The News for September 7th, 2018


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:

  • Mercedes-Benz reveals first EV from new EQ model range

  • Lister is back with 200 mph Jaguar F-Pace

  • Ford talks Team Edison strategy and new Mustang-inspired EV

  • What’s your automotive news?

Mercedes-Benz EQC 400


As the world continues to go electric, Mercedes-Benz has finally responded with their first mass-market, production-bound EV as part of their new “EQ” line. The first in what will soon be a full line of EVs is, quite predictably, an SUV. It’s called the EQC 400 and it’ll hit American roads in 2020.
Mercedes-Benz loves their cryptic names almost as much as BMW does and I love trying to decrypt them, so here’s what I could find. From the name we can obviously tell it’s part of the EQ line so that can only mean it’s all-electric, it has a ‘C’ because it’s just an okay student, and has ‘400’ in the name because it has four hundred… and two horsepower. #journalism

The EQC is more or less GLC-sized (mid-sized) so there will certainly be other EQ SUVs that are bigger and a smaller but this is a good place to start. An 80kWh battery pack powers two electric motors – one on each axle – with 402 horsepower and 564 lb.-ft. of torque with a range up to 279 miles (by the NEDC’s numbers – EPA figures are still pending). That kind of power and range would certainly make it competitive in today’s market. Mercedes-Benz isn’t about the 0-60 party trick like Tesla is though, so it tackles that sprint in a respectable 4.9 seconds.
One thing they do love though is their tech and the EQC 400 has plenty of it. Besides the usual driving modes that determine power use, they’ve also developed an “eco assist” smart coast function that uses speed limit data, sign recognition, and terrain mapping to determine where it can coast to conserve energy. A huge benefit of having an independent motor on each axle is that they can rely more heavily on just the front motor for normal driving and only kick in the second motor as needed. It even has paddles behind the steering wheel that allow drivers to control energy recuperation levels.

The styling inside and out is about what you would expect from a Mercedes. It has a very sleek and aerodynamic shape for an SUV and it doesn’t ditch the grille like other EVs – it even sounds functional. The cabin layout and design would feel familiar for other Benz owners but it gets distinct accent lighting and some rose gold trim pieces.
It’s a promising first showing for Mercedes-Benz’s EQ line in a year with lots of promising first showings. Those that want a Tesla will probably always want a Tesla so the EQC 400 will most likely need to worry about rivals closer to home more than anything. Jaguar just launched the iPace, BMW has the iX3 on the way, and Audi is coming out with an e-tron SUV soon as well. This growing market is about to have its first big turf war.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Autoweek]

Lister LFP


Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard in a while. Lister, the British sports car manufacturer with a history of motorsports and building faster Jaguars, is back with a faster Jaguar. But it’s not a glorious Lister Storm revival or anything that could signal a return to racing. It’s exactly what we needed more of in this world – an SUV that can go 200 mph.
Lister is coming back from the dead with what was probably the best choice given the way the market’s trending lately. They’re building an F-Pace SUV that’s capable of true supercar numbers and the ordering books are now open. Coming soon to a Schmee150 vlog near you is the Lister LFP, an SUV that looks to claim the title of the world’s fastest.

For those who don’t think the 550-hp F-Pace SVR is crazy enough, the Lister LFP borrows the same supercharged V8 but squeezes 670 horsepower out of it. With that power and presumably the same AWD system and eight-speed automatic as the SVR, they claim a 0-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. As of now, plenty of stupid super SUVs can reach 180 or even 190 mph, but nothing has hit that magic 200 mph yet.

It has a little more than just a power bump though. Lister gave it a custom aero kit which is primarily made from carbon fiber (they haven’t said how much weight that saves) and the mostly stock interior gets custom trim pieces and new upholstery over the standard SVR seats. It also rides on some attractive new wheels but that’s about all there is to report on at the moment.
If you want in, pricing starts at £140,000 (~$180,100).
[Source: Lister via Autoblog]

