The Espresso Display is a fantastic portable display for your Mac or PC

Australian-based hardware startup Espresso Displays has taken a category with a lot of relatively unremarkable, but functional entrants, and added features, design and quality improvements to set itself apart from the crowd. The Espresso Display offers a portable form factor for easy packing, magnetic mounting, single cable operation via USB-C with a compatible modern Mac, built-in speakers and 2.5mm audio out, and optional touch functionality.

The basics

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Espresso’s display comes in two different sizes – a 13.3 inch or a 15.6-inch model. The display itself is very thin and light, at just under 0.2 inches thick, and under 2 lbs. The display panel features touch sensitivity, which works in tandem with a driver that you install on your Mac to enable touch features.

The display is made of glass and aluminum, and feels very high quality to match your MacBook. There are two USB-C and a mini HDMI port on the side, and a 2.5mm mini stereo jack for audio out. One of the USB-C ports is dedicated to power only, and the other is for connecting a display, with power delivery supported as well for a single-cable connection to modern Macs.

Espresso offers 4K resolution, and provides a unique mounting system that uses magnets to secure it to the optional folding display stand. The company also offers a VESA mouth adapter for attaching it to more traditional stand or mounting arm. There’s also a soft case included to protect the display during transit.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The company is currently funding the display’s production via Indiegogo, but is nearing mass production, and the unit they sent me to test out definitely felt like a finished product. The 13-inch version is $249 USD but will retail for $320, and the Display 15 will retail for $350 when generally available.

Design and performance

The Espresso Display is a cut above the competition when it comes to both build quality and materials, as well as actual panel image quality and color. I’ve actually been using a 15.6-inch portable display purchased from Amazon recently, and while that has been a satisfactory solution for extending my desktop when I want to work from a few different locations, it’s definitely sub-par with its color rendering and all plastic build.

Espresso’s glass and metal composition feels much more at home with my MacBook Pro, and while I can’t quite tune its colors to match my Apple’s output, the built-in profile is generally pleasing and fairly color accurate. It’s bright enough, and renders crisp text and graphics at 4K resolution, with excellent contrast.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Also unlike my generic Amazon display, Espresso Display actually works with just a single cable with my MacBook Pro. The other doesn’t draw enough power through just a USB-C connection, and so requires an adapter to be plugged in. Espresso works flawlessly in this regard, using the includes USB-C cable for true on-the-go one cable connectivity.

Espresso also offers touch capability, which comes in handy for things like graphics work. It ships with a small stylus, but don’t think of this as a Wacom alternative – it’s more for multi-touch interactions than pen input, and lacks pressure sensitivity. The touch features are further helped by the flexibility of the magnetic stand, which can flip around for a more low-angled mode that facilitates hands-on work. It’s easy to then flip it up for a more iMac-like stand orientation, or turn it to portrait orientation for working on documents or code.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The stand is actually a big part of Espresso Display’s appeal, since it makes it very flexible for working anywhere. I’ve yet to find a great stand solution for other portable displays that match their portability, and this one definitely does, folding into a square no larger than a thin slice of toast.

At 4K and 60Hz, the performance of the display panel itself is excellent, and provides a great way to gain a whole lot more screen real estate than is possible with your built-in screen alone.

Bottom line

The portable display market is increasingly crowded, but the Espresso Display manages to stand out thanks to its use of high-quality materials and unique magnetic mounting solution. Many existing options out there require some kind of compromise or trade-off, of varying degrees of severity, but the Espresso Display is thin, light, durable and provides a great image, with easy, flexible mounting options and true single-cable connectivity.

Forget the Bronco’s off-road chops, look at this gadget mounting bar

The 2021 Bronco knows you have gadgets, and it’s here for them. Located above the dash, before the windshield, is an accessory mounting bar. Mount your iPhone here. Attach your radar detector or GoPro or dashcam or whatever. It’s fantastic, and I hope similar solutions comes to more vehicles.

The Ford Bronco has a lot going for it, and this simple accessory bar is a tidy detail that tells a story. Ford knows its buyers.

Look at the Jeep Wrangler. New from the dealership, it’s a blank canvas on which owners tack on countless accessories and accouterments. From new fenders to racks to cameras to stickers, many owners endlessly customize the vehicle to their liking.

