Big Bavarian grilles make it to LMDh prototype racing with the BMW M Hybrid V8, Škoda moves some wiring harness production in-house, Polestar teases a new crossover SUV. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Dial M For Motorsport
It’s been almost 23 years since Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini, and Joachim Winkelhock drove the V12 LMR to first place at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Showing up, winning, refusing to elaborate, then leaving? Pretty legendary stuff from BMW. Except that prototype chapter isn’t quite over, because there’s some unfinished business here. While BMW won at Le Mans, the V12 LMR only ever managed second in the American Le Mans Series championship.
Enter the BMW M Hybrid V8, a car that simply sounds like an engine. Co-developed with Dallara and designed by the same people who styled the i3 electric hatchback, the M Hybrid V8 doesn’t look like any BMW we’ve seen before. Sure, it has massive kidney grilles, but they’re horizontally-oriented and channel air around the cockpit. Sure, we have seen pointy M-style mirrors before, but never at this level of motorsport. It may be cloaked in an artistic pattern, but it’s definitely not an art car. Those squiggles and stamps and shades all exist as a form of camouflage for a car that won’t make its racing debut until 2023. So why show off the M Hybrid V8 now?
Well, heritage. See, 2022 marks 50 years of BMW’s M division, an elevated subset of BMWs for people who really, really love driving. While it seemed as if M had lost its way, the mojo seems to be slowly returning. The M5 CS was the single best car I drove last year, the perfect new car for a nice family road trip through Flugplatz. The new M3 in base trim with the manual gearbox is as wonderful to drive as it is hard to look at, while even the M-lite cars pack some serious punch and proper limited-slip differentials. While the extra-large XM SUV should make the M division a lot of money, what’s a better cherry on top of a golden anniversary than a brand new top-level race car? It’s a sign that someone inside BMW still knows that M stands for Motorsport. Best of luck dicing it up with the fearsome Cadillac and Toyota prototypes during the 2023 IMSA season, more manufacturers in high-level motorsport is rarely a bad thing.
Škoda Moves Some Wiring Harness Production In-House
Mike Tyson once said “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Globalism is great for trade and mobility, but it doesn’t fully account for despots sending missiles through your mailbox. With volatile supply chains seemingly here to stay, vertical integration seems like the name of the game for European carmakers. As such, Škoda has decided to move some wiring harness production out of the hands of third-party Ukraine-based suppliers and into its own factory near Prague.
According to Automotive News Europe, wiring harness manufacturer PEKM Kabeltechnik has supplied Škoda’s Mladá Boleslav plant with harness assembly equipment and 35 skilled workers. The plan is simple but the scope of it is huge – train more workers, then shift production of wiring harnesses for the Octavia C-segment liftback and wagon, Superb D-segment liftback and wagon, Karoq C-segment crossover, and Kodiaq D-segment crossover in-house. Production of harnesses for the B-segment Fabia are already on the go in Mladá Boleslav, with everything else set to come online in just a matter of weeks. It’s a massively ambitious move but the expertise really seems to be in place to pull it off.
Polestar Can Now Count To Three
The Polestar 2 is a bit of a spork. It’s not quite a sedan, it’s not quite a crossover, it’s reasonably good at a lot of things but also very confusing. More importantly, it’s not exactly selling well. See, if you’ve been living in a cave for the past 20 years, you’d be shocked to know that new car shoppers are now obsessed with vehicles that offer the bulky silhouette and general cargo space of an SUV without any of the off-road capability of an SUV or the sheer practicality of a minivan. Thankfully, it looks like Polestar should be able to satiate consumers fairly soon.
This is the Polestar 3, a proper crossover expected to enter mass production in America and China early next year. While details are a bit sparse given that a full reveal won’t happen until October, Polestar isn’t leaving too much to the imagination here. Aside from the unusual aero treatment of front and rear wings, the 3 seems fairly conventional. Look a bit closer though, and things get very interesting. We’re talking about onboard LIDAR and Nvidia computing, massive brakes, fantastically complex wheels, and a very unusual headlamp treatment. Polestar says in a press release that all models from launch will feature two electric motors and a 600 km range on the WLTP cycle, or about the same as a Ford Mustang Mach-E with the extended range battery pack. Figure around 300 miles of range on the EPA cycle once the 3 hits American roads. Honestly, I’m kind of eager to see this thing in full. With all the EV crossovers coming out, Polestar’s typical dash of uniqueness sounds quite welcome in a fairly homogeneous marketplace.
The Words ‘Pilot Error’ Become Redefined
News from Washington: NHTSA is looking into Honda Pilots. The potential issue is quite simple. You know those automatic stop-start systems that shut the engine off at traffic lights? Well, the start part of that equation might be silent here.
According to the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation briefing, the safety agency has received 221 complaints of Honda Pilots not automatically restarting after automatic stop-start kicked in. Some complaints even allege that certain cars required jump-starting to get going again. It’s pretty miserable pushing two tons of crossover SUV out of a live lane, so hopefully this is dealt with shortly. The investigation covers 2016 to 2020 model year Honda Pilots with the nine-speed automatic gearbox and automatic stop-start, so basically the top two Touring and Elite trims. Honestly, I’m mostly surprised that automatic stop-start actually does something on Hondas with the J35 3.5-liter V6. I couldn’t get the last new J35-powered product I drove into auto stop-start if I tried, a bit of a disappointment considering idling comes with a 0 MPG price tag.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s a properly rainy day outside my window, so I’d like to consult the room. What are your favorite windshield wiper blades? While I’m sticking with the OE Valeo blades for my 3-Series, some of the silicone options on the market are simply fabulous. Do you go cheap, splash out, or live dangerously by Rain-Xing the windshield on a weekend toy with no wipers and letting speed do the work?
Lead photo credit: BMW