2017 Land Rover Discovery review

2017 Land Rover Discovery

The fifth-generation Discovery is simply of the world’s most capable cars, even with the 2.0-litre engine

The most important new car of 2017? The new Land Rover Discovery is certainly one of them, and when I tell you it’s new, I mean it’s new-new.You can probably see that yourself, mind. The previous-generation car, the Discovery 4, looked a lot like the Discovery 3, only was far more upmarket inside. And it drew a lot more sales by being that way. That’s what gave Land Rover the impetus to up the ‘premium’ count again and make the Discovery a family of cars and launch the Discovery Sport. So, in the same way the Disco Sport replaced the Freelander, so this Discovery arrives, replacing the old Discovery’s blocky, stubby looks.In its place is a car that’s more Ranger Rover-esque around the front. Land Rover is aware it’s playing with a car that owners have dearly loved and bonded with, so is at pains to say it has carried over many Discovery cues, such as some shapely metalwork around the C-pillar, a clamshell bonnet (though a Range Rover gets one of these too), and a roofline gently rising all the way to the rear. This is essential to package the seven full-sized seats which Land Rover says are crucial to the Discovery’s success – and which differentiates it from a Range Rover. It uses words like ‘lifestyle’ and ‘versatile’, but what it’s talking about are the things that have made it a great family car in the past.More on that in a moment, but first, technical details. As with the Range Rover Sport, the old Discovery’s separate chassis and body has been replaced by an aluminium monocoque, suspended by double-wishbones at the front and an integral link setup at the rear, just like the Range Rover. There are differences, though: instead of aluminium subframes front and rear, the Discovery uses steel ones; heavier, yes, but they take up less room, which is what allows a full-size set of seats in the third row, a deep luggage space (up to 2406 litres) and room for the full-size spare wheel that buyers of ‘proper’ 4x4s will consider essential.This make the new Discovery lighter than its predecessor, obviously – by up to 480kg according to the headline figure. As ever, it’s not quite that simple: the body itself is 250kg lighter, the chassis 130kg, with the rest coming from the fact that the entry-level engine is no longer a V6 turbodiesel, but a 2.0-litre four-cylinder from Land Rover’s Ingenium family. (As I write, that’s the only engine I’ve driven; we’ll try more today and update this story accordingly.)Bit worrying, that. The Discovery is lighter, yes, but it’s still a 2184kg car. It’s also at least a £43,495 one, with a top-spec 2.0 HSE Luxury asking £62,695. All big numbers to be accompanied by ‘2.0’. Some markets (though not the UK) will even get a 178bhp 2.0 base engine, but our way into the Discovery range is at least a new variant of the Ingenium unit, with two turbos of unequal sizes and making 237bhp at 4000rpm and, crucially, 368lb ft from just 1500rpm; claimed to be good enough for a 0-60mph time of 8.0sec.It drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, there is a low ratio transfer case, and the Discovery gets the full suite of Land Rover’s latest ‘terrain response’ system, which manipulates power delivery, throttle response, differentials and so on, to make this car – absolutely no question, says Land Rover, so don’t be fooled by the sleeker new looks – simply the most capable car off-road it has ever made. It can wade 900mm, its maximum ground clearance is 283mm, and it has half a metre of axle articulation. It’ll go further than any Discovery, Range Rover, or even Defender, before it, they say.

Source: Autocar Online

Jaguar F-Pace, XF and XE ranges updated with new Ingenium engines

Jaguar F-Pace, XF and XE ranges updated with new Ingenium engines

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

New diesel and petrol engines added to existing line-ups; 2017 refresh also brings new driver assist tech and infotainment

The Jaguar F-Pace, XF and XE ranges have been updated for 2017 with new engines, driver assist technology and infotainment.

Three new Ingenium powertrains have been added to the mix. The first is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol (pictured below) that produces 197bhp, and the second is a more potent version that produces 247bhp. The units make use of continuously variable vale lift technology to boost performance and efficiency.

