It’s safe to say the 11 competitors in our 2011 Best Driver’s Car Competition laid down some mighty impressive 0-60 mph times. The Ferrari 458 Italia did it in 3.2 seconds while the Nissan GT-R needed only 2.9 seconds. And while most of us were coming down from our adrenaline highs and ogling those and other astounding performance numbers, assistant art director William Walker was off to the side admiring another intriguing piece of data: 60-0 mph stopping distances. Two cars in particular caught his eye. The Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Chevy Corvette Z06 both needed less than 100 feet of pavement to come to a halt. Not surprisingly, these two beasts share a few commonalities. They both have sophisticated sport-tuned suspensions that help combat balance-disrupting nosedive once the brakes clamp down. Additionally, they’re both fitted with carbon-ceramic disc brakes. Although not necessarily better than metal discs at hard stops, the carbons do an amazing job of keeping … [Read more...] about 22 Cars that Stop from 60 MPH in Less Than 100 Feet
Stopping distances for cars
Photos courtesy of Cars In DepthEvery year, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum sponsors the Orphan Car Show, dedicated to vehicles, brands, and companies that are not with us anymore. Lots of oddball cars and classes means lots of graphic content for Cars In Depth and maybe an article or two at TTAC. It looks like there are more than 800 images on the memory cards so it’s going to be a bit before I get them all processed and winnowed for a proper report on the show for the Best & Brightest. Still, as I’ve said before, you never know when you’re going to find an interesting car or something else automotive worthy of note. Driving to the Orphan show I decided not to take the Interstates and instead took winding two lane roads out to the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area. I wasn’t sure about an intersection and ended up going a couple of miles in the wrong direction. On the way back I noticed a home with a bunch of old Fords in front of the garage. There … [Read more...] about Look At What I Found!: Not For Sale
The jury for the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards has selected six finalists from among dozens of new or substantially revised vehicles for 2013. Read on for the list, as well as our takes on each.Three car finalists, the Cadillac ATS, the Ford Fusion, and the Honda Accord, tallied more votes than other nominees on a shortlist consisting of the BMW 3-series, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Dart, Lincoln MKZ, Nissan Altima, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota Avalon. On the truck/utility side, another three finalists—the Ford C-Max, Mazda CX-5, and Ram 1500—gathered more votes than the nominated Acura RDX, Audi Allroad, BMW X1, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, Infiniti JX35, and Nissan Pathfinder. All six are decent vehicles, to be sure; the winners will be announced this January 14 at the 2013 Detroit auto show.The ATS is the smallest, lightest Cadillac since the early-’80s Cimarron. It’s a true, compact rear-wheel-drive sedan with the … [Read more...] about 2013 North American Car and Truck of the Year Finalists Announced [2013 Detroit Auto Show]
In these dark economic times, the number of automakers willing to throw vast sums of money at auto racing has dwindled. Honda, Toyota, BMW, and Renault have either walked away from Formula 1 or reduced their financial commitment. Automakers have cut back the cash they have been spending in NASCAR. And in sports-car racing, only Audi and Peugeot are running fully funded programs in the fastest prototype classes, with more prudent efforts coming from Aston Martin and Honda Performance Development, which uses the Acura badge. Yet, farther back in the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) field, where the cost of entry is lower, there is genuine manufacturer involvement in the Grand Touring class. These cars actually look similar to what we see on the street. That involvement can be covert, taking the form of development help to top privateer teams, as Ferrari does with Risi Competizione and Porsche with Flying Lizard. Or it can be a full-blooded factory effort, as with the Chevrolets … [Read more...] about BMW M3 GT Race Car
When you take your beloved Italian sports car to the repair shop with the big "Imports" sign on it, you never want to turn over the keys to that 18-year-old mechanic who just graduated from Wrench U. No, you want Renaldo, the old guy, the guy who rests his palm on the valve cover to detect misfires, the guy who smells the exhaust to determine if the carburetor is running rich. You should feel the same way about our published test results, since in this case we're the old guy: We have more experience than any other American magazine. We test more than 150 cars each year. And today, class, we're here to tell you how we do it. First, we test cars for one reason: to answer the question "What'll it do?" Testing tells us other things, too, such as how easily a car can merge into traffic, how well the brakes slow the car, how honest a manufacturer is with its performance claims. The backbone of our testing program, and also our newest piece of equipment, is the … [Read more...] about How Does C/D Test Cars?
