Drag race: BMW M5 v Mercedes-AMG E63 S v Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Which German uber-saloon is fastest: The BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E63S or rather complicatedly-named Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid?

Which German uber-saloon is fastest: The BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E63S or rather complicatedly-named Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid?

All have 4.0-litre V8 engines with two turbochargers attached, and all are big executive cars, and all have four-wheel drive, but beyond that they go about things in slightly different ways, as we’ll explain.

But only one can be quickest through 60mph, 100mph, a standing 1/4 mile and a standing 1/2 mile. Question is, which one?

We strap our timing gear to them, and run them head-to-head in an old-school shootout.


Source: Autocar Online

Lynk&Co 03: first official pictures of all-new saloon

Lynk&Co 03

China-focused model will use Compact Modular Architecture co-developed with Volvo

The first official pictures of the Lynk&Co 03 have been released before the saloon, which uses the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) co-developed with Volvo, reaches showrooms in China.

The four-door model will at first be focused on the Chinese market, which is the home of its maker, but it could reach Europe later. If it does, it would follow in the tyre tracks of the 01 crossover and 02 SUV, both of which are confirmed for the region.

Like its siblings, the 03 will be available with pure combustion and electrified powertrains. Expected first are 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol units, with a plug-in hybrid version that’s capable of 40 miles in pure-electric running also due.

Lynk&Co 02 first drive

Lynk&Co’s models feature highly connected technology, so the 03 is expected to follow suit and come with large touchscreens that offer internet connectivity. The 03 could also get a share button, as introduced in the 01, that allows other users to access the car with a temporary digital key sent to their smartphone.

The car’s CMA platform is also used by Volvo’s XC40 (the two brands are owned by automotive giant Geely) and will underpin the Swedish group’s first all-electric model, due in 2019. An electric version of the 03 is therefore also a possibility, but it is likely to arrive at the start of the next decade.

Lynk&Co 01 prototype first drive

Although the photographed 03 is dressed in heavy camouflage, its design links to the 01 and 02 are clear. The car has a traditional four-door saloon bodyshape, demand for which remains high in China, the world’s largest new car market.

When it goes on sale, the 03 will be offered for purchase or acquired via a contract. Unlike PCP deals, Lynk&Co’s contracts are short term, like those used to purchase smartphones. Most of the car’s sales are expected to come from this type of deal.

Although Lynk&Co is still a new brand, it has already received heavy demand for its models. When the 01 went on sale last year, Lynk&Co said it received 6000 orders in 137 seconds, setting a new world record for the fastest-selling car. 

More content:

Volkswagen Golf GTI axed ahead of WLTP

New Hyundai i30 N Line launched

Source: Autocar Online

Volkswagen Golf GTI axed ahead of WLTP introduction

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Only GTI Performance is now available, although GTI TCR will arrive later this year

Volkswagen has dropped the Golf GTI from its line-up ahead of the introduction in September of more stringent emissions limits as part of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

The only GTI model left on sale is the Performance variant, which is £1465 more expensive at £29,930 and produces 242bhp from its slightly uprated turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

VW is unlikely to reintroduce the standard Mk7 Golf GTI, which had 227bhp, because the Mk8 Golf is set to arrive next year and the Mk7 Golf GTI would only have a narrow window of time on sale following its rehomologation to conform to WLTP standards.

Are car makers ready for WLTP?

WLTP, which will replace the lab-based New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), is considered to be tougher because it tests cars in real-world driving scenarios. Manufacturers are being forced to fit particulate filters to all of their models to ensure they conform to the tougher limits.

Although the Golf GTI range now features just one variant, it will soon grow to two when the TCR variant goes on sale later this year. That car, inspired by VW’s participation in the Touring Car Racing championship, will produce 286bhp from its higher-specification 2.0-litre engine.

WLTP is the cause for the downgraded power output for the all-wheel-drive Golf R, which has lost 10bhp (to now total 296bhp) because of the fitment of a particulate filter. The same reduction has affected the technically similar Leon Cupra of sister brand Seat. That car now has 286bhp.

Like VW, BMW is also about to drop one of its performance models ahead of WLTP introduction because its successor is due soon after. The F80 M3 will go off sale in August, with the car’s successor set for arrival next year as part of the next-generation 3 Series range.

