The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers, was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The innovative concept vehicle provides a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society. It’s designed to strengthen the link between car and driver as a close, reliable partner that delivers a safer, more convenient and more enjoyable drive.

By offering unprecedented enjoyment in motion and the ability to control the vehicle’s drive mode, the Nissan IMx aims to transform the everyday life of drivers.

“The IMx zero-emission crossover concept vehicle embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business.

“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan is committed to changing the way people and cars communicate, as well as how cars interact with society in the near future and beyond.”

Making travel more enjoyable: Nissan Intelligent Driving

At the core of the IMx’s technological features is a future version of ProPILOT that offers fully autonomous operation. When ProPILOT drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle’s occupants to relax and enjoy their commute. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position, seamlessly transferring control back to the driver.

Promoting the convenience and pleasure of electric driving: Nissan Intelligent Power 

The Nissan IMx zero-emission concept vehicle adopts Nissan’s new EV platform, designed for maximum efficiency. It allows the floor to be completely flat, resulting in a cavernous cabin and enhanced driving dynamics. With a low center of gravity, the chassis delivers sharp handling that promises to redefine the crossover segment. 

The powerful yet quiet powertrain delivers enhanced excitement. The IMx is propelled by a pair of high-output electric motors at the front and rear, giving it all-wheel-drive capability. They combine to produce 320 kW of power and an astounding 700 Nm of torque, sourced from a high-capacity battery which has been redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density. This new battery supports a driving range of more than 600 kilometers on a single charge, so occupants can enjoy an extended adventure without worrying about recharging.

Becoming part of the social infrastructure: Nissan Intelligent Integration

The Nissan IMx can also contribute to the social infrastructure like no other vehicle before it. For example, after transporting its owner to the airport, the IMx can park itself in a spot where the vehicle can connect to the local power grid and act as a “virtual” power plant by returning electricity to the grid, an extension of its vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building features. Once the owner returns, the IMx can pick them up at the terminal and drive home. The whole process is carried out efficiently, thanks in part to the increased battery capacity and connected-car technologies, including Seamless Autonomous Mobility.

New EV design philosophies for the autonomous era

Until now, vehicles have been designed with a clear differentiation between exterior and interior. Exterior design provides a sense of security from the outside, while the interior design gives drivers an appropriate environment for concentrating on driving.

This purpose-based differentiation is likely to change with the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. Nissan’s designers sought to redefine the interior space of the IMx to create a sense of openness, while maintaining a feeling of privacy. To achieve this, they endeavored to design a space that links up the inside and outside of the vehicle.

They also wanted to convey the key characteristics of electric vehicles – quiet and smooth with a sense of light, yet powerful and dynamic. They took inspiration from the Japanese concepts of ma, a sense of space and time, and wa (harmony), expressing the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory concepts – “stillness” and “motion.” 

Exterior design: showcasing the unique characteristics of electric vehicles 

The IMx’s styling conveys its clean and sporty electric-vehicle attributes by incorporating Nissan’s signature design features. From the familiar V-motion grille, the supple character line rises and flows to the hood and rear end. The broad surfaces of the distinctively shaped front fenders start from the grille and expand seamlessly onto the body sides, creating a sense of layers.

The vermillion accent color, contrasting vividly with the pearl white-colored body, is inspired by uramasari, which describes the beauty and extravagance found on the inside of traditional Japanese kimonos.

Interior design: spacious and relaxing, with simplicity 

The IMx concept vehicle’s interior adheres to the basic concept of space that can be found in a traditional Japanese house, suggesting a sense of openness.

The car’s panoramic OLED instrument panel displays a view of the external environment in the background. A separate, wood grain-patterned display, positioned below the instrument panel and wrapping around the interior door trims, gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a traditional Japanese paper screen.

The katanagare diagonal pattern on the seats has been delicately etched with a laser cutter. The head rest – patterned like kumiki, a Japanese interlocking wood puzzle – is made from silicon-material cushioning and a frame produced by a 3D printer.

Artificial intelligence enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. This intuitive interface results in fewer physical controls and switches, making the cabin of the IMx simple yet highly efficient and adding to its supreme comfort.

Subaru unveiled its VIZIV Performance Concept at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show. The VIZIV series of concepts embodies Subaru’s vision for the future of making cars that deliver “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind.”

The first sedan body of the series, the VIZIV Performance Concept symbolizes superior Subaru driving performance and the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) layout, powered by a Boxer engine honed over more than five decades of development.

In sports sedan form, it conveys the concept of driving enjoyment that Subaru continues to pursue. In anticipation of widespread future deployment of automated driving technologies, advanced driver assist functions, combining the next generation EyeSight® system with other devices, are installed.

The name VIZIV derives from “Vision for Innovation.” 

MAIN SPECIFICATIONS

Body size (overall length × width × height): 4,630 × 1,950 × 1,430 mm
Wheelbase: 2,730 mm
Tyre size: 245/40 R20
Seating capacity: Five

Design Features

The VIZIV Performance Concept draws inspiration from previous production models symbolizing the Subaru driving experience: the Legacy (Liberty in Australia), which defined Subaru as a driver’s car, plus Impreza and WRX, which took the World Rally Championship by storm. 

Based on Subaru’s “Dynamic X Solid” design philosophy, this next-generation sports sedan encapsulates driving enjoyment. 

Driving performance is highlighted by a low centre of gravity, the dynamic flare of the guards, use of carbon fibre parts in the bumpers, guards and roof, and the glimpse of the exhaust in the rear bumper. The three-dimensional form of the front grille is flanked by hawk-eye headlights while the muscular guards point to the reliability of Symmetrical AWD. 

