Bentley Bentayga Speed is world’s fastest SUV

Bentley Bentayga Speed rear three quarters motion

Performance SUV’s claimed top speed is fractionally higher than that of its Lamborghini Urus rival

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has set a record as the world’s fastest SUV, beating the Lamborghini Urus’s top speed by just 0.5mph.

The Bentayga Speed, the performance variant of the Crewe-based firm’s luxury SUV, has a claimed top speed of 190mph, while the Urus’s figure is 189.5mph. However, the Urus achieves the 0-62mph sprint in 3.6sec, while the Speed takes 3.9sec. 

The Speed, which will make its debut at Geneva motor show in March, uses a more highly tuned version of the same twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine as the standard Bentayga, raising power from 600bhp to 626bhp. Torque remains the same at 664lb ft.

Compared with the standard W12 Bentayga, the Speed is 0.2sec faster from 0-62mph, while its top speed is 3mph higher. 

Sport mode, one of four on-road driving modes, has received engineering tweaks in the Speed, intended to provide a more dynamic drive. The mode has been recalibrated to “enhance response” from the W12 engine and the eight-speed automatic gearbox, as well as the suspension and Bentley Dynamic Ride, the firm’s electric active roll control technology.

There is also a louder exhaust note and firmer suspension to “further increase driver engagement”, said Bentley.

Design changes include dark-tinted headlights, body-coloured side skirts and a prominent tailgate spoiler. The Speed also features dark-tinted front air intake grilles and 22in alloy wheels, available in a choice of three finishes.

Inside, the Speed gets new contrast stitching, Speed badging, an illuminated ‘Speed’ treadplate and, for the first time in a Bentayga, Alcantara upholstery.

Exclusive options include carbon-ceramic brakes, 22-way adjustable front seats and mood lighting.

The Bentayga Speed, which was first scooped by Autocar in June last year, will go on sale this summer and cost around £185,000 – £20,000 more than the regular W12.

It is the latest in a succession of Speed variants of Bentley models, dating back to 2007. The unveiling of the Bentyga Speed comes in the wake of the car maker claiming the production SUV record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US last year. 

It is the fourth Bentayga variant to go on sale, following the diesel, V8 and W12. The Bentayga plug-in hybrid, revealed at last year’s Geneva show, is yet to go on sale due to delays caused by WLTP fuel economy testing. 

Read more

Bentley Bentayga review

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Source: Autocar Online

Porsche warns of 10% price rise after no-deal Brexit

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S first drive review

UK prices are set to go up if the Government fails to secure a deal in time for the planned 29 March exit from the EU

Porsche has told its customers that they might have to pay up to 10% on top of the price of their car in import tariffs should there be a no-deal Brexit.

The UK is currently due to leave the European Union on 29 March but has yet to strike a deal, meaning tariffs of up to 10% could be applied to imports and exports.

Anyone ordering a Porsche since 18 January has been informed they might have to pay extra tariffs in the event of no deal. Anyone who ordered a car before then is not affected.

“When our customers are looking to order a car, we try to keep them informed with as much information as possible. This includes any changes outside of our control that may affect the price of the car they’re interested in purchasing,” said Porsche.

“As one potential outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there is a possibility that a duty of up to 10% may be applied to cars imported into the UK by us after 29 March. In light of this, we have chosen to inform customers whose cars are likely to arrive after Brexit occurs to warn them that they may be affected by this tariff – allowing them to be fully informed at the point of sale and, if they wish, to adjust their order accordingly.

“This is a precautionary step in the interests of allowing our customers to plan ahead, should this situation arise.”

Porsche is the first car maker to show its hand with a tangible impact of what a no-deal Brexit would look like. Other car makers are understood to be set to follow suit in the coming days, with Volvo being another car maker set to confirm its 2020 model year prices will be 10% higher in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


New 2019 Porsche 911: eighth-generation sports car revealed

Porsche 911 Speedster spotted ahead of release later this year

Porsche Cayenne Coupé seen ahead of summer on-sale date

Source: Autocar Online

New Land Rover Defender: interior leaked ahead of unveiling

Image posted on Twitter appears to show all-new 4×4’s dashboard; official debut isn’t expected for several months

The first image of the new Land Rover Defender‘s interior appears to have been leaked online ahead of the model’s official unveiling at the end of the year.

