Newsflash: Jaguar krijgt pas in 2025 nieuwe modellen

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+++ Say what you will about BMW ’s latest designs, but the company sure knows how to create quite a stir whenever a new model comes out. The polarising Concept XM is all over the news not just because of how radical it looks, but also due to the reason it’s the first dedicated M car in 4 decades. The super aggressive SUV will become the firm’s most powerful production car ever and is bound to be sold strictly with a PHEV setup as an M model. If you don’t like the concept’s ultra-angular appearance, we’ve got some bad news to share. The production version will retain more than 90 percent of the showcar’s design. That includes a new split headlight setup with a slimmer upper LED strip for the daytime running lights and the main cluster combining the low and high beam mounted below behind heavily tinted glass. Who is BMW targeting with the XM? M division head honcho Franciscus van Meel says the 750 hp electrified SUV aims to lure in the “non-conformist” and “extroverted”, adding the sporty luxobarge will try to attract new buyers that haven’t been previously tempted to get behind the wheel of a new Bimmer. The United States will be its main market, but the XM will be sold all over the world once production is going to start late next year at the Spartanburg factory in South Carolina. The top brass at M describes the PHEV SUV as being a “pinnacle of expressive luxury,” one that has been tasked to “pull up the other M editions” in the sense that it will make M cars feel more than just a superior trim level. Aside from ushering in an edgy design language, the XM paves the way for fancier interiors at BMW. According to van Meel, customers want even more luxury inside their cars, which is why the concept has been envisioned with a cozy lounge-like cabin. How much of the glitzy interior will be carried to the production version remains to be seen, but we’re not expecting any major changes. Why a plug-in hybrid setup? BMW explains their buyers still want the big V8, but at the same time, the German premium brand needs to comply with stricter emissions regulations. Consequently, the decision has been taken to combine the ubiquitous petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery pack that offers an estimated 50 km of zero-emissions range. Love it or loathe it, the XM foretells a new design approach and also paves the way for performance models with a PHEV setup. We’ll be curious to know how much the car weighs considering something like the X6 M is already a porker, at 2.295 kilograms, without the extra hardware commanded by electrification. With production kicking off at the end of 2022, we’re hoping the production version will break cover as early as next summer. How much will it cost? It’s too soon to say, but logic tells us you should prepare to pay a significant premium over the X6 M Competition. +++

+++ JAGUAR is taking a break from introducing new products until 2025 and focusing all of its efforts on developing a new range of electric vehicles. The automaker’s “Reimagine” strategy, announced earlier this year, will see Jaguar go upmarket as it attempts to complete both a switch to electric and a segment shift. No longer satisfied with competing against the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, the British brand wants to enter Bentley territory. Until then, Jaguar will reportedly lean entirely on its existing range of vehicles and will simplify engine and equipment offerings. With much of the range having been recently updated, it seems that it is hoping it can coast for the next 3 years. No factories will be closed in that time, but the workforce may have to be shrunk. To be sure, Jaguar’s “Reimagine” strategy will be a dramatic one. Its new, all-electric lineup will consist of 2 crossovers and a 2-door coupe. The least expensive vehicle offered will start at nearly €135.000 in the Netherlands and all will offer “modern luxury”. The strategy, being set by JLR’s new CEO Thierry Bollore, has already led to several dramatic decisions. Since his arrival, Bollore already cut 2 midsize crossovers planned for Jaguar and Land Rover, canceled the new XJ at the last minute, and JLR said it was looking to cut 2.000 jobs over the past year. While Jaguar’s shift to electric vehicles and its move upmarket may seem sensible, it is in lockstep with the wider automotive industry. And that may mean more competition when its vehicles actually make it to market. +++

+++ I’m a big fan of the KIA e-Niro: the car that really started to position the Korean brand as a major player in the fast-growing world of electric cars. The new model looks set to continue the good work of its predecessor by giving buyers the opportunity to taste electrification without having to go the whole hog; it’ll be available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or a full EV. I’m not sure that contrasting rear panel does it any favours, though. What is clear is that not everyone can or wants to go fully electric just yet, in spite of the proliferation of EVs from every major manufacturer. And hybrids do their bit to lower emissions and reduce running costs, while not relying on a plug and socket. Even if you do have easy access to charging, hybrids are ideal stepping stones on the road to full electrification. Hybrids are already being used to good effect in performance cars, too, and in Formula One. Driving some of the very latest performance hybrids feels like a natural evolution for fast cars rather than a step towards the eventual full electrification of sports cars. A number of you are asking whether you should buy a petrol car or an EV, and if there’s still place for (whisper it) diesel? The biggest barrier to EV ownership these days seems to be the public charging network. It is so frustrating to find broken chargers, blocked chargers, multiple apps and confusing payment schemes. It’s clear that more needs to be done to increase and improve the EV charging network. +++

