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    Cupra Ateca 2018 UK review

    Has some pace and precision, and the usual crossover practicalities, but doesn’t have the hallmarks of a great driver’s car. The Cupra Ateca is the first instalment in a new line of performance derivatives from Spanish car firm Seat, all of which will be sold without Seat badges. From here on out, top-of-the-line sporting models from the VW Group’s Iberian outpost will simply be badged ‘Cupra’. As far as anyone knows, however, they will continue to be factory-tuned versions of existing Seat cars rather than entirely distinct models.So does such a move from a southern European volume car maker sound familiar? Well, it should. Because when Fiat stopped using its Abarth nameplate like Volkswagen uses ‘GTI’ or like Honda uses ‘Type R’ and instead set it up as a brand in its own right, it tried something very similar to what Seat is trying now. The first CEO to be installed at the fully-fledged and restored Abarth company was ex-Fiat boss Luca de Meo, appointed some 11 years ago now. And yet, despite its history and having built one or two interesting performance cars since its modern renaissance, Abarth is arguably still in the process of re-establishing itself as a discrete modern car brand today.So, with a product strategy similar to that of Abarth’s but less history to leverage, how long will it be until we get used to the idea of dropping the ‘Seat’ bit from Seat Cupra? Someone ask Luca de Meo – who’s been president of Seat since 2015. He’s done all this before, after all – and it’ll be interesting to watch how his current employer does things differently from his old one.Is it a smart move, for instance, to launch a performance car brand with a warmed-over version of a crossover hatchback? For marketability’s sake it might well be, even if it might have chosen differently to produce instant creditability among performance car aficionados. Crossover hatchbacks are hugely popular, after all – and the Cupra Ateca is one of the first to offer a potentially sporting driving experience packaged along with all of the familiar crossover advantages: space, convenience, and in this particular case four-wheel drive.The car uses much the same ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and Haldex four-wheel-drive system as the current VW Golf R; but with 296bhp on tap it’s slightly less powerful than the Golf, and being a crossover it’s got a higher centre of gravity and is carrying a hundred-and-something-kilogram relative weight penalty around with it.View the full article
  3. South Korean manufacturer is aiming to take a lead in fuel cell technology - and not just for cars The Hyundai Motor Group will invest £5.5 billion in developing hydrogen fuel cell technology, as part of plans to vastly increase the number of cars it sells that use the powertrain. The Korean firm, which presides over Hyundai, Genesis and Kia, is one of the major proponents of fuel cell powertrains, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water the only byproduct. Hyundai expects global demand for fuel cell powertrains to grow to around two million units per year by 2030, and to capitalise on this is planning a major investment in both research and expanding its hydrogen facilities. This includes expanding its fuel cell system production capacity to 700,000 units per year, with plans to build up to 500,000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) per year, for both passenger and commercial purposes. The group is also aiming to use fuel cell systems to power other vehicles, including drones, ships and forklift trucks, and for other uses, such as power generation and storage. “We will expand our role beyond the automotive transportation sector and play a pivotal role in global society’s transformation to clean energy by helping make hydrogen an economically viable energy source,” said Hyundai Motor Group vice chairman Eui-sun Chung. The group launched its first machine built on a dedicated fuel cell architecture, the Hyundai Nexo, earlier this year, following the ix35 Fuel Cell from 2013. Kia is set to launch its own FCEV using the platform in 2021. Take-up of hydrogen vehicles has been relatively slow due to their high costs (the Nexo is likely to cost £65,000 when it goes on sale in the UK next year), but the powertrain system benefits from economies of scale due to the costs of buying some of the key materials needed, so increasing volume should reduce prices. Part of the group's FCEV Vision 2030 plan is the construction of a new fuel cell system plant in Chungju, South Korea, which will help the Hyundai Mobis parts supply firm increase its output of the systems from 3000 to 40,000 units by 2022. In June, Hyundai Motor Group reached an agreement with the Volkswagen Group to develop hydrogen technology collaboratively. Read more Hyundai Motor Group and Volkswagen Group team up to develop hydrogen technology John O'Groats to Lands End in a hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai Hyundai Nexo UK first drive View the full article
  4. Porsche will add both mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the new 911 during the sports car's seven-year lifecycle Porsche has futureproofed its new eighth-generation 911 with a series of engineering measures that will allow it to support both mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains during its planned seven-year lifecycle, according to its head of sports car development, August Achleitner. Although the 992-series 911 will initially be offered with an updated version of the old model’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat six petrol engine, delivering 444bhp in both rear-wheel drive Carrera S and four-wheel drive Carrera 4S models, Achleitner has confirmed that development is progressing on a hybridised version that will provide the iconic sports car with the capability to run exclusively on electric power for limited distances. New 2019 Porsche 911: eighth generation sports car revealed “We’ve taken the experience we gained with hybrid versions of the Cayenne and Panamera, as well as the 918 Spyder, and applied it to the new 911," Achleitner said. "In the future, this will allow us to offer it with pure-electric capability.” Despite its famously tight mechanical packaging, Porsche has successfully modified the rear-mounted drivetrain of the 911 to allow the housing of a disc-shaped electric motor within the rear section of its eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Key among the changes enabling this is a brand-new gearset similar to that already used by the second-generation Panamera and Cayenne. Achleitner, who is set to retire at the end of 2018, says the new gearset is almost 100mm shorter than the old one, providing space in the rear of the gearbox to house the motor. As well as adopting a new gearset, the ZF-produced eight-speed PDK unit also has a higher torque rating than its predecessor at “over 800Nm [500lb ft]”, in a move that Achleitner says is necessary to allow the 911 hybrid to handle the strong torque loading of the motor. The 911’s four-wheel drive system has also been reworked to allow up to 50% of drive to be apportioned to the front wheels. A further change centres around the brake booster. Similar to that used by the discontinued 918 Spyder, it forgoes the electromechanical operation of the previous 911's unit for a fully electric set-up. This allows a much more significant recuperation of energy, both under braking and on the overrun. Achleitner wouldn’t be drawn on the specification of the petrol-electric hybrid 911, but he points to the Panamera S E-Hybrid as a performance reference. The more powerful of two hybrid Panamera models, this has an electric motor developing 134bhp and 218lb ft. This is combined with the 542bhp and 568lb ft of its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine to provide an overall system output of 671bhp and 626lb ft. Applying the power and torque developed by the Panamera S E Hybrid’s electric motor to the new 911 Carrera S would provide it with a theoretical system output of 578bhp and 686lb ft – some 21bhp less but a significant 133lb ft more than the previous-generation 911 Turbo S. This model had a claimed 0-62mph time of 2.9sec and top speed of 205mph. The battery used to power the electric motor in the 911 hybrid is expected to be housed within the front. Despite bringing added weight, this is expected to greatly improve the weight distribution of standard petrol engine-only versions of the new 911, which is put at 39:61 in the initial 1515kg Carrera S model. The lithium ion battery used by the Panamera S E-Hybrid has a capacity of 14.1kWh, sufficient to provide the 2410kg five-door liftback with an official electric-only driving range of up to 31 miles on the old NEDC test procedure. Another advantage brought by the adoption of a battery pack in the front of the 911 is a reduction in the centre of gravity. Nothing is official at this stage, but insiders suggest early 911 hybrid prototype mules feature a smaller fuel tank than conventional models, allowing the battery to be mounted low down within the car's front end. Read more: First ride: Porsche 911 2019 prototype Porsche 911 GT3 spied in near-production bodywork View the full article
