The News for March 18th, 2022

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Aston Martin crams V12 into Vantage for one final time, Ferrari teases stunning new 296 GT3, and Audi previews the Avant of the future – plus your news for the week.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

The last time Aston Martin put a V12 in the Vantage, we all assumed it would be the last. The writing was already on the wall and we knew big engines in small cars wouldn’t be a thing for much longer. Over a decade after that last-gen V12 Vantage came out, the real swan song has arrived. The 2023 Aston Martin Vantage will once again offer a V12, but this time in very limited quantities. And you can’t even buy one because they called up their favorite oligarchs, celebrities, energy executives, hedge fund managers, and crypto bros so they could buy it before us peasants even knew what it looked like.

Just 333 examples are being produced and Aston Martin worked hard to ensure those with the most overpriced .jpg collection will get to experience a really special car a few miles a year. It will certainly look special with a dramatically reworked exterior featuring an abundance of carbon fiber. The body has been widened by 40mm and there’s a load of functional aerodynamic elements inspired by the last-gen Vantage GT12 (which was inspired by the last-gen Vantage GT3) producing more downforce and improved cooling. Nearly every surface that’s been added or remodeled is constructed of carbon fiber.

Providing the sound and the fury is the brand’s 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12, which is likely the same albeit detuned version of the engine used in the DBS Superleggera. In the much smaller V12 Vantage it produces 690 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque. All that gets sent to the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic and mechanical LSD. With the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires operating at their best, the V12 Vantage can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and top out at around 200 mph. Standard carbon ceramic brakes measuring 16.1″ front and 14.1″ rear are in charge of doing the opposite of a 0-60 sprint. The sheer size of those brakes is part of the reason this Vantage rides on hilariously big 21″ alloy wheels.

So here we are. We’re looking at a kind of car that we know for certain won’t exist for much longer. Hardly anyone will get to see much of it once deliveries begin in Q2 of this year. Only a privileged few will be allowed to breathe on it. And for the rest of us who have to wait and see it drifting on Top Gear, it’ll be a magnificent thing to behold.

[Source: Aston Martin]

Ferrari teases 296 GT3

When Ferrari unveiled their stunning 296 GTB last year, the first thing many of us were waiting for was the GT3 version. Ferrari has been racing the 488 in GT3 and GTLM/GTE since 2016, which is ages in motorsport. The entirety of the Ford GT program started and ended in the time Ferrari has been racing the 488. The production car it’s based on was replaced in 2020 with the F8 Tributo, which many of us thought would be the next GT racing platform given its similarities. But for better or worse, they’ve chosen the stunning new 296 GTB for that role. And this week we’ve been given a breathtaking glimpse at what’s in store.

Not a lot is known about it yet given that it’s still under development, but it’s keeping the road-going V6 as is required by class rules and forgoing the hybrid unit. Horsepower in GT3 is typically 500 or so but is dependent on BoP. Being a rendering of a black car over a black background, it’s hard to make out details. But it’s shaping up to be a stunning, menacing, and intimidating competitor in the always-growing GT3 field. The 296 GT3 will have big shoes to fill as well. The 488 GT3 has been a highly successful race car over the years with 429 wins and 107 championship titles in the 770 races it’s been entered in as of this week. With stats like that, the 488 GT3 has been the most successful race car in company history. Ferrari may or may not be front runners in F1 anymore (though fingers crossed that changes this year), but they absolutely still know how to make a GT race car.

It should make its first on track appearances in various test sessions later this year before its racing debut in 2023. Exactly which race that will be is yet to be determined. Stay tuned.

[Source: Ferrari via Jalopnik]

Audi Avant e-tron concept

Audi has graced us with a stunning Avant e-tron concept and it looks like this. They say this all-electric wagon, or Avant in Audi speak, is a preview of what’s to come. That means future Audi products will not only take styling cues from this concept, but we’ll continue to see the wagon live on. Whether those wagons all come to America is basically a guaranteed no. But more wagons are a good thing regardless of where they’re sold.

The theoretical specs of this concept include an 800-volt architecture, 270 kW of charging capacity for a 10-minute recharge, and a European WLTP-estimated range of 435 miles. Now that almost everyone has an EV on the market or close to it, the next big fight within the industry will be to improve charging times and driving range. If what Audi claims this concept can do is any indication of what they’re working on for a future round of e-tron EVs, they’ll be well positioned to become a leader in the market.

[Source: Audi]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

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.

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9 responses to “The News for March 18th, 2022”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    I used to love Aston Martin with their iconic design. The problem is, they have played with the same theme since the DB7 came out in 1994. Isn’t it time to do something that at least surprises the slightest bit? I still think the Rapide was a high point, even though many diehard super (hyper? ultra? schmultra?) car fans would consider it a deadend or digression.

