2018 Detroit Auto Show Archive

  • Nissan Xmotion concept – three-row SUV with 4+2 seating, seven display screens, fingerprint sensor

    Nissan has finally pulled the veils off its latest concept car, the Nissan Xmotion, at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The SUV concept, which features three-row seating, represents the company’s design direction for 2020 and beyond.

    It’s been a while since we last saw a design concept as exciting as the Xmotion. The designers termed the new styling as “purposeful strength,” projecting a bold rugged look that’s admittedly more refreshing than its current range of models. It’s still recognisably Nissan, thanks to retention of the “boomerang” headlamps, fascia and V-motion front grille.

    The grille – now wider, deeper and more prominent than ever – too has evolved, having first made its debut on the third-generation Murano. According to the automaker, the grille on the Xmotion will set the stage for use on production crossovers and SUVs well into the next decade.

    The boomerang headlamps on the other hand, have been sculpted to resemble forged steel blades. Integrated into each headlamp are functions that include high beam, low beam, turn signals and positioning lamps. The intensity and colour of the lighting also varies, depending on the function.

    Round the side, there’s an interesting U-shaped contour between the wheel arches, and highlighting stance is a set of 21-inch aluminium alloy wheels shod with all-terrain run-flat tyres, which Nissan said were developed with Michelin. It also gets Nissan’s Intelligent all-wheel drive.

    Over at the back, the taillight’s design was inspired by the detail and warmth of kumiko, known as Japanese woodwork and puzzles. If your eyes are playing tricks on you, that’s because the graphic is an optical illusion created by hologram technology.

    The coach doors open to a rather unique 4+2 seating configuration, arranged in a three-row layout. The third row features two seats that are fit for children or pets. “We envision the vehicle to be a highly functional, everyday SUV that can be driven daily yet can take the owners and friends to a national park or recreation area on a whim,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design.

    With an overall length of 4,590 mm (that’s shorter than the X-Trail‘s 4,650 mm length!), luggage space in the Xmotion is certainly compromised. To mitigate this, the concept comes with a retractable “rooftop box” that’s aerodynamically efficient and flexible enough to carry a number of bags or recreational equipment of all sizes.

    The rest of the cabin draws inspiration from traditional Japanese carpentry, evident through the extensive use of wood that form the dashboard and centre tunnel. It incorporates a traditional Japanese architectural wood joinery technique called kanawa tsugi, which requires not a single nail or glue to be used, yet remains strong and durable. The joinery technique has also been used to build religious temples and shrines throughout Japan.

    Nissan said careful attention was paid to the wood grain, texture and even the aroma to look and feel as if the whole instrument panel and console were cut out of a single Japanese cedar tree. Out of respect for resource efficiency, the solid wood look was achieved by using genuine wood overlays, which were sliced out of a single tree that was selected from the woods in Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan.

    Perhaps the most interesting part of the car is the huge digital display panel that span the dashboard’s width. It’s comprised of seven digital screens – five in the centre, one in the ceiling (digital room mirror) and a center console display. The displays and infotainment system can be controlled by gestures and eye movements.

    Further down is a “floating commander” which senses a passenger’s movement. It contains a motion sensor inside and scans for gesture controls to the entertainment system, as well as the heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

    Accessing the Xmotion requires fingerprint authentication. That’s right, just like a mobile phone these days. When the driver touches the fingerprint scanner on the top of the console, the opening sequence starts to the welcoming of a virtual personal assistant. Interestingly, this takes shape of a Japanese koi fish.

    “We see Nissan and the Xmotion concept bringing celebration to everyday life, to make every day feel like going somewhere special,” Albaisa said. “We hope that those who view the vehicle at auto shows around the world will feel the very same way.”

    With the Xmotion concept, Nissan hopes the new design and upcoming Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies will ultimately be a feasible means of mobility for the future. What do you think, dear readers?

