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    Ramblings of a Dazed Photographer: 2016 Detroit Auto Show


    • An exhausted photographer gives us a report card from the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

    By Cory Wolfe

     

    As another year falls into the grasps of history, a new one lands filled with drinks, dreams, and the Detroit auto show. With all its shiny cars, crazy automotive espionage, and endless cappuccino, Cobo might just be my yearly heaven. Or is it my own personal hell, taunting me with sore feet, pushy journalists, and a severe lack of sleep? This year may just pin it towards the latter... This show sure can make someone relatively young feel frighteningly old rather quickly. Then again, a smart and well-prepared individual likely wouldn't have this problem, nor would that individual attempt to lug a 20-pound camera bag on his back for two days straight. Yeah, what the hell was I thinking when I bought that? I need a bag with wheels, not one that will put me in a chair with wheels. Enough about my poor planning, though. Let's get on with all the pretentious nitpicks and juicy behind-the-scenes commentary through the eyes of one exhausted photographer.

     

    Surprise! There's No Surprise

     

    Auto show season is upon us; its that time of year when automakers tend to go out-their-mind with introductions. This year, though, brought us a decidedly restrained show full of boring. Not only were the majority of the vehicles unsurprising, the reveals themselves were just average. A few lifted covers, various fog machines, and numerous turntables were the norm. Nissan, most notably, didn't even bother to try a bit of secrecy with its concept Titan. There it was, 7 am on day one, sitting out on display a full day before the press conference was scheduled. Lincoln was another offender in this regard, however not to the same degree; they at least waited until the day of to let it out. Beyond those, every automaker seemed to wait. Hold on, come to think of it, is it really any different? It's like clockwork, 12 am hits, the embargoes drop and each ensuing unveil is ruined in the process. There's very little in the way of true surprises any more. With the exception of Buick, everything was either leaked, teased, or previously shown. Leave it to the brand that's capitalized on little old lady's proclaiming "That's not a Buick!" to have the one true shock of the show.

     

    The biggest disappointment with the show in terms of the lack of surprise has to be the sheer number of non-debuts. No, I don't mean the carry-over models; I'm talking about those aforementioned introductions that were already shown. The Bolt? Electrified at CES. The M2? Revealed in October. The S90? Displayed in December. The 911 Turbo? Announced in November. The G90? Disrobed in Korea. The entire Mercedes press conference? Printed from the photo copier. The number of true world premiers were truly lacking at this show. Even the models that were generally something new were actually just new versions of existing debuts! A few more or less doors, an added trim, a bit more dressing; there was even a concept version of a production car that originated as a concept. Seriously, why?

     

    Oh Big Beautiful Concept, You

     

    While there were many debuts that literally put at least one journalist to sleep, there was a bit of excitement to be found at others. Perhaps one of the best kick-offs to an auto show ever, Buick proved once more that it can make a damned nice concept. What the Avista lacks in clever naming can be suddenly forgiven upon sight of that beautiful body. Every detail of this car is exquisitely perfect. This is one vehicle that could really change the perception of what a Buick is, unlike those silly commercials. It's not even that far fetched, in all honesty. Sure, many of the exaggerated details would never make it to production, but the heart of this concept could. With a platform that is just begging for my capacity and a powertrain that's been picked from the parts bin, I can't imagine it would be difficult to bring to reality. If the reception from the media days are any indication, there will be a lot of people shouting "Take my money!" during public days.

     

    Another concept that I was pretty impressed with was the Acura Precision concept, albeit with another terrible name. This one is bit different than the Buick in that you have to see it in person. No, really, you do. Pictures do not do this car any justice, instead making it look overly angular and uninspired. Once you're up close and see how the light hits each panel as the car rotates on the turntable, its something to appreciate. Like the Buick, this is a vehicle that could help Acura become more than just the tarted-up Honda it's always been. There's an identity here to be established, and thankfully, its shield-less. With that said, this one isn't likely to be sitting in your driveway with a huge bow on it for Christmas. In fact, it never will be. What may actually come from this, however, is a new design theme for Acura; a design full of diamonds. Let's hope the diamonds stay with the concept while the rest reinvigorates the brand's appeal.

     

    There is one car that looks like a concept, feels like a concept, and probably even smells like a concept, but it isn't one. The Lexus LC500 is by far the most shocking production car for that reason. Lexus has come quite a ways from the quiet days of yore when it was best known as a Japanese Buick. It's recent style revolution to change that image has been mixed, to say to the least, with each redesign gaining more spindle and more katana-formed angles. It hasn't been pretty. This car, however, is something to behold. This is a design that was lovingly sketched and nitpicked to perfect. Every line has a divine purpose as ordained by the design deity. The detail, precision, and craziness of this design could put most exotics to shame. Lexus, somehow, managed to craft a beautiful car. Yes, a beautiful Lexus finally exists; I never thought I'd say that.

     

    Are We Sharing or Are We Copying?

     

    In the automotive world, you'll quickly notice that new trends spread like wildfire throughout the industry. From the tail-fins and rockets of the 50's to the velour and design by cardboard box of the 80s, or the faux fender vents of this past decade; these trends come and go like that drunken hook-up you wished you never had. It's not just limited to design either, as I've come to find after sitting through numerous press conferences. By the end of the show, there was one spec I was continuing to hear over and over and over. I'm fairly certain a 3.0 liter turbocharged 6-cylinder with about 400 horsepower is the next must-have item on your luxury-sports car. First Buick, then Infiniti, and finally Lincoln all hit with exactly the same engine specs, while many more have varying horsepower figures but still employ the same basic engine. It's a repeat of the 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinders that everyone and their mother has.

     

    Corporate Jealousy and Espionage

     

    Media days at an auto show means a couple things will be present. For one, you'll see everyone hitting up the cappuccino stands trying to get as much a caffeine buzz as possible before running to the next press conference. You'll also notice an abundance of pushy people getting in your way at every step. Within these droves of human annoyances are a few different types of people. You have the determined photographer, the erratic journalist, the elitist CEO's and their protective posses, and finally there are the numerous manufacturer issued spies that run about making comments, taking notes, measuring gaps, etc. That last one is what I want to focus on. Let me just get this out of the way: I hate every single one of you. You get in my way constantly fiddling with sun visors and rubber moldings. No one cares what you think about company A's fit and finish compared to your company B's. Please, for everyone's sake, find a new, more meaningful job.

     

    As much as they got in my way, there were some funny conversations to be heard. At the launch of the GMC Acadia, there were reps discussing the downsizing. Pretty much went like this: Rep A to Reb B: "Wow, this is suicide! They just handed the market to you and your new crossover. What were they thinking?!" Meanwhile, I'm siting beside Rep A trying to casually take a picture and pretend I'm not paying any attention. Hilarious. Then, we have the Honda Ridgeline and various reps crawling underneath to check out the bed construction. Afterwards, they point out how the bed is designed to appear separate all in the name of looking more traditional and manly but is really just a faux cut-line with some rubber weatherstripping. Finally, I'll leave you with a positive comment from another rep examining the Lincoln Continental. As he was admiring the door handles, he took note of the soft-close feature saying quite sternly "We don't have that." I wish I would have caught which manufacturer he worked for.

     

    The Swedish do Everything Better

     

    As a tired, hungry, and dehydrated photographer, sometimes you have to find time to stop and replenish. That actually doesn't happen, the stopping part that is. In this context it means switching from running to stationary not to relax, but to import photos and send them off to some online editor in a timely manner. Generally, this means working while waiting for the next press conference to begin. You can however, get lucky and sit down in the one of the various automakers' lounges. Here, you may do your work in a nice comfy seat with some delightful cappuccino. After running around I finally found my favorite spot to be: The Volvo Lounge. Staffed with genuine Swedes (one was pretty cute, too, not going to lie), they put the most care into making their drinks. Other lounges simply make a cappuccino while they lovingly crafted a cappuccino. Absolutely wonderful, I'm going to miss the Volvo Lounge.

