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Archive for the ‘TopSpeed Renderings’ Category

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 Genesis GV80

Envisioned in the early 2000s while Hyundai was developing the first-generation Genesis sedan, the Genesis brand was officially established as a standalone marque in November 2015. And since then, things progressed incredibly fast. The flagship G90 was launched in late 2015, followed by the slightly smaller G80 in early 2016. In 2017, Genesis launched its third vehicle, the G70, which is smaller than the G80 and aimed at the compact premium market. 2017 also brought the GV80, a concept that previews the company’s first SUV. The hauler is set to arrive in 2019, but I already created a speculative review of what it will bring to the table, alongside with a rendering of what the production model might look like.

The GV80 may be Genesis’ first SUV, but it won’t be its last. Now that it has launched three sedans, the South Korean firm wants to expand in the crossover market with at least two vehicles. What’s particularly interesting here is that unlike other brands, Genesis jumps on the SUV bandwagon with a full-size vehicle. Specifically, the GV80 will go against the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the upcoming BMW X7, the latter to become Munich’s flagship hauler. Obviously, the big question is whether Genesis will be able to give its competitors a run for the money. I won’t be able to provide an accurate answer until it hits showrooms, but let’s take a closer look at what we already know about this SUV.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis GV80.

Exterior


Genesis Steps Up To Take A Swing At SUVs With The Sleek GV80 Concept - image 713421

Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.

“Design-wise, the GV80 won't stray too far from the concept”

Design-wise, the GV80 won’t stray too far from the concept, but expect some of the show car’s more extreme features to be left outside the production line. The first feature you should forget about are the slender, twin-stripe headlamps. While they look pretty cool would look out of place on a model SUV, Genesis will most likely go with a more familiar design. As seen in the rendering, I expect the brand to keep the lower LED stripes but replaced the upper units with conventional headlamps based on those seen on the sedans. Specifically, look for significantly larger units with a swept-back design that extends toward the upper front fenders.

Next up, I wouldn’t bet on the production car getting the same front grille as the concept. Sure, the shape and size will be similar, if not identical, but the big slab of chrome that extends into the engine hood won’t make it. Instead, Genesis will go with a slightly slimmer chrome trim, and an upper section finished in the same color as the body. What might make it into production is the honeycomb-like mesh. Just like with the G80 sedan, Genesis may offer two different versions of the GV80: a standard-spec SUV with thin, horizontal slats, and a Sport model with a honeycomb mesh.


2017 Genesis GV80 Concept - image 727986

Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.

“I wouldn't bet on the production car getting the same front grille as the concept”

Some changes to the bumper are also expected, and these are again visible in our rendering. Instead of the organic looking side vents, the production model will get proper side intakes. An additional vent will be added to the lower side of the apron. Onto the sides, I expect the GV80 to remain similar to the concept car, but with a few changes. Specifically, look for less aggressive side skirts, conventional mirrors and door handles, revised pillars, a roof rack, and different wheels.

Around back, we should find changes similar to the ones seen up front. The slender, twin-stripe taillights will be replaced by larger units seen on almost all SUVs, while the bumper will get a more conventional design and an underbelly plate. There’s a big chance that the rear window will be redesigned as well for enhanced visibility.

All told, while it won’t be as fancy as the concept, the production GV80 will have the premium look needed to compete against the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7.

Interior


2017 Genesis G80 - image 683368

Note: Genesis G80 pictured here.

“Given the size, the SUV could draw its interior cues from the G80”

The interior of the GV80 is pretty much a mystery at this point. Sure, we do have the concept’s cabin for a few ideas of what Genesis may offer, but it’s pretty obvious that the production model won’t get most features. We can also look at the big sedans for hints, but it’s not yet clear whether Genesis plans to do what every carmaker does in this niche nowadays. But if the Korean brand is to follow in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, we’re likely to see a GV80 with an interior heavily based on a four-door car. Given the size, the SUV could draw its cues from the G80.

The sedan feels stylish and modern, so this wouldn’t be a bad idea. The dashboard sports a big slab of wood veneer, which gives it a premium look, while a big screen in the center of the dashboard makes the cabin feel as driver-friendly as they get. Also look for similar aluminum and chrome inlays, a digital instrument cluster, a multi-function steering wheel and fancy door panels with leather and wood veneer. The seats should be just as comfortable, but the seating position will be higher. The center console will also be adapted to SUV needs, as in it will be wider and taller. The rear section should provide plenty of legroom and headroom in order to compete with the German SUVs, but the GV80 will also need a spacious trunk.


Genesis Steps Up To Take A Swing At SUVs With The Sleek GV80 Concept - image 713304

Note: Genesis GV80 concept pictured here.

“Some of the concept's materials could also make it into the production model as Genesis aims to offer a superior product”

As to what it may get from the concept, I’d say you should expect to find the long dashboard screen inside the production model. However, the SUV could get the more modern instrument cluster with detailed information and maybe even the clean looking dash and center console surfaces.

Some of the concept’s materials could also make it into the production model as Genesis aims to offer a superior product. As a brief reminder, the show car used semi-aniline leather with quilted diamond stitching on the door panels, seating surfaces, and center console, as well as “architexture” suede on the dashboard. The center console and floorboards are made of ash wood, which is usually found in very expensive luxury cars. Needless to say, this layout would make the GV80 one of the most luxurious offerings in this niche.

Drivetrain


2017 Genesis G80 - image 683354

Note: Genesis G80 engine pictured here.

“Expect the engine lineup to include V-6 and V-8 units”

Just like any automaker out there, Genesis is looking to share as many parts as possible between models, including drivetrains. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the GV80 will most likely use the brand’s existing engines. Genesis currently employs a range of four-cylinder, V-6, and V-8 units, but the GV80 will probably share engines with its sedan counterpart, so we need to look away from the 2.0-liter four-pot and the 3.3-liter V-6 in the G70.

The larger G80 sedan starts off with a 3.8-liter V-6 that utilizes a three-stage variable intake system, triangular fuel injector pattern, air-gap exhaust manifold, and a two-stage oil pump. The mill produces a solid 311 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 293 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm, which is enough to push a big SUV to solid performance.

“The big 5.0-liter V-8 should generate in excess of 400 horsepower”

The other engine option available in the G80 is the familiar 5.0-liter Tau V-8. Using a high-pressure direct injection, a low-torque exhaust manifold, increased compression ratio and upgraded multiple-injection mapping, the V-8 generates 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. This powerplant will be offered in the range-topping GV80, regardless of whether it will carry a “Sport” badge.

Both engines will mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission and don’t expect manual or dual-clutch options in the United States. Rear-wheel-drive will probably be standard on the entry-level model, but AWD will be offered as an option.

A third drivetrain of the green variety is possible, but there’s no word on whether Genesis will go with a plug-in hybrid or an evolution of the hydrogen fuel cell showcased in the concept car. There’s no specific data for “advanced plug-in hydrogen fuel cell” drivetrain in the GV80 Concept, but Hyundai is no stranger to hydrogen propulsion, already selling a version of the Tucson (ix35) SUV using this technology. And of course, it would be really easy to transfer fuel cell tech to Genesis.

