Episode 714 – More Frankfurt Reveals, BMW Tests Autonomous Car, Innovative Helmet

August 31st, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:43

Ford, Land Rover and Audi all reveal new concepts and vehicles ahead of their debut at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show. BMW has equipped a 5 Series with autonomous vehicle technology and is testing it out on the highway. A company called Voztec has come up with an innovative helmet to help emergency responders at the scene of a motorcycle crash. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions about Ford, the UAW and EVs in the “You Said It!” segment.


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This is Autoline Daily for the last day of August in 2011. Wow, is this year flying by!

Ford is giving us a hint of what its future designs will look like. Could this be the face of the new Ford Fusion? Meet the Evos concept car which is headed to the Frankfurt Auto Show. Notice how the lower trapezoidal grille has shrunk in size and how the main grille has taken on that shape. Another feature that jumps out are the very narrow slit-like LED headlamps. And the glass-covered roof creates an almost unbroken greenhouse from the leading edge of the windshield to the trailing edge of the backlite. Flared fenderwells and taut lines on the doors give the car a muscular look. Forget the fastback design and the gullwing doors, that’s just eye candy for the auto show. Instead, study the main graphics because Ford is clearly signaling where it’s taking the design of its future cars.

And yes, here’s another Frankfurt preview! The Land Rover DC100 concept is a modern take on the iconic Defender. The company has confirmed it’s on track to start producing a new version of this rugged, go-anywhere vehicle in 2015. The DC100 could fit the bill. Land Rover is playing things close to its vest. Other than a short press release it hasn’t released any more information on this truck, so stay tuned.

But Audi isn’t shy in sharing what it has coming at Frankfurt. The German automaker plans to introduce four, yes four, of its high performance S-branded vehicles. The list includes hopped-up versions of the A6 – both sedan and Avant variants – the A7 and the brand’s flagship A8. These cars don’t look terribly different from their more pedestrian counterparts, but there are significant changes where the sun don’t shine. Tops on that list is a new 4.0-liter TWIN TURBOCHARGED V-8. In the S6 and 7 it delivers 420 horsepower, but in the 8 output is 512 ponies with an equally impressive 479 pound-feet of torque! Zero to 60 should take just 4.2 seconds. Paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission, the new engine also features cylinder deactivation so it should be more fuel efficient than the V-10 it replaces . . . but that’s only if you can resist the temptation to let ‘er rip.

BMW is now testing autonomous vehicles on the highway. The company equipped a 5 Series with intelligent software and a number of vision and detection sensors. At the push of a button this car can accelerate, brake and pass slower cars at speeds of up to 130 km/h or about 81 MPH. The company says the biggest challenge is getting the car to react properly when traffic is merging and exiting. BMW is now working to get the autonomous vehicle to deal with road construction sites, since not all of them are the same.

I love this next story. A company called Voztec has come up with an innovative helmet to help emergency responders at the scene of a motorcycle crash. According to Gizmag, to put on the helmet, the rider opens a hinged back-section and then tightens the helmet by clipping it down. Instead of a chin strap, the helmet features a chin cup, which the company says makes it fit more snugly. In an accident a latch on top of the helmet allows the front portion to be removed from the back, so paramedics don’t have to cut off the helmet to help save the rider.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Jon M. heard me say that no one I’ve met in the auto industry believes that electric cars are going to hit the very optimistic sales targets that some governments and analysts have predicted. He says, “You are spot on with your insight on the EV study. Most automakers know first hand that estimating sales AND consumer responses is a crap shoot. Estimating sales volumes is an analysis managers are always reformulating to better prognosticate what NO ONE can know for certain. It’s akin to consulting a clairvoyant to play the lottery!”

Jon M. thanks for that feedback. The only way I can see electric cars catching on in big numbers is if the Arab Spring turns into the Arab nightmare and oil prices spiral out of control. But if oil prices stay anywhere close to $100 a barrel, EVs are going to have a hard time finding the millions of customers that some are predicting.

John 787 thinks we are too pro-Ford. “Why is it when Ford comes out with something new, this site raves about it when all Ford is doing is playing catch-up. I’m talking about the new Ford 2.0-liter EcoBoost, better known to me as EcoBoast. VW and GM had EcoBoost equivalent years before Ford.”

John787, you’re right, Ford is not the first to use turbos with direct fuel injection and DCTs. But you’re missing one ingredient. What makes Ford’s application as good as it is, is the software that controls all this. It really is good and that’s what’s allowing Ford to put this technology in big vehicles like the Explorer, the Edge, and you watch, even the Lincoln MKT. So far GM and VW have only put it in C-class sized vehicles.

