DeLorean Returns, Lucid Upgrades and McLaren Goes IRL at Monterey Car Week
The 10 best debuts from California's annual automotive extravaganza include futuristic concepts and track cars ripped from video games
Monterey Car Week is an annual bastion of automotive excess held throughout the central California peninsula. Vehicles of every vintage are on display at numerous auctions, shows and invite-only viewings among the pine forests. But the 2022 iteration, which ended Sunday, involved much more than staring at immaculate, priceless and look-but-don’t-touch museum-quality cars.
First, there was the famed Laguna Seca Raceway playing host to the entire spectrum of motorsports culture. Every type of race car from every type of race could be found on the paddock. These historical and period-correct specimens from the 1920s to modern iterations of these legendary Formula One and Le Mans racers also made their way onto the legendary track to again battle for podium finishes. Every. Single. One.
For those in attendance who found some hot wheels to their liking, some were given the chance to buy them. For example, this year BMW decided to put its 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona class-winning M8 GTE up for grabs; the lucky buyer was promised the vehicle, everything to keep it running (i.e., kit, tools, engineering notes) and even the trophy — but no Rolex. Winners keep the watches.
Even the awkward and forgotten have a home at Monterey, too, thanks to events like Concours d’Lemons which, as the name suggests, provides automotive fodder on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the climax of the week. But the tongue-in-cheek Lemons concours and its equally quirky sibling, the ‘80s and ‘90s-focused Radwood, provide some fresh air to what can sometimes be a stuffy, overwrought scene of extravagance.
The biggest news to come from the coast of course includes auction starlets and best-in-show awards. The always well-attended RM Sotheby’s auction saw the Porsche 911 “Sally Special” go for $3.6 million. The one-off vehicle is a real-life, working version of Sally Carrera from Pixar’s Cars and all proceeds will be donated to charity. But the priciest auction purchase (also from the RM Sotheby’s lot) was a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider that sold for $22 million.
At the week’s closing ceremonies, a 1932 Duesenberg won the coveted Best of Show out of 220 entrants at the 71st Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. One of eight Dueseys in a competition that included 1930s hot rods, endurance race cars and plenty of pre-war sheet metal, this year’s winner was the first Duesenberg to win in 15 years.
Monterey Car Week isn’t just about the past, though. There are also new production models and concept cars unveiled whose visionary designs are as stunning and stark as the central coast’s cliffside vistas. In a look toward the future of automotive indulgence, here’s a roundup of the 10 most exciting debuts, from Acura EVs to DeLorean’s comeback to a McLaren inspired by video games.
Acura Precision EV Concept
Last year, Acura announced the return of the Integra and unveiled the NSX Type S, a farewell edition of its storied supercar. This year, the premium automaker veered from production-ready to design study with the global debut of its Precision EV Concept. The Precision EV is only the third design concept developed by Acura since 2016 and although athletic in stance (Acura’s words), the crossover is more about technology performance than sports-car tuning.
Speaking of sports cars, the interior is fashioned after a Formula One race car. The driver-focused cockpit is positioned low for improved sightlines and features a yoke-style steering wheel. The Precision EV also showcases Acura’s next-generation human-machine interface (HMI) using an ultra-wide curved digital display that also happens to be transparent. For mood, the concept offers two options: Instinctive Drive and Spiritual Lounge. The former turns the ambient lighting red and changes the digital cluster to a racing-style configuration; the latter retracts the steering wheel to create a sleeper cabin while in autonomous driving mode.
Materials are environmentally conscious, consisting of recycled plastic and aluminum, wood harvested from responsibly-managed forests as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and vegan leather. All this is done up in a striking matte-finish Double Apex Blue with an equally entrancing “Particle Glitch” lighting pattern for the front and rear fascias as well as on the spokes of the vehicle’s 23-inch wheels.
Aston Martin DBR22 Concept
Powered by a 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 engine, the Aston Martin DBR22 is an open-cockpit two-seater that low-key hints at the automaker’s future product design. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Q by Aston Martin, the luxury brand’s in-house coachbuilder of exclusive designs, the DBR22 is exquisite in blending the old and the new.
The rear subframe is 3D-printed — a first for Aston Martin. Along with the extensive use of carbon fiber, the new manufacturing method equates not only to weight savings but also benefits structural rigidity. And although the vehicle is presented in an all-new minimalist body style with a redesigned carbon fiber front grille, the DBR22 is still recognizably an Aston Martin.
