Category Archives: Concept Car

Kia Teases Production GT Concept Car [Video]

With the clock ticking ever closer to its official debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Kia has launched a new micro site to promote the debut of its all new sport sedan which is based on the GT Concept car.

According to the site, the car is scheduled to make its formal debut on January 8th which is one day before the kickoff of the North American International Auto Show. Kia also provided a brief teaser video which debuted in conjunction with the site.

In the video we see a car being pushed through its paces at the famed Nurburgring Racetrack in Germany. While no lap time was released (a change of pace,) the brief clip does show that the car is built for performance with the speedometer going past 150 mph at one point.

The vehicle in the video is most likely the production car, and will share styling cues with the GT concept as well as a mystery car that was unfortunatley leaked to the internet a few days ago. A key element of the new sport sedan is its sloping roofline which will give the four door a coupe like profile, and allow it to capitalize on the recent success of other four door coupes.

The formal name of the car is also a mystery at this point. In Korea the sedan will most likely be called the K8 which is reflective of the alphanumeric naming scheme Kia has in its home market. As for the U.S. the sleek four door could adopt the Stinger nameplate which first made its apperance on the GT4 Stinger concept car a few years back.

Regardless of which moniker it will ultimately assume, the new sport sedan will share its platform with the upcoming Genesis G70 which is expected to arrive with standard rear wheel drive. All wheel drive could make its way to the slick Kia later in its production cycle, which should please potential buyers out in the snowbelt.

Performance will most likely come from a suite of V6 engines including the 3.3 liter turbocharged V6 used in the Genesis lineup. A turbocharged four cylinder could also make an apperance in the base model, but we’ll have to wait until it is formally unveiled to know if it is indeed the case.

Kia is already promoting its next teaser video so stay tuned for more information as it becomes avalible. In the mean time you can check out the forementioned video below.

 

Maserati Confirms Alfieri EV For Production

Confirming a recent string of rumors, Maserati has revealed that the elegant and visually stunning Alfieri concept will spawn the Italian luxury car maker’s first ever production EV.

First making its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Alfieri appeared as a sleek and stylish coupe, but the production version will also be joined by a convertible to appease sun soaking buyers looking for a good weekend cruiser. Look for the production version to largely retain the concept’s lines albeit with tweaks for safety and feasibility.

As for performance, Peter Denton the manager for Maserati’s northern Europe operations revealed in a statement to British website Just-Auto that the Alfieri will initially launch with a gasoline powered engine (most likely a V8) to help it establish a firm foothold in the marketplace. The electric model will be added to the lineup a year later, and will be sold alongside it.

“Alfieri will be bigger than Boxster and Cayman. It is being designed as a competitor to the 911 but it will be a larger car. More the size of the Jaguar F-Type, stated the executive.”

This is contrary to select reports that suggested the Alfieri would be smaller, and not only be primarily focused on the 718 Cayman, but also take aim at the upcoming Renault Alpine and the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Look for the Maserati Alfieri to go on sale in 2019 or 2020 and feature a pricing ladder that is very similar to the Jaguar F-Type’s. That model has a price tag of just over $61,000 when ordered with a V6, a manual transmission, and rear wheel drive. The electric version will be much more expensive in comparison, but its ability to serve as a halo vehicle will be beneficial to helping increase sales of its other models especially the Ghibli and the Levante SUV.

Buick Teases Velite PHEV Concept Ahead Of Chinese Debut

General Motors has released the first teaser image of the Velite PHEV concept car which will make its debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show, and signal what is expected out of Buick’s upcoming Buick Blue sub-brand.

GM for its part has remained quiet on specific details of the concept, but did reveal that the Velite’s PHEV system will consist of a direct injection gasoline engine that is paired with the company’s latest “modular intelligent electric drive system, as well as a modular lithium-ion battery pack.

The exterior styling of the concept also largely remains shrouded in mystery  but the front end does promise to showcase a bold face that is highlighted by slick headlights that merge at the Buick tri-shield which is also illuminated. The hood also has a relatively elegant design, and appears to thankfully be free of the tacky portholes that have come to define Buick’s offerings (for better or for worse.)

“Additional products featuring HEV, PHEV, and extended range electric vehicle powertrains are on the way from Buick to provide diverse intelligent solutions for green mobility” the announcement went on to reveal hinting that GM has a big green push in store for Buick that would not only be prevalent in China, but also trickle down into the U.S. market where the brand’s lack of green offerings is a noticeable weakness when compared to rivals such as Lexus and Hyundai

It is currently unknown if the powertrain and chassis architectures will lean towards the Cadillac CT6 PHEV or if they will share their heritage with the Chevrolet Volt. However, GM has released statements in the past which state that the company sees the Volt as a range extended EV versus an outright PHEV which could give the CT6 theory an edge in overall feasibility.

