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: Lexus shows off new grille with an LX attached to it, Hyundai releases sinister new Sonata Night Edition, the Mustang GT and Mach 1 is losing some power, Lotus is reportedly working on a proper EV Elise successor, and LG pays up for Chevy Bolt battery fires.
2022 Lexus LX 600
As promised last week, Lexus has pulled the covers off the all-new fourth-generation LX – the closest the US market will get to a Land Cruiser for the foreseeable future. And for all intents and purposes, it is the latest Land Cruiser. While the Toyota version is limited to eastern and upside down markets, the more luxurious and even bigger-grilled version is all ours. It has a variety of grades to choose from which can either add more luxury to an already luxurious SUV or a touch of sportiness. It’s scheduled for release in Q1 2022, so here’s what you can expect.
As anyone could have guessed, the LX 600 adopts the same GA-F platform which debuted on the Land Cruiser. Compared to the previous versions, the body-on-frame platform is 20% more rigid and contributes to major weight savings of 441 pounds. Also improved is its ride quality and off-road credentials. That’s accomplished by revised suspension with greater travel (for absorbing bumps), Active Height Control with greater height adjustability, Adaptive Variable Suspension, and its ground obstacle angles that remain unchanged from the previous model. And even though the press images all show the optional 22″ forged aluminum wheels, 18″ and 20″ wheels are available as well. If you opt for the F Sport version, you also get a Torsen LSD and uniquely tuned performance dampers that will probably be less good off road.
The LX was also confirmed to inherit the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 from the new Land Cruiser as well as its ten-speed automatic. The result is 409 horsepower, 479 lb.-ft. of torque, and a much wider power/torque band. The engine is protected by an oil pan guard in the off chance that an owner actually goes off road with one.
Moving inside, it’s what you’d expect from a Lexus. Tons of leather and tons of screen space. It’s the first Lexus to use their new dual display interface with a 12.3″ upper screen and a 7″ lower screen. The upper screen has navigation, audio, and off-road displays while the lower screen is dedicated to climate controls and additional off-road support. And I don’t need to tell you how comfortable the cabin is, but it can get even better when you opt for the Ultra Luxury grade. This adds reclining rear seats and a footrest for the right rear seat when the front passenger seat is slid forward. There are additional screens in the back as well and the seating itself is extremely plush and works to filter out as much vibration as possible, even off road.
Now on to the exterior… and I’m sure you already have opinions about it. It should be no surprise that Lexus, the pioneers of the giant ass grille in the modern era, chose to make theirs even bigger. And on non-F Sport versions it looks like an electric shaver now. But I guess it’s what the people want. There’s not much else to say about the design here because it’s so similar in shape to the Land Cruiser we already saw and I don’t to waste anyone’s time. Lighting elements, the grille, and the D-pillar is all that’s changed in a meaningful way.
But hey, it’s a giant body-on-frame SUV with at least some level of off-road capability to it. Those who really want the new Land Cruiser will have to make do with this. For the casual rich off-roader with a family, this should do the trick. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing many people with KO2s and roof racks hitting the trails in this. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet and that’s probably a good thing.
Hyundai Sonata N Line Night Edition
If you’ve ever thought to yourself “man I really like that new Sonata N Line, but I really wish it was harder to keep clean” – you’re in luck. Hyundai has announced a limited production Sonata N Line called the Night Edition. It’s everything you [should] love about the Sonata N Line but with exclusive carbon fiber reinforced plastic parts, matte black accents, and dark chrome exterior treatment. The result is a sinister-looking sporty sedan with some exclusivity to it – just 1,000 units are scheduled for production.
Here’s a quick rundown. The Night Edition is only available in Phantom Black or Quartz White paint, because when you think of night you of course think of white. It then adds a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) lip spoiler, matte black 19″ alloy wheels with CFRP N logo center caps, red painted brake calipers, dark chrome badges, and matte black mirror caps and door handles (or body color if you get Quartz White).
So it’s a pretty basic appearance package, but with such few production numbers it may actually be worth looking at. It retails for $34,750, just $1,300 more than a typical Sonata N Line.
2022 Mustang GT and Mach 1 will lose power
According to a report obtained by Ford Authority, the Coyote-powered Mustang GT and Mach 1 will lose 10 horsepower and 10 lb-.ft. of torque each for the 2022 model year. Their source wasn’t completely specific on the cause, but it’s believed that tougher emissions requirements forced them to tweak the 5.0-liter Coyote V8. As a result, less power and torque across the board for 2022 and beyond.
It’s unclear if this impacts Mustangs shipped across the pond to Europe, but those were already down on power due to the particulate filters required on all the fun cars. It’s unclear exactly when a new Mustang is due, but the S550 platform has all but run its course by now. A totally new Mustang should be out within a few years. By then Ford will have either figured out how to meet emissions regulations without having to kneecap their V8s, or they’ll have moved on from the V8 completely. Regardless, that’s nothing the aftermarket and some stickers can’t fix. And those of us with a Coyote-powered 2018-2021 Mustang have something to brag about.
[Source: Ford Authority]
Lotus is working on a lightweight EV replacement for the Elise
It’s been widely reported already that Lotus will be moving to a fully electric brand once the Emira (pictured) has run its course. And that’s made a lot of hardcore fans and insufferable people (like me) skeptical about how much of what made Lotus truly great can still exist in the electric era. Well according to a report from Autocar, they’re working hard to make sure their EVs are as light as a Lotus should be.
The report claims that the new Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture program will spawn a chassis that accounts for the extra weight of the batteries. It’s said to be 37% lighter than the chassis being used by the Emira and takes a unique approach to EV dynamics. Typically automakers will integrate their batteries into the floor for the lowest possible center of gravity and to afford maximum cabin and trunk/frunk space. For this supposed Elise successor, Lotus has a different idea and will instead aim to replicate the handling characteristics that made the Elise such a legend. Its batteries will be stacked vertically behind the seats, which is where a gas engine would have gone in an Elise or Evora. The result should be a familiar and rewarding driving experience. The report goes on to state that RWD and AWD setups will be possible on this platform with power outputs ranging from a modest yet fun 469 horsepower to an outrageous 872 horsepower.
There’s loads more to read up on in the Autocar report for those interested.
GM and LG Electronics reach settlement over Chevy Bolt fires
A while back I mentioned that Chevrolet was in the process of recalling every Bolt (not the Volt) they’ve produced over defects in the battery which can cause it to self immolate. As the recalls ramp up with the first repairs expected to be performed soon, GM announced a settlement with their battery supplier, LG Electronics. The South Korean tech giant has agreed to reimburse GM for costs and expenses associated with the recall to the tune of $1.9 billion. GM estimated the total cost of the recall to be $2.0 billion, but who’s counting.
If you own a Chevy Bolt or know someone who does, be on the lookout for a notice from GM and get that battery replaced as soon as possible. The number of confirmed fires related to this defect is fairly low (in the teens), but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you.
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.