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Mercedes Vision AMG concept previews brand’s electric performance car car future

Mercedes-AMG on Thursday unveiled an electric sedan concept previewing the performance division’s first dedicated EVs due in 2025.

Dubbed Vision AMG, the concept uses the AMG.EA architecture, one of three EV-specific architectures Mercedes plans to launch in 2025. The automaker plans to use these architectures to go all-electric by 2030, in some markets at least.

Mercedes-Benz Vision AMG concept

The car is wrapped in aerodynamic bodywork that recalls the Mercedes Vision EQXX concept unveiled at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year. The AMG Vision’s cockpit is positioned toward the rear of a stretched wheelbase to give it sportier proportions, an effect also enhanced by a wheels-to-the-corners stance. An active rear spoiler and a large rear diffuser also help manage airflow.

Other noteworthy elements include headlights shaped like the Mercedes three-pointed star badge and a six large circular taillights that look a bit like glowing afterburners. In place of a traditional grille, the concept has a body-color panel with lighting elements echoing the slats in current AMG grilles.

Mercedes-Benz Vision AMG concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AMG concept

Mercedes didn’t provide much technical detail, but did note that the Vision AMG uses axial-flux motors developed by the automaker’s wholly owned subsidiary Yasa. These motors produce more power in a more compact package than conventional motors, Mercedes claims.

AMG has plenty of experience with electric power. Recall that it first tested the waters in 2014 with the 740-hp SLS AMG Electric Drive. More recently, AMG has rolled out tuned versions of the Mercedes-Benz EQS and EQE sedans, and the EQS SUV. We’ll have to wait until 2025 to see the first dedicated AMG EV, which will use the AMG.EA platform and could borrow some elements from the Vision concept.

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Status Report

It’s easy to take the insanity of the Dodge Charger Hellcat for granted. 

After all, with over 700 horsepower cranking through the rear wheels and a massive supercharged V8 under the hood, this thing is the definition of a monster. Yet, you see them all over the roads of America, driven by people just like you and me. 

We know these things are fast, 0 to 60 comes in well under 4 seconds and they can do almost 200 miles an hour. However, with all that speed, just how durable is the Dodge Charger Hellcat? 

Well, after over 128,000 miles, and many drive shafts and axles later, we are here to give you the skinny on what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong with our fleet of Dodge Charger Hellcats.

We Go Hard On Charger Hellcats

Since we’re in the unique position of running a fleet of insanely fast cars around race tracks all over the country, and the Dodge Charger Hellcat happens to be our lead car; we’ve got a front-row seat that few car magazines or Charger owners will ever get to see.

First off, there’s no doubt that Dodge designed the Hellcat to rip around race tracks. It’s easy to dismiss it as a drag strip queen, but in the right hands, the Hellcat is formidable around any circuit. Yes, even circuits with corners! 

Over the course of owning our fleet of Dodge Charger Hellcats, we’ve piled on around 12,000 miles of hard track abuse on each vehicle. Now, that may not sound like much, but these are not street miles that are driven on basic roads and highways. No, these are track miles driven at the limits of adhesion and at speeds that are well above anything legal on public roads. 

These things regularly outrun supercars that are built and designed to be on a track, and yet our Dodge chargers don’t just rip around the track: they carry people. People who willingly enter the back seat of a 700 horsepower plus sedan driven by a professional race car driver. People who can’t wipe the smile off their faces as they witness a pro driver put a collar on the Hellcat and tame it. How many people? How about over 70,000.

How Durable Are Hellcats?

We brought Hellcats into our fleet because Chevrolet, inexplicably, decided to phase out the awesome SS sedan. We needed something that could carry people with ease and would be fast and impressive on a racetrack. If you know anything about the car industry, that leaves precious few options. 

