All posts in “SUV”

Maserati switching to in-house twin-turbo V6 and turbo four

Automotive News has been able to put some output figures to the two primary engines that will power Maserati’s renaissance. Last year the Italian luxury brand sent notice that it would terminate its deal to with Ferrari to use the Maranello-sourced F160 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and F154 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. As new Maserati models appear and current models are overhauled, the brand will begin installing either Maserati’s own 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, or an FCA-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The V6 will greet the world from the middle of the MC20 supercar poised for debut in September, assuming nothing goes worse with the world than it already has.

Rumor from Mopar Insiders and Allpar forums is that Maserati began building its V6 based on Alfa Romeo’s 690T V6. Alfa Romeo puts the 690T in the Stelvio and Giulia Quadrifoglio, the engine’s development having started seven years ago with Ferrari’s F154 V8 as its heart. Tuned for speed, peak output could reach 542 horsepower. After making its home in the racy coupe, the V6 will also serve a new midsize Maserati crossover coming next year, as well as the next GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible. In the crossover, power is apparently limited to no more than 523 horses.

In Maserati’s new V6, one piece of technology that permits such high output and emissions friendliness is turbulent jet ignition (TJI). German supplier Mahle has been developing the technology for at least 10 years, and put it to use in Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine about five years ago, after which Japan’s Super GT manufacturers picked it up. Instead of a spark plug igniting fuel directly in the combustion chamber, TJI places the spark plug and an injector nozzle at the top of a “jet ignition pre-chamber assembly.” The injector shoots a mist of gasoline into the pre-chamber, the spark plug fires, and the force of ignition in the pre-chamber sprays the combustion through tiny holes at the bottom of the pre-chamber into the cylinder as the piston rises. Mahle says the shorter burn and improved combustion spread means cleaner-burning gas engines that emit fewer emissions.  

AN says that the “new V-6 engine will be ‘electrified’ in some form.” It’s not clear if that means all versions of the V6 will get some sort of hybrid assistance, or if — as had been thought — there will be a non-hybrid unit. The last report we got on motivation for the MC20 strongly suggested a non-hybrid V6 at launch making around 600 hp, followed by a hybridized V6 with all-wheel drive good for 700 horsepower. The hybrid form is said to eventually replace the TT V8 in the upper-tier Ghibli and Quattroporte, but not before the Ferrari-sourced engine steps up to 582 hp later this year.

When AN writes that “Electrified versions of new V-6 eventually will replace 3.8-liter Ferrari-built turbocharged V8 in Maserati Levante, in two versions with 523 hp and 572 hp,” the opening adjective and the higher output lead us to believe in the chances of a non-electrified V6. 

The second engine will be the Global Medium Engine (GME) 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That engine does duty right now in other group products such as the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee, and Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, topping out at 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The mill makes its Maserati debut in the Ghibli hybrid that launches online on July 15.

2020 Lamborghini Urus Luggage Test | Loading the bull

A Lamborghini was recently at my house, which is sort of like the queen dropping in. And though I assiduously avoided carrying anything that could spill, splash, smudge or muss, one aspect of the 2020 Lamborghini Urus we wanted to check was just how much luggage it can carry considering the limitations imposed by the SUV’s extremely sloped roofline.

So I hopped onto the Lamborghini Store’s website to order up just the right stuff, co-branded by Lamborghini and TecknoMonster — hmm, perhaps the carbon-fiber small trolley case for $4,904, or the carbon-fiber Bynomio big trolley case for $7,874, or the Bynomio Hold Maxi carbon-fiber suitcase for $17,388. Perhaps the whole set. Now you might be saying to yourself, “That’s sure an expensive way to haul my clean underwear.” But rest assured these suitcases emerge from the autoclave after a cutting-edge aerospace process that merges two different types of carbon fiber and ensures “top performance and excellent mechanical properties, requiring extreme accuracy in all manufacturing steps.” Pity the fool who has a suitcase that’s anything less.

But tragically, there’s at least a 20-day lead time in ordering, and the Urus was only here for the weekend. So I guess that fool is me, having to resort to the same old world-weary, beat-up suitcases I usually use, which share space in the garage with the lawn tractor and cat litter box.

Six suitcases were at my disposal. Three would need to be checked at the airport, and one of those is particularly ungainly (29x19x11 inches, 26x17x10, 25x16x10). Three others would be small enough to carry on (24x14x10, 23x14x11, 22x14x9), if we were getting on airplanes anymore. Several of these bags have four wheels that jut out and were counted in the dimensions. It’s a shame not to have Riswick’s wife’s fancy bag for such a fancy car.

The Lamborghini Urus is pretty big. At 201 inches long and 79 inches wide, it is 2 inches longer than a Ford Explorer, and the same width. It’s 4 inches shorter than the big Mercedes-Benz GLS, but 2 inches wider. Plus, those are vehicles with third-row seating; the Urus has two rows and seats five. (Four if you get the backseat buckets and console.) Yet its cargo hold is 21.75 cubic feet, which is only about 3 cubic feet bigger than the others’ space behind the third row. It’s also much less than various five-seat, midsize SUVs.

We’re told it is wide enough to fit a couple bags of golf clubs, which looks feasible. In fact, it’s a pretty square space, and a set of clubs might even fit longitudinally. The problem is not the footprint. The volume is so little thanks to the sloped roof. Nothing boxy is ever going to fit in the back of the Urus.

By the way, that black bag contains Lamborghini roof racks.

Here’s what the cargo space is like with the package shelf removed (it easily slides out) and the second row dropped. Long cargo would fit well. It just can’t be tall.

OK, let’s try some luggage. Here’s the first attempt. Getting all six bags in is probably not in the cards. The hatch wouldn’t close on this, coming in contact with both of the upright red bags. Furthermore, there is a small, secondary section of package shelf that’s attached to the inside of the hatch and would need to be removed. But do that, and tilt the second-row seats upright, and you might jam this in. Just don’t expect to see anything.

This next arrangement is slightly less overburdened, and the hatch will definitely close if you remove that section of package shelf and nudge the seat up a little. The three biggest bags make the cut, with the biggest on its side, and two smaller ones to boot. Shift the smaller ones into the middle, and you’d preserve a sliver of rear view, though smaller than the sliver that you normally get. It’s not ideal, though.

