Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.
The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.
The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.
The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.
Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.
Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.
Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.
The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!
To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.
1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.
For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!
To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.
It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.
Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.
Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!
Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...
Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!
I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...
Anonymous looks make this M5 the perfect ?sleeper?
If you prefer to blend understated class with rapid pace, you need a Q car. We drive our favourites and recommend nine alternatives
If you have a few followers on social media, you can be sure that any picture you post of any interesting car will earn some kind of reaction from at least a few people. Then, just occasionally, you get an avalanche.
My most recent was when I posted a picture of this 1987 BMW M5 parked in a field on a wet day. It may look like just another three-box saloon, but there is so much love for it that even I, an E28 fan since day one, was surprised by the response.
To me, and I guess, to them, its visual ordinariness lies at the heart of its appeal. Actually, Ian Sutton?s superb car seen here (number 185 of 187 right-hand-drive cars built) is in the minority of first-generation M5s having the M-Technic bodykit from the far less powerful M535i. Without it, you?d need to be spotting alloy wheels, badges, a slightly deeper front spoiler and body-coloured wing mirrors to tell the difference.
But different it was. Priced north of £30,000 at launch, it cost more than half as much again as the more sporty-looking M535i, but what? you were buying was not so much a souped-up 5 Series, but an ultra-low- volume, highly specialised four-door supercar built not on the line with all the other 5 Series variants,?but by hand by BMW Motorsport.
Most obviously, it had the twin cam, 24-valve 3.5-litre engine first used in the M1, albeit with different pistons, rods and management. Today, 282bhp might not seem like much, but when this car came out, it was more than you?d find under the engine cover of the Ferrari 328 GTB.
But there was far more to the original M5 than that: it had a close-ratio Getrag gearbox and bespoke suspension geometry, shock absorbers, rollbars and spring rates. There were bigger brakes, those beautiful 16in wheels (for the UK market) and chunkier tyres, too.
Inside, it was even harder to tell the difference: there?s an M-Technic wheel, an M-badge where the fuel economy gauge should be in the? rev counter and more on the?heavily bolstered sports seats.?Look really closely and you?ll?notice the speedometer reads up?to 170mph instead of the usual 160mph, but it lacks even the red needles or oil temperature gauge ?of its contemporary, the E30 M3.? At the time, the M5 seemed pretty understated, but in today?s world where a car?s kudos in the sports?car market appears defined by the amount of aerodynamic addenda it wears, it seems very nearly invisible.
You sit high in the M5 and notice first how narrow it is, then how phenomenally airy it feels and, lastly, how easy it is to see out of.? The body?s squared off sides make? it exceptionally easy to negotiate down lanes, increasing both its point-to-point speed and your confidence and enjoyment of the car. The engine is pure automotive aristocracy. Its voice is clean, sharp, rich and smooth, pregnant with promise yet quiet enough not to intrude. Most E28 M5s have done big mileages, because their first owners gleefully used them as all-purpose daily drivers, dispatching everything this side of an uncommonly powerful Ferrari with barely a puff of smoke from its twin central tailpipes. The gearshift is quite slow but very precise and the ratios are beautifully chosen; sufficiently closely stacked to make the most of the engine?s limited torque, but long enough in fifth so as not to get breathless.
The car?s dimensions make it ?very easy to drive fast, while the power makes it a very quick one,?not just by the standards of 30 years ago, but also those of today. A large executive saloon it may have been in its day, but it?s lighter than a brand new Volkswagen Golf R and only a fraction less powerful. And once its engine gets above 4200rpm, it simply sings around to its 7000rpm redline. You could have more fun in this boxy old saloon just travelling in a straight line than most modern sporting cars down your favourite country road.
It handles far better than you?d expect, too. The E28 5 Series was quite loose at the rear, especially in the wet, but for all BMW added to the M5 in terms of extra power, it added more in terms of chassis stability. Those suspension modifications allied to a standard limited-slip differential means that while the M5 still rides softly compared with modern cars, it has no shortage of composure. Its steering has perfect gearing, impressive accuracy and feel of a kind that you just don?t find in this kind of car anymore. I wasn?t about to wrench it loose through a quick corner on a wet road in front of its owner, but I drove it as fast as it felt it wanted to be driven and loved how naturally it f lowed from mild understeer to gorgeous neutrality as I applied power from the apex.
