Meet the LaFerrari, CNET style (CNET On Cars, Episode 82)LaFerrari is a supercar done our way, we deliver the bottom line on auto start-stop, and show you the 5 best cars CNET has reviewed in the last year.
[SOUND] The super car of super cars. Auto start stop explained to the skeptics. And CNet's top five cars of the last near. It's time to check the tech. [SOUND] We see cars differently. We love them on the road and under the hood but also check the tech and are known for telling Telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. [MUSIC] The good, the bad, the bottom line. This is C net on Cars. [MUSIC] Welcome to C net on Cars. The show all about hi tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Well of all the electrified super cars coming on the market these days from the Clarion, Porsche, and Ferrari. We thought LaFerrari was the most intriguing of the bunch for its remarkable combination of performance, exotic engineering of course, and its ability to move the super car market to a new place with its abundant prestige. Let's see if we were right as we drive LaFerrari and check the tech. [SOUND] [NOISE] This is one of those days when I'm surprised they pay me. [NOISE] With me is Ferrari's ultimate street car, the Laferrari. Following in the image Feature of the F40, the F50, the Enzo. They only do one of these about every ten or 12 years. They're very special and very limited and you don't just show up mode no with a million and half dollar check and take one home. You have to own some Ferraris, important ones at that, and then they may deign to sell you one of these And when you do bring it home, you've got something more than the latest ultimate Ferrari. You've got the first one in my estimation to jump fully, with both feet, into the 21st century. This car is important. [MUSIC] The styling of La Ferrari was actually done in-house. At Ferrari, which is actually notable after 50, 60 some odd years of having Pininfarina and almost all of their cars. But what's happening here is really interesting. There's not that much left for a stylist to do in the Modern super car era. The shape is determined by how the car functions in the wind. There are almost more holes and ports and cut outs then there is positive mass. What your seeing here is a carbon fiber skin Drawn tight over the least amount of guts the car has to have. And of course, this is Ferrari's first street hybrid. It's called Hy-Kers technology. Hybrid kinetic energy recovery system. It actually dates back to 2009 and F1. It didn't take that many years for it to hit the street. When you've got something this pretty, you don't hide it, and they don't. Here's the heart of the beast, starting with a 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V12. Underneath this enormous carbon fiber plenum is some banned in F1 technology. Variable length intake runners. It allows you to have the engine run perfectly at any RPM range by varying the run from intake to the cylinder which doesn't wanna always be the same and in this car it isn't, then you get to the more modern stuff. This is the HPU, the hybrid power unit which brings in power from the batteries and send it on down to the electric motor right down there, bolted on the tail end of the transmission Up here you see some of the orange cabling that is a dead giveaway this car is electrified. It leads up to batteries that live behind the two front seats down and low and they each live in their own little hermetically sealed refrigerators. This electric apparatus weighs over 300 pounds. So it better earn it's keep, and it does. Contributing 163 horse power to the massive combined 950, and the best 147 of the total 664 pound feet of torque. As a result of the electric componentry back here, the traditional engine up here doesn't need to worry so much about being in torque mode. It can do more with breathing at high RPM, hence red line is 9250. And the low end stuff is brought in by the electrics. Where does it all go? Interestingly, and against current fashion, it goes to two wheels only in the back. While other super cars are going all-wheel drive this one plants it In just two places through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission through one of Ferrari's outstanding F1 gearboxes. Now, in addition to using carbon fiber on the outside, you've got a clear message of carbon fiber on the inside, cuz this is the carbon fiber cabin tub. It only weighs 150 pounds, the actual shell I'm sitting in. Part of how they kept the weight down is keeping it small, as you can probably also see. By having these seats actually be immovable, they're just stationary benches. They are able to make the cabin smaller because you didn't have to leave room for the seat trap to move back and forth, instead you adjust the wheel and the pedal. Back here is an LCD instrument panel, not their first, but in this case it's changeable. It has different modes, that is a first for Ferrari. You're got a more traditional [UNKNOWN] centric look, and then you've got one that more speaks to the fact this is an electrified car, with a center round L that has different indications of whether you're regenerating or expending electric power. Here's a real crowd pleaser, this sort of carbon fiber bat wing down here has your drive controls. Reverse, automatic and launch control. The last little trick is over here behind this door. Here's the USB slot that is different than the one for media and communications. This one holds the memory drive. It's