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Auto blogTue, 18 Nov 2014 09:29:00 EST
It's starting to feel like the automotive landscape is right on the cusp of a boom in hydrogen-fueled vehicles. After all, the Toyota FCV is nearly ready, Volkswagen is readying a fuel cell concept for this week's Los Angeles Auto Show and Hyundai already sells its Tucson Fuel Cell. The next big name to add to that list might be BMW, as the company's co-development deal with Toyota starts to bear fruit.
According to Autocar, BMW may use a version of the fuel cell system from the Toyota FCV in the future i5. As part of its eco-oriented i sub-brand, the i5 is expected to be a stretched version of the i3 (pictured above) with extra rear legroom and cargo space. It's unclear at the moment whether a battery-powered pure electric powertrain will also be available. If accurate, then the rumor could give the Bavarian brand a counterattack against Mercedes-Benz' planned fuel cell vehicle in 2017.
BMW and Toyota first signed the memorandum of understanding to co-develop fuel cells, lightweight technology and a sports car back in 2012, and they made the arrangement official in late 2013. So far, few details on the progress of the work have been disclosed, but the performance model has been rumored to use a front-engine, all-wheel drive layout with supercapacitors.
Back in the day, a Rolls-Royce looked pretty much the same as a Bentley, but with a different grille. Once BMW took over Rolls-Royce, however, it was faced with the challenge of visually separating itself from its former sister brand. And most would agree that it did so pretty well. But its cars have looked pretty much the same ever since. What Rolls-Royce needs, then, is a bit of a design shake-up. And that's just what this latest appointment could bring.
After a baker's dozen years as design director at Rolls-Royce (and twenty years designing for the BMW Group altogether), Ian Cameron is retiring from his post. In his place, Rolls-Royce has named Giles Taylor as its new director of design. In his new capacity, Taylor will report directly to BMW Group chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk, and be responsible for all design matters related to the Rolls-Royce brand and its products.
Taylor was promoted to the role from his previous position as head of exterior design for the marque, a position he's held for barely more than a year. We'll be eagerly watching to see what the veteran British car designer has in store for the future of Rolls-Royce. In the meantime you can read the full announcement below.
The annual Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on the shores of Lake Como is an opportunity for some of the most beautiful vehicles in the world to descend on one of the poshest places on earth each year. Unsurprisingly, the event is also increasingly the chance for automakers to debut exclusive concepts to some of the wealthiest auto enthusiasts in the world. In the last few years, BMW has become the masters of this annual unveiling with automotive concepts like the Gran Lusso Coupé, BMW Zagato Coupe and motorcycles like the the gorgeous Concept 90, not to mention the just-revealed Mini Superleggera Vision. But this year the Bavarian automaker has been somewhat tricky.
What would you first think when you heard of the BMW Concept Roadster? A lithe, two-seat convertible? Nope. This roadster is a cut-down, minimalist motorcycle with an ultra-modern design. As opposed to the retro looks of the Concept 90, this naked bike looks like it could fit in a BMW showroom tomorrow and not seem out of place.
The Concept Roadster packs the brand's classic two-cylinder boxer engine displacing 1,170 cubic centimeters and producing 123 horsepower and 92 pound-feet of torque. That power is routed to the rear wheel via a cardan drive, essentially a driveshaft, with a single-sided swing arm rear suspension. It's all nestled in a tubular spaceframe.