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Archive for the ‘speculative’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Audi E-tron Quattro

Back when Audi debuted the Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, it promised a production version of its all-electric SUV would be ready in 2018. Sure enough; it looks like Audi is about on par with keeping that promise as the production version of the E-Tron Quattro was just spotted in the wild for the first time. Little is known about the E-Tron Quattro at the moment, but based on the concept and what we see here, it will be a sporty, sleek SUV that shouldn’t have a problem standing up to vehicles like the Tesla Model X. I wouldn’t expect to see all of the futuristic tech from the concept inside, but it should get a digital instrument cluster and a large tablet-like display. If Audi keeps the same drivetrain setup from the concept, the production model should boast a 95 kWh battery pack that’s good for 310 miles per charge along with somewhere around 429-496 horsepower and up to 590 pound-feet of torque.

Of course, by the time this thing hits the market as a 2019 model, it’s quite possible that other automakers could be taking part in the all-electric SUV niche too. Think about models like the Mercedes EQ and the BMW i5, which should both be on the market by 2020 or 2021. Be that as it may, the segment is rather bare right now, and it looks like Audi just might beat the flock in enough time to grab itself a nice little piece of the market. Before that happens, though, let’s take a good look at the spy shots we have now and talk a little more about what we can expect.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Although it received a new name for the 2016 model year, switching from M- to GLE-Class, Mercedes’ current midsize SUV is far from new. Sure, the facelift brought many updates inside and out, but the truth is that the GLE is already six years old as of 2017 and a bit long in the tooth. But this will change soon, as Mercedes-Benz is already testing prototypes of the next-generation model on public roads. The high-performance AMG GLE63 is the latest version to make contact with our paparazzi, near the iconic Nurburgring track.

The new GLE is set to gain numerous and important updates, most coming from the E-Class sedan, on which it is based on. The AMG version will get similar upgrades, including an almost identical drivetrain to the AMG E63 four-door. There will be a big tech upgrade, as well as significant gains in the performance department, due to a lighter curb weight and a more powerful drivetrain. Details are still under wraps as of this writing, but the upcoming GLE63 isn’t much of a mystery since we already know everything about the AMG E63 sedan. Join me in my speculative review to find out more about this high-performance SUV.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GLE63.

PostHeaderIcon What Do The New NSX Patents Tell Us?

Patent drawings of cars are always fun when they’re leaked because they, directly or indirectly, provide a window into an automaker’s plans for a specific model. It’s certainly no shock then that these new patent drawings from Honda have created quite a buzz in our circles, largely because it looks incredibly like the NSX sports car. First spotted by Autoguide, these patents have been registered and published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office and while they don’t reveal anything specific as to what Honda’s plans are, it does point us in a direction where we could be seeing another Honda sports car in the works. Could it be a smaller version of the NSX as many people seem to think it is? Or could it be something else entirely, perhaps even the long-rumored successor to the Honda S2000?

These are very interesting questions that only Honda can answer over time. What appears clear at this point though is that the automaker isn’t content with just having one full-spec sports car in its portfolio. It figures that there’s a move to add to the NSX given how rival automakers have made similar pushes to beef up their own sports car lineups. Add that to Honda admitting that its dealerships have become more demonstrative in their requests for more sports cars wearing the Honda badge and it’s clear that there’s a groundswell of support coming from all sides for a new Honda sports car to enter the fray. There are plenty of questions that need to be answered though before anything concrete can be laid out on the table. Join us then as we try to answer some of them.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon New Rumors Point To 2019 Release Of Mazda RX-9, Tokyo Motor Show Debut

When you get right down to it, Mazda’s lineup is just begging for a new RX. Never mind the demands from the fan boys – here we have an automaker that infuses each and every model its got with a little “zoom-zoom” magic, from its sedans to its SUVs. At the moment, the sportiest Mazda on the market is the MX-5, one of the most epic compact drop-tops that money can buy. But in an age of four-figure hypercars, the 155-horse MX-5 can’t always cut the mustard, no matter how well it handles. What Mazda needs now is something bigger, faster, and more powerful, a coupe with the soul of the Miata, but the beating heart of a high-end performance machine. Something like, I dunno, a new RX? Welp, rumor has it that’s exactly what we might get in October at the Tokyo Motor Show, with an on-sale date sometime in 2019.