  5. Volkswagen's family saloon and estate have been caught winter testing ahead of the car's mid-2019 unveiling Volkswagen is due to follow next year's reveal of the Golf Mk8 with an updated Passat range, and new spyshots show the car being put through its paces. Test mules for the Ford Mondeo rival are hard at work cold weather testing in the Arctic circle, and a number of tweaks to the exterior are hidden behind camouflage. The front-end will be brought into line with the yet-to-be-revealed Golf, so expect reprofiled headlights and new grille and bumper designs. At the rear, redesigned tail-lamps will feature. Inside the Passat will benefit from VW's latest infotainment system, found in the facelifted current Golf and new Touareg. It's larger, more feature-packed and brings gesture control. Expect the usual trim and material revisions, too, but it's likely Volkswagen's wide-reaching cost-cutting plan will reduce the number of trim level and engine choices. Speaking of engines, we know for sure that VW will be drafting in the firm's new 1.5 TSI Evo petrol engine in place of the old 1.4. It's plausible that diesel engine choice may shrink, although the fleet-heavy mix of Passat sales means it's still expected to be the volume fuel. One way VW intends to decrease the Passat's CO2 emission rating is by offering the plug-in hybrid powertrain in cheaper variants than the existing GTE version, which was a victim of the WLTP emissions regulation change. The powertrain itself will receive minor improvements including a larger lithium-ion battery, allowing for a greater all-electric range. It's also likely that VW will integrate 48v mild hybrid tech into certain variants, as it will on the next Golf. Read more: 2019 Volkswagen Golf Mk8: All the details of next-gen hatchback Volkswagen ID Lounge: Luxury SUV will lead electric line-up View the full article
  6. Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry This week's gossip from the automotive industry brings news of challenges facing Kia's upcoming electric cars, the impact an electric delivery van like VW's Buzz Cargo concept could make to emissions, and possible powertrains for any future Bugatti hypercars. Can Kia keep up? Kia reckons the biggest setback for its new electric crossovers, the Soul EV and e-Niro, in the UK won’t be demand but battery supply. Representatives for the firm reckon they won’t get hold of more than 1000 examples of the e-Niro in the first full year of it going on sale, while Soul EV numbers are yet to be decided as production capacity for the battery packs could increase. Will Volkswagen deliver? Volkswagen revealed some interesting stats at the Los Angeles motor show off the back of the US debut of the electric ID Buzz Cargo concept. It said the American population had 11.7 billion parcels delivered last year – an average of 37 each – delivered by vans that contribute some 17% of the nation’s pollution and congestion, hitting home the need for electrification. The face of future Audis Get used to seeing that big black front end, previewed with the E-tron GT concept on future electric-powered Audis. It plays a dual role of providing visual differentiation from Audi’s convention models, but also the ability to hide the various black sensors for the variety of autonomous assist features. Bugatti’s perfect powertrain Bugatti boss Stefan Winkelmann says the brand will electrify its models when the technology is mature enough to support its demands for a truly “cutting-edge” powertrain. Pure EVs were hinted at as being preferable to hybrid solutions, but such a powertrain would currently not be able to support the speed and range necessary for a Chiron replacement without being too big and heavy. Read more Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo van makes its motor show debut at LA​ Bugatti boss hints at second model line and hybrid Chiron plans The Kia e-Niro is an EV revolution View the full article
  7. Go beyond the plastic seat covers and tyre shine to find out when your new car was actually built Stringent sales quotas for dealerships mean age is not always as it seems when you buy from a showroom We don’t really do brand new cars in this column, for obvious reasons. But the thing is, when you go to the showroom and buy a shiny car, how brand new is it anyway? Three years after Saab officially died in 2011, new ones were still being registered in 2014. I have focused on this because reader Mr Brooks told me his tale of just such a vehicle, which seemed to have been left behind. “I thought I had bought a brand new Jeep Cherokee on 25 September 2015 only to discover that it was actually a 14-month-old car that had been parked in a compound with its brakes locked on,” he says. “The leather was shot and dried out and the brakes had to be replaced. The tyres had flat spots, too.” Of course, it all gets complicated and Jeep has a different view: that Mr Brooks knew how old the car was and benefited from a discount as a result. Mr Brooks refutes that and says it was only at the service when the brakes failed after 5000 miles that the workshop manager revealed just how old the Jeep actually was. This is a matter for FCA customer services, but the point is that, unless you have actually specced the new vehicle and waited for it to be built, then you don’t know how old the car you are buying really is. Dealers don’t like to have stock and usually they don’t have very much, because it costs them money. But they might have to over-order certain models because of allocations and that is when higher spec cars can end up in muddy fields. This means, unless it’s made crystal clear to you on what date the vehicle was actually made, it is always best to ask. The Vehicle Identification Number is the birth date and the dealer should be able to tell you when it left the factory and give you the opportunity to quiz them on what it has been up to in the intervening period. I would like to think that you are an avid enough Autocar reader to know about anorak stuff, like midlife model facelifts, engine upgrades and specification changes. Perhaps the best knowledge is what cars are not selling. Anyone who knows where the new, unsold vehicles are parked – usually it is airfields – will have an idea of which models need their age verified. Right now, sadly, it is JLR products among those clogging up the taxi lanes and you can get an XJ with more than £20,000 off. A couple of years ago, we did mention huge deals on pre-registered Jeeps and maybe that was a warning that might have helped Mr Brooks. What we almost bought this week Mercedes 190E: Those were the days – when brands such as Mercedes built bulletproof cars and made you pay extra for luxuries. This 1991 190E with 98,000 miles for a princely £1500 is a prime example. Imagine those springy seats, the click of the controls, the thunk of the body as you tap it and that reassuringly vocal four-pot. Misty-eyed? Us? Tales from Ruppert’s garage Mini Cooper, mileage - 102,445: The mileage has not changed because my oldest car hasn’t been anywhere recently. I had to go somewhere, though, and that was the machine shop to get the head back. That’s how I found myself at Engine and Diesel Services in Norwich, which was established in 1947. The job? Refacing the cylinder head and supplying a new cylinder head gasket. That all came to £86.44 including VAT. It looked pretty good, but as it was hygienically sealed in a plastic bag and getting foreign bodies into the waterways was how it all started, I just stuck it in the boot of the Baby Shark. Next stop, the workshop. Reader’s ride Austin A35: Steve Lee is a properly good mechanic who told me that my head gasket failure is a real rarity and it is usually merely faulty, or a bad rebuild. Well, he does know his A Series stuff and here’s the proof: “I have a 1959 Austin A35 running a turbocharged 1275 MG Midget engine, essentially the same engine as your Mini but mounted front to back. This engine runs 16 psi boost, has an 11-stud head and a standard MG Metro turbo head gasket and has never had any form of gasket trouble.” Readers’ questions Question: I want the clear, bright light of an LED headlight. Can I fit aftermarket LED headlights to my car and bring it up to date for little money? Rory Swift, Berwick Answer: Best not to, Rory. The MOT comes down hard on doctored lights. In the case of aftermarket high intensity discharge lights, for example, it insists they are installed in a light unit designed and approved for their use (in other words, the original one). If not, the tester is instructed to reject it. You can assume this rule also applies to LED headlights. It’s why you’ll see aftermarket ones advertised with the warning ‘Not road legal’ or ‘Off-road use only’. John Evans Question: What should I look for when choosing a car cover? Paul Smith, via email Answer: A timely question, Paul. With the typical garage now stacked with stuff too good to throw away but unlikely ever to be used, the treasured motor must take its chances on the driveway. So covering it is a good call and we’d recommend you consider the following when choosing one: ‘breathability’, protection against general knocks and scrapes, and robust ties and straps that will make it fit snugly so it doesn't rub the paint in a wind or, worse, blow away never to be seen again. John Evans Read more Up to 20% of new cars are pre-registered by dealers​ Winter car maintenance tips​ James Ruppert on used cars: how to snag a showroom star at a low price​ View the full article
