Saturday, April 14, 2012

Peugeot 208 GTi Concept, 2012

 Peugeot 208 GTi Concept, 2012

The Peugeot is revealing not one, but two concept cars at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, which present two expressions of the Marque's upmarket trend in the supermini segment. These concept cars interpret the generation leap already defined by the 208 but in different contexts. The XY Concept is intended for city dwellers who love distinction and refinement, whereas the Peugeot 208 GTi Concept re-generates an iconic legend.

The first thing that attracts you with the 208 and especially with these two concepts is the detailing of the signature LED headlamp design, which is prominently visible both day and night. Using Full-LED technology, the front directional indicators surround the main beam headlamps giving these concept cars the impression of having an iris. The rectangular headlamp units, when used on main beam, appear to have a 'feline pupil' … a technological and precise expression that is fully identifiable with the lion Marque.

The precision continues with the integrated style components adorning the bodywork. Wheel arches have wing extensions, and bodywork with sills enhance the stance.

The Peugeot 208 GTi Concept: The re-generation of a legendary icon
The first sensations are completely visual and evident as soon as the Peugeot 208 GTi Concept is revealed. Instantly characterised by being the performance icon of the 208, it features chequered-flag motifs that embellish the metal mesh of the grille, and the lower bar proudly affirms its origin by displaying the French 'Le Tricolour' flag or the Union Jack when in the UK.

Other distinctive exterior features include: double chromed exhaust tailpipes, aero lower bodywork spoilers and lower sill skirt extensions that all capture the signature badging. Placed within the grille is the brushed aluminium GTi Concept logo that can also be found on the rear quarter panels, as a salute to its illustrious predecessor - the legendary 205 GTi.

On the inside, the passenger compartment is a true GTi environment, with a characteristic sports leather stitched steering wheel, the treatment of which is replicated on the sides of the gear lever, double stitching in the seats and enhanced with LED backlighting to the surrounds of the high-tech instruments. The sports seats are trimmed with Nappa leather on the outer section, and cloth in the centre with an embossed tartan motif, and a leather head restraint.

The red perforated leather steering wheel continues the check motif, and has a pronounced lower flat section, which carries the GTi Concept logo set in an aluminium ring. To complete the sports interior, the fascia capping is dressed in Alcantara with grey stitching, the roof lining is entirely black and the pedals are aluminium. The centre console architecture and ventilation vents all feature a graduated red to black effect, and the chequered-flag theme is also present on the aluminium door crossbars.

The Peugeot 208 GTi Concept takes its propulsion from the powerfully-compact RCZ THP 200 engine. Combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the 1.6-litre THP engine puts its driver at the controls of a machine that captivates the potential for a great driving experience. Like all 208s, a small steering wheel greets the driver and with the GTi Concept, this accentuates the dynamic capability of this car with the enhanced power available. With the raised instrument panel in line of sight, the information is clearly visible from the dials that have a brushed aluminium background and very precise graduations.

The GTi Concept also benefits from the improvements that characterise the 208, taking full advantage of its compactness and lightness, delivering road-holding that is both excellent and precise. To enhance the dynamic experience, it has a 36mm wider track, at the front and at the rear, and a rear roof spoiler to generate down force at speed. For optimum braking performance, the GTi Concept is equipped with four discs; 302mm diameter at the front and 249mm at the rear, set off by red-painted brake callipers.

The Peugeot 208 XY Concept: Urban chic
Powered by a 1.6-litre e-HDi engine, developing 115bhp and equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox the Peugeot 208 XY Concept transports its occupants in a refined environment, with a Crimson colour treatment applied to exterior bodywork and the decorated interior.

Special 'Pulsion' paintwork means the XY Concept appears to constantly change, depending on the distance and the position from which it is viewed. This ability to transform is the result of an exclusive method, based on the very precise application of sixteen coats of paint and lacquer.
The passenger compartment is trimmed with crimson stitched leather on the dashboard, armrests, steering wheel rings, gear lever gaiter and sides, and with stripes on seat inserts and floor mats, while the panoramic glass roof is edge-trimmed in black leather.

Pearly grey leather pleated seats feature five metal rings, which pinch and tighten the material. This precision in the working of the material continues with an exclusive steering wheel in leather, with crimson micro-stripes with a chrome insert in the lower section. Bathed in the natural light provided by the panoramic glass roof, with white ambiance lighting, the finishing touches to the interior add a 'gunmetal' aesthetic treatment to the door crossbars, steering wheel decorations and vent trims.

