Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

The number of supercars and hypercars is growing at a fast clip. That means competition for the most expensive car in the world title is also growing. From the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster to the McLaren P1 to the Aston Martin Valkyrie, expensive, high-ticket rarities are crowding the top of the market. Surprisingly, a most expensive car list is not as easy to make as you might think. The prices for the most expensive cars fluctuate depending on customer build requests, which—among the buyers of the world’s most expensive cars—can get rather baroque.

10. Koenigsegg Regera – $1.9 million

Koenigsegg.com

Christian von Koenigsegg may be the most visionary privateer builder in the world today. His creations are deeply personal and undeniably ground-breaking innovations. The many of the most expensive cars in the world, the price of the changes to match the complexity each customer’s demands. The Regera is built around a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 1,100 horsepower. The rest of the drivetrain is a brilliant departure from the norm: the Regera uses something called the Koenigsegg Direct Drive system, wherein a small, crank-mounted electric motor is connected to the engine with a hydraulic coupling and acts as a launch motor.

Then, each of the rear wheels is assigned its own electric motor the push out around 700 horsepower. Off the line, with the coupling open, the Regera is a purely electric drive. When the hydraulic coupling closes, the smaller electric motor fills out the bottom of the torque curve. Few innovations in the automobile have inspired as much envy as Koenigsegg’s drive system, and that accounts for just a part of the exorbitant cost.

9. Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta — $2.2 million

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The Ferrari LaFerrari stood out when it was first introduced at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, despite the fact that it had to share the floor with a new Lamborghini Veneno and McLaren P1. It has a top speed of 217 mph, crushed the track record at Maranello, and goes from 0 to 60 in under two seconds.

Unveiled at last year’s Paris Auto Show, the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta is the open-topped version of the fastest production Ferrari ever made. Literally meaning “open,” the Aperta differs from the hard-top—which was already expensive when it was first sold in 2013 or $1 million apiece—in a few crucial ways.

The Aperta uses the same revolutionary drivetrain to create around 1,000 horsepower: the mid-rear mounted 6.3-liter Ferrari F140 V12 coupled with its HY-KERS kinetic energy recapture system cribbed from its Formula 1 car. But the absence of a roof—and a slight increase in weight—has demanded some critical changes to the car: the Aperta’s has a more prominent front air-dam to boost downforce, its radiators have been angled down to direct air flow out along the underbody instead of over the hood, and an L-shaped wedge has been integrated to the upper corner of each windshield a-pillar to reduce compression on the rear of the cabin. What Ferrari calls “Butterfly” doors open at a slightly different angle. Also, look for revised wheel arches.

8. McLaren P1 GTR — $2.59 million

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Ok, so the McLaren P1 GTR isn’t on the market any more, and it never really was to begin with, since McLaren sold it out of the works, and only 35 were made. It’s also a track-only car. You’d think these factors would take the GTR out of contention. Not so! A track car is still a car, and this one is a beauty. Built by McLaren works as a 20th anniversary celebration of McLaren’s win at Le Mans and maintained by McLaren Special Operations department, the P1 GTR was sold only in pounds for £1.9 million.

The 1,000-horsepower P1 GTR is one of the most expensive cars in the world because it is a McLaren, and a very special one at that. It features a hybrid drive plucked from the audacious P1 road car, and but it differs in a variety of ways. Where the P1 has a variety of driving programs (e-mode, normal, sport, track, and race, as well as an all-out “boost” and Instant Power Assist System button), the GTR has a stripped down set of options. It has a fixed ride height on race-ready suspension, a fixed rear wing capable that can deploy a drag reduction system, and specially-designed exhaust system. It travels 225 mph at the high end and goes from 0-60 in 2.4 seconds.

7. Bugatti Chiron — $2.6 million

 Bugatti.com

When, as legend has it, former VW czar Ferdinand Piech demanded that Bugatti make the fastest car in the world, the masterminds in Mulsanne conjured the Veyron, an insectile example of aerospace colliding with automotive engineering that traveled a laughable 268 mph. Its W-16, 1,001-horsepower engine jacked up the cost to $1.5 million, and the four turbo wastegates were louder than most modern engines.

Now, the Veyron—once among the most expensive cars in the world—is gone. In its place, the Bugatti Chiron, an even more expensive Bugatti. Also faster, more advanced, and more powerful than the Veyron, the Chiron boasts a similar quad-turbocharged W-16 8.0-liter engine, but it has tinkered and futzed until the output is now 1,500 horsepower—300 more than even the Super Sport, the fastest model of the Veyron. The Chiron’s top speed has been limited to just 261 mph on the road; its actual top speed has reportedly not yet been tested. But the wealthy and wiling are lining up to set the mark.

What makes the Chiron one of the most expensive cars in the world? It’s a Bugatti, it’s handmade in an atelier, and no one can agree how to pronounce its name.

