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The Motorists Guide

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  1. Flagship executive saloon and estate are the final models to receive Volvo's fuel-saving electric tech Volvo has unveiled refreshed versions of the S90 and V90 models, including the addition of mild hybrid powertrains for the first time. The addition of the mild hybrid unit to the large executive saloon and state means that the powertrain, which Volvo claims offers up to 15% reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, is now available on every model in the Swedish firm’s line-up. The system, which uses a 48V battery with an integrated starter/generator and energy recovery system, will be introduced across the S90 and V90 line-up, including on the V90 Cross Country – the first time one of the rugged models has been fitted with a mild hybrid powertrain. At the same time, Volvo has made a number of relatively small design tweaks to the S90 and V90, which have been on sale since 2016. Both cars get a new front bumper and foglights. At the rear, there are new-look LED tail-lights for the V90, and the firm has installed sequential indicator lights for the first time. There are a number of new paint colours and wheel options, too. The interior has also been refreshed, and Volvo has added an Advanced Air Cleaner, which filters particulates from the cabin and can display air quality on the infotainment system. The system was previously only available in Chinese-market models. There are now two USB-C charging ports in the rear, replacing the 12-volt power outlet, while wireless charging has been added as an option on most variants. The S90 and V90 also gain an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins sound system and an expanded range of leather-free material options. Exact specifications and pricing for the UK have not been finalised yet. Read more From dependable to disruptive: the reinvention of Volvo Volvo S90 review Volvo confirms electric version of next XC90​ View the full article
  2. First new Maserati in five years will arrive in May as the 'natural evolution' of the brand's MC12 supercar Maserati has confirmed that its new sports car, arriving in May, will be called the MC20. The firm said it will be a "natural evolution" of the limited-run MC12 supercar – the last model to wear the Maserati Corse badge – and has confirmed that it will "return to the world of racing", with the MC20. In November, Maserati started testing the powertrain for the car on public roads in a test mule. The Italian firm released a series of shots of a camouflaged machine leaving its Modena factory at night. It says the machine was being used to house a “new powertrain entirely developed and built by Maserati”, that is the first in a new family of engines it is developing. The firm has yet to confirm any technical details of the car it will unveil in May, although it had been widely expected to be a production version of the 2014 Alfieri concept, which it committed to putting into production in 2018. The Alfieri concept was a front-engined 2+2 coupe, while the test mule appears to be a mid-engined two-seater. While that does raise the prospect the sports car that will be launched in 2020 will be an entirely new concept, it appears that the test mule is based on the outgoing Alfa Romeo 4C produced by its sister firm rather than an all-new chassis. That suggests the mule is potentially being used purely to test the new powertrain, rather than giving any indication of the car it will eventually power. There are no details on that powertrain, although when Maserati released details of its updated business plan recently it said it was upgrading the Modena production line to accommodate the machine’s “electric powertrain”. It is likely to be some form of hybrid unit, but we're expecting to see a fully electric version as well. The new machine will be the first all-new Maserati released since 2015. READ MORE Maserati lays out schedule for bold electrification strategy Maserati previews electric powertrain of Granturismo successor Nearly-new buying guide: Maserati Ghibli​ View the full article
  3. New US brand's Aston Valkyrie rival is limited to 80 cars and gets a 1233bhp hybrid V8 that revs to 11,000rpm New US company Czinger has fully revealed its "rule-breaking, record-hunting" 21C hypercar and detailed the extraordinary powertrain that lurks within it. Limited to just 80 models, the Aston Martin Valkyrie rival will make its public debut at next month’s Geneva motor show. But the firm has now revealed the 21C is powered by an in-house-developed twin-turbo 2.88-litre flat-crank V8 that revs to 11,000rpm and sends its power to the rear wheels. If that wasn't enough, it's also supplemented by two electric motors that power the front wheels, resulting in a total output of 1233bhp. With the road-going version's kerb weight of 1250kg (the lightweight track configuration is just 1218kg), Czinger claims a true 1:1 power-to-weight ratio (measured in PS and kg). Unsurprisingly, the quoted acceleration figures are mind-boggling: 0-62mph in 1.9sec, 0-186mph in 15sec and 0-248mph in a scarcely believable 29sec. A 268mph top speed is claimed. Power is put though a seven-speed sequential gearbox with a hydraulic multi-plate clutch. Designed and manufacturered from scratch using innovative 3D printing and automation techniques, the 21C features an alloy and carbonfibre chassis. The design is highly aero focused and Czinger claims at 155mph the road-going version produces 250kg of downforce and the track version makes 790kg. The car also features an in-line seating arrangement in a fighter jet-style driver-passenger compartment, with a single seat behind the driver. Promising to showcase a “paradigm shift in the way vehicles are designed, developed, engineered and manufactured”, the year-old company is named after founder and CEO Kevin Czinger, the man behind the Divergent Blade supercar of 2015. The Blade was claimed to be the first car of its type to use 3D-printing to form body and chassis components. The 21C and its propulsion system are designed, developed, engineered and manufactured from scratch at the company’s base in Los Angeles, California. A full-width LED light strip stretches across the rear, which is dominated by a honeycomb grille design. Czinger claims boldly that the 21C will be “one of the 21st century’s most advanced performance vehicles”. Autocar understands that, given the amount of bespoke engineering and innovation included, a seven-figure price is likely. READ MORE Updated: 2020 Geneva motor show preview Top 10 best hypercars 2020 Gallery: The great hypercars of history View the full article
  4. Can Mercedes’ third-generation GLS behemoth justify its claim to be the ‘S-Class of SUVs’? The Mercedes-Benz GLS, which is now entering its third full model cycle, has become something of a strange idol for those who believe, absolutely and unquestionably, that bigger must necessarily mean better when it comes to luxury cars.It hasn’t always been known by that initialism. The first version, which stretched the ML-Class’s underpinnings to suit a proper adult-sized seven-seat SUV application, was dubbed ‘GL’ when it came along in 2007 and helped provide the production volume to establish Mercedes’ US factory in Alabama.But now that first mission has been achieved, and with so many ways to spend a six-figure sum on a leather-lined, exotically positioned luxury 4x4 today that simply didn’t exist 13 years ago (not to mention a much improved G-Class sibling rival with which to compete), does Mercedes need to redefine this car’s brief and positioning? Does the BMW X7 represent a direct challenge to which Mercedes must be seen to react? Which way does the biggest Mercedes SUV of them all now turn to ensure its continued existence – or does it simply plough steadily straight on in global market conditions that supposedly remain favourable to all cars of its ilk?All these questions and more must have concerned Mercedes’ product planners during the initial design and conception of the X167- generation GLS, which undergoes this week’s road test in what is effectively the only engine and trim-level derivative form in which it’s offered to UK buyers: as the six-cylinder diesel GLS 400d.The firm describes the new GLS as more evolutionary than revolutionary, claiming it simply offers “more of the same: more space, more comfort, more luxury”. Stand by to find out, then, if even more really does mean more in this particular case.The GLS line-up at a glanceAlthough the GLS is available with a much wider range of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in other markets, the 400d is the sole choice for the UK. AMG Line is the entry-level trim offering, with Premium, Premium Plus and Premium Plus Executive add-on packs optionally available.Mercedes-AMG has recently unveiled the monstrous GLS 63, whose 4.0-litre V8 develops 603bhp and 627lb ft with assistance from a 48V mild-hybrid system. This model will arrive towards the end of spring.Price £75,040 Power 326bhp Torque 516lb ft 0-60mph 6.5sec 30-70mph in fourth 6.9sec Fuel economy 30.0mpg CO2 emissions 213g/km 70-0mph 45.5m View the full article
