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Cooley On Cars
New Ford GT: The Unbearable Lightness of Moving (CNET On Cars, Episode 65)The 2017 Ford GT is so underweight it's over the top. Plus, crash-proof cars are coming to an intersection near you, and when is a used car too used?
Ford GT. A real lesson in lightness. Cars that are allergic to accidents. Wow. And worrying about parts for your car down the road. Time to check the tech. We see cars differently. Nice. We have them on the road and under the hood, but also check the tech and And they're known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good, the bad, the bottom line. This is CNet on cars. Welcome to CNet on cars, the show all about high tech cars and modern drivers. I'm Brian Cooley. Well, it wasn't that long ago that we first met the new Ford GT. January 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show where it was an unexpected surprise unveiled. And the initial story was lots of power, audacious styling, exotic materials. To be honest, we've heard that song before in the supercar cannon What was really interesting was our more recent trip to Ford's Silicon Valley research institute, where we got a look at the car from a different angle and learned that less truly is more when it comes to the new GT. [NOISE] Let's face it, we hear about light-weight technology in the auto industry all the time. But for most car buyers, it doesn't really print. But what light-weight is all about is everything that a vehicle is all about. Better performance, better fuel efficiency, which leads to lower emissions, and better handling dynamics in every direction the vehicle goes. The [INAUDIBLE] is becoming Ford G T. 600 plus horsepower, from a turbo V-6, mounted in the middle, on an aluminum sub frame, behind a carbon fiber centered tub, driving the rear wheels. To be honest, that architecture has been done before. And you can buy a 700 horsepower Dodge Challenger for $60 grand. So what's really going on here? It's how the new GT will seek performance by burdening itself less, lighter weight and less envelope of the vehicle's physical outline. It's the essential story of this car. Now, Rodge, this is such a big effort. You've got a car with incredible performance, but it's got less weight, less bulk. Right. Well performance, you know, now it's a lot about efficiency. If you look at our latest F-150, all aluminum body, we took more than 700 pounds out of that vehicle. And there, all the attributes get better when you take weight out. Improve your fuel efficiency, we can stock up the suspension, the ride gets better. It all feeds on itself. And so the parts we're seeing, you're also displaying here, have a lot of. Carbon-reinforced plastics. Things that were exotic and used in small volumes. You're seeing this as a high-volume technique to make a lot of parts in affordable cars? Well, we can use performance vehicles to prove out some technologies and then bring it to high-volume. Iterate the design, take those learnings, and bring it to high-volume mainstream manufacturing. So what used to be win on Sunday, sell on Monday, is now lightweight on Sunday, [LAUGH] sell on Monday, right? [LAUGH] Absolutely. For the engineer it's, it's win on Sunday, and then take that and mainstream on Monday. [MUSIC] How important is it to use carbon fiber versus aluminum? Carbon fiber is lighter. And it's strong. And as a designer what it does is it gives me greater flexibility to create unique forms that I can't create in steel and aluminum. So I know these flying buttresses are one that you point out. Why couldn't you have made, those flying buttresses out of aluminum. We hear that all the time. We couldn't have done that in metal. Steel or aluminum needs to be pressed. It needs to have, you need to have a die and it's pressed and you have maximum draw bits and then you have radiuses which are, which are really restricting based on your maximum depth of draw. It would tear or be too thin? It would tear. It would be too thin. I wouldn't get the draw depth between, between This point and this point. Yeah. [UNKNOWN] One of the first things you notice as you come back, like so, is this thing gets real narrow real fast. [LAUGH] In fact, you could reach across and touch the other glass. There's three key factors in c, creating the ultimate performance car. One is lightweight. Second is aerodynamics. It has a really, really Tapered cabin, it's really narrow at the cabin. And it allows us also to manage the airflow much better than on a traditional full volume car. This tapering here helps the wind see less car- Yes.