The News for January 20th, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT
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. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • 2018 Ford Mustang debuts with a new face, more power, and better handling across the board

  • BMW 4 Series gets a mid-life refresh and better handling too

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition launches in Europe and eventually in America

  • Shelby American celebrates 50 years of the Super Snake with 750 horsepower

  • Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic arrives on an important anniversary

  • Land Rover to start using VR to let customers experience new models before they’re out

  • Dodge releases another Demon teaser video which promises less weight

  • What’s your automotive news?

2018 Ford Mustang

2018 Ford Mustang V8 GT
Ford is giving the Mustang a comprehensive round of updates for the 2018 model year that’s certainly gotten the internet talking. It gets a face lift, new tech, more power, more gears, and better handling across the board and one less V6 to pick from. Ford calls it the most advanced Mustang ever and the public will get a chance to try it out this fall.
Starting with what might be the only controversial thing about this car, the refreshed design mostly reworks the car’s face to have a lower hood and grille for the purpose of refining aerodynamics and providing a leaner look. Its lower grilles are redesigned as well and the hood vents are positioned closer to the car’s nose. Additionally, the entire Mustang line will have all-LED front lights for the first time ever. At the rear, its LED tail lights are lightly redesigned as well as most of the bumper and fascia and there’s a new spoiler option. EcoBoost cars have dual-tip exhaust and the V8 cars now have a standard quad-tip exhaust. The Mustang comes with a dozen alloy wheel designs and a new Orange Fury paint option (pictured).
New Ford Mustang V8 GT
The Mustang’s interior also gets some love with improved touch points and a more premium look achieved by a hand-stitched center console wrap, contrast stitching, padded knee bolsters, and restyled seating surfaces. Door handles, rings, and bezels are finished in aluminum. There’s a new twelve-inch LCD gauge cluster with plenty of customization options as well as three preset display modes (normal, sport, track).
Now for the good stuff. Both the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and the 5.0-liter V8 receive numerous updates all in the name of speed. The EcoBoost gets a recalibrated overboost function to provide more torque at full throttle. Meanwhile, the V8 benefits from Ford’s new dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection which translates to more low-end torque, greater power up top, and improved fuel efficiency.
Ford Mustang GT Convertible - ingot silver
The press release doesn’t say exactly how much power and torque these engines are making, but the six-speed manual on the Mustang GT was reinforced with a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel to handle it. The new automatic transmission option is an in-house ten-speed unit that offers quicker shifts, better low-speed tip-in response, and reduced friction losses.
But it gets faster in other ways too thanks to new shock absorbers across all models, a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension, and new stabilizer bars. And perhaps more importantly, the advanced MagneRide suspension from the GT350 can be added to the standard Mustangs with the Performance Package.
2018 Ford Mustang Interior
Other bits of new tech include a new active-valve exhaust system on the Mustang GT, Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass (an app that lets you start, lock, unlock, and locate your car from your phone), Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection (how about that), distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and Driver Alert System.
We don’t have pricing info yet but I’d expect a bit of a price hike here. We’ll know more closer to the car’s launch this fall.
[Source: Ford]

