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The News for June 8th, 2018

Greg Kachadurian June 8, 2018 The News! 46 Comments

Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. There’s also just a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • BMW debuts fourth-generation X5

  • Audi reveals long-rumored Q8

  • Kia drops more details on Niro EV

  • Porsche brings back two classic liveries for Le Mans

  • FIA reportedly meeting with manufacturers for ‘hypercar’ GTP class in WEC

  • What’s your automotive news?

Update: June, not January. Greg is fired until Monday. -KK

2019 BMW X5

The SUV Sports Activity Vehicle that started BMW’s obsession with the art of making pigs fly is getting a thorough makeover for its fourth generation on the market. The press release contains words like ‘sculpted’ and ‘dynamic’ multiple times, so yep it’s definitely a new BMW.

Its redesign follows the same formula as seen on the smaller X3 with a more upright face, bigger kidney grilles, new headlights (with available Laserlight technology… just maybe not in the US). Additional design features are added if you opt for the “rugged” xLine package (which adds underbody protection, matte aluminum roof rails and window surrounds, and some pearl-effect chrome accents because that screams ‘rugged’) or the sportier M Sport package (which brings the usual sportier accents and bigger wheels).

The already large X5 grows in every dimension; it has a 1.6″ longer wheelbase, 1.1″ increase in length, an additional 2.6″ of width, and is an inch taller.

The interior is also new and stuff. It was designed to feel more open and have a more exclusive ambiance to it. The gauge cluster is fully digital and sort of connects to the center screen in the instrument panel. An updated infotainment system, new ambient lighting, available Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 20 speakers and 1,500-watt output, and new rear-seat entertainment options (also known as a smart phone). Multi-function front seats with massaging, heating, and cooling are available. There’s new leather upholstery and colors to pick from too.

BMW brings back familiar but lightly updated engines for the X5, starting with the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo straight six in the X5 xDrive40i. It now produces 335 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque. The X5 xDrive5oi comes with a range-topping (until the M model arrives) 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 with 456 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque. That one can do 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

All models come equipped with an eight-speed automatic and a new xDrive all-wheel-drive system which can basically go full RWD when needed as with the new M5. Opt for the Adaptive M Suspension and it’ll get new active roll stabilization for added #dynamism. Another big update is rear-axle steering for extra agility and low-speed mobility. There’s also a new air suspension system at both axles for greater ride comfort.

There’s a bunch of other updates too but most of you – like me – probably don’t care enough to read more. Pricing will be announced closer to its on sale date which is whenever they start appearing outside of your local Macy’s.

[Source: BMW]

Audi Q8

The long-rumored Audi Q8 was revealed this week with plenty of pictures but few details. All you need to know is it’s another “coupe-like” SUV aimed at the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE and it arrives later this year. You’ve been warned.

[Source: Audi via ]

Kia Niro EV

When Kia debuted the Niro a few years ago, it was a compact crossover-lookin thing that was touted as being designed as a hybrid from the ground up. From the moment they started engineering it, they knew they’d be coming out with different variants with greater efficiency and work their way up to a full battery-electric vehicle. In Busan, that goal was realized when they rolled it back out with some specs to finally talk about.

It’s source of power is either a 64kWh battery pack that can provide up to 236 miles of driving range per charge or a 39.2kWh pack good for 149 miles. Fast charging is available when needed. On the big pack at least, an 80% charge takes just under an hour with a 100kW charger.

The interior is mostly the same but gets a few updates to fit the needs of the all-electric version. The center console is reworked a bit and the screens get their own special EV settings such as a charging station locator. The exterior looks about the same minus the new filled-in grille cause look I’m an EV and some additional blue accents.

South Korea will be the first to get the Niro EV later this year but global sales will follow later in 2019.

[Source: Kia via ]

Porsche Wins Le Mans With Retro RSR Liveries

Porsche will have two factory-backed 911 RSRs decked out with retro liveries at next weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The famous Pink Pig and the old school Rothmans colors are coming back home.

