BMW’s next M2 spied, Bollinger dials back retail EV plans, Toyota fleshes out heritage parts horde
Spied: BMW’s next M2 lurks in shrink-wrap camo
Intake: As we learned in our first drive of the new 2 Series, the rear-drive coupe is BMW’s welterweight bottle rocket. The successor to the current F87 M2 is inching closer to reality, as shown by these shots of a prototype in the shrinkiest of camouflaged wraps. The next-gen M2 is differentiated from the M240i by wider slats in its (blessedly compact) grille, more aggressive ductwork in the lower front fascia, and the presence four exhaust tips instead of two. Surely the black rims will be larger than those on the mid-wick car and unique to the M2 … but you didn’t come here for aesthetics only, did you?
Exhaust: The next-gen M2 will likely inherit a version of the G80 M3’s 473-hp twin-turbo straight-six. Expect BMW to bless the second-gen M2 with its big brother’s mill at launch, rather than wait for the Competition model to arrive. Last-generation’s first M2 debuted with a version of the M235i’s N55 six-cylinder tuned to 365 hp before switching to a proper M-sourced S55 making 405 horses; we won’t be surprised if the 2022 follow-up act lands in the ring with over 400.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GT3 fighter isn’t a Supra
Intake: Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s motorsports arm, has revealed a concept racing car that is “both for GT3 competition and for mass production.” Displayed today at the Tokyo Auto Salon, it’s a big, bewinged, muscular coupe—part Supra, part Aston Martin, and entirely gorgeous. Right now there are no more details on mechanical specification and when this might hit the road or track, but a Toyota statement confirms: “As was the case with GR Yaris, [Toyota Gazoo Racing’s] approach is to commercialize motorsports cars, rather than simply adapting production vehicles for competition.” Gazoo Racing also took the opportunity to release a limited edition of 500 GRMN Yaris models, which are lighter, lower, and a tad wider than standard, plus a performance variant of Toyota’s upcoming bZ4X electric SUV.
Exhaust: Have all the A90 Supra memes about “overnight parts from Germany” finally gotten to Toyota? However mechanically impressed the Z4–based Supra is, there’s no ignoring the optics of a JDM treasure born again in BMW’s image. Toyota needs a pure-blooded sports car to top its lineup, and we couldn’t approve of this GT3 model more.
Bollinger postponing retail EVs to focus on commercial market
Intake: Oak Park, Michigan-based Bollinger Motors is changing course. The company had been working on two high-utility consumer-facing EVs—the Bollinger B1 and B2—but announced today that it will postpone development and production plans for these vehicles. Instead, Bollinger will focus first and foremost on commercial applications, which includes battery development and management systems, high-voltage components, and thermal management components. The firm’s first year of B1 and B2 production (1000 units) was sold out, but the announcement today stated that deposits would be returned to customers. Bollinger has and will continue to focus on class 3 to class 6 vehicles—those with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds—but says that the commercial sector is where it sees the most demand and will focus future efforts accordingly.
Exhaust: Founder and CEO Robert Bollinger puts it plainly: “Over the last year-and-a-half, we’ve had more and more of the team working on the commercial side. That’s clearly where the demand is … the move shifts the team to focus on the most immediate need. We’re in the perfect place to meet the demands of fleets coming in to talk to us.” Some of the utilitarian features of the B1 and B2 were cool, from where we’re sitting, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the two never make it to production at all. It’s hard to argue with the cold logic of business realities. Bollinger mentioned that multiple industries have expressed interest in working with the firm, including delivery companies, utility companies, and municipalities, among others. Just goes to show that it’s a lot easier to found a new car brand than it is to actually operate one at a profit.
