On Motoring Monday today we have for you a faster Dodge Viper, the latest evolution of BMW’s perennial 3 Series, and we get to hear for the first time, the new Cummins powered Nissan Titan.
And since we’re raising eyebrows, you might be surprised to find out where Hummer owners really are.
2016 Dodge Viper ACR
This week SRT showed us the ultimate version of their hand-built all-American, the 2016 Dodge Viper American Club Racer known as ACR.
The Viper ACR is put forth as the ultimate street-legal race car , offering aggressive aerodynamic and suspension upgrades, high-end carbon ceramic brakes and special tires specifically designed for ACR,
Dodge says the ACR’s Extreme Aero Package delivers nearly 2000 pounds of downforce at top speed, using a huge carbon fiber rear wing, rear diffuser, extended front splitter and additional dive planes on the sides.
The standard Viper already has a kidney thumping suspension, but the ACR goes further with 10-setting, double-adjustable coil-over Bilstein shocks which offer up to 3-inches of height adjustment at each corner for specific track tuning.
Its 19-inch wheels are wrapped with specific Kumho Ecsta V720 tires, 295/25 at front, and 355/30 at the rear. Dodge says these enable lap times 1.5 seconds quicker on the tire change alone.
And in the how much better than a standard Viper is it category, Dodge claims the suspension, tires and aerodynamic changes turn up to 1.5 g sustained cornering ability.
And stopping, well that comes courtesy of rather pricey Brembo 15-inch carbon ceramic matrix brakes. Power on the other hand remains stockly at 645 horsepower from its 8.4 liter V10.
Just recently we talked of the Viper 1 of 1 program. And while the new Viper ACR is very unique and special, you can also order yours though the bespoke 1 of 1 process. Gnarly.
2016 BMW 3-Series
For 2016, the ever iconic BMW 3-Series gets its mid-cycle magic wand of new features, styling updates, and a couple new model designations.
Right up front the 3-Seres gets a revised front fascia and other small styling details in addition to numerous chassis enhancements like new front struts, rear dampers and redesigned electric power steering – said to improve its feel.
Big news is the new 340i model designation which gets a brand-new modular turbocharged 3.0 liter in-line six with 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. It comes with either an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.
BMW says the 340i Sedan with the 8-speed automatic will accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, the 340i xDrive all-wheel driver a bit quicker to 60 mph at just 4.6 seconds. It’s the traction.
A new Track Handling Package can be had on both the 328i and 340i which has variable sport steering, an Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport Brakes with high temperature brake pads and blue calipers. There’s also unique 18-inch wheels with 19-inch available on the 340i.
The more affordable, in relative terms anyway, 320i remains on the catalog for 2016 as does the 328d turbo-diesel. There’s also coming in 2016 a new 330e plug-in hybrid sedan which is expected to offer eye-popping fuel-economy.
The first of the new 2016 BMW 3-Series sedan and sport wagons are due on the ground later this year with pricing and final specs to be announced closer to that time.
2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins
When Nissan introduced the all-new 2016 Titan XD powered by Cummins last January, the truck world listened. But only now, do we finally have something to hear.
This week Nissan unveiled another video chapter in their Titan Truckumentary series which chronicles the development and teasing of the new truck which is due on sale later this year.
It’s 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel V8 has been a hot topic of discussion on web forums and YouTube alike, featuring 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque.
In its half-ton class, the new 5.0 liter Cummins V8 will better its only competitor, the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel by a wide margin. And Ford as we know doesn’t yet offer a light-duty diesel.
The new engine has a lot of high tech going on including a series sequential turbocharging system which combines a small turbocharger for low air flow and a larger one for high air flow.
The smaller turbo provides better throttle response due to its low inertia off idle and in acceleration while the the larger turbo maintains power at higher engine rpm.
The new Nissan Titan XD powered buy Cummins will come to dealers…..ugh doesn’t that sound nice? …..it’ll be here late this year.
In our test drives this week we drove the newest compact crossover to join the market, the 2016 Fiat 500x.
Taking the iconic style and design of their 500 hatchback micro-car and scaling it up to a much larger crossover, the 500x lands in America with a virtually identical look and feel. Add two two doors, lower body cladding and ground clearance and now you have a crossover.
We found it to be as fun as it looks both inside and out. The cabin is also a dead ringer for the playful and retro 500 hatchback, but offers more space for up to five passengers. Cargo area is a little thin due to its slanted rear roof line though.
It’s fun to drive on twisty roads with a suspension and steering that puts a smile on your face. It’s mostly tuned for pavement however, as it can get a rough edge when you get off the tarmac very far. With two distinctly different powertrains, it has plenty of power and fuel efficiency too.
For our full review of the 2016 Fiat 500x, see the link below in the information section or log onto our website TestDrivenTV.
Reality Check: Where did all the Hummers go?
When I owned my Hummer H2 back in the day, that vehicle attracted more angry people than you can ever imagine. But it wasn’t just me, environmentalists of the era attacked them mercilously, even lighting them on fire at dealerships.
Which is why a new report about where most Hummer owners are is quite surprising. According to data from Spork Marketing and GMPartsCenter.net, the number one state where Hummer owners searching online for parts is California – the very nest of modern day environmentalism.
The report which cites online search data gathered between 2010 and 2014, shows there were more Californians searching for Hummer replacement parts than any other state, with Texas coming in at second place.
Florida came in third, New York fourth, and Pennsylvania fifth. Now this is obviously not as scientific as it might sound, as online part searches don’t equate to vehicle registration data which this report doesn’t cite.
That said, it’s still pretty illuminating that the great state of California would harbor so many Hummer owners given it’s likely the most combative environment let alone expensive in which to own and drive one.
Even in the relative red state of Arizona it was not uncommon to look in my rear view mirror when driving mine to see a seething angry Prius owner cutting in and out of traffic behind me to get close enough to flip me the bird. Just because.
So there! I will say that if GM had been smart enough to offer the DuraMax diesel engines in the Hummer H2, the brand might still be alive today. But what do I know.
In memoriam: Denise McCluggage
While we normally do our Monday Shot at this point in our program each week, I want to take a moment to remember a pioneer in the auto journalism and racing world, Denise McCluggage.
I say pioneer because Denise was one of the first, if not the first high-profile female auto racer in the 1960’s, rubbing elbows with the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Carroll Shelby, and all the greats of the era as she won races at Sebring, Monte Carlo and others.
She more prominently became an auto journalist, and a legendary one at that. One of the founding editors of what later became Autoweek Magazine, she wrote and edited for that publication most of her life nearly until she passed away this week at age 88.
As a kid growing up I religiously read her byline “Drive She Said” in Autoweek, Many of my peers in this business were able to call her a good friend and mentor who left a mark on auto journalism and will be very much missed.
I only had the occasion to meet her once a few years back. And during that brief breakfast she was warm, enthusiastic, and had unvarnished opinions about cars and the business. It was a blessing.
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