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Pininfarina at 90: creating the future with connectivity, data and AI

Filed by Lucire staff/May 15, 2020/11.54

No doubt many of us have been forced into virtual environments with COVID-19, for those lucky enough to have benefited from the technological innovations of the last several decades. And companies like Pininfarina, the design house that has penned some of history’s greatest Ferrari cars, as well as more humble fare from mass-market manufacturers, recognize that the future isn’t just about the hand-crafted work that the company’s founders once knew, but about user experiences.
   As it celebrates its 90th anniversary, the Torino-based firm is offering automotive customers everything from concept and design to user experience through its responsive, multi-sensorial, on-board-experience demonstrator, AutonoMIA.
   Pininfarina envisages that AutonoMIA will help it explore how new technologies—AI, 5G, displays, haptics, sensors, natural interfaces, and, in the future, augmented reality, holographic displays and autonomous driving—can ‘re-enchant’ the driving experience.
   It has collaborated with ART of Umbria, which created the infotainment platform for AutonoMIA, along with the hardware and middleware. The application layer was designed with Siili Auto, a leading Finnish automotive software developer. ARAS supplied the seats and padded parts. The company will build on AutonoMIA with its partner WayRay with its holographic head-up display technology and new applications for autonomous driving, urban mobility and infotainment.
   ‘AutonoMIA shows how Pininfarina may combine experience design with creative technology, reinventing the on-board experience at a time when digitalization, connectivity, data and artificial intelligence are substantially redefining mobility. With its experience-design team and Partners, Pininfarina today helps its customers through mobility experiences which are getting more and more digital,’ said Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina.

 


Audi launches new A3, with high-tech features and Quattro-inspired looks

Filed by Lucire staff/April 21, 2020/12.25




Audi has announced a new-generation A3 saloon. Not wanting to tamper with a winning formula, the Ingolstadt company has kept the body immediately recognizable, with a taut, sporting stance, but has instead treated it to more sculpted bodywork, giving it a more muscular look.
   In line with Audi’s design language, the sculpting is geometric, but this time, it comes in the form of geometric blisters, recalling the design of the ground-breaking 1980 Quattro.
   The new model is longer, though its wheelbase has not changed, confirming the fact it rests on the MQB platform as its predecessor. Audi has also increased the A3’s width by 2 cm (1·82 m wide) and its height by 1 cm (now 1·43 m tall). There is no increase in luggage space. Audi says the changes have allowed for a 2 cm increase in front headroom with the change in the driver’s seat positioning.
   In other words, it’s slightly roomier but the packaging isn’t hugely different—the sort of incremental changes that were seen on the Audi A3’s sister car, the Volkswagen Golf VIII, last year.
   However, the A3 saloon is more aerodynamic, with its drag coefficient coming in at 0,25—an improvement of 0,04 points over its predecessor.
   As with other brands, Audi is using technologies typically reserved for classes above and bringing them into the compact sector. The new A3 has a fully digital cockpit with Audi’s MMI Touch tech, and mild-hybrid drivetrains.
   Inside, there’s digital instrumentation in a a 10¼-inch screen in front of the driver, complemented by a 10·1-inch MMI Touch screen that includes all media, navigation and internet-based functions. The Edition 1 and Vorsprung models see the instrument cluster upgraded to the Audi virtual cockpit, with a wider 12·3-inch screen featuring three views. There is also a head-up display in the Vorsprung model. The car uses swarm intelligence to warn of hazards in the immediate area.
   Passengers can enjoy internet access with an onboard wifi hotspot, and Amazon Alexa will be introduced later in the year.
   At launch in the UK market, the A3 comes with one of two 1·5 turbo petrol engines or one 2·0 turbodiesel. Prices begin at £26,870, with deliveries commencing in the summer.








 


Aston Martin launches DBX, its first SUV

Filed by Lucire staff/November 20, 2019/12.31





Aston Martin has finally revealed its DBX SUV, after teasing its existence for some years, and releasing images of disguised prototypes.
   Aston Martin began the DBX development programme in 2015, with a clean-sheet design. As Aston Martin had no vehicles that could act as a donor, the platform is unique to this model. This also allowed each department to innovate where it could.
   The Aston Martin design language is present, with a familiar grille and feature lines, door handles that are flush with the bodywork, and a rear spoiler in the tailgate reminiscent of the Vantage’s rear. The daytime running lights have a duct which channels air through the front wheel arches, cooling the brakes, before moving down the sides, reducing drag and lift. Its aerodynamics allow the rear window to self-clean while the car moves.
   The engine—a four-litre V8—is the one item that is familiar, adapted from the unit found in the DB11 and Vantage. It develops 550 PS and 700 Nm of torque. The DBX reaches 100 km/h in 4·5 s, with a top speed of 291 km/h (181 mph). It has cylinder deactivation to aid fuel economy. Transmission is through a nine-speed gearbox, and the all-wheel drive system has active differentials and an electronic rear limited slip differential.
   Like Aston Martin’s sport models, the DBX uses bonded aluminium, keeping the kerb weight low (2,245 kg) while maintaining a strong structure.
   Adaptive air suspension is mated to a 48 V electric anti-roll control system and electronic adaptive dampers. The DBX’s spring stiffness can vary, thanks to the air suspension’s triple chambers, making the vehicle a capable driver’s car with limited body roll.
   The DBX’s ride height can be raised by 45 mm or lowered by 50 mm, allowing it to cope with different terrain, and entry, exit and loading requirements.
   Enter through the DBX’s frameless doors and the cabin reveals full-grain leather sourced from Bridge of Weir. Headlining and the roof blind are available in Alcantara, while the DBX features a full-length panoramic roof. The centre console is “bridged”, giving space below for storage. The central screen is 10¼ in, while the driver has a 12·3-inch screen in the dashboard. Boot space is a healthy 632 l, while its rear seat can be split 40–20–40.
   As Aston Martin’s first SUV, various luxury packages are on offer. The Pet package has a portable washer—one wouldn’t want a dirty animal spoiling the interior. The Snow package features boot warmers.
   The DBX will be built at a new plant in St Athan, Wales. The first 500 owners will receive a 1913 Package, featuring a commemorative plaque, among other features, to signal their early adoption. They will also receive a build book signed by Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer and chief creative officer Marek Reichman, and an invitation to a regional Waldorf-Astoria cocktail party.
   Prices begin at £158,000 in the UK, €193,500 in Germany, and US$189,900 in the US. Deliveries begin in the second quarter of 2020.
   Aston Martin is the latest in a line of sports’ car manufacturers who have released SUVs, in recognition of the popularity of the segment. Porsche, Maserati and Lamborghini have been among those who have launched luxury sporting SUVs this century.





























