Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry, which this time around happens to be mostly Detroit Auto Show news. This is what we’ve got for you this week:
Chevrolet Corvette (C7) Stingray is here
2014 Infiniti Q50 is the new G37
Cadillac ELR is luxurious, polar bear-friendly
Shelby Focus ST is a Focus and a half
Complete Detroit Auto Show coverage from Autoweek
Aston Martin Centenary Editions plus a Vanquish thinks its a heli
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Chances are you’ve already heard all about the new C7 Corvette, seeing as how it was the single most widely publicized reveal at the Detroit Auto Show which is happening now. But just in case you haven’t, this is pretty much everything you need to know about the 7th-generation of the Corvette.
The all-new powertrain consists of an aluminum 6.2-liter V8 that produces 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque which gets sent to the rear wheels through a 6-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission with active rev matching. The active rev matching, for better or for worse, automatically blips the throttle on upshifts and downshifts to make shifting smoother. It can, however, be turned off with a steering wheel switch. 60 mph from a standstill takes less than 4 seconds yet it still manages to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette to date thanks to features like Active Fuel Management which temporarily shuts down cylinders when they’re not needed.
The C7 has many components working together to improve handling, including Magnetic Ride Control, something magical called Active Performance Management, Brembo brakes, an electronic limited slip differential, and the most advanced aerodynamics on any production Corvette, apparently. Also, electronic power steering is now standard, but Chevy promises a more responsive and precise steering feel.
Technology’s heavy influence on this car has also spawned a Driver Mode Selector with 5 options tailored for specific conditions ranging from highway cruising to Road America on a Saturday morning. There are also multiple configurable displays inside which make up the gauge cluster and the infotainment system. The heads-up display is still there, but it now displays more meaningful performance info with a nicer appearance to boot.
The exterior and interior styling also take a huge step forward into the 21st century. Lightweight body panels, which includes a carbon fiber hood and removal roof panel, are styled to earn the legendary Stingray name and provide an overall unmistakable look. The new high-intensity discharged headlamps with LED daytime lights are enough to warn slower traffic that you’re coming well in advance and the new hexagonal-shaped LED taillights will be enough to catch anyone’s eye once the car is ahead. Each of the many air intake and vents on the C7 is functional, including the ones incorporated within the taillight assembly. The interior is arguably where the C7 progresses the most, with higher quality materials, improved styling, and a more driver-oriented cabin as part of the package. Buyers even get to choose between a more comfortable “Touring” seat or a heavy-bolstered competition seat.
Pricing info isn’t available yet, but we do know it will go on sale sometime this Fall.
Infiniti’s all-new entry-level luxury sports sedan, the Q50, made its debut this week and is ready to lead the brand to a new generation of vehicles. Just don’t call it a G37. Apart from the updated looks, expect the Q50 to be packed with more technology than ever before, some of which is making its first appearance in a production Infiniti.
Two company firsts in the tech department include Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering , an electronic steering system that transmits driver input to the wheels super fast and allows for adjustable steering settings (96 of them), and Active Lane Control which is a camera-based lane marker detection system that keeps the driver in the lane. Another nifty feature is the Predictive Forward Collision Warning which monitors the car ahead of Q50 and then the car ahead of that, so if the car directly ahead of the Q50 doesn’t brake when the car ahead of that one does, the Q50’s system will warn the driver and automatically apply brakes if necessary.
The Q50 will be powered in base form by a 3.7-liter V6 producing 328 horsepower paired with a 7-speed automatic. A Q50 Hybrid will also be available with a 3.5-liter V6 and Infiniti’s “Direct Response Hybrid System”. Both models will be available with optional all-wheel-drive while traditional rear-wheel-drive is standard.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 will be available in North America starting this Summer.
The all-new 2014 Cadillac ELR is here to electrify the luxury car market, at least for a little while. The Volt-based 2+2 coupe will be produced in limited numbers (they won’t say how much yet) starting late this year and will go on sale early 2014.
GM’s Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology is the centerpiece of the ELR and it boasts a 35 mile range on pure electricity courtesy of a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. After that 35 miles is up, a backup 1.4-liter gasoline engine then acts as a generator to provide an additional 300 miles of range. Between the gas and electric power, the ELR has roughly 207 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque to play with. Charging takes up to 4 and a half hours using a 240V outlet and owners can schedule delayed charging times if for whatever reason they wanted to.
The high-tech features continue inside the cabin with features like Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, Bose noise-cancelling 10-speaker surround sound audio, an 8″ electronic configurable gauge cluster, and LED accent lighting available as standard equipment. The rear seats also fold down to expand the car’s storage space for pretty much anything – Cadillac cites multiple golf clubs as an example, go figure. Exterior styling is based heavily off the Cadillac Converj concept from 2009, and like the Converj, the ELR is shaped mostly by wind tunnel testing for the lowest possible drag coefficient.
Shelby Focus ST
The Shelby name is in the business of compact cars once again with the introduction of the Shelby Focus ST.
Based off a standard Ford Focus ST, the Shelby ST utilizes the same 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, but they did mention an additional 30-50 horsepower boost was in the works. A full Ford Racing suspension and sticky Michelin tires are included to improve handling while “Shelby spec” brakes improve stopping power. The engine also sings through Shelby/Borla exhaust which will either be obnoxious or awesome. A new distinct aero kit is also part of the deal and that adds functional hood vents, a carbon spoiler, and carbon grille inserts. The exterior is capped off with competition-style wheels and a selection of three graphics packages.
Just 500 of these will ever be produced and they’ll cost $14,995 in addition to the price of a Ford Focus ST (which isn’t too much).
Source: Shelby American via Autoweek
Complete Detroit Auto Show coverage from Autoweek
This has been just a small sample of the cars on display at the Detroit Auto Show. For full coverage of the cars I didn’t have room to talk about, including an LS-powered Fisker Karma (sort of), a massive Ford concept truck, and a more modest Kia, click over to our pals at Autoweek who have been very busy bringing everything from Detroit to the web.
Aston Martin Centenary Edition models
Meanwhile, at Aston Martin, they’re still celebrating 100 years in style. During this special year for the company, special Centenary Edition specifications of each model they make , being the V8 Vantage, DB9, Rapide, Vanquish, will be available in super limited numbers – just 100 each worldwide.
What makes each Centenary Edition unique is the “graduated” paint finish which takes nearly 70 hours to complete and will only be available on these editions, the Deep Soft black leather with contrast silver stitching (until now this was only available on the One-77), and numbered solid sterling silver sill plaques.
And while most automakers were showing off new vehicles in Detroit, Aston Martin was in Dubai to do something particularly awesome. That involved airlifting a Vanquish onto the helipad of the breathtaking Burj Al Arab hotel (that one that’s shaped like a sail) over 1,000 ft above the ground to put on a show for the region’s dignitaries. And it looked like this.
Why? To signify Aston Martin’s attitude going into their 2nd century in business. Or because it’s kind of awesome.
Source: Aston Martin