From the October 2021 issue of Car and Driver.
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
Acura’s newly redone MDX three-row SUV will gain a sportier Type S version with a 355-hp turbocharged V-6 shared with the recently introduced TLX Type S. The strong-selling RDX compact crossover receives a mid-cycle update that’s primarily cosmetic, and the ILX moseys on without revision. For its final year of production, the NSX sports car becomes the NSX Type S, with 600 ponies (27 more than before) and a limited run of 300 for the U.S. Lastly, the Integra will return next year (likely as a 2023 model), but that’s all we know about it.
It’s deader inside Alfa’s 140 dealerships than a kissing booth during a pandemic, with the brand selling just 9664 vehicles in the U.S. during the first half of 2021. The 4C exited after the 2020 model year, and the Tonale small crossover, shown as a concept in 2019, won’t boost sales until late 2022 or 2023. The Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover soldier on with only minor changes in both standard four-cylinder and piccante Quadrifoglio form.
The barely street-legal Valkyrie and track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro are coming to the U.S. for 2022. A street-friendlier derivative named Valhalla will follow in 2023. Less significant but still notable is a power bump for the DB11’s AMG-sourced twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, which brings it to 528 horses and raises top speed to 192 mph. Meanwhile, the V-12 version of the DB11 loses its AMR badge, and the DBS no longer has Superleggera script, changes that are sure to cause a stir among the judges at the 2091 Pebble Beach Concours. The Vantage, DBS, and DBX SUV get new wheel options.
The VW-customer-poaching A3 and S3 enter a new generation. The former gets a 201-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that splits the difference between the last A3’s 184-hp base model and the 228-hp S Line Quattro. This one pairs with a 48-volt hybrid system and the same seven-speed dual-clutch as before. As for the S3, it squeezes 18 more horses from 2.0 liters, for a total of 306, and offers a sport-tuned suspension featuring adaptive dampers. Fresh bodywork with bulging fenders gives even the lowliest model some attitude, but Audi reserves the real badassery for the 401-hp RS3.
The Q4 e-tron crossover, Audi’s take on the VW ID.4, is the brand’s most affordable EV. It comes in a traditional-SUV shape as well as raked-roof Sportback form. Starting around $45,000, the rear-drive Q4 40 packs an estimated 201 horsepower from a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor and boasts a targeted range of 250 miles from a 77.0-kWh battery. To make the Q4 50 e-tron Quattro variant, Audi added an induction motor on the front axle, bringing total estimated power to 295 horses. The ute’s optional matrix LED headlamps enable the driver to choose from four daytime-running-light signatures, which Audi claims is a world first.
On the less-affordable-EV front, the e-tron S—a 496-hp, three-motor version of the electric SUV—arrives this fall, starting at $85,895. And if the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT sedans look like Audi-fied Porsche Taycans, it’s because they are, down to the two-speed gearbox on the rear axle. The base model makes up to 522 horses; the RS, 637. Audi predicts EPA range will fall between 230 and 240 miles, and both GTs can charge from 5 to 80 percent in under 23 minutes (if your charging station delivers 270 kilowatts). The e-tron GT opens at $100,945 and qualifies for the $7500 federal EV tax credit.
In other news, the Black Optic package, which swaps shiny trim for dark, proliferates across multiple model lines. The plug-in Q5 55 TFSI e gets an upsized battery with 14.4 kilowatt-hours of usable capacity, and the long-serving R8 gets 30 more horsepower (now 562) for the base coupe and Spyder. Otherwise, changes involve tinkering with options and standard equipment. On that note, big news: Red brake calipers are now a standalone option on the SQ7 and SQ8. We knew you’d be excited.
First with the Bentayga and now the Flying Spur, electrification of the Bentley lineup is taking root. For 2022, the flagship sedan gains an optional 536-hp hybrid powertrain. On the other end of the efficiency spectrum are the new 650-hp Continental GT Speed coupe and convertible. More power from the familiar 6.0-liter W-12 and chassis changes, including rear-wheel steering and a torque-vectoring diff, indicate that the brand isn’t abandoning gas-guzzling performance just yet. A sporty-looking S variant joins the Bentayga line, while the SUV’s hybrid system sits the year out before returning for 2023.
BMW has an eventful year ahead. The electric i3 is dead, replaced by the i4 sedan and iX SUV. The former debuts with two trims: The 335-hp i4 eDrive40 has rear-wheel drive and an estimated 300-mile range, while the 536-hp M50 has all-wheel drive and should cover about 245 miles on a charge. The iX goes upmarket with 516 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and some 300 miles of range. Both arrive early next year.
