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Alfa Romeo Stelvio-based SUV coming in 2021

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2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Maserati last fall announced it would introduce a new SUV slotting in below the Levante and to be called a “Grecale.” In keeping with Maserati’s penchant for naming models after winds, a habit that started in 1963 with the Mistral, the name comes from a wind in the Mediterranean.

On Thursday, the automaker provided a first look at a prototype and confirmed an arrival later in 2021. We already know the Grecale will be a small SUV sharing its Giorgio platform with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, so it’s no surprise the proportions are similar between the two vehicles. Production will also be handled at the same site where the Stelvio is built, Stellantis’ plant in Cassino, Italy.

The Grecale will compete with the Porsche Macan and some of the high-end versions of the BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Alfa Romeo’s own Stelvio could also be an alternative for some buyers.

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

It isn’t clear what internal-combustion powertrains will be offered in the Grecale, but we know the SUV, like all new Maseratis, will offer the choice of battery-electric power. Maserati’s electric powertrain, branded Folgore, Italian for “lightning,” will consist of a three-motor system with one motor up front and two at the rear.

The electric option won’t be available at the Grecale’s launch, though. Maserati’s first electric car will be a version of the redesigned GranTurismo. The redesigned GranTurismo arrives in 2021 and its electric version will arrive in 2022. Also arriving in 2021 will be a convertible version of the recently revealed MC20 supercar.

Looking further out, Maserati will launch a redesigned GranTurismo Convertible (GranCabrio in other markets), as well as redesigned versions of the Quattroporte and Levante. The entire renewal of the Maserati lineup is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

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2022 Land Rover Defender adds V-8 to powertrain portfolio

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2022 Land Rover Defender

Ever since the modern Land Rover Defender’s reveal in 2019, fans have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of a V-8 option.

Well, we can confirm that Land Rover will finally deliver with the 2022 Defender which will offer up Jaguar Land Rover’s familiar 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 as the range-topping powertrain. Here, it will be rated at 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque.

Buyers seeking more performance may want to wait as the SVO division is rumored to be planning a more potent version of the V-8 for the Defender, possibly in an SVR-badged model, though Land Rover remains quiet on the matter.

2022 Land Rover Defender

The current V-8 still offers plenty of grunt and will be offered on both the two-door Defender 90 and four-door Defender 110. It will come hooked to an 8-speed automatic and should see the Defender deliver 0-60 mph acceleration in about five seconds and a top speed approaching 150 mph.

Numerous chassis tweaks were also added to suit the extra grunt. The list includes stiffer anti-roll bars, unique spring and damper rates, as well an electronic active rear differential.

2022 Land Rover Defender

2022 Land Rover Defender

The Defender’s off-road driving mode selector known as Terrain Response has also been augmented with a special Dynamic mode exclusively for the V-8. It helps to optimize power delivery whether on a smooth or rough surface. It also improves throttle and steering response to deliver a sharper and more agile driving experience, and dials in the exhaust note for a spicier sound.

Apart from the noise it makes, it will be hard to tell the V-8 Defender from those with lesser engines. There will be some unique visual cues, though. The list includes quad-exhaust tips at the rear, model-specific 22-inch wheels, and 15-inch brake rotors with bright blue calipers.

Other powertrains offered on the 2022 Defender will include a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 296 hp and 295 lb-ft and a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 mild-hybrid setup with 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. Buyers outside the U.S. will also have the option of a plug-in hybrid setup that uses the 2.0-liter engine.

The 2022 model year also sees the Defender receive Defender XS and Defender Carpathian editions. The latter gets its name from its exclusive Carpathian Gray paint finish (with a contrasting black roof) and will come exclusively with the V-8.

2022 Land Rover Defender

2022 Land Rover Defender

Other changes for 2022 will include an available 11.4-inch infotainment screen instead of the standard 10.0-inch unit, along with a standard wireless charging pad for mobile devices, over-the-air update capability, and a navigation system that optimizes route guidance using AI and real-time traffic updates.

The 2022 Defender will arrive at dealerships later in the year. Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch.

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Shelby F-250 Super Baja is the Super Duty Raptor America wants

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2021 Ford Shelby F-250 Super Baja

Ford doesn’t make an F-250 Raptor, leaving an opening for the aftermarket. Shelby American already sells upgraded Ford F-150 pickups, but now the company is launching an F-250 Super Duty with enhanced off-road capability.

The 2021 Ford Shelby F-250 Super Baja gets a new suspension from Fox, giving it an increased ride height and better off-road handling, Shelby said in a press release. The truck also gets 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels—including two spares mounted on a rack in the bed. Those are bigger tires than the factory F-250 Tremor model, which rolls on 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac rubber.

Other exterior alterations include a ram-air hood, powder-coated steel front and rear bumpers, fender flares, power side steps with rock sliders and lights, powder-coated exhaust tips, and extra LED lighting all around.

2021 Ford Shelby F-250 Super Baja

The interior sports leather seat covers, carbon-fiber trim, stainless steel gauges, and a serialized dashboard plaque.

Shelby didn’t mention any powertrain modifications. The Super Baja uses the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8, which produces 475 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque from the factory. That tremendous amount of torque is sent to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Production is limited to 250 units, with a base price of $125,805, including the cost of a 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat Ultimate 4×4 donor vehicle. Shelby provides its own 3-year/36,000-mile vehicle warranty, and its modifications don’t affect the factory powertrain warranty. If the Shelby F-250 isn’t to your liking, Roush offers its own suspension and styling upgrades, and there’s also a limited-edition Harley-Davidson F-250.

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Ferrari headed to Le Mans Hypercar class in 2023

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Ferrari at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans

In the early 1960s, Ferrari dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans, before being shut down by Ford and its GT40. Ferrari gradually withdrew from sports-car racing, shifting focus to Formula One, but now it’s back.

The automaker announced Wednesday that it will join the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class in 2023, marking a return to the legendary French endurance race as a factory team.

LMH is the new top class in the WEC, replacing the LMP1 hybrid prototypes that have ruled the roost since the 2012 season. The main difference is that LMH cars are loosely based on production models, albeit low-volume hypercars, hence the name. While a mystery test mule tipped to be a LaFerrari successor has been spotted in Maranello, it’s unclear if this will be the road-going counterpart to Ferrari’s LMH racer.

Ferrari said it just kicked off development of its LMH contender “in recent weeks,” and won’t announce further details of the car, or the driver lineup, until a later date.

Ferrari at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans

The automaker last competed in the top tier of FIA sports-car racing in 1973, when the series was known as the World Sports Car Championship. Its last overall Le Mans victory came in 1965, but Ferrari has been represented by various privateer teams running in the lower-level GT classes. AF Corse scored a GTE Pro class win at Le Mans in 2019, and Ferrari won the WEC GT manufacturer’s championship in 2017.

The first race for LMH cars will be the 2021 WEC season opener at Portimao April 4. Toyota, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, and Germany’s ByKolles will field cars in the first season, while Peugeot is expected to join in 2022.

Aston Martin was originally expected to join the LMH class with a race-ready version of the Valkyrie, but the automaker put those plans on hold following the announcement of the LMDh class for the United States-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which will replace the current DPi prototype class for the 2023 season.

Meanwhile, Porsche plans to return to Le Mans with an LMDh entry, a move made possible because the class rules are being developed in concert with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which sanctions the race. That means we’ll see Porsche and Ferrari battling for victory at Le Mans in just a few years. The top series of endurance racing will once again be a spectacle.

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