The News for February 14th, 2020

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, Toyota updates the Supra and adds a new engine option, Aston Martin finally drops the top on the new Vantage, Kia teases the next Sorento, and Nissan files a lawsuit for damages against Carlos Ghosn.

2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 and 3.0

2021 GR SUPRA

The long-awaited Supra revival may have only come out last year, but Toyota has already found some things to improve on. The GR Supra gets more power, a reworked chassis, a new special edition, and a four-cylinder version that’s also coming to America. Read on for the details, unless you have one of the 2020 models…

The existing six-cylinder Supra, which will now be called the Supra 3.0, will enjoy a healthy power bump from its 3.0-liter straight-six. The BMW-sourced twin-scroll turbo unit now produces 382 horsepower and 368 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 47 horsepower and 3 lb.-ft. of torque. Those numbers are more in line with what BMW’s flagship straight-sixes are producing these days. Toyota says they provided a new dual-branch exhaust manifold with six ports instead of two which improves heat management. They also include a new piston design which reduces the engine’s compression ratio from 11:1 to 10.2:1. Toyota says the engine produces higher torque at higher revs and maintains its eagerness to rev. Its 0-60 time is expected to drop from 4.1 seconds to 3.9 seconds as well.

2021 GR SUPRA

An improvement in the handling department is also on the table. The Supra 3.0 gets lightweight aluminum braces that tie the strut towers to the radiator support to increase lateral rigidity, along with front and rear bump stops and new damper tuning. There’s also revised programming for the electric power steering, Adaptive Variable Suspension, stability control, and the active differential. The net results according to Toyota is more stability through quick transitions, such as compound turns.

There’s also a small update to speak of inside the cabin: the once optional 8″ screen used for the infotainment system is now the standard across all Supra models. Also, those opting for the Supra 3.0 model will get the chance to pick up one of 1,000 A91 Editions exclusive to the 2021 model year. They’re sold as regular GR Supra 3.0 models with everything that was just mentioned but with only two colors to pick from – an exclusive color or a non-exclusive color. It also includes “two exclusive key gloves” and – I shit you not – an ultra-exclusive trunk mat.

About that four-cylinder…

2021 GR SUPRA

As has been promised since the days of camouflaged prototypes and concept renderings, Toyota is offering a turbocharged four-cylinder version for the first time. This marks the return of the two-tiered performance lineup as the A70 and A80 had. It’ll be the cheaper entry point for the new Supra, but that doesn’t mean it’s just another base model.

Powered by what is certainly another BMW engine, the Supra 2.0 still gets a solid 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque available at a wide rev range. Like the other BMW engine they borrow for the Supra 3.0, this 2.0-liter four-banger utilizes a twin-scroll turbo, direct injection, and continuously variable timing on both intake and exhaust camshafts. Paired with the same 8-speed automatic as its bigger brother for quick shifting, Toyota expects a five-second 0-60 time.

While Toyota withholds certain performance goodies like the active differential and active suspension from the 3.0 model, the 2.0 does have a few advantages of its own. It’s more than 200 pounds lighter while maintaining its “near” 50:50 weight distribution. In 2020, a 3,181-pound curb weight is a bragging right. The lack of two cylinders isn’t the only source of that weight loss though. Because it’s technically the base model, it won’t have quite the same level of luxury inside. The standard audio system is a four-speaker unit (as opposed to ten) and the seats are manually adjusted. The front brakes are also slightly smaller to account for the weight loss. Many of the creature comforts available on the Supra 3.0 as options are also available on the Supra 2.0 though. It also gets its own wheel design which appears to be the only way you can tell the models apart.

The new Supras arrive in dealerships this June. Pricing for the updated 3.0 and the new 2.0 have not been announced yet.

[Source: Toyota]

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

Vantage_Roadster

It’s almost surprising that it took this long, but Aston Martin’s Vantage Roadster is getting brought into the newest generation. Open-top Astons have always been favorites with their customers, so they likely took the extra two years to make this one right.

All the mechanical goodness that makes the Vantage Coupe such an engaging drive carries over unchanged. That means a totally-not Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a ZF eight-speed transmission channeling all 503 horsepower to the rear wheels. The only difference is you can hear a lot more of it now. Aston stuck with a fabric top which they call the “tautly tailored fabric hood” (god bless the British) because it’s more compact and lighter. Between the lightness of the top and its z-fold roof mechanism, it’s also the fastest-operating automatic convertible system on the market at 6.7 seconds to lower and 6.8 seconds to raise. The top isn’t just some flimsy thing either because it can withstand speeds up to 190 mph. And there’s minimal impact to the trunk space with the told folded, which allows it to pass the most important performance metric of them all… the golf bag test.