     

    Final Notes of the Quick Variety

     

    After the photos I needed were taken, edited, and uploaded off to Romania, I finally had some free time to roam the show floor. This is the best part of media days at an auto show. Unrestricted access to nearly every car on the floor is a wonderful thing. There's no one to stop you from getting into any car you wish, except that damned Alfa Romeo Giulia; the Italians have no trouble denying you. I took this opportunity to sit in a few new releases as well as a few older releases I've been eager to fondle with the utmost disrespect. Readers beware: I suspect I may ruffle a few feathers with some of the following comments.

    • Lincoln Continental: This car surprised me. I saw the spy photos, the press shots, etc. and I expected it to be a disappointment. In person, it has a certain presence, an air of prestige in which Lincoln has been lacking in recent years. This continues insides where it truly exudes luxury. They really nailed the look and feel of the materials, at least in the pre-production cars on display.
    • Ford Fusion: As a vehicle that was already in my personal top 3 of its respective segment, I wasn't expecting anything crazy. In fact, I wasn't sure how I felt about the refresh at first. I don't know what I was worried about. The updates look good, but that's not the story here. Neither is the addition the delicious Sport model. I sat in the the new Premium trim and was blown away by how good it is.
    • Chevrolet Malibu: Here is where I should say about how much of an improvement this model is over its predecessor. I'm not. Don't get me wrong, it's better, but its entirely incremental. The biggest departure is its looks and it does, in fact, look fine; it's certainly not offensive at all to my eyes. My gripe lies with the interior and what looks and feels like a downgrade in materials. Maybe I shouldn't have sat in the Fusion first, as that car makes this one feel positively cheap.
    • Volkswagen Golf R: "Ah ha," you're probably thinking, "Here comes that bias!" Unfortunately for you, you will see no such thing. While I have briefly sat in a MK7 GTI before, it was at another auto show and I really didn't have much time with it; I didn't this time either. I did, however, have enough time to come away rather disappointed. As a current MK6 GTI owner, I really noticed a difference in quality between the two. It's enough of a downgrade to question whether I'd really want to every upgrade.
    • Mazda MX-5 Miata: Oh sweet Jesus, if there is one car I would have liked to bring home with me, its this one. Such a gorgeous little car. It's as close to a perfect package as you can get and it fits me like a glove. Great touch points, slick shifter, comfortable seats, and practical enough considering its a roadster. If I had to nitpick, it would be over the rather useless cup holders and their nearly impossible to comfortably use position.
    • Chevrolet Bolt: Strangely enough, I really like this little electric car. It's the first one of its kind that could actually be used as your only vehicle without having to shell out an arm, leg, and perhaps a testicle or two. The expected performance is even appealing and perfectly acceptable for its price. I could see myself owning a Bolt in the not too distant future. Am I crazy? I hope not.
    • Genesis G90: This car gave me an experience opposite to that of the Continental; I expected it to be legitimately surprising. In all honesty, it wasn't. Inside and out, this car failed to feel special. It has the content and everything falls in line within the segment, but it's value price betrays it. It looks and feels a step below its competitors, even if its just slightly so. Perhaps that's something to be proud of. Personally, I'd hand over the extra cash for the real thing, one with a soul.

     


    With that said, this show wasn't its best year, nor was it the worst. A bit lacking in excitement, this years show didn't blow me away with exotic reveals or highly anticipated debuts. It was merely an adequate showing in Cobo. Does it matter? Of course it does. Despite everything, this was still an important show that somehow managed to feel more hectic than usual. It almost seemed as if attendance at media days greatly increased over my last stint here, having to fight more than usual for a good seat at each press conference. All in all, I think I may have to go back to press days for more touchy-feely goodness. It's just too bad I won't be able to enjoy Volvo's lounge... That was some damn good cappuccino.

     

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    Hilarious. I expected no less than blatant insults concerning GM products from this writer considering he posted a picture of a damn Honda wannabe P/U.. and he didn't fail me. The tidbit about the Acadia.. was classic. GMC handed them the market.. by changing a CUV that doesn't own the market, while continuing to build the Traverse and Enclave essentially unchanged. Makes sense..Not. I personally think it was made up, but hey.. its just a vibe I get from his overall "experience." Loving the Malibu demerits too. Most reviews go far to point out the improvements in interior fit and finish... yet this guy suggest that its a step back?

     

    . Lastly.. and most curious. I came into this thread thinking I was gonna see some PHOTOGRAPHS from the Dazed (and seemingly Confused) Photographer.

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    Hilarious. I expected no less than blatant insults concerning GM products from this writer considering he posted a picture of a damn Honda wannabe P/U.. and he didn't fail me. The tidbit about the Acadia.. was classic. GMC handed them the market.. by changing a CUV that doesn't own the market, while continuing to build the Traverse and Enclave essentially unchanged. Makes sense..Not. I personally think it was made up, but hey.. its just a vibe I get from his overall "experience." Loving the Malibu demerits too. Most reviews go far to point out the improvements in interior fit and finish... yet this guy suggest that its a step back?

     

    . Lastly.. and most curious. I came into this thread thinking I was gonna see some PHOTOGRAPHS from the Dazed (and seemingly Confused) Photographer.

     

    Uh, what?  He was repeating comments about the Acadia that he overheard.  I don't see any GM bashing or anti-bias in the article at all.  I think you need to go back and re-read the piece more carefully..... starting with the title. 

     

    BTW, Cory has been with CheersandGears since near the beginning and has been our photographer for the Detroit auto show and Chicago auto show a number of times. He attended this year's show with a media credential from my allotment though he did work for another outfit. 

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    And Cory, I agree that the Volvo booth is one of the best for refreshments.  They're my 'ol reliable for refreshments and the best wifi. Once in a while someone else will do it better, but Volvo is consistently good. 

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    I am completely amazed at how my exact thoughts and opinions came from someone called blackviper.  I will pay far more attention to your posts, as I an still new around here, yet intrigued now.

     

     

    Thank your for the write-up.

    A very good and honest read.

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    Yeah, I cannot stand the spies at all. I'm trying to get a picture and you decide to go in and start measuring. I almost dragged someone out of a vehicle on the first media day because of that. Somehow I was able to resist it.

     

    Also on the MX-5 Miata, completely agree. 

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    Also, Cheers to Chrysler for having security guards at all of the Pacificas to kick out the competitors. Only way people were getting up onto the Chrysler displays on the first day was with an actual media badge. 

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    Also, Cheers to Chrysler for having security guards at all of the Pacificas to kick out the competitors. Only way people were getting up onto the Chrysler displays on the first day was with an actual media badge. 

     

    Same with the second day as well.

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    Hilarious. I expected no less than blatant insults concerning GM products from this writer considering he posted a picture of a damn Honda wannabe P/U.. and he didn't fail me. The tidbit about the Acadia.. was classic. GMC handed them the market.. by changing a CUV that doesn't own the market, while continuing to build the Traverse and Enclave essentially unchanged. Makes sense..Not. I personally think it was made up, but hey.. its just a vibe I get from his overall "experience." Loving the Malibu demerits too. Most reviews go far to point out the improvements in interior fit and finish... yet this guy suggest that its a step back?

     

    . Lastly.. and most curious. I came into this thread thinking I was gonna see some PHOTOGRAPHS from the Dazed (and seemingly Confused) Photographer.

     

    No, no... Hilarious is what I'd consider this post of yours.

     

    Firstly, I used that Ridgeline photo because of the cowboy and his deep-in-thought appearance regarding the truck. You can practically just read his mind, thinking along the lines of "I just ain't too sure about this pick-up." I think its probably the best photo I took at the show for that reason. It was sort of a once-in-a-blue-moon photo opportunity. 

