Mazda CX-3 2.0 Sport Nav+ 2018 review

Mazda CX-3 2018 first drive review hero front

The Mazda CX-3 is still not the truly engaging compact crossover keen drivers were hoping for, but this revised version gets closer than any of its rivals

A revised take on the supermini-sized, sort-of SUV, one that Mazda hopes will put some distance between the CX-3 and a constantly expanding field of competitors.When it arrived in 2015, this competent crossover was something of a jack of all trades. It looked the part, drove well and was fairly economical, but didn’t really excel in any one area at a time when various rivals were championing practicality, value, and sheer niche appeal.That’s set to change with this facelifted version, which has received a slew of mechanical upgrades in addition to visual tweaks and interior additions.New coil springs and dampers have been fitted to the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension to sharpen the handling, the electric power steering has been retuned to be more responsive and the size of the front stabiliser has been reduced to improve roll response. So more than just a prettier face, then.It’s also the first model to get Mazda’snew 1.8-litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine, which replaces the 1.5-litre unit found in the outgoing model. Efficiency boosts come courtesy of revised multi-stage injectors and egg-shaped pistons, which make for better combustion. However, with 85% of UK customers opting for the petrol derivative, we’ve concentrated on that instead.The 2.0-litre, four cylinder unit is available in either 119bhp or 148bhp outputs, and can be mated to a six-speed manual or an automatic gearbox. It’s tested here in its entry-level potency, combined with the automatic ‘box.In the UK, the petrol CX-3 can also be equipped with four-wheel drive, but front-drive models like our test subject will almost certainly be the bigger sellers.

Source: Autocar Online

Abarth 124 GT: hard top sports car costs £33,625

A coupé Abarth 124 isn’t happening, but the 124 gets a carbonfibre removable hard top and exclusive parts

Abarth has announced that the 124 GT will be priced from £33,625, with only 50 units heading for UK roads.

The brand revealed its lightened version of its 124 sports car called the GT at the Geneva motor show

The 124 GT gets a removable hard-top roof made of carbonfibre and weighing 16kg. It’s lined on the inside, although it has to be stored separately when not in use, unlike the Mazda MX-5 RF’s folding hard top. 

The roof’s carbonfibre construction is a market first. It’s equipped with demisters in the rear window, insulation and soundproofing. The hard-top roof adds rigidity to the car’s chassis, although Abarth hasn’t specified by how much.  

The 124 GT also gets tweaked styling and exclusive parts such as lightweight OZ alloys, which shave 3kg off the standard 124‘s kerb weight. The standard 124 weighs 1060kg, meaning the GT model should weigh 1073kg once the 16kg hard top is taken into account.

Performance is unchanged – the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine gives 168bhp and 184lb ft of torque, so acceleration to 62mph remains unchanged at 6.8sec, with a 144mph top speed. 

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Source: Autocar Online

Buyer found for classic car firm JD Classics

Classic car firm JD Classics enters administration

After falling into administration following legal battles between former management and previous business associates, JD Classics has a new owner

JD Classics, one of the country’s most prolific classic car firms that last week went into administration, has been bought by Woodham Mortimer – a company specialising in the restoration, racing and selling of classic cars.

AM Online reports that the deal, struck by administrators Alvarez & Marsal Europe, has been reached, with all 60 of JD Classics’ staff keeping their jobs at the company’s Maldon facility. The brand’s racing team is also included in the sale. 

JD Classics boss Jean-Marc Gales said: “It is with great delight that JD Classics can announce its financial security and future growth through its sale to Woodham Mortimer Ltd. Despite the difficulties of the recent past, JD Classics remains a world-class organisation with a workforce of dedicated and highly talented individuals.”

Administrators Richard Beard, Mark Firmin and Richard Fleming were appointed to the classic car restoration and sales company. 

Sky News reported that the company was looking for a new buyer last month, as an investigation into “financial irregularities” continues. Lawsuits against Derek Hood, the company’s founder, were filed by former business associate Mike Tuke, who accused Hood of “deliberate and dishonest conduct”.

Hood left the Maldon-based firm several months ago and former Lotus CEO Gales was appointed in his place.

JD Classics restores and trades classic cars and has a racing division. It employs around 60 staff and is understood to own around 110 classic cars. As well as its main Essex base, it has a flagship showroom in Mayfair, London.

In a sale document, Alvarez & Marsal said: “The opportunity to acquire JD reflects the need to return value to stakeholders following the discovery of certain financial irregularities within the business.

