Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

Tom writes about suppliers, automotive technology and other wide-ranging topics.

2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors Winner: BMW 7-Series
There is more technology than ever in the car, but the layout is simple, the purpose of buttons and knobs is easy to fathom and the ubiquitous iDrive now complements the user experience rather than detracts from it.
TTS Returns Audi to Winner’s Circle
Audi gave us three excellent new interiors for this year’s competition, but we picked the TTS, smitten with its luscious Express Red diamond-stitched leather front seats with wing-back shoulders that wrap around occupants like a super-hero’s cape.
Luxury Leaning: Forget the Grey Poupon
What we see now is a new definition of premium that isn’t stiff or pompous. Instead, certain luxury elements appear to be accessible to everyone at nearly every price point.
Four Amps, 34 Speakers Drive Bose Panaray
To ride in the Cadillac CT6 with a Panaray sound system is like bathing in music that may be familiar to the ear but never has been experienced in such clarity. Bose also is working the low end of the automotive market with a sound system for as little as $400.
Bose Automotive Sound Systems
The Bose Panaray in the Cadillac CT6 is not the most powerful factory-installed audio system on the market, but the sound quality is sensational with 34 speakers, four amplifiers and a sophisticated digital signal processor.
OEMs Continue Push for High-Octane Gas 6
Fuel with higher octane allows engines to be designed for higher compression ratios, meaning improved thermal efficiency and fuel economy. Meanwhile, Honda targets engine thermal efficiency of 50%, and GM’s powertrain chief gets in a dig on Tesla.
2016 SAE World Congress -- View From the Floor
Engineers gathered this week at Detroit's Cobo Center for the annual SAE World Congress and presented some 1,500 technical papers. Topical panel sessions also were held over the course of three days, and Toyota leveraged its status as World Congress host company by displaying new engines, cutaways of the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle and Prius hybrid and the i-ROAD 3-wheel scooter.
Wards 10 Best Interiors in Lap of Luxury
For the first time, six luxury brands earn Wards 10 Best Interiors trophies. In years past, the list has never had more than three luxury brands.
2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors Winners
Each vehicle nominated for Wards 10 Best Interiors is scored based on aesthetics and design harmony as well as materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value and fit-and-finish. Editors also test the user-friendliness of the human-machine interface.
Industry Drawn Into War on Cybercrime
A government prosecutor commends auto engineers for development of self-driving cars, but he also knows “there’s a determine adversary out there who wants to turn what you designed for good against us and exploit its weaknesses.”
2016 CCS Student Design Competition
Students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit have shared their visions for the interior of self-driving cars in the year 2030.
What Makes a Great Interior?
This year’s Wards 10 Best Interiors field consists of 47 nominees, including 18 utility vehicles and 15 sedans. Winners will be announced April 14.
2016 Wards 10 Best Interiors Nominees
Eight WardsAuto editors based in Southfield, MI, select the Wards 10 Best Interiors after spending February and March evaluating the vehicles and scoring each based on materials, ergonomics, driver information, safety, comfort, fit-and-finish, value and aesthetics.
V-12, AWD, Cabrios Part of BMW Group Unveilings
In New York this week, BMW introduces a 610-hp V-12 in the ’17 M760i sedan, as well as the Alpina B7, powered by a 600-hp 4.4L twin-turbo V-8. Meanwhile, sister brand Mini debuts the convertible Cooper and all-wheel-drive Clubman ALL4.
XT5 Much More Than Utilitarian Hauler 1
On sale in April, the 5-passenger CUV benefits from softer edges in the sheet metal, an excellent 3.6L V-6, sophisticated all-wheel drive and aggressive mass reduction. Inside, the XT5 is ergonomically sound and isn’t trying too hard to be flashy.


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