Snag a bizarre JDM Zagato, Qatar rescues Geneva show, Alpha promises affordable EV pickup

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Craving a bizarre, rare JDM Zagato? Here’s your chance

Intake: Using the Toyota MR2 Spyder (MR-S in Japan) as its foundation, the designers at Zagato made a Pagani-esque custom bodykit in a strictly limited quantity (100) for Toyota Modellista International (TMI), an in-house department that supplied selected dealers. While the wheels are over-the-top aftermarket affairs, TMI’s rare 2001 bird sports the MR-S factory hardtop, the five-speed sequential gearbox, and only has 40,070 km on the clock. Interested parties can see the bidding on Yahoo Japan’s auction site.

Exhaust: Japanese domestic market vehicles are always forbidden fruit for us North Americans—at least, until they turn 25 years old—but TMI’s creations are an especially rare indulgence. Toyota claims TMI was made in 1997 “to help customers enjoy car use and ownership with strong individuality” and a Zagato-penned MR-S clearly shows it was willing to put its money where its mouth was. 

Europe’s hypercars and auto shows saved by Arabian investors

Pagani Huayra Tricolore front three-quarter on tarmac
Pagani

Intake: Middle Eastern investors have stepped in to secure the futures of two great European motoring icons. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has bought 30 percent of Pagani with the cash reportedly directed toward future model development, including the V-12 Huayra’s immediate successor and the EVs that will follow. “Saudi Arabia is the ideal partner to further consolidate Pagani positioning as an iconic brand in the hypercars segment as well as to support its expansion strategy in the lifestyle segment,” says Horacio Pagani.

Meanwhile, neighboring Qatar is set to host the Geneva Motor Show from 2022. Qatar Tourism will sponsor the show next year and a version of Europe’s biggest car show will also be held in Doha, Qatar’s capital city. “Qatar Tourism [will] empower us to focus on the upcoming 91st edition of GIMS in February 2022, where we will be able to gather ideas and learnings for the new motor show in Doha,” said Geneva International Motor Show president Maurice Turrettini.

Exhaust: The Geneva Motor Show first opened its doors in 1905, but after COVID-19 forced its cancelation in 2019, its future was looking bleak. For Pagani the extra funds will be vital so that it can compete in an electric future against the likes of Bugatti Rimac.

Alpha Motors’ Wolf EV pickup aims to be the new affordable electric truck

Alpha Motors Wolf
Alpha Motors

Intake: There’s a new startup aiming to disrupt the pricey status quo for electric pickups. Meet the Alpha Wolf, a svelte two-seat pickup with a claimed 250–275 miles of range and a targeted starting price of just $36,000 before federal and state EV tax credits. The Wolf made its debut yesterday at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. At just 188 inches long, the Wolf is nearly a foot shorter than Ford’s new compact Maverick. You can have your Wolf with either a dual-motor setup allowing four-wheel drive, or a single-motor setup for rear-drive only. Alpha Motors claims 3000 pounds of towing capacity—nothing major, but enough to haul a small trailer strapped with some dirt bikes. Unladen, the Wolf will hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, according to Alpha. There’s a battery cooling and heating system included, as well as a rapid charger to minimize downtime. If all goes according to plan, Alpha plans to start production in Q4 of 2023, but reservations are open now. If you’re interested in seeing the Wolf up close, tickets are available for purchase to the Petersen as of this writing.

Exhaust: For lo, the age of truly small trucks may be returning. The Wolf looks the business, even if the model pictured above is laden with exterior lighting attachments and accessories (rock sliders and the front bull bar, if we had to guess) that won’t be included in that $36K starting price. That said, bringing a vehicle like this to market like this is a tougher task than most assume. If Alpha can pull this off, the Wolf could be a compact, affordable alternative to more established marques and flashier, upmarket offerings: The most modest version of Ford’s forthcoming F-150 Lightning starts at $39,974. Rivian’s R1T will start just shy of $70,000, and the Lordstown Endurance—current financial woes notwithstanding—begins in the mid-$50K range. 

Despite production delays, Mercedes-AMG Project One parties on in Forza

Virtual Mercedes-AMG Project ONE Forza Horizon 5 video game
Mercedes-Benz/Forza

Intake: With the production model long since stuck in limbo, Mercedes-AMG Project One is living large in virtual reality. As it touts the car’s Track and Road driving modes available to gamers in Forza Horizon 5’s Mexican landscape, Mercedes is very concerned to point out that the Forza Horizon Edition of this 1000-hp beauty wears a unique livery that “makes it clear this car will not be available for purchase in the real world.” Bit on the nose, for the 275 customers who’ve been waiting for AMG’s F1-powered halo car for four years and still don’t have a firm release date. The delay is understandable, however, given that Mercedes-AMG’s CEO Tobias Moers left Affalterbach in August of 2020 to take up the mantle of CEO for Aston Martin. Getting its 1.6-liter hybrid V-6, which was built to idle at 5000 rpm in F1, to satisfy on-road emissions regulations was a major setback in 2018. The rest of the package is as intricate as you’d expect from something designed to headline AMG’s portfolio: jet ignition, active aero, and turbos spooled by an electric motor, plus another trio of electric motors to provide all-wheel- or EV-only front-wheel-drive. Horizon 5 will be available globally as of November 9 on Xbox and PC.

Exhaust: Frustrating delays aside, Mercedes-AMG clearly isn’t leaving the Project One by the wayside. It’s the first AMG product to headline a Forza game, and you can bet that M-B paid a pretty penny for that publicity—not to mention to the time invested by its engineers to realistically model the Project One’s impressive capabilities. We can vouch that AMG’s long-awaited darling is still alive in the world of rubber and metal, too: We caught a glimpse of a camouflaged prototype testing at Immendingen last month.

Porsche adds colors and kit to the Taycan for 2022

Porsche Taycan 2022
Porsche

Intake: Porsche is bringing a range of updates—and striking paint hues—to the Taycan. On the technology front, Android Auto will be integrated into the Porsche Communication Management system, and Remote Park Assist will be offered, allowing owners to park their cars using their phones. Modifications to the electric drive system lets the front motor decouple in Normal and Range modes, which should extend the real-world driving distance between charges. More noticeable, however, are the ’90s classic Rubystone Red or Acid Green paintwork that are now on the options list.

Exhaust: What is arguably the best everyday electric car in the world just got better—and not simply because of the clever tweaks to extend its range. We’ll take ours in Acid Green, thanks!

BEV ProMaster due for the Stellantis EV stable in 2023

2022 Ram ProMaster 2500 Stellantis North America

Intake: Slipped into the release for the 2022 MY ProMaster, RAM Commercial disclosed plans to offer an all-electric option in 2023 following next year’s revamp. The announcement comes as a logical next step for Stellantis. The mega-merger has recently said it wants most of its segments to have battery-powered options available by 2025, and all by 2030. Better sooner than later for the ProMaster. Ford, Rivian, Bollinger, and GM’s BrightDrop are all expected to have North American BEV options on the commercial market by then; not to mention Euro van giant Mercedes-Benz, who plans to deliver an eSprinter stateside by the end of 2023.

Exhaust: Offering up the ProMaster as a BEV is an inoffensive layup for the Ram brand to expand its electric horizons while staying competitive in the last-mile commercial segment, which is growing evermore competitive and enviro-conscious. Many in the Dodge customer base possess an undying passion for Hellcat horsepower and burning rubber, but a commercial van is an easy gateway into BEV-ing its lineup. If there’s any way to jump into BEVs and prove their worth, while avoiding all the pitchforks, the ProMaster ought to be a most quiet place to start.

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