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Archive for the ‘TopSpeed Renderings’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Mazda RX-7

After many years of rumors, Mazda has finally confirmed that the beloved RX-7 will get a successor by the end of the decade. The confirmation came at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where the Japanese brand unveiled the RX-VISION, a front-engined, RWD concept that sports an aggressive interpretation of Mazda’s KODO design language. What’s more, the company also confirmed it will have a new-generation rotary engine under the hood.

Mazda didn’t say when the production car will arrive in showrooms, but it seems that the next-gen RX-7’s development depends on how fast the engineers can come up with a reliable and fuel-efficient Wankel powerplant. More details should become available in 2016, but until that happens, we created a rendering of the production vehicle, as well as a speculative review about what the next-gen RX-7 might bring to the table.

Update 12/07/2017: Mazda has been caught testing the next-gen Wankel engine. Unfortunately, it was being testing in an older RX-8 shell instead of a full-body prototype of the next-gen RX-7, but it’ll do for now. The good news is that it is practically confirmation that a next-gen RX is, indeed, on the way. Check out our spy shots section below to see the RX-8 prototype with the next-gen Wankel and to hear what we know.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Mazda RX-7.

Wankel Testing Session – 12/7/2017


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751672

2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751675

As you can see from the images here, this prototype is all Mazda RX-8 but what lurks under the metal is where things really get interesting. Word has it that the engine lurking under that hood is a 1.6-liter, two-rotor, turbocharged engine that will deliver at least 400 horsepower. Let me say that again… 400 HORSEPOWER!!! There are also rumors that an electric motor could be thrown into the works, making the next-gen RX-7 a mild hybrid that’s good for some 450 horsepower – the kind of numbers that will have Porsche Cayman owners crying like little girls when they get beat by a Mazda. The weight of the next-gen RX-7 is expected to peg around 1,300 pounds or about 2,900 pounds, a figure that should make for a very agile and quick ride.

Expect the next-gen RX-7, which could very well be called the RX-9, to make its debut sometime closer to 2020. Even though we still have some time to wait, we’re willing to bet the Mazda has something special planned for 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Wankel Engine’s first debut by Felix Wankel and the 50th anniversary of the engines true job – powering the Mazda Cosmo II. So, expect there to be a concept or, at the very least, a full-body prototype of the RX-7 running around by then. Mazda won’t let that year go by unnoticed, that’s for sure.

Exterior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

As with most concept cars, the RX-VISION will go through some changes before it becomes a production vehicle. Our rendering depicts a slightly toned down version of the Tokyo study, equipped with several production-friendly features.

“Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn't likely to make it on the production car”

Our artist started off by giving the RX-VISION a taller roof. Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn’t likely to make it on the production car, as it would impact both head and shoulder room. Fortunately, the concept doesn’t seem to lose much of its sexy proportions with a taller roof, a less raked front windscreen, a visible B-pillar, and chrome window surrounds. Other changes to the car’s profile include production door handles, a slightly larger grille on the front fender, and new, multi-spoke wheels.

Up front, we expect the RX-7 to gain a revised grille and bumper and a new pair of headlamps. Although the overall shape and size of the production grille should remain similar, the unit will most likely receive a chrome surround and the horizontal slats seen on all current Mazdas. Below, the bumper side intakes are a bit larger in our rendering, while the splitter and the center section remained unchanged. The headlamps should get the most changes, as the concept’s slim units are far too exotic for a production vehicle. But, even though the lower section will most likely be based on Mazda’s current headlamp design, the upper, curved LED strip could find its way on the production car. Finally, we rounded out the production rendering with a standard hood and a Mazda emblem on the nose, while also removing the one in the grille.

Since the rear of the RX-VISION isn’t exactly wild, Mazda will probably retain most of the features on the production coupe. The RX-7, however, could get a revised tailgate, mildly redesigned taillights without the “floating” spoiler, and a different diffuser.

Interior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653162

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

Unlike many concept cars, the RX-VISION received a clean and simple interior that could go into production today. However, Mazda will most likely change a few things here and there, such as the instrument cluster, the door panels, and the center console. The latter is likely to receive the most revisions, as the RX-7 will receive a standard center stack with various buttons and knobs. An infotainment system and a large display should also be added, but it remains to be seen whether the screen will be mounted atop the dashboard — like seen in many modern Mazda vehicles — or incorporated into the center stack. Also look for a multi-function steering wheel and a more comprehensive instrument cluster behind it.

As far as the large amounts of leather and aluminum inserts seen in the concept go, expect them to be available on higher trims. Much like the MX-5, the RX-7 needs to be a bit more affordable than its competitors, which means that the entry-level model will feature less or no leather at all. Still, the cabin should look sporty and come in two-tone combos on the base version as well.

Drivetrain


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653165

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

“Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.”

The drivetrain is the RX-7’s biggest mystery so far, as Mazda has nothing to say about the engine aside from the fact that it will be a Wankel and called the SkyActiv-R. A company representative, however, hinted that it might use turbocharging and that the sports car will be aimed at the Porsche Cayman. Given the German coupe comes with at least 275 horsepower in base trim, the RX-7, which will be lighter than the Cayman at around 2,700 pounds, would need at least 250 horses to make an impact in this niche. Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.

Word has it Mazda is busy developing the new-generation rotary, aiming to achieve fuel economy and CO2 emission figures “at the same level for an equivalent standard petrol engine,” according to head of R&D Kiyoshi Fujiwara via Top Gear.

Prices

It’s definitely too early to talk about prices, but it’s safe to assume that the RX-7 will become Mazda’s most expensive product in the current lineup. The final sticker depends on many factors, but the sports car will most likely cost more than $35,000 in base trim.

The much anticipated debut is rumored to take place in May 2017, when the Mazda Cosmo — the company’s first rotary-powered vehicle — celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Competition

Toyota Supra


2019 Toyota Supra - image 710703

That battle between the Mazda RX-7 and the Toyota Supra is as iconic as Chevy vs. Ford. Both were low-slung, take-no-shit, rear-wheel-drive monsters that begged to be tuned to the max. At first, it seemed like the new RX-7 would go unopposed by its Toyota-bred rival, but the Supra is about ready to make its debut once Toyota (and BMW, since it was built in partnership between the two brands,) finalize the specs. We expect to see the new Supra debut within the next year boasting a range of engine options that include four-cylinder engines offered up by BMW – a realistic expectation considering the shared platform. However, the rumor mill also has it that a six-cylinder hybrid drivetrain is also on the books, and if that’s the case, it’s a good thing considering the RX-7 is looking at 400 to 450 ponies depending on hybridization. Pricing for the new Supra is still way up in the air, but expect it to run somewhere around $40,000 in base form as more than $50,000 in higher-performance trims. Either way, it could still prove to be more expensive than its Mazda rival.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Toyota Supra.

Porsche 718 Cayman


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS - image 739185

The Porsche Cayman would never have been considered a competitor with the old RX-7, considering there was such a huge difference in power (the old RX-7 rocket out just 255 horsepower in 1995.) However, the new RX-7 (or maybe RX-9) is slated to have anywhere between 400 and 450 horsepower from that new Wankel engine. That puts it well above the base 718 Cayman, and even higher than the Cayman S and Cayman GTS. The base model comes with 300 horsepower on tap and can hit the 60-mph sprint in 4.9 seconds. The Cayman S pushes 350 ponies, enough to drop that sprint time down to 4.4 seconds. Move up to the GTS that goes on sale for the 2018 model year, and you’re looking at 365 ponies from a 2.5-liter flat-four. Zilch to 60 mph comes in 3.9 seconds with this baby, which is right around the 3.8 – 4.0-second sprint we’re expecting from the new RX-7 in base form. There’s no word on the RX-7’s price yet, for obvious reasons, but you can step into a new base Cayman for $55,300 or a Cayman S for $67,000. The GTS, which will more accurately compete with the new RX-7? It comes in at $79,800, well above the base price we’re expecting for the new RX-7. Take that Porsche fanboys!

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 654566

It’s obviously way too early to draw a proper conclusion here, as we know nothing about the drivetrain, performance, pricing, and design of the upcoming RX-7. Judging by how important this nameplate is to Mazda, and looking at the concept car that previews its revival, the next-gen sports car is exciting to say the least. Granted, the big news here is that the new RX-7 will get a rotary engine, but this could go either way. Development will likely take more than a year, and I have a feeling that the RX-7 will see at least one delay because of that. Also, with Wankel powerplants not exactly successful in the past, drivers will probably be a bit skeptical at first, at least until the new unit proves to be reliable and efficient.

  • Leave it
    • Not yet confirmed for production
    • Launch date unknown
    • Rotary engine still under development

References

Mazda RX-8


2010 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - image 340913

Read our full review on the 2011 Mazda RX-8


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Read our full review on the 2015 Mazda RX-VISION Concept.

History


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 340899

The Mazda RX-7 was introduced in 1978 as replacement for the Savanna RX-7. The sports car joined the company’s lineup as the second vehicle to feature a Wankel rotary engine, being sold alongside the Cosmo luxury coupe. Initially powered by a 1.1-liter unit, the first-generation RX-7 received a larger, 1.3-liter engine rated at 133 horsepower later in its life. In 1983, two years before the second-gen model was introduced, a turbo version of the 1.1-liter delivered as much as 163 ponies. A redesigned model followed in 1986. The 1.1-liter engine was dropped, while the 1.3-liter version received a turbocharger of its own. Power ranged between 146 and 202 horsepower, although the latter was only offered between 1989 and 1991. 1992 marked the introduction of the third-generation model and a hefty update to the already proven 13B rotary engine. Output now began from 252 horsepower and went up to 276 in the third-generation’s final years. The RX-7 was axed in 2002, as Mazda was working on the RX-8.

