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  1. Ian Callum left Jaguar after 20 years as its design chief New Warwick-based company comprises 18 experts and will undertake a diverse range of commissions Ex-Jaguar designer Ian Callum has launched a new business venture, just weeks after his high-profile departure from the company’s styling department. Named after its founder and design director, Callum is an independent design and engineering firm that will create bespoke products for clients across a variety of industries, including lifestyle, travel and design. The new company is headquartered in Warwick, not far from where Ian himself once penned pivotal Jaguar models such as the XF and I-Pace, and comprises a team of 18 audio, art, fashion, motorsport and lifestyle experts. Ian said: “In today’s modern world, collaboration is the catalyst for new ideas, and this is our ethos and inspiration, both within our team and as we look to work with partners in the future. “Callum is an exciting new chapter that will focus on ‘Journeys to Destinations’, and all that encompasses.” Like Ian, the three co-founders of Callum have already had a significant impact on Britain’s motoring landscape. David Fairbairn is the new company’s programme director, and was partly responsible for Jaguar’s recreation of the iconic Lightweight E-Type, revealed in 2014. He said the new company “brings together highly experienced, skilled and enthusiastic people that share the same want - the opportunity and freedom to create and produce products that excite”. Other members include engineering director Adam Donfrancesco, ex-Noble and Aston Martin engineer, and commercial director Tom Bird, who helped to orchestrate the Jaguar C-X75 concept’s appearance in James Bond: Spectre. The company is set to release official details of its first project in the coming weeks. Read more Ian Callum: the man who revived Jaguar design​ Jaguar C-X75 concept review The heroes of Ian Callum View the full article
  2. Front-driven 1 Series may not drive like a traditional BMW but otherwise delivers on upmarket family hatch values It’s the all-new (and here comes the controversy) front-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series in its likely best-selling form. We’ve known this change in mechanical layout has been on the cards for a while now. We’ve even had the chance to sample a pre-production version and came away impressed. Even so, it’s taking some time to come to terms with the seismic philosophical shift under the skin.Yet is it as bad as all that? Not only did most BMW 1 Series customers (85% by the brand’s own count) not have the foggiest whether they were being pushed or pulled, the lower-powered models weren’t all that invigorating in reality. Sure, steering uncorrupted by torque fight was nice but, in general, most versions had much more grip than grunt, making it difficult to exploit the unique-to-the-class transmission layout.Underpinning the new 1 Series is BMW’s latest FAAR (it’s essentially an acronym for an extremely difficult-to-pronounce German phrase for ‘front-wheel-drive architecture’) platform. Featuring struts at the front and a multi-link rear axle, it also comes with optional adaptive dampers for the first time. Using a mix of aluminium and high-strength steel, the whole car is around 25kg lighter than the model it replaces and the wider track and 20mm-shorter wheelbase hint at the extra agility BMW claims to have engineered in.Power comes from the familiar 148bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, which drives the front wheels (there, said it again) through a standard six-speed manual gearbox, although our test car has the optional eight-speed automatic. Lower-powered petrol and diesel models are also available with a self-shifter, but just to make things a little less straightforward, it’s a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.Inside is the latest high-tech iteration of the traditional driver-focused BMW wraparound dashboard. There’s the usual array of screens, with our car’s optional 10.25in (an 8.8in layout is standard) infotainment display accessed via either the touch-sensitive screen or the intuitive iDrive rotary controller. There’s also a familiar line-up of connected and live services, plus the effective ‘Hey, BMW’ voice control that mimics a similar system used in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. And, of course, quality is top notch, with details such as the knurled metal-effect ventilation controls and top-to-bottom use of soft-touch materials bostering the car’s premium credentials.It’s also more spacious than before, with an extra 33mm of leg room and 19mm of head room, making the 1 Series a viable choice for four tall adults for the first time. And the larger, 380-litre boot (up 20 litres) means they can all bring along their luggage now. There’s more elbow room all round, too, so those in the front don’t feel as hemmed in.View the full article
