Welcome to the Hooniverse News – 2016 Geneva Motor Show Recap! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull which all come from one of the year’s biggest auto shows. This year’s show was host to many awesome new debuts that range from practical compacts to otherworldly super cars. Because it’s impossible for one news editor with a day job to cover it all, here are the most interesting stories according to me. I still throw in a little opinion of mine because I can, but if you want even more opinion from other hoons, be sure to check out our Hooniversal Opinion piece on the show. Then come back here for some KNAWLEDGE. This week:
Bugatti runs out of ways to sell the Veyron, reveals all-new Chiron
Porsche will finally sell you a manual GT3 RS – kind of
Chevrolet reveals the Corvette Grand Sport, a Z06 minus the motor
Fiat 124 Spider finally gets the Abarth treatment
Morgan is really building an electric 3 Wheeler and it’s awesome
Spyker picks up where they left off with the C8 Preliator
Full motor show coverage from Autoweek
What’s your automotive news?
I pretty much had to talk about this one first, but before I begin, I’ll say that pricing starts at €2.4 million (about $2.6 million) and that renders this car irrelevant to just about all of us. Nevertheless, I chose to write about it because it’s absolutely mental.
Geneva is always the most extreme (and most expensive) auto show of the year and this year was no exception thanks to the introduction of the Bugatti Chiron, the first all-new car of theirs since the Veyron went into production in 2005. After running out of different ways to sell the same car to oil industry leaders and rappers for ten years, Bugatti finally sold the last Veyron last year and left the door open for something even crazier to take its place. The 2017 Chiron is how Bugatti tops the Veyron.
Before I dig into the details, here’s a fun fact. The car is named after Louis Chiron, a factory driver who won “virtual all” major grands prix for Bugatti in the 20s and 30s. This also isn’t the first time the name was slapped on a Bugatti either; a 1999 concept car called the 18/3 Chiron was the most recent example…. consider us lucky that we got a different Chiron.
Anyway, the new Chiron is a more powerful, more luxurious, and more exclusive super sports car. Production is limited to 500 units worldwide (we’ll see how long that lasts) and it builds upon everything the old Veyron was already great at.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that it’s still very much a numbers car. It still has an 8.0-liter W16 engine with four turbocharges like the Veyron, but the engine is newly developed and the turbos are bigger. As a result, it’s “the world’s first super sports car with 1,500 horsepower” – Koenigsegg conveniently debuted their 1,500 horsepower production-ready Regera shortly thereafter. Torque is also astronomically high, rated at about 1,180 lb.-ft. That extra power and torque come from two-stage turbocharging, titanium exhaust, and two main catalytic converters (out of six) that are about six times larger than those fitted on a standard car. All of the numbers on this car are insane. My favorite number is this one: “the active surface of all six catalytic converters used for exhaust gas treatment corresponds to the area of more than 30 soccer pitches”. Just… what.
All of that power and torque somehow manages to make it to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox without grenading it. 0-62 mph is rated at “under” 2.5 seconds and the top speed is limited to only 261 mph for road use. They claim the Chiron is poised to set a new speed record but have not said anything else about its actual top speed other than that “[261 mph] is by no means the end of the road for the Bugatti Chiron”.
At the center of all this is a new carbon monocoque and an adaptive chassis, both of which greatly improve the driving characteristics of what’s essentially the land yacht of sports car. When combined with other engineering feats like active aero, Formula One-derived brakes, a full carbon fiber body, and specially-developed tires that for some reason needed to be tested at an aerospace facility, the Chiron is a car that promises to offer more driving thrills that go beyond the impending jail time the right pedal brings.
The Chiron offers greater luxury through its completely redesigned interior packed with technology and other things rich people want. It features a new adaptive gauge cluster, a surprisingly uncluttered center console, a concert hall-like sound system, and a neat illuminated C-bar that’s just there to look cool. The use of carbon fiber is also extensive in the cabin as well, so much so that the airbags shoot through a carbon fiber housing. Sounds safe to me! Also, for some reason Bugatti decided that their buyers needed electromagnetic compatibility comparable to that of a military vehicle. I guess they’re expecting deposits from some world leaders with border problems…
Is any of this relevant? Nope. Is this still one of the coolest things ever made? I think so. The Chiron launches this autumn.
