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Archive for the ‘TopSpeed Renderings’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Mid-Engined Supercar

Aston Martin has yet to bring the Valkyrie hypercar into showrooms, but the Brits are already pondering a second supercar for their lineup. According to company CEO, Andy Palmer, the mid-engined supercar is also co-developed with Red Bull Racing, and 130 engineers and designers are already working on the project. The new vehicle will be aimed at the Ferrari 488 GTB.

The unnamed supercar will ride on a bespoke platform developed specifically for this model. Instead of the Valkyrie’s race-spec chassis or the Vantage’s bonded-aluminum platform, it will get its very own underpinnings that will feature a new carbon-fiber monocoque with aluminum sub-frames. There’s no specific word as to when it might arrive, but rumor has it sales will commence around 2020.

Continue reading to learn more about Aston Martin’s upcoming supercar.

PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Large SUV

Alfa Romeo is looking to expand its hauler lineup with an even bigger vehicle that will seat seven and have an electrified drivetrain, so we put together a rendering of what it could look like.

The upcoming SUV is part of a bigger plan that also includes a new range of performance hybrid models. There’s no specific information on any car, but an announcement is expected to be made in June 2018 by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The SUV is considered a vital model for the company’s ambitions on the U.S. market, but word has it Alfa Romeo is still waiting to see how the Stelvio does on the market before it greenlights a larger SUV. We’ll just have to wait a little longer but, until then, check out our speculative review below.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Rumors of Porsche working on a competitor for the BMW X6 surface a few years ago, right before the Germans launched the mid-cycle upgrade for the second-generation Cayenne. Although original reports claimed a 2015 launch, Porsche’s competitor for the BMW X6 failed to show up. In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz came up with its very own proposition, the GLE Coupe. Hopes of seeing a Cayenne coupe based on the second-generation model were almost lost after that, but 2016 brought us the first prototype of Porsche’s X6 fighter. However, instead of a redesigned Cayenne body with a sleeker roofline, our paparazzi spotted an awkward test mule that looks like a Panamera on stilts.

But while this isn’t 100-percent solid proof that Porsche is testing the Cayenne Coupe, we’re definitely looking at an SUV prototype. Since there aren’t any known plans for a new crossover, this mule can only be an early version of the Cayenne Coupe. With the third-gen Cayenne already in showrooms since 2017, a sleek, coupe version could arrive by the end of 2018. Not much is known about it at this point, but it’s expected to use the same underpinnings as the standard Cayenne, as well as the same drivetrains. The name is not yet official so you should take the “Cayenne Coupe” with a grain of salt, but this badge is very likely given that the sleek crossover will be part of the same family. We’re still waiting for Porsche to confirm the new SUV, but until that happens, we created a rendering of the upcoming vehicle, as well as a speculative review about what it may bring to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Cayenne Coupe.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Golf Mk8 GTI

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI may still be the most popular hot-hatchback out there, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth after more than four years on the market. With Ford already working on a new-generation Focus ST, which will be significantly more powerful than the current Golf GTI, Volkswagen needs to roll out a new hatchback really soon. Fortunately, the Germans are already testing the next-generation Golf GTI, which is rumored to break cover sometime in 2019.

Not much is known about the upcoming performance hatchback, but it should borrow many design features seen on recently introduced Volkswagen models, including the sporty Arteon sedan. The company also promises a revolution inside the cabin, including a “total digital environment,” according to design chief Klaus Bischoff. Set to use a revised version of the company’s MQB platform, it will also a new engine with power ratings of up to 250 horsepower. Let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Volkswagen Golf GTI.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the German automaker’s tip of the spear when it comes to luxury and opulence, offering the very latest in technology, styling, and interior features. With a history that dates back to the early ‘70s, the latest sixth generation for the flagship sedan model (also known as the W222) was introduced back in 2013, which means it’s time for a ground-up redesign. With that in mind, we pulled out the TopSpeed crystal ball, drew up the above-pictured rendering, and wrote up a speculative review on what exactly the next S-Class could be bringing to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8

When BMW introduced the 8 Series back in 1989, it reshaped the full-size luxury segment with a car that was gorgeous, unique, and loaded with innovative features. However, the global crisis and high fuel prices of the early 1990s prevented it from becoming a strong seller, with a little over 30,000 units delivered until 1999, when it was discontinued. Almost two decades later and the 8 Series is set to return. Following the unveiling of a concept car in May 2017, BMW also released a bunch of photos confirming that an M8 is also underway in 2018.

The M8’s arrival will mark a premiere for the nameplate, which didn’t receive the M treatment in the 1990s. Although BMW did make a prototype, it eventually decided that there’s no market for the M8 and the project was scrapped. Times have obviously changed now, and with Mercedes already offering AMG versions of the S-Class Coupe and with Bentley producing the Continental GT Speed for quite a few years now, BMW needs an 8 Series and an M8 to keep up with the competition. Find out what we already know about this grand tourer in my speculative review below.

Updated 03/15/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M8 Coupe out playing in the snow.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8.

Spy Shots

March 15, 2018 – BMW M8 caught playing in the snow


2019 BMW M8 - image 773860

2019 BMW M8 - image 773867

Exterior

left
right
“The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the camouflaged M8 is that the production model won't look as exotic as the 8 Series concept.”

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the camouflaged M8 is that the production model won’t look as exotic as the 8 Series concept. This confirms that BMW will give the series coupe a softer stance and that it will remove the big vents behind the front fenders, the massive intakes under the headlamps, and the aggressive engine hood.

The front grille also sports a less angry design that’s more in line with BMW current styling cues. This isn’t a bad thing though, as the vertical slats are pretty thin and sharp and the kidneys are wide enough to produce a wide stance. The headlamps are obviously thicker than the concept’s, but thinner than anything else you get right now save for the i8. Down below, the bumper appears to be standard BMW M stuff, with large outlets toward the sides and longer vents with a mesh grille in the middle. This section will be unique to the M8, while the 8 Series will sport a less aggressive element.

