Car Tech Live 170: Electric car reality check (podcast)
>> Tesla looks like a real car company all of a sudden.
Getting a factory will do that for you. 5 million
places to charge your EV. TV broadcast in cars hit a
snag. A GPS device that worries for you. We'll go for
a ride in our favorite sports sedan, the AMG C-63.
>> That's right, everybody, it's CNET's Car Tech live
for our -- whack -- that happens sometimes. It's a --
it's a Thursday, if you haven't been with us on a
Thursday live show this is our new time, kind of new for
some people. That's Kelly Hendricks [Assumed spelling]
by the way. Kelly is in for Mitchell Chang. Kelly is
Ably assisting us, and is sort of a sergeant at arms.
So it's amazing what the man can step in and do.
There's Kelly, thank you so much for being in for
Mitchell today. And I of course am Brian Cooley, joined
with Wayne Cunningham [Assumed spelling], joined by
Wayne Cunningham [Inaudible] proper English, which I
don't always use. Hello, Wayne. Fresh off of near-miss
with jury duty. And Antuan Goodwin, fresh off a
near-miss at the local bar. So --
>> It was a near miss.
>> He hit it head on. Head on, and still feeling the
effects. All right, let's get into the top news this
week. It's actually news from like literally about an
hour after we closed the show last week. I hate when
they do that. Tesla, Toyota, and the New Me plant here
in the Bay Area announced that Tesla's all of a sudden a
big-old growed up car company. They did a deal with
some investment from Toyota to take over the New Mi
plant, which was the GM Toyota joint operation in
Fremont, California, southern end of the Bay Area if
you're not from here, to make that the new Tesla plant.
They've been looking around southern California and all
over the place and all of a sudden it's like, ding, this
is going to be our new factory. They're going to use a
very small part of it, they say less than 20% of it to
start, to do manufacturing. But the big idea here is
it's giving them a place to build the Model S, which is
supposed to a much higher volume, much more approachable
car, sort of Tesla's version of a 5 series, if you will,
competes in that category. All of a sudden we've got a
car company here that's a real car company, you know?
Well, they actually got not only -- Elon Musk, of
course, the head of Tesla to be at the press conference,
Governor Schwarzenegger, California governor, at the
press conference, makes sense. And also Akio Toyoda,
the head of Toyota --
>> The head of Toyota.
>> Yeah, big time, big cheese there.
>> That was amazing. They brought that many names
together, which I think speaks to a number of things.
First of all Toyota really likes what Tesla's doing.
Because Toyota -- despite their current woes they don't
need a lot of help from anybody, they're a big company
that can do just about everything. But for them to go
into Tesla's world and make a $50 million investment, I
think, on this shows that they want to be tied in with
Tesla, get first crack of whatever they develop, to a
very close partner.
>> Yeah, they said they actually want to learn from
>> Amazing language.
>> They don't really know about, you know, electronic,
you know, electronic drive systems for cars. And they
don't want to spend the time researching and Tesla's
done a pretty good job. In fact I think it's really
probably the range factor that Tesla's getting -- they
say 200 miles on the roadster, and they're going --
planning on 250 to 300 miles on the Model S. So that
could be a really groundbreaking car.
>> I think Toyota's looking at that saying, you know,
what's next. We had a home run with the Prius, what's
going to be happening next. And electric cars, they
have to be feeling the heat from Chevy and Nissan,
especially from Nissan, they competitive in the domestic
market. And many -- to a degree, there are many Es
coming sooner than later. And what am I missing, the I
me, [Inaudible] you went for a ride in this Mitsubishi
>> I did. Actually, that's why I missed yesterday --
last week's show is I was driving one of these little
tiny cars, little tiny electric cars from San Francisco
to Sacramento, which is an 85-mile drive. And that was
about 30 miles further than the Imea could actually go.
>> So how did that work?
>> We actually stopped -- this is part of a way to show
of what they're calling the electric highway. And about
a little more than halfway along the trip in Vacaville
[Assumed spelling] which is a town not too far from San
Francisco, 55 miles, they had a charging station, a
rapid charger station set up by a company called Eaton
[Assumed spelling] who is also trying to get into the
electric infrastructure game --
>> Eaton of super-charger fame?
>> Exactly. This is a company that's well known for
super-charger. They do a lot of infrastructure work
now, and they have a lot of expertise in designing these
chargers which can actually -- figuring out where to put
these chargers, because they have to know how these
grids work, you know, where there's enough power that
they can actually get the -- I think it's something --
200 something volts this thing pulls, and huge amount of
amps, because this charger can actually charge up the
Imea's battery to 80% in 25 minutes, which is fast,
considering that I guess a dryer out let, you know, your
home dryer outlet takes about 4 to 6 hours.
>> That's a lot of -- that's a lot of progress toward
getting these cars to be more like a gas fill up. Of
course 25 minutes is still a lot longer than what, 90
seconds to fill a gas car. But it gets you a long way
toward consumer nervousness being erased. Like -- even
you say you knew you had a charging station coming up.
But I'm sure in the back of your mind is okay, how are
we doing on range.
>> The last bit of it -- actually, this was not optimum
conditions to use this car. This was the little Imea
car, it's really a city car, it's tiny, it's not great
on the freeway. And it's also -- you know, the electric
drive train isn't great on the freeway either because
city conditions, flat ground and all that, you can get
about 80 miles range. But as we were pulling into
Vacaville I was watching that battery meter and it was
telling me I had 5 kilometers of range left.
>> And you're hoping it's accurate.
>> Oh yeah. Because we were driving at 60 to 65 miles
per hour the whole way, and we had just gone over the
set of mountains --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> That kills the draw.
>> Yeah, it's terrible on electric drive. And I thought
the fact that it handled 55 miles of range on the fly
under those conditions was about reasonable.
>> Yeah. That's pretty good.
>> That's what I would expect with 80 miles at a maximum
>> What's the forecast for this car coming to market, I
>> Next year they're going to launch a version in the
U.S., late next year, late in 2011, and the way the
Mitsubishi rep described it as when it comes to the U.S.
it's going to be snazzier.
>> Well, let's hope so, because it looks like an ice
cream cart the way it is there. Here's that charging
station, I believe that you tapped into.
>> Yeah. That's the Eaton rapid charger station. This
is sort of a development model. They're looking -- they
showed off a couple of, like, pedestal versions, much
smaller. And the idea is like in the future, they will
have these sort of strewn about parking lots and company
offices and stuff like that, so you can park your car
during the day and have it charged up, and you know,
swipe your credit card or use your cell phone, something
like that to pay for the electricity. One interesting
thing that was brought up when they talked about these
charging stations is that it varies all over the country
who can actually sell electricity in the California
area, in the California area, northern California, P G
and E has sort of the license, the cartel on selling
>> And even that's changing with municipal power
operations. Like Palo Alto, California, you know, the
capital city of Silicone Valley, if you will, has its
own utility. And they're doing a lot of these alternate
utilities around the Bay Area which is a very
controversial thing. And that's another battle over who
can sell juice.
>> Yeah, not everybody can jump in a say I'm going to
throw up a few electric charging stations and I'm going
to become an electricity seller.
