BMW shows performance substitute for 3 Series

BMW used to own the mantle for German performance cars, until Audi redesigned its model lineup over the last decade. In the face of this competition, BMW today released photos of the Concept 4 Series Coupe, which looks ready to go up against the Audi A5 and S5.

The BMW product design department has come up with some odd ideas in recent years. Witness the X6 and 5 Series GT. However, this new Concept 4 Series looks like a more natural fit between the 3 Series and 5 Series, and borrows styling from the recently updated and stylish 6 Series. … Read more

Lots of little 'lectrics at the LA Auto Show (roundup)

Take a look around the 2012 LA Auto Show and you'll see quite a few compact, fully-electric vehicles. Having spent much time creeping along at 20 mph on Los Angeles' gridlocked highways and stopping-and-going on its crowded streets this week, I can think of no better city to get excited about EVs.

We've rounded up the biggest players in this year's small EV class, many of which are currently available to consumers or will be sometime in 2013.

Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevrolet follows up its Volt with the smaller, simpler Spark EV. Based on the smallest model … Read more

Take control of your car's tech with these six apps

OK, so you you can't remotely drive a BMW with a phone like James Bond does in "Tomorrow Never Dies," but there are plenty of real apps that will let you take control of your car and its tech with little more than your smartphone and a data connection. From beaming destinations to your Toyota's navigation system with Entune to remotely unlocking your doors with GM's OnStar RemoteLink, we've rounded up a few of the best car-controlling apps. … Read more

Tech car buying guide

When shopping for a new car, the old questions remain relevant. Does it have enough seats for my family and friends? Are the seats comfortable? Will it suit all the uses for which I need it? Does it get good fuel economy? Is it safe?

However, there are many new tech features available that can make your drives more comfortable, keep you out of traffic jams, and prevent accidents. In addition, there are different drivetrain options that can save you a lot of money, depending on your lifestyle.

In this guide, we will let you know what features you can … Read more

Your automotive DJ: Five cars that play requests

Voice-command systems in cars let you make phone calls, enter an address into navigation, and even request music by an artist or album name, all without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. Voice command over music usually works with an iPhone or iPod cabled to the car, or a thumbdrive plugged into the USB port. Most of the cars below rely on Gracenote's music database to translate artist and album names into phonetics understandable by a voice recognition system. This database includes nicknames, so instead of saying "play Bruce Springsteen," you can say "play The Boss."

Here are five cars waiting to take your musical requests. … Read more

Ethernet makes way from home to car

The increasing complexity of automotive systems, from diagnostic sensors to infotainment components, creates a need for more robust data networking. Two companies, Micrel and Marvell, recently announced a means of using Ethernet to address at least part of this issue.

Since the 1990s, cars have employed the CAN bus standard to send data between sensors and engine controllers. However, more airbags and the addition of safety technologies such as vehicle stability control tax the capabilities of the CAN bus standard's 1 megabit per second data rate.

To move forward, companies are looking at developing more robust networking capability in … Read more

Efficient concept cars frontload Paris Motor Show

The 2012 Paris Motor Show opens this weekend, and ahead of the show we have seen numerous previews of concept cars using hybrid and electric power trains. Carbon dioxide reduction is a huge issue in Europe, and automakers are showing off their latest research into vehicles that can give people the transportation options to which they have become accustomed, yet meet new emissions specifications. The win-win for Europeans is that these vehicles get much improved fuel economy in a regions with notoriously high gasoline prices.

Here are just a few of the cars we expect to see during the 2012 Paris Motor Show. … Read more

Attacking the highways of the west in BMW's 650i

Returning to my hotel in Las Vegas one night this summer, I discovered that the parking garage was completely full. Not sure what else to do -- and with time running out before a show I had tickets to -- I drove my BMW 650i Coupe up to the hotel's valet. "That's a really nice car," the guy said. "Do you mind if we keep it out in front?"

He was right. The 650i -- which I was road-testing as part of Road Trip 2012 -- is a really nice car, and now I … Read more

How Apple made white the most popular car color

It's odd how the world acts subliminally upon our desperate minds.

One minute it tells us to love Kelly Clarkson, the next hip-hop. One minute it sneaks the idea of monogamy into our brains, the next it makes pornography available online and we're louche putty.

How touching, then, that there's a deep subliminal reason for all the white cars we see on the streets these days. Have you noticed? Yes, white has now superseded silver as our favorite car color.

Why might this be? Oh, the same reason we've become gadget-obsessed, socially networking automatons: yes, Steve … Read more

BMW shows 75 mph electric scooter

In the last decade, BMW's motorcycle division dabbled in scooters as a green solution for crowded urban centers, producing the C1 for a few years. Now BMW is showing off the final fruits of a new project, an electric scooter designed to achieve the performance specifications of a gasoline-fueled scooter.

The C Evolution is the third generation of an electric scooter that BMW has previously shown in concept form. This two-wheeler uses an electric motor and an 8 kilowatt battery pack to drive the rear wheel. BMW says that it can go 62 miles on a full charge. Although … Read more