This 5-door coupe is very close to production reality and will soon replace the CC.
Positioned slightly above the Passat in the VW range, the Arteon is almost 10 cm longer, but lower in height … What strikes us first is its relatively high radiator grille. This stands out from the more horizontal designs that we are used to seeing from VW. The bold « clam shell » hood is reminiscent of its Audi cousins which lends a kind of elegance to the vehicle. By the way, Marc Lichte, who supervised this concept, is now the head of Audi design …
The small chrome bar bridging the fender and the front door provides a little bit “déjà vu”, but it may also be just a gimmick in the air for designers…
The roofline extending all the way to the rear spoiler with its frameless rear window give a real coupé feeling to this car. The rear passenger space is big enough, while the trunk is huge (563L) for this type of vehicle.
Inside the dashboard is identical to the Passat. No exclusivity here… this is a pity for the Arteon positioning, but no doubt important for cost containment. A 9-inch screen with gesture control sets them apart … for the time being.
No doubt the Arteon will be an interesting alternative to the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series.
VOLVO is now a full member of the « premium » manufacturers’ club with success on all the different continents providing steady sales growth; + 6.2% in 2016. We know many other manufacturers who would be very happy to achieve such results in this coveted and lucrative market.
In Geneva, VOLVO unveiled the new version of its XC60 model, giving a breath of fresh air to this very successful product. Safety and security is always a major élément of any new Volvo and the safety arsenal offered on the XC60 is fully in tune with the Volvo slogan « no more death or injury in a Volvo by 2020 ». For our part, we are more focussed on the style changes of the new XC60. The exterior styling is quite similar to the big brother XC90. The new XC60 SUV is a little bigger than the old génération, but as always, the Volvo elegance and signature styling will make it stand out in traffic. The new signature taillights are particularly élégant, especially at night. The front lights are very sharp and when combined with a grille that is not too exaggerated, the front end gives this impressive SUV a kind of lightness.
The interior is typically Volvo and we always look for what we could blame. As soon as we settle inside we are under the charm of an instrument panel and central console bathed in lightness: one feels zen. If we could pick on one (rather small) negative point, the XC60, despite its exterior dimensions is intended for just 4 people who will travel in comfort with plenty of room for luggage. For a bigger family, the XC90 is there.
Ultimately, the XC60 with its unique style is well positioned to continue conquesting buyers from Mercedes GLC, AUDI Q5, BMW X3 …
Tata has now reached the innovation niche and launched a new brand called Tamo at Geneva.
This entity will be dedicated to proposing and testing new mobility solutions. The Racemo is the first opus and was designed by the Tata Motors Design Studio based in Turin. This small coupe is quite spartan ; the lines are angular ; the fenders marked ; the front end like a big mouth eating the road … everything makes one think of a race car, including the Le Mans prototype-style, A-pillar hinged doors. The interior is very refined and modern. Everything is designed to emphasize motorsport. The Racemo is expected to be available for sale in India by 2018 with just 250 copies available. You can also take the wheel on a console with Forza Horizon 3…
At the Geneva Auto Show, Renault decided to focus on its SUVs, the new KOLEOS and the CAPTUR.
The Koleos, which until now did not meet the success that Renault had hoped for, must in its second iteration provide Renault with a high-end SUV that is a clear choice for buyers in this segment. It offers a beautiful interior space that seems much better quality than the first Koleos. It feels good inside with a clean, clear dashboard in the tradition of récent new Renault models. The « Rlink » vertical multimedia screen, is a bit late in arriving compared with the Audi or Peugeot offerings, but welcome anyway. The rear area is large with well-designed seating. The exterior styling is not particularly advanced, but the vehicle has a good stance on the road and it is not too massive. The lights use the same signature as the Talisman or Megane. The good-sized tailgate provides easy access to a large load compartment reinforcing the positioning of this SUV which will have to earn its place in the very competitive European market.
The restyled Captur does not offer much évolution, but Renault believes that the first version is still well accepted and this is certainly true. With its two-tone colours the Captur is one of the most endearing among the small SUVs. The new grille with its LED lights and massive Renault badge is well designed. Renault needed to improve the interior quality (compared with version 1), so they gave up on the glossy plastics which were easily scratched and added leather to the high-end versions. Renault hopes that its small urban SUV will remain the reference for other manufacturers in Europe.
