Updated: 2019 Los Angeles motor show preview

2018 Los Angeles motor show - crowds

With less than a week to go, we map out the most important unveilings taking place in California

This year’s motor show calendar is in full swing, with Frankfurt’s IAA event bringing us pivotal new models from countless mainstream manufacturers, and last month’s Tokyo motor show demonstrating that, for many firms, creativity is key in today’s challenging market environment. 

Now though, it’s time to look ahead to the Los Angeles Auto Show, at which we’re expecting a huge variety of important US and Europe-focussed models to appear in the metal for the first time. Last year’s edition saw the debut of Porsche’s acclaimed 992-generation 911, the striking Audi E-tron GT concept and Mazda’s reinvented 3 hatchback to mention but a few, and 2019 is already shaping up to be just as significant. 

Take a look at everything we’re expecting to see here:

Audi 

E-tron sportback 

Shown in camouflaged prototype form at March’s Geneva motor show, the rakishly styled Sportback variant of Audi’s E-tron electric SUV has since lost its disguise in the run-up to its LA reveal

The standard E-tron’s 402bhp twin-motor powertrain is carried over unmodified, meaning the Sportback will be capable of 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, a range of around 248 miles and 150kW rapid charging. Changes look to be limited to the reshaped roofline and a subtly restyled rear end, which includes an LED brake light bar similar to that of the A8 luxury saloon. 

New Audi E-tron Sportback seen ahead of debut

BMW

2 Series Gran Coupé

The largest model in BMW’s 2 Series line-up will make its public debut at LA, following a reveal in October. 

The firm’s first small four-door coupe sits atop the same front-wheel-drive platform as the smaller 1 Series, and shares that model’s range of petrol and diesel powerplants. The range-topping M235i xDrive, however, gains all-wheel drive and will take on the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo petrol unit pumping out 302bhp and 332lb ft. 

New BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe squares up to Mercedes CLA

M8 Gran Coupe

At the other end of BMW’s performance saloon range is this, the fearsome M8 Gran Coupe. Going up against the Porsche Panamera with up to 616bhp from its 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, the five-door version of the firm’s new M8 is priced from £120,935, with deliveries due to take place at the start of next year.

BMW M8 Gran Coupe revealed as Porsche Panamera rival

Bollinger

B1 and B2

Newly established American firm Bollinger will showcase prototype versions of its B1 and B2 electric SUVs. The rugged-looking off-roaders sit atop a skateboard-style chassis, and have been engineered to meet road-legal requirements around the world. In spite of their aerodynamically unfriendly design and imposing size, the boxy models will hit 60mph from rest in just 4.5 seconds, thanks to a pair of electric motors producing a combined 614bhp. 

Bollinger reveals electric off-roader and pick-up truck

Ford

‘Mach E’ electric SUV

Ford will kickstart its electrification strategy with a sleek SUV-shaped model inspired by the Mustang sports car, showing the model for the first time at LA.

Due to go on sale in 2020 as a rival to Tesla’s new Model Y, the model has been confirmed to offer a range of 370 miles on the WLTP cycle, but the company is withholding additional details pertaining to the model’s performance, pricing and design until its unveiling. 

Ford ‘Mach-E’ electric crossover takes aim for Tesla Model Y

Hyundai

PHEV concept

Hyundai’s ‘ground-breaking’ new SUV concept takes inspiration from 2018’s Le Fil Rouge show car, and looks to preview a futuristic plug-in hybrid production model to sit below the Santa Fe seven-seater. Technical details remain scarce, but a preview image shows off a sleek, rakish roofline, squared-off wheel arches and a bespoke grille design with integrated cooling flaps. 

Hyundai previews plug-in hybrid SUV concept ahead of LA motor show

Mercedes

Maybach GLS

Conceived as a rival to the Range Rover SVAutobiography, Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Maybach GLS is an ultra-luxurious reworking of Mercedes’ GLS flagship SUV

The standard model’s silhouette is retained, but spy shots show the Maybach version will feature bespoke design elements inspired by 2016’s Maybach 6 coupe concept. There are suggestions the top-of-the-line GLS could also offer improved rear legroom courtesy of an extended wheelbase. 

