No announcements about powertrain specifics are available, but Porsche’s entry-level sports cars are being designed to keep their lightweight DNA intact, while plenty of lessons learned from building the all-electric Porsche Taycan, as well as the upcoming 2024 Macan EV (that we covered previously), should aid development of the two-place performance duet.
Tech from LMP1 Le Mans racer and 919 hypercar expected for 911 hybrid power unit
Additionally, Porsche’s 911 will continue forward with a lineup of internal combustion engines for the unforeseen future, but take note that its powertrain choices will expand to include a hybrid-electric option for 2025. Blume stated this electrified 911 will even source its tech from the brand’s multi-championship-winning motorsports division, with a nod to the LMP1 Le Mans race-spec power unit, which was also used in the phenomenal 919 hybrid supercar. Blume went further to suggest that a future 911 GT3 would receive a version of new hybrid powerplant.
Hybrids in mind, could F1 be in Porsche’s future? While we wouldn’t want to guess, Blume did tease that more surprises could be expected in the near future.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
With the world’s automotive sector quickly transitioning from internal combustion engines and interim hybrid-electric models to fully-electric battery-powered vehicles, some of the automotive industry’s…
With the world’s automotive sector quickly transitioning from internal combustion engines and interim hybrid-electric models to fully-electric battery-powered vehicles, some of the automotive industry’s most cherished styling elements have not only become redundant, but in fact detrimental to an electric vehicle’s efficiency.
First and foremost is the front grille, which was previously necessary to cool the engine, yet now impedes aerodynamics. Certainly, some cooling is needed, particularly for the battery, but battery-builders and automakers are resolving such issues with every new generation, which means frontal openings are now only needed for cabin airflow and possibly brake cooling on performance models.
Balancing aerodynamics with design character
The issue for designers comes down to character. If automakers simply removed their cars’ grilles to enhance aerodynamic efficiencies, every new car would look faceless, like a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y. Like others in the industry, such as Volvo and its Recharge EV models, new Genesis X Speedium Coupe Concept deals with this challenge by creating a frontal grille outline filled a body panel, but the creative way it extends its unique signature “Two Lines” headlamp/side marker lighting elements around that grille in a “V” shape, similar to the equally gorgeous Genesis X Coupe Concept that came before, is innovative.
Anyone guessing whether the new Speedium is destined to be a personal luxury coupe or something with serious performance credentials only needs to look at the aggressive fender flairs and windswept Kamm tail that juts up out of the rear deck lid as if it came straight off a Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe. Yellow/green-painted brake calipers further hint at the Speedium’s go-fast personality, not to mention the massive rims and wafer-thin rubber surrounding them.
Could a four-door coupe be in the cards?
Back to personal luxury, an unusual greenhouse design shows this coupe is at the very least a 2+2, but more likely as accommodating inside as today’s four-door luxury coupes, and could very much receive rear doors, like Porsche’s Taycan, Audi’s E-Tron RS, and others before it heads to production, but it’s nice to believe a two-door variant might get the nod as well, so it could offer a potent BEV alternative to Mercedes’ S-Class Coupe, BMW’s 8 Series Coupe, Lexus’ LC, or, a bit further down the pecking order, Infiniti’s Q60.
The side profile and rear design pays a great deal of respect to the aforementioned X Concept, and being that Genesis hasn’t shown any interior images of the new Speedium, some shots of its predecessor were added to the gallery for your perusal. It’s a stunning interior, which places a visual priority on the driver via camel brown-tanned hides and equally earthy composites, compared to stark anthracite grey elsewhere. Photos of the previous concept have been included in the gallery as well, as well as videos below, just so you can see the transitional differences and similarities.
Genesis has yet to announce a production version of either the Concept X or X Speedium Coupe Concept, but we expect something bold from the Korean brand in this segment soon.
The Genesis X Concept Reveal | Genesis (1:43):
The Genesis X Concept Reveal Event in LA | X Concept | Future Vehicles | Genesis USA (17:31):
The Genesis X California Film | X Concept | Future Vehicles | Genesis USA (1:31):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Genesis
Good news! The VW van is actually coming back, and it looks like this visual blast from the past design might also be one of the most practical competitors in the all-electric space. But before delving…
Good news! The VW van is actually coming back, and it looks like this visual blast from the past design might also be one of the most practical competitors in the all-electric space. But before delving into the details, some history.
The original 1949–2013 Volkswagen Van, as it was simply called in our market (specifically the old-school version with the rounded edges, otherwise known as the T1 and T2), was also dubbed the Kombi in Brazil, where it was produced from 1957 until finally being put to rest in 2013. Additionally, it was called the Bulli at home in Germany, where it ruled the family roost until the larger, squarer Vanagon (T3) arrived in 1979, and has been on the comeback trail at least as long as this journalist has been covering the automotive sector.
