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Archive for the ‘spy shots’ Category

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.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Mission E.

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

2017 Tesla Model S - image 703866

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.

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 10/4/2017: 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.

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

Spy Shots

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 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

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


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


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2018 Audi Q8 - image 718372

April 7, 2017 – Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurburgring


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July 13, 2016 – Audi Q7 based mule caught testing


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2018 Audi Q8 - image 682289

Exterior


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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.


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“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


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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

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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q7.

Audi Q8


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


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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


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Exterior


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“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.


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“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


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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


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“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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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 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.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2019 BMW 1 Series.

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.

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.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

The Mercedes-AMG GT is getting a faster, meaner Black Series version.

Introduced in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG GT is no longer the company’s flagship sports car, but a full lineup of vehicles. In three years, AMG not only developed a Roadster but also launched a higher performance coupe and a beefed-up convertible too. Oh, and it also created two different race cars based on the GT. In all, the AMG GT includes seven members, which is darn impressive. But Mercedes-AMG won’t stop here. Although rumors of a Black Series model have yet to be confirmed, recent spy shots suggest that such a version is indeed underway. And we might just see it in the metal in 2018.

With the GT R in showrooms, a Black Series model might not make much sense, but Mercedes has plenty of room to either slot it between the GT S and GT R or place it above everything else
as a range-topping model. The latter scenario is more likely, so we could get an AMG GT with close to 600 horsepower and built in a very limited run. We should find out more later this year, so make sure you stick around for updates. Meanwhile, have a look at my speculative review below.

Updated 08/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught what appears to be the road-going version of the GT4 race car. The prototype drops the usual central mounted exhaust pipe and features some exhaust pipes hidden in the diffuser on the left and right, side just like we saw on the GT4 race car. And, since Mercedes is going to use the GT4 name for its four-door super sedan, this can only be the Black Series version of the AMG GT.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

The Mercedes-AMG GT is getting a faster, meaner Black Series version.

Introduced in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG GT is no longer the company’s flagship sports car, but a full lineup of vehicles. In three years, AMG not only developed a Roadster but also launched a higher performance coupe and a beefed-up convertible too. Oh, and it also created two different race cars based on the GT. In all, the AMG GT includes seven members, which is darn impressive. But Mercedes-AMG won’t stop here. Although rumors of a Black Series model have yet to be confirmed, recent spy shots suggest that such a version is indeed underway. And we might just see it in the metal in 2018.

With the GT R in showrooms, a Black Series model might not make much sense, but Mercedes has plenty of room to either slot it between the GT S and GT R or place it above everything else
as a range-topping model. The latter scenario is more likely, so we could get an AMG GT with close to 600 horsepower and built in a very limited run. We should find out more later this year, so make sure you stick around for updates. Meanwhile, have a look at my speculative review below.

Updated 08/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught what appears to be the road-going version of the GT4 race car. The prototype drops the usual central mounted exhaust pipe and features some exhaust pipes hidden in the diffuser on the left and right, side just like we saw on the GT4 race car. And, since Mercedes is going to use the GT4 name for its four-door super sedan, this can only be the Black Series version of the AMG GT.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.

PostHeaderIcon The Chevy Corvette ZR1 Spotted with Less Camo; Proves Porsche and Ferrari Should Worry

It’s been a few months since we’ve seen the upcoming Corvette ZR1 out testing, with the last outing taking place on the Nurburgring in mid-April. The trail has since gone cold, but all that changed earlier this week when it was caught filling up with that sweet liquid gold we call gasoline. Even better yet, the prototype that was spotted is also half naked, giving us the best look at the coupe so far. Naturally, the entire front end and a small portion of the rear is still wrapped in the psychedelic camo that we all love to hate, but the lack of camo in the middle shows us that the ZR1 will, indeed, have the same rear quarters, roof, and doors found on the Stingray, Z06, and Grand Sport.