Here’s a closer look at the accent-stitched Alcantara cargo shelf, which slides out easily. Ooh, soft …

Finally, in this configuration, you get to keep the cargo shelf, thereby denying the riffraff a chance to size up your fancy luggage. Four suitcases will fit this way — two large and two carry-ons. And thanks to an indent in the left cargo-bay wall, the Lambo roof racks fit, too. Or, leave those in the garage and you can get a small bag on its side, and all five passengers will be able to dress up for whatever fancy rich-people party they’re going to.

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GFG Style evolves Giugiaro design in the Bandini Dora and Vision 2030 Desert Raid

Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro, the father-son duo who paired up to create automotive company GFG Style, have been swept up in the wave of the times and gone all-in on electric. In the past four months, GFG Style unveiled three new concept vehicles, all of which use batteries and electric motors for propulsion. The Vision 2030 and Vision 2030 Desert Raid offer new perspectives on off-road-ready supercars, and the Bandini Dora evokes Italian history in a stylish barchetta.

GFG Style started in 2015 and has been hard at work envisioning the future of the automobile. Since opening its doors, the design and consultation firm has crafted seven concept cars, including the Kangaroo, an electric all-terrain supercar that was one of the coolest and most interesting vehicles at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It seems Fabrizio and Giorgetto couldn’t get the core conceptual nature of the Kangaroo out of their minds, as they debuted another all-terrain EV called the Vision 2030 in November 2019 at the Riyadh Motor Show in Saudi Arabia.

Vision 2030

Pegged as a zero-emission all-wheel-drive hypercar designed for Saudi Arabian roads, the Vision 2030 is named after Saudi Vision 2030, a plan to help the country diversify its core businesses and move away from an independence on oil. “Saudi Arabia asked us to design a model that would perfectly adapt to their region, made up of completely new and decidedly wide roads, but also of deserts with dunes and rough terrains,” Fabrizio said in a press release. Fabrizio continued that the point of the car was a design study in wheels and suspension, which largely dictated the shape of the carbon fiber and aluminum car.

To accommodate the multiple types of terrain, the car’s suspension automatically adjusts based on driving conditions. The Vision 2030 also offers three driving modes, Race, Road and Off-Road, which change the ground clearance between 5.5 to 8.7 inches. Inside, six different digital screens ensure the car is properly connected and the driver is properly informed.

GFG Style says the two-seater Vision 2030 has a 90-kWh battery pack and a single-charge electric range of more than 280 miles. It makes a claimed 510 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-62-mph sprint in 3.8 seconds. 

Vision 2030 Desert Raid

The Desert Raid is one of two concepts that were originally intended to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show before it was canceled due to precautions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. As indicated by the name, the Desert Raid is an alternate variation of the Vision 2030. GFG Style says the Desert Raid underlines “the true capacity of this project: not to become a hypercar but a hyperSUV.” 

The Desert Raid has the same battery, power, and general performance specifications as the Vision 2030, as they share the same electric powertrain setup. The bodywork, save for the rear, is also the same, but small tweaks make this vehicle specialized for off-roading. Whereas the Vision 2030 had multiple driving modes, this version only has one setup skewed toward handling rough terrain. Thus, it remains at 8.7 inches of ground clearance at all times. It also has a wider track, smaller wheels, new carbon fiber mudguards, and a visible spare tire integrated into the top rear portion of the car. 

Bandini Dora

The second prototype meant for Geneva is the Bandini Dora. Like the other prototypes, it has a space frame aluminum chassis, carbon fiber bodywork, and a 90-kWh battery pack that provides a claimed range of more than 280 miles per full charge. Compared to the Vision 2030 cars, however, the Dora is slightly more amped up. Two electric motors, one on each axle, account for 536 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the Dora has a claimed 0-62-mph time of 3.3 seconds.

Riding on 21-inch wheels, the Dora is the work of a collaboration with Bandini, an Italian manufacturer founded by Ilario Bandini that originally ran from 1946 until 1992. The company was resurrected as Bandini Automobili s.r.l, thanks to Ilario’s great grandson Michele, and this car is meant to be an ode to Bandini barchetta race cars of decades past. GFG Style’s Geneva stand was planned to include a Bandini 750 Sport Internazionale from the Mille Miglia Museum.

The Bandini Dora is an open-top two-seater, but its clever design is unlike anything of the past or present. Look closely, and the lines reveal that the windshield and encapsulated cockpit are entirely separate from the car’s roof arches. This was the result of blending old design with new safety standards.

“Today, it is difficult to conceive a Barchetta without considering the evolution there has been in the car concerning safety,” Giugiaro was quoted in the press release. “Inspired by the Halo of Formula One, we thought about creating a car that had a clean windshield as it used to be used with no reinforcements, thus being as linear and light as possible. To solve this need, I thought of an out-and-out superstructure that would integrate into the style with an accentuated structural and protective function for both the driver and passenger.” 

To properly appreciate the affect this design has on the car, it must be looked at from all angles. The prominent lines extends from the front bumper, curve over the front wheels, and swoop inward toward the rear to become part of the active aerodynamics. Because they don’t connect with the glass at any point, they creates all types of negative spaces, intersections, and design features that you just don’t see on normal cars. From the front, it almost looks as if one car has overtaken another car that lives beneath it.

For now, all three vehicles are just prototypes. The video below shows a press conference in which GFG Style announced the new designs.

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Adventum Coupe is the two-door Range Rover that never was

At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover surprised us with the Range Rover SV Coupe, a two-door Range Rover produced by Special Vehicle Operations. The automaker planned to build 999 of them for $295,000 a pop, which would have made the SV Coupe the most expensive from-the-factory Range Rover ever. Not even a year later, after dismal financial returns for Jaguar Land Rover in 2018, Land Rover canceled the SV Coupe, knocking back customers who had already specced units with $60,000 in additional options. Niels van Roij Design came to the rescue not long after, promising its own two-door coachbuilt Range Rover called the Adventum Coupe. The sketches released at the time had us hopeful for the real thing. Now that the first production example has been completed for a buyer, we’re glad to report that the Adventum Coupe is just what we wanted.

Niels van Roij made a few departures from the two-door designed by Land Rover’s SVO. The Adventum goes without frameless windows, the side vents on the doors, and 23-inch wheels. SVO reworked everything but the hood and lower tailgate compared to the standard Range Rover, van Roij also left the fenders and upper tailgate alone. Everything else from the A-pillar back is reshaped to fit true SUV coupe lines. The SVO version was powered by the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 taken from the SVAutobiography Dynamic trim, making 557 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. This particular Adventum uses the slightly less angry supercharged V8 from the Autobiography trim, with 518 hp and 443 lb-ft. .

