The News for July 24th, 2020

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: BMW gives us a first look at the M4 GT3, Jeep unveils 4Xe Compass and Renegade for Europe, Ford is reportedly expediting development of a Bronco pickup, Genesis sold 100 manual G70s so they’re cutting it, and Ford and RTR debut a Mach-E drift car.

BMW M4 GT3 first glance

M4 GT3

The future of sportscar racing faces a lot of uncertainty as new partnerships and classes are forming and the pandemic is forcing a lot of competitors and manufacturers to suspend programs. While we gain a promising new LMDh prototype class, we may be losing GTLM here in the US as early as next year. Talks of a GT class convergence are nothing new but are likely to have some renewed interest after all that’s been going on. That means there may be a new GT3 class with expanded manufacturer support, which means this car that BMW has been testing for the first time may be extremely important.

BMW has completed the first test session of the M4 GT3, the long-awaited replacement for the very long in the tooth M6 GT3, which is based on a car you can no longer buy. The 6 Series that GT3 was based on has been long gone – replaced by the 8 Series and survived by the 6 Series Gran Turismo crossover thing. The 8 Series isn’t selling so hot and BMW quickly gave up on the M8 GTE program in Europe, so I don’t expect the M8 GTLM to survive in the US much longer. So by the time this M4 GT3 sees full time competition in 2022 (as is currently scheduled), this could be BMW’s premier sports car. The M4 currently competes in GT4 so I would expect to see an updated version of that in the next few years as well.

M4 GT3

Much like the M8 program, BMW is developing the road car and the race car side by side. Both will be using a twin-turbocharged inline-six in accordance with GT3 rules and both will almost certainly be sporting an exceedingly ugly nose in accordance with BMW’s design philosophy. You can tell that’s going to be the case because BMW’s press photos only show the back of the car. Testing has gone well they say and has been on schedule. The some 500-horsepower engine took to the test stand in February and scale wind tunnel testing was completed within the last month or so. This week, factory driver Augusto Farfus took the first working prototype out for its first drive. Next week they’ll be at BMW’s test center in Miramas, France for its first full test.

While we won’t be seeing this on track full time in 2022, the road cars it’s based on will debut this September.

Jeep 4Xe models on sale in Europe

jeep4xe

Jeep previously demonstrated their ability and desire to produce a hybrid off roader using a new “4Xe” system, but now they’re making that a reality. Two new electrified 4Xe models are available for order in Europe – no word on US availability just yet. The first production vehicles to get a 4Xe option are the Compass and Renegade and more will be on the way.

The body, interior, and 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine carry over unchanged, but the magic happens at the back. The gas engine only powers the front wheels now while a single electric motor on the rear axle drives those wheels. The gas engine can provide up to 180 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque while the electric motor produces 60 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. Combine those and you get a pretty big number for an SUV/crossover that size. Jeep also adds an additional electric motor of sorts to the front axle which pairs with the gas engine to act as a high voltage generator while not adding any additional power.

An 11.4 kWh battery capacity means an electric-only driving range of about 31 miles if desired, which isn’t bad for a hybrid. No numbers have been released to indicate how MPG is impacted by the electrification. But Jeep claims the 4Xe models are more capable off road than its gas-only counterparts. It seems like US sales are a no brainer and I’m sure it’ll come here eventually.

[Source: Jeep via Jalopnik]

Report: a Bronco pickup is being expedited

bronco

Coming on the heels of Ford’s internet-breaking Bronco debut, we’re already getting reports of a new variant on the way that’s sure to be another hit. It’s one we all could have seen coming too – the Bronco pickup. According to a report from Automobile, it’s definitely coming as we could have expected. Unfortunately though, it’s currently expected to debut as a 2025 model. Their sources claim that forces inside Ford are doing what they can to expedite the development process, but the earliest possible release would still be at least two years away.

