It’s time for the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of all the things you should know/care about in the automotive industry without the fluff of a hyperactive PR rep and without the dullness of a regurgitated press release from a man in a suit. Just honest, straightforward news with a bit of opinion throw in because I can. I hope you all have recovered from the holidays by now and are ready to have an awesome 2012. Now on with the news – this week:
Morgan celebrates 75 years of not changing their cars
Volvo amps up the XC60 ahead of the NAIAS at Detroit
MOPAR works their magic on the 200 and Charger
DC Design wants you to take their new Indian supercar seriously
Morgan 4/4 75th
We’re kicking off 2012 properly with an awesome car from the UK. This Morgan 4/4 75th Anniversary Edition is hitting the road to celebrate 75 years of the Morgan 4/4 (you thought the Corvette was old?) in a way that only Morgan can by making it almost the same way they did 75 years ago. [singlepic id=3080 w=320 h=240 float=left] [singlepic id=3081 w=320 h=240 float=] As always, this Morgan is made largely out of hand-crafted wood and just a dab of early Industrial Revolution metals. Powering this particular 4/4 is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 pushing out 145 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft. of torque, which is considerable more than the standard 4/4. Thanks to the car’s traditionalist attitude, it weighs in at just 2,000-ish pounds, which helps it to make a 7.2 second 0-62 mph sprint. Top speed is whatever you can manage before the hood flies off the car (about 120 mph). Morgan will give buyers a choice of three colors: Sport Black, Sport Red, or Old English White. Each car comes with matte black striping with “4/4 75th” graphics running down the classic louvered hood that also has barely changed since 1936. Other classy details include the black cloth top, a tasteful amount of polished exterior trim pieces, and a wood dashboard and steering wheel. Sadly, the Morgan’s traditionalist attitude means it doesn’t have the modern safety and emission requirements needed to be sold in the U.S. The UK, however, will be able to buy one for £38,750 (just north of $60,000).
Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo will be at this month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit to show off an innovative and gas-saving crossover concept. We don’t normally cover concept cars, but the Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid is something we’re likely going to see on our roads in the near future, so here we go. [singlepic id=3083 w=320 h=240 float=left] [singlepic id=3084 w=320 h=240 float=] Based off a standard XC60 crossover (duh), this plug-in hybrid version uses hybrid technology similar to the V60 Plug-in Hybrid they showed off a year ago. The XC60 is driven at the front wheels by a turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine with 280 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The internal combustion powertrain is joined by a modern electric motor making 70 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque driving the rear wheels. Volvo says the gas-saving powertrain equals approximately 50 mpg by EPA measurements and over 100 on the European scale. The car also has a range of 600 miles on one tank even though it’s still geared for a sporty drive and a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds. Drivers get to choose between three different driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. Pure means that the car is powered only by the electric motor up to 35 miles. Hybrid mode makes the XC60 work like a normal hybrid, using gas and electricity to make the car run on as little gas as possible. Power mode, however, uses both motors to produce maximum horsepower for as long as possible, which just might make this a thrilling (relatively speaking) crossover yet. When the 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack out back is out of juice, a home recharging option can recharge it in as little as 3.5 hours. Of course this is a concept for now, but chances are the production Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid will be very similar in looks and technical data.
MOPAR 200 Super S and Charger Redline
2011 was a rather busy year for MOPAR, Chrysler’s performance parts and accessories powerhouse, with the introduction of new performance and visual packages for most Chrysler models. MOPAR is already getting ready for another busy year with the introduction of the Chrysler 200 Super S and the Dodge Charger Redline – two cars that just might change the way you look at Chrysler. [singlepic id=3079 w=320 h=240 float=left ] [singlepic id=3078 w=320 h=240 float=] The Chrysler 200 Super S will come in two different packages, or stages, that consist of visual and a few performance modifications. The Stage I package includes visual modifications like a low chin spoiler that will definitely clear shopping mall speed bumps, lower side skirts, trunk lid spoiler, matte black rear diffuser, and hyper black 18-inch “S” alloy wheels. Satin chrome trim pieces and front grille inserts further help the 200 Super S to look a little meaner. The Stage II package will feature everything mentioned above with the addition of a coil-over suspension, cold-air intake and cat back exhaust which should be good for a few more ponies out of the 283 horsepower (stock form) 3.6-liter V6. On the other end of the spectrum is the new Charger Redline, which not only brings back memories of the Saturn Ion Redline (sorry for putting that image back in your head) but also brings back the flashy red paint. As with the 200 Super S, the Charger Redline will be available in three packages. Stage I has aerodynamic exterior parts, like a carbon fiber chin spoiler, rear carbon fiber spoiler and 20-inch Black Envy wheels . Interior accents, like an aluminum instrument panel, stainless steel pedals and red contrast stitching, also make the cut. Furthermore, Stage II features a cat-back performance exhaust system for more power, a front-tower cross-brace and front tower brace caps for improved handling, and MOPAR track-day tested brake linings. Stage III, however, is the one most of us will be interested in as it also includes a new version of the über powerful Gen III 426 HEMI V-8 crate engine – normally reserved for racecars – which is good for a menacing 590 horsepower and may or may not be allowed on public roads at all. Each of these cars will be on display at the NAIAS in Detroit later this month. These packages will be available sometime this year (they won’t tell us yet) and pricing info is unknown.
DC Design Avanti
It’s always a good day when you read about a new supercar, but I can guarantee you never expected to see one from India. Indeed, this is India’s first ever production supercar and it comes courtesy of DC Design, an Indian design firm that normally likes to make tacky and ugly cars out of nice and beautiful cars before charging a fortune for it. Still, making its debut at New Delhi Auto Expo is the Avanti, a low-cost alternative to the best automotive powerhouses in Italy and Germany have to offer. But is it cheaper for a reason? [singlepic id=3082 w=500 h=340 float=center] For starters, there is no fire-breathing V12 or not even a V8. Powering the duck-billed platypus is a 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost inline-4 producing 240bhp and paired with a 6-speed manual or a dual-clutch automatic also sourced from Ford Europe’s parts bin. They call something with the engine from a Ford Explorer a supercar over there? Despite the lack of power, they say this car is fun to drive thanks to a sporty chassis and a lightweight aluminum space frame. They also say acceleration, courtesy of the Ford engine’s 270 lb.-ft. of torque, will come in at just under 7 seconds, which is just plain terrible for something marketed as a supercar. So the DC Design Avanti clearly won’t be chasing Ferraris, Porsches, V6 Mustangs, or a MINI Cooper S any time soon, but it is certainly a unique option. DC Design says they will produce some 300 cars per year between 2013 and 2014, but more will roll out the following years if everything goes according to plan. Pricing for India is 30 lakh rupees, which is roughly $56,000 according to the all-mighty Google.