GM considers Europe re-entry, R.I.P. Tony Brooks, police recover 5 Camaros stolen from plant

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Chevrolet | Jeffrey Sauger

GM ready to return to Europe “as an all-EV player”

Intake: As electric vehicle sales in Europe rise, the Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors is considering a return there after it ended its 90-year European presence in 2017 (Corvette and Camaro aside). “About five years ago, we sold our Opel business to what is now Stellantis, and we have no seller’s remorse from an internal combustion business,” GM CEO Mary Barra said at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles. “But we are looking at the growth opportunity that we have now because we can reenter Europe as an all-EV player. I’m looking forward to that.” The New York Times reported in December that more than 20 percent of new cars sold in Europe and Britain were electric, which explains GM’s interest as it moves toward an all-electric (U.S.) lineup by 2035.

Exhaust: Considering the current situation in Europe—namely the exorbitantly high gasoline prices—this appears to be a sound business move for GM, which suffered losses in each of its final 16 years of Opel and Vauxhall ownership. Don’t be surprised if GM makes its European EV operations a priority, not only because the time is right but because it could use a win in that market.

2023 Kia Soul drops turbo engine, simplifies trim lineup

2023 Kia Soul Front three quarter
Kia

Intake: Kia has unveiled a host of updates for its funky little runabout, the Soul. For the 2023 model year, the Soul features a few new styling elements and a simplified trim lineup. The biggest news, however, is in the under the hood. The plucky 201-horse, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic have been dropped, leaving a 2-liter four-pot good for 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque and a sleepy CVT as the sole driveline choice. Bummer. New front and rear fascias and new lighting elements at both ends amplify the Soul’s funky shape even more. Two new paint schemes join the fray, both two-tone affairs with black roofs and either white or Surf Blue (pictured) body colors. There’s a simplified trim range, as well—gone are the Soul Turbo and the more adventurous X-Line models. In order from modest to loaded, the lineup is as follows: LX, S, EX, GT-Line, and GT-Line Tech. All but the LX model will get a 10.25-inch central infotainment screen as standard. Spring for the GT-Line with the tech pack, and you’ll get niceties such as a Harman/Kardon audio system. Pricing and availability will be announced in the months to come.

Exhaust: We’re bummed to see the sporty Soul Turbo and the X-Line’s killer Undercover Green paint go the way of the Dodo—that X-Line trim was only around for two years. Still, tightening a low-cost (and, by extension low margin) offering makes sense, and we’d bet the bean counters are happy with the savings generated by a uniform drivetrain and the reduced production complexity. The Soul’s main selling points are its low sticker price (you can get a 2022 LX model for $20,545) and quirky form factor, and the new updates have kept the latter intact. Now to see whether Kia can keep the Soul affordable. 

Camaro ZL1s stolen from GM plant recovered after pursuit

Intake: According to a Twitter thread from the Michigan State Police First District, nine suspects drove off from the GM plant in Lansing in five stolen Camaro ZL1s with a total value of $375,000. With the call out on the radio, officers spotted the vehicles speeding on I-96 and attempted to pull them over. None of the miscreants complied. After a pursuit, some of which were ended by way of Stop Stick tire deflators, all vehicles were recovered and the suspects apprehended.

Exhaust: With all of the production slowdowns we’ve seen across the automotive industry, the future owners of these Camaros have likely been waiting quite a while to take delivery. Considering the damage done to the vehicles as they ended up on the highway median, they’ll end up going to a salvage auction. We feel bad for the owners who will now have to wait even longer to get new vehicles built. The only solace in this ordeal is that nobody was injured. 

Miami Alpines are still forbidden fruit

ALPINE A110 South Beach
Alpine

Intake: Alpine is bringing its awesome A110 sports car to Miami, Florida, for the Grand Prix weekend, and announcing a special South Beach Colorway pack. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the car will be available in the U.S.A. any time soon. Instead, European and Asian buyers can indulge indulge their Miami vices and pick up a car in Bleu Azue or Rose Bruyére colors, inspired by the art deco buildings of South Beach. The pastel-hued bodywork is accompanied by 18-inch white Serac alloy wheels, and the interior gets special floor mats and stitching. The French firm also offers its Atelier Alpine program with a further 20 heritage colors for customers looking to create an individual automobile.

Exhaust: Since its relaunch in 2017, Renault-owned Alpine has been steadily gaining ground. The A110 is a genuine Porsche Cayman rival that has found favor with fans, and an EV sports car is under development with Lotus. Sadly the only chance American’ will ever get to see one is at a Grand Prix circuit where the name adorns France’s Formula 1 cars.

