We should probably be grateful that Hyundai sells the Elantra GT hatchback in the U.S. with an available turbocharged engine and manual transmission. But we can't help but look across the pond at the Elantra GT's European counterpart, the i30, with some degree of envy, as the Europeans get even more variety in the form of the appealing wagon and fastback variants.
The i30 lineup is getting a comprehensive update with sharp new styling, and it's quite possible that we'll get this facelift in the U.S. sometime soon, possibly when the 2021 model-year Elantra GT arrives. But unfortunately, we're not likely to get the i30 wagon, which is now available with the sporty N-Line treatment, or the i30 fastback, which has a quirky shape that we're weirdly into.
Although we're giving up on seeing the wagon or fastback here, we do hope that several of the i30's new features will make their way into an updated Elantra GT for America. The new larger touchscreen would be a nice addition, as would the brown interior upholstery option and the cool-looking LED accents in the headlights.
A visual timeline of the KTM X-Bow would look a lot like a scientific metamorphosis chart. Since arriving more than 12 years ago, Austria-based KTM has released a number of road-going and track-specific models, each more radical than the one before it. Slowly, the originally roofless X-Bow has added more and more bodywork until it arrived as this, the new GTX race car.
The GTX looks more like a fully-built race car than an X-Bow ever has. With a mid-engined layout, aerodynamic bodywork, a fully enclosed cockpit, and a gigantic rear pedestal wing, the GTX is designed to race in the GT2 class. KTM hasn't announced full specs yet, but it says the new car will be about 2,200 pounds and will have more than 600 horsepower. Under the hood will be a 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSi engine sourced from Audi Sport. Previous X-Bows only used four-cylinder engines.
The GTX advances the X-Bow racing program with learnings from the X-Bow GT4. KTM says the GTX is the first car that offers the combination of a homologated monocoque, a homologated GT cage, and a homologated advanced seat. Like the GT4, this vehicle was designed with KISKA and developed with Reiter Engineering.
KTM plans to make the first 20 vehicles available this year. Once the car goes through homologation, it will join Audi and Porsche in the GT2 racing series. KTM is also planning a one-make cup series for the car starting in 2021.
While the GT2 version will have more than 600 horsepower, the homologated GTX version will have around 500 horsepower. KTM will release more details with full specs, availability, and pricing in the near future.
Illustration by Radovan VaricakCar and Driver
We've been waiting for a new version of the Subaru WRX ever since the redesigned Impreza compact arrived a few years ago, and it looks like we will have to keep waiting for at least another year for it to arrive. But we already know lots of information about the new model, and new rumors are cropping up all the time, such as the latest report from Forbes that says the WRX STI will pack a big punch: up to 400 horsepower's worth, to be specific.
This story lends credence to our earlier speculation that the new WRX and WRX STI would use a version of Subaru's FA24 turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-four currently installed in the Ascent, Outback, and Legacy. The reported output figures of at least 400 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque for the STI are new, though, and surprising, given that this engine makes 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque in its more plebeian applications. Obviously, this engine will be highly tuned for the WRX and WRX STI, likely with a larger turbocharger running more boost and upgraded internals. We suspect the STI will offer only a six-speed manual transmission, while the standard WRX will also offer the stick shift or the choice of a CVT.
The WRX's platform, too, will be shared with other Subaru models, which all ride on what the company calls its Subaru Global Platform. These underpinnings will likely give it a lower center of gravity compared to the outgoing WRX, and all-wheel drive will be standard, natch. It will of course have a stiffer suspension, larger brakes, and grippier tires compared to the Impreza, and we're hoping to see the STI with those iconic gold wheels.
As for the new model's styling, Subaru has offered a few previews of what the WRX will look like in the form of the Viziv Performance concept from a few years ago and the recently revealed Japan-market Levorg wagon. Our artist's rendering shows a WRX that's lower, longer, and more aggressive than the current car, with more differentiation than before to set it apart from the mainstream Impreza sedan.
