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You have just entered the online home of the world's oldest car magazine, and the only place on the internet where you can find Autocar's unique mix of up-to-the-minute news, red hot car reviews, conclusive road test verdicts, and a lot more besides. en-gb Autocar is part of Haymarket Cars and Aftermarket (c) Haymarket Media Group 2014 Wed, 27 May 2020 10:35:09 +0100 Wed, 27 May 2020 11:27:03 +0100 Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV: UK specs and pricing <a href="/car-news/new-cars/renault-clio-hybrid-and-captur-phev-uk-specs-and-pricing"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV - static front" title="Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV - static front" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The Renault Clio Hybrid and Captur PHEV</blockquote> Both cars are available to order now, with prices starting from £19,595 and £30,495 respectively <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Renault has disclosed prices and specs for the <a href="">Clio Hybrid</a> and <a href="">Captur Plug-In Hybrid</a>, revealed earlier this year and now available to order. The models are the first from the brand's?latest range of 'E-Tech' electrified variants.?</p> <p><span>The Clio, launched last year with traditional petrol and diesel engines, benefits from a “full hybrid” system - an innovative take on the proven parallel hybrid setup. Renault claims the tech is protected by around 150 patents.?Available to order now, it costs from £19,595 in Play trim to £22,095 for the fully loaded Launch Edition.</span></p> <p>It’s based around an "F1-inspired"<span>?multi-mode clutchless automatic gearbox</span>, used to control a naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors either simultaneously or independently alongside a high voltage starter generator. The battery is a relatively small 1.2kWh pack, meaning the car weighs just 10kg more than an equivalent Clio diesel.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="636" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><span>With a combined output of 138bhp, the Clio Hybrid?can do 0-62mph in 9.9sec and hit 113mph. The electric motor develops up to 151lb ft of torque alone, with a 37 lb ft boost from the starter generator. Renault says the torque helps it achieve a 6.9sec 50-75mph time.</span></p> <p>Every variant offers official CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km and combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg. I<span>t can spend up to 80% of the time in electric mode on city roads, and is able to travel at up to 38mph without the engine running.</span></p> <p><strong>Renault Captur Plug-In Hybrid: details and specs?</strong></p> <p>The Captur Plug-In Hybrid, as the name suggests, uses a mains-chargable 9.8kWh battery to power?<span>the same 1.6-litre engine with two electric motors for an output of 158bhp.?</span></p> <p><span>The?<a href="">Mini Countryman Cooper S E hybrid</a> rival?costs from £30,495 in S Edition form. However, it offsets the initial purchase price by emitting</span>?just 33g/km of CO2, putting it into the 10% benefit-in-kind tax band, and promising up to 188mpg.?</p> <p>The larger battery transates to?an electric-only range of 30 miles at speeds of up to 84mph in pure EV mode. 0-60mph is taken care of in 10.1sec, and the top speed is 108mph. Multiple drive modes feature, including a mode that saves the battery for use later in the journey, and a Sport mode that utilises both power sources for faster responses.?</p> <p>Fitted as standard with both a domestic and Type 2 charging cable, the Captur PHEV also comes with a free 7kW home wallbox charger from BP Chargemaster that can take it from empty to full charge in three hours. Pre-conditioning the car's climate system via the Renault app is also standard, althought the main compromise is the boot which has been reduced from 455 litres to 379 litres.??</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Renault Clio hybrid and Captur plug-in hybrid launched</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Renault could “disappear” without aid, warns French minister</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Renault plans new sister model to Captur crossover</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 11:27:03 +0100 Top 10 best super sports cars 2020 <a href="/car-news/best-cars/top-10-best-super-sports-cars"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Aston Martin Vantage 2018" /></a> McLaren, Porsche, Aston Martin et al are vying to claim the best super sports car accolade. We've tested each of them to determine which is best <div> <p>We are living through a high period for the super sports car. Never before has there been such a talented list of offerings, each with their own unique talents.</p> <p>The list of 10 cars below features everything from hardcore hooligans to more delicate alternatives. There’s a car for all tastes in this segment, but the ones below are our picks of the bunch.</p> <h3><a href="">1. Aston Martin Vantage</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-reviews/aston-martin">Aston Martin</a> has taken a giant leap into true blue driver’s car territory with the new Vantage. Never before has Gaydon departed so clearly from its traditional preference for fairly laid-back, long-legged, old-school front-engined GT sports cars than it has here.</p> <p>So much about the new Vantage – from its first-order performance level to its tight, tenacious body control, to its impressively advanced driveline specification and its on-track composure, handling precision and staying power – tells you loud and clear that it’s ready to transform Aston into a firm that can be taken seriously by real petrolheads <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-gt3">who’ve stuck to their Porsches</a> and <a href="/car-review/bmw/m5">upper-level BMW M cars</a>. Better still, it's now available with a manual gearbox.</p> <p>Never have you been able to drive a series-production Aston as hard as this, or <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-gt3-rs/first-drives/porsche-911-gt3-rs-2018-review">really contemplate using one like you might a track-ready 911</a>. Partly perhaps as a result of all that newfound grip and purpose, the car doesn’t quite overcome the limitations of its size and weight and involve like the greatest driver’s cars when driven on the road – but it certainly enriches everyday use as a super sports car should, and as only an Aston Martin could.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Vantage deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/mclaren/570s">2.?McLaren 570S</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/mclaren/570s">The 570S occupies a purer and more exciting territory</a> than its sports car rivals, but it’s also more forgiving and more comfortable than them as well.</p> <p>Its performance level is exceptional, without compromise to driveability. Its handling is equally outstanding: a special mix of track-ready purpose, with on-road compliance, precision and stability – and enriched by wonderful control feedback.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/porsche/911-turbo">It is more exotic than the Porsche 911</a>, more delicate than an Audi R8 V10 Plus and more practical than a BMW i8. There’s little doubt that <a href="/car-review/mclaren/570s/first-drives/mclaren-570s-track-pack-2017-review">McLaren’s mid-range model is actually the car for </a>the?company to make its reputation.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new 570S deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/aston-martin/db11">3.?P</a><a href="" target="_blank">orsche 911 Turbo S</a></h3> <p>The most broadly capable model in the 991 line-up is back for the 992 generation, and once again ranks as arguably the<a href="" target="_blank"> quickest point-to-point car on the planet</a>. Four-wheel drive and new twin-turbocharged engine tuned to 641bhp contrive to deliver a 2.6sec 0-62mph time and a top speed comfortably north of 200mph. And <a href="" target="_blank">as with other 911s in the current range</a>, you can also expect a first-class cabin and a degree of subtlety absent from some of the more extrovert cars on this list.?</p> <p>And that's a large part of the appeal with the Turbo S, which will soon be available in regular, non-S Turbo guise. Despite it's manic pace, it doesn't shout everywhere it goes, and its ability to swallow big distances makes it an authentic alternative even to GT-leaning rivals <a href="" target="_blank">such as the Aston Martin DB11</a>.?</p> <p>Naturally, it'll thrill like few else on a B-road, too. Intuivive steering and just a hint of that rear-biased weight distribution give the driver options, though admittedly the Porsche still isn't quite as playful as some on this list.?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Save money with new 911 Turbo S deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/aston-martin/db11">4.?Aston Martin DB11 V8</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/aston-martin/db11/first-drives/aston-martin-db11-v8-2017-review">The DB11 V8 isn’t the most refined in its class</a>, with tyre roar and a curiously loud rustle of air passing over the base of A-pillar.</p> <p>Interior fit isn’t good enough, either, even if the abundance of leather is supremely soft to the touch. <a href="/car-review/mercedes-amg/s-63-coupe">The Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupé surpasses the Aston on both counts</a>, though you’ll forfeit driver involvement if you choose the big Merc.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/aston-martin/db11/first-drives/aston-martin-db11-v8-2017-uk-review">If you’re sitting in a DB11 V8</a>, the AMG-sourced engine up front sets the tone for what this car can, dynamically speaking, do so well. It’s so deeply intuitive to steer. This is a hugely desirable product – <a href="/car-review/aston-martin/db11/first-drives/2016-aston-martin-db11">one that ranks ahead of its V12 sibling</a>.?</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new DB11 deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/honda/nsx">5. Honda NSX</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/honda/nsx">Honda has managed to deploy world-first powertrain technology</a> with a superb lightness of touch. It has used unconventional means to perfect, rather than reinvent, the conventional junior supercar.</p> <p>And it has produced a very rare breed of mid-engined exotic as a result: one that doesn’t shout about its potential or impose itself on your senses, but is instead a very mature and complete driver’s car.</p> <p>Despite updates introduced in 2019 – which, among the bright orange paint-job, included detail chassis tweak and recalibrations for the adaptvie damping, steering and four-wheel drive –?it?could still be better equipped, nicer to travel in and a touch more luridly exciting at times. However,?for its fusion talents, it deserves respect. <a href="/car-review/mclaren/570s">Arguably?only the McLaren 570S offers a more compelling driving experience</a>, but it does so with a far simpler powertrain.?</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new NSX deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/audi/r8">6.?Audi R8 V10</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/audi/r8">The Audi R8’s technical relation</a> to the company’s motorsport efforts is clear. The car is a visceral, singular tribute to power and performance, noise and revs, grip and traction. It’s hugely exciting to drive, although not quite as rounded, communicative or usable enough as the very best super sports cars.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/audi/r8/first-drives/2016-audi-r8-spyder-uk-drive-review">The latest R8 has lost</a> some of the <a href="/car-review/audi/r8-2007-2014">the old car’s character</a> for a more digital form. So while <a href="/car-review/audi/r8/first-drives/2016-audi-r8-v10-uk-review">we are impressed overall with the second generation Audi R8</a>, especially with its looks, performance and sound, it still falls short of <a href="/car-review/bmw/i8">more rounded rivals like the BMW i8</a>, <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-turbo/first-drives/2016-porsche-911-turbo-s-review">Porsche 911 Turbo S</a> and <a href="/car-review/mclaren/570s">McLaren 570S</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new R8 deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/mercedes-amg/gt">7.?Mercedes-AMG GT</a></h3> <p>With the body structure of a supercar, an engine from a muscle saloon, suspension tuned for maximum attack on the track and yet the practicality and sophistication of an elegant coupé, or roadster, <a href="/car-review/mercedes-amg/gt">the GT is an even more bewildering</a> addition to the sports car world <a href="/car-review/mercedes-amg/sls-2010-2015">than the Mercedes-Benz SLS was</a>.</p> <p>Of course, there would be times when you’d grow tired of its high-adrenalin temperament and lack of civility, sure, but the highs would outweigh those occasions. But the car is so capable – as capable as cars twice its price – it is extremely lovable, even if <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-turbo/first-drives/2016-porsche-911-turbo-cabriolet-review">not quite as delicately beautiful to drive as a 911 Turbo</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new GT deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">8. Nissan GT-R Nismo</a></h3> <p>It may have been around for more than a decade now, but the Nissan GT-R remains one of the quickest, most capable super sports cars money can buy. <a href="">The hardcore Nismo version?builds on this</a>.?</p> <p>There’s a more aggressive aero package that includes a sizeable rear wing, an increase in torsional rigidity, as well as tweaked springs, dampers and anti-roll bars for even greater levels of agility. Nissan says these modifications make the GT-R Nismo even more playful on the limit, which can only be a good thing. Its steering is?impressively incisive and accurate, while the fact that it seems happier to send its power rearwards in order to bring its tail end into play serves to confirm Nissan’s modifications have worked as intended.</p> <p>Of course, it’s still devilishly quick in a straight line too. Its 3.8-litre V6, whose twin turbos come courtesy of Nissan’s GT-R GT3 race car, produces some 592bhp and 481lb ft. Nissan don’t quote an official 0-60mph time, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it might well dip below the 3.0sec mark.</p> <p>It might be showing its age, <a href="">but the GT-R Nismo remains as brutally effective as ever</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new GT-R deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">9. Ferrari Portofino</a></h3> <p>As the replacement for the<a href=""> California T</a>, the handsomely-styled and glamorously titled Ferrari Portofino now represents the entry-level, ‘affordable’ offering in Maranello’s model line-up - if there is such a thing.</p> <p><a href="">Sharper, faster and more focussed than the California T</a>, the Portofino stands out as an exceptionally pointed sports car. Its steering is lightning quick, its gearchanges delivered with the sort of forceful, confident conviction you’d expect from the likes of a supercar. Its refreshed twin-turbocharged V8, meanwhile, now develops some 592bhp and 561lb ft, so the sprint from 0-60mph is now dispatched in an eye-widening 3.5sec. And with a folding metal roof that can be retracted in 14sec, there’s unlimited scope to bask in its rich, authentically Ferrari soundtrack.</p> <p><a href="">As a sports car then, there’s much to like about the Portofino</a>. But there’s a hitch; this is also intended to be a comfortable, fast and incredibly livable grand tourer. And given just how sharp and overtly dynamic Ferrari has now made it, this conflicted personality is tricky to overlook.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Portofino deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/maserati/granturismo/first-drives/maserati-granturismo-mc-2017-review">10. Maserati GranTurismo MC</a></h3> <p>While it lacks the dynamic sparkle or engagement of others, <a href="/car-review/maserati/granturismo/first-drives/maserati-granturismo-mc-2017-review">the Granturismo MC makes up ground with drama</a> thanks to its high revving V8 and gorgeous, Italian looks.</p> <p>The car’s steering feels old-fashioned, with the hydraulic assistance passing on the sort of low-intensity feedback that electric systems filter out as unwanted noise. Plus, the car’s chassis wants to understeer. Some will simply see sufficient appeal in a Pininfarina-designed four-seater with <a href="/car-reviews/ferrari">a Ferrari-built engine to justify the price</a>.</p> <p>It is really starting to feel its age and the segment contains many more rational offerings, but?emotionally speaking, <a href="/car-review/maserati/granturismo">this Maserati remains a compelling choice</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money on new GranTurismo MC deals on What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="124" src="" width="900" /></a></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 10:35:09 +0100 French government outlines €8bn car industry rescue package <a href="/car-news/industry/french-government-outlines-%E2%82%AC8bn-car-industry-rescue-package"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="2020 Renault Zoe - hero front" title="2020 Renault Zoe - hero front" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> France is planned to become a global hub of EV development</blockquote> Automotive output will be 'relocalised' with heavy EV incentives and collaboration between key stakeholders <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The French government has pledged €8 billion (£7.1bn) to helping the country’s automotive industry to recover following the coronavirus pandemic.?</p> <p>As part of the rescue package, €1bn (£890 million) will go towards encouraging electric vehicle (EV) adoption, including grants of up to €7000 (£6230). President Emmanuel Macron’s government is committed to keeping France at the forefront of EV development, with plans to produce a million ‘clean cars’ domestically before 2025.?</p> <p>During a visit to a Valeo factory?in northern France, Macron spoke of 'relocalising'?domestic automotive production.?<a href="/car-reviews/renault">Renault</a> and <a href="/car-news/industry/psa-group-posts-record-profits-despite-sales-slide">the PSA Group</a>?- the country’s leading vehicle manufacturers - will work alongside French energy supplier Total to develop batteries for electrified vehicles, he confirmed, and will continue to focus production in France in return for the financial aid.?</p> <p>"We need a motivational goal:?make France Europe's top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output to more than one million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years,” Macron is quoted as saying by BBC News.?</p> <p>It's hoped that the new financial incentives for consumers - including a €3000 (£2670) subsidy for those swapping into a less-polluting vehicle - will help to quickly sell some 400,000 vehicles that have been stuck at dealerships since the beginning of the pandemic.?</p> <p>Electric cars costing less than €45,000 (£40,000) are now eligible for a €7000 (£6230) grant, up from €6000 (£5340). Plug-in hybrid buyers can claim a €2000 (£1780) subsidy?as long as the vehicle is capable of travelling 31 miles on electric power and costs less than €50,000 (£44,500).?</p> <p>The revised EV incentives - coming into effect on 1 June and running until 31 December - are now applicable to 75% of French households, following a relaxation of the income requirements.?</p> <p>France’s automotive industry has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, with new car sales falling 89% in April as a result of dealerships closing and customers staying at home. The government has stepped in to subsidise the salaries of around 250,000 workers in the industry.?</p> <p>Macron has also announced that the government won't commit to a €5bn (£4.5bn) loan for struggling Renault until the company’s management had discussed the future of its workforce and factories with union representatives. Talks are set to conclude on Friday, amid reports that the manufacturer?is planning to cut 5000 jobs by 2024,<a href="/car-news/new-cars/renault-could-“disappear”-without-aid-warns-french-minister"> axe slow-selling models and potentially close some factories</a>.?</p> <p>Additional measures aimed at reviving France's car industry include funding factory upgrade programmes and investing in automotive start-up companies.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/renault-could-“disappear”-without-aid-warns-french-minister"><strong>Renault could “disappear” without aid, warns French minister</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-car-industry"><strong>Coronavirus and the car world</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/psa-group-eludes-eu-fines-through-early-doors-co2-action"><strong>PSA Group eludes EU fines through early doors CO2 action?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 10:31:47 +0100 Volvo XC40 Recharge P8: orders open for electric SUV <a href="/car-news/new-cars/volvo-xc40-recharge-p8-orders-open-electric-suv"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge - front" /></a> New EV version of popular compact SUV on sale from £53,155, so won't qualify for the UK plug-in car grant <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">Volvo</a>?has opened order books for its?first battery electric vehicle, the?<a href="">XC40</a>?Recharge Pure Electric P8.</p> <p>Initial deliveries of the compact SUV, which will be available exclusively in R-Dynamic trim, are expected to begin in early 2021.</p> <p>Prices start from £53,155, which means it will not be eligible for the UK plug-in car grant following changes made in the government's budget in March.</p> <p>The new policy excludes all cars costing more than £50,000 from the grant. They no longer incur the premium rate tax, meaning drivers will save £320 per year for five years after the initial year of registration, but that still leaves buyers £1900 worse off than under the old system.</p> <p>The new EV will join the petrol and plug-in hybrid variants of the XC40 and becomes the first of five fully electric models that Volvo will launch in the next five years. The firm is aiming for EVs to account for half its global sales by 2025, with the rest featuring a hybrid powertrain.?<span>Those five electric cars, along with plug-in hybrid models, will?</span><a href="">carry the new Recharge branding</a><span>.</span></p> <p>Volvo has also outlined <a href="">plans to reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per vehicle by 40%</a>?by 2025, as part of a long-term goal to become climate-neutral by 2040.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Volvo launches Recharge electrified brand, sets bold carbon emission targets</strong></a></p> <p>The four-wheel-drive?XC40 P8 Recharge features two 201bhp electric motors, one mounted on each axle, that combine to offer 402bhp and 487lb ft of torque. That enables it to achieve 0-62mph in 4.9sec and?a governed top speed of 112mph.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Power is drawn from a 78kWh underfloor battery, with Volvo citing a WLTP-certified range of more than 248 miles. Charging is available through an 11kW AC charger or a 150kW DC fast-charger, which the firm says can deliver an 80% charge in 40 minutes.</p> <p>The vehicle largely retains the exterior and interior styling of <a href="">the conventional XC40</a>, albeit with the addition of a new sealed fascia in place of the traditional radiator grille for the combustion engine. The model also gets Recharge branding?and other minor design tweaks, while the charging port is located on the rear pillar of the car in the same place as a traditional petrol cap.</p> <p>Built on the same Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform as the regular XC40, the Recharge version retains largely the same dimensions with a?length of 4425mm and a width of 2034mm. Because of the underfloor batteries, the XC40 Recharge has a slightly reduced ground clearance of 175mm, compared with 211mm on the regular model.</p> <p>The XC40 Recharge offers 413 litres of luggage capacity, which is less than the?460 litres of?the regular model, although due to the space saved by the absence?of a combustion engine, it gains a 31-litre ‘frunk’ storage area underneath the bonnet. The machine weighs a minimum of 2150kg, compared with 1497kg for the combustion-engined version.</p> <p>The XC40 Recharge?is also the first Volvo to feature a new infotainment system powered by the Google Android operating system. That system features Volvo On Call, the firm’s digital platform.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="675" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The initial price of the XC40 Recharge is similar to that of the closely related?<a href="£49900">Polestar 2, the first purely electric model from Volvo’s spin-off performance brand</a>. That model, which features the same electric powertrain - and identical power, torque output and range -?costs £49,900 in its initial Launch Edition. Planned base models are likely to cost around £34,500.</p> <p>To accompany the launch of the XC40 Recharge, Volvo is also revamping its sales process. From early next year, customers visiting its website will be asked first if they want an electrified car, and a range of financial incentives designed to encourage efficient electric driving will also be offered.</p> <p>With Volvo aiming for plug-in hybrids to account for a fifth of its total sales next year, the firm is planning to triple production capacity for its electrified models,?including?the XC40 Recharge. It will also offer a new Designer’s Choice selection for Recharge models, which, it says, will feature “radically reduced delivery times”.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Volvo launches Recharge electrified brand, sets bold carbon emission targets</strong></a></p> <p><a href="£49900"><strong>New Polestar 2 to cost from £49,900</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Volvo reveals plug-in hybrid version of XC40</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 09:15:17 +0100 Swindon Powertrain launches compact ‘crate’ electric motor <a href="/car-news/industry/swindon-powertrain-launches-compact-%E2%80%98crate%E2%80%99-electric-motor"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Swindon crate EV motor front" title="Swindon crate EV motor front" /></a> Ultra-compact unit is designed as a cost-effective electrification option for low-volume manufacturers; available to order now for £6400 plus VAT <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Swindon Powertrain has launched the 'crate' electric motor for low-volume EV conversions that it?first announced last year.?</p> <p>Available to order now, it costs £6400 plus VAT. That?price includes the 80kW (107bhp) motor itself plus the transmission and differential. Options for cooling, inverters and even a limited-slip differential are available.?</p> <p>Swindon Powertrain has perfected the formula when moving from concept form to production. It's actually smaller than what was originally proposed, at?441mm wide and 384mm long, and the firm claim the highest power/volume ratio of any automotive system. It weighs in at a touch under 50kg.?</p> <p>The powertrain was?being developed in partnership with electric motor manufacturer iNetic and engineering firm Code, with funding coming from the Niche Vehicle Network, a body that supports more than 900 of Britain’s lowest-volume automotive production and engineering companies.?</p> <p>The unit is described as ‘turnkey’, meaning it's ready for installation straight from the box. Primary intended uses for the new motor include sports cars,?classic cars,?<span>small commercial vehicles</span> and?<span>recreational vehicles such as golf buggies.</span>?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Swindon Powertrain also states that waterproofing options will enable it to be used in compact off-roaders.?It claims that as?well as operating as a standalone motor, the unit could also be used as the electric component in a hybrid vehicle’s drivetrain.?</p> <p>Different installation points and two inverter options give the powertrain the flexibility for a variety of uses. Two gear ratios can also be selected as a no-cost option, with Swindon Powertrain's website offering a configurator.?</p> <p>The firm plans to deliver the first batch of crate motors in August?and will cover the cost of any necessary research and validation processes, which it says will further ease costs for buyers.?</p> <p><strong>Q&A with Rapha?l?<span>Caillé, Swindon Powertrain managing director</span></strong></p> <p><strong>When did this project become a reality for you?</strong></p> <p>"Really we started the design two years ago. We saw an opportunity in the market: if you're a car manufacturer and you want to make 10,000 or?100,000 [electric] vehicles a year, there are plenty of suppliers to talk to.?If you want to do an electric vehicle and you're looking at a dozen, a hundred or?even a thousand a year, there was nobody to talk to until now.?</p> <p>"This is definitely the only EV powertrain that you will be able to buy online from a website, with a credit card, on a one-by-one basis."</p> <p><strong>Is there a specific application that has been most popular so far???</strong></p> <p>"We're in advanced talks with a manufacturer of quadbikes;?there are no orders yet, but I'm confident they will come. The big push at the moment is the electrification of existing cars, in particular classic cars. So this is where at the moment we have quite a few orders, private buyers,?but it also goes all the way up to well-established companies that convert classic cars."</p> <p><strong>How did you manage to make it smaller than the original concept?</strong></p> <p>"It happened by going back to a blank sheet of paper. Having gone through the proof of concept phase, being able to re-lay it out made it more compact. We made a special effort to get a good result on that side of things, because we have a requirement for the electrification of light goods vehicles, and some of these mean the electric motor has to be installed below the [load bay]."</p> <p><strong>Will you supply your own battery packs in future??</strong></p> <p>"The battery activity is something we do in-house for a few projects, and indeed we've made several prototype batteries. But the battery is very vehicle-dependent. So we decided to leave this side for now and focus on the powertrain. Those vehicle manufacturers will usually have a team of people to develop and source battery packs."</p> <p><strong>How soon before we see the first production model powered by your electric motor??</strong></p> <p>"I think it will take time, as it does to develop these things. We've engaged with two major car manufacturers at this moment in time for projects that are lower-volume. The interest is in the hundreds."</p> <p><strong>Are you working on more powerful (or less powerful) motors?</strong></p> <p>"As you can imagine, this being a long-term project, we're already working on the next one. But at this moment, it's too early to say what will be launched next. We'll keep working;?hopefully in six months' time, we will have another project. "</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/swind-e-electric-classic-mini-sale-£79000"><strong>Swind E electric classic Mini on sale from £79,000</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/first-drive-classic-mini-electric-driven-uk-roads"><strong>First drive: Classic Mini Electric driven on UK roads?