The technically related M4, however, will go off sale for about two months, during which time it will be rehomologated to WLTP standards. This model is returning because the next 4 Series line-up isn’t due until 2020.

More content:

WLTP could force heavy discounts on unsold cars

New Hyundai i30 N Line launched as brand’s first lukewarm variant

Source: Autocar Online

New Hyundai i30 N Line launched as brand's first lukewarm variant

New Hyundai i30 N Line

N Line model receives new bumpers, larger wheels and firmer suspension to bridge gap between regular car and i30N

Hyundai has launched its first N Line model for the i30 hatchback, with a more aggressive exterior design and firmer chassis set-up to make it a new lukewarm variant.

The i30 N Line uses new bumpers influenced by those fitted to the i30N hot hatch and it’s the first ‘regular’ i30 model to be offered with 18in wheels. There are also twin-exit exhaust tailpipes and wing-mounted N Line badges to illustrate the car’s lukewarm status.

Changes have been made beneath the skin, too, because the i30 N Line gets a slightly sportier chassis set-up to bridge the gap between the standard line-up and the red-blooded i30N. There are larger front brake discs and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

The car is available exclusively with the 138bhp 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol engine, which is the most powerful unit offered in the regular range.

Inside, a perforated leather steering wheel and N-branded gearlever knob are nods to the car’s ranking. N-branded suede sport seats that provide better lateral support are available as an option.

Hyundai Europe marketing and product boss Andreas-Christoph Hofmann said the success of the i30N has spurred on the launch of this lukewarm variant.

“Now we are extending that feeling to a wider audience with the new i30 N Line,” he said. “We believe the comprehensive package of design and engineering enhancements will continue to attract more new customers to the Hyundai brand in Europe.”

UK pricing won’t be announced until sales open later in the summer, but a starting price of around £21,000 is likely. This would rank the model just above the 1.4 SE Nav version.

While unconfirmed, the fastback variant of the i30 is expected to be offered in N Line form at a later stage, following the launch of the i30N Fastback. It’ll be part of Hyundai’s growing range of driver’s cars, following the launch of its N division last year. The firm, which has former BMW M engineering boss Albert Biermann as its performance development boss, tests all of its models with stints at the Nürburgring as part of this strategy.

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More extreme Renault Sport Mégane Trophy launched with 296bhp

How Volkswagen broke the Pikes Peak all-time record

Source: Autocar Online

Throwback Thursday 1965: the first Japanese car sold in the UK

The first Japanese car to be sold in the UK was the Daihatsu Compagno in 1965

The first Japanese car to be sold in the UK was a small two-door with a 41bhp 797cc engine, priced at £799. And it came from a brand you might not expect…

What was the first Japanese car to be sold in the UK? Clue: it arrived in early 1965.

A Toyota, perhaps? The Corona arrived in 1965, yes, but it wasn’t the first. It must be a Datsun, then? Nope — 1968. A Suzuki? Again, no.

I’ll put you out of your misery: it was the Compagno, from the independent little Daihatsu company. Offered as a Berlina saloon, an estate and a cute Spider convertible, it began what Autocar described as the “long-threatened” Japanese “invasion” of our auto market.

If you were around at the time but don’t remember the Compagno, that’s probably because the importer, Dufay, only managed to sell six examples in five years. The best-selling car of 1965, the Austin/Morris 1500, managed to shift an incredible 157,679 units in that year alone.

The Compagno was certainly not helped by having the badge of an unknown brand (although it was designed by Vignale), but its price was an even bigger hindrance. It was actually one of the best-equipped cars of its type, with foglights, reversing lights, a radio, a cigarette lighter, wing mirrors and a clock all coming as standard. The problem was that you could get the familiarity of an Austin Mini for £280 less or a Hillman Imp for £260 less.

One of the few cars registered was CGH 8B, which Autocar tested on 20 August 1965. And, remarkably, it’s still taxed and on the road, in the care of International Motors, which imported Daihatsus until 2011.