Look for additional details to be revealed closer to the car’s formal unveiling on November 18th, with more images possibly appearing before the big unveiling in China.

Fisker Previews EMotion Electric Car

Henrik Fisker always seems to find a way to stay busy in the automotive world. From being the man responsible for the current generation Aston Martin Vantage as well as the recently axed DB9, to crafting the outright bonkers Force 1 supercar. Fisker’s mark on the industry is undisputed, and it appears that his legacy will continue with his latest creation the EMotion electric car.

Unlike the Force 1 which was based on the Dodge Viper and sparked a legal spat with Aston Martin, the EMotion is an all new effort with the car boasting a wedge shaped design that is decidely less dainty than the Fisker Karma.

The EMotion also embraces the recent shift towards four door coupes though admittably some of the design elements here may appear EMotionto have a subtle relationship with Fisker’s old creation which is now being offered by Chinese firm Wanxiang under the Revero nameplate.

“Combining redefined proportions with game-changing battery technology, the car will boast the world’s longest electric range of any production vehicle on the road,” the company revealed in an accompanying statement. “For the first time in automotive history, Fisker’s electric vehicle adaptive construction transforms the use of lightweight materials without compromising elegance to create a superior driving experience.”

The EMotion will also allegedly have more rear head and leg room than comporable segment rivals with the rest of the cabin “cocooning” occupants in premium materials as well as superior ergonomic design.

Like Tesla, Fisker is aiming to create EV offerings that set new benchmarks for range and cost in every segment. Fisker’s strategy also mirrors Tesla’s and will initally be defined by premium models before trickling down market to appeal to more buyers.

Curiously, Fisker is taking an unconventional approach when it comes to battery technology with the firm ditching existing suppliers in favor of an all new seperate battery division dubbed Fisker Nanotech. The division is said to be pursuing a mysterious breakthrough battery technology that will be heralded by the EMotion. If all goes to plan, the car could theoretically deliver a driving range of 400 miles which would smash the rather low range boasted by many of its rivals.

It will be intersting to see if Fisker can use this second chance effort to finally build a sucessful EV offering. Its last attempt the forementioned Karma had early inital promise, but the company was forced to stop building it in 2012 after a series of issues with its old supplier A123 caused the battery maker to go bankrupt which in turn nearly crippled Fisker.

The EMotion then, can be seen as the company’s all in bet on the green car industry, and it will be interesting to see if the EMotion and its breakthrough battery technology can truly stand out against traditional lithium-ion batteries without falling into the same traps that doomed previous breakthrough efforts.

Mercedes Benz Previews X-Class Pickup

Following years of rampant speculation and rumors regarding the notion of a three pointed star pickup truck. Mercedes Benz has lifted the veil off of the Concept X-Class which is allegedly a ‘concrete outlook’ on a production version of the firm’s first ever pickup truck.

 

 

The two trucks on hand at the unveiling show off the two distinct styling motifs that will define the new model. The off road oriented “adventurer” X-Class features a sporty yellow-green paint job and features a lifted suspension, knobby off road tires, and protective cladding on key points of the truck. The adventurer even comes equipped with a winch, though we will wait until it can be used in the real world before issuing a final verdict on its full capabilities.

The ‘explorer’ model on the other hand arrives as the decidedly more on road oriented variant and shares much of its cues with existing Mercedes Benz offerings. Benz designers went for more posh with this truck and equipped it with 22-inch chrome wheels as well as a snazzy white metallic paint job. The end result is an X-Class that is decidedly more upscale, and should please buyers looking for utility that can still have a styling statement.

 

 

The interior of both trucks also showcase the flexibility that exists in the X-Class. The ‘explorer’s’ interior focuses on luxury and features warm colors as well as healthy amounts of wood trim that helps add new dashes of elegance to the functional cabin. Annoyingly the screen for the infotainment system is still not formally integrated into the dashboard like other luxury offerings, but look for it to still deliver sharp clarity and quick inputs regardless.

Meanwhile the ‘adventurer’ goes for all out brawn, and carries over the exterior’s green hue and incorporates more supportive seating. The center stack shares much of the ‘explorer’s’ layout but Mercedes designers gave it more aluminium accents and even equipped it with a portable fire extinguisher or extra safety.

The platform for the X-Class is borrowed from the Nissan NP300 Navara pickup truck, and makes it a traditional body on frame rig. The Navara also is shared with Renault where it is known as the Renault Alaskan. Look for the production version of the X-Class to tone down the wild styling elements somewhat especially the radical tail light design on the tailgate. As expected from a Mercedes Benz offering, look for some unique elements to remain intact though the bespoke truck will unlikely stray too far from its Navara roots.

 

 

Mercedes stopped short of revealing a full suite of engines for the pickup but did confirm that the range topping variant will be powered by a V6 diesel engine. The model will also feature the company’s familiar 4-MATIC all-wheel drive system which should prove to be a valuable asset on the off-road minded ‘adventurer’ while giving the ‘explorer’ the confidence it needs to tackle snowy weather conditions. It is unknown what other engines will see duty in the X-Class but with the Navara offering a four cylinder exclusive lineup, look for Benz to use its own engines including a petrol burning V6 as well as its own four cylinders.

“Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise,” promised Mercedes-Benz Vans CEO Volker Morhinweg. “Ladder type frame, high torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us.”

The X-Class is expected to launch later next year and will focus on buyers in Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Europe. However the company neither confirmed or denied the prospect of bringing the truck to the U.S. market, and personally we think that it should not make the trip across the pond. This is mainly due to the near absolute domination of the segment that is enjoyed by the domestic Big Three as well as the costs of importing and marketing the truck to U.S. buyers which would most likely outweigh any form of profit made from the relatively niche level of sales that the X-Class would experience in this country.

Volkswagen Unveils I.D. EV Concept

With Volkswagen still navigating the stormy waters that it’s ongoing emissions scandal has unleashed on its long term future, the beleaguered German car company has unveiled a glimpse into what could be a new chapter in its history, with the I.D. concept car.

The exterior styling of the I.D. is largely a design study, but it is roughly the size of the current generation Golf hatchback and as a I.D. rear stylingresult shares that model’s basic profile and shape. However its aerodynamically sculpted styling helps enhance its aerodynamic profile, while small cameras replace the side mirrors presumably in an attempt to reduce drag.

Along with these green oriented touches, the I.D. also boasts plenty of showcar touches including enormous wheels, equally sizable windows, as well as narrow LED lighting elements.

Volkswagen has released little information about what’s lurking underneath the I.D.s hood but seperate reports suggest that the I.D. can I.D. side profileachieve up to 375 miles on a single charge. Look for more information to be revealed later this week when the I.D. makes its official debut in Paris.

While the I.D.’s chances at production in its current state are slim, technology from this concept could eventually trickled down to future Volkswagen models. In particular the lessons learned from the I.D. could be beneficial to Volkswagen’s goal of greatly expanding its EV and hybrid vehicle lineup.

Mercedes Teases Future With Vision Van Concept

In a move to show its commitment to the future, Mercedes Benz has launched its adVANce initiative and has unveiled the first  fruit of this program the futuristic Vision Van concept.

Designed to be mainly a design study, the Vision Van incorporates a number of futuristic styling cues that allow the van to stand out from the crowd. This includes the front grille

Vision Van rear

which features a built in lighting display that can be converted into a number of images including the lighting bolt and world map imagery featured in some of the firm’s press images.

The interior of the Vision Van is a simple yet clean design, and since it is supposed to reflect a fully autonomus era, the van is noted for its Vision Van cargo systemlack of a formal steering wheel and pedal assembly. The rear of the Vision Van however, will truly amaze observers thanks to the robotically operated “one shot” loading system that is designed to minimize the time lost due to loading or unloading cargo.

The roof mounted drone launcher (obviously a nod towards Amazon’s recent efforts) can launch several vehicles at once, and each drone is loaded or unloaded via a port in the Vision Van drone launcherroof. This novel feature could help extend the range of drone based delivery services, and Mercedes is quick to point out that the Vision Van is the first van to be equipped with such a feature.

Performance for the Vision Van comes from an all electric drivetrain that features a 75 kWh  (101 horsepower) electric motor and an equally potent battery that allows the concept to achieve a driving range between 50 and 168 miles depending on the application that it is being used for.

While the Vision Van will most likely be limited to a one-off piece with no plans for production, it does offer a glimpse into the evolution of urban and suburban delivery service, and the additional levels of efficency and capability created by some of its automated technologies.

Cadillac Unveils Escala Concept

Cadillac is currently in the middle of a sweeping initiative to not only improve its lagging sales figures, but also the brand’s reputation when compared to more established luxury automakers. On that end, Cadillac has unveiled an all new concept vehicle that previews a new flagship offering that will eventually be positioned above the CT6 sedan.

Dubbed the Escala this particular concept is supposed to showcase the next evolution of Cadillac design which will greatly reduce the sharp edges that have come to define current Cadillac models while also retaining the angular theme that has served as a compelling Escalacanvas for Cadillac designers. While we are still chewing on its odd name, the Escala does stand out thanks to a number of new styling elements including vertical lighting that is now complimented with horizontal units, thinner headlights, and new DRL’s that allegedly help the Escala have a “sinister” look which could help add some much needed spice to the lineup.

The Escala’s platform is based on the same platform that also underpins the CT6 but Cadillac engineers have lengthened the platform by five inches while the overall width has also been increased by six inches.In addition, the Escala also features a hatchback-esque profile which is reminiscent of the Audi A7.

