Tag Archives: i8

Concepts Abound at 2012 Beijing Auto Show

24 Apr

It’s not surprising the world’s largest automobile market would receive one of the most expansive and encompassing auto shows, and that is exactly what’s taking place at the 2012 Beijing International Auto Show. With the Chinese market growing by leaps and bounds each month German manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all have debuted new vehicles at this year’s show, with a large majority being in the form of concept vehicles.

Audi A6 L e-tron Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

Audi’s has a total of three concepts, the first is the A6 L e-tron, based on their luxurious full-size A6 sedan. The the other is the RS Q3, a high-performance variant of the already-existing Q3 crossover SUV and the last is a Chinese-exclusive Q3 model.

The A6 L e-tron is a plug-in hybrid capable of operating for just over 49 miles exclusively on electric power, while maintaining a consistent speed of 37 mph. That’s not practical for highway use, but with the amount of vehicles on China’s busy roads it’s perfect for stop-and-go traffic and low-speed driving. In addition to the 95 horsepower electric motor the A6 L e-tron has a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline engine with a maximum of 211 horsepower. Audi’s decision to produce an e-tron on the A6 platform comes as no surprise. The A6 is extremely popular among Audi’s Chinese clientele, and the Chinese have always associated the A6 with success, prestige and power.

Audi RS Q3 Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

On the other end of the spectrum is the RS Q3. This tuned version of the Q3 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine with a peak output 360 horsepower, 152 more than the top engine option in the regular Q3. The power plant together with a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission allow the RS Q3 to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 164.66 mph. Like many performance models, the modifications extend beyond what’s found under the hood. The suspension has been lowered by 25 mm as well as being widened to improve handling. Weight has been reduced with the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). The front spoiler, door mirror housings and diffuser on the lower rear bumper all employ the use of this lightweight material. As with other RS models like the TT-RS the engine bay of the RS Q3 has a valve cover painted in red with carbon fiber trim pieces adorning various other parts.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe: Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Not to be outdone Mercedes-Benz introduced their Concept Style Coupe. The four-door concept has a number of unique design features that could potentially make their way onto future Mercedes vehicles. The front end of the Concept Style Coupe has two distinct powerdomes that are slightly reminiscence of the one on the current BMW M3. Below the hood, the grille is nearly identical to the Concept A-Class that made its world premiere at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 208 horsepower and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The headlights are aggressive in their design and are illuminated in red when in standby mode. Ultimately the Concept Style Coupe has many features normally found on concept vehicles. The majority of these won’t make their way onto the production model due to government and safety regulations, but they’re are always cool to look at.

Finishing off the list of German concept vehicles is the BMW i8 Spyder. The two-door, drop-top hybrid is being proclaimed by BMW as their vehicle of the future along with the i8 Coupe and smaller four-door i3. At the front of the i8 Spyder is a 131 horsepower electric motor, and at the rear is a 223 horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Together the unit is estimated to achieve 70-80 mpg.

BMW i8 Spyder: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

BMW Group launches new sub-brand: BMW i

21 Feb

By Matt McCarron

BMW Group has announced the creation of their latest sub-brand, BMW i.  BMW i, will be focused on the production of sustainable and environmentally friend transportation vehicles.

“BMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility…,” said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose-built for sustainable, premium mobility. It’s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility.”

BMW will begin production of BMW i vehicles in 2013 with the BMW i3 and i8. The i3, which was previously named the “Megacity Vehicle”, will be the first BMW series car to be an electric-only vehicle. The other upcoming BMW i creation, the i8, will combined both electric and gasoline power. This will allow the i8 to perform double duties as a mode of transportation. An individual can operate the i8 either as a plug-in electric vehicle, or utilize the gasoline engine to give the car greater performance.

Aerial view of BMW Leipzig Plant: Courtesy BMW USA

In addition to creating a greater range of potential customers, BMW Group is also expecting BMW i to allow the manufacturer to expand on its current selection of technological components it puts into its vehicles. Already existing options such as BMW ConnectDrive will be expanded to be compatible with the growing array of mobile devices being used in today’s globally connected society. BMW Group has already starting arranging business partnerships with U.S. based companies in order to make this vision possible. New York-based company “My City Way” will offer a mobile application that gives drivers of BMW i vehicle detailed information of things like available parking spaces in their direct vicinity and intelligent navigation systems.

The BMW i3 and i8 will be manufactured at BMW’s Leipzig, Germany plant. BMW expects the sub-brand to generate 800 new jobs, due to expansions and improvements that need to be made at the plant before the i3 and i8’s launch in 2013.

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