The News for August 10th, 2018

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:

  • Audi runs Pikes Peak with latest e-tron prototype… downhill

  • Porsche a builds Cayman GT4 Clubsport for rally, is gauging interest

  • Ford builds ten millionth Mustang

  • Report: Geely is considering $1.9 billion boost for Lotus

  • Ford debuts 2019 NASCAR Cup Car with Mustang stickers on it

  • What’s your automotive news?

Audi e-tron prototype

Audi has once again built hype around their latest prototype to don the e-tron moniker, which is unsurprisingly a full-size SUV. This week, they took some working prototypes to one of the world’s famous stretches of road and one that’s quickly becoming a playground for EVs – Pike’s Peak. Weeks after their sister company broke a record going up the 19-mile-long road, Audi is going down.
Descending from a 14,115-foot peak is the perfect chance to test regenerative braking and Audi spent 463 words talking about it. But regen braking isn’t the only reason the e-tron prototype made news this week because Audi also casually dropped some other info about the electric motor setup, the power and torque they deliver, and the performance it’s capable of. So for those who are even remotely interested in what isn’t the first of many electric SUVs on the way, here’s what you need to know.

In testing their new energy recuperation system which is described as variable and is thus better than everyone else’s, they got some remarkable results. On the e-tron’s 19 mile downhill drive, the regenerative braking fed so much energy back to the battery that it could cover approximately the same distance again using just what it was able to recover. So about a mile of driving range was recovered per mile it spent driving down the mountain. These are obviously extreme conditions, but it proves the system’s effectiveness.
Audi says approximately 30% of the e-tron’s 249-mile driving range comes just from its regenerative braking. It’s a powerful system which recuperates energy with up to 221.3 lb-ft and 220 kW (295hp) of electric power, which is more than 70 percent of its operating energy input – more on that later. The braking is handled by both of the e-tron’s electric motors and the electrohydraulic braking system. Light braking (under 0.3G) is handled exclusively by the electric motors and the conventional brakes are only used for heavy/panic braking, but they do respond quickly. Audi says the motors handle the load for around 90% of braking applications which means energy is being fed back to the battery in nearly all normal braking maneuvers.

As for the hardware that does the opposite of braking, the e-tron prototype utilizes two electric motors split between the axles. Total system power is 355 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft. of torque for up to 60 seconds at a time to prevent output loss. However, its peak potential can be unlocked in “boost mode” which permits eight seconds-worth of 402 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque – just enough time to complete the sub-six-second 0-62 mph sprint. Its top speed is limited to 124 mph.
In 463 words, Audi managed to talk brakes. I used the same amount to talk about the rest of it.
I win.
[Source: Audi]

Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Rally Concept

[Filed under: gib now pls]
Porsche has a long and storied history in rally racing, but they haven’t returned in any official capacity in years. You’ll see 911 GT3 Cup cars repurposed for rally racing even today and the craze has even hit the street with ‘Safari’ 911 builds. Given the public’s interest in taking Nürburgring-tuned sports cars through the dirt, I guess Porsche felt compelled to give it a go themselves.
Out of the blue, they tweeted four photos of a rally version of the Cayman GT4 Clubsport. This GT4-spec racecar that’s normally sold to customer racing teams around the world and run around paved road courses has received a makeover for the dirt and gravel rally stages. It gains rally lights, a hood scoop, rally wheels and tires, and all the skid plates.

No production plans have been made yet but this one-off concept determines whether there will be. According to the tweet, it’ll be on display at the German WRC round, Rallye Deutschland, where Porsche will seek feedback from the rally scene. In closing, Porsche said the “decision if a similar car based on a future model could be developed will be made later in the year.”
Future model” most likely means the 718-based GT4 replacement that is due any day now. The previous Cayman GT4 with its beautiful flat six is long out of production and the Clubsport version maybe has a season left before the newer version takes over.
I know we have some German readers here, so if you’re planning on attending Rallye Deutschland, do us all a favor and pretend that you’re part of the industry and are very interested in a GT4 Clubsport rally car. We all need this in our lives.
[Source: Porsche Motorsport (Twitter) via Autoblog]

Ford Builds 10,000,000th Mustang

The internet knew something was up when a Wimbledon White Mustang GT Convertible was spotted heading down the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Ford made it official on Wednesday – the ten millionth Mustang was born.
The Mustang that rolled off this week with serial number 10,000,000 is very different from the Mustang that wore VIN 001, but that didn’t stop Ford from dusting off the old Wimbledon White paint cans and getting as close to the original specification as possible. White car, black convertible top, black interior, V8. What differs is the manual transmission and… uh, well everything else.

