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Pagani Huayra Imola is $5M and 827 horsepower of insanity


Pagani in 2019 revealed a hardcore Huayra nicknamed the Dragon that was commissioned by Russian tuning firm TopCar Design.

It turns out the car wasn’t a one-off but the first of five examples of a new variant known as the Huayra Imola. The name comes from the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack that’s commonly referred to as Imola (because of its proximity to the Italian town of Imola), and where the majority of the new Pagani’s development took place.

Like Ferrari’s XX program, the Huayra Imola is a rolling testbed for upcoming technologies, some of which may feature on the Huayra’s successor. Customers were also involved in the Huayra Imola’s development, which is also a strategy borrowed from Ferrari’s XX program.

There’s more power on tap, with the 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-12, mated to a 7-speed sequential transmission, now tuned to deliver 827 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. And the weight of the car has been reduced, with the dry figure coming in at 2,747 pounds. So meticulous were Pagani engineers that they even developed a new paint finish that alone helped shed 11 pounds.

Pagani Huayra Imola

Among the changes to the body are a revised front clip. The inverted V normally found on the Huayra is missing in favor of a one-piece design. The hood also sports a new scoop in the V creases. The side shows off more air inlets and aggressive-looking side skirts. The rear notably features a different spoiler.

Another highlight of the Huayra Imola is the suspension. Here, the engineers revised the geometry to make the car more stable under hard acceleration and braking. They also installed active dampers and a front-lift system.

Pagani Huayra Imola

Pagani Huayra Imola

Other upgrades include an optimized Brembo brake package and bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R tires.

Just five examples of the Pagani Huayra Imola will be built, each priced from 5 million euros (approximately $5.4 million). All of them have already been sold.



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First production SSC Tuatara revealed, company to build 99 more


Almost a decade after we first laid eyes on the Tuatara, SSC North America has finally put the hypercar into production. Just 100 examples will be built in total and the first was revealed on Friday at the Philadelphia Auto Show.

The car was actually delivered to its owner, Larry Caplin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during 2019 Monterey Car Week, and he’s kept his new toy a secret for half a year. Caplin has kept the car out of the spotlight, primarily because he wanted the debut to take place at the Philadelphia Auto Show as part of a tie-in with his charity organization, CF Charities.

Caplin’s Tuatara features pearlescent black paint with red and gloss black accents. The car also features the Tuatara’s “high-speed” configuration as opposed to the “high downforce” setup that SSC offers.

Inside, there’s exposed carbon fiber, a digital instrument cluster with a 300-mph speedometer, and a touchscreen-based interface to control the infotainment system and the vehicle’s drive mode selector. There’s also plenty of space for two, which isn’t normally the case with mid-engine cars, as SSC promises that a person as tall as 6 feet 5 inches will comfortably fit, even when wearing a helmet.

First production SSC Tuatara

Powering the Tuatara is a bespoke SSC-developed 5.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 that whips up 1,350 horsepower on pump gas and 1,750 hp on E85 as it approaches its 8,800 rpm redline. A 7-speed automated manual transmission, which can shift in less than 100 milliseconds, from Italy’s CIMA sends the power to the rear wheels. The Tuatara weighs only 2,750 pounds dry.

Production of the Tuatara is handled at SSC’s facility in Richland, Washington. SSC handles most of the work in-house, including construction of the car’s carbon fiber monocoque chassis and body. The aerodynamic shape of the car, penned by famed designer Jason Castriota, has a coefficient of drag rating of just 0.279, which is among the lowest of any high-performance car in production today.

First production SSC Tuatara

First production SSC Tuatara

That’s important as SSC plans to challenge Bugatti’s world production-car speed record. In 2018, SSC CEO Jerod Shelby said the Tuatara is the only car with a “legitimate shot” at 300 mph.

Shelby was wrong. Bugatti was the first automaker to break the 300-mph barrier with the Chiron Super Sport 300+ in 2019. The speed to beat is now 304.773 mph, and Hennessey Performance Engineering’s already aiming higher at 311 mph with the Venom F5. Another contender is Koenigsegg which is thought to be readying a high-speed version of its Jesko. The battle for top speed supremacy is well and truly on.



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2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy shots and video


Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class has only just undergone its mid-cycle update for 2019 but prototypes for the next-generation model are already out testing.

Our latest spy shots show some of the prototypes for the new C-Class which we expect on the market in late 2020 as a 2021 model.

The testers are heavily camouflaged but the size and proportions appear similar to those of the current model. The front looks to sit lower however, which lends the new C-Class a sportier stance.

