2022 BMW i4
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 2/27/2020: The BMW i4 Prototype with a RWD configuration was caught playing in the snow just a week before the i4 Concept is set to make its debut.
2021 Fiat 500
The 2021 Fiat 500 is the second-generation version of the modern 500. The 2021 model will replace a car that has been around since 2007, so it’s already 13 years old as of 2020. With the 500 discontinued in the United States and on its way out in Europe, a new-generation models will arrive in 2020.
Fiat has already confirmed that a new 500 is underway, but details remain scarce. We also know that on top of the usual hatchback and convertible models, Fiat will launch a five-door wagon that will revive the Giardiniera name. Let’s find out more about the upcoming 2021 Fiat 500 in the speculative review below.
2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 GTI
The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI may still be the most popular hot-hatchback out there, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth after more than four years on the market. With Ford already working on a new-generation Focus ST, which will be significantly more powerful than the current Golf GTI, Volkswagen needs to roll out a new hatchback really soon. Fortunately, the Germans are already testing the next-generation Golf GTI, which is rumored to break cover sometime in 2019.
Not much is known about the upcoming performance hatchback, but it should borrow many design features seen on recently introduced Volkswagen models, including the sporty Arteon sedan. The company also promises a revolution inside the cabin, including a "total digital environment," according to design chief Klaus Bischoff. Set to use a revised version of the company’s MQB platform, it will also a new engine with power ratings of up to 250 horsepower. Let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.
Updated 12/30/2019: The 2021 Volkswagen Golf MK8 GTI was caught doing some cold-weather testing with next to no camo and zero padding. Check out the new images and the latest details in our spy shots section below!
BMW Introduced the seventh-generation G20 3 Series for the 2019 model year and with it came a new design language, update engines, and some features from models like the 5 Series and X5, among others. To top all this off, it’s also just a bit larger and more aggressive than the seven-year-old F30 3 Series that it replaced. We didn’t get a chance to run the new 3 Series prototype around the track on the original pre-release test days, so we’ve been itching to see just how much better new the 3 Series is and whether or not all that new technology and new driving dynamics live up to the hype. So, we started reaching out in hopes of getting our hands on a new 3 Series tester, and BMW delivered. In fact, it delivered so well, that we got to spend a week with none other than the new 2020 BMW M340i – the best model you can get without going full-on M.
So, is the M340i really a poor man’s M3? Does it really compete against the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 or the Audi S5 Sportback? Does the M340i really deserve its time in the limelight? Well, after a week of a weird, love-hate affair with the 2020 BMW M340i, we have answers to all these questions and more. Here’s our experience….
2020 Lotus SUV
The idea of a Lotus crossover might make some fans of the British sports carmaker a little squeamish, but if Lotus is going to stick around, it’s going to need a higher-volume model with more mass-market appeal. Lotus revealed that it’s developing a compact crossover in 2017, but we still don’t know much about its underpinnings and design. However, a batch of patent images that surfaced the Web provided some hints as to what the British crossover will look like, and our designer created a rendering of the vehicle.
So what do we actually know about this crossover so far? First, it will be built in China and launched exclusively in that market before expanding to Europe and Japan. No word on U.S. availability just yet, but it’s very likely that North America will get it too. Second, Lotus aims to win SUV enthusiasts with one of the lightest and most dynamic vehicles on the market. "The SUV market changes as well – it’s not just cars that are six feet high and wide now, it’s a huge market that’s becoming more segmented. There is a niche within that for a Lotus crossover that is light and aerodynamic and handles like nothing else," former Lotus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales told Autocar in October 2017. Lotus began testing the crossover in 2019, but the prototype is just an old Lynk & Co 01 model. As a reminder, Lynk & Co is owned by Geely, the same Chinese company that owns Lotus (and Volvo for that matter).
Updated 06/24/2019: Our spy photographers caught the very first mules for the upcoming Lotus SUV out for the first testing session.
The Chevy Traverse had an identity complex during its first 8 years of life, with the first-gen model being a weird blend of crossover and minivan with GM’s old, not-so-attractive styling inside and out. Fortunately, the 2018 model year became the host of the second-gen Traverse, and it came with a true SUV appearance that doesn’t require the hardcore (and heavy) full-size truck DNA under the metal. As the roomiest three-row SUV on the market without those full-size truck underpinnings, we’ve been wondering how the second-gen Traverse really holds up against competitors like the Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9. Finally, after two years on the market, we finally got the chance to get behind the wheel to find out for ourselves. This is our experience with the 2020 Chevy Traverse.
2021 Ford Bronco II aka "Baby Bronco"
In March 2018, Ford unveiled its plans for the next two years, which includes many new models and a shift toward crossovers in the U.S. The bigger news includes dropping most cars in favor of SUVs, a hybrid version of the F-150 truck, and a revival of the iconic Bronco. The latter will be joined by a smaller sibling with similar boxy cues. A baby Bronco!
