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Welcome to nirvana for car enthusiasts. You have just entered the online home of the world's oldest car magazine, and the only place on the internet where you can find Autocar's unique mix of up-to-the-minute news, red hot car reviews, conclusive road tes



Published: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:05:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:53:23 +0000

Copyright: (c) Haymarket Media Group 2014
 



Audi RS4 Avant

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:47:26 +0000

(image) Rapid, sure-footed, practical, comfortable, classy: can the new RS4 Avant really be all these things? Rabidly quick estate cars seem to stoke the imagination of us enthusiasts in a manner few other vehicle types can. There’s something wonderfully improbable about genuine usability combined with performance that, out in the real world, would often do for more purpose-built machinery. Not many of us actually buy quick estate cars, of course, and in that sense, they’re a bit like supercars. This is truer of the RS4 Avant than most. In fact, in the realm of online publishing, it’s not unusual for Audi’s mid-sized hammer-wagon to garner a similar level of attention to that you’d expect of, say, a new McLaren. Audi’s formula has history on its side too. It began with the RS2 of 1994 – developed with Porsche, fantastically quick and, for its time, fabulous to drive – and led to the curvaceous form of the V6-engined B5-generation RS4 of the millennium. Quattro GmbH – now known as Audi Sport – then gave us the B7 version, which graduated to naturally aspirated V8 power and boasted a chassis of such finesse that you’d think it would be wasted on an estate car – except it wasn’t.The most recent RS4 was also the most conservative in its styling and a little way from regurgitating the dynamic prowess of its forebear but was still a well-conceived machine. All of which nicely sets the scene for this new one.Aggressive, isn’t it? By the numbers, the B9-generation RS4 is also a mighty thing. Fuel economy is improved by a fifth and CO2 emissions have fallen by a quarter. Shaving 80kg from the kerb weight (the first time a new RS4 has trimmed down) has also helped to take more than half a second from the 0-60mph time, and the twin-turbo V6 delivers almost half as much torque again as the engine it replaces.With 275-section tyres at each corner, this new car puts down a vast amount of rubber and yet rolling refinement will need to have improved. Being an RS4, its aesthetics are also tasked with generating a buzz befitting of a £60,000 car and yet mustn’t attract the wrong kind of attention. So can it possibly fulfil all of these tasks and still reward the person behind the wheel when the moment arises?



Q&A: Seat boss Luca De Meo on the future of Cupra

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:26:40 +0000

Luca de Meo heads Seat and its new Cupra brand Seat's SEO explains why the firm has turned Cupra into a standalone brand Since taking the top job at Seat in November 2015, Luca de Meo has seen the Volkswagen Group brand's sales grow, thanks to the popularity of the Ateca and Arona SUVs and the latest generation Ibiza. But now de Meo has taken one of his boldest moves yet, turning Seat's Cupra performance badge into a full standalone marque. Starting with the 296bhp Cupra Ateca, the new brand will launch seven Cupra models in the next three years. Speaking at the launch event for Cupra, de Meo explained the reasons for the move, and his plans for the brand. Why launch Cupra as a standalone brand? “The first reason is that we’ve seen from experience and data that Cupra models do very well in some markets. In Germany, for example, Cupra models make up 10-15% of the [Seat] market share, so we can push for differing sensibilities for such products. “Also, Seat has put a focus on growing and gaining credibility, but in some markets there is still some rejection of the Seat brand from people who are, let's say, image sensitive. This we can fix, but we need time. Cupra is starting from scratch with something new. We start from a green field, and maybe with that we can attract customers that in other cases might not buy a Seat. Selling those kind of cars for us is much more profitable. This allows us to increase the conquest of the brand.” 296bhp Cupra Ateca revealed as first car from Seat performance brand Will there be standalone Cupra models? “Our decision is to work on variants [of Seat models], but I don’t want to unveil too much of our future product plan, because we are not in a hurry to tell you the full story, and it will take years to get to the level we want. The main stream of our thinking is to use the base we have with Seat models and develop them, and make every generation each time more extreme, sophisticated and different. “When we are able to have that kind of platform there may be some projects that would be unfeasible on the Seat brand that might find a justification from a financial point of view because we have achieved a certain price point. Our ambition is to do something that authentically expresses our vision of what Cupra should be. We have a few things in the drawer, but for the time being our decision is to work on variants.” Opinion: Why Cupra split from Seat Will Cupra be separate from Seat? "My assumption is that this thing will stay in the world of Seat. It’s kind of an elite team that works on expressing the best of what we can, but the whole thing will be part of our organization. If this team is able to get to the next level that will have an influence on all of Seat. It’s a cultural effect.” Cupra could get electric powertrain tech before Seat What is the positioning of Cupra in the market? “We see the pricing for Cupra models falling between volume and premium. We still want to be a value for money proposition. There is no car like the Ateca Cupra in the market at the moment.” How does this move change what Cupra is? "Today, Cupra is a badge for car enthusiasts, and we've sold over 60,000 units in 40 countries in the past 20 years. But the decision to launch Cupra as a standalone brand is not just a business decision or an engineering move: this is a delcaration of love for motoring, in a society that has become unfriendly to the sector." allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K5dRujiHbpA?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more Seat Tarraco leaked images show new seven-seater design Cupra Ibiza: images of new Seat sub-brand hot hatch leak 296bhp Cupra Ateca revealed as first car from Seat performance brand [...]



UK's first 150kW EV rapid chargers to be installed this year

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:20:24 +0000

Chargers have become a hot topic in Britain as plug-in sales rise Pod Point CEO says new chargers arrive on the “cusp of an EV revolution”; current rapid chargers are rated 50kW and Tesla Superchargers 120kW Installation of the UK’s first 150kW electric vehicle rapid chargers will begin in this half of 2018, the CEO of Pod Point has told Autocar. The brand’s new chargers will have the highest EV plug power in Britain. Erik Fairbairn, who founded the London-based charger company in 2009, said this will allow them to provide significantly faster charge times than the UK’s current network of 50kW plugs. This will enable the latest EV models, such as the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron and Volkswagen ID, to achieve their headline charge times. “We’re bringing this to market as the UK is on the cusp of an electric revolution,” said Fairbairn. “We’re about to see a lot more EVs go on sale, so bringing the 150kW charger out now is a logical next step for us.” The plug-in car segment soared by 34.8% last year, representing 4.7% of the new car market with 119,000 examples registered. The I-Pace, which is due on roads in July, is claimed to be capable of charging its 90kWh lithium ion battery pack to 80% in just 45min. With the UK's current 50kW rapid chargers, it would need around 90min. Everything you wanted to know about electric cars Fairbairn said Pod Point’s new 150kW chargers won’t risk overloading the UK’s electricity infrastructure, despite concerns that more powerful plugs could cause power shortages in some areas. Tesla's Superchargers are capable of dispensing 145kW, but current Tesla models can only accept up to 120kW. “The reality, in my view, is that a lot of the grid problems have been overstated,” Fairbairn said. “I admit there is a challenge, but much of it can be overcome with smart charging.” Fairbairn said that places with multiple 150kW chargers would be able to manage the flow of power to each car in order to “charge each one before the owner returns” without overloading the local network. “We installed 67 chargers this week in one place of work's car park,” he explained. “Of course, it couldn’t power all 67 flat out at once, but we can sequence and control the charge of them so they’re all charged intelligently.” Britain needs smart EV chargers to prevent overloading the grid While such technology may seem complicated, Fairbairn said that the latest systems aren’t much harder to roll out than previous ones. “To make a 150kW charger is not mind-blowingly more difficult than to make a 50kW one," he said, "because you’re effectively just putting more things in parallel”. As such, Fairbairn expects Pod Point’s first 150kW chargers to be installed in the UK “in about three months”. From this time, the company will also allow 50kW chargers to be installed with 150kW transformers in order to futureproof them, thus avoiding high infrastructure upgrade costs in the future. Fairbairn thinks 350kW chargers, like the ones currently being rolled out in Germany, Norway and Austria, could be added to Britain’s network in small numbers in as little as 18 months. Chargemaster, another British charger company, is also working on 150kW chargers. A spokesman said that they’re in the “development pipeline”, so could be installed in Britain in 2019. The Government is contributing to the expansion of the UK's charger network as well, having established an On-street Residential Charging Scheme that can be used to pay for 75% of charger installation costs. Just five UK councils have dipped into the pot of available money so far, however. The Chargepoint spokesman pointed out that councils may be unable to provide even 25% of money towards new chargers due to the Government’s ongoing austerity measures. National Grid, which controls the UK's electricity network, recently pitched a network of 50 EV charging stations with a capacity of up to 350kW across England and Wale[...]



Video: Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T review - living with Ferrari's everyday supercar

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:14:11 +0000

(image) Ferrari's most practical car has four-seats, a breadvan-style body and a reasonable boot. How usable does that make it?

Can you really call a £200,000 V8 like the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T an everyday, entry-level car? Whatever, we're going to do it anyway: the GTC4 Lusso is Ferrari's most usable car, after all.

It has four-seats, breadvan-style bodywork with a reasonable boot beneath it - it even has split-fold rear seats.

The original variant had four-wheel drive and a V12 engine, but Ferrari has since introduced this turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 model at the 'bottom' of the range. It's rear-drive only, but still has in excess of 600bhp and a price you can take to well in excess of a quarter of a million pounds with some deftly judged options.

Just how usable is this car, then? Sure, it'll look dramatic and go very fast (0-62mph in 3.5sec) in the right conditions, but what if you choose crummy roads in crummy conditions in the middle of a crummy English winter? It says GT in the name: can it GT in real life?

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BMW to produce Mini electric car in China for domestic market

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:31:31 +0000

(image) A new joint venture with Great Wall Motor will oversee production of the Mini brand’s first EV for Chinese market; Oxford plant to meet rest of demand

BMW has announced that a new Chinese joint venture with Great Wall Motor will oversee the production of Mini’s first electric model, which is due in 2019, for the Chinese market.

Manufacturing of the EV will run alongside Mini’s production efforts in Oxford, where the EV will also be made.

Production at BMW's existing joint venture in China, BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), already caters for BMW demand in the domestic market. 

BMW sold 560,000 cars in China last year, while 35,000 Minis found homes across the same timespan. BMW Germany built 1.15million cars in 2017.

So far, the plans for the new joint venture are only at the stage of a letter of intent, but BMW has alluded to more electric Mini models on the way, which would also be made by Great Wall.

The Mini Electric was demonstrated by a concept revealed last year, and first prototypes have since been spotted testing ahead of a 2019 launch. The production model will be toned down from the concept, with the highly stylised bodywork and yellow flashes on the exterior likely being diluted. 

BMW already has three facilities in China under BBA - two production plants and a battery factory in Shenyang. Alongside the Mini EV production announcement, these are getting a boost in investment.

During the early stages of the Brexit process, BMW executives issued warnings about the future of Mini’s Oxford plant, which currently deals with demand for Minis in more than 110 markets.

A Mini spokesman told Autocar: "This announcement does not put into question Mini's commitment to our UK facilities, as demonstrated by our recent investment decisions, which include building the first electric Mini at Oxford."

The spokesman couldn't elaborate on the brand's plans following the first EV, however.

 

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Renault shared mobility concept seen ahead of Geneva show

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:22:57 +0000

(image)
Image credit: Cochespias
New autonomous pod was spotted in Barcelona; it’s expected to come as part of a ride-hailing service

Renault will reveal a new shared mobility concept at the Geneva motor show, and pictures of it taken on the streets of Barcelona show how it will look.

Images posted onto the Cochespias web forum show that the car will come in the form of an autonomous pod. It appears lower than concepts produced by rivals, such as the boxy Volkswagen Sedric, and features a large glass section in the middle.

Renault said the vehicle illustrates “its vision for shared urban mobility”. The brand said that it's “passionate about making life easier for customers”, suggesting the model has been developed to become part of a ride-hailing system or public transport network.

(image)

Details of the powertrain have not yet been disclosed, but the pod was seen being controlled by a remote control, suggesting it's an autonomous electric vehicle. The images show what looks to be an open-plan interior with no steering wheel.

Renault’s research into autonomous technology was demonstrated with its Symbioz concept (which Autocar has sampled) last year. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is investing £8.9 billion in electric and autonomous cars as part of plans to bring 40 autonomous-capable cars and robo-vehicles to market by 2022.

Alongside its new pod concept, Renault will show an updated Zoe in Geneva. The electric hatchback has received a new R110 motor that ups its power to 107bhp, a 16bhp boost over the current R90, yet has no impact on the car's 250-mile NEDC range.