According to our technicians, the most commonly replaced items on our Dodge Charger Hellcat fleet vehicles are: 

  • Differential units
  • Axles (lots of axles)
  • Control arms
  • Sway bar bushings
  • Driveshafts
  • Exhaust pipes
  • Tie rod replacements
  • Brake calipers

Maybe it’s something to do with that lunk of a supercharged HEMI cranking out over 700 horsepower, or maybe it’s just how hard our drivers beat up on the Hellcats, but these things break axles all the time. Yes, the Dodge Charger Hellcat eats axles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner like nothing else we’ve ever run. This got to be a bit of a challenge for us because supply chain constraints often made it hard to get the parts we needed for our Hellcats. 

This is despite having a much more durable axle, along with other driveline components, than any standard charger could ever dream of. We chalk this axle-eating behavior up to the fact that the Hellcats are pushed harder than any vehicle in our fleet by our instructors, with the goal of thrilling those who are riding the back seat. Also, that 700-plus horsepower engine just rips on anything and everything in the driveline. 

We also go through a lot of rotors, a lot of pads, and even some brake calipers. This is no doubt due to the prodigious weight of the Dodge Charger Hellcat along with the fact that our instructors are beating up on it every single session. Remember, this is not a lightweight sports car, it is a full-size sedan with a gigantic rear seat, and at 4586 pounds, it’s no flyweight. 

Overall, with the amount these things get pushed on the track, they are by far one of the most reliable vehicles in our fleet.

We’ve Learned a Ton

Most automotive publications or YouTube vehicle reviewers only get to live with the charger for a few days before they need to write a comprehensive review of the vehicle. At Xtreme Xperience, we go way beyond anything that a typical publication would be able to test and we’ve learned a ton. 

The real way to drive a Dodge Charger Hellcat is to drive the snot out of it. This is not a vehicle that is set up to handle delicately, or particularly precisely. You have to grab it by the scruff of the neck and rely on the 700 plus horsepower engine to shoot you from corner to corner. Simply put, as good as the handling is for a full-size American sedan, this is no supercar around the corners, but it’s faster than most supercars on the straights. 

If you’re going to drive a Hellcat for maximum fun and speed around the circuit, you simply can’t be afraid of the power plant. As soon as you get straight, your foot needs to go to the floor so you can let that huge engine push you and those massive brakes haul you down at the end of the straightaway. 

Driving it like a typical supercar or sports car will get you a lot of slides and a lot of tail-out antics that look awesome for bystanders but do absolutely nothing to get you around the track faster. To be clear here, we’re not complaining and neither are the people who ride in the back but if your goal is short lap times, this herculean vehicle needs to be driven in a particular manner. 

We also want to point out that the skill of our drivers makes up a lot of ground when it comes time to push this thing around the track. Could the average person equal lap times done by our instructors? No way. You have to learn and adapt to pushing the Hellcat, and our team of racing instructors knows how to do exactly that.

They’re a BLAST 

Although you may see Dodge Charger Hellcats rolling down the street in your local hometown, don’t take them for granted because they may not be around for long. 

To say that this vehicle is a dying breed is an understatement. Not only does it pack in an SRT massaged V8, but it also happens to be a sedan and a full-size sedan at that. This type of vehicle used to be extremely popular in America, but it’s been replaced by Sport Utility Vehicles as the de facto family machine. 

SRT did an incredible job with a Hellcat, and that’s not just on paper, but in real life. With all the abuse that our team of instructors puts on these things on a weekly basis, the fact that it only breaks a few axles, diffs, and a few suspension pieces is a testament it’s just how well-engineered this thing is. 

Sure, the motor is an old-school design and yes, it drinks fuel like a drunken sailor but that’s not the point of this machine. The Hellcat is designed to be an escapist vehicle in a world that seems to be moving towards blandness at an alarming rate. It’s an antidote to boring, and we appreciate it more every time it bellows down the straightaway at an event. 

Think you’re ready to tame the wildness that is the Dodge Charger Hellcat? You can experience this incredible machine behind the wheel at one of our legendary Open Road events, or you can ride in the backseat at one of our road circuits events at a track near you. No matter which you choose, you will not be disappointed when you feel the rush of 700 plus horsepower and the all-American torque of the wailing supercharged monster under the hood. 