The image, posted on Twitter by an unidentified user, appears to be a press shot of the reborn 4×4’s dashboard. Land Rover itself has only released exterior shots of prototypes at this stage.

We can see that Land Rover has thoroughly modernised the Defender’s interior, with a central widescreen infotainment system and full-width digital instrument display. The steering wheel features Defender branding in its centre, too.

New Land Rover Defender: reveal confirmed for 2019

Details such as ‘stop’ and ‘go’ stamped into the accelerator and brake pedals aim to add character, while the materials look to be more durable and hard-wearing than those used in current Land Rovers.

The car in these pictures has an automatic gearbox, and it’s not yet clear if manual versions will also be offered. 

Specific details beyond this image are still several months away from being revealed. We do know, however, that the 2020 Defender will be offered as a long-wheelbase five-door and a short-wheelbase three-door, with a number further bodystyles, including a pick-up truck and a convertible, expected further down the line as part of a whole family of variants.

The 4×4 isn’t expected to abandon its off-road credibility, despite the new technology. Engineers are said to be subjecting the Toyota Land Cruiser rival to “rigorous test extremes”, including at temperatures as low as -40deg C and as high as 48deg C, as well as at altitudes up to 13,000ft. 

Read more:

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Source: Autocar Online

Toyota Corolla 2.0 Hybrid CVT Excel 2019 review

Toyota Corolla hybrid 2019 first drive review - hero front

A rebranded version of the world’s best-selling nameplate prepares for its UK return

In 2019, there are reasons to be cheerful if you want a family hatchback without paying a ‘made in Germany’ premium. I don’t want to spoil the surprise too much, but take a look at next week’s road test and you’ll learn Ford’s latest Focus has rediscovered the dynamic sparkle that made the original so special.Kia’s Ceed, built on a new platform and now with a fully independent rear axle, can’t match that level of dynamism but handles with a precision and honesty that will jolt anybody whose perception of the brand is more than a couple of years out of date. There is then the pebble-like form of Mazda’s new 3, which promises to drive almost as lithely as it looks.Toyota would have you add the new Corolla to that list. Confused? Don’t be. That name hasn’t been seen in this country for more than 10 years, but the sharp-edged hatchback before you (along with its estate and saloon derivatives) is essentially a direct replacement for Toyota’s ultra-pragmatic but slow-selling Auris. And it is a model of monumental significance for the brand – a revival of the world’s top-selling nameplate, at least in Europe, where the competition is fiercer and the standards higher than anywhere else in the world.The rebrand reflects the fact that much has now changed, not least the underpinnings. Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform sits the powertrain 10mm lower for a commensurate drop in the car’s centre of gravity and improved handling. The structure of this 12th-generation Corolla (born in 1966, the saloon original predates the Golf by some eight years) is now 60% stiffer than the old one, and independent rear suspension is now standard. The geometry of the MacPherson struts at the front axle has also been realigned to deliver more communicative steering, all of which sounds promising.Looks are, as ever, subjective, but if the Auris was blandly handsome then in the metal the Corolla is just handsome. Its bottom might jut out in the manner of the old Renault Mégane, but sitting 40mm longer, 30mm wider but 25mm shorter than its forebear – and with smaller overhangs – the proportions are there. A Focus has a considerably longer wheelbase and a Golf more head room, but if you can forgive the Toyota its false exhaust tips, it’s the more distinctive car.At launch, Toyota will offer a 112bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine along with two versions of its Atkinson-cycle hybrid powertrains, which Toyota expects to account for almost nine in every 10 sales. The 1.8-litre VVTi is identical to what you’ll find in the Prius, in fact, and with a combined WLTP economy of up to 65.9mpg but only 120bhp from electric motor and petrol engine combined, its priorities are clear. The 2.0-litre powertrain driven here blurs the lines a bit. With 178bhp and a 0-62mph time of 7.9sec, it’s quicker than either the equivalent Honda Civic or Ford Focus, but remains an economy-focused device, with CO2 emissions of just 89g/km and a spec-sheet claim of more than 60mpg.

