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  1. The new Mercedes-AMG GT is scheduled to reach UK showrooms in early 2022 Future Porsche 911 rival will push more than 650bhp and 700lb ft to all four wheels in top-end guise Mercedes-AMG is well into the development of a second-generation GT, which is due on sale in 2021 with a hybrid powertrain that will offer increased power and torque. The next iteration of AMG’s supercar will adopt a revised twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with new mild-hybrid assistance, as well as a transaxle re-engineered to accommodate a fully variable four-wheel-drive system in selected models. That move is set to endow it with significantly greater performance potential than its predecessor. Insiders at Mercedes-AMG’s headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, suggest a series of driveline innovations will push the power output of future upper-end GT models beyond 650bhp. The innovations will include an electric boosting capability as part of a range of new mild-hybrid EQ Boost functions. As well as increasing the power output, the addition of electric boosting via a starter/ alternator and new 48V electric architecture will bring a notable increase in torque to the GT’s upgraded V8 engine. The successor model to today’s GT R is set to generate up to 700lb ft. As a point of reference, the most powerful current iteration of AMG’s V8, codenamed M178, resides in the GT63 S 4Matic 4-Door Coupé, where it kicks out 630bhp and 664lb ft with an initial range of EQ Boost functions. In today’s form, the GT R makes 577bhp and 516lb ft. The new GT will once again be produced in both coupé and roadster bodystyles. It’s scheduled to reach UK showrooms in early 2022. Key rivals for the new model include the Porsche 911, which is also set to adopt hybrid functions when the facelifted version of today’s 992-generation model is launched, and the Aston Martin Vantage. But whereas Porsche is looking to go down the full plug-in hybrid route, including all-electric capability for limited distances, this has been ruled out for future Mercedes-AMG GT models because of packaging concerns. One source told Autocar: “With a 75-litre fuel tank behind the cabin, we’re already at the limit on packaging. For worthwhile distances on electric, you need a battery with at least 12kWh of capacity. As well as commanding space, it also adds quite significantly to the weight.” Key to the future of the GT is a decision by Mercedes-Benz to twin it with the successor to the SL. Both models share vital elements of their platform, driveline and interior in a move that, AMG insiders told Autocar, has helped to streamline and lower the cost of their development despite the adoption of new technology. Among that new tech is a four-wheel-drive system that can rapidly balance drive between the front and rear axles as well as a torque vectoring function to vary the amount of power sent to each individual rear wheel. Together with a newly developed transaxle, the added traction of the new four-wheel-drive system should rectify one of the existing, rear-drive-only GT’s weaknesses – namely its standing-start acceleration in comparison with the supercar competition. But, like today’s E63, it will feature a Drift function, which sends power exclusively to the rear wheels. Although the GT is set to retain its existing two-seat layout, the new SL will adopt a roomier 2+2 interior – a move, Autocar has been told, that’s aimed at ensuring the models appeal to different customers. The basis for the second-generation GT is a revised aluminium spaceframe that is claimed to weigh less than the 233kg structure used by the existing model. The weight saving has been achieved in part by the adoption of more cast aluminium components within load-bearing areas. Mercedes-AMG is also said to have met its aim of increased rigidity, most notably in the front end of the new spaceframe, which uses a newly designed transverse member with what is described as “improved torsional properties”. The new GT is expected to feature a more contemporary exterior, described as being “a bigger step away from the current GT as it was from the earlier SLS”. The more modern approach is also said to be reflected inside, with new Formula 1-inspired digital graphics among the early design proposals. Read more 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series set to make 680bhp​ Mercedes-AMG GT R review​ Mercedes-AMG plots first EV-only sports car​ View the full article
  2. Dr Olvey saved Alex Zanardi’s life when he lost both legs in 2001 New documentary is a revealing foray into the dark world of motorsport medical professionals “I didn’t know then how little I knew,” says Dr Steve Olvey when reflecting on his early years in racing. It’s all too easy to slide on the rose-tinted specs when reflecting on ‘the good old days’, but when you were Indycar’s dedicated doctor for three decades and lived with the brutal consequences of US oval racing, your vision’s hue tends to be a little darker. Rapid Response is a new feature-length documentary based on his memoir of a life spent in the medical frontline of US single-seater racing – and it’s gruesome. The subject matter – how a sport faced up and dealt with a driver mortality rate comparable to soldiers in war – doesn’t really account for what might be considered good taste, and the film’s archive footage drawn from six decades leaves nothing to the imagination. But the approach is not ‘sensationalist’. Instead, the film soberly presents the cold reality of racing at 200mph-plus on ovals bordered by concrete walls, in cars that offered little to protect the human within, through the eyes of those who dealt with the