  8. The fifth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI is still a suitably impressive hot hatchback, but what should you look for on a sub-£5000 example? Of the seven generations of Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Mk5 (2004-08) ranks among the best. No – make that the best. Last year, this magazine reviewed all seven and declared a good used Mk5 superior to a Mk7 for performance per pound. Last time we looked, PistonHeads was showing a privately advertised 2005-reg three-door for £4950. The metallic grey car with VW BBS Monza alloy wheels has full service history and has done 86,000 miles. The current owner (its third) has had it three years and accounted for 18,000 of them so should know it inside out. He’s selling it with his personal numberplate. So far so tempting, but it’s worth pointing out a used Mk5’s typical trouble spots. Like rusty front wheel arches caused by sodden sound-deadening material, corroded BBS alloys, worn seat bolsters and irregular rear tyre wear caused by poor wheel geometry. Find a used Golf GTI on PistonHeads Turning to the engine, the camshafts can become noisy, a problem often caused by a worn cam follower. It upsets the fuel pump’s timing, allowing it to spray neat fuel over the camshafts. The inlet valves can coke up, preventing them seating properly and so increasing oil consumption. Ask the seller how much of the stuff it uses each month. The turbo can sound rough and lose pressure, reducing power by up to 50bhp. If you’ve driven a healthy GTI before, you’ll notice it. Both problems are caused by a failed diverter valve. If the engine idles badly and you can hear air escaping when you turn off the engine, the pressure control valve is up the creak. Best you know now before you hand over any readies. Alfa Romeo 159, £5995: Really, the rare 1.75 TBi is the one to have but this 159 2.2 JTS Ti saloon, registered in 2007 and with one owner, will do in its absence. It has done 59,000 miles, has a full service history and costs £5995. One thing: if that engine’s chain is noisy, run a mile. Fiat Multipla, £4495: The original Multipla must be a future classic MPV but it’s rare. Not so the facelifted version of 2004. We found a tidy, 2010-reg 1.9 JTD Eleganza with 55,000 miles. The body is just as usefully boxy as the original and no other MPV has such versatile seating. Westfield, £6250: Our recent Caterham buying guide set us thinking about the cheaper alternative, a Westfield. Seconds later, we found this narrow-bodied SE, a 1992-reg car powered by the superb Vauxhall C20XE engine. Check for signs of careful construction. BMW 745i, £3999: This cut-price alternative to our 740Ld long-term test car caught our eye. It’s a 2002 car with 81,000 miles and full service history. The 4.4-litre V8 produces 328bhp and can muster 0-62mph in 6.3sec. Economy is a reasonably impressive 25.9mpg, too. Auction watch Volkswagen XL1: This XL1 is sure to have created a stir when it went under the hammer recently. The slippery plug-in diesel hybrid, a 2015-reg car with next to no miles and registered to VW, made £103,167. It’s believed to be the first XL1 to be sold at auction. It’s not clear whether it was the same car being touted around VW dealers recently with a sticker price of £99,999. A VW dealer near Autocar’s offices had it on display for a while, but far from drawing a crowd, it sat ignored in the showroom while the punters crawled around the shiny new T-Roc alongside it. Get it while you can BMW 320d M Sport, price new - £38,310, price now - £31,990: Already, BMW’s 3 Series saloon configurator is set up for the new model that’s due to hit showrooms next March, which means time’s running out to bag a pre-reg bargain on a run-out model. Even so, we found one: a 2018/68-reg 320d M Sport in Sapphire Black with just 15 miles on the clock, priced at £31,990. The equivalent 2019 model is £38,310 out of the box, a price that includes the Technology pack. Both put out 190bhp but the newer car is quicker, cleaner and more economical. You pays your money… Clash of the classifieds Brief: Inspired by Dan Prosser’s cheap Nissan Micra, I want a £1000 banger. Vauxhall Vectra 3.2 V6, £995: Ordinarily, you’d buy a Vauxhall Vectra because it was cheap and you were desperate. But while this one is cheap, it is redeemed by a lusty 208bhp 3.2-litre V6, low mileage and a clean MOT. A Honda Prelude in good nick would be worth having, but Mark’s ropey and remarkably rusty example looks like it’ll be hiding all sorts of hidden horrors. No, I’d rather have this Vectra (can’t believe I said that) because it’s younger, faster and fitter than his pensionable Honda. Max Adams Honda Prelude 2.2 VTEC, £750: I know many found the looks of the Mk5 Prelude implausible but underneath that body is cause for much revelry. There’s that wonderful 2.2-litre VTEC engine that pumps out seamless power and revs to high heaven, for starters, and the car is sublime in corners, with ultra-responsive four-wheel steering and a centre of gravity so low that it’s located somewhere near Melbourne. At £750, it’s a bargain, and it’s an ’onda so you’ll have years of trouble-free motoring to come. Mark Pearson Verdict: That Honda Prelude is a special car and much cheaper to tax, but the rust… I’ll take the Vauxhall Vectra and hang the running costs. Read more Volkswagen Golf GTI: which generation beats them all?​ Used car buying guide: Volkswagen Golf GTI Volkswagen XL1 review​ View the full article
  9. Pininfarina claims its ultra-exclusive electric hypercar will break 250mph, releases images ahead of Geneva 2019 reveal Automobili Pininfarina has released new images of its upcoming electric hypercar, now officially called Battista, and claimed that the 1900bhp EV will be capable of over 250mph. Originally codenamed the PF0, the hypercar has been named after Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who founded the Italian design house in 1930. It's now run by Battista's grandson Paolo, who said it was a "dream come true" to launch such a car as a tribute. "My grandfather always had the vision that one day there would be a stand-alone range of Pininfarina-branded cars", he continued. With 'twice the output of a Formula 1 car', the Battista is set to be able to hit 62mph in less than 2.0sec and 186mph in less than 12.0sec. Automobili Pininfarina is referring to the model as "the most powerful Italian performance car ever". Michael Perschke, an ex-BMW and Audi boss and now Automobili Pininfarina’s CEO, says the Battista’s range will be at least 450km and the company will be looking at providing a charging system that can replenish the battery to 80% in just 40 minutes or even less. While Automobili Pininfarina’s head office is located in Munich, Germany, the Battista will be 'handmade in Italy' at the company facility on the outskirts of Turin. It's planned to go on sale in autumn 2020, priced between $2-2.5 million (around £1.6-2.0m). The car is built around a carbonfibre monocoque with the battery packs located both between the front seats and behind the rear bulkhead. Autocar understands that much of the battery and electric drive technology is being adapted from the Croatian company Rimac Automobili, which is 10% owned by Porsche Engineering Group. Sources also hinted that the final car will utilise brand-name equipment, such as braking systems and seats, from well-established high-end component makers. The business plan is for Automobili Pininfarina to produce the car ‘asset light’, leveraging existing technology and using technology partnerships rather than sinking huge sums into proprietary technology. Most of the company’s efforts will go into interior and exterior design and fit and finish. Turning such potentially fearsome performance into something useable in a road-legal