Welcome to the Redusernab News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week, Porsche’s new 718 T, a wicked McLaren P1 GTR honoring Senna, and a 250+ mile EV for $30k that isn’t a Tesla. Plus YOUR automotive news.
Porsche 718 T
We a year ago, Porsche announced the return of an old nameplate that was needed once more to sell a more bare essentials 911 at a lower price point. The 911 Carrera T (where T is for Touring) was the first Porsche to use this designation since the 60s and it was advertised as the 911 for a purist who couldn’t afford a GTS or a GT3. It had fewer comfort and convenience features in exchange for things that made it better to drive.
Well, Porsche’s doing it to the 718 Cayman and Boxster next and they’re using the exact same formula as last time – minus the part where they used an engine that was good.
Both 718 models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine in the most basic form offered in the regular models (which does its best to impersonate a Subaru), because cost cutting I suppose. This means 300 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque paired up with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK.
Helping to make the most of the worst-sounding engine in Porsche history is the Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring, mechanical rear axle differential locking, and Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts. It promises to be as pure of a driving experience as the 718 platform can offer all while being 5-10% cheaper when compared to a similarly-equipped base model. It’s also worth noting that not all of the aforementioned features can even be ordered on a base 718.
That price cut is made possible by what’s lacking inside, primarily the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system which has been replaced by a large storage compartment. Other cost saving measures include those fabric door pulls (which Porsche buyers would gladly pay extra for in any other car), fewer adjustments to the sport seats, and some basic plastic interior trim pieces.
Interestingly, Porsche will let you opt for that PCM system they removed at no cost… so what’s the point? That’s gotta be worth a couple grand and they’re surely not losing that any time someone opts for this, so why wouldn’t you get that? Why can’t they just lower the price even more and charge people to get it back?
All that said, there’s a possibility this won’t even be something to consider for most of our readers. Porsche has not yet revealed pricing info or market availability. We got the 911 Carrera T in America so it’s not unreasonable to expect this to come stateside.
Bespoke McLaren P1 GTR Honors Senna
McLaren’s Special Operations division is not one to let an anniversary pass them by without having some kind of unique build. It just so happened that McLaren’s most legendary F1 racer won his first of three world championship titles 30 years ago and apparently naming an awkward-looking rich man’s toy after him wasn’t enough. That’s why they’ve named a way better-looking rich man’s toy after him.
A McLaren collector commissioned this P1 GTR project to honor Ayrton Senna and the McLaren-Honda MP4/4 that dominated the 1988 Formula One World Championship. Senna won his first of three driver’s championships that year and McLaren-Honda won constructor’s. It’s a season worth remembering for the drivers who were on top of the world and the team who built and maintained the car to beat every weekend… and I guess it helps McLaren to not forget what it’s like to be successful in F1.
So that’s what gets us to this, P1 GTR chassis number twelve which is just now seeing the light of day after MSO designed a custom livery for it and debuted some other modifications not seen on any other P1 GTR. The car is liveried in the iconic colors of then-sponsor Marlbolo, complete with Rocket Red and Anniversary White colors.
Due to advertising restrictions though, the black Marlbolo script is replaced by a bar code, the ‘Senna’ script, and the ‘Driven to Perfection’ slogan on the doors and intake. Senna’s race number 12, the Brazilian flag, and several other details make up the livery which took 800 hours to apply.
Besides the livery though, this P1 GTR benefits from several performance upgrades that none of the other cars get. This car has a “unique engine specification” for a “suitably pleasing” increase in power complemented by a 24ct gold heatshield, Lexan rear cover, and modified engine bay shrouds.
While every other P1 GTR was making the rounds at the world’s circuits, this car was getting a whole new aerodynamics package developed for it. Downforce is increased to McLaren Senna-like levels of insanity at 1,700 pounds at speed. This was done by adding new dive planes and a wider splitter up front. The rear gets even more with a Gurney flap, new barge boards which better channel airflow along the sides of the car, and much bigger endplates on the rear wing which echoes the look of the MP4/4 wing. Additional downforce is generated by inboard secondary wing elements.
The whole project took three years to complete and every other P1 GTR was finished and raced during the time it took this one to fully develop. For the owner, whom Senna inspired at a young age, it was all worth it. He even named it ‘Beco’, the nickname given to Ayrton by his parents.
Hyundai Kona Electric Competitively Priced
And now for something completely different.
Hyundai just announced pricing info for the 2019 Kona Electric and it may be the best value in the EV market right now. Pricing starts at $37,495 (including delivery) but federal tax credits worth up to $7,500 could bring that to just under $30,000 for qualified buyers. There are plenty of EVs in that price range, so how does this one stack up? Rather well actually.
It boasts a driving range of up to 258 miles per charge from a 64kWh lithium-ion battery (with fast charging capabilities) and a single motor at the front axle. As of now, you can’t go further on a $30,000 EV that actually exists. The downside though is its initial market release is limited to California in early 2019 with later roll outs planned for other western and northeast states sometime after.
So for our California readers who are looking for a decent EV with great driving range at that magical $30,000 mark, the Hyundai Kona Electric is shaping up to be a compelling choice.
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 (which should be working again!).
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2018 Redusernab/Greg Kachadurian]