So far, there’s not a lot we know about the ZR1. It’s pretty much certain that the V-8 under the hood will be force fed, but whether or not that happens via a supercharger or a pair of twin turbos is still up in the air. We’re also not sure what it will deliver in terms of power, but with the Z06 cranking out some 650 ponies and the last-gen ZR1 making 638 ponies, we’re expecting no less than 700 horsepower out of the gate if not a little more.
It should be able to tackle the 60-mph sprint in less than three seconds and will top out at more than 200 mph if you’ve got the balls to push it that hard. And, it’s about time that a C7-gen ZR1 makes its debut – the typical wait time for the ZR1 trim is about three to four years after the generation was introduced and 2018 will be the fourth year for the C7. So, we should be looking at a mid-2018 model or 2019 model at the latest. What can we spot in these new spy shots? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a better look real quick.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz CLS

Introduced in 2010, the current Mercedes-Benz CLS is getting a bit long in the tooth. Now that the German firm has already launched the new E-Class on redesigned underpinnings, it’s time for the CLS to get a makeover too. Spotted on public roads several times over the last few months, the third-generation CLS is still under camouflage, but on its way to an official unveiling by the end of year. Not much is known about the upcoming four-door coupe, but the spy shots suggests that the new CLS will once again be based on the E-Class.

The midsize sedan was redesigned in 2016 and received new underpinnings, an S-Class inspired design, and the company’s latest technology. It’s safe to assume that the CLS will get similar features, while the styling appears to blend the appearance of the E-Class with minor touches from the AMG GT sports car. The third-generation CLS is expected to retain the main features of its predecessors, which pair the strong, emotive stance of a coupe with the comfort and practicality of a four-door sedan. First launched in 2004, the CLS invented a new niche and enjoyed the glory on its own for around five years, until Audi, BMW, and Porsche developed their own offerings.

Updated 10/12/2017: Our spy photographers caught the third generation Mercedes CLS parked somewhere in Germany hiding basically just the lights.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Spy Shots

October 12, 2017 – Mercedes CLS caught wearing no camouflage


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 738124

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 738126

August 24, 2017 – Mercedes CLS starts dropping camouflage


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 728163

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 728167

Rendering


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 715150

Our rendering includes all the details spotted in the spy shots, but we decided to do the AMG version instead of the regular model. To create the next-gen AMG CLS63, our designer added a more aggressive front bumper with larger vents, exclusive wheels, “V8 Biturbo” badges on the front fenders, a trunk lid spoiler, and a sportier diffuser with quad tailpipes.

Exterior


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 710370

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 710391

While early test cars were covered in swirly, black-and-white camo front to rear, the latest prototypes reveal more and are wrapped in thinner covers, so many of CLS’ main features are very visible. Up front, we can see the already familiar diamond grille with the big horizontal wings in the middle and the large roundel for the three-pointed star. However, the wider lower section of the grille is a clear sign that Mercedes looked at the AMG GT’s Panamericana grille for inspiration.

“The new CLS seems heavily based on the E-Class, but also sports features seen on the AMG GT sports car”

The shape of the bumper suggests that the lower grille, which is as wide as the main opening, is flanked by large outlets, likely aggressively shaped toward the headlamps. The latter are smaller than any other Mercedes-Benz in production right now. Granted, all CLS models had small headlamps compared to their relatives, but the Germans went with slender, aggressive units that remind of the AMG GT sports car. The hood seems to be almost flat with no bulges or other notable features, but this should work well with the clean, low-slung profile of the vehicle.

“The D-pillar is as raked as it should be on a CLS, while the deck lid is short and the rear fascia has a notable angle”

Speaking of which, the next-gen sedan continues to share the arched beltline and the low roof of its predecessors. The D-pillar is as raked as it should be on a CLS, while the deck lid is short and the rear fascia has a notable angle. So far, everything seems to be in order and its appears that Mercedes-Benz will keep the tradition alive with the third-generation model. I’m not particularly fond of the wheels and I think that the sedan needs larger rims, but this should be fixable by selecting optional rollers.


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 710372

Around back, there’s a hint of E- and S-Class coupe, while slender, long taillights that stretch from the outer bumpers well into the trunk lid. Of course, the main difference here is that the fascia is heavily raked toward the cabin, giving the CLS its unique look in the lineup. The bumper seems to be similar to other large Mercedes cars. Things are plain and simple and the exhaust pipes are integrated just below, but the overall look is elegant and worthy of the badge.