>> Yeah , so it's such a foggy roll out of how we're
going to get this infrastructure, which is in many ways
the hardest part of EVs. That said, we saw research
this week from Pike Research company that does this kind
of research, that says this is a turning point in 2010,
and as we move forward we're going to see almost 5
million charging points installed world-wide now, this
is spread around the globe, but mostly in the developed
first-world nations between now and 2015. But they said
the tap just really got turned on this year by
technologies like you saw there, the Eaton supercharger
-- rapid charger, and other companies that are going to
do this. There's Better place, there's Aerovironment,
there's Cullom Technology, Ecotality, lots of companies
are out there trying to work with utilities to get the
grid rights, work with car makers to get compatibility
and put optimal charging architecture for the cars. And
work with all manner of -- honestly, real estate stake
holders who will give them a place to put these things.
Whether it's shopping malls, offices, Nissan wants to
put these in their dealerships for their vehicle owners.
So there's a number for you, 4 to 5 million of these,
almost 5 million come in between now and 2015. We also
had word of an interesting -- couple of things around
the space of the federal involvement in this. And one
of these is that house and Senate leaders are about to
roll out a plan for an $11 billion fund, pretty good
money even in this day and age, to encourage electric
vehicle sales and also to help fund the recharging
network. So here we go, another big basket of money
going that way. This is Democrat Ed Marky from
Massachusetts, Judy Biggerton of Illinois, Byron Dorgen
[Assumed spelling] of North Dakota, [Inaudible] of
Oregon, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. So a wide array
of people. But interestingly, none from Michigan,
getting involved in this one, trying to promote the
electric car. So that's kind of an interesting car
>> All this promotion is kind of interesting because of
the fact that there's a lot of oil around, it's all
sloshing around in the gulf right now.
>> Right. You know, there's about -- what did they just
say, that just has now been declared the largest oil
spill in U.S. history, just passed Exxon Valdez at 11
million -- 11 million? Yeah, 11 million gallons. So
nice. I guess they just got it capped this morning. I
haven't kept an eye on it.
>> Yeah, they're working on it, they haven't got it
capped yet but it's looking like it might be promising.
>> Like it might work.
>> Yeah, it's -- but it, you know, might be a shot in
the arm for electric cars.
>> Exactly. Because it gives oil a black eye. Speaking
of -- we talked at the top of the show about Tesla
opening a factory. Nissan about the same thing, almost
I think to say yeah, we're doing it too. The Nissan
leaf factory, the little picture of a rendering of it
here. They're getting ready to break ground on this for
production in 2012. So they've got to get this factory
done quick. Groundbreaking in Smurshia [Phonetic],
which is where Nissan recently moved their headquarters
out of southern California, dragged almost everyone out
to Tennessee, except the few who wouldn't go, that's
quite a culture change to move from LA to Tennessee.
1300 jobs they say. But again, another major plant with
a credible company behind it, Nissan, like the deal
between Toyota and Tesla. So I have to say, this has
been a very interesting week for real world plants being
built or announced with real money behind them and real
players to start getting EVs built in some large
numbers. Along this comes an interesting prediction by
Carlos Nome [Assumed spelling] the head of renowned
Nissan, who says in as little as four years, he thinks,
U.S. federal supports for EVs -- I think he's talking
mostly here about supports for the companies, the
manufacturers, not the tax breaks, can go away. That
the market will be that strong that it will be able to
stand on its own and car makers can make money in the
business of electric vehicles in as little as four years
without having to get special incentives like we just
talked about, the $11 billion bail. I don't think he's
talking about our forecasting an end to those federal
tax credits, up to $7500 right now for an
advanced-technology vehicle, whether it's hybrid or
typically EV. If those were to go away right away all
of a sudden the Volt gets real expensive. What's a Volt
priced at, how many, Antuan?
>> I don't know. They won't say.
>> We're guessing?
>> We're guessing somewhere --
>> 40? Before the credit.
>> Before the credits and what not.
>> Yeah. So when you guys drove that one the other day
they were still not talking price.
>> No, they're -- they will tell you that every number
that's [Inaudible] pure speculation right now.
>> There's a lot of speculation saying 40. So if that's
the ballpark, to have a $7500 credit go away, all of a
sudden you're paying $40,000 for a car. Just from what
you've driven, the Volt's a real $40,000 purchase. Is
it a problem?
>> I don't know, it depends on what the final model
looks like. I don't know. I think 30s is about right.
If you're pushing 40 --
>> Before options.
>> -- yeah, well I mean, I think -- yeah, before
options, pushing 40, yeah. That's a bit high.
>> It's a lot of money, right?
>> But I mean it's the price you pay to be an early
adapter. I mean, all technology is expensive in the
first generation. That's kind of how it is.
>> I mean, remember how much a -- imagine paying, you
know, $400 for an iPod now.
>> That's right, iPod were hundreds of dollars for the
first model, the big white one that had --
>> 4 gigs --
>> Was it 4 gigs? What's the first iPod was, who had
the first white iPod, I didn't.
>> I didn't have it. I think it's like 4 or 8, some
>> For hundreds of dollars. Yeah. All right so anyway,
[Inaudible] is saying head of Nissan about where he
thinks this is all going. And this is an interesting
one here, about -- our last story in this big flurry of
EV stories and charging, Bellcon, who we know for things
like home AV and PC and Mac peripherals makes an
investment in a smart charging startup. What's going on
with this, Antuan?
>> Well basically they are -- there's a startup that's
basically called like a smart -- juice technologies, and
Bellcon is basically --
>> It's like a sports drink, but --
>> Well yeah. Juice, electricity, juice, I don't know.
Basically Bellcon's just kind of investing some money
into this so they can basically get some research going
and some -- some -- I guess work going on, charging
technologies, energy monitoring technologies and what
>> Different place for them. I mean, that's such a
different departure. I wouldn't have expected this.
>> Well, if you think about it, charging equipment is
basically a peripheral or the electronic device that's
your electric car. It isn't really -- it's kind of a --
it's a stretch for Bellcon, but I mean, they've
basically been selling cables and connections and what
>> These are just bigger and more expensive.
>> Yeah. It's just a different kind of cable, aid
friend kind of connection.
>> Yeah, they're known for all of their -- let's see,
we've got the Bellcon site here, their power line up.
They've got all kinds of power conditions, all kinds of
-- they're into U P Ss now. All manner of this stuff.
They've built some beautiful gear. I mean, their stuff
used to be junky years ago. Kind of like this clunky
looking, you know, nasty stuff. Now they build really
nice stuff, everything's really well made.
>> Has that actually changed? Because that's been my
impression of Bellcon for a long time.
>> Still crap?
>> I don't know. I mean, this is from years ago, after
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Right, used to be horrible stuff --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- cheaply made and broke.
>> But you're saying they're much better now.
>> Great stuff. Gorgeous stuff. I was just looking for
a plug strip the other day, you know, just to plug more
outlets in, I wanted one is a surge protector. And I
went and got -- up here somewhere -- it was -- I could
buy one of the usually plug strips, or one of theirs --
this one here, this compact wall-hugging thing. That's
a nice product. Nicely designed. Dwell meets Ikea.
It's heavy, it's made of really good, nice kind of piano
polished finished plastic. And it's a clever design,
allowing you to get everything plugged in and to hide
the cord around the back [Inaudible] hide inside of it.
You know, it's not Car Tech, but it's a really cool
piece of tech that makes me say they might do some cool
stuff in automotive charging.
>> So when you put this Bellcon charger in your garage
or whatever, for your electric car, it's not going to
kind of fall apart --
>> Ding! Yeah, Sparks coming out of it. Yeah, guys
used to build some real crap. Let me tell you, Bellcon
used to be synonymous with just cheap stuff. But that's
-- that's years in the past. They've done some really
good -- really good products. So anyway, good to see
them getting into car charging, and who knows who's
next. My question is when are we going to get to the
wireless charging like on a Palm Pri, where someone's
going to say you know what, we're going to be first --
you know, like one of those power pads. You drive in
and it's just a mat on your garage floor.
