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Archive for the ‘spy shots’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Continental GTC

Introduced in 2003, the Bentley Continental GT has become a big hit for the British firm and its German parent company, Volkswagen AG, and the 2011 redesign made it even more popular. However, the update wasn’t as extensive as you’d expect from such a high-profile car, and the second-gen Conti became a bit long in the tooth after years. This is why Bentley launched a completely overhauled version for the 2018 model year. With the new Continental GT almost in dealerships, a convertible model is just around the corner.

Spotted testing on public roads since mid-2016, the new Continental GTC has yet to show itself without camouflage. However, that’s not to say we’re dealing with a mystery since most convertible are identical to the their coupe counterparts below the waist. Expect the new GTC to feel as modern as the recently unveiled Continental GT and boasts the same luxurious cabin with state-of-the-art technology. All of this will be complemented by the infinite headroom that comes with every cabriolet out there.

Update 11/24/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Bentley Continental GTC out for a new testing session, but this time during cold winter conditions.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Bentley Continental GTC.

Spy Shots

November 11/24/2017 – Upcoming Bentley Continental GTC caught testing in cold weather


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 747165

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 747160

February 15, 2017 – Bentley Continental GTC caught testing once again


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 705686

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 705692

October 26, 2016 – Continental GTC caught testing on the roads around the Nürburgring


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 693195

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 693196

July 6, 2016 – First testing session


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 681739

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 681741

Exterior


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 681739
“Unlike the second-gen Continental GT, the third-generation coupe is a bit more exciting to look at, as the redesigned exterior feels sportier, more modern, and actually pretty gorgeous”

Unlike the second-gen Continental GT, the third-generation coupe is a bit more exciting to look at, as the redesigned exterior feels sportier, more modern, and actually pretty gorgeous. Sure, it’s not as extreme as the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, which had a supercarish stance, but it’s great to see something completely fresh on this grand tourer after almost 15 years. And the good news is that every single cool design feature of the Continental GT will find its way on the GTC model.

Look for the front fascia to include the same EXP 10-inspire grille, which is significantly wider and sits lower, the quad headlamps with the tiny units toward the corners, and the three-piece intake section in the bumper. The LEX Matrix lights with the unique design inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses should be there too.

The longer and lower stance of the Conti GT’s profile will also carry over to the GTC, likely enhanced when the roof is wrapped in the trunk. With the soft-top up, the GTC should sport a similar profile, although the roof shape won’t be as sexy as on the coupe. The taillights shaped into ellipses, the similar exhaust pipes, the wider trunk lid and the beefier rear bumper should round off the new look.

Interior


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728810

Note: Bentley Continental GT interior pictured here.

“Having already seen the GT, it's safe to assume that the GTC will feel like a road yacht when the soft-top is folded flat”

The cabin of the new Continental GT provides every hint we need to unlock the features of the GTC. Remove the fancy talk and this means that the cabriolet will be identical to the coupe on inside. Except that it won’t have a metal roof obviously.

Having already seen the GT, it’s safe to assume that the GTC will feel like a road yacht when the soft-top is folded flat. Just look at that massive slab of wood that extends from the dashboard onto the door panels, the huge display, the modern controls, and the high-sheen center console. Speaking of which, customers will have access to loads of new veneers, including Koa, a wood that’s rarely used in cars, and a dual-veneer option.

Of course, almost every inch of the cabin is wrapped in fine leather highlighted by contrast stitching, and new quilt technique called “diamond in diamond.” Other fancy features will include 20-way adjustable seats with heating, cooling, and massage function, a big instrument cluster with 3D LED lights, and a 10-speaker, 650-watt sound system. The latter is just the standard unit, as options include a 16-speaker, 1,500-watt Bang & Olufsen system and an 18-speaker, 2,000-watt system by Naim.


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728816

Note: Bentley Continental GT interior pictured here.

“Of course, almost every inch of the cabin is wrapped in fine leather highlighted by contrast stitching”

But Arguably the most interesting feature of the upcoming Continental GTC will be Bentley’s new infotainment display. Called the Bentley Rotating Display and introduced with the Continental GT, the 12.3-inch touchscreen is housed in a three-sided unit that revolves in the center stack. When the ignition is off, the screen is hidden in the dashboard, with the wood veneer flowing uninterrupted from the passenger side to the instrument cluster. When the engine start button is pressed, however, the veneer in the center stack glides forward and rotates to reveal the big screen. The third side of the Rotating Display reveals three analogue dials displaying outside temperature, a compass, and chronometer. Opting for the latter gives you an elegant, old school-style dash that works great with the massive wood veneer.

Of course, another interesting feature will be the possibility to drive with an open top, which provides access not only to unlimited headroom, but also to a summer’s warm breeze, and the engine high-displacement roar.

Drivetrain


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 747165
“The third-generation Continental GT remained faithful to Bentley's already traditional 6.0-liter W-12 engine”

The third-generation Continental GT remained faithful to Bentley’s already traditional 6.0-liter W-12 engine. However, the British firm is now using a brand-new twin-turbo unit, which was developed before the Bentayga SUV was introduced.

The powerplant, which is shared with some Audi models, generates a massive 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That’s an extra 44-horsepower and 133-pound-feet compared to the previous model. The significant extra oomph is also aided by the lighter architecture that shaves around 200 pounds lighter off the previous model. The transmission is a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic.

“The powerplant generates a massive 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque”

Performance-wise, the Conti GT needs 3.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, a half-second quicker than the outgoing model. As it the case with most convertibles, the GTC will probably be a tenth-second slower, but a 3.7-second sprint is pretty impressive given the size and weight of this car. Top speed should increase, but don’t expect the GTC to be as fast as the coupe, which is good for 207 mph. However, it’s safe to assume that the drop-top will do at least 200 mph.

A new all-wheel-drive system will transfer the power to all four wheels. While the previous unit had a 40:60 power delivery split between front and rear wheels, the new AWD system varies the front-to-rear torque split based on driving conditions. But the Bentley Continental GTC will be mostly a rear-wheel-drive cars during normal driving.

Prices

With pricing information for the new Continental GT not yet available, estimating a precise sticker for the GTC model is almost impossible right now. However, with the third-generation coupe likely to retail from around $220,000, the Continental GTC could cost around $240,000 before options. A more affordable alternative could become available in 2018, when Bentley plans to roll out V-8 versions of the Continental GT. Assuming that the GTC will also get one, pricing should sit at just under $200,000.

Competition

Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante - image 703676

When it comes to fast and luxurious British grand tourers, you can’t go wrong with the Vanquish Volante. Introduced in 2013, one year after Aston Martin revived the Vanquish name from its five-year hiatus, the Vanquish Volante sports a significantly more aggressive design and a powerful V-12 engine under its long hood. The mild 2018 update, likely the last of the current-generation car, added a new aerodynamic package including many carbon-fiber parts, new graphics on the outside and new materials and finishes on the inside. The output of the 5.9-liter V-12 engine was increased to 592 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, which enables the drop-top to hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is rated at 197 mph. Pricing starts from $312,950, which makes it significantly more expensive than the Bentley Continental GTC.

Read our full review of the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet


2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet - image 729446

The first convertible to wear the “S-Class” badge and Mercedes’ first open-top luxury four-seater since the early 1970s, the S-Class Cabriolet is one of the very few vehicles that can give the Continental GTC a run for its money. Sporty but elegant and fitted with Mercedes’ latest technology, it also comes with semi-autonomous drive and a powerful V-8 engine under the hood. The twin-turbo, 4.0-liter cranks out 463 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist, enabling the massive drop-top to hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. For those looking for an alternative to the W-12 GTC, Mercedes offers the AMG S63, which uses a more powerful V-8 rated at 612 horses. This version hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, which should be quicker than the upcoming W-12 GTC. Finally, the AMG S65 Cabriolet comes with a 6.0-liter V-12 that delivers 630 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. However, this model is RWD only and needs 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. Pricing is also on the Merc’s side. The standard model retails from $131,400, while the AMG fetches $176,400 before options. On the other hand, the AMG S65 costs a whopping $247,900.

Read our full reviews of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65 Cabriolet.

Conclusion


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 735044

Arguably one of the most impressive luxury convertibles available on the market, the Continental GTC is about to get even better with the third-generation model. The new platform will solve the Continental’s weight problems, while access to hybrid drivetrains will enable Bentley to offer a more fuel-efficient model and improve the nameplate’s carbon footprint. The EXP 10 Speed 6-inspired design will also give the GTC a sportier stance that’s closer to the Vanquish, leaving the Continental Flying Spur sedan to parade as the more elegant proposition in the lineup.

  • Leave it
    • Expensive compared to the S-Class
    • Likely still slower than competition

References

Bentley Continental GT


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728800

Read more Bentley Continental GT news.


2013 Bentley Continental GTC V8 - image 438817

Read our full review on the previous generation 2017 Bentley Continental GTC.

Update History

Updated 09/28/2017:
We added a new rendering of the Continental GTC, as well as updated information. Check it out below.

Updated 10/26/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Continental GTC out for a new testing session, this time on the roads around the Nürburgring.

Updated 07/19/2016: Based on the recent spy shots and speculations, we created a rendering for the upcoming Continental GTC. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster

Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.

While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.

Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

Exterior


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746107
  • Most aggressive design Tesla has ever made
  • Compact dimensions
  • Active aerodynamic elements

While the original Roadster showed its Lotus bones through the bodywork, the Roadster 2.0 is all-new. It looks like the progeny of a Model 3 and modern Acura NSX, with the familiar Tesla fascia, now drawn back and pointy with slim arrow-like headlights that fall into hugely flared fenders. The stance is low and wide, with prominent cuts in the lower front bumper, side skirts, and rear end. The proportions move the cabin back, enhancing the front hoodline.

Yeah, you know it looks good. In fact, we’d say we pretty much nailed it with our original Tesla supercar rendering –


2020 Tesla Supercar - image 721328

Note: TopSpeed Tesla Supercar rendering pictured here.

Of course, it’s not the most streamlined Tesla we’ve ever seen, but we like it like that. Drag doesn’t seem to be a major problem here, as you’ll find out in the drivetrain section below. What’s more, it’s obvious the Tesla Roadster 2.0 comes equipped with active aero elements that will surely keep it planted while exploring the car’s absurd speed potential, then recede back to eke out a few more miles while cruising.

Interior


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746109
  • Large touchscreen provides the inputs
  • Highly bolstered sports seats
  • Clean layout and design
  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • “Capacious” storage space
  • Targa top offers unlimited headroom

The space age aggression continues inside, where we find a simple dash and control layout. The user inputs are dominated by a large touchscreen, which stretches down through the center of the cabin to provide readouts on navigation, road speed, and similar stats. The seats are contoured and highly bolstered, while the color scheme incorporates large swaths of primary colors that enhance the natural “clean” feel of the layout.

The steering wheel is a tiny, rectangular thing that looks like it came straight out of Star Trek. Lots of brushed metal and carbon give it that premium sports vibe you’d want from the segment. There’s also a G meter to show you just how hard you’re bending the laws of physics.

“Lots of brushed metal and carbon give it that premium sports vibe you’d want from the segment. There’s also a G meter to show you just how hard you’re bending the laws of physics.”

However, while you might expect very little practicality from a machine like this, the Roadster 2.0 actually has a lot to offer as a simple means of transport. The seating arrangement accommodates up to four passengers in a 2+2 layout, and while Musk admits that “you can’t put giant people in the rear seat,” the fact is has one at all is pretty impressive. Add to that a “capacious” storage space, undoubtedly mostly thanks to the extended frunk (Tesla’s term for the spot under the hood left empty by the all-electric powertrain), and this thing should be able to swallow enough luggage for at least a weekend getaway.

Finally, a removable targa top opens up the Roadster 2.0 to unlimited headroom. And that’s great, because after all, anyone driving a Tesla obviously cares about enjoying lots of fresh air, right?

Drivetrain


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746108
  • Potentially sets multiple world records
  • 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds
  • 0-to-100 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • Quarter mile in 8.9 seconds
  • 250+ mph top speed
  • 620 miles of range per charge
  • 7,376 pound-feet of torque
  • Three motors, 200-kWh battery

So it looks awesome and the cabin makes you feel like firing off some photon torpedoes. That’s all well and good, but by far the most impressive thing about the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is its powertrain technology. The specs getting tossed around are almost absurd, but if they turn out to be real, the Roadster 2.0 will break multiple world records.

Here’s the score – 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which would make this Tesla the first production car to break the 2-second barrier in the 0-to-60 mph test. A run from 0-to-100 mph takes 4.2 seconds, another record for production cars. Finally, the quarter mile takes just 8.9 seconds, which would make the all-electric the first production car to break the 9-second barrier in the benchmark.

And take note – these are records for all production cars, not just EVs. Impressed yet?

“These are records for all production cars, not just EVs. Impressed yet? ”

We sincerely hope Tesla can actually follow-through here, and based on the automaker’s resume, it most likely will. After all, the Model S P100D can already hit 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds.

Incredibly, these numbers represent the base model Roadster 2.0, which means Tesla is cooking up even quicker iterations for the future, with a possible reveal hinted at next year.

Now it’s time to talk about the EV-specific records this thing could set. First up – top speed, which is stated to exceed 250 mph top speed. That would make it the fastest production electric car ever made by a huge margin, and place the Roadster 2.0 amongst the fastest of the fast from the world of internal combustion. Range per charge is rated at 620 miles, which is again, the most of any electric car ever made, and a total game-changer for EVs. It would make the Roadster 2.0 the first production all-electric passenger vehicle to do more than 1,000 km at freeway speeds in a single charge. Say goodbye, range anxiety.


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746104
“Torque figures are rated 10,000 Nm, or 7,376 pound-feet, a figure that even Musk agrees is “stupid.””

Making it all work is a new 200-kWh battery pack, which sends its prodigious flow of electrons to three motors, one up front two in the rear, which means it’s also got AWD grip. Horsepower figures are still forthcoming, but apparently torque figures are rated 10,000 Nm, or 7,376 pound-feet, a figure that even Musk agrees is “stupid.”

Finally, torque vectoring helps it handle. We don’t know how much this thing weighs, but we’re guessing it’s probably pretty heavy for its size, so it’s likely not the liveliest thing ever in the corners. Still, 10,000 Nm of torque can fix a lot.

Tesla Roadster 2.0 Performance
0-to-60 mph 1.9 seconds
0-to-100 mph 4.2 seconds
Quarter mile 8.9 seconds
Top speed 250+ mph
Range per charge 620 miles
Battery pack 200 kWh
Electric motors 3 (one in front, two in rear)
Torque 10,000 Nm

Prices

Although previously scheduled for a release in 2019, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 has been pushed back a year to 2020. Tesla is taking reservations now at $50,000 a piece. The final sticker is expected to be around $200,000.

What’s more, Tesla is offering the first 1,000 units as part of the special edition Founder series. Perks for the Founder series are currently unknown, but pricing sees a rise to $250,000, and interested buyers are required to front the full quarter million bucks up front to reserve theirs.

Competition

NextEV NIO EP9


There's A New King Of The Nürburgring And It's Not Who You Think - image 716730

Based out of China, NextEV is already on the EV supercar scene with its NIO EP9. Crafted from carbon fiber, the NIO EP9 does its performance dance thanks to four electric motors producing a combined 1,314 horsepower. Acceleration and top speed can’t touch the Roadster 2.0, with 2.7 seconds to 62 mph and a maximum of 195 mph. However, this thing’s handling might have the Tesla beat, with active suspension and aero helping it pull up to 3 G’s in the twisties.

Rimac Concept_One


2017 Rimac Concept One - image 666768

Here’s another battery-driven slab of speed, this time coming from the Croatian-based manufacturer Rimac. Producing upwards of 1,072 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, the Concept_One can snap off a run to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds, while maxing out at 221 mph. AWD keeps it sticky.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746100

While it’s possible the Tesla Roadster 2.0 will look and go a bit differently when it finally hits the public streets in 2020, odds are this early preview is pretty close to the mark already. And that’s a truly incredible thing, if you think about it. Both competitors listed above are at least four times as expensive, and can’t come close in terms of sheer all-electric muscle. Throw in the fact the Tesla breaks 1,000 km per charge and even has space for luggage, and it quickly becomes obvious that the California automaker is launching a new epoch in the world of the automotive.

It looks like the future just got a whole lot brighter.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Still three years out
    • Likely to be delayed multiple times

References


2007 Tesla Roadster - image 233849

Tesla Roadster


2015 Tesla Model S 70D - image 625893

Tesla Model S

Rendering


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 638858

PostHeaderIcon Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

When it unveiled the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 in February 2015, Porsche finally did what gearheads had been asking for a very long time: it allowed the mid-engined Cayman to live up to its true potential, which had been kept leashed to prevent it from being faster than the base 911. Now that the first Cayman GT4 has come and gone and the mid-engined sports car it was based on received its mid-cycle update, it’s time for a new track ready coupe.

Ever since the first GT4 was announced, enthusiasts have been asking themselves whether Porsche will take things up a notch and develop a GT4 RS. But, despite favorable rumors and the fact that an RS version would make sense, a more powerful GT4 has yet to happen. This could change with the upcoming model, which has just been spotted testing on public roads. And even though there’s no confirmation whether it will be called the GT4 or GT4 RS, the new coupe will definitely pack a significantly beefed-up engine. So I’m tempted to go with an “RS” badge.

Updated 11/15/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session – and as you can notice the exhaust pipes have moved out a few inches on each side.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.

Spy Shots

November 15, 2017 – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 caught testing once again


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 745389

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 745396

Why Porsche Needs an Updated Cayman GT4?


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 637442
“Imagine all the fun you could have with a lighter and more powerful Cayman.”

Before we jump into the details, let’s discuss why Porsche would even need a more capable Cayman GT4. As a full-fledged GT in the Porsche lineup, it would be weird for the GT4 not to evolve into a traditional nameplate like the 911 GT3. It could also use an “RS” badge, either in addition to the GT4 or as a replacement model. Even the turbocharged 911 GT2 got upgraded into an RS at some point, so why skip the Cayman GT4? I’m not looking for reasons against it, but I’m sure some might argue that the RS badge is restricted to the 911.

Fortunately, this isn’t true, as Porsche already used it (to some extent) on the 718 race car of the late 1950s. So using it for the Cayman wouldn’t hurt Porsche’s heritage, especially now that the Cayman also sports a “718” emblem. Also, the GT4 could be both lighter and more powerful. Porsche could use even more carbon fiber to shed more pounds and squeeze more power from the flat-six engine. Just imagine all the fun you could have with a lighter and more powerful Porsche that benefits from all the advantages of a mid-ship layout.

Exterior

left
right
“The new track car will be a mix between the previous Cayman GT4 and the facelifted 718 Cayman.”

The test car isn’t exactly relevant here, mostly because it doesn’t have all of the features that make the GT4 unique, but it’s by no means difficult to imagine what this track-ready sports car will look like. Simply put, it will be a mix between the previous Cayman GT4 and the facelifted 718 Cayman.

That said, look for Porsche to put all those aero features on the 718 Cayman’s new styling cues. Up front, highlight will include a slightly wider front end with a new bumper that will include wider vents. Naturally, the bumper will have a more aggressive design, the intakes will be bigger, while the splitter will suggest that you’re looking at the Cayman’s 911 GT3 equivalent. It will also have the new bi-xenon headlamps or the optional units with four-point DRLs.

Onto the sides, the wider wheel arches and beefed-up side skirts will be complemented by the new character lines above and below the side intakes and the revised door handles. Also look for new mirror caps and redesigned wheels, likely measuring 20 inches.


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715698

2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715699
“Much like the standard 718 Cayman, the GT4 will change dramatically around back.”

Much like the standard 718 Cayman, the GT4 will change dramatically around back. It will sport new taillights with 3D LEDs and four-point brake lights, as well as the vintage-looking black trip with integrated “Porsche” lettering. This features was first used on 1990s 911 Carreras and looks absolutely gorgeous on the Cayman. The wing and aggressive diffuser that make the GT4 stand out in the lineup will also get significant changes for improved performance.

All told, the 718 Cayman GT4 will retain the nameplate’s already familiar looks, but it will boast a more modern feel.