Prices


2019 Genesis GV80 - image 738829

It’s difficult to estimate pricing without actual specs, but Genesis needs to keep pricing similar to the competition in order to stand a chance. Actually, unless it comes with significantly more premium features and tech than its rivals, it should cost a bit less at first since the “Genesis” badge lacks the brand cachet of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. With the Mercedes-Benz GLS priced from $69,550 and the Cadillac Escalade retailing from $73,395, the Genesis SUV would be an appealing option at around $66,000 before options. But needless to say, it could cost more.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz GLS


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class - image 654045

The GLS is arguably the most important competitor the GV80 will have once it arrives, but needless to say, the Merc is a bit long in the tooth, and it may get a redesign until Genesis’ SUV rolls out. Introduced in 2012, the current-generation GLS was updated for the 2017 model year. The “GLS” badge was also introduced with the facelift, replacing the previous GL nameplate in Mercedes’ new naming strategy to associate SUVs with their sedan counterparts. Obviously, the “S” in the GLS stands for S-Class. The mid-cycle update isn’t exactly comprehensive, but the massive SUV boasts a slightly sportier design and just enough tech upgrades to keep it fresh. The GLS is available with quite the varied drivetrain lineup for an SUV this big. In the U.S. there are three choices, starting with a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque in the GLS450. Moving over to the GLS550, it comes with a turbocharged V-8 that cranks out 455 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The third option is the AMG GLS63, which uses a beefed-up V-8 that’s good for a whopping 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet. In Europe, a diesel model comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 255 horses and 455 pound-feet of torque. U.S. pricing starts from $69,550.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLS.

Cadillac Escalade


2015 Cadillac Escalade - image 527586

The Escalade may seem out of Genesis’ league due to its massive design, but ignore the boxy body, and you get a luxury SUV that has what it takes to give the GLS a run for its money. The Escalade is actually much newer than the GLS, having been redesigned for the 2015 model year. While not exactly sporty on the outside, it’s roomy on the inside and features much of Cadillac’s latest technology. But unlike the Merc and the upcoming Genesis, there’s only one engine available, in the form for a 6.2-liter V-8. The massive EcoTec3 unit is rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, which might not be as powerful as some options from Mercedes-Benz, but makes the Escalade one of the few large luxury SUVs to still have a naturally aspirated engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission moves all that power to the wheels. Pricing for the Escalade starts from $73,395, which makes it the most expensive proposition in this comparison.

Read our full story on the Cadillac Escalade.

BMW X7


2017 BMW X7 - image 608954

The BMW X7 isn’t yet available, but BMW confirmed that a flagship SUV placed above the already familiar X5 and X6 is underway. Production is set to commence in 2018, and even though the X7 is still a camouflaged test car as of this writing, it’s pretty obvious that it will be a larger, more massive version of the X5. Its interior is likely to blend features from both the X5 and 7 Series sedan, with highlights to include iDrive 5.0, Touch Command Tablet, and a wide range of premium surfaces and features. Under the hood, the X7 is expected to get a 3.0-liter inline-six and a 4.4-liter V-8. The former will crank out around 320 horsepower, while the latter will arrive with at least 440 horses. A diesel is also likely, but it remains to be seen if it will be sold the United States.
Pricing should start from around $70,000.

Read our speculative review of the BMW X7.

Conclusion


2019 Genesis GV80 - image 728546

It’s really difficult to draw a conclusion here with so many details under wraps. And while there are three Genesis sedans available as of this writing, none of them has been on the market enough to get a solid grip on how they’re doing in their respective segments. But needless to say, all three are appealing to look at and come with a comprehensive array of premium features, so I guess it’s safe to say that the upcoming GV80 looks good on paper. I will update this reviews once more information becomes available, so make sure you stick around for more.

  • Leave it
    • Not a lot is known right now
    • Tough competition
    • The BMW X7 will be here in 2018

References


2017 Genesis GV80 Concept - image 727983

Read our full review on the Genesis GV80 concept.

Genesis G80


2017 Genesis G80 - image 683380

Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis G80 sedan.

Genesis G70


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731675

Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis G70.

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


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Exterior


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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 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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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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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.


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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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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 BMW i3 M

BMW launched the i3 electric errand-runner in 2014, and recently introduced a new iteration called the i3s at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This latest “s” version is sportier than the standard model, gaining more power and extra handling capabilities, which got us thinking – where would this sort of evolution eventually lead? Would (could?) BMW turn the i3 into a bona-fide sports machine, rather than just an eco model with 15 extra ponies and a lower stance? If so, what would something like that look like? To answer those questions, we gazed into our crystal call, drew up a rendering, and did a little speculation. The end result is this – the BMW i3 M, a true motorsport performance box with specs to back the badge. Try 0-to-60 mph in less than five seconds and tail-happy handling dynamics, all with that i-branded eco friendliness when you’re ready to dial back the aggression.

So yeah, it’s just a rendering for now, but why not? After all, BMW is no stranger to the world of high-speed hybrids – just look at the i8, the success of which most likely prompted further discussion on the topic amongst BMW’s top brass. Add in copious rumors that such a thing is indeed under development, plus the fact that actually producing this thing wouldn’t be terribly difficult for the brand, and we’d say odds are split 50/50 yay to nay. Read on for our speculative take.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i3 M.

Exterior


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Overall, the BMW i3 M gets the same bubbly exterior styling as its non-M’d counterpart. The look is angular and chunky, with tons of little details offset in contrasting colors.

The colors we picked for the rendering are black and white, which makes it easy to visually pick out individual exterior features. Starting in front, we find a revised fascia, which ditches the rounded frumpiness of the old i3 in favor of a longer lower bumper and hard edges. There are three intakes here, with triangular-shaped intakes in the sides and a larger intake underneath, all of which get a black mesh covering. A lower splitter element helps add a little front-end downforce and directs the air to where it needs to be. Above the bumper is the traditional kidney grille, which utilizes a blue and chrome surround to denote the car’s eco friendliness, plus the requisite “M” badge as a nod to its sporting intentions. The kidney is bookended by the usual aggressive headlight units, which get U-shaped daytime running lights around the perimeter of the housings. The hood is finished in a glossy black, the shape of which pulls the eye rearwards towards the A-pillars.


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“Above the bumper is the traditional kidney grille, which utilizes a blue and chrome surround to denote the car’s eco friendliness, plus the requisite “M” badge as a nod to its sporting intentions.”

Moving into the flanks, we find modest fender flares, once again in a glossy black color. The front fenders also get a V-shaped vent, similar to other M models seen before. The top half of the vehicle continues the black coloring, which gives it a sort of “floating” appearance, which is similar to the standard model. The side skirts continue with a black strake, which enhances a visual sense of forward lean to it, plus a bit of blue embellishment that adds a nice splash of color, similar to the i8. The side view mirrors were also reshaped to offer a more aggressive look.

