Jump to content
The Motorists Guide

The Motorists Guide

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


The Motorists Guide last won the day on August 11

The Motorists Guide had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

27 Excellent

Recent Profile Visitors

509 profile views
  1. The Motorists Guide

    Used car buying guide: Toyota Supra

    £40,000 - The Supra’s list price in 1993, equivalent to £77,000 today The Mk4 Toyota Supra is not only reliable, but has plenty of scope to pump up the power to 1000bhp if so inclined Last month, a prototype of the Toyota Supra Mk5 wowed the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a curtain-raiser to the main event when the production-ready model goes on sale in about 12 months. The ensuing hullabaloo is sure to fan the flames of desire currently engulfing its predecessor, the Supra Mk4. Remarkably, this model ceased production 16 years ago, in 2002. But as far as we Brits are concerned, it died out in 1996, following three years of less-than-stellar sales. Only around 500 Mk4s found homes. It wasn’t for want of trying. The Mk4’s 3.0-litre straight six engine was fed by two sequential turbochargers for improved flexibility and response. These UK Supras produced 326bhp and 325b ft, around 40bhp and 7lb ft more than Japanese-market cars, thanks to their larger and stronger turbos. Don’t let that put you off buying a grey-import, Japan-spec car, though, because its smaller and lighter turbos spool up faster, so the car feels no slower. A choice of six-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearboxes, rear-wheel drive and a host of standard features – most notably, larger, 17in alloy wheels, beefier brakes, an additional gearbox oil cooler and an active rear spoiler – completed the UK picture. Now all those first buyers had to do was enjoy their Porsche-baiting Supras, which they did in their, er, hundreds. Find a used Toyota Supra on PistonHeads Toyota Supra: picture special Still, for the next six years, Toyota continued to punch out Mk4s for the rest of the world in increasingly varied forms. There were naturally aspirated ones with a choice of five-speed manual and four-speed auto ’boxes, so-called Aerotop models with a removable roof (not to be confused with the optional Aerokit bodykit), and a bewildering range of trim variants, plus lots of options. Incidentally, so you don’t confuse your genuine UK Supra from what is often referred to as a JDM (Japanese domestic market) car, the UK one has bonnet vents and headlight wash/ wipe, as well as those bigger brakes. UK cars also have leather trim, traction control, power windows and anti-lock brakes. Saying that, so do most JDMs, although their traction control system isn’t quite so good. A major event during the Supra’s last years was the introduction, in 1998, of variable valve timing and injection (VVT-i) and, at the same time, the non-turbo SZ-R gained the turbo car’s six-speed manual ’box. More details on the next Supra Today, the Supra Mk4, UK or JDM, appears to be in the cross hairs of every moneyed 40-year-old who ever lusted after one when it first came out. Most sought-after are rare UK turbo manuals. In fact, all good turbo manuals are becoming seriously expensive, and that’s before you consider spending a further £50,000 or so taking them to showroom condition and 1000bhp, as some enthusiasts are now doing courtesy of specialists such as SRD Tuning. As next year’s new Supra hoves into view, now is the time to buy a Mk4 before prices vanish over the horizon. How to get one in your garage: An expert’s view, Tristian Longden, Founder Torque GT - “Demand for the Supra Mk4 easily outstrips supply so prices are getting higher with each passing month. Buyers tend to be in their 40s — people for whom the Supra was a poster car. It’s a nostalgia thing and now they’ve got the money, they want one. The engine is bombproof. A good Supra feels like it’ll go on forever. UK cars were rare to begin with and pricesfor the few that remain are strong. The cheapest Supras are naturally aspirated autos but even their prices are rising. The turbo auto is roughly 30% cheaper than the manual. It’s underrated but I reckon the auto suits the Supra, which is more grand tourer than sports car. It’s a tough ’box, too.” Buyer beware… ENGINE - Smoke on start-up and when blipping the throttle after idling is probably valve stem seals. Continuous smoking is likely to be failing piston rings. As for the turbos, listen for the second blower kicking in at around 4000rpm. Boost should be smooth and turbos should whistle rather than whine. Check for a timing belt change every 50k miles and oil changes every 6km miles. GEARBOX - Check the clutch operation, and if it needs changing, have the flywheel done, too. It can fail, causing a severe judder and rattling as you let out the clutch and pull away. TRANSMISSION - The six-speed ’box is toughest of all. The five-speeder can suffer synchro wear. On the four-speed auto, first to second will probably clonk. The diff is strong but can clonk into first from reverse (not serious). A whining noise under load is not good. SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - Major components are tough but bushes and dampers wear out. Beware aftermarket track-day dampers that tighten the handling but ruin the ride. Brake hard from 60mph checking for any instability and then, again, lightly, checking for worn discs. Post-1994 cars with uprated brake pistons eat pads and discs. Beware oversized aftermarket wheels, which stress wheel bearings and suspension. Expect tyre wear on the inner shoulders. INTERIOR - Check all comfort features, including windows and air-con. Ensure the ABS light illuminates briefly on start-up. Also worth knowing: If you can’t stretch to a twin-turbo model, you could always consider adding a single turbo to a naturally aspirated Supra. The five-speed gearbox is easily strong enough but you’ll need to uprate the clutch. The automatic is weaker but will still take up to 400bhp. Specialists such as SRD Tuning can help. How much to spend: £4500-£5500 - Cheapest runners, all naturally aspirated imports with high mileages, a bit scruffy and far from original. £7000-£8995 - Tidier naturally aspirated cars start here with decent service histories and reasonable mileages. £9000-£12,495 - Mostly naturally aspirated autos in sound order. Still very few turbos and no turbo manuals. £15,500 AND ABOVE - Take your pick of turbo manuals in good condition, with prices going all the way to £22,000 for the very best. One we found: TOYOTA SUPRA SZ AUTO, 1994/L, 64K MILES, £7000 - Okay, it’s not a turbo manual but then it’s not turbo manual money. It has a solid history (14 services since 2006), and recent new seals and gaskets, coil-overs and brakes, plus a long MOT. John Evans Read more Toyota GT86 review 2019 Toyota Supra due with 390lb ft of torque and a 1500kg kerbweight BMW Z4 prototype 2018: first drive of new roadster Toyota Supra: picture special View the full article