  3. Fastest BMW 1 Series is quick and accomplished but lacks the character of the old M140i Essentially, it’s the fast flagship of the new BMW 1 Series line-up - and it’s arguably even more controversial than its lower-powered front-wheel-drive siblings. Why? Well, whereas many owners of lesser 1 Series are unlikely to notice whether they are being pushed or pulled, those who bought the old M140i (the sort of customers who are no doubt expected to loyally trade-up) certainly will.To counter this, BMW has fitted the new M135i with a turbocharged 302bhp engine (its most powerful production four-cylinder motor yet) and an enhanced version of its xDrive four-wheel-drive transmission.Read the BMW 1 Series 118d first drive reviewThere’s also bespoke M Sport suspension that has been stiffened and lowered by 10mm, a quicker steering rack and more powerful brakes. All good stuff, then. Let’s start with the engine, which not only delivers 302bhp but also serves up a thumping 332lb ft of torque at just 1750rpm. A development of the brand’s existing 2.0-litre four-pot, it packs a stronger crank and pistons, plus higher-flow fuel injectors. On paper, it pretty much matches the Mercedes-AMG A35 for power and comfortably out-muscles it for torque.Yet arguably it’s that four-wheel-drive transmission that deserves the most attention. At the front, it features a Torsen limited-slip differential, while the back axle is of the hang-on clutch type, allowing power to be sent rearwards in just 250 milliseconds. However, the maximum torque split is 50/50 and most of the time the M135i runs in front-wheel drive, unlike larger xDrive models that work the other way around. Hmmmm. Mated to this system is the familiar eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.The 1 Series is also the first internal-combustion-engined model to benefit from the i3’s ARB traction control. Monitored by the engine’s ECU, it reacts 10 times faster than normal ESP-based set-ups, more precisely controlling the motor’s torque to just keep the wheels from spinning and so reducing the need for time-wasting brake intervention.Suspension changes are limited to a stiffer set-up, with a 10mm-lower ride height (two-stage adaptive dampers are optional and fitted to our test car), while at the front, the subframe gets an extra couple of bracing bars for increased steering accuracy. Speaking of which, the electrically assisted rack features a quicker ratio of 14:1, as opposed to the standard car’s 15:1. Finally, the brake master cylinder is larger for better response and more consistent pedal pressure when the going gets quick.Externally, the M135i is marked out but its subtle bodykit (different bumpers, side skirts and tailgate spoiler), 18in forged alloy wheels and twin exhaust tailpipes. Inside, it’s the usual M Sport treatment of a thicker-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, high-backed front seats, a smattering of M Sport logos and some natty blue and red stripes stitched into the seatbelts.View the full article
  4. Tech upgrades give the A4’s cabin a welcome lift. Dynamically much the same as before, but it remains a refined, smooth operator. Sometimes it can be easy to momentarily lose sight of the fact that cars such as the Audi A4 are still relevant. We’re constantly being told that SUVs are hell-bent on global domination; that these bulky, overinflated machines won’t rest until they’ve managed to morph themselves so preposterously they can occupy every model niche imaginable - or unimaginable. Compact crossover, anyone? How about an SUV coupe? They’re the next Big Thing, don’t you know.Anyway, with all the hype surrounding these jacked up vehicles of various shapes and sizes, you might think regular three-box saloons and estates have been dropped from the starting team to instead play a supporting role from the bench. Truth is, that’s not quite the case for Audi - just yet, anyway.You see, Ingolstadt remains adamant that the A4 is still its core model. One in every five Audis sold around the world is an A4, and when you combine the number of saloons and Avants sold in 2018, it’s still the best firm’s best seller. It hasn’t been eclipsed by the Q5 SUV just yet.In a bid to keep its compact executive model as relevant and on trend as possible, it’s put the A4 under the knife and given it a modest nip-tuck. As is often the case with these sorts of mid-life refreshes, the changes to the A4’s design err on the subtler side. The headlights and tail lights have been redesigned, the front and rear bumpers have been modified - you get the picture. The fact remains that the A4 remains a handsome looking thing, even if it can look a touch plain in some of the more basic specifications.Speaking of, the model line has been shuffled slightly too. Technik now represents the entry level offering, and is followed by Sport, S-Line, Black Edition and new the new range-topping Vorsprung. Prices range from £30,750 for the entry-level saloon, and rise to around the £56,000 mark - though Audi is yet to confirm final pricing.Power comes from a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines, with outputs ranging from 134bhp through to 246bhp. All engines aside from the 187bhp 40 TDI (the range-topping diesel) also come equipped with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system.View the full article
  5. S4 ditches petrol for a V6 TDI engine and mild-hybridisation. Just how appealing is this diesel performance saloon? It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the Audi S4 was powered by a 4.2-litre, 339bhp V8. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that all of Audi’s S-badged models seemed to be using engines that would look preposterous by today’s standards. Just look at the old C6-generation S6; that had a massive 5.2-litre, 429bhp Lamborghini-derived V10 at its nose, and even then it wasn’t the fastest or most powerful version you could buy at the time.How times have changed. These beguiling engines have now largely disappeared from Audi’s range of S cars, and even some of the ‘halo’ RS models have been shorn of a few cylinders. Take the current RS4 and RS5, for instance - in a previous life, both of these cars were champions of the naturally aspirated V8. Now, not so much.That, however, is the way of the world. Attitudes change and priorities shift - and cars will inevitably change along with them. That’s why, under the bonnet of this new S4, you’ll find a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine supplemented by a 48V mild-hybrid system, as opposed to a revised version of its predecessor’s 3.0-litre V6 petrol. It’s a move we’ve seen Audi make with updated versions of its other S-badged models too: the new S6 and S7 are now all fuelled from the black pump; while the recently launched SQ8 makes use of the 4.0-litre V8 diesel that will also appear in the soon-to-be-reintroduced SQ7. All of those cars feature some form of mild-hybridisation, too. The recently announced S8 seems to be the only new S-model to retain a heavy-hitting petrol motor, in European markets anyway.Given the air of negativity that has surrounded oil-burning motors since the Dieselgate scandal broke back in 2015, Audi’s decision to redefine its middleweight performance range as it has is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. One engineer said the move was based on the fact there’s still a strong level of demand for used examples of the first-generation SQ5 - which was the first Audi S model to feature a diesel motor, remember. Supposedly customers love the blend of performance and economy they offer, so the decision was made to roll similar engines out across the wider range.While this might certainly be a contributing factor, I’m not sure it’s the sole reason. Tightening emissions regulations must have something to do with it. And considering cars such as the RS4 and RS5 now make use of smaller engines than they were a few generations ago, perhaps diesel is a way of further differentiating these halo products from the lower-order S cars.View the full article
  6. Premium family hatchback makes the controversial switch to front-wheel drive - but is it actually a big deal? We've been finding out BMW has made a bold move with its new 1 Series, ditching decades of rear-wheel drive heritage and switching to front and four-wheel drive for its big-selling hatchback. The firm claims the new 1 Series is as good to drive as ever, while the mechanical changes inject a much-needed boost of practicality and efficiency. So, has BMW pulled off this major change without a hitch? To find out Autocar's James Disdale drives the flagship four-wheel drive 302bhp M135i on the roads around BMW's Munich HQ. READ MORE BMW 1 Series 118d 2019 review New BMW 1 Series reinvented with focus on practicality BMW 1 Series M135i 2019 review View the full article
  7. CLA 45 S Shooting Brake dispatches 0-62mph in 4.0sec Coupé-style estate receives the same headline-grabbing 2.0-litre unit as its hot hatchback and saloon stablemates The renewal of Mercedes-AMG’s compact car line-up has continued with the unveiling of the new CLA 45 4Matic Shooting Brake. The coupé-cum-estate is set for UK delivery in late 2019, priced around £55,000, and is the third AMG model to get the company’s new 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine, after the recently revealed A45 4Matic hatchback and CLA 45 4Matic saloon. A development of the first-generation’s M133 unit, the new M139 2.0-litre turbo engine will be offered in two states of tune. The UK will only offer the more powerful iteration, the range-topping CLA 45 S 4Matic Shooting Brake. It develops 39bhp and 18lb ft more than its predecessor at a class-leading 415bhp and 369lb ft. As with the A45 4Matic and CLA 45 4Matic, drive is channelled through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. A reconfigured Haldex-style multi-plate-clutch four-wheel-drive system features a Torque Control mechanism that uses two clutches to apportion power individually to each rear wheel. The changes to the four-wheel-drive system have allowed AMG to give the new model a Drift mode function. It’s accessed through a revised Dynamic Select system that offers up to six driving modes, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. Mercedes-AMG claims a 0-62mph time of 4.1sec for the CLA 45 4Matic Shooting Brake and 4.0sec for the S version. The top speed is artificially limited to 155mph, although customers can choose to raise it to 168mph via an optional Driver’s Package. The CLA 45 4Matic Shooting Brake adopts the same stylistic changes as the new CLA 45 4Matic saloon. Included is an AMG-specific Panamericana-style grille with vertical slats, a more heavily structured front bumper and wider front wings housing a broader front track than that used by standard CLA models. At the rear, the new AMG model adopts a larger spoiler above its tailgate as well as a redesigned rear bumper that features an integral diffuser. With a tailgate opening that’s 236mm wider, at 871mm, and 10 litres more boot capacity, at 505 litres, the new CLA 45 4Matic Shooting Brake is claimed to have not only improved performance potential but also a boost in practicality over the model it replaces. Read more Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 review Mercedes-AMG unveils most powerful four-pot engine ever​ Mercedes-AMG A45 S unleashed as 415bhp mega-hatch​ View the full article
  8. £2million-plus EV aims to be most powerful production car in the world. We get the details from its designer This is it, then, the Lotus Evija electric hypercar - the car that will relaunch the Lotus brand next year. With 2000hp and four-wheel drive it'll be, Lotus claims, the most powerful production car in the world, and capable of 0-60mph in under 3sec and more than 200mph flat out. Lotus will build no more than 130 of these £1.5m-2m (plus taxes) Evijas, carbon fibre constructed and with a carbon fibre body to leave it at 1680kg, beneath which will be four electric motors that can torque vector, and a 70kWh battery that can take 350kW fast charging. Join Matt Prior as he talks you through the full spec of this car and its extraordinary aero and fabulous interior, and gets the full skinny from Lotus's design director, Russell Carr. READ MORE Lotus Evija: 1000bhp electric hypercar named ahead of 16 July debut Top 10 best hypercars 2019 Lotus plots expansion to include more sports cars and SUV View the full article
