Our morning roundup also looks at the alarming rise in road fatalities and a new Mercedes-AMG race car with a 6.2-liter V8.
Top of the morning to you, dear readers, and welcome to Cold Start, your morning recap of the most important automotive developments from the last 24 hours. Since yesterday's report, we've covered the fact that Alfa Romeo is pissed off over the Dodge Hornet that its own Tonale is underpinned by. We've also looked at the cabin of the long-awaited Tesla Semi and reported on job cuts at Ford.
But in today's roundup, we talk about how 2022 is tragically on track to become the deadliest year on American roads. We also have good and bad news from Gordon Murray Automotive, with one new car coming to our shores and one being withheld. Nissan's top brass has hinted that a more powerful Nissan Z could be incoming, a new 6.2-liter V8-powered AMG race car has been revealed, and the disappointing news dropped that Acura won't make the Integra's manual transmission available on anything but the priciest trim.
This piece of news won't mean much to the average person because both the GMA T.33 and the T.50 are multi-million dollar cars. Even if you have the cash to purchase one or both of these V12-powered beauties, both are sold out. Nevertheless, we would love to see both in the metal, cruising down the PCH or looking for parking on 5th Avenue. But unfortunately, the more practical of the two cars - the three-seater T.50 - won't be legal to drive on American roads while the less powerful T.33 will. What's the reason for this? The T.50's central driving position. Fortunately, more attainable cars are coming from Gordon Murray Automotive, and some may even be produced on American soil.
Now for some truly sad news. The NHTSA has released early estimates for road crash deaths in the first quarter of this year, and the numbers chill the blood. 19 states (and Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the US) recorded a decline in road accident-related deaths, but overall, the numbers have grown. The agency estimates that 9,560 people have lost their lives in crashes during the period, a 7% increase over the figures of the same period in 2021. To give you some context, that's the highest number of first-quarter road fatalities since 2002. It's long past time for Americans to focus on the act of driving when behind the wheel, not tweeting, applying makeup, or simply trusting semi-autonomous technology to release them of their responsibilities as a road user.
In a recent interview, Nissan's Paul Hawson revealed that the 400-horsepower 2023 Z can handle more power. He also noted that some customers would certainly want more grunt if it's made available (duh). So will a Z Nismo be forthcoming? "Let's just say we know that customer, and we try to address that customer's needs." This is far from confirmation of a more powerful Z, but Hawson is the brand's director of advanced product planning and strategy, not some spokesperson who has no clue what Nissan wants to build in the future. Fingers crossed that there will be a 450-hp (or stronger) sports car coming out of Yokohama soon, and hopefully, such a thing won't be a JDM exclusive.
When the production version of the Acura Integra was unveiled, there was a groan from a large portion of the car community. Its shape is so obviously that of the Honda Civic, and there's not much to make it stand out from the plethora of similarly styled cars on offer from other brands. No coupe version was shown, but we held out hope that this could change down the line. However, an interview with CarBuzz has revealed that such a thing is not financially viable. Similarly, the fact that the six-speed manual is only available with the Integra's priciest trim has not stopped the majority of reservation holders from opting for the said model. Acura is happy to continue capitalizing for the foreseeable future and has no plans to make the manual more affordable. That said, it did not explicitly rule out the possibility of a cheaper manual Integra if the sales figures for the range-topping trim start to dwindle.
Tightening emissions standards caused Mercedes to abandon its signature 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 a long time ago, and now even its smaller 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is set to be replaced by a 2.0-liter four-banger with hybrid assistance. But in celebration of 55 years of AMG, the Affalterbach-based automaker has revealed a special-edition race car called the AMG GT3. Just five will be made, and all of them feature the 6,208-cc V8 of years gone by. Producing 641 horsepower, the car is 100 horses more potent than the FIA homologation regulations allow, but you can order it in FIA-approved spec. Sadly, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Edition 55 is unlikely to be sold here, and if it were, you'd need around $620,000. Still, we can at least appreciate the cool details that make this limited edition special.