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The News for October 20th, 2017

Greg Kachadurian October 20, 2017 The News! 21 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:

  • Volvo’s Polestar finally reveals their very own performance hybrid

  • Audi debuts new A7 Sportback

  • Porsche now offering GTS packages on 718 Cayman/Boxster

  • Audi’s dumb new naming system is not coming to America

  • What’s your automotive news?

Polestar 1

Since Polestar was established as Volvo’s standalone performance brand, they’ve been setting the stage for it to become an electric performance brand. This week, they gave us a stunning glimpse into that first chapter. Say hello to the Polestar 1, Polestar’s first home-brewed car with all of their own badging. It’s coming in 2019 and it’ll make a pretty powerful statement.

Polestar will eventually become an all-electric performance brand, but Polestar 1 is described as an “electric car supported by an internal combustion engine”. This 2+2 grand touring “Electric Performance Hybrid” most likely uses Volvo’s supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine with some Polestar enhancements. Normally, that engine plus electric motors equals 400 horsepower, but not here. The Polestar 1 will have around 600 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque to play with.

They didn’t go into very many specifics with the batteries and electric motor setup, but it’ll have enough juice to drive about 93 miles (150 kilometers) on battery power alone, which Volvo points out is the longest pure EV range of any other hybrid. Heck, that’s almost as much range as a Nissan LEAF used to offer. What we do know about the drivetrain though is that it’ll use a double electric rear axle which enables torque vectoring.

It’ll be built on Volvo’s new Scalable Platform Architecture but will have about half of its components engineered and built by Polestar exclusively. The body will be built from carbon fiber to reduce weight, lower center of gravity, and add stiffness. In an effort to make it a true driver’s car, it’ll have Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension and other technology to make it quicker.

By the time the Polestar 1 launches, they’ll have their own showrooms in various markets (not tied to existing Volvo dealerships) and they’ll have rolled out a subscription program for their cars. Ordering will be done 100% online and the cars will be offered on a two or three-year subscription. Basically it’s a lease with simplified pricing, the ability to swap cars temporarily, and more perks. Those who aren’t afraid to own a car and can continue to do what the human species has been doing for over 100 years can probably still buy one outright… maybe. Ordering books are open now.

[Source: Polestar]

Audi A7 Sportback

Audi just revealed a new A7 Sportback with a fresh new face, loads of new features, and a “mild hybrid system” across all models to boost efficiency. With the A7, Audi is trying to make one car serve the purpose of three with the sportiness of a coupe, spaciousness of a sedan, and [most of] the versatility of a wagon. The new updates aim to make it better at all three.

Sportiness is enhanced by optional all-wheel steering, a new chassis control program, and four new suspension setups to pick from which make this not small car more agile and responsive. The standard progressive steering (variable ratios) is made even sharper and features a new design concept which promotes feedback from the road.

Inside, there’s more space all around despite the sloping roofline. Helping you take advantage of the additional interior volume is a wider loading width at the back. It’ll certainly have the spaciousness of a sedan, but not all of the same versatility of a wagon… no matter how much they want you to believe it does. #GiveAmericaTheAvant

But on to the other stuff, there’s a new design inspired by their prologue concepts from a few years back featuring large surfaces, sharp edges, athletic lines, a wider and lower grille, and new lighting. Inside, designers wanted to give it a lounge-like atmosphere with a clean design language and an airy feel.

Audi’s Multi Media Interface takes center stage in the A7 by replacing nearly all of the regular buttons and physical controls with two touch screens. The upper screen controls typical infotainment stuff while climate control, comfort functions, and text input is handled through the lower screen. The A7 is packed with too much tech to talk about in detail, as we can expect from Audi.

Under the hood, the A7 goes to great lengths to reduce emissions while still keeping the same engines. It’ll launch with the familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 before other engines join, but only the V6s are confirmed to have a “mild hybrid” setup with a 48-volt primary electrical system, a belt alternator starter, and a lithium ion battery. The main benefits of this is that the A7 can recuperate up to 12 kW when braking and will have much smoother auto stop/start and freewheeling/coasting performance. In real world driving, this setup accounts for a 0.7 liters per 100 kilometers (a few mpg at most) reduction. The base A7 is rated at 34.6 mpg.

[Source: Audi]

Porsche 718 GTS

Porsche is bringing the sportier GTS option to the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster by the end of the year. With the GTS badge comes a power increase, more performance features as standard equipment, black-painted exterior accents, and Alcantara inside.

Porsche was able to squeeze out an additional fifteen horsepower from the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a newly designed intake duct and an optimized turbocharger, bringing the grand total to 365 horsepower. A six-speed manual and seven-speed PDK are both still available.

The GTS package includes a bunch of common Porsche options as standard equipment, but nothing is really new. It has your standard-issue Sport Chrono Package plus Porsche Torque Vectoring with a mechanical rear differential lock and Porsche Active Suspension Management, which lowers the body by ten millimeters.

The GTS package will, for now at least, be the fastest 718 you can buy until they inevitably bring the turbocharged farting engine over to the GT4. Prices start at €76,137 ($89,962).

[Source: Porsche]

BLIPS

An Audi representative speaking at the A7 launch confirmed their dumb new naming scheme won’t be coming to the U.S. This confirmation reported by Autoblog means we’ll be spared from the needlessly confusing idea they came up with of using two numbers to signify a vague range of output from a particular model’s powertrain. The reasoning behind this decision in the first place was to try and make some sense with all of the available engines they sell around the world, but because we have so few options in America, this system wasn’t needed. Sorry, Europe. Y’all can keep this one.

