Newsflash: Volkswagen komt met GTX versie van ID.2

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+++ The BMW 7 Series will be fully revamped for the 2023 model year with the redesign likely bringing a split-headlights design, an all-electric version, and – according to a new report new petrol engines. While electrification will be the focus when it comes to the powertrains, there is good news for ICE lovers coming from the rumour mill. The base 7 Series will get a heavily upgraded version of the 3.0-litre (B58) straight-6 petrol engine. In the 735i, it will deliver about 340 hp and if you opt for the 740i, it will produce 430 hp. Of course, these are not official numbers yet, though I trust this source and believe they are correct. As a side note, the revised B58 engine is also expected to be offered on the X5, X6, and X7, but most likely, it will make its debut on the new 7 Series. The 5 Series in 540i trim should also get the new version of BMW’s 3.0-litre straight-6 engine at some point. While the updated B58 will surely be warmly welcomed, BMW fans will probably be more excited about the information that a brand new V8 will debut with the new 7 Series. Believed to be wearing the S68 internal designation, it will be based on the existing N63 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and will feature some sort of standard hybridisation. The output should be around 540 hp, and just like the new 3.0, it should make its way to other large models of the company. The all-electric version of BMW’s flagship saloon will admittedly be the most technologically advanced model in the new 7 Series range. According to preliminary details, it could have as much as 660 bhp thanks to a large battery pack and dual motors driving all four wheels, making it the most powerful variant in the lineup. +++

+++ The Ford BRONCO could be coming to Europe, according to Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley. He said with a smile on his face: “I’m just waiting for these guys at Ford of Europe to make up their mind”. Asked how well the Bronco would work in Europe, Farley said, “Absolutely, it works. I see all these Defenders around. Absolutely. I think it would work fine”. Farley has a large collection of Fords himself that includes a 1973 Bronco alongside a four-door version of the new model. In the United States, the all-new Bronco has been a massive sales success with waiting lists for the 2- or 4-door models stretching well into 2022. Buyers in the US can choose from a 2.7-litre 6-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 330 hp and 563 Nm or a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 300 hp and 441 Nm. It’s not known whether both powertrains will come to Europe, with the 4-cylinder the most likely. Although Ford has hinted at an all-electric full-size SUV which could be the Bronco, a high-performance Bronco Raptor version is expected to come much sooner with a high-performance 408 hp 3.0-litre V6 engine rumoured to be under the bonnet. The Bronco starts at around $30,000 in the US including taxes, although most buyers will spend much more with myriad optional extras and option packs available. There’s no word on possible European prices yet, but I’d expect a European Bronco to start at well over €75.000 depending on which specifications are offered. Equally, with demand for Broncos so strong in its home market, it would be unlikely that Bronco would come to Europe any time before 2023. +++

+++ DACIA is striving to ensure the Duster flagship remains true to its affordable and capable billing as the firm expands and electrifies its product line-up under parent company Groupe Renault’s ‘Renaulution’ transformation strategy. Following the brand’s recent reveal of its freshly updated Nissan Juke rival, Duster product boss Julien Ferry emphasised that the current model’s successor must be “the same” car. “Its role in the company is to provide a very good price-to- feature ratio”, he said. “It has to address these customers who are looking for a simple car which can go off-road”. Ferry emphasised that the Duster’s off-road ability will be a priority for the current model’s successor. The outgoing 4×4 version of the Dacia Duster is one of the cheapest four-wheel-drive SUVs on sale, with Ferry referring to it as “the best non-specialist off-roader”. Dacia will therefore “keep the recipe and update it following customer demand”. Earlier this year, Dacia CEO Denis Le Vot said the value brand would “leverage to the full” the Renault – Nissan – Mistubishi Alliance’s CMF-B architecture, as already used by the Duster’s smaller Sandero sibling, as part of a move to bring all of Dacia’s and sibling brand Lada’s models onto one platform. This paves the way for the next-generation Duster to adopt the same plug-in hybrid powertrain as the similar-size Renault Captur, as well as an all-electric version sitting atop the new Renault 5’s CMF-BEV platform, which is geared towards affordable EVs in the A- and B- segments. The CMF-BEV architecture is closely related to the conventional CMF-B structure, which makes it feasible for cars based on each to be produced at the same location and even on the same line. Crucially, the overall dimensions (including wheelbase and overhangs) are broadly similar, minimising the potential for costly bodywork and chassis modifications to adapt the Duster for full electrification. Renault has confirmed the retro-styled 5 concept will take its chunky 16 inch alloy wheels into production, suggesting capacity for the CMF-BEV platform to accommodate the large-diameter off-road wheels and tyres that are a crucial factor in the Duster retaining its workhorse-style appeal in its new generation. The CMF-BEV platform is, however, front-driven and not for now compatible with twin-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrains, unlike the larger CMF-EV structure, which will house a second motor at the rear in Alpine’s forthcoming electric crossover. Ferry highlighted the European launch of Dacia’s new Spring Electric (one of the region’s cheapest mainstream EVs, at €17.890 euro in the Netherlands) as a sign that the company intends to maintain affordability as it switches to electrification. “Even if EVs have been too expensive, you can see that the Spring is quite low for an electric vehicle”, he said. Dacia will also expand its product offering at the upper end with the introduction of its largest model yet, a ruggedly styled C-segment SUV, which is set to launch by 2025 as a rival both to the Nissan Qashqai and the Volkswagen Tiguan. It too will use the CMF-B platform in its combustion-engined and hybrid forms, with potential for an electric variant using the EV-powertrain-capable version of those underpinnings. +++