Interior


2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 - image 615251

Note: Previous Porsche Cayman GT4 interior pictured here.

“Much like its predecessor, it will have sports seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara for improved lateral support.”

Inside, the new 718 Cayman GT4 will come with a number of extras compared to the standard model. Much like its predecessor, it will have sports seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara for improved lateral support and a smaller sports steering wheel.

The Sport Chrono Package will be standard, as will be the “Sport Plus” button that stiffens the suspension, sharpens throttle response, and quickens the steering. The Track Precision App, likely in upgraded form, will enable drivers to gather data while on the track. Options should include carbon-fiber racing bucket seats, among other motorsport-inspired goodies.

On top of the GT4-specific features, look for all the updates that came with the Cayman’s facelift. The list includes a revised dash with new A/C vents and an updated instrument cluster. You’ll also be able to add USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Porsche Car Connect, and even a premium sounds system should you be willing to sacrifice the car’s tremendous lightweight nature.

Drivetrain


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 637563
“There's no doubt that the GT4 will be the quickest and most powerful Cayman ever made, but the drivetrain is still a mystery as of this writing.”

There’s no doubt that the GT4 will be the quickest and most powerful Cayman ever made, but the drivetrain is still a mystery as of this writing. As you might remember, the 718 Cayman went turbo all the way, with both the 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines using forced induction. There have been reports that the GT4 might continue as a naturally aspirated car, but again, the specific engine is unknown.

“The Germans could also use a detuned version of the 4.0-liter in the 911 GT3 RS.”

Logic dictates that Porsche would go with an uprated version of the 3.8-liter flat-six that the previous GT4 borrowed from the 911 Carrera S, but the Germans could also use a detuned version of the 4.0-liter in the 911 GT3 RS. Either way, the flat-six will crank out well in excess of 400 horsepower. My bet is on around 430 horses, which will be a nearly 50-horsepower increase compared to the outgoing, 385-horsepower coupe.

The more powerful engine and revised chassis components will also return improved performance. With the previous GT4 able to hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, the revised track could hit the same benchmark in under four seconds. Top speed should also increase from 183 to around 187 mph.

Prices


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715615

It’s way too early to talk about prices here, but it’s safe to assume the GT4 RS will become the most expensive Cayman ever. With the previous GT4 priced from $84,600, the revised coupe will likely cost $90,000 before options.

Competition

2016 Lotus Evora 400


2016 Lotus Evora 400 - image 617787

Since 2009, Lotus has been giving the Cayman a good run for its money with the Evora. For 2016, the Brits have updated the sports car with a new body shell and a more powerful engine, making it a suitable competitor for the Cayman GT4 and the upcoming RS. The updated supercharged, 3.5-liter V-6 is now capable of 400 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, which should be enough to pose a threat to the GT4 RS. The extra grunt also enables the Evora 400 to hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds and top out at 186 mph. This race car for the road will arrive in the U.S. with a sticker set at $89,900, which puts it on par with the GT4. Those not keen on rowing their own gears, the Lotus comes with an optional automatic transmission.

Find out more about the Evora 400 in our detailed review here.

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C


2014 Alfa Romeo 4C - image 505229

Alfa Romeo’s first mass-produced vehicle to arrive in the U.S. since 1995, the 4C is a milder proposition to the Cayman GT4 RS. Unlike the Porsche, it carries a much smaller, turbocharged, 1.75-liter four-banger rated at “only” 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Though it’s less powerful than the base Cayman, the 4C is quite quick in a straight line, needing only 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill. It might not be as track-focused as the Cayman GT4 RS, but it’s significantly more affordable at $54,000. There’s no word as to whether Alfa Romeo plans to build a more hardcore version of the 4C, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one hit the streets in a couple of years.

Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C here.

Conclusion


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715606

Though the Cayman GT4 is arguably the hottest compact sports car around, it’s hard not to dream about a more powerful version, especially since the first GT4 is long sold out. The GT4 RS would combine everything Porsche has learned while developing the new 911 GT3 with the advantages of a mid-ship configuration, which would result in a tremendous race car for the road. Moreover, a GT4 RS would also enable Porsche to develop a racing program for the Cayman and offer privateers a more affordable alternative to the 911. In the meantime, all we can do is keep our fingers cross for the Cayman GT4 RS to happen as soon as possible.

  • Leave it
    • Not confirmed for production yet
    • Would be pretty expensive

Update History

Updated 05/09/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 out for a first testing session.

PostHeaderIcon Lotus SUV

2020 Lotus SUV

The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus CEO Jean-Mark Gales has already revealed that the automaker is developing a compact crossover, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web recently provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a new rendering of the vehicle.

So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. “The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else. We’re working on it. The new board needs to pass it, but the future is very bright,” Giles told Autocar in October 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about Lotus’ future SUV.

Exterior

  • Patent images confirm Exige-inspired design
  • Sporty design
  • Coupe-style roof
  • Motorsport-inspired gas cap
  • Big rear diffuser

2020 Lotus SUV - image 743192
“The patent images confirm what we already knew: that its design will share many design cues with existing Lotus cars”

The patent images confirm what we knew from the day that the first rumor of a Lotus SUV surfaced the Interwebz: that its design will share many design cues with existing sports cars. Up front, we can see a pair of sleek, swept-back headlamps and a big center grille flanked by large outlets at each corner. These features remind of both the Elise and Exige, but the latter appears to have had a bigger role in inspiring the SUV’s design.

Naturally, being an SUV, this Lotus will have a taller front section and a more massive bumper. The engine hood also has a simpler design, devoid of the vents and bulges usually found on sports cars.


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743190
“Being an SUV, this Lotus will have a taller front section and a more massive front bumper”

The design changes radically onto the sides compared to other Lotus cars, which makes sense given that this is the company’s first crossover. But despite having a really tall beltline, four doors, and a long roof, it retains the sporty features that Lotus cars are known for. First up, notice how the beltline goes upward as it moves from the front fenders toward the rear fascia. It’s quite similar to the Exige, although the really wide C-pillar and the absence of a proper deck lid minimizes the effect. The side skirts are sporty too, with a deep crease on the lower areas of the doors. A particularly interesting feature is the gas cap mounted high on the C-pillar, a race-inspired detail that you don’t get to see on many crossovers.


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743189
“The roof splits into some sort of flying buttress toward the back, yet another unique design element”

The roof splits into some sort of flying buttress toward the back, yet another unique design element. Too bad it’s only visible if you look at the vehicle from above. Around back, we can see more Lotus sports car-inspired features, starting with the large, round taillights and the big diffuser in the bumper. The latter sports three vertical fins in the middle and wide exhaust pipes at the corners.

All told, even though it’s a brand-new vehicle layout for the British brand, the crossover remains recognizable among other Lotus sports car. At least based on these patent images.

Rendering Comparison


2020 Lotus SUV - image 629759

2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

Our renderings are a few years apart, which explains the big design differences between them. The first rendering we made was created from a clean sheet, with no hints as to what Lotus may go for in terms of styling. Thinking into the future, we went for an evolution of the current design with slimmer headlamps and a more massive grille that went all the way to the ground. For the sides, we adopted a more conventional crossover styling with simple body panels and windows. As it turns out, we weren’t exactly close to Lotus’ vision for its first SUV. But needless to say, the real thing looks much more appealing.

Interior

  • Sporty features
  • Lightweight design
  • Seating for five people
  • Biggest Lotus trunk ever
  • Cramped space for rear-seat passengers

2017 Lotus Evora GT430 - image 724309

Note: 2017 Lotus Evora GT430 pictured here.

“It's safe to assume that the cabin will focus on the driver and front passenger”

The patent images don’t include information about the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the cabin will focus on the driver and front passenger. It may be an SUV, but Lotus probably wants to keep some of the motorsport-inspired layout seen in its sports cars. Of course, there will be a focus on comfort too, as in this will be the company’s most comfortable interior yet, but don’t expect it to be as fancy as a Bentley Bentayga. Sports seats will likely be included in the standard package, but Lotus should also offer race-inspired unit optionally.

The crossover’s main feat will be the ability to provide seating for up to five people. A never-before-seen feature in a Lotus, it will make the SUV appealing to drivers looking for a compromise between performance and utility or even people in need of a daily driver that’s also suitable for a long vacation. On the other hand, given the size of the vehicle, rear space might be a bit cramped for tall passengers. The coupe-style roof doesn’t seem to leave room for too much headroom, while legroom won’t be as vast as in the front. The trunk doesn’t seem to be huge either, but it will be a massive upgrade compared to any other Lotus out there. A couple of suitcases and a big list of groceries shouldn’t be an issue for this crossover.

Drivetrain

  • Same Toyota-sourced engines?
  • At least two performance trims
  • Best power-to-weight ratio on the market?
  • Diesel and hybrid likely

2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 743193

Note: Lotus Evora 410 engine pictured here.

“This is the area that will make or break the Lotus crossover, so expect Lotus to go all-out in developing the drivetrain and chassis”

This is the area that will make or break the Lotus crossover, so expect Lotus to go all-out in developing the drivetrain and chassis. Powering the crossover, Lotus could still use one or both of the Toyota-sourced powerplants used in other Lotus cars, like the 1.6-liter four-cylinder or the 3.5-liter V-6, both available with or without superchargers. Sticking with the tried-and-true design of its current model lineup, rather than giving the crossover a high-powered engine, Lotus will focus on a high power-to-weight ratio by making this one of the lightest crossovers in its segment, weighing about 440 pounds (200 kg) less than its rivals.

“After its initial Chinese debut, a diesel engine could also be included for the European market”

The SUV could arrive in several trims, starting with a base model rated at a little more than 100 horsepower and a more performance-oriented version with at least 200 horses.

After its initial Chinese debut, a diesel engine could also be included for the European market, but the big performance advantage could be an optional hybrid-based four-wheel drive that uses the engine to power the front wheels and motors to drive the rear. At this point, every scenario is possible since Lotus is looking to expand in every direction it can in order to get back in the game.

Prices


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743191

It’s obviously too early to estimate pricing for the upcoming SUV, but I would be smart for Lotus to price this vehicle very close to the competition. The British firm will likely develop the crossover as a competitor for the Porsche Macan, which retails from around €56,300 in most European markest and from £45,915 in the United Kingdom. Not much is know about the company’s production output for the SUV, but it’s safe to assume that Lotus won’t be able to compete with Porsche in this department, at least not in the first couple of years. A lower production run usually means higher prices too, so be prepared to pay at least €60,000 and £50,000 before options. Should it come to the U.S., the Lotus SUV could retail from around $52,000.

Competition

Porsche Macan


2020 Lotus SUV - image 533189

The Porsche Macan isn’t the only option on the compact crossover market, but it’s arguably the best suited to go against the upcoming Lotus SUV in terms of looks and performance. Essentially a shrunken Cayenne, the Macan borrows many styling cues from the iconic 911, which makes it one of the sportiest looking options in this niche. Drivetrain-wise, it comes in many forms, starting with a base model that uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The Macan S uses a 3.0-liter V-6 that delivers 340 horses and 339 pound-feet, while the Macan GTS gets its juice from the same engine, but rated at 360 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. The latter is probably the best option against the Lotus, as the extra oomph is backed by a new aerodynamic package and several weight-saving measures. Finally, there’s the Macan Turbo, which uses a twin-turbo, 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers an amazing 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet. Opt for the Performance Package and the output increases to 440 horses and 443 pound-feet. A diesel version is also offered in certain markets, with either 211 or 258 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of twist. U.S. pricing starts from $47,800 and goes up to $77,200 for the Turbo version.

Read our full story on the 2017 Porsche Macan.

Audi RS Q3


2020 Lotus SUV - image 576596

While BMW has yet to offer an M version of the X1, Audi is selling an RS variant of the Q3 since 2015. While the Q3 is not the sportiest SUV you can buy, the RS package adds a few interesting features, such as aluminum-look trim in the front bumper, which also has bigger vents, a roof spoiler, and a diffuser-like element with a larger exhaust pipe. The interior is wrapped almost entirely in black, which may be a tad too boring for some, but the RS bundle also brings sports seats either Alcantara/leather or Nappa leather, a bespoke instrument cluster, and new pedals. Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that sends 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. Audi also offers a Performance model, which comes with 367 horses and 343 pound-feet of twist on tap.

Read our full review of the 2017 Audi RS Q3.

Conclusion


2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

Crossovers and SUVs might be a soul-crushing proposition to the enthusiasts of any high-performance brand, but they are crucial to improving sales in global markets that crave space and utility. Just ask BMW and Porsche. Now with Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce getting in on the SUV/CUV market, this is a perfect opportunity for Lotus to step in with small CUV that exhibits the same lightweight characteristics and excellent handling capabilities of its past and present offerings. It’s also a great opportunity for the British firm to return to profitability after many difficult years.

  • Leave it
    • Might not be available in the U.S.
    • Likely to stir up controversy among Lotus purists

References

Lotus Evora


2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 667209

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410.



Read more Lotus news.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish

Launched in 2016, the DB11 brought Aston Martin into a new era, one that sees a brand-new platform replacing the Vertical\Horizontal underpinnings that entered production in 2004. With the DB11 having replaced the iconic DB9 and a new-generation Vantage almost ready for a public debut, Aston Martin is now working on a new version of the Vanquish, and a prototype was just spotted on the Nurburgring track.

Not much is known about the upcoming Vanquish, but the spy shots suggest a DB11-inspired design. This is far from surprising though, as the DB11 was used to introduce the company’s latest styling language. So much like the DB9, which inspired the rest of the Aston Martin lineup back in the day, the DB11 will lend many of its features to the new Vantage and Vanquish. Of course, the Vanquish will be most aggressive of the trio in terms of styling, but also as far as performance goes.

There’s no word as to when the new Vanquish will arrive, but given that the second-gen model is five years old as of 2017, I don’t think we’ll see it sooner than late 2018 in showrooms. But, until that happens, let’s take a closer look at what we already know about the British grand tourer.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Aston Martin Vanquish.

Exterior

  • DB11-inspired styling
  • Sportier stance
  • Modern design cues

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739090
“The Vanquish is arguably more aggressive than the DB11 up front”

If you see a DB11 in this spy shots, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. Those familiar cues are there for a reason. Actually, make that two reasons. First up, it’s no longer a mystery that the upcoming Vanquish started life as a DB11 mockup. Second, the DB11 is the car that introduced Aston Martin’s current design language, and it makes sense for the rest of the lineup to take inspiration from those cues.

But as similar as the two cars may seem, take a closer look, and you’ll notice quite a few differences. Arguably the most noteworthy feature up front is the main grille. While shaped in the traditional Aston Martin way at the top, the Vanquish’s grille is actually a tad narrower and taller, extending all the way to the splitter. The side vents also appear to be different, despite the heavy camouflage. The splitter is also narrower and doesn’t extend over the corners of the bumper like on the DB11. The headlamps are different too, having a smaller surfaces and a less organic shape. Finally, the engine hood, which is slightly shorter, has big vents on each side of the center bulge.


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739088
“The car's profile is actually identical to the DB11 for the most part”

The car’s profile is actually identical to the DB11 for the most part, yet another hint that Aston Martin used the latter as a base for the test car. But while the front fender strake, the side skirts, and muscular beltline, and the roof are identical to the DB11, the nose, and the hood are notably shorter. This is because while the DB11 is a traditional grand tourer, the Vanquish is meant to fill the role of a front-engined supercar.

The rear end is once again similar to the DB11, and the heavy cladding on the center fascia and deck lid prevents us from getting a good look at most of the features, but we can still spot some difference. For starters, the prototype sports brand-new taillights. While the DB11 has thin, C-shaped clusters that extend into the trunk lid, the Vanquish has a more simple design with stripe-shaped units. What’s more, the cladding on the trunk lid could hide a horizontal bar that extends on the entire width of the rear section, similar to the Porsche 911.

The diffuser is again similar to the DB11, but the center section has more aggressive wings hinting at the Vanquish’s superior performance. Though not in its final stage, a quad-pipe exhaust layout replaces the DB11’s dual-tip configuration.

Interior

  • DB11-inspired cabin
  • Sporty dashboard
  • Race-inspired instrument cluster
  • 12-inch TFT display
  • New 8-inch infotainment display
  • Updated luxury features

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 721612

Note: Aston Martin DB11 pictured here.

“Look for a sporty yet clean dashboard layout and a race-inspired instrument cluster”

With no spy shots of the interior, it’s hard to predict what the Vanquish has in store inside the cabin, but there’s a big chance it will borrow some cues from the DB11. What we can assume is that it will be a brand-new design compared to the outgoing Vanquish.

Look for a sporty yet clean dashboard layout, a race-inspired instrument cluster, the DB11’s 12-inch TFT display, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with redesigned controls. A new eight-inch TFT infotainment screen with rotary control will provide access to all the apps. The optional touchpad with character recognition, multi-touch and gesture support available in the DB11 should find its way into the Vanquish as well. A new satellite navigation and audio system, an auto-park assist feature, and 360-degree camera should also be included.

Much like any Aston Martin out there, the Vanquish will get new upholstery materials and finishes, and the usual “virtually limitless” combinations of colors, veneer, and metal trim. Look for fine leather and Alcantara highlighted by contrast stitching and piping and new finishes such as layered “Nexus” quilting and “Celestial” perforation.

Drivetrain

  • New, lighter architecture
  • New, twin-turbo V-12 engine
  • Likely close to 700 horsepower
  • Could lose at least 150 pounds
  • 0-60 could come in 3.2 seconds
  • Top Speed could be as high as 205 mph

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 667795

Note: Aston Martin DB11 pictured here.

“The old 5.9-liter V-12 engine will be replaced with the newly-developed, twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12”

The big news here is that the next-generation Vanquish will get Aston Martin’s new architecture. The underpinnings have already debuted in the DB11 and will shave at least 150 pounds off the old model. Of course, the Vanquish will get its very own setup designed to handle increased performance, among other attributes.

Speaking of performance, the old 5.9-liter V-12 engine will be replaced with the newly-developed, twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12. Again, we’ve already seen what this engine is capable of in the DB11, which comes with 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet on tap. That’s five horses and 51 pound-feet more than the outgoing Vanquish S, but the redesigned model will get more than that. The Vanquish has been sitting at the top of the Aston Martin lineup in terms of performance since day one (not counting limited-edition models like the One-77 and Vulcan of course), so it’s safe to assume that the Brits are aiming for at least 650 horsepower. With the Ferrari 812 Superfast rated at a whopping 789 horses, Aston Martin could look to squeeze close to 700 horsepower out of the V-12, but it’s all just speculation at this point.

Performance-wise, it will be quicker than the outgoing Vanquish. I expect the new engine and lighter platform to shave at least two tenths off the current coupe’s 0-to-60 mph, meaning it should boast a 3.2-second benchmark. Top speed should also increase from the current 201 mph to around 205 mph.

Prices

Pricing for the upcoming Vanquish is obviously a mystery at this point, but it’s safe to assume that the new-generation model will cost a tad more than the current version. With the available Vanquish S priced from $294,950, the next-gen coupe will most likely cost more than $300,000 before options.

Competition

Ferrari 812 Superfast


2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast - image 708980

It might seem a bit awkward to compare the 812 Superfast to an Aston Martin on the performance front, but I’m pretty sure that the British firm is aiming in this specific direction with the upcoming Vanquish. Essentially an update to the F12berlinetta, the 812 Superfast features brand-new sheet metal, a revised interior, and new power under the hood. The styling is decidedly modern, but it also reminds of classic Ferraris like the 365 GTB4. The cabin carries over from the F12berlinetta, but it did gain a revised center stack, new controls, and a new steering wheel. The seats are sportier too, now featuring enhanced side bolstering. Under the hood, the already iconic 6.3-liter V-12 was replaced with a 6.5-liter unit. Output increased to an incredible 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque, arguably more than what the next-gen Aston Martin Vanquish will be able to deliver in its first years on the market. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes only 2.9 seconds, while top speed is rated at an impressive 211 mph. Pricing should start from around $340,000 before options, which makes it more expensive than the upcoming Vanquish, but not by much given the extra oomph and technology.

Read our full review of the 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast.

