Fantastic overview on what goes on behind the scenes to keep us safe when we fly.....
To mark the 70th anniversary of Ferrari, Ferrari and the Design Museum in London invited WIRED inside Ferrari's car factory in Maranello, Italy to see how it builds iconic cars like the 488 GTB and LaFerrari using a combination of high-tech, autonomous machines and traditional handmade techniques.
If you’ve worried that the slow death of the internal combustion engine will put an end to palpitations behind the wheel, hang on to that defibrillator. Our hearts go out to those with a few hundred thousand dollars to spend on the SF90 Stradale. On Wednesday, Ferrari unveiled the plug-in hybrid electric that, thanks to a battery, is the most powerful production vehicle ever to roll out of Maranello.
The two-seat, midengine supercar combines a V-8 engine with three electric motors drawing power from a 7.9-kWh battery to generate 986 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to send Ferrari’s first four-wheel drive car from a standstill to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, and double that in 6.7 seconds. The automaker hasn’t finalized fuel economy numbers yet, but considering the 211 mph top speed, don’t expect Chevy Volt-like numbers.
Ferrari has played with electric before, most notably in the LaFerrari, the limited edition “hypercar” that debuted in 2013, starting around $1 million. Porsche and McLaren have done the same, and Lamborghini and Bugatti are working on their own hybrids. The arrival of batteries in the slightly more mainstream SF90 (no price yet, but it will cost less than the LaFerrari) is the latest, logical step in that evolution. The evolution is shaping up not to be too painful, because going electric offers all sorts of performance benefits.
Even without the help of the V-8, the three motors (two on the front axle, one on the rear) can take the 3,460-pound car up to 88 mph, though with a range of just 16 miles. They create more than 200 horsepower, more than you get in a BMW 320i. The motors can vary the power to the front wheels, a boon for control in the corners. And because those motors can drive the car backward, Ferrari could drop seven pounds by ditching the reverse gear in the 8-speed transmission.
Beyond the battery power, Ferrari’s engineers pulled all sorts of tricks to juice the SF90’s performance (and justify a base price that will likely make it pricier than the average American house). The redesigned intake and exhaust systems and more compact clutch assembly lower the car’s center of gravity, a boon for performance. New brake calipers for the front wheels will help guide air to the brake pads and discs for cooling purposes. Ferrari’s engineers increased the capacity of the engine to 3,990 cc from 3,902, with slightly bigger pistons.
For an interior that Ferrari’s designers say will serve as a model for all its cars going forward, the Italians moved more controls onto the steering wheel. That way, the driver can work the windshield wipers, headlights, and flick between all-electric and performance modes without moving their hands. The instrument cluster is now a 16-inch, curved screen, meant to evoke the feeling of sitting in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car.
For those willing to drain their kids’ trust funds, there is the “Assetto Fiorano” edition. This version of the SF90 Stradale gets a carbon fiber underbody and doors, along with titanium springs and exhaust, dropping another 66 pounds. Combined with a carbon fiber rear wing that provides extra downforce, Michelin tires with a softer compound and fewer grooves promise to keep the car glued onto the track. Just hope your local raceway has a charging station.
Best Electric Cars CAR LIST:
Welcome to the ultimate Tesla day out. Top Gear Magazine's Jack Rix takes on a marathon Tesla-based 24 hours that includes: touring the massive Fremont Factory where the Model S, 3 and X are built, road tripping from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a Model 3 Performance and going rogue at the reveal party for the new Model Y SUV in the evening, hosted by Elon Musk himself. Subscribe to Top Gear for more videos:
Introducing the ICON280: a perfect fusion of elegant design, meticulous craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. Created by world-renowned designer Tim Heywood and constructed by world-class superyacht innovators ICON Yachts, the ICON280 effortlessly balances timeless elegance with a contemporary edge.
Single issue hypercars—usually custom projects for the most super-super-rich of super-rich clients—range from vanity jobs and high-concept design efforts to hardcore track beasts that would scare the Gucci loafers off the average Gallardo owner.
The Ferrari P80/C, a new ride four years in the making and built for one unnamed collector for an undisclosed price, is a bit of each. It’s a design exercise that Ferrari promises can slay any track in the world. The Italian marque unveiled the project Monday, describing it as both an homage to legendary Ferraris of eras past, namely the 330 P3/P4 and Dino 206 S race cars from the 1960s, and a precision-crafted “Hero Car” that makes little in the way of compromises.
