The News for August 29th, 2014

149825_1_5 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:

  • 2015 Volvo XC90 is finally here and ready to dominate the SUV market

  • Renault revives its racing passion with the RS 01

  • Toyota to re-release the beloved Land Cruiser 70

  • 2015 Ford Mustang enters production

  • Aston Martin Lagonda partially unveiled again

2015 Volvo XC90

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“When we eventually see the [2015 Volvo XC90], I’ll definitely cover it here. Unless it ends up being crap.” – The News for August 15th, 2014

Uhm… yeah, guess what? It’s not crap. Volvo has finally lifted the covers of the entire 2015 XC90 which, as I’m sure you could guess, has received a complete redesign while on its way to global SUV domination. And yes, I do realize that Kamil just talked about this a few days ago. But I don’t care. The three-year, eleven-billion-dollar project has yielded a premium seven-seat SUV with a very attractive exterior design, luxurious premium interior, new powertrain technology, exceptional power, and impressive efficiency. All for a price which, while not confirmed, will likely be considerably less than its other premium rivals. First of all, that design. The new XC90 is the first Volvo to carry their new “iron mark”, their more prominent logo proudly displayed on the shiny grille, which still features the signature diagonal slash. At both ends of the grille are new T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” DRL headlights. The bonnet is longer, likely for safety reasons, and is more sculpted than before to help make it look more elegant as it cuts through the wind. Apart from appearing more refined than before, the new XC90 also looks more muscular than before with sharpened shoulders, a higher belt line, and wheel sizes going up to twenty-two inches. A neatly sculpted business end with “tattoo-like” tail lights will make the new XC90 a car that you’d hate to see go, but love to watch it leave. 149823_1_5 The interior of the all-new XC90 is meant to be beautiful, comfortable, spacious, and most importantly, versatile. What’s the point of buying a sport utility vehicle if you can’t use it for utility-like things, right? Design-wise, it’s “pure and uncluttered”, “sophisticated and formal”, and in tune with Volvo’s Scandinavian design heritage. There are few buttons to be found, thanks primarily to a huge touch-screen infotainment center which replaces the need. The rest of the gorgeous interior is adorned with soft leather, real wood, and hand-crafted details such as the crystal glass gearshift from Orrefors (famous Swedish glass maker) and the diamond-cut start/stop button and volume control. All in all, the XC90 should be a great SUV to ride in for up to seven people. Volvo even claims the third-row is actually designed to fit real people. 150057_1_5 Underneath all that fancy Scandinavian sheet metal and fancy Scandinavian leather is an equally fancy Scandinavian powertrain. A range of petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines are available in many different combinations (which Volvo was kind enough to NOT discuss in the press release). There is one they touched on though, and that’s the XC9o Twin Engine. As the name suggests, there are two engines – one petrol and one electric. The petrol engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four which is turbocharged and supercharged which produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque on its own. Total system output is 400 horsepower and 472 lb.-ft. of torque when the electric motor is charged. The only available transmission is an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive is probably standard. I say probably because, once again, Volvo just doesn’t talk about any of that pesky mechanical stuff in their newest releases. Throw me a freakin’ bone here! On top of all that greatness discussed above is Volvo’s superior, no, legendary safety which has once again been improved in the all-new XC90. Two world-first technologies are introduced here, those being a run-off road protection system and a system for auto-braking at intersections. The run-off package can sense when the car is about to go on an adventure and will tighten belts and rely on its energy-absorbing seat cushioning to prevent spinal injuries from hard landings. A car that can stop itself in traffic is nothing new, but the XC90 goes a step further and will stop itself if the driver is about to turn out in front of traffic. At least I’d hope it would stop itself if the driver is about to drive out in front of traffic. A car that stopped itself after being driven out into traffic is something you’d buy when setting up a life insurance scam. The all-new Volvo XC90 will start making its way to dealerships… uh, eventually? There is a way though to ensure that your Volvo XC90 arrives before the rest do, which is to snatch up one of just 1,927 First Edition models. This special edition Xc90 is only available to buy online after September 3rd at 16.00 hrs CET on www.volvocars.com. [Source: Volvo]