     

    As Drew pointed out, I didn't personally comment on the Acadia. Those were competing Manufacturer representatives making those comments. The one making the comments even asked if I could move out of his way while I was doing my job. I'm not his friend, and I found his comments to merely be post-worthy on the merits of entertainment. If you want my opinion of the Acadia, ask before you throw shade my way. 

     

    And the Malibu, if you read around, there have been mentions of cheap materials. The entire dash is hard plastic in the same vein as the current Cruze; the only soft-touch areas are those that can be covered in cloth or vinyl. Its largely the same with the door panels. Fit and finish is fine, material quality is a bit lacking. One of the strong points of the previous generation Malibu was what I thought to be its high quality dash and door materials. It was ugly, but everything was nice and soft-touch. Also, as mentioned, I had just sat in the updated Fusion and it was a night-and-day difference. 

     

    Lastly, I have loads of pictures, many of them being used by Autoevolution.com. I decided to limit this post to a single photo based on the unexpected length of the article. 

    Edited by blackviper8891
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    Who knows, if the new Ridgeline is a hit, maybe Chevy will tool up a competitor off the Traverse or Equinox and call it....(drum roll) El Camino!     :)

    ELIZABETH!  IT'S THE BIG ONE!  :o

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    I think his comment regarding Malibu interior materials feeling cheap was accurate.

    Yes to a degree....but lets backtrack a bit here.  The now previous Malibu didn't have class leading interior bits at all.  The big thing about the new Malibu interior is the ergonomics and fit have been improved by shifting things and taking it away from a tight cockpit interior with an intrusive lower dash and big vertical center stack.....to something that first of all gives actual room in the back.  Then it moves the gauge cluster forward and down and dissolves the intrusion of the console and center stack on your legs.  The new center stack is simply a tablet in the dash, which is far more usable than the last mylink.  The climate controls are compacted.  The plastics on the parts of the dash you see are 'just enough' in terms of level of finish when you consider the nice gauges and center stack display are what grabs your attention.

     

    The overall level of finish quality on the inside, while feeling a bit cheap is pretty comparable to the Altima.  While having nicer gauges and displays.  The new interior is better than the old one because its functionally better and opens up the cabin for a more space and room.  And the visibility out the new model is much better.  I can live with some cheaper plastic in this instance.

     

    Whatever rep that was that made the Acadia comment was spot on, sure he wasn't the only one

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    Hilarious. I expected no less than blatant insults concerning GM products from this writer considering he posted a picture of a damn Honda wannabe P/U.. and he didn't fail me. The tidbit about the Acadia.. was classic. GMC handed them the market.. by changing a CUV that doesn't own the market, while continuing to build the Traverse and Enclave essentially unchanged. Makes sense..Not. I personally think it was made up, but hey.. its just a vibe I get from his overall "experience." Loving the Malibu demerits too. Most reviews go far to point out the improvements in interior fit and finish... yet this guy suggest that its a step back?

     

    . Lastly.. and most curious. I came into this thread thinking I was gonna see some PHOTOGRAPHS from the Dazed (and seemingly Confused) Photographer.

     

    No, no... Hilarious is what I'd consider this post of yours.

     

    Firstly, I used that Ridgeline photo because of the cowboy and his deep-in-thought appearance regarding the truck. You can practically just read his mind, thinking along the lines of "I just ain't too sure about this pick-up." I think its probably the best photo I took at the show for that reason. It was sort of a once-in-a-blue-moon photo opportunity. 

     

    As Drew pointed out, I didn't personally comment on the Acadia. Those were competing Manufacturer representatives making those comments. The one making the comments even asked if I could move out of his way while I was doing my job. I'm not his friend, and I found his comments to merely be post-worthy on the merits of entertainment. If you want my opinion of the Acadia, ask before you throw shade my way. 

     

    And the Malibu, if you read around, there have been mentions of cheap materials. The entire dash is hard plastic in the same vein as the current Cruze; the only soft-touch areas are those that can be covered in cloth or vinyl. Its largely the same with the door panels. Fit and finish is fine, material quality is a bit lacking. One of the strong points of the previous generation Malibu was what I thought to be its high quality dash and door materials. It was ugly, but everything was nice and soft-touch. Also, as mentioned, I had just sat in the updated Fusion and it was a night-and-day difference. 

     

    Lastly, I have loads of pictures, many of them being used by Autoevolution.com. I decided to limit this post to a single photo based on the unexpected length of the article. 

     

     

     

    cool

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    Interesting that I would be spot on in agreement with Cory on all of his points with the cars... :-) But even though I have yet to see them live yet (hoping to hit the show this week)-there has sure been enough camo'd ones to give me a good idea....

     

    And to me, the new Mali just looks bloated, even though it's close to the same size. Interesting that I would love the new Impala, but somewhat Loathe the new Bu.....

     

    And I love the new Miata! If it handles the way it looks, it will be hard to hand the keys back to....

     

     

    Gotta say, was not a fan of the current Fusion, but like the refresh....love the stance the new Lincoln has.......

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    I have added an official gallery with a selection of images from the show. Nothing fancy, just the leftovers that weren't sent to Auto Evolution. 

     

    Also, I have decided to go back to public days so I can actually have a chance to enjoy the show. I went to last year's public days as well and its almost entirely different experience. It's nice to not have to be rushed around the show floor whilst carrying a back-breaking camera bag everywhere. In addition, Josh really wanted to go and we're even going to bring my Mom so she can experience it. It's just too bad I won't be able to enjoy the Volvo Lounge for another one of these:

     

    IMG_20160118_013108.jpg

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    • By William Maley
      On the spectrum of concept vehicles, we have models that are wildly out there and have no chance of going into production. Then we have models that are thinly disguised production vehicles. The Infiniti QX50 Concept falls into the latter. 
      An evolution of the QX Inspiration concept, the QX50 doesn't really differ a lot in terms of exterior design. The front end is similar to the Q60 Coupe with a large grille and chiseled bumper. The side profile shows a bit of sculpting and a creasing running underneath the window. The interior looks mostly production ready with high-quality leather, wood trim, and what looks to be a new infotainment system. 
      The QX50 Concept also features Infiniti's upcoming variable-compression 2.0L turbo-four. Bear with us as we try our best to describe how this engine work. Instead of having the pistons connected to a crankshaft, they are hooked up to a pivot arm. The arm is also connected to a second lower shaft, which is controlled by an actuator arm. The action of the variable-compression engine is the same as a gas engine - pistons move up and down when crankshaft or pivot arm turns. The trick comes with the actuator arm which can alter the angle of the pivot arm up and down. This is turn changes the engine compression. When the arm is up, you get a higher compression ratio. Move the arm down and the engine has a lower compression ratio. Infiniti says this engine offers more power and better fuel efficiency. 
      Back to the turbo 2.0L at hand. The engine is rated at 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet.
      Like most concepts these days, the QX50 features a suite of autonomous technologies. A system comprised of lidar, radar, and cameras would monitor the road and the latest software would allow the vehicle to travel down the highway with no driver involvement.
      Source: Infiniti 
      Press Release is on Page 2
      QX50 Concept: INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover
      New QX50 Concept represents an evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, with an original yet practical new crossover form QX50 Concept's cabin challenges conventional thinking on interior car design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship INFINITI's latest concept lights a path to the future integration of the brand's autonomous drive support technologies Demonstrates a potential application for INFINITI's production-ready VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine DETROIT – Making its global premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the QX50 Concept showcases INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover.
      Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language. A 'cabin-forward' silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover.
      The organic forms of the 'driver-centric, passenger-minded' cabin were designed in harmony with the exterior shape. Blending progressive design with modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept's interior reflects INFINITI's desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.
      INFINITI's latest concept is the next step toward the company's future autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems, they ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      Furthermore, the QX50 Concept illustrates a potential application for INFINITI's advanced Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) engine, offering drivers a powertrain that adapts to offer both power and efficiency.
      An evolution of INFINITI's 2016 QX Sport Inspiration mid-size crossover
      The QX50 Concept shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in the world's fastest-growing vehicle segment INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design than existing models in the class "With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of INFINITI QX models. The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in what is the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally." Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI
      With the QX50 Concept, INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design, bringing a degree of elegance and artistry to a segment typified by an uninspiring, clinical aesthetic. Marrying human artistry with utility, the QX50 Concept fulfills the expectation of practicality with a spacious cabin and cargo area. Furthermore, with a design adapted for the greatest possible packaging efficiency, the QX50 Concept previews how INFINITI could adapt future vehicle designs to accommodate a compact powertrain, such as the company's VC-Turbo engine.
                     
