Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:
Ferrari 458 Speciale is the super sport 458 we’ve been waiting for
Audi updates A8, A8L, and S8 for 2015 model year
The Volkswagen Golf R is about to get 296 horsepower
BMW reveals plug-in hybrid X5 concept, may not be a concept for long
Eighteen automotive design leaders collaborate with Gran Turismo
Mullin Automotive Museum announce Art of Bugatti exhibition
A Shelby GT500 Super Snake is set to be the true star of Getaway
Ferrari 458 Speciale
There’s a new Ferrari coming to a country club near you. They call it the Ferrari 458 Speciale and the name isn’t just some gimmick. The 458 Speciale joins the likes of the 360 Challenge Stradale and the F430 Scuderia as a more powerful and more track-focused variant of the “standard” road car it’s based on, in this case the 458 Italia.
Ferrari believes this juiced up 458 is worthy of the Speciale moniker due to its technological innovation which yielded noticeable improvements in the powertrain department, aerodynamics, and vehicle dynamics. Those powertrain improvements resulted in 596 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque out of the same 4.5-liter V8 mounted in the middle. That makes this the most powerful naturally-aspirated road car in company history and with a horsepower per liter output higher than any naturally-aspirated road car ever with 133 horsepower/liter. When that engine is paired with a quick-shifting automatic transmission and a lighter body (dry weight is just over 2,800 lbs.), the 458 Speciale can do the 0-62 mph sprint in three seconds flat and the 0-124 mph trip in 9.1 seconds.
The aerodynamic tweaks done to the 458 Speciale include movable front and rear aerodynamics, which Ferrari plans to add to all future road cars, which balances downforce and cuts drag accordingly to make it the slipperiest road car Ferrari has ever made. Other improvements like sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires developed specifically for this car, Side Slip angle Control system, F1 traction control, and an electronic differential will help to make the 458 Speciale a car that can be taken to its limits by people other than Fernando Alonso. Ferrari even promise that you’ll have grip in the rain, which is nice.
That carbon fiber button cluster pillar thing in the center console doesn’t look fragile at all…
Every bit of technical data mentioned above and more that we’re not even aware of yet have made the 458 Speciale a car with groundbreaking performance even by Ferrari standards. It’s not only the most responsive to driver inputs, but it can also achieve the highest level of lateral grip in company [road car] history at 1.33 G.
We’ll get more details about the Ferrari 458 Speciale at its world debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September.
[Source: Ferrari via Autoblog]
2015 Audi A8, A8L, S8
Audi will be at the Frankfurt International Motor Show with a reworked A8 line, including the long-wheelbase A8L and the sporty S8. The new updates for the 2015 model year include more power, lighter construction, new electronics, and slightly reworked styling, which I think looks better than before. This range-topping Audi saloon will start arriving in various global markets next year and into 2015.
The car’s performance improvements come in the form of at least five updated engines confirmed for the U.S. market – a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 310 horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 435 hp, a 3.0-liter TDI diesel with 258 horsepower, a 6.3-liter W12 with 500 hp, and in the S8, a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 520 horsepower. European buyers can also have their A8 fitted with a 4.2-liter V8 diesel with 385 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque or a hybrid option with a 2.0-liter gas motor paired with a lithium ion battery for a combined 245 hp and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. Not only is there a performance increase in most models, but every specification of the A8 is also more efficient thanks to features like the ability to shut down six cylinders in the W12 model when they’re not needed and friction-reducing measures on others. Every A8 comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive.
Styling-wise, the A8 features a new hood, front bumper, Singleframe grille, and headlight design which are all more sculpted. The car also boasts a new Matrix LED option, which in a nutshell means each individual light-emitting diode can be switched on or off depending on the situation to emit just the right amount of light on the road ahead without blinding people coming the other way. Other new tech features in the A8 include active lane assist, a 360-degree park assist display that can also handle steering when parking, a detailed heads-up display, and improved night vision which can now detect larger animals and pedestrians. Why someone would need night vision when they’ve got more advanced headlights is beyond me, but I guess it’s just cool.
Audi says that despite the improvements, prices are only increasing slightly. German pricing was announced first at 74,500 Euros or about $99,500 US.
Volkswagen Golf R
As if the hot hatch wars haven’t heated up enough already, Volkswagen has upped the ante with an all-new Golf R that’s sure to shake things up. Like previous Golf Rs, it will be available in three and five-door models with deliveries starting in Europe later this year – any plans of a North American launch are unannounced so far. The current Golf R is already on sale here though, so there’s no need for the pitchforks just yet.
