This autumn’s hot fact and fiction Some you’ll be able to buy, others less so. By Jake Groves
It’s our autonomous pod of the month! Before you get ahead of yourselves, this isn’t a replacement for the boxy, Dutch-built Volvo 360 either. No, Volvo aspires to take on short haul flights with this rather swish-looking driverless car. It’s allelectric, with Volvo saying it’ll do 186 miles on one charge. The idea is that if you’re travelling from continental city to city,
the car will do it for you while you chill in the sleeping cabin…not that 186 miles will get you to that many cities. Volvo wanted to show exactly what its autonomous concepts can actually do and how people might use them, instead of just being ‘a tech showcase’ and little more, according to Robin Page, Volvo’s senior VP for design.
NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? A replacement for your EasyJet to Paris > Tech specs Car-toinfrastructure comms, lounge-like cockpit > Aimed at? Overnight travellers who want easier lives > Chances of making production? Remote. Like Pluto
Kia has finally stripped its family car range of unnecessary punctuation and transformed the Pro_Ceed three-door hatch into this svelte Proceed shooting brake. It’s meant to be a more stylish alternative to a regular Ceed estate and, as such, is only available in Kia’s top-end GT Line or the new warm GT specification.
Three petrols and a diesel will be available, with the GT coming with 201bhp (is that even classed as warm these days?), a seven-speed DCT, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and stifer springs. Despite the roofline, Kia says the Proceed has 50 per cent more rear space. If it drives as well as the regular hatch, sign us up.
NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? The most stylish Ceed yet > Tech specs 201bhp GT model, genuinely gorgeous looks > Aimed at? Kia-ping up with the Joneses > Chances of making production? On sale across Europe from Q1 2019
The halfway-house AMG has made it to the A-Class. While we wait for the hot one, this punchy A35 should whet the appetite, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder cranking out 302bhp and 295lb ft via a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box and 4Matic all-wheel drive. That’s good for a 4.7sec 0-62mph launch – the same as the now-outgoing Focus RS – but the 4Matic system has a frontwheel bias during regular driving and no drift mode. AMG-tuned axle geometry should help quell torquesteer.
Along with the DTM-inspired dive planes and rear wing on the outside, there’s a Porsche-style rotary switch for the drive select system on the steering wheel and an AMG-tweaked MBUX system.
NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? An A-Class AMG appetiser > Tech specs AMG Pace track datalogger, punchy four-cylinder turbo > Aimed at? Impatient Afalterbach fans > Chances of making production? Coming to the UK early 2019
Divisively styled (most people hate it, someone at BMW doesn’t), iNext is about teasing an all-electric, nextdecade SUV that will sit between the i3 city car, i8 sports car and the third car from BMW’s i sub-brand and based on the i Vision Dynamics concept. The iNext has modes for both manual driving (Boost), should you want to get involved yourself, and self-driving (Ease) that provides you with a to-do list to keep you busy. Performance and range specs are non-existent, but the interior has some neat details like light, soft-touch wooden surfaces, a rectangular steering wheel and a sweeping infotainment display.
NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? A preview of a fourth BMW i car > Tech specs Boost and Ease drive modes, pared-back interior > Aimed at? Next-decade folk with cataracts > Chances of making production? From 2021 and beyond