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy video from Motor Authority on Vimeo.

The interior design will be bew for Mercedes, with a large infotainment screen positioned in the center stack and another screen serving as the instrument cluster. You’ll notice that the updated 2019 C-Class missed out on Mercedes’ latest infotainment system known as MBUX, but the latest version of the system will appear on the new C-Class. It operates much like a smartphone’s operating system and also uses natural speech to control many vehicle functions.

Underpinning the new C-Class is an updated version of the current generation’s MRA rear-wheel-drive platform. The platform actually made its debut in the current C-Class so is relatively young.

The updated version will bring significant weight savings primarily through increased use of aluminum over steel. This has been made possible due to advanced joining technologies including aluminum to steel welding.

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

In the powertrain department, look for the base model to stick with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, this time augmented with a mild-hybrid system. Above this is likely to be a plug-in hybrid system and then a C43 (or possibly C53) from AMG with the mild-hybrid system already found in the tuner’s E53 and CLS53 models. At the top of the range will be AMG’s C63 which we hear will receive the hybrid treatment as well.

An electric sedan based on the C-Class should also be coming. This will be a standalone model sitting in Daimler’s EQ sub-brand for electric cars and targeting the Tesla Model 3 and BMW’s upcoming i4.

Stay tuned for updates as development continues.



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“The Price Is Right” is TV’s best car show—and not just during Dream Car Week


I whisk myself in through the raised arm of the security booth at CBS Television City, Studio 33, and the attendant grins at my top-down ruby-red Bentley Continental GT. It flickers across his eyes; I must be someone he doesn’t recognize, a cardinal sin in L.A. Maybe a fill-in on “Ellen”? A warm body for one of the “NCIS” shows?

I’m actually just a guy having my own personal dream car week, and it’s about to get better.

The parking spot has my name on it. A ribbon of super-excited people hoots and hollers as it funnels through the studio’s main entrance. I step instead through the glass doors of the star’s entrance named for Carol Burnett and fight being star-struck. I forcibly pull my hand down from an instinctive clutch at invisible pearls.

Inside Studio 33, the commotion bears down with its own air pressure. Mic-ed up men and women whirl around a narrow hallway like second-hand sweeps on chronometers, pivoting in 270-degree spins around cars parked mirror-to-mirror and dormant game-show contests waiting to be wheeled on stage. An electronic audience of monitors and cameras ignores my every move, thank goodness, because I proceed to knock over a potted plant on a platform with a prize package worth thousands of dollars. I almost run right into a woman wrapped in a kelly green bathrobe and flawless makeup. A half-second later I realize I almost took out the reigning queen of spokesmodels, Rachel Reynolds. 

Before I do any more damage, I slip into a room off stage, tucked behind a studio between those belonging to “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless.” Across the table are people who love to give away dreams every weekday. They’ll tell me how they do it—and then I’ll be seated in the audience for the best car show on TV: “The Price Is Right.”

“The Price is Right” may shower contestants with everything from ramen noodles to round-the-world cruises, but under the veneer of the longest-running, most popular game show in history lurks a great car show. Who doesn’t respond to its bright lights, shocking colors, happy loud voices, and free new stuff—especially the big-ticket items like cars? And if that car’s a 4-speed Dodge Journey, well, so what? 

“The Price Is Right” has genuine enthusiasm for new cars that doesn’t bury itself in caliper sizes or model-year post-ups or the smoky burnouts that make most car television look like hormonal teenagers given too much budget and too much leeway. 

Most car shows revolve around egos and superegos. “The Price is Right” is the id. 

The Price Is Right Dream Car Week

It premiered in 1956, but “The Price is Right” went dark until CBS rebooted it in 1972. It’s been on the air ever since, from the same studio on the CBS lot in Los Angeles: Bob Barker Studios, named for its long-time host and “Happy Gilmore” scene-stealer. Classic mid-morning couch-potato fare, the show has about five million viewers a day. They tune in from everywhere: doctor’s waiting rooms, car-repair centers, college campuses, and home offices. It’s not just a game show, it’s our cultural wallpaper.

The show has given away millions and millions of dollars worth of merchandise, the largest one-day payout being more than $260,000 in October 2019, to contestant Mike Stouber. (An evening edition of the show netted a contestant more than $1.15 million.) In its nearly 30,000-square-foot warehouse on the CBS lot, the show hoards millions of dollars in prizes to give away, including about three dozen cars at any given moment. 