On the other end of the spectrum are everyday vehicle owners from truck owners to sedan drivers. Everyone has a cell phone, and most vehicles do not have a dedicated location to house a cell phone. Dash cams are increasingly common as they drop in price, and people realize their usefulness. Many drivers turn to windshield mounting solutions that often impede the driver’s view.

The Bronco’s accessory mounting bar seems like a win for many drivers. Instead of having various suction cup mounts splattered around the windshield, owners can securely mount small gadgets in a location Ford deemed safe to use. There are even USB and 12-volt outlets located by the bar.

Vehicle makers have long ignored gadgets. At best, a vehicle could have a wireless charging pad for a cell phone, but it’s often located in a spot that hinders smartphone use. Like it or not, drivers often use their phones while driving for mapping and media playback and it would be best to design the vehicle to provide a safe mounting solution.

This bar would look out of place in most ultra-modern vehicles, but a similar solution, designed to match the rest of the car, would be a welcomed addition to most cars.

BMW wants to sell you subscriptions to your car’s features

BMW today announced a number of updates to its in-car software experience during a VR press event, complete with a virtual drive through Munich to show off some of these features. These new updates will come to most recent BMWs that support the company’s Operating System 7 later this year — and new cars will already have them built-in.

The company is able to launch these regular updates because it is now able to not just update the car’s infotainment system but virtually every line of code that’s deployed to the various compute systems that make up a modern vehicle. And because of this, the company is now also able to bring a couple of features to market that it has long talked about.

One of those features — and maybe the key announcement from today’s event — are updates to BMW program for subscribing to specific hardware features that are may already be built into your car, like heated seats or advanced driver assistance systems, but that you didn’t activate when you bought the car. BMW has talked about this for a while, but it is now making this a reality. That means if you didn’t buy the heated seats and steering wheel, for example, your new BMW may now offer you a free three-month trial and you can then essentially buy a subscription for this feature for a set amount of time.

Image Credits: BMW

“We offer maximum flexibility and peace of mind to our customers when it comes to choosing and using their optional equipment in their BMWs, whether this BMW is new or used,” a company spokesperson said during today’s press event. “So flexible offers, immediate availability, simpler booking and easy usability for choice, at any time, when it comes to your optional equipment. We already started connectivity over 20 years ago and since 2014, we are online with our Connected Drive Store, where digital services can already be booked.”

Those were very much infotainment features, though. Now, BMW will let you enable vehicle functions and optional equipment on demand and over the air. The company started offering some features like active cruise control with stop and go functionality, a high beam assistant and access to the BMW IconicSounds Sport. The carmaker will add new features to this line-up over time.

Surprisingly, it’s often easier and cheaper for car manufacturers to build some hardware into cars, even if it is not activated, simply because it removes complexity from the production process. A lot of the features that BMW is talking about consist of a combination of software and hardware, though.

What’s new here is the ability to only subscribe to some features for a short time. “In the near future, we will not only be able to add more functions here, but we will also be able to add even more flexibility for our customers with temporary bookings so booking of options for three years, for one year, or even shorter periods of time, like a few months,” a spokesperson said.

Image Credits: BMW

The company also notes that this will give somebody who buys a used car a lot more flexibility, too. It’s worth noting that Apple CarPlay support was also originally a subscription feature in new BMWs, costing $80 a year. The company’s customers were not very happy about this, though, and the company reversed that decision last December. That really felt like nickel-and-diming drivers, though, since none of BMW’s competitors charged for this. It’ll be interesting to see how drivers will react to additional subscription services, but the focus now is more on convenience features that would usually be an option when you buy a new car, so my guess is that this will be less of an issue.

Among the other new and updated digital services the company showcased today is support for Apple’s new ‘Car Keys,’ which BMW brands as the BMW Digital Key, as well as an updated BMW Personal Assistant. Some of these new Assistant features are more cosmetic and about how it is showcased on the in-car display. But one nifty new Assistant feature here, for example, is a kind of IFTTT for your car, where you can easily program it to automatically roll down your windows when you enter your company’s parking garage, for example, so that you can easily scan your badge to open the boom gate.

Image Credits: BMW

Other updates include the new BMW Maps, the company’s built-in GPS system, which the company described as a ‘major leap.’ This cloud-based service can now find routes faster, has more granular traffic data and also includes the ability to find parking spaces for you — and that parking feature itself is based on a lot of work the company is doing in aggregating sensor data from across its fleet, which already covers and maps close to 99% of the German highway system once a day in HD.