Described as a vehicle "designed to win a growing number of people who love getting away and spending time outdoors with their families and friends," the compact SUV was partially revealed in a teaser photo. In November 2018, photos of the actual vehicle leaked onto the web following a Ford dealer meeting. And based on what we can see, it’s aimed directly at Jeep. Specifically, while the new-generation Bronco will go against the all-popular Wrangler, the smaller crossover will take on the Renegade. There’s no official name for it yet, and details remain a mystery, but it could roll out by 2020.
Update 09/26/2019: Our spy photographers finally caught a real-life look at the all-new Ford Baby Bronco – possibly known as the Bronco II, if Ford decides to revive that name – so check out the special “Spy Shots” section below to see the new shots and learn more about it.
2019 Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang has a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1962 Ford Mustang I two-seater concept. It wasn’t until mid-1964 that it was introduced in production form (just two weeks after Plymouth introduced the first Barracuda) and has been in production ever since, with the sixth-generation model, the model you see here, being introduced in 2015. For one reason or another, we haven’t had a chance to get our hands on a sixth-gen model, but all that has changed now, and we happened to be graced with the 2019 Ford Mustang GT Convertible. With the bright green pony car sitting in our parking lot, we couldn’t wait to drive it. And, despite the fact that we had a whole week to get acquainted, we got right to putting the GT Convertible, and its 5.0-liter V-8 to the test.
Does it compete well with the Chevy Camaro Convertible? What about, on the other end of the spectrum, the BMW 4 Series Cabriolet? Well, this is our experience and what we thought about it. Strap in folks, this is going to be one long ride.
2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven
It was 2010 when the rules changed after two Peugeot models were killed off: the 607, which was almost completely based on the 605 model from 1989, and the 407, which seemed like it was roaming between segments in an attempt to get into the wallets of two social strata. It wasn’t like Peugeot roamed around wearing blindfolds, though. This was more of an attempt at creating a global trend founded on personal identity; however, Peugeot couldn’t find its ground when it came to cars whose length was more than 4,5 meters (177 inches).
Mind you, Peugeot wasn’t the only one, as similar strategies were employed by Volvo, Renault, and even Ford. And then they were back with another attempt – one car that would be interesting to those in need of a spacious family car, but also those who were in search for a business saloon or the second best thing at least. As the wheelbase for the 607 was 2.800 mm (110.23 in), and 2.725 mm (107.28 in) for the 407, Peugeot found itself in uncharted territories in 2010 given that its 508 (albeit shorter than the 607), had a wheelbase of 2.817 mm.
So, the two generations of the 508 model found its way to more than 400,000 buyers in Europe alone. Despite steadily declining sales figures, Peugeot wasn’t ready to euthanize the model. Instead, the company decided to cut the administrative costs, and adequately entice its designers and engineers. They came up with a new product and Peugeot revealed it in March 2018 at the Geneva International Auto Show as the new 508.
Next-Gen Nissan Juke NISMO has its work cut out?
Nissan has only just pulled the veil away from its all-new second-generation Juke crossover and we’re already wondering what the hot Juke NISMO variant might be like. The automaker will probably go quite crazy with it if it does get made, but until we get official confirmation of the production model, this rendering is all we have to go by.
The Fiat 500 L is classified as a Compact MPV – Minivan, as we know the term here in the United States – but it’s really more of a compact SUV or large hatchback. It’s been on the global market since 2012, but Fiat didn’t bring it to the states until the 2014 model year. It’s been on the market ever since, and was updated in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that the 500 L is still nearly eight years old. With this in mind, we’re kind of curious if the city car on steroids – remember, it’s based on the 500 city car – is still a viable choice in today’s market.
So, we spoke with our press fleet coordinator and managed to get our hands on a 2019 Fiat 500 L. A couple of weeks later, a 2019 Fiat 500 L Trekking showed up at Top Speed headquarters. This trim level sits above the entry-level Pop trim, but below the upper-class Urbana and Lounge trim levels with a starting price of $23,575. It is certainly positioned right in the middle of the affordable price bracket, but how does it drive? Is the aging 500 L comfortable and up to par with the competition? Does it provide the same thrills and entertaining experience as the smaller 500 that it’s based on? Well, after spending a week with the 2019 Fiat 500 L, we have answers to these questions and more – this is our story.
A New EV-Only Fiat 500 Is on the Way, But What Will It Look Like?
Fiat has been selling the current 500 city runabout for over ten years, mostly unchanged, and it will have to replace it with an all-new model fairly soon. Back in 2007, when it was first revealed, it was a response to the success that BMW was having with the MINI Cooper and VW with its revived Beetle, both of which were unashamedly retro-inspired.
Times are changing now, and the focus is more on how green cars are these days, as well as their level of perceived quality - how “premium” they feel. Fiat is reportedly working on the next-gen 500 and it is apparently not only going to be slightly bigger than the current car, but also fully-electric and considerably more luxurious.