Source: Autocar Online

Driven: the one-off Jaguar F-Type rally car

Jaguar F-Type rally car 2019 driven - Dan Prosser front

Jaguar’s bespoke open-top creation was built to tackle gravel and mud, and it’s brilliant fun over both

Having finally driven Jaguar’s roofless rally car, which was basically a present to itself on the 70th birthday of the XK120, the model that was both a game-changing sports car and a competitive rally machine, I now know the F-Type Convertible is unsuited to rallying for two main reasons.

The first is weight, because while a conventional rally car weighs around 1200kg, this one is more like 1500kg. The second is that even with a 40mm increase in ride height, it still doesn’t have quite enough ground clearance to breeze over really rutted gravel tracks nor sufficient suspension travel to absorb the biggest divots and bumps.

But those things only make the F-Type less rapid along a rally special stage. In this instance, that’s entirely immaterial, because this car hasn’t actually been developed for competition. We’ll never see it go up against a stopwatch. Instead, its only objective is to be fun to drive on mud. It’s a gravel-kicking plaything, which explains why it has only two driveshafts, rather than the four that would invariably make it faster. And does too much weight or too little suspension travel mean it isn’t fun to drive? Not a bit of it.

The loose surface underneath, the extra ride height and the knobbly rally tyres make the car’s steering less responsive than the roadgoing model’s. So you work the wheel a little harder and learn to be patient with the front axle on the way into a bend. The trick Exe-TC dampers marry astonishing body control with impressive bump compliance within what travel they do have, while the fluid and progressive oversteer that meets you at every corner exit is so easily controlled, and with it so entertaining, that you soon find yourself sliding the car at every opportunity.

As effective as the rally tyres are on the loose, they’re still no match for the turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s 300bhp, particularly with only two wheels by which to divide it. If you’re leaden-footed with the throttle (which you will be, because that’s far and away the most amusing method), the rear tyres will spin up all the way through third gear. With a little throttle sensitivity, it’s possible to coerce the rear tyres into biting into the mud so that they slingshot the car forwards quickly and neatly, but that hardly seems to be the point of the exercise. Much better to clog it and make the car slide.

Wanton oversteer aside, what makes this F-Type so absorbing to drive is exactly what makes any gravel rally car so much fun. It’s the sensation of it moving around on the loose surface, of it skating across the road in a bend and of the tail wagging left and right, even on the straights, all while being cradled by a proper competition seat and clamped in position by a six-point harness. It means that you feel the car beneath in a way you simply never do in any car on a grippy Tarmac surface.

The anti-lock braking, traction control and stability control systems have all been disabled, so you’re out there on your own. It never feels as though it wants to snap around into a spin, but locking the wheels under heavy braking is very easy to do. The key is to jump off the brake pedal and quickly ease back onto it.

That’s just one of the ways in which this car is challenging, and rewarding because of it. If I have more fun driving anything in 2019, this will go down as a vintage year.


An F-Type with a difference: the open-top Jaguar rally car

Jaguar F-Type used car buying guide

Stage Flight: Why rallying is back to its best in 2019

Source: Autocar Online

New Polestar 2 to be revealed in two weeks time

Volvo’s performance brand releases new image of all-electric Polestar 2, set to rival the Tesla Model 3 and arrive in the summer

Polestar has confirmed its will launch its next production model, the Polestar 2, on February 27th in an online-only reveal event.

The car will then make a public debut at the Geneva motor show, with the newly established brand intending to tread a different path to existing manufacturers when it comes to the launch and roll-out of its models.

A new preview image has been released, showing part of the car’s rear design. The tailgate shape is distinguised from the Polestar 1, while a full-length LED light bar runs around the bootlid.

