The News for October 29th, 2021

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: Mercedes brings back the SL with a sportier purpose, the new Range Rover is here and ready for electrification, some other coverage from the week, plus your news.

2022 Mercedes-AMG SL

It’s not often that we get to talk about a new Mercedes SL. For how much of a mainstay the roadster has been in the long and storied history of the brand, this is only the seventh generation of the car. Seems like it would be much more than that. But nevertheless, the luxurious GT cruiser is changing quite a bit this time around. It’s being reworked and refocused into a bit of a Porsche 911 competitor. Which is weird because that’s what the AMG GT was supposed to do.

Regardless, this new SL takes a more old school approach. Gone is the complicated and heavy folding hard top in favor of a high quality cloth top. And while other brands are adding hybrid setups or downsizing engines, Mercedes-AMG has kept the V8s in place (although a hybrid is coming later). Both the SL55 and SL63 versions are powered by 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8s – the former with 469 (nice) horsepower and the latter with 577 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic is mandatory as is its variable all-wheel-drive system, a first for the model. The close ratios, quick shifting, broad power and torque bands, and AWD make for an SL that is much quicker than ever before. 0-60 mph takes as little as 3.5 seconds with the SL63 or 3.8 seconds with the SL55. Top speed hasn’t been confirmed but it’ll be fast enough.

Its chassis gets a bit of a workover as well. The SL55 gets new adjustable dampers and standard rear-axle steering while the SL63 adds Active Ride Control (hydraulic) suspension, front-axle lift, active engine mounts, and limited-slip differential. Inside, it’s all wildly new. Mercedes usually nails it with their cockpit designs and this is probably up there with the coolest of the bunch. The physical buttons aren’t completely gone, but the vertical-oriented center screen takes over for most of them. But with two rows of buttons on either side of the steering wheel and what looks to be some driving mode selectors on the bottom, you shouldn’t need to take your hands off the wheel for most regular functions. The gauge cluster is all digital as well and appears to offer many different display options. Other than that, it’s a Mercedes-AMG. It’s going to be loaded inside.

Styling-wise, you can tell immediately that this car has a new purpose in life. It retains the low, long hood that’s synonymous with the SL. But the way the car sits and how the cabin appears to be more centrally located in the chassis with shorter overhangs has drawn comparisons to the new BMW Z4. Both vehicles, while vastly different in price and performance, have seemingly gone for the same sort of reconfiguration. Both were known for being casual cruisers and have evolved into something a little more performance-focused. For what it’s worth though, I think this looks way better than the Z4 or any recent generation of SL for that matter. It looks fabulous and it looks like it’ll be great to drive. Whether or not they can take any lunch money from the 911 remains to be seen.

[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Jalopnik]

2022 Land Rover Range Rover

Unlike the Mercedes-AMG SL, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover is not dramatically different. At least not when you look at it from the outside. There are major changes to be found but they’re all below the lightly reworked surface. It’s been designed with electrification in mind and offers loads of new tech and luxury features, as you’d expect.

The updates begin with some new modular architecture called “MLA-Flex” which brings new refinements to the Rangie as well as a new Long Wheelbase version in addition to the standard wheelbase. This means the Range Rover can have a four, five, or seven-seat interior layout. It also allows for a wide variety of powertrains.

At launch, it’ll offer two different gas-powered engines, one as a mild hybrid setup, while a plug-in hybrid is due as a 2023 model and a battery-electric version is due as a 2024 model. The base engine will be a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a mild hybrid setup offering 395 horsepower and 406 lb-.ft. of torque. This is the same engine that will be used in the PHEV version along with a 38.2kWh lithium-ion battery plus a 105kW electric motor integrated with the transmission. They’re aiming for up to 62 miles of all electric range on that one. Those who want more power can opt for a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 523 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. No word yet on what to expect from the full battery electric version.

The interior gets more refinements and a lot of new tech. Regardless of how many occupants you can fit inside, they’ll be more isolated from the outside than ever before. They’ve worked to reduce the cognitive load on the driver and use electronic soft-closing doors, active noise cancelling, and electric air suspension to provide the most refined experience possible for everyone inside. And while you can equip it with the nicest leather to be found, high quality and more environmentally-friendly alternatives are available too.

