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The Motorists Guide

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  1. EV version of popular commercial vehicle to launch in the US and Canada before coming to Europe Ford has confirmed that an all-electric version of its hugely popular Transit van will be unveiled as the e-Transit on 12 November. The reinvented Transit will be made in the US, most likely at a new purpose-built EV production facility in Michigan, and forms part of the company’s $11.5 billion (£9bn) global electrification strategy. A preview shows that, in panel van form, the new Transit will largely retain the silhouette of the current model, but - as is usually the case with electric version
  2. This vision of the future cost £115k new. Today? From £37k What you’re looking at could feasibly be seen as a concept car for the future, yet it’s actually a design that’s six years old. The BMW i8, which in fact has already gone out of production, uses a mixture of lightweight materials, extensive aerodynamics and hybrid technology to create a more ethical sports car that can crack 0-60mph in 4.5sec. Rather than a large petrol engine as per rivals like the Porsche 911 and Audi R8, the i8 uses a 228bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo, which is mounted behind the cabin and drives the rear whee
  3. New GV70 will be a key model in new premium brand's European launch that's expected next year The ramp-up towards Genesis’s European launch continues with the reveal of its latest model, the GV70 SUV. The new Genesis GV70, Genesis’s fifth model after the G70, G80 and G90 saloons, and the larger GV80 SUV, is intended to compete head on with the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC in the booming mid-size premium SUV segment. As such, it is set to be one of the key models in Genesis’s European launch, which was originally intended for this year but will likely now happen next af
  4. Three-day Goodwood event took place behind closed doors It was a shame it wasn't open to the public, but the motoring extravaganza brought much-needed smiles in these tough times Surreal. That’s the word I’d choose to best describe Goodwood Speedweek, the motorsport extravaganza that lit up October. It was surreal on a number of counts, most obviously that it gathered one of the most glorious and diverse collections of racing machinery ever seen, for a show that played out to empty spectator banks. It was also astonishing that it happened at all, on a weekend when tense negotiations were pl
  5. Rebadged Toyota PHEV plunges Suzuki into several new segments, and convincingly so, despite its somewhat ambitious price With the exception of the Jimny, whose presence in the UK range became as embarrassing for emissions-conscious executives as it was endearing to the man or woman on the street, Suzuki’s passenger car line-up is now exclusively electrified. Quite some achievement, and it all happened in the blink of an eye, with mild-hybrid powertrains rolled out to the Ignis, Swift, Vitara and S-Cross in the space of just a few months. The most ‘electrified’ of all the Japanese marque’s mo
  6. Latest SMMT figures show a 5.0% drop in production year on year as just 114,732 cars were turned out by UK factories Car production in the UK during September dropped to its lowest level in 25 years, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Just 114,732 cars were turned out by UK factories last month, some 6000 (5.0%) less than in September 2019, as car firms continue to suffer the effects of Brexit-related uncertainty and the coronavirus pandemic. SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “These figures are yet more grim reading for UK Automotive as coro
  7. Polestar's new take on the showroom won't have salespeople on commission but 'specialists' to guide customers through online sales Polestar has opened its first UK customer experience space in the heart of London’s Westfield shopping complex, the biggest retail centre of its kind in Europe. The new Westfield showroom, designed to display cars and explain the marque’s philosophy and model range to passing shoppers, is staffed by “specialists” who won’t earn commission but will direct customers towards online purchases so that new cars are delivered directly to their new owners’ homes. Polest
  8. Italian coachbuilder reveals roofless version of its forthcoming S1 Project supercar Italian coachbuilder Ares has revealed a limited-run open-top variant of its recently launched S1 Project supercar. The S1 Spyder keeps the hand-crafted carbonfibre body of the S1, which is claimed to offer “maximum downforce and minimum aerodynamic resistance”, but loses its windscreen and roof. In their place, it gains a pair of wind deflectors, pushing air over the passengers and into the car’s air intakes. Ares claims this creates a “virtual canopy and a calm yet unfiltered driving experience”. As with
