Take a Tour

New 'Insight Audi Design' live stream gives a peek inside company's design lab

Audi's new virtual tour allows users to virtually step inside Audi's design studio.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Unfortunately, you can't get into Audi HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany for a tour right now. You can, however, use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to stream a look inside at no charge.

Audi has launched a new "Insight Audi Design" live stream interactive discovery tour to their repertoire. During the stream, tour guides present from a studio and explain why and how Audi makes its design decisions.

According to a release, "The guides answer questions in dialogue and construct the roughly 20-minute live stream according to the wishes and interests of the participants."

Tours are available in German and English.

Insight Audi Design schedule Tours can be booked online and are free of charge.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi is the first auto manufacturer to offer free, online discovery tours. The company's virtual factory tour 'Audi live at the Ingolstadt factory' has been offered since November 2019 and gives tour-takers an insiders peek at the production process and technical highlights of the brand.

Tours are available at multiple times throughout each day. Users can click through to see the date they're interested in booking, the times of the tours available, and the language they are presented in. Each takes 20-30 minutes.

When booking, Audi asks which areas of their production interest you the most: history, motorsports, sustainability, production sites, or company. They also ask you to choose which models you're interested in learning about based on groupings (A1, Q2, A3, Q3, TT; A4, A5, Q5; A6, A7, Q7, Q8, A8; E-Tron; or R8, RS) and indicate which technologies pique your interest (alternative drives, driver assistance systems, lightweight construction, lighting technologies, or quattro).

Users must input their name and email address to book the tour.

Interested parties can choose a suitable date for "Insight Audi Design" online at www.audi.stream.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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