The last time I posted something here was December 31st, 2020. Several months have gone by since then. While it’s been hard to concentrate on other matters this week, there actually is some car news to discuss. I’m sure when these PR teams scheduled their press releases this week, they thought the batshit chaos of 2020 would be thoroughly behind us. Bless them. Anyways, let’s try and get to it. This week: Jeep debuts a new Grand Cherokee, Singer wins 2021 early with All-Terrain Competition 911, Mercedes shows off “Hyperscreen” infotainment display, and Kia and GM reveal new logos.
Let’s get this over with.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
The beloved Jeep Grand Cherokee has been with us for nearly 30 years and is taking a pretty big step forward with a new fifth “WL” generation. The wording in the press release is extremely not clear on this, but the new offering is going to be called the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. They did not mention anything about a “regular” Jeep Grand Cherokee. So this is either how it’s going to be from now on or there will be a “regular” Jeep Grand Cherokee sold simultaneously. Since all they talk about is the GC with the extra letter haphazardly tacked on to the end, I’ll just focus on that.
This Grand Cherokee L aims to stand out in a very crowded full-size SUV segment with greater off road capability, new features, and luxury. It even stands out from other Grand Cherokees by offering six or seven-passenger seating configurations. Other highlights are its all new architecture designed to improve driving characteristics and durability while also reducing weight, three available 4×4 systems, air lift suspension, and a plug-in hybrid “4xe” model at a later date. Combined with Wagoneer concept-inspired looks and a dramatically reworked and feature-packed interior, this will be the most luxurious Jeep ever made until the new Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneers come out.
The only thing that isn’t new on this Grand Cherokee L is its powertrain. Two engines will be available at launch: the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and an optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8. From what I can tell, that Pentastar is identical to what’s been in the outgoing Grand Cherokee for years. It provides 290 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque and allows for a 6,200 pound towing capacity. It’s not a bad engine by any stretch, but a bit dated at this point. The 5.7-liter Hemi on the other hand appears to be the same engine you could already get in the Durango RT. With 357 horsepower, 390 lb.-ft. of torque, 7,200-pound towing, and cylinder deactivation, I can’t find any mention of anything that hasn’t already been in this engine for years. Still, it’s a Hemi and therefore it’s good. Both engines are paired with an also familiar eight-speed automatic.
The Grand Cherokee L will be available starting Q2 of this year. Pricing is not available yet.
[Source: Jeep via Jalopnik]
Singer All-Terrain Competition Study
An early front runner for the best car of 2021 is the Singer “All-Terrain Competition Study”. For all intents and purposes, it’s a Safari-style 911 done by Singer. Build in collaboration Richard Tuthill and inspired by Porsche’s legendary rally stars like the 911 SC/RS and Paris-Dakar 959. Two are slated for production, one set up for desert rallying and the other for tarmac events.
The ACS is a fully functional rally star done as only Singer can do. It’s built on a 1990 Type 964 Porsche 911 and takes its rallying aspirations to the extreme. It rides on twin five-way adjustable dampers (8 dampers total) with ample ground clearance and plenty of suspension travel for desert rallying. Beefy BFGoodrich tires help its bespoke AWD system to dig into the earth. It gets power delivered from a 3.6-liter twin turbocharged and air-cooled flat six. 450 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque are on tap and it’s sent through a five-speed sequential. Front, center, and rear mechanical, plated limited slip differentials help distribute power. Stopping power is provided by 4-piston, monobloc steel disc brakes with a hydraulic handbrake.
It’s fully kitted out to be used in some form of competition, or just a very long and spirited drive in the wilderness. A full FIA spec roll cage, bespoke competition seats that are also FIA certified, GPS race navigation system, rehydration system for driver and navigator, two full-size spare wheels and tires, and a long-range fuel tank.
Then there’s the way it looks – it looks perfect. It’s fitted with all carbon fiber body panels suited for quick replacement and easy underbody access. A large ducktail spoiler, functional body cladding, and forged aluminum wheels with a classic rally look. It proves that the Singer formula can work in any situation. Whether it’s a classy “standard” customer build, the advanced DLS built with Williams, or this rugged rally legend in the making, Singer just does Porsche right.
[Source: Singer via Jalopnik]
Mercedes-Benz User Experience Hyperscreen
The single biggest change in automotive interior design over the last decade has been the increased dependence on screens. They’ve been steadily getting bigger and better in features and implementation. Some automakers have been better at others though in terms of cleanly integrated them into the cabin’s design. One of the biggest offenders of the “we’ll just put this here” kind of screen has been Mercedes-Benz who have often chosen to recreate the look of mounting a tablet on a suction cup. But this week they announced plans to right those wrongs with a screen that would make a Tesla interior feel ancient.
Mercedes-Benz has revealed the Hyperscreen, a monstrous display for their Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system that will debut in the upcoming EQS electric sedan. It’s basically an entire dashboard panel with digital screens for a gauge cluster, central infotainment screen, HVAC controls, a display for the passenger, and integrated spots for the air vents. The whole thing is 56″ wide and has 377 square inches of surface area.
Crucially, the screens are OLED which makes the colors brighter and the dark colors darker. The biggest benefit will be that black will actually be black. It’ll be most noticeable at night with black areas not being backlight as they are on a traditional screen. It’ll be easier on the eyes and just nicer to look at. The OLED technology is also what allows this panel to not be several inches thick and to conform to the shape of the dashboard.
It’s a stunning piece of technology that I’d be terrified to have in a vehicle without a warranty.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Jalopnik]
Kia and GM debut new logos
Apparently a side effect of automakers transitioning to alternative fuels is that they have to do so with a new logo. This week, Kia and GM have both come out with redesigned logos. Both are supposed to signal the brand’s efforts to transform into an icon for change and innovation. In the case of Kia, the logo is far fancier than their existing logo which fits in with the way parts of their lineup have moved a little more upmarket lately. My only criticism is that it’s a little hard to tell that it says “Kia” and not “KN”. As for 9m’s new logo, it would fit right in on an iPhone’s home screen.
What do you think? Are these logos a hit or a miss?
[Source: Kia, GM]
What’s your automotive news for the week?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.