Friday, June 11, 2010

Volvo C30 (Electric) Crash Test

Crash test footage showing how the batteries are kept safe.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

EV Future: Renault Fluence Z.E. concept car

A closer look at the electric fluence concept car. This one of the cars that Renault will actually put on sale. Although probably a bit toned down.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

EV Future: BMW Active E

Some video footage of a new concept car by BMW. But a very important concept since BMW is serious about it and will sell a similar vehicle based on the next generation 1-series.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ford Focus IV

Autocar magazine recently made an article about the Ford Focus III that we will meet in some weeks time. However, the magazine presented the CGI that you can see below. It is not consistent with existing information about the Focus III but the design could well be a future 4th generation Ford Focus. At least I like it!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT)

Silly name, ugly car, but yet another hint at the future of city cars.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

EV Future: Nissan Land Glider Concept

This is electric, of course. We are already well into the 21st century, it's time to start driving 21st century cars.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gran Turismo 5 - Toyota FT-86 Concept Video

Finally! So it will be for real and gorgeous.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

EV Future: Renault press conference

Renault presented some strange EV concepts in Frankfurt. But the interesting feature is that all of them are related to future real vehicles on sale.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is so cool! But it's just a concept, for now. However, it is the sort of thing one could expect from a company that makes both cars and scooter bikes. But I suspect BMW will be first in the market with something similar.

Monday, August 03, 2009

EV Future: Nissan LEAF

A real EV for the masses. A real car that people can buy (in 2011). I don't find it very pretty but still I'm very happy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

EV Future: Pre-Production Volts

It's really nice to see these prototypes being built in the factory. Hopefully soon we ill see the Volt on sale.

Friday, July 24, 2009

EV future: Lotus electric city car

This is just a concept but the video presents an interesting discussion.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chevrolet Volt

This is not a very good picture but it is important. Because it shows the Volt in a production line testing manufacturing issues. The important thing now is that GM makes this car and sell it to the public. And hopefully, working as advertised.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Aston Martin Cygnet

The image below is relevant to a news piece that is not new anymore. But the thing is I simply did not believe at the time that Aston Martin would rebadge a Toyota iQ and sell it to the public.

I really don't know what to say. This might not be such a bad idea, it's what's behind this move that is worrying. Fact is, Aston Martin could not engineer a car like the iQ if they wanted. This is related to another evidence: Aston Martin is limiting its development efforts to evolving the platform basis left by Ford. And some of their “new” design ideas, such as the Lagonda concept are questionable at best…

This lack of development muscle and presentation of strange ideas reminds me of what happened with Rover when BMW left the brand on their own.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

EV Future: Renault electric cars

Nissan-Renault are some of the manufacturers more serious about their EV future. With clear indications of availability, timeline and cost prospects. One of their latest pieces is this image showing Renault EVs for the next years.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Audi A5 sportback

This elegant vehicle is really a hatchback. So it's for folks that want the 4-door coupe look but with more practicality. Well, in reality it is for people that can't quite stretch the extra 5k€ or so that the original Mercedes CLS costs. But for a Audi copy it looks really nice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2010 Opel Zafira

The image below shows a possible interpretation of the next Opel Zafira. It looks too much like a station but then maybe Opel goes for a lower MPV... don't think so.

One interesting bit is the front design, a new boomerang concept presented in the Insignia-Concept and series production Insignia OPC. It looks really nice so one wonders why it is not available in the regular Insignia and new Astra... these cars have a really bland front design. Maybe one can expect in future restylings to see that boomerang feature spread to the rest of the Opel range.

Friday, June 19, 2009

2011 Peugeot 408

The image below is from L'Auto-Journal and it is consistent with information from other sources. It seems the design of the 408 is finally frozen after some last minute changes by Peugeot's new design boss. And from the look of things and his latest designs at Citroen it seems that Peugeot now needs less help than before.

Inside the new car should look really nice judging be recent Peugeot interiors. The French brand has managed to apply some Audi magic in making interiors look really nice in the photograph and first impression. The fact that real quality is or not top standard does not seem to bother Audi customers so Peugeot is not worried also.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2010 Opel Astra video

This is rather silly...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

EV Future: iMiEV Mitsubishi

The new EV from Mitsubishi undergoing testing. This car is now in series production. Why I'm not enthusiastic about it?... because it's still just for selected fleet sales. I will make a big party when this thing is actually available for everyone to buy.

