The pothole in the government’s road repair plan

Potholes UK national pothole day

We’re issuing a rallying cry to get this pothole problem sorted, once and for all; send in your ideas – here is ours (with help from an industry spokesman)

The average pothole costs around £60 to repair. It’s estimated that there are one millon-plus potholes in the UK, that equates to around £60million.

That’s not that much, given that it’s EVERY pothole in the UK, and the Government’s £15.2billion kitty for resurfacing motorways and A-roads is some 253 times larger than the estimated cost of a fixed pothole.

Perhaps the government is doing something wrong, then. Potholes are fixed routinely by councils, and yet there’s still a ninth as many of them as there are bicycles in Beijing, depending on your music taste.

Read more: Pothole insurance claim figures released; 10 most affected cars revealed

A spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers told Autocar that estimating the number of potholes in the UK is an impossible task (good luck fixing them then), but that the roads aren’t built correctly – the roads they produce develop potholes. The problem is like

He continued to point out that roads in other countries are often made with six inches of tarmac as their top layer, where UK roads are often only finished with two inches of the black stuff.

So perhaps, instead of building our new roads with the same problematic amount of  tarmac as before, adopt a more European approach and build them deeper, and more durably. After all, we’re not the only country to get a little bad weather once in a while.

Read more: Pothole detection system showcased by Jaguar Land Rover

It’ll take time to resurface every road in the UK this way, but the money is there, the need is there, and the roads are there. All it needs now is some careful planning – because lord knows the government is truly terrific at that – and patience by UK motorists as they find a detour while their local road is converted into a silky smooth, European-style, six-inch deep tarmac road.

It seems though, that the government is in need of ideas. One man took to graffiti-ing certain shapes around his local potholes to urge the council to fix them. It worked, too. Send in your answers – serious or otherwise – and let’s get this problem sorted, Autocar style.

Source: Autocar Online

Driving Jonny Smith's 800bhp Flux Capacitor

The man that proved Autocar wrong

Four decades ago, we said the tiny Enfield 8000 wouldn’t make a great drag car. Jonny Smith tells us about his other ideas

Pasted on the transmission tunnel inside Jonny Smith’s Flux Capacitor is a clipping from the 1976 Autocar road test of the Enfield 8000 EV.

It reads: “Naturally, with a kerb weight of just a little under 1 ton and only 8bhp to propel it, the Enfield is no candidate for the drag strips.” Even the safest assumptions can be risky in this business.

On 16 July last year the 800bhp Flux Capacitor, named after the device that powers Dr Emmett Brown’s DeLorean time machine in Back to the Future, became the fastest street-legal electric vehicle in the world, covering Santa Pod Raceway’s quarter mile in 9.86sec with a terminal speed of 121mph.

At 1725mm, the Enfield’s wheelbase is shorter than its owner stands tall, and the car looks like something out of a circus act. If the thought of multiplying the Enfield’s power output of 8bhp by a factor of 100 seems preposterous, that’s because it is. “Everyone said it would be undriveable,” says Smith, “but it has exceeded expectations.”

So why choose such an unlikely candidate? Smith’s idea first formed during a trip to Japan in 2009, where a drive in a prototype Nissan Leaf made an impression. “I made up my mind then to build a hot rod EV but didn’t want to convert a piston engine car,” he continues. “I wanted to do an old EV and found this. I liked it immediately because it was odd, British and unlikely.”

It took a year to track the rare car down and conversion work began in 2012. The 8bhp electric motor and Reliant rear axle were removed. Two 9.0in DC motors, rated at 2000A and producing a combined 800bhp and 1200lb ft, now fit in a cradle mounted inside the Enfield’s transmission tunnel. The axle has been replaced by a specially made Ford unit attached to the body by four trailing links.

There’s no gearbox, drive is direct through a 6.0in propshaft and 400V are supplied by four lithium ion battery packs. Three are mounted under the bonnet and one is in the rear, all assembled from a total of 188 military-grade pouch cells. It is fitting that the same batteries are used to power the Gatling guns in a Bell SuperCobra helicopter, because, in all honesty, the entire machine looks positively lethal.

Folding a 6ft frame into the tiny dragster’s JAZ bucket seat and fastening the six-point harness is hilarious but just about doable. Inside, things look more serious, with a full FIA roll cage, lots of switches and, of course, a Flux Capacitor box, which is actually a phone charger and just for fun. With a toggle switch set to ‘Valet’ rather than ‘Race’, we set off along the country lanes. The motors whirr noisily, but the soundtrack is dominated by the creaking noises from an aggressive limited-slip differential and a cacophony of clunks from the metal-bushed motorsport suspension.

Valet mode delivers ‘only’ around 1200A, but even so, the acceleration is strong and the response from the motors immediate. There’s no clutch and the Enfield has a two-pedal setup with an oddly positioned brake. It stops well, though, with front brakes that consist of specially made discs with Caterham calipers. Amazingly, despite the insanely short wheelbase and high-geared steering, the car tracks dead straight even on a bumpy surface. That’s partly due to the fourlink mounting of the axle, which ensures there’s no steering effect from the rear. It rides well, too.

Smith flicks the switch from Valet to Race and says: “Now give it a quick squirt.” The response to the accelerator is now neckwrenchingly brutal and the Flux Capacitor takes off at a pace normally reserved for something packing a big supercharged engine. In fact, launched from a standing start, it can hit 60mph in under three seconds.

The lack of a ferocious soundtrack is at odds with the rate of progress, and a slight smell of ozone wafts up the nostrils as we are whisked rapidly towards the space-time continuum. Thankfully, more judicious use of the accelerator prevents our transition back to the future, but it felt like a close-run thing.

Source: Autocar Online

Honda S2000 (2002-2009) – used buying guide

Honda S2000 (2002-2009) - used buying guide

With a bulletproof engine that revs to 9000rpm, the Honda S2000 is one of the most thrilling roadsters you’ll find for as little as £5000

When most sports car engines are shutting up shop, the Honda S2000’s is opening for business. At around 6000rpm, the VTEC variable valve timing system swaps cam lobes to allow the F20C engine to fill its lungs. At 7500rpm, it’s developing a modest 153lb ft torque; at 8300rpm, peak power of 237bhp, good for 0-62mph in 6.2sec. Finally, at 9000rpm, the shutters come down.

Impressive figures but, given the engine’s otherwise relative inactivity at lower revs, also the reason Honda’s roadster dwells in the shadows of more accessible rivals. But if you hanker after the kind of engineering on which Honda’s reputation was built, the S2000 is worth a peek.

Prices start at around £5000 for models with partial service histories, but around £7000 should secure a cherished example with a properly undersealed chassis and, so you can tweak the fully adjustable suspension without having to cut out and replace seized fittings, rust-free bolts and adjusters. Mileage might be on the high side, but fear not: no S2000 went pop through hard work.

The longitudinally mounted, naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine (front/mid for better weight distribution) drives the rear wheels through a six-speed gearbox and Torsen limited-slip diff. Suspension is double wishbone allround and steering electrically assisted.

