By Steve Laser and Craig Nicol reporting from Tokyo, Japan
While automakers worked hard to grab our attention inside the exhibit halls at the Tokyo Motor Show this year, there was plenty of excitement happening on the outside too.
We noticed the huge permanent panels of the Conference Tower being used as a projection screen for some wild graphics. The grounds around the Tokyo Big Sight complex were also illuminated with splashy colors.
The show organizers said they collaborated with German light art photographer Jan Leonardo, who has worked on many fashion brand and music industry advertisements. The designs are said to portray tracks of light resembling tires connecting to the future.
Now let’s take a look at some of the headliners at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show from European automakers.
The world premiere of the new M4 GTS was the major news at the BMW exhibit. The automaker says this new model sets its sights squarely on the racetrack yet it’s also equipped for life on the road.
BMW says this special edition is limited to a run of just 700 units worldwide to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the BMW M3 which was introduced in 1986. The M4 GTS is designed to follow in the tracks of the M3 GT (1995), M3 CSL (2003), M3 GTS (2010) and M3 CRT (2011).
The automaker says BMW M engineers equipped the new model with water injection to help increase output to 368kW (500 hp). Rear lights with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology make their series-production debut on the M4 GTS.
“Customers can drive the M4 GTS to a circuit, think Suzuka, Fuji, Spa-Francorchamps or the Nürburgring, for a club sport event and then set lap times in the car that will raise the bar for road-going models another notch,” said Franciscus Van Meel, President BMW M Division.
“The BMW M4 GTS sprints from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in only 3.8 seconds and can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the world’s most challenging racetrack, in only 7 minutes and 28 seconds,” he said. “We’ve employed intelligent lightweight construction techniques. They include exclusive parts for the interior and exterior and the weight-saving titanium exhaust system.”
Switching gears to flagship luxury, the new BMW 7 Series made its Asian premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show. “The BMW 7 Series is the pinnacle of our brand, a tradition that began in 1977,” said Kronschnabl. “Today we are proud to present the sixth generation of this flagship vehicle with more than a dozen world-first innovations.”
“These include gesture control and remote control parking which allows the driver to park the car via the display key while standing outside,” he said. “The new 7 Series also practices sustainability. It uses a carbon core to reduce vehicle weight and lower fuel consumption. Additionally, we will offer a plug-in hybrid drivetrain from next year.”
This new luxury brand launched two years ago by automaker Peugeot Citroën was exhibited for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show. It signals “a return of French cars to the high-end segment.”
The new DS4, called a “dynamic and refined premium hatchback,” made its Asian market premiere at Tokyo. It was officially launched a month earlier at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The new DS4’s front styling features the brand’s signature “DS Wings” grille and new DS LED Vision headlights. Refined interior design includes Nappa leather upholstery and the option of “watch strap” semi aniline leather seats.
“From its creation in 2014, the French automotive brand DS drew on an outstanding heritage, that of the DS 19, launched 60 years ago,” said Bonnefont. “The legendary car embodies the values of innovation, excellence and avant-gardism. Like the 1955 DS, today’s DS models combine remarkable design, technology, comfort, performance, premium materials and refinement.”
The new DS4 Crossback is aimed at those looking for “urban and extra-urban adventure.” Styling features include black wheel arch trims, a unique front end and rear spoiler also finished in black, and grey roof bars. It also gains a ride height 30mm higher than the hatchback version.
The big surprise from Mercedes-Benz was the debut of the new Vision Tokyo concept billed as a “fitting tribute to the sophisticated megacity and trendsetting metropolis that is Tokyo.”
“Japan’s capital city is home to some nine million people, in an area that’s 622 square kilometers in size – smaller than Paris but with more than four times as many people. This megacity represents a fascinating combination of tradition and contemporary high tech and is constantly defining new trends,” said Mercedes.
We captured this turntable spin of the new Vision Tokyo at the Mercedes-Benz display.
“Spatially efficient, versatile and intelligently connected, the Vision Tokyo – which is capable of driving autonomously – is an urban transformer that reflects the growing youthfulness of the Mercedes-Benz brand,” said the automaker.