Dcars is puzzled why Porsche thinks it can take on Ferrari. “Porsche wants in on Ferrari’s market? Who are these people that buy these cars? And what is the size of the market for these expensive cars? It seems like VW has a lot of high end brands.”

Dcars, this is all about the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. The market for high end cars is skyrocketing thanks to emerging markets, and Porsche has the brand cache to give Ferrari a run for its money.

Jesse saw my interview with UAW vice president Cindy Estrada on Autoline This Week and is hopping mad. “Who does the UAW think they are? Please, go away already. You’ve screwed things up long enough.”

But that prompted Buzzerd to weigh in. “So Jesse what exactly has the UAW screwed up? Is it getting people a good wage and benefits? Yeah, that’s terrible.”

And that’s the dilemma the UAW is facing. How do you provide workers with a decent standard of living at the same time you keep the unionized car companies competitive with automakers who don’t have unions, or who have much lower labor costs.

Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow night when our guest will be Clay Dean, the head of Advanced Design at General Motors. We’ll be diving into the design details of the Cadillac Ciel concept car which clearly signals the direction that Cadillac design will be going in the next few years. Join me and Peter De Lorenzo, that bodacious Autoextremist for the best insider information of what’s going on in the world of automobiles.

And that’s the end of today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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100 Comments to “Episode 714 – More Frankfurt Reveals, BMW Tests Autonomous Car, Innovative Helmet”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    FORD Evos Concept ;

    1) This looks as good if not better than the recent Aston Martin designs .

    2) If FORD would drop the hybrid hype , stick a quality range of motors in it , including the Taurus SHO motor , make it in RWD and AWD to suit the Snow and No Snow Zones …

    FORD would have to hire extra security for all its dealers to keep the potential buyers from storming the place

    Built It FORD

    As IS ( looks wise )


    Cause if you do you’ll be shocked at how much of the Foreign business you’ll be stealing away

    The Evos is the opportunity of a Lifetime . Lets hope FORD doesn’t drop the ball on this one . Again !

  2. tj Martin Says:

    Take a gander at this article ;


    Rather telling if you ask me :(

  3. HtG Says:

    That Evos is a looker, starting with the more discrete ‘trapezoidial grill.’

    Hey, John. Exactly what parts on Peter DeLorenzo are you calling beaudacious?

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    If that is an indication of where Ford styling is going, they got a good future ahead, another autonomous story, why do these companies continue to pursue this pet project, BMW should work to improve reliability instead.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    #4 Amen !

  6. HtG Says:

    @4 Because drivers are increasingly becoming geezers, Pedro. Old primates dozing off and searching for the nearest catheter, young chimps texting about ham sandwiches, and awful commutes, all call for advanced high mark-up technologies.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    #6 to those I say: Take mass transit instead, with its built-in wi-fi and text your heart away to your bff or to your significant something or other and leave the road to those who actually enjoy the experience. speaking of the former seen two 500′s in last 2 days, both driven by young, clueless chicks. That POS looks worse in person than in photos.

  8. HtG Says:

    I wonder what will happen in the future, when people like me will be able to ID a car being driven by a computer. Will it be tempting to drive up to the front or rear corner, and get close enough to confuse the computer? Or slow down in front of one for some puerile thrill? Jussayin’

  9. HtG Says:

    Won’t I be able to drive up behind some Bimmer hogging the left lane, and force the computer to get the flying________ out of my way? Jussayin’

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The problem I see with the ‘latched’ helmet, is, well the latch. Many motorcyclists already avoid the full faced pivoted chin bar typed helmets because of, well, safety; they, the manufacturers, haven’t been able to make the chin bar mechanisms stronge enough to provide a closed position in all crashes.

    I’ll take a wait and see on Ford’s new concept; what makes it into production will be the ‘proof of the pudding’; looks pretty good though.

  11. HtG Says:

    My apologies to zee hard vorking Ingenieuren of BMW who are doing their ganze totaler best to solve zee grosse Probleme off deezer Welt.

  12. shan Says:

    How is it that a company like Land Rover can maintain enough high end customers with it’s hideous track record with quality?

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    #12 If you can figure that out, you may have resolved one of the greatest mysteries in the history of mankind!

  14. LS ford Says:

    Love the Evos, the only concern as pointed out above, is what will the car actually drive like? Another FWD snoozer? or an all EV ridiculous car that no one will want to buy (IE the Honda CRZ).

