talk about any of that. We’re here to ask an equally important question: is Volkswagen ever going to bring back the Microbus?
You might have noticed that the I.D. Buzz Concept was intentionally designed to look like the Microbus of yesteryear. It’s a smart strategy considering that the van remains an icon amongst icons in its segment. The Volkswagen Microbus, otherwise known as the T2, Kombi, and Transporter, is one of the rare cars that can still tug at the nostalgic heartstrings of bell bottom-wearing, peace sign-making baby boomers while also drawing interest from retro-loving hipsters.
But as much as there appears to still be a healthy market for a modern version of the Volkswagen Microbus, it is a little surprising that the German automaker hasn’t capitalized on that sentimentality. In fact, a quick trip down memory lane reveals that since 2001, Volkswagen has made five different concept vehicles that were all inspired, in one form or another, by the Microbus. The past few years alone has given us two of these five concepts, including the Budd-E Concept and the aforementioned I.D. Buzz Concept. As for the others, the 2001 Microbus Concept was a hit when it was unveiled, as was the Bulli Concept that was unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The closest Volkswagen actually get to bringing back the Microbus was when it introduced the T6 cargo van and used a similar two-color scheme that the Microbus made famous.
Other than that, a lot of us have been left high and dry by Volkswagen and at one point, the frustration and disappointment of getting teased with all these Microbus-inspired concepts will catch up to Volkswagen. One day, we’re not going to care about the Microbus anymore and if Volkswagen ever decides to bring it back then, I’m afraid that it’s going to be a little too late for that var to make an impression.
Hopefully, it doesn’t come down to that because the Microbus really is a quintessential Volkswagen. A modernized version of the van can still be offered in a number of different markets and have some success there. The only question is whether Volkswagen is even willing to see if it can turn that possibility into reality.
Continue reading for the full story.
The Volkswagen Golf may not be regarded as a flagship model but it is an important one to the German automaker as it continues to pick up the pieces left behind by the disaster that was Dieselgate. With the model having recently undergone a facelift, the Golf is beginning to exude confidence again, which is likely a big reason why Wolfsburg is releasing a new optional R-Line package specifically for the hatchback and wagon versions of the company’s little mighty mouse of a car.
Nope, the Volkswagen Atlas isn’t the only one getting the R-Line treatment. The Golf is getting one too, and judging by the options included in this particular package, there are plenty of them to go by for discerning would-be Golf owners. Exterior and interior upgrades abound in the Golf R-Line, most of them coming in aesthetic and cosmetic varieties. Some of these options come with aerodynamic improvements too so that’s another pretty important selling point, especially when you take into account one of the R-Line package’s most important attributes.
Essentially, think of the Golf R-Line in the vein of the model’s range-topping variant, the Golf R, minus the extra power that the latter has at its disposal. The Golf R-Line doesn’t carry the same power and performance numbers as the actual Golf R, but at the very least, the package helps the Golf look a lot like its more powerful sibling. That in itself makes the Golf R-Line that more appealing because ultimately, if you can’t add on to a car’s power numbers., might as well just make the said car look the part of one instead.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf R-Line Package.
Volkswagen’s largest SUV to date, the Atlas made its public debut in 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show and went into production for the 2018 model year. Rumored for many years, the Atlas was previewed by the CrossBlue concept all the way back in 2013. The SUV rides on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which is shared with the slightly smaller Skoda Kodiaq. Although similar is size to the more upscale Audi Q7, the latter uses the newer MLB2 underpinnings. The three-row SUV was unveiled with two turbocharged engines and will be built at the company’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The Atlas will be marketed as the Volkswagen Teramont in China when production in Shanghai will begin in 2017.
Although the Atlas has yet to hit dealerships as of January 2016, Volkswagen has already rolled out a new version. Dubbed R-Line, it’s similar to other vehicles wearing the same badge, sporting a trim package that adds unique features inside and out for a more distinct look among regular models. The R-Line is based on the SE and SEL trims and comes with no upgrades under the hood — which isn’t surprising given that this is the case for other nameplates too. Pricing and launch date are still a mystery, but we should find out more at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Meanwhile, continue reading to find out what we already know about the Atlas R-Line.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Atlas R-Line.
While the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the year’s first important car show, is almost upon us, a few automakers joined the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to preview some of their future technology. Volkswagen is one of them, with the German carmaker having joined the show with a special that previews the future of infotainment systems.
Built around a new digital platform called Ecosystem that will manage all mobility and infotainment services, this special app, which is free on Apple and Android devices, will enable CES visitors to experience “how human, car, and environment will, in the future, be intelligently interconnected in the Volkswagen Ecosystem via the Volkswagen User-ID.”