Early cars were criticised for uncommunicative steering and tricky on-limit handling. Accordingly, in 2002 the suspension was tweaked. At the same time, a GT version with a removable hard-top joined the range. (Standard cars have an electrically powered vinyl hood.)

The critics weren’t entirely silenced by the suspension mods so, in 2004, Honda introduced a raft of changes to the chassis, including stiffer body bracing, retuned springs and antiroll bars, fractionally slower steering and larger wheels (from 16s to 17s). At the same time, torque was increased slightly at lower revs. New triplebeam projector lights and restyled front and rear bumpers completed what is known as the AP1 facelift.

Two years later, and seven years into the model’s production life, Honda’s commitment to the S2000 remained undimmed. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), intended to provide additional cornering control and boost traction on loose surfaces, was added to the options list. It became standard in 2008, along with further suspension refinements. The model bowed out the following year.

Fortunately, the S2000 seems to attract the mechanically sympathetic, so it isn’t unusual to see high-milers with full history. Honda’s approved used scheme covers cars up to eight years old, so you’ll still find some thoroughly vetted 2008s on main dealer forecourts. As an alternative to UK cars, check out grey-import S2000s. They tend to be in better condition and with lower mileages. Among them, you’ll find the 2.2-litre model as well as a sprinkling of Type Vs and later, stripped-out Type Ss.

An expert’s view…

TOM GANNON, TGM

“I’ve been racing and working on Hondas since 1991. The engines are really well engineered, the S2000’s especially. It’s designed for high revs and a long life. Standard mods don’t yield much, so we go the forced induction route with a supercharger. An HKS or Rotrex supercharger will increase power to around 360-380bhp and torque to 250lb ft. It spans 3000rpm to 9000rpm, making the car much more driveable. The kit costs around £4500 to £5000 supplied and fitted. We also recommend a brake, suspension and clutch upgrade.”

Buyer beware…

ENGINE

Oil and filter (5W40 fully synthetic) every 9k miles or once a year. When the engine is hot, listen for timing chain tensioner rattle. It can fail at around 75k miles.

CLUTCH, TRANSMISSION

Clutch can pack up as early as 50k miles. Propshaft and diff are both strong, but inner joints of driveshafts can wear prematurely.

SUSPENSION

Poor anti-rust protection can cause suspension nuts, bolts and eccentric adjusters to seize. The bill for work and parts can be £750. Front compliance bush on the front lower wishbones can wear. Otherwise, suspension is strong.

STEERING

Steering rack mounts can fail.

BRAKES

Calipers can seize, causing the car to pull to one side during braking.

UNDERBODY

Corrosion can be an issue because anti-rust protection was so poor.

INTERIOR

Tough but spoiled by fragile plastic fittings, especially around the stereo.

ROOF

This can leak near the windscreen pillars, so check for a damp carpet. It can develop a small tear where it’s pulled too tightly as well. Ensure the catches aren’t worn. If it’s a GT, check the hard-top stand is with the car.

Also worth knowing…

Honda’s approved used scheme covers qualifying cars up to eight years old and unlimited mileage. This means there are still some late S2000s at main dealers. One we found is a 2009 GT with 64k miles, priced at £13,995.

How much to spend?

£5000-£6900

Launch cars to 2002 with high mileage but some with full service histories.

£7000-£8250

Cherished, lower-mileage early cars plus a sprinkling of world-weary, high-mileage 2006-2007 cars.

£8500-£11,000

Mid-mileage 2005-2007 cars including GTs, plus more low-mileage early ones.

£11,500-£12,500

Very tidy, mid-mileage 2007-2008 cars. Even a few tidy 2004-2006 cars.

£12,750-£13,500

More mid-mileage 2006-2009 cars, including Honda approved used, plus some ultra-low-mileage 2006-on cars.

£13,750-£15,500

More Honda approved used 2009 cars plus best low-miles 2008-2009 cars.

John Evans

In need of a Honda S2000? Check out some used examples for sale here:

Source: Autocar Online

Skoda Superb Estate long-term test review: final report

Skoda Superb Estate long-term test review: final report

In 10 months and 15,000 miles, Skoda’s bargain-priced wagon has proved to be much more than just a practical holdall

The other day I photographed some big executive estates for a comparison: a Mercedes, an Audi and a Volvo.

Now, I’m not about to suggest that they’re an extravagance, because they’re all lovely inside and everything, but you know what? At nearly twice the price of the Skoda Superb SE L Executive I’ve been running, they should be.

The Superb is one of those cars that makes a massive amount of sense. In any market segment there’s a standout model that nous suggests you should buy: a Volkswagen Up, a Ford Fiesta, a Volkswagen Golf R, a Porsche 718 Cayman. Well, for my money the Superb Estate is right up there with them.

For a start, it’s massive. If you want an estate car to be an estate car, look at the Skoda, which has 660 litres of load space with the seats up – about 100 more than any rival – and 1950 litres, again another 100 litres on anything else, with them down.

That’s without it being longer than a typical executive estate, too. In fact, it’s a few inches shorter than most executive cars, which must mean it’s more compactly packaged, because certainly there’s enough room in the cabin for a basketball player to sit behind another basketball player.

Perhaps there’s less soundproofing and carpet, or fewer infotainment and electronic bits and bobs. If so, that’s perfectly understandable, because this is a £26,320 car (or it was when we got it; today’s list is £26,785), rather than a £40k one plus options. The things you can get on a Superb are mostly of the ‘strictly useful’ rather than ‘frivolously pleasing’ variety: if you want to drop the seatbacks from outside the boot, the release costs £90 (spend it), a retractable parcel shelf is £120 (likewise) and a variable-height boot floor is £150 (I’d leave it). I’d also keep the fold-flat front passenger seat (£100), not only because I like to stand on it and take pictures out of the sunroof (£1150), but also because it makes the already cavernous Superb the king of DIY-store cars.

 

Despite majoring on practicalities, there are pleasing little touches, too. The boot has Velcro-bottomed load bay dividers, which you can stick where you want to prevent things from slipping around. And the easy-to-navigate but averagely designed infotainment system has a function that reminds you not to forget to take your phone with you when you stop, if you’ve had it connected via Bluetooth while driving. There’s an umbrella in each door, too (wouldn’t it be nice if, after you’ve been using the windscreen wipers, the car reminded you that they were there?).

In all, I’ve covered 15,000 miles in the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel Superb wagon and returned what I think is a pretty reasonable 46.5mpg, given that quite a lot of my journeys are either commuting in London or on the motorway. The Superb is nearly always fully laden and I’m quite often in a hurry. At 70mph in sixth, the engine is spinning at a fairly leisurely 1800rpm, which, combined with some excellent seats and a brilliantly adjustable driving position, means this is one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever lived with.

The ride helps, too. In SE L Executive spec, the Superb runs on 18in alloys (in this case a nonstandard design that’s a no-cost option) and our car came with adaptive dampers, at £750. I’ve since driven Superbs without the adaptive suspension, or Dynamic Chassis Control in Skoda-speak, and neither rides better or worse than the other. At least, not in our car’s Normal mode, in which it is extremely comfortable. The ride is too jiggly for my liking in Sport mode, while in Comfort it’s softer, certainly, but body control is a bit loose, so I don’t actually find it any more relaxing.

