Concept cars from Canadian International Auto Show 2018

The 2018 Canadian International Auto Show is in full swing right now at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and this year it’s all about the concepts. Here are a trio of big ones from three different manufacturers.

MINI Electric Concept

MINI Electric Concept

Not even a year after MINI released its first production plug-in hybrid, the Countryman PHEV, the brand has introduced a fully electric concept. Looking like a futuristic Cooper, much of the grille has been smoothed over to reflect to reflect the removal of the internal combustion component. The body sports special aerodynamic pieces, unique badging and “Striking Yellow” paint accents for differentiation. A production version is scheduled for 2019.

Infiniti Project Black S

Infiniti Project Black S Concept

A collaborative project between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team — a partnership that has existed since 2016 — Project Black S is a racy reimagination of the Q60 Coupe. Finished in a menacing matte grey, the designers have blacked out all the chrome found on the standard Q60, such as on the front bumper and door pillar surrounds, and utilized healthy amounts of carbon fibre in fabricating the exterior parts. Under the sheet metal, an Energy Recovery System recoups unspent electricity to boost power and torque output.

Toyota i-TRIL

Toyota i-TRIL Concept

This environmentally friendly compact EV is the product of Toyota Motors Europe and affiliate ED² design studio based in Nice, France. Intended for those living in a so-called SMESTO (small to medium-sized town), the one-plus-two seater uses Active Lean Technology, which allows the front wheels to lean to one side during cornering similar to a motorcycle, while the rear pair stays perpendicular to the road. This allows a super tight turning radius with no physical discomfort to the passengers. The i-TRIL can travel more than 200 kilometres on a single charge and is operable in manual or autonomous modes.

Toyota i-TRIL interior

Infiniti Q50 receives enhancements for 2018

Four years after the initial launch of Infinity’s luxury sports sedan, the company is giving the Q50 a well-deserved facelift. And the exterior changes differ, depending on whether customers opt for either the Luxe or Sport grades.

“Its benchmark performance and athletic styling make it an important cornerstone in our product line. We are excited to get this newest sports sedan in the hands of our fans when it arrives in INFINITI showrooms later this summer,” said Infiniti Americas vice president Randy Parker.

2018 Infiniti Q50 sport rear

Some of the upgrades fall uniformly across all models, like the updated signature double-arch grille that features more texture and detailing in the chrome surround and centre mesh, and slimmer rear LED tail lamps lifted from the Q60.

To separate the two main trim levels, those designed with Sport, which includes the top-of-the-line Red Sport 400, receives accoutrements to increase performance and enhance appearance. The front bumper contains additional aerodynamic lines, corner splitters and lower, wider side air intakes. The door mirrors are blacked out, and at the rear, a section of dark metallic trim sits between the twin exhaust pipes.

2018 Infiniti Q50 interior

Designers have sought to raise the level of refinement inside the Q50, adding authentic, natural wood to the dashboard rather than the usual high gloss veneer.  The instrument cluster is shrouded in double-stitched leather. Further influence from the Q60 can be found in the cabin such as a new steering wheel boasting thumb grips and more ergonomically shaped paddle shifters. The “double wave” gauge hood has been reshaped to fit the slightly elongated centre console.

The powertrain selection remains the same — consumers are still treated to a large selection of engine offerings. Four to be exact: at the top, a 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 making 400 horsepower, a similarly set up mill with 300 horsepower, a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 208 horsepower and 3.5-litre V6 hybrid that has a combined output of 360 horsepower.

Approximately 210,000 Q50s have been sold since first being released in 2013. Look for the 2018 model to arrive in the coming weeks.