The Jeep Gladiator is the obvious target here, but even though it launched to much hype and fanfare, it’s not been selling as well as they hoped. The Bronco has been an early success for Ford, so much so that they were able to double the amount of first edition Broncos up for grabs and they still sold out. Ford could be banking on the insane level of interest they’re seeing already and go through with a pickup version. Either way, it seems they’ll have a few years to watch the market and see if it can be justified. I suspect it will be.

[Sources: Automobile, Jalopnik]

Genesis G70 loses its manual option because nobody buys them anymore

genesisg70

Did you know that the Genesis G70 offered a manual transmission? Would you buy one? Turns out a slight majority of buyers didn’t. By that I mean 99.2% of them. In a move that surprises nobody except the most toxic “no manual, no buy” people, Genesis is axing the option for the G70 for the 2022 model year. The reason is simple: manual transmission hype doesn’t translate to sales and it never does. In a report obtained by Road & Track, around 100 manual-equipped G70s were sold last year and only 71 have been built this year for the 2021 model year. It’s still possible to buy one of those 2021 models are they’re all probably still sitting in dealer inventory.

It’s a sad day as R&T was quick to point out that it was the last rear-wheel-drive manual sedan you could buy in the US. Everyone else has either axed the option completely or limited it to other markets where manuals aren’t just popular on the internet. Just another reminder that if you really want manuals to survive, you have to buy them.

[Source: Road & Track]

Other news from the week

All-Electric Mustang Mach-E 1400 Prototype

Ford Performance and RTR unveiled a pretty neat experiment they’ve been working on. It’s a not-a-Mustang Mach-E drift car that demonstrates some of the remarkable capabilities of EV power in motorsports. It’s a working, tire-slaying prototype that shows us the future of electric may not be so boring after all. Read the details and catch the videos of it in action here.

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse

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.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

35 Comments

    1. Did you unload the delivery truck into the trailer, and then back the trailer up the driveway?

      1. The shipper asked me to pick it up at the depot across town. Worked out well with the trailer, honestly. Two floor jacks, three guys, and four furniture dollies was all it took to get it on the floor. I got my $150 back for residential liftgate service too, so bonus.

  1. Tomorrow is the third weekend of working on my truck. The good news is that we have turned the corner and are starting to reinstall after 4 days of desperate combat to remove stuff. While it is just barely possible to remove an replace heads on a 2 valve 5.4 Triton with the engine in place some bolts require heroic contortions. We also had to rig a 2×4 and a ratchet strap to lift the heads since it is critical to lift straight up.What’s particularly galling is that a previous owner used a half-ass repair piece intended for a 3 valve engine to repair several blown out spark plugs instead of the proper timeserts. Had these been repaired correctly I wouldn’t be installing reman heads. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/575683a766ecd004e3dc18475f0cec8989350e539ae4b240323ad57f35cee630.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/921396a3e8f66b6ffafc243eb4dd0d2df151a1de4f6e08d021ce610543ce3391.jpg

    1. Bummer! Weren’t the 2-valve heads supposed to be immune to the later spark plug syndromes? You got the right engine but the wrong previous owner.

      Nice setup there. It’s important to use pressure treated lumber in that application.

      1. The early 2v engines did not have problems. The early 2v PI heads only had 3 threads for the spark plugs, those are known to be problematic if not torqued properly. That was fixed on the later PI heads.

        Then you have the 3v heads, those have lots of threads so they don’t blow out if improperly torqued. However the design has a long tube that just fits into the head. Carbon makes its way into the small clearance for the tube. When you go to remove it some of the carbon sticks better to the head and some to the tube. That locks the tube in place and since that tube is actually a separate part on the original plugs it snaps free and you end up with it stuck in the head with or w/o the tip and ceramic insulator. All of that can be avoided if you actually follow the Ford procedure.

        Crack all of the plugs loose 1/16th of a turn. Spray high quality carb cleaner down each spark plug well. Just enough to cover the bottom of the tube. Wait and then wait some more. Now you can remove the plugs. If any of them get tight STOP, retighten a touch and repeat the carb cleaner process

        When I did mine I did have one that needed more carb cleaner and a little back and forth action before it threaded out the most of the way almost hand tight.