horror when things went wrong. To do that, the film makers had to show just how cruel the sport could be. It’s honest – perhaps too much for some. For UK audiences, Dr Olvey is best described as Indycar’s version of Formula 1 legend Professor Sid Watkins: a lifelong fan who dedicated his medical expertise to change racing for the better. And like ‘Prof’, the contribution he and others such as orthopaedic surgeon Dr Terry Trammell made to their sport cannot be over-estimated. They achieved and changed more than any driver, team owner or race promoter. Dr Olvey’s story precedes Prof’s involvement in F1, then runs directly in parallel from the 1970s. Both battled the old attitude that motor racing was simply dangerous, that death was an accepted price – and that safety was a dirty word. Both also faced opposition from circuit owners and race promoters to accept proper, common standards of medical care at every race track. Their research into injuries even directly influenced the design of the carbonfibre wonders that are today’s single-seaters. Rapid Response reminds us just how far we’ve come since a young boy witnessed the 1955 Indy 500 in which his hero, the great Bill Vukovich, perished. But as he’d readily admit, Dr Olvey’s work hasn’t made motorsport safe – only safer. The loss of Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert at Spa in August is a stark reminder that this is one battle that can never be truly won. Read more The motorsport legend who runs an MOT centre​ Racing lines: Welcoming Dario Franchitti back to motorsport Analysis: Why 1999 was Mercedes' last year at Le Mans​ View the full article
  3. Volkswagen revitalises the eight-generation Passat range, starting with the beefed-up but smart-looking Alltrack estate The eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat has been refreshed, four years after it was launched in 2015. And this particular version – the slightly higher-riding all-wheel-drive estate known as the Alltrack – first appeared with the Passat iteration that arrived before that, in 2010.The Alltrack provides a useful mix of load-carrying and mild-off-road capability in a format popularized by Volvo’s Cross Country models and the Allroad estates of sister brand Audi.The Passat refresh is relatively modest. Items now standard include particulate filters for all engines, LED lights front and rear and Travel Assist, which enables the car to drive at up to 130mph in part-automated mode. The adaptive cruise control now reads and acts on speed limit signs, and while this can be over-ridden with a switch or the accelerator pedal, it will return to the speed it sees on the next sign, limiting the usefulness of this essential tool for anyone who doesn’t cruise on the motorway at exactly 70mph.More positively, the infotainment system can now screen Apple CarPlay or Android Auto without a cable, and potential Passat buyers must now navigate a modest orchard’s worth of eight model derivatives rather than the previous forest.Among the culled line-up is the Alltrack sampled here, its identifiers including the black plastic wheel arch extensions of an off-roader, more ruggedly sculpted bumpers, new 18in alloy rims, the option of a bucolic bottle green paint finish, assorted decor highlights in stainless steel, aluminium and chrome and Volkswagen's 'Discover' 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system.More fundamentally, its 4Motion system provides an off-roading mode and the 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel that's your sole engine choice comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.View the full article
  4. BMW will renew its Mercedes B-Class rival after revealing new two-door and four-door 2 Series coupé models The next-generation BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has been photographed in thinly disguised prototype form ahead of its expected unveiling next year. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class rival, spied on the back of trailer outside a BMW facility in Germany, can be seen sporting an evolutionary look more closely aligned with the new 1 Series, upon which it's based. It also appears to have shorter overhangs than the current model, suggesting BMW has worked to improve interior space and packaging. Expect the range of engines to include a base 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol and 2.0-litre four-cylinder tubo petrol, available in a number of different power outputs. A full range of diesels ranging from 118bhp to 188bhp will also feature. The expectation is that a plug-in hybrid variant will again be offered, given the necessity of such cars to reduce fleet average CO2 emissions, but nothing has yet been confirmed. Don't expect to see an M-tuned variant any time soon, because it would be far from the firm's core market. However, a 302bhp 35i version would be technically possible, given the 2 Series Active Tourer's close relationship to the 1 Series. The Active Tourer will join the newly revamped 2 Series line-up after the unveiling of the new four-door Gran Coupé late this year and the traditional two-door coupé early next year. BMW sources have suggested to Autocar that the seven-seat 2 Series Gran Tourer won't return, however, due to a lack of buyer interest in larger MPVs. Read more: BMW 1 Series 2019 review BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 2019 review Mini to revive Traveller name for BMW i3-based MPV View the full article
