It was an epoch-making week here at the Gear Patrol motoring desk. We reviewed some cool cars we've been driving this spring, such as the Bentley Flying Spur V8 and the Toyota 4Runner Venture, and we brought word of some exciting news developments this week, including a world record the Corvette Z06 could break, our definite best look at the new Land Cruiser and Ford changing one of the Bronco's coolest accessories.
Alas, there was much more to discuss from the automotive world this week — and too little time to address it. Here are some of the interesting tidbits we didn't quite get a chance to write about.
Last week, two men in Texas died after crashing in a Tesla Model S with no one in the driver's seat, leading some to suspect its occupants may have been toying with the car's semi-autonomous driving systems. Consumer Reports engineers who wanted to see if it was possible were able to trick a Tesla into thinking a driver was in the front seat with Autopilot engaged. (Don't try that at home.)
Elon Musk claims Tesla's system will be able to operate without a drive with reliability "in excess of human" by the end of the year. Of course, the standard to get it regulated will likely be significantly higher than that.
Toyota revealed its first "bZ" branded electric vehicle in concept form, the bZ4X. (The name will probably feel as natural as RAV4...in 20 years.) Toyota offered few details, but the bZ4X will use a Toyota e-TNGA electric car platform and Subaru AWD tech. The company is targeting mid-2022 for worldwide sales.
Last month, Subaru unveiled the Outback Wilderness, its new ass-kicking off-road version of the Outback. Subaru has now revealed the pricing and it's surprisingly reasonable. The Outback Wilderness will start at $36,995 ($38,120 with the destination charge). In other words, it's be cheaper than the Limited XT and Touring XT models
Ferrari is doing off-brand things few would have expected a few years ago. They are building an SUV, the Purosangue. And this week, they confirmed they will build an all-electric supercar by 2025 and it will be "everything you dream the engineers and designers at Maranello can imagine."
After building an SUV and an electric car, Ferrari will presumably do something even more uncharacteristic like settle in for a decade of drama-free F1 dominance.
Cadillac is set to spearhead GM's electric car onslaught, and the mass-market part of that formula will be the Lyriq crossover (or LYRIQ, if you want to be loud about it the way the brand prefers). Cadillac says the vehicle is defined by "taut lines and clean surfaces." We'd also accept "big wheels" and "a butt that looks like a smiling robot."
It was a good day for German manufacturers.
Mercedes revealed another electric car this week, the EQB. It should be a lot like the excellent GLB, a small boxy crossover with a surprising amount of cargo space and seven-seater functionality; it also offers rose gold wheels, if that floats your boat. Mercedes says it will arrive in the U.S. in 2022.
Mini has brought back the Oxford edition for 2022. It's a base Mini Cooper with popular options and a substantial discount that brings the price down to $19,750 ($20,600 after the destination charge). You can add a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a moonroof for just $1,500. The Evil Spock goatee comes free.
The Subaru Impreza 22B STi is the holy grail of hot Subarus rally-inspired cars. Subaru built only 424 of them in 1998; only 24 left Japan, and they are still a couple of years away from being able to legally import...unless you have a show and display exemption, which this 25,000-mile model has.
The car just sold on Bring a Trailer for $312,555.
Busch beer offered fans the chance to name its upcoming race at Kansas Speedway as part of a benefit for Farm Rescue. The promotion ended predictably; next month, drivers will take part in the Buschy McBusch Race 400.
Europeans and Aussies get many of the best camper vans. But there are still some great options you can buy in the United States.