The News for July 9th, 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: Lotus reveals groundbreaking end of an era, Peugeot Le Mans Hypercar entry revealed, BMW does their thing with the 2 Series, Lamborghini shows off final NA V12 supercar, Rimac is merging with Bugatti, and your news for the week.

Lotus Emira

One of the world’s most beloved and celebrated sports car manufacturers is undergoing a massive transformation. New owners, much-needed funding, and a changing industry are pushing them into a new era of electrification and more advanced engineering. The Lotuses of yesterday are all but gone. The Elise, Exige, and Evora production will cease by the end of the year and be replaced by a new model that will sort of bridge the gap between the “old” and the “new” Lotus.

That bridge was revealed this week. It’s called the Emira, and it’ll be the last Lotus to ever ship with an internal combustion engine.

Billed as a premium mid-engine sports car and a “quantum leap forward” for the brand, it’s an embodiment of their technological progress. It’s sort of a taste of what’s to come, but with one last gas-burning engine for enthusiasts to enjoy.

Lotus’ last gas-burning engine(s)

Actually, make that two, because Lotus is offering two engines in this one. The first is a familiar Toyota-based 3.5-liter supercharged V6 from the Evora and Exige and the other is from a brand new partnership. AMG is the surprise partner on this project who will be supplying a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

They don’t specifically mention power outputs for each engine, but I believe it goes like this: AMG four-banger produces 360 horsepower and supercharged V6 produces 400 horsepower. It also appears that three transmissions will be offered in what I truly believe is a first. They mention a six-speed manual, an automatic, and a dual-clutch transmission. I’m sure some gearboxes are exclusive to an engine and vice versa. 0-60 mph should take “under” 4.5 seconds and its top speed is estimated to be around 180 mph.

It still has the Lotus magic

Built on a new architecture with bonded extruded aluminum chassis technology, it will keep the Lotus magic alive for drivers who choose to utilize it. The suspension and chassis is available in two flavors, because that’s all it needs. Tour is optimized for everyday road use with a more balanced approach while Sports offers a stiffer setup for enhanced dynamic capability and feel. And to give enthusiasts what they want, hydraulic power steering is still used for its excellent feedback.

Its dimensions are very similar to that of the Evora at 173.7” L x 74.6” W x 48.2” H. Weight is “targeted” at just under 3,100 pounds. So it’s no Exige or Elise, but it’s still a very reasonable size for a car with a Lotus badge.

Next-gen Lotus styling

The Emira is the first production Lotus to carry the stunning new design language that debuted on the Evija electric hypercar. With “sculpted surfaces and technical detailing” on a shrink-wrapped body, it has everything from the Evija short of the Venturi tunnels from the Evija. Every surface feature and intake is as functional as it is beautiful. It has no need for active aerodynamics and extending spoilers. Its passive downforce is precisely balanced between the front and rear axles at all speeds. That means as the downforce increases with speed, its handling characteristics and balance remain constant.


All in all, it’s an impressive achievement from Lotus and a remarkable way to end an era. We’re seeing transformations in basically every major brand but few have been quite like this. It’s not the hard transition we’re used to seeing. The Emira is a car that straddles both versions of Lotus. One side is a futuristic and highly advanced Lotus like we’ve never seen before and the other is the old Lotus that we know and love deeply.

The First Edition models (V6 spec) will start arriving in driveways next Spring. The remaining Emira specifications, including the AMG-powered one, will come out next Summer. Pricing is expected to start “under” £60,000 (so £59,999) in the UK and “under” €72,000 in mainland Europe. Price conversions for the US dollar could range between $82,000-$86,000, and that will matter as it’s destined for our shores.

[Source: Lotus]

Peugeot 9X8

When the FIA and WEC adopted the Hypercar regulations for their new top prototype class, they probably had cars like this in mind. The class rules allowed for a manufacturer-developed chassis and full aero kits and a wide range of powertrain options to foster innovation. So far it’s only given us a Toyota that they say isn’t like their old LMP1 car but we all know it basically is and a Glickenhaus. Peugeot is the first to truly take the Hypercar class to the sort of levels it was meant for. Say hello to the 9X8, Peugeot’s competitor for Hypercar in 2022 and beyond.

What you may notice first is the distinct lack of a thing that you typically see on race cars. Just a little something called a rear wing. This being missing is a feature, not a bug. Underbody aero and a host of other design tricks, Peugeot believes, can be utilized in such a way that a wing just isn’t needed. And they don’t plan to expand on that for as long as they can. But as you look around the car, it’s clear that a lot is going on. And it looks stunning.

Power comes from a 2.6-liter twin-turbo V6 and an electric motor as permitted by class rules. Total output from both units will be capped at 670 horsepower but loads can be shifted between them depending on the situation. The V6 will drive the rear wheels while the electric motor powers the front.

