Newsflash: BMW M3 CS krijgt vierwielaandrijving


+++ Ultra-luxury cars with 6-figure price tags haven’t historically been the most environmentally focused vehicles, but that’s changing. Rolls-Royce will release its first EV in 2023 and convert its entire lineup to electric by 2030. BENTLEY is on pace to do the same, and today the automaker announced what it says is its most sustainable Bentayga model. Bentley will build only 70 examples of the Bentayga Odyssean Edition and says that it focused on including sustainable, environmentally friendly materials such as tweed and responsibly sourced woods. Interior color groups with names like “Beluga”, “Porpoise”, and “Cricketball” give buyers a wide variety of 3-color themes to choose from, and Bentley says the interior embroidery “sees thread colors blend calmly into one another across the width of each seat”. The Odyssean Edition’s PHEV powertrain includes a 3.0-liter gas engine and a 100 kW electric motor. The 2 combine for 456 horsepower and can propel the stately SUV from 0-100 kph in 5.3 seconds. Bentley says acceleration is effortless because of the electric motor and notes a top speed of 250 kph. An 18 kWh battery provides an all-electric range of 45 km (WLTP), and drivers can choose between 3 modes to use or conserve battery power. EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode can be engaged manually or selected automatically by the vehicle, but EV Mode is the default on start. The SUV can automatically adapt power output settings based on road conditions, driving directions, and driver behavior. It also pokes the driver to let them know when to save battery. In EV Mode, for example, Bentley uses the SUV’s navigation system with visual and haptic feedback to alert the driver when there are opportunities to conserve or regain battery power. The gas pedal vibrates when approaching an intersection or lower speed limit zone, letting the driver know to lift off and let regenerative braking take over. The system also vibrates on the transition between electric and gas powertrain components. +++


+++ The BMW M3 CS continues development on the Nürburgring. The upcoming performance saloon will feature an aggressive front splitter sticks and has prominent fins on each outer edge. Vertical inlets direct air to the wheels and brakes. 2 trapezoidal openings flank the sides of the big, kidney grilles. The wheels feature a trapezoidal pattern near the hub and V-shaped design at the rim. Zooming into the images reveals that the vehicle is using Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres. Gold coloured brake callipers clamp onto drilled rotors. A spoiler attaches to the boot lid. 2 circular exhaust outlets emerge from cutouts on each side of the diffuser. Leaked details give us an idea of what’s under the bonnet. This application of the S58 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-6 reportedly has the same 550 hp and 650 Nm as the version in the M4 CSL. Unlike the M4 CSL, the M3 CS reportedly has all-wheel drive, rather than only driving the back tyres. The saloon is allegedly only available with an automatic gearbox. The M3 CS would have a sporty interior to match its aggressive exterior. Front and rear bucket seats would allegedly be part of that recipe. Carbon-fibre trim would add to the motorsport-inspired aesthetic. The M3 CS will reportedly be available for a limited amount of time. Production will allegedly start in March 2023 and will run to February 2024. The public debut will likely happen before the start of assembly, suggesting we’ll possibly see it soon. +++

+++ The next-generation HYUNDAI SANTA FE will receive a significant design overhaul next year, as the firm’s largest SUV looks set to continue to offer 7 seats and a selection of hybrid powertrains. Likely to be fully revealed next year before a 2024 launch, a heavily updated prototype of the Santa Fe was photographed testing on public roads in Germany. The prototype was almost entirely covered with black fabric, with a black-and-white obscuring livery visible beneath. It appears to feature a much more squared-off silhouette than the current Santa Fe. The key design changes have been made to the Santa Fe’s roof and A-pillar, with new lights at the front and rear. While the current Santa Fe uses Hyundai-Kia’s N3 Y6 platform, the new model will adopt the firm’s N3 structure, which it will share with the new Kia Sorento. Hyundai is not ready to convert the Santa Fe to all-electric power just yet. It is likely to be offered with a choice of electrified powertrains once again. The current car, which has been on sale since 2019 and received a facelift for the 2021 model year, is sold in the Netherlands with a four-cylinder 1.6-litre T-GDi hybrid powertrain making 230 hp, while the range is topped by a 1.6-litre T-GDi plug-in hybrid, delivering 265 hp. +++

