Officer Matt, Pulls Over To Test New Autos

5/16/2019 – 2019 Spring Brake  –  Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, New York.

Automotive Rally Tents

Upon arrival, approximately 50 different vehicles were grouped by manufacturer. Prior to arrival, I surveyed the list of cars and formulated a plan that would maximize my time to test drive as many vehicles as I could by 1530.

 

 

Officer Matt and the 2019 Acura NSXThe first vehicle driven was Acura’s NSX. Luckily, my teammate had secured a reservation to be the first test driver of this $190K Supercar. By far the most anticipated drive of the day and the NSX did not disappoint.  The sheer power of the car and its ability to stick to the road like glue was absolutely amazing, producing goosebumps on my arms and chills down my spine. The fit and finish were very luxurious. The seats and steering wheel felt as if they were designed specifically for me. The exterior was a statement of beauty with artfully designed curves and creases precisely where they needed to be placed as if Michelangelo himself designed the shell. Everywhere you drove, heads turned to look and listen.

 

2019 GMC Sierra Denali Pickup Truck climing a gravel hill
2019 GMC Sierra Denali Pickup Truck is almost too pretty to take offroad.

The rest of the day was spent testing vehicles ranging from compact sedans to full-size trucks. A notable appearance was the GMC Sierra Denali 1500. As luxurious and useful as a truck could be, it fell short when compared to similar trucks in its class due to the lack of adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. The “revolutionary” new tailgate was cumbersome to use after spending ten minutes trying to figure it out.

 

Red 2019 Acura TLX A-Spec
2019 Acura TLX A-Spec made on the same production line as the NSX.

Another vehicle that got my attention was the Acura TLX A-Spec with SH-AWD. This upscale sport sedan had never even registered on my radar as a vehicle that would impress me. Boy, was I ever wrong, as soon as I stepped into the vehicle, the interior design was subtle yet sporty and luxurious all at the same time. Every button and switch was placed exactly where it needed to be. The operating system was incredibly easy to figure out. The sound system was incredible when compared to other

2019 Acura TLX A-Spec Dash
Acura TLX Interior every button and switch was placed exactly where it needed to be.

higher-end luxury vehicles. The mix of leather and suede on the heated and cooled seats, perfectly proportioned. Outside, the pearl coat of burgundy paint complemented the aggressive exterior styling cues perfectly. To finish off, the exterior was a gorgeous set of black rims. I kept finding myself wandering back to the TLX throughout the day, admiring it. At a price of just around $44K for a fully optioned top of the line, model forced me to see how affordable and attainable the Acura really is. I found myself smiling not only while behind the wheel, and even now, each time I think of it.

 

Genesis G90 Parked in front of a rock face
Genesis G90 a worthy competitor to the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series.

 

Genesis G90 rear seat controls provide access to the entire entertainment system, climate control, navigation, and audio system.
Genesis G90 rear seat controls provide access to the entire entertainment system, climate control, navigation, and audio system.

The final vehicle that commanded my attention was the Genesis G90. A worthy competitor to the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series. Sliding into the rear seat is like entering a private jet. The G90 is a vehicle to be driven around in, not just drive.  Rear seat controls provide access to the entire entertainment system, climate control, navigation, and audio system.  With heated and cooled rear seats, the only thing missing was a massage function. The rear passenger seat had a single button that would turn the seat into a fully functioning lounger, sliding the front seat all the way forward and down towards the dash to allow the rear occupant to stretch out. Feeling as if you were enveloped in an incredibly soft sofa and could easily take a nap.

 

 

Genesis G90 Dash view from rear seat.
Genesis G90 provides a multitude of driving assistance options, and they are phenomenal.

The G90 driver experience was just as luxurious, minus the rear passenger lounge seat. With a quick and responsive engine propelling the car forward from a dead stop to 60mph with barely an effort, and with minimal noise. Genesis provides a multitude of driving assistance options, and they are phenomenal. The lane keep assist and nearly autonomous driving assistant made driving even on twisty mountain roads a breeze.

 

 

Rear of the Genesis G90
Classic Design makes the Genesis G90 a worthy competitor.

At the cost of almost $20,000 to $30,000 below what one would pay for a comparable S Class or 7 Series. The only reason I can think of why wouldn’t you want a G90 before one of its competitors would be the brand badge bragging rights. Perhaps it was wise of Genesis to distance their flagship vehicle from the Hyundai line, creating a new image to compete with Mercedes and BMW.

 

Reflecting on a day driving more than 25 vehicles, this was my first automotive journalist rally,  and for me, it was a resounding success.

Words by Corporal Matthew Rihl,
Photos by William West Hopper
Corporal Matthew Rihl is a Field Training Officer and member of the Honor Guard with a local Virginia police department in Virginia.
Corporal Matthew Rihl is a Field Training Officer and member of the Honor Guard with a local Virginia police department.
Corporal Matthew Rihl has served the public for 15-years with a local county police department in Virginia. In addition, he is also a Field Training Officer and a member of the Honor Guard. Officer Matt is a vital member of the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, which its sole purpose is to honor surviving partners and family members of LGBT police, fire, EMS and the military who have been killed in the line of duty during a special ceremony during National Police Memorial Week every year in Washington, DC.

