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
Let’s get this right out in the open: Toyota needs to build a production version of the Compact Cruiser EV Concept as soon as possible. This thing would sell like avocado toast, even if it’s not capable…
Let’s get this right out in the open: Toyota needs to build a production version of the Compact Cruiser EV Concept as soon as possible. This thing would sell like avocado toast, even if it’s not capable of wandering off-pavement, but of course, plenty of automakers, such as Rivian with its new R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck, plus GMC with its reborn Hummer EV line (that will soon offer both body styles as well), are proving that electrics are very capable off-road, so there’d be no reason to worry about being relegated to tarmac when behind the wheel of this tiny Toyota.
Dimensions in mind, or at least those visibility apparent being that Toyota has given us very little to go on so far, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept might have more in common with Suzuki’s original Samurai or that brand’s more recent subcompact Jimny SUV than the near mid-size FJ Cruiser or the original FJ40 it’s spiritually emulating. We do know that it doesn’t share the FJ Cruiser’s body-on-frame chassis or anything else from that go-anywhere utility, other than some styling cues, a version of the original FJ40’s (and FJ Cruiser’s) Sky Blue exterior paint, and the “TOYOTA” lettering on the similarly narrow grille.
Where the 2006–present (discontinued in North America after 2014) FJ Cruiser may have preceded a number of would-be peers, particularly Ford’s reinvented Bronco (and Bronco Sport) and Land Rover’s completely reimagined Defender, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept appears destined to electrify its retro off-roading class if produced. Unfortunately, however, we can lump Compact Cruiser EV Concept electric motor and battery specs into our zero-knowledge base.
As far as we can tell, this SUV is more of a design study, but being that today’s Toyota rarely misses out on an opportunity to cash in on a good idea (unlike General Motors that sadly chose to apply its legendary Blazer nameplate to a two-row, mid-size grocery getter instead of a retrospective K5-style Blazer that could’ve easily been built off the back of its full-size Tahoe, the tiny Land Cruiser-like BEV will most certainly get the green light.
It’s part of Toyota’s new “Battery EV” strategy, introduced online on December 14, 2021 (see the video below), in which “Toyota wants to prepare as many options as possible for” their “customers around the world,” stated the automaker’s president, Akio Toyoda during the presentation.
The namesake brand introduced 17 concepts as part of the program, of which most body styles and capabilities currently available with traditional internal combustion power were represented, from crossover-like family haulers to sports cars, SUVs, a pickup truck, and vans, the wide spectrum of potential offerings showing that Toyota isn’t about to give up any market share, or brand heritage, in its quest to go electric.
Likewise, the presentation showed off seven Lexus EVs in various shapes and sizes (see the gallery for more), and hinted at six more hidden behind in the shadows. Altogether, the Japanese automaker plans to “offer 30 BEV models across the Toyota and Lexus brands, globally” by 2030, “with more on the way” after that. Due to so many models in the planning stages, and a promise to provide “BEVs in all segments, including sedans, SUVs, K-Cars, commercial vehicles and other segments,” there’s certainly a place for this Compact Cruiser EV Concept.
The little SUV is all angles and edges, with obvious styling cues pulled from classic FJs and the more recently updated FJ Cruiser, plus a number of design details from other Toyota models, including the current RAV4 TRD Off-Road (available in a similar Cavalry Blue for 2022 and even closer Blue Flame colour in 2021), the 4Runner TRD Pro (available in a cool Voodoo Blue back in 2019), the Tacoma TRD Pro (unfortunately no longer available in Cavalry Blue), and the new 2022 Tundra pickup truck (with a colour palette that offers nothing even remotely similar, but the old one did).
While the hood scoop appears inspired by similar ones on the FJ Cruiser or recent Tacoma/Tundra TRD Pro models, the rectangular LED headlamps are closer to the new 2022 Tundra, whereas the chunky C-shaped driving lights are more distinctive still, at least to Toyota. The tiny concept also takes everything that previously made the FJ Cruiser look rugged up a notch, with a beefier front skid plate embellished by blazing red tow hooks, plus four of the most aggressive matte-black fender flares ever imagined for this size of 4×4. Toyota’s FT-4X Concept was a recent example of similar styling, and was no doubt inspiration for this new BEV as well.
Fortunately, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept’s designers were more practical with its body style than those behind the FJ Cruiser, with full-size, traditionally front-hinged rear doors for easier to the back seat, while the cargo area appears to be nice and upright, which is ideal for loading in as much gear as possible.
As it is, Toyota hasn’t revealed a single rear exterior image or any photos of the interior either, so therefore details about the powertrain, and the platform underpinning this new SUV, are unknown as well.
Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies (Presentation / with subtitles) (25:51):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Toyota / Lexus
With an automotive world shifting away from gasoline- and diesel-powered internal combustion engines, and toward battery electric or other types of alternative fuels like hydrogen, plus major FIA-sanctioned…
With an automotive world shifting away from gasoline- and diesel-powered internal combustion engines, and toward battery electric or other types of alternative fuels like hydrogen, plus major FIA-sanctioned motorsport series, such as Formula One, its Formula E offshoot, and sports car prototypes competing in the World Endurance Championship, utilizing various degrees of hybrid to full-EV powertrains, it was only a matter of time before Porsche, one of the globe’s leaders in customer racing car production, started looking at electrifying on a smaller scale.
Enter the Mission R Concept, a very real prototype of a possible future customer racing car that just might end up filling the well-worn shoes of Porsche’s 718 Cayman, which, along with the 718 Boxster and venerable 911, have become ideal track cars for “one-make” spec series, such as the Porsche Supercup that supports F1, and a Cayman GT4 Clubsport-spec series that ran ahead of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and British GT series in 2019.
Certainly, something along the lines of the Mission R Concept could support any one of the just-noted motorsport events, especially now that Porsche is rumoured to be interested in powering the next-generation of F1 cars, although it’s more likely the new model would support Formula E, in which the German performance brand currently competes with its TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.
The Mission R Concept casts a similarly sized shadow as the 718 Cayman too, other than being slightly wider and significantly lower than the road-going model. It’s not a mid-engine sports car either, instead incorporating an electric motor at each end to provide equal balance and all-wheel drive. These receive power from a 80.0-kWh battery, the resultant energy combining for a maximum of 429 horsepower at the front axle and 644 at the rear. To save you the trouble of calculating in your head, that’s 1,073 horsepower, albeit this lofty number is only available in Qualifying mode, with Race mode “only” providing 671 horsepower.
According to Porsche, the Mission R Concept can maintain race pace for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on many variables including track battles, while it’ll actually beat one of today’s F1 cars off the line, the svelte newcomer capable of sprinting from standstill to 100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds, compared to 2.6 seconds for the open-wheel racer, not to mention 2.8 seconds for a Formula E car.
It had better be careful not to embarrass the latter open-wheel car on its own turf, either, because the Mission R’s top track speed exceeds a Formula E car’s 280 km/h (174 mph) capability with a terminal velocity of 299 km/h (186 mph)—F1 doesn’t need to worry about being upstaged, however, with the fastest on the grid capable of speeds upwards of 360 km/h (224 mph). Porsche also claims the Mission R Concept can match one of today’s 911 GT3 Cup cars on a road course, so it’s easily up to the job of a customer race car, let alone outperforming any potential competition.
“Porsche is the brand for people who fulfil their dreams,” commented Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, in a press release. “This is also true in motorsports. We experience our innovative strength on the race track, demonstrate courage in pursuing new avenues and delight car owners with sporting performance. In addition to our involvement in the Formula E World Championship, we are now taking the next big step forward in electric mobility. The concept study is our vision of all-electric customer motorsports. The Mission R embodies everything that makes Porsche strong: performance, design and sustainability.”
The Mission R is not only quick around the track, but its 900-volt electrical system and the Porsche Turbo Charging setup makes it lightning quick during charging. A nearly depleted battery only takes 15 minutes to replenish from five to 80 percent, making the Mission R’s storage cell even faster to refill than the 22.5-minute duration required when recharging a Porsche Taycan from five to 80 percent via its 800-volt system.
Introduced earlier this month at the IAA motor show in Munich, the Mission R was purely designed for the track. This is made clearly evident by its exposed carbon-fibre composite exoskeleton, which is completely integrated into the car’s structure in order to improve rigidity. The purposeful appearance is the result of Porsche’s engineering and design teams working together on the project from the start, the lead designer having also worked on the Vision Spyder concept we covered in detail last year.
Speaking of a purposeful appearance, the Mission R’s bevy of cooling ducts aren’t just for show, but instead are vitally important for maintaining a stable battery temperature when the electrical system is being pushed hard. The large frontal grille even features active louvred air intakes that open and close as needed, while the rear wing incorporates a Drag Reduction System (DRS) that can be opened to minimize drag on straights, and then closed to add downforce when corners arrive.
Additionally, the materials used to make the Mission R’s key components have sustainability in mind, with the front lip spoiler, side skirts, and the diffuser made from natural fibre reinforced plastic (NFRP) utilizing farmed flax. NFRP makes up much of the cabin too, while special 3D-printed foam components add another element to the design.