Mercedes-Maybach GLS drops camo ahead of reveal

Mini

John Cooper Works GP

Mini’s fastest model yet, the 300bhp JCW GP, has been teetering on the edge of an unveiling for a while, with prototypes making public appearances at high-profile events like the Nurburgring 24 Hours and Goodwood Festival of Speed, but now the wraps are finally coming off. Confirmed details include a £34,995 starting price and sub-eight minute Nordschleife laptime, but we’ll have to wait to see just how Oxford’s answer to the Mercedes-AMG A35 will differentiate itself style-wise from the standard Cooper JCW.

2020 Mini JCW GP: 300bhp hot hatch priced from £34,995

Porsche

911 manual

Not a new car, but almost as exciting, is the news that Porsche is adding a seven-speed manual option to its 911 sports car. The option is rolling out at no extra cost to buyers in the US, with a UK launch expected in the new year. It’s likely that Porsche will show the manual 911 at LA. 

Porsche 911 to gain manual gearbox option

Taycan 4S

Launched as the entry point into Porsche’s new Taycan electric super-saloon range, the 4S offers considerably less power than the top-run Turbo and Turbo S models, but is also much more affordable, with prices starting at £83,000. Range is a still-respectable 252 miles in standard guise, with an optional Performance Battery Plus pack bringing that up to 287 miles. 

New Porsche Taycan 4S unveiled with £83,000 price

Tesla 

Cybertruck

Elon Musk will unveil his firm’s long-awaited electric pick-up truck on 21 November at an independent event separate from the motor show itself. He has revealed little so far of what to expect from the model, beyond its size (similar to a Ford F-150), and cost (less than £39,000). He has noted, however, that its final design will not match that of the numerous predictive renders circulating online, and will more closely resemble an ‘armoured personnel carrier from the future’. 

Tesla pick-up to be revealed on 21 November, Musk says

Toyota

RAV4 PHEV

Toyota will follow up its future-looking Tokyo motor show display with the unveiling of a new hybrid version of one of its biggest-selling models. The RAV4 PHEV will offer more range, power and battery capacity than the existing self-charging hybrid, over which it is likely to command a small premium. 

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in hybrid set for LA show debut

Volkswagen

Space Vizzion concept

Volkswagen will unwrap a new addition to its ID range of electric vehicles in the form of a Europe-focused, Passat-sized estate destined for production in 2021. 

The new model will follow a wave of big-selling crossover and hatchback-style EVs from VW and its Skoda, Audi and Seat partner brands, as part of the company’s drive to produce 15 million MEB-based electric cars before 2028. 

Volkswagen ID Space Vizzion confirmed for 2021 production​

Read more

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Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro 2019 UK review

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

Mercedes-AMG’s V8 sports car gets a hardcore chassis makeover but remains usable and enjoyable on the road, even if it has still not quite made it into Porsche RS territory

This is Mercedes-AMG’s new top-of-the-range GT super-sports car, and its latest attempt to turn the front-engined two-seater into the sort of hardcore driver’s car to force its way into a buying conversation that might also involve the Ferrari Pistas, McLaren Longtails and Porsche GT3 RSs of this world.It’s a lofty ambition, particularly given that the GT hasn’t so far suggested that it has quite that sort of dynamic potential in its various other forms. The only other AMG sports car that has ever really approached it was the SLS Black Series. But given that AMG boss Tobias Moers seems hell-bent on proving that anything Porsche can do Affalterbach can do every bit as well, you’d imagine he won’t be satisfied until he’s earned a seat at that particular table (where, presumably, all are of fixed-back, integrated-headrest design, and the whole set-up looks not unlike the dugout at Real Madrid).Mercedes watchers suggest that this won’t actually be the ‘ultimate’ version of the GT, with a Black Series derivative of its own secretly scheduled as an end-of-run special. But while certain aspects of the GT R Pro’s specification seem to leave notional head room for such a car, others make you question how much of it really does exist.The car uses the same powertrain as the regular GT R, giving it a 577bhp turbo V8, a transaxle paddle-shift gearbox and rear-wheel drive. It retains the standard GT R’s four-wheel steering system and 10-position, track-intended, ‘how-much-drift-angle-would-you-like-before-I-save-your-bacon-yet-again-sir’ traction control system. But it has benefited from a very purposeful chassis and suspension makeover that has added high-end coilover suspension that’s manually adjustable for spring preload, anti-roll stiffness, high-speed and low-speed damper compression and damper rebound.It gets an integrated half-sized roll-cage also, which increases the rigidity of the chassis along with some new carbonfibre underbody bracing. And it also gets entirely rigidly mounted rear suspension, where it’s only partially so in a regular GT R.

