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 15, 2017

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

While automotive trade shows are likely to persist as a way of showing off major manufacturers’ freshest fleets, they’re losing relevance. Automakers continue to option smaller, less trade-focused events, while the big shows are giving ground to the likes of CES. The most recent example involves nine brands that have decided to forego next month’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Nissan, Infiniti, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, DS, and Volvo, have all decided not to attend the IAA for 2017. Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, claims automakers feel it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending the colossal fees associated with taking part in a major auto show when they measure that investment against the perceived effect on sales.

“I would question what the translation rate is between attendance on public days to transactions,” he said. “I bet most customers now are happier to do research online.” (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2015

BMW Z4

Like a bad reality show, the figurative clock is ticking for the Toyota/BMW courtship that may or may not be spawning a sports car.

Reuters reported (via Automotive News Europe) that Toyota spokesman said the companies would make a decision on whether to pursue the joint project further.

“By the end of the year we will approve whether or not we will make it,” a Toyota spokesman told Reuters. “The whole study before that, on what kind of platform, on what kind of architecture, that’s been progressing quite well. We haven’t yet decided to give the green light to the project, but it’s coming up.”

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

Mercedes-Benz "Concept IAA"

While it may or may not be the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-class (note: probably not), the automaker took the wraps off a transforming concept car that grows in length significantly at highway speeds to better cut through air.

The Mercedes-Benz IAA concept (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) was shown off Tuesday in Frankfurt and, according to the automaker, can grow by 390 millimeters to achieve a drag coefficient world record of 0.19. (The current generation Prius is around 0.25, for reference.)

The whole thing is powered by a hybrid powertrain that’ll never see the light of day and sports an interior array of electronics that’s probably something out of “Minority Report.” It’s the moveable aerodynamic elements on the IAA that could see production, and there are a lot of them.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

20150915_01_02_s

Toyota’s compact crossover C-HR will be making another auto show appearance before its production version is unveiled next year at the Geneva Auto Show, and its quite possible that the model could make or break Scion’s future in the U.S.

Toyota hasn’t released many details about the C-HR, other than to say that it’ll be built on the same, global TGNA structure that the next-generation Prius is built on and would have a similar hybrid powertrain.

The small crossover would fit entirely within Scion’s wheelhouse of younger buyers who apparently can’t get enough of crossovers, and would help make relevant a brand that is, um, struggling with sales. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

Porsche Mission E

Porsche announced its all-electric four-door concept sedan at the Frankfurt Auto Show, complete with 15-minute charging (to 80 percent) and 310-mile overall range. There’s also some holographic and emoticon blather, but we’ll get to that later.

According to Porsche, the Mission E will use two electric motors with a combined output of 600 horsepower to power the car up to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The car’s 800-volt charger would be a first for electric cars, and would help the car charge up to 80 percent in 15 minutes. According to Tesla, the Model S takes about 30 minutes to charge up to 80 percent for similar range.

Porsche didn’t say when (or even if) the car would make it into production, but it’s likely that something very much like it will be heading our way soon. Maybe this will be a new Panamera?

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

91497688255f6c7f1bb39d

Volkswagen has just revealed the second-generation Tiguan before the Frankfurt Auto Show opens to the press on September 15.

The new Tiguan will ride on Volkswagen’s MQB front-wheel drive platform and grow in almost every measurable dimension.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2015

Nissan released Friday a video and a name to accompany the teaser image we were given last week and brace yourselves, it has the letter “z” in it.

The Nissan Gripz Concept will be shown in Frankfurt first this year. According to Nissan, the crossover “concept” follows desert racers such as the 240Z and road-racing bicycles, apparently.

Nissan cleverly slipped in a “z” in the name, perhaps as a smokescreen that the Gripz could be the next-generation Juke (which is due in 2017), or perhaps as a signal that nothing in this world is sacred anymore. Earlier this year, Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura said that the next-generation Z car could be something that appealed to different, younger buyers aka a crossover.  (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2015

golf_gti_clubsport_5282

Volkswagen’s 40th anniversary model of its Golf GTI will be shown this year in Frankfu — and they’re probably already all gone.

The GTI Clubsport carries the same 2-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the current GTI, but increases its output to 261 horsepower (290 horsepower when overboosted). Power is shifted through a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic.

In addition to being a turbocharged manual hatchback, the GTI Clubsport hits the fanboy superfecta: It won’t go on sale in the U.S.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2015

Rolls Royce Dawn

Rolls-Royce took the cover off its new Dawn convertible (see what we did there?) Tuesday in an online reveal ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

The car, which is powered by a 6.6-liter V-12 that produces 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque married to a ZF 8-speed transmission, is Rolls-Royce’s answer to what we’ve all been asking: How can I be even more noticeable in my Roller?

Here’s your answer: A 22-second folding “silent ballet” droptop with open-pore wood tonneau, hand-stitched leather everywhere, 16 speakers and self-closing doors.

(Read More…)

By on September 7, 2015

Nissan Gripz

Nissan on Monday released a teaser of a new crossover concept car that will be unveiled this month at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

The crossover, which Autocar suggested could be the next Z, could also be its next-generation Juke, which should be updated by 2017.

According to the automaker, the concept could be a “new way to feel driving excitement” (Nissan left it open to the reader) because some of us get hot and bothered when we see a crossover.

(Read More…)

By on September 1, 2015

Peugeot-Fractal-Concept-19

Peugeot’s geometrically marvelous and electrically powered Fractal concept car will make its way to Frankfurt this year.

The 201-horsepower coupe is powered by two electric motors for each axle and has a 280-mile range, according to the automaker. Probably a wholly separate electric sub-station exists for its “9.1.2” surround sound system that sports woofers in the seats to acoustically relay information about what’s ahead like we’re all bats or something.

A heads up driver information system relays information via hologram, according to the automaker, and the rest is just the best.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2015

honda-s660-26-1

Honda won’t import its tiny S660 convertible to the United States because we are a nation of giant people who drive giant cars, Automotive News is reporting.

John Mendel, executive vice president for Honda, said three weeks ago that the S660 could bring some “spice” to the American Honda lineup, but apparently he looked at a nearby parking lot and changed his mind.

“When the practicalities of the market come in, and the car only so big, that might not be the best car for the U.S. market,” Mendel told Automotive News. “It might be better for India or China or somewhere else.” (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2015

2017 Kia Sportage

Kia released pictures Thursday of its 2017 Sportage ahead of the car’s public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month.

The all-new Sportage sports a new face with dramatically redesigned headlight and fog light clusters and a swept windshield. The headlights don’t connect to the grille anymore, but rather sweep further back above the front wheel arches. (The new Sportage’s grille also borrows heavily from the last-generation Optima, in my opinion.)

According to Kia, the new Sportage will have longer front overhangs, shorter rear overhangs and longer wheelbase than the current model.

(Read More…)

By on August 25, 2015

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Nissan’s next Z could be a crossover because the world needs another crossover, Autocar is reporting.

The next-generation Z may appear in Frankfurt as a concept to gauge the new direction for the model, according to the report. The car could be a two- or four-door crossover, powered by a gasoline or hybrid powerplant — or it could be a sub-orbital military base with the power to destroy planets. (We just don’t know!)

A crossover Z could be a logical step for the company to appeal to more buyers, or it could cannibalize sales from the Juke. At least we know the next-generation Z won’t be the IDx.

(Read More…)

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