  2. Cars to have gadgets seen in films, but will not be road legal; they'll cost £3.3 million in the UK Aston Martin will create 25 Goldfinger DB5s as part of its continuation projects, with these cars featuring working gadgets as seen in its six James Bond film appearances. Three more cars in addition to the 25 will be created, with one being kept by Aston, one to go to Eon Productions (the firm behind the Bond film franchise) and another being auctioned for charity. The gadgetry is being developed by Bond special effects supervisor Chris Corbould in collaboration with Aston’s Q bespoke department, having been officially sanctioned by Eon. They’ll be produced at Aston’s Newport Pagnell plant — the facility where the original DB5 was built. The cars will be built to a specification true to that of the film car, including features such as revolving numberplates. Modifications over the original Bond DB5 are said to boost reliability and quality compared with the film props used on the original car. Delivery of the 25 cars starts at the end of 2019, with each going for £2.75 million plus tax, putting the UK price of the car at £3.3 million. Aston boss Andy Palmer said: "To own an Aston Martin has long been an aspiration for James Bond fans, but to own a Silver Birch DB5, complete with gadgets and built to the highest standards in the very same factory as the original James Bond cars? Well, that is surely the ultimate collectors’ fantasy. The skilled craftspeople at Aston Martin Works and the expert special effects team from the James Bond films are about to make this fantasy real for 25 very lucky customers.” Previously, Aston produced a DB4 continuation run of 25 cars, each sold for £1.5 million before local taxes. Jaguar Land Rover's Classics division has also carried out continuation projects, starting with a run of Jaguar D-Types built in 2014, while Lister built continuation series of its Knobbly and Costin racers. Aston produced a car in 2014 specifically for use in the Bond film Spectre but, despite wearing the DB10 moniker, it was never released to the public. That said, the car's look influenced the new Vantage. Read more: James Bond's Aston DB5 for sale Lego creates James Bond Aston Martin DB5 model Aston Martin DB5: the original road test - Throwback Thursday Aston Martin DB10 special - from Gaydon with love View the full article
  3. Hallmark was marketing director for the 2003 launch of the Bentley Continental GT before taking bigger industry jobs at GM and JLR New Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark is a luxury car specialist with a clear vision. We meet him A few minutes’ future talk with Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s dynamic new boss, is all it takes to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the word ‘traditional’ – at least, as applied to venerable luxury car manufacturers from Crewe – is heading for a radical overhaul. By the time Bentley reaches its centenary in a year’s time, it will have launched its first electrified car, a V6 Bentayga hybrid, and that’s just the beginning of a revolution that by 2025, and possibly before, willput an electrified version of every Bentley model on the road, along with a plethora of extra-luxury, extra- performance versions designed to expand the range’s appeal, much as sibling company Porsche has done. Beyond all that, battery-powered Bentleys are definitely on the distant horizon, an unthinkable idea until recent research showed that current Bentley owners are open to the idea, although not in the short term. I meet Hallmark, 55, in his comfortable but not especially opulent office in Crewe’s headquarters building, much changed by the company’s many bosses over the years. He is a gregarious and fast-talking character who has spent more than 20 years studying global premium and luxury car markets in detail and can spout dazzling statistics to back any argument. Hallmark used to run Porsche in the UK before moving on through several jobs on a rising trajectory to become Jaguar Land Rover’s director of global strategy. However, his secret weapon in this latest job is a previous stint as Bentley’s director of sales and marketing, just as the modern era of Volkswagen Group ownership was beginning and the old-school Bentley models were giving way to the seminal 2003 Continental GT, which he helped to position and configure. The Continental GT, an unqualified success now reaching the market in its third iteration, has demonstrated over 15 years how Audi and VW components can make a much better but still authentic Bentley and has led to the creation of a range of modern models, topped impressively by the highly successful Bentayga SUV. Bentley boss: we could have been more prepared for electrification He doesn’t say it out loud, but it’s fairly evident that Hallmark suspects Bentley hasn’t participated particularly well in the Chinese-led expansion of luxury car sales since the end of the 2008-2009 recession. He is clearly impatient to do something about it, which means kicking on beyond the 11,000-cars-a- year volume the company currently achieves, which is near enough to its pre-recession record. It’s pretty clear he reckons a volume beyond 15,000 would be more like it. In Bentley’s special arena of the car market, Hallmark explains, a luxury car is something very specific. It’s overwhelmingly likely to come from one of what he terms ‘The Big Five’: “Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and us”. The whole sector’s combined global volume currently runs at fewer than 70,000 cars and covers models mostly starting around £150,000. By comparison, marques like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar and Porsche (which Hallmark labels “premium”) are currently pushing into the £100,000 barrier, where the Continental GT made its debut at £110,000 back in 2003. Bentley Continental GT review Bentley’s future depends