No. 773,
November 19, 2014

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of

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On The Table


on the table - november 19, 2014

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Steve Shannon, who was Hyundai's marketing chief up until last week, has exited the company. Steve's a good, talented man and this is no reflection on him in the least. Everyone leaves Hyundai sooner or later. Mainly sooner, in fact. Hyundai is forever a transient stop in this business - just another station on the swirling maelstrom of shit that defines much of this business - and it always will be. - PMD
(Image courtesy of Chevrolet/newspressUSA)
Chevrolet has unveiled the Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept – a revolutionary interpretation of the ultimate race car, developed exclusively for fans of the PlayStation® 3 racing game, Gran Turismo® 6. Developed as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project, which celebrates the future of automotive design and innovation, the Chaparral 2X VGT concept is inspired by the innovative race cars Chaparral Cars and Chevrolet partnered on more than 45 years ago. Gamers can race the Chaparral 2X VGT this holiday season by downloading an online update for Gran Turismo 6, the latest iteration of the best-selling PlayStation franchise that has sold more than 72 million copies worldwide since its 1998 debut. “This concept is an audacious and ambitious vision – and one that demonstrates to a new audience how Chevy’s engineering and design teams challenge norms and explore the technologies of tomorrow,” said Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design. “It also an ode to a unique partnership that pioneered ground-breaking technologies that are used today on the track and the street.”

Known for unconventional, boundary-pushing race cars that shook up the motorsports world, Texas-based Chaparral Cars led by legend Jim Hall partnered with Chevrolet Research and Development more than 45 years ago, pioneering now-standard methods and materials used in contemporary racing and production vehicles, including the composite monocoque chassis, lightweight-alloy powertrain systems, automatic transmissions for racing and progressive, active aerodynamics. The partnership also spawned ground-breaking vehicle data acquisition technology. The Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT channels that spirit of innovation into a vision of what the future of racing could hold, with a radical form and an advanced, laser-based propulsion system.

“It was created in a no-rules atmosphere to challenge designers and test engineers to deliver the most exhilarating sensations. This is a fantasy car by design,” said Frank Saucedo, who oversaw the team that worked on the concept. “Like the original Chaparral race cars decades ago, the Chaparral 2X VGT weaves advanced aerospace technologies into the design to help achieve its performance goals.” See more on the original Chaparral in "The Line" here.
(Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)
With the world premiere in Guangzhou and the presentation in Los Angeles, the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will be unveiled almost simultaneously in its two key markets - China and the US. According to Mercedes, "Mercedes-Maybach is not an equipment line – it is a sub-brand that in the future will provide Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form." (What? Now we have "sub-brands"??? Most automakers can barely deal with brand-brands!) At 214.6 inches long and with a wheelbase of 132.5 inches, the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range is 8.1 inches larger in both dimensions than the S-Class Sedan. In the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is also the world's quietest production sedan. The Mercedes-Maybach S600 is scheduled to launch in the US in April 2015.
According to Lexus, "this is what happens when we take our signature look ...which is critical to our identity in the luxury market ... and incorporate it into a fun 'what if' concept." The result? The LF-C2. We call it the Gold Member Special Edition. He loves GOLD!

Chevrolet took the wraps off of the Colorado ZR2 concept calling it "a vision of how Chevrolet could take the all-new midsize truck’s off-road capability to the next level." It also showcases the new 2.8L Duramax diesel engine that will arrive in the Colorado lineup later next year. The Colorado ZR2’s stance is four inches wider than a production Colorado Z71. Other features include new front and rear fascias designed to increase approach and departure angles when driving off road, a two-inch lift and integral skid plates. The Colorado ZR2’s approach and departure angles – 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively, exceed the Z71’s 25/21 degrees. The front and rear fascias also have integrated, flip-out aluminum tow hooks and the front fascia incorporates a built-in winch.