So, what are you waiting for? The Dodge Charger Hellcat is waiting for you.

The post Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody Status Report appeared first on Xtreme Xperience.

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1,400 hp, AWD, Pikes Peak race car

Ken Block will race at the 2022 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) in a purpose-built Porsche 911 called “Hoonipigasus.”

Built by BBi Autosport, the latest Hoonigan vehicle is mid-engined, all-wheel drive, and boasts 1,400 hp, according to a press release from Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division. It also features a specially designed transmission tunnel that goes from shoulder height down to the front axle, which helps lower the center of gravity, Hoonigan claims.

A massive rear wing helps compensate for the thin air at Pikes Peak, where racers start at 9,300 feet above sea level and climb to 14,115 feet. Despite its porcine name, the car weighs a fairly svelte 2,204 lb. It also has GPS-actuated height-adjustable suspension that uses telemetry from the previous year’s race.

Porsche 917/20

As for the name, it’s reference to the Porsche 917/20 “Pink Pig” that raced at the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. After seeing the car’s engorged bodywork (the result of wind-tunnel testing to improve aerodynamics) the race team gave it a pig-inspired livery complete with marks for the different cuts of meat on an actual swine. The Hoonipigasus gets its own version of that one-off livery.

The 911 will race in the Pikes Peak Open (PPO) class, which includes few restrictions other than those related to safety. Block and BBi Autosport will be gunning for an overall win. The latter already has eight podiums and five class wins at Pikes Peak.

Block previously ran the Pikes Peak course in his “Hoonicorn” Ford Mustang for the 2017 “Climbkhana: Pikes Peak” video. He also entered the PPIHC in 2005 in a Group N rally car.

Ken Block's Hoonipigasus Porsche 911

Ken Block’s Hoonipigasus Porsche 911

 

The Hoonipigasus is one of several projects Block has commissioned since ending his exclusive partnership with Ford in 2021. He’s been clearing garage space by selling some of his Blue Oval rally cars.

Block is also tied in with Porsche’s Volkswagen Group cousin Audi. That partnership focuses on electric cars, and has already produced an all-electric tribute to the Audi Quattro S1 that once dominated Pikes Peak. Dubbed Audi S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron, that car will appear in Block’s upcoming “Elektrikhana” video.

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Listen to the 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage Scream at the Nurburgring!

The 2022 Aston Martin V12 Vantage was filmed testing on the track during the Industry Pool at the Nurburgring. And we can finally here how it will sound when deliveries commence in a few months.

Aston Martin introduced the last high-powered V12 Vantage after unleashing the DBX 707. This new model is currently the most powerful Vantage to be fitted with a twin-turbo, 5.2 liter combustion engine producing 690 hp at 6500 rpm and 753 Nm of torque from 1800 rpm.

The acceleration from 0-100km/h is achieved in 3.5 seconds, the top speed is limited to 322 km/h and all the power is directed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a rear-mounted mechanical limited-slip differential.

The vehicle’s power-to-weight ratio has been improved by more than 20 percent compared to the V8 model and with 385 hp per one metric ton, the model weighs 1795 kilograms.

To further reduce the overall weight of the new Vantage, the model was fitted with carbon fibre elements on the front bumper, hood, front fenders, deck lid and bumper and on the side sills.

Additionally, the fitted Draconian consists of a lightweight battery and new stainless steel exhaust with centrally mounted dual tips that reduce the weight by 7.2 kgs compared to standard setup.

The vehicle has also been equipped with standard carbon-ceramic brakes with 410 mm discs and six calipers at the front and 360 mm discs and four calipers at the rear axle. The CCB brakes reduce the weight by 23 kgs compared to the steel setup and can resist brake fade at temperatures of upto 800℃.

