Safety First

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge bests 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E in IIHS safety tests

The Ford Mustang Mach-E did not perform as well as the Volvo XC40 Recharge in IIHS testing.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its latest round of crash testing, which includes two new-to-market electric vehicles (EVs), the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Volvo earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation while the Ford got a Top Safety Pick award.

The 2021 XC40 Recharge joins the Audi E-Tron, Audi E-Tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3, all EVs, that have received 2021 Top Safety Pick+ designation.

"It's fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn't require any compromises in terms of safety."

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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In order to earn a 2021 Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get all Good ratings in each of the six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Winners must also be available with Good or Acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns Advanced or Superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, vehicles must come with Good or Acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages in addition to the Top Safety Pick criteria.

The XC40 Recharge's adaptive LED reflector headlights, which are installed on every XC40 Recharge model. The SUV's standard front crash prevention system also earns Superior and Advanced scores in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to- pedestrian evaluations, respectively.

Ford sells the Mustang Mach-E with Good-rated LED projector headlights on Premium, GT, and First Edition trim levels. However, LED reflector headlights that are on the Mustang Mach-E Select and California Route 1 grades are rated as Marginal, which prevented the Mustang from earning the top-tier rating. IIHS found that these headlights provided inadequate illumination around curves.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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The Mach-E's standard front crash prevention system earned Superior ratings in both the vehicle- to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

A recent study of electric and internal combustion engine vehicles from 2011 to 2019 by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that rates of injury claims related to the drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 percent lower than for identical conventional models over 2011-19.

HLDI points to the weight of EVs as being one of the key drivers of this statistic. Large batteries that are required to run EVs are substantially heavier than traditional powertrain components. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multi-vehicle crashes.

The XC40 Recharge has a curb weight of 4,787 pounds, compared with 3,811 pounds for the conventional model. The Mustang Mach-E weighs 4,516 pounds.

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The Ferrari 812 Competizione comes in two varieties.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

A new variant of the Ferrari 812 Superfast has been revealed. The Ferrari 812 Competizione models are a limited edition series of vehicles in two variants, coupe and targa, known as the Ferrari 812 Competizione and the Ferrari 812 Competizione A.

Both models sport a naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine that achieves 818 horsepower. The power plant is, on the surface, the same that is in the Ferrari 812 Superfast but engineers have tinkered with the fresh version to optimize fluid dynamics of the intake system and combustion, reducing internal friction.

Ferrari has paired the engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that the automaker says delivers a new type of shifting feeling. The setup retains the same gear ratios as the 812 Superfast but has more rpm range. The engine can rev to 9,500 rpm and a progressive growling comes spewing out of the car's exhaust system, which comes complete with a gasoline particulate filter that ensures the car meets modern emissions standards.

Ferrari 812 Competizione & Ferrari 812 Competizione A

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

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A single front air intake works to keep things cool up front marking the first time such an adaptation has occurred on a V12-powered Ferrari. The cooling circuit has also been improved making it 10 percent more efficient and the oil tank has been redesigned to allow for extra flow.

Engineers have given the new Ferraris added braking power. That includes a redesigned version of the caliper that was first used on the SF90 Stradale and other modifications. These changes allowed Ferrari to redesign the car's front underbody freeing up space around the lower front wishbone suspension and extending the area that could be used to generate downforce. The car has a passive mobile aero system.

The backside of the new variants has a unique design with a fresh exhaust layout, diffuser geometry, spoiler volume, patented rear screen, and bumper design. The rear diffuser now extends across the full width of the car and redesigned silencers and tailpipes that are integrated into a single pipe.

Four-wheel steering and independent rear-wheel steering features a new electronic management system. Refinements have been made to the car's response system to deliver a more connected drive experience. It features a new iteration of Ferrari's Side Slip Control system and rides on new Michelin Cup2R tires.

Weight savings abounds throughout the car and though much of it isn't apparent to the untrained eye, it helps the performance of the car. This includes the dashboard and door panels. The door panel pocket juts out from the main structure almost as if it were a floating element.

The 812 Competizione A features a number of modifications that differentiate it from the 812 Competizione including the implementation of a flying buttress design that helps the car's center of gravity to appear lower that the coupe's. When the targa top is stowed, the roll bars jut out becoming a secondary visual element.

Each of the cars comes standard with Ferrari's extended seven-year maintenance program.

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BMW's newest works are equal parts art and car.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has revealed "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece", an exploration of automobiles at the intersection of art in conjunction with Frieze New York 2021, as well as the 50th anniversary of BMW Group Cultural Engagement. The virtual art installation is supported by videos of the exhibit's creation process on YouTube and Instagram.

The installment is the brain child of creative technologist Nathan Shipley of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Gary Yeh, art connoisseur/founder of artDrunk. The duo used the NVIDIA StyleGAN artificial intelligence model to "cross-reference over 50,000 images of artwork spanning 900 years of history and a curated set of 50 works from renowned and emerging contemporary artists BMW has worked with over the past 50 years", according to a release.

Frieze New York 2021: "The Ultimate AI Masterpiece"

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The artificial intelligence then used those pieces to create entirely new art, merging classical art with the work of contemporary artists. These new works have been projection-mapped onto a virtual rendition of BMW's flagship 8 Series Gran Coupe.

"For 50 years, BMW has supported the arts and culture through numerous initiatives as a way engage and interact with consumers around the world in an authentic way," said Uwe Dreher, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. "As we continue these efforts into 2021, and look for new and creative ways to engage audiences, we shift to a virtual setting where we are combining centuries-old art and the latest AI technology to create something completely new and exciting."

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shipley and Yeh collaborated digitally from their homes in San Francisco and Seoul for the project.

"During an unusually isolated time in history, we took the opportunity to curate and work with artists from around the world as a means to give viewers a true art experience digitally," said Gary Yeh, art collector and founder of ArtDrunk. It was particularly exciting to push the boundaries of art, see how technology may influence the art world in the years to come, and build on 50 years of cultural engagement at BMW."

Frieze New York is currently in its 10th edition and taking place at The Shed in Manhattan through May 9. The venue is new and features an event reimagined for its new location, bringing together over 60 major galleries. A dedicated edition of Frieze Viewing Room will run parallel to the fair, through May 14, and will feature an expanded list of over 160 exhibitors.

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