Business and Volkswagen

Future VW interiors will continue to “declu er” as touchscreen systems improve. A head up display with navigational arrows directly on the road is in the works.

Tiguan in the making, and new models, like a resurrected Vanagon, will embrace hybrid and electric powertrain tech as present product model lines merge and open space for the forward thinking cars in the I.D. Line. Brand chief Herbert Diess wants to concentrate VW’s efforts around less sophisticated, more cheap architectures, like MQB and MEB. Adds Welsch, “Looking ahead, we must decrease proliferation, concentrate on profitable merchandise and on growing market segments. there’s still lots of life left in MQB, and MEB is taking form nicely. But the new vehicle world also calls for advanced digital business models, inexpensive autonomous driving notions, and possibly promising technologies, like the fuel cell. there’s no doubt about it: Your father’s Volkswagen will soon be history.”



Ignition that tailors a car to your settings despite of which seat you get into. Frameless doors open with a ping from your phone’s Bluetooth system, and a three camera setup precludes the need for a regular rearview mirror. The 91 uses an Ethernet system instead of the CAN bus you find in most modern cars, allowing for near broadband levels of connectivity. Faraday Future says the 91 will aggregate the strongest cellular signals from different carriers and add them into a signal stream, and the car’s circuit boards and controllers will work together to get info to and from “the cloud” as quickly as possible.

The FF 91 also has all needed functionality to be completely autonomous, made possible in part by its retractable 3D lidar system, a 1st for production vehicles. Lidar functions as part of a complex, multilayer digital ecosystem that employs ten cameras, 13 short and long range radars, and twelve ultrasonic sensors. The lidar literally rises up out of the hood when the FF 91 is in autonomous mode because while mounting it to the roof would’ve been great for seeing ahead a long way, “it can not see what is a foot in front of your car,” Sampson says. The system lets for a Driverless Valet parking feature, which enables

The “rearview mirrors” are live feed cameras that help create a single, seamless image on a high definition display.

the FF 91 to park itself after a user exits the car. Because the FF 91 will drive itself from time to time, Faraday Future got inventive with outside lighting

design that could be “part of communication between the user, the car, and its bordering environment.” A distinctive frontal lighting display wraps around to both rocker panels and changes color and intensity based on what mode the car is in. When the FF 91 debuted at CES in early January, it did not go well, the car could not park itself throughout a demonstration of its Driverless Valet parking feature. Still, inside 36 hours of the reveal, Faraday Future had 64,124 completely refundable, $5,000 reservations for its FF 91, which is slated for full production sometime in 2018. seemingly enticed by the FF 91’s levels of technology, luxury, connectivity, and performance, those aspiring holders or users looked past the prevalent potholes on Faraday’s road to production. The company’s future is tenuous -Faraday may be still another unfortunate vehicle flop silently fading into the backdrop of history -but the technological and cultural shift the FF 91 represents obviously resonates with buyers.



2018 Lexus LS, I now thought, “Suddenly, it is 1957.” At 1st glance this big, powerful modern car reminded me of a 1957 Buick Roadmaster. Not because of any particular details, clearly. But both cars are strongly assertive, their grilles complex assemblages of an huge number of discrete pieces, far bigger than needed for cooling the mechanisms behind them but

uniform after another humiliating meet with the masked Hidalgo. If both cars look heavy, I believe it’s by intention. For the LS 500, the imagined weight was artfully achieved by design, as it was in the Roadmaster. there is little question today: Lexus builds the world’s highest quality mass produced cars, endlessly more dependable electronically than Germany’s

that is obviously out of place.

Toyota did a fabulous end run around midrange American cars when it presented the Avalon, a totally bland, bench seat, anonymous looking sedan the U.S. Market accepted quickly and that helped kill off midrange domestic brands Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Plymouth. it looks Lexus pulled off something alike with this car, perfectly suited to

carries back over the taillights, in clash with the side window profile, itself inflected at two points for no obvious reason. I see this design as an esthetic mess, but it is a carefully executed purposeful mess that achieves nearly exactly what I suspect was wanted. So in spite of my misgivings about its beauty or, rather, its lack thereof , I predict this car will sell well and satisfy its holders.
Translation: it is been 47 days in Hell. I was in Portugal for a BMW launch, and the afternoon test drive had gone swimmingly. That night, I enjoyed a long, enlightening, completely entertaining dinner with BMW R&D chief Klaus Frhlich. For brand purists fretting over the arrival of front drive BMW models like the X1, fear not: Frhlich is an avowed fan and insists that although frontwheel drive will assist “deliver a more diverse range of merchandise,” RWD will remain BMW’s core architecture. All was grand -until it was not. On the way back to my room, I slipped while descending the hotel’s dramatic staircase, the same stupid, not paying attention misstep we have all made harmlessly dozens of times. Except on this occasion, I in some way managed to do a reverse two and a-half gainer in the pike position – degree of difficulty: 6.1. And there was no swimming pool to catch me. BMW’s PR team was great, and 1st thing the next morning I was on my way to a private hospital outside of Lisbon. The projected verdict: a badly broken right ankle. A doctor applied a plaster cast, told me to see a physician back in the U.S., and sent me to the front desk to pay the bill. I winced as I handed over my credit card but needn’t have. Total charge, for consultations with two doctors, a suite of X rays, a cast, and a pair of crutches: $275. Two weeks afterward I had operation to install a plate and six or seven screws. “I’m nearly envious,” said a friend. “A compulsory month or two off your feet. you may be able to binge on Netflix. Burn through all those books piling up in your living room. Make everyone wait on you hand and… Oh. Sorry.” He was right, although. I did enjoy it. For about a day. I watched some movies in bed, guiltfree. And I read books for hours with zero interruptions, the same reason I really look forward to long, nonstop flights to Europe or Asia. But when that is all you may be able to do, when making a sandwich becomes a feat of balance respectable of Cirque du Soleil, and the simple act of taking a shower requires more planning and protecting gear than a space mission, well, the idea of being stuck behind the wheel throughout rush hour on the 405 sounds downright liberating. When Joni Mitchell sings, “You do not know what you have got till it is gone,” obviously she’s referring to losing your driving privileges. I have tested, reviewed, and savored cars day in and day out pretty much nonstop for the past 30-plus years. In that time I will bet there has not been a single week I have not forwarded an odometer. Having a steering wheel in my hands looks as essential to my existence as air, sunlight, and an evening martini.