I was an Idiot for Considering Volvo Would Provide Video Chat Even though Driving

Volvo 90 center display

A few years after Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in patenting the phone, an individual conceptualized the telephonoscope and the globe became bedeviled by the notion of seeing a person although you conversed remotely. Video phones appeared in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Jay Roach’s timeless classic Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), and just about everywhere in between. They even cropped up in real life. AT&ampT tested the waters in the 1920s by pairing mechanical television receivers to telephones ahead of blowing half a billion dollars on the Picturephone a couple of decades later.

Issues are diverse nowadays. You can simply bring up any number of applications on your hand-held device and video chat with people from practically anyplace on the planet. Nevertheless, we in no way truly got a committed video telephone in our vehicles, producing a compellingly retro-futuristic want for such a factor.

Then Volvo announced that it was adding Skype for Company to its 90 Series cars and I started imagining a universe exactly where I would notify besuited guys — face-to-face — that I did not have any longer time to speak since I was significantly as well busy driving. It was a excellent fantasy where I told nervous industrialists which robots should create the smaller robots and who to fire all from the comfort of my mobile office — and although searching them proper in their terrified eyes.

I was setting myself up for some supreme disappointment.

In the announcement, Volvo’s Vice President of Customer Connectivity Solutions, Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, explained that the partnership with Microsoft not only resulted in the inclusion of Skype but also Cortana — the company’s intelligent personal assistant. This implies you can schedule your calendar and issue commands just by employing your voice.

“We’ve all been there. Sitting in the vehicle trying to join a conference contact. You either fumble with or drop your phone while attempting to connect or you forget the extended pin code to join. It is not the very best way to commence an critical contact in the vehicle. On top of all that your focus is not exactly where it ought to be — on the road. With the addition of Skype for Company all that goes away,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz.

I have been there on a singular occasion. It’s as if Anders was speaking directly to me about issues I was just realizing were ruining my life.

“Skype for Company represents yet another massive step forward for our in-car connectivity and communication provide,” Tylman-Mikiewicz continued. “With the dawn of autonomous automobiles we see a future where flexible in-automobile productivity tools will allow individuals to reduce time spent in the office.”

That is perfect for me, due to the fact a massive step forward is specifically what I’m looking for. Midsize luxury vehicles are not always the most thrilling so this is the sort of shot in the arm that is sorely necessary. Plus, who desires to devote a lot more time in the office when they can video chat from inside their own auto? No one.

It sounded like a excellent universe. However, as issues progressed, I noticed there wasn’t an abundance of talk about the video capabilities of the app or the in-car camera. In fact, Volvo entirely glossed more than those components, and I became lightly worried. Assuming they may well have forgotten, I reached out to Volvo’s media team for clarification on the amazing video technologies they were like in the S90 sedan, V90 wagon, and XC90 SUV.

A spokesperson answered my queries with, “No video-to-video, audio only.”

I felt like an imbecile. How could I possibly have believed they would incorporate video conferencing? The spokesperson mentioned the Skype app had been adapted to a driving context, and of course it would be. No sane organization would give someone operating a car such an enticing diversion from the road ahead. Volvo could most likely have easily included screen-sharing and crisp image quality, but didn’t want to face an onslaught of lawsuits from distracted drivers and the households of their victims.

Even though, what is Volvo really offering, then? A far more seamless way to dial into a conference contact and a digital assistant that you almost certainly already have access to by way of your wise phone? As foolish of me as it was to assume there would be video, this all feels sort of like a tease. I could feel of much stronger selling points for the organization to brag about than upgraded audio conferencing and a calendar. Anyway, I can just duct tape my mobile device to the center console of any vehicle, so this is not a gigantic issue.

[Image: Volvo]

Automobile Reviews – The Truth About Cars

VIDEO: Dykes Critiques the New 2016 Chevrolet Volt, and You Need to Watch It

2016 Chevrolet Volt w/ Alex Dykes, © 2016 The Truth About Cars

This weekend, Alex dropped a bonus video evaluation of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt for us to get pleasure from. Regrettably, he’s also been as well busy constructing sheds to do a full overview, so this is all we’ve got.

(It is okay, although. The ideal perform takes place in a shed.)

Want to check it out? Hit up the video right after jump.


The Truth About Cars » Automobile Critiques

2016 Audi S7 Evaluation – The Coupé With Also Several Doors [Video]

2016 Audi S7 Exterior Front

2016 Audi S7

four.0L DOHC V8, direct-injection, turbocharged, CVVT, cylinder deactivation (450 horsepower @ five,800-six,400 rpm 406 lbs-ft @ 1,400-5,700)

7-speed dual-clutch automated manual

17 city/27 highway/21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

19.1 (Observed, MPG)

Base Cost: $ 83,825*

As Tested: $ 95,900*

* Rates include $ 925 location charge.

