2019 Ram 1500 Departs From Classic ‘Big Rig’ Design
The next-generation Ram 1500 has been spotted by spy photographers and boy; the differences are huge! Scheduled for the 2019 model year, this half-ton truck departs from the classic Ram “big rig” design that dates back to the second-generation Dodge Ram that debuted for 1994. Gone are the crosshair grille and the big step between the hood and headlights. Ram has also moved the model and engine badge to the hood, leaving the doors free of clutter. But the front isn’t the only change.
The spy photos show a completely revised pickup with new metal from bumper to bumper. Even the cab section looks new. The doors certainly have new skin, and the weather stripping around the windows seems thicker, likely to help reduce wind noise. The Ram’s rear features new taillights, a new tailgate skin, and an interesting bumper with a full-length step that should make getting into the bed a bit easier. The bumper-integrated dual exhaust does make the generational jump.
Naturally, Ram hasn’t said a word on its new pickup, but the updates are expected to be more than just skin deep. Expect a strengthened frame, updated suspension components, and maybe even some aluminum body panels to decrease weight in key areas. The RamBox bed should return, along with the multi-link rear suspension an air-ride option.
As for engines, the prototype truck is clearly wearing a badge for the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. We fully expect the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to return – likely unchanged – along with an updated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The ZF eight-speed automatic will likely be standard equipment across the board. The other badge, though covered by tape, will likely be the R-A-M lettering within the horizontal bar in the new grille.
This is an unprecedented look at the upcoming 2019 Ram 1500, however, we see something missing. Keep reading to find out what.
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2019 BMW 3 Series
BMW’s next-generation 3 Series sedan was just caught on camera romping through the snow during a cold-weather testing session, giving rise to speculation about what’s in store for the up-and-coming luxury four-door. The new sedan is expected to arrive sometime in 2017 and replace the current F30 model, which was launched in 2011.
All things considered, that’s still quite a long time from now, and details are scarce, but we aren’t completely in the dark when it comes to putting together a few expectations. At this point, it’s safe to say that updated styling, lower weight, larger dimensions, more power, new autonomous drive features, and M-style performance will all make an appearance.
We also know that the upcoming model is designated as the “G20” behind closed doors.
Once the standard-bearer for compact luxury sedans, the 3 Series is facing rather stiff competition from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Jaguar XE these days, and BMW needs to bring the heat with this next-gen car. As is, the Bavarian bestseller is under heavy fire on all fronts, so what will it take to regain its past dominance? Read on to find out.
Updated 10/17/2017: We just got our hands on a fresh batch of spy shots! Check them out after the jump…
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW 3 Series.
2018 Maserati Levante GTS
Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive – the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well appointed, and a good dose of adrenaline was waiting under the hood. However, it’s looking like an even more exciting Levante is just over the horizon, and we think it’ll have a meaner look, more driver’s goodies inside, and two additional turbocharged cylinders.
So where would we get a crazy idea like that? Well, back in April, Autoblog asked Maserati if it could fit its top-spec 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, the same powerplant it shoehorned into the Quattroporte GTS, into its first-ever SUV. The answer was an unequivocal “yes.” What’s more, Davide Danesin, the head of Maserati vehicle programs, reported that the Trident already had a prototype of the combo in hand, leading high-performance SUV enthusiasts everywhere to begin salivating uncontrollably. And while it’s still possible Maserati will axe the project outright, odds are a Levante GTS will become a thing sooner or later.
In anticipation of that day, we created the following rendering and speculative review.
Updated 10/06/2017: The upcoming Maserati Levante GTS was caught testing for the first time in the sunny and hot parts of Europe.
Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante GTS.
2018 Audi Q8
After five years of rumors that began when Audi trademarked the Q8 name in 2012, the German company finally unveiled its proposition against the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Actually, the crossover introduced at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show is just a concept for now, but a production model is scheduled to follow soon.
When BMW introduced the X6 in 2009, a new segment was born. But although the crossover BMW describes as a Sports Activity Coupe proved somewhat popular with SUV enthusiasts, the trend didn’t catch on with other automakers until 2013. That’s when Mercedes-Benz revealed plans to develop a coupe-like crossover based on the M-Class. Shortly after, rumors of a Cayenne Coupe emerged, signaling that Germany’s finest automakers finally pay more attention to this niche. Although the details are still under wraps as of May 2017, a test car has already been spotted on public roads, a sign that the production Q8 isn’t far. Join me in my speculative review to find out what we already know about the sporty crossover.
Updated 10/04/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi Q8 out for a new testing session, and this time we have more clear images of the interior.
Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8.
