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: the king returns – Porsche’s 911 GT3 is all new, McLaren shows off new hybrid supercar with mind boggling numbers, Chevrolet unveils new Bolt in two flavors, and the famed SRT division is effectively dissolved.
2022 Porsche 911 GT3
The one 911 everyone looks forward to the most with each new generation is the GT3. The high-revving, big-winged, motorsport-derived legend has a new version based on the current 992 platform. Any fears you may have had about the GT3 getting softer or losing some of its magic given the direction VAG has been going can be put to rest. For now. This new GT3 will still be just as raw and rewarding as a GT3 is supposed to be. To put it simply, Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of Porsche NA, says “the new 911 GT3 sends a driver’s heart racing”.
As with every GT3 the centerpiece is its fabulous naturally-aspirated engine. The 4.0-liter, six-cylinder boxer engine generates 502 horsepower and 346 lb.-ft. of torque and revs to a howling 9,000 RPM. It’s nearly identical to the engine found in the 911 GT3 Cup race car (or is it the other way around?) and features six independent throttle bodies. It may sound like the same engine from the outgoing GT3, but they say it’s actually based on the engine from the limited-run 2019 911 Speedster… which was based on the engine from the GT3 at the time. So yes they basically are starting with the same engine. But when it’s as sweet as this one it’s hard to complain. Eager to avoid a repeat of the shit storm from enthusiasts with the launch of the PDK-only 991 GT3, the 992 GT3 will have a six-speed manual transmission available as a no-cost option. Those who would rather have their GT3 with the seven-speed PDK – quite literally the finest automatic on the market – can still do so as well for no additional cost. PDK-equipped models can achieve a 0-60 mph time of just 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 197 mph.
Some of the bigger and more noticeable updates are the aerodynamics. Up front are new integrated cooling ducts plus a front spoiler lip and front diffuser which are both adjustable in stages for track use. New side skirts optimize airflow around the wheels. Meanwhile in the rear is probably the biggest change in GT3 styling in ages. The signature rear wing is now a swan-neck design which is derived straight from motorsport. That too is adjustable in stages with settings set aside for road and track use. With the front and rear aerodynamic settings in the road configuration, the new GT3 still produces 50% greater downforce compared to the previous model. With everything in the most aggressive track mode, that number shoots up to 150%.
This GT3 grows a little bit over the outgoing model but weighs virtually the same thanks to a more extensive application of lightweight materials. The hood, rear wing, and rear diffuser are made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and all the windows consist of lightweight glass. Those CFRP panels aren’t the only new thing borrowed from the race cars – another big new addition is its double wishbone front axle. It’s derived from the 911 RSR and the 911 GT3 Cup cars and adapted for road use, a first for the model. The benefit is even more direct and precise steering plus improved cornering stability when compared to the predecessor. The rear axle is still using a multilink design but uses more ball joints which they say further enhances the car’s capabilities. They’re also keen to point out that this new GT3 suspension does not share any parts with the of the current 911 Carrera models.
With an increase in power and cornering speed also comes an increase in stopping power. New cast iron discs measuring 16.1″ at the front axle with a narrower friction ring to reduce weight isn’t even the most powerful option they offer. For an additional cost you can get Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes which are a tad larger and weigh about half of what the iron ones do. New GT3-specific forged alloy wheels are a little wider yet still lighter than the previous wheels. Though they didn’t mention the tires by name, they will offer the same street legal track tire from the outgoing GT3 RS as an option on the new “base” GT3, which would have been the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2. You can see all of this put to work in a flying lap around some German race track.
In short, the best has gotten better.
This week McLaren started one of those new chapter things with the Artura, the first series-production hybrid in company history. That phrasing is important because it’s definitely not the first hybrid they’ve made – see the P1 and the Speedtail – but this is the hybrid McLaren we’ll be seeing most often. It’s a sign of things to come for the brand who are eager to show they can still provide powerful and engaging supercars as the push for alternative fuels grabs hold of the industry. As such, it’s the most fuel efficient McLaren to date… by a large margin.
If there’s anything the aforementioned McLaren P1 and the “Holy Trinity” of supercars of the era taught us, it’s that hybrid powertrains can make cars faster. Not every hybrid needs to be a soul-sucking experience. The Artura takes this to a greater level with a combination of specifications I never thought I’d see. Gas power comes from an all-new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 capable of 577 horsepower and 431 lb.-ft. of torque on its own. That’s a remarkable 192 horsepower per liter. This engine, which we’re likely going to see more of, is a 120-degree “hot vee” design for lower center of gravity and more compact packaging. It also revs to 8,500 RPM.