The show’s complex choreography looks simple on screen. Show producers select contestants from the audience before taping; the lucky ones hear the shriek of a lifetime—“COME ON DOWN!”—and take a place in Contestant Row to bid on prizes. If they bid closest to the prize’s actual retail value without going over, they play for a Showcase prize. Win or lose, they get to spin the wheel in their half of the show during the Showcase Showdown. At the wheel, the highest spin amount without going over $1 goes to the Showcase, where two contestants bid. Again, the one who bids closer to actual retail prize value without going over wins. If the bid falls within $250 of the actual retail price, they win both showcases.

The show’s longevity means some games have become iconic: the wheel itself, the Check Game, the yodeling cry of Cliff Hangers. The show has been the subject of a documentary “Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much.” In 2008, Terry Kniess bid the exact amount for his showcases: $23,743, and the show stopped production for nearly an hour while producers tried to figure out whether the show had been cheated. Kniess said he’d studied prices for weeks before attending. Producers changed games and prizes to eliminate the prospect of another moneyballer fouling the good-natured fun.

The show’s been on for so long, it’s been witness to the range of human behavior. Contestants have lost their clothes, have taken spills, or have even fainted. Models have revealed prices and accidentally given away free cars, have knocked over flat-screen TVs, and have dented cars during giveaways. It’s all very human; if the host or models make a pricing mistake on camera, the scene must be reshot. Other mistakes aren’t manicured out. The show’s imperfections are one reason for its longevity.

The Price Is Right Dream Car Week

The Price Is Right Dream Car Week

There’s another reason for the show’s longevity: the show’s synchronizers, director Adam Sandler and musical and talent director Stan Blits. Adam has been with the show for 25 years; Stan, for more than 41 years. The show runs as smoothly as an electric vehicle because of them. 

“I don’t think there’s a single person in America who can’t relate to cars in one way or the other,” Adam tells me from one of the only quiet, calm, and dimly lit niches in all of Studio 33. “It’s aspirational, it’s fun. People come from far and wide to see this show. People make it a part of their travel plans.” 

While Adam—no relation to the comedian-actor Adam Sandler—conducts the symphony of cameras and prizes, Stan interviews all the contestants who line the sidewalk at Studio 33, in groups of a couple dozen, to choose who will be brought to contestant’s row. He talks to more than 50,000 people a year and chooses people who can carry their excitement through the pre-show hours, without pandering. Costumes are right out; cheer and cheering are right in. Pure enthusiasm wins him over, and can win a spot in Contestant Row.

Stan casts the people, and as the show’s car strategist, he casts vehicles, too—a car in the show’s first three contests, then one in the second three, then usually one or two in the finale. On any given day, “The Price Is Right” might not give away any cars—or it might give away four or five.

It’s part science, part art. Stan pairs giveaway cars with games in a formula only he knows. He has a book filled with spreadsheets of car specs and prices—the show’s data bible—and quotes chapter and verse to spread them out for maximum effect. He decides when to play simpler games and include less expensive cars, and how to keep the rumba line of hot wheels in motion. He won’t put two SUVs in one show, or two hatchbacks, or two vehicles from the same brand if he can avoid it. 

He casts the cars as characters in the drama. “You can’t just stick any car into any game,” he says. “We’ll look at a Porsche 911 and say, will a 98-year-old woman really want to win that? Some people don’t even know what a Maserati is.”

It all comes from his spreadsheets, and how he processes all their information. He likens it to a Rubik’s Cube. He’s a part of the matrix. Stan is the algorithm.

The steady stream of new cars on the CBS lot means the show has a side hustle. It operates the equivalent of a new-car auction. The team works with local dealers to snare cars for giveaways, and schedule them for games that may be played within a week—or within a few months. Dealers retain the right to sell the cars before they’re given away, which can cause last-minute rejiggerings of the game plan but the relationships run smoothly, Stan says. “They don’t hate that we buy 17 cars a month from them.”

Most of the cars cost less than $25,000, which allows him to give away a lot of new cars and to stick to a budget. It’s become much harder to give away some vehicles now that the average paid price of a new car nears $40,000.

They give away fewer trucks now than in the past. “Trucks are expensive,” Stan says. “Trucks used to be our go-to like 10, 15 years ago. They were like skateboards with lawn mower engines and they were like $8,000. Now, they’re like $30,000, $40,000. They’re not cheap anymore.”

