The News for February 19th, 2016

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:

  • Alpine is officially coming back with an all-new car… soon

  • Volvo keeps the wagon alive with the new V90

  • Lexus debuts all-new hybrid powertrain in LC 500h

  • Jaguar F-Type SVR technical details have been released

  • Bentley adds an ‘S’ to the Flying Spur V8

  • McLaren shows off a glorious bare carbon P1

  • Aston Martin finds a partner to co-develop RapidE EV

  • The only Aston Martin DB10 raises big money for charity

  • What’s your automotive news?

Alpine Vision

I’ve been your news editor for a little over five years now and have been fortunate enough to cover tons of awesome stories for the awesome people that pass through our little slice of the World Wide Web. I’ve been able to cover some incredible stories I never thought I’d see happen, like a McLaren F1 successor (P1), the death of the Evo, and the addition of the groundbreaking Sport Appearance Package for the Ford Explorer. I’m now pleased to add the officially confirmed return of Alpine to that list of awesome.
This week, Groupe Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn himself confirmed their plans to revive the storied Alpine brand with their first new road-going model since the company went dormant in the nineties. They’ve been releasing concept cars already within the last couple years and they’ve been racing with re-engineered Orecas in LMP2 competition most recently, but this will be the first all-new car to roll off their lines and into showrooms in years.
The car they’re starting out with will be something very similar to what you’re looking at now: the Alpine Vision. While technically a show car, they’ve expressed interest in making the final product as close to this as possible in its design – which clearly resembles the A110 – and attention to detail as well as its supposed weight, handling, and agility. They’ve not talked about how it achieves said handling and agility, but we do know it’s powered by a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine built by Renault Sport and will be light enough to facilitate a o-62 mph time of under 4.5 seconds.
The new Alpine will be managed by a small, passionate team within Groupe Renault with the sole mission of exceeding expectations of the premium sports car buyer. Over the next twelve months, the team will be working on building out the team and the distribution network before focusing on racing. By the end of year, however, they’ve promised to show us a production ready Alpine. It’s scheduled to go on sale in Europe and “other markets” (so you’re saying there’s a chance…) in 2017.
[Source: Groupe Renault via Autoweek]

Volvo V90

In other news, Volvo continues to do it right with the all-new V90 estate which is set to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March before setting off on a noble quest to free us from crossovers. The third all-new Volvo since last year is a successor to the too-good-for-America V70 estate and clearly builds off the gorgeous and very promising S90 sedan.
173868_Volvo_V90_Location_Profile (1)
The V90 will surely improve upon many of the things that already made the V70 a favorite among Volvo fans, but the best thing it’ll improve upon is the lack of the previous V70’s US availability, as confirmed by Autoweek. That’s right, we’re getting it. We don’t know very much about its specs and features just yet, but what sets this V90 up for success comes down to Volvo’s specially-designed and fully modular Scalable Product Architecture, which opens up a range of new opportunities in how Volvos can be designed, built, and equipped. That’s what helped deliver the spectacular XC90 and S90 already.
Besides the new architecture, the V90 benefits from Volvo’s stunning new styling language, high quality materials and finish, semi-autonomous safety features (probably some of the best on the market), and an impressive powertrain borrowed from other new models. The only confirmed details we have include the availability of Apple CarPlay, large animal detection (ten points!) and run-off road mitigation, and the availability of the T8 Twin Engine powertrain. A diesel engine was mentioned, but the T8 sweetens the deal with 410 horsepower from a gas-electric engine combination and a pure electric driving range of around 30 miles.
We’ll know more about the all-new V90 after its debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1st.
[Source: Volvo, Autoweek]