>> I've seen some prototype of that kind of work where
they do have a pad on the floor and you just drive on to
it. Of course those inductive paddles that we use for
the Toyotas from back when that you just kind of slide
them into a slot in the car and they charge it up.
>> Oh really?
>> But they've really gone to that J 1772 standard
wheels a plug that actually has communication channels.
And that's a real necessary part of electric car
charging. Because you know, the car has to talk to the
charger to say I need this much juice, level it off now.
Just to keep the batteries in good shape. That's what
on the -- that's what's on the nose of the leaf, right?
One of those smart connectors.
>> Yeah, they have that, Tesla uses it, all the electric
cars are going to use that J 1772 standards. It's --
here it is here, there's a little trap door on the front
of the leaf. That's the one on the right. And then
Nissan has their own proprietary current, like 400
something Volts on the left side there. But that's not
a standard, I don't think.
>> No, it isn't. That's a DC to DC rapid charger.
>> That's right. Super rapid. And as Thomas Edison and
his contemporaries will tell you, you don't want to
screw with DC. I'm not sure that's a good idea.
There's nothing -- that's why we have an AC power system
in the U.S., because DC is too damn dangerous. That
will knock you on your ass real quick. But I'm sure
they're going to work on that. Technology has moved
ahead a little bit. Speaking of technology moving
ahead, let's take a look at the latest on that black box
bill. We told you about it last week. This is the idea
that there's going to be new federal regulation to
mandate black boxes in cars so they must record five
seconds before an impact and I think 20 or 25 seconds
after. Also kind of regularize what they record, the
number of parameters, to really bring all cars together
on the same playing field of data collection. And
there's also some other technology mandates in there.
But the black box one's really getting the headlines.
Pardon me. And this has gotten passed through a U.S.
house panel, I'm not going to bore you with all the
procedural details of the law-making process, but we
hear now that it could be up for a full house vote in a
few weeks. We'll stay on top of that story and let you
know when it's up for a vote. Because that could be a
major sweeping change in U.S. technology and safety
standards for vehicles, to really bring the law up to
speed with current tech, and tell car makers they've got
to make their cars a little more invasive, some will
say. The black box is a very controversial technology.
Mobile DTV, mobile digital television, we were telling
you about this I think last week. We showed you a map
of the areas where you can get mobile D TV, the TV you
get over the air in your home area in your market. And
showed you about 30 cities that have it. But then we
take a look at a story this week that indicates -- this
comes out of one of the consumer outlook. And they say
that now mobile D TV, the actual in-car mobile devices
that pick up digital television at highway speeds,
that's the difference, technology that can hit a moving
receiver, if you will, is going to be delayed until the
end of this year. That's a one year delay because we
heard about this at CES in January at the top of this
year and they were just about to go to the market. And
now all of a sudden it's going to be next holiday
season, which they better hit because then you miss the
holiday season you've got to wait another year. But the
hang up here apparently is not technical but
legislative, where there is something in the law
currently, FCC regulation I should say, that mandates
that any digital TV tuner must also have some degree of
analog compatibility. I didn't know this. But
apparently the All Channel Receiver Act which goes back
to 1962, talk about an old law, says all digital TVs,
which I didn't think we did in '62 so I'm not sure how
they foresaw that, must also have analog tuners. But
the new mobile D TV devices that are coming out, the
tuners, are all digital, apparently have no analog TV on
them because we don't broadcast analog any more. So it
sounds like an argument between a couple laws, one of
which is archaic. But got to get that sorted out or
your product is technically in violation of FCC
regulars, and the forecast here is it may take the rest
of the year to get that done. So if you're looking for
one of those mobile D TV devises, tuners to hook up to
the screens in your car and you're wondering why can't I
find them -- not at retail till late year, although I
think you can still order them direct, I believe from
Audiovox, although they're also doing flow TV. Do you
know, Antuan, if anyone's making a D TV receiver yet?
>> I'm not familiar with one. Yeah, I know Audiovox is
definitely doing flow TV.
>> Yeah, they're doing flow.
>> I don't know anybody else who's doing --
>> Everything else.
>> -- off the top of my head.
>> I think there might be some -- I'm just looking here.
Mobile D TV receiver. There are a few kind of
second-tier manufacturers, it looks like. One called On
Air GT. We can take a picture of this -- let me put
this up, this is an Amazon product listing. This is a
mobile D TV receiver and DVR built into a box that could
be hooked up to your car. There's the antenna where it
picks up the signal, because this is coming off local
transmitters. But again, this is signed of second tier
stuff available from what kind of shady sellers -- did I
>> -- [Inaudible] was working on one of these --
>> They're the core technology under it.
>> Okay, so they're -- they were demonstrating that, but
they weren't actually retailing it.
>> No, they're not retailing. But they are building the
chips that I believe are inside of it. And I'm not sure
who these sellers -- these look like private party
sellers here on Amazon. So anyway, hold up on the
mobile D TV if you're trying to hot rod your minivan
with that technology that we got you all excited about.
Speaking of technology we got you all excited about, now
Antuan, you're a big Avic, was it the 101 you're always
>> Yeah, the Z 110 BT.
>> Pretty much like the go-to [Inaudible] e-mails all
the time. I want to do, you know, navigation, iPod
integration, and Bluetooth hands-free, what do I need to
add. And it's -- I always end up going back to the Z
110 BT because it's got really good voice controls.
>> But this has replaced it now, what is this?
>> Right. Basically what they're doing, they just
announced the Z 120 D T, which is basically --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- 10 points better --
>> Something. It's 10 better. Well basically what
they've done is added a little bit more application
integration so the Pandora link app that we heard about
at CES earlier this year, that basically allows you to
take control of an iPhone that's running the Pandora
Internet radio through the touch-screen, that's part of
this whole package now, and that app's on the iTunes
store now. And they've added the music sphere
application, which is like an iTunes plug in that you
install on your computer that analyzes your music for
VPMs and mood and what not. And will create special
play lists that you can access through a 3 D kind of
spherical interface. That's also going to be in here.
And they've also added an ecodriving manager that will
basically keep track of all of your driving and show you
how greenly you're getting from point A to Point B. It
will also for all that information on an SD card and you
can analyze it later.
>> So a lot of new tricks.
>> Yeah, a lot of new tricks. It's interesting because
the X 920 BT came out earlier this year, and this was
actually the unit that all these features debuted on.
So my question to Pioneer was, well, the X 920 seems
more advanced now than the Z, and they said don't worry
about it, don't worry about it, we've got it. And then
now I've seen it, they've basically bumped all those
features up to the Z 110. And it doesn't really seem
like there are any hardware changes, seems like it's
just a Firmware change, because all the other specs are
identical, same screen size --
>> So all of this is pretty much looking identical in
the form factor to the 110.
>> Yeah, I think it's the same thing.
>> With some new guts inside to power the apps,
>> I don't know. Did --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> That's what it looks like. There's really no way of
telling. The rumblings on the internet that I've been
kind of hearing when I talk to some of the -- my car
audio friends -- is that there may actually be so some
sort of Firmware update that may add these
functionalities for people who bought the Z 110 last
year and want to --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- because Pioneer, they have a good track record for
Firmware updates on their [Inaudible] line, and they are
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- because they have the SD cards --
>> Respectful of the customer. Here is -- let me see, I
had a picture of what I think is the Pandora link.