Lamborghini’s next-gen Huracán racer looks marvelous

Intake: Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse racing division has unveiled the next generation of its Huracán GT3 car, dubbed the EVO2. Derived from the road-going Huracán STO, the EVO2 cribs a few of the STO’s styling elements and affixes them to an FIA-homologated chassis. The intake for the engine has now moved from the sides of the vehicle to a hexagonal snorkel (akin to that on the STO) above the cabin for better airflow directly to the engine. The V-10 in the EVO2 also gains electronically actuated throttle bodies for each cylinder. The bodywork, which remains carbon-fiber, features new diffusers, splitters, and a new underbody to bolster aerodynamic balance and improve overall downforce. New brake calipers and pads designed by Squadra Corse will deliver better performance in both endurance and sprint races, according to Lamborghini. Deliveries will begin in the second half of this year, but if you’re already in possession of the previous Huracán EVO, you can upgrade to the EVO2 spec via an evolution kit. The Huracán GT3 EVO2 will make its race debut at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona next January, where it will take the flag against competitors such as Chevrolet’s factory-backed Corvette C8.R and Porsche’s 911 RSR.

Exhaust: Lamborghini and racing go together like Nebbiolo and carbonara, so we’re excited to see Squadra Corse continue to support and develop the Huracán platform. The road-going STO is a perfect candidate to imitate, as that car is one of the automotive world’s closest approximations of a literal race car for the street. The Huracán GT3 EVO2 looks killer, and we can’t wait to see it battling on the banks of Daytona and other great tracks next year.

2023 Polestar 2 adds range, glam, and $2600 to base model

Intake: Not a week after learning about the updates for the 2023 model year Polestar 2, we now know pricing and a few more details. Thanks to new software, which will be delivered over the air, the heat pump now keeps the battery happier between 20 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, coaxing 10 percent more range (11 miles for the dual-motor model) from its cells. Along with that upgrade comes a handful of subtle aesthetic changes: Void, the gloss black paint which is currently the default choice, drops from the palette entirely in favor of Magnesium, a light silver. Fans of darker shades get some subtle glitz with the addition of Space, a metallic black previously seen on the fetching Polestar 1 coupe. All leather, including a new shade of Zinc, is now sourced from Scottish firm Bridge of Weir, which you might remember from Jaguars, Aston Martins, or the occasional Lincoln (including this one, which, like the Polestar 2, can claim a distant relationship to Volvo). The dual-motor 2 sees no change in cost from 2022 to 2023, staying at $53,300 with destination. The base, single-motor version lumps $2600 onto its bottom line. Both models are eligible for the full $7500 EV tax credit, which does soften the blow—until you remember that the 2022 models qualified, too. Deliveries for 2023 MY Polestar 2s are scheduled for this September. 

Exhaust: You’ll need to really like metallic black—or the absolute newest thing—to drool over these updates. But, in your underwhelmedness, don’t ignore the foundation. Even the base-model Polestar 2 is a very compelling vehicle, with a slick Google-based infotainment system, a Polestar-estimated range of 265 miles, and chic minimalist styling. You can read our review of the 2022 base model here, and its higher-performance version (2021 MY) here. 

R.I.P. Tony Brooks 1932–2022

Intake: British Grand Prix ace Tony Brooks has passed away at the age of 90. Brooks was the last surviving Formula 1 winner of the World Championship’s first decade, taking six victories in the 1950s. Having done a year with BRM, Brooks signed for Vanwall alongside Stirling Moss and scored a maiden win at Silverstone in 1957, before taking the checkered flag in Belgium, Germany and Italy for the team in 1958. Brooks signed for Ferrari in 1959 and won in France and Germany, coming second in the drivers’ championship to Jack Brabham. Two further seasons with Yeoman Credit Cooper and BRM failed to deliver any major results and Brooks retired in 1961. Having cheated death several times during his career, Brooks left the sport behind to focus on his garage business. “He was part of a special group of drivers who were pioneers and pushed the boundaries at a time of great risk,” said F1 chief Stefano Domenicali.

Exhaust: Brooks was a true gentleman racer with genuine speed. During his six seasons in Formula 1 arguably only three were in competitive machinery and he came incredibly close to winning the World Championship. He wisely left the sport at the age of just 29 having seen too many of his fellow drivers killed in action and went on to live a long life. Our thoughts go out to his family.

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