Cooley On Cars
2016 Corvette Z06: Chevy blows the base Vette away (CNET On Cars, Episode 76)Corvette Z06 is the attainable supercar, automatic braking could be the next standard feature and we demystify the three specs of wheel alignment.
Corvette Z06, super charging an engine, and a whole lot more. Understanding wheel alignment, and the top five things the VW has to do next. It's time to check the tech. 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 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. Welcome to C/Net On Cars, the show all about high-tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Well the seventh generation Corvette's quite a handful just the way it. But then going at a super charger to it, a smart suspension and smart gear box and a body that handles air like a magician, and you've got something entirely different. Let's drive the ZO6 flavor and check the tech. [NOISE] Well we do have a super charge here, because the power is crazy. [LAUGH] Oh yeah. Few would argue this is the new golden age of horse power But for the most part, brawny cars today do it with much smaller displacement and a lot more peck under the hood. [SOUND] You keep to the big bet which keeps things big. [SOUND] [MUSIC] So what is the Z06? It's basically king of the hill right now in the C7 seventh generation Corvette. You take what's already an impressive 6.2 liter V8 face car and then you add a bunch of brawn. A super charger on top of that V8, a standard seven speed manual with rev matching, magnetic rheological adapted suspension Engine standard, wider fenders up front to cover way bigger wheels and treads. All kinds of radical air flow and cooling management around the body, and a steel reinforced Jesus bar, one of the few cars where you may actually use it. New for 16 you've got a front curve and chin camera. A rear lid that doesn't require you to slam it. It cinches itself. and Car Play or Android Auto with Car Play out first. But you don't buy a car like this to play with your smart phone. You buy it to play with the motorized screen instead. I can't get enough of that. Okay let's get serious. Seven speed manual gear box, this is base. But notice, our manual has pedals on the wheel. Those are your toggles to turn on or off, rev matching. We'll try that on the road and the track, momentarily. Now down here is your mode controller for the vehicle, and it's very simple compared to a BMW M car. There's weather, eco, tour, which is normal, sport, and track. Not a ton of variables around Own that. Under the home manual, something you won't find under any other car with Chevy Mylink and that's this. The PDR, the performance data recorder which is a misnomer. It's a forward looking video camera that also has a data recorder that overlays telemetry on the HD view forward. This is basically a smart GoPro built int the car. And no one else does it quite like this. And generally around the cabin this is a mix of traditional and modern cabin technology. A partial LCD instrument panel, but real gauges around it for other functions. You got your touchscreen here of course, but a ton of tactile knobs right below it. [MUSIC] [NOISE] Now the simplest headliner on a Z06 is that the engine is supercharged. And here is your supercharger implanted right at the top. And I mean right at the top. Look at this thing. It just barely fits in the profile of the engine bay. It's here at the height of the hood gasket. So when you add some mass on top, you want to lower it on the bottom. As a result, this engine has drive self lubrication. A very shallow pan below to keep overall height managed. And not add a bunch of tall center of gravity killing mass. [NOISE] And in-between those two components, you've got tougher four internals to handle the chaos that this guy brings upon them. And you've also got stronger, better breathing, high performance heads. The output numbers are a pleasant pair. 650 horse 650 pound feet of torque, seven speed manual base you can get an HP automatic. I won't be speaking to you after that. However with that H speed in a high performance package you can get the zero to sixty down under three seconds. For this 3500 pound worth of Vette. And should you care, the average mpg is 18, that's not bad for something that puts out 650, get's there partly because of direct injection and very much because of cylinder deactivation. You never get used to this kind of big big power. I'll be honest, I've never been a really aspirated kind of guy, I kind of like that smooth linear feel but this is just a hoot. Now we're at the Sim Raceway Performance Driving Center at Sonoma. The course layout that constantly reminds you how light and sharp the turn in is on this car coupled with that responsive throttle this vette feels about half it's weight. I'm in, let's see, four mode right now and I've got tremendous power, I've got great throttle Ability. I do not even miss the red matcher when it's on or off, because this engine blips and modulates so beautifully, which is interesting