  9. New limited-run hypercar to offer Bugatti Chiron and Pininfarina Battista-beating performance in luxurious package Lotus has revealed the Evija, the all-electric hypercar it claims will be “the most powerful production car in the world”. An output of 1973bhp is promised when it hits roads next year, which is more than the upcoming 1888bhp Pininfarina Battista and Rimac C_Two, and the 1479bhp internally combusted Bugatti Chiron currently in production. No more than 130 of the two-seat hypercars will be built, each priced at £2.04 million. “Target specifications” include four-wheel drive, 1254lb ft and torque vectoring, giving it a 0-62mph time of less than three seconds, a 0-186mph time of less than nine seconds and a top speed of 200mph-plus. A production slot can be reserved with a refundable £250,000 deposit. The Evija, apparently pronounced ‘E-vi-ya’, will be Lotus’s first new-model launch under Geely ownership, and is the maker’s first all-new model for more than a decade. It will be made at the company’s traditional home in Hethel, Norfolk, and will act “as a ‘halo’ for the rest of the Lotus range” both now and for “new Lotus performance cars to come”. The car pictured here in a studio is for show, but Lotus’s design director, Russell Carr, told Autocar that “this is how it’ll be on the road. This is very much the production car. All the surfaces are made to production level.” The Evija, which is codenamed Type 130, is low and broad, at 4.59m long, 2.0m wide and 1.12m high. According to Lotus, it “marks the beginning of a contemporary new Lotus design language”. “We wanted from the start to do something that was pure, simple, but have a sense of luxury and elegance about it,” said Carr. “On the outside, we started by thinking ‘what are the existing factors from the Lotus DNA that we want to keep?’, and really important for us were the strong haunches you see on the car. It’s very important when you’re sitting inside that you can see the corners of the vehicle – it helps you place the car on the track. It’s also just a very emotional thing to see the bodywork; rearwards as well.” “We have the cabin sat low within those fenders, which are really important to us because the car’s all about dynamics,” said Carr, “and if the cabin sits low and the fenders are pronounced, you have the impression that the car’s got a low centre of gravity.” Around the overall design simplicity come some advanced aerodynamics (see Carr Q&A, below), which direct air flow over, under and through the car, creating a complex body shape with vast scoops running through the rear three-quarters, and exiting at the back. The design is permitted by the adoption of electric drive. “That certainly gives us a lot more freedom, yes,” said Carr. “You’ve obviously got battery packs that can be placed in certain places, and it’s certainly different from a traditional combustion engine, and we’ve tried to exploit that as much as possible.” Lotus hasn’t yet revealed how many electric motors the car will have or where they’ll be positioned, but its partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering – which is, among other things, the supplier of batteries to the Formula E grid – will be key to the Evija’s performance. Lotus said the Evija will have a 70kWh battery, capable of being charged at up to 350kW, enabling an 18-minute charge with a WLTP range of around 250 miles. The charge port is at the rear of the car. Construction is from carbonfibre, both for the chassis and the body. Light weight is core to all Lotus models and the Evija weighs several hundred kilos less than the Battista and C_Two are reported to be, although they have more battery capacity. Even so, at 1680kg, the Evija is likely to become the heaviest Lotus ever. Despite this, Lotus boldly claims it will “set a new standard for Lotus driving performance” and be “the most dynamically accomplished road car in the history of Lotus”. Inside, the carbonfibre construction remains visible in what’s a relatively spacious cockpit. “The start point is a floating beam, this open instrument panel you can place your hand right through,” said Carr. “The inspiration for that came from classic racing cars, from the 1950s and ’60s, in which you can see the structure. In those days it would have been tubular, but on this it’s carbonfibre. “We wanted to use carbonfibre, and once we got into that we started looking at wishbones on racing cars. We looked at modern racing bicycles as well, and that informed some of the sections and forms that go in there. And that’s really become a very distinctive part of this interior. If you love modern racing bikes or componentry on racing cars, you’ll recognise that.” “It’s a nice shape to use as well, with the wing profile, and adds a strong aeronautical flavour on the whole car. It’s very distinctive,” Carr added. “There’s a certain luxury to space and in such cars you can feel very claustrophobic. This feels open.” That’s in stark contrast to another upcoming hypercar, the Aston Martin Valkyrie, with the implication that the two British hypercars will be quite different, in ethos as well as propulsion. “We wanted, if this doesn’t sound ridiculous, a really usable hypercar,” said Carr. “The Evija is very much a road car. But obviously the performance