(Photo courtesy of Audi)
Audi introduced the Audi prologue show car at the L.A. Auto Show. Calling it "the benchmark of future design language for the brand," Audi says the large coupe marks the launch into a new design era. Head of Design Marc Lichte describes the character of the show car in this way: "Audi stands for sportiness, lightweight design and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In the Audi prologue, we are expressing this know-how in a new form – we have put the sportiest car in the luxury segment on wheels." Well alrighty then!
(Cadillac images)
Cadillac has introduced the 2016 ATS-V Coupe and Sedan at the L.A. Auto Show. “Cadillac’s V-Series is the best example of Cadillac’s emerging product substance – and the purest expression of the passion at the core of the brand,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac President. The ATS-V arrives next spring, powered by the first-ever twin-turbocharged engine in a V-Series. Rated at an estimated 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 445 lb-ft of torque (603 Nm), the engine is the segment’s highest-output six-cylinder and enables 0-60 performance in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of more than 185 mph. It is backed by a six-speed manual – with Active Rev Match, no-lift shifting and launch control – or a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission featuring launch control and Performance Algorithm Shift. See the racing version of the Cadillac ATS-V in "The Line" here.
Other good stuff? Brembo high-performance brakes; Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control; Integrated chassis controls that provide balanced performance for touring and the track, including class-exclusive Performance Traction Management; Structural stiffness increased by 25 percent for higher cornering loads; Driver-selectable driving modes for touring, sport and track; Tri-compound tires offering excellent grip with extended tire wear; Available downforce-generating track aerodynamics package and functional exterior design for powertrain and drivetrain cooling, as well as aerodynamic performance. A Performance Data Recorder onboard the ATS-V allows drivers to record high-definition video, with data overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track, enabling sharing on social media. The ATS-V also features third-generation Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management. Five driver-selectable settings include the segment’s only competition-level settings for stability and traction control.
“As the smallest and lightest V-Series ever, the ATS-V forges a great connection with the driver, with exceptional nimbleness and responsiveness,” said David Leone, Cadillac Executive Chief Engineer. “It’s adaptable to the driver’s preferences, with every selectable mode developed to deliver the best performance for all types of driving scenarios, including the track.” Exterior tweaks abound for cooling and aero management, and the interior is functionally relevant as well. “With the performance the new ATS-V is capable of delivering, the interior needs to be as functional as the other vehicles systems,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Cadillac Global Design. “All of the contact points – the steering wheel, seats, shifter and pedals – are designed to make performance driving experiences direct and intuitive.” New, available 16-way-adjustable RECARO performance front seats look the part as well with aggressive, adjustable bolsters. They’re trimmed in Mulan leather with sueded microfiber inserts and seatbacks. The rest of the interior features Cadillac’s handcrafted cut-and-sew elements, with decorative stitching and authentic materials, including carbon fiber. Three interior color combinations are offered: Jet Black, Jet Black with Saffron accents and Light Platinum with Jet Black accents.
The freshened Ford Explorer has made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show. More technology plus an available 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine with 270HP/300 lb.-ft. of torque and an all-new Platinum series with tricked-out interior and luxury detailing is the news here. New technologies include: Front and rear cameras with washers; Enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking; Smart-charging USB ports throughout; Hands-free liftgate; Industry-exclusive 500-watt Sony Audio System with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase technology (Platinum series); Active Grille Shutters; And standard air curtains which create a high-pressure region of air that impacts the outer surface of the wheels and tires. The result is airflow held close to the vehicle body, minimizing drag. The new Ford Explorer goes on sale next summer.
(Images courtesy of Bentley)
Bentley has introduced the Grand Convertible at the L.A. Auto Show, calling it "the most sophisticated open-top car" ever created by the manufacturer. “This concept demonstrates Bentley’s ability to create a pinnacle convertible Grand Tourer, while embodying elegance beyond compare," said Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer. "With this car we combine the opulent Mulsanne experience with the full sensory indulgence of open-air touring, continuing to unite luxury and performance in new ways. We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car - if it reaches the roads – will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector’s piece.” In other words, if enough buyers come forward, they'll build a few, otherwise it's just a show pony.

Bentley calls the Grand Convertible's interior "a showcase for the abilities of Bentley’s master craftsmen." Fourteen naturally tanned leather hides are merged together with progressive-diamond quilting, with the shape of the pattern changing over the seats and doors in a cabin sized for four adults. Bright blue is used along with Sequin Blue thread cross-stitched by hand through the linen-colored leather. The light hide is contrasted by Beluga leather around the top of the doors and extending back to the rear tonneau, framed in polished chrome. The tonneau itself is a work of art, with book-matched, mirror-finished and dark-stained Burr Walnut fashioned entirely by hand. The tonneau features the largest piece of wood veneer ever applied to a Bentley.

Painted in a shimmering Sequin Blue - originally a bespoke colour created from a single sequin from a customer’s haute couture gown - the Grand Convertible features a silver “liquid metal” finish to the bonnet and windscreen frame. Contrasting the rich blue body work is the Bentley directional wheel design, individually shaped for the left and right sides of the car, and finished by hand before being polished to a high shine. Powered by the 6¾-litre twin-turbo V8 engine from the flagship Mulsanne, the Grand Convertible 537 PS (530 bhp / 395 kW) and 1,100 Nm (811 lb.ft) of torque. The next appearance of the Grand Convertible will be at Art Basel in Miami, the world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary work.