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McLaren Senna: exclusive new pictures of 789bhp hypercar testing

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:18:06 +0000

McLaren has been caught testing its Senna on the open road £750,000 Ultimate Series model weighs 1198kg dry and will produce 660bhp per tonne New exclusive pictures of the McLaren Senna show the 789bhp track-focused hypercar on the move in closer detail than before. The model, which made a surprise dynamic debut during the launch of the new McLaren Composite Technology Centre in Sheffield earlier this month, arrives five years on from McLaren's rule-breaking P1 hypercar and is being tested on the open road before its final settings are signed off. The Senna is the second member of McLaren's range-topping Ultimate Series, an “ultimate road-legal track car”, and gets the name of the grand prix team’s greatest champion, Ayrton Senna. Full technical rundown of McLaren's 789bhp Senna Revealed at an exclusive launch in London in January, the £750,000 McLaren Senna is the first model from Woking to have styling described by its creators as “brutal” and “unforgiving”. The car’s unique looks result largely from the extreme active aerodynamics that sprout from its basic teardrop shape: a huge rear wing and front splitter (both with active elements) plus straight flanks, exotically shaped wheel arches, air-gulping scoops and inlets, and more subtle air dams and strakes. McLaren's Andy Palmer on the new Senna hypercar According to Ultimate Series vehicle line boss Andy Palmer, the Senna’s engineering and design team spent two years adapting McLaren’s now familiar recipe of carbonfibre chassis and panels, compact, mid-mounted twin-turbo V8, race-bred interconnected suspension and electrohydraulic power steering to create the most extreme McLaren since the company’s modern era began in 2010. allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="316" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fautocarofficial%2Fvideos%2F10155505504829023%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560"> Opinion: Is McLaren readying the Senna for Le Mans? The result is a car with the unprecedentedly low dry weight of 1198kg (undercutting the already light 720S by 220kg). Throw in a 9% power hike for the 4.0-litre engine and the Senna has an eyewatering power-to-weight ratio of 660bhp per tonne. It is not surprising that the factory claims it’ll turn in the quickest lap times of any production McLaren yet. McLaren has just confirmed the car's straight-line performance figures - you can get a full rundown of them here - but the key ones are this: 0-62mph in 2.8sec and a top speed of 211mph. McLaren hyper-GT development mule: first pictures Palmer is at pains to point out that, despite the spectacular performance, the Senna is not a direct P1 successor. Unlike other McLarens, which claim a breadth of capability, the Senna focuses squarely on lap times, offering “the purest connection yet between driver and car of any road-legal McLaren”. Besides, whereas the P1 was a hybrid (as half of McLaren’s production cars will be by 2022), the Senna is a solely fossil-fuelled car whose lack of electrification is one reason for its amazingly low weight. McLaren P1 GTR review Day-to-day practicality also goes onto the back burner in the Senna. A 720S has decent luggage space and cabin storage, for instance, but this track-day special has deliberately very little. A new roll-over structure behind the driver leaves room, according to Palmer, for only “two helmets, two driving suits and possibly a packet of sandwiches”. The use of the Senna name is underpinned by the continuing presence at Woking of Bruno Senna, Ayrton’s nephew and a former Formula 1 racer in his own right, as a McLaren Automotive driver and ambassador. “This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance,” said Senna. “The McLaren Senna honours my uncle because it is so utte[...]



Suzuki Ignis suspension upgraded to enhance ride quality

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:50:36 +0000

(image)
Suzuki has tweaked its Ignis with new suspension components
Dinky SUV-styled hatchback is said to be smoother over bumps when fully loaded thanks to new components

Suzuki has upgraded the suspension of its Ignis in a bid to improve ride quality, following feedback from Autocar's review and long-term tests.

Autocar has been running an Ignis on its fleet since June 2017, in which time our tests have found the car to be under-damped in certain scenarios. Autocar's road testers have claimed the suspension, which uses MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear, “quickly runs out of travel” when there are passengers in the back seats.

Suzuki has now responded to these comments by fitting the car with new front and rear shock absorbers and different bump stops. It claims these changes make the car's ride more compliant, particularly over uneven surfaces.

The upgrades have been applied to series-production Allgrip four-wheel drive models since the end of 2017 and are available as a retrofit for owners of older models.

(image)

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The updates have had no impact on the Ignis's entry-level price of £11,499. The car comes with a choice of just one engine, a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 89bhp, although a mild hybrid version (badged SHVS) is available.

The Ignis is one of Suzuki’s best-sellers in Europe; 41,166 units were shifted last year, representing a significant 17% of Suzuki’s total volume in the region.

The car was launched in the final quarter of 2016 and is a rival to baby SUVs such as the Fiat Panda 4x4 and Renault Captur.

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Toyota Aygo update brings more power and improved refinement

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:00:10 +0000

Toyota has updated its Aygo city car for 2018 Updated Hyundai i10-rivalling city car will be on show at Geneva motor show and go on sale in Britain this summer Toyota will launch an upgraded Aygo city car that offers more power and improved refinement at the Geneva motor show next month. Due on UK roads this summer, the Hyundai i10 rival, which has been on sale since 2014, now produces 71bhp and 69lb ft from its 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine – a 2bhp gain and an unchanged torque output. The small boost enables a 0-62mph time of 13.8sec and a top speed of 100mph, improvements of 0.4sec and 1mph respectively. There are also improvements to fuel economy, raising the Aygo’s 68.9mpg combined figure to 72.4mpg. Toyota says there are has also been a reduction to the car’s 95g/km CO2 output, although it is yet to finalise the exact figure. A new fuel injector system, higher compression ratio and lower friction engine components are labelled as the key features enabling the improvements. The Aygo also now has a cooled gas recirculation system to improve efficiency and a more effective balancer shaft to reduce vibration. Toyota hints at 2019 Supra return with preview image Alongside the powertrain improvements, Toyota’s engineers have tweaked the Aygo’s suspension and steering settings to sharpen its responses. Although exact details are currently unconfirmed, it suggests the steering rack may be slightly faster. In addition, the 2018 car has thicker soundproofing that Toyota says enables a marked reduction in noise, vibration and harshness at all engine speeds. Minor changes have also been made to the Aygo's styling, with the distinctive X-shaped nose now colour-coded with the rest of the body. There are new LED lights, too. Buyers get a choice of more colours and wheel designs, while inside there's a higher-definition instrument cluster screen and new interior trim options. UK specifications for these will be confirmed closer to the car’s on-sale date, which will likely be in June. The Aygo is one of Toyota’s best-selling cars in Europe, with 85,000 examples having found homes in the past four years. It represents 6.6% of the A-segment market, which also features the likes of the Volkswagen Up and Peugeot 108. More content: Toyota Corolla name to return to Britain with Auris successor McLaren Senna racing ambitions confirmed by brand boss allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6hSzOWXhcJ0" width="560"> [...]



2019 Porsche 911 992 previewed ahead of 2018 reveal

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:20:10 +0000

Next 911 will be first available with hybrid powertrain, but Turbo models will retain combustion engines; will be “the best 911 of all time” says model director August Achleitner The 2019 Porsche 911, codenamed 992, has been shown in disguise by the company ahead of a reveal later this year.  As expected, the 992-generation 911 will be an evolution over the current model in terms of styling, although under-the-skin updates will be more thorough as the car enters its eighth generation.  911 model director August Achleitner didn’t say exactly which autonomous features the car would have, but hinted that it would be more advanced than before, adding that the driver will always be the focus of the model: “a 911 will always have a steering wheel,” adding that “the 911 will be one of the last cars to drive autonomously.” Lane keep assist, the system which inputs small movements in the steering wheel to keep the car in the middle of the lane, is expected to make it into the new car - it’s currently not available on the 911. The driver will be able to switch off the assistance systems too, says Achleitner: “Those are convenient and useful things. But the customer has to make the choice to use them and, above all, be able to switch them off when they’re not desired.” The car will not be a full-electric model, said  Achleitner, although the approach of a full-EV 911 is ever closer: “Two years ago I’d have said no way. Today I wouldn’t categorically rule it out.” Just days before the official preview, the car's new rear design was shown long before it is officially revealed thanks to a leaked image.  A single image of the new model's back end was posted to Instagram but has since been removed. The image captures the new rear light bar, raised rear engine cover and vertical vent slats. Porsche UK made no comment when Autocar asked about the image's authenticity, but the similarity in design and shape to spotted development cars suggests it is indeed genuine.  When it arrives, the next-generation 911 range will be led by a 630bhp Turbo S. As shown by our spy pictures, the entire line-up will receive a more muscular look that takes influence from the iconic design of Speedster models from yesteryear. The Turbo and Turbo S models will remain the most aggressive, with wide rear arches and a fixed rear wing signalling their potent performance (more on that later). Much of their added muscle comes from the next-gen 911's haunched back, which resembles that of 2011's 997 Speedster (itself a model influenced by the original 356 Speedster from 1954). The raised rear is likely to be a design feature rather than a technical requirement to fit a hybrid powertrain. Although the 992-generation 911 will be the first to be offered with hybrid technology, Autocar understands that this change will have no noticeable impact on the car's exterior design.  Engines and power outputs The future 911 range, including the GT3, will exclusively use turbocharged six-cylinder engines, marking the end of naturally aspirated units for the line-up. The GT3 will deliver more than 500bhp, while the standard models are set to get an extra 10-15bhp over today’s Carrera and Carrera S. The current Carrera and Carrera S deliver 364bhp and 414bhp respectively, so the 992-generation 911 will produce 375-429bhp. The hybrid 911 model will be introduced in 2020. It will run the flat-six with an electric motor, providing limited all-electric and performance-boosting functions. The electrified powertrain has provided engineers with a packaging challenge, but product line director Erhard Mössle, now retired, previously told Autocar that "CO2 regulations in 2020" have spurred on the hybrid model's development. The range-topping Turbo S will be powered by a ramped-up version[...]



Do we really want more smart motorways?

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:00:00 +0000

Do you most value your space or the odds and ends that fill it? This week, Matt Prior discusses the phenomenon of hoarding and the usefulness of smart motorways Does it spark joy? That is, apparently, the question, according to one of these self-help schemes/books/videos/courses, and is the fundamental proposition behind a way of decluttering your life, and making yourself happier, so somebody told me the other day. And as daffodils are coming out, and it’s very nearly spring, it feels to me like time to start thinking about a declutter. So you get the idea of this fad: pick up an old cushion, give it a squeeze and a cuddle, decide if it brings you joy and, if not, chuck it out. I tried it. Got things out of cupboards and rooms, went right through the house, asked myself if they truly brought me joy and binned them if they didn’t. Anyway, the cat and my motorcycle and I have never been happier. Or hungrier. Please send help. But there was one nugget of semi-truth, I thought, in what I read about it: storage – even clever storage solutions – are, in essence, just organised hoarding, which is no good to anyone. Among readers of this publication, I might well not be alone in having a garage, shed or workshop, with one or two things in it that, perhaps, could have been thrown out a while ago but are kept ‘just in case’ they might be handy. Every now and again, I will let some things go, but not others which I deem might be more useful. And do you know what: just the other day I remembered an old kart frame that would have been perfect for making a frame for a PlayStation gaming seat. Had I not scrapped it four years ago. Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain So it is spring, and I am going to declutter. My advice would be thus: hoard entirely, or not at all. I recently wrote about how refuge areas in ‘smart motorways’ are to become more prevalent, only not just yet. The M4 as it runs between London and Reading is to be upgraded to smart motorway status soon – with cleverer overhead gantries and hard shoulder-running from time to time, but there’s no chance to put emergency breakdown areas closer than a mile-and-a-half apart without massively delaying the build. On future roads, though, this will be reduced to a mile. Good. I’d rather it was less than that. The thing about emergencies is that you don’t know when you’re going to have one. On the face of it, hard shoulder-running should make loads of sense. Vehicles are more reliable than ever, so why waste this space giving them something they don’t need to stop in? Dual carriageways don’t have hard shoulders, after all. But dual carriageways don’t tend to be as busy as motorways, and quite often they’re edged by a white line, a bit of asphalt, a bit of gravel and then some grass, making it possible to squeeze a broken down vehicleat least partly out of harm’s way. A smart motorway, edged to the left as they often are by hard Armco, doesn’t give you that chance. Many drivers think smart motorways feel perilous in the same way that claustrophobia can feel perilous. There is no obvious way out, no passage to safety – and that uncertainty, the lack of a plan, is not conducive to the kind of relaxed driving that we ought to be enjoying. More content: Porsche axes all diesels from current line-up Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T review allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IgvdU4va3-I?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> [...]



2019 Bentley Continental GT C to be brand’s sportiest drop-top

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:02:25 +0000

Bentley will launch its sportiest convertible model next year when the Continental GT C arrives Porsche-developed underpinnings and new engines will make the next GT C a sharper offering Bentley will launch its sportiest convertible model next year when the Continental GT C arrives with the same Porsche-developed underpinnings as its hard-top alternative. Caught testing in the sub-zero conditions of Scandinavia, the soft-top model will use the same MSD (modular standard drivetrain) underpinnings as its sibling but swap a metal roof for folding fabric. The new structure, which has proved to be more agile and responsive than the old car’s Volkswagen Phaeton base in our first drive, is shared with the Panamera but has been developed to accommodate the Bentley models from the start. Its local stiffness is considerably higher than the old car’s base and that should bode well for the GT C, which will lose some rigidity without a roof but likely retain much of the coupé’s composure thanks to the new Continental’s clever suspension technology. Like the GT, the GT C will use air springs and active anti-roll bars that are powered by the car’s 48V architecture to drastically reduce body roll. The system can effectively counter lean in corners while also enhancing stability. Lister Storm successor is coming, hints British company's chief Power for the drop-top will come from a choice of two engines. The GT is currently only on sale in W12 guise, using a newly developed 626bhp turbocharged 6.0-litre engine that’s taken from the Bentayga but fine-tuned for two-door coupé use. This unit is likely to be offered at launch with the GT C too. But a second powertrain, a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, will be added to the GT range in the coming months, meaning it’ll be available before the GT C is revealed. That suggests the luxury convertible could arrive with both units from the off. Bentley’s drivetrain features a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and power is sent to all four wheels, although there’s a rear bias in the new Continental. This trait has made the coupé more playful than its predecessors so expect the convertible to become Bentely’s sportiest yet. This, of course, only applies if we discount the original Blower Bentleys of the 1920s from the comparison. Those most focused machines were created to race at Le Mans, but they had no tops at all – not even folding ones – so were proper open-top machines, rather than convertibles. As for the arrival of Bentley’s next drop-top, a company spokesman told Autocar that “the focus for 2018 was on launching the Continental GT”, suggesting the GT C will arrive at the start of next year. More content 2019 Bentley Flying Spur: larger and more luxurious saloon spotted Top 10 best sports cars allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/a2qxaUyJj1E" width="560"> [...]