Yet more intelligent tech can be found in the Mission R’s digital primary display that’s incorporated into the steering wheel’s centre hub, while just above and slightly behind is another monitor for the side and central/rear cameras. Even more unexpected are remotely adjustable interior cameras that allow fans to see all the livestreaming action in the cockpit during a race. What’s more, a touch display beside the driver’s seat allows for biometric data information.
While all of this “concept” talk is exciting, news that the Mission R might be more than just a design study will be welcoming news to anyone that’s made it this far into today’s story. In fact, Porsche has been testing a running prototype on the track with hopes of delivering a customer race car by 2025 or 2026. This said, the Mission R has not been cleared for production yet, but the concept definitely lines up with the brand’s future EV strategy, while such a car makes a lot of sense considering Porsche’s customer race cars legacy.
Notably, Porsche’s motorsport division has built and sold more than 4,400 Cup cars over the last three decades, the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland event being the first spec-series when it was launched 31 years ago. Now, a total of 30 one-make Porsche cup series are held globally each year, with the latest 911 GT3 Cup, featuring 992-series 911s, already underway for the 2021 season. If the Mission R Concept comes to reality, we certainly have a lot to look forward to.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
After Porsche’s intelligent choice to enter the electric vehicle market with a practical four-door coupe, and following the Taycan up with an even roomier Cross Turismo version, which even offers crossover…
After Porsche’s intelligent choice to enter the electric vehicle market with a practical four-door coupe, and following the Taycan up with an even roomier Cross Turismo version, which even offers crossover SUV-like design elements and an off-road package, the performance-oriented brand will soon be anteing up with a full EV version of its best-selling Macan compact luxury SUV, and thanks to some early photos and info, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of what we can expect.
The all-electric Macan, as Porsche refers to it, is planned for a 2023 launch, which allows plenty of time to get it right. So far the German brand has been digitally and physically testing it on the proving grounds of its Weissach Development Centre, but now it’s about to enter the public domain wearing camouflage to hide its second-gen Macan body panels.
“Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.
Porsche is targeting 3,000,000 km of global testing in all types of conditions before the new Macan EV arrives in dealerships, and that doesn’t even include the “countless” virtual km the model has accumulated before and since the prototypes shown in the accompanying photos started hot lapping the proving ground’s track.
Developing the electric SUV digitally saves money and time, plus of course it minimizes environmental impacts. Instead of running actual prototypes, a digital computational model replicates the types of true-to-life “properties, systems and power units of a vehicle to a high degree of accuracy,” stated a Porsche press release. Porsche utilized 20 digital prototypes to simulate various development categories, such as aerodynamics, energy management, operation and acoustics.
“We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible,” commented Andreas Huber, manager for digital prototypes at Porsche, and one of the first aerodynamics engineers to ever work with digital prototypes. “This allows previously undiscovered design conflicts to be swiftly identified and resolved.”
Lowering aerodynamic drag will help the all-electric Macan achieve its EV range targets. Even small flow enhancements can make a big difference.
“We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago,” said Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development.
Porsche’s team of engineers use simulations to fine-tune every surface of the SUV, with particular attention paid to the various air ducts used for cooling. These calculations help the engineering team arrange each component to optimize efficiencies, while also providing the necessary data used for estimating variances in real-world temperatures. In fact, Porsche claims the new testing procedures allow for a very precise simulation of both aerodynamics and thermodynamics.
“The digital world is indispensable to the development of the all-electric Macan,” continued Wiegand.
Back to air ducts and cooling, the Macan EV’s motive electric system incorporates a totally different cooling and temperature control concept than the conventionally-powered version of the SUV. To clarify, the various internal combustion engines in the regular Macan need 90- to 120-degree (Celsius) temperature range, while the new electrically-powered model’s power unit electronics and high-voltage battery require a temperature window between 20 and 70 degrees.
Also unique to the EV, where a combustion engine might increase its temperature when starting and stopping in heavy traffic, a battery-powered vehicle requires the most cooling during high-power charging, especially in warm weather. Porsche is overcoming this problem by calculating and digitally optimizing “position, flow and temperature” with the same virtual prototypes noted earlier.
The use of virtual prototypes can start early in a vehicle’s developmental stages. Porsche has created a wholly new driver interface for its second-generation Macan, which of course features a revised driver display. Once ready for testing, Porsche brought it to life in a “seat box” capable of simulating the driving environment.
