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Concept Car

The BMW Group has unveiled the BMW Concept Skytop at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, an esteemed event by Lake Como that highlights historic cars and motorcycles. This unique, open two-seater exudes an elegant, sporty design, merging warm monochromatic colours and exclusive materials with traditional craftsmanship to create a meticulously crafted vehicle sculpture.

The Concept Skytop’s exterior features athletic and organic proportions with a sleek, muscular build. Taut surfaces and minimalistic lines guide the eye towards the rear, creating a dynamic appearance enhanced by integrated winglets replacing traditional door handles and precise lamellas on the light-alloy wheels. Signature design elements include a prominent bonnet and an iconic BMW shark-nose design with an illuminated kidney grille, leading to a retracted rear section.

A striking spline runs from the bonnet through the interior to an aluminium trim on the tailgate, echoing the legendary BMW Z8 roadster. Advanced lighting technology is showcased through custom-developed LED headlights with milled aluminium carriers, consolidating all lighting functions into a single, slim profile. The rear lights’ flat and defined shape complements the vehicle’s clean design. Unique features such as a leather-finished roll-over bar, side fins on the B-pillar, a fully retractable rear window, and removable roof parts that can be stored in the luggage compartment add to its distinctive appeal.

Inside, the Concept Skytop is a testament to luxurious craftsmanship. Brogue-style leather surfaces create a sense of opulence and spaciousness, with the reddish-brown leather contrasting against the muted silver exterior paintwork for a seamless transition between the interior and exterior. Artful details, such as crystal applications embedded in the cockpit, further enhance the luxurious feel. The interior surfaces were crafted at BMW’s traditional saddlery in the Dingolfing plant. Similar to the BMW Z8, the Concept Skytop houses BMW’s most powerful V8 engine, ensuring performance that matches its dynamic design.

The BMW Concept Skytop showcases BMW’s dedication to blending traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. With its meticulous design and luxurious features, this concept car pays tribute to motor racing and elegant design, standing out as a highlight at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. It offers a glimpse into the future of exclusive and dynamic BMW vehicles, reaffirming BMW’s commitment to innovation and luxury in automotive design.

While BMW’s M division may have taken a divergent path with the XM as its flagship offering, a sleek sports car named the BMW I16 was once in the pipeline. Unveiled on social media by BMW’s design chief, Domagoj Dukec, the I16 was positioned as the successor to the i8. However, despite its promising design and potential, the project met an unfortunate end, likely influenced by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dukec shared a series of sketches and photorealistic renderings of the I16, showcasing a design that blended the proportions of the BMW i8 with more refined styling cues from the 2019 BMW Vision M Next concept. The result was a visually appealing sports car that captured the essence of the classic BMW M1.

Featuring aggressive headlights, a sculpted kidney grille, and butterfly doors reminiscent of the i8, the I16 also incorporated modern touches like high-mounted side inlets in place of flying buttresses. At the rear, slim taillights, M1-inspired BMW emblems, and a triple rear windshield evoked a sense of performance and heritage.

Despite its cancellation, Dukec revealed that the I16’s development was completed in less than 12 months, leveraging the carbon monocoque chassis of the BMW i8 for its mid-engined layout and shared hardpoints. While details on the powertrain were scarce, reports suggested a plug-in hybrid setup with around 600hp and an EV-only range exceeding 100km.

Unfortunately, the I16 project came to an abrupt halt, with BMW opting to discontinue the i8 without a successor. Dukec hinted at the pandemic’s impact on the decision, noting that “the world changed in 2020,” leading to the project’s cancellation. Despite this setback, Dukec remains hopeful for the future, suggesting that there’s always a new project waiting around the corner.

A visionary group of automotive designers, including ex-VW designer Grigorii Butin, BMW Designworks member Quichen Lee, and others, have collaboratively brought forth the Aegis—a striking concept car marrying neo-Renaissance aesthetics with modern innovation. Born in the digital realm, this project serves as a tribute to the past while embracing the future’s advancements.

The Aegis, a sleek two-door sports car reminiscent in size of the Aston Martin Vantage, boasts a large, friendly grille at the front, accompanied by slender LED headlights and a refined bumper—eschewing unnecessary air intakes often found in contemporary sports cars. The front quarter panels, elegantly mirroring the wheel contours, add a touch of intrigue to the design. Smooth doors with flush handles and wheels featuring silver and carbon fibre accents further elevate the visual appeal.

A distinctive feature of the Aegis is its abundant use of glass, including a vast windshield, side windows, and an expansive glass roof covering the entire roof and rear hatch. While the practicality of a car with such extensive glass may pose challenges, its captivating visual impact is undeniable.

The interior of the Aegis is equally unique, featuring a futuristic steering wheel, a retro-themed instrument cluster reminiscent of a clock, and a minimalist dashboard devoid of visible air vents. The black leather-clad carbon fibre seats contribute to the overall avant-garde design.

During the ongoing Japan Mobility Show, Honda surprised enthusiasts with the unveiling of the new-age Prelude Concept. While Honda has not yet confirmed whether the Prelude Concept will lead to a production model, this move follows Acura’s revival of the Integra nameplate, leaving the door open for Honda to make a similar comeback.

