The News for March 9th, 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, which this week primarily comes to us from the Geneva Motor Show. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • Toyota commits to the return of the Supra with racing concept

  • McLaren wastes no time with track-only Senna GTR concept

  • Mercedes-AMG reveals new super sedan with supercar looks

  • Porsche confuses with Mission E Cross Turismo concept

  • Land Rover debuts another really expensive SUV but with 2 doors now

  • Bentley finally goes green with Bentayga Hybrid

  • BMW teases future M8 with inevitable four-door concept

  • Hyundai hints at future styling with new design study

  • Ram prices all-new 1500 from $31k

  • VW confirms no new successor for the Beetle

  • What’s your automotive news?

Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept

It all pretty much goes down hill after this. Undoubtedly the biggest story out of Geneva this week is the return (kinda) of a Japanese legend – the Toyota Supra. It’s still in concept form, but it’s the first official showing from this project since the last FT-1 concept debuted four years ago and brings us one step closer to the final product. I believe it’s also the first time during this whole ordeal that Toyota has formally referred to this project as the Supra.

With this announcement, Toyota signals their commitment to bring their most iconic sports car back to the streets and race tracks with the help of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing (GR). Toyota’s motorsport division has of course been heavily involved with the brand for several years and have converted many Toyotas into full-fledged race cars, so if anyone is going to help build a stronger connection between Toyota race cars and sports cars, who better than them.
The racing concept should feature near production-ready bodywork with some functional enhancements for competition use. It has a wider front and rear bumper, a front splitter, rear diffuser, vented hood, side skirts, and a big rear wing all made from a “lightweight composite material”. More add lightness comes courtesy of the plastic windows and stripped interior. While the center-locking BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, and Michelin slicks are all specific to the track version, the lowered front and rear suspension does use some original equipment components.

What the cabin lacks in amenities it makes up for with all the equipment you’d expect from a modern race car. It’s got an OMP racing seat with harnesses and quick-release steering wheel plus a GR racing display and carbon fiber door panels. It also has a full roll cage, fire extinguishers, fuel and brake lines, pedal box, battery, and wiring looms that are all designed to competition standard. They wouldn’t go through all this trouble if they weren’t dead set on taking this racing…
Toyota hasn’t explicitly stated which racing series this concept was designed to comply with, but it screams GT3 to me. The press release does reminds us that Supras of old had a strong showing in JGTC/Super GT and IMSA, and ran the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice. A GT3-spec Supra could compete in both Super GT300 and IMSA’s GTD class. Throw in some more power and extra downforce and you could have a GTE car for Le Mans. TOYOTA PLEASE.

Whatever this car was designed to compete with, its foundation is traditional front-engine/rear-wheel drive configuration with lightweight construction in mind. It’s very safe to assume a BMW-sourced turbocharged straight-six engine will be its source of power in the road version and could maybe end up in the race car too… but even BMW doesn’t race with a straight-six in GT3.
If there’s anything to take away from this concept, it’s that Toyota is most definitely bringing back the Supra and it’s almost certainly going racing. Peel away the race car aero and you can start to picture exactly how the street version will look. BMW will unveil the production Z4 this summer which has been co-developed with a shared chassis between them and Toyota, so surely the Supra is not too far behind.
[Source: Toyota]

McLaren Senna GTR

From one race car to another, McLaren unveiled a racing “concept” of their own based on the… shall we say polarizing Senna supercar unveiled a few months ago. It’s a track-exclusive concept that’s already been priced and confirmed for a limited production run as part of McLaren’s legendary GTR series.
It’ll be more P1 GTR though and less F1 GTR. The key difference is that one was used for competition whereas the other was another one of those exclusive one-make programs where rich enthusiasts hot lap some of the world’s best circuits and receive driver training. As of now at least, there’s no word (but some speculation) of a Senna GTR going into any form of competition. A GT1 revival would probably be its best shot at seeing some competition – McLaren claims this car will lap faster than any other McLaren race car outside of Formula 1 (but it may last longer).

