Thursday, December 27, 2007

Toyota Avensis 2008?

Maybe yes, maybe no, but the picture could reveal a litlle of the next Avensis. The new European mid-size Toyota will continue to increase its market share against local models, with strong points in reliability, safety and comfort. The design will follow several themes from recent European Toyota models: nothing very exciting, but solid designs that assure profitability in the mid-term.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mercedes GLK

GLK: G-Leicht-Kompakt. The small G is actually a uber-G, a modern interpretation of the old G design in a small package. The picture below links to a Auto-Bild article with plenty of information and more great quality pics of the small-uber-G-SUV. The car was caught in its natural habitat, in a posh place and in the company of movie stars. Its looks, quality, versatility and space will assure commercial success, at least while the X3 is not updated. The biggest drawback of the G-class is that future versions of the X3 will have available a superior AWD system with torque vectoring features. And also the Efficient Dynamics package that has assured superior performance in fuel economy and emissions for BMW. But until then, the new GLK will be the king of the luxury small-SUV class. Other followers will follow, other wannabes will wannabe, but for those that can afford the GLK and the X3 will be the benchmarks of this type of vehicles for many years.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

EV future: Chevrolet Volt

A great video with some insight on the Chevrolet Volt, one can see it's face and a little bit more. Great stuff, it seems GM is really going to make this car. Fingers crossed on another step of the electrification of automobile.

Monday, December 10, 2007


This one will come with an all new acronym for BMW: PAS, that's Progressive Activity Sedan. It's a 5-series based hatchback that's a bit lower than a SUV (and also a bit lower and more athletic than a R-class) and will seat only 5. The real purpose of this thing?... don't really know, I just feel that BMW is very good at finding new automotive ways for people to flash their cash and therefore finding new money-printing operations for BMW. The CGI below looks really nice and the new car will find its place in a new future BMW range where their new sedans will be a bit more sleeker and elegant than today.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Auto-Future's best of the year II: stuff and people

Technical feature of the year: Nissan’s GTR architecture
The image below shows the architecture of the new Nissan GTR. This new and incredible machine uses a turbocharged V6 longitudinally placed as it should be and normally sending 100% of power to the rear wheels, as it should be. It also uses a transaxle, so the gearbox is in the rear for better weight distribution. When needed it also sends power to the front wheels so it uses a central differential that needs to be close to the gearbox, so it’s in the rear too… but it needs a shaft to send the juice to the front… hence the two big shafts you see in the middle of the car!... It’s amazing, brilliant, very effective and makes for a very impressive image like the one below.

Car name of the year: Reventon
And also best car name in all the history of cars! The Lamborghini Reventon is named after a bull that killed some famous bullfighter… we wish more bulls would have that spirit, that stupid spectacle would end very soon! The names is great but the car is not bad either… and I can see myself making conversation with some latina supermodel if I owned a Lamborghini Reventon… “si es el nombre de mi coche pero a mi tambien me llaman reventon…”. In Spain Reventon is also a nickname for some versions of the VW TDI engine that are used in the Seat Ibiza and Leon FR/Cupra models. Don’t ask why!...

Men of the year
The person below is not in the car industry, his name is Jose Barroso and he is the president of the European Commission. So is he like the President of Europe? No, his job is more like that of a burocrat, most of the time… Now in the end of last year he came up with this idea of limiting average CO2 emissions in cars to a mere 120g/km. Car manufacturers were not happy so they made a very strong lobbying against that. We are not sure what the final version of the regulation will be, but during this year something must have happened that convinced car manufacturers that Mr. Barroso’s ideas are for real. Let’s focus on the effects: Porsche made strong moves to buy VW group… VW started developing a new small-car platform…BMW decide on making a new brand focused on small cars and alternative mobility solutions… BMW and Mercedes started negotiations about sharing development of small engines… ECO labels and lower CO2 versions are everywhere in mainstream car brands… All of this is at least partially related to the need to lower CO2 emissions. We thank Mr. Barroso for exerting political leadership in this matter and we hope the response from the European car industry meets the new standards.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Auto-Future's best of the year I: cars

In a not original move Auto-Future presents its awards for the best cars/concepts/stuff of the year 2007. But, considering how special this blog is, some of the winners are already known for some time...
Concept car of the year
The Chevrolet Volt was awarded Concept Car of the year back in January. Please read the original post for the reasons, of course this concept is highly relevant and was the most talked car of the year. In 2008 it will be one of the most photographed mule/prototype... and later our car of the year 2010... unless Toyota arrives first with a plug-in hybrid in the market.

