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, Volkswagen unveils the all-new eight-generation Golf with some big changes, Alpina shows off the gorgeous B3 Saloon, Trans Am comes up with a new excuse for old GT3 cars to come out of retirement, and your automotive news for the week.
2020 Volkswagen Golf
The all-new eight-generation Volkswagen Golf was unveiled in Wolfsburg yesterday and it’s a pretty big step forward. After selling more than 35 million units (making it the most successful European car for four decades), Volkswagen is making the most progressive Golf yet. Lots of new tech and safety features and hybrid options at launch wrapped in an attractive new design is just part of the story.
Volkswagen didn’t go into much detail in the press release but the redesign is one we approve of. It still has true compact car proportions and isn’t that far of a departure from prior Golfs, but there’s a larger grille opening and narrower headlights. I see a little bit of recent Scirocco influences in there as well. Based on some of the press shots, a panoramic glass roof stretching over the front row is available.
Speaking of glass, there’s a lot more of it inside with a heavily digitalised interior. The instrument panel is now a 10.25-inch screen with a cleanly-integrated 8.25-inch touchscreen right next to it. The extra screen real estate means a less cluttered and sleeker cockpit. VW says the new Golf is the first car in its price range with a high end digital cockpit. We certainly can’t think of any others. It’s the kind of cabin you’d see in an upmarket offering a few years ago. The automatic gear selection even looks identical to what’s found in newer Porsches. But anyone can add screens to move more units off the showroom floor; VW strived to make their interfaces as intuitive and self-explanatory as possible. A HUD is available as well which presents the most important information right in your line of sight.
But one tech feature that VW was most proud of is its Car2X connection which comes standard. It’s an online connectivity unit which links up with the environment around it within an 800 meter radius. Traffic infrastructure and information from other vehicles nearby is fed to the car to bring important updates to the driver.
Another big aspect to the new Golf is with its powertrains, specifically the “hybrid offensive” that it’s starting. The new Golf will be available in five hybrid models at launch including two plug-in hybrids. Power output from the hybrids (eTSI) range from 109 to 148 horsepower while the plug-in hybrid models go from 201 horsepower to 242 horsepower. That higher number belongs to the GTE which is exactly as it sounds – a sportier Golf not unlike the GTI, but with a plug-in hybrid system. We’re anxious to learn more about that one but technical details are scarce. You can still get a Golf with a single engine though and there are also plenty of options – 2 diesels, 2 petrol engines, and a natural gas drive engine. And based on a few press photos, the manual is alive.
The Golf as we see it here will be launching in Europe this December. Its future in America is more or less confirmed to be limited to the GTI and R versions, but maybe they’ll surprise us.
2020 Alpina B3
Alpina has wasted no time in working to make a better BMW 3 Series. The new Alpina B3 launched recently in Touring form but just debuted this week in Saloon form. And we love it.
Alpina started with the latest generation BMW 340i and reworked the essentials. It has their own sports suspension which prioritizes handling and agility without sacrificing too much comfort, if any at all. Sport brakes, a limited-slip differential, and a newly developed wheel and tire combination all work together to bring back some of that “ultimate driving machine” goodness that BMW used to prioritize.
Helping out with that driving pleasure even more is the reworked 3.0-liter straight-six. Alpina threw in a re-engineered Bi-Turbo setup which allows for a casual 462 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque with a smooth and linear power delivery. 0-60 takes 3.8 seconds and it tops out at 188 mph.
Speaking to the new design, Alpina has adapted their style to fit the new BMW design language rather well. The 3 Series’ more precise and sharper lines is perfectly complemented by the new Alpina bodywork front and rear. And because Alpina doesn’t just show off, all those extra openings at the front serve a purpose of either cooling or downforce.
Sadly, Alpina still won’t bring this to the US. But did we mention that it also came as a Touring model? Oh… that made it worse.
Trans Am Series Adds Legacy GT3 Class
It’s not often that I get to talk about the Trans Am Series, but there was a pretty cool announcement yesterday that I am all about. Starting next year, the Trans Am Series will add a new production-based class to their lineup, slotting between the Trans Am and TA2 classes. It’s the Xtreme GT (XGT) class which sounds lame but it actually quite the opposite. That’s because the XGT class is dedicated to 2016 and earlier FIA GT3 race cars that are no longer eligible for competition in other professional series. Based on feedback from the paddock and technical staff, they will also open the class to cars from other series and track day groups with comparable performance.
“There are believed to be more than 100 GT3 race cars in North America that are no longer eligible to run in the professional series that they originally competed in,” said Trans Am Company President John Clagett. “These cars have a lot of good life remaining in them, but there are not really any good places for those cars to race competitively. The Trans Am Series intends to deliver a professionally-run series for drivers to compete in these cars and fully exhibit their potential.”
This XGT class sounds like an awesome way to bring some older machines back to the grid. There are plenty of GT3 cars making the rounds at various historic sports car racing events so it will be fun to see what all gets brought out of retirement. If someone wants to bring out their BMW Z4 GT3, you’d be my hero.
[Source: Trans Am]
Other Coverage From the Week
But wait, there’s more!
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.