Hellcat Jeep? yeah! Jeep shows off 7 awesome Easter Jeep Safari concept vehicles

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep® Comanche Concept

BY GERRY MILES

Spring has come early in the Northeast – we hopes it stays – but getting the drapes pulled off seven Jeep Safari concepts was an early present for motorheads everywhere today. The 50th annual event coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand.

“Every year, the Jeep team looks forward to pushing the limits with new, exciting and capable concept vehicles for our most loyal enthusiasts at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, where we receive a tremendous amount of valuable feedback,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “This year is extra special, as together with our biggest fans, we celebrate Jeep’s 75th anniversary, as well as the 50th running of the Jeep Safari. We’re delighted to share seven of the most capable and eye-catching concept Jeep vehicles we’ve ever created at this year’s historic event.”

Trying to pick a favorite is presumably as tough as  picking your favorite child. There’s a Hellcat version of a Wrangler called Trailcat. Yes someone will want 707 horsepower in a Wranger just because Ralph Gilles have found a way to do it. And he wanted to. Whether you wish to walk or spring, it’ll do it.
Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Nostalgic is shown in the FC 150, the old is new again cab over design that can tackle any trail albeit slower than the Trailcat of course.

Electronics may be shorting out everywhere over the Jeep Comanche pickup concept. Merge a Wrangle with the old pickem ‘up and you get this retro, cool Jeep. Maybe this is why Sergio deep-sixed the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, eh? Well some folks can dream.

The Shortcut is a nod to the CJ 5 series of Jeep fame. The Crew Chief 715 salutes egendary Jeep military service vehicles; the Renegade Commander could blaze a trail deep into the wilderness, a Comanche blends being off-road ready with practical utility while the Trailstorm adds a 2-inch lift kit, 37-inch tires and Dana 44 axles.

“These seven vehicles have been modified with Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts to take on the toughest trails, to go beyond where the road ends,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “Mopar’s mission is to provide all FCA US vehicle owners with unique performance parts and accessories  to tailor vehicles to their individual lifestyles. Nothing supports that more than demonstrating how we can equip Jeep owners to take on some of the more extreme trails in the world.”

The seven new Jeep concept vehicles built for Moab this year were created by a team of dedicated, passionate engineers, designers and fabricators that have been customizing production vehicles since 2002, and have introduced more than 50 concept vehicles for the enthusiasts who attend the popular Easter Jeep Safari.

The 2016 Easter Jeep Safari concept vehicles include:

Jeep® Crew Chief 715 Concept

Jeep® Crew Chief 715 Concept

Jeep Crew Chief 715
The Jeep Crew Chief 715 concept vehicle was built as a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles, in particular the Kaiser M715. This open-air Wrangler Unlimited-based concept vehicle showcases a burly design with heritage styling cues. The Crew Chief 715 utilizes modern-day construction with a rear seat and extra doors for additional passenger capacity while staying close to its classic military roots.

Original Jeep military service vehicles were legendary for getting troops through rugged terrain, and the Jeep Crew Chief 715 illustrates this legacy. Steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch beadlock wheels and 40-inch NDT military tires pay homage to the original Jeep military vehicles. The Crew Chief 715 utilizes an on-board air system with a hard-mounted quick-disconnect fitting for airing up or lending assistance to other vehicles on the trail. Other features include a master cylinder brake upgrade, cold air intake and a modified exhaust.

Exterior features, such as Jeep Performance Parts off-road rock rails, a winch mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox 2.0 Remote Reservoir shocks, give the Crew Chief 715 increased capability. The “Tactical Green” color scheme runs from the custom modified M715-inspired front-end to the tailgate. The Crew Chief 715 features a military themed 5-foot cargo bed.

Inside, the no-nonsense interior features leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches and Mopar all-weather mats. The media center features a centrally located navigational compass.

The Jeep Crew Chief 715 is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Shortcut Concept

Jeep® Shortcut Concept

Jeep Shortcut
A carefully crafted take on the beloved Jeep CJ-5, this Wrangler-based concept vehicle invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body and functional simplicity.

Exterior styling cues include a unique grille, hood, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares and custom chrome front and rear bumpers. A modified exhaust, 17-inch red steel wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires help the Jeep Shortcut maintain the look of an icon.

