• Hyundai teases next i20 WRC

    October 9, 2014
    Hyundai has announced that it has started testing its next World Rally Championship (WRC) racer at a private track in Germany.

    The car borrows numerous styling cues from the second-generation i20 hatchback that was presented last week at the Geneva Motor Show. The similarities are only skin-deep as the racer rides on a purpose-built chassis and it features lightweight composite body panels.

    Although Hyundai is keeping precise technical details under wraps, it promises the i20 WRC is fitted with a brand new engine and a completely redesigned suspension setup. The car is marginally longer, lower and wider than its predecessor.

    Hyundai has not revealed when the WRC-bound i20 is scheduled to make its debut on the track.

    “We will introduce [the new car] in competition when we are absolutely sure that it is ready to replace the current i20 WRC – we’re not in a rush. It’s a totally different car compared to current WRC model,” explained the automaker in a statement.

    A spokesperson for the company has hinted that the shakedown testing period is expected to continue through 2015 so the i20 will most likely not be at the starting grid of next January’s Monte Carlo rally, the first event of the 2015 WRC season. When it races for the first time, the next-gen Hyundai i20 WRC will have to fend off competition from Volkswagen, Citroën and Ford.

  • Kia GT concept headed for production?

    October 9, 2014
    A new report finds the Kia GT concept (pictured) that debuted at the 2011 edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show has been given the light for production.

    Expected to eschew the GT moniker, Kia’s upcoming range-topping sedan will lose the concept’s futuristic fins up front and gain a set of more conventional front-hinged rear doors. The show car’s sleek and sporty silhouette will make it to production essentially unchanged, allowing Kia to position the yet-unnamed sedan as a more affordable alternative to the Audi A7 and the Porsche Panamera.

    The sedan will feature a luxurious interior with room for up to four passengers on individual leather-upholstered seats. It will be packed with comfort-enhancing features such as reclining rear seats, a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera.

    Power will come from a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine that will spin the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission controlled by shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. Buyers in Europe will have access to a turbodiesel mill, but Kia will likely not sell the oil-burner on this side of the pond.

    The production version of of the Kia GT will reportedly land in showrooms across the nation by the end of 2016, meaning it could be unveiled at a major auto show late next year.

    If the rumor proves accurate, additional details about Kia’s ambitious Audi-fighting sedan will emerge over the coming months.

    Photos by Mark Elias.

  • Tesla hones legal strategy in New Jersey franchise fight

    October 9, 2014
    Tesla Motors has honed its legal strategy in its fight with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, submitting a court brief that goes on the offensive against the agency and the Chris Christie administration.

    The California-based company accuses the MVC of overstepping its authority by attempting to enforce the state’s franchise laws. Attorneys further argue that the regulations do not apply to an automaker that is not a franchisor, because it has no franchisees.

    The MVC is a creature of statute, and its limited powers and duties are specifically set forth in its enabling laws,” the brief notes, according to excerpts published by NJ.com. “These powers and duties do not include enforcement of the FPA, which by its terms limits its enforcement to civil lawsuits filed by franchisees.”

    Similar arguments are being made in other legal battles on a state-by-state basis, as dealer lobbyists attempt to prevent Tesla from selling directly to customers. In some cases, the parties have reached a compromise that allows the company to open a limited number of stores with other restrictions.

    A bill explicitly authorizing Tesla’s sales model is currently on its way through the New Jersey Senate, however the company appears to be settling in for a protracted legal dispute that could allow it to continue direct sales without any of the restrictions demanded by dealer groups.

    Tesla’s unique sales approach has generally received public support and backing from politicians on both sides of the aisle, despite strong opposition from established dealers.

  • Hyundai teams with Blood Type Racing to build 1000hp Genesis Coupe for SEMA

    October 9, 2014

    Hyundai and Chicago-based Korean car tuner Blood Type Racing Inc. (BTR) teamed up to produce a 1,000-horsepower, street-friendly Genesis Coupe for the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

    The Coupe’s turbocharged, four-cylinder engine has been bored out and re-sleeved for a new displacement of 2.2L and overhauled from top to bottom. Everything from the turbocharger and its supporting system down to the engine valves has been replaced, and the resulting big-turbo monster has been fitted with a nitrous-injection kit. The result is nearly 1,000 horsepower at the crankshaft and more than 800 to the wheels.

    To support the additional power, BTR also upgraded the driveline with a new clutch, flywheel, limited-slip differential, driveshaft, axles and transmission and engine mounts. To keep the Coupe composed, it has been fitted with a full coilover suspension, beefier anti-roll bars, chassis braces (strut tower and body), a big-brake kit and sticky Toyo R888 tires on 19″ custom two-piece wheels from WORK.

    “Our focus on this vehicle was to build on the impressive performance abilities of the Genesis Coupe and help the growth of the aftermarket tuner community,” said Sam Lee, product manager, Blood Type Racing Inc. “It’s easy to add lots of power to an engine, but we engineered all other aspects of the vehicle – cornering and handling, stopping power, and visual appearance – to compliment the massive horsepower we’re now getting from the engine. We’ve engineered a true, total package Genesis Coupe.”

    The interior and exterior have also been worked over for additional race-inspired flair. A custom wide body kit designed by Kei Miura and painted candy apple red adorns the exterior, and inside you’ll find Sabelt racing seats and harnesses, a Sabelt wheel, custom gages and a full roll cage. What you won’t find is the Genesis Coupe’s standard rear seat.

  • AMG boss: No plans for SLR successor to take on Porsche 918, LaFerrari

    October 9, 2014
    Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers has once again doused cold water on hopes for a successor to the SLR.

    Echoing similar statements made early last year, the executive argues that AMG has already established itself as a worthy contender in the segment. The performance division is now focusing its efforts on sales volume, rather than exclusivity.

    It’s not helpful to have a hundred hypercars done in a year and nobody sees them on the road,” Moers told CarAdvice in a recent interview. “It’s very important to see your brand on the road.”

    The company earlier this week unveiled its 2016 AMG GT, positioned as a 911 fighter with a choice between V8 powerplants. The base model is no slouch with 456 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, while the S trim steps up to 503 ponies and 479 lb-ft of twist.

    The company sees plenty of opportunity for the GT, which will eventually become a full portfolio with several variants alongside the current pair. One or more will naturally bring even higher performance, and a ‘GT X’ name hints at an all-wheel-drive configuration.