There’s no denying that Lincoln is in a better place than it’s been in years. The Navigator and Aviator have taken the American luxury brand in a bold, distinctive direction. There’s no reason the Lincoln Continental couldn’t have distilled this down into a similar experience, but as you’re probably aware, the Continental never managed to get the formula exactly right. But lest you think that Lincoln simply didn’t have it in itself to craft that sort of swaggering, desirable sedan that could stand out in a way the Continental couldn’t, the Lincoln Zephyr Reflection “preview car” is here to set the record straight in Shanghai.See all 50 photosIf you think “preview car” sounds like PR doublespeak for a concept car that … ahem … previews a forthcoming production model, then you’re not wrong. Indeed, Lincoln claims the production variant of this concept is ready to go and is due to hit dealerships in China next year. Look for the saleable model to sport larger side mirrors and perhaps a less intricate grille arrangement relative to this concept.That said, the Zephyr Reflection is not a China-market analog to our recently departed Continental. In fact, it is much smaller than that car. If it’s hard to tell this, then that’s because there are a lot of stylistic flourishes that effectively add length, elegance, and athleticism to the Zephyr Reflection’s design. Check out the strong lower door crease and side skirt arrangement. These features reduce the visual height of the doors, giving the effect of a longer wheelbase and a hunkered-down stance, while also adding some visual contrast and complexity. The Audi A7-esque tail lip, the sharply swooping body line just below the windows, the kink at the C-pillar? All of these work together to build a car with some real distinct Lincoln character—and without losing coherence. See all 50 photosUp front, Lincoln’s contemporary “hexagonal bean” grille is present. Here, it’s encrusted with inset Lincoln shields. It also features some fascinating curvature and is bisected by a bold accent bar. The headlights and inlets at the lower corners of the car’s fascia don’t necessarily scream Lincoln or resemble other products, but that’s not the Zephyr Reflection’s fault so much as it’s the result of a brand employing a design language that’s still in the infancy. There are other suitably bold and aggressive details, too, such as the horizontal rear light fixture (with a compelling turn-down at the corners) and the crisp, modern (and thus screen-intensive) interior. While Lincoln calls the Zephyr’s design language “Quiet Flight,” it’s certainly louder than “Quiet Luxury.” And so too is the strategy behind it. Lincoln is working to design unique cars for the Chinese market (ahem, the Zephyr Reflection), and also produce these models locally to avoid punishing tariffs. The Chinese-produced Lincoln Corsair PHEV debuted alongside the Zephyr Reflection, and it won’t be the last—part of what we assume is still the plan to produce as many as five vehicles in China.The production Zephyr Reflection will almost certainly never make it to our shores, but perhaps some of its Quiet Flight DNA will help the next generation of Lincoln SUVs and crossovers stand out. More
- in Future Cars
Hummers are big, right? Duh, you’re thinking, that’s not news. Always were, always will be. It’s not, and you’re right: the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV is a big, big vehicle—just like its unabashedly, proudly oversized predecessor, the 2003-2009 Hummer H2. Debuting just a few years after the first-generation Toyota Prius, the first non-military Hummer was a lightning rod for controversy, as its size (and more importantly, thirst) were outsized. The GMC Hummer (mostly) sidesteps the latter issue with a fully electric powertrain, but it’s still a massive brick of a machine. Comparisons will be made—by us, right now. And the results, if you haven’t already examined the dimensions section of the spec sheets, might surprise you.See all 123 photosWhile vehicles have, in general, gotten larger since the early 2000s, the H2 was one of the largest vehicles around. Check out these illustrations we’ve made, which really underline the ways in which the GMC Hummer (red-lined, while the H2 is represented in white) literally overshadows its predecessor.See all 123 photosThe GMC is a massive 93.7 inches wide with its mirrors taken into account, and it’s 86.5 inches wide without—a minimum of 5.3 inches girthier than the H2. The maximum height disparity (remember, the GMC Hummer features adaptive air suspension with an Extract mode that provides an additional 6 inches of lift) is a full 5 inches. At least, it will sometime after launch—the capability won’t be available until