CES 2020

Amazon expanding Fire TV into FCA, BMW vehicles

BMW and FCA will be adding Amazon's Fire TV to forthcoming vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Amazon is partnering with automakers to expand the eyeballs viewing programming on their popular Fire TV streaming and live TV digital media player. The company is partnering with BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to add Fire TV to a variety of vehicles.

"Adding Fire TV to future BMW vehicles represents a big step in bringing the best of streamed entertainment to our products," said Fathi El-Dwaik, Vice President User Interaction, Business Line My Car and Business Line My Life, BMW Group. "With Amazon's approach, and with the help of Garmin, we are able to innovate and create a unique and special experience for BMW cars, providing the consistency of content and customer experience that Fire TV provides in the home. We look forward to working closely with Amazon to bring Fire TV to future vehicles."

The online retailer is touting the ability to drivers to utilize their Alexa voice assistant product hands-free in the vehicles alongside a touch screen with offline capability and playback to experience Fire TV content. Users will be able to enjoy shows recorded with Fire TV Recast or saved locally on a Fire TV device.

The devices will be able to stream content via the vehicle's Wi-Fi or LTE connection.

It is likely that the Fire TV capability will only be available to second-row screens. BMW and FCA haven't said which vehicles the technology will debut in but it's likely to be crossovers and minivans, which are inherently more family-friendly.

FCA is the parent company of the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo auto brands. BMW's brands include BMW, Rolls-Royce, and Mini.

There is no word yet on whether of not the technology will expand to PSA vehicles when FCA and PSA complete their merger.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new Porsche Boxster 25 years celebrates the anniversary of the convertible's debut.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Twenty eight years ago, a convertible concept car made its debut at the 1993 Detroit Motor Show. The production version of that car launched in 1996 with hardly any changes. It was the Porsche Boxster. Now it its fourth generation, Porsche has sold more than 357,000 of the coupes.

To commemorate the anniversary, Porsche is selling the Boxster 25 years, a limited edition model that takes design notes from the original Boxster and applies them to the current edition. All Boxster 25 years models are based on the Boxster GTS.

Porsche Boxster 25 Years

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The model features a copper-like shimmering brown Neodyme paint color in the front apron, side air intakes with mono bar, lettering, and two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels. The original car was colored GT Silver Metallic and the special edition will be offered in that paint color as well as Deep Black Metallic and Carrara White Metallic.

Porsche script is featured own the fuel filler cap and there are high-gloss tailpipes on the car's sport exhaust system. The windscreen surround is finished in a contrasting black color.

The Bordeaux leather interior sits below a red fabric convertible top that bears the Boxster 25 lettering. Both are also available in black. The car's cabin also has an interior package in Aluminum, 14-way electrically adjustable sports seats, door sill trims with "Boxster 25" lettering, and the heated GT multifunction sports leather steering wheel.

Each model is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that has a top speed of 182 mph. There's a PDK gearbox and standard Sport Chrono package, Porsche Active Suspension Management sports suspension, and Porsche Torque Vectoring with mechanical limited-slip differential.

The Boxster 25 years is available to order now and will roll into dealerships from the end of March 2021. Just 1,250 units will be allocated.

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The Avenir trim level joins the Buick Envision lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Buick

The redesigned 2021 Buick Envision builds on the success of its little brother, the 2020 Buick Encore GX, giving customers more premium features and making the two-row SUV more competitive in its class.

Buick will sell the 2021 Envision, which slots below the three-row Enclave in the Buick lineup, in trim levels with more distinctions between them than the previous generation Envision offered, including the Preferred, Essence, and Avenir grades. Preferred and Essence trim levels are available with a Sport Touring package, which gives the car darkened exterior finishes and dark 20-inch wheels.

The Envision Avenir is distinguished by an exclusive mesh grille design, with tinted chrome trim and unique 20-inch wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish.

2021 Buick Envision Avenir

Photo courtesy of Buick

Each Envision comes with a more athletic body design for the new generation. At the front, there are LED headlights with LED daytime running light signatures. LED taillamps are at the back. Welcome/walkaway lighting and animation is activated via key fob.

Buick has put a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood of the Envision that makes 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Push/pull buttons shift the vehicle in the place of a traditional shifter.

All-wheel drive (AWD) is available. Model with AWD get selectable drive modes: Tour, AWD, Snow/Ice, and Sport. Front-wheel drive models have all those with the exception of the AWD mode. Hill descent control is standard on AWD Envisions. A continuous damping control suspension is available on top-tier Envision Avenir models.

Buyers can get their Envision's interior with either a light or dark interior color scheme. Perforated leather upholstery is available on Envision Essence models. Heated front seats are standard on Essence and available on Preferred. Heated and ventilated front seats, diamond-quilted perforated leather upholstery, driver's seat massage, heated rear outboard seats, navigation, and wireless smartphone charging are standard on the Envision Avenir.

The Envision is the first model in the Buick lineup to incorporate the company's new 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen, which faces more toward the driver than the front seat passenger. A covered compartment below the instrument panel is home to the SUV's wireless charging pad, SD card slot, accessory outlet, and USB ports. Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are available.

The system also has Buick-exclusive apps including Reese's Book Club and NCAA March Madness.

The dual-wing armrest is back by popular demand on the center console between the front seats. A heated steering wheel and air ionizer are standard on Essence and Avenir, and available on Preferred versions of the SUV. A power moonroof is available on Essence and Avenir models.

The five-passenger Envision has a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that can fold flat. There is 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first-row seats and 25.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seats. A hands-free programmable power liftgate is standard on Essence and Avenir and available on Preferred models.

Buick is making the SUV available with the Buick Drive Confidence Plus package, which includes a suite of nine standard advanced safety and driver assistance technologies like forward colliosn alert, front pedestrian braking, and rear park assist. Additional available driver assistance technologies include HD Surround Vision, enhanced automatic parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display.

The 2021 Buick Envision is on sale now, with a starting MSRP of $32,995.

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