The News for April 4th, 2014

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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. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:  

  •  BMW reveals M4 Convertible to the internets

  • Land Rover teases new Discovery concept

  • Hyundai prices the 2015 Genesis under $40K

  • McLaren to cease 12C production, offer owners free upgrades

  • Mitsubishi to kill the Evolution and whatever fan base they had left

2015 BMW M4 Convertible

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Just yesterday, BMW revealed their latest high performance droptop ahead of its official debut at the New York Auto Show. The 2015 BMW M4 Convertible will join its M4 Coupe and M3 Sedan brethren in American dealerships starting late this summer. Despite the somewhat confusing M3 and M4 distinction, all three of these vehicles share the exact same powertrain, performance, and nearly everything else.

The all new engine which has been built specifically for the M3 and M4 also gets propulsion duties in the M4 Convertible. It’s a 3.0-liter BMW M TwinPower Turbo inline-six which produces 425 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque – that’s more power and torque than the outgoing 4.0-liter V8 (which I still miss dearly… damn that thing was awesome). The upside to this engine is that torque is available much earlier than in a naturally-aspirated engine (1,850 to 5,500) and maximum power is available over a wider RPM range than before (5,500 to 7,300). The lack of two cylinders also means it’s more efficient as well. Power is sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual as a no cost option or a seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission. 0-60 mph takes about 4.4 seconds when equipped with a manual or just 4.2 seconds with the M DCT.

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Helping to keep that power composed on track is an intelligent Active M Differential, Adaptive M Suspension with different preset driving modes, and standard M Compound brakes with M Carbon Ceramic brakes available as an option. Another improvement which drivers would appreciate is the new focus on lightness shared with the other M4 and M3. Aluminum body panels, aluminum chassis, and various carbon fiber reinforced plastic components help bring in new weight savings across the board. The 2015 M4 Convertible weighs in at 4,055 pounds, which despite how not light that sounds, is actually 90 pounds lighter than the last model. You gotta start somewhere I guess. This is the lightest M3/M4 Convertible that uses a folding hardtop at least.

Pricing on the convertible isn’t available yet, but the 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe are priced in America at $62,000 and $64,200 respectively. Also, BMW released their online configurator for both the M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe. So have fun.

[Source: BMW]

Land Rover confirms new Discovery Vision Concept

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Anyone fancy a new Land Rover Discovery? In the teaser image above, Land Rover is confirming that the Discovery will return as a concept for the 2014 New York Auto Show and could be a sign of what’s to come. The Discovery Vision Concept is being used to showcase their vision for a new family of Discovery vehicles and premium luxury SUVs which capture the essence of what Land Rover is about – incredible capabilities and luxury wrapped in one package. Don’t expect it to look much like the old one. At all. Going off of that tiny little silhouette they show in the center console, it almost looks like it’ll just be a shorter Range Rover. Be impressed if the final product looks at all different than what’s already on Land Rover showroom floors, because I’ll be.

Now, about that Defender… actually, never mind.

[Source: Land Rover]

2015 Hyundai Genesis priced

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We’re big fans of Hyundai here at Hooniverse. Of all the major automakers I’ve been talking about lately, this brand is the one that continues to improve the most it seems. Oh and their fearless North American leader may have showed up to our party in New York a while ago to drink with Jeff and Kamil. Maybe.

Their latest premium sedan, the 2015 Genesis, is all-new and loaded with more standard features than ever before. That’s why it’s now a bit more expensive with a $38,000 entry fee. But that gets you a Genesis which offers the aforementioned standard features like an eight-inch center screen with navigation and a backup camera, paddle shifters, hill hold control, power folding mirrors, HD radio, automatic wipers, and nearly everything else you actually want from a car like this.

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The base engine is a 3.8-liter V6 which can send power to either the rear wheels or all four for about $2,500 extra. The top of the line Genesis however comes with a 5.0-liter V8 with drive going exclusively to the rear wheels and starts at $51,500. The only transmission available is a smooth eight-speed automatic.

Available packages include the Signature Package ($4,000) which adds a panoramic roof, blind spot detection, HID headlights, and ventilated front seats among others. The Technology Package ($3,500)  adds fancy leather with power adjustable cushion extender and side bolster, lane keep assist, electronic parking brake, and a seven-inch TFT LCD cluster display plus much more. Then there’s the Ultimate Package ($3,500) which adds some things, stuff, a seventeen speaker audio system, and a full color heads-up display. It may not be what you want, but it’s all you will probably ever need.

[Source: Hyundai]

McLaren MP4-12C to be replaced after all

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Last month, McLaren revealed the awesome new 650S, which was meant to be a new middle child in the McLaren family which was built on the MP4-12C but offered greater advancements in performance and technology. At the time, they said the 650S would not replace anything. And because they said that, I said that. Today though, reports indicate that they’ve changed their mind.

According to Autoblog, McLaren has sent MP4-12C owners a letter claiming that due to the popularity of the 650S, which already prompted them to temporarily cease production of the MP4-12C to meet demand, they will no longer be producing the MP4-12C all together. McLaren’s first in-house road legal production car since the legendary F1 (the SLR doesn’t count) will be no more.

But rather than just telling current MP4-12C owners to deal with it, they’re offering a free round of upgrades to take care of them instead of saying “lol too bad”. In what’s being called the Technology Upgrade Program, McLaren will provide MP4-12C owners with most of the technological advancements that were initially rolled out in the 650S. This includes new software for the rear wing which adds new functionality, an infotainment system software update, backup camera, and satellite radio upgrade. Every McLaren MP4-12C, whether they’re still on dealership lots or not, is eligible for this free upgrade before they get driven off into the sunset.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you kill off a car and treat your customers right.

[Source: Autoblog]

Mitsubishi kills the Evo

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And now for how not to kill a car, by Mitsubishi. They have announced that they will discontinue the beloved Lancer Evolution after its current generation has run its course. By making this announcement, they also inadvertently announced that they’re still alive.

There are currently no plans they care to tell us about which involve a true successor, which as their spokeswoman described, is a “high-performance four-wheel drive gasoline-powered sedan”. Because who the hell wants that? For now it seems that the only way we’ll get an Evo again is if it comes to us with their latest electric vehicle technology built-in. So basically a hybrid. You don’t need to look very long to find an example or two of a hybrid sports car done properly – Porsche 918, McLaren P1, LaFerrari come to mind – but there are plenty of other examples to prove otherwise. We will all (mostly) miss the Evolution dearly and hope for it to return some day, but if it means having a hybrid Evo, I feel that most of us would rather hope it stays dead.

Electric vehicles, trucks, utility vehicles, and SUVs are all that Mitsubishi wants to focus on for the future since those are what makes them profitable for the first time in years. Being profitable is good of course, but when they turn their backs on what made them great, it just doesn’t make them interesting anymore.

*Adds Mitsubishi to my dead to me list*

 [Source: Mitsubishi via Autoweek]

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