In back, we find a modest trailing edge roof spoiler, once again in black. We would expect the i3 M’s hatch to be finished in black, with the taillights offering a similar shape as the headlight housings.

We think it’s a solid combination of cues, pulling heavily from both the BMW i8 and existing M products. Check it out –


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Note: BMW i3 (standard model) pictured on the left, BMW M3 pictured on the right.

Overall, we think the updates add a good deal of much-needed aggression to the i3, which becomes even more important when framing it as a performance vehicle.

We’d also expect BMW to offer the i3 M with a large collection of optional aero enhancements and carbon fiber exterior pieces. Stuff like carbon fiber side view mirror covers, a carbon fiber rear wing, carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber wheel arch extensions, and maybe even a graphics package for a heavier-hitting visual impact should make the list.

Finally, Bimmer would most likely equip LEDs for the lighting front to back, while large 19-inch wheels (the option for 20-inch wheels will be offered) fill the corners.

Interior


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Note: standard BMW i3 pictured here.

Getting in and out of the BMW i3 M will be the same procedure as the standard model. The doors will split down the middle, with the front doors opening forward and the rear doors opening towards the tail, providing a good amount of space to settle into the front seats or crawl onto the back bench. This ease of ingress and egress will be upped thanks to the lack of a B-pillar, which is a testament to the i3’s impressive chassis rigidity.

Once you situate yourself in the cabin, you’ll be met with a fun and funky layout. First and foremost will be an upgraded steering wheel, which will get a flat-bottom and multi-function design, plus the requisite M badging in the right spots and handy grips at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. The dash will incorporate copious horizontal design schemes, and mount a digital display in a tall, central position. The central tunnel will get additional buttons and toggle switches, plus a rotary knob to control the infotainment system. The seats will gain additional lateral support, and come with the option for even sportier sitters if desired.

“First and foremost will be an upgraded steering wheel, which will get a flat-bottom and multi-function design, plus the requisite M badging in the right spots and handy grips at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions.”

While not quite as spacey and futuristic as the i8, the i3 M should still be a pretty nice place to be. Also expect copious amounts of M components inside, both optional and standard. That means additional M branding (door sill plates, etc.), and faux carbon fiber for the trim (dash, door panels, etc.). High-end contrast stitching and Alcantara upholstery will be included as well.

Of course, being an i model, there should be the option for sustainable interior materials as well. Packages for green stuff like recycled materials and renewables will help the i3 M keep its eco cred, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.

“Of course, being an i model, there should be the option for sustainable interior materials as well.”

In terms of technology, the i3 M will also get the very latest tech BMW has on offer. These include stuff like parking assist, front collision warning, active lane keep assist, active cruise control, and the like, not to mention gesture control inside the cabin. Apple CarPlay will be there to support your smartphone, while the display mounted high on the dash will measure in at 10.25 inches.

Drivetrain


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Note: standard i3 drivetrain and powertrain pictured here.

The current standard i3 model comes equipped with a variety of different powertrain options. The first is the i3 60 Ah, which gets a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, while the i3 94 Ah gets a 33-kWh lithium-ion battery. All that juice makes its way to a single electric motor in the rear, which drives the rear axle with as much as 125 kW (or 168 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque). Properly applied, it’s enough to do the 0-to-60 mph run in 7.2 seconds, while top speed clocks in at 93 mph. The recently unveiled i3s is tuned for a bit more output, bumping it up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, shaving a little time off the acceleration figure in the process. Finally, the i3 can be had with the option for a two-cylinder gas-powered internal combustion engine. Displacement for the ICE is rated at 647 cc’s, which adds substantially to the car’s range

So what about the i3 M?

For starters, we’re thinking the powertrain will pull heavily from the BMW i8, ditching the two-cylinder range extender in favor of a three-cylinder ICE as standard. That’s right – go with the M, and you’re hybrid no matter what.

“We’re thinking the powertrain will pull heavily from the BMW i8, ditching the two-cylinder range extender in favor of a three-cylinder ICE as standard. About 230 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque would fit well with a car that’s this lightweight”

This inline three-cylinder will once again get mounted in the rear, with the displacement coming in at roughly 1.5 liters. Power will also see a substantial increase, and we’re thinking as much as 230 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque would fit well with a car this lightweight. That much muscle would propel the BMW i3 M from 0-to-60 mph in less than 5 seconds, while the top speed would look something like 130 mph, which is far above the sub-100 mph top speed of the current i3.

Despite the increased power and faster acceleration, the BMW i3 M should also offer some half-decent all-electric range, with about 90 miles of local emissions-free motoring possible, if desired.

What’s more, the powertrain will offer that classic electrified instant torque, which will make it an absolute pleasure to drive. Just stamp the long pedal, and the little speed cube will squat and go, no fuss involved whatsoever.

Chassis And Handling


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While it’s true that M division cars have been getting a bit soft around the edges over the last few years, I’d argue the Bavarian skunk works still has the know-how to make the BMW i3 a stellar handler.

While the current model tips the scales at a few hundred pounds under the 3,000-pound mark, we’d wager the larger ICE and more powerful electric motor would inevitably bump the i3 M up to at least 3,000 pounds. Of course, the i3 M would retain the same carbon fiber tub as the non-M variants, utilizing the identical carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) material wherever possible.

“Utilizing the identical carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) material wherever possible, the weight would mostly get centered over the rear, but approach that magical 50:50 front/back weight distribution that’s so desirable amongst sporty vehicles.”

The weight would mostly get centered over the rear, but approach that magical 50:50 front/back weight distribution that’s so desirable amongst sporty vehicles. Of course, with a RWD, rear-engine configuration, that’s to be expected, and with the proper suspension set-up, the i3 M could be magnificent in the corners. Furthermore, the battery will be stashed underneath the floor of the vehicle, keeping a lot of the pounds low enough to maintain relatively low amounts of body roll.

Regardless, we’d expect the BMW i3 M to come equipped with much wider tires, as the standard i3 gets super skinny eco rubber. By contrast, the M version will get a wider track and tons more grip. The stance will also be lower over the large wheels, and there’s likely to be multiple driving modes to sharpen the throttle, tighten the steering, and other such sporting features. Finally, we’d also expect the option for a sport suspension package, plus bigger brakes.

Prices


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The current BMW i3 starts at $42,400, and can range as high as $48,300 when adding in the range-extender internal combustion engine. If BMW was to go about offering an M version, we’d suspect that number would rise substantially – up to $60,000, give or take, which would represent a $20,000 rise over the current entry-level model. Throw in a few pricey options (M exterior package, sportier suspension package, etc.), and that number could go even higher.

Competition

Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 Hybrid


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2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - image 693246

Small, quirky, and chic – these are the things that make the Countryman hybrid special. This is really an ideal competitor for the i3 M, as it’s not only relatively similar in terms of body shape and size, but it’s got the same BMW gloss as well (BMW owns Mini, in case you were unaware). Not only that, but this small hatch also rocks the same 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder as the i8. The run to 62 mph takes 7.6 seconds thanks to 221 horsepower, while upwards of 26 miles of all electric range helps it get around without gasoline.

