The News for May 25th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the automotive industry’s biggest stories without the fluff or the BS. Just all the facts with a little opinion thrown in – just because I can. This week

  • Renault revives the Alpine A110 with a new concept

  • BMW 7 Series gets a mid-life refresh

  • New Alfa Romeo roadster will spawn off the next Miata

  • BMW Design under new leadership

  • Inline-6 power returning for the next BMW M3/M4?

  • Update: the new BMW Zagato Coupé

This is the new Renault Alpine A110

Remember the original Renault Alpine A110 that debuted in the 1960s? At the time it was arguably one of the best-looking cars on the market and today it’s a timeless classic that just oozes with pedigree. Fast forward 50 years to this morning and we have Renault’s brand-new 2013 Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept which commemorates the 50 year anniversary of the Alpine A110 Berlinette’s introduction. 

Obviously the styling is all-new but it still does its best to resemble the original with clever touches like the LED ring lights to resemble the original fog lights and even the new paint is aimed to represent the original “Alpine Blue” paint. Underneath the aerodynamic, carbon fiber body is the heart of a race car that was developed in part by Renault Sport Technologies and certainly looks the part. Technical features include a racer-like tubular frame chassis, adjustable dampers, 14-inch front and 13-inch rear brakes, a limited slip differential, and integrated pneumatic jacks.

Mounted in the middle is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 400 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a dual-clutch 6-speed transmission with paddle shifters and an actual clutch pedal to use. The interior is all business with a full roll cage, Sabelt harnesses, and a Formula Renault steering wheel that shows the most vital information on a wheel-mounted LCD screen. 

Right now Renault’s plans for this car are unclear, but I, for one, hope to see something like this on the road soon.

Source: Renault

2013 BMW 7 Series facelift

Well, it’s a bit more than a basic facelift. The latest BMW 7 Series gets improvements nearly everywhere, including the powertrain, technology bits, and safety to keep it competitive in one of BMW’s most important markets.

Up front, slightly new headlights and some new fancy touches to the grilles will  make most people squint to see the difference. The inside looks mostly the same, but the seats have been trimmed down a bit to save space and you get a new leather option or two and more sound-proofing should drown out the drone of the run-flat tires. The rear seats now have an optional iDrive-like system for themselves with two “floating” screens to provide hours of entertainment on the road.

New powertrain features include the ActiveHybrid 7’s new powertrain, which uses a 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 with a 55-horsepower electric motor for a total of 349 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft. of torque (which is more than the standard 740i). The 750i gets an updated 4.4-liter turbo V8 which comes with an additional 45 horsepower and 30 lb.-ft. of torque, bringing it up to 445 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. Of course, BMW’s 8-speed automatic is still standard on all models and helps the 7 Series lineup be around 20% more efficient on the EU cycle. The addition of standard stop/start, brake energy regeneration, and a fancy ECO PRO mode also help with fuel efficiency. 

Tech features include a new navigation system with new 3D elements to make menu navigation less annoying (no special glasses required!) and give you something else to tell your friends about at parties. The navigation maps also feature real-time traffic and weather overlays. A new voice command system is also standard with navigation and can read emails and text messages to you and even send some back without ever using your hands. Enhanced Active Cruise Control has been added and enables the car to stop itself in stop-and-go traffic if it needs to. 

So there you go, more luxury, performance, and cool gadgets to help you justify the insane price tag for a new 7 Series. Pricing info isn’t official yet, but it’s safe to say a car with a 5-figure price tag will be hard to come by. The new 7 Series will arrive in the US later this summer.  

Source: BMW

Alfa Romeo roadster is coming with the new Mazda MX-5

When the new Mazda MX-5 Miata debuts in a few years, an Alfa Romeo of sorts won’t be far behind according to reports from both Mazda and Fiat.

Even though the MX-5’s brilliant chassis will be shared between the two cars, both brands have agreed that they will look distinctly different and will NOT be sharing engines, as each manufacturer will supply their own. The only proposed similarities between the two is that both will be lightweight, rear-wheel-drive, and balanced roadsters that are focused around the driver. This agreement, which sounds like nothing but a winning formula to me, will be formally signed and acknowledged sometime in the second-half of 2012 and development will being shortly thereafter. No word yet on when the new MX-5 is supposed to arrive, but Fiat is aiming for a 2015 release date for the Alfa. 

Source: Fiat, Mazda 

BMW Design is under new leadership

BMW i8 Concept Spyder

Oh and speaking of new BMW designs, BMW Design is now under new leadership. Karim Habib, a Lebanese-born engineer and designer now living in Canada, was working as BMW exterior design leader when created the new 7 Series look. Now he’s in charge of the entire BMW Design department. So best of luck, Karim, and know that many people will support you every step of the way as they wait to see what you de-Bangle next. 

Source: BMW

Inline-6 power allegedly returns with new BMW M3/M4

F80 M3 rending by Wild-Speed

F30 Post is reporting with confidence that the new BMW M3 (sedan) and M4 (coupe) will in fact use inline-6 power once more after an interview with President of BMW North America, Ludwig Willisch – only this time turbochargers will come with it.

For at least a year now we’ve known that the current 4.0-liter V8 in the 2007-present BMW M3 will be axed when production of the current “E90-E93” generation comes to an end. A new 6-cylinder was reported to be the replacement, but BMW would neither confirm nor deny the rumors for the use of a V6 engine, which seems sacrilegious for a BMW fan. Well apparently fans of the Roundel can rest easy knowing that the inline-6 is saved. Now we just get to wait and see how many turbochargers it’s going to have, since other rumors suggest it’ll have three. Also, if it looks anything like it does in this rendering by the amazingly talented Wild-Speed, I’d say BMW will have a real winner on its hands… that is once it stops calling the M3 Coupe the M4. 

News Source: F30 Post | Image Source: Wild-Speed

Update: BMW Zagato Coupé

Not even thirty minutes after this news article went live (sigh), BMW and Zagato revealed the fruits of their latest collaboration: the BMW Zagato Coupé. This hand-built, one-off car appears to be based off the standard Z4 (though they won’t officially say so) but will not likely see its way to production. Since this story is coming so late and I’m running out of room to talk about it in detail here, I’ll let you read everything you could ever want to know about this car from the guys over at BMW Blog

Source: BMW via BMW Blog

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