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Tag Archives: automotive

That Shiny New BMW Of Yours? Yeah… Turns Out It’s Pretty Easy To Steal

By David Ponce

The newer generations of BMW’s have keys that would appear to make theft pretty hard to accomplish. There’s really no way to start the car without them, and since they’re encoded right at the dealership (with blanks sent over from Germany), no one but you has access to them. The encryption is strong, so they can’t be hacked… and yet… Turns out that some enterprising thieves have found a way to steal a new BMW in less than 90 seconds. The ways this is done is by purchasing a key encoder, which is sold on the black market in some parts of Europe for $8,000 or thereabouts. They then smash the driver’s side window and attach this encoder from the outside to the ODB-II port, which is not password protected. It appears that the cars’ alarm system has a blind spot right in front of the ODB-II port, so sticking your arm inside doesn’t seem to trigger anything. From there it’s just a matter of programming a blank (which the miscreants also appear to be able to acquire, although an old fob can also be reprogrammed) and leaving with the car, making use of their newly minted keyfob. This seems to affect every BMW, from the 1-series to the X6.

BMW’s official response? “Yeah, we know about this. And guess what, it’s a problem all premium, luxury cars face. (Not in those actual words.)” So, uh, looks like BMW won’t do much for you. Maybe keep a dog next to your car at night?

Anyway, hit the jump for a video of a car being stolen using this method, and another of a key being programmed with one of the illicit encoders.

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BMW Unveils i8 Spyder Concept

By David Ponce

BMW is going to town with their i8 cars. The above is the third instalment in their electric-gas hybrids: the i8 Spyder. It’s a shorter car, and one with two less spots for passengers. And one less roof. And while some might find it ugly, we think it looks awesome! Some specs:

96 kW/131 hp on the front, coupled with a 164 kW/223 hp gasoline engine on the back, which accelerate the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

As far as fuel consumption goes, BMW claims 3 liters per 100 km (62 miles), with 30 kilometres (19 miles) of autonomy on electric power alone.

There’s even a rumour that BMW will stash two electric scooters in the trunk, though there aren’t much details on these. The New York Auto Show is coming up, and so is Beijing’s so we should have more information then. Considering BMW plans to make the other i8 cars, pretty much as-is, there’s a good chance that the Spyder version will see production at some point in the future, unlike so many such futuristic looking concepts.

VIA [ DVice ]

Harley Davidson Hearse Will Give You A Rocking Last Ride

By David Ponce

So the thing about dying is that it’s not fun. What with all the not being alive and stuff, you’d think less people would sign up. And yet here we are, all bound to have to take that sad last trip to the cemetery. Joerg Grossmann from Germany likes Harley-Davidsons, and has seen it fit to develop the bitchin’ hearse you see pictured above. If you like to live the rock and roll lifestyle, this here hearse is the way to go. Joerg has made a business of renting out his original hearse (at $1,600 a ride), but the interest is so high that he’s now taken 10 orders to deliver them to eager customers. At $78,000, it’s not exactly something that you’d by for personal use. It is, after all, a hearse. So as an investment for an… alternative kind of funeral home, it’s not that bad an idea.

VIA [ Huffington Post ] AND [ Jalopnik ]

Video: Man Makes QuadRotor Flying DeLorean, World Drools

By David Ponce

When I was about 7 years old, I watched Back To The Future and decided I’d make the car in the movie. I embarked on a journey to recruit the help of adults; they were to help me go to a junkyard and get the parts. Yeah… things didn’t really work out the way my 7 year old mind had envisioned. But fast forward to now and what do we have here? It’s a flying DeLorean! Sure, it’s not an actual car. And well, maybe it doesn’t travel through time. But dammit if it isn’t a thing of beauty. We don’t have much details aside from what you see in the video. All we know is that its stabilization control is powered by a MultiWii, a HobbyKing 12A BlueSeries Speed Controller, and a batch of Turnigy 2204-14T motors for the engines. Electricity is a good ole Lithium battery, and not a fusion engine. And we have no idea what happens if it hits 88mph.

VIA [ TechnaBob ]

Lamborghini Aventador J Drops The Roof, And Windshield, And All Pretense Of Restraint

By David Ponce

It’s not like the Lamborghini Aventador isn’t already a badas car. We wouldn’t mind having one parked in our driveway. But the Aventador J, pictured above, well… Let’s just say that non-vital body parts might be bartered for a simple ride in it. Not only does it have no roof, it has no windshield, opting instead for wind deflectors that are meant to keep the full force of the rushing air from your face. It’s still road legal, even though it certainly looks like it shouldn’t be. It still has that 700bhp V12 engine that is in the “regular” Lambo, but has “weight-reducing, speed-increasing features like the lack of an audio, navigation, or HVAC system, Forged Composite seats with inserts made from “Carbonskin” — a new carbon fiber fabric.” So yeah, it’s a lot lighter than the original. And it’s also a lot rarer: there will be only one made. A single one.

