AD #1156 – Bosch Powers Fiat 500e, Ford to Simplify SYNC, All-New BMW 4 Series Coupe

June 17th, 2013 at 11:49am

Runtime: 8:37

Automakers rarely want to admit that suppliers often do a lot of their work, and that’s the case for Fiat and its 500e. Future generations of SYNC and MyFord Touch will incorporate two classic features to make them easier to use. BMW pulls the wraps off its all-new 4 Series Coupe. All that and more, plus what makes Detroit Electric’s SP:01 sports car tick?

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Welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Thanks for making us part of your day, and now let’s get to the reasons why you tuned in!

When Fiat showed us the electric version of the 500 it forgot to tell us one thing. Fiat did not develop the car. It wasn’t developed by Chrysler, either. Instead, 100 percent of the EV powertrain, including the batteries, motor, power electronics and regenerative braking were all developed by Bosch. Chrysler needed an EV to meet California’s EV mandate and so the fastest way to get it done was to buy everything from Bosch. Automakers rarely want to admit that suppliers often do a lot of their work. But now Bosch wants other car companies to know that it can do a “California car” for them, too.

And now the Fiat 500 gets a big brother, the 500L. Of course, the 500L has been on sale in Europe for several years, but now it makes its U.S. debut. It shares similar looks to its little brother, especially the front fascia, although it’s actually based on Fiat Panda. After getting some time behind the wheel, we appreciated the additional space. There is ample head and leg room in both the front and rear seats. It also handled the roads well and has a well laid out interior, although we did feel it could use a bit more power. The 500L is on sale now with a starting price just over $19,000. We will have our full report of the L in an upcoming Autoline Daily.

American Axle announced it will demolish 7 factories in Detroit in hopes of selling the land they sit on. The plants were closed when the UAW local refused to provide wage concessions to the company, which was saddled with some of the highest labor costs in the supplier segment. Yet, the UAW local in Three Rivers, Michigan, located only several hours away from the Detroit plants, did provide the company with the concessions it wanted and most of the work was moved there. It’s a real loss for the city of Detroit which desperately needs the jobs and tax base that those kinds of factories can provide. And I’ve never understood why one part of the UAW could say no, while another part can say yes to the exact same contract.

Ford’s SYNC and MyFord Touch infotainment systems have received mixed reviews and complaints from customers because its voice recognition and touch screens are slow to react. But the company says nearly 80 percent of its 2013 models are equipped with them and have a higher satisfaction rate than customers without them. Even so, future generations of SYNC and MyFord Touch will incorporate buttons and knobs to make them easier to use.

BMW just pulled the wraps off its all-new 4 Series Coupe. It shares the same turbo 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine as the 3 Series but can also be had with a 3.0 liter inline 6. Both engines can be mated to a 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual putting power to the rear wheels or the optional all-wheel-drive system. The 4 Series Coupe hits U.S. showrooms this summer with a starting price of $41,425 for rear drive and $43,425 for all-wheel-drive.

Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year with a series of events in eleven different countries. Last week, Harley enthusiasts rode into Rome to celebrate, and even one of the most powerful men in the world joined in. Before Sunday’s mass, Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and riders. And the company even gave him a black leather vest and two white Harley’s for the Vatican police force. Now that I’ve got to see!

About a month ago we showed you a new electric car that’s reviving the brand name Detroit Electric. We’ve got some more to show you about that car right after this.

Since the delivery of the first Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car is being delayed by a at least month, we decided to give you a look at what helps make this car tick. Here is Sean McElroy with that report.

(Video and Interview for the Detroit Electric SP:01 can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

With the failure of so many electric car start ups you’ve got to wonder how Detroit Electric will figure out how to make a go of it. We will want to keep a close eye on this one.

