The G-Wagen you can’t unsee, Bentley drops W-12 engine, time for flying race cars?
Behold, the G Wagen that cannot be unseen
Intake: A collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and high-fashion label Moncler has resulted in this balloon-tired, patinaed, vintage G-Class called Project Mondo G. It’s… quite something. Moncler’s influence can be seen in the reflective pillow tires and wild canopy, which it says were inspired by the brand’s line of puffer jackets that carry four-figure price tags. The rigid form of the G-Class underneath and the puffy roof and tires give us major moon-buggy vibes. Project Mondo G was revealed at Moncler’s “Art of Genius” show during London Fashion Week yesterday. The dimensions are appropriately absurd: Mondo G is 15.1 feet long, 9.18 feet tall, and a whopping 11.15 feet wide when you include those outrageous tires.
Exhaust: We’ll let you make the call on whether the Mondo G works visually or not, but consider this: A while back, Mercedes announced that it would axe many of its cheaper, lower-margin models and march further upstream into the world of ultra-luxury to increase its profitability. Collaborations like this bring the Silver Star brand attention from that target audience who would spend exorbitant amounts of money on a puffer jacket because of the name on the label. Weird or not, we follow the logic here. Just don’t get any ideas, Mansory. — Nathan Petroelje
Hyundai prices new Ioniq 6
Intake: The Hyundai Ioniq 6 electric vehicle will start at $42,715, including shipping, for the SE Standard Range model, which has an EPA-estimated range of 240 miles. The Ioniq 6 SE Long Range, with an impressive range of 361 miles, will start at $46,615. Both models are single-motor rear-wheel-drive. The Long Range has a bigger battery than the Standard Range model (77.4 kWh vs 53 kWh), and will also offer 225 horsepower instead of 149. The 320-horsepower SE all-wheel-drive Long Range starts at $50,115 and has a range of 316 miles. The model lineup tops out with the Limited AWD model at $57,215 with a range of 270 miles.
Exhaust: If it’s as good or better than the Ioniq 5, Hyundai will have another hit on its hands. The base model goes on sale this summer “in limited quantities,” Hyundai says, but most of the models will be available in the spring. — Steven Cole Smith
Bentley to drop W12 amid shift to EVs
Intake: Another of the few remaining strange gasoline engine configurations is not long for this world. Bentley has announced that it will retire its twin-turbo W-12 engine next year as the British luxury brand makes the shift to electric vehicles, according to Automotive News. “The time has come to retire this now-iconic powertrain as we take strides towards electrification,” said Bentley’s CEO, Adrian Hallmark. The W-12 first appeared in the Bentley lineup in the 2003 Continental GT Coupe, and it currently powers top-end versions of the GT, the Flying Spur sedan, and the Bentayga SUV. Audi’s A8 and the Volkswagen Phaeton also used the engine for a time. In place of the W-12, Bentley will use hybrid versions of V-8s and V-6s in the coming years. The final send-off for the W-12 will be a 739-hp variant that will be fitted to the upcoming Bentley Batur coupe, which is limited to just 18 examples.
Exhaust: We’re sad to see one of the few remaining unique engine layouts meet the end of the road, but the bulky engine doesn’t make much sense in the age of the hybrid powertrains Bentley will use to ease its buyer base over to electric vehicles. — Nathan Petroelje
BMW tops U.S. exports again
Intake: For the ninth straight year, BMW led the nation in automotive exports by value, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The South Carolina plant exported 227,029 BMW SUVs and coupes during 2022 with an export value of nearly $9.6 billion. Most of the BMWs produced at Plant Spartanburg in Greer, South Carolina, were exported through the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, plus five other southeastern ports.
Exhaust: During 2022, Germany was the top export market for BMW Manufacturing (15.5 percent of export volume), followed by China (13.5 percent), South Korea (12.8 percent), Canada (7.5 percent), and Great Britain (5.6 percent). BMW Spartanburg has been cranking out world-class quality vehicles for years; hopefully, more U.S. manufacturers can follow the export business plan. — SCS
Is the world ready for crewed flying car racing? Maybe.
Intake: With the outward appearance of an enormous drone, the Airspeeder Mk4 is the sort of thing you look at and wonder: Is today April 1? Powered by hydrogen and crewed by a human or two, the Airspeeder is billed as the first flying car racing vehicle. Let company CEO Matt Pearson (try to) explain: “We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing. We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly-skilled pilots in their fields.” Right then. It has a top speed of 225 mph and a range of 188 miles. Testing is underway in Australia.
Exhaust: It’s powered by a 1340-hp Thunderstrike Hydrogen Turbogenerator, which is, if nothing else, fun to say. The Airspeeder Mk4 “is a development of the remotely-piloted Mk3, which has successfully completed more than 350+ test flights and took part in two Airspeeder demonstration races in South Australia in 2022.” You’ve been warned. — SCS