Peugeot is scheduled to take to the track in 2022. They’ll join Toyota, Glickenhaus, Ferrari, and maybe Alpine and ByKolles who have thrown their hat into the ring. From 2023 they’ll be joined by LMDh entries from Acura, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and very likely Cadillac plus others. The future of prototype endurance racing is looking very bright indeed.

[Source: Racer]

BMW ruins the 2 Series

The list of cars that haven’t been butchered by BMW’s design lead is growing ever smaller, and they’ve gone for the beloved 2 Series now. Domagoj Dukec is on a mission to exonerate Chris Bangle and prove once and for all that he is the worst head of design in BMW history.

But credit where it’s due – the kidney grille is a normal one and not the beaver tooth that has been forced onto the noses of other prominent BMWs. It’s just that the rest of the car is… a bit weird. It still gets the profile and dimensions of a true BMW sports car right, at least.

 

And in M240i specification (highest spec until we get the M2) it packs an even mightier punch. A 34 horsepower increase out of its twin-scroll turbo straight six brings that up to 375 horsepower. That’s more than the first M2 had. The biggest change though is that it now exclusively comes with xDrive, a rear-biased AWD system.

And that’s all I feel like saying about this car. Oh… and that purple is outstanding.

[Source: BMW]

Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimate

I’m talking about a new Aventador for like the 14th time, but this one is pretty special… again. It’s not called the Ultimate because it’s faster and more expensive than the others, but because it’s the last of its kind. It’s the final Aventador to enter production and will also be the last time an N/A V12 is the sole power unit in a Lamborghini.

From what we can gather, future Lamborghinis will either be hybrid and/or turbocharged. A very long line of very special cars will come to an end with this. Its 6.5-liter V12 produces 769 horsepower and shoves it to a top speed of 221 mph. AWD and a quick 7-speed transmission helps it reach 62 mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds.

There’s a bunch of other cool stuff they’ve added but it’s a car that is limited to 500 units globally so nobody will ever get to see it.

[Source: Lamborghini via Jalopnik]

Rimac merges with Bugatti

some dumb bugatti

Bugatti will be merging with Rimac to form a new company imaginatively called Bugatti-Rimac. The Croation EV hypercar manufacturer will hold a 55% stake in the new company to effectively take control of it. Volkswagen won’t be completely rid of Bugatti though as Porsche will be holding the remaining 45%. The deal sees two of Europe’s most prestigious brands and their most exciting newcomer joining forces.

This official confirmation follows months of rumors that Volkswagen was looking to get out of the whole “bespoke hypercars for the world’s top 0.0001%” game. Offloading them to Rimac while also keeping some relationship via Porsche is probably the best thing that could have possibly happened to Bugatti. Rimac is one of the literal handful of companies who can match Bugatti in sheer power and lunacy, albeit with slightly different methods. Few details were confirmed as this is still a pretty new agreement, but don’t expect Bugatti to go electric overnight. They’ll continue finding new ways to sell the Chiron for a higher price and will deliver their first EV by 2030.

If you want more details and reactions from parties involved, check out the Car & Driver article here.

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

And if you’re going to be at Radwood NorCal this weekend, I will be too! Look for the fat loser in a Deftones shirt.

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.

30 Comments

  1. I’m just a little bummed Lotus couldn’t get the Emira under 3000lbs, considering the Alpine is less than 2500, and theoretically operating in the same space (and even a Cayman is in the same range as the Lotus). It looks fine I guess, should be great to drive, but eh?

    On the other hand, although the 2-series styling isn’t great, it’s still an upright RWD BMW coupe, so considering how they’ve been going lately, it’s a minor miracle that it’s not just a 2-Series Gran Coupe with two fewer doors.

    1. Couldn’t agree more on the Lotus, it seems very middling for a Lotus and just a bit “meh” for their ICE swansong. There’s no compelling reason to buy one over a Cayman. This just isn’t the “mic drop” moment like when the S1 Elise came out.

      Also, as someone pointed out on a forum I frequent – that name should be on an electric Daihatsu.

      1. I’d admittedly have to wait for road tests and comparisons to start pouring in before saying the Cayman is obviously the better choice as Lotus has often excelled at some intangible qualities (no question the Porsche is the more sensible choice though).

        1. Of course, but the minute the Elise was revealed, you just new it was inherently “right”, this doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact. If it wasn’t Lotus badged, it’d probably struggle for attention.

      1. Nope , thankfully confirmed the coupe is still RWD (or rear-drive based, I guess, I wouldn’t be shocked if some markets are AWD-only).

  2. It’s funny how the BMW 2’s new styling elements sort of look cheaper and simultaneously more generic than one would expect from brands in cheaper segments; like comparing it to a Veloster or something. And that Lotus looks fantastic, given the new design paradigm of “sculptured” sides that keeps popping up among more and more brands. If they’ve survived until now, this new model should ring in better times.