New Cupra models could get electric powertrain tech before Seat cars

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:59:00 +0000

Cupra bosses showed this sketch which hints a potential future standalone model Seat's new sub-brand will act as a technological figurehead, with standalone and electrified models possible The new Cupra brand is set to serve as a technological figurehead for Seat and could be used to introduce hybrid and electrified tech into the manufacturer's range The only Cupra model confirmed so far is a petrol-engined Ateca, alongside a new Seat Leon Cupra R ST estate – which will maintain Seat branding along for model consistency, but will feature new Cupra copper colouring. The Cupra range will rapidly expand to feature seven models by 2020. Cupra versions of the Ibiza and Arona are likely in 2019, and the firm showed a concept sketch at its launch event that previews a possible Cupra-only model in the future. The expanded model range, which will include three new cars in 2020, will include alternate powertrains, with an early focus on plug-in hybrids. Seat boss Luca de Meo has hinted that the higher price of Cupra models would enable them to feature such variants, along with other cutting-edge technology, ahead of Seat-branded machines. 296bhp Cupra Ateca revealed as first car from Seat performance brand “We're in a phase where we will have to integrate a lot of technologies into the product because they are available, from engine technology to connectivity, driver assistance systems, everything,” he said.  “When you do it on a car supposed to be sold at, say, £11,000, it’s something, but do it on a car two to three times the price you have some space to integrate that technology. We will use Cupra as a gate to bring technology that will cascade to the rest of the Seat range.” Opinion: Why Cupra split from Seat Seat’s R&D boss Matthias Rabe added: “In the future, we'll look at alternative powertrains in the Cupra division. There will be more electrification in Cupra, and we’re thinking about battery electric vehicles. We’re also looking at the digital world, both inside the car and how it connects outside it. “We will continue with the internal combustion engine, but we have ideas of how to get more power as well. We’re looking at the idea of electrification in a sporty way, not in a limited way like with a PHEV today.” Rabe said that hybrid and plug-in hybrid power will come first, stating that it'll be introduced to Cupra in the near, rather than distant, future. The Cupra plan according to R&D boss Matthias Rabe De Meo said the high cost of designing and building new cars is why Cupra's initial focus will be on producing variants of existing machines. However Seat’s marketing chief, Wayne Griffiths, said Cupra versions of future models could launch ahead of Seat versions. He also revealed that a hybrid Cupra was more likely to feature in the future line-up than a diesel version, although he refused to rule the latter out.   Cupra Ibiza concept previews future Ford Fiesta ST rival Griffiths said: “I’m a big fan of diesel, and if you look at what Audi did with the S models, there is potential for [performance] diesel with Euro 6 and Euro 7. I wouldn’t bet on it at the moment for Cupra; I’d rather try and look at plug-in hybrids.” allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K5dRujiHbpA?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more Seat Tarraco leaked images show new seven-seater design Cupra Ibiza concept previews future Ford Fiesta ST rival 296bhp Cupra Ateca revealed as first car from Seat performance brand [...]



Is the new Cupra brand going to be a Renault Sport or Vignale?

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:27:22 +0000

The Cupra Ibiza concept could preview a future hot hatch from the brand Seat's new performance arm could go one of two ways; we consider its chances Seat has always struggled for identity within the Volkswagen family. For years it played the role of a cut-price Audi, an ill-fitting role that threatened its future after the global financial crash. From a peak of 435,000 sales in 2000, volumes fell to just 261,000 in 2012. R&D boss Matthias Rabe is the man responsible for much of the renaissance since then, leading a product renaissance that has seen Seat making cars with a much more compelling identity of their own, and covering a much broader part of the market. Last year the company came close to 400,000 sales again; this year it should beat its earlier record. Rabe has proved he knows the brand and he’s good at creating a product that attracts new buyers. Cupra Ateca revealed Which is why the decision to create the new Cupra division is a bit of a head-scratcher. Things might be picking up, but how does the wider Seat brand benefit from splitting off its most interesting models, the ones that presumably reflect halo on the rest of the range, into what is effectively a separate brand? The name change and insistence of selling the same basic models from separately branded showrooms means it is easy to see this as being closer to the creation of a Vignale than a Renault Sport. Yet there is logic present. Seat’s sales are increasing, but like Skoda its customers are being attracted by what marketing types call a compelling value proposition. Seats aren’t cheap and nasty, but they have to offer quality at a very competitive price, not least because of the internal challenge within the group. Having to sell a Leon with more kit than the equivalent VW Golf, or at a lower price, remains a limiting factor on how far the brand can stretch. Cupra Ibiza concept previews future Fiesta ST rival Cupra could be a way around that. As Rabe admits, buyers will still be looking to maximise their bang per buck – “it would be wrong to make the Cupra Leon or Cupra Ateca €1000 more expensive just because of the brand, that would not work” – but the faster end of the car market has proved that buyers will indeed pay a premium for more performance, or more capability. Cupra gives the opportunity to create limited run models and even bolt-on performance parts with the support of a dealer network; to build a fanbase that will keep coming back. If a Cupra model can spank the equivalent VW around a track will people mind if it’s more expensive? And as the first performance SUV spun from VW’s vast MQB architecture, the Cupra Ateca has plenty of clear blue water to go and play in. The unanswered question is what effect the loss of its most exciting variants will have on the wider Seat brand; will there be enough excitement left? More content: Bentley Bentayga review Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/a2qxaUyJj1E" width="560"> [...]



Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T 2018 review

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:32:33 +0000

(image) Rear-drive V8 version of the former 4WD FF V12 is a quick, long-legged GT that offers things others don’t It probably doesn’t sound flattering to suggest that Ferrari’s latest four-seater, the GTC4 Lusso T, is made up of a convenient collection of pre-existing components and assemblies, given that, like every modern Ferrari, it delivers exalted performance and impressive looks. Yet it’s true: every element of this car was built in the first place for a different purpose than this one, and it seems legitimate to speculate on how the buyer – who is being asked to pay a price starting at more than £200,000 and extending beyond £250,000 if you choose the options fitted to our test car – feels about that. Most big-name supercars have a very singular provenance.In this case, the large (4.92m-long) four-seat body started life in the four-wheel-drive FF, a car created to persuade the faithful to take a Ferrari away on skiing weekends rather than the family SUV. The FF’s mighty, normally aspirated V12 is replaced in the Lusso T by a twin-turbo V8, mainly because that’s what Ferrari mostly makes now, to get the CO2 numbers down. Even the use of the Lusso name, borrowed from a couple of distinguished historic Ferrari models, looks more a matter of expediency than sentiment. Ferrari under CEO Sergio Marchionne is a more commercial enterprise than ever, and maybe this is some of the evidence.



Cupra Ibiza concept previews future Ford Fiesta ST rival

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:13:58 +0000

Hot hatch concept is revealed to gauge reaction of potential customers before decision on production is made Cupra, the new performance arm of Seat, has unveiled a concept Ibiza model that could preview a 200bhp hot hatch rival to the new Ford Fiesta ST. Cupra could get electric powertrain tech before Seat On show at the Cupra brand's launch event, the Ibiza has been developed to gauge reaction before a decision on production is made. Although not confirmed, Autocar understands Seat executives are eager for the car to make it to market because of the ‘halo effect' it can have on the rest of the Ibiza line-up. R&D boss Matthias Rabe said this strategy will be used in the Cupra brand's first few years, in which it "will have derivatives" of Seat models. A pure Cupra model is possible later, however. Cupra Ateca revealed Since it'll remain very closely related to the Seat Ibiza, the Cupra Ibiza is expected to continue the trend of its Seat-badged predecessors and be twinned with the Volkswagen Polo GTI. As such, it’ll get that car’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which produces 197bhp and 236lb ft of torque. A Cupra version of the Arona crossover was also shown - albeit via promotional video only - at the Ateca's launch. The Arona variant is also a concept but appears likely to make production following comments from Rabe, who said Cupra was part of Seat’s “biggest product offensive”. Cupra's sales and marketing boss Wayne Griffiths said that splitting from Seat was important for brand value. "In terms of positioning, it adds more to go with a separate brand," he said. "If we kept it in the Seat world, there would always be compromises. We want to take it out of the Seat world to the race track. Most firms that have sporting brands take them out of heritage, like Abarth. But we want to look to the future." Read more Cupra could get electric powertrain tech before Seat The Cupra plan according to R&D boss Matthias Rabe Why Cupra split from Seat allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IgvdU4va3-I" width="560"> [...]



The Cupra plan according to R&D boss Matthias Rabe

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:31:59 +0000

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Our man Duff (left) with Cupra R&D boss Matthias Rabe
Here’s what’s in store for Seat’s newly launched hot division

The Cupra brand is officially here now that its first model, the Ateca, has been revealed.

We catch up with the company’s research and development boss, Matthias Rabe, to find out what’s next for Seat's new performance division.

What does a Cupra brand do that Seat Cupra models can’t?

“We want to say the best from Seat comes from Cupra, a brand belonging to Seat and connected to Seat but more determined, more focused.”

Cupra sub-brand could get latest powertrain tech before Seat

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Will we see Seat models launched as Cupras in future, with mainstream versions following?

“Yes, probably. We are in the middle of our biggest product offensive, with many more models coming by 2020. Why not start some of those in a special Cupra style?”

Opinion: Why Cupra split from Seat

Will there be Cupra versions of most Seat models?

“Not most. For the beginning, we will concentrate on Ateca and Leon. We see potential for the smaller cars but we have to look at financial feasibility… If there is room, then I would like to do it, but the smallest would be the Ibiza. Below it, offering something doesn’t make sense.

New Cupra Ateca revealed

Will prices increase compared with Seat Cupra models?

“We will do everything we can to keep the competitive position. The new brand gives us more freedom to make special versions or to offer equipment we can charge more for, but it would be wrong to make the Cupra Leon or Cupra Ateca €1000 more expensive just because of the brand. That would not work.”

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Opinion: Why Cupra split from Seat

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:31:59 +0000

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This new hot Ateca is the first car from Cupra
Seat’s new division will charge more for its focused models; we ask if this plan work

Seat has bounced back in recent years.

From a trough of 261,000 sales in 2012, the brand nearly broke 400,000 last year and there’s plenty more product in the pipeline. So is that an odd time to be, effectively, hiving off the brand’s halo models into a new division?

Ateca Cupra revealed as first car from Seat performance brand

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Cupra sub-brand could get latest powertrain tech before Seat

The logic behind creating a separate division for its Cupra range is that, split from Seat’s value proposition, Cupra models will be able to stretch further and find buyers willing to pay more for higher performance or more capability.

If a Cupra Leon R can spank a VW Golf R around a circuit, will it matter that it’s more expensive? Let’s hope Cupra turns out to be a Renault Sport rather than a Vignale.

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Cupra Ibiza: new images of Seat sub-brand hot hatch leak

Seat Arona review

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296bhp Cupra Ateca revealed as first car from Seat performance brand

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:31:59 +0000

Seat’s new stand-alone performance brand, Cupra, has revealed its 296bhp all-wheel-drive version of the Ateca Cupra starts its new role as a separate division with reworked SUV; hot Ibiza and Arona models set to follow Seat’s new stand-alone performance brand, Cupra, has revealed its 296bhp all-wheel-drive version of the Ateca – the first model to be launched since Seat confirmed its hot sub-brand’s new role last month. The car is part of a broader offensive to offer Cupra versions of some Seat models as well as, eventually, Cupra-only cars. Seat is trying to copy the example of in-house performance divisions like Renault Sport. It will launch seven models by 2020 as part of aggressive growth plans. Cupra could get electrified powertrain tech before Seat While the initial models will be reworked versions of current Seat machines, with Cupra Ibiza and Arona models likely in 2019, the firm hinted that it could introduce standalone Cupra models in the future, as part of plans to use the brand as a technological figurehead. Q&A: Seat boss Luca de Meo on Cupra's future The brand's sales and marketing boss Wayne Griffiths said that splitting from Seat was important for brand value. "In terms of positioning it adds more to go with a separate brand," he said. "If we kept it in the Seat world there would always be compromises. We want to take it out of the Seat world to the race track. Most firms that have sporting brands take them out of heritage, like Abarth. But we want to look to the future Opinion: Why Cupra split from Seat Cupra models will be based on Seats – for the foreseeable future, at least – but with significantly higher performance, more customisation options and a separate sales channel. Only about one-fifth of Seat’s dealer network will be awarded Cupra sub-franchises and models are set to be sold by specialists from Cupra-only areas. The Cupra plan according to R&D boss Matthias Rabe Autocar first reported on the plans last year, when a draft of the new logo was shown in trademark filings. Seat boss Luca de Meo later admitted that Cupra would “add another dimension” to Seat’s appeal. “Cupra emerged not just as a business discussion," he said. "This is a declaration of love for motoring, in a society becoming a bit unfriendly to the sector.” The Cupra Ateca, on sale in the autumn, is powered by a 296bhp version of the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged engine although the torque peak of 295lb ft is higher than that produced by the similar engine in the Leon Cupra 300. Drive passes through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox – there are no plans for a manual version – with torque diverted rearwards when required by a part-time Haldex all-wheel drive system. Cupra claims a 5.4sec 0-62mph time and a 150mph top speed. Cupra Ibiza concept revealed Although its components are almost all familiar from other members of the VW Group’s vast MQB-platform family, the Cupra Ateca is said to have been tuned to offer a substantially different driving experience from its Seat sibling. The suspension height has changed only fractionally, with the Cupra sitting 20mm lower than the regular car, but spring rates have been substantially revised and suspension settings are far firmer. Adaptive dampers will be standard, allowing for a far more aggressive set-up when using the ‘Cupra’ setting, which has been added to the Ateca’s switchable driving modes. Cupra sub-brand could get latest powertrain tech before Seat The Cupra has also ditched the electronic sound symposer that normally augments [...]