  5. Building a credible Land Rover rival with zero experience won't be easy, but Ineos has the ingredients to make it work When Sir Jim Ratcliffe first discussed his own line of simpler-than-the-Defender 4x4s in earnest, the idea that a company with no experience of building cars from a standing start – and doing it economically – seemed difficult to swallow. If it looked like that, it doesn’t now. Ineos Automotive has assembled a management team of convincing experts who have plausible answers to all the key questions except one (we’ll come to it). And they’re talking about the kind of vehicle that many people find desirable, in an arena abandoned by Land Rover in its unquenchable zeal to build premium vehicles. Official: Ineos confirms Bridgend factory for Grenadier 4x4 In the words of a friend of mine, a farmer who never drives anything but his Defender: “I need something that will carry a ram, a dog, a chainsaw and several bales of straw, go up steep hills in snow, never ground out, tow 3.5 tonnes, push aside brambles and be power-washable inside. I want a really good tool, the kind you treasure but that won’t break when you drop it. If they do that, and it doesn’t get nice-ified, I want one…” That lingering question? Ineos has said ominously little about the styling and who’s doing it. It cites the new Jeep Gladiator as a rival, appearing not to notice how carefully and cleverly that pick-up has been styled. If I were a betting man, I’d say Sir Jim is having a bit of a go himself. And he might be good at it; who knows? Sir William Lyons was, but he wouldn’t have been able to do what Jaguar’s designers do today. Anyhow, it all makes the already-fascinating reveal moment that much more exciting. Roll on 2020! Ineos considering hydrogen version of Grenadier 4x4 The epic story of the Land Rover Defender Ineos confirms BMW engines for Grenadier 4x4 View the full article
  6. Ineos Automotive also reveals BMW power sources for new Defender-inspired model that's due to be shown next year Ineos Automotive, founded by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe to create an “uncompromising 4x4” in the mould of the original Land Rover Defender, has confirmed that its new vehicle family will carry the name Grenadier and be built in an all-new plant in Bridgend, South Wales. The £600 million project will utilise body and chassis parts sourced from – and painted in – a second new Ineos car plant currently being commissioned in Estarreja, Portugal, close to many established automotive suppliers. The Grenadier name, which was chosen from an online poll of 6000 fans and followers, invokes the Knightsbridge pub where Ratcliffe, a lifelong Land Rover fan, first hatched his plan to build his own no-frills 4x4. The project has been live since early 2017. The company will unveil the completed vehicle next year, although it won’t detail the launch plans yet. Top 10 best 4x4s and off-roaders 2019 Ineos expects its two new plants to each create around 500 new jobs once production hits full speed. Ratcliffe says the company had “lots of good options across the world” for locating the plants but chose Wales for the final assembly “as a significant expression of confidence in British manufacturing”. Ineos will eventually build 25,000 cars per year once it completes a production ramp-up from the beginning of production in 2021 and says it could do even more than that if business exceeds expectations. Ineos says it can’t yet specify an entry price for the Grenadier, but commercial director Mark Tennant confided that the costs of current safety equipment and compliance testing are unlikely to allow Ineos to match outgoing Defender prices that started in the low-£20,000s bracket. However, he admitted to keeping a close eye on the four-seat pick-up truck market (Ineos will launch such a model), where prices for well-equipped versions currently start below £30,000. Four-seat pick-ups currently account for 60,000 sales in the UK and 200,000 across Europe. More details of the Grenadier are fast emerging. All models will use diesel or petrol versions of BMW’s latest-spec 3.0-litre straight six engine, driving through an automatic gearbox – probably an eight-speed ZF unit. There won’t be a manual option. The suspension will be non-independent by coil-sprung live axles front and rear, a system especially designed by Ineos on the grounds of extreme durability. The use of such simple suspension with a tough ladder chassis and a separate body will allow a much larger-than-usual number of bodystyles to be offered, although Ineos says it won’t necessarily produce them all. CEO Dirk Heilmann is taking what he calls an open-source approach: he wants to encourage aftermarket suppliers to propose their own special equipment for the Grenadier. Design and engineering is progressing well, said Tennant. The marketing plan is to “get close to the customer”, he explained. “We won’t be selling cars in London’s Westfield shopping centre the way Tesla does, but we might find ourselves selling our vehicles in a field.” As in other arms of the Ineos business, the firm intends to use the abilities of partners already established in the field. Much of the Grenadier's engineering work is being carried out by Stuttgart-based consultancy MBTech, a former subsidiary of Daimler, with off-road testing in Austria. The emphasis is very much on off-road capability, says Tennant, although the Grenadier will have thoroughly acceptable on-road performance. Ineos is revealing little of Grenadier’s styling or design process, beyond the fact that it is analogue, depends a lot on clay modelling and will “make a virtue out of boxiness”. The project has just passed its exterior design freeze, but the interior is still being created, with the emphasis very much on simplicity and minimalism. Ineos’s experience so far leads Tennant to believe the Grenadier 4x4 models may well be the first of a family of Ineos Automotive products. “There are plenty more interesting niches,” he says. “Who knows what we’ll do next?” Ineos considering hydrogen version of Grenadier 4x4 The epic story of the Land Rover Defender Ineos confirms BMW engines for Grenadier 4x4 View the full article