credentials of this car mean that it can be driven on the track. “Certainly from our side the work we’ve done on the aerodynamics means that it’s going to be an extremely quick car, generating a huge amount of downforce, which means it can be driven at high speeds. It’s going to be a stable car wherever it’s driven.” Q&A with Russell Carr, design director, Lotus Cars Tell us about the way air moves around this car. “Something very Lotus which we’ve taken to another level is the aerodynamics. It’s always been part of our history and motorsport: in the ’60s we were among the first teams putting wings on cars, we had ground effects in the ’70s and streamlining way back in the ’50s. With this car, the philosophy was that we wanted to harness the airflow over the body of the car, but also through the body of the car. We’re not the first people to do it, but we wanted to do it in a very sculptural manner that would give a different aesthetic to the car.” What does that mean for aesthetics? “When you look at the car from the outside you see familiar volume, we hope a very beautiful-looking car. It’s important that it’s beautiful in the first place. But as you walk around it you start to see openings that go through the car, which allow the air to pass through. As I say, that gives it a different aesthetic, draws the eye through the car and over the car, and gives it a great sense of movement.” Q&A with Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Why have you chosen to build a car like this — so exclusive and expensive? We believe that if you want to make ripples, you have to made a splash. If you want to be on the map, you have to make a mark. This car shows what our future can be like. It shows what we can do, and it paves the way for future visionary Lotus models. Does it mean you’re planning a succession of hyper-expensive models? First of all, our 10-year plan which we call Vision 80, contains a commitment to be “for the driver”, first, last and always. Lotus models will always be at the heart of driver involvement and enjoyment. But the range of cars we have now runs from the mid-£50,000s to well over £100,000 and we see our core future models, apart from our new hypercar, as continuing to be in the that range. Having said that, we do believe the Lotus brand has the equity to go beyond where it is. But that’s not our immediate strategy. What is your immediate strategy? After we’ve built our 130 hypercars we’ll concentrate on rebuilding our core sports car range. We will have a combustion-powered sports car to show you towards the end of next year, for sale after that. Beyond that car, every Lotus, in whatever segment, will have a full electric version. There’s been a suggestion that in your journey towards electrification you might skip hybrids all together... That is certainly an option. How much will you grow under the 10-year plan? Let’s start from the beginning. We made 1700 cars last year, but as it currently stands Hethel make over 5000 on a single shift. That means over 10,000 on a double shift — and I believe we’ll outgrow Hethel in its current guise. After all, we have an ambitious plan to move into new segments. What will you do when you’ve outgrown Hethel? We can either do something radical at Hethel, or we can move somewhere else as well. But it’s important to say that making cars in different locations wouldn’t change the DNA of the company. We won’t build anything unless it’s a) profitable, and b) can be called a true Lotus. And we’d never make same car in multiple locations. Isn’t your “for the driver” strap-line rather time-limited? Surely we’re moving closer and closer to full autonomy? I don’t believe it will become time expired. Progress with other, much bigger manufacturers tends to focus on mobility and ownership models, which are leading to cars becoming commoditised. But a Lotus will always be a car to use and enjoy in your leisure time. But we’ll certainly harness some of the great technology of the future. How do you believe Brexit is affecting Lotus? Our message to the government over the past three years hasn’t changed: we just need to get this deal done. And it now looks like that’s what will happen. Even if we exit without a deal, we believe other deals will be done; we have hundreds of years of history as a trading nation to help us through. Meanwhile at Lotus we’re taking short-term contingency steps. We’re planning for some disruption. But nothing about Brexit will change our core strategy. Read more Pininfarina Battista: 1900bhp EV nears production Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar debuts at British GP​ Lotus at 70: the highs and lows​ View the full article
  10. Heavy, jaw-droppingly powerful and costly - the Evija is no normal Lotus With a claimed power output of 1973bhp, this new hypercar is exciting in itself, but what's coming could be even better They call the floating instrument panel the ‘halo’, which is an appropriate metaphor for the entire Evija project. As with the Pininfarina Battista, it exists to help showcase and cast a warm glow over what’s coming from Lotus. We’ve yet to see what else that’ll be but, if Geely’s ownership of Volvo and Polestar is anything to go by, it’ll include an understanding that you make sure good people are in place, and let them get on with things. And so to the Evija. What should we expect? Astonishing acceleration, clearly, to levels internally combusted road cars have never reached. And it’s worth noting that, if Lotus can keep the Evija down to the 1680kg being targeted “in lightest specification”, then it won’t weigh so much for a car of this power either: a Bugatti Chiron weighs all but two tonnes, after all. But this is still a car that’s ‘not very Lotus’ in the traditional scheme of things. It’s hugely powerful, it’s expensive and it weighs nearly a tonne and three-quarters. Is that a shame? Well, being ‘absolutely, resolutely Lotus’ is commendable, and produces cars that are fun to drive at any speed. That is arguably more relevant now than ever, but it hasn’t put the company on a sustainable footing for quite some time. So things have to change. This is a ‘halo’, a statement of intent. But I’m more excited about what will follow it. Read more Lotus reveals 1973bhp Evija as world's most powerful production car All-new Lotus model due next year​ Lotus SUV to use Volvo underpinnings and have class-leading handling​ View the full article
