Fast Lane: A limo goes electric

Mercedes-Benz showed off its Vision EQS (above) at the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz showed off its Vision EQS (above) at the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show.PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ
The Concept 4 (above), on show in Frankfurt now, has a slim, tallish grille which is reminiscent of early BMWs, but a lot more elaborate.
The Concept 4 (above), on show in Frankfurt now, has a slim, tallish grille which is reminiscent of early BMWs, but a lot more elaborate.PHOTO: BMW
Audi’s AI Trail (above), on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is a peek into the future, where active outdoorsy individuals do not necessarily want to be actively driving all the time.
Audi’s AI Trail (above), on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is a peek into the future, where active outdoorsy individuals do not necessarily want to be actively driving all the time.PHOTO: AUDI
Behold the new Land Rover Defender (above), now fitted out to offer five, six or 5+2 seating configurations.
Behold the new Land Rover Defender (above), now fitted out to offer five, six or 5+2 seating configurations.PHOTO: LAND ROVER
Hyundai says its 45 EV concept (above) was inspired by its 45-yearold Pony Coupe concept.
Hyundai says its 45 EV concept (above) was inspired by its 45-yearold Pony Coupe concept.PHOTO: HYUNDAI
The new Audi RS7 Sportback (above) is a wide-bodied five-seater with stupendous performance as well as efficiency through a mild hybrid system.
The new Audi RS7 Sportback (above) is a wide-bodied five-seater with stupendous performance as well as efficiency through a mild hybrid system.PHOTO: AUDI
Ferrari has unveiled two open-tops: the F8 Spider (above) and the 812 GTS.
Ferrari has unveiled two open-tops: the F8 Spider (above) and the 812 GTS.PHOTO: FERRARI
Ferrari has unveiled two open-tops: the F8 Spider and the 812 GTS (above).
Ferrari has unveiled two open-tops: the F8 Spider and the 812 GTS (above).PHOTO: FERRARI
Peugeot’s 508 Hybrid and 508SW Hybrid (above) combine ultra-low economy with 225hp and nearly 50km of zero emission range.
Peugeot’s 508 Hybrid and 508SW Hybrid (above) combine ultra-low economy with 225hp and nearly 50km of zero emission range.PHOTO: PEUGEOT
Volkswagen’s long anticipated ID3 electric car (above) is priced below €30,000 (S$45,500), making it slightly costlier than the VW Golf.
Volkswagen’s long anticipated ID3 electric car (above) is priced below €30,000 (S$45,500), making it slightly costlier than the VW Golf.PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
The front-wheel-drive hybrid system uses a 180hp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with an 82hp electric motor to achieve a combined output of 262hp, making it the most powerful XC40 (above).
The front-wheel-drive hybrid system uses a 180hp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with an 82hp electric motor to achieve a combined output of 262hp, making it the most powerful XC40 (above).PHOTO: VOLVO
Twelve examples of the 1929 supercharged 4.5-litre Blower (above) will be built by Mulliner, Bentley’s customisation unit.
Twelve examples of the 1929 supercharged 4.5-litre Blower (above) will be built by Mulliner, Bentley’s customisation unit.PHOTO: BENTLEY

A limo goes electric

Electric cars are not confined to compacts. Mercedes-Benz showed off its Vision EQS at the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show. It is a battery version of its S-class limousine, following the EQC (C-class) and EQE (E-class).

Wearing enormous 24-inch wheels, the EQS is sporty and imposing. With electric motors at the front and rear axles, it is an all-wheel-drive, with variable torque distribution.

With more than 350kW of output and immediate access to around 760Nm of torque, the luxe EV hits 100kmh in less than 4.5 seconds and a top speed exceeding 200kmh.

More impressively, it promises a range of up to 700km. Assuming a charging performance of 350kW, the show car recharges to 80 per cent in less than 20 minutes.


BMW's elaborate grille

Is this going to be the next BMW 4-series coupe? If it is, then the Bavarian company which has recently enlarged its grille to ridiculous proportions may have a different take for its sportier models.

The Concept 4, on show in Frankfurt now, has a slim, tallish grille which is reminiscent of early BMWs, but a lot more elaborate.

The grating contains horizontal trim elements with a faceted cut which lends depth to the distinctive feature. The intricate grating is made up of an array of small "number 4s" joined together. Simplicity, it seems, has no place here.


Autonomous SUV

Imagine an electric SUV with Level 4 autonomy. Audi's AI Trail , on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is a peek into the future, where active outdoorsy individuals do not necessarily want to be actively driving all the time. Measuring 4.15m by 2.15m by 1.67m, the AI Trail is squat and brawny. It sits on 22-inch wheels with fat 850mm tyres. With a ground clearance of 34cm, it can ford through water more than half a metre deep.

Audi says although the Level 4 car does not require any assistance on the part of the driver, its autonomy is still limited to highways or roads with "suitable infrastructure". Its range is close to 500km on tarmac and half that on rough terrain.


Defender with multiple seating arrangements

Behold the new Land Rover Defender, now fitted out to offer five, six or 5+2 seating configurations. Even so, it still has stowage of 1,075 litres and as much as 2,380 litres when the second row is folded. Not bad for something with the footprint of a compact hatch.

