The middle of November 2020 has been a very busy time in terms of cool car news and there were some topics I wanted to cover but didn’t find time for. So, here’s a compiled version of those headlines that didn’t find their place on the Auto Loons news feed:
2022 Subaru BRZ
The Subaru BRZ debuted in 2012 as an affordable RWD sports car built in conjunction with Toyota. Now there’s a new one with different front and rear-end design which gets more power than before. The recipe remains the same: small, nimble, low centre of gravity and a 2-door coupe design. It looks more jolly than aggressive with its wide front grille flanked by large air vents while the rear end looks a bit too modern. The new wraparound taillights are a bit higher and the rear bumper seems chunkier than before and the new spoiler is better integrated into the boot lid design which actually takes away some of the JDM vibes. Structurally, this new version boasts a 50% increase in torsional stiffness which is also good for better handling.
It’s still got a boxer engine under the hood but it’s now a bigger unit. The 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine in the new BRZ makes 228bhp and 250Nm, all sent to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. There is a choice of an automatic, but the 6-speed manual is the one to have. The cabin has been updated too with more display surfaces like the larger infotainment screen and the digital driver’s instrument cluster. It does get rear seats since it’s a 2+2 offering, but it’s best used as a 2-seater with the rear row folded down for more storage. Like last time, only a select few markets will get the Subaru BRZ while its Toyota-badged version will act as a successor to the highly acclaimed GT86 in other markets.
2022 Honda Civic Prototype
The Civic is one of the best-selling cars in the world and has a widespread fanbase. Petrolheads like it for its tuning capabilities and VTEC while most others buy it for its practicality and reliability as a Japanese family sedan/hatchback (depending on the market). Honda has now teased the next-generation of the Civic with this design prototype in the sedan body. It looks like a baby Accord, i.e., it looks grown-up but still sporty enough to attract the younger buyers.
Details on the 11th-gen Civic are sparse but it has been confirmed for all three types: sedan, hatchback and Type-R. The sedan prototype looks wider and longer without much change in its actual measurements over the current model. It’ll be packing all sorts of new tech for connectivity, safety and fuel-efficiency too.
We only got a design sketch of the new interior which seems to mimic the theme outside: clean and simple. There’s a nice round steering wheel with a digital driver’s display, a floating touchscreen for the central infotainment system with air vents integrated into the dashboard underneath, covered by hexagonal mesh to give the entire dash an uninterrupted look. Whether Honda will be able to carry forward this exact design to production is unknown, but the new Civic is going to be even cooler than the one it replaces for sure. The version we’re looking forward to most is the new Type-R performance hatchback.
New Mercedes-Maybach S-Class
I do like large luxury cars like the Bentley Flying Spur or the Audi S8. I even appreciate the Rolls-Royce Phantom. But I don’t quite understand the appeal of the new generation of Mercedes-Maybach models. I think the problem started with the 2019 model which got a hideous two-tone paint with a garish grille. The new one has a better colour combo in its unveil-spec but the new front fascia with its even larger chrome grille and extra shiny air dams sent chills down to my belly. A popular opinion as to why Mercedes-Maybach opted for such design is that it appeals to the majority of its buyers: rich Chinese folks in China. I understand that a Maybach has to look different from the standard S-Class but that shouldn’t be at the cost of undoing Mercedes’ hard work and making the car look fugly. Perhaps it is another luxury indulgence to ruin our days with an awful sight while the owner rides inside it, wrapped in opulent comfort.
The cabin offers a high level of personalisation in terms of the finish materials, but like the new S-Class, it gets a lot of tech for both convenience and safety. There are up to 5 screens on offer with a 12.8-inch OLED display in the central console and a 12.3-inch 3D driver display. Other screens come in the form of rear entertainment for each passenger and a pop-out tablet housed in the central console for various controls. The Maybach’s wheelbase is 18cm longer than the extended S-Class which does help open up extra legroom for the rear passengers. In a fully-loaded spec, it has a total of 18 airbags which includes side and beltbags (mounted on the seatbelt).
For a luxurious experience on the move, it has active air suspension with level control and continuously adjustable damping. Rear-wheel steering is a must-have optional extra to make it manoeuvrable around town, as is the E-Active Body Control suspension that uses a 48V system and a camera that scans the road ahead to smoothen out upcoming undulations. Its cabin acoustics have been improved to make it even more peaceful while road noise is reduced thanks to counter-phased sound waves in a system called active road noise compensation. Added luxury features include powered doors that can be opened/closed at the touch of a button or be electrically assisted to open manually but also effortlessly.
The new Maybach is propelled by Mercedes’ range of powerful engines with electrical assistance and drives all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic. While speaking about power figures isn’t on brand, reports suggest that the starting engine option will be the twin-turbo V8 and top-spec option could be the twin-turbo V12. But it’s loaded with so much autonomous tech that even a Maybach chauffeur may not get to enjoy driving it once regulations allow for hands-free driving.
To recap, the new Maybach S-Class is one of the most luxurious and most comfortable cars money can buy. If you want something even more awful to look at, there is the Maybach GLS 600 SUV which somehow made the Rolls-Royce Cullinan look alright.
That’s a wrap on this story of this format. Do let me know in the comments below if you’d like more such stories in the future and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.