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.
Contrary to rumors and reports Ford CEO Alan Mulally will not be leaving the American automaker to take over as Microsoft CEO.
Though Qoros won’t be heading to America anytime soon, the Chinese automaker is working on an infotainment system built on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
Gamers worldwide anxiously awaited the announcement of Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console today – the Xbox One – and along with the announcement came footage from the newest Forza Motorsport racing game.
Microsoft wants to further increase its involvement in the automotive industry, vastly increasing its role with automakers.
Hollywood and the automobile industry share a rich history. Since the first motion pictures debuted cars have played a starring role, something that’s still true today, especially on the small screen.
Apple, the technology guru, is teaming up with major automotive manufacturers to bring its Siri voice-recognition personal assistant system to a long list of cars.
Racing games have really evolved to the point where looking back at the original Gran Turismo or Forza compared to today’s releases is almost comical.
Virtual racing fans looking for the most realistic experience outside of a race car should start saving up their dollars. Fanatec, creator of the Porsche branded steering wheel and pedal set for gamers, has evolved one of its best products with its new ClubSport Pedals V2.
Having experienced Fanatec’s products firsthand, we undoubtedly believe that its products are as close as it gets in the virtual racing world. The first generation of ClubSport pedals featured all-metal construction, high-end technology in an industrial design package with a fairly reasonable price. Now a new version is out, priced at $250 (includes ClubSport Wheel) and offers even more for the ultimate race fanatic.
The ClubSport Pedals V2 now come in either anodized black or polished aluminum and when combined with its color kits, gamers can sport gray, orange, red, or blue colored combinations. One of the biggest improvements however is a hydraulic brake complete with an oil damper to give it a very realistic and dampened feeling. Gamers can adjust the stiffness of the pedal by replacing the silicone oil with different viscosity types and can also change the spring tension on the damper.
Another enhancement to the pedal set is a degressive clutch mechanism that now gives the clutch pedal a much more realistic feature. Again, the spring strength can be adjusted to the gamer’s liking.
Unfortunately an upgrade kit won’t be made available for current ClubSport Pedals owners, but we’re sure you can fetch a good price used on craigslist or eBay if you’re looking to upgrade. Pre orders will be up on Fanatec’s website starting in May and the company hopes to have its first shipments in America by June.
GALLERY: Fanatec ClubSport Pedals V2
Check out an intro video of Fanatec’s ClubSport Pedals V2 after the break.
The SRT Viper debuted at the New York Auto Show earlier this week and has become the new, hot, and trending topic since then. As with any vehicle debut, there’s mixed emotions and opinions about it, but overall the reception on the SRT Viper is that it’s a success.
But for most automotive enthusiasts, the new SRT Viper will be an unobtainable vehicle and many will never have the opportunity to drive one. That is unless you own an Xbox 360 and a copy of Forza Motorsport 4. The 2013 SRT Viper will be hitting the virtual racing world long before it will even hit the streets of America.
It is believed that the SRT Viper will be added as a downloadable content (DLC) sometime this summer, well ahead of the Viper’s 2013 sale date. Powered by an 8.4L V10 powerplant with 640-hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, the new SRT Viper also features a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission.
Watch a video of the 2013 SRT Viper in action in Forza Motorsport 4 after the break.
While Apple successfully continues to campaign a clean and subtle design for all of their products, and Google embraces the open-source world, it seems like Microsoft is a bit lost. Outside of its Kinect and Xbox 360 video game system, the once tech giant has become an afterthought in most people’s minds.
But in the past couple of years, the company has been working hard to change that image. Its new Windows Phone 7 can’t officially be declared a bust yet, and their upcoming Windows 8 is supposed to revolutionize how we use a PC. In an attempt to be hip and to show off all its new technology, Microsoft teamed up with West Coast Customs to build a 2012 Ford Mustang that it calls the MicroStang.
While the general public will find the Mustang to be cool, we feel like it’s just further proof how far Microsoft is missing the mark when it comes to their products and marketing them to the right demographic.
Now this isn’t the West Coast Custom’s worst creation, but it definitely isn’t the best. The team took a 2012 Mustang and retrofitted a 1967 fastback replica front-end, made it matte black and proceeded to plaster it with Microsoft gadgets inside and out. Built in Wi-Fi, heads-up displays with augmented reality on the windshield, Kinect sensors in the front and rear of the car, and a Windows 8 touchscreen tablet are just some of the goods WCC put into the Micro-Stang.
Of course the ‘Stang has Ford SYNC which is developed by Microsoft, an Xbox 360, and a rear windshield projector screen. The finishing touch was their Windows Phone integration which allows users to locate, unlock, and start the car from a Windows Phone app. Oh yeah, you can play police officer too by talking into the phone and having your voice emit to the outside world from the car.
Microsoft plans on touring the vehicle around hoping to entice developers to look closer into its new products. It’s probably one way to go about it, but we don’t think it’s the right way.