+++ MAZDA was supposed to announce its mid-term plan last spring. However, the high-level road map of the company’s future was derailed due to a variety of factors beyond the Hiroshima firm’s control. Executives are now revealing some of those plans ahead of their official announcement later next month. Mazda wanted to make public its strategy earlier this year, but according to an unnamed executive, the company held back due to market instability. Volatility came from a variety of factors, including shutdowns in China over Covid-19 cases, the war in Ukraine, continuing snags in the global supply chain and the EV tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act that were being debated in Congress at the time. Some of the issues above have hit Mazda particularly hard. Sales are down 21% compared to September of last year, in a market down only 13% overall. The good news is that output at factories is on the upswing. “Now we are refilling inventory and performance is up”, the executive told. Mazda will “beef up” its EV goals slightly with the new plan. Currently, they’re targeting 25% of cars sold by 2030 to be EVs, with a dedicated battery-electric platform coming out in 2025. The rotary engine as a range extender for a plug-in hybrid version of the MX-30 is also scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. Its dealers are reportedly “skeptical” about short-term demand for battery electrics. Beyond numbers, Mazda wants make human-centric engineering the core of their “brand purpose”. It builds upon the current “jinba ittai” philosophy, which is Japanese for “horse and rider as one”. Mazda has already been engineering their current generation of cars with a focus on how the human body best responds to movement at speed (minimizing sudden jolting motions and tuning suspensions to mimic natural motions, for example), but it has not been marketed. It is “the center of everything we do,” one executive told. +++

+++ The PORSCHE TAYCAN is expected to be facelifted for the 2024 model year. The electric saloon will receive a minor styling update, with new larger headlights and a slightly updated bumper design. The general exterior and interior design of the car is expected to remain the same however, meanwhile range and power numbers should also be similar to existing figures. The facelifted Taycan was spotted in testing in Germany with minimal camouflage. The front fascia will be altered slightly. Porsche typically facelifts its cars after 4 years, with an entirely new model arriving after 8 years. The Taycan first went on sale in late 2019, meaning a facelift is due in late 2023/early 2024. And as we previously reported, the next-generation Taycan is slated to arrive in 2027. Although the Taycan lineup is expected to remain unchanged for the 2024 model year, a new variant could be added with the refresh. An aggressive, winged Taycan prototype was recently spotted taking on the Nürburgring. It’s rumoured it could be the Turbo GT version. This nameplate was used for the first time on the Cayenne last year and describes the model that sits above the Turbo S. What would a Taycan Turbo GT bring to the table? A tri-motor powertrain and over 1.000 hp, potentially. The Taycan Turbo S is already the fastest electric car around the Nürburgring, however a GT version would undoubtedly look to better its 7-minute 33-second lap time. +++

+++ TESLA aims to start mass production of its Cybertruck at the end of 2023, two years after the initial target for the long-awaited pickup truck Chief Executive Elon Musk unveiled in 2019, 2 people with knowledge of the plans told. Tesla said last month that it was working on readying its Austin, Texas plant to build the new model with “early production” set to start in the middle of 2023. “We’re in the final lap for Cybertruck”, Musk told a conference call with financial analysts. A gradual ramp in the second half of next year to full output for the sharp-angled electric truck would mean that Tesla would not be recording revenue until early 2024 for a full-quarter of production on a new model seen as key to its growth. It would also mean a wait of another year for the estimated hundreds of thousands of potential buyers who have paid $100 to reserve a Cybertruck in one of the most highly anticipated, and closely tracked electric vehicle launches ever. It has not announced final pricing on the Cybertruck, showed the production version of the vehicle or specified how it will manage the battery supply for the new model. In 2019, Tesla had projected an initial price of under $40,000, but prices for new vehicles have shot higher since then and Tesla has raised prices across its lineup. Musk introduced Cybertruck in a 2019 reveal where the vehicle’s designer cracked the vehicle’s supposedly unbreakable “armor glass” windows. The company has pushed back production timing three times since: from late 2021 to late 2022, then to early 2023 and most recently to the mid-2023 target for initial production. The launch of the Cybertruck will give Tesla an EV entrant in one of the most profitable segments of the U.S. market and a competitor to electric pickups from the likes of Ford and Rivian, both of which have launched models in still-limited numbers. In January, Musk had cited shortages in sourcing components as the reason for pushing the launch of Cybertruck into 2023. In May, Tesla stopped taking orders for the Cybertruck outside North America. Musk said then the company had “more orders of the first Cybertrucks than we could possibly fulfill for 3 years after the start of production”. Automakers often ramp production slowly for an all-new model like the Cybertruck. Analysts have also cautioned that a weakening global economy will start to weigh on sales for Tesla, which has so far been able to sell every car it makes. Musk has said he expected a coming recession would last “probably until spring of 2024”. IDRA Group, the Italian company making the Giga Press that will be used for die casting parts for the Cybertruck, said in a LinkedIn post last week that the 9.000 ton machine for truck part production was packed and ready to be shipped. The post did not name Tesla. Tesla has been using the Giga Press to cut the cost and complexity of production of its Model Y, an innovation other automakers, including Toyota, have studied. +++

