Including a rally derived car and a frumpy crossover.
An automaker developing a platform that can be used to build several vehicles on, or an entire range of vehicles, has become commonplace. It used to be a dirty little secret that cars like the Jaguar S-Type used the same basic underpinnings as the Lincoln LS. Nowadays, however, it's not too surprising to find out that the Honda CR-V rides on the same chassis as the Civic or that brands under the Volkswagen umbrella, like Audi and Porsche, share the occasional platform. Doing so decreases the cost of development as well as manufacture, so now platforms are often developed with that in mind. Doing so has created some odd bedfellows, though, and sometimes, the most unlikely vehicles are actually more closely related than you might think. Here are some of the cars that are completely different yet share the same platform.
Diamond-Star Motors (DSM) was a joint venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi. It resulted from a long and convoluted story that started in 1970, but one of the results was the GS platform co-developed and shared by the two automakers. Quite a few cars came out of the project from no fewer than four different brands, but the most diverse pairing has to be the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and the Dodge Journey. One is a performance missile of a compact sedan that marked the end of an era for Mitsubishi, and the other is a frumpy three-row crossover SUV. One had a 291 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and went toe-to-toe with Subaru's rallying heritage. The other had a range of engines and an R/T version but was ultimately a good little vehicle for a frugal family. The full list of vehicles using the GS platform includes the Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Dodge Avenger, a couple of Peugeot and Citreon vehicles, and more.
As well as Audi and Porsche, Lamborghini is under the Volkswagen Group's umbrella. So when Lamborghini decided it finally needed to deliver a crazy fast crossover, it was only natural that it would inherit the MLBevo platform used for the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8, and even the Bentley Bentayga. But that's also the platform that underpins Audi's compact luxury sedan, the A4. The Urus uses Audi's 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to generate 641 hp and lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 47 seconds, while the Audi is pretty humdrum by comparison, powered by a 201-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder.
Other models underpinned by the MLBevo platform include numerous Audis like the A6, Q5, and even the electric e-tron crossover.
A lot has been made of the Chrysler 300 and its relationship to the Mercedes E-Class, but it's not as close as the internet would have you think. However, as of 2011 to 2021, the Jeep Grand Cherokee's WK2 platform is actually a modified take on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and GLE-Class W166 platform. Both are completely different vehicles, and while the GLE-Class is the family vehicle we would choose for commuting, it doesn't hold a candle to the Grand Cherokee for off-road trips. Some might even be more surprised to know the Dodge Durango is also based on the Mercedes W166 chassis.
If you climb into a front seat of a Rolls-Royce Ghost, you'll find the iDrive controller from a BMW. That's because the Ghost, Dawn, and Wraith are all underpinned by the same platform as BMW's F01-generation 7 Series. In total, the Ghost shares around 20 percent of its parts with the 7 Series, but that 80 percent Rolls-Royce adds over $200,000 to the price. The 2020 model moved on to use Rolls-Royce's own platform, but the Wraith and the Dawn still sit on a BMW chassis, making them one hell of an upgrade from a 7 Series.
Volkswagen's MQB platform underpins a vast selection of cars and is adaptable enough that Volkswagen used it for the mid-sized Atlas crossover while Audi built the third-generation TT on the same architecture. That includes the ballistically quick Audi TT RS boasting a 394-hp five-cylinder turbo engine matched to a quattro AWD system. The TT RS will hit 60 mph from zero in 3.6 seconds and attack a track with enthusiastic agility. On the other hand, the Atlas is sensibly transporting American families from A to B or going on a weekly shopping run, employing 2.0T four-cylinders or V6 engines to do the heavy lifting. They might share a lot in common, but these two products cater to entirely different buyers.
The Small Common Components and Systems platform (SCCS) is developed by Fiat and underpins many European vehicles. It has a couple of variations, including the Small Wide 4x4 version that the Jeep Renegade uses and a LWB version used on the Fiat 500L. The subcompact Alfa Romeo MiTo uses the standard variation and is a three-door "supermini" that was built between 2008 and 2018, boasting small dimensions and either a two or four-cylinder engine. The long-wheelbase SCCS platform gave Europe the Fiat Doblo panel van and "leisure activity vehicle." The American version of the Doblo is the Ram ProMaster City, which is built in Turkey to circumvent the Chicken Tax. One's a subcompact hatchback to rival the Mini Hardtop while the other is a commercial panelvan, making these two very unlikely siblings.
We were going to bring up the Nissan GT-R here, but the current model runs on a heavily modified version of the Nissan FM (Front Midships) platform. However, both the current 370Z and the now discontinued Infiniti QX70 ran on the standard FM architecture. The QX70 started out as the Infiniti FX in 2002 and ran out of road in 2017 as the QX70, complete with a Sebastian Vettel Edition. The QX70 was a luxury crossover, but it was a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing and even used the same 3.7-liter V6 from the 370Z sports car.
When you see online commenters writing off the Ridgeline as a Pilot with a truck bed, they're sort of right. Both current generations of the crossover and truck are built on Honda's "global light truck platform," however, the Ridgeline is an extended version, and the chassis is strengthened considerably. It also has a 17 percent stronger front structure and a 31 percent stronger rear, giving it 28 percent more torsional rigidity over the first-generation Ridgeline. That makes the Ridgeline suitable for the hauling, towing, and off-road needs of most midsize truck buyers, while the 73 percent of Pilot components still found on the Ridgeline make it a comfortable truck for everyday use.
The final generation of the Lincoln Continental was the longest and most luxurious yet. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1939 Lincoln Continental, an 80th Anniversary Coach Door Edition and limited to 80 units. Cabot Coach Builders completed the final assembly with a six-inch wheelbase extension, rear-hinged passenger doors, and a reconfigured rear-passenger space. But also built on Ford's CD4 platform is the Galaxy, a large multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) built in Spain and mainly for the European market. Essentially, it's a minivan without sliding doors and the complete opposite of the Continental.