for a great big engine. It breathes very lightly, I would say. It's not hard to get it up or down on the rev cloth, because it's a nimble set of internal [INAUDIBLE] This vette has a perfect 50-50 weight spread, largely because that seven feet manual line we're working is a transaxle, not a transmission. In other words, it's located at the back of the car instead of ganging it up all lopsidedly with the engine at the front of the car. Nice gear box and clutch by the way. Corvettes Used to have kind of kind of horsey drive lines in the last couple generations. Not anymore. This guy is just easy to drive. But man is there some stuff under there. [INAUDIBLE] adaptive suspensions doing wonders of course to keep me in good shape. That's also the technology that will keep you enjoying your ZO6 on the ride home after the track Okay, [UNKNOWN] CNET style, the Z06 is going to start you at about $80,400 with a 7-speed manual. That's for the coupe, by the way. More for the convertible. Then there's that Z07 additional performance package. $7500 bucks, I'm gonna pass. I'm good here. $1800 for the PDR track record with telemetry laid over the video. I love that. I'm all in. Now you're about 82.2 out the door. The way I'd do it. Well, automotive history is littered with technologies that made cars safer. Starting off with being nice to have, and then expected, and then required by law. Look at things like airbags, anti-lock brakes, even Seatbelts. When we come back, I'll tell the smarter drivers what's coming next on that list. When Cnet On Cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Just as we expect new cars to have mirrors, parking brakes, seatbelts, ABS, and air bags, regardless of their price or type, we may soon expect the same of automatic emergency braking. Automatic emergency braking will apply partial breaking and alert the driver of a potential collision. Ten auto makers who are responsible for more than half the cars and light trucks sold in the US have pledged to make the technology available across their lines. Which certainly points down the road to a dimension Actually being required. Now, how and when AEB goes mainstream will be worked out with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They're consulting now. By the time they get that done, it'll be hard for all the other car makers to stay out. The US New Car Assessment Program, which addresses standards for many systems, includes 10 formal tests of safety gear. But automatic emergency braking is not yet one of them. As you drive, collision prevention assist is comparing your speed to vehicles or objects ahead. AEB is just another term for a tech you may already know. Subaru calls it pre collision braking system. Acura and Honda, collision mitigation braking system. And Mercedes dubs it the wordy distronic plus with pre safe brake. But all of these currently live in the world of a nice to have option. Not common or standard. The way it works is cameras, lasers and ultra sonic sensors constantly watch the space ahead of your car. And if the processor they're connected to determines you're closing on an object, moving or still, too rapidly and seem to be making no inputs on the brake or steering, the car will brake for you. The car that can see trouble. And stop itself to avoid it. Even if it doesn't eliminate the impact, it would lessen its energy. And if it appears you cannot avoid the collision, the system engages the features of pre-safe to help prepare the occupants. The safety and insurance communities have been falling in love with this, Tech for a few years. Making it the early darling of all the active driver assists. The IIHS has found that cars with this basic tech are associated with up to 35% fewer accident injury claims. They like paying fewer claims. You like not being involved in. [MUSIC] Until AEB is required in new cars it pays to double check if the one you're considering buying has it anyway. [NOISE] How many times have you brought your car in for a front end alignment? And weren't entirely sure what was going on. Your car came out probably driving straighter and you were told that it was gonna wear the tires less, but in the middle there was kind of a black box. So let's sort that out by introducing you to the big three of alignment: camber, caster and tow. [MUSIC] To help us, I've enlisted the guy whose shop has done dozens of alignments On my cars, Ron Vasconcellos, of Dependable Tire & Brake in San Rafael, California. All right, Ron, first of all tell us what is toe, what most people think of when tires are out of alignment. Toe in, toe out, pigeon toed, duct toed, okay? Yup, okay. Toe in is going to wear the tires on the outside edge. Yeah. Toe out is going to wear the tires on the inside edge. So when your tires are kind of toed in pigeon toed, the outsides wear out more. Correct. Because they're kind of scrubbing as you drive. Exactly. [MUSIC] So why do you toe wheels in or out at all? Well you pretty much toe in because you have friction as the car rolls