The cars have skewed toward economy models, but “The Price Is Right” has ventured deeply into exotic cars, usually during its annual Dream Car Week. In 2013, schoolteacher Sheree Heil won an Audi R8 V-8 Spyder worth $157,300. The show tried to give away a $285,716 Ferrari 458 Spider in April 2013; the contestant lost playing 3 Strikes. The show also gave away a classic 1964 Bentley S3 in April 2010 in the Hole in One game, and it will be giving away more vintage iron soon.

That kind of variety keeps the show fresh, Adam says. “This show’s been on for 48 seasons, and 9,000 episodes. You don’t get there without giving them variety. When you watch it, it’s still that same old great ‘Price Is Right,’ but it’s something different everyday.

“I spoke to a college class a couple weeks ago,” he says, leaning back in a nondescript office chair at the end of a very long day; he reminds me so strongly of Anthony Edwards on “ER” that I expect to see a stethoscope around his neck. “I was explaining to them that ‘The Price Is Right’ is such a happy place that even when you lose, it’s still a win.” 

When contestants do lose, it’s usually because they underbid and don’t realize how expensive a car is, Stan explains. “If it’s all wins then it’s not fun anymore. A loss makes great television.”

Cars remain a staple of the show, in part, because Stan and Adam and even its host are car fans, too. Stan is a regular fixture at the Los Angeles Auto Show, on public days.

“The car show is a religious experience for me over here,” he says. “I had to bargain with family members. They wanted to go with me and I said ‘no, I need to touch them, rub up against them. Hold them, caress them, kiss them, and I don’t want you there when I’m doing it.’”

Both Adam and Stan drive electric cars. Both have owned Chevy Volts; its 50-mile-plus electric range was perfect for Adam’s daily commute, and the CBS lot has convenient electric-car charging. “I was actually able to go an entire year on one tank of gas,” Adam says. “The original tank of gas that I got.”

Stan considers his first- and second-generation Volts his favorite cars. His husband drives a Lexus hybrid, while Stan drives a Fiat 500e on a bargain lease deal so cheap, “I said, ‘dear God, it’s like buying a Vespa.’ I get back into the Lexus after two weeks of driving the Fiat, and I say, ‘oh my God, it’s like a Bentley in here.’”

Adam pilots a Tesla Model 3 when he isn’t letting its Autopilot do the dirty work. “The thing drives me home,” he says. “The car’s smarter than I am. It really is a piece of the future.” He rides a motorcycle, too, having been turned on to two wheels by his show’s host Drew Carey. 

Carey, now in his 13th season as the host, has bikes as well as a fleet of cars, including his own privately commissioned art car. He has his own dream-car story to tell.

Come on down on February 4 for part two of this story, with host Drew Carey.



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2021 Hyundai Tucson spy shots and video


Hyundai is preparing a redesign for its Tucson and multiple prototypes have been spotted.

The prototype is already at a late stage of development as it’s wearing the lights and wheels that will end up on the production model. We suspect sales will start in the second half of 2020, making it a 2021 model.

There’s still a lot of camouflage gear but we can already see that the new Tucson will be a very handsome vehicle. Hyundai previewed the design with the Vision T concept car unveiled during November’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

The design has been crafted using principles from Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language introduced with last year’s Le Fil Rouge concept. It also looks like the new compact crossover SUV will be slightly bigger than the model it replaces, especially at the rear section.

Hyundai Vision T concept

There’s no word on the powertrains but a new electrified option could finally be offered. We’ve also heard of a sporty Tucson N with as much as 340 horsepower being developed. The current Tucson is offered with two powertrain options for 2020. The base option is a 2.0-liter inline-4 delivering 161 hp and above this is a 2.4-liter inline-4 with 181 hp.

Hyundai, like most automakers, is investing big in its SUV portfolio. The new Palisade has just been added to the top of the range for 2020 while at the same time a new Venue has been added at the bottom the range, which brings Hyundai’s SUV family to six members.



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2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class spy shots and video


Mercedes-Benz didn’t find much luck when it launched Maybach as a standalone brand in in the early 2000s. Poor sales of the ill-fated Maybach 57 and 62 sedans led to Mercedes axing Maybach in 2012.

However, a new strategy to utilize Maybach as an ultra-luxury sub-brand of Mercedes was hatched with the arrival of the current-generation S-Class. A unique grille, a stretched body and one of the plushest interiors in the business turned out to be a winning formula, especially among China’s chauffeur-driven class.

There will be a new generation of the S-Class headed to Mercedes showrooms next year, and it too will receive the Maybach treatment. A prototype for the redesigned Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has just been spotted, revealing a number of the design details of the upcoming ultra-luxury sedan.