The Tesla Model 3 rival follows Volvo‘s performance brand’s first model, the hybrid-powered Polestar 1, which will go on sale in Europe in summer 2019. 

Details are scarce, but the company refers to the model’s body style as that of a four-door “fastback”, and states that it will be the first vehicle to feature Google’s new human-machine interface technology and the in-car version of Google Assistant. 

The company says the new model will “be sold in the Tesla Model 3 price range”, suggesting a likely starting price of around £50,000. Customers will purchase the Polestar 2 on a subscription basis, set to take the form of “a slightly more premium version” of Volvo’s own Care by Volvo scheme. 

It also claims the Polestar 2 will produce up to 400bhp and offer a claimed range of roughly 300 miles. Speaking to Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018, Polestar COO Jonathan Goodman confirmed some details of the new model. 

Talking about the range of the entry-level model, he said: “That will represent the lower ‘bookend’ of our showroom range and, for now, it should give us as much access to the volume end of the EV market as we need.” 

The Polestar 2 is understood to closely relate to Volvo’s 40.2 concept shown early in 2017, alongside the 40.1 concept which has since been revealed in production form as the XC40 compact SUV.

Goodman also warned that any established manufacturer that launches an EV sub-brand built on alternative design over the next few years might be making a big mistake, given the pace at which the market for EVs is set to develop.

“The global electric car market was worth four million units in 2017,” explained Goodman, “but it’s quite widely expected to be worth 29m units by 2025. EV owners will come from all walks of life. So it’s a mistake to assume that, because the cars are electric, you have to make them quirky or futuristic.

“Other brands may be doing that, but if we’re looking at a market worth 30m cars within seven years, it isn’t going to be niche, it’s going to be mainstream. So you just design a great-looking car – not one with a big blue flash down the side.”

In contrast to the cultish following that rival brand Tesla has attracted, Goodman also wants Polestar to have an inclusive attitude towards its customers.“I think it’s very dangerous for brands like ours to sit here and ask ‘what’s our type of customer?'”, he went on.

“Electric cars will be just as appealing to young executives as they are to retirees. It’s a new market, and purchase intentions will vary. So we’ve got to be a welcoming brand that’s not geeky, cliquey or judgmental.” 

Read more

Tesla Model 3 review

Polestar 1 prototypes enter production

New electric cars 2019/2020: What’s coming and when?​

Source: Autocar Online

2020 Mercedes S-Class: first interior shots reveal tech revolution

Hybrid-only seventh-gen S-Class will feature advancements in every area, a new platform and a radical interior redesign

Mercedes-Benz is readying an all-new S-Class for 2020 release, and new spyshots show the car’s radical interior design for the first time.

Spy photographers caught another prototype for the upcoming luxury flagship undergoing winter testing. But one also managed to point his lens inside, revealing Mercedes has totally redesigned the cabn around a large, portrait-oriented central touchscreen.

The Tesla-style display is significantly larger than any screen Mercedes has offered in previous models, and detail shots show the bottom half of it is dedicated to the limo’s climate control functions, with touch-capacitive shortcut buttons below.

It’s likely further updates to the brand’s already new MBUX user interface will boost features and usability, while the brand’s trademark digital dials are also visible. 

The seventh-generation S-Class looks set to regain its place at the forefront of the brand’s technical knowhow, with a range of new electrified powertrains and advanced driver assist features. Comfort and technology levels will take a boost with the target of lifting it beyond rivals such as the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series.

The new Mercedes flagship, which is due in UK showrooms next year, has been developed to support two distinctly different saloon models for the first time. While standard versions are set to receive a range of plug-in hybrid drivetrains, the German car maker also plans to introduce an aerodynamically optimised pure-electric version that insiders say will serve as the flagship model for its new EQ electric vehicle sub-brand

Badged EQ S, the new model will offer a claimed range in excess of 310 miles on the latest WLTP test cycle when it goes on sale in 2022. Plug-in hybrid versions of the S-Class will feature part-time zero-emission capability for distances of up to 62 miles, together with the option of a newly developed 4Matic four-wheel drive system with fully variable apportioning of drive between the front and rear axles.


