Speculative

Here at TopSpeed, we do things a bit differently. When we cover a new vehicle, we like to document and report the entire process, from conceptualization to final production model. So when we hear a rumor, we bring it to you. When a company exec makes a speculative comment, we bring it to you, even if we have to read between the lines. When a concept comes out, we bring it. Usually somewhere around this point, we'll decide we have enough info to form our own conception of what the production model will be like, and we'll create a “speculative review” — a combination of the facts we know and what we can guess, based on the company's recent trends in drivetrain technology and style language, as well as marketplace goals and strategies. Frequently, we will accompany these reviews with a rendering of what we think the model might look like. Then we snag any developments that come along: press releases, spyshots and various forms of teasers, until the model's auto-show unveiling and subsequent production-version release. It's a cat-and-mouse game that all manufacturers play with the automotive media, and by extension, you. We simply wait in silence at the mouse hole. Obsessive? Yeah, probably. But if you've delved around to read this far, you probably are too. We are fascinated with the entire industry, and in all aspects of how a car comes to be. Perhaps you are too. We even entertain ourselves sometimes to think that your comments on our speculations may even sway a manufacturer from time to time. That's probably totally narcissistic, but then again, who knows? Social media is an ever-increasing part of the global manufacturing landscape, and it is perhaps unwise to assume that the big boys aren't watching and listening. Because they are.

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2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

Merc’s entry-level performance sedan is getting some good camera time

A fresh batch of spy photos of the upcoming Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 has come to light. As expected, the new photos show very little of the model’s prototype. The sedan’s entire surface area is covered in wraps, though, so expect plenty of aesthetic changes to happen to the updated model. Mercedes-AMG has yet to pinpoint a specific debut for the for the upcoming CLA model, but all signs seem to indicate a 2019 launch timetable. As for the AMG CLA 45, that should happen a little later in the same year. Either way, the fact that the test mule has already made a few appearances indicates that development of the model is now in full swing.

Update 3/21/2019: The Mercedes-AMG CLA45 was caught doing some cold weather testing with a little less camo. Check out the new shots and learn a little more about it in our spy shots section below!

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2020 Audi RS4 Avant

2020 Audi RS4 Avant

The thrills of a hot sedan in a wagon avatar

At a time when wagons are slowly evolving from being family haulers to performance beasts, people in the U.S. are missing out on a lot of action. The Audi RS4 and the RS6 Avant give us the major #FOMO feels. Audi has told wagon-lovers in the U.S. not to give up hopes yet, as the company said, "We always look at potential new opportunities in the market. It’s a niche to explore. We keep holding discussions. Keep writing us letters.” That’s not a confirmation in any way, but it sounds like an assurance for the time being. The namesake fast wagon from the German automaker’s stable that we have here is the Audi A4 Allroad. Although we were mighty impressed with the wagon, it is no substitute for the RS4 Avant, and, that is why we need the Lord of the four rings to ship those beauties our way as soon as possible. You listening, Audi?

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2020 BMW X6 M

2020 BMW X6 M

The next-gen X6M will be the sportiest, fastest X6 to date

BMW is going to launch an all-new generation of its larger coupe-styled X6 SUV (which it calls SAC, short for Sport Activity Coupe) and, as with the current model, it will also be available as a hot X6M with the full Motorsport treatment.

That means it will be powered by a development of the current 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 that powers the M5, although it’s been suggested it may get more power, while from a visual standpoint, expect it to look like an X6 on steroids, with bold flared wheel arches, aggressive bumpers, side skirts and rims, as well as the trademark exhausts in the back.

Update 03/15/2019: We’ve received new spy shots of the 2020 BMW X6 M, and we finally get a look at the interior for the first time. Check out our special “Spy Shots” section below to see what we’ve learned.

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2022 BMW i4

2022 BMW i4

The Bavarians’ upcoming all-electric superstar

Back in 2014, BMW took a very confident step into the world of the EV, officially launching its “Project i” sub-brand with the i3. Following hot on its heels was the remarkable i8 hybrid coupe, which garnered the German brand oodles of green cred for its futuristic aesthetic and advanced powertrain. These days, BMW says it has big plans for its electrified lineup, with a total of 12 battery-electrics planned by 2025, plus 13 hybrids as well. One of the most exciting prospects is dubbed to i4, which promises four-door practicality, high-end luxury, extraterrestrial styling, and next-generation technology.

