No. 803,
July 1, 2015

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

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On The Table


MAY 13, 2015

(GM images)
(May 16th, 4:00 p.m.) GM took the wraps off its sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro today. GM says that the new Camaro "offers higher levels of performance, technology and refinement and is designed to maintain the sporty car segment leadership earned over the past five years."
“Redesigning the Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to offer something more,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development. “For Camaro enthusiasts, it retains iconic design cues and offers even more performance. For a new generation of buyers, the 2016 Camaro incorporates our most innovative engineering ideas with finely honed performance and leading design.” Only two parts carry over from the fifth-generation Camaro to the new Gen Six: the rear bowtie emblem and the SS badge. Compared to the previous generation 2015 Camaro the 2016 car is shorter (188.3" vs. 190.6"), slightly narrower (74.7" vs. 75.5"), lower (53.1 vs. 54.2"), with a shorter wheelbase (110.1" vs. 112.3") and a slightly narrower front and rear track. The big news? The 2016 Camaro is lighter by 200 pounds or more, depending on the model.  Six all-new powertrain combinations are offered, including a 2.0L Turbo, an all-new 3.6L V-6 and the LT1 6.2L V-8, which is SAE-certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) – resulting in the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

The reason for the 2016 Camaro’s leaner, stiffer platform and slightly smaller dimensions is that is now based on the brilliant architecture underpinning the Cadillac ATS. The exterior shape was meticulously tuned in the wind tunnel, aiming for reduced aerodynamic lift and better handling while enhancing efficiency. Right out of the box the Camaro's leaner, lighter stance and more aggressive demeanor spell big trouble for the Ford Mustang.

A driver-focused interior integrates new control technologies, including a new Driver Mode Selector, configurable instrument cluster and a customizable ambient lighting feature. The instrument panel is a departure from the previous model, but retains the Camaro’s familiar dual-binnacle-style instrument cluster hood. “Given the level of technology and performance, the interior had to be modern and driver focused.” said Ryan Vaughan, interior design manager. “But although the interior is an all new design, it is still instinctively recognizable as a Camaro.” The instrument cluster features analog instruments as well as an available eight-inch-diagonal high-definition center screen that can be configured to provide additional information including navigation, performance, and infotainment features. Another eight-inch screen, integrated in the center of the instrument panel, serves as the interface for the enhanced, next-generation MyLink system. The new center console and center stack are designed with high performance driving in mind. The heating and cooling controls are integrated into rings surrounding the air ducts eliminating the typical buttons, making adjusting the temperature easy while keeping your eyes on the road. An electronic parking brake replaces the previous mechanical parking brake handle, allowing the cup holders to be repositioned for improved range of motion when shifting in manual-transmission models.

The new Camaro will be offered with six different powertrain combinations: A new 2.0L Turbo is standard in the LT rated at an SAE-certified 275 horsepower (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm). The 2.0L turbo will deliver 0-60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds and offer more than 30 mpg on the highway, according to GM. An all-new 3.6L V-6 is available in the Camaro LT, producing and SAE-certified 335 horsepower (250 kW) and 284 lb-ft of torque (385 Nm). The 2.0L turbo and 3.6L V-6 engines are offered with a six-speed manual transmission or the all-new Hydra-Matic 8L45 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s based on the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed, but scaled for the performance envelope of the smaller engines and offering an estimated 5-percent efficiency improvement over a comparable six-speed automatic. Camaro SS is powered by the 455HP 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. It also has variable valve timing, direct injection and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). The LT1 engine is available with a standard six-speed manual transmission – with new Active Rev Match technology that “blips” the throttle for perfectly timed downshifts – or the Hydra-Matic 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic. Both the 3.6L V-6 and 6.2L V-8 feature mechanical sound enhancers – resonators that direct induction noise from the engine bay into the cabin. Both engines are available with a dual-mode exhaust, which features electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, delivering improved performance and greater sound levels. With the dual-mode exhaust, drivers can personalize the exhaust sound, from a “stealth” mode to the most aggressive “track” mode.

Approximately 70 percent of the architectural components are unique to Camaro. Structural rigidity was increased by 28 percent, while the body-in-white mass was reduced by 133 pounds (60.5 kg). Significant weight savings came from using an aluminum instrument panel frame instead of steel, which saved 9.2 pounds (4.2 kg). The use of lightweight components, including aluminum front suspension links and steel rear suspension links with lightening holes, in the new five-link rear suspension system contributed to a 26-pound (12 kg) reduction in the overall suspension weight. With the lighter, stiffer architecture and more powerful engines, the Gen Six Camaro SS delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation’s track-focused Camaro 1LE package. The Camaro features a new, multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension with Camaro-specific geometry. The double-pivot design provides a more precise feeling of control, including more linear and communicative feel from the quick-ratio electric power steering system. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension yields better wheel control and reduces “squat” during acceleration. In addition, the Magnetic Ride Control is available on the Camaro SS for the first time. Previously limited to the Camaro ZL1, the active suspension reads road and driving conditions 1,000 times per second, and automatically adjusts the damper settings to optimize ride comfort and control. “The driving experience is significantly different,” said Aaron Link, lead development engineer. “Immediately, you will notice how much lighter and more nimble the Camaro feels. That feeling increases when you drive the Camaro harder – it brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, and accelerates faster than ever.”

“From every angle, you’ll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro,” said Tom Peters, design director. “We’ve taken that iconic design and amplified its proportions to reflect a more dynamic driving experience – like the T-shirt on a muscular physique.” All Camaro models offer Brembo brakes – they’re standard on SS – that are optimized for the car’s mass and performance capability. On Camaro LT, the available brakes include 12.6-inch (320 mm) front rotors with four-piston calipers and 12.4-inch (315 mm) rear rotors with single-piston sliding calipers. Camaro SS employs 13.6-inch (345 mm) front rotors with four-piston fixed calipers and 13.3-inch (338 mm) rear rotors with four-piston fixed calipers. Goodyear tires are used on all models: The LT features standard 18-inch wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires and available 20-inch wheels matched with Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires. Camaro SS features standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires.

The new 2016 Camaro will be produced at GM’s Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., and will be available at Chevrolet dealers later this year.

Sergio Marchionne. Editor-in-Chief's Note:
The Greatest auto executive Of All Time was on the stump again last weekend in Oakville, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Brother Sergio's Traveling Salvation Show, in which he careens around from one event to the next urging reporters to spread his message of auto industry salvation through consolidation, made a stop at the opening of an Alfa Romeo and Maserati dealership, as reported by Bloomberg. There, Brother Sergio again was in high dudgeon, pleading for large automakers to combine and share costs. “We need to find a way to get this done,” he exhorted the assembled media types. “If they think these comments are going to deter me from the objectives, I’ve got news for you: It just reinforced my conviction it needs to happen. I haven’t had a guy tell me it’s not true. Not one.” This, of course, is classic Sergio. What he really means is that while talking to himself in his Magic Mirror, no one disagrees with him, ever, so of course it all makes perfect, logical sense and rings true with authority. “I could give you list of reasons as to why you would be scared of doing it, I get it,” he said. “But you have to be able to take leadership. You have to be able to stand alone when you make these calls. Make the bloody call. That’s what they pay you for. They pay you to lead. Not to execute somebody else’s will.” Which gave us all a fascinating, albeit rare glimpse into one of Sergio's personal pep talks in front of said mirror, which was quite illuminating, especially given the fact that Brother Sergio is paid handsomely by the remnants of the broke-ass Fiat dynasty to save their collective asses. The clock is ticking on Marchionne, and if he doesn't get someone to consolidate with FCA - oh, let's be frank here, to take the Jeep and truck franchises off his hands so he can finally walk - then the little company that could, the one that makes a lot of noise yet woefully underdelivers when it comes to generating a profit of any kind, will be on the brink of oblivion. Again.
Brother Sergio is making The Call, but no one is bothering to pick up the phone. Boo-frickin'-hoo, Brother Sergio. Boo-frickin'-hoo. - PMD

FCA. Speaking of forming partnerships to reduce costs and share technologies, Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. have agreed to form a “long-term partnership” for collaboration on products, manufacturing and technologies as a means to spread development costs while contending with tightening emissions standards, as Automotive News and other sources have reported. The companies will forge a joint committee to figure out “how best to utilize each company’s respective strengths,” according to a statement.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai didn't elaborate on what the cooperation could possibly deliver. “This is an engagement announcement, not a marriage announcement,” Toyoda said. Well, there goes one corporate tie-up that Marchionne won't be a part of. The funny thing is, it remains to be seen whether there will even be a chair for FCA when the music stops. Why? Marchionne hasn't exactly endeared himself to his peers over the last several years.

(Audi images)
Audi will debut the TT clubsport turbo
at the Wörthersee Tour in the Austrian town of Reifnitz, from May 13 - 16. Audi says that the inspiration for the show car came from the successful Audi 90 IMSA GTO of the late 1980s. The big news about the car is its electric biturbo. “The electric biturbo signifies a new dimension in driving enjoyment; it boosts sprinting ability and torque and enables high peak power,” explains Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. “In our TDI engines, we are close to production readiness with this technology. We are now presenting it in a TFSI – here too, we are the first automaker in the world to do this. For our fans at Wörthersee, we have packaged the electric biturbo in a very sporty show car.”

The Audi TT clubsport's turbocharged five-cylinder 2.5 TFSI engine produces 441 kW (600 hp) and 650 Nm (479.4 lb-ft) of torque, the latter from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. That's 176 kW (240 hp) and 260 Nm (191.8 lb-ft) per liter of displacement, in case you're wondering. Power is transferred via a manual six-speed transmission.
Thanks to systematic lightweight design tweaks, the TT clubsport turbo show car has an unladen weight of just 1,396 kg (3,077.7 lb). The TT clubsport goes 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 310 km/h (192.6 mph). Audi says that the TT clubsport turbo's electrically driven compressor lets it cover up to 16 meters (52.5 ft) within the first 2.5 seconds – which is six meters (19.7 ft) further than a comparable car without this innovation. Wait a minute, what?

The BMW Group will unveil the new BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage to the public for the first time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 22. T
he BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage is the BMW Design Team’s tribute to the iconic BMW 3.0 CSL from the 1970s. Emphasizing lightweight design and performance, BMW says that "the Hommage draws on the character of the earlier model and endows it with cutting-edge materials to translate it into the present in a new and exciting guise."

(GM Images)
General Motors announced Thursday (May 14) that it will invest $1 billion in its Warren Technical Center campus, creating approximately 2,600 new jobs to support future business growth at the National Historic Landmark site. The multiyear project, which is driving new construction on the campus, significant renovations of some existing facilities and expansion of some operations, begins this month with work continuing through 2018. “This is an investment in our people, our products, and, ultimately, our customers, to make the Tech Center a more advanced, more efficient and more collaborative workplace,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development and Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Developing a new vehicle is a total team effort, and every facet of this project will make us a stronger team.” Initial construction on the 326-acre Tech Center began in 1949, and it opened in 1956. The campus was designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen and landscape architect Thomas Church. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2014 by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Fourteen years earlier, in 2000, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1986, the American Institute of Architects honored the Tech Center as the most outstanding architectural project of its era. Editor-in-Chief's Note: For anyone who appreciates and/or loves this crazy business, GM's Technical Center is one of the most impressive places that you'll ever see. Visionary design blends with a unique, campus-like feel to create a facility unlike any other in the automobile business. The GM Design building alone is simply one of the coolest places on earth. As someone who had the privilege to see the inner workings of the Tech Center starting at a young age, what GM is doing is significant, as this place deserves to be nurtured and preserved for the future. -PMD

Designed by Kevin Roche, the GM Design lobby staircase is made of 7-foot, 4-inch terrazzo slabs, which overlap each other. The are actually suspended from above. Each tread is caught in tension between pencil-thin stainless steel rods.

Cadillac and “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin debuted a short film that explains super-agent Ari Gold’s journey back to Hollywood after a short-lived retirement. Played by Jeremy Piven on the hit HBO series, Ari was last seen retiring to Italy in the show’s final episode. The upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures, Home Box Office and RatPac-Dune Entertainment film “Entourage,” in theaters June 3, brings the entire cast back together for the first time since the series finale. The Cadillac short film shares with fans what happened during Ari’s one week of retirement. The short takes place in Italy, where stomping grapes and long lunches with his wife leave Ari feeling unsatisfied. When a mysterious and familiar stranger appears on the scene in a must-see ride, Ari follows him to uncover the sign he needs to return to his glory days in Hollywood. Watch the short film at