That's not it, let me find that. I just want to see if
this is the Pandora link software that you're talking
about. I lost it. I'll find it again.
>> Is it a Flash drive unit or a hard drive in there?
>> It's a solid state memory. So yeah --
>> Flash, yeah.
>> Maybe they increased the memory a little bit?
>> Well, there's only like 2 gigs of storage space, and
that's only for the maps. You don't have access to any
of that for anything else.
>> Is this the Pandora -- this here, is that the
>> Yup. That's the one. And basically you can thumbs
up, thumbs down --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> You can also find -- search through play lists,
bookmark songs and artists and what -- pretty much
anything you can do with the Pandora app for iPhone you
can now do on the touch-screen so you don't have the
fumble with your phone when you don't like the song
you're listening to.
>> Looks nice. And they make better use of the real
estate than a lot of car makers head units in terms of
letting things read out. They can't [Inaudible] head
units we see where they've got all this real estate but
they give me four characters for artist, or six for a
track name. Stop, let it run, let it use the screen.
Related to that, piece of research came out this week
about the sales rate of these kind of Pandora enabled
head units, very early days, of course. But the 920 BT,
the 120 BT that you mention with Pandora link are
selling -- and alpine's 305 S, is that one that has or
will have --
>> That has the functionality. There isn't a version of
the Pandora app that works with the alpine that I've
>> So it's coming.
>> I thought they were going to basically release a new
version of Pandora that just basically gave hardware
access. But Pioneer's Pandora link is a separate app
that they developed themselves.
>> Oh, so Pandora links [Inaudible] --
>> Yeah, it's Pioneer Pandora --
>> Not Pandora's software.
>> -- so I don't know if or when or how alpine's going
to get that integration or they're going to go the same
route maybe that [Inaudible] planning on going, or maybe
alpine has something else up their sleeve.
>> Right. Because the Ford thing is, they're just going
to be enabled in the standard Pandora mobile app. There
isn't a special app to get for your car, it's just
Pandora mobile will soon have Ford support.
>> Just a couple of take aways from this piece of
research, and it's you know, kind of finger in the wind
research, but one -- one store in Delaware sold a dozen
920s in 30 days, ran out of all he ordered, ordered 4
more, so big demand there. Another guy in Hatfield,
Pennsylvania, World Wide Stereo, hello, says not getting
any requests from its customers, so big lack of
awareness in some places. They also talk about how the
price -- this is only available on high end units right
now, so that's going to limit a lot of people. But half
a dozen retailers have said -- half of them are saying
customers are coming in asking for it, they're already
aware. And the other half say nope, no one's asking.
So clearly a big education job to be done among several
parties here. O E Ms, Pandora, car makers like Ford
that are supporting it, to make people aware that they
can get this. Magellan's got some new units. What have
you got on this, Antuan?
>> Yeah, they just basically announced -- it's weird,
because you don't see a lot of people coming out with
whole lines, like our fall line up. But Magellan just
came out with a new --
>> Fashion-oriented. I like that.
>> 2010 [Inaudible] GPS devices, and they just dropped
eight new devises on the market --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- 33065, [Inaudible] that's not a hem line. This
top end unit, you like a couple things about it.
>> Right. It's the Roadmate 3065 Commuter, and it's
called the Commuter because it's got some
functionalities that are built with your morning and
afternoon commute in mind. Namely -- I guess first of
all, all of the Roadmate devices in the 2010 line up
have free lifetime traffic. So any new Roadmate that
you pick up from the new line up is going to have that
traffic. But the 3065 Commuter takes a weird -- has a
weird feature called commute wake up. And basically
what that means is that you punch in the time that you
go to work, you punch in the time you come home, you
punch in your home address and your work address, and
then 30 minutes before you leave for work in the morning
and 30 minutes before you leave for home in the
afternoon it books up and starts watching the traffic
>> And what does it do, by doing that.
>> Well basically it's trying to figure out what's the
fastest way to get you home. So if it sees -- it may
see that there's going to be a lot of traffic on this
highway, I'm not really sure what sort of algorithms
they use, but Magellan says that basically, you know,
the snap shot of -- they're -- what am I trying to say
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- some historical data in there as well.
>> Right. Well, I guess the tech they're taking is that
the snap shot of traffic doesn't really give you a full
view of what's going on, because the system can look at
traffic for 30 minutes it has a better view of what's
actually happening on the road.
>> Get a better predictive thing going, huh,
interesting. All right, so that's the -- that's the top
of the line one, free traffic on all of them, all of the
>> Yes. And there are a couple of models that have --
there's one model that has lifetime map updates, there
are a couple of models that have Bluetooth hands free,
there's a big 5-incher, there's a whole line. It's --
and they kind of --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- all the way from about $299 for the most expensive
one you may the way down $169 for your basic.
>> $299 for the most expensive. That's cheap. Yeah,
GPS devices used to be like $700.
>> All those features and free traffic, I thought you
were going to say $499 you know, most expensive,
[Inaudible] price below that. But $299 MSRP?
>> Yeah, cell phone integration and the fact that pretty
much most smart phones that are coming out these days
have free navigation on them, really pushing those
>> You can't sell a $500 GPS nav any more.
>> Exactly. And then you -- the free traffic is pretty
much, you know, one of the things that's kind of
differentiating a lot of the newer -- TomTom's got free
traffic now, Garmin's got free traffic.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> It's becoming now, gift with purchase.
>> Exactly. A lot of them are starting to do like
lifetime map updates and what not. They really just
have to push the value home.
>> God, I'd really hate to be in that business, brutal.
Hardware business and having to give away more and more
services. Tough one, tough one. Thank God I hate
Apple. Let's take a look at our last story in the news
block this week, which is great if you're a Mercedes
dealer. Mercedes is apparently giving a test group of
40 dealers iPads to close deals with. This is through
Mercedes Benz Financial. So they wanted to use iPads
when they work and walk the show floor with you and say
well, we can get you into this car for X number of
dollars. Because they think it's a better way to show
you really what they're trying to pencil out. This goes
right back to the old car dealer trick of you know,
using a big sheet of paper, the work sheet, and they'll
write out some numbers and they'll -- and -- the great
trick, they'll write down a number of a possible monthly
payment, they'll circle that and they'll kind of put
their finger out and draw your -- can you do this
number, how does that work for you. It's a classic old
car dealer thing. If you're a car dealer and know will
that came from please let me know.
>> I remember when I used to work at -- an electronics
company, a consumer electronics retailer, and when you
would try to --
>> Who you clearly won't name.
>> I won't name, because I worked for all of them. And
when you try to sell the service plans they would
actually give you, like, a sheet, and you would write
down the price, and they would, like, highlight this
number, and show them this --
>> Same thing.
>> -- they grab that into you.
>> How does this work for you.
>> Is this a number you can live with?
>> If you write it down it makes it real.
>> Is that what it is?
>> Yeah, that's what it is. If you write it down for
somebody it makes it real for them and it's easier for
them to say yes.
>> Okay, that's why. Well now Mercedes is going to do
that on an iPad. How about this, does this number work
for you. We do this monthly, this is the drive-off,
yadda-yah So Mercedes Benz Financial putting these out
to 40 dealers. So if you're out buying a Mercedes this
week or something and the salesperson pulls out an iPad,
they're not Cowboying it.
>> That's falls short of what Hyundai is doing with the
new Equus when that come comes out.
