Maserati MC20 Dakar
Car News 28 Mar 2024

March Car News Roundup

With the new registration starting at the beginning of March and the fact that it is one of the best times of the year to buy a car, news of new releases also seems to pick up the pace as Winter retreats and we head into Spring. The holiday seasons are a distant memory and car manufacturers are getting ready to show their potential customers what they have planned for new model releases, this year and beyond. With that in mind, here is our March Car News Roundup from the past month:

Porsche Taycan Turbo GT

It seems like a while ago since Porsche broke the Nürburgring lap record for a production electric car, taking the accolade away from Tesla with their Model S Plaid. They then did the same on Tesla’s home turf at the Laguna Seca racing circuit to prove how good their forthcoming model is. Now they have officially unveiled that record breaking electric powerhouse in the form of the Taycan Turbo GT. With aerodynamic additions, a fixed rear spoiler, overboost function for even more power and even weight saving measures with the option of a ‘Weissach Pack’ to go one step further. The Taycan Turbo GT certainly means business in the performance electric car stakes.

March Car News Roundup - Porsche Taycan Turbo GT
Image courtesy of Porsche

Power is a staggering 1,108bhp, 0-62mph takes just 2.2 seconds and the top speed is 190mph. Opt for the Weissach Pack and you can save 70kg by removing the rear seats, replacing plenty of parts with carbon fibre ones and adding the fixed rear wing for additional downforce. It may beg the question as to why anyone would want such a quick all-electric saloon car with no back seats and designed specifically to lap a race track quickly, but they have gone and done it anyway. A moderately specified version with the Weissach Package will set you back north of £200,000 for the privilege.

Maserati MC20 ‘Dakar’

When Porsche unveiled their 911 Dakar it might have been an unnecessary model we didn’t think we needed, but at least it was a homage to an iconic car from yesteryear that has actual racing pedigree. When Lamborghini released their Huracan Sterrato it was a mad moment from an exotic brand who often tease something crazy and then put them into production anyway. If you were to think of a car that perhaps would be so far removed from something that should be adapted for off road use, the Maserati MC20 would probably feature quite highly.

March Car News Roundup - Maserati MC20 Dakar
Image courtesy of

That hasn’t stopped car renderer Siim Parn from creating a concept for an MC20 rival to the Dakar and Sterrato, that as crazy as it sounds, actually suits the rugged styling and off-road modifications. The raised ride height, chunkier bodywork, knobby tires, and exposed tow hooks look strangely like they belong on the mid-engine supercar. Even the roof rack with integrated LED spotlights don’t appear at odds to the usual sleek and curvaceous lines of the Italian beauty. With over 600bhp and 540lb ft of torque, the ‘standard’ cars power would easily be enough to cope with the rigours of rough terrain, it may however need to be converted to power all 4 wheels. The MC20 ‘Dakar’ is merely a concept, but when it looks this good and everyone else seems to be doing it, why not join the ‘cars you never thought you needed’ group.

Mercedes Benz E53 AMG

Mercedes Benz have a bit of a quandary when it comes to creating their most recent line up of performance models. AMG fans are adamant that the AMG versions of their saloons and SUV’s should come with a V8, yet emissions regulations and their gradual switch to electrification says otherwise. For those looking for the best of both worlds there is the ‘53’ range of AMG models, not quite the ‘full fat’ AMG experience but as near as it comes whilst offering the benefits of hybrid assistance.

Mercedes Benz E53 AMG
Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz

Their latest release comes in the form of the E53 saloon and estate variants, with a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine and 120kW electric motor assistance. The result is 576bhp on offer, incidentally less than 30 short of the range topping E63, and a top speed of 173mph. Impressive performance is still ever present with a 0-62mph time of 4 seconds, whilst the electric motor will allow up to 62 miles of all-electric range for those looking to add eco-driving to their AMG experience. It may not have the noise of a V8 engine, but surely for die hard AMG fans, a straight six with hybrid assistance is a worthy compromise for the time being.

Volkswagen ID.3 GTX and ID.7 GTX

Another brand who will need to satisfy their performance fans are Volkswagen. The original hot hatch, the Golf, and in particular its GTI variant, are not long for this world and that will leave a bit of a gap for quite a number of their customers. Whatever VW have in the pipeline for the direct replacement, they have somewhat satisfied their existing electric car customers with a hotter version of their ID.3 hatchback Called the GTX, the power has been increased to around 300bhp and the car features more aggressive styling and bigger 20” wheels. Inside the car also gets red detailing like performance combustion engine models.

Volkswagen ID.3 GTX
Image courtesy of Volkswagen

For those looking for something similar but with a bit more space they have also created a performance version of the capacious ID.7 Tourer too. With 335bhp sent to all four wheels, the ID.7 GTX is the brand’s most powerful estate car yet, dwarfing the Golf R’s power output by almost 20bhp. The GTX features the same revised bodywork and larger wheels as the ID.3 upgrade was equipped with, as well as the red detailing to the interior. Apparently 1 out of every 5 of their ID.4 and ID.5 models are the hotter GTX variety, so to expand the range to the ID.3 and ID.7 makes perfect sense. Surely a step in the right direction for performance electric car versions.

Volkswagen ID.7 GTX Tourer
Image courtesy of Volkswagen

Porsche 911 Hybrid

After much speculation Porsche have finally confirmed that for 2024 hybrid power will be available on their 911. Though traditionalists will shudder at the thought, the 992 iteration has been designed with hybrid functionality in mind from the beginning. Following the announcement of the all-electric Macan, the Taycan Turbo GT and the Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid, Porsche have a busy year ahead of them for new models joining the lineup. For the latter of those models, it shows that rather than spoiling the experience by including hybrid assistance it might add a whole lot more.