Really, though, I just loved being in it. Being old enough (just) to?be testing these cars when they were new, I?d been worried about reacquainting myself: 30 years is a long time and not only is the M5 indescribably different to its modern descendants, but I am not the same person I was three decades ago.
And yet, like all the best friendships, we just picked up where we?d left off. Within seconds of getting inside of the M5 I was remembering things about this car I?d not thought of for a generation ? the little check panel in the roof and the way you have to nudge the brake pedal to make its warning light go out; the charmingly complicated electric seat switches, the bristles either side of the handbrake lever and the way the seat and pedals?are directly aligned, but with the steering wheel bizarrely displaced towards the centre of the car.
I don?t think any car has done understated power better than the E28 M5, which is why of all Q-cars, it is my favourite. Many cars have real charm, but very few also have such natural, unassuming class.
Built 2003-2005 Price range £5000- £15,000 We?d pay £8500 One we found 2004 MG ZT 260 saloon, 49,000 miles. It?s the MG version because Rovers are incredibly rare, but the powertrain is the same: £8995.
We all fondly remember the lunatic MG ZT 260, with its 4.6-litre Mustang V8, but who recalls that, briefly, there was a Rover version as well? With anonymous looks and 256bhp, it could be the ultimate stealth weapon.
A 5.0-litre V8-engined, mid-sized Mercedes engineered and built?by Porsche. Superb to drive and brilliantly easy to live with, if it came with right-hand drive it could have been an even bigger hit here in the UK.
Jaguar Mk2 3.8
Built 1959-1967 Price range £13,000- £70,000 We?d pay £35,000 One we found 1966 3.8, manual with overdrive, mileage not stated. Restored in 2008, interior refurbished in 2011: £35,995.
Normally aspirated 1.8 makes 187bhp and revs to 8700rpm
We take a look at the best used front-driven cars you can get
When BMW was in charge of Rover, there was a big sign at the end of the Rover 75 production line that read: ?You are building the best front-wheel-drive car in the world.?
It was the type of backhanded compliment that meant ?we still make the best rear-wheel-drive cars in the world? but it was, at least, kinda true, if you wanted a complete all-round car.
But when I?m talking about the best front-wheel-drive cars, I?m not looking for the best junior Bentley: I?m talking about the best front-drive driver?s car of all time. This, here,?is the definitive list of those. Well, almost. There are one or two models that (a) I haven?t driven or (b) have been nabbed by my colleagues. But it?s as close as you?ll see, regardless of whether they?re any good or not? as used cars: consider this a celebration of all things great, rather than a conventional used buyer?s guide.
That said, the used market is quite savvy and the classic car market savvier still. It rewards not necessarily the reliable, practical cars but, in terms of value and esteem, what the market reflects now is whether these cars were any good in period.
The Honda Integra Type R is, without question, my shout for the best front-drive car of all time. I think it?s better than a Peugeot 205 GTi, better than a Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI, better than the latest, greatest, 300bhp hot hatchbacks. Better than, actually, 90% of rear-drive cars.
It?s a thing of such perfection and of modest output, and of such purity, that I doubt we?ll see its like again. A bold thing to say? Perhaps. I wouldn?t say a Bugatti Chiron will never be outdone for pace. I wouldn?t say nobody will build a car lighter and purer than a Caterham 7.
But when it comes to cars like this, the world has moved on to such an extent that nobody will make a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre car with only 187bhp that weighs just 1140kg and has a manual gearbox and a mechanical limited- slip differential. Those in charge of product at car companies wouldn?t be able to leave it at that. They wouldn?t be able to offer such little power, they wouldn?t resist torque vectoring by braking, they?d have to fit electric, not hydraulic, power steering, they wouldn?t be able to leave it unturbocharged and they wouldn?t be able to resist active rear steer or adaptive dampers or bigger wheels and tyres than 195/55 R15s. If you sold this car today, nobody would buy it.