Those marching orders came directly from the client who commissioned the effort (which is where the vanity bit comes in). Said buyer worked with Ferrari designer Flavio Manzoni and the automaker’s performance engineers and aerodynamicists. The company said in a statement that it considers the P80/C to be a “new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range.” You know, a track-only prototype inspired by current design aesthetics, but drawing on iconic cars of the past.
The P80/C can ignore production vehicle requirements because it’s not going anywhere near public roads, and has external features that echo its predecessors. These include headlights and tail lights that are reduced to barely-there slits reminiscent of the forward air intakes of the 330 P3/P4, and a rear end left exposed to facilitate cooling and airflow, as was the case with both of the vintage racers. A concave rear windscreen and aluminum louvers over the engine call to the '60s era racers, but with some updated styling.
The guts of the car are based on the 488 GT3 track car, slightly stretched to accommodate the design flourishes and more aggressive posture. From the side it has a wedge shape, with distinctively arcing front and rear fenders and a massive, high-mounted carbon fiber wing that can be removed when driven in nonracing condition. (Think Pebble Beach.) Because the car also didn’t have to adhere to racing regulations either, the designers had the chance to optimize the aerodynamics and engine, resulting in a 5 percent overall efficiency improvement.
Will we ever see this car whip around a track? Ferrari is being coy about the owner’s intentions for the P80/C, but if this person is anything like fellow frequent custom-Ferrari acquirer James Glickenhaus, there’s hope.
Glickenhaus has received broad coverage of his specialized track cars, including solid and entertaining track footage. This new like-minded enthusiast may be equally generous, or conversely, mostly stingy with it. Meaning, of course, that we may never see the car again, as it sits in a collection to be pulled out only for private use on rented racetracks. Which would be a singular tragedy.
by Andrew Krok
Last May, I received an early preview of BMW's brand-spanking-new flagship SUV, the 2019 X7. At the time, I praised the three-row crossover's dual personalities as I spent the better part of two days tackling sinewy roads and rocky trails in and around BMW's US home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The prototype drive left me with lofty expectations: The X7 offered a plush ride, yet it could dial in the right amount of sportiness with just a few button presses.
Still, that early prototype test left me with a lot of questions, mostly concerning overall interior comfort and general ease of use. Following a second, more thorough go-'round of a production model, I'm happy to report the X7 is still a lovely driver. But in other areas, there's many a compromise to be had.
Lots of space, but less than I remember
Having just finished driving a 2019 X5, the X7's interior unsurprisingly feels very familiar. The dashboard is just about the same, with a pair of standard 12.3-inch screens laying low to maintain forward visibility. However, the area for driver and passenger has the same problem as the X5: There's not a lot of space to put stuff. The center armrest cubby isn't particularly deep, nor are the pockets in the doors. While I appreciate the wireless charging dock in the center console's forward storage area, putting anything in the cupholders makes reaching your device almost impossible.
The second-row captain's chairs also feel less spacious than I remember. Folding the third row flat to add cargo space also limits the second row's fore-aft movement, leading taller passengers to feel slightly cramped -- but only in the legs; headroom remains ample. The third row can accommodate adults, but I wouldn't be comfortable back there for more than an hour at a time. As for cargo space, I can't fit two backpacks and two carry-on-size roller bags in back without folding the third-row seats down, so don't expect to haul a family of seven's worth of junk across the Great Plains without a roof-top box. (In fairness, the same space crunch affects the X7's fellow European rivals, as well).
Otherwise, this BMW's interior is top-notch. The X7's slab-sided style means there's lots of glass and, therefore, lots of visibility in all directions. The two-tone blue leather interior (not shown) looks and feels great, but it's a costly addition at $5,150 for X7s with the I6, or $3,700 with the V8. The optional glass controls add a pretty, if unnecessary touch to the V8 model, part of a $2,100 package that also includes a panoramic roof with embedded LEDs, which looks every bit as cool as you think it would.
Two engines, one bordering on overkill
The first half of my run from Spartanburg to Savannah is spent in the X7's xDrive50i variant. The xDrive bit means that this X7 packs all-wheel drive, which is actually standard on both current X7 trims. The 50i portion of this model's name alludes to the larger of two engines on offer -- a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 putting out 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
The V8 is glorious overkill. A 5.2-second sprint to 60 miles per hour may not seem all that sprightly, but when you're pushing a vehicle of this size at that rate, it feels quick. The engine is surprisingly loud inside and out, thanks in part to this car's optional M Sport package, which adds a beefier exhaust, a few M badges and a generally more aggressive exterior. The sound is genuinely surprising, with a deep, almost muscle-car-like burble.