As far as the exterior design goes, yeah, it’s nothing dramatically different. They’ve refined its modernist design in pretty subtle ways. The front is very similar to what we have now but with slightly different grille and lower fascia treatments. The rear end is the biggest change. Overall, it’s not offensive and it’s pretty safe. They could’ve gone with the BMW route and they didn’t, so I’ll take it.

The 2022 Land Rover Range Rover is available to order now. Prices start at $104,000 for the P400 SE with the I6 Mild Hybrid and $118,700 for the P530 SE with the twin-turbo V8.

[Source: Land Rover]

Other coverage from the week

Other things happened of course besides just the new SL and Range Rover. Chevrolet had a mic drop moment with the new C8 Z06. Better looks, the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 on the market, and serious track credentials make it the C8 we’ve all truly been waiting for. You can read up on all the details here.

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

20 Comments

  1. New tire pressure sensors for my wife’s car arrived from Rock Auto this week. Technically, only two of them have dead batteries, but I suppose the other two are about the same age and don’t have much life remaining. Last time I needed them (on a different vehicle), NTB charged something like $65 each plus labor; I bought these for about $80 for the set of 4, and the mom-and-pop tire shop around the corner said they charge $8 per tire to install if they don’t have to do the re-learn procedure.

    1. Drove the 5 Series to Austin for a week’s worth of Formula One and Texas Barbecue. Great race in a great city, and had a good time. Driving down and back from Dallas, averaged 64.6 MPH and got 34.2 MPG. Spent quite a lot of time at 85 MPH, and a bit of time above that. Most highways are 75 MPH limit, and there’s a nice stretch of tollway outside Austin that is marked 85 MPH. The rule of thumb is 10 over raises no eyebrows, and cough, a lot of people, cough were holding a nice steady 100. The car was nice and quiet and comfortable. When my lease ends next summer, I’ll probably sign up for another one, assuming:

      A. BMW doesn’t put the ‘hog-nose’ grill on the new ones.
      B. The chip shortage is over and the prices on cars aren’t absurd.

  2. The Urus I mentioned last week is back and the Bentayga is gone, suggesting once again that they both belong to the same person who is cycling through whatever is running at the time, pretty much the same as I do.

    1. That’s a very Oscar and Felix parking arrangement.

      (Well, with what I know of your fleet, pretty much anything parked next to you will look incongruous.)

      1. True, except occasionally when I’ve parked in the weird blue European four-door section of the garage.

        1. I see there is also a mundane white SUV section off in the background. Are there additional parameters for parking with red vehicles at your school?

          For a person who doesn’t carry a smartphone, you seem to have a considerable number of pictures taken in the parking garage. After you finish a roll of pictures, how long does it take for Fotomat to process the film these days, and do they still buy back the bad shots?

          1. The white SUVs belong to the school. As for the photos, I’m the keeper of my department’s small digital camera; there’s not much demand for it these days…

    2. If you want to start driving a Bentley, you are going to have to start revising your textbooks every year to increase sales. “Knowing you”, my imaginary internet friend, I bet the content of your textbooks is as old as dirt.

      How about adding a chapter on Abiotic Oil?
      https://www.forbes.com/2008/11/13/abiotic-oil-supply-energenius08-biz-cz_rl_1113abiotic.html?sh=34ec0043f9ea

      You would just need two versions of the chapter – one year the chapter treats the theory as a viable possibility, and the next year’s version poo-poo’s the whole nonsense. You just keep rotating them each semester and the car payments keep rolling in!

  3. I replaced the serpentine belt tensioner pulley on the Econoline, in a rare moment of actually maintaining my automobile. Also the headlights; and put some fog lamps on the Africa Twin.

    Of course, the $17 part I got from Rock Auto completely failed to fit, so I had to stuff the old one back in, and hope I didn’t reverse it so the worn out bearing now spun the other way. Now I’m waiting on a $60 complete tensioner unit.

    Ah, well, at least I didn’t have to go to my local NAPA to wait a week for the wrong parts; I hope their finger breaks through the paper.

    Working on an Econoline is all about scratching your head. Not in confusion, but on that damnable spring that’s right fucking there every time you lean in to peek into the engine.

    1. You can imagine what it sounds like when I try to fix my truck. Like this, but with a blue streak of cussing that makes the sailors cross the street to get around me.

    2. I don’t remember the spring being in the way on any of the E350’s I used to drive/maintain, but it has been a while since I was last under the hood of one. Maybe you could cut a tennis ball to use as a protector, sort of like old people put on the legs of walkers.

      It’s been my experience that by the time a pulley goes bad on a belt tensioner, the spring is worn out anyway. I just replace the whole assembly to save a step.

    3. I usually manage to avoid that spring while working on my Econoline. But the corners on each end of that hood? Yikes! I keep two strips of CAUTION tape in my garage just to adhere to those nasty, nasty killer metal points. You’d think drilling one into my skull once would be enough to remember where they are, but my peripheral vision ain’t what it was when I was 18, especially now that I’m sporting progressives.

  4. the dead Tesla that showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago (selling for a friend) sold for my “stretch goal” asking price on eBay within a day of listing, and the buyer wired the money into my account within a day of that. it’s a full 50% more than I expected to get. my cut of the sale amounts to a decent chunk, which will fund a sensible savings and investment strategy tailored to…..no, sorry, an 84 Mercedes 190D I’ve been chasing for months. 2.2 diesel, 5 speed, pretty rare little car in decent shape.

    I’ve also been prepping my current old Mercedes, a 95 E320 coupe, for sale by swapping the water pump and chasing down some rattles. I haven’t worked on any car in nearly a year, not even an oil change, so it feels good to get dirt under my fingernails. I loved this car for how close it was to perfection, but as it inches away and I have minimal appetite for the fixes, it’s time to let it go. it’s a beautiful machine and a change of ownership will help it be appreciated once more.

    between those and some emergency fixes on my house, it’s been an exciting couple of months for my bank account. things should settle down soon so I can start saving money again. I have no regrets about how I’ve spent money over the second half of this year, but I definitely can’t keep it up.

  5. Geico got the police report from me. The one where the officer on the scene clearly named their insured as “at fault” and me as “the victim” and decided that wasn’t enough to take responsibility for the accident. The adjuster didn’t like that it was labeled and “event report” and took issue with the statement that he said that he “might” have marked lanes. Oh, and they didn’t understand what marked lanes meant. 15 seconds on Google found it to be the technical police term for crossing lane markings.

    I’ve got my insurance company involved to try to rectify the situation. I missed a call from the adjuster Friday afternoon, so hopefully they’ve come to their senses. I’m less than hopeful. And once they do I’ll have to fight with them to get the car fixed properly.

    I love the new Range Rover. I think the subtle sophistication in the surfacing is wonderful.

    1. Fingers crossed for you. Decency and logic seem to be in short supply at that insurance. It can’t be common practice to second-guess police reports?

      1. counterpoint: though in this case it seems pretty cut and dried, as a Geico customer I appreciate knowing they’ll take my side even if I’m clearly the fuckup. the less they pay out, the less I have to pay in!

        1. I disagree. If I screw up, I want to know that they’ll make it right for the other guy. That’s what I’m paying for, to cover my liability, not to cover up my liability.

        2. I’ll add that yes, they ought to back me up 100% if it’s my word vs. the other guys. But if I’ve told different stories or other evidence comes out (like a witness or police report) giving weight to the other guy’s story, they need to do right by him.

          However, if I screw up I’m going to say so. it doesn’t seem that many people will. That’s something I simply don’t understand and, naively, I’m surprised by the flat out lying every time.

      2. I wouldn’t think so, but that seems to be the case here. I have no idea if this is the case of the other guy changing his story or Geico simply ignoring it so they don’t have to pay out. I’m guessing the former, bu the end result is the same.

        1. I deal with a reasonable quantity of insurance people, and the ones with 15+ years of experience seem to know what they are doing. The ones with under two years of experience generally have no clue, and everyone else falls somewhere between. It sounds like you got a rookie.

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