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2014 Lamborghini Aventador: What more can we say? (CNET On Cars, Episode 47)Lamborghini Aventador: How do you explain a supercar? Is there any tech to save kids left in cars? And we explain the coming revolution in drive-by-wire cars.
How's my glare there? Really bad. Let me try that again. Lamborghini Aventador, 'nuff said. Technology to avoid the tragedy of kids left in cars. And drive by wire, will you trust it? Time to check the. We see cars differently. Nice. We love them on the road, and under the hood, but also check the tech, and are known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good, the bad, the bottom line. This is CNet OnCars. Welcome to CNet OnCars, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving, I'm Brian Cooley. You know, among supercars, Lamborghini's always been something of the free spirit. Kind of like that brother of yours who brings a different girlfriend to every family gathering. And doesn't really care what you think. The best expression of that right now is their invented door, all 12 cylinders of it, nearly 7000 horsepower of it, and infinite creases of it. Let's push the button and check the [INAUDIBLE] [NOISE]. A single word describes Aventador driving. Capable. Of any road maneuver you can imagine and a number you can't handle. The Aventador is the top of the stack for Lamborghini. At least in terms of production cars, leaving out things like the Nina, and some special models. The overall formula of the car is pretty simple. It's a two-seater, the engine, mid rear. A V12 carbon fiber tub of which you almost can't say too much. The carbon fiber tub weighs only about 325 pounds. It's incredibly stiff, and everything else is anchored to it. Including aluminum subframes, front and rear, for suspension and engine mounting. On top of all of that, we have the roadster, that means you got a pair of removable carbon fiber roofpanels that are also gonna earn you some non removable stares of envy in public. [NOISE] Now, the engine, of course, is out back, in the backyard. Carbon fiber lid with these Plexiglass clear louvers, and underneath there's quite a work of art. [NOISE]. The V12 six and a half liters, but after that, the technology doesn't get too modern. Turbo? No. Supercharger? No. Direct injection? No. [NOISE] This is a [INAUDIBLE] engine, do it the old fashioned way by being big and brawny. [INAUDIBLE] besides of being a v-12 the core traded in this engine and it's also over square that means its cylinders are short and wide it's a trace of high revingers they have a higher ration of valve opening in the roof of the cylinder compare the total volume of this cylinder in other words the [INAUDIBLE] and breeze well Now, what's interesting about Lamborghinis is the engine and transmission layout. All wheel drive, of course, in this car. You've got the engine with the transmission ahead of it. The tail piece goes toward the passenger compartment. And, then power is transferred back through drive shafts. To the rear end and of course forward to the front wheels. The transmission is a single clutch automated manual with a numerous four independent shift rods to carry its seven gears. The end result being those extremely fast shifts and Lamborghini says less weight due to having just one clutchpad. Some numbers, 690 horsepower, 510 foot pounds of torque. A car that weighs not that little actually. Almost 3,500 pounds in Roadster form. The Roadster's got 110 pounds on the Coupe. Still, it's not hurting anything. 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds. Oh, and get to know that little door over there in the corner. That where the gas goes, lots of it. 10/16 is your rated MPG. Despite the fact this car has MPG technology. Like automatic start, stop which is exotically powered by capacitors not the usual lead acid battery. And even cylinder deactivation now. When you're barely on the throttle, it'll turn into an inline sit and retire one bank and after two minutes, it'll refire the other one so it'll wear evenly. Like you're gonna mo. That long in this car. Now inside the Aventador, it's not technology like we're normally used to, C-Net style. For example this is basically a last generation Audi head unit. Not a bad head unit, but it's nothing cutting edge in terms of connectivity or the way that it works. You'll recognize these controls right here from an Audi product if you've been watching our videos for long. All LCD gauge pack in front of me, including a. Massive digital tacometer and then built in there, just barely visible's the speedometer. Your four ancillary gauges are around and you've got some partner info gauges on this side and that brings us to these three drive controllers here in the center of the console. Strada is street, that's basic driving. Sports gonna tighten up the speed of shifts and how hard the RPMs are run up also make the accelerator mapping more aggressive, open those exhaust valves or baffles and dial back some stability controls. Go one more and you're in the full red blooded Corsa or track mode, manual only, everything is at its sharpest. The quickest shift, 50 milliseconds. You've still got your wide opens exhaust baffles, and the stability control is dialed back to just the bare minimum to hang on to your car. By the way, if you want to hear more of that music from behind your seat, check this out. That little transom glass right there, if I run this switch on the dash, it goes up and down so you can hear the whole mechanical noise of the valve train and the intake sucking sound [NOISE]. I always feel a little silly giving you impressions of a supercar, they're all amazing and this one makes almost everything else on the road