Jeep Performance Parts featured on the Shortcut include a front and rear Dana 44 axle and a 2-inch lift with Fox shocks. Overall body length has been reduced by 26 inches including bumpers and spare tire to keep the Shortcut concept vehicle light and maneuverable on the trails.

Jeep® Shortcut Concept Interior

Jeep® Shortcut Concept Interior

Inside, the simple yet functional interior features low-back leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, a red ball shifter handle, four-point safety cage and Mopar all-weather mats.

The Jeep Shortcut is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Renegade Commander Concept

Jeep® Renegade Commander Concept

Jeep Renegade Commander
The Jeep Renegade Commander concept vehicle is equipped with an assortment of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts for the ultimate off-road adventure. A 2-inch lift kit and 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels with 29.5-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires increase the off-road capabilities of the Jeep Renegade Commander.

The “Fluorescent Gray” exterior features Renegade’s MySky open-air roof with removable panels, custom body decal, Mopar off-road rock rails, skid plates and a modified exhaust. Also featured are the Mopar brand’s trailer hitch receiver and front and rear auxiliary lights.

Inside, the Renegade Commander includes Katzkin seat covers, body color bezel accents, a pedal kit, Mopar off-road kit and Mopar all-weather floor mats.

The Jeep Renegade Commander is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Low.

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep Comanche
Based on the Jeep Renegade, the Jeep Comanche concept vehicle is designed to be off-road ready with practical utility. A nod to Jeep pickup trucks of years past, the Comanche concept takes styling cues from military and civilian Jeep heritage.

The Comanche’s “Beige Against the Machine” concept exterior paint is accented with a Satin Black hood, a concept lower front fascia, winch, steel rear bumper, soft top and spare tire in the bed. The wheelbase has been stretched an additional six inches versus a production Renegade to accommodate Comanche’s 5-foot bed.

Inside, the Comanche features custom seat covers, pedal covers, door sill guards and Mopar all-weather mats. Jeep Performance Parts like off-road rock rails, a 2-inch lift kit and a winch bolster the Comanche’s off-road capability. The Comanche rolls on 16-inch painted wheels and 32-inch BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A tires.

The Jeep Comanche is powered by a 2.0-liter diesel I-4 engine and mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Lock, which includes low range and a locking rear differential.

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep FC 150
A true American workhorse, this 1960 Jeep FC 150 concept vehicle is rich with heritage and built to tackle both challenging rocky trails and the harshness of a western cattle ranch. Originally built from 1956 to 1965, the FC 150 is based on the CJ-5 and offers a clever packaging solution by keeping overall length to a minimum for maneuverability, but maintaining a full-length cargo box for utility.

This heritage Jeep vehicle continues to utilize its original steel body that proudly bears battle scars while components underneath have been revamped. The FC 150’s off-road prowess has been enhanced courtesy of a 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis modified to accept a Dana 44 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle and 17-inch white steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires.

Inside, the FC 150 features vinyl seat covers, a custom headliner wrapped in a vintage duck hunting pattern, CB radio, analog compass and Mopar all-weather mats.

The Jeep FC 150 heritage vehicle is powered by a 4.0-liter PowerTech I-6 and is mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep Trailcat
The Jeep Trailcat concept vehicle is the ultimate off-road machine, equally at home on Moab’s rugged trails or a high-speed section. Utilizing the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine, and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with a custom shifter ball featuring an embossed Hellcat logo, the Trailcat concept vehicle leaves everything else in a cloud of dust.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept Interior

Jeep® Trailcat Concept Interior

To get the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into the Trailcat, designers stretched the wheelbase an additional 12 inches while chopping the windshield two inches for a sleeker look. Mopar exterior enhancements include a power-dome vented hood, Satin Black grille, LED headlamps and fog lamps and rock rails.

The robust off-road look is further aided by steel front and rear bumpers, 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks.

The Jeep Wrangler “Trailcat” is one of seven new concepts JeSubtle design cues, such as a Hellcat decal on the front quarter panels and a “Trailcat” decal on the side of the hood, hint at the horsepower that lurks beneath, making this much more than a typical production Wrangler. The Trailcat’s interior is simple yet functional and features sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper, made from carbon fiber and featuring Katzkin leather seat covers with accent stitching.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep Trailstorm
The Trailstorm concept vehicle is the ultimate Jeep Wrangler for exploring off the beaten path. Offering room for extra gear and fuel tanks, it is based on the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and delivers elevated capability to conquer trails with ease.

