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The News for February 16th, 2018

Greg Kachadurian February 16, 2018 The News! 37 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:

  • BMW commits to the X4 again, mentions “dynamic” in the press release 17 times

  • Another Texas edition truck is coming courtesy of Ram

  • Alfa Romeo prices the Stelvio Quadrifoglio at $79,995

  • New Yenko/SC Stage II Camaro offers 1,000HP because it can

  • Toyota confirms new “racing concept” Supra for a Geneva debut

  • What’s your automotive news?

2019 BMW X4

It seems like it was just yesterday that BMW proved they truly don’t care anymore by forcing the X4 upon the world. Despite it being an uglier and less practical yet more expensive X3, it sold well enough to warrant a second generation after only four years of production. It goes on sale this July with new styling, new suspension, a lower center of gravity, and improved aerodynamics among other updates.

Since this is basically an X3 with more of that “coupe-like styling” crap, it shares all of the same styling updates found on the X3 as well. That means larger, “three-dimensional” kidney grilles flanked by new LED optics and more sculpted lines all around. The X4 grows in almost every dimension which enables the wider track width, which of course helps promote #dynamism. Its overall height is reduced by a tenth of an inch, which I guess is how they get away with claiming a lower center of gravity.

Promoting a “harmonious blend of dynamism and comfort” is a new suspension setup with a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and five-link axle at the rear. Speed-sensitive steering will assist with maneuvering around tight corners and standard M-Sport suspension will make it pretty quick for when they do the press launch at a race track.

America will get the X4 with a choice of two gas engines. The standard X4 xDrive30i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 248 hp and 258 lb-ft. The X4 M40i is the one with the 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo straight-six making 355 hp and 365 lb-ft. Both models feature standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

As is typical with BMWs, it’s packed with new convenience and safety tech. New features include standard navigation with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, iDrive Touch Controller, real-time traffic and parking information, and a larger multicolor HUD. There’s also a new panoramic moonroof for “increased rear passenger comfort”. But you know what else would increase rear passenger comfort? Not reducing rear headroom by nearly two full inches because you wanted to make an SUV look more like a coupe.

Pricing starts at $50,450 for the base X4 xDrive30i and $60,450 for X4 M40i.

[Source: BMW]

2019 Ram 1500 Lone Star

Remember the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 that debuted about a month ago? It’s just like that but with some badges that say “Texas”.

[Source: FCA]

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio priced

As Alfa Romeo’s first ever SUV is just starting to gain market share, the version we really care about just got another step closer to its launch. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the performance version with many of the same underpinnings as its Giulia counterpart, has just been given an MSRP of $79,995 (excludes the $1,595 destination charge).

So for $81,590 you basically get a taller Giulia Quadrifoglio. It has the same all-aluminum, direction-injection 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque and the same eight-speed automatic transmission and carbon drive shaft pushing that to the wheels. One major difference though is the mandatory all-wheel-drive system in the Stelvio which helps make a 3.9-second 0-60 mph sprint possible (only a tenth slower than the Giulia Q).

Its power that is actually put to good use as evidenced by its 7:51.7 Nürburgring lap record, the fastest of any production SUV. Helping to tame that power is a torque vectoring differential, Quadrifoglio-tuned dynamic suspension, and powerful six-piston Brembo brakes which can be paired with more thermal resistant carbon-ceramic discs. Another notable option that will certainly shave off a couple seconds from your lap time is the carbon shell Sparco racing seats.

It’s another dumb performance SUV that no one really needs, but somehow it’s the only dumb SUV I care about. It’ll arrive in the US before summer.

[Source: FCA]

2018 Yenko/SC Stage II Camaro

Specialty Vehicle Engineering has pulled the wraps of their ridiculous new Yenko/SC Stage II option for the 2018 Camaro. Just like the original Yenko Camaros from the height of the muscle car era, it’s a high-performance dealership option that won’t look like anything special to the untrained eye. But this new one has more power than we could’ve dreamed of back then.

The main selling point of this package is Specialty Vehicle Engineering’s own 6.8-liter LT1 V8 built specifically to withstand their high-output supercharger which sits on top. Output is rated at an American-approved 1,000 horsepower and 875 lb.-ft. and that makes its presence known through custom stainless steel long tube headers with high-flow cats.

To help it bare any semblance of control, it makes use of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, an electronic LSD, Michelin PS4S performance tires (front 295/30 ZR20, rear 305/30 ZR20), some suspension upgrades (new bushings, springs and stabilizer bars), and Yenko-branded brake calipers for +10 stopping power. It also has a new engine oil cooler, dual outboard radiators, transmission cooler, and rear differential cooler to handle the extra heat.

Visually, it’s distinguished by the Yenko/SC striping package that’s available in seven colors on top of the ten factory paint colors, torque-thrust-style wheels, a rear decklid spoiler, and the painted carbon fiber hood with a non-functional scoop for +8 power. There’s also a bunch of Yenko and ‘1000HP’ badges in case anyone forgot what they were driving.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but we do know it comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile engine and supercharger assembly and non-powertrain component limited warranty. You can supposedly order it from any GM dealer in the US and Canada, but it’s emissions legal in California. Also, just 25 will be built.

