The News for May 5th, 2017

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

  • Alpina details updated B4 S Bi-Turbo

  • Porsche sets a personal best with new 911 GT3 at the ‘Ring

  • Elon Musk sheds more light on upcoming Tesla semi truck

  • Kia builds one millionth Sorento in Georgia

  • What’s your automotive news?

Alpina B4 S Bi-Turbo

Alpina brought the updated B4 S Bi-Turbo coupe and convertible to the Geneva Motor Show a few months ago (which got lost in all the supercar buzz), but we got more details on it this week which were absolutely worth talking about. Coinciding with the recent BMW 4 Series face lift, this refreshed B4 S features some styling updates, more power, and some more equipment.

The BMW-sourced 3.0-liter straight six gets the Alpina treatment with Alpina-specific twin turbochargers and a new high-performance cooling system. It now produces 440 horsepower and 487 lb.-ft. of torque which is quite a bit more than the standard BMW M4.
A revamped eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox handles that power and channels it to the rear wheels as standard or all four (available on the coupe only).

0-60 mph happens in as little as 3.9 seconds (coupe with AWD) and its top speed is as high as 190 mph (coupe with RWD). That capability is backed up by the adaptive Alpina sports suspension which combines electronically adjustable dampers with springs, auxiliary springs, and anti-roll bars. Drivers can adjust the rest of the suspension independently from the active dampers.

Lightly updated headlight and tail-light clusters, both with LED technology, come courtesy of BMW’s own 4 Series updates, but Alpina-specific updates include lightly updated front and rear aprons with light chrome accents. The interior is largely the same but it now features standard split-folding rear seats and BMW’s ConnectedDrive Services for better connectivity on the go.
They aren’t huge changes by any means, but you could argue that an Alpina doesn’t need much more. Prices start at €63,277  ($69,545).
[Source: Alpina via MotorAuthority]

Porsche 911 GT3 goes faster at the ‘Ring

Because I literally have nothing better to talk about from here on, have another Nürburgring lap time. This time it’s not a record, rather a personal best for the Porsche 911 GT3 which just ran a 7:12.7 around the legendary Nordschleife configuration. That’s a 12.3 second improvement over the previous 911 GT3.
According to Porsche, it approached the start/finish line in its standard trim which includes a roll cage for safety, Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, an in this particular case a seven-speed PDK (though a manual is now an option). As is tradition, Porsche released the entire timed lap for your viewing pleasure. For some high-revving, naturally-aspirated flat six goodness, I recommend it.
[Source: Porsche]

Elon Musk talks Tesla truck

Genius and savior of humanity, Elon Musk, gave a TED talk (as influential geniuses do) and took the opportunity to talk a bit about the upcoming Tesla semi truck. We’ll see the full thing in September, but our savior graciously provided us with a teaser shot and some preliminary information.
It’s designed to be a long-range, heavy-duty semi truck that can actually work like a truck is supposed to. It’ll take full advantage of an electric motor’s instant, flat torque curve to “tug the diesel semi uphill” and be surprisingly quick. As with other Teslas, it only has a single gear, so eliminating the need for several changes will only make it quicker.
Now he did say “long range” but didn’t clarify what that entailed. Battery tech is constantly improving and it could theoretically have space to carry tons of them, so that’s probably not much of a stretch. But we’ll see sometime in September.
[Source: Autoweek, TED]

Kia builds one millionth Sorento in Georgia

In 2009, Kia turned on the lights at their new $1.1 billion West Point, Georgia manufacturing plant and launched production of the first American-built Sorento. The Kia Optima was added in 2011 and that’s contributed to a total of 2.4 million vehicles built there between the two models, but this week the one millionth Kia Sorento rolled off the line.
Even though the plant already produced its one millionth car a few years ago, this milestone is a bit special because the Sorento was the first thing to roll off the line here. Kia has come a long way since 2009 but their commitment to the state is unwavering. Between Kia themselves and their parts suppliers, 15,000 jobs are supported by this plant and they’ve opened their doors to locals before. Truck loads of new Kia Optimas and Sorentos are a common sight on Georgia highways. In short, Kia loves Georgia and Georgia loves Kia.