ADVANCED DRIVER ASSIST TECHNOLOGIES

Subaru has teamed advanced driver assist technologies scheduled for launch around 2020, with the high performance offered by the Boxer engine and Symmetrical AWD - creating a sports sedan symbolizing the “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” expected of its cars. 

By also incorporating further enhancements to EyeSight driver assist technology, radar and highly accurate GPS and navigation systems, Subaru continues to pursue the ultimate levels of safety, aimed at eliminating accidents.

BRZ STI SPORT

Also unveiled in Tokyo was the BRZ STI Sport. While on-sale only in the Japan domestic market, some elements will be included in a yet-to-be disclosed Australian variant, which will be on sale around end of year. The new range-topping variant in Japan has been jointly developed with Subaru Tecnica International (STI), to achieve new levels of driving performance, quality feel and luxury.

The suspension features flexible V-braces and flexible draw stiffener front suspension. Exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and high-performance tyres are used. The ZF-made SACHS shock absorbers, and coil springs specially tuned by STI, improve steering response and suppress roll - achieving flexible but highly stable driving performance.

The exterior is highlighted by an exclusive front bumper and adopts glossy black components, emphasizing strength and superb driving performance. The interior colour motif is unique to the variant, featuring Bordeaux red coordination. Quality materials include genuine leather and Alcantara® seats. 

Exclusive components are used for the instrument panel and its glare shield, and for the steering wheel, creating a sporty and special space.

MAIN FEATURES OF BRZ STI SPORT

Suspension and wheels

  • Specially tuned SACHS shock absorbers (made by ZF) and coil springs
  • STI-designed flexible V-braces
  • STI-designed flexible draw stiffeners (front)
  • 18-inch black alloy wheels
  • 215/40R18 high-performance tyres
  • Brembo four-wheel ventilated disc brakes

Exterior

  • Exclusive front bumper
  • STI emblem (front and rear)
  • BRZ emblem (black)
  • Exclusive front bumper garnish (with STI logo)
  • Power-retractable remote-control door mirrors (black)
  • Black shark fin antenna

Interior

  • Exclusive Alcantara® leather seats (Black/Bordeaux red; front seat heater)
  • Instrument panel with exclusive TFT colour Multi-Information Display (STI logo)
  • Exclusive instrument panel glare shield (Grande Luxe, red stitching)
  • Exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel (high-tactile leather, red stitching, with dark cast metallic trim)
  • Exclusive door armrests (Bordeaux red, red stitching)
  • Exclusive shoulder pads (Grande Luxe, red stitching)
  • Piano black trim (air conditioner switch panel, power window switch panel)
  • Stainless steel side sill plates with STI logo

At the 45th Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on October 27, 2017, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will celebrate the world debut of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT. The all-electric high performance SUV embodies MMC’s new brand strategy under the new “Drive your Ambition” global tagline, a strategy that reflects an adventurous and progressive mindset for inspirational design and product.

The MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT is a technical prototype to illustrate the strategic directions of a renewed MMC brand that incorporates the strengths of SUV, EV, and the ability to integrate new systems for a connected mobility customer experience.

Under this new ethos, MMC will expand its customer base, leveraging its strong pedigree of driving performance and reliability with breakthrough SUVs and crossovers. As a first-mover in electric vehicles, MMC will expand and accelerate its EV deployment. MMC will push the technological envelope with a tightly integrated system of AI, connectivity, on-board and cloud computing.

"Robust & Ingenious": The design philosophy of Mitsubishi Motors

MMC has adopted a design philosophy under the title "Robust & Ingenious.”

“We aim to provide vehicles that fulfill our customers' desires through outstanding design, combined with the power, authenticity and carefully-considered functionality Mitsubishi Motors is known for,” said MMC Head of Global Design Tsunehiro Kunimoto.

Robust & ingenious, the design language of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT, is a study in contrasts. MMC vehicles of the future are meant to be sincere, tough, and functional. At the same time, they will be clever, resourceful, style-setting and technologically advanced.

The design of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

MMC has a long and strong heritage. Think of “Mitsubishi Motors,” and proven off-road performance, along with superior 4WD control come to mind. Now, the banner of superior, high-performance 4WD control is carried forward by the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT. The design expresses the readiness to grip the ground with all four-wheels, and the agility of a high performance cross-country tourer.

The front face design of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT is a fresh take on MMC’s archetypal DYNAMIC SHIELD design. The black grille is shielded under glass, a subtle hint that this car is a high performance electric vehicle. Protected under the glass, and accentuated by blue lines for emphasis, sit cameras and sensors. Large air intakes are located beneath the headlamps, ready to cool the electric brake calipers. Adding to the vehicle’s excellent aerodynamics, the drawn-in air passes jet tailfins on the C-pillars before exiting on either side of the rear bumper.

A sharply slanted front windshield and short overhangs give the e- MITSUBISHI EVOLUTION CONCEPT a unique side profile that has not been possible before the arrival of electric propulsion. High ground clearance, short overhangs, strong shoulders, and narrow hips project nimbleness and agility. Muscular tires that protrude at the four corners communicate powerful 4WD torque. Bars running from front to rear along either side of the roof enhance the vehicle’s muscular attitude.

The large hexagon shape at the rear draws inspiration from the spare tire cover of the quintessential SUV, the legendary Mitsubishi Pajero, a hallmark of off-road driving, and one of the most iconic chapters of MMC’s heritage.

