First official look at Ferrari’s SUV, 110 V-8s for AMG’s 55th birthday, F1 in Sin City?

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Ferrari

Your first (official) look at the SUV Ferrari said it would never build

Intake: Ferrari has released the first official photo of its Purosangue crossover, only a few short years after design boss Flavio Manzoni said this about an SUV: “It’s not within our DNA and it’s not something we are ever going to look at.” The world has turned dramatically since Manzoni spoke out so passionately in 2015, and soon Ferrari will cross that line in the sand. Purosangue translates as “thoroughbred” and fans will be hoping that the all-wheel drive “Ferrari Utility Vehicle” lives up to its moniker. (The rest of us will be wondering whether “utility” was the main goal of any Ferrari.) Maranello has released no details of the car’s specs, but the rumor mill is strong. There’s said to be a brand-new, front-mid engine platform which will also underpin the replacements for the Portofino, Roma, and 812 Superfast, which means that it will be able to fit V-12, V-8, and V-6 motors. It’s tricky to tell too much about the Purosangue’s size from the front-end teaser photo, but previous spy shots suggest that it’s not as tall as the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX, or Bentley Bentayga. As suggested by previous track outings, this GT4CLusso successor will likely prioritize on-street performance and sport a lower-slung stance accordingly. We’ll keep you posted as more is revealed.

Exhaust: Manzoni’s words haven’t aged well. “Ferrari is not a follower,” he said. “We cannot make something just because this is the normal trend. It wouldn’t be a Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari would turn in his grave.” True or not, Ferrari needs a car like this to remain competitive in today’s SUV-dominated marketplace. Here’s hoping that Maranello’s not-so-purebred pony funds lots of high-spirited, truly excellent GTs and race cars. 

Honda’s tiniest SUV gets cheeky ahead of April debut

2023 Honda HR-V Teaser #2 rear end reveal date
Honda

Intake: Honda’s tiniest SUV is due for a makeover. Now we know when the next “Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle” (nope, not a joke) will appear: Monday, April 4, 2022. The first-gen Hurv (that one’s a joke) never came stateside; not until 2015 did the second-gen HR-V arrive on U.S. shores, riding high on the bones of the Honda Fit hatchback. The Mexico-built compact received a mid-cycle refresh three model years later, in 2016, comprised of light touches such as LED lamps, bits of chrome, and standard Apple CarPlay. The third (global) generation of HR-V is a two-part recipe: a model specific to North America, and another version (revealed last year) for everywhere else. Judging by two teaser photos released by Honda, the U.S.-tailored Hurv promises to wear a far more cohesive design than the current buck-toothed, overly contoured model.

Exhaust: HR-V sales haven’t yet surpassed those of the venerable Civic, judging by 2021 (137,090 vs. 263,787). However, last year was the first time that the compact SUV broke into six digits. The Civic may be cooling off: Sales dipped below 300K in 2020 for the first time in eight years, and 2021 didn’t see the sedan fully recover. Could the 11th-gen car turn the tide? The North American–specific HR-V indicates that Honda thinks this SUV has room to grow in the states … we won’t be surprised if the new compact closes the gap to the Civic.

There are 110 more AMG V-8s thanks to Affalterbach’s 55th birthday party

Intake: In celebration of 55 years of tire-smokin’ good times, the mad men and women in Mercedes’ performance division have cooked up a special edition for the track and another for the trail. The Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series is a 55-unit, track-only riff on the 720-horse AMG GT Black Series that showcases a 4.0-liter, flat-plane crank, twin-turbo V-8 turned up to 11—er, 734 hp. This makes it the most powerful sports car to ever hail from the AMG (the 1000-plus-hp AMG Project One hypercar not included because it’s not real yet. Are we salty? Maybe). It’s got the gnarly aero and deeply tune-able suspension to match such an engine, as well as a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox in place of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The price? A cool €369,000 ($406,132 at current exchange rates) for one with air-conditioning. Customer deliveries begin next quarter.

Prefer your performance in 4×4 flavor? Meet the Mercedes-AMG G 63 “Edition 55,” a gussied-up take on the continent-conquering Geländewagen. This €17,850 ($19,652) package adds 22-inch AMG forged wheels with a matte-gray finish to either available exterior tone, black or white. Inside, special “Edition 55” lettering on velour floormats and “55” badging on the steering wheel lets know you’re one of a … well, 55 AMG fans in the U.S. celebrating in such lavish style.

Exhaust: We’ve come a long way from Hans Werner Aufrecht (A) and Erhard Melcher (M) wrenching in Aufrecht’s Grossaspach (G) garage. Mercedes has seen and done much since 1967: It built the inimitable Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 better known as “Die Rote Sau” (The Red Pig), functioned as a skunkworks tuning house in the ’70s and ’80s, and in the ’90s built its first jointly developed vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG, thanks to MB’s formal acquisition by DaimlerChrysler in 2005. The next era at AMG will center around electricity, a technology already creeping into the next wave of AMG products through hybrid tech. Here’s to you, AMG; burn-outs all around! 