>> As it's coming. Yes. We would normally think the face is kinda where it all ends. So a, so a normal car you would fill out this volume. [CROSSTALK] The glass would be here, but imagine how much That's a foot. Yeah, on each side, which I'm not pushing through the air. We're managing the air flow to direct it straight onto the arrow devices like the real [UNKNOWN]. We just hear so much about light weight of product. Yes, but it's also light footprint. The rage in super cars these days has been hybrid. Porsche's 918. Ferrari's LaFerrari. McClaren P1. But to stay light and lean, Ford skipped the added motor, big battery, and the inverter that would have meant weight and volume to put somewhere. Less under the skin, means less skin to move through the air. The main reason we chose this engine is, it is compact. It's, it's one of our, you know, mainstream engines. Yeah. Yes, it's got a little bit, you know, few of the components. [LAUGH] A little bit more expensive. A little more? [LAUGH] But the foundations of this car are the same that's in your F-150. Yeah. And it allows us to shrink wrap all this body around this engine. It also produces high power, over 600 horsepower from this engine. It's also fuel-efficient. If we didn't need the extra two cylinders, why did, why did we need to put them on? If they added weight and they added to fuel consumption. And they added mass. And they added mass. Yeah. Why did we need them? As I look at it here, I see these buttresses come back. And they seem to almost be supporting these, these pods over the rear wheels. What's in there is an intercooler. There's a vent here. There's a grill in the front there. There's a grill. It's an intercooler and radiator. The air feeds through the buttress so it's not just there. So that's your bleed off to go into the engine? Into the, air feeds into the engine. That's your intake run? Yes. So we exhaust the air through the middle of the lumps. These engineering ideas created great aesthetic design ideas. You know, it's a, it's a beautiful looking thing. Yeah. All right? But it's also clever and innovative. And it, and it And that bond between looking amazing but also delivering a clever solution is what this car is all about. The lightweight technologies do have some hurdles. They tend to be exotic in terms of rapid workflow and production. They tend to be more expensive right now as we've heard about Some of the carbon fiber technologies, and let's face it, the auto industry is one that is known for inertia. Doing things the way it's done things. Although, that's changing quite a bit lately. Still, the GT"s wholesale lightweighting approach is a leading edge look at what is and will increasingly happen to mainstream cars. Lightweighting is no longer optional or limited to cars in the stratosphere like this. It makes every motion a car accomplishes better and does it with less energy. [NOISE] [MUSIC] Now all the specs of hard details I know you're craving like its performance numbers and, of course, its price are still out in the future a way. This car doesn't go into production until 2016 and arrives as a model 27. Seen. And you can bet they'll be spoken for prior to hitting showrooms. Now we may differ on self-driving versus the joy of driving. But nobody takes any joy in the dumbest part of driving. A collision. But your next car may not even allow them. As the smarter driver will find out. When CNET on Cars returns. Along the way to the fully self-driving car, we're gonna make a few stops, one of which will be the crash proof car. The concept is a car with sufficiently sophisticated driver assist technology, that it can avoid, or alert you to avoid almost Any collision. ESP initiates a one-sided braking intervention that can move the vehicle out of the danger zone. That's a talent that is distinct from being able to drive itself. Volvo's new XC90, for example, is the first step toward its goal of crash-free, or at least injury from crash free, cars by 2020. Among the tech To get it there is automatic breaking to prevent frontal collision automatic breaking to avoid turning left into oncoming traffic pedestrian and animal detection, road-edge and barrier detection, adaptive cruise-control with steering assistance, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. [MUSIC] None of this is science fiction, although the V to V technology is still being broker between regulators and carmakers. At CES Ford gave a very realistic look at coming V to V technology, that can let cars signal each other. Wow! Providing another layer of input to help them avoid collision. The real important and efficient way to warn someone is the audible warning. I heard a Exactly. Okay, which means get out the way. Warning. Exactly. [LAUGH] BMW is showing how an array of laser scanners, looking out from around the car, can detect almost anything That is about to occupy the same space as the vehicle, the purest definition of a collision, from another car, to a pedestrian, to a wall. Now we need to keep in mind that the driver is the best sensor that we have. However, drivers do tend to get distracted. And we need to bring him back into the loop which we do by providing the warning and assisting him with the braking situation. The European Union is aiming for zero road fatalities by 2050 