Bentley Continental GT


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728790

The Continental GT is more suited to go against the Vanquish. It’s not as aggressive as the 812 Superfast, it has that British flair, and it’s generally considered a better rival for Aston Martin’s grand tourer. The Conti GT was just redesigned for the 2018 model year, and it now rides on a new, lighter platform, uses a new design language based on the EXP 10 Speed 6, and a redesigned interior with state-of-the-art technology and revised luxury features. The engine continued to be 6.0-liter W-12 design, but the unit is actually new, and it’s now rated at 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Granted, the Conti GT is not as powerful as the 812 Superfast, but it will be followed by Speed and Supersports versions. The latter will probably arrive with around 750 horsepower, which should be enough to at least give the Ferrari a run for its money. Pricing should start from around $220,000 for the GT, but the Supersports will fetch in excess of $300,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.

Conclusion


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739089

If the DB11 is any indication, the upcoming Vanquish will be a significant departure from the current model. The lighter architecture, the more modern and sporty styling, and the redesigned interior with new technology and luxury features will make it as desirable as any high-profile grand tourer out there, including the 812 Superfast. Sure, it might not be as powerful and fast, but if Aston Martin decides to squeeze close to 700 horsepower from its new V-12 engine, it should at least give its Italian rival a good run for the money.

  • Leave it
    • Not as powerful and fast as the Ferrari 812 Superfast

PostHeaderIcon What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works?

So, remember that failed electric sports car that Mercedes tried to make happen back in 2013? You know; the one that started out as the SLS AMG E-Cell in 2011 and became a “production” model with the name SLS AMG Electric Drive. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know what it was, considering not even 100 examples were sold when it went on sale. That was back just a few years ago when the four-motor car was good for all of about 160 miles on a full charge – not even enough to have a full day at the track or a nice Sunday drive. So why was Mercedes just caught testing one on public roads again? It was even caked with all kinds of testing equipment. Clearly, Mercedes has something new in the works. The question is: What?

Well, we have a feeling that Mercedes-AMG could be planning to bring an all-electric AMG GT to market before it signs the death warrant on the current generation. The current model is set to run to at least 2020, and if Mercedes plays its cards right, it could have an electric model on the market yet again by 2019. Whether or not it would perform any better sales-wise is a completely different story, but when you take into considering the fact that electric cars are more common now, battery technology is better, and new material can make cars lighter than before, a 250-mile all-electric GT is entirely feasible.

If this is actually the case, Mercedes could have retrofit an advanced, lightweight battery and lighter, more powerful motors into one of its old prototypes and is actually putting it through the paces to see if the technology can hold up to a beating. After all, a car like the AMG GT is meant to be driven, and hard, so if a second run at having an electric sports car is going to work, Mercedes needs to deliver something that can overshadow the best it’s got at this point in the GT lineup. The real question is whether or not an electric GT can actually be successful. After all, less than 100 of the SLS AMG Electric Drive were sold, so perhaps the truth is that we don’t want electric sports cars and maybe Mercedes should quit trying to make it a thing.


What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works? - image 742277
“The SLS AMG Electric Drive wasn’t exactly your daily driver.”

Don’t get me wrong, the SLS AMG Electric Drive was a cool car, but it was a little ahead of its time. Sure, it’s only been four years, but back then range anxiety was a very real thing. Four years ago, 160 miles – especially in a sports car (yes, I know it worked for the Nissan Leaf) – just didn’t cut the mustard. It may work for someone who wants to commute back and forth to work each day, but if you want a fun-filled day at the track or to hit the highway for hours at end, you better drive something with a gas tank. Besides, the SLS AMG Electric Drive wasn’t exactly your daily driver. I mean it could have been if you didn’t drive far and all, but it’s got more of that “toy” status than it is something that you drive to work each day.


What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works? - image 742276
“If Mercedes is really planning an all-electric AMG GT, you can expect to see it in the next year”

As of now, however, battery-powered vehicles have become a little more normal. And, getting 300 to 400 miles out of a battery isn’t exactly unheard of. There’s plenty of performance to be had from electric motors too. So, if Mercedes is really planning an all-electric AMG GT, you can expect to see it in the next year or so as it will debut before the brand ends the GT’s current generation. Expect to see it blow the old Electric Drive out of the water as Mercedes knows it needs to up its game if a new electric sports car is going to be any more successful than the last failed attempt.

What do you guys think Mercedes is up to? Are they planning something, or is some engineer really bored and trying to win a bet? Let us know in the comments section below.

References

Mercedes SLS AMG


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell - image 366651

Read our full review on the 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell


2013 Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive - image 475366

Read our full review on the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Flying Spur

Launched in 2005 and updated in 2013, the Bentley Flying Spur is getting a little long in the tooth. As a result, the British firm has already begun testing the next-generation model and we have already received the first spy shots of the upcoming luxury rig. Don’t let the Panamera body fool you, this is actually a Bentley mule, and the fact that Bentley is using a Porsche body is by no means surprising. As you may recall, the first Bentayga prototype hit the road with an Audi Q7 body. Also, keep in mind the Bentley, Porsche, and Audi are all under the same Volkswagen Group umbrella. If you’re still in doubt, our paparazzi have already checked the British plates with the DVLA, which revealed that the prototype is indeed registered as a Bentley.

Likely to break cover in late 2018 or early 2019, the next-generation Flying Spur will bring major improvements to the nameplate. Arguably the most imporant is the MSB-F platform, which already made its debut in the new Porsche Panamera. The redesign will also spawn a new styling language, a more luxurious interior, and give the sedan more powertrain options. Official data is virtually non-existent, but I gathered all existing rumors in a speculative review that should keep you covered until a Bentley-bodied prototype shows up in 2017. Make sure you stay tuned for details.

Updated 11/02/2017: The upcoming Bentley Continental Flying Spur was caught testing once again, still wearing a great amount of camouflage.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Flying Spur.

Spy Shots

November 2, 2017 – Bentley Flying Spur caught testing once again


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 742201

2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 742210

June 6, 2017 – Bentley Flying Spur caught wearing its real body prototype


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 719058

2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 719063

March 20, 2017 – Next Bentley Flying Spur caught testing


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 710796

2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 710802

Exterior

While the Panamera mule provided no details as to how the next-generation Flying Spur will look like and the more recent test cars wore camouflage that resembled the outgoing model, that’s not to say we are clueless on its exterior design. Much like the current model, the upcoming sedan will be a four-door version of the Continental GT. And before you say that the Conti has yet to show itself in public without camouflage, we already know that the coupe will borrow numerous features from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept. And the latest spy shots confirm just that.


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692539

2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 711162
Mule of the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur Next generation Bentley Continental GT
“Much like the current model, the upcoming sedan will be a four-door version of the Continental GT.”

That being said, I expect the Flying Spur to share most if its front fascia with the Continental GT. Notable features will include the quad headlamp layout with smaller lamps toward the sides, a lowered nose, and a wider grille placed lower into the fascia, as well as a sportier bumper with big side openings. A sculpted engine hood is also on the table, but with more subdued, elegant lines compared to the Continental GT.

Onto the side, the front fenders and doors will be identical for the most part, but most features will change toward the rear. Naturally, the Flying Spur will get a second pair of doors, a longer wheelbase, and redesigned rear fenders. The latter will continue to sport a muscular design, but this is where the sedan will stand out as a more graceful version of the Conti GT. The rear end is a complete mystery, but I expect Bentley to retain the rectangular taillight configuration, albeit in a longer and slimmer shape. The long decklid, raked D pillars, and imposing bumper should round off this area.

Rendering


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 718772

2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 - image 619492
Bentley Flying Spur rendering Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 concept

As mentioned above, we used many of the EXP10 Speed 6 concept’s features to design the next-generation Flying Spur. This is most visible up front, where the main headlamps flanking the grille are joined by smaller lights toward each corner. These are smaller than the ones seen on the outgoing model and now have their center sections covered, meaning they look like thin LED rings. The main grille retains the already traditional shape, but it now sits closer to the ground, thus lowering the nose for a sportier stance. Below, the Flying Spur should feature a three-piece grille configuration with two wing-like elements separating the cooling vents in the upper corners. The profile of the rendering is very similar to the current model, but we can see a revised fender vents, redesigned side windows, and more muscular rear haunches.

Interior


2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 - image 619477

Note: Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept interior pictured here.

“With the Continental's interior set to take inspiration from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept, the sedan could go a similar way.”

Our paparazzi didn’t manage to get close enough to snap shots of the interior, but given the Panamera body, there a big chance that the cabin is also made of Porsche parts as of this writing. However, with the Continental’s interior set to take inspiration from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept, the sedan could go a similar way. If so, the Flying Spur will get a sporty yet elegant cockpit with a wide instrument cluster, a wrap-around dashboard that extends into the door panels, and maybe even the tall center console that separates the front seats in the concept car. The latter could also include the vertical-oriented center display screen.

Eye-catching details will be all over the place, starting with the two-tone upholstery, contrast stitching, and the diamond-quilted seats. Being a Bentley, the upcoming Flying Spur will also get plenty of ludicrous luxury options such as a watch holder, sterling silver atomizers, a refrigerated compartment in the middle seatback, and a set of bespoke champagne glasses. These will be joined by a long list of options from the company’s Mulliner division.

All told, no one will have a reason to complain about the car’s interior, whether they’re driving or resting in the back seat.

Drivetrain


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692544
“Word has it the Flying Spur will share some engines with the Panamera”

The redesign should also bring a few changes under the hood, but given the new platform, these are mostly unknown as of this writing. Word has it the Flying Spur will share some engines with the Panamera, which makes sense given the Volkswagen Group’s current strategy. The most likely candidate for the Flying Spur is the revised 4.0-liter V-8 offered in the new-for-2018 Panamera Turbo. The twin-turbo unit cranks out 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque and it could make it into the Bentley with minor changes. For reference, the current 4.0-liter V-8 pumps 521 horses and 502 pound-feet in the Flying Spur V8 S.

It’s not yet clear whether or not Bentley will get the 2.9-liter V-6, but if it does, it will generate around 450 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque in the base Flying Spur.

Now that Bentley has already launched its first-ever diesel model in the Bentayga lineup, the Flying Spur could also get an oil burner. Naturally, the sedan will share the 4.0-liter V-8 with the SUV, which currently benefits from 429 horses and 664 pound-feet.


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692548
“The W-12 engine will likely continue to be an option.”

The W-12 engine will likely continue to be an option, but the current unit will be replaced by the redesigned engine that debuted in the Bentayga. Also displacing six liters and using two turbochargers, the W-12 cranks out a massive 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This configuration should push the four-door from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds and toward a top speed in excess of 200 mph.

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flying Spur also gets the Panamera’s hybrid drivetrain. The combo pairs a twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V-6, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery and delivers 462 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist. It can also travel for 31 miles on electric power alone. This drivetrain will most likely find its way in the Bentayga first, and that’s when we will find out more about the configuration Bentley is planning to use.

Prices

With the production model set to arrive in late 2018 or early 2019, it’s definitely way too early to talk about prices. However, it’s safe to assume that the base model will cost in excess of $200,000, while the range-topping W12 version will fetch at least $250,000 before options.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Ghost


2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II - image 544479

The Ghost is the Flying Spur’s traditional rival as it can offer the same amount of opulence and performance. On the market for six years as of 2016 and updated in 2014, the Ghost will most likely receive a complete redesign by 2019. The next-gen Phantom is already scheduled to arrive in 2018, so it’s safe to assume that a new Ghost will follow suit. Unlike the Flying Spur, the current Ghost is a V-12 machine only, as both the standard and V-Specification models are powered by a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12. The first version comes with 562 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, while the latter benefits from 592 horses. The next-gen model should come with a revised V-12, but a hybrid or even an all-electric version are on the table too. Likely to retail from around $300,000, the Ghost will be a much more expensive proposition, especially when compared with the less powerful, non-W-12 Flying Spurs.

Find our more about the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II.

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class


2016 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class - image 599556

Discontinued in 2012, the Maybach brand returned in in 2015 as Mercedes-Maybach. Now selling mildly revised S-Class models equipped with far more luxurious interiors, Maybach has two vehicles on offer. The base model is called S500 and uses a 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The second, more expensive version, goes by the name S600 and uses the larger, 6.0-liter V-12 with 530 horses and 612 pound-feet of twist. While the exterior of the Mercedes-Maybach is identical to the S-Class, the cabin is a different story, sporting the most luxurious features Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The wheelbase is also longer, providing more room for rear-seat passengers. It’s also more affordable too, with the range-topping S600 starting from $189,350 in the U.S. However, Maybach offers plenty of options to take that sticker beyond $300,000.

Learn more about the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Conclusion


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692540

It’s definitely too early to draw a conclusion here, but based on what Bentley did with the Bentayga, the next-generation Flying Spur should bring improvements in just about every department. The sedan should get more power, more luxury, some of the most ludicrous and expensive options on the market, and a sportier design. More importantly, it will also become more fuel efficient with either a diesel or hybrid drivetrain. Or both.

  • Leave it
    • Still an expensive choice
    • Still a couple of years away

Update History

Updated 06/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur out for a new testing session this time wearing a real body prototype.

Updated 06/01/2017: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors, we created a rendering for the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it!

PostHeaderIcon BMW X2

2018 BMW X2

Rumors have been stirring about BMW building an X2 crossover since 2011, but it took some four years to see it in the metal for the first time. The small SUV first hit the streets in October 2015 and resurfaced again in January 2016, heavily camouflaged on both occasions. Later on, a concept car was showcased at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, making the company’s intentions about expanding the X lineup clear as daylight. Come 2017 and the X2 broke cover as the company’s sixth crossover. Essentially a sleeker, coupe-like version of the X1, the X2 competes against the likes of the Audi Q2, which was launched in 2016. It also completes BMW’s lineup of so-called coupe-style crossovers, which already includes the X6 and the X4.

The new compact SUV shares underpinnings with the second-generation X1, which rides on the same UKL platform found in the Mini Cooper and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. As a result, the X2 is front-wheel driven in the absence of xDrive AWD and also borrows the X1’s powertrains, meaning it will cross the pond to the U.S. in similar configurations. A North American launch date has yet to be announced as of October, but the X2 will become available in Europe starting November. Until we find out more about that, let’s have a closer look at the X2 in the review below.

Continue reading to learn out more about the 2018 BMW X2.

Exterior

  • Unique exterior design
  • Brand-new grille for SUVs
  • M Sport trim
  • BMW badges on the C-pillars
  • New tailgate design
  • Same wheelbase as X1
  • Full-LED headlamps
  • Optional 20-inch wheels
  • Exotic Galvanic Gold paint

2018 BMW X2 - image 740705
“While its name suggests it is part of the same range as the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly different design-wise”

While its name suggests it is part of the same range as the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly different design-wise. When BMW first announced the X2, many enthusiasts, us included, expected it to be a coupe version of the X1, or what the X6 is in relation to the X5. But no, the X2 doesn’t a raked roofline. Sure, it’s decidedly sportier than the X1, but it doesn’t quite fit in with the X4 and the X6. It kinda stands out on its own in the lineup, and this is a good thing for BMW, a company that adopted the “same sausage, different lengths” strategy for the majority of its vehicles in recent years.

It also sports a few design features of its own. While the headlamps are shared with the X1, the grille and the bumper are unique to this nameplate. Unlike other X SUVs, the X2 grille is wider at the base than at the top, a first for a BMW. It’s not yet clear whether this new design will make it on other BMW crossovers, but it gives the X2 a broader, more distinctive appearance. Down below, BMW ditched the usual horizontal side vents for triangular cutouts. In addition, the center vent is rectangular instead of trapezoidal, which further enhances the X2’s unique look.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740712
“While the headlamps are shared with the X1, the grille and the bumper are unique to this nameplate ”

The profile remains familiar compared to the X1, but there are a few changes worth mentioning. There are less creases on the lower doors, more cladding on and above the side skirts, and a new roofline and side window configuration. While the X1 comes with the traditional rear quarter windows behind the rear doors, the X2 has plain C-pillars. Combined with the slightly raked roof, it provides a sleeker profile, but it’s not as sporty looking (or hunchback?) as the X4. As a somewhat exotic feature, the X2 is the first X model to have BMW roundels on the C-pillars.

The X2 has a unique design around back as well. The taillights are the first the stand out. Although just as large as the ones seen on other X models, they look sleeker and they get wider in the lower area instead of the top. The tailgate is also neatly integrated into the body thanks to a lower crease that separate the badges from the upper section. The bumper is taller too and unlike other X models it includes the license plate recess.

Overall, the X2 is BMW’s first unique design since the i3 and i8.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740711
“The X2 is the first X model to have BMW roundels on the C-pillars ”

In terms of size, the X2 is only 0.78 inches shorter than the X1, while the wheelbase is identical. On the other hand, it stands 2.75 inches lower than the X1. BMW says that the X2 has a drag coefficient of only 0.28, which is a big achievement for a crossover.

Moving over to features, there are four equipment trims. Full-LED headlamps are standard on every model but the base SE. On top of getting LED lamps, the M Sport and M Sport X versions are available with 20-inch wheels, an exclusive feature in the segment. As standard, both models are fitted with 19-inch wheels, while the SE uses 17-inch V-Spoke style rims.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740839

The trims are set apart by different cladding too. The SE and Sport models have black trim around the wheel arches and in the bumpers, while the M Sport X, shown in the photos above, use Frozen Grey inserts. On the SE and Sport models, the rear bumper is finished in the body color and matte black. The M Sport models feature Dark Shadow metallic, while the M Sport X has a bespoke diffuser insert in Frozen Grey for a stronger contrast. Every model can be specified in BMW’s new Galvanic Gold paint, a rather exotic option for this niche.

COMPETING DESIGNS


2018 BMW X2 - image 740729

2017 Audi Q2 - image 667919

The X2’s main competitor is the Audi Q2, which is already available in showrooms as the pioneering vehicle of this new niche. Although it has most of the trademark Audi features we’re familiar with, the Q2 brought quite a few new styling cues to the market. For starters, it the first Audi crossover that strays from the Q7. While the Q5 and Q3 are mostly shrunken variations of the Q7, the Q2 adopted a somewhat different design. Up front, the “singleframe” grille has a more squared-off look, while the headlamps are taller, shorter, and slightly swept back. These features help the Q2 seem a bit more massive than it really is, which is a good thing given its relative car-like size. The big outlets in the bumper add a touch of sportiness to an otherwise boxy front fascia. Things are different than the usual Audi norm around back too. The rear end is made of horizontal lines almost exclusively. It’s essentially a three-tier design layout, with rear glass and roof spoiler assembly stacked on top of the fascia and the bumper seamlessly. Only the taillights stand out thanks to their almost square design — which is opposed to the thin and wide units seen on other Audis. From the sides, the Q2 looks like a compact hatchback on stilts, but the sloping roof, the missing quarter window and the silver-painted C-pillar set it apart from any other Audi on the market.

Audi Q2 BMW X2
Wheelbase (Inches) 102.1 TBA
Length (Inches) 165.0 TBA
Width (Inches) 79.09 TBA
Height (Inches) 59.37 TBA

Interior

  • Interior borrowed from X1
  • Horizontal styling cues
  • Modern looks
  • Contrast stitching all over the place
  • New Dakota leather in Magma Red
  • Micro Hexagon fabric
  • Oak grain veneer
  • 16.6-cubic-feet trunk
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen

2018 BMW X2 - image 740771
“While the exterior is unique in the X lineup, the interior of the X2 is identical to the X1 ”

While the exterior is unique in the X lineup, the interior of the X2 is identical to the X1. This doesn’t come as a surprise though given that BMW, much like any other carmaker, wants to keep development costs as low as possible. Of course, it also has to do with the fact that the two crossovers have identical wheelbases.