Source: Autocar Online

Nearly-new buying guide: BMW 5 Series

BMW 520d

There’s a used exec car in this line-up to suit your wants and needs. Just make sure you get a good one

The BMW 5 Series saloon of 2010-17 offers an almost unbeatable combination of performance, economy and build quality in the executive car class – especially in tax-busting 520d SE trim. In some areas, such as its styling (a little bland) and suspension (the optional adaptive system is a big improvement), it falls slightly short, but viewed in the round, it’s a used car you won’t regret buying.

The 520d SE, which was the least powerful diesel in the 2010 launch line-up, dominates supply and, given its primary role as a long-distance mobile office, mileages can be high. For example, as this was written, there were almost 230 520ds with more than 100,000 miles on one popular sales site, ranging in price from £4000 for a 2011-reg with 170,000 miles to £10,000 for a 2015- reg with 100,000.

The diesels are, in the main, a great choice and range from the later 518d launched in 2014 (it’s rare, less powerful and no more economical than the 520d, so avoid it unless it’s cheap) to the thundering, twin-turbocharged 535d that produces 309bhp and an even more impressive 465lb ft of torque for 0-62mph in 5.3sec. Prices for the 535d start from £7500 for a 2001-reg with 130,000 miles. In between is the slightly more common 530d, with 354bhp and 398lb ft. The opening prices for this are around £5000. If big mileage easily dispatched is your goal, this or the 535d will do nicely.

The petrols were never going to compete with the tax-busting diesels, which is a pity because BMW made them more efficient from 2011. Out went some of the old six-pot 3.0-litre motors, badged 523i and 528i, to be replaced by new four-cylinder turbocharged units, badged 520i and, confusingly, 528i. A 2012-reg 520i SE with 50,000 miles costs around £10,500 but, for power with decent economy, go for the 528i.

If you want the classic BMW six-pot experience, with the bills to match, you’ve got those early 3.0-litre cars we mentioned plus another, the 535i. Beyond these, there’s the 550i, with its 4.4-litre V8, and finally the mighty M5. Nearly forgot: there’s also the 535i ActiveHybrid, but then with economy in the mid-20s, so did new car buyers.

On the trims front, BMW kept things simple. There are just three: SE, Luxury and M Sport. SE has most bases covered, with dual-zone climate control, a 6.5in touchscreen iDrive system with sat-nav and digital radio, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic headlights and wipers. SE is our choice but, if you want more comfort and technology, go for Luxury, and if you want M5-lite looks without that car’s bills, choose M Sport.

The reliability survey of our sibling title What Car? places this generation of 5 Series a little way below the same-gen Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6 but above the Jaguar XF. Serious faults concern the exhaust system and engines, with a quarter of cars affected unable to be driven.

Top spec pick

M Sport: M Sport gives you a touch of the M5, thanks to its bodykit, M Sport alloy wheels, sports suspension and dark chrome exhaust tailpipes, plus powered front sports seats inside.

Need to know

Look out for cars with optional Variable Damper Control. It takes the model’s handling and ride comfort to a new level. Small surface imperfections are better dealt with and the body rolls less. If you can’t find a car with it, at least avoid wheels larger than 18in.

