Welcome to the Hooniverse News – 2017 New York International Auto Show Recap! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull, but nearly all of those big stories originate from one of the world’s biggest auto shows. I would argue that things weren’t quite as exciting this time around as it usually tends to be, but there’s still plenty to talk about. This week:
Lincoln finally reveals all-new, ridiculously nice Navigator
Audi Sport reveals GT4-spec R8 and special edition road car
Jaguar updates F-Type and adds new turbo-four model
Acura ditches the beak and enhances the TLX’s sporting creds
Hyundai refreshes Sonata with new design and refinements
Lexus adds a touch of F Sport to new LS 500
Subaru commits to 7-passenger SUV with new Ascent concept
Tesla set to reveal semi truck in September
Porsche is finally coming to Gran Turismo and launches in Forza Horizon 3
Other coverage from the week
What’s your automotive news?
2018 Lincoln Navigator
It’s been a very long time coming, but Lincoln has finally revealed an all-new Navigator for the first time since 2007. It’s a prettier, more elegant, more powerful, and more intelligent luxury SUV that promises to elevate family travel to first class.
The new shell has been crafted to look very similar to the concept they revealed at last year’s show and it’s comprised of high-strength aluminum alloy for a 200-pound weight reduction. Compared to prior designs, it’s a much sleeker look with smooth edges and all the right styling cues taken from the Continental. No more awkward “wing grilles” here.
The interior layout is intended to be clean and uncluttered with a soothing ambiance. A lot of attention went into upgrading all of the touch points and adding loads of new tech and convenience features. Lincoln’s Black Label range of options offers three collections of interior design themes and materials and the list of standard features is pretty extensive.
The driver and front passenger can enjoy 30-way adjustable seats with massage, heat, and cooling features. Passengers can utilize up to six USB ports, four 12-volt power outlets, a 110-volt plug, and an available wireless charging pad to help them enjoy the standard in-car WiFi. Sync3 is also standard and can support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with steering wheel controls.
An available rear-seat entertainment system can stream from an Android device and allows SlingTV users to access their channels on the go. Their premium audio offering is a Revel Ultima setup with twenty speakers.
Driver-assistance tech includes a twelve-inch digital instrument cluster than can be configured to show all desired information, an available head-up display, Trailer Backup Assist to go along with what they expect to be class-leading towing capacity, 360-degree camera views with park assist, and adaptive cruise control for traffic. It also has speed-dependent adaptive headlights which can create a wider spread of light at lower speeds (designed for neighborhoods) or a more narrow one at higher speeds to reduce glare off signs at night.
Its source of propulsion is a twin-turbo (EcoBoost) V6 with 450 horsepower going through a ten-speed automatic gearbox. They don’t go into much detail in the press release, but they promise a quieter and more refined ride out of an SUV capable enough to effortlessly cope with changing conditions.
There’s no word on pricing yet or exactly when this launches. If there was any doubt about whether Lincoln was officially back, this pretty much confirms that they are.
Audi R8 LMS GT4 and Audi Sport Edition R8
Audi rolled into New York with two editions of the R8, one of which is going racing. The R8 LMS GT4 and accompanying Audi Sport Edition R8 demonstrated Audi’s growing commitment to customer racing programs (but still not factory LMP1 teams) run by Audi Sport.
Because race cars are better and should therefore be discussed first, the R8 LMS GT4 is the second customer racing variant of the V10-powered R8 followed by the GT3-spec car that’s been offered since 2009. This race car has directly been derived from the street car and shares more than 60% of its assembly components with it. It also features the same, albeit detuned, naturally-aspirated V10 with up to 495 horsepower depending on how hard they’re hit with the BOP hammer.
That V10 is paired with a seven-speed double-clutch S Tronic transmission with paddle shifters and it only sends power to the rear wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential. It rides on double-wishbone front and rear suspension with two-way gas pressure dampers and has fully-adjustable ride height, toe, camber, and stabilizers.
It weighs in at around 3,200 pounds depending on series-specific equipment and other stuff, which is roughly 400 pounds lighter than the road car. All the added safety equipment doesn’t do it any favors in terms of weight.