Off-road capabilities are enhanced with several Jeep Performance Parts, including 17-inch concept off-road wheels wrapped in 37-inch tires, a 2-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. Half doors offer a clear view of obstacles ahead and a bedlined interior makes cleaning up after a day on the trails easy.

Mopar exterior enhancements include a winch guard, Satin Black grille, LED headlights and fog lights, high top fenders, power-dome vented hood, Mopar off-road rock rails with a step, Big Brake Kit, a concept fast-back soft top, tail light guards and a Mopar fuel filler door. Finishing the Trailstorm’s exterior upgrades are a steel front and rear Rubicon bumper and a Jeep Performance Parts tire carrier. The Trailstorm is wrapped in camouflage allowing it to blend into its surroundings in the Utah desert.

The Trailstorm’s bedlined interior also features Katzkin seat covers and Mopar all-weather floor mats. The Jeep Trailstorm is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Nissan Titan Warrior concept truck conjures vision a Raptor fighter

Nissan_TITAN_Warrior_Concept_02

  • Extreme pickup concept bows on heels of all-new 2016 TITAN XD launch
  • Boasts adventure-ready, desert racing-inspired design on commercial-duty chassis with modified off-road suspension
  • Concept created by Nissan Design America in La Jolla, California

DETROIT – Nissan put an exclamation point on the start of sales of its all-new 2016 TITAN XD by unveiling a super-sized, off-road modified design study it calls the TITAN Warrior Concept. Nissan Design America (NDA) took the TITAN XD’s production design to new extremes with unapologetic, aggressive, athletic styling features that declare the concept’s off-road adventure intent and Nissan’s optimism for the truck market.

“Truck buyers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for more content and more unique offerings,” said José Muñoz, executive vice president, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and chairman, Nissan North America, Inc. “Even though our all-new 2016 TITAN XD just started arriving at Nissan dealers nationwide last month, we are already exploring new territory where TITAN might go in the future.”

Pushing the Boundaries
Just as the all-new TITAN XD with its Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine has bulked up the standards for customers shopping the light-duty pickup class, the TITAN Warrior Concept was created to take the production version to the extreme.

“Nissan has always pushed the boundaries of traditional automotive design and engineering, from our Nissan GT-R supercar to the new TITAN XD,” explained Muñoz. “We do this with a clear conviction that there are buyers out there who appreciate something everyone else does not have. A ‘work hard, play harder, get bigger’ TITAN XD certainly does the job.”

The TITAN Warrior Concept builds on the recent Project Titan, a crowd-sourced customization of an original-generation Titan that sent two U.S. military veterans representing Wounded Warrior Project® on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Alaska. The new concept truck also pays homage to Nissan’s heritage of off-road racing and adventuring, which goes back to the days of Baja “Hardbody” competition pickups and Paris-Dakar Rally treks.

“As we launch the all-new 2016 TITAN XD, the TITAN Warrior Concept was conceived to share our team’s pride and excitement to be back in the truck market in a big way,” added Muñoz. “The team delivered.”

Nissan_TITAN_Warrior_Concept_75A Warrior with a “Modern Armor” Exterior
The TITAN Warrior Concept creators had more than a strong foundation on which to build their vision of a bold and expanding future in the full-size pickup market, they had a familiar one.

As part of the group that brought the “American TITAN” to life – a group that ranged from Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, Indiana, Arizona and California – the design team imagined how their original TITAN design, inspired by warriors in ancient Greek mythology, might evolve to extreme levels of adventure duty.

First, while maintaining the TITAN XD Crew Cab’s standard wheelbase and length, they wanted to give the concept truck an even more powerful presence than the original. The height was raised nearly three inches, from 78.7 inches to 81.5 inches, to fit a quartet of 37-inch tall off-road tires mounted on custom 18×9.5-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The wheels’ machined aluminum surfaces feature a dark matte finish and continue the production TITAN XD’s “precision tool” design theme.

To create clearance for the new oversize tires and accommodate the new, long-travel suspension, the TITAN Warrior Concept’s width was extended three inches on each side, from 80.6 inches total to 86.6 inches. Once the dimensions and imposing stance were mapped out, the extreme makeover began in earnest.

Building on the new second-generation TITAN’s warrior-inspired styling, the designers amplified the protective look of the production exterior. Designating the new look as “modern armor” – with a stealthy, robotic quality – they continued the anatomical feel of the production TITAN, but added a more machine-like, sharper-edge appearance.

The grille and signature TITAN headlights were enhanced to offer a more technical, menacing look. The front and rear fenders have been flared and offer an extremely muscular appearance. Functional hood vents were added for cooling the powerful diesel engine. The broad hoodline is balanced underneath by the large front skidplate, which interlocks into the powerful front bumper.

Nissan_TITAN_Warrior_Concept_33Custom LED lights, front and rear, add to the TITAN Warrior Concept’s stealthy presence. The headlights carry a sense of the new Nissan signature boomerang lights, but with a more precise, upright, robotic feel. In the rear, the integrated LED taillights take the form of a TITAN “T” logo, split by the wide tailgate. As a finishing touch, a quad-tipped exhaust system is integrated into the rear bumper.

Despite its massive bulk, TITAN Warrior Concept adds several aerodynamic elements, including carbon fiber rear cab spoiler and tailgate spoilers. Additional unique body elements include integrated, roof-mounted LED off-road lights.

The TITAN Warrior Concept is covered in a custom matte-gunmetal paint called “Thunder” and accented in special “Magma” orange and black color highlights.

“There’s a sense to the exterior design that the TITAN Warrior Concept could drive right off the auto show stage and retrace the historic route of Nissan’s off-road racing victories in the Baja Peninsula,” said Muñoz. “And given the high-torque Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel, extensive suspension modifications and TITAN XD heavy-duty durability, it certainly could.”

Nissan_TITAN_Warrior_Concept_39A Polished, Premium Sport Interior
Inside the TITAN Warrior Concept’s rugged performance-focused exterior is an interior conceived to handle the abuse experienced on an extended off-road excursion in comfort and style.

“Today’s truck enthusiasts don’t just use their trucks for weekend adventures, they do double-duty as daily drivers,” explained Muñoz. “Therefore the TITAN Warrior Concept’s interior reflects a premium outdoor lifestyle, closer in look and content to a new TITAN XD Platinum Reserve model than a stripped-down pre-runner.”

Nissan_TITAN_Warrior_Concept_57The interior design team at Nissan Design America wanted to give the vehicle a unique polished “chronograph” look and feel, focusing on materials and detailing while remaining true to the TITAN Warrior Concept’s active performance theme. For example, the seats are covered in a carbon-colored high-strength seat fabric trimmed with “Magma” orange accents. Interior surfaces utilize material, such as carbon fiber, polished chrome finishes, leather with accented Magma orange stitching.

The TITAN Warrior Concept’s steering wheel is custom-built, continuing the technical adventure theme, milled from one block of aluminum. Other interior details include unique hot-and-cold drink containers integrated into the center console. Robust auxiliary toggle switches are integrated into the center stack for additional off-road accessories. Instrument panel-mounted auxiliary gauges are provided to easily monitor truck performance.

Performance Unleashed
As an extreme adventure version of the new 2016 TITAN XD, the TITAN Warrior Concept utilizes the factory fully boxed ladder frame and Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine and the standard heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission as its base.

Where the TITAN Warrior Concept departs from its production counterpart is in the full custom suspension design. In the front, the standard suspension has been replaced with custom upper and lower control arm with performance ball joints, along with racing-style internal bypass reservoir coil-over shocks with custom reservoir mounts and tie-rod extensions.

In the rear, the modifications include custom internal bypass reservoir shocks with custom reservoir mounts. Adjusted-length prototype axles were installed, along with a custom sway bar, relocated sway bar brackets and rear lift blocks and U-bolts. Hydraulic pressurized bump stops were also added front and rear.

Exploring New Boundaries
The debut of the TITAN Warrior Concept at the North American International Auto Show comes exactly one year since the debut of the production TITAN XD on the same stage. TITAN XD has been named “Truck of Texas” by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in their annual Texas Truck Rodeo, which puts the industry’s best trucks, SUVs and CUVs through a grueling two-day evaluation. In addition to the competition’s top award, Truck of Texas, the TITAN XD won three other honors – Luxury Pickup Truck of Texas, Off-Road Pickup Truck of Texas and Best Powertrain for its standard Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine.