6. Pagani Huayra BC — $2.8 million

Pagani.com

For those among you who didn’t think it could get more extreme that the Pagani Huayra, we give you the Huayra BC, the most expensive Pagani ever made. The BC stands for Benny Caiola, an Italian investor who may have owned one of the best collections of Ferraris in the world. Caiola was one of Horacio Pagani’s oldest friends and mentors, and this car takes Pagani’s obsessive approach to detail to even more mental levels.

The BC looks and sounds like the “base” Huayra: The engine is still sourced from AMG, and remains a 6.0-liter V-12 bi-turbo that’s been tuned by Pagani’s demonic shop gnomes to bring you 790 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. All of this sorcery is run through tripod drive shafts developed through Le Mans prototype program to the rear wheels by way of a seven-speed Xtrac transmission. Got that? The transmission itself is controlled by electro-hydraulic actuation and carbon-fiber synchronizers. Pagani, ever hungry for carbon fiber.

Here’s just one of many ways in which the BC takes flight from the planet Huarya: Each shift in this dynamic transmission has been tuned from the standard Huayra 150 milliseconds to the BC’s 75. That’s taking a fast shift time and slashing it in half.

5. Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio — $3 million

Goodwood

Only six of these preposterous Ferraris were ever made. The very expensive Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio was created in homage to the famed son of the founder of Pininfarina the year that he died. It was originally presented as a concept car in 2013, the Sergio grew on Ferrari just enough to for them to green-light a six-car production run based on the Ferrari 458 Spider.

Thanks to an all-carbon-fiber frame, the hand-made Sergio is a full 330 pounds lighter than the already waif-like 458. Arranged in a two-seat configuration, it takes the open-air concept even further. Where the Ferrari 458 Spider has no roof, the Sergio has no roof, no side windows, and windshield. That makes the force of this naturally-aspirated 4.5-liter F136F  V-8 engine—the same one used the 458 Spider—all the more forceful.

4. Aston Martin Valkyrie — $3 million

Aston Martin

There is no announced price for the Aston Martin Valkyrie yet. But a reliable source said that if we put $3 million, we’d be about right. This car, until recently known as the Aston Martin-Red Bull AM-RB 001, is a culmination of sorts of Aston Martin’s visionary new president, Andy Palmer, who has ushered Aston Martin into a new age of solvency and relevance with a series of killer cars. The Valkrie is the most killer car of all.

Palmer and Red Bull RAcing’s Adrian Newey and Christian Horner agreed to build the car over a pint at a pub (true story). Thus the partnership was born between Aston and Red Bull Racing’s Newey, the aerodynamicist whose work is largely responsible for Red Bull’s multi-year dominance in Formula One. Newey and Aston Martin invented an aerodynamic scheme for the Valkyrie that channels air through the chassis and creates downforce without the help of a wings.

The engine will be a 6.5-liter, naturally-aspirated V-12 tailored to the frame by Cosworth, and was made to achieve the magical 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.

The Valkyrie is not a car for casual buyers of supercars. Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s designer, said the car—which has a Rimac-built hybrid battery system installed along with the engine—will make about 1,000 horsepower.

3. Lamborghini Veneno Roadster — $3.3 million

Lamborghini

The Veneno Roadster is the most expensive production Lamborghini on the road today. It’s actually $500,000 more expensive than the coupe version of the Veneno. That’s a lot of cash for a little less roof above your head.

How can you explain a cost well north of $3 million? Look at the build of this open-top two-seater. The monoque is lifted from the LP700-4 Aventador, except this one is made from carbon-fiber. Atop this is bolted a 740-hp, 6.5-liter V-12 with a seven-speed single-clutch ISR automated manual transmission—the same one found in the Veneno coupe. It’s a tricky transmission, and one that gets a lot of heat among aficionados. If there’s room for improvement in a car that costs more than a private jet share, the transmission would be the place. The sprung portion of the Veneno is placed atop a pushrod-actuated suspension, and even though it’s driven by a a full all-wheel-drive system, the total dry weight of this carbon-fiber gem is just 3,285 pounds.

2. Lykan HyperSport — $3.4 million

Karim Jaafar / Getty Images

Built by W Motors, the Lykan HyperPport is legitimately the first Arab supercar. We know this because W Motors is based in Lebanon, but also because the HyperSport is reckoned to be the first car to have headlights with embedded jewels. There are titanium LED blades that have a total of 420 15-karat diamonds. However, according to Lykan, buyers have also selected rubies, diamonds, yellow diamonds, and sapphires.

The rest of the car? Fine. It’s powered by a mid-rear mounted, twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six boxer that fires about 780 horsepower through the rear wheels. It 0-62 in 2.8 seconds and has a blistering top speed of 240 mph.

