Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the automotive industry’s biggest stories without the fluff or the BS. I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week:
Audi RS4 Avant is too cool for America.
Buick Verano Turbo, now with 250 horses and a manual.
Hyundai Elantra GT and Coupe specs and pricing.
Volkswagen Beetle TDI is affordable efficiency.
Saab is totally saved for real this time. Maybe.
2013 Audi RS4 Avant
This week we’re kicking things off with a car that probably deserved its own Wagon Wednesday post. The 2013 Audi RS4 Avant is the third generation of a sports wagon that Audi refers to as a “modern classic”. With the athleticism of, well, an RS4, and the practicality of a wagon, the RS4 Avant just might be worthy of the hype from Audi.
The heart of the best is a 4.2-liter V8 engine sitting at the front and pushing out 450 horsepower and doing so at an irresistibly loud 8,250 RPM. 317 lb.-ft. of torque is also on tap to help get the RS4 Avant off the line quicker than most other cars of its kind with the help of a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission sending power to all four wheels. The 0-62 mph sprint comes in just 4.7 seconds and the top speed is limited to 155 mph in accordance with local laws, but if you ask nicely, Audi will limit it to 174 mph. Other performance options include launch control, a sport differential in the back, carbon fiber ceramic disc brakes (in a fucking wagon!!! -KK) that hide behind 19″ or 20″ wheels, and something magical called Dynamic Ride Control with different levels of comfort for the driver to select. Despite the impressive performance figures, fuel efficiency is a respectable 22 mpg combined.
The interior gets its fair share of awesomeness with your choice of carbon fiber, piano black, aluminum or stainless steel mesh inlays over the black leather interior. Depending on the position of the folding rear seats, drivers can make use of 1,430 liters (50.5 cubic feet) of cargo space, which is why wagons are so awesome. Keeping passengers entertained when the driver isn’t tossing the RS4 Avant around on a mountain road is the premium Bang and Olufsen sound system, Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI), and Bluetooth connectivity so passengers can listen in on the driver’s conversations.
Now we get to the disappointing part where I tell you how Audi hasn’t told us about the RS4 Avant’s future in America. Right now they can only confirm the car’s European release this fall with prices starting at €76,600 ($96,485).
2013 Buick Verano Turbo
Buick is announcing a new variant of the compact Verano that aims to please lovers of forced induction and manual gearboxes. The Verano Turbo is now a thing and it’s coming to American dealerships later this year.
The engine that’s making its way into the Verano for the first time is a 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder good for an SAE certified 250 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through the standard 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. Buick is proud to proclaim that they now offer more manual transmissions than Ferrari and Lamborghini combined, when in reality, pretty much everyone else that builds more than four cars at a time does. Then again, there are nine different variants of the Gallardo, which is currently the only car between Ferrari and Lamborghini that can be ordered with a manual. Maybe those don’t count… Either way, the combination of a capable turbocharged four-banger and a 6-speed manual in a compact luxury sedan sounds like a winner to me.
Right now Buick has few other details to share with us, other than that fuel economy will be on par with other Buick models with the Ecotec engine. Pricing will be finalized closer to the car’s launch date, which is “late 2012”.
2013 Hyundai Elantra GT and Coupe priced
Hyundai (like Sunday) wants you to love the new Elantra lineup. With totally new looks inside and out, a fresh selection of equipment, and now a body style for everyone, the Elantra aims to win over customers from one of the most competitive segments in the industry. Now joining the already launched Elantra sedan is the new 5-door Elantra GT, which will start at $18,395 (plus $775 for destination charges) and will be launched later this month with the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf in its crosshairs. Also joining the lineup is the Elantra Coupe, which is going straight for the Honda Civic coupe and with a starting price of $17,445 (plus destination) and will also go on sale this month as well.
All Elantra models come with a 1.8-liter four-banger with 148 horsepower that sends power to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission and a 6-speed automatic is a $1,000 option. The 0-60 mph sprint comes in “good enough” and fuel efficiency is a best-in-class 39 mpg highway for the 5-door GT and 40 mpg for the Coupe. The Elantra GT leads its class in cargo and passenger space and the Elantra Coupe has more interior volume than a Honda Accord Coupe.
Standard equipment on all Elantras is impressive, with gadgets like Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and a variety of steering modes. Optional style and technology packages can add goodies like 17-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, a panoramic roof for the GT, a rear spoiler for the Coupe, navigation with a 7-inch screen, and a backup camera with those said packages starting at around $2,350 each.
Volkswagen Beetle TDI priced
Starting this August, the all new Volkswagen Beetle will be offered with a fuel-efficient clean-diesel TDI engine. The Beetle TDI will go on at a price of $23,295 (plus $770 for destination) and will be the sixth Volkswagen model in the U.S. offered as a TDI. So what exactly does that $23,295 get you?
For starters, a 2.0-liter TDI engine kicking out 140 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a 6-speed manual, but an additional $1,100 gets you a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission instead. Estimated fuel efficiency with the manual is 41 mpg highway and 32 mpg city. The impressive list of standard equipment includes SiriusXM radio, iPod connectivity, ambient lighting, and unique 17-inch wheels. However, buyers willing to dish out another couple grand can drive home a Beetle with premium equipment like a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and an audio system by Fender. With all the option boxes checked, anyone can leave the lot with a Beetle TDI that costs $27,295.
Saab is saved!
The never-ending story of what should have been Saab’s last days is going to have a happy ending after all. According to The Detroit News, an electric car consortium led by a former Volvo Trucks executive and owned by investors in Hong Kong and Japan is officially buying the bankrupt automaker.
The buyers, collectively known as National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), will be taking over Saab’s reported assets of $532 million and their reported debt of $1.9 billion. It doesn’t take an accounting expert to know that isn’t a great situation to be in. NEVS and the bankruptcy officials involved have not made the selling price of the company public. Future plans for the company are also not immediately known for sure, but seeing as how it’s an electric car consortium, don’t be surprised if you start seeing electric Saabs.