sometime after it goes on sale, because reasons.See all 123 photosNot illustrated are some of the new Hummer’s remarkable capabilities, electric powertrain or otherwise. Fording depth? Thirty-two inches. That’s basically a small ocean. Vertical wall climbing ability? Eighteen inches. Suspension travel? Thirteen inches. It’s a monster truck, folks.See all 123 photosActually, despite sharing a platform with GM’s traditional full-size SUVs of the time, the H2 was no slouch. It can clear 16-inch obstacles, thanks to wheels pushed way out to the corners. But in other metrics, it falls short of its descendant. The H2 could only manage a 20-inch fording depth, and suspension travel was far shorter: 8.7 inches up front, 10.8 in the rear. The lack of an air-breathing engine, the unique advantages of its specialized platform, and the inevitable march of progress mean the new electric GMC Hummer leaves its predecessor behind in many metrics.See all 123 photosOverall length, however, is similar, but the new Hummer pushes its wheels even further to the corners, riding on a 126.7-inch wheelbase—roughly 4 inches longer than the H2’s same measurement. Neither are lightweights, either. The H2 had a listed curb weight of 6,400 lbs, and GMC isn’t talking curb weight yet but given the likely poundage of its Ultium batteries, it couldn’t be any less than its predecessor.See all 123 photosOne last point of comparison: range. Using EPA estimates, we pegged the H2 at 448 miles of range for freeway driving—of course, that’d require a light foot and maybe a tail wind. How’s the EV-only 2024 Hummer compare? GMC claims a range of more than 350 miles, with a recharge time of 100 miles in 10 minutes using a fast charger (in absolutely ideal conditions). The time from empty to full is unknown at this time; assume it’ll be a while, even using a fast charger, since the largest pack is a massive 200 kWh.How this all works in the real world remains to be seen, but let’s just say that the new 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV (and its 2022 Pickup counterpart) are making a big impression already. More
Lexus is teasing the upcoming 2022 Lexus ES, one of the company’s dwindling luxury sedan offerings with the recent death of the GS. And it’s right on the heels of the introduction of the 2021 Lexus ES250 AWD, which introduced all-wheel-drive to the heretofore front-drive model range—part of a glut of AWD sedans trying to stay relevant in an SUV-frenzied market.The good news is that the 2022 ES will largely resemble its highly attractive 2021 variant—the teaser shows that the rear end is essentially unchanged, while the front will get lightly restyled headlights—but that’s also the bad news. This isn’t going to be a heavy refresh.If you like the 2021 ES, that’s perfectly fine. It’s a bargain compared to its flashier competitors, such as the Genesis G80 and Volvo S90, and its reputations for quality and reliability are unimpeachable. Related to the roomy Toyota Avalon, the ES’s interior is spacious enough that you can stretch out in the front or back. The unusual gauge cluster hood adds some flavor to what’s otherwise a competent but staid luxury car dashboard. And the optional AWD powertrain pairs four-cylinder economy with a price that matches the front-drive-only V-6 models. And don’t forget the ES 300h hybrid model, which is even quieter and obviously more efficient.The ES has always emphasized serenity and comfort, and the 2021 version is no exception—and even with the death of the sportier GS, we don’t see that changing for 2022. Whatever the changes entail, we’ll find out on April 18 in Shanghai. More
Mercedes-Benz has been testing and teasing its Tesla Model S-fighting EQS all-electric luxury sedan for a long time now, and in a final step ahead of the full unveil has pulled the sheet off the wild new interior. Yes, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS will have a dashboard-spanning “Hyperscreen” display, but that’s just one of many special options and features of this new EV flagship.See all 48 photosTwo Dashboards to Chose FromThe so-called Hyperscreen (of which we have a deep dive you should read if you haven’t), a 56-inch wide concave glass panel with three integrated OLED screens making up the entire dashboard, is the showstopper, but it’s not the only option. It’s actually an optional upgrade and you get a lot for your money—which is good because even though we don’t know the price yet, it can’t be cheap. The digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel portion measures 12.3 inches, as does a touchscreen in front of the front passenger. Between them is a massive 17.7-inch infotainment touchscreen. The passenger’s screen mimics the center screen and will