Our best guess is that the new WRX will debut sometime in 2021, meaning there's a possibility it will arrive in the U.S. as soon as the 2022 model year. The STI will likely follow the standard WRX by a few months, and both models are poised to have a price uptick. We'd wager somewhere around $30,000 for the WRX's base price and upward of $40,000 for the STI.
We can now put the second bookend on the 2020 Audi Q7 range. A couple of weeks ago, Audi announced pricing for the entry-level Q7 45, which starts at $55,795. At the Grey Poupon end of the lineup, the SQ7 will cost $84,800 in base Premium Plus trim, plus $995 for destination and handling, for a total of $85,795.. The second available trim, Prestige, runs $91,395.
That dosh comes with updated Q7 looks, plus a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 blowing 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Also thrown in at no cost, differentiating S exterior features like the reshaped front bumper and integrated splitter, aluminum-look mirror housings, logo illuminated door sills, and quad exhaust pipes straddling a "rear diffuser inlay." Buyers will find S sport front seats with 12-way adjustment available in black, Rotor Gray, or Arras Red, and Valcona leather throughout set off by contrasting diamond stitching. Gray oak high-gloss trim is standard, Carbon Vector inlays a cost option.
All new Q7 cabins are laid out with the new MMI touch and dual-touchscreen interface. Prestige comes with a full-color heads-up display, and a 19-speaker audio system. Tunes can be turned up a notch in the Prestige trim with the 23-speaker, 1,920-watt Bang & Olufsen audio.
The S adaptive suspension, Quattro, all-wheel steering, and 21-inch V-spoke wheels are freebies. Straight-line performance gets the SQ7 to 60 miles per hour in the same 4.3 seconds as the Audi S5. For curves, the optional Sport Package upgrades handling with active roll stabilization and a differential on the rear axle. Emphasizing the 'what a time to be alive' aspects of a 500-hp, three-row family chariot, the SQ7 comes with a three-way folding second row, five LATCH child seat mounting points for clans raising an NBA starting five, and it can tow 7,700 pounds.
Audi hasn't completed the rollout of this year's performance SUV arsenal yet — we await pricing on the SQ8, which shares its powertrain with the SQ7, and the even-more-powerful RS Q8 that wrings another 92 hp and 22 lb-ft from the same engine.
The upcoming coachbuilt Bentley Mulliner Bacalar has been teased before its Geneva Motor Show reveal once again. Instead of one of the wheels or a glimpse of its rear quarter panels, we get a rather clear view of the interior. Bentley highlights the fact that there are only two seats, making this only the second two-seat car the company has offered since 1930. But looking closely, it also suggests that the Mulliner Bacalar is a convertible.
The first indication is the angle of the photo, which is clearly from high up, and generally unobstructed. Perhaps it could be a design buck, but there's more to it than that. At the bottom of the photo, there's a black, horizontal object obscuring the base of the seats. It's too close to the seat backs to be the dashboard, so we think it's actually the windshield header. Then there's the placement of the seatbelts. They're mounted really low in the interior, seemingly below the window line. That's something automakers normally do if there are no pillars to mount to higher up, and if you didn't want to mount them to the seats. There also appears to be trim wrapping around behind the rear cargo area at the same height, further suggesting there's no solid roof and pillars in place. With all this under consideration, plus a previous report of a convertible in the works, we're thinking the Bacalar is a droptop of some sort.
Taking a turn back to what's obvious in the photo, the interior is clearly a two-seat design, and you can see that it features matching luggage to fit the cavity behind the seats. The seats are upholstered in a nifty and sporty-looking diamond pattern with contrasting gray and yellow fabrics. Bentley doesn't specifically say what materials are used, but it says everything was sustainably sourced.
The Mulliner Bacalar will be fully revealed on March 3 at the Geneva Motor Show. It will apparently take styling inspiration from the electric EXP 100 GT concept, and Bentley is stressing the sustainability aspect of the car. The same report that said a convertible was coming, though, also said it would probably get a W12 engine, and at least the convertible part of the report seems to be true. Also expect a price tag well into the seven figure range.