>> They're giving you the iPad.
>> Right. If you buy an Equus you actually get an iPad.
Which you know, I --
>> That's cool.
>> $400 device for buying a $50,000 car, I can see it.
>> Oh, absolutely. And that has the owner's manual on
>> Yeah. Yeah.
>> That's the way it should be. I like it. Yeah, so
they found -- they used to try and do this on iPhones, I
guess they equipped them with iPhones for a while but
they found it was just too small, you couldn't share the
image very well. Especially with Mercedes customers,
they tend to be a little older, look over the top of
their glasses. All right, that's a stereotype, but
they're older than Sion buyers.
>> No they're not.
>> Sion buyers are actually very old.
>> Yeah. ^M00:32:05
>> That's a weird little piece of market trivia. Sion
was shocked when they found that they got cross over
from Lexus, not from Toyota.
>> It's because of the X B. I mean, the X B is like --
I think it's just -- particularly the first generation
was huge value. And I mean you look at that and you --
>> -- as a second car with really great utility.
>> Doesn't have a lot of power. Kids, they may not need
the power. They definitely don't need the power.
>> I always thought that the TC was a really mature
design, really grown-up looking car for a small car.
You know, not glitzy, not going to look like damaged
goods next year. Has great lines for a little car. It
appealed to me, when it came out when I was like, 45.
And I thought wow, that's a great looking car.
>> I think older people just didn't care what the X B
looked like either. I think they were like I don't care
about style, I don't need to look cool any more.
>> Ugly is okay for me.
>> Yeah, works, I can sit up right.
>> It's got good head room, Mabell.
>> It's funny how the small old X B actually feels
bigger on the inside than the new big X B. Weird thing
they did there with that car.
>> Because this is the -- let's see, this is the
original X B, right? With the squarer lines.
>> That's the one.
>> Yeah. And you got to say, it's pretty clean. You
know, they didn't -- they didn't filigree it up. And
then the new X B is this guy -- let's see, I think it's
this guy right here. Which is more doughy, a little
>> Yeah, I think that's one of their special editions.
>> Yeah, these are both hotted up. Scary monster face
on it and all that. All right. Well anyway, so --
>> Like a [Inaudible] for the cube which is weird.
Because the cube is a total [Inaudible] --
>> Right. It's like in Excel when you make a circular
difference in a cell calculation, hey, you're
calculating a value based on a calculated value. All
right, that's -- that's something to be aware of if
you're going Mercedes shopping. Okay, enough on that.
Let's get to our e-mail and voice mail. Voice mail
line, 866-401-CNET. You don't have to call live, we
take your voice mails 24-7, calls, comments, questions,
whatever we get you thinking about, let us know.
866-401-CNET Car Tech, cars, you know, we're car lover
here, but we focus on tech, you know that. Let's take a
look at an e-mail we got in for Antuan here. This one
comes in about is there a way to replace a factory
installed hard drive based navigation by imaging the
factory hard drive, like you might do if you're
deploying a fleet of PCs, and then significantly pumping
up the storage so the usual puny 10 gig average drive
the maker gives you can carry your whole library -- this
is Kevin in Atlanta who apparently has a very large
>> Yeah. There's a good thing, when you're talking
about things like that. And many times --
>> The saying is don't.
>> You can do anything if you have enough time, now-how,
and money. And that's --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Enough time, money, and not know-how, [Inaudible]
stupid. You can tell I hate this idea.
>> Well, what you would have to do is you would have to
locate the hard drive, which basically would probably
mean removing the head unit and taking it apart, which
means that you're going to void your factory warranty,
you'll probably break the head unit. You're going to be
looking at thousands of dollars of repairs to get the
head unit put back to the 10 gig that you were dealing
with in the first place.
>> Then there are all sorts of things. A good example
is when the Xbox 360 came out they had these really
small hard drives, and people were like, well there's
just a regular hard drive inside of this proprietary
case. Maybe we can swap that out. But then it turned
out that you needed a very specific brand of hard drive
and the Firmware wouldn't recognize certain things. In
other situations where people try to do swaps like that,
the Firmware may not even be able to recognize a bigger
partition than what you're given. So --
>> Good point. Partitions are very fussy on vertical
things like this. This is not like a PC.
>> Right. Then you're also assuming that the hard drive
that's in the car actually has a standard theta [Assumed
spelling] I.D. or micro theta connection or something
like that. You're looking at a lot of maybes, ifs, that
can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, model year
to model year --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- before you even get into breaking the head unit
open. It's a -- it's not worth it.
>> Here's Toshiba's page for their automotive hard disc
line. They're the number one maker of automotive hard
drives through the O E Ms. They don't sell them to
consumers, per se, though that doesn't mean you can't
Google around and find someone who is selling these. So
if you really want to do this go and look at Toshiba's
automotive hard disc drives, just Google Toshiba hard --
auto hard disc and you'll find these. They are
2-and-a-half inch drives, so they may look like a laptop
drive. But like Antuan says , they're very likely, a
number of differences, we know one of the main
differences is these are ruggedized for the automotive
environment of temperature, vibration, dust sealing,
things like that. But if you want to get more
information on the drive that is most likely but not
guaranteed to be used in your car here are all the spec
sheets. Look like they make them in Seta [Assumed
spelling] and parallel A T A, which I think is like the
old I D E standard, if I'm not mistaken, that's like
old-school stuff. And there's one Seta here that's more
of a modern connection. They're all 2-and-a-half inch.
Here is a 60, an 80, a 40, looks like 80 is the biggest
>> Yeah, these drives actually fall way behind what
we're used to in modern PCs because they do have to be
ruggedized and designed for this environment that's way
different than the laptop. And so yeah, I remember
seeing these -- these press releases announced, they
announced them years ago. They had a 40 gigabyte disc,
and that was the biggest one at the time. And now the
biggest one is an 80 gigabyte. And that's, you know,
way behind what -- what we're getting in laptops.
>> Toshiba just came out with a 200 gig this year.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- okay, I'm not even sure it's on the market yet,
because it's not showing up on their list. So it's
>> What's really going to piss you off, you get through
all this, you get it working, and then you're going to
have to sit in your car and rip CDs for hours. Because
most of the hardware and Firmware in these cars won't
allow you to just plug a USB port in full of MP3s and
drag them over.
>> That's right.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Make you go through a disc.
>> So yeah, just get an iPod, plug that in and just --
>> This is strictly a project, Kevin. If you want to
have a project, if you're trying to tell your wife
something and you want to have a reason to be in the
driveway for a few weekends, this will do it. But we
wouldn't do it. No. Okay, here's a question about
Yolanda Yaris who is not a character in Cars but
apparently is someone's car. Tracy writes in. Hello
Brian, Antuan, and Wayne. I'm an owner of an '09 Yaris.
She says I know it's hard to imagine, but I'm only 5
feet tall and I'm cheap. Good, thank you for being
honest. I have a Garmin 760 I mounted in it, but
everyone always knows it over when they get in the car
and it annoys me. I would love to get a built in head
-- where are you mounting it?
>> I was going to ask that question.
>> I mean, unless you've got some real lurky friends
that get in and sweep their head across the windshield
or something. And by the way, Ouch. Because those
things don't let go easily. Anyway, I would love to get
a built in head unit that will replace my Garmin and
also allow me to stream music from my iPhone. Do you
have any suggestions aside from getting rid of Yolanda
Yaris. All right, what do you do with her, her being
Tracy, not the car. Car has to stay.
>> Well the Yaris is a good car.