Dutch coachbuilder Bas van Roomen handles the actual construction, the aluminum D7 architecture strengthened to retain its stiffness and integrity, each body panel worked up in hand-beaten aluminum. The Arctic White exterior pairs with an interior covered in yards of red and black Nappa leather and the sheen of black piano lacquer. This being a coachbuilt design, the minimalist exterior is contrasted by the finely detailed interior. The new door cards get red leather pockets and different door pulls for front and rear passengers. Those rear-seaters get powered captain’s chairs. The floor, from the front footrests to the cargo area, is hand-finished teak with white caulking to match the exterior. A red leather pull handle lifts the cargo area floor, and two matching red and black umbrellas sit in branded Adventum closures on the cargo wall.

Van Roij will build just 100 examples of the Adventum Coupe, each one starting at €270,000 ($299,835 U.S.); choosing a different Range Rover platform to build on could change the price. It takes a €50,000 deposit ($55,525 U.S.) to secure one, the build needing “at least six months.” Our only question about buying the Adventum Coupe, aimed at anyone who’d paid to reserve an SVO-sourced Range Rover SV Coupe, is: Why would you not?

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Automobili Pininfarina unveils its next vehicle (sort of)

TURIN, Italy — Today, at its headquarters near Turin, Automobili Pininfarina unveiled for an exclusive group of reporters’ eyes only, a concept that very firmly presages its next production vehicle.

The boutique electric automotive subsidiary of famed coachbuilder and design consultancy Pininfarina Spa wowed attendees at the Geneva Motor Show last year with its $2.5 million, battery-powered hypercar, the Battista, and promised, back then, that more models were forthcoming. This concept, the Pura Vision, is an ultra-luxury, ultra-potent, four- or five-passenger SUV that is meant to combine the sportiness of the Lamborghini Urus with the five-door grand-touring shooting-brake practicality of the Porsche Panamera SportTurismo at a price that slots in above both of them but below that of more extortionate high-riders like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. It thus has in its competitive SUV sights on offerings like the forthcoming Aston Martin DBX and Ferrari Purosange. Pricing wasn’t revealed, but we’re expecting something in the mid- to high- $200,000s range.

The Pininfarina’s unique selling proposition is two-fisted. First, as one would expect from an Italian company that spent many decades as the designers for Ferrari, is design. Though we were strictly forbidden from sharing images of the vehicle, we can attest to its stunning and unique shape. More than 16.5 feet long, and quite broad, the aluminum-skinned SUV features a blunt and grille-less front end, minatory slits of narrow headlamp, a surprisingly long hood given its engineless-ness, tucked-in Coke bottle flanks, rear-hinged “suicide” rear doors, extremely muscular haunches that mimic the flared and spatted rear wheels of the Battista, a fastback rear, and protruding razor thin taillights.

“We wanted to get rid of designs that are messy, and go back to basics with great proportions,” says Automobili Pininfarina head of design Luca Borgogno, referring to the elongated GT-inspired dash-to-axle ratio and short rear overhang of this sporting form. “And the SUV shape is great because, when you think of the EV platform, with the battery pack down low, it’s simpler to integrate in a higher riding vehicle. You can still be super-fast, and deliver some all-terrain capability with the ride height. It’s a perfect mixture.”

True to the second half of its name, the Pura Vision also has a fully glass roof, inspired in part by the bubble-topped Superflow concepts Pininfarina created for Alfa Romeo in the middle of the past century. Of course, in the contemporary case, the glass is ultra strong, undergridded by supports, and self-darkening. “It encloses you so much while surrounding you in this glass teardrop,” Borgogno tells us. “It links you with the environment, connecting you with the idea of sustainability.”

In fact, sustainability, or something like it, is the Pura Vision’s other significant attribute. Built on a new platform that will also underpin future Pininfarina automobiles, it hosts a battery pack large enough to produce 1,000 hp, powering what promises to be a hefty chunk of vehicle from 0-60 mph in fewer than 3 seconds on the way to a top speed of over 180 mph, whilst providing a claimed 550 km (340 miles) of range. Putting all of this power to the Pura’s Pirelli P-Zeros — mounted, to stunning effect, on gigantic 26-inch wheels — is accomplished with a quartet of torque vectoring electric motors. And, in case you were still wondering about its sporting, go-anywhere, grand touring intentions, it has carbon ceramic brakes and a 46/54 front/rear weight distribution, just like the Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

The vehicle’s interior also shines with distinctive materials and material usage. A wooden prow surrounds occupants above and along the dash and along the tops of the doors, kind of like in a Riva speedboat. Echoing this Italian nautical heritage, the fully flat floors can also be spec’d in unvarnished wood. This trim, though probably not the floors (?) can alternately be ordered in carbon fiber for a more technical effect. The rear seat can be configured in a two-place, first-class-esque arrangement with the de rigueur recline feature, or as a more conventional bench. Either way, the passenger compartment is sealed off from the cargo area, and the seat doesn’t seem to fold flat, so don’t plan on carting home sheets of plywood. Not that you’d want to risk getting splinters in all the sustainably tanned leathers, processed with (what else?) olive oil.

Pininfarina plans to build at least three other vehicles on this same platform, and some veiled, ghost-like images in the presentation the executives showed us suggested to our eyes that these would be: a smaller SUV-like thing; a grand-touring coupe of indeterminate number of doors; and a two-door convertible. The Battista hypercar is going to be hand-assembled in an atelier, so in order to build these slightly higher-volume exclusive supercars, Pininfarina is seeking out an existing factory nearby to their headquarters in Italy’s famed Motor Valley that they can convert to a production facility. In addition to vehicle assembly, it will also host prototype, product development, purchasing, supply chain management, testing, training, customer experience, and delivery services. Fortunately, one of the areas into which the Italian design house has recently expanded has been architecture, so they’ll handle the conversion of said factory in-house.

Borgagno warns us that the concept that we saw was not precisely production ready, but that it is “very close.” He says that we should expect to see the wheels decrease in diameter to “just” 24 inches, and the rear suicide doors to be replaced with traditional front-hinged ones, but didn’t specify much else that would change. We don’t typically get too worked up about SUVs, but this one promises to be a bit different, should it retain its current form. “It’s almost romantic,” Borgogno says wistfully, glancing again at the Pura Vision’s glass bubble-top. “To look around at the sky, the sun.” 

