Hurricane I-6 EPA numbers, NASCAR names 2023 Hall of Fame class, will.i.AMG?

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Stellantis | Jeep

EPA numbers confirm Hurricane I-6 as minor, not major, Hemi upgrade

Intake: The EPA has released fuel-economy figures for the first application of Stellantis’ all-new Hurricane inline-six, the Grand Wagoneer. A handful of 2022 Grand Wagoneers will be offered with the high-output variant of the 3-liter twin-turbo six (the Hurricane becomes the standard engine starting with the 2023 model year), and sure enough, testing reveals incremental gains in fuel efficiency over the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that comes standard in the Grandie: Hurricane-equipped models returned 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway in the EPA test cycle, good for a 17-mpg combined rating. That’s a noteworthy improvement over the Hemi, which returned 13/18/15 mpg (city/highway/combined). The Hurricane HO bests the Hemi’s power figures as well, delivering 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque—gains of 39 and 45 over the Hemi, respectively. The recently announced long-wheelbase Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L will only be offered with Hurricanes—standard output for the Wagoneer L (420 hp and 468 lb-ft), and high output for the Grand Wagoneer L (510 hp and 500 lb-ft).

Exhaust: Part of the reason for the Hurricane’s genesis is that Stellantis engineers knew that internal combustion engines will still play a role over the next decade—but they must be as efficient as possible. A 17-mpg combined rating might not scream “budget-friendly,” but the Grand Wagoneer’s brickish styling (literally inspired by architecture) and immense weight exact a heavy penalty. The added heft of the long-wheelbase versions of these siblings will likely knock those figures down by a mpg apiece. Still, added fuel economy, with only a minor reduction in towing capacity (Hurricane HO-equipped Grand Wagoneers can haul up to 9750 pounds, just 100 less than Hemi-equipped versions) is still a win for customers. Expect the Hurricane to be a popular choice in Jeep’s biggest SUVs.

Stellantis Hurricane I-6 High output
Stellantis

Lotus has already sold all its Emira GT race cars

Lotus Emira GT4 1
Lotus

Intake: Lotus has just revealed its new GT4 challenger and it’s sold out for the first year of production. Powered by Toyota’s 3.5-liter V-6 fitted with a dry sump, Motec engine management, and a Harrop TVS 1900 supercharger, the Emira GT4 sends 405 hp to its rear wheels via a six-speed Xtrac sequential transmission with paddle shifters. Suspension is by all-round double wishbones with two-way adjustable Ohlins TTx dampers, brakes are competition spec with adjustable Bosh Motorsport ABS, and 18-inch wheels wear Pirelli GT4 tires. Safety kit comprises a six-point roll cage, a race seat with a six-point harness, and a fire extinguisher system. Weighing just 2866 pounds the only heavyweight items are the car’s performance, and its price which is over $200,000 excluding taxes and delivery. The Emira GT4 replaces the Evora, which won numerous races including 24-hour events at Barcelona and Dubai, the Sepang 12 hours, British GT championship, and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Exhaust: The Emira marks the final combustion-powered vehicle before Lotus forsakes internal combustion. Whether or you deem that change heretical or revolutionary, the Emira looks like a fitting last word in Colin Chapman’s legacy. (However compelling the Eletre may prove as an electric performance SUV, we maintain that it satisfies neither the letter or the spirit of traditional Lotus law.) Ensuring the send-off model gets a GT4 version is only appropriate. 

Brabus Crawler goes where G-Wagens fear to tread

Brabus

Intake: Brabus always chooses the path not taken by OEMs, but this tube-frame, purpose-built off road vehicle takes its business model to new highs. Powered by the shop’s twin-turbocharged, 900-series V-8 making an insane 900 horsepower, Brabus claims the Crawler reaches 62 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds with a top speed electronically limited to 99 mph to protect the lives of adrenaline-seeking occupants. While its body is a tube-frame design with no windows, doors, or other pretensions to legality on public roads, the Crawler also sports high-tech materials like carbon fiber, anodized aluminum, and Silvertex seat upholstery (from Brabus’ Marine division) behind a front fascia that has more than a passing resemblance to Mercedes’ own G-Wagen. Production is limited to 15 units, and it should come as no surprise that pricing is not provided.