399bhp Land Rover Defender V8 sold out

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:46:41 +0000

The 90in wheelbase model will hit 60mph from rest in just 5.6sec Brand's 70th birthday produced a limited-edition, re-engineered version of the off-road icon using a 5.0-litre V8 Land Rover's re-engineered Defenders V8 model has officially sold out just one month after it was announced. The model was launched to celebrate the brand's 70th birthday and uses 5.0-litre V8 engine to make it the most powerful and fastest yet made. The 90in wheelbase model, which can hit 60mph from rest in 5.6sec, is going to be produced in just 150 examples. New Land Rover Defender edges closer to production as cold weather testing commences The Defender Works V8 produces 399bhp and 380lb ft, dwarfing the output of the discontinued standard Defender, which made just 120bhp and 266lb ft. Land Rover said the new car pays homage to early high-powered engines such as the Series III Stage V8 and the 50th Anniversary Edition. The Defender Works V8 is the first official V8 Defender to be launched since 1998. Crossing the Atlantic in a Land Rover Defender (sort of) The re-engineered Defenders use an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with sport mode, along with uprated brakes, a handling kit consisting of springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, and exclusive 18in alloys with 265/65 tyres. Eight colours are offered, with contrasting black roof, wheel arches and grille, and machined aluminium door handles, fuel filler cap and bonnet lettering will feature. The interior has a leather dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro sports seats and use the Land Rover Classic heritage arm’s infotainment system. JLR Classic to restore recently discovered 1948 Land Rover launch car Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 are to be made, with prices starting from £150,000. Land Rover said other high-performance upgrades inspired by the Defender Works V8 will be offered this year, including power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine and fast-road suspension and braking kits. Jaguar Land Rover Classic director Tim Hannig said: “The idea of a V8 Defender was discussed in 2014, when we were still building the Defender. We knew demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender.” The Defender Works V8 begins a year of 70th anniversary celebrations for the model, culminating later this year with the unveiling of an all-new Defender. Jaguar Land Rover recorded its biggest annual sales volume yet last year, with 621,109 vehicles sold, a 7% increase on 2016. Jaguar’s sales increased 20% to 178,601, while Land Rover sales grew by 2% to 442,508. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dxgb1wf7kZk?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more: Land Rover Defender review  Mercedes-Benz G-Class review  Celebrating the Land Rover Defender Living with a Land Rover Defender [...]



2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS: new official video of 513bhp supercar

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:35:56 +0000

NACA ducts in the bonnet are new and aid brake cooling Latest version of Porsche’s icon gets a raft of chassis tweaks with GT2 RS influences Porsche Motorsport unveiled the second generation of 911 GT3 RS to be based on the extant 991 platform this week - and now it's released a video to illustrate the car's performance and sound. The car, likely to be the last 991-based model to be launched before a new 911 (codenamed 992) arrives in September, is filmed at Germany's Lausitz racing circuit to emphasise its track focus. Available to order now at a price of £141,346, with first UK deliveries in June, the new 911 GT3 RS receives an additional 20bhp from a lightly modified version of Porsche’s race-bred 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine, increasing its power to 513bhp at 8250rpm. Riding in the new 911 GT3 RS with Walter Rohrl allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXlHzAcEAw0?start=9" width="560"> This is the highest power figure yet for a naturally aspirated 911 and serves to distance the new 911 GT3 RS from the standard 911 GT3, which was equipped with the same 493bhp engine as the first-generation 911 GT3 RS when it was updated last year. The internals of the new engine remain unchanged, the additional power coming instead from new intake and exhaust systems, coupled with changes to Porsche’s DME (Digital Motor Electronics) engine management. Porsche motorsport guru Andreas Preuninger confirmed to Autocar that the engine actually develops more power than is claimed and could have been homologated at 523bhp, but they decided to err on the side of caution. In racing trim, if allowed to run without air restrictors, the engine could make more than 600bhp. Like the previous 911 GT3 RS, the engine is mated to a seven-speed PDK double-clutch transmission and there is no option of a manual gearbox. The increase in power is claimed to shave 0.1sec from the outgoing 911 GT3 RS’s 0-62mph time, lowering it to 3.2sec, while adding 1mph to its top speed at 194mph. Modifications to the car’s chassis were informed by the knowledge gleaned from the GT2 RS, launched last year. The new GT3 RS has the same spring rates front and rear as its turbocharged stablemate. At the front, those spring rates amount to double that seen on either the current 911 GT3 or previous GT3 RS, and the rear spring rate has increased by 40%. Like the 911 GT2 RS, rose joints are used throughout the front and rear suspension and the rear-wheel steering system has been extensively reprogrammed. All GT3 RSs are fitted with carbonfibre front wings and bonnet (with new NACA ducts to aid brake cooling) and a magnesium roof. Cars with the optional Weissach Pack come with carbonfibre roofs and the option of magnesium wheels. Buyers who specify the full pack will save 29kg. Visually, the new Porsche road racer is differentiated from its predecessor by a series of subtle aerodynamic and styling upgrades. They include new LED indicator lamps set within a re-profiled front bumper. The bumper also features new vertical air flow guides within the outer ducts to more efficiently channel air to the front-mounted radiators and brakes. At the rear, there are more heavily structured rear lights, a new bumper with larger air extraction ducts and modified supports for the rear wing, which itself features newly shaped end plates. The interior has carbonfibre-backed racing seats, lightweight door panels with storage nets and nylon opening loops. Oth[...]



Kia Sorento CRDi GT-Line S 2018 review

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:07:06 +0000

(image) Kia's seven-seat SUV has had a mid-life facelift and is loaded with kit. Is that enough for this range-topping version to match premium rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport? Kia’s new top-spec Sorento costs in excess of £42,000, some £42,610 to be exact. The previous range-topper before this recent facelift, the KX-4, did, too. Passed me by that, I must admit; the new Stinger has not been the first £40,000 Kia. It’s quite a story that the vast upturn in quality of Kia’s cars over the past decade and a bit has now reached the point where people will part with more than 40 grand for one. And people really do; almost a quarter of the roughly 3300 Sorentos or so sold each year have been the top-spec model, with dealers reporting customers even chopping in the likes of Audi Q5s, BMW X5s and even Mercedes-Benz E-Classes to get one.And now the Sorento has had a minor nip and tuck, just shy of three years into its life, Kia being known for its short five-year product cycles. The KX-4 trim is no more, replaced with a new GT-Line S trim, with a GT-Line trim offered lower down the range. It’s more of the same really - think loads of kit, and then a bit more on top for only a few quid more - but made sportier-looking, Kia being all about GTs and the like now, as the ‘sporty’ side of the Hyundai-Kia group. You can only get one engine no matter what Sorento trim you go for, a 2.2-litre diesel with 197bhp and 325 lb ft. It’s the same engine as before, but it’s hooked up to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox, driving all through wheels in a chassis that’s unchanged.



2019 Mercedes GLB: first video of 'road-biased' G-Class sibling

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:57:30 +0000

This is the upcoming GLB, the new small SUV that will be based on the A-Class New compact SUV will mix old-school styling cues with contemporary design touches when it goes on sale in 2019 Mercedes-Benz will use its 2019 GLB to bridge the gap between its rugged G-Class and more road-biased SUVs, so its design will mix old-school styling cues with contemporary features. New video footage of a GLB development car, which was caught on camera during winter testing in Scandinavia, shows the GLA sibling will get a boxy exterior shape with an upright stance. This is a deliberate tactic used by Mercedes to make its SUV stand out against softer-looking rivals, including the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. Recent trademark filings suggest that 200, 220 and 250-badged variants of the GLB will be available, with engines shared with smaller Mercedes offerings such as the A-Class and CLA.  allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fautocarofficial%2Fvideos%2F10155605360319023%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560"> The GLB’s engine line-up will feature an updated range of Mercedes and Renault/Nissan-sourced four-cylinder petrol and diesel units spanning 160bhp in the entry-level model to more than 300bhp in the AMG-badged flagship. Also planned is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid variant with a modest pure-electric range. The AMG model will likely mirror the A-Class and come in AMG 45 form, with a warm mild hybrid-powered AMG 35 variant to match that of the upcoming A-Class. Development of the long-mooted GLB has been accelerated in order to bring the car to market in 2019. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t5nPt6cHIe8" width="560"> The move is part of Mercedes’ plan to retain sales momentum in the lucrative premium compact car class. The GLB will be part of a future eight-strong family of compact models announced by Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche at the Detroit motor show in January. The new high-riding model will slot into the line-up above the existing GLA and below the GLC. Its likely starting price will be around £32,000 when it goes on sale in 2019. The GLB is one of three additions to the existing Mercedes compact car line-up of five. It joins a new four-door A-Class saloon, which will be previewed as a concept car at the Shanghai motor show in April, along with an as-yet-unknown model, although one possibility is a dedicated coupé in the mould of the Audi TT. The new line-up will kick off in the coming months with the launch of the fourth-generation A-Class. The new GLB SUV is known under the internal codename X247 and is said to draw heavily on the well-received Ener-G-Force concept seen at the 2015 Los Angeles show. It combines styling cues inspired by the tough military vehicle design of the 38-year-old G-Class with more contemporary flourishes from the 2014 G-Code concept, although latest shots of the development model suggest a lower, boxy appearance like that of the GLK, the GLC predecessor that never made it to the UK.  Buyers will be able to choose between a series of optional styling packages, including a rugged-looking off-road appearance, with extra cladding and increased ride height, according to insiders privy to the final design. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="[...]



Seat Tarraco leaked images show new seven-seater design

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:53:05 +0000

This is the first of two images leaked onto the internet of the new Tarraco Seat's soon-to-arrive Skoda Kodiaq alternative is named after UNESCO World Heritage Site The Seat Tarraco has been leaked onto the internet just two days after its name was confirmed by the Spanish brand. The third SUV from Seat following the Ateca and Arona will be launched at the end of this year as a rival to the Nissan X-Trail. It'll be a sibling to the Skoda Kodiaq. Two pictures of the car have been posted onto MQB-Coding, showing its front three-quarter and rear. Although unconfirmed by Seat, the pictured car appears to match one previewed by Seat earlier in the week. The car's front-end design is largely familiar to the brand's SUV family, but it does feature a light bar that's new to Seat at the rear. The Tarraco will be a seven-seat SUV to sit above its Seat siblings in the range. Its name was chosen by the public via an online poll, which featured more than 146,000 votes and whittled down a total of 10,130 names, all taken from Spanish geography. After Seat selected four finalists, Tarraco was voted for by 35.52% of voters. Tarraco is the ancient name of the Catalan city of Tarragona, and was the oldest Roman settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. The archaeological ensemble that remains, including a aqueduct, forum and a theatre, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Seat’s names from Spain Ronda: Produced from 1982 to 1986, this was the first Seat named after a town in Spain. Ronda is located in a mountainous area of the Málaga region. Málaga: This saloon, built from 1985 to 1992, took the name of Spain's sixth-largest city. Marbella: This was a rebadged Fiat Panda, named after a city on the Costa del Sol. Ibiza: The long-running supermini shares its name with the party-friendly Balearic island. Córdoba: A bigger version of the Ibiza, named after the historic city in Andalusia. Toledo: Small family car has the same name as a historic town that's a Unesco World Heritage Site. Leon: Seat’s family car is named after a large city in the North-West of Spain. Alhambra: This large MPV gets its name from a large palace in Granada. Altea: The name of Seat’s discontinued small MPV was taken from a town on the Costa Blanca. Ateca: The hugely popular SUV was named after a small town with a population of less than 2000 people in the province of Zaragoza. Arona: A small port town on the island of Tenerife gives its name to Seat’s new small SUV. Arosa: The small city car Seat produced from 1997 until 2004 referenced Vilagarcía de Arousa in the Galicia province. Seat returned to the city car market in 2012 with the Mii, which of course isn’t named after anywhere in Spain. Rear more Seat to launch first electric car in 2019 Volkswagen ID Vizzion previews electric luxury saloon​ allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IgvdU4va3-I" width="560"> [...]



Cupra Ateca: 300bhp SUV leaks onto internet

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:41:15 +0000

This is one of two images that have leaked onto the internet Pepped-up Ateca is due on roads this year from new Seat performance division Images of the Cupra Ateca have been leaked onto the internet before it is revealed at the Geneva motor show next month. The 300bhp SUV will be the first model from recently launched Seat sub brand Cupra, which becomes has become its own division, and so wears the Cupra badge in place of the regular Ateca's Seat logos. It is expected to be followed by a Cupra Ibiza, which was also recently leaked. Although not confirmed as genuine by Seat, the two images, which were leaked by MQB-Coding and show the car's front three-quarters and rear, match sightings of a development car that was spotted at the Nürburgring throughout 2017. The pepped-up Ateca, first spotted in prototype form by Autocar at a Seat facility last year, has Cupra wheels, large brakes, quad-exit exhausts and more aggressive bodywork. The car is expected to be powered by the 2.0-litre petrol engine used in the 286bhp Leon Cupra. It is not clear if this engine will be tweaked to deliver different performance characteristics. In the four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf R, for instance, the same engine makes 296bhp. A 0-62mph time of 6.5sec is expected for the Ateca Cupra. A glimpse of the car's rev counter suggests that it'll have an 8000rpm redline. The standard Ateca, launched last year, has recently been joined by the smaller Arona. A larger Tarraco SUV is the latest to join the ranks. Hot VW T-Roc could rival Seat Ateca Cupra The regular Ateca is already one of the firm’s best-selling models. With a mooted price of around £35,000, though, a Cupra version would become Seat’s most expensive model. “The fast SUV market is evolving quickly at the premium end, but in the mainstream, there is no real credible contender,” said an insider. “That opens the opportunity for Seat to take leadership and to really differentiate itself from the opposition in the crowded SUV market. An Ateca Cupra could have a very significant halo effect for the rest of the brand.” More content: allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IgvdU4va3-I" width="560"> Peugeot 508 revealed Throwback Thursday: driving the 1987 F1 title-winning Williams FW11B [...]



