Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the biggest stories from the automotive industry without the fluff or the BS. I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week:
The Nissan Juke-R is headed to limited production
Volkswagen Polo R Line is headed to Europe
Ford Focus ST is priced and ready for delivery
BMW gears up for the London Olympics
Manual transmission sales on the rise
Nissan Juke-R headed to limited production
Remember that time when Nissan crammed the powertrain of a GT-R into a Juke just to see what would happen? Well it turns out that the response Nissan received over what was dubbed the Juke-R was overwhelmingly positive – so much so that they’ll be putting it into a limited-run production very soon.
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Not only will one of the craziest engineering exercises in recent memory be put into production, but it will be even more radical than the concept. The original two Juke-Rs Nissan made use of the powertrain from the 2010 GT-R – a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 485 horsepower, a quick-shifting 6-speed automatic, and mind-blowing all-wheel-drive – but the production model will use the new and improved powertrain from 2012 GT-R, which now has 545 horsepower.
Does 545 horsepower in a compact crossover-looking thing with a top speed of 160 mph sound crazy enough for you? If so, Nissan is giving you only about a month to decide before they start building them. In the meantime, Nissan has kindly provided us with an awesome (yet kind of cheesy) video showing how amazing the Juke-R will be as it races a Ferrari 458 Italia, an SLS AMG, and a Lamborghini Gallardo through the streets of Dubai. Nissan has told us that the Juke-R will cost around $590,000, which is about six times the price of a standard 2012 GT-R. Who would be insanely rich enough to buy a $590,000 Juke? As of this yesterday, three people are, two of which are “well-respected members” from Dubai. You know you want one…
Sources: Nissan, YouTube
Volkswagen Polo R Line
To our European readers (if we have any), Volkswagen has some good news for you in the form of the handsome new Polo R Line. Unfortunately, American viewers can take a good hard look at it, because that’s all we’ll be able to do.
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The Polo R Line’s purpose is to take all the qualities the standard 3-door and 5-door Polo has to offer, like its city-friendly size, efficiency, and practicality, and adds a touch of sportiness with R Line-exclusive styling. The R Line aero kit includes a new front and rear bumper, a gloss black grille with special badging, and deeper side sills. 16-inch alloy wheels, new fog lights that serve a purpose during cornering, and factory-installed window tint top off exterior upgrades. Inside, sport bucket seats with high-quality cloth surfaces, R Line badging, special embroidery, and aluminum pedals and scuff plates make the driver and occupants feel like they’re in something a bit more special.
The standard 1.2-liter petrol powerplant with 105 metric horsepower mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox remains in tact for the R Line. Judging by the lack of a third pedal in press photo, I’m assuming an automatic transmission is optional. 0-62 mph takes 9.7 seconds and the top speed is 118 mph, which may not be that much, but it’s estimated fuel efficiency is in the 53 mpg combined range (on the European cycle).
The Volkswagen Polo R Line will hit UK dealership this July at a starting price of £15,195 ($24,588) for the 3-door hatch and £15,815 ($25,591) for the 5-door model.
Source: Volkswagen UK
Ford Focus ST pricing
The Ford Focus us American gear heads/hot-hatch lovers have been waiting for is officially here with a price tag of $24,495 [including delivery fees]. That price tag gets you what is arguably the best hatchback Ford has ever graced the states with and the technical specifications are rather impressive for the price as well.
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A 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four sends 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. A unique sport-tuned suspension which sits 10 mm lower than the standard Focus and a quick-acting electric power steering system which aims at reducing torque steer work together to make trips into the mountains a truly enjoyable experience. Unique 18-inch alloy wheels and a bespoke aero kit immediately set the Focus ST apart from just about anything else in the sport compact market. The interior is equally special with optional full-leather Recaro bucket seats and ST-exclusive gauges. Of course, the Focus ST will still come well-equipped with features like Xenon headlamps, Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch, a 10-speaker sound system, and an optional power moon roof.
Deliveries of the Focus ST will take place later this year, but if you’re one of the first 1000 people to order it early (between
May 1st now and August 20th), Ford will throw in a complimentary GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsports Edition camera pack so you can show people how much fun you’re having in your new Focus. While you wait in line for a free camera, check out the Focus ST configurator and build one for yourself.
BMW is ready for the London Oylmpics
If you haven’t heard by now, BMW is the official automotive partner for this summer’s London Olympic and Paralympic Games. This basically means that every car you see on TV this summer will be a BMW or a Mini of some sort. BMW was nice enough to give us a sneak peak at exactly what we’ll be seeing there, just in case someone wanted to know.
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All in all, around 4,000 BMW and Mini vehicles will be on the job in London. That includes a wide variety of hybrid, diesel, and all-electric models to not only show off their latest fuel-saving machines, but also because it’s kind of the law. The organizing committee had set strict CO2 emissions for whichever automaker wished to supply vehicles for the event. The goal was 120 grams of C02 per kilometer, which is significantly lower than the UK’s total new car emissions average of 138 g/km or 54.2 mpg. The fleet of cars BMW is sending over has beaten that target for a total fleet average of 116 g/km or 64.5 mpg. As mentioned earlier, the presence of cars like the all-electric BMW 1 Series ActiveE and ridiculously efficient diesels like the 320d and even the X5 xDrive 30d helps them to achieve that level of “save the polar bear” efficiency. Even a few BMW motorbikes will be on scene.
So there you go. When you tune in to the London Olympic Games this summer, keep your eyes peeled for the Roundel… or don’t.
America is in love with manuals again
A recent article published by USA Today has found that sales of cars with manual transmissions have increased quite significantly after many years of decline. According to cited numbers from Edmunds.com, the first quarter of 2012 saw 6.5% of all new cars leaving dealership lots were ones with manual gearboxes as opposed to just 3.8% from last year. So while that may be good news for gear heads like ourselves, don’t be surprised if that number continues to drop in the following years. Now that automatic transmissions are starting to become more efficient than manuals, I still feel that manual transmissions will continue to decline in numbers. Enjoy them while you can.
News source: USA Today Photo source: Ford