car is the responsibility of ex-Formula 1 and Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld competed in 183 F1 races over 11 years with six different teams and will be the main development driver for the Battista. Just 150 Battistas will be produced. Of the 50 cars allocated to the North American market, many have already been reserved after a mock-up was shown to potential buyers. Another 50 will be allocated to the European markets and 50 will be shared between the Middle East and Far East markets. A classic two-seat supercar with a long rear deck and short nose, Pininfarina insiders accept some aspects of the car’s design are reminiscent of Ferrari - particularly around the main cabin area - but say that is to be accepted considering how closely Pininfarina’s design arm works with the Maranello brand. However, Luca Borgogno, design boss at the Automobili Pininfarina division, says the Battista also marks the debut of a new design language, dubbed Pura, which will place an emphasis on elegance and simplicity, in reaction to the aggressively modernist aesthetic that currently holds sway in the supercar market. Although the Battista has five radiators, the cooling capacity needed for an EV would appear to be less onerous than for a combustion-engined hypercar, which means the exterior isn't dominated by large grilles and intakes. The main intakes - situated in front of the rear wheels - have been impressively well hidden as part of the styling. The full-size model seen by Autocar also had twin active rear spoilers, which can also act as an air brake, but these will be modified to act as single unit on the production car. Active aerodynamics also extend to the car’s nose, with whole of the upper section of the nose cone acting as a spoiler that can lift up. Along with a completely flat underbody, the Battista has an adjustable diffuser under the rear of the car. An interior mock-up showed a cabin dominated by two screens mounted high up on each side of the steering wheel, directly in the driver’s view. The Battista is likely to be the first of a number of cars from the new Automobili Pininfarina brand, which was launched after Anand Mahindra, owner of the Indian Mahindra group, bought more than 70% of parent Pininfarina SpA. Sources say that the Battista is intended to boost the Pininfarina badge as a stand-alone marque and that the company has already mapped out a three-stage production plan. The Battista be only the second series-produced car to wear the Pininfarina badge. The first was the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider which was sold as Pininfarina-badged model between 1983 and 1985, its final two years of production. Previously released sketches have previewed the car's all-carbonfibre design from the rear and interior, showing a minimalist and driver-focused layout for the two-seater. A video (below) shows Paolo Pininfarina describing the car's long-awaited launch as part of "an American dream". SUVs TO FOLLOW Previously referred to as Project Montana, Automobili Pininfarina will follow its top model (which was previewed by the H2 Speed, pictured below) with three SUVs that are all set to arrive within five years. The biggest, codenamed PF-One, will be a high-performance answer to the Lamborghini Urus. The other two will be rivals to the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan respectively. All will use their own version of the same modular underpinnings. The fastest SUV will offer around 940bhp from a battery pack of about 140kWh, enabling a 0-62mph time of less than 3.0sec. Its smaller SUV siblings are likely to use lower-output versions of the same powertrain but their performance will still be at the sharp end of their segments. An insider told Autocar: “Pininfarina has always made very special cars, but usually for other people. When we have sold cars ourselves, like the Pininfarina Sergio [of which six were built in 2015 and sold for a reputed $3m each], we have always done very well. It is not difficult to see what the next step should be. The cars will be exclusive and very beautiful.” A source said that the Pininfarina car brand will be given an initial investment of $100m (about £71.6m) from Mahindra to fund the creation of its model range. Mahindra intends to invest a total of about £358m into Automobili Pininfarina over five years. The new brand will work independently of its parent’s EV division, Mahindra Electric, with operations based in Europe. FROM DESIGN HOUSE TO MANUFACTURER Pininfarina's new car brand comes after Paolo Pininfarina said at the 2018 Geneva motor show that he hoped the dream of his grandfather, company founder Battista Farina, to build cars would “come true in the not-distant future”. “Establishing Automobili Pininfarina as a leading sustainable luxury brand is our strategic vision and will be a dream come true," Perschke said. "It will combine 88 years of iconic design heritage with leading-edge electric vehicle competence of the Mahindra group and Mahindra Formula E racing. It’s a powerful combination." Perschke has more than 25 years of industry experience, and is joined at the helm by chief operating officer Per Svantesson, who has previously worked at Volvo. Speaking to Autocar, he said the company was embracing the challenge of creating Pininfarina’s first production car: “We’re aiming to do something new and modern, without losing the DNA of the company of doing timeless designs. Look at the Cisitalia: it’s 71 years old. “We want to make sure that years from now, people will look at the car and say: 'Wow, it’s beautiful.' That this the kind of design that will hold its timelessness in 30-50 years.” Read more New Pininfarina SUV and saloon designs to become first Vietnamese cars Pininfarina to launch electric super-SUV using Rivian tech Pininfarina H2 Speed concept to enter production as track-only hypercar View the full article
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  11. The Motorists Guide

    Porsche Macan 2019 review

    The Macan has been the driver’s choice in its class for four straight years. Is this new one about to make it five? How important is the Macan to Porsche? I think the following, based on the most recent annual sales figures, answers the question nicely.Five years ago, Porsche didn’t have a Macan: last year, it outsold not just the 911, the 718 Boxster and Cayman and the Panamera, but also all of the above, combined. Fully 40% of all cars made by Porsche in 2017 were Macans.What’s more, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Almost all cars follow similar sales curves through their lives: a sharp spike when introduced followed by gentle decline as other, newer rivals become available. Not so the Macan. Launched in 2014, it has outsold itself in every consecutive year it has been on sale.So you can imagine that the briefing pack for those charged with developing this new Macan came with a command on the cover not to cock it up. Probably in gold embossed letters. I can conceive also that when it came to signing off the budget for this second-generation Macan, the phrase ‘don’t fix what ain’t broke’, or its Swabian equivalent, was wheeled out more than once. Which is why this new car plays it bullet straight.Unsurprisingly, then, the car is more refreshed than renewed. Visual changes – including the new wraparound rear lighting that has become part of the Porsche design motif, new bumpers and headlights, the grille and rear diffuser – are restricted to those that can be achieved without the massive retooling costs required for alterations to the body-in-white.Inside, you’ll find Porsche’s new corporate architecture or, at least, most of it. Analogue instruments are replaced by a 4.8in TFT screen, while Porsche’s 10.9in central touchscreen is now responsible for all information, navigation and entertainment functions. But it stops short of providing touch-sensitive panels for switchgear and continues to rely on buttons instead.Porsche has also filled the car with the latest electronic refinements such as LED headlights, a ‘traffic jam’ mode offering far better low-speed cruise control in stop-start traffic, impressive-sounding ‘swarm-based’ traffic data and a dedicated off-road navigation app.What you’ll not find in this or any of the other Macans that will be introduced over the next year or so is any kind of diesel engine. Porsche has turned its back on the black pump despite the fact that the latest diesels are as clean as petrol engines, come with torque characteristics ideal for SUVs and have far better fuel consumption and 20% lower levels of CO2 emissions. You might speculate that, post-Dieselgate, the suppliers to Porsche of such engines within the Volkswagen Group no longer enjoy the unquestioning confidence of Zuffenhausen, but I couldn’t possibly comment.Whatever the truth, the fact is that the absence of a diesel Macan when almost all its rivals remain faithful to the fuel is going to make its life harder, at least in the UK and mainland Europe, where diesel sales may be in decline but are still strong, especially in the high and heavy world of SUVs. Bear in mind, too, that unlike the Cayenne and Panamera, there will be no hybrid Macans in this generation to take up the slack.There will be a Macan S, with a 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 motor unrelated to the similarly sized engine in the outgoing car, and a 2.9-litre Macan Turbo with 434bhp (the smaller capacity due to a need for a stronger bottom end and therefore fractionally reduced stroke). Doubtless in time, there will be a GTS somewhere in the middle too. But all that’s for later.View the full article
