Tag Archives: concept car

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

Against all odds, the Paris Motor Show is managing more than a few high notes this year, as seen in these five superlative cars. This list includes a few prototypes because, well we just liked the look of them, but overall these are the buzz-worthy models. Before we get to those though, we do have to say that the Volkswagen I.D. concept car seems like a really great idea and Peugeot has done the unthinkable and (literally) elevated the 5008. These aren’t typically the sorts of cars we cover but we’ll expend a sentence here to give them props.

Returning to the main event for us, we ask once again that you bear with us as we revisit the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta. It was either that or take another look at the Vision Mercedes Maybach 6, which we’ve seen quite a bit off (including the featured image, top).

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce

Trust Alfa Romeo to name a car Giulia and then amp it up to hyper masculine proportions. Just take a gander at the lines on this sedan and tell us that doesn’t just scream testosterone-fueled muscle. The new high-end Giulia Veloce features all-wheel drive, and two different engine options: 210hp (diesel) or an all-new 280hp (gasoline). On the occasion of the show, the diesel version is being launched in France.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

Citroën CXperience

We can’t resist suicide doors and the Citroën CXperience helpfully obliges this silly tendency. The AFP reports that this concept car is almost certainly a forerunner to Citroën’s upcoming C5 generation. This 4.85-meter-long (16ft) sedan stands out with its two-box design, 22-inch wheels and, of course, those suicide doors, Seriously, if this gets made in this form, we look forward to reading about all the mishaps those doors will get the owner into. This hybrid vehicle (gas/electric) promises 300 horses in total. The front end also showcases what could be a future brand identity, with resigned daytime running lights.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

LaFerrari Aperta

Like its hardtop sibling, this new hypercar offers hybrid hyper performance (we just love this tongue-twister), thanks to an electric motor and V12 engine working in concert. The result is a sprint to 100km/h in under 3 seconds and a top speed of 350+km/h – all without a solid roof. It would have reportedly cost more than 2 million euros but Ferrari has saved you all that dough by not having any more models to sell.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

Honda Civic Type R

Ok so here is a concept that is so workable we aren’t even sure why Honda is bothering with parading about the prototype. Well, maybe the Japanese automaker just wanted to start rubbing it in rivals’ faces early – the full production model will hit the streets in the second half of 2017. The concept car stands out with its carbon fiber side skirts and splitter – it adds a triple exhaust pipe that makes us wonder what it sounds like. This mean machine also boasts smoked glass headlights and LED indicators.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Cars: Paris Motor Show

Renault Trezor

If we’ve never featured a car just because it was bananas (can you say Faraday Future), this will take care of that deficiency. Basically, the Renault Trezor is car-sized eye-candy with a hood and roof that lift up! That alone would have sold us on including this car here but that is not the end of the story. The exposed interior you can just make out here is futuristic and connected, full of ultra-high-definition touch screens. This GT concept has an entirely electric powerplant that Renault has developed directly from the world of auto racing (Formula E). It promises 0-100 km/h (0-62mph) acceleration in under four seconds.

Mercedes Teases EV SUV Concept with Video

Mercedes Teases EV SUV Concept with Video

So, what is an EV SUV anyway and why does Mercedes have one? This new video (below) from Mercedes Benz skips these questions and instead asks drivers if they’re “ready to change.” Ok, it does offer a tiny glimpse of what to expect when its long-gestating plug-in electric (that is the EV part) SUV concept car arrives at the Paris Motor Show on September 29.

Expected to be called the EQG (this alphabet soup bit is par for the course for Mercedes) and to mark the launch of a new EQ Mercedes-Benz sub-brand, the concept car is high on futuristic styling and fluorescent mood lighting. Although the video gives very little substance to the company’s claims that the car is truly revolutionary, it does confirm that the show car will have a minimalistic yet luxurious cabin that follows current interior design language and the same proportions externally as the company’s current flagship GLS SUV.

Although Mercedes has toyed with electrification in the past (it sells an electric B-Class MPV and this month rolled out the latest generation of its electric SMART cars), the company is making a statement of intent with this show car: it takes plug-in electric vehicles seriously and it aims to be more Tesla than Tesla before the end of this decade.

According to the latest Jato Dynamics figures, published Tuesday, electric and hybird vehicle popularity is growing rapidly. Over the first half of 2016, 231,300 plug-in electric or plug-in hybrid cars were sold across Europe – that’s a 27% increase year on year – and means that together they now represent 3% of the current European car market. If growth continues at this rate, then they will represent 12-14% of new car sales by the end of the decade, and that is the moment when Mercedes will be planning to really launch its electric vehicle offensive.

And to generate as much interest and excitement as possible it should come as no surprise that Mercedes went for an SUV.

One in three Mercedes sold globally is now of the SUV or crossover variety. Over the first six months of 2016 there was a 22% spike in C-segment SUV sales in Europe – i.e., models such as the Audi Q3, meaning they now represent 10% of the market. Full-size SUVs have also experienced a 16% surge in popularity in the first six months of 2016. Cars like the Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Land Cruiser and Mercedes GLC represent 1% of the market or 106,000 sales.

However, Mercedes won’t have it all its own way at this year’s show. VW will also be using the event to unveil its next-generation EV concept and like Mercedes, Volkswagen is claiming its car will usher in a revolution and that it will be able to cover 400 miles on a single charge.