Subaru is giving the Crosstrek a more powerful engine for 2021, according to a report from Automotive News. Subaru CEO Tom Doll told AN that the updated Crosstrek will have Subaru's 2.5-liter boxer-four to supplant the current 2.0-liter engine that's standard equipment on the subcompact crossover. C/D reached out to Subaru representatives, who did not confirm the new engine.
The 2.5L will reportedly be available in a new Sport trim level and the top Limited model. This engine makes 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque in other Subaru models such as the Outback and Forester, a useful uptick of 30 horsepower and 31 lb-ft of torque over the current Crosstrek's 2.0-liter boxer-four. We assume it will be available only with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive, as we don't expect these upper-level Crosstreks to offer a six-speed manual like the base and Premium trim levels do.
This will no doubt improve the Crosstrek's acceleration times, which aren't exactly quick. A CVT-equipped 2018 Crosstrek with the 2.0-liter engine went from zero to 60 mph in a laggard 9.1 seconds in our testing, and made it through the quarter mile in 17.2 seconds at 84 mph. We'll be glad to have more power on board when we get the updated Crosstrek in for testing, and we're sure owners will, too.
Though the Hyundai Elantra GT has only been on sale in the U.S. a couple of years, it's getting a light refresh. The freshened styling makes its debut on the car's European twin, the i30, and helps it fit in with the latest Hyundai models such as the Sonata and Santa Fe. It also brings some updated technology.
The main styling changes are to the front and rear fascias. The lights have sharper corners and bold, triangular LED running lamps. The front grille has been dramatically widened, and the lower grilles have been given pointy ends like the lights. The N-Line model, shown above, keeps the more aggressive front spoiler like that of the current model. The rear diffuser area has been expanded to include the license plate area, and the lower rear lights have been moved down to the edges of said area. This helps make the back of the car look less fussy and bulky.
The interior gets similarly subtle, but substantive tweaks. Most of the dashboard, doors and center console are unchanged, but there's now a 10.25-inch infotainment screen available like that found in the new Ioniq. The instrument cluster gets a big 7-inch display, too, and it's flanked by new analog dials.
While they won't be offered in the U.S., it's worth noting that the European i30 variant will get some engine options with 48-volt mild hybrid systems. As with other such systems, this allows for earlier engine shutoff, longer off periods, and smoother restarts. It will be an option on one of the turbocharged 1.0-liter gas engines, and standard on the higher-output 1.6-liter diesel and 1.5-liter gas engines. Don't feel too bad that those engines aren't offered here, as they're all less powerful than our Elantra GT's base 161-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine. The turbocharged 201-horsepower 1.6-liter engine isn't an option there, either. It will be interesting to see if the 48-volt hybrid system is adapted to these U.S.-spec engines, though.
The new i30 or Elantra GT will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and it will go on sale in Europe this summer in hatchback, wagon and fastback varieties. We will likely only get the hatchback, and it will probably launch later this year. Expect pricing closer to launch.
Michael SimariCar and Driver
Blending in is no fun, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport may initially appear to be an appealingly different choice among the vast, monotonous crowd of small luxury SUVs. Thanks to its ruggedly handsome lines, it offers a welcome stylistic relief from the cookie-cutter blobs seen elsewhere in the segment. Actually driving and living with the Discovery Sport, however, is a lesson in appreciating the status quo.
The Discovery Sport in its current form has been around since 2015. Updates over the years have brought fresher styling details and Jaguar Land Rover's in-house-developed turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. But this 246-hp engine that powers all Discovery Sports except the uplevel R-Dynamic HSE model (that one gets a 286-hp version of the turbo four) doesn't bring any measurable improvements over the previous Ford-sourced 2.0-liter turbo-four. Paired with ZF's nine-speed automatic transmission, our portly, 4658-pound test vehicle went from zero to 60 mph in a disappointing 7.5 seconds, or 0.4 second slower than the old model. Through the quarter-mile, its 15.8-second pass at 86 mph is 0.1 second and 3 mph slower than before.
