Volkswagen eT! – The Reinvention of The Delivery Vehicle?

For over 60 years now, commercial vehicles from Volkswagen have maintained a visual presence on the world’s streets. “They are helpers in everyday life, which bring us people, goods, services, postal deliveries and occasionally emergency assistance” say Volkswagen Group Research, Deutsche Post AG the University of Art at Braunschweig. Which interestingly is according to VW, responsible for the “world of tomorrow” quite a large task for an automotive manufacturer, a post office and some art students.

Anyway this triumvir of our utopian future decided amongst themselves that the most impending threat to human civilization was medium sized logistics, and thus formed a think tank on transport and mobility issues (we’re thinking VW probably held the pen during this session). Eventually these research activities led to a completely new vehicle concept for the delivery and logistics field: eT!

But is the eT! The reinvention of the delivery vehicle it claims to be? In a word, no.

We can see what happened, basically… after being given a picture of a VW transporter by Volkswagen and whilst on a break from occupying corporate money grabbing wall street (fight the power!), the art students were let loose with crayons, the result being this ‘cool concept van’ which while admittedly having excellent ‘concept’ environmental credentials, and which would probably almost definitely make Postman “Patz” life easier… just isn’t that cool. 

eT! Go home…

Infiniti Getting Charged Up Over New Sports Car Concept

Infinity has announced that their new “highly advanced”, range-extending electric sports car concept is now under development. It will be revealed to all at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2012.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and Infiniti said: "At the Geneva show next year, we will present our vision for a totally new kind of inspired premium performance car”

This adds to current Infiniti already has hybrid and clean diesel models on sale. 

Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Joins the Jet Set in LA

The interesting Beetle R Concept has made its American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show following its unveiling in Frankfurt earlier this year. It’s no wonder that this attention-grabbing (seeking?) machine has crossed the Atlantic to try and steal Los Angeles limelight. The US was the biggest market for the previous New Beetle and that’s likely to remain the same this time around, we can imagine an whole new generation of ‘Mean Girls with surf boards’ making this the car of “sweet sixteen” parties everywhere… However on a design level, while the familiar outline of the latest Beetle is still clear, the R Concept adds the kind of muscled enhancements that seem entirely appropriate in California, so much so we expect it may be the choice of A&F models everywhere…

As for the engine… the Beetle R’s production siblings, the Golf R and Scirocco R, use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit providing 270 PS and 265 PS respectively, can we expect the same?

For fans of the old ‘new beetle’ the new ‘new beetle’ concept is certainly something to be excited about and we can see its popularity making waves… surfs up, dudes.

Honda Concepts at Tokyo Motor Show 2011

Honda has announced a line-up of concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show, including concept commuter vehicles designed for easy and fun mobility, and a new sports concept, hinting at the design direction of future models. The Small Sports EV Concept (Pictured) would be a next-generation compact EV sports model, which according to Honda would be ‘fun to drive’ while achieving excellent environmental performance.

Staying with the environmental theme, Honda will also be showing a concept AC-X, A plug-in hybrid vehicle offering ‘comfortable and enjoyable driving experience in urban and long-distance motoring’. With the choices of an “engine drive mode” for more spirited driving or an “automatic drive mode” for more relaxed driving. Sounds fun…

As if this isn’t enough we also have the Micro Commuter Concept to look forward to, A micro-sized, futuristic, electric city commuter vehicle which will become a highly accessible form of mobility. It also features a HONDA MOTOR COMPO two-wheel EV slotted inside this vehicle, two for the price of one, bargain! 

Subaru BRZ Concept to Premiere at LA Show


Subaru has announced that the BRZ Concept will make its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto show. The BRZ Concept is a pre-cursor to the eagerly awaited Subaru BRZ which makes it full production debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in December.

Built around Subaru’s core technologies, the BRZ will use a new 2.0 litre Subaru Boxer engine developed specifically for the model and with the latest direct injection technology to improve combustion and efficiency.

The Subaru engineered chassis is built with front engine and rear wheel drive configuration, allowing the engine to sit low and rearward to ensure lowest possible centre of gravity and to maximise the BRZ’s handling prowess.

The new compact coupe has been developed as part of an on-going joint project with Toyota Motor Corporation. All cars will be built at Subaru’s Gunma plant in Japan when production starts in spring 2012.

In a Frendzy

No motorshow would be complete without a number of quirky concepts from Renault.  This year’s Frankfurt is no exception with the debut of Frendzy, a half van/half car creation and the work of Renault design director Laurens van den Acker, and exterior designer, Deyan Denkov.

The interchangeable interior of Frendzy really needs to be seen to be believed.  Think of a car split between driver and passenger sides, one work focused, the other family, and you’ll start to get the picture.