“Whilst an investigation into these matters is ongoing, a new management team is now in place and the individuals associated with these irregularities are no longer working in the business.”

Read more

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Source: Autocar Online

Lexus ES revealed as driver-focused £35,150 GS replacement

Lexus ES revealed as driver-focused GS replacement

Seventh-generation ES is first to enter Europe, with design and handling tailored for that market

Lexus will replace its low-selling GS with the new ES, which costs almost £1000 less than the previous entry-level GS at £35,150. 

The ES made its world debut in Beijing before going on sale in Britain from January 2019. Orders open in October for UK customers, although pre-orders are being accepted.

Three specs are available on the new-to-Britain ES – the entry-level, ES-badged car, ES F Sport at £38,150 and range-topping Takumi, priced from £45,650. Takumi gets a power bootlid with kick sensor, 12.3in infotainment screen, premium sound system, heated and reclining rear seats and an around view monitor, while F Sport adds sportier styling, 19in wheels and adaptive sports suspension to the entry-level ES package. Electrically adjustable, heated front seats, 8in infotainment screen and parking sensors are standard from bottom-spec upwards.

While it’s the first to enter Europe, this ES is actually the seventh-generation model, with its forebears having focused on the US market. The new car is tasked with drastically increasing sales in Europe, so it has been designed and engineered to appeal to drivers in this region.

Part of the motivation for this decision will no doubt be the success of European rivals to the ES, such as the BMW 5 Series, which is renowned for its good handling and strong performance. Lexus has therefore engineered the new ES to be significantly more driver-focused than its predecessors.

It is built on Lexus’s Global Architecture-K platform, which is a front-wheel drive layout said to offer significant improvements to structural rigidity, as well as more freedom to create a sleeker design. High-tensile steel is used in higher volume than before, helping to save weight, although the car has grown longer and wider compared with its predecessor, while sitting lower.

The new ES features multi-link rear suspension and has a V-brace behind the backseats to enhance handling and precision. ES F Sport models add adaptive damping to this technical layout. It can be manually adjusted through a Drive Mode Select system.

Drive comes from a hybrid powertrain that’s based on an all-new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The system is rated to 215bhp and comes with claims of 60.1mpg combined. Lexus said the powertrain is also more natural in its power delivery, thanks to new control software that provides torque in a seamless way.

Pure petrol versions will also be available in ES 200 and ES 250 forms, but these are expected to make up a tiny proportion of sales in Britain, where Lexus customers tend to opt for its electrified models.

Lexus will equip the new ES with its latest safety technology. Driver assist features include a pre-collision detection system that can spot cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a two-stage high-beam system with 24 LEDs that can automatically switch beams off to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.

Much of the car’s exterior design takes inspiration from Lexus’ LS flagship, although the ES Sport model also has the LC’s coupé-like features, such as 19in wheels that share a similar design. The ES’s interior has a new dashboard with a clear driver-centric focus. It comes with a 12.3in infotainment system with a transmission tunnel-located touchpad and smartphone-integrated voice-recognition technology.

The ES replaces the GS, which goes off sale this month. Only 428 GS models were sold in Britain last year, meaning it achieved just 10% of the success of Lexus’s best-selling model here, the NX SUV.

Lexus sold almost 75,000 units in Europe in 2017. The Toyota-owned luxury brand targets 100,000 sales per year by 2020.

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Source: Autocar Online

Suzuki Jimny’s 'underwhelming' safety systems earn three stars in Euro NCAP tests

Suzuki Jimny’s “underwhelming” safety systems earn three-star NCAP

The Japanese manufacturer’s new baby SUV achieved only three stars out of five in safety tests; Audi’s A6 and VW’s Touareg got a full five

The new Suzuki Jimny has scored three stars out of five in the Euro NCAP 2018 crash test rating – the lowest score recorded under new 2018 regulations. 

The Jimny’s scores – 73% for adult occupants, 84% for child occupants, 52% for protecting vulnerable road users and 50% for safety assistance systems translate to a three-star rating, with adult occupant protection for the driver’s torso and rear passenger’s head being described as weak in the frontal offset deformable barrier and frontal full width tests respectively. Euro NCAP’s assessors noted that in the former, “there was insufficient pressure in the driver’s airbag to prevent it from ‘bottoming out’, allowing the head to contact the steering wheel”.

Despite the car’s standard-fit AEB, which Euro NCAP said performed well under testing, the car’s head restraints dragged the system’s score down for not providing adequate protection against whiplash injuries. 

