By on October 17, 2017

Image: 1977 AMC AM Van ConceptEarly this year, the Rare Rides series began with this Ghia concept from 1979. A lovely red coupe, it was based on humble Mustang underpinnings. Today we return to the concept car bin with this AMC. Much like the Ghia, AMC’s AM Van is a very 1970s concept based on an existing car platform that never moved past the concept stage.

Let’s check out this pearlescent red box.

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Mazda 3 Next Generation PRoduct Concept - Image: MazdaThe 2019 Mazda 3 will be previewed by a concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on October 24th. Realistic enough to represent an accurate vision of what the fourth-generation Mazda 3 will look like, but not so faithful to a production model that’s entirely realistic, the concept will potentially be more noteworthy due to the Skyactiv-X engine under the hood.

Skyactiv-X, long rumored, was announced more formally in August. A supercharged four-cylinder with sparkless compression ignition should result in substantially more torque and reductions in fuel consumption of more than 20 percent. That could make the next Mazda 3 a 43-mpg car on the EPA combined scale.

As far as the design, Mazda isn’t promising a revolution with the aptly titled Next-Generation Product Concept. In fact, what little Mazda is saying on the subject is tied largely to the high-tech powertrain. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

Toyota Tj Cruiser concept

Okay, maybe not the specific vehicle itself, but the key feature that sets it apart from every other crossover/SUV on the road or in conceptual blueprints.

Seen here is the just-revealed Toyota Tj Cruiser, a commodious concept car heading to the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. “Tj,” Toyota tells us, is a combination of “toolbox,” which this versatile box-on-wheels can certainly be, and “joy,” which you’ll certainly be feeling when behind the wheel. Take the company’s word for it — there’s joy here.

Whether you find it ungainly or endearing, the Tj Cruiser seems to be an answer to a question few are asking. However, TTAC was one of those askers. (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

Mitsubishi gets a lot of mileage out of its defunct nameplates, but it remains steadfast in its unwillingness to provide enthusiasts with the car they’ve been asking for.

You remember the Lancer Evolution. It’s the car you saw Tommi Mäkinen use to win four consecutive WRC driver’s titles in the late 1990s. It’s the car you clocked the most hours in with your favorite automotive-themed video game. Maybe it was even a car you owned and used to embarrass vehicles well outside of its price range.

That rally-ready sedan is dead now. However, Mitsubishi is taking the Evolution name and adhering it to a fantastical new prototype. Called the e-Evolution, the automaker is serving up a recipe similar to the Eclipse Cross: Borrow a name from a retired model and slap it on an ultra-modern crossover. The difference here is that the new Eclipse is a real automobile while the e-Evolution is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies.  (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept

BMW showcased the i Vision Dynamics concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week — making it the third model for its i low-emissions electro-centric sub-brand. As a potential rival for Tesla’s Model 3, the i Vision Dynamics has all the hallmarks of an evolutionary automobile: an electric powerplant, absent grille, and the most boring name imaginable.

With windows tinted so black that you couldn’t tell if the sun was behind the wheel, the concept car is probably little more than a shell. We’ll take it at face value, noting that it exists as the physical representation of BMW’s promise to modernize as much as it does as a prototypical production model. However the automaker did say it will go on sale in 2021 — which is more than a little surprising.

(Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

Volkswagen I.D. crozz concept

Volkswagen debuted a more realistic version of its I.D. Crozz concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. While still a fantasy model, the physical representation that appeared at the trade event (and VW’s latest round of stylized images) hint at what the production vehicle will actually look like.

While it doesn’t have the conservative and understatedly handsome appearance of a typical VW, the Crozz is more or less on par with the styling of its I.D. sub-brand. It’s also is rumored to be the first of the I.D. vehicles offered for sale in the North American market. Anyone hoping for a pod-like electrified Tiguan ought to be chuffed by the prospect as they prepare their checkbooks.  (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

Honda Urban EV Concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show - Image: Honda UK“This is not some vision of the distant future,” Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo says of the Honda Urban EV Concept that debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “A production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”

Be a skeptic if you like. Honda’s recent history is full of pie-in-the-sky small car concepts that never came to production fruition: Remix, Step Bus, IMAS, Puyo, P-Nut, Gear. But there are also Honda concepts that ended up in the real world. The Model X Concept became the Element, the CR-Z Concept became the CR-Z, the SUT Concept arrived as the Ridgeline.

Honda has every intention to introduce the delightfully retro-modern Urban EV, albeit most assuredly without suicide doors, gigantic wheels, a front bench, or the unusually minimalistic interior. Yet if Honda can maintain the silhouette, a blend of early Civic and Mk1 Golf GTI, we’ll begin to wonder whether Honda’s lost decade – in which mistakes were made and costs were cut — is about to produce evidence of a reinvigorated Honda. (Read More…)

By on September 8, 2017

p90274805_highres

BMW spent a good portion of this week ensuring the public that it is an aggressively forward-thinking brand with a clear plan for mobility and electrification. However, it took things a step further by letting the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show patrons know it’s offering “a whole new take on luxury” with its X7 iPerformance Concept.

