The Virtual Driver

Pirelli Cyber Car tire system — Coming to a car near you

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 26, 2018) Pirelli calls it “Cyber Car,” a technology that enables a vehicle’s tires to gather information and transmit the data to the on-board computers, particularly the driver assistance systems. The first applications of this technology will be on sale in OEM vehicles by the end of the year.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST: Gone but not forgotten

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 25, 2018) Unfortunately buyers in the U.S. can’t buy the latest Fiesta. Which means the Fiesta ST, one of the most fun-loving Ford cars ever made, goes away as well. So what are we missing? As it turns out, a lot.

Ford's road ahead — Neither surprising nor unexpected

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 19, 2018) The 2020 Bronco will be based on the Ranger, offered with two or four doors, have Jeep-like capability, and the option of hybrid power.The most important thing Ford announced at its March 15 press event is that it will have the “freshest” lineup of any full-line (car and light truck) automaker by 2020; reducing the average age of its vehicles in its showrooms from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and SUVs.

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS: Less weight, more power, more money

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 13 2018) The first thing you notice about the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the way that it looks. This wide-body racer shares the 911 GT3’s polyurethane front and rear fascias, and the 911 GT2 RS’s front trunk NACA ducts that optimize brake cooling.

A look at Jaguar’s electrifying crossover

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 10, 2018) Jaguar pulled the covers off its I-Pace electric SUV one week before its world debut at Geneva, and the production car is quite close to the concept vehicle introduced in November 2016. At that time, Jaguar talked of 400 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, a dynamic front:rear torque split, torque vectoring, 0-60 mph in about four seconds, and a conservative range estimate of 220 miles.

2019 Audi A6 — Sport sedan or electronics platform?

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 4, 2018) You have to wonder about the priorities of a company that builds sports/luxury vehicles, but whose press kit for the latest version of their mid-sized sedan, the A6, starts with a look at its new infotainment interface, connectivity solutions, and shifts to driver assistance systems before getting to the nuts and bolts of the mechanical parts that make this product a car, not a rolling WiFi hotspot.

Mercedes rethinks the Sprinter

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 25, 2018) Mercedes’ latest Sprinter is a clean-sheet design with increased load capacity, new connectivity solutions and driver assistance systems, and more. However, it’s most impressive change is the addition of a front-drive version to complement the current rear- and all-wheel drive models.

BMW’s sporty line extension: The 2019 X4

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 24, 2018) BMW’s second generation X4 follows its stablemate, the X3, out of the starting gate, featuring a bluff-fronted fastback body that is longer, lower and only marginally wider than its predecessor. It also borrows the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four and 3.0-liter six from that SUV, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

3D printing — parts, components and cars — has become all the rage

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 19, 2018) Additive manufacturing is all the rage these days, particularly when it comes to 3D printing. The idea of creating a new design, testing it in the computer, and outputting it to a 3D printer — thereby bypassing all of the intermediate steps, including component assembly and production — is alluring, especially to low-volume makers.

Hyundai revises Sonata Hybrid lineup

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 17, 2018) The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes in two flavors Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid. Both use Hyundai’s 2.0-liter direct-injected gasoline engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both replace the transmission’s torque converter with an electric motor and clutch unit, and use an electric oil pump to improve efficiency. And both mount their lithium-ion battery under the trunk floor.