Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:
BMW confirms M4 GTS for production, is bound for America
McLaren celebrates past Can-Am success with special 650S
Porsche extends 911 updates to AWD and Targa models
Toyota reveals the awesome little S-FR concept
Porsche has a Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the works
Aston Martin Vulcan meets Avro Vulcan in one awesome display
What’s your automotive news?
BMW M4 GTS
One great thing I’ve noticed about BMW since I first became your news editor is that they tend to take a large number of their new concept cars to production without watering them down at all. So when BMW revealed the M4 GTS concept a few months ago and brought it to Monterey Car Week for all to see, surely they would give that one the same treatment, right?
Yep. Welcome to the production-spec BMW M4 GTS. It’s a lot like the concept car but with official specs and the promise of it coming to America. BMW calls it an “exclusive technological showpiece” but it has way more than just show. With a 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six featuring a new water injection system, it has more “go” than any M3 before it.
The water injection system boosts the S55 motor’s performance substantially by using science and an old technique used in some World War II-era fighters. The standard M4 makes do with 425 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque – which felt like plenty when I drove it – whereas the M4 GTS gets 493 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. 0-62 mph takes 3.8 seconds and the top speed is limited (either by electronics or by wind) to 189.5 mph. Despite all that extra power, BMW claims efficiency is just as good as it is in the standard M4.
Because BMW isn’t the kind of company to just add power and walk away, they’ve made the M4 GTS sharper and lighter. Weight has been reduced to just under 3,330 pounds (DIN kerb weight – ECE kerb weight is 3,498 lbs) thanks to lightweight design techniques, carbon fiber bucket seats, rear seat delete, lightweight center console, door pull loops in place of regular door handles, and paneling on the doors and boot area partition.
A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is included along with a three-way adjustable M coilover suspension and carbon ceramic brakes to complement the extra power.
The exterior features more aerodynamic elements such as an adjustable front splitter and adjustable rear wing, both made from lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. In addition to the extra pieces, the hood, roof, rear diffuser, and boot cover are also made from the light but strong CFRP material. There’s also a new muffler made from titanium which is 20% lighter than normal and also makes a nicer sound.
Believe it or not, those star-spoke “666 M” wheels are optimized for reduced weight as well. And those are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, if you were wondering. One more thing to note about the exterior is that it does feature the same Organic LED tail lights which make their production debut on this car. I don’t really know what they do but they look neat.
This car really is about as track focused as a street legal M4 can get. It features a six-point racing harness (just not in America because apparently regulations want us to be less safe), an available roll cage, and a fire extinguisher when configured with the Clubsport Package.
When it’s all said and done, the BMW M4 GTS can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:28. That’s very quick for a road legal car with under 500 horsepower.
Only 700 M4 GTS models will ever be built. 300 are confirmed for the US, making this the first time a high(er)-performance special edition M3/M4 has ever been sold here.
McLaren 650S Can-Am
McLaren was not originally a road car manufacturer when they set up shop in the 60’s. They were all about racing and they managed to build up a reputation as a world beater pretty quickly. One series they saw huge success in was the Can-Am Challenge Cup where they won five consecutive championships from 1967-1971. To celebrate their success and the 50th anniversary of the first Can-Am race, McLaren is releasing a special edition model that’s actually different from all the others they’ve made.
The McLaren 650S Can-Am is a modern super car with a theme inspired by some of the very race cars that McLaren became famous for. It’s based appropriately on the 650S Spider but features a variety of new features that you can’t get on any other 650S. Like the normal 650S Spider, the Can-Am features a retractable hard top, only this time made from carbon fiber – a first for a McLaren road car. In fact there’s carbon fiber pretty much everywhere on this car to keep with the Can-Am tradition of lightweight construction.
That lightweight body is covered by three color options – red, orange, and black – which all come with a racing livery to match their historic racing counterpart. The wheels it rolls on are also inspired by the old Can-Am cars and feature a lightweight forged alloy construction, gloss black finish on each of the five spokes, a diamond cut rim, and titanium bolts to keep it in place. Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires and carbon ceramic brakes are included. More Can-Am inspiration includes carbon fiber louvered front wings and a new quad-exit stainless steel exhaust system to give it a unique sound.
Like a true Can-Am machine, the 650S Can-Am has lots of power on tap from its 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8. 641 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque are available which allows a 0-60 mph time of three seconds flat and a top speed of 204 mph.
Only 50 examples will be built worldwide with prices starting at $334,500.
2017 Porsche Carrera 4 and Targa
Following Porsche’s announcement of the updated 991-generation 911 Carrera models, news of the Carrera 4 and Targa models has predictably followed. Carrera 4, Carrera 4S, Targa 4, and Targa 4S models will go on sale in 2016 with many of the same updates carried over from the 2017 Carrera and Carrera S models announced just a few weeks ago. Yes, I’m annoyed by Porsche’s 911 nomenclature as much as you are. It makes sense once you understand it but it can still hard to keep up.
To explain it a little better, a few weeks ago Porsche revealed the updated 911 Carrera (rear wheel drive) and Carrera S (RWD plus more power) featuring slightly new looks and some important hardware upgrades. This week they’ve announced the same updates and more are coming to the Carrera 4 (all-wheel drive), Carrera 4S (AWD plus more power), Targa 4 (targa top plus AWD) and Targa 4S (targa top plus AWD plus more power). Of course the Carrera 4 and 4S also come as Cabriolets too, so what I’ll attempt to do in the next paragraph or two without losing my god damn mind is explain how the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Carrera 4 Cabriolet, Carrera 4S, Carrera 4S Cabriolet, Targa 4, and Targa 4S are all being updated with similar but still somewhat new features. This is why I drink.
Alright… all of the aforementioned models are losing their naturally-aspirated 3.4-liter (4 models) and 3.8-liter (4S models) flat-sixes in favor of a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six with 370 horsepower (4) and 420 horsepower (4S) outputs available. Because these models all have a 4 in their name, that means they have all-wheel drive and this time around it’s a new electro-hydraulically control AWD system adapted from the 911 Turbo. Acceleration and handling have both been improved with this new system.
That all translates to 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds in the Carrera 4 and 3.6 seconds in the Carrera 4S when equipped with PDK and the Sport Chrono package. A seven-speed manual is still standard in the Carrera 4 and Targa 4. Rear-axle steering is available on all 4S models
Visually, the new Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S models are only distinguished from the Carrera and Carrera S models by a light strip running between the tail lights.
Prices range from $96,300 for the Carrera 4 to $122,600 for the Targa 4S.
Porsche, you’ve somehow managed to make me both admire you and loathe you simultaneously.
Toyota S-FR Concept
Toyota is gearing up for the Tokyo motor show later this month by announcing the concepts they’re bringing out. There are three cars and a robot (of course), but there’s one car in particular that is getting the most attention. It’s called the S-FR concept and it might just be a sign that Toyota is toying with the idea of building that one car we’ve been wanting them to build again… well two if you include the Supra.
This S-FR concept is a small, lightweight sports car that looks like the kind of thing built for the sole purpose of putting a smile on your face. It’s being pitched as an entry-level model aimed at making a whole new generation fall in love with driving. I’m down for that. With an emphasis on responsiveness over power and clear communication between car and driver, the S-FR sounds like it’ll be a worthy companion to the GT-86 and an obvious competitor to the Mazda MX-5.
In terms of hardware, they’ve only mentioned that it’s a front-engine, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission-equipped machine. Toyota wanted this to be the kind of car that would attract a die-hard fan base whose members loved driving and customizing it. They also want it to fit four people… um, maybe not in every country.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport inbound
Porsche answered a lot of prayers with the release of the Cayman GT4. It’s a car that takes advantage of the wonderful Cayman platform and adds the kind of power and track-focused supporting upgrades it deserves. But Porsche isn’t done with the Cayman GT4 just yet though.
Porsche has developed a new Cayman GT4 variant that’s built exclusively for track use. Dubbed the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, it’ll make its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
We don’t know what it’ll look like yet but we do know the mid-engine track toy will be powered by the same 3.8-liter flat-six engine as the street car with 385 horsepower on tap. The manual transmission is replaced by a faster dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters and it features a mechanical rear-axle locking differential.
In the same way that many suspension components on the GT4 road car are borrowed from the 911 GT3, the GT4 Clubsport will use a few components from the 911 GT3 Cup car including the lightweight suspension strut front axle system. It features big steel brakes measuring 14.7″ in diameter all around for huge stopping power. And because it is a racecar after all, weight has been reduced to 2,866 pounds even after the full roll cage has been added.
Orders for the new Cayman GT4 Clubsport can be made at Porsche Motorsport in Weissach or from Porsche Motorsport North America. Homologation for 2016 is planned for race series such as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Porsche Club of America, the Pirelli World Challenge, and more. Pricing has not been announced yet.
Vulcan meets Vulcan
The Aston Martin Vulcan is perhaps the most hardcore machine the esteemed British marquee has ever produced. It has a 700+ horsepower V12, track-only credentials, and the most revolutionary styling of any Aston product in recent memory. However, their Vulcan doesn’t have the distinction of being able to perform a barrel roll. Or drop bombs.
Aston Martin took their Vulcan on a play date with the legendary Avro Vulcan XH558, the only example of the famous Cold War long-range V bomber left in flying condition as of last weekend. At an airfield in Yorkshire, the Avro Vulcan that had been restored and flown at various air shows with private funds graced the Aston Martin with a celebratory fly-by ahead of its final flight. There’s a reason why Aston Martin were so excited to have a 55-year-old bomber buzz their latest track weapon, and it’s a story aviation enthusiasts know well. (By the way, there’s no car news here. Just an awesome story.)
Before the Aston Martin Vulcan was a thing, A V Roe & Co (Avro) built a strategic bomber with a unique delta wing design and four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines to give it the speed necessary to outrun whatever was shot at it. The Vulcan lacked defensive measures and only relied on its superior maneuverability (which could rival fighters of its age) and speed to stay alive. And yes, this 1950’s era bomber really could perform a barrel roll. The Vulcan is also known as the bomber that flew upwards of 7,000 miles for a single bombing mission including a 16-hour return trip and eleven other aircraft to support refueling efforts.
Vulcan XH558 was bought by the charitable trust Vulcan To The Sky and was restored to full flying condition using private donations. It made its first return to the sky in 2007 after being retired by the RAF in 1992. Having flown many air shows around the world since, it’s become an international sensation. Mainly because it’s awesome. Due to complications of keeping it airworthy after manufacturers withdrew support and other reasons, XH558 flew for the last time again earlier this month. Aston Martin helped send it off by bring their Vulcan, a car with almost as much lunacy as the bomber.
[Source: Aston Martin, Wikipedia]
What’s your automotive news?
Flashback to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion last August. The M4 GTS Concept had just been revealed and it was on display at a few events during Monterey Car Week. Back then I had figured they were bound to build it but I didn’t think it would look exactly like the concept. I especially didn’t think those un-BMW-like wheels would make it. But in any event, it was neat to look at as it was being loaded up in a trailer.
So what about you? If you saw anything, drove something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything news worthy that you’d like to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
[Image source © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]