  5. With prices starting from £2000, a Fiat Coupé 2.0 24v Turbo makes for a fun modern classic - as do the rest of this week's used car finds Our round-up of coupés begins with this, the Fiat Coupé of 1993-2000. It was first offered in 2.0-litre 16-valve and turbocharged forms, but these were replaced a couple of years later by 20-valve five-cylinder versions. Today, it’s the 20v Turbo that hogs the classifieds, with prices starting from around £2000 (or £1000 for non-runners) and rising to £25,000 for the best ones. We can think of tougher cars but the Fiat has its charms, not least those looks and that engine, which, in 20-valve turbo form, made 217bhp for 0-62mph in 6.3sec. It’s a strong unit but we’d change the cambelt and water pump every 50,000 miles. When checking one over, make sure the rear coolant hose is secure. (It can let go without warning but the clamshell bonnet traps the steam so you only realise when it’s too late.) The Coupé is a nose-heavy thing that puts some strain on the front suspension, so make sure all is well there. Regarding the body, 16-valve models rust badly. Later cars are better but, even so, check the floorpan, especially. The Coupé is a modern classic but we’d be reluctant to lavish too much cash on one. It’s why we were drawn, first, to a cherished 1998-reg 20v Turbo with 77,000 miles and a good service history, including a recent cambelt change, up for £3990 and then, following that, to a one-owner example with 89,000 miles and full service history for £2500. The catch? It was written off in 2010 with wing damage. Many potential bargains have been ignored for being a Category D but, since this one has a brand-new MOT with no advisories, it might just be worth a go. Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Coupé, £4945: A Mk2 TT is less charismatic than a Fiat Coupé. But thanks to its rustresistant body, tough mechanicals and stronger resale appeal, it’s a car for risk-averse buyers. We liked thelook of this 2007-reg 2.0 TFSI coupé with 79,000 miles for £4945. VW Scirocco 2.0 GT TDI DSG, £13,495: An automatic diesel? Doesn’t sound great – except that this 168bhp motor develops 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm, a narrow band that the DSG ’box milks well. You don’t really notice the nose weight when cornering hard, either. It’s an unsung, 45mpg hero. BMW 320i M Sport Coupé, £7500: The E90-era coupé of 2007-13 is a classy but understated motor with some great diesels and petrol sixes. However, our attention was seized by one with a 168bhp 2.0-litre four-pot. It’s a 2011-reg M Sport manual with 51,000 miles and full BMW history. Mini Coupé JCW, £7999: New, it was a bit of a lemon, and used, it probably still is. Except that, what with there being so many hatches knocking around, it looks refreshingly different. It’s good value, too: our find is a 2012-reg with 38,000 miles, a full service history and stacks of kit. Future Classic Suzuki Swift Sport 1.6 3dr, £8995: A warm hatch from a small Japanese maker. Surely not the ingredients for a future classic, except that under the bonnet of the old Swift Sport is that rare thing: a naturally aspirated petrol engine. It’s a 1.6 producing, from 2014-17, 134bhp. With the Swift weighing just 1045kg, that translates to 128bhp per tonne – or about the same as the Peugeot 206 GTi. Will we regard the little Suzuki in the same light? That’s a stretch but it is almost as fun to drive and it’s a last-of-breed. Around £9000 buys a very low-mileage 2017-reg. Auction watch No classic car auction is worth its salt without a sprinkling of MGBs. Prices for early chrome-bumper models are getting silly but fortunately there are always the later, and much maligned, rubber-bumper cars for less money. Launched in 1975, they sit a little higher than the earlier model – they have thicker anti-roll bars to contain body roll – but a clever paint scheme can make them look better proportioned. Just before Christmas, a late 1981 LE roadster in good condition and with 78,000 miles went through the ring and changed hands for just £2912. Clash of the classifieds Brief: Find me a family SUV I can be proud of for under £10,000, please. Max Adams: You want a car to be proud of? I give you the facelifted L322-generation Range Rover, complete with many improvements over the older version and a great 3.6-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel. What’s more, this 2007 top-spec Vogue SE has TV screens in the headrests to keep the children distracted in the back, making mine the perfect family car. What’s your choice, Mr P? Mark Pearson: This perfect Porsche Cayenne. A 2007 V6 S petrol. Just 68,000 miles and a full service history. Your family will look up to you in awe with this thing and think of the fun you’ll have driving it. Yours will break down, alas… MA Not necessarily. Keep on top of maintenance and you should be okay. True, there are some big-ticket items such as the EGR valves, but then my car costs less than yours and won’t consume as much fuel. MP Maintenance is what you’ll be paying to your family when they leave you, fed up with being constantly stranded at the side of the road… MA Not every Range Rover breaks down – and mine has done fewer miles than yours. MP My Cayenne is a firm-buttocked sports car, whereas your roly-poly Rangie has the steering of an ocean liner. You’ll wear yourself out. Don’t be a fool, John: vote Porsche. Verdict: Close, but the Porsche wins by a pose. READ MORE Used car buying guide: Triumph Stag Best used coupes for under £10,000 (and ones to avoid) Matt Prior: The wholesome appeal of bespoke coupes View the full article
  6. A small crossover? We shouldn’t like it, but in this case… The Alpine SportsX concept might be the crossover we've all been waiting for. Let's hope Renault turns it into a production car Well, this is problematic. Small crossovers are dreadful, no? Boring, heavy, tall, cramped, expensive and compromised. Neither hatchback nor 4x4, they are of insufficient purity to truly be any good at one thing or another. So, name one – any will do – and enthusiasts will dislike it, whether its maker calls it an SUV, MAV or CUV. Today, though, I present you the WTF, a difficult issue at hand in the form of the Alpine A110 SportsX concept, which has given the very same self-styled crossover doubters heart-eyed emojis for heads. I might, though I haven’t quite decided, even be one of them. A pickle. So far, the Alpine SportsX is just a design concept, it is said. (Verbally, I think it’ll pay to put a pause between ‘sports’ and ‘x’ so listeners don’t infer that ‘Alpine SportsX’ is wintry competitive bonding.) The car is claimed to be inspired by Alpine’s successful rally car of the 1970s and while it’s less heavily modified than a genuine new rally specification A110 – deliveries imminent, and more obviously inspired by a rally car, what with it actually being one – the SportsX has nevertheless been raised by 60mm and widened by 80mm. And, presumably, made heavier by an unspecified amount. It has, and I feel slightly dirty saying this, all the traits of the compact crossover, in that it’s an off-roader-alike that doesn’t go off road. It has been captured in pictures with skis on its roof and wintry tyres, and with significantly more clearance between tyre and bodywork. With both ‘sports’ and ‘X’ in its name, it couldn’t possibly be more lifestyle. I imagine that in a game of ‘press conference jingo bingo’, Alpine would tick every box well before it reached the Q&A session: “Buyers will live active lives.” Tick. “It gives a sporty driving experience.” Tick. And so on. Tall cars do not, though, often bring sporty driving experiences. And while the A110 has agility and dynamism to spare, I fear that in the same way Italy has great architecture to spare, it doesn’t follow that the removal of some of it will improve things. And yet. What is an Ariel Nomad if not an Atom crossover? Other than a car I would choose over an Atom six days out of seven, obviously? The Nomad is all of those conceptually bad things: taller than an Atom, heavier than an Atom, and with a protective structure that significantly raises its centre of gravity. They all contribute to the relatively languid, easy-breathing dynamic qualities of the car that I find so particularly appealing. Imagine, then, the same in a taller A110, a car made more flowing, rather than less flowing, like the A110 S has been. And add to that plumper sidewalls and a ride height that means its driver has to worry not at all about scuffs from potholes, kerbs or gravel car parks. It could be lovely. It seems we won’t find out: Alpine’s announcement finishes very matter-of-factly with “this unique model is not available for sale”. Or so they say. Alpine’s owner, Renault, will soon get a new boss in Luca de Meo, who brought crossovers but no sports cars to his previous company, Seat – which I wouldn’t consider terribly encouraging if I were in charge of a sporty, niche outpost that had a difficult gestation and has an uncertain future. The industry form here is notable: if people want a crossover, probably best to give them one. READ MORE Matt Prior: Why today's cars could be tomorrow's whaling Matt Prior: The wholesome appeal of bespoke coupes Matt Prior: Jaguar's virtual concept car is great, but it should be a reality View the full article