The area across the front of the vehicle can be used to display a series of different lighting functions. If music is playing inside, the display will visualize a sound pattern like a synthesizer.
Passengers take their seats on a large, oval-shaped couch in a lounge-style arrangement “to enjoy the benefits of autonomous driving. Behind the passengers are wraparound LED screens. Apps, maps and displays from the entertainment system are presented as ‘three-dimensional holograms’ within the interior space.”
Mercedes says the body shell of the Vision Tokyo has been designed to allow the crash-protected integration of a fuel cell-powered electric drive system. It’s based on the F-cell Plug-in Hybrid of the F015 Luxury in Motion concept (above) also displayed in Tokyo following its debut earlier this year.
In addition to these far-out futuristic looks at the future, a wide array of vehicles were on display in Tokyo including the stunning Mercedes-AMG GT3 (above) and AMG Petronas F1 W05 Hybrid.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Mini, welcome to the summer which we’ve extended here especially for you,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management of BMW AG, responsible for Mini, during the brand’s press conference. “I am delighted to be here in Japan to celebrate with you the world debut of the next strong character in the Mini family – the new Mini Convertible.”
“This car really makes you long for good weather, for an open-topped ride in the warm breeze, carefree cruising on coastal roads or through the urban centers of the world,” he said. “In the future, Mini will concentrate on five models, each with a strong personality of its own.
The Mini Convertible offers the most exclusive and also most invigorating way of enjoying hallmark Mini driving fun according to the automaker. In the new edition of the open four-seater, the evolutionary refinement of the sporty-elegant exterior design and the high-grade interior ambience harmonize with the wide range of innovations in the areas of drive, suspension, equipment and networking.
The automatic textile top of the new Mini Convertible is equipped with a fully electric drive mechanism. It can also be opened and closed while driving up to speeds of 30 km/h in 18 seconds respectively and also features a sliding roof function, says Mini.
This new generation is scheduled to go on sale in the Japanese market during the first quarter of 2016 as the Mini Cooper Convertible and Mini Cooper S Convertible (above).
New options include the “Always Open Timer,” with expanded display functions, the Mini Connected App with rain warning, automatic air conditioning with convertible mode, and a compact wind deflector.
Porsche introduced three world premieres in Tokyo: the 911 Carrera 4S, 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet and Macan GTS. Like the rear-wheel-drive versions, 911 Carrera 4S has the latest generation of the legendary flat-six engine now with bi-turbo charging. Porsche says the nominal outputs reach 420 hp (309 kW) – for a 20 hp boost.
Porsche says progress has also continued in the technology of all-wheel drive. It now matches that in the 911 Turbo, has electro-hydraulic control and reacts faster and more sensitively to the current driving situation.
This means even better harmony between all-wheel drive and the standard PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) chassis. Porsche says additional dynamic potential is unleashed by the active rear-wheel steering, which now, in addition to the 911 Turbo and the 911 GT3, is also available as an option for Carrera 4S.
“We are proud to add three letters that were first used on one of our race cars to the Macan’s name: GTS,” said Mossle. “The GTS proves beyond a doubt that the Macan truly is a sports car of its class. In our newest GTS models we increase the performance and excitement but without compromising comfort.”
“Porsche enthusiasts, and there are many of them here in Japan, will know instantly what it is about,” he said. “Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine of course has more power. It now develops 360 horsepower transmitted through our PDK twin-clutch gearbox. The new sport exhaust system provides the matching sound. And our Porsche Active Suspension Management can lower the car by 15 millimeters without compromising the comfort.”
Visit the links below for our additional coverage of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show:
2015 Tokyo Motor Show Part 1 – Honda, Lexus, Nissan and Toyota
2015 Tokyo Motor Show Part 2 – Daihatsu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki
2015 Tokyo Motor Show Part 4 – Toyota Auto Body, Yamaha and Smart Mobility City
Story, photos and videos (as noted) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com
Additional photos (as noted) courtesy of the Tokyo Motor Show, DS Autos, and Mercedes-Benz