Ford Teases Upcoming EV


Because we haven’t had enough SUV and EV news this week, have another. It’s been reported that Ford was launching a “Team Edison” to develop a line of all-new EVs and that they’d have one coming soon. This week, they released a teaser image along with an article on Medium by Darren Palmer, Ford Team Edison Global Product Development Director.
The article gives some insight into Ford’s new EV strategy and the challenges that Team Edison are up against. It reminds us of Ford’s $11 billion investment to bring 16 fully electric vehicles to the market by 2022 and confirms that they’ve basically been given free reign to operate differently than other Ford departments.
Darren also admits he’s a Mustang guy and is also tasked with developing the next-generation Mustang, which is significant when you look at the image. It has the hips and the tail lights from the Mustang, but it’s obviously taller. I was joking a few months ago when I said the Mustang would become a crossover, but it actually looks like that’s about to happen. Ford says this will be a Mustang-inspired all-electric utility with a targeted range of 300 miles per charge. A Mustang hybrid has already been confirmed for the roadmap so something like this ending up in production is extremely likely.
There’s no word on when we’ll see whatever is in that image, but probably soon given the pace at which the EV market is growing.
[Source: Ford, Medium]

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison


If you want even more truck goodness this week, this is one that’s actually worth reading about. Ross talks about a new Colorado ZR2 variant in a dedicated post. Check it out here if you haven’t yet.

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]

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.

35 Comments

        1. It looks like it could do with an air deflector on the car roof.
          Are the NSU rotaries ‘fixed’ these days, or is this guy seriously accelerating his next engine rebuild?

          1. Apperently newer, better apex seals were actually introduced during the final years of the production run. What that means in reality probably depends on how far up the Nothisistotallyreliableiswear river you are. Rotarys dwell far past Audi creek, way beyond the Alfa Romeo Rapids.
            Although in fairness, having your home market in a country where you can potentially go flat out for hours probably didn’t help. Opel learned that when they put a few chevy small blocks in the top end models back in the day, these things blew up so fast and well publizised it essentially knocked them out of the premium segment.

          2. Yes I have heard about the Opel/SBC issue. They probably should have started with long blocks intended for medium duty trucks, then added passenger car manifolds/carburetion.
            I like up Audi Creek beyond Alfa Romeo Rapids. Hopefully the paddles are not made of 2000’s BMW cooling system plastic!

          3. No plastic, The paddles are all made from late 70s japanese rocker panels, as long as you never get them wet, or touch them with bare hands, they’ll be fine.
            Do these truck motors have better internal cooling? I thought the LTs of the early 90s were the first SBCs that could sit at high revs for prolonged times.

          4. I was just thinking in terms of having clearances set for continuous full-load use, albeit at a lower power rating.

          5. Full load isn’t neccesarily the same as high revs, if you’re towing a heavy load up a hill, as you do with a truck motor, you do it at wide open throttle, but not neccesarily at redline.
            The Admiral A came with 2-speed powerglides, (TH400 3spd on the B) I don’t know what kind of rear end they had in them, but I’m pretty sure they ran out of revs at the top end.
            And if you reduce the Power on the V8 option, you’re not far off the Opel CIH straight sixes you started out with, esp. since these could be had with a 4 speed.
            SBC were simply not suited for this application, even though americans often consider the damn lump infallible.

          6. I was just looking at that for the 1968-71 Holdens that look similar to the Opel KAD’s, they had a 307/PG with a 2.78:1 diff which gave top speed around 110mph. When they switched to the Holden 308 and 3-sp auto the ratio stayed the same.
            Truck engines back then used to be governed, so top speed was at max revs, because they didn’t have the torque of modern turbo diesels to cruise at a more efficient point. The maximum rpm was below what the engine could reasonably do, but what it could stand at wide open throttle potentially for hours – depending on the engine it might be 3000 or 4000 rpm and I’m sure sometimes less.

    1. Oh, so they have hipsters in Austria, too? Let me guess, the driver was wearing a Ben Sherman shirt and drinking coffee from a spun aluminum Thermos bottle.

      1. It was so difficult to shoot this photo while driving that I forgot to check who was at the wheel, some hipster or old guy. I guess Dutch old guy as plates are old Dutch plates. Anyway, he was very far from home. Brave man.

    1. This is awefulsome.
      I have a timely hot take here. The’59 caddys are far from the worst offenders of late 50s excess, Yes the Fins are tall, but at leasts it’s all somewhat cohesive.
      The upper mid tier cars from that period ar far worse in many ways, enough budget to hang all the bightwork on the base platform, too much to prove to stop anywhere this side of the taste border. The slapdash moldings, the conflicting lines, the pastel colours. They are like wedding cakes on wheels, made a committee of blind bakers.
      I love it.

  1. The Ford photo reminds me of the laser eyes meme that some people use in their social media avatars.
    I’m sure there’ll be a few people here in NDSU-land that buy the Bison partly for its name.
    My dad bought a pickup, but not the one he was planning to buy for himself. A local dealer had a heck of a deal on 2018 (old body style) Ram 1500 Express V6/4×4/quad cabs (the smaller 4-door cab) so he bought one of those for the farm fleet. The newest farm pickups before it were his ’01 Ram 1500 and a Supercab ’95 F-150 so it’s quite a jump forward, it has things at a relatively-low trim level like automatic headlights & back-up camera that those old pickups couldn’t have had from the factory at any price and they were the top trim level.

  2. Volvo presented (“teased”? “sneazed”? “snoozed”?) a mobility concept named after their ugliest cars ever and designed to look like late 80s retrofuturism. It also gets overtaken by all imaginable traffic while being teased, and it is placed in impossibly light surroundings and birch wood tables:

    Also, I took my Honda to exchange exhaust notes with a possible organ donor, which had the same license plate registration yet “-1”. Funny thing is that I consider my van used up, but it was enlightening to see that the true “used up” means creaking noises from all four corners, nothing’s tight anymore, rust everywhere…it was bad. Not sure there’s anything but the AC radiator I could reuse. Fun fact: Holes in the roof for custom roof rails. That’s a first in our region which gets up to 3000-ish mm of precipitation per year. Yes, wet carpets.
    https://i.imgur.com/BtojUfCl.jpg

    1. On the number plate: my car is one of eleven, originally leased by a four-letter rental agency. Since cars don’t change their registration numbers here we proudly cover ’59 to ’69. I see two of them regularly.

    1. I don’t think the Ford senior management would want to subject themselves to the questioning they would get from the Australian motor journos…

  3. hit up Buttonwillow yesterday and ended up in a collision. this is super frustrating to me as i’ve always told others about how i’ve never seen two cars touch on track when they voice concerns about safety (“you’re at least wearing a helmet, right?!”).
    i like to think i’m mature enough to take responsibility for my mistakes, but having reviewed everything that happened, i’m comfortable saying this one wasn’t even partially my fault. the instructor, the other driver, his friend instructing him, and the organizers made a series of errors that led to him trying to pass me in a corner when i hadn’t given him a point-by.
    my repairs won’t be bank-breakingly expensive, and i accept the risk of something like this happening on track, but to know that many of the errors leading to this were “slow” – not split-second decisions made in a crisis, but structural problems that raised red flags for me before this collision – really gets my goat. the organizers offered to “make it right”, but i suspect that means credit towards a future event, and i’m not interested in running with them again.
    you ever get home and realize you just had a thousand-dollar day? not a great feeling.

    1. That sucks but unfortunately is part of the risk. I was a passenger at a track day at Bathurst when a guy overtook near the Chase, the fastest corner in the country at basically flat out at the end of a 3/4 mile downhill straight.
      At a no-instructors track day years ago I went and spoke to a guy who dive-bombed up the inside of me into a corner, got the response “you looked like you knew what you were doing so I thought it was ok”; it was my first time on a proper racetrack (but I hoped I knew enough not to be a danger to myself or others!). I had missed the drivers briefing so couldn’t really have a go at him, I was only assuming that the usual ‘no overtaking in corners’ applied.

        1. I don’t think so in this case, it was more of a ‘free-for-all’ and had a large variety of car speeds and some dense traffic at times. Mind you, $25 for maybe 4 sessions across the day (15 years ago?). Still had a ball.

    2. Did he try pass you on the outside or inside of the bend? Any decent track day I’ve been to strictly enforces a no-passing-on-the-inside rule (on the straights). That way, generally if the passer screws up braking points, they end up in the gravel rather than into the side of another car.

      1. inside.
        the longer story is that the guy i was riding with – who wasn’t an official instructor, but there weren’t enough instructors, so they told me to take him – made a gesture, while we were chatting about where not to let people pass of all things, that looked like a point towards the inside. they took it.
        stupid of him to not watch his hands while gesticulating, even stupider of the other car to interpret a passenger point as a legit point-by in the middle of a corner. but i don’t expect people to make perfect decisions on track every time. i expect the rules – as you suggest – to account for bad decisions before they’re even made.

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