“Simulation allows us to assess displays, operating procedures and the changing influences during a journey from the driver’s point of view,” says Fabian Klausmann of the Driver Experience development department. “Here, the ‘test drivers’ are not just the specialists themselves but also non-experts. This allows all interaction between driver and vehicle to be studied down to the last detail, enabling selective optimization even before the first physical cockpit has been built.”
The first physical Macan EV prototypes were created out of the information garnered from the digital prototypes, at which point those running examples provided yet more data back to the digital prototypes. This allowed Porsche’s engineers to continually update both digital and physical prototypes, refining each element of the SUV along the way.
“Endurance testing on closed-off testing facilities and public roads in real-life conditions is still indispensable to ensure that the vehicle structure, operational stability and reliability of hardware, software and all functions meet our high-quality standards,” added Steiner.
The all-electric Macan continues to undergo a demanding test program, in which it endures climate extremes and all types of topographical conditions. This includes the real-world charging and conditioning of its high-voltage battery, with a focus on everyday reliability plus segment-leading performance.
“Like the Taycan, the all-electric Macan, with its 800-volt architecture, will offer typical Porsche E-Performance,” continued Steiner, citing development goals like the model’s long-distance range, high-performance fast charging, and targeted best-in-class performance. “The all-electric Macan will be the sportiest model in its segment.”
The Macan EV must be as efficient as possible, after all, which is why it will be first in Porsche’s lineup to utilize the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture. Nevertheless, being that most Macan buyers will continue choosing a conventional internal combustion engine over the electric alternative for the time being, especially in markets where consumers aren’t penalized for doing so, gasoline-powered models will continue.
“In Europe, demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world,” said Steiner. “That’s why we’re going to launch another attractive conventionally-powered successor to the current Macan in the course of 2021.”
A new second-generation Macan will be launched later this year, with a full assortment of gasoline-powered engines to choose from. The Macan EV will follow, but only after its digital and physical prototypes have accumulated millions of km in tests.
Until then, the current 2021 Macan starts at $57,800 and can be had with factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent. Make sure to check out every available trim, configure the ones you’re interested in with every option and colour, and then use the CarCostCanada system to maximize your savings via dealer invoice pricing, which can save you thousands when negotiating your best deal. Find out how the CarCostCanada system works, and be sure to download the free CarCostCanada app at the Apple Store or Google Play Store too, so you can have all of their money-saving info at your fingertips when you need it most.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Honda Canada’s Civic sales have been crashing recently, down more than 20 percent throughout Q1 of 2021 compared to the same three months last year. Reasons for the downturn are likely varied, from…
Honda Canada’s Civic sales have been crashing recently, down more than 20 percent throughout Q1 of 2021 compared to the same three months last year. Reasons for the downturn are likely varied, from the health crisis to a 25-plus-percent increase in CR-V deliveries, the latter thanks to changing consumer tastes from cars to SUVs. Additionally, some of the slowdown is probably due to fewer Civics in dealership inventories, which makes sense now that we’ve learned a totally redesigned model is on the way later this year.
Honda took the wraps off its all-new 2022 Civic sedan this week, and at first glance it appears as if the design team wanted to take it back to the more conservative stylings of earlier iterations. Considering how well Honda has done with its current 10-generation model, which arrived six years ago for the 2016 model year, deviating from its ultimately angled look to a much more rounded, minimalist design may be seen as a risk, although it will certainly be a positive for less progressive buyers.
As for the new 11th-generation Civic, other than what little information the single frontal photo provides we know very little about it. Then again, if the Civic Prototype that debuted (on video game platform Twitch no less) in November is anything to go by, and both cars look very similar from the front except for lower fascia details, its rear design should include a smart set of LED infused taillights that come to a point that’s kind of reminiscent of those on the eighth-gen North American sedan at their rearmost ends, albeit much narrower. That was a particularly good-looking car for the era, while the current model’s C-shaped lenses have been amongst its most controversial styling elements.
We won’t delve into expected content, other than to say it will likely be filled with standard advanced safety kit in order to help keep its occupants safe, and score well in safety tests, while its cabin will no doubt come standard with a large centre touchscreen and offer a fully digital gauge cluster, at least as an option. More detailed information will arrive later this month, which we hope to include more photos, including at least one of its backside plus with a plethora of interior shots.
Every car enthusiast loves a good concept, and sometimes a barrage of really intriguing show cars can even rejuvenate a lacklustre carmaker, as we saw with Chrysler’s various brands when they left their…
Every car enthusiast loves a good concept, and sometimes a barrage of really intriguing show cars can even rejuvenate a lacklustre carmaker, as we saw with Chrysler’s various brands when they left their ‘80s-era mundanity and joined the much more successful (for them) ‘90s.
