Merry Christmas from The Engine Block! It’s that time of year again and the auto world got into the spirit in ways that only it can. 2020 Toyota Supra photos are leaked… again. The US is finally getting a track-ready Subaru WRX STI. The GMC Sierra AT4 gains an off-road performance package, beefing up its already beefy capability. And somebody went ALL IN on all four body styles of the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato. All that and more in this week’s Auto Industry News.
2020 Toyota Supra: “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen”
Soon to be debuted at the Detroit Auto Show next month, the 2020 Toyota Supra sure is doing a lot of teasing. Less than two weeks ago, the online forum www.supramkv.com posted a photo of the new model inside what appears to be a shipping container. Now, the rear image of a yellow Supra peeking coyly from underneath a car cover is making the rounds, sending superfans into another tizzy.
The peepshows we’ve gotten thus far imply that the 2020 Supra borrows pretty heavily from the FT-1 concept that inspired it. This new model resurrects the line from its discontinuance in 2002.
While most details have been hush-hush, the new Supra will supposedly share a powertrain with the BMW’s new Z4, a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6. The official debut is set for January 14 but who knows, maybe we’ll receive another little holiday photo bomb before then.
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shopping Spree
Merry Christmas to this guy. And by “this guy,” I mean whoever bought one of each Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato body styles before 2018 reached its end—in festive, matching Lava Red paint, no less. This isn’t the typical “rich person buys a crazy car story.” This mystery shopper bought ALL FOUR $500,000+ vehicles. And when considering their individual rarities, getting one’s hands on all four in one day is damn near a Christmas miracle.
Making up this “Lava Collection,” is the Zagato Coupe, Convertible, and Shooting Brake, which are limited to 99 units each, and the Speedster, which is limited to just 28 cars. Keeping these limited editions THIS limited allows the design team to get more creative than they could with your average sports car. “In many ways, it’s one of the nicest projects we ever work on because you pretty well put concept cars on the road,” says Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin Director of Design. “We describe it with Zagato—we call them ‘Beauty in the madness.’ There’s always something just a little bit unhinged about them—a little bit in another world.”
These four models in particular are special, as they represent the end of the second-gen Vanquish (and the naturally-aspirated V-12), sporting a 6.0-liter V-12 making 580 horsepower with a 3.5-second zero-to-62-mph time. For 2019, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera takes over as the flagship, making 715 horsepower from a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V-12, shaving .1 second off that zero-to-sixty launch time.
Limited Edition Subaru WRX STI (FINALLY) Hits the US
Here is a more uplifting Auto News Christmas story about giving rather than receiving. According to reports, America will be getting its own limited edition Subaru WRX STI, due to debut at next month’s Detroit Auto Show. And there are some exciting teasers to back up the hype!
Aptly named “From Japan, With Love,” the video gives a taste of what is to come from the newest WRX family member. While there is no word on the official name for the vehicle, everyone seems perfectly comfortable calling it the S209—a name Subaru even trademarked, signaling the continuation of the tag.
As for the specs, no one knows for sure what the American WRX STI can do. But for a benchmark, the S208 sported a tuned turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer engine, pumping 324 horsepower and 319 lb-ft of torque. Limited to 450 units, the S208 had more aggressive styling than the traditional Subaru WRX STI, with 19-inch BBS wheels, a mesh grille, restyled rear, and Recaro front seats. Other upgrades included a performance muffler, flexible tower brace, a carbon-fiber roof panel, Brembo brakes and Bilstein dampers. One thing’s for sure, we can count on the new S209 to be equally unique—and equally limited.
AT4 Performance Package
The GMC Sierra AT4, often purchased for what it can do in the elements, will get an even bigger boost in off-road performance. GMC has announced the AT4 Off-Road Performance Package for the 2019 model. For an extra $4,940, a future buyer gets the a 6.2-liter V-8 engine, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission which ups the AT4’s specs to 435 horsepower and 469 lb-ft of torque.
“Sierra AT4’s off-road abilities are fortified with specialized equipment, all purposefully engineered for venturing off the beaten trail,” says the company proudly. The Off-Road Performance Package also adds a Cat-Back performance exhaust system, performance air intake, and upgraded, mud terrain-rated Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires wrapped around 18-inch dark chrome-finished wheels. This is a stacked package, considering the AT4 comes standard with a two-inch suspension lift and a traction control system.
BIG Ford Recall
And speaking of “purposeful engineering,” Ford had to issue a recall of 874,000 pickup trucks for a fire risk involving the brand’s engine block heaters. Ford officials have said the recall covers some 2015-2019 Ford F-150 trucks, 2017-2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty, F-350 Super Duty, F-450 Super Duty, and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks. According to reports, the recall includes 410,000 vehicles in the United States and 464,000 in Canada.
Apparently, the block heater cable’s splice connector is prone to contaminants, which in turn can cause corrosion and, potentially, fires. (Yikes.) Only three fires have been officially reported so far, but Ford has the recall set to start in January. Those who think they may be affected should contact their Ford dealership, where technicians will inspect and seal the block heater cable, or replace it if need be.
Around the Circuit
Someone stole Travis Pastrana’s motorcycles, and he’s probably not getting them back. The Nitro Circus star was quick to report them missing and post on Instagram after the bikes disappeared from their shipping containers while in transit from Europe to the US. The thieves took Pastrana’s Kevlar prototype bike, an RM 250 2-stroke, and teammate Jarryd McNeil’s X-Games gold-medal winning bike among several others.
In NASCAR news, Rick Ware Racing, a newcomer in the 2018 season, will return at Daytona for the 2019 season. The team recently acquired a fleet of race cars and has since acquired another sanctioned car for the 2019 season (expected to be No. 52), giving it two NASCAR vehicles total. And while new to the NASCAR circuit, RWR will celebrate its 25th season of competitive motorsports with its other vehicle dawning the number 25.