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    2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: What We Know About the New Roadster

    The aging, slow-selling current-generation Mercedes-Benz SL is not long for this world. Waiting in the wings is a new take on the venerable formula—after all, the SL is Mercedes’ longest-running nameplate with a wealth of history. And serious performance roots, as well—something that hasn’t been at the forefront of the SL conversation for a long time. Let’s take a closer look at what plans Mercedes—and specifically, and notably, Mercedes-AMG—has for the model.

    2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Engines From Mild to Wild Hybrid

    Globally, the new SL will have a host of engines that should roughly mirror the related AMG GT family of vehicles (more on that in a second). That means AMG power levels of “43” all the way up to “73e.” As you’re probably aware, those two-digit powertrain indicators are no longer directly related to engine displacement, but rather indicate a certain performance level. The SL 43 will likely feature a high-output turbocharged inline-four, the SL 53 a turbocharged I-6 with a “mild-hybrid” system, and the 73e will top the range with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that features AMG’s powerful and ubiquitous twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. An SL 63 and an SL 55 will fill out the range, although we’re not completely clear on what engines those will feature. All-wheel drive with Drift Mode (4Matic+ in Mercedes-speak) should be available on everything north of the SL 43.

    Translation: the AMG SL will be awfully quick. We’re pegging the SL 73e to produce more than 800 horses at its peak. Figure on a dual-clutch transaxle, likely the same seven-cog unit offered in the current AMG GT.

    2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Part of the GT Family

    While the current SL is offered as both a Mercedes-Benz (SL 450, SL 550) and (until recently) a Mercedes-AMG (SL 63), the new SL will almost certainly only be sold as an AMG model. That’s because AMG has taken the lead in the development of the new sports car, which will ride on the next-generation version of the AMG GT chassis.

    That’s probably good for vehicle dynamics, given the division’s unrelenting focus on sportiness. But it’ll mean that the SL will be more of a 2+2 convertible than a roadster. Even though previous models could be had with vestigial rear seats, the last couple of generations have been pure two-seaters. At least there’s precedent for a 2+2 SL, however useless the rear seats may have been. That said, we expect the 2022’s rear seats to be at least minimally functional. Why? We think it’s intended to take the role in the model range left by the departure of the four-passenger S-Class convertible.

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    Vorserienfahrzeuge des neuen SL Roadster starten zu ausführlichen Straßentests

    2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: Coming Soon?

    It sure looks like development is advancing rapidly. Affalterbach released these images of the new SL testing on public roads. If past tailpipe shape is any clue, we’re looking at both an SL 53 and an SL 63 variant. It seems the SL will adopt a canvass roof, and the overall shape and stance of the new car is seriously evocative of the AMG GT two-doors—no surprise there. There’s clearly a lither, sportier demeanor than the blunt, brawny R231-generation SL that’s on sale now. We expect the new SL to be on sale by the second half of next year. More

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    2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: What We Know About the Twin-Cam Super-’Vette

    If the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s nearly 500-hp V-8 engine fails to entice you, then the forthcoming Corvette Z06’s more than 600-hp V-8 ought to do the trick. And it’s not just the horsepower output that’s changed. The Z06’s engine will be an entirely different animal from its lesser sibling, increasing performance and bringing an entirely different character to the car. Read on to find out why.

    2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Twin-Cam, Flat-Plane

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    While we originally believed the Z06 would embrace forced induction by way of two turbochargers, a source within Chevy recently informed us such a setup will be reserved for the more powerful C8 ZR1 and Zora models, the latter of which is due to embrace a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. Instead, the Z06 will pack a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V-8 aft of its cabin. Thanks to its race-car-like construction, the more than 600-hp engine is due to spin its crankshaft to an insane 9,000 rpm. How Chevy will quell the powerplant’s vibration (an inherent issue of V-8s with flat-plane cranks) remains a mystery. Nevertheless, we’re sure the bow-tie brand’s learned a few tricks from the C8.R’s 5.5-liter engine. 

