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:
Aston Martin drops the top on the Vanquish Zagato because they could
Tesla reveals Model S P100D with more range and power
Mazda has reportedly approved the RX-9 for production
Ford offering a free* driving academy for Focus RS buyers
EPA is considering a higher octane mandate
What’s your automotive news?
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante
There’s sort of an unwritten rule within the automotive industry which states that any successful new car must be followed up with a convertible version where possible. The latest collaboration between Aston Martin and Zagato is the Vanquish Zagato, a rare and desperately pretty grand tourer, and has certainly been successful in terms of customer demand and all the nice things people on the interwebs say about it. Therefore, convertible.
Aston Martin dropped the top on the Vanquish Zagato Volante at Pebble Beach last Friday (hours after the news ran… of course) and confirmed the extreme customer demand is what convinced them to release a convertible Zagato car. Only two other Aston Martin-Zagato projects have ever been released as convertibles, those being the V8 Vantage Volante from 1987 and the DB AR1 from 2003. As with those examples, the Vanquish Zagato Volante will be produced in extremely limited numbers. Just 99 Volantes will be produced, as with the coupes.
Other than the unique Zagato roof line found on the coupe, the Volante doesn’t miss out on any of the other goodness that made the other Vanquish Zagato such a stunner. The rest of the body apart from the rear deck is identical to the coupe. Same classic Aston Martin proportions, same fine details, same massive grille.
It also keeps that same 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V12, which according to this release produces 592 bhp. The press release I got for the production-ready Vanquish Zagato coupe claimed 576 bhp where the concept claimed 592 bhp. Either way, the Volante takes 3.7 seconds to hit 60mph from a stand still as opposed to the 3.5 seconds in the coupe. Is that power figure a typo? Did the coupe actually have 592 bhp all along and they just lied to us? Is the Volante really still slower than the coupe even though it has more power? I thought about reaching out to Aston Martin for a comment on this yuge scandal, but I figured nobody really gives a shit.
Deliveries begin sometime in 2017.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Tesla Model S P100D
Tesla has revealed a new range-topping Model S with a larger battery and more power. The Tesla Model S P100D gets a new 100kWh battery which Elon says is the most complex battery they’ve created yet, but the end result is the quickest Model S to date. The Model X will also get this new battery at some point, but nobody cares about that one.
Tesla claims 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds when equipped with Ludicrous mode, a number which puts it right in line with the world’s greatest supercars. Tesla points out that only the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder were able to beat it, but both of those cannot be bought new (unless Ferrari allows you to buy the LaFerrari Spyder) and that they’re two-seaters with very little luggage space (yeah, no shit). But there’s no denying that the quickest production car in the world will soon be the Model S P100D, an electric sedan which can seat up to seven (five adults, two children).
A number which probably matters to more EV buyers than a 0-60 time is the range. Fortunately, that’s improved quite a bit as well on the P100D. It’s been rated by the EPA at 315 miles, making it the first EV to officially break 300 miles on the EPA cycle.
They didn’t talk MSRP on the P100D Ludicrous, but they did say buyers who have not yet taken delivery of their P90D Ludicrous can upgrade to the 100kWh pack for $10,000. Existing P90D Ludicrous owners can do the same for $20,000 because there are additional costs associated with recycling the old battery. As new, there’s no way this won’t be deep into the $100,000 range.
Even Tesla admits it’s expensive but emphasized that sales on the P100D help them ramp up their production lines so they can actually deliver those hundreds of thousands of Model 3s people are expecting sometime before they die.
Mazda has reportedly green-lit the RX Vision concept and its rotary engine according to a report in a Japanese magazine which was obtained by Motoring which was obtained by Autoweek which I stumbled across at 2:00am the morning this is going live. The concept many are assuming to have previewed the RX-9 was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show last year and it broke the internet. The feedback Mazda received was very positive, so positive that its board of directors formally approved the design, engineering, and production of the latest RX sports car. As Motoring points out, the RX-9 name is something that Mazda has already trademarked so it’s confirmed they’re at least thinking about it in some capacity. Preliminary thoughts are that it’ll weigh under 2,800 pounds, will be powered by a dual-rotor 1.6-liter engine, could have twin-turbochargers, and would theoretically have between 300 and 400 horsepower with numerous grains of salt taken. We could see another RX-9 concept as early as next year with production models hitting dealerships by 2020. Between this and the thought of a Toyota Supra revival, we have a lot to look forward to.
[Source: Everyone via Autoweek]
Ford is offering a free* driving school to anyone who buys a new Focus RS. The RS Adrenaline Academy is not unlike the Ford Focus ST Octane Academy they launched a few years ago. The instruction is free, cars and safety equipment are provided, and it’s at the wonderful Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly Miller Motorsports Park) in Grantsville, Utah. There will be classroom sessions and on-track exercises led by professional driving instructors who will guide buyers through the four driving modes (including Drift Mode) and explore the capabilities of this street-legal rally car. Travel and lodging is something drivers will have to take care of, but all instruction is included in the Focus RS purchase price. Those interested should consult rsadrenalineacademy.com more information on how to enroll.
And while we’re on the topic of Ford Performance, they announced last week that Ford GT production will extend to another two years and add an additional 500 units, bringing the total up to 1,000. If you’re a Ford collector and avid Hawaiian shirt wearer or a popular YouTuber, Ford may be in touch soon.
[Source: Ford via Autoweek]
EPA considering higher octane fuel mandate according to a report from Automotive News/Autoweek. This is in response to the rise of turbochargers, direct injection, and higher compression engines. The proposed benefit would be better fuel economy, reduced emissions, and of course better performance. This won’t happen any time soon though as it needs to wait until the next set of fuel economy and emissions standards take effect after 2025. Many automakers have been bringing this up to the EPA and it seems that they’re starting to listen. They’re all using Europe as an example where octane ratings are between 95 and 100 most of the time, based on the RON scale. Dan Nicholson, General Motors’ vice president of global propulsion systems, told Automotive News that he expects most engines would receive a 5% boost in fuel economy if we had the same higher octane gas as Europe. Now there is the matter of price since premium fuel here is considerably higher than regular fuel, but Automotive News believes the mandate will make the price difference between premium and regular evaporate pretty quickly. Official talks among the EPA and the industry are still a few years out at best so there’s plenty of time to procrastinate and do nothing.
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]