Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen Golf R 2019 road test review - hero front
Billed the ‘Ultimate Golf’ and given more power, but can this facelifted Volkswagen Golf R knock the imperious Ford Focus RS from its perch?

The catchment area for the already ill-defined category beyond ‘standard’ hot hatches has become even more hazy recently.The Seat Leon Cupra, blessed with 296bhp in its most powerful format, arguably earns a place at one end of it – despite costing only very marginally more than a regular Volkswagen Golf GTI, while that aforementioned Golf has been given more power under the latest facelift, with the GTI Performance puts out 242bhp – the same inadvertently as the latest Skoda Octavia vRS.At the opposite extreme, Mercedes-AMG almost left the reservation entirely with the outrageous and very pricey 375bhp A45. That leaves a Sudetenland-sized tract of real estate available in between, which the new Golf R – appears well qualified to annex. Although, the middle ground is there for its taking Volkswagen is wary of the potent, four-wheel drive Ford Focus RS which took the segment by the scruff of its neck. But don’t think for one moment that Volkswagen are resting on its laurels, as a facelift saw the Golf R’s wick turned up slightly to produce 306bhp, before the addition of a petrol particulate filter brought that figure down to 296bhp.Volkswagen has a long and well regarded history in this niche. Aside from the previous Golf R, this car’s other obvious antecedents are two generations of R32 – models that cemented the range-topper’s use of all-wheel drive.They were both powered by six-cylinder engines – a leftover from the front-drive VR6 – which were a big-capacity solution to the Mk3’s weight problems. Given the car’s current identity, it’s worth mentioning that the left-hand-drive-only Mk2 Rallye edition, with a supercharged 1.8 and four-wheel drive, also makes an appropriate forerunner.The GTI may get all the limelight, but for almost as long as that model has been around, VW has conceived of something like the R to outrank it. This senior model is not intended as some rough-shod tearaway, either. Having four-wheel drive, brimming with kit and being both styled with restraint and knowingly expensive, the R is once again intended for grown-ups.But is it overly mature or modestly brilliant? We’ll know soon enough. It wasn’t enough just to review the Golf R on its own, we have also pitch it against its stiffest rivals – including a blast across Valencia against the Ford Focus RS, a triple header with the last generation Honda Civic Type-R and Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy, and an estate battle royale between the Golf R Estate and the rapid Audi RS4 Avant.Price £36,150 Power 296bhp Torque 280lb ft 0-60mph 4.8sec Fuel economy 32.8mpg CO2 emissions 195g/km 70-0mph 52.6mThe Volkswagen Golf range at a glanceThe R sits alone at the peak of the Golf line-up, in both hatchback and estate forms. The sole engine is VW’s familiar 2.0-litre EA888, tuned to produce 296bhp after the addition of a petrol particulate filter. The six-speed manual is no more, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic now the only transmission. A £2400 factory-option Performance Pack adds an uprated braking system, downforce-boosting roof spoiler, 19in alloy wheels and a derestricted top speed. 

Source: Autocar Online

MG ZS EV: first 1000 UK buyers receive £7000 discount

Company will match UK government plug-in car grant, meaning early examples cost just £21,495

MG has revealed that UK prices for launch editions of its first fully electric model, the ZS EV, will come in at significantly less than both the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro. 

MG will match the government’s £3500 plug-in car grant for the first 1000 ZS EV buyers in the UK, bringing the entry-level ‘Excite’ variant’s list price down to £21,495. The same offer also applies to more luxurious ‘Exclusive’ trim, which can be had for £23,495. 

Owners of these early models will receive a free home charging point, which will be installed at no extra charge by MG. 

Once the first 1000 examples have been sold, the ZS EV will be available from £24,995, including the government grant. Although largely unrivalled in its position as a value electric compact SUV, the ZS EV represents a much more affordable alternative to the Kia e-Niro, which starts from £32,995 after grant. 

The ZS EV’s chief rival, Hyundai’s Kona Electric, is similarly priced at £24,995, but is currently off-sale in the UK, with prospective buyers encouraged to join a waiting list. Like Hyundai and Kia, MG is applying a seven-year warranty to all ZS models sold in the UK. 

