Jaguar’s virtual nod to ’50s racing, an all-terrain Nitto for crossovers, Maserati’s radical wedge at 50

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Jaguar

Jaguar’s latest Grand Turismo special evokes the D-Type

Intake: Jaguar has unveiled a new electric single-seater sports car, but only players of Gran Turismo 7 will be able to drive it. With a powertrain designed around three motors from the Formula E race series, the Vision Gran Turismo Roadster packs over 1000 hp, can hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, and has a top speed of 200 mph. Like a D-Type for the 21st century, the car features a semi-enclosed cockpit with a swept-back windscreen and even a rear fin that can be deployed at speed for increased stability without adding drag. It joins Jaguar’s Vision GT Coupe and Vision GT SV in the popular driving simulator game, models which joined the virtual realm in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Both are battery-powered, and the latter—which imagines an electric endurance racer—actually spawned a real-life design study.

Exhaust: As a pure fantasy EV, the Vision Gran Turismo Roadster isn’t concerned with real-world matters such as range, so you can race your heart out without worrying about running out of juice.

Shackleton’s lost ship Endurance discovered 107 years later

Intake: The wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which has not been seen since it was crushed by the ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915, has been located by the Endurance22 Expedition. According to the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, Endurance was found at a depth of 3008 meters (nearly 9900 feet) in the Weddell Sea, approximately four miles south of the position recorded by Endurance Captain Frank Worsley. “We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance,” says director of exploration Mensun Bound. “This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen.” Shackleton had hoped to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica from the Weddell Sea, via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. However, Endurance never reached land. It became trapped in the dense pack ice and the 28 men on board eventually had no choice but to abandon ship. Surviving on ice flows before taking lifeboats on open water to Elephant Island, all were eventually rescued.

Exhaust: One hundred years after Shackleton’s death, we respectfully remember his team’s miraculous story of survival while also celebrating the discovery of his ship. Shackleton’s relentless pursuit of new frontiers was no doubt reflected by the effort of the Endurance22 Expedition. It seems Endurance properly describes both.

Nitto tailors an off-road tire to your crossover

Intake: Nitto wants to help get you and your Subaru Crosstrek a bit further off the beaten path. Its new all-terrain tire, dubbed the Nomad Grappler, features some meaty tread blocks and a rather aggressive look, but unlike the lion’s share of tires this gnarly, it’s not meant for your Jeep Wrangler or your Toyota 4Runner—it’s meant for your RAV4. The Nomad Grappler is Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) rated, meaning that it fits performance criteria required to earn severe snow service rating. Nitto plans to offer the tire in 25 different sizes, with rim diameters ranging from 17 to 20 inches.

Exhaust: The tire is clearly an answer to the deluge of trail-focused new crossovers from the likes of Honda’s TrailSport trim level, Ford’s Timberline, or Toyota’s TRD. It’s a savvy move on Nitto’s part, as current trends indicate that buyers’ appetite for adventure isn’t slowing down anytime soon. That said, chunkier rubber like this often damages fuel economy which, given rising gas prices, may make these tires a hard sell for some folks.

E90 3 Series included in 917,000-vehicle BMW recall

Intake: Almost a million BMWs spanning the 2006 through 2011 model years are being recalled by the company’s North American division. The root cause will be familiar for most of the affected owners: a faulty positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve heater made by Mahle International. BMW has twice (2017 and 2019) recalled 924,500 vehicles in the same model-year span because the component can cause overheating and thus increase the risk of fire. Prior fixes, however, appear to be insufficient, and thus round three begins. BMW rep Jay Hanson tells Automotive News that certain 2012 and 2013 vehicles are now added to the recall list, along with many (but not all) of the previously affected vehicles, which include: the 2008–2013 128i; 2006–2012 3 Series models, which includes both the E90 and the F30 cars; 2006–2010 5 Series; 2007–2010 X5s; and 2006–2011 Z4s. Further details can be found in the NHTSA report. 

Exhaust: Owners will need to make yet another trip to the dealership, but Hanson says they can do so with little anxiety: “As the likelihood of failure is extraordinarily remote, customers may continue to drive their vehicles.”

Six-cylinder, rear-drive-biased Mazda CX-60 previews U.S. offerings

Mazda CX-60
Mazda

Intake: The new Mazda CX-60, the first model to feature the company’s new large platform and straight-six engine, is now available in Europe. It won’t be coming to the U.S.A., since it’s a little too close in size to the American-made CX-50, but larger CX-70 and seven-seater CX-90 versions are set to be launched stateside in 2023. Marking a major departure for Mazda, the CX-60’s architecture is rear drive–focused and its engines are longitudinally mounted up front. It’s also Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid model, with a tried-and-tested 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 323 horsepower (making it the most powerful Mazda to date) and a pure electric range of 42 miles according to the European WLTP measurement. Pushing Mazda further upmarket will be the job of a new six-cylinder, three-liter e-Skyactiv X gasoline engine which may even see a turbo fitted to outgun the hybrid.

Exhaust: America may be missing out on the CX-60, but the size-appropriate CX-70 and CX-90 could be worth the wait. Mazda promises “superior handling characteristics on a par with the best in the premium segment” thanks to its new platform, which will also underpin the next generation Mazda6 sedan.

50 years old today, Maserati ’71 Boomerang was radical inside and out

1971 Maserati Boomerang concept car interior steering wheel
ItalDesign

Intake: The conceptual minimalist wedge with a radical (and radial!) control panel housed inside its steering wheel celebrates its golden anniversary today. The Maserati Boomerang wowed visitors at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show, not only with futuristic styling but with the potential for performance to back up the look thanks to underpinnings sourced from the Maserati Bora. The Giorgetto Giugiaro design may look out of place in today’s world of SUVs and crossovers, but it influenced later works from ItalDesign (the studio where Giugiaro worked at the time) and has a cult following with futurist design enthusiasts. While most notable for the interior controls mounted inside the steering wheel and shooting radially outward from the central tachometer, both the Boomerang’s radical interior and exterior design ensured it wasn’t feasible for production. No matter, the Boomerang sold for a little over 3.6 million dollars back in 2015, proving it is has lasting power over those who gaze upon its mind-bending design.

Exhaust: Clearly time has been kind to the Boomerang, and other designs from Giugiaro show a similar level of radical thought in their greenhouses. (Think DeLorean.) While housing a stationary control panel inside the steering wheel is more about shock value than actual utility, wouldn’t it be great to see a reimagined Boomerang with a modern human-machine interface inside that tiller, and an electric powertrain just as futuristic as its radical 1970s-wedge shape below the skin?

 

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