Launched in 2003, the RX-8 was motivated by the same 1.3-liter, Wankel rotary engine as its predecessor. In the first-generation model, output ranged from 189 to 247 horsepower, and the engine mated to either a six-speed manual, a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic depending on the market. Designed as a rear-wheel-drive, four-door coupe, the RX-8 became famous due to its rear-hinged, freestyle rear door.

The second-generation model was introduced in 2009 with mild updates. The revised iteration lasted on the market only until 2012, when Mazda put an end to the RX legacy. Although the RX-8 had a remarkable platform underneath its body, the coupe’s engine suffered from excessive oil consumption and poor mileage. Hopefully, that will change with Mazda’s next-generation of rotary units.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda RX-7

After many years of rumors, Mazda has finally confirmed that the beloved RX-7 will get a successor by the end of the decade. The confirmation came at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where the Japanese brand unveiled the RX-VISION, a front-engined, RWD concept that sports an aggressive interpretation of Mazda’s KODO design language. What’s more, the company also confirmed it will have a new-generation rotary engine under the hood.

Mazda didn’t say when the production car will arrive in showrooms, but it seems that the next-gen RX-7’s development depends on how fast the engineers can come up with a reliable and fuel-efficient Wankel powerplant. More details should become available in 2016, but until that happens, we created a rendering of the production vehicle, as well as a speculative review about what the next-gen RX-7 might bring to the table.

Update 12/07/2017: Mazda has been caught testing the next-gen Wankel engine. Unfortunately, it was being testing in an older RX-8 shell instead of a full-body prototype of the next-gen RX-7, but it’ll do for now. The good news is that it is practically confirmation that a next-gen RX is, indeed, on the way. Check out our spy shots section below to see the RX-8 prototype with the next-gen Wankel and to hear what we know.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Mazda RX-7.

Wankel Testing Session – 12/7/2017


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751672

2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751675

As you can see from the images here, this prototype is all Mazda RX-8 but what lurks under the metal is where things really get interesting. Word has it that the engine lurking under that hood is a 1.6-liter, two-rotor, turbocharged engine that will deliver at least 400 horsepower. Let me say that again… 400 HORSEPOWER!!! There are also rumors that an electric motor could be thrown into the works, making the next-gen RX-7 a mild hybrid that’s good for some 450 horsepower – the kind of numbers that will have Porsche Cayman owners crying like little girls when they get beat by a Mazda. The weight of the next-gen RX-7 is expected to peg around 1,300 pounds or about 2,900 pounds, a figure that should make for a very agile and quick ride.

Expect the next-gen RX-7, which could very well be called the RX-9, to make its debut sometime closer to 2020. Even though we still have some time to wait, we’re willing to bet the Mazda has something special planned for 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Wankel Engine’s first debut by Felix Wankel and the 50th anniversary of the engines true job – powering the Mazda Cosmo II. So, expect there to be a concept or, at the very least, a full-body prototype of the RX-7 running around by then. Mazda won’t let that year go by unnoticed, that’s for sure.

Exterior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

As with most concept cars, the RX-VISION will go through some changes before it becomes a production vehicle. Our rendering depicts a slightly toned down version of the Tokyo study, equipped with several production-friendly features.

“Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn't likely to make it on the production car”

Our artist started off by giving the RX-VISION a taller roof. Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn’t likely to make it on the production car, as it would impact both head and shoulder room. Fortunately, the concept doesn’t seem to lose much of its sexy proportions with a taller roof, a less raked front windscreen, a visible B-pillar, and chrome window surrounds. Other changes to the car’s profile include production door handles, a slightly larger grille on the front fender, and new, multi-spoke wheels.

Up front, we expect the RX-7 to gain a revised grille and bumper and a new pair of headlamps. Although the overall shape and size of the production grille should remain similar, the unit will most likely receive a chrome surround and the horizontal slats seen on all current Mazdas. Below, the bumper side intakes are a bit larger in our rendering, while the splitter and the center section remained unchanged. The headlamps should get the most changes, as the concept’s slim units are far too exotic for a production vehicle. But, even though the lower section will most likely be based on Mazda’s current headlamp design, the upper, curved LED strip could find its way on the production car. Finally, we rounded out the production rendering with a standard hood and a Mazda emblem on the nose, while also removing the one in the grille.

Since the rear of the RX-VISION isn’t exactly wild, Mazda will probably retain most of the features on the production coupe. The RX-7, however, could get a revised tailgate, mildly redesigned taillights without the “floating” spoiler, and a different diffuser.

Interior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653162

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

Unlike many concept cars, the RX-VISION received a clean and simple interior that could go into production today. However, Mazda will most likely change a few things here and there, such as the instrument cluster, the door panels, and the center console. The latter is likely to receive the most revisions, as the RX-7 will receive a standard center stack with various buttons and knobs. An infotainment system and a large display should also be added, but it remains to be seen whether the screen will be mounted atop the dashboard — like seen in many modern Mazda vehicles — or incorporated into the center stack. Also look for a multi-function steering wheel and a more comprehensive instrument cluster behind it.

As far as the large amounts of leather and aluminum inserts seen in the concept go, expect them to be available on higher trims. Much like the MX-5, the RX-7 needs to be a bit more affordable than its competitors, which means that the entry-level model will feature less or no leather at all. Still, the cabin should look sporty and come in two-tone combos on the base version as well.

Drivetrain


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653165

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

“Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.”

The drivetrain is the RX-7’s biggest mystery so far, as Mazda has nothing to say about the engine aside from the fact that it will be a Wankel and called the SkyActiv-R. A company representative, however, hinted that it might use turbocharging and that the sports car will be aimed at the Porsche Cayman. Given the German coupe comes with at least 275 horsepower in base trim, the RX-7, which will be lighter than the Cayman at around 2,700 pounds, would need at least 250 horses to make an impact in this niche. Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.

Word has it Mazda is busy developing the new-generation rotary, aiming to achieve fuel economy and CO2 emission figures “at the same level for an equivalent standard petrol engine,” according to head of R&D Kiyoshi Fujiwara via Top Gear.

Prices

It’s definitely too early to talk about prices, but it’s safe to assume that the RX-7 will become Mazda’s most expensive product in the current lineup. The final sticker depends on many factors, but the sports car will most likely cost more than $35,000 in base trim.

The much anticipated debut is rumored to take place in May 2017, when the Mazda Cosmo — the company’s first rotary-powered vehicle — celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Competition

Toyota Supra


2019 Toyota Supra - image 710703

That battle between the Mazda RX-7 and the Toyota Supra is as iconic as Chevy vs. Ford. Both were low-slung, take-no-shit, rear-wheel-drive monsters that begged to be tuned to the max. At first, it seemed like the new RX-7 would go unopposed by its Toyota-bred rival, but the Supra is about ready to make its debut once Toyota (and BMW, since it was built in partnership between the two brands,) finalize the specs. We expect to see the new Supra debut within the next year boasting a range of engine options that include four-cylinder engines offered up by BMW – a realistic expectation considering the shared platform. However, the rumor mill also has it that a six-cylinder hybrid drivetrain is also on the books, and if that’s the case, it’s a good thing considering the RX-7 is looking at 400 to 450 ponies depending on hybridization. Pricing for the new Supra is still way up in the air, but expect it to run somewhere around $40,000 in base form as more than $50,000 in higher-performance trims. Either way, it could still prove to be more expensive than its Mazda rival.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Toyota Supra.

Porsche 718 Cayman


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS - image 739185

The Porsche Cayman would never have been considered a competitor with the old RX-7, considering there was such a huge difference in power (the old RX-7 rocket out just 255 horsepower in 1995.) However, the new RX-7 (or maybe RX-9) is slated to have anywhere between 400 and 450 horsepower from that new Wankel engine. That puts it well above the base 718 Cayman, and even higher than the Cayman S and Cayman GTS. The base model comes with 300 horsepower on tap and can hit the 60-mph sprint in 4.9 seconds. The Cayman S pushes 350 ponies, enough to drop that sprint time down to 4.4 seconds. Move up to the GTS that goes on sale for the 2018 model year, and you’re looking at 365 ponies from a 2.5-liter flat-four. Zilch to 60 mph comes in 3.9 seconds with this baby, which is right around the 3.8 – 4.0-second sprint we’re expecting from the new RX-7 in base form. There’s no word on the RX-7’s price yet, for obvious reasons, but you can step into a new base Cayman for $55,300 or a Cayman S for $67,000. The GTS, which will more accurately compete with the new RX-7? It comes in at $79,800, well above the base price we’re expecting for the new RX-7. Take that Porsche fanboys!

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 654566

It’s obviously way too early to draw a proper conclusion here, as we know nothing about the drivetrain, performance, pricing, and design of the upcoming RX-7. Judging by how important this nameplate is to Mazda, and looking at the concept car that previews its revival, the next-gen sports car is exciting to say the least. Granted, the big news here is that the new RX-7 will get a rotary engine, but this could go either way. Development will likely take more than a year, and I have a feeling that the RX-7 will see at least one delay because of that. Also, with Wankel powerplants not exactly successful in the past, drivers will probably be a bit skeptical at first, at least until the new unit proves to be reliable and efficient.

  • Leave it
    • Not yet confirmed for production
    • Launch date unknown
    • Rotary engine still under development

References

Mazda RX-8


2010 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - image 340913

Read our full review on the 2011 Mazda RX-8


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Read our full review on the 2015 Mazda RX-VISION Concept.