Image Credits: BMW

Talking about maps, the company, which is still in the middle of the roll-out of its hybrid-electric vehicles, BMW also today announced that its hybrid fleet will make it easier for drivers to find charging stations and will automatically switch to electric driving when they enter low-emission zones in 80 European cities, with support for additional cities coming over time.

“Digital technologies belong to the core of BMW – because hardware and software are of
equal importance for premium cars,” said Oliver Zipse, the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW. “Our mission is to integrate advanced digital technologies with highest product excellence to enhance our customers’ experience and driving pleasure even more.”

 

BMW, Mercedes Benz end ‘long term’ automated driving alliance, for now

BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG have punted on what was meant to be a long term collaboration to develop next-generation automated driving technology together, less than a year after announcing the agreement.

The German automakers called the break up “mutual and amicable” and have each agreed to concentrate on their existing development paths. Those new paths may include working with new or current partners. The two companies also emphasized that cooperation may be resumed at a later date.

The partnership, which was announced in July 2019, was never meant to be exclusive.  Instead, it reflected the increasingly common approach among legacy manufacturers to form loose development agreements in an aim to share the capitally intensive work of developing, testing and validating automated driving technology.

The two companies did have some lofty goals. The partnership aimed to develop  driver assistance systems, highly automated driving on highways, and automated parking and launch those technology in series vehicles scheduled for 2024.

It seems that the perceived benefits of working together were overshadowed by reality: creating a shared technology platform was a more complex and expensive task than expected, according to comments from the companies. BMW and Mercedes-Benz AG said they were unable to hold detailed expert discussions and talk to suppliers about technology roadmaps until the contract was signed last year.

“In these talks — and after extensive review — both sides concluded that, in view of the expense involved in creating a shared technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, the timing is not right for successful implementation of the cooperation,” the companies said.

BMW and Mercedes have other projects and partners. BMW, for instance, is part of a collaboration with Intel, Mobileye, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ansys. Daimler and Bosch launched a robotaxi pilot project in San Jose last year.

Meanwhile, both companies are still working together in other areas. Five years, BMW and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, joined Audi AG to acquire location and technology platform HERE. That ownership consortium has since grown to include more companies.

And last year, BMW Group and Daimler AG also pooled their mobility services in a joint venture under the umbrella of the NOW family.

Separately, BMW said Friday it will cut 6,000 jobs in an agreement reached with the German Works Council. The cuts, prompted by sluggish sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be reportedly accomplished through early retirement, non-renewal of temporary contracts, ending redundant positions and not filling vacant positions, Marketwatch reported.

BMW, Mercedes Benz end ‘long term’ automated driving alliance, for now

BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG have punted on what was meant to be a long term collaboration to develop next-generation automated driving technology together, less than a year after announcing the agreement.

The German automakers called the break up “mutual and amicable” and have each agreed to concentrate on their existing development paths. Those new paths may include working with new or current partners. The two companies also emphasized that cooperation may be resumed at a later date.

The partnership, which was announced in July 2019, was never meant to be exclusive.  Instead, it reflected the increasingly common approach among legacy manufacturers to form loose development agreements in an aim to share the capitally intensive work of developing, testing and validating automated driving technology.

The two companies did have some lofty goals. The partnership aimed to develop  driver assistance systems, highly automated driving on highways, and automated parking and launch those technology in series vehicles scheduled for 2024.

It seems that the perceived benefits of working together were overshadowed by reality: creating a shared technology platform was a more complex and expensive task than expected, according to comments from the companies. BMW and Mercedes-Benz AG said they were unable to hold detailed expert discussions and talk to suppliers about technology roadmaps until the contract was signed last year.

“In these talks — and after extensive review — both sides concluded that, in view of the expense involved in creating a shared technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, the timing is not right for successful implementation of the cooperation,” the companies said.

BMW and Mercedes have other projects and partners. BMW, for instance, is part of a collaboration with Intel, Mobileye, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ansys. Daimler and Bosch launched a robotaxi pilot project in San Jose last year.