Specifically, visitors can use the app to create their own profile (a Volkswagen User-ID set up for the show), which includes new, innovative functions. At the individual user stations, they can quickly and easily input and configure the settings of their personal ID, including selecting a favorite ambient light setting. Users can also integrate any services from third-party sources and port them wherever they wish, as well as program the car to prepare their favorite music, configure the display screen, and make the right seat adjustments.
What this means is that your personal setting will be remembered and made available across all VW products using the Ecosystem. If at some point you have to drive someone else’s Volkswagen, you will be able to import all these setting to make it as comfortable as your own. When the car returns to its owner, he can reconfigure all setting at the push of a button. That’s pretty sweet and indeed a new user experience.
There’s no word as to when the Volkswagen Ecosystem will be launched for production models, but it shouldn’t take too long to be implemented judging by how fast automotive technology evolves nowadays. I’d say that we may see it in action in 2018.
Continue reading for the full story.
In November 2016, Volkswagen launched the facelifted, seventh-generation Golf, unveiling all versions of the popular hatchback save for the range-topping R. With 2017 just around the corner, the German car maker has quietly revealed the Golf R too. As expected, the beefed-up hatchback arrives with a slightly more powerful engine and an updated exterior.
Design-wise, the R model received the same updates as the rest of the Golf lineup. Up front, there’s a revised radiator grille with a chromed lower strip that extends through the new LED daytime running lights. The LED headlamps are also new and included in the standard package. Below, there’s a redesigned bumper with a larger opening in the middle and revised side vents with black-painted surrounds. The new bumper gives the Golf R a more aggressive stance compared to the outgoing model, which looked rather bland. Around back, notable changes include taillights with a new LED pattern and larger lamps in the bumper. The hatchback also rides on new, double-five-spoke wheels.
Inside, the R carried over with almost no changes in terms of styling, but got a wide array of new tech, starting with a new touchscreen with gesture control. There’s also a new fully digital instrument cluster measuring 12.3 inches and offering five different information profiles. Other novelties include the Media Control App, which provides an infotainment interface for tablets and smartphones, the Security & Service package with various apps and access to immediate assistance in the even for a crash or a breakdown, and an online anti-theft alarm.
Under the hood, the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine received a mild power hike. Much like the Seat Leon Cupra, the Golf R now benefits from extra 10 PS (10 horsepower), which takes the total output to 310 PS (306 horsepower). The hatchback needs 4.6 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. European pricing starts from €40,675 for the hatchback with the manual transmission and from €44,800 for the Variant wagon version with the DSG. U.S. pricing information is not yet available.
Continue reading for the full story.
Caught red handed cheating on emissions tests, Volkswagen is still struggling to obtain settlements in the “Dieselgate” scandal. However, the German firm is also looking to create a more sustainable future for itself by embracing electrification. Having announced a plan to launch several EVs over the next few years, Volkswagen is unveiling an increasing number of concept cars that feature electric motors instead of standard gasoline or diesel mills. One such vehicle is the I.D., which made its official debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Only two months have passed since then, and VW will unveil a new electric concept, this time around at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
Described as a “multi-functional vehicle for a new era,” the car in question doesn’t have a name yet, but Volkswagen confirmed that it will be part of the I.D. family. This means it will also be based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) that Volkswagen wants to launch in the future, as well as gain many of the features seen the first I.D. concept.
Volkswagen also mentioned that the new concept vehicle “forges links between the legendary origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future” and that “it combines ample space for travel with a long electric driving range, to usher a new feeling of freedom — with zero emissions — and a new era of mobility.”
There’s no word as to when this concept will move into production, but given that the first I.D. is set to hit dealerships by 2020, the van shown here should follow soon after that. Stay tuned for updates on this car from the Detroit Auto Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen I.D. Concept Van.
Volkswagen played a risky game when it decided to cheat on emissions testing. The Dieselgate scandal has tarnished the brand’s reputation that will take many years rebuild. But, it isn’t only VW that has come under scrutiny for cheating, as the massive scandal triggered investigations of other automakers as well. Mitsubishi and Chevrolet have since found to have been involved in misstating MPG figures, while brands like Opel, Daimler, Fiat, PSA, and Renault have all been found or accused of cheating as well. All were to a lesser extent than VW, but it’s cheating nonetheless. Now, Porsche is being investigated for using a cheating device similar to that of Volkswagen.
