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GMC Hummer EV chief engineer talks motor torque, wheelies, and Watts To Freedom

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2024 Hummer EV SUV - Watts To Freedom

The Hummer EV is shaping up to be an electric off-road supertruck, with useful trail tools like Extract mode and Crab mode. 

On the road―or paved track—the star is something else: WTF mode. That’s Watts To Freedom, and it’s more than a party trick. It’s GMC’s Ludicrous Mode, aimed at extracting the most straightline-acceleration juice out of this Hummer. 

GM has called Watts To Freedom “a driver-selectable immersive experience that unleashes the full acceleration capability,” of 3.0 seconds to 60 mph in the Hummer EV SUT, or 3.5 seconds in the SUV. 

2024 Hummer EV SUV – Watts To Freedom

So how many times can you do it? We asked GMC Hummer EV Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser and got a simple answer: As many times as you want, as long as there’s enough battery (at least a 30% state of charge) and that the ambient and cell temperatures are below certain thresholds. 

Ludicrous launch-mode theater

But wait, there’s more—the immersive part. Oppenheiser says that WTF mode is as much for the passenger or passengers. Anyone who’s ever watched the off-guard passenger expressions in countless YouTube videos of Tesla’s Ludicrous mode launches knows that. 

“There’s a theatrical element that goes along with it,” he said. “We likened it to your favorite roller coaster ride, where there’s some kind of build-up.”

Oppenheiser explained that because the suspension can take up to 15 seconds to adjust down to its lowest entry/egress mode, which it does in preparation for WTF mode, GMC opted for a graphical sequence that suggests you’re on a rocket ship preparing for launch. The screen gives you an arm signal, and your haptic seat (normally a lane-change alert) vibrates during the build-up, while the Bose premium sound system plays, with increasing volume, a “very electric vehicle type sound.” 

“And so that’s kind of the experience of what Watts to Freedom really means,” he said. “It’s the whole theater for the people inside the vehicle.”

Um, the development Hummer EV can pop a wheelie?

GM has raised eyebrows with talk of 11,500 pound-feet of torque, which is measured at the wheels after torque multipliers. That seems like a crazy figure and it is, but the true figure is still bonkers. It figures out to about 1,100 lb-ft of motor torque, according to Oppenheiser. The two motors in back have roughly a 10.5:1 reduction ratio, with the front motor at 13:1. 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV

Oppenheiser said that his team has been gradually working toward peak torque in performance-testing the Hummer EV. One of the challenges as it calibrates all the systems in the vehicle has been getting the chassis and suspension controls to respond quickly enough to the sudden torque delivery of the electric motors. 

“Our chassis control team is working to keep up with how fast the energy can shift from the front motor to the rear…I’ll just say that it has not caught up yet,” he noted. Then he dropped a surprise: “And when you can lift the front tires off the ground in a heavy-duty truck, that’s a performance vehicle right there…it’s a super truck; we’re making no bones about it.”

Buyers will be able to start experiencing the GMC Hummer EV’s supertruck performance when the Edition 1 version of the pickup goes on sale later this year. Other models will follow in 2023.

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Porsche dealers compete in restoration challenge

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Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

You don’t have to go all the way to Stuttgart, or even to company-owned facilities in Atlanta for restoration of your classic Porsche. To underscore that fact, the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge involves 40 dealership service departments across the United States, each restoring a car for the company-sponsored contest.

“The entries run the gamut from the 1950s to the 2000s, from 75 to 612 horsepower, and from rear- to mid- and front-engine layout,” Porsche notes in its announcement of the challenge.

“The years and the miles have written individual histories for each car, but now a common chapter is about to tie their journeys together: the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge.”

Previously, the challenge has been based in Europe. However, “The U.S. is home to more classic Porsche sports cars than any other market. After decades on the road, some will inevitably be in need of a little extra care. Enter the Restoration Challenge, where Porsche Classic has encouraged U.S. dealerships to acquire a car that is due for some expert technical attention to ensure many more years of driving pleasure.”

Porsche reports that multiple 356 models, some dating from 1956, as well as five generations of 911, transaxle cars including the 944 and 928, as well as “modern classics” including the first-generation Boxster, are undergoing restoration work.

