Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder to use 911 GT3 flat six

Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder to use 911 GT3 flat six

Featherweight drop-top will swap turbo four power for the high-revving unit of its sibling

Porsche is developing the most driver-focused version of its current 718 Boxster with the naturally aspirated, flat six engine of the latest 911 GT3.

The next Boxster Spyder, which will be heavily related to the 718 Cayman GT4, will use a 4.0-litre engine in place of the current hottest 718’s turbocharged 2.5-litre flat four.

Porsche Motorsport has stuck to the formula applied to the car’s predecessors, which have cemented themselves as the driver’s Boxster model since 2009, giving the car a more responsive drivetrain that will make it the most involving Boxster on sale.

“Natural aspiration is one of our main USPs,” Andreas Preuninger, head of GT car development at Porsche told Autocar earlier this year. “At Motorsport, we think we can achieve throttle response and immediacy a little bit better with an atmospheric high-revving engine than any kind of turbo.”

Output for the 4.0-litre unit is rated at 493bhp at 8250rpm in the 911 GT3, but the Boxster Spyder’s power may be slightly down on this in order to leave breathing space for its more expensive sibling.

The previous Spyder used a 3.8-litre flat six taken from the 911 Carrera of the time that was good for 370bhp. The recently launched Boxster GTS and related Cayman GTS use highly-strung four-pot engines with 361bhp, so the new Spyder will need to produce more power to cement itself as the top Boxster. An output of around 425bhp seems likely.

To signify its driver focus, the car will be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but those after maximum on track performance will be able to select the option of a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.

The Spyder will also go on a hefty diet, ditching cabin insulation and even a radio and air conditioning. The 718 Boxster’s electric folding soft top will also go, in its place a manually removable ‘tent top’. These weight savings will combine with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber to make the car the sharpest handling production Boxster yet produced.

Much of the design treatment applied the Boxster Spyder will mirror those featured on the GTS. The Cayman GT4 will likely get the same adjustments, along with a more prominent rear wing to signify its even harder status.

No arrival date for the Boxster Spyder has been set, but the recent reveal of the GTS suggests it could follow in the first half of 2018.

Source: Autocar Online

Audi SQ7 long-term test review: a road-trip to France

Our road-trip to France tests the SQ7’s ability to haul luggage and people

You know you’ve got a road trip on your hands when you’re forced to attach a roof box to a car the size of the SQ7.

It’s a bit like NASA deciding to build an outhouse on the side of its Vehicle Assembly Building. But even for a car of the Audi’s size, a snowboarding trip presents a challenge – especially when there are going to be five of you. Driving 12 hours with three a breast in the back means footwells have to be for feet, hence the aerodynamic hindrance attached to the SQ7’s roof.

Other sacrifices had to be made, too. The rear seat entertainment tablets had to come out (there was nowhere to put them when not in use, and anyway, conversation would have likely stopped dead). Plus we had to rotate the middle seat incumbent in the interests of fairness (even in the SQ7, the transmission tunnel limits leg room). With the boot full to bursting, we had to rely on the reversing camera for backing up – although the 360deg view on the car is so good that this becomes second nature almost by default.

Nevertheless, even with it stuffed like an après ski dessert bowl, the big Audi has a knack of letting you stretch out inside. None of us is under 6ft tall, and yet save for the poor chap whose turn it was to knock the transmission tunnel cubbyhole to bits with his size 11s, we all felt there was sufficient room for us not to feel hobbled by journey’s end.

To ensure the car wasn’t hobbled, Audi had previously fitted a set of winter tyres, which had the effect of making the SQ7 feel invulnerable in the way a Panzer tank driver must have felt fairly invincible. Sadly, France (in historically apt fashion) barely bothered to throw down the gauntlet, and unseasonably warm weather ensured that we had to go looking for the snow that adorns the photographs. Not the car’s fault, of course; its only blemish was the smell of warm brakes on a decline filled with hairpins. And for that, I think, we can forgive it. LUC LACEY


Imagine my horror when I realised my first experience of this big SUV was going to be driving it down from the top floor of a tight multi-storey car park. But it was a doddle, aided by its all-wheel steering system, which tightens the car’s turning circle. As a £1100 extra, it’s a smart addition if you’re likely to spend a fair bit of time in narrow city streets. 


The past few weeks with the Audi SQ7 have been mostly about fluids.

The windscreen washer fluid warning light was illuminated for more than a fortnight before I got round to sorting it, at which point it still hadn’t actually run dry despite heavy use. With a 7.0-litre washer fluid tank, at least it shouldn’t need refilling too often. 