play an animation when no passenger is aboard. It will also automatically dim if a camera mounted in the ceiling catches the driver looking at it instead of the road.With no transmission to house, the Hyperscreen connects to the center armrest by an arched console with storage space below, an metal inlaid wood cover on top, and more touch sensitive controls for the stereo and driving modes surrounding a physical starter button.See all 48 photosThose who don’t fancy an all-glass cockpit, or paying for one, will get a standard dashboard very similar to the new 2021 S-Class. A freestanding 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen sits behind the steering wheel while a tablet-like 12.8-inch infotainment screen leans up from the center of the dash on a stand that runs down into the center console. The starter button moves back to the dashboard and the space in front of the passenger is occupied by either a massive piece of inlaid wood trim or one of two plastic trim pieces, one a 3D relief of a geometric pattern and one a pattern of laser-cut and backlit three-pointed stars. The beautifully crafted metal turbine air vents incorporated into either end of the Hyperscreen are relocated to the upper corners of the dashboard.Regardless of dashboard, the screens run the next generation of MBUX software, and it’s loaded with features. The “Hey Mercedes” digital assistant is far smarter now and uses artificial intelligence technology to study your routines and suggest everything from turning on the seat and steering wheel heaters to phoning a friend you often speak with to pulling upcoming events from your calendar or to-do list. It will also bring up specific vehicle function controls when it thinks you need them, such as remembering where you’ve previously used the vehicle lift function to clear a speed bump or steep driveway and popping up the digital button when the obstacle is nearby.The touchscreens also incorporate haptic feedback technology to vibrate the surface when you touch a digital button, and pressure sensors to allow you to press harder to go deeper into a menu.Don’t Call It a Screen, but It Basically IsTwo optional head-up displays are offered, a small one and a large one. The larger one uses the same technology as the S-Class to project a 77-inch field of vision on the windshield ahead of the driver. Both use augmented reality technology to assist the driver with navigation and alerts.See all 48 photosBeyond the ScreensAlso independent of your dashboard choice is a black band wrapping from door to door just above the screens which hides the center air vents and is accented by a rose gold pinstripe. Both on the dash and doors, it also serves as a dividing line for the two-tone color schemes, with darker colors on the dash top and door card tops and lighter colors below.Ambient lighting abounds, hiding in seemingly every recess and able to change color manually or automatically to match your mood, the music, or signal a function. Wood is used sparingly in the cabin if you order the Hyperscreen, only showing up on the center console lid and on the door arm rests.In addition to dashboards and color schemes, you also have option of two different seats in the front row. The comfort seat is standard, while a sport seat with integrated headrest is part of the AMG Line interior package. The seats and interior panels can be finished in natural leather or a vegan leather option with microfiber inserts.The seat controls remain mounted on the upper door cards, but are now touch sensitive as in the S-Class. Powered rear seats are an option, as is rear seat heating and cooling.What’s That Noise?Every automaker has a different idea about what EVs should sound like. Some take to amplifying the natural noises of the electric motors and gearboxes, while others, including Mercedes, invent new noises from whole cloth. The EQS will come with two different sound profiles obnoxiously named Silver Waves and Vivid Flux, with the option of immediately downloading a third called Roaring Pulse via an over-the-air update.All three sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, with Silver Waves calmer and softer, Vivid Flux techno and modern, and Roaring Pulse akin to a digital internal combustion engine. Rather than pre-recorded tracks, each is generated in real time depending on factors like your speed, accelerator and braking inputs, driving mode, and more. They can also be switched off entirely.Even when not moving, the car will emit special noises to let you know it’s aware of your presence and your actions. A soft sound plays as you approach the car, different tones play when you turn the car on or off, and audible cues sound when you plug in or unplug.See all 48 