But combine the gentle, supple ride with smooth, consistent steering and the kind of ergonomics and pedal weights that no one else seems to get quite as right as the Volkswagen Group does, and you’ve got a car that’s very easy to rub along with.

Nothing of note has gone wrong. A few thousand miles into the test I noticed that the nearside front passenger door wasn’t sitting quite flush with the body. It must be quite well sealed, because there wasn’t any extra wind noise, but on closer inspection the door latch, where it fixes to the B-pillar, looked to be working loose. So I tightened it myself and that was the end of that.

The Superb has variable oil service intervals, too – to a maximum of 20,000 miles. I topped up half a litre of oil during its time with us, but it would have wanted an oil change at 19,000, so I was planning to get both that and the full service done then.

However, I never quite got there. The Superb has been so good that we have decided to replace it with another one, in a rather different spec. It’s an undercover rozzer version: a hatch with a 276bhp petrol engine and four-wheel drive. I’m not running it, but give it a few months and I’ll bet I’ll still be prepared to say that this variant is one of the most sensible, appealing cars you can buy.

SKODA SUPERB ESTATE 2.0 TDI 150 SE L EXECUTIVE

TEST STARTED 8.1.16

Mileage at start 385 Mileage at end 15,194

PRICES

List price then £26,320 List price now £26,785 Price as tested £29,400 Dealer value now £19,000 Private value now £21,000 Trade value now £23,000

OPTIONS

Panoramic sunroof £1150, adaptive dampers £750, metallic paint £535, variable boot floor £150, retractable parcel shelf £120, ‘smart gate’ £100, fold-flat front passenger seat £100, rear backrest release from boot £90, colour trip computer £85, 18in alloy wheel change £0

FUEL CONSUMPTION AND RANGE

Claimed economy 67.3mpg (combined) Fuel tank 66 litres Test average 46.5mpg Test best 49.3mpg Test worst 42.5mpg Real-world range 675 miles

TECH HIGHLIGHTS

0-62mph 8.9sec Top speed 135mph Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, diesel Max power 148bhp at 3500rpm Max torque 250lb ft at 1750rpm Transmission 6-spd manual Boot 660-1950 litres Wheels 9Jx18in Tyres 235/45 R18, Pirelli Cinturato Kerb weight 1430kg

SERVICE AND RUNNING COSTS

Contract hire rate £291.16 CO2 110g/km Service costs None Other costs Engine oil £10 Fuel costs £1708 Running costs inc fuel £1718 Cost per mile 12 pence Depreciation £8400 Cost per mile inc depreciation 68 pence Faults Loose door latch (DIY fix for free)

Stan Papior

Source: Autocar Online

The most exciting new cars due in 2017

Aston Martin Vanquish S

Aston Martin Vanquish S

This year is going to be a bumper one for new cars, with 158 launches planned. What should you start saving for?

On the second weekend of 2017 we examine the most exciting cars due to debut over the next 50 weeks.

With 158 cars set to be revealed before 2018, there’s no shortage of variety. We pick out the most interesting in the list below.

BMW 5 SERIES FEBRUARY

SUVs may be the biggest thing on the road at the moment (in both senses), but the BMW 5 Series sells in such numbers that it remains BMW’s most profitable model.

We’ve already driven the new one and what a lovely thing it is, improved in every area from before. Munich’s main focus has been on equipping the 5 Series with the latest technology, both inside and out. It has also adopted the firm’s modular CLAR platform, introduced first on the 7 Series, which is stronger and lighter than before, to the benefit of handling and fuel economy.

Inside, the 5 Series’ slight growth means better rear room, helped by a reshaped rear bench with a properly defined central seat.

One of the strongest non-mechanical suits of BMWs in recent years has been the iDrive infotainment system. The latest version in the 5 Series is superior to that of the 7 Series. It gets a voice control system that recognises natural speech rather than specific command words, and the on-screen menus are now customisable.

Electronic driver aids include semiautonomous features. The optional £2250 Driving Assistant Plus lets you take your hands off the steering wheel for up to 30 seconds at a time (keep your eyes on the road, though, please), with the car braking and steering accordingly to keep you in lane and a safe distance from other cars.

A Touring model will come in August, earlier than previous estate variants have followed the saloon, as will an allnew M5 at the end of the year, a car you can read about overleaf. But for now, it’s the saloon we focus on. Here’s Greg Kable’s verdict from his recent drive, which should whet your appetite ahead of its UK launch. He liked it a lot.

“The crowning achievement for BMW has been to broaden the ability of the 5 Series to a point where is it now every bit as capable, if not more so, than the talented Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The 5 Series has taken a big step forward.”

BMW X2 2018

The small five-door SUV-coupé is a radical styling departure for BMW and will look almost unchanged from this concept. It’s based on the same front-wheel drive underpinnings as the more conventional X1. It will go on sale in 2018 (along with an i8 Roadster), but we’ll see it first in 2017.

BMW X3 AUTUMN

The new X3 SUV is set to get an evolutionary look, growing in size to become almost as big as a firstgeneration X5. It will be powered by updated four-cylinder and all-new six-cylinder petrol and diesel units. The more spacious interior gets a bigger infotainment screen with the latest version of iDrive.

BMW M760LI XDRIVE MARCH

The top dog of BMW’s range gets a twinturbocharged 6.6-litre V12 engine with 592bhp and 590lb ft, mated to a rear-biased xDrive all-wheel drive system. A 0-62mph time of 3.9sec is promised, along with a 155mph top speed. It’s an M7 in all but name.

BMW M3/M4 FACELIFT JULY

Mild styling and kit changes but no power or dynamic revisions. The real headlines are saved for the faster, more focused CS model joining the M4 range. 

PORSCHE PANAMERA APRIL

The Panamera range will get another six models as production is ramped up following the new car’s introduction late last year. Included is a pair of entrylevel models: the rear-wheel-drive Panamera (£66,386) and four-wheeldrive Panamera 4 (£69,412). They are joined by a quartet of long-wheelbase four-wheel-drive models: 4 Executive (£76,034), 4 E-Hybrid Executive (£84,838), 4S Executive (£98,672) and Turbo Executive (£122,480).

The first batch of Panameras are reaching the UK now, with the Turbo the highlight. It’s plusher inside but has the same grip and pace that made the original model so great to drive. It’s phenomenally quick and generates levels of lateral acceleration seemingly impossible for such a large car.

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT DECEMBER

At last — after 14 years of the old model — there’s a new Continental GT, a model that shares its MSB underpinnings with the Panamera. Bentley’s core model was revolutionary when it was launched, but it has fallen behind these days. Expect a racier new look with better proportions yet still the timeless appeal that the original Conti GT exudes.

Powertrains will include the all-new 600bhp W12 that’s making its debut in the Bentayga and an updated 4.0-litre petrol V8. There will also be a petrol V6 plug-in hybrid, which will use the set-up that develops 410bhp in today’s Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid. Bentley is unlikely to offer a diesel V8 option in the Continental. The handling of all models should be improved by the significant weight reductions planned. 

