The Dodge Viper May Be Coming Back, Proving Its Discontinuation Was a Scheme to Make Money
We all shed a tear when the Dodge Viper was killed off, and another when it Detroit-based production facility was officially killed off too. Fanboys and long-time customers scrambled to buy up the Viper in hopes to hang onto the once great car, and don’t forget the five “celebratory” special editions released in 2016 after the Viper’s fate was sealed. All of that drama and no we’re here to tell you that the Viper is coming back, and it’ll probably hit the market for the 2021 model year. Sorry, folks, but if any of you rushed to get your hands on the last run of Vipers, you got taken like a whore in handcuffs at an Ivy League frat party.
Despite Patents and Trademarks, a Baby NSX isn’t on the Horizon
Bad news, gentlemen. Forget about seeing a baby Acura NSX on the road anytime soon. It’s not happening, at least according to the company’s brand leader, Emile Korkor. Speaking with Autoguide, Korkor admitted that a baby NSX would be an awesome addition to the automaker’s portfolio, but nothing, at this moment, is on the cards.
Is Ram Considering a 2000-Series Pickup To Compete with the Nissan Titan XD?
An interesting article came across my desk this morning stating the possibility of Ram Trucks offering a “heavy half” pickup to compete with the Nissan Titan XD. Like the XD, the truck would slot between the 1500 half-ton and 2500 three-quarter ton with a focus on an improved ride while still hauling and towing more than a 1500-series truck. The Torque News article actually cites a Ram Trucks representative who revealed the plans and said the truck would be called the Ram 2000 and powered by an EcoDiesel engine.
The source of this interesting information is an owner of a 2017 Ram 1500 who was surveyed about his thoughts on his truck by a Ram representative at a marketing booth at the Cowboy Christmas convention in Las Vegas. He claims the rep told him of Ram’s interest in the new pickup class, but revealed no other details. He posted his experience on an enthusiast forum and seen by Torque News.
With the backstory over, let’s dive into what a Ram 2000 might look like and what it means for the pickup market.
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Lamborghini Urus Hybrid Could Generate 700 Horsepower!
The Lamborghini Urus, the company’s first SUV since 1993, was just unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the automotive world is already talking about future versions of the vehicle. A hybrid model has been in the rumor mill for at least a year now, but a new report claims that an electrified version of the Urus could arrive before the end of the decade. Its drivetrain is obviously a mystery at this point, but word has it that the plug-in hybrid could borrow its drivetrain from the Porsche Panamera. With the Urus using the same underpinnings as the sedan, this move would make a lot of sense, but the big deal here is that the Urus PHEV will probably end up being more powerful than the gasoline-only version.
Specifically, the range-topping Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which pairs a turbocharged, 4.0-liter, V-8 and an electric motor, comes with a whopping 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of twist on tap. That’s 30 horses more than the Urus. And, knowing Lambo, it may want a bit more power, so a 700-horsepower rating is very likely. The extra oomph will make the hybrid quicker than the standard model by at least two tenths, if not more. On top of that, it will return better fuel economy and gain the ability to run on electricity alone, albeit for less than 40 miles. Emissions will drop too, which will make the Urus a bit more affordable in China, one of Lambo’s most important markets.
There’s no specific word as to when the Urus plug-in hybrid may arrive, but with the Panamera’s drivetrain already available, it could happen as soon as late 2018.
Volkswagen Beetle to Live On as RWD Electric Car
There’s been a lot of talk about Volkswagen looking to drop the Beetle nameplate in the future. While rumors from a couple of years ago quoted slow sales and Volkswagen’s plans to reduce manufacturing costs, newer reports claim that the "Dieselgate" scandal will force the company to axe the Beetle alongside the Scirocco. The brand has yet to confirm any of this, but a more recent report says that the Beetle may have a chance to survive as an all-electric car.
That’s the word from Autocar, which claims that Volkswagen is "actively considering plans for an electric, rear-wheel-drive successor to today’s Beetle" as part of its range of zero-emissions models based on its new MEB platform. More specifically, the new Beetle will be a system model to the company’s upcoming small electric van, which was previewed by the ID Buzz concept at the Detroit Motor Show. The electric Beetle will also be rear-wheel-drive, according to Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess.
"If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” he said, adding that the MEB platform provides the perfect basis for emotional cars like the Beetle and Microbus. Volkswagen is reportedly also considering open-top models such as the Kubelwagen and the Buggy, so we may get a full lineup of electric cars that revive the company’s most iconic vehicles. On the flipside, Diess said that a firm decision on the Beetle’s successor has yet to be made.
Introduced in 1938, the original Beetle was produced in Germany until 1978, but assembly continued in other countries, with the Mexican plant rolling out vehicles until as recent as 2003. The New Beetle was launched in 1997 and redesigned in 2011.
