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If there’s one thing that the Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo does not lack, that is power, with the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine pumping out 608 PS (600 HP / 447 kW) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque.

However, McChip-DKR is a firm believer of more is better when it comes to the levels of power available via the right pedal, so they have launched a Stage 1 software update for the Alpina model.

Available for both the sedan and estate versions of the super executive 5er, it unleashes an extra 112 PS (110 HP / 82 kW) and 100 Nm (74 lb-ft). The result is 720 PS (710 HP / 530 kW) and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft), which allows the long-roof variant to hit a maximum speed of 328 km/h (208 mph).

Watch Also: How Does The Alpina B5 Compare To The Mighty BMW M5?

They did not say how fast it reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill, but the stock B5 needs just 3.4 seconds to get there, whereas the B5 Touring is one tenth of a second slower. As for the money part, the tuning upgrade is listed for €1,851 (equal to $2,261) on the aftermarket firm’s website.

While this tune is aimed at the pre-facelifted version of the vehicle, Alpina has launched a more modern iteration that builds on the 5-Series LCI. It sports a visual makeover, including bespoke badging, wheels and colors, and brings 621 PS (613 HP / 457 kW) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) into play. The 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint times have remained the same, despite the extra oomph, and top speed is also identical, with the sedan maxing out at 330 km/h (205 mph), and the estate running out of breath at 322 km/h (200 mph).

 


On Christmas Eve, the United States Patent and Trademark Office released a patent application from Toyota for something called a “car wash judgement system”. It seems to be a system allowing future autonomous cars drive themselves to a car wash when they’re in need of a cleaning. Sounds wild, right?

This simple patent image very clearly illustrates how the system would work.

Toyota describes it as the following in the patent application’s abstract:

“In a car wash judgement system, an acquirer acquires traveling information of a vehicle. A condition retaining unit retains a certain car wash condition. A judgement unit judges whether or not traveling information acquired at the acquirer satisfies the certain car wash condition. An unpaved road information retaining unit retains unpaved road information indicating of an unpaved road. The certain car wash condition includes traveling on an unpaved road by the vehicle. When a vehicle that has transmitted traveling information is an automated driving vehicle capable of performing automated driving  and when the traveling information of the automated driving vehicle satisfies the car wash condition, a car wash instruction unit transmits an instruction signal for moving the automated driving vehicle to a car wash station.”

In layman’s terms, if the car is going somewhere it knows is dirty, it will notify the car wash, which will in turn instruct the car to drive there and get itself clean if need be.

See: Toyota And MIT Working Toward Making Autonomous Cars More Human-Like

The following diagram details the logic of the “judgement unit”.

The system uses a set of parameters and conditional statements to determine whether or not the car needs to be washed, and will run the self-driving protocol to the car wash if it sees fit. Things like positioning information, road conditions, weather, and available time are all taken into account.

Read: Toyota To Invest $400 Millon In Self-Driving Startup Pony.ai

The whole idea begs an interesting question not often thought about: If cars become fully autonomous and are no longer privately owned, how do they get clean? And in this case, it seems Toyota has provided the answer to that question with its car wash judgement system.

Honda has developed a new “mask” for air filters that it’s likening to a facemask for your car. The Kurumask, or car mask, will apparently filter out 99.8% of airborne viruses in 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, there is no real established method for determining how effective the mask is against COVID-19, but, like washing your hands, it likely isn’t a bad idea anyway.

In testing paid for by Honda, which measured the presence of E.coli phage molecules, the Kurumask-fitted air filter removed 99.8% of virus droplets circulating in the air in 15 minutes, and 99.9% of them in 24 hours. For the test, the filter holder of an N-Box microcar, operated on air-circulation mode as less air is brought in from outside.

Read Also: Spruce Up Your 2021 Honda N-One With These Mugen Parts

“We want to make drivers feel safe and comfortable even when they keep their car windows closed in cold weather,” said Takaharu Echigo, who was in charge of the filter’s development.

The Kurumask really does act as a mask in that it can simply be fitted onto the cabin filter and, according to Honda, it’s effective for about a year. It works by using microscopic spikes on its surface to catch and damage viruses passing through it. The team behind it were inspired by academic research that found that dragonflies use similar spikes to keep their wings clean.

Honda says it’s partnering with a team of engineers who are developing a car to transport COVID-19 patients. The idea behind the partnership is to provide a safer environment for the drivers.

The Kurumask debuted on the N-Box, the latest version of which went on sale on December 25, and Honda plans to make it available on other models as well.