2018 Paris Motor Show Archive

  • Kia ProCeed shooting brake makes its debut in Paris

    With the death of the unnecessary underscore and apostrophe in its name, the new Kia ProCeed also signals the death of the three-door hatchback in the Ceed lineup. As previewed by the stunning Proceed Concept last year, the third-generation model has morphed into a five-door shooting brake, distinct and separate from the Ceed Sportswagon, um, wagon.

    As such, the ProCeed is longer than both the hatch and wagon, and receives a low-slung roofline and a fast rear windscreen rake for a more dynamic look. The half moon-shaped glasshouse gets a chrome “Sharkblade” on the C-pillar, while at the back, there are slimmer tail lights that span the entire width of the car, further differentiating it from other models in the lineup.

    The ProCeed is also only available in the sportier-looking GT Line trim, so it comes as standard with a gloss black “tiger nose” grille with a satin chrome surround, a more aggressive front bumper with horizontal corner blades, side skirts and a large rear diffuser with twin trapezoidal exhaust exits.

    Inside, the ProCeed is as per the standard Ceed, with the exception of a flat-bottomed steering wheel with metal alloy paddle shifters, black headlining, metallic door sill scuff plates and more heavily-bolstered seats. The rear seats are mounted lower to offset the effect of the lower roofline on headroom, and while the 594 litre boot isn’t quite as capacious as the Sportwagon’s 625 litres, it’s 50% larger than in the standard hatch.

    The lack of a boot lip and the lower ride height also means that it’s easier to load cargo into the boot, and there are 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, an underfloor storage area, a bag hook and an optional handsfree Smart Power Tailgate for increased practicality.

    As far as infotainment goes, the ProCeed will be offered with either a seven-inch touchscreen or an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, both of which will come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also available are a JBL Premium sound system, Qi wireless smartphone charging, a heated windscreen, heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats.

    All models get all-around independent suspension, retuned for greater agility, improved response and body control and a better compromise between ride comfort and handling stability, accommodating the longer, cab-rearward body. Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are offered as an option across the board for better grip.

    The engine lineup consists of two turbocharged and direct-injected (T-GDI) petrol engines – a 120 PS/172 Nm 1.0 litre three-cylinder and a 140 PS/242 Nm 1.4 litre four-pot. There’s also a new 1.6 litre Smartstream turbodiesel from the facelifted Sportage, delivering 136 PS and 280 Nm of torque with a six-speed manual gearbox, or 320 Nm with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission also offered on the 1.4 T-GDI.

    To exceed the new Euro 6d TEMP emissions standards, petrol models now receive a particulate filter, while the diesel engine gets Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce carbon dioxide, particulate matter and nitrous oxide emissions compared to past Kia models.

    For those who want a bit of extra oomph, there is also the hot GT model. This uses the 1.6 litre T-GDI petrol mill developing 204 PS at 6,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm, sent to the front wheels through either the manual or the DCT gearbox. The chassis has been further developed under the helm of ex-BMW M man Albert Biermann, with stiffer springs and softer anti-roll bars.

    Safety-wise, the ProCeed is offered as standard with six airbags, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with brake-activated torque vectoring, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and High Beam Assist (HBA).

    Buyers can specify Lane Following Assist, a Level 2 semi-autonomous driving feature that takes care of acceleration, braking and steering at speeds of up to 180 km/h. Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Smart Parking Assist and pedestrian detection for the FCA system are also on the options list.

     
     
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports makes Paris debut

    The long-roofed Toyota Corolla, the Touring Sports, has made its debut at the Paris Motor Show, joining the hatchback which made its own debut at the New York International Motor Show earlier this year. That car’s European twin, the Auris, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

    As with the Corolla Hatchback, the Touring Sports station wagon is underpinned by the automaker’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform, though the wheelbase for the wagon is 2,700 mm, which is 60 mm longer than the hatchback’s. Like the hatchback, the Touring Sports wagon will be offered with a 116 hp 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine, and two hybrid options – a 122 hp 1.8 litre model or a 180 hp 2.0 litre model.

    The frontal aesthetic treatment for the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is identical to that of the hatchback, while bodywork aft of the B-pilars is unique to the Touring Sports wagon. Relative to the outgoing model, the station wagon’s rear license plate has been repositioned higher up in the tailgate panel, while the deeper rear bumper design aims to mirror that of the front.

    Headlamps on the Touring Sports are all-LED clusters, as are its tail lamps, while the former includes integral daytime running lights. At the front, foglamps are LED units as well. Depending on trim grade, the headlamp configuration options include a triple LED parabola unit-type headlamp, a bi-beam LED setup with AHB, and an LED setup with an adaptive high-beam system.

