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-AMG releases GLC43 “Coupe” because they think we’re idiots
Porsche reveals impressive Performance Package for Macan Turbo
Shelby GTE Mustang tries to bring great performance to the masses
Ferrari building a 500th LaFerrari to benefit Italian earthquake victims
GM teases secret fuel cell project for the US military
One day Bondurant schools free with Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
BMW ceases production on the E89 Z4, makes way for the new model
What’s your automotive news?
Mercedes-AMG GCL43 “Coupe”
In news that should surprise no one, Mercedes Benz’s AMG performance division made another fast crossover coupe because at least a dozen people still buy them. The GLC replaced the awkward GLK last year and then ventured into a stupid new frontier called “crossover coupes”. Now Mercedes is venturing into the even dumber “performance crossover coupe” market with this, the GLC43 Coupe.
You can thank the BMW X6 and subsequent X6M for starting this idiotic trend for idiots. Basically, this “coupe” is a Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover with a lower roof line so it has less trunk space and less rear seat headroom. “But it’s all worth it because it kinda looks like a coupe now”, said nobody with an IQ higher than that of a carrot. These are just the dumbest things on the market today and I absolutely hate them. Performance SUVs and crossovers I can dig, but this whole “we can make anything we want into a coupe” thing is getting out of hand.
Anyway, the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 “Coupe” is now the fastest GLC “Coupe” you can buy. It gets the full AMG treatment starting with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 frequently seen in other models. It produces 362 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque which gets sent to all four wheels (but with more bias to the rear) through a nine-speed automatic transmission. AMG engineers don’t permit slush boxes anymore, so the nine-speed has been thoroughly reworked to provide quicker shifts, double-clutching capabilities, and can hold a gear all the way to redline unlike some of the recent ZF units in other cars. 0-60 mph takes 4.8 seconds, a very respectable time for something so stupid. Lastly, the adaptive suspension has been stiffened a bit in the sport modes and can adjust its ride height at the touch of a button.
Should you ever want to pick this thing out from a crowd, look for the twenty-inch rollers, the chrome-tipped grille, the larger air intakes, the quad exhaust tipes, and the larger spoiler.
It hits US dealerships next spring.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Autoweek]
Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package
There’s a new range-topping Macan in the form of the Macan Turbo Performance Package. It’s a new optional extra on the already fast Macan Turbo which is best described by the tagline in the press release:
More power, bigger brakes, and sportier suspension calibration.
I’m tempted to end it there, but some of these numbers are worth mentioning. The Macan Turbo runs on a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 400 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque. Drop another $10,000 or so for the Performance Package and those numbers jump to 440 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. With Sport Chrono and all the extra sport modes and suspension and transmission tuning that comes with it, 0-60 mph takes just 4.2 seconds. Awesome power and torque plus standard all-wheel-drive and a fast seven-speed PDK gearbox mean this crossover goes as fast to 60 mph as the BMW M5.
The Performance Package models start at $86,445 compared to the some $76,000 the normal Macan Turbo commands, but for that extra cash you are getting quite a bit extra in addition to the substantial power bump. It includes a newly developed braking system, a lowered sport chassis, the Sport Chrono Package, and a performance exhaust system as standard. “Newly developed” translates to massive 15.4″ front grooved discs and six-piston calipers.
The package adds twenty-one-inch wheels sorta borrowed from the 911 Turbo which can be painted in gloss black along with various other exterior trim pieces. Otherwise, it looks a lot like any other Macan Turbo… except this one can embarrass a lot of other sports cars.
See, unlike the GLC43 above, the Macan Turbo with the Performance Package doesn’t need to pretend it’s a sports coupe to be attractive. It just acts like one.
Shelby American has revealed their latest performance Mustang, the GTE (for Enhancement). It’s inspired by the recent success of the Shelby GT and GT-H programs and its aim is to offer great performance at an affordable price, something the standard Mustang is already great at. The GT-E will be available with a V8 or the EcoBoost motor and as a fastback or convertible.
The 5.0-liter V8 gets fitted with the Ford Performance Power Pack and produces 456 horsepower and 424 lb.-ft. of torque in this application. Yeah, it’s not exactly a Shelby tune but Ford Performance knows what they’re doing. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger gets a Shelby tune though and that’s good for 335 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. Either the six-speed automatic or six-speed manual you get from the factory can be spec’d to your GTE regardless of the engine type. All GTEs get the Ford Performance Handling Pack and cat back exhaust, “Shelby spec performance tires” wrapped around nineteen-inch Ford Performance wheels, and a ton of Shelby exterior upgrades. There’s also official badging literally everywhere inside and out as expected.
That’s all standard equipment on the GTE package and that starts at $17,999 (not including the price of the donor Mustang). I guess you could say “affordable” is relative. For those with deeper pockets and wish to go even further, there are several additional options on the GTE package. You can get a Factory Supercharger on the V8 which can deliver between 670 to 750 horsepower, track ready cooling systems, Forged Shelby wheels, track ready suspension, short-throw shifter, one-piece drive shaft, 3.73 or 3.55 gears (you can get those through Ford as well), a Wavetrac differential, a Shelby twin disc clutch kit, and an exterior carbon fiber package.
So if you’ve got a Mustang and about $20,000 laying around, you can have yourself a pretty well-rounded and pretty special Mustang.
[Source: Shelby American]
Yes, I’m reusing an Assetto Corsa screen shot for this.
Ferrari is producing one last LaFerrari for an awesome cause. Italy was recently hit by a devastating earthquake which took nearly 300 lives and caused huge amounts of damage across the country. In response, Ferrari is building a 500th LaFerrari which will go straight to auction with all proceeds benefiting those victims and their families. The plans originally called for 499 LaFerrari coupes plus another limited run of spyders, but Sergio Marchionne took a break from trying to find someone to merge with his stupid company already to confirm that one more was on the way. We don’t know exactly when it’ll be built and to what specification yet, and we don’t know when the auction is taking place. If someone in Pebble Beach can drop $3 million+ on one, surely this 500th LaFerrari can bring in much more for a great cause. Those worried that the values of their previously one-of-499 LaFerraris will drop after adding a 500th unit will be told to close their stupid face. By me.
[Source: Ferrari via Autoweek]
General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) will reveal a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle in October. They’ve been collaborating in secret since 2015 and it’s an opportunity to show the capabilities of fuel cell technology in a military application while providing GM with feedback on a non-standard application of the technology. The Army hopes to show off the inherent benefits of fuel cells and their real world practicality, including quieter mobility, exportable power generation, low-end torque, and water generation. Even just looking at the picture makes it seem like it’ll be well-suited for stealthy night operations and roles in future Transformers movies. The Army will begin their evaluations and conduct demonstrations in 2017. Meanwhile, GM will use the experience to accelerate their plans to produce a fuel cell vehicle by 2020. I’ll keep you posted on this for sure.
Anyone that buys a Fiat 124 Spider Abarth will get a free day at the Bondurant Driving School. FCA and Bondurant are further expanding their relationship with this promotion following news that the 124 Spider Abarth will be added to their roster for autocross events. Anyone that buys are leases the 124 Spider Abarth has a year from their purchase date to follow up on this offer. The one day school, which includes the autocross, skid pad, slalom, rally cross, and track time, is free but guests need to get themselves there. As the great Shia Labeouf once said, “just… DO IT“.
[Source: Fiat via Autoweek]
The BMW (E89) Z4’s strong run has officially come to an end. Production was scheduled to cease in August on a car which used to be the oldest model in the BMW lineup and the only one still in the E## chassis code range. It was introduced in 2009 and was one of BMW’s best modern designs, if you ask me. The last E89 was an sDrive 35is in Valencia Orange, which was exactly like the one I drove last year that made me really appreciate the car. There was no official M model as it deserved, it wasn’t as great dynamically as it should have been, and yes it has sort of a… reputation, but the Z4 sDrive 35is was still a blast to drive. It’s quick, the N54 made great noises, and it has a design which I think will become a future classic. Did I mention it looked incredible?
That said, bring on the next one. And if the rumors are true, we’ll see something awesome from Toyota at around the time BMW releases the next Z roadster.
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 © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]