    Like the Stingray, look for the Z06 to rely on an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to send all those horses to its rear wheels. Revisions to the car’s suspension and a set of sticky summer tires—that are properly wide at the rear—are sure to keep the Z06’s power from overwhelming its drive wheels and chassis.

    2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Carbon Fiber Fever

    In addition to the added power, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will welcome a number of weight-saving measures. Don’t worry, creature comforts will still abound, and there’s no indication the Z06 will ditch the likes of the Stingray’s large digital gauge cluster or touchscreen infotainment system.

    Nevertheless, look for the model to feature a number of lightweight materials for items such as the exhaust, rear wing, front splitter, and even its wheels. Specifically, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will offer buyers the option to equip it with a set of carbon-fiber wheels. While such a setup is not new (vehicles from Porsche and Ford offer carbon fiber wheels), it’s still a relatively rare—and surely expensive—way for road-going cars to go about shedding mass. 

    2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shut Up and Take Our Money!

    Although we hear the current pandemic is forcing Chevy to push back the Corvette Z06’s debut, we’re still hopeful the brand manages to take the wraps off the car in early 2021 and ship it to dealers before the end of the year as a 2022 model. That said, it’s possible the Z06 won’t arrive until sometime in 2022 as a 2023 model. 

    Regardless, prepare to spend a good chunk more change to get into the car. Frankly, we’ll be surprised if the Z06 stickers for anything south of $80,000. That’s pricey for a Corvette (consider the Stingray starts at $59,995). Still, compared to the 572-hp Porsche 911 Turbo, which starts at more than $170,000, the 2022 Corvette Z06 promises to be a relative steal given its performance capabilities.

    Update: This post has been updated to reflect new information that indicates the 2022 Z06 will feature a naturally aspirated engine. More

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    2022 Toyota Tundra: What We Know About the Next One

    An All-New Toyota Tundra for 2022

    The 2022 Toyota Tundra is due to ride on the company’s latest truck chassis. Reportedly coined Toyota New Global Architecture-F (or TNGA-F), the Tundra’s body-on-frame underpinnings ought to benefit from greater use of high-strength steel and other weight-saving materials. Like the Ram 1500, we anticipate the next-gen Tundra will adopt coil springs—in place of the current truck’s leaf springs—to go with its live rear axle. Such a setup will surely improve the truck’s ride quality. Likewise, we expect the lither 2022 Tundra to notably improve upon the outgoing model’s maximum 1,730-pound payload and 10,200-pound towing figures. Of course, it will have to, with more-modern light-duty competitors offering capacities that far outstrip those dated numbers.

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    Twin-Turbo 2022 Tundra

    Say goodbye to the Tundra’s V-8 engines, because Toyota’s big pickup will reportedly enter the world with a V-6-only powertrain lineup. Look for higher-end Tundra variants to utilize a variant of the 416-hp 3.5-liter unit found under the hood of the Lexus LS500. Lesser Tundras will likely employ the naturally aspirated 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine of the Tacoma (possibly massaged to produce more than 300 horses). 

    Given Toyota’s hybrid history, the brand may offer the 2022 Tundra with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain option, putting it on the vanguard in a segment that is just now warming up to electrification. Such a setup will allow the Toyota truck to properly compete with the 2021 Ford F-150 and its available hybrid powertrain.

    2022 Toyota Tundra’s Truck-Like Looks

    Despite its relatively radical mechanical changes, the 2022 Toyota Tundra is anticipated to evolve upon the styling of today’s truck. That’s no bad thing, as the current Tundra has finally grown into its skin—the original version looked like a four-wheeled fish of some sort—and comes across as innocuous enough, if not fully handsome. Still, look for the big Toyota truck to sport a brasher front-end design incorporating a large grille and tall hood, providing the new Tundra with a flashier mug.

    Inside, the new Tundra will welcome Toyota’s latest Entune infotainment technology. This includes an available 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a large head-up display unit. Toyota’s full Safety Sense suite of goodies are sure to be available, too, including automatic braking, advanced radar cruise control, automatic lane centering and lane-keep assist, and much more. 

