Welcome to the Hooniverse News – The Leftovers Edition! This is a weekly recap of the week’s biggest automotive news, and this week all most of the news comes to us from the New York International Auto Show. Jim, Jeff, and Kamil have that show covered, but what I’ll be doing now is going over the best of the best (or whatever they didn’t really talk about). This week:
The 2013 SRT Viper is finally here
BMW brings their baby X1 to the US
Toyota makes the Avalon worth while?
Subaru prices the BRZ
Remembering the legend that is Ferdinand Alexander Porsche
2013 SRT Viper
This, dear readers, is your new Viper. Just don’t call it a Dodge. For the 2013 model year, the new SRT Viper is more powerful, more comfortable, and is more technologically advanced than any Viper before it could have dreamed about. During its development, many enthusiasts were worried that the Viper would become soft with the addition of new technology and comfort, but seeing as how it’s got a massive 8.4-liter V10, I’m willing to bet that it hasn’t.
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That hand-assembled V10 cranks out 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque and sends those tire-shredding figures to the rear wheels through a new 6-speed manual transmission. Right now we don’t have any official performance figures to talk about, but we can say that the car has lost about 100 pounds in weight over its predecessor and has the best power to weight ratio of any Viper thus far. Keeping all that power under control is a reworked suspension bolted to a frame that’s 50% stiffer and 14 inch brakes with optional StopTech rotors.
Buyers get to choose between two models at launch, the “standard” SRT Viper and the SRT Viper GTS with added technology and comfort. Standard Vipers already come with a nicer interior than ever before, but the GTS gets even better with creature comforts like leather on all surfaces and an 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system. SRT will even offer an 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, which seems like a typo, but it isn’t.
So there you go. The new Viper is probably easier to live with and won’t try to kill you as often, but it still seems like it’s got its bite. No pricing or availability info was disclosed.
BMW X1 Coming Stateside
BMW’s smallest crossover utility vehicle thing has been on sale in Europe and parts of Asia for quite some time now, but fear not, for BMW has decided to bring the now updated X1 to America.
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Two turbocharged engines will be available at launch – the new 2.0-liter turbo four with 245 horsepower (28i) and a 3.0-liter turbo six with 306 horsepower (35i) that definitely won’t give you fuel pump issues. The X1 can be had in either rear wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel-drive on 28i models or just all-wheel-drive on 35i models. Having driven a BMW X3 with xDrive and the turbo 6 a recent BMW driving event, I can tell you that this combination will be deadly quick in the X1. Some transmission (probably an 8-speed automatic) will be geared towards fuel economy and will work with an auto start/stop function, electric power steering, and brake regeneration to save fuel. Word on the street is that a 6-speed manual could be offered with the X1 as well, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
The car’s internals are lined with leather and other high quality materials you’d expect from a BMW along with
annoying useful tech features like BMW’s infamous infotainment system and many others that you’ll have to pay extra for. Speaking of money, the BMW X1 sDrive28i (RWD, turbo 4) will start at a somewhat reasonable $31,545 with optional xDrive AWD bringing the price up to $33,245. The top-of-the-line X1 xDrive35i will start at $39,345, making the X1 the must have BMW for people on a budget.
Source: BMW Group
2013… Toyota Avalon?
When I say things like “style”, “luxury”, and “sportiness”, how many of you think of the Toyota Avalon? Well now the Toyota Avalon just might fit those descriptions, because Toyota has been busy making the Avalon better than ever before.
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Styling-wise, it’s all-new inside and out. The car’s exterior has a new face to match the rest of the family with a new chrome-ish grille that makes it look like some kind of aquatic species. Fish face or not, the Avalon has an athletic appearance like never before that’s complimented by 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, Toyota has given it a modern interior that focuses on comfort and technology. Lots of leather adorns the more spacious cabin and new technology bits like multiple LCD screens to display navigation and entertainment stuff.
Mechanically, the Avalon features a stiffer chassis optimized for improved handling but promises to be easy on the ride quality. Electric power steering gets the job done and wastes less fuel in the process. Interestingly enough, Toyota won’t tell us anything about the engine or the transmission, but the Avalon is replaces has a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic. To top it all off, there’s now a selection of three driving modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport[!] – and paddle shifters[!!!].
The Toyota Avalon will arrive in American dealerships late this year at an undisclosed price. So what do you guys think? Are these changes enough to make you consider an Avalon for once?
Subaru BRZ Priced
What is perhaps the most anticipated car to come from Japan in recent memory has finally been priced. The Subaru BRZ will carry a price tag of $25,495 when it arrives in US dealerships sometime this spring. The nearly identical Scion FR-S carries a price tag of about $24,000, as mentioned in an earlier article, but the BRZ has more premium features available that should make the extra cost worth it.
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Standard features on the Subaru BRZ Premium include a touch-screen navigation system with a 6.1-inch LCD screen, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, aluminum alloy pedal covers, HID headlamps, and a folding rear seat back. The top-of-the-line Limited model comes standard with Alcantara seat inserts with leather bolsters, heated seats, a remote engine start function, and a rear spoiler for a grand total of $27,495. A 6-speed manual is standard while “upgrading” to a 6-speed paddleshift automatic transmission commands an extra $1,100 on both trim levels.
Do you think this car is worth the price? Keep in mind that the cheaper Scion FR-S doesn’t come with nearly as many creature comforts as the Subaru, so I’d say so. Let me take a spin in one and I can tell you for sure 🙂
Hoonobituaries – Remembering Ferdinand Alexander Porsche
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Yesterday Porsche formally announced the passing of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the designer of the iconic Porsche 911. Porsche says he passed away on April 5th in Salzburg, Austria of unknown causes at the age of 76.
Ferdinand Porsche was born on December 11th, 1935 and dedicated his life to cars from an early age as he worked in engineering offices and workshops of his grandfather, [the other] Ferdinand Porsche. After getting his feet wet in design in the early years of Porsche, he became the head of the Porsche design studio in 1962 and created the 901 (first 911) just a year later. The rest, as they say, is history.
So join me and the millions of enthusiasts around the world in saying goodbye to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. Thanks for the work you’ve done, and thanks for creating just one of the many cars that drew so many of us into loving cars to begin with.