Inside, the cockpit of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT shows that its designers suddenly had the freedom to go beyond the traditional firewall. The MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT is powered by three torqueful electric motors, and the absence of a big internal combustion engine under the hood gave designers the space to realize a radically novel cockpit. Its instrument panel appears to float in front of the driver. It is a MMC vehicle, and the instrument panel adopts MMC’s trademark horizontal styling, with the focus on information above the axis and on operation below. Acting like a level in an electronic viewfinder, the horizontal instrument panel makes it easier to sense the state of the vehicle during driving – form follows function well down the road.

A large flat screen spans the full width of the dashboard. It displays outside conditions, navigation and coaching information. The large screen is flanked by two smaller screens, showing images from front and rear cameras. Full-glass windows provide near unobstructed 360-degree visibility, for a feeling more akin to a jet fighter than a car.

The technologies of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

EV system: The MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT uses high-torque, high-performance electric motors, fed by a high-capacity battery system to deliver the smooth and powerfully responsive performance that distinguishes EVs from ICE-powered vehicles. The drive battery is located under the floor mid-ship of the vehicle, providing a low center of gravity for the utmost driving stability.

4WD system: For exceptional driving performance, the triple motor 4WD system employs a single motor to drive the front wheels, complemented by a new Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system that couples two rear motors through an electronically controlled torque-vectoring AYC unit. All of this is integrated into MMC’s unique Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamic control system. Cornering performance and traction performance are improved. The brakes of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT responsively and precisely control the driving forces with the help of electric calipers that supersede the conventional hydraulic caliper. The effects of the system can be felt and appreciated immediately, even at low speeds when G-forces are low. Whether driving around town, on expressways, or winding roads, the fully electric vehicle always provides crisp and nimble handling that faithfully mirrors driver intent.

AI system: The brain of the MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that augments the driver’s capabilities. An array of sensors allows the AI system to instantly read changes in road and traffic conditions, as well as the driver’s intent. Seamlessly coordinating driver intent with vehicle performance, the system supports drivers of all abilities. By making it easier and safer to control the vehicle, the motoring experience is brought to a new level. A special coaching function allows the AI system to transfer knowledge to the driver, and to unobtrusively enhance the driving expertise. After building a picture of the driver’s skill level, the system constructs a training program that provides advice through voice dialogue and a large dashboard display. As a result, drivers of all abilities quickly experience a vehicle that behaves the way they want it, and soon they find themselves enjoying the driving experience to an even greater degree.

Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled two concept models, the Mazda KAI CONCEPT and the Mazda VISION COUPE at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show. Organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the show will be open to the public from Oct. 28 through Nov. 5.

The Mazda KAI CONCEPT compact hatchback heralds a new generation of Mazda cars. Featuring the next-generation SKYACTIV-X petrol engine, SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture and a more mature expression of the KODO design language, the model embodies the technology, engineering and design concepts that will define the next generation of Mazda cars.

Refinements in all areas of dynamic performance have produced a dramatically quieter, more comfortable ride and an enhanced performance feel. The KAI CONCEPT features muscular, solid proportions and its form is brought to life by a delicate flow of reflections over the body sides.

The VISION COUPE represents Mazda’s design vision for next-generation models; a more mature expression of KODO applies a Japanese aesthetic to achieve more elegant and premium styling. The exterior features a “one motion” form that exudes a sense of speed and the interior combines three-dimensional depth with a strong longitudinal axis to create a relaxed space that maintains a sense of speed.

In line with its “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” long-term vision for technology development, Mazda aims to use the fundamental appeal of the automobile – driving pleasure – to inspire people, enrich society and help bring about a beautiful earth. By offering an experience of car ownership that celebrates driving, the company hopes to enrich lives and build a strong bond with customers.

Honda has revealed an all-new electric vehicle, the Urban EV Concept, at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept car is built on a completely new platform, and sets the direction for the technology and design that will appear on a future battery electric Honda production model.

The concept was officially introduced by Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, during his press conference speech. “This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019,” he added, confirming that the concept is set to be launched within two years.

Exterior design

Honda’s Urban EV Concept showcases advanced technology within a simple and sophisticated design. Its low and wide proportions give the car a planted, muscular stance that hint at sporty driving performance. Its compact proportions mean it has a total vehicle length 100mm shorter than the Jazz supermini.

The Honda emblem on the concept is backlit in blue, which previews a new styling feature for the company‘s future EVs. At the front of the car, interactive multilingual messages can be displayed between the headlights, including greetings, advice for other drivers on the road, or charging status updates.

Interior design

The driver’s outward visibility from the Urban EV Concept is excellent thanks to slim A-pillars and a wide windscreen that appears to sweep around the entire front of the car. Entry and exit from the vehicle is via rear-hinged coach doors. The electric charging cable connection is housed on the bonnet.

Honda’s Urban EV Concept can accommodate four occupants, across two bench seats finished in different materials. To create a lounge feeling, the front row is upholstered with natural grey fabric, with the seat backs, squabs and arm rests embellished with contemporary wood finish accents. The seatbelts for the rear bench are fixed in the middle of the seat, allowing the belt to retract out of the way before a passenger exits the car.

The same wood finish wraps around a large ‘floating’ dashboard console. This houses the steering wheel column, a set of simple control buttons, and a panoramic display screen. The dashboard itself is completed by a wrap-around screen that runs behind the console and extends into the doors. The main dashboard screen presents a range of vehicle information including remaining battery level. Whilst the extended door screens function as the car’s wing mirrors through digital camera displays.