gonna pick up recording, a video from the forward looking camera behind the mirror And this one over here in this trick little carbon fiber pod that's watching the driver. It puts those two together and records them as you make your laps. Let's say I'm on the track, [UNKNOWN] Ten hundred plus horse power [LAUGH] don't tell my life insurance agent. One of the first things you notice in this car is the fact that it doesn't present a huge amount of hybridness. There aren't a whole bunch of electric modes, there isn't that electric boost button like you have on a V1. This is a car that really buries the hybrid part, but buries it under the accelerator [UNKNOWN] what you would call technically a mild parallel hybrid. But of course there is nothing mild about the results. Now to mortals like us, all super cars feel the same in one respect. They are all much more than you can exploit. But what do I find distinctive about this car? It's really a joy to drive at your Limits invoking more grins and less sweat. And whether on the track or on the street asking you sacrifice very little in terms of livability. All while making you feel like a superhero. Okay now when you're driving a car, and by the way it's someone else's car, it goes for about $8000 an inch a slice, you're glad for certain technologies that keep it under control. First of all Ferrari's remarkable stability control This lovely BCT transmission is, it's perfect. There is absolutely nothing about it in tractor street that I don't like. Big old carbon ceramic breaks are of course like driving a nail through this thing when you need it to. But you also get some nice breaking through re-jam going back into the motor, that's classic hybrid stuff. But also when the engine's got too much torque cooking. Like when I come into this turn It'll convert some of that into power, vacuum in, and as you can see all around this car, you've got active parts and slots, and behind me the most fascinating giant emerging wing in autodom. Pricing a la Ferrari. DOes it matter? It's about million and a half or so and you can do endless personalization to take it where you want. The real story in conclusion here is that if you're lucky enough to own just drive one of these, you've tapped into a lot of technologies and design ethics that are the future of Ferrari. But also, a super car that is a joy to drive. Not just a hellacious hammer on the track. Few supercars can pull off that balancing act. This one does. [NOISE] If you want to dig deeper into electrified supercars, make sure you check out our McLaren P1 drive from episode 58 over on our YouTube channel. Coming up. Auto stop-start technology. How does it work? What does it really accomplish. A great car tech 101 as CNet OnCars continues. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Auto start stop, or auto stop start, whatever you want to call it, call it. Mainstream. Something like 2/3 of all cars in the EU have it, have had it for a long time. Every BMW I've driven in the last three years has had it. Ford says they're going to have it on two groups of their F-150, 70 70% of their entire fleet by the 2017 model year. I can go on and on, it is here to stay but, what is it? And how does it work? [MUSIC] The technology's been around since Toyota first offered it on a Crown sedan in the mid 70's. VW put it into mass production in the early 80s on a version of the Polo. Now, auto start-stop has come later to the U.S. for a variety of Reasons, primarily the fact that we have much less sensitivity to fuel economy because we traditionally had much lower fuel prices relative to average household income. That's well known. We also have less sensitivity to emissions, at least historically, in this country, which is also related to running an engine less than you have to. But in general, the world is becoming an auto start-stop automotive community. [MUSIC] Now, the name should tell you everything. But let's be very clear, here's what it does. I come to a stop in traffic, and the electronics that run the engine stop the engine. They do that, and just the engine, by the way, by turning off the spark to the ignition Ignition, and turning off the fuel flow to the cylinders. Then when I lift off the brake, those are instantly restored, and the engine is restarted by its starter motor to hopefully instantly come back to life. Now ideally that transition from off to on, to off to on takes place in just an instant, almost imperceptibly. But allowing a car to do that requires much more that you can do just twisting a key. [SOUND] First, this is engine shutdown, not car shutdown. The electronics stay on and they don't pick up or flicker when the engine starts. Next, the car should have electric assists and pumps, not belt driven ones. So you don't things like power steering or automatic transmission readiness when the engine's down. You need a tougher starter motor because it's going to be doing its job a lot more often. A deep cycle battery which is one designed to be deeply discharged and then recharged readily. Sometimes a car will even have a second battery for auto start stop. An air conditioning system that can override auto stop sometimes to maintain cabin temperature, and harder, smoother internal engine friction surfaces, for durability. Starting is hard on engine bearings. Now, if you're driving a hybrid car, there's a little bit of a difference there in that you already have a large battery. The big motive battery that can handle the start, stop