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The News for June 30th, 2017

Greg Kachadurian June 30, 2017 The News! 14 Comments

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:

  • Aston Martin adds crazy AMR Pro kit for the already crazy Vulcan

  • UPDATE: Porsche finally admits 911 GT2 RS exists, talks details

  • Dodge fixes Challenger Hellcat’s grip issues with the Demon’s widebody kit

  • BMW unveils 2018 X3 for some reason

  • Honda rolls out big updates to 2018 Fit

  • Plus other coverage from the week

  • What’s your automotive news?

Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro

When Aston Martin launched AMR earlier this year as their new performance-minded sub brand, they promised an AMR version for Aston Martin… I just didn’t think they meant the Vulcan too, yet here we are. The one-of-twenty-four track weapon is already the most extreme performance car in company history (for now), but the AMR Pro package being made available for owners will somehow take it a step further.

The Vulcan AMR Pro is mainly an additional aero package designed to make it stickier at speed and therefore faster on the world’s race tracks. The only mechanical enhancement made is shorter gear ratios for more ferocious acceleration made possible by the naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V12. It might be the result of nobody being brave enough to touch it, but that V12 produces the same 820 horsepower and earth-shattering howl as before.

The majority of the extra work is being done by additional downforce at each end of the car. From nose to tail, here’s what’s new: a “sizable pair” of dive planes at each side of the nose; turning vanes fitted to the underside of the otherwise untouched front splitter to improve steering response; louvered panels above the front wheel arches to extract high pressure air and reduce lift; a new rear wing with a dual-plane design and a 20mm Gurney flap; and redesigned wing endplates with their own 15mm Gurney flaps.

That not only gives owners the ability to say their endplates have their own Gurney flaps, it also adds a significant amount of downforce to a grand total of 4,000Nm or 2,950 lb.-ft. Compared to the “standard” Vulcan with its 3,150Nm or 2,323 lb.-ft., it’s huge improvement that’ll translate to wicked fast lap times. The AMR Pro package even produces more downforce than the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE that just won Le Mans, which has 3,104Nm or 2,289 lb.-ft.

Straight downforce isn’t the only benefit here though, as Aston Martin has also been able to improve its aerodynamic balance by shifting the center of pressure further towards the middle. I didn’t even know center of pressure was a thing, but by bring it closer to the middle, they’ve achieved better traction, steering response, and front-end grip.

The AMR Pro package is being installed on the first of twenty-four Vulcans as we speak and the first customer cars will be completed this fall. Meanwhile, this acid green Vulcan AMR Pro will be running up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.

[Source: Aston Martin]

UPDATE: Porsche finally talks about the 911 GT2 RS

Remember that 911 GT2 RS that was unveiled at E3 a few weeks ago? That was just a rumor, according to Porsche. But this 911 GT2 RS right here? It’s legit. Yes, the car that Porsche refused to talk about for weeks is finally real and we’ve got all the details.

As expected, it’s powered by a twin-turbocharged flat six producing 700 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque and that all goes to the rear wheels. A super fast seven-speed PDK seems to be the only gearbox option, but that helps achieve a 2.8-second o-62 mph time and a 211 mph top speed.

The engine is based on the bi-turbo flat six in the 911 Turbo S but gains larger turbochargers, enhanced cooling featuring water sprayers for the charge-air cooler, and titanium exhaust among other little things.

Helping tame all that power is a “flawless racing chassis” with rear-axle steering, specially tuned adaptive suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and super sticky tires (265mm wide front, 325mm wide rear). The bodywork is of course covered with functional aero made largely with carbon fiber-reinforced plastic which also reduces weight. Other weight-saving measures include a carbon bonnet and a magnesium roof which help bring the weight down to 3,240 pounds. I recommend checking out this video Porsche released of the car in action at Paul Ricard. It does a good job of highlighting all the key features.