Porsche has never resembled Chrysler group in the slightest (although the Viper was pretty awesome), and in all fairness has lacked very little in recent decades, except maybe for a 928-inspired front-engine coupe remake (just shorten the wheelbase of a Panamera and call it Panama, in memory of the late, great Eddie Van Halen), or a Cayenne that can once again tackle Moab. Having such a wide assortment of models, trims and special editions is probably why Porsche rarely showed off their concepts, or even their prototypes before introducing a new model, Mission E and a handful of others aside.
Earlier this month, however, the performance-focused brand pulled the covers off of 15 sensational never-before-seen concepts, some obviously created for fun and others as precursors of future products. The massive unveiling all came as part of a new “Porsche Unseen” project that sheds light on the inner operations of the German brand’s design process in a new table-top book of the same name, plus a series of stories in the Porsche Newsroom, a detailed video that spans more than three-quarters of an hour (watch it below), and an expanded exhibit at the automaker’s Zuffenhausen museum.
Summarizing car enthusiasts’ love of concept cars and the importance they play in the development of future models, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG, Oliver Blume, said, “People all over the world love the timeless and innovative design of our sports cars. Visionary concept studies are the foundation of this success: they provide the pool of ideas for the Porsche design of tomorrow, and combine our strong tradition with trailblazing future technologies.”
In the initial “Porsche Unseen” project introduction, the automaker highlighted three disparate concepts, including the ultra-performance 919 Street, the sporty, fun Vision Spyder, and oddest of all, the minivan-like Vision Renndienst people-mover, which answers a utilitarian family-hauling question absolutely no one was asking outside of the inner workings of Porsche’s design department.
Created in 2017, the 919 Street is a life-size 1:1 clay model of a road-going 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car, if the name and visuals didn’t give that away already. The 919 Hybrid completely obliterated all LMP1 sports car competitors wherever it raced, Le Mans, France being most notable, notching up four consecutive FIA World Endurance Championships from 2014 to 2017 before retiring, and even breaking the best-ever Formula 1 record around Belgium’s famed Spa Francorchamps race track with an unofficial time of 1:41.770 after removing some of its FIA-sanctioned limitations.
Not wanting to hide its heritage, below the 919 Street’s exotic bodywork is the 919 Hybrid race car’s carbon-fibre monocoque and 900 PS hybrid drivetrain, while its dimensions, including its track and wheelbase are identical to the track-only variant. It’s difficult to surmise why Porsche chose not to build the 919 Street, as it would have been gobbled up by collectors within minutes of being announced no matter the price, but alas it remains a museum piece for those fortunate enough to be in Stuttgart next year, or at the very least fortunate enough to purchase Porsche’s new hardcover book.
On a somewhat tamer note, the Porsche Vision Spyder concept was an entirely different design exercise, and being that it was introduced only last year, it could become a future Boxster, or at least influence the convertible version of the next generation 718.
Some 911 fans aren’t all that happy that today’s entry-level Porsche sports car duo looks similar to their beloved 911, not to mention shares plenty of the pricier models’ components, so therefore something along the lines of the Vision Spyder might appease purists’ frustrations.
The new concept offers some sharper, more upright lines than the current Boxster, while still including softer more flowing curves across the hood, fenders and rear deck. Its racing livery certainly appears as if the Vision Spyder would be the ideal amateur race driver’s weekend warrior.
Designed as a 1:1 hard model, the Vision Spyder features a mid-engine layout similar to the 718 Boxster, while some of its design cues were reportedly influenced by Porsche’s 550-1500 RS Spyder from 1954. We can’t help seeing the automaker’s 1969-1976 914 in this styling exercise either, particularly its squarer, more angular details, like the roll bar.
The aforementioned Porsche minivan wears a faded grey version of the brand’s famed crest on a transparent background, so it’s not as if Porsche is trying to hide its pedigree. Love it or loathe it, the Vision Renndienst (race service) is said to interpret past race support vehicles as it actually depicts an aerodynamic shuttle bus for up to six occupants, one being a driver that sits up front in the centre position (although it features an autonomous driving mode too), not unlike McLaren’s fabulous F1 supercar, in that respect at least.
Unlike that classic British exotic, the Renndienst is electric, having all of its motive drive components housed within a skateboard design below the passenger cell. This allows for optimal interior spaciousness, and potentially superb straight-line performance, if other electrics, such as Porsche’s own Taycan, are anything to go by.