Can The Toyota R-Tuned C-HR Beat The Honda Civic Type R’s FWD Lap Record At The Nurburgring?
When you build a custom version of an SUV and later on claim it to be the “fastest of its kind,” the rationale after that is to go to a race track and validate your boasts. To his credit, that’s what Dan Gardner of Dan Gardner Spec wants to do with the race-spec, 600-horsepower Toyota C-HR, provided that Toyota allows him to do it.
At the moment, Gardner says that the Japanese automaker has no plans for the R-Tuned C-HR past its SEMA showcase so it’s anybody’s guess where the power-packed SUV will show up next. That said, if Gardner had his way, it’d be at the Nurburgring where it can properly stretch its legs and make a run at the current FWD lap record of the Honda Civic Type R that the Honda hot hatch set in April 2017 with a time of 7:43.8. Not only does Gardner believe that the R-Tuned C-HR can beat the Civic Type R’s lap time, but he actually has “no doubt” that it can do it if given the opportunity to do so. That’s not to say that it can take the record away from the Civic Type R. The R-Tuned C-HR isn’t a production car so it wouldn’t be eligible for the record to begin with. But Gardner still wants to do it, if only to let the world know that there’s truth to his “fastest SUV” claims. Considering what amount of aftermarket tuning the C-HR was subjected to, I’m prepared to believe him regardless of whether or not the SUV does hit the ‘Ring.
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Scoop: Is the Nissan Xterra in for a resurgence?
After running for a decade and a half, Nissan stopped the Xterra’s production in 2015; the obvious reason being dwindling sales. While this mid-size SUV came with a body-on-frame design and impressive off-road skills, it all came at the cost of good city and highway driving. But, rumor has it that the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance is planning to revive the Xterra again at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show.
While the 4Runner is not precisely a new model, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler sure is. With one veteran being too long in the tooth, the Xterra would try to foil the Wrangler’s monopoly in the mid-sized SUV segment. Ford has thrown its hat in as well with the Bronco, but its planned 2020 launch is still far away.
Hanging in the Balance: Nissan Shows Confusion, Uncertainty over the Next Z-Car
We all want to know about the next Z-car, but Phillip Klein – Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer – couldn’t even give us a slight glimmer of hope last week during the Tokyo Auto Show. Long story short: It sounds like a new Z-Car may not happen and, even if it does, it will be a long time before we see it.
Let’s face it; sports cars are freaking awesome, but they all have expiration dates. Most automakers understand this – there’s a reason cars like the Porsche 911 and Chevy Corvette have been through more generations than you can count on one hand. Automakers like Mitsubishi, and Nissan, apparently, seem to have missed that memo, though. If you remember right, Mitsubishi let the Lancer go one for a decade without an update, and then let it die a slow, miserable death. Well, as it turns out, Nissan could very well do the same with the Z-car. When the Tokyo Auto Show kicked off, we were expecting to the Nissan 390Z concept, but instead, all we got was an executive that refused to even confirm the car exists let alone offer up information of when the next production Z will actually arrive.
“There’s a lot of passion behind this vehicle…. At the same time, it’s a segment that’s gradually declining, making the case more difficult. We have no intention to quit excitement, but we’re going to make it happen in different ways,” said Klein. Design Chief, Alfonso Albaisa, got in on it on it too, saying, “I can say we don’t have a fixed thing yet… but how can we be completely blind to the importance of that name to the company? Maybe you can feel that I love these cars… but I can’t say too much, or I’ll be taking a train home [instead of my company car]!”
So, at this point, the 370Z is almost a decade old, and Nissan isn’t even sure what to do about a successor. It has said that the GT-R is a better halo car, so the GT-R is safe for now, but perhaps if the brand showed the Z-car some love, it might experience better sales as well. After all, it’s a super senior as far as car generations go. As I said about Mitsubishi and the Lancer – you can’t not bring about something fresh and then use declining sales as a good reason to let it die a pitiful death. But, then again, rumor has it that Nissan is going to take the same approach Mitsubishi did with the Eclipse name. Keep reading to learn more about what could happen to the Z name…
Thoughts of A Lexus LFA Successor has us Wondering: Can Dreams Come True?
Everyone dreams, including those tasked with keeping an automotive company running at full speed. Never more has that been evident than when it comes to the dreams of Lexus President, Yoshihiro Sawa, who recently told Autocar that he can’t “rule out” a spiritual successor to the Lexus LFA, but for now it remains “just a dream.” That, ladies and gentlemen, has a begging the question: Do dreams come true?