Now that TITAN XD Crew Cab with a Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine is in Nissan showrooms, the rollout of new models continues. In December, Nissan announced that advanced gas-powered Endurance® V8 producing 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque will be available in both TITAN and TITAN XD models beginning in early spring 2016.

Ultimately, the new TITAN will be offered in three cab configurations, two frame sizes, three powertrain offerings and five grade levels (more information on the full lineup will be available at a later date).

“While Nissan still has many roads and trails to travel as we continue to launch additional production versions of our bold new TITAN, this new TITAN Warrior Concept gives an important signal to American truck enthusiasts that our vision for exploring new boundaries remains strong,” concluded Muñoz. “Truck lovers are never static and neither is TITAN.”

Acura Precision Concept to bow in Detroit

Acura_Precision_Concept_Teaser_Image

Acura will unveil the Acura Precision Concept at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 12 at 8:00 am ET, the brand announced today. Created by the Acura Design Studio in California, the Acura Precision Concept will help set the direction for future Acura design; in particular, the next generation of performance-luxury sedans.

“The Acura Precision Concept will signal the stronger and sharper focus of Acura styling on our core DNA we call ‘precision crafted performance’,” said Dave Marek, global creative director for the Acura brand. “It is our intention to more strongly express performance through design and the Acura Precision Concept will serve as the inspiration for the styling and proportion of the next-generation of Acura vehicles, especially for our sedans.”

Acura today also announced details of its launch plans for the next-generation NSX supercar, coming to market next spring. Acura is on track to post its fourth consecutive year of U.S. sales growth in 2015, and best sales since 2007, with sales up 6.9 percent through November.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Truck wins Award for Design, Appeal

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.,  – It kicked off 2015 with a buzz-generating surprise debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, and now the popular Hyundai Santa Cruz has earned the prestigious title of Concept Truck of the Year at the 14th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s.

HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ NAMED 2015 CONCEPT TRUCK OF THE YEAR

HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ NAMED 2015 CONCEPT TRUCK OF THE YEAR

The Santa Cruz was recognized as the Concept Truck of the Year for its design, style, materials, technology, market visibility and market responsiveness – besting the Kia Trail’Ster and Mitsubishi GC-PHEV. The award was presented by Mark Phelan, auto critic at the Detroit Free Press and NACVOTY juror.

“The compact-truck segment in the U.S. is tremendously competitive, and overall truck sales have skyrocketed to become one of the best-selling segments in today’s market,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz crossover truck concept is a modern take on the classic theme of one of America’s most-loved segments – the pickup truck. Unlike some of the industry’s past attempts to blend open bed utility with passenger car attributes, Santa Cruz delivers innovative functionality and flexibility in a compact, fun-to-drive package for a new breed of pickup truck buyers. We are proud that the Santa Cruz got the vote of approval as the Concept Truck of the Year from some of the auto industry’s most esteemed critics.”

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The NACVOTY awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 30 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season’s auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.

 

“The Santa Cruz is what the light-truck category needs – loads of style for people without big loads,” said Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design and Production editor-in-chief and NACVOTY juror.

The innovative Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept reflects a completely new interpretation of truck utility for a new generation of buyers. The Santa Cruz concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing millennial lifestyle that Hyundai calls “urban adventurers.” This new crossover provides urban adventurers the expandable utility they need throughout their active week – from work-life professionalism to social interests to a variety of outdoor pursuits –without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry’s current product offerings. The Santa Cruz concept is purposely compact, and although it features four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to that of a small CUV.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

NORTH AMERICAN CONCEPT VEHICLE OF THE YEAR

Founded in 2002, the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those concept vehicles that have made the strongest impact in terms of automotive design, engineering and market responsiveness. Professional automotive journalists from throughout North America, representing dozens of outlets in virtually every media segment, serve as volunteer jurors to select the award winners. The awards are given to the best Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck and Most Significant Concept Vehicle of each auto show season. To be eligible for the awards, a concept vehicle must make its North American debut during the current model year’s auto show season.