Monday, June 08, 2009


This car will be a great success. People love SUVs and if BMW can make it more fuel efficient than the competition... and they will.

The other Citroen DS4

According to L'Auto-Journal the Citroen DS4 could also be a "premium" compact hatchback, as previewed in the image below. This one certainly looks nice but I believe the 4-door coupe alternative would have more chances of success: the premium hatchback market is becoming crowded for Citroen to play...

Friday, June 05, 2009

The future of the DS

The future of this strategy by Citroen will be linked to the commercial success and profitability of the first 3 models. Several cars could appear covering, at the limit, the “Distinctive” market of every segment.

The success of the Distinctive Series could also encourage this kind of spin-off by other companies. One such example is the Alpine brand that we know Renault has considered several times to bring back to market in recent years. It could be a great spin-off for sportier and more luxury cars by Renault and without much investment cost in a new brand since Alpine is truly iconic. But we wonder what would be the role for Infinity in the European market… and anyway, it seems Renault should be more worried about their regular cars as things stand today.

Regarding other future DS models one could expect, for example, a cabrio version of the Citroen C5, previewed by the gorgeous C5-Airscape concept below. The future electric car of the PSA group could also be presented as a DS model in the Citroen range, although everyone knows such car is in reality a Mitsubishi. So then, maybe not!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Citroen DS5

This is another model that has been sort of confirmed by Citroen. It will actually arrive in the market before the DS4. The Citroen DS5 is a “New Crossover”. The interested reader might want to recall what the “New Crossover” is here and here, for example.

The DS5 is a Citroen Picasso modified for premium appeal in the spirit of the Distinctive Series. Some of its main features can also be found in the new BMW 5-series GT, namely the “lounge” feel: personalized and relaxing luxury in a contemporary design. What does that mean?... I don’t know, I have been reading information from the press-release of the 5-series GT it’s full of crap like this.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Citroen DS4

According to different French sources one of the future DS models is the DS4 previewed below. It’s a 4-door coupe but one or two sizes smaller than the pioneer Mercedes CLS. So it’s based on the platform used for the next Citroen C4. The design in the CGI looks fantastic but the new car has a major challenge to face: usually 4-door cars of that size look like crap… so can Citroen execute a smaller 4-door coupe properly? I believe they can.

The reader might wonder why doesn’t Citroen make a 4-door coupe based on the C5 model. Fact is the wonderful Citroen C5 already looks a bit like a 4-door coupe and that’s part of its charm. But also it seems Citroen believes it can have more success in pushing a more premium sub-brand based on the smaller cars where Citroen has a more solid market position.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Citroen DS series

The image below shows the production version of the Citroen DS3. This car is kind of a upmarket version of the next Citroen C3. The purpose of this article and the next ones is to analyze a bit what Citroen is trying to do with this new DS range of cars. Yes, a range, or more specifically, a sub-brand since we will see more DS models from the French brand.

So why is Citroen creating a sub-brand or a series of particular models under the DS name? By the way, DS means “Distinctive Series”, an appropriate designation for this distinctive approach. The main point here is that Citroen is looking for more profit. Since they can’t sell their conventional cars for much more money than today because Citroen is just another mainstream brand like Renault or Volkswagen, they try to market a new range of cars that are more special and more… distinctive. Therefore the Citroen DS models will sell for a bit more money, are expected to appeal to people that spend more on optional extras and even personalize the car, according to the first configurators shown by Citroen. All of this is expected to bring more profit than the bread and butter models.

However, creating a new brand or even just a sub-brand is not an easy task and should require a massive investment. But the good people at PSA were smart enough to use an iconic model designation associated to the Citroen DS from the 60s of last century. So the Distinctive Series gets an iconic help from Citroen’s past. Well played, I think Citroen is on a good path here.

In order to assess the success of this strategy one must understand that it is not expected these new cars to be best-sellers. The best thing Citroen can have is to pay the investment in the new series, improve brand awareness and image and establish a new path that brings consistent profit in the future.

The first model seen below is not even the most interesting of the new range of DS models. It falls in a new category that also includes the Alfa Romeo Mito and future Audi models: the MINI-wannabe class. But the DS3 should do well: the design is interesting, cute and “bourgeoise”. And the interior is a highly personalized class act. In following articles we will look at other future DS models that are more interesting than this first iteration.