squarely on a much fêted buyer breed known as ‘high net worth individuals’. According to Credit Suisse research, which Hallmark effortlessly recites, the global number of these people has “nearly quadrupled” since 2000 to around 18 million and there are now 2500 billionaires against a paltry 574 back in 2000. Hallmark summarises his own challenge thus: “If there are now 18 million people out there with floating investments of more than a million dollars – not counting the value of their homes or private property – why are only 60,000 to 70,000 of them in luxury cars?” Yet better times are coming, Hallmark believes. The Big Five’s consensus is that the car luxury market will expand by around 50% between now and 2025, driven by an expanding buyer body, and Bentley will take its share. In the meantime, the company will get busy manipulating the three main levers that affect its business: making sure the global distribution is as good as it can be; fully activating the model segments it is already in and finding new segments for the future. On the third category, there are plenty of rumours (but no specifics) about a sub-Bentayga SUV for which the Volkswagen Group could provide handy underpinnings. Hallmark believes Bentley already has a “beautiful” global distribution of sales, selling slightly less than 20% of its cars in each of the US, continental European, Chinese and UK markets, and doing a bit over 20% in theres to the world. On activating existing model segments, the strategy “for the next five or six years” will be to launch hybrids and V8s in every sector, and dream up Porsche-style versions of models (as it did with the previous Continental GT Speed) along the way. There will indeed be Bentley models with new nameplates in the future, Hallmark confirms, but he declines to lay out for now where the opportunities lie. “I won’t talk about our decisions on future models,” he says, “but I’ll tell you what we won’t be building, and that’s sports cars. “The sports car sector – like our own – is highly volatile in a recession. It can drop 50% or 60%. Only this time, the sports car sector forgot to recover. And if you look at their history, and the average age of their buyers, you’ll see the age goes up by one every year. It means the cars are being bought by the same old enthusiasts. When owners are in arts or sports, either their contract says they’re not allowed to drive because of the risk, or publications like The Sun publish pictures of them driving, which they don’t enjoy. That doesn’t help sales, either. “In China, it’s the opposite. There are plenty of 30 to 40-year- old millionaires, but they tend not to play tennis, football or sing. And they drive SUVs or limousines, so the sports car sector has not benefited from the Chinese expansion. “Some manufacturers have tried to change this, but so far the market hasn’t responded.” We’re already running out of interview time. A quick tour of the new Continental GT assembly line beckons (Hallmark, very knowledgeable about the build process, is in his element on the tour, pointing out manufacturing complexities barely visible to the naked eye). But before we go, I want to hear about Bentley owners and their view of electrification: is it a case of pull or a push? “If you’d asked five years ago, I’d have said people don’t want hybrids. They’re margin killers for manufacturers and a partial solution most people don’t appreciate, apart from some tax benefits. Today, it’s different. Some brands – I don’t want to keep mentioning Porsche, but the Panamera is an example – have been able to position their hybrids as the best version of a model to own. Fun and efficient at the same time. They’ve cracked the code. We need to do it, too.” The robots that do the donkey work: “The controversial robots,” Adrian Hallmark points out on our tour of the factory. Bentley is rightly proud of the hand-built craftsmanship in all of its cars, so bringing in robots to do work previously done by human hand was indeed a controversial one last year. The three robots take care of the initial 70% or so of the sanding of parts of the interior that the dexterity of the human hand makes it tricky to sand, before they return to human hand for finishing. Rather than replace the work of a Bentley employee, they’ve enhanced it. Hallmark says they’ve helped reduce fatigue and allowed production to be ramped up and the craftspeople to save their skills for the parts of the interior the customer really notices. HALLMARK ON... FUNDING NEW TECHNOLOGY “We don’t need to be pioneers in the Apple or Google sense. We’ve funded our own growth so far, but sometimes you need money before you earn it. We’ve got to compete with other parts of the group. Our case can’t just be about the emotion of Bentley, though we do play on that. But you need a great business case.” POWERTRAIN PROGRESS “We’re slightly hindered by WLTP testing requirements and the time it takes to get things done. When the requirements of RDE and WLTP were moved together, it made things slower than they might have been.” THE LATEST GT’S ‘DERIVATIVE’ STYLING “The last-generation car wasn’t enough of an evolution and I wondered if this one should have gone further, too. So I sought the clinic results: phenomenal. Then I drove one in London: great reaction. People know it’s familiar but see it’s different. Above all, they think it’s beautiful.” A BATTERY BENTLEY “Thirty-seven per cent of our owners have considered a BEV [battery electric vehicle]. They’re open to them and understand cities will want them. But they want more, not just an ecological car but great suspension, performance, connectivity, craftsmanship. They want to gain, not lose anything.” SCARCITY OF ELECTRIC CHARGING POINTS “It’s one of my least concerns. Porsche, VW, BMW and Mercedes are partners in a network for transient travel across Europe called Ionity, which in 18 months will have six chargers each on sites no more than 120km [75 miles] apart, able to charge a Porsche Mission E in 20-30min.” Read more Bentley Flying Spur plug-in hybrid seen testing ahead of 2019 release Bentley Bentayga review Bentley Continental GT review View the full article