    Styling is great, now what of the Lincoln version of the platform? I can already picture this car with that ugly Lincoln WATERFULL grille.

  15. HtG Says:

    @12 Because their customers are buying into a lifestyle. Go to a dealership; it’s a managed head trip dreamed up by Charlie Hughes and his merry band of meisters.

  16. tj Martin Says:


    Actually HtG if one were to take a clue from the forums in the UK when it comes to these ridiculous Autonomous Automobiles ( if you can call these automobiles ) Its the whole Dyslexic Hummingbird generation thats all hyped up about them

    Repeatedly you’ll see posts like ;

    ” Oh now I can text and twitter as well as watch a video while ” driving ”


    ” Heck yes , with these cars I could get as drunk or _____ as i want and not have to worry about getting pulled over ”


    ” finally I’ll be free of the responsibilities of driving so’s I can pay more attention to the important things in life …. like my Facebook and Youtube as well as Tumblr accounts ”

    All 18 – 30 year olds ( at least thats what they say ) All to a number about as much a GearHead as an Agoraphobic Computer nerd .

    Nope HtG its not us ( 40 and over ) that has the desire to stop THINKING and doing for ourselves .

    Its the Kiddies who for all practical purposes already have .

  17. tj Martin Says:

    # 12

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again ;

    Its ALL about the brands baby . Nuthin else matters but that pretentious badge on the hood .

    Stick a Land/Range Rover badge on the snout of some Former Eastern European Block piece of Junk Ex Military heap and you wouldn’t be able to make them fast enough to meet the demand

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys: I’ve read that the Ford Ka and the Fiat 500 share the same platform, do you know how that came about? I believe the Ka get good reviews.

  19. HtG Says:

    @16 Disagree. I have the suspicion that premium automakers, especially, know that their clientele is getting feebler by the birthday, yet they have the money to buy fat and juicy cars. These people have slower reflexes, doze off, can’t get in and out of low seats, don’t know where they’re going, can’t talk and turn at the same time, but still want everyone to know how much money they can blow. Luxury car makers need to keep these imperatives quiet lest they give younger types the impression they’re driving an old man’s car. Go driving during the late morning when all the retirees are doing their shopping. Once you go, you’ll know.

  20. SalvadorG. Says:

    - I love concept cars, most of them are just that concepts
    - I honestly can’t see what JohnMc. sees
    - It looks more like a Ford Focus on steroids
    - I got more hope for the new Land Rover concept
    - or until I see the next gen. Ford WRC car, not the Fiesta version.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    The FORD WRC is the Fiesta . There is no other on deck as of now

  22. tj Martin Says:


    Here’s the poop pedro

    The FIAT 500 , which is built on the FIAT Panda platform ( hence my rants about the 500 being built on a cheap FIAT rather than a bespoke platform as the MINI is ) which is also shared by the Lancia Ypsilon and ………….

    The FORD Ka . Also the Ka is built in the same FIAT plant as the 500 , Panda and Ypsilon .

    So much for the World Car thread being a conspiracy theory

  23. tj Martin Says:


    HtG Oh come now mien freund , if that were the case Range Rover wouldn’t be trying to push their new Evocative Evoque down the Kiddies throats as an over priced over weight OTT MINI for the Trust Fund Set .

    As well as its mainly the 30-40 year olds that are buying into the mainline Range/Land Rovers … not us older folks ( smart acre that you is )

  24. tj Martin Says:

    Feebler indeed !

    As I’ve told more than one young whippersnapper , I may be old enough to have brought you into this World but I can guarantee you I’m young enough to take you out of it .

    Wink Wink :o

  25. HtG Says:

    Did I say something?

    But seriously, still awake?, I’m only thinking that cars are being tailored to an audience of older people as well. It’s just that the marketing isn’t going to make a point of it.

  26. SalvadorG. Says:

    - tj,
    - I watched the WRC,
    - I already know that
    - Stop assuming you know me and
    - since the Fiesta is still new and replaces the Focus version.
    - What part of Next Gen. don’t you get?

  27. tj Martin Says:


    But seriously HtG

    It really is the Brat Pack that’s begging for these Virtual Auto Autonomous Vehicles .

    All the older folks like myself and pedro are to say the least suspicious of a car that drives itself , not to mention the loss of genuine freedom autonomous vehicles present . Jeeze that Automated Stop feature on the Volvo had me freaked out to the point of walking away .

    Nope HtG if anything I see and hear about more folks my age digging up and restoring older cars with Zero nannies so they can ENJOY driving a bit more .

    But I have a cheaper solution to the Brat Packs whims .

    Heard about the Virtual Online Village where you pay real money to live and function in ? ( God I wish I was making this up but it even was on 60 Minutes )

    Well how’s about we pull all the Brat Packers OFF the Real Roads , sell them a boat load of Virtual Autonomous Vehicles and let them tear up their virtual World while the rest of us actually enjoy living a REAL life .

  28. dcars Says:

    Thanks for answering my comment John, I appreciate the insight.
    I asked those questions because I’m 50 and I know of two Ferrari dealerships, one in London England and one in Philadelphia. In addition I think I’ve seen a about five Ferrari’s in the “wild.” The only other ones that I have gazed upon have been on TV or behind a rope at a car show.

  29. tj Martin Says:


    Guess that depends on which part of [ There is no other WRC car in Fords future as of now ] you don’t get .

    FYI ; I was just commenting , stating a simple fact , so quit making a fuss over nothing .

  30. tj Martin Says:


    As an ex Ferrari owner ( who actually drove his when he owned them ) as well as still having a reasonably active role in the FOCNA I can tell you that 95% of all Ferraris purchased in the last decade have been driven less than 5K and change hands at least once every other year .

    Hence hardly none being on the road to speak of . Also if you ever have the opportunity to drive any of the current Ferraris you’ll realize toot suite that they are not meant to be driven on the roads . Fact is they’re not meant to be driven on the track either ( though many a pretentious Ferrari owner does thinking he owns a race car )

    Nope Ferraris these days are built to be looked at and on the rare occasion driven . Unlike Porsches . Which is why I’m hoping Porsche comes to their senses ( especially with the BRIC economies on the verge on implosion ) and drops the whole compete with Ferrari thing .

  31. SalvadorG. Says:

    - @29
    - And I too know there is no other WRC car in Ford future as of now
    - FYI.. I was procrastinating on Ford next gen. car
    - Which is why I wrote
    - “.. until I see Ford’s Next Gen. WRC car”
    - and I said “no the Fiesta version”, because the Fiesta is still the New.

    - And that was my simple comment as well. ok?

  32. MJB Says:

    @#1,3,4 +1

    Surely this car will, as Johnny Mac pointed out, never go to production with gull-winged doors. That aside, Ford had BETTER stay true to this concept.

    This car is a game changer design-wise. Up until now, despite their lack of sales, market share and product reliability/quality, Chrysler continues to push out more appealing designs than Ford & GM.

    The Evos could spark a shift in that tide making Ford the one to watch. This could be Ford’s 300 & PT Cruiser combined in terms of sheer mass appeal and gotta-have-it cache – both of which will translate into huge $ALE$ numbers.

    And Ford, PLEASE don’t try and sqeeze this car into an overpriced EV.

  33. W L Simpson Says:

    If I were king, unions would go COLA & stop protecting deadbeats.

    Ford’s Audi look would be an improvement.

  34. Phoenix Mark Says:

    tj is right,

    These autonomous cars are targeted at the younger crowd. The ones whose parents bought in car entertainment system to keep them quiet. The ones on Ritalin for 15 years. No, I prefer to drive myself. But, maybe it is a good idea to have autonomous cars for the young, I can’t be bothered, crowd.

  35. HtG Says:

    In re Ferruri. I know of a gent(Esq.) who has owned 8 F cars, with each one bought on lease for tax purposes. He dumps the cars shortly before the big timing chain service. Pretty picture, eh tj? (guess who it is!)

  36. tj Martin Says:

    Never Ending SAAB Story ;


    It just keeps getting uglier by the minute . Pay close attention to the $$$ needed just to get SAAB moving again , then the $$$ needed for salaries per ….. and well this loan is like trying to put out a house fire with a child’s squirt gun .

  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 35 No clue . Could be any number of lawyers out there doing the same . That’s a more common scenario today than the Old Man would of ever tolerated back in the day .

  38. HtG Says:

    Used cars. I drove by a local used car dealer today for the first time in a while, and noticed his inventory has flipped over. Now, he’s got a lot full of Civics and Accords, whereas earlier I would see more larger cars and SUVs. And those Civics were of the 5 years and up vintages. He’s still got some small SUVs, but they’re not prominently displayed at all.

  39. SalvadorG. Says:

    - MJB,
    - It just hit me
    - If Ford do happen to make something out of this concept
    - Do you really think it would come to the U.S?
    - I not saying, Ford wouldn’t
    - but it is their trend to stay in Europe
    - or at least for the first few years.