The new Mustang is faster than ever, more advanced than expected, and shows no signs of stopping as it remains the best-selling sports car of the last 50 years. Ford was also proud to point out that the Mustang has more likes on Facebook than any other car.
1 like = 1.17 prayers Mustangs.
[Source: Ford, Motor1]

Lotus May Get Big Funding Boost From Geely

Autoweek is reporting that Bloomberg is reporting that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is considering an additional investment in Lotus to the tune of $1.9 billion. The Chinese holding company that’s also behind Volvo’s recent hot streak is hoping to turn Lotus into a serious competitor in the global sports car market.
They’ve already proven themselves capable of building a car that can go toe-to-toe with Porsche and the like, but sales are a fraction of other established sports car manufacturers. Lotus has sold just 145 cars in their home country so far this year. The investment would specifically target an expansion of their Hethel production center followed by a new one all together and expanding their R&D budget to allow new technology to be integrated into the brand.
The talks are still ongoing and nothing has been publicly announced yet, so grains of salt and stuff.
[Source: Bloomberg via Autoweek]

Ford Debuts NASCAR-Bound Mustang Cup Car

Remember the Ford Fusion Cup Car that’s currently racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series? Ford revealed a new version of that but with stickers that make it look like a GT350 Mustang instead. It races next year.
[Source: Ford]

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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]


  1. Personally, I wish Geely would take an interest in classic Lotus. Specifically to make some decent rubber drive couplings. They are a pain to change and I have to do it every couple of years.

    1. They will be able to release 5hp increment special editions of the Evora for many years yet!

    2. As an Imp owner I’ll second that (Elan and Imp use the same drive couplings). I’m still using the same set I fitted over 20 years ago because from what I hear the new ones just don’t last anymore.

  2. Somewhere on this site, at some point, I said I preferred the ancient Dodge Grand Caravan to the Chrysler Pacifica. After spending 10 days driving 1400 miles along the Pacific Northwest coast in a DGC, I take that statement back. I do, however, still feel that the old beast is superior in these ways:
    1) Exterior styling. Granted, the fit/finish sucks, but I prefer the old van’s spartan, chiseled looks to the new one’s dainty curves. It’s like comparing a man’s razor to one of those Venus blades women use.
    2) Transmission. Our family rented a CP both at Yellowstone/Grand Tetons and when we visited the Grand Canyon. The transmissions in both Pacificas, to my endless annoyance, hunted constantly and were never satisfied with a gear. The tranny in the DGC was decisive, shifted aggressively, and made the most of the hairdryer-sounding engine’s power.
    3) Comfort. I hated the cheaply-covered seats of the DGC at first, but they proved much easier on my back over the long haul than the ones in the Pacificas. The kids actually didn’t complain as much, either. Perhaps there was a good geometry for the Pacifica seats, but I never found it.
    4) Display/ergonomics. I DESPISE the standard touchscreen on the Pacifica (I’ve heard the up-trim version in the hybrid is better). When I’m driving, I need a quick and intuitive way to adjust radio and air conditioning settings. The DGC is stone simple, and sometimes that’s good.
    The Caravan is just outdated. It screams “cheap”. The Pacifica is obviously a much more modern and refined minivan– it’s just not one I could bring myself to like, either. I discovered that while I can’t live with an FCA minivan, I would love living along the coast Washington and Oregon. It was a relief to jump in the family Kia Sedona at the airport after flying home.

  3. Batshitbox Asks: Best Car-centric TV Show Opening Credits?
    Recently The Onion had a listicle about the best TV show opening credits
    Which got me wondering what you hoons would think were the best opening credits featuring cars and or trucks might be? (Not limited to car shows, of course.) My mind went immediately to Taxi, but I think I liked the music more than the images. (It’s actually a badly looped few seconds of film.) Chico & The Man actually has some great Malaise era cars, but the one that sticks in my head is Hill Street Blues, with all those great, wallowing Dodge Monacos bottoming out around a nameless, dingy Anycity USA.

  4. I have to assume the E-Tron’s claim of regenerating enough power on the descent to cover the same distance DID NOT mean it could turn right around and drive back UP Pikes Peak and arrive at the start line fresh as a daisy; but that it could go one mile on flat land per mile descended.
    Your not going to perpetually run up and down Pikes Peak without adding some juice somewhere. Think of a roller coaster, it gains enough potential energy being cranked up a short but precipitous length of track to propel it a hundred times further (linearly) but ever enough to climb back to the top of an equally high hill. Even if you fitted it with E-Tron Regenerative brakes, which would be stupid, it’s a coaster.