  12. The Motorists Guide

    Porsche Macan S 2019 review

    Still every bit the class leader for handling agility, but with a level of refinement that makes it usable everyday Having been launched in 2014, the Porsche Macan recorded its best ever year of sales in 2017.With upwards of 97,000 of these entry-level Porsche five-doors having been sold around the globe in those 12 months alone - an outright record for any Porsche model - demand for the Macan is showing little sign of slowing down. By the end of this year, Porsche expects close to 400,000 to have found homes over the past five years.Given that the Macan was still proving to be such an unqualified hit among compact SUV buyers, we shouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that this midlife facelift amounts to not much more than a tweaked front end with LED lights, plus a restyled rear that now incorporates a full-width light bar – a nod to the Panamera and Cayenne that have been replaced wholesale in the past 18 months or so.Within the cabin, there is now a 10.9in touchscreen and the latest Porsche Communications Management software, which again keeps the Macan in line with Porsche’s more expensive family models, although its centre console is still the festival of buttons that Porsche has moved away from with the Panamera and Cayenne.No specific claims are made for revised spring rates here or tweaked damper curves there, apart from the usual fine tuning that goes on throughout any car’s life cycle. The V6 engine in this mid-range Macan S, however, is new, borrowed from higher up Porsche’s model range with its turbocharger located within the valley formed by the two banks of cylinders for sharper throttle response. The 3.0-litre unit develops 349bhp and 354lb ft of torque.View the full article
  13. Expect an extensively updated A4 range towards the end of 2019, with new tech and mild-hybrid engines Audi’s A4 range received a minor update earlier this year, but the firm is now readying a more extensive facelift package for the 2020 model year. Spied winter testing ahead of a reveal some time in 2019, this A4 Avant prototype sports some light disguise, but visual changes already obvious include a set of reprofiled lights and bumpers, a wider and lower grille and, at the rear, a new diffuser design. The changes have been conceived to bring the A4 into line with the newer models in Audi’s range, such as the A6. More extensive changes are expected inside, with the A4 likely to move to Audi’s latest dashboard design demonstrated by the latest A6. This will ditch the current car’s rotary dial control for the infotainment system in favour of a dual-touchscreen layout, splitting the climate controls into a lower touch capacitive display, with the multimedia and navigation functions operated by a larger upper screen. Details of what changes we’ll see under the engine bay are still under wraps, but it’s almost certain Audi will introduce a range of mild-hybrid powertrains to the A4 to allow the car to meet more stringent fleet emissions legislation, coming into force for 2021. Like the A6, base 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will feature a simple 12v set-up that will bring incremental improvements to efficiency, but the six-cylinder variants will utilise a more advanced 48v system, allowing the engine to be switched off during coasting and decelerating. Expect both engines to claim better fuel consumption, though it’s not yet clear if performance will increase. The current A4 was introduced to the UK in autumn 2015, so is now behind the curve compared to its main rivals, the recently facelift Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3 Series, which has moved into a new generation. Audi also has more challenges on its hands in the shape of the facelifted Jaguar XE, also due next year around the same time as the A4. Read more: 2019 Audi A3 to feature 'big time' changes Audi E-tron Quattro 2018 review View the full article
  14. Volkswagen's eight-generation Golf will head upmarket with more space and the most advanced tech the brand offers The next Volkswagen Golf has been teased in the first official image ahead of the car's expected debut in the middle of next year. A sketch of the new car, released by Volkswagen, shows an outline of the side profile of VW's Ford Focus rival. The shape appear broadly similar to today's car, but a new front grille and light design - previewed by the latest Touareg SUV - is hinted at. The Mk8 Golf, which will go into production in the autumn, will have levels of fuel-saving technology, connectivity, autonomous driving capability and refinement which is intended to render the mainstream competition second best. The Golf’s exterior styling, previously hinted at by a sketch shown at a suppliers’ meeting at the start of the year, will be an evolutionary design that again emphasises a wide, flowing C-pillar. There is expected to be a little more sharp-edged definition to the bodywork, following the template of the latest Polo. The GTI version will feature large corner air vents in its lower bumper, as previewed by the GTI TCR concept earlier this year. VW will use the Mk8 Golf to introduce a powerful 48 mild-hybrid powertrain, most likely on the R and GTI models – which will offer a previously unseen brand of instant performance – and a new range of micro-hybrids. There will also be versions powered by compressed natural gas, but there won’t be a pure-electric Golf because VW will begin introducing its new ID range of electric cars shortly after the Mk8 is launched. The model’s range will be simplified, with the three door and estate body styles the most likely candidates for the axe. With consumers increasingly turning to SUVs and crossovers, and with makers of large mainstream cars under significant cost and profit pressures, insiders say the Golf Mk8 will attempt to lure buyers who are downsizing from larger cars and premium models such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, offering more cabin and luggage space than is normal in this segment, outstanding refinement and exceptional fuel economy. The new Golf will have a noticeably wider track and even more room in the already spacious cabin, as well as a marginally longer wheelbase and a bigger boot than its hatchback rivals. The car is also expected to have an interior that’s almost completely devoid of conventional switches, at least on the higher-end models. VW design boss Klaus Bischoff has been quoted as saying that the Mk8’s interior is a “total” digital environment, with the steering wheel the only conventional component. Touchscreens will replace the traditional instrument binnacle and the climate controls. Even the headlight switch could be replaced by a touchpad. Update of Mk7 platform The basis for the next Golf is an updated version of the versatile MQB platform used by today’s model. VW insiders suggest it will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal than the existing structure for a 50kg reduction in weight. Planned modifications to the construction process are also said to provide more streamlined production and reduced build times as part of a strategy aimed at improving the economy of scale and profitability of VW’s best-selling model. Although there is still some time to go before the new Golf’s introduction, VW says it has already locked in the car’s design, which has been developed under the guidance of the company’s latest design boss, Michael Mauer, who was responsible for the styling of the current Porsche line-up. Those privy to the latest clay model mock-ups say the new Golf advances the classic hatchback look of its predecessors, with familiar proportions, reinterpreted details and simple surfacing to make it instantly recognisable as a Golf. Key styling features described to Autocar include a thin horizontal grille bookmarked by smaller angular headlights than those in use today, with a distinctive LED daytime running light graphic. The new car is also said to have more pronounced wheel arches and a heavily defined side swage line, in combination