Around the same time, the AdBlue warning light came on, also with a healthy notice period of 1500 miles before the car would run out of the emissions-reducing exhaust additive completely and refuse to start. 

I had never filled an AdBlue tank before, but I had been told that the urea-based fluid can damage paintwork if you spill any on it, so I invested in a funnel and a 10-litre bottle of AdBlue for £13.49. I’ll happily carry out this minor chore every 6000-odd miles if it helps keep the nitrogen oxides emissions of our sub-5.0sec V8 SUV in check.

Our managing editor, Allan Muir, has spent a lot of time in the SQ7 of late. He said the optional all-wheel steering actually makes ‘Big Blue’ pretty wieldy at low speeds for such a huge car; enough to make fairly easy work of Autocar’s laughably tight multi-storey car park. 

Muir had some quibbles with the ‘virtual cockpit’ digital driver’s display: “The dials themselves are great, but the space between them is under-utilised. I chose to put the sat-nav map in there, but then I also have the map showing on the main screen as well, which is pointless, really. Also, I object to the fact that it doesn’t keep your settings after you’ve switched the engine off.” 

He’s got a point about the car not remembering your settings, but I disagree with his opinion on the space between the dials. I prefer to have the main display folded down, with the sat-nav map on the driver’s display and a prompt for the next direction on the head-up display. 

Perhaps the real point here is how impressive it is that the SQ7 offers such a variety of display layouts.

Read our previous reports below

1300-mile road trip

We’ve been piling on the miles in our Audi SQ7, mostly thanks to a trip to see family in Coburg, Germany.

It speaks volumes of how much I’d already enjoyed the SQ7 that I was relishing the 1300-mile round trip, and it didn’t disappoint. That monstrous torque, that loping suspension, that high seating position, that refinement, that sound system… they all made big miles seem small, and the other half and I loved every minute. It even did more than 30mpg when we weren’t using the autobahn to sample its top-end performance, which is startling for such a behomoth. The SQ7 is always stable, always slick, always in its comfort zone, always rampantly fast.

Interior space was a boon, too, with plenty of space for our luggage, or – as one random occasion required in Germany – a bale of hay for the sheep.

The sheep-feeding trip also took the SQ7 down a farm track that was covered in soft, tractor-churned mud beneath its leaf cover. The Audi’s quattro drive and raised Off Road setting came into play and it clawed its way along what proved to be a very low-traction surface. I’m not saying it’s a Land Rover Defender, but it did dig itself out of the occasional dodgy, axle-meets-mud moment with impressive surefootedness, even on road-biased tyres.

The whole trip proved how broad the SQ7’s talents are, to balance excitement and autobahn effortlessness so brilliantly and then turn farm vehicle and mobile entertainment unit when required.

The more miles I do, the more I struggle to find criticism of the SQ7. Maybe among the short local trips and jaunts down the M3 to Dorset I’ll be doing regularly for the next few months, I’ll find something to be annoyed with and won’t be so gushing in my next update. Or maybe not. 


Price £70,970 Price as tested £95,160 Economy 30.1mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 30.11.16

Read our first report here

Source: Autocar Online

New Jeep Compass SUV priced from £22,995

Jeep Compass

Jeep’s all-important entry into the booming C-SUV market will take on best-sellers like the Nissan Qashqai from February 2018

The new Jeep Compass, the brand’s all-important rival to the Renault Kadjar, Skoda Karoq and Vauxhall Grandland X, costs from £22,995, with the first right-hand-drive cars due in the UK in February 2018.

At 4.4 metres in length, the Compass slots into Jeep’s range between the 4.2m Renegade and 4.6m Cherokee. Company chiefs state it is a key addition to the range, giving Jeep a presence in the growing compact SUV market that is expected to account for two million vehicle sales in Europe by 2020. This new model replaces the previous-generation Compass, a mediocre offering that was withdrawn from sale here in 2015.

Read our first drive review of the Jeep Compass in Portugal

The £22,995 starting price buys a Sport 1.6 MultiJet II 120hp 4×2, which is a front-wheel-drive variant powered by a 1598cc turbodiesel engine producing 118bhp and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

A 2.0 diesel engine is also available in two states of tune – 138bhp and 168bhp – and only with four-wheel-drive. A choice of a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic transmission is offered, depending on trim level. The petrol offerings comprise a 1.4-litre MultiAir II Turbo engine with either 138bhp or 168bhp.