This fully electric, asymmetrically bodied vehicle is kitted out with features such as a BlackBerry® Playbook™ which controls a 37-inch digital screen on a sliding rear door along with some rather ‘alternative’ features such as: a fabric roof which adapts to shape of bulky objects, magnetic fixings to allow loads to be secured to floor, a slate board in rear cabin for children to sketch on, and two colour ambient lighting settings to differentiate family (orange lighting) and work time (green)! 

The Frendzy is powered by a 59bhp, 167lb ft electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack concentrating on zero-emissions in line with the brand’s focus within the ZE range. The concept is truly confused, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing it coming out the Renault closet any time soon.

Peugeot HX1 Concept

When given the brief to design a car that is able to accommodate 6 people but still has to achieve a sporty exterior and remain efficient sounds difficult to begin with, I think we'd all expect a traditional people carrier with some tech gimmicks and sweeping lines.  However Peugeot's determination to become the ultimate style marque means that their new concept is something of pure luxury.

Sleek, sweeping and svelt dont begin to describe this land yacht.  The prominent bonnet hosting Peugeot's new lion insignia is the perfect canvas for the sharp lines and flowing grooves that lead into sculpted design of the body.  Peugeot have acheived a six seater people carrier that looks elegant and still focuses on the brands direction toward efficiency and Hybrid technology.

Here are some photo's and no doubt we'll be seeing this at Franfurt soon.

Mazda to unveal CX-5 concept at Frankfurt


A Facelifted Mazda 3 will feature on Mazda's agenda for Frankfurt, however the real gossip is the all new CX-5 concept!

Based on the Minagi Concept featured at previous shows, Mazda will be unveiling the all new CX-5 Concept vehicle at Frankfurt Motorshow.  A small crossover, it's only natural progression for the sports brand to be competing against the likes of Q5 and X3 markets, especially with such a strong product carrying the CX name.

The CX7 is such a stylish MPV and after spending two weeks on the road in America in the incredible daddy CX-9, I can only imagine how cute and funky the CX-5 will be, not only to look at, but to drive too.

Aston Martin unveil new V12 Zagato

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic DB4GT Zagato, Aston have delivered a rather good looking concept - a modern interpretation of the famous collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato, resulting in the V12 Zagato concept.

Designed in it's appearance as an endurance race car, the Zagato features handcrafted aluminium panels showcasing muscular design results that traditional methods couldn't achieve - for example each front wing features 7 separate pieces.

I think we can all agree that it's another rather beautiful Aston Martin, so here's some pictures...





Astra GTC Concept Becomes Reality

The GTC is probably the best looking concept to come out of the Vauxhall camp in a long time, and now we have confirmation that the first production cars are rolling onto roads for validation testing.


More information on the GTC will be available from June 7th regarding prices and specification, with the final production three-door coupé being unveiled at Frankfurt on September 15th.  Available from late autumn, the GTC will be gracing our roads and boasting Vauxhall's latest technology, including unique chassis features.


Mazda Confirms a CX-5 small SUV

Mazda has today confirmed that a newer, smaller SUV will be made, named the 'CX-5'.  After the Minagi was received so well, it's no surprise that the Zoom-Zoom brand should enter the smaller SUV market.

The CX-5 will join the CX-7 in the SUV line-up for the global market, debuting at Frankfurt in September of this year.


Peugeot get SxC at Shanghai

Shanghai Motorshow sees Peugeot announce their new concept the SxC, and it seems they aren't wrong in naming the new crossover, as it certainly turns heads.

The SxC features design cues such as a floating grille, a piercing gaze and proudly placed atop the grooved bonnet is the new Peugeot lion, poised and ready for a chase down the freeway.  The rear is sculpted and carries the high waistline that is nicely highlighted by the tail lights in their 'boomerang' look.  Sat on some 22" alloys, the SxC is dominant and wont go unnoticed.

The roof-rails tail off at the rear, in an original design that promotes the cars fluid design and kinetic energy - a subtle hint that could suggest how fierce this lion really can be.

Inside hosts the usual concept components - lots of blue strip lighting and angles that never normally make it to the production stage.  What is most interesting however is that this beast of a crossover is only a four seater, which immediately suggests that it's the French manufacturers answer to the latest trend in SUV coupés.  Suicide doors only serve to back this theory up too, however another popular concept element that is rarely seen to make production.

Finally the SxC features the HYbrid4 technology that Peugeot have championed, introducing batteries into a diesel engine.

Mercedes Concept A-Class

If the next A-class looks like this, then BMW, Audi and Lexus have a lot to worry about.  The small premium car market is a popular one and is a key tool in introducing new drivers to the brand.

Concept A-Class is full of aggressive lines that suggest a more subtle nature at heart and inspired by aviation, promotes a very kinetic flow to the body.  The grille has an explosive effect from its signature star centerpiece, reflected in the small dotted detailing within the wheels.  The lights also feature a 'starry sky' effect within and the daytime running lights are shaped in a winged fashion carrying the theme of flight.