    Inside, the interiors of the Corolla Hatcback and Touring Sports are have been made to feel more spacious than before, says Toyota. This is achieved by an instrument panel design that is 24 mm slimmer overall, where the reduction in height reduces the panel’s perceived mass and improves forward visibility while still allowing for the lowering of the front seat hip point.

    The front to rear seat couple distance in the Corolla Touring Sports has been increased by 48 mm to 928 mm for improved rear seat passenger space, and the luggage compartment has a VDA capacity of 598 litres with all seats in place. Access to the luggage compartment has been improved with a hands-free kick sensor for the powered tailgate, and the tailgate opening has been increased by 10 mm.

    A repositioning of the rear suspension dampers has enabled the maximising of the Touring Sports cargo load space as well as improve access, while side wall storage pockets have also been made available behind the rear wheel housings on each side of the load space. The load floor has a two-position (upper and lower) deck, which can be open and closed in the upper position.

    This is fully reversible with carpet on one side and resin finish on the other for wet or dirty use, says Toyota. Meanwhile, the deck under-space has been enlarged and fully carpeted, and now features detachable side separators. Here, the world’s first LED compartment lamps feature on both sides of the load space, claims Toyota, while a detachable, one-touch retractable tonneau cover offers luggage concealment.

    Driver instrumentation is comprised of a seven-inch multi-information display which offers a choice of digital and analogue speedometer modes, says Toyota. Alternatively, the instrumentation panel can be switch to show a three-dimensional effect, where the dials appear to float in mid-air, Toyota adds.

    Visual instrumentation is augmented with an optional 10-inch TFT head-up display which can project warnings and drive-related information unto the windscreen glass within the driver’s field of view, such as satellite navigation prompts, speed warnings and an economical driving indicator.

    Infotainment is handled by a new, eight-inch Toyota Touch Multimedia System with pinch, zoom and slide touchscreen operation, with the addition of multi-contextual One Box Search. A one-button-push eCall emergency services function is supported by the car’s built-in SIM card, and the call-out can be performed with no charge to the Corolla’s owner.

    Connected services feature here in the new Corolla too, with functions including Last Mile guidance, Send-to-Car navigation, Find My Car, driving analytics as well as a maintenance reminder. Meanwhile for mobile devices, a wireless charging system enables occupants to charge any Wireless Power Consortium (WPC)-compatible device by placing it on the pad ahead of the gearlever.

    A bit more on the petrol-electric hybrid drive systems. The internal combustion engine in the 1.8 litre model benefits from friction-reducing measures, a larger exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system as well as optimal heat management, according to Toyota. Calibration of the hybrid drive system has been refined, while the lithium-ion battery pack ‘promotes even greater fuel economy’, claims the company.

    According to the automaker, the 2.0 litre hybrid powertrain was developed in response to a significant group of potential customers who have been accustomed to turbocharged engines 1.4 litres or larger. The 2.0 litre unit has a compression ratio of 14:1, and achieves high-speed combustion through a long stroke and high tumble flow of the intake port.

    A new oil pump design and friction-reducing measures combine with a reduction in size of the transaxle, power control unit, motor and hybrid battery to enhance fuel efficiency, said Toyota, while top speed in fully-electric mode has been increased to 115 km/h. In order to further gain fuel efficiency, system control has been changed to disallow engine start without throttle pedal operation, even before engine warm-up.

    Further enhancements for improved efficiency include a catalytic converter that is now located closer to the engine, and engine warm-up control has been optimised for early, enhanced exhaust purification. Meanwhile, refinement gains are made courtesy of a balance shaft, revised engine mount position and shape, structural changes to the transaxle, gear tooth polishing, the adoption of a positive/negative hysterisis damper, a lightweight timing chain and revisions to the water pump motor.

    Chassis movements for the Corolla is handled by MacPherson struts in front and a new multi-link layout at the back. There is new damper valving technology, and adaptive variable suspension is available on the Corolla for the first time.

    Front suspension geometry as well as spring and damper characteristics have been revised, while suspension arm and bush structures have been changed to minimise the transmission of shocks and therefore improve ride comfort. The redesigned multi-link rear setup combines increased luggage capacity through compact packaging, with excellent stability and comfort, claims Toyota.

    The Adaptive Suspension System (AVS), when specified, is configured for damping force on all four wheels together with the Drive Mode Select system in Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom modes. Here, damping force is continually and automatically controlled by a linear solenoid actuator, which is four times quicker than a conventional step motor.

    It’s a rather bold new look for both the Corolla Hatchback and Touring Sports bodystyles, and rather pleasing to these eyes. The long-roofed one gets five new wheel designs including an 18-inch design and two new 17-inch styles. Four new colours – Oxide Bronze Metallic, Emotional Red 2, Precious Silver and Phantom Brown – join a palette now totalling 11 colours, and a two-tone finish can be specified too.