Four trim levels are available: Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk, although the latter won’t be available until the summer of next year. The most basic Sport trim’s standard equipment includes 16in alloy wheels, LED tail lights, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, aircon, cruise control, forward collision warning and a 60/40 rear seat split.

Jeep bosses expect Longitude to be the most popular trim level with customers. It gets 17in alloys and builds on the Sport variant’s kit with front fog lamps, Parkview reverse camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, an 8.4in infotainment screen, electric lumbar support, dual zone climate control and keyless entry and go.

The Limited spec adds 18in alloys (with 19in wheels as an option), halogen projector headlamps, silver roof rails, privacy glass, leather power and heated seats, windscreen wiper de-icer, heated steering wheel, rain sensitive wipers, Parkview reverse camera, Parksense front and rear park assist system, blind spot and cross path detection, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.  

Trailhawk is intended to sit alongside Limited as the top spec, albeit with a greater emphasis on off-road appointments. Its equipment includes halogen projector headlamps, front and rear off-road bumpers, raised off-road suspension, front and rear skid plates, 60/40 folding rear seat with boot pass-through, heated steering wheel, all-season floor mats, hill descent and an additional pre-set mode, Rock, on the SelecTerrain transmission select system.

The Compass Trailhawk will be powered with the 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine equipped with a low-range mode and will top the range at a price of £35,595.

Higher-spec versions of the Compass are offered with the latest iteration of Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment and connectivity system, which promises enhanced processing power, faster start-up times and high-resolution graphics on the touchscreens.

Jeep is also emphasising the Compass’s maximum five-star rating in the latest, most stringent Euro NCAP safety tests. It is offered with more than 70 active and passive safety features including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection and adaptive cruise control.

Source: Autocar Online

2018 Jaguar E-Pace review | Small Jaguar SUV driven | Autocar

Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar says that the E-Pace is meant to drive like an XE. But can a tall, predominantly front-drive SUV really drive like a Jaguar saloon?

The all-new Jaguar E-Pace is Jaguar’s first attempt at a compact SUV: the kind of car that will rival the Audi Q2 and Q3, and BMW’s X1 and, a bit, the X3.

At 4.4m long it’s a pretty compact car, and one based on Land Rover’s Evoque and Discovery Sport architecture. Which means it’s the first Jaguar that can be had with front-wheel drive since the X-Type.

Our test E-Pace is not front-drive: it’s a 296bhp (300hp) range-topper, driving all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive system that shares a fair amount with the one in a Ford Focus RS. But all of that means that it costs close to £50,000 in this specification.

Jaguar says that the E-Pace is meant to drive like an XE. But can a tall, predominantly front-drive SUV really drive like a Jaguar saloon? And even if it can, is it worth the money that Jaguar is asking for this top-spec version?

Related stories: 

Jaguar E-Pace review 

Jaguar F-Pace review 


Source: Autocar Online

Uber is taking a big risk by ordering 24,000 cars from Volvo

Enlarge (credit: Uber)

Uber has signed a deal with Volvo for 24,000 XC90 sport-utility vehicles for delivery between 2019 and 2021. With this deal—worth about $1 billion—Uber is essentially betting the company on a self-driving future.

It’s a big, risky bet for Uber, which lost $2.8 billion in 2016 and is locked in a legal battle with Waymo over self-driving technology that could cost it more than $1 billion.

When Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan talked to company insiders about Uber’s self-driving car project in March, she found that “many think it is at a technological standstill and plagued by significant internal tension.” Around the same time, Uber temporarily suspended public testing of its driverless cars after one of its cars collided with another car and flipped over on its side. The company says another driver was at fault in the incident, and it has since resumed testing.

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Source: Ars Technica

Volvo to supply 24,000 self-driving XC90s to Uber

Volvo XC90

Volvo’s largest SUV will be used by car-sharing firm Uber from 2019 for a large-scale self-driving taxi service

Volvo will supply 24,000 XC90s adapted for self-driving technology to car-sharing firm Uber from 2019 to 2021.

The Swedish car maker also confirmed that its largest SUV will be used for developing an autonomous car of its own, which is due on sale in 2021.

Uber vs London cab vs Sat-nav: which is best?

The non-exclusive agreement between Volvo and Uber follows last year’s announcement of a strategic partnership between the two firms, which resulted in 100 autonomous XC90s being used by Uber in a driverless taxi trial in Pittsburgh, US.

This latest move is a result of engineers from both companies developing the self-driving XC90 models that will be supplied to Uber.

