Designed by Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer, the BMW headquarters building in Munich, Germany, suggests the shape of four vertical cylinders in a car engine, while the neighboring museum structure represents a cylinder head. For almost 50 years this skeuomorphic high-rise has stood as an architectural landmark in the Bavarian capital, paying homage to the petrol-fueled engineering that drove the company’s success and made it one of the premier luxury and high-performance automakers in the world. At this legendary location, new BMW buyers receive the royal treatment, complete with airport pickup, a four-course meal prepared by celebrated chef Bobby Brauer, a tour of the BMW museum and assembly line, an interactive experience of the futuristic technology in the pipeline, and a full tank of gas when they drive away in their freshly minted BMW.
“Ever since Tesla shared a sketch of a small electric hatch last year, rumors have swirled around a sub-Model 3 offering that could allow the EV automaker to challenge the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt. Relatively little has been shared since on the progress of the Model 2, as it has unofficially been dubbed, despite Tesla’s habit of dropping hints about upcoming models for years ahead of launch…. Tesla CEO Elon Musk reconfirmed plans for such a $25,000 vehicle during Battery Day last year, indicating that it would arrive in three years, but has otherwise remained largely silent about the company’s progress on such a model.”
— Jay Ramey
‘Here’s Why a Tesla Model 2 Is a Must for the Company’
(Autoweek, March 1, 2021)
Battery Day Revelations
Are you ready for the cheapest, and perhaps the spunkiest, Tesla yet?
In 2006, Tesla’s CEO and co-founder Elon Musk shared his vision of investing the proceeds from the sale of his premium vehicles toward manufacturing a medium-volume car. Furthermore, he spoke of using the funds thereby accrued to subsidize the development of a high-volume, affordable electric vehicle (EV). In keeping with that objective, Musk hinted at his plans for the “Model 2” on Tesla’s Battery Day in 2020:
“Mr. Brown does not have a lot in common with Edmond Kirsch, the futurologist and entrepreneur of his book, but they do share a car: the Tesla Model X, the least expensive version of which costs about $80,000. Among other things, it can drive and park itself.”
From “The World According to Dan Brown”
by Sarah Lyall
(New York Times, Sept. 30, 2017)
Author Dan Brown is best known for the depiction of a memorable protagonist, Robert Langdon, a Harvard University professor of religious symbology and iconology. The professor appears in five of Brown’s fast-paced, bestselling novels. In Origin (2017), Robert Langdon—who possesses the mind of a nuclear physicist and the sensibilities of a secret agent—finds himself in a self-driving Tesla in Spain while on an urgent quest.
Knowing that Tesla cars are electric vehicles, the alert reader may wonder: If you find yourself in an unfamiliar city or region with a Tesla, how would you know where to recharge it? It’s not a far-fetched question. But not to worry. Tesla and Elon Musk have thought of that. The Tesla’s on-board computer is GPS-aware and will find the closest Supercharger or Destination Charger station for you!
The Autobahn in Germany—full name Bundesautobahn, which translates as “federal motorway”—has no speed limits for extensive stretches of asphalt. Cars are known to reach astonishing speeds of over 190 mph. It takes a dynamic automobile, like a BMW 440x, to accomplish such feats. While thrill-seekers on the autobahn do not earn glistening trophies or champagne showers, pleasure and pride are their coveted accolades.
Driving a safe, high-end vehicle like a BMW or a Tesla does not require the acumen and training of an astronaut captaining a SpaceX rocket. Instead, in most modern-day vehicles the sophisticated computers and software, hybrid fuel configurations, and state-of-the-art built-in diagnostic and calibration systems function autonomously or can be operated with a mere push of a button, or even just a simple voice command. However, these complex, automated operations are akin to synapses in the human brain—easily susceptible to disruption when some other part of the car is damaged.
In case you hadn’t noticed, gone are the days of the corner gas station with one skilled mechanic who “does it all.” The fast pace of technological change in the auto industry, especially in areas of innovation such as fabrication materials, safety, and computer diagnostics has rendered such quaint throwbacks obsolete. Today, the best “mechanics” are really now service technicians with expertise in electronics, plastics, metallurgy, structural engineering, cost estimating, refinishing, and insurance and other related skills.
Since different car manufacturers nowadays use different technologies and material mixes in the vehicles they produce, these service technicians obviously must face the challenge of becoming knowledgeable in working with those technologies and the recommended repair procedures specific to each make and model.
Can you imagine a greater contrast than that between vehicles from Ford Motors and those from Tesla, Inc.? With the dates of their respective foundings (1903 and 2003) separated by exactly 100 years, the two companies together in many respects encapsulate the full gamut of vehicle design and engineering evolution since the beginning of the automobile industry to the present day.
From the symmetry of their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system to the layout of the unique horizontal Boxer engine to the abundance of advanced safety systems, every Subaru vehicle is designed from the ground up to deliver the best driving experience possible. The infographic below will give you just a taste of the advanced features you will find in Subaru vehicles.
You may or may not know that Japanese car maker Honda also owns the Acura brand. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that, superficially at least, the Honda and Acura lineups bear some striking similarities. Indeed, some people say they are indistinguishable. Though Acura cars incorporate some of the same parts used in equivalent Honda models, and are manufactured to Honda levels of quality, the main difference is that Hondas are built for functionality whereas Acuras are built for luxurious comfort. Thus, Acura offers features not automatically available in Honda cars, such as more built-in entertainment options and power seats that can be heated or cooled.
Most automobile afficionados know that Hyundai and Kia are both South Korean car companies. They may also know that Hyundai is a part-owner of Kia, as a result of the latter’s 2007 bankruptcy. It should come as no surprise, then, that comparable models of each car maker share similar if not identical basic body structures. And while Kia does still operate independently and has a separate design workshop, marketing, and branding, both companies offer the same 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.
Some car owners are loyal to the Nissan brand. Others swear by Infiniti. Yet, at first glance, the Nissan and Infiniti model lineups look very much alike. Aside from the fact that Infiniti vehicles cost somewhat more than equivalent Nissans, what’s the difference?