The #91 Porsche has probably the prettiest livery in the GTE Pro field with the iconic blue and white two-tone design with red and gold striping. Those colors were perhaps best known on the 959 that won the Paris-Dakar rally in 1986 and on the 956 C and 962 C prototypes that dominated their eras. And if you race in Assetto Corsa or Project Cars 2 on PC, the modding community already has you covered – Henky SA and my buddy Abe .

The #92 Porsche brings back another fan favorite – the Pink Pig. This design harks back to the 917/20 that ran Le Mans in 1971. It even includes the labeled butcher-style cuts.

This was Porsche’s crop – honest

The other two factory-backed 911 RSRs in GTE Pro will run the factory black and red over white liveries as usual. In total, ten 911 RSRs will compete in this race. It’s going to be a loud one.

[Source: Porsche]

FIA Reportedly Confirms New ‘Hypercar’ Class for WEC

The future of the current LMP1 regulations in the FIA World Endurance Challenge has been up in the air since its biggest manufacturers pulled out over inflating costs, but a report published by motorsport.com seems to confirm our suspicions and one of my predictions earlier this year. A GT1-like class is coming back and Toyota, McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Ford are the ones at the table while the decision making takes place.

The working title of the class is GTP which would indicate a GT-based Prototype that we can assume is based off the current batch of hypercars making the rounds at auto shows. Think Aston Martin Valkyrie, McLaren Senna, Toyota GR Super Sport Concept, and whatever hypercar Ferrari has by then. Ford being at the table is interesting as well because the GT road car is only in production for a few more years – what’s going to follow?

Though not official, the cars will likely still use hybrid power as the current LMP1-Hs do but manufacturers will be able to pick a spec setup rather than develop their own. Other cost-saving measures will be enforced but a general freedom of design based on their road-going hypercars will still be promoted. Ideally, the FIA wants to retain LMP1 levels of performance but at a quarter of the cost.

Whether or not it works, my body is ready.

[Source: via ]

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 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]

  • For my fellow enthusiasts of British invalid carriages and their international equivalents, there’s currently a Chair-E-Yacht available in Plummer, Idaho for $1200:

    • P161911

      I like the Imperial eagle emblem on the front.

      • Despite the fact that (1) it’s repurposed from an Imperial, (2) it’s crudely screwed in place, and (3) it doesn’t show up on any other Chair-E-Yacht photo that I’ve found, I’m still not ready to rule out the possibility it was installed like that at the factory.

    • Fuhrman16

      That would make for a cool pit bike.

      • Indeed, my first thought was to put a wingback on the wheelchair platform. Instant pit bike and/or judgemobile.

      • crank_case

        You could ride your pit bike onto your pit bike

        • P161911

          This would be the perfect pit bike for that:

    • Batshitbox

      Where does the invalid go?

      • outback_ute

        Roll your wheelchair up the ramp

  • onrails

    News for January 8th? Already? Sure is warm out…

    • Greg is a little slow… about five months in this case.

    • Greg Kachadurian

      I should stop trying to write stuff at 2 AM ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • No, please continue.

        • Greg Kachadurian

          Deal

  • Fred

    Are Audi’s getting uglier? Not that the BMW is any better.

  • GTXcellent

    Ooooohhhh Yeaaahhhhh

    So my impression 5 days in – awesome!
    Now to be fair – my previous experiences with Wranglers are pretty limited. A 4 cylinder, automatic YJ that felt as fast and off-road capable as a golf cart and my buddy’s ’07 Rubicon with a giant lift and 37″ tires and beat to hell. But this JL – absolutely incredible. I was worried it would ride like the off-road beast it’s designed to be, but on-road it’s smoother than my pickup. The transmission takes some getting used to. 1st gear is REALLY low (so low in fact, that I thought it was basically a ‘granny gear’ and I embarrassed myself in the parking lot of the dealership by instead just trying to start in 2nd) and 5th and 6th gears are really, reall tall. Gearing aside, everything else is just really, really great. Clutch isn’t very heavy and the shifter is butter smooth.
    You know how you ask somebody who drives a Jeep, “what makes your Jeep so great?” and they can’t really answer, they just respond by giving you the “look” and muttering something – now I get it. I totally get it.
    The other day I had the Freedom Panels off, windows down, not a cloud in the sky, some Drive-By Truckers song was blasting on the radio and I couldn’t get the smile off my face. All I wanted to do was find some sand dunes, or forge a stream or climb some rocky mountain goat trail (sadly none of those things are anywhere near here) and live.

    • P161911

      My wife wants one of those for our next family SUV (family of 3). The engineer in me just can’t get past the whole paying more for less thing. For the same money I could get an Explorer or something that just has more to it. I’m also afraid that the overall NVH will be much more than she is expecting. My only experience with Jeeps has been my dad’s lake “golf cart”, a beat to hell 1996 YJ 4 cylinder, 5 speed (but 5th doesn’t work), on 18″ JK wheels, with a busted muffler. Still a lot of AMC in the YJ. I couldn’t imagine a Wrangler as more than just a fun vehicle, not an everyday vehicle. At least the 4 door wrangles don’t depreciate. We will be seriously car shopping in about 4 more years. I’m hoping for a screaming deal on an off lease Alfa Stelvio with a big extended warranty, but a 4 door Wrangler with hardtop is not off the radar.

      • GTXcellent

        That was my worry too, that’s it’s a fun toy but no way a daily – but this JL is not like previous Wranglers. Do I dare say it’s civilized? Even just opening and shutting the doors – they actually feel like a real door and not an afterthought. It’s quiet (relatively speaking of course) has lots of room and the ergonomics are actually enjoyable.

      • Zentropy

        The AMC four-banger was a dog. The 4L six wasn’t exactly a revver, but had great torque, and is actually one of my favorite small truck engines. But let’s be realistic and put the blame where it belongs– who the hell buys a four-cylinder Wrangler?

        Great point about Wrangler depreciation. You’re almost better off buying a new one to get exactly the options you want, rather than even bother with the used market.

        • P161911

          My dad got his used for less than the cost of a golf cart or side by side to use basically as one of those.
          To buy a 4 cylinder Wrangler new takes a poor understanding of mechanics. My father in law bought his YJ new with a 4 cylinder, lift kit, 5-speed, and 33X12.50X15 tires (It was some sort of dealer installed option package). I question his ability to use even a screwdriver.

          • Zentropy

            Well, for your dad’s intended purpose, it would be fine. The YJ four with 33s, though, is a terrible idea unless you seriously lower the differential gears.

            • P161911

              From what I have heard, the YJ with 33s can’t even maintain speed up hills or at least requites lots of shifting.

    • I know you bought one based on my review, of course.

      • GTXcellent

        The MiSSus and I watched it a couple of times – it sure didn’t hurt!

    • Zentropy

      Awesome, congrats! I’m envious. Love the blue– I painted my old CJ-7 a similar shade, though my grille was chrome. You (and the reviews by Kamil and Jeff) make me seriously want one of these as my next family hauler.

    • danleym

      I have a TJ with a 3 inch body lift (previous owner installed and I haven’t gotten around to a proper suspension lift in the last 5 years) and 33s- no other offroad mods other than recovery gear. Still rolling with the Dana 30/35 combo, open diffs in both. By all internet accounts a horrible setup if you ever want to drive on even a dirt road. And it always impresses me when I go wheeling. Seriously, I’ve done some fairly intense trails in Colorado, and often find myself looking at an obstacle thinking this will be the one I don’t make it up. And so far I’ve found one. One rock I haven’t been able to get over.

      I only have it because my wife really wanted one. Never liked them, never would have bought one on my own. I’d still rather have a Tacoma, or my old K5, or a Scout, or… a lot of other trucks. But it has certainly won my respect, and I get why they’re so popular.

  • Rennsau (“racing sow”), nice! My favourite in-joke there is the “Rüssel” in the front: it translates to “trunk”, which is both the nose-y appendage and the space to stow away groceries – language, my favourite toy!

    Speaking of Sau: I’ve been to the monthly meet-up of the local P-chapter, and I’m again astonished how nice these people are. A general trend is seems to be that air-cooled 911s have become too expensive to hack them up for the track, both purchasing and parts, so the few that race regularly turn to the transaxles and look closely at the Norwegian 944 cup. All the sudden, people who have owned like a dozen of 911s throughout their lives discuss 924GT vs. 924GTR, and rhapsodise about 50:50 balance.

    One of the veterans looked at my car, especially the rusty bits, and said “Rust-wise, I’ve saved much worse, but you could wash your car for a change” followed by some low-cost hints for detailing and preservation. Eventually, he used the dirt on the paint to mark the cuts he’d do to remove the rusty panels, so that was not in vain.

    • Also, I forgot to mention that Dinner with Racers has new episodes out. They’re publishing more evenly, not only after they are done with these road trips.

    • . And since I just discussed with a friend, here the translations:
      Rüssel – trunk
      Hals – Neck
      Schulter – shoulder
      Hirn – brain
      Ohrlappen – ear lobe
      Wamme – potbelly (also dewlap)
      Kottlett – cutlet/chop
      Schinken – ham
      Lende – loin
      Ripple – Stuttgart dialect for rib
      Schwanz – tail
      Haxen – knuckle/leg

  • ptschett

    i have doubts about anyone ever purposely putting a what, $70k? low-ride-height / tall wagon into this scenario, and is that tire even still on the ground?

    • It doesn’t need to. It has fancy “systems” that send power to the wheel that has traction, even if all four wheels are in the air, which happens all the time when you’re off-roading.

      • kogashiwa

        In other words it’s smarter than the driver, which to be fair in this case doesn’t appear difficult.

      • ptschett

        “January, 1979. Advanced traction technology demonstrator #01 begins tests within the confines of Hazzard Co., Georgia.”

      • outback_ute

        Just look at the wheel travel, must be at least 100 mm…

        Given how much the kidney grilles have grown so far, how many future generations will it take for them to cover the whole front end?

  • Sjalabais

    Hilarious introduction of the BMW. You really know who you’re writing for, Greg, 2AM or not.

    So my Honda got a new windshield today and I rented a Smart to get around with in the meantime. Gravelroad and hiking ensued…my kind of road:

    The Smart, in my mind, was always the economy car which is not just economy car awful. Getting into the car, second guessing that idea comes first. Small, cramped, plasticky, window cranks – yay! The seating position made me want to not touch the seat back, a bit hurtful. But it drives okay, feels pretty stable and isn’t as noisy as it could have been. Not unfun. Engine has “enough” power to move the car, which I guess is a perfectly tolerable threshhold here.

    But…in danger of echoing Top Gear, the sequential gearbox is absolutely horrible. Just impossible to be friends with. Every gearshift takes exactly two seconds, no matter what, as revs are adjusted. A little arrow in the display asks the driver to gear up to 5th at 60kph, but that means accepting a violent low rpm rattle all the way to 90kph. Motorbraking sounds as if you’ve engaged the retarder in a coach. Rpm doesn’t matter; whether the engine barely spins or you make it go to 2nd at 60kph…it wines out loud. Coasting? Meh, N and R are so close to each other, and so indistinguishable when you stand still and shift gears, I didn’t even dare trying. The transmission will also allow kickdowns and shift down from 3rd and 2nd gear. But it never shifts up by itself. If the development goal was to combine the worst of manual and automatic transmission, I guess they high-five at the factory every single day.

