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Old 18th April 2015, 13:19   #1
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Exclamation Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Off late we have seen many automotive magazines & reviewers getting their hands on "yet" to be launched cars.

These cars are almost production ready but haven't shed their camouflage as they are yet to be revealed.

I believe this is a new chapter in Automotive history as i really do not recollect this used to happen earlier.

Here are a few examples;

BMW i8;

Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?-i8.jpg

^ The i8 prototype was driven by many reviewers, but the above pic is by Autocar UK review way before its official reveal;

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/...t-drive-review

BMW i3;

Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?-i3.jpg

^ The i3 prototype was tested by Car & Driver some time before official reveal;

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...t-drive-review

LR Discovery Sport;

Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?-lr.jpg

^ LR Discovery Sport "prototype" review by AutoExpress;

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/land-ro...pe-ride-review

Honda Civic Type R;

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Honda Civic Type R "Turbo" was driven by TOP GEAR and the major emphasis of this prototype review was on the all new 2L Turbo engine.

http://www.topgear.com/uk/honda/civi...ototype-driven

There are many such examples of prototype reviews done.

Are the reviewers / automotive journalists helping the Auto companies fine tune their upcoming products before launch ?

IMO this is indeed a new trend in Automobile Journalism. What do u think ?

Last edited by karan561 : 18th April 2015 at 13:44.
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Old 19th April 2015, 20:29   #2
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Latest example: Upcoming BMW 7 series "mule" already reviewed by Top Gear before being revealed;

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Read full review by Top Gear, CLICK HERE

Last edited by karan561 : 19th April 2015 at 20:31.
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Old 19th April 2015, 21:56   #3
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Before going to the examples of big shots - I think the team BHP preview drive of the Amaze qualifies for this. The one Vidyut attended. (In Japan?)
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Old 19th April 2015, 22:19   #4
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Yep. I think it's a win-win for both - the journalists and the car companies. The journalists gets their hands on the car much before it actually hits the market. When it eventually does, they already have a yardstick to measure it by.

Also, the manufacturers might benefit from the reviewers vast experience of driving a sea of different vehicles. Inputs from such personnel is highly valued, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Before going to the examples of big shots - I think the team BHP preview drive of the Amaze qualifies for this. The one Vidyut attended. (In Japan?)
Vidyut can give better clarity on this; but wasn't the car he drove a production-spec model?


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Old 19th April 2015, 22:28   #5
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Autocar India's review of DC Avanti prototype
http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-rev...-392183,0.aspx

I'm not sure if the review had the desired effect - because the test revealed 0 - 100 kmph time of 8 seconds (something that a Skoda Laura can do) from a 280 BHP mid-engined sports car.
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Old 19th April 2015, 23:37   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cartman View Post

Vidyut can give better clarity on this; but wasn't the car he drove a production-spec model?





Cheers!

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Nopes. It was a prototype. Here's the link, thanks to google. Funny reading through it now, as the prototype seems to have better refinement compared to the production version. Vidyut said it's nearly impossible to tell its a diesel at idle. Or might have have compromised on insulation for our market.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...el-driven.html (Honda Amaze 1.5L Diesel : Driven)
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Old 20th April 2015, 01:20   #7
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

This is a really good concept - but not new. I believe such a test drive was also arranged in India and Team-BHP was a part of it. I dont remember which Manufacturer / Brand it was but the test cars were camouflaged and they were not allowed to post interior pics.
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Old 20th April 2015, 11:14   #8
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
This is a really good concept - but not new. I believe such a test drive was also arranged in India and Team-BHP was a part of it. I dont remember which Manufacturer / Brand it was but the test cars were camouflaged and they were not allowed to post interior pics.
I believe it was Honda Amaze which was reviewed well a year ahead of its launch by tbhp
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Old 20th April 2015, 11:39   #9
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Before going to the examples of big shots - I think the team BHP preview drive of the Amaze qualifies for this. The one Vidyut attended. (In Japan?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sushantr5 View Post
I believe it was Honda Amaze which was reviewed well a year ahead of its launch by tbhp
We also previewed the Hyundai i10 Grand before launch-
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...0-preview.html (Hyundai Grand i10 Preview)
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Old 20th April 2015, 11:45   #10
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
We also previewed the Hyundai i10 Grand before launch-
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...0-preview.html (Hyundai Grand i10 Preview)
Great

Were you guys supposed to give feedback to the engineers on how the car was & any suggestions given by you were incorporated as changes in the production spec ?