In 2013, all 5 Series diesels became Euro 6-compliant, a standard that was not made compulsory until September 2015. Depending on the model, they have either a NOx storage catalyst or an SCR catalytic converter with urea injection.

Since 2014, eight-speed automatic models have featured Proactive Drive, a technology that works with the satellite navigation system to produce gearchanges that correspond to the road conditions. It works regardless of whether the sat-nav is on or off.

Our pick

BMW 520d SE: Post-2013, facelifted and Euro 6-compliant versions of the top-value and plentiful 520d are the ones to look out for. SE trim has most of the things you need.

Wild card

BMW 550i M Sport: A rung below the M5 but still with a 4.4-litre V8 making 402bhp for 0-62mph in 5.0sec. Cheaper than the M5 (prices from £12,000 compared with £19,000) and rarer, too.

Ones we found

2011 520d SE, 176,000 miles, £4500

2013 525d SE auto, 100,000 miles, £7999

2015 528i M Sport auto, 79,000 miles, £13,950

2016 530d M Sport, 59,000 miles, £17,300

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

Racing lines: Why Motorsport UK is getting a new HQ

Motorsport UK Bicester with signage

British motorsport’s governing body is upgrading to a swanky new base at Bicester Motion. We caught up with CEO Hugh Chambers about the move

The gilded palace of British motorsport’s governing body has, for the past 30 years, actually been a dowdy single-storey office block tucked away on a Colnbrook industrial estate below the flight path into Heathrow. As a base, it’s underwhelming (and noisy), to put it lightly. But that’s all about to change as the MSA – now known as Motorsport UK – takes the next step towards a revolution that promises a shot in the arm for racing and rallying at the grass-roots and club level.

“The organisation has been in Colnbrook for 30 years and I’m sure there were good reasons back then for moving from Belgrave Square, which sounds like quite a nice place to be…” says CEO Hugh Chambers. “Over time, it’s been viewed as increasingly distant from our membership and there’s no real relevance to our location. It has no proximity to any motorsport businesses and it’s in no man’s land.”

Next year, a new HQ will be established, not at Silverstone as was expected but at Bicester Motion, the 444-acre site based at an old RAF airfield that is fast becoming a central automotive hub. Situated bang in the middle of the so-called ‘Motorsport Valley’, the new home will, Chambers promises, “change the very nature of the governing body from a bunch of people stuck in an office issuing licences to one that has its members at its heart and has a facility to be developed where we can invite people to engage with us”.

The move will follow in two stages, as Chambers explains. “The first phase will be moving into a building leased from Bicester on their new technical site,” he says. “That will allow us to put a stake in the ground and frees us up to redevelop our existing building, which we own, to sell it with a change of use to warehousing. When that is completed, we can then push the button on an option to purchase a plot of land at Bicester, on which we would then build a specific building for us. By doing so, we can conduct this entire exercise in a cost-effective way.”

The new base, he says, will help enable the body to become more relevant and useful to its sport and 43,000 members. “The organisation has boxed itself into a corner of being a governing body in the traditional mould of issuing rules and regulations,” says Chambers. “But we are in the entertainment business and there’s a bit of Darwin needed. We have got to evolve to match the market.”

The long-held cynical view of the MSA, as a staid organisation that feathers its own nest with licence fees, will take time to change, and Chambers’ revolution has a long way to go. Fifty-five miles up the M40 should be a good start.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

First ride: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA prototype

Mercedes-Benz GLA prototype ride 2019 - hero front

We strap in for an early look of the upcoming A-Class-based compact crossover and to experience its off-road credentials

Mercedes-Benz isn’t a car maker that we automatically associate with compact cars. We should, though.

Almost every fourth car it has sold worldwide in 2019 so far is a compact car – technically identified by the fact that it uses a transverse engine and offers the choice of either front or four-wheel drive.

The success of its small cars in many global markets – including the UK – over recent years was behind a decision by Mercedes earlier this decade to expand its line-up to the point where it presently offers seven different models off its latest small car platform, the MFA II.