The Vantage Roadster launches during Q2 this year and it’s open for your orders now. Prices start at $161,000.

[Source: Aston Martin]

New Kia Sorento teaser

new sorento

Kia will be using the Geneva Motor Show, the flashiest and least practical auto show on the circuit, to debut something not flashy but practical. Based on some teaser shots that Autoweek got a hold of, we can expect a new crossover/SUV that will be known as the new Sorento in the US. We can see enough of the design through the shadows to know it’ll be as striking of a design as other recent Kias. This company has been on the rise for several years now but it still feels odd to have works like “striking” and “Kia” in the same sentence. We’ll see if they can keep that streak going when it debuts in March.

[Source: Kia via Autoweek]

Nissan sues Carlos Ghosn for $91 million

ghosn

This is the only picture we have of him because I’m too lazy to find more

The gift that keeps on giving has delivered once again. According to a Reuters report, Nissan has filed a lawsuit against former CEO and the first name to be scratched off their Christmas card mailing list with the bigger sharpie, Carlos Ghosn. They are seeking $91 million in damages which are related to the charges of financial misconduct that are pending against him. Reuters adds that Nissan “seeks to recover fines it expects to have to pay to regulators due to Ghosn’s alleged misconduct, which prosecutors say includes understating his annual salary and misusing company funds.” They go on to say the damages may increase in the future depending on how things play out in court and there may be another defamation lawsuit in response to Ghosn’s allegations of a Nissan “conspiracy” which forced him out of power.

Will Nissan’s lawsuit hold up in court? Can Japan convince Lebanon to extradite Ghosn? Is Nissan going to sue again? Stay tuned for the next episode of Keeping up with the Ghosns.

[Source: Reuters via MotorAuthority]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse

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.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

30 Comments

  1. The ’91 Econoline failed its emissions inspection. This was not a big surprise. The van was originally owned by the US Postal Service and it’s possible it has never been inspected for emissions, I’m not sure if USPS is exempt.
    The jerk that sold it to me 2 years ago had dicked with the ignition timing severely and made a phony mark on the pulley to get it to pass. This resulted in an overheating problem and a loss of power. That’s been reversed (my mechanic said no one had ever unwrapped the connector to set the timing correctly.)
    I’m guessing 30 years of running out of spec has toasted the catalytic converter, but something upstream has to fail before the cat gets overtaxed.

    When I tell people I failed SMOG many of them say, “I know a guy that for an extra hundred bucks…” I have to explain that I’d rather get it running correctly, and in compliance, because there’s a hope that might get my mileage up into the double digits. Save a hundred bucks in gas if that happens.

  2. The ’91 Econoline failed its emissions inspection. This was not a big surprise. The van was originally owned by the US Postal Service and it’s possible it has never been inspected for emissions, I’m not sure if USPS is exempt.
    The jerk that sold it to me 2 years ago had dicked with the ignition timing severely and made a phony mark on the pulley to get it to pass. This resulted in an overheating problem and a loss of power. That’s been reversed (my mechanic said no one had ever unwrapped the connector to set the timing correctly.)
    I’m guessing 30 years of running out of spec has toasted the catalytic converter, but something upstream has to fail before the cat gets overtaxed.

    When I tell people I failed SMOG many of them say, “I know a guy that for an extra hundred bucks…” I have to explain that I’d rather get it running correctly, and in compliance, because there’s a hope that might get my mileage up into the double digits. Save a hundred bucks in gas if that happens.

    1. Supposedly they acknowledged the demand for a manual at a press launch by saying “we hear you”. So it *might* still be in the works.

      1. Is it really that big an investment? BMW already has 6-speeds that mate to the B48B20 and B58B30 (used in the 3-Series), so it’s not like development work is required. Does a manual-equipped version of a car require a completely separate crash-test qualification, emissions certification, etc.? I’ve heard this might be the reason why the Dodge Charger isn’t offered with a manual, but is it really that costly?

        I realize the take rate wouldn’t be high, but I wonder if the death of the true manual isn’t so much because people don’t want it, as it that it’s simply not available.

          1. The GT86 is a good suggestion. I’m not a huge fan of coupes, but considering we’re already talking about one, it’s a relevant comparison. Other than the lack of doors, the only thing I really dislike about it is the styling. It’s homely– something I’ve grown accustomed to from Toyota lately, though it doesn’t make it tolerable.