Now in its second generation, the 2-series coupe remains the gateway drug to rear-drive BMW performance, with a modest $37,345 base price. Though longer, lower, and wider than the first gen, the 2 somehow looks frumpier than before. Launching in November, the entry 230i fields a 255-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and the M240i xDrive, a 382-hp turbo 3.0-liter inline-six. Now repeat that line but change “November” to “August,” “230i” to “430i,” and “M240i xDrive” to “M440i xDrive” and you’ll know what’s up with the 4-series Gran Coupe. All of these models employ an eight-speed automatic and will eventually come in both rear- and all-wheel-drive flavors.
All-wheel drive joins the options list for the 503-hp Competition models of the M3 and M4 as well as the non-M 4-series convertibles. The M4 droptop returns after a short break in Competition xDrive form.
Occasionally, BMW likes to drop a one-year-only performance model, and for 2022, that’s the M5 CS. At 627 horsepower, it’s the most powerful production Bimmer so far, and it weighs a claimed 230 pounds less than the M5 Comp, so expect the CS to best its sibling’s 2.8-second time to 60. If those numbers don’t tell you it’s serious, the headrests should; they’re imprinted with a map of the Nürburgring.
There’s no CS version of the 8-series, but there is an Alpina model, the 612-hp B8 Gran Coupe. And the M8 coupe and convertible are back after taking 2021 off, joining the M8 Gran Coupe. All three are available solely in 617-hp Competition trim.
On the SUV side of the lineup, the X3 and X4 are treated to a refresh, with revised styling front and rear and updated interior amenities. The plug-in X3 xDrive30e is dead, but the M40i models get a 48-volt hybrid system. The X3 M and X4 M gain torque—as much as 37 pound-feet in Competition models, which now crank out 479 pound-feet.
The X5 is mostly carryover, except for the new Black Vermilion Edition, which is the xDrive40i model with red bars on the grille and Frozen Black Metallic paint. (We’re oversimplifying but not by much.)
Finally, 2021 was the last year for the rear-drive X6. We’re as surprised as you—that it existed.
Bugatti’s lineup consists of various editions of the 16-cylinder Chiron hypercar, none of which have changed for 2022. But the big news is Bugatti’s partnership with the Croatian startup Rimac, which produces electric supercars and tech. This venture sees Rimac and Porsche sharing ownership of the French brand and likely portends some high-horsepower Bugatti EVs in the near future.
Buick’s Enclave three-row SUV has a fresh look thanks to a larger, boxier grille and slim LED headlights. Inside, the center console and steering wheel are redesigned. The potato-shaped Encore crossover trades its 138-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter for a 155-hp version; torque rises from 148 to 177 pound-feet. The Encore GX and Envision see minor trim changes.
The Blackwing versions of the CT4-V and CT5-V are here. They’re slated to be Cadillac’s last gas-powered V sedans before the brand transitions to EVs, starting with the 2023 Lyriq. Our advice: Get a manual one while you can. Other CT4s and CT5s remain largely unchanged, as do the XT4, XT5, and XT6 SUVs. Spy photos of a quad-exhaust Escalade have us hopeful that a high-performance version with a V badge and the big Blackwing’s 668-hp supercharged V-8 will debut soon.
Just when you thought the mid-engine C8 Corvette was getting stale, a high-powered Z06 variant appears this fall. We expect it to have a high-revving flat-plane-crank V-8 with four camshafts, 32 valves, and over 600 horsepower; it should make the car sound more like something with a prancing horse than a bow tie.
Elsewhere in the lineup, the Bolt EV looks fresher and has more features than before. It also has a new sibling: the Bolt EUV, which is bigger in nearly every dimension and offers GM’s hands-free Super Cruise tech. The crossover has the same battery and electric motor as the standard hatchback Bolt, yet its size takes a toll on EPA range. The EUV manages to go 247 miles on a charge; its brother, 259.
The Trax’s turbocharged four sees a 12 percent increase in horsepower and 20 percent more torque. Chevy’s mainstream Equinox and Traverse crossovers benefit from a visual refresh and equipment reshuffling, while the Trailblazer, Blazer, Tahoe, and Suburban SUVs continue on largely unchanged. A major update for the Silverado 1500 includes a new ZR2 off-road trim and a thoroughly redone interior. The Colorado pickup adds a Trail Boss off-road package. And yes, Chevy still sells cars; the Malibu, Spark, and Camaro cruise on as they were for now.
The Pacifica minivan and 300 sedan continue on virtually unchanged, and the now-fleet-only Voyager will come only in LX trim, with desirable standard features such as Stow ‘n Go second-row seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, powered doors and liftgate, and heating for the front seats and steering wheel. So that you’ll breathe easy, all Chrysler vehicles receive a high-efficiency cabin air filter.