Onto the sides, the large scoop behind the front fenders is missing, while the roof sits slightly higher. This isn’t surprising, as concept cars are usually sleeker than their production counterparts. However, the good news is that the rear haunches, one of the most stylish features on the 8 Series concept if you ask me, appear to be very similar. Moving over to M-specific additions, we have beefier side skirts and a set of juicy twin-five spoke rims in dark grey. Behind them we can see the obligatory blue brake calipers.

left
right
“Around back, the M8 has very little in common with the concept car. The production taillights are quite mundane and don't extend that much into the fenders.”

Around back, the M8 has very little in common with the concept car. For starters, the production taillights are quite mundane and don’t extend that much into the fenders. The trunklid also seems to have a different shape, but it still carries a sizable spoiler. Granted, it’s not as massive as seen on the concept, but it should give the coupe a sleek look. Most of the fascia is camouflaged and the taillights aren’t visible all the way, but they should reach pretty far into the trunklid. The license plate is placed below, just like on the concept, but the bumper lacks the massive creases toward the sides. Below, there’s a quad exhaust pipe configuration as seen on every other M car around.

Rendering


2019 BMW M8 - image 718202

As usual, we asked our rendering artist to create a digital image of the upcoming M8. The rendering is based on the spy shots released by BMW, but also includes some toned-down features seen on the 8 Series Concept. In case you’re wondering why we’re using a convertible for this article, I think that BMW will also do a drop-top version to compete against the Cabriolet variants of the Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65. You can check out that article here.

Interior


2019 BMW 8 Series - image 718005
“Although clean and uncluttered on the passenger side, the dashboard is highlighted by premium red stitching on the upper side and around the center stack area.”

BMW had very little to say about the M8’s exterior features and production schedule, but shared no information about the interior or the technology inside. On the other hand, we have the 8 Series concept for hints as to what we may find in the M8.

As you’d expect, the show car’s interior is a fancier rendition of BMW’s current styling language. It sports an appealing blend of clean surfaces and vertical lines, a sleek center console, all-digital instrument clusters, and a new steering wheel design.

Although clean and uncluttered on the passenger side, the dashboard is highlighted by premium red stitching on the upper side and around the center stack area. It also has vertically oriented, almost triangular A/C vents at each corner. These features are likely to find their way in the production 8 Series and to some extent in the M8 too.


2017 BMW 8 Series Concept - image 718014
“Unlike some Bimmers that have the infotainment system placed atop the dash, the 8 Series concept has it integrated in the center stack.”

Unlike some Bimmers that have the infotainment system placed atop the dash, the 8 Series concept has it integrated in the center stack, albeit still above all controls. This is a feature that will definitely make it on the production model, as will the brand-new buttons underneath. The area between the A/C controls and gear lever is made rom carbon-fiber, which gives the center console a sporty look and makes a lot of sense in a future M8. While customers might not get this lightweight composite in the 8 Series, it will definitely adorn the M8’s center stack.

The instrument cluster appears to be quite spartan for modern standards, but what we see in the concept might be just one of the settings available. Of course, the M8 will have a more complex display with digital gauges and a number of M-specific features. The steering wheel is one feature I don;’t expect to see in the M8 in this form. Although it will keep its sporty stance and flat bottom, it will have a simpler design.

The 8 Series concept is also quite luxurious when it comes to materials, using Merino leather in Dark Brown and Fjord White, as well as hand-polished aluminum. The M8 should get similar treatment, although the base package will probably include black upholstery only. As always, look for several “M” emblems on various elements inside the cabin.

Drivetrain


2019 BMW M8 - image 718321
“Considering what we can get in other range-topping M models, it's safe to assume that the M8 will get its juice from a twin-turbo V-8 or V-12.”

This is arguably the most important part of the upcoming M8, especially since we’re expecting a very potent grand tourer. With both Mercedes-Benz and Bentley offering outputs in excess of 600 horsepower in the AMG S65 and Continental GT Speed, respectively, BMW is pretty much constrained to drop a lot of oomph in the M8.

Considering what we can get in other range-topping M models, it’s safe to assume that the M8 will get its juice from a twin-turbo V-8 or V-12. Actually, there’s a big chance that BMW will offer both, just like Mercedes-Benz does with the AMG S63 and AMG S65.


2017 BMW M760Li xDrive - image 665340
M760Li engine shown here.
“The V-12 engine could be sourced from the M760Li, which uses a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12.”

The V-8 will likely come in the form of a twin-turbo 4.4-liter unit similar to that offered in the new BMW M5. Output should sit close to the 600-horsepower mark to counter the 577 horses delivered by the Mercedes-AMG S63. xDrive AWD is likely to be standard, at least here in the United States. The V-12 engine could be sourced from the M760Li, which uses a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12. This unit cranks out 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist in the range-topping 7 Series and should be capable of more oomph in the M8. Given that the Mercedes-AMG S65 is good for 621 horses, it wouldn’t be surprising to see BMW push output toward the 650-horsepower mark.

The V-12-powered M8 is also likely to come with AWD, which would give it an advantage over the RWD-only Merc. This would be most visible in the acceleration department, with the M8 likely to hit 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds. As with most Bimmers here in the U.S., the M8 should come with an automatic transmission only.

BMW M760Li xDrive
Engine Config/No of cyls/valves V/12/4
Engine technology M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology: two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control
Effective capacity cc 6,592
Output 600 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 590 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 3.92 seconds
Maximum speed 250 KM/H (155 MPH)

Prices


2019 BMW M8 - image 718289

It’s a bit early to talk about prices here, but it’s pretty clear that the M8 won’t come cheap. My bet is that the grand tourer will fetch more than the M760i xDrive, which retails from $156,700. Expect a price tag of almost $170,000 for the V-8 model and a sticker of at least $200,000 for the V-12 variant.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 / AMG S65


2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 - image 713977

You might not be able to buy the M8 untl 2018, but Mercedes already offers a performance grand tourer. Essentially a two-door version of the large S-Class, this coupe is already an iconic presence on the market, having managed to steal some attention from the much more established Bentley Continental GT. This AMG-prepped tourer comes in two flavors. The “base” model is the S63, which just received a new twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 instead of the old 5.5-liter unit. This powerplant cranks out 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, paired with all-wheel-drive for a tremendous 0-to-60 sprint in under four seconds. Next up is the S65, motivated by a larger twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 with 621 horsepower and a whopping 738 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. But despite being more powerful, the S65 is actually slower than the S63 due to being a RWD-only model. Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG S63 starts from $164,750, while the S65 retails from $236,250.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG S63 here.

