The News for June 3rd, 2016

Mercedes-Benz G-Klasse (BR 463) 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. It’s a bit more upper class than usual today… This week:

  • A new “Professional” G-Class proves they can exist without chrome

  • Ferrari builds a one-off 458 Speciale for one insanely rich enthusiast

  • Nissan prices 2017 GT-R; new refinements don’t come cheap

  • It’s happening – BMW trademarks 8 Series model designations

  • Lineup for this year’s prestigious Quail Motorsports Gathering confirmed

  • What’s your automotive news?

Mercedes-Benz G 350 d Professional

Mercedes-Benz G-Klasse (BR 463) 2016
Believe it or not, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class wasn’t always an ostentatious and arguably overpriced box of fine leather and shiny chrome. The original G-Wagen that debuted in the 70’s was much more utilitarian and was even sold in military specification. These were tough, highly capable trucks that brought great off-road performance and comfort to those that needed it most. Fast forward to today and G-Classes are the kind of thing Kylie Jenner drives.
Fortunately, for the last few generations of G-Classes, Mercedes-Benz has been selling a version aimed at those who still want to use the G-Class for what it was originally intended for. This week, they announced a new one. It’s called the G 350 d Professional and it’s more G-Wagen than G-Class. Designed for more off-road exploration or other professional use, it’s meant to be a purist’s G-Class with a no bull attitude and a purist design. There’s no chrome, no massive AMG wheels, no $10,000 carbon ceramic brakes, and no earth-shattering bi-turbo V12. It only has what it needs to be the ultimate companion for those who like to get dirty.
Mercedes-Benz G-Klasse (BR 463) 2016
In order to be that companion, it utilizes the new G-Class’ ladder-type frame body, permanent all-wheel drive with an off-road ratio, and a three-way selectable, 100% differential locks. The Professional goes a few steps further with real all-terrain tires wrapped around sixteen-inch light alloy wheels, an additional ten millimeters of ground clearance, and an available Off Road package which adds multiple extras designed to help professionals get the most out of the G.
Some of the more helpful extras include a steel front bumper with a designated space for a cable winch, protective grilles for the headlights and turn signals, a real roof rack with a ladder in the rear, side running boards, and a wood-finished cargo compartment. Furthermore, an available Load Protection package can add a cargo net, load compartment cover, and a fixed trailer coupling.
The interior is as comfortable as most other modern G-Classes but with a few features exclusive to the Professional. It comes with anti-slip floors and a drain, meaning it’s the only new Mercedes-Benz where spraying dirt out of the interior is recommended.
Mercedes-Benz G-Klasse (BR 463) 2016
It’s powered by a 3.0-liter diesel V6 and has 245 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque to play with. Peak torque is between 1,600 and 2,400 RPM. Power is sent to all four wheels (permanently) through a seven-speed automatic transmission which is enough to get this behemoth up to 62 mph in 8.8 seconds.
All in all, it’s a less obnoxious G-Class that the enthusiasts will enjoy. It’s also the only G-Class I can remember covering where the press release specified some of its key off-road figures which, for those curious, I’ve included below:

  • Slope climbing ability – 100 percent (depending on surface conditions)
  • Breakover angle – 24 degrees
  • Tipping angle – 54 percent
  • Angle of approach/departure – 36/39 degrees
  • Fording depth – 600 millimeters
  • Ground clearance – 245 millimeters

The bad news? Pricing for the German market (converted) is just over $100,000 and there’s no mention of US availability yet.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Ferrari 458MM Speciale

Even though the Ferrari 458 Speciale is still fairly new, it’s almost considered old news now. The 488 GTB is out on the streets now and a Speciale equivalent is surely coming soon. Regardless, one customer loved it enough that they’ve commissioned a one-off special edition that they get to keep all to themselves.
Ferrari’s Styling Center unveiled the 458MM Speciale, a drastically altered 458 Speciale designed exclusively for a single (and unnamed) Ferrari enthusiast in the United Kingdom. It almost doesn’t even look like a 458 anymore. It wears a unique body kit which actually has a real affect on the car’s aerodynamics. As far as I can tell, no body panel was left untouched. The all-new bumpers are carbon fiber and the rest of the body was crafted from aluminum.
Its exterior is coated in unique Bianco Italia paint and is topped off by a tricolore stripe. The split five-spoke wheels it rides on are also unique to the car. On the inside, it’s upholstered with Cioccolato brown leather with white stitching.
There aren’t too many details on the car that Ferrari cared to share, but I guess all we need to know is that a highly enthusiastic owner is waiting for their investment baby to come home. It runs with the last of Ferrari’s naturally-aspirated V8s and has almost 600 horsepower on tap, so it’s designed to be driven even though it probably won’t be.
[Source: Ferrari via Motor Authority]


