The development of a new vehicle is a years-long journey that culminates in what the industry calls “job one,” which is the moment the first example of a new model rolls off the assembly line.
Given the complexity of the automotive design and manufacturing process, it’s no surprise automakers sometimes can’t predict when a new vehicle will go on sale any more specifically than “next spring,” for example.
Needless to say, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause delays in vehicle manufacturing and automakers are experiencing difficulty keeping up with the demand for new cars.
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They’re doing their best to keep assembly lines moving, however, as evidenced by this month’s handful of new arrivals, which include an outrageously posh SUV from Mercedes, a ridiculously fast one from Dodge, and a Korean sport sedan with a slick new look.
2022 Genesis G70
This month, South Korea's luxury brand welcomes the restyled 2022 Genesis G70 compact sport sedan to its Canadian showrooms. It’s the latest model to adopt the "Athletic Elegance" design language first seen on the larger G80 sedan and GV80 SUV.
According to Genesis, the refreshed G70 represents a “comprehensive update” that wraps new styling around mechanical components carried forward from the 2021 model. Those include turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder and 3.3L V6 engines, both of which come standard with AWD. Reading between the lines, we take that to mean last year’s rear-wheel drive four-cylinder model with a manual transmission is off the table, leaving an eight-speed automatic as the only gearbox available.
If you order a new G70 with the V6 and the optional sport package, you get a tweaked AWD system with a drift mode, along with a variable exhaust valve system that brings a more aggressive sounding exhaust. Both engines also add a sport+ drive mode for more engaging performance. Meanwhile, the G70’s cabin promises to be quieter than before, thanks to acoustic glass for the windshield and front doors.
A new 10.25-inch infotainment screen is standard, replacing an 8.0-inch display in the outgoing car. Genesis has also added a larger gauge display and over-the-air updates for the navigation system.
The new G70’s standard safety measures include forward collision warning/avoidance, blind spot monitor with collision avoidance assist, lane following assist, navigation-based smart cruise control, safe exit warning, and a rear occupant alert.
The 2022 Genesis G70’s options include a digital key system that uses NFC technology, and a built-in dash cam. Among other more conventional extras are wireless smartphone charging and intelligent front lighting.
2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600
The GLS 600 is the first SUV to be worked over by Mercedes’ ultra-luxury Maybach brand, and one of just two Mercedes models offered under the Mercedes-Maybach banner, the other being the S-Class sedan.
Befitting its position atop the Mercedes SUV range, the Maybach GLS 600 is priced at $199,400, nearly doubling the tag for the entry-level GLS 450. With this Maybach addition, Mercedes hopes to draw the eye of buyers who might be tempted by the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga.
The Maybach GLS 600 borrows its 4.0L turbo V8 from the lesser GLS 580, adding 67 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque for new totals of 550 hp and 538 lb-ft, plus an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft available in short bursts from Mercedes’s 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid drive system.
You can still get more power in the AMG GLS 63, but you can’t get the Maybach’s luxury touches, many of which are assembled and installed by hand. They include loads of exterior chrome, a Maybach-exclusive pinstripe grille, and your choice of eight different two-tone paint combinations.
Standard power running boards ensure dignified entry and exit for four or five occupants: Maybach offers two- and three-place rear seating, and the third row is removed entirely to maximize space and comfort in the first two rows. The four-seat option sounds appealing, as it replaces the middle chair with a console housing folding tables and a refrigerator large enough for champagne bottles. Champagne flutes are extra, though.
A sophisticated climate control system is expected at this price point, but the Maybach GLS 600 goes one better with two discrete setups, the second one just for the rear seats. The A/C system can automatically trigger its recirculation mode if sensors detect poor air quality or the nav system indicates a tunnel ahead. At the same time, the windows and sunroof will close on their own to keep yucky stuff out. To keep things quiet, the A/C fan is mounted on rubber bearings, and the ductwork is coated to dampen airflow sounds. The front and outboard rear seats are ventilated, and the rears have executive-style footrests and a massage function.
Mercedes-Maybach separates the passenger cabin from the cargo area with a fixed partition to reduce interior noise and enhance climate control efficiency. Critically, the space between the rear wheel arches is large enough for four golf bags.
