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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.
Isuzu is recalling 8,816 SUVs spread across the 2003 Rodeo Sport, 2003 to 2004 Rodeo and Axiom because the forward mounting point for the lower link of the rear suspension might corrode.
Successful sales and popularity characterize the Lexus RX line of crossovers, but one area they have never excelled is, well, acceleration — or any aspect of performance driving.
Lexus hopes to change all that by offering its RX 350 F Sport, which just debuted at the New York Auto Show where Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager had this to say: “The RX 350 F Sport challenges pre-conceived notions about luxury crossover utility vehicles. [It's] not just an appearance package, but a full-fledged performance package.”
Under the hood, the automaker implements the same 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 as other models mated to a six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The Automaker’s active torque control system governs and distributes torque to optimize grip by shifting from 100:0 all the way to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels.
Despite making it clear that this is not just a cosmetic upgrade, the F Sport has some styling changed to differentiate between the lesser model. A more aggressive-looking grille, a new front bumper and fog lamps — and of course F Sport badges.
Black leather seats with white stitching and matching perforation holes further set the car apart while another F Sport badge on the steering wheel tells of the sportier upgrades.
The same engine and horsepower as this (and last) year’s model might be a letdown, but stiffer suspension that also sits the car a little closer to the ground lend a splash of sport to justify the “not just an appearance package” assertion. This is true, the changes are more than paint-deep, but barely.
It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed in Lexus for putting the “F” designation on this car when the IS F is such a hot-rod, especially after Ford revealed a legitimately upgraded crossover at the same show.
GALLERY: 2013 Lexus RX 350
Not so long ago, the only bit of technology found in a car was the stereo system, but nowadays cars are becoming more and more complex and are offering technologies most of us cannot even dream about.
One of the technology leaders is the German car firm Audi. Its cars are getting more and more technically advanced and they are showing no signs of slowing things down.
Now Audi has announced that it is working on seven new tech-based features, which will eventually make their way into the cars we could buy from the showroom. They are:
1) Audi Wireless Charging: While Audi currently has no electric cars in their showrooms, that will soon change. Like many other companies who are offering or looking to offer electric cars, efficient charging solutions are big on their list. So Audi is co-developing a wireless charging system with WiTricity Corporation from Boston, MS. This system will have a coil-based receiver on the car and another mounted in your garage or parking spot. So when you drive your car into its spot, the car will start charging itself. According to Audi, the system will not be affected by rain or snow. Such a system will surely be a hit with electric car buyers.
2) Garage Parking Pilot: While self-parking features are already on the market, Audi is looking to go a step further with its Garage Parking Pilot. This system will not only help you park the car automatically, but will also help you find a parking spot in parking lots. When it finds that spot, it will guide the car neatly into the spot. Vehicle to vehicle networking will ensure that dings won’t be an issue.
3) OLED Lights: Audi was the first to introduce LED lights on its cars, now its looking to bring OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) to the market. While this technology is available on TV’s and cellphones, this organic polymer based semiconductor will see its first application on a car by Audi. This material is only nanometers thick, so hence is light and also uses less energy. They can also produce millions of colors.
4) Hybrid Body Materials: Audi has been at the forefront of reducing vehicle weights by using lighter materials since the early 1990′s. With their use of aluminum, their cars are upto 40% lighter than a similar cars made from steel. Now Audi is looking to combine steel with aluminum and carbon-fiber reinforced plastics to produce not only very strong components, but also very lightweight components.
5) FRP Coil Springs: A lot is riding on the springs in your car. To be exact, your whole car is riding on the springs. Thus springs have to be made from very strong metal. So how would you feel if we offer to replace your steel springs with ones made from plastic? Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) springs are being developed by Audi. These springs will be much lighter than their steel counterparts, but will retain the strength, in fact they’ll be even stronger. The first application of these springs will be seen on the Audi R8 e-tron, which will be out by 2014.
6) Multitouch Controls: While most luxury cars have some sort of multi-media controlling device on board, Audi was the first to introduce a Touchpad, which allows you to write your command using your finger. Now Audi is looking to enhance this feature by developing a new multitouch system similar to that of the iPad. This new system will allow the driver even more command options, and should also help in reducing distractions for the driver. The new system will work with voice command, touch, and the heads-up display system.
7) Predictive Suspension: Reading the road ahead is what many luxury car companies are working towards, and Audi is no exception. Audi will mount a camera ahead of the rear view mirror and a laser in the nose of the car to read the road 20-meters ahead and configure the suspension for what lies ahead. This photo-mixed detectors system will improve ride quality. The feature will probably debut in a future model of the A8.
Watch out for these new Audi developments to be on the road in the not to distant future. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.
Mercedes-Benz will replace its current Active Body Control with a new system to improve ride and handling, under the name “Magic Body Control”. The system is based on a 20 year old technology that originated in high-level auto racing, until it was banned for being too potent.
“It had its first try back at the start of the 1990s with the Sauber Mercedes team of the World Sports car Championship Group C and a young driver named Michael Schumacher,” said Mercedes Vice President Hans Multhaupt. Using special bushings and hydraulic technology, the MBC system, co-developed with ZF, will eliminate up to 80 percent of the typical Noise, Vibration and Harshness seen on large cars.
The system is expected to debut around 2013, in time for the next generation S-Class and SL-Class cars.
[Source: Inside Line]
While most of the popular aftermarket manufacturers in Japan are welcoming the hybrid craze with open arms, Spoon Sports has been quiet as of late. This can mostly be attributed to the fact that Spoon focuses and specializes with the Honda platform, and quite honestly, Honda hasn’t had an attractive enough hybrid platform in the recent years. But this is all about to change, with the CR-Z gaining a lot of momentum as the new “hot-hatch” appealing to passionate Honda aficionados worldwide. Needless to say it’s a perfect fit for Spoon Sports and their tuning prowess.
We’ve seen the entry from Mugen and in typical Spoon Sports fashion, they’ve thrown down the gauntlet as well. Going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mugen and Spoon Sports were the most respective pair of brands for JDM Honda fanatics stateside. In fact it’s easy to argue that Mugen and Spoon Sports delivered a rivalry on its own with their prestigious and rare parts, many of them carrying a hefty price tag once they were on American soil. There’s no mistaken that this CR-Z has been Spoon-inspired.
There’s none of the traditional yellow and pastel blue to be seen, yet, but the CR93 wheels have been refinished in a stylish dark blue in true Spoon fashion. As with almost all of Spoon Sports’ projects, the focus is on excellent tuning and track-ability. They paid close attention with suspension and brake upgrades lowering the vehicle with coilovers in the front and a traditional shock/spring combination in the rear. 15-inch slotted rotors along with upgraded calipers are probably overkill for the hatch, but we believe Spoon has much more in terms of performance up their sleeve.
Specializing in naturally aspirated performance over the years, Spoon is currently tuning their staple N1 exhaust system along with ECU upgrades for the CR-Z. No concrete numbers have been released yet, which is understandable given how new the technology is. We have faith though and it will be an exciting time to see two of Honda’s most notorious brands battling it out on the track again, this time with CR-Z hatchbacks hopefully flying the colors we’ve grown and love over the past decade.
GALLERY: Spoon Sports CR-Z
[Source: Spoon Sports]