We described the car back then as “well made but technically unadvanced”. It had a two-door, four-seat body sitting on a separate chassis, and “in the design of the suspension, engine, transmission and brakes, it follows very closely much that was popular and conventional on British cars some eight or 10 years ago”. Like the Morris Minor, then.

The Compagno’s four-cylinder, 797cc unit had “decidedly little power”, at 41bhp and 47lb ft, “for the car’s weight of 775kg”, we reckoned. In fact, “with liberal use of the four gears, one may make quite good progress among town traffic, but for this one needs to keep the engine revving hard. Above 50mph, acceleration tails away, and the car would not reach 60mph on one-mile straight against a strong headwind”. 

“Sometimes, full power is needed to climb quite gradual hills with a full load on board,” we added.

Despite this, the car felt “quite lively” — an impression helped by “the gross optimism of its speedometer”, but not “unsuitable gear ratios”. Second gear was “much too low”, while “third is a shade high, so that there is a very wide gap to be bridged by zooming the engine hard in second before changing up”. At least top gear was “a good compromise for easy cruising and reasonable flexibility”.

However, “engine refinement compensated to some extent for the restricted performance”, and one soon developed “a heavy-footed technique” in driving the car, because “the power unit doesn’t seem to object at all to consistently hard driving”. It simply “buzzed” rather than “thrashed or roared”, and in top gear was “remarkably unobtrusive”.

We saw fit to praise Japanese engineering concerning the Compagno’s transmission: “If early steering column changes for four-speed gearbox had been as crisp and easy in action as British cars as the one on the Daihatsu, they might still be popular today.

“Many of the changes can be made with only the fingertips, while very effective synchromesh also enables the driver to thrust the lever from one gear to the next without any attempt at matching speeds.”

The clutch was very light, mind you, meaning “the Daihatsu is not an easy car for a fast getaway, as some controlled clutch slip is necessary to keep the power up”.

The suspension was not so impressive, even taking into account that “the rather hard-used demonstrator car was in need of a check-up and new dampers”. It gave “a loose and springy ride, with pronounced vertical jogging of the rear end on any but the very smoothest roads”.

We continued: “The front suspension absorbs bumps fairly well, but the rears produce uncontrolled leaps and bounces, making many roads seem much worse than they are.” Meanwhile, “on washboard, severe vibration caused violent scuttle shake threatening to ruin the instruments and radio”.

Naturally, handling was also not a forte. “When sharp corners are taken with verve,” we detailed, “there is considerable roll and sufficient howl from the Yokohama tyres to arouse pedestrians. As well as feeling a shade top-heavy, the Daihatsu oversteers badly, even with only the driver on board.”

This wasn’t helped by “loose and spongy” steering with “a lot of springiness to exaggerate the impression of free play through corners”. At least there was “fair directional stability” and the nose of the car “answered to small wheel movements at speed”.

Thankfully, the brakes weren’t on the Compagno’s list of shortcomings, being strong and resistant to fade.

In terms of practicality, the Compagno was clearly engineered for the Japanese driver. The driving position itself was good, if forward vision was obscured by the steering wheel, but the seat provided “far too little reg room” and if slid all the way back “tends to shoot forward under braking”. The rears didn’t give much space for feet, either, although they did for heads, and were supportive and gripping through corners.

The interior was attractive, too, with an imitation wood dashboard and padded plastic areas, although the “fluffy weave” on the door trim rather ruined things. In addition, we couldn’t help but notice rust pimples on the exterior brightwork.

Did Autocar’s road testers of the time see the impending threat of the Japanese manufacturers, which would soon play a large part in the mass death of too many British car makers to name, as a real one? Not quite.

“The Daihatsu is shown up by most European cars of similar engine and body size,” we said, “not only on matters of performance and economy [we averaged just 34.8mpg], but also on many aspects of its road behaviour, although these competitors are more than £200 cheaper.”

That said, we recognised that “the Daihatsu does impress for quality of workmanship, and there are many who understandably attach great importance to this and prefer a car that is well made, even if outdated and of inferior design, to one which is technically superior but badly constructed”.