Car of the year
In June 2007 we awarded the Audi R8 as Car of the Year. See the original post for the reasons. We also decided that the R8 is the sportscar of the decade. We totally forgot about the Nissan GT-R... but it is not actually on sale in 2007 and it will have its own very special award in about 5 years... wait and see!

Best surprise of the year
That will be the new Citroen C5. I believe Auto-Future didn't even cover its development phase or presented spy-shots of the prototype. And plenty were available... the thing is the current C5 is so boring that we didn't really care about its replacement. But when the official photos were made available...WOW!... what a gorgeous car. Clearly a follower of the 4-door coupe trend that Auto-Future predicted almost a couple of years ago. This car is really what Citroen needs right now.

Biggest disappointment of 2007
The new Hyundai i30 was an easy task to report: it would be more upscale that its twin, the Kia Ceed, with more mature styling, improved interiors, etc. However, the Hyundai model turned out with a front design clearly uninspired and old-school Korean, the same interiors with just some blue light scheme, and unlike the Kia it only got a 4-star rating in the EuroNCAP crash test.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lancia Delta 2008

Definitive, we guess. Not bad...although we see too much Bravo in the profile. But what about Lancia's future? Does this car really matter?... wouldn't something much more impressive be needed?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Autozeitung presented a new article on "VW vs Opel" dealing with future cars of the two German mainstream manufacturers. Amongst several CGIs this one of the next Polo looks really good, the new car (if it turns out like that) should have no problem fighting against the Opel Corsa. The Golf VI vs Astra will be a different story considering how VW is working hard right now on incentives and campaigns in Europe to keep the Golf in the top 3... can the next model win against the next Astra in the big German mainstream battle?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Auto-Future's public service: Eco labels

Lately we noticed, particularly in Europe, that several manufacturers are using Eco labels and making special editions of cars that are frienly to the environment. Examples: ECO2; Ecomotion; Econetic; bluemotion... We would like to warn the interested consumer about these labels and a general lack of real improvements, unless at the expenses of safety and/or driver enjoyment.
For example, Renault uses the ECO2 label for cars with emissions of CO2 lower than 140g/km, amongst other features. Is that a really big improvement?... many cars from the competition achieve better emissions than 140g/km and don't use any Eco label...
Other example: the VW Passat bluemotion gets better fuel consumption and 136g/km by using a diesel 105hp engine(!)... wow, better call this thing the Passat blue-slowmotion...
A particular worrying example is concerned with safety: recently, tyre manufacturer Continental suggested that new low rolling resistance tyres could have bigger stoping distances loosing on safety in order to achieve lower emissions. We checked the target of these statements, the new Michelin energy saving tyres, and had a look at recent comparative tests of the Peugeot 308, one of the first cars to have the new Michelin tyres. And guess what, the Peugeot 308 performed really well in both handling and braking tests being amongst the best of its class. So, not to be worried about Michelin energy-saving tyres, but be worried about Continental's Public Relation stunts...
Finally, a word of advise on this new ECO-movement. Be carefull of claims and check the facts, as exposed with the unfortunate Continental statements. And be ready to wait a litlle bit until real energy saving technology becomes cheaper... many of the stuff BMW is using in their "Efficient dynamics" portfolio is really good and provides lower consumption and emissions without loosing driving pleasure... but it's expensive! However, expect during the next two years for several of BMW's pioneered technology to be available in mainstream cars as prices go down.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ford Fiesta