There’s no doubt that we will see the small but important changes and defining features when the camo is removed, but until then, it looks like Mercedes-Benz did a nice job design-wise.

Interior


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 710385

It’s not very often that our paparazzi manage to snap shots of the interior, but they made it this time. We got just one picture, but it’s enough to confirm what we already know: that the CLS cabin will be heavily based on current design language that we already saw in the E- and S-Class. The clock placed lower in center stack rather than between the A/C is a solid hint that the E-Class was used as inspiration here, but the overall layout is actually common to all current Mercedes-Benz sedans, including the compact C-Class.


2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - image 661161

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class - image 714774
“The CLS cabin will be heavily based on current design language that we already saw in the E- and S-Class”

There aren’t many features that set the CLS apart. The center console is pretty much identical to the E-Class, including the gear shifter an the A/C controls. The dashboard is very similar too, with the instrument cluster and infotainment displays placed next to each other. However, there are certain elements that make the CLS unique. For starters, the A/C vents have a propeller-like design Granted, it’s not as elegant as the horizontal-slat layout in the other sedans, but it has a nice, sporty vibe to it. The sedan is also fitted with green ambient lighting, which makes the center console, lower dashboard, and A/C vents look as if they have similar highlights. I’m a big fan of green and I kinda wish they would.

Everything else seems to be standard E-Class business, but more unique features should surface as the vehicle moves closer to production.

Drivetrain


2012 - 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 402267

Note: engine of the current CLS pictured here

“Just like the outgoing model, the new CLS will ride on the same underpinnings as the E-Class”

Just like the outgoing model, the new CLS will ride on the same underpinnings as the E-Class. The most recent version of the sedan uses a significantly lighter platform and a redesigned suspension system. The engine should also come from the new E-Class, but it’s safe to assume that the CLS won’t get the lower output drivetrains.

Chances are that Mercedes-Benz will skip the 181- and 208-horsepower versions of the 2.0-liter inline-four and pick the 242-horsepower and 270-pound-feet variant in the E300 as the base model. More oomph will come from the E400, which should get the 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 328 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of twist. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system will be available for both models.

“A 350e hybrid model with 208 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of twist is a possibility”

While an AMG CLS43 version with the V-6 rated at 396 horses and 384 pound-feet is a possibility, the new CLS will most definitely get the AMG 63 package with the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. The regular model should have 563 horsepower and 550 pound-feet, while the S version will come with 604 horses and 630 pound-feet.

A 350e hybrid model with 208 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of twist is a possibility, but Mercedes-Benz could choose to keep electric motors out of the CLS for the time being.

Moving over to diesels, the Germans should offer the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but will probably skip the base 150-horsepower version and offer the 220d variant with 191 horses and 300 pound-feet. The second, more powerful variant will get the engine from the E350d, which is a 3.0-liter V-6 good for 254 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of twist.

Prices

Pricing for the new-generation model should increase slightly. The outgoing sedan is now priced from $66,900, but the final sticker of the upcoming model will depend on what version will be used as a base offering. A similarly-equipped four-door coupe should retail from around $68,000. As far as the AMG version goes, expect it to cost a bit more than $100,000.

Competition

Audi A7


2017 Audi A7 - image 673710

Launched in 2010, the A7 was the first response to the CLS in the premium market. Slotted between the A6 and A8, the A7 has a similar configuration, being a four-door sedan with a sporty, sloping roofline. On top of the exclusive exterior features, the A7 gets the latest technology inside the cabin. As you’d expect from a large vehicle wearing the four rings, the interior is also wrapped in premium materials with all sorts of bespoke options available via the company’s customizing division. The engine lineup is somewhat similar to the CLS, with no drivetrain delivering less than 200 horsepower. The base model gets a 2.8-liter V-6 with 204 horses and 207 pound-feet, while the U.S.-spec version gets the 3.0-liter V-6 with 310 horses and 325 pound-feet. The performance range includes the S7 and RS7, both using the 4.0-liter V-8 twin-turbo. Output for these variants is rated at 420 and 560 horsepower, respectively. Moving over to the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel, power ratings start at 204 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and go all the way up to 313 horses and 479 pound-feet. Pricing for the A7 starts from $68,800, while the S7 retails from $79,900. Going with the RS7 will set you back $110,700 before options.

