The News for April 20th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the automotive industry’s biggest stories without the fluff or the BS. I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week: 

  • More details on the Mercedes-Benz G63 and G65 AMG

  • Dodge Dart gets reasonably priced

  • Audi buys Ducati as AMG ends their relationship with them

  • Lamborghini Urus SUV photos get leaked

  • Porsche ends sales in Iran  

Mercedes-Benz G63 and G65 AMG 

Last week Mercedes-Benz revealed their slightly redesigned G-Class models and they mentioned something about two insanely powerful AMG versions. Now we get some more official info about the G63 and G65 AMG plus some photos to look at!

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By now our regular readers should be aware of what’s new on the new-ish G-Class, but for those who aren’t, all you need to know is that the interior has been completely redone (and it looks nice), the overall shape is still the same minus a few new styling touches, new engine and transmission options, and lots of new tech features. The AMG models, however, feature all the new goodies plus some AMG-exclusive bits of their own, including a 544 horsepower (that’s 4 more than last week!) 5.5-liter biturbo V8 in the G63 AMG. With the help of 560 lb.-ft. of torque and a new 7-speed automatic transmission, 0-62 mph comes in at just 5.3 seconds, yet sadly the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph (booo). Interestingly enough, the G63 is just the tip of the iceberg, as the G65 AMG is fitted with a 6.0-liter biturbo V12 with 612 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque – however Mercedes won’t say if that will be available here. 

We do know that the G550 and the G63 AMG will be in American dealerships this coming August. U.S. pricing isn’t final, but in good ole Europe, the 388 horsepower G550 will go on sale for roughly $131,272 and the G63 costs $180,598 at current exchange rates and before a 19% value added tax. While those numbers aren’t official (thanks, Google), you can at least get an understanding of how expensive this thing will be. 

Source: Mercedes-Benz

Dodge Dart pricing

Dodge will be making their triumphant return to the compact car segment this June when the all-new Dart arrives at dealerships across America. This rather attractive package will start at just $15, 995 for the entry-level SE model. All in all, buyers will get to choose between five trim levels that start with the SE and go all the way to the loaded R/T at $22,495 (you’ll need to wait another couple months for that one).

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Recap time! The standard Darts will be powered by a 2.0-liter “Tigershark” inline-four which kicks out 160 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque, which they say is best in class. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard but a 6-speed automatic is also available. Standard features include 10 air bags, MP3 connectivity, and a 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Just some of the premium features available as you go up the trim levels include split-fold rear seats, 8.4-inch touchscreen navigation by Garmin, a rear backup camera, Nappa leather seats, and eventually 18-inch alloy wheels. Once you get up to the Dart Rallye ($18,995), you get a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo inline-four engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque to play with instead. The top-of-the-line Dart R/T ($22,495), however, gets even more happiness under the bonnet with a new 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir inline-four that produces 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque.

Source: Dodge

Audi buys Ducati, AMG parts ways

In “this is kind of awkward” news, Audi has just confirmed their plans to purchase Ducati, the 86-year-old Italian motorbike company that everyone knows about. Reports indicate that the purchase price was in the ballpark of $1.1 billion (just a little more than that 2-year-old iPhone app that Facebook just bought for $1 billion) but Audi won’t officially comment on the price just yet. 

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The reason this is a bit awkward is because Mercedes-Benz’s performance division, AMG, had announced a special partnership with Ducati just last December where Ducati promised to use MB products as much as possible around their plant and at other promotional events.  Meanwhile, AMG showed up to the Bologna Motor Show with a special edition SLK 55 AMG painted in a once Ducati-exclusive color (pictured above), and last September they revealed the Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition bike at Frankfurt. So yeah, AMG and Ducati were BFFs for a while before Audi decided to buy them, but to be fair, Audi has expressed an interest in acquiring Ducati for quite some time . 

So while Audi is excited to take advantage of Ducati’s lightweight construction and engine technology expertise, AMG has officially ended their “marketing cooperation” with Ducati, since, you know, Audi and Mercedes are huge competitors. Either way, it will be interesting to see where this relationship will go. My guess is an AWD motorbike or a super light-weight Audi concept in the near future.

Source: Audi AG and AMG

Lamborghini Urus SUV breaks cover

So this is really happening. Lamborghini expressed their interest to the public in building another SUV a while ago, but now we finally get a glimpse of what they’ve come up with, and yes, it has silly name.

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The Urus, as it’s called, is NOT Lamborghini’s first SUV, but it is definitely more luxurious than the old LM002 and will certainly be faster. Since Lamborghini probably didn’t want us seeing these photos this early, we can only speculate that the 5.2-liter V10 from the Gallardo with an estimated 584 horsepower will take its place under the hood. It is also expected to share its underpinnings with the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, and that Bentley SUV concept we showed you a while back. So while we wait for its official introduction at the Beijing Motor Show, take a gander at the photos and tell us what you think. I quite like it.   

Source: AutoForum.cz via World Car Fans 

Porsche no longer doing business in Iran 

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Both Porsche officials and spokespeople from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) advocacy group have announced that Porsche has ended its business practices in Iran and will not make any plans for a return in the near future. Probable reasons for their withdrawal include intense pressure from advocacy groups like UANI and financial woes from poor sales in the region.

According to UANI, Porsche joins Hyundai and the Turkish brand Karsan in pulling out of the country, which is at the center of much controversy that I won’t be getting into here. Of course, UANI is thrilled with this decision, and they plan on pressuring the other eleven manufacturers still doing business with Iran – none of which offer anything close to Porsche’s level and price – to do the same. 

The 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS is pictured above – read more about it here if you missed it.

Source: UANI 

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