We had a blast making these cars up.
The humble render is one of the most fun you can have as an automotive writer.
These days manufacturers unveil their vehicles in stages, starting with a heavily disguised model getting snapped by the paparazzi. Then an insider reveals a few choice bits of information, following another round of paparazzi pics with less camouflage. Eventually, the car is "leaked" a few hours before it's supposed to make its debut.
All of the above makes it easy to speculate. And who doesn't love to speculate about what each new model will bring to the party?
The XM Concept received a fair amount of abuse for its questionable styling. But after taking a deep breath, we decided to apply some of the new design language to the next-gen X5. And the results speak for themselves.
Rumors of an electric N first surfaced in July, and what appears to be the actual car was spotted on the Green Hell in September. In theory, Hyundai should be able to push the power output up to 576 hp to match the power output of the Kia EV6 GT.
Add some of the N division's now-famous design cues, and you have a stunning performance EV.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS has to be one of the worst-kept secrets in the automotive world.
We've seen enough footage to know that it has an active rear wing. And just a few days ago, Porsche filed a patent for an active rear wing.
We don't expect much of a power increase, as Porsche has stuck to 500 hp for a while now. What remains to be seen is if Porsche somehow manages to get the 4.0-liter flat-six to rev above the GT3's 9,100 rpm redline. In any case, we're fairly confident it will look like this.
Ford's F-150 Lightning is yet another winning product from Ford. The initial reservation run sold out in record time, and orders will be allocated in January 2022.
We know that some of our readers still don't trust electric vehicles, but it's clear that a massive chunk of the population is keen to buy-in.
EVs, in general, will be fantastic off-roaders. We maintain that the future of off-roading is electric, thanks to instant torque, the ability to drive in complete silence, and the simplicity of an EV drivetrain. A Lightning Raptor is therefore inevitable.
The all-new BMW 2 Series made its debut this year, and mercifully, it remained a small rear-wheel-drive car with a turbocharged six bolted under the hood.
BMW will likely throw all of its latest technology at it, including an xDrive system with the infamous drift mode.
How does this car not exist yet?
Subaru has everything it needs to make the Crosstrek WRX work, and will guarantee giant bags of money for the Japanese manufacturer . People like a crossover, and people like performance. Put those two together, and you have a winning recipe.
Seriously, Subaru. Make this car happen.
The Kia Stinger was an interesting experiment to see whether global customers were ready for a performance car from a brand known for minivans and SUVs.
It was good, but not great. Perhaps Kia should have stuck with the original two-door concept.
At the moment, Dodge is going through a "Hellcat all the things" phase, and we love it. It's the only manufacturer making the most out of these last few precious years of internal combustion.
Eventually, all good things must come to an end and then we'll move on to an EV Charger. We'll miss the noise, but the speed will be next-level ferocious.
Don't forget, the fastest production car in the world is electric...
Electric trucks are the next big thing, but the Stellantis group arrived a bit late to the party. Remember, it's too busy putting a supercharged V8 in everything.
There are several clues that the current Cayman might be the last to use internal combustion.
The most telling is Porsche finally building a Cayman with a GT3 engine, which is a pretty epic way of saying goodbye. The second sign is the Mission R concept. Porsche doesn't do concepts unless it intends to do something.
Porsche's Mission R is a compact electric sports car, and all the signs point to it being the next Cayman.
Subaru recently launched the all-new WRX, and a new STI will inevitably follow.
The new WRX has been criticized for not doing anything new, as it's still AWD, powered by a turbocharged flat-four, and equipped with a manual gearbox. To us, that's a bit like flogging Porsche for continuing to put the engine in the rear of the 911.
In any case, the WRX STI will also likely be the last of its kind, and it will go down fighting.
McLaren desperately needs an SUV in its range. As much as automotive enthusiasts scoff at the idea, an SUV is a must-have if a manufacturer needs to make money.
The Porsche Cayenne saved the German brand, and the Lamborghini Urus is the best-selling Lambo ever. Aston Martin's DBX is doing a sublime job of filling the British brand's bank account.
McLaren desperately needs some of that action if it wants to keep building amazing cars like the 765 LT.
Cadillac is going electric in a big way, but it also doesn't want to lose a large chunk of its loyal customers.
That's why the Escalade name is being kept, but with the additional "IQ" in the terminology to match the rest of the range.
Kia is likely looking at Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz sales and wishing it got in on the action sooner.
There's still room left in the segment for another competitor, and most of the hard work has already been done by Hyundai.
A Kia pickup based on the Santa Cruz but with its own unique styling seems inevitable at this point.