The News for June 10th, 2016

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. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • McLaren goes crazy with carbon fiber on the 675LT Spider

  • Audi reveals all-new A5 and S5 Coupe

  • Volvo’s Polestar performance package revealed for S90 and V90

  • Ford Fusion Sport confirmed to nearly be the Fusion RS we wanted

  • BMW builds a new 3 Series GT, analysts predict they’ll sell four units

  • What’s your automotive news?

McLaren Special Operations Carbon Series LT

A few months ago, McLaren’s Special Operations team (MSO) created a McLaren P1 show car that was 100% exposed carbon fiber with a blue-tinted lacquer giving it a gorgeous look. MSO used it as a promotion for a carbon fiber conversion being sold to existing P1 owners. It must’ve made some fans because MSO is now doing something similar for the 675LT Spider by customer demand.
The Carbon Series LT as it’s called is a special edition 675LT Spider which takes the carbon fiber levels up to eleven. It’s strictly limited to 25 units worldwide on top of the 500 “standard” 675LT Spiders already sold. The only way to get one of these is to harness the powers of time travel as they were already sold before we even knew about it.
So other than a time traveler’s special, the Carbon Series LT is a 675LT Spider with literally as much exposed carbon fiber as humanly possible. Much of the standard 675LT Spider is already at least constructed of the material, but this adds even more and exposes all of it. As with the original Longtail it’s named after, it has a focus on reduced weight, so the expanded use of the lightest [and practical] material you can build a car out of is a perfect excuse to sell another 25 cars fit for the Longtail ethos.
As with the standard 675LT, the front bumper with larger splitter and end plates, front under body, side skirts, side intakes, lower side intakes, rear bodyside lower, rear fenders, rear deck, rear bumper, diffuser, and ‘Longtail’ Airbrake are all carbon fiber. What the MSO Carbon Series LT adds to that is a carbon fiber electrically retractable roof and tonneau, A-pillars, bonnet and rear deck, side blades, complete front and rear wings, and even fuel filler door. So there’s carbon literally everywhere (except the wheels) and it’s all coated in a high gloss finish to make it shine without hiding the intricate weaves of it.
In total, this MSO model features around 40% additional carbon fiber parts over the the standard car. It’s impressive but also very complex to engineer and develop. Therefore, it’s not possible to get this package as a conversion on existing 675LT Spiders as was possible with the carbon P1. Looks like those 500 standard 675LT Spider buyers will just have to deal with not having full carbon-bodied cars like the rest of us…
If you live near someone with telepathy, you’ll see these hit the streets by the end of the year.
[Source: McLaren]

Audi A5 and S5 Coupe

Audi S5 Coupé
Audi launched the A5 Coupe way back in 2007 and it became a near instant success. After plenty of face lifts and updates, it’s finally getting a new generation for the 2017 model year. It goes on sale this fall and the more powerful and also new version of the S5 Coupe will follow shortly thereafter.
Both models certainly look recognizable but their new designs don’t leave anything untouched. The whole car is designed to look more modern and also more revealing of its sporty and yet elegant character. A prime example is the now three-dimensional wave-shaped shoulder line with pronounced bulges over the wheel arches – they say that emphasizes its Quattro all-wheel drive.
Audi A5 Coupé
It proudly wears a new Singleframe grille which is wider than the last one and also shinier. On either end of that grille are available Matrix LED headlights, which to Audi’s credit, are actually styled quite a bit differently than those of the A4/S4 it shares a platform with. At a higher level, it still maintains the balanced proportions of a long hood, stretched wheelbase, and short overhangs that’s been a part of the A5/S5 formula since the beginning.
The interior is redesigned to fit the theme with other new Audis. It has the huge Audi Virtual Cockpit, updated MMI, available Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and an overall design that promotes visibility and openness. In short, it looks great.
Audi A5 Coupé
Through “an intelligent” mix of materials and a lightweight design, they’ve trimmed 132 pounds off its curb weight compared to the last model. That gives each of the five engines available in the Euro-spec A5 an easier job of moving mass and that helps improve both performance and fuel efficiency. No word on exactly what engines are coming to the US-spec A5, but seeing as how they’re… unlikely to sell it with any of the three TDI engines on the options list in Europe, that only leaves us with two TFSI gas engines.
One will likely be the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder VAG sells with everything and the other is a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 354 horsepower. That V6 may be limited to the S5 but the press release really wasn’t clear. A six-speed manual or seven-speed S Tronic gearbox is available in most A5s except for the ones with the V6; those get an eight-speed gearbox instead.
Pricing and US availability will be confirmed at a later date.
[Source: Audi]