The car will feature a uniquely long body compared to even the long-wheelbase S-Class that we get as standard here in the United States. It will also boast a grille with vertical slats whose design was inspired by the pinstripes of a suit. It’s becoming a staple of modern Maybachs. It appears the grille won’t be as tall as the one on the current Maybach S-Class, and the headlights, which will be shared with the redesigned S-Class, are also slimmer, which together with the shorter grille results in a sleeker, more streamlined face.

2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The current Maybach S-Class comes with turbocharged V-8 and V-12 powertrains, and this should be true for the new generation, though we could see one or both powertrains augmented with hybrid technology.

Look for an S600 model with the same V-8 mild-hybrid setup found in the recently revealed Mercedes-Maybach GLS600, good for 550 horsepower. The V-12 could also feature mild-hybrid tech and sit in an S650- or S680-badged model.

2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS

2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS

The Maybach S-Class naturally will receive the latest technology developments at Mercedes. There will be self-driving capability, albeit in limited capacity. However, Mercedes—and thus Maybach, too—by as early as 2024 is expected to have cars with Level 4 self-driving capability on sale. These are expected to handle highway driving and parking situations with minimal to zero requirements from the driver. Given the 2024 release date, we could see the technology introduced in time for the redesigned Maybach S-Class’ mid-cycle update.

Look for the redesigned Maybach S-Class to arrive in showrooms in late 2020 as a 2021 model. An extra-long Pullman body style should also be in the works, though the current-generation’s coupe and convertible body styles likely won’t be repeated.



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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA introduces handsome redesign


Mercedes-Benz has just launched the GLB compact crossover SUV, but the automaker isn’t going to drop its existing option in the segment, the GLA, which has been redesigned for the 2021 model year.

Despite being in the same segment, the two vehicles will likely appeal to different buyers. The new GLA maintains the current model’s hatch-like shape to help differentiate it from the boxier GLB. The GLA also has a much shorter wheelbase than the GLB, which should make it the better option for hopping around town, though the downside is that it fits five whereas the GLB can fit seven.

The new GLA has been revealed in GLA250 and GLA35 grades, the latter developed by the AMG skunkworks. There’s still a GLA45 in the works and a battery-electric EQA based on the GLA is coming, too. A plug-in hybrid GLA is also a possibility.

The vehicle is based on the same underpinnings as the latest A-Class, CLA and GLB, which means a front-wheel-drive layout, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, and an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The GLA250 features a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 delivering 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, with drive going to the front wheels only as standard and all-wheel drive being on the options list.

The GLA35 also features a 2.0-liter turbo-4 but a healthier 302 hp and 295 lb-ft and standard AWD. The eventual GLA45 will also feature a 2.0-liter turbo-4 but it should come with 382 hp in standard guise and an insane 416 hp in S guise. Its AWD system will also feature a rear bias.

A set of 18-inch wheels are standard on the GLA250 and a 19-inch set is standard on the GLA35. The GLA35 also gets sport-tuned suspension and specific AMG calibrations for the transmission.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

The interiors of Mercedes’ latest compact cars are a big step above the competition, and this is certainly the case for the new GLA. There are digital screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment system, each measuring seven inches as standard (10.25 inches in the GLA35). The cars also come with natural-speak voice activation, eight-way power adjustable front seats with memory function, a multi-function steering wheel, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Several electronic driver assist features are also standard. These include brake assist, crosswind assist, and a power liftgate. Worthwhile options include adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and a surround-view camera.

The new GLA reaches dealers in GLA250 grade next summer. The GLA35 is expected toward the end of 2020. Pricing will be announced closer to the market launch but expect it to start just shy of the GLB’s $37,595 base sticker.



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2021 Porsche 911 Targa spy shots and video


Porsche has just launched its new 992-generation 911 and you can bet there’ll be just as many variants that we saw with the previous 991 generation, and possibly more. We’re talking close to two dozen variants, from the base Carerra right up to the GT2 RS.

The latest spy shots and video show a prototype for the Targa, likely in rear-drive Targa S or all-wheel-drive Targa 4S guise. The previous 991-generation offered the Targa up to GTS level.

The prototype is devoid of camouflage gear meaning the debut can’t be far. We’ll likely see the car arrive at dealerships next spring as a 2021 model.

It looks like Porsche has once again gone with a design that echoes the original 1965 model, including the signature rollover bar, retractable soft-top roof, and wraparound rear window. It also looks like Porsche will once again offer a black satin finish for the rollover bar, as opposed to the classic silver look.

