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Audi gives its R8 supercar laser vision
There’s little that can’t be improved with lasers, and Audi’s 2023 R8 V10 plus exclusive is no different, the first car in the US to bear laser headlights. Set to be revealed at the LA Auto Show 2024 in just a couple of weeks time, the V10 coupe is the first of the automaker’s production cars to incorporate laser light technology for the US market; it’ll be exceedingly rare, too, coming in a short-run edition of just 25. Does it make a difference? We can tell you that it certainly does, having had the opportunity to test a 2023 R8 V10 plus under some interesting circumstances – on the track in the dead of night.
The 2023 R8 V10 plus exclusive edition will come to the United States through the company’s Audi exclusive program, effectively the automaker’s bespoke arm which customizes production cars for well-heeled clientele. In this particular case, it’s finished in Quantum Gray with the Titanium Black-optic exterior package, and rolls with a Carbon sideblade with Solar Orange stripe. The tires have a 20-inch 10-spoke-Y design in high-gloss anthracite, and the steering wheel has its own Signal Orange 12 o’clock marker.
It’s not the only interior change. Audi exclusive finishes the full leather seating in Black/Signal Orange, while the door sills are also trimmed in leather, not to mention illuminated with custom “one of 25” logos in carbon matte. The luggage compartment is trimmed in Alcantara, as are the rear panel and rear shelf. There’s even an Alcantara headliner, with diamond-stitching.
The 25 drivers are cosseted in fixed-backrest racing shell seats. On the outside, as well as Audi carbon ceramic brakes, there’s a carbon fiber rear diffuser and front lip spoiler. The exterior mirror housings and fixed rear wing spoiler match too. But what we’re most interested in, of course, is the lights.
The standard LED lights you’d find on a regular R8 are still present, but now they’re combined with a supplementary laser system which kicks in at speeds above 40 mph. Each headlight gets with one laser module consisting of four laser diodes: all four diodes run together, blasting out a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. That blue laser is converted by a phosphor converter, turning it into a “very bright and pure white light.”
SlashGear also had the opportunity be one of the first to test-drive the 2023 R8 back in July of last year. Even without the addition of lasers it’s an impressive beast, with Audi claiming a 3.2 second 0-62 mph run courtesy of the coupe’s 610 HP. Audi quattro all-wheel drive helps keep it on the road, with dynamic suspension and – exclusive to the V10 plus – a special Performance mode.
If you’re tempted by the laser upgrade, R8 V10 plus exclusive kicks off at $229,200 excluding destination and other charges. No word on when Audi might bring laser headlamp technology to other cars in its line-up at this point.
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Audi R8 V10 RWS is a super-rare rear-wheel drive oddity
Audi and quattro all-wheel drive usually go together like peas in an automotive pod, so nobody expected this: a rear-wheel drive Audi R8. The limited-edition supercar is making its debut today at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2023 in Germany, based on the R8 LMS racing car, but bringing that to public streets. The result is this, the new Audi R8 V10 RWS.
“The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists,” Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH, said of the car. “A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer.”
As a result, only 999 of the cars will be built, offered in both Coupe and Spyder convertible variants. Each will have a mid-mounted 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine, good for 540 horsepower, just as with the R8 V10 quattro. It’ll be good for 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds in the Coupe, while the Spyder will do it in 3.8 seconds. Top speed will be 198.8 mph in the Coupe and 197.6 mph in the Spyder.
However the driving feel may well be very different versus the “regular” R8. Whereas the quattro car has all-wheel drive to guarantee its stickiness in the corners, as well as make sure all that V10 power makes it to the asphalt, the R8 V10 RWS pushes all of the grunt to its rear wheels.
On the Spyder side, the rear-wheel drive convertible is over 88 pounds lighter than its quattro Spyder cousin. In both soft and hard top cases, Audi has tweaked the axle load distribution – 40.6:59.4 in the Coupe, and 40.4:59.6 in the Spyder – along with fettling the chassis and handling tuning for what it says is “incredibly fun driving”.
That also opens the door to something the quattro usually shuts down before it has time to even begin: drifting. Select “Dynamic” mode in Audi’s drive select dynamic handling systems, and switch the Stabilization Control ESC to “Sport”, and controlled drifts are possible. The ESC, Audi promises, will step in at the limit to save your incredibly rare R8 should you push things too far.
As for the electromechanical power steering, that promises zero torque-steer. The car sits on 19-inch cast aluminum wheels in a five-spoke V-design, finished in black, and shod in 245/35 rubber up front and 295/35 at the rear. It also gets a matte black Singleframe grill and matching air apertures at the front and rear, while the Coupe’s upper side blade is gloss black contrasting with the body-color lower portion.