        If you had to do more than 2 applications of carb cleaner it isn’t a bad idea to spin the engine over before installing the new plug, just in case there is too much liquid carb cleaner.

    2. I recommend removing the brake booster when R&Ring a head on most Modular applications. It will save a lot of time and frustration. Unbolt the master cyl, position it off to the side and then remove the booster. Use something to tie the master cyl into a more or less upright position and you don’t need to bleed the brakes afterwords.

      1. In an aero body pickup the booster isn’t really a problem. The hellish bits are the left exhaust manifold bolts blocked by the ABS module and steering column and rear of the right head which has the AC accumulator, heater pipe and a bunch of wiring. Getting stuff off the back was so hard we sacrificed the heater pipe to remove the head and cut one of the mounting tabs so we could slip it on the bolts. There’s also an overhead clearance issue with two head bolts that can’t be fully removed. On the bright side both heads are installed with less aggro than removal the timing chains are installed and the timing cover etc. is back on. Unfortunately we spent Sunday evening fighting a broken valve cover bolt instead of replacing the intake.

        1. Yeah the passenger side is the worst as you just can’t do much about the HVAC components in the way.

  2. Not that I’m exactly someone who’d buy a G70 in the first place (I don’t think it’s even available in Ireland), but if I’m perfectly honest, I wouldn’t buy a stick shift version either. It’s perhaps less about the demise of the manual and perhaps more the nature of modern cars that’s the thing. I mean if we’re talking a new Toyota 86 or MX5, then yeah, three pedals all day long, but these middly “sport luxury” / exec cars? Nah..

    1. I thought a manual transmission would have made much more sense on the Kia Stinger. I was surprised it was even an option on the Genesis.

      That said, I likewise wasn’t a potential G70 buyer, but had I been interested, I would have definitely gotten the manual. I’d be driving a stick-shift minivan right now if it were available.

      1. I dunno, the stinger is still more in the character of a BMW 340i than a hardcore version of an M3 and weighs nearly 2 metric tonnes. It’s a nice cruiser that can be entertaining when you’re in the mood rather than a car designed purely to be fun. My old boss had a Stinger, liked it, but got an old Miata for kicks and that’s the one that he finds way more entertaining. To me, an auto makes sense for such cars, fits with their subdued character – it’ll be the comfortable but quick daily, the car your wife drives too, the one when you want something effortless. When you add in how good modern autos are, it just doesn’t add up.

        Add to this, that some modern manuals (whisper it..) are not actually very good. I guess, unless you’re Mazda, it’s a case of the development money not being spent. Mercedes manuals can feel vague and mushy and people bemoan not getting the Alfa Quadrofoglio in manual, but the manual version of that is apparently also a bit clunky and not as well matched to the engine as the auto, so again, if I’m perfectly honest, I would plump for the auto.

        I think there’s an element of if a certain thing is rare or hard to get in a country – it becomes a an enthusiast badge of honor, even if it makes no real sense. e.g. In Ireland due to punitive taxes, and mandatory insurance provided by a small anti-consumer cartel, having a relatively larger engined car can be financially punishing, so some enthusiasts see having a car over 3 litres as a badge of honor, even it it’s an old man overgrown mobility scooter of a Lexus or Mercedes or something else that’s be seen as utterly pedestrian in the US.

        Similarly in many European countries, manuals can be found in diesel SUVs (which is just a match made in hell really) because of all sorts of silly reasons like needing to pass your test in manual to be allowed drive a manual, so you’re not limited in your choice of used cars, which begets the purchase of more manuals which is a never ending loop, or autos still treated as luxury items. So driving a stick shift doesn’t mark you out as an enthusiast.

        In the states – it’s rare and harder to come by, so I guess people over there will see it more as a marker of being an enthusiast, even if as you say, it’s in a Dodge caravan or something similarly joyless.

        Save the manuals isn’t enough – if enthusiasts care, they need to save the more uncompromised or at least basic and light cars that beg for manual in the first place and damn whether its got apple carplay or audi-esque soft touch interiors.

