Things in the auto industry are moving faster than ever, and 2022 will see not just an introduction of some exciting new models, but also some exciting new brands that promise to transform the car industry just as Tesla did over 10 years ago.
Typically, these new manufacturers offer specialised EV models, and while they’re focused on launching in the US initially, once they’ve been spotted ferrying A-listers on Hollywood Boulevard or the upper east side, they’re sure to arrive here in the UK in no time. But aside from two new players, 2022 will also be the year three of the biggest legacy combustion models get a total overhaul, so to find out what to look forward to, keep scrolling.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Rivian, but this Silicon Valley startup has just crossed the proverbial finish line for new manufacturers by commencing production of its exciting all-electric pickup and SUVs for customers. For now, Rivian will focus on covering off the huge pre-order list in the US, but it has plans to offer its models in Europe in time, where the R1S and R1T are destined to revolutionise their respective markets just like Tesla did.
Except this time, Rivian’s blue-sky thinking isn’t built on a controversial CEO or big number claims, but some seriously impressive engineering. Despite looking big the R1S pickup is smaller than most American pickups, but more importantly is also one of the most widely capable and coolest out-of-town vehicles coming next year, EV underpinnings or not.
Where the Rivian is about to transform one end of the motoring landscape, the Lucid Air is about to transform the other. This Tesla Model S rival takes the same foundations of being a large, luxury all-electric saloon but puts a new spin on things, with a stunning design and groundbreaking range.
This next generation of electric vehicles has rivals from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW well in hand, and while the new Plaid might have the numbers and a funny steering wheel, the Lucid Air really is another step forward for EVs – doing things in its own fashion, but not to the detriment of the driving experience.
Unfortunately, Lucid is also focused on covering its US-based build up of orders, but we expect Europe’s EV-friendly legislation to be a big draw for the Air to be brought over sooner rather than later.
So we’ve tackled two new and pretty fascinating EVs, but if the thought of a V8 roadster is more your style, Mercedes-Benz will have the answer come next year. While we’re still waiting to see the new SL Roadster without its disguise, we know for a fact that this all-new state-of-the-art 2+2 has been properly executed, with the best of Mercedes-Benz’s vast engineering capability crammed into its compact package.
Unlike previous SLs, this one runs on a bespoke AMG-developed platform and will be available with both pure combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains with as much as 830hp combined. The latter figure will be derived from the V8 we all know and love, augmented with an electric motor and small battery pack joining the party to make up that huge power output.
Best of all, this new SL promises to be the best-looking Mercedes model in years, a true throwback to the most glamorous period in open-top motoring arguably defined by its predecessors.
The perennial Range Rover is another new car we can’t wait to see when it’s revealed later this year. It’ll be a total reinvigoration of a motoring icon with more electrification, more interior tech and even more glamour, yet will almost certainly retain the regality we know and love. The aluminium-intensive chassis is expected to remain, but we’ll see more plug-in hybrid powertrains come on-stream, as well as a new range-topping twin-turbo V8 engine.
The biggest changes will be inside, though, with an all-new interior with even more luxury finishes and features. Yet the imperious driving position and focus on ultimate comfort won’t lose any of their importance with the new generation either.
We all love a Range Rover, and even though they sometimes seem as common on UK roads as a Ford Fiesta, there’s still a special place for the high-end SUV in our affections. This is unlikely to change next time around.
BMW is going through a pretty intensive transition to an all-electric future, but until legislation takes effect to pull petrol cars off the road, it plans on going big with its sporty M models. The most exciting of which is also the smallest, with the all-new M2 due to arrive next year with an aggressive new look.
Yet while the package won’t change massively over the model we already know and love, the all-new model is going even more hardcore by incorporating the same engine, gearbox and chassis as the bigger M4, promising to make this new M2 the most extreme yet.
If the latest M models are to go by, this could well be the most capable and exciting M2 ever, and will almost certainly be a sure-fire future classic as the countdown timer ticks on high performance petrol cars.