7th-gen Mustang will bow in Detroit, Lambo’s dirt-curious Huracán, BMW prototypes return to Le Mans in ’24

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This September, Ford’s next-gen Mustang will bow in Detroit

Intake: We saw details of the seventh-generation Mustang (S650) earlier this year when spy photographers captured this mule out and about near Dearborn, Michigan. At the time, we had no clue when we’d actually get to meet said pony car in the flesh. According to a new report from Automotive News citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the timeline, it sounds like the new Mustang will bow at the Detroit Auto Show later this year in September. When asked about the possibility of a September unveiling, Ford spokesperson Mike Levine declined to discuss the automaker’s show plans. “We’ve previously said that the all-new, seventh-generation Mustang is on the way and we can’t wait to share more details soon,” he said in a statement to AN.

Expect both the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder and Ford’s free-breathing Coyote V-8 to carry over to the new car largely unchanged. As we noted when these spy shots first surfaced, the new ‘Stang will likely to ditch its current bespoke platform, adopting instead the modular rear- and all-wheel-drive architecture (codenamed CD6) that underpins the Explorer. Connecting the dots, that probably means an all-wheel-drive Mustang is in the works. The platform is already set up to accept hybrid drivetrain tech as well; we wouldn’t be surprised to see a hybrid Mustang somewhere in the S650 dossier, too.

Exhaust: Ford remains tight lipped on the matter, so we may not know more until we get closer to the show’s opening on September 14. But given how the S650 looks like an aggressive update (new sheetmetal and interior, but a similar cowl/roof structure) in lieu of a clean-sheet redesign to the S550 Mustang, we have no reason to doubt the timeline stated by Automotive News’ source. Watch this space for more Mustang news in the coming weeks. — Sajeev Mehta

Lamborghini’s off-road-ready Huracán looks ready to hit the dirt roads near you

Intake: The latest video on Lamborghini’s YouTube page, titled Beyond the Concrete, gives us our best look yet at the upcoming off-road Huracán. The minute-long video shows the slightly lifted Lamborghini sporting fender flares and additional lighting as it turns off the paved road, hits some gravel, and drifts, racing a mountain bike to a—presumably—Italian villa.

Exhaust: Yeah, we know that Lamborghini got its start making tractors. Even after an off-road concept straight from Lamborghini in 2019 and spy shots that captured a test mule earlier this year, it’s still hard to believe that Lamborghini is bringing such a wild, category-defying vehicle to market. We’re sure that a mid-engine V-10 supercar would be a blast to drift along dirt and gravel roads, but it seems like there’s a reason why there has never been a factory-built Lamborghini, Ferrari, or McLaren to fill this niche. (That said, the aftermarket has taken more than a few swings at such an idea.) Additional ground clearance or not, there are only so many roads cut out for a car like this, and it seems that those looking for the kinds of off-pavement thrills it affords would be better served with something a bit more rugged. We’re sure there are buyers who would line up for what’s likely a limited-run of these dirt road drifting machines, but will they use them as intended? — Brandan Gillogly

Save the date: New Porsche 911 GT3 RS flies in on August 17

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 2023
Porsche

Intake: The ultimate track weapon in the Weissach armory has a confirmed launch date. The 2023 911 GT3 RS is “even more optimized for track use than its predecessors,” says Andreas Preuninger, director of Porsche’s GT model line. The RS will feature the same 502-hp, naturally-aspirated, four-liter flat-six engine as the GT3, but the RS will pack extra pace thanks to suspension, brake, tire, and aerodynamic tuning. “We focused primarily on aerodynamics and chassis questions in the development of the new 911 GT3 RS,” adds Preuninger. We will get the answers at a digital world premiere on Porsche’s News TV channel at 11 a.m. ET on August 17.

Exhaust: We expected to see this maximum-attack 911 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but perhaps Porsche didn’t want its new flagship to be overshadowed by the mad McMurtry electric fan car which breezed to a new hill record. Instead, we’ll get a risk-free online launch with no rivals in sight. Consider our calendars marked. – Nik Berg

Aceman concept previews first dedicated electric Mini

Intake: Engineered from the ground up as an EV, the Mini Aceman concept car also heralds a new design direction for the Anglo-German brand. Mini calls it “Charismatic Simplicity” and says that its design language is “clear and pared back.” The Aceman would sit between the three-door Mini Cooper and the jacked-up Countryman in a reduced Mini range of the future. There’s no word on the electric powertrain at this stage, with Mini asking us all to just absorb the exterior and interior design features instead. In profile it remains unmistakably Mini, but with some added flare and angular form to the fenders. Up front is where it gets more radical, with a new face that has to do without a conventional radiator grille, yet somehow retain a familiar look. When powered off it’s a bit bluff, but flick the switch and the car’s character comes to life thanks to some creative running lights which can be set to a checkered flag pattern or a jingoistic Union Jack. By contrast, the car’s rear is conventional and not dissimilar to the Countryman. Inside there’s more of a revolution, with space maximised thanks to the flat floor of the EV platform and a bare-bones dash, with just a single central circular display, and a bank of toggle switches in keeping with the Mini myth. There’s no leather or chrome in the cabin adding to the car’s eco credentials. The Aceman goes on display at gamescon in Cologne from August 23.

Exhaust: You have to wonder if the BMW Group is deliberately trolling us. First came the insanely-oversized grille on the 4-Series and now they’ve made a Mini which looks like a Disney hippopotamus. We’re all for adventures in design, and support the idea of “Charismatic Simplicity” but this Aceman doesn’t do it for us. What about you? Have at it in the comments. —NB

After a 25-year hiatus, BMW returns to prototype racing at Le Mans

Intake: The BMW M Hybrid V8, the name for BMW’s entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, made its first laps this week at chassis builder Dallara’s test track in Italy. BMW confirmed earlier this year that the car will debut in January at the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona in the newly formed GTP class for the 2023 season. Now, BMW has also announced that the new prototype will run in the Europe-based World Endurance Championship in the Hypercar class in 2024, which would include a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since a BMW Prototype was victorious there in 1999. BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi, an American, and Sheldon van der Linde, a South African took turns at the wheel of the LMDh platform car in the on-track debut. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to complete the first laps of the BMW M Hybrid V8,” said De Phillippi, a five-time WeatherTech Championship race winner. “This was an historic day for BMW M Motorsport within the LMDh project. Step by step, we went through all functions of the car and by the end of the day we were able to do some laps with nearly full power, which is a good result for a rollout.” Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal’s Team RLL will run the car in IMSA competition; the team selected for BMW’s overseas efforts has yet to be announced.

Exhaust: Testing of the BMW M Hybrid V8 will continue in Europe through August before relocating to the United States in September. Right now, we’re looking at BMW, Acura, Cadillac and Porsche planning to race in IMSA in 2023, with Lamborghini joining in 2024. Part of the goal for this new IMSA and WEC co-developed LMDh prototype platform, which allows brands to use four, six, or eight-cylinder engines of their own designs and pair them with single-spec hybrid drivetrain componentry, was to abide by a uniform set of rules on both sides of the Atlantic. In theory, this would make it more enticing for a top-tier prototype series to consider major headline races in the other—possibly even parallel efforts. BMW’s commitment to return to Le Mans in 2024 is proof that the thinking behind the unified regulations is paying off. — Steven Cole Smith

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