The Peugeot 208 XY Concept rides on exclusive dual-effect 18" alloy wheels complementing its 'Pulsion' colour and special detailing with coloured chrome decorating the panoramic glass roof trim. The lower window edge and the quarter panel are finished off with a special grille treatment with three horizontal chrome bars.
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Peugeot 5 Concept, 2010

Peugeot 5 Concept, 2010

The Peugeot 5 Concept car is another indication of the changing face of Peugeot and provides an insight into the Marque's future ambitions in the large luxury vehicle segment. Its pure and elegant lines blend with subtle technical detailing to create an overall effect of a timeless, exclusive and modern design.

Powered by Peugeot's HYbrid4 technology, it ensures both high levels of driving enjoyment and environmental protection - 200 bhp, four-wheel drive and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km or zero in electric mode.

Bold expressive design
Its dimensions, proportions and styling are a direct response to the changing trends in the large luxury saloon car market segment. It reflects the continual search for more status, quality and performance, combined with a modernity that encompasses the vehicle's general efficiency in terms of architecture, engines and styling.

The Peugeot 5 Concept expresses the Marque's vision and experience in the large touring car market. This concept car is designed and built to have both elegance and precision, but without in any way sacrificing the personality and dynamism so beloved of the Peugeot Marque. The emotion aroused by its exterior design holds the promise of exceptional interior space, convenience and comfort.

A modern, prestigious and timeless styling

The contours of the exterior body flow smoothly, unruffled and without interruption or embellishment from the end of the bonnet to the top of the boot lid. All surfaces are perfectly aligned, with clearances between each element precisely determined to obtain a quality of assembly rivalling that of a goldsmith. The overall effect it creates is that of a vehicle that has been hewn from a solid block of material.
Peugeot 5 Concept

At the front, the interpretation of the Marque's traditional feline appearance is spectacular; "LED" lights are highlighted by the use of illuminated surrounds that blend perfectly with the overall exterior body styling. The headlamps frame a unique front grille design, whose visual appearance is closely influenced by the Peugeot SR1 concept car. The innovative design of the front grille gives the impression that it is detached from the vehicle; it appears to be suspended in front of the car. The new revised Lion badge naturally takes pride of place in a specially shaped area at the front of the long aluminium bonnet.

The streamlined sides of the car are enhanced further by the bevelled, brushed-aluminium window surrounds and door handles, combined with sculpted 19'' wheel trims. The rear design of the vehicle suggests both robustness and power. The bold design of rear lights, consisting of three separate linked light clusters, clearly distinguish the vehicle at night, but also provides a link back to some of the Marque's historic models.

A new driving experience
The elegance, precision and dynamic appearance of the car's exterior styling is also reflected in the car's technical specification. The Peugeot 5 Concept incorporates Peugeot's HYbrid4 technology which, will be launched in 2011 in the Peugeot 3008.

A 2.0 litre HDi FAP163 bhp diesel engine, mounted at the front of the vehicle, is combined with a 37 bhp electric motor at the rear. This arrangement provides an overall maximum power of 200 bhp, an electric only mode for low speed operation, four-wheel drive when required, and low fuel consumption and emissions of 74.3 mpg and 99 g/km of CO2 or zero in electric mode.

The Peugeot 5 Concept is further proof of Peugeot's environmental strategy. The modular technology of the Hybrid4 system can be combined with a range of naturally-aspirated engines according to market requirements, and can be fitted to different body shapes and different platforms, helping to ensure future driving enjoyment.
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Subaru Impreza, 2012

Subaru Impreza, 2012

The Subaru launched the all-new, fourth-generation 2012 Subaru Impreza model at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Debuting bolder, more dynamic design and new engines, Subaru's compact contender will also offer increased interior space, refinement and handling agility.

New interior features, infotainment technology and higher grade interior materials promise a more rewarding driving and ownership experience for customers of the 2012 Impreza.

For the UK market, a new 1.6 litre Boxer engine will be teamed with a five-speed manual transmission or the second generation Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Every new Subaru Impreza is equipped as standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Subaru's invaluable performance and safety enhancing system.

Built on a longer wheelbase but with shorter overhangs, the new Subaru Impreza provides a roomier interior in the same external footprint as the outgoing model. The new passenger cabin not only yields more room, but crucially a greater feeling of spaciousness and better visibility than before.

Bold Design Statement Also Enhances Functionality
The all new Subaru Impreza conveys a bolder, more confident design that emphasises its sporty roots and standard All-Wheel Drive system. In profile, the 2012 Impreza draws focus to its wheels with powerful arches, a theme that debuted on the 2010 Subaru Legacy.

