The News for March 25th, 2022

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: Maserati tries to print money with compact SUV named after a direction on the compass, Polestar gives the option to drop a motor for more range on the 2, Ferrari confirms existence of an SUV they’re working on, Stellantis debuts impressive new inline-six, Buick files trademark for possible new logo, and your news for the week.

Maserati Grecale

Maserati has decided they want to print more money by launching another crossover SUV thing that’s smaller than the other crossover SUV thing they’ve had for a few years now. It’s called the Grecale which the internet tells me is Italian for “wind from the north-east” or just “north-east”. The Maserati North-East is, in Maserati’s words, a range within the range, meaning there will be a few different variants to cater to a wide variety of buyer needs with gas, hybrid, and EV options planned.

The North-East is a compact crossover SUV thing with a full-size car’s worth of Italian styling packed into it. It wears the new family face that debuted on the breathtaking MC20 but is obviously a bit stretched out vertically. The headlights and grille create that sort of happy face you’re used to seeing from Italian cars. And at the rear, taillights which may look fairly generic are inspired by those of the Giugiaro-designed 3200 GT.

The cabin is a luxurious and tech-focused setup with a 12.3″ central screen, the largest in any Maserati, another 8.8″ display for extra controls, and a third screen for rear seat passengers. Maserati’s Intelligent Assistant (MIA) multimedia system controls everything inside, including the available Sonus faber 3D sound system. The traditional Maserati clock is also present but is all digital for the first time.

There will be three versions of the North-East available at launch later this year. The first is the GT which features a four-cylinder mild hybrid engine delivering 296hp for North American markets. Next up is the Modena which runs a higher output version of the GT’s powertrain with 325hp for NA. At the top of the range is the Trofeo with its 3.0L 523hp V6 derived from the MC20. Why something this size needs over 500 horsepower is beyond me, but I’m sure the driving experience will be… interesting.

Eventually there will be the Grecale Folgore (North-Eastern Winds Lightning), a 100% electric version on a powerful 400V architecture. Not much is known about the North-East Folgers Coffee just yet but it’s due in a year’s time. Maserati also did not detail how each different trim varies in terms of equipment beyond the powertrain, but I’m sure it gets much nicer the higher you go.

Things like pricing and an exact launch date have not been disclosed.

[Source: Maserati]

Polestar 2 gets single motor option

Polestar 2

Polestar’s first foray into a mass-market EV has been a fairly well-liked model so far, albeit not the huge sales success they were hoping for. Although if we’re honest, buyer interest isn’t the biggest reason for why some cars aren’t selling so well right now. But the Volvo sub-brand is hoping that a rework of the Polestar 2 can help entice some new buyers.

As Jalopnik spotted on the Polestar 2 configurator, the new base model is a single motor configuration with a slightly longer range in exchange for much less performance. The FWD, 231 HP Polestar 2 offers an EPA-estimated 270 mile driving range while its 0-60 time rises to 7 seconds flat. Compared to the dual-motor, AWD Polestar 2 with 408 HP, 249 miles per charge, and a 4.5-second 0-60 time, it’s perhaps a more commuter-friendly option for those who want to maximize drive time between charges in exchange for how quickly they can get around. Everything else on the car, including its 78kWh battery, is the same. Pricing starts at $45,900 before destination charges and potential tax incentives.

Compared to other EVs in that price range, the driving range is still not quite close to the best that’s available, nor is its performance. The base model Mach-E is quicker but tops out at 249 miles of range, the Ioniq-5 has 303 miles of range for nearly the same price, the Tesla Model 3 keeps going up in price but still offers a great all around EV package, and the BMW i4 is overpriced and much uglier (this doesn’t necessarily compete with the Polestar 2, I just wanted to remind you that it’s ugly).

The Polestar 2 long range is available to order now.

[Source: Polestar via Jalopnik]

Ferrari confirms existence of SUV project

I can’t really blame anyone for wanting to make an SUV anymore. It’s clear that no matter how expensive, how ugly, or how impractical a brand’s SUV is, it will fly off dealership lots with as many 84-month financing deals as are available. So I understand why so many brands are choosing to capitalize on that for the first time. But I expected Ferrari to hold out for much longer than they have being the purists they are. Nevertheless, rumors of the Ferrari Purosangue have been abundant. And this week Ferrari confirmed that at least some of them are true.

So within the year we’ll have the full story of what Ferrari thinks an SUV should be like. This shadowy teaser shot is already enough to know that it won’t be phoned in. The link from their tweet proclaims that “a new, and very different Ferrari is coming” and to “stand by for a genuine game changer”.

It looks aggressive, very Italian, and very expensive. And I’m certain it will have the biggest engine they can stuff into it as well as some form of hybrid system. Maybe it’ll have a range of engine options from a twin-turbo V6 and hybrid system, like the upcoming 296 GTB, a twin-turbo V8 from the F8 Tributo, or maybe even a V12 as some sort of limited run special edition that’s sold out already. Regardless, I’ll bring you updates when possible.