  4. Millar works fast but methodically under the judge’s scrutiny Windscreen replacement specialists gather for the ultimate showdown, where one will be crowned world champion “My trainers told me they were going to break and rebuild me,” says Dave Lyth. “I lost three stone. It takes over your life.” The former UK and European champion, and world number three, turns his gaze back to Ryan Millar, his colleague, working quickly and expertly under the watchful eyes of two clipboard-wielding judges, within a precisely marked-out space he cannot leave and we cannot enter. “I’m feeling good,” Ryan had told me an hour before he went into the ‘ring’, here at the giant Frankfurt Messe exhibition complex. “Me and Billy Johnston, my trainer, have been practising ever since I won the UK title last October.” Welcome to the world windscreen repair championships or, as the organisers call it, the Best of Belron. Best of Autoglass would have been clearer except that Autoglass is just one of a number of vehicle glass repair companies operating under different names in over 30 countries (for example, Safelite in the US, O’Brien in Australia and Carglass elsewhere in Europe and Russia), all of them owned by UK-based Belron International Ltd. Every two years, the group’s technicians who have won their country’s national championship converge at a major international location to compete for the Best of Belron world title. This year, the football World Cup might have been taking place in Russia but its windscreen repair equivalent was happening right here in Frankfurt. In fact, not only windscreens but also rear and side glass, and recalibration of the cameras at the heart of the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) disturbed by the removal and replacement of the windscreen. Each technician is scrutinised by a team of two judges keen to see they’re following the Belron way, a system contestants ignore at their peril. “I’m looking for adherence to the process,” says head judge Darren Hunter. “For example, there are 40 steps to windscreen replacement alone. Also, I want to see first-class interaction with the judges who play the role of the customer.” The technicians compete in rows of marked-off spaces, each containing a workstation and a gleaming Audi A4. I arrive on the competition’s second day when they must remove, replace and recalibrate the car’s windscreen in 90min. Points are deducted for running over time as well as deviating from the Belron way. It’s high-pressure stuff, with each competitor observed not only by the judges but also by their fellow Belron countrymen and women. Each time a windscreen is removed and replaced, they cheer loudly. As much as it encourages their competitor, it also panics rivals, hopefully forcing them to fluff the process and drop points. At least, that appears to be the intention... “They won’t bother Ryan,” says Johnston. “He’s a retained firefighter and as cool as a cucumber. He’ll be too busy concentrating.” That much is obvious as, clock ticking, Ryan Millar deftly prepares his A4’s new windscreen and wipes clean the suckers that will grip the glass as he lifts it from the worktable. An experienced tech watching Millar alongside me recalls how in the old days, you could climb into the passenger seat, put your feet on the windscreen and push it out. Not any more. Instead, Ryan assembles a complex web of pulleys wound with Belron’s special Ezi-Wire fibreline that cuts through the windscreen bonding like cheesewire. With the old screen removed, he prepares the channel for the new glass. Taking it to the car and manoeuvring it into place is a delicate operation. Earlier, I’d visited glass supplier Pilkington’s stand in the adjacent exhibition hall and saw just how thin a modern windscreen is. It was from a current-model BMW 5 Series. The outer layer of glass was 1.8mm thick but the inner layer was just 1.4mm. On the previous model, both layers would have been 1.8mm and the windscreen itself 15% heavier. Windscreen and scuttle both in place, Millar is ready to recalibrate the ADAS camera mounted in the A4’s rear-view mirror assembly. Because the car’s battery is likely to have been drained slightly by the doors being left open, he hooks up a separate power source. If he didn’t, there’d be a risk the Audi’s battery would run into management mode, closing down the ADAS system. Millar now checks the A4’s tyre pressures and pushes down on each corner of the car to check it’s sitting level and at the right height. Some manufacturers insist their car has a full tank of fuel as part of establishing the vehicle’s correct height for recalibration. With the car sitting just right, he stands a large target board (each car maker has its own design) in front of the A4 and recalibrates the ADAS camera to factory settings. And then, but for general tidying up, he’s done. “I’m tired but proud to have represented my country and my colleagues,” Millar tells me. “I don’t do nerves. I just went in and did my best.” Steve Marelli, his colleague who won the world title in 2012, says winning is a big deal. “I’ve worked in over 10 Belron territories since my victory. I’ve done TV ads, roadshow demos... It was a huge career boost and now I’m an operations manager.” I’ve got to catch a plane so I miss the awards ceremony. My phone pings a message as I land at Heathrow: ‘Ryan got a runner-up position. A great result!’ Absolutely, but judging by the determined look in his eyes earlier in the day, I bet he’s just a little bit disappointed at losing out to Rick Beasley of Safelite America. He has no need to be. If my car has picked up a chipped windscreen in the short stay car park, I know who to call. It’s getting more sophisticated: Taxiarchis Konstantopoulos, managing director of Autoglass, says that although there was an increase this summer in cracked windscreens caused by air-con systems chilling hot glass weakened by a pre-existing stonechip, there has been a slight decline in call-outs in recent years. “Motorists’ average speeds have fallen due to speed cameras,” he says. “Also, more people are leaving their cars at home and cycling to work or taking the train.” He says his business is becoming more sophisticated. First, there was the company’s launch, in 2015, of its ADAS recalibration service (“insurers took a lot of persuading”) and it is currently developing artificial intelligence (AI). “We’ll use AI to interpret customers’ photographs of their cars’ body damage and chipped screens and generate a quotation. It’ll make the customer journey slick and simple.” John Evans Read more The cars that changed the world Potholes: how much they cost the UK and how they are fixed Nissan admits misconduct in emissions testing procedure View the full article
  5. The Motorists Guide