The EQ S forms part of Mercedes’ £9 billion programme to introduce more than 10 dedicated electric vehicles to the UK market within the next six years. 

In a further change, it is believed that Mercedes-Benz has decided to do away with its long tradition of offering the standard S-Class, which goes under the internal codename W223, with two different wheelbases. Nothing is official at this stage, but it is understood that the growth of the E-Class to a length of 4920mm is behind a decision to produce the new S-Class exclusively in long-wheelbase guise, with the car measuring around 5280mm in length. 

However, while the standard S-Class sits on the MRA platform, the more technically advanced four-wheel drive EQ S will be the first Mercedes-Benz model to be based on the new modular electric architecture (MEA) platform. Unlike the structures being developed to underpin smaller EQ models, it is not based on an existing platform but has been developed as dedicated EV architecture with a flat floor to house batteries.

The drivelines set to power hybrid versions of the new S-Class are based around Mercedes’ latest 3.0-litre and 2.9-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and the AMG-developed 4.0-litre V8, all of which operate in combination with a disc-shaped electric motor housed within the automatic gearbox and a lithium ion battery located in the boot floor. 

The pure-electric EQ S is set to receive two electric motors – one acting on the front axle and the other driving the rear – providing permanent four-wheel drive in all variants. In the upcoming EQ C, this set-up delivers more than 400bhp and some 516lb ft, although engineers involved on the development of the EQ S suggest it will offer even greater levels of power and torque, with a planned AMG performance model earmarked to produce more than 600bhp.


Despite the differing platforms, both the standard S-Class and the EQ S are set to share the same active suspension system. A development of the existing S-Class’s AirMatic+ system, it works in combination with a 48V electrical architecture and a stereo camera that scans the road ahead to adjust the spring and damper action on each wheel, allowing it to not only counteract body lean in corners but also to better control pitch. 

Stylistically, the new S-Class is claimed to break new ground with a lineage that sources at Mercedes-Benz’s design studio contend will influence a whole new generation of models. Recent prototype spy shots preview a design that will feature distinctive tri-band LED multibeam headlights, a new interpretation of the classic Mercedes-Benz grille and door handles that retract back into the bodywork to help improve aerodynamic properties. 

It is understood that the EQ S will adopt its own distinct styling. Reflecting the packaging advantages inherent in electric vehicles, the EQ S will receive a shorter bonnet and more heavily raked windscreen than the standard version of the new S-Class, similar to that of the Mercedes CLS

Read more

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Source: Autocar Online

Volkswagen T-Roc R: First official image released of 296bhp SUV

Volkswagen releases sketch of the performance version of its T-Roc SUV ahead of a Geneva motor show unveiling

Volkswagen has released a sketch of the new T-Roc R performance SUV ahead of an expected unveiling at next month’s Geneva motor show.

The images shows that, as expected, the model will feature pumped-up styling compared with the standard T-Roc, including enlarged front air intakes with a honeycomb grille and bigger wheels. 

A previous teaser video, released by VW, shows the T-Roc undergoing development testing in disguise at the Nurburgring.

The video was the first confirmation of the T-Roc R’s existence, which the company had previously been keeping a relative secret. It shows rally driver Petter Solberg figuring a camouflaged prototype on the Nordschleife but reveals little else about the car.

Autocar understands the T-Roc R will use the same 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as the Golf R hot hatch, with which it shares its platform.

Earlier spy photos had shown a different prototype to the one spotted originally, with a different body colour and the same distinctive hoop daytime running lights of higher-spec cars. A production T-Roc R will undoubtedly follow this distinction.

A performance version won’t be the only new T-Roc model; Volkswagen has also announced the launch of a T-Roc Cabriolet for 2020. The T-Roc R’s more advanced stage of development means it will arrive before then, though.

Volkswagen sources hinted at the hot SUV being developed to become the most agile offering in its class, with chassis development guru Karsten Schebsdat and professional racing racer Benny Leuchter on hand to ensure its competitiveness.

