Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:
Ferrari California grows up and gets a turbo
Mercedes-Benz S Class Coupe is like a modern land yacht
Audi S1 and S1 Sportback wishes it was a rally car
Ford sweetens the deal on the 2015 Mustang – literally
Ferrari California T
The California may not have been the most loved Ferrari when it was first launched in 2008. Styling was a bit awkward and for many I’d imagine that it was hard to pick the California when cars like the 458 Italia were on the same showroom floor. But nevertheless, it sold well enough to warrant the revamped model you see above which we’ll get to see in full at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Because the internet is a thing, Ferrari has given us commoners a quick glimpse at what’s changed.
We’ll start with the styling, which may still be polarizing to some, but has certainly improved. Gone are the cringeworthy stacked tailpipes and awkward posterior and in are obvious styling cues borrowed from the F12 Berlinetta up front and the 250 Testa Rossa in its hips. But overall the car looks sleeker, cleaner, and more like a Ferrari. The interior also gets updated with new looks, technology, and ergonomics, but that’s pretty much all we know now.
To know what other big update to the California is, one must first look at the name. That “T” tacked on at the end is also present on Ferrari’s 2014 Formula 1 season entry, which can only mean one thing – and yes, it’s back. A turbocharger in a Ferrari road car is in use for the first time since Ferrari gave the world the legendary F40. Fitting that they brought it back in the same year that turbos reappeared in Formula 1. The newly developed 3.9-liter V8 with its new companion that looks like a snail produces 552 horsepower and 556 lb.-ft. of torque, which Ferrari says can be summoned with no turbo lag.
Despite the substantial improvement in power (about 100 horsepower more than the outgoing model has), fuel efficiency has been improved by 15 percent. You can think about how awesome that is while you nail the 0-60 mph run in just 3.6 seconds and reach for its 196 mph top speed (on a closed racetrack, of course – kidding! Nobody takes Californias to race tracks).
Performance has improved elsewhere as well, as Ferrari promises improved steering, reduced body roll, and massive carbon ceramic brakes to keep that power out of a ditch. But easily the most important figure in all of this is how long it takes for the folding hardtop to retract, which is an impressive fourteen seconds.
More details on how Ferrari went about redesigning the California will be available at its official launch at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Other details like pricing (come on, it’s a Ferrari) and availability info will be given at a later date.
[Source: Ferrari via Autoweek]
2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
Now it’s time for another super two-door from Europe that was also revealed ahead of its Geneva Motor Show debut. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is all-new for 2015 and it’s aiming to be the most advanced, luxurious, and classiest one yet. Or it could be revolting, but I’ll let you decide on that.
The all-new design is certainly something that stands out, which I imagine would be appreciated by someone who drops over $100,000 on one of these. It’s more muscular, lower, and sleeker, and with a body length of 198 inches, it’s like a modern interpretation of a land yacht, only that yacht is one of those $200 million super yachts you see docked in Monaco with helicopter pads and bath tubs shod in ancient Roman tiling or something ridiculous(ly awesome) like that. One of more nifty features of the new design is that it incorporates a panoramic glass roof which features some kind of alien technology which allows you to switch between nearly full transparency and almost complete darkness at the push of a button. That’s probably the coolest feature on this car’s new exterior, while the most ridiculous feature award goes to the optional headlights, which incorporate 47 Swarovski crystals on each side. No, really. I’m sure your new S-Class will be fine if you park it on the street for the night.
Beneath the trick roof is an all-new cabin
made entirely from crystals crafted to look more appealing (I’m still looking for the warp drive button) and is wrapped in the best leather you can get in any Benz. The instrument cluster and infotainment center are both big screens that do a good job of looking as if it’s a single unit while above them is an available heads-up display featuring speed, navigation, and other helpful information. The armrest is also heated because why not.
Powering this luxury yacht is a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 which produces 449 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, good enough to propel it from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. That’s not bad, but what’s more impressive is the suspension’s party trick. A world first, Benz’s new “curve tilting” function enables this S-Class Coupe to effectively “lean” into corners as someone on two wheels could but only up to an angle of 2.5 degrees to either side. This system is initiated by sensors up front that can detect the approaching corner. Be surprised if this doesn’t end up in more high-performance Benzes very soon.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]
Audi S1 and S1 Sportback
This week, Audi announced the return of a famous model name to its lineup. Back in the 80s, Audi S1 meant World Rally Championship-dominating rally car. Starting later this year, S1 will mean a little devil of a car that you can drive to work. Available in either three or five-door configurations, the S1 wants to be your daily driver with an attitude of a weekend toy – but only if you live in Europe, even though the original S1 rally car competed in America on occasion.
Nevertheless, the Audi S1 packs a 231 horsepower, 273 lb.-ft. punch thanks to its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. 0-62 mph is achieved in as little as 5.8 seconds yet it only needs a gallon for every 33 miles traveled (by EU measurements). The usual Quattro all-wheel drive system is standard equipment as is its multi-plate hydraulic clutch and electronic differential lock. The suspension has been “extensively revamped” with variable shock absorbers providing a firm ride but hopefully not too harsh. Super quick and sharp steering inputs are possible with a newly developed electromechanical power steering system while big brakes (12.2″ up front) can stop this hot hatch quick enough.
Visually, the S1 is distinguishable by its two bespoke seventeen and eighteen-inch wheel options, the aggressive aero kit, sport exhaust which I assume sounds as mean as the rest of the car looks, color-matching interior trim, and sport bucket seats with an integrated headrest.
German readers can pick up an S1 or S1 Sportback in Q2 2014 for €29,950 and €30,800 respectively. American readers will have yet another car to stare at in jealously from across the pond.
There are few cars sweeter than the Ford Mustang, but now that statement can be taken literally. For some special holiday that might be today, Ford teamed up with 3D Systems to create 3D-printed candy Mustangs. The 4″ long, 2″ wide Mustang can be printed out in either chocolate or sugar candy in a variety of flavors. For now, this candy Mustang thing is a one-day special, but Ford is considering licensing the model so that anyone with a 3D printer capable of printing in candy can create this themselves. Why? Because 3D printing was used extensively during early design prototypes of the 2015 Mustang, and I guess the engineers got super bored one day.