Aston DB11 successor spied, Jeep rally-ready Wagoneer, Harvick to hang up his helmet


As Hagerty’s staff observes Martin Luther King Day this Monday, The Manifold will go on a brief hiatus. We’ll be back on Tuesday with all the car news you need to know. —Ed.

Is this the new Aston Martin DB12?

Intake: Aston Martin unveiled the DB11 in 2016 as a successor for the DB9. It was the company’s first model launched under the Daimler AG ownership and was an instant success; during its official launch at the Geneva Motor Show over 1,400 units were ordered on the spot. However, the car faded over the years, and now after six years of production, Aston Martin is preparing to replace it. Spy photographers caught a prototype of the DB11 successor—probably called DB12—out on the streets for some initial testing.  Initial rumors suggested this will be the company’s first fully electric model, but in early 2022 Tobias Moers, Aston Martin CEO, said that the V-12 is not going anywhere and will still be used until 2026 or 2027. With the DB11 successor set to arrive sometime in 2024 or 2025, it is safe to assume it will also be offered with a V-12 engine. The car’s appearance at a gas station and the thick tailpipes underline just that. We’re guessing it could be between 600 and 700 horsepower.

Exhaust: The exterior design appears to be a slight evolution of the current DB11 and seems to be inspired by the latest Vantage, with elements taken from the Valhalla concept. Initial rumors suggested that the DB11 successor should arrive sometime in 2025. But as Aston Martin has apparently decided to keep the V-12 engine instead of an electric powertrain, we might see the new DB12 arriving sometime in early 2024. — Steven Cole Smith

Motul builds Dakar tribute Jeep Wagoneer

Intake: Motul celebrated its fifth year as the official lubricant partner of the Dakar Rally by building a 2022 Jeep Wagoneer Series I Carbide 4X4 with a 5.7-liter eTorque Hemi. It rides on 18×8.5-inch Black Rhino wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires thanks to a 3.5-inch ReadyLIFT suspension kit meant for a Ram 1500 modified and installed by Rad Rides of Huntington Beach, California, who used custom-fabricated two-inch spacers to get the proper lift in the rear. The vinyl wrap makes it look rally-ready and protects the paint from getting pinstriped by trailside brush. If you’d like to see the custom Wagoneer in person, which will be further outfitted with a rooftop tent and other gear, it will be at the BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400, Overland Expo West, Overland Expo Mountain West, and the eBay Motors Sand Sports Super Show.

Exhaust: A five-year sponsorship is a strange milestone to celebrate, but we admit that the mildly customized Wagoneer looks pretty darn good on 35-inch tires. What we found most interesting about this build is how great the Wagoneer looks with just a mild lift and that the front suspension parts can be pirated from a Ram 1500 lift kit. Perhaps Wagoneer product planners will take notice and begin cooking up an off-road-oriented version of the big body-on-frame SUV? — Brandan Gillogly

You can’t unsee the ugliest Urus ever made

Intake: Searing its hideousness onto your retinas is the latest automotive abomination from German tuning firm Mansory. Called the Venatus Coupe Evo C, it began as a Lamborghini Urus, and, after surgery that makes Dr. Frankenstein look skilled, a motoring monstrosity was born. Overcome the initial horror of its frighteningly flared arches, unnecessary air scoops, wings, and hulking hood and you might notice that it’s lost two doors in the “design” process. Mansory has managed to move the B-pillar back almost eight inches and extended the front doors by the same amount.  The entire front of the car is a mess of slats and vents to feed cooling air to the 900-hp V-8 engine. The only good news is that should you be unfortunate enough to see one of the eight examples being made for the road, you probably won’t have to look at it for long as Mansory claims it will accelerate from 0–62 mph in 2.9 seconds and go on to 200 mph.

Exhaust: The Lamborghini Urus is not subtle at the best of times, Mansory appears to have imagined the car at its worst and then thought, “Yep we’ll build that.” Astonishingly, the German firm claims that the Venatus Coupe Evo C took a year and a half to create and was built at the specific request of customers. We can only hope that none of them live in the U.S.A. because coming across this beast in the wild would be horrific. — Nik Berg (Editor’s note: Don’t hold back, Nik.)

Mercedes will drop EQ branding for EVs

Intake: Mercedes-Benz is set to drop the EQ product brand for battery-electric cars as soon as the next generation of compacts arrives, set to be on the market by the end of 2024, German daily Handelsblatt said on Thursday, citing company sources. Reuters reported that the decision is based on Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius’ focus on electric-only cars, making the EQ brand redundant as Mercedes turns away from the combustion engine.

Exhaust: Mercedes presently brands its all-electric model series under the EQ name, first announced in 2016, with its first model, the EQC electric SUV, launched in 2019. Mercedes currently has four models marketed in the U.S. as EQs. — SCS

NASCAR’s Harvick will bid farewell in 2023

Kevin Harvick waves NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Intake: Veteran NASCAR Cup driver Kevin Harvick says he’ll hang up his helmet after the 2023 season, which begins in February with the Daytona 500. It’ll be his 23rd year as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. The 47-year-old racer will retire after the season finale on November 5 at Phoenix Raceway. Harvick begins his last season in NASCAR’s premier division tied for ninth on the Cup Series’ all-time win list with 60 point-paying victories. He is only 99 laps shy of leading 16,000 laps in his career—one of only 11 drivers in the history of the sport to do so—and the Bakersfield, California-native is slated to make his 800th career Cup Series start April 23 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Exhaust: After a couple of rough years, Harvick hopes to go out on top. “There is absolutely nothing else in the world that I enjoy doing more than going to the racetrack, and I’m genuinely looking forward to this season,” said the driver of the No. 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing. “But as I’ve gone through the years, I knew there would come a day where I had to make a decision. When would it be time to step away from the car? It’s definitely been hard to understand when that right moment is because we’ve been so fortunate to run well. But sometimes there are just other things going on that become more important and, for me, that time has come.” — SCS

NTSB Chair worried about heavy electric vehicles

GMC HUMMER EV SUV front three quarter reflection

Intake: U.S. National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy raised concerns about the “increased risk of severe injury and death from heavier electric vehicles on U.S. roads,” Reuters reported. She mentioned the GMC Hummer EV which weighs over 9,000 pounds, and the Ford F-150 Lightning EV, which is between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds heavier than the non-electric version. The heavier weight “has a significant impact on safety for all road users,” she said Wednesday in a speech. “We have to be careful that we aren’t also creating unintended consequences: more death on our roads.”​

Intake: She’s right, of course, heavy vehicles tend to cause more damage. But her administration wants electric vehicles, and batteries are heavy. Hopefully, this isn’t the first time she’s heard of that. —SCS

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    With the required increse in charging locations, maybe they can sit at home and not on the road. You can hope.

    Yeah super heavy EV’s… kind of defeats the purpose? Look at the prius, small efficient car. These super heavy cars /trucks/ suvs are going to suck regarding their coal fired powerplant electric consumption.

    Why only now would Jennifer be concerned about the heavy weight of vehicles on the road. There have been trucks using the roads since before 1916 weighing in at more than 9000 pounds. Maybe she should also be concerned about the many 10’s of thousand of tractor trailer units that travel the roads and the impact they have in collision situations.

    Mansory, producing expensive and incredubly ugly versions of pricey vehicles. Proof that money does not equal taste.

    Heavy EV’s? How about the damage they will do to the roads. We basically need to plan on the roads handling the wight of a ton plus of extra weight per car in some cases.

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