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2019 Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000 First Drive | Sounds like war, goes like hell

LOS ANGELES — To get our hands on Hennessey’s 1,000-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000, we agree to meet Vinny Russo in an alley across the street from the practice facility of the Los Angeles Clippers. Noon sharp.

We hear the Hellcat-powered SUV before we see it, its raspy idle reverberating off the concrete buildings and expanse of fence. It rounds the corner and comes into view, its thunder growing as it slowly approaches over the dirty broken asphalt. It sounds like my big-block ’69 Camaro: thump, thump, thump.

Russo climbs out. “Sorry I’m late,” he says before reaching back in and shutting down the Jeep’s blown Hemi. The silence seems to hang in the air along with the Grand Cherokee’s spent hydrocarbons. It smells like an old-school big block, too.

“This is John’s personal truck,” he says handing me the SUV’s red key. “It’s the one on the internet going 181 mph with a Christmas tree on top and all that other cool stuff. It’s got 20,000 miles on it of …”

He pauses for a second. I’m sure he wants to say abuse. That the Jeep has seen 20,000 miles of abuse. But he’s a good PR man so he stopped himself. I can see him searching for another word. Any other word. He clears his throat.

“It’s got 20,000 miles on it of R&D,” he says. “Just make sure you have it pointing straight and have a good grip on the wheel the first time you go to full throttle. It’ll shock you.”

John, of course, is John Hennessey, and his company Hennessey Performance down in Houston offers up an extensive range of 1,000-hp machines, from McLarens to supercharged Camaros, Corvettes and Hellcats. It’s a good place to drain your 401(k).

After modifying his personal Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and driving it to a class record at Bonneville in 1991, he built his first Dodge Viper in 1992, the Venom 500, opened Hennessey Performance and paid the bills cranking out disgustingly powerful Vipers for the next decade and half. Then he built his own supercar about 10 years ago, the Venom GT. Steven Tyler famously bought one.

At some point he began turning up the wick on pickups and SUVs. Today Hennessey says it has built more than 10,000 specialty vehicles, and last year trucks and SUVs made up about 50 percent of its business. There’s the usual fare on the menu, including 600-hp Navigators, 650-hp Escalades and 800-hp Tahoes, but the company’s products can get pretty wild. Its V8-swapped Ford Raptors are popular. Or how about a Chevy Silverado with two rear axles? Not into a 6×6? Maybe I can interest you in a $225,000 1,000-hp Hellcat-powered Jeep Gladiator called the Maximus?

Last year we drove its least powerful and least expensive model, the 360-hp VelociRaptor Ranger. So this time we asked for something more extreme. Hennessey offers three versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the HPE850, HPE1000 and the HPE1200, which the company says makes 1,200 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque at the crank on 109-octane fuel. We settled for the one with only 1,000 ponies.

Hennessey says the modifications it makes to the Jeep’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 increases its output from 707 hp at 6,000 rpm and 645 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm to 1,012 hp at 6,500 rpm and 969 lb-ft torque at 4,200 rpm. And trust me when I tell you, meeting a guy at a gas station with a new ZR1 Corvette and telling him your SUV has 245 horses more than his supercar is a hoot. You should have seen his face.

With the Trackhawk’s all-wheel drive, 20-inch Pirelli Scorpion All-Season Run Flats and launch control putting the power down, the guy’s Corvette didn’t stand a chance and he knew it. Hennessey says the Jeep hits 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and blows through the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds at 133 mph — and it really does feel that quick. According to Jeep, a stocker hits 60 mph in 3.5 and runs the quarter in 11.6 seconds.

So how do you make a Grand Cherokee that weighs 5,363 pounds accelerate like a Lamborghini Huracán Evo? Hennessey basically adds boost and fuel. The size of the factory-installed IHI root-type supercharger is increased from 2.38 liters to 2.65 liters. It also spins faster than before thanks to a smaller pulley, up from 14,600 rpm, and generates a maximum of 18 psi of boost, up from 11.6 psi.

A Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump is installed to increase fuel pressure and volume to the Fuel Injector Clinic 1,000cc injectors, which supply fuel at a rate of 110 lbs/hr. Hennessey also adds tubular headers, an open element air filter and reflashes the ECU, raising the engine’s rev limiter from 6,200 rpm to 6,500 rpm in the process.

That’s all there is to it. The SUV even looks pretty much stock under the hood, and Hennessey doesn’t touch its suspension, brakes, all-wheel drive system or its ZF-supplied 8HP90 eight-speed automatic. And it can all be yours for $34,950, not counting the cost of the Jeep, of course.

Hennessey backs the package with a one-year / 12,000-mile warranty. Unfortunately it does void the Grand Cherokee’s factory warranty, and Hennessey doesn’t guarantee any of its kits are CARB legal. So California residents may have a problem at the smog check. “The rest of the states haven’t been an issue,” Russo told us.

Around town you can’t help but feel like you’re the king of the hill in this thing. How can you not? You’re driving one of the quickest SUVs on earth. A mommymobile that runs with hypercars. And it’s a serious sleeper. Hennessey removes the Trackhawk badge from the tailgate and the Supercharged lettering from Jeep’s doors. Unlike Saleens and Roushes, which are covered in branding, he adds a single and subtle Hennessey script to the left side of the SUV’s rump. Either you know, or you think it’s a V6 with a (very loud) exhaust leak.

After driving it for a couple of days, you start getting cocky. I remember passing a guy in an SRT Grand Cherokee and thinking, “Man, what a loser. He only has 475 hp to play with. Must be frustrating.” 

Quarter throttle at any speed leaves traffic in the dust. Half throttle and you’re at 100 mph before you know it. Full throttle is simply violent. Use the launch control, which unleashes the SUV at 2,800 rpm, and the thrust is so brutal it ripped my kid’s sunglasses from the top of her head, sending them from backseat into the cargo area and up against the tailgate.

And the entire time the Hemi spits a cacophonous mix of exhaust thunder and high-pitched supercharger whine. It isn’t just supercar fast, it’s supercar loud. At wide-open throttle, it sounds like the Tasmanian Devil, its eight-speed grabbing gears at 6,000 rpm, still 500 rpm below the engine’s power peak. At red lights, people in Teslas and Priuses roll up their windows in a feeble effort to escape its ruckus, sealing in their smug. One man’s noise is another man’s music, and the Jeep is playing Extreme Metal.

Unfortunately there’s a metallic resonance between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm, which is a problem when you’re putting around town. “It sounds broken,” my wife said. But above 2,000 the tone levels out and the engine is pretty quiet on the highway. At 80, the Jeep cruises like a stocker, but the big blown Hemi’s presence is always felt. Even at a steady 2,200 rpm, it sends a slight thump through the Grand Cherokee’s chassis like an elevated heartbeat. 