Honda Civic Type R long-term review

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 07:00:00 +0000

It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads? Why we're running it: To determine whether the most ferocious front-wheel-drive hot hatch on sale today is usable on a daily basis Month 1 - Specs Life with a Honda Civic Type R: Month 1 The 316bhp hatch doesn’t hide its roots as a practical family car - 14th February 2018 Performance car it may be, but the Civic Type R has to provide an element of practicality if it is to live up to the ‘daily driver’ brief demanded of it by a photographer. If I’m heading to a shoot I need space, and plenty of it, for my kit. I have to say that so far I’m impressed by what I’ve found in the Civic. There’s a surprising amount of room under that bespoilered rear hatch and it’s certainly generous by the standards of this class. Officially, the Civic has 420 litres of boot space, increasing to 786 litres if you fold down all of the 60/40 split rear seat and pile your possessions as high as the bottom of the window line. One idea that I like very much is the retractable luggage cover, which puts me in mind of either a roller blind or a Bacofoil dispenser. I find conventional solid parcel shelves rather ungainly, not least because I’m often forced to remove them to free up additional space and have to find somewhere safe to stow them. That’s fine if you’re blessed with your own garage in which to put such a cumbersome item, but considerably less fine if you’re 20 minutes down the M1 before you remember you’ve left the flipping thing at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground. So retractable luggage covers are the way forward, and what sets the Civic’s apart from many others is that it deploys from the side, so it doesn’t act as a barrier across the width of the car when you need more space. It’s one of those ideas that I can scarcely believe isn’t implemented more often. On a different note, in my previous report I mentioned the squealing brakes that were drawing unwanted attention to our Civic Type R during slow-speed, around-town driving. If the Type R online forums are any guide, it’s a fairly common issue with this latest Civic. Our car has since been back to Honda’s press garage, where the technicians skimmed the Brembo discs. That has alleviated the issue for the time being, but I’ve been warned that it is likely to return. Indeed, the owner’s manual (believe it or not, we’ve bothered to read it) states that “to satisfy the performance under a wide range of driving conditions, a high- performance braking system is equipped on your vehicle. You may hear the brake squeal under certain conditions, such as vehicle speed, deceleration, humidity and so on. This is not a malfunction.” So the noise is an unfortunate by-product of the car’s performance intent, then, although in my opinion that doesn’t satisfactorily explain why the Civic Type R makes it when many other performance cars do not. Mileage: 2189 Welcoming the Type R to our fleet - 31st January 2018 It’s less than two years since the previous-gen Civic Type R left our long-term fleet. That’s precious little time in the grand scheme of a manufacturer’s model development plans, but Honda had good reason to quickly usher its latest banzai-hatch to market. Not only was it conceived as a way to mark the 25th anniversary of the Type R sub-brand, which fell in 2017, but i[...]



Throwback Thursday: driving the 1987 F1 title-winning Williams FW11B

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:01:55 +0000

On 7 December 1987, ex-Formula 1 driver John Watson took Nelson Piquet's title-winning FW11B for a blast round Suzuka The ugly hybrid cars of 2018 have put us in need of some nostalgia; how about a 1000bhp, turbocharged V6 with a manual gearbox? Many people see the 1980s as a golden era of Formula 1. Those people are correct. Holding a special place in many fans' hearts are the turbocharged 'monsters', and the Williams-Honda FW11 is a fine example of them. This handsome British chassis took the constructors' championship in 1986 and, in 'B' spec, both titles in 1987, following nine victories in a season of sparring between a Nigel Mansell at the peak of his powers and the mercurial reigning world champion, Nelson Piquet. F1 2018: new cars picture special Indeed, when grand prix race winner John Watson drove the FW11B for Autocar at Japan's classic Suzuka circuit on 7 December 1987, he did so with the objective of "reaching some sort of conclusion about what it takes to create a winning car" – one he described as having been "head and shoulders above the rest of the field". Much of the FW11B's prowess was down to Honda's excellent RA167-E engine. This 1.5-litre V6 had two turbochargers and a redline of above 12,000rpm, allowing it to peak at circa 1000bhp (this was for qualifying; it was downtuned to 800bhp for race distances).  In a car weighing a mere 540kg, this afforded a 0-60mph time of 2.6sec and a 0-160mph time of 10sec; all in a car with a six-speed manual gearbox and rack-and-pinion steering. Brave stuff. Fortunately, Northern Irishman Watson was an experienced racer, who had made his Formula 1 debut in 1973, came close to winning the title for McLaren (he was third in the 1982 drivers' championship) and contested his final race in 1985. He began: "I had half expected it would be a case of light the blue touch paper and stand back. Once the engine had been warmed up and I had dealt with the very heavy, abrupt-acting clutch, the world championship-winning Formula 1 car had purred onto the track without a sign of reticence. It was almost docile. But now, back in the pits, the Honda engineer was turning up to the boost – from a getting-to-know-you 3bar to a grand prix-winning 4bar. A small jump, you may think, but in a car now capable of 200mph, a change guaranteed to cause fireworks. Or so I thought..." Before he proceeded around the circuit, Watson had a caveat, in that he was "unable to make himself completely comfortable in the seemingly miniscule cockpit". "With the sort of cornering, accelerating and braking forces a present-day F1 car is capable of generating," he said, "it is vitally important for the driver to feel at one to get the most out of it. "That is really only possible with a tailor-made seat and all the essential controls set up exactly to suit his frame. In this case, my knees were too high up behind the instrument panel and the gear lever in the first-second plane was hitting my thigh. Being tall compared with today's grand prix drivers, I was also sitting an inch or two too high". He also pointed out that he did not know the track, car or engine, and that there were no tyre blankets available on the cold December day. But, to quote Watson, "that's enough of the standard racing driver's excuses...". Inside the carbonfibre-monocoque-based FW11B, there was a quickly detachable steeri[...]



Used car buying guide: Alfa Romeo Spider

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 04:00:00 +0000

Front-drive Spider is fun to drive when you’re in the mood This one won’t bite: it’s a friendly, head-turning Alfa Romeo in agile Twin Spark or mellifluous V6 guises. Reliability is decent, and prices start at £1000 The nation’s classifieds may be gripped by classic car fever, a condition that drives prices of even the worst old tat through the roof, but there are one or two models about which the claim ‘future classic’ doesn’t seem too far-fetched. The Alfa Romeo Spider of 1995-2006 is one. There are only around 1000 examples of the 916-series Spider remaining, most of them 2.0 Twin Sparks of 1999 to 2005 vintage. (The 3.0 and 3.2 24-valve V6 cars are rare birds.) Prices range from £1000 to £5000 but around £3500 is enough for a decent car. There’s a coupé version, too, called the GTV. It’s less numerous but you’ve a better chance of finding a V6 example. See Alfa Romeo Spider for sale on PistonHeads Both versions were styled by Pininfarina and both have aged exceptionally well. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but most observers reckon the Spider has the edge over the GTV. Crucially, both have galvanised bodies with extensive use of plastic, especially at the front. Corrosion is rare and any that you do see is likely to be the result of poor accident repairs. They were launched in 1995 and based on a modified Fiat Tipo chassis with MacPherson-strut front suspension. Fear not: a multi-link suspension set-up at the rear, super- quick steering and a stiffened body mean they’re huge fun to drive. The Spider, the focus of this guide, is powered by a 150bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder Twin Spark engine, so called because it has two spark plugs per pot. Remember that when you’re budgeting for the 60,000-mile service. Power goes to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. There is no auto option. In 2001, it was joined by a 220bhp 24-valve 3.0-litre V6, this time with a six-speed gearbox. This was subsequently replaced in 2004 by a 240bhp 3.2. The latter is one of the best engines Alfa has made: smooth, torquey and blessed with a spine-tingling exhaust note at full tilt. It’s also free of the tensioner issues that bothered the Twin Spark and forced Alfa to slash that engine’s belt change interval from 72,000 to 36,000 miles. That said, the TS is a strong, responsive and smooth engine. Do your checks and you should have nothing to fear. The Spider was facelifted in 1998 (new centre console, small tweaks to the TS engine), but these cars are now very rare, most scrapped due to low values and high maintenance costs. Another facelift in 2003 was bolder (a new nose and that 3.2 V6). Production ended the following year. Trim levels were standard, Turismo, Lusso and Lusso Final Edition. Most surviving cars appear to have the all-important leather trim. A silver Spider with contrasting red leather looks sensational. You may see some right-hand-drive Japanese imports on your travels. They’re pricey but generally in better condition than UK cars. Find a good Spider Twin Spark, beat the seller down by muttering something about the tensioner and bag a future classic. How to get one in your garage:  An expert’s view: JAMIE PORTER, ALFA WORKSHOP - “The Spider is a great sports car: pointy and agile in Twin Spark form, beautiful-sounding and effortless in [...]



2018 Peugeot 508 revealed ahead of Geneva motor show

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:01:00 +0000

Front-end styling is more aggressive than the outgoing 508 222bhp flagship sits a top a more petrol-friendly range, as Peugeot battles SUVs with a fastback saloon Peugeot has switched the 508 from saloon to a fastback bodystyle for its second generation, as the segment battles growing SUV sales. The new 508 gets a new 5-door body style, as well as styling derived from the Instinct shooting brake concept, revealed at last year’s Geneva motor show. A rear light bar with LED lights is taken straight from the Instinct concept, and front-end styling draws from the car’s more aggressive look than the outgoing 508. The 508, formerly a staid-looking four-door saloon, is now a now a much more stylish bustle-backed five-door with frameless doors and “sharp and sculpted” lines. It is around 6cm lower than most rivals in its class, and looks low and sleek even though it is about 8cm shorter overall. The range is topped by a 222bhp Puretech petrol-engined variant, although six petrol and diesel engines are available from launch, with the entry-level car getting a 1.5-litre 128bhp BlueHDi unit - the only 508 available with a manual gearbox. 2.0-litre 158bhp and 178bhp BlueHDi diesels also feature, as does a 2.0-litre 178bhp Puretech petrol. The 508 is expected to get a plug-in hybrid variant post-launch, with the powertrain taken straight from the 5008 plug-in, due later this year. Other tech highlights include a raft of driver assistance systems, as well as an infra-red camera integrated into the car’s pedestrian detection system to aid in detecting pedestrians at night. Inside, the 508 gets Peugeot’s second-generation i-Cockpit system, with a 10in central touchscreen and 12.3in TFT display replacing conventional dials behind  the steering wheel. Where the previous 508 sales were almost exclusively diesel, Peugeot expects a higher petrol bias for the new car around a 68/32 split in favour of diesel is expected by the brand. The 508’s renewal is something of a surprise move by Peugeot - the saloon market continues to dwindle due to the market moving to SUVs, while sales of the 508 have never topped the 140,0000 sold in France in 2010. Sales have fallen steadily since then, with 82,000 sold in the car’s home market last year. With a renewed focus on design and a fresh body style, the 508 marks the beginning of a reaffirmation of PSA’s support of larger saloons, with sister brand Citroën working on a ‘luxurious’ saloon for launch in 2019 or 2020. The car’s platform remains the same - the PSA EMP2 platform which underpins many of the company’s models, including the 3008 and 5008 SUVs, Vauxhall Grandland X, DS 7 Crossback and Citroën Picasso MPVs. The fastback rear is also a departure from its conventional saloon predecessor, and increases boot capacity from 473 litres to 485. UK specs are long from being confirmed, but a price increase of around £800 across the board will keep the 508’s pricing competitive with rivals, although some trims will increase by less or more than this. Orders will open later this year, with first deliveries tipped to take place before 2019. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UMaL8I7vWD0?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more  Peugeot [...]



Lister Storm successor is coming, hints British company's chief

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:50:22 +0000

(image) Lawrence Whittaker, boss of the revived Lister Motor Company, has revealed a sketch of the British manufacturer's planned McLaren rival, the Storm II

Lister Motor Company chief Lawrence Whittaker has made public the sports car company’s plan to revive the iconic Storm model name on its planned hypercar.

The Cambridge-based company has restarted car production in recent years with a track-only recreation of its most revered car, the Lister Jaguar 'Knobbly' D-Type, followed by the Thunder, a 208mph road-going sports car based on the Jaguar F-Type.   

Since the revival of the Lister Motor Company in 2014, Whittaker has made no secret of his ambition to build a hypercar that could take on the likes of Pagani, McLaren and Koenigsegg.

Now it appears those plans are moving forward. Strong early interest in the Knobbly recreation and the new Thunder have bolstered Lister’s ambitions for the future, and on Wednesday evening the company CEO posted a sketch of a sleek two-door sports car on social media with the accompanying words: “A glimpse into the future of Lister... the Storm II”.

(image)

Autocar has previously reported on Whittaker’s eagerness to develop an all-new Lister model. The firm has sought investors to buy into the development of the car, which could be powered by a Jaguar-derived supercharged 7.8-litre V12 engine developing around 1000bhp.

The Storm II would target a 0-60mph time below three seconds and a top speed of more than 250mph. Both road-going and racing variants of the new model will be made, but production will likely be very limited, perhaps to as few as six cars annually, and it could carry a £2m price tag.

The original Storm was developed in the mid-1990s by a previous incarnation of the Lister company. It used powered by a 7.0-litre V12 Jaguar engine and for many years was regarded as the fastest four-seat grand tourer on sale. Race versions competed in endurance racing between 1995 and 2005.




Ford chief Raj Nair ousted after reports of 'inappropriate behaviour'

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 22:12:51 +0000

(image)
Raj Nair has been ousted from his role at Ford North America
Raj Nair has been removed from his post as president of Ford North America with immediate effect following an internal investigation

Raj Nair, president of Ford North America, has been ousted from his position following a company investigation into “reports of inappropriate behaviour”.

Nair, who has been president of Ford North America since 1 June 2017, has been with the organisation since 1987, in the past holding several key roles such as head of global product development and chief technical officer. 

The internal investigation found that the 53-year-old had exhibited “certain behaviour… inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct” and he has been removed from his post with immediate effect.

Steve Cropley meets Ford's Raj Nair - interview from 2013

Ford president and chief executive Jim Hackett said: “We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”

Nair said: “I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviours consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused. I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”

Nair started out as a body and assembly operations launch engineer and held various positions on more than 11 vehicle programs in 13 assembly plants. During the 1990s he was heavily involved in the launch of the 1996 Fiesta, and then became responsible for all Ford of Europe launches including the Focus, Transit and Mondeo.