Find out more about the 2017 Audi A7.

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo


2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo - image 720193

In 2012, BMW joined this battle with the 6 Series Gran Coupe, which is essentially a sleeker version of the 7 Series, but with 6 Series styling. However, BMW made some awkward decisions recently and decided to discontinue the 6 Series. The Gran Coupe model is still available in showrooms as of October 2017, but it will be retired for good in 2018. Meanwhile, BMW launched the 6 Series Gran Turismo as a replacement for the slightly smaller 5 Series Gran Turismo. Although the GT model isn’t as sleek as the Gran Coupe due to its hatchback-style layout, it’s the closest thing to the CLS you can buy from BMW in terms of size. But despite wearing a “6 Series” badge, the Gran Turismo is a 5 Series inside the cabin, as well as under the hood. Motivation comes from three different drivetrains, starting with a turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Next up is a 3.0-liter inline-six that cranks out 340 horses and 332 pound-feet. The third unit is a diesel, also a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers 265 horsepower and an impressive 457 pound-feet of twist. Pricing for the 6 Series Gran Turismo starts from $69,700.

Read our full review of the 2018 BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo.

Porsche Panamera


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681523

Unveiled for the 2010 model year, the Panamera is Porsche’s first ever sedan and fits the bill as a competitor for the CLS. Its 911-inspired exterior is sporty in just about any trim, while the interior is as premium as they get. Redesigned in 2016, the Panamera became significantly more aggressive and gained state-of-the-art tech that puts it at the top of its segment. Also the only car in this niche available with an extended wheelbase, the Panamera can be had with a selection of V6 and V-8 engines. The 2.9-liter V-6 in the 4S model cranks out 440 horsepower and 405 pound-feet, while the 4.0-liter, biturbo V-8 in the Turbo model is good for 550 horses and 567 pound-feet of twist. Additionally, the 4 E-Hybrid model, which pairs the V-6 to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery delivers 462 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. More oomph is available with the Turbo S E-Hybrid, which is rated at a whopping 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from $85,000 for the V-6 version and from $150,000 for the Turbo. The E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid start from $99,600 and the $184,400, respectively.

Read more about the 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS - image 710375

Although not much of a mystery as far as design, technology, and drivetrains go, the third-generation CLS is still a long way from becoming a production model and it’s early to say how it will behave against the competition. However, if the new platform underpinning the E-Class is any indication, the CLS should be the lightest, sportiest four-door coupe in its class. The bad news is that Mercedes-Benz may have already decided to discontinue the shooting brake version.

  • Leave it
    • No shooting brake model?

References

Mercedes-Benz CLS


2015 Mercedes CLS-Class - image 556544

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class


2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - image 661167

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class - image 713883

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Update History

Updated 05/03/2017: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors, we created a rendering for the upcoming Mercedes CLS. Check it out and let us know what do you think about it.

PostHeaderIcon Jeep Scrambler

The Jeep Wrangler Pickup has been confirmed for some time now, but Jeep has been quiet on the details. Between spy shots and insider information, we know the pickup will use the upcoming 2018 Wrangler JL’s frame, front styling, cab, interior, and powertrains. The mystery still remains as to what the cargo bed looks like and the materials its constructional from. What’s more, Jeep has yet to define the exact target audience for the Wrangler pickup, otherwise known as the JT. Will it offer class-leading payload and towing or will it be more focused on off-road performance? While we can’t say for sure, we’ve got some strong indications of Jeep’s intentions with its 2019-model-year pickup.

The Wrangler Pickup will ride on a lengthened version of the Wrangler Unlimited JL’s frame to accommodate the extra length needed for the bed. This means a longer, more stable Wrangler for on-road driving and trailer towing, but a slightly less maneuverable and (dare I say) capable Wrangler for off-roading adventures. It’s the break-over angle that will suffer the most, making the Wrangler pickup more vulnerable to high centering. Still, expect the JT to come standard with 4WD and Jeep’s Trail Rated rating.

