IT’S known as the Concours d’Elegance. The car show with a difference, held at Pebble Beach golf course near Monterey in California. An event that has, in the last 24 hours, showcased the new BMW Z4 roadster, and three very different electric vehicles.
Among the most incredible looking concepts was the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ (pictured above), a single seater electric vehicle that pays homage to the successful record-breaking W 125 car from 1937.
The paintwork in alubeam silver is reminiscent of the historic Silver Arrows which, for weight reasons, did not have a white paint layer. The interior is dominated by traditional, high-quality materials such as genuine leather, polished aluminium and solid walnut.
The digital cockpit, meanwhile, points directly into the future, and includes a curved panoramic screen with back projection, as well as a touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel.
The 550kW and completely silent sleek concept captures the design idiom of the new EQ product and technology brand, shaped by avant-garde, offering a distinct aesthetic of progressive luxury.
For BMW, the new 2019 Z4 M40i First Edition, in Frozen Orange metallic, represents the beginning of a new era in roadster design, with a central sitting position for the driver, low centre of gravity, and perfectly balanced 50:50 axle load distribution.
Add in wide tracks and a compact wheelbase to form a package that offers agile handling and exceptional performance, thanks to a 250kW straight six-cylinder engine and a sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers.
The new Z4 will also come with an M Sport braking system and an electronically controlled M Sport differential in the rear axle transmission, and will take a mere 4.6 seconds to sprint from a standstill to 100km/h.
It’s got a characteristic new look, with vertically aligned headlights, large air breathers on the front wheel arches and a distinctive spoiler integrated into the rear lid, along with an electrically operated textile soft top.
Adaptive LED headlights and a HUD feature for the first time in a roadster and the world reveal at Pebble Beach foreshadows the announcement of full specs for the two-seater on 19 September 2018. It will be launched in Q2 next year.
Audi used the event to premiere the all-electric Audi PB18 e-tron, a radical vision for the high-performance sports car of tomorrow. With a wide and low-slung stance, the PB 18 e-tron concept is visibly inspired by the wind tunnel and the race track.
Its very presence signals that it is destined to push the boundaries. And push them it does. The high-performance sports car with electric drive has up to 570kW of power, and can smash 0-100 km/h in just over two seconds. Oh, and it weights just 1,550kg.
Last but not least though, was the reveal of the Prototype 10 by Nissan owned luxury brand Infiniti.
Inspired by the potential for electrified performance and harking back to the spirit of the early speedsters, the forward-looking speedster hints at striking future design cues from the brand as it moves towards a full hybrid/electric future in 2021.
A future vision realised by Infiniti designers, Prototype 10 evokes the spirit of early Californian speedsters, and is informed by some of the most iconic car designs of all time.
This is the first project to come to fruition under the direction of Karim Habib, Infiniti’s new Executive Design Director, and it hints at how the brand’s design teams will evolve the appearance of its production cars.
The monoposto (single-seat) cockpit is consistent with Infiniti’s driver-focused approach, and is indicative of the new opportunities created for Infiniti by adopting electrified power trains and flexible vehicle platforms.