The petrol engines are joined by a new turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel that produces 237bhp and 369lb ft of torque. It offers up to 54.4mpg and emits 137g/km when used in the XE.

Both the XE and XF gain all three units, while the F-Pace gets the diesel and more potent petrol. All existing engines, which include turbocharged 3.0-litre petrols and diesels, are retained for each model, as is the option of all-wheel drive.

Along with the new units, the existing 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine of the XE range topper, the XE S, receives a power boost of 39bhp to bring its maximum output to 375bhp.

Standard on the 2017 XE and XF ranges is Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics system, which enables drivers to adjust engine, gearbox and steering responses through Normal or Dynamic modes. Adaptive Dynamics adjustable suspension technology remains an option.

All three cars get new dual view technology that can display different displays to the driver and front passenger in the same 10in infotainment screen. There’s also now forward traffic detection technology and forward vehicle guidance with a surround camera system, which displays surroundings on the screen to aid navigating through tight areas.

The models also get fuel payment technology that works at Shell garages to allow owners to pay for fuel via their infotainment.

Pricing for the latest F-Pace starts at £34,730, which is  £290 cheaper than before. The 2017 XF starts at £32,490, £190 less than before, and the XE starts at £28,295, which is an increase of £1305.

Source: Autocar Online

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 to use Cosworth V12 and Ricardo gearbox

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 to use Cosworth V12 and Ricardo gearbox

Partners for upcoming hypercar also include Multimac for the MonoCell and Rimac for hybrid batteries

The Aston Marin AM-RB 001 will use a Cosworth 6.5-litre V12 engine that’s mated to a seven-speed gearbox supplied by Ricardo, the car maker has confirmed in a new partners list.

Aston Martin said it chose to work with Cosworth and Ricardo for “their unrivalled expertise and willingness to push the performance boundaries”. Cosworth has a long history in motorsport and Ricardo developed the V8 used in McLaren models.

Aston’s hypercar, which has been co-developed by Red Bull Adavnced Technologies, is expected to produce 900bhp from its high-revving, naturally aspirated drivetrain. It will be built upon a carbonfibre Monocell that is provided by longstanding Aston Martin partner Multimatic.

Total kerb weight is therefore expected to be less than one tonne, and Aston Martin backs this up with claims for a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.

The car will use an F1-inspired energy recovery system (ERS) to harvest kinetic energy from braking, with electric car maker Rimac supplying lightweight hybrid batteries.

Click here for more technical information of the AM-RB 001

Braking will be handled by Alcon and Surface Transforms calipers and carbon discs, while Bosche will supply the engine control unit, traction control unit and electronic stability programme systems.

Aston Martin has also confirmed that Wipac, a British lighting manufacturer, has developed the car’s LED headlights and tail lights.

Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey said of the partners: “Much like Formula One, designing, engineering and building a car like the AM-RB 001 is a massive team effort. To achieve great things you need to surround yourself with the best people.

“Experience, creativity, energy, diligence and perfectionism are absolute must-have qualities in every area of the project. Having great technical partners such as those working with us is both reassuring and motivating. Together we aim to produce an innovative piece of engineering art.”

Aston Martin vice president David King added: “Making the AM-RB 001 presents huge challenges. It’s a real test of everyone involved, but that’s as it should be, for we’re genuinely raising the bar with this car. That’s what makes the project so special, and why having the right technical partners is so critical.

“Some of those names we’re working with are long-standing suppliers of Aston Martin, but there are some new names in there, too. Whether forging fresh partnerships or building on existing relationships, the AM-RB 001 project is a shared engineering adventure we’re all relishing.”

The AM-RB 001 will be built in a total of 150 units for the road and 25 track only versions. No pricing has been revealed but a figure of between £2-3 million is likely. First deliveries are due in 2019.