With a bump-soaking air suspension system, lively steering and pedals that are easy to modulate, it's easy to dig the X7. It's still plenty great on the highway, too, floating along and providing a plush ride with plenty of on-tap power for lane changes. It's surprisingly fun to drive, and it feels in line with BMW's efforts of late to deliver comfortable cars that still err on the dynamic side.
Most folks will probably opt for the base engine, though. This one is a 3.0-liter, single-turbo I6 that makes 335 hp and 330 lb-ft. It may not sound as righteous or accelerate as quickly -- 60 mph arrives in 5.8 seconds -- but it also knocks more than $18,000 off the window sticker. It still feels quick, but the engine is lighter and that reduced mass leaves the front end feeling ever so slightly less composed over bumps.
No matter the engine, the standard eight-speed automatic transmission barely makes its existence known to me, swapping cogs effortlessly in the background and taking little time to call up lower gears when it's time to put the hammer down on the on-ramp.
But regardless of model, the X7 has one big drawback: wind and tire noise. The X7's interior is a little less vault-like than expected, but I'll need more time on different kinds of pavement before I'm willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater and say it's loud all the time. For the majority of my trip, though, there's a lot of unwanted noise in the cabin.
So much tech
Everything that's new and impressive on the X5 is present in the X7, as well. The first thing most folks will notice is the pair of 12.3-inch screens on the dashboard. The gauge cluster screen is configurable, and it lays out information in a straightforward way with designs that change based on vehicle mode, but the "map" between the tachometer and speedometer is only useful when turn-by-turn navigation is enabled -- it lacks street names, so it's generally useless for on-the-fly stuff.
The infotainment screen houses the latest version of BMW's iDrive system. Touch capability is a welcome addition, offering an extra degree of manipulation above the standard rotary controller. iDrive can display multiple tiles on the home screen, giving me plenty of info at a glance, or it can provide in-depth information on a single topic. It's responsive and attractive, and its natural-language voice recognition can be enabled with a preset voice command -- it defaults to "BMW," but custom commands (harder to activate on accident) can be programmed in, too.
This X7 also comes equipped with BMW's optional Driving Assistance Professional package. This offers up a whole host of safety systems, including active lane-keep assist, automatic lane change assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. It works great on these long stretches of highway, holding its lane position well while not being too heavy on the gas or brakes as traffic requires. Like the X5, I find lane-keep assist to be a little heavy-handed in its standard corrections, and the lane-change assist wants way too much time between hitting the blinker and making a move, but otherwise the system comes correct.
Even though its price tag might seem high to the hoi polloi ($73,900 for the I6, $92,600for the V8), the upper end of its window sticker is actually competitive with similarly equipped offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover. A V8 Mercedes GLS-Class, for example, starts at $95,000, while a V8 Range Rover just crests $100,000.
The X7 is a crossover of compromise. It's not excessively large, which means cargo and people occasionally do battle for the space inside. It's engineered to not be a total snooze-fest, so there's a balancing act between fun and comfort that inevitably leaves some material on the cutting room floor.
But while there's compromise, it results in a package that still feels fully baked when it comes to the kind of daily-drudgery driving that most owners will experience. The X7's position as a flagship SUV means it needs to be the best and brightest, and I feel it succeeds in that regard.
Editors' note: Travel costs related to this feature were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it's far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews, all scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms.
The judgments and opinions of Roadshow's editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.
BY ANDREW KROK
Porsche blew minds when it debuted a 935 reimagined for the modern day, complete with the guts of the latest 911 GT2 RS. Now, a new Porsche Museum exhibit will show off yet another modern-day take on a classic, and this one might be even better than the 935.
Porsche on Monday showed off the first public picture of its modern-day 917 design concept. In the press release, Porsche said a small group of designers and engineers sought to recreate its hallowed racer with a modern twist. It never made it to the track, of course, but now it'll be on display at the Porsche Museum from May to September, on display in public for the first time.