Read our full review on the Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 Hybrid.

Tesla Model 3


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2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 671349

Yes, we’re well aware that the Model 3 is all electric, all the time, and not a hybrid, but this segment isn’t exactly overflowing with options when it comes to competition. Not only that, but the Model 3 has pretty much established itself as the go-to affordable compact when it comes to green-intentioned driving. Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery pack, this thing can go upwards of 310 miles per charge, and hit the 60 mph benchmark in as little as 5.1 seconds. It’s cheaper too, priced at $35,000 before incentives. Of course, you need to factor in the convenience factor as well, given new orders take as long as 18 months to reach customers, plus the fact that charging the batteries takes hours to reach 100-percent capacity.

Read our full review on the Tesla Model 3.

Conclusion


2020 BMW i3 M - image 733434

While a BMW i3 M might seem like a long shot now, that could definitely change in the not-too-distant future. You see, BMW is doubling down on its electric and hybrid investments, and while that might seem a bit disturbing to those customers accustomed to the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” it’s highly doubtful the Bavarians will completely disregard their performance past in the name of eco friendliness. Sure, efficiency will get a bump and engines will get electrified, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way.

“BMW is doubling down on its electric and hybrid investments, but it’s highly doubtful the Bavarians will completely disregard their performance past in the name of eco friendliness.”

We think a BMW i3 M is a great example of that balance. A car like this would be a mix of efficiency and power, offering sharp handling and comfort, all without burning too much petrol along the way. Yes, it’s expensive, but hey – it’s a Bimmer. That should be expected. Will customers feel the same way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Faster options available
    • In the customer interest there?

References

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728638

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

BMW M3


2015 BMW M3 - image 554284

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

BMW i8


2015 BMW i8 - image 522684

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW i8.


2017 Tesla Model S - image 672439

Read more electric car news.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Odyssey Type R

There’s no harder transition in the world than for a car guy to move away from his prized bachelor car to daily drive a mom-mobile, aka the dreaded minivan. So, what happens when you want the best of both worlds? Well, you convince Honda to build you a Honda Odyssey Type R. Is it crazy? Sure. But are you going to tell me you would pass up an Odyssey Type R to drive a Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, or a Mercedes Metris? I doubt it, and you know why? Because this thing is intense in all the right ways. You get all of the Type R goodies, including things like the Championship White paint, Type R wheels and body kit, and even the classic Type R red accents inside. But, what will power a beast like this? Well, we’ll discuss that in a bit.

So here we are, talking about something as crazy as an Odyssey Type R. All the goodness of the ultimate people hauler paired with the aggressiveness, style, and clout of the Type R badge, plus more than enough power to keep you from sacrificing your manhood on days when you have to tote the family around. So with that said, let’s dive in and speculate a bit about the Honda Odyssey Type R and why Honda should greenlight a project like this. You know it will appeal to the tuner and gearhead in all of us.

Exterior


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733296

I was at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show when Honda pulled the covers off of the Honda Odyssey. It was literally a show stopper. Across the way was the new Chevy Traverse. It was a beautiful ride, and as a photographer, I had to get good shots of it. Of course, there was so much excitement around the Traverse that I had to circle around a few times before I got my chance to pull the trigger on my Camera. A few hours later, it was just about time for Honda to kick off the show and, while I expected it to be a busy debut, I didn’t expect it to be so outrageously popular. If I didn’t know better, I would say everyone at the show had to come over and check out the new Odyssey.

“Naturally, the Type R Odyssey has to rock out the same styling as the Civic Type R, and we’ve got it all”

Naturally, I did what I could to take pictures, but hours passed and I couldn’t even get close – even playing my usual photographer tricks to get up in there ahead of the crowd. Eventually, the day was over, and security was set to drag me out. So, I had to return to the show the next day to check out what all the hype was about. Well, I was nice and early, so I finally got a good look and man was I impressed. I knew right then that we needed to render up a Type R Odyssey, and here we are.


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733294

Naturally, the Type R Odyssey has to rock out the same styling as the Civic Type R, and we’ve got it all. We’ve got the gloss black grille up front, the red Honda emblem, the Type R emblem and those big vents in the corners that also serve as home to the big fog lamps because this is still a family car, right? To round off the front end, we threw in a scoop on the hood and the spoiler up front, complete with the red pinstripe. Moving to the sides, we’ve swapped out the standard mirrors for gloss black units to go along with the window trim. The fender vent is another nice touch that really stands out above those Type R wheels. New side skirts with a red stripe and black door handles round out the exterior package.

“The rear fascia gets a diffuser element that wraps around the edges to tie the sides to the rear, and twin, and a triple exhaust outlet screams Type R music on take off.”

Around back is where it really gets interesting, though. See, we’ve managed to modify the Civic Type R’s spoiler so that it can mount to the rear hatch, and it looks pretty mean. The rear fascia gets a diffuser element that wraps around the edges to tie the sides to the rear together and a triple exhaust outlet screams Type R music on take-off. Finally, we blacked out all of the rear windows and the moonroof to give it that midnight look, which somehow looks really good against that Champion White finish. And, don’t forget about the red calipers down below – you’ve got to have the red calipers!

Interior


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 708056
“On the inside, you know Honda would blend the perfect balance of family functionality and Type R goodness”

On the inside, you know Honda would blend the perfect balance of family functionality and Type R goodness. The first things to get swapped out are the front seats, the instrument cluster, and the infotainment display. All three from the Civic Type R carry right over, with some minor modification to the dash to support the different electronics. A new center console is thrown into place to allow for the six-speed gear shifter – that’s right, it’s not a Type R without a six-speed. The dash is adorned with black leather and Red piping, while the Type R steering wheel gets the traditional red emblem to go with the red inserts in the bottom half. Aluminum pedals are added to the floor – yes all three – and the Type R racing seats replace the standard seats up front. Thanks to Honda’s engineering genius, all of that family functionality carries over, including the rear cabin monitor, reverse camera, and DVD player. Type R floor mats round out the front of the cabin.


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 718504
Honda Odyssey – second row shot

Around back, all of the trim is replaced with higher quality materials so that this funky minivan carries the Type R legacy correctly. When the doors open automatically, a bright red ambient light illuminates the ground while displaying a Honda emblem and the Type R logo. The outboard seats in the second row look almost identical to the seats up front, including the excessive bolster support and holes for the five-point racing harnesses – that’s right, you can take the whole family down the strip in this bad boy. The center seat remains and is easily removable just as it is in the standard version. It carries over unchanged in design but gets the same red and black layout with Type R embroidery for consistency.