The latest is the GLB, which adds a new dimension to the line-up with seven-seat capability next to the A-Class, A-Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake.

Now the firm is preparing to introduce an eighth model in the form of the second-generation GLA. The new five-seat crossover is a vitally important car for the company; since its launch in 2014, almost one million examples of the original model have been sold worldwide.

Looking to garner an even greater slice of the premium small SUV market against popular rivals such as Audi Q2 and BMW X2, Mercedes plans to offer the new GLA with the choice of three different powertrains: petrol, diesel and petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. 

We’re still a few weeks away from seeing the new GLA, which will be shown by Mercedes boss Ola Källenius in an online presentation. But ahead of that event, we were given the chance to sample a near-production prototype in a run around an off-road obstacle course at Mercedes’ Rastatt plant. The model is currently undergoing pilot production here, ahead of the first UK cars arriving in the second quarter of 2020.

Initial impressions back up what earlier scoop images of the new GLA suggested: that it has been given more upright styling in a bid to provide it with greater interior accommodation, added versatility and a slightly larger boot.

Mercedes confirms the new model is almost 20mm shorter than its 4424mm-long predecessor. Despite this, the wheelbase has been extended by 30mm to 2729mm, endowing it with greater rear leg room and the scope for an adjustable rear seat similar to that already offered as an option in the B-Class and GLB.

The biggest change in overall dimensions, however, comes with the height. It has been increased by almost 100mm, giving the GLA less of a hatchback-on-stills optic in favour of a more dedicated crossover appearance. It also helps to provide greater head room, especially in the rear, which is now considerably roomier than before.

Inside, the new GLA combines elements from both the A-Class and GLB. With clear and precise digital instruments, a touchscreen infotainment system housed with a single panel and 64-colour ambient lighting, it’s big on upmarket appeal. Standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, speed limit assistance, driver attention monitoring and keyless ignition.

With our time in the new GLA limited to an off-road course at low speeds, we can’t tell you much about its character just yet. What we can confirm, though, is that it’s capable of going places most prospective owners will never consider taking it.

As with other new Mercedes compact models, its optional 4Matic four-wheel drive system has been re-engineered to offer fully variable apportioning of power to either the front or rear wheels. Traction on slippery surfaces is obviously a key strength, allowing it to climb and descend tricky obstacles without much trouble at all.

Despite Mercedes’ insistence on showcasing the GLA’s off-road ability, though, it will only be offered with standard bodywork. A more rugged variant in the style of the company’s All-Terrain models isn’t on the cards, according to Mercedes representative Markus Nast. He says the new model, which goes under the internal codename H247, will be available exclusively with a standard or, in combination with an AMG bodykit, lowered ride height.

The engines for the new GLA mirror those of the other Mercedes compact models. Exclusively four-cylinder, they include 1.3-litre and 2.0-litre petrols delivering 163bhp and 225bhp, plus a 1.5-litre diesel with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0-litre diesels developing 148bhp and 187bhp.

Standard GLA models will retain front wheel drive, while gearboxes are set to be a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic Getrag or eight-speed dual-clutch Mercedes unit, depending on the engine. 

A new GLA 250e EQ Power plug-in hybrid will join the new GLA line-up shortly after the beginning of sales in the UK next summer. It uses the same powertrain as the recently introduced A250e EQ Power, with a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and gearbox-mounted electric motor developing a combined 215bhp. With a 15.6kWh lithium ion battery mounted underneath the rear seat, it’s expected to provide an electric-only range of more than 40 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

Also planned for sale during the second half of 2020 are three 2.0-litre four-cylinder AMG models: the 306bhp GLA 35 4Matic, 387bhp GLA 45 4Matic and 415bhp GLA 45 S 4Matic.

Autocar can also reveal the new compact crossover also forms the basis of the electric EQA. Set for launch in 2021, it will challenge the likes of the Volkswagen ID 3 with a range that insiders put at more than 300 miles.

