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, which this week, has everything to do with pre-Geneva Motor Show debuts. Like always and mostly because I’m bored, I throw in some opinion of mine. This week:
Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake is the wagon from hell
Bentley Flying Spur V8 is the right kind of downsizing
Volvo lifts the covers off the Concept Estate, wins Hooniverse
Ford Focus “borrows” styling from the Fusion and the Fiesta’s motor
McLaren releases impressive performance figures for the 650S
[UPDATE] Koenigsegg’s One:1 celebrates twenty years of sheer insanity
2015 Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake
Oh boy. Where do we begin with this one?
The “featured” vehicle of the news this week is bound to be one of those things that instantly wins over the hearts of hoons everywhere. Clearly, it’s a Jaguar with a long roof and the kind of flashy styling that conveys a message of power, pleasure, and certain jail time. It most definitely has a large petrol engine which probably has a supercharger and probably roars through multiple shiny exhaust tips and it has big wheels with red brake calipers tucked in behind them. To the unaware pedestrian, it’s just a flashy wagon that’s no better than an SUV, but to people like us, it’s a machine that you wouldn’t want to see in your rear view mirror but would do nearly anything for the chance to experience it firsthand.
When you bring into consideration that the 2015 Jaguar XFR-S sportbrake you see here probably isn’t coming to America, it suddenly becomes another tragic (for us) entry into the always growing Forbidden Fruit list. If your heart hasn’t been broken yet, stick around for some of the glorious details.
Aside from being a rather pretty car to look at from across the Atlantic, the XFR-S Sportbrake is also a milestone for Jaguar, as it’s the first high-performance sports estate car ever produced by the jungle cat company. This new wagon takes the best that the standard XF Estate has – practicality and comfort – and injects it with the best the XFR-S Saloon has to offer, which is performance that few can match. Sound good?
The only thing that probably sounds better is the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that sits where a 2.2-liter diesel could normally sit in an XF. The new heart is capable of producing 542 horsepower and 501 lb.-ft. of torque, which when combined with an efficient eight-speed “Quickshift” automatic transmission enables this family hauler from hell to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and continue on to a limited top speed of 186 mph.
Drivers who are in favor of being able to take corners will love the other things that the XFR-S Sportbrake borrows from and never returns to its four-door sibling, namely the active electronic differential, dynamic stability control, and other chassis enhancements that have been tweaked to suit the Sportbrake.
To top it all off, passengers will enjoy just as many luxuries as any other Jaguar XF while they aren’t being tested for their bladder control. Plush leather with contrast stitching,
magic body control to reduce body roll, a softer suspension setting, and a fine Meridian sound system to play Jingle Cats over should be enough to make this a true family hauler. When those in the family who failed that earlier test aren’t around, those remaining will also get to enjoy the authentic engine noises that are piped into the cabin for a more engaging experience whenever the revs get high.
If the reports that indicate the absence of the XFR-S Sportbrake in the American market are true, then it really is a shame, because the line to buy one would probably be around the block. Until they change their mind, you’ll just have to settle for the other two R-S Jaguars.
2015 Bentley Flying Spur
Bentley’s Flying Spur, basically a four-door Continental GT, is getting a few new features for the 2015 model year. The most notable update is the addition of the Flying Spur V8, which as the name implies, ditches the old W12 in favor of a fairly new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which offers improved efficiency without sacrificing performance. If this is Bentley’s idea of downsizing, count me in.
Just as in the Continental GT V8, which was the first Bentley to feature this new engine, the Flying Spur V8 will be shipped with 500 horsepower and 487 lb.-ft. of torque. That ought to be enough for anyone’s commute. A smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic handles the delivery of that power to all four wheels. The Flying Spur V8 is an impressive performer in more than one way, as efficiency has been improved enough through modern green tech to give it a 520 mile range on a tank of dinosaurs – significantly better than what the W12 engine could provide. This on a high-end luxury sedan which can go from 0-60 mph in under five seconds.
Another thing borrowed from the Continental GT V8 are some of the V8-specific styling cues which can help a casual observer distinguish between the Bentleys with a V8 and the ones with a W12. Figure-eight chrome exhaust tips designate a V8 from behind while black-painted bumper grilles and red accents to the flying B badge give it away up front. Nineteen-inch Classic alloy wheels are also V8-specific. The interior is as classy as a Bentley should be, with dark fiddleback eucalyptus wood veneer, optional diamond-quilted leather, drilled alloy pedals, and a fancy gear lever available.
Those with deep pockets or a company expense account will need to wait till this spring before placing an order. Prices have not been announced yet.
[Source: Bentley via Autoweek]
Volvo Concept Estate
Mark this one down as another car that all of Hooniverse should go crazy for. It’s another wagon (sort of), though this time from Sweden, and it’s stunning to look at. It’s also brown. The Volvo Concept Estate is one of those rare instances where the “no concept cars” rule of mine gets ignored – partly because this is said to preview the future of Volvo exterior and interior design language but mostly because LOOK AT IT.
There isn’t too much else to say about it that you can’t decipher by looking at the photos, but the concept’s design is meant to be unique, elegant, and beautiful, which will probably be used to inspire future Volvo designs even though this design itself is somewhat inspired by the Volvos of yesterday, such as the 1800 ES.
The interior is thought of as a “Scandinavian living room” where Swedish creativity is met with a bright, playful, yet cozy feeling (no assembly required). Whether or not the designer wool carpets make it to a production vehicle isn’t yet known, but the “perfectly intuitive” and simple interior layout is said to be a sign of things to come. Most controls have been replaced by a center touch screen but everything else is exactly where you’d expect it to be in the neatly organized cabin.
Volvo’s Concept Estate will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show, but after that, the all-new XC90 will be shown later this year which may be our first look at how the design of this concept translates to a production Volvo.
2015 Ford Focus
The best-selling name in the automotive industry right now, the Ford
F-150 Focus, is scheduled for a face lift which is due out on the market sometime around Q3 of this year. Along with some obvious design changes, the Focus also receives a new engine, an updated interior, and some new tech to annoy you.
Up front is a new nose design that was borrowed from Ford’s design flagship, the new Fusion. The totally not Aston Martin-esque five-bar grille has been carried over and the headlights are among a handful of other things which get redesigned to match. Everything from there on back is more or less untouched. The interior has also been retouched by the designer’s cursor as it’s said to feel more modern and look cleaner than before, though they won’t show us that part yet. New trim, updated seating materials, improved storage space, and an optional heated steering wheel have found their way into Ford’s compact.
Bringing a new level of convenience for compact customers are the many new tech features that are now available for the Focus, like a rearview camera, blind-spot monitor, lane keep assist, an available eight-inch touch screen (standard is 4.2″), and an enhanced SYNC system.
The only notable change in the car’s underpinnings is the inclusion of the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine that’s already made a buzz in the Fiesta. A six-speed transmission of sorts will help the new Focus to achieve a greater level of efficiency. Power figures for this engine as it applies to the new Focus haven’t been given yet, but in the Fiesta it makes 132 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder will continue to be available as well.
McLaren 650S performance figures released
Just last week McLaren revealed their edgier, faster sibling of the MP4-12C its based off of which is known as the 650S. Nearly everything one would want to know about the 650S was revealed on the spot, but now, the week before its official debut in Geneva, McLaren made its performance figures official to finish it off. And those figures are pretty remarkable.
If from a standstill you mash the throttle like you hated it, you’ll be at 62 mph in three seconds flat and 124 mph in 8.4 seconds. In 10.4 seconds you will have moved a quarter of a mile down the road and if you really want to tempt fate you can hit 207 mph before aerodynamics take control. These figures, while not as immense as the P1’s, put it noticeably ahead of the MP4-12C (which it does not replace) and even the legendary F1. 0-124 mph is a full second quicker in the 650S than it is in the F1 and the standing quarter mile is also faster by 0.6 seconds.
McLaren also likes to point out that these figures rival if not beat those set by rival “stripped out” road racers without being stripped out itself. This makes the 650S an impressively quick super car that is comfortable enough to be driven every day, which sounds like a winner in my book.
[UPDATE] Koenigsegg One:1
Did I ever tell you the definition… of insanity?
Insanity is a word that can take on various meanings in the automotive industry, but when it comes to Swedish hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg, it only means one thing. For them, it means giving a car the kind of capabilities that challenge the laws of nature in a way that only they could manage to pull off. Allow me to introduce you to exhibit A of Koenigsegg’s insanity… the One:1.
The name alone is enough to tell that this car is on another level, as One:1 refers to its 1:1 power-to-weight ratio (in kilograms), a feat never before accomplished by a homologated production car. It’s also the first car with one megawatt of power (1,341 hp), which they feel is enough to earn it the title of the world’s first “megacar”. 1,341 horsepower in a car that weighs about the same in kilograms? Yep, that’ll do it.
Koenigsegg calls the One:1 a car with its priorities set to being fast around a track with actual corners rather than just top speed. Through the use of advanced aerodynamics both over and beneath the car, super sticky road legal cup tires, intelligent suspension management, and a full array of active aero trickery, Koenigsegg claims the One:1 is capable of an astonishing 2 G’s worth of cornering ability. The turbochargers attached to the fire-breathing V8 utilize a patented 3D-printed variable turbo housing which improves response and low-end torque, so the power can be delivered consistently from any speed. There’s even 3G connectivity for real-time track data sent straight to a customer’s iPhone app. Bad news for Koenigsegg owners with an Android phone – you’ll have to buy a new iPhone to use that feature, which I’m sure is a huge inconvenience.
Despite the One:1’s focus on being a track car first, Koenigsegg claims a top speed of more than 273 mph is possible before the wind overcomes the power. So how about that insanity definition?
The One:1 program was first teased last year, and even before it was mentioned to the public, all models scheduled for production were sold. This car is also a way for Koenigsegg founder and CEO, Christian von Koenigsegg, to celebrate twenty years since he first began to pursue his dream of creating a super sports car that he felt “did not currently exist [check] and one which he believed would be desired [big check]”. If this is what twenty years creates, here’s to the next round.
[Source: Koenigsegg via Autoblog | Introductory quote borrowed from Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 (please don’t sue me)]