  11. First official images of the new Corvette show a prototype in its now-familiar camouflage Mid-engined Porsche 911 rival will be fully revealed on 18 July, bearing the badge of the pivotal second-gen model Chevrolet has confirmed that the long-awaited C8 generation of its iconic Corvette sports car will receive the Stingray name, a moniker that has adorned various Corvette models since 1963. The Stingray badge had its first outing on 1963's second-generation Corvette, but was discontinued in 1976. It was revived in 2014 to identify entry-level variants of the C7 Corvette, launched in 2014. The announcement, accompanied by the reveal of the new model's badge designs, is the first since the model's 18 July launch date was officially confirmed earlier this year. Switching away from a front-engined layout for the first time in the car's 66-year history, a video (below) showed the Porsche 911 rival being driven hard at the Nürburgring, revealing the expected V8 soundtrack. Prototypes of the C8 Corvette, showing the distinctive long rear deck and cab-forward proportions indicative of a mid-engine model, have been circling for some time. Reports from the US suggest there have been delays in development owing to significant issues with the chassis and electrical architecture. While it's not clear yet if those technical problems have been overcome, a Corvette dealer in New Jersey was taking $1000 deposits for the new model, even before the reveal date confirmation. In a further break with tradition, the C8 Corvette will be sold alongside a version of the current car. Sources inside General Motors, which owns the Chevrolet brand, indicate that we can expect a slightly revised version of the existing C7 as an entry-level alternative. Although the C8 will carry a price premium over its front-engined sibling, it will be sold at a price that significantly undercuts the junior supercars offered by other manufacturers. Corvette C7 review There will be no surprise in the choice of launch powerplant, with the C8 set to reach the market using a developed version of General Motors' current LT-spec 6.2-litre V8. Although this engine still uses pushrods, and will be unable to match the low-down torque of turbocharged alternatives, the all-alloy unit has many virtues: it is light, responsive, relatively cheap to build and able to generate around 500bhp with minimal work. It also gives a clear connection between the radical new car and the front-engined Corvette that will continue in production. This could be advantageous given the existing car has an older and more conservative buying profile than other sports cars in the US. Punchier powerplants are a certainty, however – especially given GM’s history of offering faster variants soon after the launch of a base car. US media has previously reported that these will include a newly developed overhead camshaft V8, set to be sold in both naturally aspirated and twin-turbo forms, the latter sure to produce at least as much as the 745bhp of the current supercharged Corvette ZR1. Beyond that, a hybrid version will add an electrically powered front axle to the mix, potentially giving a total system output approaching 1000bhp. Gallery: Corvette Stingray - America's greatest sports car? Another big change will be a new twin-clutch transaxle gearbox (likely featuring eight speeds) developed by transmission supplier Tremec and effectively removing the option of a conventional manual version – a significant shift given the relatively high percentage of current Corvettes that are still sold with a clutch pedal. Like its rivals from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren, the new Corvette will display its mid-mounted engine through a glass cover. Despite GM’s sale of its European operations to the PSA Group last year, the new car is being developed with significant use of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and we can expect the sort of aggressive aerodynamics necessary for good high-speed performance there, possibly including active elements. But while the C8 will no doubt be extremely fast, the need to keep costs down means that the use of expensive materials will be limited. The chassis is believed to be an aluminium spaceframe, and it will have the glassfibre bodywork that has been used by every previous generation. Carbon brakes are certain to be available, but the new Corvette is likely to stick to a base specification of cast-iron discs for the same reason. While the C7 Corvette has a ‘targa’ roof with removable panels, it seems likely that the C8 will shift to a more conventional split between coupé and a convertible, the latter to follow at a later date. Production of right-hand-drive variants for European, Asian and Australian markets is likely, in part due to the success that the Ford Mustang has enjoyed in the UK and Australia, but also due to strict new laws that prohibit the import of left-hand drive models in certain markets. A US source said that the loss of Vauxhall and Opel has not made a significant difference in the case for European sales, with the C6 and C7 Corvettes both sold on this side of the Atlantic in small volumes through accredited dealers, of which the UK has just one. The current Corvette's 6.2-litre V8, however, falls foul of impending WLTP regulations, meaning it, and its powertrain-sharing Camaro stablemate, can no longer be sold new in the UK from August. Read more GM boss reveals why Chevrolet Europe was axed Chevrolet Camaro review Chevrolet Corvette C7 review View the full article