A red film can be spec’d for running over the hood, roof, and rear end. Inside, leather and Alcantara sports seats are standard, with buckets an option, and a “1 of 999” badge is on the dashboard.
MORE 2023 Audi R8 V10 first-drive
Orders for the Audi R8 V10 RWS will open in the fall of 2023 in Germany and other European countries. Deliveries are expected later in the fall. The Coupe will start at 140,000 euros ($163k) while the Spyder will start at 153,000 euros ($178k); no word on whether they’ll be offered in the US at this stage.
The Maserati MC20 gives Android Automotive OS its fastest ride yet
The dashboard of Maserati’s MC20 supercar may be minimalistic, but it’s not lacking tech, giving Android Automotive OS its fastest ride so far. Announced this week, the new MC20 is the automaker’s opportunity to hit reboot on its range, with a focus on being more distinct from other vehicles from its FCA owners.
It’s also a chance to get to grips with some cutting-edge technology. While the exterior of the MC20 has unsurprisingly garnered the most attention so far, along with the 202+ mph performance promised from its new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, some of the biggest improvements are in the cabin.
Current Maserati models, it’s fair to say, have leaned pretty heavily on the Fiat Chrysler parts bins. Whether it’s switchgear familiar from the 300 or Pacifica, or the lightly-reskinned infotainment system of the Dodge Challenger, though the outside may be distinguished the interior tech can often feel underwhelming. It’s a criticism Maserati simply won’t face for the MC20.
The dashboard is pared back and focused. A wide-aspect digital display for the driver’s gauges; a touchscreen suspended in the center for infotainment. Key controls are mounted on the steering wheel, minimizing the movements involved in accessing things like Launch Mode. The rest are in the center tunnel, simple rotary knobs and big buttons that won’t distract from the road ahead.
It’s a clean look that masks a lot of complexity. The MC20 runs Android Automotive OS, Google’s version of Android intended to run natively on vehicles rather than be simply projected from a connected smartphone. The new Maserati won’t be the first car to launch with the platform – that’ll be the Polestar 2 EV, with Volvo, Audi, and GM also signed up to use Android Automotive themselves – but the MC20 will undoubtedly be the fastest to offer it.
Importantly, it doesn’t look like what we’ve already experienced in the Polestar 2. The MIA, or Maserati Intelligent Assistant, is fully personalized to match the automaker’s own aesthetic, with both of the 10.25-inch screens having consistent interfaces.
Hooking up with Google, though, opens the door to functionality that many supercars miss out on. It’s a cruel truth of the auto industry that, while performance vehicles might have the speed and handling to drop jaws, their infotainment and tech setups often just lead to rolling eyes. Building a cohesive and powerful software experience – along with all the apps and services that go along with that – is no small undertaking, especially when you’re a near-boutique producer of six-figure coupes.
In time, there’s the potential for the MC20 driver to benefit from their more humdrum distant cousins, too. One of the strengths of Google’s platform is its ability to gather anonymized data from each vehicle, feeding back live updates on things like traffic conditions, weather, and even the state of the road surface. That data can potentially be pooled and served up to all Android Automotive OS-based cars. In short, you might not know another MC20 owner, but you could still benefit from iced-up road warnings from the Polestar or Volvo around you.
Few will get to experience the MC20, much less own one. A $210k+ price tag will see to that. Still, with Maserati promising a whole range reinvention – including the fully-electric new GranTurismo and GranCabrio coming soon, alongside an all-electric MC20 too – there’s a good chance that the big improvements this supercar cabin showcases will trickle down to more attainable cars too.
[Updated to reflect the absence of Google software/services in the MC20’s version of Android Automotive OS]
Lenovo ThinkStation P620 gives AMD Threadripper PRO its first workstation win
Lenovo has revealed the first workstation to use AMD’s Threadripper PRO, with the ThinkStation P620 promising easier deployment of the potent pro chips. Offering up to 64 cores from a single CPU, the ThinkStation P620 slots in-between Lenovo’s existing single-slot P520 and dual-slot P720 machines, though the AMD filling in this Intel sandwich could make some users consider a change.
For a start, it’s the only 64 core, 128-thread workstation that you’ll be able to buy, at least for the moment. That means up to 4.0 GHz core speeds or up to 64 cores overall, CPU depending, pairing the Threadripper PRO with AMD’s 2023 Premium Chipset BXB-B.