I say that with some conviction because not that many people bought one at the time. Which is why a good one now costs as much as £13,000.
According to the man from Honda, who sourced this car, there are two types of Integra Type R. There are the really, really good ones, which are massively expensive; and there are the shonky old cheap ones. This one is the rarest of all, then, being somewhere between those two poles. It has been modestly revived, on a bit of a budget, but well enough to retain the vast majority of what made it so special in the first place.
Classic cars have a problem being all they were when they were new because, as time goes on, bodies become a little less rigid, suspension components develop some slack?and, unless you maintain absolute tightness in all bushes and so on, and fresh dampers, there comes a point where older cars start to feel similar; in that they all feel a bit baggy, a bit loose around the edges.
With not many more than 50,000 miles on it, though, this one is still tight. Ideally, an Integra should be on Bridgestone Potenza tyres, but this one has had less grippy tyres fitted because Honda doesn?t want to put too much load into the suspension and wear it out more quickly. Think of it as putting those covers on the edge of the sofa, which protect sofa arms you?ll never actually see.
So this could feel like a car that?s on its way out of its perfect state. But it isn?t. It?s still an Integra that feels every inch like the best front-driver in the world. It?s utterly magic.
When it was new, I tested one on B-roads in the south-east, so that?s where I go. And it takes fewer than three tight corners for it to remind me of what it has to give: nice willingness to turn, and one of the best power- assisted steering systems to grace a front-wheel-drive car. Perhaps this one feels a bit more nose-centric and less adjustable than I remember ? although I am trying to recall testing a car I last drove a decade ago?but it is still very agile by today?s standards.
Then, of course, there?s the engine, which back then was pretty much the highlight of any Type R. It revs?to 8700rpm ? strongly, still, today ? with a notable kick above 5000rpm. There?s very little flywheel inertia, the five-speed ?box remains as snicky as it always was, and because the ratios are so close (overall gearing is low), you barely need to prod the throttle on heel-and-toe downshifts to get the revs to match the next gear. It feels like a real precision instrument.
Only a few minutes at the wheel is enough to see why values of Integras are on the rise ? although not enough to understand why so criminally few were bought new ? and conclude that the best thing you can do is buy the best you can and try to keep the chassis on top form. The last thing an Integra will lose, I suspect, is that VTEC engine?s phenomenal kick, but wonderful though that is, it?s the steering and the handling that outclass it. Here?s a car that isn?t just the best front-driver in the world: it?s one of the greatest driver?s cars of all time. Which wheels are powered is almost incidental.
Built 2010 Price range £35,000- £50,000 We?d pay £40,000 One we found There are usually only one or two on sale in the UK at a time because only 100 landed here, but worth seeking out. Around the same price they sold at new.
Built 1996-2002 Price range £1000- £4000 We?d pay £3500 One we found These cars are both rare and bargains. Tatty ones can be had from £1000 and £4000 buys you the best. We liked a tidy 100k-miler priced at £2900.
This car was raw when launched in 2002. It had no ABS, the glass was thinner than usual, soundproofing was removed and the suspension was lowered. At just 1020kg, it was an utter hoot. Still is, if in good nick.
The ?Mini GP? was a run-out special. Only 8bhp was added to the engine but 50kg came out in total, including 15kg from the rear suspension and 8kg from the wheels, which made it thrilling to drive, even at £22,000.
It?s frequently regarded as the best front-driver, but the Honda Integra Type R has more going for it, as far as we?re concerned. And prices for good 205s have gone bonkers. One just sold at auction for £38,000.
This sublime coachbuilt model is called 'Shangri La' and uses a Ramjet engine
Enthusiasts from around the world reside in Monterey this weekend to see the best the car world has to offer. First up: the Quail
Monterey car week is well and truly underway - and it brings together car connoisseurs and enthusiasts from around the world to celebrate all things motoring.
The so-called ?Quail, a Motorsports Gathering? occurs at The Quail golf club in California and features a host of old and new cars. Many individual owners compete in the concours while manufacturers use the event as an opportunity to show off their cars to the wealthy.