Autoexpress presented new spy-shots and reliable CGIs of the new Fiesta: it looks great, as expected. Click the picture for the original news. We would like to give opinion on the following: the article refers that the Fiesta uses the same platform as the Mazda 2, as expected. However, we hope the new car is bigger than the Mazda equivalent that we believe looks a bit small compared to its competitors. The other thing is that Ford people are referring weight-saving in the new car and future cars from Ford. We believe that, at this stage, it's not wise to make a lot of PR talk about weigh-reduction. We believe customers are not prepared yet to embrace the concept. If that weigh-saving means CO2 emissions are smaller then great, have your marketing people bragg about that... but don't mention weight. Just focus on reduced CO2 emissions and consumption because that's what customers want to hear.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Renault Scenic 3

The poor image below shows a different angle on the next Renault Scenic. Currently the Scenic is the money-maker in Renault range, something Ghosn said would like to change in order to be less dependent on a single model. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like the new Laguna is going to change that... and seeing the new design of the Citroen C5 we feel that Renault will have a hard time in its home market.

Concerning the next Scenic, whatever the design of the Megane from which it is based, the Scenic will be carefully toned down to please everyone... no weird lines and creases in the family's favourite. It will be interesting to follow how the European market develops for family cars: cars like the Scenic/C-Max/Picasso have been hugely popular but the main brands will be pushing small SUVs like the Tiguan/Kuga... will image factors of the SUVs prevail or environmental responsability will keep people choosing compact minivans?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Smart Fortwo achieves Audi safety standards

Or put in other words, the new Smart Fortwo got a 4-star rating for occupant safety in the EuroNCAP crash test the same as, for example, an Audi Q7. The two cars are not directly comparable, of course, and the EuroNCAP always highlights that cars from different classes are not directly comparable. However, another key difference is that in the Smart class of vehicles 4-star is a very good rating since neither the 107/C1/Aygo or the Renault Twingo have 5-star results. The same can not be said about the class of cars where the Q7 competes... unless the Q7 is in a class of its own... a 4-star class of car.

Another interesting bit is that we can safely guess that the Smart will not get a 5-star rating in the future... but then we predicted long ago that Audi would improve the Q7 to get a 5-star rating but since then that prediction failed to materialize. And we hate to fail our future predictions.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fiat Bravo SUV

The previous post on the Bravo SW reported on a bland design but the SUV version should be much more interesting. Actually we are not even sure if this generation Bravo will get the break version, in a couple of years many customers in this class of cars will prefer the SUV or a compact minivan. This Bravo-SUV proposal looks great and will be a major contribute to lower CO2 emissions and... wait, oh dear!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fiat Bravo break

The CGI shows a possible interpretation of the next break version of the Fiat Bravo range. At this point can't really say if the Bravo will be a great success like the Grande Punto... certainly the design is very good but Fiat always had a difficult time in this segment. The break version could help sales although this design seems too bland for the latest practice in fiat design.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Renault Mégane III

A really nice CGI of next year's Mégane III has surfaced. It looks very good in this image, but as usual, it's not likely that Renault makes the car with such small windows. Wich is a pity really, Renault should look at the citroen C5 and check how wonderfull that coupe-ish design looks while just reducing window size a bit... a much more elegant profile than the new Laguna!

Technically the Mégane III will present a new entry-level diesel engine: a reworked version of the current 1.5DCI enlarged to 1.6. This will be the norm in this class of cars, considering the future small diesels from VW, Fiat and of course the ubiquitous 1.6HDI. Another interesting technical feature is related to suspension: the new Mégane will actually have a more sophisticated rear suspension than the new Laguna, because it will use the same multilink setup has the Nissan Qashqai. However, no rear-wheel steering is available with such system.

Friday, November 09, 2007

EV future day: Subaru G4e concept

G4e actually means "Good for earth"! But what's with the video, no sound? And about that green colour... oh wait, now we got it! Green colour besides this concept actually looks very good. And we particularly like those sharp creases in the front, it reminds us of the... Toyota IQ concept.

EV future day: Denmark and electric vehicle plans

More interesting and relevant news on our EV future: Denmark has plans to promote the use of electric cars, suppported by a network of about half a million charging stations around the country that would work as gas stations in a way that users wouldn't notice significant differences. The Government of Denmark is also looking for a formula via tax exemptions to make the plan attractive both to the public and to investors. We know how Nordic countries favour the environment so we have great hopes that these plans go ahead.