History


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 340899

The Mazda RX-7 was introduced in 1978 as replacement for the Savanna RX-7. The sports car joined the company’s lineup as the second vehicle to feature a Wankel rotary engine, being sold alongside the Cosmo luxury coupe. Initially powered by a 1.1-liter unit, the first-generation RX-7 received a larger, 1.3-liter engine rated at 133 horsepower later in its life. In 1983, two years before the second-gen model was introduced, a turbo version of the 1.1-liter delivered as much as 163 ponies. A redesigned model followed in 1986. The 1.1-liter engine was dropped, while the 1.3-liter version received a turbocharger of its own. Power ranged between 146 and 202 horsepower, although the latter was only offered between 1989 and 1991. 1992 marked the introduction of the third-generation model and a hefty update to the already proven 13B rotary engine. Output now began from 252 horsepower and went up to 276 in the third-generation’s final years. The RX-7 was axed in 2002, as Mazda was working on the RX-8.

Launched in 2003, the RX-8 was motivated by the same 1.3-liter, Wankel rotary engine as its predecessor. In the first-generation model, output ranged from 189 to 247 horsepower, and the engine mated to either a six-speed manual, a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic depending on the market. Designed as a rear-wheel-drive, four-door coupe, the RX-8 became famous due to its rear-hinged, freestyle rear door.

The second-generation model was introduced in 2009 with mild updates. The revised iteration lasted on the market only until 2012, when Mazda put an end to the RX legacy. Although the RX-8 had a remarkable platform underneath its body, the coupe’s engine suffered from excessive oil consumption and poor mileage. Hopefully, that will change with Mazda’s next-generation of rotary units.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda RX-7

After many years of rumors, Mazda has finally confirmed that the beloved RX-7 will get a successor by the end of the decade. The confirmation came at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where the Japanese brand unveiled the RX-VISION, a front-engined, RWD concept that sports an aggressive interpretation of Mazda’s KODO design language. What’s more, the company also confirmed it will have a new-generation rotary engine under the hood.

Mazda didn’t say when the production car will arrive in showrooms, but it seems that the next-gen RX-7’s development depends on how fast the engineers can come up with a reliable and fuel-efficient Wankel powerplant. More details should become available in 2016, but until that happens, we created a rendering of the production vehicle, as well as a speculative review about what the next-gen RX-7 might bring to the table.

Update 12/07/2017: Mazda has been caught testing the next-gen Wankel engine. Unfortunately, it was being testing in an older RX-8 shell instead of a full-body prototype of the next-gen RX-7, but it’ll do for now. The good news is that it is practically confirmation that a next-gen RX is, indeed, on the way. Check out our spy shots section below to see the RX-8 prototype with the next-gen Wankel and to hear what we know.

Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Mazda RX-7.

Wankel Testing Session – 12/7/2017


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751672

2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 751675

As you can see from the images here, this prototype is all Mazda RX-8 but what lurks under the metal is where things really get interesting. Word has it that the engine lurking under that hood is a 1.6-liter, two-rotor, turbocharged engine that will deliver at least 400 horsepower. Let me say that again… 400 HORSEPOWER!!! There are also rumors that an electric motor could be thrown into the works, making the next-gen RX-7 a mild hybrid that’s good for some 450 horsepower – the kind of numbers that will have Porsche Cayman owners crying like little girls when they get beat by a Mazda. The weight of the next-gen RX-7 is expected to peg around 1,300 pounds or about 2,900 pounds, a figure that should make for a very agile and quick ride.

Expect the next-gen RX-7, which could very well be called the RX-9, to make its debut sometime closer to 2020. Even though we still have some time to wait, we’re willing to bet the Mazda has something special planned for 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Wankel Engine’s first debut by Felix Wankel and the 50th anniversary of the engines true job – powering the Mazda Cosmo II. So, expect there to be a concept or, at the very least, a full-body prototype of the RX-7 running around by then. Mazda won’t let that year go by unnoticed, that’s for sure.

Exterior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

As with most concept cars, the RX-VISION will go through some changes before it becomes a production vehicle. Our rendering depicts a slightly toned down version of the Tokyo study, equipped with several production-friendly features.

“Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn't likely to make it on the production car”

Our artist started off by giving the RX-VISION a taller roof. Although the concept is aggressive with its low roofline, the feature isn’t likely to make it on the production car, as it would impact both head and shoulder room. Fortunately, the concept doesn’t seem to lose much of its sexy proportions with a taller roof, a less raked front windscreen, a visible B-pillar, and chrome window surrounds. Other changes to the car’s profile include production door handles, a slightly larger grille on the front fender, and new, multi-spoke wheels.

Up front, we expect the RX-7 to gain a revised grille and bumper and a new pair of headlamps. Although the overall shape and size of the production grille should remain similar, the unit will most likely receive a chrome surround and the horizontal slats seen on all current Mazdas. Below, the bumper side intakes are a bit larger in our rendering, while the splitter and the center section remained unchanged. The headlamps should get the most changes, as the concept’s slim units are far too exotic for a production vehicle. But, even though the lower section will most likely be based on Mazda’s current headlamp design, the upper, curved LED strip could find its way on the production car. Finally, we rounded out the production rendering with a standard hood and a Mazda emblem on the nose, while also removing the one in the grille.

Since the rear of the RX-VISION isn’t exactly wild, Mazda will probably retain most of the features on the production coupe. The RX-7, however, could get a revised tailgate, mildly redesigned taillights without the “floating” spoiler, and a different diffuser.

Interior


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653162

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

Unlike many concept cars, the RX-VISION received a clean and simple interior that could go into production today. However, Mazda will most likely change a few things here and there, such as the instrument cluster, the door panels, and the center console. The latter is likely to receive the most revisions, as the RX-7 will receive a standard center stack with various buttons and knobs. An infotainment system and a large display should also be added, but it remains to be seen whether the screen will be mounted atop the dashboard — like seen in many modern Mazda vehicles — or incorporated into the center stack. Also look for a multi-function steering wheel and a more comprehensive instrument cluster behind it.

As far as the large amounts of leather and aluminum inserts seen in the concept go, expect them to be available on higher trims. Much like the MX-5, the RX-7 needs to be a bit more affordable than its competitors, which means that the entry-level model will feature less or no leather at all. Still, the cabin should look sporty and come in two-tone combos on the base version as well.

Drivetrain


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653165

Note: Mazda RX-Vision pictured here.

“Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.”

The drivetrain is the RX-7’s biggest mystery so far, as Mazda has nothing to say about the engine aside from the fact that it will be a Wankel and called the SkyActiv-R. A company representative, however, hinted that it might use turbocharging and that the sports car will be aimed at the Porsche Cayman. Given the German coupe comes with at least 275 horsepower in base trim, the RX-7, which will be lighter than the Cayman at around 2,700 pounds, would need at least 250 horses to make an impact in this niche. Expect a 0-to-60 mph sprint of around five seconds and a top speed of at least 150 mph.

Word has it Mazda is busy developing the new-generation rotary, aiming to achieve fuel economy and CO2 emission figures “at the same level for an equivalent standard petrol engine,” according to head of R&D Kiyoshi Fujiwara via Top Gear.

Prices

It’s definitely too early to talk about prices, but it’s safe to assume that the RX-7 will become Mazda’s most expensive product in the current lineup. The final sticker depends on many factors, but the sports car will most likely cost more than $35,000 in base trim.

The much anticipated debut is rumored to take place in May 2017, when the Mazda Cosmo — the company’s first rotary-powered vehicle — celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Competition

Toyota Supra


2019 Toyota Supra - image 710703

That battle between the Mazda RX-7 and the Toyota Supra is as iconic as Chevy vs. Ford. Both were low-slung, take-no-shit, rear-wheel-drive monsters that begged to be tuned to the max. At first, it seemed like the new RX-7 would go unopposed by its Toyota-bred rival, but the Supra is about ready to make its debut once Toyota (and BMW, since it was built in partnership between the two brands,) finalize the specs. We expect to see the new Supra debut within the next year boasting a range of engine options that include four-cylinder engines offered up by BMW – a realistic expectation considering the shared platform. However, the rumor mill also has it that a six-cylinder hybrid drivetrain is also on the books, and if that’s the case, it’s a good thing considering the RX-7 is looking at 400 to 450 ponies depending on hybridization. Pricing for the new Supra is still way up in the air, but expect it to run somewhere around $40,000 in base form as more than $50,000 in higher-performance trims. Either way, it could still prove to be more expensive than its Mazda rival.

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Toyota Supra.

Porsche 718 Cayman


2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS - image 739185

The Porsche Cayman would never have been considered a competitor with the old RX-7, considering there was such a huge difference in power (the old RX-7 rocket out just 255 horsepower in 1995.) However, the new RX-7 (or maybe RX-9) is slated to have anywhere between 400 and 450 horsepower from that new Wankel engine. That puts it well above the base 718 Cayman, and even higher than the Cayman S and Cayman GTS. The base model comes with 300 horsepower on tap and can hit the 60-mph sprint in 4.9 seconds. The Cayman S pushes 350 ponies, enough to drop that sprint time down to 4.4 seconds. Move up to the GTS that goes on sale for the 2018 model year, and you’re looking at 365 ponies from a 2.5-liter flat-four. Zilch to 60 mph comes in 3.9 seconds with this baby, which is right around the 3.8 – 4.0-second sprint we’re expecting from the new RX-7 in base form. There’s no word on the RX-7’s price yet, for obvious reasons, but you can step into a new base Cayman for $55,300 or a Cayman S for $67,000. The GTS, which will more accurately compete with the new RX-7? It comes in at $79,800, well above the base price we’re expecting for the new RX-7. Take that Porsche fanboys!

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 654566

It’s obviously way too early to draw a proper conclusion here, as we know nothing about the drivetrain, performance, pricing, and design of the upcoming RX-7. Judging by how important this nameplate is to Mazda, and looking at the concept car that previews its revival, the next-gen sports car is exciting to say the least. Granted, the big news here is that the new RX-7 will get a rotary engine, but this could go either way. Development will likely take more than a year, and I have a feeling that the RX-7 will see at least one delay because of that. Also, with Wankel powerplants not exactly successful in the past, drivers will probably be a bit skeptical at first, at least until the new unit proves to be reliable and efficient.

