Luxury City Cars. Classy compact models in the city
Parking in cities is becoming even more expensive and, as if that wasn’t enough, the spaces for cars are becoming limited in both number and size. At the same time, urban centres with a high risk of pollution are becoming restricted access areas, which is precisely what has happened in Milan with Area C. This justified measure, which has already been implemented in other major European cities, clashes with another important and inevitable element: the World Health Organisation forecasts that, thanks in part to the rapid evolution of the Brics countries, in 2030 some 60% of the world population will live in cities and, 20 years later, this figure will reach 70%. A figure that is causing automotive companies and car users to reflect on their plans, expectations and habits: there isn’t room for everyone, so we must be satisfied with cars that are smaller and above all electric or very “environmentally friendly”, but nonetheless luxurious. A solution that is, all things considered, tolerable given that, even today, there are plenty of choices from the most important names on the automobile scene. The luxury city car is, for now, a very European concept, to the extent that in the US only one prototype has been unveiled, from Cadillac, which only skims the surface, just to highlight the eco-friendly vein of the possible hybrid engine. Instead, this concept is taken seriously in Europe, where the best known German brands are firmly at the helm of a new trend that spans more than one segment. This is the case of BMW with the i3 Concept, one of the most intelligent and sustainable designs for urban mobility. Driven by an electric engine without compromises (170 hp), the i3 introduces many new features to the sector and offers interesting advantages as well as excellent dynamic driving characteristics due to its powerful acceleration and very low centre of gravity. Alongside this genuine trendsetter of the next few years, again from the BMW group, is the already available Mini E, a model between two generations of cars, which stands out for its excellent output - 204 hp - and perennially fresh layout in what is one of the best loved cars of all time. Moving further west, to Stuttgart, Mercedes Benz think in the same way about the need to contain dimensions with cutting-edge cars: the B-Class E-Cell already has - just like the BMW i3 Concept will in the future - a version with electric engine or an option with a Range Extender petrol or diesel engine that is able to recharge the batteries while consuming only small amounts of fuel, with the dual advantage of increasing range and guaranteeing greater reliability even in the coldest climates. Mercedes however continues to make a good impression with the A-Class E-Cell. Even smaller, is the Smart ForTwo Electric, which has the smallest dimensions of all electric cars and gives technological lessons to all: suffice it to say that the Forvision concept, which uses advanced materials thanks to its tie-up with Basf, features solar panels on the roof that let in light and, at the same time, produce energy. Audi offers a glimpse of urban mobility with its electric Urban Concept, but the photos of the car available so far are so sketchy that it makes one think it is a model that is still far from reality, mainly because of the fact that it is a two-seater and has free-standing wheels. The good thing about this prototype is the
Aston Martin Cygnet, una microcar a 4 cilindri con motore a benzina da 98 cavalli, tradizionale ma lussuosissima. Aston Martin Cygnet, 4-cylinder microcar with a 98 hp petrol engine, is extremely traditional but very luxurious.
Smart. Nuova Forspeed. Uno studio eco-sostenibile, due posti, senza tetto e cristalli laterali. Al posto del parabrezza è dotata di un deflettore piatto nello stile dei classici aeroplani superleggeri ad elica. Scattante trazione elettrica, perfezionata grazie alla funzione Boost. Massimo piacere di guida all'aria aperta.
extreme reduction in weight (less than 500 kg) and its presumed excellent recharging times - from 20 minutes to 2 hours - and the price, which will probably be below the psychological threshold of €10,000, a record for the car maker from Ingolstadt. From the British, lastly, there are still no futuristic projects in sight. However, the Aston Martin Cygnet has been seen on the streets of a few European cities since the beginning of 2011. This 4-cylinder microcar with a 98 hp petrol engine, is extremely traditional but very luxurious for its dimensions. Based on the Toyota iQ, it does not embody the eco-friendly essence of future city cars, but demonstrates that even a great brand can make runabouts that are truly contained, at least in terms of dimensions.