The 2017 Nissan GT-R is in the news again, this time with a less than fortunate announcement. Pricing for the thoroughly refreshed GT-R Premium (base model) has risen by about $8,000 to an MSRP of $109,990. The entry-level GT-R was once a $70,000 car just seven years ago, but the GT-R has been improved with almost every model year since so the price increase was inevitable. Pricing on higher-spec models, including that Nismo I covered last week, has yet to be decided.
That extra $8,000 gets buyers a redesigned nose, splitter, and hood with a positive impact on aerodynamics, new wheels, a redesigned interior, new in-car technology, and an extra 20 horsepower (565 hp total). It may not look like it, but it’s the most significant update the GT-R has received since launch. That’s why it receives one of its biggest price bumps as well.
The 2017 GT-R goes on sale mid-July.
Those age old rumors of a BMW 8 Series revival just might become reality. One of our old friends at Autoweek is reporting on a range of 8 Series nameplates which BMW just registered trademarks for. They just nabbed 825, 830, 835, 845, 860, M850, and even M8. No word on if “BMW Individual M850 Gran Coupe xDrive Dynamism Model V12 Excellence M Sport GTS Frozen Black THE NEXT 100 YEARS” was taken as well.
This development comes after other reports suggested that BMW will sort of redefine the 6 Series lineup, which is effectively taking the place of the old 8 Series as their flagship 2+2 grand tourer. Theoretically, the 6 Series would get leaner and meaner to take on the likes of the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GTS as a real sports car. After all, BMW Motorsport did just start racing the M6 against the likes of the 911 and the GTS. What’s also exciting to consider is what could happen with the 5 Series, the sedan/wagon/whatever the fuck the 5GT is which shares engines and a platform with the same 6 Series they’re looking to slim down. Maybe?
That repositioning would leave a void that an 8 Series revival could fill. It’ll be at least a couple more years before we see an 8 Series as BMW’s top-of-the-line luxury coupe again, but it’s at least looking like it’s actually happening. For once, BMW is starting to make some sense.
[News source: Autoweek | Image source: BMW]
The Field at 2015 Quail
Monterey Car Week festivities are already being finalized and the roster for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering has been set. The Quail, one of the more prestigious and expensive events going down that week, returns to the lush green grasses of Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California (otherwise it wouldn’t be called The Quail, I guess) on Friday, August 19th.
Featured themes for this year’s invite-only event include Rivalries of the Ages, the 100th Anniversary of BMW Celebrating Motorcars and Motorcycles, A Retrospective of Laguna Seca Raceway, the 50th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura, Pre-War Sports and Racing, Post-War Sports, Post-War Racing, Supercars, The Great Ferraris, and Sports and Racing Motorcycles. That means more than 200 rare vehicles from private collections around the world are expected to be on display, including a Le Mans-winning 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20 ‘Outlaw’ Coupe, the super fast 2016 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003,  a 1934 Packard Chassis Coachbuilt Body owned by James Hetfield of Metallica, an active 1966 Lola Mk2 T70 Can-Am, and a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder like the one James Dean drove. #bradsport.
Even though it’s invite only, there is a way to get in through being a charitable patron, as they call it. 150 guests can spend $2,500 on an all-access ticket with their cash going to the Rancho Cielo charity. Those that want in probably already know where to go to get them…
Side note: I’ll be at Monterey Car Week again this year but I’m spending most of my time at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion again. And maybe at the Concours d’Le Mons.
[Source: The Quail]

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. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    I took advantage of being off on Memorial Day and woke up before dawn to go back to my favorite road (also where the image I use for your news section was taken). I only saw a handful of other cars up there the entire time. It was awesome.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      How do you do that – go on a trip like that and find the one photo to share? This wednesday and thursday, I went on the final inspection for my municipal road sign project, and that lead me to the most remote places of our municipality. I was able to cook that down to 10 photos, and that’s just the road shots. Of course, I did do a couple of hikes when I first was far and away where the trolls live.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        That looks like an AWESOME route. I should have taken more photos up there but I usually just go for the drive now that I’ve been there half a dozen times. I took that photo and this one below because I’ve never been up there with so much fog before. This was a lake I pass on the way up.
        Also, I’m really lazy when it comes to sorting through photos 😛

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Now laziness is a good explanation! I try to be in the moment and not take photos for the most part, but when I have the camera in the passenger seat anyway…it’s just a quick grab away. Fog is really adding something to scenery, in small amounts at least, making everything so much more interesting. When I was a student, I had some early lectures every now and then. I would get up before the city awoke and bike 30-50kms along a lake route, to soak up that early morning fog. That made me 100% awake for these lectures….fond memories.