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power Paris Motor Show

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power: Paris Motor Show

Mercedes is sharpening its focus on electric mobility at this year’s Paris Motor Show, including EV versions of its entire Smart car lineup plus a plug-in electric concept car. At the same time, the German automaker is promising tighter integration of the AMG unit, basically, bringing the AMG dream to every possible model. For our part, we are waiting for the AMG-tuned Mercedes bus!

At the start of 2016, Mercedes announced that one of its grand plans was to bring its dedicated tuning arm AMG closer to the company’s core clients. To do this it was going to offer models of all shapes and sizes infused with differing levels of AMG performance. To those who don’t know, AMG is the department charged with building sporting flagships. You can think of it as a mirror to BMW M. Of course, AMG is now moving beyond its core mission to make select Mercedes models more fun to drive.

As we approach the end of 2016 and with it the Paris Motor Show, the 2500-square meter Mercedes-Benz stand will boast four new models with an AMG badge on their rear.

mercedes-amg-gt-roadster-featured

The most exciting of these are two soft-top Mercedes-AMG GT models, the Roadster and the C Roadster. Officially revealed earlier this month, they offer different levels of comfort and performance but will both are presented as compelling challenges to anything at that level from Porsche.

The company will be debuting a sportier take on its GLC crossover coupé, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic complete with twin-turbocharged V6 powerplant and a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds plus plenty of room for four adults and their luggage. As good as it promises to be, the 43 4Matic is simply a taste of things to come – a 63 4Matic, with a twin-turbo AMG V8 is also on its way in due course.

The AMG 43 4Matic versions of the E-Class in sedan and station wagon form will complete the company’s sporting focus at this year’s show and they will be joined by something Mercedes is calling the E Class All Terrain. Another new variant for the E-Class range, this will boast genuine off-road capability and styling cues but will stop short of being an actual SUV.

As for the anticipated concept car, Mercedes is expected to unveil an electric SUV with a range between charges equal to the Tesla Model X. And while that particular car won’t be going into production for several years, the Paris show will mark the official launch of the Smart plug-in electric range. With an EV version of the ForTwo, ForFour and the ForTwo cabrio, the company will become the first in the world to offer a plug-in electric version of every model in its current vehicle range.

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power Paris Motor Show

Self-Driving Cars May Smile at You

Self-Driving Cars May Smile at You: Report

The Japanese believe that almost all objects contain a spirit and it is why all Japanese cars – whether supermini or super coupé – are designed so that they appear to have a ‘happy’ face. But Semcon and research institute Viktoria Swedish ICT are taking things much, much further. Together they have developed a Smiling Car concept that can quite literally turn its frown upside-down whenever it sees a pedestrian.

On the surface, such an idea may seem silly, but don’t laugh. As cars become more autonomous, carmakers are going to have to go to greater lengths to humanize many of their systems.

“A lot of the discussions regarding self-driving cars are about the car’s technology. But how these vehicles will interact with unprotected road users is just as important,” said Karin Eklund, who is responsible for User Experience at Semcon.

This is particularly true in situations such as at junctions and crossroads where a human driver would physically signal his or her intent to pedestrians, cyclists or other road users. According to Semcon’s own research, eight out of 10 pedestrians say they always make eye contact with a driver when crossing the road.

“The strength behind The Smiling Car is that we allow people to communicate in the way they are used to, instead of taking an unnecessary detour via technology,” explains Eklund.

The smile is universal – if someone’s smiling at you, they’ve seen you. And, as such it’s a very simple and potentially ingenious as well as amusing solution to a future obstacle.

Semcon is a technology and parts supplier to the automotive industry, but carmakers themselves are working seriously on this issue. For example, Nissan has anthropologist Melissa Cefkin on its autonomous technology team. She is trying to understand the human elements of driving and recreate them as part of self-driving car technology.

“Adding this autonomous dimension to [cars] will bring around further changes in society, all the way down to the everyday way in which we interact and behave on the road,” said Cefkin. “We’re trying to distil out of our work some key lessons for what an autonomous vehicle will need to know .”

Semcon’s smiling car is in its early stages. The company now hopes to add other sensors that can track a person’s eye or head movement sufficiently to know if that person has seen the car and is responding in kind.

“Today there are clear agreements on how cars must indicate when changing lanes. We now need to develop a common language for how self-driving cars will interact with pedestrians,” said Semcon CEO Markus Granlund.

lexus_ux_paris

Lexus UX Concept Car Gets Paris Reveal

Set to debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month, the Lexus UX Concept car could well be the car manufacturer’s third SUV, after the NX and RX. We say “could” because the Japanese automaker is just teasing the world right now.

And what a great job they’re doing! Besides the fact that it was created at the Lexus European Design Centre (ED2), we also know that it is geared towards a “progressive, urban audience living in a connected environment.” You can also expect “imaginative technologies for an immersive driver experience, while the interior marries traditional craftsmanship with high-tech manufacturing techniques.”

Aesthetics-wise, the one (and only) picture provided by Lexus above shows a steeply raked roofline that suggests the trend towards coupe-esque silhouettes are on the rise. Also, it looks pretty much like an SUV!

