Report: No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Budget, Crossover, Hatchback, Smart

If you’re a fan of Daimler’s Smart brand, here is some potentially good news for you today. First, a pair of concept vehicles will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month previewing the next-gen Fortwo and Forfour models, and more interestingly, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has stated that are no plans to offer a front-engine, front-drive vehicle for the Smart brand, both reports according to Autocar.

There has been no shortage of concept vehicles from Smart in recent years, but with the Fortwo and Forfour due out in the next year or two, these concepts could be pretty close to the production designs. As for future products beyond these two models, Zetsche told Autocar the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is a “defining feature” for Smart, and a future crossover model will be based on the new Forfour platform rather than sharing its platform with a more conventional product in the Daimler portfolio.

No FWD Smart crossover in the works, but two concepts headed for Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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IndyCar unveils future car concepts created by Dallara

Filed under: Motorsports

2012 dallara indycar chassic concepts

2012 Dallara IndyCar Concepts – Click above for image gallery

In 2010, Dallara was announced as the new chassis manufacturer for the 2012 IndyCar Series. Now, two concepts have been presented; both of which use the same chassis but have different skin so as to show off what’s possible as far as aerodynamic tweaking is concerned.

One version is set up for oval racing while the other is prepped to run a road course. The idea behind the two cars is to show the IndyCar teams that the 2012 Dallara chassis will allow for a lot of ingenuity and engineering. The race cars can be outfitted in a manner that works best for a specific team, yet still adheres to IndyCar rules.

While the aero stylings shown on these two concepts are simply serving as a mock-up of what might be, Dallara is still putting its concepts through all sorts of testing programs. The company wants to ensure that safety and performance come together, while it also keeps cost as low as possible without affecting the finished product.

IndyCar unveils future car concepts created by Dallara originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge and Apex concepts bow in New York [w/video]

Filed under: Concept Cars, New York Auto Show, Hybrid, Sedan, Performance, Suzuki

Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge

Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Suzuki is building a car that we wish more people knew about – the Kizashi. The automaker’s mid-size sedan was featured in Suzuki’s first-ever Super Bowl ad, a modified version set a Bonneville speed record and the stock car traveled a grueling trail from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Now, Suzuki has prepared two new concept versions, showing us what might be in store for the Kizashi down the road. And believe us, are fingers are crossed that these two make it to production.

First up, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is a hybrid sedan that adds a touch of style to a segment rarely getting that extra dash of curb appeal. (Sorry, Ford Fusion Hybrid – you aren’t nearly as pretty as this thing.) Traditional gasoline oomph is provided courtesy of a 2.0-liter inline-four, while a 15-kilowatt motor and 115-volt, air-cooled, lithium-ion battery give the EcoCharge its electric giddy-up. Suzuki says the combination is good for a 25 percent increase over the standard Kizashi’s 30-mile-per-gallon highway fuel-economy rating. But it’s not just the hybrid powertrain providing the MPG lift – the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is fitted with start/stop, has regenerative braking and wears low-rolling resistance tires.

To help it stand apart from its standard Kizashi siblings, Suzuki has gussied up the exterior of the EcoCharge. Unique headlights, LEDs in the fascia and a white satin paint job communicate that this Kizashi has something else going on. The LEDs also help communicate that this is still a concept, since we don’t think the local authorities would be too fond of the blue lights up front (they’re illegal, y’all).

The EcoCharge wasn’t the only sedan on the stand. On the other end of the spectrum, the automaker debuted something more focused on outright performance rather than efficiency.

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Continue reading Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge and Apex concepts bow in New York [w/video]

Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge and Apex concepts bow in New York [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Apr 2011 03:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Suzuki bringing two Kizashi concepts to New York Auto Show

Filed under: Concept Cars, New York Auto Show, Sedan, Suzuki

2010 Suzuki Kizashi

2010 Suzuki Kizashi – Click above for high-res image gallery

Suzuki is hoping to jumpstart its slow-selling Kizashi with two concepts that will debut at the New York International Auto Show. Suzuki says that the cars will each feature a different “advanced propulsion system,” though they aren’t dropping many hints as to what that may mean.

Whatever it is, Suzuki’s New York show display will be advanced propulsion-themed, and all will become clear soon enough.

There aren’t any photos of the cars available yet, but Suzuki says one will be a “socially-conscious sedan,” while the other will be a rowdy tribute to Suzuki’s motorcycling heritage. We haven’t quite figured out what that means, either. Whatever the cars wind up looking like, Suzuki says it will debut them during its press conference at the show.

Gallery: First Drive: 2010 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

Photos by Zach Bowman / Copyright (C)2011 AOL

[Source: Suzuki]

Continue reading Suzuki bringing two Kizashi concepts to New York Auto Show

Suzuki bringing two Kizashi concepts to New York Auto Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Crazy collection of concepts from Bertone to be auctioned by RM at Villa d’Este

Filed under: Concept Cars, Auctions, Chevrolet, Lamborghini, Misc. Auto Shows, Lancia

1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero by Bertone

1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero from the Bertone Museum – Click above for high-res image gallery

You can’t make an omelet, or so the saying goes, without breaking some eggs. So while it’s unfortunate that the restructuring at Bertone means the dissolution of its museum collection, it also means that its contents are going up for auction. And they’ll be crossing the block at no less fitting a location than Villa d’Este.

