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Car Tech Spotlight: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Fender Bassman Subwoofer

IMG_3322Stereo systems from automakers have gotten so good that it’s often difficult to justify replacing or upgrading the audio components with aftermarket gear, which used to be de rigueur for discerning music lovers. But even as factory audio systems have improved, the weakest link — and the most frequent aftermarket upgrade — remains the need for better bass and a separate subwoofer.

Automakers and their technology partners have responded to this shortcoming with dedicated and often larger subwoofers that can pound out low frequencies. Examples include the 10-inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the Mitsubishi Outlander and the 8-inch sub in the Beats Audio system in Chrysler, Dodge and FIAT vehicles.

A 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line I recently tested had the Fender audio system with a slightly smaller subwoofer in the hatch. It’s an example of how you can get decent bass from a stock stereo system without losing lots of storage space.

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BMW to Test Self-driving Cars in China

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Several automakers and suppliers have been testing autonomous cars in the U.S. and Europe, but BMW is the first that we know of to take self-driving cars to China. BMW's two-year research project will study what the automaker calls “highly … [Continue reading]

NHTSA Seeks Industry Cooperation on Car Hacking

Cyberauto

With car connectivity accelerating and the federal government looking to mandate wireless networks of roads and vehicles, the nation's top auto safety regulator said  “the time is now" to "move forward aggressively on cybersecurity." Specifically, … [Continue reading]

Toyota Says No to Fully Autonomous Cars

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After debuting an autonomous car at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota said last week that it's not developing a completely self-driving model like most automakers and Google. Instead, Toyota said it will focus on advanced safety and … [Continue reading]

Car Tech Spotlight: Audi A3 Efficiency Program

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While some sort of “eco meter” is now found on many vehicles, which allows drivers to instantaneously check how their driving style affects their fuel economy (and pocketbook), some of the displays are getting even more granular. For … [Continue reading]