| Comments

The modern day incarnation of the iconic VW Microbus, the Budd-e offers a range of 373 miles and a top whack of 93mph.

Volkswagen has taken the wraps off the Budd-e concept at the CES which the company is keen to portray as the 21st century version of the iconic Microbus. The lineage is all too evident with both sharing similar looks but with the Budd-e incorporating futuristic tech to appeal to the 21st century crowd.

The front end is dominated by the large grille incorporating LED ambient lighting and is flanked by rather slim headlights on either side. The headlight fascia is stretched all the way back to the front door which does add some character to the sides. Similarly, the rear LED light flows from the tailgate and all the way up to the rear spoiler before merging into the C-shaped daytime running lights. Other notable style bits include the flared D pillar and the lack of door handles or wing mirrors.

The futuristic touch continues in the expansive interiors as well that houses digital displays in place of the analogue dials. In fact, this has been the speciality of the CES where digital displays have come to replace the analogue dashboard in almost all the concept cars that have made to the CES this year. An advanced gesture control system too has been previewed which aims to simplify things. For instance, simple gesture will now be enough for such acts as opening the door.

The Budd-e concept also comes with an advanced voice recognition system that responds to ‘Hello Budd-e’. The system is also intelligent enough to know who the speaker and can respond accordingly. For instance, if the passenger requests adjustments to the air-conditioning system, only those controls pertaining to the passenger will be changed.

Coming to the all-important powertrain, the Budd-e gets its motive power courtesy of two electric motors sitting atop either axle. A 101Kwh battery pack arranged along the floor provides the juice. Underpinning the Budd-e is a new platform dubbed Modular Electronic Toolkit which has been developed specifically for plug-in vehicles. Total range is pegged at a quite impressive 373 miles while top speed mentioned is 93 mph. There is a solar panel fitted on the roof as well.

The Budd-e can also act as an auxiliary source of power to run external appliances and comes with advanced connectivity options to communicate with say a smart device or the smart home of future.

| Comments

The Bolt is being positioned as a budget zero emission car for the masses.

The Tesla Model S might be among the best-selling zero emission cars on the planet right now though it seems General Motors have hit upon one crucial aspect to come up with an even better offering in the form of the Chevy Bolt: that of price. GM is positioning the Bolt as an ell-electric car for the masses and for urban usage while still holding on to the basics right.

And the good news on this front is that the Bolt, in its full production finery might be with us sooner than expected. While there weren’t any Bolt up for display at the ongoing CES, the good folks at CNET managed to grab a video shot of the car though unfortunately, that has seen been taken down.

Nonetheless, there are some screenshots available courtesy of Jalopnik that does provide us with a good idea of what the real thing could be like. First things first, the Bolt is not for the performance geeks, being able to make the 0-60mph in less than 7 seconds. Rather, it’s the total range of around 200 miles on a single charge that is of more interest, thereby making for a budget city car that runs on electricity.

Interior space is good with plenty of space. It’s an all-digital feel inside with the traditional dials making way for a LCD display. There is a large central mounted infotainment display as well. Built-in system monitors the driver’s driving habits and will show the stats to help improve driving habits to extract the best possible range. There is also a dope camera and an accompanying screen that make for the rear view mirror.

GM though hasn’t confirmed any of the details so far, including the $30,000 price tag that the Bolt is expected to command once ready for market debut.

| Comments

The new i8 Spider showcases new state-of-the art interior tech at the ongoing CES event.

Much along expected lines, BMW has an i8 Spider concept to show off at the ongoing CES event, which interestingly lacks any doors. However, rather than anything else, it’s a clever ploy on part of BMW to let visitors have an unhindered view of the inside which is where the real magic is.

The most striking aspect of the newly laid out interiors is the incorporation of three display units all aimed at making the drivers job all the more easy. First up it’s the head-up display unit that projects important information such as speed, prevalent speed limits along with navigational data onto the windscreen right in front of the driver.

Next comes the ultra-high definition display placed behind the new multi-function steering that has come to replace the conventional instrument cluster of yore. BMW stated the three dimensional setup displays information autostereoscopically where the depth of field is adjusted automatically to provide for the best resolution asper prevalent light conditions.

Among the information that gets displayed include speed, energy consumed as well live traffic stats. Elaborating the latter, the system feeds the driver with information such as oncoming traffic as well as those not immediately visible. This is vital in that it provides the driver with crucial seconds – seven seconds to be precise – to take corrective measure in the face of a possible collision situation.

Another striking aspect of the interior is the expansive 21-inch display that stretches from the center of the dashboard all the way to the passenger’s side. At just 8.8-inch in height, BMW allayed fears of the display obstruction forward range of vision of the driver. The display is designed to mate with the smartphone, smartphone or other smart devices for seamless data sharing.

BMW is also showcasing a new improved AirTouch functionality with the new i8 Spider which allows for better interaction with the touchscreen display without actually requiring to touch the display.

| Comments

The new aluminium spaceframe platform will underpin the future Rolls Royce vehicle with Cullinan likely to be the first of them.

