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

Winter tyre tips

BMW i8

Winter tyres can dramatically increase grip on slippery surfaces, such as frozen lakes…

Just how good are winter tyres? We sample a set to find out…

Winter tyres are fitted by many of our European cousins during the colder seasons, yet us Brits still mostly stick with summer rubber all year round.

Attitudes are beginning to change in the UK, though, and slowly demand for seasonal tyres is picking up. To see if this trend is a worthwile one, we sample some cold weather tyres on an unlikely winter vehicle, before offering advice on how to best look after these specialised tyres, and yourself, on wintry British roads.

Winter driving tips

WINTER TYRES – THE AUTOCAR TEST

The one thing we know about the seasons is that they are seasonal, correct? Which means it’ll be winter before we know it again soon, and the questions about winter tyres will once again arise in the minds of the everyday motorist.

Such as: are winter tyres worth what they cost, do they really make a difference compared with summer tyres when the roads turn greasy, should they be made compulsory in the UK (as they are in many other “cold” European countries at certain times of the year), and which are the best ones to buy; and where are the best places to go to find the best deals?

Until recent years much of the Autocar team was skeptical about winter rubber. They were called a conspiracy designed by the car and tyre manufacturers to get us to part with our hard earned folding for something that we don’t strictly need. But then we tried some, at which point opinions on the subject changed completely.

Click here for winter car maintenance tips

The first test was using a BMW 1M – a rear-wheel-drive coupé with little weight over its driven axle – using Michelin Alpin winter tyres. Immediately the car felt remarkably different to drive; it was much more comfortable along a straight road, was sweeter to steer, less fidgety on badly surfaced roads, and offered much more grip everywhere in the wet.

The whole car felt as if it had been unlocked somehow, and there was also an amusing little sticker that had appeared in the top right-hand side of the windscreen, warning that it should not be driven above 149mph. As if BMW GB was saying: ‘Because we know what sort of larks you Autocar lot normally get up to in our cars…’

There were some other qualities about the car on winter tyres that were less desirable, true. For instance, the speedo had become wildly ambitious; at a true 70mph it was reading almost 80mph, which meant the fuel range indicator was similarly off-piste. And the car’s traction control also become neurotic, killing the power at the merest whiff of throttle, even on bone dry roads.

But when eventually it snowed – albeit only a bit – the tyres were an absolute revelation. The 1M was not rendered useless, as no doubt it would have been on its original 19in summer tyres. Instead, it could go pretty much anywhere because it could stop, steer and accelerate, almost as if the roads were merely wet rather than covered in snow.

And having subsequently tried other winter tyres on similarly hardcore machines – including a BMW i8 (pictured) and Porsche 911 – it’s equally clear that winter tyres aren’t just here to stay but are getting better, year-on-year.

Winter tyres are now big business for the tyre companies of Europe, even if we in the UK have yet to embrace them like most other countries in Europe. But our guess is that this attitude will change in the near future. 

WINTER TYRES – RIGHT FOR BRITAIN?

What’s the point in spending upwards of £1000 on winter tyres when we don’t have the weather to justify such extra cost?

Put it this way, next time it snows and our nation grinds to a halt once more (which it will) just think how much money will go up in smoke in the resulting mayhem. And think how much more efficient it would be if, as they do in Latvia when it snows (which means most of the year), we all continued to get around in our cars, vans, lorries and buses, virtually as if nothing had happened. 

That’s how much of a difference winter tyres can make. And the sooner we realise it, the less carnage there will be next time our beloved weather forcasters warn us there’s a “cold snap” heading our way.

WINTER TYRES – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I drive on winter tyres in summer?

Yes, but the best thing to do is store them in the summer otherwise they’ll wear out quite quickly.

What are the biggest benefits of winter tyres compared with normal tyres?

On rear-wheel-drive cars in particular, they improve all areas of performance. But the biggest differences are in braking and traction, and the differences are monumental, as in more than 50%.

Do I really need winter tyres on a front-wheel-drive car?

