The News for February 27th, 2015

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:

  • McLaren reveals 675LT, now with more tail

  • Audi’s new R8 is so dynamic it hurts

  • Mercedes-AMG GT3 roars onto tracks in 2016

  • Lamborghini teases something “reactive” for Geneva

  • Ernest Hemmings, 1926-2015

McLaren 675LT

The Longtail has returned; but maybe not how you were expecting. McLaren’s first car to feature the famous Longtail – a functional design element that lengthened the rear overhang for increased aerodynamic efficiency – was the F1 GTR Longtail in 1997, which was developed specifically for racing. Only three original Longtails ever made it to the street as F1 GTs, but the new 675LT will bring many more.
The name 675LT already tells you most of what you need to know about the car. 675 indicates its metric horsepower, which when converted into ‘murican horsepower is a sinister 666 horsepower (and 516 lb.-ft. of torque). LT of course stands for Longtail. That increase in power comes thanks to a heavily revised 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 – 50% of its parts are new. Given the code name M838TL, this engine features new turbos, cylinder heads, exhaust manifolds, camshaft, lightweight connecting rods, and a faster-flowing fuel pump and delivery system. McLaren’s quick seven-speed SSG transmission sends power to the rear wheels and allows for a 0-62 mph sprint in as little as 2.9 seconds and 0-124 mph in 7.9 seconds. Top speed is a claimed 205 mph.
As the LT designation suggests, the 675LT features extra bodywork at the rear which increases the length by a bit (about an inch and a half… should be more, me thinks) but crucially allows for a larger rear active airbrake. The one on the 675LT is 50% larger than the one on the 650S but is still lighter thanks to its carbon construction. In fact, the whole car is 220 pounds lighter than the 650S despite the extra bodywork. Carbon fiber is a beautiful thing and it’s used nearly everywhere on this car, including the new front splitter, front wing end plates, side sills, and louvered rear bumper. Total dry weight is just over 2,700 pounds and its power-to-weight is an impressive 541 hp per ton.
The 675LT will be offered in five unique “By McLaren” specifications, four of which include paint colors never previously offered before. The fifth features the famous heritage McLaren Orange color. Other than special paint, each of those specifications also includes an exclusive interior that complements the exterior color scheme.
Every 675LT comes with a  driver-focused cabin and a pair of ultra lightweight carbon fiber-shelled bucket seats upholstered in Alcantara and modeled on those found in the McLaren P1.
Pricing isn’t available yet.
[Source: McLaren]

2016 Audi R8

Audi R8 V10
In a press release that reaffirms my hatred of German press releases, Audi announced the all-new 2016 R8 before its Geneva debut in excruciating detail. But it doesn’t take long to discover that the new Audi R8 is an impressive machine.
Words like “a 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine with up to 610 horsepower” could make any novel of a presser start off on a high note. The Audi R8 keeps its V10 from Lamborghini, only this one originates from the new Huracan and is available in two versions. The top version has that 610 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque in the R8 V10 Plus and the current entry-level version produces 540 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. As of now, there is no V8 option but other versions are on the way. The only transmission that was mentioned is a quick seven-speed automatic and of course full-time all-wheel drive is included.
Audi R8 V10
Styling wise, the new R8’s bodywork is all-new, yet familiar. Many of the styling cues are reminiscent of the recent Quattro concept and the more recent production-spec TT, such as the headlights and the grille design. Audi says they aimed to make the R8 look flat, wide, and muscular. Topping off the car’s exterior updates are a full set of something magical called “dynamic turn signals” at the front and rear. Yes… Dynamic. Turn signals. I wonder if the cup holders are dynamic, too?
Something much more interesting than over-hyped flashing little strips of LED bulbs is the new R8’s interior. All main displays are digital and configurable so that the driver can always get what they want displayed behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel. As with the new TT, the rest of the cabin is focused on being uncluttered and open, promoting good visibility, ergonomics, and DYNAMISM.
Audi R8 V10
One of those versions that I hinted at earlier is perhaps the one most people have been expecting – the all-electric dynamic e-tron. Audi first “built” an R8-based e-tron a few years ago but it never went to production. This time around, it’s happening; but only for those who really want it. A 92 kWh battery and some other incredibly German technology equates to a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds, a [limited] top speed of 155 mph, and has a dynamic range of 279.6 miles (more than double the range of the first e-tron). Another party trick is its ability to fully recharge in “significantly less than two hours”. So, like, 1:58? The R8 e-tron will go into production but it will only be available by request.
Official American pricing isn’t available yet, but European pricing is listed as 165,000 euros (185,000 US dollars) for the R8 V10 and 187,400 euros (210,197 US dollars).
Fun fact: “dynamic” shows up twenty-two times in the press release. I hate this industry sometimes.
[Source: Audi]

Mercedes-AMG GT3

The awesome new Mercedes-AMG GT isn’t just replacing the also awesome SLS AMG in showrooms, but also on the track. The SLS GT3 is still on racing duty for the rest of the year, but by the end of 2015 all customer teams will be receiving this shiny new Mercedes-AMG GT3 to begin racing with in 2016.
The FIA GT3-spec racer gets all new [mostly] carbon fiber bodywork designed to reflect the smaller road-going car, but that’s where the similarities end. It has all the carbon splitters, diffusers, and wings a proper GT3 car needs, but also a grille featuring vertical bars as a throwback to the original 300SL race cars.
Most notably, the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in the road car is not adapted for racing use in the GT3. Instead, the “old” 6.3-liter V8 from the SLS GT3 remains perfectly intact, producing however much power the FIA allows it to which I believe is around 550 hp. Power gets sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential racing transaxle gearbox and noise is dumped through side pipes. The interior is typical Mercedes with luxurious amenities such as a seat and some air vents.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Autoweek]

Lamborghini teases big Geneva reveal

It wouldn’t be a Geneva motor show without Lamborghini bringing something crazy. According to this teaser video they posted to YouTube this week, that’s exactly what we’re going to get on March 3rd. While the video doesn’t really show the car itself, it does give one, maybe two big hints that pretty much give it away. V12 sounds and a very familiar ‘S’ can only mean one thing… the Aventador SV, a high(er) performance Aventador which takes an already fast car and adds a touch of insanity. When the car is revealed in full at the show I’ll definitely be covering this.
[Source: Lamborghini, YouTube]

Ernest Hemmings, 1926-2015

It’s not very often that my weekly news recap has to end on a sad note, but this week the automotive community lost a man whose passion for classic cars sparked the creation of an institution for those who share in that passion. Ernest Robert Hemmings, the father of Hemmings Motor News, died peacefully in his hometown of Quincy, Illinois at age 89, his son confirmed to Hemmings Blog.
Ernest (or Ernie) started out as a parts dealer for antique Fords in 1945 when cars like the Model T and A were still common used cars and steadily built a national reputation as a top dealer for old Ford parts. In 1954, he published his first newsletter, Hemmings Motor News, to advertise parts and antique cars for sale. He soon became a major figure in the awesome world of classic car restoration and ownership, earning over 40,000 newsletter/magazine subscribers by the time he sold the publication to a fellow classic car hobbyist who then expanded Hemmings Motor News into the empire it is today.
From one car enthusiast to another, thank you, Ernie, and rest easy.
[Source: Hemmings Blog]

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    1. skitter Avatar

      Vs. Ford GT.
      I’ll have my popcorn with M&Ms, Sour Patch Kids, and Animal Crackers, please.

  1. faberferrum Avatar

    Dear Mercedes, can I please have pedestrian-dissecting carbon fiber blades on my road car too? The proles need thinning out around here…