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Next-gen 7-Series’ electric version spotted

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2023 BMW i7 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

A prototype for BMW’s next-generation 7-Series has been spotted again.

The tester is for a battery-electric version that’s likely to feature some styling elements distinct to the rest of the 7-Series lineup, like a sealed-off grille. It may also have a unique name, such as “i7.” Other shots show prototypes with internal-combustion engines.

2023 BMW i7 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

There’s a lot of camouflage gear to hide the true shape, particularly around the C-pillar to mask the latest take on BMW’s signature Hofmeister kink. There is also a rearward facing camera mounted to each of the front fenders, as well as multiple cameras and a large sensor in the grille area.

The latest spy shots show the true shape of the grille, which is reminiscent of the design on the recently revealed iX battery-electric SUV. The protruding, shark nose design meanwhile looks to have been inspired by the Pininfarina-styled Gran Lusso Coupe concept from 2013.

2023 BMW i7 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW i7 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

The resulting design should be much grander and more dynamic than the somewhat staid look of the current G11 7-Series.

Underpinning the vehicle will be an updated version of the current 7-Series’ CLAR platform which is flexible enough to support multiple powertrain types. For the electric 7-Series, BMW will use its fifth-generation battery and electric powertrain technology which debuted last year in the iX3 SUV sold overseas.

BMW fifth-generation EV technology

BMW fifth-generation EV technology

The technology supports batteries with up to 120 kilowatt-hours of capacity, or enough for a range approaching 400 miles. BMW’s battery partners include CATL, Samsung SDI and Northvolt.

The powertrain will rely on modular drive units that combine the electric motor, transmission and power control unit into a single housing. Three of these drive units developing over 720 hp combined motivated the 5-Series demonstrator BMW unveiled a couple of years back; two powered the rear wheels independently, allowing for torque vectoring control, and one powered the front pair. Such a system allows BMW to scale power output and add all-wheel-drive capability for individual models by simply adding or subtracting powertrain modules. In the iX, two of the drive units deliver about 500 hp.

BMW fifth-generation motor system

BMW fifth-generation motor system

Other powertrains destined for the next-gen 7-Series should include mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid setups. A V-8 in mild-hybrid configuration is a sure bet but the jury is still out on whether a V-12 will still be around. However, a senior BMW exec as recently as 2019 said the company had no plans to abandon the big engine.

Look for the next-gen 7-Series to arrive in 2022 as a 2023 model. The battery-electric i7 should be available at launch.

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Autos

Turn back time with this retro 2021 Ford F-150

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2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150

After launching a retro design package for the Ford F-150 about two years ago, Ohio dealership Beechmont Ford is back with another version for the redesigned 2021 F-150.

First spotted by Motor1, the 2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150 features basically the same ingredients as before, including a two-tone vinyl wrap, retro 17-inch wheels wrapped in 35-inch all-terrain tires, and a 3.5-inch lift kit. A chrome bed rack and KC Hi Lights complete the look. The default Satin Pearl wrap can also be substituted for actual paint.

While the previous retro F-150 was based on the XLT trim level, the 2021 model shown here is based on the higher-level Lariat model. You can still get the retro package on an XLT, or a different 2021 F-150 trim level should you desire. Beechmont Ford does recommend the factory Chrome Package, which matches the bed rack and polished wheels.

2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150

Beechmont is asking for a $500 deposit on the package. Customers must order their trucks directly from Ford and specify delivery to Beechmont, which will then add the retro extras.

The dealership noted that wait times are longer than usual due to the global microchip shortage, which has heavily impacted truck production. It’s currently estimating a six-month wait time for delivery.

Beechmont doesn’t just do retro trucks. This is also the dealership that began offering a 750-hp supercharged Ford Mustang for $44,994 last year. Beechmont takes a stock 5.0-liter V-8 Mustang GT and adds a Roush Phase 2 supercharger, which is normally a $7,999 item on its own. You even get a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

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Should you use racing oil in your road car?

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Ford Mustang NASCAR Xfinity Series race car

Every part of a modern race car is optimized to extract maximum performance—including the fluids that go into it. Specialized racing oil is a must in the paddock, but is it a good idea to use that in your road car?

“Engineering Explained” host Jason Fenske answers that question in this video, talking to engineers from Mobil1 (which also sponsored the video), engine builder Roush Yates Engines, and NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing.

First off, Fenske emphasizes that racing engines don’t have much in common with road-car engines. Pushrod V-8s like the ones used in NASCAR disappeared from the average American car decades ago, and racing engines in general have a very different duty cycle. They’re flogged (a NASCAR V-8 can rev to 10,000 rpm and spend 90% to 95% of a race at full throttle), but also have fairly short maintenance intervals. NASCAR engines have their oil changed about every 500 miles and are only expected to last about 1,500 miles, Fenske noted.

 

Ford Mustang NASCAR Xfinity Series race car

NASCAR oil is also fairly unrestricted (rules can vary by race series), giving teams more leeway to look for competitive advantages, Fenske said. Teams tend to use thinner-weight oils to reduce frictional losses and maximize power. That’s not great for longevity but, remember, the engine only needs to last 1,500 miles. Road-car engines, on the other hand, are expected to last hundreds of thousands of miles, so that kind of tradeoff isn’t possible.

Racing oils and road-car oils do have some commonalities, though. They use a lot of the same additives, such as detergents, dispersants, anti-foaming agents, antioxidants, and rust inhibitors, Fenske noted.

However, the difference is in the details. Oils used for road cars are designed to meet a long list of regulations and requirements set down by individual automakers. In NASCAR where, again, rules governing oil are fairly loose, teams can optimize an oil for one specific engine design. It’s really that process that makes racing oil work, and it’s just not practical for individual road cars. Unless you have your own laboratory and a lot of patience, at least.

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Autos

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport, 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid, 2022 Ford Maverick: This Week’s Top Photos

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Tesla Model S Plaid specs

Bugatti this week launched a new variant of the Chiron packing 1,578 hp. It’s related to the recent Chiron Super Sport 300+ but features a lower top speed and tuning that prioritizes comfort.

Tesla Model S Plaid specs

If you’re looking for a car that accelerates quicker to 60 mph than the Bugatti above, look no further than the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. The electric super hatch started deliveries this week, and owners can look forward to 0-60 times in less than two seconds and a quarter-mile ET of a bit over nine.

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

A new Toyota Land Cruiser was revealed this week, the iconic off-roader’s first redesign in more than a decade. It features a new platform as well as twin-turbo V-6 power, and while it won’t be sold in the United States its hardware should end up in a redesigned Lexus LX.

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

BMW unveiled updated versions of its X3 and X4 small crossovers. The updates extend to the high-performance M versions which also benefit from a boost in torque figures for the Competition models. A redesigned BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe also made headlines.

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

Ford unveiled a compact pickup truck that goes by the name Maverick. It’s essentially a twin under the skin with the Bronco Sport, and it’s headed to showrooms shortly with standard hybrid power and a base price of about $20,000.

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

Another new vehicle in the headlines this week was Volkswagen’s T7-generation van, which debuted in passenger-oriented Multivan guise. Unlike the T6 generation, which uses a dedicated van platform, the T7 has moved to the more car-like MQB platform shared with multiple models sold by Volkswagen Group brands.

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

And finally, Ferrari was spotted testing its upcoming V-6-powered supercar. The new model will feature a mid-engine layout and hybrid technology, making it a rival to the recently revealed McLaren Artura.

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