      1. That seems to be a major talking point in their sales pitch. It’s a Perpetual Motion Machine! Deceleration equals Acceleration! Gnomes!

        1. 1. If there is a mine at the top of the mountain…
          2. And you fill up your dump truck…
          3. And regen all the way down…
          4. It can drive back up empty.

          Keep in mind:
          a. Frictional and drag losses.
          b. 90% electric drivetrain efficiency losses from pack to wheels is hard to do.
          c. The losses go in both directions, giving you only 81% of your braking kinetic energy back in acceleration.

    1. True that. But what worries me is that 90% of braking is going to be regneration. In Nordic climates, stuck brake calipers are already a top issue for most carmakers. Unless they figure out a dirtless, VIP way of making this work with fluff, love, and fresh banknotes, I hope there are some electric nannies occasionally applying the calipers to keep them in working order.

      1. Pushing my conceptual idea of “Regenerative Braking” but I thought it was not a matter of friction pads and hydraulic pistons and rotors but a clever switching of the motivator to a generator?

        1. Sjalabais’ point was that the pistons/calipers rot due to underuse and are regenerated by a man in a workshop. Regenerative brakes, anyone?

        2. Yes, the inactivity of the “common” brakes with friction pads and rotors in salty grime means they will rust and get stuck. That, in turn, is one of the most important reasons for failure in tech inspections, and for visits to the shop. At least were I live. When Audi now says that the brakes will basically only be used in emergency situations, my fear is there will be little braking ability left – because everything is one rusty, imovable mess.

          1. Ah, I see. Brefass Scotch was involved in my first reading of your comment.
            If your disc brakes are dying on the vine, just swap in a set of drum brakes. Everything’s all cozy and dry inside the drum (unless you ford a river.) Certainly on a EV with regen brakes the mechanicals would only need to provide an assist.
            I bet those clever devils at Audi have already thought of this. It’ll be a kick if drum brakes do a what’s-old-is-new flip.

          2. If Audi, of all carmakers, would dare to reinstate rear drum brakes – especially in the “don’t look back”-European market – I’d have to put on my surprised face for a couple of weeks. It would be rational, but the people who are not into cars, but claim to be (“my favourite car is the Porsche 911”) would ridicule such a move, and I’m not sure Audi marketing has the backbone to ride that off.

      2. It’s my understanding that in Prii it’s not uncommon for rust to consume the rotors before friction does.
        Thinking about it as I type this, the brakes in my 2007 Prius were fresh when we bought it with 112K miles and now with 210K I’ve never serviced them. I did look at the pad thickness when I swapped out the winter tires and it still had plenty. I probably ought to have a closer look when I swap again this fall.

        1. As long as the rotors aren’t rusty, everything should be well. My Honda has very troublesome calipers, so I do some hard braking almost every time I am on the road, and also when reversing down my steep driveway. I could never have one of thos insurance nannies…they’d throw me out.

          1. The rears are drums, I need to pull the drums to be sure everything is OK.
            The fronts have started making a bunch of creaking sounds when you are stopped and push harder on the pedal. It stops well and a Prius makes all kinds of odd noises so I haven’t really worried about it, but I now wonder if the calipers need lubrication.
            There’s a general recommendation on the Prius forums to do a hard stop occasionally to exercise the mechanical brakes and keep them up to snuff. I suspect anyone who drives a bit aggressively or even normally would probably be fine. I don’t drive it much (it’s been passed down to my daughter), but from the few times I’ve ridden with my daughter recently I think she’ll be OK too. 😀

      3. The thing is regen braking effectiveness is proportional to the vehicle speed so the friction brakes are used to complete the stop as well as hold it stopped. So yes there will be some action on the calipers and should put some heat into the rotors.

        1. That, basically, describes rural driving to me: Zero stop & go, you know where you’re going and motorbrakes make those smooth exits, declines and stops happen. You just have to gently apply the foot brake for the final stop. High speeds from A to B guarantee sufficient NaCl-spray everywhere on the undercarriage. If I drive like that, without my fake emergency braking, my calipers get stuck. Definitely!