1965 Porsche 911 Targa

Other than the roof, the Targa should be identical to the Carrera variant on which it is based. So far Porsche has only released specs for the 992 generation’s Carrera S and Carrera 4S variants. In each case, there’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-6 generating 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission for now is an 8-speed dual-clutch unit but a regular manual is coming.

If you’re ready to order an open-top version of the latest 911 right now, the regular Cabriolet is already on sale. It starts at $127,350 for the Carrera S Cabriolet.



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2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots and video


Mercedes-Benz is committed to launching at least 10 electric cars by 2022.

The first has been revealed as the 2020 EQC, and others we know of include the upcoming EQA and EQB compacts and electric commercials like the eVito and eSprinter vans.

We now have fresh spy shots of an EQS, a large electric sedan to sit alongside the S-Class. Mercedes execs have previously hinted at the car starting production in 2020, which means we’ll likely see it arrive in showrooms as a 2021 model.

The latest prototypes have lost a lot of the camouflage gear of earlier testers, revealing that the EQS is a liftback sedan akin to the Tesla Model S, high-end versions of which will be its main target. Other targets will include an electric Jaguar XJ due around the same time, and to a lesser extent the Porsche Taycan and related Audi E-Tron GT.

Even though Mercedes is also working on a redesigned S-Class, which is also due around 2020, the EQS will be completely distinct, including in regards to its platform. The platform will be a dedicated battery-electric design known as the MEA2 (Mercedes Electric Architecture), and the EQS will be the first application. MEA1 is found in the EQC and based on a modified version of Mercedes’ MHA platform for SUVs with internal-combustion engines.

We can see that the car is a lot lower and sleeker than your typical Mercedes, including the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. We can also see in some of the shots that the doors will be frameless and feature extendable handles. Mercedes previewed the design with the Vision EQS concept unveiled during September’s Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

The MEA2 platform has enabled the designers to add a long wheelbase and short overhangs front and rear, and although the EQS looks to be similar in size to the mid-size CLS, the interior space should be on par or better than a full-size S-Class.

Given the rapid advancement in battery technology, Mercedes is keeping quiet on specs for its future electric cars. To be competitive, we’d expect the EQS to offer a range between 250 and 300 miles on a single charge. The vehicle will also probably feature an 800-volt electric system enabling it to utilize ultra-fast charging.

Beyond this EQS in Mercedes’new EQ family of EVs, we can also expect a small electric sedan sitting in the same category as the C-Class.



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2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI spy shots and video


A new generation of the Volkswagen Golf, the nameplate’s eighth, was unveiled in October and this means we should be in for new versions of the sporty GTI and high-performance Golf R in the near future.

This week a prototype for the GTI was spotted undergoing cold-weather testing ahead of a debut early in 2020. Previous testing took place at the Nürburgring where engineers pushed the car hard, as one of the shots shows a wheel in the air. It was taken at the smaller of the two Karussell hairpin turns.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI spy video from Motor Authority on Vimeo.

The redesigned Golf range utilizes an updated version of the current generation’s MQB platform. The updated platform benefits from reduced weight and other fuel-saving features like a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. There are also new electronic goodies including a digital dash, permanent Internet connection, and advanced driver aids.

The GTI should match the current generation’s 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and augment this with the aforementioned mild-hybrid system. The system consists of a belt-driven electric motor-generator that can recover energy during braking and reuse this for starting the engine during stop-start driving, providing a torque boost, and allowing the car to coast without consuming any fuel.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Drive will be to the front wheels only and peak output should come in close to the 220 horsepower of the current GTI. Transmission options will include a 6-speed manual and possibly a 7-speed dual-clutch unit. As for the next Golf R, it’s expected to match the current model’s 296 hp.

Signature GTI elements are all present on the prototype, including a honeycomb mesh pattern covering the front intakes, a dual-tip exhaust system, and uprated wheels, tires and brakes. You can bet that the interior will also feature the signature tartan cloth on the seats.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

While the regular Golf won’t be sold in the United States, likely due to production of the new range exclusively taking place at VW’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany (the current Golf is sourced from Mexico), the good news is that the enthusiast-friendly GTI and Golf R are due here. The GTI should arrive for the 2021 model year, and the Golf R possibly a year later.

The new Golf range also includes a sporty Golf GTE plug-in hybrid with 242 hp, though it isn’t clear if this model will end up here.



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