  40. HtG Says:

    @37 I ain’t sayin’ neither!

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    I’ve got it in my mind for the Evos to be a genuine Audi RS4 / BMW M3 stomping monster in its ultimate guise , with several tamer models below it for the general public .

    @ SalvadorG – Fair enough but a more polite language would of been appreciated . My comment stems from the fact that the only car in Fords future that fits into the dimensional requirements of the FIA WRC regs is the Fiesta , therefore all bets are on the next Fiesta being Fords WRC car as well unless a drastic change in the rules comes about

    FYI For future reference if my intent is to belittle or insult , believe me you’ll know it . Blunt being my M.O. Otherwise just take it as a comment or response to what you’ve said .

    Also IF these are not already on your radar http://www.wrc.com and to a lesser extent http://www.autosport.com are the best and most up to date and reliable news sources about the WRC’s past , present and future including any substantial rumors floating about .

  42. HtG Says:

    SAAB. The wind is changing directions. Today the US said it would block the ATT takeover of TMobile. One reason I heard, was that the merger would hurt jobs. QE3 anyone?

  43. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    You’re becoming a real tease of late HtG !


  44. HtG Says:

    So, NO SOUP FOR ME, tj?

  45. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB


    I’m thinking of the Evos being a real Audi RS4 / BMW M3 stomper in its ultimate guise , with a series of lesser models for the general public .

  46. shan Says:

    Maybe in 25 years we will just sit in a car, voice a destination and sit back and watch the news via a holographic display. While never stopping at a gas station and never having to manually parallel park a car anymore lol.

  47. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    No soup , no Pasta , no Pizza , no Risotto .

    Not even a cracker for you till you fess up !

  48. tj Martin Says:

    Oh heck the first part of #41 got repeated on #45 as I thought it’d disappeared .

    Mea Culpa :(

  49. dcars Says:

    #30 TJ and #35HTG the one I did see close up sounded great the engine was under glass. It’s interesting that they aren’t a very comfortable car to drive. I guess these things just serve financial goals at this point ie tax shelters and some place to put money for a while.

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @ shan

    isn’t that called a subway or a bus ? LoL


  51. john787 Says:

    Ford can be the first to build such an exotic design, but maybe those at Ford responsible for pushing such a design, should read the book by Alvin Toffler, “Future Shock”. The book is about how people resist changes even when it’s for the better. If Ford goes ahead with such a design, sales will drop like a rock.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ dcars

    One more for today , just for you .

    The 458 I drove . The tranny in a vain attempt to convince the driver he/she’s in an F1 car hits so hard I had bruises on my lower back after driving it for some 45 minutes

    The suspension in the ( urp ) ” Comfort” setting was four times as harsh as my MINI was in Sport mode .

    In track mode it was ludicrously harsh , yet not nearly a ” Race Car ” in its capabilities

    The blind spots ( a pet peeve of mine ) were numerous

    And the interior for a car of that price felt …….. cheap !

  53. HtG Says:

    oOFA! Pedro. I saw a 500 in Mocha Latte today which may take the cake. It truly reminded me of an elephant that had just come out of a wallow. Don’t know what Laura Soave was thinking on this one. (yeah, harsh)

  54. HtG Says:

    every time I recall it in my mind, I just stop breathing

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    #53 Or the scene in Jurassic Park when Jeff Golblum checks out the dino poo and deadpans: “That is one big pile of shit”

  56. HtG Says:

    Pedro Fernandez, working blue! No cover

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    The 500 from behind reminds me of the Smart from the same angle, wider rear track and narrower in front, I don’t like that look one bit. Speaking of all these fancy sports cars, years ago I met a fellow who had a Countach with a vette engine and a Fiero tranny, asked him about it, he says only good to show up in South Beach and attract the chicks, anymore than 2 hrs. of driving, it’s just unbearable.

  58. SalvadorG. Says:

    - tj,
    - My comment about the next Ford WRC gen.
    - is more about design, not the actual car
    - Ford’s new concept takes a lot of cues from
    - current models
    - European models
    - some of which Ford first showed with their WRC cars
    - a long side new concepts models
    - which is something that is commonly done in Europe
    - when a concept car goes to actual production
    - example: The New Mini Countryman and it’s WRC brother
    - I am waiting to see what the next gen. Ford WRC
    - because that is more of a cue, at least to me;
    - of what the next step in design from Ford would be
    - Not this Frankfurt concept that Mr. McElroy think it is.
    - at least in Europe.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    And on the subject that annoying little punk Justin Bieber had a minor accident in his Ferrari F430 supercar, why is that kid driving around in an adult car? get yourself a limo with a driver you dummy!