+++ The Camry is TOYOTA ’s largest model on sale in Europe where the current generation of the saloon replaced the Avensis a few years ago. The vehicle is sold on the Old Continent as a hybrid with a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine. It’s not the most dynamic machine on the market but it surely does its job of comfortably taking you from point A to point B. But how does it perform in the moose test? At 4.9 metres long, the Camry Hybrid is not exactly compact especially measured by Europe’s standards. This easily explains why the saloon is not nimble around the cones in the test, despite staying relatively stable on the ground. At 77 kilometers per hour, the Camry didn’t manage to finish the manoeuvre without hitting the cones and it seems that the late intervention of the electronic stability system was to blame. It’s important to note the vehicle was riding on Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 tyres in 235/45 R18 94 size. The highest speed at which the test was successfully passed was 73 kph, which may not be a record but is still decent considering the size and weight of the hybrid saloon. The test pilot found the reactions of the car were very predictive at this velocity, though all attempts at a higher speed weren’t successful. Overall, even not quite fast, the car felt comfortable and safe in the moose test. The situation was identical in the slalom. The Camry Hybrid showed a good reaction when going around the cones, though it never felt quite like a nimble or performance vehicle. Thanks to its quick-reacting hybrid powertrain, the final slalom time was more than adequate putting the Camry Hybrid next to the BMW iX xDrive40. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN Passenger Cars reports that its global car sales during the first nine months of this year amounted to 3.335 million (including China), which is 12% less than a year ago. Despite lower sales, revenues actually increased by 6.1% to €52 billion, while the operating result more than doubled (up 103%) to €2.5 billion (4.7% operating return on sales). Meanwhile, its all-electric car sales amounted to 207.200 (up 23.5% year-over-year), including 91.200 in Q3 (up 21.8%). It means that ID models represent about 6.2% of the total volume so far this year. Considering that in 12 months of 2021 Volkswagen sold over 263.000 all-electric cars, with a decent Q4, the company should be able to set a new record result of potentially over 300.000 units. Nonetheless, the growth rate remains below expectations (like in the case of the entire group) which was mostly caused by external factors related to production constraints. The top-selling all-electric Volkswagen is the ID.4/ID.5 duo (counted together by the manufacturer) with about 55.800 units sold in Q3 and 122.600 during the first 9 months. The ID.4 is a special model, produced in 5 factories around the world: 2 in Germany (Zwicaku and Emden), 2 in China (FAW-Volkswagen in Foshan and SAIC Volkswagen in Anting) and 1 in the US (Chattanooga, Tennessee). The second most popular Volkswagen is the ID.3 at 45.500, while the third is ID.6 at 27.500. An important thing to note is that, in China, so far this year, Volkswagen sold 104.700 ID. models (ID.3, ID.4 and ID.6), which is more than 50% of the total 207.200. That’s a pretty surprising outcome, which highlights that results in Europe (Volkswagen’s main market) are far lower than they should be according to plan. It will be very interesting to see how things will change in Q4 and further in 2023, considering stronger and stronger competition. +++


