Jeep hacking comes as warning to BMW, Audi, Mercedes

29 Jul 2015


The hacking of a Jeep Cherokee last week, has served as a warning to BMW Group, Audi and Mercedes-Benz to compete more on technology than just horsepower.

Mercedes's E class is set to join the S class in being able to help steer itself, while Audi's unmanned RS7 was seen at a race-track and BMW's new 7 series responds to hand gestures and parks itself. The three car makers are also developing self-braking systems and highly automated cruise control aimed at shifting driving responsibility from the human to the machine.

The automakers would now need to reassure consumers willing to spend above €45,000 ($50,000) that it was safe to drive what had increasingly become a computer on wheels.

All three companies said they had tools in place to thwart cyber-attacks, including encrypted connections and firewalls to shield safety and entertainment systems.

Bloomberg quoted Rainer Scholz, a Hamburg-based executive director for telematics and mobility at consulting company EY, saying cars had become highly complex and more hacks might be inevitable,

"The difficulty for the carmakers at the moment is the question whether they can keep pace with advances in technology, and especially hacking technology," Scholz said. "We seriously doubt they can."

Meanwhile, Mercedes has added another new mid-size crossover GLC, based on the C-Class saloon. The company had made an SUV of this size before, called the GLK, but not in right-hand drive.

The GLC takes the slot between the GLA and the larger GLE and would take on the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Volvo XC60, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, etc.

According to commentators, the car was so unlike the C-Class it came as a fine example of how a longer wheelbase and SUV design could transform a motor's appearance, size and space.

The GLC has plenty of room for passengers and luggage and along with the cabin they comprise its biggest assets.

The cars set to arrive in autumn would be priced from the mid-€40,000s, with three models - a 2.2-litre 170bhp GLC220d and 2-litre (204bhp) GLC 250d (€270 road tax each) and a 211bhp GLC 250 petrol.

These would be followed by a GLC 350e plug-in hybrid (211bhp, plus 116bhp electric motor - 60g/km, €170 road tax). It would be the only one with 7G transmission; all the others, including next year's 2-litre diesel, would have 9spd automatic transmissions.

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