Exhaust: Brabus never fails to provide the well-heeled enthusiast (or just normal folks on the internet) with vehicles that combine tempting styling, craftsmanship, and performance in a single package. The Crawler uses the bare minimum of Mercedes-Benz bits, sporting a dashboard with a single screen and a handful of buttons, suggesting Brabus has pushed the technological envelope further than any other “dune crawler” has before. Now is surely the time to cash in on off-road fever with old-school, combustion-powered style. 

NASCAR names Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023

Intake: Earlier this week, NASCAR revealed its latest class of stock car heroes to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Three inductees—Matt Kenseth, Kirk Shelmerdine, and Hershel McGriff—will join the Hall of Fame located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series champion, amassed 39 career victories (tied for 21st all-time), including several crown jewels like the Daytona 500 (twice), Southern 500, and Coca-Cola 600. Legendary crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine earned his first win back in 1983, but the real cascade of wins came when he paired with Dale Earnhardt and won four Cup championships in six years (1986, 1987, 1990, and 1991). 94-year-old Hershel McGriff competed in NASCAR over seven (!) decades, from the 1950 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to a 2018 regional race at age 90. Despite winning the fan vote, Harry Gant and A.J. Foyt will have to wait until next year.

Exhaust: The 2023 class marks the 13th group of inductees and the second year in a row that the Hall of Fame has inducted three members—two (Kenseth and Shelmerdine) from the Modern Ballot and one (Hershel McGriff) from the Pioneer Ballot. While some stock-car devotees may grumble at the exclusion of Mr. September or Super Tex, the elected class is rock solid. In 2003, Kenseth shook the NASCAR world by winning the championship on consistency (one win and an onslaught of top 10s), which served as the catalyst for NASCAR’s modern playoff format. Without Shelmerdine, it’s not crazy to make the assumption that “the man in black” Dale Earnhardt wouldn’t have seven championships. And if you want to make the argument that a man who raced in NASCAR from 1950 to 2018 should wait another year to make the cut, be our guest.

Mercedes and Black Eyed Peas frontman have built a WILL.I.AMG

Intake: Mercedes-Benz has partnered with will.i.am to “boldly drive forward new ideas, push boundaries and dare to do the impossible.” The hiphop star has been a Benz brand ambassador since 2021 and, with the help of West Coast Customs, has created a one-off concept called The Flip. Based on an AMG GT four-door coupe, the car has two massive rear-hinged doors and the face of G-Wagen. Replacing the three-pointed star is a new Bear Witness logo, that also happens to be the name of a new limited-edition fashion collection designed by the Black Eyed Peas founder. The clothing will be for sale online and at the Mercedes-Benz Experience Center in Miami, while the car will also be sold at a later date and the proceeds will go to the i.am/Angel Foundation.

“I grew up in a ghetto. I grew up with hip hop. I watched legendary hip hop artists rap about Mercedes, so it was always a dream to own a Mercedes. For a lot of inner-city kids, owning a Mercedes is a symbol of progress and advancing out of struggle,” says will.i.am. “Now I’ve reached my goal and pushed even higher by re-imagining and creating my own vision of an AMG model. But I didn’t touch the engine, because AMG really does make the best engines. The story of the founders of AMG truly inspires me and it is energizing to collaborate with like-minded people who also seek continuous improvement.”

Exhaust: This isn’t the first time will.i.am has mixed with motor vehicles. He previously created the IAMAUTO tuning outfit and took on a Tesla Model S and even a DeLorean with questionable results (swipe below to see), but it looks like he’s learned a thing or two since.

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