Coupé-like styling is one particular of the largest buzzwords at new vehicle launch parties. Even though this is a lot more of a modern phenomenon, the root of the seemingly contradictory 4-door coupé is older than you may possibly believe.

In 1962, Rover dropped the rear roofline on its P5 sedan and dared to contact it a four-door coupé. In 2004, Mercedes picked up on this concept with the CLS-class Coupe. It was only a matter of time prior to Audi and BMW joined the celebration with the A7 and 6-Series Gran Coupé.

Now, several of you might say we currently have a name for the 4-door coupé. It’s a sedan. I agree with you. Audi isn’t totally convinced by the “coupé” designation either, and they only dare mention it twice in the 62-web page brochure. This signifies the S7 is a $ 12,000 styling exercise atop a tasty and a lot more practical S6.

Exterior
The way BMW, Mercedes and Audi arrived at their four-door coupés is important to understanding the differences among them.

Mercedes took the E-Class, stretched it, slammed the roofline, removed the sills on the doors, pinched the rear end and — voila! — say hello to the CLS. Audi did anything similar with the A6 but took things a step additional by reworking the rear finish to accommodate its signature liftback. BMW didn’t “coupe-ify” the 5-Series. Alternatively, it took the existing six-Series two-door and stretched it until it could accept a second set of doors. Though Audi describes the S7 on occasion as a five-door, it is hard to inform from the outdoors because the rear is made to hide the truth that the glass lifts with the trunk lid.

2016 Audi S7 Exterior Rear

Audi subscribes to the “same sausage, diverse lengths” school of design — except with the R8 and the A7/S7. Whilst the front end is nevertheless very significantly the identical as the S6, the rear end is a lot a lot more dramatic with powerful lines and creases replacing the “bubbly” theme employed by some Audis. 2015 brings new LED headlamps and taillamps with a “Y” shaped accent strip bisecting the module reminiscent of Volvo’s Notion Coupe and XC90. (In case you had been questioning, the Volvo idea came 1st.) The rest of the conversion from S6 to S7 consisted of adding normal LED headlamps, removing the window sills and integrating a spoiler into the liftback that pops up at 80 mph so the cops know you are speeding to reduce rear-finish lift at larger speeds.

2016 Audi S7 Interior-004

Interior
The relation of the S7 to the A6, the CLS to the E-Class and the Gran Coupé to the 6-Series is critical on the inside.

BMW positioned its 6-Series 2-door decently above the 5-Series and priced it $ 17,000 larger than the least costly 5. This signifies while the A7 and S7 use an interior that is largely shared with the $ 46,200 A6 2.0T, and the CLS shares its insides with the $ 52,650 E250, the 650i Gran Coupé has an interior shared only inside the six-Series line and largely special from both the 5-Series and the 7-Series — though some parts are shared. As a outcome, the interiors of the Mercedes and Audi four-door coupe just don’t really feel as particular or as distinctive as the BMW. This distinction is most notable in the design of the dashboard. The S7 gets the head-up display that is optional on the A6. Unlike most luxury vehicles that use a slightly diverse dashboard design when HUD equipped, Audi tacks a massive “donut” on top of the gauge binnacle to residence the projection unit.

Although headroom is far more restricted up front than numerous luxury sedans that are this identical length, there is nevertheless adequate room for my 6-foot frame and a six-foot-5 passenger. The back seat is a various matter. Like the BMW and Mercedes, there just isn’t adequate area for a 6-foot passenger to sit comfortably for any length of time. Though the A7 will seat three shorter people in the back, the S7 loses the middle seat, dropping the total seat count to four. This tends to make the S6 the much more practical individuals carrier as it has a generous quantity of rear headroom and legroom.

Although rear passenger space is surely much less sensible compared to the A6/S6, Audi compensates with a much more sensible cargo region. Thanks to the liftback design and rear seats that fold practically flat, you can truly jam a barbeque from your neighborhood home improvement shop in the back, or a large flat screen Tv. The difficult tonneau cover is less hassle-free than a roller-shade style unit, but it offers a lot more separation from your luggage when the rear seats are latched in location.

2016 Audi S7 Interior MMI

Infotainment
Audi’s MMI infotainment system has not too long ago received a key overhaul with new hardware and a faster graphics processor. The new hardware allows for smoother animation and screen changes, but we nonetheless don’t discover expanded voice commands for USB/iDevice media library control like those found in Lexus, Cadillac and Acura autos. The refreshed computer software adds assistance for a few new Net-connected characteristics such as INRIX targeted traffic info and Apple Siri Eyes Totally free assistance. Sadly CarPlay and Android Auto had been not along for the ride. On the hardware level, there’s a new LTE cell modem for more quickly downloads and an integrated WiFi hotspot.

