AUTOS REMODELED FOR 2020
Although accounting for less than 10 percent of all vehicles sold globally, the luxury cars market is evidently in a steady expansion which is projected to reach a compound annual growth rate of 11.3% and $178 billion by the year 2023. The U.S. market is still the most important part of that large global puzzle, but both the European and especially the Chinese luxury car markets are in full-on expansion mode.
With model year 2020 being pinpointed as the pivotal year for many important segments (especially crossovers and EVs), it doesn’t come as a surprise that luxury car brands are looking to take advantage of the newfound situation. With the global recession but a distant and unpleasant memory, the German, Japanese, and domestic luxury automakers alike will have one potential headache less to worry about in the upcoming years. The following will be some of the most anticipated and best 2020 luxury autos on the roads.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE, the luxury midsize SUV first known as the M-Class, hasn’t been overhauled in a while, so this fourth-generation redesign is significant boasting a longer wheelbase by 3.2-inches and shorter overhangs at the front and rear, which allow for more interior cabin space and makes for easier clearance should you choose to take this highly capable SUV off-road.
The GLE also features a wider range of options including three suspension options. Base models come with a standard steel spring and damper set up, which is good. The ride is compliant in comfort mode. Switch to sport mode and while its stiffer, Mercedes doesn’t wander into track monster territory here. Then there’s the available Airmatic suspension, which ups the comfort ante.
However, the star is Mercedes-Benz GLE’s all-new intelligent electric suspension called E-Active Body Control. Springs and dampers can be controlled individually at each wheel making it completely customizable for whatever situation you find yourself in, and get this, it can even bounce the vehicle up and down to free the GLE if it gets stuck in sand. Active Body Control virtually eliminates body roll, stabilizing the chassis in a way that conventional suspension systems have yet to achieve.
Under the hood are two available engine options, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo available in the GLE 350 that makes 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft torque, but the 450 has a 3.0-liter inline-six supercharged with EQ boost that churns out 362-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, and this new powerplant would be the engine of choice.
That new, smooth inline-six uses a 48-volt electric motor that eliminates all the belts in the engine, water pump, air conditioning and alternator, making it far more efficient. An Integrated Starter Generator now acts as the alternator allowing for improved energy recuperation and adding a boost of power feature that provides up to 21 additional horsepower when called for. This kick, while little, instrumentally helps minimize turbo lag. All this to say, that this big boy is quick, and according to Mercedes-Benz makes 0-60 in an estimated 5.5 seconds. Oh, what a sound that engine makes when it’s getting there, too. The straight six growls and chortles in low tones and if you want more it can be artificially amplified through the GLE’s Burmester speakers. Both engines are mated to Mercedes’ excellent 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission that offers smooth shifts with well-balanced ratios.
The exterior sees some vast improvements as well. The Mercedes GLE is more aerodynamically designed and adds front hood character lines that give it shape. The front fascia is more aggressive looking, with an SL-style grille and massive air intakes completing the finished look. Gone is the indistinct back side and liftgate. Now a focal point of slim LED-taillights and sculpted hind quarters make for a more athletic rear. The GLE’s definitely now has a more defined and distinctive look.
Thanks to that extended wheelbase, legroom in the second row feels capacious compared to the previous generation. There’s also an optional all-electronically operated third row of seats. With all seats folded the cargo floor lays flat and offers plentiful space, about 73-cubic feet.
In such a competitive segment, Mercedes Benz needed a showstopper with this one, and they brought down the house. No doubt fellow Germans the BMW X5, the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne will do something to counter, but the upgrades and innovations Mercedes brings to the luxury SUV segment that the M-Class helped to create should keep the GLE bouncing around its competition nicely.
2020 Cadillac XT6
After introducing the intermediate XT5 in 2017 and compact XT4 in 2018, the luxury GM brand has now switched its focus to the all-new XT6 crossover/SUV which slots right between the mentioned XT5 and the brand’s flagship model Escalade. The all-new XT6 three-row model completes their crossover/SUV lineup for the time being and gives the most luxurious American brand a model to fight the likes of the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS Class.