with typically wide C-pillars and a relatively upright tailgate. Petrol and diesel engines The new Golf Mk8 will get a range of 12V mild-hybrid engines for the entry-level and mid-range variants. The 1.5-litre TSI ACT petrol unit will be carried over from today’s Golf Mk7 but this will be joined by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor and an all-new 1.5-litre diesel, which is also likely to be sold as a 12V mild hybrid. Autocar understands that the assistance of the mild-hybrid system’s starter/ generator lessens the load on the engine and reduces the spikes of NOx emissions from the diesel’s exhaust. One of the more intriguing rumours is that the 1.0-litre petrol engines might not be turbocharged at all, but could instead rely solely on direct assistance from a belt-driven starter/generator motor (SGM). The thinking is that the SGM will provide enough extra power and torque for the base engines, allowing the turbocharger, intercooler and associated piping and control systems to be dropped. The Golf Mk8’s diesel line-up will include the new 2.0 TDI (codenamed EA288 Evo) engine. VW says the base version of this unit has been significantly re-engineered to reduce exhaust pollution. There is a more efficient and responsive turbocharger and the engine is lighter, loses less heat and has reduced internal friction. More important, the engine’s particulate filter and catalyst have been resized for improved performance, particularly over time. VW claimed the engine offers an average of 9% more torque and power together with an average 10g/km decrease in CO2 emissions. The firm said the new diesel unit will come in versions ranging from 135bhp to 201bhp and will be seen in Audi models before being installed in the Golf Mk8 next year. Crucial ID concept - click here for more VW has already released details of the Golf’s 1.5-litre TGI Evo natural gas engine, production of which starts this year. Based on the 1.5-litre TSI engine, the TGI unit uses the same Miller cycle valve timing and a variable geometry turbocharger. It develops 129bhp and 148lb ft from 1400rpm when installed in the Golf Mk7. VW claims that this engine emits about 93g/km of CO2 on the NEDC cycle when it is hooked up to the standard- issue dual-clutch gearbox. Natural gas engines are also lower in NOx and particulate emissions than diesel and cars can be refilled from the gas mains network via small wall-mounted compressors. However, the lack of a natural gas infrastructure in the UK means this variant is unlikely to reach these shores. The new or upgraded powertrains will be offered in combination with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, depending on their configuration. Alongside front-wheel drive, VW also plans to offer optional four-wheel drive (which it calls 4Motion) in selected models, like it has done in the previous four generations of its perennial best seller. Two kinds of mild hybrid The big surprise for the Golf Mk8 drivetrains is that VW says it will be investing in both 12V and 48V mild-hybrid systems after the company re-engineered the Golf family MQB electrical architecture (one of the more expensive component systems in a car) to accommodate a 48V system. Until now, 48V mild hybrids have only been used in premium VW Group cars such as the Bentley Bentayga and Audi SQ7. Frank Welsch, VW’s technical development boss, has already revealed the firm’s new ‘affordable’ 48V system, which uses a belt-integrated starter/ generator/alternator to assist the engine by providing extra power and torque directly to the engine’s crankshaft. The key to adopting 48V in a mass-market car was VW and its suppliers developing a less expensive and more compact set-up, which uses a small DC-to-DC converter and small lithium ion battery. Welsch said the 48V set-up allows much greater amounts of energy to be recuperated than with 12V systems, which means significantly improved fuel economy. These new mild-hybrid engines can also start and stop extremely quickly, which will allow the Golf Mk8 to switch in and out of coasting mode when driving, making further fuel savings. GTI set to go hybrid, too The next-generation Golf GTI is also set to adopt a mild hybrid powertrain. The adoption of the 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor on the new hot hatchback are set to make the upcoming model the most powerful series-production Golf GTI yet. Although the new Golf GTI is still almost two years away from introduction, sources close to VW research and development boss Frank Welsch have revealed that the initial performance targets point to a power output similar to the 261bhp of the limited-edition Golf GTI Clubsport. Scheduled to go on sale in the UK in 2020, the Mk8 Golf GTI will retain an internal combustion engine: VW’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit. However, the introduction of the 48V electric system will allow the four-cylinder engine to receive comprehensive modifications. It’s likely that the exhaust gas turbocharger of today’s model will make way for an electrically operated compressor that offers improved low-end response and a broader plateau of torque for added flexibility. Additionally, the integrated starter motor will allow VW to provide the front-wheel-drive Golf GTI with a so-called boost function, in which an electric motor mounted in the front section of its standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox supplements the combustion engine in Performance mode. Connected tech takes precedence VW sources have already promised that the next Golf will be ‘always connected’. Using the same eSIM card that has already appeared in the new Touareg, the Golf Mk8 will be permanently connected to the internet. This will allow the car to tap into 3D satellite mapping, hybrid radio (where the audio system finds the strongest signal for a station, whether analogue or digital) and the option of live information such as the latest pricing at nearby fuel stations. The permanent connectivity opens the way for these future models to ‘read’ the topography of the road from 3D mapping, for example, and switch to coasting when heading downhill, or approaching a junction. Autonomous driving will be a key feature of VW's best-seller in its eighth generation, as the brand will shoehorn even more advanced autonomous technology into the new model, as well as ensuring that it is the most connected car in the company's history, ahead of the all-electric ID hatchback that's also due in late 2019. Head of VW's compact series, Karlheinz Hell, revealed: "The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety." The current Golf benefits from VW's semi-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist system, which controls the steering, acceleration and braking of the car under 37mph, so it's certain that the Mk8 model will take a leap in advancement over this. Elsewhere, the Audi A8 is the first car in the wider VW Group to achieve Level 3 autonomy where permitted. Golf to set VW design agenda While the new Golf will be an evolutionary take on the outgoing car, it will feature new design elements that design chief Klaus Bischoff described being “more fluid, more sporty with a very unique face”. It’s part of a new VW strategy to differentiate its standard model range from the new ID family of electric cars, said Bischoff: “[ID is] a new world of proportions and totally new bodystyles which are more emotional. As we go through the ceiling design- wise on ID cars, we need to echo that with ICE cars, so these will have more sporty proportions [and] a more progressive, clean design.” Bischoff said future cars will remain faithful to VW’s traditional design cues: “We are looking to our origins so no ‘me too’ products. They will all remain as very individual VWs. “If you look at front- of-car designs, nearly everybody is copying Audi. VW will go down its own road to stay true to the brand, and not look over the fence to others.” Volkswagen reaps MQB’s rewards Volkswagen’s MQB architecture underpins its bestselling model, the Golf, of which 968,284 were sold in 2017. The modular toolkit is used for most of the firm’s most successful models. In total, five MQB models currently account for 3.8 million global sales. The firm’s second-bestseller last year was the Jetta/Sagitar (the latter is a Chinese-market compact saloon), with 883,346 units sold. The seventh-generation Jetta, which went on sale this year, is now based on MQB, as are the firm’s two next bestsellers: the Tiguan SUV (769,870 sold), in both short- and long-wheelbase forms, and the Polo. The Lavida, a Jetta-sized MQB saloon sold only in China, is the firm’s sixth-bestselling model, with 507,000 made in 2017. That leaves the Passat/Magotan family, which is sold in Europe, the US and China. Current European versions of this model are built on MQB, with the US and Chinese versions switching to the architecture in 2019, adding another 660,000 or so MQB cars to the sales total. Those figures are simply for Volkswagen itself: the MQB toolkit is also used widely across the group’s other brands. Read more Volkswagen Golf R power drops to 296bhp amid WLTP change Volkswagen ID hatch to stay true to concept, says design boss VW We strategy shapes up with car sharing scheme View the full article