      The QX50 Concept marks the next stage in INFINITI's continued renewal of its product range. INFINITI designs concepts with production intent, such as true-to-concept production versions of the Q30, QX30 and Q60 concepts. The creation of each of these has previewed the design and layout of the brand's next-generation models. The QX50 Concept previews the evolving signature INFINITI design elements, demonstrating how they could be adapted for a mid-sized premium crossover.
      With its ground breaking proportions, the 2003 INFINITI FX45 set the template for future crossovers to follow throughout the last decade. The world's first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the INFINITI FX is still considered a crossover design icon today. Last year's QX Sport Inspiration sought to rekindle that excitement – and in an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the new QX50 Concept now illustrates how these design themes could be translated into a production reality.
      Exterior: an artistic execution of functional crossover design
      QX50 Concept represents the latest interpretation of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language Its design combines taut and muscular lines with heavily profiled surfaces QX50 Concept demonstrates how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration could be adapted for future production models Influenced by the design of the INFINITI QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept expresses its crossover purpose through proportional clarity, clearly telegraphing its power and dynamic capabilities. The QX50 Concept eschews many of the familiar, 'me too' design forms and themes shared by established models in the mid-size premium crossover segment. The result is a highly original yet practical new crossover form, demonstrating how the design of INFINITI's earlier concept could be adapted for future production models.
      The QX50 Concept is the latest embodiment of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language and is both aesthetic and functional. The exterior of the concept combines taut and muscular lines with flowing, heavily profiled surfaces. A sharp, straight character line runs from the clamshell hood and along the length of its shoulders, giving the QX50 Concept a commanding presence and extending the vehicle's visual length. A wide, muscular stance accentuates its versatile capability.
      INFINITI's signature design elements are evident on the QX50 Concept, each subtly evolved for their new application. At the front, INFINITI's double-arch grille conveys an immediate sense of power and purpose and provides a focal point for every line on the concept's body. A taller, wider and more practical vehicle than the QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept's grille adds a greater sense of presence to the front of the car. At the rear of the vehicle, the leading edge of the crescent-cut D-pillar is higher than on any current INFINITI production car, further extending the visual length of the roofline.
      The interplay of the exterior lines and surfaces is accentuated by a newly-created Forged Bronze paint finish, with three times the amount of metal flake compared with standard production paint finishes.
      In profile, the hood is shaped like the rise of a snake's head, with a pair of sharp creases extending upwards from the base of the A-pillar, then plunging down the hood, leading into the edges of the expansive 'double-arch' grille. These lines disguise the hood's relatively short length, suggesting how the appearance of a production car could be adapted for a more compact engine, such as INFINITI's VC-Turbo, applying power to the road through an intelligent all-wheel drive powertrain.
      Functionality is a necessity in the mid-sized crossover segment and is central to the QX50 Concept's design. More practical than its QX Sport Inspiration progenitor, the QX50 Concept has a 'cabin-forward' silhouette and a slightly more vertical rear hatch, both reference points for a versatile and accommodating interior. The new shape of the crescent-cut D-pillar provides clearer over-the-shoulder visibility for the driver and a better view out for rear passengers.
      Interior: Challenging conventional thinking on premium cabin design
      Concept cabin demonstrates new direction of thinking with premium materials and craftsmanship Authentic materials and artistic design execution is at the heart of the concept's carefully curated cabin Driver-centric, yet passenger-minded, the cabin places similar importance on both form and function Blending progressive design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship, the cabin of the QX50 Concept demonstrates INFINITI's desire to challenge and reinterpret conventional thinking on premium crossover interior design and material usage.
      In the place of high-gloss woods and soft-touch plastics, the interior of the QX50 Concept features a more modern application of wood, leather and stitching. Each material is treated and applied in a way to establish new trends in the design of premium crossover interiors.
      Deliberately articulating a sense of advanced human artistry, the QX50 Concept's cabin espouses a handmade feel and is the result of two Japanese approaches to craftsmanship – 'mitate' (pronounced "mee-ta-teh") and 'shitate' ("shee-ta-teh"). 'Mitate' relates to the practice of curating and bringing together the best possible selection of materials. 'Shitate' is the desire to tailor the chosen combination of materials, bringing out the best. With fine attention to detail and finish, such an approach creates an appearance and ambience throughout the cabin greater than the sum of its parts.
      The combination of materials and the way in which they have been applied has allowed INFINITI designers to demonstrate some of the highest levels of craftsmanship ever seen in a crossover in this segment.
      The QX50 Concept is wrapped in a variety of different leathers – genuine, semi-aniline, and synthetic nubuck – for a rich variety of textures and visual depth. The eyes naturally follow each different surface as it flows around the cabin. The QX50 Concept's cabin hints at a widening range of interior finishes for INFINITI customers to choose from, including a carefully selected three-tone color scheme.
      Adopting different leathers for the interior allows INFINITI to imagine how this three-tone cabin could look. Rich, brown leather lines the upper layer of the cabin, contrasted with white leather for the lower dashboard, door trim and seats. Between the two runs a line of navy blue synthetic nubuck, which also finishes the front center console. A line of close twin stitching runs along the top of the dashboard and doors, and around the seats.
      INFINITI has applied for a patent for a new 'dot quilting' method for the leather that lines the doors and seats. Inspired by classic buttoned leather sofas, dot quilting is sewn into place at individual points. The physical characteristics of the leather produce a more informal interpretation of the diamond lozenge shape that gives classic Chesterfield lounge chairs their distinctive appearance.
      Where many expect premium vehicle interiors use high-gloss wood surfaces to create the perception of quality, the QX50 Concept is trimmed in real, open-pore ash. The wood is treated to retain its natural, and sometimes irregular, characteristics in texture and appearance. Running a hand over it, the grain of the ash is still present, providing an authentic, modern appearance and enhanced tactility.
      The natural, flowing shapes of the cabin harmonize with those of the QX50 Concept's exterior, contrasting with the technical, linear – even austere – designs of other vehicles in the segment. A blend of positive and negative surfaces adds a level of visual depth to the cabin, with a complex interplay of light and shade. The organic lines of the cabin follow a similar form to the interior of the QX Sport Inspiration, referencing how they could be progressed from the original concept to a production car.
      Both 'driver-centric' and 'passenger-minded,' the layout of the QX50 Concept's cabin is divided into distinct zones for the driver and passengers. Consistent with its conceptual predecessor, the dashboard is focused on the driver, using its form and appearance to engender a true sense of confidence at the wheel.
      The horizontal forms of the dashboard wrap around the driver and passenger, with twisting, uninterrupted character lines flowing from the center console, along the dashboard and out to the rear of the cabin. The seats feature an ergonomic hexagon motif, for a wide and welcoming appearance, and maximum back and shoulder support for occupants.
      The QX50 Concept places form on the same level as function, with utility at the heart of its remit.
      In moving the base of the A-pillar further forward than on the QX Sport Inspiration, and shortening the hood to accommodate a more compact engine, the QX50 Concept's cabin-forward design creates a longer, more spacious passenger compartment. The upright stance of the rear hatch – more vertical than its forebear – is designed to give the QX50 Concept exceptional cargo space. The Concept's cargo bay is, for instance, long enough to store a stroller, suggesting how such a vehicle could suit a young family.