In perfect comfort, with the family and dog onboard, we cruised this 1,000-hp beast a few hours to grandma’s, averaging 13.6 mpg on the highway and just over 12 mpg in about 400 miles of mixed driving. Honestly, we were expecting worse.

Maybe Hennessey should consider a 6×6 version.

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Zombie cars: 9 discontinued vehicles that aren’t dead yet

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the nine cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars. Every car on this list was discontinued at least two years ago. We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

Last updated January 2019

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2014 Dodge Avenger: 1 sale

Wow. We’re truly amazed. Someone actually bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Avenger in 2019. The Avenger was uncompetitive when it was new, and it’s woefully uncompetitive now. Here’s hoping the sole individual who parked a new Avenger in their driveway in 2019 got a smoking deal.

Dodge Avenger Information

Dodge Avenger

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 3 sales

The first supercar on this list (which otherwise is full of highly lackluster automobiles) is the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 3 LFA coupes last year to what we have to guess are very satisfied customers. By our count, there ought to be 5 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2016 Chrysler Town & Country: 5 sales

The Chrysler Town & Country was already an old vehicle when it was officially killed off in 2016. The basic van was introduced for the 2008 model year, and saw only refreshes until its conclusion eight years later. Some of those updates were helpful and kept the car at least somewhat competitive.

Still, we’re thankful Chrysler replaced it with the Pacifica, a superb van that is arguably the best in the segment. And if you do happen to really like Chrysler’s older minivan offering, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still on the market.

In any case, Chrysler managed to sell five of these minivans so far this year. Here’s hoping the buyer scored a great deal.

Chrysler Town & Country Information

Chrysler Town & Country

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 5 sales

The second supercar on our list out is one that we love. We don’t think there are a bunch of unsold Dodge Viper coupes sitting on dealer lots all across America. Nevertheless, five lucky individuals managed to bring new Vipers home in 2019.

At least we know those buyers are out there having fun!

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 8 sales

Mercedes-Benz sold the B-Class Electric Drive in the United States from 2013 through 2017. Though the rest of the world gets other versions of the B, only the electrified variant was sold here in the States. And it was never a big seller — just over 3,500 were sold over its production run in America. Now that 2019 has come to a close, we can add eight more to the total.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Information

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2016 Dodge Dart: 25 sales

Dodge discontinued the compact Dart back in 2016, just three years after its launch. The automaker just wasn’t able to compete with the segment leaders like the Honda Civic or the sales juggernaut that is the Toyota Corolla. Despite the fact that it’s been dead for several years, Dodge managed to sell 25 Darts in 2019.

Dodge Dart Information

Dodge Dart

  • Image Credit: Jeep

2017 Jeep Patriot: 27 sales

The Jeep Patriot initially launched back in 2007 alongside its more car-like Compass sibling, but while that vehicle got a redesign and is still on sale in Jeep dealerships, the boxier Patriot ended production in 2017.

Apparently there are a handful of Patriots still collecting dust on dealership lots in America, because the automaker tallied 27 total sales last year.

Jeep Patriot Information

Jeep Patriot

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 48 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, but apparently has a bunch of leftover 200s floating around in America with a total of 48 sold in 2019.

  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

2017 Volkswagen CC: 58 sales

Volkswagen discontinued the CC in 2017, and the slinky coupe-shaped sedan recently got a replacement in the form of the 2019 Arteon. Here’s hoping last year’s 58 CC buyers managed to get a good deal on their new old sedans.

Volkswagen CC Information

Volkswagen CC

Ferrari Roma platform to underpin Purosangue SUV, as product roadmap takes shape

To create the Roma, Ferrari started with the platform used for the Portofino convertible. Engineers strengthened and lightened the architecture and made it modular, so that it will support the company’s range of front-engined vehicles included in CEO Louis Camilleri’s near-term product roadmap of 15 new vehicles over the next three years. Auto Express reports one of those products will be the Purosangue SUV – or FUV, Ferrari Utility Vehicle if you heed the carmaker’s marketers – expected to debut in 2021 before going on sale in 2022 or 2023. The breadth of possibility built into the platform means it can swallow Ferrari’s range of V8 and V12 engines, as well as the coming V6, plus plug-in hybrid equipment and all-wheel drive mechanicals. 

Although observers figure a V12 Purosangue will grace the lineup eventually, models with smaller engines braced with hybrid assistance are expected first. The V12, in fact, is unlikely to get a hybrid form if Ferrari can help it, the brand’s marketing manager saying, “To be honest, electrifying a V12 means creating, very probably, a heavy and big car. So electrification ideally should be coupled with smaller engines.” Absent Ferrari’s righteous 6.5-liter V12, Ferrari’s head of technology says there will be other ways the vehicle codenamed “175” distinguishes itself from V8-powered super-SUV competition, but wouldn’t clarify what those ways are.

We’ll guess the people-hauler slots into the company’s GT vehicle classification alongside the GTC4Lusso, Portofino, and Roma. In the next decade, the GT category grows with a new supercar that marks “the return of an elegant model” cued off classic, mid-20th-century Ferrari Gran Turismos, as well as a battery-electric car after 2025. The Sport Range includes the 812Superfast and 812 GTS, 488 and 488 Pista, and SF90 Stradale. The Icona line kicked off with the Monza SP1 and SP2, and will expand with “timeless design[s] of iconic Ferraris reinterpreted with innovative materials and state of the art technologies.” One-offs like the F12 TRS, SP12 EC and SP38 form the Special Series. The carmaker’s entire range will be split across two modular platforms, one for front-engined placement, one mid-engined.

At the pointy end of the product roadmap, it’s thought Ferrari’s already begun development of its LaFerrari successor. Said to use a naturally-aspirated V12 without electric help, it will produce less output than found in the 986-horsepower, hybrid-V8-powered SF90, while at the same time Ferrari says the new model will be faster than the hybrid-V12-powered LaFerrari. Due sometime after 2022, the new small-run screamer will focus on lightness, controllability and aerodynamics. 

Rimac CEO rules out SUVs, says brand will stay focused on supercars

It sometimes seems as if the entire automotive world is consigned to a future of nothing but high-riding sport utility vehicles, even among brands known for high-end sports cars. Porsche long ago gave into the craze with the Cayenne, Lamborghini has given us the Urus, we just saw Aston Martin unveil the DBX, and Ferrari has its own plans for a lifted performance family hauler. But Croatian electric vehicle maker Rimac Automobili is signaling that it’s not going down that road.

CEO and founder Mate Rimac spoke with Top Gear about plans for future models, telling the site, “We ourselves? No. We will not do a performance SUV. For sure.” He told the site he understood why automakers like Aston give in to the SUV craze, but insists Rimac will remain focused on two-seat supercars with innovative features in areas of aerodynamics and weight. “But I don’t want to make SUVs or stuff like that,” he added for good measure.

For now, Rimac has been working on homologating the C_Two, a limited-edition, 1,914-horsepower battery-electric supercar that it unveiled in 2018 in Geneva. It’s powered by four electric motors that draw from a 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack, boasts a range of 404 miles on the generous NEDC cycle, a top speed of 258 mph and adds 1,969 pound-feet of torque to the mix.

Production is set to start next year, capped at 150 examples, which have long been sold out at a base price of around $2.1 million. We’ll reportedly see the production version in March at the Geneva Motor Show.

Lamborghini previews Huracán Super Trofeo EVO and Urus ST-X Lego sets

At the Super Trofeo World Finals at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit in Spain, where world-class athletes put their driving skills to the test in the big kid toys, Lamborghini unveiled two brand-new toys for everybody that are set to launch in 2020. The Huracán Super Trofeo EVO and Urus ST-X are paired for the next Lego Speed Champions set.

The Huracán Super Trofeo EVO is already one of Lamborghini’s most popular racing models and competes in the single-make Super Trofeo series. The Urus ST-X is set to compete in track and off-roading competitions starting in October 2020 at the Misano World Final in an all-new race. Now both of these cars will be available for purchase in Lego form. 

Fortunately, 2020 marks the start of a new chapter for Lego Speed Champions with the evolution to the more accurate ‘8 Studs Wide’ design, and we felt that we could now do the popular brand justice,” Lego Speed Champions design manager specialist Chris Stamp said. “Especially the wide body of the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO. And with the awesome Urus ST-X we also introduce our first Super SUV into the theme, which fans will hopefully be just as thrilled with as we are.”

The Huracán model includes realistic parallels such as the shark fin, air scoop, front diffuser and large wing. It features a black scheme with slick accents and advertising sponsors. The set is 659 pieces in total and also includes starting “lights” and two figurines. Though pricing is yet to be released, the set will be available starting January 1, 2020. Seems like a missed Christmas opportunity, no?

Lamborghini Squadra Corsa previews 830-hp hypercar and racing Urus ST-X

At the conclusion of last year’s Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, the Sant’Agata Bolognese carmaker’s Squadra Corse division unveiled the SC18 Alstom. That was a one-off, customer-commissioned, extreme track car based on the Aventador SVJ, and the first wholesale creation from the racing department. At this year’s series finale in Jerez, Spain, it teased a limited-run hypercar and an evolution of the race-bound Urus ST-X. The hypercar proves a rumor from earlier this month, when a poster at the McLaren Life forum said he was “Going to spec next week and test drive the SVR V12 track version of AV,” that AV standing for Aventador. Lamborghini says the track-only car, designed by the company’s Centro Stile department, will debut next year.

The rumor had posited the hypercar as a ne plus ultra expression of the Aventador’s 6.5-liter V12, and that seems to be the case. Engineers extracted 830 horsepower from the naturally aspirated engine, 70 hp more than found in the SVJ. In place of the road car’s seven-speed, single-clutch ISR transmission, the unnamed hypercar uses a six-speed Xtrac sequential gearbox, and a mechanical limited-slip differential can be adjusted by the driver for preload. The standard Aventador chassis has been reworked around that powertrain for aerodynamic and safety reasons. The front structure’s made of aluminum, a more pliant — and less expensive — material to deal with in case of incidents on the track. The engine’s been wrapped in a steel cage in order to increase torsional and bending stiffness. Airflow improves thanks to dual intakes on the hood, an airscoop over the cockpit, and a stonking rear wing. 

The Urus ST-X has undergone a few changes since its debut last year. The Verde Mantis SUV has been lightened by about 25 percent compared to the production version with “a lighter structure,” a vented carbon fiber hood and rear wing, and a racing exhaust. The cabin’s luxurious appointment are replaced by a roll cage, racing seats, and a fire suppression system. Scheduled to make its race debut at the end of October 2020 in Misano, Italy, the first pilots to get a chance behind the wheel will be winners of the four classes in the Super Trofeo series.

The Brabus 700 Widestar Is A Mercedes-AMG G63 On Steroids

Tuners disassembling SUVs and reassembling them to add more performance once seemed downright silly. Now, that pretty much tells the story of modern-day tuning, which asserts that innovation comes from equal parts of genius and madness. The Brabus 700 Widestar comes as a continuation of this story.

Brabus has an extensive history of turning Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUVs into super variants. The Brabus 700 Widestar is based on the all-new Mercedes-AMG G63 and takes the already excellent car even further.

Brabus took the twin-turbo V8 engine and upped the horsepower to a whopping 700, way higher compared to the stock 585. This effectively drops the zero to 60 acceleration time to just 4.3 seconds, clearly insane for an SUV. Brabus added custom fenders as well, resulting in four inches more to the track. This allows for the fitment of a number of wheel and tire combinations as a result. Not the least of which Brabus’ own bespoke Monoblock Platinum Edition 23-inch forged wheels.

Brabus also added new front and rear fascias, and you can customize the interiors to your liking. Options include leather, Alcantara, wood, and even carbon fiber. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most flexible SUVs on the market today, with plenty of tweaks to suit any car enthusiast’s taste.

We don’t need to say that the Brabus 700 Widestar looks stunning. See for yourself and you’ll come to the same conclusion. Hit the link below to know more about the car and Brabus’ other equally impressive projects.

MORE FROM BRABUS

Land Rover Range Rover Velar Project Kahn P300 Pace Car

Earlier this week, we received exciting news about an upcoming armored SUV with insane power. We’re talking about the 1,000 horsepower 2020 Rezvani Tank, which is an insane upgrade over its predecessor. So far, it’s one ride that shaping up to be a monster for good reason. However, before the week ends, we are getting word that another badass SUV is on show. Therefore, its time to check out the Land Rover Range Rover Velar Project Kahn P300 Pace Car.

The name is definitely a mouthful, but with the slew of upgrades Kahn is throwing in, it deserves to keep it. What we love about this custom job is the sleek and stealthy appearance of the matte black colorway it’s sporting. The shop calls it Satin Black with Bronze detailing and it looks absolutely stunning on the SUV. Moreover, the 23-inch Pace Car Wheels come in a Dark Bronze tint that adds a layer of elegance to its ebony aesthetics.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing generous amounts of carbon fiber components that help with overall weight reduction. To match the classy exterior of the SUV, the interior sports a matching tone, which is exceptional. All of the seats feature Herringbone-quilted and perforated leather upholstery, while the doors panels also get a leather treatment. Owners will likewise find that almost everything inside is covered in premium leatherwork. It’s not every day that you can drape about 90 percent of a vehicle in black and get away it. However, the Range Rover Velar Project Kahn P300 Pace Car manages to do so with style.

Get it here

Images courtesy of Kahn

2020 Rezvani Tank SUV

We’re so thrilled to bring you another badass ride courtesy of the folks from Rezvani. This is so special because the company is completely redesigning its SUV platform into something way better. This is a company who knows that men are kids at heart who just want a ride that’s utterly ridiculous, but cool nonetheless. We’re talking about aesthetics that ooze pure machismo from any angle. Just look at the original Tank model that continues to impress us even until today. Now it’s ready to give is the 2020 Rezvani Tank and we are genuinely hyped about it.

So far, Rezvani is holding off on most of the spec sheet for this menacing machine. However, they’re willing to feed us exciting tidbits that will keep us on the edge of our seats. First of all, let’s recall that its predecessor was already touting an exceptional 500 horsepower from its 6.4-liter V8 engine. Buyers also have the option to upgrade it into a 6.2-liter Dodge Hellcat V8 for up to 707 horsepower. Meanwhile, the 2020 version of the Tank offers a similar service but tunes the output to an insane 1,000 horsepower.

Furthermore, were likewise looking at a new suspension system that they’re sourcing from Fox Racing. You probably already know that the outgoing model was a fully-armored beast that eats bullets for breakfast. We’re guessing that the 2020 Rezvani Tank will sport the same personal protection package. Moreover, it appears that the Military Edition will throw in a military-grade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) protection system. It seems that this new model is shaping up to be on a whole new league of its own.

Check it out here

Images courtesy of Rezvani

The Lamborghini Urus ST-X Concept Is A Race-Ready SUV

For the longest time, an Italian carmaker that flaunts a raging bull emblem is recognized for its supercars. The recognizable touch of excellence clearly flows within every new model that rolls out of the assembly line. Hence, the public was admittedly blindsided when the company unveiled an SUV in 2017. Furthermore, it drew mixed reactions from the press and consumers alike. Now, it’s making some changes to tap into its rich racing legacy with the Lamborghini Urus ST-X.

It’s easy to see that the ST-X is a Lamborghini Urus upgrade. It’s hard to believe that a four-door four-seat SUV will be burning rubber on the race track. However, there’s no stopping the manufacturer from turning it into a high-performance race car. Engineers are taking the stock model and replacing metal components with carbon fiber make it more lightweight. Sources close to the project claim that this procedure will shave off around 25 percent from the overall weight.

Not only does the company want to prove that the Urus can dominate the tracks, but it will also do so with minimal tweaks. Additionally, the Lamborghini Urus ST-X will be hosting a one-make racing series. This will be a challenging test for professional drivers as they push the vehicle’s performance to its limits. Ultimately, we will be seeing close-to-stock models competing in races akin to that of a Rallycross event. Rumors are suggesting that the track-ready version of the Urus is a teaser for a new model in the pipeline. We’re not sure if it will bear the same name, but the idea is simply exhilarating.

Learn more about it here

Images courtesy of Lamborghini

2020 Lincoln Corsair

Fresh off the New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair is the smallest SUV in the company’s lineup. Even still, that doesn’t mean it’s an inferior one. It’s got the same cool dash cluster as on the Navigator, for starters. And it comes standard with safety features care of Lincoln Co-Pilot360. That includes pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring.

With that, you also get adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. That’s on top of speed sign recognition and stop-go-go assist. You’ll also be able to adjust the speed of your cruise control when you pass by a speed limit change sign. You can turn that feature off if you want, though.

The all-new Corsair comes in this new suspension designed to directly absorb bumps and impacts before they get to the cabin. Customers will be able to pick from two engine options on launch — a 2.0-liter turbocharged four with 250 ponies, or a 2.3-liter with 280 horsepower and 310 pound-foot of torque. It’s not going to be a road killer by any stretch of the imagination, sure. But if it performs anything like Lincoln’s other rides, then that’s easy to forgive, we bet.

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair will also come with Phone as Key via a companion app. With this, not only will you’ll be able to unlock your car, you’ll also have the pleasure of opening windows and turning it on or off remotely. The app will also make note of your personal driving, seating, and media preferences. That’ll be super useful especially if multiple people drive a vehicle.

MORE INFO HERE

Photos courtesy of Lincoln

Why Exotic Super SUV’s Are The Way Of The Future

Less than a decade ago, the distinction between SUV’s and other vehicle types was clear. The introduction of SUV cross-overs brought about a new breed of SUV. An off-shoot of these cross-over SUVs came to being once sports car manufacturers entered the SUV market, creating the “Super SUV.”

The idea was to provide everything in one vehicle – a powerful engine, elegant design, luxury interior, and unparalleled performance with a 4×4 option. Lamborghini came up with the term Super SUV in 2017, when they released the concept of the Lamborghini Urus.

Following in their footsteps, other major sports car manufacturers also joined in.

The S-SUV Future

Range Rover Super SUV
[Image via Autocar]

Sports cars have traditionally featured two-seats, with some exceptions offering four passenger options as well. However, that’s not enough for some people. Super SUV’s are 5-7 seater vehicles, boasting powerful engines that make light work of the added weight.

Super SUVs deliver a faster, more comfortable off-road experience. Imagine sitting in the luxury of a Bentley while crossing the Himalayan plains, or cruising through the desert with a Ferrari roaring under you. As these super crossovers make their way into the mainstream, maintaining these vehicles also doesn’t demand much effort.

For instance, in Arizona, you can explore the Apache Trail in your S-SUV, or cruise the historic Route 66.

There’s no worry if you damage your windshield because SunTec’s Scottsdale windshield replacement crew will have you sorted in no time! SunTec Auto Glass specializes in repairing and replacing windshields and auto glass on exotics, supercars, and of course Super-SUV’s.

