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2021 Ford Shelby GT, 2022 BMW X3, 2023 Porsche Cayenne: This Week’s Top Photos

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2021 Genesis GV80

Ford has offered a number of Shelby-branded Mustangs in recent years, but you can also purchase a tuned ‘Stang direct from Shelby American. The company’s latest is the 2021 Ford Shelby GT which comes standard with 480 hp but can be upgraded to 700-plus-hp.

2021 Genesis GV80

One of the vehicles we tested this week was a BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class rival from Genesis. Called the GV80, the luxurious mid-size crossover appeals with good looks, superb build quality, and non-intimidating tech.

2023 Porsche Cayenne facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 Porsche Cayenne facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Buyers looking for more performance from their mid-size crossover should definitely consider the current third-generation Porsche Cayenne. A prototype for an updated version was spotted this week.

2022 BMW X3 facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 BMW X3 facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another crossover out testing was an updated BMW X3. The X3 is among BMW’s best-selling vehicles, and the automaker plans to keep the momentum going with some mild tweaks.

Ferrari 812 Competizione A

Ferrari 812 Competizione A

This week Ferrari unveiled the 812 Competizione, the hardcore version of the 812 Superfast. There’s both a coupe and an open-top version, the latter featuring a targa-style roof with a removable panel made from carbon fiber.

Ford NASCAR Next Gen Mustang race car

Ford NASCAR Next Gen Mustang race car

NASCAR this week unveiled its Next Gen race car, in Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota guises. Among the changes are independent rear suspension, modular construction, a 5-speed sequential transaxle, and 18-inch, center-lock wheels.

1936 Duesenberg Model J Rollston Convertible Berline - Image via Mecum

1936 Duesenberg Model J Rollston Convertible Berline – Image via Mecum

Two Duesenbergs are coming up for sale, including a car originally purchased by a president of Coca-Cola. The cars will be sold at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction later this month.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

And finally, Ford unveiled the Explorer Timberline. With more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, increased departure and approach angles, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, the Timberline promises to be the most capable Explorer off the road.

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Autos

Electric Volvo XC90 successor to be revealed in 2022 with lidar and advanced driver-assist tech

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Sensor suite for electric Volvo XC90 successor

An all-electric successor to the Volvo XC90 will be revealed in 2022, the automaker confirmed Thursday.  In addition to an electric powertrain, Volvo’s next flagship SUV will feature new sensors and computers, enabling more advanced driver-assistance technology.

The XC90 successor will get Luminar lidar and a higher-performance computer using the Nvidia Drive Orin chip as standard equipment, a Volvo press release said. Volvo previously confirmed plans to integrate roof-mounted lidar sensors from Luminar, which the automaker has been funding since 2018.

Lidar, which is similar to radar but uses light waves instead of radio waves to detect objects, is considered by most automakers and tech companies to be crucial to self-driving cars. Most prototype self-driving cars currently testing on public roads use lidar as part of a trifecta of sensors, along with radar and cameras.

Information from lidar and other sensors will be managed by the new Nvidia chip. The XC90 successor will also get backups for key functions like steering and braking, making it “hardware ready for safe unsupervised autonomous driving once available,” Volvo said.

 

Sensor suite for electric Volvo XC90 successor

The hardware will work with new software developed in-house to enable a feature called Highway Pilot, which will allow for “autonomous driving” on highways, Volvo said. However, it will only be activated “when verified safe and legally allowed for individual geographic locations and conditions.”

That sounds similar to Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot feature, designed to enable highway driving with minimal human involvement. Audi began adding lidar sensors to some models a few years ago in anticipation of the rollout of Traffic Jam Pilot, but canceled the feature due to regulatory and liability concerns.

Volvo believes its driver-assist tech will get smarter over time, thanks in part to over-the-air software updates. Systems will gradually become more capable, making them able to intervene in more situations, according to Volvo.

New Volvo XC90’s modular SPA platform

New Volvo XC90’s modular SPA platform

The XC90 successor will be based on Volvo’s new SPA2 architecture, which replaces the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform that underpins the current-generation XC90 and several other Volvo models. The platform will use different central floors for EVs versus gas-powered vehicles. Volvo is also expected to launch an SUV coupe version, possibly called XC100 Recharge.

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2021 Hennessey Mammoth 1000 is a 1,000-plus-hp Ram 1500 TRX, and it’s ready to hit the plains

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2021 Hennessey Mammoth 1000 TRX

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is a vehicle that’s hardly lacking in performance, but that’s never stopped the folks at Hennessey Performance Engineering from turning up the volume.

Hennessey in January announced a turnkey version that sees the super truck’s output dialed to a staggering 1,012 horsepower and 969 pound-feet of torque, and on Wednesday the first 20 examples were shown off at the company’s plant in Sealy, Texas.