2018 Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf came to be in 2010 as the company’s first mass-produced, all-electric passenger car. Built on a bespoke platform based on the familiar Nissan B architecture it uses a synchronous electric motor and a range of battery packs that deliver up to 107 miles per charge. Although it has proven quite popular in several markets around the world, the first-generation Leaf has become rather dated now that GM has launched the Chevrolet Bolt and Opel Ampera-e, while Tesla rolled out the Model 3. Nissan is looking to catch up with the competition with a redesigned model that broke cover ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
With more than 283,000 units sold globally as of September 2017, the Nissan Leaf is still the world’s best-selling affordable, mass-produced electric vehicle. But with the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 now in the picture, Nissan may have to cope with losing some of that market share. But the Japanese are ready to put up a good fight, as the new Leaf is a significant departure from the first-generation model. Sportier and more appealing to look at, it has a more upscale interior with new technology and a revised drivetrain with significantly more power and better range. Will it have what it takes to compete with the world’s most advanced EVs? Let’s find out below.
Continue reading to find out more about the upcoming Nissan Leaf.
2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
It’s no secret Mercedes is preparing its next generation of G-Class – the go-anywhere luxury SUV that started life nearly 40 years ago as a military truck. Spy shots and rumors have surfaced regarding the upcoming Geländewagen, or G-Wagen, but no news has surfaced about Mercedes’ sportier version built under the AMG badge. That has changed thanks to our skilled spy photographer who captured a camouflaged test mule running around with minimal camouflage.
The new generation of G-Wagen, even sans-AMG badge, is visibly larger than the outgoing model. Its track is wider, its wheelbase is slightly longer, and the overall height seems to be slightly increased. All this in the name of interior comfort and on-road driving dynamics, rumors suggest. The current G-Wagen is notorious for its cramped, outdated interior. Mercedes is definitely fixing that, as seen in the latest round of spy shots. The cabin takes after the swanky E-Class sedan, which is a very good thing. Expect much more in-dash technology and creature comforts. Concerning the AMG version seen here, it’s wearing a taller bumper with larger air scoops, AMG-specific wheels, and wider fenders that accommodate the wider tires. We’ve compiled all the rumored into a speculative review, so keep reading for the all the info.
Updated 09/04/2017: The upcoming Mercedes-AMG G63 was caught testing once again. The prototype is still wearing lots of camouflage, but we expect it to get the new Panamericana grille that all the AMG models are getting right now.
Continue reading for the full review.
2018 BMW X4
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – people love their SUVs. It seems like every year, the segment gets bigger and more diverse, with a seemingly never-ending parade of tall-riding, off-road-styled, utility-oriented models filling every niche possible. One of the fresher entries in this space is the BMW X4, which hit the scene as recently as 2014 as the Bavarian’s take on compact/mid-size crossover luxury in a sporty, coupe-like package. Making its initial debut at the New York International Auto Show, the first-gen X4 has performed quite well for the brand in terms of sales, moving some 200,000 units since its introduction, nearly 10 percent of which went to the U.S. market. Now, just four years after its release, the X4 is gaining a second generation. Framed as a sporty, yet practical, yet off-road capable evolution of the Bavarian’s upscale SAC (BMW doesn’t like to call it an SUV, instead preferring the “Sports Activity Coupe” nomenclature), the 2019 BMW X4 offers consumers a surprising number of “sporty” updates, including a wider track, new suspension settings, more aggressive proportions, a lower center of gravity, and a more aerodynamic exterior.
The model line once again includes two equipment levels, starting with the xDrive30i, which replaces the outgoing xDrive28i, and ending with the more aggressive M40i, a carryover from the previous model year. Overall, the updates seem to double down on what the X4 does best, and will surely tempt buyers looking for something that can “do it all.” Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 BMW X4.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
Introduced in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG GT is no longer the company’s flagship sports car, but a full lineup of vehicles. In three years, AMG not only developed a Roadster but also launched a higher performance coupe and a beefed-up convertible too. Oh, and it also created two different race cars based on the GT. In all, the AMG GT includes seven members, which is darn impressive. But Mercedes-AMG won’t stop here. Although rumors of a Black Series model have yet to be confirmed, recent spy shots suggest that such a version is indeed underway. And we might just see it in the metal in 2018.
With the GT R in showrooms, a Black Series model might not make much sense, but Mercedes has plenty of room to either slot it between the GT S and GT R or place it above everything else as a range-topping model. The latter scenario is more likely, so we could get an AMG GT with close to 600 horsepower and built in a very limited run. We should find out more later this year, so make sure you stick around for updates. Meanwhile, have a look at my speculative review below.
Updated 08/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught what appears to be the road-going version of the GT4 race car. The prototype drops the usual central mounted exhaust pipe and features some exhaust pipes hidden in the diffuser on the left and right, side just like we saw on the GT4 race car. And, since Mercedes is going to use the GT4 name for its four-door super sedan, this can only be the Black Series version of the AMG GT.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
The Chevy Corvette ZR1 Spotted with Less Camo; Proves Porsche and Ferrari Should Worry
It’s been a few months since we’ve seen the upcoming Corvette ZR1 out testing, with the last outing taking place on the Nurburgring in mid-April. The trail has since gone cold, but all that changed earlier this week when it was caught filling up with that sweet liquid gold we call gasoline. Even better yet, the prototype that was spotted is also half naked, giving us the best look at the coupe so far. Naturally, the entire front end and a small portion of the rear is still wrapped in the psychedelic camo that we all love to hate, but the lack of camo in the middle shows us that the ZR1 will, indeed, have the same rear quarters, roof, and doors found on the Stingray, Z06, and Grand Sport.