     
     
  • Infiniti Q60 Project Black S – updated aero and tech

    More progress has been made with the Infiniti Project Black S since its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017. Now on display at the Paris Motor Show, the blacked-out prototype boasts many new developments, including a functional motorsport-oriented cabin.

    On the outside, the Black S gets revised bodywork (achieved through computational fluid dynamics software for better aerodynamic flow) as well as a newly-designed carbon-fibre rear wing that is said to significantly increase downforce for high-speed stability. What’s more, the wing’s performance has been validated by aerodynamicists from its partner Renault Sport Formula One Team, so this is no joke.

    Elsewhere, the body panels, such as the bonnet, fenders and roof, have all been replaced with lightweight carbon-fibre panels. The car also sits on lightweight 21-inch forged aluminium wheels to reduce unsprung mass by a whopping 22 kg, and are shod with Pirelli P Zero road tyres (275/30 front, 295/30 rear). The twin titanium exhaust tips, on the other hand, have been crafted using 3D printing tech.

    The black and yellow theme is of course inspired by the team’s F1 livery, and the colourway continues to the pared-back interior. While still recognisably a Q60, the front seats are built around CF shells with a slimmer design, and the rear seats have been completely removed. This saves 19.5 kg of weight, and Infiniti says the cabin comes with features and functions evoking the “minimalist operability of a Formula One car.”

    The star of the show here lurks under the bonnet. This prototype employs a F1-inspired hybrid powertrain and receives primary propulsion from a VR30 3.0 litre V6 twin-turbo engine. There are three motor generator units (MGU) that form the Energy Recovery System (ERS) – a single MGU-K (K for kinetic) unit harvests kinetic energy from braking, and two MGU-H (H for heat) motors are fitted to the engine’s twin-turbos to harvest heat energy from exhaust gases.

    This enables the powertrain to generate electrical power under both braking and acceleration. This is the first of its kind in a road car – Formula One powertrains harvest heat energy from a single turbocharger due to technical regulations.

    On its own, the petrol engine produces 405 PS/475 Nm, but the dual-hybrid powertrain generates a total system output of 571 PS (torque figure undetermined as yet). With that, the Black S blitzes from a standstill to the 100 km/h mark in under four seconds, thanks in part to its 1,775 kg kerb weight (power-to-weight ratio is around 320 PS per tonne).

    Drive is exclusively sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic, and the car comes with three F1-style drive modes, which are Road, Quali and Race. Each drive mode alters the way the powertrain gathers and discharges energy.

    Electrical energy harvested by the three MGUs is stored in a high-rate discharge 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located in the rear compartment. Just like an F1 car, energy recovered and stored by the MGUs is deployed in two ways. Firstly, it acts as an electrically-assisted anti-lag system, ensuring the turbos are spooled and ready for boost when needed.

    Secondly, energy stored in the battery can be used to power the MGU-K, feeding up to 120 kW of additional electric power directly into the drivetrain. That provides a significant increase in performance, and also for instantaneous, lag-free acceleration. However, the extra electric power is applied to the rear axle through a newly-designed final drive assembly on the rear axle, which integrates the MGU-K.

    It’s unclear if the Q60 Project Black S will ever make it to production, but one thing is for sure, Infiniti will be electrifying all models from 2021. In the future, the automaker plans to offer a range of advanced powertrains, including battery electric vehicles and unique e-Power systems for elevated performance and greater pure-electric range. What do you think? Fancy yourself a Q60?

     
     
  • VinFast LUX A2.0 sedan and LUX SA2.0 SUV debut in Paris – BMW-based models to go on sale in June 2019

    Vietnam’s first automaker VinFast has revealed the official names of its first two vehicles – the sedan is called LUX A2.0, whereas the SUV is called LUX SA2.0. Both models have just made their world debuts at the Paris Motor Show (in the presence of football legend David Beckham, no less), and deliveries will begin in June 2019 before the start of export in 2020.

    Apparently, the word LUX references the “premium and sophisticated qualities” of the cars, although it doesn’t sound quite as luxurious when uttered verbally (the SUV’s name will probably whet your appetite). The letter ‘A’, which stands for Ambition, represents the “very high standards of product quality” that will be met, an important part of VinFast’s goal to become the leading automobile manufacturer in South East Asia, and grow it into a global car brand. The ‘S’ in the LUX SA2.0 stands for SUV.

    The idea behind the names is that they are to be short, easy to read, memorable and suitable for most languages around the world. Following the LUX nameplate, VinFast will introduce additional models with names that represent each of its positioning in the car market.