Sitting on 21-inch alloy wheels and painted in a bespoke color (that doesn’t even have a name) created just for the unveiling, the DBR22 features a powertrain that produces 705 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, which is good enough for a 198 mph top speed and 0-to-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster
Aston Martin didn’t just offer up a glimpse of the future. Something available very soon and in very limited numbers is the all-new V12 Vantage Roadster. Featuring a wide-body design with a fitting wide-track suspension, the flagship model of the Vantage lineup also happens to be the most powerful.
Outfitted with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and familiar 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12, which is a first for a Vantage Roadster, this iteration boasts 690 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. The 0-to-60 mph sprint takes 3.5 seconds and its top speed is 200 mph. It’s probably one of the more exhilarating ways to air-dry your hair (using style cream might get messy, though).
Cosmetically, very little separates the roadster from the recently debuted coupe. The coupe’s standard rear wing, for example, is an option on the convertible. Steering calibration and suspension are the same as the V12 Vantage but the roadster does receive slight tuning modifications for the dampers.
Deliveries are scheduled for the end of the year but order books closed before the unveiling with all 249 units already accounted for. Womp womp.
Bentley Mulliner Batur
Another iconic 12-cylinder engine is the W12 which has powered nearly two decades of Bentley performance, the most recent of which is the ultra-exclusive Mulliner Batur coupe. Like the Bacalar, the Batur also gets its name from a body of water. But instead of Mexico, Bentley opted for a pristine crater lake found in Bali, Indonesia.
The Batur presents two key elements of Bentley’s future. The first is its aggressive design, at least for a Bentley. Setting the stage for the character lines to come starting in 2025, the Batur features a profile that is serenely menacing. It’s muscular, yes, but without the obvious flex seen on mass-market muscle cars. The ever-prominent grille sits lower but stands more upright and is flanked by redesigned headlights. To accentuate the Batur’s long and lean proportions, a distinctive line starts from the expansive hood and extends the full length of the body.
The second key point is the engine, because this is one of the last times we’ll be seeing it. The 729-hp 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that fills the Batur’s engine bay will eventually make way for battery packs. And the luxury marque was not shy about the W12 being set for retirement to make way for a future of hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. But for now, 18 examples of the Bentley Batur will be enjoyed by current Mulliner owners who had about $2 million in change lying around.
Don’t call it a comeback because it ain’t. Yes, DeLorean has returned but only in its name and gullwing doors, which may be good or bad depending on the crowd. Unveiled by a reimagined DeLorean Motor Company, the Alpha5 is an all-electric, all-wheel drive sports coupe that seats four.
The Alpha5 was penned by Italdesign, a design and engineering studio, and outside of the signature rear louvers and three-layered taillights of the iconic DMC-12, the new car has very little aesthetic carryover. The Alpha5 is curvy whereas the DMC-12 was blocky. The EV is also much larger with massive wheels to match. And as if to say this really is a new age for DeLorean, the Alpha5 was presented in a dark orange hue versus the trademark silver stainless steel.
Specs are sparse but DeLorean did say the Alpha5 has a top speed of 155 mph and reaching 60 mph will take 2.99 seconds (or 4.4 seconds to hit 88 mph — nudge nudge). Expected to go on sale in 2024, the EV is slated to offer 300 miles of range with a 100 kWh battery pack.
Kia EV6 GT
If you haven’t been paying attention to Kia, will over 570 horses finally turn your head to the South Korean automaker’s increasingly impressive lineup? Making its North American debut at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, the EV6 GT is Kia’s most powerful production car yet. And this is not just a numbers game on paper: The battery-electric performance crossover was engineered to be competitive in the 0-to-60 race against supercars like the Ferrari Roma and Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD. No joke.
The EV6 GT features a dual-motor e-AWD powertrain that produces 576 hp and 546 lb-ft of instant torque which will have you arriving at 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Its top speed is 161 mph. How does this play out against the Ferrari and Lambo? According to leading automotive testing experts AMCI, the Kia out-accelerated the fancier and much, much pricier Italians.
Still paying attention? Good. Because the Kia EV6 GT will not be a limited-run, one-trick pony. It’s also not just fast on the road but at the charger, too, with the ability to reach an 80% battery capacity within 18 minutes. Pricing will be announced later this year when the vehicle goes on sale nationwide.
