Drive Type: -
Model: Model A
Sun City, California, United States
Rumors about the forthcoming Ford Focus RS are flourishing into what sounds like a very impressive new hot hatch. The latest scuttlebutt gives the first indication about when we might see a few of these fast Focuses on roads here in the US.
Unnamed insiders reportedly confirmed to The Truth About Cars that Ford plans to launch the Focus RS in the US in 2016. However, getting one might not be so easy - the boosted powertrain means the car would likely need to be imported from Europe. That's likely going to keep the total number available in the US rather low. The sources estimate a price tag that's a bit more expensive than the top Focus ST3, which starts around $28,500, plus $825 destination.
It seems that a pretty potent package comes for all of that cash, though. The Focus RS reportedly uses a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making between 325 and 350 horsepower, with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system to get that muscle to the road. The test mules also wear more aggressive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, larger brakes and sticky tires. It sounds like a great formula on top of the already enjoyable Focus ST.
Maybe so. The online retailer and digital media monolith recently announced the Amazon Cloud Player, an application for Ford Sync that allows users to stream media from their Amazon Cloud account directly to a Ford vehicle. This foray into automotive technology got the minds at Gigaom.com thinking about what could be next for Amazon. As Kevin Fitchard writes, the logical step is to make audio versions of your Kindle library selections available in your car. As he points out, Amazon has already laid the groundwork for such a move.
Amazon pulled the sheets back on Whispersync for Voice last year. The tech pairs ebooks with an Audible book for a small extra fee, allowing users to either read along with a narrator or switch between audio and text versions on command. Fitchard says it wouldn't be some great leap to apply the same principles to a car, where voice recognition software would allow users to pause or select chapters without ever taking their eyes off of the road.
It all sounds just fine to us, but Amazon hasn't said a thing about such a move. Still, we wouldn't be surprised to see the company come down this road in the near future just the same.
In the 1950s and early 60s, the dawn of nuclear power was supposed to lead to a limitless consumer culture, a world of flying cars and autonomous kitchens all powered by clean energy. In Europe, it offered the then-limping continent a cheap, inexhaustible supply of power after years of rationing and infrastructure damage brought on by two World Wars.
The development of nuclear-powered submarines and ships during the 1940s and 50s led car designers to begin conceptualizing atomic vehicles. Fueled by a consistent reaction, these cars would theoretically produce no harmful byproducts and rarely need to refuel. Combining these vehicles with the new interstate system presented amazing potential for American mobility.
But the fantasy soon faded. There were just too many problems with the realities of nuclear power. For starters, the powerplant would be too small to attain a reaction unless the car contained weapons-grade atomic materials. Doing so would mean every fender-bender could result in a minor nuclear holocaust. Additionally, many of the designers assumed a lightweight shielding material or even forcefields would eventually be invented (they still haven't) to protect passengers from harmful radiation. Analyses of the atomic car concept at the time determined that a 50-ton lead barrier would be necessary to prevent exposure.