Citroen DS Inside Concept - Interior Detailed

Starting the Citroen DS week with a video of the first iteration: the DS3.

Friday, May 29, 2009

EV Future: Nissan Electric Vehicle Prototype

A nice video showing the Nissan EV prototype and some usefull information. Counting down for series production.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EV Future: Citroen Ev'ie by The Electric Car Corporation

This car (conversion) is actually on sale now, in England! And it's a real car with proper safety features and practicality.

It makes one wonder how it would be if made by Citroen... what are car manufacturers waiting for?!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EV Future: 2011 Nissan EV

Nissan has been showing their EV prototype to selected journalists and also presenting more info about the future car. The images below are from their technical presentations and reveal a bit more about the real car that will be on sale in 2010-2011, hopefully to individuals and not just company fleets…

So the car will be a conventional 5-seater with batteries under the floor and adequate luggage space. It also appears that the design of the front section will make good use of the smaller space required by the electric motor inverter and related stuff. This is really interesting because it suggests the future design evolution of automobiles and technical architectures resulting from the different packaging of electric cars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2011 BMW PAC (or 3 series GT)

The CGI below is from Autozeitung and shows a possible interpretation of a “New Crossover” by BMW, the 5-series GT equivalent of the next 3-series family. An important feature of the new car that is apparent in the CGI and confirmed by internal sources is that the 3 series GT will be an hatchback with a more complex rear section than the 5-series GT… I don’t know quite well how to explain this, but the design will feature more creases and surfaces in order to make it more err… complex. Thus it will not look just like a big hatchback as with the 5-series GT.

The rest of the car will be about classical BMW over-engineering and class leading fuel efficiency. And it will be more expensive than a 3-series touring but cheaper than a X3.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2011 Lexus compact

Reports have surfaced on the possibility of a 1-series fighter from Lexus for the European market. This has even had a sort of official confirmation… One must consider why Lexus is trying to fight in this competitive market, but the premium hatchback, and compact cars and derivatives are a growing segment in Europe. So I guess it makes sense for Lexus to bring a 1-series competitor.

However, in order to achieve success Lexus must consider a few things: the new car must have several diesel engines. The BMW 116D starts at as low as about 115hp… Same thing with petrol engines and preferably with turbo versions. And of course, the new Prius powertrain would fit really well in such car, preferably with plug-in availability.

Small problem though: the luxury compact can not be a FWD Toyota Auris derivative. I mean, it could be, but then Lexus should really study Audi’s marketing techniques… The real compact luxury Lexus should be based on a shortened RWD IS platform.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2011 Ford Focus wish list

This was sent by a reader:

Hello David,
I enjoyed your articles about the Ford Focus but I think that to have more success the new car should improve some items. In my 2005 Focus tdci the floor carpet does not cover the whole area underneath the glove box. Ford shouldn’t be so cheap about those details.

And that is an important detail, I must add. But I’m showing this message because the statcounter software that provides feedback on the statistics of this blog is quite powerful and says to me that people from Ford actually read this joint. I kid you not!

So please Ford, take care of the complaint from the reader and while we are at a wish list session: please make the rear of the new car look like in the image below, that would be perfect.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Audi Q5 and its real competitors?

Well indeed, since Audi makes cars using parts and engines from Skodas and Seats it kind of makes sense to pitch the Q5 against mainstream America SUVs...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Discussion on the next Ford Focus III rear design

Currently there is no reliable information available on the rear design of the next global Ford Focus. A recent photoshop, pictured below, shows an interpretation with horizontal rear lights, as opposed to the vertical units found in the current and first generation versions. This artist impression is probably influenced by the recent Iosis-MAX concept. This blog post discusses why the Focus should keep the vertical design of the rear light-cluster and other design features.