        1. I am not even sure if I agree in everything you say, but what a delightful rant to read. Indeed, I am very proud of my 3.5 litre V6 overgrown mobility scooter. Best flex I have heard in a while.

          Also, nothing really surprising in that a topless, purpose-built Miata is more entertaining than a versatile, fully dressed, but fast Stinger. Honestly, if I had to keep the car because the gifting fairy tells me so, I’d choose the Stinger. But I haven’t even driven a Miata yet, only met people who tell me the Z3 is better, and why bother with a Mazda then. I reply with my strange face.

        2. Your perspective on manuals is just different than mine, I guess. I don’t view them as “hardcore” or only applicable to lightweight, sporty vehicles. Nor do I (nor any other Americans, to my knowledge) view them as a “badge of honor”– call it selfish or antisocial, but I honestly don’t give a whit what other people think of my behaviors or interests. I just like what I like, and I simply find manuals more engaging, involving me more in the process of driving. Regardless the vehicle (fast, slow, heavy, light, car, truck), I just think it’s more fun to involve my left foot and right hand, rather than let a computer do it more quickly and (admittedly) more efficiently.

          And to your point, not all manuals are good, but to me that’s still better than an automatic. I prefer the three-on-the-tree in my ’66 Mercury to the 6-speed automatic in the family minivan, and my countless attempts as a teenager at speed-shifting the old Merc have long since proven that it is not a transmission that likes to be rushed. These days, I’m not racing, I’m driving. And things are a helluva lot more interesting if I’m doing more than just sitting there.

          Simply put, despite performing the same ultimate function, I don’t think automatics and manuals are even comparable. It’s like ordering take-out vs. cooking your own meal. Both get you fed, but the experience of doing it yourself is much more rewarding.

          1. I don’t view them as “hardcore” as such, and yes, they’re more engaging, but when the rest of the car seems so easygoing and these days, just have loads of turbo torque, sometimes manuals can seem out of character with the rest of the car. I think given how I’d use a vehicle like a G70 if I hypothetically had one, If I bought a manual, I’d spend more of the time wishing I’d an auto everyday than buying an auto and being on that one nice bit of twisties wishing I’d bought a manual. There’s a lot of modern turbo engines that don’t seem to just want to be revved out either, they’re sorta happier with you exploiting the mid range torque with no real reward from chasing the redline like an old 4AGE or something.

            There’sa fuzzy middle of cars where you can debate whether they’d be better with auto or manual of course, but to illustrate – a manual Toyota Century would be as out of kilter as an automatic MX5..

          2. Hey, to each his own. I can only tell you that I learned to drive a stick on some very torquey, non-revvy engines, and I enjoyed them very much. I’ve had two old Mercurys with 390 4bbls, one automatic and one 3oT. The auto was easier to drive, the three-speed more fun. The 258 in my first CJ and the 300-six in my grandfather’s F150 would have probably been better suited for automatics, but neither would be as fun– for me, at least– to drive without manuals. I have a 289 with an automatic and won’t drive it again until I swap it to a T5. I’ve never, ever gotten a manual and wished I’d instead opted for an automatic. Hell, I don’t even like self-propelled lawnmowers.

            In all seriousness, the only time I prefer an automatic is when towing. In those situations, I’m not trying to enjoy driving so much as perform a task, and the automatic makes that task much easier. Other than that, I’d rather row my own, even if it’s a relatively crappy manual.

            I’ll reiterate that I don’t see this as an arguable point. They’re apples and oranges to me, and it all depends on your preference in fruit.

        3. I am not even sure if I agree in everything you say, but what a delightful rant to read. Indeed, I am very proud of my 3.5 litre V6 overgrown mobility scooter. Best flex I have heard in a while.

          Also, nothing really surprising in that a topless, purpose-built Miata is more entertaining than a versatile, fully dressed, but fast Stinger. Honestly, if I had to keep the car because the gifting fairy tells me so, I’d choose the Stinger. But I haven’t even driven a Miata yet, only met people who tell me the Z3 is better, and why bother with a Mazda then. I reply with my strange face.

