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concept cars

concept cars

  A concept car is a car prototype made to showcase a new vehicle's styling, technology, and overall design before production. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced.

As we all expect, Mercedes has been hard at work testing out its upcoming SLS AMG Black Series , making sure its 600-plus-horsepower engine, upgraded suspension, and brakes are up to the task of daily use and high speeds. One place that every supercar needs to test at is the Nürburgring. Well, with the Nürburgring comes some of the most spectacular wrecks ever.

This time around, the SLS Black Series prototype got the short end of the `Ring’s stick, as it was smashed up in a wreck on the Dӧttinger Hӧhe section of the track – one of the fastest sections – and went up in flames. Fortunately, the engineers in the car were unharmed, proving that Mercedes put some serious work into the SLS’s safety devices and that the `Ring has some fast safety crews.

Before everyone gets up in arms about a Benz burning, don’t get too worried, as a wreck of this nature is bound to cause some flames and likely has nothing to do with the quality of the prototype. It is rather unfortunate to see such an expensive piece of experimental metal and carbon fiber go up in smoke, but we are willing to bet that Mercedes has a few more of these in the stable and the funds to build a new one, if needed.

What’s even cooler is that we actually got our hands on a few spy shots of the aftermath from this wreck. On top of the carnage, you also get a good look at this upcoming model with most of its camo… well, burned off…


At the Paris Motor Show , Motor Trend had a very telling sit down with Porsche CEO, Matthias Müller, about several of the upcoming models. This interview not only uncovered the fact that the entire lineup will be undergoing a facial and rump redesign, but also that a new, ultra-powerful hybrid drivetrain will grace the Cayenne in 2014. Almost missed amongst this plethora of new Porsche goodies was a statement by Müller that Porsche is hoping for a sub-7-second time around the `Ring,

If you recall correctly, the 918 Spyder recently screamed through the Nürburgring at an unreal 7:14. When asked about what this awesome time means to the 918, Müller said “That means this car will be a huge – huge – milestone for Porsche. One year ago we had a target of 7:20-7:22 or something. Last week one of our engineers drove one lap in 7:14. The record is 7:11. So I suppose at the end of the year, we will have a new record at the Nürburgring.” The record in question is not the overall record, but rather the major automaker record, now held by the 2010 Viper ACR.

Müller was later asked how fast he thinks the 918 Spyder can lap the `Ring and he replied “If we’re lucky, it will be under 7minutes… but, I don’t know, we’ll see.” With the overall Nürburgring record, held by the Radical SR8 LM , sitting at 6:48 might Porsche be shooting for the overall crown too?

To drop 11 seconds from the 918’s current lap time will be quite a feat and to drop 23 seconds – the time needed to match the record – is downright impossible. To hit the sub-7-minute mark, however, Porsche would need to turn its attention to creating an all-out racing version of the 918 and scratch its attempts to keep it a true production model.

Doing the rough math, the record-holding Radical SR8 lapped the ring with a 0.632 horsepower/kg rating and Porsche estimates that the 795-horsepower 918 with the “Weissach package” weighs just 1,665 kg. That puts the 918 at a 0.447 horsepower/kg rating. This means, in theory, Porsche needs to do one of two things to even come close to the SR8’s heels. The two options are either drop the 918’s weight by an additional 407 kg, which is nearly impossible, or increase its output to about 1,050 horsepower. The latter certainly sounds like the more obvious and possible route. We, of course, cannot take into account vehicle handling and driver skill, as those two variables can sway significantly based on track conditions and other uncontrollable variables.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if Porsche can really pull this off.

Source: Motor Trend
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept

No one except the top guns at Porsche really know whether the newly released Panamera Sport Turismo Concept will ever reach production or not. That said, if you are a fan of its styling cues, particularly the headlights and taillights (which we definitely are), you are in for a good surprise. Porsche has just announced that these cues will be transferred to the entire Porsche lineup.

If you hadn’t noticed already, the two styles already exist in the sport car builder’s lineup, as the taillights are derived from the 911 and the headlights are obviously slightly modified mockups of the new Boxster’s headlights. This smashup of the two styles, according to Matthias Müller’s interview with Motor Trend, will see first production life on the Porsche Macan , and will be carried to other models from there.