Ford should understand that they are on the verge of greatness with the next Ford Focus. If they play their cards right, in a couple of years the Focus can be the best-selling car in its class in the world. For two reasons: One is that the Focus still has progression space in the European market and can gain market share there. It can not be the best selling car in Europe for obvious reasons, related to the size of the German market and their natural patriotism. But considering that the Focus is currently ranking number two in its segment despite its age, and that the new and very kinetic Fiesta is storming the market, I would say that with the right design the Focus can gain some more market share in Europe. Second reason is that being a global car the new Focus will sell very well in the USA. And if the economy recovers we can expect another spike in oil prices that will renew the recent love of Americans for smaller cars. So in conclusion, if Ford applies its kinetic design in the right way the Focus III will become the best selling compact car in the world. And we know the design part is good… so good that in focus groups for the NA market the response was “out of the ordinary”.

But, then why the insistence with the vertical rear lights? Because, in my opinion, the next Focus can be more than a best-seller: it can become a new icon. At this point we should remember the formidable list of accomplishments by Ford of Europe with the Focus model. The first generation marked a huge gap against the previous Escort, added a distinctive and fresh design that aged very well, but its biggest achievement was the superior multilink rear suspension. It destroyed the competition in the handling department and forced the best concurrence to a radical inverse engineering process that included some aggressive head-hunting… The Focus II did not score so high in the design department, brought more maturity in the interiors but still kept some design features like the rear vertical light-cluster, the third window in the C-pillar while adding a bit more coupe-ish shape. The restyling brought a much needed kinetic design infusion but the most important accomplishment is very recent: the Focus RS. The best FWD car on the planet!

Keeping some of the major design elements, such as the rear shape and vertical rear lights, while adding the kinetic design and the distinctive trapezoidal grille will contribute to raise the Focus III to new heights. If the market responds accordingly Ford will have more than a best seller, Ford will have a new icon. That would be a good thing, because icons are more profitable.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Forf Focus 2011

Just a new CGI from site. It looks like the sort of design that could work well in Europe and in the United States. However it does not show the rear design which could mark a change in relation to the current model.

The article mentions hybrid and electric versions. Everyone is considering hybrids at this stage but I wonder what Ford is doing in the pure electric version. We know it is supposed to be just for the american market and will have technical input from Magna. But will it be manufactured in big numbers or is it just for selected fleets?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

EV Future: the advantages of plug-in hybrids

The table shows it all. It is from a MIT study of the cars of 2035. The auto-future.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

EV Future: technical bits of the Mitsubishi iMiEV

Some nice info about a car that we can buy next year... hopefully.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2010 Ford C-Max

The picture shows a test mule of the next Ford C-Max. The car is schedulled for presentation in Frankfurt show so it seems that Ford should be testing prototypes by now... and they are, according to our info source. But not in public roads yet.
The other interesting bit about the image is that it seems the next Focus platform can have different wheelbases for different versions within the Focus range.

The C-Max will arrive first in a new 7-seat version and later as a more sportier 5-seater with a profile similar to the Iosis Max concept, minus the wings.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Just wanted to remind the readers about the best site in the world, if one excludes sites related to free quality-porn. Sniffpetrol is in great shape and now also with twitter. BTW, their twitter thing is frequently updated with stuff that means nothing, a must follow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's up with the Audi billboard thing?

Last week Audi was in the news because of a billboard advert making a strike at BMW. BMW bothered to answer, which is kind of strange... Here in Europe we don't have that kind of negative advertising, which is a good thing.
Anyway, the billboard episode put Audi in the spotlight and got us thinking about luxury wannabe brands, real luxury brands, marketing, perceived luxury, that sort of things. And bum, here is a billboard manifesto, courtesy of auto-future. Mind you, we will make more...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2010 BMW 5-series

The image below is not of good quality, just a magazine scan. But it is important, with all the available photoshops of the next 5-series, because it shows a reliable interpretation of the rear section and lights. This according to inside sources. For the rest we can expect typical BMW over-engineering and the rich interiors we know and love from the new 7-series and X5/X6. Modern and cohesive design plus visually-rich interiors are a good improvement in relation to some recent BMW models. Add the leadership in efficient design technology and the new E-class Mercedes soon starts to look old. Well, it already looks old right now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Alfa Romeo 169

This is just a CGI of the future? Alfa Romeo 169. The question mark signals doubts if there is a market for this car... this is a shrinking segment for cars that are not from one small elite of brands. Is Alfa romeo part of that elite?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2011 Audi A6

The CGI below is the work of theophiluschin based on the Audi A7 sportback concept. It shows a possible interpretation of the next A6. Mind you, why not check his site for some cool photoshop jobs.