Rolls Royce has commenced testing of its new aluminium spaceframe architecture which will go on to underpin the next generation models of the luxury marque. Though not confirmed but it’s the upcoming Rolls Royce SUV tentatively named Cullinan that could be the first to be based on the new spaceframe architecture. Not to mention, test mules of the Cullinan will undergo rigorous testing on various surfaces to ensure the SUV delivers the kind of ride and feel that the legendary marque has come to be known for.

The Cullinan which the company stated will redefine luxury in a SUV package is set to reach markets by the second half of 2018.

A completely new Phantom too is on the cards and will be the other beneficiary of the new architecture, more so given that the current Phantom dates back to 2003. The Ghost could well be the next to make the switch over to the new platform, probably towards the end of the decade.

The new platform is expected to offer better ride and handling characteristics, greater refinements and reduced tyre noise without comprising on structural rigidity. Another highlight of the new architecture is that it is expected to be compliant with BMW’s new advanced electrical architecture. This in turn should enable future Rolls Royce vehicles to offer some form of electric powertrains – read hybrid or plug-in hybrids – if not pure electric ones.

| Comments

The Ioniq will reach European shores only in the spring at the Geneva motor show

Things seems to be picking up pace with the Ioniq hybrd car which will serve as Hyundai’s answer to the likes of the Toyota Prius. The car is all set to storm into the local market by the end of this month itself for which orders are currently being accepted.

Those in other parts of the world will have to wait though as the earliest the car will be travelling out of its home market is in March when it will be debuting at the Geneva Motor Show.

Meanwhile, there is a new set of images of the hybrid that has come to the fore that makes some interesting revelations. These include the large hexagonal grille dominating the front, flanked on either side with the slender headlights that incorporates LED DRLs along with the front apron.

Coming over to the interiors, there is the large central infotainment display that catches the eye before anything else. Then there also is the dual-climate control system, sporty seats along with automatic transmission.

| Comments

Jaguar F-Type British Design Edition comes with several enhancements over the regular F-Type though power rating remain the same.

Jaguar has come up with a special edition F-Type that offers a fresh dose of individuality with the sports car. Designed in celebration of the company’s British lineage, the F-Type British Design Edition is available in both coupe and convertible body shapes and offers a whole lot of interior and exterior enhancements to justify its special badging.

To begin with, the special British Design Edition incorporates Jaguar’s Exterior Sport Design Pack that includes front bumper aerodynamic splitters, side sills and rear bumper venturi. The special edition also benefits from enhanced stopping power brought about by the fitment of the ‘Super Performance Braking System’ which is the same as in F-Type R. Bigger 20-inch alloys sporting a unique sating grey finish in place of the usual 19-inch wheels complete the exterior styling package.

The interiors are done up in leather with the color options being red, ivory and blue. Other highlights of the interior in the special edition model include sports seats, carbon fibre trim and InControl Touch infotainment with the latter complimented by a 380W Meridian Sound system.

Another unique aspect of the special British Design Edition is that its exterior color options reflects those from the Union Jack flag, which means its Caldera Red, Glacier White and Ultra Blue that the special F-Type will be available in. However, there is the black color option as well, perhaps owing to the popularity that it enjoys.

The heart of the matter remains the same though, which means it’s going to be the same 375bhp 3.0 litre V6 S engine providing the oomph. Power is transferred to all four wheels via a eight-speed Quickshift gearbox though there is also the option of a six-speed manual as well.

Coming to the price, the coupe costs £75,225 while the cabrio sports a price tag of £80,390.

Orders are currently being accepted in the UK with deliveries slates to begin in the Spring.


| Comments

The ZERO1 concept sports cars won't make it to production but serves to project the future design language the company will adopt in its future cars.

So much for all the hype that Faraday Future has been creating, all of it has culminated into the FFZERO1, the all-electric single seater racer concept which however will never make it to the production lines. The concept is still significant in that the FFZERO1 serves to provide us with a glimpse of what the future design theme that the company will be adopting with its future road-going automotive ventures which the company stated should be a reality within the next few years.

Interestingly, the concept car seems to have got leaked accidentally via its app even as the company is all set to launch the car tonight at the CES event.

Among the more important developments that the concept car comes to signify is the Variable Platform Architecture that the car sits on. And one of the biggest strong points of the bespoke modular electric platform is that it can be easily reconfigured to suit different vehicle types.

The platform is also designed to house up to three electric motors and can suit both two-wheel and four-wheel drive layouts. A fourth motor too can be added with little modifications. Adding to the platform’s adaptability is the way the batteries are attached to it, which the company claims is done via strings.

As for the concept car, it features a quad core motor setup with a combined power rating of more than a thousand horses or 968 bhp. The 0-60 mph comes up in less than 3 seconds while the top speed of over 200 mph. The McLaren P1 GTR with a similar power rating has almost the same performance credential as well with a 0-62 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top whack of more than 200 mph.

