What started out as a regional classic car show is today the most important event of its kind anywhere in the world. But the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has also become the anchor of a weeklong series of automotive events that’s come to be called Monterey Car Week.
The focus is still on classic cars, but a bit of the new has creeped in with the old, automakers from around the world now using the gathering to debut some of their latest products.
This year’s list covers brands as diverse as Aston Martin, Bugatti and Porsche, clearly with an emphasis on products appealing to the well-heeled collectors and enthusiasts who dominate the Monterey Car Week crowd. Here’s a look at some of the most notable introductions we expect over the coming week:
After a long build up — and a series of teaser images — Acura finally pulls the covers off its first all-electric model, the ZDX, on Thursday, Aug. 17.
Dubbed the ZDX, it’s the more upscale sibling of the Honda Prologue, and developed as part of a joint venture with General Motors. That means it uses the same underlying Ultium platform and batteries as the Cadillac Lyriq, among other GM models. The good news for Acura fans is that the Japanese automaker came up with a unique design for the ZDX and isn’t settling for a badge-engineered look.
Details about the Acura ZDX have so far been sparse, though the automaker’s latest teaser described it as the “most powerful and quickest accelerating SUV” the brand has ever produced. Expect multiple variants, including a Type-S package. The ZDX will be loaded with technology, including Acura’s first use of the Google infotainment system.
Aston Martin DB12 Volante
The British marque got an early jump on the competition, revealing the new DB12 Volante during a Monday preview at the Quail Lodge in tony Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The latest in the DB series perhaps best known for the seemingly endless presence of the old DB5 in the James Bond movie franchise, the latest iteration “is a car to challenge preconceptions and find a new generation of Volante customer,” said Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Amedeo Felisa.
Notably, as TheDetroitBureau.com’s Larry Printz reports, this Volante “is the first Aston Martin DB without a V-12 in more than 25 years. Instead, its power comes from a hand-built 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 671 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.”
The look is familiar and elegant, but a bit more modern. It also get a modified bonded aluminum chassis with improved rigidity for a more vigorous driving experience.
Bentley “New Model”
We’ve been seeing a number of new products recently from the very British Bentley, and it is promising to bring another offering to Pebble Beach this week.
What’s intriguing, however, is the automaker’s emphasis on what’s inside the new model: it’s first use of “organic” leather. It’s all part of the Bentley “Beyond 100” strategy that puts a premium on sustainability.
Fine wood and leather have long been hallmarks of Bentley’s exclusive products. “We use eight to 12 hides per car, all of which are sourced in the European Union,” Marc Stang, technical expert leather at Bentley, said in a statement. It will still use roughly the same numbers, but the new organic process will turn to an olive oil-based tanning process to avoid the highly polluting chemicals normally associated with leather tanning.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport Golden Era
Bugatti has had a strong affinity for Pebble Beach ever since the brand made its comeback a couple decades back. There are a number of changes underway for the French-based exotic automaker. Among other things, it is now effectively controlled by Croatian EV supercar manufacturer Rimac. And we wouldn’t be surprised if that generates some news this coming week.
So far, officials have dropped only the vaguest of hints about product, though a teaser image reveals it’s a special one-off Bugatti Chiron making its debut on the Monterey Peninsula. Billed as “an homage to the era-defining moments in the history of Bugatti.” It features 26 drawings hailing the most legendary Bugatti models on its passenger side, another 19 on the driver’s side.
For some lucky Bugatti fan with a near-unlimited budget, meanwhile, Gooding & Co. will have a one-off model on auction. The 2023 Bugatti Baby II is a 75% scale, all-electric reimagining of the Legendary Bugatti Type 35 race car. The Gooding Auction takes place in Pebble Beach on Thursday and Friday.
Hennessey Venom F5 Revolution Roadster
One thing you can expect from John Hennessey and his team: whatever exotic supercar he brings to market this year will be followed by an upgrade a year or two later.