THE RISE OF AMG

MERCEDES-AMG GT R COUPÉ JULY

MERCEDES-AMG GT, GT C ROADSTER APRIL

MERCEDES-AMG E 63 MARCH

AMG may just be the world’s most successful enthusiast sports car brand right now. Once known as a slightly esoteric tuning company, AMG has benefited from a sustained period of investment by its owner, Mercedes-Benz, to the point where it’s likely to have pushed through 80,000 sales in 2016. It’s hard to find any other performance brand with this volume of sales — Porsche excepted — now spread across 48 models, with more to come.

There is no surer sign of confidence oozing out of AMG than the announcement of a headline-grabbing hypercar, due in 2018, with the unique proposition of a 1000bhp road-legal hybrid powertrain said to be lifted straight out of the Formula 1 car.

Today, AMG’s success is built on two pillars: the performance versions of mainstream Mercedes cars, and the GT supercar, the 450bhp-plus twoseater priced from £95k and aimed at high-end Porsche 911 models.

The GT range will expand in 2017, with a new GT Roadster and a hotter GT C model (C for ‘clearly visible genes’, apparently) being launched to top the Roadster range and sit above the GT S coupé. A GT C coupé is also tipped to appear before 2017 is out.

The range will be crowned as a whole with the launch of the GT R coupé. The 577bhp, more focused model is billed as a road-going version of Mercedes’ Nürburgring 24-hour race-winning GT3.

Taking a leaf out of Porsche’s ‘how to’ book on launching multiple 911 variants, the GT range is now bewilderingly complex, with at least four different engine outputs from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, two bodystyles and two different rear axle configurations: standard and wide track.

AMG is coy about sales and production of the GT, but numbers from industry analyst JATO suggest the GT is doing very well but has a long way to go to match the 911.

In Europe, the GT sold 1914 units in the first half of 2016 — a 12% increase — and it remains ahead of the SL (1343 units), Bentley Continental (1144), BMW i8 (1105) and Audi R8 (1054). But the 911 stands head and shoulders above the field, with 11,701 European sales in the same period.

Overall, Porsche is in a class of its own, with a unique range of own-badge products — which AMG has yet to match — and sales in six-figure numbers. But if the GT can start to close the gap and AMG gets even more ambitious, who knows what the future might hold for Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach?

MERCEDES-BENZ X-CLASS SEPTEMBER

Mercedes claims its new pick-up, the new X-Class, is more than a reskinned Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan, both of which it will be built alongside. Mercedes commercial vehicle boss Volker Mornhinweg said the firm was aiming for “crisp handling” and “a lot of work” had gone into refinement.

MERCEDES-BENZ GLA APRIL

Minor tweaks for the GLA will bring it in line with the A-Class. Expect more power for the AMG-badged GLA45, with a boost to around 376bhp.

MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS SEPTEMBER

The biggest changes in this facelift will take place inside, with lashings of new technology added along with a wider, frameless dual-screen set-up.

MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS ALL TERRAIN JULY CABRIOLET SEPTEMBER COUPE APRIL

The E-Class range is set to gain three new additions in 2017. The Coupé has the greatest significance, bringing with it a more conservative design approach. The Cabriolet will be spun off that model, and the All Terrain is effectively a version of the E-Class Estate with a rugged Audi Allroad-style treatment.

MERCEDES-AMG GLC63 SEPTEMBER

Mercedes will turn the GLC into a super-SUV by giving it the twinturbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine from the C63 saloon. It will have more than 500bhp.

BUGATTI CHIRON JANUARY

Chiron’s quadturbo W16 engine produces 185bhp per litre. With 8.0 litres in total, the final figure stands at 1479bhp. That’s 492bhp more than the Veyron. It has 1179lb ft in total, to give 591lb ft per tonne. That dwarfs even the Ferrari 488 GTB, with a ‘measly’ 211lb ft per tonne from its twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8. 

Despite its 1995kg weight, the Chiron can cover 0-62mph in under 2.5sec, surge past 124mph four seconds later and hit 186mph in under 13.6sec. 

The Chiron has a top speed of 261mph, which is 7mph faster than the Veyron’s terminal velocity and 11mph faster than the take-off speed of Concorde.

The average Chiron owner also has 64 other cars, three helicopters, three jets and a yacht. They will drive their Chiron an average of 1550 miles a year.

Each gram of rubber in the Chiron’s tyres can withstand a centrifugal force of 3800g, which is more than the rubber on a Formula 1 car can manage.

It can drink 7.4 single-shot glasses of petrol a second, just beating the consumption rate of an 18-year-old in Magaluf. Flat out, it can empty its 100-litre tank in 9min.

KIA GT OCTOBER

Kia will look to enter the performance big league this year with the launch of its first sports saloon. The firm has been hard at work at the Nürburgring, developing it under the leadership of ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann ahead of its launch at next week’s Detroit motor show.

The four-door sports saloon’s design takes inspiration from the striking GT concept of 2011. It’s likely to use a 315bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine to drive the rear wheels. There’ll also be a diesel version for Europe — most likely with the 197bhp 2.2-litre engine from the Sorento.

HONDA CIVIC MARCH

It’s a weird one, the Civic. It has a cool cult following among youths in America but has only ever been seen as a quirky choice in Blighty. Either way, this new one hasn’t changed too much. It’s slightly bigger and more conservative inside, but its essence remains. It just should be more competitive in the market.

The petrol engines are two downsized turbocharged VTEC units: 1.0 and 1.5 litres with 127bhp to 180bhp. The 118bhp 1.6 i-DTEC diesel is carried over from the old model.

The 1.5 petrol engine offers significantly better performance and driveability than the current, normally aspirated lumps, and there’s refinement and roundedness to the dynamic character that should suit the car’s existing customer base nicely. Unfortunately, it’s no sportier than before, even in Sport trim. Still, even though it isn’t agile, it steers with well-judged pace and weight and corners precisely.

ALFA ROMEO STELVIO JULY

Alfa Romeo has a complicated relationship with those who love the brand and want to see it prosper. For decades, we’ve watched this great, historic company struggle to get its footing, coming perilously close to falling flat on its face at times as it has created often pretty cars that have otherwise lacked the character promised by the Alfa badge.

This time, though, prosperity might just be around the corner, thanks to a new SUV called the Stelvio. It’s the second new-generation Alfa after the Giulia saloon (deliveries of which have finally now started) and the one with the greatest sales and profit potential.

The Stelvio, if it’s a success, is the precursor to a potential nine-car assault over the next five years that will include a BMW 5 Series rival, a new sports car and a flagship large SUV based on the Maserati Levante. Put simply, if the Stelvio works, it can allow Alfa to make the kinds of cars we love guilt-free and with the company in the black.

It will be launched in hot Quadrifoglio form, with a Ferrari-derived allaluminium 2.9-litre V6 producing 503bhp and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a rear-biased four-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. Lower powered two-wheeldrive Stelvios are likely to feature a 207bhp diesel engine.