Cosworth to build V8s in new £20.5 million Detroit plant

Ricardo 48V hybrid engien architecture can cut CO2 by 15%

Source: Autocar Online

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X
The electric propulsion pioneer takes aim at the seven-seat SUV market

Tesla got off to a slow start with the Lotus-based Roadster, but a decade has now passed since we first drove that car – in fairly shabby two-speed prototype form, straight out of the gates of Potash Lane, Hethel, as it happened.And there has certainly been some water under the bridge since then.The Roadster, now long discontinued, reached fewer than 3000 homes over its four-year life cycle; by way of contrast, Tesla delivered more than 76,000 other new cars last year alone.So while only a brave few were willing to risk their motoring happiness on an electrified sports car at the turn of the current decade, some 50,000 buyers a year are now switching their preference from fossil fuels to battery power and buying a Model S executive saloon.Growth of that kind doesn’t tend to come easy, and there have, of course, been safety controversies, recalls and a few corporate scandals to keep the gossip mill spinning. But the Model S has emphatically succeeded, and it is now a bigger-selling car than almost any other full-sized limousine in the world.Tesla, being at once a long way from done and ever-keen to talk of its plans, has already told us about the Model 3: a compact saloon that will make Tesla ownership about twice as affordable as it currently is. It is due for production later this year.By 2018, Tesla hopes to be making half a million cars a year. If it comes about, that’ll be a phenomenal transition: from Morgan-scale car-making to Volvo-scale volume production within just seven years. That’s one vehicle life cycle and a mere heartbeat in industry terms.It won’t happen, though, if the world doesn’t take to the subject of this road test at least as readily as it has to the Model S.The new Model X is the seven-seat SUV reimagined in much the same vein as the luxury saloon was by the Model S.A 2.5-tonne electric vehicle available with as much as 611bhp, the Model X, is a car for which equally remarkable claims on acceleration (0-60mph in 3.2sec) and range (in excess of 300 miles) are being made.We’re testing it in middle-rung 90D model trim. So will the luxury SUV ever be the same again?

Source: Autocar Online

Kia confirms development of hydrogen model due in 2021

Kia Optima PHEV

The Kia Optima PHEV is one of several planned green models

A standalone hydrogen Kia is scheduled to go on sale within four years as part of attempts to cut CO2

Kia will bring a bespoke hydrogen fuel-cell car to market before the end of 2021.

Speaking to Autocar ahead of the Geneva motor show, the company’s head of marketing in Europe Artur Martins confirmed that development on a new fuel-cell car was under way.

Although he stopped short of confirming any specifics about the new car, Martins said it would be a “bigger” model which would be capable of housing conventional combustion engines, as well as hybrid and electric options and, crucially, a fuel cell too.

The 2021 model will get its own distinctive look to signify its eco credentials. “It is not clear what kind of bodystyle the cars will have, but it will be dedicated models rather than using an existing donor car as we do now with the ix35,” said Kia’s head of fuel cell research Dr Sae Hoon Kim. He cited the example of the Toyota Mirai as highlighting the benefits of a bespoke fuel cell car, most notably because of the ability to design with extra cooling requirements in mind.

The model’s next-generation hydrogen fuel stack will be similar in size to a 2.0-litre combustion engine, but despite being 15% more compact and lighter will deliver around 10% more performance. Range between refuels is expected to be rated at 500 miles, and top speed at 105mph.

Given the popularity of large SUVs in Europe, and that by the turn of the decade Kia’s Sorento will be due for replacement, that car would seem to be a front runner to receive this hybrid technology. Martins noted that, despite being Kia’s halo model, a fuel-cell version of the upcoming Stinger sports saloon isn’t planned.

Martins also confirmed that if the new model was successful, it would “make sense to start applying it to other products,” opening the door for more fuel cell models from Kia in the future.

Read our first drive in the Kia Optima PHEV here

Kia already has a fuel-cell car in its model range, the Borrego SUV, which is the sister car to Hyundai’s ix55 large SUV, and while both models aren’t offered in Europe, the two companies have been using the technology since the 1990s.

The firm’s ambitious CO2 reduction target will result in 70% of the firm’s current line-up of engines being replaced over the next four years, as well as the launch of seven new hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery-electric and fuel cell cars. More efficient “multi-speed” transmissions are also being developed. The total investment in the new projects is reported to be £6.7bn, and Kia says it will create “thousands” of jobs to hit its targets.