  7. All-new compact van features bigger interior dimensions and latest in connectivity and safety technology, plus the option of three diesel engines The new, fifth generation VW Caddy has been revealed with a larger interior capacity, plethora of new technology and three diesel engines to choose from. The new Caddy will come in panel van, MPV and camper form. Buyers will welcome the 93mm of extra length and 62mm of additional width over its predecessor, with extra width between the wheel-arches making for superior load and passenger capacity to its forbearer. The Caddy also receives VW’s ‘Digital Cockpit’ that sees an entirely redesigned dashboard (featuring less buttons) mated to infotainment screens ranging from 6.5 to 10 inches, depending on which spec is chosen. An electronic handbrake will replace a traditional unit as standard on all models. “Always connected”, the Caddy also features an all-new infotainment system with the likes of We Connect allowing the compact van constant connection to the internet and other services. Featuring 19 driver assist functions, emphasis has been put on safety as well as technology; Travel Assist (never before seen on a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle) uses a mixture of Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise and others to keep the driver in check. Trailer Assistance will also make its first appearance (as seen on the Crafter van) and allows for easier trailer manoeuvring. Three diesel engines (74bhp, 100bhp and 120bhp) will be available and are claimed to be up to 12 per cent cleaner than previous iterations thanks to ‘double-dosing’ AdBlue, in order to reduce NOx emissions. A 114bhp turbo petrol engine will also be available. The updated, cleaner exterior look is thanks to the MQB platform claims VW, with LED headlights coming as standard on higher models. A new naming system has also been introduced with the base model simply called ‘Caddy’, the middle ‘Life’ and range-topping coined ‘Style’. Prices and specifications of each is yet to be confirmed, but presales are expected to begin in October this year, with deliveries expected in early 2021. Read more: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life review 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift to bring hot R version Hot VW Touareg R to arrive with plug-in power View the full article
  8. Seat sub-brand targets motorsport with e-TCR racer, launched alongside 335bhp Leon Competicion TCR customer car The Cupra e-Racer and Leon Competicion have been officially revealed as Seat spin-off performance brand Cupra’s debut motorsport efforts. The battery powered e-Racer, which is set to compete in the e-TCR championship from 2021, promises a 0-62mph sprint in 3.2 seconds, from four electric motors producing a peak 671bhp and 708lb ft. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB Evo platform, the e-Racer will be capable of 169mph flat-out, and will use a 65Kwh liquid-cooled battery pack. It has been built to e-TCR standards, of which Cupra is a founding partner, though the series has yet to confirm specifics such as race distance. It is unclear how long the e-Racer will be able to race for before needing to recharge. “Cupra has always had a pioneering role in motorsport and was the developer of the first TCR platform,” Cupra Racing Director Jaime Puig said. “With the CUPRA Leon Competición and CUPRA e-Racer we are continuing to break new ground. “Both vehicles have been designed to compete at the highest level and bring a competitive edge to the teams running them, having been developed specifically to meet TCR and ETCR technical regulations and requirements.” While it shares styling elements with the newly-revealed Leon road car, the e-Racer has a lower and wider stance, wider arches, and an aero-optimised front bumper designed specifically around the different cooling requirements of an EV. It also features a large rear wing, and a race-spec interior including roll cage. The Leon Competicion is more closely based on the road-going Leon, featuring revised bodywork, rear spoiler and bonnet scoop to aid engine cooling. It has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol powertrain that produces 335bhp and 302lb ft of torque, allowing for a 162mph top speed and 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. It uses a six-speed sequential racing transmission and rides on fully adjustable MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, with front and rear rollbars that can be calibrated manually by racing teams. Cupra plans to offer the Leon Competicion for online order, making it the first touring car to be sold in such a manner. The first customer cars are due to be delivered from April. READ MORE 2020 Seat Leon launches with major tech gains and hybrid power Cupra boss: No bespoke sports cars for now New Cupra Formentor hits the road ahead of mid-2020 debut View the full article
  9. First hatchback and estate to wear a Cupra badge also arrives with up to 306bhp petrol power Fledgling performance brand Cupra has expanded its line-up with the Cupra Leon hot hatchback, its first model to be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Based on the fourth-generation Seat Leon revealed last month, it will be the first Leon to wear the Cupra badge and will be available as both a five-door and an estate, with a selection of petrol engines as well as a PHEV variant. The Leon e-Hybrid plug-in pairs a 1.4-litre, 148bhp petrol engine with a 113bhp electric motor and 13kWh battery pack, for a combined 242bhp and 295lb ft of torque. It will be capable of a WLTP-tested 37 miles of electric range, with CO2 emissions below 50g/km. The standard Cupra Leon uses the tried-and-tested 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘EA888’ TSI petrol engine, available with 242bhp or 298bhp, in both hatchback and estate guise. A more powerful 306bhp variant is exclusive to the estate, which also gets 4Drive all-wheel drive. All versions use a dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox and feature an electric limited slip differential. Suspension is by MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear, with adaptive damping adjusted via four user-selected drive modes. A larger front splitter, expanded air intakes, roof spoiler and Cupra badging set the Cupra Leon apart from the Seat car on which it is based. It has a 3mm lower roofline, sits lower to the ground (25mm on the front axle, 20mm on the rear), and gets a bespoke exhaust - twin tailpipes for the 242bhp engine, and quad pipes for more powerful variants. All models have full LED headlights, plus a rear LED lightbar that stretches across the entire width of the tailgate. It rides on 18in alloy wheels as standard, but can be optioned with 19in alloys and uprated 370mm Brembo brakes. Inside, the Cupra Leon gets sports seats, a steering wheel with engine start and drive mode select buttons, a 10.1in central infotainment touchscreen and fully digital instrument cluster with bespoke Sport view mode. Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay are also available. The cabin features LED ambient mood lighting, along with copper and dark chrome accents that match the exterior trim, while the estate sees boot space increased by 30 litres over the hatchback. “The Cupra Leon’s design is the result of the combination between athletic physiognomy and striking elegance,” Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Cupra director of design, said. “Smooth flowing lines and well-trained muscles reflect perfectly the way it drives on the road.” The previous generation Leon Cupra, which wore a Seat badge, sold around 44,000 units across its lifetime. “The Leon Cupra has been a bestseller,” Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths explained. “With the launch of the new Cupra Leon, we will strengthen the Cupra brand, by giving a new identity to a very emblematic car.” All Cupra Leon models will be built at Seat’s Martorell facility in Barcelona. It is set to go on sale in the summer, with customer deliveries due in the following months. As with the fourth-generation Seat Leon, prices for the Cupra models are expected to increase over the outgoing model, suggesting a starting price of around £32,000. READ MORE 2020 Seat Leon launches with major tech gains and hybrid power Cupra boss: No bespoke sports cars for now New Cupra Formentor hits the road ahead of mid-2020 debut View the full article