    2022 Toyota Tundra On-Sale Date and Price

    Although we expect Toyota to unveil the 2022 Tundra before the middle of next year, we don’t anticipate the model rolling forth from Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas, factory and reaching dealerships until the end of 2021. When it arrives, the 2022 Tundra may sport a base price close to that of the current truck’s approximately $35,000 figure, or the brand might reintroduce lower, less-equipment-rich trim levels to the lineup in an attempt to capture fleet or entry-level buyers. No matter what, opting for four-wheel drive, more technology, a larger cab or bed, and more powerful or advanced powertrain options will raise the truck’s cost. Plan to spend north of $55,000 to get into the 2022 Tundra’s pricier trims. More

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    2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer: What We Know About the Big Luxury SUV

    Is the Grand Wagoneer or the Grand Cherokee the Grander Jeep?

    Positioned above the Grand Cherokee in Jeep’s lineup, the mighty Grand Wagoneer will most likely trade its smaller sibling’s unibody architecture for a body-on-frame setup. With its underpinnings almost assuredly cribbed from the Ram 1500 pickup truck, the Grand Wagoneer ought to emerge with towing and hauling abilities that match what’s likely to be near-class-leading off-road prowess.

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    Unlike the Ram’s rear end, which utilizes a live axle, the Grand Wagoneer is expected to adopt an independent rear suspension setup. This should provide it with a ride quality befitting a vehicle that’s expected to crest the six-figure mark when loaded up with options. Don’t worry, the base Grand Wagoneer will surely sport a more reasonable sticker price of $60,000-$70,000.

    2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Tech

    Go heavy on the options menu, though, and Jeep will gladly outfit the three-row Grand Wagoneer with all the toys associated with high-end luxury vehicles. Expect a big touchscreen infotainment system to make an appearance (possibly the Ram 1500’s available 12-inch unit), a digital gauge cluster, and loads of comfort and convenience technology. We’ve even heard rumor of a possible Level 3 driver-assist setup to one-up the hands-free systems offered by General Motors (Super Cruise) and Ford (Active Drive Assist).

    2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Powertrains

    Expect the Grand Wagoneer to share much of its powertrain lineup with the Ram 1500. That may include the truck’s standard 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6, but we think it’s unlikely. Most variants of this massive Jeep, however, will likely rely on the brand’s nearly 400-hp 5.7-liter “Hemi” V-8 engine for motivation. A mild hybrid version using a small electric motor, dubbed eTorque, will surely be offered as an option on the Hemi.

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    Those in search of even greater fuel efficiency may find it in the form of a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, which Jeep could employ as a means of competing with the 2021 Escalade and its diesel engine option. Additionally, a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain is anticipated to find its way to the mammoth Jeep in the coming years. No matter what’s under the hood, though, expect four-wheel-drive to come standard on most—if not all—Grand Wagoneer trims.

    Furthermore, we wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of a Grand Wagoneer Trailhawk variant that uses the Ram 1500 TRX’s 702-hp supercharged V-8. The off-road capability and power of Ram’s most powerful pickup mixed with the enclosed, luxury-lined cabin of an SUV? Sign us up!

    2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer On-Sale Date

    Look for the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer to debut by year’s end with sales expected to begin by the middle of next year. Despite the model’s retro name (and the lead rendering), the reborn Grand Wagoneer will likely eschew the vinyl woodgrain panels of prior models. Bummer. More

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    2022 Ford Bronco Raptor: What We Know (Plus, What It’ll Look Like)

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    What Is a Ford Bronco Raptor?

    Unlike the regular Ford Bronco’s off-road-enhanced trim levels, such as the Black Diamond and Badlands, which are geared toward traditional rock crawling and clod-busting, the Raptor has a higher-speed mission. The closest Bronco that Ford’s shown may be the Wildtrak model, but the Raptor will take that trim’s abilities to the next level. Expect reworked suspension components designed for plenty of wheel travel and high-speed bump absorption—basically, the chassis will be set up to perform Baja racing-that ought to allow the Bronco Raptor to bound across the open desert. There also will be a more powerful, likely larger, engine option than the twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that tops the run-of-the-mill Bronco’s engine lineup.

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    What Will the Ford Bronco Raptor Look Like?

