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:
BMW unveils all-new, production-ready Z4 Roadster
Infiniti proves EVs can be cool with Prototype 10 speedster
Hyundai updates Elantra sedan with new styling and features
What’s your automotive news?
2019 BMW Z4
As promised, BMW debuted the all-new Z4 Roadster in production-ready form at Pebble Beach. Everything is new here and the car’s philosophy overall design scheme is a departure from Z Roadsters of the past. It’s a different kind of Z than before – here’s what you need to know.
The biggest change comes down to where the driver sits. Previous Zs were true classic roadsters with long hoods and the seats as far back in the chassis as possible. The new Z4 has them right in the middle for a new (for the model) kind of driving sensation where everything pivots around you. The main reason for this is enhanced driving pleasure™ and an indication that they’re taking competition from Porsche seriously. The older Zs were great, but they were never known for having the same kind of edge as the Boxsters of the time did.
Some key parts of the new driving experience is its traditional 50:50 weight distribution, wide tracks, and a compact wheelbase. They say it’ll feature “inspiringly agile handling and intense driving pleasure“.
But the biggest change is in the styling. With vertically aligned headlights, a new mesh design for the Kidney Grilles, large air breathers on the front wheel arches, and spoiler integrated into the rear lid, it’s definitely a departure from what we’ve learned to know and love with prior Z4s. The E89 Z4 may have been very long in tooth, but it still looked great years after its introduction. As the rest of the lineup… uh, matured, the Z4 remained one of the better-looking cars on dealer lots. This new design is fresh and interesting, but is it pretty?
The exact model they’ve debuted is the Z4 M40i First Edition Roadster and as noted will be the first new Z4 available on the market – more on that later. The M40i designation means it’s powered by a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six with 340 horsepower on tap and it has all the M Sport hardware to back it up. It rides on an M Sport suspension with electronically controlled dampers, stops with M Sport brakes, and benefits form an electronically controlled M Sport differential in the rear transaxle. They claim a 4.4-second 0-60 mph time with what’s most likely an eight-speed automatic.
We will also most likely see the 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder make a comeback as well. That output should be around 260 horsepower.
If you snag one of the First Editions, you’ll get Frozen Orange metallic paint and a soft top in anthracite with a silver effect. It also gets BMW Individual High Gloss Shadow Line trim (which probably won’t be exclusive to this), black exterior mirror caps, and 19-inch light alloy wheels. The interior features Vernasca black leather trim with decorative stitching and as many option as they could stuff into it.,
Some of the new tech that’s been revealed is new ambient lighting, Harman Kardon Surround Sound, Adaptive LED headlights with matrix function for the high beam, BMW Head-Up Display (a first for the Z4), and the BMW Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system. All of these options are included with the First Edition.
Global production commences in Spring of 2019.
Infiniti Prototype 10
Infiniti’s latest electric concept that will never be built was just unveiled at Pebble Beach – the Prototype 10. It’s an all-electric open-air roadster of the future that drew inspiration from the single-seat competition roadsters of the past. With the promise of having every new Infiniti model from 2021 with an available electrified powertrain, the Prototype 10 is meant to serve as a promise that they’ll take it seriously and prove that they can still be fun.
When talking about the design of a passion project like this, it’s best to hear from the one who designed it. Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, describes it as such:
“The INFINITI Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters. This period saw the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of driving.”
With this striking design, they’ve been able to demonstrate the flexibility they’re afforded with all-electric powertrains by creating a single-seat speedster with impossibly sleek lines. It also serves as a reminder that EVs can be cool, but only if the ones designing them are. This was the first project that was headed by Karim Habib and it allegedly hints at how the brand’s design teams will evolve the appearance of other production cars. If this is the first thing he’s touched, that’s gonna be something to look forward to.
No [electro]mechanical specs were given, but in regards to their future electrification strategy, Infiniti did mention they’d be eliminating the need for external charging sources with e-POWER models that are capable of longer journeys. Sounds like it’ll carry its own generator like the Volt does, but we’ll know more whenever it’s ready.
2019 Hyundai Elantra
Remember the Hyundai Elantra? It’s like that, but now it looks like something you’d carve into a pumpkin. But the rather questionable redesign isn’t the only change Hyundai has made to their compact sedan as it receives new driver assistance features, some new tech that was highly desired by customers, and a reworked interior to accommodate that.
Pretty much everything on the car’s exterior was redone. The hood, front fenders, front fascia, grille, headlights, trunk, taillights, and rear fascia feature a more “emotional” design. The wheel options across all models were redone as well. The interior gets a new instrument cluster and housing and a new center cluster with updated controls.
Some of those desired features include the standard 5-inch color audio system, Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls added to manual-equipped SE models (already exists in other models), Qi wireless charging, a premium eight-speaker audio option, a new available infotainment system with a faster processor, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and an 8-inch Multimedia Navigation System with real-time traffic for higher models.
The all-important safety features introduced with Hyundai’s SmartSense are Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Alert (all three applied to SEL trims and above), and Safe Exit Assist added to Limited models with Ultimate Package.
There’s no word yet on when these will launch or what the pricing is like.
What’s your automotive news?
Welp… I got it. And I’ve already taken it to the mountains. I’ll be busy with Gridlife South and Radwood this weekend (which you should go to if you’re near Atlanta!) but will have some more detailed impressions and stuff up soon-ish. But as for my initial impression, OMG.
But enough about me… 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]