That all-electric super-sedan in mind, Porsche dropped a set of Vision 960 Turismo images along with 11 others just after the initial three arrived, and this four-door coupe might be the most intriguing of all thanks to its Taycan roots. Visually, this four-year-old 1:1 scale model is a 10-year-old 918 Spyder supercar up front and a modern-day Panamera in back, and we think the combination looks absolutely gorgeous.
The Vision E concept, on the other hand, was never meant to be practical, at least not from a two-row, four-seat, roomy hatchback perspective. Instead, the design team hoped to spring a 100-percent electric, 800-volt, fully enclosed, single-seat, near open-wheel, track-only hypercar from Porsche’s Formula E racing program. The 1:1 hard model actually made it to the development stage, which is pretty impressive on its own.
Porsche’s 918 RS got all the way to the development stage too. The 1:1 hard model was created on the back of a 918 Spyder last year, complete with unique bodywork including a fixed roof. The stunning potential supercar pulls plenty of design cues from its 918 Spyder donor as well as race cars from Porsche’s past, such as the now classic 917, but unfortunately, you’ll never see one pull up at your local show and shine.
Additional concepts added to Porsche’s new book include the 2005 Targa Florio road race-inspired 906 Living Legends (that featured lighting elements within cooling ducts); the 2013 904 Living Legends that was based on a VW XL1 streamliner eco-diesel’s carbon monocoque chassis, albeit weighing just 900 kg and stuffed full of super-high-revving Ducati V2 motorcycle power (our favourite); the 2016 battery and hub-motor-powered Vision 916; the V8-powered, manually-shifted, and the 2016 Boxster-based Le Mans Living Legend; all of which imagine how older Porsche race cars might look in modernized street dress today, while 2019’s Vision 920 is basically another race car for the road, albeit a futuristic one that never actually competed.
On a similar theme, the Boxster Bergspyder, developed in 2014, is a minimalist single-seat track car based on the current Boxster, featuring a 911 Speedster-like shortened windscreen, dual roll hoops hovering over Carrera GT-style rear deck lid double-bubble engine vents, and primary instruments pulled from the 918. Removing the passenger’s seat for weight savings allowed the inclusion of a helmet shelf, which is even more useful than a sunglasses holder. The icing on this lightweight 1,130-kilo barchetta’s cake was the Cayman GT4’s high-revving 3.8-litre flat-six, which just might have made this little 718 the ultimate Porsche track star.
The 911 Vision Safari never actually raced either, but it does conjure distant memories of the outrageous 1985 959 Paris-Dakar Rothmans-livery rally car (which recently sold on Sotheby’s for a cool $5.945 million USD). No doubt this one-off 2012 991 Carrera 4S would be worth a pretty penny as well, much thanks to its lifted suspension, bulkier bumpers and helmet cooler.
On a more practical note (if anything can possibly be more practical than a helmet cooler), the 2013 Macan Vision Safari was (obvious by the name) a toughened up off-road version of Porsche’s sporty road-going compact crossover SUV. Appearing ready to take on all comers in the just-noted Paris-Dakar rally, this concept makes us wonder if Porsche should consider a more rugged image for its pavement-conquering SUV line.
Speaking of rugged, the thick, substantive, 328-page “Porsche Unseen” hardcover book includes photos from Stefan Bogner with accompanying text by Jan Karl Baedeker. We think it would make an excellent holiday gift for any sports car enthusiast. It’s published by Delius Klasing Verlag, and made available at Elferspot.com (ISBN number 978-3-667-11980-3), or alternatively at the Porsche Museum shop next to the company’s Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany headquarters.
Make sure to check out our complete photo gallery above as well as the “Porsche Unseen: Uncovered” video below for more visuals.
Porsche Unseen: Uncovered (47:52):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Bentley only just launched its third-generation Continental GT, and now they’ve got us thinking about what might be coming down the pike in a decade and a half. The Bentley EXP 100 GT “reimagines…
Bentley only just launched its third-generation Continental GT, and now they’ve got us thinking about what might be coming down the pike in a decade and a half.
The Bentley EXP 100 GT “reimagines the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035,” says the ultra-luxury brand’s press release, with a new take on the Continental GT’s elegant long-hooded, sweptback, two-door profile, complete with a massive backlit grille, dazzling circular headlamps, and ornately detailed eye-like OLED taillights, its plentiful body panels featuring special Compass “exterior paint made from recycled rice husks,” says Bentley.
Where the front end could only be a modern-day Bentley, the car’s rear design is longer and more pointed than anything we’ve seen from the brand since its ‘50s era R-Type Continental, extending this avant-garde carbon-fibre and aluminum-clad prototype to a lengthy 5.8 metres (19.0 feet) for what should be superb legroom front to rear, while occupants of this 2.4-metre (7.9-foot) wide mega-coupe certainly won’t be rubbing shoulders either.