Before we go I want to let you know that our guest on Autoline After Hours this Thursday night is Don Runkle from EcoMotors, the company that’s come up with an engine design that uses half the parts of today’s piston engines. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for some of the best insider information in the business.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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48 Comments to “AD #1156 – Bosch Powers Fiat 500e, Ford to Simplify SYNC, All-New BMW 4 Series Coupe”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    FIAT 500L … Funny thing . Along with FIAT SpA not divulging the fact that Bosch created the 500E for FIAT …. they’re also not revealing the fact that underneath that FIAT500L’s exterior …. lies a Suzuki SX4 . Hmmn…. seems like FIAT’s got a lotta secrets hiding in their closet …. along with a few hundred thousand skeletons ;-)


    Detroit Electric – I fail to see why another TESLA Roadster 2.0 … albeit from another company … is deserving of any news what so ever … never mind a feature/test drive

    In reality Detroit Electric is yet one more EV manufacture destined for failure in less time than it’ll take to report it .Fact is .. with DE .. it’ll be history repeating itself ..again . Question is …. are these wingnuts being financed with our tax payer dollars as well ?


    Ahhhhh …. Detroit . Like New Orleans …. a black eye on the American psyche .. as well as our image worldwide . Only … at least New Orleans had a hurricane to blame … whereas with Detroit .. its been pretty much self induced . Sad , tragic .. and probably beyond repair .

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    This Fiat L reminds me of a Chihuahua that has eaten too many tacos and it’s now ready to explode.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Detroit Electric, feature packed; only problem I saw (okay, I saw more than one) was that a lot of those features had little to show the prowess of the car (but a lot of ancillary functions unrelated to moving one around).

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Again too much attention devoted to another going nowhere company, Fisker, Tesla, Carbon Motors etc. The company that makes electric golf carts will sell more samples than this company ever will. Fiat did not forget to mention who makes their ev system, they were hoping no one would ask. It’s no wonder it has gotten so many accolades, maybe they should let Bosch build all their drive trains.

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    The ugly truth ( according to Barrons Reuters etc ) …

    … about the future of EV’s … from a business perspective that is ;-)

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 Duh! in a related story, Popular Science reports that flying cars are not in the foreseeable future.

  7. Lex Says:

    John McElroy has reported in the past about the increasing sales growth Subaru has enjoyed in recent years. I believe the demise of Saab played a major role in this increase Subaru is enjoying, especially in the Northeast.

    I also understand that Subaru was building Toyota Camry’s under contract at one of it’s North American manufacturing plants. This contract is about to expire and Subaru with revert to building Subaru’s at this plant. This increase in production capacity should increase invertory from the current 16 days of vehicle inventory at most Subaru Dealerships next year.

  8. W L Simpson Says:


  9. Lex Says:

    I believe it is a good thing that BOSCH is the supplier company that electrified the 500E for Fiat. This shows the general public that these types of vehicles are a colaborative effort between car companies and automotive suppliers attempting to create new powertrains while keeping cost within reason for the driving public.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    So Ford announced that they will adding adding buttons and knobs to the My Ford infotainment system, imagine that, what a concept, buttons and knobs on a modern vehicle! What will the geeks do?

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People like to bash the 500L as being like a Suzuki SX4. That might go in the 500′s favor. It so happens that there is nothing wrong with the SX4, except that it has been “orphaned” in the US, and will suffer the high depreciation and parts availability problems that goes along with that. A friend has one, with AWD and a manual transmission, and likes it just fine. Even CR liked it ok, for what it is, a small, tall wagon available with AWD.

    All of these smaller, pure electric cars, whether from Nissan, Honda, Fiat, or anyone else, are about equal as far as the power train. The motors they use are mature technology, as is the control electronics. The batteries everyone uses are about equal. Maybe some companies do a better job of cooling the batteries, and managing charge-discharge, but for the few people buying these cars, the appearance, utility, etc. are the main thing that sets them apart from each other. If I had to buy a pure electric car for my short trip driving, it would probably be the Fit. The Fit starts out as a well-desingned utilitarian car, and the electric version retains those attributes, as long as you have a place to plug it in, and don’t want to go too far from home.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    #7 – Lex – re; Subaru …. you nailed that one right on the head Lex . Not only has Subaru supplanted SAAB as the Academic /Architect/Liberal Intellectual car of choice….. nationwide I might add [ especially the NW NW UMW and Rocky Mt Region including NM ] ….. but according to their own media ( so no offense intended or implied ) Subaru has become the Gay community’s car of choice since SAAB’s demise as well

    To put it simply .. Subaru was in the right place – at the right time – with the right ( ever so slightly quirky ) product … and had the very good sense to jump on the marketing bandwagon as soon as they recognized the situation

    And I say … good for them !