History tells us the rest (for Japanese cars as a whole, but sadly not for Daihatsu) and warns, perhaps, that we should probably stop disregarding the promise of Chinese manufacturers…

Source: Autocar Online

How Volkswagen broke the Pikes Peak hillclimb all-time record

VW’s ID R electric racer

Extreme weather posed a threat to the VW’s batteries

VW’s ID R electric racer had been tipped to become the quickest car ever to climb Pikes Peak. But, as we discover, the 14,115ft Colorado mountain isn’t easily conquered

Friday 22 June. It’s just gone 5.30am and the early sun is burning through the drifting clouds at Devil’s Playground, 12,780 feet up Pikes Peak.

The still morning is interrupted by an incongruous high-pitched siren, announcing the arrival of the Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak for its final practice runs on the top section of the 12.42-mile course.

Romain Dumas points the machine up the hill, waits for the course starter to wave a flag and then he’s gone, disappearing from view with a futuristic whoosh of electric motors faster than your brain can comprehend.

That’s when you knew. You knew this car isn’t just capable of breaking the 8min 57.118sec electric car record on the 156-turn Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – it could rival Sébastien Loeb’s 8min 13.878sec outright record.

That’s when Dumas knew too. When the Volkswagen Motorsport team first arrived at the Colorado hill for private testing a month or so before the competition, things hadn’t looked so good. That was nothingto do with the 671bhp electric powertrain on the less-than-1100kg machine. The twin motors were producing, and the team was happy with the ratio of batteries – still declining to say exactly how many they had fitted – to weight. The focus of the ID R Pikes Peak’s design was ensuring Dumas had consistent, usable power throughout his run, particularly when the thin air began to strangle combustion-engined motors near the top of the climb.

The powertrain was working fine. That wasn’t the problem. The ID R wasn’t handling right, bottoming out on the bumpy ribbon of Tarmac, leaving the driver unable to exploit its responsive handling and mountain of instant torque. “It was not looking good,” confesses Dumas.

The team worked, and tested, running at the nearby Pikes Peak International Raceway. They experimented with ride height, downforce, dampers, roll bar and camber, trying to adjust the car to a course and hill that itself is always changing. But the team still wasn’t happy heading into the qualifying and practice days, held on short sections of the course. And then: progress. “We improved a lot suddenly, luckily,” says Dumas. “The team stayed in Colorado for three weeks and found a lot of improvement.”

In practice on the upper section of the course, Dumas suddenly went 10 seconds quicker than Loeb managed in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak back in 2013. Suddenly the car was easy to drive. And that’s when Dumas knew: “The car felt like a single-seater or a sports prototype.

I said: ‘Oooh, this will be fast now’.”

But at Pikes Peak, nothing is ever simple. “It looks like Dumas could break the record,” said Phil Layton, a former event director, on the day before the big event. “But there are no guarantees here: you feel the spiritof the mountain. The mountain will decide if she surrenders the record.” It would be easy to dismiss such whimsical musing when you look at the ID R Pikes Peak, the incredible machine Volkswagen Motorsport had pulled together in just seven months. Even with a storm forecast for early afternoon on Sunday, surely the efforts, expertise and investment of that incredibly skilled team would roll over such a concept? Surely, inevitably, German engineering would conquer the mountain?

Sunday 24 June, shortly before 10am, and Dumas is no longer sure. The morning had been going to plan. Early mist had cleared, the skies were bright and a storm heading for Pikes Peak wasn’t due until the early afternoon, long after Dumas would reach the summit.

An hour or so earlier, Dumas sat behind Volkswagen Motorsport’s service area, where the ID R Pikes Peak sat in a cocooned plastic tent to keep its batteries at optimum temperature. His head down, sipping water and a coffee, Dumas visualised Pikes Peak’s 156 turns one final time, until it was time to clamber into his machine.

And then he waited.

A motorbike rider had crashed on his run, and had to be brought down in an ambulance. A spectator also fell ill, requiring a helicopter evacuation. And so Volkswagen had to wait, trying to keep the ID R batteries and tyres at the perfect temperatures. And, as they waited, clouds began envelop Pikes Peak.