Honda Automated Network Assistant concierge

Honda’s Urban EV Concept showcases the company’s vision for a world where mobility and daily life are seamlessly linked. The on-board advanced Honda Automated Network Assistant acts as a personal concierge, which learns from the driver by detecting emotions behind their judgments. It can then apply what it has learnt from the driver’s past decisions to make new choices and recommendations.

Honda Power Manager

New methods for managing energy transfers between the grid, homes and electric vehicles could provide revenue opportunities for EV owners in the future. Honda’s Power Manager Concept, revealed alongside the Urban EV Concept in Frankfurt, is a smart system that can store energy more efficiently, releasing electricity generated by renewable sources back into the home or selling it back to the grid.

Electric Vision

Honda’s ‘Electric Vision’ strategy, launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, includes the development of a dedicated electric vehicle platform, featuring fully-electric powertrain technology. Key parts of the powertrain development will include a high-density, lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and the evolution of energy transfer functions – both to and from the vehicle.

The BMW Group is using the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach to present its exciting new take on a BMW roadster. Dynamic, progressive and an irresistible purveyor of thrills, the BMW Concept Z4 boasts lithe and compact proportions, a dynamic silhouette and an emotionally appealing use of forms.

The attention-grabbing design study offers a look ahead to the series-production version of the car set to be unveiled over the course of next year.

“The BMW Concept Z4 in an all-out driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Stripping the car back to the bare essentials allows the driver to experience all the ingredients of motoring pleasure with supreme directness. This is total freedom on four wheels.”

A statement of unbridled driving pleasure.

The sporty and progressive BMW Concept Z4 encapsulates the BMW Group’s vision of a modern roadster. “The BMW Concept Z4 expresses the new BMW design language from all perspectives and in all details. From the dynamic- looking front to the striking flanks to the clean-cut tail end: a few lines and the subtle interplay between surfaces are enough to generate a sense of power and emotion,” adds van Hooydonk.

BMW’s roadster tradition, reloaded.

The BMW Concept Z4 adopts classical roadster design cues, such as a long wheelbase, a low-slung, stretched silhouette and a compact rear end, wraps them in a fresh, confident package and enriches them with the contemporary BMW design language. A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the centre of the car than in previous BMW roadsters. This gives the new proportions a focused, sporty and agile feel. The outline of the car follows a distinct wedge shape, which fills the BMW Concept Z4 with dynamism before it even pulls away. The large domes stretching out rearwards from the cabin elegantly integrate the function of rollover bars and provide a sporting conclusion to the low-to-the-road silhouette at the rear.

Reimagining the design language and surfaces.

The clearly sculpted shark nose at the front end spawns dramatic surface contouring that extends the full length of the flanks. The new direction taken by BMW’s design language can be seen here in just a few precise lines that form clear surfaces, while the body’s volumes are powerfully sculpted. The surfaces and forms therefore create an extremely modern and emotionally engaging impression. The large Air Breathers rearwards of the front wheels act as the source of the flanks’ elaborately modelled surfaces (they appear to be shaped by the flow of air as it exits the Air Breathers). Light and shaded surfaces develop in a rising movement towards the rear, then twist to form muscular wheel arches and athletic volumes.

All of which shines a bright stylistic spotlight on the car’s rear-wheel drive. The dramatic interplay of lines and surfaces underscores the wedge shape of the flanks and infuses them with even greater dynamism. And the low door sills, with their distinctive crease, makes the body appear closer to the road, emphasising the low-slung sensation when viewing the car from the side.

The expressive Energetic Orange frozen exterior paint finish showcases the contrasts of light and shade in the surfacing, accentuating the three- dimensionality of the exterior. And the 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a sporty bi- colour double-spoke design provide harmonious finishing touches to the styling of the flanks.

Low and progressive – the front end.

The design of the BMW Concept Z4’s front end is undeniably sporty in nature. The relationship between the low-set, broad kidney grille and the positioning of the headlights higher up sparks deliberate associations with the BMW Z8 and lends the BMW Concept Z4 a certain flamboyance. In place of the customary bars, the inside of the kidney grille features elaborately designed mesh, whose vertical orientation recalls the sporty, functional kidney design of early BMW roadsters such as the BMW 328 Mille Miglia. In a departure from the BMW norm, the Concept Z4 provides a vertical interpretation of the classical four-eyed

headlight look, with two overlapping tubes on each side. The turn signal indicators point diagonally towards the kidneys from above and underline the dynamic flair of the front end. And the clamshell bonnet with stylised gill vents curves over the wheels, creating an intriguing and virtually seamless sweep over the front end as a whole.

The front apron cuts a genuinely athletic figure with its sculptural design language. Its trio of large air intakes are a nod to the powerful engine further back and so carry the promise of a dynamic driving experience. The large carbon-fibre insert in the central air intake is straight out of the motor sport playbook and champions the use of detail to emphasise the front end’s dynamic presence.

Together, these design elements compose a fresh and memorable face for the Concept Z4 – one which pays a very modern and sporting tribute to the celebrated roadsters of BMW’s past.

Athletic and eye-catching – the rear end.

The design of the BMW Concept Z4 likewise references details and qualities from BMW’s rich roadster tradition and updates them for the years ahead. The wide and low design of the rear picks up the lines of the car’s flanks and massages them into a modern rear of beguiling clarity in terms of surfaces and styling elements. The powerfully flared wheel arches give the car broad haunches, which are emphasised by the slim, L-shaped rear lights and therefore further enhance the car’s sporting stance.

Above the rear lights, the boot lid – complete with prominent spoiler – stretches across to the burly wheel arch extensions, sending out a message of power-infused agility. Below, large air outlets in the rear apron create their own dynamic impression. The carbon-fibre diffuser adds a sporty and exclusive flourish and signs off the rear end at its lowest point to the road.