But really: The headlights are made with 240 15-karat diamonds. And that’s what makes this one of the most expensive cars in the world.

1. McLaren P1 LM — $3.7 million

Goodwood

The McLaren P1 LM is the most expensive car in the world in 2017. Go ahead and dispute it, because you can. But first, consider the caveats: McLaren didn’t actually build this car. They built the original P1, which was then acquired by Lanzante Motorsports, which painstakingly rebuilt the P1, transforming a near-perfect supercar into a definitive work of art that will one day be remembered as a crowning achievement of all humanity.

It takes cues from the McLaren P1 GTR [see above] and the storied McLaren F1 road car. Like the F1, the LM has gold plating in the engine bay. And the engine which the gold surrounds is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8. Combined with the three electric motors dispersed between the engine and the rear wheels, the P1 LM produces a heroic 1000 horsepower.

These details may not distinguish a car on this list, which has high power standards. The Lanzante distinguishes itself is in how smart it is. The aerodynamics come to life on track. A modified rear wing and enlarged front splitter join together with dive planes that generate an astounding 40 percent increase in downforce over the P1 GTR.

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World in 2017

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World’s Largest Automakers

World’s Largest Automakers

Renault-Nissan Outranks Volkswagen, Could Pass #1 Toyota

World's Largest Automakers

The times, they are a changing: Last year, Volkswagen Group kicked perennial front-runner Toyota from the top spot. A few months later, world domination has fizzled, and Volkswagen finds itself in the number three position. Even more embarrassing for Volkswagen, come-from-behind Renault-Nissan Alliance is the second-largest global automaker, with Toyota firmly back on top.

Four months into the year, Toyota Group is up 7.8% with 3.53 million units produced so far. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is not much behind with 3.47 million units, up 7.4%. 3rd-ranking Volkswagen Group delivered 3.4 million units from January through April, and its sales are down 0.7% compared to the first four months in 2016. All of this according to data released by the respective automakers.

Nearly 200,000 units behind Toyota, for Volkswagen to regain the lead once this year is over would need a miracle — or a catastrophe for the OEMs in front. Surprisingly, Toyota is not so safe at all from being surpassed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. As the table shows, the two groups are separated only by a slim rounding error, and both are good for some 10.5 million by the end of the year.

World’s Largest Automakers

At the Geneva Motor Show, the beautiful… and the damned?

At the Geneva Motor Show, the beautiful… and the damned?

Passing by the glittering, luxury cars, with models draped elegantly over the hoods, you might get the impression that you were witnessing the height of power for the automotive industry. Not only has the internal combustion engine reached dizzying heights of refinement, but the plethora of electric, hybrid and fuel cell engines could leave you wondering if anything more need ever be invented.

Just take a look at Sedric, the transporter prototype from Volkswagen, the internals of which look more like an airport lounge than an SUV.

Designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving, it showed where VW thinks the future might head. You can summon your car via an app, and tell it where you want to go. The car is supposed to able to recognize its user and open the doors. You then chat nonchalantly to your passengers while the car whisks you to your location.

Volkswagen must — if you’ll forgive the pun — really motor. It has to spend billions on electric vehicles, self-driving and new mobility services, as it tries to accelerate away from the costly emissions test cheating scandal that hit demand for its diesel vehicles, and its overall brand position.

Meanwhile over on the Porsche stand (also owned by VW), they plan to spend about $1.1 billion to create an all-electric Mission E, the brand’s first battery-only model that is expected to launch by 2020. Porsche also wants to make an all-electric version of its compact SUV Macan. And there will even be a hybrid version of the iconic 911 model.

Herbert Diess, the head of Volkswagen’s (VW) main passenger car division told reporters: “We are really in a transitional phase for the industry. There are new competitors on the horizon like Tesla or Chinese ventures.”

Over at Volvo, they are adding new technology to their XC60 crossover, designed to help the car avoid or minimize damage in crashes. Its new ”Steer Assist” feature helps the SUV avoid hazards like other vehicles, pedestrians or large animals while also hitting the brakes at the same time.

Of course the cost of this investment will change the structure of the car industry. BMW boss Harald Krueger said the cost of investments in new technologies could spur consolidation among smaller carmakers. For example, some analysts say Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which has less than 7% of the European market could be a target for acquisition, given its high debts and expensive plants in Italy.

Car makers are scrambling to ape Tesla by introducing a range of new electric cars. Japanese brands like Toyota and Nissan have been the leaders in this field. Nissan launched its electric hatchback Leaf in 2010 and sold over 250,000 units worldwide until December 2016, the largest number for a highway electric car in history.

Toyota’s hybrid vehicles sales in Europe were up 40% in 2016 and 32% of all sales in the region. So, today, one in every three cars Toyota sold in Europe is a hybrid.