“I sat in the car for 45 minutes,” recalls Dumas. “It was like a stint at Le Mans, but without driving. I didn’t know if I should get out. Everyone was looking at the cloud, and I could see from the face of FX [technical chief Francois-Xavier Demaison] that there was big stress. I was thinking ‘oi yoi yoi, it will be complicated’. I decided if I got out I would get even more stressed, so I stayed in the car and waited.”

The wait ended shortly after 10am, when Dumas was finally called to the start. As he had at Devil’s Playground on Friday, Dumas waited for the signal, and then went. By the time he crossed the flying start line, he was doing 136mph. Standing just past the first corner, I watched the ID R flash past, so quick its siren barely had time to register. So quick that the reaction of the crowd was delayed, as they tried to process what they had seen.

“Yee-haw,” yelled one, finally. Others cheered. One simply swore. Loudly. And that’s when they knew.

Still, there was no guarantee. The lower stages of the course were clear but midway up the mountain was a layer of damp fog. “I took no risks there,” he recalls. “There was just no grip in places. The Tarmac was very cold due to the fog, so I backed off a little bit.”

Dumas estimated he lost four to five seconds in the middle of the course. The final sector was better: “At the top it was sunny again, and there was good grip, so I pushed again in the fast corners. It was fun.” And that’s when, finally, he knew for sure.

“When you know you can beat the record, you feel it,” he says. “I didn’t have split times in the car, but in the final kilometres I knew it was good for the record, so I took no risks.”

Dumas crossed the line in 7min 57.148sec, an average of 90.538mph through the 156 turns and 7.2% average gradient. A new electric course record. A new outright record. And he could have gone quicker – by 10 seconds, he reckons. “But,” he adds, “who can say you have the perfect day at Pikes Peak?”

Back down at the start line, the wait was also over for Volkswagen Motorsport, and the reward for seven months of effort exceeded expectations. An electric car has proven itself faster on America’s second-oldest motorsport event than any internal combustion-engined car, ever. “This is a significant moment not just for Pikes Peak, but for all motorsport,” says Dumas. That’s no exaggeration.

But had the weather – the mountain – not been kind, we might not be talking about that victory for cutting-edge technology.

“We could see the clouds coming, and you knew they expected rain,” says Volkswagen Motorsport boss Sven Smeets. “Luckily, the mountain was in our favour this time. It said ‘okay, go to the top’, and I’m very happy it did.” The storm arrived at lunchtime, right on schedule: first rain, then hail, then snow. The event was delayed – later runners tackling a shortened course – and with drivers unable to come down the mountain’s single road until everyone had finished, Dumas was forced to wait. Again.

He sat in the summit house, ate “a bad burger” – he passed on a free doughnut – and joined in a snowball fight. Eventually, seven hours or so after making history, he was free to descend. With the ID R Pikes Peak needing a tow down, batteries spent, he hitched a lift by sitting on the monstrous rear wing of Paul Dallenbach’s PVA Special.

When Loeb obliterated the record by more than 90 seconds back in 2013, many felt his mark would never fall, that he had ‘broken’ Pikes Peak, effectively ending the long, long battle for the hill record.

Yet it stood for just five years. And with a victory for EVs, Dumas and Volkswagen’s record feels like a renewal of the event.

“It’s insane,” says Dallenbach, a former event winner and hill record holder. “I thought Loeb’s time would never be beaten. But now, with electric technology getting better? Jeez, now it feels like there are no limits here.”

If, that is, the mountain allows it. 

Read more 

Pikes Peak 2018: electric Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak smashes outright record

671bhp Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak to challenge electric record time

Pikes Peak 2018 notebook: how the event unfolded

Source: Autocar Online

More extreme Renault Megane RS Trophy revealed with 296bhp

Renault Megane RS Trophy

Most potent Renault Sport model yet gets chassis upgrades for even sharper performance

Renault Sport has turned the wick up on its latest hot Mégane to produce the Trophy, a more potent and more driver focused take on the division’s Honda Civic Type R rival.

Both the engine and chassis of the Mégane Trophy have received extensive attention, helping it to earn the title of the most potent series production car to be produced by Renault’s performance arm.

Using a ramped up version of the RS Mégane’s turbocharged 1.8-litre engine with a new exhaust system, the Trophy produces up to 296bhp and 310lb ft of torque. Those are gains of 20bhp and 22lb ft over the normal RS model, and while it’s 20bhp short of the Civic Type R, the Mégane has a healthy 15lb ft advantage.

