Acura unveils GTP challenger, BMW’s four-motor performance EV, buy a McLaren P1 Prototype

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Acura’s next-gen ARX-06 preps for battle against Porsche, Cadillac, BMW in IMSA GTP

Intake: Though the public unveiling will be Friday at The Quail in Carmel, California, Acura has released some photos and a lot of details about its upcoming entry into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s new GTP class, which replaces the current top-rung DPi Prototype class starting in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Two Acura ARX-06 GTP cars will compete against entries from Porsche, Cadillac and BMW, and in 2024, Lamborghini. The Acura is powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.4-liter V-6, coupled to an Xtrac transmission. Like all the GTP cars, the Acura will have a hybrid component: The hybrid power plant includes an IMSA-specified electric Bosch Motor Generator Unit and Williams Advanced Engineering battery pack. The chassis is an Oreca LMDh. “Precision crafted performance is at the heart of everything Acura does,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. “If you’re a performance brand, you have to go racing. It’s that simple.”

Exhaust: The 24 Hours of Daytona should be downright fascinating, with no clear favorite. The two Acura teams—Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing—are proven winners, and the current-generation Acura sits atop the DPi leaderboard for the 2022 WeatherTech season. There’s no reason to think the seventh generation won’t be fast, too. –Steven Cole Smith

BMW is testing a four-motor electric M car

BMW M xDrive prototype
BMW

Intake: BMW’s M division has confirmed it is working on taking EV performance to the next level. After 50 years of making some of the most memorable combustion cars, the brand is trialling a sophisticated M xDrive system which has a motor for each wheel for “infinitely variable, extremely precise and at the same time very fast distribution of drive torque.” The motors are connected via a central control unit which constantly monitors driving conditions and driver inputs. By taking data from accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds, and other factors, the precise amount of power for the conditions can be applied to the road in milliseconds. Currently under testing in a camouflaged and highly-modified version of the i4 M450 with two doors, wider arches, and the body strut concept from the M3 and M4, it paves the way for the first all-electric M car in half a century.

Exhaust: The glorious cacophony of combustion may soon be silenced at BMW M, but the performance and handling of its cars is only set to be elevated by electrification, says Dirk Häcker, Head of Development at BMW M GmbH. “Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics. And we can already see that we can exploit this potential to the maximum, so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility and precision in the locally emission-free future.” —Nik Berg

Pricing and packaging changes announced for 2023 Mazda3

Intake: Mazda is shuffling the packaging strategy for its Mazda3 compact. The 2023 model will drop the 2-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder from the bottom of its lineup, making the 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G the new standard on most trim levels. That engine gets 5 additional ponies for 2023, up to 191 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. New cylinder deactivation technology also increases fuel efficiency, now up to 28/37/31 city/highway/combined, up from 26/35/30 in the 2022 MY cars equipped with the same engine. As before, a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine is also offered on select higher-grade trims, good for 250 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93 octane gas or 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on regular 87 octane.

The new entry point into the Mazda3 lineup is now the 2.5 S, which will run you $23,615 for the sedan version (a $1850 increase over the outgoing 2-liter-equipped Mazda3 Base). Mazda will also again offer all-wheel drive on certain trims, the cheapest being the 2.5 S Carbon Edition, which will run you $29,665 for the sedan or $30,665 for the hatchback. The cheapest avenue into the turbocharged models, which all include AWD, is the $33,515 2.5 Turbo hatchback. Mazda says that 2023 Mazda3 hatchback models will begin arriving in dealerships this fall, while the 2023 sedan models will arrive this winter.

