The Wildest And Most Memorable Cars Of Monterey Car Week 2022

The Wildest And Most Memorable Cars Of Monterey Car Week 2022
Written by Techbot
Lincoln Model L100 Concept

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Monterey Car Week is infamous for its supercars and super-rich attendees, and 2022’s event was no different with a cornucopia of exotics — and some unexpected wildcards for the rest of us. Though the concepts were free-flowing, as at any car show, the big ticket items at California’s most glamorous automotive event were the limited-edition models from marques like Bugatti, Bentley, and McLaren.

For those hypercars, the reality is that Monterey is a showcase debut, but not a sales showroom. Most of the high-end exclusives have long been allocated to the automakers’ most loyal clientele, a diminutive audience that has seen the early designs — and put down their credit card — long before the real vehicles are unveiled on stage.

For 2022, the big theme has been “goodbye gasoline” as supercar companies embrace the inevitability of electrification. Whether it’s Bugatti’s W16 engine or Bentley’s W12, the days of gas are numbered. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time for some multi-million dollar last hurrahs, as the best of the old-school remind us why they’ve been so compelling all this time. Read on for some of the biggest launches of Monterey Car Week 2022.

Bugatti’s $5 Million Goodbye to Gas Also Drops the Roof

Bugatti W16 Mistral

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Bugatti unexpectedly managed to capture both a first and a finale with the seductive, and wildly expensive, W16 Mistral. It’s the last production series car from the automaker that will use its vast, 16-cylinder gas engine, here in 1,600 PS form as so wildly applied in the Chiron Super Sport 300+ in 2019. Back then, it was speed that was the guiding star. This time around, it’s about actually seeing those stars above your head.

That’s because the W16 Mistral is the first car in the Chiron era to be a roadster, something we’ve not seen since the days of the Veyron. Bugatti says its customers had been crying out for an open-top option for years now, but it took this long to refine the design to keep the automaker’s distinctive styling cues, and not sacrifice either performance or safety. Ninety-nine lucky buyers will spend about $5 million apiece for the privilege.

Bentley Teases the EV Future With Its Coachbuilt Batur

Bentley is saying another big goodbye, in the shape of its now-iconic W12 12-cylinder engine. A mainstay of the British automaker’s line-up for decades, the arrival of Bentley’s ambitious electrification plan has meant a curtain call for this torque-rich gas power plant. It’s going out in the shape of the stunning Bentley Mulliner Batur, tuned to make it the most potent iteration of the W12 so far with more than 730 horsepower, and 737 pound-feet of torque.

Only 18 will be built, each priced from $2 million, and with the full creative expertise of Bentley’s Mulliner coach-building team to customize and craft a unique farewell to gasoline. That includes 3D-printed 18-karat gold, a waveform of the engine’s sound embedded in the dashboard, and a sustainable natural fiber composite alternative to carbon fiber. However, its styling previews some of the new aesthetic cues we can expect from upcoming vehicles, like Bentley’s first all-electric model in 2025.

Lamborghini’s Super SUV Takes No Prisoners

Lamborghini Urus Performante

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Lamborghini may have a portfolio of supercar coupes and convertibles, but it was an SUV that made its debut in Monterey. The Lamborghini Urus Performante follows the same pattern of its nameplate siblings: more power, more agility, and the promise of more fun. The Urus has been a huge success for Lamborghini — it’s now the brand’s best-selling model — and now the SUV picks up more of the lively spirit of its coupe stablemates.

Less weight, and a switch to fixed steel springs with adaptive dampers from the standard air suspension, help with poise and responsiveness in the corners. It also leaves the Urus Performante lower to the street, while aesthetic tweaks outside and in help distinguish the most potent of the SUVs from the regular model. Altogether it’s been enough to make this the fastest production SUV to climb to the Pikes Peak summit.

Lucid Wants to Embarrass Elon Musk

Lucid Air Sapphire

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Lucid’s contribution to Monterey didn’t have to travel far: The California-based electric startup brought its Air Sapphire down from the Bay Area to show off its new performance nameplate. EVs like Tesla’s Model S Plaid have already put pay to any lingering reputation that electric cars are necessarily slow, but Lucid Motors’ newest model aims to out-perform Elon Musk in the process.

That involved adding a third motor to the Air, doubling up at the rear so that the torque to each wheel can be individually controlled. The result is more agility and a whopping 1,200 horsepower in total, enough — so Lucid claims — to propel the Air Sapphire from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds. In fact, the automaker insists, its $250,000 limited-availability EV will be the fastest production sedan in the world, as well as opening the door to a series of new Sapphire-branded models which coax the greatest pace out of their electric architecture.

