Autocar confidential: Ferrari's extra-special speedster, Citroen calls for motoring freedom and more

Ferrari SP2 Monza at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019

Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry

In this week’s gathering of gossip from the meeting rooms of motoring, we hear why Nissan didn’t reinvent the Juke, how Mercedes’ two very different EVs are very similar underneath, and more. 

Marchionne’s V12-powered legacy 

A chance chat between former Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, who died last year, and the design team led to the creation of the Monza speedster. Marchionne and the design team shared their love of speedsters of the past and “during this conversation, we said why not make one as a concept?” said Ferrari design boss Flavio Manzoni. “The project started like this.”

Off the buses

Citroen boss Linda Jackson has said it’s up to car makers to prove that the personal freedom cars can offer has a vital role in the future. “I think people have a bad view of the car industry,” Jackson said. “Everybody is knocking the car and saying it’s going to be impossible to get around in cities without everybody going to public transport… We want to say: ‘Hold on. People want freedom, liberty and mobility’.” 

Merc’s skin-deep differences 

Although the new Mercedes-Benz EQV sits in a different segment from the EQC, development of the two was not entirely separate. “We’re working really close together,” said EQV engineer Volker Scheinhütte of the two engineering teams. “We share the same software, but for the van features, we are branching out a bit.” 

Rejuventating the Juke

Nissan designers considered reinventing the Juke for its second generation. “We wondered whether we should come with a completely different angle, but there was so much material from the first generation that we could improve, that’s the way we felt it should go,” said Nissan Europe design boss Matt Weaver. 

Read more

Mercedes-Benz EQV: electric MPV makes debut at Frankfurt​

New Nissan Juke is bigger, cleaner, more ‘grown up​’

Ferrari SP2 Monza: First ride in ultra-rare speedster​



Source: Autocar Online

BMW X2 M35i 2019 UK review

The X2 visits BMW M to receive a hot-hatch drivetrain in its crossover-coupé body, with mixed results

Cars that try to be all things to all people usually end up feeling as compromised as the brief suggests. That’s what BMW will set to avoid with this latest version of the X2, which not only wants to mix a small SUV with a coupé but also morph into a hot hatch.You see, the X2 has paid a visit to BMW M to be fitted with a 302bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox – a spec that’s well into Volkswagen Golf R territory.M also fits its own tune of suspension, which is firmer and lower than that of the standard X2 on which the M35i is based. If you want the adaptive dampers that come with the M Sport package, you’ll have to sacrifice the 20in alloy wheels of our test car for a 19in set, because the larger wheels aren’t compatible. Even without that package, this is a £42,000 car. Crikey.

Source: Autocar Online

Audi threatened with additional Dieselgate fines in Germany

German transport ministry tells Audi it must meet next week’s deadline for retrofitting new diesel software

The German transport ministry has threatened to issue Audi with further fines if it does not meet upcoming deadlines for the retrofitting of manipulated diesel models with new software, according to German media reports.

Bild am Sonntag claims it has sighted documents revealing the German transport ministry has issued Audi with an ultimatum in relation to a demand originally made in 2017 to rid diesels of so-called “cheat software”.

It is said to lay out conditions that could see the German car maker slapped with fines should it not meet a 26 September deadline for the retrofitting of V6 and V8 diesel models with EU6 certification.

The retrofit measures are aimed at bringing various Audi models up to a legal state by adding software code that does not include manipulation measures that can lead to significantly higher emissions on the road than in test conditions.  

As well as threatening further fines, the German transport ministry is also said to have informed Audi it will push ahead with plans to cancel the type approval for offending diesel models not retrofitted before the deadline.

Audi says it is within the timeframe to meet the 26 September deadline. “In September, and thus within the deadline set by the German transport ministry, we will table documents for a further 8200 vehicles,” it says.

All up, a total of 12,400 cars are said to be affected by the deadline. Audi says it has an additional software solution for the remaining 4200 cars. “We see no reason for a withdrawal of type approval,” it says. “The solution is imminent; we will keep the deadline.”

Additionally, Bild am Sonntag reports Audi is facing a potentially costly buyback of older EU4 diesel models. Nothing is official just yet, although it cites sources suggesting the models in question cannot be made legal through software measures alone but require significant re-engineering of hardware.

Read more:

Former Audi CEO Stadler charged over Dieselgate scandal

Dieselgate damages: civil case against Volkswagen starts in Spring

Dieselgate: recording of former VW engine chief emerge



Source: Autocar Online

Updated Renault Koleos to cost from £28,195

Two new diesel engines, more standard equipment and improved interior refreshed large SUV

The updated Renault Koleos large SUV will cost from £28,195 when it goes on sale in the UK in November.