Alfa is promising driver-focused dynamics with excellent handling, saying the Stelvio has been “uniquely engineered to challenge two-door cars on the track without compromising the SUV side of its character”. The base model will cost from about £40,000 and the Quadrifoglio £65,000.

LYNK&CO 01 2018

‘Made in China’ is a phrase you seem to see written on most goods nowadays, but the faraway People’s Republic has yet to conquer one of the most visible markets of all: the European car market.

Geely, owner of Volvo, is looking to change that with a new brand, Lynk&Co, the 01 being the first mainstream Chinese car to go on sale in Europe. It will be launched in China in 2017, with European sales following in 2018.

This 01 is claimed to be the most ‘connected’ car yet, being continuously connected to the internet, and owners will be able to control, monitor and lease their cars with their smartphones.

Based on the soon-to-be-launched Volvo XC40, the 01 will have a range of engines from Volvo’s family of 2.0-litre fours and 1.5-litre triples, with a plug-in hybrid due shortly after launch.

Lynk&Co’s head honchos want to “revolutionise and simplify” car buying and the 01 will not have traditional trim levels. Instead, it will have fixed-price equipment collections that “draw inspiration from contemporary fashion and technology sectors”.

It will also be the first mass-market to car to be open API (application programming interface), essentially allowing outside software developers to “enrich the automotive experience” of the 01 with ideas of their own.

PEUGEOT 3008 JANUARY

Like many of us this month, the Peugeot 3008 has hit the gym. The popular people-carrier has been transformed into an SUV, but does the driving experience live up to its trendy looks? It sure does. The 1.6 turbo petrol model has a smooth engine that pleasantly complements its stable handling, well-controlled body and soft, largely comfortable ride. Its luxurious, modern interior is even more impressive. Material quality is hugely improved, as is the infotainment system, and an excellent 12.3in digital instrument display is standard. All the seats are comfy and there’s plenty of room.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY FEBRUARY

The original Discovery, which is 28 years old, has long been at the heart of the Land Rover brand, giving ordinary car buyers a (relatively) affordable car that could be a tough but comfortable, family-oriented off-roader.

Now in its fifth generation, this new model gets an altogether less rugged appearance as part of a push upmarket, with a design that’s arguably no longer as distinctive as it once was. Looks aren’t everything, though, and Land Rover promises that the Discovery will be no less capable on rock-strewn paths than its predecessor, and our recent early drive of a prototype in Scotland confirmed that.

Despite being bigger inside and out, it’s faster, lighter and more efficient than its predecessor. A bonded aluminium monocoque replaces the heavy old ladder chassis and allows the Discovery to be up to 480kg lighter than the fourth-generation car.

The weight loss has allowed Land Rover to fit a new twin-turbo fourcylinder diesel engine to the car for the first time, alongside V6 petrol and diesel models. Four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission are standard.

The seven-seat cabin is this new Discovery’s strongest suit and it’s where the bulk of the development has focused. There is genuinely room for seven adults and each person will be able to keep their backside warm with a heated seat, charge their phone, find a space for their water bottle, keys, wallet and other oddments, and connect to the car’s wi-fi hotspot. 

RANGE ROVER SPORT COUPE SEPTEMBER

The big gap between the Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport will be plugged with a new model that we’re likely see at the Geneva motor show in March for the first time. It is set to be sportier and more road-biased than other Range Rover offerings. Another Land Rover hit in the waiting? 

AUDI Q5 APRIL

This well-built but unspectacular SUV is Audi’s best-selling car, to such a degree that Audi has built an entire factory in Mexico just to manufacture the new model coming this year. Engines include a 2.0-litre diesel with 187bhp and a 2.0-litre petrol unit with 249bhp, plus a range-topping 282bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel due soon after launch.

The new Q5 has so much going for it: it’s quiet, comfortable, lovely to sit in and unlikely to cost you too much to run, thanks to competitive fuel economy and emissions and probable strong residual values. Anyone who buys one will do so for one or all of those reasons and not be disappointed with what is a very impressively engineered car.

But it’s not much fun to drive, which is a bigger shame in the Q5’s case, because you can tell that it has a mighty fine chassis just waiting to be tuned in a more involving way. 

ALPINE A120 SUMMER

We’ve been waiting for the resurgence of the Alpine brand for a long time now. Renault, its owner, has done little with it since 1995, despite coming close to reviving it in 2008 before the credit crunch hit and killed off that idea.

There have been a few concepts since — the Mégane-racer-based Alpine A110-50 and the Alpine Celebration at Le Mans — but, realistically, all of Alpine’s heritage dates from before 1995. That history includes sales of more than 30,000 road cars and more than 100 race cars produced.

So, finally, the time is here for a proper revival. This new model, heavily based on the Alpine Vision concept revealed early last year, is a pure sports car inspired by previous gems such as the A110 and A160.

Rumoured to be called the A120, it will be a lightweight, mid-engined, two-seat machine. It is expected to be powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine derived from the turbocharged 1.6-litre motor used in the Renault Clio RS, producing around 250bhp and good for a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec. A 300bhp variant is also on the cards, as is a convertible. The A120 will send drive to its rear wheels through a dual-clutch automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Leaked images and test cars have revealed that the production car, a £50,000 Porsche Cayman rival, has no rear wing but smoother lines and a rear diffuser with a centrally mounted exhaust. In addition, A110-inspired foglights have been kept.

ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE WINTER

This is the second model in Aston’s ‘second century’ plan after the acclaimed DB11. The all-new sports car will be the replacement for today’s Vantage and it will feature a design heavily inspired by the DB10 created for the James Bond film Spectre. It should be much sportier in nature than its predecessor, too. Aston boss Andy Palmer has described it as “Aston’s race car, the weekend warrior, a track car — much edgier”.

ASTON MARTIN VANQUISH S JANUARY

Harder, better, faster, stronger. Aston’s range-topping GT gets more power, sportier suspension and some new trims in one last round of changes before a 2018 replacement. Its reworked 5.9-litre V12 gets 595bhp, 27bhp more than the outgoing car. Torque remains at 465lb ft. Available in coupé and convertible Volante bodystyles, it looks much the same as before but with new carbonfibre aerodynamic features such as a revised front splitter and rear diffuser.

VAUXHALL INSIGNIA JUNE

Can Vauxhall tempt people out of their BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Classes? Don’t scoff. All three new Insignias — the Grand Sport large hatch, the Sports Tourer estate and the Country Tourer soft-roader — are claimed to be much improved inside and out. The interior is far plusher, with more modern tech, and the engines should be more frugal, both for fuel and tax.

FORD FIESTA SEPTEMBER

The Ford Fiesta supermini is the car that just won’t go away, topping UK sales charts for what seems like a billion years. (In reality, it’s eight.) And this new model not only promises more of the same, but it also introduces the Fiesta Active, a crossover-style trim level, and a luxury Vignale spec, both tapping into growing parts of the car market.

You’d be forgiven for noticing little difference between the previous generation and this new one, with Ford executives choosing to play it safe — and you can understand why.

