Welcome to the Hooniverse News – 2014 Geneva Motor Show edition! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull, which this week, has everything to do with the biggest Geneva Motor Show debuts. Like always and mostly because I’m bored, I throw in some opinion of mine. This week:
Alfa Romeo 4C gets a spider bite
Audi’s third-generation TT is here
Rolls Royce brings the Ghost into 2014
Aston Martin’s N430 is sweet forbidden fruit
“Final” Pagani Zonda says it’s okay to never grow up
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge is literally a 4-door GT-R
BMW X4 offers less practicality for more money
Jaguar previews their upcoming 3-Series fighter
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Just as Alfa Romeo prepares to bring their first lightweight sports car back onto the market, they have announced that they’re bringing back the cloth top sports car along with it. The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider just might be the darling of the Geneva Motor Show this year and we’re okay with that.
The mechanical bits are all largely the same as its hardtop brother. The 4C Spider is powered by a 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder which produces 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. That four-banger power is plenty good enough for a small Italian sports car which only weighs 2,100 pounds, which is evident by its 4.2 second o-62 mph time. One thing that is new here is the dual-stage central exhaust system made by Akrapovic, so you can definitely tell this one apart by its sound.
An obvious visual update is the lightweight canvas roof which replaces the hardtop. The rollover bars, spoilers, and windshield frame are made from carbon fiber as is most of the rest of the car to keep the 4C Spider as rigid as it needs to be. In the Spider-fication process, only 132 pounds has been added to the car’s overall weight. Some less obvious visual updates come in the form of new headlights, which ditch the ant look and make the front end much prettier, and new alloy wheels.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is scheduled to enter production sometime in 2015, the same year that they’ll re-enter the North American market. So far there’s nothing to suggest that the 4C Spider will be forbidden fruit either. Get excited.
[Source: Alfa Romeo via Autoweek]
It’s been talked about and teased for a while, but this week Audi made the all-new third-generation TT official. With a full range of new exterior styling, interior updates, and mechanical improvements, the 2015 Audi TT will enter production and arrive in showrooms later this year.
The new exterior styling of the Audi TT is familiar yet sleeker and more aggressive overall. Its face features new headlights, a new grille, new aero work below the grille, and a new clamshell-style hood. Its business end also gets reworked a bit to make everything less round and more sharp. Most of these new exterior panels are crafted for the first time from aluminum, including the hood, fenders, doors, rear liftgate, and the roof, which helps reduce the TT’s weight by about 110 pounds down to 2,700 pounds.
What might be the most interesting part of this car is the interior, which utilizes a design concept Audi showed off earlier in the year and takes the clutter out of the cockpit – and puts it all in front of the driver. Unlike nearly every other car on the market today, there is no massive center screen in the console. Instead, all vital information is displayed in a screen in the gauge cluster which leaves the passenger few things to play with. This leaves the rest of the cabin feeling more spacious (which it is), elegant, and light, which is exactly what Audi wants people to think about the TT.
A range of engines will be available at launch, starting with the base model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 227 horsepower and ending at a 2.0-liter turbo four with 306 horsepower (this one is reserved for the TTS). Audi’s legendary all-wheel drive system is enhanced for performance as well and the variable damping and electromechanical steering, all of which is aimed at making this the most agile and thrilling TT ever.
Rolls Royce Ghost Series II
Relatively speaking, the current generation of the Rolls Royce Ghost hasn’t been with us for very long, but the flying lady company has already decided to provide it with some important updates to keep it current.
Their idea of keep it current doesn’t involve very many exterior styling updates, as there are only a handful to report. The headlights are redesigned and the bonnet features an attractive “wake channel” to give the Spirit of Ecstasy contrails similar to those an airplane leaves behind. That’s really it. You could say the Rolls Royce Ghost is too nice looking to mess with and they would probably agree.
What’s really new with the Series II is what’s inside. A distinct new presence of technology gives buyers a Rolls Royce the most modern car they’ve produced yet. Starting with the typical and working our way up to the impressive bits, the Series II will feature voice-activated navigation, media, and phone systems, a 10.2″ multimedia screen up front, on-board WiFi, and a Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses GPS data to read the road ahead and prepare for it with the right gear. Interior styling itself is updated with new veneer and leather options along with redesigned seats for added comfort and adjustability.
The rest of the Ghost’s underlying hardware carries over mostly unchanged.
[Source: Rolls Royce]
Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430
I won’t even begin to talk about this new Aston until I’ve mentioned that it isn’t scheduled to arrive in America…. Are our American readers till interested? Thought so.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 is essentially a successor to the N420 edition from a few years ago, which was a sportier version dedicated to Aston Martin’s racing heritage and focus going forward. Interestingly enough, that one was available in America.
Aston Martin’s latest racing-inspired model gets a mandatory power bump – up to 430 horsepower from its glorious 4.7-liter V8. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a new close-ratio seven-speed Sportshift II automatic or a six-speed manual. In automatic configuration, the N430 can rock the 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.6 seconds and it won’t stop going until it reaches 190 mph or until the nice policeman yells at you.
Some racing characteristics that find their way into the N430 include carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, lightweight alloy wheels, and its gorgeous green and yellow paint job, which can be replaced with another color, but why would you? Other interior enhancements include special N430 badging on the headrests and doorsills, paddle shifters done in black magnesium or carbon fiber, contrast stitching on the leather steering wheel, black pedals, piano black trim, and a unique stitching patter on the seats.
[Source: Aston Martin via Autoweek]
Featuring the honorable mentions of the Geneva Motor Show and some that aren’t.
Pagani Zonda Revolucion: The Zonda is the car that absolutely refuses to die. Their totally last Zonda they’ll ever make for reals is perhaps the craziest one yet. With its blue carbon fiber, hundreds of winglets and aerodynamic pieces, and the fire-breathing V12 that’s been powering the Zonda since its birth, it’s proof that it’s okay to never grow up. I have a feeling this is why Pagani seems reluctant to end it once and for all. Read more about it at Autoblog. Photo (C) 2014 Drew Phillips/AOL.
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge: Remember this one? It’s Infiniti’s idea of a performance sedan, and until now we’ve only been given details about its styling and what it could possibly mean for the company going forward. This week, we got an even better idea about what it could me. Can you say “four-door GT-R”? It was revealed that the engine of choice for such a car is the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 with AWD as found in the GT-R. If such a car were to ever make it to production and it didn’t have this engine, there may be riots. Do you want riots, Infiniti? Read more about it at Autoweek.
Why the hell didn’t Infiniti put GT-R’s engine into the G-sedan like, you know, five years ago? -KK
BMW X4: I could have easily written an entire article on just this car given the amount of material in the press release, but I feel like I can sum it up in just a few words instead – it’s an X3 with less practicality at a higher price. Read more about it if you want at Autoweek.
Jaguar XE: Jaguar’s long rumored 3-Series fighter will be called the XE, and so far we’ve got a handful of details about it long before we’re supposed to see it. It definitely sounds interesting, so read more about it at Autoweek.