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    Beijing International Automotive Exhibition or Auto China is an auto show held biennially in Beijing, China
    William Maley
    Jeep has introduced a new three-row SUV for the Chinese market called the Grand Commander.
    There is a lot of design inspiration from the Yuntu concept shown at the Shanghai Motor Show last year. The Grand Commander has squared-off corners, large glass area, and front-end styling similar to the Grand Cherokee. In terms of dimensions, the Grand Commander is about two inches longer in overall length than the Grand Cherokee. But it is two-inches narrower than the Grand Cherokee.
    Only one engine will be available, a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is sent through a nine-speed automatic to either the front wheels or four-wheel drive system. Underpinning the model is FCA's Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform.
    The Grand Commander is expected to go on sale sometime later this year.
    Before anyone asks, this is not the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer that is expected sometime in 2020 or so.
    Source: Motor Authority

    William Maley
    BMW has been saying for some time that an electric crossover based on the X3 is coming. Today at Auto China, we got our first look at it as the Concept iX3.
    The iX3 has some subtitle design differences when compared to the standard X3. Up front is a new take on the iconic BMW kidney grille as they are joined together. Other details include special wheels to improve aerodynamics, blue accents, and a small door on the front fender for the charging port.
    Power comes from BMW's fifth-generation EV hardware which includes an electric motor producing 270 horsepower and a 70-kWh battery pack. BMW claims a range of 400 kilometers (about 249 miles) on the WLTP test cycle. The Concept iX3 can handle a charging rate of up to 150 kW, which will allow it to get an 80 percent charge in a half-hour.
    The production version of the iX3 is expected to launch in 2020 as part of BMW's plan to introduce 25 electrified vehicles by 2025. 12 of those models will be full EVs.
    Source: BMW


    The BMW Concept iX3
    Electric mobility arrives at the core of BMW. BMW Concept iX3 with more than 200 kW/270 hp electric motor and a WLTP range of more than 400 kilometres (249 miles).
    The BMW Concept iX3 represents another milestone on the road to locally emission-free driving under the BMW Group’s electrification strategy. And so a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) once again blazes a trail for a new and groudbreaking form of BMW’s fabled driving pleasure. The current BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance (petrol consumption combined: 3.4 – 3.3 l/100 km [83.1 – 85.6 mpg imp]; electric power consumption combined: 15.4 – 15.3 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 78 – 77 g/km) made its debut in 2015 as the BMW core brand’s first plug-in hybrid model. And the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 presented in 2009 was the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe with a full-hybrid drive system.
    The BMW Concept iX3 previews the fusion of the multi-faceted driving pleasure for which BMW X models are renowned and a locally emission-free drive system. The version of the fifth-generation electric motor developed for the SAV generates maximum output of over 200 kW/270 hp.  The likewise model-specific high-voltage battery has a net capacity of over 70 kWh, which is enough to give the electric SAV a range of more than 400 kilometres (249 miles) in the WLTP cycle.
    Another feature of the high-voltage battery developed for the fifth generation of eDrive technology is its optimised charging capability. The energy storage system has a newly developed Charging Control Unit and is designed to be hooked up to fast-charging stations generating up to 150 kW. The high-voltage battery can be charged in just 30 minutes from one of these stations.
    Electric mobility also means a differentiation in design. 
    In the front, the kidney and the brand emblem show the affiliation with the BMW i brand. The closed double kidney with the blue accentuation continues the BMW i Vision Dynamics brand already featured in the BMW i Vision Dynamics. The closed area within the kidney reduces air resistance, providing aerodynamic benefits.
    Identifying features of the BMW Concept iX3 include a closed-off BMW kidney grille with familiar BMW i car graphic, BMW i Blue accents around the kidney, around the brand logo at the front and along the side skirts, and a diffuser element in the same colour integrated in the rear apron. These styling cues provide a striking contrast against the Moonstone Silver matt exterior paint finish. The concept study is also fitted with light-alloy wheels in an aerodynamically optimised design. 
    Alongside the world premiere of the BMW Concept iX3 and the BMW i Vision Dynamics study also on display in Beijing, the BMW Group is also highlighting the spectrum of design differentiation between the BMW and BMW i brands. The styling of the BMW i Vision Dynamics is characterised by the pioneering design language developed exclusively for BMW i models. The signature looks of BMW i cars will also mark out future models from the brand. This study of a first all-electric model from BMW is clearly defined by the robust and sophisticated all-round character of an SAV, which remains unaffected by the presence of a locally emission-free drive system under the skin. 
    The electric drive will be visible through the design elements from the BMW i design language in the exterior design mentioned above.