  7. Concept car is set to show a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain that Mitsubishi will use on the Eclipse Cross Mitsubishi will reveal a new compact plug-in hybrid SUV concept at next month’s Tokyo motor show. The as-yet-unnamed car, partially shown in an image and confirmed in limited information released today, is intended to preview Mitsubishi’s next-generation plug-in hybrid four-wheel-drive technology for models smaller than the Outlander. The hybrid technology will be smaller and lighter than Mitsubishi’s current plug-in hybrid system, which it pioneered first on the Outlander PHEV. It will be four-wheel drive and is claimed to offer both improved efficiency in urban environments as well as greater control off road. Mitsubishi has not released any technical details of the new hybrid system, which will join the larger one it already has in its range on the Outlander. That current plug-in hybrid tech mixes a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a 13.8kWh battery and twin electric motors. A replacement for the Outlander was previewed at the Geneva motor show in March with a concept called Engelberg Tourer that continued with a 2.4-litre petrol engine but now mated to a larger 20kWh battery. The concept car’s downsized plug-in hybrid technology could therefore be intended for the Eclipse Cross, either in this generation or the next. Mitsubishi sources confirmed to Autocar earlier this year that the Eclipse Cross would be offered with plug-in hybrid technology in the future. The concept could also provide early clues to the Eclipse Cross’s distant successor, although the limited parts of the styling that can be seen in the preview image show a rather outlandish treatment for the rear of the roof. Mitsubishi sources also confirmed to Autocar that it would look to move its three SUV models - ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander - further apart in size. The ASX is set to be offered with an all-electric drivetrain in its next generation, rather than hybrid technology. The 2019 Tokyo concept will follow a 2017 concept at the same show, called e-Evolution. The model offered visual clues to the next ASX, but more pertinently was an early indication of what the famous Evo could turn into - a high-performance electric compact SUV - should Mitsubishi decide to revive it early in the next decade as has long been expected. Read more Latest Tokyo motor show news Mitsubishi committed to future PHEV development Mitsubishi's journey from rally royalty to plug-in pioneer View the full article
  8. Italian firm developed supercar specifically for racing; it's eligible to compete in most FIA-sanctioned events in Europe Little-known Italian car maker ATS Automobili has unveiled a model called the RR Turbo, developed in-house specifically for racing. ATS stood out as one of the first companies to release a street-legal mid-engined car, the Scaglione-designed 2500 GT of 1963, but it looked elsewhere for inspiration when it started designing the RR Turbo. The coupé has the typical proportions of a modern mid-engined supercar, but ATS went to great lengths to make the RR Turbo as light and as quick as possible. Lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbonfibre help keep the dry weight down to 780kg, a figure that makes the even the Alpine A110 (1098kg) look big-boned. That number is even more impressive when you consider that the list of standard features includes a built-in roll cage, an integrated fire extinguisher and suspension that's fully adjustable via a touchscreen mounted on the dashboard. The RR Turbo's engine is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit sourced from Honda and modified by ATS to deliver 592bhp and 390lb ft of torque. It spins the rear wheels through a six-speed paddle-shifted sequential gearbox and a limited-slip differential. Full performance specifications remain under wraps, but the power-to-weight ratio hints at jaw-dropping acceleration times. Carbon-ceramic brakes are available. ATS was founded by a team of Ferrari defectors in 1961 to compete directly against the Maranello marque, but lasted only until the end of 1964, having built just 12 road cars. The brand was revived in 2014 and the new company revealed its limited-edition, McLaren-based GT supercar in 2017. ATS developed the RR Turbo for buyers who want to go racing. It says the car is eligible to race in a majority of the FIA-sanctioned events held in Europe, including GT Cup championships and hillclimbs. It's on sale now, priced from €110,000 (currently £97,525). There's no word yet on whether the coupé will spawn a roadgoing model, although it will inevitably need to gain some weight if it's to be eligible to wear numberplates. Read more: Top 10 best hardcore sports cars 2019 Unlikely track day stars: top picks under £2000 New ATS GT supercar revealed at Salon Privé View the full article