The interesting bits about the next A6 are technical and not yet fully confirmed. A source has hinted that the next A6 will have an evolution of the ASF (Aluminum Spaceframe) structure that is found in the A8 model. Other sources, namely mainstream magazines, speak of a steel structure as in the current A6 and A4 with the adoption of the MLP (Modular Longitudinal Platform). The MLP part is probably true but the aluminium structure also makes sense, in part because weight reduction is now an important trend in the auto industry. Furthermore my source is recent and is not yet fully tested, if you know what I mean… So I guess time will tell.

Other than that one can expect the usual range of parts shared with Seat and Skoda models, carefully hidden behind a modern exterior and an interior carefully designed to appear as quality in images. That ASF structure would be good to add a bit more credibility.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

EV Future: Segway P.U.M.A. concept

The image shows a preview of a future production version of the PUMA. Much better looking than the prototype. These things have to look like something from Apple, they can't look like glorified wheelchairs like the concept.

But a lot of rethinking has to go into cities in order to adopt a fleet of PUMAs. Maybe they could be viable in areas closed to cars. In such situation the PUMA or similar personal mobility vehicles could complement the public transport system.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

EV Future: Project P.U.M.A.

This is the PUMA thing, a GM-Segway collaboration for a 2-seat urban transporter. It looks quite dorky in prototype shape but at the end of the video it shows a preview of a possible production version.

The final version is wider to accomodate well 2 persons, the prototype is very tight. The video also hints at the need for changes in cities to embrace this type of concept. It seems difficult for this kind of vehicle to share roads with normal cars and it is too big for sidewalks.

This is another concept of personal mobility, like several others mainly from toyota. It will be interesting to check how they progress and of course, these could be important possibilities for the electrification of transportation.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

2010 Audi RS3

It seems the Focus RS will have company soon in the exclusive uber-hatchback category. Audi is developing the RS version of the A3 model, using the engine from the TT-RS: a 5-cylinder turbo with about 340hp, maybe a bit less in the RS3. This is great news because 5-cylinder engines are ideal for these cars, bringing huge power, a formidable soundtrack, while not making nose-heavy cars as if V6 engines were used. Furthermore the RS3 should have a brilliant design: the current S3 is already a class act. I also would prefer the RS3 to the TT-RS because the TT is more suited for persons who like handbags…

The use of turbocharged 5-cylinder engines in the uber-hatchback class makes all the difference. But, although the RS3 will probably top the Focus RS in power, the Ford model will still retain a very special title: the best FWD car on the planet. This means the Audi RS3 will probably use the Haldex AWD system from the TT-RS.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

2010 Ford Focus III

Guess what, so much stuff on the Focus RS and now autoexpress presentes a new CGI and info about next generation Focus. Let's check what they say: "Meet the most desirable family car ever! This striking machine is about to rewrite the hatchback rulebook, with a stunning combination of head-turning looks, driver appeal and up-to-the-minute technology. Say hello to Ford’s next-generation Focus". Typical autoexpress nonsense.

The CGI also does not seem a Huckfeldt job, it's a very bad one, but raises one interesting point: will the Focus III keep the signature vertical tailights or will it adopt the horizontal design presented in the Iosis MAX concept? Could the horizontal theme be reserved for the next C-Max and the Focus keep vertical units? Maybe some reader knows... I think they should keep the vertical theme for several different reasons, but already wrote more than the usual on this story...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The future of the Focus RS

Despite all the game-changing attributes of the Focus RS we suspect that, had the economic crisis arrived a bit earlier or the development process took some more months, this fantastic car might have been cancelled. And therefore we also suspect that Ford might not be considering a future replacement at this stage. Please don’t do such thing, the future of the Focus RS should be approached in a “911 style”.

The 911 reference is obviously a Porsche inspiration and on how the 911 changes through generations with evolutionary changes. This approach is critical in order to keep low development and investment costs and assure that the legend continues… building the icon! So the next RS should be approved right now and a cheap development program prepared based on the next generation Focus. We can think of some evolutionary improvements: more refinement, some weight reduction, engine upgrade (possibly with direct injection), eventually the availability of a dual-clutch gearbox. We were thinking of adding AWD to the list… but now that Ford built the best FWD car on the planet it seems appropriate to continue being such reference. As long as Ford keeps building and developing the Focus RS, the auto industry might have produced a new icon.

Focus RS - another fan video

Another video from some fan checking the press launch. Wonderfull exhaust sound from the best FWD car in the planet.

Ford Focus RS on the Nürburgring

French Sport-Auto managed 8:10 in the Nurburgring. The car should work well there with the huge power and aero-package.

Ford Focus RS - hooligans

Watch out for some hooligan behaviour... but some nice shots in green and blue.

Focus RS - fan ride

You can see this is a special car when fans gather around the press launch for a closer look. This guy got a ride with a journalist and made this drool video.

Focus RS Danish test

I can't understand a word... but they show the RS in my favourite colour.

And here's the science

We have been watching the effects, this is the science:

Ford Focus RS - Impressions in "Frozen White"

This one in white would look even better with a dark panoramic roof. Or better yet, a carbon roof as in the BMW M3.

Ford Focus RS First Drive [Drivers Republic]

Another review. In a green unit, I hate this color. But listen carefully to Chris Harris...

Ford Focus RS driven

Let's start with Steve Sutcliff from Autocar. He is a reference journalist and a serious guy, hear what he has to say. The car here is white, very nice and sounding great.

Ford Focus RS day

Today auto-future is celebrating that we were wrong about the new Focus RS. The reader might remember one article about the Revocknuckle where besides describing the technology that would be made available in the new uber-Focus I expressed serious scepticism that such technology would eliminate torque steer in a 300hp FWD car.

But Ford proved me wrong. Not only the Focus RS puts all that power efficiently with the help of a limited slip front differential and controlled torque in the first gears but, according to the first reviews, it nearly eliminates torque steer effect. Better yet, some reviewers point out that the feedback that is still felt in the steering wheel adds another layer to a magnificent driving experience. On top of that one should notice a serious ride quality and a formidable engine sound. It’s great to have this car and the new Audi TT RS to remind us how fantastic 5-cylinder engines can sound.

So today is a celebration day, besides celebrating that auto-future was wrong we are celebrating a breakthrough in automotive technology. Ford moved the game in a serious manner, proving that one can have a 300hp FWD car with great traction, great steering feedback, fantastic handling and still a very good ride quality. This is Focus RS day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

EV Future: Lexus 2054

The image below shows one of my favourite EVs, the Lexus 2054 from the movie Minority Report. It’s a great design and one that fully uses the advantages of a full EV architecture allowing for a different design and great use of interior space.

The interesting part of the Lexus 2054 is that we don’t have to wait for year 2054 to drive a similar vehicle. The first generation of mass-market electric vehicles arrives in the first-half of the next decade so I guess a second generation of vehicles with in-wheel electric motors and a design similar to the Lexus EV could arrive around 2020. So definitely reality will beat science fiction on the future electric vehicle.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Opel Calibra

According to Autozeitung magazine, Opel is developing a coupe version of the next Astra. The novelty here is that the new car will adopt a more separate design and a new name, probably Calibra, in order to establish a tie with a sort of iconic model. This is not a new strategy as witnessed recently with VW and the Scirocco model, although I think that the Golf nameplate is today more iconic than the Scirocco. But it works nicely allowing to ask a premium for the derivative version and the Scirocco is indeed a fine car.

The technical bits of the new Calibra are predictable being based on the new Astra model. This is actually not a good thing if the Astra does not receive a multilink suspension at the rear. The Calibra nameplate deserves more technical excellence than a torsion beam. But then, this is a Opel so I guess one should not expect technical excellence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seat Ibiza break

Here it is, trying to look better than the car, which is an easy task... and yet it fails and looks even worse!

The thing is going to be named "sport-something". Sportacky, perhaps?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

EV Future: 2010 Mitsubishi i MiEV

A small video on the i MiEV. This is the one that will also arrive in Europe as a Peugeot.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Should we question BMW’s engineering?

BMW has always been an engineering-driven company. We can count on BMW for technical supremacy in different areas: best engines in the world (and consequently, the most awarded); excellence in handling; obsessive care for weight distribution; leadership in human-machine interface (yes, I hated i-drive too, but fact is, everyone copied them). More recently, with a market move towards increased efficiency and although being a sports-luxury company, BMW managed to also be leader in fuel consumption with their range of “efficient dynamics” technology.

