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: the all-new 2020 Hyundai Sonata and some other hypercar things with weird names. Plus your automotive news for the week.
2020 Hyundai Sonata
The Geneva Motor Show was a platform for dozens of super fast and super expensive hyper exotics to make their world debut. So I’m gonna talk about the new Hyundai Sonata first.
Korea’s tried and true mid-size sedan has been fully transformed going into its eighth generation. They gave it totally new styling inspired by last year’s Le Fil Rouge concept and a more upscale interior to match. Very little technical details were made available with its launch still the better part of a year away, but they did go into length about its new design.
Its dimensions are slightly changed over its predecessor: it’s 30 mm lower in height, 25 mm wider, rides on a wheelbase is that’s 35 mm longer, and is 45 mm longer overall. That helps lend to its sportier appearance that was also attained by giving it a short front overhang, sloping roofline, and low deck lid. Sadly, they too have resorted to using the “four-door-coupe look” tagline, which we all know is a load of crap.
The new nose is defined by two main elements: “a bold, voluminous shape evoking a smooth sphere and a cleanly demarcated hood”. Sure. It also has a sports car-like grille opening that they call a “Digital Pulse Cascading Grille” and some chromic trim pieces that run along the bottom and appear to run down the hood and connect to the headlights.
They’re also proud of the hidden daytime running lights. When they aren’t lit, they appear as chromatic trim pieces within the headlights.
And as for the back, the tail lights look almost exactly like the Honda Civic’s but with a thin connecting strip along the bottom.
Things get really interesting inside though. Designers aimed for a light and airy cabin with cleanly integrated screens and control panels that are more compact. The central infotainment screen has physical controls (and maybe touch screen controls too) and a digital gauge cluster too. It also has shift-by-wire transmission controls to free up space as well.
We should get more details on the all-new Sonata fairly soon, but so far it all looks very promising. Hyundai continues to step up their game with every new car they make so we’ll be eager to learn more.
Since it’s time to start talking supercars now, there’s really only one place to start…
The lovable lunatics at Koenigsegg have come out with another grand slam that can only be accurately categorized as a “mega car”. When I start talking numbers you’ll understand why. It’s called the Jesko and it’s a tribute to Christian von Koenigsegg’s father, Jesko von Koenigsegg.
Jesko von Koenigsegg was a key presence at Koenigsegg Automotive during its formative years. His considerable business acumen helped steer the company through many early challenges. Now retired and in his 80’s, Jesko von Koenigsegg and his wife, Brita, were on-hand at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show to see his namesake vehicle introduced to the world.
And what a namesake it is. A brand that’s been known to push the boundaries has plowed through those boundaries with an excavator with immense power and ground-breaking solutions to support it.
Koenigsegg’s engine of choice lately has been a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, but the one in the Jesko has gotten some key new features. It has a new flat-plane crankshaft (which weighs only 27.6 pounds!), new intake, and of course bigger turbos with air injection and more precise pressure controls.
I’ll focus on the aforementioned air injection because it’s fascinating. Koenigsegg designed a system with a small compressor and carbon fibre air tank which provides a powerful 290-psi shot of air strategically located within the turbocharger system in order to pre-spool the turbochargers and provide instant response.
On normal pump gas the Jesko produces 1,280 horsepower. Feed it E85 and that number increases to 1,600 horsepower. Torque is rated at 1,106 lb.-ft. at 5,100 RPM though it’s unclear if that’s pump gas or E85 numbers. Any number over 737 lb.-ft. of torque is available between 2700 to 6170 RPM. Redline is at 8,500 RPM.
An extraordinary engine requires an extraordinary transmission, so Jesko utilizes a new Light Speed Transmission (I swear I’m not making that up)– designed in-house at Koenigsegg – which is a nine-speed multiclutch unit that does away with traditional synchro rings and makes changes between ANY gear possible “at near light speed”. Because no synchros are involved, you can literally shift from ninth gear to first in an instant if you really needed to.
As if this mindfuck of a transmission wasn’t impressive enough already, it weighs under 200 pounds and that includes all wet clutches, flywheel, fluids, starter motor, and oil pumps. A traditional DCT can often weigh around 250-300 pounds based on my exhaustive 60 seconds of research on Wikipedia.
The chassis and aerodynamics package is also out of this world. The whole car is built around their latest carbon fiber monocoque chassis that’s supremely stiff. It rides on adjustable Öhlins dampers and uses Koenigsegg’s “Triplex” system – a third horizontal damper originally intended to account for increased load under acceleration – on both front and rear axles. Koenigseggs have used that in the rear since 2010, but with over 2,200 pounds of downforce available, one was needed up front too.
For those keeping score, 2,200 pounds of downforce puts it in line with the track-only McLaren Senna GTR and ahead of the also track-only Ferrari FXX-K Evo.
Agility is improved by rear axle steering and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 and available Cup 2 R tires face the daunting task of putting all of this to the ground. Despite the absurd power figures, Koenigseggs have proven themselves to be excellent all-around performers so expect this thing to absolutely rip on a road course.
So there you have it. The craziest and most fearless automaker on the planet brings out their craziest car yet, and quite frankly, we mere mortals aren’t worthy. We’re getting to a point where these numbers hardly mean anything anymore because it’s all so hard to comprehend. Please, Koenigsegg. Keep going.
Aston Martin AM-RB 003 and Vanquish Vision Concept
This is the future we were promised.
Aston Martin rolled into Geneva with two vehicles – one concept, one near production-ready – which prove how much of an impact the Valkyrie is starting to have on the rest of the brand. The one that’s confirmed for production is the AM-RB 003 that was teased last week as Project 003 and the other is a concept that may indicate the future of a familiar nameplate.
The AM-RB 003 is an absolutely wicked supercar that takes all the right cues from the Valkyrie but with a slightly different philosophy behind it. Whereas the Valkyrie is an uncompromising technological achievement that can put most race cars to shame, the AM-RB 003 will have more of a focus on driver comfort and convenience. The press release mentions things like “cabin space” and “storage solutions”.
It still has the outrageous and fully functional design with a full underfloor crafted in cooperation with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. But even this “less aggressive” supercar has something the Valkyrie doesn’t. It features a NASA-approved aircraft morphing technology to create a variable airfoil across the entirety of the rear wing.
The technology, named FlexFoil and developed by FlexSys Inc, has been validated by NASA through extensive performance and acoustic flight testing. Aston Martin is the first to implement this cutting-edge aerospace technology in the automotive industry and I suspect it’ll stay that way for a while. As for the benefits, Aston states the following:
The system allows for the car’s downforce to be changed without changing the physical angle of the entire element, resulting in a seamless design with high performance, improved efficiency and reduced wind noise. Turbulence and the associated drag increase found in current “state of the art” active wing designs is virtually eliminated too.
Probably the single biggest departure from the Valkyrie is in the powertrain department. The heavenly Cosworth V12 is reserved exclusively for that one, so the AM-RB 003 gets its own solution. Aston Martin returns to building their own engines with a new twin-turbo V6 paired with hybrid technology. Exact specs are still pending as the development program remains ongoing.
Now for the concept….
Aston Martin has revived a familiar nameplate for the Vanquish Vision Concept which previews a somewhat more mainstream mid-engine supercar that could go to battle with McLaren, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.
Its lineage can be clearly drawn back to the Valkyrie as with the AM-RB 003 with a similar design and equally impressive aerodynamic elements, but there’s two main differences they’re disclosing early on. The first difference is that it will feature a bonded aluminum chassis rather than the all-carbon chassis on the others.
The only other technical information they disclosed relates to the engine, which will be a different version of the new V6 that most likely won’t include a hybrid-electric component as found on the AM-RB 003.
Aston Martin fully intends to make this the new Vanquish by 2022. If they were determined enough to make the Valkyrie work, you can bet they’ll make both of these new models work as well.
[Source: Aston Martin]
From one impossibly gorgeous car to another, Pininfarina has finally revealed their first in-house product under the new Automobili Pininfarina. They’re related to the Pininfarina design studio we all know and love but operate with the exclusive goal of creating electric luxury cars for their new parent company, Mahindra.
So without further adieu, say “ciao” to the Pininfarina Battista. If you’ve stopped reading after that I understand. With uniquely Italian looks and world-leading EV performance, Pininfarina has demonstrated how serious they are about this new venture.
It’s probably fair to think of the Pininfarina Barista as a coach-built EV supercar when you consider a key partnership that helped make this possible. They’ve correctly turned to Croatian EV supercar leader Rimac to source a powertrain. Panini may not admit it, but it’s essentially the same stuff you’d find underneath a Rimac C_Two. That means it’s very very good.
The Dave Bautista boasts 1,900 horsepower from four motors, a 0-60 mph time under two seconds, 0-186 mph time of under twelve seconds, and a driving range of up to 300 miles per charge. That’s pretty much identical to the Rimac, but it doesn’t matter when it’s that good.
It’s gorgeous, fast, and expensive at around $2 million. Pininfarina is back, baby.
[Source: Pininfarina via Autoweek]
Bugatti La Voiture Noire
It’s a one-off Chiron with a bespoke body that vaguely resembles the Type 75 SC Atlantic and they managed to sell it to someone for over $12 million.
Toyota Supra GT4 Concept
Because I want to end on a somewhat high note, Toyota’s big reveal this week was the Supra I was most excited about – the GT4 version. Though it’s just a concept for now, Toyota GR is gauging customer interest after having completed some initial development on a car that could bring the brand into customer GT4 racing for the first time.
It’s one of the fastest-growing classes on the planet right now so its a logical first step into sports car racing for the Supra. If built, it would compete with the Porsche Cayman, Shelby GT350, BMW M4, McLaren 570S, AMG GT, Audi R8, and others. GT4 regulations require a series production engine (with necessary racing modifications), so it would be interesting to see how Toyota can prepare the generation-old BMW engine they were given for the road car.
So if you, like many of our readers, happen to own a sports car racing team and are wandering around Geneva this week, be sure to drop by Toyota and tell them how much you’d love to pick one up used once it’s a few years old and the depreciation has worn off.
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 © 2019 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]