Dodge has an electric car in the works, but that’s still a few years away. For 2022, the Charger and Challenger receive minor changes, and the Durango SUV shuffles some features among trim levels.
Ferrari fits its latest supercar, the 296GTB, with a turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6. Not since the Dino-branded products has Ferrari messed with a six-pot in a road car. It makes up for the low cylinder count with a battery underfloor and an electric charging port. We can dig it. The 296’s wavy rear fenders read Ferrari as much as Enzo’s violet signature, and its 819-hp hybrid powertrain matches the output of the V-12 in the new 812 Competizione coupe and targa. Gone from the roster are the Monza models, which sold out before they hit the market. Late last year, the Portofino gained 21 horses (now up to 612), an eight-speed dual-clutch, some aero enhancements, and an M at the end of its name. Everything else—F8s, other 812s, SF90s, Roma—stays the same, though we have news to share about the SF90 Stradale.
After quietly killing the cute and tiny 500, the oddball 500L wagon-thing, and the Miata-based 124 Spider sports car in the past few years, Fiat has just one model left in its U.S. lineup: the 500X subcompact SUV, which carries over with no meaningful updates.
Ford’s 2022 can be summarized by two themes: trucks and electrification. There’s the all-new Maverick, a small unibody pickup with a hybrid, and the F-150 Raptor R, which returns V-8 power to the high-performance truck. Just how much power Ford won’t yet say, but the existence of the 702-hp Ram TRX leads us to believe it might be 700 ponies.
Among the regular F-150 lineup, the diesel 3.0-liter engine is no longer an option. The first full-size electric pickup to hit the market will likely be the two-motor F-150 Lightning, which promises either 230 or 300 miles of range, depending on battery size. While it costs more than comparable gas-powered versions, its low-$40,000s starting price may make it a popular choice for EV seekers.
Rounding out the electrification updates are the 480-hp Mustang Mach-E GT variants, which are late-2021 models. Ford claims the GTs will sprint to 60 mph in the mid- to high-three-second range. A cargo-only electric Transit van called E-Transit arrives. It promises 126 miles of range and requires $49,000.
Ford is building Broncos as fast as it can to fill its 125,000-order backlog. A more powerful off-road-oriented variant, likely called Warthog, is coming, probably for 2023. Also a year away is a Raptor-fied Ranger mid-size pickup. We suspect Ford will give the aging Expedition some love too.
Lastly, the Blue Oval is deploying what it’s calling BlueCruise, which, like GM’s Super Cruise, allows for extended hands-free driving on limited-access highways and uses a camera to monitor the driver’s attentiveness. It’s also available as a $600 update on 2021 F-150s and Mustang Mach-Es equipped with the Active Drive Assist prep package. The Bronco Sport, Escape, EcoSport, Edge, Explorer, Mustang, Super Duty, Transit, and Transit Connect all move into the new year with minor changes.
Genesis welcomed the two-row GV70 SUV to the family earlier this year. By spring, showrooms will have their first EV: the Electrified G80 (yes, that’s really its name). All-wheel drive comes from two electric motors that put out 365 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque. We predict this sedan will offer 265 miles of range. The regular G80 gains a Sport trim with rear-wheel steering and apperance upgrades. The G70 sports sedan features a bigger grille, two-bar horizontal headlights, and a reworked interior. Genesis just revealed an electric hatch called the GV60, which rides on the same platform as Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 and Kia’s EV6. There are no tweaks to the GV80 three-row crossover or the big G90 sedan.
Since the quasi–Quonset huts that Hummer dealers once called home have likely been repurposed into head shops, the crab-walking, four-wheel-steering Hummer EV pickup will instead be sold in GMC stores starting this fall. The up-to-1000-hp truck will have an estimated 350 miles of range and a claimed 3.0-second time to 60 mph. An SUV version will follow. The Terrain SUV gets a restyled exterior and a newly available AT4 trim. In Yukon territory, the 6.2-liter V-8 is now more widely available in the lineup, and the Sierra pickup—like the Chevy Silverado—is slated for a mid-model-year redo that will bring Super Cruise and a few still-secret changes. There’s nothing new of note for the Acadia SUV or the Canyon pickup.
Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
The big H has big plans for the Civic: A hatchback comes soon, a sporty Si next year, and a Type R will follow. The Ridgeline pickup looks tougher, previewing a similar makeover for the Passport that should come next year. The Pilot adds standard equipment, while the Odyssey, Accord, Insight, HR-V, and CR-V stay the same. The fuel-cell and plug-in-hybrid Clarity models are dead, but enough were built to last through 2022.