>> It actually is.
>> So we talked earlier about the -- always talk about
the [Inaudible] 110 BT. We also talked about the up
coming -- I guess it's out now, the Avic 120 BT. Those
are my favorites. You know, the Z 120 BT has the --
it's going basically push the price of the 110 BT down.
So if you can find a 110 BT, it will probably be cheap
and on sale right now. So it's a good way to go.
There's also the X 920 BT that we've got in for testing.
If you really like Pandora radio and you listen to
Pandora radio on your iPhone, you're going to want to
look at that 120 or the 920 X R V. You don't care about
Pandora, I've got a unit in right now --
>> He's selling.
>> Well no, it just landed on my desk, I'm going to be
testing it in the text couple of weeks. It's the JVC
KWNT 3 HDT, that's a mouthful, it's got free lifetime
traffic on its navigation, which is better than Pioneer,
it's got a detachable face plate which is really good
for security, and it's got HD radio built in.
>> What's it called again, JVC what?
>> JVC KWNT 3 HDT. Yeah. They should just give these
things names. Like JVC has the --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> And people go oh.
>> So the Yaris has an on double bin space for a head
unit in there?
>> I think --
>> Let's take a look. She say what it is -- it's an oh
-- it's an '09, 2009, Yaris, we're pulling this up here.
>> [Inaudible] in-dash nav, I'm hoping --
>> Right. There's a difference, single din unit, that's
your standard car radio, which you'll be seeing a lot of
>> Looks like double din. Here is our head unit right
there. Looks standard, right?
>> Yeah, it looks almost like the same. If I'm not
mistaken, they're -- the Yaris shares a lot of parts
with Sions. And I know all of their parts are double
>> Okay. Yeah. So that's a good -- straight double din
square. So that saves her. She can get into that.
We've got a line here on the Z 100 BT. Amazon's got it
for 908. Is that about right for a street price, or is
>> Almost 300 bucks off what it used to be --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> When I was pricing it.
>> This is a premium unit. You've got that one there.
And this isn't the JVC you're thinking of though, is it?
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Yeah, the JVC is not on the market yet, I don't
>> It just came out. It's brand-spanking new. But it's
about a $1500 unit. You could probably find it at your
local 12-volt store --
>> It's a big piece of Yolanda Yaris MSRP.
>> But it's got a lot of features. I like features. It
pretty much takes everything that you like about the
Pioneer -- that I like about the pioneers and adds HD
radio to it. And I'm a big fan of HD radio. I don't
know how you guys feel about that.
>> So after putting in the head unit in the Yaris then
you put in the big amp and the big sub woofers, you have
one hell of a well-equipped Yaris.
>> You just doubled the cost of your Yaris. By having a
cool audio head unit. And nav, and everything else.
>> So Tracy, you've got to make your priorities. To
really go with the right unit you're going to spend a
little bit of money, but you're going get everything you
want and you're going to have the world's coolest Yaris.
Let's just point that out. Voice mail came in this
week. We've got a voice mail here that is about the
range we've been talking about, EVs, we've told you that
EVs will go X number of miles, we just talked about the
Ime that Wayne was mentioning, the Leaf, what Tesla's
do, they're all over from 40 to 200 plus miles on a
charge before they either are out or start to generate,
depending on what kind of car they are. Let's listen to
this question about the real-world mileage one might
expect from let's say a Volt or a Leaf.
>> This is Darius in Alexandria, Virginia. When you
talked about electric vehicles like the Leaf and the
Volt you note their relative short cruising range. What
I'd like to know -- and by the way I don't hear this
cited anywhere else either -- is how much other
electrical operations within the vehicle impact that
range. In other words, should the claimed ranges be
reduced when passengers use the power Windows, the power
moon roof, the radio, the CD, headlights, and most
importantly, AC and heat.
>> Okay, good question. Now Wayne, when you were on the
Mitsubishi Ime drive, what did they say about real-world
use of accessories.
>> This was actually a warm day in the California
central valley, and they recommended that we didn't use
the air conditioning on this drive. Because the thing
is electric air conditioning --
>> You would not have had your 5 kilometers left if you
had the AC on.
>> Yeah, we wouldn't have made it the 55 miles that we
did with the AC running, because this is an electric AC
unit in these cars, and they also use electric heater
units in these cars, which is -- although they can suck
some heat energy off of the batteries, I guess, from
what I understand.
>> Oh yeah, those get hot.
>> Right. But they still need an electric fan to kind
of blow that into the cabin. So yeah, this -- all those
will make an impact on the range of these cars, and
potentially substantially. Especially if you're talking
about a cold, you know, Detroit winter and -- you know,
running the windshield wipers and heater and all that.
It's going to have an impact. I do think, though, that
the car makers do realize this is going to be a problem.
And they don't want to shoot themselves in the foot by
having people drive these cars and get stranded on the
side of a road with a dead battery. So they're going to
take a lot of measures to make sure that that doesn't
happen. One is going to be, you know, plenty of warning
telling you how much range you've got on the dash board,
plenty of lights that will say you know, you can go this
much further, and probably start popping up warning
lights when you've got only --
>> Those are probably more conservative than the low
fuel lights, right? Because those give you like what,
two gallons typically? And that's on a lot of cars,
that's maybe 50, 60 miles. As a percent that's pretty
small. But the EVs I'm sure are going to give you a
larger percent warning.
>> And I wouldn't be surprised if they have a power
reserve too, they're going to start Flashing the empty
sign you know, well before it actually stops.
>> Oh yeah. They don't need that PR. They don't need
lots of stories in the main stream media saying yup,
first 20 Volt owners are complaining about how they got
stranded in the middle of winter. And the volt comes
out end of the year, it's going to be selling into
market during bad weather. So they've got to meet that
head on. The Volt, for example, has -- the mechanical
shifter that Wayne and Antuan showed you on last week's
show, the finger guillotine, that's mechanical for a
reason. They could have made that an electric switch,
kind of like the Prius, a little mini stalk, but it just
works a switch. Or they could have made it push
buttons. But that uses more power to maintain the
latched state of the circuit. They said nope, give us a
mechanical switch that literally moves a contact
somewhere. They have a lower power consumption radio.
In fact, Bose about a year-and-a-half ago started
redesigning a new stereo for the Volt. It's 40%
smaller, 40% lighter, and uses 50 % less electricity to
produce I would imagine similar specs and wattage output
as a, you know, similar to high feature radio. And
they've also got a special kind of tires for the Volt
called the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max which were
developed for the Volt and future EVs. So the car
companies are doing a lot to make sure that you don't
get much of a penalty, but I don't think of them yet are
saying you'll get this much less range when you're
running the AC or the heat or radio and wipers all the
time. I don't think we know until we get real-world
>> Well, you get less range running the AC on any car.
>> That's true. There's no difference in that sense.
>> You run AC on a gasoline car you get 1, 2, fewer
miles to the gallon.
>> It's just the -- the penalty is less -- [Inaudible]
more gas versus standing around for a few hours charging
up. The Leaf has a solar panel on the roof on the rear
spoiler to help trickle charged while it's parked to
help keep things up a little higher, especially
accessories that run in stand by mode while you're
parked, like the clock and other things like that. And
there's some vehicles that use solar panel to run
blowers in the sun roof to try and keep -- in fact, some
non electric cars do that today. Which does, the Prius?
>> Yeah. The 2010 Prius.
>> That's right.