The ZS EV was first revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in China last year, and will be sold alongside the existing petrol versions of the ZS.

The UK-bound ZS EV makes use of a front-mounted electric motor, producing 141bhp and 260lb ft. The car’s water-cooled 44.5kWh lithium ion battery is good for a 163-mile range on the WLTP test cycle, and is capable of rapid charging from flat to around 80 per cent capacity in half an hour. 

“We’re delighted to be entering the electric car market at such an exciting time,” said Daniel Gregorious, MG’s head of sales and marketing. “With MG’s trademark value-for-money approach, we’re confident that we can help more and more new car buyers to go electric.”

UK sales of the EV weren’t confirmed at the its global debut last year, but now come as part of the steady growth of the MG brand worldwide and its transition to being a maker of SUVs. 

MG is enjoying sales success in China, under the ownership of SAIC. Last year, it sold 134,786 cars, a significant increase over the 80,389 sold in 2016. That success accelerated in 2018; MG had already surpassed its 2017 total by the end of August, having sold 179,109 cars. 

China is the world’s largest market for electric cars, and ranges in excess of 250 miles are now the norm there, rather than the exception.

The ZS EV first made its debut alongside the new HS SUV, which is understood to be lined up to replace the GS in MG’s UK range later this year. 

Read more

MG ZS review

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Source: Autocar Online

Tesla streamlines UK line-up with model price overhaul

Tesla Model S

Top-spec Model S Performance variants are now priced from £91,800

Significant increase for top-spec Model S and X; entry-level Model 3 made cheaper

Tesla has reconfigured its UK pricing structure and range as part of a move towards a simpler and more concise global line-up. 

The most significant alteration is the discontinuation of entry-level Standard Range variants of both the Model S luxury saloon and Model X SUV. To compensate for the reduction in choice, prices for both models in Long Range trim have been brought down by £800. 

In line with the removal of these Standard Range variants, Tesla has sought to distinguish the two remaining trim options with a £6300 price hike for the top-spec Model S Performance, and an increase of £5900 for the equivalent Model X. These two options are now available from £91,800 and £96,400 respectively. 

All Model S and X Performance variants will come as standard with the brand’s Ludicrous Mode, which brings 0-60mph times down to 2.4 seconds for the saloon and 2.7 seconds for the SUV. 

Lower down the range, the Standard Range Plus variant of the new Model 3 is now available from £36,490 (after application of the government’s £3500 plug-in car grant), a saving of £1560 over its initial £38,050 launch price. 

Meanwhile, prices for the dual-motor Model 3 Long Range Performance, which is capable of ultra-fast 200kW charging, have risen £550 to £49,140. This trim comes equipped as standard with performance wheels and a carbonfibre spoiler, and offers a 162mph top speed. 

A Tesla spokesperson said: “In order to make purchasing our vehicles even simpler, we are standardising our global vehicle lineup and streamlining the number of trim packages offered for Model S, Model X and Model 3. 

“We are also adjusting our pricing in order to continue to improve affordability for customers. Like other car companies, we periodically adjust pricing and available options.”

UK pricing for the Model Y seven-seat compact SUV is still yet to be officially confirmed, with first deliveries not anticipated to take place before 2022. In the US, the new model is being offered from £35,500 in 300-mile Long Range guise.

Read more

Tesla Model 3 review

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Source: Autocar Online

Lotus CEO Phil Popham on the Evija hypercar, future plans and Brexit

Lotus Evija

The new Lotus Evija

Talking at the reveal of Lotus’s first all-new car in a decade, Popham discusses expanding the Lotus range and plenty more

Lotus has just revealed the 1973bhp Evija, the all-electric hypercar it claims will be “the most powerful production car in the world”.

Talking to Autocar at the reveal event, CEO Phil Popham explains the thinking behind the Evija and the next steps for the iconic sports car brand.

Why have you chosen to build a car like this — so exclusive and expensive?

Popham: “We believe that if you want to make ripples, you have to made a splash. If you want to be on the map, you have to make a mark. This car shows what our future can be like. It shows what we can do, and it paves the way for future visionary Lotus models.”

Does it mean you’re planning a succession of hyper-expensive models?

