Cost of a ground-up cross-platform redesign? Next-gen MQB architecture VW/Audi/Seat/Skoda = $65 billion


A little longer, lower, wider, better aero – and 50mpg

For many in the US, a first Volkswagen will be either a Jetta or Passat, both of which have pretty good trunks. But we just drove this all-new seventh generation Golf and it needs to be on that same consideration list because it is a nearly perfect, sensibly sized trunkless car…

But this Golf VII, introduced in September at the Paris Motor Show, is an all-new car, even though from the outside things look strictly evolutionary. The chief ingredient in making true this claim of being “all-new” is the use of a completely reworked architecture called MQB, which stands for Modularer Querbaukasten, or “modular transverse matrix.” New architectures for any company signify shockingly massive investments, and therefore the damned things had better be really good for the bottom line. In the case of MQB, company leaders estimate the price tag for its four years of development totals $65 billion, so the intent is that MQB will stick around for at least a decade before a replacement architecture is even talked about…

Making certain it earns its keep quickly, VW Group has announced that MQB will be used on everything with transverse engines coming from VW, Audi, Seat and Škoda, ranging from models the size of the next VW Polo on up to the next Passat – that is to say, a major percentage of all cars produced within VW Group. So far, we’ve driven MQB with the new Audi A3, and now here with the four-door Golf Mk VII.

For this event, we picked the upgraded 146-horsepower 2.0 TDI Golf in its top European Highline trim using an optional six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic with shift paddles. At this launch event, the TDI motor we chose was available alongside a revamped 138-hp 1.4 TSI gas engine with Active Cylinder Technology, but the latter is not on call for US deliveries, so we took the global diesel route…

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BMW sued over bike-induced erection – yes, in California!

A fellow blogosphere editor in Oz emailed this. I imagine the US press will discover it, today.

A Californian motorcycle enthusiast has taken legal action after a bike seat gave him long lasting erections.

Straight from the “only in America” files comes this – a Californian man is suing BMW North America over a seat that gave him a severe case of priapism (a persistent, lasting erection) that has lasted for 20 months.

Henry Wolf claims his 1993 BMW motorcycle, or more specifically the bike’s “ridge-like” seat, gave him a “severe case of priapism” when he took it for a four-hour ride on May 1, 2010, according to the Courthouse News Service.

Wolf is suing BMW North America and the seat’s manufacturer, Corbin-Pacific, in a product liability lawsuit in the California Superior Court in San Francisco, claiming the “negligent design, manufacture and/or installation of the seat” has caused the painful condition.

Narrow, “banana” style seats similar to the one reportedly fitted to Wolf’s motorcycle have been associated with problems such as genital numbness and even erectile dysfunction, however Wolf’s case is the first known to tackle the opposite side of the problem.

The court notes state that Wolf “has been experiencing continuing problems since his motorcycle ride” including “substantial emotional and mental anguish” and the inability to engage in sexual activity…

The comments at the site in Oz are predictably wry – mostly with guys my age asking if they can buy the motorcycle or at least the seat.

Har!

Thanks, Honeyman

Danger of heavy toilet seats to male toddlers – OMG

UK doctors have expressed considerable concerns about the growing trend for heavy wooden and ornamental toilet seats after a number of male toddlers were admitted with crush injuries to their penises.

Dr Joe Philip and his colleagues at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, report on four boys under the age of four, who were admitted with injuries serious enough to require an overnight stay.

“As Christmas approaches many families will be visiting relatives and friends and their recently toilet trained toddlers will be keen to show how grown up they are by going to the toilet on their own,” he says.

“It is important that parents check out the toilet seats in advance, not to mention the ones they have in their own homes, and accompany their children if necessary.

The four boys, aged from two to four, all attended as urological emergencies. All had been recently toilet trained and they were using the toilet on their own. They had lifted the toilet seats, which had then fallen back down, crushing their penises.

Eeoouw! That’s gonna leave a mark.