Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Acura reveals production ready Integra, Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid debuts for the EU market and previews upcoming NA model, Ford surprises with one more Heritage Edition GT, and BMW acquires Alpina.
2023 Acura Integra
It feels like it was just yesterday when news first broke that Acura was bringing back the Integra for the first time in two decades. And it also feels like yesterday when the internet decided that it was bad. But this week we’ve got the full details on the production version that’s bound for our showrooms in the coming months. Acura hopes its new premium sport compact can fill the same role as the original Integra did decades ago, which was to attract new young buyers to the brand and maybe even give them an experience they’ll enjoy.
While the name is a retro comeback, the car’s styling certainly does not reflect that. The only design element that can clearly be linked to the original Integras is its five-door liftback design which is an exclusive feature in the segment. The rest of its styling is just like what we see in other Acuras these days. Thin A-pillars with a low cowl, frameless Diamond Pentagon grille, JewelEye LED headlights with “Chicane” LED daytime running lights, and an aggressive rear fascia with dual exhaust tips and an upswept decklid. It rides on a selection of 17, 18, and 19″ wheels. Opt for the A-Spec sport package and it’ll have gloss black window surrounds and front and rear fascia trim, a lip spoiler, and Shark Gray 18″ alloy wheels.
The interior is where the benefits of paying extra for the Integra over the Civic really come into play. In typical Acura fashion it’s got loads of high quality materials and switchgear with a focus on making sure all touchpoints have a true premium feel. Body-stabilizing and heated front seats are standard but can be upgraded to 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat with microsuede inserts for driver and passenger. The rear seats have “generous” legroom and have a 60/40 split to expand its cargo area. Up front there’s a standard 10.2″ “Acura Precision Cockpit” digital gauge cluster and a 7″ touchscreen for infotainment needs. The available Technology Package expands that touchscreen to 9″ and adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired support is standard), Alexa Built-In, wireless charging, and a 5.3″ HUD. Top-of-the-line sound is provided by a 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D premium audio system.
Another big selling point that Acura is pushing is its driving dynamics, which it says is class leading. The Integra is built on “an exceptionally” rigid body and sport-tuned chassis which works with a fully independent suspension to deliver precise, sporty handling and a comfortable ride. It has an available Adaptive Damper System, variable ratio steering, and three standard drive modes with the ability to create an individual setting on higher trims.
This chassis should work well with the powertrain which is taken straight from the brilliant new Civic Si. A VTEC-enhanced DOHC 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 200 horsepower and 6,000 RPM and 192 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,800-5,000 RPM. The standard transmission is a CVT, for better or worse, which offers quick response, Step Shift programming to simulate gear changes, and paddle shifters. A six-speed manual is available but it’s only available on A-Spec models. But it should be a sweet gearbox with a short throw, close ratios, automatic rev matching, and a helical limited-slip differential that’s also thrown in on manual-equipped vehicles.
Production will commence in the coming months in Marysville, Ohio on the same production line as the TLX. MSRP is expected to be “around” $30,000, about $3k higher than the new Civic Si it’s effectively based on. If a manual is a must for you, then that price difference will be even higher (we aren’t sure by how much yet) as you’ll need to get the A-Spec version. But for the average consumer who is okay with a CVT, the level of quality found in the Acura just might be worth that premium.
Mazda CX-60 debuts in Europe
A big and important launch for Mazda just took place in Europe, and I’m talking about it because it previews what the brand will bring stateside in the future under another nameplate. The CX-60 is Mazda’s newest crossover/SUV thing but it’s also the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It also shows off some new styling features which is sure to spark some conversation.
Not a ton has been said about it so far, but here’s what we know. The company’s first PHEV powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 100kW electric motor. Up to 42 miles of range is available on battery power alone. When both power units are working together, it’s capable of a respectable 5.8-second 0-62 mph time. It’s also going to take the brand’s focus on moving upmarket to a new level with starting prices around $57,000 (converted) in the UK market. While the version we get may differ slightly, this should be a good preview. Like what you see or does the prospect of a near $60k Mazda turn you off?
[Source: Mazda via Jalopnik]
Another Ford GT Heritage Edition is coming
Remember when Ford introduced that Alan Mann Racing Heritage Edition GT last month and we thought it was going to be the last one? Well uh, it wasn’t. Ford has teased another one and this time it might actually probably maybe be the final one, potentially.
This one is inspired by Holman & Moody Racing, who were a longtime official racing contractor for Ford at the time, mostly on the NASCAR side. But their experience with big power and high speed made them invaluable to the GT40 program. They helped develop the monstrous 427 V8 which powered them to a 1-2-3 finish in 1966. The car that finished third that year was one of the three entered by Holman-Moody themselves, and it’s that car which is being honored this time around. The #5 GT40 Mk II driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson was part of that historic photo finish and sported a gold livery with red accents and white side stripes. Back in 2018, it sold at RM Sotheby’s for nearly $9.8 million.
This Heritage Edition car, like all those that came before it, should capture the essence of this car well. Based on the three closeups we have so far, it will look stunning in this paint scheme. I’ll cover this again when there are more details.
[Source: Ford Performance]
BMW acquires Alpina
BMW has acquired longtime tuner and officially recognized manufacturer Alpina in a move to help secure the brand’s future. The rapidly changing landscape in the automotive industry was cited as a primary reason for the Alpina brand to join BMW Group’s portfolio. Though Alpina had been operating as a separate entity since 1965, they had become extremely close in recent years and were practically operating under the same roof already. But now it’s official.
Alpina has earned a reputation as being way more than a reskinned BMW. They develop their own greatly enhanced engines, refine the suspension, and give their cars more class than BMW could hope to achieve themselves. Alpinas are beloved in the BMW community for a reason. And that’s why BMW’s silence on what they plan for the brand long term is a little worrying. A recent contract extension means that Alpina will continue to operate exactly as it is today until 2025. That means more Alpina models produced and maybe even new ones developed until then. But after that, BMW confirms the Alpina vehicle program will be discontinued and employees will be moved to other spots within BMW Group and its suppliers as needed. The service, parts, and accessories business will continue long term so existing customers aren’t left hanging. But the Alpina brand we know and love will look very different after 2025.
BMW hasn’t been known for making wise decisions lately, so needless to say I’m pretty worried. But BMW states it plainly – “the transformation towards electromobility and increasing regulation worldwide – particularly emissions legislation, software validation and requirements for driver assistance and monitoring systems – result in significantly higher risks for small-series manufacturers”. So this move protects the future of the Alpina brand to some extent. Or at the very least, it guarantees that no one gets to kill Alpina except BMW.
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.