  12. Mercedes-AMG’s entry-level 911-chaser gets interior updates, and keeps a V8 ready to move mountains, but ride and handling remain supporting acts. The Mercedes-AMG GT super sport car, updated for the latest model year. Clearly anxious to avoid accusations of ‘doorism’, Affalterbach has taken many of the best bits of the new GT63 four-door and lavished them on the two-door GT.Among the improvements inherited by the latter from the former are fully digital instruments, AMG’s latest-generation infotainment system, its new ‘performance’ steering wheel and its latest ‘AMG Dynamics’ multi-modal traction and stability control software.The car’s derivative line-up is mostly as it was. It starts with this entry-level, 469bhp GT, and progresses upwards through 515bhp GT S and 550bhp GT C models – all of which come in both roadster and fixed-roof coupe bodystyles.For those who want to go faster still and spend even more, there’s the 577bhp GT R and the new GT R Pro, the latter of which is offered in coupe bodystyle only, and having only just been added to the range, comes at a price nudging £190,000. Oof.At the other end of the model spectrum, mind, the GT Roadster tested here is now a £116k buy; so, at list price, it’s 10 per cent pricier than Porsche’s recently introduced ‘992’ Carrera S Cabriolet, but still a healthy £20k cheaper than Audi’s cheapest R8 Spyder. None of which takes any account of the many vagaries of the monthly finance deal, I should add.View the full article
  13. I-Pace SUV is Jaguar Land Rover's first all-electric production model UK government demonstrates commitment to supporting mass electrification with new investment and proposed regulations Jaguar Land Rover has received a £500m loan guarantee as part of a new government initiative to support UK car manufacturers’ electrification schemes. In a meeting of automotive industry leaders at 10 Downing Street, Theresa May announced that the guarantee would be provided by UK Export Finance. The nature of the investment means that if JLR were to default on repayments, the government would act as the company's guarantor. The loan guarantee will assist JLR in readying its Castle Bromwich production facility for the next-generation XJ saloon, which has now been confirmed as an all-electric rival to the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, arriving next year. The outgoing prime minister also reaffirmed the UK government’s ongoing commitment to sustaining domestic manufacturing, stating that the significant investment will aid JLR, as the UK's biggest car manufacturer, in its shift to electric vehicle production. The move is the latest in a series of government-backed schemes to facilitate the rollout of electric vehicles. Recent changes to the UK’s company car tax system have eradicated benefit-in-kind charges for EV drivers, and Number 10 has spoken out against the difficulties of accessing, and paying for, charging points in normal driving situations. Joining JLR at yesterday’s roundtable event were representatives from Aston Martin, BMW, Vauxhall and Nissan, alongside counterparts from energy companies Shell and BP. The bodies have come together to form a green mobility transition board, which will see them coordinate plans for the industry-wide switch to zero-emissions powertrains. The conglomerate’s first large-scale project will be the construction of a new ‘Gigafactory’ near Coventry for the production of EV batteries. The prime minister announced, additionally, that plans are in place to make mandatory the fitment of domestic EV charging points to all new homes in the coming years. The UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure is widely regarded as ill-prepared for the move away from conventionally fuelled powertrains, and the government is under pressure to support manufacturers and suppliers as they race to build and sell the next generation of vehicles. Read more Electric Jaguar XJ confirmed, to be built at Castle Bromwich Electric car users to pay no company car tax in 2020​ Electric chargers should offer card payment by 2020 View the full article
  14. Limited-run model arrives with race-inspired additions and colour scheme; just 550 examples on sale in the UK Mazda's 30th Anniversary Edition MX-5 has arrived in the UK, as the company celebrates three decades of one of the world's most popular roadsters. The model was first revealed at this year's Chicago motor show, where the original two-seat sports car made its debut in 1989. The limited-run model arrives with exclusive Racing Orange paint, inspired by the 1989 MX-5 Club Racer, and forged 17in, 10-spoke aluminium Rays alloy wheels based on the ones used in the Global MX-5 Cup racing series. Plus, a 30th Anniversary badge features on the front wing. The car also receives 15in Brembo front brakes – a first for any UK-market MX-5 – and body-coloured brake callipers. The Anniversary Edition rides on Bilstein dampers and uses the most powerful 181bhp version of Mazda's 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Mazda has also added orange accents throughout the interior, replaced the standard dashboard trim with Alcantara and upgraded the seats to a sportier Recaro pair. The 7.0in-screen infotainment system includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard. Only 3000 30th Anniversary Edition models will be produced, with the UK receiving 550 of those, split between 370 soft-tops, priced at £28,095, and 180 RF hard-tops, which receive a black two-tone roof, costing £29,985. More than a million examples of the MX-5 have been sold worldwide since its introduction in 1989, with the two-seater entering its fourth, and current, generation in 2014. Read more 30 years of the Mazda MX-5 2019 Mazda MX-5 prices and new CO2 figures released Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport 2018 UK first drive review View the full article