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 702281
Honda Odyssey – third row shot
“When the doors open automatically, a bright red ambient light illuminates the ground while displaying a Honda emblem and the Type R logo”

The third row carries over unchanged and features the same amount of support as seen in the standard model, but in this case, they are also wrapped in red and black and feature that Type R logo. The entertainment center in the rear has been replaced with a slightly larger screen that also has Type R graphics as expected and the trim panels by the third row get backlit Type R logos (red of course) from front to rear. A large Type R floor mat is placed ahead of the second and third rows while a special Type R cargo mat can be found in the rear cargo area. When the rear hatch opens, a red Honda logo is projected above the Type R lettering to complete the interior package. Tell me you wouldn’t feel at home in this thing. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Drivetrain


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719407

Now, this is where things really get interesting. If you know Honda, you’re probably thinking that this is where it will drop in that 2.0-liter from the Type R, right? 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque would be an improvement over the standard 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 ponies and 262 pound-feet, but it’s not quite good enough for a vehicle this heavy. After all, if it’s wearing that Type R badge, it needs to live up to a legacy and rewrite the definition of quick. As such, that 2.0-liter stays where it belongs in the smaller car, and instead, Honda is going to tap into its luxury arm, and take advantage of that 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the Acura NSX. Of course, it won’t deliver the full 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, but it will be detuned to deliver 445 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of twist – and the Odyssey Type R comes to life.

“Honda is going to tap into its luxury arm, and take advantage of that 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the Acura NSX”

Of course, this is a different setup, so it doesn’t get the AWD hybrid system, but a simple adapter plate allows for that six-speed trans to bolt right up, and with the right modification of the chassis the engine can be positioned far enough to one side so that it will fit under the hood – it’s just a very tight fit. But, hey, that’s okay when you’ve got a 445-horsepower Odyssey, right? Finally, the dual air intakes have been repositioned to suck air directly from the vents in the corners of the front fascia for a true, CAI system. The end result is a minivan that can make the 60-mph sprint in a matter of 4.1 seconds, while top speed sits at an insane 186 mph.


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733295

As far as suspension goes, the Odyssey Type R will get a standard MacPherson setup up front and a double-wishbone system out back with double lower control arms for better stability at high speeds. The suspension itself is dropped by just over an inch to provide better aerodynamics. Active traction control keeps the wheels from breaking loose on take-off while electromechanical brakes handle braking duties. Sounds pretty wild for a minivan huh? Well, here’s the cool part. Honda knows your wife doesn’t need to be doing a 180 mph to get little Tommy to his football practice or Molly to her band recital, so “Dad’s” key unlocks the Odyssey’s full potential, while ”Mom’s” key limits output to just 280 horsepower.

Pricing


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 733293

As you’re well aware, that Type R badge comes at a price, and we’re not talking about a few extra bones here, either. The standard range-topping model. The “Elite” commands $46,670, so you can expect the Odyssey Type R to set you back by at least $56,000, but hey that’s okay – we’re talking about the most powerful type R in existence as of the time of this writing. Good luck getting the wife to approve, but we are talking about a family car here, so sweet talk her a little, will ya?

Competition

At this point, there’s nothing that would really compete with an Odyssey Type R, so it would sit in a niche all its own and would likely inspire a whole swath of high-performance minivans to come to light. Until then, your only option would be to go with the range-topping version of the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, or Kia Sedona, none of which offer up anywhere near as cool a setup as the Odyssey with Type R treatment. But, let’s look anyway…

Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat


2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat - image 668902

Of course, we once speculated that Chrysler would put together a Pacifica Hellcat, so that’s most definitely the No. 1 competitor for the Odyssey Type R. Featuring a more aggressive look on the outside it will also get the Hellcat independent rear suspension, and will, in fact, be all-wheel drive. This, of course, requires the removal of the stow-n-go seating to make way for the transmission tunnel, but hey, that’s a pretty fair trade-off, right? All seats will get Nappa leather and Alcantara trimmings to go with Hellcat embroidery, and you can bet it’ll come complete with the special crate in the rear as well.

Under the hood will sit the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 and is actually positioned in a front-mid-ship location to allow for an all-wheel-drive up front. All told, it will deliver 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet like a true Hellcat but will be able to hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Yikes – I guess that will top the Odyssey Type R, huh? Of course, it’ll also start out a bit higher at around $70,000, so you’ll be paying a little extra for the AWD and V-8 lineup.

Read our full speculative review on the Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat.

Toyota Sienna Limited


2018 Toyota Sienna - image 711005

2018 Toyota Sienna - image 711006

This is the range-topping trim of the Toyota Sienna. The Sienna doesn’t even compete in looks really as it’s got a fairly boring exterior look, but it does offer seating for eight, LED running lights, Blue Ray infotainment system, a JBL audio system with integrated navigation and app access, leather seating, and a smart key system. Under the hood, you find a 3.5-liter that’s good for 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, nowhere near what you get with an Odyssey Type R but not bad for your normal back and forth driving. An eight-speed auto controls shifting duties while AWD with active torque control makes driving in rough weather even easier. The range-topping model in this lineup, the Limited Premium AWD, starts out at $47,310, really putting it close to the theoretical price of the Odyssey Type R.

Read our full review on the Toyota Sienna Limited

Kia Sedona SXL


2015 Kia Sedona - image 548816

2015 Kia Sedona - image 548819

The Sedona is the only one of the three competing models that offers a truly similar look to the Odyssey, as it has that zig-zag waistline, too. The model you would need to shoot for to compete with an Odyssey Type R is the SXL trim, which resides at the top of the lineup. The cool thing about the SXL is that it rides separately in the looks department, thanks to a sportier front and rear fascia as well as sleeker fog lights too. It also stands out by means of larger and sportier wheels.

Inside it gets an eight-inch infotainment system with phone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to go with an eight-speaker audio system that features an external amp and eight-inch subwoofer – we’ll just call this the 888 package. Essentially a fully loaded model, the SXL includes all of Kia’s advanced safety systems, and can even be options with Nappa leather upholstery and first-class seating.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 3.3-liter V-6 that’s good for 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque and efficient enough to offer up 19 mpg combined. Pricing starts out at $41,900 but easily climbs closer to $50,000 with all the right options.

Read our full review on the Kia Sedona SXL.

Conclusion


2020 Honda Odyssey Type R - image 732980

Let’s be honest, the chances of Honda actually coming out with an Odyssey are pretty damn slim, let alone one that totes around the NSX’s twin-turbo engine. Even if Honda moved forward with a Type R version of the Odyssey, it would get that same 2.0-liter found in the Civic Type R, but hey, this was about speculating and having fun, so I went all out. And, you have to admit that it would be awesome minivan to drive around if you had to drive a minivan right?

On a side note, we once speculated that Chrysler would come up with a Hellcat version of the Pacifica, and of course, that was shot down a long time ago. But, if Honda came out with a Type R, Chrysler wouldn’t have much of a choice, now would they? So, at the end of the day, we need to convince one brand to take a leap of faith so that the other will. Just imagine a time where you and the wife both daily drive minivans with extreme looks and power – now that would be kind of fun, don’t you think?

So, tell me what you think about the Odyssey Type R. How would you want Honda to configure it? More power, less power, or just as I’ve described? Would you want a true-to-life six-speed or would you prefer the dual-clutch automatic transmission with shift paddles from the NSX? Let us know in the comments section below!