Update 03/15/2019:We’ve received a second look at the 2020 BMW i4, this time as it was being put through cold-weather testing. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the i4, however, we have learned a few new bits of information. Check out our new images and what we’ve learned in our special “Spy Shots” section below.

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2021 BMW M2 CS/CSL

2021 BMW M2 CS/CSL

The track-focused, go-faster M2 is coming our way

BMW is reportedly readying an even hotter version of its M2 to sit above the M2 Competition - they are the M2 CS and M2 CSL, and our spies believe that’s what they captured in these photos. Some older reports from before the Competition model was launched, called it the M2 GTS. The white prototype features several changes over the M2 Competition and, as a Whole, it looks like a more aggressive, track-focused machine.

It has been suggested that the M2 CS would be a North America-only limited model available from 2020 and that the CSL would be even more extreme and sold on other markets from 2021, but right now it’s too early to make these predictions. Both will clearly be lighter, more powerful and better around a track than the Competition which in turn is one step up from the base M2.

Update 03/13/2019: Our spy photographers have managed to get some close-up shots of the 2021 BMW M2 CS. Check them out in our spy shots section below!

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2020 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf

The New Volkswagen Golf 8 Will be Simply Amazing (If you can pay for everything it has to offer)

Volkswagen is approaching the end of the development phase of the new Volkswagen Golf 8 - the most connected Golf of all time. But before I proceed with bombarding you with all the incredible things I’ve learned about it, let me just give you a glimpse of its importance through my experience.

It was 2004, my finishing year of elementary school when Volkswagen revealed the Golf MkV GTI. I remember that day vividly because that was the day I was directly exposed to the culture of the Volkswagen Golf aficionados that I subconsciously wanted to avoid. That day, during recess, one kid came running in the schoolyard carrying a ProAuto car magazine in his hands and basically yelling, “New GTI, New GTI.” He did not buy lunch out of his pocket money, but a car magazine with a GTI on its cover. Every single kid that had heard him charged at him to see what kind of a Golf the new GTIwill be. I ran too. I was struggling to see what the new Golf looks like and we all jostled each other to get a glimpse of the car.

That moment alone changed my perception of Golf for a lifetime. And, believe it or not, that car magazine I was telling you about - I started working there some years later.

Now, exactly 15 years after I saw the Golf MkV GTI for the first time, I have the opportunity to witness the reveal of the Golf 8 (and I believe the GTI). 15 years ago, Volkswagen proudly chanted in its press release “It is [Golf GTI] stronger, better and more sought after than ever.” The Golf MkVIII will be exactly that - stronger, better and more sought after than ever. But also, more connected than ever.

Update 3/13/2019: We’ve finally received some camouflaged spy shots of the 2020 Volkswagen Golf. Check them out along with what else we’ve learned in our special “Spy Shots” section below.

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2020 Mercedes-AMG GLS63

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLS63

New platform and 4.0-liter V-8 engine

Introduced in 2006 as the company’s first full-size SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GL developed from a longer version of the ML into a model of its own with unique features and an AMG version. Just like the ML, which became the GLE, the GL was renamed to GLS in 2016. Part of the brand’s revised nomenclature, the GLS badge signals that this vehicle is the SUV equivalent to the S-Class. On the market since 2012 in its second-generation, the GLS is about to get a big overhaul for the 2019 model year. Alongside the redesigned SUV, Mercedes will also launch a brand-new version of the AMG GLS63. Already spotted on public roads, the performance SUV will arrive sometime in 2019.

While the standard GLS has plenty of competition to go against, including the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX, and the Land Rover Range Rover, the AMG version is almost alone on the market. The Range Rover is the only SUV available with a high-performance drivetrain, and it will remain the only option until BMW launches the X7 and its M version. From this standpoint, the AMG GLS63 will remain a unique full-size SUV on the market and will enable Mercedes-Benz to dominate the niche in the high-performance realm. Let’s see what the upcoming AMG GLS63 might have in store for us.

Update 03/13/2019: Our spy photographers caught the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 doing some open road testing. Nothing has changed since the last time we got a peek at it, but you can check out the new photos in our spy shots section below!