One of the main reasons why this Golf R is so special
e is what it puts to the pavement. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger produces an impressive 296 horsepower (up by 30 hp over the last model) and 280 lb.-ft. of torque which gets sent to all four wheels through your choice of a manual or DSG automatic transmission. 0-60 mph takes just 5.3 seconds or 4.9 seconds with the DSG equipped. A new sport suspension, variable-rate steering, and a dynamic chassis system with a super special race mode all work with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system to make this Golf R corner like no other Golf before it. Efficiency hasn’t been left out and forgotten, however, as its fuel economy numbers have jumped to 34 mpg combined by European test standards when the optional DSG, stop/start feature, and battery regeneration are equipped.
Styling-wise, the new Golf R features bespoke body work at each side with a sportier front bumper, a maybe functional diffuser out back, and lower side skirts. Bixenon headlights, darker LED taillights, chrome exhaust tipes, and eighteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, but nineteen-inch aluminum wheels are available for extra cash. Notable interior updates include sport seats, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, ambient lighting, and a touchscreen media interface.
[Source: Volkswagen via Autoweek]
BMW Concept X5 eDrive
BMW has added an electrical socket to the X5 in a new concept headed for Frankfurt, and possibly to showrooms in the near future. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid doesn’t feature anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but it’s the first of its kind in that the only other BMWs with a plug are the i3 city car, i8, and a limited-run 1 Series from a few years ago, not a full size sport
utility activity vehicle like this.
Power comes from a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine and a 70 kW/90 horsepower lithium-ion battery which can be charged from any domestic power outlet. It carries enough juice to drive the X5 eDrive up to nineteen miles and at speeds of up to 75 mph without ever having to turn the engine on. The battery is hidden safely underneath the rear cargo area, which has the same capacity as any other new X5 despite the extra hardware underneath.
Preliminary tests have shown that the X5 eDrive consumes only 3.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (or about 89 mpg) by European test standards. Seeing as how efficiency is the name of the game these days, don’t be surprised if you see one of these cut you off in traffic some day.
Polyphony Digital has announced a rather neat feature for Gran Turismo 6. To celebrate their sixth title and fifteen years of the franchise, the game’s developers are launching collaborative projects with eighteen of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, design houses, and other global brands to bring exclusive and never before seen concept cars and design studies to Gran Turismo 6. The cars will be “gifted” to players as downloadable content as the life of the game progresses. More details on the cars themselves aren’t available yet, but the eighteen leading brands involved in this awesome project are Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Bertone, GM Design, Honda, Infiniti, Italdesign Giugiaro, JORDAN Brand, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Nissan, Peugeot, SRT, Volkswagen, and Zagato. The official teaser trailer can be seen below. You can get your hands on Gran Turismo 6 on December 6th and only if you have a Playstation 3.
The Mullin Automotive Museum, a Southern California institution devoted to the preservation of French art and automobiles from the Art Deco era, has announced The Art of Bugatti exhibition set to debut in Spring of 2014. It will be the largest assembled collection of Bugatti automobiles and artifacts and will pay tribute to the Bugatti family’s enduring genius, creativity, and tremendous contributions to the automotive and art world. Other than the largest private collection of Bugatti automobiles, the exhibition will also feature art work, furniture, and sculptures all created by the Bugatti family. It’s sure to be an incredible collection that shouldn’t be missed. For ticket info, head on over to www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com. [Source: Mullin Automotive Museum]
After Dark Films and Shelby are both promoting Getaway, an action-packed thriller that will hit theaters on August 30th starring Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, and the star us hoons are interested in, a Shelby GT500 Super Snake. The film’s producer and director, Courtney Solomon, chose to use the Shelby, not because of a prior sponsorship deal, but because he truly felt the Super Snake was the quintessential American muscle car that could still be its own character in a movie with two big time Hollywood actors. Two genuine 725 horsepower Super Snakes were used – one for filming in Bulgaria and the other for audio recordings in Los Angeles, which hopefully means no generic, cringeworthy V8 noises but rather the real, pure Shelby V8 roar. If you head on over to fandangogetawaysweeps.com, you can also enter for a chance to win a 2014 Shelby GT500 Super Snake. [Source: Getaway Movie, Shelby]