    LUX A2.0

    Now, the LUX A2.0, which is based on the F10 BMW 5 Series, features a rather dynamic stance and a good mix of curved and concave surfaces. The long bonnet adds a touch of sportiness, and the sleek LED daytime running lights are joined by the asymmetric ‘VF’ motif. The badge in the centre of the grille is a straightforward V, and radiates upwards to form the bold crease lines that run over the bonnet.

    It has quite a silhouette as well, with a roofline that stretches rearward and further accentuated by the elongated C-pillars. This tapers off to a steeply-raked rear glass, although the end result is not quite that of a fastback.

    At the back, the sedan gets a similarly slim pair of tail lights which run through the tailgate, giving it a sense of luxury and identity. Below that are reflectors with vertical air outlets as well as twin hexagonal exhaust exits. Overall, it measures 4,973 mm long, 1,900 mm wide, 1,464 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,968 mm.

    LUX SA2.0

    The LUX SA2.0 on the other hand, is based on the F15 BMW X5 and features a chunky front apron with a similar design motif as the sedan – the product of Pininfarina’s involvement in the project. The same slim LED DRLs are used as well. Meanwhile, the headlights, fog lights and air intakes are finished in contrasting matte black, which VinFast claims to “heighten the sense of solidity and structure.”

    Don’t let its outer appearance fool you, because this three-row SUV seats seven! Part of the magic comes from using smaller windscreens for the front and rear, as well as adding a contrasting silver finish to the lower side of the doors. The ‘elating’ roof at the D-pillar adds a touch of athleticism, further removing visual bulk.

    Behind, the SUV gets the same slim LED tail lights with individual, vertical block-style LED units. Finishing off the rear end are the matte black lower bumper, silver diffuser and integrated hexagonal exhaust tips. It measures 4,940 mm in length, 1,960 in width, 1,773 mm in height and a shorter 2,933 mm wheelbase compared to the sedan. Mind you, that’s even bigger than the F15 BMW X5.

    LUX A2.0 cabin (left), LUX SA2.0 cabin (right)

    Inside, the driver is greeted with a thick three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters and traditional analogue gauges that sandwich a seven-inch digital multi-info display screen. Over to the centre is a 10.4-inch tablet-style infotainment display and features a newly-developed user interface.

    The homepage, for example, has just three icons for top level access, including a display that shows the climate control status in the car. There are also sub-menus for phone, audio and GPS navigation system, and the system even has swipe down gesture for shortcuts, just like you would with a smartphone.

    Besides the use of LED ambient lighting, another factor which enhances the perceived quality is the use of authentic trim materials. VinFast says if it looks like aluminium, it is aluminium, and if it looks like wood, it is wood. A single supplier – Faurecia – has been appointed to supply all interior parts, which helps ensure consistency and quality.

    LUX A2.0

    For those who are wondering, the ‘2.0’ suffix refers the capacity of the engine, which in this case is a BMW-sourced N20 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It features a twin-scroll turbocharger and a new variable valvetrain system to produce two outputs – 176 PS at 4,500 to 6,000 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,750 to 4,000 rpm, and a hotter 231 PS at 5,000 to 6,000 rpm and 350 Nm from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm.

    The LUX A2.0 sedan will get both tunes, while the LUX SA2.0 SUV will only get the 231 PS unit. Both models share the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, featuring a modified bell housing and crank case. Drive is sent to the rear wheels as standard, although the SUV comes with optional AWD (torque transfer case from BorgWarner).

    For performance, the lower 176 PS output in the sedan achieves a zero to 100 km/h sprint in 8.9 seconds, whereas the 231 PS version gets there in 7.1 seconds. The RWD LUX SA2.0 manages the century sprint in 8.9 seconds, and the heavier AWD model is 0.2 seconds slower at 9.1 seconds. VinFast cars will meet Euro 5 emissions standards in a market and region that is currently regulated under Euro 4.

    LUX SA2.0

    The engines have been further developed by Austrian engineering firm AVL for the Vietnamese market, using a new assessment technology called AVL-Drive. It found that Vietnamese drivers lean towards the driving styles of Europeans, though preferring a smoother, more powerful torque response from the car without needing to downshift.

    Platform-wise, a team of 400 engineers from Austrian specialist consultancy Magna Steyr are putting together a newly-developed vehicle systems, complete with the latest-generation ECU technologies from Bosch, and a new cutting-edge electrical architecture. The new platforms incorporate extensive use of hot-stamped ultra-high strength steels. Testing is being undertaken using nearly 300 prototype development cars in Vietnam and in Europe.

    Underpinning both cars is an ultra-rigid monocoque structure. Each structure has been honed to have high natural frequencies, which provide resistance to vibrations and have been engineered to manage torsion and bending forces. The result is greater control over vehicle dynamics, and VinFast claims the cars will offer European levels of driving quality and refinement.

