Gordon Murray is a world renowned car designer who penned fabulous machines including McLaren’s race winning Formula One car and the iconic McLaren F1 super car. In recent years he has embarked himself on creating the T series of city cars that was poised to rethink how the automotive industry will head in the future. Murray has been waiting for a suitable manufacturer to approach him to employ his ingenious process of car creation. It has been years the project went silent, but that is until now.
It was revealed that during the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha has indeed approached Murray (pictured as below) and will become the world’s first major manufacturer to adopt the revolutionary iStream car creation process.
Gordon Murray’s central theme with iStream has always been to free car production from the inflexibility and crippling investment costs of the traditional stamped-steel, spot-welded construction process adopted wholesale by mass manufacturers from the end of the 1940s, replacing it with a system that depends on structures whose relatively simple tubular steel frames (formed without the need for extensive stamping shops) have class-leading rigidity and crashworthiness provided by super-lightweight sheets of composite sandwich material bonded in to form the floor, firewall, bulkheads and roll-over structure. It is massively strong and durable, says Murray; F1 technology adapted to keep a lid on cost as well as weight.
The result is the Yamaha Motiv. At first glance, this Yamaha MOTIV is the Smart car that you will really want to drive, and coming out from someone who designed the legendary McLaren F1, this city car is indeed special.
In dimension, the Motiv is 50mm narrower and 60mm lower than a Smart but almost identical in length at 2690mm, and it is claimed to be 100kgs lighter as well. It opts for two unique and handsome multi-adjustable, thin-shell composite seats. The cockpit controls will feature perfectly tuned controls, switches and dials in reflection of Yamaha’s expertise in musical and audio equipment.
Among unique features on the Motiv including an all new compact powertrain mounted low in the car, just in front of the rear axle and an innovative and simple independent iLink rear suspension system, specifically devised to improve on the ride and handling qualities of the non-independent systems. Two trims were introduced at the moment, the petrol powered Motiv with a Yamaha sourced 1.0L three-cylinder engine, driving the rear wheels through a new six-speed dual-clutch transmission. While the electrical version, dubbed the Motiv-e, utilizes a battery-electric powertrain by Zytec.
With Murray’s expertise in F1 and super cars, expect the Motiv will turned into a fun little machine to drive despite having a modest 0-100km/h figures of below 10 secs. Depending on public reaction during the motor show, should all goes well, Yamaha set to roll out the first of the Motivs by 2016, with estimated pricing around £8000-£12,000.