  15. Nissan's former CEO, and the car firm itself, have been indicted by Japanese prosecutors, according to reports Ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and the car firm have been formally charged with financial misconduct by Japanese prosecutors, according to reports. Ghosn, the architect of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, was arrested in Japan in November accused of under-reporting his salary and using company assets for personal use. Japanese TV station NHK says that he has now been indicted for under-reporting his salary, and re-arrested over similar allegations dating back several years. Ghosn was stripped of his chairman roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi after the allegations emerged, although he remains chairman and CEO of Renault. Nissan has also been charged by prosecutors, as a corporation involved in the case, according to NHK. Former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly, who was arrested at the same time as Ghosn, has been indicted too. According to NHK, prosecutors believe Ghosn arranged that, following his retirement, he would receive the difference between the salary documented in Nissan’s reports and that actually paid out. Ghosn has not issued any public statement following his arrest, but he is reported to have denied the allegations to prosecutors. Read more Nissan officially dismisses Carlos Ghosn from chairman role Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn arrested over financial misconduct allegations Opinion: taking stock of Nissan's claims against Carlos Ghosn - and their impact View the full article
  16. Under the leadership of Carlos Tavares, the PSA Group has gone from near oblivion to success PSA chairman Carlos Tavares recently confirmed a 40% year-on-year revenue growth and record profitability for the group, which passed Volkswagen Group in September to become Europe’s biggest car maker. Tavares has transformed PSA’s Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands (plus newly acquired Vauxhall-Opel) from a dire financial situation into what is now one of the most profitable car-making groups in the world. Back in 2012, PSA was close to bankruptcy after years of mounting losses, with the group reporting a €5 billion loss (£4.36bn at today’s exchange rate) that year. Part of this was due to the group’s Eurocentric focus: the European new car market was still suffering from the 2008 financial crash. With high wage costs and far slimmer profit margins in Europe than elsewhere in the world, PSA’s cash flow went from bad to worse. Drastic changes were already being made before Tavares’ appointment in early 2014. Peugeot announced sweeping cost-cutting plans, slashing 8000 jobs and closing its factory in Aulnay, Paris, after more than 40 years of building cars there. The firm looked to the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motor for a multibillion-euro rescue deal. Dongfeng and the French government bought 14% of PSA each, with the Peugeot family giving up control of the company it had been running for eight generations. There was even talk of General Motors taking overall control of the ailing business. The Dongfeng rescue deal was the first step in the right direction. It gave PSA the foothold in the Asian market it so desperately needed, as well as providing a vital cash injection. Then came Tavares, who joined as CEO and board chairman after leaving his job as COO of Renault. Tavares immediately put in place a strategy called ‘Back in the Race’, which set targets for what was needed to make PSA competitive again. These goals included a streamlined product line-up, expansion in global markets and a wide range of cost and efficiency savings across the group’s brands. At the time, Tavares said he would measure success against the firm’s cash flow and operating margins. He smashed those targets in 2015, with PSA posting an operating margin of 5% (against a 2% goal) and profits of £950 million, the firm’s first year in the black since 2010. Increasing productivity in PSA’s factories from 65% in 2012 to 90% in 2016 and dramatically lowering the firm’s break-even point were two further achievements, helped by better than expected market growth globally. It meant all objectives in the Back in the Race plan had been achieved a full two years ahead of schedule. The next phase of Tavares’ turnaround was dubbed ‘Push to Pass’. The first aim was an increased focus in profitability – with PSA’s 5% margins already the envy of many mainstream manufacturers – and further cost reductions. A continued revitalisation of Citroën, massive investment in DS as a separate premium brand and plans to give Peugeot a more defined character were outlined. A new focus on building SUVs, the key growth sector, was paramount to all of this. Electrification also became a priority, with PSA behind the curve on that front. In 2017, several key models were launched, in particular the hugely popular Peugeot 3008 and 5008 SUVs. A new Citroën C3 supermini gave the brand a huge sales boost and DS launched its first bespoke (ie non-Citroën-based) model, the 7 Crossback. At the end of the year, PSA posted record sales volume, operating margin and revenue. “PSA is clearly focusing on high-end, higher prices and more profitable segments, and this is having a positive impact on growth and margins,” said Felipe Munoz, automotive analyst at data firm JATO. Then came PSA’s shock acquisition of Vauxhall-Opel from GM, which highlighted the dramatic turnaround from the time when GM had been lined up to save PSA. GM’s European arm hadn’t turned a profit for almost two decades, but Tavares boldly claimed the brands would shake off their loss-making history and become “a true European champion”. Many were sceptical but again Tavares performed the unthinkable. An ambitious cost-saving plan helped Vauxhall-Opel make a €502m (£438m) profit in the first half of 2018, while the deal boosted PSA’s revenue by 40% and turned it into the biggest-selling car group in Europe after VW. “It is making use of more efficiencies thanks to the acquisition of Opel-Vauxhall, which is having a positive effect on costs,” Munoz said. Big challenges lie ahead – Munoz points out that PSA is “losing ground” in the volatile Chinese market – but given what Tavares has overcome so far, there’s little doubt that, with margins and revenue at a very positive level, it’s another storm that Tavares can weather. Read more PSA may still close a UK Vauxhall factory post-Brexit​ PSA plans for a better Vauxhall Corsa​ Carlos Tavares: electric cars could be more problematic than people think​ View the full article
  17. The Motorists Guide

    Used buying guide: Range Rover L322

    If you enjoy a touch of class, a regal Range Rover doesn’t have to cost the crown jewels. But the wrong buy could be a right royal pain… For car buyers on a budget but with a taste for the high life, there is only one luxury SUV: the Range Rover L322 of 2002-12. It still looks the business, especially the TDV8 Westminster Edition of 2012 with its illuminated treadplates, gloss black trim, and heated and cooled rear seats. It cost £70,000. Today, you can pick one up with 27,000 miles on the clock for £30,000, or with 100,000 miles for £16,000. This 2600kg Range Rover will consume diesel at the rate of 30mpg but, when occasion demands, launch itself from 0-62mph in just 7.5sec. If you’ve got some heavy towing to do or you just like arriving stirred but not shaken, it’s the SUV of your dreams. Or nightmares. The thing is, an L322 is a complicated beast with ill-matched mechanicals. Without expert, preventative maintenance, they can fail – expensively. For example, regardless of which engine it has, the L322 has an appetite for gearboxes. They’re all automatics: the first, a five-speed from launch to 2005, then a six-speed and, from 2010 on diesel models only, an eight-speed. The ZF five-speed and GM six are by far the most troublesome and let go from around 85,000 miles. They’re ‘sealed for life’ units but while that boast helped keep the lid on service costs in the vehicle’s first three years, beyond that they do like fresh fluids and filters, and should then be more reliable. Cars from launch to around 2006 were the subject of a technical service bulletin (TSB) to check and upgrade the front diff and driveshafts, which had been wearing out prematurely. Chances are the L322 you’re interested in has had the work done but check