The cockpit comes with all the sci-fi bits that’s expected of a concept car, which includes augmented reality displays that gets projected onto the windscreen. Similarly, several of the car’s functions can be controlled vis a mobile phone mounted on the steering wheel. The car also boasts of a host of sensors to allow for autonomous driving ability in future versions.

“An extreme test bed for the fundamental ideas we are working on for upcoming vehicles” is how design chief Richard Kim described the FFZERO1 concept.

| Comments

The entry-level 530e will have an all-electric range of around 20 miles while the more powerful 540e will drive 18 miles in electric only mode.

BMW is reportedly working on a plug-in hybrid version of the 5-Series that is well in line with its declared intention of launching the eco-friendly option for each of the models in its range.

On offer will be two gasoline-electric powertrain options. The range starts with the 530e that will have a smallish four pot engine working in tandem with an electric motor for a combined power output of a rather modest 280 hp. The said model will have an electric only range of 20 miles at speeds not exceeding 75 mph. The system will be so programmed to fire up the gasoline engine once the battery runs out of juice.

Next up will be the more powerful 540e which will have a turbocharged four cylinder engine rated at 258 hp. Assisting the engine will be a water cooled electric motor that will be chipping in with another 95 horses to make for a combined power rating of a quite respectable 326 hp. However, the greater power rating comes at a cost with the all-electric range coming down to just about 18 miles.

Both the 5-Series plug-in models will have power channelled to the rear wheels though the BMW XDrive all-wheel drive system will be available as an optional extra. A nine speed autobox will be standard across the range. The plug-in 5s will also come with advanced driver assistance systems such as the Proactive Drive Assistant which will rely on feedback from an assortment of sensors, cameras and lasers that will ensure the system downshifts well in advance whenever it detects the driver is embarking on an overtaking manoeuvre.

Users will have the option to top up their batteries either by plugging-in to the power source using BMW’s advanced inductive charging technology. These apart, the batteries will also be charged via brake energy recuperation system while on the move.

BMW is already slated to launch the next-gen 5-Series around October at the Paris Motor Show with sales likely to kick-off soon thereafter as a 2017 model though the plug-in hybrid version of the same might only arrive as a 2018 model car.

| Comments

Bentley customization division Mulliner has stated the 200 million year old stone sourced from India will make for a unique new interior customization option.

Mulliner, the bespoke coach building section of Bentley has now hit upon stone to add to the interior look and feel of the Bentley Continentals or the Flying Spurs. Also of course the stone has to be very special and not just any other stone that we come across. The particular variety being used is over 200 million years old and has been sourced from the Indian state of Rajasthan that is famous for its stone quarries.

That makes for a whole new level of customization no doubt with stone replacing the usual plastic, carbon fiber or wood that are used more often than not for the interior treatment of high-end cars. Mulliner further stated they are using very thin slices of the slate and quartzite veneers that are no more than 0.1mm thick. At this level of thickness, the stone is translucent enough for the stone’s natural pattern and grains to become visible.

Such stone pieces are cured using fiberglass and resin before being provided the desired shape.  These are then handcrafted to achieve the desired finish with the entire thing being light enough as well.

Mulliner also stated this is just a phase of their ongoing quest to offer better and finer materials in their endeavour to offer as many customizations options as is possible. And they already are pretty much excited with the stone veneers.

“Stone veneers are only the beginning of what we plan to do with this luxurious and unique material,” said Geoff Dowding, Director of Mulliner Operations.

While the stone veneer for the interior trim will no doubt command a hefty premium, the exact charges will vary with the exact amount being used. Customers will have the option for the stone veneers making up the entire front fascia or to use them in sections.

| Comments

The 2016 Volvo V90 is expected to be launched in Geneva this coming spring.

Images of the Volvo V90 sans any sort of claddings have made it to the Internet which provides us with a clean look of what the upcoming estate sibling of the S90 sedan will be like. The undisguised images which were first published in the Swedish magazine Teknikens Varld also point to the car drawing its inspiration from the Volvo Concept Estate that was first showcased in Geneva back in 2014. The new V90 is also likely to be launched at the same venue this spring.

Elaborating further on its looks, the new V90 has the same front end as the S90 while the rear end is reminiscent of the tail light scheme adopted on the new gen Volvo SUV – read the new XC90 – in general and the Volvo Concept Estate in particular.

That is not all for the V90 will be sharing a lot of similarities with the XC90, being based on the same SPA platform that also underpins the latter while also deriving its juice from the same engine family that powers the SUV. This includes the T8 ‘Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid that has a power rating of 394bhp along with the D4 and D5 diesel mills. What’s more the images carried in the Swedish magazine already have the T8 badging at the rear which is again a clear proof of the hybrid included in the V90 scheme of things.

That is not all for a performance oriented V90 Polestar for a future launch can’t be ruled out either.