 

Spring Brake is put on by the International Motor Press Association for professional automotive journalist members, offering them the chance to experience many different vehicles in one day. Membership and an entry fee are required to participate. Neither Matthew nor William were compensated for their time or reviews of any automobiles.
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Red, Yellow, Green – What does your car see when it encounters a traffic light? Audi Connect knows ahead of time!

Want To Hear More about Audi’s V2I Tech Watch our YouTube Video

The Audi Q5 at CVS in Washington DC, with an Acura RDX

Audi of America sent us a 2018 Audi Q5 with the built-in Audi Connect Green Light Optimization Speed Advisory (GLOSA) to test out their Audi Prime Traffic Light System. This is a vehicle that is equipped with an infrastructure (V2I) communication system. A technology, where the car communicates back and forth with its surroundings. Which means the car talks to things like traffic signals and soon other aspects of the built environment to know what to expect as it drives through.

This system is then able to alert the driver on what to expect, be it an oncoming red or green light. For those of us who drive in an urban environment, that can be a lot better than having to watch to see if the pedestrian walk countdown light is about to flash the yellow hand, indicated that the light will be changing soon.   Am I at 20 seconds or 3 seconds until the light changes?

While it all seems pretty complicated, the basic premise is that the vehicle communicates through the cellular data network, the same one your mobile device uses to connect to the internet, and you use to update your status on social media, stream music, and make reservations via apps.  Audi vehicles (if equipped and turned on in an area that is enabled) then get real-time data about the traffic light ahead.

 

How will this help drivers

Audi Q5 Dash Board displaying Traffic SignsFirst of all, this is not a system that controls the vehicle or the traffic light. There is nothing to switch on to make the lights ahead of you green, nor does the traffic light turning red stop your vehicle automatically.

This informs the driver by way of an alert light on the dash or the heads-up display of what to expect. Being knowledgeable of what to expect as you come upon an intersection, makes you a better driver. Will the light turn red just as you get there?   Drivers have long had to rely on watching the pedestrian walk countdown as well as the traffic light. Am I at 20 seconds or 3 seconds until the light changes?

The GLOSA will provide a recommended speed to minimize stopping at red lights, helping the driver by eliminating the speed up | Slow down cycle that is often experienced on signal controlled streets.

GLOSA is part of an overall U.S.expansion of Traffic Light Information (TLI) technology. Available on Audi vehicles equipped with Audi Connect Prime Feature (on select 2017, 2018 and newer models.) Available in thirteen US cities, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia, Denver, Colorado, White Plains, NY,  Gainesville, Florida,  Orlando, Florida.

Audi Connect is more than just using a Smart Phone

2018 Audi Q 5 DashboardWhile the smartphone is one component that is the center of most automotive tech these days. While the debate over which operating system will the car connect to, Android or Apple is no longer much of a debate.  And many manufacturers have apps that connect you through your phone or AI devices like Alexa or Google Home to your car.  Audi has the myAudi app which provides access to the vehicle and an array of features from finding the car, to keyless locking and unlocking of the car.

Today having directions at your command, making reservations, or controlling your home’s lighting, heating and more in preparation for your arrival is all about being better connected.

 

Where Audi Excels

Audi Connect Subscription ExpiredUsing Google Earth ™ seeing your route in 3D has been a staple in Audi’s tech toolbox for years. With the myAudi Navigation route guidance which starts from when you first leave and continues with you upon starting y our vehicle and til you end and exit your vehicle. Guiding you all the way to the final steps of your destination.  Natural voice recognition, using your normal speaking voice, Audi’s system recognizes what you are talking about, and assists you. Audi connect ® CARE A suite of assistance and security services that includes SOS calls11, Online Roadside Assistance2, Stolen Vehicle Locater12and Audi Service Request13. Available without a subscription for a limited time.10

 

 

WIFI connection is key to being connected

Audi at the 2019 Washington Auto Show

Be it the myAudi App, Audi connect CARE, in-vehicle 4GLTE® and upcoming 5G connectivity through the cellular data system provides the ability to support wifi-enabled devices as well as the cars internal devices.

 

New vehicles equipped with Audi connect®

2018 Audi Q5 in Rock Creek Park with DafodilsThe following vehicles come with Audi Connect service, with a complimentary six-month free trial period. After that, they require a prepaid subscription. Plans start at $199 for a basic one and go up from there depending on services included.

2019 – A6 | A7 | A8 |Q8

2018 – A5 | Q 5

2017 – Q7 | A4 Allroad  | A3

2015 to 2018 A3 Sportback e-tron

 

What’s Next?

Aud Etron with Electrify America ChargerAudi will continue to be a leading innovator when it comes to in-vehicle technology. With the soon to be on the market etron all-electric Audi expect expanded services and technologies like the integrated toll module (ITM) a transponder built into the vehicles rearview mirror, eliminating windscreen clutter, and the need to manage multiple toll accounts. This system will operate on select toll roads in the U.S. and Canada.  While toll transponders have been available for a generation, they have been addon boxes affixed to the car. Audi will integrate this digital tool with the V2I technology allowing the vehicle to communicate and interact with the toll authority.