The News for July 25th, 2014

Ladonda_led 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:

  • Aston Martin to bring back the Lagonda

  • Porsche updates the Cayenne

  • The Toyota Yaris grows up

  • Ford reveals the Falcon’s swan song

The Lagonda returns

Lagonda_crop Aston Martin confirms today that a nameplate which fans of theirs hold in high regard is returning. A very special product program aimed at bringing a super-exclusive super saloon to market in strictly limited numbers is responsible for reviving the name. That name… is Lagonda. The extra exclusive Aston Martin super saloon seeks to revive the Lagonda ethos of being “the finest of fast cars”, and from this one teaser shot we have, I think they’ll pull it off. Lagonda is built on an existing platform but takes a slightly different approach to the styling of its carbon fiber body panels, which is inspired by the 1976 Lagonda originally designed by William Towns. In comparison to that other saloon they make, it’s about a half meter longer, it sits lower, and likely has an interior that puts others to shame. Also, according to a fellow Hoon who has been spending the week in Aston Martin’s presence (a.k.a. not me or anyone not named Jeff), it won’t even wear any traditional Aston Martin badges, just special Lagonda emblems. Just to give you an idea of how super exclusive this is, they’re using the old One-77’s assembly building for the job. Aston Martin’s all-new Lagonda as shown will be available for sale by invitation only and only for Middle Eastern clients due to specific demand. However, word is that the Lagonda nameplate revival isn’t limited to just this one car. We can only hope. [Source: Aston Martin]

2015 Porsche Cayenne

cayenneturbo1 Porsche’s first SUV is getting a refresh as it enters it gets ready to enter its lucky thirteenth year in production as a 2015 model. Like most life cycle refresh stories I cover here, the 2015 Cayenne will mostly receive cosmetic updates inside and out, but there are still a couple more tricks up its sleeve which should make it even more attractive for people who want a sporty SUV. For starters, the Cayenne’s already sharp styling has become even sharper and more athletic (again, like everything else is). Precise lines and purposely placed light-refracting edges help it to stand out and the new face makes it a little nicer to look at. One interesting new design element are the front side blades, which not only make it look cooler, but are also functional at directing air to the intercoolers. Bi-xenon headlights with signature four-point daytime running lights are now standard on some trim levels. The taillights are also redone for a more elegant look and the tailpipes are more integrated into the bodywork, again, for elegance or something. Its interior hasn’t been left out, as it gets a new steering wheel which is inspired by the 918 Spyder and more comfortable rear seating. Ventilated rear seats are now an option as well. cayenneturbo2 Efficiency was a key focus on the 2015 Cayenne, and to achieve it, Porsche has added a new advanced auto stop/start function and advanced thermal management. Active air flaps on the front intake are also new which boosts highway fuel economy. Boosting fuel economy even further is the addition of the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, the first plug-in hybrid in its segment. On this new flavor, a 333 horsepower supercharged V6 is paired with a 95 horsepower electric motor (which can propel the car to 78 mph on its own) for a combined output of 416 horsepower and 435 lb.-ft. of torque. Factor in its 0-62 mph time of 5.4 seconds and its top speed of 151 mph and this plug-in hybrid is no joke. Having spent a good amount of time with the Panamera S E-Hybrid, I can tell you with confidence that this S E-Hybrid program of theirs just might be industry-leading. It’s that good. Other drivetrain changes include a 420 horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 in the Cayenne S which replaces the outgoing V8. That V6 is also in the Panamera S, which I can also say is a wonderful engine. The Cayenne S knocks out its 0-62 mph run in as little as 5.1 seconds (which the Sport Chrono Package) and will reach a top speed of 160 mph. A diesel version still remains with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 240 hp and 406 lb.-ft. of torque which brings improved efficiency. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo still keeps the 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 520 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. That engine, again from experience, is nothing short of mind-blowing. When placed inside this big SUV, it’s capable of a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds (with Sport Chrono) and a top speed of 173 mph. Fortunately for those that get the Turbo, every 2015 Cayenne comes with new chassis tuning which improves both handling and comfort. Prices are as follows: Cayenne Diesel – $61,700; Cayenne S – $74,100; Cayenne S E-Hybrid – $76,400; Cayenne Turbo $113,600. All 2015 Cayennes will launch November 1st of this year. [Source: Porsche]

2015 Toyota Yaris

2015_Toyota_Yaris_004 And now for a car which is getting more than just a face lift and power cord: the 2015 Toyota Yaris. The all-new sub-compact not only gets a totally new design, but it also gets a totally new attitude while still being a great value for new car buyers. Available as a three or five-door, the 2015 Yaris benefits from a new “energetic shape”, which I guess is how they say “it doesn’t look boring anymore”. Chrome grille treatment and a gaping mouth up front also help it look a bit more premium which they say also adds to its new attitude. Think of it as a budget car growing up a bit but not losing its sense of fun. Growing up is also the name of the game inside, with a totally new design and softer materials hopefully making it feel more expensive than it actually is. Hidden within those soft materials are nine standard airbags and extra sound insulation. 2015_Toyota_Yaris_008 Dynamically, the 2015 Yaris hopes to back up its aggressive face with a retuned suspension and more rigid body structure which will certainly help its handling. Power comes from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder DOHC gas engine which amounts to 106 horsepower and 103 lb.-ft. of torque. You get a choice of either a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic (its a budget car, remember?). Three trim levels will be available, including the base L, more premium LE, and the sportier SE. The base L offers most of what drivers really need in a car while the LE continues to add other things which drivers need. The SE adds the Yaris’s only touch of leather, which is on the steering wheel. Regardless of trim level, every Yaris gets a 6.1-inch touch screen media center, MP3 connectivity, HD Radio, voice recognition, and Bluetooth. Navigation is also available for the first time on a Yaris… as a dealer-installed option… hmm. Give me some glue and I can install any navigation system you want on any car for less. MSRP for the 2015 Toyota Yaris is $14,845 and the most expensive trim level starts at $16,880. [Source: Toyota]

2015 Ford Falcon XR8

falconxr8 Australia will soon be losing a national treasure when the Ford Falcon is sent to the stockyard in a few years’ time. But before it’s gone forever, the Falcon will be receiving a fresh new life-cycle update for its final few years on this earth. What you see here, sadly, is the Falcon’s swan song. The final Falcon draws clear visual inspiration from other global Ford products, like our current Fusion and Europe’s Mondeo. It’s still undeniably a Falcon though and most of its body panels are carried over from the previous model. Seeing as how the XR8 model, as shown here, retains its 5.0-liter V8, it’s definitely undeniably a Falcon. Us Northern hemisphere folk will just have to sit and admire the final production run of the Ford Falcon from afar as it roasts its tires into the sunset. And man, will we admire. [Source: Ford of Australia via Autoblog]

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