The 8-inch LCD at the heart of the system remains unchanged and is still sporting a common aspect ratio, not the widescreen format preferred by BMW. Nestled among the speedometer and tachometer is an optional 7-inch LCD with an expanded feature set that contains a full navigation show with moving 3D map and topographical data. Perhaps the most important change for 2016 may possibly be the simplest: Audi, along with Volkswagen, lastly ditched its proprietary MDI cable. Lifting the center armrest reveals two typical USB ports and you can now connect your device with any old USB cable you have lying around.

2016 Audi S7 Engine 4.0L Twin Turbo-002

Drivetrain
Component of the $ 22,000 value difference amongst the A6 and A7 is identified in the sedan to liftback conversion, and portion is under the hood. Although the A6 has to make do with a base 2.-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine and front-wheel drive, the A7 starts off with normal all-wheel drive and a 333 horsepower, three.-liter supercharged V-6. But we’re right here to talk about the S7, which is about $ 12,000 more than the S6. Like the CLS550 and 650i, the S7 makes use of a twin-turbo V8, but Audi chose a smaller displacement of 4 liters vs four.7 in the Mercedes and four.4 in the BMW.

According to some German scientists, Audi’s displacement is the most efficient option. Thanks to the modern miracle of direct-injection, close-coupled turbochargers and intercooling, power is nonetheless a healthful 450 horsepower and 406 lbs-ft of torque, a 30 horsepower bump vs 2015. Even though Audi has the horsepower advantage compared to 402 in the Merc and 445 in the Bimmer, the Audi’s torque is the lowest in the group at 406 vs 443 in the CLS and 480 in the 650i. If that is not sufficient power, Audi will spool the exact same simple creating blocks up to 560 horsepower and 516 lbs-ft in the RS7.

As we’ve come to anticipate from Audi, all S7 models are all-wheel drive, a major distinction from Mercedes and BMW that offer two-wheel drive by default. Under most circumstances, 60 percent of the energy is sent to the rear in the S7, but Quattro is capable of sending as considerably as 80 percent or as small as 20 percent to the rear. In an interesting twist, the 333 horsepower A7 and 560 horsepower RS7 use a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic, although the S7 uses a 7-speed dual clutch transaxle manufactured by Borg Warner. Apparently, the DCT is rated for a maximum of 406 lb-ft of torque, which explains why power got bumped recently but torque stayed the very same.

Thanks to the effective displacement decision, the torque-converter-cost-free transaxle (that is the correct term because Audi integrates the front axle into the transmission case), a variable displacement system that turns off half the cylinders when not necessary and a common start off/stop method, fuel economy is the highest in this telephone-booth-sized segment. At 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, the S7 beats even the two-wheel-drive competition by at least 1 mpg on the highway and matches their rear-wheel drive city numbers. In the real world, generating more than 400 horsepower needs a specific amount of fuel and driving any of them challenging on your favourite road will result in fuel economy in the low teens.

2016 Audi S7 Interior Steering Wheel

Drive
The style of Audi’s all-wheel-drive system pushes the engine and torque converter totally ahead of the front axle, but its weight is a lot more evenly distributed than the CLS 550 4Matic. In fact at 55/45 (front/rear), the S7 is very close to the 650i xDrive’s 53/47 weight distribution. This signifies that the occasional complaints of the “Audi plowed in the corners” doesn’t truly apply to the S7 any much more than it does the Merc or BMW.

Even though I choose the feel of a rear-wheel-drive CLS or 6-Series out on a track, the S7 is the much better handling automobile in the genuine world. Element of the reason is Audi’s tire choice. While most luxury sedans feature a staggered tire design and style, the S7 gets the very same tire on all 4 corners — either 265/35R20s or 275/30R21s as our model was equipped. 265-width rubber is unusually big up front and the list of vehicles that run 275s on the front axle is even shorter. Even though this option would generally lead to heavy steering and possibly reduced steering really feel, we live in an era of electric energy steering so things are pretty numb anyway.

In spite of becoming 300-pounds heavier than the Mercedes CLS 550 4Matic, the wider front tires and common suspension design and style make the S7 quite just the better companion on your preferred winding road. It’s also the more quickly companion. Put the pedal to the floor and the S7 scoots to 60 in a blistering 3.9 seconds. If you’re wondering why this is so far off Audi’s official 4.five second run there are two factors. The initial one is that Audi, like BMW, has been underrating items for a although. Second, Audi never updated their official numbers after providing the S7 a power bump and software program refinements. Searching into the numbers, even the -30 time of 1.3 seconds is extremely short for a car with no a torque converter.