Those in the know will recognize Villa d’Este for the Concorso d’Eleganza held there every year, where the most gorgeous and rare of classic cars mingle with the finest concept cars unveiled throughout the year. This year’s concours will mark the first time that RM Auctions will be holding an event at the open-air show on picturesque Lake Como, and in addition to the myriad unspeakably beautiful classics on the docket, RM has just announced the consignment of six concept cars from the Bertone Museum, each one-of-a-kind in its own right and available to collectors for the first time.

The consignment includes the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal, 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero, 1963 Chevrolet Testudo, 1974 Lamborghini Bravo, 1980 Lamborghini Athon and 1978 Lancia Sibilo. Each was a seminal design for Bertone, and each is expected to fetch well into the six and even seven figures. The Marzal, particularly, which was driven by Prince Ranier and Princess Grace at the start of 1967 Monaco Grand Prix, and the Stratos, the first prototype for the iconic supercar rally machine of the same name, are expected to sell for between €1,000,000 and €1,800,000… that’s as much as $2.5 million apiece in equivalent American funds.

Have a look at the collection (sans the Lancia Siblio, images for which are en route) in the high-resolution image gallery below, and follow the jump for the full details in the press release. Hat tip to Sea Urchin!

Gallery: Bertone concepts at RM Auctions Villa d’Este

1967 Lamborghini Marzal1967 Lamborghini Marzal1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero

[Source: RM Auctions | Images: Tom Wood/RM]

Continue reading Crazy collection of concepts from Bertone to be auctioned by RM at Villa d’Este

Crazy collection of concepts from Bertone to be auctioned by RM at Villa d’Este originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Detroit 2011: Honda Civic Coupe and Sedan Concepts are visions of a compact future

Filed under: Concept Cars, Detroit Auto Show, Coupe, Budget, Sedan, Honda

2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept

2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda dusted off concept versions of the ninth generation Civic Coupe and Sedan at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show today, and the automaker says that along with mildly updated exteriors, both vehicles will wear improved interiors compared to the current-generation Civic. Judging from the history of Honda concepts, there’s a good chance that the production versions of both the four and two-door Civics will be very similar to the vehicles you see above. That means that the Civic Coupe will wear styling influenced heavily by the current Accord Coupe.

Meanwhile, four-door buyers can expect an exterior design very similar to the 2011 Civic. Though the sedan’s front-fascia wears a little bit more menace than the current design, the carried-over grille and headlights are more than a little familiar. Out back, new tail lamps and a re-sculpted trunk deck dominate the view.

Honda says that for the first time, buyers in all 50 states will be able to get their hands on the natural-gas Civic. Previously, the green machine was only available in select markets. Additionally, the Civic Hybrid will now boast lithium-ion batteries as opposed nickel-metal hydride. Hit the jump for the full press release.

Gallery: 2011 Detroit: 2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept

2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept2012 Honda Civic Coupe Concept

Gallery: 2011 Detroit: 2012 Honda Civic Concept

2012 Honda Civic Concept2012 Honda Civic Concept2012 Honda Civic Concept2012 Honda Civic Concept2012 Honda Civic Concept

Gallery: 2012 Honda Civic Coupe

2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe

Gallery: 2012 Honda Civic Sedan

2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan


Live Photos Copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Honda]

Continue reading Detroit 2011: Honda Civic Coupe and Sedan Concepts are visions of a compact future

Detroit 2011: Honda Civic Coupe and Sedan Concepts are visions of a compact future originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Jan 2011 15:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: BMW working on range of front-wheel-drive concepts

Filed under: Europe, Crossover, Hatchback, BMW, Rumormill

BMW Roundel

When BMW began making noise about bringing front-wheel drive to the table, purists, enthusiasts and fans of the brand immediately busted out the pitchforks and torches. Visions of front-wheel drive 3 Series and 1 Series models were almost enough to induce frenzy (not that a huge number of owners would know the difference…), but if the latest word from BMW Blog is to be believed, the company’s front-wheel drive efforts will be contained to a handful of all-new models.

The news comes courtesy of a BMW insider posting on German Car Forum. Supposedly, the main impetus behind delving into a FWD platform isn’t to increase the company’s average fuel economy as some have guessed. Instead, BMW is looking to make the Mini brand more profitable by sharing platforms with other models under the Roundel.

Those include a new compact BMW roughly the size of a Cooper, as well as an MPV that the insider calls a Compact Gran Sport Tourer. Additionally, there may be room for a crossover-sized front-wheel drive beast as well. Interestingly enough, the report says that the new BMW compact will have proportions similar to those of the Honda CR-Z.

At this point, it’s difficult to say whether or not the source from German Car Forum has their facts straight or not, but so far, this is the most detailed glimpse we’ve gotten into what BMW is up to with its FWD program.