Bentley Continental GT Speed


2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed - image 617632

Revised for the 2016 model year, the Continental GT Speed, gained a few exterior tweaks, but remained the muscular and elegant we all know. Showcasing an imposing exterior look with added sporty features, the GT Speed is complemented by a luxurious interior packed with Bentley’s latest technology and a ton of options from the Mulliner division. Powered by a 6.0-liter W-12 mill, the GT Speed hits the streets 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of twist, which places it above the Mercedes-AMG in terms of horsepower, but below as far as torque is concerned. Using an eight-speed ZF transmission, the Bentley hits 60 mph in four seconds, slower than its rivals. On the other hand, its top speed is rated at a mind-boggling 206 mph. Pricing starts from $203,500 in the United States, making it cheaper than the AMG S65 and the upcoming M8 with the V-12 engine.

Learn more about the Bentley Continental GT Speed here.

Conclusion


2019 BMW M8 - image 718313

Arguaby the most anticipated return in BMW history, the 8 Series is about to make a comeback for the 2018 model year. The M8 is obviously the bigger news here. Not only because it will be the first 8 Series with an M badge, but also because BMW is in dire need of a performance-oriented grand tourer. The M6 has been a rather dull competitor for the AMG E63 and more recently the AMG S63 and S65, and an M8 seems to be the only vehicle that can change the balance of power in this tight, but extremely demanding niche.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as fancy as the concept
    • * Tough competition from Bentley and Mercedes-AMG
    • * Likely very expensive

References

BMW 8 Series


BMW Teases The Upcoming 8 Series With Images And Video - image 763009

Read our full speculative re view on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

BMW M8


2019 BMW M8 - image 718203

Read our full speculative review on the BMW M8.

BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe


2019 BMW 8 Series - image 717999

Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M8

When BMW introduced the 8 Series back in 1989, it reshaped the full-size luxury segment with a car that was gorgeous, unique, and loaded with innovative features. However, the global crisis and high fuel prices of the early 1990s prevented it from becoming a strong seller, with a little over 30,000 units delivered until 1999, when it was discontinued. Almost two decades later and the 8 Series is set to return. Following the unveiling of a concept car in May 2017, BMW also released a bunch of photos confirming that an M8 is also underway in 2018.

The M8’s arrival will mark a premiere for the nameplate, which didn’t receive the M treatment in the 1990s. Although BMW did make a prototype, it eventually decided that there’s no market for the M8 and the project was scrapped. Times have obviously changed now, and with Mercedes already offering AMG versions of the S-Class Coupe and with Bentley producing the Continental GT Speed for quite a few years now, BMW needs an 8 Series and an M8 to keep up with the competition. Find out what we already know about this grand tourer in my speculative review below.

Updated 03/15/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M8 Coupe out playing in the snow.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8.

Spy Shots

March 15, 2018 – BMW M8 caught playing in the snow


2019 BMW M8 - image 773860

2019 BMW M8 - image 773867

Exterior

left
right
“The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the camouflaged M8 is that the production model won't look as exotic as the 8 Series concept.”

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the camouflaged M8 is that the production model won’t look as exotic as the 8 Series concept. This confirms that BMW will give the series coupe a softer stance and that it will remove the big vents behind the front fenders, the massive intakes under the headlamps, and the aggressive engine hood.

The front grille also sports a less angry design that’s more in line with BMW current styling cues. This isn’t a bad thing though, as the vertical slats are pretty thin and sharp and the kidneys are wide enough to produce a wide stance. The headlamps are obviously thicker than the concept’s, but thinner than anything else you get right now save for the i8. Down below, the bumper appears to be standard BMW M stuff, with large outlets toward the sides and longer vents with a mesh grille in the middle. This section will be unique to the M8, while the 8 Series will sport a less aggressive element.

Onto the sides, the large scoop behind the front fenders is missing, while the roof sits slightly higher. This isn’t surprising, as concept cars are usually sleeker than their production counterparts. However, the good news is that the rear haunches, one of the most stylish features on the 8 Series concept if you ask me, appear to be very similar. Moving over to M-specific additions, we have beefier side skirts and a set of juicy twin-five spoke rims in dark grey. Behind them we can see the obligatory blue brake calipers.

left
right
“Around back, the M8 has very little in common with the concept car. The production taillights are quite mundane and don't extend that much into the fenders.”

Around back, the M8 has very little in common with the concept car. For starters, the production taillights are quite mundane and don’t extend that much into the fenders. The trunklid also seems to have a different shape, but it still carries a sizable spoiler. Granted, it’s not as massive as seen on the concept, but it should give the coupe a sleek look. Most of the fascia is camouflaged and the taillights aren’t visible all the way, but they should reach pretty far into the trunklid. The license plate is placed below, just like on the concept, but the bumper lacks the massive creases toward the sides. Below, there’s a quad exhaust pipe configuration as seen on every other M car around.

Rendering


2019 BMW M8 - image 718202

As usual, we asked our rendering artist to create a digital image of the upcoming M8. The rendering is based on the spy shots released by BMW, but also includes some toned-down features seen on the 8 Series Concept. In case you’re wondering why we’re using a convertible for this article, I think that BMW will also do a drop-top version to compete against the Cabriolet variants of the Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65. You can check out that article here.

Interior


2019 BMW 8 Series - image 718005
“Although clean and uncluttered on the passenger side, the dashboard is highlighted by premium red stitching on the upper side and around the center stack area.”

