New 2 Series forgoes manual, Bentley Flying Spur gains hybrid, Lamborghini’s last Aventador

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Welcome to The Manifold, our fresh daily digest of news and what’s happening in the car world.

Behold the camo-free 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe

Intake: Meet the next BMW 2 Series, which will get its dynamic debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s bigger, with overall length up by 4.1 inches, wheelbase increased by 2, and width by 2.5. It’s just over an inch lower, however. The classic three-box design continues, but BMW describes it as more “extrovert and sporty” than before. The 2 Series gets a welcome, slimline kidney grille rather than the gaping maw of the 4 Series, although the switch from horizontal bars to vertical slats could provoke some controversy. The headlamp units contain individual circular lamps as an homage to the 2002. BMW says the car boasts a perfect 50:50 weight distribution and chassis tech from the 4 Series, which means a two-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle with lift-related dampers. Options include M Sport suspension and an M Sport rear differential, both of which are standard on the range-topping M240i xDrive, which features a rear-biased AWD system and a 374-hp version of BMW’s inline six. An eight-speed auto is standard across the lineup, which will also include a 245-hp four-cylinder 230i.

Exhaust: That “extrovert” styling isn’t going to please everyone, but a compact BMW Coupe that nods back to the 2002 has to be a good thing—and with 374 hp already on tap for the M240i, just imagine what the next M2 Competition will be like.

Bentley flagship gets hybrid boost

Bentley FlyingSpurHybrid-3
Bentley

Intake: Bentley’s Flying Spur is now available as a potent plug-in hybrid. A 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 teams up with an electric motor for a combined output of 543 hp bringing a 0–60 mph time of 4.1 seconds. The car’s 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides an electric driving range of 25 miles and with a full tank of dino juice on board the big Bentley should cover over 400 miles. It can run in three modes: EV, Hybrid, or Hold. EV is self-explanatory; Hybrid will shift between e-power and internal combustion depending on the demands of your route and driving style, and Hold is designed to keep charge in the battery for a boost in acceleration or a silent arrival at your final destination. There’s little to distinguish this greener Flying Spur from its siblings aside from small badges on the front fenders, quad oval tailpipes, and a charging point on the left rear fender. A free home charger is offered as part of the package, although pricing has yet to be revealed.

Exhaust: The Flying Spur follows the Bentayga SUV on Bentley’s short road to electrification. The British luxury car company has pledged that every model will be hybrid or battery electric within the next five years and its entire portfolio will shift to electric-only propulsion by 2030.

Lamborghini’s Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae sends the V-12 flagship off with a bang

Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae side profile
Lamborghini

Intake: The final naturally-aspirated, V-12-powered Aventador broke cover today. Dubbed the Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae, this angular sports car aims to distill the best features from across the entire Aventador lineup, which is now 10 years old, into one greatest hits album. Central to the experience is the 6.5-liter V-12, delivering 769 hp, some 39 ponies more than the mill in the Aventador S and nearly 10 horses more than that in the Aventador SVJ, former lap record-holder at the Nürburgring Nordschleife (6:44.97, in 2018). That sonorous engine drives all four wheels at all times through a seven-speed automatic. Performance figures are appropriately nuts: 0–62 mph in 2.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 220. Just 600 units will be produced in total—350 coupes and 250 roadsters.

Exhaust: We knew this conclusion was coming, but it’s still sad. Lamborghinis and V-12s go together like meatballs and marinara. To know that this Ultimae series is the last of the great screaming bulls is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s made better by just how excellent this thing looks. If you’ve got the means—and the connections—to slot one of these into your collection, we see no reason to abstain. 

[UPDATE 7/12/21]: A new report suggests that the Aventador’s successor will also carry a V-12 engine, but with a hybrid component. Lamborghini head honcho Stephan Winkelmann told Autoblog that the V-12 will be an all-new engine, not just a continuation of the version found in the Aventador. The Ultimae isn’t Lambo’s goodbye to twelve-cylinder mills; but it is the last version free from any hybrid assist.

Ram’s new G/T package offers factory bolt-on goodies for Laramie, Rebel 1500 models

2022 Ram 1500 Laramie G/T Stellantis

Intake: Good news for Mopar fans who prefer their tire-shredding V-8 performance with a bed. Beginning in the third quarter of this year, Ram will offer a G/T package on rear- and four-wheel variants of the 1500 Rebel and Laramie. The $2995 upgrade dresses up the 5.7-liter, mild-hybrid V-8 with a cat-back exhaust and a cold-air intake, adding a sprinkling of interior upgrades, too: bucket seats, metal pedals, paddle shifters and, rather than a dial, a console-mounted shifter. The exterior isn’t overlooked: a more aggressive hood and G/T decals across the truck’s flanks mark its sportier personality. Power output is unchanged.

Exhaust: With prices hovering around $57K, G/T-equipped Laramie and Rebel light-duties benefit from the performance kudos earned by the balls-out, $71K TRX while staying more affordable and, dare we say it, more civilized. We approve. 

Next-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee won’t get a Hellcat V-8

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Under the hood of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Phillip Thomas

Intake: MoparInsiders.com is reporting that a Hellcat-powered successor to the current Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was considered but has since been canceled. The Hellcat-powered Durango was short-lived, as intended, and soon the Trackhawk will be gone from showrooms as well, leaving the Challenger, Charger, and Ram to soldier on as the only Hellcat-powered Mopars. The writing is on the wall and emissions standards aren’t getting any easier, so Jeep will have to come up with another way to make a dragstrip-devouring family truckster.

Exhaust: The era of the Hellcat may be drawing to a close, but Dodge and Jeep should soon have some electrified powertrains to fill the gap. Perhaps that turbocharged inline-six Stellantis has in the works will pair with a hybrid system to offer a similar punch of all-wheel-drive acceleration while taking fewer swigs from the gas pump. The 707hp Trackhawk is one of the meanest SUVs available and an outright blast to drive, and if there’s one thing to remember it’s that Mopar is never one to simply bow out of a horsepower war.

74 years ago: The Tucker is unveiled

1948 Tucker Torpedo
PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Intake: On July 7, 1947—74 years ago today—Preston Tucker revealed his new Tucker 48 in an exclusive preview at the Hotel Statler in Washington, D.C. The car offered innovative safety and convenience features, including an iconic center headlight that turned in the direction of the front wheels. The Tucker, as originally proposed, carried an out-the-door price of $1000, but after countless production issues, the actual price rose to almost $4000. Only 51 cars were built, and the company ultimately folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial—in which allegations were proven baseless in court with a full acquittal.

Exhaust: If the chaotic unveiling scene in Tucker: The Man and His Dream is any indication, Preston Tucker had to know he was in for an uphill battle to get his car into production, regardless of how great his creation was. Today, a 1948 Tucker in #1 (Concours) condition is valued at $2.1 million. Looks like the car’s creator is getting the last laugh.

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