The new version of the model was first revealed at the Shanghai motor show, and receives a number of changes to bring it into line with the recently refreshed Kadjar sibling.

External changes are as subtle as they are on the Kadjar and include an altered grille, new skid plates front and rear and additional chrome. LED headlights are now standard fit across the range, while new two-tone alloy wheels and a Vintage Red paint scheme are added.

Interior upgrades include new soft-touch materials, trim details and two-stage reclining rear seats on all models. A new pedestrian detection function has been added to the active emergency braking system, while the infotainment now gets full-screen Apple CarPlay capability. 

Renault has also added two new diesel engines to the Koleos. The first is a 148bhp 1.8-litre unit, replacing the 1.6-litre diesel in the outgoing model. It’s front-wheel-drive only, puts out 250lb ft of torque and is claimed to emit 143g/km of CO2 emissions. A new 2.0-litre also features with 187bhp and 280lb ft of torque, claiming 150g/km of CO2. 

The marque has seemingly taken the opportunity to make both engines CVT-only, reflecting the decreased popularity of manual transmissions in this class. Greater refinement is also claimed, while the more powerful diesel comes with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system. 

Alongside the material changes, Renault has also simplified the Koleos range. Two trim levels are now offered: Iconic and GT-Line.

Iconic models receive kit including a 18in alloy wheels, a 7in touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, a rear parking camera, LED headlights, automative lights and wipers, and heated and cooled cup holders. Prices start from £28,195 for the 148bhp dCi 150, and £31,195 for the 187bhp dCi 190.

GT-Line trim adds 18in alloy wheels, an 8.7in touchscreen, an electric tailgate, leather seats and heated electrically adjustable front seats. That model costs £30,195 and £33,195 for the dCi 150 and dCi 190 respectively.

Read more

Renault Koleos review

Analysis: the risks of a Renault/FCA partnership

First drive: 2019 Renault Clio prototype

 

 



Source: Autocar Online

Jaguar Land Rover boss: electric cars won't get cheaper soon

Ralf Speth claims battery prices won’t reduce for five years; better charging network would allow use of smaller batteries

The price of batteries for electric cars won’t come down for up to five years, according to Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth.

As a result, he wants to see charging infrastructure drastically improve to allow drivers to feel more confident. Should that happen, car makers won’t have to fit batteries as large as they currently do to their electric cars, bringing the costs down as a result.

“I hope the infrastructure is fixed,” Speth said. “The price of electric cars is still too high, as we need to do a big range. So, you have a big battery that is needed, as you can’t charge the car. If you can charge, we can make the battery smaller and bring the cost down.”

He continued: “There will be no reduced cost for three to five years. We need a more dense charging network, more quality and more quantity, that are more standardised and provide faster charging. You clearly need a good spread across the country, not just in London.”

Speth is convinced that electric cars are the future and that charging infrastructure will catch up as more are made by more car companies. “With more demand for chargers, it will come,” he said. “It will come later, but it will come.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s first production EV, the Jaguar I-Pace, officially manages up to 292 miles on a single charge from a 90kWh battery pack, with prices starting from just under £65,000. The firm has only recently gone public with its next EV, the all-new XJ luxury saloon, while plans for further electric Jaguar and Land Rover models are believed to be well advanced. 

Opinion: JLR boss Ralf Speth on preparing for Brexit

New Jaguar XF: 2020 facelift to get interior overhaul

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2019 review



Source: Autocar Online

EVs need paying and charging conformity, says top charging firm

Ionity chargers

ABB’s electrification boss says competition between large-scale manufacturers is delaying mass EV adoption

The adoption of common charging and payment standards for EV charging points is a vital step towards the widespread take-up of EVs, according to one of the biggest makers of charging points. 

Swiss-based technology firm ABB supplies EV charging equipment to a number of networks worldwide, including Ionity, which recently opened its first 350kW rapid-charging site in the UK. 

Tarak Mehta, the boss of ABB’s electrification division, said working towards common charging standards is “a role we take very seriously.” 

Mehta said that although he understands the reasons, the situation is complicated by car firms wanting to gain an edge with their own systems and infrastructure projects. 

“With the nature of politics, the way the automotive OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] feel about themselves lends itself to not having too many common standards,” said Mehta. “The infrastructure is proportional to the [number of] standards: so one standard versus two has a substantial impact on the cost of infrastructure you need in any one geography. 

“On the commercial vehicle side, we see a far more collaborative evolution. On the automotive side, let’s put it this way: it’s a bit more challenging. The good news is that, so far, in any one geography, we’re down to one or two standards, and that’s probably good enough.” 

