The Brussels Motor Show approaches at a rapid pace, and in the coming weeks the car world is receiving the automotive media community to have a look at the new year and the models it will exhibit at the show.
Nissan Belux was the first to hold its annual reception, and also took the occasion to present the new Juke.
Indeed, an extra zest of sportiness is added to the already iconic Audi e-tron. The Sportback version looks and is more dynamic, as it offers up to 300 kW of power and a range of up to 446 kilometers (277.1 miles). A new feature, and for the first offered on a in a mass-production vehicle, are its digital matrix LED headlights.
This was also clearly visible at the Los Angeles presentation of this elegant SUV Coupé, where the rakish and elegant contours of the Sportback were lit by an array of LED headlights in the background, and mounted on a robot alongside the car.
Just read on for more details…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Audi e-tron Sportback looks very good in the typical Audi design language. The roof drops down steeply to the rear—in typical coupé style— and is flowing into the steeply raked D-pillars. The lower edge of the third side window rises towards the rear—also a typical Sportback feature.
The designers also varied the signature at the broad diffuser, drawing attention to the absence of exhaust tailpipes. A light strip connects the LED lights to one another.
Announcing even more colour…
A total of thirteen paint finishes are available for the all-electric drive SUV coupé, including the new colour plasma blue, metallic, which is exclusive to the e-tron Sportback. The logo on the electric charging flap features the eye-catching high-voltage signal colour orange, which can also be applied to the brake callipers on request.
The S line model emphasizes the sporting
DNA of the Audi e-tron Sportback, and is standard equipped with 20-inch wheels
and sport air suspension. At the rear end, the spoiler as well as a striking
diffuser which extends across the entire vehicle width, contributes to the
outstanding vehicle aerodynamics. In contrast to the basic model, the
attachments on the S line exterior are painted in the exterior body colour –
including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers and exterior mirrors.
For those who want more contrast, Audi also
offers the so-called black styling package that accentuates the area of the
Singleframe, the side windows, and the bumper. The exterior mirror housings are
also available in black as an option.
A drag coefficient of merely 0.25…
In conjunction with the S line exterior and virtual exterior mirrors, the Sportback achieves an drag coefficient value of just 0.25. This is primarily due to the coupé body shape and the associated lower aerodynamic drag behind the car. The high separating edge of the Sportback minimizes swirl in the air flow in this area.
Global innovation in a production vehicle: The digital matrix LED headlights
With the digital matrix LED headlights as top-of-the range equipment, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle: Broken down into minute pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution. The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors.
At its heart is a small chip containing one
million micromirrors, each of whose edge length measures just a few hundredths of
a millimeter. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual
micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the
setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is
absorbed in order to mask out areas of the light beam.
Revolution ahead: just follow the light…
These LED lights will be seen on the e-tron Sportback mid 2020, and they can perform multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving- and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage. Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high-beam light by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy.
Above all, however, it offers innovative
functions such as lane light and orientation light. On freeways, the lane light
creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and
adjusts dynamically when he or she changes lane.
In this way, it improves the driver’s
awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety. In addition,
the orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively
show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on
narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centering assist.
The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.
On the second part of this report, we will
tell you more about the dynamic qualities, the drivetrain, i.e. batteries and
engines, interior and connectivity of this e-tron Sportback…
Kia recently showed a stunning electric coupé with novel proportions. This Futuron made its public debut at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Its low-profile SUV coupe body makes a strong statement of intent for Kia’s future cars, which will be – as the manufacturer puts it – confident, sporty and modern, yet also elegant. At 4,850 mm in length, 1,550 mm tall and with a 3,000 mm-long wheelbase, it has an elevated ground clearance is matched with a low, lean body to create a dynamic, confident posture.
It is indeed a sports car… on an SUV platform. Clever.
Because this makes – like for instance in the Audi e-tron – room for the
batteries to be lodged beneath the cabin floor. The advantage is also that the elevated
stance of the car is therefore matched with a low center of gravity.
And that slightly more elevated stance is just what
you want in an urban car, even if it has the sleek shape of a coupé.
Just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
is powered by four powerful in-wheel electric motors. This e-AWD
system delivers as you can expect lively responses to driver inputs.
But the important hallmark here is its fluid, intriguing design. The front fender flows backwards from the front of the hood before plunging into the cabin itself, establishing a connection between the driving seat and the road ahead. The concept’s roof is a diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse which sits atop the 360-degree core, in the best traditions of UFO and flying saucer design. It floods the cabin with natural light, and it also extends down the bonnet to give drivers an unparalleled view ahead. The glasshouse also incorporates a network of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors capable of providing Level 4 autonomous driving features, enabling hands-off and eyes-off driving in most conditions.
