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:
Porsche revives the Panamera GTS, extends it to the Sport Turismo as well
BMW just gets it over with by finally revealing new X7
Ford is extending production of the GT by two more years
Tesla finally starts dropping the price of the Model 3
What’s your automotive news?
2019 Porsche Panamera GTS
Porsche has been offering a GTS trim on most of their cars for several years now and they’ve proven to be popular among buyers who want a little extra edge. The GTS trim is reserved for Porsches which offer higher levels of performance than most other models, save for the higher end GT3 and Turbo trims. Even on the bigger and “softer” Panamera, the GTS trim has been a driver’s favorite and it’s coming back for the first time since the new generation. And yes, it’s available on the Sport Turismo as well.
The fun starts under the hood where Porsche has chosen their 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to do the honors. It produces 460 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque which gets channeled to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK gearbox. With the standard Sport Chrono package (which includes launch control), the 0-60 mph sprint is taken care of in 4.1 seconds and both the saloon and Sport Turismo top out at around 180 mph.
Because the GTS package isn’t just about adding power, they’ve also recalibrated the standard three-chamber air suspension to provide greater body control and #dynamism through their Porsche Active Suspension Management. Braking is upgraded as well with large 15.4″ front and 14.4″ rear brake discs. As with other Panameras, rear axle steering is available too for enhanced agility.
As is typical for a GTS trim, the Panamera GTS features a sport design package with black exterior trim, bespoke 20″ wheels, black Alcantara upholstery, and anodised aluminium interior trim. There’s also an optional Interior GTS package which allows drivers to add a colored rev counter, designer seams, and contrasting GTS logos. One neat feature that no other Panamera has at the moment is a full color, configurable heads-up display.
And yes, all of this is available on the Panamera Sport Turismo too.
2019 BMW X7
Cars always have and hopefully always will be an extension of yourself. They can reflect your style and your personality by the way it looks, the noises it makes, or the purpose in life its engineers gave it. You gravitate towards the cars that are most like you to the point where you can almost get to know a person just by knowing what car they drive. People who are understated and sensible can end up in a Honda or a Volvo. Those who are more spirited and playful naturally gravitate towards fun cars like Miatas and Porsches. Those who want to make a statement anywhere they go tend to go for Benzes, Cadillacs, and the like.
People like Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch who went on record saying he markets towards “the cool kids” and that “a lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong“, end up in the all-new BMW X7.
After years of speculation and enthusiast tears, BMW has revealed the “first-ever” X7 that they just invented which they claim to be the pinnacle of BMW’s sports activity vehicle lineup. Arriving next March, the X7 offers standard seating for seven, two engine choices, standard all-wheel drive, and even premium feature BMW could stuff into it… and they had a lot of room.
At 203.3 inches in length, 78.7 inches wide and 71.1 inches tall, and with a wheelbase of 122.2 inches, the X7 is by far the largest
SUV SAV to wear the prestigious X badge. Covering all that space with a design that’s unmistakably… uh, BMW, the X7 displays “harmonious proportions” and “a new use of forms, dominated by clearly structured surfaces and precise lines”. Thank goodness for those harmonious proportions, otherwise the largest kidney grilles ever fitted to a BMW would look totally out of place.
Step inside the X7 and not only will you be grateful that you don’t have to look at that nose anymore, you’ll also be treated to an interior that is more accurately described as an expanse. Its roominess afforded by the large exterior dimensions and they’ve worked overtime to make and quick ride or road trip as comfortable as possible. A three-panel panoramic glass sunroof and large windows create a bigger greenhouse than we’re used to in new cars. The standard seating configuration seats seven, but the second row can be configured to roomier captain’s chairs instead.
And of course this space is filled with the nicest leather BMW could find and it’s available in their usual range of colors, or their ultra premium two-tone scheme as pictured. That Ivory White/Navy Blue Full Leather Merino interior with a Navy Blue leather dashboard and a Navy Blue Alcantara headliner definitely looks like something Mike Jeffries would go for. I can just smell the body spray from here.
It comes with every standard feature you’d expect from a BMW which starts at $73,900, but you can quickly increase that price with some other premium interior features like glass controls for the push-button start, shift lever, iDrive controller, and radio controls, an LED “Sky Lounge” panoramic roof, and front ventilated and massaging seats. I’m sure most X7s you’ll see stocked on dealership lots will be close to if not in excess of $100,000.
The X7 launches as the X7 xDrive40i and xDrive50i, which in English means the 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six engine is standard and the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is optional. Those produce 335 horsepower/330 lb.-ft. of torque and 456 horsepower/479 lb.-ft. of torque respectively. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed StepTronic is standard on both and a locking rear diff is optional.
The X7 rides on standard two-axle air suspension which is controlled by a dynamic damper system. They say it’ll handle like a BMW and stuff but we all know that’s a load of crap. Its ride height is adjustable so it can help clear obstacles if you ever need to go off road with it, but don’t expect this thing to tackle corners with #dynamism while it weighs up to 5,600 pounds.
It’s a big, luxurious, and exceptionally hideous SUV thing that people will surely be lining up to buy as they would a new iPhone. Pricing starts at $73,900 for the X7 xDrive40i and $92,600 for the X7 xDrive50i. They’re taking reservations online. I’m not telling you where to go for it because I love you too much to do that.
Ford extending GT production
In happier news, Ford has announced that an additional 350 GTs will be seeing the light of collector car showrooms soon. The GT supercar was originally intended to be limited to 1,000 units with production ending in 2020, but due to popular demand and well over 6,000 applications from interested buyers, they’ve extended that to 1,350 units to be built through 2022.
Even though they already have plenty of applications to choose from, they’re re-opening the final owner application process on November 8th for 30 days on FordGT.com.
By adding another two years to the production run, could this also be a move to extend the Ford GT’s eligibility in IMSA and WEC? Or perhaps they’re open to the FIA’s new “hypercar” regulations (which launch in 2020) for WEC after all?
Tesla Model 3 finally gets a cheaper version
Tesla’s Model 3 launch has been largely seen as a huge success for the brand as they work overtime to crank out their first truly high volume car, but it hasn’t been without its fair share of headaches stemming from build quality issues, production delays, and a lengthy delivery process. However one of the most consistent complaints from the general car-buying public revolved around the price. When the Model 3 made its debut a few years back, its $35,000 starting price was brought up repeatedly. But every Model 3 they’ve built so far has been significantly more than that, sometimes by more than double. But yesterday they announced they were one step closer to fulfilling that promise.
A new Model 3 version was added to the lineup and it brings the starting price down to $45,000 before incentives. The Mid Range Model 3 features the same battery pack as the Long Range version but it has fewer cells, which reduces driving range to 260 miles as opposed to 310. It’s more or less the same iPhone on wheels as any other Model 3 but with a shorter range. Note that this price does not include Autopilot, a $5,000 option.
By cutting off some cells from the battery pack they already use, they’re able to start rolling these Mid Range models out now and that’s crucial for one thing… tax credits. Currently there’s a hefty $7,500 federal tax credit an additional $3,500 up for grabs for California customers on all new EV purchases. If they can build your car soon enough (build time is 6-10 weeks), you can basically end up with the mythical $35,000 Model 3. But that price won’t last for very long. The federal tax credit is set to expire for Tesla and will be gone by the time they could start production on a new battery pack.
Those looking for the true $35,000 Model 3 will have to wait for the Short Range Model 3 which is currently 4-6
panel gaps months out.
[Source: Tesla via Jalopnik]
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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]