2023 M2 is last gas-only BMW, an all-out 928 restomod, Brad Pitt to F1 (on screen)
2023 M2 will be the last gas-only BMW
Intake: Next year’s pocket-rocket M2 will be the last BMW to be powered by an internal-combustion engine unassisted by any form of electrification. The G87 M2 is expected to pack an even bigger punch than the most recent, 365-hp M2 Competition, which boasts a three-liter, turbocharged straight-six; after this iteration even BMW’s M cars will feature some form of electric boost. Interviewed in Germany’s Bimmer Today M division CEO Fran van Meel said, “The BMW M2 with in-line six-cylinder and rear-wheel drive will definitely be a puristic driving machine. We will see increasing electrification in other vehicles, of course in different forms, starting with the 48-volt electrical system and plug-in hybrids to fully electric drives. Seen in this way, the M2 will be the last M with a pure combustion engine drive and also without electrification scope such as a 48-volt on-board network.”
Exhaust: Whether you agree with the electrified future of M, a year after M’s 50th is an auspicious time for BMW to send off gas-only powertrains. (Though it will only be sold in Europe, BMW’s even building the first-ever M3 wagon.) The celebratory echoes won’t have died out when we meet M’s last gas-only hurrah … and we’ll be there with bells on.
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Rare Monteverdi once owned by Jay Leno goes to auction
Intake: One of just 16 375 High Speed Coupes built by Swiss sports car maker Monteverdi is being auctioned in its home country, having lived most of its life in the U.S.A. Chassis #1003 is an earlier model with coachwork by Carrozzeria Frua, and was delivered in June 1969 to American importer Anselmo of Washington, D.C, after making its debut on the company’s Geneva Motor Show stand. First purchased by a New Yorker, the car then had a number of owners in California, before being bought by Jay Leno in 2006. Leno kept the car for just two years and it was later registered in the Middle East. Now for sale at Bonhams Gtsaad Sale in Switzerland on July 3 the car comes with a 7.2-liter 450-hp Hemi V-8 and automatic transmission. Although it underwent a restoration in 2003, and looks fabulous in the photos, Bonhams says the Monteverdi has been immobile since 2012 and will require recommissioning, which is reflected in the estimate of 70,000 to 100,000 Swiss Francs ($71,500–$112,000).
Exhaust: Just ten 375s were built by Carrozzeria Frua, with the remaining six cars crafted by Carrozzeria Fissore from 1969 onwards. This example is well-travelled, and clearly will need some work to be roadworthy, but is expected to fetch considerably less than even a #4 Fair condition car’s value, which our Hagerty valuation tool puts at $180,000.
Jeep is still building old Grand Cherokees
Intake: Taking a play from sibling brand Ram, Jeep will continue to build and sell the outgoing WK-generation Grand Cherokee for the 2022 model year, even though the new generation, the WL, has long since arrived at dealer lots. You can have your Grand Cherokee WK in one of three flavors—Laredo E, Laredo X, or Limited. Opting for the cheaper Laredo E with 4×4 (Jeeps without 4×4 feel like pizza without cheese) will run you as little as $40,500, including destination, and you’ll get cloth seats, Jeep’s workhorse 3.6-liter V-6, and an 8.4-inch Uconnect 4 touch screen. Even the “range topping” Limited model will only run you $46,445 out the door, and you still have the choice of adding on some goodies like 20-inch wheels, a $2235 Pro Tech II group that adds adaptive cruise control, rain-sensitive wipers, and more.
Exhaust: A new WL-series Grand Cherokee Laredo two-row with 4×4 starts at $42,120 including destination but the models you want usually ring in closer to the $50K or $55K mark. With that in mind, we’re not surprising to see Jeep continue to offer a handful of these older models—the tooling has likely been paid for, and it’s just profit at this point. What’s more, 2021 was the best sales year on record for the Grand Cherokee (254,445 units)—and the new one only arrived at dealer lots part of the way through the year. That means there was still sufficient demand for the WK platform when its replacement hit the scene. Like Ram did with the Ram Classic and the next-generation pickup, Jeep is going to bolster sales numbers and reap a little extra coin on the cheap. What accountant would say no to that?
