Weekly News - February 23 2022

New models are coming thick and fast and we have the latest on some new SUVs, a punchy new pick-up and useful info if you are buying a van.

Geneva motor show isn’t happening again this year but the news around new models that usually coincides with it is definitely ramping up. Many of these are being spotted around the world undergoing testing and while not all are going to be imminently revealed, they should all be shown during the course of the year. If you’re looking at buying new this year, then you might want to know about these.

Audi is updating its A6 already while BMW is busy with a new 7 Series that could give it a less controversial design and an all-electric model. BMW is also putting the final touches to its M5 which will be a hybrid for the first time. Mercedes is preparing a new EQE electric SUV, as well as updates for the AMG GLE 63 SUVs and a new G-Class. The Ferrari Purosangue SUV appears to have broken cover but seeing as the images have been leaked we can’t be totally sure it is the final thing. 

Meanwhile, sales of the Porsche Panamera have plummeted in the face of the success of the electric Taycan, but Porsche is busy with a brand new Panamera to try and recover some lost ground. The sports car maker is also working on an updated 911 convertible and one we are really excited about, the 911 Safa-ri, a raised height all-wheel drive 911 that takes us back to the classic 911 that competed in such epic mo-torsport races as the Dakar Rally. 

After that little lot some other models we know much more about. This week Ford revealed its new Ranger Raptor pick-up and it now has the performance to match its looks. The outgoing model was a great per-former off-road, but it’s diesel engine was lacking, something the blue oval has now corrected with a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V8 that pushes out 288hp and 491Nm. The Raptor will be the first of the new Ranger line-up to arrive in the UK later this year and it will also have an active exhaust system that definitely gives it a more rapturous soundtrack than the last one. Other changes include new Fox shocks, updates to the chassis and the Raptor treatment for the all-new interior. 

It’s almost impossible to mention the new Ranger without talking about the new Volkswagen Amarok. The pair are now twins under a commercial vehicle arrangement between the two automakers and VW has re-leased more images of its upcoming second generation ‘wolf’ (Amarok means wolf in Inuit). They’re still sketches and they don’t tell us much but we do know it will be 100mm longer and a bit wider with more tech than before and hopefully another punchy V6 turbodiesel. 

Seeing as we are talking commercial vehicles, here’s some news if you are in the market for a new van or even a fleet of new vans. Euro NCAP has released its latest safety ratings for vans and the new Fiat Ducato topped the charts with a score of 88%. The every popular Ford Transit came second with 68% and the Volkswagen Transporter was third with 65%. Way down at the bottom of the list sit the Citroen Jumper, Re-nault Master and Nissan Interstar, so these three clearly need to put their tea down and get on with making some improvements. 

Jumping out of the vans, it’s back to yet another SUV, this time the new Alfa Romeo Tonale. Due in the UK later this year, it should provide all the usual Alfa DNA, although hopefully that will be more performance DNA rather than the genes relating to Alfa’s notorious quality issues. There will be a range of hybrid ver-sions including a range-topping 275hp plug-in hybrid Q4 model that Alfa says can cover up to 50 miles in town. The Tonale sits below the Stelvio and the Italian automaker is hoping this one is really going to boost its sales numbers and entice everyone back to the brand.

Maserati is probably hoping the Grecale will do the same for them. Finally, we have an official reveal date of March 22, or rather a date when we can tell you what we know about the Grecale without the lawyers getting annoyed at us for saying too much. What we also have is a new image showing it with even less disguising, although again we can’t confirm or deny how close to the final thing the images are. 

Renault has teased an upcoming SUV, or at least we think it’s an SUV. They haven’t said much about it but it’s important because it shows a new design direction for the French car company, one that might have al-ready been hinted at slightly but the great little Renault 5 electric car. We’ll find out when the new model is shown in May. 

Finally a look ahead to some stuff happening this week. We’ve been out in France driving the new Ineos Grenadier 4x4 and you’ll be getting our impression on it when the embargo lifts shortly. We’re sworn to se-crecy on a new Morgan too and we’ll be in Barcelona in a few days to see the new electric Fisker Ocean and talk apples and pears, but not stairs. We did say things are getting busy again.


Written by Mark Smyth