Alfa’s heritage restoration program, Audi’s hoon-tastic e-drifter, INEOS begins production

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo announces in-house restoration and certification service

Intake: Alfa Romeo is hopping on the factory-backed classic restoration train with its new program called “Alfa Romeo Classiche.” The program will offer a range of services including certificates of origin (which has been available since 2016), certificates of authenticity, and a full restoration service—all in the name of protecting and promoting the brand’s history. Restoration services will range from simple diagnosis all the way to complete restoration efforts, undertaken by the experts that care for the Stellantis historical collection in Turin, Italy. To obtain a certificate of authenticity, specialists in Alfa’s heritage department will rigorously inspect the car to verify it against production data and technical specifications and ensure that everything is up to snuff. How serious is top brass about this new program? The certification committee is chaired by Jean Philippe Imparato, Alfa’s CEO, who had this to say about the new endeavor: “For us, the Alfa Romeo Classiche heritage program aims to enhance our historic automotive heritage by certifying the authenticity of vintage Alfa Romeos and giving new life to marvelous examples that still captivate and excite car enthusiasts around the world.”

Exhaust: We’ve seen plenty of companies jump into the factory restoration game in some form or another—from Jaguar, to Fiat, to Nissan, to Porsche, and many more. Some firms, such as Mazda and Toyota, elect to just announce reproductions of certain hard-to-find parts. Alfa’s approach seems to mimic that of fellow Italian brand Ferrari, who offers restoration and certification services to help the most discerning collectors know they’re buying (and hopefully driving) the best of the best. — Nathan Petroelje

Ken Block’s Audi S1 Hoonitron is a bespoke all-electric drift missile

Intake: The Hoonigan team will unveil its newest Gymkhana film next week Tuesday, October 25, with Ken Block returning to the screen after a brief hiatus. The video, dubbed Electrikhana, will feature a custom-built all-electric drift missile from Audi called the S1 Hoonitron. The S1 Hoonitron gets a lot of its styling cues from the iconic Group B Audi S1 Quattro E2, but adapts them to a more modern form. The mechanicals are appropriately wild: Two 800-volt electric motors sourced from Formula E draw juice from four massive batteries placed midship. The combined system output is more than 4400 lb-ft of torque, all of which still twists through conventional differentials so that Ken can adjust the diff settings to make the car slide and spin exactly how he wants. Electrikhana will be perhaps the smokiest film yet—the Hoonigan team torched over 100 tires over multiple days of filming the stunts in Las Vegas. Be sure to catch all the tire-smoking action next Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET when Electrikhana goes live.

Exhaust: The extensive walkthrough video posted below has loads more details on the car that are worth nerding out over. One such detail: The car has no conventional transmission, which means going in reverse is as simple as reversing the polarity of the electric motors. Audi’s engineers initially had a limit placed on how fast you could go in reverse, but the Hoonigan team eventually convinced them to take that off so that the S1 Hoonitron could travel as fast backwards as it can forwards. Expect some mental reverse-entry slides and lord knows what else. We can’t wait. — Nathan Petroelje

Audi RS 3 Performance Edition brings American-spec engine to Europe

Intake: Audi will build a limited-edition RS 3 for the European market, incorporating a number of unique design cues with engine and suspension bits that the U.S.-spec car already enjoys. Available as a sedan and hatchback (Sportback in Audi-speak), the RS 3 Performance Edition bumps the 2.5-liter turbo-five from 394 hp to 401 hp, available 100 revs later at 5700–7000 rpm, via a tiny increase in turbo charge pressure. (Our RS 3 makes that power from the get-go, at 6500 rpm.) Performance Edition RS 3s get standard adaptive dampers—also already included on the U.S. car. Standard carbon-ceramic brakes that save 22 pounds of unsprung weight are part of the deal as well, along with special 19-inch aluminum cast wheels wrapped in Pirelli Trofeo R semi-slick summer rubber. Both the brakes and the Pirelli tires remain optional on the American-market RS 3. Serious-looking bucket seats are the biggest change to the interior. Europe’s RS 3 Performance Edition will be limited to 300 units.