(Images courtesy of Ford)
A new Mustang GT350 is upon us. Ford says: "The all-new Shelby GT350 Mustang, featuring the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever, is a world-class performance vehicle, designed to tackle the planet’s most challenging roads – an all-day track car that’s also street legal." Ford engineers took pains so that every component and shape is optimized to work in concert; balance is the key with the new GT350. “When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive – challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes – and the track on weekends,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant – nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power.”
The new 5.2-liter engine is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. Unlike a traditional V8, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals. “The final product is essentially an all-new powerplant unique to GT350 – and one that takes true advantage of the new chassis dynamics of the Mustang platform,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Global Performance Vehicles. The result is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, at more than 500 horsepower (Ford isn't saying exactly how much), with a torque peak above 400 lb.-ft. The track capability is enhanced by the output characteristics of the engine as the 5.2-liter V8 features an exceptionally broad torque curve. Combined with its high-revving ability, the flat-plane 5.2-liter V8 gives drivers an enormous amount of performance and flexibility within each gear of the lightweight six-speed manual transmission, according to Ford. A standard Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential optimizes cornering grip and straight-line traction. “Make no mistake, this is an American interpretation of a flat-plane crankshaft V8, and the 5.2-liter produces a distinctive, throaty howl from its four exhaust tips,” said Hameedi.
“Everything we changed on GT350 is purely functional-driven design, with the goal of improving the overall performance of the car,” said Chris Svensson, Ford design director, The Americas. “We optimized the aero shape of the car, and then fine-tuned what was left to increase downforce and cooling airflow.” All bodywork from the windshield forward is unique to the GT350 and is up to two inches lower than Mustang GT. The new aluminum hood has been lowered and sloped, and is tightly wrapped around the engine for the smallest possible aerodynamic signature. The fascia has been resculpted to provide the aggressive lower front splitter with maximum pressure and a ducted belly pan delivers significant downforce. The hood outlet acts as a heat extractor while also reducing underhood lift at high speed. At the rear, much of the engineering was focused on creating an aggressive functional diffuser doing double duty to increase downforce and provide cooling air to the optional differential cooler, and a subtle lip spoiler across the trailing edge of the decklid increases downforce without adding excess drag. Other stuff? Recontoured aluminum front fenders accommodate the wider front track and wider wheel arches. Front fender vents work with vented inner fenders to draw out turbulent air in the wheel wells and smoothly direct it down the side of the car. The forward-angled grille is designed with individual openings to draw air through the radiator, high-pressure engine air intake, cooling ducts for the front brakes and, optional with the Track Pack, an engine oil cooler and a transmission cooler.
Torsional stiffness is increased 28 percent over the previous model. Front stiffness is further improved on the GT350 with a carbon fiber composite grille opening and optional lightweight tower-to-tower brace. The front track has been increased while spring rates and bushings have been recalibrated all around, with ride height reduced compared to Mustang GT. The GT350 features two-piece cross-drilled iron discs mounted to aluminum hats. At the front are 394-millimeter rotors clamped by Brembo six-piston fixed calipers with integrated caliper bridges, while 380-millimeter rotors at the rear utilize four-piston calipers. GT350 makes use of extra-stiff 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels – 10.5 inches wide in front, 11.0 inches in the rear – clad in state-of-the-art Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with GT350-specific sidewall construction, tread face and compound. The custom tires are designed to deliver maximum grip on the road or at the track. The GT350 also utilizes the first-ever Ford application of continuously controlled MagneRide dampers. 
(VW photos)

Volkswagen will show the GTI Roadster concept car in North America for the first time at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The GTI Roadster is a Golf GTI show car that was originally created as a purely electronic CGI entity for the Sony PlayStation®3 classic "Gran Turismo 6" ("GT6"). First seen at the Wörthersee enthusiast festival in Austria in May, the two-seat convertible is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged TSI® engine that produces 503 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm; from just 2,000 revs, 369 lb-ft of that torque is available. The power of the TSI engine is transferred to the 20-inch wheel-and-tire combination via a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 4MOTION® all-wheel-drive system. The 3,133- pound sports car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 3.5 seconds and goes onto a top track speed of 192 mph.

After making its global debut at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year, Volkswagen of America is presenting the Golf R 400 concept car for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Developed by R GmbH, the Golf R 400 concept uses experience gained from VW’s involvement in World Rallycross (WRC). The “400” in the name refers to the vehicle’s 400 PS (394 horsepower) 2.0-liter TSI® engine, which propels the car from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 173 mph. The Golf R 400, including its all-wheel drive system, weighs 1,420 kilograms (3,130 pounds). Its weight-to-power ratio is 7.72 pounds per horsepower (3.55 kg per PS). The car is painted in "Silver Flake" and features a gloss black roof, carbon-look front splitter, and genuine carbon mirror caps. Additional carbon accents can be found inside.