Speaking at the launch of the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, Schebsdat, who led the development of models such as the Golf GTI Clubsport S and previously headed up chassis development at Porsche, said the T-Roc is already well suited to a performance application and therefore would be an effective R model.

“I think the standard T-Roc with 4Motion [four-wheel drive] and the DCC chassis with 19in wheels is the most agile SUV in that class,” he said. “If there will be a T-Roc R, it will definitely be even more fun.”

The model, a rival to group stablemate the Cupra Ateca, will put out 296bhp and had been spotted testing at the Nürburgring long before Volkswagen confirmed its existence. 

Leuchter has been drafted in to provide input for the car’s set-up. He was a key contributor to the Clubsport S’s final technical settings and was the man at the wheel when it set an earlier Nürburgring front-wheel-drive lap record.

Leuchter said he has been pushing for more agile set-ups on Volkswagen models that reduce the understeer previous models had become synonymous with, suggesting that the T-Roc will be given playful characteristics in order to appeal to driving enthusiasts. Leuchter’s input on the Polo GTI, for example, has increased its adjustability.

The T-Roc will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as the Golf R, and the two will share much more, because each uses MQB A underpinnings. However, with the same power outputs, the T-Roc R’s additional weight and higher centre of gravity will ensure it falls short of matching the 4.6sec 0-62mph time and dynamic handling of its smaller sibling.

In typical Volkswagen R style, the future performance T-Roc’s styling will likely remain restrained to give it an understated look. 

Early ‘in the metal’ sightings came weeks after Volkswagen research and development boss Frank Welsch told Autocar that he had commissioned the building of a development car to test the T-Roc R formula. Welsch said he “liked the idea” and expected it to “go well in the UK”.

Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess revealed last year that the fastest T-Roc would bypass the GTI name because “GTI is for us the hot hatch; a sporty car, classless and accessible for many. It should be this car – a hot hatch”. For an SUV, Diess said “we have another sub-brand, R”.

The Volkswagen T-Roc has been revealed. Read more here 

The T-Roc R would sit above the current most potent 187bhp T-Roc, which Welsch believes will help the model stand out in its busy segment. 

“We have a 187bhp T-Roc, which is more than the competitors offer,” he said, “and we’ll see if lots of people take that.”

Further T-Roc range expansion

The commonality of parts for cars using the MQB A platform on which the T-Roc sits also raises the prospect of the new SUV being sold in plug-in hybrid GTE form along with, potentially, a warm GTD set-up.

However, the future of diesel engines in smaller cars remains up for debate as manufacturers weigh up the cost of meeting new emissions regulations for diesels against how much of a premium buyers will be willing to pay. A pure-electric version of the T-Roc is unlikely, however, as VW is set to launch a bespoke family of electric models on its MEB platform from 2020.

Welsch’s openness to branding a fast T-Roc as an R model rather than a GTI also signals a clear policy to reserve the latter badge for its famous hot hatches. Even so, the firm has broadened the appeal of its GTI range, with the expansion of the brand into the entry-level Up GTI.

As the SUV sector booms, car makers are looking to exploit sales niches while creating halo models that attract attention to a line-up. For example, Nissan launched Nismo models of its Juke, but VW’s decision to launch an R version of the T-Roc would signify a step up in the mainstream performance SUV stakes.

Read more:

Volkswagen T-Roc review

Comment: will a hot Volkswagen T-Roc be a sales success?

Insight: 11 Volkswagen saloons you’ve never heard of

Source: Autocar Online

Bowler Bulldog V8 SC 2019 review

Bowler Bulldog V8 SC 2019 first drive review - hero front

Bowler’s Defender-inspired rally car gets a 567bhp V8 transplanted from the Range Rover SVR. Is this a matter of excess, or an engineering exercise judged to perfection?