Volvo S90 and V90 Polestar Performance Optimisation

Volvo may be known as the brand for practical buyers looking for the safest, most comfortable car for their families, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun. They’re expanding their Polestar Performance Optimisation package to the all-new and desperately pretty S90 and V90. Available starting this fall on the D5 diesel and T6 petrol versions, it’s much more than just an appearance package.
Polestar is of course Volvo’s new performance brand, founded in 1996 as a motorsport team racing Volvos and fully acquired by Volvo just last year. They’ve had a hand in a few performance-minded Volvo production cars lately and the all-new S90/V90 platform was just chosen as their new canvas. Developed in cooperation with the engineers and drivers of Polestar Cyan Racing (who compete in the FIA World Touring Car Championship), this package is a decent overhaul of the entire drivetrain for the purpose of driving pleasure.
They don’t go into specifics on what exactly was modified, but throttle and off-throttle response, gearshift speed and precision, and overall engine performance were all improved as a result. They didn’t even mention if the power was increased, but knowing Volvo it wouldn’t have been by much. Either way, you can get a luxury sedan or estate with killer looks, legendary safety, and Polestar-approved driving dynamics. I’d say it’s worth the price of admission (which also wasn’t disclosed, but I’ll just assume it’s still worth it).
[Source: Volvo]

Ford Fusion Sport details emerge

Ford seriously started off the press release with this: “New Ford Fusion Sport gives owners of German sedans 380 reasons to change their Lederhosen”.
It’s not unwarranted though because we finally know more of the glorious specs of Ford’s upcoming Fusion Sport and it’s already packing more grunt than that Audi S5 I just talked about. It’s powered by an 2.7-liter EcoBoost (twin-turbo) V6 with 325 horsepower and a “class-demolishing” 380 lb.-ft. of torque which is channeled to all four wheels. With available summer tires for improved dynamics and its sights set on some ambitious targets, it’s really just a Drift mode and a set of Recaro seats away from being the Fusion RS we wanted.
The price of admission is $33,475, which Ford is keen to point out is significantly less than many German sports sedans with less power and/or torque because we all know an American car is only better than the foreign competition if it’s cheaper (/s).
[Source: Ford]

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

BMW 330i GT Luxury Arktikgrau
Clearly, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo has been labeled as a success by someone because they sold a few more units than the twelve they were anticipating. Therefore, it’s been given the green light for a new version – on purpose.
You don’t care about it, I don’t care about it. You can still get M badges on it.
[Source: BMW]

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.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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  1. GTXcellent Avatar
    This SS epic has transformed from a lustful romance into a full on horror movie
    So last we heard, the car – OUR CAR – had been offloaded from a transport train in Fairfax, Kansas awaiting shipment to the truck carrier in Dilworth, MN. No update. Where’s the update? Where’s the car? Our dealer can’t get an answer, the GM regional rep can’t get an update. Does anyone know where our car is? – well, General Motors knew, but they weren’t ready to tell us. I’m sure some of you fellow Hoons in the KC area can attest that apparently there were some pretty nasty thunderstorms, that happened to have a lot of large hailstones. Apparently these very large hailstones just happened to fall in the tiny region of Fairfax and damaged several hundred brand new vehicles. Our dealer was told on Monday that our car “could” be one of the damaged. GM is busy invoicing the situation, and were supposed to be notifying late this week. So far we haven’t heard anything.
    So what is next? Since we haven’t heard anything yet is that good? Or very, very bad? If the car is totaled, what do we do? Our dealer has said that they and GM will do what they can, but what does that mean? I do know from my dealership days, you can only dealer trade in your region – there are NO manual transmission Chevrolet SS vehicles in our region. Right now I honestly don’t know what to say or do. When we found out on Monday I was sick to my stomach. That’s our car – the car that went down an assembly line 10,000 miles away with our name on it. It survived a 2 month cross-Pacific journey. It didn’t fall into the ocean from an earthquake. And now, it may be gone forever….I’ll keep ya’ll posted

    1. ramLlama Avatar

      This is heart-breaking news. I hope GM will do you a solid if its damaged and fix it for free, but that’s little consolation, and only adds to the months you have already been waiting.
      So sorry to hear about this.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        From what I’ve heard – it’s cheaper to write them off and crush them than fixing. Now that may not be the case with a foreign built car. I guess we’ll see.

