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:
Land Rover shows off 2017 Range Rover updates and new SVAutobiography Dynamic model
The Fisker Karma is coming back as the Karma Revero
Mercedes-Benz teases Maybach concept, may be Exelero part 2
McLaren showing off new MSO project at Pebble Beach
Valentino Balboni launching new Lamborghini performance brand
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – 650 confirmed horsepower for ~$62k
Hooniverse will be at Monterey Car Week
What’s your automotive news?
Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic
Land Rover is revealing a host of improvements for the 2017 model year Range Rovers and taking the opportunity to introduce a new high end, high performance model. All 2017 RRs will feature lots of new tech focused on driver assistance and convenience. Meanwhile, the new SVAutobiography Dynamic from their Special Vehicle Operations seeks to strike a balance between ultimate performance and sheer luxury – so basically the ideal Rover for the people who want it all at any cost.
Starting off with what’s new on the 2017 models, Land Rover is debuting several new technologies which they say provides building blocks for full autonomous driving. For those that like controlling their own destiny in an $85,000+ SUV, these new features are labeled as semi-autonomous aids. Some are helpful, some might be really annoying. These features include an Advanced Tow Assist which they say can take the stress out of reversing with a trailer, a Driver Condition Monitor and Blind Spot Assist suite that can steer the thing back into its lane when the driver cocks it up and then yell at them for being stupid, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
What might be seen as annoying is the new Intelligent Speed Limiter. It uses road sign recognition to adjust an electronic speed limiter when cruise control is enabled (pretty sure it’s only for that) and might be defeatable. Other less controversial new features include a ten-inch dual view touchscreen powered by their InControl Touch Pro system which now features more smartphone connectivity. Long story short, the 2017 Range Rovers are the most advanced SUVs they’ve ever built. Initial pricing info seems to suggest the Range Rover lineup will start in the high $90k range.
Now for the richer stuff. The new SVAutobiography Dynamic is Special Vehicle Operations’ (SVO) latest creation and is essentially the “track-ready” Range Rover Sport SVR mixed with the ultra luxurious Autobiography trim. It’s stupid fast and it will undoubtedly be deep into the $100K range.
It features the same 5.0-liter sercharged V8 as found in the SVR and it keeps all 524 horsepower and 502 lb.-ft. of torque too. It’s paired with the same ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and will blast through 62 mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds. The suspension features custom tuning for the model to enhance responsiveness and control while still maintaining ride quality.
Inside it has all the creature comforts you’d expect from a Range Rover, but this model adds diamond quilted leather seats available with four different colorways and contrast stitching, Grand Black veneer on the dash, and a knurled finish to the rotary gear controller, some buttons, and the pedals.
From the outside, it’s distinctive by its Graphite Atlas side vents, bonnet finisher, grille, front bumper accents, badging, and tailgate finisher. Buyers will be able to pick from 21″ and 22″ wheel designs in three finishes and red Brembo brake calipers are standard equipment, because of course they are.
There’s no word on whether it’s coming stateside, but they’ll start hitting UK showrooms this winter.
[Source: Land Rover]
It’s been hinted at for years now, but the Fisker Karma is actually being resurrected under new owners. After the cluster with Fisker a few years ago, Wanxiang, a Chinese multinational automotive parts manufacturer, took ownership of what was basically a dying car company once the check cleared. They had announced their intentions to bring prior Fisker models back and maybe even continue pursuing models they could never get to, but this is the first real sign that they’re ready for business.
Wanxiang and its newly revived Karma Automotive are picking up where Fisker left off: the Karma, now known as the Revero. Besides the wheels and very few other exterior styling tweaks (the lower front fascia is the only small difference I can spot), it’s the same distinctive look that the old Fisker Karma became known for. It’s not entirely the same car though as they’ve found ways to make meaningful improvements.
First off, and perhaps most impressively if true, it has a reworked solar panel roof which they claim can power the whole car. The Fisker Karma had a solar roof as well and that mostly powered various electrical systems and could somewhat contribute to its EV driving range, but Karma says this one is better. No details were provided but it’ll be interesting if they can in fact power the whole car in a practical way. Solar technology is constantly improving, but has it improved that much? We’ll find out soon enough. No other details about the powertrain were given. The Fisker Karma was technically an EV but it had an onboard range-extending gas engine. The Karma Revero will likely have the same layout unless their magic solar panels are really that effective.