Meanwhile, a compact axial flux e-motor sits inside the transmission bell housing. It can provide 94 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque to the equation, either as a supplement to the V6 or a temporary replacement. Battery power comes from a 7.4kWh lithium ion battery pack which enables a pure EV range of a whole nineteen (19) miles. That’s not exactly great by hybrid standards but perhaps not bad at all considering the Artura can hit 60 mph from a standstill in three seconds flat and reached 205 mph. Total system output is 671 horsepower and 531 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite that, European estimates for fuel efficiency call for 50 mpg combined. EPA numbers will be a fair bit lower but that’s still remarkable for a car like this.
As for the rest of the car, yup, it’s a McLaren. It’s built on an all-new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (which will be used more in the future) which was intended specifically for high-performance hybrid applications. In typical McLaren fashion it also allows for significant weight savings. Despite the addition of the hybrid components, which are relatively light themselves, the whole car weighs just 3,300 pounds. And on top of all that, it actually looks pretty good. McLarens had been getting stale for a bit but this is a fresh take on their design language. It’ll look good in the thumbnails of your least favorite YouTuber’s videos.
Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV
The Chevrolet Bolt family received a new member this week. Offered alongside the redesigned 2022 Bolt EV (top) will be the Bolt “EUV” (bottom), which as you can imagine, will be a version of the Bolt with more SUV-like proportions. The underpinnings are the same for both cars but the exterior sheet metal is completely different in style and size. To make their EVs more affordable, prices have also been slashed to levels that can’t go unnoticed by those in the market for a new car.
The starting price for the 2022 Bolt EV has been reduced to $31,995, about $5k less than the previous model. Even the larger 2022 Bolt EUV is still cheaper than the old Bolt with a price starting at $33,995. Prices exclude destination charges and any state, local, or utility incentives. So already these two are shaping up to be some of the most accessible EVs on the market. That doesn’t mean their powertrain cuts corners – quite the opposite. The Bolt’s proven battery technology, including its 65kWh lithium-ion battery pack, delivers up to 259 miles of range in the EV or 250 miles in the EUV (GM’s estimates). These also continue to benefit from their active thermal management system which uses coolant to maintain the battery at its ideal operating temperature. It’s because of this technology that Chevy offers an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. They also offer standard DC fast public charging capability which allows for up to 100 miles of range to be replenished in 30 minutes. Both models feature a single-motor drive unit with 200 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque.
As for what’s new with the Bolt EV, new design updates add a new, more upright front fascia and new front and rear lighting signatures. There’s also a new instrument panel, vehicle controls via a 10.2″ screen, and new seats. It’s largely the same story with the Bolt EUV. Even though they say the sheet metal is entirely different between the two, the EUV literally looks like a slightly taller and slightly longer EV. The features are the same as well save for the optional panoramic power sunroof only on the EUV. So basically it’s going to come down to whether the additional $2,000 is worth it for 3 additional inches of rear seat legroom.
Both versions of the new Bolt will become available this summer.
SRT is being disbanded – sort of
Some heartbreaking news hit the internet this week but initial reports may have been worse than what was actually happening. With the recent merger between FCA and PSA forming Stellantis, word quickly spread that FCA’s enthusiast-favorite SRT brand was getting axed. It’s not technically true… but also not completely wrong either. Stellpower (via Jalopnik) got both confirmation and clarity from the stupidly-named Stellantis.
In February 2021, all of the core elements of the SRT performance engineering team were integrated into Stellantis’ global engineering organization.
This action will have the two-way benefit of ensuring that our brands’ SRT and performance-focused product offerings continue to meet the highest quality standards and expectations, while delivering key learnings from motorsports and other high-performance-technology applications across a wider mix of our company’s product lines.
These products have delighted enthusiasts for nearly two decades, and Stellantis will continue to sell and develop the next generation of Dodge//SRT-branded vehicles, as well as Jeep and Ram vehicles that utilize high-performance SRT technology.
What this means is SRT engineers still have a role in the company and SRT-branded creations will continue to be built and developed. But SRT as a standalone entity is no more. Ralph Gilles, the man who was once the CEO of SRT and now serves as the FCA head of design, took to Instagram to reiterate that this isn’t completely the end of SRT.
I will add that we will keep imagining, developing new & compelling products worthy of the SRT badge for years to come. By being integrated into the core teams, the passionate & brilliant engineers behind the current SRT products will certainly influence the performance aspects of a broader spectrum of products. In fact as an example while there isn’t any outright SRT badging on them, the latest RAM TRX & 392 Wrangler launching this year were a result of RAM & Jeep calling on those very team members to help and work with the core teams… to great results.
SRT’s contributions over the years have been worth celebrating. While it’s still heartbreaking to see them disbanded like this, it’s not the end of the road for what really made SRT what it was – the people that made it.
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.