    William Maley

    Not your father's ES

    The Lexus ES has always been the safe, conservative choice in the midsize class. There was nothing controversial or exciting about it. But that is changing with the seventh-generation model that made its debut today at Auto China.
    Lexus has already given us a preview of what most of the ES looks like last week, but we weren't sure about what the back end looks like. We now know and it looks very similar to the current GS with a short trunk lid, triangular taillights that extend into the rear fenders, and sculpting on the bumper. This generation of the ES will also get for the first time an F-Sport package with a mesh grille, body kit, and new wheels.
    In terms of dimensions, the 2019 ES sees a 2.6-inch increase in overall length, 2-inch increase in wheelbase, and a 1.8-inch increase in width.
    The interior borrows a fair amount of ideas from the LS and LC with a trapezoidal gauge cluster and control knobs sitting on either side; real wood and aluminum dash accents, and a large infotainment screen measuring out 8- or 12-inches. The ES will be the first Lexus model to get (finally) Apple CarPlay intergration. Those with Android phones are just out of luck.
    Lexus will offer two engines for the U.S. market. The ES 350 packs a 3.5L V6 producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. For those who care about fuel efficiency have the ES 300h which pairs a 2.5L four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce a total output of 215. The V6 gets an eight-speed automatic, while the ES 300h makes do with a CVT. Platform-wise, the ES uses a variant of the GA-K platform found in the new Camry and Avalon. Lexus added extra reinforcement for the ES to improve overall rigidity.
    The 2019 ES arrives at Lexus dealers in September.
    Source: Lexus


    A New Level of Performance and Sophistication—The Next Generation Lexus ES
    Emotional Design Reflects New Dynamic Capabilities Introduction of the First F SPORT Model in the ES Lineup Hybrid Model Delivers Exceptional Mileage and Improved Performance BEIJING, April 25, 2018 — After six generations of unprecedented success in the entry-luxury sedan category, the next-generation Lexus ES is forging a new, more ambitious path. Long known for its unparalleled comfort, refinement and luxury appointments, the seventh-generation ES builds on its strengths with an all-new chassis that allows for a more dynamic exterior design and the introduction of the first ES F SPORT.
     
    Representing the third vehicle in the Future Chapter of Lexus that started with the LC coupe and LS sedan, the new ES expands that vision of the brand’s future to a broader audience. Traditional buyers will find the new ES more spacious, quieter and safer than ever before while a new generation of customers will be introduced to a sedan with sharpened performance, class-leading active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment.  
     
    The New Dimension of ES Design
    Built on the all-new Global Architecture – K (GA-K) platform, the new ES pushes the limits of design in the luxury sedan class. This ES is longer (+2.6 in), lower (-.2 in) and wider (+1.8 in.) than before with wheels that have been pushed closer to the corners thanks to a two-inch longer wheelbase and wider tracks front (+.4 in) and rear (+1.5 in). Its stance and proportions reflect its newfound performance capabilities and give the ES the kind of eye-catching appearance that will make owners take a second look as they walk away.
     
    Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino, describes the look of the ES as “provocative elegance”.
     
    “The ES has always been an elegant luxury sedan. For this generation, we have added daring design elements that challenge the traditional expectations of buyers.”
     
    To create a dynamic yet fluid shape, Kaijino’s team used the low hood enabled by the new ES platform to produce a distinctive silhouette emphasized by an aggressive downward slant. Up front, the ES offers two dramatically different grille designs. The standard ES 350 and the ES 300h use elegant vertical bars that radiate out from the center while the ES 350 F SPORT model adopts a blacked out pattern consisting of “L”-shaped clusters with corresponding cut outs at each corner of the fascia.
     
    In a break with ES models of the past, the seventh-generation design uses a fast roofline that emphasizes its lower stance and slippery aerodynamics. The rear end is clean and sharply chiseled, with LED taillamps that wrap around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle. F SPORT models add a rear spoiler, additional rear badging and a dark lower valance to further refine the look. There are three different wheel designs (standard 17-inch, two 18-inch) for the ES 350 and ES 300h while the ES 350 F SPORT gets standard 19-inch wheels with a design similar to that found on the LC coupe. 
     
    A dozen colors make up the exterior paint palette including two new shades, one green and one beige, that are anything but typical. Moonbeam Beige Metallic was designed to mimic light reflecting off fresh snow, while Sunlit Green replicates the color of ocean water brightened by the sun. F SPORT models get an exclusive Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0 color that complements its high-energy design.
     