That’s the news from our friends over at Motor 1, who cite “several Web sites in Asia” claiming Mazda might introduce a new generation of its rotary sports car this year. Of course, Motor 1 is quick to point out that the rumors are flimsy at best, and to take them with an appropriately sized grain of salt. But hey, hope springs eternal, especially amongst RX fans, so read on for some of the juicy details.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Gasp! Is Ferrari Finally Getting On Board The SUV Bandwagon?

Don’t look now, but it appears that hell is indeed freezing over. One of the last automakers to resist the allure of SUVs is reportedly on the brink of jumping in, and wouldn’t you know it, that automaker is Ferrari. The suggestion itself is enough to make automotive talking heads explode, but a recent report from Car Magazine is suggesting that Ferrari is actually well past the point of “considering” an SUV; it’s already in the active project phase and it even has its own codename: F16X.

The full scope of details surrounding the rumored Ferrari SUV haven’t yet been announced, but the same report from Car Magazine is saying the model will take the shape of a high-riding, five-door coupe and will be developed together with the successor of the Ferrari GTC4, which itself is scheduled to be replaced in 2020. Among the bits of sourced information revealed by the report include the likelihood that the model will use an aluminum architecture and will also feature suicide doors and an all-wheel drive system. It’s also thought of that the F16X will also make use of either a V-8 engine or a hybrid powertrain. Should it end up with the latter, it would become the first hybrid car in Maranello’s history that’s not named LaFerrari. The timetable for the model’s release is still unclear, although there’s a strong possibility that we won’t see it arrive either in concept or production form anytime soon. If it does come to pass and Ferrari green-lights a production version, look for the SUV to attract a price in the vicinity of €300,000, or just a little under $350,000.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model Y

Tesla hasn’t even put the model 3 into production quite yet, and it’s already working to generate hype around the Model Y – the car that will complete the S3XY lineup. So far there have been very few details revolving around the mysterious model, but recently more has come to light, including the teaser image that was just released at Tesla’s 2017 annual shareholder meeting. Originally slated to be underpinned by the same platform used for the upcoming Model 3, it is now being said that the Model Y will get its own brand-new platform that should be ready for production by the end of the decade. Much like the Model 3 is to the Model S, the Model Y should be a smaller and more basic alternative the Model X, offering up Tesla’s famed AutoPilot, but without all of the other niceties found in the brand’s more expensive models.

So, the plan is for the Model Y to go on sale for the 2019 model year, but as the story usually goes over at Tesla, 2019 will likely be the pre-order period with deliveries taking place by 2020 at the earliest. The Model Y would tackle models like the BMW i3 and Mercedes B-Class, among others. We should hear more about the Model Y when the Tesla Semi-Truck debuts in September. So, with that said, let’s take a better look at the rendering we created and speculate a little on what we can expect from the Model Y.

Updated 07/03/2017: Based on the recent details we got from Elon Muck we decided to create a rendering for the upcoming Tesla Model Y. Let us know what do you think about it in the comments section below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Model Y.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler has been an icon of American independence since 1941 when the U.S. Government commissioned a small, go-anywhere vehicle that could support troops heading into battle. It was the Willys Overland company that won the design, and with the help of the Ford Motor Company, built thousands of MB Jeeps. Fast forward to 2016 and the Jeep spirit lives on within the Wrangler. The current Wrangler, known as the JK, got its start in 2007. An interior refresh in 2012 followed by a welcomed powertrain update in 2013 has kept the JK fresh, with sales far exceeding any Jeep vehicle in the past. Much of that success is thanks to the Wrangler Unlimited – the four-door version of the SUV. With room for five, all the capability of the standard Wrangler JK, and an exploding aftermarket support system, the Wrangler took off. Jeep sold more than 202,000 Wranglers in 2015 alone – surpassing 2014’s quota by some 27,000 examples. In fact, Wrangler sales have consistently grown by roughly 20,000 units since 2011. What other vehicle can say the same?!

