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The News for September 8th, 2017

Greg Kachadurian September 8, 2017 The News! 49 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:

  • TVR is back!

  • Nissan introduces next-generation LEAF with more tech and range

  • Lotus introduces newest fastest car in company history again

  • Ford is building a Ranger Raptor

  • More images confirm that the Kia Proceed Concept is stunning

  • Jaguar Land Rover to add EV, hybrid options for all models past 2020

  • BMW revealed a concept for the X7 but who cares because M8 GTE

  • What’s your automotive news?

TVR Griffith

It’s happening. For real this time, TVR is back! A little over a decade since the last TVR rolled off the assembly line, a reborn TVR has debuted an all-new sports car with a familiar name. The first of hopefully many more TVRs to come is the Griffith, an old school driver’s car with a modern twist.

When designing the Griffith, TVR dictated from the very beginning that it had to be “British in every way”, a front-engined V8 with a manual and RWD, and a two-seater with breathtaking performance and design. The car itself looks as if it’s surprised by something, so I’d say they’re already on the right track.

The Griffith stays true to TVR’s heritage with a “fast while standing still” look, the performance to back that up, and perhaps most importantly, a big powerful engine that makes lots of noise. Drivers are treated to fine materials and a perfect view of that big bonnet ahead of them. It’s best summed up by their perfect tagline, “always fast, always noisy, always TVR”.

Making said noise is a Corsworth-tuned 5.0-liter V8 with around 500 horsepower. The engine originates from the Ford Mustang GT but is reworked with a dry sump oil system, custom ECU, a new flywheel and clutch, and can only be paired with a six-speed Tremec manual. It’s too early for official acceleration figures, but there’s no way it won’t be quick. Fast? Check. Noisy? Double check.

Cosworth isn’t the only big British name involved either. Gordon Murray was heavily involved with the car’s development as well by lending his unique iStream process to build the car’s chassis. Using carbon composite materials, they’ve created a super lightweight and extremely stiff (20,000 Nm per degree) chassis. The Griffith is expected to have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution and weigh in below 1,250 kg (2,755 pounds) according to Autocar.

Wrapped around that chassis is a full carbon fiber body with a few tricks hiding in plain sight. It’s a sleek as a sports coupe should be and it’s even aerodynamic. It has side-exit exhaust to allow for a completely flat floor which sucks the car to the ground at speed. The combination of ground effect and the retractable spoiler means this car should be well planted at any speed.

It’s also safer (which is unusual for a TVR) as its designed to direct impact force to the tires. It also makes room for airbags, ABS, and traction control, three things you’re pretty much guaranteed to never find on a previous TVR. Another TVR first is its digital gauge cluster and the promise of reliability. But they maintain that the old-school British muscle car is back as the Griffith.

Initial plans call for UK sales only to regain their foothold with pricing below £90,000 for the first 500 launch edition cars. After that, expect a European expansion in the coming years. No plans are currently in place for a US expansion.

[Sources: TVR, Autocar]

Nissan LEAF

And now for something completely different, the Nissan LEAF. The world’s best-selling EV is getting a complete redesign, stronger performance, and more user-friendly additions in its second generation.

A new, more advanced e-powertrain offers a generous increase in power and torque with up to 147 hp and 236 lb.-ft. Range is also increased to 150 miles per charge. Other EVs like the Chevy Bolt and everything from Tesla would laugh at a number like that, but at its $29,990 starting price, it’s well in line with other similarly-priced options like the VW e-Golf. However, Nissan does plan on a more powerful model with a greater range (and a higher price) next year.

Of course with a new generation comes an all-new design. The new LEAF has a low, sleek profile that’s also been aerodynamically optimized. They say it’s more aero efficient, but the LEAF’s already low 0.28 coefficient of drag remains unchanged. It also proudly sports the latest Nissan styling cues like boomerang-shaped lamps, V-motion grille, and blue molding synonymous with an EV powertrain.

The interior is designed to be produce a more relaxed feeling when inside thanks to its spacious design and “carefully selected” materials. Drivers get information through a “gliding wing” front panel and passengers can play with a new 7″ TFT display which controls a more user friendly infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported.