And now that this is happening, my bets are on McLaren as being the last to produce an SUV.

[Source: Ferrari]

Stellantis unveils impressive new Hurricane engine

It’s not often we see a new engine from the Mopar family that isn’t some new form of the Hemi, but here we are. Stellantis has revealed their new “Hurricane” GME-T6 engine – a twin-turbocharged 3.0L inline six. This engine will surely make the rounds throughout the vast Stellantis portfolio but is expected to make its home with Jeep first.

It’ll be available in Standard and High Output (SO and HO) versions ranging from 400hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque to “more than” 500hp and 475 lb.-ft. of torque, respectively. The Hurricane is an aluminum-block engine with dual overhead cams, direct injection, and variable valve timing. The twin snails produce 22.4 psi or 26 psi depending on the model and it’s designed to produce lots of torque down low with 90% of peak torque available at 2,350 RPM. Its redline is 6,100 RPM.

It’s expected to debut at the New York International Auto Show next month in the Grand Wagoneer but should eventually be seen in the Wagoneer, Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500, Durango, and others. Stellantis will be taking this push for electrification and maximum efficiency seriously, and as hybrid options continue to prove popular, it’s worth taking the time to create a powerful gas engine that’s much more efficient than the ancient (but still awesome) engines they rely on now. Fuel efficiency estimates will depend on the vehicle this engine gets put into, but they’re saying we can expect at least a 15% increase in efficiency over the V8s this is intended to replace.

[Source: Stellantis]

According to trademarks filed last week and picked up by Jalopnik, Buick could be in for a rebranding of sorts. What appears to be a modern, somewhat minimalist take on the classic Buick tri-shield emblem could be the new face of the brand. Though the image available shows it devoid of color, it’s possible they could keep the red, white, and blue on some variation of it. But for now all we have is some government paperwork and speculation. Buick will make a big deal out of this when the time comes, if it’s legitimate.

[Source: the gubment via Jalopnik]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

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14 responses to “The News for March 25th, 2022”

  1. OA5599 Avatar

    I got home from an event last night and smelled a pretty strong gasoline odor from under the hood. Gas was dripping off the carb, which I had just rebuilt a few months ago. The top gasket was wet, so I grabbed a screwdriver. All the bowl screws had worked loose, anywhere from 1/2 turn to as many as two turns. Today I took it on a short trip to grab some fast food, and I didn’t get the fuel smell. I still need to clean the stains off the intake to see if I got everything fixed.

    In other automotive news, I went to a car show last weekend and ended up taking a chopper ride. That was my first time up in one despite a couple of missed opportunities in the past. Fortunately, it was a recreational trip, and not medevac.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    The Polestar…I want to like it, but, as Greg points out, it’s really inefficient. Tesla uses a third less energy per distance. The interior is also not fit for a modern EV. Customers should motivate Polestar by not buying this one.

    The Maserati…the word generic would be too emotional to describe the styling. For fork’s sake, no respect for brand names and heritage when it comes to chubby SUVs?

    In local news, we’re in the mountains again and I’m afraid I broke another set off springs on the Hyundai by going too fast on poor roads. Dammit. Also ordered a new head unit from AliExpress; that can be hit and miss. Quite excited to see if this works or sparks regret. Tomorrow, the Centennial will be away for a full year. Yay!

  3. ptschett Avatar

    Not sure yet how I feel about the standard Hurricane deux-escargot six-in-a-row pretty obviously dropping into the place of the NA Hemi 5.7 V8 I’ve had three of in the last dozen years.

    I know turbo + downsizing can work, per my day job with diesel engines and construction equipment. But aside from the one summer 20 years ago that I dailied one of my dad’s V6 Dakotas on the farm, I’m just used to the sound and feel of an NA crossplane-crank V8.

    My news is I somehow managed to let the Challenger sit from December 23rd to this last Sunday. I gave it 50/50 odds if it was going to start unaided, considering the low-level current draw of all the computers, but it fired off just fine. And at the end of the third winter (how time flies) running Falken Wildpeak AT 3-peak-mountain-snowflake tires on my Ram, I’m close to running out of the winter tread-depth stage.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      i also wonder if the new motor will be subject to the same phenomenon as the Hemi: when two cars so equipped pull up to a red next to each other, there’s a solid 65% chance of a stoplight race. not sure the turbo 6 will have the same effect on its drivers.

    2. GTXcellent Avatar

      What are your thoughts on the AT3s? I’ve actually been pretty disappointed in them on my truck. The wear has been really good, they’re pretty decent in the mud and fine on dry pavement, but I’ve not been happy at all with their performance from October through April (i.e. snow season). Poor traction both in acceleration and in stopping, at least compared to my previous experience with Cooper, and Hankook and General (on par with BF Goodrich and Goodyear).
      Now, the Falken Wildpeak M/Ts that we put on the Jeep…hands down the best off road tire I’ve ever experienced!