Renaultsport RS 01

RS01_1 And now for something completely different. Renault is reigniting their passion for motorsport with the Renaulsport RS 01 – and yes, they’re actually building it. The built cars aren’t destined for any showroom though. Each one is being built exclusively for Renault’s upcoming one-make racing series, the Renaultsport Trophy, but it’s also meant to serve as a radical expression of the French marque’s sporting DNA. The RS 01 is lots of show and lots of go with its concept car looks and its thoroughbred racing pedigree. The chassis consists of a carbon fiber monocoque built by Dallara to a specification which conforms to FIA LMP1 standards. When combined with a lightweight, aerodynamic body on top of only the most essential mechanicals, the RS 01 weighs at most 2,400 pounds. RS01_2 That lack of mass is a cake walk for the engine they’ve chosen to power the RS 01. Mounted just behind the driver is the 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 from the Nissan GT-R which has been tuned to provide “more than” 500 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque. Unlike the actual GT-R, that motor is propelling a lightweight car and does so by powering just the rear wheels through a seven-speed paddleshift gearbox which includes an anti-stall feature. The results are surely phenomenal. Fortunately, traction control is included. 15-inch carbon brake discs with six-piston calipers and Bosch ABS will slow this thing down quickly and the Michelin racing tires will give it all the grip it needs. Renault claims the overall performance of the RS 01 is “between a GT3 and a DTM”. Not bad at all. Keep an eye out for the Renaultsport RS 01 when it makes its track debut next year. [Source: Renault via Autoblog]

Toyota Land Cruiser 70 re-release

la701408_17_S I’ve got great news! Toyota will be bringing the beloved Land Cruiser 70 back for a glorious year-long homecoming next year in a form as original as possible. Call it a revival, but as Autoweek points out, Toyota never really quit producing the immensely popular Land Cruiser 70, which was first introduced way back in 1984. The 4×4 is still in production today in markets like Australia and others, but none have been built in Japan for the last ten years. la701408_10_S When Land Cruiser 70 production returns to Japan – and only Japan – next year, it will be built much like the original was, as a simple and rugged 4×4. It will be available as a traditional full-bodied SUV in addition to a four-door pickup and will feature just enough of the new stuff to call it new. The design has been slightly tweaked and its interior is new, but for the most part it still looks the same. The powertrain is also updated and it’s a 4.0-liter V6 which is lucky enough to be chosen for the task. 228 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque is pumped through a five-speed manual transmission and a part-time four-wheel drive system. Pricing is equivalent to about $33,000-$35,000 depending on the body style and Toyota is prepared to sell 200 per month all next year. For something like this, it’s absolutely worth it. The only other thing I can say to our Japanese readers (do we have Japanese readers?) is enjoy! You lucky $&%@?! [Source: Toyota via Autoweek]

Blips

JOE HINRICHS_SKV_1418 More good news this week for those who have been anxiously waiting for the 2015 Ford Mustang: production is underway! The all-new pony car began rolling off Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant just yesterday and will soon be available to buy in American dealerships. This is significant for Ford because not only is their latest and (maybe) greatest iteration of their iconic Mustang going live, but it’s also the first Mustang to be exported globally from day one. By next year, the 2015 Mustang will be on sale in more than 120 countries worldwide, including wrong right-hand-drive markets. Americans should start seeing these on the road in the coming weeks. [Source: Ford] lagondaleak Aston Martin’s new super-exclusive Lagonda has been kept mostly under wraps since it was first announced a few weeks ago, until today. Thanks to an unofficial unveiling by Oman Air, we can now see the Middle East’s gorgeous, exclusive, and certainly pricey Lagonda. This car is so exclusive that only those invited by Aston Martin can buy it. From the handful of small pics released, we can tell it’s going to be something spectacular. When Aston Martin reveals it in full on their own accord, I’ll add it to the next News post. Just because. [Source: Autoweek]

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