More recently, Nair was instrumental in the development of the current Ford GT and the manufacturer's return to endurance racing competition. Earlier this month Nair was presented with his own 2018 GT road car. 

Ford said it will make an announcement concerning Nair’s replacement in the near future.

Read more

Analysis: Ford's master plan to rebuild its business (from June 2017)

Steve Cropley meets Ford's Raj Nair - interview from 2013




Bentley Bentayga V8 2018 review

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:10:32 +0000

(image) The hugely capable high-end SUV is now available with a V8 engine. Does a smaller engine makes it an even more compelling luxury offering? Following the launch of W12 petrol and V8 diesel engines, this is the third and perhaps most convincing powerplant to feature in Bentley’s monumentally capable Bentayga SUV.It’s a 4.0-litre, 90-degree V8 with its two twin-scroll turbochargers sitting within the vee of the cylinders. You’ll find it also in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and it’s destined to serve in the second-generation Continental GT, which arrives imminently.  And so to the numbers. Peak power is 542bhp, some 68bhp down on the 6.0-litre W12 and delivered 1000rpm later into the rev-range, at 6000rpm. Torque, meanwhile, is 568lb ft, which is a serious hit by anyone’s standards except, maybe, owners of the W12, who enjoy almost 100lb ft more.This Bentley is predictably outgunned by its bigger brother, then, though it recovers some ground in the admittedly less exciting world of fuel efficiency claims. With the help of stop-start and cylinder deactivation technology that turns V8 into V4 when you’re stroking the throttle ever so gently, it manages a combined 24.8mpg to the W12’s 21.6mpg. The diesel puts both to shame, with 35.8mpg.  There’s the weight advantage too, of course. Except that’s not actually true in this case. The W12 boasts a design of such architectural economy that it’s only 25kg or so heavier than the V8, despite its extra four cylinders. As such, this junior Bentayga enjoys only a slight advantage on the scales, tipping them at 2388kg.It means the V8 hits 60mph almost half a second after the W12, taking 4.4sec, and will bludgeon its way to 180mph – 12mph shy of you know what. But let’s not lose perspective here, because both sets of figures denote quite obscene pace for what are, first and foremost, high-rise exponents of ultimate luxury.Crewe has also taken the opportunity to introduce some new options to the Bentayga. You can now get the car with carbon-ceramic brakes, for example, which at 440mm on the front axle are vast – 20mm greater than those found on a Bugatti Chiron, and the vastest of any production car, says Bentley. You can also have the calipers painted red, which isn’t allowed on the W12.Spotting the difference between the two models on the road would be difficult were it not for the fact that most V8 Bentaygas will feature gloss black exterior trim instead of chrome – more sporty that way, they say. There’s also a new two-tone alloy wheel design in the size most W12 owners have opted for – the maximum 22in – and redesigned exhaust tips, which make two appear like four.



Why Porsche's diesel decision was well-timed

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:22:30 +0000

Porsche is axing diesel from its current lineup. Hilton Holloway explains why that was a shrewd move, and why it may not be permanent Porsche’s decision to end production of the remaining diesel-powered models in its range was well-timed. At the end of this week Germany’s top court will decide whether it is legal for pre-Euro 6 diesel vehicles to be banned by city councils. Both Stuttgart (Porsche’s home city) and Leipzig want to stop older diesel vehicles entering the city limits. If the court gives the policy the green light, the repercussions could be huge. Last summer, Porsche bosses said that they would consider killing diesel altogether at the end of next year. Bringing the decision forward is not just because of the impact of the court case, it’s also likely to be a consequence of the new round of economy and pollution testing regimes (known as RDE and WLTP) which arrive this autumn. Older-generation diesel engines could struggle to meet the new tests. Much better to shelve diesel until a new-generation of super-clean diesels arrive within the VW Group and Porsche can consider afresh re-launching diesel models. But Porsche’s diesel decision might also have been influenced by the fact the Tesla Model S outsold the Mercedes S-Class in Western Europe last year. Certainly, that was helped by big Tesla sales in Norway, but it’s been some time since analysts declared that ‘premium’ values were now indivisible from ‘greenness’. In plain English, the sort of customers who buy the most expensive premium cars expect a vehicle to be genuinely environmentally friendly. As Porsche has hinted, you can’t rule out a future diesel Porsche. After all, the next-gen big diesel engines could have mild-hybrid assistance to help further reduce pollution. But engineering sources have also told Autocar, that future diesels are also likely to have their rampant performance reigned in because hard acceleration is a direct cause of high NOx emissions. And who could imagine a gently-accelerating diesel Porsche? allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N5gq_-ErTQA" width="560"> Read more Porsche axes all diesel variants from line-up Porsche Cayenne diesel sales banned in Germany due to suspect emissions software Porsche boss confirms decision on cutting diesel models is imminent The death of diesel? Not if commonsense can prevail [...]



Rolls-Royce Cullinan to get pop-out seats in lower tailgate

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:20:06 +0000

This is our best look yet at the Rolls-Royce Cullinan The all-wheel-drive rival to Bentley Bentayga, due to arrive this year, is Rolls-Royce's first SUV The reveal process of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan has begun, as the manufacturer has unveiled the car's pop-out, tailgate-mounted seats and table.  It's the latest in a slew of recent developments surrounding the Cullinan. Rolls-Royce confirmed the car's name earlier this month, while recent spy shots showed the Cullinan with the least disguise we've seen yet, revealing much of the Phantom-like look of the car. Each of the pop-out seats, which are rear-facing and intended for use while the car is not in motion, bears the Rolls-Royce logo, and they both fold back into a compartment in the boot floor.    The best seat in the house. Introducing #Cullinan's Viewing Suite #RollsRoyce #Luxury #luxurylifestyle #luxurycars A post shared by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (@rollsroycemedia) on Feb 21, 2018 at 7:00am PST The Phantom's influence is clear to see, with a near-identical fascia at the front and D-shaped tail-lights at the rear. The boxy design shows that the Cullinan takes after the Phantom rather than the smoother-looking Ghost. Spy shots show that the rear doors are rear-hinged, as seen on the Ghost and the Phantom. The rival to the Bentley Bentayga was called 'Project Cullinan' during its development. The name is inspired by the Cullinan Diamond, a 3106-carat jewel extracted from a South African mine in 1905. It was split into nine stones, with the two largest used in the British imperial crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the Cullinan name had been “hiding in plain sight”, adding: “It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product.” The Cullinan, which Rolls-Royce refers to as a "high-sided vehicle" rather than an SUV, is likely to use a developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine. A plug-in hybrid powertrain could also be offered at a later stage, using technology from parent company BMW. Rolls-Royce has dismissed a diesel option due to the comparative lack of refinement offered by such units. The all-wheel-drive car will use the same aluminium spaceframe platform, named the Architecture of Luxury, as the Phantom. Review: Rolls-Royce Phantom Rolls-Royce has conducted an extensive testing and development programme on the Cullinan and the car was spotted at the Nürburgring last year. Read more allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I2bHQsL2C9U" width="560"> Rolls-Royce Phantom - bidding farewell to a luxury legend All Rolls-Royce reviews on Autocar [...]



Italdesign Zerouno convertible to be displayed at Geneva motor show

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:13:44 +0000

Legendary Italian design house produced its own-brand model for the first time to rival the Audi R8; a follow-up roadster will be revealed in Geneva The Italdesign Zerouno will gain a convertible variant to cater to demand, after the design house sold all five examples of the coupé it produced. The model has been revealed ahead of its Geneva reveal, although the company remains tight-lipped on details, including the open-roof model's name. All five slots for the Italdesign Zerouno were sold to customers - but the brand has now shown a murky image of a drop-top version, suggesting that it has bowed to demand from customers to produce more examples of the supercar. The car makes up part of Italdesign's 50th anniversary celebrations, and will be on display at the Geneva motor show next month.  Following the public debut of its first car - the Zerouno coupé - at the Geneva motor show, the brand brought chassis number 002 (finished in red) to the Pebble Beach show in California last year. Italdesign also showed a Zerouno at the Salon Privé event, which took place at Blenheim Palace in the summer. The V10 supercar is capable of over 200mph and has been launched by the famous Turin-based design house, which was founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro in the late 1960s and now part of Volkswagen Group. It marks the first of several planned low-volume models produced by the new Italdesign Automobili Speciali. Although not officially revealed, the entry-level price for a Zerouno is said to be more than £1.3 million - but it is tipped to cost close to £2m after owners add their chosen extras. These include a wide variety of trim, equipment and performance personalisation options. The five customer cars were aimed at “collectors and visionary enthusiasts”. The brand said it still has several buyers after a car, so was previously exploring the "possibility to build a roadster version",  having already opened "dialogue with customers worldwide to truly materialise their wishes into it". Speaking to Autocar last year, Filippo Perini, Italdesign’s supercar project chief and head of innovation design, said of the first model: “For the first time, we can offer collectors the chance to order a true made-to-measure car." Perini added that, every year from 2017 on, the company will develop a new car bearing its own badge, “always in a very exclusive number of examples”. The new supercar uses a 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine shared with the top-end versions of the Audi R8. It also adopts Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel-drive system. Top speed is estimated at 205mph and the 0-62mph acceleration time will be just 3.2sec. The company’s engineers promise “racing car performance with type approval”, so the car can be used on normal roads. Sophisticated aerodynamics and lightweight construction are major themes in Italdesign’s first supercar. The body features a prominent front splitter, louvres over the wheel arches to relieve air pressure, side-mounted fins and a racing-style rear spoiler that works in conjunction with a large underbody diffuser to tune the car’s high-speed aerodynamics. The [...]



Alpina D5 S 2018 review

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:03:15 +0000

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The Alpina D5 S is the German firm's latest performance version of a BMW
The latest executive express from the masters of fast diesels is a fabulous machine, but is the current it's swimming against simply too strong? Diesel isn’t particularly sexy right now, but if anyone can instil it with an element of desirability, it’s Alpina.And it really is all-round desirability that we’re talking about here, rather than excitement, because if the best known of all the BMW tuners (although it’s so much more than that) trades in any one attribute when it comes to crafting super-saloons, it’s extraordinary breadth, owing to the conciliation of apparent contradictions. So it is with this new D5 Sportdiesel, whose customary Alpina-logoed chin skirt and ducktail spoiler immediately present a persona at odds with the opulence of the interior.There are other traces of duality. The seats are aggressively bolstered but prodigiously soft; a quartet of exhaust tips are a bit heavy metal for a sequentially turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel engine that never relinquishes its manners; and the leather-concealed Switch-Tronic gearshift buttons on the far side of the steering wheel suggest to you that this is a chassis only too happy to be pedaled, just not with a vigour that might elicit sweaty-palmed lunges for paddles the size of shoehorns.Alpina has also tweaked the car's suspension geometry for greater negative camber on the front axle and fitted stiffer, shorter springs, yet the adaptive dampers include a Comfort Plus mode that's softer than that of the G30 BMW 5 Series donor car.Consider also that the D5 S will nail 0-62mph in less than 5.0sec and yet still nudges 45mpg on the motorway, with little to impinge on the relaxation of you and your passengers beyond, perhaps, a touch too much tyre roar. Those 20in multi-spoke alloys are classic, mind.



2018 Geneva motor show preview

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:22:00 +0000

The biggest motor show of the year is almost here. Latest additions - LVCHI Auto Venere, VW Vizzion concept, Ssangyong e-SIV, Renault Zoe R110 The Geneva motor show is the largest event on the motoring calendar by a long way. This year will be no different as the world’s car industry and media prepare to descend upon Switzerland from 8-18 March to see the latest supercars and mass-market models.  More and more cars are confirmed for Geneva every week, so here’s what we know is coming so far: Geneva motor show 2018 - the cars Audi A6 allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S13aQ1WCkKA" width="560"> With a new BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class on the scene, the Audi A6 is the oldest of the ‘big three’ executive saloons. The brand has already confirmed that the new A6 will make its debut at Geneva, and it’s likely to follow in the Prologue-like look of the A8. Audi E-tron It’s a race between Jaguar and Audi to see who can get their electric SUV on sale first, but they’ll both be revealed in production form at the Geneva show. We’ve already seen both in concept form and neither is due to stray far from their concept’s flavour.  Bentley Bentayga PHEV and Bentayga V8 Bentley has already revealed the Bentayga V8 away from a motor show, but its first in-the-metal appearance will be at Geneva. It will sit alongside the brand's first electrified model, a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga that uses the same 3.0-litre hybrid powertrain as the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.  BMW M8 concept BMW's 600bhp flagship doesn't arrive until 2019, but BMW will show a concept precursor to the Aston Martin DB11 and Mercedes-AMG S63 rival at Geneva this year. With various leaks of the 8 Series, we know what it'll be based upon, but the M-honed version will add a layer of performance on top of the luxury coupé. BMW X4 The first-generation X4 has only been around since 2014, but the overhaul of the X3 means that the closely related X4 will be dragged into its next generation as well. First deliveries for UK customers are planned for August. A hot M40i variant of the X3 is coming as well. Citroën Berlingo Multispace The first (alphabetically) of three PSA group van-like MPVs heading this way, and due for a reveal at Geneva. The new Berlingo Multispace gets both regular and long-wheelbase variants, and luggage capacity of up to 4000 litres with the seats folded flat.  David Brown Automotive high performance GT David Brown's at it again - following the Aston Martin DB4-inspired Speedback GT and the Mini Remastered, the Silverstone-based low-volume car maker is producing a high-performance model, but has as yet only revealed the badge.  Ferrari 488 Pista 711bhp, 0-62mph in 2.8sec, and a top speed of 211mph make the Pista Ferrari's most powerful V8-engined car yet. Aerodynamic and powertrain tech comes straight from the brand's GTE and 488 Challenge race cars. Ford Edge Ford has only just revealed the facelifted Edge to the American market at the Detroit motor[...]