    No news from me here, our two boring cars work, the non-boring one remains in solitary confinement awaiting some work. So I took the baby Hyundai to the mountains this week and I do actually enjoy its underpowered slow-car-fast-ness. Painted a few black stripes on the asphalt going uphill, and did some tossing on gravel, but the car sits a bit too low for my taste – I’m afraid to hit stones and stuff with it. Still, it’s very light and the only way to go fast is to not brake. It’s possible to squeeze a man-sized dose of fun out of 84 hp.

  3. That BMW wheel wells remind me of a certain 924 derivative… anyway, they demands 875 million EUR from VW and BMW for keeping the benefits from AdBlue significantly lower than possible to keep dev and prod costs down; Mercedes was part of the back room arrangement but pays zero because leniency. It’s considered a staircase wit that they pay for breaking monopoly/cartel laws, not for eco damage.
    The Vivaro is getting L3 support; the “Check Airbag” light can’t be shut off by the Opel workshop, after multiple hours of analysis and attempts. Swapping control units and sensors, actuators doesn’t do anything. French electronics and US cost management….

  4. I washed, actually pressure washed, my truck for the first time in about 2 years. It had quite the collection or organic matter growing on it as its parking spot is under a big tree and it doesn’t gt driven much so the pollen and junk build up. Looks a million times better. Need to do the van since it didn’t get its yearly pressure washing last year either.

      1. Unfortunately no. Unfortunately my van is in s similar condition so I’ll try and remember to take a before pic when I do that one.

      1. I read this as your Mercedes somehow turning into a Volvo 740. Biology aside, I could live with that.

        Can I ask how you deal with the delays? Do you talk to The Mechanic occasionally? Since I’m pretty much in the same situation with my Centennial now, taking a shitty baby Hyundai up and down mountains all day, how much applied pressure is okay? My social skills reach their end…quickly.

  5. I want to buy the Lotus, to support a car company still delivering cars that will be interesting to drive. Unfortunately, I’m not in the market for an $80,000 sports car…

  6. Five or six years ago, I bought a hitch basket carrier because it was on sale at HF. My daily driver at the time had a bumper hitch. The cheap adapters to add a receiver to the bumper require the hitch ball to be removed, but they also have a lower towing capacity than the bumper hitch. So I left things alone.

    Then I bought another car. That one did have a receiver hitch, but it was a Class II. I bought the adapter to use a Class III accessory in it, but the car was totaled before I got a chance to use it.

    I replaced that car with the same model. No trailer hitch. The hitch manufacturers discontinued them a decade ago, and so used ones bring top dollar. I really didn’t feel like spending a couple hundred bucks to be able to use a hitch basket that I really only got because it was on sale. So still no hitch on that car.

    Keep in mind, I do have a full-size, long bed pickup with a receiver hitch. But there isn’t a whole lot I could put into a hitch basket that I couldn’t already easily put into the pickup bed, so I never bothered hooking the basket to it.

    When I got the Panther wagon, I started looking for a Class III hitch for it. Any Panther platform hitch is supposed to fit any Panther frame 1979-2012, so I figured I’d find something in a junkyard. It took a while, but I finally found one, and it’s on the car now. Only after installation did I learn that the rear of a wagon frame is a little different than a sedan frame. I can slide a hitch into the receiver no problem, but not a basket–the rail of the basket hits the rear bumper before the basket slides all the way into the receiver. This week I got a hitch extender that will bring the back of the hitch out by another foot (and introduce an additional place for wobbles and rattles). As I was test-fitting everything, I saw that the basket is already starting to rust, even though it has never been used and has been stored the entire time out of the sun and rain.

  7. I bought a hitch basket and a “waterproof” storage bag for it back when I traded the minivan for the SUV. I sacrificed interior space for towing capacity. I used it often and the bag was pretty waterproof.

    When I traded the SUV on a Prius, I went looking for, and found, a class III receiver hitch for it and continued to use it. we loaded that thing down pretty well with it. Sadly, since we can now add pictures, I can’t find any images of it.

    Since I sold the Prius, I haven’t needed to use it.

  8. I can finally share a picture of my news for the past several weeks. This is my new 30×40 pole barn. The shell is done and the electric is maybe 50%. Waiting for the concrete, then doors and insulation. I’m excited to have both a dedicated storage space and a dedicated work space where I can have multi week projects go on. Hopefully it’ll be ready in a couple of weeks.

    1. I want to “thumbs up” vote for you – but I guess this version of commentary doesn’t have that feature. Regardless, great looking shed. Before you fill it up, you should do a massive burnout on that fresh, smooth concrete to “break it in”

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