    Volkswagen Arteon long-term review

    Is this a shrewd, lower-cost route to sleek four-door luxury motoring? Let’s find out Why we’re running it: To see if a cut-price luxury offering can be as urbane to live with as it is to look at Month 1 - Specs Life with a Volkswagen Arteon: Month 1 Welcoming the Arteon to our fleet – 27th June 2018 The Arteon is a curious thing, and not only because it’s pure motor show concept from the front but looks like a taxi when viewed side on. Notwithstanding the fantastically slippery XL1 plugin hybrid of 2013, this is the most dramatic design Volkswagen has given us in modern times. And putting aside for a moment the new Touareg SUV, with which the Arteon shares so much of it general aesthetic, it’s also VW’s flagship offering. It’s a level of status at odds with the reality that success for this car largely hinges on its suitability to motorway drudgery. It’s your silver-plated porridge spoon, if you like. This particular Arteon’s specification differs from the norm, mind. A diet of diesel has long been the preference for big-mileage executive saloons, but our fresh-faced long-term test car is propelled by the backstop of the engine lineup: the turbocharged 1.5-litre TSI Evo petrol engine. In a Golf, it’s a compelling proposition and one we’re particularly fond of, with a levity that makes spinning it out a satisfying endeavour but enough torque to ensure you’re never asked to work particularly hard for swift progress. In the Golf, it can also deactivate two of its four cylinders under light throttle loads between 1400rpm and 4000rpm for improved fuel efficiency, and the same is true for the Arteon. Whether its outputs of 148bhp and 184lb ft are as suited to a four-door fastback some 350kg heavier than the hatch is something we’ll discover in due course. Combined fuel economy is quoted at 48.7mpg (the most efficient model in the range, a similarly powerful 2.0-litre diesel, is quoted at 65.7mpg) with CO2 emissions of 131g/km. With a 66-litre fuel tank, that’s good enough for a range of more than 700 miles. Meanwhile, the claimed 0-62mph is 8.9sec, which although far from shameful doesn’t quite cash the cheque written by the assertive front-end design. The spec we’ve gone for is the entry-level Elegance, which is one of only two available in the UK, the other being R-Line. We’ll be swapping one for t’other in a few months’ time, but for now our Arteon cuts a more restrained figure, and does without gloss black air intakes, aggressive bumpers and 19in wheels. The paint is a metallic shade called Chilli Red and costs £595. You can buy an Arteon variously with a manual transmission and with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, but ours channels power to the front axle alone, and through a seven-speed dual-clutch ’box that can either be left alone or controlled through a pair of stubby steering-wheel-mounted paddles. 4Motion models come with active DCC dampers and a 15mm drop in ride height as standard, although our car uses a passive set-up. Inside, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, with the stark, clean, expansive architecture left slightly hanging by a range of materials and finishes – notably gloss black and aluminium – that don’t do an awful lot to excite. There’s also a strong whiff of Passat in there, which isn’t surprising given that’s the model with which the Arteon shares its basic construction. The nappa leather seats, meanwhile, are VW’s ergoComfort models with electric adjustment for the backs and lumbar support but manual levers for height and reach. You’d get exactly the same shape in an R-Line Arteon. We’ve been sparing with optional extras in an attempt to hone the Arteon’s appeal as a value proposition relative to its lavish overtones. It means that along with the paint, the only other boxes we’ve ticked are those for the £900 keyless entry with the electric tailgate, which can be opened by swiping your foot beneath the rear bumper, and a £315 rear-view camera. You might have expected VW to throw in a rear-view camera for ‘free’, given this is its flagship saloon, but no. One tempting option we didn’t elect for is VW’s £985 Discover Navigation Pro infotainment system, and there’s a good reason why we’ve settled for the standard 8.0in display. Fact is, superb as the 9.2in glass touchscreen of the Pro might look, it does without any physical buttons or switches, so there are no scrolling dials for quick, sightless adjustments to volume and navigation zoom. We’re also far from convinced with VW’s efforts to implement gesture control, which are still hampered by inconsistent response. As it is, the total outlay was £34,555, which places the car, well, where among the alternatives, exactly? You could buy a base-spec Audi A5 Sportback SE for few grand less, but we reckon you’d need to spend at least £38,500 to spec it to a similar level as our Arteon. For one thing, the VW is equipped as standard not only with a 12.3in digital instrument binnacle but also a range of safety-oriented technologies such as predictive cruise control, lane-assist, pedestrian monitoring and emergency braking at city speeds. Of course, there’s an indefinable element to luxury that has little or nothing to do with value for money. What we’ll endeavour to discover during the next few months is whether this car has it or if those who crave the sophisticated aura of a ‘four-door coupé’ and view Arteon ownership as an inexpensive way in should steer clear. Second Opinion I wasn’t a big fan of that wing-shaped front grille on our R-Line road test car, but something about its look on this Elegance-spec long-term test car appeals more to me. And I love the way the chrome bars run over the headlights. Richard Lane Back to the top Volkswagen Arteon 1.5 TSI EVO Elegance specification Specs: Price New £32,745 Price as tested: £34,555 Options: Metallic paint £595, keyless entry and hands-free tailgate operation £900, rear-view camera £315 Test Data: Engine 1498cc, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol Power 147bhp at 5000rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1500rpm Top speed 138mph 0-62mph 8.7sec Claimed fuel economy 54.3mpg Test fuel economy xxx CO2 119g/km Faults None Expenses None Back to the top View the full article
  6. It’s built for sand but is small and nimble so ideal in town A beach buggy makes the world a happier place, and you don't need sand to enjoy one - just the chassis from a VW Beetle and the desire to tinker around People who buy Lamborghini Aventadors and then drive them backwards and forwards outside Harrods are seeking attention. Fine, but they’ve got it wrong. If you want to rack up a serious eyeball count, you need a beach buggy. Furthermore, if people are saying nice things about your choice of motor, you can’t hear them in an Aventador. You can in a beach buggy: I know because a lot of people have been complimenting me on my choice of wheels. And shirt. Back in 1970, the Sprinkle family moved to the UK from the US and sent their two sons to the school I was at. Along with the boys, Mr and Mrs Sprinkle brought with them their daughter Susanne, who made a major impression on me, and their beach buggy. I still have a vague memory of Susanne, but a very accurate mental picture of the buggy. Metalflake purple, big chrome roll-over bar, huge tyres and a loud exhaust. We all had Hot Wheels beach buggies but one in full size, in our school car park among Morris Minors and Ford Anglias, was unbelievable. Beach buggies were big in California but we hadn’t seen one in Woking. That would change within a year or so as these minimalist machines caught on in Britain. I don’t know what make of beach buggy the Sprinkles owned but it’s very similar to the one I’m driving now. This red metalflake marvel is owned by James May, who has had it restored after it was on the Grand Tour programme. My working world these days is full of infotainment, smartphone mirroring and lots of technology to do with electric cars that I don’t fully understand. It’s going to give me a great deal of pleasure to describe to you the technical spec of May’s buggy. Proper old-school stuff. The glassfibre body is a Prowler, which is essentially a copy of a GP body, which, as all beach buggies have been, is a copy of the original Meyers Manx. The body is ultra simple, with no doors or openings, and literally bolts to a Volkswagen Beetle chassis. Unless you’re building a long-wheelbase buggy, which doesn’t look quite right, you have to cut and shut the floorpan. This buggy was built using a brand-new body by a company in Birmingham called Kingfisher Kustoms, which is run by lifetime buggy enthusiast Dave Fisher. Built to stand abuse from motoring TV stars, it uses an independent rear suspension from a 1302 ‘Super Beetle’, CV joints from a Type 2 van (they’re stronger and allow more travel) and rear hubs from a VW Type 181 ‘Thing’. At the front, there are disc brakes from a standard Beetle but with four-to-five stud adaptors. The tyres are suitably podgy 215/60 R15s at the front and 275/50 R15s rear. The engine is bored out to 1776cc, has big-valve twin-port heads, each of which wears a Weber 40 IDF carb, and breathes out through Supertapp mufflers. The cam is an Engle 110, the pistons by Mahle and the crankshaft standard VW. To top it off, the whole lot has been lightened and balanced. It hasn’t been on the dyno but the output is guessed to be about 100bhp. The car hasn’t been on the scales, either, but I’d guess at no more than 650kg. It feels very light when you push it around and it feels light to drive. Now, I’m not claiming Lotus- Elise-like handling for the buggy but it feels fabulously light on its feet, with light and direct steering, a ride that’s good by modern standards and acceleration that is probably lousy against a watch but feels very sprightly through the trousers. The motor is torquey, with great throttle response once it’s warmed up. But where’s the beach? I haven’t looked into it but I suspect that finding an expanse of sand on which the car could live up to its name is very difficult unless you live in Scotland or near Pendine Sands in Wales. Churning up sand is not environmentally friendly. It’s the same problem that owners of Ariel’s Nomad must have: where to use it. Actually, the Nomad is rather like a modern beach buggy. Simple, minimalist, light and fun. Removed from modern, highly complex supercars that have performance that’s unaccessible on the road. Lack of sand isn’t a problem. A beach buggy is fun anywhere, even in central London. Small, squat, nimble and easy to literally hop in and out of, it’s the perfect urban transport. Especially if it’s sunny. Three famous buggy drivers: Steve McQueen might be more famous for driving a Mustang in Bullitt, but don’t forget The Thomas Crown Affair, in which McQueen thrashed around the dunes in a beach buggy with Faye Dunaway in the passenger seat. The father of the beach buggy is Bruce Meyers, a surfer, engineer and artist who used his experience in building GRP boats to create the first Meyers Manx buggy in 1964. He’s still going strong, aged 92. Elvis Presley drove a Meyers Manx in his 1968 Live A Little, Love A Little film. Toy company AMT built a model of the car; just one of dozens of buggy models produced in the 1960s and 1970s. Read more Lee Noble reveals £18,000 Bug:R beach buggy Summer’s here: cars to take to the beach Saying goodbye to the Volkswagen Beetle View the full article
  7. We drive both cars back-to-back on some of our favourite roads. In the process, we realise that sometimes less really is more. For the road, the GT C is the best version of Mercedes-AMG's V8 sports car. Is the Carrera T the sweet spot of the Porsche 911 range, too? To find out, we drive both cars back-to-back on some of our favourite roads. In the process, we realise that sometimes less really is more. Read more Porsche 911 review Mercedes-AMG GT review Porsche 911 Carrera T: pared-back variant on display at LA show View the full article
  8. The Motorists Guide

