The M1’s unlikely “successor,” reborn ’80s concept preps for 200 mph, a new Block rips the Hoonicorn
BMW crowns hybrid SUV the new king of M
Intake: BMW has unleashed its most powerful ever M car and, on looks alone, it’s a scary prospect. The Concept XM “looks ahead” to a production version which will appear before the end of 2022, so it’s possible that regulations and corporate bean-counters may yet tame the bizarre polygon playground that is the XM’s bodywork. It’s almost like BMW’s designers created an NFT on their computers and then thought, “Hey, let’s actually build this.” No wonder it was launched at Basel’s Miami Beach art show. The inside is equally full of odd angles. Its M Lounge theme includes plush velvet trim and a “sculptural” headliner. The design will undoubtedly be divisive but there’ll be no arguing with the power output from the electrified powertrain: This plug-in hybrid packs 750 hp when you add together the oomph of its V-8 and that of the electric motor. Torque peaks at a mighty 737 lb ft. The all-electric range is said to be 50 miles. The XM will be the first standalone BMW M car since the M1 and will make its debut to celebrate the M division’s 50th anniversary.
Exhaust: It’s certainly one way to get people talking about the M division, but we won’t be alone in thinking that this is a far cry from the M car we hoped would follow in the M1’s tire tracks.
Aston Martin Bulldog takes first step to 200-mph target
Intake: The fully restored Aston Martin Bulldog concept car has passed its first shakedown test with flying colors. The wonderful wedge achieved 162 mph on a runway at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, Somerset, U.K. in a run that marked the first time in 40 years the car had been driven at speed. The car, owned by collector Phillip Sarofim, has been completely rebuilt by British restoration company Classic Motor Cars with the goal of achieving 200 mph—a feat the car never managed when it was new. Further testing will take place before the history-making run will be attempted by Aston Martin’s Darren Turner in 2022.
Exhaust: The whole Bulldog revitalization project has been overseen by Richard Gauntlett, son of former Aston Martin Chairman, Victor. “Seeing the car run like this for the first time in forty years is a dream come true. I grew up with the car, I had a poster of it on my bedroom wall. I cannot thank the team at CMC enough for the hard work that they have put into this project,” he says.
Like father like daughter: Block Jr. is a Hoonigan too
Intake: 14-year-old Lia Block is taking over driving duties for a new series of Hoonicorn vs The World where she’ll be drag racing her dad Ken’s famous 1400-hp Mustang gymkhana car. Lia may be too young for a driver’s license but she’s already had plenty of experience behind the wheel, racing UTVs in the Lucas Off-Road Racing Series, and she’s clearly got the Hoonigan genes. In this first episode Lia takes on a 4000-hp NHRA Corvette, but can the Mustang’s all-wheel drive system make up for its horsepower deficit? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.
Exhaust: Lia is definitely a chip off the old Block, with serious skills for one so young. We’ll be watching this series, and her future, closely. Well done dad, too, for making hooning a family business.
Aston Martin Vantage to make a vocal V-12 exit
Intake: Aston Martin has confirmed that the Vantage will, at long last, get a V-12 engine. It’s a bittersweet announcement as the British sports car maker also said, “It’s not just a Limited Edition, it’s a Final Edition.” The V1-12 Vantage will appear in 2022, but for now you can at least hear what’s in store in the teaser video above.
Exhaust: “Never leave quietly,” states Aston Martin, alluding to the fact that this will be the last combustion-powered Vantage. At least this sounds like a glorious send-off.
Hennessey Deep Space has serious six appeal
Intake: They say everything’s bigger in Texas and, when it comes to Hennessey’s latest wild concept, they’re not wrong. Project Deep Space is a massive, six-wheel-drive electric hypercar to be priced at $3 million, and on sale in 2026. Power by six motors, Hennessey says the car will be the world’s fastest accelerating four-seater from 0-200 mph. No details of the powertrain have been revealed yet, but design sketches reveal a teardrop shape with huge gullwing doors (not unlike the Aston Martin Bulldog). Inside, Deep Space has been inspired by luxury private jets and features a central driving position and lie-flat seats for passengers. Just 105 examples will be built at the company’s Sealy, Texas facility.
Exhaust: Set the insane price tag and performance aside for a moment if you can and consider the truly wild design. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that EV platforms should inspire. “In Project Deep Space, we’ve merged the essence of early-twentieth century grand tourers with an otherworldly hyper GT form that leaves no doubt about its capability and intent,” says Hennessey director of design, Nathan Malinick. “The result of our advanced development program will be a car like no other.”