This year’s Paris Motor Show will play host to numerous concept car debuts from manufacturers across the world. Toyota has chosen the event to unveil their vision for a hybrid-powered compact crossover. And interestingly the company say the concept is an early preview of a vehicle which they would like to put into production.
The Toyota C-HR concept has a coupe-like body shape, but a raised ride height like an SUV. The two-door cabin and sloping roofline make it clear that although it might be able to do a bit of mild off-roading, it wasn’t exactly designed for practicality of hauling much in the way of cargo or people.
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The headline act on the Peugeot stand at the 2014 Paris Motor Show will be this, the Peugeot QUARTZ. The QUARTZ is a futuristic SUV concept with dramatic styling and a 500 horsepower hybrid drivetrain. The concept is based on the same platform underpinning the new 308.
Peugeot say the QUARTZ represents their vision for the crossover segment, and showcases innovative materials as well as the company’s latest HYbrid system. Which in this case consists of a 270 horsepower 1.6 litre turbocharged engine assisted by a 113 horsepower electric motor which both drive the front wheels. At the rear a second 113 horsepower electric motor drives the rear wheels. The transmission is a six-speed automatic.
The QUARTZ has three driving modes to suit different conditions and requirements. In ZEV mode the vehicle uses electric power alone, allowing it to cover up to 31 miles before needing a recharge. For higher speeds or longer journeys, Road mode engages both the engine and front electric motor. And for more rigorous use the Race mode can be activated which also brings online the rear motor for maximum performance.
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Ahead of its public debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Renault has published details regarding their fuel-sipping EOLAB concept. The vehicle is being used to showcase nearly 100 technical innovations which will be appearing on production Renault models over the next few years.
The Renault EOLAB, which takes its name from combining the name of ‘Aeolous’ God and Ruler of the Winds in Greek mythology, and ‘Laboratory’, is capable of achieving 1l/100km (282mpg) and 22g/km CO2 emissions on the official NEDC cycle.
To achieve such impressive figures the concept combines a lightweight construction method with a hybrid drivetrain and active aerodynamics. Renault say the EOLAB is roughly 400 kgs (880 lbs) lighter than a comparable production Clio model.
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At a private event hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco, Toyota unveiled a ridiculously ugly concept vehicle which is actually quite desirable in many ways. The Toyota Urban Utility Concept, or U2 for short, is a vehicle designed for DIY enthusiasts, creators, entrepreneurial types, designers and artists. Basically anyone who might have need for a small, versatile van.
The Toyota U2 concept was designed at the company’s Calty Design Research facility in Newport Beach, California. Before putting pen to paper the designers gathered feedback from Maker Faire participants, who are exactly the sort of people the concept is designed to appeal to.
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First of all, for anyone – and that more or less means everyone – reading this hoping to hear about a planned production date, pricing and availability of the Dodge Challenger A/T Untamed concept, this is a digital rendering of a currently non-existent vehicle.
But there is a glimmer of hope, Joey Ruiter, the man who designed the concept is a fairly prolific automotive fabricator. Having scratch-built a wide assortment of vehicles, ranging from electric-powered off-road buggys and motorcycles, to boats and personal water craft. So if anyone can make it a reality, he can. In fact he’s begun work on a kit which could transform stock Challengers into formidable all-terrain beasts.
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Earlier this year, Nissan’s performance division NISMO announced a lighthearted design competition which asked fans to help conceive of some Mashups using some of their high-performance models, and cross-breeding them with some of Nissan’s more entry-level vehicles. The results are now in.
At the start of the contest we came up with a cross between the IDx NISMO concept and the 370Z (see the gallery). Unfortunately it wasn’t eligible for the competition because the IDX NISMO is a concept, not a production model. So the cars that NISMO ended up going with were a blend of the Nissan GT-R and the Maxima, and a shotgun marriage between a 370Z and a Sentra.
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As MINI expands their lineup into increasingly diverse sectors, their original aim – which was to create retro-inspired compact cars which appealed to hipsters and people who think that having a big sticker on their roof makes them “an individual” – seems to have been forgotten. Now they make everything from roadsters to small SUVs, and if seven students from the ISD design university in France have their way they’ll also be making quirky luxury executive vehicles.
It’s not a bad proposition, BMW, Audi and Mercedes make some great vehicles, but they all stick to a safe formula. They don’t exactly take risks when it comes to styling. And that has resulted in some handsome cars, but Audi’s lineup in particular has a bit of a Russian doll feel to it, and BMW aren’t much different. An executive vehicle with some character is hard to find, and that’s where the MINI Businessman concept comes in.
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In the early part of the 20th Century, automotive designers were just starting to understand the benefits of aerodynamic bodywork, although at the time it was called ‘streamlining’. Streamlining was still a pretty new idea, most manufacturers still made their cars in the shape of a box, with a vertical front grille and windshield and quite literally no attempt was made to manage or control the flow of air around the vehicle.
Aurel Persu was one of the first men to understand the importance of aerodynamics. Born in Romania in 1890, he was a graduate of the Royal Technical College of Charlottenburg in Berlin. Persu was inspired by the simple raindrop, and wanted to create a vehicle which had a similarly low drag coefficient. His masterpiece was the Persu Streamliner, a teardrop shaped vehicle with aerodynamic bodywork and wheels which were set within the body – as opposed to sticking out, like on most other vehicles of the time.
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Icon are a US-based company who specialize in rebuilding classic 4x4s – including the Ford Bronco, Jeep CJ7 and Toyota Landcruiser – and fitting them with the latest technology, drivetrains and equipment. They also do other stuff, like building what look like decrepit, rusting old cars, but underneath are high-powered modern drivetrains.
However Their latest project would take them from being a car restoration company, to being a car manufacturing company. Icon’s founder and boss Jonathan Ward is currently in the early stages of designing a stylish streamliner-inspired automobile called the Icon Helios, after the Greek god of the Sun.
The styling of the Icon Helios is influenced by aircraft and automobiles, from the 1930s. It features a curvaceous unpainted aluminium body, with much of the engineering left on show, like the individual rivet heads.
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The original one-of-a-kind Napier-Railton was a beast of a car. Built in 1933 by Reid Railton for the British racing driver John Cobb, the Napier-Railton was powered by a 24-litre aircraft engine which produced 580 horsepower. The transmission was a three-speed non-synchromesh manual gearbox which sent power to the rear wheels. Interestingly the car only had brakes on the rear wheels, despite the fact it has a 168 mph top speed!
From 1933 to 1947 the Napier-Railton broke no less than 47 World speed records. The car is currently owned by the Brooklands Museum, and it is kept in perfect running order.
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