  • Leave it
    • Not yet confirmed for production
    • Launch date unknown
    • Rotary engine still under development

References

Mazda RX-8


2010 - 2011 Mazda RX-8 - image 340913

Read our full review on the 2011 Mazda RX-8


2016 Mazda RX-VISION Concept - image 653156

Read our full review on the 2015 Mazda RX-VISION Concept.

History


2018 Mazda RX-7 - image 340899

The Mazda RX-7 was introduced in 1978 as replacement for the Savanna RX-7. The sports car joined the company’s lineup as the second vehicle to feature a Wankel rotary engine, being sold alongside the Cosmo luxury coupe. Initially powered by a 1.1-liter unit, the first-generation RX-7 received a larger, 1.3-liter engine rated at 133 horsepower later in its life. In 1983, two years before the second-gen model was introduced, a turbo version of the 1.1-liter delivered as much as 163 ponies. A redesigned model followed in 1986. The 1.1-liter engine was dropped, while the 1.3-liter version received a turbocharger of its own. Power ranged between 146 and 202 horsepower, although the latter was only offered between 1989 and 1991. 1992 marked the introduction of the third-generation model and a hefty update to the already proven 13B rotary engine. Output now began from 252 horsepower and went up to 276 in the third-generation’s final years. The RX-7 was axed in 2002, as Mazda was working on the RX-8.

Launched in 2003, the RX-8 was motivated by the same 1.3-liter, Wankel rotary engine as its predecessor. In the first-generation model, output ranged from 189 to 247 horsepower, and the engine mated to either a six-speed manual, a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic depending on the market. Designed as a rear-wheel-drive, four-door coupe, the RX-8 became famous due to its rear-hinged, freestyle rear door.

The second-generation model was introduced in 2009 with mild updates. The revised iteration lasted on the market only until 2012, when Mazda put an end to the RX legacy. Although the RX-8 had a remarkable platform underneath its body, the coupe’s engine suffered from excessive oil consumption and poor mileage. Hopefully, that will change with Mazda’s next-generation of rotary units.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar F-Pace SVR

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got almost 95 years of experience in the world of performance cars – if you want to move product these days, high-stance utility is where it’s at. What’s more, customers now demand speed with their practicality, flagrantly abusing the laws of physics through forced induction and an oversized contact patch. It’s certainly a popular formula – [Porsche,-rub5] Bentley, Maserati, and Lamborghini have all heard the siren call of the sporty SUV. So has Jaguar, which recently unveiled its first-ever crossover just last year. It’s called the F-Pace, and it’s pretty quick. But some think it could be quicker, and rumor has it there’s a new apex-munching, V-8-powered range-topper headed our way called the SVR.

The Cat Badge has yet to confirm the F-Pace SVR’s existence, but Car And Driver is optimistic, reporting Jag already has prototypes up and running. That’s a pretty quick turnaround, considering the SUV just started production.

That said, JLR certainly has what it takes to make it happen. The letters “SVR” are a reference to Special Vehicle Operations, the brand’s specialty tuning division, which means the F-Pace SVR would join the same go-faster stable as the F-Type SVR and Range Rover Sport SVR.

Update 11/24/2017: The Jaguar F-Pace was just caught testing for the second time sporting a couple of changes and a near-production-ready body. Check out the spy shots section below to see it for yourself.

Jaguar F-Pace Spy Shots


2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR - image 747152

2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR - image 747156

Jaguar has really ironed out the kinks in the new F-Pace SVR. Last time we saw it, it had the production headlights, but it was still rocking a roughly framed front fascia. This time around, Jag has tried to cover it up, but we can see that the fascia is at its production-ready point and will feature huge corner intakes as well as a very prominent air dam. On a side note, that air dam was much smaller on the last prototype but has been enlarged this time around, signaling the thought that we may see this thing make it’s debut at the L.A. Auto show later this month or at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January. Nothing else has really changed but, around back, you can see that the rear fascia has been updated to include a full perimeter around the dual exhaust outlets. The same taillights carry over as do the same side profile features. The interior should see the standard SVR updates but nothing too out of the ordinary. When do you guys think this baby will make its debut? Let us know in the comments section below.

Exterior


2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR - image 747150
“If Jaguar follows through with an F-Pace SVR, expect the inherently muscular design to take on an even more aggressive demeanor, with many cues taken straight from the F-Type.”

As is, the F-Pace already looks very sporty. It employs Jaguar’s latest design language to great effect, mixing the bold qualities of a traditional SUV, such as an elevated stance, beefy haunches, and a tall seating position, with the crisp lines and refined elegance already present in the rest of the lineup. Up front, the fascia echoes the XE, particularly around the headlights, grille, and lower intakes, while the rear is like a hatchback version of the F-Type. Amazingly, it all comes together without a hitch.

If Jaguar follows through with an F-Pace SVR, expect the inherently muscular design to take on an even more aggressive demeanor, with many cues taken straight from the F-Type. The front bumper would receive larger intakes, plus a chrome accent along the lower center grille and a glossy black insert. The narrow, LED-equipped headlights would remain as is, but the hood would receive black vents. Additional vents would be placed on the tail-side of the front fenders, also finished in black.

A front splitter, side skirt extensions, and a rear diffuser would enhance the aerodynamics while also bringing the SUV a little closer to the ground, both visually and dimensionally. Large wheels, low-profile tires, and plus-sized brake calipers would be found in the corners. SVR badges would reiterate the SUV’s intentions, just in case they weren’t already crystal clear.

Interior


2017 Jaguar F-Pace - image 645951

Note: Jaguar F-Pace pictured here.

“To that end, brushed metal trim, aluminum shift paddles, leather upholstery, and customizable ambient lighting would all come standard on the F-Pace SVR.”

One of the greatest appeals of the sporty SUV is a comfortable, luxury-laden cabin, where high-end materials and high-tech amenities complement generous passenger volume. To that end, brushed metal trim, aluminum shift paddles, leather upholstery, and customizable ambient lighting would all come standard on the F-Pace SVR.

For infotainment, Jag should offer the latest iteration of its InControl system, including navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and smartphone app support. Controlling it all will be a large touchscreen mounted in the center console, plus a few redundant buttons at the three- and nine-o-clock positions on the three-spoke steering wheel. Occupying the gauge cluster will be an all-digital readout, while a Meridian sound system provides the jams.

Of course, being a product of SVO, the SVR would also get sportier seats, boasting big lateral bolsters and quilted-leather upholstery, plus a heating function. More SVR badges would be emblazoned upon the headrests. Up top, the panoramic roof might get ditched to save a few pounds (er, kilograms).

Options would include new upholstery colors, plus driver’s aides like automatic braking, lane-keep assist, and parking assist. There should also be an option for carbon fiber trim.

In addition to seating for five, the F-Pace SVR will also offer lots of room for things. As is, the cargo area on the F-Pace already swallows 33.5 cubic feet of stuff with the bench in the upright position, and I don’t see the SVR cutting into that number for any reason.

Drivetrain


2017 Jaguar F-Pace - image 647529

Note: Jaguar F-Pace pictured here.

“Even with the slightly detuned engine, the F-Pace SVR should still hit 60 mph in the low four-second range, going on to a top speed of 160 mph.”

The current F-Pace offers three options when it comes to choosing a powerplant. The first is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel, good for 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. Next is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, which is available in two levels of tune – 340 horsepower, or 380 horsepower. Both V-6 engines offer 332 pound-feet of torque.

Each of these is more than adequate for something like the F-Pace, with the top-spec F-Pace S capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and hitting a top speed of 155 mph.

However, add the letters SVR to the name, and you’re gonna need more. A lot more.

The “more” comes courtesy of two additional supercharged cylinders in Jaguar’s tried-and-true 5.0-liter V-8. It’s the same mill fitted to the F-Type SVR and Range Rover Sport SVR, although in this case, we expect output levels to match the Range Rover (542 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque) rather than the F-Type (567 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque).

Even with the slightly detuned engine, the F-Pace SVR should still hit 60 mph in the low four-second range, going on to a top speed of 160 mph.

Like the current line, the faster F-Pace will employ an 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF, which will feed a permanent AWD system as standard.

Chassis And Handling


2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR - image 747155

The F-Pace rides on the same aluminum-intensive iQ underpinnings as the XF and XE, which means it’s got the right bones for performance. In fact, Jaguar says it managed to achieve a 50/50 front-to-back distribution for the SUV’s 4,000-pound curb weight, although the addition of a large V-8 will undoubtedly make it much more nose-heavy.

Still, the F-Pace should impress if you throw it a few corners. Car And Driver drove the current model, saying, “The F-Pace is no dynamic slouch; it offers exceptionally sharp on-center steering precision and great turn-in response.”

Part of its liveliness lies in its AWD system, which sends the majority of the torque to the rear, engaging the front wheels only when needed. It’s also got optional adaptive suspension, a feature that should come standard on the SVR and would include unique calibrations for even greater SUV corner carving.

Tire duties will be handled by the same Pirelli P Zero compound as what’s equipped on the F-Type SVR.

Prices

The regular F-Pace starts at $40,990, and goes as high as $56,700 for the range-topping F-Pace S.

So how much would an SVR add to the bottom line?

Considering where a high-performance F-Pace would sit amongst the competition, plus the fact Jag charges an extra $20K for an SVR’d F-Type, I’d wager a price tag around $85,000, with plenty of opportunities for adding extras.

Competition


2015 BMW X5 M - image 575123

While Jaguar has SVO, BMW has M. After sending its mid-size X5 in for a tune-up, this is what the Bavarians got in return – 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque from a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, plus performance tuning for the AWD system, suspension, and chassis. An 8-speed automatic transmission swaps cogs. Get a good launch and the X5 M will hit 60 mph in four seconds flat. Pricing starts at $98,800.