The car’s uprated four-cylinder is now also more responsive and eager to rev thanks to the use of new turbocharger hardware that’s inspired by Renault Sport’s Formula 1 engine. The turbo’s turbine, which rotates at almost 200,000ropm, is now mounted on a ceramic ball bearing, saving weight and reducing friction by a third. This responsiveness is maximised when the new exhaust system bypasses a silencer with a mechanical valve.

Renault Sport said the extra urgency of the powertrain essentially offsets a loss in power caused by increased backpressure, which has come thanks to the fitment of a new particulate filter, encouraged by the upcoming introduction of the WLTP. The powertrain therefore complies with the latest Euro 6d-Temp regulations.

Like in the normal RS Mégane, drive is sent to the front wheels via a choice of two gearboxes: an EDC automatic or six-speed manual. The former enables the maximum torque mentioned earlier, but the latter requires a reduction in peak torque to bring it down to 295lb ft – still a 7lb ft improvement over the standard RS.

The EDC ‘box enables the slightly higher output because it can work with “specific mapping”, Renault Sport said. That advantage, as well as the quicker shifting times, will likely give an EDC-equipped Trophy the better straight-line performance, although at this stage only a 0-62mph time for the manual is provided. It hits the mark in 5.7sec, a tenth quicker than the normal manual RS.

To enhance the front-driven Trophy’s traction and agility, it comes as standard with the otherwise optional Cup pack. This brings a Torsen mechanical limited slip differential and stiffer suspension, which uses 25% firmer shock absorbers, 30% firmer springs and 10% stiffer anti-roll bars.

The fitment of aluminium hubs, which, along with new 19in Jerez alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres, help to lower unsprung mass to improve steering feel and suspension performance, further boosts this track-ready setup. As does the addition of bi-material front brake discs of 355mm in diameter.

These discs are each 1.8kg lighter and are claimed to be even more capable of dissipating heat build up during hard use. They work with Brembo calipers finished in red.

From 2019 onwards, Renault Sport will offer optional 19in Fuji wheels, which will be 2kg lighter each than the Jerez items and come wrapped in stickier Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres. The Japanese tyre maker has worked with Renault Sport to develop a specific version for this car.

Carried over from the standard Mégane performance model is Renault Sport’s 4Control all-wheel steering system, which enhances agility and improves high-speed stability.

The Trophy gets new seat mounts that sit the driver 20mm closer to the ground. There are also new optional Alcantara-covered Recaro sports seats, which are different from those offered on the normal RS hatch with even more lateral support.

Renault Sport’s hottest model will go on sale in the autumn, likely priced from around £30,000. First deliveries are due during the winter.

Although unconfirmed, an even more focused Trophy-R version is due next. That car will follow suit of the 275 Trophy-R of the last Mégane and ditch its back seats. It’s likely to challenge for the front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap record, currently held by archrival Honda’s Civic Type R.

Read more 

Renault Megane review 

Renault Clio review 

Renauly Megane RS review

Source: Autocar Online

Audi TTS Coupe 2018 review

Audi TTS 2018 first drive review hero front

As talented as it’s always been, the TT covers every base as well as you would expect – even if it could be a little more exciting

Happy Birthday, Audi TT. Twenty years old in 2018 (yeah, seriously) and still looking as fresh as ever.This being an Audi anniversary, though, the celebrations are predictably muted. ‘Extravagance is excessive’ would appear to be the Audi mantra. So alongside a 999-run ’20 Years’ special, the current third-gen TT has been updated four years into its production run with a very modest mechanical and cosmetic refresh.The important news for enthusiasts are the changes for the TTS. Power has been reduced to 302bhp because of a standard petrol particulate filter, but torque is up 15lb ft to 295lb ft. Ally that to a now-standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (the six-speed manual is no more) and the result is a fiercely accelerative 2.0-litre TTS; 0-62mph in 4.5sec is quicker than the original R8 V8. It’s worth noting that magnetorheological dampers are now also standard for the TTS, helping to explain why the four-cylinder flagship’s price is expected to rise to £45,000.That’s also accounted for by additional equipment, including a Technology Pack with upgraded navigation, wireless handset charging and new interior trims.

