The News for April 18th, 2014

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT (1)

Welcome to the Hooniverse News – North American International Auto Show Edition (I know it says New York in the lead image)! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry which comes primarily from New York this week. No fluff, no bull, and only the cars that make the cut, which is my attention span when writing about it. This week:   

  • Aston Martin shows America love with two awesome new special editions

  • Dodge reveals updated Charger and Challenger, uses a compact as inspiration

  • Chevrolet goes wild with the C7 Z06 Convertible

  • Ford celebrates 50 years of the Mustang with a cool limited edition model

  • And more!

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT and DB9 Carbon Edition

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 race car & V8 Vantage GT

Aston Martin brought some love for America at the New York auto show in the form of two new variants of familiar models. Too many of the cars I cover here end with the words “for Europe only”, but not these two. The V8 Vantage GT and DB9 Carbon Edition are two special edition cars designed exclusively for the American market and sales will commence in Q3 of this year.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT: I’ll start first with the one that shocked us the most and the one that we’d prefer to own the most, the V8 Vantage GT. Coming to a Jeff Glucker video review near you, the V8 Vantage GT is a British grand tourer with the enthusiast in mind and the brand’s motorsport heritage at heart. The standard 4.7-liter V8 has been reworked to produce 430 horsepower and 361 lb.-ft. of torque which all gets sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual as standard or a close-ratio seven-speed automatic with paddles. 0-60 mph takes a respectable 4.6 seconds and the top track speed is rated at 190 mph. A more aggressive spark strategy and an intelligent intake system are credited for the power bump, but put a higher octane rating in and Aston says the engine is optimized for “extracting” as much out of that as possible so it will be even happier. Accompanying the extra power is extra sound as well, courtesy of a new stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT Interior (2)

With more power comes more control as well with slightly revised aerodynamics honed from their racing programs as well as a competition-derived braking system. To help the baby Aston look the part, they offer darker exterior accents, clear tail lamps, and a variety of optional motorsport-themed graphics packs, which I’ve included below for your viewing pleasure.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT line-up

New bits inside include machined carbon sill plaques, black magnesium paddle shifts or carbon gear shift surround, satin chrome rotaries, a leather or Alcantara steering wheel, contrast stitching, and seat and door inserts made from Alcantara with unique trim patterns. The sport seats themselves are the same ones found in the V12 Vantage S.

The shocking thing about all of this, despite the many wonderful new features for the driving enthusiast, is that it’s the only Aston Martin priced under $100,000, even if it is just $1,000 below one hundred grand.

Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition_01

Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition: The DB9 family continues to grow with the addition of the American-spec Carbon Edition. Available primarily in Carbon Black or Carbon White, the Carbon Edition takes timeless Aston Martin styling and makes it a little meaner. Carbon fiber accents are everywhere, from the side mirrors to the splitters, and the available satin black finish on the ten-spoke diamond cut wheels give is an elegant but sinister look. The interior continues the black theme with dark materials and carbon fiber trim.

Power comes from Aston Martin’s AM11 V12 which produces 510 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. If this carbon seducer suits your style, you can pick one up for under $200,000*.

Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition_03

*Under by $5. 

 [Source: Aston Martin]

2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger

charger1

Dodge was in New York with two big introductions of their own: the 2015 Charger and Challenger. Both cars receive styling updates, new interiors, and additional power options and will be available towards the end of the year.

2015 Dodge Charger: Almost every manufacturer has a single car that sets the general styling for the rest of the lineup. Ford, for example, tends to use the Fusion to reveal whatever new styling elements will make it to the rest of the fleet. Dodge, however, has the Dart to take that role as it’s directly influenced the styling of the Charger, it’s bigger brother. Whether or not you think using the styling of a compact as the inspiration for their flagship sedan with proper SRT power options was a good idea is another story (but I’d agree with those who say it might not be).

charger2

What isn’t a bad idea though is the new V6 option for the Charger, which is a 3.6-liter mill with 300 horsepower and 31 highway mpg with the standard eight-speed automatic. A 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 370 horsepower is still available, but the new V6 still sounds like a winner for the entry-level Charger. The interior also gets significantly updated with a new instrument cluster, updated infotainment system, three-spoke steering wheel, and sightly refined materials. New safety features also make their way into the 2015 Charger, including lane departure warning, rear parking assistance, full speed forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.

challenger2

2015 Dodge Challenger: The Challenger also gets styling updates, though not as substantial as the Charger’s. The biggest styling update is actually the one inside, as the interior is all-new and is easily the nicest one fitted to the modern Challenger yet. The updates done to the outside are more subtle and inspired by the 1971 Challenger with its split grille and split tail lamps.

Other new updates include those made to the powertain, including a new 6.4-liter V8 making 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque in the also new Scat Pack variant. The same 5.7-liter V8 and 3.6-liter V6 are also available in the Challenger, but only the V8 Challengers (both 6.4 and 5.7) come available with Shaker hood. Every Challenger has the option to add a Super Track Pac which lowers the suspension, adds Bilstein shocks, and high performance brakes. A total of eight trim levels and multiple option packs are available with the 2015 Challenger, so it won’t be hard to spec out the Challenger of your dreams.

challenger1

No word yet on pricing for either of these new Dodges.

