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Car and DriverCar and Driver

Car and Driver February 2017

This magazine is for automobile enthusiasts interested in domestic and imported autos. Each issue contains road tests and features on performance, sports, international coverage of road race, stock and championship car events, technical reports, personalities and products. Road tests are conducted with electronic equipment by engineers and journalists and the results are an important part of the magazine's review section. Get Car and Driver digital magazine subscription today.

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UTILITY CHARGES It is both sad and amusing to see how the American public’s appetite has grown for fancy SUVs and crossovers. I understand you have to publish articles covering the better examples of these vehicles for the benefit of some of your readers, but personally, I’ve been into stealthy, high-performance cars that handle. One example has succeeded spectacularly for its intended purpose here in sunny Southern California. It’s my steel-metallic-blue 2002 BMW 325i Sport Wagon. Everything you’ve ever said praising E46 BMWs is right on the money. —Cleveland E. Norton Jr. San Diego, CA Not in my magazine! The November cover is an abomination. “Best Crossovers and SUVs”? Really? This magazine is supposed to be my one escape from reality. Ordinarily, I can lose myself in its pages and pretend I do not live…

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editor's letter:

Already, the Detroit Three have been lobbying the incoming administration to take their industry off the path to the 2025 CAFE regulations. These regs, you’ll remember, mandate a 54.5-mpg average for an automaker’s fleet, but the workarounds are already legion. Knowing the new guy’s pro-business proclivities—he’s good at business!—it seems certain that the previous administration’s CAFE plan won’t survive. What does that mean for cars and light trucks going forward? One facile prediction: After years of engine downsizing, upsizing is going to be a thing. The V-8 may reemerge as the engine of choice for sports sedans, sports cars, and trucks, and the EVs’ march could stall. The market penetration for pure EVs is barely half a percent now, and that’s with Tesla factored in and California’s thumb on the scale. For…

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explained: v-6 bank angle, bank offset, and crankshaft strength

The angle between cylinder banks determines the placement of the connecting-rod journals to achieve even firing every 120 degrees of crankshaft rotation. In a 60-degree V-6, the journals for the two cylinders opposite each other are located 60 degrees apart [001]. With a 75-degree bank angle, those same journals use 45-degree spacing [002], a number determined by subtracting 75 degrees from 120 degrees. The additional journal-to-journal overlap created by the 45-degree spacing results in more overlap between the journals [003] and thus a stronger crankshaft. To compensate for the small overlap in the 60-degree V-6 [004], engineers can enlarge the journals or stretch the offset between the two cylinder banks to increase the thickness of the counterweight [005] that connects adjacent journals. Acura claims that increasing the offset is the preferred…

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twisty sister

THE NOTION OF SEMI-AFFORDABLE Italian cars hasn’t exactly gained the traction of, say, a Sotheby’s noodlecraft auction. Fiat 500 sales have been bending toward free-fall since that motorized espresso shot first appeared in 2011. And Alfa Romeo’s mid-engined 4C sells in exotic volumes befitting its exotic looks, but it’s hardly competitive with similarly priced toys. The Giulia will eventually boost Alfa’s sales here by giving the brand a mainstream-ish product, but repeated delays mean deliveries won’t start until about the time you read this. The things that aren’t tough to sell right now are crossovers. They account for a third of the market, and everybody’s getting on board, including Maserati. [To see if that’s a good idea or not, turn to our road test of the Levante, page 060.] Hoping to…

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a better battery

HOW WE STORE ENERGY will be critical to the future of the electric car. While lithium-ion batteries are likely to remain the standard for at least the next decade, academic researchers and startup companies are racing to discover, design, and manufacture alternatives that will move beyond the limits of today’s chemistries. The following three technologies show the greatest potential: REDUCTION-OXIDATION FLOW In brief: Here, energy is stored in tanks as two liquid electrolytes rather than in the positive and negative electrodes. The electrolytes generate electricity as they’re pumped through the battery cells. Recharging can occur either onboard by reversing the process or by replacing the electrolyte at a fuel station. What might stop it: Many experts believe that achieving adequate range with a flow battery will require storage tanks too large to be…

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the volvo wagon

IF THE VOLVO BRAND were a Rorschach blot, most Americans would see a station wagon. But this didn’t come about as the result of some Swedish plot for domination of the American suburbs. It was an accident. In the mid-1950s, around the time that Volvo first considered exporting cars to the United States, the brand was unsuccessfully experimenting with selling chassis to independent coachbuilders, but in so doing had built up a surplus of unsold chassis. “So,” says Volvo historian Per-Åke Fröberg, “the management said, ‘Let’s start to do our own wagon.’” Aimed at Sweden’s small-business owners who needed a practical car and a family car but who couldn’t afford both, the wagon was a way to grow the lineup and use the extra platforms. The resulting Duett and subsequent Amazon were…