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 introduces M4 CS, a faster M4 that doesn’t sacrifice practicality
Lotus Exige Cup 380 is a true race car for the street… for real
GM Venezuela manufacturing plant is illegally seized by authorities
Hyundai launches Ioniq Unlimited+ subscription service for new EV
Mercedes-Benz previews future design language again with new concept
Genesis prices out the updated G80 models
What’s your automotive news?
BMW M4 CS
The BMW M4 continues to get faster with the introduction of a new high(er) performance special edition M4 that’s destined for global markets, including North America. Slotting in between the M4 Competition Package and the hardcore and hilariously unpractical M4 GTS is the new M4 CS.
Stopping short of the famous “CSL” moniker, the M4 CS is a more focused machine with enhanced capabilities without sacrificing comfort and practicality to get there (which definitely can’t be said about the M4 GTS). It seems to be closer to the M4 Competition Package (ZCP) than the GTS, though I’m sure they’d try to tell you otherwise. It still has a full interior with luxurious materials and back seats and not much in the way of extra weight savings, but it does get a few bespoke performance upgrades that should still make it worth the extra cash.
In CS spec, the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight six produces 454 horsepower (29 hp more than standard, 10 hp more than the ZCP spec) and 442 lb.-ft. of torque (a lot more) thanks to its two mono-scroll turbochargers, charge air cooler, high precision injection, ValveTronic variable valve timing, and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing.
BMW’s M DCT is the only available gearbox, but its seven ratios and super quick gear changes really are a perfect match for the engine. It also has a separate oil cooler so it can actually take abuse on the track, which I can attest to. In the right conditions, it can hit 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds (same as ZCP – I bet it’s faster in independent tests) and its top speed limiter can be set to 174 mph if you pay extra.
The suspension largely mirrors that of the M4 ZCP, which is a huge upgrade from the standard car, but is still lightly updated specifically for the M4 CS. Forged aluminum wheel carriers and suspension links at both ends help keep unsprung mass even lower than it already is which translates to more #dynamism.
BMW’s Adaptive M suspension, Active M Differential, electromechanical steering, and Dynamic Traction Control is fitted standard as well and gets a few tweaks of their own.
Like the ZCP and GTS bridge it is, the styling updates are relatively minor. Up front it has a lightly updated apron with large, three-section air intakes and a model-specific carbon fiber splitter. It borrows the rear carbon diffuser and Organic LED tail lights from the GTS and adopts a new carbon Gurney spoiler lip. Also taking a page from the GTS is its carbon fiber-reinforced plastic hood in addition to the standard-issue carbon roof. Bespoke light-alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires as standard.
The interior is a mix of comfortable ZCP materials and seats and the GTS’s door straps and steering wheel. None of the usual convenience and tech features have been stripped.
With this attractive mix of the best the ZCP and GTS cars have to offer, the CS sounds like the perfect M4 for enthusiasts. Not many people may have asked for it, but it’s here and it seems like it’ll be the best M4 you can buy.
It’ll be available at US dealerships sometime next year. Pricing wasn’t announced, but I would expect this to be around $90,000+.
Lotus Exige Cup 380
It’s for Europe only.
If you’re still here, let’s explore the ballistic little Exige Cup 380, a super lightweight competition-ready sports car that still retains its road legal status. Only 60 of these cars will ever be produced and us yanks will never see one, but it’s just too awesome to not cover here.
In Lotus’ words, it provides the “perfect balance between fully type approved road car and genuine race car to deliver the ultimate track-and-back street-legal Lotus.” Many companies will call their cars “race cars for the street”, but this one puts all of them to shame with an FIA-compliant roll cage, full race harnesses, electrical cut-off, fire extinguisher controls, and air bag delete as options.
And as for the reasoning behind adding those safety measures as options, it’s because this car is simply wicked fast. A supercharged V6 borrowed from the Exige Race 360 sits in the middle and pumps out 375 horsepower and 302 lb.-ft. of torque.
Added lightness brings the curb weight down to 2,330 pounds, allowing for a power-to-weight ratio of 355 horsepower per ton. A six-speed manual gearbox with a beautiful open gate shifter sends all that power to the rear wheels. 0-60 mph takes only 3.4 seconds and it won’t stop going until 175 mph.
