Auto Notes - October 2016
New engine. Infiniti debuted the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine at the Paris Motor Show in September. Infiniti said the VC-T (Variable Compression Turbocharged) was 20 years in development and is one of the most advanced internal combustion engines ever created.
“VC-T technology is a step change for Infiniti,” said Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Co. “It’s a revolutionary next-step in optimizing the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. This technological breakthrough delivers the power of a high-performance 2.0-L turbo gasoline engine with a high level of efficiency at the same time.”
VC-T technology allows the engine the ability to transform itself and seamlessly raise or lower the height of the pistons, Infiniti officials said. By doing so, the displacement of the engine changes and the compression ratio can vary between 8:1 for high performance and 14:1 for high efficiency. The benefits of the VC-T are substantially improved fuel economy, lower emissions, plus reduced noise and vibration. The VC-T is also lighter and more compact than other conventional engines.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Infiniti launched the brand in 1989 and has both a design studio and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. The company is owned by Nissan.
Future tires. At the recent Geneva International Motor Show, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. unveiled two concept tires that the company said will “stretch the imagination of futuristic technologies.” The tires have been named the BHO3 and the Triple Tube.
The BHO3 offers the availability of charging batteries on electric vehicles by transforming the heat generated by the rolling tire into electrical energy. The technology could eliminate the vehicle range anxiety motorists have with electric vehicles.
The Triple Tube features three internal tubes located beneath the tread that adjust tire inflation pressure in response to changing road conditions. Eco/Safety (maximum inflation in all three tubes) offers reduced rolling resistance; the Sporty position (reduced inflation within the inboard shoulder tube) provides dry handling; and the Wet Traction position (maximized inflation in the center tube) allows for high aqua-planing resistance.
Driver tech. Land Rover’s 2017 Range Rover Sport will feature an amazing amount of new technologies for advanced driver assistance. They include Advance Tow Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Intelligent Speed Limiter, Low Traction Launch, and Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro with multiple connectivity features that also offers a new 10.2-inch touch screen to allow drivers to pinch and zoom when using navigation.
With Advance Tow Assist, drivers can watch images on the touch screen from rear-facing cameras, allowing the driver to indicate the desired direction of the trailer using the Terrain Response 2 rotary controller.
Low Traction Launch is designed to assist drivers when pulling away from a standstill on low-grip surfaces such as mud, ice, or wet grass. The system controls the amount of torque the driver is able to apply when pressing the accelerator.
New hatchback. Honda will release its new 2017 Civic Hatchback over the next two months, the latest addition to the Civic lineup that was named the 2016 North American Car of the Year.
The Civic Hatchback features European styling and Honda’s direct-injection turbo engine technology. Built on the same platform as the 10th generation Civic Sedan and Coupe, the Hatchback will be available in five trims, all with a 1.5-L turbocharged I-4 engine for the U.S. market. Engines can be combined with either a CVT or performance-inspired six-speed manual transmission.
The Civic Hatchback will offer class-leading interior and cargo volume, has sport-tuned electronic power steering, and is loaded with standard safety features and creature comforts. It will be the foundation for the radical new Civic Type-R racer that will debut in the U.S. next year.
Lighter Lotus. Already the lightest in its segment, the Lotus Evora 400 now offers new lighter weight options, including a new Carbon Pack, Lithium-ion battery and titanium sport exhaust. Total weight can be a mere 2,983 pounds (U.S. and Canada models 3,153 pounds).
“With super car performance, benchmark handling, and the purity of the driving experience expected of Lotus, we are now giving customers an opportunity to drive an even lighter and more responsive car,” said Jean Marc-Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc.
The Evora 400 is powered by a 3.5-L V-6 all-aluminum engine with an Edelbrock supercharger. It produces 400 HP and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission (six-speed automatic is optional).