The News for February 3rd, 2012


Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of all the things you should care about in the automotive industry without the fluff of a hyper salesman and without the dullness of an executive at a press conference. I also throw in some opinion just because I can. This week:

  • Fiat goes big(ish) with the 500L

  • Hennessey Performance tunes the McLaren MP4-12C

  • Audi prices the rare R8 GT Spyder

  • Mini prices the Cooper Roadster

  • Dodge teases us with the 2013 Viper

  • Shelby Super Cars changes its name to please the other Shelby 

Fiat 500L’s early reveal

Do you love the Fiat 500’s styling but wish it just wasn’t so damn small? If so, Fiat would like to introduce you to the all-new Fiat 500L. This new 5-seater aims to provide the space of a MPV with the feel of a small SUV on the road while still being easy on gas and parking spots like a B segment vehicle.

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All in all, the 500L (for Large) is 414 cm long, 178 cm wide, and 166 cm high, so it may not be as large as the name would suggest, but still enough to be a good multi-purpose vehicle for experienced and first-time buyers alike. At launch, the car will be offered with two 1.4-liter petrol engines – one turbocharged, one naturally aspirated – and one 1.3-liter turbo diesel that carry over from other Fiat models.

The car will hit Europe late this year and may or may not come to America (they won’t say yet). In the meantime, the 500L will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March for those interested.


Hennessey Performance does McLaren

Texas-based tuner and death-trap factory, Hennessey Performance, has set its sights on Britain’s latest supercar, the McLaren MP4-12C. It’s no secret that the MP4-12C is an awesome, good looking, and wicked fast car, but Hennessey believes that the standard 592 horsepower just isn’t enough.

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Following Hennessey protocol, this “HPE800” gets two new massive turbochargers that replace the standard turbochargers that work with the 3.8-liter V8. Other bits of new hardware include a new intercooler system, intake system, titanium exhaust, fuel and engine management system, transmission and clutch cooler, and new super-sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. All those goodies are reportedly good for over 800 horsepower, which should help the HPE800 make mincemeat out of those silly factory-stock Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Furthermore, a new handsome carbon fiber aero kit is available to hopefully keep the buyer’s life expectancy high. Interestingly enough, Hennessey were so impressed with the factory suspension and brakes that they left it all completely untouched as they felt it was “difficult to improve upon”. Good work, McLaren.

No pricing info is available yet, but the standard car is already north of $230,000. 


Audi R8 GT Spyder priced at $210,000

The Audi R8 GT is the fastest and most exclusive car in the Audi lineup right now with just 333 in existence. Audi just recently took it a step further by introducing a drop-top version dubbed the R8 GT Spyder and now it has a price tag to match its lunacy and exclusivity. $210,000 gets you a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V10 that makes 560 horsepower and a little less body work so you can hear it better. Combined with a 6-speed R-Tronic transmission and Quattro AWD, the R8 GT Spyder can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 197 mph.

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Interested? If so, act soon because only 333 will ever be built and just 50 of those are coming to America.


Mini Cooper Roadster priced at $24,350+

Mini’s all-new Cooper Roadster made its world debut just a few months ago and has been touted as their most driver-focused and most fun car yet. Those who are interested should be ready to spend $24,350 on an entry-level Roadster with 121 horsepower, $27,350 on the Roadster S with 181 horsepower, and not-so-cool $34,500 for 208 horsepower the John Cooper Works model. Each model is powered by a 1.6-liter inline four and all except the entry-level Roadster use twin-scroll turbochargers. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard equipment but buyers can opt for a 6-speed automatic on the Roadster and Roadster S models for an additional $1,250.

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So what say you? Do you think the Mini Roadster is worth the cost? Somehow I would just rather get a normal Cooper S for a few thousand dollars less.


Dodge teases next-gen Viper

The Dodge Viper isn’t dead just yet. After many months of development, Chrysler is ready to reveal the 2013 Viper at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Now that it’s just a few months away, they’re ready to tease the hell out of us. The other day the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Facebook page posted their first teaser shot. This photo doesn’t show as much as we would like, but at least we can tell from its silhouette that it will probably look awesome and will be just as insane as before.


Shelby Super Cars now known as SSC

Shelby Super Cars, a small car company that’s responsible for the Veyron-killing Ultimate Aero and the all-new Tuatara, is officially changing names and will now be known simply as “SSC”. While many people already just called it SSC, many more kept confusing them with Mustang tuner, Carroll Shelby, when in fact SSC has no relationship with Carroll Shelby. It was named Shelby Super Cars after the company’s founder, Jerod Shelby. Of course, the walking copyright whore wasn’t pleased that another company had the right to include “Shelby” in its official name, so they threatened to sue. Shelby Super Cars and Carroll Shelby Licensing both agreed that officially changing the name to SSC would suffice. Crisis averted, bring on the 1,350 horsepower Tuatara.   

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