    Facelifted Jeep Renegade starts at £19,200

    Small SUV has its retro rugged styling tweaked and gains a more emissions-friendly engine range The Jeep Renegade has been given a light facelift, with subtle changes to its exterior styling and new technology inside, and with a fleet of new engines confirmed. A £945 price hike takes its entry-level price up to £19,200. Jeep has previously confirmed to Autocar that there will eventually be a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, 48V mild hybrid version of every car in its line-up. This will include the upgraded Renegade when it goes on sale in the UK in September. The American brand also has plans to give each of its models a plug-in hybrid variant by the end of the decade, as well as a smaller, sub-Renegade SUV after this. A 1.0-litre, 120bhp petrol, as well as a 150bhp and 180bhp 1.3-litre petrol will also feature, bringing greater performance and efficiency than the current iteration's 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols. The range-topping Renegade, the 2.0-litre, 168bhp Trailhawk, costs £30,805. Exterior revisions include revised LED daytime running lights - the X motif from the rear lights is continued into the headlights now - and other such light tweaks, while the car’s rugged, retro-Jeep styling remains. Inside, a larger 8.5in infotainment screen takes the place of the current 6.5in unit, absorbing the buttons and controls previously surrounding it, although a smaller 5in unit is fitted to lower-spec models. The new unit is still housed in the shaped surround so takes up no more space than the complete previous unit. The Renegade is Jeep's most successful model in Europe, being closely related to the Fiat 500X and occupying the same market segment as the huge-selling Nissan Juke. The new Jeep Compass, a Nissan Qashqai rival, is also pivotal to the brand's success. A Jeep spokesman confirmed that the updated Renegade would arrive in September 2018 after its reveal. Jeep had a poor 2017 in the UK; its market share shrunk to 0.25%, a 55% decrease over 2016, with sales dropping from 14,090 to 6380 cars. The Renegade made up 4540 of these - more than 70% of Jeep's total UK sales for the year. That's twice the drop recorded by parent brand Fiat and far out of proportion with the overall market contraction across the year. Jeep CEO Mike Manley previously said to Autocar: “With the Renegade growing in Europe, we are where we want to be. We have yet to complete the European rollout of the Compass, which is in Europe’s biggest segment. In 2018, I’m looking for significant growth on 2017.” Read more Jeep Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer to follow Wrangler in big sales push Jeep Cherokee revealed at Detroit motor show Jeep Renegade review Fiat rules out Jeep sale View the full article
  9. Just 40 examples of track-focused, Chiron-based hypercar will be made by firm's new coachbuilding division; it'll be revealed on 24 August Bugatti has shown its Chiron-based Divo hypercar under a sheet ahead of its launch on 24 August, revealing the car's shape and some of its proportions before its styling is revealed next week. Few details of the Divo have been revealed so far, but the latest glimpse of the car under a silk sheet suggests that the car will have a large stability fin at the back, as well as a dominant wing extending past the back of its diffuser. It's also possible to see that the car's window line is completely distinct to that of the Chiron, with a rising shoulder underneath it, extending down from the back of the glass to the very front of the car. The wheel arches pull tension in the fabric, suggesting they're sharply extended from the main body. A previous shot of the £4.42million machine's rear lights can be seen in a video released on social media, which also shows the outline of a large wing. Head of exterior design, Frank Heyl, also revealed that the Divo will move forward from Bugatti's current design: "We’ve kept and further developed our Bugatti design DNA features, but on top of that have also taken the opportunity to exercise our freedom and create a completely new form language.” In a clip recently released by the brand, Divo project manager Pierre Rommelfanger confirmed that the car will be lightweight, downforce-focused and will generate more G-force than the Chiron, but is intended for use on the road, rather than being a concept car, show car or track-only special. The brand has confirmed that the car is intended for road use, as well as track use. Another shot showing embroidered branding for the car reveals none of the performance-boosting revisions over the Chiron, but the hashtag ‘Built for corners’ suggests a set-up more suited to track driving than outright speed. Bugatti also lauds the car's "enormous downforce and G-forces". The name comes from French racer Albert Divo, who won the 1928 and 1929 Targa Florio for Bugatti. Bugatti hasn't revealed the car yet, but confirms that Divo will be the first project undertaken by its newly resurrected coachbuilding division. "New, strong design language" suggests its look will be notably distinct from that of the regular Chiron. Set to be revealed at The Quail Motorsports Gathering later this summer, the Divo will add to the series of editions that starts with the standard, £2.5 million Chiron and continues to the more lightweight, hardcore Chiron Sport. The Divo is expected to follow the Sport in getting no alterations to Bugatti's 1479bhp quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16, but lightweighting measures, downforce-boosting bodywork, upgraded suspension and other corner-friendly mechanical tweaks are confirmed. It’s likely that the Divo will complete the brand's line-up for the foreseeable future, given that it will be the third variant launched in two years. Bugatti will charge £4.42 million for each of the 40 Divos that will be made - a heavy premium over the other two models. “Happiness is not around the corner. It is the corner. The Divo is made for corners. With the Divo, we want to thrill people throughout the world. With this project, the Bugatti team has an opportunity to interpret the brand DNA in terms of agile, nimble handling in a significantly more performance-oriented way," said Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann. Last year, Bugatti set the record for the 0-400kph-0 run with a time of 41.96sec, but Koenigsegg broke this record twice a few weeks later. Koenigsegg also broke the production car speed record, which has remained unchallenged by Bugatti. Bugatti hasn’t hinted at any motorsport intentions with the Divo, except for the location of its unveiling, but it would likely be a contender for the production car Nürburgring lap record. To set the record, it would have to beat the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s time of 6:44.97. If it were to do so, it would make four of the five fastest production car laps from Volkswagen Group products, joining the SVJ, the current second-place holder, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, and fourth-place Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Porsche also recently smashed the outright 'Ring record with its modified Le Mans car, the 919 Evo. Read more: Gallery: best of the Quail motorsport event Hardcore Bugatti Chiron Sport launched Koenigsegg Agera RS breaks its own 0-400-0kph record Fastest ever Nurburgring lap times - the definitive rundown View the full article
  10. The Motorists Guide

    Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition review

    Kia's Golf rival is growing up, as its petrol variant looks to topple European stalwarts from their long-held high perches This is the new, apostrophe-free Kia Ceed, with a petrol engine.Kia’s gunning for the Volkswagen Golf with the new Ceed, and it shows. Just take a look at the interior, where there's not a hard plastic in sight – at least where you regularly touch, anyway. Getting into the finer details, the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol version is aiming squarely at the Golf’s 1.5-litre TSI Evo variant, as well as downsized versions of other mass-market family hatchbacks. Kia’s aspirations of a more premium position mean the Golf is in the crosshairs, though. In £25,750 First Edition trim, it’s no bargain alternative, but it comes laden with tech and numerous option boxes ticked as standard. You’d be hard pushed to point it out from a regular Ceed, with no badging or shouty features signifying its First Edition status. It’s the petrol motor under the bonnet that matters most, however, because this is the first time we’ve driven the 1.4 in the UK. View the full article
  11. The Motorists Guide

    MG 3 Exclusive 2018 review

    Aggressively priced supermini steps up interior game, but lacks performance of major rivals Examine the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' sales figures for July compared with last year and you’ll discover MG’s rate of growth has been spectacular.No less than 167%, in fact, at a time when most marques are experiencing a slight sales slump — not least value-proposition opposition Dacia.MG, it seems, is flying, but that Bentley recorded 103% growth gives some indication of the underlying reasons for such a statistical surge. The truth is that it’s taken four long years for the Chinese-manufactured MG 3 to amass 10,000 sales in an out-and-out volume segment, and so the only way truly is up. Ford, for reference, sells the British public around 5000 examples of the Fiesta every month.But if the 3 is some way off the pace in sales, the lightly revised version tested here also remains some way off the price. Even in top-spec Exclusive trim, it comes in at only £12,795; and if that’s not thrifty enough, consider that in entry-level Explore guise this car costs a mere £9495 — almost a match for the basic Volkswagen Up, which is a full segment below the 3.You’ll need mid-ranking Excite trim if you’re to enjoy 16in diamond-cut alloy wheels instead of 14in steelies, reverse parking sensors and a sharp new 8.0in touchscreen (without navigation, but with Apple CarPlay and a DAB radio), and only Exclusive comes with part-leather sports seats.The infotainment display is sleekly integrated into the dashboard (although it still sits awkwardly below your eye line) and, in fact, the entire interior is more credible than you might expect both in terms of materials and fit. Along with exterior design tweaks, chief among them the adoption of a larger, chromed-rimmed grille, the 3 cuts an attractive figure.View the full article
  12. Alpina has overhauled the BMW X3, making a performance car out of the 3.0-litre diesel-straight-six-engined SUV Alpina has revealed that the 328bhp, 516lb ft performance version of the X3 called the XD3, will cost from £57,900 - £5445 more than the xDrive M40d. Revealed at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, the XD3 has 2bhp more than M-performance's diesel-engined X3 M40d, and a torque advantage of 14lb ft over BMW’s fastest diesel X3 means the XD3’s acceleration from 0-62mph takes 4.7sec compared with the M40i’s 4.9sec. The M40d’s top speed is limited to 155mph, where the XD3 can reach 158mph. Powering the XD3 is a twin-turbo version of BMW’s 2993cc six-cylinder diesel engine, with maximum power available from 4000-4600rpm. Power is transmitted to all four wheels through a tweaked version of BMW’s xDrive system, with a ZF eight-speed Alpine Switch-Tronic automatic gearbox handling shifts, and buttons on the steering wheel allowing the driver to perform gear changes. European-spec XD3s get quad-turbos which hike the power to 383bhp and torque to 568lb ft, trimming the 0-62mph to 4.6sec and upping the top speed to 165mph. This format is only available on left-hand drive cars, however. The previous XD3 was 2mph slower than the current car, and 0.2sec slower to 62mph, although fuel economy has taken a dip for this generation - 31.4mpg versus the old car’s 42.8mpg. Alpina says that the new, more rigorous WLTP test cycle is to blame for this. CO2 emissions have risen from 174g/km to 238g/km. Alpina claims that the two cars can return similar fuel economies, despite the different figures. On the outside, the car is distinguished by Alpina’s typical suite of styling upgrades, including chrome-tipped quad exhausts, Alpina badging at the front and rear and multi-spoke alloys that are 20in as standard, with 22in wheels optional. Pricing rises slightly over the last car's £56,450 to around £57,900, although the brand says that the new car is higher spec than before. First deliveries are scheduled for January 2019 for UK customers. The last XD3 got a run of 150 units, with 14 making it onto UK roads. This time around, 12 will be brought to the UK per year. The previous-generation XD3 sold out for the year by April in the UK. Read more Alpina XD3 review Alpina B3 Biturbo review Alpina D5 S 2018 review The future of Alpina according to boss Andreas Bovensiepen View the full article
  13. Hyundai set to launch an updated version of its Toyota Prius rival next year, with styling tweaks and range improvements expected Hyundai is expected to launch an updated version of its Ioniq late next year, with changes to the exterior design and technology upgrades. The Toyota Prius rival has been on sale since 2016, so a mid-life refresh is on the cards for 2019. Already, spy photographers have caught a heavily disguised prototype undergoing hot weather testing in the US. Given the level of camouflage employed here, it's likely that there will be noticeable changes to Ioniq's front and rear-end designs in order to keep it fresh in the face of a glut of new hybrid and electric offerings on the way. Expect similar treatment for the interior, with improvements to materials and additional technology on offer. It's also reasonable to suggest that Hyundai will make use of developments in electric powertrain and battery technology since the car's launch, improving the electric-only ranges of the plug-in hybrid and electric variants. The regular hybrid version should also remain, meaning the Ioniq continues to be the only car to be offered with hybrid, PHEV and EV drivetrains. When we'll see the facelifted Ioniq is yet to be revealed, but an unveiling in the second half of 2019 fits in with the timeline. We'll see more information, plus more revealing spy shots, nearer the time. View the full article
  14. Styling of warm version of Alfa’s 3 Series rival is tweaked with Quadrifoglio hand-me-downs Alfa Romeo has added another warmed-up trim to the Giulia, the Veloce Ti, which borrows parts from the full-fat Quadrifoglio model for hotter styling both inside and out. Most notably, the car gets five-hole Quadrifoglio wheels, previously exclusive to the 503bhp V6-engined rival to the BMW M3, as well as carbonfibre exterior trim and red brake calipers. Optionally, the entire Quadrifoglio paint palette is available on the Veloce Ti, while a £1650 carbon pack adds a Quadrifoglio lip spoiler, side skirts and a carbonfibre gear selector. Inside, the Veloce Ti gets the Quadrifoglio variant’s leather and Alcantara sports seats with eight-way electric adjustment, carbonfibre interior trim and leather dashboard covering and a black headlining. No performance upgrades have been applied to the Veloce Ti, although the entire Giulia range, as well as the Stelvio line-up, have been given AdBlue addition for the 2.2-litre diesels to comply with Euro 6D standards, boosting power by just under 10bhp, taking the 148bhp and 178bhp units to 158bhp and 187bhp. The Veloce Ti will have Alfa’s new five-year warranty and be joined in the coming years by a reborn GTV — a coupé version of the Giulia. It’s not known if this will be offered with a Veloce trim, but a 600bhp-plus Quadrifoglio version will be the brand’s first performance hybrid. Read more: Alfa Romeo Giulia, Stelvio and Giulietta get five-year warranties Alfa Romeo Giulia to be backed by upgraded aftersales service Alfa Romeo brings back 8C and GTV, and adds two more SUVs View the full article
  15. Sales of Avensis, which has long been predicted for the chop, to end after 21 years The Toyota Avensis is no longer available for order. Production, which takes place in Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, will cease in the coming weeks as the last orders are fulfilled. After this, the only Avensis models left will be dealer stock. The Burnaston factory has been subject to £240 million in investment last year to upgrade it for production of cars using the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. The Avensis makes way for the Camry hybrid, with the Camry name returning to the UK after a 14-year hiatus. Sales of the Avensis have been slow, given the decline of D-segment saloons as buyers opt for SUVs. Toyota sold 3473 examples of the Avensis in 2017, compared with 3921 RAV4s. News of the Avensis’s demise follows Toyota's confirmation that the Verso MPV has been taken off sale. The two models were the last to be offered with diesel engines in the UK apart from the Land Cruiser, which is considered by the company as a more specialist product. The RAV4 diesel was cut from the range earlier this year. Toyota confirmed last year that it would not launch any more diesels in Europe, as the industry turns to electrification and demand plummets amid the ongoing diesel debate. Toyota predicts that Avensis and Verso customers will now opt for the new Camry hybrid, the C-HR (particularly for Verso buyers) or the upcoming Auris, which arrives later this year on the much-lauded TNGA architecture. Read more: Toyota Camry to return to Britain as Mondeo Hybrid rival Toyota Verso axed in Europe No new Toyota diesels, says boss Future diesel cars could cost more than hybrids - Toyota powertrain boss View the full article