BMW had very little to say about the M8’s exterior features and production schedule, but shared no information about the interior or the technology inside. On the other hand, we have the 8 Series concept for hints as to what we may find in the M8.

As you’d expect, the show car’s interior is a fancier rendition of BMW’s current styling language. It sports an appealing blend of clean surfaces and vertical lines, a sleek center console, all-digital instrument clusters, and a new steering wheel design.

Although clean and uncluttered on the passenger side, the dashboard is highlighted by premium red stitching on the upper side and around the center stack area. It also has vertically oriented, almost triangular A/C vents at each corner. These features are likely to find their way in the production 8 Series and to some extent in the M8 too.


2017 BMW 8 Series Concept - image 718014
“Unlike some Bimmers that have the infotainment system placed atop the dash, the 8 Series concept has it integrated in the center stack.”

Unlike some Bimmers that have the infotainment system placed atop the dash, the 8 Series concept has it integrated in the center stack, albeit still above all controls. This is a feature that will definitely make it on the production model, as will the brand-new buttons underneath. The area between the A/C controls and gear lever is made rom carbon-fiber, which gives the center console a sporty look and makes a lot of sense in a future M8. While customers might not get this lightweight composite in the 8 Series, it will definitely adorn the M8’s center stack.

The instrument cluster appears to be quite spartan for modern standards, but what we see in the concept might be just one of the settings available. Of course, the M8 will have a more complex display with digital gauges and a number of M-specific features. The steering wheel is one feature I don;’t expect to see in the M8 in this form. Although it will keep its sporty stance and flat bottom, it will have a simpler design.

The 8 Series concept is also quite luxurious when it comes to materials, using Merino leather in Dark Brown and Fjord White, as well as hand-polished aluminum. The M8 should get similar treatment, although the base package will probably include black upholstery only. As always, look for several “M” emblems on various elements inside the cabin.

Drivetrain


2019 BMW M8 - image 718321
“Considering what we can get in other range-topping M models, it's safe to assume that the M8 will get its juice from a twin-turbo V-8 or V-12.”

This is arguably the most important part of the upcoming M8, especially since we’re expecting a very potent grand tourer. With both Mercedes-Benz and Bentley offering outputs in excess of 600 horsepower in the AMG S65 and Continental GT Speed, respectively, BMW is pretty much constrained to drop a lot of oomph in the M8.

Considering what we can get in other range-topping M models, it’s safe to assume that the M8 will get its juice from a twin-turbo V-8 or V-12. Actually, there’s a big chance that BMW will offer both, just like Mercedes-Benz does with the AMG S63 and AMG S65.


2017 BMW M760Li xDrive - image 665340
M760Li engine shown here.
“The V-12 engine could be sourced from the M760Li, which uses a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12.”

The V-8 will likely come in the form of a twin-turbo 4.4-liter unit similar to that offered in the new BMW M5. Output should sit close to the 600-horsepower mark to counter the 577 horses delivered by the Mercedes-AMG S63. xDrive AWD is likely to be standard, at least here in the United States. The V-12 engine could be sourced from the M760Li, which uses a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12. This unit cranks out 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist in the range-topping 7 Series and should be capable of more oomph in the M8. Given that the Mercedes-AMG S65 is good for 621 horses, it wouldn’t be surprising to see BMW push output toward the 650-horsepower mark.

The V-12-powered M8 is also likely to come with AWD, which would give it an advantage over the RWD-only Merc. This would be most visible in the acceleration department, with the M8 likely to hit 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds. As with most Bimmers here in the U.S., the M8 should come with an automatic transmission only.

BMW M760Li xDrive
Engine Config/No of cyls/valves V/12/4
Engine technology M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology: two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control
Effective capacity cc 6,592
Output 600 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 590 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 3.92 seconds
Maximum speed 250 KM/H (155 MPH)

Prices


2019 BMW M8 - image 718289

It’s a bit early to talk about prices here, but it’s pretty clear that the M8 won’t come cheap. My bet is that the grand tourer will fetch more than the M760i xDrive, which retails from $156,700. Expect a price tag of almost $170,000 for the V-8 model and a sticker of at least $200,000 for the V-12 variant.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 / AMG S65


2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 - image 713977

You might not be able to buy the M8 untl 2018, but Mercedes already offers a performance grand tourer. Essentially a two-door version of the large S-Class, this coupe is already an iconic presence on the market, having managed to steal some attention from the much more established Bentley Continental GT. This AMG-prepped tourer comes in two flavors. The “base” model is the S63, which just received a new twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 instead of the old 5.5-liter unit. This powerplant cranks out 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, paired with all-wheel-drive for a tremendous 0-to-60 sprint in under four seconds. Next up is the S65, motivated by a larger twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 with 621 horsepower and a whopping 738 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. But despite being more powerful, the S65 is actually slower than the S63 due to being a RWD-only model. Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG S63 starts from $164,750, while the S65 retails from $236,250.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG S63 here.

Bentley Continental GT Speed


2016 - 2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed - image 617632

Revised for the 2016 model year, the Continental GT Speed, gained a few exterior tweaks, but remained the muscular and elegant we all know. Showcasing an imposing exterior look with added sporty features, the GT Speed is complemented by a luxurious interior packed with Bentley’s latest technology and a ton of options from the Mulliner division. Powered by a 6.0-liter W-12 mill, the GT Speed hits the streets 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of twist, which places it above the Mercedes-AMG in terms of horsepower, but below as far as torque is concerned. Using an eight-speed ZF transmission, the Bentley hits 60 mph in four seconds, slower than its rivals. On the other hand, its top speed is rated at a mind-boggling 206 mph. Pricing starts from $203,500 in the United States, making it cheaper than the AMG S65 and the upcoming M8 with the V-12 engine.

Learn more about the Bentley Continental GT Speed here.

