Auto show season marches on. The end of the New York International Auto Show signals the beginning of Auto Shanghai 2017, and this year there was no shortage of gorgeous cars with interesting designs and bizarre-looking technology. Let’s take a look at some of the major reveals from the show.
RENAULT R.S. 2027
At first blush, the Renault R.S. 2027 is an elegant concept racecar packed with LED lights. But for a concept, it’s actually pretty timid. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your point of view. On one hand, the ideas Renault is suggesting with the car (four wheel drive, better fuel efficiency, increased fan engagement) are a more practical take on the next 10 years of Formula One.
But on the other, why bother with a concept car if you’re only going to aim for practicality? Most of the ideas Renault proposed with the R.S. 2027 were already being worked on, if not by F1, then by its closest competitors. We’re not saying concept cars should only be used to propose impossible ideas. We’re just saying it would’ve been nice to hear something a little bit crazier from Renault.
LYNK & CO.
Lynk & Co, a Volvo-sibling startup owned by Chinese automaker Geely, might not be the first company to suggest shared ownership of a car — but it doubled down on the idea this week with the 03 concept, a staid but smart sedan to compliment the SUV that was announced last fall. You might own this car one day, or you might split it with your family. Or maybe you’ll only rent it when you need it, allowing others to access the car during the times when the only thing controlling its movement are gravity and the parking brake.
Unlike some other recent car startups with questionable futures, Lynk & Co at least has a lineage that makes one believe the company can survive the slog of making cars at a significant volume. Lynk & Co hopes the 03 concept can make a few waves, but it’s hard to break into an already turbulent auto industry.
NIO (née NextEV) is being frustratingly vague about its all-electric concept SUV. We reached out to the Chinese startup about battery power and range, and all we got back were specs on the ES8’s dimensions, suspension, and all-wheel drive. These are not the specs most people want from their electric cars. People want to know how far they can drive it, and how much storage it has. To this NIO says, “TK.”
NIO previously has showed off an ultrafast supercar, a self-driving concept, and not much else. So whether or not the ES8 actually makes it to production is anyone’s guess. And aside from Tesla’s Model X, there aren’t many electric SUVs on the market. So it would be nice to have a few more to choose from.
AUDI E-TRON SPORTBACK
Look at that glowing badge on the front of Audi’s new E-tron Sportback concept! Nothing says “Hi, I’m from the future” like a glowing badge, which explains why other automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti have also slapped illuminated logos on the grilles of their futuristic concepts. It’s a like digital kiss from a cold and distant robot.
Which is not to say that the Sportback isn’t a nifty car. Audi says it will have 320 kilowatts of power — in addition to a “boost mode” to 370 kW — and can sprint to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds. A 95 kWh battery pack will enable just over 310 miles of range per charge, though that will probably be closer to 275 miles, given that the German carmaker uses the European rating system for electric vehicle range. The automaker says the new electric coupe crossover will hit the market in 2019, about a year after the Quattro E-tron, Audi’s first electric concept which it introduced back in 2015.
VOLKSWAGEN I.D. CROZZ
It’s not as sharp as the E-Tron concept, but Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz SUV concept still looks pretty good in renderings. As we learned from the plasticky and frankly kind of gross interior of the I.D. Buzz microbus in Detroit, concept renderings aren’t everything. But an electric crossover SUV seems more likely to actually hit the road than the microbus revival Volkswagen so clearly loves to tease, so here’s hoping the company can eventually deliver on things like the 300-plus mile range and quick charging capabilities. After all, VW’s got a lot of ozone to make up for.
MERCEDES-BENZ CONCEPT A SEDAN
Mercedes-Benz is building some beautiful concepts these days. At the Geneva Motor Show, Merc gave us the gorgeous Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, and now it brought the Concept A Sedan to Shanghai. It’s a hint at what the German carmaker’s next generation of compact cars will look like, embodied by Mercedes’ “sensual purity” design language. The head of design for Daimler says it “shows that the time of creases is over,” with “perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines.” OK then. Looks good, though, right?
MG Motor hasn’t appeared much — or at all — on this site, but the UK-based brand’s latest concept, the E-motion, seems tailor made for The Verge. A powerful electric powertrain wrapped up in the body of a wickedly voluptuous sports coupe, the E-motion is both fun and environmentally sustainable. MG, a subsidiary of Shanghai’s SAIC Motor, says the vehicle will go 0-to-62 mph in under four seconds, and will boast a range of more than 310 miles on a single charge. Those are pretty incredible numbers, so hopefully MG will see this particular concept through to the end.