      The QX50 Concept's Graphic User Interface shows how new technologies could be incorporated into future INFINITI vehicle cabins.
      The center of the dashboard features a wide touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface). As well as displaying navigation and infotainment features, the QX50 Concept's touchscreen could display to occupants the current status of other technologies in the vehicle. The dashboard could display to all occupants the status of the vehicle's various driver assist technologies, as well as how the VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine adapts as it shifts seamlessly between offering greater fuel efficiency and performance.
      INFINITI engineers continue to develop autonomous driving support technologies
      INFINITI's future autonomous drive support technologies will allow the driver to  retain ultimate control over their vehicle Future package of technologies will take a proactive approach to driver assistance and delegate elements of driving to the car The INFINITI QX50 Concept's driver assist system is part of the company's development of autonomous driving support technologies.
      The development strategy for all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems is that they should ensure the driver retains control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      In the future, INFINITI autonomous drive support technologies will continue to make driving less stressful – such as navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles.
      Since its inception in 1989, INFINITI has brought pioneering driver-assistive technologies to the customer. The company has been responsible for a series of world-first technologies, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering® and Active Lane Control.
      The QX50 Concept's INFINITI driver assistance technologies preview the first production-ready incarnation of this package.
      With a proactive approach to safety, the QX50 Concept assists the driver in identifying and responding to other road users and potential hazards. Future technologies will draw on inputs from a network of laser scanners, radar and cameras to read the road ahead and monitor the vehicle's surroundings, allowing the car to react accordingly.
      This framework of sensors will be developed in future production models with a series of new functionalities.
      VC-Turbo – the world's first production-ready variable compression ratio engine
      QX50 Concept suggests a potential application for INFINITI's VC-Turbo engine Packaging benefits for a mid-size crossover, powered by a compact engine with high specific power and efficiency INFINITI engineers target a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to V6 gasoline engines The INFINITI QX50 Concept demonstrates a potential production application for INFINITI's advanced new VC-Turbo engine. INFINITI has yet to confirm which of its future vehicles could benefit from its variable compression ratio engine, though a mid-sized crossover could be one of the ideal applications for the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo power unit revealed by the company in 2016.
      The QX50 Concept's packaging efficiency and spacious cabin are due in part to a compact, space-efficient engine bay design. With its proportionately shorter hood, the QX50 Concept suggests how the 2.0-liter gasoline engine could power a front-biased intelligent all-wheel drive system.
      INFINITI's production-ready 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine represents a compelling alternative to diesel powertrains, particularly in the mid-sized premium crossover segment. The VC-Turbo engine is able to adapt its compression ratio according to driving conditions to deliver optimal levels of performance and efficiency. It challenges the notion that hybrid technology and diesel are the only powertrains capable of offering high efficiency and torque. For its application in the QX50 Concept, the human-machine interface (HMI) demonstrates to the driver and passengers how the VC-Turbo is adapting according to driving conditions. The HMI displays the engine's current status as it intelligently chooses appropriate levels of performance and high efficiency.
      With a downsized capacity and high power and torque, the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine boasts an impressive specific power output – higher than many competing four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines, and close to the performance of some V6 gasoline powertrains. In time for the engine's production debut in 2018, INFINITI engineers are targeting a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 gasoline engines of similar power output.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      On the spectrum of concept vehicles, we have models that are wildly out there and have no chance of going into production. Then we have models that are thinly disguised production vehicles. The Infiniti QX50 Concept falls into the latter. 
      An evolution of the QX Inspiration concept, the QX50 doesn't really differ a lot in terms of exterior design. The front end is similar to the Q60 Coupe with a large grille and chiseled bumper. The side profile shows a bit of sculpting and a creasing running underneath the window. The interior looks mostly production ready with high-quality leather, wood trim, and what looks to be a new infotainment system. 
      The QX50 Concept also features Infiniti's upcoming variable-compression 2.0L turbo-four. Bear with us as we try our best to describe how this engine work. Instead of having the pistons connected to a crankshaft, they are hooked up to a pivot arm. The arm is also connected to a second lower shaft, which is controlled by an actuator arm. The action of the variable-compression engine is the same as a gas engine - pistons move up and down when crankshaft or pivot arm turns. The trick comes with the actuator arm which can alter the angle of the pivot arm up and down. This is turn changes the engine compression. When the arm is up, you get a higher compression ratio. Move the arm down and the engine has a lower compression ratio. Infiniti says this engine offers more power and better fuel efficiency. 
      Back to the turbo 2.0L at hand. The engine is rated at 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet.
      Like most concepts these days, the QX50 features a suite of autonomous technologies. A system comprised of lidar, radar, and cameras would monitor the road and the latest software would allow the vehicle to travel down the highway with no driver involvement.
      Source: Infiniti 
      Press Release is on Page 2
      QX50 Concept: INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover
      New QX50 Concept represents an evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, with an original yet practical new crossover form QX50 Concept's cabin challenges conventional thinking on interior car design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship INFINITI's latest concept lights a path to the future integration of the brand's autonomous drive support technologies Demonstrates a potential application for INFINITI's production-ready VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine DETROIT – Making its global premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the QX50 Concept showcases INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover.
      Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language. A 'cabin-forward' silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover.
      The organic forms of the 'driver-centric, passenger-minded' cabin were designed in harmony with the exterior shape. Blending progressive design with modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept's interior reflects INFINITI's desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.
      INFINITI's latest concept is the next step toward the company's future autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems, they ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      Furthermore, the QX50 Concept illustrates a potential application for INFINITI's advanced Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) engine, offering drivers a powertrain that adapts to offer both power and efficiency.
      An evolution of INFINITI's 2016 QX Sport Inspiration mid-size crossover
      The QX50 Concept shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in the world's fastest-growing vehicle segment INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design than existing models in the class "With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of INFINITI QX models. The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in what is the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally." Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI
      With the QX50 Concept, INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design, bringing a degree of elegance and artistry to a segment typified by an uninspiring, clinical aesthetic. Marrying human artistry with utility, the QX50 Concept fulfills the expectation of practicality with a spacious cabin and cargo area. Furthermore, with a design adapted for the greatest possible packaging efficiency, the QX50 Concept previews how INFINITI could adapt future vehicle designs to accommodate a compact powertrain, such as the company's VC-Turbo engine.
                     