  • Mercedes-AMG CLS53, E53 Coupe and Cabriolet – first AMG EQ Boost mild hybrid, up to 457 hp, no turbo lag

    Mercedes-AMG has revealed the all-new 53-series models, with the first three recipients being the CLS, E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet. The trio shares a 3.0 litre mild-hybrid twin-turbo engine (making them the very first AMG hybrids) which the company claims to “provide spontaneous reaction and highly dynamic response without turbo lag.”

    The all-new inline-six engine (the AMG 43 range uses an older 3.0L V6 biturbo) produces 435 hp and 520 Nm of torque, married to an EQ Boost starter-alternator, which is part of a new 48 V on-board electrical system. The EQ Boost mild hybrid system adds 22 hp and 250 Nm of torque into the equation, fitted between the engine and transmission. Theoretically, this brings the numbers up to 457 hp and 770 Nm, though AMG doesn’t claim it as such.

    Together with an uprated nine-speed AMG Speedshift TCT 9G automatic and 4Matic+ all-wheel drive, the E53 Coupé sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. The E53 Cabriolet and CLS get there in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (270 km/h with AMG Driver’s package) for all three. The combined fuel consumption is 8.4 L/100 km for the E-Coupe and CLS, but the heavier convertible sips 8.5 litres of fuel per 100 km.

    Unique here is the method of “twin”-turbocharging deployed – there’s only one exhaust gas turbocharger, but it’s helped by an electric auxiliary compressor. From low revs, the latter builds up a high charge pressure without any delay, for a faster increase in torque for acceleration until the traditional turbo comes into play. This eliminates turbo lag, provides higher torque, with the bonus of enhanced refinement.

    There’s a choice of five driving modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, each modifying the parameters of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. There’s also an “M” button (no, not that M) for manual gear changes. For optimal traction, the 4Matic+ system has an electro-mechanically controlled clutch that transfers power variably to the front axle from the permanently-driven rear axle.

    Also on is the AMG Ride Control+ air suspension. This multi-chamber air suspension that’s developed by AMG features continuously adjustable damping ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System), and the 53 series cars are all fitted with higher spring rates to reduce body roll and improve cornering stability. The front axle gets special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints, as well as a more negative camber on both axles to enhance lateral dynamics.

    Stopping power comes from a 370 x 36 mm perforated and internally ventilated brake discs with four-piston fixed calipers (AMG lettering is standard issue) fitted to the front, whereas the rear gets a slightly smaller 360 x 26 mm internally ventilated discs and a single-piston floating calipers.

    As for styling, the three debutants get a new twin-blade radiator grille in silver chrome (previously unique to the full-on AMGs only; the 43 range has a single-blade grille) as opposed to the diamond radiator grille with individual pins, and the central radiator now features a black lattice pattern.

    There’s also a new front apron in A-wing design (though still based on the AMG Line bumpers), two horizontal fins in the outer air intakes, AMG-specific side sill panels, rear spoiler (carbon-fibre finish is optional) rear apron with diffuser insert and rounded quad exhaust exits (finally!) finished in chrome. Standard wheel size is 19-inch, although a set of 20-inch alloys can be specified.

    Inside, the cars get AMG-specific items like red seat belts, carbon-fibre trim elements, AMG Performance steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather and AMG sport seats. Options include a choice of Artico man-made leather with Dinamica microfibre, nappa leather and designo interior upholstery.

    Besides the usual black with red or grey contrast topstitching, the E53 gets other themes like black with saddle brown stitching, black on white, black on red, designo titian red/macchiato beige and designo titanium grey/black. The CLS 53 on the other hand, gets a choice of macchiato beige/magma grey, black/Bengal red and espresso brown/magma grey – this also extends to the steering wheel rim.

    As with all AMG models, an exclusive Edition 1 will be available. For the CLS 53, it gets a unique Copper Art interior theme, featuring black nappa upholstery with copper-coloured contrast stitching. This fine copper colour also extends to the steering wheel, instrument panel, armrests, centre console, door panels and piping on the floor mats. Of course, the exclusive IWC analogue clock is also present.

    GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4Matic+

    GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupé

    GALLERY: 2018 Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Cabriolet


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Last Updated 06 May 2021