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  1. Yesterday
  2. Will the mid-engined layout of the C8 be a turn off for Corvette enthusiasts? Chevrolet broke with years of tradition when it ditched a front-engined drivetrain for its latest 'Vette. We source enthusiasts' reactions The logic in Chevrolet lifting the venerable small-block V8 out of the nose of the Corvette and dropping it behind the seats is easy to understand. The engineers had got as much out of the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive format as they could; if they wanted more performance, especially on the track and in racing, going mid-engined was the logical move. However, there’s also another reason, and a more important one at that. The front-engined sports car is old-fashioned. For those of us who grew up fantasising about owning a Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin V8 Vantage or Ferrari Daytona, the format is still highly emotional. For younger enthusiasts, though, a sports car is mid-engined (unless it’s a Porsche 911). Not so much for its dynamics but for the way it looks. The Vanquish Vision concept shown at Geneva last year demonstrates that Aston Martin is thinking along similar lines. It is a risky move, though. The Corvette is mostly bought by baby boomers; what if this change to a mid-engined layout for the C8 puts them off? You can’t overnight change your customer base, even if your underlying theory is correct. So what do current Corvette fans think of the C8? Well, there’s only one way to know, and that’s to ask them. Welcome to the car park of the Bootleg Italian Bistro in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vegas is where Chevrolet is holding the international launch of the C8 Corvette Stingray; later today, we’ll be driving the cars on a road trip out to Lake Mead and the day after to the nearby Spring Mountain race circuit for some track driving. I’m beyond excited. On this gorgeous sunny Sunday morning, we’re joined by a large group of enthusiastic members of the Las Vegas Corvettes Association. Last month, I got in touch with club president Benita Klaizner and asked her if she could get together a group of owners to have a butcher’s at the C8 and tell me what they thought of it. In the interests of science and for my own enjoyment, I asked Benita if she could manage an example of each Corvette from the formative C1 onwards. Benita is a girl who gets things done, and sure enough we have seven generations of Corvette here, plus a bright yellow C8 brought by the man from Chevrolet. “Is it okay if other members come along?” Benita had asked me. “Of course,” I’d answered. “The more the better.” And what a fantastic collection of cars we’ve ended up with here. I know from experience that the original Corvette isn’t particularly dynamic on the road. It would have been unwise back in the day to take on a Porsche or Jaguar in one, but there’s no doubting the fact that Dan Crochet’s 1958 model is one of the most stylish sports cars ever made. “I had a 1981 Corvette after I left college but bought this one 22 years ago,” says Dan. “I wanted a C2, but my wife loves C1s and twisted my arm. The ’58 is the only year that the car had this washboard bonnet and chrome boot straps. Critics at the time said the car was gaudy but, once I realised how special it was, I had to have one. “It’s powered by a 283-cubic-inch [4.6-litre] engine with twin fourbarrel carburettors and pushes out 245bhp. The car was restored in 1990, and I take it out at least once a month for a drive up into the mountains.” Dan is interested in the C8, but it’s pretty obvious that nothing could take the place of his ’58. Like most of the club members here, Slim Stephens has a long history of Corvette ownership. “I’ve owned this 1965 C2 Convertible for a couple of years,” he explains, “but I worked on it for 10 years when it was with its previous owner. It’s got a 327 [5.4-litre] engine with a new cam, a high-rise manifold that I’m about to swap for a Holley EFI system and a four-speed gearbox. I had a big-block ’64 coupé in the ’60s and then bought a new C3 in 1973.” Like several of the members, Slim is concerned that the C8 won’t be as practical as his car, due to its lack of luggage space. Actually, as Chevrolet dealers will no doubt demonstrate to potential owners, you can transfer a C7’s full luggage load straight into the C8’s front and rear boots. Originally from Canada, Benita Klaizner is a long-time Corvette owner. She’s married to Jim, who slipped the bounds of communist Czechoslovakia in 1972, and the couple own this 2013 C6 Grand Sport 60th Anniversary Convertible as well as a 2015 C7 Stingray that lives at their house in the Czech Republic. They’re currently having a 1972 C3 restored as well. “We’ve already ordered a C8,” says Benita, “and I can’t wait for it to arrive. Each Corvette that we’ve owned has been better than the last. I love the style of the new car, and I’m sure that it’s going to be a car to be reckoned with.” Scarlett and Gino Montoya (no relation to Juan Pablo) are here in their 2014 C7 Convertible. Actually, it’s Scarlett’s. “I was a school teacher, and this car was a retirement present to myself, bought new,” she explains. “We’ve had a C5 and a C6 in the past.” “And I had a ’57 fitted with a 409 [6.7-litre] engine that I used to drag race in the ’60s,” says her husband. The Montoyas are among those concerned about the luggage space of the C8 but, as discussed, I suspect it won’t take much of a salesperson to convert them. “The convertible might prove to be a temptation difficult to resist,” says Gino. You can sign up Carl Hastings for a C8 too, but he’ll be waiting for second-hand examples to fall within his reach. Meanwhile, he’s enjoying his 1990 C4. “I’ve had this car for 20 years, but I also had an early [1986] C4 before it,” he says. “I owned a 1964 327 [5.4-litre] convertible in 1967, but these C4s were the first Corvettes that could get good gas mileage.” If I were Ken Ackeret’s local Chevrolet dealer, I’d have him top of my list of potential customers for the C8. Ken’s here in his Targa Blue 1972 C3. “The C3 was the first Corvette that I was aware of when I was in high school,” he says. “I’ve owned this 350 [5.7-litre] four-speed car for five years. It has been in the club for most of its life and has been really well looked after.” Ken also has a C5 that he’s owned from new. “It’s a 2004 model, which makes it one of the last C5s made,” he explains. “I’ve done 216,000 miles in it, and it has been extremely reliable. My wife has a C5 too, and we’ve also got a 2019 Sebring Orange Grand Sport hard-top.” Of all the classic Corvettes we have here this morning, it’s Ken’s C3 that appeals to me the most; the one I can imagine owning. As with him, this is the first model of Corvette that I was aware of. The C1 is the most beautiful but would be out of my budget. The last of our seven generations is Jim Gregorio’s C5. Jim has spent the past 42 years working on Corvettes, both at private specialists in Connecticut and for two Chevrolet dealers in Las Vegas. There isn’t much he doesn’t know about these cars. His own C5 is far from stock, as they say here, with a dry-sump engine and numerous suspension modifications. I’m rather impressed by his tyre choice: essentially a slick with one groove cut into it. “Er, yes,” he says. “They do have Department of Transportation stamps on them…” I suspect that they’re not entirely road legal, but then America is funny about things like that. While clearly looking forward to getting his hands on a C8, Jim’s dream Corvette is a 1967 model that has been given the restomod treatment. “That’s getting really popular here,” he explains. “An LS7 engine with Z06 suspension would give me the perfect combination of ’60s style with modern performance, reliability and handling.” Talking with all the owners of the seven model generations, as well as the other Las Vegas Corvettes Association members, it’s clear that the new and revolutionary C8 has already been taken to their bosoms. Some have already ordered theirs and others are either waiting for the launch of the convertible or the faster and more extreme versions that are likely to follow. I’m not at all surprised by their willingness to accept the C8, because it’s not the first time that I’ve witnessed dedicated owners welcome in the new world. Look how readily Rolls-Royce enthusiasts ushered the BMW-produced Phantoms into their fold. Same with Bentley owners and Volkswagen-era cars and traditional Mini owners with the BMW product. As club president Benita herself proves, the passion for America’s sports car runs across many decades, and just because you own a 1972 model, it doesn’t mean that you won’t like a sixth-generation car or indeed the newcomer. I do suspect, however, that even these committed Corvette enthusiasts would draw the line at a four-cylinder hybrid powertrain… How the C8 drives Twenty years ago, I would have robbed a bank to have been able to buy myself this new Corvette. Today, though, I don’t see the point of owning a very high-performance car, and so I’d be more likely to spend my money on one of these classic Corvettes. The C8 is, however, pretty much my perfect mid-engined supercar. The small-block V8 has enormous character and is a much more emotive engine than Ford’s V8, due, I suspect, to its two-valve combustion chambers. The motor not only sounds fantastic but shakes slightly at tick-over and cranks over with the torque reaction as you hit the throttle. At the launch event, Chevrolet displayed a cutaway C8 chassis that showed the layout as well as how well the car is put together. Put an Audi or Ferrari badge on the aluminium monocoque and nobody would know. The new Corvette has a definite Lotus feel to it in the way it both rides and handles. The Nevada roads were smooth but, even so, the C8 felt supple and compliant. On the track, there was a hint of confidence-inspiring understeer on turn-in that reminded me of the Esprit. About the only part of the C8 that I don’t like is the Allegro-style quartic steering wheel (the designers call it a ‘squircle’), but I’d get used to that. When it comes to the UK early next year, the C8 is likely to cost around £80,000 and will be fitted with the Z51 performance upgrade package that’s a $5000 (£3810) option on our test car. This is an awful lot of car and performance for such money. But it’s more than that: I’d rather have this more characterful car over a McLaren, regardless of price. The Pantera reborn? I’ve not heard of anyone suggesting this, but to me the new Corvette is the De Tomaso Pantera reincarnated. Think about it: an affordable, rock-solid American V8 with an abundance of horsepower that will be cheap to maintain. And even in the worst-case scenario of the engine spreading itself across the road, a replacement wouldn’t break the bank. Plenty of owners had fun with the Pantera’s 351-cubic-inch [5.8-litre] Ford Cleveland V8 by fitting Weber downdraft carburettors or just giving it higher-compression pistons and a hotter cam. No doubt America’s huge speed shop community will offer a vast array of goodies for the C8. I loved the Pantera, but my passion waned slightly when I made the mistake of driving one, due to a terrible driving position, poor quality and the fact it isn’t particularly fast. Now it has a successor that follows the formula but executes it to 2020 standards. READ MORE Mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray arrives with 495bhp V8 UK sales of Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro to end in August New Chevrolet Corvette could get hybrid or electric versions View the full article
  3. BMW’s Designworks spends 50% of its time working for non-BMW brands. We see how such designs feed back into the car side You’ve probably heard that car companies no longer wish to be known as car companies. These days, it is de rigueur to present yourself as a mobility company, unconstrained by the metaphorical straitjackets of four wheels and an engine. What you may not know is that many car companies, and especially design divisions, have long had the freedom to move outside established automotive circles – and few more so than Designworks, a California-based design consultancy set up in 1972 and bought by BMW in 1995 after it had built its reputation for forward thinking. In essence, it’s a subsidiary of BMW that is open for business to outsiders. So while its headline credits include early iterations of the BMW 3 and 8 Series and X5 and more recent work on the 5 Series, it is just as likely to be working on cabin designs for Singapore Airlines or a vision of the future of camping for The North Face. “We work to a 50:50 model of working for BMW Group brands and for outside brands,” says Designworks president Holger Hampf. “For BMW projects, we must compete internally to win the right to keep moving forward with designs, while for outside projects we operate with the aim of extending our learning but also of being a profit centre. “In that sense, we are about entrepreneurial design. We don’t want to work for anyone, but we do set ambitious financial targets that drive us into spaces of interest and allow us to provoke and learn in areas of mobility that perhaps the group wouldn’t have time or resource to look at otherwise.” So here is a selection of some of the eye-catching projects that it has worked on. Skai passenger drone Clean, sustainable transport needs a radical rethink and this is Designworks’ interpretation: a five-passenger drone propelled by six hydrogen-powered rotors. The target flight time is four hours and – before your eyebrows rise too far – working prototypes are being readied. “Everyone wants to hear BMW’s interpretation of the future of the car, but that’s not what this is about,” says Hampf. “This is about immersing ourselves in another world so that we have thought leadership in getting from A to B by other means.” The biggest challenge, says Hampf, is getting the weight down so that the drones can lift the pod and passengers: “Battery electric would never have worked, but liquid hydrogen is interesting. There is some serious investment behind that technology.” Possible insights: Lightweight materials, hydrogen power, customer acceptance of new tech, ride-hailing insight, design reassurance. USOC Paralympic wheelchair Sport is rarely just about physical endeavour: be it a swimming suit, running shoe or racing car, there are always variables that distort the balance. In most sports, that’s actively encouraged, including in Paralympic wheelchair racing. “We started as an Olympic sponsor in 2010 and started working with Team USA,” says Hampf. “From a design perspective, it was interesting to conceive everything from the perspective of function over form – but never to the abandonment of form.” Perhaps inevitably, that led initially to the wind tunnel and carbonfibre workshop, and then on to a chassis redesign and insights into making customised chairs for each athlete, designed following 3D body scans, to reduce drag and achieve perfect weight distribution. “The beauty was the passion of our clients,” says Hampf. “They wanted perfection and the outcome was very rewarding." In 2012, Team USA won seven medals and set four Paralympian world records. Designworks continues to perfect the chairs today, as well as working on a bobsleigh design and improvements in prosthetics for athletes. Possible insights: Prototyping, lightweight materials, ergonomics, mobility challenges. Ionity charging station You are likely to have heard of Ionity, the firm initially set up by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen to roll out fast-charging stations for electric cars and taking on new automotive partners all the time as its ambition gathers momentum. Given the competing brands, settling on a design for the charging stations could have been a political nightmare. Step forward Designworks. “The initial thought might be it’s a box in the ground, but think deeper and it is the touchpoint between our brand and our customers,” says Hampf. “So the brief was actually quite complex: it had to convey quality but be durable and deliver the easiest user experience possible.” The result is rolling out for all to see: a clean, futuristic design that incorporates a touchscreen and LED lights. Four hundred Ionity charging stations will be installed in Europe by the end of the year. Possible insights: Prototyping, industrial design themes, user interaction and experiences. The North Face Futurelight Camper The trend towards underlining just what a future-thinking car company you are by attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January began about a decade ago. But while many car companies made their point by getting senior leaders to give keynote addresses, Designworks and its clients have been displaying real concepts. Futurelight is currently used for high-end North Face clothing and billed as the world’s most advanced breathable waterproof outerwear. In other words, it can allow airflow in and out but keep water out. Designworks took the material and applied it to a camper concept, stretching the material over a dome that could provide protection in any environment – all of which were displayed in a virtual reality environment. Possible insights: Business strategy, industrial design, virtual design techniques. Singapore Airlines first class cabin It makes sense that a firm rooted in a car company would know a thing or two about making luxurious cabins – especially one that owns Rolls-Royce and has been commissioned to recreate the first class experience. The restrictions were space and brand guidelines, the solution to create a theme that delivered the comfort and warmth of a living room through the use of colours, materials and especially lighting, with an added layer of hospitality, conveyed by the wraparound arms enveloping the seat. Possible insights: Materials and lighting in autonomous space, industrial design. BMW Vision Ride Helmet One of the biggest causes of motorbike accidents is a rider taking his or her eyes off the road ahead to look at various dials and displays. It therefore sounds obvious enough to incorporate car-like head-up displays into helmets. The technical solution wasn’t so simple, of course, with cost-effective car units requiring more space than is available in a crash helmet. The end solution combines the best of the now-defunct Google Glasses concept but with an emphasis on ease of use while on the move. Possible insights: Prototyping, industrial design, user experience. READ MORE New BMW M2 to spearhead hotter junior M line-up BMW continues to defend new styling direction BMW i8 hybrid sports car to end production in April View the full article
  4. Last week
  5. From a front-drive Lotus to a fast, entertaining big Volvo, we round up some of the biggest automotive breaks from tradition Chevrolet’s decision to relocate the Corvette’s engine has caused not a small amount of controversy. While the enthusiasts on the previous few pages seem accepting, others are loudly pondering whether the C8 can really be a ’Vette after abandoning seven decades of front-engined tradition. Yet the US firm isn’t the first to mess with a tried and tested formula in the pursuit of greater performance or profit – or both. Here are 10 examples that have travelled a similarly contentious path with varying levels of success. Lotus Elan (M100) When a car maker revives a famous name, it usually does so with a healthy dose of respect for its history. Not so Lotus when it relaunched the Elan in 1989, 14 years after Colin Chapman’s lithe version last appeared. Out went the classic front-engined (naturally aspirated, obviously) and rear-wheel-drive layout and in came front-wheel drive and turbocharging. The new Elan was actually cracking to drive, but Lotus loyalists were less than impressed. Plus, there was the Mazda MX-5: launched at the same time, it was cheaper and, ironically, almost a carbon copy of the original Elan. Turbocharged Honda VTEC Honda has long been a hard-line exponent of naturally aspirated engines, such as the VTEC units in a long line of Civic Type R hot hatches that stuck with natural aspiration long after competitors went turbocharged. Yet it wasn’t long before the Honda looked weak-kneed next to rivals, so the unthinkable happened in 2014 and the Civic’s VTEC gained forced induction. Performance gains were huge, but some of the magic was lost. Honda learns fast, though, and the latest blown Type R is the best yet. Porsche Cayenne Nearly a quarter of a century on, it’s easy to forget just how controversial the first Cayenne really was. Porsche was a dyed-in-the-wool sports car manufacturer and to even be thinking about the possibility of just maybe making an SUV was heresy, especially one that would go on to have a diesel engine. There was no precedent for this car and, allegedly, no appetite for it among zealots of Zuffenhausen’s usual offerings. Yet as we now know, the Cayenne was a massive sales hit, helping Porsche to ride the early SUV wave and on to previously unimagined profitability. Volkswagen K70 It can be hard to break free from design dogma and, for decades, VW stuck to its tried and tested formula of slinging an air-cooled engine behind the rear axle. By the late 1960s, however, VW was being left behind commercially and technically, so a revolution was needed. Step forward the K70. Based on the NSU Ro80, it ripped up the VW playbook by featuring front-wheel drive and a water-cooled inline engine. Rust issues and high prices meant it was short lived, but the Passat, Golf and Polo that followed used the same layout to dazzlingly successful effect. 2WD Land Rovers When your products are tightly entwined in four-wheel-drive folklore and your best remembered advertising tagline is the ‘Best 4x4 by far’, then going two-wheel drive should be a no-no. Yet that’s what Land Rover did with its Freelander 2 eD4 in 2011. Aimed at lowering emissions and running costs, it dispensed with the standard car’s propshaft and rear differential, yet it retained Terrain Response and mud and snow tyres, making it as effective off road as some of its all-wheel-drive rivals. It was so successful that it spawned similar Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport models. Ford Most of the examples here are of individual cars but, in the past year alone, Ford has played fast and loose with its heritage. First up was the Puma, which applied the name of a much loved 1990s coupé to a crossover. There was resistance from some quarters but, in many respects, the new car retains the fun-loving spirit of its predecessor. Likely more difficult to swallow will be the Mustang Mach-E, which is aiming to channel the essence of the firm’s famed muscle car into an all-electric SUV. Ford will be hoping it doesn’t make the same mistake as when it applied the RS1800 moniker from its rally-winning and bespoke-built Escort Mk2 to a tarted-up Fiesta. Front-wheel-drive BMWs BMW believed you couldn’t claim to produce the ‘Ultimate driving machine’ unless you made your cars rear-wheel drive. For decades, even its smallest models sent power to the rear. Then in 2014, it launched the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Active Tourer, based on the same platform as the Mini. BMW fans were only mildly upset because, well, it was ‘just’ an MPV. Then came the bombshell in 2019 when the 1 Series turned from rear- to front-wheel drive. But despite howls of derision from some quarters, the switch hasn’t harmed the car’s engaging driving dynamics. Porsche 718 Porsche has the best part of 80 years of experience with four-cylinder engines but that didn’t stop purists getting extremely hot under the collar when the 718 Boxster and Cayman were launched in 2015. By ditching the howling flat sixes of previous generations for turbocharged flat fours, Porsche took a hit, both critically and commercially. Initially, the brand stuck to its guns but soon plans were in place to secure the return of the naturally aspirated six. The result was the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder, which were swiftly followed this year by the GTS 4.0. Skoda Favorit Like VW, Skoda seemed happily wedded to a rear-engined formula for decades. But with the Iron Curtain crumbling in the 1980s, the firm knew it needed a radical rethink if it was to tap into lucrative Western markets, and so the Favorit was born. Its five-door hatchback layout and front-wheel drive were revolutionary for the Czech brand but, thanks to some help from Porsche (yes, really), Bertone and British firm Ricardo, it proved to be a surprise hit. In fact, it was such a success that its fellow adherent to the rear-engined rules, VW, bought the company. Volvo 850 Volvo’s 700-series cars pretty much saved the company after they were launched in 1982, so you’d expect the Swedes to have stuck to the same sensible template for their replacement. But boxy styling aside, the 850 forged a bold new path for big Volvos. It was the first large model to get frontwheel drive and it had transverse five-cylinder engines that liked to spin and sing. Perhaps most shocking, it was genuinely fun to drive and the scorching T5s were enthusiast cars. It was a huge sales hit and shook off the brand’s staid image, paving the way for its current ice-cool machines. READ MORE All-new Lotus model due next year New Lotus Evija sold out for 2020 Lotus Elan in frame as Boxster rival in revival plan New V6 hybrid ‘Esprit’ to lead Lotus expansion plan View the full article
  6. Is the facelifted Jaguar F-Type spry enough (especially in amped-up R form) to compete with the fresh 992-generation 911 Carrera 4S? The Jaguar F-Type is back, with a fresh look and an assortment of new bells and whistles. They have, thankfully, resisted the urge to treat it to a new pair of beige slacks and a matching M&S cardigan, although that must have been tough. Alright, there’s a bit more to the update than the above would imply (a modest engine power hike, a new engine derivative, some new suspension componentry and some digital instruments) but perhaps not as much as you might imagine would be necessary to keep a current sports car up to date in what is now – wait for it – its eighth year in production. Is it entirely fair, then, you may wonder, to pitch the ‘new’, range-topping R version of this car into a head-to-head contest with the only-a-year-old 992-generation Porsche 911? Knowing what we already do about the latter – it’s a group test winner already and was highly commended at Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout, don’t forget – is that a contest the plucky Brit can possibly win? Well, it’s certainly a curious notional position for the fresh meat in one of these twin tests to occupy. Usually it’s the most recently launched car that comes in with all the advantages, yet the Jaguar holds nothing over the lighter, faster and fundamentally newer Porsche that might give it an on-paper head start here – save, perhaps, the peak outputs of its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. But here is the truth you’ll discover having driven these cars extensively and one after another: there are some things the new Jaguar F-Type R P575 AWD does every bit as well as a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S; there are a handful of things it does even better, actually. I must add for the sake of balance that there are also plenty of ways in which the German is quite plainly the Brummie’s superior. And yet what you’re about to read is a contest, trust me, not a pushover. The Jaguar, for all of the long-toothedness that the new styling and interior smartening seek to disguise, has its shout, and for some – maybe even for you – it will be the better car. Did someone say ‘shout’? My ears are still ringing, as it happens. The first thing I’m happy to confirm is that a range-topping Jaguar sports car with a Welsh-made supercharged V8 engine could out-shout just about any 911 road car it happened to be within a few hundred metres of. There’s mention of a ‘quiet’ mode in the car’s press material, and naturally you assume – having heard the thing snarling through the middle of its rev range at full load like a band of bloodthirsty sousaphone players – it might be a misprint. In fact, it’s a convenience feature that Jaguar would seem to have appropriated from close rival Aston Martin: it allows you to start the car’s engine discreetly on an early weekday morning so as not to upset the neighbours. Or the neighbour’s neighbours. Or, for that matter, the night-shift staff at your local early-warning earthquake monitoring station. In actuality, ‘quiet start mode’ is nothing more or less than the car’s normal running setting; if you want noisy, you simply select Dynamic mode or the active exhaust’s loud setting before turning over the engine (and then, presumably, you just move house). So it’s not even a new button in an otherwise pretty familiar cabin that, but for some new trim materials (nice matt black door handles, by the way, folks) and the new digital instruments and infotainment system, could perhaps have done with more of a material lift. The Porsche would have been my bet to get its nose in front when these cars were compared as stationary, daily use ownership prospects, no question. But for every blow the 911 lands, the F-Type lands one right back. You’re a little more squeezed into the Jaguar, it’s true, but the seat it offers to your backside is softer and more comfortable than the 911’s and barely any less adjustable or supportive. It also needs slightly less of a bend-and-stoop manoeuvre to slide into. The Porsche offers more room for your extremities, along with those occasional back seats for your clobber, better visibility, a better driving position, significantly more sophisticated and usable on-board display and infotainment technology, and significantly better perceived quality. The neat look and substantial feel of its switchgear is a cut above and then some. But the Jaguar conjures a warmer and more inviting feel: its palette of decorative materials is wider and more imaginative, its