The new V12 Vantage is wrapped in Michelin Pilot 4S tires and 21 inch alloy wheels which reduces the weight by 8 kgs. As standard, the tires measure 275/35 R21 at the front axle and 315/30 R21 at the rear axle whereas the wheels have been widened by approximately 40 mm.

The V12 Vantage also features a ZF gearbox adapted to handle the engine power and provide quicker shifts, new adaptive suspension with redesigned anti-roll bars, bushings, springs and damper assemblies and an optional Comfort Package which includes a four-piece luggage set, indoor car cover, trunk mat and battery conditioner.

The 2022 Aston Martin V12 Vantage is already sold out, the model will be limited to 333 units and the deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year.

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Jay Leno checks out an SR20-powered Datsun 1600 restomod

The Datsun 1600 laid the foundation for the 240Z and the line of Nissan Z sports cars that followed. Mike Spagnola of Purpose Built Motors respected that heritage while upgrading a 1600’s performance to turn it into a tasteful restomod that recently appeared on “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

In addition to being special to Datsun and Nissan fans, the 1600 also has special significance for Leno because one of these roadsters was his second car purchase (after a 1934 Ford pickup truck). His car was nothing like this red roadster, though.

The car started out as a bare shell, Spagnola said. While aesthetic changes are essentially limited to bigger wheels and tires with fender flares to cover them, a surprise waits under the hood.

Datsun 1600 restomod on Jay Leno’s Garage

The Datsun is powered by an SR20DET turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 from an S13-generation Nissan 240SX. While still a Nissan engine, it’s easy to modify and has extensive aftermarket support. With an aftermarket turbocharger, it makes about 300 hp at the wheels, and about 260-lb-ft of torque, Spagnola said. That’s a lot more than the stock engine.

The new engine does fit more snugly in the engine bay, however, and Spagnola had to put some gold-leaf insulation on the hood to deal with the heat thrown off by the turbo. The brakes were sourced from a more modern Nissan sports car as well, in this case, a 300ZX.

While the Datsun 1600’s lineage continues with the 2023 Nissan Z sports car, the Datsun name itself may not be long for this world. After being retired in 1981, the Datsun name was revived in 2013 for emerging markets, selling cars in countries like India, Indonesia, and Russia. But Nissan is mulling killing off Datsun again and reallocating resources to its electric-vehicle business, Nikkei Asia reported in April 2022.

Check out the full video for more information on the car and to hear Jay’s thoughts about how this car drives. Spoiler, he’s impressed.

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Rumor Has it Mercedes-Benz Museum Sold their SLR 300 Coupe for $142 Million

There is a new rumor circulating around town that Mercedes-Benz has sold one of their museum pieces for a record crashing price. This unconfirmed report comes from Hargety states that 1 of only 2 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes has been sold by the company for a record $142,000,000, more than double the price of the most expensive Ferrari 250 GTO ever sold.

Allegedly, Mercedes-Benz Museum hired an agent to handle the high profile sale. This agent gathered 10 potential buyers for a luncheon at the museum on May 6th, the buyers flew in from around the world via private jets. On that special day the museum was closed to the public but is due to open again on May 15th.

Some of the requirements for a successful bid included a custodian who would take care of the car with the same dedication as Mercedes-Benz Museum as well as be willing to showcase the car at key events when called upon by the museum. The successful buyer is forbidden from ever selling the car to a 3rd party.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes were two cars built from the nine rolling chassis of the 300 SLR race cars. They were named after their designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut who intended to use them at the infamous Carrera Panamericana but Mercedes quit Motorsport at the end of 1955 leaving the two Coupes with no active roles.

Uhlenhaut kept one car for himself, this car also served as the press car that was tested by several journalists at the time. It was crowned the fastest car of that decade. One Uhlenhaut Coupe is stored one of Mercedes-Benz’s eleven car vaults while the other is publicly displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. We suspect the latter is the car that was involved in this particular sale.

This is a developing story, we will update you with more information once these rumors are confirmed or denied.

