New York auto show canceled, Morgan (somehow) goes off-road, GM cooks up another EV truck

Flickr/Automotive Rhythms

New York International Auto Show canceled for the second year

Intake: NYIAS officials released a statement canceling the 2022 show due to “growing incidences of the Covid-19 Delta variant” in New York. This is the second straight year the event has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

Exhaust: The New York Auto Show has traditionally been a major place to debut vehicles for the North American market and, quite honestly, a great excuse to visit the city. We’re saddened by the news but aren’t totally surprised as indoor events are still touch-and-go.

Morgan catches the safari bug, reason abandons humanity

Morgan Motors/Copyright N Dimbleby

Intake: Way out of left field—and perhaps from another zoning district entirely—Morgan just unveiled a safari-style overland project it’s calling the Plus Four CX-T. Based on the standard Plus Four and its new aluminum CX chassis, the CX-T combines Plus Six suspension with a host of upgrades in consultation with off-road experts at Rally Raid UK. Components include coilovers, unique bushings, off-road rubber, a three-mode locking differential, a five-piece underbody protection package, a bespoke rear-side-exit exhaust, and a wild-looking rear equipment carrier with a protective “exoskeleton.” Morgan claims that the CX-T can traverse obstacles as much as 230 mm (just over 9 inches). Eight examples will be built by the close of 2021, at a cost of £170,000 ($237,000). No word on the powertrain, but we’d expect the same BMW four-cylinder turbo with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and in this application the six-speed manual gearbox would be the natural choice.

Exhaust: When we said back in 2019 that the CX platform would open up a world of possibilities, nothing in this same universe seemed probable. To see Morgan latch onto a trend at the peak of its popularity is especially shocking; this is the kind of company that would insist on rabbit hunting with slingshots rather than sighted rifles because it’s “better sport” or whatever. Of course, Morgan is never shy about leaning on heritage, and the “T” in CX-T supposedly stands for “trialing.” Founder HMS Morgan began competing in British trials—as we recently did—as early as 1911. “The project was unrestrained and born entirely from a desire to create an exciting British adventure vehicle,” says Jonathan Wells, Morgan’s head of design. “For me, it’s a complete package: historical integrity, legitimate capability, and a brand-new adventure-lead aesthetic.”

GM will build a medium-duty EV truck

Chevy medium duty 6500HD truck

Intake: General Motors’ forthcoming tidal wave of electric vehicles isn’t going to be limited to commuter rides. A GM Authority report revealed that in a recent call with investors, GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed that there’s an all-electric medium-duty Chevy pickup in the works, supposedly coming to life alongside the electric Chevy van being built as a part of GM’s new BrightDrop commercial fleet. Barra was scant on details about the workhorse truck, but it’s likely that we’ll see it arrive sometime around the midpoint of this decade—2025ish.

Exhaust: With each passing month, the breadth and depth of GM’s electric onslaught becomes more clear. Betting that an all-electric truck can handle the rigors of medium duty life is risky; the folks driving those rigs have exactly zero tolerance for unplanned downtime—say, a mid-afternoon, hour-long charging session. Call us skeptically optimistic.

Lambo is IMSA-bound in 2024, Le Mans appears likely

2020 Lamborghini Evo RWD logo prancing bull
Brian Makse

Intake: Racer reported yesterday afternoon that Lamborghini Squadra Corse will enter IMSA’s LMDh class in 2024, using a hybrid racer based on the same Multimatic-built chassis as its—you guessed it—VW Group cousins from Porsche and Audi. It’s highly likely that, with the LMH/LMDh regulations set to merge in 2022, Lamborghini will also campaign multiple entries in the FIA’s World Endurance Championship, a series crowned by the 24-hour event at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Should it officially commit in September, Lamborghini will join Acura and BMW, in addition to Porsche and Audi, in the top tier of IMSA competition. Racer expects Cadillac to make a similar announcement in the next few weeks. Peugeot and Ferrari haven’t announced plans to compete in IMSA, though each has committed to the WEC for 2023. Toyota and SCG are already active.

Exhaust: Lamborghini’s motorsports arm can’t claim the deadly-consistent performance record of Audi and Porsche. With three prototype efforts from the VAG, there’s also a high chance of overlap—but, if nothing else, we’re thrilled that Lamborghini is taking the risk. Bring on the Italian soap drama.

Report: An electric Jeep arrives in 2023

Magneto Jeep front three-quarter moab
Phillip Thomas

Intake: The Detroit News is reporting that Stellantis has fixed a 2023 arrival date for Jeep’s first all-electric model. The plug-in Wrangler 4xe is already on dealer lots (and flying off them, too) and a Grand Cherokee with a charging port is also in the works. The same article also notes that Alfa Romeo’s North American portfolio will ditch combustion for battery power in 2027, and that Maserati’s all-electric GranTurismo arrives in 2022.

Exhaust: We knew a battery-powered Jeep was coming, but now we know when. Whether Jeep will go whole-hog and start its pure-electric portfolio with a Wrangler, or play it safe and make a BEV version of, say, the next Cherokee, is anyone’s guess. Either way, our first drive of Jeep’s Magneto concept convinced us that, despite the change afoot, the brand is still capable of catering to off-road loyalists in the future.

Monterey Car Week to host BMW North American debuts

Roman Raetzke

Intake: BMW will debut the production versions of the M5 CS Limited Edition and Alpina B8 Gran Coupe at Legends of the Autobahn, displaying them along with the entire M3 and M4 range. The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca will host the North American premiere of The BMW M4 GT3 on Friday, August 13.

Exhaust: BMW has chosen various venues on the peninsula to reveal vehicles in the past. This full-scale embrace of Monterey Car Week only continues a trend that has seen the event become more important to the auto enthusiast community as it takes on additional elements that have traditionally been reserved for full-scale auto shows.

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