Volkswagen could use a little mirth and goodwill.
Obviously the company has been in kind of dire straits lately with diesel gate.
A vehicle like this is something that stirs, tugs at the heartstrings, and stirs up emotion.
And it's also a viable solution in terms of future power train technology and there's a lot of clever interior tech as well
Right, this is an autonomous concept.
You hit the center of the steering wheel and the whole thing folds down into the dashboard and you can kind of chill out inside and have this big living room on wheels experience we've seen from so many other concept cars.
And of course the van is really a natural application of that kind of skateboard battery pack design of having a nice flat platform you can build on ultimately.
A big old box.
It gives you the maximum interior space.
And with previous concepts, trying to stick a motor in the front of a vehicle, a gas motor, and then have it crash well, you know, safely, is almost impossible.
So, an electric skateboard sort of configuration really allows for that flat front, which is critical to getting the visuals that you need for a neo bus.
Drew, do you think Volkswagen can build anymore concepts of the Micro Bus, or is it time to make one of the damn things?
[LAUGH] No I think right now it might be [UNKNOWN] out front.
The bus itself was aesthetically at least a challenging enough presentation here to entertain enough.
I think they've ticked enough boxes on that front for now.
What's the reaction to [UNKNOWN] gate been in the UK?
I mean here in the US there's a lot of angst against VW, has it been that strong in the UK as well?
I think the uproar in terms of consumers has been on an equal par, there's a slightly more sour taste in the mouth because consumers are not being offered the same amounts of compensation, really any.
They're still retro-fitting the cars and Fixing the mistakes that have been made.
But because they maintain that there is less loss in value for reselling the cars, people like my dad, whose car was affected by it as well, hasn't been offered any compensation in any shape or form.
Plus, on a legal front, because the infringements aren't as legally impacting on the company as they are perhaps in the US, where You know, criminal convictions can actually be brought for these things.
It's, we're more interested in how it unfolds over here.
It's impacted their reputation massively because it's not only the VW brand and Audi, but it's also Siat and it's Skoda and it's a far wider wrath.
Take a significant chunk of the British car industry part of it.
yet somehow because the impact is greater legally over here in the US, that's the angle that we've been following.
It possibly will allow them to fly more under the radar and significantly now maybe put more of it behind them than it is over here But it is something that we keep an eye on.
And it probably will echo for a good couple years before they're fully over it in the UK as well.
And Chris, it seems like the [UNKNOWN] is designed to help us forget About that.
One, by going back to a retro time before Dieselgate when everything was happy with Volkswagen.
And also by providing an electric powertrain ultimately a new clean way forward.
Is that about right you think?
I think it's all of those things and more.
As we've talked about Volkswagen has been flirting with the idea of a Retro Bus since the early 2000s.
The Volkswagen Beetle has been a success but it's really long in the tooth.
They've done a couple generations of it now.
It doesn't really work.
Any more so that's going to be going away.
Yeah, interesting that we're here celebrating this retro bust while they're in the process, basically, of killing the retro field that's been around for so long.
And frankly, they've needed people movers of all sizes.
And Volkswagen is finally starting to do that.
It actually had a really good show In terms of product, it also brought out the T1 SUV, which is desperately needs.
That's the hottest segment in the market, the compact SUVs.
It's growing a lot with this new generation.
So they finally have addressed that concern.
They just addressed the full size three row SUV with the Atlas.
They showed a slightly visually sporty version of that here.
And now, they could have the product.
The question is do they have The market strength, the goodwill, and are they going to get their pricing in order?
That's a big question.
I mean, there's a lot fo crazy technology in a van like that, and that would be a very expensive thing to bring to market.
But with the [UNKNOWN], we see that they're being very aggressive with pricing right now, starting at about 30 grand for that.
Built here in the US, which is great.
They're really making a strong push to move that down market, much like they did with the Jetta.
And there was great success with the Jetta before Everything kind of blew up there as I recall.
I think the concerning issue is that this, that anything based on this sort of concept, probably won't come to market for some time now.
It could be 2022, 2023.
That's a really, really long time from now, but at least Volkswagen, we know is developing the modular electric architecture underneath it.
And they're going to be rolling out other types of vehicles on that platform, they're looking at putting out a compact first.
Which, they showed in Paris a version of that, the ID concept, and then they'll probably do something like an SUV.
And then they could look at this.
I, actually, would like to see them flip-flop that and put the van first.
Because I think it'll be more interesting.
I think it'll garner more attention.
And frankly, it'll have bigger margins than a compact will.
Drew, [INAUDIBLE] the show.
I cheated slightly on our editor's pick for that.
There is a new Bentley on build just a couple of streets down from the show, the GT super sports, which Bentley being my beat on Carfection over in the UK got me very, very excited indeed.
It's already a car with a huge amount of power and massive amounts of luxury and now you can get up to 209 miles an hour.
Absolutely on your daily commute that comes in extremely handy.
And the shift
I was hoping they'd get a bit more weight off, about 50 kilos they've shifted in weight.
But I guess if you're still trying to maintain that luxury level, you can't really expect them to take it down too much.
They could just take the wine cooler out of the back pretty much to drop 50 kilos, right?
Yeah, the magnum of champagne is taken out, is omitted from this particular kind.
There you go.
But you feel like 70 bulls worth of leather on the interior which adds a bit of what.
That wasn't something they wanted.
Delighted at seventy bulls though, really.
So what you're saying is that it is a large, heavy, 700 horse power, 200 mile an hour car?
That might mean it's a British hell cat.
That's your favorite thing to hear, I absolutely know that.
I take slight offense to the idea of comparing the exquisite quality and craftsmanship of the Bentley, of any Bentley, and comparing it to that.
You don't prefer the hard plastics of the Dodge?
I prefer a monthly payment.
I'll grant you, o n the cost level, it's certainly more attainable to get a hell cat.
But I would probably push the extra harder on the bank to get a hold of a Bently that can do that kind of speed.
Stretch the payments out over an extra five, ten, fifteen years.
I mean, if you're just talking
Apples and apples comparison on power, yeah okay 700 horsepower is 700 horsepower.
But what you do with it, and how you look while you do it is exceptionally important.
And you do get two extra driven wheels with the Bentley as well.
You do, which if you drive like me, that's an extra level of security that makes you feel a bit safer.
[LAUGH] You do have the nickname Maximum Attack for a reason.
Yeah, it's one of those things that get chiselled onto your tombstone unfortunately.
It's not something to be massively proud of.
But it's insane power in an insane car.
And it's been a trend that's been going on for years.
We're well beyond the point at which top speeds are a relevant metric for management.
Acceleration, it's Still helps but really where you feel it is torque, and that's actually something where, that's where you experience performance the most, and that's something that Bently has always been able to do.
And this tops out at over a thousand Newton meters of torque, which is just insane amount of torque.
Explain to us American if that's ok?
It's a lot.
Do the ultra wealthy, do the plutocrats sit there and bench race the way, Americans that are driving Mustangs?
Not in a physical sense of actually showing what the performance is.
Largely, these cars are sold to a culture which is about knowing that it has it, rather than having it.
They're swirling around the single [INAUDIBLE]
It's like having art on the wall, which costs $4 million.
It doesn't necessarily have that much value to it.
It's just what Well it's cost.
And having an engine that has over 700 horsepower.
It's 750 per pounds of torque.
You'll never tap into it but I've got more than yours.
You've got the GTC.
I've got the GT Sport and I've got the Super Sport.
It's just bragging rights, really.
But yeah, some people like that.
Apparently you do.
Also all those stats aside, it looks amazing.
This is sort of, you think its a swan song for this generation.
We've seen spy photos of another version of this product coming out in the future.
I mean well we saw the second generation coming around 2012ish
- of the Continental.
The Continental itself has been going since 2003 but its been such a success story for Bentley.
Its been so essential to that whole brand being completely reinvented after coming under Volkswagen in '98, separating itself from its history of Rolls Royce ownership.
Its carved out its own niche that sets- Luxury wise, say above above the margin, and performance wise, right next to it.
But then in terms of comfort and ride comparable to BMW.
So it's carved it's own little corner.
So it's maybe a crutch for the mark, but it's a crutch they're going to lean on for a long long time.
Things like Ben Tech are helping expand it and We've seen ideas that they might be trying something a bit smaller and sportier here.
But they will need to stretch this out as long as they can.
I wouldn't call it a crutch necessarily, more of a cornerstone, and it's a remarkable useful everyday super car that happens to be a luxury coup.
I've had some of the best drives in my life in that car.
I've driven the one from the southern most point to the northern most point in the UK and back down to London where I lived.
And I couldn't think of a car that I would prefer to do it.
Yeah I was on the launch of this current generation car in Oman in the Middle East and this wide open sand.