You look out of the kitchen window and there’s a pterodactyl sitting on the birdbath.It’s the same effect when the Bowler Bulldog you’ve come to test is parked outside a BP station just off the A14 – straddling two bays, because it has to. Licence plates mean it’s road-legal; everything your eyes tell you seems to contradict that. We’ll come onto the wider implications of this latest V8-engined rally-raid ‘prototype’ in a moment, but that it can concurrently exist as a successful silhouette racer and, quite feasibly, as the basis of a more luxurious road car demonstrates two things.First is that Derbyshire-based Bowler’s engineering capabilities far outweigh its status as a relative manufacturing minnow – it numbers fewer than 40 employees and builds only 20 or so cars a year. The Bulldog might share its wheelbase with a Defender 110, along with a handful of panels, the upright windscreen and a bit of dashboard trim, but as a percentage, the parts carried over are in the low single figures. Bespoke glassfibre encases a structural roll-cage built to withstand end-over-end crashes in the Moroccan dunes, but the real magic lies deeper, because underneath it all lurks not a ladder-frame chassis but Bowler’s new laser-cut-aluminium cross-sector platform.During the design phase this chassis underwent six months of finite element analysis, which is why it takes the form of an attractive, intricate latticework with struts that protrude into the cabin and straddle the transmission tunnel. The upshot is that the Bulldog touts a torsional stiffness four times that of a standard Defender – and two-thirds of the way to matching a Bugatti EB110, amazingly – but weighs 200kg less.       Second is that there is a market for useable modified Defenders (or, in the case of the Bulldog, Defender lookalikes) with heroic performance. Bolted onto the Bulldog’s bespoke platform are Range Rover subframes, so while Bowler offers the car with either petrol or diesel V6 (the latter being the popular choice for competition, due to its 1000-mile range with the 225-litre fuel tank), it was always ready to take JLR’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8. And that, unsurprisingly, is the engine eccentric hobbyists of considerable means want. It arrives at Bowler in the same 567bhp tune of the Range Rover Sport SVR – a car half-a-tonne heavier than the Bulldog but still capable of hitting 62mph in 4.3 seconds. As a bellwether for the Bulldog’s performance, we’re now into the uncertain region between excitement and panic. Elsewhere you’ll find limited-slip differentials for the front and rear axles, the latter being switchable through four modes, and Brembo brakes from the Range Rover Sport. There are further vestiges of Range Rover inside the cabin – the column stalks, gearlever and electronic handbrake are all conspicuously posh – but it’s otherwise no-nonsense, with a Motec display and foam fire extinguisher. The driving position is abrupt but comfortable in an agricultural sort of way, with the pedals set up for left-foot braking. The Cobra buckets seats also sit more central than in a Defender, so wheel-twirling drivers don’t thump their funny bone on the door. Given the Bulldog will cross boulder fields at more than 100mph, that’s an A-star for ergonomics.         

Source: Autocar Online

Audi previews Q4 e-tron concept ahead of Geneva unveiling

Audi Q4 e-tron sketches official - hero

First sketches of electric SUV concept preview upcoming Q4 and next-generation electric Audis

Audi has revealed the first sketches of its Q4 e-tron concept ahead of the car’s debut at next month’s Geneva motor show.

It isn’t yet clear if this concept is a direct preview of the Q4, which is due to launch later this year and has already been spotted in camouflage undergoing winter testing. However, it does provide an insight into the next generation of electric Audis following the E-tron SUV and E-tron GT sports saloon.

The sketches reveal a compact SUV with coupé-like styling, an expansive front grille and illuminated e-tron branding on the front bumper and side sills.

It seems to have traditional door mirrors, instead of the digital cameras and interior touchscreens offered on the E-tron SUV. Audi’s Matrix LED headlights also appear to feature.

An interior sketch shows a driver-focused dashboard that borrows elements from the recently launched new Q3, with buttons largely removed in favour of touch-sensitive screens and panels.

The Q4 e-tron is expected to make production in early 2021, a year after the standard Q4 is due on sale.


Audi electric compact SUV to arrive in 2020 

Audi E-tron one of twelve electric Audis to launch by 2025 

Audi E-tron GT concept: first drive of electric sports saloon 

Source: Autocar Online

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