[Source: German Car Forum via BMW Blog]

Rumormill: BMW working on range of front-wheel-drive concepts originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 07 Jan 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cadillac Aera Concept, Smart 454 tied for Top Concepts at LA Auto Show Design Challenge *update

Filed under: Concept Cars, LA Auto Show, Cadillac, GM, Design/Style

Cadillac Aera Concept wins LA Auto Show Design Challenge

Cadillac Aera Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

The focus at the LA Auto Show is on new production vehicles as well as concepts that hint at an automaker’s direction for the very near future. One aspect of the show however, looks further into the distance and pushes designers to create their vision of a supplied theme. The LA Auto Show Design Challenge has entered it’s seventh year, and for 2010 the designers had to create a 1,000-pound car that was stylish and performance oriented yet also capable of carrying four passengers. The GM Advanced Design team stepped up to the plate and, with their Cadillac Aera Concept, took the top spot. The podium must have been crowded though because the Smart 454 also claimed a victory as the judges declared the competition a tie.

This marks the third time that the group from General Motors has won this challenge, giving them the most wins out of all automakers that enter. The Cadillac Aera Concept hit on all areas that the judges were looking for and, despite the futuristic styling, still carries some recognizable lines from Cadillacs of today.

smart 454 WWTThe Smart 454 took a different approach to this contest, compared to the dark and dramatic Aera. The 454 refers to the weight of the vehicle in kilograms, and it is described as being constructed, or rather knitted out of carbon fiber, by “Smart Granny Robots.” Those robots, or SGRs, can turn the carbon fiber into complex shapes, which allows for the varied forms created to be super strong. Even the wheels are carbon fiber, which would allow for less unsprung weight and a strong rolling platform for the 454 WWT to roll on.

You can read more about both the Cadillac Aera Conceptn and the Smart 454 by reading our preview of the design challenge, and you can see them for yourself in the galleries below.

Gallery: 2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept

2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Cadillac Aera Concept

Gallery: 2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT

2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Winner: Smart 454 WWT

[Source: General Motors, LA Auto Show]

Continue reading Cadillac Aera Concept, Smart 454 tied for Top Concepts at LA Auto Show Design Challenge *update

Cadillac Aera Concept, Smart 454 tied for Top Concepts at LA Auto Show Design Challenge *update originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Nov 2010 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LA Auto Show Design Challenge entrants reveal 1,000-pound car concepts

Filed under: Concept Cars, LA Auto Show, Cadillac, GM, Honda, Maybach, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Smart, Toyota, Volvo, Design/Style

Nissan iV concept – Click above for high-res image gallery of all 2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge entrants

The LA Auto Show is once again knocking at the door, and with it comes the annual Design Challenge competition. This year the competition has extended invitations to Japanese and German design studios, in addition to all of the manufacturer-supported studios in Southern California, making it a much more global contest.

The theme for this year’s Design Challenge forces designers to envision vehicles that are at once both kind to the environment yet stylish and exciting to drive at the same time. The catch? Each vehicle concept must weigh no more than 1,000 pounds, seat four adults, be efficient and safe and provide a rewarding driving experience. Sustainable materials, highly exotic designs and a vision of the future are expected from the entrants, and they all certainly delivered.

Nine automakers in total have answered the competition’s call. General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Smart, Toyota and Volvo have all stepped up to the plate, and the results are visually stunning. At the same time, each is though provoking because the designers have each given insight into what technology they believe will possible in the future.

Take a look at the Design Challenge entries, which we have lined up for you after the jump and in the gallery below.

Gallery: 2010 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Entries

Cadillac AeraCadillac AeraCadillac AeraCadillac AeraCadillac Aera

[Source: LA Auto Show]

Continue reading LA Auto Show Design Challenge entrants reveal 1,000-pound car concepts

LA Auto Show Design Challenge entrants reveal 1,000-pound car concepts originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Oct 2010 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FireBreather now available from Classic Design Concepts

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet, Specialty, Design/Style

Classic Design Concepts Firebreather – Click above for high-res image gallery

Good news, Poncho fans: the Classic Design Concepts Firebreather is officially on sale. If you were one of the many souls whose minds immediately leapt to thoughts of a resurrected Firebird when GM first introduced the Chevrolet Camaro Concept way back in 2006, you’re probably a bit bitter about the fact GM kicked Pontiac to the curb before that dream every came to life. Fortunately, Classic Design Concepts stepped in to fill the void in a big way. The Firebreather takes some of the more iconic elements of the Firebird’s history and melds them with the already muscular lines of Chevrolet’s pony bruiser.

In addition to the creative body work, the car packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that manages to dump 599 horsepower onto the rear tires and the Classic Design Concepts team also took the time to work over the interior with a few Firebird-like design elements. If you absolutely need one to scratch that insatiable Pontiac itch, get out your check book: The company is asking a big ol’ $60,000 for the privilege. We’ll tell you whether its worth it when drive the Firebreather next week.

Gallery: Classic Design Concepts Firebreather

[Source: Firebreather Car]

FireBreather now available from Classic Design Concepts originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Aug 2010 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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