Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the automotive industry’s biggest stories without the fluff or the BS. Just all the facts with a little opinion thrown in – just because I can. This week:
550 horsepower Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG coming next year
Volkswagen Scirocco GTS celebrates 30 years of appearance packages
Porsche 911 Club Coupe celebrates 60 years of the Porsche Club
Ford Focus ST Performance Academy coming to a city near you
Ferrari 599XX Evoluzione + more up for auction, benefits Italian quake victims
Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG
Just because a German manufacturer can’t have a crossover utility vehicle without having a go-fast version, Mercedes-Benz would like to introduce you to the first ever GL63 AMG. Any of the current GL-Class models on sale now are far from slow, but that wasn’t nearly good enough for AMG who went ahead and shoved one of their V8s under the hood, just for kicks and giggles.
When it goes on sale in the U.S. first quarter of 2013, it will utilize a 5.5-liter twin turbo V8 making 550 horsepower and 560 lb.-ft. of torque, which puts a 7-passenger crossover thing into Lamborghini Gallardo territory (at least in terms of power). A 7-speed automatic transmission sends power exclusively to all four wheels and helps the GL63 achieve a 0-62 mph sprint in 4.9 seconds and on to a limited top speed (booo) of 155 mph. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and electronic aids such as the Active Damping System and Active Curve Control to help keep the super grocery-getter on the road and out of a lake. At the same time, an automatic stop/start function, an ECO mode and fuel-saving electric power steering help keep fuel consumption down, though they won’t say by how much.
The exterior receives typical AMG styling updates which include gloss black inserts in the massive front grille, new front valances with larger air intakes, flared fenders that house 21-inch alloy wheels, and the totally necessary quad-tipped exhaust. The story is similar inside, with premium leather on all seven seats, sport buckets with contrast stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and plenty of badges to remind you of what you’re driving.
Volkswagen Scirocco GTS
Way back in 1982, Volkswagen unveiled the Scirocco GTS, which was basically a standard Scirocco with new valances, suspension work, and stripes. The new one, however, is more than just a standard Scirocco with a fancy appearance package and new badges – actually, that’s exactly what it is.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Scirocco GTS, the new one follows the same basic formula. A new and unique front bumper design with more flare, two-tone stripes that run nearly the full length of the car, and the roof spoiler and rear diffuser from the Scirocco R set it apart from the rest. 18-inch “Thunder” alloy wheels over red brake calipers and red mirror caps top off exterior updates. Red and black trim pieces continue the theme inside, but the most notable item here is the traditional “golf ball” gear shift knob that pays homage to the original GTS and the original Golf GTI.
What’s disappointing here (other than that the Scirocco is not available in the U.S.) is that no performance modifications were made. The standard 2.0-liter turbo four still produces 207 horsepower and still does the 0-62 mph run in 6.9 seconds. At least it looks kinda cool. The Scirocco GTS
Appearance Package will go on sale in Europe sometime next year at an undisclosed price.
Porsche 911 Club Coupe
Even a big famous manufacturer like Porsche can still appreciate its fan base. Case in point, the über exclusive 911 Club Coupe, which is being built to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of the first two Porsche Clubs.
Based off the standard Carrera S, the Club Coupe is covered in unique Brewster Green paint, wears 20-inch wheels, and has a classic “duck tail” spoiler on its posterior and a new front splitter courtesy of the Porsche Design Package. Inside, the Espresso leather contrasts the green paint and the Sport Chrono package gives you that silly lap timer on the dash to keep you entertained. The car uses a special version of the Carrera S’s 4.0-liter flat-six, which now has 430 horsepower (a 30 hp bump). The car can be had with either a PDK 7-speed automatic or a 7-speed manual (not a typo) and is expected to do the 0-62 mph run in four seconds flat.
Only 12 of these cars will be sold to the public and the price is set at $175,580. If you want to buy one, you’re going to have to have Lady Luck on your side, because you have to register at their website before June 16 and then hope they draw your name. If they do, your name will be engraved in the door sill, so you better be able to pay up. Oh, and I guess being a Porsche Club member would help.
Ford Focus ST Performance Academy
Hey look! Non-European car news! Ford is taking the all-new 2013 Focus ST on a five-city tour to give customers a chance to experience the car Ford really wants you to love.
Starting on June 30th in New York City, Ford and their top driving instructors will be hosting a free event to give attendees some valuable performance driving training before they send them out on a timed autocross lap or two in their $25,000 Focus. This summer tour goes from New York to Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. If you live anywhere else, you’re out of luck for the time being, but fortunately Ford seems to be open to the idea of doing another tour to other cities. If you live in those five cities, head on over to the event’s website and register before spaces fill up. Did I mention that you could abuse someone else’s car for free?
Ferrari 599XX Evo auction benefits Italian earthquake victims
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’d know that Italy has been hit by a second major earthquake since May 20th. Of course, our thoughts are with all the families involved, and fortunately, so is Ferrari’s. After the quakes, Ferrari production was halted so employees could spend time with families and take care of more important matters. They also announced an online auction that would benefit victims and their families, and some of the items going up are very special.
One of the items up for bid is a 599XX Evo, which is basically a massive Ferrari research and development exercise on wheels (and a 74o horsepower V12). Commercial value for one of just a handful of 599XX Evos is somewhere around $1.6 million and Ferrari normally won’t even let you take it home. Usually they take it back to the factory in their own trucks and tell you when you can drive it again. Other items up for bid include tons of Formula 1 goodies, like driver suits and helmets donated by drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, memorabilia, and a whole V8 race engine. Many, many other items donated by Ferrari clients and collectors from around the world will be up for bid as well, and 100% of the proceeds all go to this good cause.
This isn’t the first time that the Ferrari community’s generosity helped disaster victims. Ferrari points out that another Italian earthquake years ago led them to help rebuild Abruzzo and last year’s Japanese tsunami saw 80 million yen’s worth of aid and two new after-school facilities. So while we like to poke fun at the Ferrari community for having a reputation for being up-tight jerks and for having cars that catch on fire – a lot – it’s good to see that there are lots of good people that represent the Ferrari image. Bravo. If you’re interested in helping out, the auction will be hosted at the Ferrari Store website.