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Another problem with these EV’s is in case of a natural disaster, where there is no power for days. You got no car. Period it has to be a secondary car, that puts it out of reach for most Americans.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    11 – The SX4 is in fact a mighty fine vehicle . Damn fine in fact … when … err … its built by Suzuki . Problem is … the Sx4 underneath the 500L is built behind the former Iron Curtain … in a rather ‘ suspect ‘ plant … has that Chrysler inherited trait of having become ” Lost in Translation ” .. and therefore has become more FIAT than SX4 … unfortunately


    BTW … Wheres that HtG fellow been of late ?

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Subaru plant building Camrys is in Lafayette, Indiana. It started out as Suburu-Isuzu, and started building Camry when Isuzu left the US market, or maybe a little before.

    One of that plant’s first products was the Isuzu Rodeo, also badge engineered into the Honda Passport, not to be confused with the Honda Passport moped-like two wheeler.

  16. C-Tech Says:

    Great for Bosch that it perhaps gets to salvage some of the technology used in the big suv and truck hybrids that did not sell well on the 500e. It really is no surprise how much the suppliers are contributing to today’s manufacturers, especially on smaller production run vehicles. Perhaps Bosch should get a “Powertrain by Bosch” tag the way GM used to put “Body by Fischer” tag on some GM vehicles.

    I don’t understand John why you cannot understand why one union local can vote a particular way and other locals differently. Is this any different than getting a different price from one dealer than another for the same type of vehicle?

    I am the only one who does not “get” the BMW 4 series?

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #16 BMW 4 not needed, IMHO

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, with every pure EV, you need a Honda generator, in case of power outages.

  19. ColoradoKid Says:

    C-Tech – 16

    ” I am the only one who does not “get” the BMW 4 series? ”

    You are not alone C-Tech . Far from it in fact ;-)

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t the 4 series just a re-name of the next generation 3 series coupe and convertible?

  21. M360 Says:

    John – In regard to the new BMW 4-series, you indicated that the 3.0L in-line six cylinder engine would be available. Whatever happened to the 4.2L in-line six cylinder that GM came out with in the GM SUV, the Chevy Trailblazer? It was one of those engines that GM bragged about when it came out, but when the Trailblazer was dropped, the engine went away, too. And, why is BMW so successful with the in-line 6, while other companies are not?

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    BMW 4 Series

    I think the question … at least in my mind is ;

    Why confuse the issue ? The 3-Series has always come in Coupe , Convertible , Sedan and ( everywhere but here with a few exceptions ) Touring [ wagon ] models .. along with a multitude of M and M-Sports variants since day one . So why suddenly call the coupes/convertibles … 4-Series ?

    That IMO makes about as much sense as Lincoln now calling themselves ‘ The Lincoln Motor Company ‘ [the pretentiousness of that name change never fails to annoy me ] … or even worse …. Infiniti’s out of the blue re-naming of their entire model line up .

    New for newness sake I’m afraid … to heck with the customers perception . And why am I betting all those changes came about due to Focus Group and Survey results ?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was hoping they would put that 4.2 in the Camaro. Maybe it was too long, and wouldn’t fit. Also, it seemed kind of thirsty in the TrailBlazer, but that vehicle was kind of porky, and draggy, so maybe it wasn’t the engine.

    As far as BMW, they have retained a bit of their soul as a brand for purists, keeping the in-line six, though now, only in turbo form in the U.S., except in the outgoing 3 wagon.

    The main reason most in-line sixes are gone, is packaging. While V-6 engines are compromised, needing balance shafts and splayed crank pins to be smooth, they package better than long, in-line sixes in both longitudinal and transverse applications. Mercedes used in-line sixes longer than most companies, but theirs mostly went away when the 3 valve 3.2 V-6 came along.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    At least there is logic in the 4 series, 6 series thing, with the even numbers being used for the 2 door cars. Still, I don’t see the point. Everyone knows what a 3 series coupe and convertible is, so why change the name?