Conclusion


2019 BMW M8 - image 718313

Arguaby the most anticipated return in BMW history, the 8 Series is about to make a comeback for the 2018 model year. The M8 is obviously the bigger news here. Not only because it will be the first 8 Series with an M badge, but also because BMW is in dire need of a performance-oriented grand tourer. The M6 has been a rather dull competitor for the AMG E63 and more recently the AMG S63 and S65, and an M8 seems to be the only vehicle that can change the balance of power in this tight, but extremely demanding niche.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as fancy as the concept
    • * Tough competition from Bentley and Mercedes-AMG
    • * Likely very expensive

References

BMW 8 Series


BMW Teases The Upcoming 8 Series With Images And Video - image 763009

Read our full speculative re view on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

BMW M8


2019 BMW M8 - image 718203

Read our full speculative review on the BMW M8.

BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe


2019 BMW 8 Series - image 717999

Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

AMG might be responsible for Mercedes’ most-powerful and appealing models, but the high-performance brand has yet to use its full potential as a car manufacturer. Sure, the Affalterbach-based division brought us the awesome SLS AMG, and more recently, the AMG GT, but it hasn’t developed more than one stand-alone vehicle at a time. Until 2018, when Mercedes-AMG launched the GT 4-Door, a four-door, four-seat version of the AMG GT sports car. Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, it’s the brand’s highly anticipated competitor for the Porsche Panamera, and it includes the most powerful GT-badged model ever.

The company’s plans to develop a high-performance four-door became more than obvious at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, where Mercedes-Benz unveiled the AMG GT concept. The show car also confirmed that the sedan will be based on the AMG GT in terms of design, but still feature some of the more traditional Mercedes cues seen on the regular sedans. The concept was pretty much a mash-up between the AMG GT sports car and the CLS four-door coupe, attributes that also made it on the production model. Let’s find out what Merc’s new performance sedan is all about in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe.

Exterior

  • Aggressive AMG GT front end
  • AMG GT R grille and bumper
  • CLS styling feature
  • Sporty roofline
  • Rear wing
  • Race-inspired diffuser
  • Lightweight wheels

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772237
“The front end merges elements from both the AMG GT and the recently unveiled CLS”

While most spy shots and drawing suggested an actual four-door version of the AMG GT sports car, the GT 4-Door is actually notably different than its coupe sibling. The front fascia is indeed aggressive and shares many features with the AMG GT, but the bigger headlamps and the revised bumper sets it apart and gives it a somewhat elegant look. I guess we could say that the front end merges elements from both the AMG GT and the recently unveiled CLS. But unlike the CLS, the GT 4-Door sports the race-style “Panamericana” grille of the AMG GT and an Airpanel in front of the center cooling vent for improved aerodynamic efficiency. The latter is borrowed from the hardcore AMG GT R.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772220

Onto the sides, the GT 4-Door is actually very similar to the CLS. Features that set it apart include new vents on the front fenders, beefed-up rear haunches, actual quarter windows behind the rear doors, and a more aggressive roofline. The frameless side windows contribute to the sedan’s coupe-style look. Around back, the main features link the sedan to the AMG GT coupe. The taillights are slim and long, while a tailgate replaces the conventional trunklid of the CLS.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772215
“The diffuser becomes more aggressive on the V-8 models, as does the front bumper”

The decklid is also shorter and sports a wing for increased downforce. Down below, a big diffuser hints that the AMG GT 4-Door is a true sports sedan. The diffuser becomes more aggressive on the V-8 models, as does the front bumper, which gain three horizontal louvers in the side air intakes.

All told, the AMG GT 4-Door has a sporty and imposing exterior, but it’s far from impressive. It looks a bit too much like the CLS from certain angles and those sexy AMG GT cues are already pretty familiar. I’m not saying that it’s mild and boring, but it brings together design cues we’ve already seen.

Interior

  • CLS and E-Class interior
  • AMG GT-inspired center console
  • Illuminated A/C vents
  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • Unique steering wheel features
  • All the luxury you need
  • Massive displays
  • Seating for four
  • State-of-the-art infotainment
  • AMG Track Pace app

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772232
“Instead of modifying the AMG GT’s cockpit with a four-seat configuration, Mercedes took everything from the CLS”

The interior of the AMG GT 4-Door also looks very familiar. But this is because it’s almost identical to the CLS. Yup, instead of modifying the AMG GT’s cockpit with a four-seat configuration, Mercedes took everything from the CLS, which in turn is heavily based on the current-generation E-Class.

The dashboard, the door panels, the infotainment layout, and the instrument cluster are identical to the CLS save for minor changes in the displays. It even has the same illuminated turbine-look A/C vents and the same flat-bottom steering wheel. However, the AMG Performance Steering Wheel can be equipped with several innovative features such as a round controller with an integral display beneath the right-hand spoke, plus two vertically positioned color display buttons beneath the left-hand spoke.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772228
“Unlike the AMG GT, the GT 4-Door offers seating for four”

The two high-resolution displays, each measuring 12.3 inches, placed under the same hood was also carried over from the CLS. Not only they dominate the dashboard, but it also looks as if the car has a really wide screen from the behind the steering wheel toward the passenger side. This feature is standard on all AMG GT 4-Door models in the U.S. One element that’s different is the center console, which is similar to the AMG GT sports car, which mimics the configuration of a V-8 engine. There a few changes to the buttons on the sides, and it also includes display buttons and capacitive switches. Other highlights include soft-touch upholstery all over the place and carbon-fiber trim, including on the steering wheel (on the range-topping GT63 S model).


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772229
“Unlike the AMG GT, the GT 4-Door offers seating for four.”

Unlike the AMG GT, the GT 4-Door offers seating for four. There are two configurations available, starting with two carbon-fiber-backed seats. These offer optimum support under spirited driving, but they cannot be folded for access to the trunk. The second layout is the Executive Rear Seat package, which has a more comfortable layout and a 40-20-40 split configuration. In this setup, rear passengers can control a number of features via a touchpad screen integrated into the console between the seats. The features range from using data via the AMG menu to controlling the ambient lighting or the climate control and seat heating.

