Opinion: The business case for bringing the Ford Bronco to Britain

 Ford Bronco

Ford has confirmed that the Bronco will be resurrected for a new model in 2020, and we probably won’t get it

Manufacturers love teasing the UK with models which may or may not make it to the UK – or even production – with the disclaimer “if a business case is proven, it’ll come”.

This is the oldest automotive cop-out in the book, so here’s the business case for bringing the Ford Bronco to Britain, as the brand confirms its resurrection at the Detroit motor show

1 – The SUV market

It’s been said so many times that doesn’t need repeating, so I’ll keep it brief; the SUV market is huge. Absolutely enormous. The Bronco isn’t the average SUV; it’s more akin to a Land Rover Defender with its rugged appeal, although purists will no doubt burn effigies in my likeness for saying so.

2 – The Mustang

…is doing rather well over here. As a company with such a history and a wealth of halo models highlighting different aspects of automotive life (think GT, Mustang, RS, etc.), the SUV dimension is a little overlooked by Ford’s heritage division. The Bronco embodies this heritage. The Germans have gone mad for Mustang, so they’d likely go bonkers for the Bronco.

3 – The Defender

Is returning soon, and is likely to be priced beyond what most can afford. The G-Wagen only exacerbates the problem, and the Jeep Wrangler has never really taken hold to the same effect. A Ford is a friendlier, more familiar badge, and would be more warmly received by European market. Price the Bronco right for Europe, and it’d steal sales from all three.

There you have it then. Consider this an open letter to any and all Ford executives in charge of the Bronco’s global distribution. We won’t accept “the platform isn’t compatible with right-hand drive”-type excuses. 

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-AMG hypercar production limited to 300 units

Mercedes-AMG hypercar

AMG’s 1000bhp model will use F1-derived technology and challenge the Aston Martin AM-RB 001

Production of Mercedes-AMG‘s first hypercar will be limited to 300 units, the car maker has confirmed at the Detroit motor show.

During its speech today Mercedes also previewed the model in an image that was accompanied by the strapline ‘Creating benchmark driving pleasure’, suggesting that the new model will focus on driver enjoyment rather than lap times. Despite this, it will be the best performing Mercedes-AMG car yet built and is set to develop around 1000bhp.

The picture reveals a large roof scoop and louvre vents on the rear upper panel, confirming that it will be mid-engined. A wide stance is also evident, but no other details are visible.

Production of the hypercar will be limited to between 200 and 300 units, and a price of £3 million has been suggested. It has been confirmed that it will be powered by a Mercedes F1 hybrid-derived powertrain, but it’s not known how or if it will be changed for the road car. Like the F1 engines, the road car’s unit wil be engineered at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

The car is likely to use an all-carbonfibre construction, with an F1-style carbonfibre monocoque and F1-derived performance technology. The car’s main rival, the forthcoming Aston Martin AM-RB 001, will also feature F1-derived tech and construction. That car is limited to 150 units.

Read more: Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar revealed

Read more: Mercedes-AMG hypercar to generate 1000bhp

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar to get 1000bhp, 4WD

Mercedes-AMG hypercar

AMG’s 1000bhp model will use F1-derived technology and challenge the Aston Martin AM-RB 001

Production of Mercedes-AMG‘s first hypercar – codenamed Project one – will be limited to less than 300 units, the car maker has confirmed at the Detroit motor show.

Mercedes also previewed the model in an image that was accompanied by the strapline ‘Creating benchmark driving pleasure’, suggesting that the new model will focus on driver enjoyment rather than lap times. Despite this, it will be the best performing Mercedes-AMG car yet built and is set to develop around 1000bhp. It will have four-wheel drive.

The first official picture reveals a large roof scoop and louvre vents on the rear upper panel, confirming that it will be mid-engined. A wide stance is also evident, but no other details are visible.

Production of the hypercar will be limited to between 200 and 300 units, and a price of £1.5 million (€2m) has been suggested. Insiders say the final production car will be revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show and that it will likely be sold out by that point.

It has been confirmed that it will be powered by a Mercedes F1 hybrid-derived powertrain, but it’s not known how or if it will be changed for the road car. Like the F1 engines, the road car’s unit wil be engineered at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

The car is likely to use an all-carbonfibre construction, with an F1-style carbonfibre monocoque and F1-derived performance technology. The car’s main rival, the forthcoming Aston Martin AM-RB 001, will also feature F1-derived tech and construction. That car is limited to 150 units.

Read more: Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar revealed

Read more: Mercedes-AMG hypercar to generate 1000bhp

 

 

Source: Autocar Online

Opinion: is the QX50 Infiniti's best shot at the big league?