“First of all, our 10-year plan, which we call Vision 80, contains a commitment to be ‘for the driver’, first, last and always. Lotus models will always be at the heart of driver involvement and enjoyment. But the range of cars we have now runs from the mid £50,000s to well over £100,000 and we see our core future models, apart from our new Hypercar, as continuing to be in the that range. Having said that, we do believe the Lotus brand has the equity to go beyond where it is. But that’s not our immediate strategy.”

What is your immediate strategy?

“After we’ve built our 130 hypercars we’ll concentrate on rebuilding our core sports car range. We will have a combustion-powered sports car to show you towards the end of next year, for sale after that. Beyond that car, every Lotus, in whatever segment, will have a full electric version.”

There’s been a suggestion that in your journey towards electrification you might skip hybrids all together…

“That is certainly an option.”

How much will you grow under the 10-year plan?

“Let’s start from the beginning. We made 1700 cars last year, but as it currently stands Hethel make over 5000 on a single shift. That means over 10,000 on a double shift — and I believe we’ll outgrow Hethel in its current guise. After all, we have an ambitious plan to move into new segments.”

What will you do when you’ve outgrown Hethel?

“We can either do something radical at Hethel, or we can move somewhere else as well. But it’s important to say that making cars in different locations wouldn’t change the DNA of the company. We won’t build anything unless it’s a) profitable, and b) can be called a true Lotus. And we’d never made the same car in multiple locations.”

Isn’t your ‘For the driver’ strap-line rather time-limited? Surely we’re moving closer to full autonomy?

“I don’t believe it will become time expired. Progress with other, much bigger manufacturers tends to focus on mobility and ownership models, which are leading to cars becoming commoditised. But a Lotus will always be a car to use and enjoy in your leisure time. But we’ll certainly harness some of the great technology of the future.”

How do you believe Brexit is affecting Lotus?

“Our message to the government over the past three years hasn’t changed: we just need to get this deal done. And it now looks like that’s what will happen. Even if we exit without a deal, we believe other deals will be done; we have hundreds of years of history as a trading nation to help us through. Meanwhile at Lotus we’re taking short-term contingency steps. We’re planning for some disruption. But nothing about Brexit will change our core strategy.”

Read more

All the details on the Evija hypercar

VIDEO: 2020 Lotus Evija revealed

 



Source: Autocar Online

Ex-Jaguar designer Ian Callum launches independent design firm

Ian Callum

Ian Callum left Jaguar after 20 years as its design chief

New Warwick-based company comprises 18 experts and will undertake a diverse range of commissions

Ex-Jaguar designer Ian Callum has launched a new business venture, just weeks after his high-profile departure from the company’s styling department

Named after its founder and design director, Callum is an independent design and engineering firm that will create bespoke products for clients across a variety of industries, including lifestyle, travel and design. 

The new company is headquartered in Warwick, not far from where Ian himself once penned pivotal Jaguar models such as the XF and I-Pace, and comprises a team of 18 audio, art, fashion, motorsport and lifestyle experts. 

Ian said: “In today’s modern world, collaboration is the catalyst for new ideas, and this is our ethos and inspiration, both within our team and as we look to work with partners in the future.

“Callum is an exciting new chapter that will focus on ‘Journeys to Destinations’, and all that encompasses.”

Like Ian, the three co-founders of Callum have already had a significant impact on Britain’s motoring landscape. 

David Fairbairn is the new company’s programme director, and was partly responsible for Jaguar’s recreation of the iconic Lightweight E-Type, revealed in 2014. He said the new company “brings together highly experienced, skilled and enthusiastic people that share the same want – the opportunity and freedom to create and produce products that excite”. 

Other members include engineering director Adam Donfrancesco, ex-Noble and Aston Martin engineer, and commercial director Tom Bird, who helped to orchestrate the Jaguar C-X75 concept’s appearance in James Bond: Spectre. 

The company is set to release official details of its first project in the coming weeks. 

Read more

Ian Callum: the man who revived Jaguar design​

Jaguar C-X75 concept review

The heroes of Ian Callum



Source: Autocar Online

Ex-Jaguar design chief Ian Callum launches design firm

Ian Callum

Ian Callum left Jaguar after 20 years as its design chief

New independent company will be based in Warwick and undertake a diverse range of commissions

Ex-Jaguar design chief Ian Callum has launched a new business venture, just weeks after his high-profile departure from the company’s styling department

Named after its founder and design director, Callum is an independent design and engineering firm that will create bespoke products for clients across a variety of industries, including lifestyle, travel and design. 

