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The Motorists Guide

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  1. Ford makes engines at two plants in the UK, including Dagenham Blue Oval's European boss says imposition of tariffs between UK and EU would be "pretty disastrous" for British industry Ford’s European boss has warned that a no-deal Brexit would prompt the firm to review its future in the UK. Steven Armstrong told the BBC that failure to reach a deal for Britain’s departure from the EU, which could lead to the imposition of World Trade Organization rules and tariffs, would be “pretty disastrous” for British industry. Brexit: what it means for the UK car industry Ford currently makes engines at its plants in Dagenham and Bridgend, and transmissions at Halewood. Those units are shipped to other plants to be installed in chassis. Trading under a WTO arrangement, which would involve tariffs on parts shipped between Britain and the EU, would “put a significant amount of cost in our business", said Armstrong. He added: “It would certainly make us think long and hard about our future investment strategy [in the UK].” Armstrong also cautioned against a proposed Brexit arrangement based on the EU’s deal with Canada, which would allow for tariff-free trade but still involve border checks. Armstrong said that “would upset the just-in-time delivery model used by the company in Europe”. Ford is currently understood to be considering a major restructuring of its business due to falling profits, with analysts at Morgan Stanley suggesting the firm could cut 24,000 jobs in Europe. That report was dismissed by Ford as "pure speculation". Armstrong is the latest in a number of senior car industry executives to speak out against a possible no-deal Brexit. Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth has previously said fears over Brexit had already cost jobs, while Toyota has warned of disruption at its Burnaston plant. Read more Brexit: what it means for the UK car industry Toyota: no-deal Brexit could halt production for months Jagur Land Rover boss: hard Brexit fears have already cost jobs Mini and Rolls-Royce factories to shut for weeks post-Brexit View the full article
  2. The Motorists Guide

    Rolls Royce Cullinan 2018 review

    Big, bold new Rolls-Royce 4x4 begins a new era for the brand – and convinces both on-road and off of it This is, in all senses, a big car. Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös acknowledges the Cullinan, the company’s new 4x4 and a distinct diversion for the British luxury brand, is a controversial vehicle. I know: it’s only a car, right? But I guess there are two reasons. First – and let’s get it dealt with – are there not hints of The Simpsons' ‘Canyonero’ about the Cullinan’s appearance? Rolls has, like Porsche did with the first Cayenne, tried to put clear Rolls-Royce cues into the design. Maybe they just don’t translate to an SUV, or maybe we’re just not used to it yet. I think it probably grows on you, and that it won’t matter if it doesn’t: the Bentley Bentayga and original Cayenne discovered looks are unimportant. Two, is this a vehicle Rolls-Royce should be making? To which the answer is ‘obviously’, because buyers want a Rolls-Royce they can drive daily, take the family in, take skiing, shooting or replace a Range Rover with. Dealers are only just now receiving demonstrators but the order book’s already full for more than a year.So here we are. Rolls’s first SUV, although not the first Rolls-Royce to go routinely off-road, because its cars have been going everywhere since roads were rubbish. But it’s its first from the brand with four-wheel drive. The architecture is the bespoke aluminium spaceframe which arrived first in last year’s Phantom and will eventually underpin all Rolls-Royces, distancing the 'cheaper' cars – Ghost, Wraith, Dawn – from the BMW group architecture origins they currently share.It’s a (figuratively, not literally) flexible architecture that allows different lengths and heights and here it’s shorter (at 5341m) but taller (1835mm) than the Phantom, a hefty 2000mm wide and with revised air suspension that’s beefier, has less friction than the flagship saloon’s, and rises 40mm in off-road mode. There are double-wishbones at the front, a five-link setup at the rear, two front and one rear anti-roll bars, electrically active, and active rear-steer. The same 6.75-litre twin turbocharged V12 as in the Phantom sits at the front, making 563bhp and tweaked for the greater low-down urge fit for an SUV. There’s some 627lb ft of it from only 1600rpm.It drives through an eight-speed automatic gearbox on which you can’t select gears yourself – the sat-nav assists gear selection – to all four wheels via a derivative/development (select a word that doesn’t make Rolls engineers wince) of BMW’s xDrive 4WD system. There are stronger components than in a 4WD 3 Series but the principle is the same: an electronically controlled clutch behind the gearbox can let up to 100% of power to the rear axle, or divert up to 50% to the front via a shaft and differential beneath the engine. Both front and rear differentials are open, not locking, but there’s torque vectoring via braking to stop an individual wheel spinning, and in off-road mode, if you also switch the stability control off, it locks the car in 50:50 all-wheel drive. Unlike with, say, a Bentley Bentayga or Range Rover, there’s only one off-road mode, rather than options such as rock, crawl, sand and so on, because Rolls-Royce says it wants its cars to be easier of use. There’s no low-ratio transfer case for the gearbox, either. But there is that 627lb ft from 1600rpm, which should help. The towing limit is around 2600kg because