Clearly assembled in a manner designed to embrace futurism and highlight its proposed electrified drivetrain, the X7 is unnecessarily odd-looking. The sculpted body could be handsome, had some designer decided not to accent it with gregarious chrome trim inlayed at right angles. Likewise, the brand’s signature kidney grille seems to have gone off the rails completely. BMW admits the styling aspect “hogs the attention” and urges us to “look at it again” so that we might truly understand the vibrancy and class it exudes.

You’re welcome to humor them, but we found even a fifth look didn’t remedy the situation. The grille remains an oversized eyesore, begging to be toned down. Thankfully, there’s more going on here than an overcooked exterior. The X7 Concept introduces an important third row to BMW’s sport-utility lineup, as well as a plug-in hybridized powerplant with twin turbochargers.

(Read More…)

By on August 30, 2017

mini electric concept

In 2009, BMW avoided jumping the gun when it introduced an electric conversion of its Mini Cooper as a test platform instead of a production vehicle. Dubbed the “Mini E,” and limited to two seats due to its massive battery pack, the prototype served as a short-term consumer testbed for field trials and was deployed in several countries, including the United States.

However, as other automakers brought production EVs into the world, Mini held off — perhaps waiting for an more advantageous moment to enter the segment.

That moment appears to have arrived. The brand decided Wednesday to tease us with photos of its new “Mini Electric Concept,” which it says will enter into production in 2019. Its shares its powertrain with the BMW i3, so expect a driving range of at least 110 e-miles (or 180 with an optional gasoline range extender) and an electric motor producing a minimum of 160 horsepower. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2017

2017 BMW Z4 Roadster Concept - Image: BimmerfileThis is not the next BMW Z4.

But it’s very likely an accurate portrayal of what the production version of BMW’s third-generation Z4 (and successor to the Z3) will look like when it goes on sale next year.

Love it or hate it, the BMW Roadster Concept that BMW will officially unveil in Pebble Beach later today is an eye-catching followup to the departing Z4 that appeared eight years ago. Now we wait to see whether the next Z4, which shares its underpinnings with the reborn Toyota Supra, will attract any buyers.

U.S. sales of the Z4 plunged by more than 90 percent between 2003 and 2015.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

bmw z4 concept, Image: BMW

BMW just dropped a photo of the upcoming Z4 Concept. Expected to be unveiled at Pebble Beach this Thursday, someone with access to the company’s social media account apparently couldn’t wait that long. While the photo they’ve chosen obscures a good bit of the vehicle, there’s enough to accurately identify it as BMW’s upcoming roadster.

Codenamed G29, the next-generation Z4 will be built on a sports-car chassis co-designed with Toyota. Mechanically, it is a sister to the returning Toyota Supra, leaving everyone interested even more ravenous for detailed specs. However, as this is a concept, it’s unlikely BMW is going to give anyone a full rundown during Monterey’s Car Week. We’re hoping the company lets something slip.  (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

 

BMW Concept 8 Series

If your 7 Series has friends and club patrons pretending not to know you, BMW has the answer: its upcoming, resurrected 8 Series. Once again, BMW has decided to carve out some space at the top of its model range, this time to rebuff efforts by Mercedes-Benz to lure buyers in the six-figure luxury market.

It’s big, it’s long, it’s expensive, and it’s…a concept. While buyers can expect some deviations between the BMW Concept 8 Series premiering at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the final production model, this vehicle seems pretty fleshed out. Also, unlike such styling efforts as the Buick Avista, this vehicle will actually see production. (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2017

[Image: Audi AG]

If the future is electric, it’s also crossover heavy. Volkswagen and Audi plan to dominate two tiers of that fledgling segment by the turn of the next decade with the production version of two crossover EVs revealed today.

The selection of the Auto Shanghai 2017 show for the unveiling wasn’t a fluke of timing. Both automakers plan to field a slew of electric models in China, while saving certain high-profile products for North American and European markets.

Bet on these two models eventually making the cut. (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2017

A Class Concept Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its updated design language via its new Concept A Sedan. While many of its production cars have gradually adopted the new “no folds” philosophy, the Concept A Sedan and earlier AMG GT Concept are the premiere examples of the styling theory.

The flowing bodywork and absence of hard edges is likely a precursor to what Benz will roll out in the coming years, especially after the A Sedan arrived at the Shanghai Motor Show looking like the GT Concept’s baby brother.

Mercedes is definitely sticking to this aesthetic and, when it begins production on its next generation of small cars using the MFA2 architecture, expect gobs of similarities between those vehicles and these concepts. While 2.76 inches shorter and 1.18 inches lower than the present-day CLA, it’s the easiest car to parallel the A Sedan with. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the CLA reemerging with the concept’s more rounded shape and smaller headlamps.  (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

gv80-concept-exterior-city

Genesis Motors doesn’t exactly have the most diverse lineup in the industry. Hyundai may have only cut it loose as a standalone brand a couple of years ago, but its current showroom offerings amount to a full-sized luxury sedan and its little (midsized) brother. Genesis is working on fleshing itself out, though. The brand has plans to bring six new models to market before 2021 — including two all-important sport utility vehicles.

Providing us with a “subtle glimpses into the bold future,” Genesis has brought its GV80 Concept SUV to the New York International Auto Show. But if this is supposed to be a taste of what’s to come from Hyundai Motor Group’s premium luxury brand, there is reason to worry about its future. It isn’t because the concept is a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric — although a case could be made — but because the path its styling has taken is more than a little perplexing.  (Read More…)

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