The Transporter wasn’t just a Jason Statham movie franchise
Before too much confusion transpires, Volkswagen didn’t stop building its T (Transporter) series of vans when the T3 departed. After that incredibly accommodating model enjoyed a reasonably popular run as a family conveyance here in North America, it was replaced by the front-engine, water-cooled T4 in 1990, which also graced our roads with the Eurovan nameplate. After a fairly long stint on our side of the Atlantic, VW Canada discontinued the Eurovan in place of the embarrassingly rebadged Dodge Caravan dubbed Routan (2009–2014) that the automaker probably hopes we’ll forever forget (sorry, VW).
No doubt, many T series-faithful, that never accepted DaimlerChrysler’s watered-down facsimile of the real deal, would love to get their hands on the all-new 2022 Multivan T7 that debuted last June, but we most likely won’t see that sizeable model unless Volkswagen decides to enter something larger in our commercial sector (can you imagine how the RV aftermarket would go wild with this near full-size family hauler?).
VW microbus has been the comeback kid for decades
Back to the comeback, a very enticing Microbus concept debuted in 2001, causing everyone already in love with the New Beetle to salivate over the possibility of a much more accommodating retro alternative, but alas it never materialized. A decade later the 2011 Bulli electric concept arrived to less fanfare. It probably would’ve hit the EV market too soon to have had any serious sales success if produced anyway, although the all-electric BUDD-e van that showed up in 2016 might’ve found more traction. None of that matters now that the ID. Buzz, introduced last month, has been slated for production this year as a 2023 model, in Europe at least.
The ID. Buzz looks more like that 2001 Microbus than any concept since, although it houses front lighting elements similar to those found on the current all-electric ID.4 compact SUV, even including a thin LED light strip that connects the two headlamps. The taillight cluster is one single unit too, but the circular “VW” badge isn’t integrated within the centre reflector strip on the Buzz like with the 4, instead positioned on its own just below in traditional microvan fashion.
Only one 201 hp rear-drive version has been shown so far
This said, the ID. Buzz we’re looking at is a European version, so our variant may see some slight changes. The 82 kWh (net) base battery pack, which doesn’t use cobalt, and the entry-level power unit shouldn’t change, however, as its 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque should be enough for budget-conscious families, although it’s possible VW will leave this powertrain in Europe where an EV’s ability to travel long distances isn’t quite as critical. On that note, VW hasn’t announced any range estimates for this new power unit, only saying it’ll propel the ID. Buzz up to an electronically limited top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). Fortunately, Volkswagen promises powertrain upgrades for both markets, which will likely include all-wheel drive. That model should be popular here, so stay tuned.
As for underpinnings, the ID. Buzz utilizes the same MEB platform architecture as the ID.4. In its Buzz application, it will be offered with two wheelbases, the longer for a seven-seat option, although VW only shared wheelbase measurements of the standard model that spans 2,988 mm (117.6 in). This makes the Buzz’ shortest wheelbase a significant 223 mm (8.8 in) longer than the ID.4’s wheelbase, while the new van stretches 4,712 mm (185.5 in) from nose to tail no matter which wheelbase is chosen, which is 128 mm (5.0 in) greater than VW’s crossover EV.
ID. Buzz Cargo van might make an ideal camper
Additionally, both ID. Buzz body styles measure 1,985 mm (78.1 in) wide without the side mirrors, while the new van is also 1,937 mm (76.3 in) tall. Of note, just like T series vans, an ID. Buzz Cargo van will be offered as well. It will be fractionally taller at 1,938 mm, thanks to a heavier duty chassis.
Volkswagen claims up to 1,121 litres (39.5 cu ft) of cargo capacity behind the rear seats of the two-row version, or 3,900 litres (137.7 cu ft) behind the first row with the passenger van’s rear seats removed, or you’re filling up the cargo van. The latter, incidentally, gets a front bench seat for up to three abreast, just like the original.
Could a modern-day VW “Westfalia” be in the cards? We can only hope. The ability to tread softly into the woods or desert with AWD via an all-electric powertrain is tantalizing, although we’d recommend a potent solar charging unit on top.
ID. Buzz interior looks positively appetizing
Inside, the ID. Buzz cargo van is more business-like, with mostly muted grey tones other than the very colourful and large digital displays (the standard digital cockpit measures 10 inches diagonally, while the centre-mounted infotainment system is 10 inches in base trim and up to 12 inches, with navigation, optionally), whereas the passenger van carries the exterior’s “organically based” colour scheme into the cabin.
Yummy looking lemony Lime Yellow and downright festive Energetic Orange interiors were chosen for the press photos, with both looked totally “fab” thanks in part to all the cream-coloured surfaces surrounding the body-colour dash and door trim. Bay Leaf Green and Candy White (the only non-metallic base colour) are on the “menu” too, as are Mono Silver and Starlight Blue (also available in two-tone) amongst metallics, plus Deep Black featuring a pearl effect.
The colourful door panels continue rearward to the side-sliders, while the seat upholstery is shown in a cream recycled leatherette, in the yellow model, and burnt orange cloth made from reclaimed and recycled plastics in the orange model.
Gear selection in the original vans was done from a classic stick on the floor, but the new model utilizes a column shifter in order to free up space on the modular centre console. In the ID. Buzz’ press release, VW expends a lot of ink describing the various USB ports and cupholders, which are aplenty due to its family orientation, but safety is a key selling point in this sector as well.
