Audi of America has just introduced 2 new models with the 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback models. This is a revitalized hatchback sedan trend started by cars like the Honda Crosstour and BMW X6. Audi enters this game with two new offerings based on its most popular sedan platform. In Audi fashion, both models are essential the same car with the S model offering a beefier engine and a sportier driving dynamic. The new A5 and S5 models will come standard with Quattro all-wheel drive with front a front to rear ratio of 40:60.
The A5 sport back will be powered by a 2.0L Turbo engine mated to a 7 speed dual clutch automatic to create 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates this power plant to push the A5 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The S5 will come with a turbo 3.0L V6 the puts out 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds for the S5 thanks to a new 8 speed automatic. One thing to note is that the S5 will only come with an automatic while the A5 will still offer a manual transmission option.
Audi is hoping to appeal to the luxury sedan buyer that wants a little more utility. While this segment of car is still very unique and sometimes even a little odd; Audis take on a hatch back sedan looks very attractive. This might just be the best looking 4 door sedan hatchback out there. Buyers can expect to see the A5 and S5 hit dealer lots in spring of 2017 as 2018 models.
The internet is buzzing today with the news of a new Kia Soul model. Ok maybe not buzzing. You might be saying “It’s just a Kia Soul” which is completely reasonable however anytime you add a turbo to something people start to pay attention. The 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim is boasting 201 horsepower from a 1.6L 4 cylinder engine. What’s more is that Kia is claiming slightly better fuel efficiency than its base model engines. Mated to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission the Soul is shaping up to be a very fun and nimble little daily driver.
It will be interesting to see if Kia has made improvements to their 7 speed dual clutch after owner complaints about the similar unit in the Hyundai Tucson. Tucson owners have complained about dead spots in the cars acceleration that have come close to being dangerous. Many state that poor drivability ruins and otherwise excellent vehicle. Hopefully Hyundai and Kia can get that worked out before the new Soul Exclaim gets released.
Aside from performance updates the Exclaim model comes decked out with 18 inch wheels, unique badges, dual chrome exhaust tips, body trim enhancements and some mild interior tweaks. No specific release dates have been announced, but expect it to hit dealers soon as a 2017 model.
A question that some of us ask ourselves. Or have even been asked by friends or customers. I have a car with a CVT transmission and I have always wondered how a CVT actually worked. I knew it was belt driven but I didn’t know how the belt was driven and how one belt could do the work making it go through “gears”. Now that CVT transmissions are more main stream that they once were most of us have ridden in a car with a CVT. The number one thing we notice first is that there is not Shift/Step feeling as it switches gears. CVT Transmissions are made to give the engine efficiency under acceleration and going up hills. They also give you improved gas mileage and over the years the benefits are starting too finally out way the cons of owning one. CVT transmissions were not always the most reliable when they first started being introduced to cars but we will get into that later.
CVT Transmissions have 3 main components. There is a Drive pulley, Driven pulley, and a belt. The belts are known to be either high strength rubber or metal. The two pulleys also have clutches and sheathes on them that will move one side of the pulley to make it wider or narrower depdnding on the ratio the cars transmission computer decides it needs to be in. By doing this you have an almost infinite number of ratios. When this happens the other pulley will do the opposite to change the ratio of how much output needs to make it to the wheels. Because of this you do not get any kind “shift” or “Stepping feelings”. The drive pulley is connected to the cars crankshaft. The driven pulley is called so because the drive pulley is turning it. That is known as the output pulley and the cars driveshaft is connected to that.
As you can see in the picture it is a pretty simple concept considering that of a normal automatic transmission that is a nightmare to even look at the inside of. There are multiple types of CVT transmissions but the main one we are going over today is the belt driven type.
The advantages of owning a CVT transmission are tremendous! I have to say I love my car and the loss of “Shift shock” and I always have power whenever I need it. No need to wait for the transmission to shift and get that power. You will also have improved fuel efficiency, there is always better control over emissions and the ride is exceptionally smooth. Some cons of owning one can be the expense of have to replace it and earlier CVT transmissions were not the most reliable. Although they are getting much better throughout the years some people have sworn off of them because of past reliability issues. Also the weak point of these transmissions is the belt. The quality of the belts has been questionable throughout the years. Some last forever and some break within 70K miles, I wouldn’t worry about it though because most manufacturers give a decent warranty on power train.
