The News for July 2nd, 2021

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: Aston Martin shows off the customer version of the LMH race car they cancelled, Porsche builds a super Cayenne for reasons, Volvo offers a glimpse into their EV future again, Subaru promises a new WRX this year, plus your news.

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Remember when Aston Martin was planning to race at Le Mans with an impossibly beautiful V12-powered hypercar? And remember when they cancelled it because they were broke and decided to spend money on buying a back marker F1 team instead? Do you also remember how they had originally been one of the biggest driving forces behind the adoption of the more expensive Le Mans Hypercar class which spelled the end of a single unified prototype class that would’ve made it significantly easier for WEC and IMSA manufacturers to compete together on a more level playing field at the world’s biggest endurance events? I do.

This track-only AMR Pro version of the Valkyrie first debuted back in 2018 in concept form. It was always intended to be a sort of “no rules” hypercar but was also supposed to preview the LMH race car. You know, the race car built for a class they worked so hard to create that they won’t actually be competing in. The press release carefully glosses over this issue while bragging about its expected 3’20” lap time around Le Mans. They also go on about how hard their team worked alongside Multimatic, Red Bull Advanced Technologies, and none other than Adrian Newey to create a race car that would battle for outright wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This rich man’s track day toy is all they have to show for it now.

This isn’t to say the car itself isn’t stunning. It is drop-dead gorgeous in a way that’s hard to describe. You wouldn’t even need to be told that Adrian Newey, one of F1’s most genius engineers, had a hand in this. And with a naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 revving to 11,000 RPM and electric motors backing up, its powertrain is the stuff of dreams. No less than 1,000 horsepower will blast this thing down Mulsanne… or rather, it would if Aston Martin let it.

40 hedge fund managers will soon have a chance to own one of these.

[Source: Aston Martin]

Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

Porsche has long enjoyed strong sales of the Cayenne, a sporty luxury SUV that was the first of its kind. The “911 in SUV form” has gotten faster and faster with each generation. But it’s about to reach an entirely new level with the Cayenne Turbo GT.

It’s the Cayenne for the zero people who asked “what if 911 GT2 but Cayenne”. With outrageous power and the same kind of upgrades that would double the MSRP of a 911, it’s the fastest and most powerful Cayenne ever produced. And it already has a Nürburgring lap record to its name. It tops the “SUV, off-road vehicle, van, pick-up” category with a hilariously quick 7:38.925 minutes. The fearsome north loop has been through a few surface changes over the years, but for the sake of comparison, that puts it right among some supercars. Ferrari 458, 997 911 Turbo, C6 Corvette ZR1, and Lexus LFA to name a few.

It’s managed that record with the help of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 631 horsepower and 626 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s an increase of 90 hp and 59 torque units over the Cayenne Turbo Coupe that this model is built on. It rides on stiffer three-chamber air suspension with retuned Porsche Active Suspension Management. Active dynamic chassis control and torque vectoring help keep this beast under something resembling control. Huge 22” Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires developed specifically for this car’s unique needs provide immense grip. Meanwhile, 17.3” front and 16.1” rear Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes provide exceptional stopping power. Those front brakes are bigger than the ones on the Shelby GT500, in case you were wondering.

Porsche can’t let something like this not look like a race car, so it has centrally-mounted titanium exhaust, model-specific bumpers, a contoured carbon fiber roof with an upper rear wing. Inside there’s more Alcantara than you’d find in about 10 Lamborghinis.

It’s objectively stupid. But I somehow admire it at the same time. It’s expected to reach US dealers in early 2022 with an MSRP of $182,150 (incl. destination).

[Source: Porsche]

Volvo Concept Recharge

It’s another one of those future EV concepts from a company that swears it’ll produce more EVs one of these days. This time it’s from Volvo, if you couldn’t tell by the fact that it’s a wagon. It’s called the Concept Recharge (get it, because EV lol) and Volvo says to expect it to influence future Volvo EVs.

It not only showcases a forward-thinking rework of Volvo’s gorgeous design language but also the advantages of an EV platform that they plan to take full advantage of. For starters, it has all the batteries integrated into the floor which leaves plenty of space elsewhere to work with. Volvo uses this to extend the wheelbase for shorter overhangs and increased interior space. More than you’d expect out of something this size.

That little pod on top of the windshield houses some next-generation safety tech, primarily lidar, which Volvo plans to use as part of their “nobody dies in our car anymore” strategy (paraphrasing).

