BMW 8 Series

New BMW 8 Series: let’s party like it’s 1999

BMW 8 SeriesWhat goes around comes around. When production of the BMW 8 Series ended in 1999, Bavaria abandoned the large coupe sector, before launching the controversially-styled 6 Series in 2003. Now, nearly two decades on, the 8 Series is back, signalling the end of the 6 Series.

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BMW 8 SeriesBMW is pushing further up market, you see, with what it calls a “new presence for its luxury cars”, rolling out ever larger vehicles with levels of refinement that would give a boutique hotel room a run for its money. Some are best viewed from behind the sofa – you’ll have seen the X7 – while others can slacken jaws for all the right reasons.

An athletic gentleman

According to BMW, the Concept 8 Series “combines the agility of an athlete with the manner of a gentleman” which, in standard lingo, means that it’s as home hurtling across continents at Autobahn speeds as it is on the Buttertubs Pass.

BMW 8 SeriesOpinions will inevitably vary on the success, or otherwise, of the styling, but there’s a rakish elegance to the 8 Series. If the svelte coupe is the Kendall, the bloated X cars are the Kim. In profile, it is devastatingly handsome, almost arrow-like in appearance.

M8 is coming, too

BMW has chosen not to muddy the waters with talk of powertrains, prices and specs, but the M8 GTE World Endurance Championship car hints at a future M8 flagship. You can expect details of the showroom 8 Series when the production version is unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show in December.BMW 8 Series

Mercedes is gearing up for a fight by giving its S-Class Coupe a nip and tuck ahead of the 8 Series’ launch in 2018. Stuttgart’s take on the £100k super-coupe is more brutish in appearance, a bit too ‘here and now’. The 8 Series is a stargazer: a welcome tonic to the glut of crossovers and SUVs that litter our streets.

The 8 Series is back. Come next year, we’ll be partying like it’s 1999.

Coolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

Geneva Motor Show: the coolest concept cars

Coolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor ShowIt wouldn’t be a motor show without an array of wild and outlandish concept cars. The 2017 Geneva Motor Show is no different, as this gallery of concept cars proves. Some will never see the light of day, while others provide a hint of potential new models. Pick your favourite from this lot.

Mercedes-AMG GT ConceptCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

The Mercedes-AMG GT Concept: a glimpse into the future with one eye on the past. The concept has been unveiled as part of the 50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG, but is designed to give “an indication of the alternative drive configurations AMG is designing”. To this end, the GT Concept is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine and an electric motor to provide a total system output of 804hp.

According to Mercedes-AMG, the GT Concept will sprint to 62mph in “less than three seconds”, but it hasn’t confirmed a top speed. Whether the four-door coupe makes production remains to be seen, but with the new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo unveiled in Geneva, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this becoming the third member of the AMG GT family.

Infiniti Project Black SCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

Infiniti is certainly talking a good talk with the Project Black S. Referencing a new Infiniti ‘performance grade’ and a close collaboration with with Renault Sport Formula One Team is guaranteed to pique the interest of any self-respecting petrolhead. And besides, it’s high time Infiniti delivered a car we can all get behind.

Nissan’s posh arm is investigating the potential for F1-style hybrid technology in a production car, with an energy recovery system (ERS) that could contribute a 25% increase in power for the new 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine. As a bonus, the ERS could improve acceleration and eliminate turbo lag. An F1-inspired coupe: where do we sign? Infiniti, do the right thing.

Citroen C-AircrossCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

Dare we suggest that we’re a little underwhelmed by the Citroen C-Aircross. It’s not that’s uncool, it’s just that the new C3 supermini has raised the bar sufficiently enough for us to look at this concept with a sense of ‘meh’. Whatever that means.

Oh, sure, the standard motor show trinkets are there: suicide doors, cameras for door mirrors and ‘showy’ 18-inch rims to name but three, it’s just that we’re not bowled over by the C-Aircross. There are, however, reasons to be cheerful. Firstly, it highlights just how far Citroen has come in recent years. And, secondly, it previews the next-generation C3 Picasso. Good news.

Jaguar I-PaceCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

For now, the Jaguar I-Pace remains a concept, but the model on show in Geneva looks as production ready as you’re likely to get. It also shows off a new Photon Red paintjob.

It’s the first time the I-Pace has been seen in Europe and it previews Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle, set to hit the streets in 2018. Jaguar is already taking orders for the Tesla Model X rival, with one outlet claiming that 350 deposits have already been received.

Peugeot InstinctCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

If Peugeot is to be believed, this is what an autonomous future looks like. The Instinct is a 300hp plug-in hybrid with both ‘Drive’ and ‘Autonomous’ driving modes, with Peugeot claiming that an ‘Internet of Things’ platform will learn the driver’s lifestyle.

The seats can be adjusted individually, allowing the occupant to select the position most suited to them – upright to drive or horizontal to… er… sleep. Yes, sleep. You’ll also find a so-called ‘chatbot’, a speech-driven PA offering a vast array of services.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6eCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

You might hate the Bentley Bentayga, and – as Bobby Brown might say – that’s your prerogative. But if Bentley sells a sufficient number of the boutique SUVs, it’ll be free to explore new ideas such as this: the EXP 12 Speed 6e.