Finally I have a bonus question for you. What was the first u.s. production car to have a CVT transmission?
Mini is recalling about 35,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada do to safety regulations not met for side impacts for rear passengers. The recall includes Cooper, Cooper S Hardtop two-door cars from 2014 and 2015. It also includes the 2015 John Cooper works Hardtop Two-door. Basically rear passengers are at a higher risk of injury from side impacts, when you bring your car in to the dealer they will install more energy absorption material between the rear interior side panels and body starting September 12th.
The documents were filed with the U.S. safety regulations that is knows of no accidents or injuries from this problem. The recall will include 30,456 U.S. cars and 4,130 Canadian cars.
This is not one of the biggest recalls in car maker history but this could potentially be dangerous. If you own one of these cars please contact your local dealer to get your car scheduled for repair. The last thing we want to see is anyone get hurt do to lack in safety.
Lexus just announced that it is currently in the final stages of testing its hover board. This is a real life hover board. This isn’t a joke, we haven’t gone back in time and the DeLorean is still safe and sound in Docs garage. With that out of the way, prepare yourself for a real life LEXUS hover board teaser. This is similar to the Hendo hover board that Tony Hawk rode last year. Both boards use magnetic levitation to create frictionless movement. The Hendo demonstration relied on the surface being metal in order to create levitation. This Lexus teaser shows the board in what appears to be a concrete skate park which leaves us wondering what (if anything) they have up their sleeve. If you are ready to jump all in and shell out whatever it takes for this then you may be disappointed. This is a technology showcase for the company and not a product they intend to sell any time soon. If anything it shows that the idea of a hover board isn’t dead after all these years. Maybe that’s good enough for now…
Remember when a watch was just a watch? It was a simpler time of elegant time pieces with the sole purpose of telling local and world time. Today the modern watch is evolving into a marvel of technological advancement. I remember having a Casio calculator watch when I was a kid that made me feel like Batman when I wore it. All that thing did was crunch numbers where today’s watches can monitor health, show phone calls, text, go online and now even connect to your car.
The connected car is trending throughout the auto industry and what better way to connect to a car than the tech around your wrist? We’ve hit the point where hands free calling, voice recognition and iPod integration are all standard fair inside your vehicle. Now manufacturers are looking to the Smartwatch to enhance their vehicles.
We all know prices of new cars are not going down so obviously loan amounts are going up, but the thing that hurts is how much. Most of us need a car to get back and forth to work. I’m not saying that we need a new car but sometimes there is no other option and some deals are to hard to pass up.
The average amount financed for a new vehicle is $28,381 and that was a record setter for the fourth quarter of 2014. This was an increase of $950 from the year earlier quarter and a rise of $582. The rise in transaction prices parallels that in amount financed. In December light vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367, making December the highest month on record for average transaction prices.
Experian’s data showed that the average new vehicle payment also hit a record in the fourth quarter, reaching $482, up from $471 in the year-earlier period. The average used-vehicle loan rose to $18,411 in the fourth quarter but this was not a record setter.
With these loans and payments hitting all time highs I have to wonder how most average people can afford a new car. Most baseline smaller cars are in the $20,000 range but once you start getting to your four wheel drive crossover/SUV territory prices start to sky rocket. Up here in New England it is almost needed to have an all wheel or 4 wheel drive car, especially this winter.
Nissan has announced that its Nissan Middle East branch has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest nonstop twin vehicle drift. Prior to the attempt the record committee set the minimum distance required with was 15.5 miles. The record was easily beaten by two drivers that drifted modified Nissan Z coupes around a wet track for a nonstop run at 17.7 miles.
This was a great record to set at the beginning of Nissans 370Z Drift Experience event as the program was launched by Nissan Middle East and the Prodrift Academy in an effort to teach anyone how to drift masterfully. Dubai was a great place to do this because the drifting in the area is very popular with some events bringing in at least 15,000 attendees.
This year the 370Z is getting a much needed price drop which will not start at $30,800, the Nismo Coupe with run $42,800 which is a good price for an entry level sports coupe.
You can watch the video below of the pair of 370Zs making its way into the Guinness World Records.