  • Leave it
    • Will probably never happen
    • Chrysler would kill it with the Hellcat Pacifica
    • Even if it did happen, it would never get a true manual transmission

References

Honda Odyssey


2018 Honda Odyssey - image 718512

Read our full review on the Honda Odyssey.

Honda Civic Type R


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719420

Read our full review on the Honda Civic Type R.

Honda Accord Type R


2019 Honda Accord Type R - image 728542

Read our full speculative review on the Honda Accord Type R.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Accord Type R

There’s no denying that Honda has been pretty stingy when it comes to the Type R badge and the U.S. Market. Over the years, U.K., Euro, and Japanese markets always seemed to get the best that Honda had to offer, with the Type R badge being applied to the first-generation Acura NSX, Acura Integra, the Honda Accord and, of course, the Honda Civic. Of all these, the only models we saw come to the U.S. were the NSX Type R and the Integra Type R, both sporting Acura Badges, and we finally got the Civic Type R for the 2017 model year. With that in mind, it’s been a while since the world got a Type R version of the Accord, so we decided to render up was a U.S.-Spec Accord Type R would look like. Highlights of the build would include more aggressive fascias out front with Type R specific styling to go with plenty of Type R goodness inside. There would, of course, be an improved output over the range-topping model’s 252 ponies, but how that power will come to be is another story. Other necessities include a stiffer suspension, manual transmission, tuned-out exhaust, and a lower ride height.

On the plus side, all of the necessary prerequisites are already in play. The new Accord is pretty sporty on its own, so a more aggressive look should be easily welcomed. But, with the range-topping models of the Accord already sporting the detuned version of the Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it won’t take much to get some extra power to the wheels. Even more intriguing is the fact that Accord Sport models with the 2.0-liter can be equipped with a six-speed manual if you check the right option box, so you’ll be able to forgo dealing with that new 10-speed auto gearbox. With all of that in mind, let’s talk a little about the Accord Type R’s history and then take a good look at our rendering. Are you excited? I sure am. Let’s get to it…

PostHeaderIcon Mazda3

The Mazda3 has been generating solid sales for the Japanese automaker ever since it was introduced in 2003, but it was the third-generation model, launched in 2013, that established the nameplate as a strong competitor in the compact market. Selling more units than ever, the third-gen car received a mild update in 2016, but Mazda is already working on the next-generation model. Not much is known about the fourth-generation version, but Mazda’s North American design director, Julien Montousse, has recently unveiled that its design will borrow styling cues from the gorgeous Mazda RX-Vision concept.

Believed to preview the next-generation Mazda RX-7, the RX-Vision concept is also expected to inspire several vehicles in the company’s lineup in the future. The Mazda3 will become the first model to make use of the concept’s sporty lines and we just created a rendering of how the hatchback model may look like. The new Mazda3 won’t see the light of day until at least 2018, but having seen the company’s evolution in recent years, it’s not too difficult to predict what the next compact will bring to the table. As a result, we also put together a speculative review to go with our new rendering. Keep reading for all the info and make sure you stay tuned for updates.

Updated 09/01/2017: The next-gen Mazda3 was caught testing for the first time and, as you can see from the stickers on the prototype, it will feature Mazda’s new Skyactiv-X engine technology!

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mazda3.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Macan GT3 RS

“GT3 RS” is a unique series letters that carries a whole lotta weight when it comes to the Stuttgart faithful. This is the label used for Porsche’s homologation efforts, harkening back to 911’s of old where speed potential and track readiness were maximized for the ultimate in mean-machine German street offerings. Less weight through extensive use of composite materials and plastic windows, bigger, purposeful aerodynamic enhancements, wider, grippier tires, and of course, an extra splash of power are all expected when those five little letters are in play. Whether it’s prowling the highways or attacking the Karussell at the Nurburgring, the GT3 RS is not to be trifled with. Which makes it a strange thing to see when it’s plastered on a tall-bodied SUV, no? How could such a thing exist without diluting the nameplate for future hardcore models?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but Porsche certainly isn’t afraid to ask it. After all, this is the same company that brought us the Cayenne, considered to be one of the first in a wave of performance SUVs to hit the U.S. in the past decade and a half. What’s more, the competition has caught scent as well. Consider such outrageous creations as the Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-AMG GLE63, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. In company like this, why not make a hell-bent, track-ready, monster Macan?

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Macan GT3 RS.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Crosstrek XTI

As an older WRX fan, I lament the loss of the WRX hatch. More than that, I’m downright crestfallen over the loss of the WRX wagon. Once considered a bastion of speed and practicality, Subaru’s most famous performance machine is now no more than a be-winged four-door, downgraded from the glory of “yes please, more junk in the trunk” to “I’m not sure if it’ll fit.” However, if cargo room is what you’re after, then the Crosstrek looks like a decent solution, albeit a boring one. If we had our way, we wouldn’t have to choose – strap on a turbo, drop the CVT, and suddenly you’ve got the best of both worlds. Say hello to the Crosstrek XTI.

The name draws from the 2008 Forester XTI concept, which appeared at SEMA with the same 2.5-liter turbo boxer engine as the WRX STI, plus a six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch S204 wheels, high-performance Yokohama rubber, coilover suspension, big Brembo brakes, leather and Alcantara in the cabin, and a new cabin layout. Output clocked in at 315 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Sounds tasty, but unlikely, no? Not so fast. Subaru has already offered a more aggressive design study for the Crosstrek called the Subaru XV Sport Concept, introduced at the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2013, bearing new styling, upgraded suspension, LED lights, STI tower bar, new aero enhancements, STI muffler, 17-inch Enkei wheels, Recaro seats, and Brembo brakes. So what if Subaru went whole hog on the performance crossover thing?

Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru Crosstrek XTI.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vantage

Around for a little more than a decade, the first-generation Aston Martin Vantage is about to the discontinued, with a redesigned, second-gen model underway for 2017. Official details are still under wraps as of this writing, but prototypes and test cars have been spied on public roads or the Nurburgring track since late 2014. Come 2017, and Aston Martin is testing the next-gen Vantage more than ever, a sign that the official unveiling is just around the corner.

Recent reports have suggested that the British are already testing the Biturbo, 4.0-liter, V-8 mill, and our paparazzi claim that the test car is fitted with the new AMG-developed powerplant. The unit comes as part of a deal Aston Martin and Daimler signed in 2014, which also includes various electronics and likely further drivetrain assistance. The Vantage will also get the new V-12 that debuted in the DB11. We should find out more toward the end of the year, so stay tuned for new info. Meanwhile, let’s have a look at what we already know about the upcoming Aston Martin Vantage.

Updated 09/25/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Aston Martin Vantage out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.

Continue reading to find out more about the next Aston Martin Vantage.

Spy Shots

September 25, 2017 – Aston Martin Vantage caught testing around Nurburgring


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 733693

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 733688

Exterior


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 712153
“Although the new Vantage uses a shorter version of the DB11´s platform, I expect it to be slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model.”