As a cool feature, the GT 4-Door is the first AMG model that has its own fragrance, described by the company as a “sporty scent to match the spirit of the performance brand.”

Just like the coupe, the four-door comes with AMG Track Pace, an app that enables drivers to capture and analyze in detail over 80 vehicle-specific data as well as lap times on the racetrack.

Drivetrain

  • GT53 model with EQ Boost hybrid tech
  • GT63 S pack more power than any other AMG GT
  • Up to 630 horsepower and 627 pound-feet
  • 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds
  • Highest top speed at 195 mph
  • Nine-speed AMG transmission
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Rear-wheel steering

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772202
“The base GT53 uses the same six-cylinder and EQ Boost drivetrain as the CLS 53”

Although the AMG GT 4-Door is theoretically a four-door version of the company’s sports car, the two don’t share all that much under the skin. Contrary to what the name might suggest, the AMG GT 4-Door isn’t built on a stretched platform of the AMG GT. Instead, AMG used the underpinnings of the E-Class, which also provide the base for the CLS. However, the GT 4-Door did get the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 from the AMG GT coupe. It also gained the 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit with EQ Boost from the CLS.

The latter comes in the same configuration as in the AMG CLS53, meaning that it cranks out 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. The EQ Boost system, which makes the drivetrain a mild hybrid, adds up to 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of twist. Total system power can hit up to 450 horses and 568 pound-feet, almost as much as the base AMG GT sports car. This version can hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, to go with a top speed of 174 horsepower.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772200
“The range-topping GT63 S packs 630 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque”

Next up is the GT63, powered by the familiar 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 577 horsepower and 553 pound-feet. This output is on par with the hardcore AMG GT R, but with 33 pound-feet of twist on top. Pretty cool huh? Hitting 60 mph from a standing start takes only 3.3 seconds, while top speed goes up to 193 mph. The European version of this model gets even more torque, being rated at 800 Nm, or 590 pound-feet.

Finally, there’s the range-topping GT63 S model, which comes with a whopping 630 horsepower and 627 pound-feet, more than any version of the AMG GT two-door sports car. In this configuration, 60 mph comes in only 3.1 seconds, while top speed increases to 195 mph. Again, the Euro specs are slightly different for this model too, with the torque figure placed at 900 Nm, or 664 pound-feet.


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772193
“Both V-8 variants come with active rear-wheel steering as standard”

Both V-8 models feature cylinder deactivation for enhanced fuel economy and use the new AMG Speedshift nine-speed automatic as standard. Tuned specifically for this engine, it handles extremely short shift times and fast multiple downshifts. A wet clutch reduces weight and inertia, while the Race Start function provides optimum acceleration.

The six-cylinder engine in the GT53 model mates to a slightly different AMG Speedshift nine-speed transmission. which works in conjunction with the torque converter. All AMG GT 4-Door models are fitted with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. A rear-axle limited-slip differential is added to the GT63 S model, while both V-8 variants come with active rear-wheel steering. The latter is not available for the six-cylinder model.

Prices


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772210

It’s way too early to talk about pricing, but the GT 4-Door should start from around $140,000 in the United States. For reference, the Mercedes-AMG GT S fetches $129,000 before options.

Competition

Porsche Panamera


2018 Porsche Panamera - image 681054

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

Learn more about the 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Aston Martin Rapide


2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S - image 563390

Launched in 2009 as a spiritual successor to the Aston Martin Lagonda and the company’s first sedan in 20 years, the Rapide is based on the DB9 and shares the same VH platform. Power comes from Aston’s ubiquitous 5.9-liter V-12 engine, tuned to deliver 552 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Although it’s the most powerful of the bunch, the Rapide S won’t be quicker than the AMG GT4 in its current specification. Its 203-mph top speed, on the other hand, places it above everything else in this niche. Inside, the Rapide S comes with Aston’s finest in terms of luxury and technology, although some might find its cabin design rather dated compared to the GT 4-Door’s. The British sedan isn’t cheap either, as it starts from $198,250 in the U.S. It’s safe to assume that Aston Martin will offer a new-generation Rapide soon, so AMG will get a lighter, faster, and more luxurious competitor.

Find out more about the Aston Martin Rapide.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 772209

Given the similarities with the recently unveiled CLS, the GT 4-Door doesn’t seem to be that much of a stand-alone model at first glance. However, things change when you look under the hood. While the CLS range stops at the 53 model, the GT 4-Door lineup takes over from there and takes the output to unprecedented levels for the “AMG GT” badge. Simply put, while the CLS goes against lower-trim version of the Panamera, the GT 4-Door joins the market as a more hardcore version aimed at the beefed-up Porsches. All told, this four-door was developed for a different audience, one that needs the seating layout and roomy trunk of the sedan during the week and the performance and dynamics of a sports car for fun weekends at the track.

  • Leave it
    • * Looks too similar to CLS sedan
    • * Panamera hybrid is hard to beat

References

Mercedes-AMG GT concept.


2017 Mercedes-AMG GT Concept - image 710494

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

Spy Shots

February 20, 2018 – Mercedes-AMG GT4 caught wearing a matte black with yellow flames camouflage


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 769724

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 769717

December 29, 2017 – Playing in the Snow


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 754890

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 754896

We’ve been over these shots with a fine-toothed comb, and nothing has really changed since the GT4’s last outing. The only real noticeable difference is that this prototype is wearing round exhaust outlets as opposed to the square units seen previously. This indicates that this specific prototype is powered by a smaller drivetrain setup that is likely a combination of an electric motor, battery, and six-cylinder engine. That means that Mercedes is likely done testing the V-8 models and is now looking to fine tune its entry-level version prior to the car’s big debut. We’re expecting to see a debut sometime in 2018.

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


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 733629

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 733623

August 22, 2017 – Mercedes AMG GT4 starts dropping camouflage


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 727778

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 727785

May 8, 2017 – Mercedes AMG GT4 begins testing session


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 715582

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 715587

2017 Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA - image 730879

Read more Mercedes news.