And you've got this amazing car, incredible power and top speed.
It was one of the highlights of my automotive career.
So when are we getting to drive the new one and when are we pitting it against the hellcat?
In the shootout.
Well, when we get to drive one is as soon as possible, and actually, when we put it against the Hellcat should be slightly after that is all, because if we can put you in a Hellcat and I'll take the Supersport and I'll show you the difference between a Dodge and a Bentley.
We'll put the drag radials on the Hellcat because they offer that.
and we'll see where we can go from there.
You can change anything you want but I still think on every front the family is going to come out and vote
Ok, valid opinion and you're entitled to it.
Andrew, You're up.
Alright my car for the 2017 Detroit auto show is the Nissan V motion 2.0 concept.
It is the cat's pajamas as far as I am concerned.
It is an attractive Car that is going to apparently pre-stage the Altima.
That's where the design language is going and it seems that an Altima is next up for a redesign some time in 2018.
And if it looks anything like that car I will be absolutely over the moon about it.
Do we think it will look anything like this car?
You know it's
It's always the case of concept.
There's a little bit of distillation that kind of happens in between the concept and the execution.
But I really think that between this and IDS concept that they debuted in Tokyo in 2015, Nissan does really seem to be all in on these kind of gun slick headlights, and a little bit more boomerang shaped tail lights, and I think the look is pulled off great.
But yep, like you said, I give 50% of it'll probably end up
They've really gone to bold, mainstream design.
If you look at the Murano, if you look at the Maxima, that's really expressive, controversial styling.
There's a lot going on, there's a lot of hard angles.
A lot of surface development and I they need to apply some of that to Maxima because what were seeing in the marketplace now is more and more people are moving to crossover SUVs as the new family sedan.
So what's left behind, the family sedan has to get a little bit more expressive, a little more interesting to kind of earn it's keys.
We even saw that with the new Camry.
It's definitely more aggressive than it was.
Just this last generation.
It's always tough to make that appeal between expressive styling and something that you know will be safe and something you know buyers will appreciate necessarily.
It's that issue with Hyundai and Kia right now as a matter of fact.
A lot of people are jumping on top of Hyundai and Kia because they feel the styling has gone away from that kind of wonky, interesting look to something that's a bit more staid.
And that's Some people like it, some people don't, and I think that's the case with Nissan too.
When the Merano first came out and followed by the Maxima.
I had to look back and say, am I sure this is the car they're actually selling on the street?
It really does kind of have an interesting look, and I think it helps [UNKNOWN] the part, and that really seems to be what the crowd wants.
They want something that Is affordable but also looks good and helps separate them from just the beige acano boxes that normally cover the street.
The v motion concept has an interesting technological story as well both in terms of the semi autonomous hardware that they're in and maybe you could talk about that to both speakers to.
There is a whole lot of [UNKNOWN].
It is just not a good looking car.
It has bark and spice.
The inside is obviously beautiful.
The fun thing I learned about that steering wheel.
The only reason it is shaped the way it is is to create an uninhibited view of the screen in front.
The screen is really the cornerstone of what's going on in that car.
And it's evidenced by the fact that there's one in the rear seats too which isn't really something you see on sedans that cost more affordable amounts of money, not that it'll actually show up in the production version.
But now let's talk about autonomy like you said.
This one comes equipped with pro-pilot which originally debuted on the Nissan Serena minivan in Japan and will also appear on the next generation Semi-autonomous Leaf that Carlos Ghosn talked about at CES last week.
Now, right now, ProPilot is kind of a mild system, which is a smart move, in my opinion.
It's single-lane highway holding, and that's all it does.
You need to change a lane, you really need to move around a bit, it's not capable of that.
But that's by design.
The goal is to slowly implement these systems in a way that you're not skipping over the traditional level one, two, three.
They're going straight through the numbers.
They're gonna ease everyone into it and I think really that is what will help Nissan when they start developing semiautonomous.
That it will be a gradual thing.
It won't be something that just hits you from the side of the head like look now you have to do this.
So, ProPILOT looks good.
There is no current timetable for when it will advance to a more technological.
You know what I mean.
A higher level.
When it goes from level one to two to three to four.
But, yeah, ProPILOT's looking good.
A little dab'll do you, just like some Elmer's glue.
I couldn't help noticing, there seems to be a rather large.
Definitely bigger than the current Altima.
We are talking Altima right?