Exterior and interior in unison.

The kinship between the interior and exterior of the BMW Concept Z4 is evident in both forms and colour scheme. The design language of the interior takes the powerful, three-dimensional character of the exterior and adds another voice to the dynamic chorus. Much of the interior adopts the colour of the car body, creating a clear visual link between the interior and exterior. Only a classy chrome trim strip provides separation.

Maximum focus on the driving experience.

At the same time, the interior serves to reinforce the total focus on the driving experience too. The driver’s seat as well as the door trim panels, instrument panel and centre stack that encircle the driver are finished entirely in black, meaning that they stand out prominently from the coordinated orange shades of the exterior and the rest of the interior. Together they form a clearly defined area that wraps around the driver like a capsule, producing a very sporty sensation.

This creates a pure-of-purpose driving environment with a pronounced “cone of vision”, where the steering wheel as well as the surrounding black surfaces appear to be surging forward and, in so doing, accentuate the cabin’s powerful driver focus.

The instrument cluster and central information display form a high-quality cluster of screens that are integrated into the driver’s cockpit to flawless ergonomic effect. The two displays are now positioned at almost the same height and in close proximity to one another, which gives the impression of a single, cohesive unit. They work together to deliver the right information at the right time. The driver can choose which elements they wish to call up (via touch command) from the content available in the information display – route guidance, playlists or other infotainment features. Above the instrument cluster, the Head-Up Display presents the key driving information within the driver’s direct field of view.

Prominent surfacing.

Emerging from the driver’s side of the cabin is a sporty instrument panel of inherent lightness. The clever arrangement of surfaces and edging breaks up the considerable volumes and engenders the impression of a powerfully chiselled muscle. The clear wraparound design from the doors to the instrument panel enhances the sporty, cocooned feeling in both seats.

Pared back to the essentials.

In keeping with the focus on the essentials, all the controls are grouped into “function islands”. Nothing distracts from the driving experience. Trim elements inside the cabin are likewise minimalist in nature. Indeed, it is instead the classy materials, carefully applied polished chrome accents and swish, hexagonal laser- cut motifs in the seats that do most to create the interior’s exclusive ambience. Carbon-fibre door sill finishers and embossed asymmetrical logos in the seats and instrument panel set the seal on the interior’s sporting profile.

The BMW Group is using this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to unveil the BMW Concept 8 Series, the essence of a modern-day BMW coupe wrapped up in an enthralling design study. The study car will serve as a taster of a forthcoming BMW model – the new BMW 8 Series Coupe, slated for launch in 2018 and part of the biggest model offensive in the company’s history. The NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy sees the BMW Group aiming to significantly increase sales and revenues in the luxury class, and the BMW 8 Series Coupe plays an important role here.

“The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” explains Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger. “The forthcoming BMW 8 Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.”

The BMW Concept 8 Series reveals much of what is to come. “The BMW Concept 8 Series is our take on a full-blooded high-end driving machine,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “It is a luxurious sports car which embodies both unadulterated dynamics and modern luxury like arguably no other. For me, it’s a slice of pure automotive fascination.”

The exterior brings together the past and the future

The BMW Concept 8 Series is immediately recognisable as a BMW, but also displays new design ideas and form-building techniques. “The design of the BMW Concept 8 Series provides a fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues,” adds van Hooydonk. “And it also showcases a new approach to the use of forms which is reflected particularly prominently in the car’s surfacing. A handful of crisp lines mark out clear surfaces, and the car’s volumes are powerfully sculpted. Together, these elements make a forceful statement and create a model brimming with character. In short, this is a driver’s car.”

The flanks: expansive surfaces set within a sporting outline

The silhouette of the BMW Concept 8 Series spreads low and powerfully over the road. The interplay of a long bonnet and flowing roofline bring dynamic allure to the car’s flanks, while the striking upward sweep of the concept’s trailing edge provides a crisp conclusion to the car’s rearward flow and adds another sporting flourish.

Within the car’s silhouette, the refreshingly clean yet also dramatic arrangement of surfaces and forms catches the eye and creates a crisp, modern look. The sharply drawn lines coursing over taut volumes represent a visual promise of the vividly dynamic driving experience that awaits.

A look at the details reveals two expressively styled character lines providing the border for surfacing that appears to be formed by air rushing out of the Air Breathers. Further back, the eye is guided to the pronounced flaring above the rear wheels. The flanks as a whole draw attention to a new aspect of BMW’s expertise in the execution of surfaces. Skilfully moulded line sources and flowing highlights accentuate the athletic contours of the BMW Concept 8 Series. And the exclusively developed exterior paint finish Barcelona Grey Liquid – a greyish- blue with highly iridescent pigments – shows off the surfacing to optimum effect.

Large (21-inch) light-alloy wheels feature a sporty and exclusive multi-spoke design and aero elements, generate visual depth and set the seal of the compelling appearance of the car when viewed in profile.

The front end: sporty, low-slung and visually striking

A large kidney grille, slim twin headlights and large air intakes form a striking, sporty front-end graphic. The classic BMW template has a fresh interpretation here, taking the company’s design language in a different direction. For example, the two kidneys are very low to the road and spread broadly across the front end. Taking inspiration from BMW coupes of years past, the kidneys are brought together by an unbroken frame to form a single large element. The grille widens as it extends downwards, emphasising the dynamic character of the BMW Concept 8 Series. Together with super-slim laser headlights and the hexagonal take on the “twin circular” theme, it brings a focused look to the front end.