Meanwhile, both companies are still working together in other areas. Five years, BMW and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, joined Audi AG to acquire location and technology platform HERE. That ownership consortium has since grown to include more companies.

And last year, BMW Group and Daimler AG also pooled their mobility services in a joint venture under the umbrella of the NOW family.

Separately, BMW said Friday it will cut 6,000 jobs in an agreement reached with the German Works Council. The cuts, prompted by sluggish sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be reportedly accomplished through early retirement, non-renewal of temporary contracts, ending redundant positions and not filling vacant positions, Marketwatch reported.

Ford to roll out hands-free driving in Q3 of 2021, starting with the Mustang Mach-E

Ford will start offering a hands-free driving feature in the second half 2021, beginning with its new Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle.

The hands-free feature, called Active Drive Assist, is part of a larger package of advanced driver assistance features collectively called Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package. But it’s the hands-free offering that is getting all of the attention today.

The hands-free feature has been anticipated since the Mustang Mach E — which has a driving monitoring system situated above the steering wheel — was revealed last year.

There are important caveats to Ford’s announcement. The tech, while notable, won’t be available everywhere and in every Ford vehicle. Drivers who want the feature will have to buy a 2021 Mustang Mach E and the additional Active 2.0 Prep Package, which includes the proper hardware such as sensors to support the system. The software is purchased separately and at a later date once it’s ready. The software can be added either at a dealership or via over-the-air updates in the third quarter of 2021, Ford said. And all this will come at a price, which is still unknown.

The hands-free feature will work on about 100,000 miles of pre-mapped, divided highways in the U.S. and Canada . The monitoring system will include an advanced infrared driver-facing camera that will track eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road. The DMS will be used in the hands-free mode and when drivers opt for lane centering mode, which works on any road with lane lines. Drivers who don’t keep their eyes forward will be notified by visual prompts on their instrument cluster.

This “prep package” also includes the latest iteration of park assist, which will handle maneuvering into parallel and perpendicular spaces. There’s also offers a “Park Out Assist” feature with side-sensing capability that helps drivers navigate out of a parking spot when someone’s parked too close.

Ford made a point of comparing its system in the Mustang Mach-E to Tesla’s Model Y. In particular, Ford notes that it is hands-free while Tesla’s driver assistance system known as Autopilot is not. But the comparison doesn’t quite square.

A better comparison might be with its rival GM, which has taken a similarly cautious approach to introducing its hand-free driving system known as Super Cruise, which also has a driver monitoring system. GM limited Super Cruise to just one Cadillac branded model, the full-size CT6 sedan, and restricted its use to certain divided highways. Over the past year, GM has improved the capabilities of the feature, expanded where it can be deployed and is offering it in other models.

Audi sets up Silicon Valley office to develop automated driving systems for U.S. market

Audi has opened an office in Silicon Valley that aims to adapt and develop advanced driver assistance systems for the U.S. market. 

The Audi Automated Driving Development (A2D2) R&D office will be located in San Jose and initially staffed with about 60 employees. The company said A2D2 will have the “flexibility to quickly develop new software and to collaborate with nearby startups for production-intent applications.”

This new R&D office is focused on advancing so-called Level 2 systems, a designation by the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE), in which two primary functions are automated and still have a human driver in the loop at all times. There are five levels of automation under SAE’s definition. Level 4 means the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention and is what companies like Argo AI, Aurora, Cruise and Waymo are working on. While Level 5, which is widely viewed as a distant goal, would handle all driving in all environments and conditions.

The focus on Level 2 is an important distinction. Audi had developed a Level 3 automated system called Traffic Jam Pilot that was supposed to be in the latest-generation A8 that debuted in 2017. After numerous delays, Audi decided in May to scrap plans to roll out the Level 3 automated driving system. Traffic Jam Pilot theoretically allows the vehicle to operate on its own without the human driver keeping their eyes on the road. But it’s never been commercially deployed. 

The company told TechCrunch back in May that the lack of a legal framework raised concerns about liability. To further complicate the problem, the A8 has been progressing through its generational life cycle. Audi was faced with continuing to pour money into the feature to adapt it without promise of a framework progressing.

Now, Audi has turned its attention and capital towards advanced driving assistance systems that can actually be launched in passenger vehicles. A2D2 will be the first office dedicated to developing ADAS hardware and software specifically for North American roads and driving behaviors, the company said.