  15. What we think the Evija electric hypercar will look like Lotus' landmark flagship and first all-new model since 2008 will be shown in London ahead of sales beginning soon after Lotus will reveal its groundbreaking all-electric Evija hypercar later today. It will be shown at an exclusive event in Central London this evening, barely a few months after Autocar first revealed the project. Pronounced "eh-vi-ya", meaning 'the living one', or 'first in existence', the Evija is shaping up to be the most ambitious car in the firm's history. Lotus recently confirmed for the first time exactly how many examples will be produced. 130 are planned to be made available to own, up from previous estimates after "several hundred potential owners came forward to express their interest in the new car". It will be built in Norfolk alongside the rest of the maker's range. The Evija will be Lotus’s first all-new production car since 2008. Lotus also claims it will be the first fully electric hypercar built and to go on sale from a British manufacturer. A preview image has been released showing a side profile of the new car, and Autocar was recently given an exclusive walk-around of a full-size clay model at the firm's Hethel base. The model's previous Type 130 moniker was a reference to a number of innovative models that have appeared throughout the Norfolk brand’s 71-year history, beginning with the Type 14 Elite in 1957 – claimed to be the world’s first composite monocoque production car. The most recent, the Type 111 (the world’s first aluminium and bonded extrusion construction road car) became the Elise. As the official picture suggests, the Evija is low and wide. Lotus design director Russell Carr, who showed the model to Autocar, says it is a similar length to the existing Evora - which is 4.4 metres long - but will sit closer to the ground and be nearly two metres wide. It uses a carbonfibre structure and will be built in Hethel away from the company's main production line. The cabin is tightly proportioned and adopts the teardrop form familiar from hypercars like the Ford GT40, to better allow airflow to pass around it. The most impressive feature is one that isn't hinted at by the official rendering - two substantial air tunnels in the rear bodywork which have the tail light elements integrated around their exists. It's a detail that Carr says has been inspired by the venturi tunnels of LMP sports prototype racing cars. The battery pack will be positioned entirely behind the passenger compartment, with drive sent to all four wheels. No other details are forthcoming at the moment, beyond the fact - as previously reported - that the powertrain is being developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, making this a collaboration between two of the most famous names in Formula 1 history. Lotus boss Phil Popham promises an "entirely appropriate" level of performance for the Evija’s target market and what will be a seven figure pricetag. The total system output is tipped to exceed 1000bhp. It is also set to offer a range of more than 250 miles. Both the battery pack and the pushrod-operated rear suspension will be visible beneath a transparent cover, with Carr saying the plan is for the huge aero tunnels to also incorporate lighting elements. The rear licence plate surround will be removable to help improve performance when the car is used on track. Downforce will be generated from a substantial underbody diffuser and there will also be moveable wing elements and a drag-reducing DRS system. Inside the cabin will feature plenty of carbonfibre and a digital instrument pack, but will also have conventional switchgear rather than a touchscreen interface. "You want to be able to find things without taking your eyes off the road in a car like this," Carr said. Carr also claimed there will be more room and shoulder space than in a Ford GT or Aston Martin Valkyrie, with moveable seats rather than moveable pedals. "We're trying to get the balance between prestige and luxury right," Carr said, "but also to make clear that it's a very high performance car. We don't want people to think it's a stripped-out track day monster, it will be much more practical than that. But equally we don't want to make a Bugatti either, it has to be a Lotus." Other neat details include a camera rear view system which will use deployable pods that motor out of the scissor-opening doors, and which relay images onto display screens. It's a very similar system to the one the forthcoming McLaren Speedtail will have. "We were frustrated when we saw those," Carr admits, "we'd been working on them for some time." Read more Lotus' £2m electric hypercar: all the details so far All-new Lotus model due next year​ Lotus SUV to use Volvo underpinnings and have class-leading handling​ View the full article
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