Meet the First All-Electric "Sport Utility Truck" (and Other Big Car News)
Meanwhile, BMW teases its new roadster and Cadillac announces a shift in strategy.
Newsflash: SUVs remain the kings of the automotive world. Plus, BMW is revving its engines for a major new product announcement, and we've stumbled on some fascinating information about our collective preference in car colors. Read on for a full re-cap of the past week in car news. And for more on the latest and greatest in the automobile world, here are The Best New Cars for 2018.
Ferrari Caves to SUV Mania
Well, we can't say we didn't see this coming. The very last holdout, the one that insisted it would never, ever follow in the tracks of other prestige car makers with an SUV, Ferrari has bowed to the inevitable and announced that it is evaluating an all-terrain vehicle. Which means it's as good as done. With a new Aston Martin crossover in development, the spectacular Lamborghini Urus set to debut later this year, and even Rolls Royce in the chase, the case for holding out wilted against the potential profits. Let the hand-wringing begin.
But it's time to get a grip and let go of the outmoded anti-SUV bias that many folks still cling to. Sport Utilities are simply a superior form-factor for everyday applications, which is why it has become the de facto automotive standard. For ease of entry and egress there is no comparison, and having space for your junk and more than one passenger is quite handy. Best of all, inclement weather and flooded streets become a non-issue, unlike in snowflake sports cars (trust me, I've been there). And it's not as if you compromise sport driving. The current crop of SUVs defy physics with power, handling, and drive-ability that's exceptional for any vehicle.
There's little doubt that Ferrari's interpretation, like the Urus and Aston, will strike a mean pose, essentially a sports cars jacked on 'roids, the best of both worlds. So what's not to like? Bring it on! SUV enthusiasts, you should also be sure to check our list of The Ten Hottest SUVs Burning up the Road Right Now.
Meet the First "All-Electric Sport Utility Truck"
Enter the Bollinger B1, the self-proclaimed "world's first fully working prototype of an all-electric sport utility truck." Built on a lightweight aluminum architecture, the B1 displays a military form-defines-function rugged bearing that looks like something your wacked out neighbor built in his garage, though undeniably cool.
Its high ride height provides 15.5" of ground clearance, adjustable with a self-leveling, 4-wheel independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension. Anti-roll bars disconnect for enhanced traction with full suspension articulation in off-road maneuvers. Bollinger cites perfect 50/50 weight distribution with the dual-motor powertrain using front- and rear-mounted electric motors driving all four wheels. Juice comes from two lithium ion battery pack options: 60 kWh or 100 kWh, with 120 or 200 mile range, respectively. Power output is 360hp with 472 lb-ft of torque that sprints to 60 mph in a lively 4.5 seconds. Payload capacity is 6,100 lbs, with the gross vehicle weight rating cited at around 10,001 lbs. Fully-sealed instrumentation means that the interior can be hosed down after long, muddy runs in the outback.
While only a prototype at this stage, Bollinger Motors, based in Hobart, New York, stands an excellent chance of securing the amount of investment required to commence manufacturing. Once finalized, B1 deliveries are expected to begin within 19 months, though that may be a bit optimistic. Like Tesla, a direct-to-consumer sales model is planned with retail stores in major cities. Until then, you can reserve yours through bollingermotors.com by signing up online with no money down. By early 2018 reservation holders can secure their B1 with a $1,000 deposit. Pricing is speculated to fall between $45,000 to $75,000. Speaking of trucks, here are 10 Drool-Worthy New High-Performance Trucks.
Caddy Throws It in Reverse
In other SUV news, Cadillac announced that it is throwing in the towel on sedans, pivoting to focus on expanding its red-hot Escalade and XT5 crossover models. Slow sales of the brand's sedans—and dismal prospects of a reversal—drove the decision to jettison the ATS, CTS, and the awkward-looking, front-drive XTS, which never caught on.
The three sedans will be replaced by a new flagship car to be named the CT5, plus a small, entry-level competitor to BMW's 2 Series and Audi's A3. With three new sport utility vehicles currently in development, the refreshed lineup will consist of five SUV/crossovers and only two cars, nearly the exact inverse of the current lineup. In addition to the gravitational pull that SUVs have on the marketplace—aided greatly by cheap gasoline—Cadillac could not convince enough premium buyers to consider its sedans over the dominant German brands. While a course correction is long overdue, we'd like to see Cadillac build a show-stopping, grand tourer halo car for the upper reaches of the market to reclaim its once-lofty title The Standard of the World. Although we must stress that Cadillac's sedans didn't sell because of a lack of quality, as their CTS-V is one of the 10 Prestige Sedans That Show Who's Boss.
BMW Teases Its New Roadster
BMW has teased a new roadster concept to be unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, August 20th alongside the fabulous new 8 Series coupé. While speculation is that the roadster is likely to be the next generation Z4, the fact that it's being paired with the 8 Series strongly suggests that it marks the return of the Z8 roadster, which ended production in 2003. Either way, it's certain to be a blockbuster. And for more about beamers, here are The 10 Best BMWs of All Time.
You're Not Crazy: The Roads Are Looking Whiter
According to PPG, an automotive paint and coatings supplier, 60 percent of consumers cite color as a determining factor in their buying decision. That sounds right, except that the reality is more of an absence of color. Consistent with recent years, automotive color trends in North America—and elsewhere—look tired rather than inspired. White remains the most popular choice at 23 percent, followed by black at 19 percent, then gray and silver at 17 and 15 percent. Red and blue come in at 10 and 8 percent. It seems most buyers prefer to blend in. More likely is that most people are insecure about their aesthetic judgment and neutral tones represent the safe choice. But it may also be a smart move since cars with unusual colors are penalized with lower values at trade-in time.
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