Furthermore, the 360-degree theme is evident in the
lighting that illuminates a sharp character line encircling the Futuron’s body.
A new “tiger” face…
The newly-designed front of the car, like that of the
Imagine by Kia Concept first revealed earlier in 2019, expresses a new design interpretation for Kia’s future
With a wider ‘tiger face’ shape, the grille
incorporates the Futuron’s headlamps, an innovative ‘Star Cloud’ design which
gives the car a dazzling new night-time identity.
Flexible cabin space…
The layout of the electric powertrain and
incorporation of Level 4 autonomous
driving systems has enabled the creation of a spacious and flexible cabin
unlike any other vehicle on roads. The two
front seats are created out of flexible materials and can offer an upright
‘driving’ position, or a reclined ‘rest’ position, similar to the flexibility
afforded to first-class airline passengers. With the activation of the
Futuron’s autonomous driving features, the two front seats recline as the
steering wheel retracts. The ‘zero-gravity’ seating position this creates helps
to reduce fatigue on long journeys.
One of the most prominent features of the cabin is the
‘cockpit’ area surrounding the driver. The graphical user interface (GUI) of
the cockpit flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering
wheel in a seamless arc. This merges the instrument cluster directly with the
audio-visual display at the center of the dashboard and is linked to the
display integrated within the surface of the steering wheel itself.
The GUI is operated by artificial intelligence
technologies, displaying useful information about the car various autonomous
driving, powertrain and navigation features, which creates a unique user
This is, according to Kia, what driving into the
(urban) future is all about. Just look at the photos here…
Driving an Alfa should be on the bucket list of every car enthusiast, and indeed blessed are those who can sit in their daily life behind the iconic three spoked steering wheel of an Alfa, and even more, can call it their own.
This unique driving pleasure is now further brought into the digital age, adding to the sheer driving dynamics and bringing it to an even higher level.
We flew to beautiful Puglia to see and try it out for you, and soon you will read in these columns here the full report of our delightful Alfa experience in the stunning surroundings of Bari and the Borgo Egnezia resort hotel.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The Giulia and Stelvio now benefit from a new interior, revised materials and dashboard layouts. The infotainment has also been overhauled with connected services, touchscreen, completely redesigned human-machine interface, and new ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and level 2 autonomous driving systems, of which (much) more soon.
The iconic names used on the Alfa’s of the sixties and seventies are also back, and sound wonderful to the Alfa connoisseurs’ ears: Veloce, Veloce TI and Sprint for the Stelvio, and TI, Super for the Giulia, with a Business badge thrown in to suit the fleet market in these modern times.
Last but not least, there is also a whole new colour range, to fully express new emotions, closely linked to the brand’s tradition.
At the event, Leasys and FCA Bank introduced “I-Link” by Leasys, a service designed to strengthen the link between Alfa Romeo customers and the new forms of shared mobility.
Indeed, sharing the Alfa Romeo driving experience could or should be on the cards, we think!
Much more of all this later in depth with separate reports…
The people from Abarth Belgium have their car loving heart at the (very) right place. In order to treat the Belgian public with a very special gem, the Interclassics Brussels 2019 salon seemed to be the perfect stage to present the new Abarth 695 70 ° Anniversario for the first time in our country.
They drove personally the Abarth show car across the Alps from Turin to Brussels, and not only that. They filmed it too.
Indeed, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the brand, an accompanying video of the model was created with a perfect mise-en-scene. The ideal setting of FCA Heritage in Turin, where all collection cars are housed, served as a perfect setting and bears witness to the immense prestigious heritage that served as a source of inspiration for this unique model.
This exclusive video was produced specifically for Interclassics Brussels 2019.
One sees a pilot who takes place at the wheel of a vintage model and then takes a seat in the new Abarth 695 70 ° Anniversario.
It then follows the road from the Heritage Hub of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Turin to arrive at the Interclassics salon in Brussels.
A route of approximately 1,000 kilometers to reach the European capital. You can see it by using the following link: https://vimeo.com/372916951
This video will of course serve to promote the presence of this exclusive model in avant-premiere in Brussels.
The production of this model is limited to 1949 copies, this number refers to the year that Abarth was founded…
When Fiat presented the 500 X Sport, they had the very good idea to draw a parallel between its excellent sporting and stylish qualities and embed it into the language and philosophy of top football. Therefore the venue of presenting this new Fiat was at the the “Luigi Ridolfi” Federal Technical Centre in Coverciano (FIorence), a centre of excellence for teaching, training and sport, as well as the historic seat of the Italian Football Federation.
