BMW’s latest SUV outmuscles the M3, Lego’s homely GT500, range costs dear on F-150 Lightning

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BMW

BMW’s latest electric SUV outmuscles the M3 … on paper

Intake: All ye faithful, brace yourselves for Bavaria’s next category-blurring product: The iX M60. In BMWspeak, that ‘i’ prefix is for electric, X is for SUV, and M for … something something performance. By now we’re used to BMW diluting the M brand, and a high-riding electric five-door isn’t anything surprising. And there’s no denying the stats posted by the performance-oriented model in the iX SUV hierarchy: up to 601 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque when both electric motors are at full whirr (in Launch Control mode) and sending power to all four wheels. According to the automaker, that recipe yields a zero-to-60 stat of 3.6 seconds. That’s a half-second faster than the standard G80 M3. (Step up to the all-wheel-drive Competition model and you’ll have a better chance.) Though you can expect range to suffer from such shenanigans, this battery-powered behemoth has a preliminary EPA-estimated range of 280 miles. It will cost you, though: $106,095.

Exhaust: Give us the M3 xDrive Competition for $73,795, thank you very much. BMW frames the iX M60 as “the best of three worlds: i, X, and M.” It seems to us that these three worlds might be best kept separate. The iX M60 won’t charm the old-school crowd, but it will get the attention of deep-pocketed, EV-curious youngsters who want to make an edgy fashion statement … and blow the doors off Mustangs at stoplights while doing so.

Is Sony really game for car-making?

Intake: Sony is looking serious about becoming a motor manufacturer, revealing an SUV derivative of its VISION-S concept EV at CES 2022 and forming a new division, “Sony Mobility Inc.” The Japanese electronics firm surprised everyone at CES in 2020 by revealing a dual-motor 536-hp sedan, packed with tech, from a massive full-width dash screen to a 3D audio surround sound audio system, on-board gaming, and a suite of 40 sensors to empower autonomous driving. The new SUV concept, dubbed VISION-S 02, is the same specification as the sedan, but is taller, can seat seven, and is thus a little ungainly compared to the VISION-S 01 though arguable more practical. Sony says it “[intends] to explore entry into the EV market,” but there’s no word on when these cars will make it on to the road as yet.

Exhaust: “We believe Sony is well positioned to redefine mobility,” says a company statement. As cars become mobile electronics platforms, and rivals such as Apple move in to mobilitym it certainly makes sense for the Japanese giant to join. The original VISION-S 01 was developed with Magna Steyr and has been testing in Europe for the past two years—surely it’s reasonable to look for a production-ready model soon?

You can afford a new GT500, but some assembly is required

Intake: For those with deep pockets a Mustang GT500 is the perfect addition to a collection. Now LEGO has introduced an option for us with shallower pockets. The 544-piece Mustang GT500 is now available for $49.99 and, while it doesn’t pack the insane 760 hp of the real car, it at least has two pull-back motors that can unleash a drag-strip launch on just about any surface. You can even take this little GT500 to the track using LEGO’s new augmented reality app.

Exhaust: This model will draw a crowd, and this time they have nothing to fear. While significantly smaller and less detail-rich than the larger LEGO Technic-branded sets, this Mustang gets a lot of things right. At 12 inches long, it is just small enough to fit on a desk, easy to display or play with.

Volvo’s new boss is a consumer tech titan

Jim Rowan, Chief Executive and President Volvo Cars
Volvo

Intake: Volvo Cars has appointed Jim Rowan to take over as its CEO and “accelerate Volvo Cars into the future—enabling it to become the fastest transformer in its field and a fully electric company with millions of direct consumer relationships,” says the Swedish company’s chairperson Eric Li. Rowan’s CV is packed with consumer technology experience, with spells as COO of Blackberry and as CEO of the Dyson Group. Outgoing Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson, by contrast, is a trained mechanical engineer who spent two decades at Scania working on braking and powertrain systems before joining the board of Volvo in 2010 and taking the reins in 2012.

Exhaust: This marks a sea-change in Sweden. Just a few years ago it would be very hard to imagine a car company appointing someone with a background in smart phones and vacuum cleaners as its boss, but such is the shift in the auto industry: Experience in software and electronics now outranks mechanical engineering.

Extended range costs dearly on the F-150 Lightning

Ford F-150 Lightning EV front three-quarter airstream towing action
Ford

Intake: You no longer have to guess how much it will cost you to purchase Ford’s all-new electric pickup truck, the 2022 F-150 Lightning. The company just unveiled an online configurator tool that allows you to price out your personal preferences, beginning with four base versions (all prices include $1695 destination): Pro (starting at $41,669), XLT ($54,669), Lariat ($69,169), and Platinum ($92,569). Each truck comes in four-door, SuperCrew cab configuration with a 5.5-foot bed. An extended-range battery (300 vs. 230 miles) can be added for $10,000 to $19,500 (depending on which model you start with), along with towing packages for $2200 to $2800 (think 360-degree camera, trailer backup assist, and a smart hitch), as well as other less-expensive additions like a toolbox for $625. If you pretty much want it all, the fully loaded Platinum will get you there quickly (and includes the 300-mile battery), and even then you can tack on a few more things at minimal cost (considering what you’re already paying).

Exhaust: Pickups are king in America—Fords in particular—and the Lightning is the Blue Oval’s hopeful crown prince. It’s a good thing that combustion-powered full-sizers regularly sell in the $60K–$80K range, because the born-again Lightning ain’t gonna come cheap… especially not with that 300-mile pack. Now, at least, this configurator will help you make accurate purchase decisions based on your budget.

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