The News for February 10th, 2012


Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of everything you should care about in the automotive industry (except for what’s going on at Chicago right now) without the fluff and the BS. Check out Robby’s live updates from Chicago for info and pics of all the cars making their big debut over there. Now let’s get into detail about the cars that aren’t at Chicago, shall we? This week: 

  • Aston Martin shows off the production V12 Zagato

  • Tesla reveals the all-new Model X

  • BMW prices the 640i Gran Coupe

  • Mazda prices the CX-5

  • Toyota prices the brilliant little Prius C

Aston Martin V12 Zagato is ready for production

Well, this is quite a treat. Aston Martin showed the world the result of a historic partnership between Aston Martin and legendary Italian design firm, Zagato, last year at some fancy Concours in Italy. Initially revealed in racecar trim, the V12 Zagato was an instant hit amongst fans and potential buyers, which was enough to convince the big wigs to send it to production. This past week, the production V12 Zagato finally showed its pretty face to the world and it looks just as awesome as the concept.

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The car’s unique body, which is designed to pay tribute to the iconic DB4GT Zagato, is all hand-crafted from carbon fiber and aluminum. The build process, which takes over 2,000 man hours per car, is similar to that of the equally extraordinary Aston Martin One-77, all the way down to where it’s painted. Speaking of paint, just four exclusive colors are offered: Scintilla Silver, Alloro Green, Alba Blue, and Diavolo Red (pictured [duh]). The production V12 Zagato is built off a standard road-going V12 Vantage, so the glorious 6.0-liter V12, 6-speed manual (and maybe the automatic if you beg enough), and the substructures carry over. So while the powertrain is nothing revolutionary, it’s still good for over 510 horsepower, 420 lb.-ft. of torque, 0-60 mph sprint in 4.2 seconds, and a top speed north of 190 mph. Nothing wrong with that!

The interior is also a masterpiece in its own right with acres of premium leather and hand-stitched quilting that probably took a couple hundred man hours per seat as well. Various trim-pieces are covered with carbon fiber and many, many Zagato badges.

Pricing starts at £330,000 and the first cars will arrive in the UK by this autumn. Even though Aston Martin didn’t opt to crash a couple of their cars for NTHSA testing (who can blame them), American buyers can still buy one under a show or display registration, which means you can import it to the US even though it doesn’t conform with safety regulations (it’ll pass anyway). The downside is that there’s a ton of paperwork involved and you can’t drive it more than 2,500 miles per year – which is approximately 2,498 miles more than what a V12 Zagato will see in a lifetime.

Tesla Model X revealed


 Tesla revealed their all-new Model X crossover just yesterday in SoCal. The all-electric luxury crossover is based off the gorgeous Type S which is built off a “skateboard”, or a single platform that can be turned into pretty much anything.

The all-electric motor can be paired with a 60 kWh or 85 kWh lithium ion battery pack which delivers a range of about 230 and 300 miles respectively in the Model S. However, the Model X is about 10% heavier than the Model S, so those figures are expected to be a little lower, but we just don’t know for sure yet. Power is sent to either the rear wheels with one electric motor or all four wheels with two motors (one at each axle). Interestingly enough, a “Performance” version of the twin-motor, AWD Model X will show up later on. Performance-wise, it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds depending on the drivetrain layout, which is just nuts for a CUV.Charging times aren’t confirmed yet, but the Model S can gain 62 miles for each hour it’s plugged in and it can plug into any outlet. The battery pack and motor are both tucked away down low to leave a spacious cabin for occupants and lots of room to put things. So much room, in fact, that it can supposedly haul up to 7 people within three rows of seating and still have room for their luggage. 

Other cool features include the massive 17-inch touchscreen infotainment center that carries over from the Model S and will surely distract the driver more than it should. Also, it has freakin “falcon” doors! That is, the rear doors fold up similarly to how gull wing doors do but are a bit more compact for tight parking spaces.

Pricing isn’t confirmed either, but estimates range from $60,000 to $80,000 depending on the battery pack and federal tax credits. The Model X is still considered a concept, but production has been confirmed to begin in 2013. Tesla will start taking reservations later today for those who are legitimately interested. For more information on reserving a Model X and for some cool interactive stuff, check out the Tesla Motors website. They even let you play with the “falcon” doors!

I, for one, am actually looking forward to seeing these on the road. 


BMW 640i Gran Coupe priced

BMW just recently showed off their handsome 6 Series Gran Coupe, which is an elongated 6 Series with its sights set on the likes of the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera, and the granddaddy of them all, the Mercedes-Benz CLS. For $76,895, BMW will give you a four door saloon with a BMW-first “4+1” seating arrangement that provides space for up to five passengers (kind of).

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Power comes from either a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 with 315 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque (640i) or a 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 with 445 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque (650i). Power is sent to the rear wheel (and eventually all four) through a ZF 8-speed automatic. The 640i and 650i take care of the 0-62 mph run in 5.4 seconds and 4.6 seconds respectively.

Keep in mind, only the 640i Gran Coupe has been priced. The 650i Gran Coupe will be priced closer to its launch which is set for some time early this summer. But to give you an idea of what to expect, the 650i Coupe costs about $10,000 more than the 640i Coupe. Then add another $3,000 for the 650i xDrive. 


Mazda CX-5 is reasonably priced

Mazda’s latest compact crossover SUV thing, the CX-5, will be hitting showroom floors fairly soon with a base price of $20,695. Obviously, the entry-level model doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, but Mazda actually gave it tons of standard equipment, even though it’s already cheaper than its top rivals. Mazda also has plenty of nicer trim levels and packages available at a price.

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Prices range all the way from the base $20,695 to $28,295 for the top-of-the-line CX-5 Grand Touring, including the $1,200 all-wheel-drive upgrade. All CX-5s are powered by a SkyActiv 2.0-liter inline-4 (soon to be referred to as a ‘V4’ by too many buyers) that focuses on improved efficiency – so much so that it’s the most efficient non-hybrid in its class with 35 mpg highway / 29 combined. Base CX-5s send power to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual (!!!), but a 6-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system are available depending on the trim level. In the end, you can drive away from the dealership in a fully loaded CX-5 for just under $30,000.


Toyota Prius C priced below $19,000

Toyota is ready to bring top-notch misery efficiency to the masses with the all-new Prius C. For a base price of just $18,950, the compact Prius C delivers 53 mpg in the city – which is the best of any vehicle without a plug – and 46 mpg on the highway. Those official EPA estimates are probably more than enough reason for an interested buyer to pull the trigger, but for those interested, here’s what else you need to know about it.

The Prius C will be offered in four trim levels – simply called the One, Two, Three, and Four – that offer different equipment and luxuries at different prices. The One starts at $18,950, the Two at $19,900, the Three at 21,635, and the Four at $23,230. Standard features for these models include a multi-information display (for hybrid stuff), Bluetooth, automatic climate control, and keyless entry just to name a few. The powertrain features Toyota’s tried and true Hybrid Synergy Drive system with an engine and a transmission somewhere in there I’m sure.


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