Adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist and blind-spot monitoring were the stuff of science fiction just a decade ago, but today these features are available on many reasonably priced, mass-market vehicles. Pushing driver assistance even further, Continental is developing a suite of advanced technologies with some pretty amazing capabilities.
AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
AutoGuide’s last installment of “Under the Hood” investigated traction control; today it’s time to look at another safety feature. This one has nothing to do with gripping the road and everything to do with keeping your vehicle shiny-side up.
Traffic, inclement weather and road construction add up to headaches and frustration for motorists. According to automotive supplier company Continental the typical driver spends an average 50 minutes per day commuting to work. Add it up and that’s roughly 300 hours per year that could be spent doing more productive things.
Traction is important; it’s the difference between moving forward and sitting still. Without any friction between your vehicle’s tires and the road surface you’d never make it to work in the morning, let alone to that Grand Funk Railroad concert on Saturday night.
The winter season is underway, and many drivers still aren’t sure which tires are right for them. Fortunately, Consumer Reports has gone and tested just about every winter-tire available, and have ranked them from best to worst.
As the seasons begin to change and the temperatures drop, many motorists will be on the hunt for winter tires, or even just a set of new all-seasons. Well in advance of the snow, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best new all-season and winter tires to meet different traction needs with both Michelin and Continental scoring highly.
It was only December of last year when Google earned patents for autonomous vehicles. Now, the technology continues to rapidly move ahead as automotive supplier Continental has commenced testing a semi-autonomous vehicle of its own that is more affordable and could be among the first licensed for use on Nevada’s designated public roads by months end.
Nevada is the first state to pass laws regulating driverless vehicles. To qualify for a special state license, engineers at Continental have built and driven a heavily modified Volkswagen Passat with its brake and steering controls removed and replaced with sensors to digitally read and interpret surroundings. According to engineer Ibro Muharemovic, the Passat has logged almost 10,000 miles of autonomous driving and during a more recent trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Brimley, Michigan, home of Continental’s development and testing center, more than 90 percent of the journey did not involve the use of hands and feet.
Unlike Google’s ambitions to create a sophisticated fully autonomous vehicle, Continental went along to develop an interim semi-autonomous option that could take over duties during stop-and-go traffic or extended stretches of highway, the least satisfying of driving conditions. However, Continental and Google’s endpoint is identical: to create a solution that will reduce accidents, congestion, and fuel consumption. Continental director of engineering systems and technology Christian Schumacher said, “We still have a long way to go, but the technology is amazing.”
According to Ravi Pandit, CEO of India’s global IT and engineering company KPIT Cummins, “There is a strong business case for an autonomous car that can drop you off or a cab without the expense of a driver.”
Despite the optimism, mass production semiautonomous cars are still a couple years away. The technology exists but the idea raises questions of liability, regulation, and public acceptance. NHTSA will begin a study of autonomous driving in August with a one-year pilot project in Ann Arbor, testing 3,000 cars with the ability to communicate with one another to avoid an accident. What’s more, in an event of a crash, the law has yet to resolve who is reliable or whether the occupants of an autonomous car are legally exempt from bans on mobile devices.
As for passenger anxiety, Ravi Pandit is confident that, “A car can see better than a human can, and the car responds faster.”
Engineer Ibro Muharemovic commented, “I was surprised by how well it worked.” Continental’s Volkswagen Passat is fitted with a stereo camera that can monitor speed-bumps or potholes as far as 220 yards away and adjust steering, braking, and acceleration accordingly. Muharemovic adds, “The driver is always in control and can override the system any time.”
If testing is successful and Continental is qualified for Nevada registration, a special red license plate will be provided to distinguish the driverless car. In the future, production driverless cars would receive a green license plate.
Check out video footage of Continental’s autonomous Volkswagen Passat driving itself below. Continue Reading…
Tires can make a huge difference in your car’s handling and safety. Additionally, with the right rubber, you can enjoy a more comfortable driving experience and even save money.
The right tires depends a lot on how you drive, and in what weather conditions. To help you pick, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best tires in several different categories: All Season, Performance All Season, Ultra High Performance All-Season, Ultra High Performance Summer, Winter and Performance Winter.
All-season tires are the standard equipment for most manufacturers. They’re the ideal combination of performance in wet and dry conditions. Additionally, they’re known to be very comfortable and quiet compared to performance tires.
The top 4 All-Season tires for cars are:
Continental ProContact EcoPlus+
Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Hankook Optimo H727
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred
The Continental, Michelin and Hankook tires all scored a rating of 82 in Consumer Reports test, while the Goodyear tires netted a score of 80.
The new Bentley Continental GT and GTC V8 still doesn’t have a scheduled release date, but that hasn’t stoped the British automaker from releasing more photos of the two upcoming models to whet our appetite.
The new V8-powered Continental features a 4.0L, twin-turbo engine with 500-hp and 487 lb-ft of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission. With the new V8 engine, the GT reportedly can get up to 33-mpg on the highway, which is extremely impressive for a vehicle with 500-hp.
On the outside, the V8 model will have slightly different exterior features than its W12 counterpart including a glossy black grille with chrome frame and center bar, a red enameled Bentley “B” badge, and a black mesh three-segment front bumper.
Even though US pricing still hasn’t been announced, the UK buyers will be paying a base price of around $196,215 (£123,850) while the rest of Europe has a starting price of around $179,000 (€136,000) based on today’s conversion rates. We expected American pricing to be closer to $175,000 than $200,000.
GALLERY: Bentley Continental GT and GTC V8
Bentley recently found an interesting way to prove the all-wheel drive capabilities of its Continental sports car, taking to the sport of skijoring out at the Switzerland Alpine passes.
Skijoring, a winter sport that usually involves a person on skis being pulled by a horse or dogs, can sometimes be seen with a motor vehicle, but not commonly. Especially not with a luxury car like a Bentley Continental. Nonetheless, the British automaker teamed up with 16-time skijoring world champion Franco Moro to show off what the 570-hp Continental GT out in the snow. And of course it was recorded for all of us to enjoy on Youtube.
The event took place at a joring track in Rougermont, Switzerland, and we reckon this was the fastest Moro has ever experienced skijoring – around 40-mph.
Just out the two videos after the break.
GALLERY: Bentley Continental Skijoring
The 1970s was definitely an interesting era, with good ‘ol disco all over America. And nothing was more luxurious and smooth back in the ’70s then a Lincoln Town Coupe.
Those looking to relive those days can now get their hands on this pristine 1978 Lincoln Continental with just 61,745-miles on the odometer and an asking price of $19,900. Finished in a Midnight Blue Metallic shade on the outside, it’s the Saddle interior that we can’t get over on this retro resale, with the back seat looking like it came out of a VIP room in a 1970s strip club.
Under the hood, this 1978 Lincoln Continental is no slouch either, featuring Ford’s 460-cubic inch V8 mated to their indestructible C6 three-speed automatic transmission. What’s even crazier is reading off the list of options that is on this Continental, giving it a big-dollar price back in 1978: illuminated entry system, defroster group, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 6-way power bench seat, dual map light, AM/FM/8-track stereo, interval wipers, appearance protection group, right-hand remote control mirror, power lock convenience group, forged aluminum wheels and body side moldings.
This awesome throwback to the disco era would definitely make for a great conversation piece, imaging packing five of your friends with yourself and taking it out on a cruise in town.
GALLERY: 1978 Lincoln Continental V8
[Source: RK Motors]
Set to make their world debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Bentley has released some photos of their new V8-powered Continental GT Coupe and GT Convertible. Powered by a new 4.0L, twin-turbocharged V8 powerplant with 500-hp, Bentley claims that the new V8 will also deliver 40-percent better fuel economy.
The new V8 Continentals will also sport red-enamelled Bentley badges, originally seen only on performance-tuned Red Label cars. The new V8 was developed in collaboration with Audi, and features a cylinder management system that shuts down four of the eight cylinders at cruising speeds, maximizing fuel efficiency.