Even Brexit is going to impact auto-maker strategy. British luxury brand Mini, which is owned by BMW, makes around 70% of its 360,000 cars at its Oxford plant in southern England, but now it looks like it will start making electric Minis outside of the UK, probably in Germany or the Netherlands, or a new location altogether.

And Tata Motors-owned Jaguar is engineering its first electric performance SUV Concept – the I-Pace with a view to giving it a longer range, with fast charging times and better performance, aiming to beat out Tesla’s X model.

But while car markers scramble to add driverless functionality and electric versions, they are entirely missing three crucial strategic pressures.

The first is that just being electric and having driverless features is not going to be enough to save the car industry as it exists today. When every car is electric, no-one cares about the power train any more. When every car has driverless functions, you would not even think to buy a new car without those.

Secondly, a brand like Tesla’s most powerful weapon is, arguably, not the cars themselves but their customers. Tesla’s customers are literally willing the brand towards the future. That’s what they are buying when they buy a Tesla. In this respect Tesla is far closer to the brand of, say, Apple’s, than the brand of, say, BMW’s, which screams tradition, not innovation. Car makers don;t have an easy answer for that.

Lastly it’s cities that are pivotal to the future of the car industry. This is where Europe could potentially punch above its weight. Regulation of transport infrastructure is going to be crucial for this new world, and test of driverless technology in cities like Swindon in the UK will create a framework on which car markers can genuinely innovate. Until that happens their plans for cars with different engines will come to nought. And let’s not even get into autonomous drone-like passenger vehicles flying above busy urban environments.

Beautiful cars at the Geneva Motor Show may be wonderful to look at. But 2017 may go down in history just as the last horse-drawn buggy “expo” did: a golden age that was soon over-taken by the future.

At the Geneva Motor Show, the beautiful… and the damned?

How connected cars are turning into revenue-generating machines

How connected cars are turning into revenue-generating machines

How connected cars are turning into revenue-generating machines

History repeats herself, but she mumbles. Some have expressed that she enjoys rhymes or puns. One must lean in close and listen carefully to understand exactly what she’s getting at. Most of the time we can only in retrospect discern what she was trying to say.

Sometimes, though, history’s intent is clear. Evidence suggests a chain of events that will yield to an educated guess of the near future. That’s where we stand right now with the state of connected cars: History is repeating itself, with a slight variation. There is a close correspondence in the patterns of disruption when you compare the future of connected cars to the past of the smartphone industry.

At some point within the next two to three years, consumers will come to expect car connectivity to be standard, similar to the adoption curve for GPS navigation. As this new era begins, the telecom metric of ARPU will morph into ARPC (average revenue per car). Note: In this case, the term “connected” brings together related concepts, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and evolving cellular networks, including 3G, 4G/LTE, 5G, etc.

In that time frame, automotive OEMs will see a variety of revenue-generating touch points for connected vehicles at gas stations, electric charging stations and more. We also should expect progressive mobile carriers to gain prominence as essential links in the automotive value chain within those same two to three years.

Early in 2016, that transitional process began with the quiet but dramatic announcement of a statistic that few noted at the time. The industry crossed a critical threshold in the first quarter when net adds of connected cars (32 percent) rose above the net adds of smartphones (31 percent) for the very first time. At the top of the mobile carrier chain, AT&T led the world with around eight million connected cars already plugged into its network.

The next big event to watch for in the development of ARPC will be when connected cars trigger a significant redistribution of revenue among the value chain players. In this article, I will focus mostly on recurring connectivity-driven revenue. I will also explore why automakers must develop deep relationships with mobile carriers and Tier-1s to hold on to their pieces of the pie in the connected-car market by establishing control points.

After phones, cars will be the biggest category for mobile-data consumption.

It’s important to note here that my conclusions on the future of connected cars are not shared by everyone. One top industry executive at a large mobile carrier recently asked me, “Why do we need any other form of connectivity when we already have mobile phones?” Along the same lines, some connected-car analysts have suggested that eSIM technology will encourage consumers to simply add to their existing wireless plans connectivity in their cars.

Although there are differing points of view, it’s clear to me that built-in embedded-SIM for connectivity will prevail over tethering with smartphones. The role of Tier-1swill be decisive for both carriers and automakers as they build out the future of the in-car experience, including infotainment, telematics, safety, security and system integration services.

The sunset of smartphone growth

Consider the U.S. mobile market as a trendsetter for the developed world in terms of data-infused technology. You’ll notice that phone revenues are declining. Year-over-year sales of mobiles have registered a 6.5 percent drop in North America and have had an even more dramatic 10.8 percent drop in Europe. This is because of a combination of total market saturation and economic uncertainty, which encourages consumers to hold onto their phones longer.