The Prelude concept stands out from its predecessors, as it departs from the traditional compact two-door coupe design. Instead, the new model is considerably larger, in line with contemporary vehicle sizes.

From the front, the Prelude Concept could easily be mistaken for a new Toyota model, possibly part of the new Crown family. It features sharp headlights connected by an LED light bar located just above the space where a license plate would be situated. The lower bumper section is adorned in black with a mesh pattern and a small vertical design element finished in blue.

The side profile aligns more closely with the Prelude legacy. It displays small black wing mirrors, flush door handles, angular rocker panels, and gloss black wheels with blue brake calipers hinting at its performance potential. The roofline tapers towards the rear, although Honda has yet to reveal the full rear view of the concept.

Honda has provided limited details about the Prelude Concept. It describes the model as “sporty” and promises to deliver “the joy of driving” and “provide extraordinary excitement that you have never felt before.” While Honda has confirmed that the model is electric, it has not disclosed further information about its powertrain.

As it stands, Honda’s Prelude Concept represents a bold step into the future, embracing the evolving design language and technology to deliver an electrifying driving experience.

Additional specifications and the production future of the Prelude Concept have not been confirmed by Honda at this early stage.

The next-generation Suzuki Swift has been revealed as a concept, offering a glimpse of what the production model may look like when it officially launches in 2024. While it’s officially labelled a concept, it appears virtually production-ready, with an evolutionary design compared to the current model.

The concept features a similar overall shape to the current Swift but incorporates some subtle design changes. Notably, there’s a prominent crease running along the side of the vehicle, just above the door handles. The door handles are situated below the beltline at the rear of the car, rather than in the C-pillar like the current model. This side crease flows into the headlights and aligns with the hood line.

The grille appears slightly smaller and rounder than the current model, and the concept car sports a black contrast roof. While Suzuki has been known for adventurous designs in recent years, such as the retro-styled Ignis and Jimny, the new Swift seems to take a more evolutionary approach in terms of design.

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The Concept CLA-Class electric car, which Mercedes-Benz revealed in Munich, provides a preview of what the next complete redesign of the CLA would look like. The usage of existing elements here suggests that many of the components shown in this idea will probably be included in the following-generation CLA.

The Concept CLA-Class, built on the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), features a sleek and aerodynamic design. Inside, it incorporates sustainable interior materials, reflecting the growing trend towards eco-friendly automotive options.

The Concept CLA maintains the distinctive and iconic “four-door coupe” design, a hallmark of the CLA nameplate since its introduction in 2014. However, designers have refined its appearance by elongating the hood and shortening the rear deck, achieving sportier proportions. The concept is adorned in a striking Pomegranate Red paint color, further enhancing its visual appeal.

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Lamborghini is making preparations for an electric-driven future, and the bold Lanzador concept unveiled recently offers us the most insightful glimpse into how that transition will manifest.

Introduced as a prototype at Monterey Car Week in California and expected to launch half a decade from now, the Lanzador is a stylish high-performance car with two rows of seats, featuring a size that brings to mind the Porsche Taycan. Nevertheless, it showcases an elevated ride height with the goal of attaining enhanced adaptability.

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With a variety of turbo-diesel and Wankel rotary engines installed, the Mercedes-Benz C111 prototypes from the 1960s and 1970s served as test beds for cutting-edge powertrain technologies. Currently, as the automobile industry transitions from internal combustion engines to electric power, Mercedes has introduced the Vision One-Eleven concept, which, like its ancestor, serves as a forecast for how the company will adapt to the changing automotive scene.

The initial C111 prototype, which was painted a striking shade of orange and equipped with dramatic gullwing doors, is clearly where the sleek supercar styling of the Vision One-Eleven got its start. The concept’s single line, shallow curve profile is reminiscent of the cab-forward aerodynamics of Mercedes’s existing EV models, such as the EQS and EQE.

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While the global carmakers often talk of having a global network of design centres so that they can develop products better suited to the different markets around the world, it’s even better if there are designers who grew up in, live and work in the market a product is intended for. They would know best what customers want and needs that may be specific to local culture.

China, being the world’s largest car market, usually gets much attention from carmakers who want to sell as many cars as possible. In order to do so, the cars must be designed to suit local tastes closely. For example, some manufacturers understood that Chinese customers like longer cars and were willing to build long wheelbase variants just for the market.

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Lancia, which is part of the FCA Group within Stellantis, seemed to have no future not so long ago. Its declining sales numbers and a stagnant range with just one model  put its continued existence at risk, and it was only Italians who seemed to have any affinity for the brand.

Stellantis sees Lancia as a brand with some hope and is willing to help it revive and embark on a new era. For a start, the 116-year old company has worked on a new brand vision which takes it into the electric age.

The brand vision has a design vision which was described last November and previewed in the Pu+Ra Zero, a 3-dimensional ‘manifesto’ that will guide the designers of the 3 new Lancia models to be launched between 2024 and 2028. Created from the words ‘Pure’ and ‘Radical’, Lancia Pu+Ra Design is described as a sustainable design language that is intended to ‘last for the next 100 years’.

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