The new engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission while the drivetrain is also equipped with stop-start technology to save fuel. Official numbers haven’t been announced yet on the V8-powered GT and GTC, but estimates are coming in at around 25-mpg, which is pretty impressive for a 500-hp luxury sports car.
The exterior of the V8-powered Continental has some styling changes too, with different exhaust tips, black gloss matrix grille, chrome frame and center bar. Both models will come with 20-inch wheels standard, with 21-inchers available as an option while the six-spoke design of the wheels are exclusive tot he V8 variant.
Interior choices include two-tone leather combinations, dark eucalyptus wood veneers and a new cloth headliner. U.S. pricing is expected at the Detroit Auto Show reveal.
GALLERY: Bentley Continental V8
Though there are no real surprises, Bentley has made their new Continental GTC official, detailing the new luxury convertible in a comprehensive press releases. The four-seater convertible features a seven-bow, three-layer fabric roof that’s available in eight different colors. It can fold and rise in just 25 seconds and works at speeds up to 20-mph.
Standard features for the convertible also include a heated glass rear window and reading light in the liner when the roof is down while the heating/ventilation system will automatically adjust the air distribution and volume accordingly.
For the first time, 20-inch wheels will be standard for the GTC while Bentley will also offer three different styles of 21-inch wheels available as an option. It’ll feature Bentley’s infamous 6.0L twin-turbocharged W12 engine under the hood along with a new Quickshift transmission putting all 567-hp and 516 lb-ft of power to the ground.
Inside, the new interior features a bold, sweeping dashboard and instrument panel finished in premium soft-touch leather, while a choice of 17 different colors are available for your picking. In the center console, a new 30GB infotainment system is touchscreen and includes satellite navigation and Google Maps compatibility.
The new Continental GTC is now available for order through your local Bentley dealership.
GALLERY: New 2012 Bentley Continental GTC
Bentley has officially revealed the all-new Continental GTC with updates similar to those of the GT coupe. Originally hitting the market in 2006, the revamped second generation GTC is set to officially debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
There are no real surprises to the new GTC, as it was heavily anticipated to receive the same treatment as the GT coupe, but it will have a weight savings of about 154-lbs compared to the first iteration.
Standard to the second generation GTC will be stylish 20-inch wheels, with three styles of 21-inchers available as options. Compared to the first generation, the new GTC will feature a 40:60 rear torque bias as opposed to the original’s 50:50, helping minimize understeer during hard cornering. It will be powered by a 6.0L twin-turbocharged W12 powerplant with 567-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and with a weight savings of 154-lbs the convertible can hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
The new Continental GTC is now available to order with first deliveries starting in late 2011. MSRP is set at $212,800.
GALLERY: 2012 Bentley Continental GTC
Pope Paul VI was the first pope to travel the world, visiting Asia, Africa, and the Americas extensively. When he came to the USA for the first time, he needed something fitting to represent the Catholic Church—and this Lincoln Continental served nicely.
This Continental was built upon a request from the Vatican, who needed a ride for Paul VI’s address to the United Nations in 1965. To fulfill the order, coachbuilder Lehman-Peterson built it in just two weeks. They stretched it to 21 feet and added a removable roof section, with a PA system to address the huddled masses and a removable transparent window, more to shield the pope from the weather than from the likes of Carlos the Jackal.
When Pope Paul VI came to New York, he addressed the United Nations, attended the World’s Fair, and witnessed a Yankees game, to the chagrin of Red Sox fans. After his whirlwind New York tour the Pope and his Continental went to Bogotá, Colombia, where the car was modified to fit in with the city’s 8,000-ft elevation.
The car never made it back to Italy after the South American trip, but rather to Chicago where, given the right series of events, it could have become the Bluesmobile. Instead, it carried a series of astronauts: Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anderson after they orbited the moon, and then the Apollo 11 crew after the 1969 moon landing.
Just another example of a Lincoln Continental becoming part of world history. And this bit of history could be yours at Pebble Beach, where it will go up for auction on August 19th. Auction house Bonhams believes it will go for $250,000 to $350,000, which seems low for a car that’s a genuine holy roller.
GALLERY: 1964 Lincoln Continental Pope Mobile
[Source: New York Times]