    For suspension, both models feature independent double-wishbone up front, with double-pivot lower arms, aluminium shock towers and coil springs. The rear is managed by a five-joint multi-link axle with track rod and a tubular anti-roll bar.

    High emphasis has been put on crash protection as well. The car’s strong and rigid passenger cell provides excellent crash protection, and crumple zones at the front and rear help absorb the transfer of energy in the event of a collision. There are six airbags as standard (dual front, side and curtain airbags) on all models, whereas Active Rollover Mitigation technology is also included.

    Both the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 will be built in 2019 at the company’s all-new, purpose-built, 335-hectare plant in Haiphong, northern Vietnam. It is one of Vietnam’s biggest industrial projects ever, and is claimed to be one of the most advanced automotive production complexes in the world.

    The automaker is also developing an city car based on the Chevrolet Spark, a battery electric car developed by EDAG, and an electric bus with the support of Siemens. All three will be rolled out by 2020.



    GALLERY: VinFast LUX A2.0

    GALLERY: VinFast LUX SA2.0

    GALLERY: VinFast at the 2018 Paris Motor Show

     
     
  • Renault EZ-ULTIMO – an autonomous mobile lounge

    Renault has unveiled a mobile lounge at this year’s Paris Motor Show, which it is calling the EZ-ULTIMO. While it may have a curious name, what you’re looking at is a preview of a premium autonomous mobility service vehicle for the future.

    The French automaker explains that the EZ-ULTIMO would be perfect for travel companies and resorts, as the robo-vehicle can be used for ride-hailing duties. Thanks to level four autonomous driving technology as well as connected services and infrastructure, you’re looking at what is essentially a luxury limo without a human chauffer.

    “As consumer trends change and people are enjoying ride-hailing services more and more, a new paradigm for mobility will emerge. Embodying this revolution, Renault EZ-Ultimo offers a unique luxurious experience aboard a robo-vehicle that can be adapted depending on the service provider,” said Laurens van den Acker, SVP Corporate Design at Renault.

    “Inspired by contemporary architecture, and completely integrated in future smart cities, EZ-ULTIMO will provide an exclusive experience for all. With autonomous, electric and connected cars, we are entering a new exciting era in automotive design,” he adds.

    Based on the photos, the autonomous vehicle looks like a rather pleasant place to be in, with upscale materials like wood, marble and leather to create well, a lounge – Renault says it is modelled after a posh hotel. A wide, automatic sliding door makes ingress and egress a hassle-free affair, while rotating seats add the luxurious theme being conveyed.

    Like previous concepts, the EZ-ULTIMO shares the same electric architecture with the EZ-GO and EZ-PRO, with floor-mounted batteries and electric motors.

     
     
  • Hyundai i30 N previews ‘N Option’ line of accessories

    The Hyundai i30 N is already a desirable hot hatch, with 275 PS and being six-speed manual only, but there’s more to come. Hyundai has revealed the i30 N ‘N Option’ show car at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, and it’s a preview of an ‘N Option’ line of accessories the Korean carmaker is working on. Think BMW’s M Performance parts.

    To be launched in the “near future”, the i30 ‘N Option’ showcases 25 exterior and interior individualisation options. The exterior parts include, for example, a carbon rear wing with the N logo, a carbon hood with integrated air vents, quad mufflers and the N grille surrounded by a red line.

    Those wheels are casted lightweight 20-inch rims fitted with high-performance semi-slick tyres. The i30 N ‘N Option’ exterior colour is a unique matte paint specially created for the show car.

    Click to enlarge

    Inside, black carbon accents can be found on the dashboard as well as around the air vents, door handles and on the Alcantara steering wheel’s bottom spoke. The upper dashboard and the lightweight bucket seats (with a red line in the middle, looks a lot racier than standard seats) are also covered in the suede-like material. The look is completed with sport pedals and a unique gear knob, among other things.

    Besides this dressed-up car, Hyundai also gave the new i30 Fastback N its motor show debut in Paris. Essentially the i30 N on the “five-door coupe” Fastback body launched in mid-2017, the 275 PS/353 Nm car does 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h.

    GALLERY: Hyundai i30 N

     
     
  • Skoda Vision RS concept – 245 hp, 70 km EV range

    The Skoda Vision RS has made its debut at the Paris Motor Show, where the company also took the covers off its new Kodiaq RS SUV. As we’ve discovered before, the Skoda Vision RS sports a plug-in hybrid powertrain which comprises a 1.5 litre TSI turbo petrol engine with 150 hp, paired with an electric motor which makes 102 hp for a total system output of 245 hp. Drive is transmitted via a six-speed DSG gearbox.