    The Future of Lexus Interiors
    When designing the look and feel of the ES’s interior, Kajino’s team started with the Lexus Future Interior concept which blends a driver-centric cockpit with a spacious and comfortable area for the front passenger. In the ES, the driver’s focus is kept on the road ahead by placing the center display screen, instrument panel and available heads up display in a tight cluster in the driver’s field of view. Front passengers, on the other hand, get a more open and spacious environment that promotes relaxation. 
     
    Rear seat passenger comfort has long been a hallmark of the ES and the seventh-generation model still prioritizes rear package capability despite the sleeker exterior roofline. A lower hip point and a carefully configured headliner preserve headroom while the longer wheelbase delivers generous legroom.
     
    To create an entirely different appearance for the inside of new F SPORT model, an all-new kind of metallic cabin trim was developed that is unlike anything else Lexus has done before. Inspired by the making of a traditional Japanese sword, Hadori aluminum trim features fluctuating wave patterns that give it a three-dimensional appearance that varies depending on the viewing angle. The effect is subtle yet indicative of the level of detail and craftsmanship that Kajino’s team put into giving the F SPORT a unique place in the lineup. The standard ES 350 and ES 300h will continue to offer traditional materials like Matte Bamboo, Linear Dark Mocha and Linear Espresso wood which give the ES a hand-crafted appearance that luxury buyers expect in this category.
     
    A New Era of Performance
    The engineering team led by Yasuhiro Sakakibara had one clear goal when it came to the ES: transform the image of the ES. That meant turning a sedan known primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering class-leading handling and power that you can feel and hear.
     
    According to Sakakibara, this ES was built to deliver a fundamentally higher level of performance than any of its predecessors. “We knew that this ES had to feel responsive and easy to drive, no matter what kind of road it was on and that can only be achieved with a solid foundation.”
     
    The starting point was the newly developed GA-K chassis. It’s an exceptionally rigid front-wheel drive chassis, rivalling the GA-L rear-wheel drive platform used for the LC coupe and LS sedan in terms of torsional stiffness. Various grades of high-tensile steel reduce weight versus previous platforms while additional enhancements like an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace mounted behind the rear seat gave the engineers the flexibility to tune the ES with a newfound level of precision.
     
    All of the upgrades to the chassis were designed to deliver a sense of comforting predictability coupled with a feeling of quick response to every movement. Yoshiaki Ito, chief test driver for Lexus, describes the ES’s heightened level and refined definition of comfort by saying: “We want every kind of driver to feel a sense of complete control when they are behind the wheel of the ES. It’s a level of comfort that goes beyond merely delivering a smooth ride.”
     
    For an enhanced level of dynamic performance, F SPORT models offer an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) similar to that found on the LC coupe. AVS adds adjustable dampers at each corner that feature 650 levels of damping force for the ultimate in control over any surface.  Another F SPORT exclusive is a Sport+ mode for the Drive Mode Select system that selects the most aggressive engine, transmission and suspension settings for maximum performance. A new Engine Sound Enhancement feature is also activated in Sport+ mode that adds an additional layer of engine noise that enhances the natural rhythms of the spirited driving.
     
    Standard V6 Power and a New 8-Speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission
    All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that is designed to deliver commanding acceleration along with an invigorating sound. With an update to D4-S fuel injection, the impressively smooth engine now develops 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Both of those numbers are up significantly (+34 hp, +19 lb-ft) compared to the previous generation V6.
     
    In addition to the boost in power, the ES 350 also benefits from a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. It uses an ultra-thin torque converter and a multi-plate lock up clutch to more efficiently transfer power to the front wheels, and has been tuned to deliver crisp, precisely timed shifts with quick responses. With a wider spread of ratios, the new eight speed is able to utilize high torque gears on the low end for quick starts and tall gearing on the high end for optimum efficiency.
     
    Fourth Generation Hybrid Drive System 
    Not to be outdone by its gasoline siblings, the ES 300h is capable of delivering exceptional fuel efficiency, responsive performance and minimal emissions for an entry-level luxury sedan. A new, fourth-generation Hybrid Drive System couples an ultra-efficient, Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with a lighter, more compact, more power dense electric motor and self-charging hybrid system. Together they deliver a combined 215 total system horsepower and a preliminary estimate of 44 mpg in combined driving.
     