Porsche 911 Lineup
Image courtesy of Porsche

The Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid powertrain offers up to 729bhp, not that all that power might be available on the 911, but it shows the potential of their existing powerplant. But if it is transferred across, it would surely mean the quickest, most powerful 911 yet, something that Porsche seem to be determined to do on recent form. The 911 is their most iconic model and they won’t be happy with second best when it comes to affecting the essence or the ethos behind what buyers expect, so whatever power output or set up it offers, it is likely to still be one of the best handling and performing sports cars on the road.

Rivian R2 and R3

Rivian have already showcased their potential through their all-electric R1S SUV and R1T pick-up truck models. Rather than rest on their laurels however they released their smaller R2 SUV and even threw in a surprise launch of a retro-looking even smaller hatchback in the shape of the R3. Whilst the R2 is not going to be launched until well after the R2 is in production and selling, the future looks bright for the Tesla rival. Its R1S and R1T may be US-only models right now, as will the R2 at launch, but they have plans to expand the brand into Europe imminently.

March Car News Roundup - Rivian R2
Image courtesy of Rivian
March Car News Roundup - Rivian R3
Image courtesy of Rivian

Speaking of the electric car yardstick, the R2 is aimed directly at the Model Y with range, performance and features to rival Mr Musk’s creation. Rather than merely copy however, they have gone the extra mile to introduce features that go above and beyond their target rival. With features such as their ‘enhanced autonomous capabilities’, the ability for all windows to be dropped at the touch of a button for an ‘open air driving experience’, exceptional storage functionality and even a ‘Travel Kitchen’ and rooftop tent, or ‘Rivian Treehouse’. With the brand placed as a premium electric brand for those who love the outdoors and adventurous lifestyle, they may just have something unique to offer.

Audi Q6 e-tron

The Audi Q6 e-tron might just seem like another mid-size electric Audi to add to their expanding line up, but this one shares its underpinnings with the all-new Macan so it should be something pretty special. In the same way that the e-tron GT has become a understated alternative to the Taycan and the RS Q8 the same to the Urus, the Q6 e-tron might just be the one to have over the Macan.

Audi Q6 e-tron and SQ6
Image courtesy of Audi

With 50 miles more range than a Tesla Model Y, at around 380 miles, it offers to be more practical than its all-electric rival, whilst the 380bhp for the standard Q6 and over 500bhp for the SQ6 means performance should be on a par too, should you need it. With the latest Audi technology, an abundance of comfort and refinement and the usual stylish appearance, the Q6 e-tron is certainly one of the better-looking electric SUV’s. Starting at just under £70,000 for the Q6 e-tron and rising to over £90,000 for the SQ6, it also unexpectedly is cheaper than the new Macan on which it is based too.

Mercedes Benz AMG GT43

Whilst Mercedes Benz were busy sneaking the 6-cylinder hybrid powertrain into their AMG saloon cars they offered even more of a surprise when it comes to their flagship AMG GT sports car. Whilst the car is currently available in a choice of ‘55’ and ‘63’ variants, both offer a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine in various states of tune to offer differing outputs. The latest version they announced, the AMG GT 43, features a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine from their A-Class. Not quite what you’d expect.

Mercedes Benz AMG GT 43
Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz

Despite its small size, the A45 S AMG engine produces 415bhp and means that the least powerful of the range can still accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and keep going to 174mph, using a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to improve efficiency but also to keep the turbocharger spinning to reduce turbo-lag. Not only that but the ‘43’ sends the power to the rear wheels only, so the least powerful model might just be the one for the drivers.

Mercedes Benz G-Class

Not that you’d probably be able to tell by looking at it, but there is a new version of the legendary Mercedes Benz G-Class. It may also still look a touch angular with very straight edges, but this new version has made every effort to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce drag where possible. Whilst this may not be much of an issue for the range-topping G63, still equipped with a 578bhp twin-turbocharged V8 engine, it should help with the less powerful models and the forthcoming electric version where aerodynamic efficiency matters.

Mercedes Benz G63 AMG
Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz

By introducing small changes, reshaping certain trim parts and redesigning spoilers, the G-Class promises to be more slippery than ever. Not just that though, the handling has also had a bit of an overhaul. The dimensions of the vehicle are broadly similar, yet every effort has been made to make the G-Class cornering ability much improved, utilising the same anti-roll suspension as McLaren and Porsche use in their sports cars. Called AMG Active Ride Control it essentially hydraulically links the dampers in each corner of the car to allow constant adjustment of the stiffness depending on the surface conditions or cornering speeds. This ensures a ride like never before and should defy physics when attempting to not just limit the performance to straight line sprints, or when venturing anywhere near off-road.

Land Rover Defender Octa

Not letting Mercedes Benz grab all the headlines with their retro inspired all-conquering luxurious powerful SUV offering, Land Rover have announced a flagship version of their Defender. Whilst the ‘normal’ Defender can offer the ability and the power in V8 form currently, it isn’t quite Range Rover opulent to the interior, until now. The ‘Octa’ promises to add luxury never seen on any Defender at any point and comes complete with a twin-turbocharged mild-hybrid assisted V8 engine to take care of the power side too.

Land Rover Defender Octa testing
Image courtesy of Land Rover

Details have been minimal regarding exactly what the ‘Octa’ difference has added to the equation, however the brand are confident that none of the off-road ability has been affected by taking the Defender to luxurious new heights. Land Rover say the new model has endured the same cold weather extremes, desert crossing endurance, Nürburgring lapping performance and rock crawling ability as their other models in the range. It just now means you are even more shielded from the elements and can relax in even more comfort than ever before. For now there have been a few teaser shots of their new Octa diamond logo on various trim parts and a close up of some forged carbon showing the bespoke options that are likely to be available on the upcoming flagship model.

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