EV future day: Fuel cells

What all of this lithium batteries news bring to fuel cells? It means that what was once the next big thing and the biggest promise for future clean transportation could be totally scrapped, at least for some years.

This week Ballard sold their fuel cell business to a consortium of Daimler and Ford (!). This news bit is relevant because for many years Ballard was THE (that's right, capital and bold) fuel cell company. In the last years almost every fuel cell concept-car presented by manufacturers used a cell from Ballard. Now it seems the company lost breath regarding this technology.

Also recently a VW senior engineer said that "fuel-cell cars are not going to live up to the hype that is surrounding them" and that these "are not the future of alternative power and are only getting so much attention because of the strict emissions laws in places such as California". We wouldn´t totally scrap the idea of fuel cells (at least they are used to power electric cars) but now it seems the development of batteries will at least delay fuel cells for some years.

EV future day: VW and Li-ion batteries

Today it's EV day at auto-future. Only EV related news, because in the last days a lot of interesting stuff surfaced.

Starting with the news that VW is joining forces with other German companies (including Bosch and BASF) to develop lithium ion battery systems. That's a good move by VW because, if Li-ion is going to be important in the future, it's better for car companies to master the development process and develop its own technology. By the way Toyota is pursuing the same route. This news bit also gives further credit to the rumours that the future Up small car family would have electric drive available. Of course, this is highly relevant, except for auto-future that has been covering EV news obssessively since more than one year.
Are other German car companies working with Li-ion batteries? Well, Mercedes will be the first company to actually sell a hybrid with lithium batteries, while recent rumours of BMW wanting to buy a major component manufacturer could be related with EV interest? What, you didn't know about that rumour? We are asking for trouble on this one!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


A new CGI of the BMW X1 has surfaced, originated from CAR magazine. It looks really nice although it's still too early to assess its reliability. Currently the new small SAV from BMW is in early development stage and some weird-looking "structures" have been spotted in Germany testing basically weight distribution, handling, stiffness prior to development of mules and prototypes. Business as usual for BMW that usually spend a lot of time testing their new cars. The X1 should use most of the bits from the next 1-series platform that is as such optimized for allowing this new element in the family.

Friday, November 02, 2007

5-door Volvo hatchback

The CGI below previews how a new 5-door C30-derived Volvo could look like. It looks like a V50, so expect the final version to be a bit different from this image. The good people at Volvo must be very happy with their S40-V50-C30 line. These cars are successfull in different markets and bring a nice profit. Remember, these are essentially modified versions of the Ford Focus platform, adequately packaged with smoother looks, improved perceived quality and more high-scale marketing investment and targets. The usual strategy of Audi that manages to make a lot of profit from "Seats in disguise". We wonder why people don't choose the offers from Mercedes or BMW that are real luxury cars, not just mainstream-derived premium, and don't cost that much more... Anyway, who cares, it works for Volvo and Audi.
The new 5-door hatch should use the same engines as in the current Focus platform as well as any new offer, like DSG gearbox smaller turbo engines, etc. We would like to see a plug-in hybrid like a recent C30 concept from Volvo but such version is not in the program, at least not now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

EV Future: Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport

This car is ugly and has some silly fans in the front to generate energy. But also has a photovoltaic top that could be more usefull and Li-ion batteries placed low in the floor to lower the centre of gravity. It's ugly but it's electric and for real, mitsubishi will sell a more conventional design in 2009-2010 although it won't have in-wheel motors like this concept.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Honda says won't build plug-in hybrids

In an interesting interview to The Wall Street Journal, Honda's chief executive Takeo Fukui told journalists that the "so-called" plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles didn't do enough for the environment, so his company isn't going to pursue them.

We find this statement very interesting because it reminded us of other statements from Honda some years ago. In case the reader didn't notice, this auto-future joint is based in Europe, and some 10 years ago we remember Honda saying that they had no interest in diesel engines and doing a lot of talk about the benefits and advantages of their Vtec gasoline engines. Eventually time proved how wrong they were and eventually Honda had to make a diesel engine for the European market. In the meantime Honda lost a lot of marketshare in Europe and today is out of pace in the modern diesel engine market.