The most noteworthy addition to Hyundai’s 2022 lineup is the Tucson-based Santa Cruz unibody pickup. Larger than before, the ’22 Tucson compact SUV arrived earlier this year and now offers hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and sporty-looking N Line models. Later, Hyundai will add a rugged-looking XRT trim that will also appear on the mid-size Santa Fe.
Though the hybridized Ioniqs remain on the menu, the Electric dies in advance of Hyundai spinning the Ioniq name into a subbrand of EVs. First to join is a fetching-looking hatchback called the Ioniq 5, with awesome ’80s-esque headlights and taillights and an attractive, spacious interior. It has competitive specs too: up to 320 horsepower, optional all-wheel drive, and a targeted range around 300 miles.
Hyundai is bolstering its performance N division with high-power versions of the Elantra sedan and Kona tiny crossover. They look similar to and share a turbo 2.0-liter inline-four with the Veloster N hot hatch, now the only Veloster you can buy after Hyundai dropped the lesser versions. Non-N Kona models also benefit from a visual refresh inside and out. The Palisade, Sonata, Accent, Venue, and fuel-cell Nexo are unchanged.
The QX60 three-row SUV rings in 2022 with a striking redesign, a more luxurious cabin, and a higher price. The QX80 gets a new infotainment system, and earlier this year, the QX50 spawned a mechanically identical fastback ute called the QX55. All models receive wireless Apple CarPlay, but the Q50 and Q60 are otherwise unchanged.
The Jaguar F-type sports car drops its four- and six-cylinder engines for 2022, leaving a choice between two supercharged V-8s. A new 444-hp version comes in the P450 with rear- or all-wheel drive and costs at least $71,050. Jag wisely pairs the F-type’s carryover 575-hp V-8 with all-wheel drive.
After sitting out the 2021 model year, the I-Pace crossover EV returns with the brand’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system, an 11.0-kW charger, and a few trim updates. Changes to the F-Pace mid-size SUV, E-Pace compact crossover, and XF sedan are minor, as they were refreshed for 2021. Jag killed the XE for the U.S. market late last year and recently scrapped its plan to revive the XJ name with a big electric sedan.
Jeep is resurrecting the Wagoneer name for a family of two large SUVs. The Wagoneer competes with the Chevy Tahoe, while the Grand Wagoneer targets luxury SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade and BMW X7.
Following in the tracks of the three-row Grand Cherokee L introduced earlier this year, the shorter two-row Grand Cherokee comes with your choice of a 3.6-liter V-6, a 5.7-liter V-8, or a 4xe plug-in-hybrid powertrain with an EV range of about 25 miles. Hardcore off-roaders will likely be interested in the Rubicon-ready Trailhawk.
The Compass compact SUV has a new front end and interior displays, plus a new Latitude Lux trim level. A hybrid 4xe model should follow. As for the rest, the Renegade, Cherokee, Gladiator, and Wrangler lines continue into the new year unchanged.
The company that formed from the ashes of Fisker keeps the dream alive with the GS-6 plug-in hybrid. Unchanged for ’22, the GS-6 can go up to 61 miles on battery power and over 300 on gas, and its powertrain makes 536 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. In the spring, the company will introduce the GSe-6 electric version with an advertised range of up to 300 miles.
The highlight of the Korean brand’s ongoing new-product push is the much-anticipated EV6 electric two-row crossover. Boldly styled, the EV6 lineup spans from a 167-hp single-motor variant to a 576-hp dual-motor GT model. We estimate usable battery capacity at 50.0 kilowatt-hours for the base version and 70.0 for all others. Kia anticipates the longest-range EV6 will approach 300 miles on a charge and the quickest one will hit 60 in under four seconds. Plus, all models support an impressive DC fast-charging rate of up to 350 kilowatts.
On the internal-combustion front, the handsome Carnival minivan arrived earlier this year as a ’22 and replaced the Sedona. A redesigned Sorento three-row mid-size SUV arrived as a 2021 model and succeeds in capturing some of the larger Telluride’s overall goodness. A 261-hp plug-in-hybrid setup will join the Sorento’s 227-hp hybrid and 191- and 281-hp four-cylinder powertrains. The Sportage crossover carries over, as a major redesign will come for 2023. The Stinger sedan has a tweaked exterior and gains a brawnier 300-hp turbo four as the base engine.
