Opel creates far-sighted Monza concept for Frankfurt show
Opel CEO Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann unveiling the new Monza
VW Golf R
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Opel is bringing a dramatic new concept car to the Frankfurt motor show next month, dubbed the Monza. The name may be lifted from the 1977 coupé of the same title, but everything else about the new Monza is rather futuristic.
Apart from very dramatic styling (Opel compares it to waves on a shore and tensed haunches of a greyhound) which previews the next-generation of cars from the German firm, there are technological innovations inside.
The biggest is the drivetrain, which is battery electric with a range extender. The new wrinkle is that the on-board powerplant is a 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder engine, which will appear in the Astra, Insignia and next-gen Corsa with petrol as its fuel, but which in the Monza is fuelled by natural gas. Opel claims this reduces the car’s C02 footprint.
In the cabin of the Monza, unveiled this week by Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann CEO (above), the entire arc of the fascia is one big screen on which 18 LED projectors display all vehicle information, sat-nav, infotainment and connectivity data. Opel is also debuting a smartphone connection system which inhibits incoming and outgoing calls when the driver wants to concentrate.
Toyota reveals whole of its hybrid
After much teasing, Toyota has finally revealed the whole of its hybrid concept car for the Frankfurt motor show.
Running rather against early expectations, it’s not a new Supra coupé, but a one-off 400bhp Yaris which employs some of the same technology as Toyota’s TS030 hybrid Le Mans racer.
Not surprisingly, it’s not in any way intended for production, but for now it’s running a highly tuned 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine which drives the front wheels.
Two electric motors drive the rear wheels. These are fed by both batteries and (here is where the Le Mans tech comes in) a fast-spinning capacitor which harvests energy from braking for quick extra bursts of power. It is being shown to celebrate the fact that Toyota has just sold its 5.5-millionth hybrid car.
Former BMW executive killed in motorbike fall
Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, a former BMW executive and a key figure in the recent development of BMW M, Rolls-Royce and Mini, has died tragically at the age of 63. Mr Kalbfell was taking part in an historic motorbike race at the Brands Hatch race track in England when he lost control, fell from his bike and was struck by another competitor. He later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
Mr Kalbfell was hugely respected for his time at BMW, which included a stint as CEO of Rolls-Royce when it launched the 2003 Phantom. He also served as CEO of both Alfa Romeo and Maserati (pictured) and was more recently an independent consultant working with Lotus, among others.
A BMW statement says it “mourns an amazing person and a passionate racer. For many years he was a formative figure and a driving force behind BMW Motorsport and BMW M.” Our sympathies go to Mr Kalbfell’s friends and family.