Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Summer Product Launches: Part 10

Alexander Carabitses

(Image credited to Bentley)

I'm hopeful that this will be the last product post until the Frankfurt Auto Show officially kicks off in a few week's time, but a big part of me doubts that this will be the case.  None the less, I am happy to report that aside from some petty special edition models I have a substantial amount of Frankfurt previews to report on, so let us begin.

2018 Honda N-Box:  This is the redesigned version of one of Honda's entries in the popular Kei car segment that is popular in Japan.  The platform is new, both the exterior and interior have been updated, the engine is small, and the car will undoubtedly be slow.  It is on sale now, and no, there isn't a chance in hell that a vehicle like this would work in North America or Europe.
(Image credited to Honda)

2018 Qoros Young and K-EV Concepts:  If the K-EV looks familiar, that's because it was originally shown in Shanghai, with the difference being that the monocoque is now made of carbon fiber and not glass.  The Young Concept is essentially a badge-engineering job of a Chery crossover, although it apparently does a clever job of hiding it.  Considering that the brand isn't sold in the US and pulled out of Europe, I really don't care.
(Image credited to Qoros)
(Image credited to Qoros)

2018 Ram Harvest Edition: It has become apparent that Ram plans on milking its existing lineup with special editions for as long as possible.  This new special edition line, which is available across the entire lineup, features a bunch of add-on accessories, a one-inch suspension lift (on the 1500) and paint that matches the color of Case tractors and New Holland tractors, both of which are owned by Fiat Industrial.
(Image credited to Ram)

2019 Dacia Duster:  For those who are uninformed, Dacia is Renault-Nissan's entry level budget car brand in Europe.  The vehicle that you see below is the second generation of the brand's b-segment crossover, which features an evolutionary redesign.  Dacia will reveal the full skinny at the Frankfurt Auto Show, but considering that this vehicle will be pretty spartan and won't be sold in the US, there really isn't anything to be excited about.
(Image credited to Dacia)

2018 Maserati Ghibli Grandsport: Last week I reported on the Ghibli Grandlusso, and now we have photos of the new Grandsport variant of the Ghibli, which gets a more aggressive exterior body kit.  Additionally, all models have received engine updates that improve horsepower and torque, while many electronic safety systems have also been added.  As I mentioned last week, the car should hit showrooms in September.
(Image credited to Maserati)

2018 BMW i3/i3S:  Speaking of a more aggressive exterior body kit, that is one of the enhancements to the mid-cycle refresh of the i3, with the front fascia being restyled to convey the aforementioned look, while the interior remains virtually unaltered.  Additionally, there is a new i3S, which is basically a sport trim that features a lower ride height, sportier suspension, and a wider track. The model also produces 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, which is up from the standard model by a decent amount.  Finally, the vehicle features an improved charging cable that allows for it to fully recharge in three hours.  Expect for pricing to be announced closer to the undisclosed sale date.
(Image credited to BMW)

2018 Mini Electric Concept:  This vehicle is a preview for the all-electric Mini that the brand plans to launch in 2019.  The Frankfurt bound concept features a gussied up design, the majority of which probably won't make it to production.  Additionally, there is a battery under the hood, but Mini isn't ready to discuss its range capability just yet.
(Image credited to Mini)

Smart Vision EQ Concept ForTwo: For those who have heard rumors that bubble cars will be dominating the streets of metropolitan areas later on in the century, this particular concept car from Smart seems to offer a clear indication of what those vehicles will be like.  Featuring a 30kWh electric powertrain and no controls inside, this vehicle was designed with car sharing in mind, as it can be controlled by voice command or through one's smartphone.  Additionally, the interior is dominated by a 24-inch display screen that spawns two 4-inch screens at either side, while in place of the front grille, Smart has added a message board that can communicate with pedestrians. Although Daimler has said that it wants to add at least 10 electric vehicles to its lineup by 2022, it seems doubtful that this is viable for production in the near future.  The only positive thing that I can take away from this Frankfurt bound concept is that in the midst of the race to deliver autonomous cars and new mobility services, the unprofitable Smart brand may have finally found its niche. 
(Image credited to Smart)

2019 Porsche Cayenne: Yet another Frankfurt preview, this third iteration of the vehicle that essentially saved the Porsche brand looks nearly identical to its predecessor from the front, while the back end is reminiscent of the new Panamera.  While the exterior is predictable, the interior has been stunningly transformed to incorporate a whole lot of luxury, along with Porsche's various electronic gizmos. Two powertrains will initially be on offer, with one being a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 340 PS and 331 lb-ft of torque.  When mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and equipped with the Sport Chrono package, the crossover can sprint to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.  Those who upgrade to the Cayenne S get a 2.9-liter V6 that makes 450 PS and 405 lb-ft of torque, hits 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 164 mph.  Porsche says that the vehicle is much lighter than before and more like the 911 than previous generations.  With regards to the latter point, I really don't care what Porsche says because the bottom line is that they can't effectively deny that this vehicle solely exists on the basis that it's a cash cow for the brand, and that it will never be anything more.  The vehicle will be on sale sometime next year, with a $65,700 sticker price for the standard model and an $82,900 sticker price for the Cayenne S.
(Image credited to Porsche)

2019 Bentley Continental GT: Longer, lower, and more sculpted, the Continental GT is all new from the ground up, with a new exterior design that mimics the look of the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept from a few years ago.  This means that, like the concept, the Continental GT's headlamps look ready to pop out of the front end, much like a cartoon goldfish.  However, given how dated the outgoing cars looks, this is still a massive improvement. Bentley has also promised sharper handling and a more lightweight package than before, although the car still weighs a hefty 4,960 lbs.  Power still comes from Bentley's W12 TSI engine, which produces 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, gets to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 207 mph.  Mechanicals aside, the interior is completely new and features a nice mix of exquisite wood and leather, which is what one would expect from a vehicle of this type.  The best part about the interior is the rotating infotainment display, which can either display a touchscreen, wood that blends with the dash, or three analog gauges. Expect pricing to be announced closer to the on sale date in the spring of 2018.
(Image credited to Bentley)

That is all I have to share for now.  Happy Labor Day to all of my readers here in the US and have a great week!

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