And that’s the case with the Hennessey Venom. First introduced as the Venom GT back in 2013, it went on to set a series of land speed records, including a 13.63-second launch from 0-186 mph, making it the world’s fastest production vehicle. The F5 followed in production in 2020 and the goal has been to retake the title with speeds well in excess of 300 mph.
The Hennessey Venom F5 Revolution is a track-focused version and, now, the company is pushing things up a notch with a Venom F5 Revolution Roadster with its quick-release carbon-fiber roof. Power comes from a 6.6-liter V-8 that Hennessey claims will push out an eye-popping 1,817 horsepower.
Infiniti QX Monograph Concept Car
The Japanese automaker has frequently used Monterey as a backdrop for launching new concept and production models and it’s going to be back once again this week.
Set to debut on Thursday, the QX Monograph concept will tease what the automaker bills as its future design direction.
“The vehicle,” it said in a teaser release, “ has bold proportions and previews striking design elements, including the evolution of Infiniti’s double-arched grille and ‘digital piano key’ lighting.”
Lamborghini Electric Concept
The Italian automaker is another brand in the midst of substantial change. It’s getting to roll out the last of its legendary V-12 powertrains while beginning a transition to electric assist and, eventually, 100% battery power.
Lamborghini will highlight this transformation in Monterey this coming week as it rolls out an Electric Concept teasing what is promised to be a production EV. In this case, it would be an all-electric GT model due in 2028, though there may well be another EV coming to market before then.
Based on, what we’ve now seen from the Modena-based manufacturers “will be the last time that we only offer combustion engines,” CEO Stephan Winkelmann said last year.
Lexus RZ Sport Concept
The folks at Lexus have been busy lately, though much of their emphasis has been on three-row, gas-powered SUVs, like the all-new TX and redesigned GX. Now, it shifts focus to its nascent move into battery power.
The Lexus RZ Sport Concept is a more spritely version of the all-electric RZ model launched last year. It’s based on the Lexus RZ 450e EV that made its debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
The RZ Sport Concept uses twin motors, each making 150 kW – or 204 hp. It also gets a lowered suspension, 21-inch wheels and tires and a variety of exterior aerodynamic upgrades. There also are numerous interior tweaks, including front and rear bucket seats.
Maserati is another frequent visitor to Monterey Car Week. Just two years ago it came here to introduce the MC20 supercar. Now it’s coming back with the MCXtrema.
That’s the production version of what was previously codenamed Project24 and it takes the design of the already exotic MC20 to new extremes, as that name makes clear.
The Maserati MCXtrema is powered by 730-horsepower version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo Nettuno engine. Plans call for production of just 62 copies. And, the maker claims, all have already been ordered.
The GT is one of only two products specifically designed for Mercedes’ performance arm, AMG. And it’s about to get a complete makeover.
The basic shape won’t come as a complete shock, but the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT does get a significant remake, both inside and out.
The automaker is being tight-lipped about other details, but claims we’ll see significant improvements in performance with the next-generation GT.
But Wait, There’s More!
One of the great things about Monterey Car Week is the presence of unique, low-volume exotics, and that won’t change this year.
Among the other brands set to show up, BAC, short for the Briggs Automotive Co., will roll out a single-seat supercar.
And Gordon Murray will unveil a pair of additions to his own startup’s product line. The T.33 Spider will weigh in at a sprite 2,443 pounds – which should mean one heck of an experience considering it will be powered by a 3.9-liter Cosworth V-12 making 609 hp. The T.50s, meanwhile, is a track-only supercar. And it comes in at a svelte 1,983 lbs. It’s Cosworth is mounted midship and gets bumped up to 761 hp. If those numbers aren’t impressive enough, the T.50s carries a $3.9 million price tag.
Finally, Pininfarina continues to lay out its vision as more than a design house. Like the earlier Battista, the Pininfarina Pura Vision is all-electric, though it’s unclear whether this SUV Concept is designed to transform into a production model, at least anytime soon.