The new Kia logo continues to spread through the lineup too. We won’t be surprised if the compact Forte receives a light refresh and is renamed K3. Such a rebadging would bring the car’s moniker in line with the larger K5 sedan, which sees only minor changes, as do the Telluride, Seltos small SUV, and Rio subcompact car. Fans of the boxy Soul will appreciate a few minor updates but may lament both the death of the base model’s manual transmission and the continued absence of the latest electric version that Kia sells in other markets. The brand’s small-EV focus in the U.S. continues to rest on the electric variant of the mostly carryover Niro hatchback van-like thing.
Nothing’s new for ’22, but in ’23, the 1280-hp Jesko will make its way to the U.S. Don’t get too excited—all 125 were spoken for days after the 2019 Geneva auto show. The $1.7 million Gemera 2+2-seater may go into production next fall. Raise your hand now; only 300 will be made. Skål!
The Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae marks the end of production of the decade-old supercar line and also marks the end of nonhybrid V-12s for Lamborghini. This final edition musters 769 horses—10 more than the now-dead Aventador SVJ—from its naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12. The Countach returns, and the 63-unit run of the Sián is complete. The Urus SUV has new cabin electronics, and the Huracán line gains its most track-ready variant to date: the 631-hp STO.
What better way for Land Rover to maintain the Defender’s momentum than by stuffing it with a 518-hp supercharged V-8? The 5.0-liter will be available in both the two-door 90 and four-door 110. Starting prices will fall a grand or two outside $100K. A refreshed ’21 Range Rover Velar is already on sale with the brand’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system, plus optional 335- and 395-hp versions of a hybridized 3.0-liter inline-six that replaces a supercharged V-6. Changes to the Discovery, Discovery Sport, and big Range Rover are minor, but the subcompact Evoque gains a new high-end trim level dubbed HST, which boosts the existing turbo 2.0-liter four’s output from 246 horses to 296. The Range Rover Sport’s diesel and plug-in-hybrid powertrain options are dead.
A redesigned NX compact crossover headlines Lexus’s changes for 2022. Its styling has evolved, and it has a bit more interior space than before. Non-electrified powertrains include a 203-hp inline-four and a new 275-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter four, both of which mate to an eight-speed automatic. Hybrid models come in 239-hp and plug-in 302-hp flavors; the latter offers an estimated 36 miles of electric range.
Teammate, Lexus’s driver-assistance software with hands-free capability, will debut on the LS500h this fall. The IS500 F Sport Performance is a new V-8 model that adds to the largely carryover IS sedan lineup. Lexus says it has more performance-oriented products in the works yet remains tight-lipped about a rumored 600-plus-hp twin-turbo V-8 coming to the LC coupe.
A redesigned LX is on the way, and we expect it to have a 409-hp twin-turbo V-6 paired with a 10-speed automatic. Serious off-road capability, loads of technology, and a sumptuous interior befitting a flagship luxury SUV will all be standard. A base price around $100K is probable, as is an eventual hybrid version.
Lexus revised the ES sedan’s grille and repositioned the infotainment screen—now with touch control—closer to the driver. The GX SUV’s infotainment display grows in size. The rest of the Lexus range continues with minor trim and tuning changes.
After killing off the Continental and MKZ last year, Lincoln finds itself selling a quartet of gas-powered and plug-in-hybrid SUVs before transitioning to an electric lineup by the end of the decade. The shift begins in earnest with the debut of an EV SUV to be named later. It’ll ride on a new platform and purportedly establish the brand’s new design language. Changes to the existing Corsair, Aviator, and Nautilus involve paint choices and option packages. The Navigator receives new head- and taillights and a reshaped grille, while its interior gets a 13.2-inch touchscreen. ActiveGlide—the Lincoln version of Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free highway driver-assistance system—will debut on this big SUV. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 drops 10 horsepower, leaving 440 ponies.
Lotus is entering its modern era with the all-new Emira mid-engine sports car, which replaces the Evora GT. The Emira comes with a choice of two engines: a 360-hp (or more) turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four from the Mercedes-AMG parts bin or a Toyota-sourced 416-hp supercharged 3.5-liter V-6, which carries over from the Evora GT. Styling is inspired by the brand’s exotic Evija hypercar, but the Emira will have a much more affordable opening price, which we expect to land in the mid-$70,000s. Speaking of the Evija, Lotus says the wait for that deliciously deviant electric rocket is nearly over, with the first deliveries happening this winter.
Maserati is in the process of shedding its engineering dependence on Ferrari. Making that point in a dramatic manner is the all-new MC20, the first mid-engine Maserati developed and produced in-house since the 1970s. The range topper features the brand’s new Nettuno twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, which uses prechamber ignition to help it achieve 621 horsepower—a captivating 207.6 horses per liter. Slotting in below the Levante SUV is the Grecale, a crossover aimed at the Porsche Macan. Also in the works is a GranTurismo developed from the Alfieri concept. That coupe is expected to debut in 2022, with an electric version to follow. The Ghibli, Levante, and Quattroporte all have minor trim changes.