“Each vehicle will undergo restoration in the best possible hands: Porsche-trained technicians who will have a portfolio of more than 60,000 unique Porsche Classic Genuine Parts at their disposal,” Porsche notes.

Nine of the participating dealerships already have been designated Porsche Classic Partners “who every day go above and beyond in their commitment to keeping vintage cars on the road and driving just as well as the moment they left the factory,” Porsche adds.

Porsche also has a company-owned restoration shop at its US headquarters in Atlanta

]The challenge runs until mid-August when winners will be chosen from three regions — East, South-Central, and West. Those cars will advance to the challenge finals in September, when the winner will be selected based not only on the restoration itself but on documentation.

For more information, visit the Porsche Classic website.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

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Maybach to celebrate 100th anniversary of first car, announce EV

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1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

Maybach was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl, originally as a company supplying engines for Zeppelin airships and later trains.

The company would soon expand into the car business, with the first prototype, the W1 Testwagen, unveiled in 1919. It proved so popular that a production version was launched just two years later.

That production version was the 22/70 HP W3, unveiled by Maybach in September 1921 at the Berlin International Motor Show. It featured an inline-6 engine generating 70 hp, an impressive figure for the time, as well as many other engineering and luxury marvels, such as brakes at each wheel, a planetary gearbox, and an interior lined in leather and wood.

1921 Maybach 22/70 HP W3

A little over 300 examples of the 22/70 HP W3 were built, after which Maybach launched a variety of additional cars. Maybach ceased building cars at the onset of the Second World War and never returned to it after the war ended, and by 1960 the company was absorbed into Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Today Maybach is a sub-brand of Mercedes and the German automaker plans to celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of the launch of the 22/70 HP W3. However, the automaker hasn’t said what exactly it has planned so we’ll have to wait and see.

There will likely be special editions of the current Maybach S-Class and Maybach GLS-Class, and judging by the photo above there will also be a reveal of a new V-12-powered Maybach S-Class (only a V-8 is available at present). We can also confirm that an electric Maybach will be revealed in the coming months. It will likely be an ultra-lux version of the new EQS sedan. Stay tuned.

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2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop arrives with new look, old power

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2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

Mini is giving its Hardtop (and Convertible) a subtle facelift for the 2022 model year, and that includes the high-performance John Cooper Works variant.

The 2022 John Cooper Works Hardtop was revealed on Wednesday. Timing for the United States hasn’t been announced but we should see the vehicle in dealerships before the year is out.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

The changes include revised fascias front and rear that help give the hot hatch an even sportier look, thanks mostly to the larger grille which now extends all the way down to the front splitter. The fender accents and rear diffuser are also new designs, and there are two new paint options: Island Blue metallic and Rooftop Gray metallic.

The interior has also been updated to match the changes made to the rest of the 2022 Hardtop lineup. This includes a new 8.8-inch screen in the center of the dash. A fun touch is the changing color of the screen; it goes red when the vehicle is in sport mode. This function also applies to the available screen that mounts to the steering column.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

No changes were made to the powertrain. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It drives the front wheels only and can be paired with either an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual. The automatic is the quicker option, as it delivers 0-62 mph acceleration in 6.1 seconds versus the 6.3 seconds of the manual.

Other performance features of the John Cooper Works Hardtop include adaptive suspension, a stainless-steel sport exhaust system, and Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers up front. A set of 17-inch (18-inch available) light alloy wheels also come with the car.

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

2022 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

Pricing and detailed specifications for the U.S. market will be announced closer to the sales launch.

The 2022 update to the Hardtop range is actually the second update for the current generation. A redesigned Hardtop is expected to bow in 2023 and will likely be the last fitted with an internal-combustion engine. Mini in March said its entire lineup will be electric by the early 2030s.

Mini Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW

Mini Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW

Speaking of electric Minis, a battery-powered version of the current John Cooper Works Hardtop is expected to be launched next year. It was previewed by the recently revealed Pacesetter Formula E safety car.

For more on the Mini Hardtop, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.

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