 

G 63 AMG 6×6 steps it up again

 15C144_002  Stuttgart.  Only a G-Class can be better than a G-Class. This is the credo followed by the developers with the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6, and they are now stepping up a gear with the G 500 4×4². The basic recipe for this overcomer of everything is simple: take the superior all-wheel-drive powertrain including portal axles from the 6×6 – take away one axle – and blend it all with a newly-developed variable chassis and the series-production G-Class body. A large pinch of V8 power with 310 kW (422 hp), a set of 22-inch 325/55 R 22-sized wheels, carbon-fibre body parts and then just gourmet ingredients from the seductive designo Exclusive range for the interior – and the 5-star menu for all off-road enthusiasts is ready.
A new addition to the extreme G-Class model family: the G 63 AMG 6×6 has a model brother in the form of the G 500 4×4². The near-series show car is a new highlight in the superlative-rich history of the G-Class and blends all the advantages of the model series. The series-production models of the G-Class supply the unshakeable foundations in the form of the body and ladder-type frame, which compensate for the considerably increased performance of the G 500 4×4² without any problem and also without any type of reinforcements. The G 63 AMG 6×6 donates an amended version of the ruggedly determined permanent all-wheel-drive powertrain with portal axles. The engine compartment houses a completely new V8 engine with a displacement of four litres, direct injection and biturbocharging. Also new is the chassis with dual spring/damper struts and adjustable damping. Finally, in the interior, the G 500 4×4² occupants enjoy comfort and an ambience on a par with a luxury saloon.
New engine offers V8 biturbo power
The 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine in the G 500 4×4² stands out for its sublime power delivery, the targeted lightweight construction, as well as its high efficiency. The newly developed eight-cylinder features twin turbochargers which are not mounted on the outside of the cylinder banks but rather inside the V configuration – what is known as the ‘hot inside V’. The advantages lie in the compact engine design, the optimum response and the low exhaust gas emissions. The piezo direct petrol injection used exclusively at Mercedes-Benz is responsible for the mixture formation. The spray-guided combustion process has been enhanced in the third generation to meet all future statutory requirements. In series production, the highly efficient and economical 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine would meet the Euro 6 emission standard, including the maximum particulate emissions level that will not take effect until 2016.
The V8 crankcase consists of an aluminium alloy and ensures maximum strength with the lowest possible weight. The cylinder walls in NANOSLIDE® technology are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinder liners, minimise the inner friction and thus the fuel required and facilitate maximum mileages. NANOSLIDE® was developed by Daimler starting in the year 2000 and has so far been used successfully and reliably in over 200,000 engines since 2006.
Twin sidepipes on both sides in front of the rear wheels modulate the G-typical sound of the G 500 4×4² and master the entire repertoire of potent sports cars – from soft mumbling in neutral through sonorous humming in the partial-load range to emphatic booming when accelerating under full load. A welcome side effect of the sidepipes: there is improved off-road capability, because in the rear area there are none of the usual rear silencers, which could otherwise restrict the angle of departure.
G 500 4x4x2

G 500 4x4x2

Things are really looking up both on and off-road
In view of the key data for the chassis and powertrain it seems more than logical that the off-road world starts for the G 500 4×4² where other vehicles capitulate. But it is surprising that the new “G” puts in an absolutely convincing performance on the asphalt. Due to the considerably wider track of the portal axles compared with the series-production car (+299 mm), the large 22-inch 325/55 R 22-sized wheels and the adjustable damping with its Sport mode, the enhanced G-Class drives through bends so dynamically that the occupants feel as though they are in a sports car rather than a cross-country vehicle. This also applies to tours on unsurfaced slopes or snow-bound roads, in which case the performance of a high-powered rally car kicks in.
For anyone preferring to use the G 500 4×4² off the beaten track, the optional off-road size 37 x 12.5 x 18-inch MT tyres are recommended. Permanent all-wheel drive, an off-road reduction in the transfer case, portal axles and three differentials lockable whilst on the move will not be found on conventional cross-country vehicles. This results in merciless driving dynamics in all conditions. Even the highest sand dunes are stormed by the show car with ease, whilst rocky terrain is scaled like a chamois, and water is driven through without any problems.
The portal axles developed for versatile applications supplement the off-road portfolio of Mercedes-Benz and are the technical highlight of the G 500 4×4² show car. As opposed to conventional rigid axles, here the wheels are not at the height of the centre of the axle, instead they are situated much further below on the axle heads due to the portal transmission. Therefore, on the G 500 4×4² the ground clearance rises to 450 millimetres and the fording depth – or rather the diving depth – to 1000 millimetres. Here are the off-road data in comparison with the series-production Mercedes-Benz G 500:
G 500 4×4²
Long-wheelbase G 500
Ground clearance
450 mm
210 mm
Angle of approach/departure f/r
52° / 54°
36° /27°
Breakover angle
47°
21°
Tipping angle
30°
28°
Fording depth
1000 mm
600 mm
Slope climbing ability
100%
100%
Wheelbase
2850 mm
2850 mm
Track, front/rear
1774 mm
1475 mm
Wheel/tyre combination
9.5 J x 22
325/55 R 22
7.5 J x 18
265/60 R 18