The newest addition to the Cadillac lineup features all of the contemporary tech and amenity features found in other range-topping Cadillacs. One of them is the company’s newly-developed Super Cruise hands-free driving system which was previously only available with the CTS. The Super Cruise won’t be available from the get-go, though.
When it finally arrives, Cadillac’s answer to Tesla’s Autopilot will come at a price, however. Not only will it command a $2,500 premium, but it’ll also be exclusively offered with the range-topping Platinum trim and upper mid-range Premium Luxury trim with the optional $3,100 driver assist package included.
2020 Porsche Taycan
Five years after the Mission E concept saw the light of day at the 2015 Frankfurt show, the Germans have finally revealed a production-ready form of their first EV ever and are charging it to the game. The final product is, however, called the Taycan instead, which translates to a “lively young horse” from Eurasian dialect. Although the new name leaves a lot to be desired, it also makes perfect sense considering it depicts the German automaker’s crest in the best possible way. The upcoming Porsche Taycan EV has instantly become one of the best 2020 luxury cars regardless of what the opposition thinks of that. This electric sports car with its graceful Porsche styling, extreme performance, and exquisite driving dynamics simply can’t be depicted any differently.
Similar to the Panamera in many ways, the 4-door sedan, however, rides on a platform of its own– distancing it from the oddball Porsche executive car. Its prices too are slightly higher as the entry-level Porsche Taycan 4S starts from $104,000. What’s more, the most powerful Taycan Turbo S can’t be obtained for anything less than $187,000. And that’s prior to extras. The highly-advanced powertrain consisting of two electric motors from the three-times Le Mans-winning 919 LMP1 hybrid and a large battery pack that enables the most powerful of Taycans to hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 2.6 seconds.
Buyers get to choose, however, from three different power outputs. The 2020 Porsche Taycan is available in 522 hp, 563 hp, and 616 hp forms. It also offers two different battery pack capacities – one with 79.2-kWh and another with 93.4-kWh.
Finally, the Germans have also developed their own ultra-fast 800-volt charging network which should be able to provide as much as 250 miles of range within 15 minutes. Of course, most people will have to settle for 400-volt superchargers or household units that are much slower but also cheaper and more widespread.
The Jaguar F-Type
The F-type receives a significant makeover that includes an edgier new look and numerous other enhancements. Its powertrain roster is reshuffled rather than updated. It now only offers a 380-hp supercharged V-6 and a 575-hp supercharged V-8. The base 296-hp turbocharged four-cylinder continues as the entry-level engine. The Jaguar F-Type is a luxury sports car that’s offered in coupe and convertible body styles with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. Inside, the F-type maintains a driver-centric design that's accentuated with a mix of racy and rich materials. These include stitched surfaces, faux-suede accents, and chrome trim. Fancier models will offer even better interior appointments that include aluminum pieces, embossing, and more faux-suede coverings.
Two differently styled seats are available and can be upgraded with heated and cooled surfaces. We'd expect the F-type's excellent driving position to carry over as well, and the driver will now face a large 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster. Unfortunately, the coupe and convertible's notoriously tight cabin and hilariously small trunk will also remain. All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Competitors include the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT. Every 2020 F-type features a 10.0-inch touchscreen that supports the company's InControl Touch Pro infotainment software. While we've found previous iterations of this interface to be glitchy, we won't know how the latest version operates until we test it. Still, popular content such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard. Users should also expect a premium audio system, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging to be optional.
It will suffice to conclude that there are exciting times ahead for the automobile industry. The automotive industry is definitely heading into an interesting direction with crossovers steadily taking the reign. Furthermore, every automaker worth its salt has already started implementing an electrification strategy that should start bearing fruit come 2020 and we are here for it.