In the same interview, Müller also confirmed that the plug-in hybrid drivetrain that we saw in the Sport Turismo concept will see production sooner rather than later. It will debut in the Panamera next year and then appear in the Cayenne in 2014. There is no confirmation on whether the impressive 428 horsepower will carry over too, but we think it’s safe to assume it will.

To say the least, it looks like Porsche is ready to revolutionize the supercar and sports car arenas once again with these coming additions and we are excited to see how the dominos fall. Add in the fact that the 918 Spyder will soon hit the market and you can color us flat-out excited to see how the Porsche lineup evolves in coming years. These changes are exactly what Porsche has needed for many years and avoided in the past out of what we can only assume is a fear of change.

Keep it up, Porsche, we love it!

Source: Motor Trend

Let’s face the facts, as automotive reporters, we love to get our grimy hands on the steering wheel of as many cars as possible and see what they can do. The reality of the situation is that some car manufacturers simply don’t let us. They will, however, allow us to do a “ride story” which puts us in the passenger seat while a professional driver from their company shows you what the car can do. Often times, this driver knows the car like the back of his hand and knows precisely how to make it look great.

For that reason, ride alongs often suck and we usually just give it an “Eh, no thanks.” Well, even the likes of Chris Harris sometimes get the “ride story” treatment, but for good reason. This time around, the ride-along opportunity comes in the passenger seat of the yet-to-be-released Porsche 918 Spyder – a car that none of us would decline a ride in. To boot, this ride along is set to take place in the Nürburgring, where the 918 Spyder completed an impressive 7:14 lap time . That’s one ride along that even Chris Harris can’t decline.

The video is extremely telling, as Harris gets the chance to grille one of the folks closely involved in the 918’s production and gets some really good information on its drivetrain, frame, and, most importantly, its awesome engine. We also get a good listen of how the 918 Spyder sounds from the inside, which is just as impressive as the information Harris drags out of the Porsche rep.

By far the most impressive sound from inside the car is when the driver switches this Porsche from “Silent Mode” to “Full-Race” mode. The sound of that flat-plane crank pumping the titanium connecting rods at the push of a button is enough to make any auto buff’s day.

Have a look and listen, it is well worth the time spent!

Bentley EXP 9 F

When Bentley revealed the oddly named EXP 9 F Concept SUV , some of us cheered out of delight, but many almost cringed at its gaudy appearance. To call a Bentley gaudy is like calling most pop singers “Divas;” it’s pretty much a given. But the EXP 9 F was a little over the top – to say the least.

In a recent interview, Bentley spokesperson, Martin Broomer, made reference to the possibility of the EXP 9 F undergoing a bit of a redesign before it is re-revealed around the end of 2012. Bentley made it clear that the EXP 9 F was a show car and not a “dressed-up preproduction car,” which means it will likely be scaled down a bit in production.

We’ll see exactly how far Bentley takes this revision to this controversial concept. We do know that Bentley won’t strip it of the typical over-the-top design of its vehicles, but it does need some mild adjustments.

For now, all we can do is sit and wait until Bentley feeds us a little information on what it has in store for its debut SUV. One thing is for sure, this tweaking is a solid indicator that this is a little more than just another concept; Bentley is serious about jumping into the ultra-premium SUV segment.

Source: Inside Line

The Nürburgring may not be an official specification, but it is certainly an avenue for manufacturers to gain a little bit of bragging rights. In August 2011, Toyota earned its `Ring stripes by whipping its TMG EV P001 prototype electric car around the 12.92-mile track in just 7:47.79. This puts it within 30 seconds of the likes of the Nissan GT-R and Viper ACR, and just 33 seconds off of the pace set by the Porsche 918 recently.

Well, Toyota obviously wants a little more bragging rights, as it took to the ’Ring again in its 469-horsepower, 663-pound-feet TMG EV P002 and crushed its own record. By “crushing,” we mean knocking 25 seconds off of its original record time by lapping the `Ring in just 7:22.329. Let’s put that in perspective for you here…

The Dodge Viper ACR lapped the ring just 0.229 seconds faster in 2009. The TMG EV Prototype beat the C6 Z06 Corvette by 0.369 seconds, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS by 1.671 seconds, the Nissan Nissan GT-R by 1.89 seconds, and so on. Needless to say, the TMG EV prototype definitely put itself in some elite company and is now just 32.329 seconds away from the record set by the Radical SR8 LM . Given the fact that this Toyota prototype shaved 25 seconds off of its lap time in just a year, getting the overall record may be a possibility in coming years.

We’ll see if Toyota decides to try to reel in that record or if it is happy just being in the top 15 of Nürburgring times. Congrats to the folks at Toyota for an impressive run.

Click past the jump to read TMG’s press release.

Subaru ’s line-up for the 2012 Paris Auto Show wasn’t very impressive, but it did include a very cool BRZ concept car. The concept was inspired by the Subaru XT - a small coupe sold from 1985 to 1991 - hence the name. Subaru barely offered any details on it, but it’s clear that the concept features a more radical look than the standard BRZ and most likely previews some design elements we’ll see in the future STI version .

The Subaru BRZ XT Line Concept benefited from a new carbon fiber spoiler and diffuser, along with carbon fiber exterior mirrors and roof. There is also a new set of 18" wheels painted in Black Silica. For the interior, carbon fiber trim was combined with red leather for the door panels and the dashboard, and "XT Line" logos adorn the interior as well.

Aside from the aesthetic modifications, Subaru also added a Torsen differential, HID projectors, and a number of SRS airbags. No changes were made to the power source, so the XT Concept is powered by the usual 200 HP 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed boxer engine.

Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept

Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault -Nissan and Caterham . Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.

Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham Caterham and Renault Renault -Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.

There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.

This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.

We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.

Source: Sky News

For people that get the four seasons, you’re all probably aware that winter is coming, and that means you’re going to need a ride that can take the wrath of the cold in stride.

German automaker BMW has partnered with ski manufacturer K2 to provide us winter wanderers with the ride for the season. Based on the former’s X1 SUV, the ride has been dubbed the X1Powder Ride Special Edition and it comes with a plethora of exclusive features that, quite frankly, no other X1 will probably have.

For starters, the special edition X1 will carry a number of color options, including non-metallic paint shades like Black and Alpine White, in addition to more glistening shades like Valencia Orange, Mineral White, Mineral Grey, Glacier Silver, and Black Sapphire. In addition to that, the X1 Powder Ride Edition will also come with plenty of new equipment that has been specifically added to the SUV’s overall purpose.

There are roof rails, door sill strips, leather trim for the seats and steering wheel, a snowboard bag, all-weather floor mats, a roof box, ambient lighting, and a new set of 18" alloy wheels, a lot of which are part of the the automaker’s xLine package. Just because it’s co-produced by K2, the X1 Powder Ride Edition will also come with an exclusively designed pair of K2 LTD Powder Ride skis.

As far as engine options are concerned, the X1 Powder Ride Special Edition will be available for the 300-horsepower xDrive35i straight-six model or the 240-horsepower xDrive28i four-cylinder model.

The BMW X1 Powder Ride Special Edition will make its debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show before hitting dealerships next year.

Meanwhile, the Concept K2 Power Ride, another LA-bound BMW X1, will come with a taller ride height, tinted windows, a new set of 19" alloy wheels, a custom milled aluminum ski rack, and an integrated Harman Kardon sound system.

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

Well, we guess not only good things can come out of car shows, as we often find out our fair share of bad news. The latest out of Volkswagen is a killer though. A model that we have been speculating on and that has been turned on and off more than a public restroom hand dryer is finally confirmed as D.O.A., for now. Sadly enough, this highly anticipated model is the Bluesport roadster.

The last we heard of the Bluesport was when Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s head of R&D, told EVO that the Bluesport project was alive and well , despite rumors of its demise. He even went as far as to place a roughly £30,000 price tag on it.

After an interview with Autocar at the Paris Motor Show, Hackenberg said that there is “no business case” and “we didn’t find a market for it” in reference to the Bluesport, tossing a bucket of ice on all of our hopes in the process. In the same breath, however, Hackenberg also made it clear that this isn’t the end of the Bluesport, but rather just a suspension until the market shakes loose.

The reasoning Hackenberg gives for suspending it is to avoid the death blow, which is an outright rejection of the project by upper management. He made it clear that if a market open up for the Bluesport in VW’s lineup it will be quick and easy to install it and get things rolling.

So for now we just have to accept the fact that Vee-Dub will continue on without its sporty roadster for the foreseeable future. As always, we’ll keep a close eye on this one, as Volkswagen is a tricky lot sometimes and could pull a complete 180.

Source: Autocar

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