Also im sure it would be difficult to bring design change etc, But engine tuning (to reduce turbo lag, increase power & more may be possible) or may be enhance refinement levels is easily adaptable.

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Old 20th April 2015, 12:00   #11
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

I think this works very well for the manufacturer as he gets to know the review of their car from a journalist and can take corrective action if any before the common public get's their hands on the car.

Like someone had said, two brains are always better than one, a pool of experienced Automotive journalist who have an eye for every detail can be a tool which can spot even the littlest of follies and should be a force worth having in the arsenal.
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Old 20th April 2015, 12:43   #12
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Default re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by karan561 View Post
Great
Were you guys supposed to give feedback to the engineers on how the car was & any suggestions given by you were incorporated as changes in the production spec ?
In this case although we drove the pre-production car but the car was launched soon after this.
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Old 20th April 2015, 18:03   #13
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Default Re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Manufacturers aren't looking at feedback from auto reviewers (unless they're singing praises, in which case they'll be all ears).

Whether prototypes or production ready cars, professional reviewers do give a lot of feedback to manufacturers / engineers. Sometimes the suggestions are implemented, most times they aren't. Why? For one, the car is nearly finalised by the time a journo gets his hands on one. No one is keen on further tuning it (additional cost, deadlines to meet etc.). Second, car manufacturers conduct extensive research operations before & during the design of the car. They think they already know the target market.

If manufacturers improve a product during its lifecycle, it's usually based on customer feedback. Nearly all manufacturers screen Team-BHP on a daily basis. Two examples of this would be Hyundai stiffening the Verna's rear end & Mahindra starting a soft recall on the XUV500's weak alloy wheels.

So, with that done, the question is: Why are these prototype test-drives conducted? Simple = To create buzz & awareness. From the publishers point of view, the earlier you get your hands on a car, the better.

Before, all cars were reviewed after launch.

Then, to make it more exclusive, a select few get invited before launch.

To make it even more exclusive, some manufacturers call 'one' reviewer to report on the car a month prior to the pre-launch review drives. In exchange, the exclusive reviewer has to give a favourable review, no two sides to it.

Driving prototypes is taking this 'exclusive' business one step above. This is as far back as we can go in the car's production cycle....for obvious reason, you won't be able to review a true pre-production spec (with tons of rough edges). Even the early examples that we've driven - and those in the first post out here - are nearly final production stuff. No manufacturer will expose a journalise to a crude, unfinished car for obvious reasons.
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Old 21st April 2015, 13:33   #14
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Default Re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Driving prototypes is taking this 'exclusive' business one step above. This is as far back as we can go in the car's production cycle....for obvious reason, you won't be able to review a true pre-production spec (with tons of rough edges). Even the early examples that we've driven - and those in the first post out here - are nearly final production stuff. No manufacturer will expose a journalise to a crude, unfinished car for obvious reasons.
The Porsche 918 Spyder seems to be the only exception to this. Probably because it's a niche and limited car?



Various publications were called to drive prototypes of the 918 at various stages. The initial 918 had Carrera body panels and exhausts routed differently, among other things. Eventually, these publications sampled around 3-4 prototypes spanning over 3 years before they were let loose on an almost-finished 918 on the track.

The Jaguar F-Type is another car that comes to mind. However, I believe that the prototype was 99% complete.
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Old 27th May 2015, 11:28   #15
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Default Re: Reviewing of "Prototype" Cars: A new trend in automotive journalism?

Video review of the yet to be launched / revealed BMW new 7 (G11) prototype;

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