2016 Audi S7 Exterior-005

Thanks to the huge front tires, the four,564-pound Audi defies physics by stopping from 60 to zero in a recorded 116 feet. Due to the fact the front tires and brakes are undertaking most of the stopping, the S7 brakes shorter than the lighter CLS550 and the slightly heavier 650i simply because of the wider tires.

That wide rubber on the S7 sets it apart from the S6 as effectively. Audi’s traditional sedan only comes with 255 width rubber from the factory and the distinction in confidence level is noticeable when you start pushing the sedans tougher. The grip on the front axle is particularly extreme and instantly noticeable in the S7 when you are driving the automobile hard on tight corners.

For a performance automobile with a 450 horsepower V-8 and a dual clutch transmission, the S7 is surprisingly civilized. Audi’s most current DCT software program permits low-speed crawl nearly on par with a modern automatic. Almost. Unless I was climbing a steep hill at two mph, it was not possible to tell what was beneath the hood. Also unusual is Audi’s decision of a four-corner air suspension along the lines of the Mercedes S-Class, Range Rover and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Like the off-road alternatives with an air suspension, the S7 makes it possible for a “high-height” mode for improved ground clearance when approaching driveways. Thanks to the air bags, the S7’s ride is also highly polished for this segment. On the down side, air suspensions do really feel “floaty-boaty” when compared to a conventional steel coil setup. The suspension selection makes the S7 the most comfortable for day-to-day driving.

2016 Audi S7 Exterior Rear-002

Right after a week with the S7, my thoughts was produced up. If funds was no object, I’d take the 650i Gran Coupé. The 6 has a much more distinctive interior, the rear-wheel-drive dynamic is much more exciting on a track, I favor iDrive to MMI and the ZF 8-Speed auto in the BMW is a hair smoother. For these of us that make our own money, even so, the S7 is the very best overall choose.

The 2016 Audi S7 may not be as special inside, or as tail happy as the 650i, but the BMW is merely not $ ten,000 far better than the Audi. A base 650i expenses about the exact same as our nicely equipped S7, yet it lacks all-wheel drive and isn’t as fast to highway speeds. On the Mercedes side, the S550 is significantly less pricey than the S7 by a couple grand, but it’s not a much better deal. The S7 is at least a few grand nicer on the inside, is quicker and delivers a much more polished ride.

I realise that a few outlets have complained about the S7’s air ride suspension and common all-wheel drive. Whilst I admit the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes and BMW are more fun on a track exactly where you can explore the two-wheel drive dynamics and the Audi’s air suspension feels a lot more boat-like, I do not reside and commute on a track. For the typical purchaser, the S7 is merely easier to reside with. The funny factor is the S7 is so easy to live with and at the identical time so insanely fast that I honestly see little reason to upgrade to the RS7, CLS AMG or M6 Gran Coupé.

There’s just one particular problem: The Audi S6. No, it is not as attractive as the S7 and it doesn’t deal with as effectively either. However, it is about $ ten,000 significantly less pricey when comparably equipped. Much like the S7 vs 650i comparison, the S7 just is not $ ten,000 far better than the S6. Due to the fact of the path Audi took to produce the S7, it does not have a special interior to support soften the blow either. If my money had been on the line, I’d take the S6 and invest the ten grand on wider tires.

Audi supplied the vehicle, insurance coverage and one particular tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

-30: 1.three

-60: 3.9

1/four Mile: 12.three @ 112 MPH


The Truth About Cars » Auto Evaluations

LA 2015: 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is Lovely, Angry (Video)

Classic cars are the ultimate type of navel-gazing. And a car like the 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is the ultimate nerdgasm.

The 33 Stradale was so limited that when it rolled off the production line, no a single knew how to fix it. Its composed of equal parts of unobtainium and eludium. Automobiles like this are tougher to uncover than unicorns humping a rainbow.

At $ ten million it’s challenging to consider that it is anything other than comically overpriced. But when it begins up and screams like that, it is challenging to feel about anything at all.

Oh my god I want one particular.

Excuse me although I go modify my underpants.


The Truth About Cars » Vehicle Evaluations

Toyota Desires $500 From Canadian Owners To Repair Odometers (Video)

Toyota Odometer Stuck

Owners of some Toyota vehicles in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that will not permit the gauges to roll over right after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (by means of AutoFocus).

The glitchy odometers are discovered in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and some 2004 and 2005 Toyota Prius models.

There are a couple of videos on YouTube of folks expecting to hit 300,000, but they never ever do.

We reached out to a Toyota spokesman in the U.S. but haven’t heard back. According to the CTV report, Toyota is replacing the odometer but asking owners to pay for the replacement (for now).

The Truth About Automobiles » Vehicle Critiques