The News for May 31st, 2013

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Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:

  • Aston Martin reveals the most extreme Vantage to date

  • BMW X5 is all-new for its third generation

  • Chevrolet updates the 2014 Malibu

  • GMC Sierra Denali details emerge

  • Red Bull Soapbox racing is ready to take over London

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

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The Aston Martin V12 Vantage we all know and love is about to go through a pretty significant overhaul – significant enough to warrant a new letter at the end of its name. The new V12 Vantage S will soon be the only V12-powered Vantage you can buy, and for reasons I’m about to discuss, that’s a good thing. Aston claims it to be the fastest road car in its history excluding the super-limited One-77.

Visually, the V12 Vantage S ditches the aluminum grille for carbon fiber vanes instead, and the whole grille is reportedly inspired by the CC100 concept. An exterior graphics pack paints the roof and part of the boot lid black and new lightweight forged alloy ten-spoke wheels ought to help us differentiate the V12 Vantage S from the “old” one. The interior features loads of new carbon fiber and leather options.

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A new 6.0-liter V12 has been tucked underneath the bonnet and it produces 565 horsepower – about 50 more than the outgoing model – and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. Aston says the engine’s torque curve is much flatter than before to improve engine performance at all speeds. Acceleration times aren’t available, but we do know top speed is claimed to be 205 mph. An all-new transmission is also making its first debut in the V12 Vantage S. It’s a seven-speed automated manual transmission called Sportshift III and it offers quicker “motorsport-style” shifts than ever before while also being 55 pounds lighter than the “outgoing” 6-speed manual… ouch. The transmission uses technology derived from Aston’s GT4, GT3, and GTE competition cars.

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Another first is the three-stage adaptive damping system which can change the car’s characteristics, including the level of power steering assistance, in an instant, which has never been offered on the Vantage before. A new ZF Servotronic (electronic) power steering system provides a much quicker ratio for faster and more precise steering inputs. A “Sport” mode works alongside the adaptive damping that delivers sharper throttle response, quicker shifts and more aggressive timing, and opens up a valve or two in the exhaust for a richer sound. Speaking of exhaust, the V12 Vantage S uses a brand-new system derived from the One-77 which is lighter and louder than before.

Pricing and availability info was not disclosed.

[Source: Aston Martin]

2014 BMW X5

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BMW’s sports activity vehicle is about to enter into its 3rd generation with a new look, improved comfort, updated engine offerings, and of course, improved efficiency. The 2014 BMW X5 will be available this November in Germany and almost everywhere else a month later with a few new packages aimed at offering customers a chance at a more personalized X5.

The new design is an evolution of what we saw on the outgoing model. The 2014 X5’s styling is more powerful and sleek up front with a new headlight design extending into the new kidney grille that you’ll immediately notice next time it’s taken over your rear view mirror. The X5’s silhouette has been “elegantly stretched” yet still features a more athletic appearance, which BMW has been striving for lately. BMW is offering something new called “design worlds” on the X5, which serve as sort of a defining characteristic of the X5’s user experience. You can either have Design Pure Experience or Design Pure Excellence – both add a bespoke mixture of interior colors and materials to create a classy cabin environment. But if that isn’t your style, M Sport is available as well. Or you could leave the option boxes blank and get the standard specification.

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There are plenty of new features to be had on the new X5, some of which include a new 10.25″ free-standing control display linked to the standard iDrive system, Comfort Adaptive Suspension (combination of Dynamic Damper control and air suspension with self-leveling rear suspension), standard electric power steering which boosts efficiency, a new Driving Assistant package which includes Lane Departure Warning and more, premium audio from Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen, and of course, night vision.

Three engine variants will be available at launch: a 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 producing 450 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque, 3.0-liter twin turbo inline six with diesel power delivering 258 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque, and the granddaddy of them all, the 3.0-liter inline six with a three-stage turbocharger that produces 381 horsepower and 546 lb.-ft. of torque. The latter is available only in the X5 M50d, and with a 0-60 mph time of just 5.3 seconds, it’s only negligibly slower than the V8-powered X5. All engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic which contributes to the improvement in efficiency across the line.

The new X5 will be built along with the other SUVs SAVs (except the X1) in Spartanburg, SC. Pricing isn’t available yet.

[Source: BMW]

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

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Chevrolet has pulled the wraps off the updated 2014 Malibu which is being touted as roomier, more efficient, and more refined than ever before. When it goes on sale this Fall, it will feature updated styling, a revised interior, a new base engine, and suspension enhancements to hopefully make it more attractive to more buyers.

The only updates to exterior styling were done to the front end, which features a new, more prominent lower grille and was sculpted to resemble the all new Impala to create a more cohesive style across Chevy’s sedan lineup. Inside, the center console is redesigned to accommodate a larger arm rest and more storage space. More space is also available for back seat passengers thanks to thinner front seat backs which provide an additional 1.25″ of knee room. Drivers and passengers alike will also benefit from new blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert systems.

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The 2014 Malibu’s new standard engine is an all-new Ecotec 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 196 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. Emissions are improved thanks to features like automatic stop/start technology. If you want more oomph out of your Malibu, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger is still available but with 14% more torque than before (295 lb.-ft. compared to 260). Power is still rated at 259 horsepower. Chevrolet’s engineers promise more body control and more refinement from the updated suspension which is supposed to rival more expensive sports sedans. A newly-calibrated electronic power steering system is supposed to improve maneuverability as well.

Pricing is not available yet.

[Source: Chevrolet]

2014 GMC Denali Sierra

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Earlier this year we already saw the all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, but this week GMC gave out more details about the Sierra’s top-of-the-line Denali trim level. GMC’s most advanced and most luxurious half-ton pickup will go on sale this Fall.

The exterior of the Denali can be differentiated by the huge chrome grille, 20-inch chrome wheels, aluminum trim, and the body-color front and rear bumpers. The interior features unique decorative trim, heated and cooled leather front bucket seats, heated steering wheel, and a Bose audio system. An exclusive eight-inch Customizable Driver Display that can show navigation and other stuff on the instrument panel is included. That doesn’t replace the eight-inch Color Touch screen with Intellilink mounted above the center, however. That also serves as a hub for Bluetooth-connected devices connected through five standard USB ports.

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Other goodies include front and rear park assist, projector-style headlamps, and a power-sliding rear window with a defogger. An optional Driver Alert package adds Lane Departure Warning, Collision Alert, and patented Safety Alert Seat Technology, whatever that is, while a Z71 Off-Road package (available only on 4WD models) adds monotube Ranch shocks, Hill Descent Control, and a transfer case shield.

The standard engine is a 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V8 that offers 355 horsepower and 23 mpg highway, but a 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8 producing 420 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque will be available as well.

[Source: GMC]

Red Bull Soapbox race heading to London

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This qualifies as automotive news, I’ve just now decided.

On July 14th, the Red Bull Soapbox Race returns to London for the first time in nine years. 70 human-powered and hand-made soapboxes will compete for glory during the event, which also serves as a festival of music and fun in general.

Each vehicle took entrants three weeks to make and are made from BMX bicycle wheels, steel axles for steering, plywood, polystyrene, cardboard tubing, colored plastazote foam, and vinyl. Three of the racers include a yellow submarine, police car, and black taxi. Winners will be decided by judges Rob Marshall (Chief Designer at Red Bull Racing), Danny MacAskill (street trials pro-rider) and Gee Atherton (multi-award winning mountain biker) who will be assessing entries on their speed, creativity and showmanship. So in short, it’s going to be one hell of a time, one that I hope a fellow hoon or two will be able to attend.

To book your £5 ticket, visit soapbox.redbull.co.uk before July 14th.

[Source: Red Bull]

12 Comments

    1. Haha, sorry. They used it pretty often in the press release so when I was typing in the headline that was the first thing that popped into my head.

  1. No manual Porsche GT3.
    No manual Porsche Turbo.
    No manual V12 Vantage.
    I think I'm going to go sit in the bathtub with the lights off.

  2. The X5's foglights look like pimples. Is it going through puberty?
    (Seriously, why are they so out of place? There's are plenty of spots to put them which would be better integrated.)
    Also, when it comes to the Denali, always make sure the person responsible for sourcing screens gets along with the person responsible for designing the dashboard, I figured on the Denali at least the screen would take up the whole hole, because when it doesn't it can't help but look like you're in the cut price model.

    1. I like the Aston except for the yellow skidmark down the seats. And the too-black tire/wheel combo.

  3. Yes. No. No. No. Yes. Even though this Aston is more for that Tokyo Drift crowd of chavs.

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