Update 08/22/2017: A report from JeepScramblerForum.com shows confirmation the Jeep Wrangler pickup will be called the Jeep Scrambler, a name already associated with Jeep pickups of the 1980s. What’s more, CAD drawings show the extended frame and upgraded Dana axles. Also confirmed is the pickup’s use of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT4

AMG might be responsible for Mercedes’ most-powerful and appealing models, but the high-performance brand has yet to use its full potential as a car manufacturer. Sure, the Affalterbach-based division brought us the awesome SLS AMG, and more recently, the AMG GT, but it hasn’t developed more than one stand-alone vehicle at a time. With rumors that AMG is pondering a sedan that’s not based on an existing Mercedes model, the brand’s current lineup will soon expand to include a second fully AMG-made product.

The company’s plans to develop a high-performance four-door became more than obvious at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, where Mercedes-Benz unveiled the AMG GT concept. The show car also confirms that the sedan will be based on the AMG GT in terms of design, but still feature some of the more traditional Mercedes cues seen on the regular sedans. In all, the concept is pretty much a mash up between the AMG GT sports car and the CLS four-door coupe. Also, the fact that the concept’s design isn’t too wild means that the production model could be very similar. The prototypes that were spotted on public roads in 2017 confirms just that.

Updated 09/25/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming AMG GT4 out for a new testing session and this time we can also take a look at the inside of the car.

Continue reading to learn more about the future Mercedes-AMG GT4.

Rendering


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 715152

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 628676
Newest rendering shown on the left; old rendering shown on the right

If you’re working why the two renderings we made are so different, the explanation is very simple. We created the first image as soon as the AMG GT was out and the first rumors about a sedan surfaced, so it looks very similar to the sports car. And to be honest, an AMG GT with a longer wheelbase and four doors is as sexy as they get. But when the AMG GT Concept was unveiled in 2017, it became pretty clear that Mercedes-Benz is gunning for a more elegant, less aggressive look. The rendering on the left pictures just that, being heavily based on the latest concept car.

Spy Shots

September 25, 2017 – Mercedes-AMG GT4 reveals its interior


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 733629

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 733623

August 22, 2017 – Mercedes AMG GT4 starts dropping camouflage


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 727778

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 727785

May 8, 2017 – Mercedes AMG GT4 begins testing session


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 715582

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 715587

Exterior


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 715151
“The AMG sedan will essentially be a four-door version of the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car, but with the kind of sleek elegance you get with the CLS.”

As you can see in the rendering above, I’m very confident that the AMG sedan will essentially be a four-door version of the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car, but with the kind of sleek elegance you get with the CLS. You can’t see that very much in our recent spy shots, but that’s because Mercedes is still using a mule based on the E-Class. But the end result will be just as slick as the Porsche Panamera and the Audi A7, so look for a sporty, low-slung four-door.

The nose will bear a close resemblance to the AMG GT, especially the grille and the headlamps. But while the former will most likely be identical to the coupe, the latter should take a less aggressive form, but remain slender and angled toward the nose and wheel arches. Below, we should see slim intakes at each corner carbon-fiber bezels, and a carbon-fiber splitter.

“Around back, look for Mercedes to keep most of the design of the concept car, but don't expect to get the extra thin taillights on the production model.”

Onto the sides, we designed the GT4 as a slightly sleeker version of the CLS. The roof sits lower, the rear windscreen has a smaller angle relative to the beltline, while the decklid is shorter. The shorter wheelbase and the exclusive wheels should also help set this AMG sedan apart from the CLS63.

Around back, look for Mercedes to keep most of the design of the concept car, and the test vehicle confirms that it will get extra thin tallights as seen on the AMG GT sports car. The race-inspired diffuser appears to have been replaced with a milder version, while the large exhaust pipe in the middle made way for a quad layout with two outlets on each side.

Needless to say, a four-door AMG GT will make for one sexy sedan! Just look at the gorgeous sports sedan our rendering artist put together and tell me I’m wrong.