photosGet ComfortableThose driving sounds are played by the 710-watt 15-speaker Burmester audio system, which can pump out tunes from literally any streaming music service through MBUX, Mercedes says. It can also play relaxing sounds like the ocean, summer rain, or a forest.Further relaxation can be had from the hot stone seat massagers, which can also be employed to help keep you awake. The overhead camera, along with light and temperature sensors, can work with the vehicle settings to guess your mood, level of distraction, and alertness and make suggestions to keep you happy, safe, and awake. There’s even a nap mode that’ll close the windows and sunroof cover, lean the seat back, play soothing sounds, display a starry night on the screens, adjusting the lighting, ionizing the interior air, then waking you up later with a combinations of lights, seat vibrations and ventilation, a scent, more soothing sounds, and raising the seat.What’s That Smell?Like other high-end Mercedes products, there’s a fragrance system built into the ventilation system and the EQS gets its own unique scent. There’s also a HEPA filter certified to remove over 99 percent of airborne particles, including 86 percent of viruses and 90 percent of bacteria.See all 48 photosWhat About the Outside?Mercedes also dropped a few details about the still-camouflaged exterior of the car, which will be revealed on April 15. The styling is the latest evolution of the brand’s “Sensual Purity” design language, taking a step further to eliminate sharp character lines as much as possible.The overall shape differs from other larger Mercedes sedans by taking a cab-forward approach that shortens the hood and trunk and moves the windshield forward. This maximizes passenger space, which should be huge in a car that’s roughly the size of the S-Class. The design is defined by the “One Bow” shape originally previewed on the F 015 Concept, with the top surface of the car one uninterrupted curve from front bumper to rear bumper.This shape, along with crazy 19-inch wheels with a latticework of three-pointed stars between the five spokes, allowed the aerodynamics team to get a 0.20 coefficient of drag, which Mercedes is claiming beats both the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S for slipperiest in the world. If you don’t really care about that, wheel sizes go up to 22 inches.Mercedes also revealed some of the details that liven up the exterior design, such as the 3D helix shapes in the taillights and the lightbar connecting the headlights. Without a combustion engine to cool, the grille has been replaced with a solid panel punctuated by a pattern of, you guessed it, three-pointed stars. Behind the panel are the various sensors needed for advanced driver aides like adaptive cruise control and lane centering.What About the Rest of the Car?Mercedes is keeping details about the car’s motors, batteries, suspension, pricing, and more a secret until the big reveal next month. We know it should have a maximum range over 400 miles on the lenient WLTP cycle, which translates to well over 300 miles on the stricter EPA cycle. We also know it will have a height-adjustable air suspension and we suspect it with have both front and rear motors for Tesla-fighting performance. Pricing is expected to come in well over $100,000.See all 48 photosOh Yeah, What Are We Supposed to Call It?This part is confusing and ridiculous. Mercedes-Benz decided to change how it names its various sub-brands several years ago from Mercedes-Benz AMG and Mercedes-Benz Maybach to Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach (Mercedes-AMG S63 instead of Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, for example). This goes for the EQ sub-brand of EVs as well, which is officially Mercedes-EQ. However, Mercedes-EQ EQS sounds dumb and redundant, so Mercedes-Benz would prefer you just call it the EQS rather than try to make sense of this ridiculous naming convention. More
The excitement surrounding the recently revealed Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer hasn’t even died down yet, and we have it on good authority that Jeep isn’t done making news with this family of vehicles. For example, we know that there will be a long-wheelbase model coming, along with a PHEV version. And you shouldn’t be surprised if, down the road, there’s an off-road version as well—which we had our talented artist, Abimelec Arellano, render in the images you see above and below.Not Trail Rated?While it might not wear a “Trail Rated” badge due to its size, the Wagoneer is still a capable off-roader from the factory—and a “Trailhawk” version would be more so. On a regular Wagoneer, you’ll be able to get adjustable air suspension, 18-inch wheels, skid