As with the original GLA, the new model will be produced alongside the A-Class and B-Class in Germany, although additional production will take place in Beijing for the Chinese market.  

READ MORE

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Mercedes-Benz EQA: first prototypes seen showing GLA bodywork

New Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and GLA 45 prototypes spotted



Source: Autocar Online

Audi S8 2019 review

Audi S8 2019 first drive review - tracking front

Limo-like luxury meets plentiful V8 performance as Audi seeks to rival the Mercedes-AMG S63

The engineering brief for the new Audi S8 is surely one of the most demanding in the automotive business.Here’s a car that, on the one hand, must deliver top shelf limousine like qualities, with all the imbibing plushness, soft-riding comfort and soul soothing refinement discerning customers expect.But at the same time, the most outwardly sporting variant of Ingolstadt’s flagship four-door saloon is also expected to offer supercar-like performance while engaging the driver with the sort of dynamic qualities to see off its premium brand rivals – all in a package stretching to over five metres in length and weighing all of 2230kg.It’s a balancing act previous incarnations of the S8 attempted to achieve but arguably failed to pull off with quite the same level of success as the high end competition.For this new one, Audi has left nothing to chance. Not only does the new S8 get a heavily reworked twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine featuring new mild hybrid properties but also the most advanced suspension Audi has ever placed in a production model.With 563bhp, power has wound back by 34bhp over the ultimate version of the third-generation S8 – the S8 Plus, which used a less heavily developed version of the same engine. But with up to 1.8bar of turbocharger boost pressure, torque has increased by 37lb ft, now peaking at 590lb ft on a band of revs between 2000 and 4500rpm.To put this into perspective, the newly facelifted BMW M750i xDrive’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine delivers 523bhp and 553lb ft, while the Mercedes-Benz S63’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 powerplant serves up 603bhp and 664lb ft.The stronger reserves are sent through an upgraded eight-speed torque converter equipped automatic gearbox with a manual shifting Tiptronic function and Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system with a so-called sport differential that constantly varies the amount of drive sent to each individual rear wheel. Depending on the conditions, up to 70 per cent of drive can be delivered to the front wheels. Alternatively, 85 per cent can also be apportioned to the rear wheels.Audi makes big claims about the new S8’s efficiency. It boasts both a cylinder on-demand system that automatically closes down one bank of cylinders on light throttle loads at urban driving speeds and a new belt-driven 48-volt starter motor that operates in combination with a 0.47kWh lithium-ion battery and a recuperation system capable of harvesting up to 8kW of energy during braking and coasting. Together, they are claimed to reduce consumption by almost 0.2mpg.Yet despite the impressive energy-saving technology, combined cycle fuel economy is reduced from a previous 29.4mpg to 24.8mpg, giving the new S8 an average CO2 rating on the NEDC cycle of 260g/km.   It’s the suspension, though, that Audi is relying on to allow the new S8 to successfully achieve it dual roles. The new system, known as Predictive Active Suspension, uses a camera to scan the road and electro-mechanical actuators to constantly vary the ride height. Each wheel can be separately loaded or relieved depending on the road conditions across five driving modes. In Comfort+, the suspension tilts the body into corners to reduce lateral forces. In Dynamic, body roll is reduced to around half of that of a standard steel sprung suspension, according to Audi.As always, there’s little to tell the fourth-generation S8 apart from its less sporting A8 sibling. Audi has a long history of delivering some of the most sought after understated performance saloons, and it is successfully employed here. At standstill, the new model looks pumped but subtly so and without any obviously contrived design elements. Among the unique touches is a new front bumper housing an S8 specific double louvre grille, wider sills beneath the doors, aluminium-look mirror housings and Audi’s signature S-model quad tailpipe treatment at the rear.

Source: Autocar Online

New Ferrari Roma is 200mph+ front-engined coupe

Ferrari Roma

Ferrari Roma

New front-engined machine, which produces 602bhp from Ferrari’s V8 turbo motor, is claimed to offer “unparalleled performance”

Ferrari has revealed a new 602bhp mid-front-engined coupé called the Roma; it’s effectively a fixed roof version of the Portofino with substantially reworked styling.