The large side air intakes in the front apron intensify the car’s wide, sporting stance on the road and promise a very pure dynamic experience. The carbon-fibre element between them underlines the car’s sporty, high-performance character.

The rear: bold and modern

Emotional surfacing also dominates at the rear of the BMW Concept 8 Series, creating a low, highly sculpted tail with maximum width-enhancing effect. The rear is defined by the interplay between volumes and lines, which extend around from the flanks and shape the rear section of the car. The powerful wheel arches hint at the car’s dynamic talents and advertise its rear-wheel drive. And the tapering of the passenger cell and the car’s wide track shine a particularly vivid spotlight on this area of the car.

The slim, stretched-out rear lights extend far into the sides of the car and provide a connection between the rear and flanks. The lights themselves take the form of L-shaped blades and project out from the rear. They emphasise the width of the car and its muscular stance on the road, and their slender form gives the rear an ultra-sporty and modern flavour.

The dark, stylised carbon-fibre diffuser in the lower section of the rear apron adds extra lightness and a sportier feel to the rear graphic. Large, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes frame the rear section and point to the dynamic driving experience to come.

The interior: an emotionally rich blend of dynamics and luxury

The interior focuses on the essential: the task of driving. Once behind the wheel, the driver is wrapped in the tightly enclosed ambience typical of sports cars. The surfaces and lines all gravitate forwards and underscore the dynamic driving experience. The grouping of functions into control clusters, e.g. in the centre stack, the centre console and the doors, gives the interior a clear graphic structure.

Among the standout design elements in the interior are the fluid transition from the instrument panel into the doors and the sporty, enveloping feel of the interior. This impression is magnified by the smooth connection between the centre console and instrument panel, which together form the nucleus of the interior.

The high centre console and the instrument panel’s low visual focus add further emphasis to the snug and sporty feeling of space.

The interior of the BMW Concept 8 Series actively explores the contrasts between emotion and engineering, dynamic flair and luxury; its form suggests supreme sportiness, while exquisite materials exude exclusivity and high-grade design. For example, all of the driver’s contact points with the car are brimming with sporting character. The exclusive sports seats are slim in design, the carbon- fibre shell providing the basic structure and the finest leather making them the perfect place to sit.

The steering wheel continues along similar lines, its hand- polished aluminium spokes arrowing forward purposefully, and the red-anodised shift paddles bring the race track to mind. The contrast of aluminium and dark leather on the gripping surfaces emphasises this luxurious sense of sportiness in various details.

Merino leather in Dark Brown and Fjord White lends the interior a high-quality ambience. Accent surfaces in carbon fibre and hand-polished aluminium create deliberate contrasts and radiate a sporty and technical feel. Plus, a faceted ground gearshift lever and the iDrive Controller made from Swarovski glass with a smoky quartz look treat the interior to some modern and classy finishing touches.

A sign of things to come

The BMW Concept 8 Series is a preview of a model which BMW is set to introduce in a similar form in the coming year. The BMW 8 Series Coupe will build on the company’s successful tradition of luxurious sports cars and adds another exciting model – a genuine dream car – to its existing luxury-class line-up.

The BMW 8 Series Coupe will bring together razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury, and set new benchmarks in the luxury coupe segment.

China’s SUV manufacturer HAVAL unveiled the new hybrid-powered SUV coupe concept at Auto Shanghai 2017. HAVAL Design Director Pierre Leclercq said the design team was proud to produce an “expressive’ concept vehicle.

“HAVAL remains dedicated to building SUVs and developing different products that meet the different needs of all our customers. Within this palette of vehicles some of them should be more expressive than others and this is certainly the case with the HB-03 concept – the HAVAL Blue 03.”

Leclercq explained the HB-03 was a continuation of the DNA evolution shown in the HB-02 concept at Beijing in 2016, but added that this year the design team wanted to show something that is close to production.

“The HB-03 combines clever hybrid technology together with the pure excitement of a real coupe. It’s very sporty, mature and full of muscle. In profile, it clearly exhibits the centre line of a coupe with very dynamic attitude, but with no compromise on headroom and comfort of rear seat passengers.

“The vehicle features a lot of full surfaces as our form language. There are very sexy sheet metal movements and highly technical details that show the DNA direction for HAVAL. The rear view offers a unique GT-like configuration made by the combination of a very fast greenhouse combined with a small rear deck. A section of that rear deck has been optimised for an ideal downforce and is therefore highly aerodynamic.”

Leclercq said the HB-03 concept was meant to be a bit louder than other vehicles in the range. “We certainly wanted to express this with the interior and its mix of orange leather, carbon and black chrome, which give a unique and sporty character. This shows what customers can expect in the next generation of HAVAL in terms of design, functionality, quality and comfort.

“The interior shows a lot of three dimension effects in the overall theme, starting with an instrument panel that accentuates a horizontal theme. This helps us to integrate air vents that look smaller visually, without losing any functionality.”
Leclercq said the HB-03 concept was true to his philosophy of “simple, but strong”.

“The design expression should never be over explained. The best products speak for themselves. As a designer, I feel fortunate to work for a company that understands the importance of bringing such exciting vehicles to market. HAVAL is proud to design vehicles that are not only meant to transport you from A to B, but inspire you to enjoy looking at when you reach your destination. We want to design more vehicles that create desire and therefore carry out the best expression of our brand image.”

The concept vehicle is powered by the intelligent hybrid unveiled in Beijing in 2016, which delivers more than 200 kilowatts and 450 Newton-metres, while consuming just 2.1 litres of fuel to travel 100 kilometres. Rather than the traditional hybrid design of a separate combustion engine and electric motor, the HAVAL approach combines a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and transmission.