[Source: Specialty Vehicle Engineering via Autoblog]

Possible Toyota Supra race car confirmed for Geneva debut

Toyota has released a teaser shot of a new “modern racing concept” along with the tag line “the legend returns”. We can safely assume it’ll be the latest showing of what will eventually become the new Supra. Much of the bodywork we’ll be seeing by now should be pretty close to what will come on the production car.

Given Gazoo Racing’s recent track record, I fully expect them to be involved with this concept and have it lead to a factory-backed racing effort of some sort. And maybe even a road-going GR performance variant. And maybe it’ll come with bright orange paint and that rad robotic arm thing livery from the greatest movie of all time.

March 6th at 3:45PM EST is when we learn more.

[Source: Autoweek]

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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

  • Zentropy

    Those Yenko graphics are a nice nod to heritage, but terribly dated looking. I’d opt out. That, and while I think it’s very cool that a 1000-hp street car is available to the public, this car (as with the Demon) is not for me. I’d rather have something I could wring-out on normal roads. You can’t enjoy that much power outside of a track.

    • Alff

      Graphics or no, the styling puts me off these.

    • outback_ute

      I would venture to say most people couldn’t enjoy 1000 up on the race track! You wouldn’t get 1000 in the lower gears through traction control intervention, and then you would be up to pucker inducing speeds. The brake calipers look smaller than AMG ones, and they will be getting a workout too!

  • GTXcellent

    This winter has been absolutely brutal. If the temp isn’t -30, then the winds are howling and it still feels like -30.
    So here’s a pic of the SS on a warm day with green grass and leaves on the trees. Happy weekend everyone.

    • Zentropy

      Excellent enthusiast sedan. I’ve never been a GM fan, but this is a car I can get behind. Subtle looks, four doors, big V8, RWD, manual transmission. What’s not to like?? I would admittedly peel the badges to make it a Holden, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a package that any BMW E39 lover can embrace. Hope you’re enjoying it.

      • GTXcellent

        MiSSus GTXcellent has the same idea – she’s seriously, seriously contemplated getting Holden badges (I’ve so far dissuaded that idea as reading the SS Forum, it’s not just a simple swap and actually involves a fair bit of work)

        • Zentropy

          Yeah, it is my understanding that it’s a completely different grille, though the rear would be simple enough. I just personally think (have always thought) the Chevy bowtie looks cheap, and I absolutely hate gold trim on cars. The Holden and Vauxhall badges are much cooler.

    • Sjalabais

      Aren’t you struggling with all sorts of fluids – on the car, that is – and batteries in the cold? I remember when I lived with such temperatures in my 1977 Volvo 242. Everything was a struggle.

      • GTXcellent

        Sadly, the SS hasn’t left the garage since November. I did start it about a month ago and let it run for 10 minutes just to make sure it still runs.
        We do have snow tires on it – but more for cold than snow. We don’t want salt on it, and with this winter, we haven’t had any of those nice, above freezing days to get the roads completely snow/ice/slush/salt free.

        • Sjalabais

          Sounds reasonable if you want to keep it. Also, in snowy and icy condition, I guess moar power is not necessarily a good thing? My daughter has winter vacation right now and we drove an hour up the mountain to go skiing today. Upon return, the car was speckled with white salt patterns. Impossible to have ambitions about conservation like that.

    • outback_ute

      Nice shot!

    • onrails

      At least another month to go here, too. I usually take the snow tires off around St. Patricks day then wait for a few good rains to wash the salt off the road before putting insurance back on the fun car and wake it up from hibernation. Keep the faith – summer’s coming!

  • Maymar

    Went to the local auto show last night (work event, really) – nothing too much new and exciting, but this was both kind of neat, and just the sort of needlessly complex I expect from the Germans. They had the Arteon there, and the display model had a retractable tow hitch, from the factory!

    I also got to drive a Stelvio today (base, not the Quatrofioglio), and, uhh, well, I’m still looking forward to driving the Giulia. I mean, it’s nice, but I don’t think it has the fizzy, exciting, “you need to own at least one Alfa as a gearhead” qualities. I think I actually preferred the last Jag F-Pace I drove, even with the diesel four.


    • JayP

      The kid and I were at the Dallas event last night.
      The XF wagon was brilliant and the Panamera avant-brake-wagon looked great too.
      But the one “car” I’d buy – the Slingshot. I want one now.

      • Maymar

        Sadly (and maybe strangely), we don’t get the XF wagon, which is a shame. Although, Mercedes finally sent us the C-class wagon, so we get something. I only barely saw the Panamera shooting brake as we didn’t really have any time to spend in Porsche.

        And there’s a strong part of me that wants to drive a Slingshot in winter – at the very least, it could be a relatively reliable, rust-proof semi-daily driver.