Plans for a bespoke fuel cell car stretch back to 2014, when officials confirmed that plans were afoot for the new model. At the time, it was thought that the new model wouldn’t share parts with a sister car from Hyundai.

Darren Moss and Jim Holder

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Audi A4 Allroad quattro Sport 3.0 TDI 218 S tronic review

Audi A4 Allroad quattro Sport 3.0 TDI 218 S tronic front view

Smooth, powerful, frugal, comfortable and plenty more, the Allroad is the Audi A4 at its very best; not as thrusting as its rangemates, but all the more likeable for it

The Audi A4 Allroad, in what might be its optimal mechanical specification. The middle of three diesel-powered options, the 3.0-litre TDI 218 model gets you the relative smoothness of Audi’s six-cylinder TDI diesel engine, and the wider spread of torque that it provides, for less than £2000 more than the equivalent 2.0-litre TDI 190. And £2000 is, after all, less than what plenty of Audi customers have proven themselves willing to spend, in recent years, on a carbonfibre cigarette lighter, a stereo upgrade and indicators inspired by the cult televisual smash hits of the 1980s.While the 2.0-litre petrol TFSI Allroad that provided our first impressions on the car last year has a new clutch-based four-wheel drive system dubbed ‘quattro Ultra’, the diesels stick with Audi’s more traditional centre-diff-based four-wheel drive system: older tech, but still the difference between ‘intelligent’ part-time and proper full-time four-wheel drive. If your jacked-up A4 is going to spend a significant amount of time on mud or grass, you might very well prefer the certainty of a centre differential to the efficiency gains of a clutch-based setup. I would.Elsewhere on the spec sheet, the A4 Allroad still doesn’t quite offer the extra capability of its older soft-roading big brother, the A6 Allroad, although it is getting closer. Whereas you can have height-adjustable air suspension on an A6, the A4’s ride height is fixed, offering 34mm of additional ground clearance over a normal A4 Avant. The only way the smaller car’s suspension can be adjusted is if you get optional adaptive dampers.Where transmissions are concerned, meanwhile, all but the most powerful diesel versions of both the A4 Allroad and A6 Allroad now come with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox – so you’re only going to get any torque multiplication for low-speed towing or climbing if you splash the cash on a top-of-the-range oil-burner, both of which come with a proper eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox.If you’re a fleet driver, the 3.0 TDI 218 won’t break the bank where those all-important CO2 emission numbers are concerned – giving you six-cylinder power for a modest 2% penalty on benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax liability versus the four-cylinder TDI. The 2.0-litre TFSI 252 is a shade cheaper to buy and for company car tax, but its official combined fuel economy return is 20% poorer.

Source: Autocar Online

Why would PSA want to buy Opel and Vauxhall?

Carlos Tavares PSA chairman

Carlos Tavares, PSA chairman

The company that owns Peugeot, Citroën and DS now wants to take a majority stake in General Motors’ European business. Here’s why

Cutting costs and boosting profitability – that’s the short version of why talks around a merger of PSA’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands and General Motors’ Opel-Vauxhall business, have reached “an advanced stage”.

It’s clearly big news; last year, Opel-Vauxhall’s sales in Europe sat at around the one million mark and PSA’s at around 1.5m. By combining the two, you would have a group that moves well clear of Renault-Nissan into second place in the European sales charts, behind only the Volkswagen Group (3.6m sales in 2016).

PSA taking a majority stake in Opel-Vauxhall would also bring significant economies of scale. The number of vehicle platforms and engines needing to be developed for five brands producing cars competing in the same market segments would be significantly reduced.

GM retaining a stake in the business would finally allow it a major, sustainable foothold in the European market, which, if successful, would solve some long-standing profitability problems. Although it is back on track, Opel-Vauxhall often has an air of uncertainty around it.

PSA taking the majority stake would unlock an opening into the US market, which has been a long-held long-term target of the group. This could be its way in.

Led by boss Carlos Tavares, PSA has returned to profit and is increasing its profit margins all the time. Having an extra 1m vehicles a year to add into that formula would be a nice problem to have in accelerating the recovery. A short-term challenge perhaps, but potentially a lucrative one in the long-term. 

The markets like the prospect of a deal: GM’s pre-market share price is up 1% in New York at the time of writing and Peugeot’s is up 5% in Paris off the back of the news.

It’s five years since GM took a 7% stake in PSA, marking the beginning of the collaboration between the two firms. That stake was quickly sold off, but the collaboration continued, and we’re now finally seeing the first fruits of it with two new Vauxhall SUVs, the Peugeot 2008-based Crossland X and the Peugeot 3008-based Grandland X.

Who’s going to lose out? Well, those two SUVs already show that an overlapping platform strategy could lead to a confused product range, at least in the short-term. Vauxhall already has an SUV of similar size to the Crossland X in the shape of the Mokka X; now it has to have another spun off the 2008’s platform to boost the profitability of that car’s underpinnings.

Products could become homogenised. There would be fewer choices for buyers. Let’s face it: there isn’t too much difference these days between a Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia or Seat Leon when you go beyond the skin-deep stuff. Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall could face a similar problem. This, in particular, is a challenge Tavares would need to confront.

FCA chairman Sergio Marchionne is unlikely to take the news well, but perhaps more for personal reasons. He’s been banging the drum of production overcapacity in Europe for a long time and has been in favour of streamlining and mergers; now he has two fewer options in trying to get a deal done to preserve his company in the long-term.

You can imagine the unions would have something to say about the deal regarding the long-term prospects of multiple factories producing broadly similar cars. You’d suspect something would have to give, and closer to home Peugeot has history in abandoning its UK manufacturing base.

“At this stage, there is no certainty on the conclusion of an agreement,” reads a Peugeot statement, but given the positive boxes this ticks for both companies, the way to meet the will is sure to be found.

Full story: GM plans sale of Vauxhall and Opel brands to PSA

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Bentley Continental Supersports review

Bentley Continental Supersports front view

Everything that Bentley does well, the Supersports does better than ever; everything that Bentley does badly, the Supersports still does badly

Seven hundred horsepower and seven hundred and fifty lb ft of torque. If you are to understand this new Bentley Continental Supersports, it is not enough to focus on one figure or the other: power will tell you how fast this car is, and it is torque that determines how it is fast. It’s only the combination of the two that reveals the true character of this car, and its unique place among high-performance machinery.Of course, we have been here before. Twice. There’s not much need to dwell on the 1925 3.0-litre Bentley Super Sports, the first car to fly the wings guaranteed to do 100mph. The name was resurrected in 2009 to grace a two-seat, carbonfibre-seated Continental GT, lighter to the tune of 110kg with a little more power and torque, a 40:60 front to rear torque split, firmer suspension bushes and a wider rear track. Clearly, it was quicker than the Continental Speed from which it was derived, and so too did it feel different: tauter, better balanced, less of a GT and more of a (super) sports car.The name may be the same this time around, but the approach is dramatically different. This new Supersports hasn’t bothered to go on much of a diet, is available with only four seats and doesn’t fiddle with the torque distribution, the rear track or even the suspension settings: springs, bars and dampers are all the same as a standard Continental Speed, as are the tyres.True, it is 40kg lighter thanks to standard carbon ceramic discs and the Akrapovič titanium rear exhaust box already used on 2014’s 2V8-based GT3-R, but such savings seem almost incidental. This Supersports is all about the engine.And given this is a Bentley, perhaps it should be no other way. If you believe you should always play to your strengths, there’s no doubting that the 6.0-litre W12 motor under the bonnet of the Continental has been its greatest strength since the car first emerged, blinking into the sunlight, back in 2003. So Bentley has asked one more favour before both car and engine are replaced towards the end of this year by an all-new Continental with another (yet only distantly related) direct-injection 6.0-litre W12 so new it’s only so far been used in the Bentayga.Bigger Mitsubishi turbochargers blowing 1.4bar instead of 0.9bar don’t raise power by a mere 21bhp like the old Supersports, but by more than three times that amount, from the 637bhp of the current Speed to a nice, round 700bhp. And don’t forget the torque: the old Supersports added just 37lb ft, whereas this one piles on a mighty 130lb ft, taking it up to a total of 750lb ft.

Source: Autocar Online

Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet: we take a ride

Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet

The 38-year-old G-Class gets one final hurrah in the shape of a semi-convertible Maybach. We sit in the passenger seat on a ride through an African reserve

The mad Mercedes Maybach G650 Landaulet, a final swansong for the 38-year-old G-Class, is limited to 99 vehicles and will sell for around €500,000 (£426,000).

We take it for a ride in its natural habitat – the wilds of Africa – although in reality, it’s much more likely to be seen on the dunes of Dubai.

We are driving through the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, which is mostly reserved for a handful of Toyota Land Cruiser heaving with tourists. But instead of the Japanese four-cylinder diesel, the G650’s six-litre V12 twin-turbocharger is taking on this tricky terrain with 621bhp and 738lb ft of torque.

The G650 has the technology of the Mercedes G 500 4×4² – and more. That includes portal axles, electronic dampers and a track widened by 25cms. Wheelbase is also lengthened by nearly 60cms to create a lounge-like area in the rear seats.

As well as portal axles to take on the toughest terrain, the car also has hardcore off-road 325/55 R 22 tyres and ground clearance of almost half a metre.

The 3.3-ton colossus easily climbs all the way to the summit. But more spectacular are the two rear seats in the Landaulet. The seat system is familiar from the Maybach S600 saloon, but the open roof is the real novelty. With the touch of a button, the rear seats can be open-air in around 30 seconds.

“The roof is the one from the former G-Class Cabrio,” said G-Class model manager Dr. Gunnar Güthenke. “We also have an extended wheelbase of 3.43 metres. For the passengers there are massage seats, a separate climate control and the complete entertainment system of the current S-Class.”

With a push of a button, the comfortable seat moves into a bed position akin to a first class jet. The two seats can be heated, ventilated or stirred with a massage function.

The G650 goes effortlessly through the hardest off-road terrain. Rubble, deep water passages and soft sand dunes are no problem at all. With all that in mind, it‘s not surprising that most customers will probably come from the United Arab Emirates – and that the vehicle will be one of many on a billonaire’s fleet. “We have created something unique with the vehicle,” said G-Class marketing manager Ian James, “by combining an off-roader like the G-Class and a Landaulet.”

There will be no right-hand-drive version and these special Mercedes are not legally allowed on US roads. But, really, the road isn’t the place for it. It’s limited to 112mph and when the roof is open, it blows over 60mph in the rear living room. Better turn back into the Game Reserve.

Stefan Grundhoff

Read Autocar’s review of the Mercedes G63 6×6

Source: Autocar Online

GM plans sale of Vauxhall and Opel brands to PSA

GM to sell Vauxhall and Opel brands to PSA

Talks between General Motors and the parent company of Citroën, DS and Peugeot are said to be at an advanced stage

General Motors (GM) is said to be in talks for the sale of its European operations, including the Opel and Vauxhall brands, to the PSA Group, the parent company of CitroënDS and Peugeot, according to reports by Reuters and Deutsche Press Agency (DPA).

The rumoured talks, which Reuters describes as being at an advanced stage, are said to centre around plans for the PSA to take a majority stake in GM’s European subsidiaries, Opel and Vauxhall, in a deal that could have significant implications for the European automotive industry.

GM has made no official confirmation of the talks for the sale of the two brands to PSA.

PSA has previously confirmed it was in direct dialogue with GM, but indicates its dealings with Opel and Vauhall have recently centred around the possible expansion of current projects, including plans that will lead to various models between the two car makers sharing common platforms and drivelines.

Source: Autocar Online

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