Exhaust: We’ve become accustomed to package trims and price increases in a segment such as compact sedans and hatchbacks, partially because they’re just not as popular anymore, but also because supply chain issues has forced automakers to tighten up product lines that don’t constitute the bulk of its profitability. We’re not sad to see that base engine go, as you can still find your way into a great-driving machine for well under $30K. We’d say the one you want is the 2.5 S Premium hatchback, which is the highest trim level you can get with a manual transmission—that one will run you $30,215. — Nathan Petroelje

Rare McLaren P1 prototype could fetch $2.4 million

McLarenP1Prototype
LaSource

Intake: Demand for the O.G. McLaren hybrid was so high that the British Formula 1 constructor took 14 P1 prototypes and refurbished them for the road. After being put through the ringer on proving grounds in the U.K. and Spain and used for promotional work, Validation Prototype 5 was totally rebuilt at a cost of $1.8 million before finding a home with its current keeper. Originally delivered in Volcano Yellow, the buyer later bought a second set of metallic purple carbon fiber body panels which you see in the photo. The black Alcantara interior was left unchanged in the transformation. After covering 4000 miles, it has been returned to its original yellow shade and, with the purple parts supplied, the 903-hp hypercar is for sale at LaSource, where it could fetch as much as $2.4 million.

Exhaust: The valuation is pretty high relative to what the Hagerty Valuation Tools say a #1 Concours condition P1 is worth—$1.7 Million, by the way. However, think of this car as one of 14, rather than one of 375, and perhaps the added scarcity will also add to the price. —NB

How does the Inflation Reduction Act change EV tax credit rules?

Ford F-150 Lightning EV charging port
Ford

Intake: The IRS has clarified how the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act influences EV tax credits and what 2022–23 vehicles that may be eligible. A press release from the U.S. Department of Treasury says the only change to the previous electric vehicle credit is that final assembly must occur in North America—effective August 16, when President Biden signed the IRA into law, through December 31, 2022. “Further changes to the eligibility rules will begin in 2023.” The treasury also lists 26 2022 model year EVs and five 2023 MY EVs that “may be eligible” for a tax credit based on the final assembly requirement. The press release adds, “Separately, starting in 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act also establishes tax credits for pre-owned clean vehicles (section 25E) and for commercial clean vehicles (section 45W). Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service will release more information on all the clean vehicle credits in the coming months.”

Exhaust: We waded through a lot of legalese and FAQs—including why it’s important to know what a written binding contract is—to farm out the details above, but if you think the information seems a bit too simple and perhaps a little thin on specifics, you aren’t alone. We too are left wondering what we’re missing. As you should before making any automobile purchase, we suggest you do yourself a favor and read deeper into the minutia—and ask a lot of questions—if receiving a tax credit is a deciding factor in buying an EV. — Jeff Peek

Acura Precision EV Concept bows at Pebble

Intake: Following a teaser video released late last week, Acura has unveiled in full its new Precision EV Concept, signaling how the brand that touts “Precision crafted performance” will transition to the EV age. Designed by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, the distinctly SUV-shaped concept features a wide stance with sharp character lines that evoke hints of the styling we see on contemporary Acura products. That lovely matte exterior shade is called Double Apex Blue. Up front, there’s an illuminated pentagon grille with special “particle glitch” lighting elements in the lower fascia. Peep those bright yellow front brake calipers behind the 23-inch wheels. Inside, Acura has taken a page from Tesla’s book and gone for a yoke steering wheel (yuck), and there’s oodles of sustainably sourced materials covering everything from the seats (100 percent biomass leather) to the dashboard (recycled plastics). Acura says that the car will feature two distinct driving modes: Instinctive Drive for when you want to take the wheel and handle the act of driving yourself, and Spiritual Lounge, for when you want to kick back and surrender some degree of driving functionality to the car itself. The former will change the cabin’s atmosphere to a more exciting and racier place to be, while the latter will slip everything an Ambien and shift the mood to a warm and calming aura. The Precision EV Concept will be available for public viewing tomorrow at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering out at Monterey Car Week.

Exhaust: Automakers use these types of concepts to make broad statements about the trajectory of the brand—both in the design department but also with regards to user experience. For Acura, it’s a clear focus on sharp, angular styling, as well as an effort to create a machine with two very distinct personalities. We’ll likely see some forms of these ideas enlisted in Acura’s first production BEV, which may don the ADX nameplate, when it arrives in 2024 through a partnership with GM. — NP

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