Interior


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT - image 549010

*Note: Mercedes-AMG GT interior pictured

“Much like its exterior, the sedan's interior should mimic the AMG GT's from the front seats onward.”

After several months since our paparazzi caught the first mule on the go, they finally got a good shot of the interior. And the dashboard appears to be identical to the E-Class. This isn’t surprising given that the AMG GT4 will share underpinnings with the midsize sedan, but I’m sure it’s just a temporary thing. While the E-Class has a gorgeous interior (arguably the best looking and best equipped in its class if you ask me), the GT4 needs something unique in order to stand out. So while it may share a few cues with other Mercs, most of the layout should be different.

All told, much like its exterior, the sedan’s interior should mimic the AMG GT’s from the front seats onward. We could see some of the same gorgeous “aviation design” theme with its wide, wing-like dashboard and center-mounted, spotlight-style vents to sit in front of the driver and front passenger, separated by the motorsport-inspired center console and its V-8-like layout for the AMG Drive Unit controls.

The sporty and luxurious theme would continue behind the front seats, although legroom and headroom might be a bit cramped for taller adults. On the other hand, the numerous connectivity features and access to the car’s infotainment system should make trips enjoyable for rear passengers nonetheless.

Drivetrain


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT - image 555974
“Motivation will be provided by the familiar bi-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8”

The borrowing process from the AMG GT sports car would continue under the GT4’s hood, with motivation to be provided by the bi-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. The powerplant could find its way into the sedan in the same two output configurations as in the sports car, meaning there would be a GT4 with 469 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and a GT4 S with a heftier 515 horses and 490 pound-feet.

However, there are rumors that Mercedes-AMG could go with a higher output, likely close to 600 horsepower. Achieving this shouldn’t be an issue given that the AMG GT R’s beefed-up V-8 cranks out a solid 577 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of twist. And given the kind of out cars like the Porsche Panamera Turbo and Aston Martin Rapide come with, a 600-horsepower Mercedes-AMG four-door is actually a very good idea.

“There are rumors that Mercedes-AMG could go with a higher output, likely close to 600 horsepower”

Shifting duties would be handled by the same seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic known as the AMG Speedshift DCT. However, performance won’t be the same as the AMG GT’s, as the GT4’s longer chassis and extra bodywork will lower the 0-to-60 mph sprints in the four-second range. Specifically, while the AMG GT needs 3.7 and 3.9 seconds, respectively, the sedan would likely hit 60 mph in about 4.0 and 4.2 seconds. These figures would make the GT4 a strong competitor for both the Porsche Panamera GTS and the Aston Martin Rapide S. On the other hand, a 600-horsepower GT4 would be able to hit 60 mph in less than three ticks.

A hybrid model is also likely, especially given the current market trends, and a diesel could also be in the books. If offered, the latter will most likely be sold in Europe only, so don’t expect it to cross the pond to the United States.

Prices

It’s way too early to talk about pricing given we still don’t know whether AMG will build this sedan or not, but, if produced, the GT4 should start from around $170,000 in the United States. For reference, the Mercedes-AMG GT S fetches $129,000 before options.

Competition

Porsche Panamera


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681054

2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681055

Redesigned for the 2017 model year, the Porsche Panamera is now sportier than ever, and its design incorporates even more 911 styling features. The cabin is loaded with state-of-the-art tech, and the driver is connected to the car via two seven-inch displays in the instrument cluster and a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen on the center stack. Drivetrain options are as varied as the get. The base model has a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 325 horsepower and 332 pound-feet, while the Panamera 4S comes with 434 horses and 406 pound-feet on tap. The Turbo model uses a 4.0-liter V-8 with 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet and makes a great case for an AMG GT R version of the sedan. The new Panamera also comes with a diesel engine and two hybrid drivetrains. The range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid cranks out a massive 671 horsepower and 627 pound-feet that Mercedes-Benz will have a difficult time competing with. Pricing starts from $85,000 and goes up to $150,000 before options for the Turbo models.

Learn more about the Porsche Panamera here.