+++ VOLVO will introduce the EX90 electric SUV on November 9. The automaker has been teasing the model over the last few weeks, previewing the technology and features coming with the car. With just over a week to go until the big reveal, Volvo teased today the exterior design and explained some of the thinking behind the styling. The automaker put efficiency at the top of the list when designing the EX90, concentrating on reducing drag and cutting wind resistance. The 7-seat SUV will have a 0.29 drag coefficient, helping to maximise its driving range, which the company hasn’t detailed yet. Volvo achieves the low cd with a rounded front-end design and flush door handles, which are visible in the close-up teaser images. Volvo also showed off the roof-integrated LiDAR system, which the company called a design challenge. It sits just above the windscreen at the front of the roof. The automaker wanted to put the system as high as possible on the vehicle so it could see as much as possible, likening grille-mounted systems to having eyes at knee height. The company says LiDAR will be a cornerstone of its safety systems as it works toward offering unsupervised autonomous driving capabilities. The LiDAR can detect pedestrians up to 250 metres away, and it’s just one part of the SUV’s greater technological abilities that Volvo says will understand the driver and its surroundings. The EX90 will have 16 ultrasonic sensors, 8 cameras and 5 radars monitoring outside the vehicle. Inside, the company will train cameras and sensors not only on the driver but the passengers as well. The company will use radar to detect sleeping kids and pets left inside the SUV and alert drivers as needed. Last week, Volvo teased the EX90’s interior, highlighting the dashboard and digital displays, and today’s tease paints a fuller picture of the SUV. Sustainability will also be a model feature, with the SUV containing nearly 50 kilograms of recycled plastics and bio-based matter. Recent patent filings suggest the EX90 will look more like the current XC90 than was suggested by the concept, which had a straighter-edged 2-box silhouette reminiscent of estate cars such as the V70. When he was Volvo’s CEO, Håkan Samuelsson told that Volvo will gradually reduce its conventional estate offering (currently comprising various forms of the V60 and V90) in recognition of the simple fact that “people really are fond of high seating positions”. But Volvo says the EX90 will straddle the boundary between 2 segments to capitalise on the popularity of SUVs while differentiating itself from rivals and avoiding alienating buyers of lower-slung models. Page called it “a new type of vehicle” that “displays new and modern proportions that go hand in hand with increased versatility”. +++


+++ Geely’s year-old ZEEKR electric vehicle sub-brand has launched its second model, the 009 MPV. Based on the Chinese car maker’s SEA electric vehicle platform (the same structure used by the Zeekr 001 and newly introduced Smart #1 among other models and brands within the Geely portfolio) the new 6-seater is the first production car to receive CATL’s new third-generation cell-to-pack Qilin battery. The 140 kWh lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt unit is claimed to provide the 009 with a range of up to 820 km, according to the China light-duty passenger car test cycle. This new battery is allied to 2 synchronous motors making a combined 550 hp; sufficient, according to Zeekr, for a 0-100 kph time of just 4.5 seconds. The 2.830 kg 4-wheeldrive 009 rides on suspension with double wishbones at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. An optional air suspension provides automatic self-levelling and an electromagnetic vibration reduction system. The distinctive exterior styling and boxy silhouette of the 009 were developed by a team of Geely designers at Zeekr’s global design centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, under new design boss Stefan Sielaff. Key elements include a silver plate ‘Spring of Light’ grille composed of 154 led lights that can be programmed to provide what Zeekr describes as ‘differing scenarios’. The headlights, sited within the leading edge ahead of a short but flat bonnet, are each formed from five different lighting elements. Further back, the new MPV is claimed to receive the largest windscreen in its class. Combined with a wraparound A-pillar treatment aimed at smooth airflow, it contributes to a claimed drag co-efficient of 0.27, according to Zeekr. The large wheelhouses accommodate wheels of up to 20 inch in diameter, while conventional front doors and sliding rear doors either side provide entry to the cabin. At the rear, the 009 sports a full-width tail-light and large tailgate. Zeekr claims the rear aluminium body structure is the largest one-piece die-cast structure used in a production car at 1.400 mm in length and 1.600 mm in width. It is manufactured at parent company Geely’s factory in Ningbo, China, which is claimed to have an annual production capacity of up to 300.000 vehicles. The 009 is 5.209 mm long, 2.024 mm wide and 1.867 mm tall. The wheelbase is 3.205 mm. Inside, the 009 provides seating for 6 in a 2+2+2 layout. A 4-seat executive version with a 2+2 layout is also planned. The second-row seats, with nappa leather upholstery and integral seat belts, are supplied by aviation cabin seat specialist Sofaro. Each comes with an adjustable table. The 009 comes with an optional interactive stereo system that supports an ICC (In Car Communication) system, allowing passengers in the second and third rows to communicate with those in the front through microphones within the speakers. It also receives an optional 15.6 inch digital display for content streaming and digital conferences. Zeekr is billing its new MPV as the safest car in its class. In a co-operation with Israel-based autonomous driving specialist Mobileye, it has provided the 009 with dual chip sets together with 7 megapixel HD cameras, 4 megapixel surround-view cameras, 1 ultra-long-range millimeter wave radar and 12 short-range ultrasonic radars. They support 30 standard driver assistant functions. The brand’s first production model, the 001, was launched in October 2021. At the launch of the 009 in China on Tuesday, officials confirmed sales of the electric liftback totalled 10.109 in October, marking the first time it has achieved monthly sales of more than 10.000. Zeekr says it plans to expand its line-up to achieve sales of 650.000 globally by 2025. +++


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