So if you’ve already seen the X1, you’ve basically seen the X2 as well. The good news is that the X1 is relatively new, having been redesigned in 2015. The layout is pretty much standard for modern BMWs, with horizontal lines used on the dashboard and the door panels. The A/C vents have a similar orientation, as do the control panels in the center stack. The purpose of this configuration is to make the cabin seems spacious, but we must not forget that the X2 is after all a compact vehicle, so it’s not as comfortable as the X5.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740756
“The layout is pretty much standard for modern BMWs, with horizontal lines used on the dashboard ”

The good news is that contrast stitching on the dashboard, center console, and the seats is included as standard, giving the cabin a premium look. While the base model has fabric upholstery, the M Sport version comes with fabric and Alcantara. If you want leather in the standard package, you need to get the range-topping M Sport X variant. Fancier options include new Dakota leather in Magma Red and Micro Hexagon fabric with yellow stitching, as seen in the photos above.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740767

Trim finisher options are also varied and include high-gloss black, aluminium, and matte oak grain veneer. There’s also an optional lighting package with orange, lilac, mint, bronze, blue and white ambient lighting. If natural light and sun is your thing, you can opt for a panoramic roof with a tilting and sliding front section.

Trunk space is rated at 470 liters (16.6 cubic feet), which is an extra 65 liters (2.3 cubic feet) compared to the Audi Q2. No info on luggage room with the rear seats folded flat, but it’s safe to assume that X2 will offer at least 1,000 liters (35.3 cubic feet).


2018 BMW X2 - image 740823
“Trunk space is rated at 16.6 cubic feet, an extra 2.3 cubic feet compared to the Audi Q2”

As far as infotainment and technology goes, the 6.5 inch touchscreen for the iDrive with navigation system is standard. Optionally, you can get the full-color BMW Head-Up Display, which projects all important driving information and assistance system readouts onto the windscreen, in high resolution.

Speaking of assistance systems, the optional Driving Assistant, included in the Drive Pack, adds Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. As an upgrade to the Driver Pack, the Driving Assistant Plus also features the Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. This feature maintains a constant speed between 19 and 87 mph, as selected by the driver, and a safe distance to vehicles traveling ahead.

There’s also Traffic Jam Assistant, which takes over both proximity control and lane-keeping tasks from the driver at speeds of up to 37 mph. But while it uses steering assistance to keep the car in the middle of its lane, the driver needs to have at least one hand on the steering wheel for the system to work. Rear Park Distance Control and the rear-view camera are standard.

THE COMPETITION


2018 BMW X2 - image 740817

2017 Audi Q2 - image 667684

I don’t know about you, but when I look inside the Q2 I see the A3 hatchback. Sure, the steering wheel looks a bit more modern, the dashboard trim is thicker, and the door panels have been revised, but the instrument cluster, the center console, and the round A/C nozzles on the dashboard are clearly taken from the A3. That’s not to say that the Q2 looks old and its technology is dated, but I thank that its original exterior deserved a more unique cabin. And needless to say, if I had the option to choose between an A3- or Q3-inspired interior, I would’ve preferred the latter. But despite being just a rehashed A3 styling-wise, the Q2 is quite fresh when it comes to technology and features. The crossover utilizes Audi’s current fully digital instrument cluster, with a 12.3-inch screen that is similar to the one seen in the TT and R8. The configurable display offers two main views — one with large speedometer and tachometer gauges toward the center and one with the two gauges off to the sides with the entertainment or maps screens displayed between them. However, this cool screen is optional, with the entry-level model getting the analog cluster. Standard features include a seven-inch infotainment screen atop the dashboard (linked to a rotary dial near the gear lever), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and USB. Navigation is optional on less expensive trims, as is the Bang & Olufsen sound system.

As far as space and practicality go, the Q2 is on par with the Q3 up front, offering similar legroom, headroom, and shoulder room for the driver and passenger. In the back, the Q2 isn’t as roomy, but there’s decent space and headroom for two adults. Being almost five inches shorter than the A3 hatchback, the crossover might not be very comfortable for tall adults during long journeys. Trunk space is rated at 405 liters (14.3 cubic feet), which is some 50 liters (1.7 cubic feet) more than you find in a modern hatchback. With the rear seats folded flat, it increases to 1,050 liters (37 cubic feet).

Drivetrain

  • Same drivetrains as X1
  • Gasoline and diesel engines
  • 2.0-liter diesel with standard AWD
  • Optional AWD for other models
  • xDrive20d with 190 horsepower
  • 0 to 62 mph in less than eight seconds
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Sport driving mode
  • Possible X2 M in the future

2018 BMW X2 - image 740832
“The small crossover will make its market debut in xDrive20d form”

As speculated from the very beginning, the X2 will borrow its engines from the X1. The small crossover will make its market debut in xDrive20d form, which comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood. The turbodiesel mill is rated at 190 horsepower 295 pound-feet of torque, which is identical to its X1 counterpart. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 7.7 seconds, while fuel consumption is estimated at 61.4 mpg on the British cycle. CO2 emissions are as low as 121 g/km, a competitive figure in this class.

More variants will be launched in 2018, including the gasoline X2 sDrive20i and the diesel X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d. The gas model will use a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, but as it turns out it won’t get an all-wheel drive versions. The sDrive18d will also feature a 2.0-liter four-banger, but tuned to deliver 148 horses and 243 pound-feet. Unlike the gas model, this diesel will have optional all-wheel drive.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740840
“More variants will be launched in 2018, including the gasoline X2 sDrive20i and the diesel X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d”

The X2 also benefits from Hill Descent Control, which enables to to automatically maintain a desired speed on steep descents by taking care of brake control for the driver, who can focus on steering only. The crossover is also equipped with the Driving Experience Control switch, allowing the driver to choose between the default Comfort mode, the efficiency-enhancing Eco Pro mode and Sport mode. The latter setup gives the car even more dynamic steering and drivetrain responses. If the optional Dynamic Damper Control is added, the car’s suspension can be adjusted even more precisely for spirited driving.

There’s no word on when the X2 will get the more powerful xDrive25i and xDrive25d versions or even the iPerformance hybrid variant, but all three should be on the table. BMW had nothing to say about a potential X2 M model, but it should arrive right after the X1 M.

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

Just like the X2, the Q2 is available with a wide array of drivetrains in Europe, its main market. The gasoline range begins with the 1.0-liter three cylinder unit rated at 116 PS and 200 Nm of torque (114 horsepower and 148 pound-feet). This engine mates to a six-speed manual standard and a seven-speed DSG optionally and comes in a front-wheel-drive configuration only. Sprinting from 0 to 62 mph takes around 10.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 118 mph. Next up is the familiar 1.4-liter TFSi, a four-cylinder that’s available with 150 PS and 250 Nm (148 horses and 184 pound-feet). The unit comes standard with FWD and the six-speed manual, but quattro AWD and the seven-speed DSG can be selected from the options list. Depending on specs, hitting 62 mph can take between 8.5 and nine seconds, while top speed is 127 or 129 mph Finally, the 2.0-liter TFSI pumps 190 PS and 320 Nm (187 horses and 236 pound-feet) of twist in the Q2 through a seven-speed DSG and quattro all-wheel drive. Naturally, this version is the quickest, needing only 6.8 ticks to hit 62 mph on its way to a top speed of 136 mph.

“The range-topping model benefits from standard Quattro and automatic transmission and needs only seven seconds to get to 62 mph.”

If you’re a fan of diesels, you get three options too. The base 1.6-liter TDI generates 116 PS and 250 Nm (114 horsepower and 184 pound-feet). Much like the base gas model, FWD and the manual are standard, but the automatic and Quattro can be had as options. Accelerating to 62 mph takes 10.7 seconds, while top speed comes in at 118 mph. Those who want more oomph can get it from the 2.0-liter TDI. This engine comes in two flavors, one that cranks out 150 PS and 340 Nm (148 horses and 251 pound-feet) and one that’s good for 190 PS and 400 Nm (187 horses and 295 pound-feet). The least powerful version uses FWD and the six-speed manual as standard, hits 62 mph in 8.7 seconds, and tops out at 129 mph. The range-topping model benefits from standard Quattro and automatic transmission, needs only seven seconds to get to 62 mph and its top speed is estimated at 135 mph.

Should the Q2 cross the pond to the U.S., you will only get the 2.0-liter TFI version at first. A diesel is likely to follow at some point, but only the range-topping 2.0-liter TDI will be offered.

Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI CoD Audi Q2 1.6 TDI Audi Q2 2.0 TDI Audi Q2 2.0 TDI BMW X1
Engine 1.0-liter three cylinder 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
Horsepower 114 HP 148 HP @ 5,000 – 6,000 RPM 116 HP @ 3,250 – 4,000 RPM 148 HP @ 3,500 – 4,000 RPM 187 HP @ 3,500 – 4,000 RPM 228 HP @ 5,000–6,000 RPM
Torque 148 LB-FT 184 LB-FT @ 1,500-3,500 RPM 184 LB-FT @ 1,500-3,200 RPM 250 LB-FT @ 1,750-3,000 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,900-3,300 RPM 258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,500 RPM
Top Speed 118 mph 131 mph 122 mph 131 mph 135.5 mph 131 mph
0-100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) 10.5 seconds 8.5 seconds 10.3 seconds 8.1 seconds 7.3 seconds 6.6 seconds
Curb Weight 2,788 Lbs 2,888 Lbs 3,251 Lbs 3,262 Lbs 3,543 Lbs

Prices


2018 BMW X2 - image 740849

Pricing for the X2, which goes on sale from mid-November 2017, starts from £33,980 in the United Kingdom. BMW has yet to announce available for the U.S. market, but it should cross the pond to North America sometime in 2018. Likely to arrive in sDrive25i and xDrive25i forms, it should retail from around $29,000.

Other Options To Consider

Mercedes-Benz GLA


2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class - image 562371

The GLA was actually designed to compete against the BMX X1 and Audi Q3, but it can be cross-shopped with both the X2 and Q2 due to its hatchback-like body style and sporty profile. Also based on a car, in this case the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the GLA is the company’s smallest crossover to date. Introduced in 2014, it sports the brand’s current and familiar styling language with a big grille and swept back headlamps at the front and large taillights to the rear. It also lacks quarter windows, which makes it similar to the X2 and Q2, but unlike its competitors, the roof line makes it less of a coupe and more of a hatchback on stilts. Drivetrain-wise, there are many options available. The gasoline range includes a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with either 120 horsepower and 148 pound-feet or 154 horses and 184 pound-feet and a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. As far as diesels go, the 1.5-liter engine generates 108 horsepower and 192 pound-feet, while the 2.1-liter oil burner cranks out either 134 horses and 221 pound-feet or 168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Finally, the GLA 45 AMG delivers 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist from its gas-powered, 2.0-liter four-cylinder for drivers in need of a performance-oriented crossover. U.S. pricing for the GLA starts from $32,850.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLA

Nissan Juke


2015 Nissan Juke - image 544650

Granted, the Nissan Juke is not a premium crossover, but if you don’t care about a luxurious interior and fancy tech, this is a great option to consider. Not only one of the first coupe-shaped compact crossovers on the market — it has been around since 2010 — the Juke also has a rather intriguing design, making it unique in just about any company. The drivetrain lineup might not be as diverse, but Nissan offers a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine in a wide array of output flavors. The base model comes with 93 horsepower and 103 pound-feet, but customers can upgrade to 115 horses and 116 pound-feet. The turbo range begins with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet, while the range-topping Nismo version comes with 197 horses and 184 pound-feet. If you want a diesel, there’s the 1.5-liter dCi unit good for 109 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Needless to say, it’s not the most powerful crossover out there, but it’s the most affordable, retailing from $20,250 in the U.S.

Read our full review of the Nissan Juke.

Conclusion


2018 BMW X2 - image 740853

Though I’m no big fan of the X4 and the X6, which I find rather ugly and useless (albeit attractively powerful), the X2 has everything it needs to become an important member of BMW’s SUV lineup. Smaller than the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly more affordable, which will bring new customers to BMW dealerships, especially enthusiasts who can’t afford the bigger SUVs and drivers who simply want a city crossover with sporty looks. With the X2, and the upcoming X7, BMW’s circle of X-badged SUVs will finally be complete.

  • Leave it
    • Yet another useless small crossover?
    • Not the prettiest BMW out there
    • No M version anytime soon

References

BMW X2


BMW X2 Arrives In Paris In Concept Form - image 690239

Read our full review of the 2016 BMW X2 Concept.

BMW X4


2015 BMW X4 - image 545240

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X4.

BMW X6


2015 BMW X6 - image 555202

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X6.

BMW X2 Concept


2016 BMW X2 Concept - image 690610

2016 BMW X2 Concept - image 690611
“"The BMW Concept X2 combines the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe with the robust construction of an X model." – Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design”

Check out our full review of the BMW X2 Concept.

Spy Shots

October 10, 2017 – BMW X2 caught wearing no camouflage


2018 BMW X2 - image 737587

2018 BMW X2 - image 737592

October 6, 2017 – BMW X2 caught testing in Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 736646

2018 BMW X2 - image 736652

June 7, 2017 – BMW X2 reveals more of its front end


2018 BMW X2 - image 719291

2018 BMW X2 - image 719293

December 13, 2016 – BMW X2 Goes Winter Testing


2018 BMW X2 - image 698032

2018 BMW X2 - image 698033

November 15, 2015 – BMW X2 caught testing close to the BMW development center in Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 695470

2018 BMW X2 - image 695473

January 18, 2016 – BMW X2 caught testing in the snow


2018 BMW X2 - image 662379

2018 BMW X2 - image 662384

November 6, 2015 – BMW X2 testing on the streets of Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 654499

2018 BMW X2 - image 654500

Updated History

Updated 10/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session on the streets of Berlin.

Updated 06/07/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session – and this time the prototype shows more of its front end. The production version X2 is expected to be unveiled in September at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Updated 11/15/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session close to the BMW development center in Munich.

Updated 10/10/2016: At the recent 2016 Paris Auto Show we saw the X2 Concept. Based on the concept, we decided to create a rendering for the production version. Check it out and let us know what do you think about it in the comments section below.

Updated 11/16/2015: Based on the recent rumors and speculations, we created a rendering for the upcoming BMW X2. We hope you like it.

Updated 11/06/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 testing on the streets of Munich. The X2 will be offered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, with an M version also being a possibility. BMW will offer both gasoline and diesel engines – borrowed from the X1, with a plug-in version set to arrive at a later date.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig’ Design

The next-generation Ram 1500 has been spotted by spy photographers and boy; the differences are huge! Scheduled for the 2019 model year, this half-ton truck departs from the classic Ram “big rig” design that dates back to the second-generation Dodge Ram that debuted for 1994. Gone are the crosshair grille and the big step between the hood and headlights. Ram has also moved the model and engine badge to the hood, leaving the doors free of clutter. But the front isn’t the only change.

The spy photos show a completely revised pickup with new metal from bumper to bumper. Even the cab section looks new. The doors certainly have new skin, and the weather stripping around the windows seems thicker, likely to help reduce wind noise. The Ram’s rear features new taillights, a new tailgate skin, and an interesting bumper with a full-length step that should make getting into the bed a bit easier. The bumper-integrated dual exhaust does make the generational jump.

Naturally, Ram hasn’t said a word on its new pickup, but the updates are expected to be more than just skin deep. Expect a strengthened frame, updated suspension components, and maybe even some aluminum body panels to decrease weight in key areas. The RamBox bed should return, along with the multi-link rear suspension an air-ride option.

As for engines, the prototype truck is clearly wearing a badge for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We fully expect the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to return – likely unchanged – along with an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The ZF eight-speed automatic will likely be standard equipment across the board. The other badge, though covered by tape, will likely be the R-A-M lettering within the horizontal bar in the new grille.

This is an unprecedented look at the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500, however, we see something missing. Keep reading to find out what.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Spied


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739564
“The new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes”

Thanks to a loose tarp, a windy day, and Dodge Forum, we’re getting a very good look at Ram’s new truck. Of course, it’s still a prototype, so anything could change before Ram pulls the covers off the truck. That’s expected to happen at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2018.

As for its appearance, the new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes. The move away from the “big rig” styling might prove a mistake, though Ram has certainly ridden that design theme for quite a while – 24 years, to be exact. Still, some folks might argue the 2019 Ram looks too similar to the 2018 Ford F-150.

Subjective takes on its appearance aside; the Ram does seem to be missing one feature we were really excited about. This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on. The design allows for the conventional use of the tailgate, letting it drop down in the typical fashion, but a split in the middle will also allow the tailgate to open like a double door. Though it would add complexity and cost, the double door-style opening would give amazing access to the cargo bed.


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739563
“This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on”

Then again, all hope on the tailgate isn’t lost. Back to that rear bumper – its full-length step would be perfect for getting into the bed and could provide a place to locate hidden handles to open the tailgate’s two sides. In fact, the Honda Ridgeline uses a very similar step bumper design and handle location. And since the double door tailgate would surely be an optional extra, perhaps this test mule simply didn’t have it. After all, we have seen previous Ram 1500 test mules running around with big, padded camouflage covering the tailgate area. Imagine how handy the cargo bed would be with the multi-use tailgate paired with the RamBox system. How cool would that be?!

So, what do you think? Do you like the 2019 Ram 1500’s design? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

Hat tip to Automotive News, Allpar, and Dodge Forum

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


Ram Adds Two Special Editions To Its Already-Jumbled Trim Line - image 734828

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig’ Design

The next-generation Ram 1500 has been spotted by spy photographers and boy; the differences are huge! Scheduled for the 2019 model year, this half-ton truck departs from the classic Ram “big rig” design that dates back to the second-generation Dodge Ram that debuted for 1994. Gone are the crosshair grille and the big step between the hood and headlights. Ram has also moved the model and engine badge to the hood, leaving the doors free of clutter. But the front isn’t the only change.

The spy photos show a completely revised pickup with new metal from bumper to bumper. Even the cab section looks new. The doors certainly have new skin, and the weather stripping around the windows seems thicker, likely to help reduce wind noise. The Ram’s rear features new taillights, a new tailgate skin, and an interesting bumper with a full-length step that should make getting into the bed a bit easier. The bumper-integrated dual exhaust does make the generational jump.

Naturally, Ram hasn’t said a word on its new pickup, but the updates are expected to be more than just skin deep. Expect a strengthened frame, updated suspension components, and maybe even some aluminum body panels to decrease weight in key areas. The RamBox bed should return, along with the multi-link rear suspension an air-ride option.

As for engines, the prototype truck is clearly wearing a badge for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We fully expect the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to return – likely unchanged – along with an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The ZF eight-speed automatic will likely be standard equipment across the board. The other badge, though covered by tape, will likely be the R-A-M lettering within the horizontal bar in the new grille.

This is an unprecedented look at the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500, however, we see something missing. Keep reading to find out what.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Spied


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739564
“The new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes”

Thanks to a loose tarp, a windy day, and Dodge Forum, we’re getting a very good look at Ram’s new truck. Of course, it’s still a prototype, so anything could change before Ram pulls the covers off the truck. That’s expected to happen at the Detroit Auto Show in January of 2018.

As for its appearance, the new Ram has less distinctive styling than before – at least in our eyes. The move away from the “big rig” styling might prove a mistake, though Ram has certainly ridden that design theme for quite a while – 24 years, to be exact. Still, some folks might argue the 2019 Ram looks too similar to the 2018 Ford F-150.

Subjective takes on its appearance aside; the Ram does seem to be missing one feature we were really excited about. This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on. The design allows for the conventional use of the tailgate, letting it drop down in the typical fashion, but a split in the middle will also allow the tailgate to open like a double door. Though it would add complexity and cost, the double door-style opening would give amazing access to the cargo bed.


2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig' Design - image 739563
“This test mule doesn’t have that dual-opening, “multi-use” tailgate Ram has purportedly been working on”

Then again, all hope on the tailgate isn’t lost. Back to that rear bumper – its full-length step would be perfect for getting into the bed and could provide a place to locate hidden handles to open the tailgate’s two sides. In fact, the Honda Ridgeline uses a very similar step bumper design and handle location. And since the double door tailgate would surely be an optional extra, perhaps this test mule simply didn’t have it. After all, we have seen previous Ram 1500 test mules running around with big, padded camouflage covering the tailgate area. Imagine how handy the cargo bed would be with the multi-use tailgate paired with the RamBox system. How cool would that be?!