  25. G.A.Branigan Says:

    In my opinion (worth what ya pays to read it) GM should have revamped the 4.2 I6 for the 1/2 ton series of trucks,assign the new 4.3 to the mid-size twins that are coming out,as well as the ‘big engine option’ in the suv mobiles that are front drive.With the up-to-date engine improvements that GM has been doing the I6 would have been an efficient torque monster just right for rwd trucks.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Would the 4.2 fit in the pickups, as they are designed, or would it be too long? If it would fit, and with some tweaks it didn’t have in its previous life, it might work well.

    It always seemed more like a “car engine,” even though it was never used in a car. I drove a TrailBlazer, and the engine seemed powerful, but a little peaky. Modern tweaks, like variable valve timing, would help that, but, being a 4 valve engine, it would probably still make its peak torque and peak power at relatively high rpm.

    Did someone in some other part of the world buy the tooling, or does GM still have it?

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Honestly I don’t know what they did with the 4.2.Maybe it is being revamped for future use.Maybe T can shed some light on the subject.As far as the 4.2 maybe fitting into the engine bay of a 1/2 ton,I’m pretty sure it would,with room to spare.

    If it were up to me,this would be the lineup for the new midsize twins: Whatever 4 banger gasser they have for the base rwd model.The 4.3 V6 for the 4×4 base on up,and the 2.8L Diesel as an option for all the 4×4′s,and 4×2 ext cab long beds.

    Diesel 1/2 ton GM’s: they had better get their collective sierra together and start working on that in particular.Ram will be a runaway hit when it comes out PROVIDING they don’t price themselves out of what will be,a lucrative market.

  28. Richard Arnold Says:

    The concept of odd numbers for BMW sedans & even for coupes & convertibles is as old as the 6 Series (a coupe version of the 5 Series) & short-lived 8 Series (a coupe with 7 Series chassis & engine). BMW probably had this in mind when it changed the Z3 to Z4 & when it named the Z8. In BMW’s vision of SUVs, an X1, X3, or X5 would become X2, X4, or X6 when it gets swoopy.

    John, the way you worded the statement about the 2 engines in the 4 Series took me aback for a moment. It almost sounded as if only the coupe would be available with the 6 banger, so I checked. Both the 3 & 4 will be offered with the same engine choices with 1 possible exception. It looks as if the only way to get a 4 Series with a diesel will be to buy a 328d & change the badging yourself.

    Take the rest of the day off with pay.

  29. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I have the 4.2L in my Olds Bravada. It is powerful, has good torque but is a little thirsty (though it does get what was posted on the EPA sticker: 16/21; I get a little better hwy: 23). It already has variable valve timing but it is only on the exhaust valves. Maybe a redo could have brought it better mileage/horsepower with direct injection and intake variable valves as well. A six speed might complete a successful comeback had GM wanted to give it another try; it is a smooth running powerplant too. And it was part of the 4/5/6 cylinder engines offered (at the time). Maybe the corporate 3.6L V-6 just made more sense; I don’t know.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like inline sixes, just because they are inherently smooth without the band aids V-6′s need. The down side is that they are long.

    They really seem to like that 3.6, using it in about everything GM builds with a six cylinder engine. The 4.3 is the only exception. Even though I’d like to see it, I’d be surprised if the 4.2 returns.

    The new 4.3 might find its way into Camaros, but probably not any front drivers. Are you out there, TB? Maybe you can clue us in.

  31. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM I6

    Assuming Wikipedia is correct … its still being made ..

    So yeah …. where is it being used ?

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    ‘With the closing of the Moraine, OH plant and the termination of the GMT-360 platform (Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, etc.) the Atlas LL8 (Vortec 4200) has also been terminated. The smaller I4 and I5 variants are still produced’.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Now that the Colorado/Canyon are discontinued, the Atlas 4 and 5 cylinder engines would be gone as well. Is that not correct?

  34. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The new Colorado/Canyon will be out by the end of this year from what I understand.As to power,I don’t know yet.Rumors and speculation is all the info available….including a 2.8L I4 CRD.

  35. T. Bejma Says:


    Got a unique opportunity to meet in an almost 1 on 1 meeting with Mark Reuss this Wednesday. If there are any “realistic” pressing questions you would like me to pass on to the President of GM North America, please let me know.

