The Friday Five:The Factory-Direct Mustang Heist, Civic Type R Track Test Teasers, and Color-Changing BMW Edition

Beverly Braga | Dec 18, 2021

Today marks the last Friday of the year that isn’t Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. This means an action-packed week for car news before the holiday break! For starters, every major model update for 2022 from every major (plus mid-major and minor) automaker is now available in our Shopping Guides section. The latest additions are GenesisGMCJaguarJeepMercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

Our experts also offer their driving impressions of the Lincoln Corsair plug-in hybrid and the newest crossover SUVs from Hyundai. We test the new Santa Fe hybrid along with the first-ever Ioniq 5, which debuts the automaker’s newly created EV-only Ioniq sub-brand.

Other headlines include a Chevrolet Corvette production stoppage due to damage sustained from deadly storms that impacted the Midwest and Southeast; the Ford Bronco failing to earn top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Mazda MX-5 Miata pricing for 2022; and Toyota’s $70-billion investment in electrification.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Hot Heist: Multiple Mustang GT 500s Stolen from Plant

2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Red Front Quarter View

Thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues, and everything else in between, new-car inventories are at an all-time low, leading to new-car prices reaching all-time highs. Apparently, these extreme times call for extreme measures. At least for fans (fiends?) of the Ford Mustang who were involved in a late-night heist.

According to Southgate, Michigan-based The News-Herald, four brand-new Mustang GT 500s were stolen from the Ford assembly plant in Flat Rock. Authorities are still investigating how the thieves gained access to the facility, but how they escaped left little to the imagination: one of the GT 500s was used as a battering ram through the security gate. Authorities recovered two vehicles shortly after the heist, but the whereabouts of the other Mustang GT 500s (and the suspects) are unknown.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Teased in New Test Track Images

Another performance car that should be driven like it was stolen is the Honda Civic Type RHonda is well into developing the redesigned hot hatch set to arrive next year. To tease what’s to come, Honda released images of the Civic Type R in action at the Suzuka Circuit, where the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix is held.

 The Civic Type R was heavily camouflaged, of course. But instead of looking like a trash bag, the tight-fitting wrap revealed details such as sleek character lines, bulging fenders, and an aggressive front fascia.

BMW to Unveil On-Demand Color-Changing Car Paint

BMW is going for the bulging sheet metal look, too, but some would say in the wrong places. Perhaps to distract from what’s already distracting, at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Bavarian brand will unveil a vehicle with color-changing paint.

As reported by The Drive, BMW says owners can activate this new technology with “the touch of a button.” Call it a gimmick, but with the advent and popularity of vehicle wraps, there could be a market for on-demand paint changes to match your nails, shoes, jacket, watch, whatever. Besides, why should cuttlefish and chameleons have all the fickle-skin fun?

Ford Focuses Production on Mustang Mach-E, Delays Other EVs

To meet consumer demand, Ford CEO Jim Farley announced that production of the battery-electric Mustang Mach-E will increase to more than 200,000 units annually by 2023 for North America and Europe. The initial production target was 50,000 vehicles. But with light come shadows.

To address this new Mustang Mach-E standard, electric versions of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator—announced as mid-2023 debuts—have been pushed back to December 2024 at the earliest. According to Automotive News, the corporate twins were supposed to follow the F-150 Lightning in launch timing. Instead, they now rest on the back burner while the Mustang Mach-E remains hot.

New Land Rover Range Rover SV Debuts

The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover debuted just seven weeks ago, but already its lineup is expanding. Developed by Special Vehicle Operations, the brand’s in-house luxury performance unit, the new Range Rover SV offers more personalization than ever. More than 1.6 million configurations, in fact. For even extra exclusivity, the SUV can be spec’d with bespoke ceramic finishes, wood veneers, furniture-grade leather, sustainable materials, unique metal plating, and so on.

The new Range Rover SV will feature a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 523 horsepower. Land Rover will offer both standard and long-wheelbase (LWB) body styles, including a newly available 5-passenger LWB option. Land Rover has not released pricing or announced an on-sale date, but order books for the new Range Rover SV are slated to open early next year.

The automakers are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on December 17, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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