Linked to a rear-mounted NCM Lithium-ion battery, the high level integrated design delivers dynamic performance and outstanding fuel economy. The HAVAL plug-in hybrid powertrain will offer three distinctive modes for the driver to select from, according to their daily needs. In Pure Electric mode, drive is provided solely by the electric motor. The 95kW/278Nm motor is fuelled by a large 13 kilowatt/hour battery, providing a range of 65 kilometres while producing zero emissions.

In addition, the HAVAL battery can be recharged in about four hours from a standard household power point. The HAVAL system will also offer a Power mode, where drivers get the combined performance of both energy sources. On start-up, the SUV takes advantage of the instant response of the electric motor, with the petrol engine maintaining acceleration. With 450 Newton-metres of torque on tap, the HAVAL plug-in hybrid will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in around 9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 210 km/h.

The default mode is Hybrid Drive, which is designed for everyday use. Here, the vehicle will automatically alternate between drawing power from the 1.5-litre direct injection turbocharged engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption.

The results are in: dog owners agree that their four-footed friends should be as safe and comfortable in a vehicle as their two-footed fellow passengers. Dog owners also rate clip-in harnesses and non-spill water dispensers as the most appealing dog-friendly accessories in a dog-friendly vehicle.

The new Nissan "Rogue Dogue" project vehicle takes those ideas to heart – and adds a pack more – just in time for the one-off project's debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.

"For all of the dog lovers at Nissan, the Rogue Dogue is so much fun – the equivalent, I guess you could say, of riding with your head out the window if you were a dog," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "Of course, we also take pets' safety very seriously, which is why the Rogue Dogue includes secure leash fastening attachments in the second row and rear cargo area – along with numerous other features designed to make family travel with dogs more enjoyable for everyone."

The long list of Rogue Dogue modifications installed in the project vehicle includes:

  • Secured, removable custom dog bed in the rear cargo area
  • Built-in (fold-down) non-spill water dispenser
  • Built-in (fold-down) non-spill dog food dispenser
  • Slide-away dog ramp for easy access to rear compartment for small or elderly dogs
  • 360-degree (hoop and hose) dog shower with 10 gallon pressurized water reserve
  • Integrated dog drying system with compressed heated air dryer and outside hose attachment
  • Heated air vents for rear cargo bed area
  • Easy-to-clean custom interior materials
  • Modified second-row/cargo area pass-through passageway
  • Removable pet partition with Rogue Dogue logo between the second-row and cargo area
  • Second-row dog hammock (clips around front and rear headrests)
  • Raised rear floor in rear compartment housing utility drawer and dog ramp; drawer faces covered in custom easy-clean upholstery
  • Side wall mounted poop bag dispenser
  • Rear facing passive side view mirror cameras (video sent to hard drive) to capture dog's road trip experiences – head out the window, interaction between dog and other drivers – for later viewing
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Harness clips mounted in rear compartment
  • Rogue Dogue logo key fob

In the survey of dog owners, the top three most appealing dog-friendly features were found to be a clip-in harness hook (81 per cent), a non-spill water dispenser (74 per cent) and a slide-away dog ramp (55 per cent).

"Everything that we built into the Rogue Dogue project is actually very possible to add to a production Rogue, though you do compromise the available rear cargo area slightly for the ramp, storage compartments and the food and water dispensers," said Dennis McCarthy, owner, Vehicle Effects, Sun Valley, Calif. "But really, next to your family, your dog is your most important cargo, so why not?"

Bunce added: "More than 75 per cent of dog owners in the survey said that having optional features specifically designed for their dog's safety and comfort would impact their decision on which vehicle to purchase. So potentially, every dog might have its day – and their custom-equipped Nissan Rogue, too."

The Rogue Dogue is based on a 2017 Rogue SL with the Platinum Reserve Interior Package, featuring premium tan leather-appointed seats with special quilted leather inserts.

The Renault ZOE e-sport concept car revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show showcases Renault’s commitment to the ongoing development of electric vehicles.

Based on the all-electric ZOE’s supermini platform, ZOE e-sport concept draws on Groupe Renault’s three years of success in the FIA Formula E Championship. This all-electric single-seater series, fought on challenging street circuits around the world, has proved a popular and accessible way for the public to enjoy high-performance electric racing.

The two-seater ZOE e-sport concept echoes the styling of the latest Renault single-seater race cars, and its colour scheme reflects the livery of the e.dams team. The lightweight body structure is made of carbon fibre, and the car tips the scales at just 1,400kg, including the battery (450kg). This minimal weight in addition to excellent aerodynamics, power close to 460bhp and torque of 640Nm, helps the car to accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 3.2 seconds.

“The brief for the Renault ZOE e-sport concept couldn’t have been simpler: ‘Have fun!’. So we came up with something midway between a production model and a racing car… It’s perfect for lovers of extreme driving sensation,” said Stéphane Janin, Director, Concept Car Design.

“At Renault, we believe that electric cars are capable of addressing the needs of all types of customers, with the emphasis on driving enjoyment… The Renault ZOE e-sport concept is a stunning expression of this,” said Éric Feunteun, Director, Electric Vehicle Programme.

Sporty styling with Renault’s hallmark French design

The ZOE e-sport concept’s connection to Formula E is immediately apparent thanks to a colour scheme inspired by the reigning champion Renault e.dams team’s 2016/2017 livery. The dominant colour is Satin Blue with flashes of yellow on the door mirror and the front and rear bumper beading. The bumpers, lip spoiler and headlight/air intake surrounds have a carbon fibre finish.