          1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
            Greg Kachadurian

            That Escort RS Cosworth I wrote up earlier in the week? I took those photos in March… haha. I’m bad at processing photos and figuring out what to do with them. But man, agreed on the morning fog.

  2. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    What the hell is going on with the license plate location on the G-Wagen?

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      I’d guess it’s there so it doesn’t scrape on anything when it’s getting down and dirty. Or just because the fixed tow hook and/or spare tire probably take up its usual spot.

      1. Ross Ballot Avatar
        Ross Ballot

        Interesting! Hadn’t thought of it like that.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    “And maybe at the Concours d’LeMons.”
    If you run an entry in this year’s inaugural LeMons road rally, it’ll terminate* at the Concours d’LeMons. Win-win.
    *Possibly the wrong word. Possibly not the wrong word.

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      Oh really? I was only planning on spectating, but if rental cars or a borrowed F-150 count as lemons….

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Bring a press loaner. Apparently they really want to see those:

        1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
          Greg Kachadurian

          Haha. That whole domain is blocked on my company’s network. I’ll check it out but I don’t normally get press cars. I’d be borrowing that truck from a relative (should have clarified). Jeff could probably get an Aston Martin for that though.
          Either way, I don’t plan on missing that again this year.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            The relevant section is under “Deductions & Additions” which reads in part:
            -2500 for showing up in a press loaner
            -250 for wearing Pilotis
            +300 for bringing a Beetle-pan kit car
            +50 for Designer Edition (Bill Blass, Givenchy, Levi’s, etc)
            -300 for using phrase “double apex”

    2. jeepjeff Avatar

      I might make it this year. I signed up for the rally with my TW200.

  4. GTXcellent Avatar

    and like a skipping record, once again, I got nuthin’
    No update. Hope is being lost, and despair is creeping in.

    1. onrails Avatar

      Hang in there… and take notes! I’m curious to see the full timeline when you’re finally done. I’ll be at my dealer’s doorstep the first Monday in October to order mine.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        Order was submitted by our dealer to GM on 12/9/2015. The order was officially accepted by GM 12/15/2015. Built sometime during the week of 2/21/16-2/27/16. I don’t have specific dates on when the car shipped, arrived in CA, shipped out from there, and obviously don’t have a delivery date for you. So, we’re going on 6 months now. Supposedly order windows open in late August, and 2017 will be the final year – you might want to move up your order date if you can.

        1. onrails Avatar

          I’ve heard October for orders, but I have no trouble bothering my dealer every week starting in August! Waited 9 months for My Mini Cooper S 14 years ago, so I have no problem waiting for the SS, too. But I at least had a better timeline from the Mini dealer and they were pretty good at letting me know where/when/why during it’s transportation.

        2. Sjalabais Avatar

          This is getting ridiculous on GM’s part. Are you getting any answers at all? The wait in itself is probably not an issue, but not knowing where your car is now, with all the other information pointing towards it being nearby – that just sucks.

    2. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      We’re all pullin for you! When you finally get it I’m sure it’ll have been worth the wait.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        thanks. I sure hope so.

    3. salguod Avatar

      A friend at church has a Focus RS on order. He’s got a VIN and he’s been told it’s on the water, but that’s all he knows. I don’t know exactly when he ordered, but maybe a month or two ago.

  5. salguod Avatar

    Parts for the sunroof in the ti came in. That’s tomorrow’s project.

  6. nanoop Avatar

    So the coolant pump is leaking, and I ordered a new one already. I didn’t remove the old one yet, and I insist it’s due to lack of time, not because I am afraid of stripping one of the six(?) three inch long, puny M6 studs that are there since 1983…
    Also: an 825 with a 2.0L (mind you: BMW) V12 would be well admired by me.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      I thought that 820, 825 and 827 had already been taken by Rover.
      So they can’t use those can they?

      1. nanoop Avatar

        In Germany, “825” is registered for floor tiling since the 90ies, and for automotive products since a few weeks – you or Rover still have some days to file an objection.
        (That’s for the German market only. Rover Country won’t get the 2.0L engine, I’m sure.)

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          I’ll leave it to Rusty, he is at least, in Europe. ( At the moment, Brexit notwithstanding.)