Lexus LC 500h

Fresh off the introduction of the astonishing concept-turned-production Lexus LC 500, it’s already time for high end grand tourer to go green. Lexus has revealed the LC 500h, an advanced hybrid offering with a few new tricks to make it more than just another hybrid version. The official debut happens at Geneva but Lexus has already divulged most of the technical specifications… and it gets a bit nerdy.
As near as I can tell, it’s all exactly like the other LC 500 that was introduced just last month in Detroit besides the powertrain. The styling is the same, the interior is the same (only now we can see it with different materials), and its concept car-like proportions are in tact as well. Instead, a substantial amount of attention was given exclusively to the all-new Multi Stage Hybrid System which makes this hybrid quite a bit different from the rest. It was designed from the ground up with opposing goals in mind: it needed to have the best balance of power and efficiency possible but Lexus also wanted it to be more sporting and engaging.
It starts with a 3.5-liter V6, a powerful electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery pack, all mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission. The four-speed gearbox in what was supposed to be Lexus’ car of the future sounds very much out of place, but it was specifically chosen for this application for a reason. Other hybrids that have come before it rely on continuously variable transmissions which have an awkward, sluggish, and often detested nature to them. Lexus stuck with physical gears for this hybrid so that engine revs can be more closely aligned with driver inputs for a more natural feeling. The taller gearing of the four-speed clearly hasn’t had a huge affect on the car’s 0-62 mph times, which are “well into” the sub-five second range. Don’t forget that it has two motors to work with now, one of which has instant torque. Total system output is 354 horsepower.
To help keep weight down, the LC 500h continues to benefit from the mix of high-strength steel and aluminum for its construction. Compared to previous hybrid powertrains from Lexus/Toyota, this new Multi Stage unit features a lightweight and compact battery and electric motor to offset the added weight of the four-speed auto; even though more components are involved now, it weighs roughly the same as older versions.
Lexus has not commented on specific pricing or availability yet, but it’s still a real production car that’s actually going on sale.
[Source: Lexus]

Jaguar F-Type SVR

Jaguar’s new fastest car was leaked a few weeks ago with nothing more than some photos and the promise of 200 mph. As its official Geneva debut looms, we’ve finally been given a more complete spec sheet which gives us the best look yet at Jaguar’s super F-Type. I guess you could say the cat’s been let out of the bag… ha… haha. I’m sorry.
The Jaguar F-Type SVR is the first production Jag to get the full SVR treatment, which refers to Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations. Their goal was to produce a lighter, quicker, faster, and more powerful F-Type that remains usable day-to-day. They’ve started that quest properly by sticking with the F-Type R’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 and tuning it for 575 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. It sings through a Inconel titanium exhaust system and works through a recalibrated ZF Quickshift eight-speed automatic gearbox. Power is sent to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system which helps bring its 0-60 mph time down to just 3.5 seconds.
Modifications made to the powertrain are matched by new chassis and suspension improvements. SVR was able to adjust everything for greater handling and precision while still retaining ride quality, given that the standard F-Type R was already great at both of those thanks to its aluminum double wishbone front and rear suspension. Other hardware and software changes were made, including new driving modes, revised continuously variable dampers, a new rear knuckle, and revised anti-roll bars. Standard brakes are 15″ front, 14.8″ rear steel discs but optional Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes with 15.7″ front, 15″ rear discs and six- and four-piston monobloc calipers will do an even better job of bringing things to a halt. It grips with wider, specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tires wrapped around twenty-inch forged aluminum wheels with spoke designs that help with brake cooling.
Aerodynamics were also a key part of attaining that promised 200 mph. One clever drag reducing technique they used involved extending the front bumper outward to mask as much of the wheels as possible and control air flow down the side of the car. Other new addons include a new front valence, under-floor tray to reduce pressure, rear venturi, and a new deployable rear spoiler. The spoiler is larger than what was already on the F-Type, but it has higher and lower positions it can move to for different scenarios. The F-Type SVR is available as a coupe and a convertible, but only the coupe can reach 200 mph.
The interior is undeniably F-Type but with a few changes to make it as special as the rest of the car. It gains fourteen-way adjustable SVR performance seats finished in Jet leather with a distinctive Lozenge Quilt pattern and other new materials throughout the cabin. It also benefits from the latest Jaguar infotainment system which hosts a suite of new apps, including an emergency breakdown call system… it’s as if they’re trying to warn us. Fortunately, it does feature Jaguar’s awesome new 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.
Pricing starts at $125,950 for the Coupe and $128,800 for the Convertible. It’s on sale now and will be delivered by this summer.
[Source: Jaguar]


Bentley Flying Spur V8 S
If you liked the Bentley Flying Spur V8 but wish it had more power, you’re in luck. Bentley is introducing the sort-of new Bentley Flying Spur V8 S. It’s faster. You can tell by the way it is. And you can also tell by the freshly tuned 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 now offering 521 horsepower and 502 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s a whole 21 horsepower more than the standard Flying Spur V8. 0-62 mph takes 4.9 seconds and its top speed is 190 mph, which is quick for a big heavy luxury sedan. Its standard Continuous Damping Control has been recalibrated for a more sporting driving experience but it still retains the kind of refinement you’d expect from a Bentley. There are a few subtle touches to styling both inside and out to make it feel as special as that extra 21 horsepower truly makes it. The first customer deliveries begin this summer.
[Source: Bentley]
The McLaren P1 has been out of production for a few months now, but it’s still going to be the center of attention at their Geneva Motor Show stand. That’s because McLaren Special Operations (MSO) has taken one of the existing 375 builds and given it a visual carbon fiber conversion, which is something that any P1 owner can order now. There’s no paint, just gorgeous hand-laid carbon fiber with a Lio Blue tinted lacquer to give it a beautiful look. If you have a McLaren P1 and want this conversion, contact MSO and they’ll hook you up. One thing which may not be included in that conversion is the 24-carat gold exhaust heatshield they fitted to it, just like in the McLaren F1. This may not have been the most newsworthy story to cover this week, but just look at it… LOOK AT IT.
[Source: McLaren]
Aston Martin has found a partner to help them co-develop an electric vehicle. The British maker of beautiful things has announced a new partnership with LeEco that aims to develop a production version of the Aston Martin RapidE electric vehicle concept. An EV Rapide is the only car specifically mentioned in the announcement, but there’s a potential for adding a range of next-generation connected electric vehicles in the second half of the decade. Their goal is to bring the RapidE to market by 2018.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Aston Martin DB10 July 2015. Photo: Drew Gibson
Remember that glorious Aston Martin DB10 which was built exclusively for the latest 007 film? It just sold for £2,434,500 at auction. That’s almost three-and-a-half million dollars for an Aston Martin that isn’t technically road legal. But the fact that only ten are ever being made and that this is the only driving example ever going on sale means more to one fortunate buyer than its status with the highway safety administration. The best part about this sale is that all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors without Borders.
[Source: Aston Martin]

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]

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26 responses to “The News for February 19th, 2016”

  1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Alpine Concept: take my money now.

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      I wonder how much of this was carried over?

    2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      I’m really glad it exists. I just wish they could bring the brand back to life without having to rely on visual pastiche.

      1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
        The Real Number_Six

        Don’t care. If it brings the same sort of kickassedness as the sportiest Meganes, it’s going to be great.

        1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          Either way, I like the idea of Renault having an Alpine future.

          1. karonetwentyc Avatar

            Marcus Tandy also approves of this message.

          2. Monkey10is Avatar

            (I +1ed you, but I fear no-one else will get the Eldorado reference)

          3. karonetwentyc Avatar

            Thanks – it is a bit obscure, to be sure. Thing is, that’s always the first thing that pops into my head when a GTA/A610 is mentioned, and I’m not above admitting that I watched that programme as a teenager solely to sight the car.

  2. nanoop Avatar

    I’d never thought that a front fascia with five optical/dark stripes on each side would appear as calm to me, but while flashy for a Volvo, it’s still quiet for a contemporary car. Also, the DRL of current Volvos remind me of the headlamp slits of WW2 cars.
    I wonder why they didn’t show the Alpine in blue metallic. Any idea what price point?
    My news: I bought a universal rubber floor mat for the driver side of the P-car and I’ll need to cut it, after all tries to get a fitting one shipped to Norway were in vain. And no, I won’t pay 170USD for the original P-shop stuff. It’s floor mats, after all!

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      The Alpine will compete with the likes of the Alfa 4C and Porsche Cayman, so they’ll most likely keep the pricing close to those. $50K-ish I guess. The thing is, there’s no word of it coming to America. I’d be surprised if it did 🙁

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Iirc, there is no Renault in North America? That would be the 50kUSD halo car to re-introduce the brand… might work.

        1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

          Correct, Renault left the U.S. market in ’87. However, their partner Nissan still sells cars here, so it is possible Alpine could be sold through those dealerships.

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          Renault is still active in parts of North America:

          They’re working on a limited return to Canada, too:

          1. nanoop Avatar

            Obviously, you are a Canadian geologist.

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            No, but now that I have a Renault-engined car I’ve decided to pay more attention to such matters. I’m still not sure how much help this will be in finding Cléon-Fonte parts, though.

          3. Citric Avatar

            There’s also a Renault dealer on St. Pierre et Miquelon.

          4. mdharrell Avatar

            Ah, excellent. That’s considerably more convenient. Here in Seattle I’m practically right next door to Canada, which is itself right next door to St. Pierre et Miquelon.

          5. karonetwentyc Avatar

            St. Pierre et Miquelon is not terribly helpful when it comes to parts sourcing, unfortunately, as both the Canadian and U.S. customs authorities are well aware of both its existence and that it’s a French overseas territory packed full of cars that many of us would like to own. It’s actually easier to get a North American-market vehicle into it than it is to get anything out of it and into North America (which includes parts, not just whole cars).

          6. Guest Avatar


            I was MVP on a gold medal winning SchoolReach team (Jeopardy! for kids), and I have never heard of this island.

            A little Googling later, and I’m quite fascinated with what I’ve learned.

            If I’ve ever make it to the east coast, I’ll definitely have to take a ferry and check it out!

  3. longrooffan Avatar

    Is it possible this olelongrooffan did not see a cup holder in the interior images of any of these cars? What is this world coming to?
    As an aside, this week I saw ZePlane! Boss! ZePlane!

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      They’re probably just hidden. A lot of manufacturers are starting to have little sliding covers over cup holders while they’re not in use. That Alpine probably doesn’t have one though, because concept

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    In my news, I rode the Honda 125 to the neighborhood garage before work, thanks to 60 degree weather. After agreeing to do the required MO state safety inspection and having me wait around for a while, they finally came out and admitted that they couldn’t do it because they’d lost their 2016 inspection stickers.
    Oh, well, at least I got to ride the bike a mile each way!

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Look on your neighborhood Craigslist for inspection-free inspection stickers!

  5. ptschett Avatar

    The pickup seems to have taken the saying “life imitates art” seriously, because it’s trying to make the garage floor look like a Jackson Pollock painting. The front timing cover seal started dripping a few days ago, and now the steering rack has decided to make its mark too. Fortunately, we’re getting some mild weather that’s nice enough that I can be driving the car.

  6. outback_ute Avatar

    I really think that the Alpine should be mid-engined, Alfa 4C or MR2 style. Yes the original was based on rear-engined Renault sedan mechanicals, but the latter Alpines were all rear-engined too (A310, A610), and it would make the car so much more special.

  7. outback_ute Avatar

    The Lexus transmission sounds interesting, like a variation of the normal hybrid synergy drive running through a gearbox instead of a “one speed” in the existing implementation? I wonder if the added complexity will be an improvement on the normal HSD.