Read our full review on the BMW X5 M.

Porsche Cayenne S


2018 Porsche Cayenne - image 728779

When Porsche first introduced the Cayenne, the critics laughed and the purists balked. Now, however, this performance SUV is one of Stuttgart’s all-time best-selling models. A variety of trim levels are available, but odds are the F-Pace SVR would face off against the Cayenne S. Under the hood is a 3.6-liter V-6, which sends 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and permanent AWD system. Pricing starts at $76,200.

Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne S.

Conclusion


2018 Jaguar F-Pace SVR - image 675472

As of this writing, the F-Pace is well on it’s way to becoming Jag’s top-selling model. In conjunction with low fuel prices, sustained segment growth, widespread critical acclaim, and the fact all the necessary pieces are ready and waiting for installation, an SVR variant seems almost inevitable.

And that’s a good thing. The “Pace” in F-Pace comes from Jaguar co-founder William Lyons, who said the brand should build cars with “grace, pace, and space.” With that in mind, it makes sense Jag would send its first SUV to SVO for an additional injection of pace, just in case there was any lingering doubt as to whether or not the brand has lost its way by creating a crossover.

  • Leave it
    • Late to the party
    • Loses some comfort in pursuit of speed
    • Increasing competition

References

Jaguar F-Pace


2017 Jaguar F-Pace - image 695526

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace.



Read more Jaguar news.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Continental GTC

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

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

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

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

Spy Shots

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


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 747165

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 747160

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


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 705686

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 705692

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


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 693195

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 693196

July 6, 2016 – First testing session


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 681739

2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 681741

Exterior


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

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

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

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

Interior


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728810

Note: Bentley Continental GT interior pictured here.

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

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

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

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


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728816

Note: Bentley Continental GT interior pictured here.

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

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

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

Drivetrain


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

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

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

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

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

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

Prices

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

Competition

Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante - image 703676

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

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

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet


2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet - image 729446

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

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

Conclusion


2018 Bentley Continental GTC - image 735044

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

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

References

Bentley Continental GT


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728800

Read more Bentley Continental GT news.


2013 Bentley Continental GTC V8 - image 438817

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

Update History

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

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

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

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes X-Class AMG

2020 Mercedes-AMG X-Class

First confirmed in 2015, the X-Class was unveiled in 2017 as a production model and became the company’s first mass-produced pickup truck. Produced by Nissan Motor Iberica, the X-Class isn’t an original Mercedes-Benz design, as it borrowed its chassis and many body panels from the Nissan Navara. However, it employs many Mercedes-specific styling cues on the outside and new technologies inside the cabin. In addition, it features a more premium interior, at least in the more expensive trim. Similarly, most engines available come from Nissan, but the range-topping model uses Mercedes’ V-6 diesel mill. With the X-Class on its way to showrooms, is the German company finally planning to roll out an AMG model?

So far, there aren’t any signs that Stuttgart wants such a model. What’s more, Tobias Moers, the man in charge of AMG, said that there are no plans for a beefed-up X-Class, adding that he doesn’t see a market for it. This was in late 2016. In 2017, the AMG was again dismissed by Mercedes-Benz Vans boss Volker Mornhinweg, who said that the truck “is not right for a V-8.” However, the AMG-badged X-Class is still “something that we will listen and look carefully,” so there is still hope of a production model. Actually, I’m positive that Mercedes-Benz will eventually make one, as both the Middle East and the U.S. markets will be more than happy to get it. We’ve already made a rendering of the truck, and we’re going to discuss what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG X63.

Exterior

  • AMG-specific features
  • Aggressive front bumper
  • Unique wheels
  • Performance tires
  • Tinted lights
  • Matte black detailing

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 723972

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“Don't expect it to be as aggressive as the sedans or coupes”

The design of the X-Class shouldn’t change much with the AMG package. While it will receive many of the unique features that come with other AMG vehicles, don’t expect it to be as aggressive as the sedans or coupes. Up front, it should stand out by means of a new bumper. The massive, black-painted plastic piece will be replaced by an AMG bumper grille with honeycomb mesh. As a result, the vents will grow larger, which will improve drivetrain and brake cooling. This new feature will also give the truck a sportier look. The main grille will also get thinner horizontal slats, while the chrome around the Mercedes star will turn black. The same will happen to headlamps for a more menacing look.

Onto the sides, we should find black mirror caps (maybe with a carbon-fiber option), revised side steps, and multi-spoke, AMG wheels wrapped in performance tires. Being a truck, the X-Class could also get a rock climbing version with off-road tires. The rear section shouldn’t change much either. Highlights could include a matte black bumper, a large skid plate, tinted taillights, and an AMG badge. Large AMG graphics on the tailgate would be cool too! Mercedes could also introduce a couple of extra paints for the AMG version.

Interior

  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Exclusive instrument cluster
  • Unique start-up screen
  • Extra standard features

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 723977

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“Upgrades should be similar to those seen in the Mercedes-AMG GLE63”

The amount of new features we will find inside the cabin depends on how far Mercedes-Benz wants to go with this truck. If it’s planning to launch a full-fledged AMG model, like an X63, upgrades should be similar to those seen in the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. They should include a leather-wrapped dashboard, aluminum trim, and a flat-bottom steering wheels as standard. The regular seats should be replaced by bolstered units with perforated Nappa leather.

Also look for a slightly revised instrument cluster with sportier dials, carbon-fiber inserts, and AMG-specific lettering. The 8.4-inch infotainment screen, which is optional in the base X-Class, should be standard in the AMG model. And it should also get a distinctive design for the start-up screen. Some carbon-fiber trim on the dash would be nice too, but the clean and simple design of the X-Class’ interior doesn’t leave much room for that. However, the A/C bezels, the lower dashboard area, and the center console look like they could use a bit of carbon, at least through the options list.

In case Mercedes decides to keep the X-Class on the milder side of the AMG pond, an X43 model won’t include as many features as the 63-spec vehicles. The flat-bottom steering wheel should remain in place, but don’t look for any carbon-fiber trim. You shouldn’t get your hopes up on the heavily bolstered seats either, while the Nappa leather upgrade will be gone too. But it will still have a few extra niceties, so expect it to have a sportier, more premium feel when compared to the non-AMG version.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter V-8 engine
  • Or 3.0-liter V-6
  • More than 400 horsepower with the V-8
  • Quick-shifting transmission
  • Retuned AWD system
  • No manual gearbox

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class - image 724005

Note: Standard Mercedes X-Class pictured here.

“The X63 wouldn't be overly powerful at 469 horsepower”

If you look closely at our rendering, you’ll notice the “biturbo V8” badge on the front fender. It’s there because we designed the truck as an AMG X63 version with the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood.

The standard X-Class already benefits from three drivetrains, but there’s only one gasoline options, a turbo four-cylinder that cranks out 164 horsepower. The other two options are diesels. There’s the Nissan-sourced 2.3-liter four-pot rated at either 161 horsepower and 297 pound-feet or 188 horses and 332 pound-feet. Finally, Merc’s 3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel delivers a solid 255 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of twist. So Mercedes has no choice but to use a different engine in the AMG model, be it a V-8-powered X63 or a V-6-motivated X43.


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 746647
“Expect the X43 version to use a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated at more than 300 horsepower”

Atlhough Volker Mornhinweg said that the truck is not right for a V-8 engine, AMG shouldn’t find it very hard to modify the front section for the 4.0-liter. The twin-turbo unit is already a familiar presence in AMG cars. First introduced with the AMG GT sports car in 2014, it also found its way into AMG versions of the C-Class, E-Class, and GLC, just to name a few. The engine is usually offered in two versions. The 63 models usually get 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet, while the 63 S variants come with 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet on tap. An S version seems unlikely, but the X63 wouldn’t be overly powerful at 469 horses. Of course, there’s also the possibility that AMG detuned the V-8 to a little less than 400 horsepower.

Should Mercedes decided that an X43 version is enough for performance truck fains, expect it to use the 3.0-liter V-6 that motivates the C43 sedan and the GLC43 crossover. Also twin-turbocharged, this unit cranks out 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough to make the X-Class the most powerful truck in its segment.

AMG will also meddle with the transmission and the four-wheel-drive system. Both will be modified to handle the extra performance. The automatic transmission will shift quicker for enhanced 0-to-60 mph sprints. Don’t expect to get a manual gearbox with the AMG-prepped truck.

Prices


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 746646

Pricing for this truck will depend on what model Mercedes will decide to make. Obviously, the X63 will be more expensive than the X43. The base model retails from €37,000 (around $43,350 as of November 2017) and this means that the X63 could cost in excess of €60,000 (about $70,300). On the other hand, if AMG goes with the X43 model, it should retail from around €48,000 (around $56,240).

U.S. pricing for the X-Class is not yet available and we still don’t know whether Mercedes is planning to bring it to the U.S.. But I will update this section as soon as we get more information.

Competition

Setting up a competitor section of this truck is somewhat tricky. For starters, none of its European rivals, like the Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok, and Ford Ranger, don’t come with performance packages. The Chevrolet Colorado gets pretty close in Z71 trim (and ZR2 upgrade), but this truck is only available in the United States. So unless it comes to the U.S., this AMG-tuned pickup will compete in a segment of its own until some proper competition is offered.