“Given the rapid advancement of driver assistance technologies in North America, it’s important to be part of the latest breakthroughs, work with leading edge of technology startups and attract the top talent,” said Frank Grosshauser, senior director, ADAS, Audi of America.

The A2D2 office is hugely important to the further advancement of systems here in the U.S. in the interim, not just in terms of assisted driving but all of the various sensors and systems and how they can be brought together to further improve the driving experience, safety and use for our customers in the not too distant future, an Audi spokesperson wrote in an email.

The A2D2 office has outfitted several Audi Q7 development vehicles with roof-mounted sensor kits to collect data to develop various cloud-based automated driver-assistance functions planned for introduction by 2023, the company said. The A2D2 development vehicles are wrapped in a QR code that links to a webpage where people can get updates on Audi’s progress. 

Audi is also working on automated driving technology with Car.Software, a newly founded Volkswagen Group unit. All Volkswagen Group brands have concentrated their automated driving development activities within this unit, the company said. 

2020 Bentley Flying Spur Review: Superior comfort and performance

What can I say? It’s a Bentley. It’s lovely.

The Bentley new Flying Spur is a luxury super sedan. It packs a larger engine than most sports cars, has four heavenly seats, and glides over the road like soap on a shower floor. This example costs $279,000, so I would expect nothing less.

This sedan is supremely comfortable, and yet it packs a powerful punch. Bentley says the W12 engine lets it hit 207 mph though I had no reason to verify that claim. Going fast means arriving at a destination sooner and, during my week with the new Flying Spur, I never wanted the ride to end.

[gallery ids="1999980,1999979,1999978,1999981,1999976,1999983,1999977,1999982,1999975,1999974"]

Review

The new Flying Spur builds on a long history of Bentley sedans. In Bentley’s four-car lineup, the Flying Spur sits under the palatial Mulsanne saloon as a more affordable, driver-focused sedan. It’s a bit smaller, a tad more subdued, yet still spectacular.

Down to the crystal hood ornament, everything about the Flying Spur is focused on creating a luxury experience. The rear seat headrest pillows are softer and more supportive than the ones on my bed. The massaging seats hit all the right spots. The audio is surprising with pounding bass and clear highs.

There’s a twist: Most of the new Flying Spur’s creature comforts are available in lesser cars. Massaging seats, supple materials, and incredible driving dynamics for a large sedan — all things that can be had, in a way, in a Cadillac for $80,000 or a Mercedes for $150,000. And I’ve driven those cars. They’re great, but the Flying Spur does everything just a tick better. Enough to justify the much-higher price? I’m not here to judge how you spend your money.


Come for the luxury, stay for the performance.

The Flying Spur glides across the road with supreme confidence. Bentley stuffed its W12 engine under the bonnet, and it provides ample power for cruising. With 626 HP and 663 ft-lb of torque on tap, power is nearly bottomless, and that’s what’s needed to move the imposing sedan. Like past models, this updated Flying Spur features all-wheel drive though it’s been reconfigured to make the vehicle more agile. Now, most of the power is sent to the rear wheels with the fronts mainly powered when the car detects rear slippage. The result is a sedan that dives into corners and haunches onto its back legs when ripping off a fast start.

At speed, the Flying Spur is in its element. It flies across the tarmac with silky shifts and incredible coasting abilities. Lift off the gas, and the Flying Spur seems to coast forever, seemingly propelled by extra momentum. In reality, Bentley is preforming mechanical magic, resulting in a luxury experience for both the driver and the passenger. It doesn’t take a skilled valet to make the Flying Spur a posh experience, Bentley’s worked out all the kinks and can make even aggressive driving comfortable.

Don’t sleep on the new Flying Spur. This car sprints to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. There are faster cars, but few are as large as this Bentley. The stature makes the speed feel reassuring and impressive sound dampening isolates the riders from the violent drama happening a few feet in front of them in the engine. To be clear, the Flying Spur is fast though it never feels quick — and that’s a good thing. A quick head-snapping start cheapens the Bentley experience.

Pillows included

The interior is well-appointed and cavernous just as to be expected. The driver sinks into a seat with a commanding but comfortable position. Backseat passengers get the same treatment but gain a headrest as soft as any pillow found in a five-star hotel.

