Kicking off the new year for our weekly Petrolhead Corner, we continue with another list; the best new cars coming in 2021. Of course these type of lists are very subjective, and only a few of us could ever at one point in life claim to own cars in this category, but it is nice to dream about it, right? So, still amidst a global pandemic, what cars can we expect to see this year? Here’s a selection of a few, totally biased and totally random!
This week we have quite a range of vehicles, from a probably quite capable off-roader to a big electric truck, all the way to a super sports car. 2021 will undoubtedly have much more in store for us than just these few cars but we made a selection of what is interesting to us, and what perhaps you would like to see. Of course you, as a reader, are always welcome to suggest other cars to us that didn’t make the list.
We start off this list with a car that has now been years in the making, but is scheduled to be delivered to clients at some point in 2021. It is the latest offering, along with another car by another car maker, in the “F1-car for the road” category; the Mercedes-AMG One.
The concept is far from new; build a car as close to, or with as much tech as possible, from an F1 race car. Ferrari did it with the Ferrari F40 and LaFerrari for instance, but Mercedes’ approach offers something radically different; its 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrid engine is currently the set-up as regulated by the FIA for Formula 1. It’s far from easy to design a road car around an engine that is built for pure speed only, but the gearheads from Germany are attempting to do that nonetheless. The biggest challenges are of course; safety and reliability.
As said, only a 1.6 litre V6, albeit turbocharged and linked to a hybrid system, is used in the One. But, much like an actual current F1 engine, it is said to produce more than 1,000 horsepower and rev up to 11,000rpm. Do you need it? No. Do you want it? Probably yes! Zero to 200kph should take less than 6 seconds, and it has an estimated top speed north of 350kph. Pretty staggering numbers! Four electric motors help the petrol engine achieve these speeds, along with cleverly designed aero and race-derived suspension and chassis technology. Price? Though no longer relevant since all 275 cars have been sold, all at a price of close to 3 million USD.
You can see it action during pre-launch testing here, at thedrive.com.
Bentley Mulliner Bacalar
Bentley is perhaps regarded as the ultimate luxury driving experience, with a legacy spanning decades. For years, they have been offering what they claim are the best cars in the world. But even within Bentley there’s luxury, and ultra-luxury! For 2020 they introduced their Mulliner program, a chance to finely craft a bespoke Bentley automobile for a selected clientele only. Under the Mulliner umbrella you will have three options; Coachbuilt, Classic and Collections. The latter two are continuation of historical Bentley’s and special commissions based on existing models.
The most exciting of the three is the Coachbuilt category, launched with the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar. Bit of an odd name, derived from a Mexican lake, but it is a Barchetta-style Grand Tourer with a unique body and vast customisation options. The body resembles the Bentley Continental GT in its essence, but with redesigned front and rear sections mixed with styling cues from the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept, and as said; no roof! Only 12 will be made, all allocated to the most loyal clients who are willing to spend upwards of 1.5 million USD for their Bacalar.
Bentley claims only the door handles and centre part of the steering wheel are carried over from other Bentley models, but the rest is bespoke to the Bacalar. Clients have a vast range of materials and finishes to choose from, including wool and tweed for the upholstery and 5500 year old riverwood for panelling. The car is powered by Bentley’s 6.0 litre W-12 producing 650bhp. Top speed is in excess of 320kph and zero to 100kph takes about 3.5 seconds.
AutoCar UK has the full story on this ultra-luxury GT car.
Maserati MC20 & Shamal restomod
A new Maserati is always exciting, even though they are sometimes a bit, well, flawed. At least they have a reputation of being so. Nevertheless, when the Italian luxury car maker announces new plans, the automotive world listens. Maserati teased us with a new sports-car that promised new tech and blistering performance, and finally took the covers off the Maserati MC20, with the “MC” as a nod to the Maserati Corse program, indicating they (hopefully) will take it racing.
The MC20 is a compact and sleek looking car, fitted with an all-new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 631bhp. Working together with chassis specialist and motorsport engineers Dallara, the new Maserati MC20 has a carbon fibre structure with substructures in aluminium for the engine and gearbox. This will undoubtedly result in a lightweight (as possible) car.
Performance-wise the Maserati MC20 is said to take less than three seconds to reach 100kph and will soldier on to a top speed of over 320kph. Allegedly a convertible version and an all-electric MC20 can also be expected. Other things to be excited by are the butterfly doors, Formula 1 tech for the engine, full adjustable suspension and various driving modes.
