By on March 4, 2020

While prophecies have a habit of coming true in films and books, they rarely come to pass here in reality. Sadly, this will probably be the case with Hyundai’s new concept EV — appropriately named the Prophecy.

Responding to a voicemail left by the God of Electrification, Hyundai has moved on what is arguably one of the best-looking concept designs since the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Black, minimalist and extremely retro-futuristic, both cars rely almost entirely on the long lines of the respective aerodynamic shells to make an impression, with small details providing additional, attention-grabbing flourishes.

Hyundai says the timeless design was intentional, yet it still manages to adhere to the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. Truth be told, we’ve had a difficult time finding a common theme among its latest concepts. Some are all angles (45 Concept) while others are all about smooth curves (Le Fil Rouge Concept). The only real through line seems to be that they all look rather good wherever they’re displayed. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2020

The Swiss city of Geneva will not see crowds of international visitors descend on the continent’s premier auto show next week. Instead, ticket holders will stay home, waiting for a refund, while automakers swallow their losses.

Blame lies on the country’s government, which on Friday banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more in the face of a growing viral epidemic. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2020

Volkswagen gave the 2021 Golf GTI some uninterrupted time in the spotlight by debuting it ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show. While VW kept plenty of details under wraps, the important items were on display. Pay close attention, as this may be one of the few Golf models we receive in the United States and Canada.

Around these parts, the take rate for VW’s performance hatchbacks (GTI and Golf R) is far greater than that of the economy model, and it seems the manufacturer finally took notice. The manufacturer has yet to confirm anything at this point, but all signs point to GTI becoming the base trim inside the U.S.

In Euro-spec form, that means 245 horsepower and 273 pound-feet coming out of a predictable 2.0-liter turbo. That’s a sizable bump over last year’s 228 hp and 258 lb-ft and, assuming the GTI hasn’t packed on the pounds for the 2021 model year, it should yield noticeable performance gains.  (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2020

If you’ve taken stock of the latest electric vehicles coming out of Germany, you’ll notice a clear trend: they’re not futuristic machines. While the vehicles’ powertrains are unconventional, the bodywork is strictly by-the-book — there’ll be no confusion among onlookers as to what badge belongs on that e-Tron, EQC, or Taycan.

The same can be said for the production-previewing BMW Concept i4 arriving in Geneva on March 3rd. BMW’s first electric sedan (Gran Coupe, per the automaker’s description) is designed to look like a normal higher-end BMW and go like a normal higher-end BMW. The model’s styling and output is no happy accident. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2020

Denizens of the United States, you should forget about the word “Golf” and just focus on the “GTI” designation. That’s all you’ll really need to know about, what with Volkswagen opting to ditch the slow-selling Golf in favor of the hotter (GTI) and hottest (R) variants of its compact hatch.

The final inhabitants of a rejiggered U.S. product lineup have yet to be set in stone, but the GTO variant of the upcoming eighth-generation Golf is surely on its way. Today brought our first glimpse of the model. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2019

Image: FCA

Following reports that the Fiat 500 would see the inclusion of a new all-electric powertrain in 2020, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed the model will actually become a dedicated EV — foregoing internal combustion entirely.

While the vehicle’s overall dimensions are to be retained, FCA chief marketing officer Olivier François said the small car would place additional emphasis on attainable urban luxury and electrification.

“Premium is the way we will go with the EV 500,” he told AutoExpress in a recent interview. “A new 500, totally renewed. A new object. Totally electric. It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car. It’s the polar opposite of Centoventi.”  (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2019

The Meyers Manx has returned, only it isn’t technically a Manx. Volkswagen built it, it’s an EV, and it isn’t actually going on sale anywhere because it’s a concept car. Our apologies to any aged beach bums we just pulled the rug from beneath.

A lot of dune buggies (including the Manx) were adapted from old VW Beetles, but the manufacturer never built any of its own — at least none for public consumption. While we don’t see that changing anytime soon, Volkswagen certainly could move forward with the I.D. Buggy if it thought it profitable. After all, nobody thought we’d see the return of the Microbus, and yet the company is currently readying an all-electric Buzz that draws almost all of its inspiration from that vehicle. We think the Buggy would pair nicely with it, even though it exists far outside the mainstream.  (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2019

As we get older, whole sections of our lives are mentally distilled into a handful of standout moments, accompanied by the broad strokes of shared experiences. Among them is the middle school dance, which really isn’t so much a dance as it is an opportunity for people to stand around wishing everyone would couple up and get the party started. Everyone’s hunting for a partner, but few will see that dream realized, leaving them to stand by their closest friends while they mumble “it sure would be nice to find someone to dance with” into their fifth cup of punch.

The Geneva Motor Show looked a lot like that this year. With car sales cooling, emission controls tightening, and ambitious mobility projects eating into automakers’ profit margins, many companies believe the industry is evolving. However, no one’s certain what the future holds, so they’re dabbling in everything. That’s not a sound business strategy, especially if there’s no one around to help you share the financial burden.