2018 BMW 4 Series/M4

BMW also released a mid-life refresh for their coupe this week but the changes aren’t nearly as dramatic as the Mustang’s. In fact, most people won’t really be able to discern which one is the newest, but I promise the changes are there. The 2018 BMW 4 Series and M4 line gets a very minor face lift and the latest version of their infotainment systems while the normal 4 Series Coupe, Convertible, and Gran Coupe also get revised suspension, paint colors, and other minor updates.
Starting with the subtle design tweaks first, restyled LED headlights take the place of the old car’s xenon units. The biggest differences in their actual design seems to be with the angel eyes, which are now more angular and no longer wrap all the way around the projectors, and the outer edges of the lens which are now cleaner and less cluttered than before. They also provide redesigned LED tail lamps that sort of mimic their organic LED design that debuted on the M4 GTS, standard LED fog lamps, modified air intakes, and a revised front and rear apron.
The LCI 4 Series also launches with a range of new wheel options, depending on which line (sport, luxury, M Sport, etc.) you pick. Joining the options list as well are two new paint colors, Sunset Orange and Snapper Rocks Blue. The interior remains largely unchanged, but there’s new electroplated detailing, chrome accents, and a high-gloss black center console to reinforce a high quality look and feel. There’s also three new upholstery colors and three new options for accent trim.
While enjoying the new interior, drivers can also enjoy the new “Navigation System Professional” with a new control pad that’s easier to use as well as the optional Multifunctional Instrument Display which gives the driver a choice of different visuals depending on their driving mode. That instrument display appears to be the same system already available on cars like the 5 and 6 Series, but it’s just now making its way down the lineup. I got to sample it once and it’s pretty neat and not as gimmicky as I was expecting.
All new 4 Series models get a stiffer suspension setup that they say can deliver sportier handing with improved lateral and longitudinal dynamics without compromising ride comfort. This applies to the standard suspension as well as the optional adaptive suspension and M-Sport suspension.
As for the M4, the only changes it takes from the standard 4 Series redesign are the new full-LED headlights, LED tail lights, and the new navigation system. It also gets some additional cabin updates to make it even sportier or something.
The cars shown here are Euro spec, but I wouldn’t expect much of a change when they come stateside. Pricing and a US launch date haven’t been confirmed yet.
[Source: BMW]

Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Edition

As Alfa Romeo prepares to launch the Stelvio crossover in Europe and eventually to any other countries that can take it, they’ve revealed the First Edition Stelvios that give us a glimpse at what a more civilian Stelvio looks like. So far we’ve only seen it as a high-performance Quadrifoglio with more aggressive styling, but we now get to see how most of them will look.
The Stelvio First Edition may differ slightly from other comparable Stelvios as part of its first-batch exclusivity, but it seems to use all the same equipment that any other Stelvio can come with. For starters, it’s powered by the entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. That power gets shuffled to all four wheels through an also standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the entry level four-cylinder power, it still runs from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Styling-wise, it’s still a sporty and impossibly attractive shape for a crossover even without the extra Quadrifoglio applications. The split five spoke twenty-inch wheels are standard on the First Edition as well but it remains to be seen whether this is unique to this special model or not.
The interior is just as elegant and upscale as on the last one we saw, but with an obvious emphasis on comfort. Fine Italian leather and authentic wood trim make it look and feel as upscale as an Italian crossover should while an 8.8-inch infotainment system, digital gauge cluster, and a suite of safety systems keep it modern.
It’ll go on sale in the US sometime this spring looking more or less like this First Edition here. Prices aren’t available yet.
[Source: Alfa Romeo via Autoweek]


Shelby American will use this month’s Barrett-Jackson auctions to debut the new Super Snake, one of 500 scheduled for production. Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Super Snake Mustang, this new beast has more power than the original could have ever hoped for; the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is available in 670 or 750 horsepower variants. In top trim, it’ll take care of the 0-60 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. Fortunately, it has a full load of other supporting mods like high-performance dampers, sway bars, springs, bushings, Wilwood six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers, and lightweight forged aluminum wheels.
Visually, everything in the Shelby parts catalog and more was thrown at it for a menacing look that pays tribute to the original. The basic Super Snake pack starts at $69,995 and that includes the cost of a standard 2017 Mustang GT, but there’s plenty of other options that can greatly add to that price tag. But if you want to say you own the first 2017 Super Snake, don your best Hawaiian shirt and head over to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale later this month.
[Source: Shelby American]
Land Rover is gearing up for the launch of the ultimate Range Rover and it’s coming at a very appropriate time. When the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic launches at US dealerships this month, it’ll be almost exactly 30 years since the first Range Rover in North America. The SVAutobiography Dynamic, with its immensely powerful 550-hp V8 taken from the Range Rover SVR and top-tier luxury taken from their other high end models, it’s a heck of a way to celebrate 30 years of the Range Rover in America. They also took the chance to reflect on how the Range Rover has evolved over the years into what it is now and they’ve put together a video to show it. Here’s to another 30.
[Source: Land Rover]
Land Rover is fully embracing the latest VR trend and will soon allow customers to immerse themselves in their virtual vehicles. VR kits are being shipped out to US retailers this month for the sole purpose of allowing potential customers to “experience” their upcoming models before they’re even out. Retailers will be able to connect customers to a virtual tour of any current or future Land Rover where they can see and interact with a life-size model through a VR headset. I think another potential here is allowing customers to configure their Land Rovers through VR so they can truly experience it before pulling the trigger, but I’d imagine that capability is on the way. They’re rolling this out to more than 1,500 retailers in 85 markets now. The future is now.
[Source: Land Rover]

Dodge released another teaser video for the new Demon, a Hellcat-beating Challenger that promises to live up to its name. We’re safely assuming it’ll have more power than the Hellcat’s 707 hp, but now we know for certain that it’ll be lighter as well. Some say it’ll be up to 200 pounds lighter but that’s unconfirmed. Looking at the video, they only briefly highlight all the areas that have been lightened for the sake of performance. It’s a neat way to show what parts we can expect to be new or maybe even removed on the Demon. There are also ten more teaser videos for this thing that will be released on a weekly basis. They may be featured here, but you can follow along at Dodge’s special website for it right here.
[Source: Dodge]

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.
Also be sure to check out our traditional Hooniversal Opinion post where we openly mock and/or praise all of the new cars on display at the LA Auto Show.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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21 responses to “The News for January 20th, 2017”

  1. ptschett Avatar

    I test drove a GMC Canyon, looked at a Colorado… and spent most of the rest of the week build & pricing Ram 1500’s.

    1. Ross Ballot Avatar
      Ross Ballot

      Didn’t like the GM twins?

      1. ptschett Avatar

        They’re alright… but the problem midsize pickups always seem to have is the value versus a full-size, which I can overcome if I like the midsize enough (e.g. when I bought my Dakota) but the Coloranyon are fighting against 8 years of me liking the current Ram.

    2. GTXcellent Avatar

      I wasn’t around last Friday to weigh in with my opinion, so whether you want it or not: It sounds like you really want the soon to be coming Jeep Scrambler (they have to call it a Scrambler don’t they? Don’t they?) and your Dakota did fit your needs perfectly – why not just find another as a filler until the Jeep is here?
      Regarding the Canyorado – personally I didn’t like the one I rode in. For being a pretty big truck (outside really isn’t that different from a full-size), the interior felt really cramped for me.

      1. ptschett Avatar

        It did fit my needs very well, but I was starting to get into the boredom window after 12 years anyway, and it seems like most of what’s out there for used ones is either configurations I wouldn’t want (e.g. base model, apparently ex-USDA Farm Service Agency or state-DOT V6’s) or high enough mileage that I wonder what impending repair bill was being avoided.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    The Stelvio definitely looks like Steroido.
    Maybe this outstanding community can help me with something I did just today. For a year or so, I have been driving like this in my Honda:
    Tried to change the light bulbs, but it was the instrument itself that was gone. Now I finally found a used one at a workable price (downside of rare cars), and guess which bulbs were out?:
    Anyway, it was only bulbs, everything is in place. The new speedometer unit is 12099km short though, which makes this an unlawful operation. Is there any shortcut for me to let the car’s data unit override the speedometer? Magic?

    1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

      Put it up on blocks and put it in gear. Let it run until it hits the correct mileage?

    2. ptschett Avatar

      IIRC here in the USA there are two choices – either the new cluster would have to be set to the correct mileage for the vehicle, or it would have to be set to zero and would need a label added somewhere adequately official to state that the actual mileage is the sum of the original cluster reading when it was taken out and the new cluster’s accumulation.

    3. nanoop Avatar

      Illegal in Norway (or Germany, for that matter)? Not if the info is passed on:
      * to the insurance right away, even if you don’t have a distance cap.
      * to the buyer when selling the car.
      With service reminders and such features, you may want it corrected properly. Since odos may break, Honda will have a workshop routine to set the new device to the new value instead of 000000. This will probably cost you USD180, though.
      So just put a line into the maintenance book, and later into both the ad and the sales contract: “On (date) at x km: odo swapped, new used odo displayed y km at installation.”

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        That’s much what I figured, but I’ll have to ask my local Honda shop. Can’t be more than a plug-in-beep-plug-out-operation. Good advice about the insurance, haven’t really thought that far yet.

  3. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    Damn, the Stelvio doesn’t look as good in light colors as it does in the dark red they’ve shown. Just too much happening up front that’s too big.
    4 Series: I feel like with every change, they make it more and more of a GT car. Not a good thing for enthusiasts, but probably a good call for their consumer base.
    Dodge Demon…pretty excited for this. Guessing 800 HP/TQ, 305s out back. Still not that impressive 0-60, but an absolute monster from 60-160.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      The thing that stands out to me is the (reverse) scallop above the Alfa badge. I’m prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt because it is just a CGI image, it may be better in the metal.

  4. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    Finally got new spark plugs for my car and they’re going in this weekend. A friend and I will be doing it at the garage he works at while he also applies finishing touches to his ’01 Mustang Cobra conversion. He’s got the motor from another friend’s busted Lincoln Mk.VIII, which I guess is comparable to the Cobra motor, and fully upgraded suspension to go with it. This’ll be fun…

  5. CraigSu Avatar

    Anybody have an opinion on the Chevy Avalanche? I really want a new Honda Ridgeline but $35,000 is a bit steep right now and all but the really high mileage older models are holding their resale values close to new ones. I noticed this 2009 Avalanche for sale close to me ( and wondered if it might be a viable option. Assuming it’s well-kept the price doesn’t seem out of line for one that’s this low mileage. I realize the gas mileage on the V8 won’t be great but it would put me closer to a 4-door truck than I could get in the Ridgeline.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      I’m looking to replace a Dakota and the Avalanche is on my radar too (a coworker drives one.) They’re closer to a Suburban than a crew-cab Silverado so more likely to fit in a garage, and they have the SUV suspension and interior so they ride nice and they’re fairly luxurious. Also of course the box is pretty clever, it can be a trunk or a conventional pickup box or (with midgate down) an extended-length enclosed space to haul things like sheetrock without it getting wet.

      1. CraigSu Avatar

        That actually sounds a lot more like the Ridgeline than I thought. SUV chassis like the Ridgeline is built off the Pilot and the ride to go with it. The locking bed (although without the embedded trunk) is also similar. I admit I never really paid much attention to the Avalanche when it came out other than its party piece midgate. I’ll have to look more closely. Might even be cheaper to insure.

    2. gerberbaby Avatar

      I owned a 2003 Av for 12 years. Decent reliability. Plan on wheel bearings every 120k. I did mine twice. Engine and tranny were bulletproof. 16mpg for entire life of truck. Midgate worked well. Back seat is a little upright for long trips. Heated seats still worked when I sold it.

  6. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Is there a real stripper Mustang available, without the go-fast body styling? I’m thinking something that looks more LX than GT or SVO?

    1. Guest Avatar

      Mustang trim levels seem to revolve around the engine, and the cheapest Mustang is the one they are phasing out, the V6.

      The most recognizable aspect of its pedestrian roots is the smaller rims with tires that actually have something resembling sidewalls.

  7. nanoop Avatar

    I was on the annual Christmas meet-up of the local chapter of the P-club, my first time since the timing was unfit for me in former years.
    I am slightly amazed how nice those folks were I could talk to – some of them are driving (new) cars worth multiple annual gross salaries of humble Nanoop, and they gave the impression of being honestly interested in how big the rust issue was on my 944, and who of them could take a look (most of them turn a wrench on a track day/project car, too, which is a second fact I wasn’t aware of). Professions or other social status signatures were never a topic, only cars, driving, idiotic stuff anecdotes that happened on track and in workshop. I can’t imagine this would have been as enjoyable in the equivalent event in Germany…

  8. peugeotdude505 Avatar

    I may be taking over a lease on a 2014 Honda Fit DX. The DX is a special base model trim for Canada only, no A/C, no keyless entry and only two speakers in the front !