The News for March 9th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of everything you should care about in the automotive industry without the fluff or the BS. Just all the facts and a little bit of opinion, just because I can. This week, it’s the Geneva recap, with the biggest stories from the auto show that none of us could afford to go to:

  • Lamborghini Aventador J is one rich man’s track toy

  • Gumpert reworks the Apollo for two new models

  • Bentley Continental GTC V8 makes its debut

  • Bentley makes an ugly SUV, headed to production?

  • Aston Martin launches new personalization line

Lamborghini Aventador J

Lamborghini was at the Geneva Motor Show to reveal a very special variant of the radical LP700-4 Aventador. Many originally thought it would simply be the long-awaited Aventador Roadster, but no. It wasn’t. Instead of a simple roadster, they brought a car with no roof at all. This is the Lamborghini Aventador J, which may have the same type of windshield-less, separated cockpit design as the popular Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder concept, but unlike the 2005 concept car, this one (and I do mean “one”) is actually for sale.

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This insane creation is powered by the same 700-horsepower, 6.5-liter V12 found in the normal one and sends power through a 7-speed transmission to all-four wheels. Where the Aventador J differs, however, isn’t entirely obvious. Other than the lack of a real roof and a substantial windshield, the J has no navigation system or air conditioning in the interest of saving weight. Another big contribution to the car’s weight-loss is the new skin it’s wearing, which is made from a material new to the industry called “Carbonskin”, which can best be described as a super-light and flexible high tech fiber that coats almost every surface. While they won’t tell us everything about its performance capabilities, they did hint at a 180+ mph top speed. Given that the standard Aventador can run well over 200 mph, doing 180+ in a car with no windshield is still impressive. Of course, proper driving equipment is required, unless you want an excuse for plastic surgery.

Sadly, this radical (and street legal) Lamborghini is a one-off piece and has already been sold. Nevertheless, it’s really cool to look at. 

Source: Lamborghini

Gumpert Apollo Enraged and R

One of Germany’s most insane auto manufacturers, Gumpert, was at the show to reveal two new versions the once road-legal Gumpert Apollo. The original Apollo was a road-legal racecar in every sense of the word, but only one of the versions that was just revealed keeps the license plate.  

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One version is called the Gumpert Apollo Enraged, which is a bit more than just a repainted Apollo. Like every other Apollo, an Audi-sourced 4.2-liter V8 sits behind the driver, but this one is supercharged and produces 780 horsepower, which makes it the most powerful Gumpert to ever wear a license plate. Weight has been reduced to roughly 2,600 pounds to further adds to its racetrack-focused attitude. Other neat features include the striping with German national colors on the outside and the full LCD display inside. As far as details go, that’s about all we have. Since only three of these will ever exist, horsepower figures and poorly lit photos are all that the rest of the population gets.

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The other Apollo shown at Geneva was the Apollo R, which is a track-only spec racer (we don’t know which spec, sorry -KK). The 4.2-liter V8 now makes 860 horsepower thanks to a supercharger, race exhaust, and various other improvements. Inside, a race-spec transmission with paddle-shifters on the wheel and an LCD gauge cluster that only displays the most essential info is all that you need to demolish the competition. The car’s 2,400 pound dry weight should also help with that.

Source: Gumpert

Bentley Continental GTC V8

The Continental GT, which is perhaps Bentley’s most popular model ever, just recently received a fresh new look inside and out as well as new powertrain options. The also popular Continental GTC (“C” for convertible) was just shown off in its new form at Geneva and it’s coming to a valet parking spot near you very soon.

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Underneath the new body panels is a new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 500 horsepower and 487 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The old 6.0-liter W12 engine is still available with up to 631 horsepower, but people who opt for the V8 will see an estimated 40% increase in fuel efficiency, a 500 mile range on one tank of fuel, and still more than enough power for everyday driving conditions. Under light throttle, the V8 can shut off a couple cylinders and basically become a V4 to save even more fuel. Despite the supposed eco-friendliness of the thing, the V8 GT/GTCs can hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds with the help off all-wheel-drive and can go on to a top speed of 187 mph.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bentley without tons of leather, which is why the GTC V8 is offered with exclusive interior appointments and various amenities that you’d expect from a premium car hand-built in England. Pricing isn’t official yet, but the GTC with the bigger W12 engine is around $230,000, and I assume that fewer cylinders means a lower price, but probably not by much.

Source: Bentley

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept

For the first time in company history, Bentley showed up to an auto show with an SUV. While this is just a concept, Bentley seems pretty determined to put something like this into production. Hopefully when they do they’ll fix the styling and the weird name.

Bentley’s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12, 8-speed automatic, and all-wheel-drive system made their way from the parts bin into this concept, which promises to provide total comfort and all-terrain capabilities (not with those 23-inch wheels). The SUV’s exterior styling was inspired by other less ugly cars in the Bentley lineup, such as the Mulsanne, but to me it looks like nothing more than a Mulsanne’s face on an Audi Q7. The interior, which seats up to 5, also highly resembles other Bentleys with large slabs of wood on the dash, tons of leather on the seats, and an infotainment center that can keep anyone busy. Of course, underneath the rear center armrest is a chilled compartment for champagne when it’s not used as a 5th seat and the rear storage area can double as a picnic table with other things to chill your 1%-er drinks with.

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The EXP 9 F Concept is indeed still a concept, and Bentley executives will listen carefully to the feedback from the public before pushing it into production. So what do you say? Is this SUV a good idea for Bentley or should they focus on making expensive sedans?  

Source: Bentley 

Q by Aston Martin

Aston Martin is launching a new service, simply called Q, that aims at a new era of personalization for the British automaker. This is way more than just a service that provides special paint and interior stitching, this is a service that can truly transform your Aston Martin into anything you want with the help of company designers and engineers.

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Aston Martin sent a new Virage Volante destined to be on display at Geneva to Q to let them work their magic on it, and the results are awesome and a little strange at the same time. Unique Mariana Blue satin paint over saddle leather with yellow accents and blue carbon fiber trim pieces give the car a unique look that few other companies would let you get away with. Other cool features include a track-day HD camera mounted up top, a luggage rack on the deck lid, and unique wheels. This car is just a small sample of what Q can do to any new Aston Martin, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else rolls out in the future.     

Source: Aston Martin 


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