Volvo said the vehicles “incorporate all the necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology”.

Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson said its aim is “to be the supplier of choice for autonomous-driving, ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

Uber partnerships chief Jeff Miller added: “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

Car makers teaming up with car-sharing firms are becoming more and more commonplace. Manufacturers are trying to position themselves at the forefront of a new era of getting around, rather than just focusing on traditional car-buying models. It is also a good opportunity to rack up autonomous miles in their respective vehicles.

Ford announced earlier this year it is working with Uber rival Lyft on a driverless car trial programme, while Chrysler is supplying Pacific hybrids to Google’s self-driving arm Waymo for its self-driving taxis trial.

Meanwhile, Volvo is independently testing the waters of car-sharing with its new subscription service Care by Volvo which will be offered on the XC40 as well as the Polestar 1 coupé, the first car from its new performance sub-brand. Users of the subscription service, who will pay a set fee each month for the car, will be able to share the car via an app with a handful of friends or family. 

Volvo digital boss Atif Rafiq told Autocar earlier this year: “You can imagine lending to a stranger. We need to develop the network, for example, by having a car fleet that we own.

“If you’re a car company and you’re not thinking about car sharing, there’s a problem.”

Related stories: 

Volvo S90 review 

Volvo XC60 review

Volvo XC90 review 

Source: Autocar Online

Exoskeletons won’t turn assembly line workers into Iron Man

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica

Polestar breaks ground at first Chinese plant

Polestar breaks ground at first Chinese plant

Construction of Volvo division’s Chengdu factory has begun; it’s due to be completed in mid-2018 ahead of the Polestar 1’s arrival

Ground has broken at the Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China, where construction workers have been tasked with completing the site by mid-2018.

The aggressive turnaround time is required to enable the swift commencing of pre-production testing and development of the Polestar 1, the brand’s freshly revealed hybrid model.

Polestar, the former Volvo performance arm that has heavy links to China through the brands’ parent company Geely, is building the site to be the country’s most ‘environmentally responsible’ car factory. It has sourced Norwegian architect company Snöhetta to design the facility, where up to 500 Polestar 1s are planned for production per year.

The site will also feature a customer experience centre, as well as a customer test track constructed within the grounds to allow prospective buyers a chance to test vehicles at pace before making their decision.

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said of the new site: “We are building a Production Centre that is a reflection of our brand. A facility that is modern, progressive, technically advanced and environmentally responsible. The Polestar Production Centre will be an embodiment of the Polestar brand.”

Polestar made waves when it announced that its 1 (pictured above), the car that launched the brand as a standalone performance division, will be sold exclusively via a subscription service. This unconventional method does away with conventional dealerships, removes the links to Volvo and works by offering customers two- or three-year contracts.

The two-door Polestar 1, inspired by the Volvo Concept Coupé of 2012, is a hybrid model with two electric motors that drive the rear wheels, producing a combined 215bhp with the support of an integrated starter-generator. The car will have a range of around 93 miles in pure-electric, rear-wheel-drive mode, giving it the largest EV range of any hybrid currently in production.

The electric drive system will be mated to a Volvo Drive-E 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which sends around 377bhp to the front wheels. When combined in Power mode, the hybrid system can produce 737lb ft of torque.

The first 1s are due to make production in mid-2019, less than one year after the Polestar plant is completed. 2 and 3 models will follow the 1, but these will ditch combustion engine power and rely solely on battery-electric propulsion, making the brand an electric car maker rival to Tesla.

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Source: Autocar Online

LA motor show 2017 – preview

2017 LA motor show - preview

The last motor show of the year is almost upon us, so let’s take a look at what to expect this time around. Doors open to the public on 1 December

The Los Angeles motor show is the last motor show of the year and often offers something different; it’s usually not to the same scale as Detroit, Geneva or Frankfurt, but each year it holds the premieres of some of the most interesting and important cars of the future. 

This year is no different. So with only a days to go before the show opens its doors, take a look at what’s coming to LA later this month.

Los Angeles motor show: the cars

Aria FXE

California-based engineering company Aria will reveal a high-performance concept model in LA, as shown by a single preview image. The picture reveals little other than that the car will have a fixed rear wing and intakes over the rear, suggesting it will be mid-engined.

BMW i8 Roadster

The drop-top version of BMW’s hybrid supercar has been spotted testing and hinted at a few times now, so a reveal in sunny, eco-friendly Los Angeles would fit the model perfectly. It’ll spearhead the facelifted i8 range, following the facelift of its smaller i3 sibling.