The 20-inch diamond-cut aluminium alloy Sport wheels feature contrasting angles highlighted by a two-tone finish in black and Shadow Chrome. These rims come with a central locking nut.

The overall design retains traditional Renault styling cues, plus elegant flourishes from higher-end high-performance models. The ZOE e-sport concept has extra-tinted windows. Its doors are opened by a simple tap on the ‘open’ zone incorporating tactile sensors.

The headlights carry over the C-shape that has become a hallmark of the latest Renault models. The prominent vertically mounted backlit Renault front and rear diamond logos echo the styling of the Renault Trezor concept car unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

Inside the cabin, the colours and materials express the car’s sport pedigree. Black is the dominant colour, with a few splashes of blue and – notably for the controls – aluminium. The seats, steering wheel and door panels are trimmed with overstitched Alcantara.

Built for speed – and great handling

The ZOE e-sport concept’s stiff, lightweight structure allows for high performance, with superb grip and handling. Like the Renault e.dams Formula E single-seater, the bodywork is made from carbon fibre. The chassis features a tubular steel roll cage with protective Kevlar panels. It complies with FIA safety standards, allowing the ZOE e-sport concept to be used on race tracks. 

Outstanding aerodynamics are achieved with the aid of a front air dam, flat undercarriage, a Formula E-inspired diffuser and a large carbon fibre tailgate spoiler with a linear braking light. Inside, the ZOE e-sport concept has two Recaro bucket seats equipped with competition harnesses and a driving position that is ideal for track driving. A rectangular steering wheel gives drivers the broader field of vision enjoyed by Renault’s Formula E drivers. 

As in Formula E, the driver can adjust the powertrain settings and control energy consumption. The dash panel features three zones that permit management of the gearbox, driving mode (four options available) and brake distribution.

Energy efficiency from Renault Sport’s unique expertise

The ZOE e-sport concept’s powertrain is inspired by technologies developed by engineers at Renault Sport Racing and Renault e.dams. Two motors deliver a total of 340kW – almost 460bhp. By comparison, rules laid down by motorsport’s governing body the FIA, limit Formula E single-seaters to 270bhp. The two motors are identical, with one at the front of the car, the other at the rear. And, as in Formula e, they feature high-capacity permanent magnet technology to maximise energy efficiency. To exploit all this power, the ZOE e-sport concept’s battery has a capacity of 40kWh. 

As in Formula E, an air-and-water cooling system with a front-mounted radiator is used to make sure that the battery and control systems operate at the ideal temperature. The ZOE e-sport concept also benefits from Renault’s Formula E experience in terms of optimised power delivery to the wheels. Renault-developed power electronics govern battery energy accurately and dynamically to meet the driver’s needs at any time. Energy management is completely configurable and adjustable after each drive or during race weekends.

The electronic settings offer four driving modes that adapt, depending on whether the driver wants performance or a longer range. They can also be tailored to suit different types of circuit and driving styles, adjusting the power delivery between the two motors to place greater emphasis on front- or rear-wheel drive.

Race-inspired suspension ensures superb handling

The design and set-up of the ZOE e-sport concept’s chassis benefit greatly from the expert input of Renault Sport Racing’s specialists and their work on Groupe Renault’s most extreme performance cars. Built by TORK Engineering, the tubular steel chassis is based on those used by Renault Sport cars competing in hill climbs and ice races. 

The ZOE e-sport concept has a lowered ride height, wider track and four-wheel drive to guarantee maximum cornering stability. The double-wishbone suspension front and rear was developed for racing and maintains efficient axle geometry in all situations. The Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers are another by-product of motorsport and can be adjusted to suit different circuit types or driving styles, like those selected for the Renault Mégane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.

The ZOE e-sport concept’s large, 20-inch wheels are able to transfer all the car’s significant power to the road. Fitted with 245/35 R20 tyres, they are an unusual sight on a racing circuit. Suitably large brake discs ensure competition-style stopping power.

Electric motors deliver instant acceleration

The ZOE e-sport concept accelerates to 62mph (100kph) from rest in 3.2 seconds. Its maximum speed is capped at 130mph (210kph) and takes fewer than 10 seconds to achieve it. The high torque output of 640Nm (320Nm per motor) is available almost instantly. Electric motors deliver all their performance the moment they are activated, and it takes only a few tenths of a second for the ZOE e-sport concept’s motors to reach 4,300rpm. The acceleration is linear, uninterrupted by gear changes.

The electric powertrain does not have the jolts or loud noise emitted by an internal combustion engine. Like those generated by a Formula E car, noise levels are limited to the sounds of the transmission and tyre scrub.

Renault’s leading position

Renault tops the electric vehicle sales charts in Europe in a consistently expanding market. Renault is still the only car manufacturer in the world to offer a commercially available comprehensive range of electric vehicles to cover a wide variety of uses.

  • More than 100,000 Groupe Renault electric vehicles are already on the road
  • More than one electric vehicle in four sold in Europe in 2016 was a Renault
  • The ZOE was Europe’s top-selling electric car for the second year in a row
  • There’s an electric car for everyone, from the Twizy city car and ZOE supermini to the Kangoo Z.E. light commercial vehicle
  • At the 2017 Brussels Motor Show Renault announced that the Kangoo Z.E. Van will receive significant improvements to its range (168 miles NEDC) and charging system from the Summer of 2017 and a new Master Z.E. large van will be made available from late 2017
  • Groupe Renault was the first European car manufacturer to launch all-electric vehicles back in late 2012 and its strategy is to continue developing mass-market electric cars