A self-driving car, but thankfully a BMW

I know there are many who look forward to the days when all cars are self-driving.

These are people who seem to believe that technology can not only solve every problem, but actually make life better. Another description for these people is, well, Prius drivers.

It is surely no coincidence that Google's self-driving car experiment seems to be performed exclusively on the exclusive car of the self-righteous. Indeed, one Prius owner in my neighborhood actually has the license plate "Smug Car." I am quite serious about this.

So I bring fine news to those who are intrigued … Read more

Take a tour of BMW's new Mog online music system

My iPhone, with 8GB of memory, can hold about 1,700 tracks. A BMW's internal hard drive has room for almost 3,000 tracks. Now, BMW's new Mog integration puts 14 million tracks at a driver's fingertips.

I sat in the driver's seat of a 2012 BMW 650i, with Robert Passaro, the head of BMW's App Center, in the passenger seat. But we weren't going anywhere. Our entire focus was on the stereo.

Passaro slotted an iPhone 4S into the BMW's cradle, nestled in the console compartment. Tapping the Mog icon on the … Read more

Ford C-MAX Energi garners 2012 Green Car Vision Award

Green Car Journal dubbed the Ford C-MAX Energi winner of the 2012 Green Car Vision Award yesterday at the Washington Auto Show. This is the second consecutive year Ford has won top honors; the Ford Focus Electric garnered the award last year.

The Ford C-MAX Energi, which will be available in late 2012, is built on the same global C-car platform as the Ford Focus and future Ford models, the automaker said.

The C-MAX Energi bested four other finalists, including the BMW i3, the Cadillac ELR, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, and the Tesla Model S.

"The C-MAX Energi delivers … Read more

New X6 proves BMW can sell anything

When the X6 launched, it was an odd-enough shape and so lacking in utility that even BMW did not count on it being a big seller.

But ahead of the 2013 model update, BMW points to the more than 20,000 of the cars sold in the U.S. as a measure of its success. Essentially an X5 with reduced utility, the first-generation X6 played up to a bad-boy image.

Now BMW has released some photos ahead of the launch of the 2013 X6, and the styling changes make it look more conservative, with a front end similar to that of the 5 Series. Does this mean the X6 will start getting beaten up in the parking lot by Porsche Cayennes?… Read more

BMW to use touch-sensitive smart fabric in cars

As car makers look for ways to replace unsightly buttons or add more controls without crowding the center stack, researchers are turning to smart fabric.

The driver's seat has always been synonymous with total control, and that could become even more true as manufacturers begin embedding controls into its fabric. Researchers at the Polytechnic School in Montreal, Canada, have developed a soft polymer-based fiber with electrical properties that can be woven into fabric, according to an article in New Scientist.

Smart fabrics are becoming more mainstream, and touch sensitive fabric isn't new. But creating a durable fabric that … Read more

The order books open for the electric BMW ActiveE

With only 700 ActiveEs to lease, you'll have to move fast if you want to be one of BMW's electric pioneers.

Months later than expected, BMW officially opened the order books for the all-electric ActiveE field trial today. The manufacturer was supposed to take reservations last year, but delayed it to streamline the delivery process. The first electric sedan has already been delivered to EV veterans Tom and Meredith Moloughney, who lease an electric MiniE from the manufacturer. If you think you're ready to go electric, don't drag your feet--availability will be on a first-come, first-served … Read more

BMW designs Thermaltake's Level 10 M mouse

Thermaltake has a new Level 10 product and it's just as avant-garde as its Level 10 case.

Like the radical case, the Level 10 M Mouse is created jointly with BMW's design consultancy, DesignworksUSA. It's the first of a new series of gaming peripherals from this collaboration and it will be launched early this year.

Judging from the images that have been released, its open design--with a perforated surface that allows some ventilation for those with sweaty palms--is unlike any mouse we have seen. Its main selling point is that users can adjust the height and the angle of the mouse body by turning a screw. … Read more

Green Car Journal announces five finalists for 2012 award

Green Car Journal announced five finalists for the publication's annual Green Car Vision Award. The award recognizes innovations in fuel efficiency, low emissions, alternative fuels, or electric power.

To be considered for the Green Car Vision Award, vehicles must be in demonstration on public highways today or nearing commercialization but not yet widely available to consumers, Green Car Journal said in a press release.

The five finalists include the BMW i3, the Cadillac ELR, the Ford's C-MAX Energi, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, and the Tesla Model S.

The 2012 Green Car Vision Award winner will be announced at … Read more

Now you can Yelp in your BMW

BMW announced today that drivers of vehicles equipped with BMW Online will be able to access Yelp in their cars.

That's right, the love-it or hate-it user-contributed review site is the latest app to make it into BMW's suite of application integrations. But this time, drivers will be able to Yelp with or without an iPhone.

Thanks to a change earlier this month with BMW Online, drivers will be able to download the Yelp application directly to their vehicles. Unlike Pandora and Mog app integrations, users won't need to have or use their iPhone to access Yelp. … Read more