But the interior has been overhauled, the ride and handling are claimed to be even better than now and there’s a more efficient version of Ford’s popular 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine.

Still, the early signs suggest that it will be pricey compared with some rivals, starting at around £15,000. There are two key reasons for this: one, low-spec Fiestas don’t sell well, and two, Ford doesn’t want to cannibalise sales of its new, cheaper Ka+ supermini, introduced last year.

The real test will come when we drive the Fiesta — and know the pricing — but it’s hard to believe that Ford will have messed up such a winning formula.

HYUNDAI I30 MARCH

HYUNDAI I30N NOVEMBER

Having established its models as being among the most competitive mainstream offerings in Europe, Hyundai is now moving on to another popular trend: performance versions of its models. Rivals such as Toyota’s new Gazoo arm aren’t far behind.

First to launch will be the i30N, based on the all-new i30 hatchback also due this year and using a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with more than 260bhp. It has been developed at Hyundai’s centre at the Nürburgring and there are high hopes for the hot hatch, which will top the range of the third-generation i30.

Meanwhile, the Hyundai reckons the more sedate, standard i30 is “accessible, appealing in design and great to drive”. On looks at least, the i30 may not be cutting edge, but Hyundai’s cars just keep on improving, aesthetically and otherwise, so we’d be surprised if the i30 wasn’t keenly priced, well specified and pretty decent to drive when it goes on sale in March.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPRING

Who doesn’t love a Golf? And Volkswagen knows it. Despite all the VW drama of late, it has had very little impact on the popularity of its ubiquitous hatchback. So VW has taken the evolutionary route with the design of the facelifted version, on sale this spring.

The eighth-generation Golf will arrive in 2019, with VW boss Herbert Diess recently describing it to Autocar as “very innovative, a major milestone and with more traditional drivetrains” (as opposed to its planned line-up of electric vehicles).

In the meantime, this update will tide customers over, with an upgraded interior and a new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. There’s also a focus on technology and connectivity, with gesture control, an updated app system to integrate Apple CarPlay and more, and safety systems such as Traffic Jam Assist.

So how does VW see the Golf fitting alongside its ID electric hatchback in the future? Diess insists they will run in parallel, noting that EVs will be irrelevant in some regions for at least a decade. Watch this space.

JAGUAR I-PACE WINTER

How quickly things progress. This time last year we showed you the F-Pace — Jaguar’s first SUV. Now the I-Pace has come to the fore and looks set to jolt Jaguar’s electric revolution into life when it is revealed in production form late this year.

When the concept version of Jaguar’s first EV was launched at the SUV-heavy Los Angeles motor show in November, it was a showstealer from the moment the covers came off. We expect the I-Pace to go on sale in 2018, and if the reaction to the F-Pace is anything to go by, it’ll be a hit.

The I-Pace will be a direct rival to the Tesla Model X, with a 90kWh battery pack providing the necessary punch. Sure, it’s a concept for now, but Jaguar’s intentions are clear, and the I-Pace puts into practice the EV packaging advantages that Jaguar chief designer Ian Callum forecast.

The LA motor show provided an accurate picture of where the car industry is going, though, with nearly as many EVs as there were SUVs. The I-Pace will cover the EV base for Jaguar and is expected to be priced at around £60,000. Meanwhile, the raft of manufacturers with SUVs, electric cars or both on the way continues to grow.

NIO NP9 WINTER

NextEV’s Nio NP9 all-electric hypercar has 1360bhp, Chinese backing, a 0-62mph time of 2.7sec, a 194mph top speed and a production run of just six.

Only in 2017 could a hypercar be out-accelerated by a sports saloon — the 2.4sec-to-60mph Tesla Model S P100D — but NextEV will soon have that base covered, too, with a fleet of mainstream EVs from 2017.

NextEV says the Nio NP9 has lapped the Nürburgring in 7min 5.12sec, just 8.0sec slower than the Porsche 918 Spyder, which holds the EV lap record. 

Words by Kris Culmer, Jimi Beckwith, Rachel Burgess, Sam Sheehan and Mark Tisshaw

Source: Autocar Online

2018 Audi A1 will be larger and more luxurious

2018 Audi A1 to be larger and more luxurious

Next-generation A1 will grow in size due to its new MQB A Zero underpinnings

The 2018 Audi A1 will be larger and more luxurious than the current car due to its new MQB A0 underpinnings and improved interior technology.

Much like its cousins from Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat, Audi’s smallest model is expected to grow in both length and width, offering more leg room and increased boot space inside. Rear passengers will also benefit from more head room with that longer roofline.

2017 Seat Ibiza confirmed for July arrival

Additionally, the new underpinnings will improve structural rigidity while reducing weight thanks to the use of a so-called hybrid construction. The method, which was first employed in the Audi A8 late last decade, uses a combination of hot-formed steel and aluminium. However, due to the larger size of the next A1, it’s unlikely that the 2018 model will be lighter than the current car, which is 1035kg in its entry-level guise.

As shown by recent spy pictures, the next A1’s larger body means the compact dimensions of its predecessor are swapped for a more conventional hatchback shape. The car’s design does bear some resemblance to the larger A3, and the shape of its lights – both front and rear – certainly appear familiar to that car.

Audi is developing the 2018 A1 to be compatible with its Virtual Cockpit technology – something the current model hasn’t been able to adapt. The system will integrate Audi’s 12.3in display into the dashboard and work with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Top-spec models could be offered with wi-fi hotspot technology, too.

2017 Volkswagen Polo will be larger and lighter

Powering the new A1 will be a selection of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, the bulk of which will be related to units offered in the current car. Entry level spec will be a 1.0-litre three-cylinder, likely with more power than the current 94bhp.

Additionally, further developed versions of the current car’s 1.4 petrol and 1.6 diesel turbocharged engines are likely, with the former producing in excess of 150bhp and the latter offering more than 72.4mpg combined.

Industry trends suggest a hybrid model could also be produced, and the Volkswagen e-Up proves the VW Group has an interest in producing electric powertrains for its smallest existing models.

Following the launch of the next Audi A1 range, the S1 will arrive as the high-performance range-topper. Like the current hot hatch, it’ll make use of a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive, but power will be ramped up beyond today’s 228bhp. An output of around 250bhp has been mooted for the next S1’s four-pot, bringing it closer to the discontinued A1 quattro model and its five-cylinder engine.

The next S1’s power would be unlikely to increase beyond that figure, however, so as not to overtake the output of the upcoming Audi RS1, which is due later this year with 280bhp. If the 2017 RS1 is a sales success, Audi may also consider producing one towards the end of the run life of its next-generation A1 range.

Audi A1 to be built at Seat’s Martorell plant

Source: Autocar Online

2018 Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar to be unveiled at Frankfurt motor show

Mercedes-AMG hypercar

1000bhp four-wheel-drive hypercar is expected to sell out ahead of its reveal; will have a 25km electric range

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar, codenamed Project One, will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in autumn ahead of its launch in 2018, according to AMG boss Tobias Moers. 