It all started for Porsche when insiders told a German newspaper known as WirtshaftsWoche that Porsche was indeed cheating. The investigation is being conducted by Germany’s Motor Transport Authority known as KBA. The purpose of the investigation is whether or not some Porsche models have software that can detect if a car is undergoing examination and, subsequently, engage a “Special” mode to dramatically cut back on power output, CO2 emissions, and increase fuel economy. The software in question is that which detects steering wheel movement – an easy way to determine if the car is actually being driven or sitting on a machine, as the steering wheel generally isn’t moved during emissions testing.
We tried to reach out to Porsche for comment, but have yet to receive a response. Carbuzz, however, has reported that a Porsche Spokesman has denied all allegations, claiming that the data from the steering wheel sensors are only used to help calculate shift points. So far, there’s no word as to what models here in the U.S. could be affected, but the 911 is one model that makes use of a steering angle sensor, so if Porsche really is cheating, you can bet the 911 will be on the list of cars affected.
Family sedans might not be the hottest thing on the market, having given that spot to crossovers and SUVs, but the humble four-door is certainly not down and out. Volkswagen set out to capture more of this market with the revised 2016 Passat. It wears an updated face, has a new rear end, and even sees some updated bits on the dashboard. Volkswagen even says it redesigned the 2016 Passat to appeal towards American buyers who want muscular lines and upscale interiors.
In reality, you’d have to be a Volkswagen enthusiast to spot the differences without a side-by-side comparison photo (which we have in the Exterior section below.) Nevertheless, the changes are apparent and the Passat feels more mature and less bulbous for it.
The changes inside are equally minimal but no less important. A slight change in the dashboard’s shape and trim piece are all that’s new for 2016. However, the modest update gives the dash a more angular appearance, which mirrors the Passat’s fresh face.
To see how these changes impacted the Passat, I spent a week driving a 2016 model like I would if I owned it. Trips to the grocery store, the Lacrosse field, preschool, and even date night at the movie theater were all taken. My four-year-old’s car seat was buckled in the back seat and the trunk was filled with everyday items. This is a departure from [my last experience with the 2016 Passat. Volkswagen had flown me to Vermont in 2015 to experience the car when it first launched, so I knew what to expect. This time the car was on my home turf in Central Florida. So how’d it do? Keep reading to find out.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
Back in 2007, Volkswagen thought it would be a good idea to develop a large coupe with a heavily sloped roof. Some of you from way back then know it as the Passat CC, while more recently it has dropped the “Passat” name. Volkswagen had big ambitions for the CC, calling it a “sports sedan” and projecting sales of at least 300,000 over the first seven years of production. But, the CC is often overlooked and has performed very poorly. Fast forward to 2017 and VW has decided to usher in a successor to the last-gen CC and it comes complete with a name change. Now going by the name Arteon, the car now rides on VW’s MQB platform and will be offered with a number of standard features that includes LED lights outside, a progressive steering system, 18-inch wheels, and a handful of engines that offer a power output that ranges from 148 horsepower all the way up to 276 horsepower. You can have AWD with some drivetrain options, or only front-wheel drive in others.
Tobias Suhlmann, the man responsible for the Arteon’s design, said, “The athletic lines of the Arteon embody a highly functional overall concept. Form and function find common ground here in a progressive way. Thanks to its long wheelbase, stretched roofline, coupe-style fastback design and large rear hatch, this Gran Turismo provides more space and flexibility than conventional sedans.”
But, while it does have a long wheelbase and it follows suit with a number of other sedans that have that low, sloping roof, the new Arteon isn’t all that different from the CC it replaces. So, let’s take a closer look at it and see if we can make out anything that might make this model more successful than the CC.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Arteon.
Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the e-Golf went on sale globally in the summer of 2014, about two years after the Golf Mk7 it is based on made its public debut. In the U.S., the e-Golf arrived in late 2014 as a 2015-model-year vehicle. Essentially a standard Golf with the gasoline engine swapped for an electric motor and a battery pack, the e-Golf crossed the pond to North America with 115 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rated the hatchback at 83 miles on a single charge, which put it on par with EVs like the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. For 2017, the e-Golf received a comprehensive update that added new technology, a new battery, more power, and an extended range.
Unveiled only a few weeks after Volkswagen debuted the regular Golf range, including the performance GTi model and the GTE hybrid, the facelifted e-Golf benefits from the same upgrades as the standard hatchback. While exterior changes are minor, customers now have access to new technology and features, including the optional gesture control function that Volkswagen unveiled in 2015. The revised e-Golf offers better performance, with the tweaked motor and larger battery delivering more horsepower and torque. Also quicker and able to reach a higher top speed, the e-Golf comes with 50-percent more range than the outgoing model.
