The News for August 24th, 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:

  • 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.
[Source: BMW]

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.
[Source: Infiniti]

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.
[Source: Hyundai]

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]

35 Comments

  1. Glad you are enjoying the Mustang Greg.
    The new Z4 just doesn’t work for me, the styling just doesn’t seem cohesive. Many of the features look like they are intended for a much larger car, although this one makes what I assume are 19″ wheels look small. The front is actually somewhat reminiscent of the Fiat 124. I still prefer the original Z4, even if the headlights spoil it a bit.
    The Infiniti looks good (as a concept), the low angle shots demonstrate it is a modern interpretation of cars like the Lotus 11, Lola Mk1, Jag D and Listers etc.

    1. I agree on the Z4 (it’s a mess). Not so much on the Infiniti, which I think just looks boring and uninspired. I’m all for “purity of form”, but whereas the classics you mentioned do have functional styling, they also have some sexy curves. The Infiniti looks soul-less.

  2. Greg, I’m quite surprised you managed to pull yourself out of the driver’s seat long enough to slap this together. Happy motoring and can’t wait to read the detailed write-up.

  3. Grats on the ‘Stang, Greg– glad you’re enjoying it!
    The new Z4 looks, unsurprisingly and disappointingly, like a Toyota with kidney grilles. Very disappointing. The current generation is magnitudes prettier.
    On my front, I’m having warm-start issues (and warm idle issues) with the E28. It’s either the thermo-time switch (sounds vaguely Dr.-Who-ish to me) or the cold-start valve. It’s left me stranded twice. Troubleshooting will resume as soon as I stain the deck and paint my kid’s bedroom, but not before (according to my better half).

    1. If that is your regular driver I’d say not getting stranded again beats making walls look better

  4. Z4 looks OK, hood has very strange styling though.
    As for my car-life….kinda downgraded but also upgraded my DD. I bought an 10 year old 1 owner Audi A5, with all the extras, incl. some I didn’t know were even available, Bang&Olufsen sound, seat cooling and Audi drive select…..if those adjustable shock absorbers die I will be in for a nasty surprise probably. And I’m in a hotel at the Brenner pass, but it’s very cloudy and there’s prolly rain also tomorrow….

  5. You mentioned a clear bra, Greg, but that front spoiler…it sticks out a lot considering you would want it to survive, too. Congrats on the beast!
    For the first time ever, our Camry busted its yearly maintenance budget. We recently changed the exhayst, now the antilock brake system with ring and sensor on one wheel set us back about 400$, and the filler pipe to the fuel tank burst at a handsome 500$. Before winter, we’re thinking Tectyl + some rust removal, tech inspection, and something’s noisy at the right rear wheel. All together we’re looking at about 3000$ in maintenance this year, which is a bit unashamed for a Toyota.

    1. You think those yellow covers from the Hellcats will fit? lol. So far so good with that splitter actually, I haven’t had any issues with scraping on curbs or speed bumps. Thank you!

      1. I have been seeing some of the last-last Commodores with black covers on the lower edge of the front spoiler, presumably guys with long-term ownership in mind.

  6. i’ll be the first to say i think the new Z4 looks nice. it looks like they started with an AMG GT, wrapped it around a chunk of pyrite, and threw it in the dryer. not a bad recipe all told, though not one that yields a very memorable car. still, the proportions are definitely more Miata than 507, and i’ll be eager to see how the Motoring Press tells me how to feel about how it drives.

    1. Friend of mine also said it looks Benz-ish.
      As you say not so distinctive anymore but looks pretty good.
      First thing I thought of was, this is kind of the S2000 for this era? It’s probably way too heavy though. And no manual I imagine unless the four-cylinder perhaps has?

        1. I’m sure that’s probably a more accurate assessment. The proportions are more S2000. That’s likely to be one of the few points in common though.

  7. The local P-club accepted an opinion piece for the next quarterly magazine “Classic” (think PCA Panorama, but with a run of 3k instead of 55k).
    So I’m an auto journo now, and looking forward to the podcast millions, shrimp sandwich for lunch, and product launches on exotic islands.

      1. Yes I know, I just got me a MySpace presence for that, but I am struggling with my avatar for Second Life – they just can’t render beard and glasses simultaneously.

  8. The RSX got new sway bar links in the rear last weekend to go with the new tie rods, strut mounts and front sway bar links from the weekend before. I was hoping it would quiet all the noises in the front end, but I still have a low pitch squeak or groan in the RF. It’s quiet when cold. It’s either lower control arm bushings or the strut.
    I also removed the loose rust and treated the rear control arm mount. Though it still seems structurally solid now, enough extra metal fell off that I’m now leaning towards having it repaired.
    Sunday I met a friend of mine who has a 1987 CRX Si Straman in Hocking Hills Ohio and spent about 3 hours driving some great roads. What a great time. I had never gone down there just to drive and now I can’t wait to go back.

  9. The HotWheels 50th Anniversary tour rolled into Garland, Tx today.
    (Hotwheels thinks Garland is Dallas… ElSegundo is LA then!)
    My son and I planned on taking the Mustang but adding the -3 camber and track wheels.
    I get to the last wheel, the 2nd from the last lugnut and it locks up. The impact wrench isn’t doing anything. F-Me.
    Tighten, add penetrate, loosen… locked.
    I get on it with handtools, and break the stud. The lugnut is off too.
    But damn. I picked it up, burned my hand.
    These are ARP studs too. Not run of the mill factory things.
    Summit doesn’t have that flavor locally. No one had a factory replacement.
    I call a tech pal, asking if 4 of 5 is going to be a catastrophe.
    We made the show. Pics to come.

  10. While I think the previous model before the Elantra mid-cycle refresh looks better, it is still attractive. As a side note, Hyundai has been very successful in scaling down the Sonata proportions well in the Elantra and Accent sedans. That is not an easy task, see Fiesta Sedan/ Versa Sedan for comparison. I also still think that modern Hyundai/Kia models have mastered intuitive ergonomics.
    I really like the Infiniti prototypes (last year’s and this year). Hopefully this provides some inspiration for their future designs.
    I haven’t really cared for BMW since about the early aughts. A friend had shown me his then new 7 series (Bangle butt edition) . I wished him many happy miles but I was completely put off by the brand by the needlessly complicated electronic interfaces and the overdone styling. (side note, he wound up hating the car).
    Enough opinions by me. This is coming from a dude driving a beat up Insight, so there’s that….
    Greg,That is a beautiful car.

  11. I replaced the fuel filter in the x3, and resealed a vapor barrier on the right rear door of the same vehicle to keep water from coming in. We’ll see if that works, as I was a little lazy with losing sunlight, and just cleaned the old sealant and reattached. If it doesn’t hold, I can get the door panel off in under 5 minutes, so, no biggie. This car is going on an 1800ish mile road trip for the holiday weekend, so it should be good to go, though I do admit to carrying a spare fuel pump with me as I roam across death valley and the like.
    On another note, the m3 popped a secondary air low code today, second time in a month. Per the collective internet knowledge, that indicates a bad valve on the air line from the secondary air pump to the head. So, that’s on order, with a new gasket. Fixing an M3 problem for $75 seems like a steal.

  12. Weekly maintenance diary. Big fail. Attempted to replace tranny mount in Subaru, with a new one that’s been sitting in the garage for a couple of years. Broke a stud on the one coming out before discovering the replacement is the wrong part. Shrugged it off, ordered new one then turned my attention to CV axle. Got hamfisted, new inner CV separated, boot clamp needed replaced. Overtorqued LBJ on reassembly and stripped threads. Decided to try again another day.

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