Posts Tagged ‘2009 Geneva Motor Show’

BMW investigating more options in Project-i

Here comes premium priced mass transit from BMW.

by on Mar.09, 2009

BMW already has premium urban transit.

BMW already has premium urban transit.

Mass transportation in big cities? We automatically think of the minimalist Tata Nano that it’s said will make the people of India mobile; or of the Smart, the tiny car that you can park sideways in the smallest slot along the curb.

The BMW Group though, has other ideas, but they are not sharing them with us – yet. Two years ago the BMW started the so-called Project-i to look at possibilities for transportation in mega cities such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mexico City.

The first Project-i car is the Mini E, which was introduced at the Los Angeles auto show, last November. It was developed to acquire experience with electric powertrains. This month, 500 Mini E car swill be on the road in Los Angeles (250), New York (250) and Berlin (50). During a press briefing on “Efficient Dynamics,” BMW said that its home town Munich would be involved in the tests with 15 electric Mini models.


Sneak Peak: Infiniti Essence Concept

Proof that traditional shapes and styling cues can be lovely.

by on Mar.05, 2009

Traditional cues and relative restraint still attracts attention.

Traditional sports car cues and relative restraint for a show car still attracts attention.

Tucked away in the corner of the show hall in Geneva was an Infiniti concept car that was virtually unnoticed amidst the chaos of the first media day. By day two, as the crowds thinned and journalists headed home, the Essence created a buzz over its simple, elegant look. Since Infiniti is just getting started in Europe, intense interest in this show car might help establish the brand — hence the name and the clear intent of the car.

Essence in its, er, essence is a simple performance statement in the guise of a 592-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive gasoline/electric hybrid coupe. It builds on parent company Nissan’s decades-old tradition of performance cars, stretching all the way back to the 240Z –  with its long hood, short rear hatchback and two seats. Infiniti says Essence uses many of the technologies, including hybrid, that it hopes will set apart its production cars of the coming years. The marketing tagline of “Inspired Performance” is hardly unique in the idea it conveys, as variations appear consistently in the promotion of other, much more established brands, so it is going to take serious hardware to play successfuly in this game.

This is a classic sports car in proportion and cues, no matter that it’s called “Dynamic Adeyaka,” whatever that means. One interesting detail is the trim around the side air vents. Made from aluminum,  they are based on “kanzash,” the hairpin used by women when wearing a kimono. Other lines and details are said to be inspired by the wide brush strokes of Japanese calligraphy.


Lagonda Lives, Yet Again

Aston Martin tries to revive a storied nameplate.

by on Mar.04, 2009

Lagaond is trying a tried, but maybe no longer true SUV strategy.

Aston in re-establishing Lagonda is trying a tried, but maybe no longer true, SUV sales strategy.

Porsche had a sales hit with the Cayenne. Even as purists sneered, it doubled sales. Aston is trying the same SUV approach with its Lagonda concept introduced at Geneva. Whether it’s derivative or daring will ultimately be decided by punters. Big spenders in 100 countries are targeted when it appears in 2012 for what will likely be a +$200,000 asking price. Included in the planned comeback is a return to Russia, where Lagonda – a British company established and owned by an American — had its first successes more than 100 years ago. Lagonda was the Indian name of a creek in Ohio near founder Wilbur Gunn’s birthplace.

“The Lagonda is the luxury car of the future,” says Aston Martin Lagonda Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez, “a combination of total usability, a new form and innovative new technology and materials.”


After 10 years I.D.E.A. Returns to Geneva

The Torino based design and development firm is expanding.

by on Mar.04, 2009

The Era is the latest concept from a Torino studio.

The Era is the latest concept from a Torino studio.

After an absence of ten years, the Institute of Development and Automotive Engineering returned to the Geneva auto show. The Torino, Italy, based institute did so with the presentation of the Era two-seater. It is the first new model that represents the renewal of the firm since it was taken over in 2000 by the Swiss multi-national Rieter Group, which has nearly 9,000 workers in the automotive sector. After the acquisition, the company moved to a new headquarters and now employs 400 people and has a turnover of about $50 million annually.

