Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the biggest news in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in some opinion of mine just because I can. This week:
BMW 4 Series Concept is the new 3er Coupe
BMW celebrates their DTM sweep with special M3
Saleen is back in business with the new S351 Mustang
Sprint Velocity wants to be in your car soon
Watch a Hennessey Venom GT go 0-230 mph in 20 seconds
BMW 4 Series Concept is the new 3 Series Coupe
It’s been known for quite some time that BMW would start building 3 Series Coupes under a new moniker starting with the upcoming generation, but this week it became official with the unveiling of the BMW 4 Series Coupe Concept. From now on, the
3 4 Series line will be more differentiated, more sporty, and will be more exclusive until you see every businessperson and their kids driving one. While this is a concept, it’s safe to assume that a great deal of what you see here will make it to production minus a few extravagant details like the vents in the rear bumper and the cup-holders weaved like picnic baskets.
Overall the car is longer, wider, and lower than the outgoing coupe which should in turn help increase the space inside and alter/improve its performance characteristics – maybe. Even though BMW wants the 4 Series to be more differentiated than the 3er Coupes used to be, this 4 Series still shares most if not all of its underpinnings with the new 3 Series sedan and a few styling cues have clearly carried over as well. The aggressive front end, for example, is based heavily on the 3er and the interior is almost identical. Powertrain options were not disclosed, but it could very well adopt the 2.0-liter turbo four and the 3.0-liter turbo inline-six that the 3 Series currently uses.
When the next generation of the M3 (F30) is revealed sometime next year, whatever powertrain that car uses will probably carry over into the 4 coupe’s M version as well, which could be called the M4 to keep with the new theme and will certainly rustle some jimmies within the BMW fan base. The 4 Series will also spawn a convertible and possibly even a Gran Coupe variant similar to the 6 Series Gran Coupe, which could potentially be the most pointless thing they’ve ever done since they’d be building a 4-door version of the car they just turned into its own line so it wouldn’t share a nameplate with a sedan. But that’s just me, what do you think?
BMW M3 DTM Championship Edition
The guys at BMW sure like to make special editions for various things/events many of us may not consider to be worth celebrating with a new special edition car. This one, however, is excusable. Built to celebrate BMW’s triumphant return to DTM this year that resulted in a convincing sweep in manufacturer’s, team, and driver’s championship, meet the BMW M3 DTM Championship Edition.
The car features “Frozen” black paint and M-striping to mimic the DTM racer driven by the champion himself, Bruno Spengler, and even features his racing number. The only other visual enhancements include carbon fiber trim pieces inside and out, dark chrome inserts, matte black wheels, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and Spengler’s signature on the dash. I would assume that signature is real, since Spengler will only need to sign 54 of them. Those 54 cars will be sold for a base price of €90,000 (~$117,000) in various markets around the world, but not in America. That price includes nearly every meaningful option in your M3 plus a chance to attend a BMW driving school on the Nürburgring and get instruction from none other than Spengler himself.
Source: BMW via Autoweek
Saleen S351 Mustang
An all-new Saleen-tuned Mustang was announced last week and it’s bringing a monstrous supercharged V8 with it. When it goes on sale in January, the Saleen S351 Mustang aims to be the most potent Mustang money can buy.
How potent? Oh, 700 horsepower and 655 lb.-ft. of torque coming from a 351 cubic inch supercharged V8, for starters. Power will be put to the pavement through a factory stock 6-speed manual enhanced with a Saleen clutch and a 3.73:1 final drive and will be tamed by a purpose-built suspension, 15″ brakes, and sticky tires wrapped around custom Saleen wheels.
More specific information and pricing will be available closer to the car’s January 2013 launch.
Source: Saleen via Autoweek
Sprint Velocity is coming to a car near you
The last bit of news from the 2012 LA Auto Show (probably) doesn’t come from an auto manufacturer. Sprint, as in the telecommunications giant, was there to reveal their newest product called Sprint Velocity, which you’ll be seeing in many cars very soon. Velocity is a new comprehensive solution for automakers that provides them the building blocks to a wide range of in-vehicle communications systems. That means anything from syncing a wide variety of smart phones and real-time traffic in luxury cars to vehicle diagnostics and security features in an economy car can be handled by a single system from a single provider, being Sprint.
The way it works is automakers choose exactly what technology they want for each individual product and then Sprint will design and integrate it for them, saving the automaker millions on research and development while getting a product that’s more comprehensive, user-friendly, and sometimes just better in general. And no, you don’t have to have cell service with Sprint to use calling/data features like Bluetooth and hands-free texting. Sprint says their platform works with multiple service providers and is fully adaptable so that 5 years down the line you can buy a new phone with new technology and your car’s Velocity system will still be able to support it. Sprint also says their product can help automakers understand customer preferences for communications and can make vehicle diagnostics smoother to help out the dealer’s service technicians.
Sprint Velocity already has its first customer as well. Chrysler is already collaborating with Sprint to integrate wireless technology into Chrysler’s U-Connect Access in-vehicle communication system currently available in the Ram 1500 and the SRT Viper. It will certainly be interesting to see how many automakers adopt Velocity. My guess is quite a few.
In short, all your car are belong to Sprint.
Hennessey Venom GT’s incredible 0-230 mph sprint
The insanity that is the Hennessey Venom GT got to stretch its legs recently for some official acceleration testing, and fortunately for the internet, Hennessey provided us with video. On an empty runway, this Lotus with the heart of a twin-turbocharged LS motor was able to hit 230 mph from a stand still in just 20 seconds. Watch the mind-blowing run below.