ambience richer and a shade more luxurious. Sure, it doesn’t have back seats, but that sizeable boot is usefully bigger than any one storage space the 911 has. And so if you had to pick one of these cars just to use as personal transport for an undefined period of time, without a thought given to how much fun you might have in the process, I’m not totally convinced the Porsche would be the automatic choice. It has been executed with typical German precision and attention to detail, so the sat-nav is easier to programme and more reliable and it’s easier to find the instrumentation mode that suits you best. By contrast, on one occasion when I pressed the button that I imagined would activate the voice recognition on the Jaguar’s navigation system, all it did was mute the radio. So much for the British technological avant-garde. But it’s the Jaguar that does better for refinement and rolling comfort – and that means it would double up better as the grand touring part-timer. The Porsche’s ride is noisier than the Jaguar’s (on those optional mixed-sized RS Spyder Design 20/21in alloys and optional PASM lowered sports suspension, admittedly), and it lacks a little bit of the supple dexterity that typically characterises mid-range 911 variants. It reads just that little bit too much information from the road surface for ideal daily driven comfort, you’d say. The Jaguar, by contrast, can get feisty and reactive over an uneven surface, but it’s quieter and better isolated on most others. The Porsche, being a rear-engined 911, is also less naturally stable at high speeds than the Jaguar and more easily disturbed by camber and crosswind, both of which have a part to play in defining how wearing it might be to use. Not that a 911 is ever likely to wander quite as far off course – as some might say the narrative thread of this test already has. Hands up, you got me: not many people buy sports cars for their refinement levels or the rich luxury feel of their interiors. It’s just possible that I’ve been finding reasons, thus far, to award extra credit to a charismatic and likeable British alternative that – you’ve guessed it – can’t quite match even a pretty sub-optimally equipped 911 for driver appeal. That’s a shame and not exactly a shock, but if you don’t do these things properly, you never really know. There’s just a bit too much of the F-Type R to allow it to hit the same dynamic heights as the Porsche or to impress its driver quite as clearly at both low speeds and high. It has too much power, too much weight and, at least for this tester, at times a shade too much mechanical grip, traction and lateral stiffness necessary to harness the aforementioned and to move it all around to be good for the car’s wider sporting appeal. It might have newly configured suspension and better rear axle location, but the F-Type R remains the burly, surly hotrod that you guide with plenty of concentration and a slightly wary hand. By way of contrast, the 911 is at once more communicative and can be coaxed more precisely and instinctively than the F-Type. It’s easier to drive quickly and feels more special when driven slowly – although, it must be said, the enticing rumble of the Jaguar’s engine is pretty special also. And what an engine. If only it came with drivability the equal of its audible drama. Some Porsche flat sixes might be able to compete with a great V8 like the F-Type’s for audible character (and the one in the car in our little twin test below gets pretty close, by the way), but a modern twin-turbocharged one doesn’t. The Bridgend 5.0-litre is never better than when gargling majestically from 3500rpm to 5000rpm at full throttle, and then crackling after a lift as if the music has just stopped at a fireworks display. But before you’ve learned to keep the Jaguar’s gearbox in manual mode in order to prevent it from needing to shuffle ratios before it can respond meaningfully to any lug of power, you’ll find it’s the Porsche’s combination of twin-turbo flat six and eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that’s more likely to be in the right gear and ready to go, whenever you might need it to be. The Jaguar’s engine is a wonderful treat when at its very best, but it’s less consistently brilliant than that of the Porsche. Precisely the same observation could be made about the respective chassis of these cars. The Jaguar gets into a lovely fluent stride when conditions suit it, when the bends are faster and smoother and there’s a bit of room to give the engine its head and feel the rear axle gently squirm with the workload. It begins to sit heavily on its dampers when the surface gets tougher, though, and particularly so in its Dynamic mode. Meanwhile, the sense of slightly muted elasticity and tactile compliance evident in the steering, which doesn’t bother you so much when you’re arcing more gently around curves, increasingly becomes an obstacle when you’re continually turning this way and that. The Porsche steers superbly; you feel as if you can adjust the car’s course by the millimetre and as if you know the instant the front sidewalls load up every time you turn the rim. It doesn’t do fast and fluent quite like the Jaguar but, instead, from both powertrain and chassis, it produces this super-responsive yet entirely progressive sense of poise. It’s fit for any road or track and would make you guess its weight advantage over its rival was greater than it really is. And it always involves. This may be a well-worn road test cliché, but while the Jaguar feels at times like it’s launching you into conflict with the surface underneath you and the physics acting upon it, the Porsche engages you in a fascinating, instructive conversation with both. Want to go faster? Here’s how, it seems to say. Fancy a different line and way around that bend of yours? Take your pick. It must be a fearsomely disheartening task for any car maker to beat a driver’s car as dynamically versatile and accomplished as the current 911. For all of its little victories, the F-Type R fell some way short in the final reckoning. There was one car we had along for the ride that didn’t – not that Weissach need worry because, as it happened, it took a Porsche to beat a Porsche. And Weissach wouldn’t for one moment worry anyway, of course, because as much as the F-Type feels like its race is pretty much run, we all know that the 992 is only just getting started. It’s Turbo soon and GT3 not so long after that, so they say. Yes very much please, would be my reply. 718 vs 911: should you go little or large? Critics of the latest Porsche 911 claim that it has become too wide, too soft, too heavy and too complex to work quite as perfectly as the any-occasion sports car its best predecessors have been. At times, I’ve agreed with some of what I’ve read on that score – albeit only because I know how great some of those predecessors were. So, is the 911’s status as the defining Porsche driver’s car ripe for inheritance by the smaller 718, with its returning six-cylinder engines? I thought so. But then the Cayman GT4 we had at Best Driver’s Car 2019 failed to entertain at Anglesey Circuit nearly as well as the 992-generation 911 Carrera S. Matter settled, then? Not for me, I’m afraid. It’s still lingering like a bad smell. Leaving track driving out of the equation, if only for the sake of argument, can a six-cylinder 718 Spyder beat a 911 Carrera 4S now for mixed on-road appeal? It’s a less weighty question than the one I had intended to answer, but right now I’d say the best 718 is the better driver’s car, defined strictly in those on-road terms. There are all the obvious reasons: at the moment, you can’t buy a 911 with a manual gearbox and there is as yet no extraspecial, normally aspirated flat six that has been signed off for it by the GT division. The 718 Spyder is all the reminder you need of what the 911 is missing in both respects: its engine is fantastic (although it has curiously long gear ratios to wade through), it sounds incredible as it passes 5500rpm and it has a crispness and linearity to its delivery that turbochargers just can’t replicate. The 718’s ride and handling don’t quite match those of the 911 for complexity and character. Driving them back to back is a bit like comparing Heath Ledger’s Joker with that of Joaquin Phoenix: the 911, like Phoenix, simply has more going on. But it’s a close enough thing to give the smaller car the nod, albeit in an incomplete and unfair exercise. Right now it’s the 718 I’d have. Which, I’m afraid, settles precisely nothing. Previously owned powerhouses for the price of a new 911 or F-Type Ferrari FF: The FF made the notion of a four-seat, four-wheel-drive Ferrari acceptable and paved the way for the mightily impressive GTC4 Lusso. Wonderful 651bhp V12, 208mph and 0-60mph in 3.7sec mean it’s no slouch. Also has a hatchback and folding rear seats, so a must for Courchevel. Buy from around £100k. Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4: True, the LP560-4 will feel antiquated next to an ultra-modern 911, but the Gallardo just has that added sense of drama that the evergreen but continually updated Porsche simply can’t muster. Despite a new price of roughly £200k, you can now pick up this V10-powered Italian monster for just £90k. Honda NSX: Soon even the supercar won’t be immune from electrification. The clever people at Honda know this, which is why the current NSX is a hybrid marvel with three electric motors assisting the twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6, giving an output of 573bhp. Expect to pay £90k for a 2017 example with minimal mileage. READ MORE Jaguar Land Rover to invest £1bn in three new UK-built EVs Behind the scenes at Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations 2020 Jaguar XJ: latest images reveal electric luxury car's look View the full article
  7. Volvo’s ‘Hack the Crisis’ hackathon will bring around 200 global Volvo developers and engineers together to help save lives and businesses Volvo will join the long list of car makers looking to help global efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic with a ‘hackathon'-style collaboration of senior engineers and developers. The ‘Hack the Crisis’ initiative, involving around 200 Volvo employees from Sweden, the US and China, will be conducted completely online over this weekend. The brand also has the Swedish government, alongside hackathon experts, as partners for the event, which aims to “come up with solutions in three specific areas: to help save lives, communities and companies”. Coronavirus and the car world: round-up of industry response Autocar spoke to Volvo’s lead technical designer and lead organiser of the event, Paul Aston, who said the innovations that will emerge will “probably exceed expectations”. He said: “We’re in this horrible situation where everything’s out of our control around the world, and the thing with the guys I work with is they’re always in doing or making mode. They can’t channel that energy into normal work, so we are letting them use their powers for good, get behind this initiative and get their teeth into it. “We were thinking about these sponsorship deals that brands are doing and, to be honest, it felt kind of meaningless in a situation like this.” Aston said. “But we’ve got this incredible base of people. We have engineers, developers, user-experience designers, service designers – people who’ve gone into a slowdown with working hours cut down to 60%. They’ve got into a sense of disempowerment and feeling like you want to do something but don’t know what." Aston stressed that this is about real, tangible solutions to problems facing the world during this crisis, with a hope that Volvo can innovate beyond current manufacturer efforts to build ventilators, respirators and masks. While admitting that it’s “hard to tell” what will come out of it yet, he claimed there are “insane amounts of enthusiasm and engagement” from his teams. The hackathon will continue throughout the weekend as members process ideas, with the final judging due on Sunday evening. It is hoped that any ideas can become practical realities in a relatively short time. Read more: Volvo ditches petrol and diesel engines on S90, goes hybrid-only From dependable to disruptive: the reinvention of Volvo Coronavirus: what motorists need to know View the full article
  8. Originally scheduled for late April, China's biggest motoring event will now begin on 26 September 2020 The Beijing motor show is now scheduled to take place from 26 September - 5 October 2020, following its postponement last month. The event had been scheduled to open its doors on 21 April, but, like many other motor shows - including Geneva, Detroit and Paris - was pushed back by the outbreak of the coronavirus. The show was the first international motoring event of its type to be postponed, before Geneva was cancelled at the last minute. At the time Beijing being regularly treated with chemicals in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, so the decision made sense. The show's postponement is a blow to a Chinese car industry that's struggling to recover from two successive market drops in 2018 and 2019. China remains the world’s biggest market for new cars, with 22.3 million registered last year. Until 2018, it had enjoyed 20 years of unparalled growth since the last decline in 1997. The Beijing and Shanghai motor shows have both expanded to become internationally significant, and they alternate on the calendar. Beijing receives around 800,000 visitors each year – about 5500 of them from overseas – and hosts some 1200 exhibitors from 14 regions. READ MORE Coronavirus: Chinese GP postponed as impact on car industry grows Jaguar Land Rover warns of global coronavirus impact Hyundai closes South Korean factories amid coronavirus outbreak View the full article
  9. Home of the British GP could fill in for various cancelled grands prix in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic British GP host circuit Silverstone could be called upon to host multiple races this year to make up for those cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Track bosses will decide before the end of April whether the 2020 British Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on 19 July and have said they are open to the idea of hosting more than one grand prix. The first eight rounds of the 2020 Formula 1 season have been cancelled or postponed, but F1 bosses still hope that "between 15 and 18 races" will still take place. Silverstone MD Stuart Pringle told Sky Sports News that the track could feasibly be considered for multiple events, citing its proximity to several teams’ HQs and range of layout options. He said: “All I've done is say to Formula 1 we are willing to work with them in any way, shape or form that they think is in the best interests of the championship. "The majority of the teams are within a stone's throw of the circuit, so operationally it would be pretty straightforward. "We've got the fixed infrastructure, the staff could go home to their own beds of an evening in large parts, so if that's how we can help, then I'd be delighted to do that." F1 bosses have said the 2020 season will differ "significantly" from the original calendar and is likely to extend beyond the traditional November end date. Some of the postponed races, including the Bahrain and Spanish GPs, could still go ahead, but others have been cancelled entirely. The Monaco GP, for example, will take place “under no circumstances”. Read more Silverstone to host British Grand Prix until at least 2024 Brabham BT62: 691bhp track weapon takes on Silverstone View the full article