The prototype spotted on public roads and the “Green Hell” in 2016 was pretty much a DB11, but those familiar styling cues covered a bunch of unique details. The wheelbase was a bit shorter than the DB11, which suggested a Vantage-specific two-seat configuration instead of the DB11’s 2+2. Newer test cars gained various changes on the outside, but we have yet to see a prototype with the final design as of August 2017. However, we had just enough to put together a rendering. And not surprisingly, it borrows heavily from the DB11. That’s because the grand tourer introduced a brand-new styling language that will trickle down into all upcoming Aston Martin models.


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 728544

2015 Aston Martin DB10 - image 721685
2018 Aston Martin Vantage TopSpeed rendering Aston Martin DB10 Concept

But although the new Vantage will be built on a shorter version of the DB11´s new aluminium platform, I expect it to be slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model. It should also have a sportier, more muscular stance. This is somewhat visible in the spy shots, but it’s the rendering that highlights those lines, especially the front wheel arches and the rear haunches. Of course, just like the DB11, it will sport some of the styling cues seen on the DB10 “Bond car.”

Interior


2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 668455

Note: Aston Martin DB11 interior shown here.

“Inside, the new Vantage will most likely borrow the overall design from the DB11.”

Inside, the new Vantage will most likely borrow the overall design from the DB11. Expect the classic Aston Martin grand tourer layout with the clean dashboard and tall center console, but also look for significant upgrades over the previous model. Highlights should include a race-inspired, all-digital instrument cluster, a flat-bottom steering with with thinner spokes, a 12-inch TFT display with rotary control, and a touchpad with character recognition atop the center stack. The new infotainment system will also include a new satellite navigation and audio system with functions like auto-park assist and 360-degree camera.

The driver and front passenger will benefit from more comfortable seats wrapped in finer materials. High-grade leather, Alcantara, and aluminum trim should be the standard, with carbon-fiber available as an option. Contrast stitching and piping will add a bespoke touch to the seats, center console, and door panels. As you’d expect from a luxury grand tourer, the Vantage should offer virtually limitless upholstery combinations from sober to sporty, flashy finishes. The slightly longer wheelbase also means improved legroom, while the luggage compartment should be roomier as well.

Drivetrain


2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 667795

Note: Aston Martin DB11 engine shown here.

“The Vantage is very likely to get its engines from the DB11, which uses a V-8 and a V-12.”

More big news lies under the hood of the prototype, which seems to hide a turbocharged powerplant. How do we know that? It’s quite simple. All you have to do is zoom on the Vantage’s front grille and you’ll notice a pair of intercoolers, the strongest indication the engine is using forced induction.

This also means that the Vantage is very likely to get its engines from the DB11, which uses a V-8 and a V-12, both turbocharged. As until now, the V-8 version will probably arrive with a V8 Vantage badge, while the V-12 variant will be called the V12 Vantage. I know, you can call me Captain Obvious.

“The twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12 cranks out 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist.”

The V-8 comes courtesy of Aston Martin’s current deal with Daimler, which includes not only the AMG-sourced, biturbo, 4.0-liter. This is the same mill that debuted in the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and found its way into the Mercedes-AMG C63 compact, among many other cars. In the DB11, the V-8 is rated at 503 horsepower and 513 pound-feet of torque. It remains to be seen whether output will be the same in the Vantage, but 503 horses would be a significant improvement over the current 430 horsepower. Charging from 0 to 62 mph should take around four seconds, a massive improvement over the V8 Vantage S, which needs 4.8 ticks.

Moving over to the twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12, it cranks out 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist. This output pushes the DB11 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, but the Vantage could be a bit more powerful, and, as a result of the extra oomph, quicker too. Expect the Vantage to come with a six-speed manual as standard and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as an option. U.S. models will probably be restricted to the automatic gearbox. Expect a top speed of at least 200 mph.

Prices


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 712160

Pricing information is still a mystery, but based on how much the current model retails from, the second-gen Vantage should fetch around $120,000 before options. The V-12-powered model will probably cost about $200,000 before options. The new coupe is expected to debut by the end of 2017.

Competitors

Mercedes-AMG GT


2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R - image 681332

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R - image 681334

As a spiritual successor to the SLS AMG, it’s only natural for the Mercedes-AMG GT to go against the Aston Martin Vantage. Sure, the former is more affordable than the next-gen Vantage, but the two are bound to play against one another considering they’re sharing the same powerplant. While the Vantage’s specs are still a mystery, we do know that the AMG GT is available in two guises. The base model, also powered by the 4.0-liter V-8, has 469 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. The Mercedes-AMG GT S cranks out 515 ponies and 490 pound-feet of twist and it’s pretty fast with a 0-to-60 mph benchmark of only 3.7 seconds. Finally, there’s the AMG GT R, which is rated at a solid 577 horsepower and 520 pound-feet. This version is also the quickest, needing only 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. Pricing starts from $112,400 for the standard model and from $157,000 for the AMG GT R.

Read our full reviews of the Mercedes-AMG GT and AMG GT R.

Porsche 911 Turbo


2020 Porsche 911 Turbo - image 711491

2020 Porsche 911 Turbo - image 711492

Porsche’s evergreen GT entered a new era in 2012, which, to no surprise, brought only mild exterior updates. Another update followed in 2016, bringing more powerful engines to the lineup. The 911 Turbo carries a turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-six under its rear bonnet, which sends 540 horsepower to the wheels through a seven-speed PDK. This combo enables the sports car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds — 2.9 with the Sport Chrono package — and hit a top speed of 198 mph. The 911 Turbo becomes even more powerful in its S guise, which has 580 ponies traveling to the pavement. The 60-mph mark comes in only 2.8 seconds (2.8 ticks with Sport Chrono), while top speed increases to 205 mph. Despite its amazing performance figures, the 911 Turbo remains one of the most fuel-efficient sports car on the market, returning 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. When it comes to pricing, however, the 911 Turbo is less friendly, fetching $159,200 as a regular Turbo and $188,100 with an S badge.

Read our speculative review of the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Conclusion


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 728545

As the only two-seat model and the most affordable Aston Martin, the Vantage holds a special place in the company lineup. Available with both V-8 and V-12 engines and at a price significantly more enthusiasts can afford compared to the DB11, the Vantage is the nameplate that will help the brand expand globally over the next decade. As such, I expect Aston Martin to give its entry-level model the utmost attention and create a grand tourer that will give the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo a run for its money. Sure, the Vantage probably won’t be as quick as the Porsche, but it should be able to match its German rival in just about every other department.

  • Leave it
    • Likely nowhere near as quick as the Porsche Turbo S
    • Most details still under wraps

References

Aston Martin Vantage


2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage - image 303530

Read our full review on the previous generation Aston Martin Vantage.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR


2018 Aston Martin Vantage AMR - image 720067

Read our full review on the previous generation Aston Martin Vantage AMR.

Update History

Updated 12/19/2016: The upcoming Aston Martin Vantage was caught out playing in the snow.