The car’s underpinnings should be remarkably similar to the road car. It’s built around the same carbon monocoque chassis and will weigh about the same at 1,198 kg/2,641 lbs, but it gains around 1,000 kg/2,205 lbs of downforce. The form over function philosophy of the road car serves as a perfect foundation for the racing version. It gains clip-on carbon fiber body panels, a huge front splitter and rear diffuser, wider fenders (to support the wider track), and other slight body changes to enhance the efficiency of its active rear wing (which is remarkably similar to what’s on the road car already).
As for the mechanical changes, it rides on bespoke wheels designed for track use and wrapped in Pirelli slicks, features a revised double-wishbone suspension, and a “race-style” gearbox. The twin-turbocharged V8 4.0-liter V8 has its output increased from 790 hp to 814 hp.
McLaren has confirmed that 75 examples will be produced and sold for around $1.4 million each. Seeing as how it can only be beat by a much more expensive F1 car, it’s practically a bargain.
[Source: McLaren]

Mercedes-AMG GT Four Door Coupe

Filed under: more “four door coupe” bullshit.
Mercedes-AMG has been hinting at a new high performance four-door exclusive to the AMG name and it finally saw the light of day this week. It’s called the AMG GT Four Door Coupe *groans* and in spirit it’s an AMG GT with two extra doors. In reality it shares a chassis with the E Class, but it’s been designed to mimic much of the GT’s styling and it’s had AMG’s whole arsenal thrown at it.

It will launch with three variants, each with its own engine configuration. Ben’z new turbocharged straight six gets a once-over by AMG to produce 429 horsepower in the “base” GT53 model. Things escalate quickly with a 577-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 in the mid-range GT63. Step up to the GT63 S and that same V8 offers 630 horsepower.
Each engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic (though the ones with the V8s get a quicker multi-clutch gearbox) and all models come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Each model also features adaptive damping, but the V8 models go a step further and do so with multi-chamber air suspension, a locking rear diff, rear wheel steering, and available ceramic brakes.

So depending on the model you get, it can certainly go like an AMG GT, so it also needs to kind of look like one. Some of the biggest similarities are in the big grille with its pronounced vertical slats, the aggressive front bumper, the long rear haunches with a retractable spoiler, and somewhat similar front and rear lights.
AMG has no shortage of super fast sedans, but this one seems to stand out from the rest due to its increased focus on driving dynamics. If the AMG GT was the benchmark, it should be good. Just stop calling it a coupe.
[Source: Mercedes-AMG via Autoweek]

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo

Hey remember that Porsche Mission E that was supposed to take over the world? It-it’s like that, but instead it’s a taller Panamera EV.
In a puzzling turn of events, Porsche’s world-beating EV super sedan has seemingly evolved into a soft-roader Panamera for its latest concept. They call it a “cross utility vehicle” meant to be yet another car that can “do it all” for the imaginary people who live interesting lives. From what I can tell, this isn’t a sign of the direction every Mission E will take, but it could be one of a few variants we see stem from it.
The Mission E Cross Turismo is an all-electric luxury sedan that’s supposed to be equally suitable for everyday life in the city and adventure deep into the wilderness where I’m sure you’ll have plenty of charging options. It’s only slightly shorter than a Panamera but has a much more compact powertrain, so there will certainly be plenty of room to store whatever you’re adventuring with.