that’s the limit of the optional deployable towbar; work is afoot to make it the 3500kg the chassis can already handle. There’s a two-piece electric tailgate, opening onto a 560-litre boot, and if you specify the standard three-person bench rear seat (as 70% of customers are), it splits and folds, though because rear-seat passengers sit higher than those in the front, and because the seats are opulent, when folded they don’t leave the boot floor totally flat. Instead there’s an electrically operated ramp between boot floor and folded seat, or you can leave a step if you want to prevent luggage sliding forwards (which begs the question as to why you’d have bothered dropping the seats).Alternatively, you can select two individual rear chairs, with a fridge/humidor/whatever else you want between them. Those seats recline, and are backed by a glass partition to the luggage bay, to reduce noise emanating from the rear wheelarches. It’s most popular in markets where owners have a driver. Either way, the rear-hinged back doors give great access to the rear cabin. All doors, big and heavy as they are, can be closed electrically, quickly and with a wicked thud.View the full article
  3. The Motorists Guide

    Ford Mustang Bullitt 2018 review

    We try Ford's film-inspired special-edition Mustang to see if it's a car Steve McQueen would be proud of The revival of a movie car icon or a cynical marketing ploy, depending on your view. Before driving it, I found myself in the latter camp, but its funny how opinions can change just by taking the time to enjoy and appreciate something.As the name suggests, the Ford Mustang Bullitt has been built to mark the 50th anniversary of the film of the same name. The film itself was hardly a cinematic triumph, but is best known for an unforgettable car chase involving Steve McQueen at the wheel of a Highland Green Mustang GT390 Fastback chasing down two hitmen in a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco. Of course, none of that should be news to an Autocar reader. Rebooting an automotive film star from the '60s is a risky business, particularly given today’s models usually bear almost no relation to the original. Thankfully, that’s not the case with today’s 'Stang.It may be bigger, heavier and, unlike the original, able to give you a fair chance of survival in a head-on collision, but it’s still familiar territory. There’s a shouty naturally aspirated V8 up front (albeit slightly smaller than the 6.4-litre GT390), while drive is sent through a manual gearbox and is put to the road via the rear wheels.This is no quick paint job and badge swap, either. The Bullitt benefits from an open air induction system nicked from the Shelby GT350, bigger throttle bodies and a new exhaust. The result is a modest 14bhp power boost to 453bhp (US market versions get more power thanks to emissions regs), as well as improved responses and, crucially, more noise. Like the cars used in the original film, the suspension has been uprated with ‘heavy duty’ front springs and a stiffened-up rear anti-roll bar. A number of new features debut on the Bullitt and will transfer to the 2019-model-year Mustang, including a rev-matching system for the manual 'box, a 1000w B&O sound system and an active exhaust.View the full article
  4. Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry This week's snippets of automotive news include news on the Vinfast A2.0 saloon launch, the new Suzuki Jimny and Peugeot's chief executive on new WLTP emissions testing. Peugeot's chief executive on WLTP: Peugeot chief executive Jean-Philippe Imparato took a dig at other manufacturers’ homologation delays and unsold models due to the recently adopted Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions legislation. He said: “We didn’t have to stop production. We didn’t have to store stock. We didn’t have to buy airports to park loads of unsold cars in. We were ready.” Vinfast A2.0 saloon launch: Vietnamese car manufacturer Vinfast wheeled out David Beckham to launch its new A2.0 saloon and SA2.0 SUV at Paris – but we reckon they missed a trick. Given Kia got Robert de Niro to endorse the Kia e-Niro, surely Vinfast should have signed up actor Vin Diesel rather than the footballer? Suzuki Jimny 2018 review The new Suzuki Jimny: Suzuki’s UK boss Dale Wyatt says it has had 4500 people sign up on its website as “interested” in the new Jimny, a first for the brand. That’s 150% of the previous model’s best annual volume. The problem for Suzuki is going to be the number it can build, because demand in Japan has been “staggering”. Wyatt is looking at 1100 cars in the first year and then 2000 per year thereafter. Read more New WLTP emissions test could force heavy discounts on unsold cars Peugeot 508 review 2019 Suzuki Jimny makes appearance at Paris motor show View the full article
  5. Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry This week's snippets of automotive news include news on the Vinfast A2.0 saloon launch, the new Suzuki Jimny and Peugeot's chief executive on new WLTP emissions testing. Peugeot's chief executive on WLTP: Peugeot chief executive Jean-Philippe Imparato took a dig at other manufacturers’ homologation delays and unsold models due to the recently adopted Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions legislation. He said: “We didn’t have to stop production. We didn’t have to store stock. We didn’t have to buy airports to park loads of unsold cars in. We were ready.” Vinfast A2.0 saloon launch: Vietnamese car manufacturer Vinfast wheeled out David Beckham to launch its new A2.0 saloon and SA2.0 SUV at Paris – but we reckon they missed a trick. Given Kia got Robert de Niro to endorse the Kia e-Niro, surely Vinfast should have signed up actor Vin Diesel rather than the footballer? Suzuki Jimny 2018 review The new Suzuki Jimny: Suzuki’s UK boss Dale Wyatt says it has had 4500 people sign up on its website as “interested” in the new Jimny, a first for the brand. That’s 150% of the previous model’s best annual volume. The problem for Suzuki is going to be the number it can build, because demand in Japan has been “staggering”. Wyatt is looking at 1100 cars in the first year and then 2000 per year thereafter. Read more New WLTP emissions test could force heavy discounts on unsold cars Peugeot 508 review 2019 Suzuki Jimny makes appearance at Paris motor show View the full article