The 2016 Paris Motor Show will also see the updated Lexus IS makes its European premiere, alongside the new Lexus NX Sport Edition and new flagship LC coupe.

Watch this space for updates on Lexus’ UX Concept car.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

Electric Concept: Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

What’s 6 meters long, goes from zero to 100km/h in under four seconds and is fully electronic? Currently, nothing but Mercedes intends on changing that with the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6. The German automaker unveiled the Vision, a stylishly spectacular (just look at that picture and tell us you aren’t convinced), futuristic and electric concept coupé, ahead of the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the US.

This outsized concept car is almost six meters long (5.70m or 18.5ft, to be precise) and is a 2+2 coupé with 24-inch rims. This might make it the longest coupe in the world but we digress.

Its electronic power system delivers 750 horsepower and onboard batteries promise a range of up to 500 kilometers (311 miles), according to the New European Driving Cycle. Plus, a quick-charge function brings 100km (62 miles) of range in under five minutes. The Vision will be all-wheel drive, with one electric motor effectively per wheel and that 500km range is apparently possible from a single charge.

In spite of its imposing dimensions, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 boasts performances worthy of a supercar, including 0 to 100km/h (0 to 62 mph) acceleration in under four seconds and a top speed electronically capped at 250km/h (155 mph). Mercedes reports that none of this performance negatively impacts range but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

In terms of exterior design, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 reinterprets the aesthetic features historically associated with Mercedes, notably the prominent front grille, apparently inspired by a pinstripe suit. Its butterfly doors nod to the legendary 300SL, while the back end surprises with a rear window shrunk to minimal size. The futuristic interior is reminiscent of the F 015, unveiled at CES 2015 in Las Vegas (USA).

This coupé is the latest addition to a series of visionary concept cars presented over the last few years by Mercedes, including the Vision Ener-G-Force (2012), the AMG Vision Gran Turismo (2013) and the Vision Tokyo (2015). It no doubt presages an upcoming addition to the Mercedes Maybach line, creating a direct rival for the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Check out the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 in this video:

Buick Y Job Car of the Future

Buick Y-Job Car of the Future Preserved

The Buick Y-Job, the world’s first concept car on record, is being added to the National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR). It was actually called The Car of the Future, when it was introduced to the world; the Y-Job name was a designation chosen by the legendary designer Harley J. Earl.

A cross between the Automotive Hall of Fame and a Library of Congress, the idea behind the Historic Vehicle Association’s NHVR is to preserve for eternity the most significant cars in US motoring history.

And very few cars can claim to have as much cultural or historical influence on the shape of the US motoring industry than the car that was called Y-Job by the Buick engineers and designers that created it in 1938/1939 and as “The Car of The Future” when General Motors unveiled it to an unsuspecting public in 1940.

The car’s creation was overseen by Earl, the man responsible for the Chevrolet Corvette, the wraparound windshield, two-tone paint finishes as a standard production car feature, tailfins and the use of clay to create physical models of cars before going into production, Y-Job really was ‘the shape of things to come.’

It was low, wide, did away with running boards, boasted retractable headlamps, the tailfins that would become the iconic design feature of 1950s American cars, and its convertible top disappeared completely into the body.

The Y-Job wasn’t just a concept though. Earl drove around Detroit in a working model of the Y-Job at least until he replaced it with a 1951 model. He chose the “Y” in the name for a couple of reasons: “X” was used for experimental cars so Earl just went for the next alphabet but “Y” was also used in the aviation industry for the most advanced prototypes, a fact Earl was aware of.

“Harley Earl and the Buick Y-Job expanded the boundaries of car design and drew the blueprint for concept vehicle design and execution,” said GM Global Design Vice President Michael Simcoe. “We thank the HVA for ensuring the world’s first concept car is documented and preserved for future generations.”

As well as recording and preserving every document and piece of engineering data associated with the vehicle, the Y-Job has also been digitally scanned and photographed so that a perfect virtual 3D model of the car will be preserved in perpetuity.

The Y-Job is just the 14th car to be added to the register, which is supported by the US Library of Congress and is the first to have been digitally preserved at the new HVA National Laboratory in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As well as scanning and photography studios, the new facility also has a test track that the HVA will use to capture the unique sounds and aerodynamic movements of legendary cars as part of the preservation process.

“The Buick Y-Job is a true American design treasure and an incredibly appropriate vehicle to document during our National Laboratory grand opening,” said HVA President Mark Gessler.

BMW Unveils Concept Center in Tokyo Bay

BMW is taking its “the next 100 years” concept very seriously, so what better place to open its latest state-of-the-art experience complex than Japan, a country well-known for its obsession with technology – more specifically the future of technology.

Located in Tokyo Bay, the 27,000 m² space will allow visitors to view the iconic Mini and luxurious BMW models in showrooms, grab a bite at the cafes, view exclusive features at exhibition spaces and even an opportunity to experience Virtual Reality. However, fans of BMW and Mini will revel in the test-driving facility, built to BMW’s own ‘M’ standards. And because we’re talking about Japanese service, you can reserve your car of choice online and even receive full driving training before taking it for a spin.

“Not only can they see a range of our cars in a spectacular static environment, they can also get behind the wheel and experience both brands’ exceptional dynamic capabilities. This is far more than just a new showroom — it’s somewhere for customers and fans to enjoy BMW and Mini in an exciting and engaging way,” said Dr Ian Robertson, BMW AG Management Board Member for Sales and Marketing BMW.