Volvo V60 estate unveiled ahead of Geneva motor show

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:11:58 +0000

Volvo is launching its new V60 estate at next month’s Geneva show Roomier load-lugger goes up against Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring Volvo is launching a roomier, higher-technology and more upmarket replacement for the V60 estate at next month’s Geneva motor show. Due on roads in September, the new load-lugger shares its SPA (Scalable Product Platform) with Volvo’s current crop of new cars and SUVs, and will be a highly competitive model in a class currently dominated by the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring. At 4761mm long, the new V60 is 117mm longer than its XC60 platform twin. It sits on a 2872mm wheelbase that's 98mm longer than the XC60's. These roomy dimensions make the V60 the biggest car in its class. Volvo has increased both passenger and luggage space considerably from the outgoing V60, an eight-year-old design loosely based on a Ford platform that's more than a decade old. Luggage volume now stands at 529 litres to the glass line with the rear seats up, 841 litres to the glass line with seats down and 1364 to the roof with seats down. The first figure puts the V60 ahead of the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in this regard - all key rivals with the car's new £31,810 price point. Boot volume has been prioritised to satisfy demand from family customers who want plenty of room for parental paraphernalia and lifestyle equipment. Capacity is said to be class-leading, meaning it is expected to be bigger than the Audi A4 Avant’s 500/1505 litres (with seats up and down). This priority for boot volume marks a significant design change from the V90, which ceded maximum loading space to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in favour of limousine levels of rear knee room. Owners of the existing V60 – itself a dramatic design when it launched in 2010 – will instantly recognise the higher-quality exterior and interior design that follows the principles established with the V90 and XC60. With time to develop details such as the crisp shoulder and the bigger proportions, the new V60 may well be the best-resolved yet of all Thomas Ingenlath’s attractive creations. The roofline, for example, inclines with a sportier taper towards the rear hatch, whereas the V90 takes a more parallel line to completion. More deeply sculpted body sides add drama to a shape that’s otherwise unmistakably modern Volvo. Inside, the fascia, instrument panel and centre-console touchscreen are pure XC60 and a vast improvement on the outgoing model. Volvo XC40 gets three-cylinder powertrain; hybrid and EV versions to come At launch, Volvo will unveil a range of five engines – two diesels, one petrol and two plug-in hybrids. Four are confirmed for the UK. These include the D3 and D4 diesels, with expected power outputs of 148bhp and 187bhp respectively at launch. A 242bhp T5 petrol will follow later this year, with a 335bhp T6 Twin Engine plug-in - a first for Volvo in the UK - later and T4 petrol arriving in around 12 months. The fifth engine, a T8 Twin Engine plug-in with 385bhp – 17bhp [...]



Peugeot Rifter revealed as Citroen Berlingo Multispace sibling

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:09:59 +0000

The Peugeot Rifter has been revealed as part of the three-prong PSA group assault on the van-based MPV market Rifter name replaces Partner Tepee, it’s one of three van-based MPVs from PSA group. The Vauxhall Combo Life completes the trio The Peugeot Rifter has been revealed as Peugeot’s offering in the three-prong PSA group assault on the van-based MPV market. The Rifter is mechanically identical to the Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Vauxhall Combo Life, being based on the previous-generation cars, with the EMP2 platform front end allowing for greater driver assistance technologies, such as Advanced Grip Control (PSA’s traction control system), automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Like the Berlingo Multispace, the Rifter will be available in five or seven-seat variants when sales begin in summer, although the larger car won’t arrive on driveways until 2019.  Peugeot claims storage capacity of 775 litres up to the window line, which rises to 4000 litres up to the ceiling for the long-wheelbase version, with the seats folded flat. Identical to the Berlingo, the short Rifter is around 4400mm long, and the long-wheelbase version is 4750mm in length.  While the Citroën Berlingo has been refreshed with a new SUV-like look, the Rifter and Combo Life remain more MPV-like in their front ends. Engines are shared across the three cars, meaning 1.2-litre Puretech petrols in 109bhp and 128bhp flavours, and four 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesels, ranging in power from 74bhp to 128bhp. Both 128bhp engines are available with eight-speed automatic gearboxes.  It’s a new entry into the market for Vauxhall, but Peugeot and Citroën have seen great success here; 2987 sales across 2017 puts the Rifter’s predecessor, the Partner Tepee, atop the sales charts for the segment, while Citroën’s 2644 sales place it third. The model is Citroën’s second-best-selling model worldwide.  A small price increase is expected over the Partner Tepee’s £16,795 starting price, while the longer variant is expected to command nearer to £20,000 when sales begin.  allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kxWg1bk3F60" width="560"> Read more New Citroen Berlingo Multispace gets SUV influence, extended variant PSA Group purchase of Opel and Vauxhall completed with new financial company Top 10 best seven-seat MPVs 2018 [...]



New Cars 2018: What's coming soon?

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:02:00 +0000

Welcome to Autocar's run-down of all the new cars heading this way in 2018 Autocar's new cars list gives you all the information on 2018's new arrivals, rounding up all the new models going on sale in the UK Thought 2017 was a busy year for cars? There's a whole raft of exciting new models coming throughout 2018, with entrants into every major segment, and an ever-growing flock of SUVs ready to hit the market. Here is your one-stop shop for keeping up-to-date with what's coming when in the car industry.  February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 Summer 2018 Autumn 2018 Winter 2018 New Cars Coming in 2018: February Aston Martin Zagato Speedster Retro-inspired Zagato creation will only get 28 units, and a price tag of just under £1million apiece.  Audi RS4 Avant Still 444bhp, but a 125bhp torque boost makes all the difference in everyday driving.  Audi A7 Tech and refinement upgrades inside, and a radical new look outside which is something of a departure for Audi. BMW i3 facelift Facelifted i3 has a range of between 146 and 158 miles as tested. There's a hot version too... BMW i3S ...which gets sportier looks, a 10mm lowering and 181bhp.  DS 7 Crossback The first premium French SUV will fight the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Hybrid coming the following year. Ford Fiesta ST Ford's handling hero returns, this time with a three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine matching the output of the previous ST200 range-topper. Jeep Compass Yes, another Nissan Qashqai rival. Jeep's effort aims to appease those with a greater desire to venture off-road.  Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster Drop-top supercar now packs 730bhp with a top speed of 217mph. 3.0sec dead to 62mph.  Lexus CT facelift Ageing BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class rival gets a refresh. Will be replaced by the UX small SUV.  Lexus NX update Ride improvements and styling tweaks for Lexus' best-seller. Another rival to the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross A car at least partly charged with Mitsubishi's turnaround. Head-turning looks and pricing in line with rivals.  Subaru Impreza High safety ratings and four-wheel drive for Subaru's latest Ford Focus rival. Four-cylinder boxer remains.  Volkswagen Up GTI Volkswagen's pocket rocket harks back to the Lupo GTI and Mk1 Golf GTI. It's the final car in the GTI range.  March Audi S7 Warm four-door coupé version of the A7. Bentley Continental GT Third-generation Conti gets a sharper drive and even more luxury. BMW M5 Newly four-wheel drive, and with 592bhp on tap. It's now the quickest-accelerating BMW made yet.  BMW X2 Funky small SUV aims for younger buyers with style and C-pillar badges. Ford Ecosport facelift Ford aims to improve a chink in its armour with the model year 2018 Ecosport. Improved interior and new face mark it out from the previous cars.  Ford Mustang facelift Comprehensively updated Mustang gets a boost in efficiency, and a cut in power for the four-cylinder model. Performance remains the same nonetheles[...]



2018 Peugeot 508: full styling leaks ahead of Geneva debut

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:14:01 +0000

This is our best look yet at the Peugeot 508 Peugeot's new saloon gets a concept-inspired look and a Geneva show reveal; it's been outed early on social media, though Peugeot’s new 508 flagship saloon will get front and rear styling inspired by the Instinct concept of last year. The new car's design has been shown in a suite of new pictures that have leaked ahead of its official reveal at next month's Geneva motor show. The new Peugeot 508 has now been officially launched. Click here to read our story Full front, rear and interior styling of the new saloon is shown in the leaked images, as well as highlights of the tech available in the French brand's upcoming flagship. Design cues from the Instinct concept are also present on the front, including the stylistic daytime running lights extending down from the headlight clusters. The leaked images were first shown on a Croatian Youtube channel.  The images also show that the model, which has been spotted testing on multiple occasions and is due to go on sale in the UK this November, will retain its saloon body style, with a short boot lid with incorporated lip spoiler completing a swooping line from the top of the car’s roof. The original leak showing the car's rear was posted on Peugeot fan site Peugeot Héritage, the pictures show that the car will feature a stylistic rear light bar like the one on Peugeot's striking 2017 concept. The car will gain Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system, with a digital dashboard replacing traditional dials and a large central touchscreen infotainment system taking precedent on a de-cluttered dashboard. One shot also reveals camera-based obstacle detection technology, which is likely to be linked to the car's automatic emergency braking system.  The new Peugeot 508 has now been officially launched. Click here to read our story Engines are expected to be shared with larger Peugeot models, so the brand’s BlueHDi engine is due in 1.6 and 2.0-litre iterations, as is a 1.6-litre THP petrol engine, with 165bhp. The leak confirms that an automatic gearbox, likely PSA's 6-speed EAT6 unit, will be available. It's not yet known if a manual version will be offered. The 508 GT branding on the car's registration plate confirms that the images show a range-topping warmed-up model.  A Peugeot 5008 plug-in hybrid is due at the end of the year, so it’s likely that the 508 will use the same powertrain for a range-topping electrified model. The current 508 starts at £25,340; a small rise in price is likely for the new saloon.  The new Peugeot 508 has now been officially launched. Click here to read our story A Citroën saloon, returning in 2019 after the C5 was axed in 2016, will likely share underpinnings with the 508.  allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ce2Lf6Vcb2g" width="560"> Read more The new Peugeot 508 has now been officially launched. Click here to read our story Ne[...]



Facelifted Ford Edge shown ahead of Geneva motor show debut

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:32:27 +0000

The facelifted Ford Edge will arrive in the UK in 2019 Ford has revealed the updated Edge – its largest SUV sold in Europe – in European specification. It gets a new 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine with 235bhp The European-spec car has just been revealed ahead of its premiere at the next month's Geneva motor show. Its new look was revealed on the US model that was unveiled earlier this year at the Detroit motor show. The facelifted Ford Edge will arrive in the UK in 2019.  Ford’s biggest SUV sold in Europe will get a new look inspired by the smaller Ecosport, with a more aggressive headlight design, with LED lights as standard and a new ovular grille at the front, as well as the disappearance of the characteristic light bar at the rear. A more conventional gloss-black extension of the glass is in its place, with larger separate rear light clusters. The European car gets a 2.0-litre Ecoblue bi-turbo diesel engine at the top of the range, with 235bhp. Unlike the US, Europe won't get the 335bhp, 380lb ft 2.7-litre V6-powered Edge ST. The European Edge will have exclusively diesel engines, with the sportiest spec being ST-Line, which gets an exclusive suspension set-up and paddle shifters, in addition to black exterior trim, chrome exhaust tips and 20in alloys.  The Ecoblue engine has two turbos - one large and one small - that work together for greater low-end torque, while at higher revs the larger, lower-pressure turbo works alone for greater power. It's also available in 187bhp four-wheel drive and 148bhp front-wheel drive forms, while a new eight-speed automatic gearbox has been added to the Edge that can detect gradients and corners for more efficient and effective gear selection. Four trims feature on the new car - entry-level Trend, mid-range Titanium, Vignale and ST-Line.  More technology has been added to the Volkswagen Touareg rival, including Ford’s new Evasive Steering Assist, which mitigates crashes by helping the car steer around obstacles. Adaptive cruise control with lane centring and post-collision braking are now available in the range - the first time these have been offered in Europe.  Automatic gearbox-equipped cars also get a rotary gearshifter in place of the current car’s lever, as part of a wider redesign of the centre console. Wireless smartphone charging and an 8.0in touchscreen with Sync 3 infotainment system have also been added. A digital dashboard is new to the model and can be adapted to the driver's preferences.  SUVs are increasingly important among Ford's range - 2017 marked the brand's most successful year for the Ecosport, Kuga and Edge. The brand sold 230,000 SUVs last year in total, with 16,000 of them being the Edge.  allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/W_UUm-aWKYw?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more  Ford Edge review  Ford Focus review  Ford Fiesta review  [...]



Autocar magazine 21 February – out now

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:00:57 +0000

This week: the next Ford Focus RS, Tesla Model S estate driven, a hardcore new Ferrari, two rallying legends battle it out This week's big news - we've got the inside line on the Ford Focus RS - it's going hybrid, with 400bhp and 425lb ft. Read the full story in this week's magazine. That's not all, though, there's also the latest on the Ferrari 488 Pista, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the Kia Ceed and the proper way to find out how green your car really is.  We've got some heavy-hitters tested this week, too - The Ferrari Portofino, Aston Martin DB11 Volante, Citroën C4 Cactus, Range Rover Velar P300 and a full road test of the BMW i3s.  Also in this issue There's a mix of big road-going and rallying names this week; first up is our fond farewell to the Subaru WRX STi.  Then, we put the WRX STi's predecessor up against its most fearsome rival, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. We also take a dip into history and explore Vauxhall's reintroduction of the GSi badge. Not enough? Too petrol-fuelled? We've taken a closer look at, and a drive in, the Tesla Model S shooting brake, the creation of a Norfolk-based coachbuilder and the idea of a businessman, who blames his dog. Our cars We've taken delivery of a top-of-the-range Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer as the latest addition to our long-term fleet, while elsewhere, the Dacia Sandero Stepway LPG leaves us. Battery issues afflict our Skoda Kodiaq long-termer.  Deals James Ruppert explains why it's important to share reliability stories, good and bad, while our used buying guide tells you how to bag a £30k Porsche Panamera.  Where to buy Never miss an issue – subscribe to Autocar magazine today. Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents. You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar magazine from Newsstand, delivered to your door the morning after. Digital copies can be downloaded from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store. [...]