  10. Chinese-market Tiguan L GTE was launched there in 2019 Plug-in hybrid SUV and saloon will join other low-emission GTE models by end of 2020 Volkswagen has confirmed plans to introduce GTE-badged plug-in hybrid versions of the Tiguan SUV and Arteon to its European line-up by the end of 2020. The two new petrol-electric models are set to join the recently unveiled Golf GTE, upgraded Passat GTE and forthcoming Touareg R in an expanded five-strong line-up of plug-in hybrid VW models. A Tiguan GTE was shown in concept form back in 2015 and was expected to enter production. However, despite a Tiguan GTE being offered in China, where it is sold in long-wheelbase guise, VW prioritised other models in Europe. The European-spec Tiguan GTE is expected to adopt the same drivetrain as the most powerful of the two new Golf GTE models. It combines a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 148bhp and 184lb ft torque with an electric motor that produces up to 136bhp and 147lb ft. All up, it is claimed to produce a total system output of 242bhp and up to 295lb ft. The Chinese-market Tiguan GTE, on sale since mid-2019, uses a slightly less heavily tuned version of the same drivetrain. It has a combined 207bhp and the same 295lb ft, which gives it a claimed 0-62mph time of 8.1sec and an electronically governed 124mph top speed. A series of developments, including more direct gearing and a more advanced power electronics system, is expected to provide the European Tiguan GTE with added performance potential on a par with that of the existing Tiguan 2.0 TSI, which has a 0-62mph time of 6.3sec and 143mph top speed. A 13.0kWh lithium ion battery mounted within the floor of the luggage compartment will provide the new Tiguan model with a zero-emission range of up to 40 miles at speeds up to 87mph. With new cell technology, the battery is claimed to be smaller in size than that used by the earlier, first-generation Golf GTE, indicating that any intrusion into the Tiguan’s 615-litre boot should be minimal. Volkswagen is yet to provide official technical details, although insiders from its Wolfsburg headquarters in Germany (now home-working due to coronavirus restrictions) suggest the planned Arteon GTE will receive the same plug-in hybrid drivetrain as the upcoming Tiguan GTE in both saloon and Shooting Brake guises. READ MORE Four-wheel drive 'key' to hot Volkswagen ID 4 GTX EV Volkswagen ID 3 delays continue as software problems pile up Volkswagen to launch 34 new models in 2020 View the full article
  11. Range-topping V8 two-seater made 'more exclusive' as Woking slashes production run by 150 units McLaren has announced that it will produce just 249 examples of the ultra-exclusive Elva speedster, down from a planned 399 units. The decision, confirmed by CEO Mike Flewitt in an interview with The Australian Financial Review, is said to have been taken as a means of enhancing the car's rarity value. "The feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249," he said. Autocar's sources suggest, however, that McLaren over-estimated market demand for the model, hence the decision to reduce production numbers. The similarly conceived Aston Martin Speedster is limited to 88 examples, while Ferrari will build just 250 examples each of its SP1 and SP2 Monza roadsters. The new machine, which was first revealed by Autocar last summer, joins the P1, Senna and Speedtail in McLaren's range-topping Ultimate Series model line, and is priced from £1,425,000 (including UK VAT). McLaren claims the rear-wheel-drive Elva is the lightest road car it has ever produced. Powered by the firm’s 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, it is able to reach 62mph in “under three seconds” and has a claimed 0-124mph time of 6.7sec – faster than the track-focused Senna. The Elva name is taken from the East Sussex constructor whose chassis was used as the basis for McLaren’s M1A, M1B and M1C two-seat sports cars in the 1960s, which serve as spiritual predecessors to the new road car. McLaren has acquired the rights to the Elva name. McLaren boss Mike Flewitt says the Elva is “a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements”. It features a bespoke, lightweight carbonfibre chassis, with no roof, windscreen or side windows. To shield occupants from the elements, McLaren has developed an Active Air Management System (AAMS). Automatically activated at speed, this guides air through a large inlet in the splitter at the front of the Elva’s distinctive low nose and out of a clamshell ahead of the cabin. As a result, the air is channelled up and over the occupants to create a ‘bubble’ of calm. A small carbonfibre deflector rises from the front of the bonnet when the AAMS is active to direct the air, which is deflected through a number of carbonfibre vanes across the bonnet. When not active at low speeds, the air flow is diverted into two low-temperature radiators to boost their efficiency. McLaren claims the radiators boost the output of the engine by cooling the oil in the seven-speed transmission. The firm says the AAMS tech means helmets are not required but can be worn if preferred, while a fixed windscreen will be offered as a factory option. As well as the open front, McLaren has made the cabin as open to the elements as possible with low sides and by minimising the size of the twin rear buttresses by the use of an automatically deploying roll-over protection system. The car has a number of features designed to maximise aerodynamic efficiency, including air intakes on the rear buttresses and an active rear spoiler. The latter works in conjunction with an extreme rear diffuser, which features vertical fences designed to accelerate air out from under the Elva’s flat floor. McLaren’s traditional V8 engine has been tweaked for improved power output with a revamped exhaust system, while the car’s chassis has been optimised to “maximise agility and driver engagement and feedback”, with electrohydraulic steering and unique software settings and springs. McLaren has yet to cite a weight for the car, but says that, as well as the open-top design, it has been minimised where possible through the extensive use of carbonfibre. The front clamshell is 1.2mm thick and is formed from a one-piece panel, while the large side panels are also single pieces. The small gullwing doors are carbonfibre too, mounted via a single hinge. The sintered carbonceramic brakes measure 390mm, and McLaren claims they are the most advanced to be fitted to one of its road cars, with increased thermal conductivity that allows for reduced brake duct cooling. McLaren has used a “blurred boundaries” design principle for the interior, with a carbonfibre element flowing from the rear buttresses into the cabin to serve as the central armrest between the driver and passenger. The dashboard has been designed for a clean ‘pebble-like’ feel, with the only instrument cluster moving with the steering wheel to ensure optimum visibility. The Active Dynamics controls are mounted on that instrument cluster for the first time in a McLaren. A central 8in touchscreen is used for many of the car’s functions, including a track telemetry system. The interior features lightweight carbonfibre seats and is offered without an audio system as standard. The floor is exposed carbonfibre, with lightweight non-slip mats as standard. With the cockpit open to the elements, the Elva is offered with a range of trims designed to cope with exposure to rain, sunlight and other intrusions. A small storage compartment, designed to house helmets, is located beneath the rear tonneau. The Elva is available to order now, with customer deliveries due to begin later this year after the production run of the Speedtail is completed. The story behind the name The tiny Bexhill-based Elva Equipe (the name comes from the French phrase ‘ella va’, meaning ‘she goes’) played a key role in McLaren’s early sports racing cars, which the new Elva takes inspiration from. Bruce McLaren established his eponymous team in 1963, developing the M1A sports car, powered by a mid-mounted 340bhp 4.5-litre V8, to race in both Europe and North America. The car was quick, setting a number of lap records, and attracted much interest from potential customer teams. With his staff limited, McLaren teamed up with Elva to outsource production. That led to the McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B and M1C, developed between 1964 and 1967. By that time, McLaren had developed the M6A, which the founder and team-mate Denny Hulme used to dominate the 1967 Can-Am Championship. READ MORE Flat out in McLaren's ultimate trio: F1 vs P1 vs Senna McLaren 720S 2019 long-term review View the full article
  12. Just 12 examples of the open-cockpit grand tourer will be made and are already allocated to customers The Bentley Mulliner Bacalar spearheads a new era for the British car maker’s coachbuilding division, which will launch an ultra-exclusive model as often as every two years. The £1.5 million Bacalar, an open-cockpit grand tourer, is limited to just 12 units, all of which have already been allocated to loyal customers. The two-seat design is heavily inspired by the EXP 100 GT concept, which was revealed for Bentley’s centenary last year, with the two cars having been designed side by side. Features echoing that concept include the single front lights, rather than the twin arrangement found on current-generation Bentley models, and the dark bronze brightwork. The strongest similarity is the dramatic rear end, including the blade design of the tail-lights. The Bacalar was first revealed in early March, but Bentley has now released a set of six Bacalar specifications created by its design team to show the many possibilties available for the coach-built two-seater. Bentley head of colour and trim Maria Mulder said: "The six example specifications we have created each have their own personality and purpose, but what they share in common is that only Bacalar can reflect this level of personalisation and attention to detail." The six are named: The Clerkenwell, the Menlo (pictured below), the Fulton, the Greenwich, the Brickell and the Randwick. (Scroll through the above gallery to see the rest.) Talking more broadly about design, head of exterior design JP Gregory said: “This is the first modern coachbuilt Bentley Mulliner. A [coachbuilt] product is something that Bentley is quite famous for. “The character of the Bacalar is inspired by the future of luxury mobility. We’re already starting to deliver on the vision we showed on the EXP 100 GT.” “The barchetta design throws the visual weight backwards. There’s a seamless flow between the interior and exterior.” The interior references the Birkin Blower racing car of 1929, said Darren Day, head of interior design: “We were heavily focused on a wraparound cockpit, including behind the seats. This was designed from scratch: every little detail from the speakers to the knurling. I wanted to see something you couldn’t produce in a production car.” Owners of the Bacalar can request a bespoke luggage set to fit behind the seats. The only features carried over from more mainstream Bentleys are the door handles, because of the keyless entry, and the cap of the steering wheel, because of airbag functionality. Interior shapes familiar from other Bentley models include the dashboard and centre console buttons, but entirely new materials are used to set them apart. These include 5500-year-old riverwood, naturally felled in Cambridge, and wool and tweed from the Scottish Borders. The dials and clock have a dark blue surface, intended to reflect the lake after which the car is named: Lake Bacalar in Mexico. Bentley design director Stefan Sielaff said: “When we started to develop the Bacalar, we were still working on the EXP 100 GT. It’s a good experiment to do things differently. We almost don’t see any chrome or traditional materials. It’s a big step forward in a modern interpretation of what Bentley can be.” The Bacalar uses Bentley’s famed 6.0-litre W12 powertrain to produce 650bhp. That’s 41bhp more than the standard W12 and peak torque is raised to 664lb ft. The car can achieve 0-60mph in 3.5sec and has a top speed of more than 200mph. The Bacalar marks the beginning of a major drive for Mulliner, with the division’s boss, Tim Hannig, describing it as “one of the biggest untapped opportunities to satisfy customers”. Hannig identifies three pillars of Mulliner: Mulliner Classic, Mulliner Collections and Mulliner Coachbuilt. Mulliner Classic was kick-started last year with a 1939 Bentley Corniche recreation and news of a continuation series of the Birkin Blower. Mulliner Collections includes models such as the recently revealed Continental GT Mulliner Convertible. And Mulliner Coachbuilt includes the Bacalar, with more to come. Hannig said: “We have started to do coachbuilt models. Traditionally, Mulliner was always that. The Bacalar and the Blower are a pilot for us. There’s a real appetite [for these cars]. People say: ‘Why didn’t you do something like this earlier?’” Of future coachbuilt models, Hannig said: “We will make sure we can maintain or increase the workforce. The Bacalar is about the sensation of driving. We might, at some point, do something which is about ultimate comfort. We didn’t want to be vulgar, and it’s not about being the fastest car out there.” Sielaff added: “You can see the Bacalar on the road much quicker than a big production project. This will be the first of more to come. A modern coachbuild could happen frequently, but it will change depending on the number we build. If a customer wants one or two cars, the price would be higher, but we can do it. But 10 or 12 cars is the limit in terms of being able to do everything by hand, like with the Bacalar.” Q&A: Stefan Sielaff, design director, Bentley Why did you decide on this bodystyle for your first modern coachbuilt Mulliner? “We could do anything: a shooting brake, a coupé… We wanted it to relate to the Blower as a typical British sports car. Have you ever seen a Blower with a roof? There’s something classically British about it: people drive here in summer and winter without a roof.” What would you like to carry over to series production? “The strong reduction [of lines] on the body and not having too many details on the exterior. Also, the treatment of material: making it more sustainable. And craftsmanship; that makes Bentley so special.” Do your younger customers want something different from more traditional buyers? “Younger customers have a completely different mindset. The attitude of status symbol isn’t so focused on bling bling. It’s a more modest way, in saying ‘we know what we have and we don’t need to show what we have’.” This is the first time you’ve done a bronze Bentley badge… “Yes, it’s always a risk to change the badge. It might upset some. But [at this level] if a customer wants chrome or black instead, that’s fine.” READ MORE Limited-run Bentley Continental GT celebrates Pikes Peak win Bentley S2 meets Mulsanne: Driving Crewe's first and last V8 engines New Bentley Mulsanne 6.75 Edition is final outing for iconic V8 View the full article
