In-Car Tech

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport challenges VW audio system norms

Volkswagen has worked with Panasonic and Fender to offer premium audio systems in their vehicles since 2011.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

You think about the price, number of seats, cargo space, fuel efficiency, and drivability. Then, somewhere down in the lower half of the list of considerations, for the average consumer, is the setup of the vehicle's sound system.

Volkswagen, like many other automakers, has teamed up with audio system companies to engineer sound solutions that provide high-quality sound in their vehicles.

In 2011, the first Fender Premium Audio System debuted in the Beetle, Passat, and Jetta GLI. It delivered 400 watts of sound from eight speakers. Panasonic sound systems were added to the mix in 2015 delivering a concert-quality experience and since then, the company has offered available premium audio equipment on most of its model.

With that system, "we're able to put concert-quality sound inside a vehicle," said Tom Dunn, Director of Global Audio Solutions at Panasonic. "The emotion of a live performance is something we were all familiar with, but it was not something anyone expected to feel while driving their car."

Volkswagen's Atlas, introduced for the 2018 model year, presented unique acoustic challenges because of its size.

"The Atlas has three rows and seven seats, which gives the vehicle a large cabin space," said David Ernst, Panasonic's Senior Acoustics Engineer. "The Atlas Cross Sport has two rows and five seats, so we had to pare down the design of the Fender Premium Audio System for the smaller model without taking away any of the quality."

When VW decided to add the Atlas Cross Sport to its lineup, the move wasn't as simple as lowering the roofline and updating the grille.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Lowering the roofline as part of the creation of the Atlas Cross Sport presented unique challenges for Volkswagen and Fender engineers.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

According to Volkswagen, "To adapt the original Atlas audio system for the size of the Atlas Cross Sport, Ernst and his team tested the system with focus groups and people at events and concerts. The team even had musical artists sit in the Atlas Cross Sport and listen to their own music on the system to see how well it matched in quality and expectation."

"We did a lot of fine-tuning to make sure the product would be perfect for passengers, wherever they sat inside the vehicle," Ernst said.

The Atlas Cross Sport ended up with a 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio System. It has a 80-mm front-center channel speaker, two 200-mm dual voice coil woofers in the front doors, four 60-mm soft dome tweeters in the first- and second-rows, two 168-mm speakers in the rear doors, and two 80-mm wide frequency speakers in the D-pillar. A 168-mm subwoofer sits in a 12-liter enclosure in the back. All told, the system delivers 480 watts of power.

After spending months optimizing the Atlas Cross Sport, Ernst says he's proud of the "concert feeling" passengers have when listening to the final product.

"This partnership is not just about the hardware of the audio system," said Dunn. "It's an opportunity to connect with customers on an emotional level. And Volkswagen has always recognized the importance of this connection."

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McLaren has chosen an easy-to-pronounce name for its new hybrid supercar - Artura.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren is about to mark the beginning of a new era in hybrid powertrain engineering. In the first half of 2021, its high-performance hybrid series production supercar will go on sale and we now know what it will be named.

The McLaren Artura builds on the legacy of the McLaren P1TM hybrid hypercar, which was unveiled in 2012, and the Speedtail Hyper-GT, which entered production this year and the fastest McLaren ever with a top speed of 250 mph.

"Every element of the Artura is all-new – from the platform architecture and every part of the High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, to the exterior body, interior and cutting-edge driver interface – but it draws on decades of McLaren experience in pioneering super-lightweight race and road car technologies to bring all of our expertise in electrification to the supercar class," said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mclaren Artura The Artura badging sits on what is likely the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It will be the first car to be built on the company's new platform architecture, which has been optimized for electrification. Design and engineering of the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture took place in the U.K. at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre.

Two photos released by the company show what is likely the back of the Artura, with a honeycomb design beneath the car's badging between two exhaust outlets.

The Artura will get a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that combines with an electric motor. This will be the engine's debut. McLaren says that the engine retains the performance benefits of the company's larger V8s but has improved torque response at low engine speeds. The Artura can also run on all-electric power.

The weight of the hybrid engine system has been offset by the application of weight-saving technologies throughout the chassis, body, and powertrain. Ahead of a full product reveal, McLaren is touting the car's class-leading weight advantage.

The McLaren Artura is expected to be revealed soon. Pricing will likely be announced at that time.