      The QX50 Concept marks the next stage in INFINITI's continued renewal of its product range. INFINITI designs concepts with production intent, such as true-to-concept production versions of the Q30, QX30 and Q60 concepts. The creation of each of these has previewed the design and layout of the brand's next-generation models. The QX50 Concept previews the evolving signature INFINITI design elements, demonstrating how they could be adapted for a mid-sized premium crossover.
      With its ground breaking proportions, the 2003 INFINITI FX45 set the template for future crossovers to follow throughout the last decade. The world's first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the INFINITI FX is still considered a crossover design icon today. Last year's QX Sport Inspiration sought to rekindle that excitement – and in an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the new QX50 Concept now illustrates how these design themes could be translated into a production reality.
      Exterior: an artistic execution of functional crossover design
      QX50 Concept represents the latest interpretation of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language Its design combines taut and muscular lines with heavily profiled surfaces QX50 Concept demonstrates how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration could be adapted for future production models Influenced by the design of the INFINITI QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept expresses its crossover purpose through proportional clarity, clearly telegraphing its power and dynamic capabilities. The QX50 Concept eschews many of the familiar, 'me too' design forms and themes shared by established models in the mid-size premium crossover segment. The result is a highly original yet practical new crossover form, demonstrating how the design of INFINITI's earlier concept could be adapted for future production models.
      The QX50 Concept is the latest embodiment of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language and is both aesthetic and functional. The exterior of the concept combines taut and muscular lines with flowing, heavily profiled surfaces. A sharp, straight character line runs from the clamshell hood and along the length of its shoulders, giving the QX50 Concept a commanding presence and extending the vehicle's visual length. A wide, muscular stance accentuates its versatile capability.
      INFINITI's signature design elements are evident on the QX50 Concept, each subtly evolved for their new application. At the front, INFINITI's double-arch grille conveys an immediate sense of power and purpose and provides a focal point for every line on the concept's body. A taller, wider and more practical vehicle than the QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept's grille adds a greater sense of presence to the front of the car. At the rear of the vehicle, the leading edge of the crescent-cut D-pillar is higher than on any current INFINITI production car, further extending the visual length of the roofline.
      The interplay of the exterior lines and surfaces is accentuated by a newly-created Forged Bronze paint finish, with three times the amount of metal flake compared with standard production paint finishes.
      In profile, the hood is shaped like the rise of a snake's head, with a pair of sharp creases extending upwards from the base of the A-pillar, then plunging down the hood, leading into the edges of the expansive 'double-arch' grille. These lines disguise the hood's relatively short length, suggesting how the appearance of a production car could be adapted for a more compact engine, such as INFINITI's VC-Turbo, applying power to the road through an intelligent all-wheel drive powertrain.
      Functionality is a necessity in the mid-sized crossover segment and is central to the QX50 Concept's design. More practical than its QX Sport Inspiration progenitor, the QX50 Concept has a 'cabin-forward' silhouette and a slightly more vertical rear hatch, both reference points for a versatile and accommodating interior. The new shape of the crescent-cut D-pillar provides clearer over-the-shoulder visibility for the driver and a better view out for rear passengers.
      Interior: Challenging conventional thinking on premium cabin design
      Concept cabin demonstrates new direction of thinking with premium materials and craftsmanship Authentic materials and artistic design execution is at the heart of the concept's carefully curated cabin Driver-centric, yet passenger-minded, the cabin places similar importance on both form and function Blending progressive design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship, the cabin of the QX50 Concept demonstrates INFINITI's desire to challenge and reinterpret conventional thinking on premium crossover interior design and material usage.
      In the place of high-gloss woods and soft-touch plastics, the interior of the QX50 Concept features a more modern application of wood, leather and stitching. Each material is treated and applied in a way to establish new trends in the design of premium crossover interiors.
      Deliberately articulating a sense of advanced human artistry, the QX50 Concept's cabin espouses a handmade feel and is the result of two Japanese approaches to craftsmanship – 'mitate' (pronounced "mee-ta-teh") and 'shitate' ("shee-ta-teh"). 'Mitate' relates to the practice of curating and bringing together the best possible selection of materials. 'Shitate' is the desire to tailor the chosen combination of materials, bringing out the best. With fine attention to detail and finish, such an approach creates an appearance and ambience throughout the cabin greater than the sum of its parts.
      The combination of materials and the way in which they have been applied has allowed INFINITI designers to demonstrate some of the highest levels of craftsmanship ever seen in a crossover in this segment.
      The QX50 Concept is wrapped in a variety of different leathers – genuine, semi-aniline, and synthetic nubuck – for a rich variety of textures and visual depth. The eyes naturally follow each different surface as it flows around the cabin. The QX50 Concept's cabin hints at a widening range of interior finishes for INFINITI customers to choose from, including a carefully selected three-tone color scheme.
      Adopting different leathers for the interior allows INFINITI to imagine how this three-tone cabin could look. Rich, brown leather lines the upper layer of the cabin, contrasted with white leather for the lower dashboard, door trim and seats. Between the two runs a line of navy blue synthetic nubuck, which also finishes the front center console. A line of close twin stitching runs along the top of the dashboard and doors, and around the seats.
      INFINITI has applied for a patent for a new 'dot quilting' method for the leather that lines the doors and seats. Inspired by classic buttoned leather sofas, dot quilting is sewn into place at individual points. The physical characteristics of the leather produce a more informal interpretation of the diamond lozenge shape that gives classic Chesterfield lounge chairs their distinctive appearance.
      Where many expect premium vehicle interiors use high-gloss wood surfaces to create the perception of quality, the QX50 Concept is trimmed in real, open-pore ash. The wood is treated to retain its natural, and sometimes irregular, characteristics in texture and appearance. Running a hand over it, the grain of the ash is still present, providing an authentic, modern appearance and enhanced tactility.
      The natural, flowing shapes of the cabin harmonize with those of the QX50 Concept's exterior, contrasting with the technical, linear – even austere – designs of other vehicles in the segment. A blend of positive and negative surfaces adds a level of visual depth to the cabin, with a complex interplay of light and shade. The organic lines of the cabin follow a similar form to the interior of the QX Sport Inspiration, referencing how they could be progressed from the original concept to a production car.
      Both 'driver-centric' and 'passenger-minded,' the layout of the QX50 Concept's cabin is divided into distinct zones for the driver and passengers. Consistent with its conceptual predecessor, the dashboard is focused on the driver, using its form and appearance to engender a true sense of confidence at the wheel.
      The horizontal forms of the dashboard wrap around the driver and passenger, with twisting, uninterrupted character lines flowing from the center console, along the dashboard and out to the rear of the cabin. The seats feature an ergonomic hexagon motif, for a wide and welcoming appearance, and maximum back and shoulder support for occupants.
      The QX50 Concept places form on the same level as function, with utility at the heart of its remit.
      In moving the base of the A-pillar further forward than on the QX Sport Inspiration, and shortening the hood to accommodate a more compact engine, the QX50 Concept's cabin-forward design creates a longer, more spacious passenger compartment. The upright stance of the rear hatch – more vertical than its forebear – is designed to give the QX50 Concept exceptional cargo space. The Concept's cargo bay is, for instance, long enough to store a stroller, suggesting how such a vehicle could suit a young family.
      The QX50 Concept's Graphic User Interface shows how new technologies could be incorporated into future INFINITI vehicle cabins.
      The center of the dashboard features a wide touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface). As well as displaying navigation and infotainment features, the QX50 Concept's touchscreen could display to occupants the current status of other technologies in the vehicle. The dashboard could display to all occupants the status of the vehicle's various driver assist technologies, as well as how the VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine adapts as it shifts seamlessly between offering greater fuel efficiency and performance.
      INFINITI engineers continue to develop autonomous driving support technologies
      INFINITI's future autonomous drive support technologies will allow the driver to  retain ultimate control over their vehicle Future package of technologies will take a proactive approach to driver assistance and delegate elements of driving to the car The INFINITI QX50 Concept's driver assist system is part of the company's development of autonomous driving support technologies.
      The development strategy for all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems is that they should ensure the driver retains control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      In the future, INFINITI autonomous drive support technologies will continue to make driving less stressful – such as navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles.
      Since its inception in 1989, INFINITI has brought pioneering driver-assistive technologies to the customer. The company has been responsible for a series of world-first technologies, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering® and Active Lane Control.
      The QX50 Concept's INFINITI driver assistance technologies preview the first production-ready incarnation of this package.
      With a proactive approach to safety, the QX50 Concept assists the driver in identifying and responding to other road users and potential hazards. Future technologies will draw on inputs from a network of laser scanners, radar and cameras to read the road ahead and monitor the vehicle's surroundings, allowing the car to react accordingly.
      This framework of sensors will be developed in future production models with a series of new functionalities.
      VC-Turbo – the world's first production-ready variable compression ratio engine
      QX50 Concept suggests a potential application for INFINITI's VC-Turbo engine Packaging benefits for a mid-size crossover, powered by a compact engine with high specific power and efficiency INFINITI engineers target a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to V6 gasoline engines The INFINITI QX50 Concept demonstrates a potential production application for INFINITI's advanced new VC-Turbo engine. INFINITI has yet to confirm which of its future vehicles could benefit from its variable compression ratio engine, though a mid-sized crossover could be one of the ideal applications for the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo power unit revealed by the company in 2016.
      The QX50 Concept's packaging efficiency and spacious cabin are due in part to a compact, space-efficient engine bay design. With its proportionately shorter hood, the QX50 Concept suggests how the 2.0-liter gasoline engine could power a front-biased intelligent all-wheel drive system.
      INFINITI's production-ready 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine represents a compelling alternative to diesel powertrains, particularly in the mid-sized premium crossover segment. The VC-Turbo engine is able to adapt its compression ratio according to driving conditions to deliver optimal levels of performance and efficiency. It challenges the notion that hybrid technology and diesel are the only powertrains capable of offering high efficiency and torque. For its application in the QX50 Concept, the human-machine interface (HMI) demonstrates to the driver and passengers how the VC-Turbo is adapting according to driving conditions. The HMI displays the engine's current status as it intelligently chooses appropriate levels of performance and high efficiency.
      With a downsized capacity and high power and torque, the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine boasts an impressive specific power output – higher than many competing four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines, and close to the performance of some V6 gasoline powertrains. In time for the engine's production debut in 2018, INFINITI engineers are targeting a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 gasoline engines of similar power output.
    • By William Maley
      The Toyota Camry isn't what you would call exciting. Bland and boring, yes. But the Japanese automaker hopes to change that perception with the introduction of the 2018 Camry.
      Toyota allowed their designers to go somewhat crazy with the Camry and it shows. There is a bit of Prius and C-HR in the design of the new Camry with a more aggressive nose, lower hood and beltline; and a very short rear deck. Moving inside, Toyota has revamped the design of the dashboard to make it more flowing. Seats have been resculpted to provide better comfort.
      The Camry is the latest model to use Toyota's TNGA platform which the company describes as “a structural reform movement for the entire company that will result in cars that are more dynamic, athletic, and fun to drive.” You may laugh, but as I can attest, this platform is the real deal when I drove the Prius - the first model to use TNGA. Toyota has also lowered the center of gravity and added a multilink rear suspension.
      For engines, the Camry boasts a new 2.5L four-cylinder and 3.5L V6 with D-4S Fuel Injection. Oddly no power figures were given for either engine. Both will come paired with an eight-speed automatic. A hybrid variant with the new 2.5L four will also be available.
      The 2018 Camry arrives at your local Toyota dealer this summer.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Ante Raised: All-New 2018 Toyota Camry Gains Emotionally-Charged Design and Performance Experience
      Best-selling car in America... assembled in America, by Americans, for Americans Aggressive exterior character lines and low center of gravity Spacious interior with advanced driver focus New gas and hybrid powertrains generate more horsepower and greater estimated MPG Standard Toyota Safety Sense-P DETROIT, January 9, 2017 - It almost isn’t fair.  Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in America for the past 15 years, is about to ruffle some feathers. The eighth-generation sedan has gone through a total evolution, from a proven, dependable and safe car to one that also possesses a more exciting and emotional character, thanks to its newfound sporty performance and style.
      The new Camry utilizes TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) which represents a completely new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers, and packages its vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota’s traditional values of superlative build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses. The physical manifestation is the usage of a new engine, transmission and GA-K platform.
       “The all-new 2018 Camry is, without a doubt, the most captivating mid-size sedan we’ve ever produced,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations.  “It delivers on everything Camry owners have come to expect from America’s best-selling car, and adds to it, jaw-dropping design, more advanced technology, cutting-edge safety systems, and stirring performance that raises it to an unparalleled level of excitement.”  
       “In order to create something that stirs people’s soul, we’ve laid out the concept of a new sedan that provides fun and excitement behind the wheel,” said Masato Katsumata, the Chief Engineer of the new Camry. “In developing the next-generation Toyota Camry, we were able to start with a clean slate, which allowed us to create a true driver’s car.”
       