Genesis G70

Genesis pulled the wraps off of its rear-wheel-drive G70 saloon in September, but the car will make its public debut at the LA motor show. Despite its imminent arrival in the US, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class rival isn’t due to make it to Britain until 2021.

Infiniti QX50 

Yes, it’s another SUV, but they are the voiture du jour. Infiniti’s QX50 – a rival to the Audi Q5BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC – will be a close follow-up to the QX50 concept that was revealed at the Detroit motor show less than a year ago. 

Jeep Wrangler

Despite being leaked earlier this year, we’ll get our first proper look at the most rugged Jeep in the brand’s stable at LA next month. Expect ferocious go-anywhere ability, throwback looks and a smaller entry-level engine – a 2.0-litre rather than the current car’s 2.8-litre. 

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport facelifts

Mild refreshes to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have brought a more Velar-inspired front end to each, as well as a hybrid powertrain. They’re two more cars that have been given the big pre-show reveal long ago, but the first in-depth, in-the-metal look we get will be at the show. 

Lexus RX L

Lexus’ largest SUV, the RX, is about to get even bigger, with the introduction of a three-row version at LA. It’ll be available in 350L and 450hL versions, meaning there will be a choice between petrol-only and hybrid powertrains. Rivals include the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GLS, as well as the upcoming BMW X7

Mazda 6 facelift

Mazda’s handsome saloon is reaching the mid-point of its life cycle, so it’s getting a nip and tuck to keep it competitive with rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat. Mazda has already shown most of the car’s front-end styling in a preview image, so it’s clear where the tweaks are. There’s also a new 2.5-litre petrol engine added to the 6’s line-up.  

Mercedes-Benz CLS

We’ve already had a ride in the next-generation CLS, but we’ve yet to see what it looks like in full. It’ll be one of two new four-door coupés in the Mercedes line-up, with a four-door AMG GT model to be revealed later. Expect the CLS to keep things more on the tame side in comparison. 

Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman GTS

Porsche has given the 718 range a spruce-up with a new performance flagship model. There’s 361bhp on tap – that’s up by 15bhp – thanks to a new intake system and turbocharger tweaks, as well as styling changes to mark it out from the standard 718 Boxster and Cayman. GTS badging seals the deal.

Subaru Ascent

Subaru will reveal a new three-row SUV called the Ascent at the LA show, fitted a new direct injection boxer engine. Although primarily focused on the US market, the large model’s powerplant will likely make it to Britain in future applications.

Toyota FT-AC

Toyota has released a teaser image of a concept machine it will launch at the show. The Future Toyota Adventure Concept is understood to be an off-road SUV-style machine. The firm showcased an urban SUV concept, the FT-4X, at this year’s New York show.

Source: Autocar Online

650bhp Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 004S revealed with Le Mans ambitions

650bhp Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 004S revealed with Le Mans ambitions

New hypercar will help American brand to ‘scale up’ production in a bid to enter the iconic endurance race

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) has revealed a new hypercar, the SCG 004S, with ambitions for the 650bhp three-seater to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The SCG 004S sits above the existing 003S in the company’s range.

It’s powered by a 5.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that produces 531lb ft of torque. The unit redlines at 8200rpm and sends drive rearwards through a six-speed manual gearbox. A paddle-shift automatic gearbox is offered as an option.

The SCG 004S car has a carbonfibre chassis and weighs just 1179kg. It seats the driver in the middle ahead of two passengers, in the same layout as the McLaren F1.

SCG was recently granted legal permission to produce its cars in the US (production was previously handled in Italy) with Low Volume Manufacture approval. The brand can now build up to 325 cars annually and expects SCG 004S production to reach 250 units per year from 2020.

Such an output is required for SCG to enter endurance racing competitions such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which it would compete in the GTE class.

The company, which is headed by James Glickenhaus, an American film director and financier, already provides a 003C (the GT3 racing version of the 003S) to race at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, where it has achieved two class wins.

SCG is now planning to offer GT3, GTE and GTLM competition versions of the SCG 004 while continuing to support the 003C.

Prototypes of the 004S will commence on-road testing in mid-2018, with the first customer examples due to be delivered before the end of the year. The first 25 cars will be special Founders Edition models.

Prices for the SCG 004S will start at $400,000 (about £301,640), with deposits of $40,000 being taken to reserve a build slot.

More content:

Nürburgring lap time record competition proposed by James Glickenhaus

Source: Autocar Online

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