Yes, because although the improvements aren’t as great as they are on rear drive cars, they are still very significant indeed, especially in braking performance.

How much do winter tyres cost?

About the same as summer tyres, depending on size, style and make.

Where’s the best place to buy them?

Always check for deals on the internet (with companies such as blackcircles.com) but check with your car manufacturer first to get the recommended sizes.

Do winter tyres make any difference in the rain?

Yes, a huge difference. In fact, they will improve the braking, traction and overall grip of your car at pretty much any temperature below 5-7deg C – even in the dry. And in the wet, in those sorts of temperatures the difference is like chalk and cheese.

Is it worth putting winter tyres on a tired old banger?

If you value the front and rear bumpers of your tired old banger and don’t fancy the idea of ruining your no-claims bonus, yes. If not, no. And good luck.

Can I get 20in winter tyres that look the same as 20in high performance summer tyres?

Yes. Most of the major tyre companies now make 20in winter tyres.

What’s wrong with carrying a set of snow chains instead?

Best of luck fitting a set of those once you’ve slid to a halt on the hard shoulder on the uphill section of a busy motorway.

Are winter tyres worth it?

In our humble opinion, yes. With extra cheese and chilli sauce on top.

Source: Autocar Online

Winter car maintenance tips

Winter driving Saab

Autocar offers a definitive guide to looking after your car during the winter

With temperatures dipping below zero in parts of Britain, it’s time to think about how to protect yourself, and your car, for driving during the winter months.

WINTER CAR MAINTENANCE

Winter driving puts an increased strain on both you and your car, so it’s important to make sure that everything is in good order.

A few simple checks can greatly reduce the chance of a breakdown, as well as potentially making your car easier and less stressful to drive in ice and snow.

Winter driving tips

Fixing something that’s relatively inexpensive now, after all, might help you avoid a much more costly failure in the colder conditions – or prevent you from having to pay a big recovery fee after becoming stranded somewhere.

To ensure you don’t fall foul of the conditions, here’s our list of recommended winter car maintenance tips.

The bare essentials

As a minimum, make sure you have done all your regular checks before winter sets in. Check your car’s oil level, coolant level, tyre pressures and lights. If your car hasn’t been serviced for some time, it might be worth getting it done before winter sets in. It’ll help ensure that everything’s in good order before the temperature falls.

Now’s also the time to attend to any mechanical or electrical faults because they could bring your car grinding to a halt in the worst possible weather. Test all your car’s systems as well because you don’t want to find out later that things like your heated rear windscreen have failed.

Winter tyre tips

Check your antifreeze

If your car’s cooling system doesn’t have the correct amount of antifreeze in it, you could experience a major failure when the thermometer starts falling below zero.

Get an antifreeze tester from your local motor factors and check your handbook to see what the mixture should be, and what kind of antifreeze you should be using. Any local dealer or garage will be able to test it for you, if need be.

Inspect the rest of the cooling system as well to ensure that the radiator, coolant hoses and water pump are free from leaks or visible damage.

Take care of your car’s battery

The cold can take its toll on your car’s battery, even more so if you’re not driving regularly. If you find your car slow to start as the temperature falls, your battery is most likely on its way out. So if you’ve any doubts about the condition of the battery, get it tested by a local dealer or garage.

If your car’s battery goes flat if you leave it for several days because of a fault or a drain caused by an alarm system, consider investing in a trickle charger to keep it topped up – or get an automotive electrician to resolve any issues.

Keep your lights bright

As well as making sure all your lights work properly, if you know your car’s light lenses are damaged or faded then consider picking up a decent scratch repair kit for around £14.99. Carry a set of spare bulbs in your car, too, to avoid getting caught out.

Older cars may also benefit from an upgrade to more powerful bulbs in order to improve visibility, but make sure to choose compatible and appropriate bulbs.

Inspect your brakes

Rattles, squeals, shakes, a soft brake pedal and a noticeable increase in stopping distance are all signs that your car’s braking system is in need of attention.

Stopping distances are vastly increased on icy or snowy roads, and worn or faulty brakes will only exacerbate them further – so it’s best to get them looked at.