    Another week of non-progress in personal car news. The potential buyer for the Centennial figured the maintenance list is too long, not sure if I was being too honest. But I’m not selling this particular vehicle to disappoint. The head unit on the small Hyundai isn’t replaced yet either. 900 moneys are required for a 7 yo. similar unit at a junkyard, 1200 of the same shiny notation for a new, fitting Android unit from China. Trying to haggle myself through the first one, but the second seems tempting.

    1. smaglik Avatar

      Don’t forget about the decade of Ford Fusion / Fiesta / Focus Aston Martin face…. There’s a lot of them out there…

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        There are, so the design has run its course, imho. I do have respect for vehicles made way past their due dates – but this money grab isn’t even comparable to a Volvo 240, Hindustan Ambassador, GAZ 24 or even a Panther platform product.

    2. OA5599 Avatar

      I’ve got a different sort of head unit dilemma with my 27-year-old car. Mine has the deluxe AM/FM/Cassette with EQ, but inserting a tape results in “Err” on the display, and a bunch of clicking without music. I can get an exact replacement NOS for $50 plus shipping. For about $250, I could get a used/refurbed upgrade model with compact disc AND cassette, but is it worth the extra $200 to add one more obsolete piece of period-correct technology that I’ll hardly ever use? Or just listen to the over-the-air stations for free on what’s already in the dash.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Cassette-to-Bluetooth adapter FTW? I bought one for the Centennial, but haven’t been able to verify that it even works because the car has been gone for a year.

        1. OA5599 Avatar

          I don’t think I’ll bother with the cassette-to-BT with a broken cassette player. The $250 CD/cassette player upgrade unit I mentioned has been retrofitted with a BT music player (it won’t do phone calls because no microphone), or for a few bucks less, I could get the identical-looking stereo with a retrofitted aux port instead of Bluetooth.

          I just looked online, and the brand-new cassette players are down to the last one, so the price jumped up to where it isn’t something I’m still considering…I would just spend a few bucks more to get the CD/cassette/BT.

  2. Salguod Avatar

    Finally replaced the LF wheel bearing that failed again on my daughter’s Protege only to discover that it wasn’t the wheel bearing after all. Noise is still there. It’s a noise that changes with speed and in turns, so it seems like it should be a wheel bearing but maybe I identified the wrong one. Trying to sort it out is on this weekend’s agenda.

    Been enjoying the Boxster this week. Definitely some rattles going on that I’ll need to chase down, but the suspension mostly feels tight. Might have bad rear struts, it tends to dance over bumps in the rear. All in all a very solid and fun car.

    Oh, and top down, windows up, seat heaters on is pretty nice on a cool evening.

    1. salguod Avatar

      Turns out I’m an idiot. I assumed the same symptoms meant another failed LF bearing, and I didn’t do my due diligence in checking. Today I jacked up the rear and checked both wheels for play and found nothing. I then jacked up the RF, thinking I’d swap the tires front to rear to see if the sound moved. Before I did, however, I checked the RF for play and found a lot. It was loose up and down and right to left, classic failed wheel bearing symptom. I pulled the knuckle and confirmed it as I could see the play in the bearing. I ordered another bearing and I’ll give it to my coworker on Tuesday to have him press the new one in.

      I ordered the same TImken bearing from Amazon, it’ll be here tomorrow. Lots of people swear that these are not real Timken bearings, they are Chinese knock offs and that the price (~$26) gives it away. I have no way of knowing, but the price for a Timken is the same at Rock Auto. Other places have prices $10-$15 higher, so maybe. I honestly have no way of knowing. Bottom line is that she knows this car is on borrowed time and she should be looking to replace it once the supply chains get back to normal and prices calm down hopefully within a year or so.

  3. OA5599 Avatar

    The positive battery cable on my son’s recent acquisition had a bad terminal that had been replaced by one of those universal terminals, but not in a way that really worked. The problem is that two 4ga wires join together at a crimp attached to a long piece of stamped metal that formed part of the old cable, and then a third 4ga wire came up from the underhood fuse box, and attached to the stamped terminal from the other direction. None of the aftermarket terminals could accommodate three different 4ga wires that were all too short to reach, and the listings for the full replacement cable were clearly incorrect.

    I was finally able to Frankenstein something together by spending way more time and money than it would have taken for the right part (if one had been available), but it seems to be working now.

    I thought the battery was bad, but two different parts stores checked it and said it was good. So I looked at some other things (including the battery cable). But I still thought the battery was bad. I took the battery back to NAPA to see if they would warranty it out anyway, and even though a few days prior they said the battery was good, they said the battery was bad. Oh, and no warranty because the bad battery (manufactured June 2021) was itself a replacement.