FAST, FU­RI­OUS FU­TURE

FRESH FROM GENEVA: TOY­OTA RE­VEALS THE COME­BACK SUPRA

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN CAREY

Weird to­day, gone to­mor­row — that sum­marises many of the con­cept cars man­u­fac­tur­ers bring to ma­jor mo­tor shows. There were odd­balls on dis­play at the Geneva In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show but there was also a healthy dose of re­al­ism.

Not all con­cept cars are far-fetched fu­tur­ism on wheels. Some are cre­ated to pre­view what a man­u­fac­turer has in the pipe­line. Toy­ota’s GR Supra Con­cept, though decked out as a racer for Geneva, is headed for pro­duc­tion next year.

Also headed for show­rooms, whole or in part, are the Skoda Vi­sion X, VW ID Vizzion, Porsche Mis­sion E Cross Turismo and Hyundai HDC-1. Other im­por­tant Geneva re­veals were cars that have nearly com­pleted the con­cept-to-show­room jour­ney, such as the Mer­cedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe and elec­tric Jaguar i-Pace.

Fi­nally, there were some sim­ple, old­fash­ioned new-model un­veil­ings. Big­gest of these was the Toy­ota that Europe calls Auris, but we call Corolla.

Among oth­ers were the new small SUV from Lexus, the UX, and the lat­est in Audi’s long A6 sedan line.

TOY­OTA SUPRA

Un­derneath the race­track warpaint and whop­per wing of the GR Supra Con­cept is the long-awaited re­place­ment for a leg­endary Toy­ota sports car. Pro­duc­tion of the pre­vi­ous Supra ended in 2002, de­spite its famed fig­ur­ing in The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous.

The come­back, fifth-gen­er­a­tion Supra has been made pos­si­ble by a part­ner­ship be­tween Toy­ota and BMW.

The Ger­man com­pany didn’t want its cur­rent Z4 sports car to be­come geri­atric but sales didn’t jus­tify spend­ing money to do a new one. “We’re de­vel­op­ing a car in a seg­ment that’s un­der pres­sure,” a BMW ex­ec­u­tive con­ceded last year.

Toy­ota did the maths, too. The Supra and Z4 share the same ba­sic for­mat; front-en­gined, rear-drive and two doors. So de­sign­ing, en­gi­neer­ing and de­vel­op­ing one car to serve the needs of both brands made a lot of sense.

To be launched over­seas in the mid­dle of next year, the new Supra is not yet con­firmed for Aus­tralia. Toy­ota’s lo­cal sales and mar­ket­ing boss Sean Han­ley is very keen to add it to the line-up.

MER­CEDES-AMG GT 4-DOOR COUPE

Due in Aus­tralia in about 12 months, the GT 4-Door Coupe is a Porsche Panam­era ri­val. The big lift­back has turbo V8 and six-cylin­der en­gines, all-wheel drive, comes with four- or five-seat con­fig­u­ra­tions and prob­a­bly will be in the $250,000 to $300,000 range.

The lux­ury in­te­rior in­tro­duces a new look and some hi-tech fea­tures that will spread to other AMG mod­els, among them a driv­ing mode se­lec­tor but­ton mounted on the steer­ing wheel that’s re­mark­ably like the one used by Porsche.

Ini­tially the GT 4-Door Coupe will be pro­duced with a new tur­bocharged and elec­tric-boosted 3.0-litre in-line six and two ver­sions of AMG’s loud and lusty twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.

But Mer­cedes-AMG boss To­bias Mo­ers says a high-per­for­mance hy­brid is un­der de­vel­op­ment and will be ready by 2020. It is sure to be the fastest, and most costly, vari­ant in the GT 4-Door Coupe range.

TOY­OTA COROLLA

Here’s the new face of Aus­tralia’s favourite car, the Corolla. Due to go on sale in Aus­tralia from Au­gust, the pop­u­lar hatch­back was re­vealed in Geneva un­der its Euro­pean name, Auris.

The new Corolla is longer, lower and wider

than the model it will re­place. Its ba­sis is Toy­ota’s TNGA (Toy­ota New Global Ar­chi­tec­ture) plat­form, which also serves as the foun­da­tion for the small C-HR SUV and cur­rent Prius hy­brid.

These are two of the best-driv­ing cars in the Toy­ota line-up, so ex­pect the new Corolla to take a step up in han­dling and ride com­fort.

A new petrol en­gine will bring more power and im­proved fuel econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to Toy­ota Aus­tralia. Toy­ota’s lat­est 1.8-litre petrol­elec­tric hy­brid driv­e­train also will be avail­able.

Hi-tech safety gear will in­clude au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing as stan­dard.

