Aston Martin today revealed a stunning new concept car which the company says hints at a potential future design direction for their vehicles. Unveiled at the Nurburgring, the Aston Martin CC100 Speedster is a radical, Spartan roadster which is clearly designed to spend more time on the track than on public roads. As well as providing a glimpse of what future Astons might look like, the CC100 Speedster was also created as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Inspired by the classic DBR1, the CC100 Speedster does away with basic luxuries – like doors and windows – and leaves the occupants exposed to the elements. But that’s fine, because that means the snarl of the 6.0 litre V12 engine shoehorned in up front should be easier to hear.
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For their latest concept car, BMW have teamed up with perhaps Italy’s most celebrated design studio, Pininfarina. The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe is a one-off creation which will make its world debut at the 2013 Concours d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy.
The car is a follow-up to the BMW Zagato Coupe concept which was shown at the same venue last year. Same German brand, different Italian designers. And whereas the Zagato Coupe was based on the Z4 Coupe, the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe looks to be built around the 6 Series Coupe.
However the fact the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe is powered by a V12 engine means that many people will make the obvious connection with the gone-but-not-forgotten mighty 8 Series. A car which in my opinion is long overdue for revival.
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This year’s Worthersee event saw several VW, Audi and SEAT concept cars unveiled. But by far the most practical vehicle on show surely has to be the Volkswagen Amarok Power-Pickup Concept, which is, obviously, based on an Amarok single cab pickup.
The Volkswagen Amarock Power-Pickup Concept is powered by a 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine. It produces 272 horsepower and 442 lb-ft (600 Nm) of torque. Enough to scoot the pickup to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds, and tow small mountains. Just not at the same time. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic unit mated to a permanent 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system.
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While most of the automotive world has been focused on the Shanghai Motor Show for the past week, Toyota has been busily preparing an all-new concept car for a Paris debut on the Champs Elysees. The Toyota ME.WE is a stripped down, back-to-basics concept designed to be economical, versatile and environmentally friendly.
It’s been tough picking through the vast swathes of BS Toyota decided to spout on about in their press release regarding the car. But the gist of it is that the car was designed from the ground up to be lightweight and modular in construction, so it could be quickly and easily adapted to different needs. It’s a bit like a Citroen 2CV for the 21st century. Right down to the fact the rear bench seat can be removed entirely and used for outdoor seating.
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The Nissan Friend-ME is a boldly-styled concept car which was unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. The concept was designed to have global appeal, however its the young, up-and-coming 20-something Chinese which the car is specifically tailored for. 240 million Chinese were born in the 1980s, and it’s this generation of buyers who Nissan are targeting with the Friend-ME.
The four-door, four-seat Nissan Friend-ME features a deeply sculpted body which is designed to look energetic and aggressive. In profile the Friend-ME shows off its fancy roof structure which is designed to appear as if it is floating above the rest of the bodywork.
Taiji Toyota, who is confusingly the Vice President of Nissan Design China, said of the concept’s styling theme: “We call our solution Distilled Da Qi. Da Qi is about casting an aura, about standing out, but at the same time going with the flow, fitting in. It’s a question of balance, and we’ve worked to refine it right down to the essence. The result adds an entirely new and youthful dimension to the sedan category.”
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And the award for the blandest, most unimaginative concept at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show goes to… The Ford Escort concept! Designed to appeal to Chinese buyers looking for a family car which is, in Ford’s words; “stylish – but not one that is arrogant or pretentious”. What they’ve ended up with is really just a blob of car. It’s definitely not arrogant or pretentious, but neither is it stylish.
But in all fairness Ford knows that. And they probably don’t care. They know that any production model based on the Escort concept will be bought by the type of person who views the car buying process much as the average man views the washing machine buying process. As a neccessary but boring event which must be got out of the way so life can resume as normal.
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At this year’s Shanghai Motor Show (April 21 to 29), Mercedes-Benz will be showing off a premium-class SUV concept in the form of the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The GLA Concept showcases a number of the company’s latest advances in lighting, and some new styling features. It even shoots laser beams from its eyes! But more on that later.
Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing, said of the vehicle: “The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment – this is a sporty and more coupe-like evolution of this category of vehicle. The Concept GLA is a compact SUV that combines its sporting spirit with the all-round qualities of a tough, leisure-time companion. ‘Escape the everyday’ is the message that this car conveys to its driver. It also makes clear the further potential of our compact vehicle architecture, which provides the basis for the A- and B-Class models that led the German market in their respective segments in the first quarter of 2013.”
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Renault have teamed up with the British designer Ross Lovegrove to create their latest concept car. Called the Twin’Z the concept really hasn’t benefited from the collaboration. It looks a bit like something a color blind 5-year old might come up with if they were pushed for time. Blue paintwork and neon green wire wheels were never going to look good.
The Renault Twin’Z was intended to be a fun, modern, artistic take on the city car. Its styling draws on some of the company’s most famous compact models such as the Renault 5 and Twingo. There are a few areas of the Twin’Z which aren’t bad. The wheel arches look beefier than they probably are thanks to a clever little style line which runs just below the window line. And the two little round spotlights at the front give it a bit of retro cool. At the rear the taillights are a something a bit different. Although the decision to continue the multi-hole pattern down into the bumper for no reason wasn’t the best.
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Subaru had said a few days ago that they would be introducing both their first-ever production hybrid model and an all-new performance concept car at this year’s New York Auto Show. And it looks like this is the performance concept car they were talking about. The Subaru WRX Concept could just be the next Impreza WRX – albeit wrapped up in fancy pre-production trim and with some big wheels and sticky tires.
It looks beasty. Much better than the current car. It also nicely compliments the Subaru BRZ coupe, which was one of the first Subarus in a long time which could be described as good looking.
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Renault has just announced that it plans to debut a new concept car at the Triennale of Milano on April 8th. The chosen venue for the unveiling of the concept is a bit of an odd choice, it’s not a motor show or anything like that, instead the Triennale of Milano is a design museum and events venue located in Milan, Italy.
But then again Renault’s new concept looks to be a bit of an oddity itself. It was designed through a collaboration with Ross Lovegrove of Lovegrove Studio to explore a new design direction for the company. And wrap your head around this load of marketing speak, which laughably tries to explain the concept’s influences: “By examining nature, its systems and energy transactions, this project intends to bring awareness and understanding of those phenomena and their current impact.”
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