Watch the new ’22 Civic Type R tear up Suzuka
Intake: Much has been made about Honda’s 11th-generation Civic and the hotted-up halo model that will crown the compact line. Finally, fans can feast their eyes on the Type R in action in living color (although still camouflaged). The 82-seconds-of-action teaser fittingly plays out on Japan’s iconic Suzuka Circuit. There, the newly tweaked turbo-four hints at a more boisterous tune compared to that of the outgoing 10th-gen car, which was already rev-happy. Honda also slipped in a fly-by at 1:00 that flashes a redhot-rotored peek at the real deal. The Type R’s full debut is right on the horizon, scheduled for the Tokyo Auto Salon held this weekend. Don’t expect Honda to reveal full details and pricing all at once, but at some point this Japanese beastie’s got to drop the camo and share some output numbers.
Exhaust: Positive sentiment surrounding the new Type R appears to be gaining even more steam, even after the model’s initially positive reception. The same recipe beloved of enthusiasts—front-drive turbo goodness plus a standard manual transmission—is here to stay but it’s the toned-down, tasteful styling that has everyone salivating to see the official menu.
Toyota releases reproduction parts for iconic classics
Intake: The folks at Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division released another batch of reproduction parts for the 2000GT, FJ40, AE86 Corolla, and the A70 and A80 Supra. As part of its “GR Heritage Parts” series, this new release includes wear items like brake lines and a clutch for the 2000GT, a differential for the AE86, and a host of smaller parts that tend to get overlooked when restoring a classic FJ40 or Supra. (Check here to choose your model and scan the available goodies.) The majority of parts in this latest release center around the FJ40, perhaps because the famous Land Cruiser lacks the parts readily available for American trucks of the same era.
Exhaust: The parts cache for Gazoo Racing increases with every year that passes, and these 56 new additions for 2022 prove Toyota’s commitment to keeping its heritage alive and well for future generations to appreciate. Prices weren’t included in the press release, but it’s safe to say that, for loyal fans elbow-deep in a restoration, their value far exceeds whatever Gazoo Racing will demand.
The Bugatti Chiron is all sold out—and under recall
Intake: Bugatti had a record-breaking 2021, selling 150 cars, including the last available Chirons, and the bonkers Bolide, which sold out in less than two months. Last year marked the highest sales in the company’s history, and also signified a lane-change toward electrification as Bugatti was merged with Rimac. It’s not all plain sailing, however, as a tire issue has caused Bugatti to recall every Chiron Pur Sport model. Bugatti discovered that the Chiron’s rear rubber can start to crack after just 2500 miles of driving. Anyone thinking of attempting a 217 mph Vmax run would want to look closely at their car’s odometer before putting pedal to the metal, as those cracks can open up at speed and the tire could rapidly deflate. A tire design that doesn’t crack hasn’t been found yet, but as a stop gap Bugatti is telling owners (all six of them in the U.S.A.) to have their tires replaced at no more than 1875 miles or a year and a half in age.
Exhaust: The Bugatti brand is going from strength to strength, but will this embarrassing tire issue damage its reputation? In practice, probably not as few of these $4 million-dollar machines are driven far—if at all.
Exit stage left for Local Motors
Intake: Pour one out for Local Motors: The company responsible for the Rally Fighter off-road vehicle and the Olli autonomous transportation pod has reportedly ceased operations. Multiple employees posted their sorrow to this event on their LinkedIn profiles, though current CEO Vikrant Aggarwal and former CEO Jay Rogers have been quiet on the subject. Except for Aggarwal hitting the “like” button on a former co-worker’s LinkedIn post, that is. Aggarwal started his tenure last September, was interviewed the following month where he suggested new opportunities were around the corner, presumably thanks to corporate restructuring efforts that happened during the pandemic.
Exhaust: We know little about this privately held company outside of what it presented with the initially greenwashed-then-LS-powered Rally Fighter, plus the transport pod that never came to fruition. Considering how much the firm accomplished, it’s a shame Local Motors couldn’t go down the path of Nikola and Lordstown Motors. Odds are it was heading down a path to going public, and perhaps a halt in funding stopped them, à la the self-driving truck startup Starsky Robotics. Perhaps an excerpt from the LinkedIn post that Aggarwal liked gives good insight into its demise, as “there is a technology gap between the expectations from the market and average software capabilities.” Too bad about that.