VW. From the "Hose-O-Rama" File comes word that VW is going to pay $14.7 billion with a "B" to settle with U.S. regulators over the calculated cheating it conducted in order to make its diesel-powered vehicles pass U.S. emissions tests. Customers will get cash back or VW will buy their vehicles back, and in some cases, both. That's just the monetary penalty. The lingering damage to VW's image will go on for years.
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Since GM CEO Mary Barra rates a hot mention in the latest Fast Company (see last week's Rant -WG), it reminded us of when she was quoted in The Wall Street Journal several months ago, saying, "GM should be a company where employees go home enthused about a 'really cool project,' instead of complaining, 'I had to go climb Mt. Stupid today to try and get the right thing done.'" Yes, GM should be a company like that, Mary, but I don't know if you realize it or not - maybe you've been immersed in GM so long you can't see the mountains from the relentless shit storms that are part of the microclimate here - but southeast Michigan is surrounded by mountain peaks. It's called The Pathetic Range, and it's made up of Mt. Stupid, Mount Silo and the volcanic Mt. Stronzo (formerly known as Mt. Lido but the Italians renamed it). There are also Idiot Pass and the pastoral Mediocre Valley, punctuated by the majestic Go-Along-To-Get-Along River. You still really need to get out more. - PMD
Chevrolet has released a video of the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a blistering 7:29.60. The new ZL1’s lap time is 11.67 seconds quicker than the previous ZL1’s fast lap. “To be almost 12 seconds quicker than the 5th-Generation ZL1 is a testament to the advanced design and technology of the new ZL1,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “From the improved aerodynamics, mass reduction and 650-horsepower LT4 to the Magnetic Ride Control, electronic limited-slip differential and Custom Launch Control, the ZL1 was designed to take on the world’s most challenging track, making it right at home on any track, road or drag strip anywhere.” The only changes made to the ZL1 were the installation of data acquisition equipment, a roll hoop and Sparco racing seats with six-point harnesses. Otherwise, the car was production stock and included the following: 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V-8 making 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque; All-new 10R90 10-speed automatic transmission (set to Track mode to enable Performance Algorithm Shift calibration, providing optimal gear selection without the need to manually select gears); FE4 Suspension with Magnetic Ride Control; Performance Traction Management; Forged 20-inch wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires; Brembo brakes with front 15.4-inch rotors and six-piston calipers and rear 14.4-inch rotors and four-piston calipers; Lift-reducing front fascia elements with cooling ducts and Chevrolet “flowtie”; Full underbody shielding; ZL1-specific rear spoiler and diffuser and eleven heat exchangers. “Many fast laps around the Nordschleife are dramatic, with lots of oversteer and steering input,” said Drew Cattell, Camaro ride and handling engineer and driver of the hot lap. “Not so with the ZL1, which is extremely planted and stable, almost calm. With Magnetic Ride and great overall chassis balance, the ZL1 is all about being inch perfect at every turn and carrying a lot of speed.” We concur.
The latest from Mercedes-AMG - the new 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 and E63 S - are made for those who just have to have it. The 4.0L V8 biturbo engine generates 563HP (603HP in the S), making it the most powerful E- Class ever built. The E63 S accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds (3.4 in the E63). The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi Clutch Technology) nine-speed sport transmission is combined with a wet start-off clutch for the first time, enabling more agile response times to be achieved, according to Mercedes. Another highlight is the completely new AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. It combines the advantages of various drive configurations. Torque distribution on the front and rear axles, which until now was strongly rear-biased, is fully variable for the first time. This ensures optimum traction right up to the physical limit, no matter the road conditions. How much? They're not saying. You can see it at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in just a few weeks, and it will be available here next summer.
Calling it "the biggest, most adventurous MINI ever" (the biggest mini? how absurd is that? -WG), the BMW Group has unveiled the all-new 2017 MINI Countryman. Not happy with the BMW reference about the reality of MINI? Let's let BMW say it: "The all-new MINI Countryman has been completely redesigned and reengineered from the ground up, yet still is instantly identifiable as a MINI. Now incorporating BMW Group engine technology and vehicle architecture... " In other words, it's the BMW X1 in a MINI wrapper. And, that's not all - a MINI model will be offered as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 will be powered by both a three-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology gasoline engine and an electric hybrid synchronous motor. The new MINI Countryman will make its debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show at a press conference on Wednesday, November 16th, at 11:50 am PDT.
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