From the front, the Subaru badge centres the new hexagonal grille, a keystone of all new Subaru designs. The new Impreza sports characteristic Subaru hawk-eye headlights and a range of new 15-inch wheel cover and 16- and 17-inch alloy wheel designs.

Numerous design elements combine to give the Subaru Impreza a sportier exterior stance while also offering the driver and passengers a more commanding view of the road. The windscreen is more raked than in the previous model, with the bottom of the A-pillar moved 7.9 inches forward. This allows for a front door opening that is nearly five inches longer for easier entry/exit, abetted by lower doorsills. Rear doors are also larger on both 4 and 5-door body styles.

Driver visibility has been greatly improved through the use of thinner A-pillars and partitioned front door side glass. Where the door trim meets the window has also been lowered, helping visibility further. The instrument panel is lower and flatter than the outgoing model to give a wider field of view and a feeling of greater spaciousness. New exterior wing mirrors have greater surface area to enhance visibility while relocating them from the A-pillars to the doors contributes to improved sight lines.

Improved Room and Refinement
The new Subaru Impreza's wheelbase grows to 104.1 inches (compared to 103.2 in the outgoing model), while length and width measurements remain the same.

The combination of a longer wheelbase with re-designed interior trim and front seats has led to gains in passenger and cargo room. Rear seat passengers gain nearly two inches of legroom, thanks to both the longer wheelbase and a new, scalloped-style front seat backrest redesign. The 5-door hatchback will benefit from increased luggage space and now provides a completely flat load floor with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded.

It is now easier to load and unload heavy objects, thanks to the removal of a stepped section under the opening. The cargo area cover can now be stored under the cargo floor, as in the Forester.
Subaru has paid a great deal of attention to improving refinement. Richer looking interior appointments and details abound, including soft-touch materials for the dashboard, door trim and centre console armrest.

Carrying space and utility has been improved throughout; larger door pockets can hold plastic drink bottles and large maps and numerous compartments located in and around the centre console hold all manner of personal items, such as phones, USB drives and MP3 players.

Greater comfort is assured with Subaru Impreza's new front seats with their higher seatbacks, increased lumbar support and cushions that more effectively distribute pressure. As in the 2010 Legacy, the seats are optimized for a rear-end collision. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is standard on all 2012 Subaru Impreza models.

The High levels of standard equipment
Levels of standard equipment have been increased across the range. All models are set to feature electric windows and mirrors, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, outside temperature gauge, a multi-function display, engine immobilizer, and tilt/telescopic steering wheel. .

Higher spec models will add more kit including 16 or 17 inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, heated front seats and mirrors, climate control, upgraded instruments and auto lights. Subaru Impreza's new optional navigation system includes a 6.1-inch touch screen LCD display with voice control.

All new gearbox and Boxer engine
UK versions of the Subaru Impreza will be powered by an all new 4-cylinder 1.6 litre Boxer petrol engine and will be available with either a new five-speed manual transmission or Subaru's Lineartronic CVT. With either transmission choice, the 2012 Impreza delivers significantly improved fuel economy over the car it replaces.

Subaru has further refined its CVT so that for the new Subaru Impreza a lighter and more compact unit delivers smooth, linear acceleration, closer to a conventional automatic transmission while still delivering the efficiency benefits of a CVT. Higher specification Subaru Impreza models will feature CVT with a 6-speed manual, operated by steering wheel paddle shifters.

The New Subaru Impreza will benefit from improved ride and handling courtesy of strengthened suspension components in front and rear and new hydraulic engine mounts to damp out vibration. The new model keeps its double-wishbone rear suspension which now features new components to improve ride quality and stability. A stiffer body structure, when combined with the new suspension, have also reduced levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive: key to Subaru's Brand identity
Subaru will offer two different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the new Subaru Impreza. In models equipped with the five-speed manual, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling to distribute power 50/50 front to rear, while any slippage will send more power to the opposite set.

The Subaru Impreza models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT feature the Active Torque Split AWD version that uses a continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control power distribution in response to driving conditions.

Complementing the safety benefits of the AWD system, the new Subaru Impreza will also come as standard with Subaru's Vehicle Dynamics Control (SVDC) - a system which combines stability and traction control functions - while all models are equipped with ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist safety system.

Subaru's high performance WRX STI, which was launched in Autumn 2011 and is now sold and marketed as a stand-alone model, is not affected in any way by the introduction of a new Subaru Impreza 5-door.
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Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept, 2011

 Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept, 2011

Exquisitely balancing the enjoyment of driving with environmental friendliness Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept, under its product concept of 'Revolutionary Sports Tourer', embodies Subaru's theme of 'Confidence in Motion'.

