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The News for December 23rd, 2016

Greg Kachadurian December 23, 2016 The News! 11 Comments

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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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Lamborghini unveils the Aventador S with more power and better handling

  • BMW prices most of the 2017 5 Series lineup – starts at ~$51k

  • Volkswagen teases possible electric Microbus revival

  • Audi teases another one of those stupid SUV coupe things

  • What’s your automotive news?

Lamborghini Aventador S

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Lamborghini’s flagship supercar has been in service since 2011 and has been kept relatively fresh with subtle tweaks and new models introduced over time. But starting next spring, the Aventador will enter what Lamborghini calls a new generation with substantial improvements under its also updated skin. It’s like a mid-life refresh, but better because it now has an S at the end of its name, which on its own is good for 40 horsepower.

The glorious 6.5-liter V12 keeps its naturally-aspirated goodness intact and benefits from a revised variable valve timing and variable intake system to boost its torque curve plus an extra 150 RPM to explore (red line is now 8,500 RPM). All that plus the S badge contributes to its new 740 horsepower and 509 lb.-ft. output. It can also sing through a new exhaust system developed through “a significant R&D project” to be 20% lighter than the old one. Gear shifts are still executed by Lamborghini’s Independent Shifting Rod seven-speed automatic in as little as 50 milliseconds. That all translates into a 2.9-second 0-62 MPH time as quoted by the factory (which is typically conservative with their numbers).

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Bigger changes are present in the car’s chassis with four new or redeveloped bits of tech enhancing the car’s stability, maneuverability, and driving emotion (or emojun if you listen to Cammed and Tubbed, which you should). The big news here is that it has Lamborghini’s first four-wheel steering system on a series production car. As with other examples, this system improves low-speed agility by sharpening the turn in and providing minor angle adjustments at the rear axle that move in the opposite direction to the steering angle. It’s a system that is already present on many Porsches and some Ferraris and has done wonders thus far, so it’ll be interesting to see how that can help the Aventador.

Other chassis updates include updated pushrod and Lamborghini Magneto-rheological Suspension with revised kinematics adapted to the new four-wheel steering, improved electronic stability control, and a new Ego driving mode to pick from. Joining the standard Strada, Sport, and Corsa settings, the Ego mode gives drivers more options to individually tune traction, steering, and suspension settings rather than just sticking with the presets. And for when your ego takes you too far, 15.7″ front and 15.0″ rear carbon ceramic brakes are standard equipment.

The Aventador S has a more aggressive nose with a longer front splitter designed to redirect air more efficiently and provide better engine cooling. At the back is an entirely new diffusuer with vertical fins that amplify the airflow effects, reduce drag through pressure recovery, and generate downforce. Overall, front downforce has been improved by 130%, rear downforce by 50% when the active spoiler is in high downforce mode, and in low drag mode about 400% compared to the previous Aventador coupe.

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Inside, the Aventador S looks largely the same but there are a few new refinements that try to make it an even better place to be. Standard is a new TFT digital dashboard loaded with Apple CarPlay, but nearly every other aspect of the cabin can be personalized through Lamborghini’s Ad Personam customization program. One option on the list that’s Hooniverse Certified™ is Lamborghini’s live telemetry data system which can record lap times, track performance data, and various other trip data. It’s designed to be used by elite journalists during the Aventador S track launch event and probably nobody else.

Suggested retail pricing is $421,350 and the first customer deliveries will commence next Spring.

[Source: Lamborghini]

BMW 5 Series pricing

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BMW’s ground breaking (by their standards) new 5 Series just got official pricing and a release date for most of the models coming to our shores. Following their western debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2017 BMW 530i and 540i (both with optional xDrive) will start arriving in US showrooms by February 11, 2017. More models are on the way, including that brutally quick M550i xDrive (the one that beats the current M5’s 0-60 time despite having 100 less horsepower), but these are the four available right from the start:

  • 2017 BMW 530i – $51,200
  • 2017 BMW 530i xDrive – $53,500
  • 2017 BMW 540i – $56,450
  • 2017 BMW 540i xDrive – $58,750

The 530i replaces the outgoing 528i and runs with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. 248 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque are on tap. The 540i is what used to be the 535i and is the only way to get a straight six in the new G30 chassis as of right now. It’s that same 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo straight six with 335 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque found in pretty much every other BMW. Those engines will have less weight to move around and and will be complemented by various other improvements made to the chassis. The full recap is available here if you missed it last time.

Those are the four models we’ll have at launch, but wait a few months for Spring to come and you’ll have the M550i xDrive, 530e, and 530e xDrive iPerformance (which I guess is better somehow) to pick from as well. Pricing on those three aren’t finalized yet.

[Source: BMW]

Detroit Auto Show teasers

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Automakers are already gearing up for the first big auto show of the new year and two of them have already started teasing their latest concepts. The first is from Volkwagen and it appears to be something we’ve been begging for. Going by the teaser shot and what Autoweek is reporting, it’s likely going to be an electric Microbus. I mean, look at it! There’s nothing else with that kind of nose design. The V-stripe, the big VW badge mounted top dead center, those windows – it has to be the Microbus. This of course doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to buy one in the near future, but it’ll be the second concept from their new ID family that they’ve shown. The ID was a forward-thinking electric concept that VW revealed at Paris this year and they have every intention of building electric cars based on the foundations laid by these concepts, so it’s possible that we’ll see this some day. Autoweek is also reporting that VW has plans for a field production version by 2020 with a range of 300 miles, but we’ll see how much that all changes by then. This is something you’ll see more of on here once it’s unveiled next year, for sure.

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The second teaser is from Audi, and while it may not be as interesting, it has a much higher chance of going to production. Unfortunately. It’s another one of those SUVs that they’re going to try and call a coupe again. It’s called the Q8… and that’s all you really need to know.

[Source: Volkswagen, Audi, Autoweek]

What’s your automotive news?

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That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]