+++ FORD is poised to revive more historic model names in the coming years, having applied the Puma, Mustang and Kuga nameplates to its latest European-market SUVs. Each of those three models takes its name from a lower-slung and more overtly sporting forebear (the Kuga being phonetically linked to the 1990s Cougar coupé and 1960s Mercury Cougar) and comments from the firm’s European design chief suggest similar revivals are on the cards. Murat Gueler explained that the design of previous-generation Fiestas did not influence the recent facelift of the current car, and that retro design (such as that employed for a variety of high-profile models, including the new Renault 5, Nissan Z and Lamborghini Countach) will not be a feature of any upcoming Ford models. Instead, Gueler explained, Ford is more likely to nod to its past successes by bringing back their names. “The industry is in its craziest time ever since I joined 20 years ago, and I’ve never seen it so disruptive as it is now. There’s a lot of stuff coming onto the market and consumers are bombarded with all kinds of products and information”, he said. “There’s a lot of stuff coming from China which is very competitive, and the Koreans are already very competitive with beautiful designs and strong technology, so the question for manufacturers like Ford is ‘how do you position yourself?’. I think we have the unique asset of having nameplates from the past that we can tap into to emotionalise our product and to tell stories no other brand can tell”. Gueler stopped short of naming any specific models that could be ripe for revival, but acknowledged that such a technique could be “an opportunity for Ford to distinguish itself from the bombardment of electrification that’s coming”. There were “a lot of sceptics” when Ford launched the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, Gueler said, “but it it turns out it was the right thing to do, because the Mustang name gives a gravitas to the product which maybe otherwise wouldn’t exist. There is opportunity with nameplates that you can really refresh and execute in the right way to distinguish yourself from others”. One likely candidate to adopt a previously used moniker would be the compact electric SUV due in 2023 atop Volkswagen’s MEB EV platform. It will be built in the Fiesta factory in Cologne, Germany, but given today’s supermini will still be on sale, is unlikely to share its name. There are a number of sporty coupés in Ford’s back catalogue that could be commemorated in the same way as the Puma to bolster their appeal in the European market: Capri and Probe seem the likeliest candidates, but the huge-selling Cortina, Escort and Sierra (each also sold in 2-door guise at various points) all enjoy strong legacies, too. +++

+++ Are you ready for an electric MERCEDES-AMG Roadster? In an interview, chief operating officer Markus Schäfer explained that an electrified roadster is an emotional product that is important for brand building. When discussing electric vehicles, it’s easy to focus on important things like range, but what about the emotional connection that makes us love our car? For Mercedes-AMG even in the face of electrification customer engagement through exciting products is a must. In the interview, it’s clear that an electric Mercedes-AMG roadster isn’t set to break any sales records. In fact, Schäfer told: “And we have to recognise that the demand for roadsters and cabriolets is declining. China is not a cabriolet market and there are fewer buyers in Europe compared to some years ago. But I think it’s a very attractive product and an emotional product that builds the brand”. This is the exact concept the leads mainstream automakers to build halo cars in the form of supercars that only a few customers can buy. Much like the MX-5 gives the Mazda lineup soul, this electric roadster could give Mercedes-AMG’s future lineup something to get excited about and remember that driving can pull at your emotions. Even though roadsters don’t sell well, those who don’t purchase one almost always want one. When it comes to EVs we seem to focus on the numbers instead of the experience. The decision of Mercedes-AMG to introduce a more emotional EV is exciting as it shows us a future where we can still engage with a car regardless of the propulsion method. Sure an EV powertrain won’t sound like Mercedes-AMG’s sonorous V8s, but surely that can develop something to add to the drama. +++