Lincoln Model L100 Concept
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Lincoln was the featured brand at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. And to showcase the road towards its next centennial, Lincoln debuted its Model L100 Concept. Featuring advanced aerodynamic sculpting and forward-thinking technology, the Model L100 gets its name and heritage from the 1922 Model L, Lincoln’s first-ever production vehicle.
Positioned side by side, similarities between the Ls are nonexistent. Not even the badging is the same. But it’s a stark reminder of how much the automotive realm has changed in the last century. We don’t have flying cars yet (will we ever?), but designs, dynamics, powertrains, safety and technology have all advanced and adapted in leaps and bounds. With the L100, the focus is on mobility as a sanctuary.
The Model L100 is, of course, an electric vehicle. It has no grille, no steering wheel and no frunk. In lieu of all of this are an aerodynamic, bullet-like profile and an interior spacious enough for four adults to stretch out in lounge-level comfort. The configurable cabin allows the front seats to be flipped so that occupants can face each other.
Consider the L100 the best kind of solitary confinement with its responsibly-sourced materials, enormous window panels and soothing colors. And in spite of the large screens that make up the chessboard-flat center console and digital floor (don’t worry, it’s bulletproof tough), the cabin is bright, airy and autonomous. Much like Lincoln’s future, they reckon.
Lucid Air Sapphire
Lucid Motors is barely old enough to walk but it’s also never tried to. Instead, the nascent luxury EV company was born ready to run and hasn’t stopped sprinting since. Already achieving records for charging speed, range and lap times, the Lucid Air makes for an impressive platform for further performance. And it was at The Quail that Lucid introduced Sapphire, a new sub-brand of supercar proportions, and the new king of the World’s Most Powerful Sedan crown.
The ultra-high-performance powertrain of the Lucid Air Sapphire consists of three electric motors — a company first — that were developed in-house. The entire battery system was upgraded for higher power output and the twin-motor rear-drive unit features new heat and cooling technologies as well as improved thermal logic.
So, what do three motors versus two get you? More than 1,200 hp, which pushes the brand’s own Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance and its 1,050-hp offering to second place. The Sapphire reaches 60 mph in under two seconds, has a standing quarter-mile time under nine and a top speed of 200 mph. Yeesh.
Range is just as high with an estimated 400-plus miles on a single charge. Although that won’t beat the 516-mile range of the Lucid Air Grand Touring, it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. Also not compromised are comfort and utility — you’ll still find plenty of legroom and cargo space. Reservation books are open for the limited-production Air Sapphire. Starting at $249,000, deliveries are expected to start next year.
McLaren Solus GT
Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? In the case of the McLaren Solus GT, the philosophical angle is a little bit of both. The track-only production car was inspired by its video game counterpart from Gran Turismo Sport. And the IRL version is no less of a motorsports monster.
The Solus GT is outfitted with a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 mated to a seven-speed sequential racing gearbox. The powertrain delivers more than 829 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque for a vehicle that weighs fewer than 2,205 pounds dry and has more than 2,645 pounds of downforce. The Solus GT has an estimated 0-to-62 mph acceleration time of 2.5 seconds, a 200-plus mph top speed and likely the fastest lap times of any McLaren that isn’t officially in a racing series.
With a sliding canopy akin to a jet, the Solus GT has a Formula One-style closed-cockpit with a single seat from which to live out your Gran Turismo dreams. But at a real race track. Only 25 will be built with the first deliveries starting next year. And, yes, all have been claimed.
Range Rover SV Carmel Edition
Range Rover’s Monterey Car Week debut included a house along with the vehicle. The 2023 SV Carmel Edition is a small-batch, North American-only model with a production cap of 17. Its starting price is $345,000.
Featuring a long wheelbase design, the special Rover is fashioned in the four-seater SV Signature Suite configuration and is outfitted with Liberty Blue front seats paired with Caraway contrast rear seats. The fully-loaded cabin is further adorned with custom embroidery and treadplates. The exterior is coated in Satin Bronze, a color that also finds its way onto the inserts of the 23-inch wheels with a Dark Grey Gloss finish.
The Carmel Edition SUV will be offered for sale only to guests of the Range Rover House, which is a luxury getaway and brand experience exclusively for Range Rover owners. Situated in the Carmel Highlands and overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the retreat is the first of its kind for the brand in North America. A portion of the proceeds for each vehicle will be donated to maintain this federally protected coastline.
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