Mazda is culling the herd to make way for new products. Alas, the CX-3 subcompact SUV and the 6 mid-size sedan are dead. We will pour out some 0W-20 for the 6. The new MX-30 is the brand’s first EV. This 144-hp front-drive ute has RX-8-inspired rear-hinged half doors and arrives this fall, exclusively to California. We expect it’ll go 100 miles on a full battery. A plug-in-hybrid version will follow with a range-extending Wankel rotary engine-generator. Mazda is likely to introduce a hybrid crossover (possibly a new CX-7) with a Toyota powertrain too. The MX-5 Miata, 3, CX-30, and CX-9 go on without significant changes, while the CX-5 gets a visual refresh and now has all-wheel drive as standard.
The Artura is a new-from-the-ground-up mid-engine hybrid two-seater with a twin-turbo V-6 and electric motor that boosts power to 671 horses. There’s enough battery to go about 15 miles as an EV. It effectively replaces the 570S, which drops off the lineup this year along with the 600LT and 620R. McLaren leaves the 720S, GT, and Elva alone and chops the roof off the 765LT coupe to make a Spider variant. All examples of the Speedtail and Senna are spoken for, as are all 15 Sabres, an 824-hp supercar developed by McLaren Special Operations.
The EQS four-door debuts as the brand’s EV flagship and the first product sold in the U.S. under Mercedes’s EQ electric subbrand. The EQB compact crossover, derived from the carryover GLB, arrives late next year as a ’23 model. Details are scant, but dual-motor versions sold elsewhere offer up to 288 horses.
Mercedes has shared very little about the eighth-gen SL. We know it will revive 300SL badging, a mostly useless back seat, and a cloth top, plus debut new-to-SL all-wheel drive. Look for Benz’s roadster to go on sale in 2022 and demand six figures.
A redesigned, slightly larger C-class sedan will launch in the spring with a hybridized 255-hp turbo four and a fresh interior. The C-class coupe and convertible carry over with minor changes. The GLC SUV should follow the C’s redo in a year or two, but for now, it receives only small revisions. AMG’s 503-hp V-8 can now be had in the squared-off AMG GLC63 S; previously it came only in the Coupe. Of course, this assumes Benz keeps its V-8s on offer in the U.S., which we hear isn’t a sure thing.
Mercedes gives the CLS mid-size four-door a modest refresh inside and out but drops the 429-hp AMG CLS53, leaving just the 362-hp CLS450. The four-door AMG GTs see design tweaks, a retuned suspension, and an optional rear bench that takes seat count from four to five. Mercedes has confirmed that an 831-hp GT63 S E Performance hybrid variant will join the lineup. AMG GT coupe and convertible info is yet to break, but given the release of the wild 720-hp Black Series coupe for ’21, we think big changes are unlikely.
Changes to the rest of Mercedes’s lineup are minimal, but the Maybach family gains the S680 with a twin-turbo V-12 churning out 612 ponies.
The refreshed Cooper Hardtop, Convertible, electric SE, and John Cooper Works models now feature a grille that looks a bit like a droopy mustache. The limited run of the 301-hp John Cooper Works GP has ended. The Countryman and the Clubman have only minor changes.
The Eclipse Cross and Outlander SUVs are redone—the former with a blunter nose and posher interior, the latter with a face that says “startled robot” and a platform and engine from the Nissan Rogue. The Outlander plug-in hybrid, Mirage twins, and Outlander Sport crossover are unchanged.
Other than the new Z, Nissan’s big news concerns the Frontier, which is fully redesigned for the first time since The Office debuted on NBC. The Pathfinder is also overhauled, with more upright styling and a nine-speed automatic in place of the unloved CVT. That big-SUV look is backed up by eight-passenger seating and a 6000-pound tow rating.
On the other side of the showroom, the GT-R gets its usual minor finessing, including a Nismo special edition with an exposed-carbon-fiber hood. Nissan’s more accessible sports car, the 370Z, lingered into 2021 but technically went out as a 2020 model, making way for the Z car. The Ariya EV crossover goes on sale soon, offering two battery options as well as either front- or all-wheel drive.
Elsewhere in the lineup, blacked-out Midnight Editions arrive for the Murano, Sentra, and Altima. The Leaf gets upgraded standard equipment and a sizable price cut, while the Maxima embraces its near-luxury role with heated rear seats on the Platinum trim. The Kicks? It has new badges.