Aston Martin Rapide


2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S - image 563390

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S - image 563391

Launched in 2009 as a spiritual successor to the Aston Martin Lagonda and the company’s first sedan in 20 years, the Rapide is based on the DB9 and shares the same VH platform. Power comes from Aston’s ubiquitous 5.9-liter V-12 engine, tuned to deliver 552 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Although it’s the most powerful of the bunch, the Rapide S won’t be quicker than the AMG GT4 in its current specification. Its 203-mph top speed, on the other hand, places it above everything else in this niche. Inside, the Rapide S comes with Aston’s finest in terms of luxury and technology, although some might find its cabin design rather dated compared to the GT4’s. The British sedan isn’t cheap either, as it starts from $198,250 in the U.S. It’s safe to assume that Aston Martin will offer a new-generation Rapide soon, so AMG will get a lighter, faster, and more luxurious competitor.

Find out more about the Aston Martin Rapide here.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT4 - image 715151

With no official word yet, AMG might never build the GT4. Heck, we don’t even know it will be named like this, and considering Porsche recently forced Aston Martin to change the name of the Vantage GT3, a GT4 nameplate from AMG could also prove upsetting now that the 2016 Cayman GT4 is roaming the streets. Still, a stand-alone AMG-built sedan is a great idea from an enthusiast’s point of view. Not to mention it wouldn’t hurt for the Panamera and Rapide to get some stiff competition after all these years. Hopefully, the AMG GT Concept is a sign of things to come, and we’ll get to see this four-door coupe in dealerships by 2020.

  • Leave it
    • AMG might not build it
    • Development could be too costly

References

Mercedes-AMG GT concept.


2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Concept - image 710494

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG GT concept.


2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA - image 730879

Read more Mercedes news.

Update History

Updated 08/22/2017: The upcoming Mercedes AMG GT4 was caught testing again, this time with more camouflage removed and revealing its fastback rear.

Updated 05/08/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Mercedes AMG GT4 out for a first testing session. The car is expected to debut later this year or at the beginning of 2018.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 8 Series

Built between 1989 and 1999, the BMW 8 Series is now regarded as one of the most daring and intriguing Bimmers ever built. It’s also among the most desirable BMWs built in the 1990s, alongside the iconic M3. Requested again and again by fans ever since it was discontinued, the 8 Series is finally making a comeback to the market. BMW unveiled an 8 Series concept car at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, in May 2017 and confirmed that a production model will follow in 2018, alongside a beefed-up M8 model. Now that’s what I call good news!

A new 8 Series has been rumored for quite a few years, but for some weird reason BMW refused to bring it back until now. And I say “weird” because the German brand is in dire need of a luxury coupe above the 6 Series. With Mercedes-Benz already selling a two-door S-Class and Audi working on the A9, the 8 Series is pretty much mandatory if BMW wants to keep up with the competition. And needless to say, the S-Class was already far ahead of the 7 Series long before it gained coupe and convertible variants. But what’s it going be all about? Find out in my speculative review below.

Update 8/18/2017: So far, we’ve seen the 8 Series Concept and spy shots of the BMW M8 testing in the wild. Today, we finally get a look at the standard 8 Series rocking that traditional pre-debut camo. There isn’t a whole lot to talk about, but there are a few things to point out, so check out the Spy Shots section below to find out more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW 8 Series.