Porsche 911 R
Spoiler alert: this car was reportedly sold out even before they revealed it. Because Porsche.
One of the major talking points regarding the Porsche 911 GT3 and the GT3 RS is their lack of a manual transmission option of any kind for the first time since those models were conceived. Many internet arguments were had and finally Porsche hinted that they were listening. This week at Geneva, Porsche gave us what we wanted – a 911 GT3 RS with a manual gearbox. They took away some other things too and bumped up the price in the process, but that’s cool I guess.
The new Porsche 911 R follows the tradition set by the original road-homologated race car bearing the name in 1967, that being
remove stuff and charge more for it lightweight construction, excellent performance, and an unfiltered driving experience. It starts life as a 911 GT3 RS and sheds a bit of weight, loses some downforce, and drops the PDK automatic all together. Only 991 units will be produced, because Porsche.
The 911 R gets to play with the same 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six found in the GT3 RS which, miraculously, hasn’t been detuned at all. That means 500 horsepower and 338 lb.-ft. of torque are at your command – assuming you were one of the ones who could read Porsche’s mind and know to place a deposit for a car they never formally announced until this Tuesday. If your stick-shift skills are as on point as your telepathy, 0-60 mph is taken care of in just 3.7 seconds and the top speed is rated at 200 mph. The six-speed manual gearbox features short, track day bro oriented gear ratios.
The 911 R was really designed for corners though, which is why they took away the rear wing. Fortunately they retuned the rear-wheel steering for a sharper turn-in with more stability and a mechanical rear differential lock to ensure grip is always there. Stopping power comes from massive ceramic composite brake discs that measure 16.1″ front and 15.4″ rear. The car rides on 20″ forged center-locking wheels wrapped in sticky tires (245mm front, 305mm rear). The 911 R also comes with a reworked stability control system, an optional single-mass flywheel, and a rev-match function (which can be turned off).
Porsche managed to bring the weight down to 3,020 pounds, about 110 pounds lighter than the GT3 RS, through the omission of the rear seats, air conditioning, and radio. That makes the 911 R the lightest 911 that mind readers can buy last week. The AC and radio can be ordered at no extra charge. The rest of the interior features small touches that make the 911 R a bit more special, such as the carbon backed bucket seats with houndstooth fabric and… umm, some special logos.
As you’d expect from Porsche, a GT3 RS sans wing and equipped with a cheaper gearbox is more expensive. Pricing starts at $184,900 and it will reach dealers later this summer. For reference, the faster GT3 RS costs $175,900.
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
And now, a track-focused sports car that doesn’t require telepathy to buy. Chevrolet brought some American muscle to Switzerland in the form of the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. Unlike the last Grand Sport, the C7 version has numerous performance improvements over the standard Stingray and serves almost as a middle ground between that and the Z06.
Think of this as a Z06 minus the LT4. It has most if not all of the handling improvements that come with the Z06 but in a package that is more manageable and presumably cheaper. In the quest to make this a “pure expression” of the Corvette’s racing pedigree, engineers borrowed chassis tuning, upgraded cooling systems, and performance technologies from the Z06.
Standard equipment on the Grand Sport includes magnetic ride control, upgraded stabilizer bars and springs, an electronic limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes with 14″ front and 13.4″ rear rotors, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, and a seven-speed manual gearbox with active rev match. One worthwhile option is the Z07 package which adds carbon ceramic-matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires, and a functional carbon fiber aero package. The LT1 V8 may be lacking a supercharger, but it still gets the job done with an impressive 466 horsepower and dry-sump oiling. That all equates to 1.05g on the skid pad or 1.2g with the Z07 package. At GM’s test track, the Z07 Grand Sport is less than a second off the pace of the C6 ZR1.
Whether you opt for the aero package or not, the exterior gets a few tweaks to differentiate it from the standard C7, namely bespoke Grand Sport wheels, unique fender inserts, a Z06-style grille, and wider rear fenders. Opt for the Heritage Package and you’ll get the traditional hash-mark fender graphics available in six colors and full-length stripes are available too.
Pricing is not available yet but it’s scheduled to go on sale this summer in the US and Europe as both a coupe and a convertible.
Fiat Abarth 124 Spider
In a way we all knew it was coming. An all-new open-top sports car built upon the MX-5 and Fiat’s growing inventory of Abarth badges meant a more potent 124 Spider had to be on the horizon. Sure enough, it was. Say hello to the Fiat Abarth 124 Spider, a meaner version of the foreign exchange student that originally debuted last November.
Along with the Abarth nameplate comes more aggressive styling courtesy of a revised front and rear fascia with larger grille openings, new 17″ alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and some additional graphics. The most important update that the Abarth name brings is made underneath that long bumpy hood. Pretty much as we guessed, it now runs on the same 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine as found in the 500 Abarth but with ten whole extra horsepower. 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque propel it to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds through a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. They also promise that it’ll sound amazing.
Along with the slight power increase comes a slight reduction in weight; the angrier Fiata now weighs in at 2,337 pounds compared to the roughly 2,400 lbs. of the standard 124. It still rides on a double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension setup but now benefits from special “Abarth by Bilstein” dampers, stiffened anti-roll bars, and aluminum Brembo brakes. Everything else is carried over from the standard 124. Pricing for Europe starts at €40,000 (~$43,000).
And just because they could, Fiat also revealed Abarth 124 Rally prototype developed by the Abarth Racing Team. An Abarth 124 hasn’t raced since the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally and it’s back with the same mission. They’ll be testing the road car’s technical solutions in extreme conditions for performance and reliability in a car that shares at least some of the hardware with the road car. This one features a 1.8-liter “bialbero” turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower, a six-speed sequential gearbox, a mechanical limited-slip differential, and a tons of other racing gear. Shortly after the Geneva Motor Show closes, you’ll get the chance to order one of these for yourself, assuming you have a rally team.
If you like the Morgan 3 Wheeler but don’t want to deal with that pesky
British American v-twin engine, perhaps an electric version would spark your interest. This is indeed an all-electric car brought to you by the company that still builds cars out of wood.
The Morgan EV3 is a very different kind of electric vehicle though, as it’s the only hand-crafted, bespoke, and truly exhilarating and/or terrifying EV on the market. Think of it as a responsible way to deliver driving excitement and traditional British craftsmanship – or, the world’s first Steampunk car. Tucked inside the tube frame chassis is a 20KWh lithium battery an a liquid cooled 46kW motor driving the rear wheel. The whole car weighs under 1,100 pounds and has a 150 mile driving range. They claim the car’s agility and performance rivals the petrol version despite the dramatic change in power.
The gorgeous body is part composite carbon (a first for Morgan) and part hand-crafted aluminum panels. Those brass fins you see in the grille provide cooling for the encased the batteries and aren’t just for show. The offset headlight totally is for show, and it all looks wonderful. Just look at it….
LOOK AT IT.
Production starts in Q4 of this year. Prices will be comparable to the petrol version.
[Source: Morgan Motor Company]
Spyker C8 Preliator
Spyker’s back! Spyker’s back! Spyker’s back! The exclusive sports car manufacturer has emerged from the depths of bankruptcy with new financial backing and a sort-of new car. The C8 Preliator as it’s called continues where Spyker left off with the C8 Aileron a few years ago. It’s a mid-engine GT car with fine attention to detail, familiar and uniquely Spyker styling, and more power.
The company’s aviation roots still come through in the car’s exterior styling, interior controls, and the heads-up display for the driver. As a company that used to build WW1 fighters, they made C8 Preliator ready for some fighting on ground with an Audi-sourced supercharged V8 which cranks out 525 horsepower. Spyker’s comeback is arguably prettier than ever and it’s undeniably faster. Welcome back, lads.
[Source: Spyker Cars]
— *realizes that it’s 2:45 AM and I’m still writing* —
Full Geneva Motor Show coverage from Autoweek
For full coverage of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, head on over to our friends at Autoweek for the rest. This year’s show was packed with more debuts than I could cover on my own, so let their team of dedicated writers bring you up to speed on what matters. Cars like the Honda Civic Hatchback prototype, Audi Q2, Toyota C-HR, Lamborghini’s ridiculous birthday present, and more are waiting for you at Autoweek.com.
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]