The Italian firm described the machine as a “2+” coupé featuring “refined proportions and timeless design”, with the Italian firm also promising “unparalleled performance and handling.” The Roma gains a bold grille at the end of its elongated front, and sharp lines over the bold wheel arches.

The Roma is powered by a revamped version of the 3.9-litre turbocharged V8 unit as in the Portofino drop-top, albeit using the eight-speed DCT gearbox that was introduced on the SF90 Stradale.

In the Roma, the unit delivers 602bhp between 5750 and 7500rpm, with 591lb ft of torque between 3000 and 5750rpm.

That output is up from 592bhp and 561lb ft in the Portofino. Ferrari claims a 0-62mph time of 3.4secs, and a top speed of more than 199mph. The version of this powerplant used in the recently launched F8 Tributo produces 710bhp.

Notably, the Roma has a dry weight of just 1472kg with lightweight options fitted; that’s a little less than 200kg lighter than the Portofino. It measures 4656mm long and is 1974mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2670mm.

So far, Ferrari has only released limited details of the Roma, along with a small number of images. The only interior shot so far shows a dramatically sculpted cockpit featuring a digital instrument display and a touchscreen mounted at the front of a large centre console.

There is also no indication of what Ferrari means by a 2+ seater. The California, which preceded the Portofino, was orignially offered with the choice of two tiny rear seats or a bench, an option the Roma could re-introduce.

According to Ferrari, the Roma was named after the Italian capital – where it was revealed at a launch event – because it “is a contemporary representation of the carefree, pleasurable way of life that characterised Rome in the 1950s and ’60s.” That implies that the machine will focus more on everyday usability and relaxed driving than being intended as a long-distance grand tourer.

The decision to introduce a new nameplate, rather than just producing a hard-top version of the Portofino, has likely been taken to target the car at a new audience. By turning the car into a “2+” coupé, it can likely broaden its offering at the entry level of its range. 

Earlier this year, Ferrari’s marketing chief, Enrico Galliera, told Autocar that the firm would become “less predictable” and said that at least car it would reveal this year would be “in a new segment”. Ferrari’s current focus is on increasing revenues rather than strictly increasing sales.

Ferrari is expected to reveal more information and details about the Roma tomorrow (Thursday).

Read more

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Source: Autocar Online

Peugeot to make Le Mans return with new hypercar

Peugeot L750 R hybrid Gran Turismo concept

Peugeot’s L750 R hybrid concept only made it as far as the Gran Turismo racing game

French car maker announces plan for endurance racing comeback in 2022

Peugeot has given a shot in the arm to the new hypercar class at the Le Mans 24 Hours by announcing its intention to return to the race in 2022.

Parent company PSA has released a brief statement confirming its intention to not only race at Le Mans, but also to compete in all rounds of the World Endurance Championship, starting in 2022 with an all-new hybrid-based contender. No further details have been revealed at this stage.

PSA motorsport director Jean-Marc Finot said: “I am very excited at the prospect of channelling the skills and passion of my team into this project.

“It is a new challenge and I know our experts will rise to it with another demonstration of their will to win with teams financed by the [PSA] Group’s brands, fuelled by their long experience of top-flight FIA championships and hunger for success.”

The surprise entry goes a long way to validating the decision to switch from the current LMP1 regulations to a new hypercar formula, which is due for introduction in 2020. Before Peugeot’s announcement, the only major car makers to commit to the category were Toyota and Aston Martin.

The new hypercar rules have been shaped with cost-cutting in mind, with a season’s budget expected to be limited to around €20 million (£17m). Manufacturers have the option of developing a bespoke racer, or modify a road-going hypercar for race use. Toyota has opted to focus on a bespoke racer, while Aston Martin plans to enter the Valkyrie.