The honorary 2018 Kia Sorento SXL in snow white pearl will be on display in the coming weeks at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, presumably in the atrium before TSA gates where a Kia has been parked since 2009.
[Source: Kia]

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 © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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32 responses to “The News for May 5th, 2017”

  1. nanoop Avatar

    Project car passed tech inspection, no remarks. Now I can just change the brake fluid and enjoy the season. Need to find someone who will fix the sills, midterm, though, they’re starting…

  2. engineerd Avatar

    A $70,000 BMW that will do nearly 200 mph? The world has gone mad in an awesome way.

  3. Kamil K Avatar

    Hmm… I think I’d take that Alpina over an entry-level 6-series which priced higher anyway.
    Is it coming to US, Greg?

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      Probably not. We’ve only had the B6 and B7 as far as I know and that might not change for a while.

  4. GTXcellent Avatar

    So I discovered something new and interesting with the Saab today (I mean we’ve only had the car 10 years, so why am I just now getting this?). It was a beautiful bluebird sky morning. It’s Friday. Everything is just peaches and cream, so the boys and I had a good old-fashioned Iron Maiden family sing along (it’s pretty adorable to hear a 3 year old say “I sure like that 666 number of the beast song”). So anyways, we’ve got the tunes roaring along pretty good. Get to daycare, shut the car off and head in. Here’s what I discovered – when I started the car up, the stereo reset the sound to a normal decibel level! Here I fully expected Hallowed Be Thy Name to continue to damage my ear drums, but nope. Is this a Saab safety innovation? Are there other cars that do this and I’ve just finally figured out what everyone else already knows?

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I think that most GM cars in the last 15 years or so do this. I know that my Volt does, I’m pretty sure that my 2011 Silverado does, and I believe that our 2004 Trailblazer did it too.
      What kind of Saab?

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        ’06 9-3 Aero SS
        It’s kind of a nice safety feature – ‘specially with these punk kids and their bebop rocking roll music.

    2. nanoop Avatar

      It’s a divorce preservation device: first he rolls the toothpaste tube, re-sorts the dishwasher, and when she tries to flee by car it’s Goldberg Variations flat out at startup? That would tip her over the edge.

    3. CraigSu Avatar

      Both my ’97 900 SE and my ’99 9-3 SE had this incorporated into the stereo. It was actually the first thing the sales people mentioned after the steering wheel controls when we discussed the sound system. I think they wanted to make sure I didn’t bring the car back thinking it was a fault instead of a feature.

  5. P161911 Avatar

    So I have to turn in our 2015 Nissan Leaf by the 8th of this month. The lease ended. Nissan managed not to make me an offer that I couldn’t refuse to keep it. We are either going to be down to two running vehicles OR I might buy my dad’s 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible (automatic, turbo) for real cheap. The Saab is the car that my dad FINALLY bought after bugging me for over 2 years about getting a convertible. He drove it for about a year or less, it has now been sitting in his driveway with a dead battery for about 2 years. My wife would be much happier driving the Saab than the Silverado WT. My wife was the primary driver of the Leaf. The truck was bought as my “dad vehicle”, extended cab, no power windows, no power locks. I drive the Volt, that my wife insist we buy, because I drive 70+ miles a day on my commute. Talk me out of getting the Saab?

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      “Talk me out of getting the Saab?”
      The silence here is deafening.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Okay, fine, I’ll have a go at it:
        Don’t do it! Get an older one instead!
        I’m prepared to advance that argument for anything short of a 92.