  60. HtG Says:

    Justin Bieber in an F430! Think of it Luca. Now you can sell ten more cars to the children of the Chinese plutocracy/organ extractors!

    (ooh, harsh today, can’t blame the caffeine either)

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG by any chance, were you watching old videos of Don Rickles on you-tube like I was?

  62. HtG Says:

    Don Rickles is my spiritual father, Pedro.

    (I’ll have to check out his clips. Best line ever, “Frank says it’s OK to laugh.”

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Loved him in those Dean Martin roasts. I look at them once in while to remember how funny comedians used to be without having to use profanity.

  64. HtG Says:

    When Rickles or Buddy Hackett used to come on Carson, well that was stay up late night. I remember my father and I laughing ourselves sick.

  65. tj Martin Says:


    Justin Beiber in an ancient F430 ? Heck , that ain’t nuthin .

    Paris Hilton’s got herself a 458 with a 458 Spyder on the way !

    All the more reason not to buy one !

    A FIAT 500 ? In ( urp ) elephant poop brown ? Eeeech ! You probably won’t sleep for a week after that sighting .

    Don Rickles ehh ?

    Wanna have a guess as to mine ?

    Lenny and Richard . With a touch of George . Like you couldn’t of guessed that one on your own .

    Hmmmn . Off to the kitchen mates . Oh wait . Nope we’ve got a concert and a catered buffet tonight , so no Tj’s Cafe this evening . Not that I’d of shared any with you HtG anyways :o

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj, you and the Missus sure are living a charmed life, God bless, buddy!!

  67. HtG Says:

    Hear that, Pedro? We’re on our own tonight. I’ll be at the gokarts. And you?

  68. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro & HtG

    Did either of you watch Top Gear BBCA this Monday where the Citroen DS3 spanked the heck out the FIAT 500 Abarth ? At the Monaco F1 course never the less .

    I fell over laughing . Abarth my blankety blank . Just another silly badge on the snout of a toy . Oh and I also ran across another 500 Special Edition for the EU/UK while researching the answer today for pedro ( Ka – 500 relationship )

    You’ll never guess .

    The Barbie Edition . I kid you not

    Hopeless . Marchionne’s madness marching on

  69. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Now don’t go hurting anybody with that Senna Left Foot Braking thing I taught you !!!!

  70. HtG Says:

    It’s myself I usually hurt. Downhill turns need respecting.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    Watching reruns of Fantasy Island with Tattoo and Mr Roarke, I also lead a charmed life. Actually it will be Top Gear I’m hooked on those crazy Brits.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    I did Tj It’s all cosmetic crap, zero substance. Just like the Corolla S, S for what?

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Everyone here seems to hate the Fiat 500, but, interestingly, I encountered a group of Dodge Ram driving, Harley riding people who liked its looks. There is a big car show/cruise in at the Kokomo, Indiana Chrysler transmission plants, and there were a couple 500′s on display. People considered the car to be “cute,” but, beyond that, a couple people I heard really liked the body color interior trim as an alternative to the usual nothing-but-black-or-grey that you get in most cars.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The display cars were red and silver. The red one got the attention, and, to me, red looks the best of any colors on the 500.

    These people were a bit out of touch with gas mileage of today’s small cars, as most seemed impressed with the very mediocre EPA ratings of the automatic cars on display.

  75. tj Martin Says:

    Oh Ye of Little Faith ;


    FIAT 500

    Saw a Red one on the road last night on the way to the concert . You wouldn’t think a RED car could be boring . The Mrs said it looked like a dull red loaf of bread .

    Its amazing how different a car can look on the road with other cars in comparison to sitting on a lot or show with its own kind .


  76. tj Martin Says:

    FIAT 500

    So having driven one and now seen a couple on the road here’s my conclusions ;

    1) If you want your 500 to look even a bit interesting you’d better plan on springing for a ton of graphics , wheels etc because unlike the MINI which looks mighty sharp sans graphics ( and I should know as does HtG ) the 500 looks like a loaf of bread without all the junk plastered on

    2) The interior like the exterior is lacking in any visual interest but from what I’ve seen from the options catalogue there aint much t be done about that . Unless of course you buy one of the ” Special Editions ” ( urp ) should they make it to the US

    3) Driving one ( even the Abarth from all the reviews ) once again is nothing to write home about . Heck the little Honda Fit is as dynamic a driver as the 500 .