  9. GTE plug-in hybrid has been spotted undisguised, ahead of eighth-generation Golf's reveal in October The next-generation Volkswagen Golf GTE will offer two power outputs when it arrives on roads next year, intended to cater to both those wanting a standard plug-in hybrid and those in the market for a performance-focused PHEV. Volkswagen board member for R&D Frank Welsh told Autocar that the GTE will come with either 201bhp or 241bhp. “Today’s GTI is 241bhp so the GTE should also have 241bhp, so the GTE is really a GTE. But there are some people who just want to stay with a similar plug-in hybrid to today so that is why we’re offering the 201bhp, too. It comes without the GTE trim and just [appears] as a normal Golf.” There will be no e-Golf as VW will focus on its electric, standalone ID 3 model instead. The Golf GTE has been spotted testing undisguised near the Nurburgring, ahead of the eight-generation Golf’s reveal next month. The spies also show Volkwagen’s new logo, revealed at Frankfurt motor show last week. The standard car has already been seen with virtually no disguise before. But now a prototype has been spotted with a charging port built within its front wing, suggesting it is the flagship PHEV model. The latest version of the long-running hatchback was originally due to be unveiled alongside the ID 3 at the Frankfurt motor show, but Volkswagen bosses decided to focus that event on its new electric offering. The Golf has now been confirmed for an October launch. It will go on sale in the UK early next year. Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff said the Golf will feature “elegant proportions”. The German firm says the eighth-generation Golf had been designed for “the era of electrified drives, a digitalised and connected interior world, assisted driving and online-based functions and services.” Volkswagen previously released a design sketch of the Mk8 model that showed a distinct evolution of its interior look and technology. It revealed that the Golf will adopt a large, dual-screen instrument and infotainment display panel stretched across the driver's eyeline. The rest of the interior has a more minimalist look as a result. The car is also expected to have an interior that’s almost completely devoid of conventional switches, at least on the higher-end models. Volkswagen design boss Klaus Bischoff has been quoted as saying that the Mk8’s interior is a “total” digital environment, with the steering wheel the only conventional component. Touchscreens will replace the traditional instrument binnacle and the climate controls. Even the headlight switch could be replaced by a touchpad.Volkswagen's management have also begun offering some details about the latest version of the Golf, the most important machine in the firm's range. Speaking at the Geneva motor show back in March, marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann said the new Golf maintained the heritage of previous versions, but with the benefits of new technology. "The new Golf will be everything people loved for years, but now made digital," he said. "People want a Golf – it's iconic – but now there's a huge leap forward in the digitisation inside it. It's still a Golf, but now digital. It's kept what people have loved and moved it to the next phase." The Mk8 Golf will have levels of fuel-saving technology, connectivity, autonomous driving capability and refinement that are intended to render the mainstream competition second best. Its exterior styling will be an evolutionary design that again emphasises a wide, flowing C-pillar. There is expected to be a little more sharp-edged definition to the bodywork, following the template of the latest Polo. The GTI version will feature large corner air vents in its lower bumper, as previewed by the GTI TCR concept earlier this year. Volkswagen will use the Mk8 Golf to introduce a powerful 48V mild-hybrid powertrain and a new range of micro-hybrids. There will also be versions powered by compressed natural gas. The model’s range will be simplified, with the three-door and estate bodystyles the most likely candidates for the axe. With consumers increasingly turning to SUVs and crossovers, and with makers of large mainstream cars under significant cost and profit pressures, insiders say the Golf Mk8 will attempt to lure buyers who are downsizing from larger cars and premium models such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, offering more cabin and luggage space than is normal in this segment, outstanding refinement and exceptional fuel economy. The new Golf will have a noticeably wider track and even more room in the already spacious cabin, as well as a marginally longer wheelbase and a bigger boot than its hatchback rivals. Update of Mk7 platform The basis for the next Golf is an updated version of the versatile MQB platform used by today’s model. VW insiders suggest it will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal than the existing structure for a 50kg reduction in weight. Planned modifications to the construction process are also said to provide more streamlined production and reduced build times as part of a strategy aimed at improving the economy of scale and profitability of VW’s best-selling model. Although there is still some time to go before the new Golf’s introduction, VW says it has already locked in the car’s design, which has been developed under the guidance of the company’s latest design boss, Michael Mauer, who was responsible for the styling of the current Porsche line-up. Those privy to the latest clay model mock-ups say the new Golf advances the classic hatchback look of its predecessors, with familiar proportions, reinterpreted details and simple surfacing to make it instantly recognisable as a Golf. Key styling features described to Autocar include a thin horizontal grille bookmarked by smaller angular headlights than those in use today, with a distinctive LED daytime running light graphic. The new car is also said to have more pronounced wheel arches and a heavily defined side swage line, in combination with typically wide C-pillars and a relatively upright tailgate. Petrol and diesel engines The new Golf Mk8 will get a range of 12V mild-hybrid engines for the entry-level and mid-range variants. The 1.5-litre TSI ACT petrol unit will be