The facility comes after BMW unveiled a series of concept cars from each of its brands – Mini, BMW and Rolls-Royce – where the German automobile firm imagines the revolution of its vehicles by 2116.

Second Skin: BMW x Puma X-Cat Disc Shoes

While sportswear brands and car companies have had collaborations, none have produced something as futuristic and ambitious as the new Puma X-Cat Disc running shoe, made in partnership with BMW.

Utilising the concept of Project GINA – a BMW concept car that is crafted from a lightweight man-made fabric instead of the traditional steel or carbon fiber body – the running shoe will use the same waterproof material and replace laces with the Puma Disc system. As it turns out, this shoe is perfect for the lazier ones; tightening or loosening the shoe will be as simple as turning a disc, which works via the shoe’s elastic tendons that connect to a fastener. The result? A sports shoe that acts as your second skin, which we would imagine would be a godsend for professional athletes.

Second Skin: BMW x Puma X-Cat Disc Shoes_article

“The approach was to look at every aspect of making a shoe and to try and reimagine it. Freeing yourself of what is here now can be an enjoyable and rewarding exercise. Typically, it also speeds up change,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.

While the Project GINA car is still a concept in a museum, the good news is the Puma X-Cat Disc will actually become a reality. Its release is slated for July 1 at selected outlets globally.

Turin Motor Show: Cars of the Future

The Turin Motor Show, which also happens to be the debut spot for the Mazzanti Evantra Millecavalli, will be holding a special exhibition on the future of cars, entitled “On Board Emotions”. This free exhibition will harness the inventive minds of young students from four of Europe’s leading design schools (Italy’s IAAD; international network IED; France’s ISD Rubika; and Sweden’s UMEA) and showcase an array of futuristic automobile designs. These designs were the result of a workshop hosted by car design firm Pininfarina, in which 80 students were shadowed by the company’s current designers.

“The best way to celebrate the past is to look to the future,” said Pininfarina chairman Paolo Pininfarina. “This is the reason why Pininfarina decided, at the end of 2015, to close the celebrations for its 85th anniversary promoting a workshop aimed at aspiring designers, some of which we hope to welcoming soon in our team.”

The A-Craft

The A-Craft

The students didn’t let him down – a total of 16 designs were selected, including the  A-Craft, designed by Kaihang Huang and Salvatore Ville from IED. This strange conception is split into three parts – private, semi-public, and public. Furthermore, the seats use magnetic levitation to ensure that the roughness of the terrain does not affect the comfort of the passengers.

The Eredita Romana

The Eredita Romana

ISD Rubika students Robinson Mancaux, Yann Marez, Ewan Duchamps, Pierre-Hughes Vallin, Maxime Barthelemy and Luis Barbesier came up with another conception titled Eredita Romana. You can either ride the vehicle like a stallion or convert it into a lounge space when the car changes to autopilot modes.

The Individuale

The Individuale

IAAD’s Andrea Ortile, Gabriele Rizzi, Marco Zafferana, Francesco Palumbo, Alessio Coci and Andrea Costa came up with the Individuale. Beyond practicality, this ride caters to emotional needs as well. The car can be autonomously driven but should the driver wish to enjoy the thrill of the ride, a simple manual override will allow control on two arm-operated levers.

We’re probably still a far cry from Star Wars-esque pod-racing, but as self-driving technology and other developments starts to creep in, we may be surprised at how close the future actually is.

 

Concours d’Elegance Dedicated To Pininfarina

Between June 2 and June 5, a special Concours d’Elegance will come to the town of Alassio, Italy celebrating the models and designs of the legendary car studio Pininfarina. This show, in conjunction with the late Senator Sergio Pininfarina’s 90th birthday, is a tribute to the globally recognized brand that he built up from a small automotive design studio. This event will also see some of the rarest and most exotic cars that the brand has offered on show together.

Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Two of the unique cars on show include the 1963 Lancia Flaminia Coupé Speciale and the 1947 Bristol 400 (just three survive) – plus a whole host of models stretching from names such as Maserati, Ford, Cadillac, Nash, Fiat, Rolls-Royce, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Volvo and even Hyundai, all of whom have turned to the firm at one point for inspiration. These production cars join hands with some of Pininfarina’s greatest concepts, all on show together. This includes the Ferrari Sergio (built in Sergio Pininfarina’s honor), the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe of 2013 and the H2 Speed hydrogen fuel cell sports car that debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. In short, it is a display of the best out there.

“In the year that my father would have turned 90 years, I thought the most beautiful homage could be a gathering of the cars he has loved most in the city that, together with Torino, has always occupied a special place in his heart, Alassio,” said Paolo Pininfarina. With a jury of Pininfarina family members and international automotive experts – four prize winners will be selected out of the cars competing. These awards include best in show and the Robert M. Lee award for the show’s most elegant car.

Pininfarina H2 Speed

Pininfarina H2 Speed

And while the entrance to the event will be exclusive, the cars competing will be taking to the streets in two separate processions around Alassio through June 3 and 4, allowing all to witness the spectacle on show. The city of Alassio itself has a special “Città di Alassio Award” for the best convertible on display, which it will vote on itself.