    4) Nothing above should come as a shock to anyone familiar with the FIAT Panda which the 500 is built upon . The Panda from day one was always intended to be a dull , competent City Commuter and all FIAT’s ( lost ) magic hasn’t had any effect on changing the 500′s character .

    5) From all the UK/EU reports the FIAT 500 continues to live up to FIAT’s unfortunate reliability reputation

    Conclusion ;

    Save your pennies up and buy the MINI … because the fIAT 500 is;

    Disappointing to say the least


    Count Guitalfavatori

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, just the two tone paint helps make the MINI look sharp. Mine is probably the most common combination, red with white roof and mirrors, and I like the way it looks. I thought the red 500 looked ok, but it needs something to spice it up, maybe some chrome trim.

  78. HtG Says:

    I’m trying not to think of the 500 with sesame or poppy seeds stuck on it. Failing.

  79. cwolf Says:

    Just have to agree that the EVOS styling is beautiful. Many makers are turning towards more aerodynamic roof lines and are lower to the ground to reduce drag. But I have made two observations that have caught my attension. First,how do you clean the windows while reaching over the required larger dash boards? In many a way, cleaning the rear window from the inside takes an impossible amount of dexterity! Second; reduced ground clearances is resulting in pieces and parts lying all over the road. It used to be a “guy thing” to run over a racoon or ground hog in the road. Shelling out up to a grand for this hunt will make this habit easy to break! And if your road conditions are as bad as they are in Michigan,you’ll have to agree these “ground huggers” are severely disadvantaged. Heck, on my way to the pike, I have to drive over a mile stretch of asphault where the top 2 inches have been ground away in prep for resurfacing. Hit those leading and trailing edges faster than 20 mph and you know it! So do those who lost lower front facias and the strip of rubber benieth them. They are all over the place! For sure we need gov’t to put more of our money into bettering roads and bridges. Can’t think of an easier or better way to creat jobs that will get the ecomomy growing.

  80. pedro fernandez Says:

    C wolf what about speed bumps? we got them all over as far as cleaning the windshield they got this thing with a handle that is good for reaching such areas, I had a car that had an air dam thingy under the front bumper and it would break off all the time and I just stopped fixing it. re the 500, the Smart is worse and more expensive, so to each his own, if you feel happy and trendy and want to be different, by all means go buy a 500. Keep more Mexicans employed over there, less illegal immigration here.

  81. tj Martin Says:

    ( in response to cwolf’s #79)

    And now for those of you who still don’t understand why I went the SUV route with the new car , cwplf has done more than a good enough job of explaining . MO roads aint a whole lot better than those MI ones ( lack of $$$ for MODOT )

    Also I’m all for getting able bodied folks the hell off of welfare and out there repairing our roads , bridges and infrastructure .

    God knows there’s at least two years worth of work in VT alone after Irene , so this paying folks to do absolutely nothing is senseless .

    Time to drop the whole ” Politically Correct ; Everybody deserves a ” meaningful and creative job ” schtick and just get folks back to work with Zero options . e.g. If you’re able bodied you work or you get no money . Period .

    Garrison Keillor did a great monologue on this last night , and for the record got a standing ovation for it from a 90% NPR NPT audience ( it was a fundraiser event for those who got their tickets from KCPT )

    So again cwolf . Molto grazzi ! For both comments !

  82. tj Martin Says:

    # 81

    Ohhh you want Speed Bumps does ya pedro ?

    We gots them here in spades . Up to 4″ high in places ( MO road engineers aint the brightest bulbs in the box ) The saving grace with the MINI is its high ground clearance ( for a car its size )

    No doubt those damn Germans thinking ahead about …….. ummmm ……. snow ……… road hazards ……. Sleeping Policemen …..etc

    As to Top Gear BBCA . Know what makes that show sooooo much better than Top Gear USA and The Car Show ?

    Two of the three were serious automotive journalists in past lives who learned how to be TV personalities ( Clarkson and May ) and the third was a very serious Gearhead Radio personality who cleaned up his journalistic act to be on the show .

    Whereas both the Top Gear USA and The Car Show hosts are wanna be Gearheads that in fact are comedians ( except for Faust who’s an over paid stunt driver knowing zip about racing or road. Just look at Ken Block[heads] record in the WRC coming from Drifting ) who are desperately trying to learn to be Automotive Journalists .

    Not to mention the BBC Top gear gets a better budget , goes to much more desirable locations …… and they all three have a pretty stunning garage full of both classic and modern cars

  83. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Hows about a Rye – Pumpernickel swirl ?

