December Car News Roundup
With many of us focusing on the run up to Christmas during December, and for the lucky ones, a bit off time off before the New Year, you would think that car manufacturers would be doing the same. Whilst the amount of car launches and automotive news may have slowed, there are still plenty of new car stories to keep motoring enthusiasts entertained. Here is our December car news roundup:
Range Rover Electric
When the latest iteration of Range Rover was launched it was inevitable that at some point an all-electric powered version would be joining the line-up. Whilst it may be taking its time for those looking for that particular option, more details have been released by Land Rover about the eagerly anticipated EV Range Rover. Information may be limited thus far but the details are kind of what you would be expecting.
A range of teaser images have been shown, yet the partially filled grille, EV badging and electric charging port are probably what you would have thought it would feature anyway. Other details include the fact that it is being touted as the ‘quietest and most refined Range Rover ever created’, again not surprising considering many of the current line up are powered by V8 engines. On the V8 power, Land Rover have stated that the EV will match or exceed the statistics that the powerful petrol engines can impressively achieve. Not ground-breaking news, but at least it means the electric Range Rover is that little bit closer for those in the market for the most luxurious of battery-powered vehicles.
Remaining on the all-electric versions of an iconic brand, Renault have also released teaser images of the upcoming Renault 5. The best news is that they seem to have not changed much since the radical concept car was released as far back as January 2021. Showing a modern interpretation with definite styling influence of the original legendary ‘5’, the much-anticipated small hatchback is hoping to be to reborn icons as BMW’s version of the Mini has been.
With the introduction of the all-electric future for cars, Renault have firmly grasped the idea of modern technology wrapped in a retro inspired package, a formula that seems to work so well these days. Then there is the prospect of introducing the new generation of hot hatchbacks to reinvigorate the days of the Renault 5 Turbo, and with both Renault Sport and Alpine options available to them, there’s plenty for driving enthusiasts to get excited about.
Tesla’s Cybertruck is probably best described as ‘bold’. The wedge shaped, flat-panelled, futuristic looking all-electric pickup truck has certainly had a controversial inception since the initial concept was shown to the world. It’s ‘Mad Max’ appearance combined with the fact it has rugged stainless steel bodywork, apparently bullet proof glazing and more than enough pace to outdo most supercars means it is a typical Tesla approach to a solution you didn’t even know existed.
In mid-December Tesla showed CEO Elon Musk personally handing over the first customer deliveries of the Cybertruck to excited new owners who have been eagerly awaiting this day for over 2 years. They may take some getting used to on the roads, but you can’t disagree with the brand’s ability to offer a new way of thinking and unrestricted approach to the way they want to do things. Many people may not like the appearance but at the end of the day it is Tesla’s pioneering thinking and impressive technology that have made them one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world.
Mercedes Benz AMG CLE 53 Coupe
One client base that are going to struggle more than most with the motor industry’s electrification switch are the fans of Mercedes Benz’s AMG products. An AMG Mercedes is all about the engine, twin turbocharged V8 petrol engines that growl, burble and roar depending on the speeds you are doing. Silent electric motoring will definitely provide the power, but without the accompanying noise will it feel the same?
Mercedes are currently and very sensibly treading lightly with the introduction of electric power to their flagship models. The recent release of the CLE 53 AMG is the perfect example of how they are breaking their customers in rather than disappointing them all at once. With mild-hybrid assistance for the single-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six engine, it might not sound very AMG-like, but to AMG fans it is a definite improvement over the poorly-received four-cylinder update to the C-Class variety. What’s more is that with extended arches, customary black wheels, black trim and exhaust pipes, the GLE 53 AMG still definitely looks the part like an AMG Coupe should.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport ’57 One of One’
Whilst it might not exactly be car news as you can’t actually buy one, how many of us were actually looking at buying a Bugatti Chiron in the first place? The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport ’57 One of One’ might be a very long name for a car, but it signifies a rather special one-off paying homage to a very special car indeed. As is the way with many of the special Bugatti creations, this particular car was commissioned by one of their very exclusive customers and celebrates the exquisite Type 57 SC Atlantic of the 1930’s.
These things obviously cannot be rushed, and the ’57 One of One’ was a year long process spent with their incredible Sur Mesure programme. This involved a thorough overhaul of everything from the paintwork to the interior and even the accompanying graphics symbolising the uniqueness of the car. The silver-tinted blue paint matches one of the three remaining original cars in existence, whilst the one-off bright chrome grille and the special tan leather interior are also there to match the 1930’s original. The customer who created this exceptional car? Apparently a 70-year-old lady who had been infatuated with the Type 57 SC Atlantic after seeing it in a museum over 20-years ago.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the biggest selling models of all time, so the introduction of an all-new one is a big deal indeed. For their latest iteration, the Land Cruiser has looked to its past for inspiration with special models galore reminiscing about some of the most iconic models from their back catalogue. With over 10 million sold in over 70 years of production, the Land Cruiser has been a staple of off-roading all around the world for nearly as long as the Land Rover Defender.