The new company is headquartered in Warwick, not far from where Callum himself once penned pivotal Jaguar models such as the XF and I-Pace, and comprises a team of 18 audio, art, fashion, motorsport and lifestyle experts. 

Ian Callum said: “In today’s modern world, collaboration is the catalyst for new ideas, and this is our ethos and inspiration, both within our team and as we look to work with partners in the future.

“Callum is an exciting new chapter that will focus on ‘Journeys to Destinations’, and all that encompasses.”

The company’s three other co-founders have also had a significant impact on Britain’s motoring landscape. 

David Fairbairn is the firm’s programme director, and was partly responsible for Jaguar’s recreation of the iconic Lightweight E-Type, revealed in 2014. He said the new company “brings together highly experienced, skilled and enthusiastic people that share the same want – the opportunity and freedom to create and produce products that excite”. 

The other co-founders are engineering director Adam Donfrancesco, an ex-Noble and Aston Martin engineer, and commercial director Tom Bird, who helped to orchestrate the Jaguar C-X75 concept’s appearance in the James Bond film Spectre. 

The company is set to release official details of its first project in the coming weeks. 

Read more

Ian Callum: the man who revived Jaguar design​

Jaguar C-X75 concept review

The heroes of Ian Callum



Source: Autocar Online

2020 BMW 1 Series video review: can it be a proper BMW without rear-wheel drive?

BMW 1 Series 2020 video review thumbnail

Premium family hatchback makes the controversial switch to front-wheel drive – but is it actually a big deal? We’ve been finding out

BMW has made a bold move with its new 1 Series, ditching decades of rear-wheel drive heritage and switching to front and four-wheel drive for its big-selling hatchback. The firm claims the new 1 Series is as good to drive as ever, while the mechanical changes inject a much-needed boost of practicality and efficiency.

So, has BMW pulled off this major change without a hitch? To find out Autocar’s James Disdale drives the flagship four-wheel drive 302bhp M135i on the roads around BMW’s Munich HQ.

READ MORE

BMW 1 Series 118d 2019 review

New BMW 1 Series reinvented with focus on practicality

BMW 1 Series M135i 2019 review



Source: Autocar Online

BMW 1 Series M135i 2019 review

BMW 1 Series M135i 2019 first drive review - hero front

Fastest BMW 1 Series is quick and accomplished but lacks the character of the old M140i

Essentially, it’s the fast flagship of the new BMW 1 Series line-up – and it’s arguably even more controversial than its lower-powered front-wheel-drive siblings. Why? Well, whereas many owners of lesser 1 Series are unlikely to notice whether they are being pushed or pulled, those who bought the old M140i (the sort of customers who are no doubt expected to loyally trade-up) certainly will.To counter this, BMW has fitted the new M135i with a turbocharged 302bhp engine (its most powerful production four-cylinder motor yet) and an enhanced version of its xDrive four-wheel-drive transmission.Read the BMW 1 Series 118d first drive reviewThere’s also bespoke M Sport suspension that has been stiffened and lowered by 10mm, a quicker steering rack and more powerful brakes. All good stuff, then. Let’s start with the engine, which not only delivers 302bhp but also serves up a thumping 332lb ft of torque at just 1750rpm. A development of the brand’s existing 2.0-litre four-pot, it packs a stronger crank and pistons, plus higher-flow fuel injectors. On paper, it pretty much matches the Mercedes-AMG A35 for power and comfortably out-muscles it for torque.Yet arguably it’s that four-wheel-drive transmission that deserves the most attention. At the front, it features a Torsen limited-slip differential, while the back axle is of the hang-on clutch type, allowing power to be sent rearwards in just 250 milliseconds. However, the maximum torque split is 50/50 and most of the time the M135i runs in front-wheel drive, unlike larger xDrive models that work the other way around. Hmmmm. Mated to this system is the familiar eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.The 1 Series is also the first internal-combustion-engined model to benefit from the i3’s ARB traction control. Monitored by the engine’s ECU, it reacts 10 times faster than normal ESP-based set-ups, more precisely controlling the motor’s torque to just keep the wheels from spinning and so reducing the need for time-wasting brake intervention.Suspension changes are limited to a stiffer set-up, with a 10mm-lower ride height (two-stage adaptive dampers are optional and fitted to our test car), while at the front, the subframe gets an extra couple of bracing bars for increased steering accuracy. Speaking of which, the electrically assisted rack features a quicker ratio of 14:1, as opposed to the standard car’s 15:1. Finally, the brake master cylinder is larger for better response and more consistent pedal pressure when the going gets quick.Externally, the M135i is marked out but its subtle bodykit (different bumpers, side skirts and tailgate spoiler), 18in forged alloy wheels and twin exhaust tailpipes. Inside, it’s the usual M Sport treatment of a thicker-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, high-backed front seats, a smattering of M Sport logos and some natty blue and red stripes stitched into the seatbelts.