carried over from today’s Golf Mk7 but this will be joined by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor and an all-new 1.5-litre diesel, which is also likely to be sold as a 12V mild hybrid. Autocar understands that the assistance of the mild-hybrid system’s starter/ generator lessens the load on the engine and reduces the spikes of NOx emissions from the diesel’s exhaust. One of the more intriguing rumours is that the 1.0-litre petrol engines might not be turbocharged at all, but could instead rely solely on direct assistance from a belt-driven starter/generator motor (SGM). The thinking is that the SGM will provide enough extra power and torque for the base engines, allowing the turbocharger, intercooler and associated piping and control systems to be dropped. The Golf Mk8’s diesel line-up will include the new 2.0 TDI (codenamed EA288 Evo) engine. VW says the base version of this unit has been significantly re-engineered to reduce exhaust pollution. There is a more efficient and responsive turbocharger and the engine is lighter, loses less heat and has reduced internal friction. More important, the engine’s particulate filter and catalyst have been resized for improved performance, particularly over time. VW claimed the engine offers an average of 9% more torque and power together with an average 10g/km decrease in CO2 emissions. The firm said the new diesel unit will come in versions ranging from 135bhp to 201bhp and will be seen in Audi models before being installed in the Golf Mk8 next year. Crucial ID concept - click here for more VW has already released details of the Golf’s 1.5-litre TGI Evo natural gas engine, production of which starts this year. Based on the 1.5-litre TSI engine, the TGI unit uses the same Miller cycle valve timing and a variable geometry turbocharger. It develops 129bhp and 148lb ft from 1400rpm when installed in the Golf Mk7. VW claims that this engine emits about 93g/km of CO2 on the NEDC cycle when it is hooked up to the standard- issue dual-clutch gearbox. Natural gas engines are also lower in NOx and particulate emissions than diesel and cars can be refilled from the gas mains network via small wall-mounted compressors. However, the lack of a natural gas infrastructure in the UK means this variant is unlikely to reach these shores. The new or upgraded powertrains will be offered in combination with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, depending on their configuration. Alongside front-wheel drive, VW also plans to offer optional four-wheel drive (which it calls 4Motion) in selected models, like it has done in the previous four generations of its perennial best seller. Two kinds of mild hybrid The big surprise for the Golf Mk8 drivetrains is that VW says it will be investing in both 12V and 48V mild-hybrid systems after the company re-engineered the Golf family MQB electrical architecture (one of the more expensive component systems in a car) to accommodate a 48V system. Until now, 48V mild hybrids have only been used in premium VW Group cars such as the Bentley Bentayga and Audi SQ7. Frank Welsch, VW’s technical development boss, has already revealed the firm’s new ‘affordable’ 48V system, which uses a belt-integrated starter/ generator/alternator to assist the engine by providing extra power and torque directly to the engine’s crankshaft. The key to adopting 48V in a mass-market car was VW and its suppliers developing a less expensive and more compact set-up, which uses a small DC-to-DC converter and small lithium ion battery. Welsch said the 48V set-up allows much greater amounts of energy to be recuperated than with 12V systems, which means significantly improved fuel economy. These new mild-hybrid engines can also start and stop extremely quickly, which will allow the Golf Mk8 to switch in and out of coasting mode when driving, making further fuel savings. Connected tech takes precedence VW sources have already promised that the next Golf will be ‘always connected’. Using the same eSIM card that has already appeared in the new Touareg, the Golf Mk8 will be permanently connected to the internet. This will allow the car to tap into 3D satellite mapping, hybrid radio (where the audio system finds the strongest signal for a station, whether analogue or digital) and the option of live information such as the latest pricing at nearby fuel stations. The permanent connectivity opens the way for these future models to ‘read’ the topography of the road from 3D mapping, for example, and switch to coasting when heading downhill, or approaching a junction. Autonomous driving will be a key feature of VW's best-seller in its eighth generation, as the brand will shoehorn even more advanced autonomous technology into the new model, as well as ensuring that it is the most connected car in the company's history, ahead of the all-electric ID hatchback that's also due in late 2019. Head of VW's compact series, Karlheinz Hell, revealed: "The next Golf will take Volkswagen into the era of fully connected vehicles with extended autonomous driving functions. It will have more software on board than ever before. It will always be online and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety." The current Golf benefits from VW's semi-autonomous Traffic Jam Assist system, which controls the steering, acceleration and braking of the car under 37mph, so it's certain that the Mk8 model will take a leap in advancement over this. Elsewhere, the Audi A8 is the first car in the wider VW Group to achieve level three autonomy where permitted. Golf to set VW design agenda While the new Golf will be an evolutionary take on the outgoing car, it will feature new design elements that design chief Klaus Bischoff