With that extra power comes more aggressive aerodynamic elements that can deliver up to 441 pounds of downforce at speed. Lots of those new pieces were added or adjusted based on what the wind tunnel was telling them; for example, the windscreen wiper now rests vertically so as to not disrupt the air flow. The front splitter, front access panel, bargeboards, roof, diffuser surround, side air intakes, one-piece tailgate, and straight-cut motorsports-derived rear wing are all hand made from high-gloss carbon fiber.
Race cars feature adjustable suspension, so the Exige Cup 380 does too. Nitron two-way adjustable dampers and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars are fitted as standard. Stopping power is provided by AP Racing forged, four-piston brake calipers and grooved performance two-piece brake discs. Ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
It looks like a race car and it drives like a race car because it is a race car. Even though only 60 are being built and will surely be a collector’s item, they’re meant to be driven to tracks, compete, and then drive home. Besides something like the Viper ACR, I can’t recall another road-legal race car done as properly as this.
Pricing starts at £83,000 including VAT (UK) and €109,900 (Germany).
GM Venezuela plant seized by authorities
Yesterday, GM announced an immediate cessation of all operations in Venezuela following what they describe as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets”. Venezuelan authorities simply took the facility in Valencia, Venezuela and all of GM’s assets unannounced. For GM Venezuela and their 2,678 plant workers, normal operations are no longer possible, so GM is pulling out.
The reasoning behind this decisions is not known, but GM vows to “vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.” The political and economic climate in Venezuela has been rough, to say the least, with rising unemployment and millions of protesters rallying against the current president.
Automotive News adds that their recession has basically collapsed the auto industry there with a 92% plunge in sales last month. Making that situation even worse is a shortage of dollars which has driven up car prices beyond what average Venezuelans can afford.
For the 2,678 plant workers, GM will work to ensure payment of the employees’ separation benefits as authorities allow. Others directly affected by this include some 3,900 workers across 79 dealers and their suppliers.
GM Venezuela is confident that justice will be served and they look forward to returning as Venezuela’s automotive leader. The U.S. State Department is aware and reviewing the situation. In the meantime, dealers will continue to provide service and parts to existing customers as they can.
[Sources: GM, Automotive News]
Hyundai is launching the “Ioniq Unlimited+” subscription service in California to provide a carefree, all-inclusive way to drive the 2017 Ioniq Electric. It’s an interesting take on redefining the lease and it’s designed to be stress-free and transparent. The monthly payment includes a 0$ initiation fee after a state rebate; initial tax, title, license and fees (except California sales tax); unlimited mileage; electric charging reimbursement; scheduled maintenance (up to 50,000 miles); and vehicle wear items. So for the 36 months you’re subscribed, it’s about as carefree as a lease can possibly be. Prices start at $275/month and go up to $365/month depending on vehicle packages (tax not included). This program will launch first in the greater Los Angeles area and will move up north later this year.
Mercedes-Benz is possibly teasing their next design era with the Concept A. It was one of several concepts debuted at the Shanghai motor show this week, but since it’s the least dumb it’s the only one I’m covering here. The theme with this car is “Sensual Purity” as described by their design chief, Gorden Wagener, adding that “the time of creases is over”. Love it or hate it, design elements shown here and on other recent concepts are very likely to make their way to production cars in the near future. In fact, this Concept A has the same proportions and dimensions as a CLA, which is a shame because it could mean that they’ll keep building the CLA.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]
Only in its second model year, the Genesis G80 receives a few updates and thus gets a new starting price of $41,750. That price gets you a Genesis G80 3.8 with a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. The newest engine in the range belongs to the $55,250 G80 3.3T Sport model with its 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 365 horsepower. The range-topping model is still the $57,000 G80 5.0 Ultimate with its 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. All G80s are RWD as standard but can be equipped with AWD for an additional $2,500. The 2018 MY updates in a nutshell include minor styling updates, more standard features, and expanded safety features. The G80 3.3T Sport will arrive next month and the others will be available this summer.
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]