    2. GTXcellent Avatar

      talk you out of the Saab? Why?
      125k miles: 1 set of rear brake pads, pair of front springs (defect), 1 fuel pump, 1 rear window regulator, and a high tone horn. Only real problem is batteries – too much under hood heat. I wouldn’t hesitate a second to buy one again.
      edit: I forgot about the clutch pedal helper/return spring. It’s still been a pretty damn reliable car that’s a blast to drive

      1. P161911 Avatar

        This one has 14Xk miles with a COMPLETE service history before my dad bought it. The only downside is that it has sat unused for about 2 years.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          So it has been cheap to run?

  6. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian
    I was in the bay area last week for not the best reasons but I did get to check on the F-150 I’m buying off my grandfather. Last time I drove it I thought I could hear water sloshing around inside, but there was so much rain I couldn’t tell. This time I could hear it clear as day and found where it was coming from…
    This is in the door sill on the right side after removing the scuff plate. I soaked it all up with a towel and let it air out. I don’t *think* I saw any rust but when I come back to get it I’ll bring some Damp Rid at the suggestion of a friend. The windshield seal is most likely where it’s all coming from. It then runs down the A-pillar (found some moisture there the first time) and collecting down here.
    Also the black mold on one of the seat belts isn’t coming out. I don’t want to use any bleach on it for safety reasons. Piss.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Could be heater core or air conditioner condensation leaking down the firewall to the floor. The floor in that truck looks higher than the sill, so the water goes downhill into the sloshy compartment.
      If it doesn’t smell like the radiator, then it’s probably the condenser drain. Drive around with the AC on when it isn’t raining, and see if the water comes back.
      Usually , you can fix them with a coat hanger. Three minute fix if that’s the problem and you know where to poke.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Thanks. I’ll give that a try next time I drive it.

      2. P161911 Avatar

        Our Trailblazer used to do that every so often. In Georgia summers, there is a lot of condensation. Leaves and crap would make their way into the drain and clog it, leading to wet floor boards.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Piss might work, but it’ll probably smell bad. 😉

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Will report back 😛

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    I love those BMW wheels above. Would love something similar on my van, but I’m so cheap…can’t really buy wheels when I already have some.
    Apropos wheels: Tried to change to summer tires on the Camry. The wheels are rusted so hard to the back plate, half a can of WD40, the Clarksonian hammer, slamming the car without wheel nuts and driving in eights with lose nuts did almost nothing. One of four wheels has so far come off, but can’t just replace one wheel. Considering professional help here…this is ridiculous.

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      lug nuts/lug bolts came off but the wheel itself is stuck correct? If so, only solution is a sledgehammer – just make sure you swing accurately and hit the tire, NOT the wheel. It won’t buff out.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Maybe that’s the deal…we put a long 2×4 onto the wheels from the other side and hit it, but even that wasn’t enough.

    2. nanoop Avatar

      Harsh breaking did it for me once.
      Next fall, put also a teeny bit of Biltema’s finest copper paste on the contact area between wheel and hub.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Thanks, copper paste is already liberally applied to the one wheel we got off.

    3. salguod Avatar

      Driving with loose lug nuts is my last resort go to on this. I had to resort to that on my daughter’s Escort. It took backing out of the driveway and halfway around the block before it broke loose. I’d try more of that.

    4. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      hmmm. this seems to be a case of not using primer cord(the good yellow Blastex 26,000fps stuff). stuff it into the lip of the wheel hub and wheel interface. the shock of detonation should cause the rusts grip to give it up and the wheel will just pop off the suddenly clean hub. as always, use safety glasses to keep bits of rust from poking your eye out.
      remember our motto: all human and mechanical failures and frustrations are solvable thru the use of an adequate application of high explosives.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        “But, officer, a guy on the internet said…”
        And off to the loonie house again.

  8. mdharrell Avatar

    My automotive news is I’ve just made an offer on this:
    Now we shall see.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Are you planning on cornering the market in North America?

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        To a pretty good approximation I think I am the market in North America.

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