“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives. First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language and also technical aspects in development of future Cadillac models,” revealed Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen. “Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

The interior of the Escala also serves as a vivid visual showcase of the future that is in store  for future Cadillac models. Cadillac designers focused on putting technology at the Escala Interiorforefront with three curved OLED screens that are layered in front of the driver. For owners who prefer to spend the majority of their time in the rear seats, Cadillac designers also focused on making the back seat a luxurious place to spend time in with a renewed focus on making the back seat area more relaxing which in turn allows passengers to have greater appreciation for the increased levels of craftsmanship and refinement.

Performance for the concept comes from an all new 4.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine and while it is still initially in the prototype stage, the engine will eventually find its way into future Cadillac models where it could be a key engine for select models, and give Cadillac a fighting chance against models in the performance flagship class.

While Cadillac stopped short of formally revealing whether the Escala has a concrete road map to eventual production, de Nysschen did reveal that there is at least some talk of the idea within the inner confines of Cadillac claiming “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing market plan.

 

Mercedes=Maybach Concept 6

Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6 Blends EV Power And Slick Styling

Following on the heels of a meticulous campaign of online teaser images, Mercedes has unveiled the Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6 ahead of its debut at Pebble Beach.

Said to be inspired by the aero coupe body style that was popularized in the 1900’s, the 18.5 foot long coupe is larger than life, and puts a heavy emphasis on style and flair. This is apparent with its long flowing hood, low roofline, andMercedes Maybach Concept 6 “boat tail” style rear end. The front grille of the concept was inspired by a pin-stripe suit, and designers even incorporated a split rear window. The concept rounds things out with 24-inch wheels borrowed from the Concept IAA.

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach 6 was designed around the idea of a 360-degree lounge and as a result features flowing lines which draws the eyes to the futuristic center console that fuses with the twin bucket seats. The Mercedes-Maybach Concept 6control layout is also sci-fi themed and features a wrap around glass panel that delivers readouts for maps and seat settings. The windshield gets in on the act as well, and is designed to provide readings that augment with the outside world. It can deliver route guidance and vehicle speed with selections being controlled by gestures versus formal buttons.

The car even features trick “body sensors” that can monitor occupants and adjust climate and massage functions on the fly. As a bonus, it can even discern clothing color and can adjust the interior lighting to match a particular outfit. With all of this technology on hand, it’s comforting to know that the concept still features traditional Mercedes touches like supple leather and open pore wood accents.

Performance for the Mercedes-Maybach 6 comes from four electric motors that are placed at each wheel. They also help enhance the all-wheel drive system , and produce a combined 738 horsepower which is enough to allow the big coupe to rocket to 60 mph in less than four seconds with a final top Mercedes Maybach Concept 6speed of 155 mph. A battery placed low in the concept’s chassis provides juice and allows the concept to boast a 200 mile driving range with an additional 62 miles being added via a quick charge system. The Mercedes-Maybach 6 can be charged either through a traditional cord, or an electric force field.

Mercedes doesn’t have plans to put the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Concept into formal production as it sits now. However, some of its styling cues as well as select elements of its technology suite could make its way into upcoming Mercedes products.

Mercedes Teases Maybach Coupe, Could Be Unveiled In Paris

Ever since Mercedes Benz dusted off the Maybach nameplate a few years ago, the German car company has not done a whole lot with the vaunted nameplate. In fact the only recent use was slapping the badge on the range topping S600 and adding more luxury to its resume. All of this will be changing soon however thanks to a shadowy teaser image that Mercedes released on all of its social media channels.

Immediately recognizable as a Maybach thanks to its C-pillar mounted badging, this massive coupe could be a modern interpretation of the Exelero which dazzled the world in the early 2000’s, and transformed into a one-off production model that brought 700 horsepower into a highly comfort oriented package. Everything about this concept is massive from the long hood, to the aggressively toned windshield rake as well as the aerodynamically honed tail suggests that this coupe could surpass 200 mph with little effort.

It is currently unknown what Mercedes will ultimately call this ultra luxurious two door, but as mentioned earlier, it will be a big coupe with Mercedes claiming in a caption that the concept  is exactly six meters long (19.6 feet) which makes it a full three feet longer than a comparable S-Class coupe, and a whopping four feet longer than the Bentley Continental GT.  This is an impressive figure, and I am eager to see how a vehicle of these proportions looks in person especially in regards to stylistic execution.

Mercedes chose not to reveal any further details about the sleek coupe in its release, but look for more information to trickle out before the formal start of the auto show season in two months when the 2016 Paris Motor Show takes place. Its possible that the company could tease the concept all the way into October, but more likely than not, a formal unveiling will take place sometime before then.