While consumer phone upgrades have slowed, non-phone connected devices are becoming a significant portion of net-adds and new subscriptions. TBR analyst Chris Antlitz summed up the future mobile market: “What we are seeing is that the traditional market that both carriers [AT&T and Verizon] go after is saturated, since pretty much everyone who has wanted a cell phone already has one… Both companies are getting big into IoT and machine-to-machine and that’s a big growth engine.”

At the same time, AT&T and Verizon are both showing a significant uptick in IoT revenue, even though we are still in the early days of this industry. AT&T crossed the $1 billion mark and Verizon posted earnings of $690 million in the IoT category for last year, with 29 percent of that total in the fourth quarter alone.

Data and telematics

While ARPU is on the decline, data is consuming a larger portion of the pie. Just consider some astonishing facts about data usage growth from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index 2016. Global mobile data traffic grew 74 percent over the past year, to more than 3.7 exabytes per month. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a 4,000X growth in data usage. After phones, cars will be the biggest category for mobile-data consumption.

Most cars have around 150 different microprocessor-controlled sub-systems built by different functional units. The complexity of integrating these systems adds to the time and cost of manufacturing. Disruptive companies like Tesla are challenging that model with a holistic design of telematics. As eSIM becomes a standard part of the telematics control unit (TCU), it could create one of the biggest disruptive domino effects the industry has seen in recent years. That’s why automakers must develop deep relationships with mobile carriers and Tier-1s.

The consumer life cycle for connected cars will initially have to be much longer than it is for smartphones.

Virtualization of our cars is inevitable. It will have to involve separate but interconnected systems because the infrastructure is inherently different for control versus convenience networks. Specifically, instrument clusters, telematics and infotainment environments have very different requirements than those of computing, storage and networking. To create a high-quality experience, automakers will have to work through hardware and software issues holistically.

Already we see Apple’s two-year iPhone release schedule expanding to a three-year span because of gentler innovations and increasing complexity. The consumer life cycle for connected cars will initially have to be much longer than it is for smartphones because of this deep integration required for all the devices, instruments and functionalities that operate the vehicle.

Five factors unique to connected cars

Disruption is everywhere within the auto industry, similar to the disruption that shook out telecom. However, there are several critical differences:

  • Interactive/informative surface. The mobile phone has one small screen with all the technology packed in behind it. Inside a car, nearly every surface could be transformed into an interactive interface. Beyond the instrumentation panel, which has been gradually claiming more real estate on the steering wheel, there will be growth in backseat and rider-side infotainment screens. (Semi-) autonomous cars will present many more possibilities.
  • Processing power. The cloud turned mobile phones into smart clients with all the heavy processing elsewhere, but each car can contain a portable data center all its own. Right now, the NVIDIA Tegra X1 mobile processor for connected cars, used to demonstrate its Drive CX cockpit visualizations, can handle one trillion floating-point operations per second (flops). That’s roughly the same computing power as a 1,600-square-foot supercomputer from the year 2000.
  • Power management. The size and weight of phones were constrained for many years by the size of the battery required. The same is true of cars, but in terms of power and processing instead of the physical size and shape of the body frame. Consider apps like Pokémon Go, which are known as battery killers because of their extensive use of the camera for augmented reality and constant GPS usage. In the backseat of a car, Pokémon Go could run phenomenally with practically no affect on the car battery. Perhaps car windows could even serve as augmented reality screens.
  • Risk factors. This is the No. 1 roadblock to connected cars right now. The jump from consumer-grade to automotive-grade security is just too great for comfort. Normally, when somebody hacks a phone, nobody gets hurt physically. A cybersecurity report this year pointed out that connected cars average 100 million lines of code, compared to only 8 million for a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. In other words, security experts have a great deal of work to do to protect connected cars from hackers and random computer errors.
  • Emotional affinity. Phones are accessories, but a car is really an extension of the driver. You can see this aspect in the pride people display when showing off their cars and their emotional attachment to their cars. This also explains why driverless cars and services like Uber are experiencing a hard limit on their market penetration. For the same reasons, companies that can’t provide flawless connectivity in cars could face long-lasting damage to their brand reputations.

Software over hardware

The value in connected cars will increasingly concentrate in software and applications over the hardware. The connected car will have a vertical hardware stack closely integrated with a horizontal software stack. To dominate the market, a player would need to decide where their niche lies within the solution matrix.

However, no matter how you view the hardware players and service stack, there is a critical role for mobility, software and services. These three will form the framework for experiences, powered by analytics, data and connectivity. Just as content delivered over the car radio grew to be an essential channel for ad revenue in the past, the same will be true in the future as newer forms of content consumption arise from innovative content delivery systems in the connected car.

In the big picture, though, connectivity is only part of the story.