Beijing Auto Show Blows Hot and Cold

The global car industry is going through a roller coaster ride right now, with sales peaking in many markets yet many of the biggest players find themselves embroiled in scandals. As the Beijing Auto Show opens April 24, the industry faces both more sobering news and exuberant breakthroughs. According to consulting firm McKinsey, auto sales growth is projected to grow in China by just five percent annually over the next five years. China is the world’s number one auto market so if things pan out as McKinsey say they will, there will be much pain to go around.

The bright spot though is hinted at in the image we used above. That is the new concept car from LeSee, the automotive division of Chinese tech firm LeEco, and it is packed with impressive high tech offerings, including a one-piece glass roof, from windscreen to rear window. The BBC says it makes a Tesla Model S look “downright ordinary.” Before we go back to the doom and gloom, the other bit of interesting news here is that LeEco is the major investor backing Faraday Future, the US-based start-up we reported on here.

“After years of double-digit growth, China’s auto market is slowing down. A cooling economy is one of the primary factors in the deceleration of what remains the world’s largest market for automobiles,” McKinsey said.

Domestic and international carmakers face increasingly cutthroat competition for consumers whose preferences have become “more practical”, it said.

The anti-corruption campaign under President Xi Jinping has reduced the appeal of luxury cars, it added, and “significant numbers” of consumers believe they can meet their transport needs by leasing, co-owning, or renting vehicles.

“There’s no sign of momentum,” said Michael Dunne, CEO and strategist at Dunne Automotive in Hong Kong. Competition is growing and “the China profit machine is slowing”, he said.

Competition for market share has become more intense as Chinese carmakers have improved their offerings, particularly in the surging SUV segment, where sales leaped by over 50 percent in the first quarter of 2016 as consumers opted for bigger cars on the country’s hair-raising roads.

Namrita Chow, principal China analyst at IHS automotive, said that international manufacturers can no longer “overlook the Chinese brands, saying, oh they don’t have what it takes to be a competitor. Those days are gone.”

Indeed, LeEco is a prime example of what Chinese firms are bringing to the table, or promising to at any rate. LeEco and Aston Martin announced a partnership February that will allow the British automaker to build its own fully electric ride, likely based on the Rapide saloon.

If nothing else, this illustrates that fears of a slowdown are offset to some extent by opportunities created by the rapidly changing industry, analysts said.

GM China president Matt Tsien said earlier this year that the global giant “expects the automotive industry to change more over the next five to 10 years than in the past 50 years”.

General Motors’ president Dan Ammann pointed to “the inevitable march toward autonomous vehicles” as an opportunity, saying: “We think self-driving cars have the ability to significantly make roads safer”.

More than half of over 3,500 consumers surveyed by McKinsey wanted to upgrade their cars and report co-author Paul Gao told AFP: “The growth is still solid. Five percent out of a big base still makes China a very attractive market.”

 

This story was written in-house, based on an AFP report and various news reports, including the BBC report cited. The image featured is from the AFP.

BMW Marks Centennial Milestone

In light of its 100th birthday, the German car manufacturer unveiled its Vision Next 100, a concept car that combines a sleek coupé design with an autonomous driving mode as well as a shape-shifting interior. The futuristic car will be on display in Beijing from May 5 to 15, and sports seats that can be shifted to allow passengers to face each other, a steering wheel and center console that can retract and headrests that can be shifted sideways. From Beijing, the car will embark on a world tour including destinations such as the Paris Motor Show.

Vision Concept cars will also be unveiled by the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, owned by BMW, on June 16 in London as well as the BMW Motorrad concept car in October 11 in Los Angeles. Once the world tour comes to an end, the cars will he housed in the BMW Welt plant in Munich, Germany that is home to the BMW museum. The museum, is currently holding a temporary exhibition entitled “100 Masterpieces. BMW Group — 100 years of innovative strength and entrepreneurial courage.”

Apart from BMW’s iconic vehicles such as the BMW 328, BMW 507 and the BMW Turbo on display, the exhibition will look back at the brand’s progress over the years and the many technical milestones in its history. Later in the year, the “BMW – The Next 100 Years” festival will be coming to the Munich Olympic Park (Olympiapark) and the BMW museum, September 9-11, for a weekend of entertainment and experiences in the company of celebrities, brand ambassadors, musicians and DJs.

The anniversary is also being celebrated with a collection of 13 centenary publications tracing the history of the group and its various brands (BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad) and outlining future challenges. In autumn 2016, the publications will be grouped together and released as a comprehensive limited-edition work.

4 Concept Cars Going Green and Pushing Power

Fast cars have relied on the internal combustion engine for far too long, to the detriment of both the environment and, arguably, performance. More and more, though, motoring firms are rising to the challenge of setting things right. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we saw a lot that we liked, in terms of greener concepts that addressed the issue of oil dependence without compromising on power. These are some of the new models that embrace the green side, without going soft:

Geneva-Italdesign-GTZero

Italdesign GTZero

Displayed in a gleaming yellow, this plug-in electric shooting brake has claimed a 500km range and can recharge by 80% in 30 minutes. That is less time than it takes to charge a typical smart phone. Thanks to its three electric motors, the GTZero has 483hp on tap. No 0-100km/h has been quoted yet but it is proposed with four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering.