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2020 BMW M3

2020 BMW M3

Extra power, less weight, and more Bimmerness than ever before

The BMW M3 has been around for a while now, first entering production in 1985 as a high-powered go-faster variant of the ever-popular BMW 3 Series. The latest F80 generation dropped in 2014, essentially setting the benchmark for all other fast four-doors to match, and now, there’s a new generation in the making. Dubbed internally as the G80, the next M3 is shaping up to be quite the ultimate driving machine, so we gathered up all the rumors we could find and put ‘em right here in the following speculative review.

Update 03/11/2019: The BMW M3 was spied doing some more cold-weather testing and we’ve learned some new information about power output, trim levels, and now have an expectation for when it could go into production.

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2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line

A performance SUV without the extra power

The Hyundai Tucson N Line is a slightly beefed-up version of the company’s popular SUV. However, just like the N Line versions of the i30 and Elantra, this Tucson is more about sporty upgrades inside and out, as the engine will likely remain unchanged compared to the standard model. I say "likely" because the Tucson N Line is not yet available. It will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, and until then we only have a couple of teaser photos. Although a Tucson with a sportier appearance isn’t hugely impressive, it marks the debut of the N Line package on the company’s SUVs. Not only will this package extend to other haulers, but it also previews a full-fledged Tucson N model. This SUV will have more power and will be able to tackle high-performance SUVs from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the Tucson N Line.

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2019 Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept

2019 Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept

A Mysterious New Crossover Concept From Subaru Could Showcase The Next Crosstrek

Expectedly, Subaru is among the first ones to jump onto the wagon of endless teasers released before an auto show to introduce us to a new vehicle. In this case, the Japanese company we all adore released a really dark teaser of what is called the Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept. It is the seventh Viziv concept since 2013, and it definitely projects what will become an all-new car. Well, in the case of the Viziv Adrenaline Concept - what will become an all-new crossover. Because, of course, it is a crossover. Maybe even one that will evolve like a Pokemon into the next Crosstrek.

Subaru is really, like really, really secretive about it for now, but I did find out a thing or two about it and can make some logical conclusions.

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2019 Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept

2019 Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept

A new SUV concept from Mitsubishi further strengthens the company’s electrification efforts

Mitsubishi is presenting a new SUV concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Called the Engelberg Tourer Concept, the all-electric prototype is the latest concept salvo from the Japanese automaker. It arrives almost two years after the automaker unveiled the Mitsubishi e-Evolution electric SUV at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. While it doesn’t directly point to a specific electric SUV model, the Engelberg Tourer Concept is a showcase model that highlights the advancements Mitsubishi has made in the field of electrification. As a fixture in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Mitsubishi is now in a solid position to advance its electrified plans for the future. It’s unclear if the Engelberg Tourer Concept is a part of these plans, but with the model debuting in Geneva, it’s safe to say that the concept will play a role in how the company’s electrification plans take shape.

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2019 Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept

2019 Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept

Aston Martin’s all-electric future

The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept is a zero-emissions concept vehicle set to break cover at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Built by Aston Martin as the brands first all-electric SUV, it follows the Lagonda Vision Concept from 2018 and will eventually inspire a production model.

We don’t know much about the All-Terrain concept at this point, but Aston Martin did release a teaser photo that shows some the Lagonda’s front fascia. Although it was originally rumored that Lagonda’s first SUV will go against the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, it seems the Brits are actually preparing a sportier crossover that’s smaller than Rolls-Royce’s massive hauler. Stay tuned for an update from the Geneva Motor Show.

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2020 Pininfarina PF0 Battista

2020 Pininfarina PF0 Battista

The car that should relaunch Pininfarina after seven years since it last made a car

Pininfarina, the company best well known for its association with Ferrari, wants to break free from under the shade of the Prancing Horse and make a name for itself as the builder of the fastest car to come out of Italy. The name of this car? Battista, like the name of the company’s founder. The numbers that should firmly plant this car on the map? 1,900 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet, a 0 to 62 mph sprint in less than two seconds, and a top speed of about 250 mph. All done by an EV powertrain that’s capable of running over 300 miles between charges.