electricity, and you've got an integrated motor in the powertrain that can also function as a starter. Not using the traditional Starter like a standard gas engine car would do. And by the way, auto start stop's available on manuals as well as automatics. Though, most cars are automatic so that's really what we care about. [BLANK_AUDIO] You can save anywhere from 3 to 10% of the fuel you would otherwise Has used without start, stop by having the technology. Those numbers are huge in the auto maker world where they will spend millions to gain 1% more fuel economy. The downside is you can't take those numbers to the bank. It varies wildly. Depending on the kind of routes you drive. If you live in Montana, where everything is a two-hour interstate drive from everything else, you may see very little, if any, benefit from autostart-stop. If you live in Los Angeles, you may very quickly get autostart-stop to pay for your Xanax prescription that you take because of your commute. It varies very much by how and where you drive. [MUSIC] Okay, after driving almost every car out there with auto start/stop, let me give you my shopper's tips for what to look for in a car that has it: Fast restart, with the goal being the time it takes to move Your foot from the brake to the gas. Very few cars get it done that quickly. Most do not. Few rotations. Slightly different. This is the number of engine rotations taken within that restart window to get the engine running again. I find this varies as well. Low body vibration, related to the number of rotation, as well as the engine mount technology. [MUSIC] I don't want my German luxury car to feel like I'm starting a '72 Bronco every time I lift off the brake. And it should be defeatable, of course. Most cars have a button for this. A few do not. Now, that said, shopping for auto stop-start isn't necessarily all in your hands. Know that whether you like it Like it or not it's here to stay because car makers like it. More than that, they need it. Because it's incorporated in the results they get, in the ETA mileage test cycle, it can do wonders for their fleet fuel economy. So they're not gonna get rid of it just because a few owners say eh, I don't like it or I keep [UNKNOWN] Okay, so the bottom line penciling out the value of auto start stock to you in your pocket book. Let's ball park that it costs $250 to $300 worth of the NSRP of a car that has it. Now earning that back is the complicated matter. It depends on fuel prices in your area, how many trips you take each week and what kind What kind of trips are they? And whether you have propensity to defeat auto start-stop some of the time, none of the time, or worst of all, all the time, in which case it's never gonna pay for itself. [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNET on Cars, coming to you from our home at the Mount Ten Motorclub just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Time for my favorite part of the show when I take some of your emails. And the first one here is coming in from Jonathon B. in Vallendar Germany. Who says his question is about the aim of self driving cars in general. Is it really to be safer? He says there will always be other cars that aren't automated and are being driven by humans, thus exposing the rest of us in self Driving cars to the same accident risks he reasons. Now, Jonathan that's an interesting question because this is often seen as an all or nothing position but let's really dig into it here into this idea of reducing accidents with self driving. First of all, there are the inter-car benefits, so this is the area of cars dealing with each other. And I would pause it to you that getting an even fair amount of self driving cars on the road is going to increase our safety even though we have a lot of humans still driving around those cars. The self-driving car will see the human driven car around it As just another obstacle to be recognized, processed, and dealt with with its various machine reactions. No, not perfect of course. But I don't think we need to get to an all or nothing plea for self driving cars to be extremely safe. Then there's also the intra-car benefits. How self driving cars, regardless of how they react with other cars, will help us get rid of the problems we have from drunkenness, distraction, and just plain crappy driving technique, that, let's face it, plagues so many folks that are driving their cars right now. The third area of benefit is gonna be kind of the group or the hive mind benefit. Deep in the future. When self driving cars are talking to each other, are all reporting in as a group to some kind of central control within a metropolitan area. And we can really manage the cars out there as a fleet, making sure every car is doing the right thing in relation to the roads, and the cars, and traffic conditions, and flow, as opposed to the kind of willy nilly, half Haphazard driving and decisions that we make today. But that's well down the road. And that benefits both safety and, of course, efficiency. Our next email comes in from Ebra Haines, who says, hey Cooley, since new autonomous Technology, is relying on your phone to park your car and he mentions being out of the car like in the new e class or the new seven series. He wants to know what would happen if your phone died in the middle of one of those parking processes. What would the car do? Well, the answer on this one is pretty simple, the car should stop. Dead man switch logic is what you call this because as soon