  6. Suzuki Alto: cheap, simple and reliable but not very nice Our resident used car expert discusses the good, the bad and the ugly of how reliable different cars are I would like to apologise for something or other I possibly wrote a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what the context was – I’m always saying and then writing down stupid things. But in this case, Brian actually quoted back at me the following: “Mitsubishis are well made and utterly reliable.” Brian snapped back: “No they are not!” Obviously, Brian could support this with his fairly tragic Mitzi backstory. “I have a Colt CZC bought new eight years ago. The faults are as follows: both hydraulic boot struts failed after about five years. Broken anti-roll bar. Leaking sump gasket. Two failed electric window winders recently. Total mileage is less than 25,000. About 18 months ago, the rear discs and pads were worn out and replaced.” Well, there is a bit of wear and tear there, I don’t know how Brian drives and all the Porsche Cayennes I looked at this year had busted struts, but I would agree it isn’t what you’d expect from something Japanese. Except that it isn’t: the badge implies ‘respected Far-Eastern brand’, but if you look at the ‘Made in...’ sticker, it says ‘the Netherlands’. Find a used Mitsubishi Colt on PistonHeads It was the same with the lowland-built Volvos – those small ones were never as well put together as the home-grown family-sized Swedes. So the country of actual physical origin is important. However, I don’t think that enough credit is ever given to UK-built Hondas, Nissans and Toyotas. They really are all well made and, as a rule, utterly reliable. In recent years, Mazda having another crack with the rotary engine was the best idea of all. They didn’t all explode but they always used a lot of oil and, when they did break down, they cost a fortune to fix. I love the look and idea of them, but the last one I saw hadn’t moved in half a year, and the one before that was for sale at a dealer for £599 with a heap of issues. Once out of warranty and out of the hands of a decent, caring owner, vehicles like the Mazda RX-8 deteriorate rapidly. A Toyota Corolla, or indeed a Mazda 626, is unlikely ever to have that problem. Suzuki Altos come from India and are built down to a marginal rupee price. It is one the nastiest cars I’ve ever sat in. That doesn’t make it an unreliable car, just a really, really cheap one. Owners swear by their utter simplicity and dependability. Talking Japanese means I’ve not had the time to go on about unreliable brands by nation, although the short version is that they’re usually French or Italian. If you haveany real-world expert reader input as far as reliability is concerned, then do tell us your worst. I’d be interested – and it might stop me making any rash statements in future. What we almost bought this week: Skoda Superb estate - Those after a car big enough to meet all the demands of a family while still being good to drive and comfortable to ride in should put the Skoda Superb on their shortlist. Few other cars offer so much space for the money, with prices starting from £14,000. As all-round performers go, this is up there with the very best. Tales from Ruppert’s garage: Land Rover Series 3, mileage 29,298: Here you go – I went nuts. After mentioning it for what must be months, I knuckled down, got the wheel spanner out and just swapped one wheel nut for another of the locking variety. The important thing is to keep the spare nuts in a very safe place – that way, you’ll end up with a massive collection of random nuggets of metal which you’ll never pass onto the next owner. I found a bag of Triumph Dolomite ones, probably in better condition than the rest of the car is now, if it still lives. A to Z bangerpedia: S is for Kia Sedona: Large, spacious and versatile – or is it just a big lump of a van? In value for money terms, the Kia Sedona has always been a no-brainer. This much space and equipment has never been cheaper, and you get a full-size car for the cost of something much smaller. There's a choice of large but smooth petrol V6 and a frugal diesel, which is probably the better buy. Inside, there’s no shortage of space and seats for seven, with a useful runway between the middle seats for easy all-round access and removable rear seats to let you create a massive amount of room for extra luggage. Just £700 buys a 2.9 CRDi with 115,000 miles. Readers’ questions: Q. My son wants a used EV but does a high mileage so is nervous about finding chargers when he needs them. He likes the idea of plug-in hybrids but they don’t go far before the engine cuts in. Are there any other ways? Mark Williams, via email A. Your son could always consider a range-extender, such as the BMW i3 REx. In these cars, a small on-board petrol engine charges up the battery as and when it gets low. BMW is about to halt production of the i3 REx, but used ones can be had for about £18,000. M Q. I have an automatic Nissan Qashqai that has let us down on occasion. We would like another small-ish used SUV and another automatic but we’re worried they’re all unreliable. What would you recommend?John Nutting, via email A. There have been a few issues reported with the Qashqai’s automatic gearbox, but don’t let that put you off buying autos altogether. Look at the Seat Ateca and the Skoda Karoq, both of which come with a neat dual-clutch automatic gearbox and both of which are now available to buy used. MP Read more Used car buying guide: Ferrari 360 Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 12 October James Ruppert: when to offload your old car - and what to replace it with View the full article
  7. Future models don't need to stand out like existing i3 and i8, according to design boss The styling of BMW’s electric cars will become more toned down over time, compared to the styling showcased by the current i range, according to the firm’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk. Reasoning that the current i3 hatchback and i8 sports car needed to stand out from the petrol-powered competition, using their design to draw attention to their innovative powertrains, van Hooydonk added that, as electric powertrains enter the mainstream, so the design of the cars will also start to confirm to more established trends. “Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time - to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car,” said van Hooydonk. “The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery-electric vehicle or not, and so there’s is increasingly less reason to make these kinds of cars look different.” However, van Hooydonk stressed that this did not spell the end of innovatively designed BMWs. “The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things.” This change in approach can already be seen in the iX3 SUV, which is set to become the next addition to the i range. The concept revealed at the Beijing Motor Show used a more mainstream design that takes inspiration from the standard X3. It will be followed by the i4 saloon in 2021, which is expected to use an adapted version of the next 4 Series platform. Dramatic styling may be saved for the Vision iNext, an X5-sized SUV due the same year. The concept showed a significantly different kidney grille from anything BMW has used before. READ MORE New BMW 3 Series launched with renewed driver focus First drive: 2019 BMW 3 Series 330i M Sport prototype Old vs new BMW 3 Series: compare the styling changes View the full article
  8. GTS will come in saloon and Sport Turismo estate bodystyles, priced from £105,963 and arriving in the UK later this year Porsche has revealed a new GTS variant of the Panamera and Panamera Sport Turismo estate. Priced from £105,963 for the former and £108,110 for the latter, both are due to go on sale in the UK later this year. Like other GTS Porsches, the two Panameras receive unique styling upgrades including black trim for the front and rear-ends, 20-inch black alloy wheels and GTS badging. Inside, both are trimmed in black Alcantara with anodised aluminium highlights, as part of the usually optional Sport Design package. A heated Alcantara steering wheel is standard, while an optional Interior GTS package brings customisable design elements. The GTS is also the first Panamera to receive a configurable head-up display, which will roll out on other models in the range. Sitting below the Panamera Turbo in the lineup, the GTS features a detuned 454bhp version of that car’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 mated to an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive. Producing 457lb ft of torque, it makes the two-tonne saloon and estate capable of 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 181mph (180mph for the Sport Turismo). This performance is partially assisted by the standard Sports Chrono pack, usually an option on lesser Panameras. Fuel economy is pegged at 27.4mpg for the saloon and 26.6mpg for the Sport Turismo, with CO2 emissions listed as 235g/km and 242g/km respectively. The Panamera GTS also features a petrol particulate filter, fitted on all Porsche models from September onwards. Being a GTS, the Panamera’s chassis has been revised to offer what Porsche calls “outstanding lateral dynamics”. Adaptive three-chamber air suspension is standard, but lowered by 10mm over regular models, while the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system has been recalibrated for a sportier feel. Rear-axle steering is optionally available to boost agility further, while the brakes are larger than a standard Panamera’s at 390mm for the fronts and 365mm for the rear. Read more: First ride: Porsche 911 2019 prototype Porsche unveils 935 reborn race car 2020 Porsche 911 GT3 spied in near-production bodywork View the full article
  9. The Motorists Guide

    Skoda Kodiaq GT: first images revealed

    The SUV-coupe is based on the existing five-door Kodiaq and looks to replicate the success of the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Skoda has released the first images of its new Kodiaq GT, a more rakish version of its big family SUV. The Kodiaq GT is set to be Skoda’s flagship model in China, the only country in which it will be built and sold. It will be in Chinese dealerships before the end of the year, manufactured as part of a joint venture between local car maker SAIC and Skoda. The SUV-coupe is based on the existing five-door Kodiaq, which is already built in China for the domestic market. The Kodiaq GT is new from the front doors backwards, the new car getting a a sloping roofline, sleeker glasshouse, and a new, angular tailgate. In addition, there are new bumpers and tail lights, and the addition of a small rear spoiler. There are no current plans to offer the five-seater for sale in Europe. Skoda’s European production is understood to be at capacity, and there is simply nowhere to build it. Skoda is reluctant to import from China and would instead prefer to concentrate its efforts on being a success in the the car’s home market. The Kodiaq GT will look to replicate the success premium brands including BMW and Mercedes-Benz have had with coupe-SUVs, with models including the BMW X4 and X6, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé and GLE Coupé. Skoda will look to achieve that at a lower price point, and is the latest car maker to offer a coupe-SUV in emerging markets soon after Renault revealed the Arkana for sale in Russia. Previous information revealed to Chinese media on the car claimed it to be 4634mm long, 1883mm wide and 1649mm high, making it 63mm shorter, 1mm wider and 27mm lower than the regular model. Prices are set to start at around CNY220,000 (around £24,500). Two turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engines are set to be offered, with outputs of 186bhp and 220bhp, and are attached to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. driving either the front or all four-wheels. Read more Skoda Karoq review Facelifted Skoda Fabia priced at £12,840 Skoda Scala: name of new Ford Focus rival confirmed View the full article
  10. Skoda Scala Czech firm picks a Latin-based name for its Rapid replacement, which will be revealed later this year Skoda’s new Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus rival, due to be revealed later this year, will be called the Scala. The new car will effectively replace the Rapid hatchback in the Czech firm’s line-up. Scala is a Latin word that means ‘stairs’ or ‘ladder’, and company boss Bernhard Maier said that it represents Skoda’s next step forward in the compact segment. The Scala will also be the first Skoda to feature the brand’s name instead of the logo on the rear boot lid. Maier said the Scala is “a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class”. The Scala is intended to be a more direct competitor than the Rapid to the big players in the volume hatchback segment, such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey confirmed to Autocar earlier this year that the hatchback would not be called Rapid, instead taking a new name. Favey said: “How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment.” He added that the new car would have completely new styling and technology. A new sketch, released by Skoda recently, hinted at the styling of the Scala, which follows on from the Vision RS concept shown at the Paris motor show. Skoda will drop the slow-selling liftback version and concentrate on the Spaceback hatch for the Rapid replacement. The five-door Scala will be the first Skoda car to use the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform, which is already used on models such as the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen T-Roc. The next Fabia, due in 2020, and Skoda's upcoming baby SUV, previewed by the Vision X concept, are also due to use this architecture. Skoda said the platform will allow the new hatchback to have “compact exterior dimensions and generous interior space”. It added that the car would use “numerous innovative assistance systems in that segment”. It will also be the first Skoda to receive a next-generation infotainment system that will then be rolled out across the range. Favey has described it as “state of the art”. The model will use a range of petrol and diesel engines, including the Volkswagen Group’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with power from 84bhp to 109bhp, as well as a 1.5-litre petrol unit with up to 148bhp. No hybrid or electric versions are planned and are understood to be too expensive to implement in a car of this size and price. The Rapid is Skoda’s second-biggest-selling car worldwide after the Octavia. In 2017, it sold 211,000 units. Favey predicts that sales will double for the new model. Read more Skoda Rapid review All Skoda reviews Octavia vRS to go hybrid View the full article
  11. Skoda Scala Czech firm picks a Latin-based name for its Rapid replacement, which will be revealed later this year Skoda’s new Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus rival, due to be revealed later this year, will be called the Scala. The new machine will effectively replace the Rapid hatchback in the Czech firm’s line-up. Scala is a latin word that means ‘stairs’ or ‘ladder’, and company boss Bernhard Maier said that it represents Skoda’s next step forward in the compact segment. The Scala will also be the first Skoda to feature the brand’ name instead of the logo on the rear boot lid. Maier said the Scala is “a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class.” The Scala is intended to be a more direct competitor than the Rapid to the big players in the volume hatchback segment, such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey confirmed to Autocar earlier this year that the hatchback would not be called Rapid, instead taking a new name. Favey said: “How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment.” He added that the new car would have completely new styling and technology. A new sketch, released by Skoda recently, hinted at the styling of the Scala, which follows on from the Vision RS concept shown at the Paris motor show. Skoda will drop the slow-selling liftback version and concentrate on the Spaceback hatch for the Rapid replacement. The five-door Scala will be the first Skoda car to use the Volkswagen Group’s MQB AO platform, which is already used on models such as the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen T-Roc. The next Fabia, due in 2020, and Skoda's upcoming baby SUV, previewed by the Vision X concept, are also due to use this architecture. Skoda said the platform will allow the new hatchback to have “compact exterior dimensions and generous interior space”. It added that the car would use “numerous innovative assistance systems in that segment”. It will also be the first Skoda to receive a next-generation infotainment system that will then be rolled out across the range. Favey has described it as “state of the art”. The model will use a range of petrol and diesel engines, including the Volkswagen Group’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with power from 84bhp to 109bhp, as well as a 1.5-litre unit petrol with up to 148bhp. No hybrid or electric versions are planned and are understood to be too expensive to implement in a car of this size and price. The Rapid is Skoda’s second biggest selling car worldwide after the Octavia. In 2017, it sold 211,000 units. Favey predicts that sales will double for the new model. Read more Skoda Rapid review All Skoda reviews Octavia vRS to go hybrid View the full article
  12. Alongside its upcoming Taycan saloon, Porsche is planning a plethora of zero-emission models by 2022 Porsche is planning a battery-electric SUV and all-electric Boxster/Cayman sports car, plus a Taycan Targa, for launch by 2022 as part of its investment in electrification. Porsche finance director Lutz Meschke revealed the plan for a battery SUV and sports car at an event in Germany last week. "You can expect a SUV BEV [battery-electric vehicle] by 2022 at the latest,” he told journalists, without elaborating further. Meschke also told journalists that “the Boxster and Cayman could be suitable for electrification”. Departed Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller – previously Porsche’s boss – committed every group brand to having an electrified version of every model by 2023, and Porsche was no exception. Porsche readying electric Taycan for 2019 reveal Meschke referred to the electric utility vehicle as a “big SUV”, which would indicate a Cayenne-sized car, but the Cayenne is just a year old and not due for replacement until 2024/25. It would make a natural rival for the Tesla Model X. To get an electric SUV to market more rapidly, Porsche is likely to focus on the replacement for the mid-size Macan – which currently shares its platform with Audi’s Q5 – as it is due for replacement around 2021. However, there are at least three other possibilities: a variant of Audi’s new E-tron SUV, a re-engineered Cayenne, or a ground-up new Porsche all-electric SUV. Porsche is moving fast in the direction of BEVs post-Dieselgate and the new Taycan four-door has been in development for four years and will be launched in late 2019. This month, Porsche announced that it will drop diesel from its engine line-up. This will especially affect the Macan, one of its bestselling vehicles and sold with a rich mix of diesel engines. Porsche is already working on a new, all-electric platform, called the PPE, jointly with Audi for a next generation of electric vehicles. The PPE is all-new, but includes learning from the J1 underpinning that’s the basis for the new four-door Taycan BEV, due on sale “by the end of 2019”. The Taycan will become a family of models with further strong hints that the Cross Turismo, shown as a concept at Geneva this year, has a production future. “The Taycan derivatives have already been showcased,” said Meschke. It has also emerged that the Zuffenhausen plant where the Taycan will be built is preparing for a Targa version, for launch in 2020/21. Details are scarce, but the Taycan Targa is most likely to feature a large glazed opening that slides down to the rear hatch area. The J1 underpinning could readily be adapted with a short wheelbase and two-door body as the basis of a new compact Porsche sports car. However, such a mod would reduce battery size, range and performance. Preparing for more electric models after the Taycan, the new PPE architecture is in development in parallel with the Taycan and could be ready for market in 2022, when Porsche says its BEV SUV will be on sale. It is unclear if the PPE platform is sufficiently flexible to underpin multiple powertrain layouts and firewall heights, but Porsche has already built an electric Boxster E prototype. A packaging prototype, it was also touted as a possible rival for the Tesla Roadster. But that was seven years ago, an age in electric car development. The Boxster E had componentry borrowed from VW’s Golf blue-e motion and a 121bhp electric motor fed by a 340-cell lithium ion battery pack, all packaged in the space vacated by the flat-six combustion engine. Porsche engineers learned a lot from that car, including concerns that the weight of the battery powertrain would affect performance and handling, the latter because the weight raised the centre of gravity. One told Autocar last year that “fully electrified sports cars would work well for longitudinal acceleration, but the weight disadvantage is in the handling”. Whether a future 911 will use solely battery power is also up for debate. Meschke confirmed that the next 911, in its new 992 guise and due on sale later this year, will include a hybrid version. The 911 hybrid won’t be available at launch, but is pencilled in to the plan as part of the new model electrification onslaught by 2022 – to fulfil the group strategic target of every model with an electrified version by 2023. Porsche engineers have previously told Autocar that the packaging issues of a pure battery electric drivetrain were incompatible with the 911 as a fine handling sports car with everyday usable 2+2 seating. Last year, an engineer told Autocar that next-generation solid state batteries, which are lighter and predicted to be able to be shaped to reduce package space, might be the required breakthrough to make a 911 BEV a reality. However, solid state technology may be a decade from production. Read more Porsche readying electric Taycan for 2019 reveal Porsche 718 Boxster review 2021 Jaguar J-Pace moves closer to production with global trademark View the full article
  13. Due by 2022, the brand is planning more electric models to run alongside the upcoming Taycan saloon Porsche is planning a battery electric SUV and all-electric Boxster/Cayman sportscar, plus a Taycan Targa, for launch by 2022 as part of its EU6b investment in electrification. Porsche finance director Lutz Meschke revealed the plan for a battery SUV and sportcars at an event in Germany last week. ‘You can expect a SUV BEV [battery electric vehicle] by 2022 at the latest,” he told journalists, without elaborating further. Meschke also told journalists that “the Boxster and Cayman could be suitable for electrification”. Departed VW Group boss Matthias Muller – previously Porsche’s boss – committed every group brand to having an electrified version of every model by 2023 – and Porsche was no exception. Porsche readying electric Taycan for 2019 reveal Meschke referred to the electric utility vehicle as a “big SUV”, which would indicate a Cayenne-sized car, but the Cayenne is juts a one year old and not due for replacement until 2024/25. Of course it would make a natural rival for the Tesla Model X. So to get an electric SUV to market more rapidly, Porsche is likely to focus on the replacement for the mid-size Macan – which currently shares its platform with Audi’s Q5 – as it is due for replacement around 2021. However, there are at least three other possibilities – a variant of Audi’s new e-tron SUV, a re-engineered Cayenne, or a ground-up new Porsche all-electric SUV. Porsche is moving fast in the direction of BEVs post-dieselgate and the new Taycan four-door has been in development for four years and will be launched in late 2019. And this month Porsche announced that it will drop diesel from its engine line-up. This will especially affect the Macan, one of its best-selling vehicles and sold with a rich mix of diesel sales. Porsche is already working on a new, all-electric platform, called the PPE, jointly with Audi for a next generation of electric vehicles. The PPE is all-new, but includes learning from the J1 underpinning that’s the basis for the new four-door Taycan BEV, due on sale “by the end of 2019”. The Taycan will become a family of models with further strong hints that the Cross Turismo, shown as a concept at Geneva this year has a production future. “The Taycan derivatives have already been showcased,” said Meschke. It has also emerged that the Zuffenhausen plant where the Taycan will be built is preparing for a Targa version, for launch in 2020/21. Details are scarce – but the Taycan Targa is most likely to feature a large glazed opening that slides down to the rear hatch area. The J1 underpinning could readily be adapted with a short wheelbase and two-door body as the basis of a new compact Porsche sportscar. Although such a mod would reduce battery size, range and performance. Preparing for more electric models after the Taycan, the new PPE architecture is in development in parallel with the Taycan and could be ready for market in 2022, when Porsche says its BEV SUV will be on sale. It is unclear if the PPE platform is sufficiently flexible to underpin multiple powertrain layouts and firewall heights, but Porsche has already built an electric Boxster E prototype. A packaging prototype, it was also touted as a possible rival for the Tesla Roadster. But that was seven years ago, an age in electric car development. The Boxster E had componentry borrowed from VW’s Golf blue-e motion and a 121bhp electric motor fed by a 340 cell lithium-ion battery pack, all packaged in the space vacated by the flat-six combustion engine. Porsche engineers learned a lot from that car, including concerns that the weight of the battery powertrain would affect performance and handling, the latter because the weight raised the centre of gravity. One told Autocar last year that “fully electrified sports cars would work well for longitudinal acceleration, but the weight disadvantage is in the handling”. Whether a future 911 will use solely battery power is also up for debate. Meschke confirmed that the next 911, in its new 992 guise and due on sale later this year, will include a hybrid version. The 911 hybrid won’t be available at launch, but is pencilled in to the plan as part of the new model electrification onslaught by 2022 – to fulfil the Group strategic target of every model with an electrified version by 2023. Porsche engineers have previously told Autocar that the packaging issues of a pure battery electric drivetrain were incompatible with the 911 as a fine handling sportscar with everyday usable two-plus-two seating. Last year, an engineer told Autocar that next-generation solid state batteries, which are lighter and predicted to be able to be shaped to reduce package space, might be the required breakthrough to make a 911 BEV a reality. However, solid state technology may be a decade from production. Read more Porsche readying electric Taycan for 2019 reveal Porsche 718 Boxster review 2021 Jaguar J-Pace moves closer to production with global trademark View the full article
  14. The Motorists Guide

    2019 BMW X7 to be revealed imminently