described being “more fluid, more sporty with a very unique face”. It’s part of a new VW strategy to differentiate its standard model range from the new ID family of electric cars, said Bischoff: “[ID is] a new world of proportions and totally new bodystyles which are more emotional. As we go through the ceiling design- wise on ID cars, we need to echo that with ICE cars, so these will have more sporty proportions [and] a more progressive, clean design.” Bischoff said future cars will remain faithful to VW’s traditional design cues: “We are looking to our origins so no ‘me too’ products. They will all remain as very individual VWs. “If you look at front- of-car designs, nearly everybody is copying Audi. VW will go down its own road to stay true to the brand, and not look over the fence to others.” Volkswagen reaps MQB’s rewards Volkswagen’s MQB architecture underpins its best-selling model, the Golf, of which 968,284 were sold in 2017. The modular toolkit is used for most of the firm’s most successful models. In total, five MQB models currently account for 3.8 million global sales. The firm’s second-bestseller last year was the Jetta/Sagitar (the latter is a Chinese-market compact saloon), with 883,346 units sold. The seventh-generation Jetta, which went on sale this year, is now based on MQB, as are the firm’s two next best-sellers: the Tiguan SUV (769,870 sold), in both short- and long-wheelbase forms, and the Polo. The Lavida, a Jetta-sized MQB saloon sold only in China, is the firm’s sixth best-selling model, with 507,000 made in 2017. That leaves the Passat/Magotan family, which is sold in Europe, the US and China. Current European versions of this model are built on MQB, with the US and Chinese versions switching to the architecture in 2019, adding another 660,000 or so MQB cars to the sales total. Those figures are simply for Volkswagen itself: the MQB toolkit is also used widely across the group’s other brands. Read more Volkswagen reveals new logo VW ID 3: crucial EV offers up to 341-mile range Volkswagen Golf R power drops to 296bhp amid WLTP change View the full article
  10. Two firms will focus on vehicle-to-grid charging systems - which could allow owners to make money by plugging in their car Nissan and energy giant EDF Group have reached a deal to work together to develop smart charging technology for electric vehicles – including systems that could allow Leaf and e-NV200 van owners to earn discounts on their electricity bills. The two firms already co-operate on a number of EV systems, but have expanded their collaboration with a focus on smart charging systems in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy. In particular, the agreement will focus on ‘vehicle to grid’ (V2G) systems, which allow the energy stored in a car battery that is plugged into a home charger to be ‘sold’ back to a supplier when needed. Nissan will focus on developing technology that will work with the electric Leaf and e-NV200, with EDF leading the development of V2G charging systems and services. The technology is likely to be particularly relevant to businesses, which could have large fleets of electric vehicles plugged in outside work hours without being used. Such a fleet could offer a significant amount of energy storage capacity, which a supplier such as EDF could pay to use in order to balance supply elsewhere. Francisco Carranza, the boss of Nissan Energy in Europe, said the deal was “another sign that our vision of an electric ecosystem is becoming a reality.” He added that a V2G solution would be “a logical next step” for Nissan EV owners to manage their energy supply and open “new revenue opportunities.” Read more Nissan Leaf price raised in the UK Taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in a Nissan Leaf Nissan and government lead UK's biggest vehicle to grid project View the full article
  11. Stanton left Jaguar Land Rover for new Chinese company Human Horizons Challenge of Human Horizons' autonomy-rich HiPhi 1 lured top engineer to China Mark Stanton was one of the big beasts in the British car industry. He built his career at Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, becoming JLR’s director of vehicle engineering and then head of its Special Vehicle Operations division. But he has joined the exodus of senior automotive talent to China, where he is now chief technical officer for bold EV start-up Human Horizons. The firm revealed its first car, the HiPhi 1, last month. A six-seat coupé-ish SUV with high levels of autonomy, it’s due on sale in China by 2021. But why did Stanton, 59, leave JLR’s high-performance arm to gamble on a Chinese start-up? “SVO was meant to be the pinnacle and to begin with it felt that way,” he said. “I don’t want to speak ill of JLR because I still have a passion for them and the product, but the frustrations grew and grew. It should have been a great swansong but it didn’t turn out that way… “I could have gone on another three or four years and retired, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to change direction and do something different.” Moving to China has been financially rewarding, but Stanton said he had offers from several manufacturers, two of which would have kept him in the UK. But he said: “I didn’t want to go and work for another big OEM. I didn’t want that management style and that baggage. I was looking for more freedom.” After meeting with Human Horizon co-founders Kevin Chen and Ding Lei, both of whom have worked with western brands in China, Stanton decided it was a match. He relocated to Shanghai last year and now leads a team of 400 engineers. “We could never have moved so quickly in any traditional OEM,” he said. Stanton said his contacts in the automotive supply base have been useful, with many components for the HiPhi 1 sourced from top-tier European firms. Those include Michelin low-rolling-resistance tyres, which, Stanton said, “aren’t widely available in China.” Stanton had another reason to switch to an EV-only firm: “I got religion, I guess.” Having been involved with JLR’s electrification programme, “the environmental side has become really important to me. Cars have been around for 110 years and I’ve been working in the industry for 35 years. During that time, I think I’ve made the world a worse place. I’ve been contributing to the problem [of emissions]. “Conventional OEMs are trying to move forward, but it is so difficult with everything else they need to do. It’s much easier to create a new world from scratch.” Asked how he squared that with his role at SVO, Stanton looked slightly uncomfortable – “yeah, there were a lot of V8s” – and said he doesn’t own a conventional car any more. He said he doesn’t know if Human Horizons will be one of the Chinese EV start-ups that breaks through, but he insists it has the funding and connections to succeed. “I’m in a lucky position because if it doesn’t work out, I don’t really suffer. I can retire and put my feet up,” he said. “But I want this to succeed, because we’ve got 1000 employees now and I want it to work for them.” Read more Chinese start-up Human Horizons unveils radical electric SUV concept​ Opinion: China's newest EV start-up is worth taking seriously​ Bringing premium EVs to China: Behind the scenes at Nio​ View the full article
  12. Want a fast executive saloon but don't want to shout about it? Volvo's new S60 T8 could be for you. We try it in the UK for the first time. Volvo’s very modernist approach to the performance saloon format. And it will be a direction that the established elite in that segment have to follow as the electrification ramp-up marches on.This is Volvo’s fastest-accelerating production car, but it does things a little differently to the Germans. That’s why this T8-badged S60 gets no big wing, no flared arches, no giant air intakes and no shouty, quad-tipped exhaust to announce its presence. That may cause some to lose interest already. And probably for the best: Volvo isn’t aiming to beat the BMW M340i at its own game here - it’s aiming for a more reserved customer less inclined to make a big song and dance about their car's power and pace.We’re plenty familiar with the concept of Volvo’s ‘Twin Engine’ T8 system, which has proven its worth in the 90 series models and the XC60 to date. But for the uninitiated, here goes: It’s got a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged, but it’s also a plug-in hybrid, supplemented by an 86bhp electric motor driving the rear axle for all-wheel drive. It funnels all the propulsion sources through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. If that all sounds terribly complicated, well, it kind of is. For 2019 the T8 powertrain gets a slightly bigger 11.8kWh lithium ion battery pack, with Volvo claiming up to 30 miles is possible on electric power alone.View the full article
  13. The second four-door version of the A-Class sticks to the same formula as the hatchback – and largely gets it right Look closely: this isn’t the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, but rather a saloon version of the new A-Class hatchback. But wasn’t the CLA the saloon version of the A-Class hatchback, I hear you ask? It used to be, but now there are two of them.Why? China and North America are the primary reasons for the need for a more conventional A-Class saloon, where the swoopier CLA sacrifices just too much practicality for style. The CLA, a big commercial success in its first generation, still keeps its place in the line-up, Mercedes taking the opportunity to dial up the driver appeal - with decidedly mixed results, as our recent road test has revealed.That then leaves the A-Class Saloon to simply play the role of being an A-Class with a boot without the need to try and also be a coupé or any other kind of niche. Three boxes, five seats: an age-old formula.The engine range is familiar from the A-Class hatchback, so you can have 1.3-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrols and 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre diesels in various states of tune. They're hooked up to a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, depending on the version.Tested here is the mid-upper range A250, which uses a 221bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit, decked out in range-topping AMG Line trim.View the full article
  14. Usually a case of the HT leads failing...check the condition and if in doubt then replace them, they're cheap enough. Other faults that could cause the misfire is water (or oil) getting into the spark plug holes in the head where they are recessed into the valve cover and run quite deep. Then if water goes past the HT leads (which should ideally cover the ports) then this can store in the bottom of the plug and cause a misfire. Another fault is if the valve cover gasket is leaking oil then this can also drip into the recess....all quite easy to check and rectify at little cost. Let us know what you find
  15. great choice of old school cars BobT Had a Eunos and a Freelander (or two) and have to say that I was pleased with both and neither of them gave me any real bother and if they did they were easy to fix and cheap on parts. Not had an ML and don't think I could afford the running costs on one either Currently doing some work on a Grand Cherokee and the owner has had it for years without any issues apart from a battery and tyres to date.
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