[Source: Dodge via Autoweek 1, 2]

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible

Z06vert

This one was first unveiled to the interwebs merely hours after last week’s news went online (thanks, GM), but was revealed in full this week in New York. Not much needs to be said about this one, fortunately for me.

The C7 Zo6 Convertible is the first rag top performance Corvette ever since the technology and engineering to make the body of a convertible strong enough didn’t exist until just recently, and boy is that engineering being put through a trial by fire. The new Z06 has 625 horsepower and 635 lb.-ft. of torque from a supercharged LT4 6.2-liter V8 which is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic (which is going to the standard C7 as well). 0-60 takes just 3.5 seconds and thanks to its motorsport-derived suspension, powerful brakes, and balance, it laps most circuits faster than the C6 ZR1 can. Even though this one has a folding cloth top which doesn’t need to be done by hand, it’s still nearly as light as the hard top model and just as rigid thanks to aforementioned engineering. The Z07 Performance Package is an available option, which takes this track machine to a new level of fast.

Z06vert2

And that’s all that really needs to be said about it. Any questions?

[Source: Chevrolet]

2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition

mustang501

As I’m sure all of you are aware, the Ford Mustang turns 50 this week and Ford was at the New York auto show this weekend to reveal the obligatory special edition for it. The 2015 (should have called it 2014 1/2) Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition pays homage to the very pony car which started it all 50 years ago this week. Only 1,964 examples will ever be made (they should add a half a car to make it authentic).

The 50 Year Limited Edition is based on a 2015 Mustang fastback with the performance pack and adds nearly every option in the book as standard, leaving only the transmission and two color choices to pick from. A six-speed manual or automatic and Wimbledon White (like the first one sold) or Kona Blue paint are the only options you have with this car. Chrome trim makes a tasteful comeback in the Mustang with discrete chrome accents in the grille, side glass, and tri-bar tail lamps. On the rear tailgate Ford also adds the fake fuel filler cap, which isn’t available on the normal 2015 Mustang, with “50 Years” proudly displayed below the GT designation. Another visual element exclusive to this edition is the louvered rear quarter windows which aren’t just a cover but are actually built in to the glass. Nineteen inch alloy wheels with a unique Y-shaped spoke hearken back to the chrome steel wheels found on the original Mustang. 

mustang502

The interior gets unique treatment as well with a uniquely-treated aluminum trim panel over the dash board and includes a serialized 50 Year badge embedded in it. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped with cashmere stitching (stitching is also available on many other areas), the seats are made from exclusive two-tone cashmere and black leather, and the Mustang 50 Year logo is on the seat backs and pretty much everywhere else.

Everything else is all Mustang, including the 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard performance pack adds six-piston Brembo brakes, Pirelli summer tires, and a limited slip differential.

For complete authenticity, the 50 Year Limited Edition Mustang will also be priced the same as the original was in 1964! Maybe. They haven’t specified that yet so I’m just going to assume this is the case so it makes me happier.

[Source: Ford]

BLIPS

2015sonata

Hyundai revealed the 2015 Sonata while they were in New York, and it’s entirely new in a more refined and mature way. Well when I say entirely new, I’m not including the engine, for better or worse. Everything else though is. Promise. The design language is similar to what was debuted on the Genesis a few months ago which they describe as being more dignified and confident. The interior also gets many new updates and a redesign. So far it looks like Hyundai will be selling a lot of these, which should make our roadways and parking lots a bit prettier. You can read more about this at Autoblog.

visiondiscoveryconcept

Last week Land Rover gave us a quick glance at a super exciting new concept which previews the future of the Discovery. Now revealed in full, the Discovery Vision Concept represents a fairly accurate depiction of what the production version Discovery will look like, the first of which is headed our way in 2015. Some of the more interesting design elements of this concept are supposedly heading to production, like the lack of door handles which get replaced by hand sensors, while others that aren’t even on the concept will make it to the end as well, like Land Rover’s incredible “Transparent Hood” technology. More information on this is brought to you by our friends at Autoweek

In news that isn’t from the New York auto show, Pep Boys has announced a new initiative to help people to stop being lazy and take care of their cars this Spring. As part of the “Green Means GO” sales event, which saves you money on car wash supplies and basic services, all Pep Boys locations throughout the United States (and Puerto Rico, if any hoons live there) will be offering a free Wash and Wax Clinic for anyone to attend. The clinic is offered tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, at 10:00AM and 2:00PM local time at whichever location is nearest you. The topics range from how to not screw up a car wash to proper clay bar use and headlight restoration, and again, are free at all Pep Boys locations Saturday only. One of you might just see me at one near me, though I won’t be doing anything to my car until the pollen goes away forever. I hate that crap. [Source: Pep Boys]

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