At launch, the aptly named Launch Edition features retro inspired styling that includes round headlights, something that was a staple of Land Cruiser styling from its conception in the 1950’s until the 1990’s. The shape has become more boxy and rugged in appearance, a feature accentuated even more so with the reintroduction of the ‘70’ edition, an adventurous heavy-duty version first seen way back in 1984. Toyota have cleverly introduced nostalgia throughout the new Land Cruiser range, and in doing so, reminded fans why they loved the historic models in the first place.
Alpine A110 R Le Mans
Alpine hit a sweet spot with the A110 in that it went back to basics thanks to its light weight and a focus on driving enjoyment and handling to ensure it wasn’t all about power for once. The standard A110 was praised by motoring journalists exactly for that reason and showed that the simple sports car formula still has a place in modern motoring. As part of a mid-life shuffle, Alpine have reordered their increasingly complicated line up with the addition of a new flagship model.
Starting at the base model, the A110 priced at £54k, moving up to the A110 GT, then the A110 S, then there is the S ‘Enstone Edition’ limited production car. At the top of the tree sits the ‘R’ for those looking for a more track focussed set up and despite the power and torque remaining the same as the ‘S’, the carbon wing, fins and scoops however enable you to exploit the performance with actual downforce. The standard ‘R’ starts at £96k, the ‘Turini’ edition is bizarrely cheaper at £91k whilst the most extreme ‘Le Mans’ variant is a not so cheap £122k.
Audi RS E-Tron GT Ice Race Edition
The Audi RS E-Tron GT, the not so much talked about sister car to the Porsche Taycan. For many it is the more discreet choice providing almost the same performance and driving thrills in a more subtle package, much like the RSQ8 with the Lamborghini Urus. With many streets awash with the Porsche, the all-electric Audi option is perhaps the more stylish and in demand of the two cars.
As part of Audi’s official partner status to the GP Ice Race at Zell am See in Austria, they have released a limited ‘Ice Race’ edition to mark the 40th anniversary of the event. With a hard to miss paint scheme and accompanying graphics, numbers are limited to just 99 examples, with just 4 of those coming to the UK. With bespoke colour schemes to the interior and exterior, as well as an extensive specification awash with optional extras, the Ice Race edition might not be so subtle, but is certainly a well equipped version of the luxury electric car.
Following on from McLaren’s subtle improvements to the 720S to create the 750S, they have gone and done the same thing with their more comfort orientated supercar, the GT. Rebadged as the GTS, McLaren’s idea of a grand tourer receives some minor alterations to the exterior to improve airflow and cooling and some new wheel designs. Cooling improvements along with some minor tuning mean more power, up 14bhp to 626 in total, but also less weight to the tune of 10kg. Not only that but the steering, dampers and brakes have all been tuned specifically as part of the updates.
By making little improvements to a lot of the car, McLaren have managed to create a car that does supercar crossed with grand touring even better than before. But why improve on something too much that you thought was the right way to do things in the first place. The McLaren GTS places itself as more supercar like than its rivals from Bentley and Porsche, yet more comfortable and relaxed than a Lamborghini or Ferrari supercar. For those looking for the ultimate crossover between the two, maybe the GTS is worth taking note of.
Mercedes AMG SL 63 S E Performance
As mentioned previously, Mercedes’ introduction of electrification to its most exciting AMG range of models is something they are not rushing or pushing buyers to have little choice in the matter. Their relatively new SL continues the lineage of one of their most historic and successful models in their history, and this model in particular is the most powerful of them all. By adding a 201bhp electric motor to the 604bhp customary 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 AMG signature, this SL 63 S E Performance produces an astounding 805bhp and over 1,000lb ft of torque.
It may be able to travel for 8 miles on electric power alone, but this hybrid is aimed at those looking to use the electric assistance for fast power delivery and make the most of all that horsepower. Thanks to many electronic aids, active aerodynamics and four-wheel drive, the SL can accelerate from 0-62mph in a very impressive 2.9 seconds and onwards to just shy of 200mph. The ‘SL’ name may no longer mean Sport-Leicht (Sport-Light) thanks to the modern-day SL being much larger and heavier especially now that it features hybrid technology, however thanks to their most powerful configuration ever, there is more than enough power to make up for it.
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