With so much oomph, Hennessey estimates its modified 1500 TRX, aptly named the Mammoth 1000 TRX, will rocket to 60 mph from rest in 3.2 seconds and pass the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at over 120 mph. Remember, this is a full-size, off-road-rated truck we’re talking about.

In comparison, the stock 1500 TRX comes with 702 hp and 650 lb and, according to Ram, will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds. Sure that is potent, but Ford is working on a new V-8-powered F-150 Raptor R for 2022 that’s rumored to come with the 760-hp supercharged V-8 of the Mustang Shelby GT500. In other words, any 1500 TRX owner planning to visit the drag strip may want to consider some of Hennessey’s upgrades.

For the Mammoth 1000 TRX, the list of upgrades include a custom 2.65-liter supercharger for the Hellcat 6.2-liter V-8, plus pulley upgrades, a high-flow intake, stainless-steel headers, high-flow exhaust piping (including the catalytic converter), and recalibrated engine management. The 1500 TRX’s 8-speed automatic and four-wheel-drive system also form part of the package.

Also included in the standard package is Hennessey’s Stage 1 off-road package. This adds, among other items, a custom front bumper with LED lights, custom 20-inch wheels with 35-inch off-road tires, a lift kit and a front suspension leveling kit. For serious off-roaders, there’s a Stage 2 package that adds all of the goodies of the Stage 1 package along with 37-inch off-road tires and electronic fold-out steps.

2021 Hennessey Mammoth 1000 TRX

Naturally, the vehicle is also tested on the dyno to make sure its delivering the promised power reliably and consistently. A 2-year/24,000-mile limited warranty is included.

Pricing for the Mammoth 1000 TRX starts at $135,350, and Hennessey plans to build just 200 of them for 2021. More than half of the build slots have already been claimed. Orders can be placed through Hennessey or at select Ram dealers.

Hennessey is also offering up an SUV conversion with third-row seats. This model is limited to 20 units, each priced from $375,000. All prices mentioned include the $71,890 cost of the donor 1500 TRX.

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Ferrari 296 GTB revealed with 818 hp from a V-6 hybrid powertrain

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Ferrari 296 GTB

Talk of a modern Ferrari powered by a V-6 dates back more than a decade, but the Italian automaker finally unveiled one on Thursday in the form of the new 296 GTB.

The latest entry follows in a long line of mid-engine cars from Ferrari, and brings to the table a plug-in hybrid powertrain comprising a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with a wide 120-degree “vee” angle as the internal-combustion component. The wide angle helps create a lower center of gravity while providing adequate space for the turbos to be mounted above.

The V-6 revs to 8,500 rpm and is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, and sandwiched between these two units is a single electric motor. The engine generates 654 hp on its own while the electric motor adds 164 hp to bring the total to 818 hp. Peak torque is 545 lb-ft and drive is the rear wheels only.

Ferrari 296 GTB

The setup is different to the one in the SF90 Stradale which has a V-8 instead of a V-6, along with two additional electric motors at the front axle. However, the 296, like the SF90, can also drive on electric power alone. A small 7.45-kilowatt-hour battery makes an electric range of about 15 miles possible.

Such a setup is similar to the one in the rival McLaren Artura, though in the Artura, you’re only looking at 671 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque, which means the Ferrari is probably quite a bit quicker. Claimed performance specs include 0-62 mph acceleration in 2.9 seconds, a top speed of over 205 mph, and a Fiorano lap time of 1:21. That makes it quicker than even the 488 Pista.

With the lower cylinder count, Ferrari has managed to reduce the wheelbase compared to mid-engine V-8 models by about 50 millimeters. The engine is also naturally lighter, with Ferrari quoting a dry weight of about 3,240 pounds.

Ferrari 296 GTB

Ferrari 296 GTB

For buyers looking to reduce weight further, there’s the Assetto Fiorano package which saves about 33 pounds thanks to lighter door panels, carbon fiber pieces, and a Lexan rear windscreen. It also adds adjustable Multimatic shocks, additional aero elements, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires.

The interior follows a similar theme to the SF90, right down to the controls for the transmission which resemble the gated manual design of classic Ferraris. Greeting the driver is a digital instrument cluster while the passenger gets their own speed display.

The 296 GTB, the name coming from the specific 2,992-cc displacement and 6-cylinder configuration of the V-6, as well as Ferrari’s Gran Turismo Berlinetta designation, serves as the replacement for the F8 Tributo in the Prancing Horse’s lineup, as opposed to a new entry-level mid-engine car as had been rumored. This means it will likely be priced similar to the F8 which starts at about $277,000.

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