Infiniti QX60

Infiniti has been trying for a long time to be a rival to Audi, BMW et al. The mid-size QX50 SUV could be its best bet to finally crack the market

I’ve always been a little sceptical of Infiniti. I remember going to the opening of its first UK dealership in Reading and wondering how they would fare – we all know how hard it is to establish a brand from scratch.

And to be frank, it’s not been the smoothest journey. Typically overpriced and not as good as its premium competitors, I’d guess most people I ask (outside the industry) wouldn’t have heard of the brand.

But now they have come up with something genuinely innovative – a difficult feat when everyone’s racing towards similar technology.

The VC-T variable compression engine, confirmed today to first appear in the upcoming QX50, does just that. Although it’s a petrol, it promises diesel fuel economy without comprising performance, so it could well appeal to UK buyers.

That and the fact the QX50 is a good-looking model in a popular segment, rivalling cars such as the Audi Q5, stands it in good stead – if it can compete on price.

Infiniti won’t comment on sales forecasts, its boss Roland Krueger told Autocar, but he is happy with its trajectory. Last year, it sold 232,112 units (a number he rolled off his tongue without a second thought). That’s a 10th of the two million models Mercedes sold in 2016.

So, finally, I want to give Infiniti a chance. It’s refreshing to hear of advanced technology that isn’t entirely focused on electrification and autonomy (it’s doing those things too), and while its growth has been slow, it’s always nice to bet on the hardworking underdog, isn’t it?

Source: Autocar Online

Opinion: Making sense of the Mercedes-AMG GT line up

Mercedes AMG GT C

When is a C model not a convertible, and how many different power outputs can one car have?

Once upon a time Mercedes-AMG launched a supercar called the GT and for a while all was clear. There were just two versions, a standard car with 461bhp and an S version with 503bhp. And all the world was happy because this was easy for our small brains to understand.

But then Mercedes decided to chop its head off to create two new models and had they just been to standard GT and GT S specification, we’d have understood that too. But though there was a GT roadster, its engine was mildly tweaked to 469bhp and while there was a faster version it wasn’t an ‘S’, it was a GT C. The GT C roadster had 549bhp.

However before they could hit the road, Mercedes dropped the GT R on us which has 577bhp. But it’s available only as a coupe. And it announced the GT C would be available in coupe form too.

Then, realising things were perhaps getting a little complicated, Mercedes decided to up the power of the GT coupe to the same 469bhp as its roadster sibling but then spoiled it all by announcing that the GT S would now have 515bhp, but remember you can only have this engine if you don’t mind having a roof over your head.

So I count six different power outputs for a supercar that has not yet been on sale for two years.

If I try to boil all this down and simplify where things stand today, it seems you can have a coupe version of any AMG GT you like, but roadsters only in GT and GT C specification. Having decided it was definitely not going to do a GT R roadster, I understand that view has now been modified to ‘undecided’ and while no one will talk on the record about a GT S roadster, off the record it’s regarded as somewhat inevitable.

Are we done yet? Yes, but only for now. We know there is at least one more piece of the puzzle to come, and the smart money is that it will be a Black Series which, if it mirrors the SLS, will only be available as a coupe. But there is also the looming presence of another AMG, said to rival the Porsche Panamera, which would likely have to be built on the GT platform if it were to be a truly standalone AMG model and is slated to break cover as early as the Geneva motor show in March. How many engine outputs that car will be available with is not yet clear…

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Infiniti Q60 2.0t Premium Tech review

Infiniti Q60 2.0t Premium Tech

Infiniti’s entry-level mid-sized coupé has the looks to do well, but little of the substance to go with them

The Infiniti Q60 has come along at a tricky time for a small car maker such as this to introduce any kind of medium-sized coupé onto the UK car market; the new Audi A5 is box-fresh in showrooms and the Mercedes C-Class Coupé still young enough to feel like a newbie.For the same reasons, this a particularly bad time to launch such a patently average two-door as this four-cylinder, lower-rung version of the car. Despite being given a strong start in life by what’s an undoubtedly handsome exterior styling, this car at once fails to match its key German rivals in most of the ways that matter; and also to endear itself to its driver enough to represent a tempting alternative to a set of broadly talented but, in some cases, unexciting competitors.The engine with which Infiniti chooses to power this, the car that what we must imagine it intends as the bigger-selling of two petrol-powered derivatives, is a 2.0-litre turbocharged and directly injected motor that produces 208bhp and 258lb ft of torque. For a similar outlay, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi will sell you a like-for-like four-cylinder petrol coupé with significantly more power and better claimed fuel economy. And while the Q60’s acceleration is advertised at almost seven-and-a-half seconds to 62mph, its rivals do the sprint in around six.On the upper-level, the V6 Q60 3.0T Infiniti offers four-wheel drive and adaptive ‘digital’ dampers, but on this Q60 it fits passive suspension, rear-wheel-drive only and a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The one major ‘mechanical’ option you can have is Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering system: its world-first ‘by-wire’ fully electronic steering setup, now in its second generation, which removes the direct connection between steering wheel and steered axle for what its maker claims is smoother and more responsive directional handling. Our test car had it.

Source: Autocar Online

Ford Bronco SUV confirmed for 2020 production

Ford Bronco SUV confirmed for 2020 production

The 2004 Bronco concept

The rebirth of Ford’s Bronco moniker was confirmed at the Detroit motor show; it’ll be a global vehicle so could come to Britain

The Ford Bronco nametag will return to production with a new global SUV model that could go on sale in Britain from 2020.

Confirmed at the Detroit motor show, the future Bronco is described as a “no compromise midsize 4×4”, suggesting it’ll be more rugged than Ford’s current SUV offerings. It’ll be built on the same platform as the next-generation Ranger pick-up, which is due to arrive in 2019.

Production for the last Bronco model ceased in 1996, 30 years after the name was introduced to the American market. The future SUV is described by Ford as a global model, meaning Britain could be one of several markets outside of the USA to get it.

No technical details of images for either future model have been released. The last design for a Bronco came with a 2004 concept (pictured above).

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe makes public debut in Detroit

New coupe line-up will be headed by an AMG E 50 with a novel 450bhp powertrain; AMG Line trim standard for rest of range

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé has made its public debut at the Detroit motor show one month after order books opened in Britain.

The two-door model is priced from £40,135 and first deliveries are expected to arrive in April. It’s offered in the UK exclusively in AMG Line trim, meaning even the most basic of models will come with a lengthy list of kit and 19in wheels as standard.

AMG range-topper

The car on show in Detroit is an E 400 4Matic, but that model will hand the range-topping spot to an AMG-engineered E 50 4Matic mild hybrid model, which is due to be unveiled during the latter half of the year.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé: we take a ride

To be launched as part of the extensive 50th anniversary celebrations planned for Mercedes’ AMG performance arm this year, the potent coupé will be among the first models to receive the German car maker’s all-new M256 in-line six-cylinder petrol engine that is set to have its debut in the S-Class.

Running a conventional turbocharger in combination with an electrically driven compressor and a 48V electrical system, the 3.0-litre unit delivers 402bhp in standard guise. However, a series of tweaks, including higher boost pressure and internal modifications, is set to yield around 450bhp for the powertrain’s application in the E 50 Coupé.

Chassis

The new E-Class Coupé has been engineered from the ground up for a more upmarket positioning than that of its predecessor.

With the adoption of Mercedes’ latest MRA platform, the E-Class Coupé has grown both in size and positioning. Its length is up by 123mm to 4826mm, width has extended by 74mm to 1860mm and height has increased by 32mm to 1430mm.

The wheelbase has also been extended by 113mm over that of its predecessor at 2873mm, while the front and rear tracks are up by 67mm and 68mm respectively at 1605mm and 1609mm.

The larger footprint provides the basis for a roomier cabin with an additional 18mm of head room, 50mm of shoulder room and 38mm of elbow room up front. The increase in interior space is mirrored in the rear, which gets an added 74mm of knee room, 15mm of head room, 34mm of shoulder room and 13mm of elbow room over the old model, which used the same platform as the superseded C-Class saloon.

Technology

The design of the four-seat cabin leans heavily on that of other new E-Class models but receives a number of bespoke touches, including newly designed air vents, automatically extending feeder arms for the front seatbelts and exclusive trim panels.

Key elements include two optional 12.3in displays for the instruments and infotainment system, the latter being operable either via touchpads on the steering wheel or a rotary control and touchpad on the centre console.

Outside, unique design features include a twin-blade grille and frameless doors.

Engines and prices

Three E-Class Coupés are offered at launch in the UK, with the choice of one diesel and two petrol engines, ranging in power from 191bhp to 328bhp.

The line-up starts with the E 220 d Coupé, running Mercedes’ latest aluminium-block 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 191bhp.

It is joined by the midrange E 300 Coupé, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 242bhp. Cars with this engine start at £41,025.

Crowning the regular line-up is the E 400 4Matic Coupé. It is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine producing 328bhp and is priced from £50,775.

All models come fitted as standard with Mercedes’ in-house-produced nine-speed automatic gearbox. The E 220 d Coupé and E 300 Coupé are rear-wheel drive, while the E400 4Matic, as its name suggests, comes as standard with Mercedes’ four-wheel drive system, which provides a nominal 45% front, 55% rear apportioning of drive.

A choice of three different suspension set-ups are offered on the new two-door: a base steel-sprung Direct Control system, a steel-sprung Dynamic Body Control system with adaptive damping and an Air Body Control system with multi-chamber air springs.

In combination with the Dynamic Body Control and Air Body Control suspension, the E-Class Coupé also receives Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system, which allows the driver to alter the characteristics of the car in four modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. 

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe: we take a ride

Source: Autocar Online

Opinion: Why the Audi SQ5 leaves me cold

Audi SQ5 Detroit motor show

More proof that faster doesn’t necessarily mean better

The predictably of the Audi SQ5 shouldn’t come as any surprise. It’s a car not designed to innovate, nor one to particularly excite, just one to be a bit faster and firmer than the Q5.

Such cars are fast becoming a real turn off. It’s such a homogenised thing and I suspect it will be forgotten in the motoring history books almost as quickly as it will undoubtedly sell.

Yes, I get why such an approach exists: it’s great for brand consistency and recognition, will do wonders for residual values, and there are many out there for whom a product with such high perceived quality and predictable driving manners and styling is enough.

It needn’t be so bland though. The Audi Q8 sat next to the SQ5 on the Audi show stand in Detroit might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least it’s something different. It shows another way, that the firm can innovate with a new look and give products some character of their own, and not be so darn predictable.

Cars such as the SQ5 will have their day soon enough; the exciting new era of innovation caused by electrification and the packaging benefits will liberate designers to create more bespoke products. Just look at the VW ID Buzz for evidence of that. Hurry up, the future.

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé launched alongside updated GT and GT S

Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé launched alongside updated GT and GT S

Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé Edition 50

New 549bhp model slots between refreshed and more potent 2017 siblings

The hotly anticipated Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show alongside updated versions of the GT and GT S.

AMG’s new coupé is a hardtop version of the 2016 GT C Roadster and slots between the GT S and GT R. It makes use of a reworked twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that produces 549bhp and 502lb ft of torque, which is 28bhp and 14lb ft shy of the GT R.

The GT C Coupé weighs in 1660kg, which is 35kg more than the GT C Roadster. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.7sec and onto a top speed of 196mph; both numbers are identical to the roadster.

Borrowed from the GT R is a rear track that’s 57mm wider than the GT and GT S, as well as rear axle steering. The system works from a standstill but turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts below 62mph to improve agility, before turning in the same direction as the fronts above 62mph to better stability and steering response.

Additionally, a wider rear apron, also taken from the GT R, improves airflow at the back while also giving the car a more muscular look.

Like the GT S, the GT C also comes as standard with AMG Ride Control sports suspension with adaptive and adjustable dampers. This is a more road friendly setup than the GT R’s track-focused coilover springs. There’s also an electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential that’s integrated into the transmission housing.

At first the GT C Coupé will be available in Edition 50 guise to mark the fiftieth anniversary of AMG. The limited run of Edition 50s will come in two exclusive paint finishes: designo graphite grey and designo cashmere white magno. The exterior also gets black chrome highlights on the side skirts, front splitter, grille inlets,  front splitter, diffuser and tailpipes. The AMG forged wheels are also finished in black chrome.

Inside, Edition 50 models get silver pearl and black nappa leather with grey stitching, an AMG Performance steering wheel wrapped in Dinamica microfiber and sporting Edition lettering and centre strip in silver pearl stitching.

As standard, Edition 50s come with the AMG Interior Night Package that adds more black trim to the cabin and contrasts silver seatbelts. There are also Edition 50 emblems on the headrests.

More potent AMG GT and GT S

For 2017 AMG has ramped up the performance of its GT and GT S models with engine upgrades and standard active aerodynamics.

The GT now produces 469bhp, 14bhp more than before, and 465lb ft of torque – an increase of 22lb ft. The GT S increases peak power by 12bhp to 515bhp and torque by 15lb ft to 494lb ft.

Despite the improvements, the 0-62mph times and top speeds of both models remain the same as before. The GT can reach 62mph in 4.0sec and tops out at 189mph, while the GT S takes 3.8sec and can reach 193mph.

Both the GT and GT S are now offered with more options. Added to the specs list is the AMG Exterior Chrome pack, which adds high-gloss trim to the car’s body, and AMG Dynamic Plus pack, which is offered with the regular GT for the first time.

Mercedes has also added the AMG Night Pack to the options list of all GT coupé models, while the AMG Exterior Carbon Fibre pack uses carbonfibre for the car’s front splitter, exterior fins, skirts and rear diffuser.

AMG Track Pack

Now available across the range, AMG’s Track Pack connects a user’s smartphone to their car’s data logging systems. The accompanying app can then display real-time data for speed, gears, steering angle and acceleration, as well as lap times and track position.

Source: Autocar Online

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