So now Honda does a lot of talk, again... well at least they are pursuing pure Electric Vehicles but we are sure plug-in hybrids will have great market possibilities. In any case, if in the future the folks from Honda have trouble finding their direction in this competitive market, just send an email to auto-future and we will help for free.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Peugeot 408

Pictured below is a recent interpretation on how the Peugeot 408 could look like. We say it looks too good to be true, unless Peugeot has decided to colaborate again with Pininfarina studio, which would be a great idea. There is, however, a theme present in the CGI that could be for real: a toned down of the front design that in the 407 is too cartoonish. Cars should have an emotional appeal expressed through design, but should also stand the test of time and deliver sales and profit for several years. We believe that the current 407 is not well accomplished in this matter hence the need to refine the front end.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Renault Scenic III

Just a CGI image for now, with some recent Renault design clues. The Scenic is an important car for Renault, maybe the most important in profitability of the current range. Renault will not mess with the design and the general theme in this image could be a good replacement for the current car.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Prodrive working on new Focus RS?

The next Focus RS has been an elusive machine with conflicting reports on whether it will exist or not. Apparently it will, but resulting from the very specialized work of Prodrive, the race-proven automotive development company.

The new car will be based on the recently-restyled shell (hence the illustrating picture below is old news), adequately beefed up in tyres, brakes, stiffness, etc. for the task of delivering to the tarmac an amount in excess of 300hp courtesy of an inline 6 cylinder 3 litre turbo engine. Wow, that should sound glorious, we just love inline sixes! Of course it can not handle such power with FWD so a 4WD system will be available. Much of this stuff is based on existing Volvo offers (the engine and Haldex AWD system) but with extensive modifying by Prodrive engineers. There are also rumours that the new car could get a torque-vectoring rear differential but this last info is for now unconfirmed.

The development story of this new RS reminded us of the old Focus I RS and how at a certain point we believed that machine would never be made. It turned out a glorious car even if a bit unrefined. We expect that the new one will also be a bit rough around the edges but with that turbo inline six it should be epic.

Something for our american readers

The famous words “the grass is always greener on the other side” frequently apply to car offers. Very often American enthusiasts complain on how European models like the Fiesta, Focus II or Mondeo should be on sale in the USA. And here in Europe we frequently complain on how such models like the new American-derivative Opel GT should not be on sale in Europe. Wait, something doesn’t add up, errr… whatever!

A new
comparison test by magazine Auto Motor und Sport further confirms the superb engineering of European Ford models. The article compares the Ford Mondeo 2.0TDCI and the Mercedes C-class C200CDI and… the Ford wins! Yes, it’s that good and AMS is no crap magazine, it’s the most respected German car magazine!

Not that the American Fusion is a bad car it’s just that in their latest models Ford of Europe really shines.

Friday, October 12, 2007

EV future: BMW's 4th brand could sell electric cars

It's not official yet (well the fact that BMW will have a 4th brand is), but rumours point to the possibility that BMW's new brand will compete in the small car category (think Smart or VW Up), focusing on new alternatives for urban mobility. A new architecture, new urban mobility, new design paradigm and... hybrid and full electric powertrains. Yes, full electric. Could use the name Isetta, an icon from BMW in the 60's, or get a completely new name.

There have been some indications about this new brand, even in Bangle's interviews and some famous marketing-related insiders have also hinted at the electric powertrain. We have a source from a tier-1 supplier that confirms the process is in motion. Just for illustration, an electric concept car from BMW in the 90's, the E1:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

EV future: Mitsubishi i-EV

CAR magazine did a first drive of the electric version of the brilliant Mitsubishi i. They really like the car and report the possibility for it being on sale in the UK in 2008. We would bet more on 2009-10 but anyway this car is on the frontline for the beginning of EVs for mass market. Enjoy the article from CAR.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

EV future: Toyota 1/X concept

Lots of electric juice lately, right? Well it's Tokyo show and back in January with the Volt presentation at Detroit show we already predicted that Tokyo would be the most interesting show of the year for electric vehicles and/or plug-in hybrids. And of course it turned out true with lots of concepts although no vehicles for sale, yet. The picture below shows the Toyota 1/X concept, a plug-in hybrid with a very small 500cc IC engine that moves the car because it is very light: 420kg only! However, the amount of carbon fibre used in the vehicle does not point to a future series production due to cost issues, even if (finally!) reducing weight is a new trend in the industry.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