Drivers also benefit from two new driver assistance systems. The first is ProPILOT Assist, which is a semi-autonomous system that controls acceleration, braking, and steering when during single-lane highway driving. It’s still a hands-on system where the driver’s inputs always take priority, but it’s the LEAF’s first step towards autonomous assistance. The other big new addition is an e-Pedal which basically allows you to accelerate, slow, and come to a complete stop by only using the pedal on the right. It’ll also hold its position when stopped, even on hills. Under *normal* driving conditions, you never have to use the brake pedal.

So there you have it. A new LEAF with a bit more range, more user-friendly features, and a longer-range model in the works. Prices start at $29,990 and it goes on sale in Japan by October 2nd and then US and Europe in early 2018.

[Source: Nissan]

Lotus Evora GT430 Sport

Another week, another new Lotus. This time it’s a variation on the Evora GT430 that was revealed back in July which brings a new lower drag body configuration and another transmission option. This alone is enough to make the new Evora GT430 Sport the fastest production Lotus ever.

For all intents and purposes, this new car is identical mechanically to the other GT430. It runs with the same 3.5-liter supercharged V6 with 430 horsepower and rides on the same balanced chassis, but you can now get it in all its carbon-bodied goodness without the extra downforce-creating elements. What the GT430 Sport lacks compared to the GT430 is a carbon front splitter, carbon wing, and carbon louvers over the front wheel arches, but everything else is the same.

Another new option for both the GT430 and GT430 Sport is a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It offers lightning-quick gear changes, a quicker 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds, and only weighs an additional 24 pounds compared to the manual.

Yep, it’s still awesome. Stay tuned for another fastest, most powerful Lotus in another couple weeks.

[Source: Lotus]


Surprise! Ford’s building a Ranger Raptor. The news came from Ford Australia who also released a teaser video of a prototype hooning in the Australian Outback. We don’t have any confirmed details to work off of yet as it is still in development, but the video sure does make it sound like a tuned turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder is involved. Expect it to be as tough and capable as the F-150 Raptor, but in a smaller package to compete with the Colorado ZR2. Now we are for sure getting the new Ranger here in a couple years, but for now we can only hope and make tire sacrifices to the gods of hoon that the Raptor version will come here too.

[Source: Ford Australia via MotorAuthority]

Kia has revealed new images of the Proceed Concept. Can confirm: it’s gorgeous. It previews a new body type for them which they describe as an extended hot hatch. It’s low, lean, and supple and it hints at the design of the next-generation cee’d. Kia’s concepts aren’t always reflected well in production form, but if even a portion of this design lives on, the new cee’d and perhaps other Kia hatches worldwide will look pretty nice. Some of the design highlights include a muscular form within a compact footprint, a “Sharkblade” in the bodywork, a lack of b-pillars, and a “Luminline” – an illuminated outline of the car’s glasshouse. I can dig it.

[Source: Kia]

A technically incorrect headline you may have already seen is that all Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electric after 2020. As with previous announcements from major manufacturers committing to powertrains with extra batteries and electric motors, this doesn’t mean all future JLRs are going to be pure electric. Hybrids count as electrified too; potentially supercharged V8 hybrids no less. So yes, all new models built from 2020 on will have a hybrid or pure EV option. But if new cars aren’t your thing, Jaguar Classic has performed an EV conversion on a Jaguar E-Type Series 1.5 Roadster. This is a one-off for now, but it’s an experimental way to future proof one of their most iconic cars. It sports a 220kW electric powertrain with a range of about 170 miles and a 5.5-second 0-60 time. Its 40kWh battery can be recharged in about seven hours, depending on the power source. But most importantly, its looks haven’t been changed at all.

BMW has revealed the concept for their first ever X7 SUV, but it’s so hilariously ugly that I’m gonna talk about something else instead. That something else is the M8 GTE which is surely the car practicing its war face under the covers in the picture above that was tweeted by BMW Motorsport. The car is making its worldwide debut next week during the Frankfurt Motor Show and will see competition for the first time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next year. It’ll race in IMSA in GTLM and WEC in GTE. I, for one, can’t wait.