In true grand tourer style, Bentley claims that an electric vehicle with a ‘Flying B’ perched on the bonnet must offer sufficient range to be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge. Ideal, if you’re planning to race a train from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes to the Conservative Club in London.

Honda NeuVCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

NeuV – pronounced ‘new-vee’ – stands for New Electric Urban Vehicle, and it’s Honda’s vision of an electric future. Not only can it learn things about its driver – stop picking your nose at the wheel – it also takes advantage of the fact that privately-owned vehicles sit idle for 96% of the time.

In other words, the NeuV doubles up as automated ride sharing vehicle when the owner is not using the car. It has the potential to collect and drop off customers at local destinations, even selling energy back to the grid. Cool concept, this.

SsangYong XAVLCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

Remember when you laughed at that Korean carmaker with the funny name? Laugh no more, because SsangYong is on a roll, as demonstrated by the really-rather-good Tivoli. The XAVL previews a next generation seven-seat SUV, featuring seven independent seats and a huge amount of interior space.

According to SsangYong, the eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long draws inspiration from the “iconic” Korando, meaning it might preview a replacement for the value-driven SUV.

Hyundai FE Fuel CellCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

There are those who believe that it’s hydrogen and not electric that represents the future of sustainable motoring. For now, the infrastructure isn’t there to support a fleet of hydrogen-powered cars, but the likes of Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are at the forefront of development in the sector.

The FE Fuel Cell is part of Hyundai’s plan to deliver 14 or more new environmentally-focused models by the year 2020 and has the potential to deliver a range of up to 500 miles from a single tank.

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-ClassCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

You’re unlikely to find a Concept X-Class parked outside a branch of Wickes, as Mercedes-Benz is pitching this to a more “urban lifestyle” audience. The five-seat pick-up previews the production version, set to launch later this year.

Underneath, the X-Class is little more than a Nissan Navara, but has been ‘poshed-up’ for urban lifestyle types. You can expect a suitably inflated price tag as Mercedes-Benz seeks to fill yet another niche. Will there be an AMG version? We wouldn’t bet against it…

Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo by PininfarinaCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

The Fittipaldi EF7 is a concept car you can drive, at least in a virtual sense. It’s the latest in a long line of Vision Gran Turismo cars, coming to a Sony PlayStation near you soon.

It’s the result of a collaboration between Emerson Fittipaldi, Pininfarina and engineering firm HWA, and is said to fulfil Fittipaldi’s vision of building a car with “fierce track-racing capabilities” for drivers of all skill levels.

Renault Zoe e-sportCoolest concepts of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

A case of saving the best ‘til last? The Zoe e-sport is the electric car you’ve always dreamed of, drawing upon Renault’s experience in Formula E. It’s packing a 455hp electric punch, enough to propel the Zoe to 62mph in just 3.2 seconds.

Use of carbonfibre and kevlar keeps the weight down, while a lowered ride height, wider tracks and four-wheel drive should provide exceptional cornering ability. Double-wishbone suspension, 20-inch rims, Ohlins dampers, Recaro seats and Formula E-style controls complete the transformation from humdrum to hero. Renault, we have two words: build it.

Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never wereThe eight-generation model of Britain’s best-selling car has been revealed. While the new model is set to go on sale in 2017 – with highlights including a posh Vignale model and a jacked-up Active crossover – Ford has a backlog of Fiesta concept cars that will never see production. Here are a few highlights.

Ford Fiesta clay modelRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

It all started with this: a clay model of the Ford Fiesta. Developed under the project name of Bobcat, the Fiesta owed much to the Ford Ghia Wolf concept car of 1972.

Ford Ghia CorridaRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

It didn’t take long for the Fiesta-based concepts to appear. The striking Ford Ghia Corrida concept was unveiled at the 1976 Turin Auto Show and – as a small coupe – was like a 1970s version of the Ford Puma, also based on the Fiesta. But the Puma wasn’t blessed with hydraulically-powered gullwing doors.Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

The Corrida – which is Spanish for ‘bullfight’ – also featured headlight flaps to make the car more aerodynamic, as well as a bumper-hinged tailgate. Sadly, it never made it into production, but it laid the foundations for four decades of Fiesta-based concept cars.

Ford Ghia PrimaRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

It’s like a Citroen Pluriel for a different generation. Why have one car when you can have four? The Ford Prima concept of 1976 could be converted into a pickup, coupe, estate car or two-door saloon. Ghia worked with the Ford Design Studio in Dearborn to create this oddball.

Ford Fiesta FantasyRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

‘Let me be your fantasy,’ sang Baby D in 1992. We’re not sure if this was a reference to the Ford Fiesta Fantasy of 1978, although we think the breakbeat hardcore music group would appreciate its versatility. The Fantasy concept was part coupe, part pickup and part wagon. Ford of America wanted it to lower the average mpg across its fleet.

