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Take it apart, rebuild, repeat

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2021 Ford Bronco

The 2021 Ford Bronco isn’t constructed like most other cars. Instead, it’s like a life-size Lego car as every body panel can bolt on or off. The process isn’t quick and easy, but it should make the Bronco cheaper and quicker to repair, and easier to modify with the bolt-on aftermarket parts that are sure to come.

The Jeep Wrangler is similar, but it’s rear quarter panels don’t bolt on and off, and its fender flares are harder to remove.

Should a shopping cart at Target roll into your shiny new Bronco a replacement can’t simply be ordered from a local Ford dealership and bolted on. Bronco’s Chief Designer Paul Wraith told Motor Authority owners will still need to call a body shop to order replacement panels.

A body shop will also be needed to paint the new panels as they won’t come painted in the color of your vehicle. DIYers might try to paint the panels with a can spray paint, but a body shop will be needed to properly blend the paint to match the new panels.

2021 Ford Bronco

The bolt-on body panels will make life easier should a Bronco get into a fender bender. Shop foreman Mike Gelakoski (known as Jelly) of 38 years at Sears Imported Autos Body Shop in Minneapolis, told Motor Authority “if a car went and got damaged, you’re talking the difference between a couple weeks and a couple days.” Shorter repair times will also mean fewer labor hours and less-expensive repairs.

Jelly explained that, other than a Saturn Ion and BMW Z3, rear quarter panel replacements require you to “screw, glue, and rivet it. Some cars you have to weld and you can burn it (the metal).”

BMW Z3s have rear quarter panels that simply bolt on making replacement a simple process that doesn’t take 20 hours, according to Jelly. The Bronco is like the BMW Z3 and that will make replacing panels “quicker, simpler, and easier,” Jelly said.

Ford’s new Bronco is sure to be the darling of the aftermarket scene and the next superstar at the SEMA show. President and founder of American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), David Harriton told Motor Authority the Bronco’s construction “opens a lot of opportunities for the aftermarket.” AEV is an outfitter specializing in Jeep Wranglers, Ram Power Wagons, and Chevrolet Colorados.

“The ability to take these vehicles off road, have an accident, and then replace the body panel is critical,” Harriton said.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

Some Bronco fans will also buy aftermarket panels and add them to their Broncos. Again, a body shop will be needed to paint these panels to match the rest of the Bronco. However, some owners may choose to wrap their panels or paint them themselves, eliminating the need for a body shop.

It’s not just the body panels. The fender flares pop on and off with the simple twist of a few fasteners in about 30 seconds. “That’s pretty cool that you can be legal driving to and from the trail and then pop off the flares for the trail to keep them looking nice. That’s a pretty great idea,” Harriton said.

From the aftermarket and modification scene to repairing a Bronco dented at the local Starbucks, the way Ford’s latest SUV’s screwed together could be a boon for consumers and the aftermarket alike.

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Autos

2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron, 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, Mercedes-Benz AMG One: This Week’s Top Photos

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2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Audi expanded its lineup of electric vehicles with the reveal of the new Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron. The handsome compact crossover duo arrive at dealerships later this year and should offer around 250 miles on a charge.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Another new electric vehicle in the headlines this week was the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, and it did not disappoint. The svelte electric sedan combines an S-Class grade interior with impressive technology, and this should help it attract well-heeled buyers looking to make the switch from gasoline to electrons.

Nissan GT-R Nismo Special Edition

Nissan GT-R Nismo Special Edition

Nissan is close to launching a redesigned Z, but the automaker’s other sports car, the GT-R, will soldier on in its current form for a little while longer. This week, Nissan introduced a special version of the GT-R Nismo range-topper. It features a unique look and upgraded engine internals.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen updated the Arteon for 2021, adding new technology and styling tweaks that push the svelte sedan even closer to near-luxury status. This week we posted up our review of the car.

2021 Toyota Supra

2021 Toyota Supra

Another car we tested was the 2021 Toyota Supra, specifically the 6-cylinder. The car’s got gobs of power, but the same enthusiasts who are eager for this might find the lack of a manual gearbox unforgivable.

