New Jaguar F-type 400 Sport heads raft of revisions to British sports car

Jaguar F-type MY2018

New derivatives, mild front-end styling tweaks and additional technology are among the key changes for the Jaguar F-type

The Jaguar F-type 400 Sport, a special-edition model that will remain on sale for just one year, has been launched as part of a raft of revisions to the British sports car.  

First launched in 2012, the whole F-type range has been updated for 2017 with new derivatives introduced to the range, mildly overhauled exterior looks and new technology.

One of the key developments is the F-type 400 Sport launch edition is powered by a 395bhp version of the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine and a chassis that’s been uprated by the addition of the Super Performance braking system (which features 380mm front and 376mm rear discs and black calipers with 400 Sport logo) and a Configurable Dynamics system which allows drivers to select individual settings for the throttle, transmission, steering and dampers. The F-type 400 Sport rides on 20in alloys.

It features ‘400 Sport’ badges on the front splitter and rear of the car, as well as the centre console, steering wheel, tread plates and embroidered headrests. The F-type 400 Sport will go on sale worldwide for one model year and is available as either a coupé or convertible and in either rear or all-wheel drive. The price starts at £70,115 on the road.

Another new addition to the range is an R-Dynamic 340 derivative which produces 335bhp from the 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine. Priced from £55,150, the R-Dynamic 340 is available as either an eight-speed automatic or manual connected to rear-wheel-drive only. It sits above the standard F-type in the model range and is distinguished by its 19in alloy wheel designs and by the gloss black accents on the front bumper aperture bezels, front splitter, bonnet vents, side sills and rear diffuser.

FRONT-END STYLING TWEAKS 

Some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them styling changes to the F-type’s front bumper have been made to provide greater differentiation across the derivatives in the range. In place of the double apertures at each front corner, there is now a single aperture with a lozenge mesh design. Different versions get subtly different designs. For example, the F-type V8 R boasts larger, wider apertures with a horizontal blade running through them. The increase in size is to maximise airflow and enhance aerodynamic efficiency to account for the higher performance.

There are now full LED headlights and in another change the daytime running lights now double as direction indicators. The LED rear light clusters have been subtly updated too, with darker lenses.

NEW SEATS, UPRATED CABIN

Inside, the revised F-type gets lightweight slimline seats and new chrome and aluminium trim finishers. The seat frames are pressure-diecast magnesium alloy, chosen for its high strength-to-weight ratio and formability properties. 

The seats are more than 8kg lighter than the current ones and the new design allows the seatback to move rearwards by up to 50mm more than before, which in turn enables a lower seating position and increased legroom. The seats can be specified with heating and cooling elements.

The seats come in two forms: sport and performance. The F-type and F-type R-Dynamic model lines come with the sport version of the seat as standard. The 400 Sport, R and SVR have the performance version as standard, each with unique branding in the headrests.

Further revisions to the cabin include chrome finishes on the engine start-stop button, gearshift paddles, door switches surround, air vent bezels and steering wheel. Now, every F-type across the range features the Touch Pro infotainment system with an 8in capacitive touchscreen.

MORE TECHNOLOGY

A new parking assistance system will be added to the F-type’s roster of driver aids. When passing a potential space, the car’s ultrasonic parking sensors measure its length. If suitable, the system takes care of the steering: all the driver has to do is press a button, engage reverse and control the throttle and brakes. The system will also guide the vehicle out of a space.

A new smartphone app called ReRun is also available for use in conjunction with the revamped F-type. Developed in collaboration with GoPro, it enables real-time video from one of the latter’s cameras to be overlaid with key performance data, including speed, throttle position, gear selection, braking force, g-force and steering wheel angle.

The smartphone connects wirelessly to a compatible GoPro camera and can be connected to the F-type’s infotainment system via USB. The ReRun app allows drivers to download either the entire video with highlights included, or just the highlights and there’s also an editing function. The videos can then be shared across social media platforms. 

The F-type model range has now expanded to 22 derivatives, starting from the £51,450 F-type coupé, and goes on sale in the coming months.  

