Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:
2018 Ford Mustang debuts with a new face, more power, and better handling across the board
BMW 4 Series gets a mid-life refresh and better handling too
Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition launches in Europe and eventually in America
Shelby American celebrates 50 years of the Super Snake with 750 horsepower
Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic arrives on an important anniversary
Land Rover to start using VR to let customers experience new models before they’re out
Dodge releases another Demon teaser video which promises less weight
What’s your automotive news?
2018 Ford Mustang
Ford is giving the Mustang a comprehensive round of updates for the 2018 model year that’s certainly gotten the internet talking. It gets a face lift, new tech, more power, more gears, and better handling across the board and one less V6 to pick from. Ford calls it the most advanced Mustang ever and the public will get a chance to try it out this fall.
Starting with what might be the only controversial thing about this car, the refreshed design mostly reworks the car’s face to have a lower hood and grille for the purpose of refining aerodynamics and providing a leaner look. Its lower grilles are redesigned as well and the hood vents are positioned closer to the car’s nose. Additionally, the entire Mustang line will have all-LED front lights for the first time ever. At the rear, its LED tail lights are lightly redesigned as well as most of the bumper and fascia and there’s a new spoiler option. EcoBoost cars have dual-tip exhaust and the V8 cars now have a standard quad-tip exhaust. The Mustang comes with a dozen alloy wheel designs and a new Orange Fury paint option (pictured).
The Mustang’s interior also gets some love with improved touch points and a more premium look achieved by a hand-stitched center console wrap, contrast stitching, padded knee bolsters, and restyled seating surfaces. Door handles, rings, and bezels are finished in aluminum. There’s a new twelve-inch LCD gauge cluster with plenty of customization options as well as three preset display modes (normal, sport, track).
Now for the good stuff. Both the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and the 5.0-liter V8 receive numerous updates all in the name of speed. The EcoBoost gets a recalibrated overboost function to provide more torque at full throttle. Meanwhile, the V8 benefits from Ford’s new dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection which translates to more low-end torque, greater power up top, and improved fuel efficiency.
The press release doesn’t say exactly how much power and torque these engines are making, but the six-speed manual on the Mustang GT was reinforced with a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel to handle it. The new automatic transmission option is an in-house ten-speed unit that offers quicker shifts, better low-speed tip-in response, and reduced friction losses.
But it gets faster in other ways too thanks to new shock absorbers across all models, a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension, and new stabilizer bars. And perhaps more importantly, the advanced MagneRide suspension from the GT350 can be added to the standard Mustangs with the Performance Package.
Other bits of new tech include a new active-valve exhaust system on the Mustang GT, Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass (an app that lets you start, lock, unlock, and locate your car from your phone), Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection (how about that), distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and Driver Alert System.
We don’t have pricing info yet but I’d expect a bit of a price hike here. We’ll know more closer to the car’s launch this fall.
2018 BMW 4 Series/M4
BMW also released a mid-life refresh for their coupe this week but the changes aren’t nearly as dramatic as the Mustang’s. In fact, most people won’t really be able to discern which one is the newest, but I promise the changes are there. The 2018 BMW 4 Series and M4 line gets a very minor face lift and the latest version of their infotainment systems while the normal 4 Series Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe also get revised suspension, paint colors, and other minor updates.
Starting with the subtle design tweaks first, restyled LED headlights take the place of the old car’s xenon units. The biggest differences in their actual design seems to be with the angel eyes, which are now more angular and no longer wrap all the way around the projectors, and the outer edges of the lens which are now cleaner and less cluttered than before. They also provide redesigned LED tail lamps that sort of mimic their organic LED design that debuted on the M4 GTS, standard LED fog lamps, modified air intakes, and a revised front and rear apron.
The LCI 4 Series also launches with a range of new wheel options, depending on which line (sport, luxury, M Sport, etc.) you pick. Joining the options list as well are two new paint colors, Sunset Orange and Snapper Rocks Blue. The interior remains largely unchanged, but there’s new electroplated detailing, chrome accents, and a high-gloss black center console to reinforce a high quality look and feel. There’s also three new upholstery colors and three new options for accent trim.
While enjoying the new interior, drivers can also enjoy the new “Navigation System Professional” with a new control pad that’s easier to use as well as the optional Multifunctional Instrument Display which gives the driver a choice of different visuals depending on their driving mode. That instrument display appears to be the same system already available on cars like the 5 and 6 Series, but it’s just now making its way down the lineup. I got to sample it once and it’s pretty neat and not as gimmicky as I was expecting.
