The 2017 Model year is upon us and it brings mostly small changes to BMW's lineup. The 2, 3, 4, i3 and M cars get some interesting updates - new motors, bigger batteries (i) and more standard features.
iDrive 5.0 has landed. BMW's iDrive has always been the best in the business. When it first came out, on the e65 7 series, as with many modern software, it was ridden with bugs and slow, but the faithful learned and adapted. CCC was technically the second generation but it shared the look and feel of the first, just with a different underlying OS. The real second version, CIC on the F01/F02 7 series, got pretty good. By the third iteration, NBT introduced in 2014, iDrive works pretty well.
There is no question that the 2016 Boxster Spyder is an incredibly attractive car, both top and top down. Porsche bragged about saving 24 lbs by removing the motors and glass rear window of the standard Boxster top and the Spyder is the lightest member of the Boxster family, despite having the larger 3.8l engine. In today's post, Dudestuff takes a look at just what compromises were made to make the worst convertible top sold on the market today.
The state of Car Audio... Musings on where we've been and where we've ended up in 20 years of car audio.
Car audio has come a long way. When I first got into listening to music in cars in the 90s, car stereos were still in the dark ages. Audio was largely an afterthought - Car manufacturers realized that just about everyone wanted to hear music, but most people weren't really willing to pay for really good music. You had some cars that had decent audio systems, but even the best of them paled in comparison to even a moderate home audio solution. Cars were inherently noisy environments, and most people didn't care enough to really warrant putting a lot of thought and effort into them. There were lots of co branding with Infinity and Bose, but usually all that got you was a forced bass sound that made some semi-appropriate thudding noises. The aftermarket car audio market was huge, since anyone who wanted decent sound ended up replacing the factory head unit, and adding speakers and often amplifiers and subwoofers. These weren't just the boomers, people cruising down the street sharing music with everyone around them, even people who just wanted to hear the detail and nuances of music while driving at 60mph.
Instead of bringing a traditional 981.2 refresh, the Boxster (and Cayman) are being reintroduced as new models with turbocharged 4 cylinder engines. Rated at 300hp in the base (nearly as much as the outgoing S!) and 350 hp in the S version, the Boxster will now take the place of the higher spec car, with the Cayman coupe being cheaper. (The outgoing 981 Cayman was priced considerably above the Boxster.) This is probably going to drive used 981.1s down in price, especially the Cayman.
Audi's finest, about to be replaced.
The 2016 R8 has just been announced. It's a V10 powered lighter weight monster with all sorts of awesome technology, which make it faster around a race track. Unfortunately, much of that technology conspires to alleviate the driver from the responsibility of doing what is really important - DRIVING.
Cars have gotten to the point where they are almost too good. Even 10 years ago, in the pinnacle of automotive engineering available for the general public to drive on public roads, you still had to work at it. You either had a flappy paddle gear shift that would dump you latte out on your passenger during a hard shift or a manual whose timing had to be perfect. Hydraulic steering had been pretty much perfected such that the effort could be tuned but information about what the tires were doing still came through. Navigation systems were crude and unobstrusive, you turned them off when you got to the road you wanted to drive on. Stability control was crude and got in the way of anything resembling fun.
Silicon Valley Dad, who loves cars, cooking, clothes and cameras