    This gives the Vision RS concept a 0-100 km/h time of 7.1 seconds, while the 80-120 km/h acceleration measure is elapsed in 8.9 seconds; top speed is 210 km/h, according to Skoda. On the electrification side, the Vision RS concept is able to cover up to 70 km on battery power alone, and in conjunction with the internal combustion engine, emits CO2 at a rate of 33 g/km.

    Its lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 13 kWh, and can be charged by cable in 2.5 hours from a charging station, says Skoda. The Vision RS concept can also be recharged from a household power outlet, as well as via energy recovery whilst being driven. Skoda has yet to reveal details of the charging protocol or connectors used.

    The Vision RS gets three driving modes – Normal, EV and Sport. Normal employs what the car considers to be the optimal combination of petrol and electric drive; EV mode, as the name suggests, runs the car strictly on electricity, while Sport mode deploys all available output as required by the driver.

    The Vision RS concept is painted in Xirallic crystal sparkle effect paint with a subtle tinge of blue, while organic components in the paint reflect heat in order to help reduce interior temperature, says Skoda. Meanwhile, visual contrast on the exterior comes courtesy of black carbon-fibre elements, which is installed in its radiator grille, front and rear spoilers, exterior mirrors, side sills, air inlets and outlets as well as rear diffuser.

    Rolling stock is a set of 20-inch alloy wheels, which are optimised to reduce drag and feature the Skoda logo fashioned of glass. Carbon-fibre detailing also features on the wheels.

    Inside, the Skoda Vision RS gets a mix of trim materials with an eye on eco-friendliness. The upper section of the Alcantara-covered seats employs a carbon textile made from 100% recycled polyester thread, while its floor mats use Piñatex textile in a carbon weave; the fibres for this are extracted from the leaves of a pineapple tree, said Skoda.

    The centre console surround is made entirely of carbon-fibre, says Skoda, while decorative trim made of crystal glass complements the motorsport-associated material. The crystal glass is also “uniquely illuminated and animated in interplay” with the infotainment system’s touchscreen, the company says. Door pull straps further add to the racing associations, while the door trims feature carbon-fibre inserts.

    For the one in the hot seat, the steering wheel boasts a 12 o’clock centre marking often seen in sportier, competition-oriented cars, while the centre pad features a theme of tiny triangles which also feature throughout the interior of the Vision RS, says Skoda. These visual cues will carry “Skoda’s DNA into the brand’s future models,” which means this concept is teaser of aesthetics to emerge from the company.

     
     
  • Land Rover SVO debuts bespoke Red Cross Discovery

    Land Rover, through its Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division, has built a unique version of the Discovery for the Austrian Red Cross, which is being presented at the Paris Motor Show. The emergency response vehicle was first previewed by Project Hero, a concept that debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.

    Developed as part of an 18-month collaboration, the bespoke Discovery is based on a TD6 model with a 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 (258 PS/600 Nm) and eight-speed automatic transmission. A set of 255/55 Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tyres are wrapped around 20-inch wheels to help the SUV along on difficult terrain, with four-corner air suspension to match. Being a Land Rover, it is already rather capable at getting to places that might be out of reach for a conventional van.

    The unique Discovery serves as a mobile command centre in order to reduce search-and-rescue times, and much like the concept, comes well equipped to do so. This includes an eight-rotor drone that comes with a long-range thermal imaging camera capable of spotting a person from 440 metres and can identify a vehicle at almost 1,000 metres.

    Furthermore, drone operators will be able to track stationary or moving objects found using the drone simply by tapping on the touchscreen, whereby precise coordinates are obtained that is crucial in rescue efforts.

    As the nerve centre for disaster emergency response, connectivity solutions are an important part of the Red Cross Discovery. The Expedition roof rack not only houses the aforementioned drone, but also four multiple frequency radio antennas, two mobile WiFi hotspots and an automatic satellite phone.

    Other features present are high-intensity spot lights in the front bumper and roof rack, 360-degree emergency blue lights, multiple power supply points, six USB charging points, medical equipment and emergency services livery.

    “Our partnership with the Red Cross isn’t just about our vehicles. Since we started collaborating in 1954, our aim has been to help the Red Cross improve its disaster response and ultimately to help save lives,” said Michael van Der Sande, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations

    “Over the past 18 months our engineers have worked closely with the emergency response team at the Austrian Red Cross, deploying Land Rover’s technology and talent to create a unique solution to the requirements of the Red Cross in the region,” he added.

     
     
  • 2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 revealed at Paris Motor Show

    The Audi R8 LMS race car has been updated ahead of the 2019 racing season, with improvements to the car’s aerodynamics, brake cooling, clutch and transmission.

    “We deliberately chose to make moderate modifications instead of pursuing a comprehensive evolution. This is economically sensible for both new customers and for those teams that are able to easily retrofit their existing cars with all new components,” says Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport customer racing.