anyway. That was a technical bulletin, but the L322 was also the subject of numerous safety recalls, all listed on the DVSA’s website. Again, most vehicles will have been rectified, but all the same, the list makes uncomfortable reading. Now back to the good news. The big headline is the L322’s engines are far less troublesome. It was launched with a choice of BMW units: a 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel and a 4.4-litre V8 petrol. In 2006, the diesel was replaced by a more powerful 3.6 diesel V8 (badged the TDV8) and the petrol by a 4.4-litre V8, both Jaguar engines. At the same time, the supercharged 4.2 AJV8 from the Jaguar XK8 joined the lineup. If economy isn’t your priority, this is the engine to have. Prices for a 2006 4.2 Supercharged start at £6000 (see the one we found below). In 2009, the 4.2 became a 5.0-litre while the 3.6 TDV8 morphed into a 4.4 with smarter turbocharging and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Trims range from well-equipped HSE to 10-star Autobiography. There are hundreds of used L322s for sale, most of them diesels. Target not only those with full service history, but also proof of recall and TSB rectification, and drivetrain and suspension refurbishment. Then enjoy the high life for low(ish) money. An expert’s view Tony Hooper, workshop manager, Hereford 4X4: “I’m a former Land Rover master technician and have owned 16 Range Rovers. My favourite was an L322 3.6 TD. I bought it because the owner had spent £28,000 over 10 years having it serviced! I thought I couldn’t go wrong and I was right – it was a peach. The L322 is the best Range Rover. It’s a ‘proper’ one – a full-blown off-road vehicle but with luxurious on-road manners. It’s a bulky, solid thing where later ones feel plasticky. The best one was the Westminster. However, some of them would let rain water in at the roof seams. It would run into the boot on the left hand side and wreck the audio control system. If you’re buying a Westminster, check there first.” Buyer beware… Engine: Beware whining turbos and injector misfires on the 3.0 TD. The 3.6 TD can suffer turbo actuator issues. Check the water pump was replaced at the cambelt change. On the 4.2, listen for a rattle at idle from the supercharger. Inspect for exhaust wear and check the catalytic converter isn’t breaking up. Cooling system: Check the coolant expansion tank. The 4.4 petrol suffers failed O-ring seals at the water jacket housing behind the engine, causing overheating and coolant leaks into the gearbox. Gearbox: Big trouble is possible. Warning signs are stubborn changes accompanied by dashboard lights. Disregarding the ‘sealed for life’ sticker and regular fluid and filter changes will help. On early cars, check it was recalled for fitment of a CV joint on the front propshaft. Suspension and brakes: Check the air suspension scrolls the three height settings noiselessly, and that the bellows aren’t leaking (park the car and see if it sinks). Scrutinise workshop bills to see when the air compressor was checked or replaced. Listen for the front wishbones knocking under braking. Listen for the rear hub bushes clonking over bumps. Check brake disc and pad life. Body: Inspect the underside for off-road damage and the tailgate for rust – and damage from people sitting on it. Interior: Test all the switches and buttons. Also worth knowing Have a technician run a diagnostic check on the one you’re considering. Get it done before and after the test drive. Google the codes to find out what they mean. It’s worth it – some faults can be fixed, only to return later. How much to spend £2500-£4995: Early 4.4s and 3.0 TDs to the first high-mileage 3.6 TDs (2007-reg). £5000-£9995: Still early cars but mileages closer to 120k. Many more 2007 3.6 TDs from around £7950 with around 100k miles. £10,000-£14,995: More 2008-on 3.6 TDs and the first 2010 4.4 TDs from £12,250. £15,000-£19,995: The last 2009/10-reg 3.6 TDs plus the first 2009-reg 5.0 V8s. More 2011/12- reg 4.4 TDs with 90k miles at £17,995. £20,000-£29,995: A choice of 2012 Westminster 4.4 TDs. One we found Range Rover 4.2 V8 Supercharged Vogue SE, 2006, 106K miles, £6000: Yes, it’s the super-thirsty one (around 13mpg) but the Jaguar-sourced engine puts a serious spring in its step. Has full Land Rover service history and, crucially, a recently refurbished supercharger and gearbox. Read more Island Rover: back to Land Rover's roots in a Range Rover Vela​r Bettered by design: behind the scenes at Land Rover's design studio​ Land Rover Discovery vs. Series One: The Generation Game​ View the full article
  18. Seven-seat SUV will join this, the ID Crozz, in Volkswagen’s range Touareg-sized electric model is set for Shanghai show unveiling as German giant targets Tesla rivalry Volkswagen is preparing to unveil the fifth member of its new ID range of electric models. A seven-seat SUV, which goes under the internal working title ID Lounge, will be revealed at the Shanghai motor show in April. It is being developed as a luxurious range-topping model with exterior and interior dimensions similar to the German firm’s new third-generation Touareg. Based around the largest version of Volkswagen’s new MEB platform – as used by the ID Buzz MPV – with a wheelbase of 3300mm, the ID Lounge is planned to join the car maker’s line-up in 2021 as a rival to the likes of the Tesla Model X and Nio ES8. Power for the four-wheel-drive SUV is expected to come from a driveline similar to that featured in the ID Buzz. It uses two electric motors, one acting on the front wheels and the other powering the rear wheels, delivering a combined system output of 369bhp. As hinted at by the earlier ID Buzz concept, the most luxurious of Volkswagen’s upcoming ID models is expected to receive a 111kWh lithium ion battery and a range of up to 600km (372 miles). The ID Lounge is among three electric-powered SUV models that are planned to be introduced by Volkswagen by the end of 2022. It will join two versions of the high-riding ID Crozz, each with its own distinct bodystyle. The first ID Crozz model to go on sale, in 2021, is described as the more practical, with the second – due in showrooms in 2022 – featuring a coupé-like profile similar in appearance to the earlier ID Crozz concept. Meanwhile, Volkswagen officials have denied rumours suggesting the first ID model will be known under the name Neo. “The Neo name was an internal working title, but it is not the name the first ID model will be marketed under,” said a source with knowledge of Volkswagen’s new model plans. Read more VW to develop electric ID beach buggy VW greenlights sub-£18,000 electric people's car All the details on VW's ID hatchback View the full article
  19. Bloodhound SSC Land speed record holder Andy Green tells Autocar that investors are still interested in troubled 1000mph project Land speed record holder Andy Green believes that the 1000mph Bloodhound SSC project still has a chance of survival, despite administrators ending a search for funding last week. The project, which was attempting to smash Green’s 1997 land speed record set, went into administration in October. Last week, administrator Andrew Sheridan ended a six-week search to find the £25 million investment needed. But Green, one of the driving forces behind the project, has told Autocar that he believes there is still a potential buyer who could save Bloodhound.Green says that when project bosses voluntarily put their company into administration a couple of months ago, the team was contacted by around 200 interested parties, 20 of whom were serious enough to sign non-disclosure agreements and visit the project's Bristol HQ. One potential buyer with a a firm foothold in technology, who could well afford the £25million-plus Bloodhound needs to get back on track, simply couldn’t raise the money before the beginning of the new year, to meet the administrators’ schedule. “You can’t blame the administrators,” says Green. “They work according to a strict process. But their action means we’re in the last ditch. But it also means the world’s best and fastest straight-line racing car — and the system needed to run it — is now on sale at about the tenth the price you’d have paid for it last week. What a bargain! And all the people who need to know this have learned about it by now.” Green admits hope is fading, but believes that even if Bloodhound never breaks his 763mph record, or achieves its planned 1000mph, its creators can still take pride in having “put UK engineering on a global stage” and “interested about two million kids in science and technology you need to build a car like Bloodhound.” Read more Bloodhound administrators end search for funding The man trying to save Bloodhound (from October 2018) Bloodhound SSC: inside the factory building a 1000mph car View the full article
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