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Who is the owner of the $142 million Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Silver Arrow?

Earlier this week, Hagerty had reported that one of the two Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupes” may have been sold at a private auction. As per the report, the legendary racecar fetched an eye-watering price of $142 million. This makes it the most expensive car in the world!

This story has been all over internet for the last couple days. So instead of rehashing the same information, we asked ourselves, “Who could be the lucky individual who bought the Silver Arrow?” Well, one thing is for sure, whoever placed the winning bid is mighty loaded.

Fortunately, a friend of ours sent an Instagram link that simplified our search. Now before you get too excited, here’s a disclaimer. This person may not be the actual owner of the Silver Arrow. In fact, finding the owner of a high-profile car like this would be nigh-on-impossible. But at least we have a lead.

Hans Kleissl is a well known Mercedes-Benz historian and a 300SL expert. He is the owner of HK Engineering, a company that specializes in restoring these iconic machines. His recent posts on Instagram would make anyone believe that he might have purchased the Silver Arrow. But some say, that he may have bought it on behalf of one of his clients.

Therefore, the question still remains: “Who owns the most expensive car in the world?”

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First official Zenvo Automotive dealership in the USA | Zenvo

Zenvo Automotive was founded in 2007 in Præstø, Denmark with the intention of building limited-edition hypercars, the first prototype was the TS1 which was developed into the TS1 GT, a TSR track-only car, and the ultimate flagship, the TSR-S with a lightweight carbon fiber body built in-house and powered by a flat-plane, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that develops a massive 1,177 hp … but the most intricate detail about the Zenvo TSR-S is still that Centripetal rear wing, a Zenvo patent, that pivots depending on steering input to increase downforce to the axle that requires it.

But for many, Denmark is still a long way from the United States. To make sure they can reach a more global clientele, Zenvo of Denver has just been announced, the first official dealership for Zenvo Automotive in the United States of America, targeting the Rocky Mountain and Midwest Region, and what’s even more interesting, there will be a Zenvo available for customer test drives while the flagship model, the TRS-S will be shown at various hypercar events during the Summer season of 2022, so you’ll be able to admire this exceptional car during Monterey Car Week for sure in August.

Zenvo’s chief commercial officer and chairman of the board, Jens Sverdrup said: “The United States has always supported Zenvo Automotive and been interested in our Danish culture and company principles, so it’s with great pleasure that we finally bring our cars here for American car enthusiasts to enjoy. Zenvo of Denver is the first selected dealer out of a total planned five US dealers being rolled out. This is to support the sharply increased interest and sales we have experienced lately and support the brand’s growth and prepare to introduce an all-new, worldwide homologated Zenvo to be launched in 2023. Colorado as a state and Denver as a city is the ideal, central-US location for us to serve our customers and start our American journey. We can’t wait to celebrate Zenvo’s arrival in Denver later this month at our new dealer’s facilities.”

The Zenvo hypercars are absolute performance beasts, with a power output beyond 1,177 bhp and acceleration figures below three seconds to reach 62 mph from 0, all from the impressive, in-house developed flat-plane V8 power unit, and with just five units of the Zenvo TSR-S to be built annually, there is now an alternative to the Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Pagani hypercars, and more importantly, perhaps, the Zenvo reaches 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds, goes to 200 km/h in less than 6.8 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 325 km/h … all for €1,45,000 apiece, while a Bugatti Chiron costs about double that, but the latter takes 2.4 seconds to 100 km/h, 6.5 seconds to 200 km/h and goes out of breath at 420 km/h … so it’s extremely fast in top speed, but otherwise the Zenvo TSR-S is almost just as fast … for half the money.

Representing the Denver-based Zenvo Automotive dealership will be Benoît Boningue, the Zenvo of Denver’s Director of Special Projects – Supercar and Hypercar sales. Zenvo will seamlessly integrate into the successful Ferrari specialist dealership, Ferrari of Denver.