Watch a video after the break sneak previewing the TV episode that will show the build.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford MicroStang
[Source: The Verge]
Forza Motorsport 4 fans have something to look forward to on Feb. 7 when the American Le Mans Series is released as new downloadable content (DLC). The pack will give gamers 10 new virtual cars including the 2011 Audi R18 TDI 24 Hours of Le Mans champion and the 1991 Mazda 787B, the last Japanese car to win the race back in 1991.
The pack costs 560 Microsoft points, which is the equivalent of $7.00, and will be free for download to those that hold the Forza Motorsport 4 Season Pass. The rest of the cars you’ll get to get your hands on include the 2011 Platinum Motorsports Bentley Continental GT, 2010 Dodge Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Challenger SRT8, 1986 Audi Sport quattro S1, 2011 Panoz #050 Abruzzi, 1992 Alfa Romeo 155 Q4, 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R, 2011 Holden HSV GTS, and 2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Watch the video showing off the upcoming ALMS Pack for Forza Motorsport 4 after the jump.
GALLERY: Forza Motorsport 4 ALMS Pack
Auto enthusiasts who enjoy gaming will be happy to know that Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson will be spicing up Forza Motorsport 4, as he will be featured in the XBOX 360 game. Top Gear UK and Microsoft have been working to create a partnership between the witty British motoring show and Forza Motorsport.
The partnership will consist of Clarkson writing and vocally recording his own witty takes on a series of cars ranging from the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to the McLaren F1. Players will be able to listen to Clarkson’s reviews of cars in the game when choosing a vehicle to use.
Interestingly, Forza 4 will also allow players to enter virtual showrooms where the user can open car doors, examine wheels and look under car hoods. Dan Greenawalt, a developer of Forza Motorsport 4 said, “We thought about how people want to interact with cars, to move around one, open the doors, kick the tires,”. “Our goal with this is to turn gamers into car lovers, and car lovers into gamers”, according to Greenawalt.
Video game and auto enthusiasts can expect to see Forza Motorsport 4 out on October 11 in the U.S.
[Source: New York Times]
Now that we’ve all had some time to settle in on the disappoint that was Gran Turismo 5, virtual racers can look forward to the upcoming release of the Xbox 360 flagship driving simulator, Forza Motorsport 4. On October 11th, gamers from all around the world will be able to experience the next installment of the Forza Motorsport series, and with it comes a limited collector’s edition packed with virtual goodies, and a few actual ones too!
The limited collector’s edition of Forza Motorsport 4 will feature a Steelbook DVD case along with a VIP virtual car pack that includes a 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, 2011 Ferrari 458 Challenge, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, 2010 Noble M600 and 2011 RUF Rt 12 R. Those willing to pre-order Forza Motorsport 4 will get a limited quantity “Ship Bonus” car pack which consists of a 1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe, 2011 Koenigsegg Agera, 1997 Lexus SC300, 2011 RUF RGT-8 and 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport.
That’s not all, as there will also be a 10 car add-on pack that features some of the best American muscle cars the game has to offer. The not-so-exclusive content will be custom-designed BMW cars that were part of the Forza Motorsport 4 BMW Design Challenge. Though it will come with the collector’s edition, users will be able to purchase the content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Think that’s it? Of course not. Non-virtual goodies will include a 96-page book titled Cars of Forza Motorsport 4 Presented by Top Gear” and features commentary accompanying the in-game Autovista experience. You’ll also get some vinyl stickers, VIP Membership status to the online community and an exclusive BMW theme available for download on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Last but not least, Forza Motorsport 4 is really leveraging their relationship with BMW by featuring the all new M5 as the box cover car. The M5 can be downloaded as a drivable car via Xbox LIVE Marketplace (included in the collector’s edition) and gamers will be able to enjoy Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson talk about the M5 in the Autovista mode.
Forza Motorsport 4 is shaping up to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, driving simulator game ever. Whether or not you believe Gran Turismo still holds that title is up to you, but we’re hoping that Forza lives up to the hype, unlike its Sony-exclusive competitor.
Microsoft is enjoying a new generation of success with the release of its Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360, but true gamers aren’t fooled by all the motion-sensing gimmickry. The thought of enjoying Forza 4 while waving your hands and arms aimlessly in the air pretending to drive a car is a little discerning, to say the least. So we’re more than a little grateful to see that Microsoft will be releasing a new Wireless Speed Wheel for those that still want to hold something in their hands while they virtually drive.
Forza 4 isn’t too far behind and it looks like the release of this wheel will be synced in time for those passionate virtual racers. Interestingly enough, this wheel isn’t your standard circular steering wheel, but rather a U-shaped device that Microsoft found to be a compromise between a comfortable controller and a steering wheel. Even better is its affordable price tag at $59.99, set to release on September 26th.