Well, funny story, it's just half an inch shorter than the current Altima
Cars are getting big these days.
Things like the Honda Civic are now being considered almost mid-size
Yeah >.> Based on interior volume because the EPA numbers are still kinda weird about that.
But despite its big look The wheels are pushed out to the extreme and there's a whole lot of cabin space and I think that's really what's going to matter the most.
If it looks a little bit bigger, that's great.
But once you get in it and there's so much room for the family to stretch out, especially for somebody who's a little taller and mostly leg like I am, it's nice to see something where interior volume Is put to the forefront.
There's a good amount of concept car trickery at work here.
Part of it is oversized wheels versus what you actually see at a production car.
Having center open doors which is a common show car trick because it allows everybody to see the entirety of the interior when it's spinning around on a turn table.
And that all makes it seem really broad.
And then you have a slightly lower roof in which you could really get away in a family sedan.
So, those things combined to lengthen the vehicle and then they're usually wider anyway.
I like the door handles, and all the other custom parts there.
Since apparently no one's gonna ask me I'm just gonna go ahead and say it.
My car of the show is the Volvo V90 actually, which is a car that we've actually seen in the shows before but is a car that I'm absolutely in love with.
The S90 was one of our favorite cars in 2016.
The XC90 was our favorite of the year before.
And so to see that now evolve into this beautiful, long, luxurious sports wagon-
It is the most beautiful wagon I think I've seen in a long time.
And owning a station wagon myself, it gives me something to aspire to.
And I know that sounds weird, a station wagon owner looking to aspire to own another station wagon.
But I really do love the way it looks.
It takes what was good about the X90 and the S90 and it just Ramps it up to 11.
Absolutely, the interior is phenomenal.
The styling, again, is amazing.
It's just a really large car, which is a problem for me.
It's a very, very large car.
And well, what I'm a little boned about, we were speaking with Lex Kerssemakers, the Volvo USA CEO, asking what's next.
Because they did the XC90, which is amazing, the S90, the V90, and the Cross Country.
Next it sounds like they're gonna go XE60 and 40.
So two more SUVs to come before we get another smaller sports wagon.
The way the market works.
Really frustrating to me.
You and I can't buy all the wagons in the world.
If only we all got together and bought all those sport wagons then maybe we would be able to have more choices on the market.
But it sounds like it's gonna be at least another couple years before we see A 40 or a 60 size wagon, a smaller, more attainable wagon that might actually fit in my garage and into my budget.
And to be honest, we may not see too many Z90s on the road as it is.
In order to bring an actual Z90 into the US and not the lifted cross country version, you have to special order it through the dealership.
Now I'm not sure dealerships can order up a bunch of special orders themselves and then eventually sell them off.
But there is no Large allocation coming to the US of the V90.
If you want it, you have to really want it.
So, the custom order, like I said, it'll take about three months to get your car.
But you can do the Volvo factory delivery with this, but you can't do it with every Volvo on the market.
So, you can, if you want to, take a vacation to Sweden, fly over there, drive off the factory line and have a lovely vacation in Sweden or anywhere else in Scandinavia that you'd like to go and then you park it back to Volvo and they ship it to you.
Should also take a month or two.
Sign me up for the nice hotel and [CROSSTALK]
The nice hotel a little bit of [CROSSTALK]
It is a stunningly beautiful car.
And interestingly enough I think station wagons are not terribly popular anymore.
But the premium station wagon draws in a unique type of customer.
I've talked to the Mercedes folks who have consistently offered a high end wagon here in the states.
And its small volume but they even have bothered with an ANG because the customers that high end wagons attract are some of the most monied and loyal of any segment anywhere.
So obviously Mercedes is an even higher class brand and has more expensive vehicles.
But that model, the E-class wagon, tends to have a higher average household income than things like the S-class.
And even up there with like the G wagon.
It's really a crazy, small, but very passionate buying option.
[INAUDIBLE] are best owners.
Right, because they're so rare, the residual is bound to be pretty good too.
So I think we can all conclude, everybody should buy more sport wagons, especially here in the US.
I've done my part, he's done his part.
I've done my part.
I've bought multiple
All right, I think that's gonna wrap it for our round table discussion.
Thank you Chris, Drew and Andrew.
Up next, I'll be back with a panel of experts talking about vehicle to vehicle communications, our VX breakdown.
What is my future car talking to anyway?
We'll figure that out in just a few minutes.
Stay with us.