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The Iconic Volkswagen Beetle Is Marked For Death



2017 Volkswagen Beetle Coupe

Scrap the earlier reports claiming the next-generation VW Beetle will be electric — there won’t be a next-generation Beetle!

Volkswagen’s push to fill its lineup with new SUVs and electric cars leaves no room for poor-sellers like the age-old Beetle, which has seen three iterations to date.

In an interview with at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen R&D boss Frank Welsch revealed that there is no plans to replace the third-generation Beetle once it goes out of production, stating that “two or three generations is enough now” and that the Beetle was “made with history in mind but you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.”

Those Retro VW fans unhappy to see the Beetle go away will have to make due with the production version of the Microbus-inspired I.D. Buzz Concept, which is expected to arrive by 2021, while a convertible version of the compact T-Roc crossover will serve as a replacement for the Beetle convertible.

Yes, the VW is heading to the chopping block, but it will be around for a few more years before finally meeting its demise. Did it overstay its welcome?


BMW 8 Series Coupe Takes Mantle Of BMW’s Flagship Two-Door



New, 2019 BMW Series 8 M850i

After months of spy shots and teasers, the BMW Series Coupe has finally be unveiled and is all set to go on sale in November 2018.

The new 8 Series Coupe’s design doesn’t stray too far from the striking Concept that previewed it, featuring a long, low-slung profile that’s reminiscent of the the 6 Series Coupe’s and a wedged front fascia defined by prominent grille and the slimmest headlights yet on a BMW. LED headlights are standard, while adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Laserlight lights are optional.

Jumping inside, one finds customizable 10.25-inch digital display in front of the driver and a 12.3-inch infotainment system situated directly in the middle of the dashboard. Wireless charging, the BMW Display Key and a Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System are part of the long list of optional features.

The 8 Series will initially be offered with a choice of two engines. The M850i XDerive is equipped with a bi-turbo 4.4L V8 that produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque and, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, allows the large German coupe to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

The 840d xDrive sources its power from a Europe-exclusive 3.0L six-cylinder diesel engine rated at 320 horsepower and 501 lb-ft. of torque. With the eight speed automatic, it completes the sprint in 4.9 seconds and has the same top speed of 155 mph.

A rear-bias xDrive all-wheel-drive system helps get all that power to the ground, while an electronic rear differential lock comes standard on the M Performance package.

Ride and handling have been optimized with BMW’s Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilization, electromechanical steering of the front wheels, rear-wheel steering and variable steering ratios.

So, what do you think — does the BMW 8 Series have the aesthetic chops to be BMW’s flagship coupe? How does it compare to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tesla Roadster Uses Rocket Thrusters To Go Faster, Turn Better



New, 2020 Tesla Roadster going fast

No, this is not science fiction. The new Tesla Roadster does indeed use thrusters to improve its acceleration, top speed, braking and cornering ability.

Telsa CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a post that the electric sports car will be available with a SpaceX package that, among other features, gives it 10 small rocket thrusters placed seamlessly around its body to “dramatically” enhance overall performance and possibly enable it to “fly short hops … maybe.”

He explained that pressure for the thrusters will be generated on-board via electric air pumps and composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), similar to how the system works in the SpaceX rockets:

“The air exiting the thrusters would immediately be replenished whenever vehicle pack power draw allowed operation of the air pump, which is most of the time. Total energy stored even in ultra-compressed air is low vs battery, but power output is insane.”

Even without the fancy thrusters, the new Tesla Roadster is stupid fast, capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a neck-snaping 1.9 seconds thanks to its three powerful electric motors. Musk intendeds it to “beat gas sports cars on every performance metric by far, no exceptions” and set a new benchmark for pure speed.

I can only imagine what such complexity means for reliability and safety…

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Next Dodge Charger, Challenger Will Still Be A Mercedes Underneath



Dodge Charger and Challenger, track grid

The latest Dodge Charger and Challenger are based on a very old Mercedes-Benz E-Class platform introduced in 1995, and it does’t look like that’s going to change with the next-generation models.

There were were rumors that the next Charger and Challenger would use Alfa Romeo’s lightweight, athletic Giorgio platform, which underpins the Giulia and Stelvio crossover, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) may be leaning towards keeping the current architecture.

At the company’s investor conference in Italy, Motor Authority FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne as saying:

“We may not necessarily have to go as far as the Giorgio architecture for Dodge as long as we are willing to commit to a significant upgrade to the current architecture to make it competitive. That’s something that’s already started. “

Marchionne believes that Giorgio platform is ill-suited for a high-performance, all-American sports car, adding:

“The problem with Giorgio is from size and capability standpoint it reflects much more of a European performance requirement than it does the American heritage of Dodge.”

That’s a bold move considering how old the Mercedes-Benz platform in question is. Yes, it has been heavily updated over the years, and Marchionne promises we will not recognize its origins by the time the latest slew of updates are completed, but there is an argument to made for a brand-new, ground-up architecture custom-tailored for the modern era of vehicles.

We will have to wait and see how well the decision turns out for the Charger and Challenger. An old and heavy German or a young and athletic Italian — which would you choose?

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