In Geneva, Renault also chose to « surf » the electric vehicle market by exhibiting a concept version of its Zoe. The Zoe e-Sport concept is all about a vehicle showing off its muscles. The car is fast like a Tesla and has agressive styling to match. In the interior there is no question: this Zoe is no city car. The racing bucket seats, roll bar, and stark dashboard tell us this car is all about being sporty!
Under the leadership of Stéphane Jeanin, Renault wanted to demonstrate its strong interest in this technology and display its high-tech know-how.
Debuted in Geneva, the Range Rover Velar is positioned between the Evoque and Sport and is based on its cousin the Jaguar F-Pace platform. The two SUV’s are similar in overall size.
Land Rover has finally realized that it needed a more affordable model than the Range Rover Sport, which very elitist. With its 4.80m length, the Velar has almost the same footprint as the Sport, so it comes close to it in size and, surprisingly, its dynamic lines also command the « sport » positioning used in the above-mentioned model … The family relationship with the Evoque is equally clear. The Velar is clearly aimed more at “comfort” than “off-road” but, like all Range Rovers, it has the necessary capabilities should some owners consider leaving the black stuff. Its fluid lines and coupe look directly position this vehicle in competition with the BMW X6 and the Mercedes GLE…
The Velar is extremely modern both inside and out. It has no control buttons or switches except the two rotary knobs controlling the air conditioning. Everything is smooth. Everything is invisible until all is revealed by activating the keyless ignition. Touch keys replace mechanical keys … even on the steering wheel. Only with hands on experience will we be able to judge how well this works. The trunk is huge (673 L).
Outside, the style is fluid and sporty. The Velar is clearly the most modern member of the Range Rover family, although its silhouette is immediately identifiable and conforms to the Range Rover style. A long hood , a floating roof , all the genes are there. However, the lines are more taught than usual and the use of Matrix Laser-LED headlights contributes to this feeling. Small details include the door handles which are integrated and flush with the bodywork.
The Velar is definitely in keeping with the traditional Range Rover style and at first glance has strong similarities with the style evoked by the Evoque. It also gives us a good indication of where the brand styling direction is heading in the near future.
5 years … it took five years, since the first presentation of the Panamera Sport Turismo concept until Porsche finally unveiled the production vehicle.
Slightly higher and longer than the concept car, this vehicle, which can accommodate up to 5 people (with 3 across rear seating) nevertheless retains its dynamism and the sports car DNA of the Stuttgart brand. The silhouette is characterized by short front and rear overhangs with, of course, large wheels to highlight the proportions. The Sport Turismo and the sedan are different from the B pillar rearwards. Above the pronounced shoulder, the window line extends in continuity with the roof. At the back, the roof line drives an imposing D-pillar which blends with the shoulder and gives the impression of a coupe. This design, however, still allows easy access to the rear seats.
The interior architecture does not really differ from the sedan, and here we find all the usual luxury treatment, large displays (including a touch screen) and air conditioning controlled by tactile zones. The vehicle comes with seat belts allowing three rear passengers, but can be specified with an optional configuration that has only two individual electric seats for the rear.
There is no doubt that this Sport Turismo will find its audience, especially in its hybrid version …
PSA has purchased Opel for a little bit less than 2 Billion euros. One of the keypoints behind this aquisition is the potential for PSA to exploit the Opel Ampera’s electric car technology. The deal states that PSA will be able to use all the Ampera patents held by the American seller General Motors, but for a limited time only and in certain areas of the world only.
In addition to this marriage, there is more good news for the PSA group, particularly for the Sochaux facility: the Peugeot 3008 was named « Car of the Year » by a jury of 58 international automotive journalists. The 3008 won by 25 points ahead of the Alfa Romeo Giulia…competition was tight…
Following many previews at the CES in Las Vegas, car manufacturers are increasingly using high-tech fairs to reveal their high tech cars… Presented a week before at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Peugeot Instinct concept car was displayed in Geneva. This ‘shooting break’ created by Gilles Vidal and his team, has a hybrid-gasoline powertrain configuration. Even if the exterior design is appealing, it is not revolutionary. It does seem that more and more manufacturers are exploring the four-door/coupe/station wagon look – consider at the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo for instance. The Instinct lines are nicely chiseled. The rear wheels have powerful haunches and the long hood hints at the power of this 300 HP, rechargeable hybrid. The engineers also paid considerable attention to the aerodynamics. For example, the grille which is flanked by and accentuated with long LEDs, looks closed and flush, but in fact it is « breathable », bringing fresh air to the necessary places at the required moment; either to the electric components, to the brakes or around the body.