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/technology/we-build-lithium-ion-car-battery"><strong>We build a lithium-ion car battery?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 09:00:34 +0100 Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi to increase technology sharing <a href="/car-news/industry/renault-nissan-and-mitsubishi-increase-technology-sharing"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance</blockquote> Alliance members to adopt 'leader-follower' mode, with each focusing on core regions and technologies <div> <p><a href="">Renault</a>, <a href="">Nissan</a> and <a href="">Mitsubishi</a> have reaffirmed their commitment to their automotive Alliance, with the adoption of a new business model that will involve a massive increase in platform, technology and production sharing.</p> <p>The future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance <a href="">had been in doubt</a> after the arrest in Japan of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, the driving force behind the initiative. But after agreeing to <a href="">maintain the Alliance in January</a>, the three firms have now agreed a new deal.?</p> <p><span>Alliance chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said the new deal will?</span>greatly enhance?the cooperation between the three firms and claimed?that it will cut the costs of developing new models by up to 40%.</p> <p>The Alliance members have agreed a new ‘leader-follower’ scheme that they say will greatly enhance efficiency through a substantial increase in shared production and development. Each will become the lead ‘reference’ brand in key regions?and of key technologies.?</p> <p>Under the new deal, Renault will become the lead brand in Europe?and will spearhead development of the next-generation B-segment SUV. Nissan will become the lead firm in Japan, North America and China?and will develop the next-generation Nissan Qashqai-based C-segment SUV, which is due in 2025.</p> <p>The new deal goes beyond platform sharing and will include the “upper bodies” of vehicles, with the production of models grouped together where possible. As recently reported, that is likely to involve <a href="">Renault SUVs being built at the Nissan plant in Sunderland </a>in the future.?</p> <p>“We will focus on efficiency and competitiveness, rather than volume,” said Senard. “The new framework will allow each Alliance member to enhance its core capabilities and benefit from the capabilities of the other firms. The aim is to increase the profitability and competitiveness.</p> <p>“The leader-follow model isn't about being a leader against each other;?it’s about each Alliance firm becoming a leader in the automotive industry.”</p> <p>Senard insisted that the new agreement showcased the strength of the Alliance. He added: “There is no doubt about how this scheme will work in the future. If there have been doubts in the market, there are no doubts today.”</p> <p><strong>Renault to lead Alliance focus in Europe</strong></p> <p>Under the new agreement, each of the three firms will focus on key regions based on their existing market reach, with Renault taking the lead in Europe along with Russia, South America and North Africa.</p> <p>While Renault will be the lead brand in Europe, both Nissan and Mitsubishi can continue to offer models in each region, although they will likely focus on market segments where they're strong. Nissan is set to outline more details of its future European strategy in a press conference tomorrow (Thursday 28 May).</p> <p>In Europe, the Alliance’s leader-follower scheme will be focused around four product areas: B-segment cars (the Renault Clio and Zoe EV, Nissan Leaf and forthcoming Ariya EV SUV), B-SUVs (Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster), C-SUVs (Renault Kadjar, Nissan Qashqai, next-gen SUV) and light commercial?vehicles (vans).</p> <p>During the presentation on the new agreement, the Alliance members gave no indication of future plans for model lines outside of those areas. There have been reports that <a href="">Renault is set to close a number of factories and axe several product lines</a>;?more information on those reports is likely to come when the French firm holds its own press conference on Friday 29 May.</p> <p>Nissan will be the lead brand in China, North America and Japan, while Mitsubishi will lead in the South-East Asia (ASEAN) and Oceania regions.</p> <p>Senard also ruled out the possibility of a full merger between the three firms, adding: "I'm confident that, because of the actions we have taken today, in the future we will be a model for other car firms."</p> <p><strong>New deal to increase model sharing and efficiencies</strong></p> <p>A key part of the new deal is the agreement to increase the Alliance’s ‘standardisation’ strategy. The three companies have already developed a series of common shared platforms that underpin various models, for example with the recently launched Renault Clio and Nissan Juke both based on the CMF-B architecture.</p> <p>Under the new agreement, the three firms will each take the lead on development of key model segments, developing a ‘mother car’ that will be used as the basis for ‘follower’ vehicles from the other firms. As well as platforms, that will involve sharing upper body elements, with Senard saying production of models would be grouped together where appropriate.</p> <p>The Alliance claims the savings enabled by the new model in terms of technical development and bulk buying strength will reduce model investment costs by up to 40%.</p> <p>Under the agreement, nearly half of all Alliance models will be development produced under the ‘leader-follower’ scheme by 2025, with the technology and model segments each firm will take the lead on are based on their existing expertise.?</p> <p>Having essentially created the segment with the Qashqai, Nissan will take the lead of the next-generation Qashqai/Renault Kadjar C-SUV, due after 2025 and based on the CMF-C platform. Renault will take the lead on developing future B-SUV models such as the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke.</p> <p>The agreement will reduce the number of platforms used by the Alliance from seven currently to four: CMF-A and CMF-B, with development led by Renault, and CMF-C/D and the electric CMF-EV, with development lead by Nissan.</p> <p>Nissan and Mitsubishi will also work together on a kei car platform for Japan.</p> <p><strong>Firms to take lead on key technologies</strong></p> <p>As well as future model segments, each Alliance member will take the lead on key technologies.</p> <p>Nissan will be the lead firm for electric powertrains?(for both the CMF-A/B and CMF-EV platforms),?autonomous driving and connected car technology in China. Renault will lead on connected car technologies on an Android-based platform and ‘E-body’ electric-electronic architecture. Mitsubishi will build on its success with the Outlander PHEV by leading development of C/D-segment plug-in hybrid models.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi agree to new Alliance deal</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Renault in talks to build new SUVs at Nissan's Sunderland plant</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Renault could close Alpine factory and axe models, reports suggest</strong></a></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 08:39:28 +0100 Steve Cropley: Used BMW i3 could provide EV motorsport thrills <a href="/opinion/new-cars/steve-cropley-used-bmw-i3-could-provide-ev-motorsport-thrills"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW i3S" title="BMW i3S" /></a> New rules allow for EV production classes for the first time. Our columnist has already picked out his car of choice <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>This week, our columnist is in two minds about city cars returning as premium EVs, considers the merits of the quadricycle to beat post-lockdown traffic, and has found another motoring tome to add to his collection.</p> <p><strong>MONDAY</strong></p> <p>Remember last month’s scare about how compact, cheeky <a href="">A-segment cars were finished</a> because the cost of cleaning up their engines was too great? It was upsetting: I’ve always depended on baby cars to punctuate long, boring sentences of faceless execu-chariots. But now, apparently, the demise isn’t coming after all. The experts are now saying A-cars will go quiet for a bit of re-engineering, then reappear with electrified powertrains, more radical designs and premium prices.</p> <p>All of which is fine by me. I’ve always hated the idea that size controls price; I mean, who’s surprised that a wrist watch costs more than a housebrick. If you want a cheap car, buy a second hand supermini. Mind you, I’ve just seen that the <a href="">new, electrified Fiat 500</a> is going to cost £30k instead of £15k. Bit much.</p> <p><strong>TUESDAY</strong></p> <p>This week has been packed with good news: Motorsport UK has announced a set of rules that’ll allow you to compete in low-key events with a standard electric car. That’s great news: I’ve campaigned <a href="">a Renault Zoe</a> at Prescott Hillclimb a few times (once with the late, great Barry “Whizzo” Williams) but though we drove hard — he more effectively than me — our efforts had to be called demo runs.</p> <p>From now on it’ll be possible to compete in production classes, which makes me want to rush straight out and buy an electric <a href="">BMW i3S</a> which I see as the best option. A <a href="">Tesla Model 3</a> would be quicker but who’s got a spare £60k? And anyway, my other motor sport preference is autosolo for which an i3 is much the more agile option.</p> <p><strong>WEDNESDAY</strong></p> <p>We’re already seeing back-to-work traffic building as people avoid the virus threat of public transport. The congestion will soon be oppressive again, one reason why I’ve always used scooters to penetrate traffic and park anywhere. But that choice depends on your possessing a bike licence. Or did. Now you can choose a revolutionary “leaning” four-wheeled — complete with hydropneumatic suspension — called a Qooder (or e-Qooder if you want yours electrified) that offers all the manoeuvrability of a motorbike but can be ridden/driven on a car licence. People might smirk a bit, but who cares? The Italian manufacturer has just started selling in the UK; try Qooder online. Might be the secret mobility weapon you need.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>THURSDAY</strong></p> <p>One fashionable motoring cliche at present seems to be “…if there’s ever another motor show…” bunged on the end of every observation about a new car and uttered in a world-to-end-soon tone of voice. Actually, I think the global upheaval might eventually be the making of motor shows. People will want to get together. They’ll want to touch and smell new cars, and sit in them. And after lots of recent practice they’ll know the limitations of seeing stuff on screen. Right now, I’m see next year’s Geneva Show in my dreams: just try and keep me away!</p> <p><strong>FRIDAY</strong></p> <p>We’ve all been staggered at the complimentary mail we’ve had since the writing, design and production of Autocar moved from the Teddington to 17 different dining room tables around the country. It is very motivating to see how much people like our 125-year old rag. Recently those feelings reached an Eiger-like peak when we heard from Adam Collinge, an ambulance driver in the Mendips, who told us how he takes his mag along in the ambulance, to help deliver moments of sanity between patients. “I know we in the NHS are getting the plaudits,” he wrote, “but we also need heroes and heroines to help us get our job done, to make us smile and keep us informed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re all doing a damn fine job!”</p> <p><strong>AND ANOTHER THING...</strong></p> <p>If you want a snapshot of one car-nut’s brilliance at turning a phrase look no further than Richard “Sniffpetrol” Porter’s “Medium-sized Book of Boring Car Trivia” which like everything else this ultra-talented bloke writes is a joy. It’s self-published via Amazon. Buy now.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Racing lines: Pure ETCR's deep digs at Formula E</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Analysis: Is it the end for the city car?</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Autocar's plan to save the city car</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> Opinion Wed, 27 May 2020 06:01:24 +0100 UK firm using Nissan GT-R engine for 1000bhp Navara pick-up <a href="/car-news/new-cars/uk-firm-using-nissan-gt-r-engine-1000bhp-navara-pick"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="SB Motorsports Nissan Navara-R" title="SB Motorsports Nissan Navara-R" /></a> Essex-based SB Motorsport is using its engineering and drifting expertise to create "the world's best pick-up" <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>SB Motorsport of?Southend, Essex is developing what it calls “the world’s best pick-up” in the form of a <a href="/car-review/nissan/navara">Nissan Navara</a> with <a href="/car-review/nissan/gt-r">R35 Nissan GT-R</a> underpinnings.?</p> <p>The twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6, four-wheel-drive system and chassis hardware from <a href="/car-reviews/nissan">Nissan</a>’s flagship supercar have been left over from a recent drift car conversion?and are being swapped in wholesale ahead of a round of modifications that will boost power to around 1000bhp.?</p> <p>The company plans to maintain “as much of a factory-finish interior as possible”, but preview images suggest the so-called Navara-R will be easily told apart from its standard-specification counterpart, with heavily lowered suspension, a bespoke bodykit, motorsport wheels and a prominent rear wing.?</p> <p>Despite its wild looks and high-output powertrain, the Navara-R will be fully road-legal and will retain most of the standard features of the original truck. It's hoped that it will be completed before the end of the year.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>SB Motorsport typically participates in around 30 international motorsport events annually, as well as undertaking a small amount of customer work in the local community.?</p> <p>Team boss Stephen Biagioni said: “This project has always been on the cards for SB Motorsport, ever since our initial GT-R project. With racing currently on hold,?this was the break we needed to revisit the idea and bring it to fruition.</p> <p>“We have the best partners and they share our vision to create another great vehicle that will challenge the normalities of what’s possible.?This is going to be an exciting mix of performance meets practicality.”</p> <p>SB Motorsport’s flagship GT-R drift car is a mainstay of the UK motorsport scene. It has made?appearances at several high-profile events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and in a number of popular online videos.</p> <p>Founder Biagioni is a European drifting champion?and was the first English driver to compete in Japan’s D1 series.?</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/used-cars/used-car-buying-guide-nissan-skyline-gt-r-r34"><strong>Used car buying guide: Nissan Skyline GT-R R34?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/how-drift-tricks-going-sideways"><strong>How to drift: The tricks of going sideways</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/limited-run-nissan-gt-r-50-italdesign-makes-production-debut"><strong>Limited-run Nissan GT-R 50 by Italdesign makes production debut?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 00:01:25 +0100 BMW 5 Series update brings 523bhp M550i flagship to UK <a href="/car-news/new-cars/2020-bmw-5-series-facelift-brings-523bhp-m550i-flagship-uk"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW 530e 2020 facelift official images - tracking front" title="BMW 530e 2020 facelift official images - tracking front" /></a> BMW's executive class-leader is updated with revised engine options and new-look styling <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">BMW</a> has revealed a raft of upgrades for its <a href="">class-leading 5 Series</a> to fend off the newer <a href="">Audi A6</a> and refreshed <a href="">Mercedes-Benz E-Class</a>, including new technology, new engines and the introduction of a 523bhp M Performance variant to the UK line-up.</p> <p>A hardcore CS version of the V8-powered M5 super-saloon is coming later this year, too.</p> <p>The suite of updates to BMW’s executive mainstay also brings a new 389bhp 545e xDrive plug-in hybrid model into the line-up, plus UK customers will be able to order the 523bhp M550i for the first time. This variant has been on sale in mainland Europe since last year.</p> <p>Launched in 2016, the seventh-generation 5 Series has continued the success of its predecessors, with more than 600,000 sales achieved worldwide to date. The facelifted model is scheduled to reach UK dealerships in both its saloon and Touring estate guises in July.</p> <p>In a continuation of its electrification strategy, BMW has fitted its mild-hybrid system to all 5 Series petrol and diesel models with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine. First introduced to the line-up on the 520d last year, it adds a 48V starter-generator and a second battery.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Together, they provide an 11bhp temporary boost to the engine’s power reserves as well as a number of new fuel-saving features. These include a coast function that shuts down the engine for periods of trailing throttle, improved brake-energy recuperation and the ability for the engine to be automatically switched off at speeds below 9mph.</p> <p>Among the petrol models are the four-cylinder 181bhp 520i and the 248bhp 530i, as well as the six-cylinder 329bhp 540i. The 530i and 540i are available with standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. Above them is the four wheel-drive M550i xDrive. Available in saloon form only, its turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine delivers 523bhp and 553lb ft torque, enabling a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec.</p> <p>Three diesels are again available: the four-cylinder 188bhp 520d and two six-cylinder models, the 281bhp 530d and 335bhp 540d xDrive. The 520d and 530d come with standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive, while the 540d is available with four-wheel drive exclusively. Changes to the six-cylinder diesel engine – including the adoption of two-stage turbocharging and new common-rail piezo injectors that operate at up to 2700bar – bring gains of 20bhp and 22lb ft to the 530d and of 20bhp and 15lb ft to the 540d.</p> <p>The petrol-electric plug-in hybrid 530e, which comes with standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive, has been updated with the latest evolution of BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. However, it continues to deliver the same nominal combined system output of 248bhp and 310lb ft as before, with 288bhp and the same 310lb ft available for 10sec via a so-called XtraBoost function. On a full charge, it has a WLTP-certified electric-only range of up 42 miles.</p> <p>New to the family is the four wheel-drive 545e xDrive plug-in hybrid, which uses the same 248bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line-six-cylinder petrol engine and 107bhp electric motor as the larger 745e. Together, these provide a system output of 389bhp and 442lb ft, giving the 545e a 0-62mph time of 4.7sec and a governed 155mph top speed. The plug-in hybrid’s combined WLTP fuel economy is between 117.7mpg and 134.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 49-54g/km. With a lithium ion battery mounted within the floor of the boot, the 545e achieves an electric-only range of up to 35 miles at speeds of up to 87mph, according to BMW.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>As before, all drivetrains are mated to a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, with no manual option offered.</p> <p>Although the new M550i will head the range for now, a reworked M5 will be unveiled later this year. It’s set to sire a new M5 CS model with revised aerodynamics, including a rear wing similar to that seen on the <a href="">M2 CS</a>, <a href="">M3 CS</a> and <a href="http://M4 CS">M4 CS</a>, plus lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic components. Nothing is confirmed just yet but the future range-topping M5 model is rumoured to feature a newly developed V8 engine with even more firepower than the 616bhp twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 used by <a href="">today’s M5 Competition</a>.</p> <p>Exterior changes for the 5 Series are concentrated on the front grille, which is now wider and positioned lower than before. It also receives a new single-frame design, with a central element in chrome, and sits within a reprofiled front bumper.</p> <p>Styling tweaks have been applied to the headlights as well. They receive new graphics, with L-shaped daytime running lights and indicators located at the outer edges. LED headlights are once again standard, although there’s now a greater number of options, including BMW’s super-bright Laserlight high-beam option. There are also more heavily structured tail-lights similar in design to those that grace the latest 3 Series, as well as a redesigned rear bumper. Regardless of the model, all 5 Series are now fitted with trapezoidal tailpipes.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Buyers can now choose between two non-metallic and eight metallic colours. These include new Phytonic Blue metallic and Bernina Grey amber-effect metallic as part of the standard colour range and new Aventurine Red metallic and Tanzanite Blue metallic within the BMW Individual range. The upgraded brake calipers that are part of the M Sport styling package can also now be specified in red as well as the previous blue.</p> <p>From the start of sales for the new 5 Series, BMW is offering an M Sport Edition model in Donington Grey, a colour previously available for the M5 only, or Tanzanite Blue, which can otherwise be ordered only via BMW Individual. Limited to 1000 examples, the model also has 20in alloy wheels and a raft of typical M Sport touches.</p> <p>BMW says the adoption of new bumpers has increased the length of the saloon by 27mm and the Touring by 21mm so that both now measure 4963mm. Refinements to the aerodynamics – most notably with underbody cladding and an active air flap control system for the radiator – net the saloon a drag coefficient that is described as class-leading, at 0.23Cd, while the Touring is put at 0.26Cd.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Inside, the 5 Series has the latest seventh-generation version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system along with either a standard 10.3in or optional 12.3in central display. Entry-level SE cars get more kit than before, while M Sport estates receive black roof rails. Further interior tweaks are focused on the dashboard, which gains a new lower climate display alongside revised materials and gloss black centre console details.</p> <p>There are also new electric M multi-function seats, previously reserved for the M5, with integral head restraints and added side support as part of an optional M Sport package.</p> <p>The new 5 Series is available to order UK now, with prices for the saloon starting at £37,480 for the 520i SE. The estate commands an extra £2250. M Sport trim adds £3500 across the range, while M Sport Edition models are priced from £45,480.</p> <p>The newly added 545e xDrive, which will enter production in November, is priced from £54,945 in SE trim. The flagship M550i xDrive costs £67,595 – around £30,000 less than the current M5 Competition.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/industry/bmw-coronavirus-will-affect-new-car-demand-rest-2020">BMW: coronavirus will affect new car demand for rest of 2020</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/features/bmw-i8-why-bold-bmw-had-die">BMW i8: Why the bold BMW had to die</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-continues-defend-new-styling-direction">BMW continues to defend new styling direction</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 00:01:25 +0100 Best lease deals of the week: Top-quality diesels <a href="/car-news/advice/best-lease-deals"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW 5 Series - hero front" title="BMW 5 Series - hero front" /></a> Frugal and refined, these big oil-burners marry practicality with pleasing levels of potency <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Leasing can be an affordable, practical route into having your own private car, but it's not always easy to tell the good deals from the duds.?</p> <p>The experts at our sister magazine <a href="" target="_blank">What Car?</a> work hard to find you the best pay-monthly schemes, taking into account mileage allowance, montly outlay, contract length and initial deposit. We'll be bringing you the best deals they find from a different segment each week.</p> <p>This week, it's top-quality diesels:?</p> <h3><a href=""><strong>1.</strong></a><a href=""><strong> </strong></a><a href="">BMW?520D SE</a></h3> <p><strong>£2134 deposit, £355 per month, 48 months, 8000 miles per year</strong></p> <p>The best luxury saloon you can buy is a joy to drive, while the 2.0-litre diesel engine, the most popular in the range, is powerful yet economical. As for the cabin, its quality puts rivals twice the price to shame and <a href="">BMW</a> makes the best infotainment system around.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></a><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></a><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /><b>More BMW lease deals</b></a></p> <h3><a href="">2.</a><a href="">?</a><a href="">Range Rover Evoque D180 S Auto</a></h3> <p><strong>£2462?deposit, £410 per month, 48 months, 8000 miles per year</strong></p> <p>Stylish to its boots and thoroughly well-engineered, the Evoque is comfy and good to drive. It’s a big improvement on the original all round. The D180’s engine may not look much, but it’s easily potent enough. The interior is top-notch, too.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></a><a href=""><b>More Land Rover lease deals?</b></a></p> <h3><a href="">3. </a><a href="">Audi Q7 45 TDI Quattro Sport Tiptronic</a></h3> <p><strong>£3499 deposit, £583 per month, 48 months, 8000 miles per year</strong></p> <p>With seven generously proportioned seats, the Q7 is as practical as SUVs come. It’s luxurious as well, with a lovely interior and a cosseting ride. The 45 TDI has the least powerful engine in the range, but it’s still a strong performer.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><b>More Audi lease deals</b></a></p> <h3><a href="">4. </a><a href="">Volvo XC40 D3 R-Design Geartronic</a></h3> <p><strong>£1927 deposit, £321 per month, 48 months, 8000 miles per year</strong></p> <p>The XC40 blends Scandinavian style with down-to-earth practicality. It’s a roomy, well-equipped SUV and the D3 engine is the pick of the bunch, being more flexible, more relaxing and more economical than many of the petrols.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /><b>More Volvo lease deals</b></a></p> <p>For more great personal & business lease deals visit?<a href="" target="_blank">What Car? leasing</a>.?</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/best-cars/top-10-style-saloons-2020"><strong>Top 10 style saloons 2020</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="/new-car-release-dates">New Cars 2020: what's coming this year and when??</a></strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/hot-diesel-saloon-showdown-audi-vs-alpina-vs-mercedes"><strong>Hot diesel saloon showdown: Audi vs Alpina vs Mercedes</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 00:00:01 +0100 Autocar magazine 27 May - on sale now <a href="/magazine"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar magazine 27 May - on sale now" title="Autocar magazine 27 May - on sale now" /></a> This week: BMW 5 Series upgraded, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid road tested, Daniel Ricciardo on the upcoming F1 season, and more <div> <p>The <a href="">BMW 5 Series</a> will receive a veritable smorgasbord of upgrades as the German marque seeks to fortify the flagship line-up.</p> <p>Not only that, but <a href="">BMW</a> has also revealed official pictures of the new model. And, as usual, Autocar has all the details of the model that will take the fight to the newer <a href="">Audi A6</a> and the recently facelifted <a href="">Mercedes-Benz E-Class</a>.</p> <p><span>ALSO IN THIS ISSUE</span></p> <p>As well as updating the 5 Series, BMW has extended its <a href="">X2</a> line-up with a four-wheel-drive xDrive25e plug-in hybrid model, although fans of the 6 Series will be disappointed to learn that the saloon’s Gran Turismo variant will be taken off sale in the UK due to sluggish demand.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, <a href="">Mercedes</a> has revealed the <a href="">facelifted E-Class Coupé </a>and <a href="">E-Class Cabriolet</a>, <a href="">Alpina</a> has unleashed a 613bhp V8 take on <a href="">BMW’s X7</a> and <a href="">Renault</a> could be locking horns with the French state, which seeks to stop the French manufacturer from closing its factories. Renault has also revealed pricing for the?<a href="">Clio Hybrid</a> and <a href="">Captur Plug-In Hybrid</a>.</p> <p>To the UK now, and an update on the fortunes of <a href="">Jaguar Land Rover</a>, which is expanding its performance division, SVO, after a 64% jump in sales. <a href="">Mini</a> - British in origin, though now owned by BMW - will be hoping to follow suit. The iconic marque has updated its <a href="">Countryman</a> model, bringing more efficient engines, additional technology and aesthetic tweaks to one of the brand’s sales leaders.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href="">Hyundai </a>is readying a family of radical electric cars. Elsewhere, <a href="">Porsche</a> has poured water on the possibility of a turbo-free <a href="">911 Carrera</a>.</p> <p>Finally, in our analysis section, we talk to <a href="">Volkswagen’s</a> sales boss about the role of cars in the economic fightback against Covid-19.</p> <h3>Reviews</h3> <p>Tuning experts <a href="">Mountune</a> are no strangers to fast Fords, but what can it do with the <a href="">new Fiesta ST</a> - something of a cut-price hero already? We get behind the wheel to find out if some fettling can only sweeten the deal further.</p> <p>Next, we get a taste of the most powerful <a href="">X7</a> variant BMW makes, the <a href="">M50i</a>. A 523bhp V8 makes for impressive performance for such a large luxury SUV, but can it compete with premium rivals? We also sample the latest <a href="">Vauxhall Astra</a> in 143bhp guise, to see if the most potent petrol in the range will be a treat for private buyers.</p> <p>Then it’s the turn of the latest <a href="">Porsche Cayenne </a>to take on the demanding Autocar road test. The Turbo S E-hybrid is the most powerful variant in the range, with supercar-like pace, ample room and a comfortable ride, but is it the pick of the line-up?</p> <p>Finally, we turn back the clock to 2017 for our weekly Road Test Rewind, to when our timing gear and test track first got to sample the uncompromising <a href="">Porsche GT2 RS</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>Features</h3> <p>It would be foolish to think the ongoing Covid-19 crisis hasn’t impacted the automotive sector - but just how much effect has lockdown had on the British car industry? This week we take an in-depth look at every facet of the automotive world to see how companies are coping in the wake of the biggest downturn in new car sales since World War II.</p> <p>Buy any <a href="">Jaguar</a> or<a href=""> Land Rover</a> today and it will have been refined by Mike Cross and his team of vehicle engineers here in the UK. We head to the company’s headquarters to find out on which roads, and why they’re the best for tuning some of our most recognisable automotive exports.</p> <p>With environmental change forcing through new legislation all the time, the emergence of ultra-low emissions zones, or ULEZ, has made buying a car that little bit trickier. You don’t have to buy new to avoid paying a charge, though, as our second hand expert James Ruppert explains.</p> <p>We also test drive the new US-spec <a href="">Toyota GR Supra</a>?without leaving home, with the aid of an eerily accurate driving simulator?that you can buy?for your games console.</p> <p>Daniel Ricciardo shook the F1 world earlier this month when he signed for <a href="">McLaren</a>, completing a series of moves that will see a significantly changed grid for the 2021 season. We spoke to him before the announcement to get his views on his performance, the rest of the paddock, and the value of experience in a field increasingly filled with young drivers.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><span>Opinions</span></p> <p>Steve Cropley opines on the death and resurrection of the city car, which will likely survive in electrified form but see prices shoot up to account for all that new technology, and considers which EV he’d buy now Motorsport UK has announced rules for grassroots racing with battery-powered cars. Elsewhere, Matt Prior enjoys clear roads (though not Grand Theft Auto-mimicking drivers) as he embarks on his first batch of road tests post-lockdown.</p> <h3>Deals</h3> <p>Bangernomics champion James Ruppert isn’t a fan of the PCH deal, a practice he lovingly dubs “personal fleecing” - especially when you can buy a luxo-barge for buttons if you don’t mind shopping used. He scours the classifieds and finds plenty of second hand examples that will cost you less.</p> <p>We look at the <a href="">Volkswagen Arteon</a> in our nearly-new guide, detailing the quirks and foibles of <a href="">VW’s</a> sleek saloon that makes for a great used buy once someone else has taken the depreciation hit, then turn our attention to the <a href="">BMW M3</a> in our used car buying guide. The <a href="">E36</a>-generation?isn’t the most well-regarded <a href="">M</a> car, but that just means they can still be had for sensible money.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Never miss an issue –<a href=" mp;utm_medium=Autocar%20subs&utm_content=Mag%20RoundUp%20P age&utm_campaign=MagShop%20multi%20offer"> subscribe to Autocar magazine today. </a></p> <p><a href="">Autocar</a>?magazine is available through all good newsagents. You can also buy one-off copies of Autocar magazine from <a href=" Car- Magazines/123-Subscribe- to-AUTOCAR- Magazine-Subscription.aspx?PubID=1">Newsstand</a>, delivered to your door the morning after.</p> <p>Digital copies can be downloaded from <a href=" /">Zinio</a> and the <a href="">Apple iTunes store</a>.</p> </div> News Wed, 27 May 2020 00:00:01 +0100 BMW axes 6 Series GT in UK due to SUV demand <a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-axes-6-series-gt-uk-due-suv-demand"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW 6 Series GT facelift - front" title="BMW 6 Series GT facelift - front" /></a> Facelifted liftback has been launched for other countries but won't be heading to Britain <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">BMW</a> is withdrawing the <a href="">6 Series Gran Turismo</a> from the UK due to slow sales of the five-door executive liftback.</p> <p>The UK was expected to be one of the biggest markets for the model, which <a href="">replaced the 5 Series GT in 2017</a>, but BMW has confirmed it won’t offer the facelifted version that has been unveiled for sale in other countries. The current model will be removed from UK price lists next month.</p> <p>The demise of the 6 Series GT in the UK is put down the increasing popularity of BMW’s SUV models, which, company officials say, offer similar levels of practicality in combination with greater ride height and a higher seating position.</p> <p>Just 209 examples of the 6 Series GT found homes across Europe during the first month of 2020. The model was also axed from the US last summer due to similarly slow sales. Anecdotal reports suggest the model, as with the 5 Series Gran Turismo it replaced, stayed on sale for so long as it was?a personal favourite of BMW board chairman Norbert Reithofer.</p> <p>Among the key changes to the <a href="">Audi A7 Sportback</a> rival for its facelift is an exterior styling upgrade that ushers in a new-look front grille and altered headlights.</p> <p>Revisions at the rear are more subtle and include reworked tail-lights that feature a more structured look than before and a redesigned bumper with trapezoidal tailpipes.</p> <p>There is also a revised dashboard with new trim pieces, high-gloss controls and a 12.3in infotainment display. There are subtle mechanical changes across the board, with both petrol and diesels still offered.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW: coronavirus will affect new car demand for rest of 2020</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW i8: Why the bold BMW had to die</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 23:41:24 +0100 New BMW X2 PHEV offers 217bhp and 33-mile EV range <a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-bmw-x2-phev-offers-217bhp-and-33-mile-ev-range"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW X2 plug-in hybrid official press images - hero front" title="BMW X2 plug-in hybrid official press images - hero front" /></a> Petrol-electric xDrive25e variant arrives ahead of X2 facelift to rival the Mercedes GLA 250e <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">BMW</a> has extended its <a href="">X2 line-up</a> with a four-wheel-drive xDrive25e plug-in hybrid model just four months before the sporting crossover is due to receive a mid-life facelift.</p> <p>The X2 xDrive25e will rival the all-new <a href="">Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e</a> when it goes on sale here in July and adopts what BMW describes as a fourth-generation petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain.</p> <p>The same system is used by <a href="">the X1 xDrive25e</a> and <a href="">225xe Active Tourer</a>. It employs a transversely mounted turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing 123bhp and 162lb ft of torque together with an electric motor located within the rear axle and developing 94bhp and 122lb ft.</p> <p>The two power sources provide the X2 xDrive25e with a combined system output of 217bhp and 284lb ft of torque. Drive from the petrol engine is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, while the electric motor channels its energy to the rear wheels via a fixed-ratio gearbox.</p> <p>BMW claims a 0-62mph time of 6.8sec and a top speed in Hybrid mode of 121mph. In combination with a 10kWh lithium ion battery mounted in the boot floor, BMW’s petrol-electric powertrain provides the X2 xDrive25e with an electric-only range of up to 33 miles on the WLTP test cycle.</p> <p>The model’s combined fuel consumption is 166.2mpg overall and it achieves 4.1 miles per kWh in electric-only running. The WLTP-certified CO2 emissions are 38g/km. The model’s top speed in electric-only mode is put at 84mph.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The new X2 model can be told apart from its petrol and diesel siblings by a redesigned front bumper. It forgoes the round foglights featured on other X2 models in favour of units integrated into the main headlight assembly – an arrangement that is expected to be reflected in <a href="">the facelifted X2 that’s due out in September</a>.</p> <p>Inside, there are new readouts within the Infotainment system that provide details of energy flow, current and range. Model-specific equipment for the X2 xDrive25e includes an acoustic pedestrian warning system, uniquely styled 17in alloy wheels and dual-zone air conditioning that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/hot-m550i-heads-revised-bmw-5-series-range">Hot M550i heads revised BMW 5 Series range</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW: coronavirus will affect new car demand for rest of 2020</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Popularity of BMW’s SUVs kills off 6 Series GT in the UK</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 23:31:23 +0100 2020 Mini Countryman gains cleaner engines and design tweaks <a href="/car-news/new-cars/2020-mini-countryman-gains-cleaner-engines-and-design-tweaks"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mini Countryman 2020 facelift - official press images - hero front" title="Mini Countryman 2020 facelift - official press images - hero front" /></a> Big-selling SUV renews attack on the Nissan Juke with emissions-reducing technology and refreshed look <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">Mini</a> has applied a series of design, technology and efficiency upgrades to <a href="">the Countryman</a> in an attempt to give it an edge over the fresher-faced <a href="">Nissan Juke</a> and <a href="">Volkswagen T-Roc</a>.</p> <p>The small SUV, which has been on the market in second-generation form since 2017, already accounts for just under 30% of Mini’s global sales.</p> <p>External revisions are similar to those drafted in when Mini facelifted its <a href="">three-door and five-door hatchbacks in 2018</a> and <a href="">Clubman estate</a> in 2019. These include a new radiator grille design with a one-piece chrome frame, standard LED headlights and foglights, LED tail-lights with the now-trademark Union Jack motif and new alloy wheel designs.</p> <p>Also now available is a Piano Black Exterior pack that replaces the standard chrome detailing with gloss black. The Light White, Melting Silver and Chestnut paints have been removed but Sage Green and White Silver have been added.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Inside are a number of detail changes, chief among which is the adoption of the digital instrument display that <a href="">first appeared in the Mini Electric</a>. In cars fitted with one of the Navigation packs, this 5.0in display combines with an 8.8in infotainment touchscreen that sits within a revised version of the central instrument circle featuring piano black surfacing.</p> <p>The standard media system now features Bluetooth as standard, plus an Amazon Alexa voice assistant that works via a built-in SIM card.</p> <p>Mini has also extended its range of personalisation options by adding two new leather upholstery choices and a new Mini Yours interior style package. The flagship Cooper S and plug-in hybrid S E All4 models feature additional piano black interior trim, too.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="675" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Mechanically, the changes to the Countryman aren’t drastic. Mini claims an “extensively developed” engine range, but power isn’t boosted. Instead, the changes are focused on improving efficiency, with lower CO2 emissions ratings across the range of three- and four-cylinder turbo petrol engines and four-cylinder diesels. Particulate filters are used on the petrols, while the diesels employ Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology.</p> <p>The petrol engines in the Cooper and Cooper S now also feature an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, while a more efficient starter-generator system is standard across the range. Mini is yet to introduce full mild-hybrid technology, however.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Cooper D now benefits from the same two-stage turbocharging as the more powerful Cooper S D. Mini’s All4 four-wheel drive system is optional across the range, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox is now standard on All4 versions of the Cooper and Cooper D. The plug-in hybrid goes unchanged.</p> <p>The facelifted Countryman is available to order now, with a small price increase over the original across the board.</p> <p><strong>Q&A: Oliver Heilmer, head of design</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="675" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Q. What was the design brief for updating the Countryman?</strong></p> <p>“When we started this project, it was pretty clear. We knew there were just a few parts to change. The headlights, tail-lights, wheels: let’s focus on those details that mark out the age of the product. The first brief was to modernise the Countryman as it is. We also wanted it to appear more vertical in terms of its character, less horizontal.”</p> <p><strong>Q. Mini’s Union Jack tail-light design has proven controversial in the UK. Has it been well received elsewhere?</strong></p> <p>“You can imagine that this is a discussion within Mini, but with the new Countryman, as well as with the Clubman before, it’s not directly the Union Jack any more. We said ‘okay, let’s keep this design, but not in that context as we did with the hatch’. That’s something we weren’t aware of when designing [for the hatch]. We know that it might be criticised, but in other countries we’re getting a lot of positive feedback, saying ‘it’s so unique’. My hope is that sooner or later you understand it as a Mini sign and not the Union Jack as it was before.”</p> <p><strong>Q. Are there any more updates to come, or are you moving to the next generation now?</strong></p> <p>“Now we’re really focusing on the next generation of our Mini family. It’s so much fun, I can promise you.”</p> <p><strong>Q. The next-generation Mini hatchback has been delayed until 2022 or 2023. Will the design change as a result?</strong></p> <p>“Since we’re talking about the hatch, I think it’s always important to keep the character of the original Mini somehow; this is something that’s kind of timeless. But time is changing, technology is changing and this is what we’re happy to anticipate for our new generation. So it helps us that there’s more time than we thought.”</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mini-shrink-flagship-hatch-and-launch-traveller-crossover">Mini to shrink flagship hatch and launch Traveller crossover</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-mini-electric-revealed-affordable-brit-built-ev">New Mini Electric revealed as affordable Brit-built EV</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-next-generation-mini-hatch-be-delayed">BMW: next-generation Mini hatch to be delayed</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 23:01:24 +0100 New styling, tech for Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Cabriolet <a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-styling-tech-mercedes-benz-e-class-coupe-and-cabriolet"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe 2020 facelift - official images - front" title="Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe 2020 facelift - official images - front" /></a> Executive pair gain sportier design and mild-hybrid tech for enhanced performance and frugality <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a> has revealed the facelifted E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet, which<a href=""> follow the saloon and estate versions </a>shown earlier this year with revamped electrified engines and a host of design and technology upgrades.</p> <p>Due to go on sale in the UK and Europe this autumn, the style-focused models feature a range of alterations designed to enhance their appeal, including a new ‘A-shape’ front grille and flatter LED headlights and tail-lights. Both maintain their customary three-door, four-seat designs and the Cabriolet a folding fabric roof.</p> <p>E-Class product manager Andrea Ruland said: “A big focus was that we wanted to make them look more dynamic. Customers liked the general design of the previous E-Class range but wanted it to look sportier. It’s a big step forward.”</p> <p>Mercedes has extensively reworked the electronics of<a href=""> the W213-generation E-Class</a> for this mid-life upgrade, and as a result it gains the firm’s new steering wheel with capacitive touch controls.</p> <p>Many of the other physical buttons inside have been replaced by capacitive controls, including the latest latest version of Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system with two 10.25in screens (or two 12.3in screens as an option). There are also new driver assistance features, ‘energising’ comfort functions and an optional Urban Guard theft protection pack.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The engine line-up for the standard E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet will comprise two diesels and three petrols at launch, ranging from 2.0 to 3.0 litres in capacity and producing between 192bhp and 362bhp.</p> <p>These make extensive use of Mercedes’ 48V Integrated Starter Generator, which uses an electric alternator fitted directly to the nine-speed automatic gearbox to offer up to 20bhp and 133lb ft of torque in certain situations.</p> <p>The mild-hybrid system is also designed to aid fuel economy, which starts from an official 60.3mpg for the entry-level E200d diesel and 40.3mpg for the E200 petrol. Several engines, including the 263bhp petrol in the E450, are offered in combination with four-wheel drive.</p> <p>The E-Class Coupé and E-Class Cabriolet ranges will be topped by E53 variants from <a href="">Mercedes’ AMG performance arm</a>. These use a 429bhp litre twin-turbocharged 3.0-engine with an integrated starter generator that can produce an extra 21bhp and 184lb ft. This is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox.</p> <p>The E53 Coupé can achieve 0-62mph in 4.4sec – 0.2sec quicker than the E53 Cabriolet. Both AMG models have a top speed of 155mph. As before, the full-fat E63 won’t offered with either two-door bodystyle.</p> <p>As well as the infotainment and technology upgrades as the regular E-Class models, the performance pair gain a number of AMG-specific styling tweaks, including a bespoke grille and new front splitter designed to bring them closer in line to the AMG GT sports car.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>There are also new 19in alloy wheels, along with a 20in set on the options list, plus a number of new paint colours bespoke to AMG. Along with functions such as Dynamic Select driving modes and AMG’s Ride Control+ air suspension, the E53 Coupé and E53 Cabriolet will also be offered with AMG’s Dynamic Plus Package for the first time.</p> <p>This includes a redesigned steering wheel, additional bespoke design elements and a Race driving mode that includes a drift function. A price rise of around £500 is expected for both models.</p> <p>READ MORE</p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/mercedes-reduce-model-line-platforms-and-powertrains">Mercedes to reduce model line-up, platforms and powertrains</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/industry/history-mercedes-benz-amg-picture-special">The history of Mercedes-Benz AMG - picture special</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mercedes to launch 32 new models by 2022 in massive rollout</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 23:01:24 +0100 Next-gen Mercedes GLC hits the road in production bodywork <a href="/car-news/new-cars/next-gen-mercedes-glc-hits-road-production-bodywork"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes GLC - spy shot" title="Mercedes GLC - spy shot" /></a> Merc’s new Audi Q5 rival is expected to be unveiled next year with lower and sleeker design <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>First prototypes of <a href="">Mercedes-Benz’s </a>upcoming second-generation <a href="">GLC</a> have been spotted testing on German roads, well ahead of the car’s launch.</p> <p>Complementing further sightings of the next <a href="">C-Class</a> saloon, due to be revealed before the end of 2020 and go on sale next year, the GLC will be revealed in the middle of next year and arrive in showrooms <span>in?</span>late 2021, <span>Autocar understands</span>.</p> <p>A prototype was seen wearing typical camouflage, yet the GLC’s shape has clearly changed quite substantially over its predecessor. It appears longer and lower, and perhaps a little wider, with less of an upright SUV stance. A longer wheelbase and overhangs should therefore mean more interior space.</p> <p>The GLC’s front and rear ends are expected to share design elements with its platform-sharing C-Class sibling?but, while the saloon has dropped much of its camouflage, the SUV gives little away about its front and rear ends.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Mercedes is aiming the make the C-Class the most advanced model in its class when it launches later this year. It will help achieve this via a new Drive Pilot function with level-three autonomous capability. It’s a similar system to that making its debut?in the flagship <a href="">S-Class </a>in the coming months, and should also be offered on the GLC.</p> <p>We know that under the body the GLC will be closely linked to the C-Class, as it is today, sharing the same MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform. The platform change is crucial for the introduction of more electrified models: Mercedes is likely to offer 48V mild-hybrid technology across most of the GLC range, while further PHEV options beyond the current 300e petrol and 300de diesel choices are expected. A range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel options are anticipated.</p> <p>The MRA platform means the GLC, as before, should come with a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system as standard. Optional will be an air-sprung set-up, while both rear- and four-wheel drive should be offered depending on variant. Further details will emerge later this year.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mercedes-Benz reveals first official image of new S-Class</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Next Mercedes-Benz SL will return to sporting roots</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Official: Aston Martin names Mercedes-AMG chief as new boss</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 16:57:15 +0100 2021 Land Rover Discovery: prototype of facelifted SUV spotted <a href="/car-news/new-cars/2021-land-rover-discovery-prototype-facelifted-suv-spotted"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="2021 Land Rover Discovery facelift prototype - front" title="2021 Land Rover Discovery facelift prototype - front" /></a> Seven-seat Land Rover will receive a styling refresh and a hybrid option as part of a major update <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Land Rover will launch its first hybrid <a href="">Discovery</a> as part of a roster of updates aimed at boosting the model’s sales, which continue to fall below expectations.</p> <p>Photos of?prototypes show a substantial disguise for what is described by a <a href="">Land Rover</a> source as a “model-year update”, suggesting the changes are more far reaching than the usual equipment upgrades and light tweaks. More revealing still, however, is that the first?prototype we spotted was?registered as a hybrid model.</p> <p>New images show a disguised prototype from all angles, confirming that any planned styling changes are subtle?and likely limited to new light clusters and reshaped bumpers.?</p> <p><span>Land Rover is yet to officially confirm which hybrid powertrain the initial</span><span>?test mule wa</span><span>s using. It’s possible the firm is considering introducing a plug-in hybrid variant with the four-cylinder P400e system used on the </span><a href="">Range Rover</a><span> and </span><a href="">Range Rover Sport</a><span>.</span></p> <p><span>However, Autocar understands the model spotted testing was a mild-hybrid, using the 48V system added to the Range Rover last year. The only current Land Rover system suitable for a car of this size and weight is the latest?turbocharged 3.0-litre?straight-six petrol engine mated to a starter-generator and 48V battery.</span></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><span>However, given the Discovery’s diesel-heavy sales mix, expect such a system to be introduced in the four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesels for the seven-seat SUV’s launch, likely at the end of 2020.</span></p> <p>Updates such as this will be crucial as Land Rover aims to avoid <a href="">fines under the EU’s fleet average CO2 target</a>. The brand’s two biggest hopes for achieving this will be the new?<a href="">Discovery Sport</a> and <a href="">Range Rover Evoque</a> plug-in hybrids, <a href="/car-news/new-cars/land-rover-launches-discovery-sport-and-evoque-plug-hybrids">which are set to?be delivered to customers in May</a>. They use a 197bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and a 107bhp electric powertrain for an electric-only range of about 30 miles.</p> <p>The extent of the visual changes to the Discovery isn't yet clear. The front end of both test?cars features?the most extensive disguise, suggesting a new grille and bumper, but it remains to be seen if the controversial asymmetrical?rear-end design will remain or be overhauled.</p> <p>Technology is expected to advance, with revamped infotainment and display systems and active safety systems.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New £25k Land Rover to be followed by luxo-Defender</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Range Rover EV to be most road-biased Land Rover yet</a>?</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/land-rover-launches-discovery-sport-and-evoque-plug-hybrids"><strong>Land Rover launches Discovery Sport and Evoque plug-in hybrids</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 16:28:24 +0100 Geneva motor show organisers "very uncertain" of 2021 return <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/geneva-motor-show-organisers-very-uncertain-2021-return"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Geneva motor show - show floor" title="Geneva motor show - show floor" /></a> Show organisers waive offer of loan from Canton of Geneva due to conditions attached to it <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The organisers of the <a href="/car-news/geneva-motor-show">Geneva motor show </a>have withdrawn their application for financial support from the Canton of Geneva following <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/2020-geneva-motor-show-axed-due-coronavirus">the cancellation of this year’s event</a>.?</p> <p>The Geneva State Council had offered a loan of 16.8 million francs (£14.1m), but The Foundation of the Geneva International Motor Show (FGIMS) has deemed the terms ‘contradictory’ to its values and has waived the loan.</p> <p>The 2020 Geneva motor show was among the first?high-profile European?automotive events to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the local government banning public gatherings just four days before it was scheduled to begin at the Palexpo exhibition centre on 5 March.?</p> <p>In an official statement, FGIMS said the decision meant its financial situation was “thus severely weakened”, and requested financial aid from the Canton of Geneva to recoup its losses - estimated at 11m francs - and to help prepare for next year’s event.?</p> <p>The organisation said that the conditions attached to the loan “aim to completely outsource the show including its conceptualisation to Palexpo SA”, and “are not acceptable to the foundation.?In fact, they are in contradiction to the statutes and especially to the purpose of the foundation formulated more than 100 years ago."?</p> <p>The statement also cast doubt on whether the event will go ahead in 2021: “Furthermore, the organisation of the event in 2021 – a condition linked to the urgency clause of the draft legislation – is very uncertain at the moment.”</p> <p>Several exhibitors are said to be campaigning for the next event to be held in 2022, while?FGIMS plans to “restore financial stability as quickly as possible and to be able to organise a follow-up edition”.?</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-car-industry"><strong>Coronavirus and the car world</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Geneva motor show 2019: Autocar's star cars?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/geneva-motor-show-2019"><strong>Geneva motor show 2019: full report and pictures?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 15:31:50 +0100 Choosing China's finest: finding the best car in the world's largest automotive market <a href="/car-news/features/choosing-chinas-finest-finding-best-car-worlds-largest-automotive-market"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Best Car for China competition" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> As leading Chinese manufacturers begin the push into Western markets, we see how they will stack up against established competitors</blockquote> Given the importance of China's car market, the inaugural ‘Best Car For China’ contest should be the start of something big <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The Guangdong International Circuit is a flat, wide race track which has seen better days, with weeds in the gravel traps and brand new tower blocks and building sites looming ominously around it as the construction industry closes in on its valuable real estate.?</p> <p>So it isn’t the ideal venue at which to compare 23 different Chinese saloons, SUVs and MPVs, not one of which has even a hint of sporting intent.?</p> <p><em>This article was originally published on 17 December 2018. We're revisiting some of Autocar's most popular features to provide engaging content in these challenging times.?</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Yet Chinese driving licenses are a tricky thing to come by, so it was to the circuit we went in order to help judge the first running of a new Chinese ‘car of the year’ competition, or Best Car For China, to give it its full and proper name.?</p> <p>Anyway, who needs roads when you have cones on the main straight for a slalom, various gates to drive through, temporary speed humps between some of the corners, an emergency stop zone and still the opportunity to drive it like you stole it??</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>I jest, but this is serious business. China is the world’s largest car market (24.7 million sold last year, although this year likely to fall marginally for the first time in a generation as the trade war with the US bites), so assembled here are most of the biggest sellers in the most important segments.?</p> <p>Sales numbers are the chief criteria for entry among this line-up. Each of China’s top-10 bestselling saloons between January and August this year were among them, a remarkable <a href="/car-news/features/insight-11-volkswagen-saloons-youve-never-heard">six of which are Volkswagens</a>, including the <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-beijing-motor-show/2018-volkswagen-lavida-new-version-china-only-saloon">best-selling Lavida</a>, which shifted 284,655 units.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The four top-selling MPVs are along too, including China’s biggest-selling vehicle in any class, the gloriously oddball Wuling Hongguang (296,663 sales).?</p> <p>The five top SUVs, including the all-conquering <a href="’s-biggest-car-maker-targets-global-launch">Haval H6</a>, are present and correct, as are four of the best-selling electric vehicles. It’s not a surprise that China is the world’s biggest market for EVs, but it might raise eyebrows to learn that 200-mile-plus ranges are the norm across many of the big players.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Us judges are given a score sheet by the organisers, Chinese media giant Internet Info Agency. We can award a total of up to 105 points to each car. Some things are weighted more than others – seat comfort gets eight points to the five of acceleration – but the logic behind that is never properly explained. But after scoring a few cars, it all adds up to the kind of figure you would give out of 100 using any other system.?</p> <p>To the saloons first, then, and a gathering that feels more like an Avis car park than a prestigious automotive contest given the level of visual humdrumness present. ‘Hire car’ is a fairly apt description for the <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-beijing-motor-show/nissan-sylphy-zero-emission-revealed-leaf-based-ev-china">Nissan Sylphy</a> and <a href="/car-review/toyota/corolla/first-drives/toyota-corolla-20-hybrid-hatchback-2019-review">Toyota Corolla</a> (not the new one coming here next year). Both feel robust but are devoid of any spark or flair and unable to shake the feeling of being products of committees – and ones assembled well over a decade a go at that.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Not that the punters seem to care. The <a href="/car-reviews/nissan">Nissan</a> and <a href="/car-reviews/toyota">Toyota</a> were China’s second and third most popular saloons in the first eight months of this year, with more than half a million sold between them. One theme that quickly emerges is the sheer scale of the figures you encounter when dealing with China’s car sales.?</p> <p>The true home-grown saloon in this company, the <a href="/car-news/new-cars/geely-plans-£15-billion-investment-lotus">Geely</a> Emgrand, has a coarse drivetrain and poor body control, while the China-only Buick Excelle is based on the previous-generation <a href="/car-review/vauxhall/astra">Opel Astra </a>and offers a driving experience to match.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>What is soon apparent is that this will be a case of finding out which VW saloon is best. There are duds even here, though, with the VWs all being quite different ages and based on different architectures from different eras.?</p> <p>At one extreme are the Santana and<a href="/car-review/volkswagen/jetta"> Jetta</a>, which are vying for the ‘worst to drive’ title. Both are based on a low-rent development of the VW Group’s old PQ25 platform and are similar to the <a href="/car-review/skoda/rapid">Skoda Rapid</a> and <a href="/car-review/seat/toledo">Seat Toledo</a> sold in Europe.?</p> <p>The Santana is particularly crass, its recipe flavoured with the unappealing combination of slow-witted automatic gearbox, coarse engine and dead brake pedal, while your hands caress a steering wheel from a late 1990s <a href="/car-review/skoda/fabia">Skoda Fabia</a>.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Why two such similar cars, though? VW actually sells models under two different joint venture companies in China: FAW-VW and SAIC-VW. Each is roughly the same size, selling in different parts of the country and thus not competing. Each often gets its own similarly sized car, with a different badge, look (well, just about) and chassis tuning.?</p> <p>So the Santana and Jetta are similar, as are the Lavida and Bora. But the latter pair are much better. The pound-for-pound pick of the VW saloon range is the Bora, which has the more modern MQB underpinnings. Sold by FAW-VW, the Bora is particularly sweet with the 1.4 TSI engine and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic ’box.?</p> <p>The SAIC-VW Lavida is not quite as well resolved, but these two MQB-based models are the real sweet spots both of VW’s range and all the saloons here. They have the best combinations of driving dynamics, interior, price and value, costing from around £11,000.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The larger Sagitar costs roughly £7000 more than that but is neither worth the money nor the better car, it being based on the Jetta that’s just gone out of production in Europe. Rounding off the VWs today is the Magotan, better known to us as the current <a href="/car-review/volkswagen/passat">Passat</a>. It’s objectively the best, but the Bora’s all-round appeal trumps it for me.?</p> <p>It’s a VW we turn to first on day two, when we assess the SUVs and MPVs. VW is demonstrably a giant of the Chinese car industry, and while we were in the country the manufacturer announced the sale of its 30 millionth car there. More than 200,000 of those are of this new long-wheelbase<a href="/car-review/volkswagen/tiguan"> Tiguan</a> here at our disposal, and its quality and all-round appeal should make for a fairly compelling proposition among the judges.?</p> <p>It’s impressive, no doubt, but a little detached in its drive, by enough for me not to score it as my highest entrant. I’ve almost surprised myself in giving that honour to the Trumpchi GS4 (stop sniggering at the back), which is produced by Guangzhou-based GAC.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>That decision was reached not only for its contemporary overall package but also because of how genuinely decent it is to drive. Cover the badges and you could be in any one of a number of mid-mass-market European family SUVs. Unlike past experiences, this is a Chinese car not to be immediately dismissed for its lack of engagement. That’s huge progress, and we await GAC’s European launch plans with interest following its recently stated intention to come here.?</p> <p>A couple of other home-grown cars impress today. The Geely Boyue offers a broadly similar package to the Trumpchi and feels only half a star behind. The Haval H6 is perhaps more suited to the US, offering a softer drive in that ‘hell of a lot of car for the money’ way familiar from so many US-market SUVs. You can picture it working there.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The BYD Song Max repeats the trick pulled off by Trumpchi in the MPV class, with a pleasing drive, nice exterior styling and an interior dominated by a big Tesla-style touchscreen. Once again, you could take the badges off and not guess its origins.?</p> <p>The rest of the contenders here are largely also-rans, offering bland drives mated to cabins from another era. The<a href="/car-review/seat/arona"> Seat Arona</a>-sized Baojun 510 SUV is notable only for its £6000 starting price, and that car’s sibling, the Baojun 730, repeats the trick as a 4.8-metre-long seven-seat SUV costing from £11,500. The Buick GL8 MPV is apparently premium at £42,000 but feels nothing like worthy of that price. The cheapest car here, the aforementioned Wuling Hongguang, will not trouble the podium, but wins hearts if not points.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The final day covers the electric cars, but none of the assembled four – Geely Emgrand EV, BYD E5, Chery iEV5 and JAC EV200 – really show the breed at its best. Scores of new start-up electric car brands are now emerging from China, each well-funded and packed with European design and engineering talent. For next year’s contest we expect a much stronger showing provided some of these entrants have broken through.?</p> <p>For the record, the Emgrand EV claimed the best electric car crown. And the overall victor, chosen from the saloons, SUVs, and MPVs? It was a VW one-two-three, with the Tiguan topping the podium ahead of the Magotan and Bora. My own top three was Trumpchi first, Bora second and a tie for third between the BYD Song Max and Tiguan.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>It was a shame to see nothing truly home-grown on the podium, but there’s democracy for you. But what this showed us more than anything was just how far Chinese cars have come in such a short space of time, and how close they are to really having a chance of successfully cracking the European car market.?</p> <p>China’s car makers first need to build decent cars with compelling branding, then win on price by following the strategy initially employed by previously sneered-at brands such as <a href="/car-reviews/kia">Kia</a>, <a href="/car-reviews/hyundai">Hyundai</a>, <a href="/car-reviews/skoda">Skoda</a> and <a href="/car-reviews/dacia">Dacia</a> in order to successfully launch in Europe. If a car’s good to look at, good to drive and cheap to own, the buyers will come. Chinese car makers are ticking more and more of those boxes by the day.?</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/insight-11-volkswagen-saloons-youve-never-heard"><strong>Insight: 11 Volkswagen saloons you've never heard of?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/analysis-how-volkswagen-conquering-china"><strong>Analysis: how Volkswagen is conquering China?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-and-chinese-car-industry-what-we-can-learn"><strong>Coronavirus and the Chinese car industry: what we can learn?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 15:00:05 +0100 Coronavirus and the car world: Fresh hopes for British GP <a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-car-industry"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="" /></a> Latest news: English car dealerships to open on 1 June; Silverstone Classic cancelled; Jaguar Land Rover seeking government loan <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The massive global effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had an equally seismic impact on the car industry.</p> <p>Factories have been shuttered around the world, dramatic?stock market falls have?hit the value of virtually every car firm, vehicle sales have plummeted and most major motorsport events have been cancelled.</p> <p>This is Autocar’s round-up of how the car world is being impacted. It will be updated regularly with information and links to more in-depth stories.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 26?May: McLaren custs 1200 staff, British GP chiefs hopeful despite quarantine rules, English dealerships to re-open on 1 June?</strong></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The </span><strong>McLaren Group?</strong><span>will cut around 1200 staff across its automotive, racing and technology divisions, as part of a major restructure due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The chances of Silverstone staging a pair of <strong>Formula 1 </strong>races, including the British Grand Prix, have been boosted, with reports that?Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to introduce an exemption to the UK's new quarantine rules to allow the event to go ahead. The government will shortly introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for all overseas arrivals into the country, which could prevent teams from being able to attend Silverstone. The circuit is due to host a pair of races in mid-July, with the first just seven days after the season of two events at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.</span></p> <p>The Times has now reported that Johnson raised the issue at a cabinet meeting last week, and is keen to create an exemption to allow sporting events such as the grand prix to go ahead. F1 bosses have talked to officials at Germany's Hockenheim circuit about potentially holding races in place of Silverstone.</p> <p><strong>● Car dealerships?</strong>in England will be able to re-open on 1 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced. All dealerships will need to introduce a number of social distancing and safety measures before customers are allowed to visit. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>This year's</span><strong> Silverstone Classic </strong><span>motoring festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. The three-day classic race meeting had been due to run on 31 July-2 August, and would have been the event's 30th anniversary. Organisers said that holding the meeting with social distancing measures in place would have been "a huge challenge" due to the large number of competitors, and that it wasn't viable to run behind closed doors. Around 100,000 spectators usually attend the event, which organisers have vowed will return in 2021.</span></p> <p><strong>Monday 25 May: Jaguar Land Rover seeking government loan</strong></p> <p><strong>● Jaguar Land Rover?</strong>is said to be seeking a substantial government loan to support it as the effect of the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the automotive industry.?</p> <p>First reported by Sky News, Britain's biggest car maker is said to be asking the Treasury?for temporary state funding of over £1bn. JLR has refused to confirm reports beyond stating it is "constantly in discussion with the government on a number of matters", but a spokesperson called suggestions that the loan amount could be as high as £2bn?as "inaccurate and speculative".</p> <p>The company has furloughed around 18,000 of its 38,000 UK employees under the government's Job Retention Scheme. It does not qualify for the Treasury's?Corporate Financing Facility, aimed at large businesses, because its credit rating is not strong enough.?</p> <p>JLR's most recent results, for the January to March period, claimed it had £3.6bn in cash and investments alongside an undrawn credit facility of £1.9bn. Credit rating agency Standard and Poor reckoned it has burned through £1bn a month during the crisis, while the initial spread of the virus across Asia saw sales drop by nearly a third between January and March.?</p> <p><strong>Friday 22 May: SMMT calls for dealerships to re-open to boost economy</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><strong>?</strong><strong>British car retailers</strong> are “ready to get back to business” and end the £61 million daily cost to the Treasury of keeping dealerships closed, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).</p> <p>The UK industry body claims the daily cost is through lost tax income, with automotive retail contributing £36bn a year to the Treasury,? and the cost of furloughing the retail sector’s 590,000 employees. It calls for the country’s 4,900-strong network of new car showrooms to be reopened “as a matter of urgency” to allow the market to restart and provide a boost to the economy.?</p> <p>SMMT chief Mike Hawes said “Government measures to support the critical automotive industry during the crisis have provided an essential lifeline, and the sector is now ready to return to work to help the UK rebuild.</p> <p>“Car showrooms, just like garden centres, are spacious and can accommodate social distancing easily, making them some of the UK’s safest retail premises. Allowing dealers to get back to business will help stimulate consumer confidence and unlock recovery of the wider industry, boosting tax revenue and reducing the burden on government spending”?</p> <p>Earlier this month the British government tentatively gave a date of 1 June for showrooms to re-open as part of the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions. However, this has yet to be confirmed, and depends on the progress of the pandemic.?</p> <p>The SMMT has partnered with the National Franchised Retailers Association (NFDA) to publish best practice guidance for showrooms to ensure social distancing and a safe buying process.?</p> <p><strong>Thursday?21?May: Jaguar Land Rover completes first models under new social distancing measures,?PSA Group launches new anti-bac air con service</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span><strong>?Jaguar Land Rover </strong>yesterday completed production of the first Range Rover made under new social distancing measures at its Solihull factory.?</span>As with other cars firms, the British manufacturer has introduced a range of safety measures for production staff to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing, hygiene and health monitoring and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate.</p> <p>JLR's factories in Graz, Austria and Nitra, Slovakia also resumed production this week, with the Halewood plant due to resume on 8 June. The firm has resumed "small pockets of business critical activity" at Castle Bromwich in preparation for new model year launches.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The PSA Group, which owns <strong>Citro?n</strong>, <strong>DS</strong>, <strong>Peugeot</strong> and <strong>Vauxhall</strong>, has introduced a new 'Complete Anti-Bacterial Refresh' service. The £99 service includes a comprehensive cleaning of a car's air conditioning system, replacement of the car's pollen filers, internal and external disinfection of the vehicle and a 29-point?inspection of key parts.</span></p> <p><strong>Wednesday 20?May: Fresh doubts for British Grand Prix</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Formula 1 </strong>bosses have said that plans to host?a pair of races at Silverstone in July will be abandoned unless the UK government grants F1 personnel an exemption from a planned 14-day quarantine restriction for anyone entering the country. The Northamptonshire circuit, the long-time host of?the British Grand Prix, has agreed to hold two races as part of the rescheduled 2020 calendar, but the first is due to take place a week after the second of two races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.</span></p> <p>Bosses of Hockenheim Circuit in Germany, which was not originally on the 2020 schedule, have confirmed they are in talks with F1 officials about hosting two races in place of Silverstone.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 19?May: Record fall for European car sales, Ferrari museums reopen in Italy, Motorsport UK sets out guidelines for sport to resume</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>New car sales </strong>in the European Union fell by 76.3% year-on-year in April, the biggest drop since records began, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). With lockdowns in effect across most of the EU's 27 member states (which no longer includes the UK) just 270,682 cars were sold, compared to 1,143,046 in April last year.?<span>In total, car sales in 2020 are down 38.5% across the EU in the first four months of the year compared to 2019.</span>?Italy and Spain were the worst-hit EU countries, with tighter lockdowns in both prompting sales to fall by 97.6% and 96.5% respectively. Sales in France fell 88.8%, with Germany down 61.1%.</p> <p>Across Europe, which includes the EU, UK and countries in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), sales totalled 292,182?in April,?down 78.3% year-on-year.?The 3,008,426 cars sold in the region so far in 2020 is down 39.9% year-on-year. In the UK, which is no longer part of the EU, sales fell by 97.3% in April.?</p> <p>Jaguar Land Rover was the worst-hit car firm across Europe (the EU, UK and EFTA)?in April, with its 1852 models sold an 88.6% drop on 2019. <span>Honda's sales were down 88.5% year-on year, to 1067 cars.?</span>The FCA Group, whose firms include Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep, sold 10,952 cars, a fall of 87.7%.?Other major European firms also posted sharp losses, with the PSA Group down 82.4%, Daimler down 80.1%, Group Renault down 79.5%, the VW Group down 75% and the BMW Group down 69.7%.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ferrari</strong></span>?has reopened its museums in Maranello and Modena, in line with Italian government advice. Various safety measures, including temperature checks, will be in place, with?entry numbers limited. Time slots can be booked in advance. Ferrari has also given healthcare workers free access to the museums for the remainder of 2020, with discounts for their family.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>British motorsport </strong>bosses have outlined plans for the phase restart of the sport in the UK. Motorsport UK has suspended all event permits until at least 30 June, but has proposed a series of measures to allow the sport to resume in line with government rules. Among the measures, competitors, crews and other attending events will be required to complete pre-event declarations that they are free of Covid-19 symptoms, and team personnel will be required to wear PPE.</span></p> <p>The measures will allow most forms of motorsport to resume, although they will not include categories with more than one person in the car at any time. As a result, the only rallies initially permitted to take place will be 'single-venue' time trial-style events, with drivers competing without a navigator.</p> <p><strong>Monday 18?May: Ford resumes UK engine production</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford</strong></span><span>?has resumed production at its UK engine plants in Dagenham and Bridgend, with new social distancing and safety measures in place. Everyone on the site will be required to wear a Ford-supplied face mask, with plastic face shields used in certain manufacturing areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. Everyone on site will also be required to undergo temperature checks, and be provided with a personal 'care kit'.</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 15?May: Bentley set to expand production plans, England road upgrades, London Congestion Charge increase, major motorsport set to resume</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>McLaren</strong></span>?is considering mortgaging its Woking factory and collection of historic racing cars in a bid to raise cash, according to reports. Sources told Sky News that McLaren Group – which encompasses both the road car division and Formula 1 team – was considering the plan in a bid to raise up to £275 million to help cashflow during the coronavirus pandemic. A request for a £150 million loan from the government was recently rejected, according to reports.</p> <p>In a statement, a McLaren spokesperson said: “Like many other British businesses McLaren has been severely affected by the current pandemic and we are therefore exploring a variety of different funding options to help navigate these short-term business interruptions.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Bentley</strong> has published its Covid-19 risk assessment, as it prepares to further ramp up production at its Crewe factory. The British firm resume production this week, with more than 1700 staff working on the Bentayga and Mulsanne production lines. Bentley will restart the Continental GT and Flying Spur lines next week, with all of its lines initially running at around 50 per cent capacity.</span></p> <p>All companies with more than 50 employees are now required to conduct an online Covid-19 risk assessment from the Health and Safety Executive, and to display the resulting certificate. Bentley says it has?introduced 250 new health and safety measures to protect workers.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Honda</strong> is set to resume production at its Swindon factory in June, with new safety measures in place.?The Honda Civic is currently produced at the plant, which is due to close in July 2021.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Silverstone</strong></span><span>?has agreed a deal to host two <strong>Formula 1</strong> races behind closed doors – if UK government restrictions allow. The home of the British Grand Prix was part of initial plans by F1 bosses to restart the season in July, but there have been reports of a dispute over the finances of hosting events without fans.?</span></p> <p><span>The 2020 season is now due to start with back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, followed by back-to-back races at Silverstone. But plenty of questions remain, including whether UK restrictions will be in place. The plans could also require F1 to receive dispensation for team members to avoid a 14-day lockdown period when travelling from Austria to the UK.</span></p> <p><span>F1 bosses are still working on a 15 to 18 race calendar, with Hockenheim in Germany and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium both in line to host races.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>If you can't wait until July for your fix of major motorsport events, the <strong>NASCAR Cup Series</strong> is due to resume in the USA this weekend. The stock car series will kick off with races at Darlington in South Carolina on Sunday and next Wednesday, following by races at Charlotte Motor Speedway on 24 and 27 May.</span></p> <p><span>The circuits were chosen because they are located near Charlotte, North Carolina, where the vast majority of NASCAR teams are based, reducing travel times. Both are in states that have also loosened lockdown restrictions. Teams will only be allowed to bring limited staff members to each event, and no practice will be held to reduce time at the venue and any risks.</span></p> <p><strong>● Motorsport Vision?</strong><span>will resume trackdays and testing at Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome from Monday 18 May onwards. The circuits will initially open to professional teams for semi-exclusive testing, with track days set to resume from 26 May, with new Covid-19 safety measures and guidance in place.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong>Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said the government is using the reduction in traffic during the lockdown to accelerate <strong>major infrastructure projects</strong> on England's roads. He also laid out further details of plans to boost the nation's EV charging infrastructure. Read the full story here.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>The <strong>London Congestion Charge </strong>will come back into force on Monday, having been suspended for the duration of the lockdown – and the price will rise. Read the full story here.</p> <p><strong>Thursday 14?May: McLaren and Morgan staff return to factory, Ford's new production line, Ferrari F1 team's ventilator</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>McLaren</strong>?has confirmed that it has begun a phased resumption of production at its Woking plant, initially on its range-topping Ultimate Series line.</span></p> <p>In a statement, the firm said: "While vehicle production was suspended in March due to the pandemic, a small team has been supporting efforts to provide much-needed ventilator equipment to the NHS. This vital work has been carried out with stringent health and safety measures in place to protect our key workers and many of those learnings have helped us to recommence limited activity on our Ultimate Series line with a view to gradually ramping-up production.”</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Morgan</strong>?has a</span>lso resumed limited production at its factory. Around 20 staff returned to work on Monday 12 May, with their initial aim to finish vehicles in the second half of production.</p> <p>The firm added: "This very small scale reintroduction provides us a good opportunity to prove some of the new social distancing measures we have put in place throughout the factory alongside government guidelines. The welfare of our employees and compliance with social distancing measures remains the number one priority when we’re considering any of our business operations. We will reintroduce more staff back to the factory only when we feel it is safe to do so."</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford</strong> has converted an empty warehouse at its Dagenham plant into a temporary production facility for ventilators to help treat coronavirus patients. The car giant is producing 15,000 Penlon Prima ES02 ventilators as part of the VentilatorChallenge UK consortium, and created the new production facility in three weeks. Ford estimates it would usually take a year to construct a production line. When full production is reached, more than 650 people will work in three shifts on the line.</span></p> <p>Ford will resume engine production at Dagenham on 18 May (see below), although the ventilator production area will be kept separate from the car facilities.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>?The<strong> Scuderia Ferrari </strong>Formula 1 team has partnered with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) to develop a ventilator to help hospitals treat Covid-19 patients. The team says the new device uses easily available materials, with the design published on an open source platform so that anyone can produce it. The ventilator even has its own F1 chassis-style codename: FI5, representing the initials of Ferrari and the IIT and the number of weeks it took to design and produce the first prototype.</p> <p>The FI5 is one of a number of joint projects between Ferrari and the IIT, with the supercar firm backing healthcare projects in the Modena region, producing respirators and protective mask parts.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday 13?May: Car dealers given guidance for reopening, Aston Martin losses increase, Volkswagen suspends production due to low demand</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong>New industry guidance on the safe reopening of?<strong>car showrooms</strong>?has been published by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The best-practice guidance covers the whole customer journey, including booking appointments, showroom visits, test drives, 'click-and-collect' services, part-exchanges and after sales. It includes advice on staff training, signage, sanitation measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).</p> <p><span>While?</span>car dealers?will be unable to open showrooms until 1 June at the earliest, those based in England will be allowed to conduct 'click-and-collect' deliveries for models ordered online or over the phone, according to the latest UK government guidelines.?<a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Vauxhall</strong> will being a "gradual and secured" resumption of production at its Luton van plant on Monday 18 May, following the implementation of "reinforced health protocols" developed by the PSA Group. The measures include temperature checks at the entrance to the facility, the provision of facemarks and sanitiser, social distancing protocols and enhanced tool cleaning measures.?Yann Vincent, PSA's manufacturing chief, said that protecting the health of employees and commercial demand "will guide our decisions" on the resumption of production at its plants.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford</strong>?will resume production at its UK plants in Dagenham and Bridgend on 18 May. With the firm's engine plant in Valencia, Spain due to open next week, the opening of the two UK factories will mean all of Ford's European sites will be operational. The firm will provide all employees with facemasks and equipment in a special care kit, and check the temperature of all staff on arrival.</span></p> <p><span>The firm will also continue to produce ventilators through its role in the VentilatorChallenge UK consortium.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Volkswagen</strong> has paused production of the seventh and eigth generation Golf, Tiguan and Seat Tarraco at its Wolfsburg factory due to a lack of demand for new cars in Europe, according to <a href="">The Financial Times</a>. The newspaper cites an interview by VW manager Arne Meiswinkel with an internal publication saying the firm had to?</span>“align production to the expected market fluctuations”.</p> <p>Production resumed at Wolfsburg in recent weeks with a limited number of staff following new health protocols, but with most dealerships in Europe still shut, sales and deliveries of new cars on the continent have virtually dried up.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Aston Martin </strong>Lagonda Ltd posted losses of nearly £119 million in the first three months of 2019 due to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. But the firm says that deliveries of the DBX SUV are on track to begin this summer, with its St Athan facility now operational again. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Tesla</strong> has been given permission by local authorities to resume production at its Fremont, California plant next week. The firm has?sued Alameda County after it refused to give it permission to resume operations, and <a href="">began to open the plant earlier this week</a>.?</p> <p>In a statement, the Alameda County Public Health Department said that it had received an updated safety plan from Tesla, and said that: "If Tesla's Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve" the firm can resume minimum operations this week, and resume car production next week.</p> <p>County officials said they would work with the Fremont Police Department "to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers."</p> <p>The extraordinary dispute between Tesla and Alameda County was joined earlier yesterday by US President Donald Trump, who tweeted: "California should let Tesla and Elon Musk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast and Safely!"</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 12?May: Toyota expects sharp falls in profits, UK government sets guidelines for shops to open; Tesla opens California factory despite local orders</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Toyota</strong> expects its profits to fall by 80 per cent this year as demand for new cars is hit by the coronavirus outbreak. The firm made 2.4 trillion yen (£18.4 billion) in the financial year that ended in March, with the 8,958,000 cars it sold down just 0.8% on 2019.</p> <p>With worldwide lockdown measures in place for April and the impact of Covid-19 likely to be felt long-term, Toyota is expecting car sales to fall by 1.95 million in the financial year that ends in March 2021, with profits falling to 500 billion yen (£3.8 billion).</p> <p>Speaking at the firm’s annual results presentation, company boss Akio Toyoda said the Covid-19 pandemic “has dealt us a bigger shock than the 2008 global financial crisis.”</p> <p>Toyoda added that making PPE and ventilators to support medical services in Japan? demonstrated Toyota’s determination to help society overcome the virus. He added: “There is no crisis that humankind cannot overcome. For us to overcome the Covid-19 crisis together, Toyota is ready to do whatever it can to make itself of use.”<span>?</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The?Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published guidance for how businesses can safely resume work during the coronavirus outbreak. The measures include guidelines that shops – including <strong>car showrooms</strong> – will be required to follow when they are allowed to open. At present, non-essential shops will open in "phases" from 1 June onwards, with car firms expecting to be told of?a clearer timeline today.</span></p> <p>Before shops can open they will need to have performed an online Health and Safety Executive (HSE) risk assessment and inspection - with random spot checks in the future to ensure they comply. Shops must also follow a series a number of health and safety measures, including the provision of cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures, the enforcement of two-metre social distancing where possible, and steps to mitigate any risk of transmission as much as possible.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Tesla</strong> has reopened its Fremont, California factory - in defiance of local regulations. While the state has eased its stay-at-home restrictions to allow manufacturing to resume, officials in Alameda County, where the plant is located, have so far not given permission for it to reopen. That prompted <a href="">Tesla to file a lawsuit</a> against county?officials over the weekend.</span></p> <p><span>Staff have now return to work at the site, with production resuming yesterday (Monday). On Twitter, company boss Elon Musk said: "</span>Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me." <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>McLaren</strong>?has reopened its factory in Woking, but company boss Mike Flewitt has said that it won't reach previous levels of activity until July. Speaking in an online Financial Times Global Boardroom interview, Flewitt said that 90 of the firm's more than 200 suppliers were forced to close due to coronavirua lockdowns, but all were now preparing to reopen. He added that new social distancing measures meant the plant can't run at "peak" capacity.</span></p> <p>Speaking about sales, Flewitt?said he expects "a good proportion of demand" to return "very quickly" when showrooms can reopen, but expected it would take a couple of years to return to 2019 levels.</p> <p><strong>Monday 11 May: Ferrari back to full production, Tesla in legal row over?plant reopening plans</strong></p> <p><strong>●?UK car dealerships</strong><span>?are unlikely to reopen until 1 June at the earliest following new government guideance on coronavirus restrictions. All non-essential shops and businesses, including dealerships, have been forced to close retail sites since late March as part of lockdown measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.</span></p> <p><span>There had?been hopes that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would allow car dealers and some other retail businesses to reopen with social distancing measures in place. But a?guidance document entitled 'Staying alert and safe' that has been published by the government today make no mention of car dealerships, with only garden centres (from Wednesday onwards) added to the list of retailers now allowed to open.?</span></p> <p>The government has said that "the intention" is for non-essential retail businesses to begin opening "in phases from 1 June", and says it will shortly issue guidance on which businesses will be involved in those?phases, and the likely timelines.?</p> <p>While dealerships will seemingly not be able to open showrooms until then, they are <a href="">currently able to sell cars either online or over the phone</a>, and arrange remote deliveries. It is understood that more 'sector specific' guidance will follow in the coming days, which should provide some clarity.</p> <p>The National Franchised Dealer Association told Autocar: "The NFDA is currently requesting further clarification from Government. We expect sector specific guidance to be published tomorrow, this is likely to provide us with a clearer picture of the next steps."</p> <p>However, manufacturing firms in the UK – which will include car plants – are being encouraged to resume work, with the government saying that "sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open." Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover are among the car firms to have already resumed limited production in line with the new 'Covid-19 secure guidelines' on health and safety.</p> <p><strong>● Bentley</strong>?has restarted production in a limited capacity at its headquarters in Crewe, Cheshire. 1,700 employees are now at the site to start a "phased production ramp-up", which for now means running at 50% capacity with double 'takt time' (the time it takes?cars to move from each manufacturing stage to the next).</p> <p>The 50% capacity will run for 'a number of weeks', with the remaining 500 staff due to return in mid-June. Initially the Mulsanne and Bentayga lines will begin to roll, with Flying Spur and Continental GT lines restarting next week.??The whole facility, including areas such as bathrooms, has been restructured around social distancing measures to ensure?two-metre distancing between colleagues.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The UK government has also made it easier for cities and other local authorities to close roads to cars in order to encourage cycling and walking. <a href="">Read the full story on that here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Ferrari</strong> says its Maranello and Modena factories have now returned to full production after the gradual reopening under its "Back on Track" programme. The first car to be finished on the Special Series production line was a black and grey Monza SP2, with an 812 GTS Spider and F8 Tributo the first machines off the V12 and V8 lines respectively. Ferrari has introduced a number of new health and safety protocols at its plants.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Tesla</strong> has sued Alameda County officials because the firm says they will not allow its Fremont, California factory to reopen. Tesla boss Elon Musk has also threatened the move the firm's HQ and shift future production facilities to Texas and Nevada. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>Jean Todt, the president of the <strong>FIA</strong> and the former boss of the Ferrari F1 team, believes that the focus governments have applied to tackling coronavirus should also be put on reducing road deaths in the future. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Honda</strong> will gradually resume production in its North American factories in the USA and Canada this week. Staff will receive training about new social distancing and safety measures put in place at the various sites, which closed on 23 March.</p> <p><strong>Thursday 7?May: Aston Martin's new working methods, Ford USA starts deliveries of medical equipment</strong></p> <p><strong>● Aston Martin</strong><span>, which began the phased resumption of production at its St Athan Facility on Tuesday (5 May), and has outlined a number of the new safety protocols it has put in place to protect staff. As well as new limits to the total number of staff on site at any time and social distancing measures, the firm has also drawn up guidance on PPE usage (such as the mandatory usage of masks on site) and temperature checks on arrival.</span></p> <p>The firm's crucial new DBX SUV is being built at the St Athan plant. Aston says that it will resume work at its Gaydon plant "in due course."</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>With car firms slowing resuming production in plants across the UK and Europe, how are they managing to efficiently build new cars while also ensuring their workers are kept safe and health. We've taken a look at how production lines are operating in the new age of social distancing. <a href="">Read more here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The <strong>Indian car market</strong> made unfortunate history in April, with zero new cars sold in a country with a population of 1.3 billion. The complete collapse of the car market was due to India's lockdown measures, which were introduced in mid-March and are some of the strictest in the world. There is some hope of a recovery, with a number of the country's car plants beginning to resume production.</span></p> <p><span>Meanwhile, as the automotive industry has worldwide, a number of Indian-based car manufacturers have been helping to aid coronavirus relief efforts in the country. Various firms have been providing financial support to care agencies and helping to manufacture ventilators and PPE. Our colleagues at <a href="" target="_blank">Autocar India have outlined how car firms are helping here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Volkswagen South Africa?</strong>will help turn a currently-unused car factory in Port Elizabeth into a temporary medical facility for patients with Covid-19. The Neave plant will be turned into a hospital for patients who require ventilation, and will eventually be able to house up to 4000 patients.</p> <p>The German government is providing £4.5 million of funding for the facility, with VW South Africa adding £1.2 million. The plant will be available to the South African government until March 2021.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford</strong> USA has begun to distribute the new Purified Air-Powering Respirators (PAPR) that it has designed and built at one of its Michigan plants with help from 3M. The device uses a number of off-the-shelf car parts, including elements from the F-150 pick-up's ventilated seats. The firm has assembled more than 10,000 of the devices, which it only started work on 40 days ago, and says it has the capacity to produce 100,000 if required.</span></p> <p><span>The firm has also begun production of reusable gowns for healthcare workers. It?is currently producing 200,000 a week, and has already sent out 400,000 to various healthcare providors across the USA. It has now received an order for 500,000 gowns from the state of New Jersey.?</span></p> <p><strong>Wednesday 6?May: BMW's car sales warning, Skoda supporting front-line fleet vehicles, Volkswagen's DIY?disinfectant dispenser</strong></p> <p><strong>● BMW?</strong><span>has warned that it expects the coronavirus pandemic to affect demand for new cars for the remainder of 2020, even as lockdown restrictions are eased. BMW Group chairman has also cautioned that the industry shouldn't expect the European car market to recover as quickly as it has in China since lockdown measures were loosened there. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Skoda</strong> has taken a number of measures to support emergency services fleet customers of its 'blue light' vehicles on the road. The Czech firm supplies speciall modified Karoq, Kodiaq, Superb and Octavia vehicles to a number of emergency services and other frontline care providers. Demand for the vehicles has significantly increased, and Skod has both expanded its service and maintenance provisions for such vehicles, and sourced extra vehicles for a number of NHS trusts.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Volkswagen</strong><span>?has now resumed production at many of its plants, and to do so has required the introduction of hundreds of new health and safety measures, including making disinfectant and sanitiser easily available to staff. To enable that, staff at its Emden factory, with produces the Passat and Arteon, have started producing their own disinfectant dispensers.</span></p> <p>The unit (pictured below) uses a metal barrel as a body and contains 146 parts, most of which are sourced?from existing stock. For example, the disinfectant nozzle is normally used in the Passat windscreen cleaner, and the stainless steel bowl for employees to wash hands in was previously used in the VW canteen's salad bar. The Emden plant is now making 100 of the units a week for use in other VW factories.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Tuesday 5?May: UK new car registrations slump, Ferrari production begins to resume at Maranello</strong></p> <p><strong>● Fiat Chrysler Automobiles?</strong><span>posted a net loss of €1.7 billion (£1.45 billion) in the first quarter of 2020. The group's brands, which include Alfa Romeo, Fiat and?Jeep, sold a totla of 818,000 cars worldwide, down 21% on 2019 levels as various restrictions were put in place to tackle the coronavirus.?</span>Notably, those figures do not include April, where the firm's sales were even more dramatically reduced across various European countries.</p> <p>FCA said it is currently preparing to resume production at several factories based on demand, local restrictions and the introduction of new health and safety measures, with boss Mike Manley saying that "I?have the utmost confidence in our ability to navigate through this crisis and emerge wellpositioned to grow and prosper on the other side." FCA also said that it "remains committed" to its merger with the PSA Group, which is set to be finalised either late this year or in early 2021.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>UK new car registrations?</strong><span>fell by 97.3% year-on-year in April 2020, with just 4321 cars sold due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The conclusion of a number of pre-ordered sales helped the Tesla Model 3 to top the sales charts, just ahead of the Jaguar I-Pace. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ferrari</strong> has begun to open its Maranello factory in Italy today. Following a series of training sessions under its 'Back on Track' programme (see Friday 1 May) the supercar manufacturer will gradually ramp up production, with the aim to return to full output by Friday.</span></p> <p><strong>Monday 4?May: UK car production resumes today, Dacia and Ford restart in Romania, 2021 F1 budget takes a hit</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Formula One</strong> managing director Ross Brawn claims the sport is in the final stages of agreeing a reduced spending cap for the 2021 season, dropped from $175m to?$145m. Brawn says it is due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, sharply accelerating the need to cut costs further.?</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?Car production is set to resume in the UK today for the first time since lockdown measures to tackle coronavirus were introduced, with <strong>Rolls-Royce</strong>?beginning a staggered restart?of?its Goodwood facility. <a href="">Read our story on how the company plans to resume work here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?With <strong>Rolls-Royce </strong>opening its factory this week and <strong>Bentley</strong> due to follow suit on Monday 11 May, luxury firms are leading the way in getting the UK car industry up and running. Jim Holder <a href="">analyses what that means here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● Dacia and Ford?</strong>have restarted production in Romania after output was halted in March. Ford builds the Ecosport small SUV there, while it's Dacia's main production hub where the Duster, Logan and Sandero are built. Ford has a single shift and about half its workers, while Dacia has three shifts workng on its mechanical and chassis lines.?</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span>The <strong>PSA Group </strong>has begun the phased resumption of manufacturing at various continental European plants. As with other firms, it has introduced a number of health and safety measures to protect staff including temperature checks, social distancing and the provision of masks and hand sanitiser.?The firm says that the order in which it opens plants will be driven first by the ability to protect staff, and then by commercial demand for particular models produced at various sites.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Porsche</strong></span><span>?has also restarted car manufacturing?today, with health and safety protocols in place so that production lines can limited work at both its Zuffenhausen and Leipzig plants in Germany. Fellow VW Group brand Bugatti has also restarted production of the Chiron and Divo at its Molsheim factory in France.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Jaguar Land Rover</strong> says it is expanding its online sales services for UK buyers. The service, which has been gradually expanded over the last year, allows customers to spec and then order cars online, and includes facilities such as part-exchange valuations and finance applications.</p> <p>The firm is also offering "tailored services" for vehicle deliveries that meet the UK government's social distancing and hygiene guidelines, with several dealerships set to introduce special handover bays.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?Autocar has learned that car industry executives have hed talks with UK government officials about including <strong>car dealerships</strong>?in the first wave?of 'non-essential' businesses allowed to open once officials start to ease lockdown measures. <a href="">Read our exclusive story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?Need some lockdown entertainment? Got any cogs lying around? Then you could help <strong>Honda</strong> to recreate its famous 'cog' advert. It featured a chain of cogs and other parts all taken from a Honda Accord, and is one of five adverts that ITV has challenged the public to remark for a 'People's Ad Break' on Saturday 23 May.</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 1?May: French new cars sales plummet, Italian supercar firms gear up to resume production</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong>?With lockdown restrictions in place near-worldwide?for the whole of April, we've been expecting <strong>new car sales</strong> to plummet - even compared to the sharp fall seen in March. That fear has been confirmed by new sales data from the French car industry body, the CCFA. They show that just 20,997 cars were sold in the country in April, an 88.8% decline on the 188,195 sales in April 2019.</p> <p>The PSA Group sold 10,098 cars across its Citro?n, DS, Opel and Peugeot brands, a fall of 84.4%.?Group Renault (which includes Dacia and Alpine) sold 7148 new cars, a decline of 83.9%.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Lamborghini</strong> is due to resume production at its Sant-Agata base on Monday 4 May, following work with government officials and trade unions to establish new safety protocols. The firm has also confirmed it will "present a new car in order to complete our model range" online on 7 May.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Ferrari</strong> will begin its preparations to resume production at Maranello on Monday, launching what it calls its 'installation lap' programme. This will consist of safety training for employees who will be involved in car production, and will run alongside the firm's 'back on track' scheme that involves offering testing and screening to staff and their families.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Ford</strong> has begun preparations for the resumption of car production at several of its continental European plants next week by increasing its output of facemarks and face shields for staff to use. Staff at Ford's Dunton, UK site have installed two machines that can make up to 90 general use face masks per minute, and which are now running constantly. Face masks are being made in Germany, Spain and Romania, and all will be distributed as needed around Ford's plants.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Morgan</strong> is the latest firm to confirm it will extend the warranty period of its vehicles. It has assed three months of full manufacturer warranty to any vehicle with a warranty start date from 1 October 2017 to any car registered until 31 May 2020.</p> <p><strong>Thursday 30?April: Nissan extends Sunderland shutdown, industry counts cost of sales slump, Hummer EV reveal delayed</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Nissan</strong> has extended the production halt at its Sunderland plant throughout May. It halted work at the facility on 17 March, and says that it is now “planning a phased resumption of production” in early June.</p> <p>The firm recently started testing new health and safety protocols with a trial workforce on its powertrain team, the results of which will be used to finalise safety measures for a full production resumption.</p> <p>In a statement Nissan said: “During this period the majority of plant employees will remain furloughed, and we are grateful for the government support that has enabled us to take this action.</p> <p>“Our goal is to navigate through this crisis while maintaining activities critical for business continuity and to make sure we are prepared for the time when business resumes in Europe and we can welcome the Nissan team back to work.”</p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The closure of?</span><strong>UK car plants?</strong><span>due to lockdown restrictions will cost the car industry £8.2 billion, according to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production fell 37.6% in March, with 140 days of production lost. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● Global car sales?</strong><span>fell 37% year-on-year in March, according to data from industry analysts Jato Dynamics. A total of 5.55 million cars were sold worldwide in March 2020, compared to 9.03 million last year. Europe was the hardest-hit region, with the impact of various lockdown restrictions causing sales to fall 52% to 848,800, the lowest March total for 38 years.</span></p> <p><span>Notably, electric car sales in Europe continued to rise year-on-year, with the 147,500 EVs sold a 15% increase on 2019. That gave EVs a 17.4% share of the new car market, a new record.</span></p> <p><span>There are some positive signs from China, which was the first country hit by the coronavirus and has begun to ease lockdown restrictions. Production in March reached 75% of average 2019 levels, and while the 1.08 million cars sold in March was 30% down on 2019, it also represented a 427% increase over February.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The new?</span><strong>GMC Hummer EV?</strong><span>is the latest new car to have its launch postponed because of the coronavirus. The 1000bhp electric SUV will be the first car from the revived brand, but parent company GM says it is still on track to go on sale in Autumn 2021. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● Volkswagen?</strong><span>has resumed work at a number of its plants in Europe, but has postponed plans to restart production at its US factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The firm said it has yet to set a new restart date, and "</span>will weigh the readiness of the supplier base, as well as market demand and the status of the Covid-19?outbreak."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday 29?April: Ford sets days for European production restart, Bentley boss on returning to work, car firms facing sharp profit falls</strong></p> <p><strong>● Ford?</strong>has become the latest major brand to put dates on restarting production across its European facilities. The brand has confirmed that most plants will open on Monday, May 4, including its Saarlouis and Cologne plants in Germany, its Valencia plant in Spain and further factories in Romania and Turkey.?</p> <p>Engine production will also commence, with only the Valencia engine plant holding off until 18 May. Its facilities in the UK, however, have not been given a specific date for reopening. Despite the news, Ford admits that it will be "a few months" before production output is ramped up to normal levels.?</p> <p>Meanwhile, Ford is predicting?an operating loss of around £4bn in the second quarter of 2020, due to the impact of?production shutdowns and lockdown measures introduced to combat?the coronavirus. The firm is understood to have indefinitely postponed plans for a number of new models as a result.?<a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Bentley</strong> will begin to resume production at its Crewe factory next week. Autocar spoke to company boss Adrian Hallmark about the plans, and how the coronavirus outbreak has affected its 2020 plans. <a href="">Read the full story and interview here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>The <strong>Volkswagen Group</strong> suffered an 81.4% drop in operating profits over the first three months of 2020 compared to last year - but the firm says it is still on track to post a profit, albeit greatly reduced, this year. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday?28?April: Jaguar Land Rover ramps up protective visor production, why you'll need to move fast to bag a new car bargain</strong></p> <p><strong>● Jaguar Land Rover?</strong><span>is?</span>scaling up production of NHS-approved face visors at its Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gayden. The firm designed and began production of a 3D-printed visor recently (see Friday 3 April, below), and has now been supplied new tooling enabling it to increase output to 14,000 visors a week.</p> <p>The new injection mould tooling has been supplied by WHS Plastics, and meant JLR can produce up to 2000 of the polypropylene devices per day. The visors have been supplied to NHS Trusts across the UK.</p> <p>Jaguar Land Rover has also released the CAD files for the visors so that other manufacturers with suitable equipment can start to produce them. The files can be downloaded <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>The UK lockdown has already prompted rushes?to buy pasta, UHT milk,?flour, home gym equipment and, in recent days, hair clippers. Could <strong>new cars </strong>be next? Jim Holder has talked to industry insiders who think?pent-up demand for new vehicles could increase new car prices once dealer showrooms begin to open up again.<a href=""> Read his analysis here</a>.?</p> <p><strong>Monday 27 April: Bentley's community support, no fans for British GP, European car production gradually resuming</strong></p> <p><strong>● Bentley?</strong><span>will supply more than 30,000 3D printed face shields to the Chesire care sector, NHS and other local community care service in the region as part of its expanded 'Be Safe' support programme (see Monday 20 April, below).</span></p> <p>The face shields have been created by Bentley's engineering team, and deliveries will be made to all 95 care homes in the region of the firm's Cheshire base. Bentley has also donated 20,000 pairs of disposable gloves, 10,000 facemarks, 1000 disposable seat covers and more than 40 pairs of safety glasses to care providers in the region.</p> <p>Bentley is also expanding its 'Meals on 22-inch Wheels' programme to deliver food and other essential items to vulnerable people in the community. Volunteers has begun delivering parcels for food banks and charities, and the service is now also delivering medical supplies.</p> <p><strong>● </strong><strong>Fiat Chrysler Automobiles</strong><span>?has begun to restart its production plants in Italy, with the opening of the commercial vehicle plans in Atessa that it runs as a joint venture with the <strong>PSA Group</strong>. Most of the plants 6000 employees have returned to work today, with the entire plans having been cleaned and sanitised before their arrival. A number of social distancing and safety measures, agreed by FCA, PSA and Italian unions, will be put in place.</span></p> <p><strong>●?Volkswagen?</strong><span>is continuing to restart its plants, with its main factory in Wolfsburg resuming production of the Golf today. The firm says that 8000 staff will return to work today, with Golf production initially running at 10 to 15 per cent of capacity, which will be increased to 40 per cent next week. Production of the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touran and the Seat Tarraco will resume at Wolfsburg on Wednesday.</span></p> <p><strong>● Formula 1?</strong><span>bosses say they are finalising plans for a 15-18 race 2020 season that will start in Austria in early July and finish in Abu Dhabi in December. The<strong> British Grand Prix</strong> remains on the calendar as the second event in July, but if it goes ahead it will do so without fans in attendance.<a href=""> Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>National motorsport in the UK is also making plans to resume. The <strong>British Touring Car Championship</strong> has released a provisional calendar that runs from August until mid-November and features nine events and 27 races.<a href=""> Read the full story here</a>.?</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris has been keeping himself busy during the sport's enforced shutdown, racing in numerous online esports competitions. Last weekend he was a guest entrant in the <strong>IndyCar Series iRacing Challenge</strong>, and beat all the series regulars to take victory on the virtual Circuit of the Americas.</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 24?April: Volkswagen details ID 3 production, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance cancelled</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Production of the crucial new</span><strong> Volkswagen</strong>?ID 3 electric car has resumed at the firm's Zwickau plant today. The site is one of the first European VW car plants to start building models since the coronavirus shutdown, and follows the resumption of work at a number of component plants.</p> <p>Due to the introduction of measures to ensure the safety of staff, including social distancing and regular cleaning, production of the electric hatch will initially be significantly slower. Volkswagen is aiming to built 50 cars a day initially, around one-third of usual output.</p> <p>Volkswagen has also resumed work in its Chemnitz engine plant, with Golf and e-Golf production due to resume in Zwickau and Dresden on Monday 27 April.??</p> <p><strong>Thursday 23?April: Aston Martin announces cost cuts, production plans</strong></p> <p><strong>● Jaguar Land Rover?</strong><span>is aiming to resume production at its factories in Solihull, Austria and Slovakia on Monday 18 May. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Good news for <strong>car buyers</strong>: the UK government has told dealers that they can sell cars again - as long as they adhere to social distancing rules. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Volvo</strong><span>?has extended its existing online sales platform with a new 'Stay Home Store' concept, allowing customers to browse "a series of attractive pre-negotiated prices and lease rates". More flexible payment options are also available, such as payment free loan periods or no down payment offers.</span></p> <p><strong>● Vauxhall</strong><span>?has also highlighted?that, while its dealerships remain closed, it is offering sales of new and used cars online during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cars cen be delivered to buyers homes in line with social distancing protocols.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Aston Martin </strong>has announced a number of cost-saving measures, including voluntary pay reductions for senior leaders, and confirmation that it has furloughed ‘the majority’ of its workforce. Meanwhile, the firm is aiming to resume production at its St Athan facility on 5 May.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The company says that is has furloughed the bulk of its workforce under the UK government job retention scheme, which offers workers up to 80% of their base salary, and will top up the pay of those affected from 1 May onwards to their regular levels.</p> <p>At the same time, chief executive officer Andy Palmer and the firm’s non-executive directors will waive 35% of their salaries, with vice-presidents taking a 20% cut and other senior managers between five and 10%. New executive chairman Lawrence Stroll has elected to receive a nominal salary of £1 per annum.</p> <p>Aston’s plan to resume production at St Athan will be aligned with Public Health Wales and England guidelines on safe working, and after it has worked with suppliers to ensure a steady parts supply. It says that a date for reopening its Gaydon plant will be set based on lessons it gains from the St Athan resumption.</p> <p><strong>● Nissan</strong>?has?begun manufacturing thousands of protective aprons for NHS workers at its Sunderland plant. Volunteers designed a manufacturing process in just eight days, allowing initial capacity of 18,000 aprons a week but with plns to increase that to 70,000 "within weeks".?</p> <p>The plant already has 47,000 orders from local NHS trusts. The project continues alongside the plant's operation to supply visors to the NHS, of which up to 100,000 are said to have been distributed each week.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>LEVC</strong>, the makers of the TX electrified London Taxi, has been forced to?<a href="">pause payments to its suppliers</a>?by enacting a 'force majeure' clause during the crisis. Its Coventry production line has been closed since March, and the temporary pause on payments is planned until at least May.?</p> <p><strong>Wednesday?22?April: Nissan to start Sunderland production pilot, Seat to give staff antigen tests as it opens facilities</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Nissan</strong></span>?will begin preparations to resume production at its Sunderland plant with a pilot scheme to test new safety protocols.</p> <p>The initial activity will involve around 50 staff – less than one per cent of the total workforce – from the powertrain team, who will resume work while adopting new health and safety measures. Reviews and feedback from the pilot will help to finalise safety measures adopted when vehicle production returns at a yet-to-be-determined date when restrictions allow. Nissan suspended production at its Sunderland plant on 17 March.</p> <p>Nissan is aiming to resume European production at three Spanish factories starting from April 27, including the resumption of pickup and powertrains at its Barcelona plant on 4 May.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?More than one million automotive industry employees have been affected by coronavirus factory shutdowns across?the European Union and UK, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). It has complied data showing that 1,138,536 employees have been directly impacted by closures – including 64,455 in the UK –?out of a total manufacturing workforce of around 2.6 million. The figures only include those directly involved in the manufacture of cars, trucks, vans and buses, and do not involve those who produce parts or other related items.</span></p> <p>The ACEA has also calculated that the various European shutdowns have resulted in the 'lost' production of 2,068,832 vehicles, based on usual production levels. That includes lost production of 167,144 cars in the UK.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Seat?</strong>will carry out Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on its 15,000 employees in order to enable it to resume production from Monday 27 April onwards - with the results also being used for a scientific study on the coronavirus.</p> <p>The Barcelona-based firm will perform more than 3000 PCR antigen tests a week, which can tell if someone has contracted Covid-19, at its various plants in Spain, along with other Volkswagen Group factories in the country. A government-accredited laboratory will analyse the tests, which Seat says will have no impact on other testing programmes in the country.</p> <p>Between 27 April and 4 May, Seat will resume one production shift per days on the three lines at its main Martorell facility, producing the Seat Ibiza, Seat Arona and Audi A1. To allow for social distancing and extra cleaning time, the lines will run at around one-third of usual capacity, producing about 325 cars a day. A second shift on each line is due to resume on 11 May, increasing production to around 650 cars per day, with Seat hoping to return to full production levels in June. With the reduced staffing requirements, the firm is negotiating a temporary layoff plan for workers who are not required.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Nissan?</strong><span>dealers are loaning out dealer demonstrator and courtesy cars for free use by NHS workers during the coronavirus outbreak. The initiative, which is being co-ordinated by Nissan UK, involves more than 30 dealers, with more than 100 Micra, Juke, Qashqai and Leaf models available.</span></p> <p><strong>Tuesday 21?April: PSA Group predicts European sales slump in 2020, Jaguar Land Rover confirms staff furloughs</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Jaguar Land Rover?</strong><span>has confirmed that it has furloughed around half of its workforce under the UK government's Job Retention Scheme, with the firm's major executives also agreeing to temporary pay cuts. It comes as the firm reported its sales for the first three months of 2020 declined 30.9% compared to the same period last year, largely due to the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The?</span><strong>PSA Group</strong><span>, which includes <strong>Citro?n</strong>, <strong>DS</strong>, <strong>Peugeot</strong> and <strong>Vauxhall/Opel</strong>, is predicting that European car sales will shrink by 25% in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus.?</span>The firm has issued a new market outlook as part of its first quarter results. As well as falling by a quarter in Europe, PSA is anticipating that the automotive market will decline by 10% in China, 25% in Latin America and 20% in Russia this year.</p> <p>PSA does note that "the outlook is currently difficult to assess and will depend on the scale, duration and geographic extent of the Covid-19 crisis."</p> <p>The firm sold a total of 627,024 cars worldwide across all its brands during the first three months of the year, a fall of 29.2% compared to 2019. That included a 78.2% drop in sales in China and South East Asia, the first region to introduce major lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19. Sales in Europe, where restrictions were largely introduced in March, fell by 30.0%.</p> <p>PSA’s various brands were all hit by differing amounts in Europe. Vauxhall/Opel sold 175,338 cars, a fall of 37.3%, Citro?n sales dropped by 28.3% (146,288) and Peugeot by 25.7% (216,090). DS actually posted a 16.8% rise, with the far smaller brand selling 10,915 cars.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>MG?</strong><span>is donating 30,000 facemasks, which it has sourced through its supply chain, to a number of hospitals in the UK and Ireland. It has already delivered 10,000 masks to the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham, and will also send 5000 each to two NHS trusts in South Wales, and 10,000 to hospitals in Dublin and Cork.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Businesses in?the?</span><strong>Silverstone Technology Cluster</strong><span>, have joined forces to start production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to aid healthcare workers in Northamptonshire. STC chair Roz Bird contacted 3000 businesses in the STC, all based</span><span>?at Silverstone Park or other locations close within an hour's drive?of the British Grand Prix venue, to investigate ways to produce 14 iteams of PPE or help source the materials needed. More than 50 businesses are now working together to produce the PPE. The STC is still looking for more raw materials to further increase production levels.</span></p> <p><strong>Monday 20 April: Major European factories restart production, Bentley extends Cheshire community help</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Volkwagen</strong> has today restarted car production, initially at relatively low capacity, at its facilities in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia.?</p> <p>Notably, the Zwickau plant has been converted to produce electric cars on the VW Group MEB platform and is in the process of building the first ID 3 models – showing the importance to the firm of having that model on the market as close to the planned summer launch date as feasible.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Volvo</strong> has also restarted production and opened its offices in Sweden - a country with a relatively low infection rate. Production output has been adjusted to reflect market demand.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Seat</strong> has announced it intends to restart production at its facilities in near Barcelona on 27th April. As with other VW Group firms restarting production, strict social distancing measures will be adhered to, while extra disinfection and cleaning of the worker areas will be put in place.?</p> <p><strong>● </strong><strong>Bentley</strong> has extended its community support initiatives to help both its home town of Crewe and the wider Cheshire area. The firm's Meal on Wheels service is rolling out more company vehicles and vans to deliver both food and medicine.?</p> <p>Seat covers are also being donated to Cheshire midwives, while 1000s of pairs of gloves have been given to the local community and Cheshire East council. Protective eyewear, normally used in the paintshop, has gone to the local hospital, while it has partnered with a company in Middlesborough to 3D print face shields.?</p> <p><strong>Friday 17?April: European sales collapse due to lockdowns, Volvo begins to resume production</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The PSA Group preparing for the eventual resumption of production at its Ellesmere Port </span><strong>Vauxhall?</strong><span>facility, although it has yet to specify a date when that will happen. PSA says the factory has remained 'active' since production was halted, and a series of new protocols to reinforce health measures have been developed. PSA has invited the Unite union to review the measures before production resumes.</span></p> <p>PSA says the measures include more than 100 steps, including checking employees for symptoms in addition?to them self-monitoring. Glasses must be worn on site along with a daily supply of masks, social distancing measures will be introduced, tools will be frequently cleaned?and there will be enforced waiting time when unprepared parts are exchanged. There is no indication on when production might resume at Ellesmere Port, which produces the Astra, but it is likely to be after the new three-week extension to the UK lockdown.</p> <p><strong>● </strong><span><strong>New car registrations</strong> across the European Union slumped?by 55.1% year-on-year in March, according to data compiled by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EMEA). The EMEA, which represents 16 European car firms,?says that 567,308 cars were sold across the 27 EU countries last month, compared to 1,264,569 in March 2019.</span></p> <p><span>Italy, which suffered the first major COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and introduced tough lockdown restrictions earlier than other countries, suffered the biggest decline. The 28,326 cars sold in the country was down 85.4% year-on-year. Sales fell by 72.2% in France, 69.3% in Spain and 37.7% in Germany. That compared to a 44% decline in UK new cars sales in March.</span></p> <p><span>The EMEA data shows that the Italian-US FCA Group took the biggest hit of any manufacturer. It sold 22,070 cars in March?across its various brands including Fiat, Jeep and Alfa Romeo, a 76.6% year-on-year decline.</span></p> <p><span>Meanwhile, the EMEA has called on car production to resume as soon as possible, and issued a series of guidelines for the re-launch of the industry in a co-ordinated fashion. They include calling on government to stimulate market demand by promoting fleet renewal schemes and streamlining type approval regulations.</span></p> <p><strong>● Volvo?</strong><span>will restart production at its factories?in Torslanda, near Gothenberg in Sweden, and Ghent in Belgium on Monday 20 April. It will also reopen its offices in Sweden.?</span>The firm says that both the factories and offices have been prepared to ensure staff are as safe as possible, while production output will be adjusted to reflect Volvo's current order books and market demand.</p> <p>Volvo is aiming to start production at its plant in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday 11 May.</p> <p><strong>● Ferrari</strong>?is making both respirator values and fittings for protective masks at its Maranello factory. The values have been designed by diving equipment firm Mares to fit onto masks to assist patients suffering respiratory difficulties due to COVID-19.?</p> <p>Ferrari is also supplying fittings to a firm called Solid Energy, which is using them to snorkel masks from sportswear store Decathlon so they can be used by healthcare workers. Distribution of the items made by Ferrari and other firms is being coordinated by the Italian Civil Protection to hospitals in Bermago, Genoa, Modena, Sassuolo and Medicina.</p> <p><strong>Thursday?16?April: Bentley shutdown extended, Nissan helping UK PPE distribution, Volkswagen gears up for production resumption</strong></p> <p><strong>● Bentley</strong><span>?has extended the shutdown of its Crewe factory for a further three weeks. The British manufacturer had initially aimed to resume work on Monday 20 April, but is now intending to begin the ramp-up of manufacturing on 11 May, will full production resuming a week later.</span></p> <p>Bentley says the decision was made so it can ensure the health and safety of its staff, and then families. The three-week delay will likely?be in line with the anticipated extention of the UK 'lockdown' set to be announced by the government later today.</p> <p><strong>● Nissan</strong><span>?is using its experience of supply chain management at its Sunderland plant to aid mass distribution of face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline NHS workers and other carers. The firm has been taking delivery of 3D-printed visors produced by volunteers across the country, sorting them into packs of 125 and distributing to the NHS. It will send out more than 77,000 masks by the end of the week, and will be able to process 100,000 masks a week shortly.</span></p> <p>The Sunderland plant's?distribution project was inspired by Anthony and Chris Grilli, who work at the plant. Along with their two other brothers, the Grilli's crowd funded the purchase of a number of 3D printers to produce PPE at their homes. Nissan has now provided an injection moulding tool that can increase the number of parts produced.</p> <p><strong>● Volkswagen</strong>?is working on plans to restart its production operations in Europe. It will start by resuming work at its plants in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia on Monday 20 April, with its remaining German plants and those in Portugal, Spain, Russia and the USA scheduled to resume on 27 April. It aims to open factories in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico during May.</p> <p>Volkswagen chief operating officer Ralf Brandstatter said the firm has spent three weeks developing a plan for the resumption of production, which includes a "comprehensive catalogue of measures" to protect the health of employees.</p> <p>The firm has developed a 100-point plan, which it says it based on experience from China, where 32 of its 33 plants have now resumed production and no staff members have since reported coronavirus cases.</p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>How exactly are UK autmotive firms turning their skills to the production of ventilators and other medical equipment. Autocar spoke to?</span><strong>Williams Advanced Engineering</strong><span>?about its part in the VentilatorChallenge UK consortium to find out. <a href="">Read the full story here.</a></span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford</strong> is testing an innovative solution to aid the safe resumpition of production at its plants: a social distance-monitoring wristband that buzzes in warning if employees come nearer than six feet of each other. The device is being tested by Ford employees at its Plymouth, Michigan facility.</span></p> <p><strong>Wednesday 15 April: Audi, Renault start reopening factories, Vauxhall repair costs slashed</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Daimler and?</strong><strong>Suzuki?</strong>have also announced plans to restart some manufacturing operations in Hungary. The country is particularly dependent on its various car factories, which have been shut down for weeks due to the pandemic. The facilities will be gradually brought back online to ensure the risk of spreading the virus is kept to a minimum.?</p> <p><strong>● Audi</strong>?joined Hyundai in announcing plans to resume some production in Europe, even though much of the continent remains on lockdown. Bloomberg reports that the premium German brand now has around 100 workers in its Gy?r, Hungary engine site, working?in a single shift system. A second line is expected to open up by the end of this week.?</p> <p><strong>● Renault?</strong>will also restart some of its operations at its Portugal plant. The French firm also claims it wants to resume production in Romania by the end of the week.?</p> <p><strong>● Vauxhall?</strong>has slashed the cost of servicing and repairs at its dealer network, while also prioritising key workers and NHS staff. Two new pricing structures are offered: Vauxhall Genuine for those who want only genuine manufacturer parts, and Vauxhall approved for those who are happy to save money and have 'approved' parts fitted with a two-year parts and labour warranty.?</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 14?April: Ford's face shield milestone, Hyundai begins production once again</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Hyundai?</strong>is one of the first major carmakers in Europe to restart production at its plant in No?ovch, Czech Rublic. The facility usually produces the i30, alongside other models, and had been closed as part of a continent-wide lockdown. The country has eased lockdown restrictions as cases fall.</p> <p><strong>● Ford USA</strong>?says it has already produced more than three million face shields to support health care and emergency services in the USA, and has also begun efforts to scale up production of reusable protective gowns.</p> <p>The firm will also begin production today of a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) device that it has developed with 3M at its Plymouth, Michigan plant. It is also helping Thermo Fisher Scientific increase production of Covid-19 test collection kits.</p> <p><strong>● Ferrari?</strong>has extended the shutdown of its Maranello factory until 3 May, in line with the latest instructions of the Italian government.</p> <p>Despite the delay, Ferrari will continue to ramp up its 'Back on Track' project to ensure the health and safety of its staff. It included?<span>voluntary screening of all employees,?their families and the staff of suppliers. It is also offering free insurance cover for employees and, if needed, accommodation suitable for self-isolation and medical and nursing support at home.</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 10?April: Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce join PPE production efforts to aid NHS staff</strong></p> <p><strong>● Aston Martin?</strong>is working with engineering firm Multimatic and research organisation the Manufacturing Technology Centre to design and produce a range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to assist NHS staff.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The firms are collaborating on a new intubation shield that can help protect medical staff who are intubating and extubating patients with COVID-19. The new device is effectively a one-piece Perspex box that is placed over the patient’s upper body, and is designed to be stacked to take up less space. The new machines are being produced at the MTC, with Aston Martin using cutting machines at its Gaydon plant normally used to craft leather to cut silicone components used for the box. The device is currently being trialled at the Royal London Hospital.</p> <p>Aston Martin is also using its 3D printers to produce around 150 protective visors a week, and is working with Warwick Hospital to develop a new protective visor that meets NHS guidelines. The firm will also start to produce up to 750 gowns a week for medical staff in Warwickshire hospitals.</p> <p>Technicians?at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell are providing emergency vehicle repairs to NHS staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital.</p> <p><strong>● Rolls-Royce?</strong>is producing face visor kits at its Goodwood factory that are being provided to local NHS staff, as first reported by the Chichester Observer. The firm is also understood to have released its fleet of 30 cars to local charities and NHS services to assist in essential deliveries to those in need.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ferrari</strong> has provided more details o</span>f the steps it is taking to protect works ahead of the planned reopening its its Maranello factory next week. Under the 'Back on Track' scheme the firm is offering voluntary screening with blood tests to all employees, their families and the staff of suppliers, so they can see if they are carrying coronavirus.</p> <p>The firm will also use an app to offer medical support for staff to monitor virus symptoms and to help contact tracing in the case of any positive cases of COVID-19. Any employees who tests positive will be offered free insurance cover, accommodation suitable for self-isolation and medical and nursing support at home.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>22 staff from <strong>Vauxhall's</strong> Luton Vivaro van plant has been loaned to Smiths Medical to help the firm ramp up production of its NHS-approved ventilators. The 20 assemblers, team leader and supervisor were picked from Vauxhall's workforce for their specialist production skills. They have been seconded to Smiths Medical's Luton facility until 31 July.</p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>Leading British engineering firm?</span><strong>Envisage?</strong>has designed and built a new portable ventilator that uses off-the-shelf medical components. The device was produced with the assistance of management consultancy Vendigital and healthcare regulatory firm Woodley BioReg, and was provided in response to the government call for assistance in the production of more ventilators for the NHS.</p> <p><strong>Thursday 9?April: Jaguar Land Rover and Ford increase support for emergency services, production to restart</strong></p> <p><strong>● Daimler?</strong>plans to restart production at?some of its German plants as early as 20 April, as demand for cars from China is on the rebound. Car factories in Sindelfingen and Bremen are to resume work, alongside some van factories. However, the maker is extending shorter hours for German workers until the end of the month.</p> <p><strong>● Audi</strong> also plans to resume production at its factories in Neckarsulm, Germany and Brussels, Belgium on 20 April. The former produces the <a href="">A4</a>, <a href="">A5</a>, <a href="">A6</a>, <a href="">A7</a> and <a href="">A8</a>, while the latter builds the <a href="">E-tron</a> electric SUV.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Fiat Chrysler (FCA)</strong> has begun discussions with unions on restarting production in Italy as soon as the national shutdown is ended. The current shutdown expires on 13 April, and some reports indicate it may not be renewed as the country is over the peak of cases. FCA is discussing stringent health measures to put in place if it restarts production at that time.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Jaguar Land Rover </strong>has expanded its support for emergency response organisations around the world by increasing the number of vehicles it is loaning to support services?and commencing deliveries of?3D-printed protective visors.</p> <p>The firm had already loaned more than 160 vehicles from its press fleet to organisations including the British Red Cross and National Health Service (see Tuesday 31 March below)?and has now deployed?312 vehicles globally. They include a total of 210 in the UK, 14 of which are being used by the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to help test staff isolating with coronavirus symptoms. The firm has also loaned vehicles to Red Cross branches and other organisations in Spain, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany and Belgium.</p> <p>Jaguar Land Rover has also started delivering to NHS staff 3D-printed protective visors that it designed (see Friday 3 April below)?and is producing at its Gayden base.?It's aiming to produce around 5000 masks per?week in the UK. It?has also made the files open-source so other firms can produce the visors. Jaguar Land Rover Brazil has also started producing the visors at its facility in?<span>Rio de Janeiro.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Ford UK</strong>?has loaned around 200 vehicles from its marketing and sales fleet to the NHS and other organisations. It has provided 203 cars to 40 different organisations, including 10 NHS ambulance trusts, the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance.</p> <p>It has also loaned vehicles to care homes, police forces and local councils, among other groups. Ford is also working with service partner DHL to provide logistical support to the East?of England Ambulance Service's fleet team.</p> <p><strong>● Nissan?</strong><span>has become the latest car firm to offer free roadside assistance to NHS and key workers driving any of its vehicles, regardless of its age or warranty coverage. It has also confirmed that vehicle warranties will be honoured if UK customers miss a scheduled service or repair work due to the ongoing lockdown.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>The</strong> <strong>Volkswagen Group</strong> has donated <span>€</span>1 million (£860,000) to provide emergency relief for refugees in Syria, Turkey and Greece who are threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund will be distributed via the German Red Cross and will be used to buy and distribute food and medical supplies, as well as providing training and equipment for volunteers.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>General Motors</strong>?and partner Ventec Life Systems have secured a $489.4m (£389m) contract with the US government to produce 30,000 ventilators by the end of August. The units will be based on a Ventec design and produced at GM's Indiana plant. A fifth of the order is due to delivered by 1 June.</span></p> <p><span>GM had previously attracted the ire of president Donald Trump, who had accused it of not responding to the coronavirus outbreak and threatened to invoke the Defence Production Act to compel it to make ventilators. However, Bloomberg reports that GM and Ventec had already been working on the ventilator project for more than a week at the time of Trump's statements.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Toyota</strong> has extended the production shutdown at all its North American factories until at least 1 May.</span></p> <p><strong>Wednesday 8?April: F1 season delayed further as Canadian GP postponed, Dacia deliveries</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The <strong>Canadian Grand Prix </strong>scheduled for 14 June has been postponed, further pushing back the earliest start date for the 2020 Formula 1 season. The French GP at Paul Ricard, due to run on28 June,?is now the provisional season-opener, although F1 bosses are working on a revised timetable with a plan to hold 15-18 races.</span></p> <p><span>British GP bosses have previously said they will decide by the end of April whether the event can go ahead at Silverstone as scheduled on 19 July. Circuit officials have also said they are open to holding multiple races in 2020 if needed. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Meanwhile, F1 bosses have extended the current factory shutdown period by a further two weeks. They had brought forward the traditional 14-day summer factory shutdown to allow races to potentially be held in August. That shutdown has now been extended twice, meaning teams must have shut their design, research and development, production and similar departments for 35 consecutive days?between March and May this year.</span></p> <p>A number of UK-based F1 teams, including McLaren, Williams and Racing Point, have placed a number of staff on the government's furlough scheme, while senior staff and drivers have taken temporary pay cuts.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Dacia</strong>?has scrapped the £250 home delivery cost?for customers using its online shopping platform. Anyone who orders a car on the service now will receive priority when the firm's dealerships are allowed to open.</span></p> <p><strong>Tuesday 7?April: UCL and Mercedes-AMG F1 make breathing aid design freely available</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The designs for a new breathing aid developed by?UCL and <strong>Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains</strong>, which makes the power units used by the F1 team, have been made freely available so that they can be produced elsewhere in the world. Mercedes-AMG HPP has now dedicated its entire factory in Brixworth, Northants to production of the unit. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>Monday 6?April: Former McLaren boss to aid NHS workers with food, new Beijing motor show date</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?Former <strong>McLaren</strong> boss Ron Dennis has launched an initiative to supply a million free meals to NHS front-line staff treating coronavirus patients. The scheme was launched with £1 million of funding from Dennis's Dreamchasing charity fund, and is headed by Dennis and Nigel Harris, the boss of catering firm Absolute Taste (which Dennis co-founded).</span></p> <p><span>Meals?will be made by ingredients supplied by Tesco and Absolute Taste, and delivered to hospitals nationwide, starting with the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and Great Ormond Street.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>UK new car sales </strong>slumped by 44.4 per cent year-on-year in March as a result of the coronavirus lockdown that was in place for much of the month. <a href="">Full story here</a>. With the restrictions remaining in place, those involved in the UK industry can look to China for examples on how to spark a recover post-lockdown. <a href="">Read our analysis here</a>. Meanwhile, new car sales?didn't just fall?sharply in March in the UK: in <strong>Germany</strong> they dropped by 38% year-on-year,?according to the registrations authority there.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The BMW Group sold 477,111 cars worldwide in the first three months of this year across the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, a drop of 20.6% on the first three months of 2019. That drop included a 30.9% slump in China, where the impact of coronavirus was felt earlier, but the firm said sales there recovered in March. European sales were down 18.3%.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The postponed?<strong>Beijing motor show, </strong>originallay due to run later this month, has been rescheduled until September this year. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Hyundai UK?</strong>has extended warranties by 1500 miles/three months for customers whose coverage was set to expire in March, April or May 2020. A spokesperson said the offer could be extended, depending on how long the lockdown lasts.?</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 3?April: Jaguar Land Rover's visors, more help for NHS workers</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Jaguar Land Rover</strong> has begun production of reusable NHS-approved protective visors, with the goal of eventually producing 5000 of the units a week.</p> <p>The new visor has been designed at the Advanced Production Creation Centre in Gayden in consultation with NHS staff, with Jaguar Land Rover initially aiming to produce 1300 units per week using its prototype build operations. It will then work with other companies, including Pro2Pro in Telford to further increase production.</p> <p>The visors has been tested by staff at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. The device is designed to be easily dismantled and cleaned so that it can be used again, helping to combat equipment shortages.</p> <p>Jaguar Land Rover intends to make the open source CAD design files available to other manufacturers, so they can print further visors.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<b>Toyota</b></span><span>?and <strong>Lexus</strong> are?offering free roadside assistance to all key workers who drive one of their cars or vans, regardless of its age. The firms have teamed with the AA for the initiative, which will be available until further notice.?</span></p> <p><span>Meanwhile, the Japanese firms have given owners of their new or recently bought vehicles three extra months of roadside assistance cover free.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Peugeot</strong>, <strong>Citro?n</strong> and <strong>DS</strong> will join fellow PSA Group brand <strong>Vauxhall</strong> (see below) in offering its roadside assistance programme to all NHS workers who drive one of their vehicles, regardless of age. The brands say they have also increased goodwill payments to NHS workers whose vehicles are no longer within warranty.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<b>Ford UK</b></span><span>?has taken several steps to aid healthcare workers, local authorities,?charities and volunteers, including loaning around 170 of its vehicles to support transport efforts.</span></p> <p><span>It has also donated personal protective equipment (PPE) from its plants to local healthcare authorities, with its Bridgend engine plant donating 13,500 pairs of gloves, 150 disposable safety suit and a large stock of protective glasses. Meanwhile, Ford's Dunton plant is currently trialling the fabrication of protective face shields.</span></p> <p>Ford has also confimed it will extend the suspension of vehicle and engine production at most of its European manufacturing sites until at least 4 May. The firm initially halted work at the plants on 17 March.</p> <p><strong>Thursday 2 April: Vauxhall supports NHS workers</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Nissan</strong>?has extended the production halt at its Sunderland plant "throughout April". Production has been suspended at the factory since 17 March, and Nissan says the majority of employees have been furloughed under the UK government scheme.</p> <p>The Japanese firm has also suspended production at its Spanish plants, introducing 'Force Majeure' temporary lay off measures at its sites in Cataluny and Cantabria.</p> <p>In a statement, Nissan said it was "grateful for the financial assistance offered by national governments to support our 15,000 direct employees in Europe, our partner companies and suppliers."<span>?</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Vauxhall</strong>?has extended its Roadside Assistance programme, usually reserved for owners of new cars, to all Vauxhall-driving NHS workers.</p> <p>The move means NHS staff can call the manufacturer in the event of a breakdown, be it at home or on the road, and have their car repaired or recovered to an approved Vauxhall workshop. The offer is extended to?all Vauxhalls, regardless of age, mileage and service history.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Williams</strong> Advanced Engineering is one of a number of car firms part of a consortium helping to re-engineer an existing ventilator design in response to the Ventilator Challenge UK project.</p> <p>The firm, which was formed by the Williams F1 team to apply technology it had developed in other industries, is working with firms including McLaren, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Siemens and BAR Systems to re-engineer a Smiths Group ParaPAC300 ventilator design in order to rapidly manufacture 5000 units for the NHS. More than 50 WAE staff members have been involved in the project, with the firm developing 3D CAD modelling, re-engineering test equipment and working on rapid prototype development.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Skoda</strong> is helping charities and volunteers in the Czech Republic by giving them free access to more than 200 vehicles and 150 electric scooters used by its HoppyGo car sharing platform. The firm is also working with the Czech Technical University in Prague to develop a 3D printing process to produce ventilators.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span>This weekend should have been the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, so the sport's bosses are staging a second <strong>F1 Esport Virtual Grand Prix</strong>. Five current F1 drivers have signed up so far: Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Alex Albon, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.?</p> <p>Those five will be joined by an assortment of random guest stars including F1 race winner Johnny Herbert (who led the first Virtual GP after massively cutting the first turn) and cricket star Ben Stokes.?With the new Hanoi circuit not featured in the F1 2019 game, this weekend's event will be staged on the Albert Park circuit used for the Australian GP. The event starts at 2000hrs on Sunday, with coverage on Sky Sports F1.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span>If you're looking for distractions to fill your new-found time at home, why not configure your dream <strong>Bentley</strong>? Autocar has set up a competition for those who do, and you could win a tour of the British firm's Crewe factory. <a href="">Click here for full details</a>.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday 1?April: Seat's windscreen wiper-powered ventilator</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Seat</strong> is the latest car brand to start producing ventilators, having started producing units at its Martorell factory near Barcelona for local healthcare authorities.</p> <p>The automated ventilators were designed by a team of engineers, and are now undergoing final testing before approval is given for mass production. The ventilators use a number of parts adapted from Seat cars, including windscreen wiper motors, gearbox shafts and printed gears. 150 employees will produce them.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><span><strong>Volkswagen</strong> has extended the production suspension at its German factories by five days, saying the decision is primarily due to the sharp fall in demand for new cars and supply chain issues.</span></p> <p><span>The firm is now intending to resume production at its car and components plants on 19 April, and says it is working on a number of measures to ensure the health and safety of staff.</span></p> <p><strong>Tuesday?31?March: Jaguar Land Rover lends out press fleet,?Lamborghini makes masks, PSA helping ventilators</strong></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Jaguar Land Rover</strong></span><strong><strong>?</strong></strong><span>is lending more than 160 vehicles to organisiations including the British Red Cross and National Health Service to help deliver essential supplies to vulnerable people. The vehicles are taken from the firm's press fleet, and include 27 examples of the new Defender. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Lamborghini</strong> is helping the health service in Italy by producing surgical masks and plexiglass shields at its Sant-Agata factory. The Italian firm's in-house saddlery is currently producing 1000 masks a day, which are being donated to the Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna.</p> <p>The plexiglass shields are being produced at a rate of 200 units a day using 3D printers in Lamborghini's carbon fibre production plant and research and development centre.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>In the United States, <strong>GM</strong> is also temporarily moving into face mask production, having developed a new production line for them in seven days. It expects to deliver 20,000 masks by 8 April and says that, when up to speed, it will be able to produce 1.5 million masks a month.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The</span> <strong>PSA Group </strong>is part of a consortium that is aiming to produce 10,000 ventilators in response to requests by the French government. PSA, whose brands include Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall/Opel, is working with Schneider Electric and Valet to help ventilator firm Air Liquide dramatically scale up its production capabilities.</p> <p>PSA has been working on the project sine 22 March, and will produce components for the ventilators that will be assembled at Air Liquide's base, where a number of PSA employee volunteers will be working.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?</span><strong>Ford</strong> has provided an update on its efforts to work with GE Healthcare to produce a third-party ventilator. The firm will begin production of a ventilator design licensed from medical firm Airon at its Rawsonville Components Plant in Michigan, with the target of producing 50,000 within 100 days – and 30,000 a month from then on, if needed.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Ford has delayed plans to resume car production at its other North America plants. It has initially planned on resuming production at various dates between 6 and 14 April, but these will now be pushed back.</p> <p><strong>Monday?30?March: Car and motorsport industries ramp up efforts to help NHS, Detroit show postponed</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The?<strong>Paris motor show</strong>?due to be held in September has cancelled, although event organisers are still planning to run a number of smaller 'festival' and business-to-business events. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The</span><strong> Mercedes F1 </strong><span>team's Brixworth-based powertrain division has helped UCL to develop a new breathing aid that can help keep COVID-19 patients out of intensive care. The device took around 100 hours to develop, and is set to begin clinical trials soon.</span></p> <p><span>Meanwhile, a consortium that included Ford and the seven UK-based Formula 1 teams has received more than 10,000 orders for ventilators from the UK government, after the rapid development of a version that it can produce quickly to scale. Read the full story on both initiatives here.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The <strong>Detroit motor show</strong> is the latest major automotive event to be axed due to the coronavirus outbreak. America's longest running motor show was due to switch to a new June date this year, but organisers anticipate the exhibition centre in which it is due to be held being turned into a temporary hospital by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).?</span>It is one of more than 100 convention centres and similar facilities across the USA earmarked for such use.</p> <p>That means the first summer Detroit show will be delayed until 2021, when it is planned to run on 14-26 June. The cornavirus pandemic has already led to the <a href="">cancellation of this year's Geneva motor show,</a> with the Beijing and New York shows both postponed.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>The <strong>PSA Group</strong> initially <a href="">suspended production at all its plants</a>, including the <strong>Vauxhall</strong> factories in Luton and Ellesmere Port, until 27 March, but it has moved this back to a new, unspecified date due to the continued impact of the coronavirus.</p> <p>PSA says it is developing a new health protocol to reinforce preventive measures for when production does resume. Steps will include regularly taking temperatures, wearing of masks on site, hourly cleaning of tools and work surfaces, and a three-hour waiting time during exchanges of parts.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Volkswagen</strong> will release all of its employees in Germany with medical qualifications who volunteer to work in the country's public health service with full pay for up to 15 days.?</span></p> <p><span>The firm has also arranged for around £35 million worth of medical equipment to be shipped from China to Germany, where it will be distributed to medical facilities in the Lower Saxony region.</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 27?March: Ferrari plots return to production</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Some positive news from Italy: <strong>Ferrari</strong> is planning to resume production at its Maranello plant on 14 April. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Seven UK-based <strong>Formula 1 teams</strong> – Red Bull, Racing Point, Haas, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Renault and Williams – have put their rivalry on hold to form the Project Pitlane initiative, responding to the UK government's call for help producing medical equipment. The teams claim to have made "significant progress" in three areas: reverse engineering existing medical devices so they can be used to treat COVID-19 patients;?support in scaling production of existing ventilator designs;?and the rapid design and prototyping of a new ventilator design.</span></p> <p><span>In a statement, the teams said they would "</span>pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly." They added that they "remain ready to support in other areas requiring rapid, innovative technology responses to the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic."</p> <p><strong>Thursday 26?March: MG loans EVs to NHS, Goodwood Festival of Speed delayed</strong></p> <p><strong>● MG?</strong><span>will supply up to 100 electric ZS models to National Health Service agencies, to support the fight against coronavirus by adding transport capacity. The machines will be loaned free-of-charge for up to six month, with distribution done by MG dealers. The first six models have been supplied to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>One of the biggest events on the UK motoring calendar, the?</span><strong>Goodwood Festival of Speed,?</strong><span>has been postponed. The event was due to be held in July, but organisers are now looking at dates in late summer or early autumn. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>Meanwhile, one of the biggest events of the US motorsport calendar, the?</span><strong>Indianapolis 500,?</strong><span>has also been postponed. The 104th running of the flagship event of the IndyCar Series has been switched from 24 May to 23 August. It will be the first time in the events history that it has taken place outside of May. The event has only previously not been held during the First and Second World Wars.</span></p> <p>The Indy 500 is the culmination of a month-long build-up, which traditionally kicks off with an IndyCar race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course. That event has now moved to the weekend of 4 July, where it will be held as part of a double-header with the Nascar stock car race on the oval. It will be?the first time America's top two motorsport championships have run at the same circuit.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 24?March: Aston Martin, McLaren and Morgan close plants</strong></p> <p><strong>● Aston Martin</strong><span>, <strong>McLaren</strong>?and <strong>Morgan</strong>?have all suspended production at their UK plants following the latest government advice thar people should minimise travel and only leave their homes for essential work. <a href="">Read the full story here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Trying to work out exactly what the coronavirus outbreak means for motorists? <a href="">Click here </a>to read our?<strong>essential advice for drivers</strong> during the Covid-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>Around the world, the car industry is stepping in to help with production of ventilators and other medical apparatus in a bid to combat the coronavirus. The UK government continues to work with a number of firms, and in the USA <strong>Ford</strong> has teamed up with?</span>3M to start manufacturing Powered Air-Purifying Respirators, using off-the-shelf parts used, in part for the seat-cooling systems of the F-150 pick-up.</p> <p>Ford?is also working with GE Healthcare to produce a simplified version of GE's ventilator. It is also starting to assemble more than 100,000 face masks for healthcare workers.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <strong>Tesla's</strong> Elon Musk says he bought 1255 ventilators from China and donated them to medical staff in Los Angeles. Musk says China had an oversupply of the ventilators. Tesla, along with GM and Ford, is believed to be in talks with the US government about ventilator production.</p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The?</span><strong>Azerbaijan Grand Prix,?</strong>which had been due to take place on 7 June, is the latest Formula 1 race to be postponed. That means the Canadian GP on 14 June is the first scheduled event, although it also seems likely to be postponed. F1 bosses say they are still aiming to hold a 15-18 race season, both by racing during the usual August summer break and extending the season past late November.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The UK motorsport calendar is also continuing to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Motorsport UK, which governs the sport in the country, has said it will extend the suspension of permits for motorsport events until at least 30 June.</span>?Motorsport UK chairman David Richards said the body "has a vital role to play with its community in reinforcing that, at this time of national emergency, we must all stay at home to play our part in protecting the NHS and ultimately saving lives."</p> <p>He added:?"The government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, it is evident that the most responsible course of action was to propose a longer suspension of our sport.? When we reflect back on this time, it will be a brief, but vital, hiatus from our everyday motorsport life and we must put this in perspective."</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>In line with Motorsport UK's decision, the British Touring Car Championship has now postponed the first five events of its season, with the events at Thruxton on 17 May and Oulton Park on 14 June now delayed.</p> <p><strong>Monday 23?March: More plant closures, US car firms to start ventilator production</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Driving tests</strong>?and <strong>MOTs</strong>?for heavy vehicles have been suspended for up to three months in England, Scotland and Wales. The move mirrors a separate decision made by the government in Northern Ireland. The UK government says people scheduled to take a test that has now been cancelled will be given first priority when they resume. But tests will still run for workers who have a critical need, including NHS staff and goods delivery drivers.</span></p> <p>The MOT suspension applies only to heavy vehicles, such as buses, lorries and trailers. Any vehicles with a test due in this period will be issued with a Certificate of Temporary Extension (CTE). MOTs for cars remain running but "under review" with the Department for Transport promising "an update in due course."</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span><strong>Ford's</strong> Dagenham engine plant will be closed from today onwards, with the Bridgend engine plant in Wales following suit on Wednesday. The break in operations is currently scheduled for a four-week period, with the firm bringing forward its regular summer closure. The shutdown will be extended across non-business critical Ford UK operations, and workers will receive "payments at least equivalent to their base pay."</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span><strong>Transport for London</strong> is suspending all?road charging schemes in the capital from today, to ensure critical workers – especially those in the NHS – and supply deliveries can travel more freely. The move means drivers will no longer have to pay the Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone or Ultra Low Emission Zone fees. TFL noted that it was key to keep the roads clear for emergency services and critical workers, urging people to travel as little as possible.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>In similar fashion to efforts seen in the UK, leading American car firms are set to step in to assist with ventilator production in the United States. In a tweet, US President Donald Trump said that <strong>Ford, GM and Tesla</strong> "are being given the go ahead" to make ventilators and other metal products. Few further specifics of what role the cars firms will play have yet to be announced.?</span></p> <p><strong>Friday 20?March: Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley close plants, China's lesson for the industry</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Jaguar Land Rover?</strong><span>and?<strong>Bentley?</strong>have both closed their UK plants, effectively halting mainstream car production in the UK. Both firms are aiming to reopen their facilities on 20 April. <a href="">Full story here.</a></span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>With the UK and wider European car production effectively shut down, automotive companies are facing huge financial challenges. So how can they cope? Some answers could be found in China, where the industry is slowly recovering as the country begins to get back to business as the number of?coronavirus cases in the country declines. Jim Holder spoke to some car industry sources to pick up some tips. <a href="">Read his in-depth analysis here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Volvo?</strong><span>will close its plants in its home country of Sweden?and Charleston, South Carolina from 26 March until 14 April to protect its workforce. It has already closed its Belgium factory, which will not reopen until at least 5 April. Volvo's Chinese plant reopened earlier this month.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>New</span><strong>?Formula 1?</strong>technical rules due to be introduced next season have been delayed until 2022, to enable the tean teams to better soften the financial hit from the disrupted 2020 season. This year's championship won't begin until at least June after the first seven races of the year were either cancelled or postponed. <a href="">Full story on the new rules delay here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>If you're missing out on your</span><strong>?Formula 1?</strong><span>fix, championship bosses have launched a <strong>Virtual Grand Prix</strong> esports series.?Races will be held in place of every postponed or cancelled 2020 race, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix this Sunday. Run using the PC version of F1 2019, this weekend's event will run on the Bahrain circuit and last 28 laps,?half the F1 race distance. Races held on circuits not featured in F1 2019 will be replaced with alternative venues.</span></p> <p><span>Oh, and the performance of all the cars in the game will be equalised, so Mercedes will be unable to run a virtual version of its controversial Dual Axis Steering system...</span></p> <p><strong>Thursday 19?March: Honda closes UK plant, driving tests postponed and more F1 races delayed</strong></p> <p><strong>● Honda?</strong>has suspended production at its UK plant, where the Civic hatch is built, "in light of increasing difficulties with supply chains and considering the wellbeing" or staff. The firm says it intends to restart production on 6 April, dependent on government advice and market conditions.</p> <p><strong>● Formula 1?</strong><span>bosses have officially postponed the Dutch, Spanish and Monaco grand prix. The expected postponement of the events, due to be held on the 3, 10 and 24 May respectively, means the season is now scheduled to start with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 7 June. F1 bosses are "studying the viability of potential alternative dates" for the races, having previously said they still hope to run a calendar or 17 or 18 races this year.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><strong>The</strong><strong> Driving Vehicle Standards Agency?</strong><span>has postponed all driving tests in the UK?due to take place today and tomorrow. In Northern Ireland, driving tests have been suspended for three months.</span></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>Both <strong>Ford</strong> and <strong>GM</strong> will suspend production at their North American factories until at least 30 March. The two firms say they will take the time to clean and sanitise their plants in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and both are in talks with unions about keeping workers safe when production resumes.?Audi has also suspended production in its Mexico plant due to supply chain issues.</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Hyundai</strong> has suspended production at its US factory in Alabama after a worker tested positive for Covid-19. The firm is working with local officials to sanitise the site and determining when it it safe for production to resume.?</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>With the motorsport world on hold, several race organisers are working with 'virtual'?Esports series to help fill the gap. After a successful event last weekend featuring drivers such as Max Verstappen, Torque Esports will run a second All-Star Esports Battle at 1700hrs on Saturday 21 March.</span></p> <p>Meanwhile Nascar, which already sanctions an official iRacing championship, has set up a new eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. It says the new series will?be contested by a mix of current drivers from its various series, along with?'Nascar dignitaries'. The first event will be held on the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway at 1730hrs UK time on Sunday 22 March.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><span>The <strong>Petersen Automotive Museum</strong> in Los Angeles has closed due to Covid-19, but will offer?entertainment to anyone stuck at home by streaming hour-long virtual tours of its Vault. The 'tours' will cost $3 each, with the proceeds going to support staff. For a look at the Petersen exhibits in the main museum, check out <a href="">Autocar's slideshow here</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>Wednesday 18?March: Rolls-Royce and Toyota close UK plants as European industry shuts down</strong></p> <p><strong>● </strong><span>The</span><strong>?</strong><strong>Le?Mans 24 Hours?</strong><span>has been moved back from its planned 13/14 June date until 19/20 September. The organisers say the delay?will involve rescheduling?several of rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship.</span></p> <p><span>The world's most prestigious endurance race was first held in May 1923, but has since been run in June, with two exceptions. In 1956 the event was held in July, while in 1968 civil unrest in France caused the event to be delayed until September. The?race has been cancelled ten times: in 1936 due to a labour strike, and between 1940 and 1948 due to World War Two.?</span></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Rolls-Royce</strong><span>?has confirmed it will suspend production at its Goodwood manufacturing plant from Monda 23 March. The suspension is currently planned for two weeks, and leads into the already scheduled two-week Easter maintenance shutdown. It added that day-to-day operations will be assured by non-production staff at the company's head office, or working remotely.</span></p> <p>Company boss Torsten Müller-?tv?s?said:?“This action has not been taken lightly, but the health and well-being of our exceptional workforce is first and foremost in our minds.? We are a tight-knit community at the Home of Rolls?Royce and I have no doubt that our resilience will shine through during this extraordinary time.</p> <p>"As a deeply customer-focused company we are aware that this decision to pause our production will possibly cause some discomfort or inconvenience to a few of our esteemed patrons, for which we apologise while seeking their understanding at this difficult time.”</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Porsche?</strong>has announced that it will stop production for an initial period of two weeks. The decision will affects its Zuffenhausen and Leipzig plants in Germany, with the suspension starting from Saturday 21 March.?The firm cited the protection of its personnel due to coronavirus, but added that bottlenecks in its supply chain no longer enabled "orderly production". The firm also said it is anticipating a decline in demand.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Toyota</strong>?is suspending production at all of its European plants, including its two UK facilities in Burnaston, Derbyshire and Deeside, Flintshire. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The?</span><strong>BMW Group?</strong><span>is also in the process of halting production at all of its European factories, along with its site in South Africa. They will all be closed by the end of the week, and is currently scheduled to last until 19 April.