When we eventually see the next-generation Volvo EVs, expect them to draw inspiration from this concept. And according to something Jalopnik picked up on in a presentation the company made, you could also expect up to 900 miles of range. “Up to” of course leaves the suicide doors wide open to miss the mark, but Volvo aren’t known for overpromising.

[Source: Volvo via Jalopnik]

2022 WRX teased

Meanwhile at Subaru, the news that enthusiasts had been waiting for is finally almost here. There’s an all-new WRX coming and it will debut “this year”. And that’s… all we know. The announcement was accompanied by this dark teaser shot but there’s not a whole lot we can get from it. It’ll be a sedan, it’ll still have its hood scoop, and there will still be a built-in vape holder. Cranking up the lighting in a photo editor doesn’t reveal anything else. So we’ll keep an eye out for any more details that come out.

[Source: Subaru]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your nawsThis is that part where I open it up to you. If you saw something, broke everything, or did anything even remotely car related (or not), sound off in the comment section.

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.

22 Comments

  1. New Automotive Cliché: What can we do to really jazz this concept up, but also make it look like a Ford product from the Kennedy* era? I know! Rear-hinged rear-doors! So futuristic! Yet stylishly retro!

    It’s like concept cars are deliberately made out of elements that will never ever make it into production. (Wait, is that what conceptual art is, too?)

    Even Kia has barn doors on their concept cars now. Congrats, Kia, you’ve arrived.
    https://www.kia.com/us/en/concept-vehicles/gt

    *Ford Motor Cars, not Gerald Ford; though he was a product of the Kennedy era, too.

    1. Don’t forget pillarless, or so thin they’re barely a window frame.

      Mind you the vestigial camera-mirrors are no longer science fiction, and the gigantic diameter wheels could actually happen!

      School holidays started here last week, cue fuel price going up 30%! The last public holiday long weekend we were in lockdown again so I suppose they are trying to make up for it.

    2. Fair point, but the wide open sides are probably a result of different and improvement manufacturing, too. More rigid cars and better tech allow them to be a practical addition to otherwise sensual or cramped designs. The MX30 has them, and needs them, and there was also an Opel a while ago who had them. Can’t come up with the name, but since photo integration has gone the way of the dodo, just take my word for it.

      I have been a Volvo guy since I was a kid, so expect a positive angle, but the Recharge is the most uninspired concept out of Gothenburg since that other EV, their 1976 Elbil concept. There is literally nothing that says Volvo or minimalist Scandinavian design or brand heritage, apart from the lights that look totally misplaced on the overall whole. Sorely disappointed, but my personal taste vs market success probability nexus usually says what I disagree with becomes the biggest success. The tech is all good.

      Nothing new in my driveway, I now ordered the “green insurance card” for foreign travel for our mini-Hyundai, so we’re looking at an underpowered summer vacation. Else, I was surprised to learn that Volvo trucks offers over 500 different colours on their trucks, based on customer’s needs:

    3. I always thought it interesting that when McNamara was at Ford, he was going to kill Lincoln (the brand). He spotted a design Engel made for a Thunderbird, and asked him to re-spin it into what became the suicide-door Lincoln Continental, which ended up saving the company.

      Then McNamara went to work for Kennedy. Kennedy got a Continental. He was in it when he was shot.

      Had it not been for McNamara’s action at Ford, President Kennedy probably would have had a Cadillac or Imperial limo, and neither of those companies had a 4-door convertible during that era, so Kennedy could have been riding indoors in Dallas.

      1. The Thunderbird did eventually have suicide doors. Rare as hen’s teeth, and quite ugly but for my money the shark-nosed 1971 version is the one to have.

        I’m sure that’s not what Mr. Engel envisioned for the old bird, but Mr. McNamara’s influence on history left more odious remains.

    4. Rear hinged doors on concept cars combined with no B pillar have long been used to better show off the interior. I doubt that they will make production, assuming this has any shot of being produced..

      I have these on my Tundra and they’re not very practical in a typical parking lot. To access the back seat you end up trapped between the doors. Not terribly convenient.

      1. And they get ditched at production for reasons of safety and structural integrity, so it’s surprising to see them even showcased on a Volvo who has always placed great value in passenger safety.

    5. I, for one, want sliding van doors on everything. Dings from inconsiderate close parkers would be a thing of the past!