Nevertheless, the Wrangler JK’s run is coming to a close. Jeep’s parent company, FCA, is now burdened with the daunting task of creating a new Wrangler – something that appeals to the masses yet somehow stays true to its roots. The Jeep loyalists are a tough bunch to please, so the new generation of Wrangler has to excel at everything. It has to handle better, offer more creature comforts, and more in-dash technology, yet still be cleanable with a garden hose, inside and out. Rumors have been slowly surfacing, so we decided to piece together what we had. This original rendering is based on both hearsay and solid information from FCA brass. Take a look below for both front and rear renderings. This is our best estimate of what the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will look like.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Wrangler.


PostHeaderIcon McLaren SUV

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of a McLaren SUV was absurd, a pipe dream for the lunatic fringe that indulged in fevered fantasies about jacked-up sports cars tackling the great outdoors. These days, though, it actually makes a lot of sense. One of the best examples comes from Porsche, which unveiled the mid-size Cayenne back in 2002 and promptly destroyed all expectations by simply cleaning up in sales. So then – it would seem as though demand for a “traditional” sports car ebbs and flows, while the SUV segment continues to entice buyers across the board. No surprise then that a host of manufacturers best known churning out high-end sports cars is turning to the SUV body style as a reliable source of income. Some of the latest to jump on the bandwagon include Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jaguar, and even Lamborghini. Could McLaren be next, and if so, what would a McLaren SUV look like? To find out, we drew up a rendering and did a little daydreaming in the following speculative review.

Before we go any further, it bears mentioning that McLaren has flat out denied any interest whatsoever in the business of building SUVs. Sports cars and supercars are its game, and it’s gonna take something big to change McLaren’s mind in the matter. At the same time, McLaren says it plans on building as many as 15 new models by 2022. So what if one of those was an SUV?

Continue reading to learn more about McLaren SUV.


PostHeaderIcon Is The Infiniti Q60 Project Black S Headed For A Production Run?

When Infiniti presented the Q60 Project Black S at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, it was tipped to be nothing more than a concept vehicle, a muscle-flexing opportunity of sorts to show what Nissan’s premium brand is capable of. Three months later, the Q60 Project Black S is back in the news, only this time it’s been loaded with appropriate Formula One technology that’s opening the door to the possibility of a production version in the future.

Does it mean then that we’ll see more of the Q60 Project Black S soon? That’s still a matter of debate, but the recent return of the concept sporting specially developed Pirelli P Zero rubber tires is an indication that something’s brewing within Infiniti that’s giving execs reason to reconsider its position on the 500-horsepower coupe concept. Even Tommaso Volpe, the head decision-maker of Infiniti’s motorsport division, isn’t shutting the door on the concept’s production future. “Pirelli’s input and knowledge, both motorsport and automotive, will be invaluable,” he said, referring to Infiniti exploring the feasibility of the Q60 Project Black S. It’s easy to get optimistic, especially with all the activity surrounding the concept these days. But like everything else, it might be best to not get those hopes up just yet. Remember, we all know what Infiniti’s recent history with these things has been. Shout out to the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge. We’re still waiting for you.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The Porsche 911 has stood as the ultimate sports car for more than 50 years, but the latest 991 body style is proof that Porsche still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. With the debut of the refreshed 991.2 in late 2015, the automotive world is now finally witnessing the return of the extreme 911 GT2 RS. As is typical for any factory-built, race-ready sports car, the previous Porsche 911 GT2 RS made strong impressions when it splashed down in 2011, and as evidenced by the current 991 lineup, it’s definitely one of the best 911’s ever created. That winning streak now continues with the latest GT2 RS, which was just unveiled this year at E3. Slated for sale for the 2018 model year, the new Stuttgart track star comes equipped with a whopping 700 horsepower, complemented by beefy new aero, a competition-ready chassis, and rear axle steering.

Treading the line between track machine and street prowler, the new GT2 RS is a surefire winner amongst 911 enthusiasts. It does everything you’d expect, minus the frills and distractions. Not only is it capable of obliterating lap times, but the fact you can drive it to and from the track makes it more than just a toy. Read on for specs on this Teutonic terror.

Updated 06/30/2017: Porsche has officially revealed the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS! Read on for all the official specs.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Prius TRD

We here at TopSpeed don’t shy away from exploring the weirder and wilder side of performance vehicles. In fact, we relish in it. Any chance we come across to break away from convention and blow your mind is worth it, especially if it gets the unruly mobs up in arms. And that’s exactly the sort of reaction we’re expecting with this – a performance-oriented Toyota Prius TRD. Here’s the formula – ditch the eco tires, slap on some real rubber, boost the engine, stiffen the suspension, add the proper cabin gear, and voila – the perfect solution to a dearth of jimmy rustlin’.

But here’s the thing – we’re actually totally serious. This isn’t some April Fool’s joke. We legitimately think there’s a real case to made for a performance Prius. Don’t believe us? Then read on. We dare you.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Prius TRD.


PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini’s Fourth Model Could Arrive…In Five Years

It was only a few years ago when Lamborghini set benchmarks to sell 1,000 units per year. Times have changed since then and House Raging Bull has changed with it. Now, Lamborghini is ready to bring out the Urus SUV, it’s third current model and the ticket to carry sales to 7,000 units per year by 2018. But the Urus isn’t the end of the company’s aggressive expansion because a fourth model is on the horizon.

Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali refused to dive into great detail about the fourth Lamborghini model, telling only Car Advice that the company won’t rush into expanding to a four-model family until its current three-model lineup is stabilized. That would require a few years to get the Urus up-to-speed with market forces while helping maintain relevance for its two supercars, the Huracán and Aventador. Domenicali foresees this stability to arrive after the first wave of production, possibly around 2022 or 2023. From there, discussions of a fourth Lamborghini model could start depending on what market trends are taking place at that time. The timetable is still at least five years away, so fans of the Raging Bull shouldn’t get too excited just yet. But, it’s possibly in the cards. That’s more than what anyone could expect a few years back when exclusivity was at the height of Lambo’s priorities.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW 8 Series Concept Images Leaked Ahead of Official Debut

The BMW 8 Series Concept has allegedly leaked online only a day before BMW’s official debut of the two-door coupe at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 26. The leak was picked up by Carscoops, but no information about the source or details about the 8 Series were given. While the three images are likely real shots of the BMW concept, there is a chance these could be renderings from a skilled digital artist. The truth won’t reveal itself until tomorrow when BMW pulls the sheets off the concept GT car.

The debut is set along the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. The high-class concourse event has long been a place where automakers showcased their latest exclusive models. It’s fitting, then, that the 8 Series concept should make its arrival there. Earlier this month, BMW CEO Harald Kuüger was quoted saying, “The BMW 8 Series Coupe will build on our tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car to our line-up – a slice of pure automotive fascination. The 8 Series Coupe will underpin our claim to leadership in the luxury segment. I can tell you today that this will be a true luxury sports coupe.”

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Is Ram Dumping its V-6 & V-8 For A Boosted Inline Four- & Six-Cylinder?

Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are a changin’” back in 1964, but the singer/songwriter’s words have never been truer than today. Rumor suggests Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expediting development of the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine dubbed the Hurricane and its big brother, the turbocharged inline six-cylinder named Tornado. The high-tech engines are said to be replacements for the well-loved 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.

Sadly, this isn’t the first we’ve heard about the Hemi getting the axe. Back in February, Allpar cited its multiple insider sources saying FCA was stockpiling 5.7-liters ahead of a planed discontinuation of the V-8 engine sometime after the 2018 model year. Allpar is now reporting the Hemi’s replacement, the Tornado, could be ready within four to five years. There’s a rather large discrepancy between those dates, but it’s easy to speculate FCA is planning some big changes. The Pentastar reportedly has a slightly longer lifespan, lasting another six to 10 years before it’s completely replaced by the Hurricane. The fates of the larger 6.2- and 6.4-liter Hemis are still unknown.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon How Should the Fast and Furious Franchise Evolve from Here?

Alright, let’s not beat around the bush. The first Fast and Furious movie wasn’t exactly well thought out. At the time, Vin Diesel was just getting to be known, and the most popular name in the whole film was arguably Ja Rule, who is still probably kicking himself in the nuts for turning down a role in the second film. How many gears did those cars have in the drag racing scenes? It was certainly more than the five or six that they should have had, that’s for sure. And, I still can’t get past that floor pan falling out of Brian’s Eclipse during the first big race. Then we had 2 Fast 2 Furious, which at least tied into Brain’s story, but was followed up by Tokyo Drift. Now, Tokyo Drift was a decent movie with plenty of action and some interesting race scenes, but it was completely void of the main character(s) in the franchise.

Finally, things turned around for the franchise with the fourth installment, bringing the group back together. Eventually, we ended up with movies that showcase a sense of family and never giving up on them – all the way up to the most recent film when Dom ends up turning his back on his family altogether. Foe have become friends, and friends have become foe. The family has wreaked havoc to the tune of an estimated $514 million over the course of eight films. What started out as a B-movie has turned into some pretty intense and highly successful films. With Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel reportedly feuding during the filming of Fate of the Furious, and Brian O’Conner officially out of the mix, where should the franchise go?

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Maximum Evil – What Is The Dodge Demon's Top Speed?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a proverbial rock for the last few weeks, you’re most likely familiar with the specs for the newly released Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Just in case, here’s a quick refresher – 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 running on 100-octane race fuel. 0-to-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. 200 pounds lighter than the Hellcat. 9.65 seconds at 140 mph in the quarter mile. 3-foot wheelies off the line. Dodge is quite clear on the matter – the Demon was built to do one job very, very well – traverse the quarter-mile run as quickly as possible while maintaining some semblance of street legality. At this point, it’s obvious this beast-mobile is quick, but there’s one tidbit of info Dodge has conveniently left out of the conversation thus far – how fast is it? To find out, we pulled out our calculator and did a little thought experiment.

Speculating on the top speed of a car like the Demon is actually a pretty complicated proposition, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy answer, here it is – 168 mph. That’s the maximum-rated velocity for the Demon’s Nitto NT05R drag radials, which means that’s pretty much the car’s top speed if you don’t swap out the rubber.

But let’s presume you did change the tires – given ideal conditions and a long enough track, how fast could the really Demon go? Read on to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Is Volvo Working on Another Version of the XC60 or Just Showing Off?

The second-generation Volvo XC60 made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show with an all-new design inside and out, new safety systems, and a new climate control system called “CleanZone.” It’s a beautiful car, insanely comfortable, and it has all of the right technology. So, why did we catch it cruising around the streets of Paris this weekend under extremely heavy camo? At first, we thought this might be a next-gen XC70, but once we compared the two shots we have here to older spy shots, it was pretty clear that this is an XC60 mule. But again; why?

Perhaps Volvo was just trying to pull one over on us since April 1st just so happened to fall on Saturday – you know, to generate more interest in the new generation before it goes on sale later this year. Or, are they testing that T8 hybrid version? It does have an opening for the charging port on the front, left fender. But, then again, so did the old test mules. It could be that Volvo is prepping a Polestar variant of the new XC60 and wants to put in the work under camouflage since the new XC60 isn’t available quite yet. That would be a nice surprise come fall when the new XC60 goes on sale, don’t you think?

Either way, this thing was cruising around Paris all weekend, so Volvo has something up its sleeve. Keep reading to find out what I think is going on.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Will There be a Wait List for the Kia Stinger?

When Kia came to the U.S. market, it became known as a producer of affordable but reliable cars that were fairly comfortable and looked decent. But, none of the models were really anything to write home about, and certainly couldn’t be compared with models like the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, or anything else outside of the affordable segment. When the 2014 Detroit Auto Show kicked off, Kia Debuted the GT4 Stinger along with a promise to bring such a model into production and, three years later, Kia kept its promise and debuted the Kia Stinger at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Offered in the U.S. with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 365-horsepower, twin-turbo, V-6, along with a very comfortable and upscale interior and a sexy exterior shell, the Stinger was a show stopper for the Korean brand as it steps into the luxury performance market. But, now that the world knows about the Stinger, it has raised a pretty interesting question: Will there be a wait list for the Stinger when the books officially open?

There’s really no way of telling quite yet, but outside of small shortages for models like the Kia Sportage, it’s hard to recall of any significant waiting period for any Kia model in the past. But, the new Stinger is a completely different breed of car that comes to offer a significantly cheaper alternative to more expensive luxury and performance models. Should Kia actually lock in even a small portion of those that are really interested in the car, it could find itself unable to keep up with demand. It comes down to a couple of factors that include when production officially starts, when the order books officially open, and that initial demand.