The “100” in the EXP 100 GT’s name, incidentally, pays direct reference to Bentley’s 100th anniversary, W. O. Bentley’s namesake firm having started business in 1919 at Cricklewood, North London, while the Volkswagen-owned brand is now located some 267 km (166 miles) northwest in Crewe, Cheshire, England.
“Today, on our Centenary, we demonstrate our vision of the future of our Marque, with the Bentley EXP 100 GT – a modern and definitive Grand Tourer designed to demonstrate that the future of luxury mobility is as inspirational and aspirational as the last 100 years,” said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Chairman and CEO. “Bentley has, and will continue to enhance and enrich every single journey and the lives of every single person who travels in, or has the honour to be a part of creating our extraordinary products.”
As pretty as the EXP 100 GT is, it’s much more than merely a design exercise, but rather a cornucopia of advanced future-think hardware and software. It’s 100-percent electric, a given with far-off concepts these days, but then again its four-motor wheel-integrated “Next Generation Traction Drive” powertrain includes torque vectoring and makes an incredible 1,100 pound-feet of torque (1,500 Nm), resulting in a zero to 100km/h sprint time of “less than 2.5 seconds” claims Bentley, much thanks to its aforementioned lightweight materials that help keep its weight down to just 1,900 kilograms (4,189 lbs) (considerably less than the current base Continental GT’s 2,244-kg/4,947-lb curb weight), while its maximum range should top 700 kilometres (435 miles), as long as cruising speeds are kept far lower than its terminal velocity of 300 km/h (186 mph).
The EXP 100 GT will include “future battery technology” with “intelligent power and charge management” that will allow “five times the conventional energy density,” says Bentley, while recharging the battery from near empty to 80 percent of capacity will only take 15 minutes. Of note, charging is automatically taken care of via the advanced artificial intelligence (AI) infused Bentley Personal Assistant, a do-all system designed to make the most of every journey.
“The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future,” said Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design. “Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”
“Whether driving or being driven autonomously” (Bentley promising its car of the future will be capable of both), the EXP 100 GT’s interior is every bit as sumptuously attired as Crewe’s current creations and those from its storied past. With seating for two or four, the big coupe gets all the leather, fabrics, glass, wood and metal anyone familiar with Bentley expects, except that the Bridge of Weir alternative-material hides are actually made from 100-percent bio-based winemaking byproducts, thus saving a handful of Herefords from the slaughterhouse, while its embroidered door panels are made by London-based Hand and Lock using “traditional techniques that date back to 1767 and are used on Royal and Military Dress uniforms,” its electronic interfaces covered with Cumbrian crystal, its sustainable peat bog-, lake- and river-sourced Copper Infused Riverwood harking back half a myriaannum (5,000 years), and its metal being genuine aluminum and copper, the combination apparently paying tribute to an alloy created by the aforementioned founder for his BR1 Aero engine piston, which played a significant role in securing the air theatre during World War 1.
Bentley sheds both harvested natural light and synthesized light on the EXP 100 GT’s interior via “an innovative glass roof embedded with prisms that collect light and transfer it into the cabin using fibre optics,” while all occupants’ feet will rest upon British Farmed Wool carpets, and embroidered cotton interior surfaces also help to create a more sustainable atmosphere.
The seats use intelligent, adaptable biometrics configured in three different ways, their positions dependent on whether you’re driving or being driven. Biometric sensors monitor the automatic climate control system too, plus the passenger position, and exterior environmental conditions in order to provide ultimate comfort, while biometric sensors embedded throughout the interior track eye and head movements, blood pressure, plus more in order to deliver a level of in-car comfort that far exceeds anything currently available. The cabin can even be automatically aerated with a refreshing sandalwood and moss fragrance.
Whether or not we’ll see this particular Bentley coupe by 2035 is anyone’s guess, although it should be noted that carmakers need to plan their models far into the future in order to arrive when needed, so something similar may actually be in process. We certainly wouldn’t complain if Bentley offered us a production EXP 100 GT like this to test in 15 or so years, with or without all of this concept’s innovatively sustainable features.
The EXP 100 GT is a vision of dramatic beauty that would be welcomed to car enthusiasts in any era, and possibly more true to its brand heritage than the all-electric, fully autonomous two-box SUV/MPV they’ll likely show up with by that time.
Until we truly find out what’s in the AI-dealt carbon-fibre cards, check out our complete gallery above as well as the four videos Bentley supplied below.