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End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 13:13:51 PDT
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2014 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG GT PREMIUM 5.0L 6-SPD LEATHER NAV 19K #331495 Texas Direct
$18,000.00 (16 Bids)
End Date: Monday Oct-23-2017 21:21:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $25,980.00
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1966 Chevrolet C-10 Custom RESTORED SHORT BOX BIG BACK WINDOW CLASSIC 64 65 HOT ROD STREET ROD
$10,201.00 (3 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 10:27:51 PDT
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2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 2017 New Sprinter 144" wb. hitop van / Like a ProMaster Van
$44,990.00
End Date: Saturday Nov-11-2017 11:22:30 PST
Buy It Now for only: $44,990.00
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2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 2017 New Sprinter 144" wb. hitop van / Like a ProMaster Van
$47,470.00
End Date: Saturday Nov-11-2017 9:52:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $47,470.00
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1969 Chevrolet Other Pickups C10 1969 CHEVY C10 4x4
$9,995.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-26-2017 7:47:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $9,995.00
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2013 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2013 FORD MUSTANG 5.0 GT AUTOMATIC SPOILER 54K MILES #274536 Texas Direct Auto
$5,100.00 (17 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 19:45:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18,980.00
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY 3LT 7-SPEED NAV HUD 19K MI #112622 Texas Direct
$35,600.00 (21 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Oct-25-2017 17:30:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $45,480.00
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette 3 LT 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible, Z51, 3 LT, Nightrace Blue with Blue Top
$43,600.00 (27 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Oct-22-2017 19:15:53 PDT
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1967 Ford Other 1967 AC Cobra Replica
$20,000.00 (22 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 12:38:01 PDT
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2007 Chevrolet Corvette Base Coupe 2 - Door 2007 Corvette MONTERAY RED/BURGUNDY 6 Speed With Supercharger
$25,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 16:33:45 PDT
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1951 Chevrolet Other Pickups -- 1951 Chevrolet 3100 1 Turquoise Pickup Truck V8 Other Automatic
$45,900.00
End Date: Monday Oct-30-2017 9:40:48 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $45,900.00
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE Z06 CONV 1LZ S/C 7SPD NAV HUD 1K MI #606518 Texas Direct
$60,100.00 (27 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 10:26:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $78,980.00
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1968 Ford Mustang Deluxe Interior 1968 Mustang J Code Fastback 4 Speed Deluxe Interior Upper
$11,100.00 (14 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 23:21:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $20,000.00
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1951 Chevrolet Other Pickups Standard 1951 Chevy Pickup Rat Rod
$15,101.00 (28 Bids)
End Date: Monday Oct-23-2017 21:16:58 PDT
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2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS 6-SPD CLIMATE LEATHER NAV HUD 10K #105858 Texas Direct
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 9:15:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $39,980.00
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1967 Ford Mustang 2 DOOR FASTBACK 1967 MUSTANG FASTBACK 289 AUTO PS SOLID STRAIGHT BEAUTIFUL BRIGHT RED SHARP CAR
$20,100.00 (17 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 7:44:38 PDT
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1966 Ford Mustang Convertible 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible 289 V8 Auto w/ Pony Interior
$8,350.00 (10 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 16:14:16 PDT
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1951 Chevrolet Other Pickups black 1951 chevy pickup
$10,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 13:01:51 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21,900.00
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1968 Ford Mustang Restored 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback
$48,000.00
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 14:47:18 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $48,000.00
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2016 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 2016 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2-Door 5.0L Performance Package
$22,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 18:53:23 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $28,600.00
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1972 Chevrolet C10 1972 Chevy C10 Pick Up Frame Off RESTO 350 Vintage AC PS PDB 350Trans
$10,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Oct-26-2017 12:07:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $42,995.00
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY CONV 3LT AUTO NAV HUD 20K #114073 Texas Direct Auto
$1.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 13:48:56 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $43,980.00
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2014 Ford Mustang Base Convertible 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG V6 CONVERTIBLE AUTO ALLOY WHEELS 19K #306875 Texas Direct Auto
$2,247.00 (15 Bids)
End Date: Monday Oct-23-2017 15:00:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $17,980.00
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1950 Chevrolet Other Pickups custom 1950 chevy
$10,600.00 (6 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 16:33:45 PDT
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1996 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Convertible 2-Door 1996 Chevy Camaro Z28 Convertible 1969 Camaro Clone 5.7L 6 Speed Trans
$21,100.00 (10 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 12:45:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $34,995.00
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1965 Ford Mustang 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe 302 Automatic Power Brakes Air Condition Power Steering
$10,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Oct-26-2017 12:07:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21,995.00
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1955 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1955 Chevy Delivery Hot Rod Gasser
$6,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 6:09:18 PDT
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1993 Chevrolet Other Pickups 2500 1993 Chevy Suburban 2500 clear title 90 thousand miles new transmission
$1,400.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 2:45:00 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,000.00
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