Chevrolet Colorado


Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension - image 695947

Unlike Mercedes-Benz, Chevy has been making pickup trucks for decades. The Colorado is its smallest offering, and it has been around since 2003, when it replaced the iconic S-10. The Colorado was discontinued in the U.S. in 2012, becoming an Asia and South America vechile, but returned to North America for the 2015 model year. It’s most potent engine, the 3.6-liter V-6, was upgraded for 2017, now being capable of 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Granted, that’s nowhere near as powerful as the AMG, but it’s the closest you can get in the United States. This engine comes standard with the top-of-the-line Z71 trim, which adds off-road suspension, an automatic locking rear differential, and unique 17-inch wheels (among others) to the LT model. You can further upgrade the truck with the ZR2 bundle, which makes the Colorado even more capable on the unbeaten path on top of making it seem more aggressive design-wise. It also increases ground clearance and track width, so even though it’s not as powerful as an AMG truck, it can climb rocks with ease. The Z71 trim with the ZR2 package will set you back $41,355 before options, but you’d still save a lot of dough compared to what an AMG X-Class would retail for in the U.S.

Read our full review of the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

Ford Ranger Raptor


2019 Ford Ranger Raptor - image 722439

The Ranger Raptor is just speculation as of November 2017, and the Ranger has yet to return to the U.S. Just like the Colorado, the U.S.-spec Ranger was discontinued in 2011, when American customers lost interest in compact trucks. The Ranger is now being sold in other markets, including Europe, but Ford said it’s planning to bring it back to the U.S. for the 2019 model year. With the truck now set to make a comeback, word has it that a high-performance version is also in the works. Likely to wear the “Raptor” badge, it should sport upgrades similar to the infamous F-150 Raptor. Design-wise, it will be decidedly more aggressive than the X-Class AMG, but the cabin could be just as fancy, with sports seats combined with plenty of leather, carbon-fiber, and Ford’s latest technology. Under the hood, it should get a version of the company’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, rated at some 450 horsepower. The output would trump the AMG X43, but it will also be able to compete against a more powerful AMG X63. Finally, if the F-150 Raport is any indication, the Ranger Raptor should be a better truck for off-roading and desert running. Pricing-wise, the Ranger Raptor should cost significantly less than the F-150 Raptor, so expect a sticker of around $42,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Conclusion


2020 Mercedes X-Class AMG - image 725086

Many enthusiasts were disappointed by the X-Class being just a slightly revised Nissan Navara, even though Mercedes wants to position its truck higher in the market with a more premium interior and better tech. It remains to be seen whether this will help the X-Class’ case or not, but an AMG version would be the smart thing to do. An AMG badge and a powerful V-8 would make the X-Class unique on the market in Europe and Asia and would give Mercedes a solid competitor for the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and the Ford Raptor Ranger in the United States. A V-6-powered X43 version wouldn’t hurt either, especially if it comes with more than 300 horsepower on tap. On the flipside, the AMG will be significantly more expensive than the competition, and that’s not good for business, even if your name is Mercedes-Benz.

  • Leave it
    • Likely very expensive
    • Not as off-road capable as the Colorado ZR2

PostHeaderIcon BMW i8

2020 BMW i8

Launched in 2014, the i8 was on BMW’s drawing boards since the mid-2000s. First unveiled as the Vision Efficient Dynamics in 2009, it was updated to the i8 Concept in 2011, before being showcased as a production-ready prototype in 2013. In 2012, BMW also revealed a Spyder concept car. More than three years have passed since its official debut, and the i8 is already a big hit with hybrid sports car enthusiasts. Despite this, BMW has yet to offer a mid-cycle update like it did with the i3, but it’s planning to launch a drop-top, Spyder version at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Whether more oomph is on the table for the current i8 is still a mystery, but there’s a lot of buzz about a significantly more powerful next-generation model flying around for quite some time.

Given BMW’s current strategy, a brand-new i8 isn’t likely to arrive sooner than 2020, so information about the upcoming sports car is scant, to say the least. However, there have been claims that the new i8 will go fully electric and the I Vision Dynamics concept that was unveiled in 2017 likely previews the sports car’s new design. I gathered all the information available in the speculative review below, while our designer created a rendering of what the second-generation i8 might look like. Keep reading to find out all the details we have so far and stay tuned for updates on this car.

Continue reading to learn more about the second-generation BMW i8.

Exterior

  • Fresh design
  • Styling based on I Vision Dynamics concept
  • EV-style front grille
  • New lighting technology
  • Sporty coupe shape
  • Unique in the BMW lineup
  • left
    right
    “While the BMW i8 still looks fresh in 2017, this may not be the case in 2020”

    Needless to say, the current i8 is one sexy sports car design-wise. The low nose, the wide stance, and the aggressive headlamp and front grille layout make it unique in the current BMW lineup and give it a strong resemblance to the iconic M1. The side cues are equally dramatic, especially the way the line that separates the door from the side skirt goes upward to create the massive rear haunches and then blends into the taillights. The rear fascia also reminds of the BMW M1, but the i8 is more than just a rendition of the classic sports car. It’s feels modern and it’s aggressive. It’s basically a supercar design with lightweight, sports car performance.

    But while the i8 still looks fresh in 2017, this may not be the case in 2020. Sports car makers are rolling out increasingly wilder designs, so BMW will have to up the ante and come up with an even more exciting exterior. While there’s no clue as to what the new i8 might look like, I do believe that the I Vision Dynamics concept will be used as inspiration. And needless to say, it’s a fantastic resource for a brand-new sports car.


    2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept - image 731936
    “Our rendering borrows heavily from the I Vision Dynamics concept”

    Our rendering borrows heavily from the show car. Although it previews a competitor for the Tesla Model S, the I Vision Dynamics employs many styling cues that would look great on an aggressive two-door. Our designer transferred almost the entire front fascia onto the next-gen i8. The twin-kidney grille is obviously taller than any other production BMW and it stands out by missing a conventional mesh grille and for having blue highlights on the chrome trim. I think that the blue trim will become a production feature and that a grille-less twin-kidney is very likely given that the next i8 will be an all-electric car. We also borrowed most of the bumper from the concept car, but revised the openings and the side wings for better aerodynamics. The headlamps are a unique design that blend current BMW LED units with futuristic elements seen on recent concept.

    Move to the sides, and you’ll notice that our rendering retains the current i8’s shape and size. However, the angular lines are less aggressive, and the rear haunches are a bit more elegant. I think BMW will go with something similar in an effort to position the new i8 in both the high-performance and luxury market. Look for a redesigned rear end too, but nothing radical. Although the i8 may employ some features from other production BMWs — obviously with a unique touch — it should also come with active aerodynamics, such as a retractable wing and a diffuser that adapts to driving conditions.

    Interior

    • New, exclusive design
    • Added luxury features
    • Larger infotainment screen
    • Redesigned instrument cluster
    • Leather and Alcantara upholstery
    • Sports seats

    2020 BMW i8 - image 521247

    Note: current BMW i8 pictured here.

    “Some new high-end tech should also find its way inside the cabin”

    It’s really hard to tell what the next-gen i8 has in store for its customers inside the cabin, but it’s safe to say that it will sport a high-tech design with plenty of premium features. The dashboard design will be unique to this car, so don’t expect any of the styling cues seen inside the 3 Series or the X5. Now I’m not saying that the two models are a dull place to spend time in, but the current i8 plays in a far superior league, and this shouldn’t change with the new sports car.

    Some new high-end tech should also find its way into the cabin. I’m thinking bigger screens for the infotainment system and instrument cluster and a highly adjustable, sports steering wheel. Gesture control will be standard, alongside a wide range of features that will enable you to control and monitor the vehicle’s electric driverain.


    2020 BMW i8 - image 522671

    Note: current BMW i8 pictured here.

    “Expect the new i8 to come with acres of leather and Alcantara in standard trim”

    As far as materials go, expect the new i8 to come with acres of leather and Alcantara in standard trim. Aluminum and carbon-fiber will cover most of the remaining surfaces, but the latter is likely to be part of an optional, more expensive package. The leather seats should feature heavy bolstering for spirited driving, but if rumors about the drivetrain prove to be true, BMW should offer a more track oriented package with race-inspired, lightweight seats wrapped in Alcantara. Despite the i8 being a full-fledged sports car, it will have many of the amenities found in larger luxury BMWs, including air-conditioning, heating, a premium sound system, and the latest in terms of connectivity and Wi-Fi.

    The new i8 should also include a range of cabin features made from renewable materials — to showcase the company’s efforts toward a more sustainable future — as well as some industry-first technologies. But we will find out more about that closer to launch.

    Drivetrain

    • All-electric drivetrain
    • Three electric motors
    • Around 750 horsepower
    • All-wheel-drive
    • Rear-axle steering
    • Active suspension system

    2020 BMW i8 - image 518243

    Note: Drivetrain of the current BMW i8 pictured here.

    “While the current i8 gets its juice from a gasoline-electric drivetrain, the next-gen car will use electricity only”

    This is where it gets very interesting. While the current i8 gets its juice from a gasoline-electric drivetrain, the next-gen car will use electricity only. This rumor has been flying around for more than a year now and, while there’s no official confirmation, it makes sense given that BMW wants to roll out electric cars in the next decade. The change will be quite dramatic.

    The German sports features quite a peculiar drivetrain, bringing together a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and two electric motors. I say “peculiar” because three-cylinder engines are far from common. Granted, the three-pot is no slouch at 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, but it’s not the kind of output that puts “sports” ahead of “car.” But thanks to the electric motors strapped to the front and rear axles, total output sits at a more appealing 357 horses and 420 pound-feet.

    “Each motor will reportedly crank out well in excess of 250 horsepower, with total output to sit at a whopping 750 horses”

    Granted, those aren’t supercar figures, but at only 3,300 pounds, the i8 is quite agile. Hitting 60 mph from a standing start takes four seconds, while top speed is governed at 155 mph. As our own Mark McNabb pointed out in his driven review, the i8 needs a bit more oomph, and the main reason why I agree is that a sports car of this caliber should be quicker than the BMW M4. And the i8 isn’t. But this will change with the next-generation model.