All new 4 Series models get a stiffer suspension setup that they say can deliver sportier handing with improved lateral and longitudinal dynamics without compromising ride comfort. This applies to the standard suspension as well as the optional adaptive suspension and M-Sport suspension.
As for the M4, the only changes it takes from the standard 4 Series redesign are the new full-LED headlights, LED tail lights, and the new navigation system. It also gets some additional cabin updates to make it even sportier or something.
The cars shown here are Euro spec, but I wouldn’t expect much of a change when they come stateside. Pricing and a US launch date haven’t been confirmed yet.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition
As Alfa Romeo prepares to launch the Stelvio crossover in Europe and eventually to any other countries that can take it, they’ve revealed the First Edition Stelvios that give us a glimpse at what a more civilian Stelvio looks like. So far we’ve only seen it as a high-performance Quadrifoglio with more aggressive styling, but we now get to see how most of them will look.
The Stelvio First Edition may differ slightly from other comparable Stelvios as part of its first-batch exclusivity, but it seems to use all the same equipment that any other Stelvio can come with. For starters, it’s powered by the entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. That power gets shuffled to all four wheels through an also standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the entry level four-cylinder power, it still runs from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Styling-wise, it’s still a sporty and impossibly attractive shape for a crossover even without the extra Quadrifoglio applications. The split five spoke twenty-inch wheels are standard on the First Edition as well but it remains to be seen whether this is unique to this special model or not.
The interior is just as elegant and upscale as on the last one we saw, but with an obvious emphasis on comfort. Fine Italian leather and authentic wood trim make it look and feel as upscale as an Italian crossover should while an 8.8-inch infotainment system, digital gauge cluster, and a suite of safety systems keep it modern.
It’ll go on sale in the US sometime this spring looking more or less like this First Edition here. Prices aren’t available yet.
[Source: Alfa Romeo via Autoweek]
Shelby American will use this month’s Barrett-Jackson auctions to debut the new Super Snake, one of 500 scheduled for production. Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Super Snake Mustang, this new beast has more power than the original could have ever hoped for; the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is available in 670 or 750 horsepower variants. In top trim, it’ll take care of the 0-60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. Fortunately, it has a full load of other supporting mods like high-performance dampers, sway bars, springs, bushings, Wilwood six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers, and lightweight forged aluminum wheels.
Visually, everything in the Shelby parts catalog and more was thrown at it for a menacing look that pays tribute to the original. The basic Super Snake pack starts at $69,995 and that includes the cost of a standard 2017 Mustang GT, but there’s plenty of other options that can greatly add to that price tag. But if you want to say you own the first 2017 Super Snake, don your best Hawaiian shirt and head over to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale later this month.
[Source: Shelby American]
Land Rover is gearing up for the launch of the ultimate Range Rover and it’s coming at a very appropriate time. When the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic launches at US dealerships this month, it’ll be almost exactly 30 years since the first Range Rover in North America. The SVAutobiography Dynamic, with its immensely powerful 550-hp V8 taken from the Range Rover SVR and top-tier luxury taken from their other high end models, it’s a heck of a way to celebrate 30 years of the Range Rover in America. They also took the chance to reflect on how the Range Rover has evolved over the years into what it is now and they’ve put together a video to show it. Here’s to another 30.
[Source: Land Rover]
Land Rover is fully embracing the latest VR trend and will soon allow customers to immerse themselves in their virtual vehicles. VR kits are being shipped out to US retailers this month for the sole purpose of allowing potential customers to “experience” their upcoming models before they’re even out. Retailers will be able to connect customers to a virtual tour of any current or future Land Rover where they can see and interact with a life-size model through a VR headset. I think another potential here is allowing customers to configure their Land Rovers through VR so they can truly experience it before pulling the trigger, but I’d imagine that capability is on the way. They’re rolling this out to more than 1,500 retailers in 85 markets now. The future is now.
[Source: Land Rover]
Dodge released another teaser video for the new Demon, a Hellcat-beating Challenger that promises to live up to its name. We’re safely assuming it’ll have more power than the Hellcat’s 707 hp, but now we know for certain that it’ll be lighter as well. Some say it’ll be up to 200 pounds lighter but that’s unconfirmed. Looking at the video, they only briefly highlight all the areas that have been lightened for the sake of performance. It’s a neat way to show what parts we can expect to be new or maybe even removed on the Demon. There are also ten more teaser videos for this thing that will be released on a weekly basis. They may be featured here, but you can follow along at Dodge’s special website for it right here.
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.
Also be sure to check out our traditional Hooniversal Opinion post where we openly mock and/or praise all of the new cars on display at the LA Auto Show.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]