[Source: Autoblog]

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]

  • My news: I spent last weekend trying something new, which is to say hauling a car in a conventional manner, behind a pickup truck, on a car trailer. The trailer was a rental.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1bf21975f040297841cf5ccebd317dcf46451a12b38d5378800fbb133c3233f1.jpg

    • Alff

      Nice Thunderbird. Have you surrendered to the allure of (more) modern amenities?

      • Thanks, but it’s only sort of mine. My father passed away a few months ago and it is now my responsibility to do something with his car. My brothers tried to sell it locally on the southern Oregon coast without luck, so we’re hoping the Seattle area will prove to be a better, or at least larger, market. Know of anyone in need of a ’65 ‘Bird?

        • Sorry to hear about your Father, Mike. All the best from this windswept corner of the planet.

        • 0A5599

          Sorry to hear about your father.

          Thunderbirds are difficult to list on Craigslist. You need to write the ad so that it won’t be filtered out if someone searches for “Thunderbird”, “T-bird”, “Tbird”, or in some cases, “Camero”. Good luck with the sale.

        • Alff

          Sorry to hear it.

          The market under appreciates these cars, IMO.

    • Are you sure you didn’t travel in time?

      • That might explain why the trip took so long. It’s either that or the International’s 4.10 rear end.

    • Since you now have a Thunderbird, does this mean that I have to buy an old Saab?

      Looks like a nice Tbird. Ironically, a friend’s son asked me to look at a ’66 with him this weekend.

      BTW – http://www.squarebirds.org has a section for these “flairbirds”. Might find someone interested.

      • In the interest of maintaining parity I believe you need an early Model 99, with freewheeling.

        • I’ll get right on it. Maybe.

  • My news – racing Lemons this weekend but almost forgot about it.

    • There should be a theme in there somewhere, but I’m not sure how you’d differentiate yourselves from the typical level of routine prep for most teams.

  • wunno sev

    the Polestar 1 and the XC90 are the only current Volvos to justify their own pricing (assuming Jalopnik’s educated guesstimate of a $100k price tag for buying it is right). every other Volvo is 20% too expensive.

    my Mercedes broke itself again. if i’m correct that it’s the wiring harness, which is a known problem on these cars, it’ll be another $200-300. that puts me at probably ~$400 in new repairs since i bought the car two months/2000 miles ago, not counting nearly a thousand in cosmetic fixes.

    i bought this car to fix/flip, and it’s still gonna put me in the poorhouse. but it is beautiful and a lovely thing to drive when it works.

  • Jofes2

    The A7 is the first interesting looking Audi I’ve seen in a while. Some Saab-vibes, aren’t there?

    • outback_ute

      It seems to have less of a squatting-dog look than the last one, in photos at least. Not sure the front is an improvement though, but I have said that about all of the current Audis.

  • Maymar

    So I got my lowering springs, and the rears (the important part) got installed with absolutely no problem (well, outside of me not reading instructions properly – it was a quick job once I accepted the right procedure). The fronts are not going so well. I was able to get the struts out okay, but for the life of me can not get them disassembled (the top nut just spins the entire assembly when I try to loosen it, and as my workshop of choice is the nearest subway parking lot, I don’t have a ton of options). To make things worse, it seems I reassembled something wrong, so now there’s a clunking from the front, but I’ll probably cave and try and take it to a shop tomorrow (I mean, I tried taking it to Canadian Tire today, but apparently they won’t install parts outside of factory spec, even though I got these direct from Mazda, and CT doesn’t carry springs for a Mazda2 anyhow).

  • fede

    Last weekend, with my father, we went to a classic car show in Argentina (250-300 km away). According to the organization, is the biggest on South America.
    Got to see a pair of rare Bugattis, an Hispano-Suiza, and a 250LM Ferrari I had seen the year before (but I could look at it everyday) next to a 2004 Schumacher F1 Ferrari.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8ec2accd019df2be25db577f81f19f6cdb141eaf959a5bb2547411a3af249cba.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3ebece17a41a412336ac9a2eb550a5a8dcd31709146f0b1b00ca5565b7080269.jpg

    Later, we went to the Juan Manuel Fangio museum, in his hometown, and got to see a 308 Alfa, among others.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3c85d0d7bbf4bfc656fd6b458bbce069b4f1fa503b0cd8296fad8bf4495a3c86.jpg

    Finally, the 46 DeSoto is finally going to get the interior done, so the seats are now at the shop, and the car can’t be driven. Hopefully, in about 2 months it will be finished and back on the roads!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/665548f41466736dbd4676ed4774ede5eb8db05bcfa7efd9b1334c56d309aaa1.jpg

  • Rover 1

    The ONLY real automotive news for October 20, 2017 is this, the last day of manufacture for Holden in Australia…

    https://www.wheelsmag.com.au/news/industry/1710/holden-ends-manufacturing-in-australia

    The last four vehicles being one of each, a Coomodore Sedan, a Ute, a Wagon and the last Caprice.

    and https://www.wheelsmag.com.au/news/1710/commodore-and-caprice-wagon-and-ute-these-are-the-last-four-vehicles-to-be-built-by-holden-in-australia