Source: Autocar Online

JE Motorworks converts Land Rover Defender to Ford Ecoboost power

JE Motorworks Land Rover Defender Ecoboost

Boosted 2.3 four-pot can be added to original Defender for £17,400

Coventry engineering company JE Motorworks is offering a Ford 2.3 Ecoboost engine conversion for the original Land Rover Defender, promising enhanced performance with lowered emissions.

The West Midlands company, which has produced reimagined versions of the Defender such as the V8-powered Zulu2, first revealed to Autocar that it was working on an Ecoboost conversion in June last year. The firm has now completed a shakedown with a development car and is taking orders from customers.

Meeting the man behind JE Motorworks

Ford’s 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, which is used in various performance cars such as the Focus RS and Mustang, produces up to 305bhp and 319lb ft of torque in the Defender. JE has altered the motor so it runs in a way more suited to the iconic SUV.

The Ecoboost engine is significantly more potent than the Ford Transit-sourced 2.2 diesel used in the discontinued Defender (it came with 122bhp and 266lb ft). It is also claimed to be much cleaner — although no emissions figures have yet been released. The engine produces as little as 175g/km of CO2 in other cars, significantly undercutting the 266g/km output in the final Defender.

Land Rover Defender: buying advice

JE boss Jonathan Douglas told Autocar last year that “increasing rules and regulations restricting the use of diesel-engined vehicles in certain environments, particularly in cities” had spurred his company on to produce a more eco-friendly option. He expected “many Defender owners [to] see a modern, direct-injection petrol engine as a good, more environment-friendly solution”.

After the recent first test for the Ecoboost-powered Defender, Douglas said the unit “has a feel of both belonging in the car and being discreetly beyond expectation”. He admitted that “the character is completely different from the diesels and V8s”, but said it “will appeal to audiences and markets who consider economy and emissions — relative, of course, in something as big as a Defender — to be of importance”.

V8 Ares Land Rover Defender deliveries commence

Prices for the Ecoboost conversion start at £17,400, which includes money back to the customer for their car’s original engine. Buyers wanting to trade the Defender’s standard five-speed manual gearbox for a Ford Tiptronic six-speed automatic can expect to pay £27,000.

Like with its other Land Rover-based products, JE offers further opportunities for customisation. The company can add uprated brakes, suspension and other mechanical upgrades, as well as design changes.

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Source: Autocar Online

Mazda 6 2.5 GT Sport Nav+ 2018 UK review

Mazda 6 2018 first drive review hero front

Refreshed saloon is much more convincing inside, but range-topping 2.5-litre petrol engine makes concessions not seen lower down the range

The Mazda 6 has undergone the third and most far-reaching facelift since the attractive mid-size saloon went on sale six years ago.Not that the Mazda 6 shouts particularly loudly about it. The mesh of the grille sits a touch deeper, its chrome surround now extends outwards to underline revised LED headlights and the lower front bumper has been re-profiled, but overall Mazda has resisted tampering too eagerly with the car’s gracefully ageing features. Safer to make more subtle changes such as mounting the wide-bore exhaust tips a fraction further apart for more ‘stance’.Under the bonnet things are different, because this updated 6 marks the debut of Mazda’s direct-injection 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine. It’s making an appearance because the company anticipates – naturally – a slight shift in its sales composition from diesel to petrol, and wants to offer buyers greater choice.The new engine is naturally aspirated and already serves diesel-averse Americans who own the mammoth CX-9 SUV and its smaller sibling, the CX-5. With 191bhp it’s the most powerful engine to feature in a UK-spec 6, but also features cylinder deactivation, operating just two of its four combustion chambers under light throttle loads. Combined fuel economy is duly rated at 42.2mpg on the new WLTP cycle.This range-topping 2.5 is joined by subtly revised versions of the existing 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engines – of 143bhp and 163bhp – and is mated solely to Mazda’s six-speed auto gearbox, which uses paddle-shifters mounted on the back of a thin-rimmed steering wheel.

Source: Autocar Online

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