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:
Land Rover debuts new Velar to expand Range Rover line
Chevrolet combines ZL1 and 1LE for a world-beating Camaro
Infiniti teases an ERS-equipped Q60
Porsche is bringing a new two-seater to Geneva next week
Lamborghini smashes ‘Ring record with upcoming Huracan [update: maybe?]
[UPDATE] RUF is bringing a completely in-house supercar to Geneva
Other stories from the week
What’s your automotive news?
Range Rover Velar
This week, Land Rover introduced one of their most anticipated new models – the Range Rover Velar. Fitting in between the RR Evoque and RR Sport, the all-new mid-size SUV will aim to offer luxury, refinement, technology, and all-terrain capability as it’s never been seen before in the segment as only Land Rover can do.
The Velar is a new creation from the ground up which was built using Land Rover’s Lightweight Aluminum Architecture and designed around “reductionism” inside and out – in English, you could say it’s a design that’s pure and not exaggerated in any way. The final product is instantly recognizable as a modern Range Rover with its floating, horizontal feature lines, floating roof line, and continuous waistline. On a finer level, the LED headlights are the most slender to ever appear on a production Land Rover and it utilizes flush deployable door handles to help give it the lowest drag coefficient of the bunch.
Its interior was designed to be a sort of calming sanctuary with generous space, fine materials, and more of that #reductionism in its design. There’s not a whole lot to really distinguish it from any other Range Rover’s interior, but one interesting fact is that they’d likely encourage you to opt for the more sustainable premium textile seat materials over the leather. The Dapple Grey woolen upholstery material pictured above was developed together with Kvadrat, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of high-quality design textiles.
Now what’s a Range Rover without loads of tech crammed into it? Not a Range Rover. Fortunately, the Velar has a new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system with two ten-inch touchscreens that de-clutter the dash. Electronics that can save a life include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue-Assist, and an Adaptive Speed Limiter.
As for the more important hardware, it’ll be available with a variety of gas, diesel, four-cylinder, and six-cylinder models around the world. The base engine is a gas-powered Ingenium 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 247 horsepower while its diesel counterpart produces 317 lb.-ft. of torque. The range-topping engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 which pumps out 380 horsepower and enables a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds. All Velars are equipped with a ZF eight-speed automatic and their signature all-wheel drive as standard.
V6 models come standard with an air ride suspension that’s also optional on four-cylinder Velars. When equipped, it can provide up to 9.88 inches of ground clearance and a wading depth of 25.59 inches as opposed to 8.38 inches and 23.62 inches, respectively with standard coil springs. Land Rover’s standard issue Terrain Response 2 and All Terrain Progress Control driver aid systems are also present. So if you feel like getting your 22″ split-spoke wheels with their diamond-turned finish a little dirty, it’ll be very easy to do.
The Range Rover Velar can partake in various off-roader-like activities, such as driving up a dusty hill.
US pricing for the Velar starts at $49,900 for the 2.0T gas and goes waaay up from there. The diesel will be available in the US but not on the most basic sub-50K trim level; the cheapest way to get a diesel Velar is to shell out $56,200. The supercharged V6 models start at $64,200. With all the options and packages they have available, this is easily an $80,000 mid-size SUV. It’ll arrive at US retailers by the end of the year.
[Source: Land Rover]
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
With the groundbreaking sixth-generation Camaro, Chevrolet has effectively turned the 1LE name into an all-conquering, track-oriented performance package. The gen-5 Camaros were separated into their own performance trims, starting with 1LE, then ZL1, and finally Z/28 with each getting faster and more hardcore. But because rules are for pansies, they’ve now decided to combine those performance packages to elevate the Camaro to new heights. Say hello to the Camaro ZL1 1LE. It has more characters after Camaro now so it’s better.
This is perhaps the best Camaro for track days until the Z/28 comes out. It’s a ZL1, which was already fast, made much faster. It keeps its 650-horsepower supercharged LT4 V8, the six-speed manual with rev match, Brembo brakes, and even its air conditioning and heated seats. But it gains more aggressive aero, adjustable suspension, sticker tires, and still loses weight with the addition of the 1LE package.
The most noticeable upgrades are the carbon fiber rear wing, specific air deflectors, and front dive planes. None of that is there for show.
It also makes use of Chevy’s new favorite suspension tech, Multimatic’s racing-derived Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers front and rear for exceptional control. The ride height is adjustable up front as are the front camber plates and rear stabilizer bar. These are all designed to be quickly tweaked at the track just before your session and before hitting the road for home.
Unique to the ZL1 1LE are new lightweight forged aluminum wheels that are an inch wider but an inch smaller than standard ZL1 wheels all around. Those are wrapped in exclusive Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires that were designed specifically for the car. It can deliver lateral grip up to 1.10g, it warms up more quickly, and is designed to be more consistent as you turn laps. The entire wheel and tire package saves 1.5 pounds of weight at each corner despite the footprint growing by 10%.
Finally, they’ve figured out how to cut weight without getting rid of AC and anything that makes you comfortable. The aforementioned wheels and dampers cut a decent bit of weight from the standard ZL1, but they went a bit further by running with a thinner rear glass and a fixed-back rear seat. That all cuts about 60 pounds out of the car. And did I mention you get to keep the AC and Bose sound system at no additional charge?
The ZL1 1LE will go on sale later this year but pricing hasn’t been announced yet. I’m sure the MSRP won’t matter regardless because of “Market Value Adjustment” over the next year.
Infiniti Project Black S
Infiniti saw how much fun Aston Martin were having with their old BFFs, Red Bull F1, and decided to follow up with a collaboration of their own. They’ve been partnered with the RenaultSport F1 team since 2016 (which makes more sense given the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and all) and are showing off their first big collaboration together at the Geneva Motor Show.
It’s called Project Black S and to put it lightly, it’s a radical interpretation of the Q60 coupe. Its SEMA-worthy aero kit isn’t even the highlight of this car. The car’s centerpiece is the thing you can’t see:
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System that was pioneered on modern F1 cars has been adapted for road use within this one-off Q60 (probably), although they dropped the word Kinetic in the press materials so it may work a bit differently. KERS implies energy recovery through braking, but ERS might imply energy recovery through other means. Sadly, that still won’t fix their terrible electric power steering.
However their fancy “Energy Recovery System” works, they say it’s a system that doesn’t yet exist in a road car. KERS literally exists in several road cars already. As one of our motorsports gurus pointed out, it might be using a turbocharger-driven ERS instead, which really would be a first. Further clarification will likely be given next week at Geneva but I’ll update this post if they’re willing to clarify ahead of time for me.
Regardless, they’ll use this interesting concept to gauge public interest in possible high-performance Infinitis in the future. So if you’re in Geneva next week, go and be interested in it.
Porsche will unveil a “motorsport-derived” two-seater at Geneva next week. As reported on by that one guy with all the ruined Porsches on The Drive, the mysterious new model will offer an “intensive connection between everyday driving and the racetrack”. It could be a Cayman GT4 RS, a new 718 RS Spyder, or a Cayenne GT3 RS. We’ll definitely keep you in the loop with this one. In the meantime, check out Brad’s expert analysis on what it could be.
[Source: The Drive]
Another day, another Nürburgring track record. This time it’s the coveted production car that was seemingly smashed by a new Lamborghini of all things. The upcoming, still camouflaged Huracan Peformante ran the ‘ring in 6:52 to beat the reigning champ, the Porsche 918 Spyder, by several seconds. It’s a stunning flying lap set by company test driver, Marco Mapelli, that’s worth checking out.
[UPDATE: After you watch the video (or not), also check out some compelling arguments about how this could be an exaggerated result. BridgeToGantry.com and Misha Charoudin on YouTube have arguments for how this just doesn’t add up. Grab the popcorn and read/watch.]
RUF will be bringing their first ever road car that was designed, engineered, and manufactured in-house to Geneva next week. They’ve been famous for taking in factory-fresh Porsches and reworking them to be faster and generally cooler, but they’ve never had a car that was 100% (more or less) their own. No other preliminary details were given, but they did mention it’s all been done in the “spirit of the 1987 RUF Yellow Bird”. Massive turbos confirmed. It’ll debut at Geneva next Tuesday and I will definitely be bringing you more on that one.
[Source: RUF | Image source: wheelsage.org]
Other news stories from the week
It definitely hasn’t been a slow news week. Over the last couple days, I also covered Alpine’s gorgeous production-ready A110 that’ll take on the Cayman and Alfa 4C in style. Head here for a little more information but more details will arrive next week at Geneva.
Additionally, Porsche did the thing. They’re actually building a real Panamera wagon. It’s now the only way to buy a Panamera. More info here.
What’s your automotive news?
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 © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]