The Wireless Speed Wheel does feature motion sensors for accurate steering, trigger buttons for acceleration and braking, your standard Xbox 360 buttons for game interactivity (though the shoulder buttons are noticeably missing, but shouldn’t impact driving games) and Rumble feedback. So for those that have been cringing at the price tag of Logitech’s offerings, this may be your best bet to get an affordable, real-world driving experience. Just don’t be that guy magically driving in Forza 4 with nothing in your hands…please, don’t be that guy.
GALLERY: Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel
The integration of multimedia into vehicles is no longer a novelty, and storing media files such as MP3s is becoming more and more common. So it’s no surprise that Microsoft has decided to forge yet another relationship in the automotive sector, this time with e.solutions, the company that supplies Volkswagen with their infotainment software.
Microsoft will be giving e.solutions access to its Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) which is Microsoft’s latest generation of file system management. exFAT will allow e.solutions to integrate a file system that will increase the size of files that can be stored in addition to the speed at which it can be accessed. This will give Volkswagen owners a more efficient method to move large audio and video devices to and from their vehicle.
At first glance, the pairing of Toyota and Microsoft might make some a little uneasy. The prospect of unintended acceleration and “the blue screen of death” that appears on Windows computers might be the most terrifying technological catastrophe known to man.
Nevertheless, the two companies will be collaborating, but only as far as telematics. Ford and Microsoft already have their SYNC system to control things like in-car entertainment systems. The Toyota system will go beyond this facet, and is supposed to include some kind of “cloud-computing” platform, but with the partnership just forged, there are no real details pertaining to the program.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
First came the limited edition Nike Dunk 6.0 DeLorean shoes that sold out as soon as the stores opened. Then there was the DeLorean Time Machine Hard Drive so you could back up your files McFly style. Now, there’s more good news for you Back to the Future fans out there – DeLorean is in the works to expand its brand beyond time machines, sneakers and computer gadgets.
The Texas-based automaker has announced new partnerships with Mattel, Sun Star, Gateway Global, Microsoft and Now & Zen to make clothing and toys that use the DeLorean’s uber-cool retro-icon label.
The folks at DeLorean believe that their brand is a big hit with kids from the ’80s – and they’ve got the facts to back them up on that. According to a poll of 1,000 men conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation Caravan, the famous car has a 93 percent awareness factor among men aged 18 and older, with 87 percent of respondents agreeing that “the car was ahead of its time.”
Shaston, a Switzerland-based international distributor of Windows Mobile devices, just sent us these photos of a BMW 760Li Individual, modified with parts from well-known BMW-tuner Lumma. They didn’t give us a ton of details, but thankfully we’re equipped with a pair of eyeballs to make some observations of our own.
Lumma’s products are beginning to form a consistent shape throughout their BMW line and this 7-Series is no different. The front bumper on this 760Li is clearly from Lumma with many Lumma-inspired features. Wide fender arches flare up the front and the rear, giving the car a more aggressive, sportier profile. They’re a little out-of-place on the luxury 7-Series, but we think it might look a lot cleaner if the arches were molded on and blended in with the body.
There are several vent additions on the vehicle, from the front to the rear with a stylish rear bumper featuring a diffuser between the quad-tipped exhaust. It’s worth noting that the front grilles and mirrors have been swapped out with carbon fiber pieces.
There’s no word if the twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 gets any power upgrades. It doesn’t need it though, with 554-hp and 553 ft-lbs of torque.
Shaston didn’t disclose much to us other than the first demonstration car is located in Switzerland and that this vehicle (or tuning package) will be launched in three weeks with “the most advanced computerized management.” We’re curious to see if Shaston ties in Windows Mobile products to their vehicle. Hopefully it’ll be the new Windows Phone 7, tying together automotive technology brilliance with wireless technology.
GALLERY: Shaston / Lumma Widebody BMW 760 Li
While the entire world is still holding their breath for an actual release of Gran Turismo 5, Microsoft’s Xbox 360′s motorsports entrant is still kicking strong. One of the coolest features in Forza Motorsport 3 is the ability to create graphics for your vehicles, pixel-by-pixel or however you can if you’re talented enough. We wouldn’t say we’re not talented, we just don’t have the patience to figure out better ways to do our own graphics like some other people. But Dr. Westies is extremely talented and this isn’t his first toy for the Xbox Live players.
So for those interested in tuning the Lexus SC430 drift car look-a-like, search “DRW” or “Miki 2010″ in the Forza Motorsport 3 storefront to grab it. Dr. Westies is quick to share that the graphics package incorporates 994 layers per side of the car. That’s a whole lot of time and patience we would never have to develop our own. But hey, we’ll definitely be adding one to our collection and hopefully Dr. Westies “gets bored” more often.
GALLERY: Dr. Westies’ Forza Motorsport 3 Ryuji Miki Lexus SC430 Drift Car