For prospective racing customers, there are thirteen series around the world that will accept the R8 LMS GT4. They also say it’s the ideal race car for amateur campaigners and offers a [relatively] low running cost. All Audi customer racing teams will be backed up by Audi’s extensive network of service, spare parts (assisted by all the similarities with the road car), and professional support.
It’ll make its racing debut at the Nürburgring 24 Hours from May 25 to 28.
And to accompany the new GT4 car on stage and help celebrate Audi Sport’s continued expansion into the exciting world of motorsports, they brought an R8 Coupe with available silver, red, and black paint and red carbon side sills. It costs the equivalent of $218,000 and only 200 are being built.
… Because the race car is more exciting, here’s another picture of the GT4.
There, that’s better.
2018 Jaguar F-Type
In an attempt to keep the F-Type fresh in the face of its newer competition, they have a series of updates planned for the 2018 model year. Most changes aren’t really worth talking about but a few big ones are. These changes range from the usual face lifts and added tech but also includes a brand new engine option.
Serving as the new entry-level F-Type (pictured) that’s hopefully more accessible to potential buyers is a new four-cylinder model. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Ingenium engine with 296 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, this new model brings the starting price for the F-Type down by a whole $1,500 to just $59,990. All those thousands of discouraged F-Type shoppers who just couldn’t commit to that extra $1,500 will be thrilled to know Jaguar has shown pity towards them.
The new four-banger can still propel the F-Type to 60 mph in a respectable 5.4 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph. A twin-scroll turbocharger means the boost builds up down low and remains all the way through the rev range. The smaller engine also means less weight of course and this new base F-Type 115 pounds lighter than the comparable V6 model. As a result, the four-cylinder model also gets bespoke suspension tuning to help make the most of its lighter weight.
What’s perhaps more interesting than that though is the limited-run, single model year special edition they’re also offering. Available worldwide but only for the 2018 model year is the F-Type 400 Sport based off the V6-powered S model. It takes the same supercharged V6 but bumps the power from 380 hp to 400 hp. That power is complemented by bigger, more powerful brakes and bespoke 20″ wheels which add some power as well. It also has a more pronounced front splitter, unique yellow stitching, yellow and grey badging, and only three color options. Sadly that wasn’t pictured in any of the press materials.
There are some other changes that are shared amongst all of the 24 F-Type variants and those include full LED lighting, lightly revised air intakes on the bumper, now standard Jaguar InControl Touch Pro infotainment, and new slimeline seats that save seventeen pounds while also improving comfort. Enthusiasts can also benefit from the new “ReRun” app developed in collaboration with GoPro. When a driver sets up a GoPro camera, this app will overlay various bits of telemetry and performance data and can be shared to social media.
2018 Acura TLX
Acura is injecting a more sporty and aggressive attitude into the TLX while also changing up its design considerably. With these changes, they hope to broaden the brand’s appeal to younger buyers and convince people to take the performance of their mainstream products seriously.
Starting with the most noticeable changes first, the polarizing beak grille is gone in favor of their now signature diamond grille. Many other styling cues were taken from their popular Acura Precision Concept including that grille, its more aggressive stance and proportions, the wheels (in their words, though that’s kind of a stretch), and the more sculpted body aimed at increasing its presence. There’s really too much to list here as it all varies by trim level, but trust me, the changes are extensive.
One of the ways they’re enhancing capabilities is by offering a new TLX V6 A-Spec model with a sportier appearance package, a sport-tuned suspension, wider 245-series tires, and a more precise electronic steering tune. The A-Spec model is available in two-wheel drive and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) configurations, the latter of which also receives a stiffer spring rate and rear stabilizer bar. The 290-horsepower V6 appears to be unchanged.
As is to be expected, it gets new tech as well. It’s the first Acura to feature a refreshed dual-screen user On Demand Multi-Use Display interface that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Sirius XM 2.0. New software backing it all up speeds up response time as well. The AcuraWatch suite of safety features is expanded as well; basically, this car will do everything it can to prevent a crash.
Pricing isn’t available yet but you’ll soon be able to order yours from dealers this June.
