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New BMW M4 commercial puts Milo Ventimiglia in the driver's seat

The BMW M4 is featured in the ad. It's new to the lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of BMW

This week BMW debuted a new commercial that takes the common misconceptions of modern cars and turns them on their head. The ad, called "The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine" kicks off the launch of the next-generation BMW M4 coupe.

Filmmakers have captured the M4 on the truck expertly drifting, cornering, and putting down plenty of power thanks to its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Though it looks like the car is driving itself, it's actually actor Milo Ventimiglia of "This is Us" and "Heroes" fame behind the wheel.

The car, which comes with a six-speed manual transmission, requires hands-on driving at all times, and that's the way sports car enthusiasts want it. While autonomous driving technologies evolve in concept form in labs and controlled testing situations, all you need to do is head to a track to find drivers who prefer being hands-on. In these situations, self-driving means myself driving.

The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine | 2021 BMW M4 | BMW USAwww.youtube.com

"With up to 503 horsepower, and as one of the only vehicles in its category to offer a six-speed manual gearbox, the BMW M4 is the epitome of the ultimate driving machine," said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America.

Drivers who want to take advantage of more time behind the wheel and up their precision driving game, BMW operates its Performance Center West, located at the renowned Thermal Club near Palm Springs, CA. The driving school has begun offering new courses for groups and individuals as part of a lineup that allows drivers to learn basic car control, proper vision, emergency and panic braking, last-minute lane changes, high-speed control, precision driving, and more.

The Performance Center West recently added new M4s to its lineup of cars that can be driven as part of the experience.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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