    An all-new engine, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder incorporates fast-burn combustion technology that makes it one of the most thermally efficient engines ever offered in a Lexus. The result is more power without increasing emissions or fuel consumption. Various methods were used to achieve such impressive results including straight intake ports, increased valve angles and laser-clad valve seats. A variable capacity oil pump, multihole injectors, VVTi-E on the intake valves and a variable cooling system also contribute to the engine’s impressive heat and combustion management.   
     
    Overall drivability of the ES 300h has been improved thanks to a more sophisticated hybrid system control computer that is better able to mimic the feel and power delivery of a standard gas engine. An all-new nickel metal hydride battery is smaller than before which allows it to be mounted underneath the back seat so it doesn’t infringe on trunk space.
     
    Unparalleled Safety Comes Standard
    One element of the ES that hasn’t been radically transformed is its dedication to safety. All versions of the seventh-generation ES feature the new Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. Already one of the most sophisticated systems of its kind, LSS+ 2.0 adds new features that further expand its capabilities.
     
    One such feature is daytime bicyclist detection which is part of the comprehensive Pre-Collision System (PCS). Already designed to detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian, the PCS system’s ability to potentially detect a bicyclist addresses a common accident scenario. PCS has also been enhanced to help better detect a pedestrian at night by increasing the radar’s sensitivity and dynamic range.
     
    Technology That Connects and Simplifies
    Staying connected has never been so important to ES owners, so there are now multiple ways to engage with technology in a safe and convenient manner. For example, the seventh-generation ES is the first Lexus product to offer Apple CarPlay™ phone functionality, enabling drivers to control their iPhones® through the dashboard display screen or with Siri Eyes Free® voice control.
     
    The ES is also Amazon Alexa®-enabled, so drivers can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions. That functionality includes car-to-home and home-to-car commands, so owners who have Alexa enabled devices in their home can interact with their ES before they ever get behind the wheel.
     
    On board Wi-fi powered by Verizon is also available on the ES as part of an optional navigation system that includes an easy-to-read 12.3-inch wide dashboard display. Along with its on-board data set, the navigation system is also capable of receiving over-the-air updates for improved routing and the latest Points of Interest (POIs).  Models without navigation will use an 8-inch display and all interactions will be controlled through the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) trackpad.
     
    The Next Chapter of ES 
    When it goes on sale in September, the 2019 Lexus ES will usher in a new era for one of the brand’s most popular models. Much like the flagship LS, the new ES sedan addresses the need to engage a broader range of customers. It delivers everything that traditional Lexus buyers expect along with elements that will draw in those who haven’t considered the brand before. Bolder styling, more dynamic performance, unique cabin materials and the latest technology add a chapter to the ES story that hasn’t been told, but that all changes in 2018.

    William Maley

    Cut a couple of inches out and you have the new A-Class sedan

    The next model in Mercedes-Benz's compact assault has been revealed. On the eve on Auto China, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Chinese market A-Class L sedan. L stands for long-wheelbase. Compared to the standard hatchback, the L sedan adds 2.4-inches to the wheelbase - all of it going to rear seat passengers.
    There isn't much difference in terms of the design between the A-Class sedan and hatchback. Right up until the rear doors, both models share a large grille, trapezoidal headlights, and bold lines along the side. Around back, the sedan gets a narrow trunk lid and the roofline isn't lowered - that will be saved for the upcoming CLA. The interior is the same as the hatchback with a modern design and Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system.
    Power will come from either a turbocharged 1.33L three-cylinder engine producing either 134 or 161 horsepower, or a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 188 horsepower. Both engines come paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 
    Mercedes-Benz is expected to debut the standard A-Class sedan sometime later this year.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz


    New member of the compact-class family: World premiere of the A-Class L Sedan
    Stuttgart/Beijing. Shortly before the first A-Class hatchbacks reach customers in Western Europe in May, a new variant of the compact-class family - in the guise of the A-Class L Sedan - will already be celebrating its premiere at Auto China (25 April to 4 May 2018) in Beijing. The notchback model being presented there features a 6 cm longer wheelbase (2789 instead of 2729 mm) and is a variant developed solely for the Chinese market. This A-Class model is being produced exclusively at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor. The market launch in China is scheduled for the second half of 2018. A version of the sedan tailored to the needs of customers outside China will likewise launch in the second half of the year.
    With the latest design language characterised by clear structures and sensual surfaces, the high level of safety thanks to the innovative driving assistance systems featuring S‑Class functions and the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, the Chinese A‑Class L Sedan boasts all of the virtues of the new compact-class family from Mercedes-Benz. One highlight is the intelligent voice control of the MBUX system with natural speech recognition: it is proficient in various Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese.
    “With our Chinese customers’ wishes and needs in mind, we developed the A‑Class L Sedan for the local market, which is the first and only long wheelbase model in the premium compact car segment,” said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China. “This long wheelbase version offers added space, with a rear compartment dedicated to meeting local preferences. And given our customers in China are young and connected, our new, intuitive MBUX telematics system gives them a highly individualized digital experience. With these highlight features and more, the A‑Class L Sedan is an excellent choice for our Chinese customers. We believe it will promote our further growth as our fifth model produced locally at BBAC, and we will build it in China, for China together with our partner BAIC.”
    In 2017 China was once again the largest sales market for Mercedes-Benz and smart. Customers in Mainland China took delivery over 610,000 vehicles last year, more than ever in a single year (+25.9%). In total, around 430,000 units were produced locally in 2017, which corresponds to more than two-thirds of the total sales volume in China.
    More than six million compact models have already been delivered to customers in around 170 markets. Following the great success of the last compact-class generation – Mercedes-Benz sold more than 620,000 compact vehicles globally in 2017 alone – currently the company is gradually extending the new compact-car family to eight members. The A‑Class hatchback and the Chinese variant of the A‑Class Saloon are the first two representatives of the new generation.
    About the Chinese A-Class L Sedan
    The A-Class L Sedan also reflects the purist, surface-accentuating design of the latest Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity. The compact saloon has very short overhangs at front and rear, which, in combination with the side feature line, reinforces the sporty image. As on the hatchback model, the front end design looks very progressive. Contributing to this impression are the low, drawn-out bonnet, flat headlamps with chrome elements, and torch-like daytime driving lights - plus the diamond radiator grille with single louvre, chrome pins, and central star. There is a choice of Sedan and Sport Sedan versions, with the latter featuring powerdomes on the bonnet.
    The greenhouse, which sits far back, and the compact rear end emphasise the sportiness of the vehicle. The wheels (in sizes 16 to 19 inches) fit flush in the wheel arches, which, like the strongly pronounced shoulders in the rear area, gives the vehicle a square stance on the road.
    The two-piece tail lights emphasise the width. The reflectors have been repositioned lower down in the bumper to allow the tail lights to benefit from a particularly flat design. Rose gold is an exclusive paint finish planned for the Chinese market.
    As in the hatchback model, the interior is a completely new departure, revolutionising the compact class from the inside with a new feeling of spaciousness. The interior architecture along with the displays and controls is an avant-garde USP in this segment. For the first time a cowl above the cockpit has been completely dispensed with. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard with its trim level extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity.
    Below this main body is a low-lying section, the so-called wing. The wing appears to float, as there are no connections or shape transitions to the surrounding area. The ambience lighting with up to 64 colours reinforces this effect and is a new interior experience, also for Chinese customers. The wing also forms the basis for the turbine-look air vents, which are embedded in trim, and the completely free-standing widescreen display.
    On board is the MBUX multimedia system - Mercedes-Benz User Experience - with unique learning abilities thanks to artificial intelligence. Of course, the popular WeChatMyCar app is integrated. MBUX makes it possible for the first time for two or more users to connect simultaneously to the system. The intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition is proficient in various Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese. Mercedes-Benz is the world's first automotive manufacturer to provide navigation display featuring augmented reality technology on the Chinese market.
    When developing the Chinese A-Class L Sedan (length/width/height: 4609/1796/1460 mm) a focal point was the kneeroom for rear passengers. As a result, at 2789 mm, the wheelbase is 60 mm longer than in the hatchback model (2729 mm). The boot has a capacity of 420 litres.
    At the market launch, the A-Class L Sedan will be available in China with the state-of-the-art all-aluminium four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.33 litres with power outputs of 100 and 120 kW (with cylinder shut-off); following later will be the 2‑litre four-cylinder engine with CONICSHAPE trumpet honing and CAMTRONIC variable valve timing. In China, the latter engine has an output of 140 kW. The 7G‑DCT dual clutch transmission comes as standard.
    Of course on the Chinese market the A‑Class L Sedan also boasts the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, giving it the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S‑Class.

    William Maley

    A key part of Infiniti's recent concept car will inspire a key piece of their electrification plans

    Infiniti announced earlier this year that it would begin to electrify their lineup beginning in 2021 with the launch of their first electric vehicle. But Infiniti doesn't have a platform that can easily accommodate the batteries and electric motors. 
    Today at Auto China, Infiniti announced plans to develop a new electrified platform that will be inspired from the Q Inspiration Concept shown at Detroit earlier this year.
    "INFINITI is developing a new platform for electrified vehicles inspired by the Q Inspiration concept car, which shows the new design language for the age of autonomy and electrification. We very much had China in mind when designing the Q Inspiration, which shows a very sporty, performance-oriented electric concept, with a much bigger interior space," said Infiniti Chairman and Global President Roland Krueger.
    We got a hint that Infiniti was planning an electrified platform earlier this month when Infiniti's product strategy vice-president Francois Bancon mentioned the redesign of the Q50/Q60/Q70 had to be pushed back due to work on a new platform.
    The platform will underpin a new electrified vehicle that will be one of five vehicles Infiniti will be built in China over the next five years.
    Source: Infiniti


    INFINITI confirms new electrified vehicle platform influenced by Q Inspiration concept car
    An electrified platform based on Q Inspiration concept car will go into production within the next five years Sedan will be manufactured in China at a location to be announced Q Inspiration shows INFINITI's new design form in an era of advanced powertrains and technologies BEIJING – INFINITI Motor Company today announced it is developing an all-new electrified vehicle platform influenced by the stunning Q Inspiration concept car. INFINITI will produce an electrified vehicle on this platform, one of five new vehicles it will build in China over the next five years.  
    INFINITI Chairman and Global President Roland Krueger made the announcement today at a special Auto China preview event at the INFINITI Brand Experience Center in Beijing.
    "INFINITI is developing a new platform for electrified vehicles inspired by the Q Inspiration concept car, which shows the new design language for the age of autonomy and electrification. We very much had China in mind when designing the Q Inspiration, which shows a very sporty, performance-oriented electric concept, with a much bigger interior space," said Krueger.
    Representing the next step in INFINITI design, the exterior of the Q Inspiration features clear and concise lines with dynamic and confident proportions. It is the first manifestation of INFINITI's new form language for an era of advanced powertrains. The concept eschews classical sedan forms with its coupe-like appearance and elongated silhouette, presenting INFINITI's design vision for vehicles in this segment.
    "The Q Inspiration concept car takes the traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution. A shift towards smarter, more compact and less intrusive powertrains; we were able to create an alternative form with flowing gestures, more engaging in character and more enriching in experience. With its long cabin, balanced proportions and muscular stance, the concept heralds in a new era for INFINITI models."
    -Karim Habib, INFINITI Executive Design Director
    The Q Inspiration cabin follows a minimalist approach, with a concise and clean interior design enveloping the driver and passengers in a serene and comfortable environment. Advanced powertrains have liberated INFINITI's designers from the constraints of traditional powertrain architecture to realize a spacious interior. Modern technology and craftsmanship merge inside the cabin, presented in a way that enables, rather than distracts, the driver.
    INFINITI is also reconfirming the company's commitment to electrification. For Chinese car-buyers, this translates into vehicles with increased performance and fuel economy with reduced emissions.

    William Maley

    Just why Mercedes, why?

    Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept at Auto China following a leak last week spilling key information about the concept. We can confirm that the Ultimate Luxury concept is a fully electric vehicle with four motors producing 750 horsepower. An 80-kWh battery provides a range of over 200 miles (about 500 kilometers on the European test cycle) - much less than the 310 mile figure we reported last week. A fast charge system can provide 60 miles of range within five minutes.
    But why a sedan/SUV hybrid design? It is most likely due to sedans and SUVs being the most popular body styles for luxury vehicles in China.
    "The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is a totally new archetype of a kind never seen before. Our concept combines the DNA of an SUV with that of a sedan to produce an ultra- modern SUV of three-box design. With sensual and pure sophistication, we have created a timeless vehicle that underscores the position of Mercedes-Maybach as the ultimate luxury brand," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. 
    "Totally new archetype of a kind never seen before"? Is Daimler ignoring the AMC Eagle, Subaru Outback Sedan, and Volvo S60 Cross Country which can be argued as being archetypes of this idea? Maybe Wagener's comments are coming from a place where it is a first for ultra-luxury brand to do, but still...
    There are other traits that are influenced by the Chinese market. The wood trim used in the concept is ebony or what Mercedes calls"Magic Wood." This is used in traditional Chinese furniture design. The other is special accommodations for those sitting in the back. The seats provide a number of adjustments and sitting in between is a complete tea set, complete with a heated tray.
    While we expect certain details of the concept to appear on an upcoming Maybach SUV, don't expect the Ultimate Luxury concept
    Source: Mercedes-Benz