Mercedes-Benz AMG One spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Mercedes-Benz AMG One spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Development of Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Formula One-powered hypercar is almost complete, with prototypes this week hitting the Nürburgring for the first time. While the One may be delayed, the wait will definitely be worth it for the 275 future owners.

High-riding Porsche 911 prototype spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

High-riding Porsche 911 prototype spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another car testing on the ‘Ring was a high-riding Porsche 911. Porsche has said such a car would be a good idea, and now it looks like one is coming.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

And finally, Hyundai revealed its 2022 Santa Cruz. The compact pickup truck is related to the Hyundai Tucson, and we’ll see it at dealerships this summer.

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Autos

Filling in for the Chinese Grand Prix

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Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola)

Round two of the 2021 Formula One World Championship takes us to historic Imola in Italy this weekend, where a special race, the Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is being held.

The race fills in for the usual Chinese Grand Prix which was canceled this year due to disruptions caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the second year in a row that the Imola racetrack, officially the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, hosts an F1 race.

The anti-clockwise circuit, which in previous times has hosted the Italian and San Marino Grands Prix, has been in continuous use and updated considerably over the years. For instance, the old Variante Bassa is gone and the long straight heading into Tamburello is now broken up by two right-hand corners. More run-off areas have been added, especially at Variante Alta.

As for the track itself, it stretches 3.08 miles and is quite narrow in places, which adds to the challenge of overtaking and puts an emphasis on strategy. Although it was given fresh asphalt prior to last year’s race, it is still quite bumpy and there are some big curbs, placing notable demands on the cars and drivers.

Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola)

Just over 70 percent of a lap is taken at full-throttle, the third-highest percentage of the 2021 F1 tracks. This includes 15 seconds of foot-to-the-floor lap time from the exit of the final corner to the braking zone for Turn 2.

Looking at the weather forecast, we should be in for fine conditions for most of the weekends. However, there’s a chance we could see some rain during Sunday’s race. Pirelli has nominated its mid-range C2, C3 and C4 tires for the race.

Following the first practice session on Friday, Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Valtteri Bottas was the quickest, followed by fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Rounding out the top three was Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen who hopefully will challenge the Mercedes duo for victory like he did in the season opener in Bahrain.

Going into Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, Hamilton leads the 2021 Drivers’ Championship with 25 points. Verstappen is second with 18 points and Bottas is third with 16 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 41 points, versus the 28 of Red Bull and 18 of McLaren. Last year’s winner at Imola was Hamilton driving for Mercedes.

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Electric Ferrari locked in for 2025

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John Elkann

Ferrari will unveil an electric vehicle in 2025, Chairman John Elkann said on Thursday during the company’s annual general meeting.

The news of an electric Ferrari doesn’t come as a huge surprise as patent drawings filed by Ferrari for a modular electric drive system were discovered last year.

Elkann didn’t provide any details on the vehicle but former CEO Louis Camilleri in 2019 said the company was studying the potential for a grand tourer-style car, suggesting it won’t be a supercar like the upcoming Lotus Evija or Rimac C_Two.

Camilleri, who stepped down from Ferrari last year due to personal reasons, also said in 2019 that an electric Ferrari would eventually come, though only after 2025.

John Elkann

During Ferrari’s annual general meeting, Elkann also said that the search for Camilleri’s replacement was ongoing, and that the lucky man or woman will give an update on Ferrari’s future plans during a capital markets day presentation to be held in 2022.

Recent rumors have pointed to Ferrari’s first EV being a crossover, which does make some sense as a heavy battery would be less likely to negatively affect the performance of a crossover compared to a supercar. Ferrari next year will launch its first crossover, the Purosangue, and according to the rumors the platform of the high-riding Prancing Horse has been designed to support electric powertrains.

Ferrari in the past has flip-flopped on the idea of launching an electric car but stricter emission rules and changing market trends has likely convinced the automaker of the need for having one. The company has previously cited a lack of suitable battery technology as the main hurdle.

While an electric Ferrari is still a few years off, the company will focus on plug-in hybrid technology in the interim. The company has just launched the plug-in hybrid SF90 Stradale and targets a 60-percent electrified lineup by 2022. The company is also looking into more alternatives, such as using hydrogen or biofuels.

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