Source: Autocar Online

How Flying Doctors repair Lamborghini Aventador monocoques

How to repair a crashed Lamborghini Aventador’s carbonfibre monocoque

The Aventador uses an all-carbonfibre monocoque

The carbon tub is critical to the Aventador’s structural integrity, so specially-trained engineers use a system inspired by aerospace to fix it

If you crash your Lamborghini Aventador, chances are the repair bill won’t be cheap.

Not only is much of the bodywork made from carbonfibre, but the monocoque on which the whole car is built is made entirely from the stuff. Damage this and the structural integrity can be compromised, and in a 217mph supercar, this is bad.

But it turns out there are enough wealthy Aventador owners out there who occasionally fire their V12 supercar into walls, trees or shop fronts – one was conveniently crashed in London earlier this month – for Lamborghini to offer a special repair service to get these injured cars back on the road in short notice.

The company has six so-called Composite Repair Flying Cases (giant black boxes filled with essential tools for a carbonfibre repair job) located across the globe near key markets, as well as a team of carbonfibre repair specialists based in Italy but primed to fly out to wherever needed. The Middle East and Asia are, apparently, the most frequently visited regions.

Carbonfibre is notoriously complicated to make, and also rather expensive to produce, so repairing a tub made of the material on location is both difficult and costly. “Try doing it in the Sahara heat,” one engineer says. “The work is mentally straining anywhere but especially so in 50 degrees.”

To make the process slightly easier, Lamborghini has developed its own ISO approved system to examine damage, design a repair, apply it and then test it, so that it’s practical and safe to carry out repairs in Lamborghini centres of far reaching locations with little more than a flying case of tools.

Lamborghini’s repair engineers have also been trained by Boeing, which uses a similar process when repairing aerospace carbonfibre parts, and become genuine Flying Doctors – a label given to Boeing’s qualified composite material repair specialists. Once at this level, Lamborghini’s engineers have been able to fix an Aventador with a damaged tub in as little as 10 days.

How do they do it? Autocar joins the Flying Doctors at Lamborghini’s Bologna base to find out.

First, the damage is analysed using a thermograph to look at the outer surface in detail and understand where the damage is. “We then use ultrasound to look as deep as 15mm beneath the surface to see how far reaching the damage is,” our Flying Doctor explains.

He explains that if the damage can’t be unrepaired in a small area, an entire section of the monocoque might need to be replaced, meaning it may have to go back to the firm’s Bologna factory. “We recently cut an entire side section off of a car that had slid into a post,” our doc continues. “It’s amazing how much you can replace, but it’s an expensive process.”

A lucky escape for an Aventador owner would therefore enable an on-the-spot fix, where a repair can be made to a smaller area of carbon. To do this, the engineer will cut a hole in the centre of the damage and sand back the surrounding area so it’s as thin as one layer.

They’ll then add a layer of resin that’s in a sticky but solid state to the surface, before applying eight layers of pre-pregnated carbonfibre laminates on top, one by one and each carefully to avoid any air being trapped beneath. While it sounds simple, this process takes a long time, and if the section of monocoque being repaired features tight angles and narrow openings, it can also be incredibly fiddly. This is what often makes repairing an Aventador more complicated than an aeroplane, so patience is key here.

“Even the smallest of repairs can take all day,” another Flying Doctor says wearing a wry smile. “You must make sure you prepare everything carefully otherwise one small issue means you could have to start it all again…”

Patience is even more essential in the next part. The engineer will mount a metal plate on top of the repaired section, attach wires evenly across its surface and link them to a portable hot bonder. This heats the carbonfibre up to as much as 120 degrees on a pre-determined cycle, curing the resin and solidifying the repair. The engineer must monitor the repair and temperature gauges for two hours. Any mishap and here and, you guessed it, they’ll have to start the whole repair again.

Do it successfully, however, and the repair is essentially complete, but often, excess resin needs to be cleaned up before the car can be rebuilt around the stripped section of monocoque again. No big deal on hidden sections, but areas that are still visible once the car is rebuilt take longer to do properly.

So there you have it. Repairing a damaged Lamborghini Aventador might be costly and complicated, but if carried out by a Flying Doctor it needn’t injure the car for the long term. And if the seemingly endless supply of heavy-footed rich kids are anything to go by, Lamborghini’s Flying Doctors will face no shortage of damaged Aventadors to patch in years to come.