  4. Salguod Avatar

    After replacing the LF wheel bearing in my daughter’s Protege because the symptoms were the same as the last failure so that must be it, the noise remained. So I did what I should have done and jacked up each corner and checked for play in the other wheels. Found the RF very loose, so I pulled the knuckle and gave it to my friend with a press. I got it back yesterday, so reassembly is on this afternoon’s agenda.

    After I may put the Boxster on stands to diagnose the loose and rattly suspension. Feels like the rear struts are shot and maybe control arm bushings.

    Due to a fire in my daughters’ apartment building, there are now 5 of us and 7 cars in our 3 bedroom house. Thankfully we have room for 4 inside between the garage and barn and the driveway will still accommodate the other 3. They and their pets are OK (won’t know about their stuff for a few weeks), so a few months of inconvenience is bearable.

    1. MattC Avatar

      I’m glad your daughter is okay. Stuff can easily be replaced and at the end of the day it’s just stuff. Family is important.

  5. gerberbaby Avatar

    cleaned the wifes s80 headlights. they look like new this time. last time I used the 3m spin white crap all over the garage method. marginally effective. this time. I wet sanded starting with 400, then 600,800,1200,2000 grit. produced a nice even slight cloud finish by the end. Then sprayed on meguiars headlight coating per recommendation by Scotty Kilmer. They look perfect.

  6. MattC Avatar

    I and I am safe to assume thousands of other future Maverick owners received the “dreaded” Ford email this past week. This was a generic batch email from Ford Corporate that stated that they thanked us for placing an order but are still unsure of when the vehicle will be built. In one hand, this is the first tangible communication from Ford since I placed a deposit in Sept 2021. (I’ve have been in contact with my dealership and to their credit have given whatever information they have received). But the uncertainty of when/if this will be built has me looking at a beater for the interim.

    I’ve replaced spark plugs and a PCV valve on my daughter’s Vibe to chase down a sporadic check engine light. I was also going to replace the pre-cat O2 sensor but my O2 sensor tool wouldn’t fit so that will be a hold for now. The Corolla powertrain are really easy to work on. This is a 15 year old car with over 160k mileage. The old plugs were were not terribly worn. It doesn’t leak/burn oil and easily returns about 30mpg hwy. This thing is a warrior and has served my soon to graduating college kid well.

    1. salguod Avatar

      Cars from the late 90s to early 2000s in general are pretty darn reliable. Two of my kids drive ~150K Mazda Proteges, one 2002 and one 2003, and they just keep going. By rights, any ~20 year old economy car ought to be done for, but not the case.

      In the past decade or so I’ve had a ’98 Escort that went about 150K, a 1995 Ranger that was near 250K, a 260K 1996 318ti, a 260K 2002 RSX Type S, a 220K 2005 Mazda3 and a 185K 2002 325Ci. All but the Escort were pretty sound mechanically when I got rid of them.

      I just bought a 140K mile 1998 Boxster as my next daily. An older high mileage Porsche should be a terrible idea, but like other 90s cars these have aged well and just keep going.

      As a guy who grew up with malaise era GM cars that were falling apart well before they hit 100K, it’s pretty impressive.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        When Sandy Munro said that the Kia Niro was like the best built 90s car he had ever seen – it came out in 2016 – most people considered that an insult. Their manufacturing tech was so far behind? I figured that this could also be a compliment. They did as Volvo or Toyota used to do: Continuing down a path of “I know how to do this”, and perfecting it. Niro customers also seem to be exceptionally happy with their cars, according to a range of polls and surveys, like JD Powers.

      2. MattC Avatar

        I tend to agree. My 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage ( looks like a mashup of late 90’s Civic/Corolla with anonymity built in) went over 280k before I sold it.

        I’m also if the same age that 100k in Malaise era cars was an outlier.

  7. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    The Buick logo feels like heresy, as does a Ferrari SUV, Lamborghini at least had the excuse of already making farm tractors.
    On the local front, the Mazda CX-5 desperately needs a good cleaning after lots of snow and dirt roads, and the 1983 Honda CM250C is slowly coming back together after a carb cleaning. Parts availability for these is way down, i could get a replica carb kit and a genuine foam air filter sleeve but I ended up making a new breather filter out of a cut up lawnmower part. this leaves me wondering why the throttle cable bracket screw isn’t in the magnetic dish with the other bolts and facing the soul destroying task of reconnecting the throttle cables. Why this bike has 2 cables for 1 carb is baffling.

  8. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    my plan to drop an E46 seat into my W201 collapsed when the seat adapter bracket didn’t fit my ‘84. the bolt pattern apparently changed in ‘86, and anyway the new seat sat way too high on it. so i started practicing my welds, one thing led to another, and now i have a used portable bandsaw on the way because i hate cutting with a grinder on weeknights.

    seems likely the car will sit for a few more weeks while i build confidence in my fabrication skills. the seat belt will transfer loads into the chassis through these parts, so i’ve really got to trust them. i’ve never put much time into making clean piece parts and strong welds at home, but it’s something i’d like to get good at, so i’m happy to take the time.