    Driving comfort is on par with dragging a piece of wood over tarmac. On gravel, this is the floatiest car I have driven, barely going where you point it. The rear wheels will spin very easily, inducing shopping cart dynamics. But serpentines are awesome with this short wheelbase, it’s easy to get around all sides first.

    The little info display in the driver’s vision shows nearly nothing, but the icon they found space for right in the middle of everything is…not confidence inspiring:

    The arrow in the middle is the one asking you to shift up. When the arrow isn’t preaching, that position in the display shows the current gear. Couple of pictures, mobile phone quality FTW:

    End of the road:

    • Fuhrman16

      Excellent pictures, terrible car.

      • outback_ute

        Very well-maintained gravel road too! One of these days when the car is already dirty I will have to take some photos on a back-road shortcut/bypass I used to use when I was driving Falcons. Corollas and other fwd cars definitely don’t like it as well.

  • Anyone who’s in need of a set of hubcaps for an Eshelman Golden Eagle Safety Car (the later Golden Eagle, the one surprisingly similar to a full-sized ’67 Chevrolet, not the earlier one that bears a remarkable resemblance to a Corvair) is in luck, although the price is a bit steep at $1500:

    Personally I’m inclined to say it would be entirely in keeping with the spirit of Cheston L. Eshelman just to get a set of ’67 Impala hubcaps and make them oneself instead.

  • Zentropy

    So… very… tired… of… new… SUVs/crossovers.

  • Batshitbox

    My old Laverda motorcycle has never left me stranded. Occasionally, though, I really let the old bird down, through deferred maintenance or thudding incompetence. Here’s this year’s front-runner for the Dumb Batshitbox Award…

    My mechanic is in a town 135 miles from where I live, but somewhere where I have friends so I don’t mind taking it up there for work. This time, instead of putting it in the van to get it it home, I figured I’d ride it back. (Seven-and-a-half hours on buses to get there; worth it)

    All set to go, mechanic says, why not top up the tank and take the long(-er) way home? “Sure!” says I. I haven’t ridden this thing more than 30 miles at a stretch for 13 years, I was up for a little tour, and the long way was actually along better traveled roads, in case anything went wrong. Also, lunch at the Blue Bird Cafe in Hopland, CA.

    Only when I push it over to the pump, I realize I’ve left the gas cap key in San Francisco. And there’s only 3-1/2 or less gallons in the tank, which ain’t enough for 135 miles, not on a high performance mid-80s Italian.

    In the pic we’re back-flowing gasoline in through the fuel petcock with gravity , shaking the bike side-to-side to hear when the tank gets full. I had to take the shorter, more remote Pacific Coast Highway (such suffering!) and hypermile a Laverda all the way home, but I didn’t hit reserve ’till a mile from the house. Good ol’ bird, that Laverd.

    • That’s a genius solution to an all too common forgetful mistake. I’ve got to remember that! Two of the three bikes I own have locking gas caps, both Japanese. My Sportster does not. Is it a law in some countries that gas caps on motorcycles have to be locking? For me they’re an unnecessary pain in the butt, especially if the gas cap is keyed different from the ignition.

      • Pro tip: Disassemble the lock, remove the pins and springs, then reassemble the lock without them. It’ll still look and act like a lock but will turn when anything (for example, a screwdriver blade or a “wrong” key) is inserted into the keyway. It’s a pretty good solution when the potential problems associated with not having the right key at hand outweigh the likely problems associated with slightly easier unauthorized use. It’s also a handy workaround for obscure locks for which key blanks aren’t available.

        Or so I’ve heard.

        • Brilliant! I had a hunch this is where the smart people hang out!

  • JayP

    Facebook marketplace – Scored ANOTHER set of GT500 18×9.5s with Toyo R888s in perfect shape.
    Cost was about 1.5x the price of a single new R888.

    • Zentropy

      Never even considered FB marketplace. Perhaps I should keep my eyes more open.

  • Marto

    Just a little story about the hazards of water crossings …

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