Mounted center mast is an infotainment screen that brings modern appointments to the sedan. The ultra-wide screen houses most of the user controls for the vehicle but feels a bit dated. Compared to other top-tier vehicles across Volkswagen’s brands (VW makes Bentley), this system lacks some forward-thinking features such as haptic feedback, in-air gestures, and a refined design.

The screen impresses. With a touch of a button, the screen rotates backward, revealing three analog dials inlaid into the wood trim. It’s a classy bit of showmanship that hides the modern touch and restores a bit of timeless elegance Bentleys are known for.

The inside of the Bentley Flying Spur feels familiar in a way. Aside from the swiveling infotainment system, the fit and trim could be that of any top-tier sedan from Audi, Mercedes, or Lexus. Want an interior that truly stands apart? You’ll need to step up to the Bentley Mulsanne.

Backseat passengers get the same treatment as those sitting in the front with reclining rear seats, massagers, and a touchscreen to control climate and media. Rear leg room is lacking for a large sedan, though. While the backseat is comfortable, large adults might feel more cramped than expected. The Flying Spur is not available in an extended wheelbase, either — at least not yet. Those sitting in the back get something exclusive over the front. The headrests pillows are sublime.

For around $279,000, the new Flying Spur’s price sits well above top sedans from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. It’s a hard sell on paper, too, as those automakers super-sedans share a lot of the same performance stats and luxury appointments. In-person, the Flying Spur commands respect in a way different from its competitors. The Flying Spur has a timeless elegance that overshadows the underlying technology.

The Flying Spur offers an incredible experience for the driver and passenger alike. This isn’t always the case as some luxury cars tilt the experience to luxury or performance, and yet this Bentley sedan serves both well enough. The driver gets to pilot an impressive sports sedan capable of keeping up with most sports cars while passengers sit in complete comfort.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur Review: Superior comfort and performance

What can I say? It’s a Bentley. It’s lovely.

The Bentley new Flying Spur is a luxury super sedan. It packs a larger engine than most sports cars, has four heavenly seats, and glides over the road like soap on a shower floor. This example costs $279,000, so I would expect nothing less.

This sedan is supremely comfortable, and yet it packs a powerful punch. Bentley says the W12 engine lets it hit 207 mph though I had no reason to verify that claim. Going fast means arriving at a destination sooner and, during my week with the new Flying Spur, I never wanted the ride to end.

[gallery ids="1999980,1999979,1999978,1999981,1999976,1999983,1999977,1999982,1999975,1999974"]

Review

The new Flying Spur builds on a long history of Bentley sedans. In Bentley’s four-car lineup, the Flying Spur sits under the palatial Mulsanne saloon as a more affordable, driver-focused sedan. It’s a bit smaller, a tad more subdued, yet still spectacular.

Down to the crystal hood ornament, everything about the Flying Spur is focused on creating a luxury experience. The rear seat headrest pillows are softer and more supportive than the ones on my bed. The massaging seats hit all the right spots. The audio is surprising with pounding bass and clear highs.

There’s a twist: Most of the new Flying Spur’s creature comforts are available in lesser cars. Massaging seats, supple materials, and incredible driving dynamics for a large sedan — all things that can be had, in a way, in a Cadillac for $80,000 or a Mercedes for $150,000. And I’ve driven those cars. They’re great, but the Flying Spur does everything just a tick better. Enough to justify the much-higher price? I’m not here to judge how you spend your money.


Come for the luxury, stay for the performance.

The Flying Spur glides across the road with supreme confidence. Bentley stuffed its W12 engine under the bonnet, and it provides ample power for cruising. With 626 HP and 663 ft-lb of torque on tap, power is nearly bottomless, and that’s what’s needed to move the imposing sedan. Like past models, this updated Flying Spur features all-wheel drive though it’s been reconfigured to make the vehicle more agile. Now, most of the power is sent to the rear wheels with the fronts mainly powered when the car detects rear slippage. The result is a sedan that dives into corners and haunches onto its back legs when ripping off a fast start.

At speed, the Flying Spur is in its element. It flies across the tarmac with silky shifts and incredible coasting abilities. Lift off the gas, and the Flying Spur seems to coast forever, seemingly propelled by extra momentum. In reality, Bentley is preforming mechanical magic, resulting in a luxury experience for both the driver and the passenger. It doesn’t take a skilled valet to make the Flying Spur a posh experience, Bentley’s worked out all the kinks and can make even aggressive driving comfortable.