  2. Strange, I thought Polestar is Volvo’s EV label.

    Anyway, I ended up on a tertiary road that had a 15 miles long stretch of water bound gravel, with a lot of narrow turns and crests – and sheep. I was almost disappointed when I got back on tarmac again, I couldn’t make the rear end step out at legal speeds anymore.

    1. Volvo has announced their intention to go all in on EV’s in the coming years as well though, so I’m not totally sure how they plan to differentiate the two brands. I know they’ve got the company I work for to buy a handful of T8’s (PHEV’s) this year, and it sounds like they’re going to get us to ramp up even more next year.

      1. While the brand may have been the sports/racing branch of Volvo I don’t see them there with their current cars:

        The 1 is a (good looking) hybrid coupe, the 2 is a 300kW sedan (with some awkward design elements IMO). That’s Tesla 3 AWD terrain, both in power and awkwardness (I like the frog face on the 3, but I think it’s a bit quirky, too).
        Sure that’s a lot of sporty Watts by my standards, but my standards are 20yo and ICE- biased.

        Geely has a lot of brands (Lotus, the Swedes, Lynk, and more) and the ability to go the VW platform route. I think we can expect an interesting bouquet from them in the future. No idea where/how Volvo will fit though.

        Btw: The next Polestar model should be called E, just to mess with everyone.

  3. Finished the Jeep TJ axles! Pretty awesome when you take on a project of that magnitude (swapped in a different rear axle, regeared that one and the front axle, added ARB air lockers and an ARB air compressor) and once I was done, everything just worked. I had a brake line loosen slightly, and I pulled over, found the loose one and tightened it, no big deal. Then took the Jeep wheeling up to a high alpine lake (around 12,200 ft), down a pretty technical trail, and all the lockers and compressor worked great. All trail performance was much improved. Pretty stoked.

    Next project- my boys have a pedal tractor and a “offroad” tricycle, both acquired second hand, but both must be from the same company because they have the same hitch receiver (really just a place to drop a hitch pin). They really like dragging things around the yard with them, so I’m going to make a custom trailer for them. Should be a fun little project. After thats done I’ll get back to the Spirit…

  4. Why the hell did America invent the Vinyl top? What the fuck was that all about?

    What cost/benefit analysis under the searing eye of a vengeful God convinced Detroit that gluing melted Screamin’ Jay Hawkins records to the roof of a sedan was the wave of the future? Paint too expensive? Ran out of Plexiglas?

    [REF: Previous thread RE: T-Birds in 4-door only available w/Vinyl top]

    1. I think in some cases it was easier to hide complex roof sheet metal seams by covering them in vinyl than to get them smooth enough to paint.

      1. Also, a bit like how pillarless hardtops became popular in the 50’s, vinyl roofs gave the impression of a convertible without actually being one. Add in the neo classical movement that started taking place during the 70’s, it was a bit of a throwback to pre war cars with fabric roofs. Same reason you started seeing narrow, upright grills and continental kits make a comeback.

      2. You may be correct, but the idea of God wasting time on making us glue “melted Screamin’ Jay Hawkins records to the roof” makes a better narrative…

    2. Dunno, but I’ve had three cars with vinyl roofs, two of which I still own. I like the look, but replacing them is a pain, and they tend to hold water moisture in places that promotes rust.

  5. K-jet rebuild update: There are several forehead-sized dents on the side of my Volvo. Okay, well, maybe just in pride.

    The biggest problem turned out to be a bad bushing in the air sensor that caused it to stick open. I swapped it out for a working unit from my collection of spare parts, and decided to leave well enough alone with the fuel distributor. Once I had it all back together, everything checked out to spec. Fuel pressure readings dead on, all electrical connections traced out and verified. Aaaaaand… now it runs like poop.

    Sometimes, the most useful mechanical skill of all is knowing when to close the hood and go for a walk. Back at it again this afternoon.

  6. K-jet Epilogue: Success! Major issue: a system power relay that was starting to flake out, replaced. Then, a lesson in just how damned touchy sensitive the mixture setting can be, even after adjusting it to base setting. The difference between running waaay too stinky rich and stalling it out from being too lean? Well, in this case, about 3/4 of a screw turn, if that. Adjust, overshoot, undershoot, then finally, just right. It still doesn’t return to idle after a throttle blip quickly enough for my taste, but it’s light years better than it was.

    I’ll get out the section of the manual on the idle system to see if I can get it to settle down a bit. But, tomorrow. For now, getting it to run again without resorting to sage burning, wreaths of garlic or German incantations is enough.

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