At the recent Detroit motor show, Moers confirmed that the upcoming model will develop 1000bhp, which is similar to the power generated by the Mercedes Formula 1 car from which the powertrain is derived. That makes it competitive with the likes of the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and the Aston Martin and Red Bull-developed AM-RB 001

He also confirmed that the hypercar would have an all-wheel-drive system with an electric driven front axle. This will enable the front wheels to be driven individually so torque can be distributed selectively – a technology already seen in the SLS AMG Electric Drive – which is intended to make driving more dynamic. Called AMG Torque Dynamics, it is essentially extreme active torque vectoring.

Moers said less than 300 versions of the model would be made, costing around €2m, and expects all units to be sold before its reveal at Frankfurt. First customer drives will be mid-2018.

The car will have an electric range of 25km(15.5 miles) and will be one of the “most fascinating two-seaters that ever hit the road”, said Moers.

Mercedes boss Dr Dieter Zetsche added: “Our aim is for [the Project One] to be the first street legal car with an F1 engine,” he said. “Secondly, that it is perceived as the ultimate sports car. We have relatively good indications that this is possible.”

The only official visual of the model is a sketch, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, with the strapline ‘Creating benchmark driving pleasure’. The image shows a large roof scoop and louvre vents on the rear upper panel confirming that it will be mid-engined. 

Formula 1 engine and tech

The model will use the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine found in the W07 Formula 1 racer, detuned for the road.

Talking about the F1-derived powertrain, Moers told Autocar: “We have to change something for sure. 3500-4000 revs is not that great for the road.” He added: “The red line is over 10,000 even in the street legal car.”

Moers has previously talked about using the F1 powertrain: “Our F1 engine is far more durable than many people expect, and if you look at the load it must take in an F1 race compared to how it’s likely to be used in a street-legal machine, you can see it’s going to have a lot less work to do.”

Like the F1 engines, the road car’s unit will be engineered at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

The hypercar is also set to use both forms of energy recovery system found in modern F1 cars: the MGU-K that converts mechanical and heat energy into electrical energy that can be stored for later deployment, and the MGU-H system that takes heat from the exhaust and uses it to create electrical energy.

It is as yet unknown how the engine will be made emissions-compliant or what kind of gearbox the car will use, as an F1 transmission would need to be heavily adapted to suit a road-going application.

Development timetable

Mercedes will begin running prototypes in October this year, and Moers has previously confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will join the team of development drivers “when the time is right”.

Mercedes board member Ola Kallenius has said the powertrain should be “unique” in the market. At the time, Kallenius emphasised that despite its hardcore nature, the car will be able to be driven on the road and will not be a track-only special edition.

The car’s body will be styled around a carbonfibre monocoque similar to that used in F1, with software and technology harnessed from Mercedes’ F1 W07 racer. 

Moers said the design target for the hypercar was to create “the most efficient hypercar with an outstanding driving dynamic capability, not necessarily the most powerful”. When asked what he meant by ‘efficient’, Moers simply replied: “In every respect”, which indicates an precedented combination of power, light weight and low fuel consumption.

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar’s main rival, the AM-RB 001, was revealed in July 2016. It will also use an all-carbonfibre construction, with an F1-style carbonfibre monocoque and F1-derived performance technology. A total of between 99 and 150 cars will be built, with each costing between £2 million and £3 million. The first owners are scheduled to receive their cars in 2018. 

Mercedes-AMG confirmation

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar was originally confirmed by the company’s head of research and development, Thomas Weber on the eve of the Paris motor show in late September 2016.

“I am very excited to officially confirm: our next big thing at AMG is already in the pipeline,” said Weber. “We are going to create an AMG performance hybrid featuring our Formula 1 drivetrain technology. Under the lead of AMG, our performance companies will join forces and create the most efficient and, at the same time, the best-performing and most spectacular AMG of all time; some might even call it a hypercar.

“But no matter what you call it, it will definitely show how we will take our performance brand into the future with extremely efficient and intelligent drivetrain technology. Of course, there will be no compromises in terms of the emotional appeal of this car.”

Read more:

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar revealed – exclusive pictures

Why the AM-RB 001 could be the car that defines a decade

Source: Autocar Online

Ford GT drive modes demonstrated on video

Ford GT drive modes

The Ford GT gets five selectable drive modes, which Ford has demonstrated on a new video released by its performance division

The new Ford GT has been given five selectable driving modes, which Ford Performance has demonstrated on a new video.

Five modes – Normal, Wet, Sport, Track and V-Max – are selectable, with the last three being the more hardcore selections, and Wet mode being suited to slipperier conditions.

The GT’s bespoke 10in digital instrument display is the focus of the video, which shows how the screen reacts when each is selected, itself showing how the car adapts to each selection; lowering and raising the rear wing and its ride height depending on what is chosen.

Normal mode is the car’s standard display, with two tachometers, speedo, gear selection, fuel level and temperature. Ford claims that the car revs so quickly that two tachometers are needed – the 3000 to 7000rpm display is the more prominent.

Wet mode adopts a blue theme, and shows wet tarmac graphics to remind the driver to drive appropriately to the conditions.

Sport mode brings gear selection to the most prominent position, changes colour to orange and, Ford claims, is preferred by test drivers currently. The mode also appears to make the engine louder.

Read more: First Ford GT customer car rolls off production line

Track mode adapts the display to be read quickly in high-pressure and speed situations, and makes the temperature, fuel level and other less track-crucial displays in a more subtle position. It also displays the car being lowered by 50mm, and the rear wing being raised

V-Max is for drivers attempting to reach the car’s maximum speed, with a large central speedo, highly simplified tachometer and the other dials tucked way off to the extreme left and right.

Ford claims that the tech will be heading to other models in the future, although wouldn’t specify which ones.

Source: Autocar Online

Geneva motor show 2017 preview

Geneva motor show 2017

The Geneva motor show isn’t until 9 March, but we’ve already got a raft of confirmed entries. Get an early look here

The Geneva motor show is one of the largest and most prestigious in the motoring calendar, and often plays host to the debuts of the world’s finest supercars.

This year’s show is no different, and despite being weeks away, we’ve got an early list of many of the star cars from the show. Take a look below to see what’s Geneva-bound this year.

Geneva motor show 2017 – the cars

Ferrari F12 M

Ferrari’s replacement for the F12, the F12 M, is the first of the supercars to be revealed at Geneva in March. We’ve only seen it testing under heavy disguise, so we’ll see the full visual of the car at the show. Power is expected to creep closer to the F12 tdf’s 769bhp.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar confirmed its XF Sportbrake estate at the Paris motor show with an image of the car in testing prototype guise. It’ll share engines with the standard XF, meaning a 2.0-litre diesel and 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel engines will make up the engine range. It’s unlikely to get an XF R Sportbrake variant to rival the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S estate, though.

Kia Picanto

We’ve already seen the Picanto; Kia revealed it ahead of even the Detroit motor show. The smallest Kia gets a fresh new look, more upmarket interior and updated technology and safety features. A sporty GT-Line trim also features, but a full-fat GT isn’t coming off the back of it.