The acceleration of the mid-level P250 model we tested also significantly trails that of the Mercedes GLC300 and BMW X3 30i, both of which employ similarly powerful 2.0-liter turbo-fours yet weigh hundreds of pounds less than the Land Rover. The Discovery Sport's mass also is largely to blame for its dismal fuel economy, which we measured at 19 mpg overall and only 21 mpg on our 75-mph highway test. The X3, meanwhile, hit 22 mpg and 31 mpg, respectively, in the same metrics. Land Rover claims that the more powerful Discovery Sport in the P290 trim level—equipped with a more powerful 286-hp version of the 2.0-liter—improves the zero-to-60-mph time by 0.5 second, but that's still quite a ways off of the competition. We haven't driven that model yet.
The Discovery Sport's driving character should appeal to those who look back fondly on the early days of the SUV. It feels larger than it is and has the lazy throttle response and slow steering that was commonplace back when most sport-utility vehicles were lumbering body-on-frame beasts. Its ride is comfortable when cruising on the highway, but we wish it felt more responsive and controlled when cornering.
Land Rover is a name that conjures images of luxury even when traversing rough terrain. But the Discovery Sport's cabin is starting to feel dated. The dashboard is devoid of any interesting design flair, and the materials look and feel as if they came from the discount rack. Our test car strangely lacked heated seats, driver-assist features, and SiriusXM satellite radio, yet it still cost $53,775. That amount is within a few thousand dollars of a far more luxurious X3 or GLC. Land Rover's touchscreen infotainment software doesn't do the Disco Sport any favors. Not only does it respond rather slowly to inputs, its graphics appear a generation behind the newest systems.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport's optional third-row seat for $1200 is a somewhat rare proposition in this class, as Mercedes-Benz's new GLB-class is the only other seven-seat SUV in this size bracket, for now. But while both that feature and the Discovery's handsome design may set it apart, they are not enough to make it a worthy contender in its highly competitive segment. Compared to the established players from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, the baby Disco simply doesn't feel worth its luxury price tag, even if it is aesthetically appealing.
Aston Martin won't begin delivering its new DBX to customers in North America until the latter half of this year. Perhaps as a favor to DBX intenders that haven't placed orders yet, Q by Aston Martin has prepared a bespoke DBX for the Geneva Motor Show that presents a sliver of the creative possibilities unlocked by working with Q. The near infinite menu of choices has been broken down into two groups, Q by Aston Martin Commission and Q by Aston Martin Collection. Collection fits a range of predesigned accessories like carbon fiber paddle shifters or hood vent louvers for the DBS Superleggera. The Commission range encompasses all the imagination that a customer's bank account can fund.
The Geneva show car wears Satin Xenon Grey paint from the Collection, as well as carbon fiber pieces around the lower exterior, black anodized tread plates and plaques on the sill. The 22-inch gloss black painted wheels come from the Commission department.
The grand showcase comes inside the DBX vault. Yards of Obsidian Black Leather come from the SUV's standard options list. Commission stewards designed the satin chrome aluminum trim and jewelry as an entree, all milled from a solid ingot of the shiny stuff and finished with a special diamond pattern. They followed that up with a custom technique for the carbon fiber floating center console, door trim, and luggage floor. Craftsmen laid up 280 layers of carbon fiber, cured it for 12 hours, then put five-axis milling machines to work for 90 hours to create the necessary shapes. The finish on the cabin pieces reflects the strata of the hand-laid layers, while the span protecting the luggage floor comes from a single sheet of herringbone-pattered carbon fiber. Raised metal and rubber welts help protect the load floor finish and prevent cargo sliding to and fro.
The standard DBX starts at $192,986 after destination. A Q by Aston Martin DBX will, naturally, cost a touch more.