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800-plus-hp super hatch coming soon

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 73e 4-Door Coupe spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Mercedes-Benz AMG is readying a new plug-in hybrid version of its GT 4-Door Coupe.

Our spy shots show a prototype of the AMG super hatch with a concealed flap on its rear fascia, located just below the taillight on the right. On the corresponding rear fender is the regular filler cap.

When the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Concept bowed in 2017 as a preview of the GT 4-Door Coupe, the striking show car packed a powerful electrified V-8 under the hood. So far such a powertrain hasn’t taken shape but that is now about to change. In fact, AMG has already revealed it. It will debut in this new GT 4-Door Coupe variant later this year.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 73e 4-Door Coupe spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The electrified hatch will be positioned as the range-topper in the GT 4-Door Coupe lineup, similar to how Porsche’s Panamera and Cayenne also feature plug-in hybrids as their top option. Expect the AMG to be called something along the lines of GT 73e, the small “e” representing AMG’s new E Performance branding for electrified cars.

The powertrain, which replaces AMG’s former V-12 line, is confirmed to feature a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 mated to a 9-speed automatic up front and a single electric motor mated to a 2-speed transmission at the rear. There will also be a 6.1-kilowatt-hour battery kept charged to provide power during high-performance driving, rather than pure electric range although an electric mode will be possible. Drive will be to all four wheels via a conventional all-wheel-drive system.

The exact output hasn’t been confirmed but we know it will be at a minimum 804 hp, with the electric motor making 94 hp on a constant basis and up to 201 hp during high-load situations. Currently, the GT 4-Door Coupe range tops out with the GT 63 S, whose output is 630 hp. With over 800 horses, expect the super hatch to sprint to 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. The GT 63 S does it in 3.2 seconds.

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

The plug-in hybrid system will eventually filter across to other high-end models in the AMG lineup. AMG’s version of the new S-Class is likely the next recipient.

Eager buyers should expect a premium price for the extra performance the powertrain brings. The GT 63 S already starts at $159,995. For this kind of money, buyers could also opt for the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid or the battery-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S and new Tesla Model S Plaid+.

AMG doesn’t have an answer to the Taycan or Model S Plaid+ just yet, but its first dedicated electric vehicle is coming this year, most likely based on the recently revealed Mercedes EQS.

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Autos

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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First customer McLaren P1 is for sale

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First customer McLaren P1 (Photo by Silverstone Auctions)

McLaren’s P1 plug-in hybrid hypercar launched the automaker’s range-topping Ultimate Series when it started production in 2013, and now the first customer car is scheduled to be auctioned online by Silverstone Auctions on May 22.

As a refresher on recent hypercar history, the P1 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 with electric assist, for a combined output of 903 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. McLaren quoted 0-62 mph acceleration in 2.8 seconds, 0-124 mph in 6.8 seconds, and 0-186 mph in 16.5 seconds when new. Top speed was billed as 217 mph.

The P1 appeared around the same time as the Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid and Ferrari LaFerrari mild-hybrid, introducing electrification to modern performance cars in a big way. Only the McLaren and Porsche have plugs, meaning they can be charged without using the engine and driven short distances solely on electric power. EPA ratings peg the McLaren’s electric range at 19 miles, compared to 12 miles for the 918 Spyder.

McLaren later introduced a P1 GTR track car (some of which were converted for road use). The last standard P1 was finished in December 2015, with the final GTR shortly after that. Just 375 cars were built in total.

 

First customer McLaren P1 (Photo by Silverstone Auctions)

Finished in Volcano Yellow with black leather upholstery and an Alcantara dashboard, this car is the first of those 375 P1s delivered to a customer, according to the seller. A personal letter from then-McLaren designer Frank Stephenson to the first owner is provided as confirmation of that.

The car has covered 3,666 miles in the hands of two U.K. owners, both from the same family, according to the seller. Its last service was at a U.K. McLaren dealership in September 2020, and prior to that a different dealer replaced the lithium-ion battery pack in 2018, per the seller.

Silverstone Auctions lists pre-auction estimates ranging from £885,000 to £985,000, equivalent to between $1.2 million and $1.3 million at current exchange rates. For context, the P1 had an estimated price of $1.1 million when new, and sold out almost immediately, so this estimate seems conservative.

McLaren is reportedly planning a P1 successor, but it isn’t expected to start deliveries until 2025. The automaker isn’t expected to launch another Ultimate Series model until then, having recently introduced the Senna (including GTR and LM variants), Speedtail, and Elva models in that series.

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2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots and video: Flat-plane-crank V-8 sings

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2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has been out for over a year and the general consensus is that the Bowtie brand has a huge hit on its hands.

But the Stingray represents just the first stage of the mid-engined C8 Corvette’s performance. There is still a handful of models to come, one of which will be a track-focused Z06.

Fresh prototypes of the Z06 have just been spotted ahead of the expected reveal this summer. The car should arrive as a 2022 model.

The prototypes may look like previous testers for the Stingray but there’s no missing the much wider rear wheels. The rear fenders also appear to be wider than on the Stingray, which makes sense given the wider rubber. On the Stingray, the rear tires max out at 305 millimeters, but the rear tires on the Z06 are expected to max out at 345 mm. We can see on some of the prototypes that the front tires, in this case Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tires, already measure a meaty 275 mm.

Inside, we can expect a few elements unique to the Z06. An official sketch has teased what appeared to be the Z06’s cabin. The layout of the dash matched the design used in the Stingray, but the controls on the steering wheel were different and included a giant red button with “Spec Mode” written on it. There was also the layout of a racetrack in the instrument cluster, and carbon fiber on many of the surfaces instead of the usual leather.

As for what’s powering the car, we can count on an engine related to the 5.5-liter V-8 fitted to the C8.R race car. The race car’s engine is a naturally aspirated unit complete with dual overhead cams and a flat-plane crank—and this is the same configuration expected for the Z06. Just listen to the engine in our latest spy video.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Peak power is expected to hover around 625 hp. Although this is less than the 650 hp of the C7 generation’s supercharged V-8, there are plenty of buyers who appreciate naturally aspirated power, even if it means a lower top-end compared to a force-fed mill. The engine in the new Z06 is also expected to scream all the way to a 9,000-rpm redline, which should appease the many fans who were saddened to see the Z06 switch from naturally aspirated to supercharged power when the C7 generation arrived.

For the power hungry, a twin-turbocharged version of the new V-8 with something closer to 800 hp is expected in a new Corvette ZR1. Beyond the new Z06 and ZR1, expect Chevy to launch a pair of hybrids. One is expected to be a model to replace the Grand Sport. The other is expected to be a flagship combining the ZR1 engine and an electric motor (or two). Don’t be surprised if it ends up being badged a Zora, after Corvette father Zora Arkus-Duntov. An electric Corvette is also thought to be in the works.

Sadly, there’s no word whether a manual transmission will be offered in any C8 variant, and there’s a good chance one won’t make it at all, though it’s hard not to love Chevy’s brilliant 8-speed dual-clutch transmission that debuted in the Stingray.

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