Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

The appearance of modern cars has not changed much during the past few decades, but the improvement underneath the exterior is considerable. Cars in the past were more mechanical, while modern cars feature electronics and software. As the trend of electrification and “smart cars” keeps rising within the industry, automobiles are moving toward fast-changing consumer products as opposed to durable goods. The trend impacts development, manufacturing, management, and marketing of the whole industry.

The life cycle of an automobile product has been drastically reduced. Gone are the days when Mercedes-Benz sold the W124 E-Class for over a decade. The span…


Photo by Doug Watanabe on Unsplash

GT, the abbreviation for Gran Turismo, refers to the type of sports car that can be driven on a long-distance tour. A proper GT should be an FR coupe with 4 seats and combine speed and luxury perfectly. Some GTs are 2-seaters, though, and some are the in-between “2+2” with a rather useless back seat. The essence of all these true GTs is out of dispute — they are fast, they are comfy, and they are beautiful. Some notable examples in the past are Jaguar E-type, Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Ferrari 250. Sometimes the word GT gets longer — most notably the…


Photo by George Van Gosh on Unsplash

I have some special affection for the front-engine rear-wheel-drive (FR) layout because of my childhood experience with a BMW E34. A front-engine front-wheel-drive (FF) layout is never a proper premium setup to me due to several reasons. Nowadays we do see various kinds of chassis layout, but FR and FF remain the two major categories for road cars. This time I am creating some biased dualism between the two.

Before jumping into the FR layout, we have to know that FR is only a setup of RWD. The RWD layout family includes MR and RR, but they are mostly…


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The importance of software has never been so high before in the automotive industry. In the earlier phase of automobile software, it was just assistance to mechanical engineering. For example, the engine control unit (ECU) makes simple calculations and operates the engine digitally. The automatic gearbox has its own operating logic and is guided by the software.

Software took over engine management already in the 1990s. Engine technologies such as variable valve timing or variable geometry turbocharger are all operated via ECU. Other safety assistance systems such as electronic stability program (ESP) are also digitally operated. …


Back in the time, distinguishing gearboxes was easy; they were either manual or automatic. Manual and automatic are inherently different in structure. The video below would perfectly show the key differences. In general, manual is cheaper, lighter, and more efficient, while automatic is easier and more convenient to drive.

For race cars and sports cars, the manual is the best solution due to its efficiency. The only problem with the stick-shift manual is that it takes more effort to maneuver. To make shifting easier, the sequential manual was introduced firstly to race cars and gradually to streetcars. It can…


Exhibition hall of Mercedes-Benz

IAA is the most significant stage for German brands. Since it is impossible to finish every exhibition area in a single day, I visited the top German brands only. In this article, I will shortly comment on my visit to IAA 2019 and some prominent world premieres.

Overall the size of IAA 2019 is reduced compared to that of IAA 2015, which I last visited. Still, German brands invested a lot. The main theme of IAA 2019 was the future, and the concepts for future mobility were of more importance this time. Traditional production models were not the main characters…


Photo by Philip Schroeder on Unsplash

What is the single most prominent trait of a car that differentiates modern cars from vintage ones? Some may say aerodynamic design, the use of electronics, or engine power. I would say ground clearance or ride height distinguishes a modern car from an old one the best. Cars are getting lower, and an ordinary chassis height from the old-time would be considered high above today.

Let’s talk about the body structure first. A car consists of mainly two parts: the cabin and the chassis. At the beginning of the automobile era, the cabin is the place to sit and drive…


Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Product flow does not end upon the delivery to customers, especially for cars. Normally a car can last for at least 10 years, but some owners would not hold their cars that long. Used cars will then enter the second-hand market, and the dealer function acts just like one of the new cars. With the rise of lease-purchase, more customers are switching cars every 2 to 3 years, and the amount of almost-new second-hand cars increases drastically. So, where would these newly used cars go?

The case of the US-spec Mercedes-Benz W205 C300 sedan in Taiwan provides a feasible and…


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

When a car can travel at 250km/h, reach 100 kph within 5 secs, or finish Nürburgring Nordschleife within 8 mins, we say it is fast. These are measurements quantifying the quickness because “being fast” is rather a statement of feeling. In fact, this feeling is so objective and dependent on the situation that a single index cannot cover it perfectly. Multiple aspects have to be considered when reviewing the complete performance of a car.

Common figures seen in the specification tables are 0–100km/h acceleration time, top speed, and sometimes 400m acceleration time. These are measurements of driving without changing the…


Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

High-performance vehicles are always widely discussed and debated by fans and journalists. When a model undergoes the generation change, the new high-performance model is always premiered later, leaving people anticipating and guessing. Automakers invest a lot in developing trendy visual design and rocketing engine power. Hence, the price tags of these models are often significantly higher than normal ones. To further differentiate the performance models from others, automakers are marketing them as sub-brands e.g. Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Audi Sport.

If we look carefully into the sales figures, we can notice that these models are relatively rare in terms of units…

Willson

AutoMurmur

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store