    For the new i8, BMW will drop the gasoline engine and will add a third electronic. Actually, it will add three brand-new electric motors that will draw juice from a significantly larger battery. Each motor will reportedly crank out well in excess of 250 horsepower, with total output to sit at a whopping 750 horses. That’s more than double the oomph you get with the current i8! No word on torque yet, but knowing how much pound-feet electric motors are capable of, it’s safe to assume that the i8 could get closer to 1,000.


    2020 BMW i8 - image 745538
    “The i8 will also get rear-axle steering and an active suspension system”

    The new drivetrain layout will put two motors on the rear axle and one up front, which will make the i8 all-whee-drive. On top of that, the i8 will also get rear-axle steering, a feature that’s already available in some Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini sports cars. Torque vectoring and a new active suspension system are also on the table. So not only will it be significantly quicker — expect a 0-to-60 sprint of less than three seconds — it will also perform better at the track. New Nurburgring record for electric cars, anyone?

    But what about range? Reports say that the new drivetrain and larger battery will enable the i8 to return 300 miles per charge. That would represent a 10-mile drop compared to the current hybrid drivetrain, but it’s a solid figure for a fully electric car. For reference, the current i8 runs for only 15 miles on electricity alone according to the EPA. In Europe, it’s rated at 23 miles.

    Current BMW i8 2020 BMW i8
    Gasoline Engine BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-Liter Three-Cylinder
    Electric Motor Hybrid synchronous motor with power Three electric motors
    Total Output 362 horsepower 750 HP
    Total Torque 420 Pound-Feet 1,000 LB-FT
    Transmission Six-Speed Automatic
    Acceleration (0-60 mph) 4.2 Sec., Est 3 seconds
    Top Speed 155 MPH 200 mph
    Total Range 310 Miles (372 Miles w/ ECO PRO) 300 miles

    Prices


    2020 BMW i8 - image 745539

    The current i8 is the second most expensive BMW on offer as of 2017. Priced from $143,400, it’s superseded only by the M760i, which costs $156,700 before options. Add the available packages and options to the i8, and the sticker jumps to $152,344. Far from affordable, but the new second-generation sports car will be much more expensive. The new technology, the new platform, and the all-electric drivetrain will add to the final cost of the car, which could move closer to the $200,000 mark.

    Competition

    The electric supercar car market is rather slim as of 2017, but with more and more automakers jumping on the bandwagon, this segment will be far more populated a few years from now. Due to its hybrid nature, the current i8 competes against the Acura NSX, but this will change when the all-electric version arrives. The Nio EP9 looks to be a good proposition, but the Chinese EV is set to be manufactured in limited numbers, and it could be discontinued soon. Same goes for the Rimac Concept_One, but automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi (the Germans recently discontinued the R8 e-tron), and Porsche could launch their own competitors for the i8 in a few years.

    Nio EP9


    You Won't Believe Which Autonomous Car is the Fastest in the World - image 707013

    The EP9 hit the market out of the blue. It’s designed by recently founded Chinese company NextEV, boasts a tremendous amount of power, and lapped the Nurburgring track quicker than any other production car, breaking a record that stood strong since 2009. Design-wide, the Nio EP9 is a full-fledged supercar and looks as if it was designed for the prototype class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Power comes from four separate electric motors, each creating in excess of 300 horsepower. Total output is rated at 1,341, which is far more impressive than the next-generation BMW i8, but it’s worth mentioning that the EP9 is also significantly heavier at 3,825 pounds. The sprint to 60 mph takes 2.7, which is as quick as it gets, but the i8 should come close thanks to its tremendous power-to-weight ratio. The EP9 is also likely to win the top speed battle at 195 mph, but it won’t be able to match the Bimmer’s range at 265 miles per charge. The Chinese EV is also ridiculously expensive, coming in at around $1.2 million before options.

    Conclusion


    2020 BMW i8 - image 744860

    When we drove the BMW i8 back in August 2017, we were impressed by its looks, high-end technology, and solid drivetrain figures. But we also discovered that it was rather uncomfortable getting in and out of the cabin and that it also lacked the luxuries found in the big BMW sedans. But the next-generation model should fix that, as BMW now has all the information it needs to provide a sports car that’s attractive in just about any department. And with a more powerful drivetrain that’s also green and provides a solid range, the i8 should become an even more successful vehicle. Despite having an exorbitant price tag.

    • Leave it
      • Likely expensive price tag
      • Not yet confirmed for production

    References

    BMW i8


    2015 BMW i8 - image 522680

    Read our full review on the current BMW i8.


    BMW i Vision Dynamics Previews Tesla Model S Fighter - image 730734

    Read our full review on the 2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept.


    2017 BMW i8 – Driven - image 732595

    Read our full driven review on the 2017 BMW i8.


    2018 BMW i8 Spyder - image 716249

    Read our full speculative review on the 2018 BMW i8 Spyder.

    PostHeaderIcon Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

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

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

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

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

    Spy Shots

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


    2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 745389

    2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 745396

    Why Porsche Needs an Updated Cayman GT4?


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

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

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

    Exterior

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

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

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

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


    2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715698

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

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

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

    Interior


    2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 - image 615251

    Note: Previous Porsche Cayman GT4 interior pictured here.

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

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

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

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

    Drivetrain


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

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

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

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

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

    Prices


    2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715615

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

    Competition

    2016 Lotus Evora 400


    2016 Lotus Evora 400 - image 617787

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

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

    2014 Alfa Romeo 4C


    2014 Alfa Romeo 4C - image 505229

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

    Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C here.

    Conclusion


    2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS - image 715606

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

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

    Update History

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

    PostHeaderIcon Porsche Mission E GTS

    2021 Porsche Mission E GTS

    In case you hadn’t heard, let me be the first to tell you – Porsche is building a four-door all-electric sports sedan, and it’s called the Mission E. Don’t worry, it’ll have all the go-fast characteristics you’d expect, just without the internal combustion to make it go. In fact, it should draw a good deal of its tech from the hybrid goodness developed for the Panamera and 918 Spyder, so that’s a plus. But, as we all know, Porsche isn’t satisfied to make just a single version of any one model. Multiple variants are required to fill every niche possible, so what about an even-faster Mission E? We’re calling it the Mission E GTS, and we decided to draw up a rendering and put together a speculative review to boot. Upgrades over the standard Mission E should include more aggressive exterior styling, lots of black trim pieces, more performance gear inside, a bigger battery, extra horsepower, and standard performance suspension.

    The EV performance market is looking to balloon pretty rapidly over the next few years, and you can bet your lithium-ion battery pack Porsche will be there to take advantage of that growth. Read on for the details.

    Continue reading to learn more about the 2021 Porsche Mission E GTS.

    Exterior

    • Larger aero than standard model
    • Blacked-out trim pieces
    • Lowered ride height

    2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743629
    “The Porsche Mission E GTS will be a somewhat unique entry in the Porsche model lineup”

    From the off, the Porsche Mission E GTS will be a somewhat unique entry in the Porsche model lineup. Of course, the traditional Stuttgart styling will be included, looking like an amalgamation of the 911, the 918 Spyder, and the Panamera. The nose will be rounded, curving downwards toward the pavement, with a wide and low stance to give it a definitively sporty flavoring. The hips will be broad, while the roofline will fall towards the truncated rear end at a gradual angle.

    However, as is tradition for Porsche’s hotter GTS line, the Mission E GTS will get a few noticeable aesthetic changes to help it stand out from its standard, non-GTS siblings. Extra aggression will be the primary focus, with features like bigger wings, more prominent intakes, larger swoops, and similar details.


    2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743630
    “As is tradition for Porsche’s hotter GTS line, the Mission E GTS will get a few noticeable aesthetic changes to help it stand out from its standard, non-GTS siblings.”

    The front end will get the Mission E’s unique headlight design, which places the housings high on the fenders with a small teardrop shape framed by a prominent check mark crease. Lower horizontal daytime running lights emphasize the car’s width. LEDs will be the lighting element of choice.

    Moving to the flanks, we find large wheels with a black finish, complementing the various blacked-out trim pieces, grilles, and mesh inserts that are so common on Porsche’s GTS models. The side sills get curvy ground effects that bring the car closer to the ground, a characterstic enhanced by the lowered ride height. The fenders will be broad to encapsulate the larger wheels.

    In back, we’d expect to see a bigger diffuser element, once again in black, while above will be a larger wing for extra downforce. We’d also expect the wing to be adaptive, rising and falling to provide either more stick or less drag as the situation dictates.

    Interior

    • Lots of Alcantara upholstery
    • Sporty seats
    • Steering wheel inspired by the 918 Spyder

    2018 Porsche Panamera - image 701991

    Note: Porsche Panamera GTS pictured here.

    “We’re gonna go with the Panamera GTS as a reference, and we would expect a similar layout and similar upgrades applied to the Mission E GTS.”

    While we have yet to actually see the interior of the Porsche Mission E, there’s still a few predictions we could make about a possible GTS version at this early point. First off, we’re gonna go with the Panamera GTS as a reference, and we would expect a similar layout and similar upgrades applied to the Mission E GTS.

    For starters, the dash will likely incorporate a broad, horizontal design, with lots of wide lines that add a sense of space. The seating arrangement will include space for up to five passengers, with two up front and three in the rear, plus a little space in the trunk to haul around a suitcase or two. The steering wheel will draw inspiration from the 918 Spyder in terms of design, while digital screens will be used for user inputs and data relays.

    “Upgrades for the GTS model will include even sportier seats, with larger side bolsters to keep passengers in place while cornering, plus Alcantara upholstery.”

    Upgrades for the GTS model will include even sportier seats, with larger side bolsters to keep passengers in place while cornering. Alcantara upholstery will be the material of choice, and should be added to the seatbacks, the side panels, the doors, and just about anything else Porsche can manage. Finally, brushed aluminum and carbon fiber trim will add that extra bit of gloss.