  13. UPDATED: Range estimates are exactly that - estimates. We show you what you can expect from an EV in the real-world Battery technology and charging infrastructure is constantly improving, quickly turning EVs from niche vehicles to a viable replacements to combustion-engined cars. But how far you can drive between top-ups is still a valid concern. Manufacturer range estimates vary wildly, and aren’t always achievable in everyday driving conditions - so how far can you really go on a single charge? Our sister site What Car? puts every electric car through a range test, measuring exactly what kind of distance you can achieve in the real world. The ten cars listed here have the longest range capability of all the electric cars we have tested to date. 1. Hyundai Kona Electric, 259 miles Our current long-distance champion for electric range isn’t the car with the biggest battery, and nor is it the most expensive. That it comes from a mainstream brand rather than a luxury one and can be had for under £35,000 speaks volumes for EV adoption. When we road tested the Kona Electric last year, we said it offered “the most compelling blend of usability and affordability yet seen in an EV,” and with a real-world range of over 250 miles from a 64kWh battery, it bests premium names like Tesla, Jaguar and Audi. In fact, its combination of price, performance and popular compact crossover bodystyle have proved so in demand that Hyundai is struggling to meet demand. Read the full Hyundai Kona Electric review here =2. Jaguar I-Pace, 253 miles As the first European carmaker to release a premium model to challenge the likes of Tesla, Jaguar beat its closest rivals to the punch, while also setting a high bar for them to follow. It is a true driver’s car that happens to be powered by electricity, with impressive amounts of acceleration and the kind of handling you expect from the brand. With a 90kWh battery powering its twin electric motors, the I-Pace achieves a real-world range of 253 miles. That narrowly puts it into second place behind the Kona Electric, but with support for faster DC rapid charging, it may spend less time plugged into a compatible charging point to regain any lost range. Read the full Jaguar I-Pace review here =2. Kia e-Niro, 253 miles Sharing the second row of the podium with the I-Pace, the Kia e-Niro also manages 253 miles of range - despite having a significantly smaller battery than the Jaguar. It shares its powertrain with the Hyundai Kona Electric, but has a slight weight penalty on account of its larger body. When we road tested the e-Niro, we decided the slight reduction in total range was worth the gains in usability, refinement and ride quality, earning it a higher overall score. Read the full Kia e-Niro review here 4. Tesla Model 3, 239 miles The long-awaited mainstream Tesla model only recently arrived in the UK, after a year of massive sales success in the USA. The Model 3 is available in Standard Range Plus specification, or with BMW M3-baiting power and acceleration in Performance guise, managing the 0-60mph sprint in 32 seconds and a 162mph top speed thanks to an electric motor on each axle. It was this version we tested, with the optional performance pack adding larger 20in wheels over the standard, aero-optimised 18in alloys. In our tests, the Model 3 Performance achieved 239 miles of real-world driving. That puts it beyond the longest range Model X, which costs significantly more, and comfortably ahead of the Audi E-tron electric SUV. Read the full Tesla Model 3 review here 5. Tesla Model X, 233 miles The second Tesla car to make it to the UK in volume numbers, the Model X combines seven seat practicality with attention-stealing gullwing doors and near-supercar levels of acceleration once the optional Ludicrous Performance mode has been added. It also demands a near £100,000 asking price, making it one of the most expensive EVs on Britain’s roads. When we tested the X in P100D guise, before the company shook up its model naming conventions, it managed a competitive 233 miles of range. While this puts it below the very best, Tesla’s supercharger network promises some of the fastest destination charging times currently available in the UK. Read the full Tesla Model X review here 6. Nissan Leaf e+, 217 miles The first generation Nissan Leaf was among the first affordable electric cars, but it wasn't a distance champion. The second-generation model made gains, but it was the e+ version that made the biggest leap, thanks to a 62kWh battery. Compared to the 40kWh battery seen in the regular car, it allows for an extra 90 miles of real-world driving. The e+ also has more power than the regular leaf, with 214bhp making it much more responsive. It does, however, suffer from a less refined ride than the standard car, so using that extra power through the corners isn't quite as entertaining as it perhaps could be. Read the full Nissan Leaf e+ review here 7. Mercedes-Benz EQC, 208 miles Experiments with electric Smart cars and a battery powered AMG SLS sports car aside, the EQC is Mercedes’ first production EV. It’s a premium SUV with familiar yet different styling, so it doesn’t stand out too dramatically from the rest of the Mercedes line-up, and delivers the kind of interior we’ve come to expect from the marque. An 80kWh battery pack has to power two motors, one for each axle and producing a combined 402bhp and 561lb ft of torque, giving it more accelerative thrust than either of its two mainstream rivals, the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-tron. It may have more power than the Jaguar, but it depletes it battery faster too: used for everyday driving, you can expect to see a typical real world range of more than 200 miles, narrowly besting the similarly-priced Audi. Read the full Mercedes-Benz EQC review here 8. Tesla Model S 75kWh, 204 miles The original electric luxury saloon, the Model S proved that Tesla could turn its hand to volume production and set new standards for the distance an EV could travel on a single charge when it first made its debut back in 2012. It is now available in a choice of different battery capacities, with the current entry-level 75kWh model managing 204 miles of real-world range. That no longer puts it at the top of the list, but with access to a plentiful network of Superchargers, owners may find themselves spending less time recharging than they might in a rival EV. Read the full Tesla Model S review here 9. Audi e-tron, 196 miles Audi had experimented with electric versions of its existing models before, but the e-tron is the first of a new generation, and potentially one of the brand’s most important cars for years. It’s a luxury SUV first and an electric one second, but with styling that doesn’t set it far apart from combustion-powered models. It is heavy, however, and even though it has a large 95kWh battery pack, drivers can expect a real-world range of around 196 miles. On the plus side, support for 150kW charging (when it arrives in greater numbers) should speed up any downtime. Read the full Audi e-tron review here 10. Renault Zoe R135, 192 miles The new generation Zoe arrived with a more powerful powertrain than the original car, which remains in the line-up as a new entry-level model. Exterior styling hasn't changed dramatically, but Renault has made real gains inside the cabin, with elements shared with the new Clio greatly raising perceived quality. The Zoe's 52kWh battery is officially capable of 238 miles on the WLTP test cycle, but our real-world testing showed the car is really capable of 192 miles in regular use. That puts it among cars costing significantly more, but falls behind the likes of Kia and Hyundai. Read the full Renault Zoe R135 review here 11. Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 181 miles Tesla’s most attainable model had already proven itself a capable electric tourer in more powerful Performance guise, but this Standard Range Plus model is capable of fewer files between charges. It has one motor powering the rear wheels only, rather than the two found in the Performance version, and it has a smaller battery pack, but it still landed in the upper echelons of distance-driving EVs under our Real Range tests. Our testing produced a real-world range of 181 miles, putting it ahead of the similarly-priced BMW i3, but behind the capable Hyundai Kona EV and Kia E-Niro. Read the full Audi E-tron review here 12. BMW i3 120Ah, 165 miles The i3 was one of the first modern electric cars, and a demonstration from BMW that they didn’t need to follow the same formula as the combustion vehicles they are expected to replace. An unusual design, minimal interior and the kind of handling expected of the brand helped earn the i3 a five star road test verdict when it first arrived back in 2013. A mid-life facelift and a higher density battery pack have helped keep the i3 relevant today as a premium compact EV, but a real-world range of 165 miles may rule it out of intercity journeys without also factoring in a charging stop along the way. Read the full BMW i3 review here READ MORE New electric cars 2019/2020: What’s coming and when? Analysis: Just how green are electric vehicles? Top 10 Best Electric Cars 2019 View the full article
  14. BMW will renew its Mercedes B-Class rival after revealing new two-door and four-door 2 Series coupé models The next-generation BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has been photographed in prototype form ahead of its expected unveiling later this year. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class rival has been spotted winter testing out in the open, giving us a better look at its evolved styling than when we last saw it on the back of trailer outside a BMW facility in Germany. The MPV's design looks to be closely aligned with the new 1 Series, upon which it's based. It also appears to have shorter overhangs than the current model, suggesting BMW has worked to improve interior space and packaging. Expect the range of engines to include a base 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol and 2.0-litre four-cylinder tubo petrol, available in a number of different power outputs. A full range of diesels ranging from 118bhp to 188bhp will also feature. The expectation is that a plug-in hybrid variant will again be offered, given the necessity of such cars to reduce fleet average CO2 emissions, but nothing has yet been confirmed. Don't expect to see an M-tuned variant any time soon, because it would be far from the firm's core market. However, a 302bhp 35i version would be technically possible, given the 2 Series Active Tourer's close relationship to the 1 Series. The Active Tourer will join the newly revamped 2 Series line-up after the unveiling of the new four-door Gran Coupé late this year and the traditional two-door coupé early next year. BMW sources have suggested to Autocar that the seven-seat 2 Series Gran Tourer won't return, however, due to a lack of buyer interest in larger MPVs. Read more Mini to revive Traveller name for BMW i3-based MPV Facelifted BMW 5 Series spied in saloon and estate forms​ BMW 3 Series 330e 2020 long-term review​ View the full article
  15. We round up our hottest stories, pictures and videos for you to devour in your lunch break It’s everyone’s favourite part of the working day, lunchtime, and you’re no doubt craving a hefty dose of car-related content. So we’ve revived our Autocar Lunchbox feature to bring you our favourite videos, stories, photos, quotes and more all in one place. Here are today’s picks: HOT NEWS Son of P1 McLaren will launch its first mainstream hybrid car later this year, with sources suggesting it will sit towards the lower end of the British sports car maker’s three-tier model range in terms of power and performance. It’ll eschew Woking’s traditional twin-turbo V8 set-up in favour of an electrified V6 and should be capable of 20 electric-only miles per charge. First mainstream McLaren hybrid due later this year VIDEO OF THE DAY CSL - SMG = Gr8? The BMW M3 CSL (the 2003 E46 3 Series, codename fans) is widely regarded as one of the greatest BMW M cars of all time and couldn’t possibly be improved… or could it? We took a trip to Oxfordshire’s Everything M3s to drive their version, with a manual gearbox replacing the usual SMG ’box, to see if you should mess with a legend. PHOTO OF THE DAY On yer bike! We don’t feature a lot of motorbikes here at Autocar, so you know that any that make the cut are pretty darn special. This is RC Express Racing’s Kawasaki ZX-10R - a superbike that weighs the same as a couple of burly rugby players and packs more power than a 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5. Is it a match for a 1200bhp Nissan GT-R or a Rallycross racer? We found out in our ultimate drag race showdown. Ultimate drag race showdown: BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and more QUOTE OF THE DAY Things can only get better “The contrast between the Puma and the EcoSport is so stark you wonder if the latter wasn’t actually a canny bit of strategic product planning. A great car is made to seem even better by immediate comparison to a really awful one.” The Ford Puma has already established itself as an immediate class leader in the burgeoning compact SUV segment, but can it achieve a coveted five-star verdict in the arduous Autocar road test? Matt Saunders thinks it’s off to a good start, mainly because of the shortcomings of its predecessor. 2020 Ford Puma road test FROM THE ARCHIVE Clear as Glas One of BMW's main factories today is Dingolfing, where the 5, 6, 7 and 8 Series are built. It employs 18,000 people and puts out 1600 cars per day. But while Munich is the brand's spiritual home, the other Bavarian plant was purchased in 1967 from Glas – a name that will be unknown to most nowadays. We look back at the success of that firm’s Goggomobile microcar. Throwback Thursday 1964: the excellent Glas 1700 and its maker's story POPULAR OPINION The show(manship) must go on At this time of international hardship, taking a McLaren GT out on the road doesn’t exactly scream ‘essential travel’, but Matt Prior was pleasantly surprised at the public reaction when he recently took Woking’s DB11 rival for a (pre-lockdown) spin. Perhaps even flamboyance has a place in times of crisis. Matt Prior: What will become of the GT - and the man-bun?​ View the full article