For the frontal offset deformable barrier test, the Jimny achieved ‘adequate or worse’ for driver protection in every measured area except the driver’s neck, which was deemed ‘good’. 

Meanwhile, Euro NCAP awarded both the Audi A6 and Volkswagen Touareg five-star ratings, with both cars praised for their vulnerable road user protection – both cars’ autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems have cyclist detection included. 

The fourth car in the latest batch of tests, Ford’s Tourneo Connect van-based MPV, achieved four stars. The vehicle comes with lane support and AEB equipped as standard. 

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “Overall, these latest results demonstrate that, as Euro NCAP’s test protocols evolve and become more demanding, a five-star rating remains an achievable although challenging objective for the auto industry.”

“It is particularly positive and welcome that manufacturers are performing well in the assessment of vulnerable road user protection systems such as AEB for cyclists. Euro NCAP has now tested six models which feature this life saving technology. These driver assistance systems are the building blocks for potential automation in the future. Importantly they offer tangible safety benefits today.”

Autocar is awaiting response from a Suzuki spokesman. 

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Source: Autocar Online

Nissan reveals Navara Dark Sky Concept in Germany

Nissan reveals Navara Dark Sky Concept in Germany

Brand teamed up with the European Space Agency to create the perfect car-trailer combo to view the night sky

Nissan has revealed the Navara Dark Sky Concept – a highly modified version of its Navara pick-up designed to transport astronomers to remote locations to observe the night sky. 

The car gets Nissan’s semi-autonomous Propilot system, as well as enhanced blind spot warnings and around view monitors to aid the car when towing, taking into account the additional length of a specially made trailer. 

Also fitted is a system that automatically aligns the car with the trailer before hook-up, called Intelligent Towing Hitch Alignment. It takes control of the steering, acceleration and braking of the Navara akin to parking assistant systems already on the market. 

The trailer, which has a mechanised roof to protect the telescope and allow access when stargazing, contains a state-of-the-art Planewave telescope and other astronomical equipment, with a battery pack in both the car and the trailer catering for the additional electrical needs over the car’s battery. 

This allows laptops and scientific equipment to be used in the car without draining its battery, although there is also built-in wi-fi and a television signal transmitter, if broadcasting is required.

Nissan’s 2.3-litre diesel powertrain remains unchanged on the concept, with 187bhp and 332lb ft of torque on tap. The most notable mechanical revision to the car has been a 140mm raise in ride height, allowing better off-road ability. Large off-road wheels with knobbly tyres – 20in on the Navara and 16in on the trailer – also help in this regard. 

Inside, the car’s interior lighting has been replaced with red lighting, as red affects the night vision of humans the least. Reflective trim has been used on important parts of the car’s interior to aid access in low light without the need for a torch. 

Revealed at the Hannover motor show, the concept won’t make series production, although Nissan continues to expand its Propilot system into its other models. The towing-friendly features won’t make it onto road-going cars for the forseeable future, though.  

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Source: Autocar Online

Peugeot coupé concept to be revealed tomorrow

Peugeot previews retro-inspired coupé concept ahead of Paris

The 504-like car, which draws styling cues from the Instinct concept, has been two years in the making

Peugeot will show a concept coupé tomorrow ahead of an official appearance at next month’s Paris motor show, and it has been previewed in a series of images and clips released by the brand.

No details have been given about the car’s powertrain, but some degree of electrification is expected, given the switch to electric mobility across the industry and the concept’s forward-looking themes.

 

 

 

Styling, however, is decidedly retro in its execution, with lines and the car’s rear end drawing heavily from the 504 coupé of the late 1960s. Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe Imparato said: “When I saw it for real, it made me feel like a child.”

Imparato has previously hinted to Autocar that the car will preview a potential range-topping model, meaning that, unlike other concepts produced by the brand, the coupé could make production.

A more comprehensive image of the car was tweeted from Peugeot’s main Twitter account but has been since taken down. 

Even the car’s name is under wraps, as is the majority of its styling, but the image clearly shows the coupé’s shape, with wide wheel arches and a two-door bodystyle, as well as details taken from the Instinct shooting brake concept such as the rear lights. 

No interior details have been disclosed, but the car could have a cabin based around Peugeot’s i-Cockpit digital dashboard, albeit a next-generation system. A four-seat layout is expected, akin to the RCZ, which halted production in 2015. 

