Friday, February 29, 2008

EV future: Audi A1

A recent report from German Auto-Motor und Sport indicated that the next Audi A1 will have available a plug-in electric version. These are great news considering that probably Audi will not be a pioneer in the area so others will have such technology even before. 2010 is now expected to be a great year for our EV future. The article also has other news bits on future Audis but it's all more of the same the EV related part is the most interesting of all.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Seat Ibiza

Some documents surfaced showing details of the new Seat Ibiza. The Ibiza is Seat's iteration of the B-class VW-Audi platform. The latest iteration is the Skoda Fabia, now in a few weeks we will meet the Ibiza, and next year the VW Polo. Later, the Audi A1 will arrive, being it essentially the same thing as its cousins although featuring a more robustness-perceived design and of course Audi's famous photo-perceived interior quality. The detail images of the Ibiza don't look pretty but don't worry because the final official pictures will show a much more accomplished design. Err... actually they won't, but then who cares!

Friday, February 22, 2008

New VW Polo minivan

The image below presents a possible interpretation of the minivan version from the next VW Polo. It shows predictable influence from the Up concept car. From the picture it does not seem like the next Polo minivan will be the first atractive car of this genre. Renault Modus, Opel Meriva, Peugeot 1007... all of these cars look like crap because of the poor proportions (the height is too big compared to the width). However, these cars frequently offer added capacity for cargo and more space for occupants. Rationally, very good cars, unfortunately it's very difficult to make an atractive design. Maybe the next Opel Meriva with its suicide doors will improve desirability.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ford Focus III station

Is it station what Ford calls the Focus station these days?... or is it break, or touring, or sportback, or lifestyle van... maybe they could try with acronyms in BMW's fashion: PAS-Progressive Activity Sedan. In the Focus case it could be PAH-Progressive Activity Hatchback. BMW will be using more acronyms for internal designations of future cars, other than the PAS, there is the CS concept and also the next SAS (Sports Activity Sedan, that is, the X4... a coupe-ish version of the next X3). One can expect other brands to start doing the same, as usual. I also invented a new acronym, in this case applied to the litlle MINI Clubman station: it's the POS.

Whatever name they call it, the next Focus station will borrow the great design of the 3rd generation Focus, if some of the CGIs turn out accurate... I sure hope they do, because the only thing Ford needs to improve in the Focus is to get a more emotional design, The recent restyling was a good move but Ford can do better.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Auto-future revisited: Diesel in America

Just recently it got to my knowledge that in the first months of the Mercedes E-class diesel availability in the United States, 12% of the cars sold were of the diesel version. That's a great number, particularly considering the total lack of momentum from previous diesel offers at Mercedes. This reminded me of a text on auto-future from September 2006 where the issue of diesel in America was discussed. Revisiting the text let's remember that a boom in diesel sales in the USA can be linked to the availability of diesel versions from European luxury brands (BMW and Mercedes) instead of the second rate "Mexican-made ratlleboxes", European-brand available previously... Next step is the mainstream-diesel from Honda that Americans can buy shortly in the Accord. However, diesel engines will face stiff competition from hybrids, particularly since GM and Ford will have new models available. Remembering the article from 2006 it seems the only thing that missed the target was related to Chrysler since Mercedes got rid of this manufacturer so now Chrysler will have a difficult time finding good diesel engines for their cars.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2009 BMW 5-series

Please take note of the keyword for future BMW sedans: sleeker. If you remember well, in 2001 BMW added a layer to the 7-series (as explained by Bangle) and initiated a new design language that included other features, such as the flame design that BMW's master of sheet forming techniques allowed. The design language spread to such cars as the 5-series and 3-series that became bolder and more complex. Future conventional saloons will bring a new direction towards sleeker designs and more elegance. Several reasons are on the basis of the shift: new emission regulations favour the research of more aerodynamic shapes, hence the cars will become longer, which makes it easier to reduce Cx coefficient. And also will provide for more interior leg space. Furthermore BMW has new offers in the range: new SUV, compact-SUV and coupe-SUV plus the "lifestyle" versions of the 5-series (Progress Activity Sedan)... this opens space for further differentiation by making the design of the classic sedans more sleeker and elegant. The concept BMW CS is a clear indication of the new direction, both in overall proportions and some of the detailing. The next BMW 7-series will be the first (again) to present the new language with the 5-series (see CGI below) following.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Peugeot SUV-like vehicle (3008)

What could be the perfect small-SUV? It should look like the image below, have just good-enough off-road capabilities, great on-road manners, efficient diesel engines and measures to lower CO2 emissions, and priced like a Ford Kuga/VW Tiguan. However, the next 3008 will not quite match those features: it won't look like the image below (it will resemble a compact monospace) and according to some inside information it won't even have AWD available. Pathetic, right? Don't really care...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

VW Touareg

The image below has been around for some weeks but only now it becomes interesting because we got confirmation that the front design of the CGI will be featured in the next Touareg (so the image is reliable) and other VW models, namely the restyled Passat (yes, the full chromed grille has to go!). A simpler execution will be found in the Golf VI and Polo, with less chrome horizontal bars.