  3. Boredom has impelled me to do a bit of work on the Econoline. But during this pandemic, boredom always comes with crazy sauce, and the only crazy thing the demons want me to do to the van is clean the interior*. Of a shell van. A 30 year old shell van with rust streaks bleeding from the drip rails and mis-matched rear doors. Okay, crazy, I’ll listen to you and only clean the doorjambs and the corner behind the spare tire**. That makes as much sense as anything else 2020 has thrown at me so far. My neighbors probably think I’m a serial killer who just can’t get rid of the stains no matter how hard I scrub the van (because the stains are on my soul!!!) Maybe I’ll throw some torn Girl Scout uniforms in there; that’ll liven things up.

    *Well, I also cleaned the organic mushroom farm off the roof, which took a pressure washer and 2 hours of hand scrubbing. And today I’m taking it in to have the loose steering looked at. That van drifts, but it ain’t the Tokyo kind!

    **This is actually a typical approach for me. If I clean all the hard to get parts that don’t show then I’m more likely to follow through and clean the whole exterior, because I’ve got so much work in it already. If I start with the showy parts I’ll never get to the details, and will always know I did a half assed job.

  4. About a month ago, I ran out gas in the driveway while waiting for the engine to warm up. I’ve been driving other cars until I had a chance to fill up a gas can to get enough into the tank to drive to the nearest station that sells decent quality gasoline. I’m happy to report that I finally got around to getting fuel, and for the first time since late May or early June, the car left the driveway under its own power. The carb seems to have gummed up a bit and it doesn’t want to idle when in gear. I made a drive-through taco run the other night, and someone in the other lane held up a wad of money about an inch and a half thick, and asked how much I wanted to sell it for.

      1. Well, everything has its price, but this particular car has sentimental value that greatly exceeds its fair market value. His money was folded in half; I would require a stack of bills thick enough to resist folding.

    1. could be some crud that had been floating in the tank found its way to a filter / to clog up your fuel lines or carb when the tank ran dry?

      1. A clogged filter tends to have different symptoms; a dribble of fuel will get around the clog to allow the engine to idle, but the engine will starve for fuel at a moderate speed; a clogged filter won’t allow speeds of more than, say, 35 mph no matter how hard you step on the skinny pedal I suppose there could be trash in the idle circuit instead of varnish, but either one will probably prompt a carb rebuild as soon as I find some time. It already had an accelerator pump issue to deal with, and the bowl gasket had been leaking, so this won’t be any extra work to knock out at the same time.

  5. Both Proteges threw CELs this week. It looks like the 2003 just has a cracked intake hose while the 2002 has a bad coil. Been down that road with the 2003 already so as soon as I heard flashing CEL and rough running, I knew what I was in for. Parts should arrive tomorrow.

    Replaced the starter relay on the Ranger on the advice of the Ranger forums. Jury is still out on if that cures the occasional no crank condition.

    Been looking for a half ton truck to replace the Ranger and found a ’79 F150 4X4 with the straight 6 and a manual. Tempting, but it’s a project not a driver. I am tempted by this late 90s Chevy 4×4 with a 350 and a 5 speed for $3K.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8ae7a3b85d7ac2f3a52e67af189dd7ecb4295a7d1af7b35a8e1fd56381eca8f6.jpg

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/309751870208324/

    I’m not confident about the quality of the lift that it seems to have or the replacement engine. I really prefer a Tundra and there’s a 2003 flare side available, which you don’t see often, but it’s over an hour away.

    1. Wow. Taillights on that Tundra Stepside. Like some shade tree body shop has bondoed Hyundai coupe units to Toyota. Not very… trucky.

      1. Yeah, they are a bit goofy looking. I never liked them when new but I now find them appealing simply for the “weird car” vibe.

        What I really want is a Tundra that’s had a frame replaced under the recall because a frame replacement usually comes with a bunch of other new parts like control arms and brake lines. That one was inspected in 2010 but no action taken. That’s odd, typically they have a corrosion protection applied.