EV future: Subaru G4e

Still a concept, the G4e packs lithium-ion batteries for an expected 200km range. Well, who cares about the range since it´s not for sale! But we are geting closer and closer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

EV future: Nissan Pivo 2

This is why we love Tokyo show, just check the concept, the design, the litlle robot inside. Brilliant! We also like that it's electric, although still a concept car.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

EV future: Volvo ReCharge Concept hybrid

Another series hybrid concept. The in-wheel motors are interesting but that feature proves that for now this is just a concept. In-wheel motors are for now a very difficult technology to master.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Seat Ibiza 2008

The picture below shows the next Ibiza, as presented in Auto Motor und Sport. Please visit their site for more photos and/or keep reading for more information. Lately we noticed CAR magazine uses a Q & A scheme in their articles. We are going to borrow that cuz we think it makes us look cool!
What is it?
It's the next Seat Ibiza at night in a road with snow. The car itself it's basically a Skoda Fabia with different body panels and interior. These cars are also closely related to the next VW Polo and even the Audi A1. Business as usual at VW group.

What are the differences then... any new engine?
The Ibiza will follow Seat's motto "sport and tacky" so the interior detailing and external design will be less classic than Skoda's or VW's. Nothing new on the technical bits, whatever is found on a Polo will have its place in the Ibiza. Maybe a more chip-tuned TDI with lots of red lettering in some sporty (and tacky) edition but that's it for technical differences.

Why should I care?
You shouldn't!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Golf VI: spy video

It's been around for some weeks but always nice to watch. It's also worth to notice how VW is showing their prototypes, they are much less secretive than some years ago.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2008 Volkswagen Golf VI

German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports on the next Golf VI and the possibility of a cabrio version. We thought that the Eos currently on sale would do the job of Golf-based open-air motoring but the new cabrio could be cheaper than the Eos and use a conventional (or old-style if you wish) fabric top. Too much market segmentation if you ask.

The front design of the new car in computer generated images like the one below is getting closer to the real version, namely the shape of the lights that is close to the ones in the Up concept from Frankfurt. The Golf VI (AKA Golf 5.5) is referred by AMS to be presented in September next year at Paris show although other sources told us that it could arrive before that period.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Further evidence of MILF weed in Germany

A short news-story: "Report says VW aims to overtake Toyota by 2015"... in both sales and profitability. LOL, ROTFL, etcetera...
2015 is a long timeframe, maybe they expect us to forget about these claims. Anyway, we want some of that stuff from Agrestic too!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mental disorder

Wow, is that the new Focus? Why didn't we cover its development?... ah, it's just for the United States. Why not here? How can we don't get this car in Europe? Maybe in the future, Ford could make a Euro-version of this car. Looking forward.

Cash cow

Do yoy really love Mercedes? How about contributing to the brand by buying yourself the next C-sportcoupe? The thing pictured below is basically a restyling of the current version, with very few panel changes although, hopefully, with a new interior. But it gets the new face of the C-class. Development and tooling costs for this car are very low (most of this stuff was paid long ago) so if you buy one you are generating a lot of profit for the brand. So a good way to show support for Mercedes is to buy this cash cow. Unless they sell it for less money, errrr... don't think so!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

EV future: Saft confirms Lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes S-class Hybrid

A boring press-release, easily forgotten amongst many novelties at Frankfurt show. But it confirms recent rumours that French battery maker was about to make big waves in the auto market. The relevance?: Lithium-ion in cars is for real, it will happen! Beyound niche applications such as the Tesla roadster. In real-world cars and volume sellers. Not only the next S-class hybrid, others will follow. Concerned about the safety of this Li-ion chemistry?... they are putting it in a Mercedes!

