Drive Wire: January 22, 2016

Audi's new R8, GM Maven, emissions tests, an interactive camera, and street snowboarding.

Hey guys, it’s Christina Thompson and this is Drive Wire for Friday, January 22nd.

In supercar news, Audi’s 2017 R8 will start at $164,150 for the base model. Savvy shoppers will note that this is almost $50,000 more than last year’s base R8, but remember, Audi has discontinued the 8-cylinder models in favor of the V-10, so you’re getting more supercar for your dollar….kind of. Now, while some of us at The Drive preferred the smaller-engine R8, we have to admit that this is still a fantastic car for the money. With the top-line R8 stickered at just over $190,000 dollars for 620 horsepower, it’s basically a German Lambo. Hey, it’s gotta be a blast if it made new Top Gear host Chris Evans puke.

General Motors has announced a new car-sharing service called Maven. The new service will allow customers with smartphones to reserve and drive a car for as little as $6 an hour. GM’s clever ride-sharing app will be tested in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That’s GM territory, but also provides a challenging test environment including a medium-sized town, terrible roads, and college students. GM is definitely looking hard at shared crowd-based transportation – what’s next, streetcars in LA?

French government officials are investigating Mercedes, Ford, and Renault for cheating emissions testing standards. An S-Class Mercedes, a Ford C-Max, and a Renault “Captur” all failed the test, emitting far more nitrogen oxide than European standards allow. The failure of the Renault was particularly troubling, not because it’s French but because it supposedly met the new, much stricter Euro-six standards. French officials intend to test a total of 100 vehicles as part of their investigation.

Today’s gear pick will give you eyes and ears everywhere. Logitech’s new “Circle” camera is a fun way to keep an interactive eye on your family, pets, friends, or in a big brother way, your employees. The built-in speaker will let you chime in with helpful hints to whomever you’re, you know, monitoring in a friendly fashion. This is right in the intersection of cool and creepy, but if you guys get one, we’re cool with it.

In today’s ridiculous video, we watch Casey Neistat barrel through the snowy streets of New York City in a winter wonderland adventure we’ve always dreamed about. East Coasters, by all means be safe in the blizzard, and if at all possible, try and have this much fun without getting hit by a car.

That’s it for today’s edition of Drive Wire. For more, be sure to come back to thedrive.com, and follow us @thedrive on all your favorite social media platforms.