Rendering


2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe - image 715152

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

Update History

Update 12/29/2017: The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was caught doing some cold weather testing and playing in the snow. Check out the spy shots section below to get a fresh look at the upcoming sports sedan.

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

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

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

PostHeaderIcon Nissan IMx

Having launched the Leaf back in 2010, Nissan is one of the pioneers of the all-electric industry. While not as efficient as the recently launched
Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the Leaf remains the best-selling EV ever build as of early 2018. However, Nissan has yet to expand its all-electric lineup beyond this hatchback, and it is now falling behind the competition. This could change by the end of 2018, with Nissan likely to debut a battery-powered crossover based on the IMx concept.

Introduced at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the IMx is described as “an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 km.” Nissan also says that the vehicle provides “a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society.” The IMx also previews the company’s new design language, so it could change quite a few things for the Japanese automaker. If put into production, it could go against the Tesla Model X, currently the quickest, most efficient, and most popular electric crossover out there.

While Nissan didn’t officially confirm a production version of the IMx, an all-electric crossover is the next logical step now that the second-generation Leaf is on its way to dealerships. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan IMx.

Exterior

  • IMx concept-inspired design
  • V-shaped grille
  • Modern features
  • “Floating” roof
  • Familiar Leaf styling cues

2017 Nissan IMx - image 740404

Note: Nissan IMx concept pictured here.

“We rendered a production version of the concept using the IMx's new design language”

While the Leaf Nismo concept presented in 2017 looked ready to go into production, the IMx is a bit too outlandish for dealerships. Sure, Nissan could build it as is, but it would no longer be an affordable vehicle. As a result, we rendered a production version of the concept using the IMx’s new design language and some of the familiar styling cues seen on the company’s recent products.

Up front, we kept the V-shaped grille and the vertical vents at the corners but both we trimmed down to a more production-friendly form. For the grille, we used the new Leaf as inspiration, so don’t be surprised that the element has no mesh and sports the same blue background. The black trim surrounding the grille is also taken from the Leaf, while the headlamps, albeit slimmer, features the same hockey stick-shaped LED layout. Down below, we removed the concept car’s organic vents and went with a more traditional look with a wide intake in the middle and daytime running lights at the corners. The V-shaped hood and the tall fender extensions remained in place as this features are likely to be part of Nissan’s design language for future cars.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729749

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“Nissan likely wants the electric crossover to have a familiar look”

The fact that most of the front fascia is similar to the Leaf’s is no coincidence. Nissan likely wants the electric crossover to have a familiar look and placing it in the same design territory as the Leaf is the best thing to do.

We altered the car’s profile too, starting with the side skirts, which now have a more traditional form. It’s not as sporty obviously, but it’s more practical for an affordable crossover. The production model also gained conventional doors, door handles, side mirrors, and less expensive wheels. It also has production-friendly pillars for the roof. Toward the back, we can see the same black C-pillar and raised rear fenders, but this feature is far from new, having already seen it on the latest Leaf.


2017 Nissan IMx - image 740399

Note: Nissan IMx concept pictured here.

“Around back, I expect some of the concept's extreme features to be deleted before production”

Around back, I expect some of the concept’s extreme features to be deleted before production. The aggressively raked rear window will be replaced by a more conventional unit and the same will happen with the spoiler on the roof. I wouldn’t be surprised for those taillights to go into production, but the rest of the fascia and the lower bumper will be redesigned into a more familiar shape. Don’t get your hopes up for that flashy “Nissan” badge with LED lights.

All told, the IMx will be a Leaf on stilts, but Nissan will make things a bit more exciting with a few exclusive design features. It won’t be as fancy as the Tesla Model X, but it will stand out among other Nissans.

Interior

  • Leaf-inspired cabin
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • New infotainment system
  • Navigation with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Premium features
  • ProPilot Assist
  • e-Pedal system

2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729735

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“My best guess is that the IMx will be in line with the latest Nissan models, maybe even similar to the Leaf”

The interior of the IMx concept is a work of art. I love its simplicity and ergonomic design and it’s exactly what I want to find in a modern vehicle. Unfortunately, it’s way too futuristic for a Nissan and a tad too outlandish even when compared to the best luxury brands out there.

Not only it doesn’t have a center stack and center tunnel — left out to increase space — but the concept also comes with only four individual seats. This layout doesn’t make much sense in a production Nissan so things will change radically for production. The fancy seats will be dropped in favor of more conventional units and the big wood grain pattern on the dashboard will be replaced by soft-touch plastic.

“The IMx could also get ProPilot Assist, a single-lane driving assistance technology”

You can also forget about the panoramic OLED screen that spreads on the entire length of the dash and display a view of the outer environment in the background. The same goes for the artificial intelligence technology that enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. It sounds really cool, but it’s not something that Nissan will put into production anytime soon. The autonomous mode is a bit more likely to find its way into production, but we won’t get it in the IMx if this vehicle is launched in 2018. Autonomous drive isn’t yet regulated around the world and we won’t see a production model on public roads for a few more years.

So now we know that at least 95 percent of the concept’s interior won’t make it into production, but what will we get in this crossover? My best guess is that the IMx will be in line with the latest Nissan models, maybe even similar to the Leaf. Nothing too fancy but a bit on the premium side. Nissan has upped the ante in that direction in its most recent vehicles, including the Leaf, and the IMx should follow the same path. Actually, I’m expecting the crossover to take things up a notch.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729745

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“Another feature introduced with the Leaf and likely to make it into the IMx is e-Pedal”

While the general layout is still a mystery, the technology package should be similar to the leaf. It should have a big digital screen in the instrument cluster area and a big display for the infotainment system in the center stack. The leather steering wheel and the contrast stitching should come standard, along with chrome and piano black inserts. It should also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system (probably not standard in lower trims), and the company’s new Intelligent Integration platform, which includes NissanConnect, through which the driver can search for continuously updated information such as the location and operating hours of free charging stations and charging station availability.