As the second-most expensive lifetime purchase (after a home) for the majority of consumers, a car is an investment unlike any other. Like fuel and maintenance, consumers will fund connectivity as a recurring expense, which we could see through a variety of vehicle touch points. There’s the potential for carriers to partner with every vehicle interaction that’s currently on the market, as well as those that will be developed in the future.

When consumers are filling up at the gas pump, they could pay via their connected car wallet. In the instance of charging electric cars while inside a store, consumers could also make payments on the go using their vehicles. The possibilities for revenue generation through connected cars are endless. Some automakers may try the Kindle-like model to bundle the hardware cost into the price of the car, but most mobile carriers will prefer it to be spread out into a more familiar pricing model with a steady stream of income.

Monetization of the connected car

Once this happens and carriers start measuring ARPC, it will force other industry players to rethink their approach more strategically. For example, bundling of mobile, car and home connectivity will be inevitable for app, data and entertainment services as an integrated experience. In the big picture, though, connectivity is only part of the story. Innovative carriers will succeed by going further and perfecting an in-car user experience that will excite consumers in ways no one can predict right now. As electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen-powered fuel cells and advances in solargain market practicality, cars may run without gas, but they will not run without connectivity.

The first true killer app for connected cars is likely to be some form of new media, and the monetization potential will be vast. With Gartner forecasting a market of 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020, creative methods for generating revenue streams in connected cars won’t stop there. Over the next few years, we will see partnerships proliferate among industry players, particularly mobile carriers. The ones who act fast enough to assume a leadership role in the market now will drive away with an influential status and a long-term win — if history has anything to say about it.

How connected cars are turning into revenue-generating machines

Tesla rival Faraday approved to test self-driving cars on California roads

FFZERO1 Faraday

Tesla rival Faraday approved to test self-driving cars on California roads

Faraday Future plans to begin testing prototype self-driving electric vehicles on California roads later this year after winning approval from the state, an industry source said on Tuesday.

Faraday FFZERO1

Faraday FFZERO1

The China-backed, Los Angeles-based startup plans to begin building and selling electric vehicles next year in the United States, but has not disclosed details of its self-driving program.

Faraday FFZERO1

Faraday FFZERO1

A spokesperson from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday confirmed that Faraday had been approved to test self-driving vehicles on public roads on June 17.

Faraday FFZERO1

Faraday FFZERO1

Tesla rival Faraday approved to test self-driving cars on California roads

Lincoln and Cadillac have put American automakers back in the luxury conversation

Lincoln and Cadillac have put American automakers back in the luxury conversation

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For decades in the auto industry, the top tier of the luxury market has been owned by three brands: Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus.

In the past 10 years, Audi has stormed that mountain and threatened to become a fourth “tier one” brand.

But what about the Detroit carmakers’ own luxury brands — the ones that defined the high-life in the USA before the Germans and the Japanese luxury marques began their ascent?

They’ve struggled. GM’s Cadillac has spent the better part of 10 years taking aim at BMW’s performance mantle, while Ford’s Lincoln was lost in the wilderness.

Both brands enjoyed a strong sales period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, on the backs of the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator, hulking full-size SUVs that ran into trouble when gas prices spiked after the financial crisis.

Ford seriously debated killing off Lincoln when Alan Mulally was running the company; only the efforts of now-CEO Mark Fields saved the brand. Cadillac wasn’t under a similar threat, although obvious questions were raised when GM was heading into bankruptcy in 2009 and shedding brands such as Hummer, Saab, and Pontiac.

Resources behind the brands

But GM and Ford have put significant resources behind both Cadillac and Lincoln, and both luxury divisions are now producing their best cars and crossover SUVs in years.

Their approaches are very different. Cadillac is now operating under the banner of its “Dare Greatly” ad campaign, with its sales and marketing offices moved to New York City from Detroit to be closer the to the pulse of the global luxury market.

Ford is stressing “Quiet Luxury” and continues to call Detroit (Dearborn, actually) home, but the brand has been responsible for producing some of the most memorable car ads in recent memory, staring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and his slightly trippy musings, and for the past two years it has come to the New York auto show with spectacular concept cars.

Better vehicles — especially crossovers

Both brands’ lineups of vehicles are improving. They aren’t the sloshy, boatlike sedans of yore, those classic American freeway cruisers. Rather, there are aggressive, high-performance sedans and coupes for Caddy, along with a growing portfolio of crossovers. For Lincoln, there’s an even better roster of crossovers, along with a new design for the sedans. And of course, Escalade and Navigator haven’t gone anywhere.

Technology has also become paramount. 

Unlike the infotainment offerings from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and even Audi, what Cadillac and Lincoln are putting in their vehicles is far more user-friendly and cognizant of Americans’ obsession with the integration of their ubiquitous smartphones with their vehicles. Cadillac has its much-improved CUE system, backed up the excellent OnStar and the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity. Lincoln has Sync 3, the latest generation of Ford’s infotainment technology.

