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HomeCar CultureDid you miss the National Day of Motoring?

Did you miss the National Day of Motoring?

An occasional roundup of news and notes from automakers here and overseas

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(Editors note: From time to time, well share a periodic roundup of new car news and notes that our editors think will be of interest to collector car enthusiasts.)

According to the NationalDayArchives.com, July 29 is National Chicken Wing Day, National Chili Dog Day, National Lasagna Day, International Tiger Day, National Lipstick Day and National Challenged Champions and Heroes Awareness Day.

Who knew? 

Apparently the folks at Mini USA who went to that website and registered July 24 as the inaugural National Day of Motoring and then contacted Mini owners clubs across the country so they could stage “self-curated motoring adventures” based at more than 100 Mini dealerships across the country.

Reportedly more than 4,000 owners and their cars took part in events under the “Mini Together” banner.

Audi unveils its electric Dakar entry

Audi RS Q-etron

Calling it “the stage for an electrifying high-tech test laboratory,” Audi has unveiled and begun testing the RS Q e-tron, which is scheduled to make its debut in January 2022 in the Dakar Rally.

“Audi wants to be the first car manufacturer to use an electrified drivetrain in combination with an efficient energy converter to compete for overall victory against conventionally-powered competitors in the world’s toughest rally,” the company said. 

Added Julius Seebach, managing directdor of Audi Sport GmbH: “The quattro was a gamechanger for the World Rally Championship. Audi was the first brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with an electrified drivetrain. Now, we want to usher in a new era at the Dakar Rally, while testing and further developing our e-tron technology under extreme conditions.”

Because the rally runs for two weeks with daily stages as long as 800 kilometers, “What we are trying to do has never been done before,” said Andrews Roos, head of the Dakar project for Audi Sport. “This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain.”

The company noted that there are no charging stations in the Arabian desert where the rally will take place, so Audi is equipping the RS Q e-tron with an engine from the German Touring Car racing series to serve as “an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving.”

However, it adds, the axles are turned by electric motors like those used in Audi’s Formula E racing cars.

Perhaps ‘fires up’ isn’t the right phrase?

I had to laugh when the news release arrived from AC Cars with this headline: “The first of the electric AC Cobra fires up.”

“Fires up” is a fine term when applied to starting a petroleum-fueled vehicle, but it seems to me it has a different connotation when applied to an electric vehicle. Haven’t we all read stories about EVs seeming to catch fire by themselves?

Anyway, the point of the news release was that the first electric-powered Cobra continuation cars are undergoing final development ahead of delivery to their owners. AC says it will build only 58 units. The cars have an MSRP of £138,000 ($189,800).

Mercedes going electric-only

Mercedes-Benz EQS
Mercedes-Benz says the EQS is the first all-electric luxury car | Daimler AG photo

Mercedes-Benz not only has revealed the EQS, its first all-electric luxury car, it has announced that in 2025 it will launch three new and electric-only vehicle architectures, and that all new vehicle programs following will be electric-only.

However, it adds that it will be ready to all electric by 2030 “where market conditions allow.”

“Shifting from electric-first to electric-only, the world’s preeminent luxury car company is accelerating toward an emissions-free and software-driven future,” the company said in its announcement.

“By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles (BEV) in all segments the company serves. From 2025 onwards, all newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only and customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes. Mercedes-Benz intends to manage this accelerated transformation while sticking to its profitability targets.”

“The EV shift is picking up speed – especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs,” added Ola Källenius, chief executive of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade.”

The three new vehicle architectures coming in 2025 are those for medium-to-large passenger cars, vans, and an AMG dedicated platform for electric performance vehicles.

The company said it is continuing development of the Vision EQXX electric car with more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of range “at normal highway driving speeds.”

Meanwhile, there is EQS, which Mercedes says will meet the expectations of S Class customers and will offer more than 475 miles of range.

VW unveils Atlas Cross Sport GT concept

Volkswagen Atlas Cross sport GT concept

To showcase “the sporty potential” for its Chattanooga-built 5-seat midsize sport utility vehicle, Volkswagen of America presents the Atlas Cross Sport GT concept, which went from the assembly line in Tennessee to enthusiast Jimmy Orr. 

The SUV is done in Kingfisher Blue, a color available in Europe but not the US. Orr installed ST Suspension XTA Plus 3 coilovers with color-matched and GT Concept-branded springs, Tarox 8-piston front brakes, 22-inch ABT Sport HR Aerowheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport V105 UHP 285/35 rubber, changed chrome exterior trim to gloss black, and added custom GT badging.

The Eisvogelblau exterior color was weaved into the interior, which features Recaro Sportster CS seats, custom blue gearshift and safety belts. The car also got custom floor mats, steering wheel and center console. VW notes that interior materials are “non-animal based.”

Powering the concept is a version of the EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder from the VW Golf R, though with an IS38 turbo and additional radiator. The engine sends more than 300 horsepower to a 7-speed automatic gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel drivetrain.

What grade for Brabus’ latest Smart car?

2021 Smart by Brabus
Brabus upgrades the electric-powered 2021 Smart EZ fortwo | Brabus photos

Smart may have left the new vehicle market in the US, but it’s still in business elsewhere and German tuner Brabus is still souping them up. The latest is the EZ fortwo coupe Racing Green Edition, available in the UK for £25,495 ($35,110).

The modified cars get LED headlamps, 16-inch Brabus Monoblock XI black alloy wheels, some other exclusive exterior features and a hand-finished Brabus-trimmed interior with Cognac Nappa leather seats with diamond stitching. Cars also get special Racing Green Metallic paint and a panoramic glass roof.

The EQ model comes with an electric motor with a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 81 mph.

Stellantis will share its design skills

Stellantis, parent of automakers ranging from Jeep to Peugeot, Dodge to Fiat, says it will launch the “Stellantis Design Studio” not only to share design ideas within its own brands but to offer design services to non-automotive clients.

The studio will be based on the success of the Peugeot Design Lab and will co-headed by Arnault Gournac, director of that lab, and by Klaus Busse, who is head of design in that lab and who also oversees design for Maserati and for Jeep Europe.

The Peugeot lab has done work with Airbus Helicopter, Bombardier, Whirlpool and other companies.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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