The Frankfurt Auto show, which runs from September 15 through 25 features a number of concept cars offered by European manufacturers. Los Angeles car buyers with an eye to the future should be able to find their dream machine among the lineup. I am presenting a sampling, ranging from A (Audi) to V (Volvo).
The BMW 18 Concept reminds me of Dr. Doolittle’s Pushmi-pullyu. The sporty hybrid houses an electric motor located at the front of the car, while a three-cylinder turbocharged engine drives the rear wheels through an automatic transmission. The front axle is powered by a 129 HP, 184 lb-ft of torque routed through a single-speed gear reduction transmission. It is designed for power not range, which is a miniscule 20 miles of plug-in electric range. The rear axle of the Pushmi-pullyu is powered by a 3.0-liter DOHC BMW engine cut in half, which is balance-shafted to compensate for the engine’s intrinsic imbalance. With the aid of a turbocharger, direct injection, Valvetronic, and all of BMW’s other efficiency-improving techno-goodies, it churns out 220 HP and 221 lb-ft of torque through an automatic transmission. The lithium-ion batteries, which supply power to the electric motor, are tucked into a central tunnel. The combined specs for the gasoline and electric components are 349 HP and 405 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, the combo can propel the 3,250-pound vehicle to 62 MPH in 4.6 seconds; top speed is governed at 155 MPH. Those specs will deteriorate when the electric motor runs out of juice. Now here’s an impressive stat: combined fuel economy is reported to be as high as 80 MPG! The i8 is 182.4 inches long and 77.0 inches wide, which is comparable to the BMW M3 coupe; however, the vehicle is only two inches taller than a Ferrari 458 Italia. The aluminum wheels measure 19 inches in diameter.
Entry is via two large “coach” doors that pivot open about the A-pillars; thus, providing access even in tight spaces for both the two front and two rear passengers to climb in and out of the eye-popping cockpit. BMW terms the interior as a “Life module,” which lends a feeling of inner space. Parts of the instrument and door panels are made from natural fibers; the naturally-tanned seat leather conjures up a lounge-style ambience. As expected, the i8 is loaded with connectivity goodies. Remote functions are accessible via a smartphone. At the touch of a button, owners can locate their vehicle, flag up nearby charging stations, allow battery charging and preconditioning, and supply information on current vehicle status.
Ford Evos Concept: Frankfurt Auto Show dream machine
Jaguar C-X16: Frankfurt Auto Show dream machine
Audi Urban Concept: Frankfurt Auto Show dream machine
Orange County Auto Show rolls out today
Ford’s new eco-dream machine: a three-banger
The silence of the amps: noiseless electric cars
Free Altcar Expo scheduled at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Cruisin’ for a Cure Car Show