Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

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

Wards 10 Best Interiors Nominees: Feel the Churn
Automakers are updating their vehicle interiors with unprecedented speed, eager to integrate new technologies, softer leather, better sound systems and richer colors. WardsAuto will announce winners April 17.
2017 Wards 10 Best Interiors Nominees
WardsAuto editors are evaluating 31 vehicles as part of the 2017 Wards 10 Best Interiors competition, which began in early February and will conclude early next week. Winners will be announced April 17 and will be recognized at the WardsAuto Interiors Conference May 9 in Detroit.
Magna Connects With Disconnecting Axles
The Canadian supplier recognizes most drivers only need torque to two wheels even if AWD systems routinely drive four wheels all the time. Disconnecting two of the wheels from the drivetrain when possible can significantly improve fuel economy.
Detroit Diesel Makes Most of $1.2 Billion Investment 3
The 80-year-old plant’s owner, Daimler, has boosted efficiency and productivity while growing the product portfolio to include new engines, transmissions and turbochargers, with new medium-duty engine production starting later this year.
Detroit Diesel Redford Plant
The success of Detroit Diesel's heavy-duty engine program that launched in 2008 led to securing a new cylinder-head machining line in 2012, followed by production of turbochargers in 2014, DT12 transmissions in 2015 and final-drive gearsets in 2016.
GM’s New Duramax Diesel Whisper Quiet
The re-engineered 6.6L pushrod diesel V-8, now available in ’17 GMC and Chevrolet HD pickups, is nearly vibration-free at idle and during steady-state cruising. It tows big loads with aplomb, even on treacherously steep, narrow winding roads.
The Big Story: Diesel Market Facing Compression 2
Is the engine with no sparkplugs losing its spark? The diesel engine faces stiff headwinds by way of emissions compliance, vehicle electrification and a devastating Volkswagen cheating scandal. But automakers say they continue investing in new diesels.
Lexus LC Loaded With Bad-Boy Mojo 1
The hot as Hades road hugger, with hybrid efficiency, V-8 power and a seductive bright orange, blue and white interior, sets a new course for Lexus. If the LC can’t redefine what makes a great Lexus – and what makes Lexus great – then nothing will.
Achates: Opposed-Piston Engine Makers Tooling Up  8
Inexpensive to manufacture, compatible with all fuels, cleaner burning and up to 50% more fuel efficient, the opposed-piston engine is finding traction with manufacturers, Achates says. The first demonstration vehicle will be ready for driving next year.
BMW’s Robertson on Trump, Utes, Diesels, Self-Drivers
The board member says BMW “will work with the new administration in the same way we’ve worked with administrations before.” That includes trying to educate the Trump team about BMW’s massive U.S. manufacturing operations.
New 5-Series Arrives as BMW U.S. Sales Fall
Globally, all BMW Group brands did well in 2016, but the U.S. market has been challenging, with sales of most BMW-brand vehicles falling from the prior year.
2017 Wards 10 Best Engines Quick Hits
A pro-and-con summation of all 40 powertrains evaluated in the 2017 competition. Many comments come directly from editor score sheets.
2017 Winner: Volvo V60 Polestar 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-Cyl.
The Volvo powertrain team ratchets up the excitement with another stupendous version of the 2.0L turbo/supercharged I-4 that delivers the highest specific output this competition has ever seen: 184 hp per liter.
2017 Winner: Mercedes-Benz C300 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-Cyl.
The BlueDirect 2.0L turbo-4 first appeared on our radar during a test drive last spring of the larger E-Class, a highly intelligent sedan with autonomous capabilities but whose most impressive feature might be the unassuming but exceedingly capable 4-cyl.
Audi Expanding Ute Lineup with New Q5, Q8
The Q8, displayed as a concept at the 2017 NAIAS, represents Audi’s fourth utility vehicle, following the Q3, Q5 and Q7. The Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2016 (43,272 units), accounting for a quarter of all sales.


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