  16. Mustang-inspired electric crossover is Ford's flagship and priced from just over £40,000, with first deliveries in late 2020 Ford has revealed final UK prices for its new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover and first deliveries will start towards the end of the year. The entry-level standard-range rear-wheel drive model is priced from £40,270. It promises a "target range" of 280 miles from its 76kWh battery and puts out 254bhp. The extended-range version is £9730 extra and has a 99kWh battery pack for a 370-mile quoted range and a power output of 281bhp. That price places this extended-range Mach-E just below the £50k threshold necessary to qualify for the £3000 government plug-in car grant. The all-wheel-drive model starts from £46,750. With the 76kWh battery, its quoted range is reduced to 260 miles. The extended-range four-wheel-drive version starts from £56,950, with a 335-mile quoted rnge and a power boost to 332bhp. Pre-orders are being taken now, with a recommended deposit of £1000. The Mach-E is Ford’s first volume-production battery electric vehicle and the flagship for the launch of 18 mild- and full-hybrid new models scheduled for launch by the end of 2021. The Tesla Model Y rival is the first production car to emerge from Ford’s Team Edison, a 70-strong Detroit group tasked with designing the firm’s next-generation EVs. At launch. the range-topping version will produce 332bhp, with a full GT model making around 459bhp due at a later date. Murat Gueler, Ford’s Europe design chief, said the aim was to create “something special that stands out from the crowd”, describing the new machine as “an EV with soul”. The new electric car has taken the Mustang title as the first step in expanding the nameplate into a full model line. The Mach-E moniker is inspired by the Mach 1 variant of the first-gen Mustang. The Mach-E UK order book is understood to be “healthy” and buyers who have expressed an interest will be locked into deals this summer, with many expected to be on the list for the high-spec First Edition models, limited to 10,000 units globally. Ford's electrification drive includes Fiesta, Puma and Focus Ecoboost hybrid models, plus Kuga, Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom Ecoblue models. Most efficient is the Kuga plug-in hybrid, claimed to emit 26g/km of CO2 on the outgoing NEDC cycle. By electrifying its volume-selling Fiesta, Focus and Kuga models, Ford estimates that it could save European motorists around £28 million a year in fuel costs. Ford is also promising to open 1000 charging stations at Ford "facilities" across Europe to speed the introduction of plug-ins and battery electric models. “Infrastructure is critical to helping consumers have the confidence to go electric, but we can’t do it on our own,” said Ford Europe president Stuart Rowley. Ford Mustang Mach-E: design, platform and powertrain The styling strongly links the EV to the regular Mustang, reflected in features such as the badge and front and rear lights, as well as several lines along the bodywork. Gueler said: “The approach was to put this car in a unique spot: only Ford can do Mustang. In the next few years, there will be hundreds of EV nameplates, but with Mustang, we can load up with emotion and drama.” The car lacks conventional door handles, instead featuring buttons that pop open the doors and small holds protruding from the front doors. Owners can use their smartphones as keys, or use a keypad built into the B-pillar. The Mustang Mach-E sports a more radical interior, with a wide dashboard featuring a Mustang ‘double cowl’ and built-in soundbar. The dash is dominated by a Tesla-style vertically mounted 15.5in touchscreen with a rotary dial fixed onto it using special glue. Many of the car’s systems are controlled through the screen, which uses a new Sync 4 operating system that can accept over-the-air updates. There is also a 10.2in digital cluster for the driver, while the steering wheel retains a number of physical controls. The Mustang Mach-E sits on a new Ford EV platform called Global Electrified 2, or GE2 – an extensively reworked version of the C2 architecture used for the latest Focus and Kuga. Gueler said designers had input into setting the platform’s dimensions, both to set the wheelbase and to enable the extended bonnet, which is long for an EV but considered an iconic Mustang design feature. The model will initially be launched with two battery pack sizes and three power outputs. The entry-level version will feature a single motor driving the rear wheels, with either a 75kWh battery and 254bhp motor or a 99kWh battery and 285bhp motor. Both produce 307lb ft, with a claimed 0-62mph time of under eight seconds and WLTP range of around 280 and 370 miles respectively. The twin-motor all-wheel-drive version is offered with a 75kWh battery and 254bhp, or 99kWh and 332bhp. Both versions provide 429lb ft and a sub-seven-second 0-62mph time, with estimated ranges of 260 and 335 miles. Charging is available through an AC home charger or via DC fast chargers at up to 150kW. The car is 4712mm long, 1881mm wide and 1597mm high, placing it between the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC. Kerb weights range from 1993kg to more than 2218kg and all models will have a governed top speed of 111mph. Claimed boot volume is 402 litres and there’s a 100-litre waterproof front luggage bay. Ford hasn’t given a full range of performance figures yet, but Team Edison’s Dorit Haas said it was “meant to be like a sports car”. She added: “This is a performance EV. Not just in a straight line, but in terms of handling and agility – the ride is very important.” The rear-wheel-drive models will sit on 18in wheels, with 19in wheels for all-wheel-drive versions. Twin-motor machines gain adaptive LED headlights and red brake calipers, while limited-edition First Edition models also get a panoramic roof. The Mustang Mach-E is being built in Mexico and is available to order now and will be sold exclusively online. READ MORE Opinion: Why Ford has gambled on calling its electric EV a Mustang Ford could expand Mustang line-up further in future Ford Capri could still be revived, says design boss Ford to launch three new model names by 2024 in Europe View the full article
  17. A variety of seriously quick machines, including racing lorries and superbikes, fight it out on the runway Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t start life as a huge film franchise, as you might know. At first, it was just a Disneyland theme park ride – a few-minute thrill whose name and vague theme, decades after its launch, someone concocted a plot around and threw Johnny Depp into. Similarly, this story didn’t start out as a magazine feature at all. Instead, it began life as a series of drag races that we videoed. Then someone said: “You know, we should probably tell people a bit more about this.” And thus the audio-visual few-minute thrill has become the feature you see here. The idea behind it was straightforward enough, though: take some quick road cars, superbikes and other wild cards and put them up against each other in a series of drag races, hopefully matching vehicles of similar accelerative ability. We’d line them up and, a quarter of a mile later, see if we were right. In many cases, we were able to put our GPS data-logging hardware on the machines, but sometimes we were not. Where we have data, we’ve published it. Race one - Litchfield Nissan GT-R versus race bike As car vs bike challenges go, this is a pretty senior one. Litchfield Imports has spent nearly 20 years importing, modifying and tuning mostly Japanese cars, and the Nissan GT-Rs that it modifies can run more than 1200bhp. The RC Express Racing Kawazaki ZX-10R of Ivan Lintin, meanwhile, is a sub-200kg road-racing superbike that makes a bit over 200bhp. Lintin is in charge of his own getaway. There’s no traction control, so he must feed out the clutch and keep the front wheel on the deck as best he can, but he can give it full throttle from second gear. Litchfield’s gaffer, Iain Litchfield, has to worry less about wheelies and more about the drivetrain. On his first go, the ECU, it turns out, is set up to give more turbo boost the longer you hold launch control and, after a too-long pause for the lights to change, it lunches a driveshaft. Litchfield thought it might, so he has brought a spare. Half an hour later he has swapped it and is ready to go again. With the GT-R’s torque limited to save the transmission, the bike gets away narrowly ahead, but when the car shifts into fourth gear, torque becomes unlimited and it spins up all four wheels. Which is quite a sight, although not one Lintin sees, because he’s still ahead. At the quarter mile, the bike nips it, but the GT-R - 10.3sec at around 170mph for the standing quarter - is gaining. Race two - Ferrari 458 Speciale versus Nissan GT-R and McLaren 650S Two unusual things here: we found a standard Nissan GT- R and an owner of a Ferrari 458 Speciale who was prepared to give it the absolute beans down a runway. All three cars have launch control and, by gum, all three were prepared to take advantage of it. On paper, the 641bhp McLaren should have the measure of both the 542bhp GT-R and the 597bhp Speciale, but it’s the Nissan that gets off the line first — probably no surprise, given that it has four-wheel drive and the others, despite their engines being in the middle, do not. Of the supercars, the McLaren gets away better, thanks to some turbocharged oomph, and it stays that way. In fact, it doesn’t just get away better than the Ferrari; the McLaren quickly overhauls the GT-R, too. At the line, which the McLaren crosses 10.8sec after getting away, it’s holding a half-second advantage over the other two, which finish more or less together, both at a little over 11sec. The GT-R is a touch ahead and travelling at 124mph, but just another few yards and the Speciale would have had second. Race three - Ariel Atom 3.5 R versus Rallycross Citroën DS3 and race bike This is one of those that only ended up going one way. We enlisted ‘Big Jim’ from upstairs at work, who has recently spent some savings and a PPI payout on going motor racing on a 1998 Yamaha R1 superbike. He hopes to take it to the TT within a couple of years. Trouble is, it isn’t set up for standing starts, and an Ariel Atom 3.5R, with a supercharged Honda engine making over 300bhp and a sequential gearbox with pneumatic shifts, pretty much is. It’ll do 0-60mph in around 3.0sec dead on RAF Alconbury’s concrete runway. Even that, next to Liam Doran’s FIA World Rallycross car, is tardy. His Citroën DS3 - with the best part of 600bhp, four-wheel drive and launch control - hits 60mph in less than 2.0sec. The explosive start gives Doran an advantage that the other two - Ariel second and Big Jim third - can’t quite overhaul. But Jim is having the time of his life anyway. Race four - Porsche 911 Turbo S versus Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Nissan GT-R With 707bhp and 650lb ft, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat ought to be quite a thing - even though this one, sourced from an early UK adopter, runs an automatic transmission. No apologies, then, for putting it up against two of the most accelerative production cars we could think of: the Porsche 911 Turbo S (which can hit 60mph in around 3.0sec and a standing quarter mile in 11.0sec, even on a poorly surfaced runway) and that standard GT-R again, partly because putting a GT-R into a video increases the number of people who’ll watch it by about 50%. The 911 and GT-R - identical on power - are the more competitive pair. The 911 gets away better, because it’s lighter, because of where its engine is and because it has the most spectacular launch control system known to motordom. It’s an advantage that it never gives up, but the GT-R is only a couple of tenths behind. In fairness, the Hellcat - despite its whopping power advantage - doesn’t stand much of a chance. Yes, it has launch control, but it can’t get its power down cleanly enough to match the four-wheel-drive vehicles, and it never makes back the disadvantage. However, a 12.2sec standing quarter mile time on this surface is pretty good going for a rear-drive V8 brute. Race five - Porsche Cayman GT4 versus BMW M4, BMW i8 and Lexus RC F Another front-engined, rear-drive brute here in the form of the BMW M4, and another slightly foregone conclusion on that front. If you want the fastest-accelerating BMW sports car of the moment, look instead to the i8. On paper, the M4 should be a 12.3sec car over the standing quarter mile and the i8 a 13.3sec car. But those are in the optimum conditions and surface of our road tests. Out there on the concrete, the M4 can’t compete with the four-wheel-drive i8, which can match its 0-60mph time of 4.5sec every time (until its batteries run out), whereas the M4 can’t get near its 4.1sec time. Advantage, then, to the i8, which also retains a tiny advantage over Lexus’s rear-wheel-drive RC F. The Lexus doesn’t have launch control but, driven skilfully by our tame racing driver, makes an extremely good fist of things. But the Porsche Cayman GT4 is barely capable of being beaten in any arena and, despite having no launch control, takes advantage of its engine’s behind-driver location to make the best of what traction it has. It’s a 4.6sec-to-60mph car in ideal conditions and just about is here, too, nipping through the standing quarter mile in 13.0sec - just ahead of the i8, from the Lexus, from the M4. Race six - Range Rover Sport SVR versus race truck Dave Jenkins’ current racing truck makes around 1150bhp and weighs 5.5 tonnes. And like the Litchfield GT-R, the first time he tries to get it off the line quickly - which is not something it’s set up for because race trucks have rolling starts - something breaks on it. Jenkins doesn’t have a replacement part, so he opts for the next best thing: a supertruck from about a decade ago, when race trucks were bigger of budget and rortier of engine. It weighs only five tonnes and has a full 1500bhp. Game on. We put it up against the trickiest thing we could find: a Range Rover Sport SVR, which makes 542bhp and tipped our scales at 2335kg when we weighed it. In terms of power to weight, then, the supertruck ought to have it. However, the Range Rover just gets away better, because it weighs less than half as much as the truck, so even though the truck can do a 13.6sec standing quarter mile, the car can do the same in 12.8sec. A narrow advantage, then, to the car, but the sight of Jenkins drifting the truck around at the end of the quarter mile is one that’ll live with us for a long time. Race seven - BMW X5 versus Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 and Porsche Cayenne Turbo Yet more truckness, of a fashion. BMW’s X5 M plays the Jeep Cherokee SRT-8 and a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. My money is on the Porsche because, well, it’s a Porsche, but the power outputs suggest otherwise: that the Grand Cherokee, with its 470bhp 6.4-litre V8, will be behind the 542bhp Cayenne, which will be behind the 567bhp X5. I’ll be honest: this one goes to form. The Jeep, for all of its noise and goodness, is slowest off the line and stays that way. The Porsche puts up a better fight against the BMW, but the X5 gets away slightly faster and then holds its advantage. If you want the fastest SUV off the lights, the X5 M is it. This article was originally published on 4 January 2016. We're revisiting some of Autocar's most popular features to provide engaging content in these challenging times. Read more Drag race: McLaren 720S Spider vs BMW S1000RR vs Ariel Atom 4​ Drag Race: BMW M5 vs Diesel Seat Arosa - Which is faster?​ View the full article