Although there has been a move towards common charging plugs, EV owners still face the need to sign up with several companies in order to use each firm’s charging points. 

“The biggest issue [on the payment side] is data,” said Mehta. “Convergence could happen very quickly if there was an agreed data-sharing model, because a lot of data that comes with EV charging has value. Getting that data shared is a bigger issue than getting credit cards working [across different accounts] and having it standardised might take some regulatory effort.”

Read more

VW-backed firm opens high-power UK charging station

UK government doubles investment in residential charging point scheme​

Electric chargers should offer card payment by 2020​



Source: Autocar Online

EVs need paying and charging conformity, says top charger maker

Ionity chargers

ABB’s boss of electrification says competition between large-scale manufacturers is delaying mass EV adoption

The adoption of common charging and payment standards is a vital step towards the widespread take-up of EVs, according to one of the biggest makers of charging points. 

Swiss-based technology firm ABB supplies equipment to a number of charging networks worldwide, including Ionity, which recently opened its first 350kW rapid-charging station in the UK. 

Tarak Mehta, the boss of ABB’s electrification division, said working towards common charging standards is “a role we take very seriously”. 

Mehta said that although he understands the reasons for car firms wanting to gain an edge with their own systems and infrastructure projects, this complicates the situation.

“With the nature of politics, the way the automotive OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] feel about themselves lends itself to not having too many common standards,” said Mehta. “The infrastructure is proportional to the [number of] standards, so one standard versus two has a substantial impact on the cost of infrastructure you need in any one geography. 

“On the commercial vehicle side, we see a far more collaborative evolution. On the automotive side, let’s put it this way: it’s a bit more challenging. The good news is that, so far, in any one geography, we’re down to one or two standards, and that’s probably good enough.” 

Although there has been a move towards a common charging plug design, EV owners still face the need to sign up with several companies in order to use a variety of charging points. 

“The biggest issue [on the payment side] is data,” said Mehta. “Convergence could happen very quickly if there was an agreed data-sharing model, because a lot of data that comes with EV charging has value. Getting that data shared is a bigger issue than getting credit cards working [across different accounts] and having it standardised might take some regulatory effort.”

Read more

Volkswagen-backed firm opens high-power UK charging station

UK government doubles investment in residential charging point scheme​

Electric chargers should offer card payment by 2020​



Source: Autocar Online

New Jaguar XF: 2020 facelift to get interior overhaul

Jag’s Audi A6 rival will receive a raft of technological improvements, first prototypes seen on the road ahead of likely launch early next year

Jaguar is expected to reveal an updated XF before the year is out, and disguised prototypes have finally been caught testing on UK roads.

Following the recently updated XE and tipped to arrive before similar revisions to the F-Pace SUV early next year, the executive car will benefit from design updates along with a raft of technological improvements aimed at restoring its competitive edge to the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6

Speaking to Autocar earlier this year at the new XE’s unveiling, senior product planning manager Wayne Darley said the XF was “the next priority”. 

“If you look at when those two cars [XF and F-Pace] went on sale – late 2015 and early 2016 – that gives you a good idea of the timings”. 

The changes will be as significant as the XE, with evolved exterior looks but significant cabin upgrades, focusing on a substantial boost in perceived quality and new technology features. Like the smaller saloon, the XF is set to adopt features from the I-Pace, including a new secondary central screen for the climate control functions and a new steering wheel. 

Both cars will also join the XE in receiving RDE2-compliant diesel engines, which Darley said required a “huge push” on the engineering side to ensure the XE was the first car in its class to market with the ultra-efficient engines ahead of an emissions regulation change in 2021. 

What remains unclear, however, is whether the XF S will return. The new XE will no longer be available with the supercharged V6 S variant for the rest of its lifecycle, while V6 petrol and diesel versions of the F-Pace and XF are no longer on sale. 

Jaguar Land Rover has just released a new inline six-cylinder petrol engine in the Range Rover Sport, but with the XE S axed due to slow sales it remains to be seen whether that engine will return to the larger models. 

The prototype spied here sports a petrol powerplant, according to number plate data, but there is no indication it uses a mild hybrid system as such checks commonly reveal. It remains to be seen if the model will benefit from the same efficiency-boosting 48v electrified system as its Land Rover cousins – but given the XF’s older platform, it’s not likely. 

Read more:

Bolder looks, classier cabin, more tech for 2019 Jaguar XE

Insight: Q&A with Ian Callum, Jaguar design director

 



Source: Autocar Online

Used car buying guide: Vauxhall Tigra

2006 Vauxhall Tigra - hero front

There are many things to like about the Tigra: it’s an eye-catching, hard-top convertible that’s reliable, easy to drive and cheap to run

Vauxhall has a habit of pulling a rabbit out of the hat from time to time. Remember the original Zafira with its Flex7 seating system and the Signum with its FlexSpace rear-seat arrangement? You can add another in the shape of the Tigra of 2004-09 – a pretty Corsa-based car with a clever electric folding roof.

Forward 15 years and the classifieds, if not exactly wilting under the weight of used Tigras, are at least straining slightly. Prices start at just £500 for runners of all ages and top out at a shade over £3000. Around £1500 is all you need for a clean, well-serviced example from a good home. 

The model arrived with a choice of two petrol engines: a 1.4 16-valve producing 89bhp and a 1.8 producing 123bhp. A 69bhp 1.3 CDTi diesel followed in 2005. The 1.4 was the best. What it lacks in outright oomph it makes up for by being sweeter, more flexible and considerably more economical than the 1.8. However, it suffers timing chain issues (you can spot a 1.4 a mile off by its tinkling engine) whereas the 1.8 is a straightforward new-belt-at-40,000- miles affair. 

Those are the engines but the folding roof is why people bought the Tigra – and what a roof. To operate it, you undo a couple of latches, press a button and watch as the motors take over. It should be stowed within 20 seconds. To ensure it folds away neatly, the rear window and pillar drop almost vertically, allowing the roof panel itself to stow unobtrusively above, so preserving boot space. 

On that point, with the roof folded away, there’s 250 litres of luggage space, while in the closed position, there’s no less than 440 litres. In addition, there’s a shelf behind the front seats (there are no rear seats) that will happily accept 70 litres of luggage or something the size of a sports bag. 

Allowing for the fact that the roof seals may now be tired, the cabin should be relatively quiet and certainly watertight with the roof up. Over time, body shimmer may have loosened some of the cabin’s fixtures and fittings but otherwise it’s a well-built car that should still feel reasonably tight. 

The rear Targa-style section of the roof could be specified in either matt metallic Star Silver or in matt Moonland, both of which give the little car a pleasingly sporty and technical appearance. Alternatively, it could be ordered in the car’s body colour, which makes quite an impact. On that point, we found a very pretty 2009-reg 1.4 with 45,000 miles finished all over in yellow, a rare shade, for £2500. 

Today, trim levels are rather academic but Exclusiv (leather, aircon and alloy-effect touches to the interior) is a good one to shoot for. Sport versions get 16in alloy wheels and a silver Targa-style section. 

In no way is the Tigra a driver’s car, but as a cheap and attractive hatchback with a difference, it makes a lot of sense.

An expert’s view 

Tim Harrison, founder, Fix My Vauxhall: “I’m an auto electrician and have been working on Vauxhalls since the 1980s. The Tigra’s roof is generally reliable. I can’t think of many issues apart from failure of the pump modulator. Otherwise, being a Corsa under that trick body, the Tigra is a reliable and easy-to-drive car that’s also surprisingly well equipped. I mean, leather, climate control and a Targa-style panel that could be painted in a contrasting colour are pretty impressive on a car costing such little money, even when new. Don’t ignore the diesel. It’s a Fiat engine and pretty tough, as well as economical.” 

Buyer beware… 

■ Engine: The 1.4 suffers timing chain tensioner problems. It’s a common fault and heard as an annoying rattle at tickover that just gets louder over time. Fresh oil every year or 12,000 miles is key to its extended life but they still wear out in the end. Best thing is to have the chain and water pump replaced at purchase. Avoid 1.4 engines with numbers beginning 19F, which may have sub-standard camshafts. The 1.8 uses a belt that should be changed at 40,000 miles. Both engines can suffer uneven running caused by a faulty oxygen sensor and alternator issues at around 70,000 miles. 

■ Transmission: If selecting reverse is difficult, suspect worn linkage bushes. Replacement is the only long-term cure. Don’t worry: the 1.8-litre version isn’t missing a sixth gear; it just feels like it needs one because fifth is far too low. It feels notchy as well. 

■ Brakes: Check front discs and pads for wear. Ensure the handbrake releases because the rear shoes can stick to the drums in damp weather. Scrutinise workshop invoices for evidence of biennial brake fluid changes.

■ Body: Check the hood cycles correctly and the roof seals fit tightly. Inspect the headlights for misting.

■ Interior: Feel for water ingress via the door-mounted speakers. (Water gets in through the top window seals, runs down the inside of the door and exits near the speakers.) Check the floor for damp caused by water entering via the brake master cylinder, where the rubber mastic bonding it to the bulkhead has failed. 

Also worth knowing 

If the roof plays up, first try leaving the battery disconnected for three hours. Reconnect it and drive for 30 minutes until you hear a bleep signifying the system has reset itself. Otherwise, a slow roof could be a failing pump modulator. We found a set of two used pumps and rams for £150. 

How much to spend 

£500-£999: A good selection of 1.4s and 1.8s with long MOTs and up to 90,000 miles. 

£1000-£1499: Better condition, lower mileages and many with full service histories. 

£1500-£1999: The best cars begin at this money, most with leather, air-con, sat-nav, full service history and about 50,000 miles. 

£2000-£3500: Strongly priced cars, but £2500 buys the best 2009 1.4 16v Exclusiv with 34,000 miles so be wary of paying more.

One we found 

Vauxhall Tigra 1.4I 16V Exclusiv, 2009/58-red, 72k miles, £1495: Finished in bright blue metallic with a matt silver rear roof section, this Tigra really stands out. Other highlights include its seven service stamps and long MOT. Being Exclusiv, it has heated leather seats and climate control.

Read more

Nearly-new buying guide: Vauxhall Corsa​

Future classics: ten affordable used convertible cars set to rise in value​

Vauxhall to revive VXR performance line with hot Corsa​



Source: Autocar Online

Under the skin: Why modern cars need 48V electrical systems

A breakthrough in motor and electronics design by Continental AG allows mild hybrids to deliver electric-only driving like a full hybrid for less cost

As well as allowing cars to temporarily run on electric power, a 48V system can take care of all the ancillaries

It may not sound like it, but it’s probably one of the smartest innovations aimed at making cars more sustainable that has emerged in the past few years: 48V technology. 

It’s relatively cheap and fits into existing vehicle architectures but it’s only just coming of age. As well as providing a hybrid drive, it can handle loads of tasks that need doing around the car but previously used energy created by burning fuel. 

While 48 might look like a figure plucked out of the air after a brainstorming session in the bar, there are good reasons for it. The first is that it’s classified as low voltage and safe. Anything above 60V in a car is deemed a high-voltage system – and a high-voltage system is a lot more expensive than a low-voltage one. The safety systems, power controllers and heavy cabling involved in a high-voltage system all contribute to the high price, whether it’s 65V or 800V. Power (watts) derives from the voltage and the current (amperage). Increase either and the wattage goes up. But increasing amperage requires the use of larger, heavier, more expensive cables to reduce electrical resistance, whereas using a higher voltage and lower current doesn’t. A 48V battery is small and relatively inexpensive and installation is straightforward because a 48V electrical architecture sits alongside the car’s original 12V system. 

The use of 48V architectures is on the rise because the electrical consumption of cars has gone up due to more complex infotainment, connectivity and navigation systems and the dozens of driver assistance systems emerging. Cameras, radar, sensors and controllers plus the electronic systems to go with them all need more power than a 12V system can deliver. A 48V set-up also allows jobs normally done by the engine – such as powering electric water pumps, air conditioning compressors, oil pumps and heating – to be offloaded to electrical power, saving fuel. Automatic gearboxes can function when engines are shut down thanks to electric oil pumps; stop/start becomes smoother and can kick in before the car comes to a halt saving more fuel; and electric boosters in diesels reduce turbo lag. 

Obviously, there are limitations. Until now, the assumed maximum power of a low-voltage hybrid (or EV) motor/generator has been around 12kW (16bhp). That low, 12kW power figure has limited mild hybrids to boosting power and recovering energy, rather than providing an electric-only mode like a (high-power) full hybrid. Now, though, it looks as though that limit has been busted. Component supplier Continental AG recently announced a new 48V mild-hybrid drivetrain producing 30kW (40bhp). The improvement has been achieved by increasing the efficiency of the power control system and new design of high-efficiency, water-cooled motor/generator. The increase in power means it’s possible to drive short distances in electric-only mode like a full hybrid and makes the prospect of powering small city cars and scooters using 48V systems even more realistic.

It’s the A8’s ticket to ride

It may be at odds with the low-cost benefit of 48V systems but the new Audi A8 has a predictive active suspension system driven by the new electrical set-up. The system can alter the ride height by up to 85mm in 0.5sec, reacts by monitoring the road surface ahead with a front-facing camera, reduces body roll by 40% and consumes an average of 10-200W, peaking at 6kW if there’s a sharp suspension movement.

Read more

Under the skin: the evolution of the automatic gearbox​

Audi A8 review



Source: Autocar Online

1 2 3 4 5 867