Drive Wire: January 21, 2016
A new VW exec, a sportier Clubman, Genesis upgrades, a ski-doo snowmobile, and ice cross downhill.
Hey guys, it’s Christina Thompson and this is Drive Wire for Thursday, January 21st.
In the aftermath of Dieselgate, Volkswagen has named former BMW executive Hinrich J. Woebcken as head of their new North American division. Woebcken will oversee operations in the US, Canada, and Mexico, although each region will still have its own CEO, so Michael Horn retains his position as top man in the United States. Woebcken will be responsible for all VW activities on this continent, including product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and even procurement. Oh, and he’ll probably be handling that diesel business as well. We wish him luck in shepherding a brand facing an unprecedented crisis—of its own making.
Mini has announced that it’s adding all-wheel drive to the Mini Clubman. The system, which they’re calling All-4, is front-biased, sending power to the rear wheels only when it’s needed, such as during bad weather or high-speed situations. And speaking of high speed, Mini claims a Clubman S with All-4 gets to 60 in 6.6 seconds, which is a couple tenths faster than the front-wheel-drive model. That said, we’d like to point out that yes, it’s still too big for our tastes.
Turning to sports sedan news, Hyundai’s new N-Performance division is working on a sports version of their G-70 Genesis luxury sedan and aiming at BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes. Company execs hint that the sporting G-70 will use the company’s new 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Way to shake things up, Hyundai. We respect it – although it may be a couple years before we get to actually drive an N-spec G-70.
Turning to what’s fun right now in gear – it’s winter so we’re thinking about snowmobiles. And the one we can’t stop thinking about is the Ski-Doo Renegade XRS. It features the Ski-Doo race chassis plus a little wider and longer stance for real-world friendliness and a big compliant suspension so you can rip around the mountains all day long.
In today’s ridiculous video, we dive into the beyond-strange sport of ice cross downhill. The adrenaline-fueled death wish combines hockey, human bullfighting, ski jumping, and we’re guessing, rollerball? Watch and enjoy as grown men destroy their bodies on ice.