Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Ford answers prayers with Raptor R, Chevrolet debuts Blazer EV along with impressive SS model, Cadillac shows off the Celestiq for like the 8th time, Aston Martin rebrands, Honda debuts the new Civic Type-R, and your news for the week.
Ford Raptor R
Ever since the 2nd-generation Raptor ditched the V8 for an EcoBoost V6, it’s become a footnote in every conversation about the Raptor. “If only it still had a V8”. “The EcoBoost sounds awful”. “I want a Raptor, but…”. You get the idea. Well some Ford engineers had enough of our whinging and have responded with the Raptor R, a powerful offroader that brings V8 goodness back to the Raptor for the first time since 2014.
And it’s not just any V8, it’s the supercharged 5.2-liter “Predator” from the GT500. It’s been retuned and optimized for off-road performance and durability, so its power output is limited to “only” 700 horsepower and 640 lb.-ft. of torque. That makes it very competitive against its closest rival, the Ram TRX. It’s short by two whole horsepower and ten lb.-ft. of torque. But weight is on the Raptor R’s side by about 400 pounds.
The lightweight aluminum block means the Raptor R is only a hundred pounds heavier than the standard version with its EcoBoost V6. Refitting the engine, which is normally a high-revving rocket of an engine in the GT500, for off road use meant recalibrating the supercharger and installing a new pulley. The results are increased torque delivery at the low-end and mid-range. While it lacks 60 horsepower and some of its high-rev performance, it gains 25 lb.-ft. of torque and a more usable power band.
The rest of the truck only needs minor modifications to handle the extra power. Each of its drive modes for handling different terrain has been recalibrated and it’s had a 5% increase in its front spring rate. The 37″ tires that were optional equipment on the base Raptor are standard on the Raptor R. Glancing through the spec sheet, all clearances, suspension travel, and off road stats are identical between both models with 37″ tires.
And you could argue that the looks are identical too. The visual changes are minor. The Raptor R has a larger and more aggressively-styled power dome on the hood (for functional reasons). Code Orange accents on the Raptor R badge are placed on the grille, power dome, and tailgate to let everyone know. There’s also a new graphics package on the rear fenders unique to the Raptor R.
Everything else about the truck, as far as we can tell, is the same. The Raptor has already been a gold standard of off-road-oriented pickups. Whether you’re in a Silverado ZR2, a Ram TRX, or a Toyota TRD Pro model, it’s been influenced in some way by the success of the Raptor. Ford believes that slapping in a V8 is all they really need to do on this Raptor R to make it perform well and for it to be desirable. I think they’re right. There’s a last call going on for oversized trucks with big hilarious engines, and Ford is running to the bar with a fist full of cash. “Just one more I promise“.
Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet. Not that it matters much when dealers are going to charge whatever they want for it.
Chevrolet Blazer EV
Meanwhile at Chevrolet, the crossover that’s still called the Blazer even though I’m sure they regret not saving the name for a Jeep and Bronco competitor has been debuted in EV form with a load of specs to run through. The Blazer EV will be available in a wide variety of trims and configurations. It’s even available in every drive configuration available – FWD, RWD, and AWD.
Available trim levels include the base 1LT, 2LT, RS, an SS performance model, and even a Police Pursuit Vehicle model for law enforcement. It’s based on GM’s Ultium Platform and takes styling queues from the other Blazer, the Camaro, and Corvette. Overall I think it looks rather good. But most importantly you can tell it’s an EV because of the light bar in front.
The technical highlights are as such: up to 320 miles of range depending on the trim, 11.5 kW level 2 (AC) charging and standard DC public fast-charging capability of up to 190 kW, and available Super Cruise hands-free driving tech for compatible roads. They don’t go into specifics on the electric motors in use or battery pack sizes. But there’s clearly some variety as the standard 1LT has a 247-mile range while the 2LT has a 293-mile range. You have to step up to the RS for that full 320 miles. And on said RS model, it’s unclear which drivetrain has what range as it’s available in FWD or RWD as standard or AWD as an optional extra. There’s a lot of variety here and it can be assumed that each option impacts the range. So that’ll be fun for them to figure out.
Meanwhile, the Blazer SS (pictured) promises to be a good time. It will be the first electric SS model in company history and has some impressive stats already. It will ship with an exclusive performance AWD setup which can produce up to 557 horsepower and 648 lb.-ft. of torque in WOW (Wide Open Watts) mode. Expect a sub-4-second 0-60 time, a 290-mile driving range, and Brembo front brakes.
The Blazer EV begins its rollout next summer. The 2LT and RS launch first with pricing set at $47,595 and $51,995. The SS follows later in 2023 with pricing at $65,995. The cheaper 1LT will launch in Q1 2024 because GM believes rich people are more important.
GM has a thing where they like to roll out with stunning concept cars so they can be like “hey, look at this!” before they turn around and give us something far more boring. All brands do this to an extent but I think GM does it more than anyone. I have a feeling this is what’s happening here with the Cadillac Celestiq.
This will eventually be a production car, their flagship in fact. But how close it will look to this show car is anyone’s guess. “The show car previews some of the materials, innovative technologies and hand-crafted attention to detail harnessed to express Cadillac’s vision for the future”, the release states. It certainly looks stunning and very unique. But we’ll have to wait till later this year before we get what might actually be the final version of the car they’ve been teasing for years now.
Aston Martin updates logo, world peace is achieved
Someone in a management level position within Aston Martin had the “we need to appeal to new buyers” talk. One thing leads to another and Aston Martin is now rebranding with a simplified badge and a new brand expression. And just like that, new buyers who had held off on their $300,000 order because the brand just wasn’t exciting enough are returning calls to dealers. You did it, Aston Martin. The business has been businessed.
The new logo (right) features small adjustments to the famous wing badge. There’s a line that’s removed and the remaining lines and text have been made thicker. That’s it. And the new brand expression/slogan/tagline is “Intensity. Driven.” This “strategic repositioning” is the largest investment in Aston Martin’s brand for more than a decade and the first new logo since 2003 as well as only the 8th logo in the company’s history. As for why, well they wanted to build on their “growing appeal for a wider, affluent global audience strategically targeted by the brand” – which is how someone who spent too much on their masters degree says “we want more of you rich fucks to buy our shit”. This winning strategy surely had a nifty Power Point to go along with it, so the people in charge couldn’t possibly say no.
Anyways, look for Aston Martin’s updated #branding and logo to appear on new cars bought by CEOs who cut employee benefits for higher bonuses and crypto bros who pump and dumped their way into a new Valkyrie.
[Source: Aston Martin]
ICYMI: Civic Type R
One of the best enthusiast cars on the market just got brought into a new generation. The Civic Type R is all-new and quite a bit different than the outgoing model. We have the full story here as well as some in-person impressions here.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.