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:
Ferrari surprises with stunning Monza SP1 and SP2 barchettas
Audi reveals production-ready e-tron SUV, priced from $74,000
BMW does another ugly concept car again
Ferrari reluctantly confirms development of “Ferrari Utility Vehicle” by 2022
Mercedes-AMG proves Project One is a road legal racecar with testing shots
What’s your automotive news?
Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2
It’s been a while since I’ve had a Ferrari to write about that has actually made me excited, but here we are. Ferrari surprised a bunch of rich people at an investor summit with two versions of one very special new car. The Monza nameplate is back with the Monza SP1 and SP2, two open top supercars that seek to offer a driving experience like no other with seating for one or two.
Among the many things Ferrari discussed with the rich people that give them lots of money was a new segment of cars under the ‘Icona’ name which will feature heavy influences from Ferrari’s illustrious past. The Monza SP1 and SP2 will be the first of such cars, taking inspiration from the 166 MM, 750 Monza, and 860 Monza. Just like those original barchettas, they’re low, sleek, and quite stunning. There’s no roof and no physical windscreen besides the small one the optional passenger gets.
And yes… also like the old cars, the new Monza has a V12 hiding underneath that long bonnet and it’s the most powerful [road] engine Maranello has ever produced. It’s a 6.5-liter V12 producing 799 horsepower at 8,500 RPM and 530 lb.-ft. of torque at 7,000 RPM. There’s no turbo and no hybrid – just one earth-shattering V12. They claim a 2.9-second 0-62 mph time and a 0-124 mph time of 7.9 seconds – we have no reason to doubt that.
The entire body shell is made from carbon fiber and designed as if it were created by a single pencil stroke. The architecture is based on a “monolithic form with an aerodynamic wing profile”, allowing designers more freedom than usual.
Some of the more complex aerodynamic solutions from other Ferraris were avoided here in order to create a more simple and timeless look. There’s no active aero or big spoilers here – in fact, the only real aerodynamic challenges they worked to overcome was managing airflow around the exposed cabin. They used a “Virtual Wind Shield” in the fairing ahead of the instrument panel to deviate airflow just enough to make it not miserable while on the move.
The thorough use of carbon fiber and a distinct lack of a roof helps keep the weight down and the improve the driving characteristics. They quote a dry weight of 3,306 pounds for the SP1 – add 50 pounds for the extra seat and roll bar. With the relatively little weight all hanging around down low, it provides for an uncompromising driving experience. Ferrari claims it’s perfectly balanced with no roll whatsoever. Mix that with a true open air experience and an epic V12, it truly should be sensational.
It will be road legal and it will be very limited to an unspecified degree. It’s probably one of those cars where Ferrari has to allow you to buy it too.
But to answer the one question you guys really wanted to know… there’s no word on whether a matching luggage set is available, but they have partnered with Loro Piana and Berluti to create a matching line of gentleman-driver-inspired apparel and accessories. Not even joking.
Audi e-tron fully unveiled
And now for something completely different.
The e-tron name has been tossed around Audi’s production and concept car lineup for longer than I’ve been covering this industry, but that’s all been leading up to this – Audi’s first all-electric vehicle destined for mass production. And it’s just called the e-tron. And it’s another SUV.
The Audi e-tron is a mid-size SUV that’s “fit for every aspect of daily life” but still has the performance, comfort, and features you’d expect from any of Audi’s nine billion other SUVs. Reservations are open now and deliveries are expected to start in Q2 2019. Pricing starts at $74,800.
For that money, you get a 95kWh battery pack that runs beneath the cabin floor and powers two asynchronous electric motors, one at each axle. The e-tron is free to distribute power and torque where it needs to and simulates Quattro AWD as needed. Previous releases from Audi claimed peak power of 402 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque in “boost mode” or 355 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft. of torque everywhere else, but this latest release says we’ll need to wait for official US power figures. But we do know it’s capable of a 5.5-second sprint to 60 mph and a limited top speed of 124 mph. When equipped with the tow package, it can haul up to 4,000 pounds.
Word on the street is to expect around 250 miles of range which would put it about on par with every other electric SUV I’ve talked about recently, but those numbers are still pending as well. Audi estimates that about 30% of its range comes from the advanced regenerative braking system that they were so eager to talk about and it’ll be the first EV with a DC fast charging capability of up to 150 kW at select charging stations. 80% of its driving range can be replenished in under 30 minutes.
Moving on to the design, it uh… looks like an Audi alright. The design isn’t anything out of the ordinary for your typical Audi SUV with the exception of the grille that’s been enclosed and the rear diffuser that draws attention to the absence of tailpipes because we needed reminding that this was an electric SUV.
Audi claims their designers worked in close collaboration with aerodynamics experts – as they usually would – to create the most efficient shape for an SUV they could manage. It rolls on aerodynamically-optimized 20″ wheels wrapped with low rolling resistance tires, it has just enough cooling ducts up front for the brakes but otherwise its face is closed off, and features a fully clad underbody with an aluminum plate for battery protection. All that makes it efficient already, but Audi went a step further and added adaptive, speed-dependent air suspension which can adjust ride height by up to 3 inches to further improve airflow. That same air suspension also enables an off-road mode with an additional 1.4″ of ground clearance.
As for the cabin, it’s as spacious as a midsize SUV can get with its compact drivetrain. There’s seating for five and 28.5 cubic feet of luggage space behind them, or 57 cubic feet with the back seats folded. There’s a panoramic roof, multi-adjustable contour front seats with massaging and heating/cooling, four-zone climate control with ionization and aromatization (we just used to call that farting), and all the technology Audi is known for.
Seriously, there’s a ton of it. I’ve copied the breakdown in features that each trim level adds, starting with the Premium Plus and working up to the limited (999 units) First Edition.
Those interested in placing a reservation can do so here. There’s a $1,000 deposit that is fully refundable should you choose to cancel. If electric driving range is all you care about, you can probably go just as far for a whole let less. But if you want a good electric SUV that’s comfortable, packed with tech, boasts solid build quality, and isn’t associated with someone who can’t stop accusing a hero of being a pedophile, the e-tron sounds like it’ll be a solid choice.
BMW Vision iNext
Hey remember that Audi e-tron I just talked about? The BMW Vision iNext is a lot like that, except a lot less real and a lot less attractive. It’ll end up as some highly automated, emission-free, and fully connected #mobility #solution by 2021. And that’s as far as I care to read into the press release.
Ferrari confirms Purosangue SUV for 2022
One of the sadder things Ferrari discussed at their big “give us money pls” summit was the one thing nobody except investors wanted to hear. According to Autoweek, not even Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri wanted to really hear it either.
Ferrari has confirmed that the Purosangue is under development and is four years away. It’s going to be what you or I would call an SUV, but Ferrari really wants it to be known as a FUV, or Ferrari Utility Vehicle. As Camilleri explained to the media, it’s because “I abhor hearing SUV in the same sentence as Ferrari”. That makes 7-billion-and-one of us.
But the general car buying public is eating SUVs up and it’s probably the single most profitable move any manufacturer could make, hence why we’re suddenly seeing so many new offerings from different brands. Ferrari has investors that could give fewer shits about diluting the brand or turning Enzo’s spinning grave into a renewable energy resource, so ensuring long term profitability with yet another super
SUV FUV is the only way to go.
So besides the name, which translates into “thoroughbred” (lol), the only other thing we know for sure is that it’ll be a hybrid. Probably AWD too. A V12 would be surprising and kind of awesome but a turbo V8 is more likely.
But there’s one thing that’s guaranteed regardless of how it turns out – should I still be writing about cars by 2022, I’m going to be extremely salty when I have to cover this again.
Mercedes-AMG Project One begins road testing
In more cheerful news, Mercedes-AMG has been testing the insane Project One hypercar out in public and were compelled to show us. There aren’t really any new developments to report about this car. I just wanted an excuse to show it again.
This true race car for the street is powered by modern F1 tech – which nobody has figured out as well as Mercedes – and should produce around 1,000 horsepower. It’ll have a civilian version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 found in their F1 car, complete with all the motor generator units for hybrid power. It’s one of the handful of upcoming hypercars that look so out of this world that you’d never expect one to actually be road legal – but here it is, out testing on public roads. Maybe not everything about the future is going to suck.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via MotorAuthority]
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]
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