The News for April 13th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the week’s biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the BS. I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week:

  • Ferrari celebrates 20 years in China… with dragons

  • Porsche brings the Cayenne GTS back to life

  • Mercedes-Benz is still making the G-Wagen

  • 2013 Roush Mustangs make their debut

  • Aston Martin prices the 2012 Vantage lineup


Ferrari Celebrates 20 Years in China… with Dragons

This year marks Ferrari’s 20th anniversary in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets – China. The very first Ferrari they sold in China, a modest 348 TS, was ordered in Beijing way back in 1992. Since automakers love to make special editions to mark occasions like this, Ferrari have done just that with this Chinese market-exclusive car.

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Basically it’s a standard 458 Italia featuring new “Marco Polo Red” paint with gold and black dragons and gold wheels to top it off. Inside, special gold embroidery on the seats, a special plaque, and other awesome styling updates are part of the package. Just 20 examples will be made and sold in the Chinese market and the first will be revealed at Ferrari’s new “permanent brand exhibition” at the Shanghai World Expo Park, which will give Ferrari some space to show off some cool stuff for the next three years (which means it isn’t exactly permanent). No word on pricing or when exactly these cars will be shipped to a collector’s garage. 

Porsche Cayenne GTS

The Porsche Cayenne is an SUV with an appropriate amount of sportiness at any trim level. However, Porsche is ready to kick it up another notch with the unveiling of the 2nd-generation Cayenne GTS. 

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Based off a standard Cayenne S, the GTS features a naturally-aspirated 4.8-liter V8 making an additional 20 horsepower, which brings the grand total up to 420 horsepower (somewhere, someone is giggling at that number). An 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels and comes equipped with an automatic stop/start function so you can pretend to care about saving fuel with a Cayenne GTS. All those mechanical bits unite to help the GTS achieve a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 162 mph. The extra dose of performance doesn’t just come from another 20 horsepower as the suspension has been lowered by 20 mm and the final drive ratio has been lowered as well.

Visual upgrades include gloss black trim, new side skirts, 20-inch RS  Spyder wheels, and a matte black-tipped sport exhaust system. Inside, lots of leather and Alcantara trim is standard and a Sport Chrono package is available to help you keep track of the SUV’s performance on the race track that you’ll never go to. 

The 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS will go on sale in American dealerships this August at a price of $82,050. 

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Just so we’re all on the same page here, yes, they are still making the G-Class, and yes, I know it looks just like every other one before it. But this one’s better, trust me. 

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Okay, so maybe it’s just a little better. The familiar exterior gets just a few updates in the form of LED running lights and new side mirrors –  other than that it looks scarily similar to the first G-Wagen that we saw in 1979.  The interior, however, has received a completely new look that follows the design cues of other new Mercedes models. A totally new dashboard and center console trimmed with high-quality materials houses multiple new color LCD screens that display vehicle info, infotainment stuff, and pretty much everything else you’d expect from a Benz. Mercedes were even nice enough to give it blind-spot assist and park assist functions.

Probably the biggest changes come in the form of new engines and powertrain options. The new G350 BlueTEC features a 3.5-liter diesel V6 with 211 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque and the G500 employs a 5.5-liter V8 with 388 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque – both of which are mated to a 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission. Buyers that want a little more oomph can opt for the G63 or G65 AMG models. The G63 uses a 5.5-liter biturbo V8 that produces 540 horsepower and 560 lb.-ft. of torque while the monstrous G65 AMG uses a 6.0-liter biturbo V12 with 612 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful cross-country production SUV on earth. 

Worldwide sales will commence this June and the G-Class will arrive in American dealerships. Official US pricing hasn’t been announced, but we do know the G350 will start at 69,101 Euros and the G65 AMG will start at 213,986 Euros (both before taxes), which means about $91,096 and $282,097 respectively at current exchange rates.

 2013 Roush Mustangs

American tuning house Roush has been known as one of the best (if not the best) Mustang tuners on earth since they actually focus on improving handling. With that in mind, Roush is revealing its new Mustang lineup for the year, including their most powerful model yet.

Like always, Roush kits will be available in different stages, starting with the Stage 1 which adds the new and hopefully improved Roush aero kit and 18-inch wheels. The Stage 2 adds extra power and improved handling from stiffer suspension components. Then we get to the Stage 3, which is the most powerful street-legal Roush kit in company history. Building off of the standard 5.0-liter V8, the Stage 3 Mustang produces 565 horsepower 505 lb.-ft. of torque, which would have put it above the Shelby GT500 if they hadn’t decided to give it 650 horsepower this year. Then again, the GT500 probably won’t be able to pull 1G on the skidpad like the Roush kits will.

Roush will also let buyers customize the exterior and interior to fit their personal tastes with options like rear quarter window louvers, embroidered leather seats with suede inserts, and 20-inch wheels. Roush kits will be available on both coupe and convertible Mustang and manual or automatic transmissions work as well. The cars will start rolling into U.S. dealerships late this month at an undisclosed price, but they do come with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty!   

2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Pricing

Just a few months ago, Aston Martin revealed their slightly updated V8 Vantage models for 2012, and now we have official pricing and delivery dates. The 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe will cost $118,370 and the Roadster will command $132,870 when they hit U.S. dealerships later this year. The V8 Vantage S will start at $137,670, and the V12 Vantage will continue production unchanged and still at a 185,000 base price.  

The changes for the 2012 model year are small but still enough to make a difference. The biggest changes have been made under the gorgeous sheet metal with the revised 4.7-liter V8 making 420 horsepower and 346 lb.-ft. of torque. The 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but the old clunky 6-speed automatic has been replaced with a new 7-speed Sportshift II auto. Chassis enhancement that were first employed with the old Vantage S are now standard across the board, including quicker steering, bigger brakes, and wider tires. The new V8 Vantage S will still have 430 horsepower 361 lb.-ft. of torque to play with and a sports exhaust system to play with even more. The V12 Vantage, as mentioned earlier, is unchanged for 2012, still making 510 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque from a 6.0-liter V12. 

Visually, very few changes have been made. But did they really need to make any? 



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