plates, tow hooks, and a capable traction management system. The market for off-road versions of full-size SUVs is evidenced by the Ford Expedition FX4, Chevy Colorado Z71, GMC Yukon AT4, Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, and even the full-size Range Rover. Jeep started the red tow hook trend, and it isn’t going to sit on the sidelines and let the Yukon AT4 be the only full-size SUV sporting them.See all 158 photosWe believe an off-road variant of Jeep’s largest offering would be built on the more mainstream Wagoneer and not the ultra-luxurious Grand Wagoneer. Following the strategy of Jeep’s existing Trailhawk lineup, we expect Jeep to enhance the base vehicle’s capability and styling.Improved Off-Road Protection—and MoreMore aggressive tires will be standard on the Wagoneer’s 18-inch wheels, and we expect more robust underbody protection, along with some sort of rock rail/step combination to protect the rockers. In order to improve the approach and departure angles of the big SUV, we imagine front and rear facias will be reshaped.To set it apart visually, there will be some unique color offerings, an anti-glare decal on the hood, blacked-out chrome trim and grille for a more contemporary look, and of course Jeep’s signature red tow hooks (sorry GMC) and requisite badging. A special wheel design with greater offset will give this off-road ready Wagoneer a wider stance and add stability.Crawling and GoingPowertrain and suspension changes should be modest but effective upgrades to the already capable Wagoneer. Jeep will likely replace the mechanical limited slip on the base Wagoneer with a driver-selectable rear locker. Expect some re-tuning of the adaptive suspension for more control off-road. A new electronic stability strategy would allow for more driver engagement, while a bank of auxiliary upfitter switches (or something similar nested in the Uconnect system) will easily allow owners to add electrical accessories.See all 158 photosSince the Wagoneer is not technically badged as a Jeep, we don’t know if it will share the Trailhawk name with its lesser siblings or get its own name exclusive to the Wagoneer line. If that ends up being the case, you could be getting a first glimpse of the 2023 Wagoneer “Trailwagon.” More
Off-road SUVs are having something of a moment. Put another way, the Jeep Wrangler is getting some direct competition for the first time in years from the upcoming Ford Bronco, and automakers are rushing to add capability to crossovers and SUVs of all sizes and prices. Even so, there are some holes in the playing field: Toyota long ago killed off its retro-flavored FJ Cruiser, as did Nissan its burly Xterra 4×4. And as of now, neither Japanese SUV is due for a comeback, even though Nissan just unveiled a thoroughly modernized Frontier pickup—the same pickup that shared components with the old Xterra. That got us thinking …
If Nissan were about to reveal a new Xterra today, what might it look like? We turned to our speculative artist wizard, Abimilec Arellano, for a rendering of the 2022 Nissan Xterra that does not, and likely will not, ever exist.
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Wait, why?! While rumors abound that a new Xterra is coming, and such a model would make tons of sense in today’s 4×4-crazed market, Nissan has said it’s not doing a new Xterra, at least not any time soon. Given the automaker’s big new-model push that includes not only the new Frontier but also the freshly redesigned 2022 Pathfinder three-row SUV, updated Armada SUV, refreshed Kicks, all-new Rogue crossover, and a new Z sports car, it’s little wonder there might not be time or resources for picking up the Xterra mantle six years after the SUV was canceled in 2015.
But we think if Nissan brought back the Xterra and made it look anything like this, it’d have a winner. (Heck, the original 2000 Nissan Xterra won that year’s MotorTrend SUV of the Year award!) The new Frontier, on which our rendering is based, is a handsome, burly looking thing. It looks even better with the old Xterra’s signature stepped roof design, built-in roof rack, and tailgate blister. No, that bulge on the tailgate isn’t a faux fuel can or something—it’s where Nissan punched out the sheetmetal on the original Xterras to fit a first-aid kit. Neat.
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As before, the Xterra has been imagined as a four-door, two-row SUV. We figure a new Xterra, to maintain the original’s off-road capability and credibility, would utilize a shortened version of the frame that sits beneath the Frontier midsize pickup. Rear-wheel drive could be standard on low-cost variants, but most would be built with four-wheel drive with available low-range gearing.