  10. Hot hatch will enter its eighth generation this year with uprated powertrain and top-rung TCR option Volkswagen has released the first official rendering of its eighth-generation Golf GTI ahead of the hot hatchback's unveiling at the Geneva motor show next month. The image shows the model's front end. It looks to bear a strong resemblance to that of its diesel-powered GTD sibling, which is being revealed at the same time. That model's wide lower grille and distinctive foglight pattern feature, but the addition of air-channeling winglets and a wraparound red pinstripe – a feature of nearly all Golf GTIs since the Mk1 – mark this out as the petrol performance version. Volkswagen says the GTI will be further marked out from the rest of the Mk8 Golf range with a prominent rear diffuser and twin-exit exhaust system, as seen in photos of the model testing at the Nürburgring. Elsewhere, visual differences can be expected to remain characteristically subtle, likely limited to bespoke wheel options and badging. In a reversal of original plans, Wolfsburg has decided not to make a more radical switch to hybrid power. Instead, the new Golf GTI is set to stick with much of the hardware that made its predecessor such a success both critically and commercially. That means an updated version of the Audi-developed 'EA888' turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine used in the seventh-generation Golf GTI. Again, like the current car, it will be offered with two power outputs: a standard output of 241bhp and a more powerful 296bhp TCR model that will replace the GTI Performance. An increase in torque beyond the 258lb ft and 273lb ft of the two versions of the Mk7 GTI is claimed to establish new levels of performance. In the case of the higher-spec model, it's said the 0-62mph time will be less than 6.0sec and the top speed 155mph. Gearbox choices will include carryover versions of today’s six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic units. Read more New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: first prices and specs announced 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR review New 2020 Volkswagen Golf: first prices and specs announced​ View the full article
  11. a £300,000 luxury SUV from Goodwood meets a drift circuit for the first time as we find out if the near-three tonne SUV will go sideways The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the world's most luxurious SUV. This is a 4x4 which, in Black Badge form, is priced at nearly £300,000. It also has a 6.75-litre V12 engine making 600bhp and capable of going from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds, then on to an electronically-limited 155mph top speed. And that's with almost three tonnes of luxury on board. Which leaves us wondering just one thing. Will It Drift? Yes, Autocar's Will It Drift? is back. The latest series begins with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but doesn't end there. Subscribe and turn on notifications and join us again for more Will It Drift? in future. READ MORE Rolls-Royce Cullinan fuels firm's 'remarkable' growth New 2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost hits the Nurburgring Rolls-Royce Cullinan review View the full article
  12. Replacement for discontinued DS 4 will receive a hatchback and an SUV-styled Crossback variant The expansion of the DS range is set to continue with an all-new DS 4 and DS 4 Crossback, and the first prototype has now been spotted testing. Tipped to go on sale in 2021, the second-generation C-segment car will be the next core model to be launched from the PSA Group's premium brand after a large saloon that's due in the coming months. As announced in 2017, DS still intends to have six models on sale by 2023. Autocar understands that the new 4 line-up will reflect that of the previous-generation car, which was taken off sale in 2018. That means there will be a traditional hatchback version to rival the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and a jacked-up model with crossover styling cues to go up against the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The model in these images is almost certainly the former, with a low, wide stance and little in the way of ground clearance. Expect a greater visual departure for the 4 Crossback, while both should ditch the pop-out rear windows criticised on the old car. Expect the new 4 to make use of the PSA Group's versatile EMP2 platform in its latest iteration. While that means an electric version is unlikely, we should see an E-Tense plug-in hybrid variant alongside petrols and diesels, as PSA has made a commitment to electrify every new model it launches. Read more: Citroën 'strengthened' by creation of DS brand DS 7 Crossback 2019 long-term review Citroën and DS get new bosses in PSA reshuffle View the full article
  13. A first-generation Q3 looks much like a current Q3, so save your cash Audi’s Q3 is so well built and its styling so evolutionary that you have to ask yourself why you’d buy a brand-new second-generation model starting at £34,640 on the road when you could have an example of its predecessor, a 2013-reg one-owner 2.0 TDI 140 SE quattro with a full main dealer service history, for nearly £27,000 less. The answer might be because the used one hasn’t got the latest infotainment technology and isn’t as efficient, because it has done 85,000 miles and because it no longer smells so nice. Still, all that image and quality for just £8000… You can pay as little as £6000 for a used Q3 or as much as £30,000 for an example of its hot spin-off, the RS Performance model. The sweet spot is around £12,000 for a 2016- reg Q3 2.0 TDI 150 SE with 60,000 miles. That’s a facelifted model, by the way. (Such cars date from spring 2015.) Scared of diesel? Another £1500 will get you a same-age and mileage 1.4 TFSI COD 150 SE. If you’re only tootling around lightly loaded, it’s fine, but the diesel has extra useful heft and even more of it in 181bhp form. The Q3 was launched in 2011. It was one of a small number of premium, compact SUVs, the others including the BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. Next to the Evoque, the Q3 looked fairly bland but in a way that suggested effortless quality, an attribute that has served it well. It’s about the size of an A3 but the rear is more cramped, and although the boot appears big on paper at 460 litres, it not that usable a space, so test it out first. From launch, engines were the traditional mix of diesels and petrols, and until the 1.4 TFSI’s arrival in 2014, all of them were 2.0 litres. The lower-powered petrols have always been front-wheel drive only but their diesel equivalents are a mix of that and quattro four-wheel drive. More powerful Q3s are all quattro. The four-wheel drive system aids traction on slippery roads but forget straying too far from your picnic spot: the Q3 has too much fancy body addenda to risk going far off road. Transmissions are a choice of a six-speed manual or the S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The S tronic gearbox suits the Q3, a car that’s best enjoyed at a trot rather than a gallop. The 2015 facelift brought new technology, including cylinder on demand (COD) for the 1.4 TFSI and slightly more power for the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units. All engines were cleaned up to meet Euro 6 emissions regs. As for styling, the nose and tail were given a makeover while SE trim got xenon headlights and S line sweeping indicators. However, viewed in isolation, you’d be hard pressed to tell pre- and post-facelift cars apart. Of the four trims – depending on the year, they range from SE to Black Edition – SE offers the best value and goes without the larger, ride-spoiling alloy wheels and sports suspension. Need to know Q3 petrol models rank third in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey’s family SUV class, behind the Volvo XC40 and Kia Sportage. Diesel Q3s trail in 15th spot. Some early Euro 5 2.0 TDI engines were caught up in the VW emissions scandal, or the ‘EA189 NOx emissions issue’ as the VW Group calls it. Check the status of the vehicle you’re interested in at audi.co.uk. Make sure tall family members can fit in the back. The roofline is more sloping than it appears and impinges on head room. Optional Drive Select offers a choice of four driving modes with, where adaptive dampers are also specified, the possibility of adjusting the ride settings. S line suspension reduces ground clearance from 170mm to 150mm. Our pick Audi Q3 2.0 TDI 184PS SE S Tronic Quattro: Entry-level SE trim forgoes the larger wheels and sports suspension of pricier Q3s but still offers lots of great kit. The 148bhp diesel is more common but this 181bhp unit has more grunt. Top spec pick Audi Q3 Black Edition This version ladles on goodies such as privacy glass, a Bose sound system and part-leather trim, but the 19in alloys and sports suspension won’t suit everyone. Prices start at £18,950 for a 2017 2.0 TDI. Wild card Audi RS Q3 Performance: There’s the 335bhp RS Q3 and then there’s the 362bhp RS Performance. It does 0-62mph in 4.4sec, which is 0.4sec quicker than the RS. Prices start from £29,800 for a 2016-reg example. Ones we found 2011 Q3 2.0 TDI 140 SE, 148,000 miles, £6295 2013 Q3 2.0 TFSI SE S tronic quattro, 80,000 miles, £10,900 2016 Q3 1.4 TFSI 150 SE, 45,000 miles, £13,600 2018 Q3 2.0 TDI S line Edition quattro, 17,000 miles, £20,500 READ MORE Mercedes to launch 32 new models by 2022 in massive rollout 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS previewed in new official images Mercedes prices new GLE and GLC plug-in hybrid SUVs View the full article
  14. Long-anticipated Cupra Ateca rival resurfaces, showing off a new front end design and quad exhausts New spy images show what appears to be an R performance variant of the Volkswagen Tiguan, nearly a year since prototypes were last spotted. While initially appearing to be an example of the high-end Tiguan R-Line, tell-tale signs that this is something more special include a visible intercooler behind the lower air intake, larger brakes and, most notably, the same quad tailpipes as the Golf R hatchback. A subtly reworked front end and other styling tweaks compared with previous Tiguan R prototypes indicate that it will likely make its official debut when the standard Tiguan is facelifted later this year. The Tiguan will be the third model in Volkswagen's range to receive the R treatment, sitting above the newly launched T-Roc R and below the forthcoming plug-in hybrid Touareg R. Speaking to Autocar recently, R division boss Jost Capito spoke candidly about the idea of a Tiguan R. “I can see a place for a Tiguan R,” he said. “We’ve seen the good things that can be achieved with the T-Roc, but the Tiguan would be a different kind of car. It would have to be more of an everyday model, like the Touareg.” The first time a performance-enhanced Tiguan mule was seen testing was in 2017, when snappers caught a prototype featuring a five-cylinder turbocharged engine likely sourced from the Audi RS Q3. It's thought that a hot Tiguan was delayed for two significant reasons. First, the model was shuffled down the priority order while the Volkswagen Group rushed to homologate its cars under the new WLTP testing regime. Second, the launch of Cupra as a brand in its own right meant a hot Seat Ateca was pushed to the front of the development queue. The Tiguan R is expected to now feature the same 296bhp EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit as found in a number of Volkswagen Group performance models, including the Cupra Ateca and Golf R. Mated to four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, it should mean a 0-62mph time of around 5.0sec. Chassis upgrades will feature, too. No confirmation of a launch date has been communicated yet. However, the sighting of these prototypes adds weight to earlier rumours that a Tiguan R would launch before the year is out. At the unveiling of the smaller T-Roc R, Capito said that his task is to make the sub-brand “to Volkswagen what M is for BMW”. He went on to say: “For the future, the Golf and T-Roc will not be the only ones, that’s for sure.” Read more Volkswagen T-Roc R 2020 UK review Volkswagen Tiguan review Hot VW Touareg R to arrive with plug-in hybrid power​ View the full article
  15. Limited Edition spec gets weight reduction and track-focused setup, while new Sport Line spec brings subtler look and more refinement Honda has used the mid-life update of its Civic Type R hot hatchback to introduce two new variants: a low-volume, lighter track special, and a more subtle version of the existing car. Available to order in the summer alongside the standard 2020 Type R, the new Sport Line variant is designed to offer “more discreet styling and a more refined ride” for those who found the existing model too lairy. The most significant external alteration is the removal of the big rear wing in favour of a lower, more subtle item, but there’s also an exclusive design of 19-inch alloys wrapped in softer sidewall Michelin Pilot Sports 4S tyres. The interior also dials down the visual drama courtesy of black seat upholstery with red stitching. It’s not all aesthetic changes, however - along with the new tyres, additional soundproofing has been added in the boot and tailgate to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. At the other end of the range is the new Limited Edition Civic Type R. As the name suggests, Europe will receive just 100 examples, with a UK allocation of 20. Honda claims it’s been “designed and engineered to be the most dynamic front-wheel drive hatchback available”, and is the most extreme Civic Type R yet. Key to the Limited Edition’s appeal is a weight saving regime, with Honda stripping out the air conditioning, the touchscreen and some of the sound deadening to save 47kg. Unlike the Renault Megane RS Trophy R it does retain its rear seats, however. Further additions include lightweight, forged BBS 20in alloys shod in sticky Michelin Cup 2 tyres. Honda claims it has modified the dampers and recalibrated the steering to suit the new wheel and tyre combo as well as boost feedback levels. Exclusive Sunlight Yellow paint with a contrasting gloss black roof, door mirrors and intake vent aim to increase the Limited Edition’s visual clout, while each model gets a build plaque on the dash. The two range additions complement the updated Type R, which was first revealed in January. Visual changes are minor and include reprofiled bumpers and lights, but again the focus is on engineering improvements - for example, a larger air intake opening combines with a new radiator core to decrease coolant temperature by up to 10 degrees in high demand situations, Honda claims. Similar thermal improvements have been achieved with a new braking system, bringing two-piece floating front discs that reduce unsprung weight by 2.5kg. Their increased thermal efficiency reduces brake fade, while there’s also 15mm less pedal travel. Uprated suspension bushings and ball joints are also claimed to sharpen the handling further, while the parameters of the adaptive dampers have been widened. Interior additions, alongside a revised infotainment system with physical shortcut buttons, include an Alcantara wheel and a new tear drop shape gearknob. The knob itself includes a 90g counterweight said to improve shift accuracy. Further new tech includes an Active Sound Control system, using the car’s speakers to enhance engine sound in Sport and R+ modes and mask it in Comfort model. Also introduced is a new performance datalogger, dubbed LogR, which allows the driver to see real-time component temperatures and pressures, and uses GPS and G meters to help drivers achieve the best possible lap time. Q&A with Hideki Kakinuma, Civic Type R project leader Q. What were your priorities when updating the Civic Type R? A. Usually at minor model change time the updates are just cosmetics. But once I was involved in Civic Type R development I wanted to have a step forward in improving performance. If you stop developing and improving, the sports car will die. Also, since the Type R is a global model we had to improve variation - some like it more extreme, some like it more understated. We want a maximum range of customers to enjoy the performance. Q. Is the Sport Line model’s handling affected by the smaller wing? A. We are not talking about real racing cars where you have tonnes of downforce and drag - if you compare the top speed of both cars (standard and Sport Line) they are more or less on the same level. The rear wing is not really that big of an influence - the Type R’s high-speed stability comes from the base platform layout and suspension specification. The functionality has been maintained for both wing designs. Q. Will you take the Limited Edition back to the Nürburgring to see how much faster it is? A. The Nurburging lap time is one of our development criteria to be able to verify the actual result as an overall vehicle performance. This is something we are going to perform, regardless of whether it’s a record or not - it’s not our motivation. Q. Could we see the Civic Type R go hybrid, and does the Type R brand have a place in electric cars? A. There is no restrictions in the technology to apply for Type R - if it can provide the excitement and the dynamic performance and all the core fundamentals worth calling it a Type R. If that can be realised either an electric motor or hybrid, that’s fine. But we may also not forget the initial idea and the fundamental concept of the Type R which is a sports car with extremely high performance and an affordable price. There is not restrictions if that can be realised. Q. Have you reached the limit of what you can achieve with front-wheel drive? A. We do not believe we have reached the limit. I believe there is still performance to achieve with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not really matching to Honda’s development principle: “Man maximum, machine minimum”. We do not want to increase the engine power, the weight of the car by applying all-wheel drive to make it more heavy. Our idea is always to maximise the freedom of the driver. Q. Is the Type R badge specific to Civic now, or will you use it in other models? A. It can still be applied to other models as well. It doesn’t have to be limited to Civic. READ MORE Honda to electrify European line-up by 2022, not 2025 Facelifted Honda Civic Type R receives handling and interior upgrades Honda e: UK pricing confirmed from £26,160 View the full article
  16. Electric racing series could help the pinnacle of motorsport survive in a post-zero emissions world Red rag to a raging bull alert: is the best hope of a bright future for Formula 1 a partnership with Formula E? Right now, the two codes are light years apart in terms of speed and popularity. But the thought occurred to me, not for the first time, in the wake of the government’s new deadline for zero-emission motoring by 2035. If fossil-fuelled cars really are to be obsolete just 15 years from now, motorsport – and most of all F1 – is in a race against time. So, will motorsport be wiped out? I don’t think so. It will adapt, as it always has. The grassroots can still thrive, with historic and club racing existing perhaps as archaic pastimes – like steam railways today. For the high-end sport, the penny has already dropped. Le Mans is active in alternative fuel research, including hydrogen; the World Rally and British Touring Car championships are pursuing hybrid futures; and this week a European electric touring car series has been launched (watch this space for more). But F1? By far the best-known form of motorsport, it will always be in the direct line of fire. Its new sustainability targets are a start, and the current turbo hybrid powerplants are underrated things of wonder, but only a synthetic fuel revolution will thwart what is surely an inevitable move to full electrification. Formula E is proof that that time is not yet here. The electric single-seater series, now in its sixth season, remains hugely divisive: its cars are too slow, even on its tight pop-up city street circuits. But it does have major clout: Germany’s ‘big four’ of Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes have all bought in, as have Nissan-Renault, Jaguar and PSA. Like it or loathe it, the series is a pioneering beacon. And as the old cliché goes, motor racing is like war: the perfect living lab in which to develop technology at speed. Over the course of this new decade, Formula E will get faster, fitter, better and stronger. What it lacks is the audience and deep heritage of F1, and that can’t be manufactured. But perhaps it can be bought, in the form of a coalition. Agendas are at play – of course they are – and F1 has always gone its own way, even if it grudgingly accepted long ago that ‘relevancy’ is essential for its survival. But starting down the same road from scratch is illogical when Formula E is learning the hard lessons already. Joining forces makes sense – but that doesn’t mean it will happen. READ MORE How to fix Formula 1, according to Autocar Formula 1 new cars 2020: Racing Point revealed Formula E 2019-2020 season preview View the full article
  17. BMW briefly offered wireless charging as an option in Germany Convenience of induction pads may be the catalyst for a mass move to electric cars Anyone who charges their phone in their car via a pad rather than a cable will know what a game-changer wireless electric vehicle charging will be. No plug, no cables, no interface. The dream is for pads to be buried beneath where you park or just stop briefly: home, work, supermarkets, drive-throughs and even traffic lights. “It has the potential to really make charging a non-event,” said Dr Neale Kinnear, head of behavioural science at the UK’s TRL research laboratory, which has overseen a range of EV charging trials. Realisation of that dream is taking its time, however. The latest toe in the water is a government-backed trial, due to start in March, that involves laying five pads outside Nottingham railway station to wirelessly charge 10 electric taxis (five LEVC TX black cabs and five Nissan e-NV200s) with retrofitted compatibility. The cabbies don’t have to get out but just shuffle up the queue, continuing to charge at a rate of 11kW at the next pad along. “If it works well and it’s reliable, it would obviously be a very simple way to avoid having to plug vehicles into charge points,” said Nottingham city councillor Sally Longford. “There would be less clutter on the street and it would be very convenient.” Induction charging is fairly simple. An oscillating magnetic field in the charge pad is picked up at the same frequency in the vehicle receiver, and that starts the charging process. Those developing the technology, led by US-based Witricity, claim that it’s both as safe and almost as efficient as plugging in, even when the receiver is attached to a higher-riding SUV. The Nottingham taxis will be converted by UK electronics specialist Sprint Power, using technology from Witricity. The company is looking to carve a retrofitting business out of it, largely aimed at electric taxis. CEO Richie Frost predicts private cars will follow. “It’s not going to be as cheap as a cable, but if I had an electric sports car, I’d pay for that convenience,” he said. He believes it could even change the design of electric cars: “This is an infrastructure story more than anything. When you’ve got opportunistic charging, range anxiety will disappear and actually batteries will get smaller.” Theoretically, it would reduce the need for rapid charging, too. Further into the future, it will also be a must-have for autonomous vehicles. Right now, wireless charging options are nil. BMW UK had planned to offer it on the 530e plug-in hybrid saloon back in 2018, but it reversed that decision and the currentgeneration battery doesn’t support it. In Germany, it was a €3205 (£2700) option. But it’s coming. Frost reckons 90% of new global vehicle architectures will support wireless charging. For example, Volkswagen is understood to have engineered its MEB platform to support it. Rolls-Royce has long said that messing about with cables is way off-brand and so it won’t sell an EV without wireless charging; this featured on the 102EX experimental electric Phantom from 2012. Concept cars, most recently the Lexus LF-30, often use the tech, too. The problem is one of the chicken and the egg. Car makers don’t want to engineer a system that won’t be used, while charging pad providers aren’t willing to offer the reciprocating technology if cars aren’t being fitted with the capacity to use it. “We don’t see much movement from vehicle manufacturers, suggesting that it doesn’t have much of a future for passenger cars,” a BP Chargemaster representative said. One solution is being offered by British firm Connected Kerb, which installs low-rise EV plug chargers that can be converted to wireless without much fuss if demand arises. It also piggybacks or deploys fast fibre networks delivering the internet. The company is installing its system in a new, 3500-home housing estate due to be built in south-west England. Rates are just 3-7kW for overnight charging, rather than rapid. Connected Kerb’s dream is wireless charging for the 40% of UK dwellings that don’t have access to off-street parking. That application is also in the mind of councillor Longford in Nottingham. “We can use plugs in lamp-posts,” she said, “but ours are mainly at the back at the pavement, which means a cable across the pavement. Pads would provide an option.” In one version of the wireless dream, EVs are charged while they’re driving. A European trial called Fabric that ran between 2014 and 2017 investigated this at three test tracks and claimed partial success. Another, led by Renault and running from January this year until 2022, includes two ‘dynamic’ wireless charging experiments in France, one of them in Paris. Whether static or dynamic, wireless charging is clearly the key to delivering on the promise that EVs offer a better consumer experience than the conventional alternative – something that’s not at all convincing in the current world of cables, plugs and a fragmented charging network. There’s a long way to go, though, warns TRL’s Kinnear. “The problem will always come down to the detail – who provides that infrastructure, who pays for the electricity and how to identify the vehicle and account holder,” he said. “At the moment, no one quite knows the answer. But in the end, technology is moving to a solution that’s easier than having to plug in.” Nick Gibbs READ MORE UK Government doubles funding for EV infrastructure UK has more EV charging stations than petrol stations Analysis: Who will charge our electric vehicles? View the full article