down the road. Friction is pulling them apart. Okay. As all the bushings move and the all that kind of stuff. If it's toed in, you toe it in a little bit, and it toes out to about zero. Oh, I see, everything gets pulled back by all the motion. Everything gets pulled back the, somewhat by the motion. Obviously some suspension systems are tighter than others. Old front-wheel drive cars, they used to toe out because the wheel would pull them in. From the torque? From the torque pulling it in. So if you're toed out, or you're not toed correctly, you're gonna have less forward stability? If you have toe out, the car wants to turn. It wants to dart. It wants to dart, right. So if you're going down the freeway, and the car is wandering a bit, it might have some toe out. Okay. So let's now go to Camber. This is one that people often misunderstand. What is negative, and what is positive? Negative camber that's tires are leaning in at the top. So it's squatting a little. Typically, if you look at an old Volkswagen, the rear wheels have negative camber. A lot of it. Right. Porsches these days have a lot of negative camber. So when you've got a lot of negative camber You're getting what benefit? You're getting cornering benefits. It's going to handle better. When I dive into that corner, that things going to plant. It's going to plant instead of, if it's leaning over positive, it's going to want to roll the other way. So you're kind of pre-setting it for the dig that's going to get into the road. And also if you're not driving the car hard, you're just driving it back and forth down the freeway, well the tire is already sitting that way. It's going to want an inside edge. Okay, so it's a waste of performance if you really have an extreme negative camber. Correct. Okay. [MUSIC] So then the one that's trickiest of the big three is Caster. I still struggle with this one a little bit. How do you describe caster to someone? Caster is the angle between the upper ball joint and the lower ball joint. With the lower ball joint leading, that would be positive caster. This is front of the car. Yep. The lower ball joint, or the lower pivot,- Of the steering. Of the steering, forward is positive caster. So that's like a bicycle fork. Correct. And that is for what purpose? Why isn't that straight up and down? Stability. A straight up and down caster angle would make for a wheel that nervously tracks left or right at almost any whim or input, a little positive caster, or lean back, in the angle the wheel pivots along calms this down. A car will pull towards low caster, say you have four degrees on the right side and three degrees on the left side The cars gonna want to drift to the left because think about it, the ball joint is going backwards, it wants to go that way. And all this stuff interacts. Car pulls toward negative caster pulls toward positive camber. So you can have one, one way and one the other and the car will drive straight. [LAUGH] But they're both off. They're both off. Correct. Now of these three, why do they go wrong? These are all big metal parts in here, and people look at it and say, how could that ever budget? Well, a lot of parts these days are made of aluminum. Yeah. Aluminum's soft. They do aluminum because it's lighter weight. Aluminum is stronger per pound than steel, but But easier to bend. Couple that with low profile tires that transmit more road impact to those aluminum parts, and the fact that the joints and mounts that hold your suspension in place wear and then allow things to drift, and that's why you need an occasional realignment. So when someone hits a pothole should they be concerned, and if so, why? Number of different things. You can bend a wheel, you can bend suspension parts, you can break the bead in a tire. You see a lot of people with bulge on the side of it. What's happened is they've hit something so hard that it's broken the belts in there. If I hit something and I'm not sure that it did any damage, are there any telltale things that I can look or feel for? Steering wheel was straight before when I was going straight, now it's off. While you're going straight? While you're going straight. Something got bent, right? Dead giveaway. Shake. I hit that pothole, now my car shakes while I'm doing 60 miles per hour down the freeway. Possibly bent a wheel, something like that. Many of us only get our cars aligned when we get new tires. But notice things like pull or vibration as you drive, a sign that things aren't aligned anymore and potentially costing you some tire life, handling quality, and maybe even a little fuel economy. [MUSIC] In a moment your e-mail. Why turbos aren't found in every car and is driver assist technology worth getting in your next one? When CNET On Cars continues. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] It's called the Abingdon Edition and it costs about 80 grand and that seems like an awful lot of money for what looks like an MGB but there's more to it than that. See this is the latest in a long line Of Restomodded classics. This isn't just a pretty body over some crusty mechanicals. This was deigned from the ground up to be real modern day performer. Which you can probably hear from this noise. It goes like [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] [MUSIC] >Find more from the XCAR team of CNet UK at cnet.com/xcar. [MUSIC] Welcome back to CNet on cars On Cars, I'm Brian Cooley. One of my favorite parts of the show is right now when I take a bunch of your e-mails. And the first one comes in from The Blue Rocker who says, my son wants a '15 Toyota Camry with all the tech features. He says though, I'm worried even though it has pre-collision, blind spot, and rear traffic alerts Do these systems work, any tips? Well, Blue Rocker, here's the thing, when you go on a test drive, make sure you and your son go on enough different kinds of roads and traffic conditions where you can test these various systems. Whatever the car has on it, including things like forward collision prevention, lane departure tech, which you mentioned, blind Spot detection, cross traffic alert, which is related, similar, it's in the rear of the car of course, and adaptive cruise control is also one I put in that basket. So get on some different roads and traffic and see how it feels, then you get some idea of how well it's going to work. Now know this, these systems are considered features and driver aides for the most part. They're not on quite the same class as things like air bags and anti lock brakes, where they are really guaranteed safety features that have a certain high level of performance you can expect. They're very, sort of conditional. Know that going into it and that you can't just hand your life over to these in an easy reliance. They are assists, they're not complete backstops. Also take a look at our smarter driver segment from not too long ago. Episode 73, we did a whole piece on the emerging popularity of forward collision breaking. In particular, becoming very highly touted by the insurance and safety industry. They think is makes a big difference. Next one comes in from Elie E., who says if turbos are so great, 'cuz we talk about them a lot around Around here. Why are they not standard on just about every new car by now? What would it take to install one? Also he says could you please explain "flex fuel"? Okay Elie so turbos are an amazing technology. You get more power, more efficiently out of typically a smaller engine, how they're often being used today. The thing with with turbos though is adding them is not trivial Even for a carmaker with all their resources, adding a turbocharger to an existing engine design is going to add some cost. Because a turbo itself is a very complex highly machined mechanism and it's got a lot of plumbing that goes around it. It also adds a certain amount of complexity to the design and to what you're trying to shoehorn into the engine. It's a lot of additional gear that's external to the engine itself. And know that an auto maker cannot just stick a turbo on a current engine and say, good. It's running. There's a lot of R&D and testing and engineering and recertification to be done before that goes into a production line of cars. And everything is done at big scale in the auto biz. So they don't onesie twosie Big projects. So that's one of the things about turbochargers. Now, there are add on kits out there, a lot of them for a late model cars. You didn't mention what you drive, but let's assume it's something made in the last few years. You may very well find a add-on turbo kit for it. They typically cost in the few thousand dollars range. And also, make sure you've got some guarantees in there, because these are elaborate pieces of gear that spin at very RPM's and make sure the kit you buy does promise To be regulatory compliant in the state where you're gonna be installing it and driving your car. Now, in terms of flex fuel, that means a world of three things that gasoline engine cars can run. Of course there's gasoline. That's. The main fuel. There's E15, which is 15% ethanol, which is corn alcohol basically. And the main flex fuel people think about at the pump is E85. This is 85% ethanol, typically corn alcohol, and 15% gasoline. That's a very different mix for a car to run on So, when you buy a flex fuel car, it does several things to allow it to digest that diet, including a change in the ignition timing because there is a far higher octane to E85 than to gasoline. Secondly, you change the fuel flow mapping because you get more fuel into the engine to get the same amount of power when you're running on E85. And thirdly, you have to make sure the materials in the engine are suitable to be exposed to ethanol alcohol. Which is a very different chemical, of course, than gasoline. Those are the main three things that constitute a flex fuel car. [SOUND] The last one comes in from Eddie K. this week. He says, I'm wondering if there are car shows around the country that non-media people could go to to see the newest cars with the