    World premiere of Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury
    Exclusive motoring at the highest level Apr 24, 2018 – Stuttgart/Beijing - At "Auto China 2018" in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury. The design of the crossover, based on an exclusive high-end sedan and an SUV, follows the philosophy of Sensual Purity. The show car combines the comfort and typical strengths of both body styles. These include the raised seating position and the athletic looks. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived as an electric vehicle with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors and fully variable all-wheel drive.
    "The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is a totally new archetype of a kind never seen before," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "Our concept combines the DNA of an SUV with that of a sedan to produce an ultra- modern SUV of three-box design," says Wagener. "With sensual and pure sophistication, we have created a timeless vehicle that underscores the position of Mercedes-Maybach as the ultimate luxury brand."
    Continuing the Mercedes-Maybach success story
    The concept vehicle not only embodies the Mercedes-Maybach design language, it also reflects the traditional brand values while continuing the successful Mercedes-Maybach story. True to the principle of creating "the very best from the very best," Mercedes-Maybach stands for the ultimate in luxury while uniting the perfection of Mercedes-Benz with the exclusivity of Maybach.
    The show car also merges influences from the Western and Far Eastern hemispheres to deliver an appealing automotive cultural dialogue. For instance, use is made of "Magic Wood" ebony, which is traditional in Chinese furniture design. The same motif is also underlined by the combination of SUV and notchback sedan, which are the most successful body styles not only internationally, but especially on the Chinese market.
    In the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, spaciousness and comfort, in combination with the raised seating position, elegant design and finest materials, particularly in the rear, give rise to a luxury experience at the highest level. The vehicle stands in exemplary manner for the typical Mercedes-Maybach values: traditional craftsmanship, uniqueness and individualization.
    Exterior design: harmony of sensuality and purity
    Smooth, extravagant surfaces with no beads or sharp edges create an image of sporty elegance: the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury has a majestic look. With its balanced proportions, the vehicle has tremendous presence.
    The front end is accentuated by the distinctive chrome-plated radiator grille with its fine vertical bars in the style of a pinstripe suit. The new grille design celebrated its world premiere in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, the exclusive coupe concept car that delighted aficionados and fans of the brand in 2016. It also inspired the latest reinterpretation for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
    In combination with the low-profile front headlamps with three lamp units, the grille dominates the front view of the vehicle while emphasizing its brand affiliation. The large air inlets along with the horizontal air inlet with integral chrome blades underline the sportiness of the SUV sedan while lending it a dynamic look. The air inlets are crossed by the brand's typical honeycomb pattern. A continuous trim strip extends from the split bonnet across the roof through to the rear end.
    Unlike a conventional sedan, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury offers a significantly higher, SUV-typical seating position and therefore a sublime driving experience. This addresses the desire of many customers for a feeling of protection and security – a challenge for the designers. Ultimately, the task was to harmoniously transfer the familiar three-box design  – hood,  passenger compartment and trunk – to an SUV-like architecture.  This produces an interesting tension between the poles of sportiness and Mercedes-Maybach luxury.
    The upright C-pillar, long, gently forward-sloping hood and compact notchback dominate the sportily elegant side view. The muscular volume of the flank is accentuated by a long wheelbase and short rear overhangs. The overall appearance is rounded off by 24-inch turbine-look wheels.
    Truncated running boards in machined aluminum are integrated in the lower door area. They are illuminated in white and bear the Maybach logo. The overall vehicle is accentuated by subtle chrome trim above the running boards as well as in the lower area of the front and rear ends. The electrically extending door handles are flush with the sides.
    At the rear end, the three-part lamps are reminiscent of the design of the front headlamps. Situated above them is the visually vertically split rear window. Another striking feature is the modeled underride guard with diffuser look. It, too, is permeated by the Maybach pattern from the front end.
    Sublimeness meets lightness: interior design
    The interior of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury features an exciting contrast between high-level sportiness and luxurious spaciousness.  This show car is the ultimate embodiment of a luxury dream automobile. The goal of the interior designers was to provide echoes of the series-produced vehicles while transporting them into an unprecedented world of luxury. They created a symbiosis of sportiness, modernity and elegance, giving an idea of coming generations of Mercedes-Maybach models.
    Exclusive materials with high-grade highlights exude exquisite quality in the interior, thereby underlining the vehicle's superlative luxury. The generous feeling of spaciousness, together with the high-contrast color compositions, make for an unattained luxury experience. The colors employed are typical of the brand, such as rose gold, crystal white and pearl grey. Flowing forms, delicate fabrics and aluminum parts create an exciting contrast between the sportily elegant details of an SUV and the lightness of a sedan.
    As the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is intended primarily for chauffeur-driven use, its design is strongly focused on the rear passengers and their well-being. It is in the rear that the feeling of cozy spaciousness is at its most intense.
    The driver's area and cockpit are reduced to the essentials. Air vents, which reflect the design of the radiator grille, surround the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit with double 12.3-inch displays. The feeling of spaciousness is further enhanced by a light, contrasting bottom part of the instrument panel as well as by the reduced height of the dashboard. Overall, the interior creates an atmosphere of luxurious coziness that allows the occupants to relax pleasantly. To emphasize the visual lightness, the rose gold frame of the front seats is open, exposing the white leather to view. The color/material scheme celebrates the superlative luxury of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach with exquisite materials and breathtaking surfaces.
    The luxurious lightness of the interior is emphasized by the color crystal white, the finest Nappa leather and a sensual shade of brown that features a light metallic finish on the instrument panel. Gleaming surfaces in polished aluminum generate exciting reflections while mirroring the highlight: the rose gold-coated seats. The claim to the ultimate in luxury goes hand-in-hand with extreme technical challenges. For instance, the intense Mercedes-Maybach signature red metallic finish is applied by expert hand in several coats. Tradition and modernity are reflected in the form of appealing contrasts. The entire interior is surrounded by a large-area trim level. Dark ebony forms an exciting contrast with the surrounding areas of white leather. Wave-like, flowing lines of light are integrated flush into the wood surfaces, impressively uniting the analogue and digital worlds. The tailored seat upholstery layouts take up the lines of the trim while giving a reinterpretation to the typical diamond shape. The fine perforations are in rose gold. Thought through down to the smallest detail, crafted with love and affection.
    Modelled on the S-Class
    As in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the especially comfortable seats impress with their adjustment kinematics. Unlike in a conventional sedan, the backrest is adjusted separately while the footwell and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be adjusted separately, while the seat angle and height adjustment are combined. Extra-soft knee cushions afford protection and comfort. The reclining seats feature a calf support, which is freely adjustable for length and angle. The crystal white Nappa leather seats are enhanced by diamond stitching in rose gold.
    The wide center console extends through to the rear. It is equipped with an integral, heated tray with teapot and cups, allowing exquisite tea-drinking enjoyment while on the road. The philosophy of tea plays a key role in bringing body and mind into balance while discovering the path to inner calm and vitality.
    The tea service is integrated into a sculpted wooden tray made of ebony, known as "Magic Wood." At the press of a button, the handmade service of finest china can be electrically retracted into the console under a sliding cover finished in high- gloss black.
    Enhanced user experience at the highest level
    The Mercedes-Benz user experience, too, represents the definitive embodiment of a luxury dream car. The design language is warmer and brighter, creating a  luxurious atmosphere. The car was created entirely in a 3D real-time graphic environment. Like a butler, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury acts with anticipation, instead of offering long menus and lists. The vehicle plays music to match the current mood, knows the appointment calendar and plans the routes accordingly. In the rear, various flavors of tea and relaxation programs are on offer, depending on who the rear passenger is.
    The familiar ENERGIZING Comfort has been carried over from the S-Class. Systems such as massage, fragrance, light and music are combined, helping to regenerate and improve concentration. This holistic comfort and infotainment system can be individually programmed and adapted for every world market.
    The highlight of the Mercedes-Benz user experience in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is the comprehensive touch control concept – a combination of touchscreen, touchpad on the center console and Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel. Alongside the intuitive control experience, reduced driver distraction is a further advantage.
    The control concept of the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit comprises three levels with rising information density: home screen, base screen and a submenu. The voice control adjusts to the user's voice and adapts new vogue words or changed use of language. In addition, the system does not employ stereotypical responses, but uses interactive variation.
    On the aesthetic front, it is based on the traditional Chinese ink painting style with its simplicity, white surfaces and balanced proportions.
    State-of-the-art powertrain and suspension technology
    The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived as an electric car. Thanks to its four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors, it offers fully variable all-wheel drive. The output from the powertrain is 750 hp (550 kW). The flat underfloor battery has a usable capacity of around 80 kWh, producing a range of over 200 miles (500 kilometers according to the NEDC). The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).
    The fast-charging function is also convenient: thanks to DC charging based on the CCS standard, the system allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW. In just five minutes, enough power can be charged to achieve an additional range of around   60 miles (100 kilometers).
    The battery can be charged by cable at public charging stations, conventional domestic socket outlets or, even more conveniently, by induction. The charging current is contactlessly transmitted by an electromagnetic field below the car.

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