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    We have a development here that instead of speed bumps. they use a trench-like thing which is deep enough that if you don’t slow down to a crawl, you WILL hit a vital part of your undercarriage, the 1st time I went there and was not familiar with it, I busted the oil pan, drain nut causing oil to leak and had to get towed, replace the oil pan and a $300 bill.

  85. cwolf Says:

    I get nothing of value from watching Top Gear and the hosts are about as interesting as Gauss,Gauss Garage Segment, on Motor Week. tj, I’m with ya that auto journalists make better hosts,but I would like to see more engrs. as hosts,too! As smart as I aint,I find an engrs perspective easier for me to get over mental blocks that hinder me more often than I would like.
    I also saw a rear view of the EVOS on DeLorenzo’s site,I think. I am mot inpressed with the rear window and the blind spots it would have. For some reason a mental picture of the old taurus rear oval window came into view. Fuggly!!!!
    By the way, Good Morning guys.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that the Evos is a sharp looking concept, but it’s a concept. It is not going to be the next Fusion, or Mustang, or anything else.

  87. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    If you’re looking in .

    So what’s the problem with the downhill curves in the Gokart ?

    Understeer or Oversteer ?

    And is it ( the gokart ) yours or a track rental ? ( that answer will either limit or expand the options )

    @ pedro

    # 84 Tank Trenches ? In a Civilian development ?

    OK maybe the MODOT engineers aren’t the dimmest bulbs in the box either .

  88. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Damn ! You just ruined my whole morning with the blind spots on the Evos revelation .

    What is it with these designer idiots ? Blind spots on SUV’s ( SRX EX FX ) blind spots on cars ( any Infiniti etc ) heck next they’ll design blind spots into P/U Trucks . Oh wait . Honda already has .

    Poop . Now I’m all down on the Evos . Just when I thought Ford was about to hit a home run ….. they foul out into left field …. again !!!

  89. tj Martin Says:


    Oh ….. and a bloody good morning to you as well !


  90. HtG Says:

    the problem with the downhill turn is that I came into it too fast and hit the barrier. I think here is where I need to sacrifice speed so I can brake at the right point for the corkscrew section of the turn as it continues downward. In all, the turn puts you through 270 degrees, and an elevation loss of 8-10 feet. When I hit, I recall looking at the spot I was going to hit, and then hitting it. Big mistake.

    could cwolf be on vacay?

  91. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    re; Evos

    Eeesh ! Just had a look at the photos on PDL’s site

    Calling those Blind Spots is an understatement !

  92. pedro fernandez Says:

    87 yes TJ a civilian development I think this was done once and when they realized how stupid it was, no one copied them. just saw a list of the biggest gas guzzlers and the Ford F150 Raptor makes the list along with Navigator and Ram 2500. Maybe Ford should put their Ecoboost V6 in both of these and get off that dreaded list.

  93. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    More facts needed

    Oversteer or Understeer ? Or 4 wheel drift ?

    Your Kart or a Track rental ?

  94. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Yeah , always look where you want to go , not where the kart is trying to send you .

    Thats a freshman mistake we need to rid you of .

  95. HtG Says:

    just too fast, and the cart got light, so I guess understeer. But the end of the turn calls for braking as the slope steepens in order to oversteer through the apex. Rental. and I do the lean away from the turn cheat.

  96. HtG Says:

    @94 FU. I know. But I F’d up. Next time I steer to the track attendant standing at the edge of the turn.

  97. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Wish i were there to give first hand advice but it sounds like you may be laying into the brakes too late and too hard .

    Try braking a tad earlier and do the dance with the accelerator ( remember you apply the brakes and the gas together , balancing which is the priority according to the needs of the moment )

    If the track has a skid pad or at least a flat area where you can play a bit without penalty , work on the Senna Dance there till you start feeling confident with the technique

    And Hey

    Someone woke up early again today

    Sept 1 ALD is already up !

  98. MJB Says:

    @51 : John787 says “If Ford goes ahead with such a design, sales will drop like a rock.”

    Are you kidding? The exact opposite will happen.

    Can you say, Hyundai Sonata???

  99. TorqThis Says:

    Unions are obsolete dinosaurs trying to grasp what piece of the pie they haven’t chased to China!

    That being said, if they want to better their members instead of lining their own pockets, why don’t they allow benefits to be tied to quarterly profit’s… A small and reasonable base salary with quarterly bonus checks based upon measurable criteria.

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