RUMOUR HAS IT: Prancing into SUV land
Porsche's final touches to its 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS models, Mazda expanding its Kodo Soul-in-Motion and the Ferrari SUV
Porsche has the Cayenne, Bentley has the Bentayga and Lamborghini is likely to reveal its Urus by the end of 2017. But so far Ferrari has flatly refused to succumb to the temptation to follow rivals, declaring on multiple occasions that it will only build sports cars.
It might have to change its line to only building "sporty cars" as it appears that it has had a change of heart on SUVs. Executives at Maranello might stick to the "we will not build a SUV" line though, because according to Autocar magazine, the Italian manufacturer is going to build an FUV.
Yes we know, that’s worse than BMW trying to call its SUVs SAVs (Sports Activity Vehicle, if you didn’t know).
No surprise that FUV stands for Ferrari Utility Vehicle. The company is still denying it is working on the project, but expect it to look a little familiar to the GTC4Lusso four-door and have hidden rear doors to allow execs to continue to pretend they are not making a four-door model.
In line with the company’s promise to add electrification to all its models from 2019, expect a plug-in hybrid.
Bollinger, icon of the champagne world, is not to be confused with the new manufacturer of very boxy, utilitarian and decidedly un-bubbly, off-road machinery.
Based in the US, Bollinger Motors has revealed its B1, which has a distinct Land Rover Defender character about it. The big difference is that it is the first fully electric SUV with a bank of batteries and the motor sitting below the floor.
We drove an electric Defender once and it was rather good, but Bollinger has some big claims for its new model which is expected to hit the US market in 2018.
It uses lightweight aluminium architecture and an electric motor that generates 268kW and 640Nm. It is said to hit 96km/h in 4.5 seconds and have a single charge range of either 193km or 322km depending on specification.
It features a waterproof Bluetooth-equipped marine audio system in the spartan interior. The latter will be useful when dealing with the one-metre wading depth with the electric system guaranteed to be safe for 30 minutes in water. Whether you want to drive through a river with a bank of batteries under your backside is another matter.
Blackpool in the UK is famous for its lights and people waking up next to the chip shop in the morning after a heavy stag or hen night. But there is another thing it is famous for and that is being the home of sports car manufacturer TVR, at least until it went bust and closed.
The company has been resurrected and in August it will reveal its first new model at the Goodwood Revival meeting in the UK. Designed in partnership with Gordon Murray, TVR is promising a 0-96km/h time of under four seconds courtesy of a 5.0l Cosworth V8. The company says its new model will be smaller than a Porsche 911 or Jaguar F-Type and offer a better power-to-weight ratio.
Mazda is expanding its Kodo Soul-in-Motion designed model range with the announcement that its CX-8 will go on sale in Japan by the end of 2017. The SUV will be the first for the Japanese marque to feature three rows of seats. Mazda SA is unable to confirm if the new model will come to this country.
In other news …
Porsche is putting the final touches to its 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS models. Expect a slight change in styling at the front as well as some decals, but power is likely to be hiked to 280kW and the GTS versions will get changes to the suspension settings, as well as standard adaptive dampers and Sport Chrono package.
Jaguar is working on a performance version of its XE to take on the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. Unlike the limited production XE SV Project 8, the XE SVR will be a full production model. Sources say Jaguar is still deciding between the 5.0l V8 from the F-Type SVR or a new six-cylinder Ingenium engine which is under development and is likely to produce 300kW.