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: Porsche gives enthusiasts what they want, Mazda announces plans for EV expansion, GM seeks to make their problems go away with money, Koenigsegg laughs at your alternative fuels from their volcano lair, and Ford begins Bronco production.
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring
One of the most beloved flavors of 911 is returning. The Porsche 911 GT3 Touring is the wingless 992-generation hero car that enthusiasts will go crazy over. It’s a car that amplifies the driving pleasure you can only get from a GT3, but perhaps at a slightly different pace.
The GT3 Touring first began life – sort of – as the 991-generation 911 R which was a limited-run, outrageously expensive, but gorgeous enthusiast-spec car. It took everything that made the 991 era GT3 wonderful but ditched the big wing and added a manual, a first of that generation GT3. It quickly became the most sought after car Porsche was making at the time and the resale values were more inflated than crypto. Porsche realized that there was an opportunity and that they like printing money, so the GT3 Touring package was introduced shortly thereafter. It was a manual-only wingless GT3 for people who wanted all of the same performance (minus downforce) but in a more understated shell and with a bit more luxury. It sold well enough to warrant a second go at it.
This 992-generation 911 GT3 Touring follows a similar formula. This time though, both the six-speed manual and seven-speed PDK are available. Regardless of how you row gears, the 4.0-liter flat six will scream to 9,000 RPM and generate the same 502 horsepower all the same. It’s not been detuned at all compared to the regular GT3. Perched above the engine is an active spoiler, not unlike what’s on regular 911s, so there’s still some level of rear downforce available when the conditions call for it. Otherwise it’s tucked away for a smooth and beautiful look.
Other styling differences include high-gloss anodized aluminum trim strips on the side windows and a body color-matched front fascia (parts of it are painted black on the GT3). The interior is a bit more luxurious compared to the race car atmosphere of the regular GT3. This features extended leather upholstery and special surface embossing on the dashboard panels and upper door trim. What’s noticeably missing inside is all of the alcantara that dominated the GT3’s cabin. The steering wheel, shifter, arm rests, door inserts, and more are all leather now.
It’s yours for only $162,450 including destination. The manual is available as a no cost option unless you live in California because of dumb laws that haven’t been updated (yet) for the modern era of performance cars. The first models will arrive sometime in early 2022.
Mazda details planned EV expansion
We haven’t heard much from Mazda about their plans for EVs, because… well, they haven’t really told us about it. At all. A few years ago though Mazda announced a technical partnership with Toyota right around the same time Mazda revealed a breakthrough in HCCI engine technology that promised to greatly improve internal combustion engine efficiency. It seemed, at the time, that Mazda would benefit hugely from that partnership when it inevitably became time for them to start making EVs. Well, new details this week have essentially confirmed that.
Mazda is planning a total of 13 electrified cars by 2025, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full electric models. The rollout begins next year and will culminate in the electrification of all models by 2030. Toyota’s hybrid technology is expected to be used anywhere it can, though they say their own EV platform is in the works.
GM commits even more money to EV development
One of the things the industry has been watching carefully is how GM was going to respond to Ford’s recent advances in the EV space. With the not-a-Mustang Mach E proving popular and the Lightning disrupting the pickup market in a big way, GM needs to fire back with more than the $60k Lyriq and the outrageously expensive Hummer EV.
This week, GM fired back. With money. They’ve increased their planned investments in the EV and AV space to a massive $35 billion through 2025. The most recent figure they had thrown out was $27 billion from last fall and $20 billion from March 2020. In total, GM says this new figure is a 75% increase from pre-pandemic figures they had originally announced.
The funds will go towards accelerating development and production of their Ultium battery cell and Hydrotec fuel cell. The end goal of course is to put EVs in the hands of retail and fleet customers more quickly as Ford has gotten a bit of a head start with the Lightning which has well over 100,000 reservations.
The horsepower war we’ve enjoyed over the last decade is being replaced by an EV war. It was fun while it lasted.
[Source: GM via Jalopnik]
Koenigsegg looks to volcanoes for alternative fuel
Koenigsegg has earned a reputation for being an innovative and exciting company that builds hypercars for the world’s elite and insufferable. With how small of a company they are, they’re free to experiment with transmission-less cars and camless engines and push their performance to unreal levels. Their latest experiment is sourcing fuel from volcanoes.
Christian von Koenigsegg explains to Bloomberg:
So there is this technology from Iceland, it was invented there, where they cap the CO2 emittance from semi-active volcanoes and convert that into methanol. And if you take that methanol and you power the plants that do the conversion of other fuels and then power the ship that transports the those fuels to Europe or the U.S. or Asia, wherever it goes, you put the fuel completely CO2-neutral into the vehicle.
Koenigsegg went on to explain that given their size and agility, they aren’t married to any particular type of powertrain, whether it be ICE or electric or powered by a damn volcano. But they do hope to increase their influence a bit with mobility solutions that can be exported in greater numbers than their limited-run hypercars.
Ford begins Bronco production
At long last, the big boy Bronco is returning. After what seemed like an eternity since reservations were opened up, the Bronco has begun to roll off the assembly line. David Tracy with Jalopnik was there to witness some of the first examples put weight on their wheels for the first time. It’s a great moment for off road enthusiasts and those who have “NOT OJ” vanity plates secured already. I highly recommend checking out the Jalopnik piece for all of the glorious details and images.
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.