[Source: Twitter]

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]

  • P161911

    My automotive new is that I was a dumbass this morning. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d0f27abe8066eb4aaaf9a103ab2a5fddd0e7e321da3bea5f7093cdf0bfe2a9b.jpg
    Driving to work this morning, looked down for about a second, knew traffic was slowing down, didn’t realize how fast it had stopped until I looked up. (no I wasn’t playing with my phone) Unfortunately the car I hit was a family evacuating from Florida. Their car wasn’t really drivable afterwards, hope my insurance company takes good care of them. No injuries.

    My insurance doesn’t cover a rental for me, and for the first time in many years I find myself without an extra vehicle. Fortunately my parents do have a couple of extra vehicles. My choices are either the 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible that has been sitting without starting for 2+ years or the 2000 Dodge truck that needs tires and a quart of transmission fluid every 200 miles or so. I’m really hoping the Saab runs.

    • caltemus

      Looks like just bumper damage; anything get messed up underneath?

      • P161911

        The hood and grill are messed up too, probably some grill supports, maybe the radiator supports. Can’t really open the hood now.

    • Smaglik

      My condolences.

  • Scoutdude

    I think that the Raptorized Ranger will definitely be coming to the US, the it will likely not be available at launch, but hopefully before the first model year has run its course.

    I’m not sure about the name, it wouldn’t surprise me if they give it its own moniker in the US so there is no confusion with the Raptor based on the F-150

    • CraigSu

      Osprey, Kite, Buzzard, Harrier, Vulture, Caracara, Accipiter? Kestrel would suit me but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford names it the Falcon since they surely still have rights to the name and it would thoroughly muddy the waters of that nameplate’s history.

      • Vairship

        No Veloci to counter-act the Raptor?

  • Citric

    That TVR is way too normal, in that at first glance I can immediately tell how to turn it on and how to change the temperature. A real TVR makes stuff like that needlessly confusing!

    • Fred Talmadge

      Still it’s pretty dang good looking with a few odd ideas thrown in to make it interesting.

      • Vairship

        Those Audi taillights were the only thing I picked up on.

    • kogashiwa

      Also the interior is not purple. Why is the interior not purple.

      They used to know how to do this properly.

    • outback_ute

      At least there don’t appear to be any visible door handles!

      The styling looks like they spent a fair amount of time looking at a Lexus LFA. One observation is that I don’t think it would be legal here in Australia, because exhaust pipes must be behind the opening windows. Ah, but what about the Mercedes-McLaren SLR you ask? They were only LHD so the issue never arose.

  • I probably shouldn’t have a downer on the TVR, but I’m afraid I do.

    If the venture capitalist behind it said ‘I’m going to create a new £90,000 supercar Inspired by the TVR Griffith” I’d be right behind it. But to say “right, this is the new replacement for the TVR Griffith” seems a little arrogant. A kind of TVR is back, but the TVR we loved died with the Sagaris.

    When creating cars in such small numbers, you needn’t worry much about safety, emissions etc, just type approval. To forge a worthwhile link to the past, and probably sell handsomely to real TVR enthusiasts, all it would have taken is to effectively re-start production of the old cars. The Griffith would have been easy to replicate and remarket with few modern refinements, and would sell like hotcakes if priced reasonably.

    The new £90K+ ‘Griffith’ has a whole load of very quick similarly priced competition, and I’m not sure it appeals to the same people that TVRs used to be bought by. If the ‘return of TVR’ had heralded a new era of affordable sports cars – like TVR of the past – I’d be whooping and cheering like crazy.

    • Citric

      Well you’re never going to get the lunatic TVR we loved back because Peter Wheeler died, and he had a singular brand of madness.

      • That’s true enough. Plus Ned the dog’s design input is sorely missed.