Can you afford it? That’s a silly question, my friend. With something this rare, even if you had the money, odds are you still couldn’t buy it.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Ford Had A Good Idea: Hatch Door That Opens With A Kick

By David Ponce

Proving that good ideas can happen even in unlikely places, Ford recently unveiled a pretty awesome feature on the SUV Kiga: a rear hatch door that opens with a kick, so you don’t have to put the groceries down. No, not Russian style, break-the-darn-door-down kicking, but a light foot motion that is detected by a carefully calibrated sensor. It only works if you have the key fob on your person, so it’s not like a random passerby could do it. And Ford spent six months at the ” Human Machine Interface laboratory, tweaking the system with the help of volunteer kickers that tested the motion sensors. They ensured that the system distinguishes between actual kicks and other motions – say a pothole in the road – so that the tailgate doesn’t inadvertently pop open when you least expect it.”

Oh and the Kuga is a European car. This feature has been available on the Ford Escape since last November. Did you know? The news here is that “Ford engineers re-calibrated the system for Europe to ensure it would still work if a tow bar had been fitted – as this is an option frequently chosen by European Kuga customers.” Still, it’s the first we hear of it. So there you have it.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

This Is The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, The Fastest Ferrari Yet

By David Ponce

With rising gas prices and ever tightening environmental regulations, the days of naturally aspirated cars may be numbered. Even more so those of massive V12′s, like the gem that powers Ferrari’s all new F12 Berlinetta. That masterpiece right there is the fastest the Italian company has ever made and the numbers sure are impressive. 12 cylinders displace 6262cc (or what we understand to be a little over 6.2L) for a power output of 740bhp. This propels the 1525 kg (3,362lbs) monster from 0 to 62mph in 3.1 seconds, and an even more impressive 8.5s for the 0 to 124mph sprint. But it’s not just straight line prowess: “It also completes a lap of the Fiorano test circuit in 1’23″, faster than any other Ferrari road car. The previous record for a Ferrari road car was 1’24.00 by a 599 GTO in 2010, preceded by an Enzo which went around in 1’24.90 in 2002 and a 458 Italia 1’25.00 in 2010.”

Raw power performance aside, the Berlinetta comes with a bevy of orgasmatronic car tech:

Such as Aero Bridge, Active Brake Cooling, a new generation of carbon-ceramic brakes (CCM3), a further evolution of the magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM-E) plus the usual E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and high-performance ABS control systems.

The price? Oh we don’t have a price. We expect it to be as expensive as expensive can get, though nowhere near Veyron territory… which in a twisted kind of way, makes it “affordable”. At least to the 1%.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

How To Brick Your Tesla

By David Ponce

So this story is a little shocking. It turns out that if you let your Tesla’s battery fully discharge, it becomes essentially destroyed. At that point, the car is one large brick. Nothing will work: you won’t even be able to turn the wheels so it can be towed conventionally. But it gets worse, much worse. If this happens, Tesla charges you $40,000 or so to get a new set of batteries. “Oh, but the waranty should cover it!” you’ll say. Nope, it specifically doesn’t. “Ok then, insurance will take care of it.” Wrong again. Insurance companies specifically do not cover this. Let the batteries go empty = $40,000 out of your account. “Ok, well, shoot… but maybe Tesla will let me finance that…” Wrong. Again. You pay in full, or you’ll be asked to get your expensive brick out of the dealership.

For something like this to happen isn’t that hard. Drive the car around so that it’s at, say, 50% charge and leave it at the airport for a week or so. Or park it in your own garage, but use an extension cord (as opposed to proper charging cables). Heck, you can think of a number of ways this could happen. And happen it did, to at least 5 devastated clients.

Tesla at the moment is in a bit of a predicament as it has to walk the fine line between aggressively warning its customers of the potential danger, and talking about it too much and risk spooking buyers off. And it’s even doing some potentially shady things (like remotely activating a GPS module in order to physically go plug a dying car in) to do what looks like some damage control. In official comments on the issue, representatives liken the problem to “making regular oil changes” and “maintaining a proper level of care”. Batteries, similarly, should never be allowed to fully discharge.

Well, we don’t know. Maybe this is a new class of problems that a new class of vehicles brings with it. Whatever the case, you should read the longer article at the link below. It’s pretty interesting.

[ How To Brick Your Tesla ]

Cardok Elevator Gives You James Bonds Style Garage

By David Ponce

So if you’ve recently come into money you’re probably in one of the stages of pimping out your estate. You might read this site for inspiration in the occasional luxury item we feature. So here’s one more: the Cardok lift system will take your vehicles and hide them underground. You can get the Mono version, which hides just one car and makes your driveway look empty. Or you can get the Multi which are either double length, double width or even double height. These systems can accommodate around 10 tons (22,400 lbs) in combined weight, which should be enough for even a couple of Hummers.

Opulence has its price of course, so the Mono Cardok is around $61,000 while the Multi is $72,000. It’s a UK company so they might only do their work there, but if you’ve got the cash to throw around we’re sure they might be willing to talk. And of course, if you’re going to be that flashy, make sure your car matches.

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