Concept Cars

Meet the MINI Electric Pacesetter, an EV inspired by John Cooper Works racing history ​

The MINI Electric Pacesetter pushes the limits of what in means to be part of the John Cooper Works family.

Photo courtesy of MINI

The stage is set. On April 10, 2021 the new season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series will have its third race of the year in Rome. Leading the pack will be none other than the MINI Electric Pacesetter. The car was created as part of a partnership between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E.

The electric MINI on the market today isn't a sporty version of the car. Instead, the most performance-focused MINIs are gas-powered John Cooper Works models. The MINI Electric Pacesetter combines the electric powertrain of production cars with the sports car-like dynamics of the JCW cars.

"We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric," says Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "However, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Cooper Works brand with electric mobility.

MINI Electric Pacesetter The MINI Electric has gotten a track-ready makeover.Photo courtesy of MINI

The model is the Safety Car for Formula E and not intended to be driven on public roads.

The exterior of the car has been purpose-built for life on the track. Engineers and designers from BMW Motorsport worked to develop the form to the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and initiated weight-saving measures. Still, the MINI is a MINI. There's circular headlights and a hexagonal grille though the grille has been blanked off and the MINI Electric logo been added.

Below the grille are apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car's white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the hood. Classic hood stripes extends from front to back over the roof.

More sport scar-like details include accentuated spats and sporty side skirts. The car's larger wheels nearly fill the arches. The spats and spoilers have been 3D printed from recycled carbon fiber. Yellow accent lines showcase the car's aerodynamic edges.

MINI Electric Pacesetter

Photo courtesy of MINI

It wears a matte silver body color that extends from the center point to the rear. The front is covered in a high-gloss wrap with a two-stage colour gradient – from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic – that covers the rest of the body to the rear. The car's flanks are adorned with a checkered flag-inspired pattern design.

Because it is a Safety Car, the model also sports regulations-specific and sponsor-related graphics.

The whole rig rides on lightweight 18-inch forged wheels in bi-colour black-neon/orange design.

MINI has stripped the car's interior down to its essentials with only the front seats remaining. The driver's area features a six-point safety harness, minimalist steering wheel, and a digital instrument cluster. Carbon fiber appointments anoint the area replacing heavier materials traditionally found on MINI passenger cars.

Pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. There's also a welded-in roll cage.

The drive system of the car is the same as what is in the MINI electric. It produces 135 kilowatts of horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It can get from zero to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds and zero to 37 mph in 3.6 seconds. There's race-spec suspension control arm mountings, four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires as well.

This may be more than just a concept car. MINI has been teasing its future with forward looking statements regarding going all-electric but promising to not lose the JCW identity along the way.

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The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is a fresh edition for the company's lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

One of Toyota's most efficient cars is getting the blackout treatment. Like other Nightshade editions Toyota puts out, the 2022 Prius Nightshade has all the requisite black accents while maintaining its heralded powertrain.

The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is available in front- and all-wheel drive. Buyers can add the treatment to Prius L Eco, LE, LE AWD-e, XLE, XLE AWD-e and Limited grades. It comes in the buyer's choice of Midnight Black Metallic, Super White, or Silver Metallic paint job. Front-wheel drive models ride on standard 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels while AWD-e cars get 15-inchers with black insert and lug nuts.

The exterior of the car also gets black headlight accents, mirror caps, door handles, color keyed rear deck spoiler and shark fin antenna.

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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Each of the models is powered by the Prius's 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, which is paired with two electric motors. A continuously variable transmission is standard. All-wheel drive models get an EPA-estimated 51 mpg in the city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 49 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive versions do a slightly better 54 mpg in the city, 50 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg combined.

Inside there are standard SofTex-trimmed trimmed, heated, power adjustable front seats and a SofTex-trimmed heated steering wheel and semi-gloss black center console. A 7-inch infotainment touch screen is standard, as is a six-speaker JBL sound system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa come on every model, as are an auxiliary jack, three USB ports, a wireless phone charger, and one 12-volt outlet.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard and includes a pre-collision system with low-light pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, bicyclist detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and road sign assist.

All Prius models come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Toyota's hybrid battery warranty is for 10 years or 150,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date, whichever occurs first. The hybrid system warranty is for eight years or 100,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date.

This latest member of the Nightshade family means that there are 11 Nightshade editions in Toyota's stable. The Prius is the first hybrid to get the treatment.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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