Safety and convenience are key in the family class
To that end, VW promises all the usual driver assist and safety systems, of course, including an updated version of the brand’s Travel Assist, now featuring automated lane changes at highway speed, plus the ability to manage autonomous driving on country roads without centre markings.
Both ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo models will be built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, German, with production on target to start during the first half of 2022, advanced sales taking place in May, and European deliveries beginning in the third quarter of this year. The North American debut of the long-wheelbase Buzz will occur sometime next year, with sales following in 2024. The long-wheelbase van will also be offered in Europe, but so far VW has said nothing about offering the regular-wheelbase, five- (and also six-) person model here.
Now, check out the World Premiere of the ID. Buzz, with actor Ewan McGregor sharing his love of the Beetle and impressions of the new ID. Buzz:
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Volkswagen
Porsche Design, the quintessential sports car brand’s (and performance crossover maker’s) in-house design department, is celebrating 50 years in 2022, so it only makes sense they’d commemorate such…
Porsche Design, the quintessential sports car brand’s (and performance crossover maker’s) in-house design department, is celebrating 50 years in 2022, so it only makes sense they’d commemorate such an important occasion with a special version of the only model still made that was available back in 1972, the legendary 911.
The new 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design, based on a 2022 911 Targa 4 GTS, features plenty of stylish upgrades along with a nice package of bundled features, including dark-silver and satin-black exterior accents on the Targa bar, a similar treatment on the centre-lock Turbo S wheels, and a set of “Porsche Design” badges, while four gloss-black painted brake calipers and a “50 Years” plaque atop the engine cover finish off the retro look.
Subtle details enhance posh interior
Inside, a dash plaque commemorates the Porsche Design division’s 50th anniversary as well as each car’s placement in the 750-unit limited edition series, while the 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design cabin also benefits from a special steering wheel badge, and the signature of Ferry Porsche’s son Ferdinand Alexander (the Porsche Design division’s creator), atop the centre console lid.
Of course, the 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design model just wouldn’t be right without a set of embroidered or embossed headrests, with the latter getting the nod, while this handywork gets added to the model’s top-level 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats Plus, while Slate Grey seat belts can be found to either side. Additionally, Porsche’s much-lauded Sport Chrono Package comes as standard equipment, with a unique Porsche Design chronograph clock placed in the usual centre position on the dash-top.
Watchmaking has long been an important part of Porsche Design’s business
Important to understand, this unique chronograph clock face has more significance in this special edition Porsche Design model’s than it would in other 911s, because the in-house styling house has been designing timepieces from its onset. In fact, Porsche Design has now reissued its first wristwatch, the 1972 Chronograph 1, limiting it to a mere 500 units. To be clear, Porsche Design watches are respected much more than the quartz-powered pieces you might find in a dealership’s parts department. The original Porsche Design watch, powered by a Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph (Valjoux is now owned by Swatch group’s ETA, while now defunct Orfina, once a highly respected Swiss watchmaker, produced watches for Porsche Design as well), was also the watch industry’s first fully black timepiece (other than some of its details), a feature, like the dials in a car’s gauge cluster, designed to minimize glare during racing.
At $7,700 USD, the new 1972 Chronograph 1 reissue is hardly inexpensive, although the price is not over-the-top for a high-quality mechanical chronograph with Porsche Design credentials, so it should sell out quickly, while a second Porsche Design chronograph, dubbed Porsche Design Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition, a more modern take on the original design, will be included with every 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design purchase.
Each of the 750 timepieces feature an all-black design, like the 1972 Chronograph 1, with bright white used to make the sharply printed indices and sub-dial markers easy to read. Ditto for the white hour and minute hands, although Porsche Design has once again bowed to history by providing a bright red seconds hand and red lettering above the 6 o’clock position. No doubt, each 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design buyer will cherish this unique timepiece, which will more than likely appreciate over time.
Porsche’s future is all about marrying the past to the present
Along with the special-edition Targa 4 GTS and two Porsche Design watches, Porsche Design chose to commemorate its 50-year celebration by commissioning a completely restored 1972 911 S 2.4 Targa, which can be seen in the photos. Turning to Porsche Classic, the brand’s in-house restoration division, made sure it would receive original and hand-made components, resulting in an almost completely new version of this 50-year-old example of rolling art and celebrated performance.
The fact both new and old Porsche’s share many of the same styling details is no coincidence either, but as much as you might want to put the two 911s in a garage side-by-side, you’ll only be able to see the classic on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, alongside one new 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design, as well as the two Porsche Design watches.
New 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design available now
The new model is available now, ahead of arriving in Canada this spring, for the tidy sum of $217,200, and while it may already be sold out, it probably wouldn’t hurt to contact your local Porsche retailer to make sure.
50 years of Porsche Design with a special edition 911 #Shorts (best viewed on phone or tablet):
The 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design (1:00):
Porsche Design presents the Sport Chrono Collection (1:31):
Porsche Design Chronograph 911 GT3 with Touring Package (1:14):
The new 1919 Globetimer UTC from Porsche Design (1:48):