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:
I made a Volvo S90 as the lead image again because R-Design
Dodge prepares to say goodbye to the Viper after 25 years
Aston Martin confirms the Vanquish Zagato for limited production
This week in crazy: Lanzante is making a road legal McLaren P1 GTR
Update: Mercedes reveals hardcore AMG GT R
What’s your automotive news?
Volvo S90 and V90 R-Design
Too much Volvo S90/V90 is never a bad thing. It was only two weeks ago that Polestar, Volvo’s in-house performance specialists, revealed a performance package for Scandinavia’s flagship sedan and wagon. Now it’s time for the parent company to take a knivhugg at making one.
The new S90 and V90 now officially have their very own R-Design versions and ordering books are open now. Volvo has a few R-Designs out now and each one is an edgier, sportier appearance package that also brings a few improvements to the driving dynamics. It’s not like what the M5 is to the 535i and it isn’t supposed to be. The R-Design doesn’t make it any better or worse at being a Volvo that can do things Volvo owners love; it just makes it a Volvo that drivers can have a bit of fun with when no one is looking. It also makes it insanely gorgeous.
This package on the 90 Series follows the same winning formula with a new front-end design incorporating a unique grille and spoiler-integrated fog lights. Other R-Design exclusives include piano black trim at both ends and five-spoke matte black diamond-cut wheels. Inside, R-Design adds unique deco trim, special pedals and mats, sporty contour seats, special steering wheel, and a high level interior illumination package.
There’s some extra chassis development involved with the R-Design but they didn’t go into specifics. It was summarized as being an “energetic, road-hugging” drive, so it must have been enough. No word on if anything in the powertrain was changed – if anything, throttle and transmission response will be recalibrated with performance figures remaining about the same.
If this doesn’t make you want a 90 Series, nothing will.
Dodge Viper 25th Anniversary Models
With the launch of five limited-edition Vipers for the 2017 model year, Dodge is both honoring 25 years of their famous beast and saying goodbye. Next year marks the final year of Viper production and Dodge hopes that five models commemorating some of the most famous Vipers of the past will finally be enough to sell some more. The last remaining Vipers will still be available as standard cars with near limitless configuration possibilities through its “1 of 1” program, but those looking for something rare to stick in their collection can start ordering one (or more) of the five special edition Vipers starting today.
The first one available is the Viper 1:28 Edition ACR, which as the number suggests, pays tribute to the production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by Randy Pobst in a 2016 Viper ACR at Laguna Seca. To match that particular car’s specifications, the 1:28 edition features a black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, badging, and a matching car cover which was totally included with the original car as well. As many as 28 of these models can be ordered, but no more.
My personal favorite is the Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, the white one with the blue stripes. That same iconic color combination was originally worn by the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition which was built to celebrate the 1997 FIA GT2 Championship win they clenched. 100 of those were built, so up to 100 of these Commemorative Editions will be built. Pearl white paint with blue pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, exterior carbon package, USA flag decals on the B-pillars, and more bespoke touches top it all off.
Then there’s the Viper VooDoo II Edition ACR, a rebirth of the original VooDoo Viper ACR built in 2010. Black paint, a graphite metallic ACR stripe with red outlines, and every performance option available make this a sinister ACR that no more than 31 buyers can enjoy.
The last edition based on the Viper ACR is the Dodge Dealer Edition ACR and is only available through the two Dodge dealers with the highest Viper sales volume. Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois will have the chance to sell up to 33 of these cars as a reward for not being part of the reason why the Viper is going away. This ACR has a white exterior with a competition blue center stripe, adrenaline red driver stripe, and other bespoke touches. It’s also not pictured in the one image of the new cars Dodge released, for some reason.
The last special edition Viper is also the only one that isn’t based on the ACR. It’s called the Snakeskin Edition GTC and it features new Snakeskin Green paint with a custom snakeskin patterned SRT stripe, advanced aerodynamics package, GT black interior, and special badging and stuff. No more than 25 of these will ever exist.
