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:
Ford Mustang gets a new Performance Pack with better handling upgrades
Aston Martin shows us more of the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
Porsche reveals 911 Carrera T with less frills and more performance, kinda
Mazda’s two stunning concepts that may preview upcoming models
Subaru’s Viziv concept might preview the new WRX, maybe
Honda reveals new Sports EV concept that probably won’t get built
What’s your automotive news?
Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2
While Ford’s engineers were busy getting the refreshed 2018 Mustang out the door, some of them stayed after hours to create a special version that those reading this site can appreciate. Much in the same way we spend the evening hours in a garage, they engineered and tested this car in what would have been some of their free time. Looking at the final product, it’s easy to see why.
Launching next spring for the 2018+ Mustang GT is Performance Pack Level 2, an aggressive handling package that will once more prove that pony cars can dance on a track or up in the twisties. It builds on the handling improvements made in Performance Pack Level 1 and helps bridge the gap between that and the GT350.
Included in Performance Pack Level 2 is everything in Level 1, which includes unique chassis and ABS tuning, unique stability control and electric power-assisted steering, Brembo six-piston front brake calipers with larger rotors, a K-brace, larger radiator, silver-painted strut tower brace, and a TORSEN rear differential with 3.73 axle ratio.
Level 2 then adds custom tuned MagneRide dampers, a quicker steering calibration to provide better response, a 67% stiffer rear stabilizer bar, a 12% stiffer front stabilizer bar, 20% stiffer front springs, and rear springs that are 13% stiffer. Its bespoke 19″ aluminum wheels are wrapped in 305-mm-wide (front and rear) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. It sits a half-inch lower than Level 1 and it also rocks a new front splitter and rear spoiler.
All of this makes for a Mustang that’s more responsive, more stable, and much faster. Jamie Cullen, Ford’s supervisor for vehicle dynamics development, summarized it best: “It will just beg you to go faster.” Sounds like the late hours were well worth it.
Aston Martin V12 Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
A few months ago, Aston Martin and Zagato announced a few more versions of their stunning Vanquish collaboration that went beyond the normal coupe and soft-top variations. Joining the original Vanquish Zagato Coupe was a Volante, Speedster, and Shooting Brake version, the latter of which was only briefly shown in a single image. This week though we got a much better look at what a Vanquish Zagato is like as a short wagon.
As you can see, it’s very Shooting Brake-like. You can tell by the way it is. It has a lot more trunk space and the tailgate is power-assisted. It’s also the only Vanquish Zagato you can still place an order on. Each of the four versions are being built in very limited quantities and all but the Shooting Brake are sold out. Only 99 people will ever prove how right they are about their preference of body styles.
[Source: Aston Martin via MotorAuthority]
Porsche 911 Carrera T
Porsche is bringing back another old moniker to justify the existence of another more expensive 911. A new 911 revealed this week channels the puristic concept behind the 1968 911 T (Touring) with a greater focus on driving pleasure that enthusiasts will likely welcome.
The new 911 Carrera T starts out as a basic 911 Carrera (not the S) with a 370-horsepower twin-turbocharged flat six, rear-wheel drive, and your choice of manual of PDK gearboxes. From there, Porsche adds their active suspension management (PASM) as standard, drops ride height by 20mm, a “weight-optimized” Sport Chrono package, mechanical differential lock, a shortened gear lever, and rear-axle steering (which isn’t available on any 911 Carrera).
Helping to maximize the effectiveness of all the extra performance on tap, Porsche also focused on reducing weight over the standard car. The back seats that no one uses anyways and the infotainment system are removed but can be added back at no cost. Additionally, the rear windows are made from lighter glass, it has those super weight-saving door straps, and they’ve largely reduced sound-absorption material. This all went a long way in shaving a whole 44 pounds off a 3,200-pound car.
With prices starting at $102,100, about $10,000 over the standard 911 Carrera and only $3,000 less than the more powerful and better-equipped 911 Carrera S, this is the 911 for those who still care about the driving experience rather than comfort or numbers. But is that driving experience worth another $10,000 over what you can already get from the base 911 Carrera?
It’s Tokyo Motor Show time which means new concepts. Mazda brought two gorgeous design studies that may preview future production cars. The first one is the Mazda Kai Concept and it looks like it could easily pass for a new Mazda 3, after it’s reigned in a little bit for mainstream production of course. Whatever it ends up looking like, we at least know it’ll have that promising Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine. The other concept is a bit bigger and viciously attractive – the Mazda Vision Coupe Concept. It’s a coupe in the same way a BMW X6 is “coupe-like”… it isn’t. But it looks a lot like last year’s Mazda RX Vision concept with an extra set of doors and it looks like it could be a great performer at a more premium level. We can pretty much expect the Kai Concept to turn into a production car, but what about the Vision [not]Coupe? It looks too big and upscale to be a new Mazda 6… maybe we’re getting something totally new? One can hope.
Subaru revealed the Viziv Concept which may kinda sorta probably not preview the new WRX and it looks like this.
[Source: Subaru via Autoweek]
Honda revealed the Sports EV concept with retro looks and AI functions and it looks like this. Maybe it’ll get built.
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]