JAGUAR I-PACE

Jaguar’s bat­tery-pow­ered SUV was of­fi­cially re­vealed more than a week ago, streamed on­line from the fac­tory in Aus­tria where it will be made. But Geneva was the car’s first proper ap­pear­ance in pub­lic.

The i-Pace will go on sale in Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber, with prices start­ing from $119,000. Seen in the metal, the five-door five-seater has strik­ing good looks.

And if it per­forms as well as Jaguar claims, it’ll be an ex­cit­ing car to drive. The com­pany claims its pair of elec­tric mo­tors — one turn­ing each axle — will pro­pel the all-wheel drive i-Pace from rest to 100km/h in a rapid 4.8 sec­onds.

With a 90kW lithium-ion bat­tery pack, the i-Pace has a range of 480km in Europe’s new (and more re­al­is­tic) en­ergy ef­fi­ciency test.

LEXUS UX

De­scribed as a com­pact ur­ban cross­over, the UX has less or­nate ex­te­rior de­sign than the typ­i­cal Lexus SUV. The small five-seater will go on sale in Aus­tralia early next year.

Sized for city park­ing ease, the UX is built on an up­graded-for-Lexus ver­sion of the same TNGA plat­form that’s the ba­sis of the com­ing Corolla.

In Aus­tralia the UX will be sold in petrol and hy­brid ver­sions, both re­ly­ing on a new 2.0-litre four-cylin­der en­gine. The 131kW hy­brid ver­sion will have an elec­tric mo­tor driv­ing its rear axle for all-wheel drive ca­pa­bil­ity.

SKODA VI­SION X

The good look­ing com­pact ur­ban cross­over con­cept won’t make it into show­rooms with the Vi­sion X name­plate.

It pre­views the look of a third SUV soon to be added to the VW-owned Czech brand’s lineup to join the Ko­diaq and Karoq — ex­pect the pro­duc­tion ver­sion in 2019 to start with a K.

Skoda’s con­cept high­lighted a clever all­wheel drive set-up, with a nat­u­ral gas-burn­ing mild hy­brid en­gine driv­ing the front wheels and an elec­tric mo­tor driv­ing the rear.

The pro­duc­tion ver­sion is cer­tain to use con­ven­tional VW Group en­gines and trans­mis­sions.

PORSCHE MIS­SION E

Porsche hasn’t got its Mis­sion E elec­tric car into pro­duc­tion but it’s al­ready sig­nalling what its sec­ond bat­tery-pow­ered model will look like.

The Mis­sion E Cross Turismo is a raised-by 30mm wagon ver­sion of the stun­ning Mis­sion E sedan re­vealed at Frank­furt two years ago.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Oliver Blume says Porsche will gauge re­ac­tion to the con­cept at Geneva be­fore de­cid­ing whether to put the car into pro­duc­tion.

The Mis­sion E sedan will be launched next year and Blume says the Cross Turismo, if it gets the green light, could soon fol­low.

Porsche also looked at spin­ning off a coupe or con­vert­ible from Mis­sion E but it ap­pears the Cross Turismo will get the nod be­cause of its stronger com­mer­cial prospects.

VW ID VIZZION

Vizzion is the fourth in VW’s se­ries of elec­tric pow­ered ID con­cepts. The show car fea­tures fu­tur­is­tic au­ton­o­mous driv­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence tech­nol­ogy that’s a long way from be­ing mar­ket ready.

Its over­all look isn’t that far off, how­ever. VW says the Vizzion pre­views a new elec­tricpow­ered model it plans to have in pro­duc­tion by 2022.

AUDI A6

A ri­val for the BMW 5 Se­ries and Mer­cedes-Benz E-Class, the A6 is due in Aus­tralia later this year. It bor­rows heav­ily from the in­te­rior look and lay­out of the larger A8 lux­ury sedan.

The A6’s petrol and diesel en­gines have 48V mild-hy­brid as­sis­tance and Audi is de­vel­op­ing a plug-in hy­brid.

Aus­tralia is among many mar­kets turn­ing away from the likes of the A6 but grow­ing Chi­nese de­mand for big sedans en­sures they’re not go­ing to dis­ap­pear any­time soon.

HYUNDAI LE FIL ROUGE

Hyundai’s Le Fil Rouge (HDC-1) con­cept in­di­cates the Korean gi­ant’s near-fu­ture de­sign di­rec­tion rather than its in­ten­tion to build such a car. “Sen­su­ous Sporti­ness” is the name cho­sen for the new look, which will be ap­plied to all fu­ture Hyundai cars and SUVs.

HYUNDAI LE FIL ROUGE

JAGUAR I-PACE

AUDI A6

VW ID VIZZION

SKODA VI­SION X

MER­CEDES-AMG GT

PORSCHE MIS­SION E

LEXUS UX

TOY­OTA AURIS HY­BRID

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