and sooner than that, cutting them in half. By 2020, largely relying on these kinds of technology bundles. Even in showrooms today it pays to double check if the car you're considering buying has as many of these technologies as possible, on the marks towards. Grassroots driving. Welcome back to CNET on cars. Coming to you from our home in the Mount Tam Motor Club, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well it's early days for the Apple watch, of course, and separate from Apple's incursion of the dash with their car play technology. The watch is already getting a bit of a head start on a lot of wrists As a way to make driving perhaps a little easier, hopefully a little better. Makes for a good Car Tech 101 [MUSIC] Apple's Tim Cook has gone so far as to suggest that this Their watch will one day replace the keys to your car and that elaborate wireless remote. We're not quite there yet. However, even in these early days, we're seeing a fair number of apps being offered by car makers and other car technology companies to hopefully make driving a little simpler, a little easier, a little better because you're wearing something smart on your wrist. [MUSIC] BMW's iRemote was the first Apple Watch car app we ever saw. It came out on the debut day of the Watch, and it works with the company's i line of highly electrified vehicles. You can do what is basically telematics that you're used to on your phone, but now on your wrist. Check the charge of your car. Lock the doors, unlock the doors, get guidance back to where you parked it. Precondition the climate. You can do that easily because it's an electric. It doesn't really need to start the engine in any sense. And you can also see how the charge is going to map out to where you might want to go. The car will even through that watch app suggest The best time to leave to use the least electricity to get there. But again, not really anything you couldn't do on your phone already. Ditto for Porsche's app, which is the same basic basket of telematics. Although it works on a broader, more conventional, array of their cars. They apply it to Cayenne Macan and a few others, as well as their An 1800's super car but we're basically still in the telematics area. Hyundai's bluelink app is actually on Android first since that was the first smart watch platform of any scale. But as of our show today, it's still in the process of being ported to Apple watch. Now Automatic's a popular app. You put on your phone, it talks to a OBD2 wireless dongle you. You just stick up under your dash, and it gives you all kinds of information about your trips, your driving style for economy or safety, also where you park your car, and which trips you wanna tag as expensible for business. Now, in terms of their watch app, they've chosen to keep things pretty lean in taking just those last two functions, where's my car and tag this trip as business expense, and port those to the watch as the primary function. They can bring everything there, they're just not Sure it all belongs here, which I think is good savvy restraint. Now paybyphone is one of the class of connected parking apps. It lets you check your status at the meter, feed the thing, find parking spaces in some cases of these apps. It seems like a natural to have on your wrist. That's when you're away from the car, but you want to have a very quick glanceable reminder that hey, your time is running out, and perhaps you can extend the time right from your wrist. Now you don't have to buy a new car to use Apple watch with it. Add on telematics makers, like Viper for example, know that hoarding their existing phone app Apps. To Apple Watch, it's a sexy headline allowing you to go to your wrist to unlock, precondition, or get the location alerts about your car that you already can get on their phone app and command a lot of things by voice. Again, not new, but different. Okay, couple of organizing principles to help you think about where the watch fits in your driving. First they have two basic locations. One is while driving. Glancable, on your wrist, which tends to already be up high and in your view while driving. Tends to be good ergonomics and keeps your gaze roughly where it should be, if those notifications are worth while. The other area is, of course, out of the car. When you're away from the vehicle and you need something to very quickly and cleanly remind you that maybe you need to get back to your car, time running out on your meter or an easy way to get back to where your car is if you forgot where you parked it or tell you So if it's charging, or needs to be charged. And then you've got two competing areas of platforms that are coming to compete with or, perhaps, augment the watch. And that would be things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are going to bring a lot of this Smartphone DNA to a richer fixed display in the dash, that is better integrated with the car. You've also gotta keep an eye on Head-Up Display, which car makers are going headlong to adopt. And that can give you an extremely elegant presentation information right where your glance already is and should be, and again, highly integrated to the vehicle. Either way, the watch is showing some early legs for the driver, but as with most of its modes that it's promising, it has yet to promise that it is better, not just different. From how we're doing things now. [MUSIC] In a moment, how old is too old when it comes to buying a used car, when c net on cars returns. [MUSIC] What Jaguar needs is a small family exec saloon, something to really hammer home to the Germans, just how good Jag's can be. And it hopes the XZ is the car for the job. They've taken all it's best bits and put them right where the Germans can see them. Now, two questions remain. Is it worthy of wearing a Jaguar badge, and should the Germans be afraid? Can answer both of those with one word, yes. Find more from the XCar Team of Cnet UK, at cnet.com/xcar. [MUSIC] Welcome back to 'CNet on Cars', I'm Brian Cooley. It's the time on the show when we take one of your emails, and this one comes in from 'Luke M.', who's writing in from Pennsylvania. Got a question about older cars and parts. He says, "When buying a used car that he intends to last a long time, how old is too old?" "What I mean is," he says, "What is too old when it comes to repairs due to brittle or worn" In parts. Well, Luke, I can't speak to any particular car about how fast it will age. There's too many variables about the car itself, what make, model, and year. How it's been driven, how many miles, how many years and in what kind of climate. I'll have to leave that to you. But as long as parts are available for whatever car you buy You're generally in pretty good shape to either do it yourself, find an inexpensive shop, or go to the dealer. But as an owner myself of mostly older cars, my youngest is 13, my older ones are 47 and 48 I can tell you that parts availability is kind of the lynch pin in keeping a car running and doing so affordably. Now let's talk about the parts world. Auto makers generally are on the hook to make a full array of replacement parts as long as a given model of car is out there under warranty. Warranty. Now those warranties will vary dramatically. Some car makers are three year warranties, some are ten years, and you've got different warranties for emissions, bumper to bumper, and powertrain. So that's kinda your universe of fresh, off the shelf new parts. Now once your car is out of production so long that the car maker no longer builds a lot of parts for it, you've got five other avenues. To keep it running, and to keep the right parts on it. First of all, you've got the aftermarket. These are companies that make parts that are virtually identical to the factory parts, but they're not made by the factory. Next, is remanufactured, or what they could also call, reconditioned. These are old parts that came off a car or worn out and got rebuilt up to, hopefully, factory specs to have another go. Down from that, you get just plain old used parts that may still have plenty of life in them. We used to get these at junk yards exclusively but now you get them at eBay as much as you go to the boneyard and carry your wrenches around and pull your own parts. The latter is a lot more fun than going online, but maybe not as fruitful. Then there's the concept of NOS. This is new old stock. That means a part that was sold new by the dealer in the factory, but never moved off the shelf. It's obsolete now, but there may be a little bit of stock out there. These are prized by a lot of folks that have older cars. You can find these, again, typically on eBay, or from specialty NOS parts retailers. And finally, if your car achieves classic status, and has enough people out there that own it, there will be companies that retool to make parts for it again. They often buy the tooling and the dies From the factory or the factory supplier and they're making virtually identical new parts again but this is a bit of a crapshoot. Your car has to be among those that achieves true classic status and have enough folks crying out for the particular part that you want made again. The bottom line to keep any old car running and lush with parts that you need is popularity. I'd rather chase down parts for the oldest Accord than for the last model Merkur. Its a matter of numbers. If you have enough people who drove the car for enough years, there's enough residual demand for it, in many cases decades. To keep the factories cranking out the parts. Thanks for watching. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Keep those emails coming oncars@CNET.com. We use a lot of your input for the topics of our show segments. We're also open to your suggestions about news segments you'd like to see us cover. I read every email, respond to as many as I can. I'll see you next time we check the deck. [MUSIC]