The surest signal yet that automated vehicles are inching closer to reaching American roads arrives not via a big announcement about testing in New York City nor the deployment of a fleet of hundreds of cars in Phoenix. Instead, it’s the sight of LeBron James relaxing in the rear seat of a driverless sedan. With the basketball season under way, Intel has aired a television ad called “Fearless” (embedded below) that features the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar. In the spot, his initial reluctance to trust a vehicle that pulls to the curb without a human driver transforms into unbridled enthusiasm for the technology in the span of 30 seconds.It might take longer for an apprehensive public to follow his lead. Surveys show a majority of Americans are reluctant to ride in automated vehicles, a problematic figure for industry officials who believe the technology will reach streets sooner than is generally expected. Intel chief executive officer Brian Krzanich said the ad is … [Read more...] about Starting with LeBron James Ad, Intel Ramps Up Efforts to Foster Enthusiasm for Autonomous Cars
The cameras and radar sensors that enable today’s highly automated cruise-control systems can see only 250 yards ahead in the best conditions. That’s barely more than six seconds of lead time at 80 mph, and traffic, weather, and topography often shrink visibility to even shorter distances. For true autonomy, self-driving cars will need a better understanding of the bigger picture.The coming generation of so-called high-definition maps will supply that picture, along with enough detail for computers to make predictive decisions rather than reactive adjustments. While today’s navigation maps represent each road as a single lane, HD maps include multiple lanes with usage rules, curbs, shoulders, road signs, and guardrails. Armed with high-definition maps, the smartest cars will leapfrog slow-moving traffic, negotiate interchanges, move over for merging cars, choose the correct lane for an exit, and know where to stop in an emergency—all without driver input.In … [Read more...] about How High-Definition Maps Are Plotting the Course to Autonomous Cars
When Car and Driver editors buy cars, emotion often trumps logic. We love performance, so practicality isn’t a major consideration. But for many buyers, a car is a rational choice; they buy what they need to transport themselves and their loved ones as safely, comfortably, and cheaply as possible. It’s a smarter way to buy, but it isn’t any easier. With more than 400 new cars to choose from, how do you pick the right one? Start by considering a series of questions, but beware: Once you find the car that fulfills your every need, an emotional connection may well form whether you like it or not. What Kind of Car Do I Need? Forget the number of models available, the number of body styles alone can be overwhelming: coupes, sedans, station wagons, crossovers, SUVs. How do you decide what you need? Coupe/Convertible: If you want a car that makes a statement about you, coupes and convertibles are typically the most expressive designs, … [Read more...] about What’s the Right New Vehicle for Me?
Google’s self-driving cars are busily racking up miles on public streets—roughly 10,000 miles a week with humans aboard to provide safety backup, according to Chris Urmson, head of Google’s autonomous-vehicle program. And in a blog post on Medium describing a low-speed crash involving a Google-modified autonomous Lexus on July 1, Urmson showed us what Google’s self-driving machines see when pesky human drivers crash into them.Urmson explains how the scene went down:One of our Lexus vehicles was driving autonomously towards an intersection in Mountain View, CA. The light was green, but traffic was backed up on the far side, so three cars, including ours, braked and came to a stop so as not to get stuck in the middle of the intersection. After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph — and it hadn’t braked at all.[O]ur braking was normal and natural, and the vehicle behind us had plenty of stopping … [Read more...] about Here’s What Google’s Self-Driving Car Sees When You Crash Into It
Autonomous vehicles are being billed as a safer alternative to human-controlled transportation and, assuming the hardware functions as intended, that’s likely to be the case. But eventually a self-driving car is going to smack into a pedestrian and no company wants to hold the honor of being first.Google’s autonomous vehicle arm, Waymo, is working on a solution to mitigate the liabilities associated with such an incident by patenting a softer car.While the application wouldn’t necessarily have to be reserved for futuristic computer-driven automobiles, some level of digital analysis would need to be used for the system to work. Essentially, the vehicle in question would use a series of “tension members” to maintain or modify its structural rigidity — primarily rods or cables. If it collides with a harder surface, the system opts to keep things more rigid upon impact. But if the on-board systems detect something fleshy, … [Read more...] about Not-so-sudden Impact: Waymo Patents a Softer-crashing Car to Safeguard Pedestrians