  5. Since last Friday, I’ve wrapped up all the maintenance on the M3…PS flush, brake flush, coolant flush, valve adjustment, and lastly I adjusted the parking brake. It’ll need oil and filters in 4k miles, but that’s simple. Now on to a leaky vapor barrier and fuel filter replacement in the x3!

  6. Lotus really needs to develop cupholders and leather-clad door handles for the upcoming SUV if they want to be a Porsche opponent. Simplify (the selection process for options) and add lightness (to your wallet).
    I deliberately dropped Diesel from the list, but Maccies with a D did sell well until recently.
    Forgive my cynicism, I’m writing under influence-a.

    1. I am also under a few influences and I nearly had to bill you for a new keyboard when “new SUV” connected with “Lotus”. Thank heavens you were just bullshitting.
      (You were bullshitting, right? There’s no Lotus badged Cayenne?)

  7. My car news is no car news. After five weeks of vacation, my long list of small issues is collecting dust on the kitchen table. As long as the car drives relatively flamelessly and without asocial levels of embarrassment, I am too preoccupied with other stuff to actually start fixing it. Like finding my favourite road sign and meeting pedestrians:

    View post on

    View post on

  8. This weekend the RSX gets some suspension love. New LH tie rod end, LH lower ball joint, sway bar links and both strut mounts ought to quiet things up front. While I’m under there I intend to replace the leaky axle seals and reseal the timing chain tensioner cover. We’ll see how far I actually get.
    Next project will be the rear sway bar links and some rust mitigation on the LR control arm mount. The chassis is remarkably clean for a 250K mile rust belt car, but I did discover some unfortunate rust through at that mount. It looks terrible but the underlying structure is still sound. I intend to clean up the loose rust and treat it with a rust converter to keep it from progressing.

      1. My first thought was, well, that’s the end of the car. But, looking at it closer, there’s an internal structure that is still (largely) intact. You can kind of see it in this picture.
        The bolt goes up through that internal tube and is threaded into the chassis above that. I have two friends that are former body men, one at work and one at church. The guy at work actually saw the car on the lift and I showed the pictures to the other. Both agreed that since the internal structure isn’t gone it’s still OK. The front bolt for that attachment is quite solid as well.
        If I wanted to repair it, it could be done relatively easily, I guess. “No big deal, 4-5 hours.” said the guy at work. The outer panel that’s gone is likely available as a repair panel and you’d rebuild the internal with tubing and flat stock. I’m going for the mitigation plan.
        Thankfully there are no tech inspections in Ohio or I bet this would be terminal just on appearance.

        1. I guess you’re right – deceiving looks it is. My Honda came back from tech inspection with a fist sized hole in the rocker, and, officially, “0 issues”. Maybe this layered way of building rust exposed chambers is their thing?

    1. I used Corroseal to convert rust on my last project Ford Ranger. I just hit the frame with a wire brush to knock the heavy spots down and paint it on. It takes about 20 minutes to convert and then you have to wait 24 hours to paint it. My old truck spend the better part of its life in Maine before my tenure. For an almost 20 year truck, the treatment/paint really helped. Best of luck

  9. Picked up a new battery for my ancient bike yesterday, I rebuilt the carb a couple weeks ago (successfully, I hope), I imagine I’ll finally get it road-worthy again before riding season is over. My big concern at this point is why one of the turn signals doesn’t work.

    1. I’ve surprised myself with the success of my last two carb rebuilds, I totally thought I’d botch them. The twins on the EX500 Ninja and the single on the TW200 all went smoothly, with just some on-the-road tweaking of the pilot air screws. Love the internet for helpful hints.
      I sent my triple Dell’Orto rack out to be rebuilt, and paid a guy to tune them. I know my limits.

    1. I’m torn about those switches. They don’t look half bad and every OEM not abandoning buttons, knobs and switches for some sort of touchscreen abomination gets my support. But this looks like a major PITA to dust. Unless, that is, people never open windows in new cars anymore and only breath filtered, dust free air.

    2. I haven’t driven or even sat in a new Peugeot but I really can’t get my head around the i-Cockpit being a good idea…

      1. That small wheel with the guages above it, I imagine is a bit of a nightmare for people of a certain height/wheel adjustment preference, unless the dials move too?

        1. The idea is to look over the top of the wheel, which I expect it would adjust down for shorter people. I can’t help thinking it compromises your view of what is in front of you – an unnecessarily high cowl.

  10. Last week – Intake gaskets and vac lines on Subaru. Not a pleasant job, like most things on this car. Alignment on Stratus.

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