Weekly News - November 30 2021

BMW has revealed something to spark debate (again), Ford has revealed its new Ranger pick-up, Ferrari has gone back to basics and there are a bunch of interesting new concepts that might become real one day. Get it all in our latest news round-up.

Oh BMW, what on earth are you doing? Yes, that will be the reaction many people will have to the reveal this week of the XM, the first dedicated BMW M car since the gorgeous M1 of the 1970s. It’s also the first XM since, the XM, the Citroen XM, built between 1980 and 2000 that won the European Car of the Year award in 1990. But we won’t let that bother BMW.

Right, so what is the not-a-Citroen XM? It’s what BMW sees as the future of M cars, a plug-in hybrid model featuring a big V8 and an electric motor that will allow it to drive up to 80km in electric mode before you switch back to V8 power and which will go on sale in some form late in 2022. New boss of M division, Fran-ciscus van Meel says it’s “a complete re-imagining of the high-performance car segment.” Unlike the M1 per-formance car though, the XM is clearly a big SUV but global sales figures show that SUVs are what every-one wants and BMW is happy to oblige. What you need to know is that the XM debuts a new frontal design for BMW luxury models, so expect to see it on the new 7 Series and X7 sometime soon. What you probably won’t see are the velvet rear seats, but we’re ok with that. 

Moving to a slightly smaller SUV and this week Skoda revealed its new Karoq. It comes hot on the heels of the reveal a couple of weeks ago of its twin, the new Volkswagen T-Roc but fortunately Skoda steers clear of offering a convertible version. It’s more of a facelift that adopts some of the style and equipment of the new Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo. This means a modernised design with the option of Matrix LED headlights, new interior trim and lighting and the slightest hint of eco-friendliness with the option of seat co-vers made from recycled plastic bottles and a few exterior aerodynamic changes to reduce CO2 a smidge.

If like us, you are a fan of pick-up trucks then you will have been eagerly anticipating the debut of the new Ford Ranger. As expected, it takes its design cues from its big brother, the Ford F-150 over in the US, but of course it’s smaller and more suitable for UK roads. Ford says it has upgraded the suspension and chassis to make the Ranger even more comfortable and capable. It has also fitted it with a V6 turbodiesel among other engine choices but there’s no official word on electrification as yet, although a plug-in hybrid is believed to be in development. The interior gets a big upgrade with more tech, comfort and equipment. We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel of this truck when it arrives in 2022.

Something much more exclusive is the latest in the Ferrari Icona series. We were in Italy for the reveal of the new Daytona SP3 in Florence, a car that has a price tag of €2-million and which dials back the technology a little to provide a more analogue experience. It doesn’t go as far as offering a manual gearbox, those days are gone says Ferrari, but it forgoes electrification or active aerodynamics and a features an interior that has been bolted to the carbon fibre tub from the LaFerrari Aperta. 

It’s a fantastic looking machine with design cues from the famous Ferrari 330 P3/4 endurance race cars of the late 1960s. It has wide horizontal strakes at the rear, dominant wheel arches with forward placed wing mirror up front and a nod to the days of pop-up headlights with panels that swipe away to reveal the main beams when activated. It’s also punchy with a normally-aspirated V12 that will help any of the 599 owners to launch to 62mph in just 2.85 seconds - lucky things. 

If however you have moved into the realms of a slightly more technology-focused drive, then Porsche has launched GTS versions of its Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismo. Porsche refers to the new versions as the “sporty sweet spot” in the ranges, which judging by other models we have driven that wear the GTS badge, sounds about right. Expect them in the UK early in 2022. 

If you are one to those people that has had to wait for an electric Kia e-Niro then you’ll be interested to know that a new one is on the way. Kia revealed its new Niro at the Seoul motor show and it will go on sale with only hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrains next year. The design is bit more fussy than the outgoing model but the interior looks fantastic with a clean lines, the latest tech and materials that look more premium that you would expect in a Kia. We’d say watch out Hyundai but no doubt a new Kona will be along soon too. 

As always we’ve seen quite a few concepts emerge lately, including some that can only travel on the ground and one that can travel on it or above it. The latter is a very different take on the classic Renault 4. A collaboration with TheArsenale, which isn’t the French arm of the Arsenal supporters club, the AIR4 features a modern take on the Renault 4 design with a body made from carbon fibre and four arms featuring dual-blade propellers for horizontal take-off and flight. As far as concepts go, this one is way ahead with Renault saying it could be a vision for 60 years time  

Then there are a bunch of new concepts from Nissan including a new pick-up to take on the blocky Tesla Cybertruck, if it ever actually makes it into production. While concepts make people go ooh and aah, Nissan has backed them up with the news that it will launch 23 new electrified models, including 15 new electric vehicles, by 2030, with the intention to make 50% of all its new models sold electrified by that year. In the UK and Europe it expects 75% of all its sales to be electrified by 2026. Now if only it would make the Nis-san IDx that it teased us with in 2013.


Written by Mark Smyth