An additional 66 pounds can be shed through the optional Weissach package which adds a roof, anti-roll bars, and coupling rods on both axles all made from carbon fiber. It also adds magnesium wheels to reduce unsprung weight as well. That all goes for $31,000 according to our pal Brad from The Drive. I *believe* the Weissach package GT2 RS is the one pictured.

Inside, it’s all business. Red Alcantara, black leather, and carbon trim pieces are standard to enhance its sporty feel. Full bucket seats with a carbon weave finish and a half cage as seen on the GT3 RS enhance its functionality and safety on track, where it belongs. 

Whether it ever goes on track all depends on how brave owners are feeling. If it’s anything like the last one, it’ll be a potent weapon in the right hands and unforgiving in the wrong hands. And with an MSRP of $293,000, it may simply be too valuable for most owners to take the risk. Either way, this thing is rad.

[Sources: Porsche, The Drive]

Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody

Some of the Dodge Demon’s party tricks are trickling down to the Hellcat. The wheelie-inducing amounts of power aren’t, but the killer widebody kit and enhanced levels of grip are. Prices start at $71,495 for the Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody and it’ll be open for orders this July. So for a some $7,000 upcharge over the standard Hellcat, what exactly do you get?

The one thing that’s been missing from the Hellcat since launch: grip. The Hellcat Widebody features the same fender flares first shown on the Demon which adds 3.5 inches to the car’s overall width. That allows for 20 x 11-inch “Devil’s Rim” split five spoke aluminum wheels wrapped with 305mm wide tires. For the sake of comparison, the regular Hellcat ran on 20 x 9.5-inch wheels with 275mm tires.

Acceleration is quicker (by a tenth to 60 mph), braking is stronger, and lateral grip is increased by 0.04 g on the skid pad. That’s enough to create a two-second advantage around whichever 1.7-mile road course they tested it on.

The Challenger Hellcat Widebody will also debut with a new electronic power steering system which Dodge claims to offer better steering feel. We’ll just have to wait until it’s in the hands of journalists to find out for sure if that’s true.

Production of the Hellcat Widebody starts this summer and deliveries will commence in Q3 of this year.

[Source: FCA]

2018 BMW X3

2018 Honda Fit Sport

For the 2018 model year, Honda is bringing a host of updates to the third-generation five-door hatchback in the form of sportier styling, driving refinements, a dedicated Sport trim, and new features and tech.

All new Fits get updated front and rear fascias that convey a lower and wider appearance, a new two-piece chrome and piano black grille, and new wheel finishes. The Fit grows an additional 1.4 inches front to rear or 1.8 inches with the optional Sport trim. Two bright new colors – Helio Yellow and Orange Fury – are offered as well.

The Fit Sport features an even more aggressive and sporty look thanks to new aero form features (meaning it’s probably not functional) at the front, sides, and rear plus integrated fog lights and bright orange highlights on the front splitter. The sixteen-inch alloy wheels are painted gloss black, an option only available on the Sport. Finishing off the Fit Sport’s exterior upgrades is a three-strake rear diffuser with bright orange highlights, a chrome-finished exhaust tip, and the all important Sport badge. Inside, it gets a black interior with unique cross-hatched fabric in the seats and door trim plus various orange accents throughout the cabin.

All 2018 Fits come with new standard features, including the government-mandated rearview camera, a tailgate spoiler, automatic headlights, LED brake lights, Bluetooth, and more storage. The gauge cluster and available infotainment features were also redesigned. Honda is also expanding the Honda Sensing suite of safety features and are offering it on the manual version of a car for the first time, which I guess means they’ve learned that manual drivers don’t want to die either.

Ride quality and handling characteristics are improved through retuned suspension dampers, a more rigid steering system, and additional body reinforcements. Better transmission and steering mounts and more sound insulation also delivers a quieter ride.

The Fit’s 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected four-cylinder gas engine continues to deliver 130 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or CVT. But thanks to optimized emission control and a modified catalytic converter design, it achieves the stringent SULEV-30 emission standards. The EPA claims 29/36/31 mpg (city/highway/combined) on 6MT models and 31/36/33 mpg on CVT models.