    BMW's teaser image of the upcoming X7 BMW's largest SUV will be sold in the UK from February 2019 and make its public debut at LA motor show in November The BMW X7 will be revealed imminently according to the German car maker, which has release a dark image of the front of the upcoming large SUV. Shown on BMW's Instagram channel, the words accompanying the image said: "The next big thing is coming soon. The first-ever #BMW #X7." We’ve already seen hints off the car: in a video released earlier this year (below) showing a disguised X7’s off-roading ability, in patent images which surfaced online and during our recent camouflaged prototype drive of the car. X7 prototype drive Due to make its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show in November, the range-topping SUV, which will also go up against the Mercedes-Benz GLS, is heavily inspired by the X7 iPerformance concept at last year's Frankfurt motor show. BMW's upcoming seven-seater will initially feature a naturally aspirated engine, rather than the hybrid powertrain of the X7 iPerformance. However, a hybrid variant will come later. An X7 M50d M Performance, as well as xDrive40i, xDrive50i and xDrive30d variants will be available from launch, with the 3.0-litre diesel in 30d, 40d and 50d guises and the twin-turbo 4.4-litre petrol V8 from the X6 xDrive50i expected to make up the meat of the range. It's not known if an upper M Performance model is will sit above the M50d M Performance - it's aimed at the US and Chinese markets - so an equivalent to the M760Li could act as the range-topper. X7 xDriveM60i badging could be used. Sitting alongside the 7 Series at the top of BMW's line-up, the car is due on UK roads from February 2019. The X7 has been spotted testing several times in the past few months, having been in development since 2015, offering glimpses of the future SUV's design and scale. It will be the largest SUV yet by BMW. Its dimensions remain similar to the concept. This means a length of 5020mm, 2020mm width and 1800mm in height, as well as a 3010mm wheelbase, while the car will be roughly 113mm longer, 82mm wider and 37mm higher than the X5, with a 76mm longer wheelbase. It's around 110mm shorter and a little wider than the Mercedes-Benz GLS and around 30mm longer than the Range Rover. It will have three rows of seats, making it a rival for the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator in the US and China – two core markets for the car. Familiar design features such as halo daytime running lights and kidney grilles will appear. The light bar seen on the X7 iPerformance is not carried over to the production model. While the seven-seat X7 is being developed with the US and Chinese markets in mind, it was confirmed for the UK by former BMW head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson in 2016. Speaking to Autocar at the New York motor show that year, Robertson said: “We will have some versions that are top-end luxury, as well as more mainstream versions. I can’t talk about pricing now, but given that this car will have all the technology and luxury of the 7 Series, it gives you a pretty good idea of the price point we’re talking about.” Previously, it was thought that the X7 would be built on an extended version of the X5’s underpinnings, but Robertson said many parts are actually bespoke. “If you put both cars next to each other, the resemblance is small in terms of wheelbase, etc. We’re not going to just extend the wheelbase; it’s a complete new panel cell.” The X7 will be built at the company's plant at Spartanburg, USA. Read more BMW Concept X7 iPerformance previews range-topping SUV BMW ramps up plans to expand i range with electric SUVs View the full article
  15. The Motorists Guide

    Opinion: how Bloodhound can survive

    Despite the project now running under a crew of just 6, its administrator insists that this new court-sanctioned phase in its eventful history is not the end Everyone at Bloodhound — including the remarkably positive-sounding administrator, Andrew Sheridan — insists that this new court-sanctioned phase in its eventful history is not the end. Bloodhound has run out of money, and is currently being operated by a skeleton crew of six people rather than the usual 16. But its technical director Mark Chapman describes the project as “ready to go” to its purpose-built South African track in preparation for its first serious shakedown next year. And administrator Sheridan, whose firm recently found a new owner for the Force India F1 team, makes it clear he wouldn’t have taken this assignment had he not been confident of a good outcome. So what went wrong? The problem boils down to financial uncertainties connected with the state of the world economy, and with Brexit. Promising leads have repeatedly evaporated. Global majors, usually public companies capable of financing this project to its three-to-four year, £25million, 1000mph climax, are proving reluctant to make medium term commitments. Bloodhound land speed project enters administration Another unwelcome thread is that, for all Bloodhound’s undoubted success at attracting the UK’s younger generation, especially schoolkids, to STEM subjects, a CO2-heavy land speed record car appeals less today to an electric-aware younger generation than it did even three years ago, and certainly when the project was mooted 11 years back. Those of us who want success for Bloodhound must depend on the value of the massive global awareness the project has built for itself, and its appeal to the kind of commercial giant that invests in World Cup football or Formula One. As Andrew Sheridan eloquently puts it, the £25m needed to achieve 1000mph is far less than it takes to run the slowest F1 team on the grid. Described that way Bloodhound is a bargain. Read more Bloodhound land speed project enters administration Bloodhound SSC: inside the factory building a 1000mph car Bloodhound wants electric power for its 600bhp fuel pump View the full article
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