Despite the car?s Morgan-esque exterior, it?s powered by an electric motor, which gives a 0-62mph time of 5.5sec and a top speed of 105mph. The company?s signature sculpted grille is nodded to on the front of the car.
It bears a similar 148bhp, 236lb ft electric powertrain to the second-generation Nissan Leaf, which is due to be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show. At 4330mm long and 1820mm wide, it?s 90mm shorter than Infiniti's Q30 hatchback but 15mm wider. The low-slung, race-inspired car stands at 910mm high and is dwarfed by the Q30?s 1495mm height, mostly due to its lack of a roof.
The 890kg single-seater features retro construction techniques, such as a steel ladder chassis and handmade steel body panels. It?s leaf-sprung and without power steering.
The time disconnect between the 1940s-inspired Prototype 9 and Infiniti?s relatively recent launch in 1989 has been pegged as further inspiration behind the concept; Infiniti can trace its history to Prince Motor Company, which Infiniti claims was the first Japanese premium car maker. The Prince R380 will also make its debut at Pebble Beach.
Even the concept?s name is a nod to Infiniti?s current model line-up; 9, pronounced ?kyoo? in Japanese, is a reference to the brand?s Q-based nomenclature.
Beginning life as a design sketch, the car imagines what an Infiniti grand prix racer would have looked like and mimics the growing barn-find culture in the classic car industry today.
Infiniti boss Roland Krueger said: ?What started as an after-hours idea grew into a fully fledged prototype; our designers and engineers were excited by the notion of creating a past vision; a nod to our origins.?
?They volunteered their own time; more and more staff became involved. Our teams have proven skills in manufacturing, engineering, design and advanced powertrains, yet they wanted to bring their own traditional craftsmanship to the project.?
Mercedes has revealed its new art deco-inspired Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet concept car at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
A drop-top version of the electric Mercedes-Maybach 6 coupé concept, it's the latest step in Mercedes-Benz?s efforts to further resurrect the image and standing of its Maybach luxury sub-brand following strong sales of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class in key global markets over the past 12 months.
Taking the stretched lines and intricate detailing of the original 6, which was revealed at last year?s Pebble Beach, the 6 Cabriolet has a retractable roof and a plush new two-seat interior, creating a blueprint for a production model to take on the Rolls-Royce Dawn.
At 5700mm in length, 2100mm in width and 1340mm in height, the 6 Cabriolet is a considerable 671mm longer, 201mm wider but 71mm lower than the S-Class Cabriolet.
Distinguished by its bold grille, long sweeping bonnet, extreme rearward seating position, towering 24in wheels, extended boat tail-style rear end and two-tone design scheme, the 6 Cabriolet resurrects both the stretched proportions and aesthetic principles common of luxury cars throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
These traditional cues are combined with a number of contemporary touches, including slim LED headlights and full-width OLED tail-lights.
Inside, the 6 Cabriolet has a luxurious interior lined with quilted white Nappa leather, a flowing, full-width dashboard featuring the latest in touch-sensitive controls and digital displays featuring traditional analogue needles. The custom-made retractable fabric roof incorporates interwoven threads of gold.
The dramatic styling and elaborate details are claimed to provide hints to how Maybach versions of Mercedes models will look in future years in order to give them with a more individual and distinctive appearance.
?The 6 Cabriolet is the embodiment of our design strategy,? said Mercedes' chief design officer, Gorden Wagener. ?Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious haute couture interior help to create the ultimate experience.?
The 6 Cabriolet is has a pure electric powertrain delivering a sturdy 750bhp via four compact electric motors ? a layout similar to that used by the short-lived Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive supercar.
The motors act independently on each wheel, making the 6 Cabriolet four-wheel-drive. Computer simulations point to a 0-62mph time of less than 4.0sec, while top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
Electricity is stored in a lithium ion battery mounted within the floorplan. Mercedes claims a range of more than 311 miles on the European test cycle. A quick charge function, running at up to 350kW, is said to provide an additional range of up to 62 miles from just five minutes of charging.