Another thing they’re promoting is a redesigned infotainment system which they promise to be more intuitive, simple, and beautiful. Typically, you wouldn’t reuse the same software on what’s essentially a five-year-old car already, so that’s a good start.
Karma will likely have many other surprises in store for us when the Revero publicly debuts in 28 days as of publishing. After that, anyone still interested might be able to buy one before the year is out through ten locations across North America. No hints on pricing or whether it’ll really deliver.
[Karma Automotive via Autoweek]
Mercedes-Benz released a teaser image of a new Maybach concept on Instagram and there’s a chance it could be coming to Pebble Beach. The only description given was “almost six meters of ultimate luxury”, but as Autoweek found, the image name contained “Exelero”, the same name given to a Maybach concept from 2004. The original Exelero was a modern interpretation of 1938 W8 Stromlinienfahrzeug and it looked like a perfect fit for a Captain America villain. This teaser comes the week before the awesomeness that is Monterey Car Week, so this could possibly see a global debut at one of the high-profile shows next week. If it does (and if my laptop survives that long), you’ll hear about it.
McLaren is coming back to Pebble Beach with some US debuts and a special concept car. It’s McLaren’s seventh time back at the beach of pebbles and they’re bringing the 570GT and 570 GT4 race car with them. It’ll be the first time the grand tourer and GT4-spec version 570s have ever been seen in the US. They’ll have a few examples of the 570GT running around at McCall’s Motorworks Revival, the McLaren Driver Experience (if you want in, register at your McLaren dealer in advance), and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The GT4 will be shown at McCall’s as well alongside the P1 GTR and M8F Can Am race car and at The Qual, a Motorsports Gathering alongside its pals. Things will get interesting at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance though, as that’s where McLaren Special Operations will reveal a unique project on the concept lawn. Could it be the rumored F1 successor? Possibly. Will it be a 570 with special carbon bits and unique paint? Most likely yes.
Valentino Balboni is a name you may remember being closely associated with the raging bull brand from Italy. He was Lamborghini’s chief test driver for 40 years and has likely driven more Lamborghinis than anyone. Upon his retirement, Lamborghini even labeled a special edition Gallaro after him. His contributions to the company were immense, but he isn’t quite done with Lamborghinis just yet. His passion for the brand and its fans led him to start a new performance brand specifically for Lamborghini. The brand is simply called VB and their first new product is a “new dimension in sound” – an advanced, lightweight, limited edition titanium exhaust system for the Aventador LP-750 SV. Yes, limited edition exhaust is a thing now I guess. Only 30 units are being produced and each one takes upwards of 350 work hours to create. It’s for buyers who want the best possible sound for their beast from what is essentially a collector’s item, or as they call it, a piece of art. He’ll be at Concorso Italiano in Seaside next week to show it off. We don’t have sound clips to share yet, but it’ll probably be sold out before he leaves. For technical details and glorious pics, check out their site.
Chevrolet confirmed specs and pricing for the Camaro ZL1… it’s impressive. The power figures that were leaked last week are confirmed; 650 horsepower from a supercharged LT4 V8. It’s good enough for a 3.5-second 0-60 mph sprint and an 11.4 second quarter mile at 127 mph when paired with the available ten-speed automatic. It’s not just about the power though as it can pull 1.02 G in the skid pad and decelerate from 60 mph to a standstill in 107 feet thanks to massive brakes and a 220-pound weight reduction over the standard car. Those are impressive specs, but the price is even better. It starts at $62,135 and the convertible model is an extra $7,000 on top. Can confirm, muscle car wars are still very real.
Hooniverse will be at Monterey Car Week!
Because it’s just too awesome to miss, at least three hoons will be in Monterey for the week-long celebration of cars. Brad, Jason, and the awkward news boy will be at as many events as humanly possible. Expect more of that world-class coverage you’ve come to expect from us starting the week after (or the week of if we’re good). Listen to the Cammed and Tubbed Podcast to see where they’re headed. Brad is classing it up at auctions, Werks Reunion, and other stuff while Jason goes anywhere with free shrimp. Ne on the other hand, I’m spending most of my time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – partly because BMW but mostly because it’s just so damn cool. I’ll also be at Legends of the Autobahn, maybe Werks Reunion for a bit, and Concours d’Lemons. If you’re in the area or just want to tell us how much we suck, follow us on the social medias and stay tuned for some awesome shit.
Awkward News Boi: Twitter, Instagram
Brad: Twitter, Instagram
Jason: Twitter, Instagram
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 © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]