The finale of Huayra’s decade-long run is the track-only Huayra R, with a one-off 6.0-liter V-12. The $3.1 million price is less than that of Pagani’s street-legal 791-hp Huayra BC Roadster. BC owners can up power to 816 by retrofitting a new Pacchetto Tempesta aero kit.
Wearing matte gold to its goodbye party, the 619-hp 1 plug-in-hybrid coupe receives a Special Edition send-off for 2022. Polestar will fill that showroom void with the company’s first SUV, the 3, an EV. The 3 will be assembled alongside Volvo’s S60 and next-gen XC90 in South Carolina. A 231-hp front-drive version of the 2 will go on sale by year’s end. It boasts a targeted range of 260-plus miles and starts at $47,200. The all-wheel-drive, dual-motor model sees a bump in EPA range (from 233 to 249 miles) and a $10,000 decrease in price.
Porsche’s top-selling Macan gets a refresh, with the base turbo four gaining 13 horsepower for a total of 261. Above that, the lineup is reshuffled. The Turbo model is gone, making the GTS the top trim. The Macan S gets the old GTS’s 375-hp twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6, while the GTS gets the 2021 Turbo’s 434-hp iteration of that engine. Follow us so far?
Lest the Macan steal the SUV spotlight, Porsche is also releasing a track-slaying Cayenne Turbo GT. Available only in the slinky Coupe body style, the Turbo GT boasts a 631-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and hits 60 mph in a claimed 3.1 seconds. The Turbo GT set a new Nordschleife lap record for SUVs, with a time of 7:38.9.
The fresh 911 GT3, which also notched a blistering ‘Ring time (just under seven minutes), is available in both fixed-wing and demure Touring configurations. The GT3 retains a ripsaw 9000-rpm 4.0-liter flat-six that makes 502 horsepower, driving the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The unequal-length control-arm front suspension (the first in a 911 road car) and a 1.9-inch-wider front track further sharpen handling, which was never exactly a GT3 weak point.
On the slightly saner side, the GTS trim joins the 911 lineup for the first time since the debut of the latest (992) generation. Its 473 horsepower exceeds the Carrera S’s output by 30 ponies, and it borrows the 911 Turbo’s brakes. Coupes are available with a Lightweight package that sheds 55 pounds, according to Porsche.
All 911, Cayenne, and Panamera cars get upgraded to the PCM 6.0 infotainment system that debuted on the Taycan. Porsche is developing an app called Soundtrack My Life that plays music to match your driving style. Cue the speed metal.
The new year brings a 10th Anniversary Edition for the 1500 that comes with an exclusive shade of blue paint, 22-inch wheels, and a dressed-up interior that includes a jeweled shifter. The rest of the Ram line sees some trim changes, a few new color options, and a cabin filter that catches 95 percent of particulates from the air.
Pandemic-related delays are keeping California-based Rivian from putting its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, both allegedly able to hit 60 in 3.0 seconds and go more than 300 miles on a charge, into customers’ hands. The roughly $70,000 models are now promised for September.
In North America, Rolls-Royce will no longer offer the Dawn or the Wraith, which were loosely based on the BMW 7-series. Models built on the Architecture of Luxury platform—the Phantom, Ghost, and Cullinan—carry on with no changes.
As is the case with its close relative, the Toyota GR 86, the BRZ gets a refresh that alters its appearance and adds some much-needed firepower underhood. It starts below $30,000 and has a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four (up from 2.0) and a standard six-speed manual. Still the only non-all-wheel-drive Subie, the BRZ remains committed to a purist sports-car ethos.
The new-gen WRX has a wide-body design, updated infotainment, and a 271-hp turbo flat-four. The high-performance STI model will follow. The Outback wagon now has a Wilderness edition, with a lifted suspension, 17-inch matte-black wheels, all-terrain tires, and other visual tweaks. Subaru will offer a similar trim for the Forester, which also gets a refresh. Lastly, the Ascent’s new and aptly named Onyx package will dress your three-row SUV in all black.
This company does everything differently, including largely ignoring model years. We expect Tesla will have a pretty quiet 2022, at least from a new-product perspective. The aging Model S four-door and slightly younger X SUV are fresh off facelifts for 2021, which brought the addition of the bonkers 1020-hp Plaid variants and a controversial yoke-style steering rectangle—yet another example of the company’s CEO insisting a square peg fits in a round hole. The brand’s Full Self-Driving software, which is neither self-driving nor widely enabled, now operates without radar in the Model 3 and Y, using only camera inputs. Tesla offers the tech as a $199 monthly subscription as an alternative to the $10,000 option. The Cybertruck pickup was supposed to hit at the end of 2021 but you should know by now not to trust Tesla’s launch-timing promises. A new Roadster is in the works, but humans could walk on Mars before we see one on the road.