In short, you’re looking at a surprisingly compact powerhouse. The CPU supports up to 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0 bandwidth – though the P620 doesn’t use all 128 in this chassis – and 8-channel memory for up to 1TB of DDR4, 3200 MHz memory across eight DIMM slots. Storage is up to 4TB of M.2 PCIe SSD and up to 16TB of 3.5-inch SATA 7,200rpm drives. There’s support for RAID 0/1 for M.2, and 0/1/5/10 for SATA. Lenovo fits a 1,000W PSU.
On the graphics side, there’s support for up to two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 or four Quadro RTX 4000 cards. That can power up to sixteen displays in total, with up to a 96GB frame buffer.
Lenovo has included 10GB ethernet on the motherboard, to free up a PCIe slot. That’s important, since – with twice the transfer speeds per PCIe lane of the old standard – you’ll want to make the most of those PCIe Gen 4.0 slots.
Compared to Intel workstations, AMD and Lenovo are making some big promises. Pitting the P620 against a dual-core Intel-based workstation with two CPUs, the 64-core Threadripper PRO 3995X can apparently deliver 20-percent more performance. Usable graphics performance should be higher when paired with high-end GPUs, too.
While the media and entertainment audience are expected to be interested – with Epic Games already said to be onboard – Lenovo expects to see interest from a number of different verticals. That includes finance and insurance, the energy/oil/gas industry, AI and software development, and more. Basically, anybody who doesn’t want to necessarily have to choose between high core counts or high clock speeds.
Lenovo packages it all into a familiar chassis. The 33 liter tower is basically that of the P520, with the same basic cooling system: that means air cooling alone, rather than liquid-cooling. AMD and Lenovo worked together on a custom heat-sink for the Threadripper, along with channel cooling in the chassis. That way it can avoid the liquid-cooling requirement that the high-end Threadrippers demand on the consumer side.
You get two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports on the front, along with a mic/headphone combo jack. On the back, there are four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, two USB 2.0 Type-A, two PS/2, a 10 Gigabit ethernet, audio line-in, audio line-out, and microphone in. Inside, there’s an Intel PCIe WiFi card with Bluetooth.
A slim optical drive, 15-in-1 media card reader, and front-accessible storage enclosure are also available. There’s space for up to six total drives, and up to 4 internal storage bays.
If you’re interested, there’s a wait involved. Lenovo may be announcing the ThinkStation P620 today, but the workstation won’t actually ship until the end of September. Pricing will start at $4,599.
Aston Martin Rapide AMR gives 580hp four-door a racing makeover
Aston Martin has given its four-door coupe a 580 horsepower makeover, with the Rapide AMR giving Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, and others some serious side-eye. The production version of the Rapide AMR concept shown off at the Geneva Motor Show last year, it’s an even faster twist on Aston Martin’s handsome four-seater.
That includes preserving most of the concept car’s visual changes. The front grille is larger and more aggressive than that of the regular Rapide, while the lights stick with the Zagato-inspired circular DRLs. Most of the changes, though, have been done with aerodynamics in mind.
So, the splitter, sills, rear diffuser, and boot lid lip spoiler are in carbon fiber to keep weight down, and help reduce lift at speed. The hood is carbon fiber too, and has sizable ventilation cut-outs.
They’re needed, too, since underneath is a revamped version of the naturally-aspirated 6.0-liter V12 that helps makes the Rapide so endearing. Larger inlet manifolds with tuned length dual inlet runners have boosted airflow; Aston Martin Racing’s engineers combined that with new engine and transmission calibration, to bump up power. It means a hefty 580 HP and 465 lb-ft of torque.
Altogether it’s sufficient for 0-60 mph in a mere 4.2 seconds, and a top-speed of 205 mph. Slowing, meanwhile, comes courtesy of new carbon ceramic brakes, with 400mm front discs with six piston calipers, and 360mm rear discs with four piston calipers. They’re the most potent brakes of a production Rapide so far, and they’re combined with 21-inch wheels, a first in fact for any Aston Martin.
Not just any wheels, either. The forged multi-spokes have been designed to be not only stiff but allow plenty of air to flow through, helping keep the brakes cooling. Modified brake ducts and dust shields borrow design elements from the Vanquish S, meanwhile, to also aid in keeping temperatures down. Altogether, the Rapide AMR sits 10mm lower than a Rapide S, with tweaks to the three stage adaptive dampers to make them more dynamic and focused.