    • Rover 1

      Don’t worry, I believe that a large part of the money behind the relaunch comes from previous TVR owners who know the marque and it’s products well. and let’s not forget, there were three other cars named TVR Griffith before this latest, not just one. As long as they keep the ‘wilder than even Lamborghini’ colour choices I’m sure it will be accepted. And compared to it’s same price opposition it is quicker- and MANUAL ONLY. Don’t forget, if you want to sell in Europe today you need ABS, ESR and crash test passes. I’ll be waiting for the new Sagaris for complete craziness in styling features.

      First Griffith

      Second Griffith,(later badged the Intermeccanica Italia)

      Third Griffith
      At least this one’s not burdened with “where have I seen those tail lights before?”


      • Not everybody needs crash test results in the UK. It’s a volume thing – Aston Martin et al escape from the rigours of Euro NCAP testing, but ABS and ESP are mandatory.

      • outback_ute

        Ironically, this new car probably has a poorer power-to-weight ratio than one of the first Griffiths with any sort of engine tuning!

    • crank_case

      I don;t really get your downer on this – 90k for a car with pretty exotic construction and carbon fibre panels ain’t bad, the fibre glass versions will be competive with stuff from Lotus and Ginetta (which don’t have V8s) while undercutting Porsches big time. Everyone seems fixated on the Sagaris like TVR is supposed to be some sort of Austin Healey crossed with a Lamborghini, but the Sagaris is actually an oddity, most TVRs looked muscular but pretty conservative, a brawnier alternative to Lotus, or a less weird Marcos. Both versions of the Griffith (60s and 90s) were handsome, but not radical looking. I like

      • No, you’re right. Any “rebirth” of TVR should be celebrated. In fact, I’ve just raised my Adnams Ghost Ship in their honour.

        Once upon a time, TVR specialised in taking common or garden mechanical components from Ford and slotting them into lightweight chassis with the emphasis on fun. See TVR Tamsin, Taimar and ‘S’. Over time, the Rover V8 engined machines became more popular, and developed into the Griffith, and the huge popularity of that and the Chimaera gave TVR the confidence to develop the Speed Six engine and their own flat-plane V8 and go supercar baiting.

        It was inevitable that a ‘new’ TVR would continue where the more exotic models left off before Blackpool closed. It might do well, and I hope it does, but It’s being born into a market that’s far more competitive than it was before.

        I know I’m a dreamer, but I would have loved TVR to have ‘returned’ with something properly back to basics and priced at entry-level Elise level, perhaps using a tuned I4 Ecoboost or something. I’m pretty sure it would sell like hotcakes and swell the fanbase nicely, ready for a supercar to come later.

        And using the Griffith name just seems lazy and inevitable. There are loads of other names they could have used – perhaps they could continue with the Greek mythology theme. Orthrus (brother of Cerberus) would be pretty cool. Then, a few years hence, when the TVR name is proven as being in good, stable, hands, bring us a new Griffith.

        • crank_case

          I guess the use Griffith name stems from the desire to be seen as a continuation of TVR, like the way the were keen to associate the new car with the classics at Goodwood this weekend.

          Elise level cars are a pretty crowded market in the UK, the Elise itself, more extreme options like Caterhams and Atoms and to be honest, Ginetta pretty much makes the four cylinder ford car you’re talking about. (NA 2.0 though, I don’t think turbo’d motors suit these sort of track oriented cars), not to mention even the big boys muscling into that space – Renault Alpine and Alfa Romeo


          Plenty of people have tried and failed to make Elise competitors, numerous small competitors like GTM and even more high caliber efforts like Zenos, it’s a tough nut to crack. Going for that more muscular lightweight V8 car at Exige money is a smart move I reckon.

          Plus, while you and me remember 4 banger TVRs, I don’t think there’s been a four banger road going TVR since the early 80s, when Peter Wheeler reintroduced the S, the base engine was a Cologne V6.


          • Yep. Hey ho. Let’s take a seat and see how it plays out. I just want to see the reborn TVR name associated with success, and not see it sink in association with a venture capitalist get-rich(er)-quick scheme with a factory subsidised by the Welsh government.

            Seriously, I have everything crossed that good things will happen.