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Source: Autocar Online

UK-built cars 'to cost £2700 more in EU' with no-deal Brexit

Jaguar XE production

The Castle Bromwich factory where the Jaguar XE is built is moving to a three-day week

The SMMT claims a no-deal Brexit would hurt car production and jobs, with tariffs pushing up the cost of UK-built cars for buyers in the EU

The average cost of a UK-built car imported to the EU would increase by an average of £2700 as a result of new tariffs caused by a no-deal Brexit, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT, the UK automotive industry body and a vocal critic of Brexit, has today called on the UK’s Brexit negotiators to rule out a no-deal Brexit completely to avoid such tariffs being imposed, and to protect UK car production and jobs. 

The tariffs – 10% of a car’s import/export value and automatically applicable to all EU/UK imports/exports in the event of a no-deal Brexit – would affect “demand, profitability and jobs” in the UK if passed onto buyers of British-built cars in the EU, the SMMT said.

Conversely, the average cost of an EU-built car sold in the UK would increase by around £1500-£1700 if there is no deal, according to the SMMT’s own calculations. The total cost of tariffs across the UK and EU would be £5 billion per year for cars and light commercial vehicles, the SMMT claimed. 

The SMMT is meeting with EU representatives in Brussels to highlight the importance of the EU and UK car industries remaining fully integrated, and for a seamless Brexit that maintains the status quo.

Yesterday, Mini confirmed it would move its month-long summer shutdown forward in 2019 to 1 April, two days after the UK is scheduled to exit the EU. This is being done “to minimise the risk of any possible short-term parts supply disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit”.

Earlier this week, Jaguar Land Rover announced its Castle Bromwich factory would be moving to a three-day week until Christmas following the uncertainty of Brexit and a slump in demand for the diesel engines that power many of the Jaguar XE, XF and XJ saloons built there, in addition to the F-Type sports car. 

 



Source: Autocar Online

Toyota Supra 2019 prototype review

Toyota Supra 2019 prototype first drive review hero front

Long-awaited sports coupé is driven at last, but leaves us with as many questions as answers

It’s still dazzle-camouflaged outside and carpeted like they’ve skinned Sweep the puppet and draped him over the switchgear inside, it’s still eight months away from production and it’s still very much in prototype form. I’m accompanied by a minder whenever I go near it and they’ll barely tell me a single flipping statistic about it.Because the numbers don’t matter, they insist. (Which begs the question: why not just tell us, if they’re so unimportant?) All that matters at the moment, they say, is the way it drives and the way it makes you feel.And this, I’m thrilled to report, I can tell you. I’ve driven it, quite a lot and quite fast, at least by the standards of events that only have four prototype cars available and quite a lot of Toyota regional managers to demonstrate them to.But it’s nonetheless yet another painful ‘plink’ in the agonising drip-feed of Supra information that, let’s not forget, began in 2012 when BMW and Toyota announced they were going to work together. Does Toyota really need seven years to build a car?Of what we know, then, only this much is confirmed: the Supra has a lower centre of gravity than a GT86, despite having a 3.0-litre straight-six engine, which drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox (BMW/ZF respectively), while a BMW M Active limited-slip differential sits at the back axle. As with the BMW Z4 version, the weight distribution will be 50:50. I still can’t tell you the exact power but 340bhp sounds about right, as does 350lb ft, and the kerb weight is likely 1500kg.The body, despite being a blend of steel and aluminium, is as rigid as a Lexus LFA’s carbonfibre one. The wheelbase is around 2440mm and the track approximately 1600mm.There will be faster and, I suspect, slower versions of this car later, to make the sums add up for Toyota, so the slow release of information will go on even after production begins in May. You’ll see the final car, shorn of its disguise, at the Detroit show in January.And we can add this to what we know: it’s good to drive.

Source: Autocar Online

Video: Toyota Supra 2019 review | Cayman rival prototype driven

Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra

We’re among the first outside Toyota to get behind the wheel of a Supra in pre-production form. Here’s what it was like

The wait is (nearly) over for car enthusiasts around the world, as the hotly anticipated new Toyota Supra nears its launch. We’re among the first outside Toyota to get behind the wheel of one in pre-production form, in our latest video.

The new sports car has been developed in conjunction with BMW’s new Z4, featuring a turbocharged straight-six engine, rear-wheel drive and 50:50 weight distribution. We haven’t even seen the Supra in finished form yet, so our early drive is the closest we’ve got to Toyota’s return of an icon. 

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Source: Autocar Online

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