Vroom vroom

The Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) is Canada’s largest automotive fair held annually every February in multiple venues around downtown Toronto. All the major manufacturers are there showing off current and upcoming models, but some of the most visionary concept vehicles and tantalizing upgrades belonged to Infiniti, Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration drew a lot of attention with its extraordinary presence. At five meters long and two meters wide, this is a full-size concept vision, with the portal-style doors cocooning “4×1” seating being the eye-popping feature. Exotic leather finishes, Alcantara and delicate metalwork define interior luxury in the highest number in the Infiniti range.

Opening triumphantly wide, the front door has a traditional front-edge hinge and the rear door a rear-edge hinge, making ingress and egress gracefully simple, framing the side view of the crafted leather and metal romance with the seductive arc of the car’s roofline.

A flat-bottomed, pistol-gripped steering wheel invites interaction via thumb controls – the only switches needed – while a billet controller operates the automatic gearbox on the driver’s right side, mounted on the curving full length center piece.

Each bucket-style seat stands alone, quilted and body-molding, with Alcantara suede quilting in thick, high-texture saddle leather. Buttons and dials make way for smooth, leather-wrapped surfaces that stretch uninterrupted from door to door. The technology is there but it is on demand, unseen until requested.

For the driver, the HUD (head-up display) projects crisply onto the eye-line of the windscreen, while a small, personal touch screen is available for the other seats, conveying personal data and environmental information.

Minutely laser-milled aluminum satin surfaces and trim are accented by horse hair in the front row carpet, and soft leather in some areas is specially stiffened to give it a mosaic look and feel. Micro-stenciling is applied to the surface of the speaker cones to better channel and project the music sound around the cabin. The exhaust sports the same acoustic enhancement.


Acura NSX

Twenty-five years after the debut of the original NSX supercar, Acura revealed the production version of its successor—the next-generation Acura NSX, developed and produced in North America, to Canada’s auto media at the 2015 Canadian International Auto Show.

The next generation NSX showcases the production styling, design and specifications of Acura’s mid-engine sports hybrid supercar. Intended to bring a “new sports experience” to the supercar segment, the NSX uses an all-new power unit—a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system—integrated with an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with world’s-first material applications and manufacturing processes.


Mercedes-AMG GT

The new Mercedes-AMG GT (the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG) is characterized by a front mid-engine design, a rear transaxle and use of intelligent aluminium lightweight construction. Its newly developed AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine is the first sports car engine with internally mounted turbochargers (“hot inside V”) and dry sump lubrication is configured in two output ratings: as a GT with 456 hp and as a GT S with 503 hp.

The long hood with its pronounced powerdomes, the greenhouse which has been moved far back, the large wheels and broad tail end make up the distinctive looks. Additionally, the large deck lid conceals a practical luggage compartment.

The interior design also embodies maximum emotion and sensual purity. Radically low, sporty proportions create a unique sense of spaciousness. Clearly drawn components and their authentic materials underscore the dynamic character and create instant excitement: anyone opening the door discovers an exciting interplay between the deep, sloping dashboard and a dominant, arched high centre console, a design which evokes emotions and impresses with its perfection.

The sportily designed cockpit in carbon-fiber look provides information with two classic circular instruments in a 2-tube look and a 320 km/h speedometer scale. The performance steering wheel with its three-spoke design comes with aluminium shift paddles, 12-o’clock marking and a steering wheel rim in black nappa leather with flattened bottom section. The sports seats come in nappa leather with integral head restraints and AMG lettering.

The DYNAMIC SELECT Controller, the buttons for starting the engine, the 3-stage ESP® and, when specified, the electronic damper control are located on the left in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The volume control as well as the buttons for the manual transmission drive mode, the ECO start/stop function and, again when specified, the selectable exhaust system are fitted on the right-hand side. The driver operates the seat heating, PARKTRONIC, the hazard warning lights and, depending on the model variant and equipment, the extendable rear spoiler using the buttons in the top control panel in the roof frame.


Nissan BladeGlider Concept

On the other side of the automotive spectrum, Nissan presented a head-turning concept vehicle at the 2015 CIAS – the electric BladeGlider Concept. Nissan’s latest sports concept will challenge conventional thinking on sports car performance handling, braking and weight distribution. The Nissan BladeGlider features a radical front narrow track layout, where the front is significantly narrower than the rear, creating a swept-wing profile when seen from directly above.

The BladeGlider shares sustainable engineering values with both the Nissan LEAF and the Nissan ZEOD RC, the futuristic-looking competition machine which made its debut in last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

With its narrow, 1.0 meter lightweight front track and wide, stable rear track, BladeGlider looks as if it could have sprung from a “skunk works” project. But the radical architecture all boils down to aerodynamics and balance. Having the front wheels close together reduces drag and enhances maneuverability for high G cornering power, assisted by its 30/70 front/rear weight distribution ratio. Aerodynamic downforce is created by the highly rigid yet lightweight carbon-fiber underbody, hence the lack of drag-inducing wings.

Inside the canopy, the cockpit seats three in a triangular configuration with the driver centre-forward. Seating appointments feature special light and comfortable coverings with yellow fluorescent lines. Amid simple yet edgy interior styling cues, an aircraft-type steering wheel and state-of-the-art instrumentation technology complete the glider-like image. To support maximum EV cruising efficiency, the IT system can display relief maps and atmospheric conditions. As a final touch, the driver’s seat automatically slides laterally when you open the door, enabling easy access to passenger seats.