  18. Japanese marque reveals limited-run 100th Anniversary trim option, available on all key models Mazda is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020 with a new special-edition version of the key models in its line-up, inspired by the firm’s first production car. The 100th Anniversary cars are painted in a pearlescent shade of white, which is contrasted by burgundy leather seats and carpets inside. The colour scheme is similar to that used for top-end variants of the R360 microcar, the commercial success of which helped to establish Mazda as a competitive mainstream manufacturer following its launch in 1960. Additional bespoke touches for the special edition include 100th Anniversary badging on the floor mats, key fob, wheel centres, side skirts and head restaints. Soft-top versions of the MX-5 swap their standard black fabric roof for a dark red one that matches the interior. Models that can be specified with the new limited-run trim package include the 2, 3, CX-3, CX-5, CX-8, 6 and both the RF and soft-top versions of the MX-5. Order books are now open in Japan and the 100th Anniversary models will arrive in the UK later this year. Production will run until 2021, when the company is set to launch its landmark first EV, the MX-30 SUV. Mazda, originally named Toyo Cork Kogyo, was founded in Hiroshima in 1920 and moved from machine tooling into vehicle production 11 years later with the launch of the Mazda-Go auto rickshaw. The R360, an early example of the diminutive Japanese kei car, was the company’s first commercially available production car and was joined two years by the larger P360 ‘Carol’. Read more 30 years of the Mazda MX-5​ Mazda RX-7 revisited - driving the rotary-engined king of spin​ Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Tech 2020 UK review​ View the full article
  19. Ford aims to take the crossover class by storm as it revives the Puma name Given that the Puma of the late 1990s arrived with the bold tagline ‘A driver’s dream’, Ford’s decision to reprise the name of its pint-size coupé on the tailgate of a crossover seems perplexing.With a larger frontal area, a higher centre of gravity and more weight, this new Puma clearly distances itself from traditional ‘driver’s dream’ territory where the 1034kg original did everything budgets would allow to get closer.But times have changed. Today, the compact crossover class is bursting at the seams with members as manufacturers cash in on demand and the mass-market space for more unusual, enthusiast-minded projects has rapidly shrunk.However, what this segment has long been devoid of is something genuinely good to drive, which is where – Ford says – this new Puma will justify its name. The car will slot into the range between the dreary EcoSport and the Kuga and it shares a platform with the Fiesta, which, as you may have heard, is easily the dynamic benchmark in the supermini class.The Puma is the first small Ford to use hybrid power, in the form of a 48V system bolstering a three-cylinder petrol turbo engine. The car’s striking design, which has been described as ‘anti-wedge’ by one Ford designer, is intended to steal sales from more premium brands, notably Mini. Strong ergonomics are also promised, with the Puma possessing one of the largest boot capacities in the class, more passenger space than the Fiesta and what Ford calls the Megabox, more on which in a moment. Fully digital instrument dials and level two ‘autonomous’ driver aids should add to its appeal.How, then, does the second coming of the Puma measure up to the likes of the Nissan Juke, Seat Arona, Skoda Kamiq, Renault Captur, Volkswagen T-Cross and Mini Countryman? Let’s find out.The Puma line-up at a glanceFor now, the UK Puma line-up is relatively straightforward. Power comes from Ford’s 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol three-pot, which is available with either 123bhp or 153bhp. Mild-hybrid assistance is an option for the 123bhp unit and standard on the 153bhp engine. All are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels.The trim line-up is also simple: our Titanium-spec test car represents the entry level and is followed by ST-Line and ST-Line X. A diesel-powered Puma and a sportier ST performance model are in the pipeline, the latter expected to be officially revealed at some point this year.Price £20,845 Power 123bhp Torque 155lb ft 0-60mph 10.0sec 30-70mph in fourth 13.5sec Fuel economy 39.0mpg CO2 emissions 96g/km 70-0mph 57.3m View the full article
  20. Flagship executive saloon will now be solely available as a Recharge plug-in hybrid in UK, but V90 estate still gets choice of powertrains Volvo has dropped all pure petrol and diesel offerings on the S90 in the UK for the saloon’s 2020 facelift, leaving only the T8 plug-in hybrid variant, now dubbed Recharge. The brand has also dropped all ‘Plus’ trim levels from its entire range. It means the S90 now costs from £55,180 in R-Design trim, rising to £56,030 for Inscription trim. The Recharge promises 0-62mph in 5.1sec, a quoted CO2 rating of 40g/km and is capable of up to 166mpg combined. The changes do not affect the V90 estate, which is still available with four-cylinder petrol and diesel variants now featuring mild hybrid technology. The system uses a 48V battery with an integrated starter/generator and energy recovery system, which Volvo claims contributes to a 15% improvement in CO2 emissions. At the same time Volvo has also dropped the price of the smaller S60 Polestar Engineered by a substantial £5,785, while the standard S60 T8 is also reduced by £4,700. Volvo has made a number of relatively small design tweaks to the S90 and V90, which have been on sale since 2016. Both cars get a new front bumper and foglights. At the rear, there are new-look LED tail-lights for the V90, and the firm has installed sequential indicator lights for the first time. There are a number of new paint colours and wheel options, too. The interior has also been refreshed, and Volvo has added an Advanced Air Cleaner, which filters particulates from the cabin and can display air quality on the infotainment system. The system was previously only available in Chinese-market models. There are now two USB-C charging ports in the rear, replacing the 12-volt power outlet, while wireless charging has been added as an option on most variants. The S90 and V90 also gain an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins sound system and an expanded range of leather-free material options. Read more From dependable to disruptive: the reinvention of Volvo Volvo S90 review Volvo confirms electric version of next XC90​ View the full article
  21. A Freelander for under £10 grand? Get it right and you gain an all-rounder for an absolute steal; get it wrong and the repair bills will be never-ending We can’t be serious? Relax, the Freelander 2 is a very different animal from the original – much more reliable and of a higher quality. That said, if you don’t get the tyre pressures absolutely right or you wear the tyres close to the limit, you can fool the system into engaging four-wheel drive. If that happens at speed, expect a large repair bill. But that aside, the model is so capable and comfortable that some enthusiasts reckon it’s a kind of mini Range Rover. We’d not go that far but it’s certainly a jack of all trades, with a plush interior and off-roading chops. We’d plump for a later, facelifted car, such as this 2013-reg 2.2 TD4 GS with 51,000 miles, full service history and leather interior. There was an earlier facelift in 2010, which brought a new grille, lights and bumpers, more torque for the 2.2 TD4 engine and the new, more powerful 2.2 SD4. The 2013 fettle followed this up with more styling tweaks, a new centre console and extra features. A late Freelander 2 still looks good today. Run-out trims such as Metropolis and Dynamic are expensive but nice to have. The 2.2 TD4 engine was the big seller, offering a good balance of price, power and economy. The more powerful SD4 is automatic only. In addition to the quality of the tyres, other things to check are that there are no oil stains around the intercooler and that the Haldex coupling has had its 20,000-mile fluid and filter changes. The drivetrain should be tight and judder-free; ditto, the steering. It’s more likely to have gone off road than most SUVs so check the body and underside for rust and scrapes. Jaguar XF 4.2 SV8, £4495: Dating almost from the year of the XF’s launch, this 2008 XF is the rather special SV8, with 420bhp for 0-62mph in 5.1sec. The mileage is a stiff 124,000 but the car has a full service history and only two previous keepers in the log book. Porsche Boxster 2.7, £24,995: The new six-cylinder 718 Boxster GTS costs £65,949 but how about the same number of cylinders for £40,000 less? That’s the deal with this 2015-reg 2.7 Boxster. It’s done 57,000 miles but it has full Porsche service history, so we’re not worried. Audi A7 3.0 TFSI S line quattro, £13,250: The original A7, launched in 2010, is a fine looker and truly desirable. We fell for this 2011-reg 3.0 TFSI V6 S line S tronic quattro. It has done 79,000 miles and has a full Audi service history. New, it cost almost £50,000 but £13,000 has a far better ring to it. BMW 520i, £2999: Here’s a beautiful 1993-reg BMW 520i with one previous owner and 23 stamps in the service book. It has done 118,000 miles so is just limbering up. If you want to go green, buy it and extract even more value from the CO2 emitted during its production. Auction watch Bentley Arnage Red Label: This 2001-reg Red Label (it’s powered by Rolls’ classic 6.75-litre V8 as opposed to earlier Green Label cars, which had BMW’s more efficient 4.4-litre turbo V8) made £15,900 at auction. That’s about on the money considering that the car had done 51,000 miles and had a solid service history. There was no mention of it being a Bentley or specialist history, though, which is a pity because cars like the Arnage benefit from knowledgeable care. It came direct from a car supermarket, too, which – call us snobs – doesn’t fill us with confidence. Still, what an eyeful. Future classic Renault Sport Spider 2.0, £22,995: Future classic? Surely, the super-rare 1996-99 Spider, the first to bear the Renault Sport name, is a classic right now, isn’t it? After all, there aren’t many cars quite as uncompromising. There’s a roof but it was optional, as was the windscreen. It’s a track-day car, really, but works on the road – just. Power comes from a 2.0-litre engine donated by the Clio Williams, producing 148bhp and mid-mounted. The car’s kerb weight is just 930kg. Our find is a 1997-reg with 22,000 miles for £22,995. Not bad for a classic, future or otherwise. Clash of the Classifieds Brief: Find me a top-handling car for £5000. BMW 335i Coupé, £4750 Porsche Boxster 2.7 S £4989 Max Adams: We all want an E46-generation M3, but these are getting expensive now. So how about the next best thing, a 335i? You get similar levels of power and performance – 306bhp, 5.5sec 0-60mph and 155mph top speed – just in a more subtle and less expensive package. Mark Pearson: Yes, you see yours is all very well but isn’t its engine in the wrong place for top-notch handling fun? It’s all about balance, and my mid-engined Boxster’s a fluid delight on a twisty road, and the aural and sensual pleasures can be heightened by lowering the roof. My 2004 appreciating classic is also a low-mileage bargain. MA: A Boxster is an under-appreciated car, but that’s because of examples like yours with a Tiptronic automatic gearbox that ruins acceleration times. Hardly the ultimate driving machine. MP: Nonsense. Dispensing with the anachronism that is a clutch pedal allows you to concentrate on driving fast. Indeed, so awful is the ancient manual ’box in your 2007 BMW that you’ll probably want to stop driving it after a few miles… MA: I’ll only be stopping to allow you to catch up. Plus, the 335i was regarded as being a bit of a performance bargain when new, and mine’s still cheaper than your Boxster is today. MP: Meh. Verdict: That Boxster boxes clever. I'll take it. READ MORE Jaguar Land Rover to invest £1bn in three new UK-built EVs Land Rover's mild-hybrid tech spells end for V8 diesel Range Rover New Land Rover Defender: UK prices confirmed for 90 and 110 View the full article
  22. Goodwood Members’ Meeting might not take place this year Covid-19 has caused all UK permits to be revoked, leaving the industry fretting about cash Over the past couple of weeks, as the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic began to really hit home, it became clear that British motorsport’s governing body had no option but to close everything down. By removing all event permits from mid-March until at least the end of June, Motorsport UK signalled that no racing in this country will occur for 15 weeks. It may well, of course, be on lockdown for longer. Nobody can argue with the validity of the decision: the movement of people and crowds generated would have been socially irresponsible. An early major casualty was the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, planned for the last weekend of March. The team at Goodwood has said it hopes to reschedule the event for later in the year, but fitting such a major undertaking into an already crowded calendar will be no easy task. And, of course, nobody is yet able to predict when sport will finally be given the green light to resume. The temporary termination of all racing, coming just as the 2020 season was about to kick in, has come as a massive blow to participants and fans alike. But their disappointment is a minor issue compared with the devastation already starting to hit the British motorsport industry. Motorsport is something that we do incredibly well in the UK. Indeed, in many areas, this country leads the world. While the top of the ladder is taking its share of the pain in Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship and the World Rally Championship, the UK’s normally thriving national and historic fraternities are going to be decimated as cars sit unused in workshops. The UK motorsport industry employs some 40,000 people across 4500 or so firms with a combined annual turnover of £9 billion. While a fair part of that relates to F1, a lot of it comes from small specialists supplying niche markets and employing perhaps two or three people. It’s the one-man band that’s the go-to for rebuilding ZF gearboxes in Mk2 Ford Escort rally cars or the small operation that does the best Formula Junior engine rebuilds. There are countless small companies and solo entities that prepare competition cars on behalf of owners. They get the cars ready, run them at events and then prepare them again afterwards. At a stroke, their income will largely stop at a time when many are just starting to alleviate the routine winter cash flow pressure. The coronavirus will change many lives, and those working in motorsport are among the vulnerable. In so many ways, these are dark times. Paul Lawrence READ MORE Bloodhound 2021 record attempt ‘unlikely’ due to coronavirus SMMT predicts 'severe' coronavirus impact on UK manufacturing Coronavirus: UK drivers granted six-month MOT exemption View the full article