+++ Prototypes of the new, 6th generation MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class have been spotted testing on public roads for the first time ahead of a planned Introduction during the first half of 2023. Known internally under the codename W214, the new E-Class follows an evolutionary path, with development focused around refinements to its platform, electric architecture and engines. Its electric architecture is being heavily upgraded to support new functions that include level three autonomous driving potential in countries where it is permitted, together with 5G connectivity that allows high-speed over-the-air software updates for the first time. With the new Mercedes-Benz EQE offering electric drivelines when it goes on sale early next year, the 2023 E-Class will stick with electrified versions of today’s 4- and 6-cylinder engines. Styling-wise, the new model adopts a look similar to the latest S-Class, with a bolder front end comprising more angular headlights and a large chromed grille. While heavily disguised on the prototype captured here, the rear is described as a mixture between the S-Class and new C-Class. Alongside the saloon model previewed by the prototype seen here, Mercedes-Benz also plans to follow up today’s E-Class Estate and E-Class All Terrain with successor models, due out in 2024. Mercedes-Benz is not giving too much away about the future of the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, although it is believed a new CLE (a moniker recently trademarked by Mercedes) ould serve as a replacement for both of these cars and the smaller 2-door C-Class models. One of the last models to be based on Mercedes-Benz’s existing MRA platform, the new E-Class saloon receives a slightly longer wheelbase than today’s fifth-generation model. The track widths have also been increased, giving the new 2023 model a larger footprint and interior dimensions. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with fine engines and a typically laid-back dynamic character. Not one for the interested driver, but a good advert for being disinterested. The double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension has been modified to fit the new dimensions of the platform structure. It will be offered in combination with an optional air suspension and, for the first time on the E-Class, a rear-wheel steering system offering up to 10deg of steering at the rear. The engines, mounted in their traditional longitudinal position, will be reduced in number and (in selected models) capacity, too. Officials have hinted that the existing twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 in the E63 will no longer be offered. As in the smaller C63, due out in 2022, its place will be taken by a highly strung turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, the M139, with plug-in hybrid assistance for a total output of up to 600 hp. The existing M254 four-cylinder petrol and OM654 four-cylinder diesel units will be offered exclusively with an integrated starter-generator and 48 volt electrical system as well as changes to their exhaust system that allows them to meet upcoming EU7 emission regulations. The turbocharged 2.9-litre in-line 6-cylinder M256 petrol and turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder OM656 diesel units are planned to receive similar upgrades and will be offered with both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid functionality with up to 435 hp and 330 hp respectively. All plug-in hybrid versions are set to receive a 28.6 kWh battery, the same unit used by the S 580e, to give them an electric range of over 100 km. Every engine is set to be combined with a standard nine-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox. Rear-wheel drive will feature on lower-end models, with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic four-wheel drive system set to appear on more powerful models, including those from AMG. Mercedes-Benz is determined to once again make the new E-Class the safest car in its class. As well as adopting all the various driving assistant systems from the larger S-Class, the sixth-generation model is also set to support level three autonomous driving functionality with lidar based sensors. Inside, the new E-Class adopts a similar dashboard architecture to that of the latest C-Class and S-Class. The set-up includes digital instruments in a free-standing display panel, optionally with 3D graphics, and a portrait-style display within the centre console for the infotainment functions. +++

+++ NISSAN introduced the all-new Qashqai in February this year and the crossover is now on sale on the Old continent. It is available with a single engine option, namely a mild-hybrid 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol unit with either 140 hp and 240 Nm or 158 hp and 260 Nm. A new electrified option will join the range very soon and Nissan is currently putting the finishing touches on it. It uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor for a combined output of 190 hp and 330 Nm. It’s worth mentioning that in this setup, the combustion engine acts as a generator and only provides energy for the electric motors. At no point the 4-cylinder unit will drive the wheels directly. There shouldn’t be any visual differences between the e-Power model and the rest of the lineup. Even the little disguise that this prototype features is virtually unnecessary because we know pretty much 99.99 percent of the design of this crossover. The remaining 00.01 percent is for the new badges on the boot lid. Nissan says this new powertrain will give the customers the freedom to drive their cars like regular combustion vehicles in terms of refuelling, but combined with the power delivery synonymous with EVs. On top of that, the automaker promises the Qashqai e-Power will have the one-pedal driving option that we know from the all-electric Nissan Leaf. The new electrified version of the Qashqai is part of the brand’s new strategy to launch no fewer than 23 electrified models by 2030. It should debut towards the middle of next year with sales expected to begin in the third quarter of the year. +++

+++ The European automotive market struggles more and more with the ongoing semiconductor shortage and the lack of new cars at dealerships. Passenger car registrations in Europe (26 European markets, monitored by JATO Dynamics) decreased by 30 % year-over-year to 790,652 in October. The year-to date result of 9.85 million is now only 2.6 % above the 2020 level. Meanwhile, the PLUG-IN electric cars are selling well. A total of 181.300 new plug-ins were registered last month, which is enough for 22.9 % of the market (a new record, but probably only slightly above September, which was also estimated at 23 %). For reference, in 2019, plug-ins had a share of barely 4 %!”. During the month, a total of 181.300 units of BEV and PHEV were registered, accounting for 22.9% of total market share; a new monthly record. While the EV segment continues its upward trajectory, diesel vehicles are struggling to gain traction in Europe, with market share dropping to just 19 %. JATO Dynamics notes that the shortages directly affect the market as manufacturers are switching to produce and sell the most profitable models (usually large SUVs) and plug-ins (important also from the standpoint of the emission requirements). Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Carmakers are being forced to prioritise their best-selling segments, meaning that the few available semiconductors are being used solely to produce SUV and EVs”. Not all manufacturers are affected by the shortage equally and it appears that the Volkswagen Group is hit pretty hard (down 42% year-over-year and outsold by Stellantis). “Last month, Volkswagen recorded a 42% decline in volume, with double-digit drops in all countries except Ireland. Its compact and midsize cars were the most severely affected segments”. “According to JATO Dynamics’ data, last month was the second time, this century, that Volkswagen Group fell out of the leadership position for monthly registrations ranking by OEM. This marks the first time since its formation earlier this year, that Stellantis has outsold the German manufacturer”, Now let’s take a look at the top models in the BEV and PHEV categories. October was not as spectacular month as some of the other months, but some of the results are very interesting. First of all, the Renault Zoé (one of the oldest electric cars on the market) was #1 with 6.438 units, despite a significant 35 % drop year-over-year. The Zoé’s result was enough to outsell the Volkswagen ID.3, which at 5.539 was down 47 % year-over-year, compared to its first full month on the market. Volkswagen has some big supply issues as its main MEB-EV plant in Zwickau, as well as a smaller Dresden plant, have been halted for an entire week. Meanwhile, the Dacia Spring (Made in China) is selling like hot cakes. It was third in October with 5.277 units and 40.000 units total were ordered. It seems that Europe is hungry for entry-level EVs, as affordable as possible. In October, once again the Skoda Enyaq iV (5.166) was above Volkswagen ID.4 (4.847). The Hyundai Ioniq 5 with 3.286 entered the top 10 for the first time, at #9. Among plug-in hybrids, the Ford Kuga PHEV remains #1, but the Peugeot 3008 PHEV was very close this time. +++

+++ TOYOTA has hinted that it will deploy solid-state batteries in its hybrid vehicles before introducing the technology to EVs. Hybrids will continue to play a core role in the company’s electrification strategy, and powertrain boss Thiebault Pâquet told the benefits of solid-state technology include quicker charging, quicker discharging and reduced heat generation. “We can test and evaluate the technology in those circumstances”, he added, suggesting the technology will be refined in less EV-intensive hybrid applications before it makes its way to EVs. The move comes as Toyota reinforces its ongoing commitment to hybrid technology in the coming years. European boss Matt Harrison explained that Toyota and Lexus will achieve a 70% electrified sales mix in Western Europe this year and “hybrid powertrains continue to attract new customers to both brands, especially those that are looking for practical and accessible ways to reduce their carbon footprint”. European research-and-development boss Gerald Killman said Toyota will begin selling cars with solid-state batteries from around the middle of the decade, with plans to deliver “higher output, longer range and shorter charging times”. He confirmed that a functioning prototype vehicle equipped with the technology was built last year for testing purposes, with an ongoing development programme centred around durability. “We believe solid-state batteries have great potential for battery electric vehicles”, he added. Hints at Toyota’s next-generation hybrid system come as it rolls out an updated Gen5 powertrain in its new Corolla Cross SUV , bringing improved efficiency and performance courtesy of subtle mechanical modifications over the current system used by the C-HR, Corolla, Highlander, RAV4 and Yaris. +++

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