Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:
Cadillac reveals the 2015 Escalade
Land Rover to kill off the Defender by 2015
Chrysler teases their huge SEMA Show debut
The Moke is back, and you can thank China
BMW accidentally leaks 4 Series Convertible and bike rack(!!!)
Hyundai and ARK Performance have another SEMA Show car
2015 Cadillac Escalade
After last week’s tease, Cadillac has revealed the 2015 Escalade in full. As the flagship SUV goes into its fourth generation, it gets a complete redesign inside and out, a more efficient powertrain, and more technology and comfort upgrades than ever before. Offered as both the standard Escalade and the extended-length ESV edition, which adds fourteen to the wheelbase and twenty inches to the overall length, the über luxe SUV is scheduled to enter production in spring of 2014 at Arlington, Texas.
Cadillac wanted the Escalade’s surfacing to be sophisticated, emotional, and more eye-grabbing than before. I’ll let you judge whether or not they pulled that off. Their dedication to the exterior’s redesign goes further than just how it looks, however. The body panel gaps are much tighter, which not only improves the looks but also improves aerodynamic efficiency. New inlaid doors fit into the body’s side openings rather than over the top of the body, which also improves efficiency while reducing wind noise. The Escalade now features GM’s active air shutters in the grille which can close or open depending on the speed to ensure the engine gets as much air as needed while – you guessed it – improving efficiency. Another nifty design feature is out back where the rear window wiper blade is integrated into the rear liftgate spoiler, and that lift gate happens to be made of aluminum for reduced weight.
The Escalade’s new interior has been designed to be one of the industry’s most authentic and luxurious cabins, with fewer panel gaps and higher quality materials reinforcing a feeling of quality. The seats have had their comfort level cranked up to 11. Front seats have standard heating and cooling functions while the second reclining row of seats has standard heat. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system is standard and it uses an eight-inch center touchscreen for when you don’t feel like watching the road for an extended period of time. CUE is also paired with a 12.3-inch digital driver information display (no gauge cluster here) and a full color digital heads up display. Basic CUE functions can be controlled from the steering wheel.
New hardware on the 2015 Escalade includes a 6.2-liter V8 rated at 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque and features like a higher compression ratio for the power increase and cylinder deactivation for added efficiency. Power is sent to either the back wheels or all four through a six-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The SUV sits on a more advanced and sophisticated chassis and suspension system for an added feeling of solidity and a smoother ride. To further improve the Escalade’s ride comfort, GM’s Magnetic Ride Control is standard. And because I’m sure most potential buyers are dying to know, 20″ wheels are standard while 22″ wheels are optional. But they’ll probably get replaced anyway.
Land Rover Defender to be discontinued
Our pals at Autoweek are reporting that their sister publication is reporting that Land Rover told them that the Defender will not see the end of the decade. The iconic Defender, which began life in 1948, is reportedly being killed off because of legislative reasons in their country or origin and will roll off the assembly line for the last time in 2015. Combine that with relatively poor sales (561 this year up to August) and the case for continuing production isn’t a very strong one.
Land Rover did hint at a replacement for the Defender, likely built on the current Range Rover platform and with a price tag that shows it, but didn’t comment on a due date or if the Defender name will carry over to the replacement. Analysts at Bernstein Research suggest a successor won’t be ready until 2019 at the earliest, so there’s plenty of time to speculate. And plenty of time to hoard the last batch of Defenders while you can.
Chrysler preparing huge SEMA show debut
Chrysler is revealing that they will be having a huge presence at this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Twenty uniquely customized cars and trucks from each brand will be shown in their 15,000 square-foot display. This week, they graced us with promising concept sketches of just four of these.
From the images they released, we can expect a Dodge Ram modified into a surfer’s dream truck, a Fiat 500L with a racer’s attitude, everyone’s favorite Jeep Cherokee with its mind in the mud, and a Chrysler 300C with special paint and gold wheels. In typical Mopar fashion, most of what these show cars feature are either already in the parts catalog for public consumption or will be in the near future.
Each of these vehicles and more will be revealed in full come show time, or probably weeks before the show because it’s the internet, so I’ll keep my eyes open for any more updates on this and pass them along.
[Source: Chrysler via Autoweek]
The Moke is ready for a comeback
I would imagine that a lot of us hoons are familiar with the Moke (or Mini Moke), the light utility vehicle built on the original Mini and designed for British military transport use. After it went unloved by the military due to its lack of ground clearance and traction, it went on sale to the general public in 1964 and was most appreciated by farmers wanting a light-duty utility vehicle for cheap and beach-goers wanting something fun. By 1991, production had been moved from Britain to Australia and then finally to Portugal where it stayed until its death in 1993.
But as of now, the story of the Moke doesn’t end there. Hemmings is reporting that Chery, a Chinese car manufacturer, is working with Moke International to revive the Moke under a joint partnership with Jaguar Land Rover. Now dubbed the Classic Moke, it features a new design that improves on the Mokes of the past while still being recognizable, a 1.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 50 horsepower and 68 lb.-ft. of torque, and a five-speed manual or automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. Future plans call for an all-electric Moke, which will be called the eMoke. Customers can have their Classic Moke in either right-hand drive or left-hand drive layouts.
New safety features like front and rear roll bars, proper seat belts for front passengers, and an airbag for the front passenger and nobody else. This ought to make it much safer than the original Mini Moke, but not safe enough for USDOT standards, so we’ll probably never see it over in America. The first 1,000 units will go on sale in Australia at an undisclosed price, followed by the Caribbean.
A BMW accessories catalog was leaked to the web prematurely this week, and it accidentally shows the world something it’s been waiting to see for months now – an all-new trailer hitch-mounted bike rack from BMW Original Parts and Accessories. Designed to fit perfectly on the back of your 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible, which was apparently leaked or something, this bike rack can fit up to two bikes with ease and makes loading an unloading a breeze. An intelligent pivoting system allows for you to tilt the rack back to allow for easy access to the trunk even when it’s loaded and a locking system will be sure to stump petty thieves who would rather steal a bike than a never-before-seen 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible. You can pick up your new bike rack from a local dealership now for an undisclosed price. (The 2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible will debut at this year’s LA Auto Show)
[Image source: BMWBLOG]
Hyundai has teased yet another SEMA Show vehicle, this time done by ARK Performance. They call it the Legato Coupe and it’s ARK’s idea of what a luxury performance coupe should be. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe serves as the foundation for this show car and is complete with an ARK body kit at all corners, racing silver paint to maximize the surface’s visibility, and enough performance upgrades to make it drive as fast as it looks. The base 3.8-liter V6 engine is stroked to 4.0-liters for 400 horsepower and 425 lb.-ft. of torque. A dual-mass flywheel and a carbon clutch kit ensure efficient power delivery. An ARK coil-over suspension, sticky Nitto tires, and carbon brake pads enhance the car’s on-track ability. The interior has also been reworked to include a digital gauge cluster, Takata Drift Pro LE seats, AiM Sports Strada GT steering wheel, and a Rockford Fosgate premium audio system.