The News for April 15th, 2022

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. With the New York International Auto Show back for the first time since the before times, there are some big stories to talk about and others to gloss over because they’re a little boring. This week: Lamborghini debuts dramatically different Huracan Tecnica, BMW previews a future of more ugly with the X7, Kia debuts all-new and more efficient Niro for North America, Subaru gives a facelift and more body cladding to the Outback, Genesis shows off stunning X Speedium Coupe concept, GMC teases next-gen Canyon, and Honda promises two new electric sports cars at some point in the future.

Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica

Another auto show, another variant of the Huracan. But this time around they’ve got a much better parts bin to raid. The Huracan Tecnica is a more advanced and more thrilling combination for drivers who may be inclined to drive it the way Lamborghini’s engineers think they will. It boasts “design and technical purity”, more engaging dynamics, and the full might of one of the last naturally-aspirated engines you can still get in a supercar.

You can tell it apart from the 800 other Huracan variants by the radically updated aero which is clearly inspired in part by the Super Trofeo Evo2 race car. Every little vent and detail has some functional aerodynamic purpose behind it and some. Those vents around the headlights which they call the Ypsilon design incorporates an air curtain for the first time in a Huracan. Compared to the Huracan Evo, rear downforce is increased by 35% and drag is reduced by 20%. But these changes also serve to give this car the freshest new look its had since launch.

The technical purity they talk about likely refers to the fact that this car remains naturally aspirated, non-electrified, and RWD. That’s a combination that isn’t going to be around for much longer. Because Lamborghini certainly knows this, they haven’t detuned the engine at all like they normally do for most RWD models. The 5.2-liter V10 in the Tecnica produces the full 631 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s the same output as the more track-focused and also RWD Huracan STO as well as the AWD Huracan Evo. Keeping the Tecnica planted and as agile as possible is a rear-wheel steering system, direct steering ratio, torque vectoring, and a modified traction control system. It uses carbon ceramic brakes with dedicated air ducts for cooling to bring this monster to a stop. Without a heavy AWD system getting in the way, this Tecnica weighs just 3,040 pounds.

It looks amazing, will sound heavenly, and will be a blast to drive. And I can’t wait to see the crypto bros on Instagram crash them when they realize how much of a crutch AWD was for them.

[Source: Lamborghini]

BMW X7

If you’re ever feeling useless, just remember that BMW still employs a design team.

BMW has brought a new X7 upon our cursed land and it’s likely a preview of what’s to come for the brand as a whole. As they face growing criticism for making ugly cars, they’ve come to NYIAS to prove that they’ve learned their lesson. Soon they’ll be making a different kind of ugly car. Instead of setting design trends, they’ve chosen to do what the Koreans brands are doing and going for a split headlight look. Yes, that’ll certainly fix their problems.

Just like with most Hyundai crossovers, the top light bar houses the daytime running lights and indicators while nighttime illumination comes from the bottom row. Compared to other things BMW has done, I can honestly say this isn’t the worst. But it’s easily one of the most annoying. It’s like when Aston Martin adopted the floating c-pillar that was used extensively by Nissan. Just… why?

The rest of the X7 is refreshed and upgraded in a way that isn’t offensive to people with eyes. The cabin features a new instrument panel with slim air vents, an ambient light bar, and a curved display to bring some modern style and “progressive digitization” to the cockpit. It’s as well-equipped as it should be too with a glass panoramic roof (optional as a Sky Lounge roof with LED illumination built in), four-zone climate control, new comfort seats up front, wireless phone charging, and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system.

Its engine range is updated to incorporate the latest 48V mild hybrid technology. The range-topping X7 M60i xDrive still features a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 but is now producing 530 horsepower. The X7 xDrive40i is equipped with the latest straight-six with an impressive 380 horsepower, an increase of 47 horsepower over its predecessor. Certain markets will also get the diesel variant as well. But regardless of which you get, a new 48V mild hybrid system is integrated with all three. A crankshaft-mounted starter generator integrated into the transmission contributes an extra 12 horsepower and 147 lb.-ft. of torque.

The X7 comes out sometime later this year for probably too much money. And then I’m certain we’ll see this same sort of design on other cars.

[Source: BMW]

2023 Kia Niro

We saw the European version of this car some amount of months ago which I can’t be bothered to go check. But this week, the North American-spec Kia Niro made its debut and there are plenty of stats and figures to go over. As with the current Niro, it can be had in three flavors – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV. Just as the original was built from the ground up to incorporate all three powertrains, this one is redesigned from the ground up to maximize efficiency regardless of which is chosen. And fun fact: it’s the only vehicle on the market available with three different electrified powertrains.

Starting with the Niro hybrid, or Niro HEV as it’s referred to, gas power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It works alongside a 32kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor for a total system output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. By striking a balance between maximum ICE efficiency and perfectly capable electric motors working together, they think 53 mpg combined and a 588 mile range is achievable.

Step up to the Niro plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and that same gas engine is paired with a 62kW electric motor for 180 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. This model is targeting a an all-electric range of 33 miles but they don’t go into specifics about total driving range or mpg/mpge targets. But they did add that a level 2 charger can refill its 11.1-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery in under three hours.

Those who prefer to not worry about gas prices all together can also opt for the all-electric Niro EV. This features a 64.8 kWh battery and a 150kW (201 hp) motor with a target range of 253 miles. A level 3 fast charger can replenish up to 80% of the battery in under 45 minutes while an 11kW onboard charger can fully recharge the Niro in under 7 hours on a level 2 charger.