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Mid-cycle update on the way

Porsche engineers are out testing prototypes for an updated 911 range, and a new one has been spotted.

Previously we brought you spy shots of prototypes for the updated 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S, and today we have spy shots and video of a tester for what’s likely to be the updated 911 Carrera.

The current 911 arrived in 2018 as a 2020 model, initially in Carrera and Turbo guises. Given the typical seven- to eight-year lifespan of the 911, we should see this updated version arrive in 2023, likely as a 2024 model.

Tweaks to the styling will be mild, with the prototype revealing a new front fascia design sporting larger intakes with vertical flaps that are likely active. There’s also an additional sensor located under the license plate.

Moving to the rear, we notice a new design for the engine’s side vents, and exhaust tips mounted closer to the center. This backs rumors that we might see a new engine introduced with this update, specifically a bigger, naturally aspirated unit like Porsche’s 4.0-liter flat-6 offered in the 718 range, which starts at 394 hp. The current Carrera models come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-6, which starts at 379 hp.

There is some substance to the rumors. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche’s chief engineer for the 911, said in a 2020 interview that new emissions regulations planned for Europe around the middle of the decade will see bigger engines return in favor of downsized units. The new rules are apparently aimed at matching lab-tested fuel economy with real-world figures.

We also expect a hybrid option to be added to the Carrera with this update. The updated Turbo should also have a hybrid option.

Fans of the 911 have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years. Also out testing are prototypes for a 911 GT3 RS and a high-riding variant that could go by the name 911 Safari. There will also be the aforementioned updated Turbo variants which should continue to offer supercar-rivaling performance.

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Official: 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base

Bentley is hoping to stretch its reach further into the realms of luxury with the 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base. The Bentley Bentayga EWB is based on the second generation of Bentayga, extending the wheelbase and rear cabin space by an extra 180mm. The changes to the underfloor, side panels, door and roof were worked on by Bentley’s design team to ensure the sharp lines and proportions of the Bentayga remain elegant and stylish. The increased length results in the wheelbase of the car being stretched from 2995 to 3175mm brining the total length to 5322mm. All of the increase in in the rear door panel highlighting the focus in the creating an even more sumptuous rear cabin with an emphasis on comfort and wellness. This is reflected in the introduction of the world’s first auto climate and advanced postural adjustment rear seat.

The new cabin space allows for the new Bentley Airline Seat which Bentley claims to be the ‘most advanced seat ever fitted to a car, with 22-ways of adjustment’. Having attended to the preview of the car earlier this year, I can confirm that the rear seats in this configuration are sublime, with ample room and endless adjustability.

The front passenger seat can be pushed forward and a leather-trimmed footrest can be deployed whilst rear passenger seats sense the occupant’s temperature and determine whether to apply heat, ventilation or both simultaneously whilst the postural adjustment system automatically makes micro adjustments to the occupant’s seating position pressure points by measuring pressure across the seats surface: clever stuff! Elsewhere in the cabin, there is a more advanced stitching design, Bentley Diamond Illumination on the door sills and a total of 24 billion(!) trim combinations that can be chosen from. 

Bentley predicts that the EWB model will account for 45% of Bentayga sales, but for many the two Airline Seats in the rear may not be the most desirable set up. No problem, a standard 4+1 seating layout is offered with the two outer rear seats featuring 16 ways of adjustment, heating, ventilation and five massage programmes. 

Visually the 2022 Bentley Bentayga EWB can be spotted from its new ‘Vertical Vane Grille’ design, new 22 inch 10-spoke wheel, repositioned sunroof and, of course, that elongated rear door. 

Mechanically the car is identical to the V8 offering in the Bentayga range with the exception of the rear-wheel-steer system that is new to the EWB. It allows the turning radius to be reduced by up to 7% helping compensate for the additional length of the Extended Wheel Base.

Expect to see the 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base on the road soon knowing that the occupants are enjoying levels of comfort never previously experience in a Bentley SUV.

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