  23. New model (rendered by Autocar above) will replace existing Sports Series Sports Series addition will be a PHEV with a twin-turbo V6 and 20-mile electric range McLaren will launch its first mainstream hybrid car later this year, with sources suggesting it will sit towards the lower end of the British sports car maker’s three-tier model range in terms of power and performance. The new car will be part of its Sports Series and will use a twin-turbocharged V6 as part of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s tipped to be revealed this summer ahead of deliveries commencing later this year. While McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt declined to comment on specifics, he admitted that he’s excited at the possibilities of using electrical power to boost performance yet also reduce emissions. “We have experience of hybrid systems with cars like the P1, P1 GTR and Speedtail, and that recipe of offering a car that can be both truly economical and thrilling to drive remains our goal,” said Flewitt. “McLaren is all about building the best driver’s cars, and we see opportunities with hybrid [powertrains], in terms of the instant torque and filling the gaps in the powerband.” While any hybrid’s main drawback is additional weight, Flewitt and McLaren COO Jens Ludmann both suggested that the engineers at Woking have managed to claw back the large majority of the deficit. “At McLaren, we’re fortunate that we’re not so constrained by building to a price,” said Ludmann. “Our customers want the best, so that’s what we obsess over.” With the new car expected to be capable of travelling around 20 miles on electricity alone and recording strong longer-distance fuel economy, Flewitt questioned the government’s recent announcement that it wants to ban the sale of new hybrid cars as early as 2032. Flewitt said: “Hybridisation could play a key role in the journey [to net zero emissions], and I believe that a longer transition period of running hybrids and full EVs alongside each other could be part of the answer. We’ve invested in this technology with the goal of paying back that investment over a number of years. “We believe it will meet customer requirements sooner than full EV. To set a deadline for its end before we have launched it is detrimental to the perception of the steps forward we’ve made, and it both stalls the demand and potentially causes people to hold on to or buy older, more polluting cars.” However, Flewitt admitted that McLaren is likely to have an electric car ready ahead of the deadline, meeting the firm’s internal criteria of offering an all-round package at least as good as today’s equivalent cars in terms of both driver engagement and usability. “Building the car to the deadline is less of a problem,” he said. “What I’d like clarity on is how we as a country will be ready to support those vehicles in terms of infrastructure, supply chain and so on.” READ MORE The rise and rise of McLaren Automotive New 2020 McLaren Speedtail hits 250mph in final tests Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C View the full article
  24. How do you feel just now about a car like the McLaren GT? Extravagant supercars (and hairstyles) seem out of place in these troubled times. But perhaps that's the secret to their appeal This feels like a rash time to be making predictions, but I was going to go out on a limb and say that the well-oiled, heavily styled beard and the man-bun (ask your kids) will be fading memories by the end of the year. This is no time to be indulging in extravagant grooming activity; even though, ironically, some of us have more time than ever to treat ourselves. Yet here we are. I’ve joked before that cometh the crisis, cometh the hour of the unkempt facial hair and the rugged pick-up truck, and never in recent history has that seemed truer than now. So I approached driving a McLaren GT for two days this week with a peculiar sense of trepidation, and was struck by two things. Mostly, that I have never felt like such a pillock in a supercar and regretted not instead being in my Land Rover Defender. Because which one better screams ‘essential travel’? And because, y’know, just what are you doing, man? What need is there for a carbonfibre two-seater that can hold no more than 168 loo rolls in the boot and only 53 packets of microwavable flavoured rice in the frunk? Conversely, though, and to my considerable surprise, I’ve never experienced such a positive reaction to a nice car. I’ve talked to loads of people about the GT (at volume, outside, from a distance, including to a doctor who seemed very relaxed about the hygiene of such an arrangement) and they have all, absolutely without exception, loved it. Quite the paradox, then. At a time when we’re becoming ‘preppers’, gearing (very badly, it has to be said) for isolation and the forthcoming zompocalypse, it’s a car representing the polar opposite that makes people smile, even though supercars are for times of excess and extravagance. Despite £163,000 V8s being beyond louche, this GT has made people go ‘cor!’ rather than, as they often do, flick a few vees as they pass. I couldn’t quite work that out. Until I remembered that I, too, had spent rather more time than is strictly sensible looking at Cobra replicas for sale online last Sunday, and deciding that when all this is over, I really should – must – do the things I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Which is not something I often do in times of my normal gentle contentment. I think the situation will be familiar to those who, when faced with a looming work deadline, have a compulsion to do almost literally anything else instead. Wash the car, watch a box set, just set those pictures in the hall totally straight, and then go for a walk. You can call it escapism. I call it investigating how easily Mk1 Lotus Exige bodywork would fit onto a crash-repaired Elise chassis. When most things are terrible and times are straitened, then, perhaps we look to the things that are precisely the opposite for cheer. I thought that the current health crisis (I won’t write about it every week, by the way. I realise there’s only so much you can take from a car mag) would, like a financial crisis, make us focus on just essentials. But maybe not. Perhaps the extravagance of the supercar – and maybe even the topknot – is here to stay. READ MORE Matt Prior: The Government's dirty car ban is not all it seems Matt Prior: Not a prediction about the A segment's future Matt Prior: The age of the perfect car is near View the full article
  25. Forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan is set to have a major impact on British motorists The UK government has set goals of accelerating the uptake of zero-emissions vehicles and shifting people out of cars by making public transport, cycling or walking "natural first choices" for travel. It has also committed to matching the European Union’s tough fleet CO2 emissions targets. The steps that will be taken to achieve those goals will be outlined in a new Transport Decarbonisation Plan that's due to be published at an environment summit in November. The plan will be a key part of the government’s goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. The Department for Transport (DfT) recently published an official document, entitled Setting the Challenge, that outlines “where we are today and the size of emissions reduction needed”. This doesn't set out specific policies, which will be developed as a result of public consultations and workshops, but outlines "strategic priorities". These include: ● Making public transport and active transport (such as cycling and walking) “the natural first choice for our daily activities” so that people use their cars less. This will involve reducing public transport's emissions and making it convenient and cost-effective, plus developing Mobility as a Service platforms. ● Decarbonising road vehicles, with a focus on “ensuring a supportive regulatory framework” and “building [consumer] trust in new technologies”. ● Making the UK a “world leader in green transport technology and innovation” by encouraging research and development investment in new technology. Westminster is already aiming to ban sales of all non-electric cars by 2035 or sooner, with the aim “to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emissions vehicles”. The DfT publication claims that transport is now the largest contributor to the UK's domestic GHG emissions, contributing 28% of the total. Passenger cars were responsible for 55% of domestic GHG transport emissions, although total GHG production by such vehicles has dropped 5% since 1990 despite total miles travelled rising by 22%. However, the report also notes that average CO2 emissions per mile for new cars has risen since 2016. While it acknowledges the dramatic decline of diesel sales has played a role in this, it cites fast-rising sales of SUVs as the main reason. The report note that sales of ultra-low-emissions vehicles – which includes electric cars – have increased massively in recent years, from around 1300 in 2010 to more than 230,000 today. It added that more EV charging infrastructure will be required to continue that growth, given that 20-30% of British motorists don't have access to off-street parking where private chargers could be located. It also calls for a "roaming solution" that would allow EV drivers to access any public charger through a single payment method. The Setting the Challenge document also outlines steps to reduce GHG emissions from goods transport, public transport, air travel and maritime travel. The publication is the first step in a planned seven-month process that will lead to the publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan in November. That will include a number of planned publish feedback opportunities, starting later this year. The full document can be read on the DfT website here. READ MORE Petrol and diesel-engined car sales ban could be introduced by 2032 Report: soaring SUV sales causing new car emissions to rise Major EV report calls for charging firms to allow 'roaming' View the full article
  26. Firms call for immediate EU support as coronavirus pandemic halts production, leaving them short of cash Europe’s car makers may be facing the worst crisis they’ve ever dealt with as production ceases and retail operations close during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. New car registrations have plummeted in the past few weeks as nationwide lockdowns are put in place. France has reported that registrations are down 72% compared with March last year. Most national figures have yet to be released, but they're likely to be similarly low and will almost certainly be far worse still in April. It's estimated that the production losses from production shutdowns across the European Union (EU) amount to 1.23 million vehicles so far. European automotive industry association the ACEA has called for “strong and coordinated action” to ensure manufacturers, dealers and the wider supply chain are protected as income falls by an unprecedented amount for many. The ACEA’s director general has called for the president of the EU's European Commission to “take concrete measures to avoid irreversible and fundamental damage to the sector with a permanent loss of jobs, capacity, innovation and research capability”. Some 13.8 million people work in the automotive industry across the EU, with 229 assembly and production plants employing 2.6 million of those in manufacturing. The ACEA claims the pandemic will have “grave consequences... far beyond what we can forsee now” for manufacturers and their employees. Car makers are still spending huge amounts of cash despite not producing any cars. German media reports that Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler held a crisis call with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has said that jobs may have to go if production doesn't restart soon, because the company is burning through around €2 billion (£1.75bn) per week. READ MORE Coronavirus and the car world: Vauxhall supports NHS workers Coronavirus: Jaguar Land Rover lends 160 cars to Red Cross, NHS Paris motor show axed due to coronavirus impact View the full article
  27. Mid-sized SUV, set for an unveiling in 2020, gains Juke-inspired styling but retains overall silhouette The next-generation Nissan X-Trail SUV, set to be revealed later this year, has been previewed in a patent filed by the manufacturer in Brazil. The images lack detail, but it's apparent that the Skoda Kodiaq rival will take heavy styling influence from the recently revealed Juke as Nissan seeks to implement a familiar look across its model range. The main changes are at the front, where Nissan has squared off the current car's rounded nose. Tweaks at the rear look to be much more subtle. There's a gently restyled version of the current car's bootlid, a reshaped spoiler and a new 'double bubble' roof design, but the overall silhouette looks remarkably similar. Prototypes for the new US-market version of the X-Trail, the Nissan Rogue, were spotted testing late last year and hinted at the design of the fourth-generation X-Trail, with a more prominent grille and larger wheel arches. Inside, the new Rogue has more technology than the outgoing model. The instruments are digital for the first time. Other additions include an updated infotainment system, large touchscreen display with sat-nav features and a black and chrome set-in-place gearstick. These details are also expected to be carried over to the new X-Trail. The X-Trail is likely to keep both petrol and diesel powertrains, as well as offering a hybrid variant, as Nissan moves towards its target of selling one million electrified vehicles a year by 2022 in line with tough new CO2 regulations. A hybrid Rogue is already available in the US. The large SUV was originally meant to be built in Nissan’s Sunderland plant, but in 2019, Nissan cancelled its plans, citing the diesel sales downturn and Brexit uncertainty as two key factors. However, production of the second-generation has remained at the plant. Read more Nissan X-Trail review 2020 Nissan Juke: the road test New 2020 Qashqai key to Nissan’s three-pronged SUV assault​ View the full article
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