 


New Land Rover Defender unveiled: an icon reinvented

Filed by Lucire staff/September 10, 2019/8.36



Land Rover has finally unveiled its new Defender, replacing the first generation that could trace its origins back to 1948.
   One of the company’s most anticipated models, the new Defender has a familiar silhouette, with short overhangs and a tough, capable appearance, though the details themselves are modern.
   The models are still called 90 and 110, though they don’t reflect the actual inch measurements of the wheelbase as they did for their predecessors.
   Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief design officer, said, ‘The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable—a visually compelling 4 × 4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.’
   Land Rover says the Defender’s D7x architecture is 95 per cent new, and is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction, stiffer than the body-on-frame set-up.
   Inside, the Defender has a modular, constructivist approach, but as a 21st-century design, it features a touchscreen, Jaguar Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system, and 5G-ready software-over-the-air updates. By mounting the automatic gearshift high up, just below the screen, there is an option of a centre seat, so three people can sit across the front row.
   Pioneered with earlier Land Rover products, the Defender comes with the Activity Key watch, which allows users to unlock the vehicle from their wrists, while the tech includes Clearsight Ground View, providing 3-D visualization of the terrain below. A head-up display is also available.
   Two diesels, a petrol, and a mild hybrid petrol are available, and a plug-in hybrid is expected to join the range.
   Independent air suspension is standard on the 110s, though the 90s, available later, will feature coils, other than the flagship trim. All Defenders have four-wheel drive.
   Land Rover says Defender prototypes have covered 1·2 million km in the desert, the Arctic, and to 10,000 ft in the Rockies.
   Ground clearance is 291 mm, and the Defenders can wade up to 900 mm.
   Not noted in Land Rover’s information is where the new British-developed Defender is built. It is believed it will be made at Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant in Nitra, Slovakia, which already builds the Discovery model.















 


Bentley releases limited-edition Continental GT convertible inspired by No. 1 Blower Bentley

Filed by Lucire staff/June 27, 2019/20.48



Bentley, celebrating its centenary year, has revealed its third limited-edition model, a six-litre W12 Continental GT convertible paying homage to its No. 1 Bentley Blower racing car of 1929.
   The original 4½-litre Blower, with a supercharger by Amherst Villiers, set a lap record of 137 mph at Brooklands in 1932 in the hands of Tim Birkin, and in literature, the same model was the transport of none other than 007 himself, Ian Fleming’s secret agent, James Bond.
   The Continental GT convertible No. 1 Edition by Mulliner will be limited to 100 units worldwide. Customers have a choice of either Dragon Red II or Beluga body colours, with a Claret or Beluga hood. The specification begins with the Bentley Black Line options with the carbon body kit. Up front, the grille features a painted 1 in the centre. Badging on the wings is 18 ct gold-plated, while the filler and oil caps are jewelled, while the 22-inch MDS wheels have either a Cricket Ball or Gloss Black finish. Inside, within the rotating display, a small wheel spinner cast from a piston from the original No. 1 appears, set in resin. The interior’s main hide is either in Cricket Ball or Beluga, complemented by Heritage hide on seats and door pads. Bentley promises additional personalization for customers.
   Bentley’s centenary is on July 10, 2019.


 


Miss France 2019 Vaimalama Chaves collects her Peugeot 2008

Filed by Lucire staff/March 29, 2019/10.22


Much like Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 Estelle Curd, Miss France gets the keys to a French car made by the PSA Group, specifically a pearly white Peugeot 2008, which French titleholder Vaimalama Chaves took delivery of on Thursday.
   At the Peugeot PSA Retail Bordeaux Le Bouscat location, dealer boss David Sautron also presented Chaves with a Peugeot eLC01 power-assisted bicycle and a Peugeot Django 50cc scooter.
   Chaves’s 2008 has a panoramic sunroof, traction control, reversing camera, parking assist, and automatic braking.
   The 2008 crossover has been a hit for Peugeot, with over a million made. French models are sourced from PSA’s Mulhouse factory with 62 per cent local content.
   Peugeot began in bicycles 80 years before diversifying into motor cars in 1890, and still maintains a presence, through licensing, in the bicycle market.



 


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