The News for February 6th, 2015

Ford Focus RS
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:

  • Porsche turns up the WANT factor with the Cayman GT4

  • Ferrari’s newest mid-engine sports car goes turbocharged

  • Ford shows off the hoonworthy Focus RS

  • Nissan surprises with the GT-R LM and Maxima

  • Rolls-Royce channels stealth fighters for special Phantom

  • What was your automotive news?

Porsche Cayman GT4

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 should be known a the day Christmas arrived early for gear heads. This car, along with the two that follow, were all revealed on that day within hours of each other. It was a good day.
First up is the new Porsche Cayman GT4, the newest member of the venerable Porsche GT family. If there were ever any doubts that the Cayman couldn’t hang with other world-class sports cars, the GT4 should be able to rectify that. The Cayman GT4 follows in the footsteps of 911 GT3s before it by offering more power, more aero, and less weight than the standard car it’s based on.
Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7
The Cayman GT4 is powered by an upgraded 3.8-liter flat-six engine pulled from the 911 Carrera S. This mill provides a cool 385 horsepower to the rear wheels and is delivered exclusively through a six-speed manual transmission with dynamic gearbox mounts. 0-60 mph takes just 4.2 seconds and the top track speed is 183 mph. All that in a car as small and light as a Cayman.
The Cayman GT4’s various handling upgrades include a stiffer and lower suspension (by 30 mm) as well as a “generous” braking system borrowed from the 911 GT3 with ceramic composite brakes as an option. Its track ability is further enhanced by the noticeable aero updates, which for the first time on the Cayman adds downforce at both axles by way of larger front openings with a splitter and a kitchen table of a fixed rear wing.
The interior of the Porsche Cayman GT4 is as serious about track days as everything else on the car is. A compact GT4 sport steering wheel promises ideal control and direct feedback and there’s Alcantara galore. Optional full bucket seats made of carbon composite and a custom Sport Chrono Package featuring a “Track Precision App” are optional.
Porsche’s mighty Cayman GT4 will make its full debut at the Geneva motor show in March and will arrive in US dealers this July. Pricing will start at $84,600.
[Source: Porsche]

Ferrari 488 GTB

Ferrari has decided that the time was right to replace the 458 Italia and will do so with this, the 488 GTB. As you can tell from the photo, it doesn’t look substantially different than the 458 Italia aside from the new face and a few other touches. The purpose of the 488 GTB isn’t to be a full redesign, but rather to debut a brand new engine that totally isn’t the same one in the California T and renew what might be their most important offering , their mid-engine V8 super car, with lessons learned from Formula 1, the World Endurance Challenge, and their various XX programs.
The totally new engine (and not the same as the California T’s) is a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 661 horsepower and 560 lb.-ft. of torque. That enables a 0-60 time of three seconds flat, a 0-124 time of 8.3 seconds, a top speed of 205 mph, and a Fiorano lap time of 1:23, which is to say that it’s fast. And it’s going to be crashed a lot.
Fortunately, Ferrari has designed the car to be fast and out of the bushes even in the hands of someone with the slightest bit of skill by including a new and less invasive (to an extent) slip angle control system, active dampers, and variable torque management which provides a smooth buildup of torque throughout the rev range.
As for the car’s styling updates, the first thing onlookers will notice is the new face which now resembles their F1 car more than it needs to used to. Slightly revised headlamps are another subtle touch. Down each side of the car is the next most noticeable thing: the massive air intakes which harken back to the 308 GTB. Out back there’s a new diffuser and exhaust configuration as well as Ferrari’s own “blown spoiler” which creates downforce without creating extra drag.
We’ll see more of this car at the Geneva motor show.
[Source: Ferrari via Autoweek]

Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS
Ford kicked off the early Christmas on Tuesday with the debut of their most anticipated car (besides the GT), the all-new third generation Focus RS. The big news with this one – other than the performance – is that it will finally go on sale in the United States along with the rest of the civilized world when it launches… uhh, eventually.
The street-legal rally car is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four banger borrowed from the EcoBoost Mustang with a few upgrades. A new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger, larger intercooler, and a more open intake and exhaust helped Ford get more out of the existing engine. The upgrades yield results in the form of power output “well in excess of” 315 horsepower. That power can only be tamed through a six-speed manual transmission.
Crucially, the Focus RS is driven by all four wheels thanks to the new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Torque Vectoring Control. The new AWD system is designed for enhanced agility and maximum grip and use twin electronically controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit to control the front/rear and side-to-side torque split. A maximum of 70% of the car’s torque can be sent to the rear wheels and all of that 70% can be sent to just one rear wheel. And yes, Ken Block was a consultant on this project.
Ford Focus RS
So the Focus RS can achieve oversteer as Block intended, but thanks to the AWD system’s super-fast reflexes and intelligent torque control, it can also virtually eliminate understeer. The RS also features bespoke chassis enhancements such as new springs, two-way dampers (for track and everything else), bushings, antiroll bars, and quicker steering response to boot. Ford partnered with Michelin to create a tire package (235/35/R19) that allows Focus RS buyers to either select the standard Pilot Super Sport tires or Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
There is of course a large amount of new bodywork at all corners of the car, but that all serves the purpose of aerodynamic stability at speed with zero lift.
All in all, the Focus RS has so much grip that Ford claims lateral acceleration of over 1G, which is something many full-fledged sports cars can’t accomplish. All that from a five-door.
[Source: Ford]


Nissan had two surprises in their Super Bowl commercial last Sunday when they revealed the Nismo GT-R LM and the 2016 Maxima. Both cars, while completely different, shared the spotlight for the 90-second commercial and both will be coming to their respective roads later this year. The Maxima, which closely follows the edgy concept, will make its full debut at the New York auto show and go on sale in the second half of this year. The Nismo GT-R LM is Nissan’s new LMP1 entry for this year’s World Endurance Challenge, which includes the all important 24 Hours of Le Mans. Nissan will take the fight to Audi, Porsche, and Toyota with a front-engine, front-wheel drive, and gas-electric machine. The best part about it? It shoots flames out of the hood. The second best part is that it will be at the Chicago Auto Show next week, which we’ll be covering LIVE-ish.
[Source: Nissan]
Rolls-Royce has a legendary role in aviation history as a top-notch engine provider, and for the Nighthawk special edition, they’ve channeled some of that. Just nine of these Rolls-Royce Phantom Nighthawks will be produced for the American market and each will have a theme inspired by modern stealth technology in the aerospace industry. Diamond black metallic paint, a matte black hood, and a windscreen surround that mimics radar-absorbent material give it a stealthy appearance while black leather with red accents and carbon fiber trim gives it that feeling inside. Even though it’s meant to be stealthy, this car will surely not go unnoticed.
[Source: Rolls-Royce]
That’s all I’ve got. Now it’s your turn – if you saw, drove, bought, sold, repaired, or broke anything that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments. Pictures are encouraged so I don’t have to keep digging them up myself!
My news is, uh, easy. My rear brake pads were getting low so my trusted mechanic put new ones on along with some shiny new rotors. Fun fact: did you know that you’re not supposed to cut BMW rotors? I didn’t know that until after we already turned the front rotors a little. It still brakes fine though so I guess we didn’t screw it up too much. Also fun fact: how do you convince rear brake rotors to move for the first time in 8 years? Hit them with a hammer.
[Source: me]

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  1. racer139 Avatar

    The RS must have some very crooked chompers… Look at the size of that retainer, its only missing some head gear! No matter though I still want one, anyone know what the out the door price will be and do I have to pay extra for the retainer? When will they hit showrooms?
    My automotive news, I backed the pig over a snow bank and the just hanging on flex pipe must have broke. The pig now sounds like a tank. As its a snowy mess here it make some crazy reverb sounds when I'm hard into the throttle and the traction control kicks in.

    1. GregKachadurian Avatar

      As far as I know, they haven't said when it will go on sale but surely by the end of the year. Same goes for pricing unfortunately.
      If you ask me, that retainer is begging for some rally lights to be bolted on…

  2. MrDPR Avatar

    The Ferrari is the pinnacle of lustworthy, the Porsche is the most capable and the Ford the most attainable.
    The Focus belongs in my garage.

  3. ptschett Avatar

    I'm a little surprised they didn't have a flappy-paddle dual-clutch transmission on the RS. (Then again, they seem to be having trouble making their DCT work at normal power levels in the Focus/Fiesta… and the last Ford self-shifter I trusted without reservation was a C6…)
    In personal news, my 2015 Challenger R/T is built and should be here later this month.

  4. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    Are the Nighthawks all convertibles dropheads? If so, they've really lost me as a customer for that and not a very large number of other reasons.
    Open motoring lets all the prole cooties in. Also rain.

  5. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Every time I see an RS emblem I have an urge to prefix an A and suffix an E.

    1. Charlie Avatar


      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Because funny joke. Never mind.
        Terrific cars, though.