It's unclear when Porsche actually built this. It looks as modern as any Porsche, with sleek lines evoking the curves of the original 917. Yet, the headlights look pretty close to those on the 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar, and the wheels were taken straight from the 918's concept. That's because the concept was designed and built in 2014, Porsche confirmed via email, just ahead of the 919 Hybrid's FIA World Endurance Championship debut, and right around the time the 918 Spyder made its way to owners. Given the success of the 919 Hybrid that followed, the car stayed as a concept, tucked away until its public debut this year.
Porsche's 917 was the first car to give the automaker an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, a feat it followed up with another victory in 1971. Depending on the variant, power comes from a flat-12 engine in one of three different displacements. Its final hurrah came in 1973, with the 917/30 Can-Am variant, which completely dominated Can-Am racing. It was also the car Steve McQueen drove in Le Mans.
The whole Porsche Museum exhibit will be on display from May 14 to Sept. 15 at the Porsche Museum in Germany. In addition to this concept, Porsche will show off 13 other exhibits that include 10 different 917 models, as well as technical exhibits and racing posters. There'll also be some 917-specific merch on offer, including a barbecue apron styled after the "Pink Pig" 917/20. I'll take five of those, please.
The most expensive commutes in the U.S. probably aren’t where you would imagine. The commuters who face the highest costs aren’t coming from the suburbs of New York City or San Francisco. These commuters live within 65 miles of Washington.
Workers from Charles County, in southern Maryland, spent 388 hours -- or just under two and a half weeks -- on average, traveling to and from work in 2017, according to Bloomberg analysis of U.S. Census data.
Residents in Fauquier County and Stafford County in Virginia, more than 35 miles (56 kilometers) from Washington, face similar commuting costs.
Bloomberg calculated a county resident’s opportunity cost by converting hours spent commuting into a dollar amount based on the average annual income of a full-time worker. The index also factored in the percentage of workers who commute before 6 a.m. under the assumption that leaving that early is undesirable for most and warrants a higher opportunity cost.
While the residents of these counties may decide to commute based on a variety of factors, they typically have higher incomes than the average for the region, according to Brad Hansen, an economics professor at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., about an hour’s drive from Washington.
“They find the jobs in D.C. and Northern Virginia more attractive, largely because of higher income, but they find living in places like Stafford, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania more attractive because of lower housing prices or they like living in a less urban area,” Hansen wrote in an email.
Time vs. Money
How do residents determine whether the commute is worth it? They must balance the trade- off between high rents and short commutes against low rents and long commutes, according to Ferdinando Monte, an assistant professor of economics at Georgetown University.
“You would like to be close to a place that has high wages or high amenities but you don’t want to pay the high rents,” Monte said. “Rather than paying for higher rent, you can pay that in commuting time.”
Apparently, many workers taking residence in the satellite neighborhoods of San Francisco and the New York-New Jersey metro area also prefer the commute over higher rents, according to the index.
One might ask how the counties in Virginia and Maryland ranked higher than counties outside New York City and San Francisco. One reason may be simple geography -- how easy it is for a city to sprawl out or cover a larger area, according to Monte.
For example, San Francisco is hilly and surrounded by water on three sides, which impedes sprawl, he said. The Washington area is less inhibited by such factors. Also, Congress enacted a law more than 100 years ago that limits the height of buildings within the city. This has kept the D.C. skyline low; urban sprawl has ensued.
Arlington County, Virginia, where Amazon proposed to build its expansive new headquarters, scored the lowest among the 14 largest counties in the greater Washington region. From home to work, local residents spent just shy of 30 minutes commuting -- the equivalent of 12 percent of $106,670, the average pay for a full-time worker in the county.
In 2014, the Metrorail system added four new stations in Virginia. Construction is underway for an additional six stations on an 11-mile stretch of track that will include a transfer from the Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown Washington.
The index shows some portion of Americans choose lengthy commutes but there’s an increasing number of them who work from home. Technological advancements and the rise of the "gig economy" have enabled jobs to be performed anywhere with Internet access.
The index scored 800+ counties for the highest cost of commuting based on three metrics: the cost of commuting in equivalent dollar amount, the percentage of income this matches, and the percentage of the workforce that leaves before 6:00 a.m. The three metrics are weighted at 70 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
The absolute cost of commuting was calculated by converting total commuter hours into a dollar amount based on the average annual income of a full-time employee in the region. The index does not include ancillary costs for transportation and parking.
To access Bloomberg’s Economic Cost of Commuting full data set, click HERE.
Below are the 20 counties with the highest commuting cost: