The News for June 22nd, 2018

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:

  • The 8 Series is officially back

  • Chevrolet builds new crossover, calls it the Blazer

  • Porsche invests in Rimac for future EV collabs

  • Mazda confirms new updates for 2019 MX-5

  • Ford teases one-off Mustang honoring WWII Eagle Squadrons

  • What’s your automotive news?

2019 BMW M850i xDrive

BMW has finally dropped official pictures and full details on the 8 Series revival 20 years in the making, and as they do, it was shown like an hour before last week’s news went live while I was busy at work. Thanks, BMW. You’ve probably seen everything there is to see about it by now, but if you’ve been actively avoiding it and thought you’d be safe from it here… sorry.
The 8 Series is back as the new range-topper offering their highest level of luxury and tech in a car that, in this spec at least, is quite fast. The last 8 Series was all those things as well so it’s looking like a faithful revival.
It’s a big car (as the memes will tell you) but technically shorter than the 6 Series Coupe it replaces. BMW attempted to slim the car a bit with a low-slung design, an elongated silhouette with slim window pillars, a long wheelbase, and a wide track. It has a nose that’s described as elaborate and jutting and the M850i in particular gets even larger air openings. It comes standard with full LED headlights with BMW LaserLight technology.

The interior design is par the course for a high(er)-end BMW with a clear arrangement of controls and a digital gauge cluster. Front seat occupants are treated to new sport seats which offer long distance comfort plus standard Merino Individual leather upholstery. The two rear seats have a 50:50 split fold for added backseat comfort.
Some of the car’s numerous features and available extras include enhanced front seat cooling, new cabin accent lighting that can pulsate and change colors in certain situations (like an incoming call, for some reason), a standard Harman Kardon audio system with sixteen speakers and a digital amplifier, and the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with fully active 16-channel amplifier with an output of 1,375 watts, dynamic equalizing and 16 partly illuminated speakers… you know, just in case a sixteen-speaker Harman Kardon system wasn’t enough. Oh and the gear shift level and other controls can be opted in glass.

Now for the good stuff. The M850i xDrive is powered by a 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 with enough tinkering done to up the power to 523 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is channeled through an eight-speed automatic with wider gear ratios to keep revs low at high speeds and quicker shifts thanks to optimized hydraulics control.
The xDrive all-wheel-drive system this particular model comes standard with is much like the systems we’ve seen in newer models, but slightly improved in ways I won’t bother discussing. All you need to know is it can completely disengage the front axle at will so you can have good ole RWD whenever you want.
When you let xDrive do its thing though, this 4,478-lb grand tourer accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and goes until the limiter kicks in at 155 mph.
The new 8 Series was still in development as the M8 GTE/GTLM took to the track and they swear the road car benefits from it in the chassis department. The highlights are the double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle, sharper electromechanical steering, super responsive M Adaptive Suspension with electronically-controlled dampers, rear-axle steering, active roll stabilization, and a powerful braking system developed exclusively for the 8. In short, it can put the power down and move like a car its size shouldn’t.
Maybe. We’ll find out when it goes on sale this fall.
[Source: BMW]

2019 Chevrolet Blazer

If you told me Chevrolet was turning the Camaro into an SUV as we all know is inevitable and showed me this picture, I wouldn’t have doubted you for a second. Chevrolet was in a money-printing mood so they’ve brought back a familiar name for a new “sporty” SUV because it’s what the people want. This new mid-size SUV finds a gap between Equinox and the Traverse and certainly emphasizes the ‘S’ part of SUV more than the other two or any SUV in their lineup.
That sportiness starts and ends with the styling, which they describe as the “boldest, most progressive expression of the Chevrolet crossover design theme”. It sports a wide stance, tight proportions, a high beltline, and “dramatic” sculpting to give it a toned and athletic appearance. And apparently it looked at what Toyota were doing with their grilles and thought “yes, that’s a great idea”. But besides that, it manages to be the less offensive-looking thing GM has designed recently.

Inside, the dash looks very similar to that of the Camaro, all the way down to the 8-inch color touchscreen that’ll probably force you to see your passenger’s crotch in the screen glare. It’s real, I swear. Other sporty interior features include padded knee area, grab handles on the door, and… wait for it… round air vents. I never thought I’d live to see the day when SUVs come with that.
Power comes from a standard 2.5-liter I4 engine rated at 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque or an optional 3.6-liter V6 offering 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The transmission of choice is a nine-speed automatic which channels power to the front or all four wheels depending on the model. The more well-optioned Blazers will get a more sophisticated twin-clutch AWD system that may help it not get stuck in grass.

Because they assume people will be towing with this and not the Silverado HD they bought “just in case”, they gave it some towing assistance features like Hitch Guidance and Hitch View to help take advantage of its 4,500-pound towing capacity (V6 only).
You’ll have until early 2019 to decide if it’s the right crossover for you or if you should pretend this doesn’t exist. The pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it’ll be described as the “best value in its class” once it is.
[Source: Chevrolet]

Porsche invests in Rimac

One of the most underrated players in the electric car space is Rimac Automobili from Croatia. Their EV supercars have probably been best known as the latest car that Richard Hammond crashed, but they deserve to be noted for their groundbreaking performance. Porsche agrees, which is why they purchased a 10% stake in the company.
“By developing the purely electric two-seater super sports cars, like the ‘Concept One’ or ‘C Two,’ as well as core vehicle systems, Rimac has impressively demonstrated its credentials in the field of electromobility,” said Lutz Meschke, an important dude with a big important-sounding title. “We feel that Rimac’s ideas and approaches are extremely promising, which is why we hope to enter into close collaboration with the company in the form of a development partnership.”
Rimac’s ideas include making an EV go stupid fast. The Concept One produced 1,224 horsepower and 1,180 lb.-ft. of torque which allowed for a 2.5-second 0-60 time and a top speed of 220 mph. The upcoming Concept Two is making 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 lb.-ft. of torque and does the 60 sprint in 1.85 seconds. The promised top speed is 258 mph.
Their battery tech is also on par with the big budget automotive giants. The C-One had a some 200-mile range on a full charge and had quick charging capabilities. The C-Two is expected to have over 400 miles on tap.
Rimac is an exciting company to watch and the fact that Porsche is partnering with them means shit’s getting real.
[Source: Autoweek]

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

A Japanese publication recently reported on some updates for the 2019 MX-5 that we could only assume were true based on how detailed the report was. Well a week later, Mazda made it official.
The biggest change is under the hood. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets thoroughly reworked to produce 181 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. It has a richer torque curve throughout the entire rev range and that range now tops out at 7,500 RPM. The highlights of the powertrain updates are a reduction in internal mass and friction, reduction in exhaust loss, improved combustion, dual-mass flywheel, and a new final drive ratio in automatic models.
And yes, the steering wheel now telescopes. Additionally, the doors are easier to open, the seat levers have been revised, and the cup holders are better. Mazda also added a brown canvas top option and new black metallic 17″ wheels. It also gets a new standard rearview camera and newly available features such as Traffic Sign Recognition and Smart City Brake Support among other safety features gained in the higher trim levels.
But most importantly, it has round air vents so you know it’s a real sports car.
[Source: Mazda]

Eagle Squadron Mustang GT

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is coming up, so you know what that means. Ford does a one-off every year with a unique aviation theme for an auction that benefits EAA’s youth education programs. They’ve been doing it for over a decade now with the Mustang… until last year when they decided it should be done with a Raptor for the F-22 Raptor theme. This year though they’re going back to their roots with a Mustang that’s being teased here.
The subjects of this year’s theme are the Eagle Squadrons, a group of American volunteer fighter pilots in three squadrons who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II prior to America’s involvement. Pro drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his RTR brand were involved, so you know where this is going.
The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT features a Ford Performance supercharger which kicks out 700 horsepower, an RTR carbon wide-body kit, and a Tactical Performance suspension kit.
As for the theme, it sports the same kind of camo you’d expect from an RAF Spitfire in WWII complete with yellow accents. white tail stripe, and the Eagle Squadron emblem on the roof. It also wears tail number EN783 which, according to The American Air Museum, was on a MkVb Spitfire that served in the No. 71 Squadron and the 334th Eagle Squadrons.
Before the Eagle Squadron Mustang gets auctioned off in Wisconsin, Vaughn Gittin Jr. will give it a dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s fitting not just because of the RAF ties, but also because the Eagle Squadrons would’ve flown over the fields of Goodwood all those years ago.
Sadly this is the only picture released so far, but this is a one-off show car I can’t wait to see more of.
[Source: Ford]

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 © 2018 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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49 responses to “The News for June 22nd, 2018”

  1. tonyola Avatar

    The BMW 8-series looks pretty nice on the outside but those gauges on the dashboard are seriously overstyled.

    1. Schigleymischke Avatar

      That’s not the car’s position on the track?

    2. nanoop Avatar

      I think the hood is too high, but I also refuse to compliment BMW design since 1990-ish. (I like the interior of the i3 though).

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Good call on the hood, especially in view of the original 8-series hood being pretty low. They should also have said to the stylists that they had to delete 75% of the styling lines on the rear end, especially considering this isn’t the M version. The racing guys didn’t like it, they cut the bottom half off!
        I am amused too how BMW is all “first 8 in 20 years”, “pay no attention to the old 6 series, it is purely coincidental that just went out of production and was baabasica the same as this”. Perhaps it should have been 8 all along, they could have charged more for it!

      2. Zentropy Avatar

        You can probably blame pedestrian impact laws for that tall hood. I agree, though, that BMW design isn’t nearly as appealing as it used to be. Peaked in the 80s, as far as I’m concerned (though I do think the E38 is still particularly handsome even today).

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          A lower hood line would be possible – the Jag F Type for example.

          1. Zentropy Avatar

            Yeah, the Jag F looks better, but I don’t think its hood is much lower. I think they just did a better job hiding it. Regardless, it’s a BMW coupe, which isn’t destined to scorch the sales floor either way.

          2. outback_ute Avatar

            I think the Jag might have some sort of pop-up system too, which I can understand BMW avoiding although avoiding compromise on one of their flagship cars would be a good idea. Even if it cost a couple of thousand more, I doubt it would affect sales.

  2. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    Well I finally got an update on my Mustang but it wasn’t what I was hoping for…. I finally have a build date of August 20th. What the dealer neglected to tell me (and I didn’t think about it) is that because it’s a 2019 model they won’t even start till the later half of the year. I was thinking it would be here by now, but no, they’re just starting. 2. More. Months. :'(

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      Dude. Shut-up. That’s the proper process of buying a vehicle.
      Imagine if everyone ordered a car made to their liking instead of buying whatever gray, beige appliance with leather seats that’s been sitting in some dealer’s lot.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian


      2. Citric Avatar

        Sometimes you get lucky and the exact vehicle you want is sitting on the lot already.
        Or, in the case of my last car, you need something that week because a Dominoes driver blows a stop sign and you’re able to get close enough to what you want on the dealer lot. If I had to drive my fiancee’s half-broken focus for two months something would die. Probably the Focus.

      3. mdharrell Avatar

        I’m of the opinion that the proper process of buying a vehicle is to give a handful of cash to some random person found via Craigslist and then hope for the best. So far, so… good?

        1. nanoop Avatar

          The person doesn’t have to be on CL necessarily.

    2. ptschett Avatar

      Could be worse… my dad wanted to order a 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4 with the regular non-eTorque Hemi last week and apparently they’re only taking orders for the eTorque powertrains now. Allegedly per the Mopar rumor sites they’re not turning the non-eTorque Hemi back on for ordering till actual calendar-year 2019.

  3. Kamil K Avatar

    My big news is – over two hours and no one event attempted to solve today’s Mystery Car. Lame.

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      Sorry man, it’s obviously something built after the Nixon administration so I’ve got no idea and not a clue as to where to start.

      1. Kamil K Avatar

        I had to google it but… the development started in the year Nixon left office.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Now that’s helpful for us of Generation Xnoflake.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      I came, I saw, I had nothing…

  4. Citric Avatar

    Alright, the ‘floating’ roof trend on crossovers needs to end. The Blazer isn’t the worst example of it – that would be the next Toyota Rav4 – but it looks so much worse than it would with a solid color pillar.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      That’s the mystery car this week, right?

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      Never seen one of those. And I thought the Volvo 740 was boxy…
      Might be cool as a wagon.

  5. GTXcellent Avatar

    I may be in the minority, but I’m just going to say it anyways – I HATE this new Blazer. I hate that C pillar arrangement, I hate the front end, I hate the extremely high belt line and gun-slit windows (isn’t that the biggest gripe with the camero camaro? Why emphasize that mess?) I hate that it’s just another FWD/AWD crossover and I hate that it sullies the name Blazer. I think I need a shower to wash off all this haterade.

  6. Fred Avatar

    I have no real car news, except my old Texas Acura dealer found a way past Googles spam filter. Including company emails and local dealers I got about 20 emails, mostly to buy a RDX. Unsubscribed again, and they are now back in my spam box. Oh and I got a couple snail mails as well. No phone calls or IM, so I’m grateful for that.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Start posting this on car-related sites all over the interwebs, but be sure to include the dealer’s full name and address. That’ll warn others who are car-shopping to avoid this dealer, and maybe once the dealer catches on they’ll stop pissing you off.

  7. neight428 Avatar

    I’ll add another thumbs down on this Blazer. I had no idea they were resuscitating the model name, and now I know why they didn’t hype it. It looks like every other midsize CUV out there (what’s with the C/D-pillar thing, why must everyone copy each other on this odd quirk?). Perhaps Chevy figured the model name for dead to anyone that cared after the S-10 based version soldiered on for a decade beyond obsolescence and didn’t want to bother with coming up with any new ideas.
    I’ll dust off one of my usual rants here too. Every time some talented kid with photoshop makes a decent rendering of what a modern Silverado/Ram/F150 based 2-door SUV might look like, the whole automotive enthusiast community on the internet goes apesh_t over something that every full sized truck manufacturer could make from stuff in the parts bin. It’s like some respected professor of car sales must have decreed that a full sized 2-door SUV will bankrupt your company.
    Ford is kind of halfway going there with the new Bronco, but it’s mid sized.

        1. neight428 Avatar

          An acceptable answer.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      In fairness the enthusiast community regularly goes primate faeces over things it won’t actually buy with it’s own money new.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Yep, not some respected professor of car sales, just past experience..
        Note that elsewhere in the world there is a pickup based Trailblazer SUV, it does however have Too Many Devices.

        1. neight428 Avatar

          Given the success of Raptors and Wranglers these days, I sense more of an opportunity. My guess is that the four door Tahoes and Expeditions will indeed always sell better, and that the sales of the two doors cannibalized four door sales more than they brought in new buyers when they had both, so the marginal development cost was deemed not worth it. But with six SUV’s in a brand’s lineup, this seems more differentiated relatively. Maybe I am just the one guy that would actually buy one.

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            They will sell, no doubt, but I’d expect the sales will be like sports cars, an initial surge then slowing off.

          2. crank_case Avatar

            Retro styled Ford Thunderbird springs to mind, boomers throwing money at dealers, then you couldn’t give them away. I think people are just moving away from 2 door vehicles in general unless it’s sports car or coupe, e.g. the two door hatchback is slowly dying out in Europe, even the regular mini can be had with back doors.

          3. neight428 Avatar

            Alas, I think you’re right. The Toyota FJ Cruiser was short lived, but well loved by a few. I think they had half doors or something.

          4. outback_ute Avatar

            Half doors would surely help things. Plus I gather the FJ Cruisers basically don’t depreciate now, which indicates that people want them – perhaps a good sign for the Bronco.

  8. Zentropy Avatar

    I’m genuinely disappointed that Chevrolet is going the way of Lexus on grille design. That’s both derivative and unattractive. I realize Chevy is having an identity crisis, but damn.
    On the home front, I’m still driving on completely spent upper control arms. I say “drive” which means “when I really need to drive a real car”. But in reality, the family minivan is currently bearing most of the task. My crippled old E28 gets out when I can’t stand the thought of FWD anymore. I swear, it’s going to the shop soon. (I have the parts.)

  9. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    So… what’s up with the Ford & VW matchup? Something, something commercial vans?
    I’m just not seeing what VW brings to the table. Transit is becoming a global powerhouse on its own.

  10. kogashiwa Avatar

    The more I look at the 8-series the less I like it. The front is ugly and the rest is just boring. Front definitely looks like some kind of sea creature but I can’t pin down what.
    Give me an LC500 every day over this (I realize this will invalidate my opinion for some). (Also, non-turbo V8.)

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I agree, it’s pretty boring. The LC500 is certainly not, but to me it’s striking in a negative way. At best, I can say it’s probably the least ugly of all modern Lexuses.
      Thumbs up on the NA V8s, though.

      1. kogashiwa Avatar

        LC500 is definitely love it or hate it.

      2. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        i wasn’t sure about the LC500, but then I spent some time around one at a track day. the styling is decent, the red paint color on that was beautiful, it makes some nice V8 noises. but what really struck me was the interior. it’s something truly special – high-quality, unique materials and shapes, a lovely place to be. in the 90s, when European reviewers were looking for excuses to dock points from the LS400 besides “heritage”, they would comment on its bland interior design. those days are long past. there is no compelling reason to buy an 8 Series over this car.

        1. Zentropy Avatar

          I agree. The 8-series isn’t better, per se. But that doesn’t detract from the Lexus’s over-wrought design. Despite what might be a decent car otherwise, the front fascia is nasty. Lexus simply hasn’t been able to nail down a cohesive, attractive design in two decades, without mimicking Mercedes.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      A lot of the press photos seem to focus on the rear end, which, to me, is just extraordinarily messy. Lots of lines going everywhere and nowhere, as if they had to combine four different rear end ideas into one.

  11. salguod Avatar

    Yesterday was the annual London Cobra Show put on by the Ohio Cobra Club in London Ohio and FormaCars got to reveal our latest build. Each year the club raffles a Cobra to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (they donated $103K this year) and this is the 2019 raffle car. A Factory Five Mark IV with a Coyote V8 and 6 speed transmission, IRS and ECU Master engine management that allows us to put in traction control, launch control, flat foot shifting and switchable drive modes. It also features a fully upholstered interior of our own design with heat and AC, heated seats and electric door releases. (Can you tell I spent all day Saturday in full sales mode?)
    We think it turned out great and hope it will lead to record breaking ticket sales. Tickets will be available soon at