Well, the truth is, they do…sometimes – most of us have experienced moments of déjà vu (or as some would call it, a “glitch in the matrix”) and there are many reports of people dreaming about something that eventually happens days, months, or years later. Whether or not that means we’ll see a successor for the Lexus LFA is a question that has been etched in our minds since the model technically went off sale back in 2012, just a few years after it stole the show at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. And, even though Lexus has “other priorities for now,” the fact remains that Mr. Sawa certainly dreams of a successor. That may not mean that it will happen tomorrow or even in 2020, but it is a glimmer of hope for those of us who actually got to spend some personal time with the $375,000 Japanese-built supercar.
Want to take a trip down memory lane? Click “Continue Reading” to hear about why an LFA successor isn’t on the table right now, see some cool videos, and learn more about the famous, Japanese-built supercar that stole our hearts back in 2009.
Does This Leaked Window Sticker Confirm the 2018 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt?
The Internet went ablaze last February when Ford released a behind-the-scenes video of a TV commercial shoot with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that (purposefully?) might have leaked an upcoming iteration of the iconic Mustang Bullitt. Now, fan forum site Mustang6g.com claims an anonymous source gave them a window sticker for a mock build of a 2018 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt. While its authenticity can’t be confirmed, the build sheet seems to have all the right parts needed for a Bullitt-edition Mustang.
For those living under a rock, Ford built two generations of special-edition Bullitt Mustangs to pay homage to the 1968 Mustang GT driven by Steve McQueen in the classic cop film Bullitt of that same year. The movie’s greatest feature is a drawn-out car chase between the bad guys in a black 1968 Dodge Charger R/T and the hero, Frank Bullitt, in his Dark Highland Green Mustang GT Fastback. The movie car had a unique appearance, which Ford copied for the 2001-2002 Mustang GT Bullitt edition and again on the 2008-2009 version. The cars all featured Torq-Thrust wheels, removed badges, a plain black grille, and that Highland Green paint, though the special edition models were offered with other dark colors, too. Ford had great success with the Bullitt Mustangs, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see yet another version. As for what the 2018 special edition might hold, check the full photo and description below.
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Now that Lotus is Free to Expand, Will an SUV be in the Works?
Now that beleaguered sports car brand Lotus is in the safe and stable arms of new parent firm Geely, there’s a lot of optimism and excitement surrounding the British automaker. One potential model that could finally materialize in the coming years is a Lotus SUV, which technically has been in the pipeline for well over a decade now. Not it appears close to reality as it’s ever been, and we could have Geely to thank for it.
To be clear, neither Lotus nor Geely have specifically identified an SUV as a future Lotus model. But Carl-Peter Forster, Geely board member and chairman of Geely-owned London taxi maker LEVC, hinted to Automotive News at the Frankfurt Motor Show about the possibility of seeing a Lotus SUV in the future. The main goal of Geely at this point is to look at possible avenues by which it can expand Lotus without diluting the brand’s status as a maker of lightweight sports cars. One way to do that is to build an SUV, something that Lotus has been keen on building since it introduced the APX CUV all the way back at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. Nothing came out of those plans because Lotus didn’t have the money to build one, but with Geely now providing financial support, the possibilities are now open for Lotus to literally, in Forster’s own words, produce "any size of car and any number of cars.” Whether this pans out or not is another matter entirely. But consider a Lotus SUV as a viable possibility now, something that wouldn’t have happened had Geely not stepped in to buy the company.
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Is There A New King Of The ’Ring?
When you’re a car that holds the distinction of being the most powerful Porsche 911 ever built, there is an inherent pressure that comes with trying to live up to the claim. The new 911 GT2 RS knows this all too well because it is the most powerful 911 ever created. It has 690 horsepower on tap. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds. And it has a top speed that can break 200 mph. All these numbers are rightfully impressive, but how do they help justify the GT2 RS’ billing? Bring it to the Nürburgring.
A fresh report from Bridge to Gantry confirmed the 911 GT2 RS did put in a few laps around the track recently. More importantly, though, the same source is reporting that the most powerful 911 actually did more than just go a few laps around the famous race track; it actually posted a sub-seven-minute lap time around the Nordschleife. Granted, there’s no confirmation from Porsche or any other source that the 911 GT2 RS actually did this, but Bridge to Gantry believes that the sports car accomplished this, even going so far as to show two separate photos of the car on the same turn (Turn 13) with less than seven minutes between them, as shown by timestamps on both photos. So did the Porsche 911 GT2 RS really blitz the Nordschleife in scintillating fashion, or is there more to these claims than meets the eye? The evidence does look circumstantial at best, but still, I wouldn’t put it past the 911 GT2 RS to do it. After all, it is the same model that hit 209 mph at the ‘Ring last July.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.