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The Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates the winning racing legacy of the iconic models.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The new Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates one of the most successful periods of car racing in the company's history. Between 2009 and 2018, Aston Martin took the checkered flag in two 24 Hours of Le Mans class victories (in 2014 and 2017) and seven FIA World Endurance Championship titles, as well as numerous international sports car championship titles in British GT, GT World Challenge (Europe) and the European Le Mans Series.

The new trio of Legacy Vantages are based on the V8 Vantage road car, which was launched in 2005. They have been crafted in Aston Martin Racing's workshops and come complete with a brand new chassis, race-ready equipment, and a Sterling Green paint job with Aston Martin Yellow trim lines.

The trio includes a V8 Vantage GTE, a V12 Vantage GT3, and Vantage GT4.

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 The Astin Martin V12 Vantage GT3 has a strong racing lineage.Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

"For a collector, this trio of Aston Martin Racing Vantages represents the ultimate tribute to a halcyon period for the brand in international sportscar racing," said David King, President of Aston Martin Racing. "While Aston Martin has since gone on to record world championship titles with the current generation turbo-charged V8 Vantage, the foundations laid by the huge success of the original car won it admirers the around the globe and led to it becoming a firm favorite with racing fans. The Legacy collection is a beautiful sign-off for this wonderful car."

Aston Martin brought the Vantage GT4 to the track as the first car created around the company's VH-era architecture. It debuted in 2009 as the first of 107 cars created by Aston Martin Racing. Many of these vehicles are still competing today. The car that is a part of the Vantage Legacy Collection is the 108th and final car to be made.

Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin Vantage GT4

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection model is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine that is paired with a six-speed Sportshift transmission. It features a FIA-approved full roll cage, polycarbonate side and rear windows, side sills with exposed carbon fiber rib, a quick-release hoot and tailgate, and a lightweight battery. Stiffened front- and rear anti-roll bars, a spherical bearing suspension, two-way adjustable Koni dampers, and a double wishbone suspension are standard equipment as well.

An adjustable carbon fiber wing, four-piston mono block calipers, a Bosch race-developed antilock braking system and traction control, carbon fiber dive plates, two-piece front brake disc, and Pagid RS 29 race pads also come on the model.

The interior of this unique model features a Recaro competition seat, Sabelt six-point safety harness, FIA-copliant Lifeline plumbed-in extinguisher system, weight-reduced fascia, and a quick-release steering wheel. A Recaro HANS compatible seat is available.

The whole rig rides on magnesium five-stud wheels.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Three years after the Vantage GT4 took to the track, the V12 Vantage GT3 debuted and soon became the dominant car in the British GT championship, winning outright titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Over seven years, 46 cars were built.

The Legacy Collection version of the car is built on an aluminum chassis and has a steel rollcage that meets FIA standards. It also comes equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that is paired with an Xtrac six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift transmission. A racing clutch, limited slip differential, carbon fiber prop shaft, six-pot front calipers, ventilated front and rear brake discs, four-pot rear calipers, and a manually adjustable front and rear brake bias are standard.

It also has a 8862 safety seat, six-point safety harness, racing seat nets, carbon fiber dash, fire extinguisher 8862 safety system, driver display, and shift lights are inside the cabin while a front splitter, full width carbon fiber rear wing, removable carbon fiber body panels, and an aluminum roof are on the exterior.

A double wishbone suspension, four-way adjustable Bilstein dampers, and staggered wheels compete the model.

A high-speed pneumatic jack system is included with purchase.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Aston Martin Racing brought the V8 Vantage GTW to Sebring in 2012 for its debut. It spearheaded Aston Martin's works return to production-based racing following three years of competing in the LMP1 class. The V8 Vantage GTE took its first win at the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Shanghai in October of that year. Only six of the models were originally built, with the last race of the models occurring at Le Mans in 2018. The GTE in this collection is the seventh and final car to be made, chassis number 007.

This Legacy Collection model comes complete with the aluminum chassis and steel rollcage that you'd expect. It has a lightweight V8 engine, six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift gearbox, ZF Sachs Racing clutch, limited slip combination VC and ramp/plate differential, and carbon fiber propshaft.

The car has the full aerodynamic update that brings it into alignment with 2016 LMGTE regulations, carbon fiber bodywork, an aluminum roof with driver safety access hatch, and an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing. Braking comes courtesy of six-pot Brembo calipers up front and four-pot in the back, vented discs, Pagid RS pads, a bespoke pedal box, and Goodridge hydraulic brake lines.

It rides on staggered wheels wrapped in Dunlop tires.

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