IDEA was founded in 1978 by Franco Mantegazza with the aim of providing a technological partnership with car makers. It grew in the eighties and nineties into a company with six operation centers that can handle the entire development of a car from styling to production.

IDEA has been responsible for significant projects and successful models, such as the Nissan Terrano II and Daihatsu Move. It’s also the partner of Tata Motors, working for the passenger car division. A recent result is the Nano, said to be the world’s cheapest car (approx $2,500), that debuted in concept last year in Detroit, and will be mass produced in India.


Sneak Peak: Ford Iosis Max Concept

Teasing the styling and size of the next C-Max.

by on Mar.03, 2009

Latest Iosis concept shows the themes of the next C-Max.

Latest Iosis concept has themes of the next C-Max.

Another Iosis concept car from Ford has arrived at Geneva. It‘s the third model in the Iosis range, that debuted in 2005 with a ‘kinetic design’ that was continued in the second Iosis X Concept in 2006. The latter showed what the Ford Kuga was going to be. The new Iosis Max Concept indicates the design philosophy for future Ford models, starting with the next C-Max. So be prepared to see the trapezoid grille and light emitting diode headlamps in future Fords, and also a sleek profile with strong shoulders.

“The rakish C-pillar combined with the upper spoiler that seems to be floating contributes positively to the critical air flow in the back,” says Martin Smith, executive director of design.


Sneak Peak: 2010 Toyota Verso

Can Toyota improve its crossover dynamics while maintaining comfort and utility?

by on Mar.03, 2009

The crossover tradition at Toyota continues with the 2010 Versus.

The crossover tradition at Toyota in Europe continues with the 2010 Versus.

In an early stage of automotive development, Toyota recognized the importance of crossover models and the Japanese came up with the Verso. The first generation, launched in the beginning of this decade as the Corolla Verso was a bit dull, but the second one called just Verso in some markets or Corolla Verso in others was received much better and sold well.

Now, on the eve of the Geneva auto show, Toyota unveiled the new Verso to a group of international media in a private event. There will be no press conference and unveiling at the show. Maybe it’s a sign of the recession-wracked times in Europe.

“I wanted Verso to offer a more dynamic drive. Most MPVs rate functionality over driving pleasure, so this is where Verso intends to stand out,” says Masato Katsumata, Senior Vice-President R&D of Toyota Motor Europe and chief engineer of the Verso.  Since Toyota in Europe, or elsewhere for that matter, is not generally known for its driving dynamics, but rather its long-standing bias toward comfortable tuning, we’ll have to wait for a test drive to verify the claim.


Sneak Peak: Opel Ampera

Late 2011 production confirmed for the electric car.

by on Mar.02, 2009

Opel reveals an electric car and the production plans at same time.

Opel reveals an electric car and the production plans for Ampera at the same time in Geneva.

General Motors Europe president, Carl-Peter Forster, unveiled the Ampera, an extended-range electric vehicle at Geneva this morning. He also confirmed plans to put the car into production in late 2011 in both Opel and right-hand drive Vauxhall versions in the United Kingdom.

“The Opel Ampera further demonstrates GM’s leadership in the electrification of the automobile,” says Carl-Peter Forster. “Its ground-breaking Voltec electric propulsion system is the kind of game-changing technology the automotive industry needs to respond to energy and environmental challenges.”

The five-door, four-seat Ampera is influenced by Opel’s design language of “sculptural artistry meets German precision,” incorporating several styling cues from the Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars.

Ampera is a pure electric car.  Its wheels are driven electrically at all times and speeds. For journeys up to 60 km, it runs on electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, and emits zero carbon dioxide — if you ignore how the electricity was generated in the first place. When the battery’s energy is low, electricity from an engine-generator extends the Ampera’s range to more than 500 km, Opel claims. The Ampera can be plugged into any household 230v outlet for charging, but the charging time for such low-voltage use is unspecified. GM Europe is analyzing the requirements of a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars with energy companies, including Iberdrola of Spain.

