Bentley has a ‘defining moment’
The all-new Continental GT made its global debut at Frankfurt.
Commenting on its unveiling, Bentley’s chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said: “Today is a defining moment for Bentley Motors. Today we build on our recent success story and look to the future with a new car that will set new standards in luxury grand touring. Today we introduce a car that is the ultimate in extraordinary design, technology and innovation.
“When Bentley launched the original Continental GT in 2003 it established an entirely new market segment – the modern luxury grand tourer. “Today, I’m convinced that we are redefining this segment again. It is an honour to replace a car that has – for 14 years – been the benchmark against which all other grand tourers are judged.”
The third generation of the legendary Bentley Continental GT is designed, engineered and handcrafted in the UK, ensuring, says Bentley, that the highest levels of attention to detail, artistry and cutting-edge technology are blended together “to create the finest grand tourer ever produced”.
The new Bentley Continental GT is available to order now, with customer deliveries starting in Q2 next year and Bentley has confirmed that a plug-in hybrid model will be available in the future.
Honda gives us a cute little EV
Honda revealed an all-new electric vehicle, the Urban EV Concept.
The Japanese firm says the concept car is built on a completely new platform and sets the direction for the technology and design that will appear on a future battery electric Honda production model.
The concept was officially introduced by Honda Motor Co president and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, during his press conference speech.
“This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019,” he added, confirming that the concept is set to be launched within two years. Honda says the concept showcases advanced technology within a simple and sophisticated design.
On the outside its low and wide proportions give the car a planted, muscular stance that hint at sporty driving performance. Its compact proportions mean it has a total vehicle length 100mm shorter than the Jazz supermini. The Honda emblem on the concept is backlit in blue, which previews a new styling feature for the company‘s future EVs.
At the front of the car, interactive multilingual messages can be displayed between the headlights, including greetings, advice for other drivers on the road, or charging status updates.
From the inside, Honda says that the driver gets excellent visibility thanks to slim A-pillars and a wide windscreen that appears to sweep around the entire front of the car.
Entry and exit from the vehicle is via rear-hinged coach doors. The electric charging cable connection is housed on the bonnet. The concept can accommodate four occupants, across two bench seats finished in different materials.
Duster cleans up
The original Dacia Duster was a triumph in the SUV market – offering a lot for its bargain basement starting price of less than £10,000.
Indeed, the budget version of Renault has done very well since coming to the UK. The question is, could it be in danger of creeping upmarket and losing its value edge?
The new Duster was unveiled at Frankfurt by Jean-Christophe Kugler, executive vice president and chairman of Europe Region. He said: “By building on the strengths of its predecessor, the all-new Duster simply brings customers more – all for a price that is still unbelievably affordable.
“As you can see, every single feature we added helps to facilitate everyday motoring.The all-new Duster is more Duster than ever. It’s an off-roader that will take customers further in even greater style and comfort.”
With more than one million cars sold, Dacia Duster has been revised and updated seven years after the model was first released. It gets new styling, equipment and a completely updated interior. The front and rear ends appear wider and the car’s lines are more horizontal with a higher belt line.
Meanwhile, new roof bars and prominent front and rear skid plates are pointers to the new Duster’s adventurer credentials. A new LED front lighting signature further accentuates Duster’s new look.
On the inside the dashboard has been totally redesigned, with the MediaNav display moved to the upper part of the dashboard. The seats have been revised for upgraded comfort and support and there is new kit awaiting buyers, including multi-view camera, blind spot warning, curtain airbags, automatic air conditioning and automatic head lights.
It goes on sale in the UK from the middle of 2018.
Kia had a busy one
Kia unveiled the Pro_cee’d Concept, alongside a series of new production models at the show.
The South Korean manufacturer says the Pro_cee’d Concept presents “a bold vision for a potential member of the next-generation cee’d family”. The concept was revealed alongside the new Kia Stonic crossover, which made its public premiere in Frankfurt.
The Picanto X-Line and upgraded Sorento were also revealed for the first time, before they go on sale globally later in the year.
The new Kia Pro_cee’d Concept has been created by Kia’s European design centre in Frankfurt and hints at the design of the next-generation cee’d model family.
The extended hot hatch styling provides a low roofline, muscular proportions and compact footprint, says Kia. The concept features a striking ‘Sharkblade’ in the bodywork which reinforces the lack of B-pillars, while lateral strakes exaggerate the Pro_cee’d Concept’s waistline and lend an air of muscularity to the rear of the car.
Inside, the cabin is inspired by the world of bespoke tailoring and haute couture, says Kia.
Four split-back seats are wrapped in rippled black fabric, tailored by hand, with hand-painted satin fabric lining the doors and flowing into the footwells. The Pro_cee’d Concept’s dashboard controls are finished in highly tactile knurled aluminium.
Gregory Guillaume, chief designer Europe for Kia Motors, said: “With many European drivers now seeking performance alternatives to the three-door hot hatch style, we began thinking about a different halo model for the cee’d family.
“The Pro_cee’d Concept represents a bold new vision of how the vibrant soul of the pro_cee’d could be reincarnated and revitalised for a new generation of performance-oriented drivers.”
Volkswagen glimpses at its future
Volkswagen pointed the way to the future in Frankfurt.
Along with the world premiere of the new I.D.CROZZ – a zero emission SUV that will go into production in 2020 – three other premieres were featured: the new T-Roc, the new Polo GTI and the updated Golf Sportsvan.
Dr Herbert Diess, VW’s passenger cars chief: “We will be thoroughly updating our vehicle range by 2020 and expanding into important segments. In 2025 Volkswagen brand will already be offering 23 all-electric models and invest 6 billion euros in electric mobility over the next five years.
“In this process, the different drive technologies will continue to have currency for many years to come. It makes sense for diesel, petrol and electric drives to mutually complement one another.”
In presenting the updated I.D. CROZZ, a four-door electric concept car, Volkswagen showed us its SUV of the future. This crossover of SUV and coupé, which makes, “a masculine and powerful impression”, has been systematically further developed with an eye towards a production car.
In its interior, the new I.D.CROZZ impresses with a large amount of space and a highly versatile seating concept. B-pillars were omitted in the I.D. CROZZ, so that the large swinging and sliding doors could be opened wide, and it is even possible to transport a crossbike without any trouble.
The CleanAir system – a new Volkswagen development – continually supplies clean air to the interior.
Now it is also possible to open and close the doors and activate the fully automated ‘I.D. Pilot’ driving mode by voice command. The front and rear axles each have one electric motor drive whose torque distribution is controlled via an ‘electric propshaft’. The driving range of the SUV that outputs 225 kW and boasts a top speed of 111mph is up to 310 miles.
We already can’t wait for next year!