  9. Plug-in performance SUV gains 30% more EV range, improved charging and minor price hike for 2021 Porsche has increased the capacity of the drive battery in its Cayenne and Cayenne Coupé plug-in hybrid models, boosting their electric-only range by up to 30%. Mirroring the upgraded system in the facelifted Panamera E-Hybrid, the duo’s battery capacity is up from 14.1kWh to 17.9kWh, increasing their EV range by three miles to 30 miles in standard form. The range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid now has 26 miles of electric-only range, increased from 19 miles. Porsche says this means that all Cayenne E
  10. Familiar engineering substance and new interior allure lift the 4 Series' appeal, even if the styling doesn’t. Still great to drive; would be equally great to use. The lightest, most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient version of the all-new second-generation BMW 4 Series – which, in all five of its two-door coupé-bodied launch derivatives, has now landed in the UK. Pretty soon, then, if you haven’t already, you’ll get a chance to make up your own mind about how it looks in the metal.And if your opinion reflects what seems to be the pretty widely shocked, confused and occasionally disgusted major
  11. All kinds of metal are on offer, spanning Seats to Suzukis Very few have the means to buy a classic Ferrari but most would find interest in an auction like this Desperate for that post-lockdown car fix but bored of frothy festivals and concours catwalks? You need to take yourself to an auction. But not a corporate event drowning in branding and stuffed with ranks of ex-lease hacks; rather an old-school set-up with real motors, real bidders and coffee you can stand your spoon in. Just like Cannock Motor Auctions. It’s located almost bang in the middle of England, so most will be able to m
  12. It’s effortlessly rapid over distance, but you’ll pay for it at the pumps Could Alpina’s take on the BMW 3 Series be the ultimate long-distance driver for a post-pandemic world? Another new 3 Series drives off the assembly line at Regensburg, north-east of Munich. It carries M division’s latest 3.0-litre straight six, but given the narrow hips and Touring body, it’s clearly no M3. Neither is this shade of green one you’ll find in BMW’s brochures. Nor, for that matter, is the car going by train to the port of Bremerhaven, where most of the 1100 cars that leave Regensburg daily head for expor
  13. "It’s not just my name on the side of the truck. I enjoy being involved" After nearly two decades in Formula 1, the British driver could be forgiven for putting his feet up. But where’s the fun in that? Jenson Button is buzzing, and not because he’s just come back from a run, when he picks up Autocar’s Zoom call. The 2009 Formula 1 champion is in great physical shape, as always, and at 40 is bursting with excitement about the future. Now a father with a second child on the way, it has been four years since his full-time F1 career finally ended after 17 intense seasons, and while he’s enjoy
  14. The ID 3 has a tough task to dethrone the Leaf Volkswagen hopes its new EV can become the new face of a brand scarred by Dieselgate - upending the Leaf in the process Brave new world, meet same old world. Electric cars once stood alone (dear early adopter, here is a vehicle unlike any other), but they certainly don’t any more. At the launch of the new Volkswagen ID 3, potential buyers could make a shortlist of several similarly priced, similarly specified battery-powered cars. As it is, we’ve chosen just the one to pitch it against. Volkswagen says its new zero-emissions family hatchback h
  15. Hypercar firm has confirmed 28 October debut for new model, possibly an EV using technology from Rimac Bugatti is building up to launch a new model and has confirmed the date of its unveiling as 28 October. The French hypercar brand is being especially cryptic in the lead-up to the covers coming off the new car. The only official image of it is a rear view of some X-shaped LED rear light strips, a light signature markedly different from that of the Chiron or its related variants (such as the Divo). A second preview image was sent out to the media today and this gives away even less: it sim
  16. Supermini gains new technology and a subtle restyle as Fiat celebrates 40 years of the Panda nameplate Fiat has marked the 40th anniversary of its Panda supermini with the unveiling of the New Panda - an updated version of the current car that brings styling tweaks, new derivatives and enhanced technology. Wearing a new front bumper, reshaped side skirts and fresh wheel designs, the updated Panda will go on sale in the UK priced from £11,895 - an increase of £1315 over the current car. The new 69bhp mild-hybrid petrol engine option is now standard fitment on all models except the 4x4, which
  17. Mercedes beat its rivals to the premium SUV segment. Does it still have a lead? An early arrival to the premium SUV scene has worked out rather well for the car that was latterly redubbed the Mercedes GLE-Class.In its first-generation form, the M-Class – as it was formerly known – was shown to the public as far back as 1996, when the BMW X5 was still only a designer’s sketch and before either the Audi Q7 or Range Rover Sport had even been thought of. Over three and a bit model cycles, and after a mid-life nomenclature change intended to better identify the car as Mercedes’ middle-sized luxury
  18. The Tesla Roadster was one of only a handful of electric cars with real panache when it burst onto the scene in 2008 Ten years ago, your electric car choice was limited to a compromised gaggle that did a pretty poor job of persuading drivers that there was potential for an engine-free future. But there was a highlight: the Tesla Roadster, which could crack more than 200 miles per charge (the first production car to do so), hit 62mph from rest in less than 4.0sec and, crucially, handle like a sports car. That’s no surprise, really, because the Roadster’s resemblance to the Lotus Elise is no c
  19. Mystery spy shots of jacked-up 911 support suggestions of a limited-run 'crossover' version of sports car An unusual high-riding Porsche 911 prototype has been seen testing on the road, reigniting suggestions that a rally-inspired ‘Safari’ model is in the works. The prototype, which in all other respects appears to be a standard 992-generation model, features a clearly raised ride height with the arch gap filled by styrofoam cladding. Such cladding has sometimes been used to help test and develop suspension set-ups, and to hide new developments such as air suspension. However, it could
  20. Motorsport is generally a pricey hobby, but not if you go hillclimbing Many regard motorsport as hugely expensive and out of the reach of ordinary folk. That’s certainly true of the higher echelons, but it couldn’t be more wrong at grassroots level. For those who want their motorsport to be about speed and the clock, hillclimbing can be as cheap and accessible as many weekend hobbies, and the standard car classes are perfect for newcomers. Hillclimbing pits driver and car against the clock on a narrow ribbon of uphill asphalt. It’s intense and demands total concentration. The headline venue
  21. Merc is scaling back after expanding hugely through small cars Mercedes is making the right moves in trimming its whopping 36 model lines. It's just a shame that the cost is the manual gearbox Mercedes-Benz is to phase out manual gearboxes, while “dramatically” reducing the number of engines it uses. “Complexity adds costs,” said its research and development boss, Markus Schäfer. It has far too much going on, in other words. Which won’t come as a surprise to many of you, particularly if you’ve considered buying a smaller Benz recently. Mercedes now offers eight saloons, nine SUVs and six
  22. Thatcham Research claims current systems’ capabilities are too limited to be safely introduced next year Government plans to legalise the use of hands-free automated lane keeping systems (ALKS) on motorways next year have come under fire from one of the UK’s leading safety bodies. Thatcham Research claims the plan, which would be implemented in the spring pending the results of a safety consultation ending this week, would “put road users’ lives at risk” because the current technology has “significant performance limitations”. Although the systems have to be updated from the current, widely
  23. Hot hatch has potent new 2.0-litre TDI engine with extra 16bhp and a claimed range of more than 500 miles The new Volkswagen Golf GTD is now available to order in the UK, priced from £32,790, making it the cheapest GT version of the Mk8 Golf. That price, £670 less than the manual petrol GTI, broadly maintains the kit offering of the pricier GT models. That means the 'IQ light' LED matrix headlights with automatic high-beam and an illuminated grille, LED honeycomb-design foglights and 18in alloy wheels are standard. Also included are keyless entry, tri-zone climate control, front sports se
  24. Prices for third-gen 500 revealed, with the sub-£20k model offering 115 miles of range Fiat is gearing up to begin customer deliveries of the all-new electric 500 in March 2021 and has today confirmed that prices will start from £19,995 when order books open in December. That price includes the £3500 plug-in car grant and is for the entry-level hatchback-only Action car, which is powered by a 94bhp electric motor capable of 0-62mph in 9.5sec and an 84mph top speed. The variant's 23.8kWh battery offers a WLTP-certified range of 115 miles and can charge at speeds of up to 50kW. Prices climb
  25. First ‘beta’ version of advanced autonomy mode “may do the wrong thing at the worst time” Tesla has begun to roll out the ‘beta’ version of a ‘Full Self-Driving’ (FSD) mode for its cars - but it comes with some significant caveats. The software, which is now being trialled by a select number of ‘expert and careful’ drivers in the US, is said to enable Tesla drivers to “make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns”. However, a notice that accompanied the update, shared by a Twitter user
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