Some more relevant info about it relates to said compact powertrain. It features two permanent magnet synchronous motors power all four wheels with more than 600 hp. Even in soft-roader specification, acceleration from 0-60 mph takes less than 3.5 seconds and it can reach 124 mph in under 12 seconds. Porsche didn’t hesitate to take a shot at Tesla and tout its continuous power which they say is unmatched by any other electric vehicle, meaning multiple max acceleration runs are possible in direct succession without any loss of performance. Just imagine what it can do with a more sporty setup.
The Mission E will be built on an 800-volt architecture, meaning its lithium-ion battery can charge quick enough to regain 250 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Its maximum driving range has yet to be determined. The car isn’t expected to launch until around 2020 so there’s plenty of time for them to find out.
[Source: Porsche]

Range Rover SV Coupe

It’s a Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic with half the doors for nearly twice the price. Only 999 are being built (good) and they go for £240,000 ($331,300).
[Source: Land Rover]

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid

Because even the world’s elite need to think they’re saving the planet, Bentley is venturing into the world of electrification for the very first time with the 2019 Bentayga Hybrid. They call it the world’s first luxury hybrid (maybe of this caliber) and it actually seems to take that role seriously.
The usual W12 and V8 options are ditched in favor of a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 gas-sipper which gets paired with some kind of E Motor (exact specifications aren’t available yet). They claim an electric-only range of 31 miles and a charging time from empty to full in as little as 2.5 hours. It can be charged at its quickest with an industrial connection that can be installed at home, or through a typical power outlet in about 7.5 hours. Because this is Bentley we’re talking about, they include two “bespoke bags” containing the cables necessary to connect the car to either outlet type. For real.
As of now there isn’t any pricing info to reveal or really anything more detailed than what was just covered. And sadly I could not find any official images of the luxury bags they made for the charging cables. It will start rolling out in select markets by Q3 this year.
[Source: Bentley]

BMW M8 Concept Gran Coupe

Well we knew this was coming, huh. As BMW inches closer to the launch of the 8 Series and the M8, they dropped a new concept to show us how little they’ve changed. It’s another one of those four-door versions of a coupe that BMW will never not make.
But perhaps more importantly, it gives us a closer look at what to expect from the production M8. That future M flagship has already been racing with IMSA, but this is the first time we’ve seen an M8 without the racecar bodywork. It looks properly sinister and not super flashy compared to what we’re used to these days.

The M8 is expected to run a similar (if not identical) version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces 600 horsepower in the new M5. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same configurable all-wheel-drive system carried over as well. The final M8 will debut and hit showrooms by the end of 2019.
[Source: BMW]


Hyundai is previewing a possible future design language with the Le Fil Rouge concept. It’s a silly name, but it’s been used to debut a new “Sensuous Sportiness” theme that every future Hyundai will embody at some point in the sort of near future. There aren’t any clear shots of it in the press image collection, but you can get a general idea of what they’re going for. Neat.
[Source: Hyundai]

Ram has priced the all-new 1500 pickup from $31,695 in its most basic Tradesman 4×2 quad cab (V6) configuration. There’s a ton of ways to configure yours, but the price obviously climbs every step of the way. In the lower trims which feature a standard V6, the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 without the eTorque light hybrid system is a $1,195 upgrade or $1,995 with the eTorque system included. Throughout all the different trims and cab configurations, you could end up spending as much as $57,690 (before options) for the top-of-the-line Limited 4×4 crew cab LWB. But don’t worry, if this premium truck trend continues you’ll soon have a way to spend even more.
[Source: Ram]

The VW Beetle will not see a successor according to reports out of the Geneva Motor Show. In an interview with Autocar, VW R&D boss Frank Welsch confirmed that the Beetle Cabriolet will soon be replaced by a new SUV-based convertible and that the upcoming I.D. Buzz will replace it all together as the retro model in the fleet. Because two other cars are effectively filling its role, no new Beetle is currently planned. It’ll be a few more years before either of those replacements hit production, so there’s still time to fulfill your dreams of picking up a new Beetle.
[Source: Autocar]

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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17 responses to “The News for March 9th, 2018”

  1. outback_ute Avatar

    Nice round–up as always Greg, I agree with the commentary with the exception that I think that Toyota is probably the GTE version because of the size of the diffuser plus it would make sense to take over from the LMP1 program.
    And why don’t they just make the AMG sedan the CLS, which is in need of a new styling direction.

