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
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]