Source: Autocar Online

Audi S4 2019 review

Audi S4 2019 first drive review - hero front

S4 ditches petrol for a V6 TDI engine and mild-hybridisation. Just how appealing is this diesel performance saloon?

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the Audi S4 was powered by a 4.2-litre, 339bhp V8. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that all of Audi’s S-badged models seemed to be using engines that would look preposterous by today’s standards. Just look at the old C6-generation S6; that had a massive 5.2-litre, 429bhp Lamborghini-derived V10 at its nose, and even then it wasn’t the fastest or most powerful version you could buy at the time.How times have changed. These beguiling engines have now largely disappeared from Audi’s range of S cars, and even some of the ‘halo’ RS models have been shorn of a few cylinders. Take the current RS4 and RS5, for instance – in a previous life, both of these cars were champions of the naturally aspirated V8. Now, not so much.That, however, is the way of the world. Attitudes change and priorities shift – and cars will inevitably change along with them. That’s why, under the bonnet of this new S4, you’ll find a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine supplemented by a 48V mild-hybrid system, as opposed to a revised version of its predecessor’s 3.0-litre V6 petrol. It’s a move we’ve seen Audi make with updated versions of its other S-badged models too: the new S6 and S7 are now all fuelled from the black pump; while the recently launched SQ8 makes use of the 4.0-litre V8 diesel that will also appear in the soon-to-be-reintroduced SQ7. All of those cars feature some form of mild-hybridisation, too. The recently announced S8 seems to be the only new S-model to retain a heavy-hitting petrol motor, in European markets anyway.Given the air of negativity that has surrounded oil-burning motors since the Dieselgate scandal broke back in 2015, Audi’s decision to redefine its middleweight performance range as it has is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. One engineer said the move was based on the fact there’s still a strong level of demand for used examples of the first-generation SQ5 – which was the first Audi S model to feature a diesel motor, remember. Supposedly customers love the blend of performance and economy they offer, so the decision was made to roll similar engines out across the wider range.While this might certainly be a contributing factor, I’m not sure it’s the sole reason. Tightening emissions regulations must have something to do with it. And considering cars such as the RS4 and RS5 now make use of smaller engines than they were a few generations ago, perhaps diesel is a way of further differentiating these halo products from the lower-order S cars.

Source: Autocar Online

Video: 2020 Lotus Evija – 2000hp all-electric hypercar revealed

Lotus Evija reveal video thumbnail

2000bhp EV aims to be most powerful production car in the world. We get the details from its designer

This is it, then, the Lotus Evija electric hypercar – the car that will relaunch the Lotus brand next year. With 2000hp and four-wheel drive it’ll be, Lotus claims, the most powerful production car in the world, and capable of 0-60mph in under 3sec and more than 200mph flat out.

Lotus will build no more than 130 of these £1.5m-2m (plus taxes) Evijas, carbon fibre constructed and with a carbon fibre body to leave it at 1680kg, beneath which will be four electric motors that can torque vector, and a 70kWh battery that can take 350kW fast charging. 

Join Matt Prior as he talks you through the full spec of this car and its extraordinary aero and fabulous interior, and gets the full skinny from Lotus’s design director, Russell Carr.

READ MORE

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Source: Autocar Online

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