    Should you already own a second-generation R8 LMS, the retrofitting process will cost you 28,000 euros (RM133,813). On the other hand, if you’re interested to join the world of GT3 racing (or other applicable racing series) for the first time, a brand-new 2019 R8 LMS will set you back 398,000 euros (RM1,904,955), with deliveries slated to begin in November.

    In terms of aerodynamics, the new car comes with a slightly modified body and front splitter, which provides more consistent downforce while adhering to FIA rules. Audi Sport adds that the higher aerodynamic stability pairs well with different suspension setups that teams will run on their cars.

    Similarly, better consistency was the focal point in the area of brake cooling, with improved airflow to the brake system and more efficient hot air extraction from the ventilated brake discs. This prevents overheating at racing speeds, while achieving more consistent tyre pressures.

    As for the powertrain components, the R8 LMS’ three-plate clutch gets improved wear protection to extend the build interval by more than 50%. Furthermore, the sequential six-speed transmission receives revised gear teeth and reinforced bearings for longevity, coupled with reduced wear of the locking differential.

    The engine remains a 5.2 litre V10 with up to 585 PS (577 hp) and more than 550 Nm of torque, which is produced on the same assembly line as the road car. Following racing standards, the scheduled service interval is unchanged at 10,000 km and rebuild intervals are 20,000 km.

     
     
  • G20 BMW 3 Series officially revealed – up to 55 kg lighter with new engines, suspension, technologies

    A new BMW 3 Series is a big deal, and after 43 years and six generations, it’s now time for the seventh-generation G20 to make its highly-awaited debut. Long a benchmark for the compact executive segment, the new model aims to take back the crown with a whole host of technological and mechanical updates.

    First things first, the new model is much larger than its F30 predecessor, measuring 76 mm longer (at 4,709 mm) and 16 mm wider (1,827 mm); its 2,851 mm wheelbase is also 41 mm longer. It is, however, only one millimetre taller than the old car, at 1,442 mm. The track widths are also wider by 43 mm at the front and 21 mm at the rear, which BMW says improves poise and agility.

    The exterior is dominated by the massive double kidney grille, now joined in the middle. It is connected to the headlights, which have a notched shape similar to recent Peugeot models and feature LED technology as standard; enhanced headlights with U-shaped daytime running lights are available as an option. Also available are adaptive LED units with Laserlight technology and three-dimensional hexagonal DRLs.

    On standard, Sport Line and Luxury Line models, the fog lights and Air Curtain inlets are inserted in the corners of the front bumper in a T shape that is inspired by NACA ducts; this is repeated with the reflectors at the rear. The long bonnet and wheelbase, short overhangs and sweeping roofline give the car a typical sporty look, while the trademark C-pillar Hofmeister kink receives a beveled edge on the top corner.

    Along the sides, there’s an upswept contour line that draws the eyes towards the prominent character line over the rear wheel arches; BMW’s Air Breather vents, which usually sit aft of the front wheels, are notably absent here. The LED tail lights feature a three-dimensional L-shaped design and tinted lenses.

    The interior features styling cues taken from other new BMW models such as the G15 8 Series, G05 X5 and G29 Z4, with a clear horizontal design, electroplated silver trim around the air vents and controls and a tall centre console. The latter gets a new control panel incorporating the starter button, a redesigned gearlever, the iDrive controller and a new electronic parking brake that replaces the old manual handbrake.

    As standard, the new 3 Series comes with a 8.8-inch centre display and a black panel instrument cluster with a 5.7-inch colour display. The optional Live Cockpit Professional throws in a 10.25-inch centre screen and a full 12.3-inch instrument display with a reverse-direction rev counter. The upgraded system also incorporates the new BMW Operating System 7.0, featuring a revised user interface with larger panels.

    The system can be controlled through the centre touchscreen, the iDrive rotary controller and the optional Gesture Control feature. Certain markets will also get the Intelligent Personal Assistant, a more advanced voice control system that can learn the user’s routines and habits, similar to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system. A 16-speaker, 464-watt Harman Kardon sound system is optional.

    Elsewhere in the cabin, the seats have been redesigned for improved long-distance comfort, and buyers can also specify sports seats, a heating function, powered adjustment with memory and Vernasca leather upholstery. Munich claims that cabin refinement – an area in which the previous F30 has always fallen short – has been improved with tweaks to the body to reduce wind noise, structural foam in the A-pillars and the use of acoustic glass for the windscreen as standard (side windows optional).

    Increased interior space has also been claimed, including gains in front shoulder room, rear legroom and all-around headroom. Rear entry and egress has also been improved with an increaser door aperture height, and while boot space remains the same at 480 litres, a new partitioning system has freed up an additional 36 litres of storage space. Improved outward visibility and a larger glass sunroof has also been touted.