feel like a moving van, yet I prefer to leave the breathless love letters to other outlets. The difference between Strata, Sport, and Coursa is like the difference between hitting a ten, 20, or 50 million dollar lotto. The center differential sends anything from a high of 30 to a low of 10% of total output power to the front wheels, as you work your way toward more aggressive drive modes. And, while the steering ratio remains the same all the time, the amount of assist drops off as you move to. I did find the single clutch ISR gearbox to sound the only occasional false note. When you've got your foot in it, it's fast and tight. But around town, it can balk a shift once in a while and leave you and your passenger with your heads bobbing. It did so seldom enough to be memorable, however, which I guess means seldom enough. In no cases in a cutting-edge tech machine in the cabin by our standard, but that's not the point. You buy it because you like it, not for any rational reason. And of course, you'll need to like it a lot. Base price with destination and gas guzzler tax is nearly $450,000. I'd definitely pop 7,500 for the transparent engine cover, 4,200 gets you upgraded Lamborghini audio, and multifunction controls on the steering wheel are about 1,500 more, and we're just getting started. That will sound absurd to most of us, but remember what David E. Davis told 60 minutes about Lamborghinis decades ago. I firmly believe that everyone, who is worth anything at all should own a 12 cylinder car before they die, because there's nothing like it. There's just one of the great operatic experiences of all time, that's a real noise and there's nothing like it. It'll take your breath away. [NOISE] [MUSIC] You know the number of ways you can die in a car have been dramatically reduced over the last couple of decades. It really is a golden age of automotive safety. But one area of tremendous tragedy that's gone virtually unmitigated. Is the mistake of leaving your child or pet locked in the car as temperatures soar. Some tips and technologies to avoid that one are are of interest to the smarter driver. [MUSIC] Since 1998, 628 children have died in cars that weren't. Even moving. 51% inadvertently left in their car by their parents. 30% were playing in the car became locked in, and 17% were left in their car by folks who presumably were just going to be a few minutes. [MUSIC] Unclear to some parents and pet owners still is the speed which the inside of a car heats up. Even on a mild summer day with temperatures in the low 80s, that car will get to heat stroke level in ten minutes or less. So that whole thing about how I just was gonna pop in the store for ten minutes. Takes on a whole new gravity. [MUSIC] Looking at that nest thermostat on your wall or the fitness band on your wrist, you would think there has to be some sensor based technology out there to prevent these tragedies, but there isn't. As recently as July 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, flat out, there is no recommendable technology to prevent leaving kids in cars. Not for a lack of looking. NHTSA tested 18 prevention systems that range from pressure and weight sensors that detect a child in the back seat to warn proximity sense that alert you when you get too far from your child to simple reminder bracelets that are the equivalent to tying a string around your finger. In all NHTSA announced the entire category inconsistent and unreliable. Offering at best a false sense of security. [MUSIC] Now Volvo had a concept car called the SCC that envisioned a comprehensive detector in the vehicle to figure out if there were people or animals left inside, but it was a concept, never came to production. They did, however, do a reduced version of that technology for a few years that was the Volvo personal car communicator. It was a smart key fob that tied into a heartbeat detector in the vehicle. Supposedly could tell you if the bogeyman was sitting in the back seat in a dark parking lot as you came back to your car. It didn't last on the market very long. And it wasn't able to detect children anyway. Ford and Intel just unveiled a concept technology called Mobii that places cameras all over the car's cabin. For a variety of purposes, including customizing settings. But omitted it has any specific goal of child detection. Some cars now come with a so called wide angle conversation mirror. And that lets you see the entire back row better. Also, consider putting your purse, laptop, or some other must take item in the backseat with your child. And when it comes to animals, it's not enough to just crack the window. You should know this by now. Dogs and cats don't sweat like we do. Just a little through their paws and their noses. So for them, it's about having a moderated temperature and access to full fresh air. In other words, not being hemmed into a vehicle. So I'm afraid to say the best technology for dealing with this issue is right now no technology. It pays to double check who's left behind in your car and for real safety. Make sure the answer is nobody. [MUSIC] Coming up, what works all day in airliners seems to spook people on the ground, when CNet OnCars rolls on. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] The view I've got right now as these three. These massive humps and everything is very tucked in towards me. Speed wise this thing is bloody quick. Listen to that. This will take on most modern stuff and kick it pretty hard in the face. God knows how its road legal. [MUSIC] Find more from the X Car team of CNet UK at cnet.com/xcar. Welcome back to CNet On Cars coming to you from our home at the Marin Clubhouse of Cars [UNKNOWN] just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well the idea of drive by wire technology in cars is more than just an engineering story, its kind of redefining what it means to have control over your car. And if makes for a timely, as well as, somewhat contentious Car Tech 101. [MUSIC] Now the basic concept behind drive-by-wire, which is also known as x-by-wire sometimes, is to replace all these physical controls in the vehicle, like steering, braking, and accelerator, which are mechanical now, with systems that are electronic or electromechanical. Getting rid of the physical linkages. And, inserting a computer between you and the vehicle's drive system. Get into your vehicle now, hit the accelerator pedal. Your not pulling a throttle cable to a carburetor, or fuel injector system anymore. You're telling a computer what to do. How about a shifter in a lot of modern. Cars like any recent BMW, that pedal shifter's not moving linkages, it's just moving electrical contacts and telling a computer how to handle transmission. [MUSIC] All right, the good conceptual demonstration of drive by wiring in general is the steer by wire set up in this development car. This is the X1 at the. Stanford Automotive Innovations lab. Now, it starts off with a traditional steering well. It turns out round still works well. But if you think it's like a game controller, it's a very different feel. It has weight. It has feedback. It has mass to it. Now, here's where things are very clearly different. At the end of this, there is no, more, steering linkage. And that's where drive-by-wire, really becomes by wire. Things look and feel very similar. Professor Chris Gerdes from Stanford, had been working on assisted driving systems like this for some 20 years. What does the computer do? So the computer is sending commands to these amplifiers which are connected to the motors and the so the computer will command a certain amount of torque to turn the wheel, and then it will look at the position of the wheel and see if it's gone to right place. If it hasn't gone to right place, it'll compensate in the control algorithm to apply a little bit more torque. To turn the wheel until it gets to the right position. The benefits of drive-by-wire include better response. Faster, more precise actions by car systems can be handled by computers than by us. Some of the active safety systems that we've been working with will steer the wheel. In the event of an emergency. And we can steer the wheels the proper amount in an emergency much faster than most human drivers could, could judge that and then actually move the wheel. Automation, when systems are filtered through computers to either make our driving better or to recognize things we haven't seen yet and react to them. So this very similar to the break assist systems which sense that the driver is. Intending a panic stop and will put the brakes on fully even if the driver is still ramping up with that command. In dangerous situations, the electric motor triggers a full braking manuever from the booster in the blink of an eye. Automation can also tune driver inputs to maximize performance, efficiency and reduce emissions. Ergonomics. The controls you touch in the car can be made to feel best for the task. So maybe you want something that gives you a lot more assistance, so you're decoupled from the road. That would be very easy to program. Or, maybe you actually like feeling the road, and want something that feels a little closer to manual steering. That would also be easy to program. And finally weight, a major reduction can be achieved by replacing heavy metal linkages and parts that exist today with more compact electric servos that live at the point of action. The challenges of drive by wire include communicating the perceived benefit. So many of these things really are most evident to the people designing the cars and, and selling the cars. From the driver's standpoint, they'll understand that things are different. You know, they'll see it, a difference in steering feel, but in order for them to really find that to be an advantage, it, it would have to be better. Trust, consumers and to a degree automakers, don't trust this yet. The automaker will redesign accelerator pedals. Especially in light of the recent Toyota-gate situation. Or just the idea that some bad software in a car- Our accelerator is stuck. Could cause runaway acceleration spooked a lot of people. And I think it's natural for people to approach cautiously. The automakers have been fairly slow to introduce steer by wire for exactly that reason. The question is can they offer a great enough benefit to the driver for them to overcome any hesitation they might have about. And finally fault detection, your current car has limited if any of this, but in the drive by wire world, there has to be a lot of fault vigilant technology and built in backups and all of it done economically. By many estimates, the amount of software that it takes to run the basic functions of steering and throttle is only about 10% of what's on there and about 90% is fault detection, fault recovery. The sorts of things that you need to, to handle situations where things are not working perfectly. [MUSIC] In a moment, clearing up a question about headlights. And, the mother of all tech cars, when CNET ONCARS returns. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] James Gordon Bennet Jr. was a stinking rich American playboy. Some might say that he was the founding father of formula one. But it was the age of exciting characters and there are aristocrats and playboys and there's any incredible color and passion in the racing that you don't see today. There's none of this for sure, the team did good energy drink bollocks, it's [LAUGH] I think we can say that on camera. [MUSIC] Buy more from the XCar team of CNET UK at cnet.com/xcar. Welcome back to CNET On Cars. I'm Brian Cooley. Time for some of your emails. This week it comes in from Lawrence F. Who asks could you do a piece on headlight restoration for Car Tech 101? I've seen some articles and some videos online about using toothpaste. And I'm not really sure if it works. I'm not sure it does either to be honest, Lawrence. I've never heard that one. Although the concept is sound, you're using a microabrasive to grind away the yellowed or oxidized outside layer of your headlight cover. And get it nice and clear again. But for the 30 bucks or so you need to spend to get a real headlight kit, I would do that instead. Macguires, 3M, and others make these. They include some very fine abrasive sheets, a rotating pad for your electric drill and also some fine polish to finish the job, make it all nice and glossy. Seeing it clear. Now in my experience, I find the results have been okay when I do it my own drive way. I prefer to take this kind of a job either to a really good car wash or detail shop that offers that service. It will cost you a little more than buying a kit doing it yourself, but they tend to get it right. This tends to be a very tedious, laborious job when you do it yourself and make sure you've got a drill of lots of extra batteries or the one that plugs in. You are gonna be there polishing away for a very long. Time. It takes a lot of patience. By the way, if you want more detailing tips, head over to our episode 30, where we did a whole cleanup and shine up on a car from stem to stern. Might give you some more ideas. And detailing is more fun than headlight polishing, I think. A couple of episodes ago, right here in the email section, we fielded a question about the dearth of French cars on American roads. Which got me thinking about one of the most innovative cars ever which also happens to be French, the Citroen SM [MUSIC] Some cars predict the future in one way or another. The Citroen SM did it at least five ways. It arrived in 1970 sporting a Maserati engine, and that was almost a footnote. These tech features were its real legacy, a few of which appeared on its predecessor, the DS. But they call came together on the SM. Number 5, composite wheels, they were made of carbon reinforced resin and weighed only about 9 and a half pounds each, roughly half the weight of a steel wheel. Even today, the use of composite, carbon fiber, and ceramic. Amex in cars is exotic, but in wheels? Still almost unheard of, unless you look at products like Carbon Revolution's CR nines. They're 15,000 dollars a set, about three grand more than an entire SM cost when it was new. Number four, rain sensing wipers. This is before the modern electronic sensor era, so the SM's wiper motor. Detected the current needed to wipe and move the blade. It translated that into an approximation of how wet or dry the windshield was and adjusted wiper speed accordingly. Rube Goldbirdie. Today, every car has intermittent wipers and a fair number also sense the presence of rain automatically. Number three, automatic suspension. Under the hood of an SM you'll see all these little odd green orbs, those are reservoirs. They have pressurized fluid in them, pumped around to the cars' corners. That's how it adjusts its ride height, leveling, and shock. No springs. Now similar systems are used on supercars today. But it's still pretty exotic. More down to earth are the related magnetorheological adaptive suspension, like GM's magnetic ride control. But even it can't lift up the car for a tire change the way an SM can. Number 2, adaptive headlights. Home market SMs had six headlights up front in an array that made the car look like it was wearing google glass. They both leveled themselves and aimed automatically based on input from the steering wheel, unheard of then! This is a widespread feature in the last handful of years, but it was so far ahead of its time in the 70s, that US law didn't even know what to do with it. So US-spec SMs had to substitute four dopey sealed beams that did nothing except turn on. One of the great tech buzzkills in auto history. Before I get to do our number one amazing Citroën SM feature, here's one that's more oddity than breakthrough. The brake pedal. It really isn't, it's this rubberized button or bulb on the floor that only has about an inch of travel for the entire range of its braking force. If you ever get a chance to drive one of these, I'm pretty sure that'll take the most getting used to. The number of tech that the SN had first is variables. Theory. It adjusted the SM hydrolytic steering assist according to vehicle speed. So the amount of assist got less the faster you drive. And it was only two full turns lock to lock. That aided slow speed manuevers and parking and the wheel inside the cabin was adjustable in both height and reach. This is amazing stuff back then. Its an area where the SM saw the future most clearly. So common in cars today. By the way, technology is what killed the SM, in America. That adjustable suspension we talked about back at number four, it also moved the bumper height up and down. So at various settings, it was out of spec with US law. Citroen was not about to abandon the feature for that reason, so they abandoned the market. This day. [MUSIC] Thanks for watching, hoped you enjoy this episode. If you wanna get a sneak peak of what we're working on next, follow me on Twitter, BrianCooley. And if you wanna throw me some questions or comments, do it on Facebook, facebook.com/askCNET, and of course, email still works pretty well firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll see you next time with Check Detect [MUSIC] One more time [INAUDIBLE]