The 2023 Kia Niro goes on sale in all 50 states this fall. Prices aren’t available yet but they did confirm the EV is qualified for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.

[Source: Kia]

2023 Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback will get a few updates for the 2023 model year. They’ve listened to the internet’s feedback and have decided that we want more black plastic body cladding, so every new Outback (except the Wilderness) gets even more than it used to have. They also benefit from updated multimedia and the latest driver assistance tech. If anything, this facelift will help Subaru kick the can down the road a little more as they decide when this thing deserves some real updates… like, I don’t know, a hybrid? Windshields that don’t spontaneously crack?

The face lift applies to every Outback except the Wilderness, which already has enough body cladding to share with others. The grille is more prominent (bigger), the headlights and foglights are redesigned, and the front bumper is “more rugged” now with some extra cladding that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Wilderness. Additional cladding has been added along the sides, particularly around the wheel wells. The back of the car is virtually unchanged.

The rest of the updates are in the cabin. The latest version of EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is on board and is said to operate more smoothly and under a greater range of conditions. It has a wider field of view to see more of what’s ahead, updated software, and a new electric brake booster. A wide-angle mono camera on the Touring model enhances the system’s ability to detect and avoid obstacles even further. And on models equipped with blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, EyeSight adds automatic emergency steering as well at speeds less than 50 mph.

Power outputs are unchanged – this is Subaru we’re talking about here. The 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder and 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engines, each paired with Subaru’s highly praised CVT, are still the only available options. But now you can get the less powerful 2.5-liter engine on the Onyx Edition if you’d rather have 3 extra mpg instead of 58 horsepower.

It’s hard to hate on the Outback because it’s one of the last wagons of its kind… and yes, I know they call it an SUV. They’re wrong. But with the way its competition is going, it probably needs more than a facelift. Still, dealers can’t keep these things in stock so they’re doing something right. New pricing hasn’t been revealed yet but I can’t imagine the price will change by much.

[Source: Subaru]

Genesis X Speedium Coupe

Genesis did the thing again. Another new concept designed to hint at the brand’s future has dropped along with some jaws. It’s called the Genesis X Speedium Coupe, which is a silly name, but the design and the future implications it has are serious.

The design is a radical interpretation of Genesis’ DNA (Audacious, Progressive, Distinctly Korean) and their “Athletic Elegance” design philosophy. It’s a sportier and more athletic take on the Genesis X Concept and that’s evident in the name as well. Speedium is taken from Inje Speedium, a beautiful looking race track in South Korea, and is reflective of the passion for motorsports among Genesis designers. This project and the inspiration for it encapsulate their belief that the emotional value of driving will remain strong in the era of electrification.

While this isn’t a preview of a production car, they say that it’s an “open door moment” and “a look into our design processes as we explore ideas for the next wave of EVs, one that incorporates Genesis’ DNA”. And yeah, it’s stunning in every way. The sleek sports coupe look may not directly carry over into production, but I can certainly see how certain aspects of this make for a perfect fit into a production EV. For example, the signature Two Lines headlights that have been stretched to the full width of the car while also incorporating the also signature Crest Grille shape. And when viewed from the top down, the car has an hourglass silhouette with a “curvaceous and sensuous form” accentuating the wheel arches. These are things that could go a long way in ensuring Genesis remains one of the most exciting new brands going forward.

[Source: Genesis]

New GMC Canyon teased with AT4 package

GM has decided that they don’t want the Canyon and Colorado to be the next Frontier. With a new Ranger on the way and even the Nissan Frontier getting massive overhauls, they’re ready to confirm the existence of the next-gen model.

While doing so they also confirmed that the off-road-oriented AT4X trim will be introduced to the model range for the first time. This is a more x-treme version of the AT4 trim you can already get and is also available on the Sierra. The teaser shot highlights the rocker protectors and 17″ beadlock-capable wheels. So far that’s all we have to go off of until the new truck debuts this summer. Once the Canyon/Colorado and Ranger debut in the US, that’ll leave the Toyota Tacoma as the oldest mid-size truck on the market here. Oh how the turn tables.

[Source: GMC]

Honda teases two electric sports cars

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Honda made a presentation to business type people to go over their plans for electrification over the next 10 years or so. The plans called for an investment of 5 trillion yen into the area of electrification and software technologies to accelerate the process. They also announced 30 new EVs will be launched globally by 2030 with production volume of more than 2 million units annually. But the real reason this presentation got attention was the confirmation of two new sports cars on the way – a “specialty” model and a “flagship”, one that isn’t at the bottom of the Black Sea.

Honda, like other brands, are figuring out how to keep driving fun when everything is electrified. The two models under wraps here will “embody Honda’s universal sports mindset and distinctive characteristics”. No other details or hints at the names have been given. But when they say flagship, there’s really only one car that comes to mind: NSX. As the current-gen NSX goes away, it’s been hinted that the next NSX would be all-electric. What that car on the left is is anyone’s guess. I’m sure some are already talking about an S2000. Or maybe that’s the NSX and the car on the right, which sort of looks more like a crazy ridiculous hyper car, is something different entirely. There’s been no timeline given for when these are coming out so grains of paprika and such.

[Source: Honda]

What’s your automotive news?

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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.