Ferrari 488 Pista revealed with 711bhp V8 derived from racing

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000

The model uses the most powerful V8 in Ferrari’s history The best supercar in the world just got lighter, punchier and even more focused; it's the most powerful V8 Ferrari yet produced The new Ferrari 488 Pista dispatches the benchmark 0-62mph as quickly as the Italian brand’s halo model, the LaFerrari. The 488 Pista – a more powerful, lighter variant of the 488 GTB, just as the 458 Speciale was to the 458 – covers 0-62mph in 2.85sec, while the official quoted figure for the LaFerrari is “under 3.0sec”. Opinion: Has Ferrari really made the best better? The model uses the most powerful V8 in Ferrari’s history and is described as an “extreme evolution” of the turbo unit that won International Engine of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. The 3.9-litre twin-turbo engine produces 711bhp at 8000rpm and 568lb ft of torque at 3000rpm. Top speed is up to 211mph. Performance figures from its key rival, the range-topping Porsche 911 GT2 RS, are near-identical, achieving 0-62mph in 2.8sec and a top speed of 211mph. Ferrari claims the 488 Pista is “a significant step forward” from the previous special series in terms of sporty dynamics and the level of technology carried over from racing. The name – meaning ‘track’ in English – is a nod to the brand’s motorsport heritage. The engine, vehicle dynamics, weight saving and aerodynamics are all derived from the 488 GTE and 488 Challenge race cars. Ferrari said the result is a car that offers track-like performance on the road and on circuits. The dry weight is 90kg less than a standard 488 GTB’s, at 1280kg. In addition, an extra 49bhp in engine power has ensured this is Ferrari’s most powerful V8 yet. The weight decrease comes from features used on the 488 Challenge. These include Inconel exhaust manifolds and lightweight crankshaft and flywheel, plus titanium con rods and carbonfibre intake plenums. The 488 Challenge also supplies turbos with integrated rev sensors, while the air intake line has been moved from the flanks to the rear spoiler to help achieve better airflow. Torque is higher than the 488 GTB’s at all engine speeds, and the quality and intensity of the engine sound, Ferrari says, are higher than the 488 GTB in all gears and at all revs. Overall, there is a 20% improvement in downforce, according to Ferrari. The Pista has an F1-inspired S-duct and redesigned front and rear diffusers from the 488 GTE. The Pista also introduces the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which is a world first. It uses Ferrari software to adjust the brake pressure at the calipers, benefiting handling in corners. How to buy your first Ferrari Ferrari has also updated its Slideslip Angle Control system, first seen on the 458 Speciale, which offers advanced stability control akin to a drift mode. The car uses Ferrari’s magnetorheological suspension set-up.The Pista will be available with 20in carbonfibre whee[...]



Is the Ferrari 488 Pista the best supercar yet?

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000

Ferrari claims the 488 Pista is “a significant step forward” We discuss whether race mods and a more flattering 'drift mode' can make our favourite supercar unbeatable So here we are again. The Ferrari 360 CS came along four years into the lifespan of the 360 Modena.  For the 430 Scuderia, we were made to wait for three years after the F430’s arrival. For the 458 Speciale, the cadence between all-new model and stripped-out track hero was back to four years. And now we’re back to three again. 2018 Ferrari 488 Pista revealed Some things feel familiar here, others less so. As weight savings go, 90kg isn’t to be sniffed at – but it’s precisely what Maranello saved, last time around, for the 458 Speciale. It leaves the 488 Pista with a slightly heavier dry weight than McLaren’s 675LT had but the car’s 711bhp ought to make up for it. This is the biggest power hike any special-series Ferrari V8 has had – and 49bhp might be just the start of it. How exciting does an Inconel exhaust system, a lightweight crankshaft and flywheel, titanium con rods and carbonfibre intake plenums sound, after all? Expect even sharper throttle response and a higher redline, then. They certainly know how to get your attention, don’t they? How to buy your first Ferrari It’s interesting, also, that Maranello is claiming to have made its Sideslip Angle Control ‘drift mode’ even cleverer. That can’t have been easy. The 488 GTB and the 458 Speciale set a damned high bar for flattering limit handling, and it’s hard to fathom exactly how much more god-like a mid-engined supercar could actually make its driver feel. I suppose we’ll find out.  allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TmCkdbdCOog?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more Ferrari 458 Speciale review  Ferrari 458 review  Ferrari F12 review  [...]



First ride: Porsche 911 GT3 RS 2018 on ice

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:34:21 +0000

We were on a track cut into the ice at the Porsche Winter Driving Experience centre... We sample the final 991-era 911 with WRC legend Walter Rohrl Passenger rides are a mixed blessing. Yes, you get to travel in a new car but can you really tell what it’s like without the steering wheel in your hand? For decades, motoring journalists have fretted over what one can justifiably say after a few miles in the wrong seat. This time, I’m not even going to try. Because not only was the 911 GT3 RS in which I travelled being driven by rally legend Walter Röhrl but we were also on a track cut into the ice at the Porsche Winter Driving Experience centre, some 120 miles the chilly side of the Arctic Circle. I can’t tell you how fast it felt because even on studded tyres it would spin its wheels at any speed and I can tell you nothing about the way it rides because, well, we were on ice. 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed What I can tell you is that Röhrl made it feel sublime, which I know will come as no great surprise to anyone. But even at the age of 70, the combination of inch-perfect precision and raw, pedal-through-the-firewall aggression appears as intact as when he won his WRC titles in 1980 and 1982. As for the car, well, Röhrl has spent so much time in 911 GT2 RSs of late, he describes everything else – this GT3 RS included – as ‘kindergarten cars’ but, from the viewpoint of a slightly bemused passenger, it seems to suit his style. What I remember most is the noise: the sharpest, cleanest, most savage sound I’ve ever heard a road-going 911 make, and I include the GT2 RS in that. I can’t tell you how the power feeds in because Röhrl kept the motor between 6000rpm and 9000rpm the whole time, but Porsche’s Andreas Preuninger says the extra power starts to manifest itself from about 4500rpm compared to the standard 911 GT3. Then there’s the handling. There appeared to be no angle from which it could not be recovered, no slide that some strange confection of hand and foot work could not correct. How much of that was the car, and how much Walter? That, I am afraid, will have to wait until we drive it for ourselves later in the year.  allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YCNKCG7QSqE?rel=0&controls=0" width="560"> Read more  Porsche 911 GT3 RS review  Porsche 911 GT3 review  Porsche 911 Turbo review  [...]



Cupra Ibiza: images of new Seat sub-brand hot hatch leak

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:53:45 +0000

This is our first look at the Seat Cupra Ibiza Leaked pictures of performance Ibiza confirm that Cupra models will shed Seat branding The first images of the Cupra Ibiza, the new hot hatchbank from new Seat sub-brand Cupra, have leaked online. Seat is turning its Cupra performance model range into a full standalone sub-brand. The firm is known to have been developing a Cupra Ateca SUV, but the leaked images showcase a hot version of Seat's class-leading small car. The images, which come from the Cupra Sport fan Instagram page, show the hot hatch bearing the new brand’s logo, in a bronze colour previewed on the Leon Cupra R - the last Cupra car from Seat. The photos show of the performance version of the Seat Ibiza show that Cupra models won't feature any Seat branding. Large alloy wheels and an aggressive body kit, with carbonfibre aerodynamic additions, mark the car out aesthetically from the standard Ibiza, while the carbon theme continues to the interior, with an airbag cover finished in faux carbonfibre, and a large portion of the dashboard finished to match.  An automatic shifter confirms that the car will get a DSG gearbox, with a manual gearbox also likely available. No engine details are known, but it’s expected that the hot Ibiza will get the same 197bhp, 236lb ft 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as the Polo GTI. Previous Ibiza Cupras were in turn exclusively DSG- and manual-equipped. Former hot Ibizas have been harder-edged than Polo GTI equivalents, with stiffer suspension but the same power and torque as their Volkswagen counterparts.  The Cupra branded version of the Seat Ateca is thought to be making its first appearance at the Geneva motor show next month. The timing of this particular leak hints that the Ibiza will appear alongside it, or shortly afterwards.  Seat confirmed Cupra’s new position as a stand-alone unit in January, revealing an aggressive-looking logo and plans to produce multiple models under the Cupra name, rather than being Seat-branded.  Read more Cupra confirmed as stand-alone performance sub-brand of Seat Seat Leon Cupra R: UK allocation of 306bhp hot hatch sells out Seat Ibiza Cupra 2009-2017 review 2018 Geneva motor show preview Seat Ateca Cupra – 300bhp SUV caught testing at the Nürburgring [...]



LVCHI Auto Venere due at Geneva with 992bhp electric powertrain

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:53:40 +0000

This is the first of two official preview images… Four motors power this four-seat saloon to 62mph in under 3sec Chinese car maker LCVHI will reveal an all-electric four-seater called the Venere at next month’s Geneva motor show. The model, which comes from the Shanghai electric car brand and has been previewed in two images, arrives with four electric motors – two on each axle – fed by a 100kWh lithium ion battery pack. The car features a two-speed gearbox on each axle. The powertrain produces 992bhp and is claimed to be capable of accelerating the Venere to 62mph in under 3sec. Top speed is said to be over 155mph. Measuring 5118mm, the car is 119mm longer than a Range Rover. It is said to have a drag coefficient of just 0.28Cd, helping it achieve a claimed NEDC range of 311 miles. Designed by the Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering in Italy, the car uses a chassis made from carbonfibre, helping the car achieve its 2100kg kerb weight despite the mass of hardware on board. It features two aluminium chassis supports that attach to the front and rear powerplants. 2018 Geneva motor show preview LVCHI said that the car’s cabin features a touchscreen in the tunnel between the driver and passenger in place of a conventional rotary control. The car on show in Geneva will be a production-ready example, although LVCHI has yet to confirm where the model will be offered and for how much. LVCHI was established two years ago in Shanghai. It employs 400 people, with 75% of its workforce focused on research and development towards electric vehicles. More content Tesla Roadster: Elon Musk confirms faster version is due Jaguar XJ to be reborn as high-tech electric flagship allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IgvdU4va3-I" width="560"> [...]



Hyundai to split with online car seller Rockar and expand its own service

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:39:31 +0000

One of Hyundai's stores currently run by Rockar Innovative Korean brand aims to digitise its sales and aftersales services From April, Hyundai will take over its two branded shopping centre stores currently run by Rockar and hand the running of them over to local dealer group Motorline. The two stores, at Bluewater and London’s Stratford-based Westfield centre, will continue to be staffed by ‘angels’ who are only there to offer information and assistance and do not earn commission on car sales. The Rockar partnership aimed to deliver a better customer experience, and the company’s founder Simon Dixon stated: “It has brought in new customers - younger people, more women and people who’ve never bought a new car.” For Hyundai, the biggest achievement has been the expansion of brand awareness, it said; nearly one million people have visited one of the shops since they opened in 2012. However, Hyundai’s research has shown that 95% of people buying cars from a Rockar outlet live less than 10 miles from the store, so Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO of Hyundai UK, said: “It makes the most sense for the stores to be operated by local dealers." Online buying roll-out Alongside taking the shopping centre stores in-house, from April Hyundai also aims to expand its online buying portal Click to Buy across its entire model range and its whole dealer network. Click to Buy was the first totally online car buying offering when it launched in 2016. Since then, more than 500,000 people have visited its website, 50,000 people have completed part-exchange vehicle valuations, 500 have made finance applications and 80 vehicles have been sold. Although Whitehorn believes Click to Buy has been a success, he admitted it has limitations: “It only has a limited product range of around 20 price-pointed vehicles, so it may not offer the particular model or trim level a customer wants to buy.  “So, from April, all Hyundai models and retailers will be online. From then, dealers will be able to offer cars for sale online, setting the level of discount they want. This will enable customers to compare the prices of cars between dealerships online instead of by visiting showrooms.” The Click to Buy service can also be used in showrooms to provide a haggle-free buying experience. Hyundai has also ramped up its online aftersales service, enabling customers to book a car for a service in 10 seconds and six clicks. Customers are updated on the progress of the service by email or text and sent video or photos of relevant parts. Nearly 30% of people are using the online booking service and 30% of those are using it out of normal office hours.   Claire Evans Read more Online car buying services: which brands have one? How to sell your car o[...]



Hyundai Nexo FCEV 2018 review

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:50:46 +0000

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This is the new Hyundai Nexo FCEV
The new Nexo SUV is a showcase for both hydrogen power and autonomous tech. Does that make it an appealing purchase? The twitching wheel is intriguing, and so is your grandstand view of the Hyundai Nexo crisply steering itself through a motorway bend at 80mph. Just as surprising is a door mirror’s image appearing in the centre of the instrument cluster when you signal a direction change and, should you be following another cruising Nexo, the sight of roiling plumes of water vapour dancing from its twin exhausts.The Nexo might be yet another medium size crossover – though a subtly handsome and appealingly detailed specimen – but it is also the standard-bearer for Hyundai’s autonomous driving and low-emission ambitions.Powered by a hydrogen fuell-cell, the Nexo is a replacement for the Hyundai ix35 FCEV crossover, of which a small number were leased in 18 countries since 2013 (Autocar ran one on its long-term fleet). With this all-new FCEV Hyundai hopes to achieve sales in the thousands, while acknowledging that the patchy hydrogen infrastructure and the Nexo’s high price will limit its appeal.Unlike the ix35, the Nexo will be offered with right-hand drive and has been engineered around a dedicated platform allowing its motive hardware to be packaged more economically. The result is a good-sized boot, and generous space in the rear