          2. I like the GT86 styling personally, the proportions are great, the detailing not too fussy by modern standards. The only booboo tends to be the wheel choice generally.

  3. The ’91 Econoline failed its emissions inspection. This was not a big surprise. The van was originally owned by the US Postal Service and it’s possible it has never been inspected for emissions, I’m not sure if USPS is exempt.
    The jerk that sold it to me 2 years ago had dicked with the ignition timing severely and made a phony mark on the pulley to get it to pass. This resulted in an overheating problem and a loss of power. That’s been reversed (my mechanic said no one had ever unwrapped the connector to set the timing correctly.)
    I’m guessing 30 years of running out of spec has toasted the catalytic converter, but something upstream has to fail before the cat gets overtaxed.

    When I tell people I failed SMOG many of them say, “I know a guy that for an extra hundred bucks…” I have to explain that I’d rather get it running correctly, and in compliance, because there’s a hope that might get my mileage up into the double digits. Save a hundred bucks in gas if that happens.

      1. Right? My ’91 C1500 got 16 mpg with just a TBI in there. It was a 305 and not the 351 that’s in the Ford, but they both weigh the same. Twelve mpg would be a 150% improvement.
        The Chev was blessed with a 35 gallon tank, the Ford has 22, which limits my range to 175 miles.

    1. I recall my dad’s E350 (with the 5.8L V8) had impressive power and surprisingly excellent mileage until a “routine tune-up” killed both. He had bought the van from an airport that used it as a taxi shuttle (it was an extended wheelbase model), and he used it as a business vehicle. We wondered whether the condition in which he bought it was an over-performing tune that did not conform to emissions standards, or if the later tune-up was botched. Regardless, he never got it to run as well again after that.

  4. Thursday saw an aborted road trip in the wagon. Heading to Durango, about 300 miles away across mostly deserted reservation, and get 80 miles out, stop at a gas station, and the car won’t hold an idle. Pull the codes, and I’ve got misfires everywhere, and a camshaft sensor code. Was able to get it back home, stash it in the garage, and make the trip in the x3. Been doing some research and have a few things to look into, namely wiring, the camshaft position sensor, and the vanos solenoids, the latter two known to cause issues as the engine ages, as I’ve replaced both of those in the x3 over the years. So, I’ve got some troubleshooting ahead of me when I get home Sunday.

    1. I did the Vanos seals on the E46 when I did the valve cover gasket. Not terribly difficult, just time consuming and a bit tedious. I did manage to break one of the cover studs, however. Thankfully it enough was sticking out that I could grab it with vice grips and remove it.

    2. It’s a shame that BMW seem to have so many short-lived components in the cars before they got ridiculously complicated. (are they actually better now?!?) Then again I suppose there are aftermarket fixes by now.

  5. I’m a little late in getting my update posted this week. And the photo of the week is:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a8ec025d8e850a82bac721bfd9a24637fa6d854ca2c3ba304a603a5633e1ac6f.jpg

    That’s my hand. I hurt it last year, knew another surgery was coming, and that happened this week. So no concrete progress on the car.

    The down time has let me think a bit though. I decided to move the battery to the trunk- slightly for the minimal weight balancing but mostly because getting it out from under the hood gives me space to build a proper cold air intake. Also made some wiring decisions- I’ll be running two electric fans, which means two relays. While in at it I’ll do some relays for the headlights, too, and hopefully make them brighter.

    Also realized my June 1 goal for completion wont happen. Now aiming for driving it before winter sets in.

    1. Geez, I am reading this while making waffles, I have to click show media, and I was expecting car stuff in the picture…
      anyway, please get as well as possible, rapidly!

    2. Did you cut the tendon? That looks like exactly the cut pattern I had on my finger when they fixed my severed tendon. On that same finger actually, the right pinkie. About 20 years ago and scar still there.

      1. Yep, I cut the tendon. On a stupid piece of glass. How does your finger work 20 years later? Mine had been stuck halfway curled up, so this was a second surgery to try to fix that. So far it’s much better.

        1. No trouble at all. It was a bit stiff for quite some time though, a few months I think. But was back playing piano like nothing ever happened.

  6. The oil consumption on the 325Ci after doing the “O2 Pilot mod” dropped from 300-400 miles to the quart to over 1,000. Not great, but a marked improvement.

    The Ranger awaits the brake line repairs because, well, I’m not motivated to get out in the cold to fix it. Need to get it done so I can stop driving the BMW in the snow, however.

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