So, what do you think? Do you like the 2019 Ram 1500’s design? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

Hat tip to Automotive News, Allpar, and Dodge Forum

References

Ram 1500


2019 Ram 1500 - image 689361

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


Ram Adds Two Special Editions To Its Already-Jumbled Trim Line - image 734828

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 3 Series

BMW’s next-generation 3 Series sedan was just caught on camera romping through the snow during a cold-weather testing session, giving rise to speculation about what’s in store for the up-and-coming luxury four-door. The new sedan is expected to arrive sometime in 2017 and replace the current F30 model, which was launched in 2011.

All things considered, that’s still quite a long time from now, and details are scarce, but we aren’t completely in the dark when it comes to putting together a few expectations. At this point, it’s safe to say that updated styling, lower weight, larger dimensions, more power, new autonomous drive features, and M-style performance will all make an appearance.

We also know that the upcoming model is designated as the “G20” behind closed doors.

Once the standard-bearer for compact luxury sedans, the 3 Series is facing rather stiff competition from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Jaguar XE these days, and BMW needs to bring the heat with this next-gen car. As is, the Bavarian bestseller is under heavy fire on all fronts, so what will it take to regain its past dominance? Read on to find out.

Updated 10/17/2017: We just got our hands on a fresh batch of spy shots! Check them out after the jump…

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW 3 Series.

Spy Shots

October 17, 2017 – More updates to the interior, plus revised exterior lights


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 739039

The last time we got a peek at the upcoming BMW 3 Series was December of 2016, when a prototype was spied carrying some sporty M division gear. Now, as the Bavarian standard gets closer and closer to production status, our stealthy spy photographers nabbed a new test mule doing its thing on public roads.

Let’s start outside, where we find updates to the headlights. The housings look slim and wide, narrowing down towards a larger twin kidney grille intake. What’s more, the projectors look like they get a squared shape inside the housings, with two elements per side, presumably for the high beams and low beams respectively. Overall, we’re expecting something that resembles the current 5 Series already on the road.


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 739033

In back, we get a look at the taillights, which fold into the flanks in the typical Bimmer trapezoidal shape. The lower half will be red, while the upper section will be clear and provide the backup lights. The trunk overhang will be relatively short and square, per normal.


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 739034

Finally, we get a look inside the cabin as well. This time around, the infotainment screen looks like it was moved down into the center console, rather than stuck on top of the dash like last time. Behind the button-laden, three-spoke steering wheel appears to be digital instrumentation, while slim air vents are placed just below the center console screen. Expect drawn-out, horizontal layouts across the board.

All told, we’re getting closer and closer to an official debut some time next year!

December 14, 2016 – 3 Series Prototype Spotted with Some M Sport DNA


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 725971

2019 BMW 3 Series - image 725972

We’ve gotten a third set of pictures that show the 2019 3 Series prototype in the wild, but when we got the photos, we noticed something interesting. This isn’t the same 3 Series that we saw testing back in January or even August. No; this 3 Series is rocking some M-Sport components that give us a brief but shadowed looking into the future. To put things simply, we’re about 95-percent sure that this is a camouflaged preview of the 3 Series M Sport. Compared to the last model, the front fascia is different. The corner air intakes that are still hidden are now taller while that eye-like sensor above the right intake has been uncovered, hinting that the next 3 Series could have some kind of autonomous features. It wouldn’t be surprising considering the leaked order guide for the 5 Series from a few months back exposed us to some semi-autonomous features as well.

But, there’s more than just this to discuss. In typical M Sport fashion, this prototype is also sporting a lower ride height thanks to tuned and sportier suspension. If you look hard enough, you’ll also spot much larger brakes hidden behind the wheel while real side skirts have finally been added to the side profile. Those side skirts don’t look very aggressive, so you should expect to see a slightly different design when the real M Sport shows it face.

To the rear, there’s the addition of a small lip spoiler on the deck lid which will add just a little extra visual appeal to the M Sport. Down below, you’ll notice that there’s another sensor hole open above the right exhaust outlet while there’s actually a tiny diffuser mounted between the exhaust outlets. You do have to look close to see it, but you can see a single, vertical fin on each side of this little diffuser, just to the inside of the exhaust outlets. Finally, this is the first time we’re getting to see real exhaust outlets on the next-gen 3 Series. It’s expected that some models will retain round exhaust outlets, but the M Sport, as well as some other higher trim levels,
will get these five-sided exhaust outlets. Finally, I should point out that this M Sport prototype is rocking a set of official taillights. They are covered in a blurred wrap, but from the look of things, the lights will be LED in nature and should feature a three-bulb layout that will give the rear end of the 3 Series an appealing and three-dimensional look in the rear.

With all of that said, the new 3 Series is coming together nicely. And, if Bimmer is already testing an M Sport variant, that means that the base 3 Series it is based off up is about ready to go into production. It’s still expected for the 2019 model year, so we’ll probably see the 3 Series testing at least one more time before making its debut in either late 2017 or early 2018. It should go on sale sometime in the late third quarter or early second quarter of 2018.

August 8, 2016 – BMW 3 Series reveals its interior


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 684264

2019 BMW 3 Series - image 684268

January 20, 2016 – First testing session


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 662553

2019 BMW 3 Series - image 662551

Exterior


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 725972
“Crisper creases and a more aggressive attitude are pretty much the norm here, all while keeping that drag coefficient as low as possible.”

While the camo-clad prototype isn’t exactly revealing, all the telltale BMW signs are still present and accounted for. Up front is that classic BMW fascia, complete with a kidney grille and sporty (yet refined) lines. A long drawn-out lower intake adds to the low-and-wide stance, and the LED headlights appear to draw back into the fenders, adding even more visual width. The overhang up front is short. Around back, the taillights jut out with a circular, LED element, echoing the wide separation in the headlights. Unsurprisingly, a shot of the rear also reveals a dual-style exhaust.


2016 BMW 3 Series - image 629388

2019 BMW 3 Series - image 725974
2016 BMW 3 Series 2019 BMW 3 Series

While it’s difficult to pin down exactly what’s underneath all the black-and-white swirls, nothing stands out as particularly new or radical when it comes to shape and styling. Crisper creases and a more aggressive attitude are pretty much the norm here, all while keeping that drag coefficient as low as possible. All of the above is visible in our rendering.

Body styles will include a sedan, wagon, and four-door coupe Gran Turismo.

The most interesting feature of the exterior is the persistent rumor that BMW will extend the wheelbase to help increase interior volume. However, the larger dimensions won’t come at the cost of a higher curb weight, as BMW will undoubtedly employ its material know-how to cut mass, even compared to the current model. Aluminum, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, and high-strength steel will all see significant implementation.

Interior


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 684260
“One of the more exciting features expected is advanced gesture control.”

As stated in the exterior section, the extended wheelbase will create more space in the cabin, particularly for passengers sitting in the rear. Complementing this will be the latest infotainment gear available. Additional smartphone integration options, a head-up display, and a large touchscreen are all safe bets, as is a next-gen iteration of BMW’s iDrive vehicle control system. Digital instrumentation will be used behind the steering wheel, and voice recognition features will be standard.

One of the more exciting features expected is advanced gesture control. Already in place on the current 7 Series, BMW is focused on developing this technology even further, as evidenced by its appearance at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Gesture control allows the user to do stuff like answer a phone call or adjust the stereo with a simple hand movement performed in the air – you don’t even have to touch anything.

“As cool as gesture control sounds, it’s trumped by the possibility of fully autonomous driving capabilities”

As cool as gesture control sounds, it’s trumped by the possibility of fully autonomous driving capabilities. BMW is just one of several major automakers claiming to be working towards this wild new technology with the goal of putting it on the road by 2020, and the next-gen 3 Series would be the ideal platform to do exactly that.

Whether or not BMW will be able to deliver remains to be seen, but either way, the various bits of semi-autonomous tech preceding driverless cars is sure to come along for the ride. Self-parking, lane-change assist, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control are already here, and they won’t go away unless something more comprehensive replaces them.

Other updates will include a quieter interior and the usual slew of high-quality details and upscale materials, especially with the right options.

Drivetrain


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 698469
“Stateside, we should expect to see the usual slew of turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinders and 3.0-liter six-cylinders, both significantly updated.”

One of the 3 Series’ strengths is its diverse selection of engine options, and odds are BMW will hold onto that wide variety well into the next-gen model. That means gasoline, diesel, and hybrid models, all with turbochargers.

At the bottom of the food chain will be a 1.5-liter three-cylinder with around 135 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. While great for skipping a trip to the pump, it’s looking like the three-cylinder will stay overseas.

Stateside, we should expect to see the usual slew of turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinders and 3.0-liter six-cylinders, both significantly updated, of course. After all, it’s pretty clear where the industry is headed when it comes to drivetrain technology. More power and higher economy are the norm for each product cycle, and the 3 Series is no different.

The current 320i produces 180 horsepower, so I’m predicting a bump to just under 200 horsepower for 2019, plus a nice boost to fuel efficiency as well. Moving up, the mid-range 340i offers 320 horsepower, so around 350 horsepower isn’t out the question for the next generation. Hybrid power options will surely be more diverse, given the tech’s rising utilization in just about every segment out there, and diesel will also be on the table, even with the current antagonism towards oil burners.

“Every 3 Series will come with RWD as standard, while BMW’s xDrive AWD system will be available on select trim levels”

Leading the charge will be the race-bred M3, packing a high-strung six-cylinder engine under a bulging hood. Currently rated at 425 horsepower, a jump to 500 ponies seems about right for the 2019 model year.

Every 3 Series will come with RWD as standard, while BMW’s xDrive AWD system will be available on select trim levels. Transmission options will include an eight-speed automatic, and if there’s any justice in the world, a three-pedal manual as well.

After all, BMW is known for making the “ultimate driving machine,” which creates certain expectations in the mind of the consumer, especially with features like adaptive suspension, active steering, 50/50 weight distribution, and a performance-oriented driving mode.

Prices


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 662552

Even with all this new stuff, BMW can’t really afford to raise the MSRP if it wants to stay competitive. Therefore, pricing will most likely stay static, starting at around $34,000 for a base model sedan with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and RWD. From there, pricing rises quickly, with more power, more cylinders, AWD, and different body styles all adding to the bottom line. Mid-range trim levels will start at around $45,000.

Options will be plentiful – for a price. The 3 Series has traditionally offered a large variety of packages, including those for luxury (high-end leather upholstery, wood trim), technology (navigation, heads-up display), and performance (up-sized lightweight wheels, sticky summer performance tires, adaptive suspension, big brakes, carbon-fiber trim).

As always, the very top will be occupied by the beefy M3, equipped with more power, sharper suspension, and more aggressive styling. Pricing will start at around $66,000.

Competition

Jaguar XE


2017 Jaguar XE - image 567476

The XE is a direct response to the 3 Series, offering all the looks, elegance, and performance as the Bimmer, but with a decidedly British style. The options are there too, with a nice variety of drivetrains and equipment levels to choose from. Aluminum is used prodigiously to cut weight, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox routes the power. Speaking of power, the sedan comes with a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 240 horsepower 251 pound-feet, a diesel 2.0-liter with 180 ponies and 318 pound-feet, and a supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 good for 340 horses and 332 pound-feet. Both RWD and AWD are on the table. Pricing starts at $34,900.

Read our full review on the Jaguar XE.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan


2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - image 707004

The classic 3 Series rival has to be the C-Class. Not only does it offer the usual lineup of turbo four-cylinders and six-cylinders, but speed lovers can also opt up to a boosted V-8, if desired. Diesel power and a hybrid are in the works for the U.S. market as well. In the meantime, the 2.0-liter four-banger in the C300 delivers 235 horsepower and 273 pound-feet, while the 3.0-liter V-6 in the C400 comes with 329 horses and 354 pound-feet. Inside is a swath of cutting-edge technology and premium luxury, while the exterior comes chiseled in that characteristic Mercedes flair. Pricing starts from $38,950.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan.

Conclusion


2019 BMW 3 Series - image 681321

All in all, there’s nothing here that you could consider as totally revolutionary or groundbreaking. The 2019 3 Series looks to epitomize the next steps of the segment, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. Competition here is at an all-time high, and that pressure to perform is great for consumers. It could be argued that BMW grew slightly complacent in its dominance, and now, that sort of thing just won’t fly. Time to bring in the big guns.

As a performance enthusiast, the larger exterior dimensions for the 2019 3 Series certainly raises an eyebrow. However, it’s to be expected. The volume seller here is a luxury sedan with sporting elements, not a sport sedan with luxury elements. Plus, even with a little more girth, the weight should still be reduced, and the performance should still be enhanced. Plus, if you really want something fast, there’s always the M badge.

It’s still too early to make any definitive conclusions, but so far, things are looking up.

  • Leave it
    • Huge competition
    • Optional features and packages can get very expensive
    • Evolutionary, not revolutionary

Update History

Updated 08/08/2016: Our spy photographers caught the next generation BMW 3 Series out for a new testing session, and this time they also managed to take some shots of the interior. As it get pretty clear from the photos, the interior of the next 3 Series will be a mixture of old and new, with plenty of safety gizmos and the latest in infotainment.

References

BMW 3 Series


2016 BMW 3 Series - image 629400

Read our full review on the current generation BMW 3 Series.

BMW M3


2016 BMW M3 - image 629485

Read our full review on the current BMW M3.

PostHeaderIcon Maserati Levante GTS

Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive – the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well appointed, and a good dose of adrenaline was waiting under the hood. However, it’s looking like an even more exciting Levante is just over the horizon, and we think it’ll have a meaner look, more driver’s goodies inside, and two additional turbocharged cylinders.

So where would we get a crazy idea like that? Well, back in April, Autoblog asked Maserati if it could fit its top-spec 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, the same powerplant it shoehorned into the Quattroporte GTS, into its first-ever SUV. The answer was an unequivocal “yes.” What’s more, Davide Danesin, the head of Maserati vehicle programs, reported that the Trident already had a prototype of the combo in hand, leading high-performance SUV enthusiasts everywhere to begin salivating uncontrollably. And while it’s still possible Maserati will axe the project outright, odds are a Levante GTS will become a thing sooner or later.

In anticipation of that day, we created the following rendering and speculative review.

Updated 10/06/2017: The upcoming Maserati Levante GTS was caught testing for the first time in the sunny and hot parts of Europe.

Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante GTS.

Spy Shots

October 6, 2017 – Maserati Levante GTS caught testing in the sunny and hot parts of Europe


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736264

2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736272

Exterior


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683873

To help it stand out from the standard Levante, the GTS model gets a selection of unique styling additions. The most noticeable difference is the front fascia, where we find a lower intake that is widened and extended, unlike the bisected lower intake on the standard model. This lower intake receives a honeycomb grille insert, which is finished in glossy black, a nice offset to the exterior body panels. Above the widely grinning lower grille are two fog lights that are deeply set into the bumper, almost like dimples. Near the ground, we find an extended front splitter, most likely made from a composite material.

The characteristic Trident badge is front and center in the upper intake, bookended on either side by four slates finished in a dark coloration. A single chrome strip runs along the topmost edge of the grille, leading the eye into LED daytime running lights in the front projectors.

“The look is much more assertive, trading roundness for sharp edges and adding a good amount of GT-inspired aggression.”

These features set the right angle to give the Levante GTS an aggressive, forward-leaning demeanor. Higher up are hood lines that give the front end a sharp, pointed look.

Moving to the profile, we find a trio of the trademark Maserati fender vents. Beyond these are revised side-view mirrors, which are sharper and smaller, coming to an almost blade-like tip. The mirror cap finish is black, a color that’s repeated in the side skirt extensions at the bottom. The window surrounds are made from polished chrome.

In back, there’s a trailing edge roof spoiler, while below the hatch, there are quad exhaust tips set in a carbon fiber diffuser that gets the Levante just a little closer to the ground.

Overall, the look is much more assertive, trading roundness for sharp edges and adding a good amount of GT-inspired aggression. But it’s not all for looks – the aerodynamic enhancements become necessary on a vehicle with this much potential, as downforce becomes an issue that can’t be ignored when you’re pushing more than 500 horsepower.

Interior


2016 Maserati Levante - image 667852

Note: Interior from Standard 2016 Levante shown here.

We didn’t render the Levante GTS’ interior space, but it isn’t too hard to imagine what it’ll bring to the table should it hit production.

First off, expect opulence and luxury at every turn. Sumptuous leather upholstery, wood trim, aluminum control bits, and an Alcantara headliner are all part of the materials list. Contrast stitching abounds.

However, to make it sportier, the GTS model will offer the option for full carbon fiber across the dash, center console, and door inserts. The electronically adjustable seats will gain much bigger bolsters, hugging the front passengers with increased support in anticipation of higher lateral loads. No such luck for anyone in the rear seat, but space for three will be maintained nonetheless.

“The steering wheel will be the same three-spoke unit we’re all familiar with, trimmed in carbon fiber and bearing thumb controls for the infotainment system.”

The steering wheel will be the same three-spoke unit we’re all familiar with, trimmed in carbon fiber and bearing thumb controls for the infotainment system. Paddle shifters made from aluminum will be in place behind the wheel for easy access. The pedals will be drilled aluminum with rubber inserts.

Instrumentation will include all-digital gear, such as a TFT touch screen, probably similar to the current 8.4-inch unit, plus a TFT driver’s information screen in the gauge cluster. Maserati’s classic analog clock will find a spot in the dash. Bowers & Wilkins will provide the music with a 17-speaker surround sound system. The latest in automated driving aides will come as standard.

In back, the Levante’s 20.5 cubic feet of cargo room will be maintained for when you need to haul more than just butt.

Drivetrain

So far, the Levante has been confirmed to bear a 3.0-liter V-6, boosted by two turbochargers to two levels of tune – 345 horsepower for the base model Levante, and 424 horsepower for the Levante S. There’s also a diesel, but we don’t really care about that.

What we do care about is performance, and with 424 ponies to play with, the Levante has plenty of that to offer. From standstill, the Levante S takes just 5.2 seconds to hit 62 mph – not bad for a 4,650-pound SUV.

However, if it’s gonna go up against the current breed of fire-breathing SUV’s, it’s gonna need a little more. Like at least another 100 horsepower more, or to be specific, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 currently used in the Quattroporte GTS.

“As is, this powerplant produces 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in Maserati’s top-spec RWD sedan.”

As is, this powerplant produces 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in Maserati’s top-spec RWD sedan. Transplanted into the AWD Levante, and I see the SUV’s 0-to-60 mph sprint time dropping to around 4.5 seconds.

Again, that’s not too shabby, but I doubt Maserati will be content with that result. More than likely, the Trident will look to boost output even further – perhaps eclipsing the 575-horsepower mark.

With a number like that, the Levante would be able to positively blitz the competition, driving the 0-to-60 mph time down into the high three-second range.

Routing the power will be an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF, the same transmission used on the current sixth-generation Quattroporte.

Chassis And Handling

The Levante is built on the same platform as the Quattroporte and Ghibli, and it should be a pretty stellar handler right out of the box. However, a GTS model will need even more to keep up with the extra output from that V-8.

To that end, the tires will be ultra-high-performance rubber, although all-seasons are likely to be an available option. The brakes will be upgraded to six-piston calipers at each corner, while the air suspension will be tweaked for more all-around stiffness. The AWD system will be retuned as well for even better rear-biased handling.

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Maserati cut some of the curb weight and added a little chassis stiffness, just to round it out.

Prices

It might seem odd to be daydreaming about a Levante GTS when the base model and Levante S have yet to even begin trickling into dealerships (look for that to happen in October). That said, now is the time for the Trident to begin cooking up a new range-topper, so look for spy shots and leaks in the near future.

Should it make the cut, the Levante GTS is expected to drop by 2018. We’re pegging the price tag to be around $120,000, far above the current top dog Levante S, which goes for $83,000.

Competition

Range Rover Sport SVR


2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR - image 563993

The fastest Land Rover available is the Range Rover Sport SVR, a 550-horsepower brick of supercharged V-8 insanity. Properly motivated, this speedy SUV will hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and will continue on to a top speed of 162 mph. It’s got air springs, variable dampers, and an active exhaust that’ll make more of the good noise when the mood is right. SVR worked its magic on the inside too, with sport seats that come wrapped in leather.

Read our full review on the Range Rover Sport SVR].