The Bentley EXP 100 GT: The Future of Grand Touring | Bentley (2:52):
24 Hours to go before Bentley reveals the Future of Grand Touring | Bentley (0:41):
Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s…
Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s first car on the road in 1948.
It all started with the original Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster, which received its operating permit 70 years ago on June 8. Speed ahead seven decades and we now have the stunning 911 Speedster Concept that was created to commemorate the momentous occasion.
The 356 was highly advanced for its time, yet by today’s standards it’s as pure as sports cars get. The 911 Speedster Concept is a modern interpretation of that same undefiled spirit, created to provide a purely visceral driving experience, even eschewing a convertible top for a lightweight tonneau cover.
Unveiled at the ‘70 years Porsche sportscar’ anniversary celebrations in Zuffenhausen, Germany, the 911 Speedster Concept’s sheet metal wears a classic two-tone racing livery design that was often multi-coloured yet looked handsome in white on traditional German silver.
The paintwork and everything else came care of the Porsche Motorsport Centre, which is more notably responsible for the 911 GT2 RS, and more recently the GT3 RS. Good company for this 911 Speedster Concept to be rubbing shoulders with, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Porsche decided to give us a series-production version of this new roadster.
Porsche says the “decision on whether to move ahead will be made in the coming months,” with any result of such choice not materializing until 2019. No doubt it’ll be worth the wait.
Like production 911 Speedsters that came before, the first modern interpretation arriving in 1988 and the most recent example based on the 997 from 2010, the 2018 version gets a set of abbreviated A-pillars set on more of a rearward incline than the current production model, resulting in a shorter more sweptback windscreen frame. The side windows are correspondingly shorter as well, the combination giving the Speedster a “stockier profile with a very low fly line,” says Porsche.
Of course, this is not only reminiscent of both 1988 and 2010 911 Speedster homage models, but more so the original 356 1500 Speedster. That model actually came along in late 1954, after U.S. importer Max Hoffman advised the powers that be in Stuttgart that a lower-cost, decontented open-top model could become a sales success in the American market.
While that original 1955 model had a fabric tonneau cover snapped onto its back, the new 2018 version receives a special one-off carbon fibre ‘double bubble’ cover in similitude of the 1988 and 2010 cars’ designs. The new version covers the area behind the front row where the rear jump seats normally reside, and also masks the rollover protection structure that was never part of the 1988 or 1955 model, while a glossy black backing wraps overtop the front portion of the cover to create a shortened Targa-like look. Just behind, the set of contrasting black slats straddling the buttresses are in fact aerodynamic elements, while a Plexiglas wind deflector is set in the middle, highlighted by an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ plaque.
Just in case a downpour threatens to ruin the prototype’s beautiful cognac coloured Aniline leather hides, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team has provided a lightweight tonneau cover that, when attached via eight Tenax fasteners, can protect the 911 Speedster Concept’s cabin from inclement weather, but only when parked. When on the road you’d better keep moving.
The interior in mind, Porsche has kept the true spirit of the 911 Speedster intact by removing weighty features like the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems. Even the steering wheel is purely minimalist thanks to the elimination of ancillary switchgear, while the full bucket sport seats are framed in lightweight carbon.
If you’re wondering what the Porsche Motorsport Centre used for a donor car, look no further than the brand’s 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, although the concept’s hood, rear cover and aerodynamic components are made from carbon fibre reinforced composite.
Some stylistic links to Porsche’s motorsport past include headlamp lenses imprinted with “X” markings to denote tape that was often used to preemptively prevent broken glass from littering the racetrack and puncturing tires, while the 911 Speedster Concept also features a 1950s-style gas cap placed in the middle of the hood for quick refueling directly above the tank. Additionally, the side mirrors pay homage to the classic Talbot design that was popular when the 356 was created, while the milled, gold-plated “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover direct their tribute to the original ‘50s-era 356 Speedster.
Of course, everything is cutting-edge modern under the 911 Speedster Concept’s retrospective skin, its chassis actually pulled from the new 911 GT3, while the low-slung drop-top rides on a set of 21-inch Fuchs alloys featuring “contrasting high gloss polished clover-leaf details,” says Porsche, plus centre locks.
The flat six hidden under the handcrafted rear bodywork spins to 9,000 rpm on its way to making 500 horsepower, while a set of custom titanium tailpipes are put in charge of freeing exhaust gases. And as would only be appropriate, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team made sure a six-speed manual transmission took care of shifting duties.
We’ll soon know if Porsche plans to remove the word “Concept” from the 911 Speedster’s moniker, and thereby provide its legions of sports car fans with a modern-day production version of the storied nameplate. Until then we’ll just have to cross our collective fingers and hope for the best.