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BMW overhauls racing wheelchair for Paralympics athletes08/10/2015
BMW North America wants to apply its vehicle-development experiences to help athletes. The automaker, the official mobility partner of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), says it is developing a new racing wheelchair for the U.S. Paralympics track and field team. BMW says it’s been working on the wheelchair for about a year and wants to have it done in time for testing prior to the 2016 Paralympic Games, Sept. 7-18 in Rio. The existing wheelchair’s chassis is being redesigned, the aerodynamics enhanced, restraint systems updated and steering and braking improved, according to BMW.
Designworks, BMW’s California-based design house, is helping develop the wheelchair, collaborating with the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field team to continue fine-tuning it. With offices in Newbury Park, Calif., Munich and Shanghai, Designworks has worked on everything from BMW’s X SUV line to Mini augmented-reality glasses to Singapore Airline’s first-class cabins.
605-hp Audi S8 Plus dials the power up to 1108/07/2015
The performance of the Audi S8 not enough for you? The Ingolstadt-based automaker is introducing an even more powerful version unimaginatively dubbed S8 Plus.
The stock Audi S8 already produces 520 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque courtesy of its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, with power sent to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission; it's not exactly lacking. The S8 Plus, on the other hand, dials the output up to 605 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque which Audi says is enough to send this mobile office to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
Setting aside for the moment the question of why Audi has created a more powerful S8, let's first talk about how they did this. The extra 85 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque comes from modified turbocharger geometry, different exhaust valves and tweaked engine management. Audi says that in overboost mode, the S8 can turn the torque up to 553 lb-ft in a short burst, when the driver needs to overtake bad guys driving a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.
2016 Honda Accord first drive
If it's an appliance, it's a damn good one08/10/2015
What is it?
It’s the 2016 Honda Accord: a good, sensible midsize car for good, sensible folks. In that regard, it’s a lot like the 2015 Accord, also good and sensible, and the 2014 Accord … well, you get the idea.
Yes, there are updates for the new model year, and some trims see modest price increases (see the full guide down below), but unless you’re doing back-to-back test runs, you probably won’t notice the revised suspension damping or new steering-response logic.
Output remains the same for both engines: 185 hp and 181 lb-ft from the 2.4-liter inline-four and 278 hp and 252 lb-ft from the 3.5-liter V6. On the I4, however, a series of engineering improvements -- plus aero-boosting exterior changes -- have yielded a 1-mpg highway fuel economy improvement. So there’s that. Transmission options are carried over as well. There is a six-speed manual, which an enlightened 2 or 3 percent of buyers will select, and a CVT, which is not totally punishing to drive.
2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed review notes
When only a motorcar will do08/10/2015
DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: Now this, kids, is a motorcar.
Very few conveyances deserve that moniker; the Mulsanne Speed defines it. It’s insanely heavy because all the metal and wood inside is actually metal and wood. That stuff’s heavy, but rather than compromise on the material quality, Bentley simply adds power and torque -- 811 lb-ft of the stuff from a massive, force-fed pushrod engine, the design of which is older than I am. The carbon emissions from my drive home raised the afternoon temperature in Detroit by two degrees.
The whole thing is completely unnecessary, bordering on immoral, but it’s the best motorcar I’ve ever experienced.
All that said, it’s not a particularly fun car to drive. Despite its Peterbilt torque numbers, the Mulsanne is ridiculously large and heavy, and the suspension (even in, ahem, “sport mode”) wallows during steering and braking. Don’t get me wrong: Stomping the pedal and hearing the 6-3/4-liter V8 inhale 747-at-takeoff volumes of air as you’re catapulted forward is highly satisfying. It’s the turning and braking part that’s less fun. Braking in particular, despite rotors the size of Ferris wheels, is an unsettling affair as the Mulsanne pitches forward and wobbles a bit on its soft suspension. You do not want to follow too closely in traffic; that’s totally chav anyway -- you should be motoring along serenely, indifferent to those behind.