    Drivetrain

    • Four electric motors, AWD
    • Up to 350 miles per charge
    • More power – up to 650 ponies
    • 0-to-60 mph in 3 seconds flat

    2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 736441
    “The Mission E GTS will be all-electric, routing motivation to the ground by way of four individual permanent synchronous electric motors”

    Like the standard Porsche Mission E, the Mission E GTS will be all-electric, routing motivation to the ground by way of four individual permanent synchronous electric motors, essentially making it AWD. There will also be multiple drive modes, from eco energy saving to maximum attack sport.

    The GTS could enhance this with a special sport mode that throws caution (and range anxiety) to the wind for even greater acceleration. Luckily, the Mission E GTS would also likely get a bigger battery pack, offering both greater range per charge and more horsepower as a result. Once again placed under the floor, the larger lithium-ion pack would provide upwards of 350 miles per charge, a substantial increase compared to the standard Mission E’s 300 or so miles per charge. And, if Porsche delivers on its promise, charge times should be pretty quick thanks to the brand’s forthcoming proprietary 800-volt charging system.

    “The Mission E GTS would likely get a bigger battery pack, offering both greater range per charge and more horsepower as a result. We’re thinking 650 ponies total.”

    But here’s the important bit – we would expect more power from the GTS, up to roughly 650 ponies compared to the standard model’s 600 horsepower. That would make it quicker, and when placed in its sportiest mode, the 0-to-60 mph time should drop to around 3 seconds flat compared to the standard model’s 3.5-second sprint.

    Chassis And Handling

    • Standard adaptive suspension
    • Less weight
    • Faster Nurburgring lap time

    2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743629
    “The Mission E GTS will utilize a unique chassis made specifically for all-electric applications”

    Under those freshened body panels, the Mission E GTS will utilize a unique chassis made specifically for all-electric applications. The platform should provide just the right stuff to make the car enjoyable in the corners, while also taking advantage of the all-electric’s benefits and minimizing its drawbacks.

    Unique to the GTS model will be additional sporting elements for the suspension, including standard active components for greater performance in the corners. We’d also expect to see a more advanced torque vectoring system, not to mention four-wheel steering as well.

    “Unique to the GTS model will be additional sporting elements for the suspension, including standard active components for greater performance in the corners.”

    Extra exotic materials, such as additional carbon fiber and titanium, should also be used, cutting out a few pounds here and there. Nothing major – just enough to maximize the newfound power gains and aggressive suspension.

    All told, the GTS will be measured in terms of how it performs on the track. The Nurburgring is the place where these things get the full shakedown – perhaps a time of 7 minutes, 45 seconds could justify the extra outlay.

    Prices


    2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743631

    With the Mission E expected to start at $85,000, a GTS version would likely put the bottom line at well over $100,000. However, if Porsche offers a stopgap between the base model Mission E and GTS model, such as an S iteration at $100,000, a price tag of $120,000 for the GTS would make a lot of sense.

    Competition

    Tesla Model S P100D


    Tesla Model S Gets Upgraded Battery Pack; Now as Fast as LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder - image 686181

    If you want a fast four-door EV, Tesla is pretty much the standard these days. Sitting at the top of the heap is the P100D, an AWD crusher of 0-to-60 mph times that manages to complete the benchmark in just 2.3 seconds. That’s seriously quick, and would likely trounce the Mission E GTS. But here’s the thing – Porsche is more concerned with handling than Tesla, and given a proper race track, the Tesla would likely fall short. Same goes for the interior appointment, where Stuttgart once again has the upper hand. However, if balls-out acceleration is all you care about, Tesla is the way to go.

    Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S P100D.

    Conclusion


    2020 Porsche Mission E - image 740943

    Note: Porsche Mission E test mule pictured here.

    While at first glance it might seem absurd to render up a hot-to-trot iteration of a car Porsche hasn’t even released yet, there’s a method to our madness. In case you hadn’t noticed, Porsche absolutely loves offering a wide spectrum of performance versions for their most popular vehicles. Indeed, no stone is left unturned in the quest to satisfy speed enthusiasts, and there’s no reason the same formula won’t be applied to the Mission E.

    In fact, it’s practically required when looking at the current EV market. Tesla is obviously one of the biggest names here, and with a variety of model variants on offer for more speed, more range, and more bragging rights, Porsche can’t ignore the obvious.

    • Leave it
      • Might be very pricey
      • Base Mission E will need to see success before a GTS model is a thing
      • What will the EV performance market look like in 2021?

    References

    Porsche Panamera

    Porsche 918 Spyder

    Porsche 911

    Tesla Model S

    PostHeaderIcon Lotus SUV

    2020 Lotus SUV

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

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

    Continue reading to learn more about Lotus’ future SUV.

    Exterior

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

    Rendering Comparison


    2020 Lotus SUV - image 629759

    2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

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

    Interior

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

    2017 Lotus Evora GT430 - image 724309

    Note: 2017 Lotus Evora GT430 pictured here.

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

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

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

    Drivetrain

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

    2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 743193

    Note: Lotus Evora 410 engine pictured here.

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

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

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

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

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

    Prices


    2020 Lotus SUV - image 743191

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

    Competition

    Porsche Macan


    2020 Lotus SUV - image 533189

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

    Read our full story on the 2017 Porsche Macan.

    Audi RS Q3


    2020 Lotus SUV - image 576596

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

    Read our full review of the 2017 Audi RS Q3.

    Conclusion


    2020 Lotus SUV - image 743125

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

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

    References

    Lotus Evora


    2017 Lotus Evora Sport 410 - image 667209

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



    Read more Lotus news.

    PostHeaderIcon BMW X2

    2018 BMW X2

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

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

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

    Exterior

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740839

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

    COMPETING DESIGNS


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740729

    2017 Audi Q2 - image 667919

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

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

    Interior

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

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

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

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


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

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740767

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

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


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

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

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

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

    THE COMPETITION


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740817

    2017 Audi Q2 - image 667684

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

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

    Drivetrain

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    COMPETING PERFORMANCE

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

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

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

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

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

    Prices


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740849

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

    Other Options To Consider

    Mercedes-Benz GLA


    2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class - image 562371

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

    Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLA

    Nissan Juke


    2015 Nissan Juke - image 544650

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

    Read our full review of the Nissan Juke.

    Conclusion


    2018 BMW X2 - image 740853

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

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

    References

    BMW X2


    BMW X2 Arrives In Paris In Concept Form - image 690239

    Read our full review of the 2016 BMW X2 Concept.

    BMW X4


    2015 BMW X4 - image 545240

    Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X4.

    BMW X6


    2015 BMW X6 - image 555202

    Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X6.

    BMW X2 Concept


    2016 BMW X2 Concept - image 690610

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

    Check out our full review of the BMW X2 Concept.

    Spy Shots

    October 10, 2017 – BMW X2 caught wearing no camouflage


    2018 BMW X2 - image 737587

    2018 BMW X2 - image 737592

    October 6, 2017 – BMW X2 caught testing in Munich


    2018 BMW X2 - image 736646

    2018 BMW X2 - image 736652

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 719291

    2018 BMW X2 - image 719293

    December 13, 2016 – BMW X2 Goes Winter Testing


    2018 BMW X2 - image 698032

    2018 BMW X2 - image 698033

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 695470

    2018 BMW X2 - image 695473

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 662379

    2018 BMW X2 - image 662384

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


    2018 BMW X2 - image 654499

    2018 BMW X2 - image 654500

    Updated History

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

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

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

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

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

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

    PostHeaderIcon 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


    2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736264

    2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736272

    Exterior


    2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683873

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Interior


    2016 Maserati Levante - image 667852

    Note: Interior from Standard 2016 Levante shown here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Drivetrain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Chassis And Handling

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

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

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

    Prices

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

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

    Competition

    Range Rover Sport SVR


    2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR - image 563993

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

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

    Porsche Cayenne Turbo S


    2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S - image 610560

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

    Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

    Conclusion


    2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683874

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

    Only time will tell.

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

    References

    Maserati Levante


    2016 Maserati Levante - image 667845

    Read our full review on the 2017 Maserati Levante.

    PostHeaderIcon Audi Q8

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

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

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

    Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8.

    Spy Shots

    October 4, 2017 – Audi Q8 reveals its interior


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 736280

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 736278

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


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 718371

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 718372

    April 7, 2017 – Audi Q8 caught testing at Nurburgring


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 712279

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 712284

    July 13, 2016 – Audi Q7 based mule caught testing


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 682290

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 682289

    Exterior


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705596

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

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


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705594

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705595

    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705599

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

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

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

    Interior


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 718282

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


    2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept - image 700412

    2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 705600

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

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

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

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

    Drivetrain


    2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 610941

    Note: Audi Q7 engine pictured here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Prices


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705381

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

    Competition

    BMW X6


    2015 BMW X6 - image 555202

    2015 BMW X6 - image 555203

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

    Read our full review on the BMW X6.

    Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe


    2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - image 585186

    2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - image 585182

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

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

    Conclusion


    2018 Audi Q8 - image 705386

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

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

    References

    Audi Q7


    2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 - image 585697

    Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q7.

    Audi Q8


    2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept - image 711670

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


    2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept - image 700403

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

    Update History

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

    PostHeaderIcon 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


    2020 BMW i3 M - image 734375

    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.


    2020 BMW i3 M - image 734374
    “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 –


    2015 BMW i8 - image 522680

    2015 BMW M3 - image 554283

    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


    BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728630

    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


    2017 BMW i3 94 AH - image 674522

    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


    2020 BMW i3 M - image 734372

    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


    2020 BMW i3 M - image 734373

    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


    2017 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 - image 693245

    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


    2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 671345

    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.

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