Don’t sleep on the new Flying Spur. This car sprints to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. There are faster cars, but few are as large as this Bentley. The stature makes the speed feel reassuring and impressive sound dampening isolates the riders from the violent drama happening a few feet in front of them in the engine. To be clear, the Flying Spur is fast though it never feels quick — and that’s a good thing. A quick head-snapping start cheapens the Bentley experience.

Pillows included

The interior is well-appointed and cavernous just as to be expected. The driver sinks into a seat with a commanding but comfortable position. Backseat passengers get the same treatment but gain a headrest as soft as any pillow found in a five-star hotel.

Mounted center mast is an infotainment screen that brings modern appointments to the sedan. The ultra-wide screen houses most of the user controls for the vehicle but feels a bit dated. Compared to other top-tier vehicles across Volkswagen’s brands (VW makes Bentley), this system lacks some forward-thinking features such as haptic feedback, in-air gestures, and a refined design.

The screen impresses. With a touch of a button, the screen rotates backward, revealing three analog dials inlaid into the wood trim. It’s a classy bit of showmanship that hides the modern touch and restores a bit of timeless elegance Bentleys are known for.

The inside of the Bentley Flying Spur feels familiar in a way. Aside from the swiveling infotainment system, the fit and trim could be that of any top-tier sedan from Audi, Mercedes, or Lexus. Want an interior that truly stands apart? You’ll need to step up to the Bentley Mulsanne.

Backseat passengers get the same treatment as those sitting in the front with reclining rear seats, massagers, and a touchscreen to control climate and media. Rear leg room is lacking for a large sedan, though. While the backseat is comfortable, large adults might feel more cramped than expected. The Flying Spur is not available in an extended wheelbase, either — at least not yet. Those sitting in the back get something exclusive over the front. The headrests pillows are sublime.

For around $279,000, the new Flying Spur’s price sits well above top sedans from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. It’s a hard sell on paper, too, as those automakers super-sedans share a lot of the same performance stats and luxury appointments. In-person, the Flying Spur commands respect in a way different from its competitors. The Flying Spur has a timeless elegance that overshadows the underlying technology.

The Flying Spur offers an incredible experience for the driver and passenger alike. This isn’t always the case as some luxury cars tilt the experience to luxury or performance, and yet this Bentley sedan serves both well enough. The driver gets to pilot an impressive sports sedan capable of keeping up with most sports cars while passengers sit in complete comfort.

An unsecured database exposed the personal details of 202M job seekers in China

The personal details belonging to more than 202 million job seekers in China, including information like phone numbers, email addresses, driver licenses and salary expectations, were freely available to anyone who knew where to look for as long as three years due to an insecure database.

That’s according to findings published by security researcher Bob Diachenko who located an open and unprotected MongoDB instance in late December which contained 202,730,434 “very detailed” records. The database was indexed in data search engines Binary Edge and Shodan, and was freely visible without a password or login. It was only made private after Diachenko released information about its existence on Twitter.

Diachenko, who is director of cyber risk research at Hacken, wasn’t able to match the database with a specific service, but he did locate a three-year-old GitHub repository for an app that included “identical structural patterns as those used in the exposed resumes.” Again, ownership is not clear at this point although the records do seem to contain data that was scraped from Chinese classifieds, including the Craigslist-like 58.com.

A 58.com spokesperson denied that the records were its creation. They instead claimed that their service had been the victim of scraping from a third-party.

“We have searched all over the database of us and investigated all the other storage, turned out that the sample data is not leaked from us. It seems that the data is leaked from a third party who scrape[d] data from many CV websites,” a spokesperson told Diachenko.

TechCrunch contacted 58.com but we have not yet received a response.

While the database has now been secured, it was potentially vulnerable for up to three years and there’s already evidence that it had been regularly accessed. Although, again, it isn’t clear who by.

“It’s worth noting that MongoDB log showed at least a dozen IPs who might have accessed the data before it was taken offline,” Diachenko wrote.

There’s plenty of mystery here — it isn’t clear whether 58.com was behind the hole, or if it is a rival service or a scraper — but what is more certain is that the vulnerability is one of the largest of its kind to be found in China.