When the previous-generation Xterra faded out, it was offered only with a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, an ancient lump of a powertrain that nonetheless continued on for years in the Frontier. Today, were the Xterra to come back, it’d inherit the 2022 Frontier’s new 310-hp 3.8-liter V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission.
A Pro-4X ultimate-off-road-capable trim would be a given, and we’ve done up our hypothetical Xterra in the same Pro-4X treatment offered on the 2022 Frontier. Stir in the Frontier’s interior improvements, and Nissan has everything it needs to put the SUV back in service. We’d welcome a new Xterra, if only to provide some price competition for the ever-more-expensive Jeep Wrangler and the long-awaited and sure-to-be-sold-out-for-years new Ford Bronco. More
When Will the Ferrari SUV Come Out?
The Purosangue, or “thoroughbred” if you will, is due to break cover in the first half of 2022. If auto shows ever make a comeback, the Purosangue will likely make its debut at the Geneva show, which is typically scheduled for the middle of March. There are plenty of spy shots of mules running around Ferrari’s global HQ in Maranello, Italy, as well as in frosty climates for cold-weather testing.
We know relatively little about what the Purosangue will look like, but according to a report by the British publication Autocar, the SUV’s design has already been finalized by Ferrari. Mules of the Purosangue that have been captured in spy shots appear to be Maserati Levantes concealing Ferrari running gear. That said, these Purosange test vehicles appear to lack the ground clearance of competitors such as the Urus and Bentayga. It seems Ferrari wants its SUV to out-handle the competition.
What Engine Will the Ferrari Purosangue Use?
Rumor has it the Purosangue will be built on a scalable architecture that can handle a V-6, V-8, or even a V-12. Our money, however, is on Ferrari’s tried and true twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 serving as the default setup. This engine powers a number of Ferrari models at the moment—the F8 Tributo, Roma, and Portofino—and can be tuned to produce more than 700 hp. However, we don’t think the Purosangue will be powered by internal combustion alone.
Even though Ferrari went to great lengths to develop a trick all-wheel-drive system (with an independent gearbox on the front axle) for its FF and GTC4Lusso grand tourers, we think the pressure to lower emissions means the Purosangue will offer—if not come standard with—a gasoline-electric hybrid system similar to the setup of the SF90 Stradale. That means two electric motors at the front axle will motivate the front wheels, and power from the engine will be sent to the rear. The result? An all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid SUV with a Ferrari badge on it. Sacrilege, we know.
Ferrari will no doubt want to keep up with its main rival from Sant’Agata, and it’s safe to assume the Purosangue’s V-8 will have a similar power figure to the Urus’ 641 ponies. However, add in the extra hit of electric power from the electric motors, and the power figure could be in excess of 700 hp. Should it crest the Durango Hellcat’s 710 hp figure, the Purosangue would be the most powerful SUV in the world, and that’s not a bad title for your very first SUV to lay claim to.
How Big Will the Ferrari SUV Be?
We think the Purosangue will be a four-seat SUV that’s similar in size to the Aston Martin DBX and Lamborghini Urus. Expect a wheelbase of just under 120 inches and an overall length of around 195 inches—figures that closely follow those of the Maserati Levante. Ferrari will no doubt want this car to drive like its sports cars. Given that extra size and heft are the antithesis of driving purity, Ferrari likely views keeping the Purosange’s size and heft to a minimum as a must.
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Will the Purosangue Handle Like a Ferrari?
Well, if Ferrari has anything to say about it, yes. The electric motors in the SF90 can already vector torque independently, much like the current Acura NSX. Massive wheels and sticky rubber will almost certainly help the Purosangue put its power to the ground, as well.
Not only will the Ferrari SUV likely have some electric motors helping it out, but the Purosangue will surely feature an improved version of the rear-wheel-steering found on the GTC4Lusso. Other items, such as an electronic limited-slip differential and carbon-ceramic brakes should help the Purosangue live up to the performance expectations of a vehicle bearing the prancing horse badge.
Hopefully, we’ll know a little more about the six-figure Purosangue’s behind-the-wheel experience before its expected arrival in the U.S. of late 2022 or early 2023. More