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The News for March 11th, 2016

gti_tcr_5959 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:

  • Volkswagen Motorsport drops the GTI race car of our dreams

  • Mercedes-AMG E43, a full-fledged AMG with more responsible power

  • Chevrolet reveals the Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition to celebrate something

  • BMW turns 100, reveals semi-autonomous concept that still gives future drivers a choice

  • Porsche is adding a new four-cylinder engine to the Macan

  • Honda prices the 2016 Civic Coupe to just under $20,000

  • Chrysler prices the 2017 Pacifica to just under $30,000

  • What’s your automotive news?

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

gti_tcr_5960 Last week I gave Porsche a hard time for allegedly selling all of the planned 911 Rs before the public knew about it. Their parent company is guilty of the same thing this week, sadly, but they do have more of an excuse for it. This is the Golf GTI TCR, a touring car-spec GTI made exclusively for customer racing programs and limited to twenty units. Teams knew about the car as early as January and placed orders which will be fulfilled starting the day this post goes live. And unlike the 911 R (which nearly gave Bradley a stroke), this is an actual race car that not just anyone can go buy. VW gets a pass for this one. Anyways, on to the car. The Golf GTI TCR, developed by Volkswagen Motorsport, is a turnkey race car qualified to compete in up to sixteen national and international TCR touring car championships, giving the undisclosed customer racing teams plenty of options. 40 years of Golf GTI experience went into the development of VW’s most hardcore and probably the most powerful GTI ever sold. gti_tcr_5961 Being a full-fledged race car, the GTI TCR wears a newly developed and fully functional aero kit which adds an aggressive front splitter, a carbon rear wing, and countless other bits of racing goodness that make it look incredible while also having a real impact on downforce. The whole car is also about fifteen inches wider than the standard GTI and rides on lightweight eighteen-inch racing wheels wrapped in Michelin racing tires. A full suite of FIA-approved safety gear, like the roll cage, racing seats with head protectors, and a racing-spec safety tank, is of course included too. Another area that is improved dramatically over the standard car is the powertrain. It runs on a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder direct-injected gas engine borrowed from the standard Golf R, but unlike the road car, it develops 330 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed sequential racing gearbox transmits power to the front wheels. Improved handling comes courtesy of McPherson struts up front and a multilink rear axle which allows for height, track, camber, and anti-roll bar adjustments at all four corners. 14.25″, six-piston front and 12.2″, two-piston rear brakes provide the stopping power. Volkswagen Motorsport used a strengthened production steel body, in accordance with FIA regulations, as the starting point for the GTI TCR. Weight has been cut down to around 2,800 pounds with a driver. With deliveries starting right about now, the GTI TCR will first see track time amongst the competitors on March 14th for testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. [Source: Volkswagen]

Mercedes-AMG E43

E43 There’s a new AMG coming, but would you believe me if I told you it didn’t have a thunderous V8 with enough power and torque to alter Earth’s orbit? What may be AMG’s first executive car in years to not get at least a V8 as its source of power is the new Mercedes-AMG E43, a sporty step up from the standard E300 that caters to those who know they don’t need 500+ horsepower to have fun. Power in the new E43 originates from the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s been starting to make the rounds throughout the AMG lineup, mostly in smaller cars. In this application, it produces 396 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque. A nine-speed automatic, AMG Performance-branded, rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel-drive, and sport-tuned MAGICAL MAGIC Air Body Control are standard equipment. 0-60 mph is quoted at 4.5 seconds. E43_1 It wouldn’t be an AMG without cosmetic treatment as well, but for the E43 the list isn’t all that long. It has a new diamond grille, a lip spoiler, new nineteen or twenty-inch wheels, typical AMG trim and stitching treatment inside, and optional AMG Sport seats. The styling updates are about as aggressive as the new power train… just aggressive enough. The Mercedes-AMG E43 will debut at the New York International Auto Show later this month. Prices and exact delivery dates aren’t confirmed yet. As far as I can tell, this does not replace the inbound E63 AMG, which will likely have a thunderous V8 with enough power and torque to alter Earth’s orbit. [Source: Mercedes-AMG via Autoweek]

Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition

cq5dam.web.1280.1280 I’ve been digging through press sites for nearly five years now… I’ve seen some good ones and some not so good ones. GM’s is hit or miss. This week they appeared to have not gotten their own memo. For the Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition, there are press images of it readily available but absolutely no sign of a press release for it anywhere. None at all. It does not exist. Maybe I’m crazy. Nevertheless, it’s my duty to bring you the automotive news for the week so I’ll make do with what I can. This week Chevrolet announced the 50th Anniversary Edition for the Camaro 2LT and 2SS Coupe and Convertible. It’s easy to see where this is going. As the name suggests, it’s being built to commemorate the 50th birthdays of Paul and Stacy in accounting. “The contributions Paul and Stacy have made to Chevrolet’s balance sheets for the last few years have been monumental to our success”, says Todd, their manager. “We knew they were both turning 50 this year and so we just had to celebrate it with a very special car. Sure it’s only a lame appearance package, but Paul was scared to add any more power to a car made in his honor. Paul is kind of a wuss like that.” cq5dam.web.1280.1280 (2) The 50th Anniversary Edition Camaro is distinguished by special dark gray paint to match the color of Stacy’s “cubicle of happiness or else”. Breaking up the monotony is a splash of orange in the hood striping which also match the color of Stacy’s cat. It also has unique twenty-inch wheels, a special front fascia, a factory rear spoiler “so it looks like a super cool sports racing car”, and chrome trim added to the grille because Paul thinks people still like chrome grilles. “Between all the chrome, the stripes, and the race car spoiler, we’ve come up with a really cool looking Camero”, Paul added. The interior also receives some special stitching and badging but they won’t show it to us yet. “Wait we had to pick out the interior too???”, Stacy added. There’s also special “FIFTY” badging on the car’s exterior so everyone can know how old Paul and Stacy from accounting really are. In fact, all Camaros made during Paul and Stacy’s 50th year will come with some kind of “FIFTY” badging too, because they’re just that special. They were unable to comment on pricing because they were still figuring out what price point would bring them the most return on investment. “We poured our heart and soul rummaging through the parts bin to make this car special. I’m not gonna let it ruin our numbers”, Paul said, before he and Stacy were both forcefully corralled back into their happy little accounting pit. “Sometimes they try to escape, but they never get far”, Todd said. This is what happens, GM… [Source: Chevrolet]

BMW Vision Next 100

P90212946_highRes_bmw-vision-next-100- BMW is 100 years old this week. The prestigious automaker from Munich has had an astounding first century when you consider all of the legendary vehicles they’ve become known for, ranging from the gorgeous 507 Roadster that first won the public’s heart to the back-flipping V12 LMR that won Le Mans. Yes, they’ve strayed away from some of the fundamentals that made their cars special over the last few years, but they still do things a bit differently – in mostly good ways – than others. As executives and brand ambassadors gathered around Munich to celebrate their last century of success, they also revealed their vision for their next century. The crazy concept car you see here is appropriately called the BMW Vision Next 100 and it offers us a glimpse into what BMW thinks the future of mobility is moving towards. To be frank, this car has an impossibly complicated active geometry body that we won’t see on the road for many decades to come if at all, no mention of a powertrain, and tech that hasn’t even been invented yet. It doesn’t really seem all that relevant outside of the Hofmeister Kink and the tall kidney grilles, which are evidently sticking around forever as they should, and I could have easily skipped over this for the news recap. But there’s one major thing about this car that I think is more important than anything else: you can still drive it. P90212953_highRes_bmw-vision-next-100- The future of automobiles we’re constantly promised is a future of pure autonomy. Driver engagement is on its way out in favor of super computers on wheels that’ll move us around more efficiently and safely, according to so called industry experts. “Nobody wants to drive themselves anymore” and “they should just ban cars in cities and move everyone there”, they say. You know what this BMW concept says to that? Bullshit, mostly. The car does have futuristic autonomous capabilities but it doesn’t make that your only choice. BMW used one of their most important concept cars to envision a future where real drivers still exist. What this concept indicates is that you will be able to get into a future BMW and still be given the ability to drive yourself. It will still come with manual driving controls but it’ll also have a suite of technology to back you up by showing ideal driving/racing lines and optimal turning points and speeds, as this concept theoretically would. And when you hit a traffic jam caused by someone deleting System 32 from their fully autonomous Land Rover, you can fold away the steering wheel and let the car take over. A BMW with even semi-autonomous features seems sacrilegious, of course, and I was one of the ones horrified at the thought when the rumors of it started to spread. However, when it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the future of mobility aims to take drivers out of the equation, it’s good to know that at least BMW will still stand up for us. [Source: BMW]

BLIPS

2015 Porsche Macan _3_ Porsche will be adding a new member to the Macan family later this year. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine will debut in the compact SUV at the New York auto show this month, not unlike the one that just debuted in the 718 Boxster. 14 PSI of boost, charge-air cooling, direct injection, and variable valve timing help produce 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. A seven-speed PDK and all-wheel drive are standard equipment and optional extras range from Sport Chrono to air suspension. 0-60 mph is completed in 6.1 seconds and fuel efficiency is rated at 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg city. 2017 Macan ordering books are open now and deliveries start this July. Pricing starts at $47,500. [Source: Porsche] 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Pricing for the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe has been finalized just days before it officially goes on sale. MSRP for the entry-level Civic LX Coupe with a 2.0-liter i-VTEC four cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission is set at $19,050. All the way at the top of the food chain is the Touring model which comes equipped with turbocharged 1.5-liter four cylinder engine, CVT, and about as many features as they could glue onto it for $26,125. Even in standard form, the 2016 Civic is shaping up to be a serious contender again. Even Jeff liked it. [Source: Honda] 002-chrysler-pacifica-1 Chrysler has also finalized pricing for one of their most anticipated new offerings of the year. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica starts at $29,590 for the LX model and goes all the way up to $43,490 for the Limited. Yep. [Source: Chrysler]

What’s your automotive news?

whatsyourautomotivenaws 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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