Pricing will be announced at a later date.

[Source: Honda]

Other coverage from the week

It was almost a mini Geneva Motor Show this week with several big stories from the supercar world coming out of Goodwood. Jaguar threw down with the XE SV Project 8, an all-conquering super sedan with crazy numbers and ridiculous looks.

Then Aston Martin surprised with a V8 option for the DB11, a possible first for standard DB cars in Aston Martin history. Aston Martin may not say it out loud, but the 503-horsepower V8 is clearly borrowed from Mercedes-AMG as their recent partnership allows for. It’s basically the same engine from the AMG GTS in a bigger and more comfortable grand tourer.

Aston Martin also reaffirmed their commitment to bringing an all-electric Rapide to the market by 2019. It’ll be called the RapidE (clever) and will be limited to 125 units worldwide.

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]

  • Sjalabais

    BMW X3 meme is spot on. 10/10.

    • Alff

      meh

    • Nobody cares here, including me, but BMW is good at making money, so we’ll see these eat quite a chunk of the CUV market.

      • jeepjeff

        I do not doubt I will soon find myself hollering, “ultimate driver’s machine!” at one driven timedly on the highway.

        • Sjalabais

          Exactly, you guys touch upon the real culprit. BMW’s awesome at making money because they sell an image and a projection…of something entirely different than what they sell. When will the money-showing public notice?

    • Smaglik

      As the owner of an 07 X3, used for camping, towing, and gathering firewood, I actually am curious what the new one brings to the table.

      I did enjoy the meme though.

  • Rover 1

    I miss Mystery Car, I have too much free time now.

  • I haven’t shared much of what we’re up to at work for a while. We’ve gotten our 818 pretty much done, although there are some things that we want to tweak/improve. We’ve gotten our Mark IV (Cobra) done, or nearly done, as well.

    On the 818 we pushed level of finish and performance, but on the Mark IV we pushed some boundaries on interior design. Most Cobra replica interiors are spartan and basic, like the originals. We wanted an interior that moved towards production car levels of design and sophistication. We’ve gotten a lot of positive comments on it, including from the president of Factory Five.

    Here are some pictures of both cars:

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58175c3615d5dbcebad13573/59569c3d6a49637a936c854c/59569c3d59cc684152926a97/1498848321767/2017-06-24+08.41.01.jpg
    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58175c3615d5dbcebad13573/59569c3d6a49637a936c854c/59569c6eccf2106856891a86/1498848628979/2017-06-25+15.32.42.jpg
    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58175c3615d5dbcebad13573/59569c3d6a49637a936c854c/59569c739f745699c6774029/1498848629051/2017-06-25+15.32.31.jpg
    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58175c3615d5dbcebad13573/586fea28579fb38a7f1249cd/59403a01e4fcb5c4586c6bbd/1497384787952/2017-06-10+09.01.24.jpg

  • ptschett

    Does anyone have any pointers for importing parts to the US from Europe or elsewhere? My dad has a Melroe Spra-Coupe sprayer with a carbureted VW industrial gasoline engine, basically the same engine as some Golfs, Sciroccos, Audis, etc. from the early ’80’s used; it needs p/n 026 127 177 (a fuel vapor separator), seemingly available cheap from outside the US via eBay but I’m fretting about customs clearance.
    VW seems to have quit making industrial engines and Agco’s quit making Spra-Coupes, so while the part can still be had through the usual channel the dealer is asking $270 for a part that would cost a person about £20 in the UK.

    • Vairship

      And here I thought you were talking about some fiberglass sporty kit car I’d never heard of. 😉

  • peugeotdude505

    Still no Fit SI? Come on Honda…

    • Rudy™

      The SI can stay with the Civic–I don’t think the Fit sells in any kind of numbers to warrant any additional models. Rarely see any Fits on the road here in the Motor City, whereas there are plenty of Civics, Accords and CR-Vs. Personally I thought they should have offered the hybrid Fit here since it would have whupped some prius butt…