Land Rover Range Rover Coupé

Land Rover’s first new niche since the extended-wheelbase Range Rover, the coupé – as the name suggests – will take away some of the practicality of its standard SUV sibling in exchange for some visual drama. True to form, Land Rover officials are keeping the model under close wraps until Geneva.

Lamborghini Huracán Performante

Lamborghini’s lightweight Huracán variant – no longer called Superleggera if patent files are to be believed – will be at Geneva, and it’s believed to be making its appearance in both coupé and Spyder variants. The significant weight reduction should push the car’s top speed up, and its 0-62mph time down.

McLaren P14

McLaren will show the replacement for the 650S – codenamed P14 – at Geneva. It’ll get an evolutionary new look and will likely get a great deal more power. McLaren titillated us by revealing the car’s carbonfibre monocoque ahead of the show, but it’s unlikely we’ll see any more of the car officially until then.

Pagani Huayra Roadster

Pagani confirmed the Huayra Roadster’s place at the Geneva motor show this year with two preview images showing fragments of the car. The hardtop Huayra is powered by Pagani’s bespoke 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12, producing 730bhp and 738lb ft, and it’s very likely that the Huayra Roadster will share this engine in unaltered form. It’ll build on its £666,000 price tag, though. 

Porsche 911 GT3 facelift

It’s been spotted testing numerous times, but Geneva will be the show at which we finally officially see the 911 GT3 in facelifted form. The car will gain the option of a manual gearbox, but will retain the 3.8-litre engine of the current GT3, without the aid of turbocharging.

Seat Arona

We’ll get our first full look at the eagerly awaited Seat Arona small SUV at the Geneva motor show, before it goes on sale in December. Seat says that the Arona is one of the most important models it’ll build, so is hoping that it’ll emulate the success of the Ateca. The Ibiza, on which the Arona is based, will arrive first, though.

Suzuki Swift

Numerous leaks lead up to the Swift’s Japanese reveal at the end of 2016, but its motor show debut comes at Geneva, where the European-spec supermini will be revealed. A hybrid powertrain is amongst the options expected to make it to Europe.

Techrules GT96

Chinese EV company Techrules first previewed its innovative turbine-recharging EV at last year’s Geneva show, but the production-ready version will officially be revealed in March. The power output for the concept was mooted at 1030bhp, with 0-60mph coming in 2.5sec and a 217mph top speed. 93 miles of electric-only range was also claimed, as was the more impressive 1200 miles of total range.

Toyota Yaris hot hatch

The Yaris hot hatch hasn’t been named yet, but it’s rumoured to be named after Toyota’s Gazoo motorsport outfit. It’s been revealed already, but it’ll get the full Geneva motor show reveal treatment in March, before going on sale later this year. It’s already confirmed to have ‘more than 210bhp’, meaning it’ll take the small hot hatch segment up a few horsepower.

Volvo XC60

Volvo has withdrawn from all but three motor shows in the calendar, so the Geneva motor show is the most likely recipient of the new XC60 small SUV. We’ve spotted it testing, and the car’s new disguise is likely to draw quite heavily from its XC90 sibling, but Geneva will be the first time we see it in full – if Volvo doesn’t choose to reveal it beforehand.

Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen’s replacement for the CC, moves another step away from its Passat variant roots with a new name but the same coupe-like styling, and since the death of the Phaeton, will be the most expensive saloon in the VW range. We’ve already driven an early prototype, and there are whisperings of a shooting brake variant too.

Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen’s small SUV has been a long time coming – the Nissan Juke has been around since 2010, so Volkswagen has had seven years to get its offering into the segment right. It’ll be revealed In Geneva, and is most likely to draw inspiration from the T-Roc concept first seen at the Geneva show back in 2014. A lot has changed since then, so the car may be quite different to its concept precursor.

Source: Autocar Online

Winter driving tips

Winter driving tips

Driving in slippery conditions needn’t be scary

As temperatures plummet and road conditions get more slippery, we offer driving advice to help you stay safe

Driving in winter can present additional hazards, ranging from a mildly inconvenient cold snap that can compromise visibility through to driving on ice and snow, which can endanger the wellbeing of both you and your fellow road users.

However, as long as you’re well prepared and take sensible precautions, all winter driving hazards should be no more than a mild inconvenience, especially if your car is wearing winter tyres.

To maximise your safety on treacherous roads, follow our step-by-step guide to ensure you’re as ready as you can be.

Winter car maintanence tips

Shortly before you drive

Clear all of the car’s windows and make sure the wing mirrors are clean, so you have full visibility.

Remove any snow or other debris from the car’s bodywork, including the roof, so it doesn’t slide off when you brake or accelerate.

Make sure the car’s windows are demisted properly before driving off.

Lift the car’s windscreen wipers, and rear wiper if fitted, to check they’re not stuck.

Ensure all snow and ice is cleared from your footwear before setting off, to prevent your feet sliding off the pedals when you use on them.

Remember to pack some essentials, such as a blanket. It’s also worth carrying some window cleaner and kitchen roll, which will allow you to quickly clean windows and light clusters. 

Winter tyre tips

When you drive

Don’t rush your journey. Rushing will make you more stressed and potentially less able to concentrate. Leave plenty of time and check traffic and weather reports before you depart.

Proceed carefully and at a reduced speed when the road conditions require it.

Accelerate, brake and steer gently. Rapid, harsh inputs could unsettle the car.

Leave considerably longer stopping distances than normal. In heavy ice and snow, stopping distances are typically 10 times farther than normal.

If the wheels lock while braking, release the pedal momentarily then reapply the brakes. Repeat as necessary to bring your speed down.

Don’t close up on the car in front when stopping – leave a large gap, in case they get stuck or slide backwards. 

If you get stuck and your wheels spin, try accelerating away in second gear using a minimum amount of revs and steering.

Try to reduce torque to the wheels by staying in as high a gear as possible while on the move.

Conversely, if you have an automatic transmission and are at a standstill with the wheels spinning, try manually forcing the car to stay in first gear or second gear. Many automatics now have a winter or snow mode; if so, make sure it’s on.

Locking an automatic in, say, second can also prove advantageous when driving on very poor roads. It can offer some engine braking and helps you control your road speed more easily.

Traction control systems can have an adverse effect when driving on ice and snow. Sometimes switching it off and allowing wheelspin from rest can give you more forward motion.

When travelling downhill, gently bleed off as much speed as possible and engage low gears to maximise engine braking. If you need to brake, do so in a straight line if possible – and gently. 

Only attempt to drive up steep hills once you know the route is clear. Try to avoid stopping on an incline; remember that you’ll need some run-up to get up a snowy hill – if you’re going too slowly you could stop and slide back down. 

If your car begins to skid, remember to steer into the direction of the skid – if the tail of your car steps out to the right, for example, you’ll need to turn right to try and get the car pointing the right way.

Should you feel you are losing control, if possible keep your eyes fixed on where you want to go and steer in an effort to get there. Staring into an oncoming obstacle will usually result in a collision.

Try to get all braking and accelerating completed in a straight line. Try to avoid both while turning. 

If fog and snow is causing glare during night driving on main beam, use dipped beams instead.

Source: Autocar Online

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