Powering this beautiful concept is a new 2.0litre BlueEFFICIENCY engine which twinned with the dual-clutch transmission kicks out 210hp.  Quick, compact and classy.

Inside hosts a first for the compact sector, a radar based collision system that acts to prevent you from having an accident, with features like Brake Assist and visual and acoustic warnings.  Other technology includes integrated smartphone and a 'COMMAND Online' system, all surrounded by magenta lit dials and cream suede lining.

Mercedes-Benz are back in the game when talking about the design of cars today, and it shows.

Kia Unveil a Third EV Concept - Naimo

Kia seem very committed to the growing EV market and have unveiled a third concept today at the Seoul Motor Show.  Meet the Naimo, an electric Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV).

On first impression the Naimo looks boxy and typically Korean, but reading more about it - it's a lot more Korean than you might think.  Take the name for example, 'Naimo' inspired by the Korean word 'Ne-mo' (Neh-mo) meaning 'Square shape', a perfect descriptive for the new concept.  That's not all, the exterior design, from the lights the the wrap-around windscreen has all been inspired by the simple yet complex visuals in Korean art.

But stepping inside is where you really get the impact.  The door panels and floor are made from Korean Oak, while the headlining is made from Korean "Han-ji" paper, these elements are mixed with light emitting diode displays and full connectivity giving the Naimo a fusion between tradition and modernism.

There is no windscreen wiper, but actually a high powered wind jet to clear the rain and features 20 inch low-drag alloy wheels, equipped for efficiency in mind.

“Naimo is a perfect balance of innovation, high-tech and Korean tradition.  It was heavily inspired by the purity and grace of traditional Korean arts and crafts, but combines this with cutting edge technologies to deliver a truly premium experience,” commented Kia Motors’ Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer.

Naimo joins the EV range Kia are running current tests on, amongst various conditions.  Included in the fleet are not only EV's but hybrid and Fuel Cell technologies also, achieving zero or reduced emissions.

Range Rover Showcase Evoque Bike

Range Rover unveiled a Road Bike today... yes a pedal powered two wheel mode of transport.  Unless they are moving from one extreme to the other, Range Rover haven't just commissioned the usual set of luggage and travel accessories, they think that a nice white 'Evoque' pedal bike would look better strapped to the boot.

I'm kidding of course, they will probably still do the luggage set and the bike is merely conceptual made from 'Karbona carbon fibre monocoque'.

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director, a keen cyclist himself, said: "I wanted to create the ultimate accessory for the Range Rover Evoque – and what could be more perfect than an utterly contemporary, beautifully designed, bespoke Evoque bike. Like the Range Rover Evoque, the bike not only looks fantastic but is precision engineered for ultimate performance."

Lamborghini and the 700bhp Concept

Presenting the Aventador LP 700-4, a concept that shows the difference between supercar, and hypercar...

The Aventador, named after the Spanish Bull, is Lambo's latest concept, hosting an all new technology package and a new 12 cylinder engine, with 700BHP - posting a 0-62mph time of just 2.9secs... Oh and the doors open upwards :)

Saab PhoeniX Concept

Saab's host for their infotainment system comes in the form of the new PhoeniX Concept, inspired by aviation heritage Saab are back on track with their designs. The PhoeniX is the perfect representation of the rise from the ashes which Saab are making a spectacular show to watch.

Hosting Saab's all new Android™ infotainment system 'IQon', The PhoeniX showcases Saab's new direction not only for technology but also for design, claiming it to be 'Aeromotional' (another way to describe, totally cool and kinetic design - inspired by planes)

The rear hosts a jet black panel for the tail-lights to pierce through and the front is sloped and beautiful yet aggressive.  Finish this all off with what seem to be some very eccentric wing mirrors and you have yourself the future of Saab automotive (or should that be Aeromotive?)

Saab Announce New IQon Infotainment System

In a truely beautiful Concept Saab are housing their secret weapon...

An all new interface and infotainment system making the Swedish manufacturer look at their interfaces in a whole new light.

“With Saab IQon, there are no limits to the potential for innovation,” says Johan Formgren, Head of Saab Aftersales and commercial project leader for IQon. “We will be inviting the global Android™ developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity.”

Saab's new infotainment system is based totally on an Android™ platform, opening up to a whole new user experience, featuring in all next generation Saab models.  This means updates to things like sat-nav and music applications, an after-sales experience so personal that you could contact your nearest dealer wherever you are, or even do the shopping while sitting in traffic!  (These things aren't in the press release but I am just suggesting what I think could happen as Mr Formgren has told me to use my imagination haha)

The only close competition to this that we have seen would be Audi's MMI that integrates Google and Wikipedia.  But what Audi don't include is application downloads, which I can only imagine is going to be a selling feature to any Saab customer.