As a result, auto executives spent quite a bit of time in Geneva hinting that they could use a dance partner.  (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2019

Kia’s much-teased EV concept turned out to be less attractive and more serious than we initially assumed. Following an announcement suggesting the vehicle’s wild arrangement of 21 interior screens was a humorous jab at industry trends, the automaker officially debuted the car at the Geneva Motor Show. Styled at the company’s European design centre in Frankfurt, the “Imagine by Kia” concept manifested into a slightly puffy crossover serving as an exercise in design.

In the end, Imagine is guilty of some of the show car sins Kia seemed to be railing against. For starters, it uses a single sheet of glass for the windscreen and roof, features rear-hinged doors at the back, rides on bespoke Goodyear tires, and hosts the ever-popular menagerie of interior displays.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Subaru has unveiled yet another concept wearing the Viziv name. This time it’s called the “Adrenaline” and appears to foreshadow the next Crosstrek. Styling is suitably wild for a show vehicle, but enough of Subaru’s current design language remains to make us believe the model isn’t terribly far away from a production model.

However, no one can say anything definitive. Subaru provided no indication that the vehicle is anything other than an opportunity to test its new design concept — a spin-off of its earlier “Dynamic x Solid” styling theory, which the manufacturer calls the “BOLDER” design philosophy. Bolder is the word for it, too, because the vehicle features a pretty wild roof design and some of the most aggressive panel protection we’ve ever seen on a vehicle not entering a combat zone.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Image: Mitsubishi Motors

It might not be your author’s cup of tea, but Mitsubishi’s Engelberg Tourer — a crossover show vehicle whose name sounds like that of a nagged German child — is the face the resurgent brand wants to put forward.

It’s also a good hint at what we can expect from the next-generation Outlander, once Mitsu gets around to revamping its largest model. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2019

Last week, Kia teased a mystery concept bound for a Geneva Motor Show unveiling as a way to show off its consistently improving skills in automotive design. With a second batch of teaser photos cropping up on Thursday, it’s now abundantly clear the brand made no small effort to create a shining beacon of vehicular style. But it also happens to have more screens than the TSA, indicating that Kia willingly engaged in one of this year’s biggest concept car styling trends.

Truthfully, the display bandwagon probably left town in 2018 — about the time when Byton revealed a crossover at CES with a screen that literally replaced the entire dashboard, plus one mounted on the steering wheel for good measure. The company could be seen disappearing beyond the horizon, whipping its horses while other manufacturers attempted to catch up and climb aboard.

Now, Kia is holding the reins. And it’s laughing maniacally.  (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2018

Micro Mobility Systems recently strayed from producing electric scooters to build what is essentially a modern-take on the Isetta microcar called the Microlino. The Swiss firm has been bringing its enclosed quadricycle to the Geneva Motor Show since 2016, although this was the first year we’ve bothered to mention it. However, they haven’t abandoned the platform. Instead they’ve persisted, gradually approaching a point where they actually might grace public roads with the Microlino’s dainty carbon footprint.

It’s really tempting to root for little autos like this one. In addition to being adorable, they seem like the perfect solution for city dwellers who sometimes find the very idea of the traditional automobile mildly contemptible. Claims that they take up too much space or are energy inefficient can be countered with vehicles like the Microlino. Unfortunately, the odds of us ever seeing it in North America are slim. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2018

There certainly are a lot of high-horsepower options available in the midst of the automotive industry’s sea change toward “electric mobility.” Despite all claims to the contrary, North America has stuck with gas-guzzling SUVs, trucks, and performance coupes — leaving economy-focused machines to fill in the domestic market’s narrowest margins.

It’s a similar story in Germany. While BMW and Mercedes-Benz both claim to be pushing toward electrification, they continue to present us with extravagant models where efficiency is an afterthought. If you’re wondering how they could possibly enact this betrayal of trust, they kind of have to. The profit margin for EVs is slim, sometimes nonexistent, and these expensive units generate the money needed for electric R&D.

We also don’t mind seeing them in the showroom in the slightest. Case in point is the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. Like all high-end performance “coupes,” the name is utterly meaningless. The new AMG flagship is, in fact, a five-door hatchback with fastback styling. Fortunately, that’s really the only complaint we can make about it, as everything else looks about as desirable as one could imagine. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2018

BMW’s 8 Series coupe isn’t even here yet and the automaker is already toying with the idea of a sedan. Of course, in true luxury automaker fashion, it’s calling the four-door concept a Gran Coupe — proving once again that the language has evolved to a point where it is as fluid as it is meaningless.

Officially dubbed the “BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe,” the sedan offers a conceptual glimpse at a performance variant of the brand’s returning 8 Series. The plan appears to be: build something that can compete with, and perhaps trump, Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class. But if you’re going to take on the big boys, you need to come at them with everything you have. That means a base model 8 Series coupe with double-wishbone suspension, rear-wheel steering, adaptive suspension, xDrive, gobs of tech, and a strong motor.

However, you’ll also need a nasty four-door M variant with all of that and a rip-roaring engine, larger air intakes, flared fenders, and a carbon fiber rooftop.  (Read More…)

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