Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Watch: What the Heck is Torque, Anyway?


By: Sebastien Bell
Jeremy Clarkson once famously said that there is no earthly way to explain torque. The thing is, though, torque is actually simple. Horsepower is the really confusing one.
But Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is here to break it down.

As he explains, torque is just distance times force. Usefully, torque wrenches are a great example of how to measure torque. If you have a foot-long handle and you apply 5 lbs of pressure, you’re generating 5 lb-ft of torque.
See? Simple.
Power, meanwhile, is a measure of distance times force, with the added wrinkle of speed. To make matters worse, the unit we use to measure it is based off a weird and deliberately incorrect system.
Imagine that you’re noted Scottish inventor, James Watt and you need to convince miners to get rid of hungry, dangerous, and not very tasty draft horses and use your steam engine instead?
A catchy jingle? A hilarious witticism? Some sort of BOGO deal? Nope. You use this sexy little formula instead:
Watt was interested in getting more water out of a well than a horse, so he figured that one horsepower was the equivalent of being able to lift 75 kg by one meter in a second—and that’s being kind to the horses, who probably can’t maintain that pace. So it’s a measure of how much work can be done in a given amount of time.
In automotive terms, horsepower is torque times RPM. As Fenske explains, it’s the rate at which work is done, so more horsepower means more speed (as a rule).
So there you have it. The difference between horsepower and torque. Explained so simply that even a Clarkson can understand it.


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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Audi RS5 Sportback Coming to US in Addition to new Mystery RS Model


By: Sam McEachern
Audi has confirmed it will bring the RS5 Sportback to the United States, along with another mystery RS model.
Speaking to Roadshow during the 2018 Detroit auto show, Audi of America president Scott Keogh revealed the RS5 Sportback will eventually arrive in North America. The full-blown RS version of the A5 Sportback has yet to actually debut, but thanks to the RS5 Coupe, we already know what to expect. The RS5 Coupe is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 enginemaking 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, so you can expect it to appear along with a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic, AWD, beefier brakes, retuned suspension, different wheels and a bunch more RS equipment.
Keogh also said the company “has one other surprise” they are working on, adding that “it’s a “cool European model we haven’t brought in yet.” That doesn’t really narrow things down, but the European RS product that’s most likely to arrive in North America, we’d say, is the RS Q3. In a perfect world, Keogh would be referencing the new RS4 Avant, but we get the feeling that delicious wagon will remain forbidden fruit until it becomes eligible for US import in 25 years.


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Monday, January 29, 2018

22% of the 22 Least Economical Supercars are Made by VW


By: Jason Siu

It should hardly come as a surprise, but it surprised us, all the same, to find out that the Volkswagen Group makes five of the 22 least fuel-efficient supercars on the road.
Now, supercars are designed to do one—maybe two things. Go fast, look cool. Everything else falls by the wayside and expecting a supercar to also sip fuel is like expecting Arnold Schwarzenegger to fit into a clown car. That’s not to say, though, that the results aren’t entertaining.
It probably won’t come as a shock to find out that the Bugatti Chiron is the least economical supercar on Jalopnik’s list of fuel burniest supercars, based on EPA data.
Its 8.0 liter W16 is, after all, simply enormous. The engine follows in Bugatti’s rich tradition of making elephantine engines. Weighing in at 880 lbs, the engine alone weighs nearly as much as a whole 1962 Lotus 25 F1 car.
Add to that all the leather, metal, and frippery that adorn the luxurious Bugatti and you get a mile per gallon rated at just 11, combined. But you do get access to 1,500 hp, so it’s probably worth it.
The second least economical vehicle it, again, won’t surprise you to learn is from Italy. The Lamborghini Aventador S, with its 12 cylinders, 740 hp, and 6.5 liters of displacement manages a measly 12 mpg, combined, though that does go all the way up to 17 on the highway.
The other VW products are the Bentley Continental Supersports (14 mpg), the Audi R8 Spyder (17 mpg), and the Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive (19 mph).
Other highlights from the list are the Jeep Grand Cherokee (wait for it) Trackhawk, which makes 707 hp and goes 13 miles per gallon; the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which manages an impressive 13 mpg, despite making over 1,100 hp; the BMW M6, which despite kind of not being a super car will only propel you 17 miles per gallon of fuel; and Acura NSX Hybrid, whose electrified drivetrain only returns 21 mpg.
All of which is interesting largely because, despite its stated intention of leading the world in efficiency, the Volkswagen Group still makes quite a few cars that are the opposite. But don’t tell anyone that or else someone might notice and scrap some of these awesome projects.


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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Autostadt Museum Sees Record Number of Visitors for December


By: Scott Huntington
For Volkswagen fans, the Autostadt Museum definitely holds a spot on their bucket list. The museum is actually adjacent to the main Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, and its ultramodern architecture hides some of the greatest milestones in VW history. This year it reached another — in December of 2017, the museum set a new attendance record, bringing in the highest number of visitors in the building’s 24-year history.
Sales Numbers
The museum’s proximity to the VW factory also means that people often visit the museum to purchase a new VW right off the assembly line.  In the last year, 1 out of every 4 Volkswagens sold in the country was delivered to the museum for pick up. In 2017, that amounted to more than 142,000 vehicles total, which definitely helped to contribute to the record-breaking numbers that the location experienced.
Summer and Winter Events
There are two big events that usually provide the greatest draw at the Autostadt Museum — Cirque Nouveau in the summer months and the Winter Wonderland held during cooler weather.  This past year, the summer event brought in more than 340,000 guests, and the winter festivities brought more than 490,000 guests to the museum.
Overall, the events held by the museum were one of the biggest contributors to the record-breaking visitor numbers this year.  By the end of 2017, more than 2.22 million visitors had come to see everything that the museum had to offer.
Not Just for Grown-Ups
Autostadt isn’t just a museum for adults who enjoy cars — it’s also home to a comprehensive automotive educational center for students.  In 2017, more than 500,000 students participated in the museum’s extracurricular activities, leading to the educational program being honored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German UNESCO Commission.
Auto Museums Gaining Popularity
Can’t make it to Germany? Don’t worry, chances are there’s an auto museum near you. Their popularity has been growing over the last years, and continue to come up with new ways to draw visitors. Often showcasing more than just cars, many museums plan special events like Easter Egg hunts, sleepovers, or even chances to touch all the displays.
If 2017 is any indication, Autostadt Museum can probably expect great things in the coming year!


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