  36. Bernd Says:

    Excuse me folks,

    the Fiat 500L is based neither on the Panda nor on the SX4. It shares the platform with the Fiat Punto.
    That is a sister model of the Opel Corsa which itself uses the GM Gamma platform also underpinning the Chevy Sonic.
    So the 500L could be a cousin of the Sonic, in case they use the same generation of the platform.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Tell Mark to start selling the Cruze hatch in the U.S.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The ultimate CLA:

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    So whats up with this GM ?

    Lack of transparency and closed doors while still on our Dime ? Again ?

    So yeah T …. how about dumping this one on Reuss’s lap ? I’m dying to see how he wriggles /BS’s his way outta this one . Then again … maybe you shouldn’t . Asking questions like this with the likes of Mark Reuss may just cost you your job ;-)

    The ‘ ultimate CLA . IMO a bit of an oxymoron in light of its Nissan/Renault underpinnings .

  40. ColoradoKid Says:

    36 – EXCUSE me Bernd … but the entirety of the EU?UK automotive press have been discussing the SX4 underpinnings of the 500L for well over a year now . Its a known fact . FYI … FIAT SpA … much like GM here is Known for their constant re-labeling of platforms in order the deceive .


    35 – Oh wait . Ignore my ‘ question ‘ in #39 . This is GM we’re talking about . You want ” Yes Men ” questions for Mr Ruess …. not real ones.. seeing as how GM doesn’t ‘ deal ‘ in reality . … never mind . More fool me ;-)

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    On the CLA, yeah, that was my thought when I put “the ultimate CLA” in my post.

    That is impressive power they are getting out of that 2 liter turbo, though. It might not be goid to use that 355 hp too often, though, if you care about reliabillity.

  42. ColoradoKid Says:

    Oh … but one last for Mr Bejma . A GM employee who’s very lively hood is dependent on the company .. interviewing one of the big wigs at GM does not constitute ‘ Reporting ‘ in any way shape or form . What that does constitute is yet another round here of blatant and unrepentant GM PROPAGANDA on this site !

    See T … genuine ( albeit these days rare ) reporting is by its very nature … Unbiased .

    Funny again how its almost always GM putting forth the propaganda here .

    Whats that old adage ?

    ” The more one feels a need to Defend oneself in the public eye …. the more need there must be to Defend oneself ”

    Think about that for a minute .

    So whats up next here …. another round of HyundaiShill ? The return of the Sybils ? Ugh .

  43. ColoradoKid Says:

    41 – Suffice it to say when it comes to the entire CLA , GLA line up from Mercedes . I’m not a fan … of any of them . IMO they are a cheapening of the brand .

    Sad thing is ….. I’m betting they sell . Which would then no doubt result in M-B going even further down market . Which IMO would be better accomplished by offering us the base versions of their current line up rather than FWD Nissan/Renault based cars

    Oh well .

    The way I figure it … at this rate by the year 2020 there won’t be a car on the market worth even considering other than for basic transportation . Which that being the case we all may as well buy a Corolla and call it a day

    See Pedro !!! You’re a good seven years ahead of the curve :o

  44. HtG Says:

    43 You hit a line drive, right there, CK. Future enthusiasts will have been weened on video games, PDKs and smartphones. (not as much fun as watching Don Draper fall apart, I must say)

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, baby! that CLA goes for $48k!! $48K for a 4 cyl sedan? that has got to be some kind of record price, I like the fact that they first review the very top-of-the-line model out of that car, this is done to create buzz, even though 95% of CLA sold will NOT be the 45 AMG

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, but it has a three pointed star on the snout.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit you know what they can do with that 3 pointed star, right?? some of us have our feet a little more planted on this here planet than others. You could get his and hers V6 Camry or Accord for one of those 4 cyl wundercars,

  48. Bernd Says:

    40 – very interesting CK, especialy since I am european, still live here and never read a single word about it.
    May you have a link please?
    As far as I could find out, the SX4 is based on a streched Swift platform.
    Fiat Punto and 500L use the sccs platform
    which was also used for GM’s Corsa D and would be a Gamma 1.5 if one would try to force it into the Gamma platform history.