      Design Backstory 
      The Camry development team aimed for a styling design concept that achieves strong harmony between refinement and a sensual athletic image, creating a new approach to the market. The result is a new signature design language that takes the car into a beautiful and futuristic new direction.
        
      There were three primary design goals when penning the all-new Camry: a distinctive, low center of gravity that results in a firm wide stance; a practical-yet-emotionally styled cabin profile, and a sporty and upscale image both inside and out. These design goals have resulted in a new type of sedan that’s both exciting to look at and, more importantly drive, reestablishing itself as the new standard in the midsize-sedan category.
       
      An Exterior with Unexpected Attitude
      The new Camry’s face is accentuated by a two-piece grille comprised of flowing thin and thick treatments – key elements of the Camry’s “Keen Look” design philosophy. The curvaceous 1.6-inch-lower hood sits neatly above the grille’s uppermost section which accommodates a commanding Toyota emblem. For the hybrid model, the emblem is tinged a distinct blue hue. This fashionable trifecta of grille, hood, and emblem blends flawlessly into the A-pillar, and produces a stance that is undoubtedly more aggressive than that of any predecessor.
      The 2018 Camry has a sleeker profile than the current model. By lowering the hip points of the occupants (nearly 1.0-inch in the front and 1.2-inches at the rear), and therefore their seating positions, the design team was able to reduce the car’s overall vehicle height by approximately one inch  from the current model and incorporate a lower roofline, without sacrificing interior space. This invited the designers to pursue a wind-cutting shape and improve aerodynamics. Striking character lines around and along the body augment the aggressive front and rear fenders, giving the reimagined Camry a sportiness that’s never before been perceived on this model.
      The lower hip point, shoulder line, roof line and hood height gives the new Camry the appearance that it has a low center of gravity, which it does.  The design team knew the TNGA platform provided them with a great opportunity to pen a very expressive sedan, and they took advantage of this by getting the lines close to the ground and forming an energetic silhouette. They incorporated a strong stance that can be seen as you walk around the car.
      Like the front of the vehicle, the rear features an athletic motif that melds flowing lines and complex shapes to form a sculpted landscape. Looking closely at the C-pillar’s detail reveals a multitude of surfaces that reflect light from all angles. A distinct crease extends from the slim multicolor taillights down to the bumper, effectively “pushing” the wheels outward in appearance to create a wide posture akin to that of a premium sports sedan. The exclamation point here is provided by a newly designed Camry logo that gives the car an upscale identity.
      Camry will again be available in four grades: LE, XLE, SE and XSE.  The new Camry’s “Sport” SE and XSE grades wear a noticeably different body style than the entry level LE and premium XLE grades, highlighted by a sculpted rocker panel, new 19-inch black machined-finish alloy wheels (XSE only)  a subtle rear spoiler lip, aggressive front bumper, and rear bumper with an integrated lower diffuser. The face is much more distinctive with large side intakes flanking the lower bumper’s unique “Catamaran” accents, a high and slim upper intake encompassing the
       
      central Toyota badge, and a powerfully expressive mesh grille. A revised rear bumper with distinctive corner lines and smoke-tinted rear combination lamps highlight the changes at the rear.
      The Camry design team sought to make the new Camry sport models instantly recognizable and appear different from the other models from as far as 200 yards away.
       