Exhaust: This is one of those rare cases in which America isn’t really missing out on some special European performance machine. We already get the good stuff! The RS 3 is a truly special machine, as we found out on a recent test drive. (We’ll be publishing a review soon.) If there’s anything we miss from Europe’s RS 3, it’s the Sportback version; we have to make do with the ordinary sedan. The VW Golf R checks that box, but Wolfsburg’s four-cylinder is nowhere near as interesting as Ingolstadt’s incredible inline-five. — Eric Weiner

INEOS begins Grenadier production

Intake: What was once a prototype with impressive potential is now a production vehicle ready for any terrain. The INEOS Grenadier officially kicked off production yesterday as a five seater wagon in three trim levels, with deliveries starting in December. This SUV takes the original concept of the Land Rover Defender and modernizes it with improved technology, added rear seat room, NVH reducing measures, and parts interchangeability with BMW products. Pricing wasn’t mentioned in the news release, but we previously reported that the Grenadier started at £49,000 for the 2-seat utility wagon and £52,000 for the 5-seat station wagon.

Exhaust: While supply chain issues have delayed production (and likely raised prices for all future builds) it’s great to see INEOS finally making their dream into a reality. INEOS previously mentioned they intend for the Grenadier to have a global audience, so their latest claim to “over 200 sales and service sites worldwide” will likely go a long way to getting more people excited about the product. You know, the Defender-shaped vehicle that came to life because Land Rover hadn’t met the standards of acquired distinctiveness by a UK High Court. — Sajeev Mehta

Safety recall ensnares 53,000 Dual-Clutch Hyundais

2022-Hyundai-Kona-N-Line-AWD side profile dynamic action
Cameron Neveu

Intake: Hyundai has filed to recall about 53,000 vehicles covering six model lines over potential oil pump failures in the dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Affected vehicles include the Sante Fe, the Santa Cruz, the Sonata, as well as the zestier Elantra N, Kona N, and Veloster N. The electric oil pump fitted to these dual-clutch autos may trigger an internal fault, illuminating multiple lights on the dash and sending the car into a “fail safe” mode where it will disengage the gearbox’s clutches and drive gear, resulting in a total loss of motive power. No-cost remedies will include Hyundai inspecting and reprogramming transmission control units, or replacing whole transmissions altogether if necessary. Affected owners will be notified by mail. Thus far, no known injuries have occurred in relation to this issue. A dealer document floating around the web shows that Hyundai told dealers to stop selling these models as far back as October 7.

Exhaust: Loss of motive power is on the more frightening side of outcomes stemming from an issue that warrants recall. Fortunately, Hyundai seems to be quick with a fix. The recall comes not long after its Palisade SUV was recalled over a possible short in the tow harness wiring that could result in a fire. Hopefully the company can get this issue rectified and ensure that it won’t happen again. — Bryan Gerould

Hyundai pressures U.S. ease EV tax credit rules

Hyundai Ioniq 5 rear three-quarter action

Intake: Hyundai is lobbying the U.S. government to ease some of the restrictions around what EVs will qualify for the full $7500 tax credit, according to a new report from Automotive News. The Korean brand’s biggest sticking point is the requirement that qualified EVs be built in North America. Hyundai has plans for an EV plant in the states, but the new facility won’t happen until 2025. In the interim, the company feels that its market growth with popular EVs like the IONIQ 5 will be unfairly stunted as buyers look to other brands for the full credit. With additional EVs on the way, Hyundai is hoping to have these technicalities settled before even more buyers look to take the leap to electrification.

Exhaust: South Korea is home to some of the world’s largest EV battery makers such as SK Innovation and LG Chemical. If Hyundai can get these suppliers on its side for making the plea, the lobbying will force lawmakers to decide how to placate a juggernaut trade partner and supplier without caving on a clause in the climate bill that was meant to increase domestic investment. — Nathan Petroelje

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    My natural reaction to just about any model that Europe gets but US doesn’t is: “Ooo, want, gimme” But that Sportback looks like plain slammed Q3. Yawn, and pass. Plus no manual transmission, double no want.

    Weird that America would get a better spec’d Audi. Surprised that happens since we are usually hoping for some Audi unobtanium.

    If the Feds give the $7,500 tax break to Hyundai EV’s (built overseas) without building here (which is what is written in the bill) how will they stop “domestic” or other mfgs. from moving more plants to Mexico or from China not flooding the market with their EV’s? A slippery slope indeed.

    Would like to know what kind of vehicle it is.Is it’s production vehicle and is going to be released in the U.S.

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