        1. ramLlama Avatar

          Honestly, that’s probably a better outcome. But then you may have to wait another 6 months (at which point, you may as well bargain with GM to get a 2017 model year car…)

    2. nanoop Avatar

      I don’t understand: it’s your own financial damage, not just an unlucky, annoying series of events that delay the delivery? In any case, unfortunate and unnecessary, and sorry to hear of course.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        No, we haven’t physically laid out any money yet. The car is not ours in title, but I have been considering it ‘ours’ in the sense that we have been in this commitment for over half a year now. We have followed along with this specific car’s progress from order to assembly to shipment. Even if this car is totaled out, and a replacement can be found, it’s still a bummer that the ‘new’ car won’t be the one that was especially built for us.

    3. salguod Avatar

      Man that stinks. I hope that it works out for you to get your car, undamaged. If not then I hope GM makes it right by you quickly.
      I hate the idea that, if damaged, this car might get totaled. What a waste of a fantastic machine. Hopefully it gets slapped with a salvage title and some lucky hoon gets a heck of a deal on a slightly battered, but otherwise new, SS.

    4. Alff Avatar

      I live a few miles from the Fairfax facility. We didn’t have any issue with damaging hail but storms can be very localized. Good luck.

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    My admittedly ‘Murican car focused brain is having a hard time reconciling ‘3-series BMW’ and ‘Grand Tourer’ I think BMWs are repulsive, but like Led Zeppelin I’ve been forced to absorb some knowledge of them through decades of exposure. Isn’t the 3- 5- 6- 7- 8- Series nomenclature a hierarchy of how fancy the cars are? Like GM’s Chevy-to-Cadillac range? Am I right in concluding that “entry-level Grand Tourer” is the oxymoron that leads you to expect low sales?

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      The 1-7 series nomenclature indicates how big the car is and whether it’s a two-door or four-door model (most of the time). It of course gets nicer the higher up you go.
      To clarify my point, the BMW 3 Series is selling very well, but this Gran Turismo version that just got redone is what I don’t expect to sell very well. I live in a town that loves luxury cars and especially BMWs and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3 GT that wasn’t in a rental fleet.
      The Gran Turismo models (built on the 3 and 5 series) are supposed to be an alternative to wagons but they’re really just uglier cars that don’t offer nearly as much utility as the actual wagons. In fact, the GT version of the 5 Series is why we don’t get a 5 Series Touring in the US. They’re ugly, pointless, and even BMW buyers are not big fans.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        There is only ONE 5 series GT that I’ve seen around where I live. I asked the owner about it and he said that he didn’t really like the looks, but the car, the one dealer demonstrator, was offered to him at such a discount that he thought it would be rude to refuse. He said the best thing about driving it was that he didn’t have to look at the styling from the outside. This, from the owner!

    2. nanoop Avatar

      I’m pretty sure “GT” is for “Grosse Tonne”, German for “big barrel”. No grandezza about it.

    3. Van_Sarockin Avatar

      Grand Tourer is about covering vast distances in a minimal time, in great speed and in great comfort. Managing curves is essential. As is preserving the body. It’s not necessarily about the greatest horsepower, or g-force. or quarter mile times. Being a coupe helps. As does decent gas mileage and having a fair sized tank. You lose a lot of time at the gas station. BMW Bavaria, 5 , 6 and 8 series should fit the bill just fine. Except the new ones, which are crap.

