Ford’s little Maverick pulls big interest, a mean-looking Vantage on the ’Ring, an automotive art sleepover

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People are lining up in droves for Ford’s new Maverick pickup

Intake: If there were ever any doubts as to the American auto market’s receptiveness for a compact pickup, numbers like this should help clear the air: Ford is reporting that it has over 100,000 reservations for its new Maverick pickup, which debuted just a few months ago. “This has really exceeded our expectations,” said Ford’s truck marketing manager Todd Eckert, speaking to The Detroit News. “This is the initial step with reservations. But we think it bodes extremely well.” The reservations, which are non-binding and don’t require a deposit, are heavily concentrated in major California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but there’s also a fair number coming from Orlando and Houston.

Exhaust: We’re not surprised by the amount of interest shown in the Maverick. It’s a smartly-packaged, genuinely compelling vehicle with an almost alarmingly responsible price: $21,490 base, including destination. When Ford axed sedans and cheaper cars a few years back, many worried the Blue Oval was surrendering the first few rungs of the automotive ladder to the competition. The Maverick puts Ford back into that conversation. To see that the lion’s share of interest is coming from places like California—a market in which cheaper, new vehicles are almost entirely low-cost imports—is a real sign that Ford made the right call to trade slow-selling sedans for an all-new, car-sized truck.

Confirmed: Cadillac jumps into 2023 LMDh fray with both feet

GM Design sketch Cadillac LMDh hypercar IMSA
GM Design sketch of a fourth generation Cadillac prototype constructed to the new IMSA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) regulations. GM Design/Cadillac

Intake: Cadillac is officially taking its successful prototype program into the Hypercar era. Together with Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, each of whom have managed factory-backed DPi efforts for Cadillac before, the OEM will campaign the Dallara-chassied LMDh-V.R in both IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and in the ACO’s LMDh category overseas as of 2023. That means a return to Le Mans, a race that hasn’t seen a Cadillac presence since 2002, with the shortlived Northstar LMP02. The 2023 racer’s engine will be a Caddy affair, though the hybrid system will be shared with the rest of the LMDh field per regulations. Before you get too excited, the image above is just a rendering—we don’t know what the final V Series racer will look like. The car will make its trackside debut in January of 2023 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race that Cadillac has won four times in a row; but we should have a peek at the final design sometime before then.

Exhaust: This news isn’t surprising; given Cadillac’s heavy investment in prototype racing, it was all but a shoo-in for the next-gen Hypercar regulations. That said, we’re still thrilled to see GM taking on the big boys—so far, that’s Acura, Audi, Porsche, and BMW—on the international stage in the top class of endurance racing. Make us proud.

Balls-out Vantage spied on the ’Ring could be a V-12 farewell to pure ICE power

Intake: A seriously mean-looking Vantage prototype was just spotted on the Nürburgring. From the cavernous grille, hood bump, extra air inlets, and center-mounted exhaust, it’s clear that Aston’s is preparing a high-performance version of its smallest GT. Though the regular Vantage is no wimp, with a 500-hp, Mercedes-built twin-turbo V-8, there’s certainly room in the lineup for a halo model produced in larger quantities than the nostalgia-driven Vantage AMR we saw back in early 2019. (The headlining change for the track-oriented special was gearbox, not engine: a Graziano-developed seven-speed manual transaxle with a dog-leg first gear mated to the stock Vantage V-8.) From the Vantage-related V12 Speedster, we know there’s space in the engine bay for the DBS Superleggera’s delicious 5.2-liter twin-turbo V-12, which makes between 715 and 690 horsepower. That’s well into Porsche 911 Turbo S territory …

Exhaust: Vantage history has certainly set the precedent for a V-12 model, and the timing makes sense: The Vantage is now four years old, and Porsche’s 992-gen 911 Turbo S splashed onto the scene this spring. Hybrid power is also on the horizon for Gaydon, though the firm has been silent on its electrically-assisted TM01 V-6 for a while now. This could be the perfect time for a V-12 model to burnish the Vantage’s performance credentials and say a howling farewell to many-cylindered, combustion-only power.

Range Rover Sport SVR gets Ultimate paint and trim

Range Rover Sport SVR Ultimate
Land Rover

Intake: It may be called the Ultimate edition, but the latest Range Rover Sport SVR is no faster than before. Instead, the raciest Range Rover attracts attention with an exotic new paint job and a range of trim upgrades. A special glass-flake base coat provides an “intense star-like sparkle” in a choice of Maya Gloss Blue, Marl Grey Gloss, or Ligurian Black hues, accented by Fuji White detailing and a Narvic Black Roof and mirror caps. The Ultimate gets a vented carbon-fiber hood, black 22-inch split-spoke alloy wheels, and matching black brake calipers. Inside, there are special badges, treadplates, and gearshift paddles. Mechanically the SVR is unchanged, with its 575-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 throwing the Rangie down the road from 0–60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 176 mph.

Exhaust: A next-generation Range Rover Sport is expected in 2022 in mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure EV configurations, so maybe—for ICE lovers, at least—this genuinely is the ultimate edition.

World’s biggest car and art show to raise funds for UNICEF

ChrisWhite-Valkyrie
Chris White

Intake: A new event called Sleeping with Art will gather together the work of 80 artists and a host of classic cars, supercars, racers, prototypes, and art cars for a unique exhibition at a British country estate. The two-day show at the Lemore Estate in Hertfordshire, just north of London, will take place on September 23 and 24 and be limited to 300 visitors. 36 of them will be able to book a VIP experience including an overnight stay where they will actually sleep with the art. Manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Morgan, Alpine, Callum Design, and Arash will display cars, while the auto-themed art will come from Miami-based Camilo Rios (aka RIOCAM), Scotland’s Stuart McAlpine Miller, U.S.-based Derek Gores, motoring artist Paul Oz, and car designer Robert Melville (McLaren), to name but a few. The artwork (but not the cars) will be for sale, with ten percent of the proceeds going to UNICEF UK to support the Global COVAX Facility.

Exhaust: It’s a shame that this event is limited and only a select few will get to see this one-off combination of art and automobiles. Guess we’ll just have to keep an eye on Instagram to see exactly what’s on show.

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