Your Car Is 'Just A Big Smartphone On Wheels'

This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?

We've been moving the gears around and, for the moment, we're keeping them in the post. If you've got a gear you think we should add please put it in the comments and we'll promote it.


Your Car Is 'Just A Big Smartphone On Wheels'1st Gear: AT&T And GM Wants To Make Your Car A Smartphone
GM's big announcement today is they're teaming up with AT&T to offer 4G LTE for most of its products, allowing customers to use their car as a hotspot and stream data into the car, which could include video (for rear seat passengers).

AT&T's Randall Stephenson told CNBC this morning that "The way we think about a car, it's just a big smartphone on wheels."

This capability will roll out to most 2015 model year Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models, which means you'll be able to buy them next year.

I'm still a believer in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which allows you to use your own smartphone device to stream instead of a built-in system, which is what GM is offering.

Your Car Is 'Just A Big Smartphone On Wheels'

2nd Gear: The Brabus 800 Is An SL 65 AMG Turned Up To 11
Many people scored the 2013 Mercedes SL 65 AMG a miss because of its understated styling, but I liked it for it gentle interpretation of the vehicle's lineage. If you want something extreme they still sell the SLS.

Or, if you want something extreme and understated you can always go in for the Brabus 800. Ze Germans have taken the car's V12 and massaged 800 horsepower and a whopping 1,047 lb-ft of torque out of it. So you don't blow the transmission out of the car, they've electronically limited the torque to a still monster 811 lb-ft.

This, plus a bunch of Brabus transmission, suspension, and aesthetic upgrades leaves you with a car that jumps to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and 124 mph in 9.8 seconds. The top speed is governed to 217 mph. It will cost you money and debut at Geneva.

Your Car Is 'Just A Big Smartphone On Wheels'

3rd Gear: Luxury Cars Moving On Down
As the Detroit News reports, luxury brands are trying to get low low low.

There's the Mercedes-Benz CLA, which starts under $30,000 (although few will pay that little for one). The A3, A4, 1-Series, and 3-Series also start in this range.

What's the point of all this given that the profit margins on these cars are so low? Simple, these people are the future buyers who will stop spending their money on artisanal whiskeys and instead will toss out their cash for the alcantara headliner when they become the old people.

4th Gear: Detroit Takes Home An Oscar
I thought "How To Survive A Plague" was going to win the Best Doc award at the Oscar's last night, but it was actually "Searching for Sugar Man" that won. Here's a description of the film from the Detroit Free Press:

“Searching for Sugar Man,” a movie about the strange but true story of mercurial Motor City singer-songwriter Rodriguez, took home the best documentary Oscar at Sunday’s ceremony.The movie, made by Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, tells the amazing story of how Rodriguez, whose early 1970s albums never caught fire in America, became a music superstar in apartheid South Africa.

That sounds awesome.

Your Car Is 'Just A Big Smartphone On Wheels'5th Gear: Don't Worry, Automotive News Respects The Embargo
We've already told you that we're generally not accepting embargo agreements anymore. It's why we can show you the vehicles that everyone else has already seen but is hiding from you. For example, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which basically every other publication saw in December.

After debuting it a little early, Chrysler released photos of the 2014 Cherokee to the press and they, now no longer bound by an embargo, ran them. Except… maybe there's still an embargo?

The folks at Automotive News nicely acknowledged our scoop, but then finished their story about the Cherokee with this:

Automotive News and other publications were shown pre-production versions of the Cherokee in mid-December under an embargo that was to hold until the vehicle was revealed at the New York auto show.Automotive News will continue to honor the remaining embargoed material.

What else is out there? Feel free to leak it below.