Car and Driver has all the info on the all-new Maserati MC20 that is available so far.
Something else that is on the horizon from the Trident (Maserati’s nickname, after their logo) is a continuation program of a surprising historical Maserati model; the Shamal. The Maserati Shamal was a boxy, edgy coupe from the early nineties, a period where the brand was known to produce some rather dodgy cars. The Shamal is a rare beast, with only 369 made, all powered by a twin-turbo V8 in the front. It’s not sure we’ll see this car in 2021 and not much else is known about it so far, but chances are it will be featured in our weekly episodic segment!
Drivetribe shared the brief story on the Maserati Shamal restomod a while ago, so check it out!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, another Z-car is being developed! Nissan, or Datsun when looking at the very first models, has a reputation to uphold when it comes to Z-designated cars. It is the ‘other’ group of Nissans to get excited about, next to the Skyline/GTR cars. In recent years vintage ones have seen a surge in popularity, and as a result in prices.
The new Nissan Proto Z shows us what the next Nissan Z-car might look like. Expect it to be only slightly updated when heading for production, as the styling is a clear continuation of the 350Z and 370Z. And it’s about time too as the 370Z is already ten years in production. The specs are right in line with what we would want from a Z-car; V6, bit of power, sleek coupe styling, drive to the rear. Oh, and a six-speed manual transmission, a dying breed.
The design for the Proto Z is riddled with subtle hints to former Z-cars, like the details in the headlights mimicking the 240ZG from the seventies (sold in Japan only) and the side-profile very much in line with first-gen Z-cars too. The taillights hint to another classic Z-car, the 300ZX from the nineties. All in all it is a very good looking car. Short, stout and aggressive. Prices are not confirmed yet.
More details on the Nissan Proto Z can be found on Top Gear.
A highly anticipated electric vehicle is due to be expected somewhere in late 2021, the coveted Tesla Cybertruck. The unconventional machine made a smashing debut – literally – when at its official launch a steel ball was thrown at the supposedly unbreakable glass window. The result? A shattered side window. Second attempt? Same result.
Nevertheless, the Tesla Cybertruck is an eagerly anticipated car, and I for one am curious to see something as unorthodox in design drive by on the road one day. Usually this sci-fi style of automotive design is reserved for concept cars only, not cars to go into production. You can see elements of such a concept seep through in production cars, but this thing? Wow!
And yes, the car is a direct contradiction perhaps to what it means being a petrolhead as it is a full electric vehicle but the specs are quite staggering. Three models will be available as it seems, with various power outputs. The strongest/fastest model, the Tri-Motor AWD, will do zero to 100kph in 2.9 seconds, has an estimated 800-kilometer range and a towing capacity of well over 6 tons. Price is set at just under USD 70,000 for the top model but start at USD 40,000.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
To cap off this list is a car that should have been delivered to clients in 2020 but the global Covid-19 pandemic pushed back its delivery date to 2021; the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Yet again a Formula 1 inspired car for the road, with a highly sophisticated engine. Where the Mercedes uses the same set-up as the current F1 cars, the Valkyrie by Aston Martin takes a different approach. Developed with Red Bull Racing and chassis-genius Adrian Newey, the Valkyrie will have a state of the art naturally aspirated 6.5 litre V12 by Cosworth, coupled with a hybrid system by Rimac. Combined power output is a staggering 1,160bhp.
That V12 will produce 1,000bhp on its own and have a redline 11.100rpm, both the highest number ever for a normally aspirated engine (meaning no turbo’s). Although the car is in development for several years now, and will take a little while longer to be delivered to clients, Aston Martin took it out for a spin at Silverstone prior to the 2019 British Grand Prix. Since then the car has undergone testing and a few minor tweaks but all looks good for a 2021 launch.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie will have a radical new aerodynamic package, with a very unique looking body as a result. Looking at it from from the front back of the car will show the huge Venturi tunnels underneath the car to generate downforce. Power to weight is aimed at 1 kilo per horsepower, a number only few cars can claim to achieve. Zero to 100kph is done and dusted in 2.6 seconds, top speed is yet to be confirmed I believe but expect it to be well into the 300s (kph). Only 150 will be built, costing 3 million dollars and up.
EVO has the full details on this stunning piece of automotive engineering, including loads of pictures of the car. Motor1 has the video of the car being driven by Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon: