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The News for November 20th, 2015

Greg Kachadurian November 20, 2015 LA Auto Show, The News! 33 Comments


Welcome to the Hooniverse News – 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show Recap! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. Everything is coming out of the city of angels this week where well over a dozen new cars were unveiled at one of the year’s biggest shows. We already gave our totally unbiased opinions on most of them yesterday, but today it’s time for some factual information. Not all cars were covered because I have a day job, but the ones that are have been designated as being the most important (or just the ones that were interesting to write about). This week:

  • Fiat revives the 124 Spider with a little help from Mazda

  • Mercedes-Benz got rid of the ugly with the new SL

  • Buick channels styling from Avenir concept for the new LaCrosse

  • Honda reveals the Civic Coupe with more variants on the way

  • Lincoln MKZ is like a mini Continental concept

  • Lamborghini pulls AWD out of the Huracán, charges less for it

  • Alfa Romeo finalizes US-specs for Giulia Quadrifogio

  • Complete coverage from Autoweek

  • What’s your automotive news?

2017 Fiat 124 Spider


The original Fiat 124 Sport Spider came out nearly 50 years ago and quickly became one of their most iconic cars. It’s been out of production for 35 years and Fiat has finally decided they missed it as much as enthusiasts did. The long-awaited revival is here.

With Fiat’s American brand expansion well underway, the 2017 124 Spider is like the life of the party being fashionably late. Along with the iconic nameplate being brought back, some iconic styling comes with it too. It’s very clearly meant to look like a modern interpretation of the original but it doesn’t seem overdone. It has a low-slung presence and a “sporty cabin-to-hood ratio” which seems to be winning over the internet.


The interior is driver focused and has optimized ergonomics to enhance the driving experience. Your lucky passenger can make use of the seven-inch touchscreen display with Fiat Connect 7.0 on the back end.

As far as the actual driving goes, this one should be a real treat. The 124 is built on Mazda’s latest ND MX-5 platform so it’s already got one thing going right. That means many of the underpinnings are the same, but Fiat has truly made this car their own… just ignore the fact that the interior is almost identical. All of the sheetmetal is unique, it’s both longer and wider, and it’s about 100 pounds heavier compared to the Miata. But most importantly, the powertrain is all Fiat too.


Power comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir four-banger with 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission is available and power goes nowhere but to the rear wheel. It rides on double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear setup specifically tuned for greater stability under braking and cornering. Fiat opted to use an electric power steering (dual pinion) system for its quick response to inputs.

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will arrive in American showrooms by summer 2016. Pricing is not official yet.

So the real question is which would you rather have, the Miata or the 124 Spider?

[Source: Fiat]

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL

Mercedes-AMG SL, R 231, 2015

And now for a completely different kind of roadster, the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL. It has a host of new upgrades for the 2017 model year ranging from drivetrain upgrades to driver assistance packages. Most importantly and most noticeably, it’s no longer ugly.

The styling on the SL is a gorgeous interpretation of Mercedes-Benz’s latest design language and the front in particular features a new diamond radiator grille, striking headlamps, and a revised lower fascia. Overall it just looks sleeker and much less awkward than the previous model. Most of the changes were made to the front half of the car alone but it’s made a world of difference.


Underneath the powerdome hood is a standard V6 with 362 horsepower or a V8 with 449 horsepower. The only available transmission is a nine-speed automatic, and here I am thinking a six-speed is good enough like a pleb. This refresh applies to the Mercedes-AMG SL63 and SL65 as well, which feature a 577 horsepower 5.5-liter biturbo V8 and a 621 horsepower 6.0-liter biturbo V12 respectively.

New safety features include active brake assist to help save that pretty face from eating tailpipe or a pedestrian and a dedicated system to help keep a safe distance from the car ahead, because clearly SL buyers can’t be trusted to do that themselves.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz SL will launch in spring of 2016.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]

2017 Buick LaCrosse

The All – New 2017 Buick LaCrosse

It was several auto shows ago, but Buick actually debuted something that generated quite a bit of buzz. It was the Avenir concept, a revolutionary styling exercise that we were hoping would turn into a production car in at least a similar form. The way Buick was talking at the time, they were just dying to make something of it as well.

Well Buick must have taken advice from Shia Lebeouf because they just did it. Mostly. Welcome to the 2017 Buick LaCrosse. It’s not an exact recreation of the Avenir but it’s as close as we may get to it. It’s an all-new full-size sedan featuring the new face of Buick along with advanced tech, lightweight construction, and plenty of refinement. It goes on sale early next summer.

Some of the more important styling features include a larger “waterfall” grille as the backdrop for the revived three-color tri-shield Buick insignia, its more athletic proportions, and elegant swooshes and stuff (I’m not an artist) to give it a more dramatic presence. Underneath the skin is a new lighter chassis made with press-hardened, high strength steels which contributes to a 300-pound weight savings compared to the current model.

The All – New 2017 Buick LaCrosse center console

The interior is hardly recognizable. Nothing in here is untouched and everything is designed to promote openness and sophistication. High quality materials, stylish accents, and “real French stitching” (as in they have a real French dude at the sewing machine?) make it a comfortable and elegant environment. It’s also a high-tech place as well. Embedded in the floating center console is an eight-inch screen that can house either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Additionally, it features wireless device charging, a digital, configurable gauge cluster, a heads-up display, and a teen driving function that’ll alert parents if their young driver sucks. Narc.

The LaCrosse is propelled by a 3.6-liter direct-injected V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The motor utilizes cylinder deactivation and stop/start technology to enhance efficiency. All-wheel drive is at least an option as is Continuous Damping Control for optimized ride comfort.

So there it is in a nutshell. Buick has used an acceptable amount of Avenir styling to help launch their first entirely new car (both in style and substance) in what’s felt like too long.

[Source: Buick]

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

Honda welcomed the highly anticipated Civic Coupe to their growing tenth generation lineup. It has the same hardware and features as the Civic Coupe they unveiled a few months ago, but the shape is all new and surprisingly close to the awesome concept they teased us with. All of this should make for an excellent compact and awesome platform for the Si and Type-R variants we’re getting.

Compared to the sedan, the Civic Coupe features a lower roofline, a more compact form, and different taillights. Compared to the last Coupe, it has a longer wheelbase, wider body, shortened front overhang, and a wider stance meaning this car has a sportier persona from the start. Cabin space was not compromised by the new sporty profile at all. Interior space grows by 8.4 cubic feet and rear seat legroom is increased by more than five inches compared to the last Coupe. Among the upgrades are higher quality materials, high-contrast finishes, and a new one-piece, soft-touch instrument panel with molded stitching. It also has a lower seating position to further amplify its low, wide, and planted driving character.

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

To help with the actual task of driving, the Civic Coupe will launch with the same two powertrains as the sedan. Lower trims receive the new 2.0-liter i-VTEC (yo) four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and 138 lb.-ft. of torque, a respectable increase over the previous entry-level car. Higher trims are powered by the 1.5-liter direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder engine which peaks at 174 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. The only manual transmission option is for the lowest trim level which unfortunately means no factory-offered manual turbo Civic exists… yet. But don’t fret, there’s still a CVT to handle power transfer for higher trims. MPG is rated at 31 city/41 highway on the 2.0 and 31 city/42 highway on the turbo 1.5.

2016 Honda Civic Coupe

New standard features include automatic headlights with LED running lights, acoustic glass windshield, automatic climate control (dual-zone in higher models), and an electric parking brake (booo) with Brake Hold. Other new features such as remote start, full LED lighting, heated front seats and side mirrors, automatic wipers, and seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system are optional.

Honda’s plans for the Civic call for several new models launching within the next 18 months, including the first-even Civic 5-door hatchback for the US market, Civic Si performance variants (emphasis on the plurality which is a direct quote from the press release), and the radical new Civic Type-R making its way to America for the first time too. No word on pricing or availability yet for the Civic Coupe.

[Source: Honda]

2017 Lincoln MKZ


Just how Buick brought influences from an awesome concept to life, Lincoln is channeling the Continental Concept for their all-new Lincoln MKZ. Rather than letting their dreams be dreams, Lincoln is reinventing their design for production models and it may actually catch some attention among buyers (and I promise that’s my last Shia Lebeouf reference).

The new design is its most noticeable and perhaps most appreciated upgrade. It has a new one-piece grille and available adaptive LED headlamps which give it a face that we hope is the new norm for Lincoln. They’ve tried to give it a striking design that captures attention and keeps people interested long enough to spot the details, and I think it’s worked. It’s a bold new look for a company that’s tried to reinvent their design language for years.

Underneath its skin, Lincoln got serious. Power comes from a Lincoln-exclusive turbocharged 3.0-liter GTDI V6 engine producing 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque when paired with an optional all-wheel-drive system. Front-wheel drive is standard and for that power is wisely brought down to 350 horsepower and 400lb.-ft. of torque (torque steer much?). A hybrid alternative is also available and that uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower sent to the front wheels.


The MKZ comes available with new Lincoln Drive Control which has different driving modes for different conditions. It also includes continuously controlled damping and electric power-assisted steering. There’s also a Driver’s Package which adds 19-inch wheels, Ebony-painted calipers, light Magnetic-painted grille, Ebony interior with carbon fiber accents, customizable multi-contour seats, Dynamic Torque Vectoring (in a Lincoln!), and a retuned suspension optimized for enhanced driving dynamics.

Interior ergonomics were improved with the new MKZ as well. Engineers spent time focusing on making commonly used buttons easier to access and fine-tuned the sound and feel of new switches. All in all, it’s a nice place to be and I think Lincoln is serious this time around.

The new Lincoln MKZ goes on sale in summer 2016.

[Source: Lincoln]



Lamborghini pulled off the wraps on the Huracán LP580-2, a new rear-wheel-drive variant of their latest V10-powered dream car. Lamborghini set the precedent with their first all-wheel-drive gone rear-wheel-drive Gallardo variant several years ago. As of now it’s the only RWD car Lamborghini produces and it’s being billed as an enthusiast special. Power comes from the same 5.2-liter V10 as the other Huracáns but has been detuned to deliver only 572 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. Still plenty of power for some shenanigans. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is still the only option as Lamborghini has pretty much confirmed the manual is not coming back to the lineup. Everything else on the car has been retuned to account for RWD so this should still be a well-engineered, properly exhilarating machine. The only changes made to the styling are done on the lower fascia. Apart from the weight savings (70 pounds) that comes with ditching the AWD system, it’s also $30,000+ cheaper.

[Source: Lamborghini]


Alfa Romeo has confirmed the glorious specifications for the US-spec Giulia Quadrifoglio. The Italian super sedan will do battle with the likes of the BMW M3 and Cadillac ATS-V when it arrives in the second quarter of 2016. With an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform, the Giulia offers 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque from a 2.9-liter biturbo V6 that was developed with the help of Ferrari. That means 0-60 takes 3.8 seconds and the top speed is 191 mph. It’s also fairly light for its size with a 7 lb./hp ratio (which makes it around 3,500 pounds overall) and boasts a 50/50 weight distribution. Braking comes courtesy of available Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with 15.4-inch calipers up front. Other impressive features such as torque vectoring, active aero front splitter, and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires should make this Alfa one of the greatest ones yet. More info on more civilian Giulias will be released later, but they did say a new turbo four-cylinder engine would be offered with 276 horsepower as an entry-level model. Pricing on the Quadrifoglio starts at around $70,000.

[Source: Alfa Romeo]

Full coverage from Autoweek


I got lazy so I’m reusing this image from yesterday

There was a lot of new stuff on display at LA this week but one hoon can only do so much. Our friends at Autoweek have been covering the show in greater detail all week, so be sure to hit them up for more info. For things like the Mazda CX-9, Ford Escape, US-spec Jaguar XE, and the Subaru Impreza Concept, it’s worth checking out. All available here.

What’s your automotive news?


*Breathes* So that’s all I’ve got for you this week.

Now it’s your turn. 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 © 2015 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]


Have a good weekend.


  • Muthalovin

    Dat Alfa tho…

  • CraigSu

    Between the FIAT 124 and the Mazda MX-5 I’ll take whichever one is first to market with a permanent hardtop, preferably in a fastback or hatch design. I have no interest in a convertible but a smallish, sporty coupe with those lines would be ideal.

    • wunno sev

      after 25 years of miatas with no fixed roofs, don’t hold your breath

  • Sjalabais

    I like the restrained screen and lots of buttons in the Buick. Pleasant colours, too. But that center “wall”…wow. That’s wide. I bet you can see it from space.

  • GTXcellent

    I like that little Fiat – reminds me a lot of the NB Miata (my favorite one, and not just because we used to have one).

    On the personal automotive scene: Nothing new on the potential SS. Apparently they are now taking orders again, but no pricing has been announced. Yeah, I’m going to need some figures before blindly leaping off that jump.

    The Saab had it’s own issue pop up. Last weekend I put the winter wheels/tires on – and the car had a terrible, terrible vibration. Swapped front to back and vibration went away. Odd. Brought the car into the local tire shop to see if a wheel was out of balance or what the problem was. Turns out, the wheels are the wrong bolt pattern! Here’s where it gets really weird though – this is the 3rd or 4th winter with this set of wheels. Why no wobble until now? The tire shop boys figured I just got lucky and somehow centered things when I put them on every year. The rims were a list of craig special, nothing great, but they worked. When I got them, the seller and I even stopped a tire shop to have them measure – their admittedly quick check showed Saab’s goofy 5×110 bolt pattern. Nope, turns out they are really 5×4.5. So, this afternoon my wife’s beautiful black 9-3 will get ‘murdered out’ as the cheapest set of rims are some black/machined Motegis (and there’s no way in hell I’m going the Manitoba route with black steelies. No offense meant to our neighbors to the North, but is it provincial law that your winter tires have to be on black steelies? Come this time of year, every Canadian plate has black steelies).

    • hwyengr

      I’ve been a little less enthusiastic about the SS since Jag announced that the XE is gonna come in a manual, too.

      • GTXcellent

        That XE is on our short list too – problem for us is that the nearest Jaaaguwaar dealer is 400 miles away. But then, the same distance didn’t stop us from buying the 9-3 either.

    • 1977ChevyTruck

      Americans don’t use black steelies?

      We have them on our Odyssey and CX-9, which is 2/3s of the vehicles in our family with winters tires (3 have them, 3 don’t).

      Only my SHO has snow tires mounted on the stock rims, but that’s only because it came with two sets of rims…

      • Scoutdude

        Personally I don’t run steelies for my winter tires. Depending on the vehicle and what it came with I’ve been known to +1 on some factory aluminum wheels or -1 on some factory aluminum wheels for my winter tires. Fact is that a set of used but good condition factory aluminum wheels are cheaper via craigslist than aftermarket aluminum or steel wheels.

        For my wife’s car that came with the 17″ I found some 16″ factory wheels for $50 for her winter tires. Now on my P71 I went +1 on some $50 Mustang wheels for my winter tires and the summer tires are +2 Marauder wheels. Yes those $50 were in excellent or good condition and included the center caps.

      • dead_elvis

        This ‘merican does – because that’s what the free studded snows I picked up on CL for my 244DL were mounted on. And I gotta say, they look pretty good w/o wheel covers.

  • Jofes2

    I don’t understand why US legislation has to ruin every import headlight design with that garish amber indicator glass.

    • ptschett

      Generally it’s there to serve a dual purpose of the turn indicator and also the front corner amber retroreflector (required in the US, and impossible to implement without an amber-colored component.)

      • nanoop

        In Europe, white glass indicators with amber-coated bulbs can be legal, improving the looks along Jofes2’s lament.

        On European cars, the number plates are retro-reflectors since a couple of decades. Front plates are mandatory, so together with the red rear light/reflector areas (congruent with US legislation, I’d guess) we have a directional hint.
        Also there are laws about visibility of head and rear lamps from the side – when on. The only use case I can think of right now that is not covered by EU laws as well as by US laws is a car sideways with lights off.
        Having a parking light mode is mandatory in some(?) countries indeed, I haven’t seen it in use since the 90ies though.
        Amber side reflectors (US) can be dealt with if taken on consciously – they don’t have to be huge bicycle reflectors.

  • Monkey10is

    Re: The Lacrosse…
    ‘French stitching’ is just like normal stitching, but with tongues.

  • Krautwursten

    Take a perfectly fine MX-5, shape the body panels to be non-interchangable with the Mazda and stuff a force fed 1.4L into it. Brilliant.

  • The Alfa’s pretty, but looks to me like a mashup up previous-gen Jag headlights, previous-gen 3-series doors and an Infinity G37 backside. Oh, and a symbolically vaginal grille.

    …which, to be honest, is just fine by me.

  • 1977ChevyTruck

    “So the real question is which would you rather have, the Miata or the 124 Spider?”

    I pick 124, simply because I think it looks prettier.

  • mrh1965

    God help me but I like that Buick. I certainly like it better than the somewhat austere Lincoln, although it ain’t bad. And why did Fiat stick that ugly black grill on an otherwise pretty car?

  • ptschett

    The Fiata124 is an interesting collaboration. Seems like a good application for the 1.4 turbo MultiAir (for once).

    Is M-B trying to compete with the full-sized truck makers for grille badge size?

    WRT the FWD Lincoln: I thought the torque-steer was bad at ~300 lbf-ft in my parents’ ’93 and ’98 Northstar-powered Cadillac STS’s.

    I’m hoping the Giulia gets a normal-people-priced sibling in the Chrysler or Dodge brand.

    Interesting vehicle I saw in Fargo traffic this week: an M-B AMG… Gelandewagen. Inexplicably being used to proceed meekly down the interstate at ~60 MPH instead of unleashing all those horsepowers.

  • stigshift

    I would just like to be the first person to coin the nickname ‘Fiata’. Happy weekend, hoons!

    • dead_elvis

      Looks like ptschett beat you to the punch in the comment immediately preceding yours (assuming you sort comments by oldest to newest). Regardless, it’s an excellent portmanteau.

      • stigshift


        • dead_elvis

          To be fair, it doesn’t get much more obvious than “Fiata”. You snooze, you looze, here at the ‘verse.

          • ptschett

            I wish I could take credit for it, but people on Allpar started using the term months ago.

    • theskig

      “Fiata” in Italian is a slang word for “bad breath” 🙂

  • You know, every time I see the snout of the 124 I think of MINI.


    I wish I didn’t.

    • jeepjeff

      I can see where you’re getting this, but the Fiata grill looks like the not-so-mini started hitting the gym and got fit. The 124 manages to look more lithe and athletic, which is so much better to my eye.

  • jeepjeff

    Miata platform with a turbo pseudo-MOP’AR four-banger and excellent sheet metal? Yes. Please. The 124s are awesome. (The NDs look great too. It’s a hard choice, so it’s just barely the Italian for me.)

    For personal news: FZ-07 sailed through the CHP inspection on Tuesday. I’ve got an appointment at the DMV for Monday morning. I should finish off the titling process this week. Then I’ll just have to wait for plates.

    Also: Engineered: I broke stuff on the Ranchero for you today. (In this case: a likely difficult to replace spring, but it’s Ok. I managed to bodge together an extended bracket that let us used the broken spring, and probably solved the problem…)

  • theskig

    As an Italian I hate the “124” name on that car. I mean, you need a spyder and want to rebadge a Mazda? Ok, but don’t call it as a gloryous old model because it’s only a rebadging with your own motor. (As Lancia Thema and Lancia Flavia, they’re fu**ing all Italian motor history.)