Audi Has Production Plans for Its Self-Driving Concept

Audi Grandsphere Concept

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Audi won’t be selling its Monterey Car Week models — at least, not yet. Its striking trio of “Sphere” concepts joined forces to preview the German automaker’s vision of an electric, luxury future, from the Skysphere roadster with its physically-stretching wheelbase, to the Urbansphere “apartment on wheels,” embodying the concept of an oasis among dense city environments.

In-between, though, is the Audi Grandsphere, and though the sedan may not look quite as avant-garde as its siblings, it’s the car with the production potential. Audi plans to build a luxury four-door based on the EV in the middle of the decade, not only carrying its themes of cabin minimalism and alternative materials to dealerships, but eventually offering Level 4 autonomous driving, too. That includes a retracting steering wheel that hides behind a panel in the dashboard when the Grandsphere is piloting itself, and projected instrumentation to replace the usual physical or digital gauges.

McLaren Made a Real Car From a Game Racer

McLaren Solus GT

Chris Davies/SlashGear

McLaren’s Solus GT looks like it should just be a concept. After all, even for the automaker that popularized dihedral doors, the single-seater with its carved-out bodywork looks extreme. Fit for a video game, you might say, and you wouldn’t be wrong: The Solus GT is actually the production version of a concept car McLaren built for “Gran Turismo SPORT” several years ago.

Fast forward to today, and a handful of buyers will get to experience what that’s like in the real world. Just 25 of the cars will be built, each with a 5.2-liter, naturally-aspirated V10 delivering more than 829 horsepower, and 479 pound-feet of torque. Maximum speed will be in excess of 200 mph, but it’ll be how wildly the coupe corners that should really impress. After all, that’s the point of the incredible downforce from its jaw-dropping bodywork.

Lincoln Embraced Excess to Excellent Effect

Lincoln Model L100 Concept

Chris Davies/SlashGear

The cabin of Lincoln’s Model L100 Concept is the polar opposite when it comes to space, though getting in there is no less wowing than the McLaren’s sliding canopy. The incredible long coach doors of the electric sedan spread open, while the whole roof lifts, allowing you to step inside — and onto the full-display floor — with all the grace of the EVs’ exterior. Inside, two sizable couches can be configured for a face-to-face mode, as the Model L100 is left to drive itself.

While production for this particular Lincoln seems unlikely, it’s fair to say it previews some big themes we’re likely to hear more of in the years to come. The way the Model L100 Concept makes its battery a structural part of the car — helping trim weight as well as increase overall stability — is something we’ve already seen from EVs, while the spacious interior teases more sustainable materials than the traditional wood, metal, and leather.

Kia’s Monterey Debut Will Actually Be Affordable

Kia EV6 GT

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Kia might not be the first automaker you’d expect to see alongside the luminaries of the hypercar world, but that didn’t stop the South Korean automaker from making a splash with one of the most attainable debuts in Monterey. Headed to dealerships by the end of 2022, the Kia EV6 GT takes the company’s well-received all-electric hatchback and gives it a healthy performance upgrade. That means 576 horsepower, making it Kia’s most powerful production car to date.

The styling is tweaked, and bigger wheels get more potent brakes. Normally, the EV6 GT is all-wheel drive, but a new Drift Mode focuses power on the rear for those times you want to try going sideways. Kia hasn’t confirmed pricing for the new EV yet, but you can guarantee that it’ll be a whole lot more affordable than any of the supercars it sat alongside at the show this week.

Acura’s Tease Has Production Potential

Acura Precision EV Concept

Chris Davies/SlashGear

Acura is finally going electric, and though we’ll have to wait a couple more years for the automaker’s first production EV — now freshly branded the Acura ZDX — we do have some hints as to what we can expect from the design. That was previewed by another of the automaker’s memorable design studies, the Acura Precision EV Concept, showing off a new aesthetic to what we’ve come to expect from Honda’s upscale performance brand.

A big grille up-front, illuminated and flanked by squinting headlamps, leads into a heavily sculpted hood and front fenders. Inside, the dashboard is more angular and driver-focused, with Acura promising a newly-upgraded version of its infotainment system, too. Just how much of this will actually make it to the ZDX — or, for that matter, the even-more-potent Acura ZDX Type S that has also been confirmed — we’ll need to wait and see, but Acura could do a lot worse than giving the green light to this blue beast as-is.

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