      Striking and Comfortable Cabin
      The completely redesigned interior is a fusion of functionality, futuristic styling, and a high degree of personal space and craftsmanship.  While the driver is situated in a sporty cockpit-type environment having gauges angled toward his or her direction, the front passenger is treated to a sense of openness and freedom that results from the innovative dashboard design. A key visual element of this driver-focused design concept is a sweeping yet elegant new character line that flows down from the instrument cluster and bisects the center console waterfall. The design of the entire front console strikes a smooth connection between the ease of use of all controls/systems and a handsome and modern sculptural look that is pleasing to the eye. All surfaces throughout the cabin—dashboard, instrument panel, center console, door trim, etc.—employ the highest grade of soft touch and premium materials. Using an approach typically used in home furnishings, the design utilizes a mix of tones and hues throughout a space rather than a strict color profile. The result is a cabin space having diverse colors and materials, and that enhances passenger comfort and visual satisfaction.
      The front seats have been completely reengineered with improved ergonomics, providing maximum comfort with a newfound level of ease and engagement to match the new Camry’s elevated performance and athleticism. Rear-seat accommodations are more refined than ever with improved roominess and ergonomics. Exquisite stitching on the front- and rear-seat surfaces is but one example of the high level of craftsmanship found throughout the vehicle.
       
      High Interaction, Minimal Distraction 
      The new Camry features Toyota’s latest Human Machine Interface (HMI) whose next-generation display technology offers a unique level of integrated information with minimal distraction. It relays information through three interlinked displays: available interlinked displays: a 10-inch color Head-Up Display (HUD); a seven-inch multi-information display within the instrument cluster, and an eight-inch audio/navigation display and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) control panel that’s seamlessly integrated into the center console in a modern, flush-surface design. Convenient and highly intuitive operation is assured through customizable features and smart phone-like touch screen icons that create a seamless connection and user workflow between the HMI system and other digital media.
        
      Full Utilization of Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA)
      The 2018 Toyota Camry fully incorporates the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). At its foundation, TNGA is a structural reform movement for the entire company that will result in cars that are more dynamic, athletic, and fun to drive.
      By extending the wheelbase by two inches, as well as bringing down the roof and hood height (by approximately 1.0 and 1.6-inches, respectively), the development team lowered the center of gravity and created a wider and more composed vehicle. The new platform also allows for an ideal seating position for the driver, now lower and near the center of the car for enhanced feedback, along with adjusting the overall seating position for all the vehicle’s occupants. A lower heel point provides more foot room and ease of movement. The range of steering column adjustment has been increased from the current vehicle, while the hood, cowl, and dashboard height have all been lowered for enhanced outward visibility.
      The driver and front passenger will experience an unprecedented sense of outward visibility, thanks to a more compact design for the instrument panel and a lowered beltline. The reimagined position of the A-pillar and side mirror sections results in enhanced lateral visibility and creates a noticeable sense of openness when the driver sits behind the wheel.
       
      All Gain With No MPG Pain 
      Three new powertrains will be available on the new 2018 Camry: They include a new 3.5-liter V6 with D-4S Fuel Injection and an all-new 2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline engine, which comes paired to a new 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission (8AT), and a next-generation Toyota Hybrid System (THS II).
      To match the chassis’ increased handling and performance capability, Toyota engineers have developed the TNGA-inspired all-new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine to make the most of the platform’s enhanced designs, packaging and rigidity. This new generation engine focuses on higher torque, higher power and lower fuel consumption in total use range. This is accomplished by achieving rapid combustion due to higher tumble air flow. With its long-stroke and high compression ratio, multi-hole direct fuel injectors, variable cooling system and the latest version of Toyota’s Variable Valve-Timing-intelligent Electric (VVT-iE), this high-output powerplant takes the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine to a new level with world-leading thermal efficiency of 40 percent. Along with enhanced performance characteristics, the new engine is also expected to be extremely fuel efficient, and is anticipated to achieve best-in-class fuel economy. It comes mated to the newly developed Direct Shift-8AT transmission that provides direct-lock up from gears two through eight to eliminate power loss from the torque converter, executing shifts like a high-performance automated manual gearbox.
      The new hybrid system has also been engineered to provide the ideal balance of energy efficiency with superior power output to maximize driving performance and enjoyment. The next-generation Toyota Hybrid System has been engineered to work in concert with the new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine setup offering significantly more driving excitement than before. The hybrid’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) features a new Sport Mode setting that allows the driver to execute smooth yet quick “gear” shifts of the simulated 6-speed sequential shift transmission. The SE grade adds paddle shifters for increased fun and a more sporting driving experience. The Sport Mode setting also improves acceleration and feel thanks to an electric power boost from the hybrid system. Furthermore, to help enhance the vehicle’s handling capability, the hybrid system’s battery pack has moved from the trunk to beneath the rear seat for a noticeably enriched handling feel, thanks to the vehicle’s much improved lower center of gravity—yet another benefit of the TNGA platform.
      In addition to its enhanced handling and driving performance, the hybrid version of the new Camry is anticipated to achieve best-in-class fuel economy ratings, with Prius-like city/highway driving efficiency.
       
      A New Experience Focused on Vastly Superior Driving Dynamics
      At the foundation of the Camry’s sporty handling and enhanced ride quality is its high-strength body/platform structure. Through the increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel and the application of a new molding technology it delivers enhanced structural rigidity.
      Further aiding performance is an innovative new double wishbone rear suspension system that imbues the chassis with responsive handling and precise steering control while simultaneously delivering ride quality on par with premium luxury vehicles. A new four-point engine mounting system adds to the vehicle’s civil road manners as it greatly reduces unwanted noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) from permeating into the passenger compartment.
      The biggest challenge for the Camry engineering team was to figure out how to convey the driving dynamics of a soul-stirring sedan.  Driving dynamics were always at the forefront of the engineering philosophy for the new Camry.  They wanted a new Camry in which the driver will be highly impressed with the handling capability and composure of the new design.  So much so, that drivers will notice the dramatic improvements within the first few seconds of driving.
       
      Toyota Safety That Makes Sense
      Among the many safety features on the 2018 Camry is standard Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P). This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles cutting edge active safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB). Select models will also come with standard Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
       
      All 2018 Camry’s have 10 standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology®. All Camry’s also come equipped with a standard backup camera.
       
      Ever Better Entune™ 3.0 Multimedia For Everyone
      Camry drivers will be the first to enjoy enhanced connectivity and entertainment through the new Toyota Entune™ 3.0 multimedia system.  The new 2018 Camry will feature Entune 3.0 on all models, offering an enhanced set of connected vehicle technologies.  
      The Entune 3.0 system will feature navigation and App Suite Connect for everyone.  All Camry four-cylinder and hybrid models will come standard with the Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps.  Camry V6 models will offer the new Dynamic Navigation system, providing improved map accuracy.  The wireless map updates provide over-the-air map downloads of recently added roads and point-of-interest not contained in the existing head unit map.  
      Entune 3.0 delivers several new technologies including available Remote Connect, which provides remote start and door unlock capability, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor, and vehicle finder.  Keeping up with your vehicle’s health status has never been easier.  Available Service Connect will provide up-to-date vehicle information on fuel level, maintenance alerts, and more.  Entune 3.0 will also offer available WiFi Connect, allowing up to five mobile devices to connect using 4G LTE.
      The new 2018 Camry will also offer a JBL premium audio system that features new advancements in sound quality.  Sound enhancements include Sound Staging, which positions speakers directly in front of the listener to help emulate a live concert venue; Low Frequency Sounds, made possible by an added 10.1-inch subwoofer; Clari-Fi, a technology that “un-compresses” music to help restore an audio track’s dynamic range; and nine speakers that are specifically tuned to the Camry’s cabin dimensions and materials.  

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