>> Is that an option or is it --
>> It's an option. Yeah. So it allows the car to have
less work to do when it gets started. I wouldn't be
surprised if we start seeing some electric cars that do
that too so there's less load on the AC when you get
into a hot car. So yeah, the answer is yes, it reduces
it. The other answer is we don't know by how much. And
that will be the really interesting part of the
real-world roll out of these vehicles is what are people
really finding when they use the car like regular
people. Not like in tests. And that also factors in
how the EPA is going to rate these cars which is still
up in the air. They do not have a firm development
cycle yet that I know of for cars like the Volt or even
for E Vs -- EVs are simple, it's how much do you get on
a charge. It's the Volts that are weird.
>> And this is why we review cars.
>> That's right. We'll know, we'll tell you -- that
will be a fascinating part of our work when we start
getting cars like the Volt in here and can tell you
here's what we've really got, because that's going to be
all new territory. All right, go on the road, folks, as
we do every week. Don't forget, e-mails and voice
mails, any time you want to send them, we love them.
Great stuff we get from you guys. It's Cartech@cnet.com
for the e-mail. We all get that. It's a nice little
distribution list that we hit. So whatever your
question is, whoever's best at it's going to take it.
And also the voice mail line is always open, calls,
comments, questions, 866-401-CNET. Take part in the
show by hitting us on the voice mail. This week we take
a ride in what I think we all pretty much agree on is
just about our favorite sports sedan and has been for a
while. A car that I think -- this is going to get some
e-mail -- makes the M 3 look kind of geeky and
pansified. It's just like, wow. The 2010 Mercedes AMG
C-63. It goes fast, the old fashioned way. Wayne and
Antuan take us for a look as they take us on the road.
[ Background noise ]
>> Antuan's on the wheel getting a good fast start here.
This thing will get to 60 in no time at all.
>> Half the time it normally takes to get to 60 in
pretty much any other car. The traction control light
was Flashing on that run a little bit, but didn't really
seem to effect the performance at all.
>> Right. It will pop up a little bit initially because
this engine is so powerful, you know, it's really hard
keeping those rear wheels, you know, glued to the
pavement. This is the 6.3 liter V8, the AMG V8, hand
built, it's even got the name of the guy who built it on
the car -- on the plaque on top of the engine. You
know, they're that particular to detail with these AMG
cars. And we've got a 7-speed automatic transmission.
This is their sport automatic transmission. So in this
car you definitely shouldn't scoff at oh, it's got an
automatic transmission and it's trying to be a sports
car. This is a really good transmission.
>> You've got a couple of different drive modes. We're
in sport right now. There's also a comfort mode, which
is not very much different. And a manual mode that
gives you control with the steering wheel-mounted paddle
>> Yeah. And this -- this car though does have these
comfort, sport, and manual modes. That doesn't effect
the suspension at all, that just effects the
transmission, really. The suspension in this is fairly
conventional, except for its incredibly sport-tuned and
it really keeps this car flat. A while ago we compared
this to the BMW M 3. And we generally liked it better
than the M 3.
>> Yeah. It's really easy to say you know, the BMW M 3
is a better-handling car, but it's just as easy to say
who cares, and just step on the throttle with this
thing. I don't think there's a car that screams
beefcake louder than this vehicle does.
>> Oh yeah. I mean the sound of this engine will get
people, like, scurrying out of your way. That's what
kind of sound it makes. One thing I noticed on this car
though, compared to the BMW M car is that this car is
pretty much always on, it's always a sports car. With
the M cars, the BMW M cars, you can put them in their
regular drive mode and they're kind of boring and sedate
and then you push that M button and suddenly they go
crazy and become these crazy sports cars.
>> I think that's partially due to the fact that the M
cars also have chassis dynamics and what not all tied
into that button. So you push that button and your
steering response switches up and everything else
changes. Really -- really literally almost becomes a
different vehicle here. You pretty much got what you
got. It's a little dumber, but no less fun.
>> Yeah. Well actually the part that's not so much fun
is when you go to the gas station because you'll be
doing that a lot. We did an average of about 14 miles
per gal with this car. EPA is 12 miles per gallon city
and 19 highway. So you're never going break 20. And
you know, just takes some gentle driving even to get to
19. You know, it's a gas guzzler, and it actually gets
the gas guzzler tax because of that. So that -- that's
kind of too bad.
>> Yeah, I have reason to believe even the EPA testers
were probably stepping on it when they were testing this
thing. It's just far too much fun to hear that engine
and far to easy to get into the power.
>> Oh yeah.
>> You just wouldn't want to drive this car slow, it's
so much fun.
>> No, and I would think you were a communist if you
did. I mean, that's one of the great driving
experiences with four doors in the world. $2100 gas
guzzlers tax, though. That's just at purchase. And
then another gas guzzler tax every time you drive it.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> You know, there's no -- there's no problem with that
automatic, though. There's absolutely no problem.
>> Greatest automatic transmission ever, by a mile.
Unbelievable. When you put it in manual mode, even
though it's not a dual gear box, it's crisp and
positive, it locks up the torque converter, it's just
such a positive gear box -- I love it.
>> That's what they do, they have lock mechanisms in
there so when you go through those sequential gear
changes which it does, it will lock these gears in and
just eliminate that torque converter slush.
>> It's not even there. And then there's the middle
rung, which is the sport mode, which is a nice, alert
automatic mode, if you just want to drive automatic but
have power right now. And you know, the comfort mode is
kind of numb, but it's fine for everyday driving when
you don't feel like getting jostled around, just going
to do some utility driving. It's a car I think for all
seasons where I don't recall the M 3 being a car that I
wanted to drive every day. It was a car that I want to
have as my second car. We had the M 3 coupe with the
carbon roof and everything, and it was just much more of
a committed experience where the C 63 I thought this was
a great everyday car, good grocery-getter. And then
when you get on the road the best -- or among the best.
>> [Inaudible] disagree.
>> On what?
>> I'm more of a fan of the M 3. But I think that's
more because --
[ Inaudible audience comment ]
>> I love the C 63, I respect what it is. And I mean,
if somebody handed me the keys to one I would not
hesitate to take it out. But if I had to choose between
the two of them I probably would pick the M 3. I think
it's more because I'm a gadgety gee whiz guy. I like
the whole --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> I love -- I [Inaudible] in my actual car. When you
push a button and it turns into a different car. I used
to do that in my Acura.
>> Transformer boy.
>> Yeah, I like that idea of going like, and now the car
is in this mode. And now I'm driving. Because for me
it helps me get in the frame of mind of -- and now I'm
driving. And now I'm driving for fun.
>> You love all the M dynamics, the M driving mode you
can set up. The different -- which is yeah -- it's a
different approach to performance. And as you guys
mentioned the modes on the C 63 are just really just
power train response. Nothing changes on the
>> That's the real difference between Mercedes Benz AMG
branch and BMW M branch or division I guess, branch
sounds like secret service --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> M is not afraid at all to throw technology to make
better performance. And -- because they do amazing
things with dynamic suspensions. Where AMG seems a
little more raw. They are just more traditional, they
build a really well engineered suspension. But it's not
so good that that car actually fights body roll. It's
got stabilizer bars and all that, but it will lean a
little bit in the corners.
>> I found -- I just thought it was just right. It was
the three bears every time I drove that car. Just
comfortable enough that I never thought ah, you're
annoying me. And when you push it, what a delight to
>> It's a German muscle car in the purest sense of the
>> I mean, it is a muscle car. It's dumb, it's strong,
but I mean --
>> 6.3 liters equals -- how many cubic inches. I know
Google's got a converter here. Here we go, it's on a
Honda board of all places. Why would they care? 6.3
liters is 384 cubic inch. Not that big. Not to us
American car buyers. Whatever. 384. I don't know,
doesn't compare to my 460, but whatever.
