New Prius looks … great, Rimac’s absurd speed record, stunning Genesis droptop
Toyota’s fifth-gen Prius spices up the sleepy hybrid
Intake: The new Prius is something it has never been before: Pretty. The car is the result of an internal battle at Toyota, with one faction wanting the Prius to be an affordable entry-level car, and the other faction wanting the new car to be “aspirational.” The latter camp appears to have won, and the result is a sleeker, more powerful car. This is a global model, powered by either a 1.8- or a 2-liter engine, though Automotive News says the U.S. version will utilize the 2-liter engine exclusively. Fuel mileage is expected to remain about the same (the EPA rates a regular Prius with a 1.8-liter engine at 54 mpg city, 50 mpg highway, and 52 mpg combined), but the plug-in version will get considerably more range—as much as a 50 percent increase—in EV mode. The Prius hybrid will have a combined system output of 193 hp, and the plug-in will get 213, gains of around 60 percent and 77 percent, respectively. That newfound power will help the Prius accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6 seconds, according to a video presentation from Toyota that aired early today from Japan. No information was released about the price.
Exhaust: Despite high gas prices, Automotive News says global sales of the standard Prius hatchback peaked at 509,380 vehicles in 2010. By last year, they plunged to just 85,970. Looks, power, and great fuel economy? The Prius is back, baby.— Steven Cole Smith
Praga hypercar to Czech in on November 23
Intake: Czech road and race car manufacturer Praga is poised to release a new, road-legal hypercar. The car, teased in the image above, will be track focused, but the 12 buyers of this limited-run machine will also be able to drive it on the road. Praga hasn’t released any technical information or performance figures, saying only that “its design and engineering have focused on three core principles: lightweight, petrol power, and all-carbon construction.”
Exhaust: Praga previously developed a road-going version of its race-winning R1, known as the R1R, but that beast never made it to production. From the looks of the teaser image, the new model adds a more elegant form to the function. We’ll find out more on November 23. —Nik Berg
Record-breaking Rimac hits 258 mph
Intake: The Rimac Nevera is officially the fastest electric car on the planet, having just reached 258 mph at a test track in Germany. Driver Miroslav Zrnčević’s maximum velocity along the 2.5-mile straight at Automotive Testing Papenburg was verified by VBox telemetry, and means the Nevera adds another speed record to its achievements. In 2021, the 1914-hp Nevera proved itself as the fastest-accelerating electric car in the world by cracking a standing quarter-mile in 8.582 seconds. The 150 customers for the $2.1M Nevera won’t be able to match the record run, however, as it will be limited to “just” 219 mph—except at special events where factory support will provided.
Exhaust: Ridiculously fast and eerily quiet it may be, but the Nevera is well shy of Bugatti’s 305-mph, production-car speed record. Now that the two companies are conjoined, that seems unlikely. —NB
Genesis woos electric future with four-seat droptop
Intake: Feast your eyes on the latest concept from the Korean luxury brand Genesis Motors. This grand, four-seat convertible juxtaposes an EV powertrain with traditional luxury-car proportions: Long hood, short front overhang, generous dash-to-axle ratio. It’s a combination we’ve seen before from the brand, which split off from Hyundai as an independent marque in 2015. In March of 2021, Genesis parked a graceful EV coupe on a rooftop in L.A., pitching the X Concept as an “EV-based GT.” Thirteen months later, we met the X Speedium Coupe. This riff on the 2021 coupe was led by Luc Donckerwolke, Genesis’ Chief Creative Officer, as a “freestyle” design exercise. The main change was to the grille, which reinterpreted Genesis’ “Crest Grille” with light strips. With yesterday’s X convertible, the three-part concept family is complete. Built on the same electric architecture as the first two concepts, and with the same L-shaped touchscreen framing the driver, the convertible features a retractable, hardtop roof whose panels are see-through. (We don’t want to know how much this vehicle weighs.) The convertible shares the lit “crest” of the X Speedium, but little of its motorsports aesthetic. The wheels are deliciously textural, drawing attention to the clean lines of the body. If you get shades of Bentley, don’t be surprised: Donckerwolke spent a few years with the British brand back in 2012.
Exhaust: The first concepts from the young Genesis brand—2016’s New York and 2018’s Essentia, seen in the gallery below—were overwrought affairs that, in contrast to the X trilogy, tried way too hard. Judging by how much its production vehicles share the X concepts’ visual DNA, Genesis has settled into this handsome design language. Futuristic but not fussy is hard to do: Genesis has nailed the brief. —Grace Houghton
Project 25 is Radical Motorsport’s quarter-century closed-cockpit celebration
Intake: In celebration of its 25-year anniversary, U.K.-based Radical Motorsport is planning a new flagship model with one big standout feature: a closed cockpit. Radical released the first teaser image of “Project 25” earlier this week on its Instagram account. The shadowy rear three-quarter view shows off the new racer’s slinky body lines, massive rear wing, and big bubble in the middle where a driver will no longer be subject to the whims of the ambient air. Radical is playing coy with the specs, saying that more details will arrive closer to the start of production, which is scheduled for Q4 of next year. But it did let loose a few details: the Project 25 will employ a twin-turbo V-6—possibly the 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost six-pot that Radical’s performance engine team massages with its own components—that is expected to produce 850 hp. The car was previewed to VIP guests at Radical’s end of season World Finals in Las Vegas this past Sunday. Just 25 examples will be made, many of which we’d bet were spoken for at the preview event.
Exhaust: Radical’s bread-and-butter products are its open-cockpit, lightweight racecars that boast serious aerodynamic capability and give off mid-2000s Le Mans prototype vibes. To see the company meddle in the closed cockpit game feels like a cash-grab aimed at those who like going fast, and want to say they drive a Radical, but wish the whole experience were … less painful. We wouldn’t be surprised if future Radical products with a windscreen and a roof are in the works. It’s not the only small-quantity motorsports firm to have announced a roofed monster in the past year, however; KTM revealed the X-BOW GT-XR in September of this year. The X-Bow GT-XR is based on the company’s GT2 racer but adds a few niceties such as a small trunk and air conditioning to make the street-legal machine a little friendlier. — Nathan Petroelje
NASCAR Cup silly season in full swing
Intake: NASCAR’s silly season, the annual game of musical chairs for NASCAR seats, is cranking up with two major changes. Ryan Preece, who has spent most of the season testing out different setups and tracks on the company simulator for Stewart-Haas Racing, will replace Cole Custer, son of a Stewart-Haas executive, in the #41 Ford Cup car. Custer, who has 10 wins in the Xfinity series, will return to Xfinity in a new car for Stewart-Haas. And Ty Gibbs, to no one’s surprise, will drive the #54 Toyota for his grandfather, Coach Joe Gibbs, at Joe Gibbs Racing. He replaces Kyle Busch, who moves to the Richard Childress Racing team, after Joe Gibbs wouldn’t come up with a replacement for Busch’s longtime sponsor, the Mars candy company.
Exhaust: The Associated Press story on Preece mentions a blockbuster at the bottom of the story, saying that Stewart-Haas lead driver Kevin Harvick will retire at the end of 2023. With the expected retirement of Aric Almirola, who retired this year but changed his mind at the end of the season, it could leave two seats open at Stewart-Haas for 2024. — SCS