Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week, Porsche updates the Macan Turbo with more power and some awesome-looking brakes, Ford reveals EPA estimates for the new Explorer Hybrid, and another industry icon – Jessi Combs – has left us.
2020 Porsche Macan Turbo
A lot of crossovers claim to be just as fast and engaging as sports cars to an extent that’s often infuriating and insulting for anyone who has ever driven a sports car. But there’s one crossover that stands alone in proving that such a thing is actually possible and that’s the Porsche Macan. It gets a new (for the Macan) engine, chassis enhancements, and plenty of new tech and convenience features. It’s all aimed to make a favorite in the category even better.
The new engine is a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 434 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque. Each of the turbochargers are hidden inside the V of the engine in what Porsche calls a central turbo layout. The short exhaust paths between the combustion chambers and the turbochargers allow for a rapid build-up of power and sharp response. When equipped with the Sport Chrono package, the Macan Turbo accelerates to 62 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds – three-tenths quicker than before – and tops out at 170 mph. A seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox sends power to all four wheels.
Because Porsche isn’t one to just add power and call it done, the Macan Turbo gets a few neat upgrades in the chassis department. Starting with the brakes, the standard hardware now includes “Porsche Surface Coated Brake”, a tungsten carbide coating on the discs which offers faster response, less wear, and up to 90% less brake dust(!!!!!). The PSCBs are standard on the Turbo and optional on all other Macan models. If they can just go ahead and start selling that in a size that fits my Mustang, that’d be great. Other optional extras like the height-adjustable air suspension also have a few tweaks made to them and the ceramic composite brakes are still available as well if you like having to clean off your wheels regularly.
Meanwhile, standard interior features include adaptive leather sports seats with 18-way adjustment, a 10.9″ infotainment screen, and a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system. You can now opt for a wireless device charging pad, heated windscreen, an ioniser to improve cabin air quality, and traffic jam assistant with semi-autonomous features.
Those that want in can place their orders now. Pricing hasn’t been announced.
2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
Ford has revealed EPA mileage estimates for their all-new Explorer Hybrid and they’re actually not so bad. The 3.3-liter “hybrid engine” sips gas for such a large SUV when equipped with RWD. The EPA estimated 27 mpg city and 29 mpg highway in that configuration. With an 18-gallon tank, that allows for a driving range of around 500 miles. Once you add 4WD to the mix though, those numbers drop considerably with 23 mpg city and 26 mpg highway being the estimates. Compared to the non-hybrid Explorers, the one with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost gets 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway as RWD and 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway as 4WD. That’s right, somehow the 4WD Hybrid is slightly worse in highway mileage compared to the non-hybrid four-cylinder 4WD model. Weight is a hell of a thing.
But in any event, the Hybrid model should be able to get you a solid 450-500 miles a tank depending on its configuration if you drive reasonably. Ford suggests that’s enough to cover a round trip from NYC to DC, Detroit to Toronto, and Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Order books should be open for the Explorer Hybrid soon, if not already. I couldn’t be bothered to look because the new Tool album is dropping as I’m writing this.
Jessi Combs – 1980 – 2019
Awful things keep happening to great people and the automotive community has been hit hard lately. Few hits have been as hard as this one though. Jessi Combs, one of the toughest and most genuine people in the industry, passed away on Tuesday while attempting to break her own land speed record. She was 39. Details are scarce at this point and will probably stay that way, but she was piloting the North American Eagle on a dry lake bed in Oregon with the goal of becoming the fastest woman on earth (not just on four wheels).
Jessi was a talented TV presenter having worked on shows like Mythbusters, Overhaulin, Extreme 4×4, and “The List” on Autoblog and also had many off-road racing successes to her name. She won King of the Hammers in 2016, finished 2nd in class at the 2011 Baja 1000, and competed in many others. But her accomplishments alone didn’t define her. The outpouring of love for Jessi that followed immediately after this announcement shows how many people respected and were inspired by her. It seems that she made a fan everywhere she went. I unfortunately only know her from her TV appearances, but learned a lot more about who she was as a person from her appearance on The Smoking Tire Podcast. Which was to say she was perhaps the biggest badass the world has ever seen.
Shortly after the incident was made public, Jessi’s family issued a statement:
It is with extreme grief, and in celebration of her life that her family and close friends share that race car driver, and TV personality Jessi Combs, passed away in a fatal crash, where she was pursuing a land speed record in the North American Eagle on August, 27th 2019 on a dry lake bed in Oregon. The details of the crash have not been released at this time.
Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams. Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young Girls, and Women around the world. People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012. Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.
Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched.
Jessi is known for her hosting work on television series including “All Girls Garage”, “Overhaulin’ “, Extreme 4×4 and Autoblog’s “The List”.
Jessi is survived by her Mother Nina (Chuck, niece NIna Alayne) Darrington, Father Jamie (Sandy) Combs, brother Kelly Combs (Cary, Eli, Ethan and Anna), sisters Danielle Theis (Jacin, Justice, Nation), Brother Austin Darrington (Leah, Lane) Kayla Green, Kyrie Darrington, Natasha Darrington
Step sisters Rebekah Hall (son Aaren Kearns), Arielle Hall (son Dru Hanson). And Jessi‘s love Terry Madden and his son Dalton.
A celebration of Jessi’s life in being planned and a foundation is being created to continue her efforts to empower women and young girls to follow their dreams.
Godspeed, Jessi. If only we could be so lucky to have another one like you.