So there should be no reason to criticize. However, according to recent rumours, it appears that BMW is working on a 4-door coupe version of the next 6-series. So far so good. But it has also been said that the new competitor to the Mercedes CLS and future Audi A7 would have a design without B-pillar and using rear doors in the style of the Mazda RX-8. All of this for further market differentiation. If this turns out to be true then it is a huge and unpleasant surprise. Because, being an engineering-excellence company I would not expect BMW to use such concept-car style technical solution.

A car without B-pillar would have seriously compromised passive safety and stiffness, something that BMW would not accept. So the structure has to be reinforced, highly reinforced, which means more weight… in a 4-door coupe BMW?... this can not happen, for sure. Or maybe BMW will have available superior materials such as composites, at competitive cost, in order to overcome the deficient design. But then they could still use them with a conventional design and further improve stiffness regarding the competition and/or reduce weight.

Either way, maybe the rumour is not true. But if this car is for real then I find disappointing that BMW would compromise sound engineering solutions for such a styling statement. The kind of car I would expect BMW to make is a Porsche Panamera fighter, with superior engines (that BMW has available), a CS-concept design (much better looking than the Panamera), and available AWD including the new DPC system that would destroy the Panamera in handling. To the folks at BMW: you have the tools to outgun Porsche so please don’t distract yourselves with styling statements.

This image from Auto-Bild looks nice, but please keep the B-pillar

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2010 Audi A8

Some new spyshots of the next Audi A8 have surfaced. It's interesting to notice how Audi is copying BMW's camouflage. We understand how Audi considers BMW its benchmark for everything, they even were the quickest to copy the i-drive system. And it seems they don't copy everything because they have to use all those engines and bits from skodas and Seats. But the camouflage?...

And what's that in the rear?... a mini Bangle-butt?...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hyundai iQ-fighter

The cute thing below is a new Hyundai model expected to fight the toyota iQ. Or maybe it's a bit bigger to compete against Fiat 500/Ford Ka. Anyway, it looks great, but it's still a CGI.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kia Forte coupe

This is a spyshot of the next small FWD coupe from Kia. It's looking good and also has some nice wheels. Kia's design is going from strength to strength. But the brand still faces a big perception wall, at least in Europe. The American market should be a bit easier particularly considering the current offer of small affordable coupes.

Monday, March 09, 2009

2010 VW Touran

This CGI from Autozeitung shows their interpretation of the next Touran. This should be presented this year. The image shows a rather conservative evolution of the current car. Which is, by itself, a very boring design. VW should consider add a bit more sportiness to the design, or better yet, create a proper 5-seat mini-MPV that could be the sportier version while the 7-seat would be more utilitary. The Golf Plus doesn't play that game very well, it needs more space.

Friday, March 06, 2009

EV Future: Magna Steyr

This is so boring... the car's design, the suit making a speech... but it's highly relevant. Magna Steyr shows a concept car featuring their expertise in electric powertrain solutions. Remember that Magna was the chosen partner for the next Ford EV. It's interesting to notice that some of the push for electric cars is coming from suppliers like Magna.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

2010 Ford C-MAX Concept

This is the Iosis Max Concept. It shows the front design of the next C-Max. It looks predictable, in a good way, with the agressive Fod trapezoidal grille. The front is also relevant for the next generation Focus.

Much of the rest is typical concept-car stuff, but still one can expect to see the rear lights design in a future ford (C-Max or Focus?). BTW, the doors have a peculiar opening, very concept-car style but in reality the 7-seat C-Max will have sliding rear doors. The 5-seat will have conventional doors.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Alfa Romeo Milano

The prototype pictured below and other images recently found show the new Alfa Milano as a not-new car. Basically it’s just a Fiat Bravo with not-enough changes, even inside. But if it looks really good that might do the trick and bring more profit to Fiat. Still, I love the Bravo’s design, particularly the rear. Can’t see how the Alfa will improve on that.

If the reader looks closely at the images it appears that there is no multilink at the rear suspension. Normally I would bitch about that, but in the current economic conditions who cares… just make it look good and move some metal with profit!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

EV Future: EDAG Light Car

An electric prototype for the Geneve show. This one looks amazing and brings some innovation in the use of lights. But it's just a study, for now...