    At launch, the new 3 Series will be offered with a range of new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and a six-cylinder diesel. As before, the 320i and 330i utilise a 2.0 litre turbocharged mill, now with higher-pressure direct injection system, a lighter crankshaft, reduced internal friction, optimised heat management and a new digital engine management system, plus a particulate filter to meet Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standards.

    As a result, the 320i makes 184 hp from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 300 Nm of torque (up 10 Nm) between 1,350 and 4,000 rpm, goes from zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and delivers a fuel consumption figure of between 5.7 to 6.0 litres per 100 km. Meanwhile, the 330i produces 258 hp (up 6 hp) and 400 Nm of torque (up 50 Nm) from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm, does the century sprint in 5.8 seconds and returns 5.8 to 6.1 litres per 100 km.

    On the oil-burning side, the 150 hp/320 Nm 318d and 190 hp/400 Nm 320d also use a 2.0 litre unit, outfitted with twin turbos to improve high-end performance and fuel economy. The 330d gets a 3.0 litre turbo straight-six that produces 265 hp and 580 Nm. All diesel models get a particulate filter, an oxidation catalyst and a nitrous oxide storage catalyst, along with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with AdBlue injection.

    Next year, the lineup will be expanded with the introduction of the 330e plug-in hybrid, promising a total system output of 252 hp (or up to 292 hp with the new XtraBoost mode), a zero-to-100 km/h time of 6.0 seconds, fuel consumption of as low as 1.7 litres per 100 km and an all-electric range of 60 km. There will also be the 3 Series’ first M Performance variant, the M340i xDrive, which utilises a 3.0 litre turbo straight-six petrol that delivers 374 hp and 500 Nm, along with a zero to 100 km/h time of just 4.4 seconds.

    Only the 318d and 320d will be available with a six-speed manual transmission, with all other models getting an eight-speed automatic as standard. The latter gets a wider gear spread, increased internal efficiency, reduced vibration and a new control unit for improved shifts. The company’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is optional on the 320d and standard on the M340i.

    Under the skin, the new 3 Series benefits from an increased use of aluminium and high-strength steels, so it’s now up to 55 kg lighter than before. Aerodynamics have been improved with an almost completely sealed underbody, optimised wheel designs and the use of front Air Curtains and active shutters for the grille and front air intake, reducing the drag coefficient from 0.26 to 0.23.

    The new chassis delivers a 25% increase in overall rigidity, and features aluminium suspension components to reduce unsprung weight. The double-joint MacPherson strut front and five-link rear suspension uses specially tuned kinematics to improve steering precision and handling, while at the rear, rigid control arms and subframes and the use of thrust arms for body mountings ensure precise wheel location.

    For the first time, the standard chassis is equipped with lift-related dampers that provides additional hydraulic damping at the front and limits compression at the rear. With continuously variable damping rates and progressive stiffness according to spring travel, the new dampers provide a better compromise between comfort and sporty handling.

    The M Sport suspension gains more rigid bearings, additional body struts, firmer springs and anti-roll bars, increased wheel camber and a 10 mm drop in ride height, delivering an increased differentiation over the standard setup. Adaptive dampers are now only available with the M Sport suspension.

    Models fitted with M Sport and Adaptive M Sport suspension get variable ratio steering as standard, and an M Sport braking system with blue callipers is also available. As standard, the new 3 Series gets Performance Control brake-activated torque vectoring, while an electronic M Sport locking differential is offered as an option on the 330i and 330d for the first time, in conjunction with the M Sport suspension.

    Safety-wise, the new 3 Series finally comes with Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking (autonomous emergency braking) function as standard, together with Lane Departure Warning. On the options list is the Driving Assistant that adds Lane Change Warning with steering assistance, Rear Collision Prevention and Cross-Traffic Alert, along with Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go.

    At the top of the list is the Driving Assistant Professional that offers semi-autonomous driving features such as steering and lane control assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, evasion aid (which now works to avoid pedestrians), priority warning and wrong-way warning and Cross-Traffic Alert.

    Meanwhile, the Parking Assistant package provides steering, acceleration, braking and gearshift assistance to park the car, and features a Reversing Assistant that memorises your steering inputs of the last 50 metres to back out of a parking spot. Parking Assistant Plus offers a three-dimensional 360-degree camera, which can be accessed through your smartphone using the Remote 3D View feature.

    New connectivity functions include the BMW Digital Key that enables a Samsung smartphone with NFC to be used as a key, an NFC BMW Key Card, Connected Navigation with Parking Space Assistant, On-Street Parking Information and ParkNow services and Remote Software Update that allows for over-the-air updates.

     
     
 

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Last Updated 01 Nov 2018