Give your tyres a once-over

The condition and quality of your tyres will make a dramatic difference to how your car performs on wintery roads. If the tread is low, the sidewalls are damaged, you’ve a slow puncture or they’re a budget brand, you may find your car much harder to control.

Check them over carefully and replace them if the tread is low or if there’s any sign of damage. You may also want to consider changing to high-quality tyres, if possible.

Maintain your visibility

One of the biggest dangers in winter is a lack of visibility. Replace any wiper blades that are in poor condition with high-quality items, top up your washer fluid with winter-mixture screenwash and carry clean cloths to wipe down your glass and side mirrors.

It’s advisable to carry additional screenwash in the car. Running out can quickly lead to your windscreen becoming obscured by salt and grime. You may also want to get any windscreen chips or cracks looked at, as the cold could lead to them becoming much more severe.

Lubricate seals, locks and hinges

The cold temperatures can cause doors to stick to weather seals, in turn making the doors hard to open or even damaging the seals themselves. Don’t use Vaseline to lubricate the seals because it will degrade the rubber. Use a quality rubber care stick like Gummi Pflege instead.

It’s worth taking a minute to go around the car with a can of silicone lubricant as well, and spraying it in to hinges, locks and linkages. It’ll stop things sticking when the temperature falls. Don’t use WD-40 though because it’s not a suitable substitute for proper lubrication.

Pack a survival kit

After you’re done prepping your car for winter, take time to prepare in case the worst happens. Pack a bag with spare bulbs, jump leads, a torch, a decent tow strap, a high-visibility vest, warm clothes, a charger for your phone, some chocolate and some bottled water. Even if you only get stuck in a jam, they could come in handy.

If your area experiences regular or occasionally severe snowfall, consider carrying some wooden planks, a shovel and some old carpet; all of this can be used to help get a stuck car moving.

It may be beneficial, if you have them, to pack a small selection of tools and spares – like a bottle of coolant, oil and an ancillary belt.

Consider winter tyres

The UK has one of the slowest uptakes for winter or all-weather tyres in Europe. As soon as temperatures drop below 7deg C, winter tyres are proven to reduce stopping distances and make your car easier to control.

Click here for more information on the benefits of using winter tyres

Winter tyres are expensive but they’re well worth it, and if you’re going to be doing a lot of travelling it’ll make driving a lot safer and less stressful. You can find more information on winter tyres by scrolling down this page.

Opt for snow chains, socks or mats

If you live in an area with regular amounts of high snowfall then a set of chains could ensure you don’t get stuck. A decent set can be had from upwards of £50 online; with practice they can be fitted in minutes.

Snow socks serve a similar purpose and can give you enough grip and traction to drive safely across snow-covered roads. They’re unpleasant to handle when they’ve been used though, so remember to carry disposable gloves and a bin liner or two to put them in afterwards. As with chains, don’t continue driving on them once you’ve reached clean asphalt.

Those needing something just to get them moving could consider a set of inexpensive snow mats. Alternatively, just carry some offcuts of old carpet in the boot for emergencies.

Protect your car’s paint and metalwork

The grit laid down to help de-ice roads can cause corrosion, so treat any rust, touch up any paint chips or damage and wax your car comprehensively, if you can, before the winter season starts.

It’s sensible to pressure wash the underside of your car regularly too, to blast off any salt and solution that could potentially corrode your car’s underside.

Source: Autocar Online

Nissan to start autonomous vehicle demos in Britain

Nissan to start autonomous vehicle demos in Britain

Japanese car brand will allow regulators and government officials to sample its Autopilot driverless tech

Nissan will start autonomous vehicle demonstrations in Britain next month, inviting people to sample its Autopilot technology first hand in order to show the system’s capabilities.

The Japanese car maker will first allow leading names in the industry, including government officials and technical and safety experts, to ride in autonomous versions of its Leaf electric car in London next month. It hopes this will help to increase support for the technology.

Nissan says these will be the first demonstrations of its autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe. They come as part of its wider Intelligent Mobility plans.

Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox said “Innovation and ingenuity is at the heart of the Nissan brand and its people. With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world.”

The UK’s business and energy secretary Greg Clark added: “Government and industry are working together to build on our world class reputation for excellence as a leading location for automotive R&D and manufacturing. We want to see centres, like Nissan’s here in Cranfield, continue to develop, making us a world leader in the development and testing of auto technology so we can anchor the next generation of vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain here in the UK.”

Nissan will launch a facelifted Qashqai with its latest Propilot technology this year, and the next-generation Leaf will arrive in 2018 with its own Propilot system.

The Qashqai’s system was previewed in a Japanese model called the Serena late last year, which uses Propilot technology that can control the accelerator, brakes and steering using data obtained through a mono camera, which is more sensitive than a normal colour camera. The camera can see lane markings and other vehicles in three-dimensional depth.

Source: Autocar Online

New Audi Q5 starts from £37,170

Audi Q5

Audi has revealed prices and specs for the new Q5; first deliveries are expected in April

Prices and specs of the new Audi Q5 have been revealed, following the car’s reveal at the Paris motor show last year.

Three specs are available; SE, Sport and S line, with prices starting from £37,170 for the 2.0-litre diesel in SE form, rising to £38,270 for the same car in Sport trim, and £40,220 for S line. The 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine costs around £800 more across the board. First deliveries are expected for April. 

Audi’s second-generation BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC rival is closely related to the latest A4 saloon, and has been engineered from scratch to reduce weight. 

Video review

Weight-saving tech

Key to that weight loss is the adoption of VW Group’s MLB platform – already used by the A4 and the larger Q7. The new Q5 is close to the old model in size, but incorporates better packaging to improve interior space. The new Q5 is also one of the most aerodnamic cars in this class, and Audi is promising ‘exceptionally’ low wind noise and very little vibrations in the cabin.

The exterior of the Q5 has been given a more rugged appearance than the current car, in order to amplify the car’s off-road credentials. Clear influences from the Q7 and smaller Q2 can be seen, particularly around the front of the car. Its headlights come as either LED or high-resolution Matrix LED depending on specification, and Audi’s dynamic turn signals also feature.

Inside the five-seat cabin, buyers will be able to opt for Audi’s 12.3in Virtual Cockpit display – already in use on a wide variety of models – as well as two different infotainment screens. A 7.0in free-standing screen will feature on the standard car, while range-topping models will get a larger 8.3in screen. The system is controlled via a rotary dial and touch pad. Top-end versions also include haptic feedback. A newly developed head-up display is on the options list, and can project relevant information directly onto the windscreen.

Engines

The new Q5 will come with a range of four-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel options, with most engines carried over from the A4. The V6 motors are part of a new generation of enignes jointly developed between Audi and Porsche. Also planned is a plug-in hybrid version of the Q5, to satisfy the growing demand for hybrid SUVs. That model will feature a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine working in combination with an electric motor – it’s said to have an all-electric range of up to 31 miles, as previewed by the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept car.

At launch, two options are available; a 2.0-litre TDI diesel in 187bhp form, and a 2.0-litre petrol with 249bhp – which is claimed by Audi to return 40.9mpg and emit 157g/km. A 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 282bhp will come later.

Audi also wants to offer buyers more performance-oriented options. Both SQ5 and RS Q5 versions of the car will be made, with the former getting around 325bhp from its 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, and the latter getting close to 500bhp from a twin-turbocharged version of the same engine. Some versions can be specified with Audi’s ‘ultra’ technology, which disengages the rear axle when it’s not needed, boosting efficiency. Torque vectoring features in all versions of the Q5, while a sports differential can be optioned for the V6 diesel.

Buyers will be able to choose between front and four-wheel drive, and between six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearboxes.

The new Q5 is underpinned by new five-link front and rear suspension, with steel springs and adjustable dampers, in a setup largely borrowed from the A4. Optional air suspension will also be offered – including a self-leveling feature borrowed from the Q7 – in a bid to improve its ride and enhance its towing ability. As standard, drivers can choose from seven different driving modes via Audi’s Drive Select system, with two new modes for offroad driving.

