Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in some… eh, you know how this all goes by now. This week:
Aston Martin Rapide S is a sweeter, faster four-door
Bentley Mulsanne adds more comfort and technology
Nissan GT-R gets new improvements and pricing for 2013
BMW and Toyota formally collaborating, announce new projects
Aston Martin Rapide S
Aston Martin’s only 4-door currently in production is getting an extensive makeover for the 2014 model year. They’ve added more power, improved dynamics, a new face, and an ‘S’ to the name, so you know it’s gonna be good. Starting sometime next month, this will be the only Rapide you can buy from Aston Martin, assuming you have somewhere north of $200,000 to spare.
The Rapide S will adopt a new 6.0-liter V12 producing 550 horsepower (up from 470) and 457 lb.-ft. of torque (up from 443) that sends power to the rear wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Rapide S promises a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds as well as a top speed of 190 mph. Aston Martin cites their experience in the World Endurance Championship as the source of the performance enhancements that made 550 horsepower possible. Despite the significant performance improvement, carbon emissions drop 7% and fuel economy on the EU combined cycle is 19.9 mpg – of course that depends on whether or not you actually want to drive that economically when there’s 550 horsepower on tap. The improved dynamics come as a result of the engine being dropped 19mm lower in the chassis than before to lower the center of gravity as well as an updated stability control system to match the new power. The car’s braking, electronic suspension components, and transmission calibration were also tinkered with.
The Rapide S will also come with a few visual upgrades in the form of a more aggressive grille up front, a revised decklid out back, and some new 20″ wheel options. The interior features a wide array of trim packages (piano black, carbon fiber, mahogany, bamboo, or ash, to be precise), optional Duotone perforated red and black leather, and rear seats that fold down at the touch of a button so that maybe you can carry more than champagne bottles in the boot, probably. The cabin is also engineered to reduce road and wind noise yet enhance the sounds coming out of the engine.
Source: Aston Martin
2014 Bentley Mulsanne
This March, Bentley will be bringing an updated Mulsanne to the Geneva Motor Show which brings a new Comfort and Entertainment Specification into an already impressive package. It might be hard for some of us to imagine a Mulsanne that needs more luxury, but new Bentley customers are a very demanding bunch.
The appropriately-named Comfort Specification adds über luxurious seats with adjustability to fit the needs (and size) of most passengers and are stuffed with softer duck down feathers. Those seats also come with new hide colors to pick from. For passengers who aren’t 7 feet tall, there’s a new footrest that can be tucked away under the front seats and privacy curtains which are electronically controlled from the back seats are now a factory option. The Entertainment Specification adds the usual navigation and MP3 connectivity as well as rear-seat folding “picnic” tables which step into the 21st century and display iPads with wireless keyboards. This package also turns the car into a mobile WiFi hot spot that can handle up to 8 devices at once.
Pretty much everything else, including the drivetrain and exterior styling, is the same for 2014, although there are 3 new paint colors to choose from. Oh, and they give you a 6-piece hand-made luggage set from Italy. Expect pricing to be in the neighborhood of $300,000.
2014 Nissan GT-R gets a price bump
Ever since the GT-R’s introduction in late 2007, Nissan has continually made improvements to the budget supercar-killing Datsun we all know so well. For the 2014 model year, the same is true as the car’s structural integrity and vehicle dynamics are improved to accommodate the steady increase in power over the years (which is currently at 545 hp and 463 lb.-ft. of torque).
The car’s abilities aren’t the only thing increasing, however, as new pricing info reveals another increase of $2,700 to its new MSRP of $100,590 (including destination charges). The top-of-the-line GT-R Black Edition is priced at $110,300. For that price, you essentially get the latest and greatest GT-R, which was already great to begin with, that boasts a 0-60 time that will make a Lamborghini sweat for less than half the cost. Then next year an even better one will roll out. Isn’t this new car buying thing fun?
Source: Nissan via Autoweek
BMW and Toyota formally announce collaboration
Two Decembers ago we covered BMW’s and Toyota’s plans to enter a “memorandum of understanding” that involved the two automotive giants and future green technology. This week they’ve gone a step further and signed legally binding paperwork that briefly outlines their plans for collaboration in the near future.
The four coop projects they’ve announced so far include a study of midsize sports car on a shared platform by year’s end, hydrogen fuel cell development, lightweight technology development, and research into next-generation lithium-based batteries. Most of those technologies mentioned could make their way to production BMWs and/or Toyotas by the end of the decade or sooner.
This could get interesting. Or not. Either way, we’ll be bringing you updates whenever we get them.
Source: BMW via Autoweek (go there if you want a more detailed report)