The C-segment class car was developed as a new-generation sports wagon providing both superior driving performance and utility. It features an innovative exterior design not found in conventional wagon models and expert wagon utility Subaru has cultivated over the years. The well established sports power unit, the Horizontally-Opposed Subaru Boxer engine, is now with direct fuel injection. This highlight mixed with Subaru's downsizing concept and original Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) expertise has enabled Subaru to make considerable progress on its unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) technology. An even sportier driveability and advanced environmental friendliness are both attainable in this new concept car.

The Exterior Design

Subaru's brand statement 'Confidence in Motion' is portrayed in the outward design as well. The dynamic yet sleek look promises an enthusiastic drive, while the cabin offers all the usability of a C-segment wagon. A flowing line on the side surfaces augments the stylish design calling to mind a coupe style car.

The Interior Design
In pursuit of Subaru's human-centered philosophy, all passengers are assured a safe and pleasant ride in a comfortable and quality interior.
An entire roof made of glass adds to the spacious feel. Various textures such as wood and metal are incorporated into the inside layout to produce ample ambiance.

A large monitor is built into the steering wheel allowing access to maps, television and internet services. Information will be available at hand to support contemporary lifestyles even in the car.

Downsized direct fuel injection turbo engine
The downsized direct fuel injection turbo engine is one of the principal technologies that will guide Subaru's engine strategy in the future. Not only is acceleration quick and smooth with the new-generation Horizontally-Opposed engine, it is environmentally friendly. The direct fuel injection system which injects necessary amounts of fuel into the cylinders at appropriate moments, and a turbo system which efficiently supplies large amounts of air into the cylinders, along with the downsizing of current turbo engine displacements (2,500cc and 2,000cc) to 1,600cc drastically improve combustion efficiency at practical driving-speed range compared to the existing turbo engine.

High torque compatible Lineartronic (CVT)
Lineartronic is Subaru's continuously variable transmission device designed for the new era. It is the world's first longitudinally-mounted chain drive CVT to be utilized in mass-produced AWD passenger cars. For the concept car, the Lineartronic was refined to satisfy the high-power output turbo engine.

Hybrid system
Subaru' s original hybrid system has been developed to harmonize with the Symmetrical AWD technology, another one of its specialties, and to further enhance its appeal. A single motor system was employed for its simple structure and light weight.

The system has an Electric Vehicle (EV) mode which allows AWD motion using only the motor at start-ups and low-speed drives. When decelerating, the regenerating mechanism uses the motor as a power generator.

Eye Sight
Subaru's advanced driving assist system EyeSight (Version 2), well received since its release in May 2010, has made further progress. The recognition range of the stereo camera has expanded considerably, both in width and depth.

  •     Length x Width x Height: 4,580mm x 1,840mm x 1,430mm
  •     Engine type: 1.6 liter Horizontally-Opposed direct fuel injection turbo engine
  •     Transmission type: High torque compatible Lineartronic
  •     Drive train: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with hybrid system
  •     Battery type: Lithium-ion battery
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Rinspeed Dock-Go Concept, 2012

Rinspeed Dock-Go Concept, 2012

Swiss automotive visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht isn't hiring out as an experienced travel consultant these days who has seen much of the world. Rather the man from Zumikon near Zurich is simply pointing out that usually all of us automatically do the right thing when we move around: we lug around as little ballast and unnecessary items as possible. And it is precisely this from an economic and ecological standpoint sensible behavior that Rinderknecht echoes with his new Rinspeed Dock+Go Concept car on two and sometimes three axles. The concept will be on display for hands-on inspection at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

It is specifically the third on-demand axle that is the crucial point of the innovative modular mobility system the Rinspeed boss has devised. "Dock+Go" was built - in the traditional sense - by Peter Kägi and his company 4erC. The concept draws its irresistible charm from easy-to-dock single-axle "backpacks on wheels." These so-called "packs" carry out their assigned tasks depending on current need. But the best thing is: they cleverly solve the much-debated operating range problem that electric vehicles suffer from. Neither unnecessary space nor superfluous weight is being transported. This truly creates "mobility à la carte."

Any electrified city speedster could serve as the basis for "Dock+Go." For demonstration purposes Rinderknecht selected a two-seat smart car as the basis. Different "packs" can turn the electric flea into the dream car of every pizza delivery driver - complete with a built-in isothermal box. Or they allow winter sports enthusiasts to comfortably stow their gear. In Geneva Rinspeed will furthermore show off a rolling "sound pack" which multimedia and infotainment specialist Harman has filled with the latest high-end sound solutions in order to guarantee a first class acoustical experience.