As of the time of this writing, neither its release date or pricing point has been officially announced, but a price tag in the range of $35,000 to $40,000 is expected while the order books should open sometime in the fall or early winter of 2017. That expected price point puts the Stinger at roughly $4,000 cheaper that the entry-level C300 from Mercedes, $6,000 cheaper than the entry-level 4 Series Gran Coupe, and a staggering $9,000 cheaper that the entry-level BMW 3 Series GT. With comparable comfort, luxury, and technology, it should be a no-brainer for those who aren’t overly loyal to the Stinger’s German competitors – as long as their willing to give the brand’s first performance luxury vehicle a chance, that is.

So, with such a low price point in comparison to its competition, the Stinger could see a lot of initial interest that could lead to a sizable waiting list. As such, it’s quite possible that dealers will find themselves in a predicament they aren’t used to: dealing with customers that want to take delivery today but simply can’t. We all saw how that went for Ford with the Focus RS, so hopefully Kia has a plan in place, just in case.


PostHeaderIcon Is This a Leaked Photo of the New Kia Fastback?

Last week, we brought you news of video post by Kia that shows onboard camera footage of its new performance fastback. Just shortly afterward, Kia-World.net posted a picture of what appears to be the Kia GT without any camo and all but prepped for its debut on Kia’s website on January 8, 2017, and later at the Detroit Auto Show. It has been said that it would be based on the Hyundai G70 sedan, and from what you can see in the photo, it’s looking pretty sporty – especially for a Kia. One could argue that it is a slightly smaller version of the Kia GT Concept, and it’s certainly toned down a bit, but the look is more than aggressive to compete with German models like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 Sportback, to name a couple.

For now, nobody knows what will provide the motivation, but Hyundai’s Genesis brand just shoved the G90’s 3.3-liter V-6 under the hood of the G80 and dubbed it the 3.3t Sport. So, it’s quite possible that Kia will use the same twin-turbo powertrain and eight-speed automatic transmission to power its beastly little fastback. If so, it should have upward of 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It should also be rear-wheel drive, so it should be a fun little car to pilot around, don’t you think?

For now, we can’t say with 100-percent certainty that we’re looking at the Kia fastback, but it certainly seems that way. What do you think from what you see so far? Is Kia upping its game the right way, or do you think the car will be a flop? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!


PostHeaderIcon Could Saab Be Making A Dramatic Return To The Auto Industry?

The cautionary tale that is Saab still serves as a reminder to everyone in the auto industry about the fickle nature of the business. The once proud Swedish automaker closed shop in 2010 and has never been heard from since. But a new report from Swedish newspaper SvD Naringsliv could point to the return of the Saab name in the industry. The only caveat is it’s not going to be the same Saab that folded six years ago; it’s the aviation and defense company Saab Group, the same firm that split from the automaker in 1990 after General Motors bought the latter.

See, as much as Saab the automaker was a failure since the brand split, the Saab Group has thrived as a military contractor, developing aircrafts, missiles, computer software, and radar systems. The company’s expertise in these respective fields is a big reason why the company is looking at making a push to enter the auto industry and have the success its old partner failed to get on a consistent basis.

Don’t expect this Saab to start building cars anytime soon though because the company is specifically looking into autonomous driving technology with the idea that it could adapt its “Gripen E” radar to self-driving cars once that market has matured into something that could revolutionize the auto industry. According to Saab, Gripen E is a revolutionary radar system that can handle information more than the conventional systems that are being developed by automakers. The software’s capability is largely tied into its circuits being made from Galliu nitride, which can handle extremely high power loads, something that’s going to be expected for radars that will be used by self-driving cars in the future.

Saab’s interest isn’t just being thrown around as a possibility; it’s actually already had discussions with a number of European automakers about a possible venture down the road. CEO Hakan Buskhe also said that it’s already making preparations to start a new company by the first quarter of 2017, one whose sole purpose would be to assemble the software solutions it needs to make as it begins to make its move towards the auto industry.

Think of this new development anyway you can. The point is that the Saab company that saw its business thrive is banking on being a major player in the rapidly evolving self-driving car business. Only time will tell if it’s going to succeed, and that “success” will be largely tied into how self-driving technology evolves. But it is nice to see the words “Saab” and “cars” being mentioned in the same sentence again. It’s been a while.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


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