Hot Wheels gears up for the NFT craze

Hot Wheels NFT Garage
Hot Wheels

Intake: Hot Wheels is expanding its NFT Garage, a space where car fans can park their favorite blockchain-tied digital artworks of special Hot Wheels collectibles. Referred to as Series 2, 40 new NFT designs have been added to NFT Garage and will go on sale on March 31. Some of the NFTs will feature designs based on popular manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Honda, but good looks and great art are not necessarily what makes them valuable. A successful NFT relies on scarcity, popularity, and an inherently distinct, traceable record (via blockchain) to validate the originality of the digital collector’s item. Hot Wheels has partnered with blockchain platform WAX to facilitate the buying and selling of its NFT ventures. Series 2 NFTs will go for 25 bucks a pop but require users to sign up at the NFT Garage site and create a WAX blockchain wallet first. Which NFT artwork a fan will receive is down to a digital lottery of sorts. Premium, rare NFTs, including a Custom Otto, Honda S2000, Corvette C8.R, and an Aristo Rat have a 4.2 percent chance of being drawn, while the rarest is a ’55 Chevrolet Bel Air Gasser coming in at 0.53 percent.

Exhaust: It was only a matter of time before automotive collectibles from Hot Wheels would find a way into the surging NFT market. Value is subjective. Peel away layers of hype, and things are worth only what someone else is willing to pay for them at any given moment. Other industries with a nerdish bent (said affectionately) have been able to capitalize on creating NFT products. Take AMC and Sony, who also recently partnered with WAX to dole out 86,000 Spiderman NFTs to members who first pre-ordered tickets, driving more business and generating excitement around their brands. Think life-sized cars are impervious to this madness? Think again. Just this past January in Scottsdale, an NFT of the auctioning of a two-door Ford Bronco (VIN 001) sold for 22K, a head-scratching affair to be sure, made more digestible by our experts at Insider here. Welcome to the latest insanity of the digital age, where this leads is anyone’s guess.

Deus Vayanne to debut in New York

Intake: An Austrian electric hypercar driven by British and Italian technology is set to be unveiled at the New York Auto Show on April 13. The Deus Vayanne is named after the company’s hometown of Vienna, and has been developed in partnership with Italdesign and Williams Advanced Engineering. Beyond the fact that it will be all-electric little is known about this new Austrian automobile, but we’ll find out soon enough.

Exhaust: Deus says it “aims to stand out in the increasingly competitive hypercar sector by offering its fresh and objective vision and innovative concepts in terms of luxury, performance, and exclusivity.” It certainly sounds like Deus’ sights are set on Rimac, Lotus, and Pininfarina, but can this unknown company mount a serious challenge?

Could the Sin City serve as F1’s newest battleground?

Formula 1 World Championship 1981 las vegas caesars palace villeneuve giacomelli
October 17, 1981, Las Vegas. Gilles Villeneuve leads Bruno Giacomelli. Flickr | alessio mazzocco | Phipps/Sutton

Intake: Earlier this week, in an interview with Sky Sports, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was quite candid with the surging series’ expansion plans, specifically regarding a potential stateside race in Las Vegas. The event would join Austin and the new-for-’22 Miami Grand Prix on the F1 schedule. The Sin City hasn’t hosted an F1 race since 1984, but the popularity within the US market—thanks largely to Netflix’s Drive to Survive—has top brass entertaining the idea. In addition to Vegas, Africa and China could serve as future host countries. So, what’s the ceiling? “I think there is potential to go to 24 (races),” Domenicali told Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle. “I would say there is potential to go to 30. In terms of the interest that we see all around the world.” F1’s current contract with the FIA, which expires in 2025, allows 24 races per season.

Exhaust: Judging by the record-breaking 400,000 fans in attendance at last year’s race in Austin, and the buzz surrounding this year’s South-Florida sortie, F1 is hotter than it’s ever been—at least in recent memory—in the United States. In the past five years, Las Vegas has demonstrated a viable market with its new NHL team and its fresh-from-Oakland Raiders. An F1 race could be yet another diamond in the city’s sparkling sports scene. This wouldn’t be the first time the United States hosted three grand prix in the same season. In 1982, the US became the first country to host three events—Long Beach, Detroit, and Vegas. While cynics might point to the American F1 love affair as fleeting, the series is smart to ride its hot hand. Viva Las Vegas!

You can now order most affordable Polestar

polestar 2 single motor on sale online space
Polestar

Intake: The single-motor version of the Polestar 2 is now available to order. With an EPA-rated range of 270 miles, the front-drive, 231-hp four-door is a new offering for 2022 and starts at $47,200 including destination. It’s new-to-the-market status means that the car qualifies for the $7500 federal EV tax credit, and individual states (such as New Jersey) may have additional discounts. You’ll get the choice of two add-on packages, Plus and Pilot: The former extends range with a mechanical heat pump, adds a panoramic glass roof, vegan upholstery, and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon stereo for $4000. Pilot, logically, adds the expected suite of adaptive driving aids for $3200. Though the brand does have roughly 20 in-person retail areas, called Spaces, Polestar wants you to experience a “digital-first” ordering process: You can either order the car online, or its staff will step you through the digital process in-person. You can hop on the configurator here.

Exhaust: We walked away from our first drive of the single-motor 2 impressed with its well-sorted drivetrain and its Google-based, Android Automotive infotainment. If you crave novelty but don’t want to buy into the Tesla fandom, you’ll likely find the Polestar 2 a fresh, appealing proposition. 

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