>> Put a blower on it, [Inaudible] -- one thing I've
got to talk about the handling of that car too. And I
thought it was very similar to the BMW M 3 the way when
you take it around a corner the back end kind of -- you
know, let's the back end come out a bit but not too
>> Love that about it.
>> You start to -- when you get crazy with it,
initially, you feel it come out a little too far. But
then the traction control steps in and says okay, you're
not going to go over the side of the road.
>> Yeah. I'm not going to let that happen. But if you
turn off the stability control, it goes almost all the
way off, it will never go completely off, so it will
catch you in a bad mode. I've got to tell you, a couple
of times I was parking it, I actually broke the rear end
lose. That's a very impressive car. Just parking.
Yeah, pulling into a parallel parking spot. I think I
was in manual mode, because I had been driving in manual
mode, I pulled to a spot somewhere, I put it in reverse,
that's not manual I guess, maybe it is a lock up. I
don't know. I kind of poked it into the spot. There
was a little chirp, and coming out the other way,
[Inaudible] little chirp. I thought what the hell is
>> [Inaudible] do that parking style where you kind of
slide around the corner just land in the spot.
>> Like one of those BMW films -- the BMW films video,
with Madonna, when she goes flying out the back door
when he hits the curb.
>> You probably can't do that in the car because it's
got the pedal break.
>> Oh that's right. --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> It needs the hand handle.
>> Electric parking break, yeah.
>> Do some really crazy stuff.
>> One thing I found too, in that car though, using the
manual mode with the transmission in sport mode, trying
to manually shift --
>> So in sport, using at paddles.
>> Right. It will let you shift but it will also fight
with you on it. I got double-shifts like I was do you
know shifting before a turn, and the car also down
shifted. So I went from fourth to second.
>> That's not good.
>> No. So you pretty much have to say I'm either in
manual, I'm going to shift in manual, or if I'm in sport
I'm going let it do its sport thing.
>> That's interesting. Yeah. I didn't find that the
paddle shifting in sport mode was all that satisfying
either. I didn't end up with any double-burps like
that, but I ended up finding it was a little bit -- a
little sluggish. I just let it do its thing in sport
and didn't fuss with paddles. And then when I was in
manual mode then I got on the paddles. We didn't talk
about tech in this car because that one didn't have the
full head unit. There's a $3300, arguably overpriced,
multimedia package, it gives you a hard drive nav,
Sirius satellite radio with traffic, 7 inch screen that
kind of goes up and down like a slice of toast, unlike
that little guy we saw in there. 6 slot CD, DVD, iPod
MP3, 6 gig hard drive available for you to put music on,
and logic 7 surround sound. They don't specify Watts or
speakers. But it's obviously and upgrade. $3300 seems
a little steep for that.
>> It's a good system though. We saw that in some other
C class Mercedes Benzes. And it is a good system. It's
up there, I'd call it in the very good realm.
>> Yeah, exactly, gets an 8 out of 10, right?
>> 7 out of 10.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> There are better things out there. ^M00:58:06 Also --
but one thing also in that car, without that we have
this iPod integration there, which is such a hack job.
>> I hate this iPod integration because it actually
doesn't show you the library, the music library on the
LCD, it shows it on the speedometer, which is just
bizarre. Because you look at all of the other audio
information on the LCD.
>> IPod only shows up on this black and gray LCD in the
middle of the speedo, where things like tire pressure
and MPG shows up. Felt like a total hack. Although on
the screen you can -- you can see the aux jack. If you
go down to CD and then you drop down to this other menu.
The whole thing was like just stuff that was piled on
and not done from scratch. It's a poor head unit in
terms of advanced tech. But you do get that screen you
may have seen there, 4-and-a-half inch color LCD of
limited dot resolution. It's not very satisfying. It's
just eh, there's a little nob controller.
>> Keep that door closed.
>> Right. Keep that door closed and drive that car.
Keep your eyes on the road and listen to that exhaust
and you will be happy. So big thumbs up all around.
Right? I mean, even though Antuan wants an M 3.
>> I like the M 3.
>> But C 63, wouldn't turn your nose up at it.
>> No. You -- you'd be a fool to turn your nose up at
>> Yeah. And Wayne and I love the C 63. That's just a
>> Yeah. Enjoyed driving that all over the place.
>> Nice. It's a winner. And for pricing on that guys,
about $60,300 base with the guzzler tax. $2100 of that
is guzzler tax. And $850 or so is delivery. And then
you'd add the multimedia package to go CNET style for
$3300 more the interesting one on this, the fascinating
one is the AMG development P 31 pack. Sounds like
something you need an export license to purchase.
$6,000 to get lighter forged pistons and connecting
rods, lighter forged connecting rods. A revised crank,
reprogrammed electronic engineer control unit, different
intake runners, 6 [Inaudible] 14 inch rotors and a
carbon fiber spoiler. So it's this hot rod kit on top
of the basic hot rod kit, gets you to 481 horse power.
I don't know how much torque it has, but it's 30 horse
power more for 6 grand, up to you if that's worth it.
>> A bargain. [ Laughter ]
>> M 3 boy always goes for horse power, for anything.
>> But of course, all this in, it's still probably about
$20,000 less than a similarly equipped M 3.
>> That's why I don't drive either of them.
>> 60 to $80,000 cars, people, for relatively compact
sedans and-or coupes. They're a lot of money for what
>> The M 3 GT --
>> GTS --
>> Yeah, GTS that just came out. It's like almost
>> Very just released specs for that. That's right.
>> Good grief.
>> It's like a race package.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- 200 pound, 300 pounds [Inaudible] --
>> Which is hard to do. That's a lot of weight to shave
off an already light, beautifully engineered car. All
right folks, let's take a look at what's in the CNET Car
Tech garage. In addition to that C 63 that we love so
much, that review is up fresh and new. Infinity EX35,
we've had a back-to-back pair of the high style infinity
cross overs, the 35s are in there now. We had the FX
just a week or two ago . Honda Civic EXL as well.
Coming in right now we have the BMW 750 I. Delightful,
delightful big beamer. And on the other hand, we have a
Sentra S. Nothing against Sentras, but it just doesn't
give us as much fun to play with as a big beamer does.
So we have kind of the yin and the yang of tech cars in
the garage right now that will be showing up in just a
matter of days with our reviews and video. And the
infinity M 56 is on deck to be in our garage in a few
days. And that is one that we previewed at a thing that
we saw in Beverly Hills, an event they held back during
the LA Auto Show late last year. So this is our first
chance to get our hands on it. And this is a brawler of
a 5.6 liter V8 powered sedan from infinity. It's just
-- it's a bad-boy. It will be our first blush on that
one. So that's what's in the garage and coming up soon
from CNET Car Tech. We are running long, so folks,
thanks for staying with us, don't forget to call or
e-mail. The phone line is open at 866-401-CNET. Toll
free voice mail, calls, comments, and questions, take
part in the show that way or e-mail us.
Cartech@cnet.com. Show notes are at cartech.cnet.com
and we're all on Twitter tweeting about cars and other
stuff. I'm Brian Cooley on Twitter, all one word, Wayne
is Wayne C, underscore, SF, and Antuan is Antgoo,
A-N-T-G-O-O. We'll see you next week.
[ Music ]
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