One of the longstanding favorites among younger car enthusiasts has been the rally-bred Subaru WRX STI, but the automaker has issued a “shocking” statement regarding that car’s future:
“As the automotive marketplace continues to move toward electrification, Subaru is focused on how our future sports and performance cars should evolve to meet the needs of the changing marketplace and the regulations and requirements for greenhouse gasses (GHG), zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).
“As part of that effort, Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification. In the meantime, a next-generation internal-combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform.
“The Subaru WRX STI and the STI brand represent the zenith of Subaru’s performance vehicles exemplifying Subaru’s unique DNA and rally heritage. As we look to the future, we also look forward to incorporating the essence of STI into our next generation of vehicles.”
Washington (state) to ban gas-vehicle sales
The legislature of Washington — the state, not D.C. — has voted to ban the sales of new gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2030. The “Move Ahead Washington” transportation package went to Gov. Jay Inslee for signature late this past week, according to a news release by Coltura, a nonprofit focused on phasing out the use of gasoline and a major backer of the bill.
The legislation would end sales of new gasoline-fueled vehicles 5 years earlier than California’s 2035 goal.
Audi offers virtual-reality infotainment
Beginning this summer, Audi will offer an infotainment system with virtual-reality capability. Those sitting in the back seat can put on VR glasses for various options including games, films and interactive content, the company announced at South by Southwest.
The MIB 3 (modular infotainment toolkit) infotainment with holoride capability goes into production in June and will be offered in a variety of Audi vehicles.
BMW acquires Alpina brand
Alpina, known for its high-performance tuning of BMW vehicles, has been acquired by BMW Group. Founded more than 50 years ago and headquartered in Buchloe, near Munich, Alpina thusly enters what the announcement terms “a new chapter.”
“For over fifty years, the Buchloe firm has demonstrated how to deliver top-quality car cachet through meticulous attention to detail,” BMW said. “The BMW Group is also driven by this same passion for cars that capture the imagination.
“That is why we are now embarking on a new chapter in our long-standing partnership. Acquiring the trademark rights will allow us to shape the long-term course of this brand steeped in tradition.”
The announcement also noted the challenges that small-series manufacturers such as Alpina face as the auto industry transitions to electric vehicles.
Karaoke in the car
VinFast, the new Vietnamese automaker, will offer Cerence Sing, an in-car Karaoke system, in its VF 8 and VF 9 models. The Cerence Sing, powered by Stingray Karaoke, includes a catalog of more than 100,000 songs in more than a dozen languages, according to the news release.
“Unlike other in-car karaoke offerings, Cerence Sing prioritizes safety alongside the fun of an interactive karaoke experience,” according to the announcement.
Not only is the system integrated into the car’s infotainment system, but offers a driver mode with spoken rather than visual lyrics as well as a classic mode “available only when safe” allowing passengers to see lyrics on the touchscreen.
Ducati’s new track bike
Ducati calls its new Panigale V4 SP2 “the ultimate racetrack machine.” The motorcycle, produced in a numbered series, has carbon-fiber wheels, Brembo brakes, a dry clutch, and specific WorldSBK-bike racing-based kit for track use.
SP is short for Sport Production and is powered by a 1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale engine rated at 215 horsepower at 13,000 rpm.