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S


2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S - image 610560

When Porsche dropped the Cayenne, the critics scoffed. The notion of a fast SUV from Stuttgart didn’t fit with their notion of what should be done, but the market spoke, and now, performance utility vehicles are everywhere. But of course, the original carries on, with the top of the totem pole occupied by the Cayenne Turbo S. With 570 horsepower hitting the ground via an eight-speed transmission and AWD, this thing will attain 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Top speed is rated at 176 mph.

Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

Conclusion


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683874

Given the fact there’s already a prototype of the V-8 Levante confirmed, a GTS variant is looking mighty likely. But the real question is how it’ll play out in the segment two years from now when it releases. Will the base model soak up the demand for Maserati SUV’s, or will the buying public be clamoring for more? How about the competition? Where will the new benchmark lie in terms of performance expectations?

Only time will tell.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Lots of competition already out there
    • What will the market look like in a few years?

References

Maserati Levante


2016 Maserati Levante - image 667845

Read our full review on the 2017 Maserati Levante.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Mission E

While considered laughable just a decade or two ago, the idea of a high-performance electric vehicle is now widely accepted in even the most traditional of speed circles. As the list of battery-motivated monster machines continues to grow, Porsche is getting in on the action with its up-and-coming Mission E. As a follow-up to hybrid superstars like the 918 Spyder and the Panamera, the Mission E is slated to become Stuttgart’s very first all-electric vehicle. Porsche teased the new model with a concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and now, we’re getting our very first shots of the production iteration in the wild. Captured out and about doing some real-world testing just outside Porsche’s factory in Weissach, the spy shots reveal just how close the Mission E is to becoming a reality on public roads. Expect specs that either match or beat the Tesla Model S, with several hundred miles of range and a blistering 0-to-60 mph time, not to mention a luxurious cabin space and Nurburgring-tested handling.

While full details are still forthcoming, there’s plenty of info floating around out there to go on in terms of speculation. Regardless, it’s sure to be top-shelf and quite fast, but the question remains – will it be enough to take out the Tesla? Is this finally the Model S killer we’ve been waiting for? We’re still a few years away from the release of the Mission E, so we’ll have to wait, but in the meantime, check out our speculative review.

Updated 12/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Mission E out for a new testing session, this time during cold, winter conditions somewhere in Sweden.

Spy Shots

December 6, 2017 – Porsche Mission E caught testing during cold, winter conditions


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 750706

2020 Porsche Mission E - image 750716

October 26, 2017 – Porsche Mission E caught testing at Nurburgring


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 740948

2020 Porsche Mission E - image 740943

Exterior


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 736098
“Although this test mule is obviously clad in a bit of camo dress-up, the general shape and prominent lines are clear to see, and in our opinion, it’s gonna be a looker.”

Right away, these recent spy shots get us very excited for the Mission E. Although this test mule is obviously clad in a bit of camo dress-up, the general shape and prominent lines are clear to see, and in our opinion, it’s gonna be a looker. Wide and low are the predominant traits, with curvy hips and a gently sloping roofline that begs for a second look. The headlights are large and triangular, while the front lip is all hard lines and angles.

The aesthetic is a fusion of several influences drawn from across the Porsche line-up. Obviously, the 911 is a major guiding light, as evidenced by that sloping front end and voluptuous rear end. The Panamera can be seen in the profile and roofline, especially with the way the rear doors fall into the rear fender flares. Finally, the hard aero bits are taken from the 918 Spyder, giving it a futuristic tech vibe as well.


2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
- image 519068

2017 Porsche 911 - image 644905

2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681050

Note: Porsche 918 Spyder pictured top, Porsche 911 pictured bottom left, Porsche Panamera pictured bottom right.

Also, never mind those exhaust pipes you see sticking out the rear end – those are most definitely fake, and this thing is most definitely all electric. Nice try, Porsche.

Compared to the concept version of the Mission E, this test mule looks way more toned down. Whereas the concept is like a spaceship that just landed from the planet Zyklox, the test mule looks like it could naturally fall into Porsche’s lineup completely unchanged. And while we would have preferred the crazy look of the concept, we understand why it’s likely not to happen. Just look at it –


2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 647936
“While we’d love to see the wild-looking Mission E get the green light in terms of styling, we aren’t holding our breath.”

That said, it’s likely there will be future opportunities for the design study to influence Porsche’s production vehicles when it comes to all-electrics. It’s believed the Mission E will give way to a variety of different body styles, including a compact sedan and possibly even a wagon or hatchback. Perhaps an all-electric halo car is in the cards as well. Either way, look for the Mission E’s styling influence to appear again.

“We expect some form of adaptive aerodynamics to help the Mission E stick on track and glide through the air on the road.”

Getting back to the car at hand, we expect some form of adaptive aerodynamics to help the Mission E stick on track and glide through the air on the road. For example, we wouldn’t be surprised if Porsche added a rear wing similar to that found on the Panamera, rising to create more downforce when needed, and lowering for less drag when cruising.

LED’s will be used for the headlights, with a quartet of forward-facing projectors similar to 918 Spyder. There should also be plenty of carbon fiber elements, with composites applied for both utility (aero enhancements) and aesthetic purposes. It’s possible Porsche will even equip carbon fiber wheels, although it’s much more likely it’ll use alloy units on lower trim levels.

Interior


2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 645965

Note: Porsche Mission E Concept pictured here.

“When Porsche revealed the Mission E Concept, we were delighted to find a futuristic, elegant interior design waiting inside the cabin”

When Porsche revealed the Mission E Concept, we were delighted to find a futuristic, elegant interior design waiting inside the cabin. Sporting a sleek, horizontal layout, plus almost no hard inputs (no buttons or toggles beyond a few on the steering wheel and a drive mode selector on the center console), we think this is definitely a step in the right direction for Porsche. Add in the tech-heavy collection of digital screens stretching across the width of the vehicle, form-fitting sport seats with large side bolsters, and attractive three-spoke steering wheel, and we’re eager to see how it all translates into a production model.

And while we’re crossing our fingers the Mission E keeps its sweet interior spec, we’re think the more realistic expectation is that it’ll get an interior similar to the Panamera.


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 701995

Note: Porsche Panamera interior pictured here.

As such, the Mission E will likely get a large center console with a variety of flat-panel buttons and a shifter. A large touchscreen will sit horizontally in the dash, while a second digital display will sit behind the multi-function, three-spoke steering wheel. And although the look is a bit more cluttered and less interesting than the concept, we’d still expect high-end materials like Alcantara and leather, plus brushed aluminum and similar trim. A high-end stereo and LED lighting will round it out.

The doors will also open in the traditional fashion, rather than with rear-hinged suicide doors in back and no B-pillar like the concept. Too bad.

Finally, while the concept shows a four-seat layout, we think it’s much more likely the production version will be a five-seater. After all, the Tesla Model S sits five passengers, as does the recently released Panamera Sport Turismo. Sportier iterations might ditch the middle seat, though.

Drivetrain


2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 736441

Note: Porsche Mission E powertrain pictured here.

“Porsche contends the Mission E will do the 0-to-60 mph sprint in roughly 3.5 seconds, while range is pegged at 310 miles per charge.”

Like the Tesla Model S, the Porsche Mission E is likely to get multiple options when it comes to the battery packs. Multiple drive modes are a given, with either extra power in Sport mode or extra range in Eco mode, both of which will be selectable from the center console.

Porsche says the Mission E will offer more than 310 miles of range per charge, but it’s likely that figure is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). As such, it’s possible the Mission E will get something closer to 250 miles per charge when evaluated using the U.S. system (EPA).

Either way, Porsche contends the Mission E will do the 0-to-60 mph sprint in roughly 3.5 seconds. That’s slower than the top-trim Model S, which does the benchmark in 2.5 seconds, although the base-trim Model S does it in 4.2 seconds, so we could see Porsche offering different battery packs to beat each of those figures.

Also, Porsche says the Mission E Concept promises a 0-to-124 mph time under 12 seconds, which is similar to supercars like the McLaren 650S.

Putting the juice to the pavement will be four individual permanent magnet synchronous electric motors, one per wheel. Peak output comes 600 horses, give or take. The electric motors will be similar to what Porsche equips in the LMP1 919 hybrid race car that took the win at Le Mans three times over, so that’s exciting.

“Peak output comes 600 horses, give or take. The electric motors will be similar to what Porsche equips in the LMP1 919 hybrid race car that took the win at Le Mans three times over.”

What’s more, Porsche is reporting it’s developing a new 800-volt charging system. Slated to come to the U.S. via soon-to-be-built Porsche infrastructure, the automaker is already busying itself creating similar stations in Germany. This is important as it addresses two things critical components to the success of the Mission E – the long charge times that are holding back more widespread adoption of the EV platform, plus Tesla’s competing Supercharger network infrastructure. Tesla’s system charges at 480 volts, so the 800-volt system could be seen as a direct assault on the California brand’s established assets. Of course, the Mission E should also be able to charge from a normal wall socket, albeit at a significantly slower pace. However, if you can find a Porsche socket, you’ll get a charging rate of 350-kW, which can give the Mission E an 80-percent charge in just 15 minutes. And that’s great news for anyone looking forward to seeing more EVs on the road.

Chassis And Handling


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 736112
“Rather than rehashing the MSB platform that underpins the Panamera, the Mission E will get its own bones tailored to all-electric performance.”

Under the skin, the Porsche Mission E is rumored to utilize a platform dubbed J1, which was designed specifically for all-electric models. That’s right – rather than rehashing the MSB platform that underpins the Panamera, the Mission E will get its own bones tailored to all-electric performance. What’s more, the J1 platform is rumored to provide the bones for Audi’s all-electric SUV, the e-Tron quattro, plus Lamborghini might even use it for its own all-electric car.

Either way, we fully expect the Mission E to be one helluva performer on the track. With go-faster tech like advanced torque vectoring capabilities and four-wheel steering, the Mission E will be able to manage its all-electric heft with aplomb. Complementing this will be the positioning of the requisite lithium-ion batter pack, which will be mounted under the floor and between the axles for optimum weight distribution.

All told, we fully expect the Mission E to be the EV of choice when it comes to four-door performance, especially against the straight-line squirt of the Tesla Model S. Porsche even says it expects the Mission E to circle the Nurburgring in less than 8 minutes.

Prices


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 736099

It’s highly likely the Porsche Mission E will see a release date some time in 2019, with a preemptive debut later in 2018.

It’s expected to slot in at around $85,000, about $17,000 more than the base price for the Tesla Model S. That said, it’ll likely have the performance and range to make up for the price range. What’s more, top trim levels will likely see pricing approaching the $200,000 mark, especially when checking off the high-end options.

Competition

Tesla Model S


2017 Tesla Model S - image 703865

As if it wasn’t painfully obvious already, the Porsche Mission E’s primary competition will come from the Tesla Model S. As if to reiterate this point, the recent spy images even show a convoy of Tesla vehicles behind the test mule, so it’s quite obvious where Porsche’s benchmark is coming from. And rightfully so – the Model S essentially upended the world of EVs when it debuted 2012, offering sexy styling, a sumptuous interior, impressive range, and even more impressive performance. Now, you can get an S with supercar levels of performance, and the Mission E will need to bring it’s A-game if it hopes to offer a challenge.

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.

Conclusion


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 736095

All told, we’re chomping at the bit to learn more about the Porsche Mission E. The prospect of finally getting an honest-to-goodness Tesla Model S fighter is enticing, to say the least. Add in the fact it’s coming from one of the most respected sports car makers in the world, and things are looking up for EV performance enthusiasts.

Make no mistake – this isn’t just a Panamera with a bigger battery. The Mission E looks like it’ll gets its own platform, styling, and equipment to take on the venerable Tesla sedan. And when automakers compete at a level like this, consumers win.

  • Leave it
    • Will it have the range to compete?
    • Will you need to pay out the nose for any real performance?
    • Still several years away, and the EV market isn’t resting on its laurels

References

Porsche Mission E Concept


2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 645964

Read our full review on the Porsche Mission E Concept.

Porsche Panamera


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681041

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Porsche 918 Spyder


2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
- image 719974

Read our full review on the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder.

Update History

Updated 10/26/2017 The Porsche Mission E was caught playing on the Nurburgring looking near production ready. Check out the spy shots section below to see it in all its glory!!!!!!

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG A40

Mercedes is on a mission to replace its models every six years or so. So, with the current generation A-Class turning five years old as of 2017, it was no surprise to us when we saw the next-gen prototype putting in some work somewhere in Europe. Alongside the redesigned hatchback, Mercedes-Benz is also testing a new version of the AMG A45. More importantly, it seems that the German company wants to introduce a new model into the lineup. It’s reportedly called the AMG A40 and will slot below the familiar AMG A45.

As of June 2017, the prototype is still wrapped in lots of camo and padding, but that isn’t to say that we can’t identify some of the changes we can expect when the model does shed its prototype skin. It’s rather obvious that the next-gen A-Class will bring some evolutionary changes, all of which will find their way on the performance-oriented versions. The biggest news here is this new A40 trim, which will most likely be sold as an answer to the Audi S3 and BMW M140i. Until we get some official information, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about this hot hatch.

Update 10/23/2017: It’s only been a few weeks since we last so the Mercedes-AMG A40 out testing on the roads, and white as rain, it was caught in public again. Not a lot has changed, but there is something noteworthy to mention, so check out the spy shot section below for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG A40.

Spy Shots

October 23, 2017 – On the Long Road to Production


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 740090

2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 740098

At this point, very little is changing on the Mercedes-AMG A40. When you combine that with the fact that we’re seeing it for the second time in less than a month, it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing the official production model soon. As of now, most of the padding that originally covered the prototype has been removed, leaving just the camo to distract our eyes. On the other hand, the slightly wider fenders leave us wondering if these fenders are, indeed, wider or if they are simply still padded down a bit. Then again the wheels are a bit wider to support the 400+ horsepower under the hood, so it’s not outlandish to think that they may very well be a bit wider than on the standard A-Class. It would certainly be refreshing, anyway.

With that in mind, this prototype is still sporting the same Panamerican grille, and still rocks out the same production headlights and hood. This time around, the headlights are on, so we can see the LED lights illuminated in both the front and the rear. The side skirts look to have gotten a little more aggressive up front while the rear end now gets official dual exhaust outlets. Speaking of which, did you notice something weird about those outlets? Since when does Mercedes-AMG use dual, circular outlets instead of a single rectangular unit? That’s quite interesting, don’t you think? We suspect that Mercedes will be debuting the new A40 AMG sometime in the near future with the Detroit Auto Show or Chicago Auto Show being potential candidates if Mercedes is thinking of bring it to the United States. Well, unless Mercedes decides to surprise us at the Tokyo Motor Show later this week. What do you all think? Fill us in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

October 4, 2017 – Droping some padding and getting a new face


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 736303

2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 736302

This time around, the A40 hasn’t exactly shed any camo, but it has shed a lot of padding. The most noticeable change to us is that the hood is now a production hood, while the headlights also follow suit. Instead of those annoying projection-like units on the last mule, we’ve got the official LED units with the top-positioned LED strip. The lights are sleeker, sit a little higher in the body, and are slanted downward toward the nose to provide extra character. With that in mind, the other major factor here is that we’re getting a look at a completely different fascia and a different grille. Now, it’s not likely that the A40 will end up with a grille that looks anything like what you see here, as it will likely feature AMG’s current grille design, but there could be something more in the looks. It is sporting a big, fat Mercedes emblem that was cleverly wrapped tight enough so you could see its camel toe peeking through.

“The most noticeable change to us is that the hood is now a production hood, while the headlights also follow suit”

As you can see, the lower fascia isn’t exactly production ready as of yet, but it is on its way and clearly under development. The passenger side is rocking out a number of drilled holes while the passenger side is rocking just a few in place of the traditional corner intakes. To put it simply, Mercedes is trying to figure out just how fake those corner intakes need to be for the best aerodynamics, performance, and efficiency. Oddly, the front in now features a smaller, or shorter, air dam that features curved edges without any of the fancy stuff on the sides. A small louver crosses the air dam at the tip, which could indicate a strange front-end styling here or just a cheap and easy way for Mercedes to mount that front plate for testing purpose. Only time will tell for that one.

To the sides, nothing has really changed thus far, but we can now see that the A40 will have smaller side mirrors that is predecessor and the mule we saw a few months ago. This time around our photographers didn’t get as good of a shot of the rear, however, we can see that some of the camo has been removed from the taillights, At this point, it’s hard to tell if these are production units or not, but given the fit an finish I would guess that the production model will at least sport the same style of lights, most likely with a larger number of LEDs present.

What do you guys think so far? Let us know in the comments section below.

October 6, 2016 – First testing session


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719231

2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719233

Exterior


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719231
“Since there’s so much camo and padding, the number of enhancements that we can spot to the new AMG A40 are pretty slim.”

Since there’s so much camo and padding, the number of enhancements that we can spot to the new AMG A40 are pretty slim. If the front fascia is truly representative of change, then it looks like the A40 could get circular running lights up front, with smaller air intakes on the corners. The air dam will likely grow a bit, but the radiator grille should remain roughly the same size and shape. It looks like the headlights will be much smaller on the A40, but it’s really hard to tell. There does appear to be an aggressive body line on each corner of the fascia, which could indicate that the A40 could be void of corner intakes at all. The hood is heavily padded, leading us to believe that it will change dramatically by the time the car hits dealers. Expect to see muscular lines on each side, just like on the current A45.


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719230
“The A-pillars on this model looked to be angled a bit more aggressively, and the roof may sit just a little lower.”

Moving over to the sides, the biggest thing we’ve spotted is the shape of the windows. The A-pillars on this model looked to be angled a bit more aggressively, and the roof may sit just a little lower. This leads to shorter windows overall, especially in the back. As you can see, the rear doors are now a little bit longer than before, and the upper curve of the rear doors curve downward farther back. This makes for a larger stationary window and wider primary glass in the rear door. Notice how the rear side of the door actually follows the contour of the rear wheel well on this prototype? It also looks like the fuel filler door will be square on the A40.


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719236

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC - image 635510
Future Mercedes-AMG A40 Current Mercedes-AMG A45
“All told, the A40 should be a bit more aggressive than the standard model, but not as sporty as the range-topping A45.”

Farther back, the pillar between the back doors and the rear hatch is now a little bit wider. Sure, there’s a lot of padding on the rear hatch that helps to throw us off a little, but if you look closely, you can spot the extra length. The more you look at it, the more it becomes clear that the extra length on the new A40 will be found in the rear. To go along with the wider rear pillars, the rear fascia is now at least twice as long as before. In reality, it makes this car look more like a small wagon that a hatchback.

Around back, the biggest difference is that the rear hatch is actually a little bit wider, and comes to a very sharp point where it jukes inward around the taillights. It also looks like the rear hatch will also get its own taillight lens, but those reflectors could just be there to throw us off.

All told, the A40 should be a bit more aggressive than the standard model, but not as sporty as the range-topping A45.

Interior


2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG
- image 492687

Note: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG interior shown here.

“It's safe to assume that it will have the same features as the redesigned A-Class plus a number of unique items.”

Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten a good look inside the future A40, but it’s safe to assume that it will have the same features as the redesigned A-Class plus a number of unique items. From the outside, we can spot the hump over the instrument cluster as seen in the current model, and it’s safe to assume the floating infotainment display will also carry over, albeit with some improvements and maybe a slightly larger screen. Expect to see the traditional circular HVAC vents, but the audio control panel in the center stack should be toned down quite a bit. The center console will evolve a bit, but nothing too extreme. There will naturally be race-inspired sport seats (likely optional though), and there will be little doses of color accenting here and there.

Drivetrain


2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG
- image 492587

Note: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG drivetrain pictured here.

“Expect the AMG A40 to arrive with at least 300 horsepower, but no more than 320 horses.”

We’re expecting the A-Class to debut with some updated engines, while other engines will be replaced altogether. Considering the A-Class will use an updated version of Mercedes’ MFA platform -– dubbed MFA2 -– Merc will have the chance to offer more drivetrains than ever before across the entire range. The platform is also lighter, and obviously longer, so it has that going for it as well.