Both systems are fairly clean and efficient to use compared with what other luxury brands, with the exception of Audi, are providing.

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Not quite at the same level as the Germans

The Americans are still giving something up on performance. Lincoln has made a self-conscious decision to concentrate on different brand values, reasoning that not every luxury customer will obsess over horsepower specs and zero-to-60 mph times. Cadillac has “V” sport versions of several models, to satisfy customers who want a BMW-fighter in their Caddy. But the rest of the range is intended to appeal to a broader range of luxury buyers.

No one really expected this. It was widely assumed that Cadillac and Lincoln would be also-rans in the luxury race. But the contrary is what’s happening. Sales have been so-so, with Cadillac losing some ground in 2016 while Lincoln soldiers suavely forward with its revival. A bright sport for Caddy has been the New XT5 crossover, which has begun to bring in the sales that GM hoped for, as the automaker works to shift Cadillac away from passenger cars.

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But both brands are now capable of better head-to-head matchups with the top-tier players, especially on crossover and SUVs.

At Business Insider, we’ve been impressed with what Cadillac and Lincoln are bringing to market. Neither brand is going to immediately steal business from Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus, but both Lincoln and Cadillac are more competitive than they have been a quite a while.

And this is important, because although sales might not be anything like what GM and Ford can manage with pickup trucks, luxury vehicles bring in nice profits.

American luxury was out of the action for a while. But now it’s back, and it has a good chance to be better than ever.

The 13 New Dream Convertibles for Summer 2016

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The 13 New Dream Convertibles for Summer 2016

Top-down driving with full-on luxury.

Convertibles are weird things. They’re not huge moneymakers for car companies (in fact, sales have declined 51 percent from their peak in 2004), and they’re almost always sold in smaller, more limited versions than their hardtop siblings. Sometimes it seems as if automakers use them just to test new design ideas, as some sort of sick challenge to the engineering department, or as bones thrown to niche groups of enthusiasts who clamor for them with no regard to whether the world really needs another rag-top.

All of which is why we love them. They’re flippant and outré and impractical, and, in most localities, only seasonal pleasures. But oh, the personality!

For every McLaren 675LT Spider supercar with bare inches of ground clearance and enough horsepower to propel a jet, there is a MINI John Cooperworks with tiny, rally car-style handling and a front face as endearing as a puppy dog.

Now’s the time to start your research (and place a pre-order), as new model deliveries for summer won’t start for a month or two. But you can’t go wrong with any of the models below.

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn

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2017 Audi R8 Spyder

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2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

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2017 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible

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2017 McLaren 675LT Spider

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2017 Bentley GT V8 S Convertible

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2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Cabriolet

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2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S

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2016 Ferrari 488 Spider

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible

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2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Retractable Fastback 

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2017 Range Rover Evoque Convertible

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2017 BMW 6 Series Convertible

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The 13 New Dream Convertibles for Summer 2016

10 of the coolest concept cars revealed this year

Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

10 of the coolest concept cars revealed this year

Car makers are getting more tech savvy lately. Or at least their concept cars are making them appear that way.

Just last week at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, manufacturers from Volkswagen to Mercedes-Benz showed off their futuristic concept cars.

The selection was impressive, with a mix of electric and hybrid cars. The vehicles were equipped with state-of-the-art features, which ranged from a holographic dashboard to solar powered roofs. Some of the concept cars could even be said to rival Tesla.

In no particular order, here are ten of the most impressive concept cars (not all are from the Frankfurt show) that have been revealed so far this year.

Porsche’s Concept Mission E can drive 310 miles with a full charge. Porsche aims to begin production in the next five years.

Porsche's Concept Mission E

The basics: The car is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery technology. A charging plate that can be stored in your garage allows the battery to automatically regain power, but it can also be charged at a conventional charging station or at home via a cable. In 15 minutes, the car can charge up to 80 percent, giving it a range of 250 miles.

How fast it goes: The car can go from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 150 miles per hour.

What else it offers: The car has four seats and four doors that open in a new way (as pictured above). It has cameras instead of exterior mirrors that captures your surroundings and displays what they see on the lower corner of the windshield.

The car has eye-tracking technology that will detect where the driver is looking on the dashboard and open the corresponding instrument. The driver can then confirm the selection by pressing a button on the steering wheel.

The Torq is windowless but cameras provide a 360-degree view projected on screens.

Torq

The basics: The car, designed by Italian engineering and design company ED, does not require a driver, but the company’s press release does not delve into how it would drive autonomously. ED hopes to create a self-driving racing car in the next 19 months.

How fast it goes: It’s advertised as having 429 horsepower and 1328-feet torque.

What else it offers: It is a fully electric car with four engines over each wheel.