as you lose control of a car it needs to stop moving. Now as you mentioned, the way this is being handled in the two cars that have it so far, and again, this is out of car self-parking, it's the new vanguard. It's what you've got with the BMW 7. It uses an LCD touchscreen key fob, great big old thing, the size of a small sandwich. But, that's how they got enough screen real estate on there for you to manipulate it. Once your finger is on it, and pressing down, the car will continue to move into a spot until you let go. The other car, that will have this soon, is the new 17 Mercedes E-class. They're taking a different approach. They're using a phone app. A little different. Again, you gotta have the phone on. There has to be a connection to the car. And, you have to keep manipulating this dial on the screen to keep the car moving into a spot. Any of that breaks down the car knows to stop. This is the only way you can get regulators, engineers and car maker legal departments on the same page with this stuff. [MUSIC] Thanks for those emails everybody. Now in a moment we're gonna. Rundown CNET's top-rated cars of the last year when CNET on Cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNET on Cars. I'm Brian Cooley. It's time for a great top five list, one that took us a whole year to pull together. And that is our top five CNET rated cars of calendar year 2015. These are of course your equipped CNET style, and these are cars that are ranked by their highest scores from our editors as well as each one being an editor's choice. And sometimes the highest score doesn't earn that honor It only is given to cars that are more than the sum of their parts. These are real winners. Let's go. [MUSIC] Number five is the 2016 Ford Escape. Now they've got great new looks on this car. A two liter eco boost engine that we like a lot. Available with all wheel drive. It has the new sync three infotainment head unit. A triumph, and a long time coming from Ford. Self parking technology is available. Now, roll that all together, and you could be paying $36,000 plus for an Escape, that can be a little rich But to be honest, this is a compact crossover that does nothing badly. Number four is the 2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet. Great Audi looks in handling, of course. On top of that, you've got 4G LTE tied into really sophisticated Google services. And you've got a top that is like a tank. Since this one is a convertible, going to be so solid, so quiet and never make you worry about leaks. On the other hand, this guy leaves out any trace of voice command. That's a little frustrating. And the trunk is about big enough for [INAUDIBLE] Beyond that though if you want an everyday compact sedan with a truly useful top and some of the best tech in the business this is your one. [SOUND] Number three is the 2016 Mercedes S-Class hybrid. Now we gave it's standard gas engine brethren an 8.6 a higher score than this guy which get an 8.3. But only the hybrid version gets our vaunted editor's choice label as well, because it gets in the high 20s in everyday driving and does all the other great stuff that a basic gas engine S550 does. If you gotta around in ostentation and you wanna be efficient This is your car. Number two brings us a tie between two cars that have almost nothing in common. The first of which is the 15 Tesla Model S P85D. This is the dual motor car. Even faster at zero to 60 under three seconds. All wheel drive in a sophisticated dual motor fashion. And this is the car where Tesla really began Began to do over the air updates that grant the vehicle's ever-increasing self-driving ability. It's no wonder you can't pull into any artisanal coffee joint in Silicon Valley and not be parked to one of these. The other car type for #2, also with an 8.8 score like the Tesla, is the 2016 Audi TT Roadster. Completely revised, finally to my eye at least, a great looking Audi TT. You've got an advanced Virtual cockpit like no other in the world, all LCD and reconfigurable. Great handling, of course. It's a premium car with a convertible top, like the A3 we just saw, that is a work of art and never leaves you worrying if it's gonna be leaky Noisy or bowhide. On the other hand, it's a diminutive little ride. There's barely room for one set of golf clubs let alone two, so when you go somewhere on the weekend, you got to figure out what the other person's gonna be doing. Our number one highest rated and most loved car that crossed our garage threshold in all of 2015 It's the 2016 Mazda Miata, the MX-5. Completely redone and still an absolute winner. This is the most fun you can have on the road without being rich. Nothing about it is terribly technically sophisticated, but they've hung Hung on to their roots and continue to refine great, straightforward, unfiltered driving joy. There's more room inside for tall people, thank you, and while it's no cabin tech tour de force, it's no longer embarrassing in that category Either. Well we want to have fun on the road and with our money paying for it, this is our huckleberry. [MUSIC] Thanks for watching, hope you enjoyed this episode. Don't forget we've got a ton of back content that's really interesting waiting for you. At our YouTube channel. Keep the emails coming to me for ideas on future episodes at Oncars@cnet.com and of course check out our new site roadshow, you may be right there. It's theroadshow.com. CNet's latest new baby in automotive. I'll see you next time, we check the tab. [MUSIC] [SOUND]