The IMx could also get ProPilot Assist, a single-lane driving assistance technology that automatically controls the distance to the vehicle in front between speeds of 18 mph to 62 mph. In the Leaf, it can also help the driver steer and keep the car centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, the system automatically applies the brakes. After coming to a full stop, it keeps the car stationary even if the driver’s foot is off the brake. When traffic restarts, the car resumes driving when the driver touches the switch again or lightly presses the accelerator.

Another feature introduced with the Leaf and likely to make it into the IMx is e-Pedal, a system that enables the driver to control the car with one pedal only. You still have two pedals, but when this function is activated, the car able to determine what to do based on your input of the accelerator pedal, and will be able to stop, stay in position, and resume driving without moving your foot from one pedal to the next.

Drivetrain

  • New drivetrain with 429 horsepower
  • 372 miles of range
  • New, larger battery
  • Solid performance
“A Nissan with more than 350 miles of range would be tremendous for the current SUV market and a big blow for Tesla”

As with most concepts, the IMx previews a new electric drivetrain that sounds very promising. The crossover is reportedly powered by two “high-output” motors, one for each axle, that produce a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque combined. The concept also boasts a high-capacity battery that’s supposed to return a driving range of more than 372 miles per charge. That’s at least 77 miles more than the most efficient Tesla Model X available right now and mighty impressive when compared to the Nissan Leaf. While the autonomous drive system might not be ready for production just yet, this electric drivetrain could become a thing by the end of the year. Assuming that development is already close to its final stages.

A 400+ horsepower Nissan with more than 350 miles of range would be tremendous for the current SUV market and a big blow for Tesla, the current segment leader with the awesome Model X.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729720

Note: 2018 Nissan Leaf pictured here.

“If Nissan doesn't develop this drivetrain in time for the IMx, it may be stuck with the one in the Leaf”

On the flipside, if Nissan doesn’t develop this drivetrain in time for the IMx, it may be stuck with the one in the Leaf. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the Leaf isn’t as powerful and doesn’t return as much mileage as the competition. Specifically, the new Leaf comes with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque on tap, 40 horses and 49 pound-feet more than the outgoing model. The battery is also new, now having a 40-kWh capacity. That’s 10 kWh more than the previous model, but below the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s 60 kWh and the Tesla Model 3’s 50 or optional 75 kWh capacity. The range was increased from 107 to 150 miles. While it’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s significantly inferior to the Bolt’s 238 miles and the Model 3’s 220 miles.

Of course, the crossover doesn’t have to get the exact same drivetrain. Nissan did say that a more powerful version is under development, so I guess an IMx with at least 200 miles is doable. But again, if Nissan moves that 429-horsepower and 372-mile drivetrain into production, the IMx could become the hottest electric crossover on the market. Sure, it won’t be as quick as the Tesla Model X, but I’d sacrifice supercar-like performance for almost 400 miles of range per charge.

Prices

It’s difficult to predict how much will Nissan ask for the production version of the IMx, mainly because the Japanese firm hasn’t offered an all-electric crossover up until now. But based on the Leaf’s place on the market, it’s safe to assume that the IMx will be a bit more affordable than the competition. I’d venture to say that pricing will start from around $40,000 before incentives. That’s around $32,500 if you’re eligible for government rebates.

Competition

Tesla Model X


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Introduced in 2015, the Tesla Model X is basically the only mass-produced, all-electric SUV on the market. Developed on the same platform as the popular Model S, the Model X shares many styling cues with the sedan and stands out thanks to its butterfly-style, “falcon” rear doors. Available with seating for up to seven adults, the Model X offers a somewhat premium environment with the best technology Tesla can offer. The SUV is packed with sensors and cameras and even uses a semi-autonomous driving system called Autopilot. Three drivetrain options are available, starting with the 75D model. Powered by a 75 kWh battery, it returns 237 miles per charge, hits 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and tops out at 130 mph. Next up is 100D, powered by a 100 kWh battery with all-wheel-drive. Range increases to 295 miles, while the 0-to-60 mph sprint drops to 4.7 clicks. Top speed is estimated at 155 mph. The range-topping P100D model also uses a 100 kWh battery but comes with an upgraded all-wheel-drive system. While mileage drops to 289 miles compared to the 100D, sprinting to 60 mph takes an amazing 2.9 seconds. Pricing for the base model is set at $85,500 before incentives, making it significantly more expensive than what the IMx is expected to cost. The 100D trim retails from $102,000, while the P100D model comes in at a whopping $140,000.

Read our full story on the 2016 Tesla Model X.

Conclusion


2020 Nissan IMx - image 747362

I’ve been a fan of Nissan vehicles and the company’s marketing strategy for quite a few years now. The Japanese firm is well covered in most segments, but it does have a couple of issues in the performance and EV departments. Both the GT-R and 370Z are a bit too long in the tooth, while the new Leaf still doesn’t offer as much range as the competition. But the biggest issue, in my opinion, is that Nissan has yet to expand its EV lineup. Not only the Leaf needs a higher performance version, but Nissan also needs an all-electric crossover in dealerships. The IMx seems to be answer to this problem, especially if it comes with the drivetrain showcased in the concept car. If this happens, it will also be a big blow for Tesla, which is currently struggling roll out new products while the Model X is way too expensive for the average Joe. With a sub-$40,000 sticker and a 300-mile range, the IMx could become the leader of the electric crossover market and could spawn a revolution in this very small segment. Fingers crossed that this concept is more than just a fancy show car.

  • Leave it
    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Leaf drivetrain wouldn’t be enough

References


2017 Nissan IMx - image 740398

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan IMx Concept.


2013 Nissan IDx Nismo - image 532944

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Nismo.


2014 Nissan IDx Freeflow - image 532996

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Freeflow.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729755

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

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 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 a 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. 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 08/20/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Cayman GT4 out for one final testing before its official debut set for the 2018 Paris Auto Show.

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

    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 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.

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