Audi’s e-tron quattro has a 95 kWh battery, allowing it to go 310 miles on a single charge. It’ll enter production in 2018.

Audi's e-tron quattro

The basics: It can be charged with a DC or AC electrical current, and can fully charge in 50 minutes when hooked up to a DC current outputting 150 kW. The car can also charge wirelessly over a charging plate.

How fast it goes: Audi claims it can go from zero to 62.1 miles per hour in just 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 130.5 miles per hour.

What else it offers: It has five doors and can sit up to four people. Rearview mirrors are replaced by cameras — the driver can see by looking at displays built into the front section of the doors. The car has a solar roof that can help power the car on sunny days, providing up to 320 watts of additional electric power.

The BMW M4 MotoGP injects water into the engine’s intake plenum or cylinders to cool the intake charge. It’s unclear how long we’ll have to wait to see this in a production vehicle.

BMW M4 MotoGP

The basics: The water injection system reduces the consumption of combustion engines and increases performance. The water is stored in a 1.3-gallon tank in the trunk that is sent to the intake plenum via an electric pump.

How fast it goes: BMW has not released specs for the car’s powertrain, but Gizmag reports that the water cooling system frees up 10 percent more torque and power than a standard car.

The Mercedes IAA has an aerodynamic mode and a design mode. When its aero aids are deployed, it is more aerodynamic than a Tesla Model S.

Mercedes IAA

The basics: The Mercedes IAA is a plug-in hybrid that puts out 279 horsepowers (205 kW engine). When the car reaches 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour), it switches from design mode to aerodynamic mode by extending flaps at the front and rear, employing active rims and moving the louvre in the front bumper.

How fast it goes: It has an electronically limited top speed of 250 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour). In aerodynamic mode it has an all-electric range of 66 kilometers (41 miles) and a range of 62 kilometers (39 miles) in design mode.

What else it offers: The steering wheel has touch-based operating functions.

The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo hit 278 miles per hour in a simulation of Le Mans. It sure looks good, but you won’t be seeing this car on the road.

Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

The basics: It uses the Bugatti Veyron’s 16-cylinder, 8.0-litre quad turbo engine. The engine itself was producing 1250 bhp when production ended earlier this year, GQ reports.

How fast it goes: Aside from its simulation speed, we have no way of knowing how fast the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo goes. The car itself has a hypothetical interior with a steering wheel, some upholstery and digital displays.

What else it offers: It has a drag reduction system (DRS) rear wing to reduce drag that can be increased for some downforce when turning corners.

The EDAG has a 3D-printed structure and is about 25 percent lighter than traditional vehicles.

EDAG

The basics: The leaf of a plant served as the blue print for the car’s body shell. A lightweight outer skin is stretched over the structure that is made from waterproof jersey fabric.

How fast it goes: There is no powertrain for the vehicle and it is not likely to go into production. Instead, the company wanted to showcase how 3D printing could be used to make a much lighter vehicle.

What else it offers: LED lights underneath the skin lets you see the skeletal frame.

Volkswagen’s Tiguan GTE is a plug-in hybrid with 31 miles of electric range and 215 system horsepower. It arrives on the market April 2016.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE

The basics: The Tiguan GTE can be plugged in to charge, but it also offers a solar roof module that generate electrical energy fed directly into the battery, which allows for up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of zero emissions driving.

How fast it goes: It has a system output of 215 horsepower. The car can run for up to 31 miles on electric power alone, which is powered by a 13 kWh lithium-ion battery.

What else it offers: The new Tiguan is 60 millimeters longer and 33 millimeters lower than the outgoing model giving it extra interior and trunk space. Its weight is also reduced by more than 110 pounds.

The Nissan Gripz is meant to show sports cars can be tall. It has a gasoline engine that powers an electric motor.

Nissan Gripz

The basics: Drivers can select an EV mode for day-to-day driving, four-wheel drive for snow or going off road or a drift mode that uses the electric motors for the feel of driving a sports car. The car was inspired by a racing bicycle.

How fast it goes: Nissan hasn’t provided details about the power behind the car. It is a hybrid system with a gas engine and electric motor.

What else it offers: It has four doors and swing out and up. It also has forward facing cameras to record your journey.

Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo will debut at the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship at Rallye Monte Carlo.

Hyundai N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo

The basics: The car is powered by hydrogen fuel cells for 670 horsepower.

How fast it goes: The two fuel stacks (which provide 670 horsepower) are augmented by a supercapacitor that stores electrical energy conserved during breaking for another 201 horsepower, for a total of 871 horsepower. The car has four engines over each wheel hub.

What else it offers: A carbon fiber composite structure to keep weight down. The car has a hexagonal grille that connects to a duct to direct air out the back in order to minimize air drag underneath the body.

 

 

 

 

10 of the coolest concept cars revealed this year