New Model News

2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP is full of MINImalism, delivers a go-kart drive experience

Today, MINI debuted the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP, a sporty model.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI has revealed its sportiest model to day. The limited edition MINI John Cooper Works GP is a highly dynamic model that combines the essence of classic MINI design with the hallmark behind-the-wheel experience of go kart racing. It follows in the tread of the limited-edition John Cooper Works GP that was sold in 2006 and 2013.

At the front of the model the focus is on its wide track, large front apron, flared wheel arches, and a giant rear wing that is visible even from the front. Its hexagonal grille design and hood scoop project sportiness as well. From the side, the car is modern MINI meets wing. It's hard to see anything but that.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP

Photo courtesy of MINI


The model is finished in a Racing Grey metallic paint job that changes depending on the light shining on it between light grey and blue-violet. Its mirror caps are Melting Silver colored and all the typical chrome elements have been given a blackout treatment.

While the aesthetics may be unique, the car is full of what the brand calls "MINImalism". It has carbon fiber elements throughout car that improves its power-to-weight ratio. The car's forged 18-inch wheels are the lightest MINI has ever made. By optimizing the axle load distribution, the car delivers a true go-kart drive experience.

The interior of the model has traditional MINI design elements but ups the the ante with colorful accents and a new free-standing digital instrument cluster on the steering column.

A number of components in the model are 3D printed including elements of the aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel. The steering wheel clasp and the individual decorative trim strip in the passenger area are also 3D printed.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is a coupe with no back seat, delivering a weight savings to improve drive dynamics.

The car gets its power from a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 201 horsepower.

Just 3,000 of the models will be produced. It will go on sale in the U.S. later this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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The final versions of the McLaren 620R have been delivered to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive
McLaren recently shipped its last Sports Series cars to the U.S., marking the end of production of the popular models that have been staples of the luxury carmaker's lineup for the last half-decade. Over 8,500 cars were sold globally.

The Sports Series debuted in 2015 with the 570S, and also included the 540C, 570S Spider, 570GT, 600LT coupe, 600LT Spider, and 620R. The final examples of the series were built at the company's Woking, U.K. headquarters at the end of 2020. The 620R was the last off the line.

The McLaren 620R is a road legal version of a race car. It's based on the McLaren 570S GT4 and uses motorsport technology without the restriction of racing regulations. It is the most powerful Sports Series model ever, with a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 producing 611 brake horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.

Final examples of the McLaren 620R

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

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The 620R shares aerodynamic hardware with the 570S GT4, creating 408-pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It can handle the road (and you can hear it coming) thanks to its wider track, carbon ceramic brakes and center locking wheels, and low-exit stainless steel sports exhaust.

"As the McLaren range has matured, we've tailored our North American model line-up to closely match customers' requirements, with a car suitable for every personality," explained Tony Joseph, President, McLaren, the Americas. "Limited-numbers models with the highest levels of performance – cars like the 620R, which feels like a race car on the street or at a track day - are in demand not only because of the driving experience they offer but because they have even greater exclusivity. You can see how this has played out with the 765LT as well, with all of the available volume sold."

Of the 225 examples of the 620R produced, only 70 were slated for the North American market. All North American 620R models come with a special MSO upgrade package that features a gloss finish Visual Carbon Fibre roof with a roof scoop to maximize engine intake and exhaust sound, MSO Defined gloss finish carbon fibre roof cantrails and the McLaren Track Telemetry system with lap time function and three cameras to record on-track performance.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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