The future is all about convenience and this is precisely why Super SUVs are set to take over the automobile industry. An all-in-one option is an automotive enthusiast’s dream come true — spacious cabins, higher seats, and more driving options.

Eventually, it is estimated that future S-SUV’s will be more affordable, providing a luxurious and powerful alternative to sports cars and SUV’s alike.

The Lamborghini Urus

Lamborghini Urus Super SUV
[Image via Lamborghini]

Lamborghini’s first attempt at an SUV caused ripples across the automobile industry. A combination of Lamborghini’s classic style coupled with outstanding performance, the Urus starts out at $200,000.

Its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 delivers a whopping 641 horsepower on an all-wheel configuration alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powerful engine boasts a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds!

The interior has a classic Lamborghini jetfighter-style design that has all the hallmarks of a luxury SUV and sports car. From leather seats to adjustable gauges, go from luxury to raw power in seconds, literally.

The Bentley Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga Super SUV
[Image via Bentley]

Bentley was looking to rock the SUV world and their introduction of the Bentley Bentayga blew everyone away with a top speed of 187 mph! With a price tag of $197,725, the Bentayga is a supercar in an SUV’s body – the very definition of a Super SUV.

A twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine under the hood delivers a robust 600 horsepower. Along with the eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the Bentayga goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds.

The entirely leather interior comfortably seats 5 people. The full-option Bentayga also offers 22-inch alloy rims as well as an absolutely ridiculous 1,950-watt, 20 speaker audio system and back-seat entertainment tablets.

The Maserati Levante

Maserati Levante Super SUV
[Image via Motor Trend]

Following the trend of Super SUV’s, Maserati came up with the relatively cheaper Levante starting at $77,475. Positioned as the reinvention of Italian luxury, the Levante is available in four varieties with individual engine capacities and features.

The base version has a twin-turbocharged V-6 capable of 345 horsepower. Maserati’s Trofeo version put out an unimaginable 550 horsepower but also costs an eye-watering $171,475. The all-wheel base version goes 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, rivaling mid-tier sports cars.

With a specific focus on the leather-intensive interior, Maserati has also splashed out on a fully automatic, state-of-the-art, all-inclusive infotainment system. While the Levante cuts corners on trunk space, it offers a world-class luxury experience.

Go All-Electric With The 2019 Audi E-Tron SUV

Tesla is still the reigning carmaker when it comes to availability and sales of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the competition is about to get a little heated as more automotive companies make the switch from traditional engines. European badges such as Porsche, Volkswagen, Renault, and more are already working on their projects. Meanwhile, the 2019 Audi e-tron will apparently make its way into dealerships this spring.

It’s clear that burning fossil fuels have a detrimental impact on our environment. Researchers are urging various industries to cut back their usage in order to avoid an ecological disaster in the near future. That’s why EVs are steadily becoming more popular options for buyers.

This five-seater SUV, the first ever battery-powered model from the German brand. The dual AC induction motors draw power from a 95kWh lithium-ion battery. The setup manages to produce around 402 horsepower with 490 lb-ft of torque. It uses a single-speed direct-drive transmission to transfer power to its all-wheel-drive system. With a top speed of 124 mph, the EV can go from 0-60 in under six seconds.

According to the manufacturer, charging the 2019 Audi e-tron using the 150kW public charger can get you up to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the supplied home charging capsule takes around 9 hours to completely charge the SUV. Tests claim that a full battery can drive you up to 160 miles before it needs to top up. To sum it all up, those who want to break away from Tesla’s shadow over the EV market now have alternatives in near future. Prices start at $74,800 for the Premium Plus version, while the snazzier Prestige edition goes for $81,800.

Images courtesy of Audi

2019 Audi e-tron

2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label

One look at the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label and you’ll be floored by the amount of luxury it brings to the table. It’s actually great to see the brand revamp the iconic SUV range with a bang this time around. You might say that it’s ready to take on its rival Cadillac in a competition to win the hearts of affluent buyers. Especially those who demand the best and willing to pay top dollar to get what they want.

Rumors claimed that consumers who previously patronized the marque lost interest over the last few years. This was apparently due to the underwhelming designs of previous iterations that most found uninspired. Well, that ends now because the latest rework is one stunning SUV. The glossy exterior tastefully distributes shiny chrome accents with the large grille and emblem being the centerpiece.

Powering this sporty but luxurious transport is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo DOHC V6 engine that produces around 450 horsepower. Matched with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the finely-tuned engine pushes the SUV from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.

The opulent cabin is overflowing with enough tech and creature comforts that it seems worth it to just sit inside and bask in all its glory. Copious amounts of suede and Venetian leather adorn the interior. You get 30-way adjustable power seats with heating, cooling, and massage functions. All other features can be controlled via the 10-inch infotainment unit. The 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label is definitely worth another look if you’re shopping for a new upmarket ride.

Upgrade to a Black Label

2019 Volkswagen Touareg

Even without the confirmation that it’s headed to American soil, we cannot stem our excitement for the 2019 Volkswagen Touareg. Automotive experts are already showering the upcoming SUV with praises and suggesting that it will be more innovative than the next-generation Audi Q7. However, all hope is not lost as insiders tease a likelihood that the model will come out in the United States, albeit with the different label.

The bit of good news stated above does not end there. We speculate that the manufacturer will delegate the production of five-seater’s US version to its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The elimination of international shipping might introduce a beneficial outcome—there is a possibility that the reduced costs will translate into a discounted price for American buyers.

You might be overwhelmed by the range of engine trims offered by VW for its new luxury SUV. There is only one gasoline-powered selection which is a 3.0-liter V6 at 355hp with 332lb-ft of torque. Diesel variants start off with a 3.0-liter V6, available in 228hp and 282hp configurations. Finally, a 4.0-liter V8 version that outputs 417hp and 664lb-ft of torque tops the list. All options are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Safety features such as traffic jam assist, autonomous emergency braking, driver assist systems, lane-keep assist, and a night vision camera are all included. With rear-wheel steering on board, you can tackle challenging parking situations with ease.

That star of the show lies inside the 2019 Volkswagen Touareg. Just like most modern luxury-tier vehicles, analog components have been upgraded into digital. Nevertheless, VW seamlessly merges its 15-inch infotainment module with the 12-inch instrument panel screen into what the company calls the Innovision Cockpit system. The result is a stylish touch-enabled display with flowing curves minus the buttons. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are likewise fully supported.

2019 Volkswagen Touareg

Photos courtesy of Volkswagen