But the exterior is not where you will find the real innovation. Indeed, this vehicle offers both an autonomous mode and artificial intelligence. When the driver sits in his seat, the car’s brain scans his present condition via his connected watch … If necessary, it suggests that the owner delegates the driving to the car. He always has the choice of letting the car drive itself and, if he accepts, the steering wheel automatically retracts into the dashboard and the owner entertains himself while the car chooses the best route and takes him safely to home. The Peugeot Instinct can even interact with the “internet of things”.
The Instinct can also be your coach. For example, if you are early and your physical data indicates a lack of activity, the interface will suggest you park a little bit further away and walk the last part of your journey…
Because the Instinct is intended to provide you with distractions while you are not driving, the interior is the place where the design work is most visible. Extra-large multimedia displays replace almost the entire dashboard. A touch pad is placed horizontally in front of the gear-shift lever. The interior experiments with many new and innovative materials and textures, including the floor which is formed out of ultra thin cement – yes cement.
Let’s be clear, however, if you are tired of all these features, if you are fed up with being “connected” 100% of the time, you can always go back “drive” mode and escape alone on a mountain road for a moment … or perhaps longer…
As usual Mercedes introduced more exclusive cars in Geneva, such as coupés, convertibles, and off-roaders, adding to its already very wide range of offerings.
The most elitist is undoubtedly the G-Class Maybach Landaulet which, considering its price (more than 750,000 €) must offer the absolute pinnacle of luxury in a fully capable off-road vehicle. No need to talk about its V12 engine, let’s just “climb” into the vehicle with a little help from the electrically deployed steps… tall, isn’t it?
Once on board, we feel like being inside the first class cabin of an airplane. It is an extravaganza of leather with every conceivable diversified entertainment function. Not all of it exudes good taste, but if you are a powerful – and rich — person in this world you would be happy to parade around in this kind of vehicle.
Much more friendly and affordable, the new E-Class Convertible demonstrates once again that Mercedes is a master in the field. Complementing the new E Class sedan and coupé range, the convertible shares the front end with thèse models. With the top up, this cabriolet offers a very fluid line with a perfectly integrated roof line. No surprise with the interior which shares the instrument panel of the sedan, complete with its large and impressive multimedia screens. The whole feeling is modern and as usual with Mercedes, it projects a high-quality level…with the corresponding prices.
Displayed alongside the new BMW 5 series wagon, (the BMW stand was next to AMG…) the AMG E Class station wagon flexed its muscles to show the full breadth of AMG “savoir-faire”.
Needless to say, Mercedes presented its vehicles in their most luxurious spécifications consistent with the flavour of the show…
Mazda is the most understated Japanese manufacturer, but who doesn‘t know about the MX5 convertible, perhaps better known as the Miata?
At the Geneva show, Mazda revealed a hardtop version of its latest itération of this small sports car. For those customers who think that the canvas top is not what they want for all-season use, Mazda now offers a rigid roof that is partially retractable, very practical and functional. The fast-back design, allows the roof and rear window to be retracted, leaving the « flying buttresses » in place and giving it more of a targa appearance.
Of course, it will always be a vehicle just for two with a very small trunk, but Mazda is the only manufacturer that offers a convertible that puts a smile on your face as soon as you step in, and allows you to cruise with the wind in your hair for less than 40.000 €.
Mazda also unveiled its new CX5 SUV, a direct competitor for the Peugeot 3008 and the VW Touran. Mazda offers a completely credible alternative to the two European stars with a distinct style, a finish that is clearly improving and the ability to meet the expectations of customers who want to go off the beaten track. The front is elegant with a well-designed grille that is somewhat less aggressive than the 3008. The profile view seems a little generic and altogether too similar to what we have seen elsewhere. The cockpit is simple, but well finished.
Ultimately, this new CX5 will meet the needs of those looking for an unostentatious SUV that meets the needs of the family while providing good off-road performance with its four-wheel drive version.
Mazda also introduced the new CX3. This smaller SUV further proves that Mazda always knows how to offer vehicles that stand out for their exterior styling as well as their functional qualities.
The interior with its three dials in the instrument cluster contrasts with the current fashion of the single screen, all electronic look. All the modern features offered by the competitors are still available, however, and the de rigueur central infotainment screen is very much in place.