The 2017 Audi SQ5 has now been revealed in Detroit. Click here for more

Equipment

Buyers will be able to choose from 14 exterior colours, and five new trim levels – sport, design, S line, design selection an S line exterior package. Those packages also include elements to distinguish the car’s exterior, such as contrasting grey elements to empahises the car’s rugged nature on design line models. Standard equipment includes a new multi-function steering wheel, while the options list includes a heated wheel, and massage functions for the seats. Optional ambient lighting can light the car with 30 different colours. The standard car sits on 17in alloy wheels, but alloys of up to 21in can be offered.

While the previous Audi Q5 was already praised for its big boot, Audi has inceased space in the new model to a maximum of 610 litres with all five seats in place, and 1550 litres with them folded away. Loading heavy items is helped by a sensor-activated boot, and the car’s air suspension can be lowered.

A powered tailgate is standard across the range, as is Audi’s parking system, three-zone climate control and heated front seats.

In terms of safety technology, Audi customers can opt for three packages, dubbed Tour, City and Parking. Functions include adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance, lane assistance, cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and parking assistance.

Speaking at the new car’s debut in Paris, Audi boss Rupert Stadler said: “The first Audi Q5 was for many years the world’s best-selling SUV in this class. It was no easy task to design its successor, but that is precisely why it is so exciting. 

“With the new Q5, we are setting the bar a notch higher. Among the great innovations are the quattro drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, the air suspension with damper control and a comprehensive line-up of infotainment and assistance systems.”

The Q5 will be built at Audi’s newly constructed factory in Mexico.

Read more Paris motor show news

Source: Autocar Online

500bhp/ton Avatar Roadster launched at Autosport International

Avatar Roadster Autosport International show

Kit car manufacturer Marlin spins off Avatar brand, with affordable but exclusive track motoring in mind

The Avatar Roadster has been revealed in production form at the Autosport International show with claims it can produce up to 500bhp/ton.

The Devon-produced model is available with 2.0 or 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost engines, much like those used by the Zenos E10 S and E10 R (although in the Avatar they are mounted longitudinally), and is priced from £39,990. 

The 2.0-litre Avatar Roadster produces 250bhp, resulting in a top speed of 145mph and 0-60mph time of 4sec, while the 2.3-litre model produces 350bhp, can reach 60mph in 3.6sec and tops out at 165mph. Both variants weigh 695kg, meaning the more potent version produces 500bhp/ton.

The Roadster’s light kerb weight largely comes thanks to its use of a stiff tubular spaceframe chassis with fibreglass body panels. A near-central seating position, as well as carefully positioned fuel tank and lightweight five-speed gearbox sourced from the Porsche Boxster, maintain a ‘near-perfect’ weight distribution, according to Avatar director and designer Dylan Popovic.

Avatar has made over 100 changes to the model since it was first shown at last year’s Autosport show. The main focus has been to improve practicality.

“After showing the prototype we realised that our customers wanted more,” said Avatar director Dylan Popovic. “We listened and have responded to our customers who loved the superb performance and fine handling but wanted more refinement and features so they could use the car for more than just track days. We’ve smoothed the raw edges to create a much more rounded package. We’ve changed the suspension geometry, adjusted the steering rack ratios and improved the ergonomics in the cabin with intuitive switchgear as well as developed features that make the car a delight on the road and track.”

A racing version of the Avatar Roadster has already competed at Castle Combe circuit ahead of production of the road-going model. The racing model used an Audi-sourced 2.7-litre twin-turbo engine producing 450bhp. Avatar’s focus since has been to develop a road-friendly track car which can be driven home from track-days. 

Avatar aims for eventual production capacity of 25-30 units annually, although a lower figure of one car per month is currently in place. A Roadster with a longer wheelbase and Chevrolet-sourced LS3 V8 engine is in the pipeline, pending the success of the current line-up.