+++ It was on September 11, 2017 when Mercedes-AMG took the Frankfurt Motor Show by storm with the unveiling of its conceptual PROJECT ONE hypercar. Fast forward four years later, the production version of the F1-engined electrified machine is still not here yet, and we’re now hearing it will take a while until the first cars will be delivered to owners. A new report from Mercedes-Fans.de claims AMG won’t start shipping cars until the first quarter of 2022, likely because there are still some hardware issues that have to be resolved. As you will recall, the development phase hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing, with the switch to the stricter emissions regulations of the WLTP cycle giving the engineers a lot of headaches to make the 1.6-litre V6 compliant. The top-dog AMG also had some cold start issues at one point during development, and some of you will recall there were also problems with getting the 5.000 rpm idle of an F1 engine down to a stable 1.200 rpm. Some design changes are also on the menu for the production version compared to the 2017 concept, along with a name change by dropping the word “Project” while gaining “E Performance” that will be used going forward for performance hybrids. As a refresher, only 275 units of the € 3 million hybridised beast will ever be made and all of them have long been pre-sold, with buyers signing on the dotted line and agreeing not to flip their cars. For that pretty sum, customers will be getting a hypercar with a combustion engine of Formula 1 origins working with four electric motors to develop a total output expected to surpass 1.000 hp, maybe even hit the 1.200 hp mark if the rumour mill is accurate. AMG has strongly suggested the production version could set the outright lap record at the Green Hell, beating even the track-only Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo (5:19.55). +++

+++ Hot on the heels of VOLKSWAGEN ’s ID. Life will be a performance-focused GTX model, according to the brand’s sales and marketing boss, Klaus Zellmer. The VW ID. Life GTX is set to arrive soon after the eventual production version of VW’s baby EV crossover in 2025, bringing more power and a sportier chassis set-up, along with a host of cosmetic upgrades. Zellmer told at the Munich Motor Show that the GTX name is set to be attached to every ID. model in the German brand’s line-up: “GTX, in the long run, is something that we want for every derivative”, he said. “So GTX is also something that we want to have, potentially, for the ID. Life”. This plan is integral to a new range structure that VW is set to adopt with its future EVs. The idea is that instead of offering cars with a wide variety of specifications from the factory, the range will be more uniform, with customers purchasing a ‘base’ car and enabling options through over-the-air software updates. This will simplify each model line and reduce manufacturing costs; and with electric powertrains, the digital engineering possibilities extend further still. A software update could in the future unlock more power from the electric motor, as well as additional range from the battery, a strategy that could potentially be used to create future GTX variants in some sectors of the market. However, it remains to be seen whether the powertrain set-up of the ID. Life production car will be adequate to bring the required level of performance a GTX-badged model will need with software optimisation alone. Zellmer said: “We will have to see whether the battery technology will be able to fulfil the GTX performance promise. If it does, then we will stay with limited powertrain variants. If it doesn’t, then we will have to adjust accordingly, with a bigger battery and a different motor”. Motor calibration and software tweaks could also potentially improve the ID. Life GTX’s handling, with retuned torque vectoring and active torque split capabilities likely to unlock a new dynamic personality as it has done in VW’s already-launched ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX electric performance SUVs. Those cars’ clever Vehicle Dynamics Manager integrated stability control system will also probably feature to boost agility. In concept form the ID. Life has a 231 hp electric motor, front-wheel drive and a claimed 400 km range. With its extra performance potential, expect a GTX variant to deliver a more modest figure. The brand is targeting a starting price of around €22.000 for the ID. Life, but with the GTX bookending the line-up it is likely to be the priciest variant and could cost more than €35.000. +++

+++ Deliveries of the first VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 1ST started about a year ago, so it’s time to see the first reports about battery degradation. An one-year-old ID.3 with a 62 kWh battery (58 kWh usable) that has covered 22.500 km was investigated. The WLTP range of this model is up to 420 km. It might not be the most typical example of battery degradation, since the car covered the first 15.000 km within the first 3 months of ownership. At the time, it was charged almost exclusively (90 %) at 100 kW DC fast chargers up to full, and regularly discharged below 10 % State of Charge (SOC). Later, the usage profile has changed to mostly 11 kW AC and up to 80 % SOC. To see how the range changes, a 90 km/h range test was conducted and compared to results to a similar test a year ago. The results showd a 7.5 % degradation after a first year. That is quite a substantial decrease. I know that often the degradation is highest in the initial year and then slows down, but 7.5% would be a lot. In an additional test, the energy consumed at a fast charger was checked. It showed that after a year, the battery could consume 9.1 % less (53.1 kWh instead of 62.2 kWh). Here the difference is even higher. +++

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