The presentation “in the field” was expertly done by Charles Fuster, Product Marketing Manager 500 X, and the qualities of dynamism, precision, control
and Italian style of this 500 X Sport were echoed on the accompanying screen by the coaches and specialists of the Italian national team, indeed the same characteristics that lead a player to wear the blue jersey of Italy with pride and joy…
Reason enough to have an interview with
Charles Fuster here…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
HK: How did you communicate the enhanced
sporting characteristics and properties of the new 500 X to the top people of
the Italian Football Federation, how did they tune into this? What was their
CF: Actually, the starting point and the basis was and is the car. It arrives with important improvements. The balance, the road holding, the performance, the style, and of course, when we had created this story about the car, we focused ourselves on the world of football. This had very good reasons: like Fiat, it is a very democratic world, it is a very accessible sport for everybody. And so we started to work with the Italian Football Federation to draw all these parallels, between the world of the automobile and the world of football.
This proved extremely interesting because all this storytelling proved extremely natural. Also the persons of the federation, who we have presented today is somebody who has worked all his life with football and has an incredible experience.
These people prepare the future stars of tomorrow. So we arrive at an allegory with a well perfected industrial product and a sports player, and this can be very eloquent…
indeed, this is very unique in your presentation today… we saw the comments
of Roberto Mancini, Italy’s National Team Head Coach and others…
CF: Thank You, it is indeed the work of our
HK: Can you tell a bit more what is the
mission of this sporting version of the 500 X…
CF: Just have a look at its position within the range. The Cinquecento is a typical women’s car. 75 % of the clients are women. This is different with the 500 X, where the buyers are about fifty-fifty between men and women. The 500 X Sport will also be bought by independent women who want to be seen having personality and character.
But this is a car which is targeted to a large public. We will not discriminate. Of course the car has a look which distinguishes it from the others in the range.
HK: Can you tell a bit more about the
future electrification of the Fiat models? We think about PHEV…
CF: There will be something new in 2020.
There will be an important electrified range at FCA in 2022. That is the only
thing I can tell you right now… The first models will be launched in 2020,
and this will continue throughout 2021 to 2022. It is the strategy of the group
to be present in all forms of electrification. It will also be very important
for the fleet market.
HK: We thank you for this interview.
Of course there is (still) more. We will
treat you also shortly with further interviews with Danilo Coglianese, Head of
Fiat & Abarth Communications, EMEA, and also have a long talk with
Alessandro Grosso, Head of Fleet and Business Sales, EMEA, about the European
Fleet markets and FCA’s position therein.
The original Jeep has grown into an absolute icon. One loves its shape, its purposeful compactness, its go anywhere usability. Modern urban dwellers love to inject its pure, outdoorish character into their lifestyle, and therefore what better thing to do than to choose this Jeep Renegade. It approaches the dimensions of the original, and also the body contours and cabin design take you fully into the Jeep world.
Like its veteran original, the Renegade we
tested has also a small four cylinder petrol engine under the hood, but that is
where, so many decades later, all comparison ends. Because this Renegade is
crammed with the very latest state of the art technology the FCA group has to
offer, and then we are not even talking about the PHEV version, which we recently
announced in these columns.
This Renegade has impressed us, and quite
frankly, it does the Jeep name (very) proud. Just read on…
We already told you, dear reader, in our “teaser” about our venue to the “Luigi Ridolfi” Federal Technical Centre in Coverciano (FIorence), to have a stint at the wheel of the new Fiat 500X Sport.
The 500 X is the most global model of the
Fiat range. This iconic compact crossover is designed and engineered in Italy
and built in the FCA factory in Melfi. It was launched in 2014, but has lost
none of its appeal, as it has been renewed last year. Now the 500 X accentuates
sportsmanship, and emerges as an alternative to compact C-segment cars with a
If you want to experience what Lexus really stands for, than get behind the wheel of this sleek and stylish ES300h: smooth comfort and roominess, technical perfection, sleek and velvety power, a full luxury cabin, and totally stunning economy. It embodies it all, in a masterful and very attractive way.
Of course, you must like sedans. We still
do, and let us tell you right away, we were totally sold on this Lexus. We
drove it extensively, and took it also to the French capital of light. We
couldn’t think of a more appropriate transport to the city of elegance and
Driving the future. Now. Literally, without any strings or plugs attached. That is what Lexus driving is all about. Superbly engineered, dramatically styled. With an eye for quality and modern day luxury: this is what Lexus’s most compact SUV offers you.
It runs on the new GA-C-platform, which is also seen in the new
Corolla. It shares also (most) of its drivetrain. Indeed, the well known 2
litre Atkinson Cycle four cylinder plays here the fiddle in harmony with its
electric cousin under the bonnet, in clever hybrid fashion, just like in the
Corolla. This means absolute technical perfection and utmost reliability is
yours to enjoy. But that is not all. The bodywork of this SUV has what it takes
to please you, both inside and out. Just read further…