    • cap’n fast

      it is loud, makes a lot of used gasoline smells, and only seats two….fricking perfect. hopefully, radio delete is an option. it has those body lines we all lusted for as children. on the downside, not enough horsepower, (how much fuel does it carry?) and shoot. Mufflers? we don’t need no stinking mufflers!
      TVR is back! ALL HAIL!!

  • Fred Talmadge

    I saw my first camouflaged car today. It was around Oakdale CA going the opposite way with lots of traffic so I didn’t get a good look at it. It was also a SUV and I didn’t really care to chase it down. Of course it could of been some clown with a wrap to mess with me.

  • wunno sev

    the W124 Mercedes i bought three weeks ago has wasted no time being a Mercedes:
    – this morning, after not even sitting in it for a week, i reached up to put the mirror in “night mode” – it was 530am, no sun – and something didn’t feel right. i pulled over and took a better look: the springs that the very same night mode tab uses to hold itself in position had, after 22 years, cracked their way out of the housing, breaking it in half down the middle. it literally sat untouched and a piece of plastic with no active features managed to break itself with zero external input. this, it seems to me, is the very essence of owning a Mercedes.
    – i drove to lunch today with some coworkers. when i started the car to drive back to work, the CHECK ENGINE light was illuminated. no signs of trouble with how the car drove. of course, being a ’95, it has no OBD2 system, so i’ll have to rely on some blinking LED to figure out what the car thinks is wrong. the sudden absence of the flickering SRS lights makes me fear that this is a wiring issue, and the lights aren’t actually illuminating but wires are shorting. this would mean it’s about time to replace the wiring harness, a known guaranteed-failure point on this model that i know, thanks to extensive records, has not yet been addressed.

    so ungrateful – i just finished hitting it with the clay bar/polish/wax trifecta. but i knew what i was getting into when i bought this car. i knew this would happen. i can only know if i was prepared for the reality of it by getting into the fixes as soon as possible.

    • Smaglik

      My news is similar to yours. My m3 popped its SES cherry, under my ownership, two weeks ago. Secondary air flow, and coolant temp plausibility. Searched on the codes, seems the former is related to a cracked rubber tube, latter likely a sensor since the car got a new water pump, thermostat, and hoses, 10k miles ago. Neither are big issues, but being a long time BMW owner, I cleared them and went along with my business.

      Same codes came back yesterday. Going to have to address them…

      • wunno sev

        lol. some day, we’ll each catch on and just buy a fucking honda. how long have you had the M3? what year? digging it?

    • outback_ute

      There is probably a theory there about washing/maintaining/looking after a car and a subsequent failure!

    • cap’n fast

      I feel your pain. I have a brother who retired from MB wrenching at an opportune moment. he has forsworn fixing Benzes and told me to never-NEVER!!! get a benz. something about a rotting carcass laying in an open ditch with the impression of a 3/4″ hinge handle in the base of the skull.
      but i digress. i have never understood why benz used wiring insulation that is so tasty to mice and rabbits.
      these things happen more often than not when the owner forgets to show the car the HAMMER once in a while. Fear is the only thing Benzes understand.

  • Today we start looking for a replacement for my wife’s Prius. She loves it so another Prius is a possibility. We’re also looking at the Accord Hybrid and I’ve convinced her to consider a Mazda6. We’re looking at used examples und$20K.

    Also, no one seems to want a 318ti with a failing clutch, so it seems I’ll be replacing that so I can sell it.

    • Smaglik

      Good luck on convincing her to move on from the Prius. I have a friend and colleague that owns one that he and the wife detest. I think they’re ok with the appliance liked feel, but they’re a little over 100k on it, and with having multiple battery issues, have said on multiple occasions that they wish they’d just bought a regular car.

      • That is not typical nor does it mirror our experience. We bought ours with 112K and it’s now at 203K and we’ve had almost no problems. Still has, as far as I know, the original battery. Hopefully their battery issues are solved and it will be a good car from here on.

        • cap’n fast

          my nephew puts gas in his accord once every two months. so, how are you doing in the toyota?