At the highest level: the portal axles’ tricks
But the portal axle design has yet more decisive advantages which render complex adjustments superfluous: through the unchanged position of the rigid axles in relation to the chassis, the anchorage points of the suspension, the steering connection and the position of the cardan shafts all remain identical. In addition, the reduction in the portal transmissions balances the huge rolling circumferences in both the off-road and the on-road tyres. The gear ratios, speedometer drive and ABS sensor system also remain unchanged. This reduction in the hub drives also has the effect that the drive torque is first set at the wheel and thus the mechanical loads in the entire powertrain, in particular for the drive shafts, are reduced.
15C144_009
Mobile declaration of independence – the chassis
The chassis is fundamentally based on the series-production G model and offers a perfect symbiosis of sporty dynamism and relaxed comfort, both on the road and off it. The new damper adjustment, derived from rally sport, has a decisive effect here. Two spring/damper struts running in parallel are used per wheel. One spring/damper strut works conventionally with set damper characteristics. The second spring strut has electronically controlled adjustable damping, which thus varies the entire damping behaviour depending on the current driving situation. With this set-up, considerable kingpin inclination is possible between the settings SPORT and COMFORT, which the driver can select using a button in the centre console. The switching times between the two modes are record-breakingly low, at 15 milliseconds.
During dynamic cornering the sporty setting performs sterling work, because the significantly tauter connection of the chassis allows higher cornering speeds. If the driver is more in the mood for pleasurable cruising, the COMFORT setting effortlessly dampens all the unevenness in the ground. In extreme situations such as abrupt evasive manoeuvres, the system automatically switches over to the firm setting for the sake of maximum possible handling safety. The comfortable setting also helps during off-road sessions, because the wheels retain better surface contact. Even on heavily contoured off-road terrain, every surface traction possibility can be utilised effectively.
Company with unlimited liability: beadlock wheels with MT tyres
Optimised tyres are available for the G 500 4×4², especially for punishing off-road trips: mud/terrain tyres (M/T) in size 37 x 12.5 x 18 inches on special beadlock wheels. Normally the usual wheel/tyre combinations refuse a traction-promoting lowering of the air pressure for journeys on sand, for example, to 0.5 bar. Here 1.0 bar is the lowest limit, because beneath this low pressure the tyres can come off during steering manoeuvres or ingression of sand can infiltrate the sealing surface between the tyre and wheel rim and thus leads to a slow puncture. Not so with the G 500 4×4². Here special two-piece 18-inch beadlock wheels are used. With this type of design, during assembly the tyre is pinched in so tightly between the two wheel halves and an inner beadlock ring that it cannot slip off the rim and no sand can enter, even in the case of total loss of air.
Should the chassis ever still come into harsh ground contact in spite of an anticipatory driving style and the excellent ground clearance, the developers have displayed far-sightedness here, too, and integrated a robust, two-piece underguard in stainless steel. These means that the most important assemblies in the front and rear area are well protected against impact and more severe shocks.
Sporty luxury squared
In visual terms the G 500 4×4² raises no doubts as to its passion. The voluminous tyres, the huge distance to the ground, the height of nearly 2.25 metres with a width of virtually 2.10 metres and the clear, straight design command respect right from the first glance. Further highlights: the trim with the integral LED light strips above the windscreen and the elaborate partially painted wheel-arch flarings – both in fine carbon fibre – plus the front bumper on the G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG models.
The interior appointments make a sportily luxurious impression. The G 500 4×4² offers an exclusive ambience with the designo Exclusive package. The seat bolsters and head restraints as well as the dashboard, centre console and armrests in the doors are styled in black designo leather with white contrasting topstitching. The seat surfaces and door panels are covered in DINAMICA microfibre and impress with their attractive diamond-design quilting. In addition to this there is DINAMICA trim for the roof liner and the body pillars.
G 500 4x4²
The hub of the “G” world is in Graz
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class development department located in Graz is the centre of competence where all things “G” are concerned and is responsible for the development and series support of the legendary cross-country vehicle. Furthermore, Graz in Austria has been the production location for all civilian and commercial G-Class vehicles since 1979. Whether and when the decision on series production of the Mercedes-Benz G 500 4×4² will be made depends on the reaction which the near-series show car receives.