  18. New Precept concept will show how the Volvo sub-brand plans to evolve following the launch of the 1 and 2 Swedish manufacturer Polestar has previewed a new concept that’s expected to evolve into an all-electric successor to the firm’s 1 and 2 debut production models. Set to be unveiled ahead of the Geneva motor show at a dedicated event later this month, the concept is called the Precept, and “shows the direction that Polestar is heading in,” according to the brand. Details are light, and the official preview image shows only a darkened silhouette of the Precept from above, but we can see that it will feature Polestar’s trademark angled LED headlights and wraparound rear light bar. The brand has previously stated an ambition to cultivate its own styling language, separate from that of parent company Volvo, and this concept is likely to show off a bold new design direction. No technical details have been revealed, but any new model from the Volvo spin-off can be expected to sit atop the Volvo-developed Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, and use an evolution of the 402bhp twin-motor powertrain featured in the 2, which will go on sale later this year. It’s not yet known what type of car Polestar is developing, but the brand says the Precept “shapes the future of Polestar’s look and feel”, so we can expect the production version to boast premium features, advanced technology and minimalist styling. Read more First drive: 2020 Polestar 2 prototype​ Volvo reveals XC40 Recharge as first full electric model​ View the full article
  19. Second-generation Peugeot 2008 is a classy contender in an at times derivative segment. We put the predicted best-seller to the test on UK roads They say that good things come in small packages. They also say that too much of a good thing can, well, sort of be a bad thing. I’ll go out on a limb and connect a few dots here, but does that mean that a large collection of small packages might be something we should be mildly concerned about? “They” (whoever that might be) doesn’t seem to have any pearls of wisdom to offer on the subject, which is probably a good thing if you’re in the compact SUV-making game. And these days, who isn’t? There are now so many that it seems like we’re writing about a new one each week.Which brings me to the new second-generation Peugeot 2008. It’s a car we’ve driven before out in France and rather liked, but now that it's landed in the UK we’ve got our first opportunity to see how it fares on our own, often not entirely smooth roads.You’ll likely know most of the headline stats by now. It’s a bit bigger than before (some 15cm longer); is built on the same CMP architecture that underpins the likes of the new DS 3 Crossback and Vauxhall Corsa; and is available with a choice of internal combustion and pure electric powertrains. That last bit is all part of Peugeot’s new ‘choose your car, then choose your powertrain’ philosophy, which seems to me like a rather sensible way of warming customers up to the idea of adopting electrified vehicles. For what it’s worth, Peugeot reckons some 15% of the 2008s it sells in the UK will be the all-electric e-2008 model.The remaining 85%, then, will be powered by petrol or diesel engines, with the former accounting for the lion’s share. And of those cars, it’s this particular 2008 is expected to be the best-seller. It’s the second-to-top GT Line model, equipped with a 129bhp three-pot motor that drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box. It’ll set you back £26,100, which is in the same ballpark as a similarly well-specced, 148bhp Volkswagen T-Roc SEL, but quite a bit more than a top-flight Nissan Juke - both of which fall into the ever-expanding B-SUV segment.View the full article
  20. Hybrid grant key to company expansion plans that include range-extender van due to go on sale in October The boss of taxi-maker LEVC has called for the UK government to retain the grant for plug-in vehicles, as he announced plans for a significant expansion of his company. Joerg Hofmann told Autocar that the grant is scheduled to expire in six weeks, but that it is vital in ramping up sales of plug-in vehicles. Buyers of LEVC’s range-extender taxi benefit from a grant of as much as £7500 when buying a top-of-the-range £59,000 TX5 cab. The grant is also seen as vital for LEVC’s expansion plans, which should see the Coventry factory’s output expand from 2500 units in 2019 to the plant's capacity of 20,000 units annually, by the end of 2022. Key to this huge expansion is the new LEVC range-extender van, which goes on sale in October. ‘We are transforming from a niche taxi builder to competing in the commercial vehicle market’ Hofmann told Autocar. ‘We will be competing in the 1 tonne van market, which is worth 600,000 sales across Europe annually, though this may rise to as many as 1 million over the coming years’ he said. ‘At the moment this market is 99% diesel, but our new van will be a viable low-emissions vehicle for the majority of logistics companies. We call this market “distribution to door”. Hofmann says conventional EV vans cannot compete in this market because they are so limited on range. The TX van, however, gets 80 miles from its 31kWh battery and has a three-cylinder petrol range extender for a total range of around 400 miles. Like the new London cab, it’s expected that users will employ the range-extender while travelling from logistics bases, deploying the battery when they reach the city centre. Hofmann also revealed that the new van should be ‘notably’ cheaper to buy than the TX cab. Using figures from existing TX cab owners, LEVC estimates a saving of at least £100 per week on fuel compared to a conventional diesel van, and says that a lease cost of around £180 per week is entirely feasible. The cab has an official CO2 rating of just 20g/km; LEVC claims the taxis it has sold so far (which have covered a total of 95 million miles to date) have allowed a reduction in CO2 of 30,000 tonnes over the equivalent diesel taxis, along with a 99.5% reduction in NOx emissions. When the TX van is in full production, it is expected to account for 14,000 of the annual 20,000-unit factory capacity. LEVC has also opened an export office in Frankfurt and says it has had interest from Japan, the Middle East, Australia and other global markets. The company is also set to recruit an extra 100 people this year. Hofmann also gave an insight into the difficulty of making a business case for plug-in vehicles. He told Autocar that the 31kWh battery - which is sourced from LG in Korea - amounts to nearly 30% of the cost of the whole vehicle. He hinted that LEVC profit margins were ‘very tight’ at the moment due to the cost of battery technology. However, it seems that the UK government is actively working on supporting a big expansion of battery design and manufacturing in the UK. The Coronavirus outbreak has not yet affected LEVC production, but Hofmann said that supplies from China were currently only certain for two weeks. The supply of components to the TX line can be split by value: 40% UK, 30% EU and 30% Rest of the World, Hofmann said. He also cautioned the Government that the UK automotive industry desperately needed a a trade deal with the EU that was tariff-free. ‘Without that we are in trouble, it’s a big problem for all the industry. An FTA [Free Trade Agreement] with no tariffs means we will be fine’. READ MORE LEVC reveals new taxi-based range-extender delivery van LEVC boss: “We will only survive if we move away from London niche” LEVC presents TX Shuttle as electrified mobility offering View the full article
  21. SUV gets all-new platform, bold look, posh interior and a raft of new tech and hybrid options Kia has revealed new details of the next-gen Sorento ahead of the large SUV’s debut at the Geneva show next month. The fourth-generation Skoda Kodiaq rival adopts a design distinctly different to that of its predecessor or any other Kia sold in Europe. This angular styling, which apes the larger Telluride, is likely to be a reflection of its greater sales status in the US than Europe. The Sorento sits atop an all-new monocoque chassis, and its proportions have been altered with the aim of making it look longer, by way of shorter front and rear overhangs and a 35mm-longer wheelbase. All other dimensions are only around 10mm greater, although space inside – especially for middle-row passengers – is said to be significantly enhanced, thanks to improved packaging. All UK models will be seven-seaters. Kia says added benefits of the overhaul include enhanced rolling refinement and satisfying handling. The only image of the interior released so far is of a Korean-spec car, but it’s unlikely to be changed much for Europe beyond the choice of trim colours. Highlights include a Mercedes-style panel that links a larger infotainment touchscreen to a new digital instrument display, while a separate climate control panel is flanked by central air vents. Technical firsts for Kia include improved cruise control that automatically readjusts limits according to corner gradients, a self-parking function accessed via the key fob, automatic braking if the car is about to hit something while parking and a blindspot monitoring system that uses cameras mounted on the door mirrors to project images of what’s alongside the car onto the dashboard. The Sorento will be launched this autumn with a 199bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine and a hybrid powertrain comprising a 1.6-litre petrol engine, a 59bhp electric motor and a 1.5kWh battery for combined outputs of 227bhp and 258lb ft. A plug-in hybrid will follow shortly after with 261bhp overall, an 89bhp motor and a 16.6kWh battery. Buyers will have the choice of front- or four-wheel drive except with the plug-in hybrid, which will exclusively be a 4x4. READ MORE EV to Edinburgh, take two: 700 miles in a Kia e-Niro Next Kia EV will be 'super-high-performance' halo model Hyundai and Kia seal platform deal with new EV firm View the full article
  22. Flagship 911 snapped and posted on Instagram two weeks ahead of its public unveiling - standard Turbo model to also be shown What appears to be Porsche's flagship 911, the upcoming Turbo S, has leaked online in production form via a social media post. Published on the Instagram page of the Spanish website Cochespias.net, shots appear to have been taken on a phone and show the car, badged 911 Turbo S, totally undisguised in a car park. The Stuttgart brand is set to officially reveal both Turbo and Turbo S variants of the 992-generation 911 at the Geneva motor show next month. The Turbo models will retain the standard car’s 3.8-litre flat-six engine, but a pair of substantial turbochargers and additional hardware taken from Weissach’s GT2 RS flagship will boost output significantly - up to at least 620bhp in the Turbo S. The Turbo will receive the same forced-induction treatment but will produce around 50bhp less. Its expected 570bhp output represents a 30bhp increase over the outgoing 991 equivalent. It should be enough to push the Honda NSX rival from 0-62mph in less than three seconds and on to a top speed north of 200mph. Both models will be distinguished from the standard 911 by a downforce-enhancing bodywork package that includes widened rear wheel arches, a fixed rear spoiler, side air intakes and model-specific front and rear bumpers. They will likely also be available with unique wheel designs and paint scheme options. Although the 992's mixed-metal bodyshell is lighter than that of the 991, a heavier powertrain and mandatory petrol particulate filters mean the 911 Turbo is set to weigh slightly more than its predecessor overall. Porsche will confirm official pricing and specifications for the new model at its launch, but it’s likely that prices will start from around £130,000 for the Turbo coupé and rise to roughly £160,000 for the Turbo S in Cabriolet guise. Joining the 911 Turbo on Porsche’s Geneva stand will be the new six-cylinder GTS versions of the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster. Read more Porsche 911 GT2 RS review Porsche 991 911 Turbo: the road test Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS bring back six-cylinder power​ View the full article
  23. Global series plans to promote high performance of EVs over efficiency Plans have been revealed for the world’s first multi-brand all-electric touring car racing series, to be rolled out over the next three years – with an against-the-clock launch set to take place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer. Pure ETCR promises to be a multi-brand series that will promote "real electric car racing" with an emphasis on high performance rather than energy-saving efficiency. The series will be created by the WSC Group run by Marcello Lotti, the founder of the TCR saloon car racing formula, and will be run by Eurosport Events, which also organises the World Touring Car Cup. Eurosport Events is part of the Discovery Group, which also has a stake in Formula E, the all-electric single-seater series. The formula will feature cars offering 65kWh of capacity from an 800-volt battery, pushing out 300kW of continuous power and 500kW of maximum power – the equivalent of around 680bhp. Batteries will be supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering, which is also a partner in Formula E. Recharging will come from hydrogen generators that will allow a 90% charge from 10% in just one hour, to ensure a quick turnaround for rapid-fire racing. The format promises to be a novel one. Teams and cars will be split into pools of four, running a series of ‘battles’ in which each driver – starting from a horse racing-style gate – will score points to qualify for A, B and C finals, with the overall winner crowned the ‘king/queen of the weekend’. Races should last for 21 minutes each, with drivers having four push-to-pass power boosts available to aid overtaking. Following the launch event at Goodwood, further promotional runs will take place at WTCR rounds, at the Copenhagen historic racing festival and an event yet to be confirmed in China in the autumn, culminating at the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2021. Then an eight-round series is planned for next year, rising to 10 events in 2022. While Jaguar has already introduced a one-make electric race series with its i-Pace eTrophy, Pure ETCR will be the first series to see multi-brand electric racing. The cars will run on single-spec Goodyear treaded all-weather tyres, which will contribute to a set of sustainability targets Pure ETCR will set in its long-term aim to be carbon neutral. “It’s the time to do this,” said Francois Ribeiro, head of Eurosport Events at a launch on Wednesday morning in Paris. “It’s no secret the way the automotive industry is moving. This is not an evolution; it’s a revolution. Change is coming and motorsport cannot ignore it. We have to follow the industry because we are part of it." Ribeiro added that Pure ETCR’s purpose is not to “save the planet” and, unlike Formula E, won’t exist to “promote technology, but instead promote product” for car makers. “Motorsport can play a role in changing perceptions,” he said. “We are a motorsport promoter, not an advertising agency.” READ MORE Hyundai launches Veloster N ETCR as first electric racer A ride in Cupra's 670bhp e-Racer electric touring car New Extreme E electric SUV racer launched at Goodwood View the full article
  24. Exclusive features of range-topping convertible include Double Diamond grille, bespoke wheels and interior Bentley has revealed the Continental GT Mulliner Convertible, described by the maker as the “luxury pinnacle” of the Continental GT family. Making its debut at Geneva motor show, the open-top model has exclusive features such as a Double Diamond front grille, a new Mulliner 22in wheel design and a bespoke Mulliner interior. Bentley said the model has been “created to appeal to those customers wanting an even greater focus on beautiful details”. The Double Diamond grille design echoes Bentley’s familiar diamond-in-diamond interior quilting, which appears on seats, door casings and, for the first time, the tonneau cover. The interior also offers eight custom-made three-colour combinations, while the central console gets a new, exclusive brushed silver Breitling timepiece. Customers of the model will receive a leather key in a Mulliner-branded hand-built box, which matches the three-colour interior of the car. The Continental GT Mulliner Convertible will be available with Bentley’s V8 or W12 powertrain, achieving 0-60mph in 4.0sec and 3.7sec respectively. Bentley is ramping up its Mulliner coachbuilding arm by launching special editions and continuation models as well as an all-new, ultra-exclusive model. The Bacalar open-top grand tourer will be revealed at Geneva, priced from £1.5 million and limited to 12 cars. READ MORE Bentley previews ultra-exclusive Bacalar Bentley Continental GT review View the full article
  25. French firm will showcase 'modular' concept that previews planned EV family Renault will unveil a new concept car called the Morphoz, which the firm says previews a planned family of electric vehicles, at this year’s Geneva motor show. The firm has also confirmed that it will unveil a new electric city car from its Dacia budget brand. Previewed by a single teaser image, the Morphoz is described as a “modular vehicle” that “adapts to the personal needs, desires and uses of each user”. Renault claims the machine will illustrate the firm’s vision of “tomorrow’s mobility”. While the Morphoz previews the future look of Renault’s electric models, its other reveals at Geneva will all reach showrooms in the coming years. The arrival of an electric Dacia within the next two years was confirmed during a recent Renault financial presentation, and the machine is expected to be based on the Chinese-market Renault City K-ZE. It is not clear yet if the Dacia EV will be offered in the UK. Renault is in the process of expanding its electric line-up beyond the long-running Zoe, and its Geneva stand will also feature a new left-hand-drive-only electric Twingo – which won’t be offered in the UK – and a plug-in hybrid Mégane estate. The firm is also set to launch an electric Kadjar-sized crossover model late this year. READ MORE New Renault Captur: UK prices and specs announced for 2020 crossover Renault details two new EVs due in 2020 New Renault Clio hybrid and Captur plug-in hybrid launched View the full article
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