Reading those numbers it’s easy to dismiss the Pininfarina Battista as just another ludicrous car that will never actually become reality. Something like the Devel Sixteen, the Arabian hypercar that packs a V-16 engine that’s capable of 5,000 horsepower. That one was supposedly slated to start final testing this month. Or the equally insane Vector WX-8, Jerry Wiegert’s project that should’ve brought his once proud company back from the dead. He said 12 years ago that a 10-liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 will power the car and that it will crank out 1,850 horsepower. More recently, Wiegert sold his two WX-3 prototypes to fund the project.

But the Battista is a more serious offering than both those elusive creations. First off, Pininfarina was bought by Mahindra four years ago for $190.6 million and, as we know, Mahindra has the financial power to throw cash at a project like this if so desires. With Pininfarina aiming to build just 150 of these, 50 dedicated to each of its three markets: Europe, America, and the Middle-East, we can expect people to actually come forth with pre-orders once it gets revealed at Geneva in a couple of weeks.

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2020 MINI John Cooper Works GP

2020 MINI John Cooper Works GP

The fastest Mini ever is just around the corner with maxi performance

Mini is a company that should be taken seriously when it sets about building a performance car. That’s why we stood up and listened when, late last year, we heard that the Mini Cooper JCW GP was coming back in 2020 after what will be a seven-year hiatus. Now, we’re seeing the first spy shots and, as you’d expect, it’s the Cooper JCW dialed up to 11 with some cues ported straight from the devilishly cool 2017 Cooper Works GP Concept. We want it now, together with its +300 horsepower!

Traditionally, the GP version of the Cooper Works is the ultimate performance model. In the past, John Cooper Works, which is long for JCW, built two GP models based on the previous two generations of the Mini. Of the last GP, which bowed out in 2014, only 2,000 examples exist, and just 500 were sold in the U.S., so expect the new model to also be a rare bird. Talking about birds, the GP will once again mark the swansong of the third-generation Mini Hatch with a new one coming soon.

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2020 Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo

2020 Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo

Porsche is officially going to have several versions of its Taycan all-electric model, one of which will be an estate or wagon model that will most likely be called Sport Turismo. The Taycan Sport Turismo is exactly the same as the sedan model, but with a bigger trunk and more practicality.

It’s actually going to be the first mass-market, purpose-designed, all-electric wagon ever, and no, the handful of coach-built Tesla Model S wagons don’t count.

The rest of the package remains unchanged, so it’s only going to be sold with an all-electric powertrain (don’t be fooled by the fake exhausts on the back of the camouflaged prototype in these photos provided by our spies) which will provide great performance, as well as a large lithium-ion battery pack for decent range.

Design-wise, expect a slightly more toned down version of the Mission-E Sport Turismo concept that debuted at the Geneva motor show this March. Porsche is apparently also going to make a higher-riding crossover-style version of this wagon, but it will be the sedan and wagon that will be the two main models.

But even if Tesla doesn’t make a production wagon variant of its Model S, that model is going to be the Taycan and Taycan estate’s main rival because it is already quite well established in its segment.

Update 02/20/2019: The Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo has been caught testing in the wild again, and this time it sports even less camo that the last time we saw it. This time we actually get to see the roofline and the rear end. Check out the spy shots section below to learn all about it.

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2020 Lexus UX F

2020 Lexus UX F

Lexus needs to infuse its image with some extra sportiness because even though it does make good, credible sporty cars, it is still perceived as a brand addressed toward SUV loving soccer moms and your elderly aunt who decides to spend most of her life savings on a new luxury car to treat herself. One such vehicle could be a spiced up version of the UX crossover, the newest and smallest crossover to join the Lexus range.

If Lexus made a UX F, it would be the closest thing it could ever make to a hot hatch. The UX is already a low-to-the-ground vehicle with excellent cornering capability, so making it lower, harder, and more powerful in order to make it faster sounds like a good plan. Plus, it could also benefit from a sporty exterior makeover to go with its unusual, swooping shapes (which are not bad, just different and take a bit of getting used to).

If Lexus challenged some hot crossovers and hot hatchbacks with its spruced up UX F, then it could dramatically shift the perception of the brand and genuinely attract new types of buyers that, before this vehicle, may not ever have considered buying a Lexus.

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