2015 Honda HR-V is the next big small thing

Honda HR-V Compact SUV t

Honda HR-V Compact SUV 

BY GERRY MILES

The next small big thing is here for Honda.

The HR-V battles with the Honda Fit and downstream from the Honda CR-V cute/ute crossover in the conquest for more buyers and strong competition. Honda said it will launch this winter, following the roll out for the 2015 Fit and the recent release of the major/minor makeover of the popular CR-V.

Together the Fit and HR-V will represent a significant growth opportunity for Honda in the U.S., with both models produced at the automaker’s newest North American manufacturing facility located in Celaya, Mexico, which allows for production flexibility to meet market demand.

“Both Fit and HR-V demonstrate how great things can come in small packages, and no one does this better than Honda,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda automobile division for American Honda. “Together these models also represent Honda’s step-by-step expansion of our production in the region, which has been key to our success in America for more than 30 years.”

Honda HR-V Compact SUV.

Honda HR-V Compact SUV.

All-New HR-V Compact SUV

Honda released the first official photos of the U.S.-bound HR-V at the New York International Auto Show. With sleek styling and expressive character lines, the HR-V is anticipated to launch this winter. Built on the same global compact platform that underpins the Fit, the HR-V will feature a versatile and spacious interior thanks to a unique center tank layout.

The HR-V will be equipped with the Honda Fit’s Magic Seat®, which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space. The HR-V will serve as the entry point to the Honda light truck lineup, positioned below the CR-V in both price and size.

Honda has also released a tear silhouette Ridgeline photo but assured at a recent presser that it is coming back and not going away.

FT 1 concept car is Supra

Toyota FT 1 concept

Toyota FT 1 concept

 BY GERRY MILES

IF … and that’s a large “if” on purpose … holds true, then the FT 1  concept car Toyota revealed at the Detroit Auto Show well may mark the comeback of its famed Supra.

Given the simple charge to designers by Akio Toyoda to make a car so cool that people react by thinking , “I want this…I HAVE to drive this!” Toyota’s design team seems to have done just that.

The extreme design, which is also featured now in Gran Turismo 6 as a downloadable, is meant to show off a new style and design and let’s hope the future for Toyota.

The name, FT 1 stands for Future Toyota. The number 1, should not need explaining. 

Designers with free reign to make the emotionally appealing car pulled in aspects with the iconic lineage of 2000GT and Supra.

Toyota’s Calty design team was involved in designing the following:

  • The 1978 Celica…
  • The Lexus SC400…
  • The Supra…
  • The FT-HS
  • The Lexus LF-LC concept.

Calty Design Research Studio Chief Designer Alex Shen said the FT-1 concept began as an initial study nearly 2 years ago, as a “dream mission” of expressing the ULTIMATE Toyota sports car design.

The FT-1 design draws heavily on Toyota’s long sports car heritage. Cars like the 2000GT, Celica, Supra, and FR-S were studied and their influence resonates in the execution of this design.

Toyota FT 1 concept

Toyota FT 1 concept

On the outside the design is referred to as ‘Function-Sculpting’ or to look as if it were sculpted by the wind while providing functional cooling to optimize aerodynamic performance. The deeply sculpted intakes and outlets’  curvaceous surfaces and transitions was Calty’s approach to create “beautiful solutions to manage dirty air.”

The FT-1 features a glass window to showcase the heart and soul of the sports car, a high output, internal combustion engine.

The interior of FT-1 sports a fighter jet heads-up display above the steering wheel and projected out ahead of the driver to keep the eyes focused on the road.

Toyota FT 1 concept

Toyota FT 1 concept

Toyoda is reported to have driven the FT 1 in GT6 before driving the actual car and giving a thumbs up.

This is one concept car I’d love to see come back blending the best of the old with the new. That’d be Supra. 

Toyota FT 1 concept

Toyota FT 1 concept