The News for September 12th, 2014

AMGGTlead 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. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Mercedes-Benz AMG GT is ready to fight

  • Jaguar XE is how the Brits want to take on the Germans

  • BMW 2 Series Convertible revealed

  • Dodge Viper goes on clearance

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

AMGGT1 Mercedes-Benz’s power gurus have been teasing this one for a while. After AMG’s successful run with their first car produced fully in-house – the SLS AMG – they’ve been anxious to get on with their second; a self-proclaimed Porsche 911 fighter. So say hello to their newest creation: the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and AMG GT S. As the name suggests, it’s another grand touring car but it’s a bit smaller than the previous SLS AMG for the purpose of being lighter and more lively when being thrown around – two good characteristics to have when going up against the 911. While I don’t have exact dimensions to pass along, it’s probably closer in size to the Jaguar F-Type, another mid-size GT car AMG can now call a competitor. The design of that smaller body reflects the latest Benz family styling, but it’s clear where the SLS AMG left its mark, like on the business-end design and that “I have a monster under here” hood. However, the SLS AMG’s gull-wing doors didn’t make the cut. That monster underneath the long-ish bonnet is exactly how AMG plans to beat Porsche. Its beating heart is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which can either produce 465 horsepower in the AMG GT or 503 horsepower in the AMG GT S. 0-60 mph is over with in 3.9 seconds and 3.7 seconds, respectively. The AMG GT is capable of a 189 mph top speed, but opt for the AMG GT S and pay however much more they’re going to charge you, and you can do 193 mph… somewhere. The turbochargers are mounted inbetween the cylinder banks for space management and more importantly improved response time. A variable exhaust system comes standard and allows the driver to choose how loud the car should be at any given moment. AMGGT2 The only transmission available is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters which was also used in the SLS AMG but has wider gear ratios for keeping the twin-turbocharged V8 in its peak torque range more often. Power is only sent to the rear wheels. AMG has enlisted the help of several items from their parts bin to help tame the AMG GT and GT S. An adjustable double-wishbone front and rear suspension are designed to give the car proper balance at speed and with predictable responses from the chassis when thrashing it around. The AMG GT also features a mechanical limited-slip differential while the AMG GT S gets one that’s electronic and quicker, which means faster cornering. Standard brakes on the GT are 14.2-inch front and rear ventilated and perforated discs while the GT S gets 15.4-inch front brakes and 14.2-inch rear. If that for some reason isn’t enough, each car can be fitted with ceramic discs including a 15.8-inch front disc. The wheels (either 19″ in the GT or 19″ front, 20″ rear in the GT S) can be wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. AMGGT3 The nerdiness doesn’t stop there. AMG has given the GT and GT S what they call MAGIC ENGINE CONTROL dynamic engine and transmission mounts which adjust based on information they receive from the chassis management system. Throw all of that into a relatively lightweight aluminum and magnesium structure, and AMG have themselves a car which can run the north course of the ‘Ring in respectable 7:30. On the inside, you’ll find a similar cabin design from the SLS with some “aviation-themed” touches. An 8.4″ screen sits on top to display whatever Benz’s infotainment system has. The AMG GT S will arrive in dealerships in spring of 2015 while the AMG GT will come later on. No pricing is available yet. [Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]

Jaguar XE

Jag_XE_S_Image_080914_01 Jaguar’s latest creation has been fully revealed after months of teasing and a launch event which Jaguar calls “star-studded” but the rest of the automotive media calls “bizarre”. Anyway, the Jaguar XE is how the British brand intends to redefine the concept of the sports saloon with advanced construction, pretty looks, and impressive performance that doesn’t ruin its comfort (which we’ve heard a million times). Jaguar’s beautification process hasn’t skipped a beat with the XE. Its proportions scream of the kind of athleticism that we’ve been dying to see from Jaguar in a saloon car, with its short front overhang, longer rear overhand, and it’s cab-rearward stance. The driver sits low and allows for a coupe-like profile. Styling is meant to be reflective of its sporting personality as well as stunningly beautiful, and I think they got what they wanted. In addition to the talents of Jaguar’s design team, led by Ian Callum, they credit their new advanced modular architecture with allowing them to create the kind of car they couldn’t before. Jag_XE_S_Image_080914_06 The entire car is built off of an aluminum monocoque chassis which is both light (kerbweight is about 3,250 lbs.) and very stiff and has a positive impact on how the car drives. It’s agile, responsive, and supple thanks to both its advanced chassis and the suspension they developed specifically for optimal performance. Up front, Jaguar’s vehicle dynamics team chose a double wishbone setup and an Integral Link configuration in the rear. As with the chassis, aluminum was used extensively in the suspension for weight savings. The XE is the first Jaguar to use Electronic Assisted Power Steering (EPAS) and they say now is the best time. They claim to have achieved the fuel savings EPAS can offer without impacting the feedback a driver gets through the wheel at all (I’ll believe it if/when I drive it). Jag_XE_S_Image_080914_22_LowRes That kind of performance-oriented chassis and suspension is a good thing to have on this car considering the kind of engine you can get with it. As of now, the range-topping XE engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 capable of 335 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. That gets mounted to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels and allows for a 4.9 second 0-60 mph time. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. Jaguar also mentioned a 2.0-liter Ingenium diesel with 75 mpg (on the EU cycle, probably) and 280 lb.-ft. of torque as well as a 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine. All in all, Jaguar promises a refined sports saloon that is both rewarding to drivers and comfortable for passengers. More details will be available after the car’s global debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Pricing so far has been suggested to be around £27,000 or ~$43,846. [Source: Jaguar]

BMW 2 Series Convertible

P90160645 Have you been considering a BMW 2 Series but wish you could still enjoy some open-top driving? If so, BMW says you should start writing a check for at least $38,850. A drop-top offering for what may be BMW’s most playful and enjoyable product offering is a no-brainer and is finally destined for the production line. Current 2 Series model offerings, including the 228i and the awesome M235i, can be ordered as convertibles starting early 2015. Besides the electronic folding top, everything about the 2 Series Convertibles is identical to the Coupes. The 228i utilizes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque and is available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The M235i features a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 320 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels only in the M235i and it can hit 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds when equipped with an eight-speed automatic (six-speed manual is standard). The BMW 228i Convertible starts at $38,850 with RWD or $40,650 with xDrive AWD. The M235i Convertible starts at $48,650. [Source: BMW]

Dodge Viper gets cheaper

2015viper SRT’s Dodge’s Viper has been a tough sell for most dealerships since its triumphant redesign in 2012. The then all-new Viper had stunning looks, an interior that looked world-class, and tons of power, so it really is surprising that they’ve had so much trouble selling these that they had to halt production for a couple months. However, when you consider its $100K+ price tag before dealership markups, it might not be so surprising. Dodge has a plan to boost sales and that starts with a $15,000 price drop on over 600 unsold Vipers on dealer lots. Recent Viper owners will receive that $15,000 discount when they trade in for a new model or buy a second (because everyone will do that). Additionally, all dealers will now be allowed to sell the Viper, lifting the restrictions that previously limited which dealers could sell it. And if you’ve noticed a distinct lack of advertising centered around the Viper, you’re not alone. Dodge will start advertising the Viper as a halo car and increase its exposure to the masses. So what say you? Is an ~$85,000 Viper a good enough deal for you to pull the trigger? [Source: Autoweek]

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