So far, there’s not a lot we know about the ZR1. It’s pretty much certain that the V-8 under the hood will be force fed, but whether or not that happens via a supercharger or a pair of twin turbos is still up in the air. We’re also not sure what it will deliver in terms of power, but with the Z06 cranking out some 650 ponies and the last-gen ZR1 making 638 ponies, we’re expecting no less than 700 horsepower out of the gate if not a little more. It should be able to tackle the 60-mph sprint in less than three seconds and will top out at more than 200 mph if you’ve got the balls to push it that hard. And, it’s about time that a C7-gen ZR1 makes its debut – the typical wait time for the ZR1 trim is about three to four years after the generation was introduced and 2018 will be the fourth year for the C7. So, we should be looking at a mid-2018 model or 2019 model at the latest. What can we spot in these new spy shots? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a better look real quick.
2018 Jeep Scrambler
The Jeep Wrangler Pickup has been confirmed for some time now, but Jeep has been quiet on the details. Between spy shots and insider information, we know the pickup will use the upcoming 2018 Wrangler JL’s frame, front styling, cab, interior, and powertrains. The mystery still remains as to what the cargo bed looks like and the materials its constructional from. What’s more, Jeep has yet to define the exact target audience for the Wrangler pickup, otherwise known as the JT. Will it offer class-leading payload and towing or will it be more focused on off-road performance? While we can’t say for sure, we’ve got some strong indications of Jeep’s intentions with its 2019-model-year pickup.
The Wrangler Pickup will ride on a lengthened version of the Wrangler Unlimited JL’s frame to accommodate the extra length needed for the bed. This means a longer, more stable Wrangler for on-road driving and trailer towing, but a slightly less maneuverable and (dare I say) capable Wrangler for off-roading adventures. It’s the break-over angle that will suffer the most, making the Wrangler pickup more vulnerable to high centering. Still, expect the JT to come standard with 4WD and Jeep’s Trail Rated rating.
Update 08/22/2017: A report from JeepScramblerForum.com shows confirmation the Jeep Wrangler pickup will be called the Jeep Scrambler, a name already associated with Jeep pickups of the 1980s. What’s more, CAD drawings show the extended frame and upgraded Dana axles. Also confirmed is the pickup’s use of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6.
2019 BMW 8 Series
Built between 1989 and 1999, the BMW 8 Series is now regarded as one of the most daring and intriguing Bimmers ever built. It’s also among the most desirable BMWs built in the 1990s, alongside the iconic M3. Requested again and again by fans ever since it was discontinued, the 8 Series is finally making a comeback to the market. BMW unveiled an 8 Series concept car at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, in May 2017 and confirmed that a production model will follow in 2018, alongside a beefed-up M8 version. Now that’s what I call good news!
A new 8 Series has been rumored for quite a few years, but for some weird reason BMW refused to bring it back until now. And I say "weird" because the German brand is in dire need of a luxury coupe above the 6 Series. With Mercedes-Benz already selling a two-door S-Class and Audi working on the A9, the 8 Series is pretty much mandatory if BMW wants to keep up with the competition. And needless to say, the S-Class was already far ahead of the 7 Series long before it gained coupe and convertible variants. But what’s the upcoming 8 Series going to be all about? Find out in my speculative review below.
Update 8/18/2017: So far, we’ve seen the 8 Series Concept and spy shots of the BMW M8 testing in the wild. Today, we finally get a look at the standard 8 Series rocking that traditional pre-debut camo. There isn’t a whole lot to talk about, but there are a few things to point out, so check out the Spy Shots section below to find out more about it.
Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming BMW 8 Series.
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai just showcased a facelifted version of the third-generation Santa Fe at the 2016 Chicago Auto show in hopes that the current generation would help make up for the brand’s lack of a full SUV lineup. Just a year later, our photographers caught up with what appears to be the next-gen Santa Fe testing on public roads. At a quick glance, it looks like the next-gen model will sport a look similar to that of the upcoming Hyundai Kona, including the thin running lights up top and larger headlights a little further down on the nose. It should get the same honeycomb grille design seen on the 2018 Elantra GT and will come with front-wheel drive as standard equipment. There’s no word on potential engine options or availability, but we suspect Hyundai will carry on with most of its current units, all of which should be retuned to deliver slightly better power and fuel economy.
There’s no word on when the fourth-gen Santa Fe will make its debut or go on sale, but we’re expecting an early 2018 debut and sales beginning later in the year as a 2019 model. That gives Hyundai plenty of time to drop some of the current camo and iron things out a bit, but let’s not waste any more time – it’s time to dive into this first test mule to see just what we can make out through all of that thick camo and padding.
Update 8/18/2017: It’s only been two months since the fourth-gen Santa Fe was caught stretching its wheels on the Nurburgring, and now it’s back out on public roads with less camo and a big smile. Check out the latest spy shots and what we can spot in the Spy Shots section below.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe.