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The News for January 18th, 2013

Greg Kachadurian January 18, 2013 The News! 47 Comments


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.

Source: Chevrolet

Infiniti Q50


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.

Source: Infiniti

Cadillac ELR


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.

Source: Cadillac

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



  • pj134

    Does anyone else have an unbridled hatred of piano black/high gloss black interior trim?

    It's like a scratch magnet.

    • Devin

      I kind of like it on surfaces you rarely touch, looks like a fingerprint festival if it's used near buttons though.

    • Nope, I love it.

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      I like it more than I like plastic that's meant to look like aluminium (which is not at all), but less than I like satin black (which is quite a lot).

    • Better than Plastiwood.

    • Vavon

      YES! That piano gloss also attracts fingerprints like shit attracts flies…

    • That all depends. High gloss plastic; bleurgh. Glossy black painted metal; Phwooar.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      It looks good when applied in moderation, but only when kept cleaner than I care to be bothered with…

      Sure beats cheap plastics though.

    • TurboBrick

      Does it look nice in pictures? Yes. Does it stay looking nice? Not for a second.

    • I'd rather have vinyl wood grain on the dash of my longroof…

  • danleym

    I really like the new Corvette interior. It looks like a cockpit designed entirely around the driver, and the passenger seat was added as an afterthought. And in a car like the Corvette, I think that's a good thing.

    • MVEilenstein

      "Oh, you're still in here? Eh, have an extra vent; sit there and look pretty."

    • Alcology

      Yeah, you are the driver. This is your cockpit. Everything in reach, in it's place. You are in control. You are the passenger. You have no control. Survive the day. Don't ruin the upholstery.

  • Devin

    All of the black trim on the Corvette makes me think you really need to paint it black in order for it to look good.

  • The Shelby Focus is such a joke… if you pay $15k for stickers and a hood, you're an idiot. Seriously, they could've at least made something up and say "yes, this one makes 50 more horsepower" and then worked on making that happen by the time it's ready to be driven by an outlet.

    • This is the Shelby legacy, I think.

    • MVEilenstein

      When I first read it I thought the TOTAL was $15K, which I would gladly pay. Then I read it again. Major fail.

      I don't think Carroll would approve of this sticker and name package.

      • No… he definitely would approve.

        • MVEilenstein

          Good point. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

        • Well, after running it by the lawyers first.

          • jeepjeff

            That's a given, but Ford knows how many dollar signs they need to write down.

      • jeepjeff

        I read it that way first too, but my reaction was "There's no £☠∞☢©☭€ way anything with Shelby's name on it would retail for $15k." Then I reread that it was $15k over base, and that sounded about right. And with only 500 made, they should have just enough interested foolsbuyers.

        • MVEilenstein

          I've never liked the look of tuner cars, but I love the Focus.

          I need a 300hp ZX5 with hubcaps and an automatic. Ultimate sleeper.

    • GregKachadurian

      Until they get that extra power out of it I too think it's pointless. I guess the Shelby name will continue to be ridiculously expensive for a long time to come.

  • Van_Sarockin

    You'd think that Aston might have remembered that Mercedes used a helicopter to airlift in their Maybach at its introduction. Feels like a jinx move to me.

    And good luck with that test drive.

    • I just saw a photo of McLaren doing something similar with the new P1 as well… it must be the new cool thing to do. Still, Maybach just went from a ship to the port, right? Aston went to the top of a crazy-tall hotel.

      • Van_Sarockin

        They should have just hired Evel Knevil and done without the helo.


    There is a new Corvette?!!?!

  • I heard from a friend who works at GM that the next Z06 looks devilishly good.

    Also, I managed to get my hands on one of the Stingray press kit pieces that folks are selling on eBay. Mine is staying right on my desk.

    • Press kitsmake me very envious. Free swag, no matter how crappy, makes me smile.

      I got a Mercedes USB stick once. I cherish it. It's a 32mb and doubtful that I'll ever use it, but, still.

      • Nice, I love when an automaker actually hands over a USB stick over 2gb in size.

        Also, have you seen the prices people are trying to get for the C7 press kit on eBay?

        • There's a pretty high cheeky bastard quotient going on there. But still, as something to pass down to your Grandkids so you can watch their eyes glaze over when you start talking about Corvette C7s and The Old Days… hard to beat!

  • Is it just me, or did GM's designer go over the whole C7 design with the charm vacuum?
    What a completely confused, cluttered collection of lines.
    I think this is actually a shot of the original clay mockup:
    <img src="http://mustyditchell.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/LincolnLogs.jpg&quot; width="512">

    • It looks pretty sweet in person.

      They needed to push the design a bit, and I think they did. I can't wait to drive one.

      • I can't either…or I would be waiting a long, long time.

    • Vavon

      Pfff, didn't you know that more lines = better, more modern design??? (© by Jay_Ramey)

    • It looks awesome in "masses of stuff to take in, very aggressive, ROAR" kind of way, but does rather look like the designers may have been tripping balls on LSD and carried out a frenzied attack on the clay styling buck with a Stanley Knife and an axe.

      I'll bet the rental special on 15" wheels with plastic hubcaps looks terrible.

  • Van_Sarockin

    The Corvette design is eye grabbing, but way to busy and disjointed. It's like they couldn't possibly leave one styling move in the box. This is exactly the 'surface excitement' that older Japanese styling always suffered from. Monochrome and dark colors will be your friend

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I can't explain it, but the more I see the C7, the more I like it. Usually it works the other way for me. Originally I only cared about it to the extent it lowers prices of the C6. Now I really want one……

    It makes a damn nice looking Convertible too.

    <img src="http://www.corvette7.com/forums/attachment.php?s=7d04ec42dd65b2ef252b68b31fa7e55b&attachmentid=100&d=1358378855&quot; width="500">

    <img src="http://www.corvette7.com/forums/attachment.php?s=7d04ec42dd65b2ef252b68b31fa7e55b&attachmentid=101&d=1358378855&quot; width="500">

    • danleym

      I don't like the rear at all, but I don't like the rear of the current Camaros, either. There's definitely some similar styling going on there.

      Looks good from the front, though.

  • Syrax

    Doesn't anybody at Infiniti thinks that stupid new naming convention will fail?

  • Kogashiwa

    Only one of the above that I really want is an electric Cadillac.

    That's a very odd feeling.

  • Number_Six

    The ONLY thing I want to know about this year's new models is if the C7's unoccupied passenger seat flops forward under braking. Oh how we'll laugh if it still does that…