These regular hybrids are just the beginning, plug-in will follow and in smaller city cars full electric Li-ion battery vehicles will be made available in the next 3 years. And from real-world high-volume car makers. Remember that Mercedes slogan "the future of automobile"? They are right. And informed readers of auto-future have been following news on the EV future since about one year. We are not stopping, the future of clean auto transportation is bright. And you read about the future of auto here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Laguna 4RD video

Youtube Laguna Video

The video has some shots comparing the conventional Laguna and the 4RD version. Also very cool to see the rear wheels steering.
Recently CAR magazine reported that at a press presentation Renault brought a Porsche Boxster and showed that in a slalom test the 4RD Laguna was faster than the Porsche. Brilliant stuff! Update: another magazine, a Spanish one, also witnessed the Laguna-Boxster comparison. However, frequent readers of auto-future already knew Laguna's greatness since May.

Monday, September 17, 2007

EV future: IQ concept and Prius Plug-in

This nice video shows the IQ concept without (yet) information on its possible electric drive. But there is also info from Toyota that the next step for the Prius is to go beyond 30km in electric-only range. Current prototypes being tested in Japan and France have a 10km electric range.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2009 Toyota Prius III

What’s with the lime green? Oh wait,… never mind! There were some new spy pictures of the Prius in the press but those looked like a restyling instead of a completely new model. The image below predicts how the all-new Prius III could look like. But the real interest is not in the design but the technical features. Plug-in or not? If, as rumoured, the Prius get plug-in capabilities then we would like to make some requests.

So we wish for some not-skinny tyres, something normal as in other cars. Also we wish for more steering feel, less body-roll, less weird interior design. So not difficult stuff to master, basically make it more appealing for common folks that like cars. And why not make good use of the batteries weight in the new platform to lower the centre of gravity and improve weight distribution. I always thought that if one is going to put heavy batteries on a car then place it in the better possible way to improve handling. Now the plug-in part… NiMH or Li-ion… 12km full electric range or more… please make it happen!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Toyota IQConcept

Our most awaited concept car of Frankfurt show is finally presented: meet the IQConcept. Why is this thing our most awaited car?... you will know later, in the future. And we can tell it's not because of the design, it's something about a future technical feasibility that we really like at Auto-Future. So the thing below it's not particularly beautifull, and it's very small (almost 0.5m shorter than a Aygo!... and it can seat 4 persons!!!). But we like it and we hope to absolutely love it in the future.

Friday, September 07, 2007

What if?... a different Laguna!

Maybe interested readers in spy shots and future cars know this history: the Laguna III had a different front design before Carlos Ghosn arrived at Renault. The new boss decided it didn't suit so ordered a redesign of the front. Recently, in some Renault documents, prototypes using the old front are visible, although with camouflage. Which design is better?... it doesn't really matter now!

First review of Laguna 4RD

Autoexpress magazine published a review of a version of the Laguna equiped with 4RD, or 4WS if you fancy. Generally positive on the handling and dynamics of the car as expected. Meanwhile here are a couple of pictures of the system internals and the rear wheels steering:

It's Laguna day!

Today, just Laguna, nothing else! After following with interest the birth of Renault Laguna III we would like to point to some interesting features that make of this new car the undisputed leader in the mainstream segment. But, will the anonymous styling hurt sales of the most advanced car of its class (and note, we mean the maisntream class: Passat, Mondeo, Vectra, 407, etc.)? So, some of the great features:
- build quality and interior materials that are the best of the mainstream class;

- class leading passive safety (probably, maybe even the first 6-star in euroNCAP);

- class leading active safety in 4RD versions;

- handling that obliterates the competition in 4RD version;

Finally, this just in: the first picture of the Laguna coupe concept that previews the coupe version in 2008. More pics in this site:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

4 roues directrices... or 4-wheel steering in Laguna III

If the interested reader remembers we had some nice histories back in May and June about B91-4RD and some patents from Renault. Those were all about the 4-wheel steering system of the new Laguna. We have not read reviews about the new system yet but there is a new picture below that shows how it works, and it looks very simple and effective. Also notice the simple torsion-beam suspension scheme of the Laguna III (obviously the image shows the rear suspension and in this case steering)... in fact the new Laguna use a lot of the underpinnings of the previous version. Simple but effective, inside sourced have confirmed that in this 4RD version the Laguna will obliterate the competition in handling and active safety.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


The CGI below predicts how the F5 could look like. Although we believe it will not necessarily look like a van-version of the Concept CS. Oh dear, van... that's the forbidden word for BMW relating this model. The F5 will be the R-class equivalent in BMW, so it's a luxury van-crossover-whatever. Being a BMW it will be sportier than the R-class and for sure BMW will use the word dynamic a lot when marketing the new car.