Updated 06/23/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Aston Martin Vantage out for a new testing session. The company tried to hide it under DB11 clothes, but it is obvious we are looking at the Vantage as the prototype seen here is shorter than a DB11 – a true 2 seater compared to the 2+2 DB11.

Spy Shots

April 6, 2016 – Next Aston Martin Vantage V8 caught testing at the Ring


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 712155

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 712154

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 712151

December 19, 2016 – Next Aston Martin Vantage begins winter testing


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 698127

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 698129

June 23, 2016 – Next Aston Martin Vantage caught hiding under DB11 clothes


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 680494

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 680496

October 21st, 2014 – First testing session


2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 573408

2018 Aston Martin Vantage - image 573411

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 M8 Convertible

Rumored for many, many years, the iconic BMW 8 Series is set to return to the market, with a concept car already unveiled in 2017. But, unlike the first-generation model, produced from 1989 to 1999, the new 8 Series will also spawn a high-performance M8 model. And this is more than just silly rumor, as BMW has already released a few photos with a heavily camouflaged car. Since we enjoy speculating on future models, we created a rendering of the M8 Convertible, a vehicle that has yet to be confirmed, but was spotted testing on public roads. So it’s safe to assume that BMW is indeed working on a competitor for the AMG-prepped Mercedes S63 and S65.

Not only would an M8 Convertible arrive as a premiere for the nameplate, it would also be a first for the 8 Series. Although it was produced for a full decade, the first-gen 8 Series remained a coupe only. The German firm did develop a cabrio and built a prototype, but it later decided that it was unlikely to recover its development cost and scrapped. The same happened with the original M8, which was axed in favor of the less powerful, but still M-developed 850CSi. Some two decades later and both ideas are set to merge into a production model for the very first time.

Updated 08/22/2017: BMW took the topless version of the M8 out for a test drive.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 Convertible.

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.

PostHeaderIcon Alpine SUV

Shut down in 1995, Renault’s Alpine brand made a comeback 22 years later with a modern interpretation of its iconic A110 sports car. Developed on a bespoke platform and using a design that’s both modern and linked to the original car, the A110 is Renault’s long-awaited response to the Porsche Cayman and the Alfa Romeo 4C. But Alpine isn’t planning to stop here. Word has it that a convertible version of the A110 is also in the works, and the French firm also wants to jump on the SUV bandwagon. Why? Because everyone is doing it nowadays. But what’s this SUV going to be bring to the table?

I’m going to provide an answer to that question in the speculative review below, which includes not only the latest information and rumors but also a detailed rendering of the Alpine-badged hauler. A release date is not yet available, but given that we have yet to see any prototypes on the road, it’s safe to assume that it won’t happen sooner than late 2018. All told, this SUV won’t be available until the 2019 model year. That’s a long wait, but we already have a few juicy details about what’s coming.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Supra

If there is a car that is included on almost every list of “greatest enthusiasts car” it’s the Toyota Supra. The little two-door sports car was originally bolted together as a response to the Z cars coming from competitor Datsun, but it eventually grew into a special machine with a cult-like following. Now after years of rumor, speculation and dreaming, it looks like the new Toyota Supra is all but official. With Toyota having launched the FT-1 concept in 2014 and with sporty prototypes spotted on the road since 2016, it looks as if the next-generation Supra isn’t far from becoming reality.

The story of the Supra may start in 1978, but it was in 1987 with the introduction of the first turbocharged model that it began to truly build its performance legacy. This third-generation Supra was fitted with more than a powerful engine. It featured adjustable suspension and brake systems that helped make it great around a racetrack as well. It became a cult icon in the auto enthusiast world, and everyone has been clamoring for a new model since the old one was pulled from U.S. showrooms in the late 1990s.

With more info and rumors coming out on a regular basis about the next-gen Toyota Supra, it was only a matter of time before the first prototypes hit the streets. This finally happened in September 2016, basically giving confirmation that the new Supra will arrive in dealerships pretty soon. Based on the spy shots, we created a rendering of the upcoming sports car, to go with our speculative review Read on to see our thoughts on the matter and stay tuned for updates.

Update 08/09/2017: The Toyota Supra has been hidden away for some time, with its last appearance occurring some five months ago. Now, it has been caught out on public roads again. Not much has changed, but there is one exciting change to share. Check out our spy shots section below to see what it is.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Toyota Supra.

PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Giulia Coupe

Once considered one of the greatest sports car manufacturers in the world, Alfa Romeo struggled to survive in the 1990s and 2000s with subpar, mostly Fiat-based products. Fortunately, the 4C arrived in 2013 to prove that Alfa Romeo can still develop potent, lightweight sports cars and signaled a revival that seems very far away. Having also returned to the U.S., Alfa made two more important steps toward a better future with the Giulia sedan and the Stelvio crossover. The former is aimed at the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but the Italian firm also rolled out an impressive alternative to the M3 and AMG C63, dubbed Quadrifoglio. And it seems like the next logical step is for Alfa Romeo to launch a coupe version, aimed at the 4 Series/M4 and C-Class Coupe/AMG C63 Coupe.

The Italian company has yet to officially confirm such a vehicle, but word has it that Alfa Romeo already has one on the drawing board. And to be honest, a two-door version of the Giulia is more than necessary if Alfa wants to compete with the big German three. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are offering coupe versions of the 3 Series and C-Class, while Audi is trying to keep up with the A5.Rumors also claim that the two-door Alfa Romeo will be called the Giulia Sprint, a moniker that goes back to the mid-1950s, but until we get some confirmation about that, we will dub this car the Giulia Coupe. And, until our paparazzi stumble across any test cars, we’ve created a rendering of what should be a very sexy two-door.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Coupe.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota MR2

Originally produced between 1984 and 2007, the Toyota MR2 is a legendary little sports car, boasting a cult-like following and all the right stuff to make any auto enthusiast’s mouth water. Throughout the MR2’s 23-year career, Toyota ushered in three individual generations, consisting of the W10 between 1984 and 1989, the W20 between 1990 and 1999, and the W30 between 2000 and 2007. The name is a reference to the drivetrain layout (mid-engine, rear-wheel drive), while the “2” denotes the number of seats in the cabin. The original formula goes something like this – transverse mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, sharp, responsive handling, very little weight, small exterior dimensions, and an affordable sticker. All told, the Toyota MR2 is a true-blue classic, a pure driver’s ride, like a compact Japanese Ferrari without the exotic price tag. And now it’s looking like Toyota might bring it out of retirement.

The speculation stems from a recent statement made by Gazoo Racing head Tetsuya Tada, who told Evo at the 2017 Geneva Show that he hopes to have “The Three Brothers” back in the Toyota lineup “as soon as possible.” In case you were wondering, those “brothers” include the Supra, the Celica, and the MR2, Toyota’s iconic ’90s-era performance machine trio. Word has it we’re inching closer to a reveal of the new Supra, and the current GT86 is a decent replacement for the Celica, but what about a new Mister Two? We got curious, so we drew up a rendering and put together a few theories.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fourth-Generation Toyota MR2.

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