Peugeot has a rich history at Le Mans, winning its world-famous home race twice at the end of the Group C era, in 1992 and 1993. It returned to sports car racing in the LMP1 era, battling Audi for honours between 2007 and 2011, winning Le Mans in 2009 with its diesel-powered 908 HDi FAP.

A hybrid version of the car was under development when Peugeot pulled the plug on the endurance racing programme, just one year before the founding of the WEC in 2012. Since then, rumours have suggested the car maker could return to the race, but bosses have always maintained the would only do so if the rules changed to lower costs and make a campaign more sustainable.

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Source: Autocar Online

Porsche 911 Speedster 2019 UK review

Porsche 911 Speedster 2019 UK first drive review - hero front

How does the drop top GT3 cope on wintry British roads? Time to don the bobble hat and turn the heater up to 11

Essentially it’s a very limited run swansong for the 991 generation Porsche 911. A sort of ‘greatest hits’ version, it pulls together some of the tastiest components from the some of the already excellent GT models and packages them up in one send-off special that’s topped off with some wind-in-the-hair thrills that only versions wearing the Speedster badge can deliver. We’ve already had a spin in the Speedster earlier this year, but that was in a sunny setting that played to its drop top strengths. And very good it was too. Five star good in fact. However, now we’ve had a chance to drive one on UK soil. In November. In the wintry north east of England. So how does it stack up in these rather more challenging conditions?Before we find out, it’s probably worth a little recap as to what exactly goes into making the Speedster. First off it’s the fourth model, and the third 911, to wear this badge, which debuted on a pared-back, cut-price 356 in 1954. And at a snifter under £212,000 it’s also the most expensive, by some margin. Yet it’s also arguably the most special. While the previous 911 Speedsters (G-Series, 964 and 997) have been little more than slightly fettled Carrera models with cut-down windscreens and bubble covers for the hood and rear seats, the latest version takes the GT3 as its base. In fact, it’s even more special than that; its body effectively melds Carrera 4S Cabriolet and GT3, while the front wings and bonnet are carbon fibre items from the 911R. The same lightweight material is used for the bespoke hood cover, which sits behind the front seats. At the rear is GT3 bumper, while at the other end the lower spoiler and air intakes are bespoke to the Speedster.Mechanically it’s largely GT3, with effectively the same naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six hanging out over the rear axle. Petrol particulate filters help it hit the latest emissions regulations, while some subtle massaging has helped release an extra 10bhp, taking the total output to 503bhp and helping to offset the Speedster’s fractionally higher kerbweight. Happily the only transmission option is a six-speed manual (thank you again, 911R), which drives the rear wheels.The suspension has been left largely alone, although, because this is a car aimed at the road as much as the track, the damper rates have been softened a little. Standard fit is the excellent four-wheel steering system and the carbon ceramic brakes. Very nice.

Source: Autocar Online

Hyundai previews plug-in hybrid SUV concept ahead of Los Angeles motor show

Hyundai PHEV concept profile

‘Ground-breaking’ show car is an SUV-coupé with an active aerodynamic grille and Grandeur-inspired lights

Hyundai has released pictures and a video of a ‘ground-breaking’ plug-in hybrid concept car that it’s set to reveal at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show.

The concept is the seventh in a series of Hyundai Design Center concepts designed to express the brand’s “evolving Sensuous Sportiness global design language”.

It’s only partially revealed in the pictures, but several details can be discerned. The concept appears to have a sleek, crossover bodystyle, similar to the Lamborghini Urus but with a higher rear end. This is complemented by squared-off wheel arches. Hyundai claims the design themes of the new SUV-coupé model are ‘parametric fantasy and transcendent connectivity’.

Taking inspiration from the Le Fil Rouge concept and the recently facelifted US-market Grandeur, it also features a signature light design and a specially designed grille with air shutters that adjust to improve aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency.

Features from concept cars are frequently incorporated into future production models, but it remains to be seen whether this one will be relevant for Europe, as Hyundai UK couldn’t comment.

The Korean company doesn’t currently have a hybrid SUV above the Kona, but it plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid Santa Fe in 2020.

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Source: Autocar Online

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