Not everything has been done with performance alone in mind. There’s also the experience to consider: witness, for instance, the new quad exhaust system, which Aston Martin describes as positively “raucous” in its chorus. Three color schemes will be offered, too.
Standard and Silhouette will come with a choice of four colors – Mariana Blue, Scintilla Silver, Lightning Silver, and Onyx Black – with the Standard scheme throwing in some AMR Lime accents to the splitter, sills, and rear diffuser. Silhouette drops the lime, and throws in a full-length China Grey or Clubsport White strip.
Signature scheme cars, meanwhile, combine Stirling Green paint with Lime accents and a Lime stripe. It’s about as close as you can get to an AMR racer but with four doors, the automaker points out.
Inside, the full-length carbon fiber console is flanked by Alcantara-clad seats. The One-77 style steering wheel is an option, and there are plenty of AMR plaques, badges, and stitching. Q by Aston Martin, the automaker’s bespoke team, is on hand to make any more custom changes.
Tempted? You’ll need to act pretty fast if you want a Rapide AMR on your driveway. Aston Martin says it only plans to make just 210 of the cars to sell worldwide, each priced from $240,000. Initial deliveries will kick off in Q4 2023.
L1 v2 Laser Pico Projector Revealed by AAXA
The folks at AAXA Technologies presents a version 2 of the world’s first laser powered pocket projector. This AAXA L1 v2 Laser Pico Projector improves upon the first by increating thermal efficiency of its PCOS laser light engine. Now only do you get color, this device’s three-color laser light source enables it to procude images with fabulous color saturation, always in focus. Sounds pretty neat, yes? Sounds pretty fantastic. This pocket projector combines a “revolutionary” laser light source, proprietary despeckling technology, and an LCoS imager to produce 800 x 600 resolution and 20 lumen output with no pixelation problems.
Project images up to 50″ away in dark environments. Rapid change possible in projection size, simultaneous near and far projection, angled projection, and projection on uneven surfaces. Fricking sweet, man. This projector includes an onboard 1.5 hour battery, making power cables unnecessary, VGA input supporting up to 800×600 resolutions for laptop connections, and a media player inside the device able to decode multiple document and media formats. Have some files on a USB thumb drive? It can read those too. Available for $449 MSRP or pre-order for $399. Check out the full press-release below:
AAXA Introduces L1 v2 Laser Pico Projector
November 24, 2010
AAXA Technologies is pleased to announce the release of the AAXA L1 v2 Laser Pico Projector, an updated version of the L1, the world’s first laser powered pocket projector. The updated design improves the performance of L1 v2 by increasing the thermal efficiency of the PCOS laser light engine. The unique three-color laser light source enables the L1 v2 to produce images with amazing color saturation that are always in focus. Designed for mobile professionals and entertainment, the AAXA L1 v2 pocket projector combines a revolutionary laser light source, proprietary despeckling technology, and an LCoS imager to achieve a 20 lumen output at 800×600 resolution without the pixilation problems found in some laser projectors.
The flexibility offered by the L1 v2 laser light source opens up a new world of possibilities in projection applications. The focus-free operation allows for rapid changes in projection size, simultaneous far and near surface projection, angled projection, and projection on curved and other non-flat surfaces. Its ultra-efficient optical engine enables the L1 v2 to produce rich images even in less-than-dark environments – and color-rich images up to 50″ in dark environments. Combined with onboard 1.5 hour battery, the L1 v2 operates as a true hand-held laser projector without the need for any cables or external power source.
Built-in features include VGA input supporting up to 800×600 resolutions for laptop connections and on-board gamma correction. Additional features include a powerful media player capable of decoding of video (AVI, ASF, WMV, MPG), audio (MP3, WAV, AAC), images (JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP), and popular document formats (DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF), onboard memory, and a USB port capable of reading files directly off a standard USB thumb drive.
While the L1 v2 is slightly larger than the original L1, it still remains the world’s smallest 20 lumen pico projector – no larger than a small cell phone, measuring only 4.2″ x 2.1″ x 1.2″ and weighs in at 170 grams (including battery). The L1 v2 projector is much smaller than the traditional “pocket projector”. It slips into a pocket or briefcase and comes with a stand, making it fully portable and configurable for maximum presentation flexibility. Additional accessories allow the L1 v2 to connect to Apple iPhone/iPod, Microsoft Zune, Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), and a wide range of cellphones from Nokia, LG, Samsung, and HTC.
The AAXA L1 v2 is available for pre-order at chúng tôi for $399 and begins shipping December 1, 2010 and will also be available through our fine retail partners.
[Via AAXA Technologies]
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