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.
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.
2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette ZR1
The 2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette ZR1 is an upcoming high-performance version of the eighth-generation Corvette. Likely to debut toward the end of 2020, the Corvette ZR1 should become the range-topping version of the C8 Corvette lineup and sit above the upcoming Corvette Z06. Details are slim as of 2019, but the 2021 Corvette ZR1 should feature a more aggressive and more aerodynamic body, extra carbon-fiber, a V-8 with forced induction (it could even be a hybrid), and a beefed-up chassis packed with race-bred components.
Original rumors claimed that the ZR1 might feature a "Zora" badge in honor of former GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, also known as the "father of the Corvette" and the man who experimented with mid-engined Corvette designs back in the day. It seems that this rumor might not become a reality, but the C8 ZR1 could be a massive departure from its predecessor thanks to a hybrid layout and all-wheel drive. Of course, this has yet to be confirmed, but Chevy did admit that the C8 Corvette was developed with electrification in mind. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.
2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the German automaker’s tip of the spear when it comes to luxury and opulence, offering the very latest in technology, styling, and interior features. With a history that dates back to the early ‘70s, the latest sixth generation for the flagship sedan model (also known as the W222) was introduced back in 2013, which means it’s time for a ground-up redesign. With that in mind, we pulled out the TopSpeed crystal ball, drew up the above-pictured rendering, and wrote up a speculative review on what exactly the next S-Class could be bringing to the table.
Update 04/08/2019: The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was caught doing some spring testing and this time around it has dropped a lot of the fake plastic that was protecting its true appearance. Check out our latest update in the spy shots section below
2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan - Driven
First rolling off the production line in 1966, the Toyota Corolla has been around for over five decades. In 2013, Toyota celebrated an astonishing 40 million units sold for the nameplate, which makes it the most popular car in history. Now there’s a new twelfth generation for the 2020 model year, and it offers refreshed styling, a new interior stuffed with a wide variety of technology and features, a new architecture, and a new Hybrid trim level, all at a reasonable price point. However, with SUVs and crossovers dominating the sales charts, does the 2020 Toyota Corolla have what it takes to carry the torch for the sedan segment? To find out, I flew out to Savannah, Georgia, to experience it first hand, all courtesy of Toyota.
If you have ever wondered what the sports car of the future will look like, a great place to look is at your BMW dealership. The BMW i8 is how BMW sees it, and if that is the case, the future may be brighter than we thought. If we had to guess what the sports car of the future would be, we can be almost certain that it will be electric or have at least hybrid power. It would also be made of high-tech materials and be futuristic looking — the i8 checks all those boxes.
2019 BMW X5 M50d - Driven
The all-new, 2019 BMW X5 isn’t so much a new high-riding model in the Bavarian automaker’s range, but more a case of a huge grille with a big SUV attached to it. It is a very proud looking car, the new X5, and BMW really wants you to notice it because it believes it’s great vehicle that should get your attention. You don’t put this big a grille on a car you are not 100 percent confident in and after spending some time with the new X5, in top M50d diesel trim no less, I found little to fault about it. And this comes from a guy who doesn’t really like or understand the need for SUVs (it is my belief that they are a bit pointless and are usually bought to do the same job as a wagon).
I admit that when I picked up the car I wanted to start picking at faults on the quest to reach my predetermined conclusion that you’re better off buying a 5-Series wagon. But you aren’t better off necessarily because the new X5 has a lot to offer - almost car-like handling, strong performance, one of the best six-cylinder engine soundtracks ever, and limo-like passenger room and comfort levels. Plus, BMW says the latest X5 is also the best X5 ever when it comes to going off-road, not that anybody will actually take it off-road, but it’s nice to know it can. I mean it’s an SUV after all, so it should be able to take you off the beaten path whenever you feel like it.
Not this M50d with steel springs, active sway bars, and massive rims, though, as it’s better suited for on-road driving. For the first time, however, BMW is offering models that are more off-road oriented with adjustable air suspension that can increase its ride height and rough ground capability considerably. But boy is that M50d power plant good, especially with the new exhaust resonator that comes online in sport mode - it is probably one of the loudest factory diesels ever made, and I absolutely love it because of this.