The current A45 uses a 2.0-liter that delivers some 381 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. It’s enough to push the A45 to 62 mph in a matter of 4.2 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 155 mph. With output of the new AMG A45 likely to increase to a bit over 400 horsepower and maybe 380 pound-feet of torque, the AMG A40 will bridge the gap between the range-topping model and the A250 trim. All told, expect it to arrive with at least 300 horsepower, but no more than 320 horses.

Ultimately, the A40 should be quicker than any other A-Class but slower than the A45. Look for 4.5-second sprints from 0 to 62 mph and the same top speed limited at 155 mph
As is the case with the current A45, shifting duties should be handled by an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed sports transmission.

Pricing


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719223

As of June 2017, U.K. pricing for the A-Class starts from £20,715 (around $26,700), while the range topping 250 AMG retails from £30,225 to £36,200 (about $38,970 to $46,680), depending on specs. The AMG A45, on the other hand, starts from £41,875 (around $54,000). It’s safe to assume that the A40 will split the difference between the 250 AMG and A45, meaning it should start from around £36,000 (some $46,420). Unfortunately, unless Mercedes-Benz suddenly decides to bring the A-Class range to the U.S., the AMG A40 won’t be available on this side of the pond.

Competition

BMW M140i


2017 BMW M140i - image 705769

2017 BMW M140i - image 719218

Unfortunately, BMW has yet to produce a successor for the BMW M1, so the closest we can get to it is its newest little hatch, the BMW M140i. While it’s not a full-fledged M car, it replaces the M135i and comes with a little extra juice on tap. Unlike the Mercedes-AMG A40, the M140i uses a 3.0-liter six-cylinder. It delivers 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, which is an increase of 10 horsepower over the M135i and 46-horsepower less that the current Mercedes-AMG A45. The M140i can hit 62 mph in about 4.6 seconds when equipped with an eight-speed automatic or 4.8 seconds with the standard, six-speed manual. When equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive, the M140i hits the same benchmark in just 4.4 seconds. Pricing for the M140i starts from £32,650 (around $42,070) for the three-door version and from £33,180 (around $42,750) for the five-door version. Just like the A-Class, the BMW 1 Series isn’t available in the United States.

Read our full review on the BMW M140i.

Audi S3


2017 Audi S3 - image 671902

2017 Audi S3 - image 671900

The Audi S3 is yet another reason why Mercedes needs an AMG A40. Slotted between the A3 2.0 TFSI and the bonkers RS3, the S3 uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that cranks out 310 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Fitted with an S-Tronic transmission, the German hatch needs 4.6 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. Styling-wise, it has a sportier exterior and fancied-up interior compared to the regular A3, but it’s not as menacing to look at as the RS3. Pricing starts from £33,505 (around $43,170) for the two-door S3 and from £34,125 (about $43,970) for the five-door S3 Sportback version.

Read our full review on the Audi S3.

Conclusion


2018 Mercedes-AMG A40 - image 719233

Mercedes isn’t playing around with that hand-built 2.0-liter engine. We’re talking about a small-ish four-cylinder that’s delivering a lot of power. It would be nice if the new A40 came with a little extra compared to its rivals, but I really don’t see this model sporting more oomph than the BMW M140i. The hot-hatch market is pretty strong these days, and in theory, a model like the AMG A40 could also be competing with cars like the Focus RS and the Civic Type-R under the right circumstances. Sure, those cars aren’t German, and some don’t exactly approach 400 horses like the AMG A45 and the RS3 Sportback, but they are big hitters in the hatch market. Now, if only we could convince Mercedes to bring the A40 to the U.S., I’d be a happy camper.

  • Leave it
    • Probably not U.S. bound
    • It is a little pricey

References

Mercedes A-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 720850

Read our full review on the next generation 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG
- image 492695

Read our full review on the previous 2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

Update History

Update 10/4/2017: We’re finally getting a second look at the upcoming Mercedes-AMG A40 and this time around there are some serious changes taking place that brings the little hatch much closer to its goal of being production ready in 2018. Check out our special update section below to see what the changes are and learn more about them.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Q8

After five years of rumors that began when Audi trademarked the Q8 name in 2012, the German company finally unveiled its proposition against the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Actually, the crossover introduced at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show is just a concept for now, but a production model is scheduled to follow soon.

When BMW introduced the X6 in 2009, a new segment was born. But although the crossover BMW describes as a Sports Activity Coupe proved somewhat popular with SUV enthusiasts, the trend didn’t catch on with other automakers until 2013. That’s when Mercedes-Benz revealed plans to develop a coupe-like crossover based on the M-Class. Shortly after, rumors of a Cayenne Coupe emerged, signaling that Germany’s finest automakers finally pay more attention to this niche. Although the details are still under wraps as of May 2017, a test car has already been spotted on public roads, a sign that the production Q8 isn’t far. Join me in my speculative review to find out what we already know about the sporty crossover.

Updated 10/04/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi Q8 out for a new testing session, and this time we have more clear images of the interior.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8.

Spy Shots

October 4, 2017 – Audi Q8 reveals its interior


2018 Audi Q8 - image 736280

2018 Audi Q8 - image 736278

May 29, 2017 – Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurbugring once again


2018 Audi Q8 - image 718371

2018 Audi Q8 - image 718372

April 7, 2017 – Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurburgring


2018 Audi Q8 - image 712279

2018 Audi Q8 - image 712284

July 13, 2016 – Audi Q7 based mule caught testing


2018 Audi Q8 - image 682290

2018 Audi Q8 - image 682289

Exterior


2018 Audi Q8 - image 705596

Essentially developed as a more emotional and sporty version of the Q7, the Q8 will borrow many of its styling cues from the Q8 concept. Granted, it won’t be as wild as the latter, but the camouflaged test cars appear to sport similar features. For instance, the “singleframe” grille is only slight smaller than the concept, which gives the crossover a sporty stance. Likewise, the headlamps are almost identical as far as shape and size go, although they use a different LED layout. Bigger differences can be spotted below, where the side air vents are smaller and lack the aluminum surround the make the Q8 concept stand out. Also, the lower intake is narrower, while the splitter seen on the concept is missing. Still, the Q8 definitely looks sportier than the Q7 up front.

It’s difficult to tell what Audi changed on the sides due to the swirly camo pattern, but it’s pretty obvious that the side mirrors are larger, while the wheel arches are not as pronounced as the concept’s. Likewise, Audi scrapped the concept’s beefed-up rear fenders. Not surprising really, but not such a big deal given the sporty design.


2018 Audi Q8 - image 705594

2018 Audi Q8 - image 705595

2018 Audi Q8 - image 705599

2018 Audi Q8 - image 705597
“Essentially developed as a more emotional and sporty version of the Q7, the Q8 will borrow many of its styling cues from the Q8 concept.”

More changes are in store around back, and the biggest of them is in the taillight department. While the concept SUV has Porsche-style lights that run across the entire width of the rear fascia, the test car appears to sport Audi-specific units on each side. Also, the bumper is less aggressive and lacks the sporty diffuser seen on the concept. Other features that set the production model apart include a simpler roof spoiler, narrower D-pillars, and different wheels.

The sporty SUV rides on Volkswagen’s second-generation MLB platform, also shared by the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, Bentley Bentayga, and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus.

Interior


2018 Audi Q8 - image 718282

While the Q7 and Q8 will be a bit different as far as exterior design goes, the two will share the same technology on the inside. I wouldn’t bet on the Q8 borrowing too many features from the concept car, but a clean dashboard design and sporty seats are definitely on the table.


2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept - image 700412

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 705600

Note: Q8 concept pictured on the left, Q7 concept pictured on the right.

“Naturally, the Q8’s cabin will be packed with the finest materials we can expect from an automaker such as Audi.”

The spy shots confirm that it will get the same continuous air vent strip seen in current Audis, and the clean center stack and digital instrument cluster seen in the Q7. There’s an infotainment screen atop the dashboard, and another display in the center stack, just above the gear lever area. The latter seems to provide access to the air conditioning system, among other functions, and its lower aluminum section includes the engine start button.

Naturally, the Q8’s cabin will be packed with the finest materials we can expect from an automaker such as Audi. The seats will be wrapped in leather and Alcantara in several color options and complemented by a host of aluminum and wood trims, including Beaufort walnut. The crossover will also benefit from a new MMI system featuring intelligent suggestions for different tasks, including searching for specific song titles or navigation destinations. As far as entertainment goes, the Q8 will probably come with one or optionally two 10.1-inch tablets as rear seat monitors.

Drivetrain


2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 610941

Note: Audi Q7 engine pictured here.

Much like the Q7, the Q8 will receive a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines.

In the Q7, the 2.0-liter four-banger cranks out 252 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. Next in line is a 3.0-liter V-6 making 333 ponies and 325 pound-feet of torque, which is the most powerful gasoline unit now that Audi has dropped the 4.2-liter V-8 for the SUV.

Moving over to diesels, the familiar 3.0-liter TDI churns 272 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, while a second version of the turbo-diesel V-6 generates 218 horses and 369 pound-feet of twist.

“Much like the Q7, the Q8 will receive a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines.”

A high-performance RS Q8 is also in the books according to reports, but it remains to be seen what specific engine it will use.

A Q8 e-tron version is also likely. This model will pair a 3.0-liter TDI and an electric motor built into the eight-speed automatic transmission. The combo develops 373 horses and 516 pound-feet of torque in the Q7 and provides a 34.8-miles of range on electric power only.

Expect these figures to change for the Q8, as most of the drivetrains above will receive an update before the crossover arrives in dealerships. Or so it should.

Prices


2018 Audi Q8 - image 705381

Audi has yet to announce a specific timetable for the Q8’s arrival, but word has it the SUV will arrive in time for the 2018 model year. According to Autocar, the Q8 will retail from £50,000 in the UK, with the range-topping RS Q8 version priced from around £90,000. These figures convert to $66.200 and $119,000, respectively, as of July 2016.

Competition

BMW X6


2015 BMW X6 - image 555202

2015 BMW X6 - image 555203

The first true coupe-like SUV available on the market received an extensive update for the 2015 model year. Highlights include a narrower front grille, a more aggressive front bumper, and revised taillights and exhaust pipes around back. The crossover is also 20 pounds lighter than its predecessor, a noteworthy improvement given its slightly longer and wider body shell. Under the hood, the second-gen X6 carried on with the same engine choices, including the 3.0-liter inline-six and the 4.4-liter V-8. While the former carried over unchanged, making the same 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, the latter got its output increased from 400 ponies to 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from $60,600 for the 2016 model year.

Read our full review on the BMW X6.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe


2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - image 585186

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - image 585182

Launched for the 2016 model year, the GLE Coupe is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW X6. Sporting a similar stance, but with Mercedes-specific cues, the GLE Coupe is available with an array of gasoline and diesel engines. In the U.S., it is sold in its sportiest iteration, namely the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic, which uses a bi-turbo, 3.0-liter, V-6 engine rated at 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. In other markets, Mercedes offers two more engines. A diesel powerplant that cranks out 258 ponies and 457 pound-feet in the base GLE 350d 4Matic model, while the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 mounted in the AMG sport version pumps 333 horses and 354 pound-feet in the GLE 400 4Matic. U.S. pricing starts from $65,100.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.

Conclusion


2018 Audi Q8 - image 705386

It’s way too early to draw a conclusion, but it’s exciting to see Audi expanding into a new market. The BMW X6 is no longer solo in its segment, and it appears all the major German companies are working on a competitor. With the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe already in showrooms and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe likely already underway, we’re about to witness a new battle of the titans.

  • Leave it
    • No official details yet
    • Release date unknown
    • Yet another useless, X6-like crossover

References

Audi Q7


2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 585697

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q7.

Audi Q8


2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept - image 711670

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept.


2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept - image 700403

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept.

Update History

Updated 05/29/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi Q8 out for a new testing session at the famous Nurbugring race track.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Aventador Performante

It’s been around six months since Lamborghini upgraded the flagship Aventador to S specs, thus introducing the facelifted model, and the Italian firm is already testing a new iteration of the supercar. With the mid-cycle facelift and the high-performance SuperVeloce (SV) already on the road it might seem out of place for Lambo to test a new version of the current generation model, but the prototype our paparazzi caught testing on public roads doesn’t appear to be a next-gen car. Instead, it looks like Lamborghini is actually preparing yet another high-performance model.

There’s no official confirmation from the automaker as of this writing, but the general consensus is that Lamborghini will launch a Performante version of the Aventador soon. As you may remember, the Performante is a more extreme version of the Huracan that uses a more powerful engine and race-inspired aerodynamics. Oh, and it’s the fourth quickest car around the Nurburgring as well as the fastest Lambo on the German race track. Yup, it’s quicker than the Aventador SV, which is why a Performante version of the flagship supercar is actually a really good idea. Let’s find out more about it below.

Updated 10/04/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Lamborghini Aventador Performante out for a new testing session, and this time it reveals its both coupe and roadster versions.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lamborghini Aventador Performante.

Spy Shots

October 4, 2017 – Lamborghini Aventador Performante caught testing in both coupe and roadster version


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 736234

2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 736229

Exterior


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 736225
“The two additional exhaust pipes in the rear fascia suggest that this is indeed the upcoming Aventador Performante”

While the prototype seems to be nearly identical to the existing S model, launched for the 2018 model year, there are a few clues that indicate this isn’t a standard model. Arguably the most important of them all is visible around back, where the supercar sports two additional exhaust pipes. The outlets are mounted higher into the body, where the license plate should be, which is very similar to the positioning seen on the Huracan Performante.

The standard exhaust placed in the diffuser is still there, but it seems that it’s no longer in use and will most definitely disappear as the supercar moves closer to production. What’s more, the intakes below the taillights are also larger, yet another feature seen on the Huracan Performante.


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 736232
“The aero bits seen on the Huracan Performante should find their way on the Aventador as testing evolves”

The front isn’t very different, but the bumper seems incomplete and there’s still a bit of tape here and there. This means that Lamborghini is working on a more aggressive aerodynamic package that will include additional bumper elements such as winglets and maybe even a revised splitter. Granted, there’s no sign of the Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) system that Lambo created for the Huracan Performante, but these aero bits should find their way on the Aventador as testing evolves.

The package should include numerous carbon-fiber parts, a large rear wing, a redesigned diffuser, and reshaped vents in the front and rear.

Interior


2017 Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante - image 707995

Note: Huracan Perfomante interior pictured here.

There’s no hint as to what we may find inside in addition to what the standard Aventador features, but it’s safe to assume that the Performante will benefit from all the upgrades that the supercar received in 2017. Novelties include a new digital instrument cluster, the Ego mode, and Apple CarPlay connectivity. In addition to that, it should get some of the new features seen in the Huracan Performante.

“Many elements will be replaced by the company's "forged composite" alloy, made from chopped carbon fiber and resin.”

For starters, many elements will be replaced by the company’s “forged composite” alloy, made from chopped carbon fiber and resin. Lambo used this material for the A/C vents, gear paddles, door handles, and center console in the Huracan, so it’s safe to assume we should see similar bits in the Aventador Performante.

Much like any track-prepped supercar, nearly every surface will come wrapped in black Alcantara. However, contrast stitching and the optional “Y” graphics for the seats will add a splash of color. On the tech side, the digital display will be updated to include information from the ALA system, in which Lambo’s telemetry function will be included in the standard package.

Drivetrain


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 709991
“I expect the Aventador Performante to crank out around 765 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of twist.”

With the Performante nameplate having added extra horsepower and torque to the Huracan, it’s safe to assume that it will do the same for the Aventador. However, the Aventador Performante needs to be not only more powerful than the standard model, but also sit above the SuperVeloce in terms of output.

Based on the increase seen on the Huracan Performante, I expect the Aventador Performante to crank out around 765 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of twist. This would translate into a 35-horsepower and 21-pound-foot increase over the Aventador S and a 25-horsepower increase over the SV model.

It might not seem like a lot more oomph, but the revised 6.5-liter V-12 engine will be backed by a range of weight-saving features that will reduce the car’s curb weight by around 100 pounds. As a result, it should be able to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 2.7 seconds, two tenths quicker than the standard model. At the same time, the Performante will be a tenth-second quicker than the SuperVeloce.

“All these enhancements should also enable the Aventador Performante to lap the Nurburgring track quicker than the SuperVeloce.”

The extra power should also make use of a new chassis setup, a revised suspension system with stiffer everything, and ventilated cross-drilled carbon-ceramic brakes.

All these enhancements should also enable the Aventador Performante to lap the Nurburgring track quicker than the SuperVeloce, which needed 6:59.73 minutes. Actually, the Aventador should also be quicker than the Huracan Performante, which just set a new production car record with a 6:52.01-minute lap. Will the Aventador Performante become the first street-legal production model to lap the “Green Hell” in less than six minutes and 50 seconds? Chances are it will, but all we can do right now is wait and see.

Prices


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 709984

Pricing information is obviously still a mystery, but it’s safe to assume that the Performante will be the most expensive Aventador ever. With the Aventador S priced from $421,350, the Performante could cost around $480,000 before options.

Competition

Ferrari 812 Superfast


2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast - image 705875

2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast - image 705881

Granted, the 812 Superfast isn’t as track-focused at the Aventador Performante, but until Ferrari updates the F12tdf to 812 specifications, you’ll have to settle for this car if you’re hooked on Maranello-built vehicles. Launched as a mid-cycle upgrade for the F12berlinetta, the 812 Superfast was redesigned significantly on the outside, gaining a more aggressive stance and more modern features. The Superfast gets its juice from a new, 6.5-liter V-12 rated at 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque. That’s 59 extra horsepower compared to the F12berlinetta, to go with 20 additional pound-feet of twist. The 812 Superfast is also more potent than the limited-edition F12tdf, boasting an extra 20 horsepower and 11 pound-feet, which makes it the most powerful Ferrari in the company’s history. Not surprisingly, the 812 Superfast is quicker than the F12berlinetta from 0 to 60 mph, needing 2.9 ticks to complete the benchmark. Pricing is not yet available, but it should fetch around $340,000 before options.

Learn more about the Ferrari 812 Superfast here.

Posche 911 Turbo S


2017 Porsche 911 Turbo - image 658137

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo - image 658138

The 911 Turbo S isn’t exactly a supercar in terms of out and it’s definitely not the kind of vehicle that Lambo and Ferrari buyers would consider, but it’s amazingly fast. Its exterior design is arguably more iconic than those of its competitors, while the cabin has plenty of premium features and tech to brag about. The 2017-model-year update brought a revised twin-turbo, 3.8-liter flat-six engine that cranks out 580 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, and it’s this specific feature that makes the 911 Turbo S a menacing car. While not as powerful as the Aventador or Superfast, the Turbo S has more torque at its disposal and when equipped with the Sport Chrono package, it becomes incredibly quick, needing only 2.8 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Another thing that makes the 911 Turbo S an appealing choice is the $188,100 sticker.

Find out more about the Porsche 911 Turbo S here.

Conclusion


2019 Lamborghini Aventador Performante - image 709988

The rumor about Lambo building a Performante version of the Aventador took me by surprise. Sure, the Italians could use a different name and leave the Performante badge for the Huracan only, but it’s still big news given that the Murcielago never made it past the “SV” version. This means that Lambo is set out to defeat the competition in just about any department in what appears to be a very aggressive campaign against the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren. If the Huracan manages to retain its record a while longer and the Aventador hits the market with its very own benchmark, Lambo will become the first manufacturer to rule ’Ring with two cars at the same time.

  • Leave it
    • Not much is known about it right now
    • Awfully expensive

References

Lamborghini Aventador


2018 Lamborghini Aventador S - image 698832

Read our full review on the 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S.


2015 Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce - image 619702

Read our full review on the 2015 Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce.

Lamborghini Huracan Performante


2017 Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante - image 710700

Read our full review on the 2017 Lamborghini Huracan Performante.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 1 Series

We didn’t get a chance to enjoy the second-generation 1 Series here in the States, but with the introduction of the third-gen model, BMW has decided we are worthy yet again. So far, very little is known about the new 1 Series, but one big factor could be rather detrimental to its success: it’s shifting from a RWD architecture to a FWD architecture. It’s a move that’s surely ruffling some feathers in the Bimmer community. This switch is made possible by UKL platform that debuted in the 2014 Mini Cooper and now underpins the new 1 Series Sedan, 2 Series Active Tourer, and the X1. Outside of this, the new 1 Series will shed its homely exterior design in favor of a more aggressive look with a slightly longer wheelbase than previous models. Rumor also has it BMW is dropping the three-door model, leaving just the five-door hatch to fight against models like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, among others.