The car truly always saves the best for last: and in this case it is a generous helping of operating range if the 100 kilometers that are usually on tap in electric vehicles simply are not enough. An "energy pack," fitted with a range extender or additional batteries, powered by a fuel cell or equipped with a combustion engine, provides the crucial extra kilometers to reach more distant destinations. The simple and equally clever trick of the latter is: the docked third axle drives the rotating second axle and in doing so also recharges the on-board batteries of the city speedster. The world's first Variohybrid - as Frank M. Rinderknecht calls his range donor - is born. And to top it all off: when the pack with auxiliary batteries is docked and the vehicle is not in use, the pack will even provide electricity to the owner's private residence or serve as a buffer for the public energy grid, in effect turning it into a "smart grid."

Rinspeed's automotive visions live not only on the quality of the ideas behind it, but also and in particular on their sharp implementation. That's because one key element of Frank M. Rinderknecht's credo is that a car must provoke emotions and visions, especially if it is to serve as a vehicle for communicating new technologies and innovative materials. And there is a lot to see on the "Dock+Go" in that respect, contributed by large corporations and small but brilliant specialists alike in order to effectively showcase "Dock+Go," which is currently going through the Swiss patenting process.

An immediate eye-catcher is the silver outer skin from AkzoNobel with a finish that resembles sparkling ice crystals. It ties in with the Goodyear low-rolling-resistance tires in size 205/40-17 mounted on 7.5-inch AEZ rims, whose decorative silver covers are attached to red fasteners with rubber bands. At night the chrome-blue accent striping on either side stands out immediately, developed by Lumitec based on an electroluminescent 3D-flexible film. Anyone with a message for their environment can broadcast it using the innovative "Identiface" feature. This display-based surface, developed by MBtech, replaces the front grille, which on an electric vehicle serves virtually no purpose. Thanks to internet connectivity "Identiface" can display the owner's Facebook pages, news from around the world, the manufacturer's badge or even the offer of a ride from point A to point B.

The interior is dominated by black and red. The high-tech Schoeller yarns have strong natural thermoregulation, good insulation and a high capacity for absorbing moisture. They keep comfortably warm in winter and remain pleasantly cool in summer. Premium automotive textile manufacturer Gaenslen&Völter spun them into soft, supple upholstery that provides that special feel-good factor. And wherever plastics are used, it is in the form of high-grade man-made materials, such as the creatively and stylishly embossed synthetic leather that is supplied by Hornschuch, a specialist in this field. The transparent roof and its distinctive grass inlays - as well as a number of other interior materials - were contributed by Studer. The view ahead is dominated by a 12.1-inch monitor. It belongs to the multimedia equipment and is part of the intelligent infotainment system developed from Harman. The platform features the latest integration technologies for smart phones, adaptive navigation and the cloud-based Aha-platform with a flexible Human Machine Interface (HMI) and gesture control in order to bring digital contents intuitively, easy and safely into the car. This gesture-controlled system makes operation of the contents child's play and the four cameras integrated into the vehicle body make dents from parking maneuvers things of the past.

The instruments were again supplied by - who else? - VDO. Also brand-new is the steering wheel from the German-Japanese Takata Corporation with integrated "parking space" for a smartphone, which serves as a second monitor when docked. This is made possible these days by a driver airbag that thanks to vacuum technology requires reduced installation space.

However  Rinspeed Dock+Go Concept offers more than just style; it also serves up a high level of technical sophistication. The recently newly developed high-strength, lightweight door frames come from Austrian steel manufacturer Voestalpine. Weber Fibertech built the extremely lightweight liftgate insert with function integration, the high voltage electric heater including the futuristic air vents were supplied by German specialist Eberspächer. No compromises can be made when it comes to handling huge amounts of energy safely, a fact accounted for by the extremely robust electric plug connectors from TE Electronics. Apropos plug connectors: recharging the car no longer requires it to be plugged in. Instead the vehicle simply rolls onto an induction field from SEW Eurodrive for non-contact charging.

Rinspeed Dock+Go is a clever mobility concept, implemented rich with emotions, enhanced with technical delicacies and intriguing enough for Swiss insurance giant Zürich Versicherung to commit to the cause. Who wouldn't think of a series production in this context? No wonder that dynamic Frank M. Rinderknecht, one of the flagships for Swiss watch manufacturer C.F. Bucherer, is toying with this possibility. Rinderknecht on this issue: "Yes, we have been in productive talks with potential manufacturers for some time now." Düsseldorf-based consulting company A.T. Kearney at any rate has already devised a manufacturing and marketing concept for the series production.
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