Toyota will make over the Tundra, but we won’t learn the full details until next week. A modernized cabin brings a big dash screen and a panoramic roof, while the TRD Pro model’s bombastic front end features old-school Toyota lettering and an LED light bar. At least one powertrain will be called iForce Max, which might be a version of the twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 that makes 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in the new forbidden-fruit Land Cruiser.
Elsewhere in the truck lineup, the Tacoma gains TRD Pro 3.0 and Trail Edition models. The former’s suspension lift—1.5 inches up front and a half-inch at the rear—gives it improved approach, departure, and break-over angles compared with the outgoing model. The Trail Edition is like an SR5 model that shoplifted from the TRD store, with a similar suspension lift plus a locking rear differential, skid plates, and Goodyear all-terrain tires.
Toyota is also confirming its commitment to fun cars with the new GR 86 and Supra A91-CF Edition. The former, which wears the Gazoo Racing (GR) badges of its Supra sibling, is thoroughly redone. As for the latter, the CF in its moniker refers to its carbon-fiber aero kit. Only 600 examples will be built, all with the 382-hp six.
The Corolla lineup expands with the introduction of the Corolla Cross small crossover, which squeezes into the imperceptible space between the carryover C-HR and RAV4. It’s available in front- or all-wheel drive and is powered by a 169-hp 2.0-liter four running through a CVT. Which isn’t a total bummer, since that CVT uses a fixed launch gear to goose performance off the line.
The 4Runner adds a TRD Sport trim that optimizes Toyota’s popular (and ancient) SUV for the street, inasmuch as that’s possible. The TRD Sport borrows the Limited grade’s cross-linked damper system, which aids the ride by deftly controlling body motions. It also wears 20-inch wheels and is available in rear- or four-wheel drive—though driving a two-wheel-drive 4Runner is like wearing a hiking boot on one foot and a flip-flop on the other.
Toyota’s friendly hybrid takes a dark turn with the Prius Nightshade Edition, which gets black wheels, door handles, mirror caps, and headlight accents. Midnight Black paint completes this most goth package, though it’s available in white and silver.
The Sienna Woodland Special Edition is intended for light-duty off-roading, with all-wheel drive and added ground clearance. For every one sold, Toyota will donate $250 to the National Environmental Education Foundation. This nature-loving model also gets an exclusive paint color that evokes the beauty of unspoiled open spaces. It’s called Cement.
The Highlander Bronze Edition, available only in hybrid form, is annoying because we have to say “bronze-colored” whenever we talk about its wheels and trim or else you’ll write us letters saying, “So the wheels are made out of bronze?” The Bronze Edition also gets Cement paint. Sorry—cement-colored paint.
In other non-news, nothing’s going on with the Camry.
The eighth-generation Golf debuts this year, but we’ll get only the 241-hp GTI and 315-hp Golf R forms because non–hot hatches don’t sell here. The Jetta gets a facelift and the 158-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four from the new Taos compact crossover. VW applies those same cosmetic changes to the Jetta GLI, which retains its 228-horse 2.0-liter and now comes in only one trim level. The Taos slots in under the refreshed Tiguan, but some models are close in price to the larger SUV. VW is ending production of the Passat mid-size sedan after the 2022 model year and sending it off with a limited-edition model that will commemorate its Tennessee plant, which will shift to building the ID.4 electric ute. And a 295-hp all-wheel-drive ID.4 joins the 201-hp rear-drive version.
As gas-powered models die off, we’ll be seeing more Volvos like the new 402-hp C40 Recharge EV. A raked-back version of the electric XC40, the C40 opens just under $60,000 and has a targeted range of 210 miles. Volvo killed the wagon body styles of the V60 and V90 in favor of the lifted Cross Country editions, though the plug-in V60 T8 Recharge remains a regular wagon presumably because the world needs 415-hp unicorns. To boost efficiency of its gas-burning lineup, the Swedish brand pairs its 2.0-liter fours with a hybrid system. Dubbed B5 and B6, the new powertrains replace the T5 and T6 engines in the S60, S90, XC60, and V90 CC. B5 versions of the S60 and XC60 make 247 horses. The B6 forgoes the T6’s turbo- and supercharger setup for a single turbo in the XC60, S90, and V90 CC—a change that drops power from 316 ponies to 295. The XC90 three-row SUV carries over; a new one might debut next year as a 2023 model.
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