In-Car Tech

Next-gen Volkswagen Car-Net gets new app integration, no-charge services

The Volkswagen Car-Net system is getting significant upgrades for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Easy-to-use infotainment operating systems with mobile capability are becoming standard for automakers in North America. Now, with the debut of their next-generation Car-Net system, Volkswagen, the world's second-largest automaker, is making the leap to the modern digital age.

New Mobile App

Car-Net Remote Access will give owners the ability to control some functionality of their vehicle via a mobile app. The app can control a vehicle's remote start and stop ability (where properly equipped), remotely lock and unlock doors, honk and flash the lights of the vehicle, show the last parked location, and give the owner a view of their fuel level, mileage, and door and window status. It is free to use for five years from the date of vehicle purchase.

Volkswagen Car-Net Remote Access The new Car-Net app allows owners to remotely access their vehicle.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The app's parking information feature is powered by Parkopedia, which helps users locate off-street parking information. Users can press the "P" icon on their screen and the app will show them available parking locations near their chosen point of interest. That information can then be pushed to the car's navigation system, located in the head unit.

Vehicle Health Reports are automatically generated monthly and are sent to a driver's email address. When service is required, Car-Net can notify the customer and allows them to schedule a dealer visit.

Volkswagen's Family Guardian software sends an alert the vehicle owner when the vehicle travels over a pre-determined maximum speed limit and outside of a designated boundary zone. It also alerts when the vehicle is driven outside of a curfew timeframe and when it travels more than two-tenths of a mile outside a valet drop-off location.

Volkswagen Car-Net Remote Access The new Car-Net app can help drivers find their car if they've misplaced it in a parking lot.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Roadside Call Assist can be activated by touching the wrench icon in the app.

New for 2020, the DriveView program allows enrollees to become eligible for a discount from their insurance company, should the company support the driver monitoring program. Based on typical drive behaviors, the app gives the driver a score, which can then be passed on to their insurance company.

Car-Net Remote is offered on most 2020 model year vehicles.

Car-Net Safe & Secure

Volkswagen's Car-Net Safe & Secure is a paid subscription service that features information and emergency assistance, crash notification, anti-theft alert, and stolen vehicle location assistance in the same manner that OnStar does. The service costs $99 annually and renews automatically at the end of each year's subscription term unless cancelled.

Volkswagen Car-Net Hotspot A Wi-Fi hot spot is available in most model year 2020 vehicles.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Car-Net Hotspot

The branded Car-Net Hotspot service is a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot that allows users to connect up to four devices simultaneously. It runs on the Verizon Wireless network and customers who use Verizon as their wireless provider can add their mobile data plan to their existing plan as another line. Non-Verizon customers can opt for a pre-paid plan that costs just $20 per month plus associated taxes and fees, however the rate may not be available in all states.

Car-Net Guide & Inform

Volkswagen's navigation system, which provides enhanced infotainment functionality, is called Car-Net Guide & Inform. Using the factory-installed system, owners can access traffic reports, fuel prices, sports scores, movie times, and weather data as part of the three-month SiriusXM Travel Link trial. Car-Net enrollment and subscription is not required.

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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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The Ford Explorer Timberline joins the 2021 Explorer King Ranch as a new model for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Following in the footsteps of the Raptor and Tremor versions of Ford trucks, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline debuts with a host of new equipment designed to make the popular SUV a more capable off-roader. Like what Subaru is doing with its Wilderness packaging, Ford will carry over the Timberland trimmings to multiple models.

"Ford is delivering on more capable SUVs with Timberline. Consumer data has shown us that now more than ever, customers want to get outside and explore nature with friends and family," said Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group, Ford Motor Company. "Timberline hits a new sweet spot with these customers who want an ideal combination of passenger space, moderate off-road capability and great manners around town."

The Explorer Timberline has a new Forged Green Metallic exterior color. It has a blackout treatment on the headlights and taillamps, as well as the Ford oval. Timberline badges feature on the C-pillars and lift gate. Red Ember tow hoods are at the front and rated at 150 percent gross vehicle weight.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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LED fog lamps, a Carbonized Gray grille, and dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights with a 160,000-candelas output come on the vehicle.

The 2021 Explorer Timberline comes standard with four-wheel drive with torque vectoring technology that works to distribute the right amount of torque to each wheel. It also has a Torsen limited slip rear differential, which helps prevent wheel spin.

Ford's Terrain Management System is also standard, allowing drivers to select between seven drive modes depending on road conditions. The Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport have a similar system. Hill Descent Control is also standard.

Steel skid plates line the front and rear underbody of the vehicle protecting the engine and transmission. Ford has given the model a 0.8-inch ride height increase and heavy-duty shocks that were originally developed for the Explorer Police Interceptor. Steering calibration, stabilizer bars and springs are specially tuned for Timberline – including an exclusive front rebound spring that helps prevent sudden jarring off-road.

The new Explorer has an approach angle of 23.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, plus minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches.

The rig rides on high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires with a tread pattern designed to balance off-road traction and on-road quietness. The shoes are wrapped around high-gloss painted aluminum wheels that feature a laser-etched Timberline logo.

Explorer Timberline is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

For customers who need to tow RVs, ATVs and boats to their adventures, the standard Class III Trailer Tow Package brings 5,300 pounds of towing capability.

The interior sports a Deep Cypress color way that is matched with an Ebony headliner, overhead console, pillar trim, grab handles, visors, and moonroof shade. The instrument panel has a Stone Mesh appliqué while other colors feature elsewhere. Satin Silver Twilight is on the center stack, steering wheel bezel and door armrest trim; Deep Cypress on door trim panel inserts; Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel and door trim; and Timberline logos on the front seats.

Rubber floor liners are standard and ActiveX cloth seats inserts are designed to be cleaned easily and keep bottoms in place on rough terrain.

Standard Ford Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology features that include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Speed Sign Recognition, Lane Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. A 360-degree camera also comes on the model.

Buyers can choose three Outfitters packages – Outfitters SkyBox, Outfitters MegaWarrior and Outfitters FrontLoader. All three packages combine all-weather floor mats, crossbars and the selected Yakima rooftop accessories for customers to take even more equipment with them on their next adventure.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is available to order now and arrives at Ford dealers this summer joining the Explorer King Ranch and new Platinum grades in the company's lineup.

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