To briefly recap, why is the Viper going away? Super long story short, it just isn’t selling and it’s not hard to see why. Since the beginning it’s been a hard core machine designed for a very specific kind of buyer. It ended up being bought by people who wanted raw power and a batshit driving experience over things like driving comfort and sanity.
When the new Viper launched, it was an especially hard sell because it was priced above so many other cars that were just as fast but could do everything else better. About a year ago, the Viper’s production line was shut down for weeks because demand was so low, then Dodge announced huge incentives to move existing inventory which was backing up on dealer lots.
It’s apparently still bad because the press release writer at Dodge had to say “as many as # units of this new special edition configuration will be produced for 2017” for each of the five cars I just discussed. Normally, a press release will say something like “only X number of units are being produced”, which shows some confidence that every one of those limited edition cars will sell. I sense no confidence in Dodge’s wording here. It sucks that such a uniquely American car is being killed and labeled as a sales failure, but at least it goes out as the fastest production car in company history, holds dozens of production car lap records, and has won the hearts of many.
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato production confirmed
Remember this? It’s hard not to, but for those that need a refresher, it’s the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, a design study that was produced in collaboration with Aston Martin’s top designers and Zagato. When British elegance meets Italian passion, good things tend to happen. This good thing was just made even better by the announcement we were all kind of expecting – they’re going to build it.
It debuted as a one-off concept a few short weeks ago, but our love for it convinced Aston Martin and Zagato to move forward with a limited production run. Only 99 examples are being built to customer specifications (see how that works, Dodge?) with assembly still occurring at their main production facility in Gaydon, England. The concept car is still pictured, but they’ve said that the car looks will not changed very much if at all between that initial one-off and the production-ready car. I won’t go into the design details again but it’s all available here if you’re interested. How refreshing is it to have words written on the concept remain true for the production car?
Well it seems identical for the most part, but one key difference I’ve spotted in the press release for the production car is a 16 horsepower loss out of its still glorious 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V12. I’m sure the world’s elite will find a way to make due with 576 horsepower though. A projected 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a unique GT driving experience await those fortunate enough.
Deliveries are scheduled to commence in early 2017. No word on pricing or how much of a discount you’ll get from buying with US dollars. Is it relevant to any of us? No. Is it gorgeous? I think so. Am I taking advantage of this being in the news again so I can post more pictures of it?
[Source: Aston Martin]
This week in crazy: McLaren P1 GTR LM
Have you ever wanted a road legal version of a racing version of a road legal super car? Clearly some owners of the McLaren P1 GTR did because a fully road legal version of the insane track-day special is actually happening thanks to Lanzante. The British marque specialist are renowned for their work on customer F1s and F1 GTRs over the last twenty years. That experience and positive relationship with McLaren is what has led to this, the P1 GTR LM. A road. Legal. P1. GTR.
As Autocar reports, this conversion focuses on retaining as much of the lunacy as possible. The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and electric motors remain, but additional boost and more hybrid power keep its system power up to 986 horsepower despite the [presumably] added emissions equipment. The engine bay also receives gold-plated heat shielding and tweaks to the charge coolers for more efficiency at higher temps.
Surprisingly, the car is actually a full 130 pounds lighter than the normal P1 GTR through the expanded use of Inconel on the exhaust system, removal of race track-specific items like the integrated air jacks, and the same lightweight seats found in the F1 GTR. The body features more exposed carbon fiber and reworked aero which actually increases downforce by 40% over the P1 GTR, because that’s exactly what a road car conversion needs. But it does have standard air conditioning now, which is exactly what it needs.
McLaren and MSO themselves were not involved in this conversion and Lanzante are only doing this because of customer demand… and because it’s kind of cool.
Update: 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R
Just in time for this post to have already gone live, Mercedes-AMG has confirmed the existence of the most hardcore AMG GT yet, the AMG GT R. It’s fast, it’s green, and it’s running up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Power still comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 but bespoke engine tuning means it now produces 577 horsepower, can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and will run up to 198 mph. It’s also packed with hardware designed to make it the perfect AMG for track work.
Since I don’t have time to do a full rundown, check out the details on Motor Authority.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Motor Authority]
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]