Another timeless design is its modular construction. If you don’t fancy this body, the front and rear portions can be replaced to suit different styles of car and, crucially different types of propulsion – better batteries, a hybrid powertrain or even a fuel cell (remember those?).

Pininfarina-H2-Speed-Geneva

Pininfarina H2 Speed

The legendary Pininfarina style is self-evident here, if you have eyes in your head. Not so self-evident though is the kind of environmentally sound thinking that went into this vision of a high performance track car. Incorporating revolutionary developments in hydrogen fuel cell technology, this sporty model promises fast driving fun.

Two electric motors deliver more than 500 horses worth of power to the rear wheels, pushing from a 0-100km/h in a gut-wrenching 3.4 seconds and topping out at 300km/h. It takes 3 minutes (that’s less than you spend at the pump right now) to refuel and still performs at the same level as a traditional performance vehicle.

Techrules-Geneva-TREV

Techrules AT96 TREV

Claiming to be China’s first supercar, the TREV also has an engine fit for easing the pressure on the country’s haze-heavy atmosphere. This electric car uses a turbine engine (you know, those things that power fighter jets) for battery recharging and range extension, and produces, at peak power, 1,030bhp. Projections indicate 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds and a 350km/h top speed. The fuel consumption, though, is just 0.18L/100km.

Current plug-in hybrids or range-extending hybrids pair an electric engine with an internal combustion engine to share the driving load or to regenerate the battery. The turbine engine is a first (the Jaguar C-X75 had a similar system though), and if successful, may be adopted in other models. It is worth noting though that the turbine engine is still an internal combustion system…

nanoflowcell-quant-f-ef-geneva

nanoFlowcell Quant F EF

This car appeared last year, but this year the design has evolved and its unique powertrain technology is closer to production. It has a top speed of more than 300km/h but zero harmful emissions thanks to the nanoFlowcell drive technology.

The nanoFlowcell uses ionic fluids to generate the charge that powers an electric motor. One more step towards the dream of an electric car with all the benefits – acceleration, torque… – and none of the drawbacks.

Images courtesy of Newspress and Techrules

5 Key Automotive Concepts at CES 2016

CES 2016 may be over but the excitement it delivered will live on, especially now that it has become a car show. Ok that is a bit disingenuous but the world’s most important showcase of new technology has drawn the attention of automakers like never before. This year, we saw cars that come with their own pet drone and that respond to a wave of the hand; vehicles that provide real-time health diagnostics and that can automatically interact with everything from smart ovens, lighting systems and thermostats around the home. Truly, automakers made an indelible impression on this year’s Las Vegas technology extravaganza. Here are five important concepts, only two of which are from established car brands, that will generate buzz long after the Ehang drone has faded from view.

BMW

The BMW iVision Future Interaction Concept Car explores how drivers will keep control over the various in-car functions as vehicles become computers on wheels. The answer is panoramic touchless touch screens, responding to hand gestures instead. “This system is able to recognize 3D movements and relay them to the interface. This next step in gesture control will open up new possibilities,” said BMW’s Klaus Fröhlich. The concept is pictured above.

Bosch at CES 2016

Bosch

Bosch is trying to solve the problem from the opposite side. Its future dashboard system (above) is resplendent in touch screens but ones that manipulate the driver’s finger when touched that it feels like pressing a real knob or button. The sensation is remarkable and this sense of touching a knob makes a control easier to find, meaning there’s no need to take your eyes off the road. “We want to make people’s lives better and easier, and the key to this is connectivity,” said Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner.

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Rinspeed

Rinspeed’s Ʃtos concept had a drone for collecting supplies, videoing drives and scouting out the road head. It sounds leftfield but Ford also announced plans to integrate car and drone technology at this year’s show as a means of helping United Nations emergency response teams.

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Faraday Future

Faraday Future turned heads with its first car, the FFZERO1 – a single-seat electric racer straight out of the future. “On our platform, electric vehicles will not only deliver on sustainability, but will be seamlessly connected and exhilarating to drive,” said the company’s Nick Sampson. The car has a Bugatti-baiting 1000bhp and similar acceleration and top speed credentials. However it is just a concept. The first production car isn’t due until at least 2018.

Volkswagen

That means it will arrive at the same time as Volkswagen’s Budd-e, a battery-driven reimagining of its iconic Microbus. This is a little off our radar but given the recent issues faced by Volkswagen, positive developments should also be watched carefully. Revealed as a concept but one heading for production, the MPV can travel 500km+ on one charge and previews features, like gesture-operated doors and self-parking that are coming to the VW range shortly. “The original Microbus was the embodiment of peace, hope and happiness, an apartment on wheels. The future belongs to cars that make everyone happy,” said VW head Dr. Herbert Diess.

 

Heads Up: McLaren Concept Car Comes to CES

What do you call a car with no dashboard or mirrors? Meet the McLaren 675LT JVC Kenwood Concept, currently drawing crowds at CES in Las Vegas. The British supercar maker typically focuses tightly on squeezing horsepower out of its engines and making its dream machines stick to the road and track; finally, its cockpits and in-car technology up to speed.

However, that doesn’t mean that the McLaren 675LT JVC Kenwood Concept is packed with 4k widescreen displays and its own Netflix account. Sadly, it also comes without a drone, which other carmakers have pushed out at CES but we digress.