  2. Zentropy Avatar

    My news? Just a public service announcement warning you to check the parts you’ve received prior to beginning any automotive project. I wasted an hour getting my car jacked up and removing/cleaning all brake components before realizing I was shipped the wrong pads and rotors. I spent the next 30 minutes reassembling, calling the supplier, and repeatedly muttering a couple of four-syllable curse strings that rarely leave my lips.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Had that happen changing the rotors on the Ranger but at least it was autozone.
      Ford must have changed the diameter mid-year.
      This rotor had a pressed in race and was all lubed up. Only when I tried to remount the caliper is when I saw it was the wrong size.
      AZ took it back, all greasy, no questions.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    I’ve now learned that tilting the rear window on a KV turns it into a poor man’s Citroën Ami. This is particularly surprising as I’d always assumed the Citroën Ami is itself the poor man’s Citroën Ami. This one’s for sale in France:

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    I’ve been wondering why no one has taken one of those insurance GPS trackers to a race track for a day to check how massive g-forces, braking, accelerating and cursing would affect one’s insurance tallies. Wouldn’t that be valuable consumer research?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Not to mention the sudden stop if you hit a concrete wall! Bloke in a Lotus did that at the last one I was at.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Generally something of interest in an insurance-y context. Hope everything went well with the Lotus driver!

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          He was fine other than a heavily bruised hip pocket, it was a sideswipe and the wheels were at very wonky angles, body looked repairable

    2. Maymar Avatar

      I believe I’ve been told by a friend (who both has one, and works for an insurance company), that the tracker won’t push your base rate up, you just won’t get a discount.
      That said, I have a slow car, so I doubt they’d take that into account when looking at all my full throttle driving, and it would do nothing for me.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        That was an unexpected turn. I guess this is how you get people to agree to full, relentless surveillance? My Honda is totally depending on binary driving, too, and in order to keep the wonky brakes functional I do one full emergency brake once a day. Also, spirited cornering is a total necessity if you want to keep commuting interesting.
        No chance this would do anything for me neither.

    3. P161911 Avatar

      For one thing, those little things can cause glitches with the ECM/BCM on your car. For another, they are a very easy route to gain access to a vehicle if you want to hack into it from the outside. Most of them feature absolutely no access security.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I would never ever voluntarily allow this for privacy reasons alone. But in a review context, this would be interesting, I guess? Given that your premium can’t get worse, the whole exercise is futile though.

  5. smokyburnout Avatar

    I scrolled too fast and then went back up to check out the “Sentra GTR” I thought I saw

  6. nanoop Avatar

    Thanks to 1″ of snow in London my intra-scandinavian flight was canceled, turning a 3.5hr trip into 14hrs: I finished Alex Roy’s “The Driver” . It’s about crossing great distances (such as the North American continent) by car way above legal velocities.
    I was expecting a brag-fest, but aside from well-deserved humble pointers it was entertaining.
    A lightweight reading about insane endeavors, I shared the author’s awe that all these people were ready to help him, and provided thorough support.
    3.5 of four roundels,recommended.

  7. salguod Avatar

    So, Mercedes has made a prettier Panamera and Porsche has made a sillier one?
    And, the cheapest Ram is still a quad cab? What happened to contractor spec 2 door trucks with a vinyl bench, steelies with dog dish caps, a 6 cylinder with a stick and rubber floor mats?
    Also ,that 2 door Range Rover is lovely.

  8. Maymar Avatar

    If I had obscene wealth, I’d hope Land Rover would be willing to go custom enough to build one with steel wheels, unpainted bumpers, and in like mustard yellow or something (also, some combination of rubber floors and vinyl/rugged cloth seats).
    The corporate babble behind the AMG GT coupe is moronic, but I’m intrigued by the actual car.

  9. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I like how McLaren has brought back the running board.