The new tech and powertrain puts the e-Golf above its traditional rivals, but it’s not yet ready to go against the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt. Find out how it compares with its most important competitors in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen e-Golf
Consumer taste and preference is always a cyclical thing. Today’s popular items will be on sales bins tomorrow. That kind of change has always happened and will continue to happen since consumers are always after the next big thing. The same principle applies in the auto industry, which is exactly what Volkswagen’s executive director of design Klaus Bischoff alluded to when the told Auto Express that SUVs will eventually become “dinosaurs” once autonomous driving vehicles hit the market.
“Maybe SUVs will start to look old at some point and people will point at them and say, ‘He’s driving a dinosaur,’” Bischoff said. “We don’t see that now, but I strongly believe that we’re going to see much different vehicles when we get to Level 5 autonomy, and then it becomes much more open.”
The comparison to the extinct reptiles sounds a little harsh, but there are some nuggets of truth to what Bischoff is talking about. More than most industries, the automotive business is susceptible to the winds of change, especially when revolutionary technologies like electrification and autonomous driving start to take center stage. There once was a time when vans and minivans were considered the go-to people movers. Then crossovers and SUVs arrived and those same vans slowly started losing popularity to the point that only a handful of automakers still make them these days.
Today, crossovers and SUVs are as popular as they’ve ever been, but according Bischoff, the next automotive “game changer” will be Level 5 autonomy, or the ability for cars to completely drive by themselves without any sort of human assistance. The shift itself isn’t necessarily tied into the convenience of being able to do something else as the car drives by itself, but rather the opportunity that designers will be presented with to completely alter a car’s interior to suit a number of different lifestyles, including the “lounge layout” that Volkswagen presented with the ID Concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
That kind of design is a possibility if cars with Level 5 autonomy become the norm in the industry. In the event that happens, would you still drive an SUV?
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
The Volkswagen Golf R has been long awaited here in the U.S. where customers have pining for this Europe-only car to make its appearance Stateside. Now with the 2016 model year, that wish has finally come true. The anticipation is justifiable when considering Volkswagen first debuted the Golf R32 back in 2003. It featured the first dual-clutch gearbox in any production car and had VW’s then-new 3.2-liter VR6. It set the bar extremely high in the hot hatch segment.
Volkswagen has plenty of competitors out there, but the Golf R still holds its own. It comes with 4Motion AWD, a standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed DSG automatic, and of course, the 292-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Those mechanicals are good for a sub-five-second launch to 60 mph and more fun on public roads than Johnny Law will allow.
At the same time, the Golf R is still… well, a Golf. It boasts 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row folded. There’s still 22.8 cubic feet of room with the second row locked in place. That means the Golf R is not only fun, but it’s functional. Obviously, that’s the appeal of a hot hatch. There’s little compromise unlike a 2+2 sports coupe or larger, heavier crossover.
I recently spent a week with the Golf R fitted with the DSG, DCC, and no N-A-V. Punny acronyms aside, the car was well equipped, but not loaded. Thankfully it had Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) so I was able to use my iPhone for navigation. So what’s it like to live with the Golf R? I’ll let you know below.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
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.
The war on emissions has been on-going with automakers continuously pressed to lower emissions output from their vehicles year after year. Over in Europe, the strategy to meet stringent emissions regulations has resulted in the downsizing of engines and the addition of turbochargers to make up for the power deficit. As such, the average engine size in Europe is anywhere between 1.3- and 1.9-liters. The shrinking of engines has worked well for emissions tests in Europe up until now, but according to Reuters, new on-the-road emissions testing has shown that smaller engines actually fail to meet the latest standards. This being the case, automakers are being forced to rethink their strategy, and those smaller engines could be on the chopping block.
So how bad is it? Well, real-world testing has shown that most of the smaller engines currently in use – like GM’s 1.2-liter diesel and VW’s 1.4-liter, three-pot diesel – can produce NOx levels up to 15 times the current legal standard when driven at higher loads. Smaller gasoline engines of similar size lose fuel-efficiency and “spew fine particles and carbon monoxide.” Renault’s 0.9-liter H4Bt engine injects excess fuel to prevent overheating, which has been found to produce massive levels of unburned hydrocarbons, fine particles, and CO2. So, what can automakers do to meet the tougher emissions regulations that must be adhered to by 2019?
Automakers have largely remained silent as to what their strategy will be going forward. But, sources have indicated that Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors are all preparing to upsize some of their best-selling smaller engines while others will be retired altogether. All three have declined to comment on specific plans so far, but Alain Rapos – the Head of Powertrain for Renault-Nissan – said, “The techniques we’ve used to reduce engine capacities will no longer allow us to meet emissions standards. We’re reaching the limits of downsizing.”
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