          • The second generation Prius has a relatively small fuel tank. Well, technically 11.9 gallons, but we’ve rarely put in more than 10 and that’s after the fuel light has come on and it starts blinking at you like you’re running on fumes. Usually a fill up is 8 or 9 gallons. At ~45 MPG that’s a decent 350-400 mile range.

            That’s in the summer. It also has a bladder in the tank that shrinks in the cold, meaning a winter fill up might only be 6.5 gallons. Couple that with the fact that MPG drops in the winter to the upper 30s and range drops as low as 250-275 miles. The bladder is supposed to reduce escaping fumes during fill up so Toyota could get some kind of elevated emissions compliance or something, all I know is that it’s really annoying. Sometimes, with certain gas pumps it just won’t take fuel. I’ve been unable to put in more than a gallon and then had to drive to another station to fill up. The next generation (and the cars sold in Europe, I believe) don’t have the bladder.

            Top all that off with the fact that if you run out, anything less than 3 gallons added evidently won’t register with the computer and the car will still refuse to run.

            The fuel tank is one of the more annoying things about the car.

    • We drove a 2015 Mazda6 Touring and 2015 Accord Hybrid and the Accord won us both over. Much better driving than the Prius and better riding than the Mazda with the promise of similar mileage to the Prius. The driving position and visibility of the Mazda for my wife (she’s 4′ 10″) wasn’t the best either. High cowl, fat A pillar and intrusive headrest.

      If it was just for me, I’d take the more athletic Mazda, but the Accord is still quite nice.

    • kogashiwa

      Definitely check out the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid. I drove one a couple months ago and liked it quite a bit. Still on the radar for possible purchase.

      • We’re looking at used, under $20K. Since the Ioniq is new it doesn’t fit under our price cap. I agree that it looks like a good Prius alternative.

        • kogashiwa

          You’d think by now I’d be capable of reading the original post 🙂

  • JayP

    I’m excited to see Cosworth and Ford for the TVR.
    Over a year ago I’d read in the news Cosworth was investing $30M for a facility in Shelby Township, MI. About the same time TVR had announced they were working on a new car with Cosworth as the technical partner.


    Duh. The Coyote is built across the river. I hope the tech makes its way to production Fords.
    Cosworth Ford makes all me tingly and stuff.

    • Maymar

      Biplane spoiler’d Cosworth Mustang makes me inappropriately excited.

  • tonyola

    Eh, the new Griffith is overstyled lust like most later TVRs. This is a proper Griffith… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c4e3b0d295c4448b1546d7b7b217fa1f7fff2a58b586e3af160665875fe7c5f1.jpg

  • ptschett

    I took both the Ram and the Challenger through a car wash today, for the first time in awhile for either. (It’s been pretty dry here, in the north central part of the US northern plains; the rains that we have had, haven’t been very effective at actually getting cars clean)
    The Challenger got an over-the-air update last night for its uConnect system, which was interesting. I should have waited till I got home to authorize it, but instead I let the update do its thing for a while, drove in a 40-mile loop while it went through its 2nd stage, and got to the end of that loop just when the update was finishing.

  • I think that battery failures are more common over 175K or so and in hotter areas like Arizona. A remanufactured replacement is about $1,100. If mine failed now, I’d likely replace it although it’s getting close to the point where it wouldn’t be worth spending the money.

    • Smaglik

      We’re at 7000′ here, so it doesn’t get that hot, but I expect that the daily 30-40 degree differences in temperature between highs and lows do not help.

  • cap’n fast

    something is wrong with the kia concept car shown here. it has four doors. why does a car that looks like it should only have two seats need four doors? oh. of course. children. get a prius. huh. i bet it rides like a sedan. or station wagon. how sad. then again there is the Griffith..TVR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Maymar

    Nissan keeps bleating on about the E-Pedal, but that sounds rather like the low range setting in the Chevy Bolt – I’d be interested to try it out to see if there’s any appreciable difference, or if Nissan is proving that if you’re the only one to talk about a feature, you’re effectively the only be with that feature.

    Also, 0.28 cD seems rather unambitious for an EV.