If anything the supercar is a high-tech filter, sifting out all of the elements of next-generation infotainment and connectivity that could potentially detract, rather than enhance, the experience of owning a car capable of going from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and tops out at an incredible 330km/h (205mph). Elsewhere at CES, the 1,000 horses of the Faraday Future concept car were heard crying as they were told the news of the McLaren Concept…

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Back to business… On first glance, the cabin of the 675LT seems even barer than that of a standard McLaren. There’s no instrument binnacle or center console. Instead the concept is the first McLaren to sport a Head Up Display (HUD) and it shows all relevant information including proximity warnings when other vehicles or obstacles are in blind spots. Basically, for those unfamiliar with HUD, the windscreen is the display console.

Gone too are the wing mirrors, in favor of cameras that offer a better view along the car’s sides and improve performance too, as they’re more aerodynamic. Their blade shape also means that when the car’s pushed to its limit they will help to generate more downforce keeping the vehicle glued to the road rather than dumped in a roadside ditch.

The rearview mirror has been discarded too thanks to an integrated rear reversing camera. And with three cameras covering every aspect of the vehicle behind the driver, the view offered is a true panorama and something just as useful when racing on the track as when trying to negotiate a carpark. Speaking of the track, this concept is equipped with the steering wheel of the P1 GTR.

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McLaren chose to work with JVC Kenwood on the concept to mark the firms’ 25th anniversary of collaborating in Formula 1, and, as well as boosting the car’s tech capabilities, the changes have also enabled the companies to get creative in terms of cabin appointments and materials.

With so many objects jettisoned, there is space for more layers of leather that run along the transmission tunnel and wrap over the top of the dashboard. The surfaces in front of the driver have been given a waxy grain finish to eliminate potential reflections, crucial when all information is being projected onto the windshield.

However, outside, with the exception of blade-shaped digital cameras in place of traditional door-mounted mirrors, the exterior remains untouched. Now, if you’ve read this far, you might wonder why these innovations are not part of regular production cars anyway. Simply put, most of this is not road-legal anywhere but the regulations will eventually catch up, we hope. The HUD, which is already included in production vehicles from the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, General Motors and many more, in particular seems like an idea whose time has come. HUD should be the standard rather than a luxury option.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.

 

Mystery Electric Car Prototype at CES

It is a day of carbon-friendly news for us as the enigmatic Faraday Future reveals its first ever prototype vehicle January 4 on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Faraday Future, which seeks to “redefine mobility,” is named after renowned experimental physicist Michael Faraday (he of the Faraday Cage fame). The company made waves with its secrecy in the lead-up to CES and finally unveiled its first prototype vehicle while continuing to offer scant details on its ownership and structure.

Going by the shape and structure of the prototype though, we are wonder if the firm is from Gotham, with funding from Bruce Wayne. Faraday future took the wraps off its Batmobile-style vehicle (just look at it), which is part of a plan to compete against the likes of Tesla and reshape the auto sector. This baby is a 1,000 bhp monster that The Verge calls both “ridiculous” and “pretty cool,” which also sounds to us like a fair description of the mythical Bruce Wayne.

“We are embarking on a complete rethink of what mobility is,” said the company’s senior vice president of research and engineering, Nick Sampson, unveiling the “FFZERO1” prototype car on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company actually calls this a “hypercar” and given that it theoretically crushes to race to 60mph in 3 seconds and tops out at 200mph, that is fair. For some context though, the McLaren P1 hypercar has fewer horses but goes quicker in every way. Of course, the P1 is also a real car so there is that.

Sampson said Faraday intends to move “very fast” on its plans and has already announced a $1 billion factory to be built near Las Vegas.

In just 18 months since its founding, Faraday has 750 employees and intends to produce its first car within two years. Faraday will move fast because it will act “more like a technology company than an automotive company,” Sampson said.

At the event, Faraday confirmed a “strategic partnership” with China-based media and tech firm Letv, but did not elaborate on its ownership or even indicate the identity of its chief executive.

The company told AFP that Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting is among its investors and popular speculation has it that the company is a Chinese venture. What is known though is that its employees include former executives from Apple, BMW, Google, NASA, Tesla and other prominent firms.

Sampson said Faraday has created a variable architecture platform to create multiple vehicles, and is using techniques such as virtual reality to speed up development. He also said Faraday was exploring “new types of ownership” for the vehicles, but did not elaborate.

Based in California, Faraday Future announced its factory plans in early December, saying it would be a “first phase” for the new company, which is yet to get a vehicle on the road.

The facility is “something more than an ordinary ‘assembly line,'” according to its announcement, and will include three million square feet (280,000 square meters) “for passionate creators and diligent visionaries, where new concepts will be refined and implemented.”

It will create 4,500 jobs in the region.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.

Porsche OKs First Green Supercar

Automaker Porsche stunned the world with the Mission E concept car at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this year and is now sending it into production. Shock and awe are sure to ensue…

Turning the showcar into a production model is going to require €1 billion (USD$1.09 billion) in investment, and the hiring of 1000 new employees. But, by keeping the promises made at the Frankfurt show and going ahead with an all-electric sportscar, “We are making a clear statement about the future of the brand. Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car,” said Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG.