Ford TuaregRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Surely the greatest Ford Fiesta never made? Not to confused with the oversized and over-styled Volkswagen Touareg, the little Tuareg of 1979 was cool in a way the Ford EcoSport can only dream of. The floor pan was unchanged, but Ford extended the roof line at the rear to create an off-road shooting brake with more attitude than John McEnroe. Oh, Ford, why wasn’t this given the green light?

Ford Ghia PockarRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

More fruits of Ghia’s labour here, with the delightful Pockar concept of 1980. The Pockar – pocket-sized, car, Pock-car, geddit? – featured a pair of matching suitcases, hidden away in each door. Inside, the luggage compartments doubled up as a pair of armrests. Neat.Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Meanwhile there’s ample space for four adults, while the rear seats could fold flat to create a pocket-sized estate car. The Ford Fiesta was proving itself to a versatile little thing.

Ford Ghia ShuttlerRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

The Ford Shuttler concept of 1981 looks like it has driven straight from the front cover of the box for an Atari video game. The red accent running the entire length of the wedge-tastic Shuttler was good for an additional 5hp. We think.

Ford Ghia BarchettaRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

It’s sitting on a set of ‘pepperpot’ alloy wheels, so the link to the Ford Fiesta XR2 is plain to see. Barchetta means ‘little boat’ in Italian, and was the name used by Fiat when it launched its own pint-sized roadster. The Italian Barchetta was based on the Mk1 Fiat Punto.

Ford Fiesta UrbaRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

What you can’t see from the photo is the fact that the Ford Fiesta Urba featured two doors on one side and a single door on the other. It was designed as a kind of city shopper car, featuring a fridge in the boot, built-in garage door openers and parking sensors. And yellow. Lots of yellow.Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Ah, now you can see the ‘innovative’ door arrangement. Coming soon: top 10 cars with crazy door configurations, featuring much-loved favourites like the Mini Clubman, Hyundai Veloster and Ford Fiesta Urba, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Jim Morrison.

Ford Fiesta BebopRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

In 1990, some bosses at Ford were enjoying lunch in the park when a recently-launched Suzuki Vitara convertible drove past. Muttering something along the lines of “we’ve gotta get ourselves one of those,” they set about turning a Fiesta into a “dynamic pick-up… geared to sports-minded drivers.” At least, that’s how it played out in our heads.

Ford Zig and ZagRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Not to be confused with the puppets of Big Breakfast fame, the Fiesta Zig was a two-seat barchetta and the Fiesta Zag was a small van. They were designed to show the versatility of a single platform, with no strings attached.

Ford LynxRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

The Ford Lynx concept was built in just eight weeks – a cabriolet based on the Fiesta and unveiled at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show. Although the engine was the familiar 16-valve Zetec unit, the proposed roof used breathable Gore-Tex fabric. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes levels of investigative work to conclude that the Lynx was a strong influence on the Puma.

Ford SaettaRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

If the Ford Saetta concept of 1996 looks familiar, it’s because it became the Ford Streetka. For sure, the production version was far less dramatic, but the influence is clear to see.Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Highlights included a central arch connecting the windscreen with the rear end, plus detachable panels that formed the roof. Once again, Ford has Ghia to thank for this conceptual gem.

Ford Zetec S3 DISIRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

DISI stands for Direct Injection Spark Ignition – a new powertrain trialled by Ford. In short, it was a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine with 110 hp, but 15-30% more efficient than a 1.8-litre engine. It was too expensive to make production, but it paved the way for the modern 1.0 EcoBoost engine.

Ford Rallye ConceptRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

The genesis for the Ford Fiesta rally car: the Rallye Concept of 2002 looked like it had driven straight out of a PlayStation game. It’s good, but it’s not our favourite Fiesta concept of the new millennium…

Ford Fiesta RS ConceptRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Because that honour belongs to the Ford Fiesta RS Concept of 2004. Inspired by the Rallye Concept, it featured huge arches, massive rims and twin racing stripes – just three essential components required for any self-respecting RS car.Revealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

It looked production-ready, right down to the showroom-winning interior, which meant we all got rather excited about the prospect of a Fiesta RS. Sadly, it never made it to production, quite simply because Ford’s calculator kept saying no. Over a decade on, we still mourn this missed opportunity.

Ford VerveRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Ford claims the inspiration “came in part from mobile phone design”. Which means the Fiesta Verve of 2007 will often run out of juice just when you need it and be rendered useless if you get it wet. On the plus side, there was no headphone jack, so it was quite the pioneer.

Ford Verve saloonRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

Ford also created an ugly compact saloon version. To borrow a line from Richard Ashcroft, the Verve saloon was bitter, the Verve hatch was sweet. In both cases, they previewed the latest Fiesta.

Ford Fiesta eWheeldriveRevealed: the Ford Fiestas that never were

We conclude with the Ford Fiesta eWheeldrive of 2013. Powered by independent electric motors in each of the rear wheels, the eWheeldrive offers more space than a conventional petrol or electric vehicle. Ford claims the eWheeldrive could even move sideways into parking spaces.