More importantly, however, is the fact that the UKL platform will translate to more space inside for rear seat passengers and cargo. Compared to the Mini Cooper, the new 1 Series will be a bit longer and is even said to be coming back to the U.S. And, to add even more fuel to the fire, the BMW 1M could come back with as much as 360 horsepower on tap – just enough to put the Focus RS and Golf R in their place. But, before we get too far into all of that, let’s take a short walk down memory lane before diving into hints offered by the first round of spy shots.

Update 11/02/2017: It’s been two months, but the BMW 1 Series has finally been seen testing on public roads yet again. Nothing has changed on the outside, but boy do we get an exciting look at the inside. Check out the spy shots section below to see it for yourself.

Spyshots

11/02/2017 – Take a peek inside the 1 Series crystal ball


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 742259

So, let me start off by saying that we’ve gone over these spy shots multiple times attempting to find something new, but nothing on the outside has changed. It’s only been a couple of months, and, it happens. But, what’s important here is what came at the end of our photo roll, and that was a look at the interior. It’s pretty wild considering BMW rarely changes much, but the truth is, there’s a lot going on here – even if we can’ see most of it because it’s covered up. First of all, let me point out the more obvious items like the new shifter for the automatic transmission, and there’s also a button for the ugh electronic emergency brake. Dear God, don’t get me started on the addition of the electronic E-brake.


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 742258

The real changes are what’s happening under the covers. In case you don’t see it, those center HVAC vents are sitting much lower than on the current model and take a look at the infotainment display. Sure, it’s covered up but notice how much larger it is? Oh, and look at the controls down below the vents for the HVAC, there’s only one control knob there. The instrument cluster also looks to have grown a bit while the infotainment display itself will actually sit more forward toward the driver instead of hovering above the dash. In the end, the dash and center console are more integrated into the vehicle and appear to have a much cleaner fit and finish. The center console itself should be revised to a varying degree while the door trim panels should be all new.


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 742261

For now, that’s all we really have to go by, and while it may be a little disappointing that the new 1 Series will be switching over to FWD with the UKL platform and least the interior will be nice and fresh – should make for a breath of fresh air, to say the least. And, it shouldn’t be that surprising that the interior is getting such a makeover since the UKL platform and FWD layout mean more room inside. Instead of giving it all to the boot or the rear passengers, the extra space should spread out evenly through the cabin, a smart move for such a small vehicle. Oh, and in case you forgot, the three-door model isn’t going to be around for this generation, so you’re stuck with the five-door model. Best of luck with that…

09/08/2017 – The 1 Series drops some camo and shows face for the first time


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 729991

2019 BMW 1 Series - image 729985

The last time we saw the 1 Series, it was sporting a look that told us that it was very early in the test phase. It didn’t feature any important defining features in the front, with the grilles and vents all square in shape. Meanwhile, there was enough whacky camo to send your eyes into a goofy spiral if you looked at it a little too hard. Well,
a lot of the camo is still there, but this time around the 1 Series is sporting kidney grilles that aren’t production ready but show off the official shape. We can also make out what the fascia will look like thanks to a nice view of the left corner, and we can see what appear to be the production headlights as well.

So, what does any of this tell us about the production model?

“The 1 Series will ditch the headlight style of the newer BMW’s and go with a single LED projection unit that is mounted pretty much in the center of the lens”

Let’s start with the headlights. The last prototype we saw didn’t give us a very good look, but this time around we can make out just about everything. For starters, the 1 Series will ditch the headlight style of the newer BMW’s and go with a single LED projection unit that is mounted pretty much in the center of the lens. We can’t make out the LED strips that will be in the lights, but based on the camo they will be along the top and lower edges. The side/corner markers will also feature a clear lens with amber reflectors and bulbs, so that will be a nice, Euro-like touch. Of course, BMW could have just made these decoys look really nice to throw us off, so try not to take that too much to heart quite yet.

Next up, we’ve got those kidney grilles that look like they were 3D-printed in a rush. They are larger than those of the current model and feature wider but fewer louvers. The outer, lower corners are also more rounded and longer than those of the current model too. It’s a nice look and seems to be a trend, as all recently revamped models from Bimmer seem to have larger grilles up front. As you can see from the close-up shot of the front, the grilles are almost entirely blocked off, allowing very little air through so this isn’t a hint toward extra performance or a need for increased cooling either. Further down, we can back out part of the air dam which is also largely blocked off. It features a louver in the center that connects to the lower lip. There also appears to be a sensor or camera of some sort that hints toward some kind of semi-autonomous features – most likely things like active cruise control and automatic emergency braking.


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 729988
“It will rock vents that are similar to those found on the BMW M2 with a small inlet at the bottom and a vertically oriented inlet on the side”

Finally, in the corners of the fascia, or more specifically on the front driver’s side, we can spot out the shape of the corner vents and the overall design. From the look of things, it will rock vents that are similar to those found on the BMW M2 with a small inlet at the bottom and a vertically oriented inlet on the side. There’s an overhang or insert in the middle with a smaller overhang just above. The chances are that there will be LED fog lamps found on the center inserts as the circular units from the current gen have obviously be nixed.

Around back, there’s nothing new to really speak of, but this model happens to be sporting a single exhaust outlet on the driver’s side. This could mean that this prototype is rocking a smaller engine. But, at the same time, the rear end is sitting just a little lower, so this could be some kind of higher-performance prototype or a hybrid model testing without any adaption to the rear suspension to support the extra weight of the batteries. My bet would be on the latter as there is only one exhaust outlet, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way, the little hatch is starting to come together nicely. And, before I sign off from this update, I should point out that the new 1 Series will be built on the UKL platform which means power will be sent to the front wheels. It will be a bit larger for better interior space but don’t expect a driven axle in the rear. And, rumors are suggesting there will be no three-door model, just the four-door model with a hatch out back, so if you’re hoping to get a sportier three-door model, you might be out of luck.

What do you guys think so far? Is the new 1 Series something you might be interested in? Let us know in the comments section below.

History


2006 BMW 1-series - image 116156

Introduced in 2004 but not making it to the United States until the 2008 model year, the 1 Series is the smallest and least expensive vehicle in the BMW lineup. Despite its low price, the first-generation baby Bimmer was rear-wheel drive, exceptionally well balanced, and used an aluminum, multi-link suspension system. Worldwide, the 1 Series was available as either a three- or five-door hatchback, a coupe, or a convertible. However, here in the U.S. we only saw the coupe and convertible. While the 1 Series was available with a variety of four-cylinder and six-cylinder options, the most potent model was the 1 Series M Coupe, which sported a 335-horsepower inline-six and was only available with a six-speed manual transmission. The second-generation 1 Series was introduced in 2011 with a new look and no plans for sale in the United States. Also, available with a variety of engines, the potent trim level was the M135i which came later in 2012. It was then followed by the all-wheel-drive M135xi.

The new, third-generation 1 Series is set to become front-wheel drive and is reportedly coming back to the U.S., so let’s take a closer look at it and see what kind of changes are in store for the smallest Bimmer in the lineup.

Exterior


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 715182
“This thing is rocking a relatively low ride height, beefy brakes, and large dual exhaust outlets.”

Before we dive too far into the looks of this prototype, I want to point out that this thing is rocking a relatively low ride height, beefy brakes, and large dual exhaust outlets. This all points to this being a higher-trimmed model, most likely the M140i. As such, it’s probably hiding a good number of aggressive cues under the camo that include rounded and defined corner air intakes and a larger air dam. And, if you peak through the screen in the corners, you can actually see the lip of the fascia curving up on the bottom, reinforcing my thoughts on the more aggressive nature. As is the usual case, we can’t make out anything about the grille at this point, but it appears as if it’s going to grow in size a bit. It will still have the usual rounded appearance and chrome trim but should grow by at least five to 10 percent.

Moving onto the headlights, these units will be a little sleeker than before and appear to have a triangular top. It looks as if they will have a single projection unit, but a smaller unit could be hidden under the camo that covers up the inner corner of the lens. It looks like the hood will still get the same body line that runs from each of the A-pillars toward the headlights, but the central lines found on the current model seem to have been smoothed out for the next generation. Moving over to the sides, however, leads us to a whole new world of change.


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 715191
“The most noticeable thing about this prototype, when viewed from the side, is that this model is significantly longer than its predecessor.”

The most noticeable thing about this prototype, when viewed from the side, is that this model is significantly longer than its predecessor. First off, the nose is clearly four to five inches longer while the rear overhang adds a few more inches to overall length. This can also be justified by the added space between the rear door and the rear hatch, which as extended by several inches as well. As far as the roof goes, it’s not quite as bubbly as before thanks to the extra length while the beltline itself actually grades upward a bit from the front to the rear. The rear door glass also takes on an all-new shape, now featuring sharp angles and less of the rounded appearance. With the new slope of the rough, the elevated beltline, and the overall length of the next-gen 1 series, this could turn out to be quite a looker, but what’s going on in the rear?

In the rear, we find that the next-gen 1 Series will actually feature much smaller taillights that are more triangular in shape and feature a single module inside that’s split in half – the top half will function as a reverse light while the lower half will handle tail- and brake light functions. There could be some kind of lens overlay on the lower rear hatch, but it doesn’t appear that way as of now. The rear hatch now has slightly shorter glass while the lower half of the hatch doesn’t have the sharp curvature around the taillight areas. Down below, we can spot dual exhaust outlets, and if you look close enough, you can see a valve inside the left outlet, pointing toward an active exhaust system that is controlled via the various driving models.

Finally, I want to point out the both the front and rear fascias have a few holes cut into them, which could point to the next-gen 1 series featuring advanced camera and radar sensors. This could point to the 1 Series having some form of a semi-autonomous feature. For now, it’s just speculation, of course, but those holes wouldn’t be there for no reason, right?

Interior


2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan - image 707337

There’s really no telling what BMW will do for the interior of the next-gen 1 Series, but we may have a hint thanks to the recently released 1 Series sedan for the Chinese market. It’s based on the current-gen model but was updated to have its very own look inside. As such, BMW could very easily use this interior, or a derivative of it, for the next-gen 1 Series hatchback. Compared to the current 1 Series, the dash will be a bit smoother with redesigned trim, while a reworked, two-gauge instrument cluster will serve as the centerpiece ahead of the driver. The steering wheel should shrink in size a bit thanks to a smaller air bag unit, while the thumb buttons on the steering wheel should be refined.

On the infotainment front, the same display found in most BMW models should float above the center stack, but it will get the latest software that includes 3D, street-level map rendering and a phone-like interface for better usability. If this model does indeed come with some semi-autonomous functions, there should be some kind of controls for that system as well, or the instrument cluster could take on a digital presence instead of the standard analog readouts. Seats in the base model should provide decent support, but the higher trim levels – namely the M140i and M1 – will receive more supportive seats up front to accommodate the spirited driving style that undoubtedly comes with owning any BMW with some form of an M badge. But, as a 2019 model, we still have a while longer to wait, so BMW could have something completely different planned as well.

Drivetrain

This is where things really get interesting. With the next-gen 1 Series making use of BMW’s UKL platform, it will undoubtedly be offered standard with front-wheel drive. A whole range of three- and four-cylinder engines are on the table depending on trim level with anywhere from 100 horsepower up to as much as 360 horsepower in an M1 or what we suspect to be in this photo, an M140i. As such, the M-branded variants of the new generation could be offered with all-wheel drive based on a hybrid system that puts an electric motor at the rear axle. A plug-in hybrid version is on the table as is the possibility of an all-electric model at some point down the road. Plug-in models are more likely considering BMW already has a few plug-in models based on the UKL platform, but an all-electric model definitely isn’t out of the question.

Transmission options are still up in the air, but a six-speed manual should be available. For those that prefer a more automated experience, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters could be on the table as well. M-branded models like the one you see in the images here will get an M-Sport suspension system that lowers the ride height by nearly an inch, while an active exhaust system will keep things audibly comfortable during day-to-day commutes or obnoxious when you decide to piss off the neighbors on Monday morning when you leave for work. M-branded models will get beefier brakes and larger wheels compared to the base models.

Pricing


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 715187

The current 1 Series stats out for around $36,000 in China at current conversion rates. Here in the U.S., a $36,000 price point would be much too high considering the 2 Series starts out at $33,150 and the 3 Series starts at $33,450. Knowing BMW, however, it’s not going to want to offer the 1 Series too cheaply here in the U.S., so it’s likely the 1 Series will be priced quite close to the 2 Series (much like the 2 Series is to the 3 Series). As such, expect pricing for the 1 Series to start out around $31,000 and climb to as much as $43,000 for the range-topping model. Of course, it’s still way early for this kind of talk, so we’ll have to discuss pricing again a little further down the road.

Competition

Mercedes A-Class


2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 635457

This wouldn’t be your traditional party if we didn’t pit BMW against Merc, and Mercedes has a strong contender in this niche. I’m, of course, talking about the Mercedes A-Class. By the time the new 1 Series makes it to U.S. showrooms, the A-class will be in its fourth generation. The last we saw of the next-gen A-Class left us with more questions than answers thanks to heaving padding and camo, but we do know that it should offer more interior space, sportier looks, and more powerful engines, among other things. It will be fitted with the latest infotainment and system technology and could, in fact, be offered with semi-autonomous capabilities as well. Like the 1 Series at this time, the A-Class isn’t available here in the U.S., but over in Europe, the A-Class can be had in as many as 10 trim levels that offer as little as 109 horsepower or as much as 381 horsepower in AMG A45 trim. Pricing ranges anywhere from £20,715 ($26,794) to as much as £48,660 ($62,941) for the A45 Yellow Night Edition.

Find out more about the Mercedes A-Class.

Audi A3


2017 Audi A3 Hatchback - image 671801

A party of German vs. German wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t throw Audi in the mix, and as such, you’ll want to look to the Audi A3 as your four-ringed go-to in this segment. The A3 is currently available here in the U.S., but we’re limited to the A3 e-tron Sportback. Over in Europe, the A3 comes in a variety of flavors. To start off, the A3 can be had with as little as 113 horsepower or as much as 181 horsepower. Pricing for these models start out at £20,365. The, you’ve got the S3 which offers up just a little over 300 ponies with a starting price of £33,505. Finally, for those who want the absolute best in this niche, there’s the Audi RS3 with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that delivers nearly 400 ponies. Pricing for this model isn’t available quite yet as the order books don’t open until late 2017.

Learn more about the Audi A3.

Conclusion


2019 BMW 1 Series - image 715840

At this point, we’re still at least a year out from seeing the new 1 Series in the metal. But, it will be a pretty big deal as BMW will be bringing it back to the U.S. which could trigger Mercedes to finally bring back the A-Class and Audi to offer something more that the A3 e-tron Sportback. This could also open up the niche that currently dominated by models like the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS as well, which is good news for those of us here in the States. We’ll get another round of spy shots for the upcoming 1 Series sometime later this year or in the beginning of next, which will be followed by the official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show or Chicago Auto Show in 2018. Until then, check out the spy shots and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References

BMW 1 Series Sedan


2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan - image 706988

Read our full review on the BMW 1 Series Sedan.

BMW 1 Series


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series - image 611693

Read our full review on the current BMW 1 Series.

Update History

Update 09/08/2017: It’s been months since we’ve seen the next-gen 1 Series testing on public streets, and it’s finally be spotted again. As it turns out, BMW has been quite busy inching the 1 Series closer to production. Check out the “Spy Shots” section below to learn about what’s new this time around.

PostHeaderIcon Genesis G70

The Genesis brand was introduced in 2015 as Hyundai’s premium division. The name was derived from the Hyundai Genesis, the company’s full-size sedan, which became the Genesis G80 after the rebranding. Before the G80 debuted, the newly-founded brand introduced the G90, a redesigned, more luxurious version of Hyundai’s range-topping sedan, the Equus. In 2016, a third Genesis model was spotted testing on public roads, a sign that the Korean brand is looking to expand even more in the near future. The new vehicle is also a sedan, will be sold as the G70, and will compete in the premium compact market.

As a part of the company’s plan to roll out several new models by 2020, the upcoming G70 will take on a very crowded segment that includes nameplates like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. The G70 will essentially join the Cadillac ATS as yet another compact trying to compete against the world’s most popular luxury compacts. There’s no official word as to when the new sedan will hit the market, but a leaked Genesis document suggests that the G70 could debut by the end of 2016. However, given that the four-door was only spotted recently during testing, an unveiling could take place in early 2017 instead.

Like other Genesis products, the G70 could make its global debut in South Korea, with a North American reveal planned a few months after that. This could happen at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show in January. Until then, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about Genesis’ upcoming compact sedan.

Update 9/5/2017: In just 10 days, Genesis will debut it’s all-new G70 Sedan in its home city, Seoul, South Korea before it makes its way to the U.S. for an early 2018 Debut in North America. To get everyone hyped up, Genesis as released a little teaser talking about its origins and why it chose Seoul as the place the G70 will make its first public debut. Check out the special “Teaser” section below to see it for yourself.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis G70.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG G63

It’s no secret Mercedes is preparing its next generation of G-Class – the go-anywhere luxury SUV that started life nearly 40 years ago as a military truck. Spy shots and rumors have surfaced regarding the upcoming Geländewagen, or G-Wagen, but no news has surfaced about Mercedes’ sportier version built under the AMG badge. That has changed thanks to our skilled spy photographer who captured a camouflaged test mule running around with minimal camouflage.

The new generation of G-Wagen, even sans-AMG badge, is visibly larger than the outgoing model. Its track is wider, its wheelbase is slightly longer, and the overall height seems to be slightly increased. All this in the name of interior comfort and on-road driving dynamics, rumors suggest. The current G-Wagen is notorious for its cramped, outdated interior. Mercedes is definitely fixing that, as seen in the latest round of spy shots. The cabin takes after the swanky E-Class sedan, which is a very good thing. Expect much more in-dash technology and creature comforts. Concerning the AMG version seen here, it’s wearing a taller bumper with larger air scoops, AMG-specific wheels, and wider fenders that accommodate the wider tires. We’ve compiled all the rumored into a speculative review, so keep reading for the all the info.

Updated 09/04/2017: The upcoming Mercedes-AMG G63 was caught testing once again. The prototype is still wearing lots of camouflage, but we expect it to get the new Panamericana grille that all the AMG models are getting right now.

Continue reading for the full review.

PostHeaderIcon BMW X4

The BMW X4 is another one of those vehicles that mix a car’s body with an SUV chassis, and for some reason, people love them. Evidence for this can be found in the sheer fact that after just three years on the market, BMW has already been caught testing the second-generation X4 – a model that will continue borrowing most of its DNA from the X3 SUV. Well, with the exception of that sloping roofline, of course. As far as what the X4 will offer in terms of chassis enhancements or powertrain options all remains a mystery, but rumor has it that it will use the CLAR platform and that the chassis and engine offerings will mirror those of the X3 once BMW decides to pull the sheet and spill the beans. So, you can expect to see a range of gasoline and diesel engines, depending on the market. There will also be a plug-in hybrid version to help complete the lineup.

For now, that’s about all we know about the upcoming X4, but a few spy shots should offer us a nice little preview and give us a basis for speculation. The next-gen X4 is expected to make its debut toward the end of 2017 with the Frankfurt Auto Show being the most likely venue. So, let’s quit wasting time talking about it and take a closer look at these spy shots.

Update 8/28/2017: The BMW X4 is just about ready to make its debut, and never has that been more evident than this morning when our inbox was filled with new spy shots of an uncamouflaged X4 making its maiden voyage to an undisclosed location. As a special note, it isn’t wearing a front plate or front plate mount, so what we see here could be the first models slated for the U.S., or at the very least the models will be shown off on the big debut day. There’s a lot to make out, and it’s our first real good look at the upcoming X4, so check out our spy shot section below to learn all about it!

Continue reading to learn more about the next BMW X4.

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