Sneak Peak: 2010 Nissan Qazana

Is that "Q", as in suqqess?

by on Mar.02, 2009

Nissan's latest Q-car, the Qazana, debuts at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

Nissan cues its latest European Q-car, the Qazana. Qazana debuts at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

 What do automakers have for specific letters? Ford has traditionally loved names that begin with “F,” as in Flex, F-Series and Five Hundred. Toyota has its “C” cars, such as Camry and Corolla. In Europe, Nissan is becoming addicted to Qs, as in the Qashqai compact SUV that debuted at the Paris Motor show, in 2006, and went on sale shortly afterwards – with significant success.

This week, at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, Nissan will cue up another “Q” car. Superstition? “Maybe,” said a source within Nissan Europe. “It clearly is a name that people think of immediately as a Nissan.” Whatever the reason, building on the success of the Qashqai, it’s now adding Qazana.

This global debut is important to Nissan, which hopes to underline its position as a pioneer in the field of crossovers. The Qazana not only builds on the tradition of the Qashqai, but also the Murano, of which the second generation is in production.

Sadly, all we can offer, until later this week is a teaser picture, but Nissan insists the Qazana concept has a striking design, dominated by large wheel arches and a lower, sportier stance than your typical crossover. Qazana is a five-door model, with rear doors opening forward after the front doors have been opened. (We promised not to call them “suicide doors,” but you can pick whatever name you choose.)

Nissan has been backing off on its auto show presence, abandoning the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, earlier this year, and nearly pulling out of Chicago. This past week, executives announced they’ll make further cuts in their near-term show presence. But Geneva will nonetheless be a big event for the Japanese maker. We already showed our readers the Pixo city car, and the NV200 commercial van. Nissan better pack them in now, while it can.

Sneak Peek: 2010 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

More power, more fun, more from Geneva.

by on Mar.02, 2009

Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

The BMW Group has won over a legion of fans with the Mini brand. The Mini Challenge racing series is a growing success and with the John Cooper Works models, Mini addicts are discovering cars that deliver near track levels of performance.

So, it’s fitting that following up on the launch of the Mini Convertible, which we drove just last month, Mini brings to the 2009 Geneva Motor Show a topless version of the John Cooper Works, the fast-growing brand’s third sporty model, after the original JCW and the Mini JCW Clubman.

The numbers are impressive, though we expect to see some JCW buyers trying to prove the factory conservative in its published 0 to 60 times of 6.7 seconds. The big speedo in the center of the dash is certainly going to encourage experimentation, with its 146 mph top speed. (more…)

Sneak Peek: Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche also unleashing 2010 Cayenne Turbo Diesel

by on Feb.27, 2009

2010 Porsche 911 GT3

2010 Porsche 911 GT3

Ok, we admit it up front, has already offered a look at the Porsche 911 GT3, which will debut at the Geneva Motor Show, next week. But how can we resist a few more shots, and a bit more detail.

What’s significant is that we expect the handling of the new GT3 again to be even better than of the outgoing model. When driving the GT3 a while ago, I could not imagine what Porsche engineers could improve. But obviously they still are very inventive.

With twice as much downforce, driving the new GT3 should be the dictionary definition of “on rails.” And for the first time, the sleek Porsche has a sporty tuned PSM, or Porsche Stability Management, system that can be switched on or off in steps.

A fuell efficient Porsche? The Cayenne Turbo-Diesel

A fuel efficient Porsche? The Cayenne Turbo-Diesel

The other Porsche debut in Geneva will be that of the Cayenne Diesel. The SUV now has a V-6 diesel making 240 hp, and it can reach a top speed of 133 mph. The maximum torque of 406 pound-feet is available from 2000 RPM. A six-speed Tiptronic S-transmission is standard. The combination propels the Cayenne from 0-60 mph in just 8 seconds. The PSM stability system and the PTM Porsche Traction Management are also standard.

Meanwhile, with a 26 gallon tank, the Cayenne Diesel is expected to deliver a range of more than 620 miles.