Production will commence in the spring.

Source: Autocar Online

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift: prices and specs released

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift launched in Detroit

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift launched in Detroit

Updated crossover gets a new 220 petrol engine and lightly tweaked styling; it now starts from £25,880

The Mercedes-Benz GLA prices and specs have been revealed; the facelifted model now starts at £25,880 – an increase of £620 over the outgoing car.

Entry-level GLA 200 SE spec cars kick off the range, and is one of three petrol variants; the other two being the GLA 250 4Matic and the hot Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic. The diesels on offer are both all-wheel drive offerings; the GLA 200d 4Matic and new-to-the-range GLA 220d 4Matic. The former is the most frugal in the GLA range, giving claimed fuel economy of 67.3mpg and 108g/km CO2. 

The three trim levels; SE, Sport and AMG Line trims remain, while the AMG GLA 45 is more stand-alone, at the top of the range at £46,875. Mercedes has made keyless start standard, as well as Apple Carplay. A reversing camera is now available, at £330, providing the customer opts for the £1695 Premium or £2995 Premium Plus packs. 

Two special editions sit at opposite ends of the range; the £31,600 Whiteart Edition, which is based on the AMG Line GLA 200, and the Yellow Night Edition of the GLA 45, which tops the range at £53,135; this adds the yellow exterior trim seen on the Detroit motor show display car, amongst its upgrades. 

The GLA has received an extra petrol engine option and new range-topping trim level as part of its 2017 facelift.

The refreshed car wears tweaked bumpers, a newly designed grille and different alloys. The old car’s optional bi-xenon headlights have been replaced by LED items.

New standard springs place the body 30mm higher than the outgoing car, giving it a more rugged look.

Added to the car’s engine range is a 220 petrol unit that produces 181bhp and 221lb ft of torque. It comes exclusively with 4Matic four-wheel drive and slots between the two existing petrol units, the 154bhp 200 and 211bhp 250, which remain unchanged in the facelifted car.

The diesel line-up is the same as before and contains 200d and 220d 4Matic options with 134bhp and 175bhp respectively, and up to 67.3mpg on offer.

As before, the cabin features an 8-inch infotainment system but there are new dials and needles behind the steering wheel. There’s also a chrome finish for the electric seat controls and centre console stowage compartment surround.

The GLA gains a new range-topper called Yellow Night Edition, which gets more standard kit than the previous top model, the AMG Line Premium Plus. Available on every variant of the 2017 GLA, Yellow Night Edition cars are painted in black with yellow highlights and sit on alloy wheels wearing the same colour scheme.

Artico leather and Dinamica microfiber material wrap the seats of Yellow Night Edition cars and are joined by an AMG Performance steering wheel in the cabin. Door sills, floor mats and air outlets are also finished with yellow highlights.

Elsewhere in the range, keyless entry and a 360-degree camera are new options. The most potent model, the AMG GLA 45, gets similar visual updates and retains its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 376bhp and 350lb ft of torque on offer. There are, however, shorter gear ratios for the car’s seven-speed dual clutch gearbox in gears three to seven.

UK pricing is yet to be revealed, but an increase of around £500 is expected on most models. That would bring the starting price for the 2017 GLA up to about £28,050. The AMG GLA 45 would start at about £46,050.

First deliveries of facelifted cars in the UK are expected to begin in April. 

Source: Autocar Online

Renault investigated by French government for diesel emissions claims

Renault Captur

Renault was also investigated last year

Car maker’s share prices have fallen by 4.3% following allegations

Renault is being investigated by the French government following possible claims it has cheated diesel emissions tests, according to reports on AFP.

The allegations have sent the French car maker’s share prices tumbling by 4.3%. They come a year after the car maker’s headquarters were raided following earlier emissions claims.

Autocar has contacted Renault for comment on the claims, but is yet to receive an official response.

Yesterday, reports said Fiat Chrysler was also being investigated in the US following similar accusations regarding its own diesel units.

Volkswagen emissions scandal: five more execs charged in the US

Source: Autocar Online

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