2018 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai has rolled out with a fair amount of updates for the 2018 Sonata that are aimed at creating an “exciting and expressive” car to customers. The new Sonata is highlighted by a new exterior design but gets its fair share of improvements inside as well. It’s not exactly an all-new car, but it’s new enough to stay fresh in the competitive mid-size sedan market.
Its refreshed design consists of an all-new headlight design featuring LED running lights and available LED headlamps, chrome surrounds for the daylight opening, a sharper tail light design, and a new “cascading” grille. It now rolls on new wheel designs as well.
What will likely be most appreciated by new buyers is the Sonata’s more refined chassis which translates to improved ride and handling. The rear suspension is updated with thicker trailing arms so it can cope with larger loads (there’s a joke to be made there). New bushings allow for more ride compliance and quicken response time. The electronic power steering gets updates as well that are aimed at improving steering response and feel.
Sonatas with the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will also receive a new eight-speed automatic which adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds. As a result, the revs are lower on the freeway and can get up and go more quickly. 2.0T models also ride on new 18″ wheels that are now wrapped in Michelin
Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
Other tech and convenience updates bring a new standard seven-inch touch screen which controls mutlimedia and available nav, an available wireless charging pad, second-row powered USB port, and an available birds eye and traffic incident feature in the navigation system (which doesn’t require any paid subscriptions either). It also comes with blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert as standard and is the only car in its class to do so.
No word on pricing or a specific launch window yet.
Here’s another shot of the Demon doing a burnout for no reason
Lexus revealed a new F Sport variant of their recently redesigned LS 500 flagship sedan. It has all the usual F Sport-like appearance upgrades both inside and out to further accentuate its new “coupe-like” styling, but it also has various chassis upgrades to back it up. It has a specially tuned Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system to keep things under control and allow for flat and agile cornering. The brakes were also upgraded in size and have six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. They also offer an F Sport Handling Package which adds variable gear ratio steering, active rear steering, active stabilizers, sport-tuned air suspension, and a rapid ride height adjustment function. The 415-hp and 442 lb.-ft. 3.5-liter V6 that’s standard in the LS 500 is pretty much untouched in the F-Sport. The F-Sport package is available on both the LS 500 and LS 500h and in rear-wheel drive form only. No word on price.
Whether you like it or not, Subaru is committed to building a seven-passenger SUV by next year. They revealed their second SUV concept this week and have confirmed the name “Ascent” and are promising it’ll go on sale sometime in 2018. Some all-new turbocharged direct-injection boxer engine will be its source of power and it’ll surely have standard AWD as they’re known for. It’ll be a US-exclusive and will be built at Subaru of Indiana, Inc. in Lafayette, Indiana. So far that’s all we know.
[Source: Subaru | Image © 2017 Hooniverse/Ross Ballot]
According to Elon Musk, Tesla will unveil their new electric semi truck in September. It’s obviously too early for details, but he promises that it’s “seriously next level”. Time to start taking bets on what it’ll be called and how it fits in with the “S3X” theme they already have going. Maybe “S3XYTIME”, once they’ve sued Ford for naming rights?
It was a good week for Porsche fans and gamers alike. Porsche was FINALLY confirmed for the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport and Forza Horizon 3 just launched a new Porsche DLC pack. The FH3 pack is available for download now includes the 550A Spyder, 718 RS 60 Spyder, the 911 Carrera RS 2.7, the 911 (993) GT2, the Cayman GT4, the 911 GT3 RS, and the new Panamera Turbo. So far only the current 911 GT3 RS was shown in GTS but you can guarantee more are on the way. This news is incredible special for lifelong Gran Turismo fans who have been left out for over a decade. Gran Turismo Sport will launch whenever Kaz and his team are done thinking about it.
[Source: GTPlanet, Porsche]
Other coverage from the week
Just in case there wasn’t enough power in this article for you, there are two other stories from the week involving high-horsepower Mopars. Jeep set the tone for the week with their 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Dodge followed up with the stupid fast Challenger SRT Demon. Then the week prior we had the long-awaited Honda Civic Si and the beautiful Buick Regal TourX which also had their IRL debuts at New York. You can follow those links and reach up on each one in detail. Also be sure to check out our traditional Hooniversal Opinion post where your favorite Hooniverse contributors gather around and judge the most important/coolest cars of the show.
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]