At the launch, the petrol line-up comprises a four-cylinder and a powerful six-cylinder featuring mild hybrid technology. There is also a pair of four-cylinder diesels.


Pony-inspired Hyundai EV

Hyundai says its 45 EV concept was inspired by its 45-year-old Pony Coupe concept. With a side profile that has more than a hint of the Pony Coupe, the 45 has a flat floor which "feels like a living room with new pieces of furniture". The floor is carpeted, which doubles as noise insulator. The seats swivel - an indication of the car's potential self-drive capability.


Big and strong Audi RS7 Sportback

The new Audi RS7 Sportback is a wide-bodied five-seater with stupendous performance as well as efficiency through a mild hybrid system. At about 5m long and 2m wide, the car is big. It is powered by a 4-litre turbo 600hp and 800Nm of torque. It does the century sprint in 3.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 305kmh with Dynamic plus package.


Ferrari's new open-tops

Ferrari has unveiled two open-tops: the F8 Spider and the 812 GTS. The former replaces the 488 Spider and features its delectable 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo making 720hp and 770Nm of torque. The car hits 100kmh in just 2.9 seconds and a hair-rearranging top speed of 340kmh.

The 812 GTS marks a return to the front-mounted V12 convertible - 50 years after the 365 GTS4 from 1969. The 812 GTS is the most powerful production convertible in the market with 800hp from its 6.5-litre V12. It pushes out 718Nm of torque, propelling the big drop-top to 100kmh in three seconds and a top speed of over 340kmh. Both should arrive by the second half of next year.


Beetle goes electric

The Beetle may have been discontinued, but Volkswagen Group Components will supply electric drive systems to convert the original Beetle into an emission-free classic. The conversion uses an e-drive based on the new VW e-up. The car will have 60kW of power, supplied by batteries of up to 14 modules, each with a capacity of 2.6kWh. The only thing missing will be the iconic car's recognisable putt-putt sound from its air-cooled rear-mounted engine.


Peugeot's low-economy hybrids

Peugeot's 508 Hybrid and 508SW Hybrid combine ultra-low economy with 225hp and nearly 50km of zero emission range. Both use an 11.8kWh battery, with a full charge taking less than two hours via a 7kW charging point. Power comes from a 180hp 1.6-litre turbo paired with an 80kW motor for a total output of 225hp. By 2023, Peugeot will offer an electrified variant across its entire line-up.


Volkswagen's electric car almost as affordable as Golf 

Volkswagen's long anticipated ID3 electric car is priced below €30,000 (S$45,500), making it slightly costlier than the VW Golf. With the interior space of a mid-range vehicle, the ID3 is the first model from the electric ID series. It is built on VW's modular electric drive platform, with a long wheelbase offering decent room for five. For even easier access to electric mobility, there is the VW e-Up. At €21,9752 (without subsidies), the subcompact is cheaper than the Golf. It has a range of 260km, which is adequate for city driving. The expected power consumption is 12.7 kWh/100km.


Plug-in hybrids for Volvo model range

Volvo has become the first car manufacturer to offer plug-in hybrids in its entire model range with the launch of the new XC40 T5 Twin Engine.

The front-wheel-drive hybrid system uses a 180hp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with an 82hp electric motor to achieve a combined output of 262hp, making it the most powerful XC40 (above).

The car hits 100kmh in 7.3 seconds, with an all-electric range of up to 46km. It uses a new seven-speed twin-clutch transmission.


Bentley's 1929 Blower to be recreated

Bentley's most revered heritage car will be recreated.

Twelve examples of the 1929 supercharged 4.5-litre Blower will be built by Mulliner, Bentley's customisation unit.

Bentley Motor Cars made the announcement at Salon Prive, where a record 1,321 Bentleys gathered last weekend to mark the brand's 100th year. The classic car event was held at Blenheim Palace in England.


Wearnes Automotive offers more brands

Multi-franchise motor group Wearnes Automotive has expanded its stable to include Koenigsegg, Pininfarina and Rimac. These brands will be part of its Prestige Division, which recently added the Alpine and Lotus marques. It also houses Bentley and Aston Martin. Wearnes will sell Koenigsegg, Pininfarina and Rimac cars across Asia.

With Koenigsegg, it will start with the new Jesko - a 5-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 1,280hp with regular petrol and 1,600hp on E85 biofuel (available in Thailand).

For EV fans, Wearnes will have the Pininfarina Battista, a powerful emission-free car with 1,900hp and 2,300Nm of torque. It hits 100kmh in less than two seconds, has a range of 450km and arrives next year.

The Rimac C Two is also electric. The Croatian car has 1,914hp and 2,300Nm of torque, allowing it to hit 100kmh in 1.85 seconds and 300kmh in 11.8 seconds. This week, Porsche announced it has increased its stake in Rimac Automobili to 15.5 per cent, up from 10 per cent previously.


A petrol engine to cut emissions

Delphi Technologies has developed a direct injection petrol engine which operates at more than 500 bar. The system is said to reduce particulate emissions by up to 50 per cent.

With a new sealing system and a new, downsized plunger, the design of Delphi's fuel pump delivers the increased pressures without increasing the load on the engine's camshaft. For the majority of engines, the new system allows designers to deliver the many benefits of a 500+ bar injection system without costly design changes.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe