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The News for October 19th, 2018

Greg Kachadurian October 19, 2018 The News! 18 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:

  • Porsche revives the Panamera GTS, extends it to the Sport Turismo as well

  • BMW just gets it over with by finally revealing new X7

  • Ford is extending production of the GT by two more years

  • Tesla finally starts dropping the price of the Model 3

  • What’s your automotive news?

2019 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche has been offering a GTS trim on most of their cars for several years now and they’ve proven to be popular among buyers who want a little extra edge. The GTS trim is reserved for Porsches which offer higher levels of performance than most other models, save for the higher end GT3 and Turbo trims. Even on the bigger and “softer” Panamera, the GTS trim has been a driver’s favorite and it’s coming back for the first time since the new generation. And yes, it’s available on the Sport Turismo as well.

The fun starts under the hood where Porsche has chosen their 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to do the honors. It produces 460 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque which gets channeled to all four wheels through an eight-speed PDK gearbox. With the standard Sport Chrono package (which includes launch control), the 0-60 mph sprint is taken care of in 4.1 seconds and both the saloon and Sport Turismo top out at around 180 mph.

Because the GTS package isn’t just about adding power, they’ve also recalibrated the standard three-chamber air suspension to provide greater body control and #dynamism through their Porsche Active Suspension Management. Braking is upgraded as well with large 15.4″ front and 14.4″ rear brake discs. As with other Panameras, rear axle steering is available too for enhanced agility.

As is typical for a GTS trim, the Panamera GTS features a sport design package with black exterior trim, bespoke 20″ wheels, black Alcantara upholstery, and anodised aluminium interior trim. There’s also an optional Interior GTS package which allows drivers to add a colored rev counter, designer seams, and contrasting GTS logos. One neat feature that no other Panamera has at the moment is a full color, configurable heads-up display.

And yes, all of this is available on the Panamera Sport Turismo too.

[Source: Porsche]

2019 BMW X7

Cars always have and hopefully always will be an extension of yourself. They can reflect your style and your personality by the way it looks, the noises it makes, or the purpose in life its engineers gave it. You gravitate towards the cars that are most like you to the point where you can almost get to know a person just by knowing what car they drive. People who are understated and sensible can end up in a Honda or a Volvo. Those who are more spirited and playful naturally gravitate towards fun cars like Miatas and Porsches. Those who want to make a statement anywhere they go tend to go for Benzes, Cadillacs, and the like.

People like Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch who went on record saying he markets towards “the cool kids” and that ““, end up in the all-new BMW X7.

After years of speculation and enthusiast tears, BMW has revealed the “first-ever” X7 that they just invented which they claim to be the pinnacle of BMW’s sports activity vehicle lineup. Arriving next March, the X7 offers standard seating for seven, two engine choices, standard all-wheel drive, and even premium feature BMW could stuff into it… and they had a lot of room.

At 203.3 inches in length, 78.7 inches wide and 71.1 inches tall, and with a wheelbase of 122.2 inches, the X7 is by far the largest SUV SAV to wear the prestigious X badge. Covering all that space with a design that’s unmistakably… uh, BMW, the X7 displays “harmonious proportions” and “a new use of forms, dominated by clearly structured surfaces and precise lines”. Thank goodness for those harmonious proportions, otherwise the largest kidney grilles ever fitted to a BMW would look totally out of place.

Step inside the X7 and not only will you be grateful that you don’t have to look at that nose anymore, you’ll also be treated to an interior that is more accurately described as an expanse. Its roominess afforded by the large exterior dimensions and they’ve worked overtime to make and quick ride or road trip as comfortable as possible. A three-panel panoramic glass sunroof and large windows create a bigger greenhouse than we’re used to in new cars. The standard seating configuration seats seven, but the second row can be configured to roomier captain’s chairs instead.

And of course this space is filled with the nicest leather BMW could find and it’s available in their usual range of colors, or their ultra premium two-tone scheme as pictured. That Ivory White/Navy Blue Full Leather Merino interior with a Navy Blue leather dashboard and a Navy Blue Alcantara headliner definitely looks like something Mike Jeffries would go for. I can just smell the body spray from here.

It comes with every standard feature you’d expect from a BMW which starts at $73,900, but you can quickly increase that price with some other premium interior features like glass controls for the push-button start, shift lever, iDrive controller, and radio controls, an LED “Sky Lounge” panoramic roof, and front ventilated and massaging seats. I’m sure most X7s you’ll see stocked on dealership lots will be close to if not in excess of $100,000.

The X7 launches as the X7 xDrive40i and xDrive50i, which in English means the 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six  engine is standard and the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is optional. Those produce 335 horsepower/330 lb.-ft. of torque and 456 horsepower/479 lb.-ft. of torque respectively. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed StepTronic is standard on both and a locking rear diff is optional.

The X7 rides on standard two-axle air suspension which is controlled by a dynamic damper system. They say it’ll handle like a BMW and stuff but we all know that’s a load of crap. Its ride height is adjustable so it can help clear obstacles if you ever need to go off road with it, but don’t expect this thing to tackle corners with #dynamism while it weighs up to 5,600 pounds.

It’s a big, luxurious, and exceptionally hideous SUV thing that people will surely be lining up to buy as they would a new iPhone. Pricing starts at $73,900 for the X7 xDrive40i and $92,600 for the X7 xDrive50i. They’re taking reservations online. I’m not telling you where to go for it because I love you too much to do that.

[Source: BMW]

Ford extending GT production

In happier news, Ford has announced that an additional 350 GTs will be seeing the light of collector car showrooms soon. The GT supercar was originally intended to be limited to 1,000 units with production ending in 2020, but due to popular demand and well over 6,000 applications from interested buyers, they’ve extended that to 1,350 units to be built through 2022.

Even though they already have plenty of applications to choose from, they’re re-opening the final owner application process on November 8th for 30 days on .

By adding another two years to the production run, could this also be a move to extend the Ford GT’s eligibility in IMSA and WEC? Or perhaps they’re open to the FIA’s new “hypercar” regulations (which launch in 2020) for WEC after all?

[Source: Ford]

Tesla Model 3 finally gets a cheaper version

Tesla’s Model 3 launch has been largely seen as a huge success for the brand as they work overtime to crank out their first truly high volume car, but it hasn’t been without its fair share of headaches stemming from build quality issues, production delays, and a lengthy delivery process. However one of the most consistent complaints from the general car-buying public revolved around the price. When the Model 3 made its debut a few years back, its $35,000 starting price was brought up repeatedly. But every Model 3 they’ve built so far has been significantly more than that, sometimes by more than double. But yesterday they announced they were one step closer to fulfilling that promise.

A new Model 3 version was added to the lineup and it brings the starting price down to $45,000 before incentives. The Mid Range Model 3 features the same battery pack as the Long Range version but it has fewer cells, which reduces driving range to 260 miles as opposed to 310. It’s more or less the same iPhone on wheels as any other Model 3 but with a shorter range. Note that this price does not include Autopilot, a $5,000 option.

By cutting off some cells from the battery pack they already use, they’re able to start rolling these Mid Range models out now and that’s crucial for one thing… tax credits. Currently there’s a hefty $7,500 federal tax credit an additional $3,500 up for grabs for California customers on all new EV purchases. If they can build your car soon enough (build time is 6-10 weeks), you can basically end up with the mythical $35,000 Model 3. But that price won’t last for very long. The federal tax credit is set to expire for Tesla and will be gone by the time they could start production on a new battery pack.

Those looking for the true $35,000 Model 3 will have to wait for the Short Range Model 3 which is currently 4-6 panel gaps months out.

[Source: Tesla 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]

  • “People who are understated and sensible can end up in a Honda or a Volvo.”

    I was a judge at last weekend’s Lemons race at The Ridge. I forgot to bring a camera. Nick Pon brought a camera.

    • Zentropy

      Oh no… those aren’t grilles from an Amazon are they?

      • No, that’s the correct factory-original redesign of the DAF 66 grille which… Oh. The other car.

        Yes.

  • tonyola

    I have one word for the front of the X7 – gack!

    • Manic_King

      I wonder if some co will start making nicer looking aftermarket grilles and bumpers for that X7. I was wondering also for E63/64 rear hatch (to de-Banglefy that mess, could have been kinda Porsche look rear end), didn’t happen though. Some MS Paint magic for ideas:

  • Manic_King

    That’s one expensive GAZ 24 Volga but it is as near the original soviet era ambulance as one could find.

    • Sjalabais

      Wow, nice example. But definitely not the first stiffly priced 24 I have seen. These things appreciate!

