Never mind all the talk of fuel efficiency mandates. Judging by product rollouts at recent auto shows, some consumers still want racy, stylish cars. And automakers aren't hesitating to build them.
Call them dream cars. Chevrolet launched one at the North American International Auto Show in January: Its powerful new 2014 Corvette Stingray. Not to be outdone, McLaren Automotive rolled out the new hybrid P1, and Lamborghini introduced the high-powered Veneno at this week's Geneva Motor Show.
We call them dream cars for good reason. The 2014 Stingray is rumored to have an expected pricetag of $55,000, which is dreamy enough. But the McLaren P1-- with only 375 units in production--will run $1.15 million. And the Veneno--possibly the ultimate in automotive exclusivity--will cost $3.9 million. Only three will be built.
I would call them nightmare cars. They all suffer from a bone crushing hard ride and ear splitting noise. This nightmare has now worked its way down the line so even your average car "features" a firm suspension, with low profile (hard) tires so you can feel even the slightest crack on our potholed roads.
It seems that all independent car test magazines including Consumers Reports rate cars performance on their closed race tracks. So for the manufacturers to get good points, they firm up suspensions and make the cars ride as rough as the race cars of 20 years ago.
Shopping for a new car, I couldn't find a single one that didn't bring an instant pain in my arthritic neck on the smoothest road. My 2006 Buick Lucerne CXS has never irritated my neck in the least in all these years.
I don't believe I'm the only one in this dilemma.
A pox on all car article writers.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.