Nardone Automotive adds style, power to Germany’s Camaro
Intake: French auto enthusiast Thierry Nardone has made what must be the 911 Reimagined by Singer equivalent of the Porsche 928. Nardone Automotive’s handiwork starts with a lightly modified body that refreshes the 928 to modern standard, complete with fender flares at each corner, an LED headlight design and rear bumper/light treatment reminiscent of a modern Porsche, and 18-inch wheels (with larger brakes) that resemble the original 16-inch “Manhole” wheels. The interior is a minimalist leather and Alcantara affair, with modern infotainment and a gauge cluster that ushers 1970s Postmodern design in to the modern era. But this isn’t a styling exercise as the stock V-8 is upgraded with modern engine controls, a targeted output of 400 hp, and a six-speed manual replacing the old five-speed. But what really separates Nardone’s 928 from any other modified vehicle is the redesigned suspension complete with active dampers, and electric power steering.
Exhaust: The 928 was originally penned by Anatole Lapine in the turbulent economic and regulatory landscape of the early 1970s, and emerged a world-class vision of the future that brought hope and optimism to automotive enthusiasts around the world. (Well, perhaps not to the 911 loyalists.) All we needed was a few photos of Nardone’s recreation to fall right back in love with the 928 once again. Could the Porsche 928 be an automotive bellwether yet again, almost 45 years after its introduction thanks to Nardone Automotive?
Toyota’s Hypercar won’t compete in full IMSA season
Intake: Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) will prioritize Europe’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) over IMSA’s SportsCar Championship in 2023, despite its LMH racer being eligible for both series in the newly converged Hypercar/GTP prototype class. Though it had considered a full season of IMSA competition, TGR’s technical director Pascal Vasselon confirmed to sportscar365 that the team has “no plan to race in IMSA.” Toyota will focus on accumulating WEC points instead, though team director Rob Leupen suggests that it may cherrypick races from the IMSA schedule, such as the series’ crowing event, the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Exhaust: At first glance, it seems discouraging that this endurance-racing powerhouse is shirking the co-sanctions that IMSA and the FIA worked so hard to finalize. It’s worth remembering, however, how deeply invested Toyota Gazoo Racing is in the 24 Hours of Le Mans; it has more to gain by continued victories in that storied race than building momentum in a stateside series. Also, manufacturers must still do a bit of compliance work to bring a prototype built to LMH specifications (which went into effect in the WEC as of 2021) to accumulate GTP points. Peugeot, for instance, would need to race under a Stellantis-owned brand with a U.S. presence; Toyota would need to complete wind tunnel validation testing in the U.S., at Windshear in North Carolina and attend a December test session. The regulatory path is open, but manufacturers are still weighing their individual priorities (and budgets).
Superstar Brad Pitt will go F1 racing (on the big screen)
Intake: Hot on the heels of box office glory, Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski is lining up to helm an F1-inspired film inked with Apple studios, starring Brad Pitt. Untitled as of this writing, the project aims to tell a comeback narrative of an aged driver who comes out of retirement to take a rookie driver under his wing. The production team is a band of Maverick alums, including producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman, and writer Ehren Kruger; a recognizable catalyst behind the movie is Lewis Hamilton, who will also produce alongside Plan B Entertainment, Pitt’s company. The deal features a global theatrical release of 30 days at the box office before popping up in living rooms on Apple TV+.
Exhaust: For Kosinski, strike while the iron is hot. Maverick has relit a fire in Hollywood by proving that clever, high-concept ideas paired with proven megastars can still bang out big numbers at the theaters. Unlike Maverick, there won’t be any rooted nostalgia to draft in, although racing has done well with audiences at big screens and on couches of late. Ford v Ferrari was successful with both critics and audiences right before movie-going entered the doldrums, while Netflix’s Drive to Survive gradually took F1 more mainstream over the last four years.