  • Sjalabais

    I had lunch with our fire chief this week and he talked about something I wasn’t fully aware off: Emergency power off switches on EVs and hybrids. Whenever they crash, turning off the power is the first priority. Yet, there’s no regulation on how or where to do this. The switches are located in different spots on every car (even Tesla S and X have them in different positions). Sometimes they are under a lock secured with four screws. Special gloves are necessary to do that work, too. Like airbags deploying in a severe-enough situation, these switches are supposed to auto-cut the power in the event of a crash. He was very clear though that the rule is: They don’t.

    That’s a pretty amazing regulatory and technical oversight in many regards. Imagine coming to an accident site and time is everything, but you got to unscrew a damn lid to turn off a hybrid’s battery power that didn’t turn itself off in the crash. Frustrating stuff! For rare cars, fire and ambulance folks need to check a database to find those switches first.

    • P161911

      Just had to go check that for my Chevy Volt. There is a cable behind a panel in the rear hatch. It requires 2 cuts to the cable to sever 12V power, which turns off the relays to the High Voltage power. Maybe have an E-Stop as part of the charging port?

    • Batshitbox

      There’s no way to get rid of the potential for electrocution as long as the batteries are in the vehicle. Just like there’s no way to get rid of the potential for a fire if there’s still gas in the tank.

      Ford uses inertia switches to cut power to the fuel pump (and the batteries in hybrids) and other manufacturers rely on the airbag sensors to automatically cut the battery pack out of the circuit in an impact. Toyota has an impact sensor in the inverter itself to kill power.

      I think those manual cutoff devices are not intended for use in an emergency, but for other situations when you want to isolate the power pack. Any EV that’s been in a crash should automatically have isolated it.

      • Sjalabais

        I have never seen a crashed EV/hybrid myself, but he as a first responder was clear that securing the cutoff switches is a first priority. As a rule of thumb, the cutoff would not have been activated after a crash. As far as I understood, they would work with an assumption of being relatively safe from runaway electricity after this procedure.

        • Batshitbox

          A first responder’s first priority is to not become a victim, it’s true, so assuring that there’s no danger to first responders from the battery pack or gas tank is a priority. A reasonable assessment of the scene would conclude that if the airbags have deployed (and there aren’t any EVs without airbags) then the power pack has been isolated by the same and/or redundant systems. (It’s not moon-shot technology, after all.)

          If the scene looks like one where the airbags ought to have deployed but didn’t, then you’ve got an irregular event and all bets are off. In that case, yes a predictably located kill switch would be handy.

          However, cost/benefit analysis has, in the past, ruled out blanketing every vehicle everywhere all the time and inspecting it on schedule to be sure the tertiary safety protocols are operational. It’s cheaper to fry a few customers and pay the families for their suffering. If your man didn’t know that before he became a fireman there’s a breakdown in the education system.

          • Sjalabais

            Jepp, I think we’re getting on the same page here: We all agree it would be reasonable to assume that airbag deployment and battery cutoff go hand in hand. They don’t, in reality.

            On the need for regulation: Sometimes, it takes time to make certain solutions mandatory. Take seatbelts or airbags – people might as well have realized early on that these were good, sensible safety equipment. Took some time for regulators to catch up though, just as it looks like with proper safety procedures on battery driven cars.

  • Fuhrman16

    My automotive news is I’m “racing” a 1950 Dodge pickup at the 24hol Get Your Phil race in Colorado.

  • Smaglik

    Car related news: my garage door opener broke. The gear, cog, and spindle that connect the motor to the change sheared off. Part is pretty cheap, $23. First DIY video I watched started with “Well, after 13 years my opener finally gave up the ghost.” My home is 13 years old. Good to know the manufacturer has consistent fabrication techniques. I’ll tackle that tomorrow.

  • The neighbor offered a free scooter, a 2007 Gilera Runner 50 SP that wouldn’t start two years ago, and ended up partly disassembled. Being used to seeing Porsche wiper motor prices I nearly broke out in tears when I saw how much a complete new engine would be – the 50cc engine would be cheaper…
    I am intrigued, but it’s another project that looks fun now but would be really annoying to look at in three years…
    Not the one I could have:

    • Vairship

      Seeing a Porsche with a Gilera scooter engine as a wiper motor would be entertaining…

      • On the other hand, the 50cc with 3HP instead of the 2500cc would catapult the 944 to Bugatti Chiron levels!