RUMOUR HAS IT...
Ranger gets wild
The new Ford Ranger Wildtrak will go on sale in SA in 2019
This is the 2019 Ford Ranger Wildtrak, making its unofficial global debut.
The latest iteration of the next-generation Ranger Wildtrak was caught completely undisguised in Detroit although it is a right-hand drive version. Just weeks after the Blue Oval revealed the Ranger Raptor, the popular Wildtrak version shows added ground clearance over the regular Ranger, a cargo bay with a 12V socket, innovative retractable tonneau cover (roller shutter), 18-inch alloy rims on P265/60 tyres, and additional styling interior/exterior tweaks to make it stand out from the standard Ranger.
While the current Wildtrak has a 3.2 TDCI motor, the new model features Ford’s all-new twin turbo 2.0l diesel (confirmed by the bi-turbo badge on the front bumper) good for 157kW and 500Nm while being mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission or optional six-speed manual.
A spokesman for Ford Southern Africa said they have not seen the new Wildtrak and have no idea on local introduction dates as yet, but we expect it to arrive here in the second half of 2019.
Luxury in Beijing
Lexus has announced it will unveil a new model at next week’s Beijing motor show. So far the company has only revealed a teaser pic of a part of the front of the model with the line: "More than just a pretty face, this all-new Lexus vehicle aims to radically transform the concept of comfort for luxury consumers all over the world."
Rumour is it will be the new ES which is hardly the top luxury model line for Lexus so maybe the brand is moving to what was essentially the spiritual replacement to the Toyota Camry in SA. Either way, it will have a very big grille.
Chinese going all out
While we are on the subject of Beijing motor show, it looks likely to play host to more reveals than anyone has yet seen. Not only are existing Chinese car makers announcing a vast number of reveals at the show but new brands seem to be popping up almost daily.
Not surprisingly there will be a number of new electric vehicles as both concepts and production models and lots of new crossovers and SUVs. One stood out for us — Dongfeng will reveal the latest SUV from its sub-brand Fengxing.
That in itself is not big news but the fact that Dongfeng is going to pull the cover off its Forething certainly amused us in the office and made us wonder if anyone actually thought the naming plan through.
Famous Italian automotive consultancy Pininfarina has joined forces with Mahindra under the Automobili Pininfarina brand name. The company says the joint venture will "design, engineer and manufacture high technology, extreme performance, luxury electric vehicles for the most discerning global customers".
Mahindra is already proving its electric vehicle (EV) capabilities in the Formula E series and with a number of EV production models, but this collaboration with Pininfarina will move it into a different league, one where it plans to launch its first electric hypercar by 2020.
Back to tradition
The traditional sports car lives on though and our sources have confirmed two models that will get the pulse racing.
It has been some time since the announcement of Aston Martin Racing (AMR) road cars and the reveal of the AMR Rapide concept in Shanghai in 2017, but now the first creation has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring. The AMR Rapide is likely to sport a dynamic body kit as well as an extensively updated interior as well as liberal use of carbon fibre and 441kW from the 6.0l V12.
No surprises Porsche is planning at least one end-of-line model for the 991 generation of the 911. Our sources have confirmed the company is working on a 911 Speedster complete with a full folding fabric roof in the traditional Speedster style. Undoubtedly set to be a strict limited edition, sources have told us it will have performance to match the Carrera GTS.