  3. nanoop Avatar

    They delivered the wrong coolant pump plastic bit together with the pump (there are two L-pieces for the third outlet, one opened to cool the turbo, and one simply blocking off the hole in the pump housing). They’ll send the correct L for free – it’s a three bucks (twenty somethings) part, but USD25 in shipping on them… I wouldn’t manage any wrenching these days anyway, home owner, so I don’t really mind the additional delay.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Hooniverse Empire.
      It has a certain ring, doesn’t it?
      And with electronics nowadays everything is smaller.

  4. ptschett Avatar

    Not much to report. I did a DIY oil change on the ’15 Challenger, its 2nd (after having the dealer do the 1st since they gave me a coupon for that.) I thought I knew what oil filter it took (my expectation was a Mopar #899 like my 2010 used), but I asked the dealer just to be sure, & they told me it took a different one (Mopar #339) because it was built after mid-October 2014. I got under the car, and lo & behold they’d installed the #899 instead of the 1/2″ smaller diameter & 1/4″ shorter #339. I have to guess that the service guy just assumed “this is a Hemi, it takes an 899 like the last 5,374,586 I’ve done” and that whatever motivated the specification change isn’t a Challenger problem.
    That and I might go to the Trans-Am race at Brainerd this year.

    1. Jamey Burgess Avatar
      Jamey Burgess

      pssst! I’m a Chrysler certified parts counter professional. The filters are interchangeable. It literally just depends on what they had at the factory. I’ve seen them roll off the truck, heading for the PDI, and have different filters.

  5. Scoutdude Avatar

    Good news is it looks like I get to go shopping for a car when I get back from my trip next week.
    Bad news is because it looks like my wife’s car is going to be totaled and she was at fault.
    Good news is that she and my daughter are OK.

  6. salguod Avatar

    I really like the idea of a fastback 5 door 3 series. The roof is a bit too tall but it’s otherwise a decent looking car to my eyes. I’m clearly in the minority.
    I really need to find one and take a picture next to my 318ti to show how the 3 series hatch has grown.
    The fastback SUV X4 on the other hand…×422/quality/95/

    1. Vairship Avatar

      What they were going for: (and they missed).

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      ” The roof is a bit too tall ”
      Then what you want is a 4-series Gran Coupe! I really wonder why BMW wanted 3 ‘heights’ of 3 series fastbacks…

      1. salguod Avatar

        Yeah, but the GC is not quite a full fastback (or not as fastback?) and not a hatch.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Granted it is not a full fastback, but it is actually a hatch.

          1. salguod Avatar

            Wow, I had no idea.
            So, I wonder, is the GC or the GT more the spiritual successor of my 318ti? Well, considering both are more expensive than the base sedan, I’d guess neither.
            The 2 series, although not a hatch, is closer as it’s smaller and cheaper than a 3 series. Oddly, the 2 series starts only $300 cheaper than the 3 series.

          2. outback_ute Avatar

            The 1-series hatch would have to be the spiritual successor to the 318ti, of course not sold in the USA. Mind you in Australia we don’t get the 3-door versions if you want the closest match for the ti. Happily they have just replaced the hideous front end of the F20 version with the same as (or very similar bodywork to) the 2 coupe.

  7. outback_ute Avatar

    “So there’s carbon literally everywhere (except the wheels)”
    I know someone who can help fix this, Carbon Revolution (who do the Ford GT & GT350R wheels)
    I think the new Audi A5 is too much of a minor evolution (typical Audi) but also just doesn’t do it for me like the old one did. It has lost the strong chunkiness, I think because of the lower nose, and the overall design does not gel. Not surprising when often the first version of a design is the best and it is obvious there wasn’t a clear design vision here, just a brief to make it the same but different.
    As for the engines, I believe the two gas options are different power levels for the 2.0 turbo (190 & 248 bhp here) and that they regard the 3.0 powered S5 as a separate thing.
    The Fusion Sport sounds slightly interesting, about the same price as the Focus RS isn’t it? I haven’t driven the current Mondeo (Fusion) yet but I was disappointed in the ride and transmission of the previous model I drove, a diesel DSG. It would thump potholes so badly it actually threw a wheel cover, and would headbutt the rev limiter under full throttle!
    Finally good luck GTXcellent, I hope you have the same outcome I had when a hailstorm passed my area a few years ago. No damage despite neighbours getting holes in their patio roof.

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