      2. Hardly worse that the droopy taillamps on a comparable flare side F150. Those were similarly goofy.

    2. I have no experience with 21st century Ford starters, but I did have a GMC, and one of my friends had a Tacoma that were permanently cured of intermittent no-crank, no-click problems by the addition of a relay to feed the starter relay/solenoid. In my GMC, the original wire (not the battery cable, but the one that goes to the key switch) eventually became very resistant, and would only pass around 10 volts to the solenoid, when it really needed 12 volts to activate. The extra relay avoided the long wiring run from under the hood, into the cab, over to the key switch, back out to the firewall, through the underhood wiring, and to the solenoid, by replacing it with a much shorter path that remained entirely under the hood.

      https://www.summitracing.com/parts/prf-30202
      https://www.painlessperformance.com/Manuals/30202.pdf

  6. Had a panel shop loaner vehicle for a couple of days, a nearly 20 year old Daihatsu Cuore, which was an interesting experience being a 1 litre 3 speed auto and a very small car – I could touch the other door without leaning over, and I’m not tall.

    The gearing was quite low and the torque converter pretty tight so it actually went well enough, although with no tacho I was in blissful ignorance of how many rpm it was pulling on the couple of times I hit 100 kmh on the freeway. I was dreading the auto but while a manual would increase the fun factor I didn’t resent it. Noise levels weren’t great, but not terrible, and the only power assistance was for steering. No AC but that didn’t matter in 13/55° weather.

    The small nippy size felt right for the inner city streets, no 3 points required for u-turns, and on arterial roads lanes felt much wider. The only downside as a cheap no-care commuter is the obsolete safety; refinement aspects and Bluetooth etc could be addressed.

    If this is what you need in your life, a 10-year newer equivalent, even a Mitsubishi Mirage, might not be such a bad thing.

  7. the numbers are trending the right way, but the stupid Benz i bought still won’t pass smog. so i bit the bullet and ordered a catalytic converter. unfortunately in California the state cares not only what the emissions from my tailpipe are, but how i got there: even though there’s a sniffer test, any emissions-related part has to be approved by California for use in the vehicle it’s installed in. and as far as i can tell, there’s one approved cat that’s actually available on the market, and it’s a universal-type weld-in cat. so i have to buy this piece of shit (~$200) and then take it to a muffler ship to get it installed (probably $hundreds more), and they won’t touch it unless i bring the part in in a box, show them the receipt, show them the approval stamp on the part, and point them to the documentation saying the part is approved for a 95 E320. i suspect this may end up turning into a fully custom downpipe, which will be very expensive.

    the approved-parts-only rules make sense for cars newer than 2000, which take only an OBD test here. just because a car isn’t throwing codes, doesn’t mean it’s in compliance. (another car of mine passed Illinois emissions testing flying colors with no catalytic converter at all, because it’s just an OBD check.) but if you’re putting a sniffer in the tailpipe? you know if it’s not working!

    anyway, i’m committed to getting this car done right. which means passing smog the legit way instead of Finding A Guy, and having the necessary work done at a decent shop. and all this means money.

  8. On story no. 3, surely a Bronco pickup is a Ranger (based on the same chassis with wheelbase variations) and given how well the styling has been received why wouldn’t Ford use the same body for the Ranger cab?

    Would changing the name to Bronco pickup increase sales? Or would having the Bronco styling and/or name on a working pickup degrade it in Bronco enthusiasts eyes?

    1. This was exactly my thought as well. Thinking back to the Bronco II and Ranger of the 80s, the two were variants of the same vehicle with different names. Looking straight-on, you could hardly tell them apart.
      I would think that a modern Bronco pickup would be a better at off-roading, but lesser at “being a pickup” than the current Ranger. They don’t seem interchangeable. I don’t think they would appeal to the same type of buyer, either.

      1. Agreed on the second part, except I think that the benefit or extra spread of developing two separate pickups would be worth the cost.

        Could do different front sheetmetal on the one cabin based on the Bronco SUV – the most expensive parts to develop are the firewall/cowl, and doors, so why not use what already exists?

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