newest tech? What are some good ones that I would suggest? Well, car shows are very common all around Around just about every metropolitan area around the U.S. But they kinda fit into two categories. There are the big shows, which are where you see most of the new cars, concepts, and new technologies come out. And of course we attend those on your behalf. That would include the number one Detroit auto show early in the year. Late year you have the very impressive Los Angeles auto show. And you've also got In the Spring, New York and Chicago which are also significant large shows. Now beyond that you have a slue of local shows that are typically put on by dealer association as opposed to be put on by the car maker. As a result you typically don't see a lot of new car unveils, major new concepts, or new technologies announced there. There out there, its a great way for you to see the latest cars. That have already been announced and unveiled somewhere else. Now aside from these great emails, we continue to get a slew of them from you everyday about this VW emissions debacle. So I thought I'd answer them in a big bundle with a top five. My top five things that I believe that VW has to address. To dig out of this hole. [MUSIC] Number five, find someone to run VW America. The guy who was lined up to be the new boss in the US just bailed. He said his wife didn't want to move here. Can you blame her? She might run into someone from the Sierra Club. And apparently VW had no back up exec lined up. Now I put this down at number five because VW has to keep making progress on number four through number one, whether they have a leader in the US or not. But companies tend to better with less chaos. Number four, get to the bottom of all this. Who knew, when did they know it, and was there a C in their job title? Those are all key when it comes to the severity of fines and the depths of firings that are coming. Now VW America's current boss Michael Horn Told Congress a couple of engineers were responsible for this whole cheating tech. This was a couple of software engineers who put this in for whatever reasons. That tells me either The Wizard of Oz is his favorite movie, or VW is the worst overseen engineering company in the world. Neither prospect seems encouraging. Number three, compensate stake holders everybody has their hand out, many of them rightly so. Start with VW owners who now find themselves making monthly payments on a question mark wrapped in a stigma riding on four wheels. It took just hours for class action lawsuits to crop up all over. Then there's stockholders, they saw 40% of their value wiped out in just 30 days That's like a tech stock. Interests in cars is killing the dealers. Kelly Blue Book reports VW interest off 18%. True car says VW diesel off over half. Automotive news says dealers aren't happy about either number, as you can imagine. And the Federal Trade Commission is out there on behalf of all Americans, saying that VW lied. Deceptive ads with all those clean diesel commercials. Analysts put a rough price tag of 40 billion dollars on cleaning up this whole mess when everyone pays. Number two, get TDi back on the road. Let's not forget VW diesels were hot accounting for 24% of their US sales in 2014 so they gotta bring them back. Now, the '09 to '15 cars have known cheating software but the 16s also have software the EPA believes is at least suspect. So all of them are in quarantine in the port or at the VW plant in South Carolina. A combination of new software, new fuel injection hardware under the hood. And possibly new urea injection gear under the Chasse, look like the complex messy path by which TDis will come back to market. And will you even like your car after that? Early tests by consumer reports found that power and mpg suffered noticeably when they took some cars and tricked them into running clean. Number one, fix the cars we already own. This matters most because current owners spend money what that turned out to be a lie that may not work as well Is fixed. It may be worth less when they want to sell it, and it's gonna make them uninterested in recommending one. In the car business, everything starts and ends with happy customers. The US, the Europeans, and California have given VW a variety of Q4 2015 deadlines To at least get the fixes designed, and then plan a recall. And nobody yet has ruled out a massive buyback if the fix makes the car kinda crummy. It's gonna be a busy remainder of the decade for what's shaping up to be nonetheless The world's largest auto maker. [MUSIC] Thanks for watching I really appreciate you doing so and I hope you enjoyed this episode. Keep those emails coming to OnCars@cnet.com. Especially interested if you've got some insights. If you're an owner of a Volkswagen TDI affected in this whole emissions debacle. If you've had any interactions with Volkswagen or your local dealer, Be Our Eyes is out there on the front line and let us know what's going on. I'll see you next time we check the tech. [MUSIC] [SOUND]