As for when it will be rolling silently, under electric battery-only power into dealerships, Porsche for now is simply saying “the vehicle is to be launched at the end of the decade.”

Yet when it does, it will officially bring with it the new chapter in automotive history that so many have been waiting for. The Mission E is a four-door, four-seat sportscar that, like all Porsches, has been designed for everyday use and everyday enjoyment. And like other cars in its existing range it can go from 0-100km/h incredibly quickly – under 3.5 seconds – and offers a lot of horses (660).

But what makes it different from any other current model in the Porsche lineup is that all of this performance will come via lithium ion batteries, rather than a flat six-cylinder or V8 gasoline engine. It is a very bold step and one that will, as Porsche says, go down in automotive history if the company gets it right.

But, if it really can deliver on the company’s claims – a driving range of 500km on a single battery charge and just 15 minutes of supercharging to get the battery back up to 80% when flat – the Mission E will be mission accomplished.

“We are resolutely taking on the challenge of electric mobility. Even with solely battery-powered sports cars, Porsche is remaining true to its philosophy and offering our customers the sportiest and technologically most sophisticated model in this market segment,” said Chairman of the Porsche Executive Board, Dr. Oliver Blume.

Racing Future: McLaren MP4-X Concept

So you think you can race? Automaker McLaren has the perfect concept in mind for you. The MP4-X may only be a concept, but nevertheless it’s one that gives a clear idea of what is already on its way to becoming an automotive possibility. And in McLaren’s view in the future, simply thinking that you’re the world’s greatest racing driver might be enough to actually make you a Formula 1 winner.

That’s because while companies such as Volvo and Ford are developing technologies that can let the car take over the more mundane elements of driving, McLaren is looking at how innovation can strip away the layers between a driver’s decision and the car’s response.

So, instead of a steering wheel covered in knobs, toggles, switches and other buttons for altering everything from traction control levels to throttle response and suspension, thinking about how the car needs to be set up for the next corner or straight will be enough.

“With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept racecar, we wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible,” said John Allert, Group Brand Director, McLaren Technology Group.

So as well as an enclosed cockpit and helmet that provides a 360-degree camera feed and mind control, the car benefits from the latest in emerging aerodynamic and alternative fuel innovations.

That means that the F1 concept, which looks like it’s escaped from the set of a Tron sequel, uses electric motors. But rather than have a big battery up front or behind, McLaren has made the car’s chassis structure one big cell.

The car will also be able to harness sunlight for a solar energy boost when needed and would be able to draw electricity for recharging the system via pads if they were installed under the surface of a racing circuit.

“We have combined a number of F1’s key ingredients — speed, excitement and performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives — such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies,” said Allert.

The car is also capable of changing shape to suit demands — more downforce, greater agility or bigger fuel savings. “We looked at what technologies might be useful on a future road car — achieving lower drag for fuel-saving would be extremely useful,” said Chief Innovation Officer, Geoff McGrath.

But the company’s innovations don’t stop at the car itself. McLaren also envisages smart clothing that the driver will wear to monitor vital signs and fatigue levels and which could light up in the event of an accident to show first responders where the impact was greatest or where potential injuries are most likely to be.

Mercedes-Benz IAA 2015

The Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA is a Shapeshifting Car

Mercedes-Benz IAA 2015

 is previewing the future of automotive with its Concept IAA at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Mercedes-Benz describes its Frankfurt show car as two concepts in one. And that’s because the IAA, which stands for Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, is a shape shifter in the literal sense.

Mercedes IAA Concept

When standing still it’s a perfectly executed visual design exercise, but once it starts rolling and hits 80km/h, the car’s exterior elements realign, resulting in a shape with a drag coefficient of 0.19, which, according to the firm, is on a par with the greatest race cars ever built.

mercedes benz iaa concept interior

“Fascinating and technically sophisticated cars form the core of Mercedes-Benz. The ‘Concept IAA’ applies intelligent innovations to resolve the conflicting aims of functionality and aesthetics and shows that we still have plenty of ideas on how to achieve further improvements in efficiency,” says Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

mercedes benz iaa concept seats

The Bugatti Veyron, the world’s fastest production car, also changes shape as it accelerates to better cut through the wind and to maintain grip at the limits. However, the IAA is pushing the idea to the max. The car actually grows in length by some 390mm as its aerodynamic properties change. The front bumper even moves under the car to improve airflow.

mercedes benz iaa concept cabin

All of which allows the 279hp plug-in hybrid to achieve an all-electric range of 66km and CO2 emissions of just 28g/kg. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.

mercedes benz iaa concept top view

And it wouldn’t be a Mercedes if the interior didn’t offer something equally impressive. Despite the car’s huge size — over 5 meters — it’s designed to seat just four people in absolute comfort.

mercedes benz iaa concept side

There is a clear focus on the finest metals and glass finishes and on technology as a leisure and comfort facilitator. All controls appear and respond like the best tablet or smartphone user experiences, while car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication ensure the vehicle avoids accidents and congestion, is prepared for adverse weather conditions, and always knows what’s coming at the end of a junction.

Mercedes IAA Concept rear end

Mercedes-Benz wasn’t the only luxury automaker to show a four-door coupe concept in Frankfurt. Porsche unveiled the Mission E, its all-electric, battery-powered four-seat sports car concept.