  • crank_case

    If BMW were a human, it;d have a buzzword bingo linkedin profile that used the word “innovative” too many times without actually knowing what that means.

  • I had no automotive plans for this weekend until my older two daughters both called with car problems. First the Protege threw a flashing CEL which means a misfire, in this case in cylinder #4. So, new plugs, wires and a coil are in order.

    Before I could start on it, the oldest said the brakes on the 3 were grinding which pushed it to the top of the list. I discovered that the rears were shot and fronts were not far behind. So, new pads all the way around plus rotors in the rear. It also needs a head light and a fog light.

  • I_Borgward

    On the X4: Putting the BMW baggage aside and focusing on its basic form, I’d say we’re looking at the next phase in the evolution of passenger vehicles. SUV and crossover design cues are still there, but are slowly fading away. Meet the Tall Car.

    I predict that the next step will be designs that specifically appeal to those who wouldn’t be caught dead driving an SUV or crossover, but like their ease of entry and seat height as compared to a traditional sedan. A tall car, styled to be perceived as a car. Technically, many crossover designs are close to that point already, it’s just a matter of styling and proportions to take away the last vestiges of SUV truckiness from them.

    • Sjalabais

      You’re on to something there. I drove behind a Volvo 740 the other day and it really struck me how incredibly low these come across today. 50% of the car mass height are windows. It’s also long and sleek.

      We won’t see stuff like this made again in the near future.

    • outback_ute

      Effectively the proportions have reverted back to those of the first half of last century – before the whole longer, lower, wider thing came into vogue. I could see that styling may smooth out for aerodynamics’ sake (again) rather than the blocky-SUV current trend, but otherwise many current crossovers have only a little more (useful) ground clearance than normal cars so no great change there.

      • kogashiwa

        One of my least-disliked crossovers, the Mazda CX-3, actually has exactly the same ground clearance as a Mazda 3. I haven’t looked into it much but I suspect this isn’t uncommon.

        And yes I saw a comparison somewhere between a pre-war Lincoln touring sedan and a current Expedition and the proportions were pretty similar.

        • outback_ute

          Ha, the CX-3 is one of my more disliked crossovers because it is not much larger than a Mazda 2 but for the price of a 3 (or more). On the other hand the CX-5 has 200mm ground clearance, or at least the original did.

          There are many examples like that, such as the Ford Territory is remarkably similar to the 1946 Ford, and an Audi Q2 is very similar in size to a 1948-55 Hillman Minx.

          • kogashiwa

            Yeah the CX-3 is quite a silly car but at least it looks good. Supposedly pretty good to drive too.

            But the AWD version of the 3, which Mazda for some bizarre reason doesn’t sell here in Canada (the take rate would be well over 75% I’d guess), would make it completely irrelevant.

            • outback_ute

              Another thing is it is one of the worse examples of the stupidly high rear window line. I expect a lot of these will be carting small kids around – and they won’t be able to see out. Mind you the Toyota CHR takes that to another level; they could nearly delete the rear door windows altogether…

              AWD 3 you say; just add the 2.5 turbo and a Mazdaspeed badge – build it and they will come?

              • kogashiwa

                Right here – no idea if it’s sold outside Japan at all.


                I wouldn’t even demand a turbo, just tune the 2.5 up a little to 220hp or so and I’m in.

                • outback_ute

                  I suppose the phrase JDM would lose meaning if they didn’t keep some of the goodies to themselves!

  • Sjalabais

    Random net surfing let me to the amphibious RV. Strange, but, sort of, cool:

    • Alff

      I saw this featured on a tv program. It doesn’t look real stable when it’s underway. Fair sailing only.

      • Sjalabais

        I wouldn’t expect it to work for a cross-Atlantic trip. Honestly, I struggled to see some good use for it at all, especially at 650000$. Easier to just tow a boat with an RV, or some sort of Amphicar clone. But I’m happy somebody found the concept reasonable enough to build some of these.

        • Alff

          Ditto. I wouldn’t want it but it’s cool that it exists.

  • Victor

    Victor-Albert Bouffort ‘s streamlined three-wheeler based on a Citroen Traction-Avant. France 1950s https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/870ec8c387254b6685c1b6ab4503c56325c50eae018225b5241d1f44eb17c7aa.jpg

  • Batshitbox

    What’s this cute little buggy? All the pages that use it follow the Wikimedia lead of referring to it as a British patrol vehicle, but I think it’s something the MPs commandeered.


    Larger images on wikimedia

    • Sjalabais

      That is one hell of a strange picture. “FDJ” stands for “Freie Deutsche Jugend”, free German Youth, the communist equivalent to Hitlerjugend. The straight body language of the Brits and the conspicuously relaxed East Germans may correlate well with their respective rides. No clue about the Jeep-like vehicle though.

      • Batshitbox

        They say it was taken in 1961, on a road in Berlin that has the East-West border running down its centerline.
        Maybe my mistake was only searching for WW2 era cars & Jeeps. What would be in Berlin in the late 50s though? And even in the full blow-up of the photo, I can’t make out the logo on the hood.