Tyres, Technology and the TT 12 6

The 2014 Geneva Motor Show is on this week and it would seem that the press days are done, so now seems like a good time to highlight some hidden gems and to bring together some car and technology news!

Firstly, lets look towards cars themselves.

The VW Group have had a very busy show, with the Audi side showing off the brand new TT. Based on the VAG MQB platform, this car should handle like a dream, just like it’s sister, the A3. Speaking of the MQB, the Seat side of the family announced that the new Leon Cupra 280 has beaten the record for front wheel drive cars at the ‘green hell’ of the Nurburgring. Clocking in an impressive  7 min 58.4 sec  and laying down the gauntlet for Honda and their new Type-R. Considering the Leon Cupra hits a sub 8 min time and cost about £27,000, to get a sub 7 min, you need to spend 20 times more on a Porsche 918 Spyder.

From the British end of things, Jaguar have announced the name of their next car series. The 3 Series hunter will be called the ‘XE’. This sparked some conversation on Twitter with some of the car fraternity as to the meaning behind it. Jaguar have also trademarked ‘XC’, so, using some deductive logic, I’ve come to the following conclusions for their naming:

  • XJ(aguar)
  • XK(ad)
  • XF(amily)
  • XE(xecutive)
  • XC(rossover)

I doubt we’ll ever really know for sure, but at least the magnificent F-Type is easier to explain.


Apple, sort of showed up in the form of announcing that the ‘iOS In The Car’ from last year’s World Wide Developers Conference will be renamed ‘CarPlay’ and will be in new cars this year.  The first examples of CarPlay will come from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Other automakers like BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota will be rolling out CarPlay-compatible cars in the future. There was no official word from the VW group, but I hear that they are looking in to it.

The CarPlay system is driven by the QNX software system. As most people won’t be aware, QNX was an operating system that was bought by none other than BlackBerry and used to make the PlayBook tablet and the current BB OS10. QNX has found it’s way in to a lot of cars over the last few years and using it to project iOS on to a car’s touch-screen makes it a vary valuable technology. Perhaps when BlackBerry goes completely under, Apple will snaffle it up!

Any way! In the here and now, the CarPlay system has been shown in a few different guises. With Volvo, they have demoed it on a captive touch-screen (like the iPhone’s) in their new concept car. Ferrari have shown it in one of their current cars, the FF, using a resistive touch-screen (old style, non-multitouch). Mercedes-Benz have gone another way and taken touch out of the equation. The CarPlay interface comes up on the display, but you use the jog dial on the centre console to control what’s on screen.

Siri is a huge part of this play for the car from Apple and using it for voice control in cars is a smart money saving move for car manufacturers, as the now can relax development of their own solutions. The same can be said for navigation, given the use of Apple Maps as a sat-nav replacement.

Here’s some videos of each solution in action: CarPlay.


The final thing to bring up is a development from Goodyear.

Cars need tyres and the black rubber has stayed the same for a long time. Goodyear are looking in to a practical way to get more from them. This has lead them to develop their new SUV tyre.

The goal of the tire was to improve SUV efficiency without sacrificing capability. Goodyear took a radical approach with this concept tire, designing it with two distinct rings.
The outer ring comprises about two-thirds of the track width and is of slightly wider diameter than the inner ring. It has a primarily slick surface with cut-ins to move water and prevent hydroplaning. Different textured surfaces also enhance road grip. his outer ring makes contact with the road when the vehicle is on smooth pavement. Narrower than a typical SUV tire, it improves fuel efficiency.

The inner ring’s smaller diameter means it will make contact when the driving surface becomes soft, such as in mud or sand. Its more aggressive cut-ins and pebbly surfaces add traction. Goodyear constructed each ring with its own air chamber. If one ring gets punctured, the other ring will still have air, allowing the SUV to continue down the road.

That’s all for this round up from Geneva but it leaves me to say that given all this development and inspired by this article from PistonHeads, Engage Sports Mode and the Tame Geek are aiming for a road trip to Geneva 2015!

Sources: CNet, Appleinsider, PistonHeads