Best of the Web: Tesla to Lease Model 3s

Tesla announced that it is launching a lease program for Model 3 and interestingly, it won’t let people buy the cars after the leases, instead Tesla plans to use them in its planned self-driving Uber-like service dubbed ‘Tesla Network’.

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We expect to hear more details about the service on April 22.

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Best of the Web: Ford Issues Recall

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Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday issued a safety recall for roughly 327,000 trucks over potential issues with the vehicles that can lead to overheating or fires.

The announcement affects Ford F-150 trucks from 2015 to 2019 and Super Duty vehicles from 2017 to 2019 that were inspected and serviced after a separate December recall spurred by potential fire concerns.

Best of the Web: New Ford Bronco

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Pic of Concept Vehicle above may not match the prototype.

The new Ford Bronco is going to have at least two things the Jeep Wrangler doesn’t: Full-time mirrors.

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Ford dealers who were shown the upcoming SUV at a private event in February told Automotive News that it features removable doors like the Wrangler, but instead of attaching the side mirrors to them, Ford put them on the windshield frame so that they stay in place when the doors aren’t fitted.

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How the Race Track Increases Performance

 

auto-racing-558065_1920NASCARs, and similar racing cars outperform normal cars because of their engines, right? Well, yes, in part. Is it design? Mid-race maintenance by a pro pit crew? Neither of those, well, not entirely, anyway. Even if you add it all up you’d still be missing performance contributions by the race track itself.

Banking

Perhaps the most noticeable assets of the racetrack which improve the action is the banked curves. Having a bank allows cars to attack the turn with greater efficiency. In the IMS tracks are banked between 23 and 36 degrees. More recently, some oval tracks are progressively banked, which allows outer cars to maintain higher speeds through the turn, making the race more competitive.

Some banks have nicknames like “wall of death” and it is easy to see why.

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The Groove

By far the least well-known track performance feature is the “racing groove.” This is the name given the ideal route around the track and it removes or shaves off several precious secrets. But even that isn’t as simple as it sounds. The grove shifts about depending on weather and track conditions.

If you want to see the grove, look for a thick black line coming out of the turn, which is rubber left from the high-performance racing tires. This rubber is actually the biggest reason why the groove shifts. The extra rubber on the track can increase tire grip or make it slicker depending on temperature and other factors.

So on some days, a racer has won by staying in the groove the entire race, but more often racers have one from reading the track conditions and knowing when to alter their line into and out of the turn to by on groove or not. It’s a balancing act because the new optimum line might take you across the older grove which can cause a slide out. Add in the fact that all the other race crews and drivers are attempting to improve their groove and you’ve got a recipe for some big wrecks.

Best of the Web: the New Porsche

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Spoiler alert. The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe has two of the things. In addition to the adaptive roof spoiler that’s a stand-out feature on the current Cayenne Turbo – the first SUV to feature active aero – the Coupe gets another one, that sits below the tailgate window. Above 56mph, it extends by 135mm, increasing downforce on the rear axle. Porsche, no stranger to an acronym, has added this to the suite of features that make up Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA).

It clearly points to the Cayenne Coupe’s more aggressively sporting character, and the inevitability of another Nürburgring record (there’s even a crash helmet in the boot of one of the reveal images, the wags). Two engines are available at launch: the 3.0-litre, 335bhp V6 turbo, which will hit 62mph in 6.0 seconds and reach 150mph, and the 4.0-liter 545bhp twin-turbo V8, that dusts 62mph in a faintly silly 3.9 seconds and will reel in autobahns at speeds up to 177mph. No diesels here.rp_-_cayenne_coupe-8

A 2.16m squared panoramic roof is standard fitment, with a contoured carbon fiber roof also available as part of three different optional lightweight sports packages. It’s a strict four-seater in standard configuration, the rear two positioned 30mm lower to optimize headroom. A full bench seat can be ordered as a no-cost option, but then you may as well as go the whole, erm, hog and order the full Cayenne to go with it.

The standard Coupe will land in the UK in May, priced from £62,129, the Turbo at £104,729. They will surely be as magnificent to drive as they are a largely pointless addition to the 2019 automotive landscape.

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The Car Interior

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Sometimes we buy a car for speed, sometimes for convenience, sometimes it’s a project to do up and sell. But there are many who buy a car because they look of the interior. Well, you only see the outside of the car now and then but the majority of the day will be spent seeing the interior, especially if you use it to commute. But interiors do not stay the same.

Some Changes Come in the form of Updates on the Same Theme

In the 1980s, for instance, the in thing was Mercedes with wood trim, leather upholstery and a superfluity of buttons. Having more buttons seemed a common selling point back then. They needed to be the right type of button though, the Audi V8, to give one example, had buttons which were too small to press.

Some exotic hardwoods, like mahogany, are banned, so current models from BMW or Aston Martin use color patterns which suggest a wood finish.

porsche-1583750_1920The selling point of the BMWi3’s interior is the car seats made of “active wool” which consists of various recycled materials such as plastic bottles. They are not exactly unique though, as other big names like Honda and Toyota use recycled materials in their seats as well as glove compartments. Whatever its origin it remains a good pitch for BMW.

Buttons have also gone out of fashion a bit, perhaps not for the better. The modern sleek look has inspired companies like Tesla to put as many things on sticks affixed to the steering column its hard to tell if you’re engaging the autopilot of adjusting the wheel tilt.

Other Changes are more Innovative:

Until recently you’ve been pretty much stuck with a couple seats and a dashboard, but there are ways around this too. Instead of the normal looking Sat Nav the Lincoln Navigator and the Bentley Continental has a center console located between the driver and the passenger. The Audi A8L operates by means of the two touchscreens and a gauge cluster.

It’s hard to create the truly original design but Carlex a car interior design company focuses on sleek images and the noticeable stitching in the car seats, which may lead the passengers to think of high-grade black denim jeans? There may be a problem here with sliding off the seats but presumably, they took that into consideration.

Some things don’t Change Regarding Interiors:

Other than adding or subtracting buttons or various control sticks, the basic design of the steering wheel hasn’t changed much since the first vehicles were built. So far technology has altered the dashboard mostly, but that may soon be changing.

With the introduction of Lidar systems (which use lasers to guide driving) and other connected vehicle technology, the way we drive may be altered forever, getting rid of the steering wheel entirely.

Can you Refurbish Your Car Interior?

Generally speaking, cars depreciate faster than say houses, so we don’t see a big market in people trying to restore of improving car interiors.

mercedes-benz-2498264_1920.jpgIt is not, however, unheard of. Some wealthier car owners have had their vehicle reupholstered because they liked everything else about the car except the feel of the seats. Vintage and classic car owners may restore the seat material as well, as part of the whole car makeover.

If you’re pondering doing it to improve resale value, check out the numbers first. It is hit and miss finding a buyer willing to pay that much more for a vehicle with a slightly improved interior. A car interior upholsterer is quite a niche market so an upholstery kit costs $800 and the professional to install it costs $750. If the total value of your car would go up more than $2,000 it could be an option. There’s probably a reason used car dealers just swap in new factor seats to handle such issues.