While you enjoy your ride, flip on the fragrance mister, which comes loaded with a dedicated scent described thusly in Mercedes’s press release: “white Osmanthus blossom, floral and light, (and) rounded off by a gentle leather note and spicy tea.”
Sounds nice, but does it pair well with bubbly?
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45
As with the first generation of this subcompact crossover, the GLA 45 is largely set apart by its underpinnings. Those consist of a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder tuned for 382 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful turbo four in a production vehicle, with 7 hp and 4 lb-ft improvements over the last GLA 45, and AMG-tuned versions of the GLA’s dual-clutch transmission and 4Matic AWD system.
The AMG GLA 45’s suspension is tweaked, too, with adaptive damping and a three-mode ride control system. Mercedes says this second-gen model promises a more comfortable ride than the old GLA 45.
Big brakes are standard, and an optional AMG track package brings even bigger ones that replace four-piston calipers with six-piston grabbers. The track pack also brings a race drive mode.
Inside, you’ll find sport seats and an MBUX infotainment system with special AMG graphics. Options include performance seats and steering wheel, the latter of which has a flattened rim finished in Nappa leather and sprouts galvanized shift paddles and controls for the drive mode selector.
Mercedes-AMG’s starting price for the GLA 45 is $60,500.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Rounding out this trio of new Mercedes models is the 2021 E-Class, which gets a mid-cycle refresh that applies to all four of the car’s body styles: sedan, coupe, wagon, and convertible.
The styling changes are all in the details, but they work, especially out back, where new taillights make the car look more expensive.
There’s a new way to show other drivers those taillights, too. The E 450 ditches last year’s 3.0L turbo V6 for a new inline six-cylinder using the company’s EQ Boost mild hybrid technology to add power in short bursts beyond the engine’s 369 hp and 362 lb-ft of torque.
The E-Class’s other powertrain options are carried over: a 255-hp 2.0L turbo four in the E 350; an AMG E 53 with an amped-up version of the 3.0L six with 429 hp/384 lb-ft; and a 603-hp 4.0L turbo V8 for the top-line AMG 63 S sedan and wagon.
For 2021, E-Class pricing starts at $64,900 for the E 350 sedan, and stretches to $127,900 in the E 63 S wagon.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
There are a lot of very powerful SUVs on the marketplace today from brands like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Land Rover, and even Lamborghini. However, the most powerful SUV your Loonies can buy, as of this month, is the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, which arrives in dealers in May as a late addition to the 2021 lineup.
As a model, the Durango is old news, having been redesigned into its current third generation in 2011. Dodge’s solution for keeping aging vehicles fresh is to add power: In this case, the Durango SRT Hellcat gets its infusion from a 6.2L supercharged V8 that makes 710 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque and whose job it is to torture an eight-speed transmission and a set of 20-inch tires.
Dodge says the Durango Hellcat will bang out the zero-to-60-mph sprint (zero-to-96-km/h) in 3.5 seconds and is certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds. But far from being a one-trick speed pony, the Durango Hellcat can also tow a respectable 3,946 kg (8,700 lbs).
If those specs float the boat you want to tow, act quickly: Dodge says it will make the Durango SRT Hellcat for the 2021 model year only at a starting price of $116,315.
2021 Lincoln Nautilus
May’s final new arrival is the 2021 Lincoln Nautilus, a made-in-Canada luxury crossover whose interior has been given a major makeover.
A redesigned dash stretches “coast to coast,” in Lincoln’s words, with horizontal lines emphasizing the car’s width. Atop the dash is a standard 13.2-inch infotainment screen, and below is a console panel with climate controls, basic audio functions, and Lincoln’s push-button transmission selectors.
That big screen houses a Sync 4 infotainment system, which promises a simplified interface and more functionality. Among the new features is the ability to download over-the-air updates so that owners can avoid dealer visits when new software is available.
Lincoln carried the Nautilus’s powertrains over from last year. Base power is from a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder (250 hp/280 lb-ft) and the option is a 2.7L turbo V6 with 335 hp and 380 lb-ft. Both come standard with AWD and an eight-speed transmission.