Read more:

2017 Lamborghini Aventador S revealed with 740bhp

Source: Autocar Online

Alfa Romeo Brera (2006-2011): used buying guide

Alfa Romeo Brera (2006-2011): used buying guide

The Alfa Romeo Brera combines Italian looks with a Germanic feel and prices are now holding steady, so it’s a shrewd time to buy one

The new Alfa Romeo Giulia arriving in showrooms and the forthcoming Stelvio, now just months away, are reminders that when Alfa brings out its sketchpad, it knows how to draw.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend north of £30,000 to sprinkle some of the car maker’s magic on your driveway. Instead, a Brera coupé, surely one of the best-looking Alfas in recent years, can be yours for just 10% of that: £3000.

That’s the price a dealer is asking for his 2007/07, 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel Brera with 130,000 miles on the clock and full service history. It’s far from the most frugal oil-burner you can buy (around 40mpg) but it’s a warm performer (0-62mph in 8.1sec) that lives for long drives.

It’s a tried and trusted Fiat lump that uses a simple timing belt rather than the expensive and unpredictable chains that do service on the Brera’s GM petrol engines. One thing, though: if it’s had a new timing belt, check the water pump was replaced at the same time (see ‘Buyer beware’ below).

The Brera arrived late in 2005 to whoops of delight at its exterior and interior styling but disappointment over its pace and handling – a criticism that would be addressed with the arrival in 1998 of the lightened, limited-run 2.2 and 3.2 S Prodrive models but never silenced.

Launch engines were a choice of 182bhp 2.2 and spine-tingling 256bhp 3.2 V6 petrols (both GM blocks with Alfa heads) or that 2.4 diesel with 200bhp and 295lb ft of torque. The standard gearbox was a six-speed manual, although the 2.2 could be specified with optional Q-tronic auto. The V6 was fourwheel drive with a Torsen diff, the remaining Breras front-wheel drive. A front-drive 3.2 V6 arrived in 2010.

A 167bhp 2.0-litre four-pot diesel landed that same year, promising 52mpg and 0-62mph in 8.5sec. It’s worth tracking down, if only for its £145 road tax charge, compared with the 2.4’s £230. But the really interesting engine, and the best ever to find a home under the Brera’s handsome bonnet, is the 197bhp 1750 TBi. This direct-injection, turbocharged petrol unit, capable of 0-62mph in 7.5sec and a handy 34mpg, replaced the V6 in 2010.

Throughout, standard equipment included stability control, power mirrors and windows, cruise control and 17in alloy wheels. V6s and 2.4 diesels had leather trim. SV spec brought the highly desirable panoramic glass roof, plus leather and stainless steel inserts to an interior that, to this day, can still provoke gasps of delight. The soughtafter S Prodrive models gained 19in alloys, lighter and stiffer suspension and a tuned exhaust. The limited-run Italia Independent of 2010 also had 19in alloys, plus sat-nav.

Mechanics familiar with the Brera describe it as being German in feel, by which they mean solid and well made but dull. We’ll forgive them, if what they really mean is that the Brera’s quality looks are more than skin deep.

An expert’s view…

PAUL NANASBAUM, VELOCES

“I call the Brera coupé the most beautiful car in the world under £30,000. You can pick up tired ones for £2000, but nice, low-mileage models are much more expensive and holding their value. The most expensive Brera you can afford will be the best value because you won’t have to fork out for expensive repairs. My favourite? A 3.2 S Prodrive.”

Buyer beware…

ENGINE

The 3.2 petrol needs three new timing chains at 100k miles (around £3000) and the 2.2 two of them at 50k (£750). Diesels need a cambelt at 60k and change the water pump at the same time because it can seize, causing the belt to fail. Oil and filter changes are ideally every 12k miles.

GEARBOX

M32 Vauxhall gearbox can give grief. Bearings fail in the end case.

FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE

Rear propshaft bearings can fail at about 60k miles (around £2000).

UNDERBODY

Front subframe corrodes where the undertray holds water against it.

SUSPENSION

Front upper wishbones fail at around 70k miles. Listen for knocking. Springs can break. Rear lower hub bush wears, causing premature tyre wear.

STEERING

High-mileage cars can suffer rack and track rod wear.

TYRES

Heavy 2.4-litre diesel cars can get through tyres.

BODY

Galvanised and no known corrosion areas. Dings and dents show clearly.

INTERIOR

Extra keys on the ignition key ring can cause localised dashboard damage. As seatbelts reel in, they can damage door panels. Electric windows may need to be reset: wind the window down, hold the switch for 10sec, then wind up, and hold for 10sec. Job done.

Also worth knowing…

Alfa provides original and refurbished parts for older cars. The Classic Line scheme is for Alfas over five years old and provides consumables, including filters, belts and brake pads and discs. The Refurbished Parts scheme supplies remanufactured parts.

How much to spend?

£3000-£4750

High-mileage 2006-2007 2.4 JTD and 2.2 JTS cars.

£5000-£6750

Mid-mileage 2008-2009 cars, plus the best early cars at dealers.

£7000-£8750

High-spec 2008-2009 JTD and JTS cars, a few 2010s, and 2007 3.2 V6s.

£9000-£10,500

Mid-miles 2009-2011 2.2, 2.4 and 3.2.

£11,000-£13,500

Occasional 2008 2.2 S Prodrive, with 3.2 versions around £1000 more. Loads of mid-mileage, high-spec 2009-2010 2.2s and 3.2s.

£14,000 AND ABOVE

The best 2008-2009 V6 Prodrive cars with low mileage.

Need an Alfa Romeo Brera in your life? Check out some great used examples right here on PistonHeads Classifieds.

John Evans

Source: Autocar Online

Why the Lexus LS's Japanese background is its biggest strength

Lexus LS

If there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s an unoriginal Germanic luxury car. In steps Lexus with the new LS, and reminds us why it’s good to be alternative

Be glad the Lexus LS is not just another me too generic German saloon. It’s anything but bland, and for that Lexus should be commended. 

The new LS has been in development for the past six years, a long time in industry terms. You might scoff at the aggression of the design and it not being to your taste (it certainly isn’t to mine), but it’s bold and shows the confidence running through Lexus at the moment.

With a normal car, you’d look to the immediate predecessor for where to improve when it came to the replacement. For the fifth-generation Lexus LS, Lexus looked at the 1989 original, the first model from the brand and still the one that it is best known for. It hopes the new model can have the same kind of impact on the company. 

Company boss Akio Toyoda has made it a personal mission of his to turnaround the Lexus brand. The first model to come from his personal touch is the brilliant LC coupe. The LS is based on the same platform and is claimed to be cut from the same cloth.

Europe is not the target market for it, and it will still only ever sell in tiny numbers, unlike in the United States. Why we should be interested is the message it sends out: that Lexus is wants to make its cars great to drive and standout with design, and become a proper alternative. 

And Lexus should be just that: an alternative, and not a poor one at that. As the German brands grow ever larger and diverse into ever smaller niches, with often quite homogenised products, Lexus has sensed an opportunity to offer something truly different yet still credible. Good on ‘em. 

Source: Autocar Online

Infiniti to launch performance EV with Nissan tech by 2020

Infiniti plans to launch hot electric vehicle with Nissan tech by 2020

The hybrid Emerg-E concept from 2012 showed Infiniti’s appetite for more adventurous electrified models

Brand boss Roland Krueger confirms a prototype is already running; it is likely built upon a standalone platform with a performance focus

Infiniti will launch an electric vehicle in the next three years, according to boss Roland Krueger.

He said he had already driven an early prototype, describing it as “very good”.

Krueger added that it was important that an electric vehicle maintained Infiniti’s values of performance and handling – a forte of its hybrid offerings, he said. “We want it to have a unique Infiniti driving experience.”

While Krueger wouldn’t divulge what it’s first electric car would be, he admitted it would be a new platform suggesting it will be a standalone model rather than a derivative of an existing model.

He also referred to parent company Nissan‘s expertise in electric vehicles. “There are lots of engineering competencies we can tap into and utilise.”

Infiniti’s last foray into full electrification was a concept revealed in 2012. Called LE (pictured above), it used a 134hp electric motor with 240 lb ft of torque and a 24kWH lithium-ion battery.

Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz end small car platform co-operation

2018 Infiniti QX50 to get radical petrol engine

Source: Autocar Online

New Honda 10-speed gearbox introduced in Odyssey MPV

New Honda 10-speed gearbox introduced in Odyssey MPV

US-focused model is first to get more efficient ‘box that could replace existing nine-speed item used in the NSX and CR-V

The 10-speed automatic gearbox of the new Honda Odyssey will likely replace the nine-speed ZF unit that’s currently featured in models like the NSX and CR-V.

While Honda has remained tight-lipped about where else the 10-speed unit will end up, sources believe the switch makes financial sense because the nine-speed unit is bought in from ZF, where as the 10-speed has been developed in house by Honda Precision Parts in Georgia.

Honda said at the Odyssey’s reveal in Detroit that the 10-speed offers “outstanding driveability” and improved economy. The gearbox will at first only be offered in higher-spec Odysseys, with the nine-speed featured in lower models. But Honda admitted production of the 10-speed will increase over time, supporting information that it could replace the nine-speed altogether.

Mercedes has recently dismissed the idea of producing its own 10-speed gearbox, stating that nine speeds was the most it would offer in its road cars. But Ford launched its new F-150 with a 10-speed and General Motors has confirmed development of its own 10-cog item, suggesting more brands could follow suit.

Source: Autocar Online

Next Jeep Grand Cherokee to be based on Alfa Romeo platform

Jeep Grand Cherokee

FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said that the Grand Cherokee SUV is almost certain to use architecture from Jeep’s Italian stablemates

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee due in 2018 or 2019 will be based upon the same architecture as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV and Giulia saloon, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has confirmed.

Speaking at the Detroit motor show, Marchionne explained that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) was completing a feasibility study into the viability of building the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee upon the rear-wheel-drive ’Giorgio’ platform.

“The most natural application of a further evolution of the Alfa Romeo platform is the Grand Cherokee,” he said.

“We’re finishing off the study now, but I’m going on the basis of the latest information, which is that it will be the basis upon which the Grand Cherokee will be developed, unless something happens in the next 60 days that suggests it isn’t doable.

“That would really complete the story of architectural development for us because I think it would certainly nail in a big piece of the Jeep story.”

The longitudinal-engined Giorgio architecture was developed by FCA at a cost of about £800m and can be adapted for a variety of vehicle types, in addition to having four-wheel-drive capability. Development of the platform focused on ensuring it was light in weight and imbued with good fundamental driving dynamics.

The current Grand Cherokee, launched in 2010, harks back to the Daimler-Chrysler era and shares its underpinnings with what was then called the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, now known as the GLE

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Detroit motor show – live blog

The 29th North American International Auto Show kicks off 2017 with unveilings from Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Kia, Lexus, Chevrolet and more

Welcome to Autocar’s Detroit motor show live blog, direct from Detroit with every detail of the action from the show, plus nifty extras, our thoughts on the latest releases, and, of course, photos of everything you could wish to see at the show.

If you’re not at the show in person, our live blog is all you need to feel like you are:

 

The Detroit motor show, officially called the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), is the first international show of 2017 and will play host to new car unveilings from Mercedes-BenzToyotaKiaLexus and Chevrolet, among others.

Now in its 29th year as an international event, the show begins in earnest with a preview week that begins on Monday 9 January. Autocar will be present to report on all of the new car unveilings, executive interviews and industry gossip from the halls of the iconic Cobo Centre. You can take a look at all the cars we’re expecting to see at the show below.

Click here to read our 2016 Detroit motor show report

2017 Detroit motor show: the cars

Audi Q8

Audi’s new flagship SUV, the Q8, is revealed in concept form. We’ve already caught glimpses of it in preview images and while it was testing ahead of its appearance, but we can see it in full in Detroit. It will be powered by a range of petrol and diesel V6 and V8 engines when the production car arrives next year. 

BMW 5 Series

BMW is bringing its new 5 Series to the show. The car’s already been revealed in pictures, but this is its public debut. Read everything you need to know about the new 5 Series here.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

A new version of the track-focused Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is also being launched, and it’ll be the fastest Corvette yet. It’s also tipped to be the last front-engined Corvette to be produced, as the ever-rumoured mid-engined model reaches production in the car’s next generation.

GAC range

Chinese automaker GAC has confirmed its presence at the Detroit motor show – the first Chinese car maker to present on the main floor. It’s brought a raft of new cars: a hybrid crossover concept, a new SUV and the brand’s first electric car. At last year’s show, GAC displayed its GS4 small SUV.

Honda Odyssey

Honda is showing a new generation of its Odyssey MPV, which is aimed at the North American market. A dramatic preview image has been released of the upcoming MPV, showing the car’s new styling, which fits with the rest of the Honda range. 

Infiniti QX50 concept

Infiniti’s rival to the Lexus NX, Audi Q5 and BMW X3 is shown in concept form, following on from the QX Sport Inspiration concept displayed at the Beijing motor show. The production QX50 is likely to follow next year, and will sit above the QX30 in Infiniti‘s SUV range.

Kia Stinger GT

 

The bold new Kia Stinger GT has also landed at the show, following a recent teaser video that showed the sports saloon topping 150mph at the Nürburgring. When it reaches production, the Stinger GT will face competition from the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Lexus LS

Lexus’s new flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival is making its debut, and is likely to draw heavy inspiration from the 2015 LF-FC concept pictured above. The LS will be available with a hybrid powertrain next year, and a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in 2019.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé is another model we’ve already seen in pictures, but makes its in-the-metal debut in Detroit. It goes on sale in the UK in April, priced from £40,135, in AMG Line trim only. 

Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift

Mercedes-Benz‘s smallest SUV, the GLA, is being revealed in facelifted form in Detroit. We’ve glimpsed it in a preview image, as well as spotting it testing ahead of its debut, so we can already see where the majority of the styling tweaks have been applied.

Rinspeed Oasis

The quirky Rinspeed Oasis concept is on display at the Detroit motor show following its official reveal at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It showcases the latest autonomous tech, and its windscreen doubles up as a large augmented reality screen.

Toyota Camry

Toyota takes the wraps off a new US-market Camry, while a third Toyota group conference reveals news relevant to both the Toyota and Lexus brands. 

Volkswagen ID Buzz concept

 

We’ve seen the Volkswagen ID concept – VW’s first electric concept – and now we’ll see the second; a renewed microbus concept, which follows many of the styling cues of the original ID. It features a number of design nods to the original VW MPV too, and shares the ID’s MEB electric platform. 

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

 

We can also see the production version of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, which Autocar has already driven in prototype form. It’s essentially a stretched, seven-seat version of the Tiguan SUV, and is almost identical to the familiar model apart from the slightly elongated body.

Those not attending

Porsche is one prominent manufacturer that isn’t in Detroit. It had a major presence at the recent Los Angeles motor show and also plans to attend the New York motor show in April.

While Detroit has a rich automotive legacy and is a prominent event at the start of the new year, it doesn’t achieve the same public footfall as other US motor shows and some manufacturers choose not to attend.

Events to look out for

Detroit claims to offer six unique shows in one. The first is an ‘ultra-luxury automotive event’ called The Gallery, which takes place on Saturday 7 January. The invite-only extravaganza is held at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, where a collection of luxury cars collectively worth almost $7 million (£5.5m) is on show. The likes of Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls-Royce are usually represented.

The show’s second act is Automobili-D, a dedicated exposition focused on the rapidly evolving automobile and mobility landscape. It began on Sunday 8 January and car companies, tier-one suppliers and tech start-up companies, showcase their latest developments. John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s self-driving car project – now called Waymo and using Chrysler Pacifica MPVs – kicked-off the event with a keynote presentation.

Nearly 50 start-ups from around the globe are present. Among the companies attending include Civil Maps, which provides 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, and PolySync, a supplier of products and services that aid the development of self-driving cars. A handful of firms from the UK are also in attendance.

The remaining segments of the show are the press days (9-10 January), industry days (11-12 January) and charity preview (13 January), before the doors are finally opened to the public for nine days from Saturday 14 January. Public tickets cost $13 per person and the show is open from 9am until 10pm each day.

Watch our round-up video of this year’s Paris motor show below

Source: Autocar Online

Volkswagen: Electric cars will soon become a mainstream choice

Volkswagen: Electric cars will soon become a mainstream choice

The all-electric VW Buzz concept was revealed in Detroit

Sales boss Jurgen Stackmann said the tipping point for EVs is near; electric GTI models on the cards for the future

The tipping point where electric vehicles become a serious mainstream choice is fast approaching, according to Volkswagen sales boss Jurgen Stackmann.

Speaking at the Detroit motor show, he said a combination of cool, desirable cars and a viable infrastructure would soon propel the technology into the mainstream.

VW wants to sell one million electric vehicles a year by 2025 from a new family of cars, something Stackmann admitted seemed optimistic when looked at today.

“One million looked at today is an optimistic view, but the view I have is very different,” he said. “The technology will get acceptance if the whole package is accepted.

“EVs will become fascinating when they become affordable, are cool, sexy cars, and you will want to be seen in one. They’ll be cool cars that people will want to have and be seen in.

“When customers see the infrastructure, the interest is generated. It needs work but people want it to happen.”

Stackmann said VW has on track to launch the first model in the new family in 2020, and he added he liked the ID name and hinted that it was under consideration for the production family, although this has yet to be decided. He said: “We’re getting familiar with the name and it has scale and room for interpretation, the reaction is extremely positive and it’s a crisp, cool name. We’ll see. Conceptually it’s a good idea.”

More concepts are planned before 2020, Stackmann hinting at two or three and an SUV likely for the Shanghai motor show in April.

He said the ID Buzz (pictured above) at the Detroit show had more chance than any other Microbus concept of making production and he believed there was a place for a functional, spacious car with an emotional character rather than just a rational MPV.

VW electric vehicles would never be too radical in their execution, Stackmann added, saying that making them too different to today’s cars would be “strange” for the customer and a “step too far”. He said: “If they are too radical you lose momentum for the next step.”

VW would remain a volume brand with its electric vehicles and would not become niche or in exclusive. “We have to offer a fun, usable and meaningful way of transportation. We can’t be niche and have to be relevant and generate scale for the technology. It can’t be for the few, we need scale.”

The electric vehicles would be developed alongside VW’s existing range of petrol and diesel vehicles and VW wants the one million sales to be additional ones, not taken from its existing sale of internal combustion engine models.

Stackmann said there would be a place for GTI models in the electric range but the “formula would change” and “not be the same as what took us here. Clearly GTI fits with EVs though.”

Source: Autocar Online

Chinese brand GAC plots US push by 2020

GAC Motors shows intent for US market with three new models

GAC Enspirit

GAC Motors brought a hybrid crossover, SUV and electric car to Detroit to show its intent for North America

Chinese car brand GAC Motors has revealed an SUV, hybrid crossover and electric hatchback at the Detroit motor show alongside plans to enter the US market by 2020.

The state-owned car maker’s first model, a midsize SUV called the GS7, is a Volkswagen Touareg-sized five-seater (pictured below). It’s described as being production-ready and will go on sale in China this year, likely with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The second model is called the Enspirit (pictured top). The four-door crossover has a BMW X6-like coupé roofline and uses hybrid power. It features an extensive list of connectivity features inside and is said to be near production ready.

GAC’s final all-new model in Detroit is a full-electric hatchback called the GE3. The five-door model features a cleaner design than its more complex-looking siblings with a clear focus on aerodynamics. The model is labelled as a concept, but its powertrain is said to show what’s to come in GAC’s upcoming models.

On show alongside its all-new models is a hybrid version of the existing Trumpchi GA8. The plug-on variant of GAC’s executive saloon marks its launch in China – there’s no word as to whether it’ll be offered elsewhere at this stage.

GAC said it wants to sell its first vehicle in North America before the close of this decade, before moving into other global markets, including Europe.

Source: Autocar Online

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