Monday, February 10, 2014

9-Speed Transmission Explained, 25 Years of Miata and More!

Sometimes it's good just to go over what's happening in the automotive world.  Today's post is a bunch of links to some interesting stuff going on right now.  So, without further ado...
The first thing I think we should take a look at is Alex Dyke's detailed write up on ZF's 9 speed automatic transmission.  Yeah, that's right, 9 speeds.  It sort of boggles my mind when I think that my Buick and my Pontiac only have 4.  This ZF unit has over twice as many forward gears!  What could they possibly need with so many?! 

Well, it all comes down to fuel economy and making efficient use of the engine's power.  But, please, don't let me bore you with the details.  This article will do that nicely without any further input from me.

I think right now all it's in currently is the Jeep Cherokee and the upcoming 2015 Chrysler 200, but I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of our 9 cog friend.

The Tesla Model S is getting an all wheel drive set-up!  Now eco-minded northerners can enjoy the smooth power and low center of gravity with less risk in winter driving.  As long as they don't run over any trailer hitches, that is.  Then God help them.

Jalopnik featured a good comparison piece on the new Volvo V60 wagon vs the XC60 Crossover.  They make a compelling argument for the V60... unless space is the ultimate deciding factor in your vehicle needs.  Then you may find the Volvo wagons a little snug, despite its other inherent benefits.  However, if you're looking for a fun premium vehicle with good utility and decent fuel economy, the V60 is a really solid contender.

And this popped up in the ridiculous files.  The Dubai police have taken delivery of a Veyron police car.  Apparently they have a whole slew of supercars in their fleet.  But it makes sense if you think about it.  All those billionaires tootling about in their exotic sports cars will at some point (probably every 5 minutes) make a traffic violation.  Now imagine being the poor schmuck who has to chase him down in a crappy impala!  Now, the police should be able to run down any perpetrator regardless of their awesome wheels.    

And just so everyone knows, Subaru as debuted a redesigned Legacy at the Chicago Auto Show.  There's new interior and exterior styling and now both motors come solely paired with a CVT.  This has boosted the vehicles fuel economy numbers (hopefully not at the expense of performance).  I personally think the car looks great.  Even though I'm a fan of the current model, this one looks like a big improvement in terms of refinement and style.  I can't wait to try one out.

And finally, it's time for a big Happy Birthday for the vehicle that is credited with reviving the British sports car.  I'm speaking, of course, about the Japanese built Mazda Miata, which turns 25 this year!  The Miata, or MX-5 as it is now known, is one of the most celebrated, and best selling, vehicles of its kind.  In this video, Jay Leno speaks with some of the people that brought the car to life in this fantastic retrospective of a modern classic.

Well, that's all for me.  I just realized I've missed the first two episodes of Top Gear's latest season, so I have some catching up to do!


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