The sporty small-luxury market looks like it'll expand again.
While BMW can't figure out what it will be doing with the future of the 1 Series in the United States, Mercedes-Benz is heavily marketing the launch of the CLA-Class compact luxury coupe. Infiniti will now be dropping its offering into the mix of small luxury coupes and hatchbacks with the new Q30 Concept.
An official sketch was released today showing off the Q30's contemporary design that will target a younger audience. The concept will make its official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
"This Infiniti Q30 Concept is a prelude to the product portfolio expansion which underpins our aggressive global growth strategy," said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company, Ltd. "In our quest to appeal to the modern, young-minded premium customer, the Infiniti Q30 Concept has a distinctive style and reaches new levels of product quality."
The Infiniti Q30 will fit right below the Q50 (formerly known as the G37), which competes with the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C Class.
"Q30 Concept is slender, sleek and seductive," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director. "When you see speedy big cats, like cheetahs, they have a slenderness and a lightweight stride. It's almost like they're floating. That's the muscularity we were aiming for with Q30 Concept."
No word on what will power the Infiniti Q30 - we're just hoping it won't be offered exclusively as a hybrid.
It'll be fast, not so much furious.
Following the debut of the 2014 BMW i3, BMW's i brand has now released the details and the first prototype photos of the new i8 'sports car.' According to BMW, the i8 plug-in hybrid is the 'most progressive sports car of our time' and is a new take on the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' slogan with advanced powertrain technology, a lightweight design and a unique driving experience.
Let's break it down in the easiest way possible - the BMW i8 is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine mated to BMW eDrive electric motor. The engine pumps out 231-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque while the electric-motor produces 131-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The rear wheels of the i8 are driven by the gasoline engine through a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the front wheels are driven by the electric motor through an two-stage automatic transmission. Total combined output comes in at 357-hp with a maximum torque of 420 lb-ft - providing you with all-wheel-drive sports car performance with outstanding fuel-efficiency.
BMW says that the whole setup will deliver some strong performance figures with 0 to 60 mph coming in under 4.5 seconds and top speed coming in at an electronically limited 155 mph (75 mph in full electric mode). In terms of driving dynamics, the driver can select from Normal, ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport mode. Of course, your performance and efficiency will depend on what mode you drive in.
In terms of efficiency, the BMW i8's lithium-ion battery will provide an all-electric range of 22 miles when fully charged with the total range (with a full tank of gas) coming in at 310 miles. Charging the battery will take 3 1/2 hours from conventional 120 volt and 1 1/2 hours from a 22 volt. Using the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, the average fuel-economy for the BMW i8 will be less than 2.5 liters/100 km, which comes out to approximately 95 miles per US gallon - pretty impressive.
Besides all this new technology, the i8 also puts BMW's carbon fiber lightweight design on display. The BMW i8 tips the scale at 3,285 pounds with the use of high-tech lightweight CFRP material. Along with the use of aluminum and magnesium, weight savings lead to around 30 percent when compared with the BMW 6 Series.
The full production BMW i8 will make its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and will be in showrooms by 2014.