It is interesting to notice how in this particular case BMW is following Mercedes and it will also be interesting to know if the F5 will achieve more success than the R-class that has lacklustre sales. We think it will suceed because the problem is not in the particular type of car but in the front design of the R-class.

Handling beats power

… or business as usual. But Audi started pushing the engine back for better weight distribution and bigger wheelbase and also started delivering more power to the rear wheels. And that has improved the car although not enough. Maybe in the next generation they start sending all the power to the rear wheels and making a proper sports-luxury RWD platform. But notice how the S5 wobbles on track, some better damping could help.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Audi RS6 in Nurburgring

Very close to presentation of this monster rumoured to have in excess of 570hp. Expect the Avant version to be shown in Frankfurt. Are we on the verge of an insane power war?...the power war has been on for years, but close to 600hp in this type of car is insane.

A generic 4-door coupe

It must have been one year since we got all crazy for 4-door coupes here at auto-future. Other than very high praise for the CLS many new models were predicted following that trend. And the influence of the CLS even brought a nice surprise in the new Jaguar XF: a 4-door coupe with a bit of excessive detailing.

The image below is of a new 4-door coupe that is the one for the people. The average people. So it's a bit generic, a nice interpretation of Mercedes leadership in the form of a VW Passat derivative. The generic 4-door coupe from VW will have predictable technical credentials already in use in the current version and, hopefully, better interiors with improved material quality.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A different Renault Laguna...

It looks nice, has a Renault badge and Laguna written in the plate. But it looks too good to be true!... and it surely doesn't look French.

Audi Q7 finally gets 5 stars... errr... no?!

This is making us look bad. Some months ago when EuroNCAP crash-test results of the Audi Q7 were made public we predicted that Audi would improve the 4-star rating very soon. I mean, it must be a simple task to get it properly done since so many cars now get the 5 stars. But not yet. Just now the Fiat 500 and Kia Ceed were tested and got the usual 5-star rating. Audi is making us look bad because this joint is about the future and we like to make credible predictions! Come on, surely it isn't that difficult for a car like the Audi Q7 to get the 5-stars... maybe improve the steel or whatever!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The road to EV future: Chevy Volt video

A nice story on the Volt with plenty of info. Our concept car of the year and, hopefully, very close to a future real car.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The road to EV future: Nissan Pivo

The Nissan Pivo is one of those rare concept cars that don't disappear from shows. Nissan keeps showing it and for good reasons: it is expected a production version in 2010-2011... but it won't look like this and it will not rotate.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The road to EV future: Plug-in Prius video

One day hybrids will be remembered as the Trojan horse of Electric vehicles. Another step in the evolution to EV future is promised by Toyota with the Plug-in Prius. Still, not a lot of range (about 8 miles on full electric), but others will follow.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sniffpetrol's new blog

Sniffpetrol site has a new architecture: now it’s a blog, and by the looks of it, regularly updated. Since it's a blog and still keeps the familiar orange design then it must be very good, right? It’s great of course. Amongst other interesting stories they have a new one on the Mini clubman that reports on something Auto-Future knew long ago but didn’t report… because we don’t like the Mini clubman. Regular Mini: love… Clubman version: don’t really care.

Another quality-orange blog, yesterday

Friday, July 27, 2007

2009 Audi A1

Recent information has surfaced on the next very-small Audi. British CAR magazine presented some “official” sketches of the car and interesting information. The drawings do look very nice but then that is expected, the final version might look closer to the preview below. The technical bits are more interesting because they refer to a new platform, different from Polo/Fabia/Seat underpinnings, and one that could have quattro AWD system (in this case read Haldex system). This is good for added credibility, much needed if Audi plans to take on the Mini. Some folks are now saying “oh crap, another we will not get in the USA” but then again, what interest could this car have for Americans?... well, I suppose Paris Hilton could buy one for her dog!