    We’ve taken a stab at rendering what the Ford Bronco Raptor might look like, using the current F-150 Raptor’s styling, as well as informed guesswork, as a baseline. The basics are this: The Raptor-fied Bronco will have more aggressively flared fenders with more clearance for what are expected to be standard 35- or 37-inch off-road tires; a lifted suspension for more ground clearance; a burlier steel front bumper with—again—more clearance; heavy-duty skid plates protecting the likes of the powertrain, gas tank, and suspension components; and possibly a large power dome on its hood. We also festooned the Bronco Raptor in the illustration above with Rigid Industries LED auxiliary lights, mostly because we thought the lamps looked sweet.

    Part of what makes guessing the Bronco Raptor’s appearance so difficult is how wild the 2021 Ford Bronco looks out of the box. Just look at the regular Bronco with the Sasquatch package, or the Wildtrak and Badlands trims—both come with beadlock-style wheels, 35-inch tires, and aggro suspension mods. Those trims’ wheels and tires also stick out prone of the fenders, giving the SUV an aftermarket-looking appearance from the factory. The Raptor surely will build on this foundation, but how far can Ford go while complying with safety regulations and other fun-killers without simply selling a street-friendly version of the Bronco R—the tube-frame racing version of the Bronco? That we figured the muscular-looking Broncos in these early spy photos were Raptors should speak volumes to how aggro the non-Raptor Broncos can look; from what we can tell, the vehicle we spied may merely be a Sasquatch-equipped Bronco prototype.

    What Engine Will the Ford Bronco Raptor Come With?

    The basic Ford Bronco comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine shared with the Ranger pickup. It mates to either a seven-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. Buyers can upgrade to a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, which comes only with the automatic. Every Bronco features standard four-wheel drive, but we expect both the Bronco Raptor’s engine and four-wheel-drive system to go above and beyond the setups found in lesser Broncos.

    Starting under the hood, we anticipate the Bronco Raptor will either use a fortified version of the standard SUV’s 2.7-liter V-6 or a larger 3.0-liter unit found elsewhere in the Ford stable. Horsepower figures for even the regular Bronco are forthcoming, but based on what the SUV’s engines produce in other applications, expect about 270 hp from the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and around 325 hp from the 2.7-liter V-6. As such, whatever engine ends up under the Raptor’s boxy hood likely will spit out at least 350 horses—and we think 400 hp isn’t out of the question. Really want something to look forward to? There is a slim, outside chance Ford installs the bigger 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 (which makes as little as 375 and as much as 450 hp in the F-150) or a naturally aspirated 395-hp 5.0-liter V-8 under the Bronco Raptor’s hood.

    Expect every Raptor to come with Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission—we doubt the seven-speed manual transmission will make the cut.

    . . . And What About the Ford Bronco Raptor’s Suspension?

    Ah, the suspension, where most of the Raptor magic is derived. As on the larger F-150 Raptor, look for the Bronco Raptor to benefit from a lift kit, heavier-duty suspension components (front control arms, rear axle, and links), wider front and rear tracks, and—most critically—a set of Fox shocks. We figure the Raptor will use 2.5-inch-or-larger internal-bypass Fox-supplied units, which will offer appropriate damping and cooling for the rapid-cycle use endemic to Baja-style terrain. (Think of the wheels bouncing up and down constantly, as the Bronco hits dips, rocks, and undulations at highway speeds—such abuse can quickly fry normal shocks and rattle and bang on less burly suspension components like cannon fire. ) Look for beadlock-capable wheels at all four corners—likely wrapped in BFGoodrich all-terrain tires (probably from the brand’s KO2 line).

    When Is the Ford Bronco Raptor Coming?

    Ford is staying mum on timing for the Bronco Raptor—and, in fact, it hasn’t officially acknowledged such a vehicle is on its way. The thing is, the Ranger pickup that the Bronco shares some bones with offers a Raptor model globally, and the F-150 Raptor brand continues to gain marketing strength in the United States. We figure a Raptor variant will follow the Bronco to market by a model year, meaning Ford will likely pull the wraps off the model next year and bring it to market as a 2022 model. More