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?<strong>Honda</strong> will suspend?production at all of its North American plants for six days from 23 March, due to an "anticipated decline in?market demand". It said it will continue to pay staff fully during the suspension, and will also utilise the period to enhance deep cleaning measures. The move will affect plants in the USA, Canada and Mexico.</span></p> <p><strong>●</strong><span>?The?<strong>Tesla</strong></span><strong>?</strong>factory in Fremont, California is set to be forced to close, with officials in Alameda County having reportedly determined it is a "non-essential" business. The plant was originally set to stay open despite a "stay at home" order in the county, but county spokesperson?Sargeant Ray Kelly told <a href="" target="_blank">The Mercury News</a>: "If Tesla was a hospital, if Tesla was a laundromat, if Tesla was a mechanic shop, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.?But Tesla makes cars, and that’s not essential for us to get through this health crisis.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday 17 March: Ford and VW Group announce plant closures</strong></p> <p><strong>●?</strong><strong>Ford</strong> will suspend production at its factories in continental Europe from Thursday 19 March. The decision, which the firm expects "will continue for a number of weeks" will affect two plants in Germany and one in Romania. The firm has already suspended production at its Valencia factory after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus. The firm's two UK engine plants are not affected.</p> <p>The firm added that while dealerships in some countries have temporarily closed their sales operations, its dealers are committed to "provide essential maintenance and service across the continent".</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>● The Volkswagen Group</strong> is shutting down most of its factories in Europe, with boss Herbert Diess saying that it's “almost impossible” to forecast the company's 2020 financial performance. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p><strong>●?</strong>The first three rounds of this year's <strong>British Touring Car Championship</strong> have been postponed following the lastest UK government advice on limiting mass gatherings. The season was due to begin at Donington Park this weekend. Governing body Motorsport UK is suspending all event permits until at lease April 30.?<a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p>● The <strong>Tesla</strong>?factory in Fremont, California, US is remaining open, despite a "shelter in place"?lockdown being issued for the area in which it's located. The plant, where the Model 3 is produced, has been deemed an essential business?by Alameda County.</p> <p>According to the Los Angeles Times, Tesla boss Elon Musk has emailed the plant's 10,000 workers saying they can stay at home if they feel unwell or uncomfortable.</p> <p>● The <strong>Goodwood Members' Meeting</strong>, which was due to take place at the Sussex race circuit this weekend, has been postponed due to UK government restrictions on public gatherings. Organisers say they're?“exploring a range of alternative dates” for the event?and will continue planning for July’s Festival of Speed and September’s Revival meeting “in the hope that both events will be able to go ahead as planned”.</p> <p><strong>Monday 16 March: Automotive industry race to produce ventilators, Vauxhall's UK plant closed</strong></p> <p>● The <strong>UK government</strong> is in talks with major automotive manufacturers, including Ford and Honda, about producing?ventilators for the NHS in their UK production facilities. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p>The idea has precedent: in China, the car industry is already helping to battle the spread of coronavirus. Chinese car maker?BYD has created production lines at its Shenzen facility to produce face-masks and disinfectants. It says that it's producing 300,000 bottls of disinfectant and five million masks per day, making it the world's largest producer of the latter product.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>● The <strong>PSA Group</strong> will stage phased closures of all of its factories across Europe, including the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p>● <strong>Ford</strong> has closed its factory in Valencia, Spain after three worked tested positive for Covid-19. The site was due to shut for from Wednesday to Friday anyway.?</p> <p>In a statement, Ford said: “We have had three positive cases for Covid-19 on the Valencia site in a 24-hour period, two of which involved more isolated workers that did not enter the assembly operations. We are taking quick action to follow the established protocol, including the identification and self-isolation of all employees who had close contact with the affected workers. We will take all other appropriate steps to ensure that risk from this situation is minimised.”</p> <p><strong>Sunday 15 March: Ferrari shutters Maranello factory</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>● <strong>Fiat Chrysler Automobiles</strong> is closing the majority of its European plans until 27 March, including six in Italy and those in Serbia and Poland. <strong>Ferrari</strong> will also close its Maranello factory, while?Italian brake manufacturer <strong>Brembo</strong> is also shutting down. <a href="">Full story here</a>.</p> <p>● The <strong>World Rally Championship</strong> event in Mexico was halted early so that the competing teams would have extra time to get home, given the increase in travel restrictions. The next event, Rally Argentina, has been postponed.?</p> <p><strong>The impact so far</strong></p> <p>The <a href="">2020 Geneva motor show scheduled for early March was cancelled</a> after the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus in Northern Italy. The New York and Beijing motor shows, both scheduled for April, have been postponed.</p> <p>The Australian Grand Prix was <a href="">cancelled hours before first practice</a> was due to begin, following the withdrawal of the McLaren team after one of its staff tested positive for Covid-19. The subsequent Bahrain, Vietnam and Chinese grands prix have also been cancelled or postponed. <strong>Formula 1</strong> bosses are now looking to start the season in late May or June.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">PSA Group closes European factories to prevent coronavirus spread</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari close factories amid coronavirus outbreak</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen?braces for “very difficult year” as pandemic shuts factories</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 14:21:08 +0100 Kia Rio supermini gains mild-hybrid petrol powertrain <a href="/car-news/new-cars/kia-rio-supermini-gains-mild-hybrid-petrol-powertrain"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Kia Rio 2020 - hero front" title="Kia Rio 2020 - hero front" /></a> New technology is said to improve efficiency, while style updates and interior upgrades are also added <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">Kia</a>?has upgraded its <a href="">Rio</a> supermini, introducing a raft of new technology, styling tweaks?and a new mild-hybrid petrol engine?with an innovative clutch-by-wire manual transmission.</p> <p>The new powertrain, which is the key upgrade alongside the design changes, comprises Kia's?‘Smartstream’ 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine and a 48V electrical system.</p> <p>These enable the Rio to offer electric torque assistance and regenerative braking, maximising fuel efficiency. This?differentiates?the Rio from most superminis,?which are yet to receive mild-hybrid technology.</p> <p>Further setting the Rio apart is the introduction of Kia’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology, which enables the engine to switch between different combustion cycles depending on load to maximise?efficiency, and a new clutch-by-wire?intelligent manual transmission.</p> <p>This latter innovation means there's no mechanical connection between the gearstick and gearbox and clutch - believed to be a market first. It's said to contribute to the mild-hybrid powertrain's greater fuel efficiency while maintaining the driver engagement of a conventional manual gearbox.</p> <p>These upgrades also?increase performance over the Rio’s previous ‘Kappa’ 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, with a?16%-higher peak torque output.</p> <p>Peak power, however, is unaltered, for the Smartstream engine produces the same 99bhp or 118bhp as the unit it replaces. Full performance figures will be announced at a later date.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>As well as the new mild-hybrid system, the Rio now offers?a choice of Smartstream petrol engines:?the 98bhp 1.0-litre T-GDi?and a new version of Kia’s 83bhp naturally aspirated 1.2-litre unit.</p> <p>The former is also now offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, replacing a five-speed manual, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.</p> <p>The Rio’s upgrade continues inside, where an enlarged 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system leads the improvements.</p> <p>New safety kit also features,?including Lane Following Assist, which uses camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front?while monitoring road markings to keep the car in the centre of its lane.</p> <p>On the outside, the Rio receives several styling updates. The front grille is now narrower and the front bumper lower?and wider, while new full-LED headlights have been added.</p> <p>Two new paint?colours are introduced with the upgraded Rio, bringing the number of options to nine, depending on specification and market. The upgraded car is also offered with a new eight-spoke 16in alloy wheel design.</p> <p>There’s no word yet on UK specs or pricing for the mild-hybrid Rio, but expect prices to rise by a small amount when the facelifted model goes on sale in the third quarter of this year.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New 2021 Kia Stinger facelift starts testing at the Nürburgring</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Kia to launch new EV in 2021 as part of £19bn strategy</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Next Kia EV will be 'super-high-performance' halo model</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 13:22:32 +0100 McLaren to axe 1200 jobs amid restructure <a href="/car-news/industry/mclaren-axe-1200-jobs-amid-restructure"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="McLaren production centre - 600LT production line" title="McLaren production centre - 600LT production line" /></a> Woking firm cites Covid-19 pandemic and imminent Formula 1 cost cap as key reasons behind decision <div> <p><a href="/car-reviews/mclaren">McLaren</a> has announced 1200 job losses across its automotive, racing and technology businesses, as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and?<a href="/car-news/motorsport/f1-bosses-unveil-new-2021-rules-boost-racing">the?cost cap being introduced for the?2021 Formula 1?season</a>.</p> <p>McLaren said it has commenced “a proposed restructure programme as part of a wider business plan to ensure its long term future success”.?</p> <p>The proposed restructure, subject to employee consultation, is expected to result in around 1200 redundancies across the group’s Applied, Automotive, and Racing divisions, as well as support and back office functions. The number accounts for almost a third of McLaren's 4000-strong?workforce.?More details on which areas?will be most affected won't be clear until employee consultations have been completed.</p> <p>McLaren said that it, like many others,?<a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-car-industry">has been severely affected by the pandemic</a>, citing the cancellation of motorsport events, the suspension of manufacturing and the lack of car sales globally, plus reduced demand for technology solutions, having led to a sudden impact on revenue.</p> <p>In a statement, McLaren said: "We deeply regret the impact that this restructure will have on all our people, but especially those whose jobs may be affected. It is a course of action we have worked hard to avoid, having already undertaken dramatic cost-saving measures across all areas of the business. But we now have no other choice but to reduce the size of our workforce."</p> <p>McLaren Group executive chairman Paul Walsh said: "This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company?and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth. McLaren Applied has also already refocused to strategically prioritise proven, high-growth revenue streams.</p> <p>"We have already invested in developing a new lightweight, hybrid vehicle architecture that will commence series production at the end of this year with the first deliveries to customers now due in early 2021.</p> <p>"McLaren Racing has been a proponent of the introduction in 2021 of the new Formula 1 budget cap?which will create a sustainable financial basis for the teams and lead to a more competitive sport."</p> <p>Walsh continued: "While this will have a significant impact on the shape and size of our F1 team, we will now begin to take the necessary measures to be ready to run at the cap from 2021 onwards?in order to challenge again for race wins and championships in the future."</p> <p>F1 teams recently agreed to impose a budget cap of $145 million (£119m) from next season onwards, with that figure decreasing on a sliding scale to $135m (£108m) for 2023-2025. That compares to initial plans for a $175m budget cap for 2021, with the substantially lower figure intented to help keep the sport sustainable following the Covid-19 crisis.</p> <p>A reduction in staffing levels for F1 teams was an inevitable result of the?cap, which doesn't include the salaries of drivers and senior team staff?or marketing and hospitality outlay.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/motorsport/f1-bosses-unveil-new-2021-rules-boost-racing"><strong>F1 bosses unveil new 2021 rules to boost racing</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/prototype-carbonfibre-tub-completed-mclaren-composites-centre"><strong>Prototype carbonfibre tub completed at McLaren Composites Centre</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/coronavirus-car-industry"><strong>Coronavirus and the car world</strong></a></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 12:30:52 +0100 London's Ultra Low Emission Zone: what you need to know <a href="/car-news/advice/londons-ultra-low-emission-zone-what-you-need-know"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="London ULEZ - tower bridge" /></a> London's ULEZ is here, and more cities will follow. If you drive in London, you need to know whether your car is affected <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?came into force last year, affecting hundreds of thousands of vehicles driving through the capital – and?other cities, including Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford, are set to follow.</p> <p>The new scheme, which was <a href="/car-news/motoring/london-set-ban-older-private-petrol-and-diesel-cars">introduced by?London mayor Sadiq Khan</a> as a way to improve air quality for millions of Londoners, will charge older, more polluting vehicles to enter the city centre. It replaces the T-Charge, which began in 2017.</p> <p>If you regularly drive through London?or are simply planning a visit, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the ULEZ?and whether your car is affected.</p> <p><strong>How does the ULEZ work?</strong></p> <p>Initially, the ULEZ comprises the area already covered by the Congestion Charge. The boundary will then be expanded in October 2021 to?include the entire area inside the North Circular and South Circular roads.</p> <p>Road signs at every entry point along the boundary will indicate the start of the ULEZ, and they will sit alongside or below existing Congestion Charge signs. You can see a map of the zone below?or <a href="">use the Transport for London (TfL) postcode checker</a> to see if your destination falls inside the ULEZ.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The zone is policed by numberplate recognition cameras that detect vehicles as they enter and exit the zone. Each car is checked against a database to see whether it's emissions standards-compliant?and therefore required to pay a fee.</p> <p>The ULEZ operates from midnight to midnight, 365 days a year. If you drive in the ULEZ area across two days (ie before midnight and after midnight) you will need to pay twice.</p> <p><strong>Which vehicles?will be affected?</strong></p> <p>Cars, vans, buses, coaches, lorries and motorbikes are all included in the new rules, but the charge will only apply to models that don't meet certain emissions standards.</p> <p>Petrol vehicles must meet Euro 4 standards, which became mandatory for all cars registered after January 2006. Diesel models must comply with Euro 6, which became mandatory for?all cars registered after September 2015.?This means all Euro 0-5 diesels and Euro 0-3 petrols will need to pay the charge.</p> <p>Petrol cars newer than 2006 and diesel cars?newer than 2015 meet the ULEZ requirements?and therefore must pay only the Congestion Charge. However, owners of older cars should still use <a href="">the TFL ULEZ vehicle checker</a>?to confirm if their car is affected or not - some older models were made compliant before it became mandatory, and are not required to pay the charge.</p> <p>Electric cars and Euro 6-compliant hybrids officially capable of at least 20 miles of zero-emissions driving qualify for the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), which also includes a 100% reduction on the Congestion Charge.</p> <p>Owners of historic vehicles, as defined by the Government as being 40 years or older, are exempt from the ULEZ charge, although they will still need to pay the Congestion Charge.</p> <p>London residents who are registered for a Congestion Charge discount will be exempt from the ULEZ charge until October 2021, which TfL says will provide enough time for them to change their vehicles for those that are compliant with the latest emissions standards.</p> <p>Other cars, including those in the disabled passenger vehicle class, also recieve discounts or exemptions. You can <a href="">read the full list on the TfL website</a>.</p> <p><strong>How much will it cost to enter the ULEZ?</strong></p> <p>Cars, motorcycles and vans weighing up to 3.5 tonnes will be charged £12.50 per day, while heavier vehicles,?including lorries over 3.5 tonnes and buses or coaches over 5 tonnes, will be charged £100.?</p> <p>This charge is in addition to the existing Congestion Charge, which is currently £11.50 (rising to £15 on 22 June). That means a London commuter with an affected car could be facing?an average annual bill of around £5760 for weekday driving just in?congestion and ULEZ fees.</p> <p>If you fail to pay the ULEZ charge by the following evening, a penalty notice will be sent to the owner of the vehicle.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="450" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>The cars set to vanish from London's roads</h3> <p>The arrival of the ULEZ looks set to effectively banish many iconic models from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s from London's roads, unless their owners are prepared to pay for the privilege of driving them. For a lot of people, the costs will likely prove too prohibitive, which could force?them to sell their cars. These are some of the ones we'll miss the most:</p> <p><strong>Land Rover Defender</strong></p> <p>Every Defender, up to and <a href="/car-review/land-rover/defender/first-drives/2015-land-rover-defender-90-heritage-uk-review">including the heritage editions</a> that came at the end of the off-road icon's 67-year production run, is subject to the ULEZ charge. Unbeaten off road, available in a multitude of different configurations?and a poster child of the British automotive industry, the Defender will be truly missed from London’s roads.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Porsche Boxster</strong></p> <p>As demand for <a href="/car-reviews/porsche">Porsche sports cars of every kind</a> continues to head into the stratosphere, the original Boxster remains one of the few affordable ways to get one in your garage. Maintenance can be expensive, however, so the additional costs associated with the ULEZ could force owners to park up their pride and joy?instead of using it to commute.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Mazda MX-5</strong></p> <p>Not only are the original NA and second-generation NB MX-5s some of the most rewarding two-seater sports cars of their time, they’re also some of the most affordable. Cared-for used examples can be found for just £2000, but commuters would be looking at spending more than the price of the car just to drive it through London for a year. You’ll have to wait another decade before the first examples of the first-generation MX-5 become eligible for official classic status?and therefore exempt from the charge - if that rule still applies by then.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Volkswagen Golf GTI</strong></p> <p>The hot hatch that inspired countless others (<a href="/slideshow/gallery-31-finest-hot-hatches-all-time">even if it wasn’t really the first</a>), the Golf GTI is now on its seventh generation. There are plenty of early models in the hands of enthusiasts, but unfortunately Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 cars are now subject to the ULEZ charge. Expect to see far fewer of them around, although according to the TfL ULEZ checker, early R32 models don’t yet incur a charge for driving into the zone.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>BMW M3</strong></p> <p>Even the earliest (some would say best) versions of BMW’s compact super-saloon now fall foul of the ULEZ regulations, although considering how much the E30 has jumped in value in recent years, with the E36 following quickly behind, the numbers seen on the roads were already quite minimal. On the plus side,?M3s from the E46 onward?(<a href="/car-news/features/bmw-m-face-m3-csl-vs-m2-competition">including the mighty CSL</a>) are compliant, so fast old BMWs won’t disappear from London’s roads altogether just yet.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Mercedes-Benz S-Class</strong></p> <p>The W220-generation S-Class limousine skirts the boundary of ULEZ charging, with some petrol models still able to travel into London without paying a charge, <a href="/car-news/industry/history-mercedes-benz-amg-picture-special">including the AMG-fettled S55</a>. However, a high percentage of these luxobarges were diesel-powered chauffeur cars.?Anyone looking for a luxurious saloon to commute in will now need to think twice before buying one second-hand.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/features/company-car-tax-what-you-need-know">Company car tax: What you need to know</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/opinion/industry/why-autocar-committing-wltp-testing-figures">Why Autocar is committing to WLTP testing figures</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 11:56:22 +0100 BMW 5 Series 2020 facelift to be revealed overnight <a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-5-series-2020-facelift-be-revealed-overnight"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="BMW 5 Series facelift preview" title="BMW 5 Series facelift preview" /></a> BMW has previewed the mid-cycle update of its executive saloon, with updated 6 Series GT also to be unveiled <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="/car-reviews/bmw">BMW</a>?is due to pull the covers off its facelifted <a href="/car-review/bmw/5-series">5 Series</a>?overnight, with a digital stream going live at 0700 tomorrow morning (27 May).?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/2020-bmw-5-series-facelift-brings-523bhp-m550i-flagship-uk"><strong>UPDATED: See the new BMW 5 Series here</strong></a></p> <p>First posted on <a href="">BMW's official Korean Instagram account</a>, a darkened image shows a disguised 5 Series wearing the same redesigned front-end look as previously spotted prototypes.</p> <p>Captioned 'the 5 and the 6', the image along with further social media posts reveals the <a href="">6 Series Gran Turismo</a> will also be similarly updated and shown at the same time.?</p> <p>Previous spy shots of test mules preview the updated model in both saloon and Touring variants. Like the saloon, the estate?appears to gain only subtle tweaks to the front and rear, but we can see that hybrid versions will be told apart by?a bespoke front bumper design, with a horizontal vane spanning the width of the lower air intake.?</p> <p>Previous reports?that BMW would significantly increase the size of the executive car's trademark kidney grille appear to be incorrect, as it looks to have grown more subtly than it did on the?<a href="/car-review/bmw/first-drives/bmw-730ld-2019-uk-review">facelifted 7 Series</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The move is part of a broader strategy at BMW that aims to give each model its own individual appearance, with the <a href="">latest 3 Series</a> sporting a different front-end look.</p> <p>Further design?changes?include?redesigned headlights and a more heavily structured front bumper that incorporates newly designed air vents, including vertical air curtain ducts at the outer edges.</p> <p>Changes at the rear are likely to be less significant, although the plastic wrap adorning the spied?prototypes hints at styling revisions to the?tail-lights, rear bumper, tailpipes and?<span>area around the number</span><span>plate.</span></p> <p>Inside, the 5 Series is expected to receive new digital instrument graphics as well as a revised central display housing the infotainment functions.</p> <p>Today’s 5 Series will get BMW’s latest iDrive <span>7.0</span>?operating system as part of a running change from this month onwards, suggesting the 2020 model will carry this on until the introduction of an?iDrive 7.5 system in the eighth-generation 5 Series model?due?in 2023.??</p> <p>The prototype displayed here is propelled by a plug-in hybrid powertrain, shown by the mandatory identification on its front doors as well as the flap for the charging port integrated into the front-left wing.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The current G30 5 Series is already sold with a plug-in hybrid set-up in the <a href="/car-review/bmw/5-series/first-drives/bmw-530e-iperformance-se-2017-review">530e</a>. This has?a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor developing a combined 248bhp and providing an electric-only driving range of up to 40 miles.</p> <p>As part of a push to take its plug-in hybrid drivelines into the performance car class, BMW is said to be planning a new 545e model running the same set-up as the <a href="/car-review/bmw/7-series/first-drives/bmw-7-series-745e-2019-review">745e</a>. This would use?a more powerful turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine and an electric motor making a combined 388bhp and yielding an electric-only range of up to 36 miles.</p> <p>In further developments, BMW plans to equip all petrol engines with a particulate filter, while the diesels will receive new selective catalytic reduction (SCR)?technology, to allow them to meet incoming EU emissions regulations,?according to Munich sources.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-details-hydrogen-plans-including-369bhp-powertrain"><strong>BMW details hydrogen plans including 369bhp powertrain</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-review/bmw/3-series/long-term-reviews/bmw-3-series-330e-2020-long-term-review"><strong>BMW 3 Series 330e 2020 long-term review?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/bmw-continues-defend-new-styling-direction"><strong>BMW continues to defend new styling direction</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 11:32:00 +0100 Why Graz is greener: London to Austria in Jaguar's biggest selling E-Pace <a href="/car-news/features/why-graz-greener-london-austria-jaguars-biggest-selling-e-pace"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Jaguar E-Pace road trip to Graz, Austria" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Born in Austria but with a Brummie accent</blockquote> The E-Pace is built on the same production line as the electric I-Pace. We take a road trip to Austria to investigate how <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>You only need to drive a Jaguar I-Pace a few hundred metres down a city street to know that Britain’s first electric luxury car continues to generate huge interest. Onlookers’ eyes sweep approvingly over its rising and falling flanks as you glide along. Stop anywhere and you’ll soon be part of an enthusiastic “what’s it like” conversation that at times can build a small crowd.?</p> <p>It’s clear the I-Pace has filled enough news pages and TV screens to command near-instant recognition from those with the vaguest interest in cars. Can’t afford one, most people say, but I’m glad they’re doing it. Which makes the I-Pace much more important than simply being the early adopter’s luxury car of choice. It’s helping sell people on the enormous changes coming to every corner of the car market.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>What I-Pace audiences rarely know is how and where the car is made. People are always surprised to learn it comes from a vast and venerable factory in Graz, Austria, operated by a unique company, Magna Steyr, whose business model is to build unusual cars for prestige clients that mostly demand great production flexibility as well. Some people are pleased to hear the new Jag has been devolved to Europe, given Jaguar Land Rover’s current difficulties and the lingering uncertainties of Brexit. Others are disappointed because Jaguars have always been so British. Still, the system works. Nowadays, there are two Graz Jaguars – the I-Pace sharing its flexible final assembly line with the entirely different E-Pace compact SUV, now Jaguar’s best-selling model.?</p> <p>Why choose Magna? Because when these models were nearing launch, JLR production was already at capacity. Graz was ideal because it had successfully built dozens of different brands and models over the years, always at impressive quality. The 90-year-old business was started late in the horse-drawn age by a Slovenian immigrant called Johann Puch (the sign off the autobahn still says ‘Puchwerk’) who made bicycles, motorbikes and light cars until he joined an expanded Steyr-Daimler-Puch company in the 1930s.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>After the war, the Graz factory made light 4x4s and own-brand Fiat 500s before graduating to cars for Mercedes, Saab, Audi, Volkswagen, Jeep, Aston Martin and Mini. Today, the operation contributes around 10% to the $40 billion turnover to its owner, the vast Canadian-owned Magna components group that has more than 400 outposts in 29 countries around the world. Last year, Graz built 168,000 cars spread across all its customers.?</p> <p>All of which may explain why, just before Christmas, photographer Luc Lacey and I set off in a 178bhp E-Pace R Dynamic S 4x4 (listed at £37,870 basic), to drive to Magna Steyr and tour Jaguar’s facilities there.?</p> <p>Specifically, we aimed to see the revolutionary I-Pace being built, and to understand how it could be made in the same place as the much more conventional E-Pace.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Our three-day plan was simple: leave London early, get through the Channel Tunnel quickly, gather miles relentlessly on the open roads of western and northern France (having due regard for the new zeal of the gendarmes and their 130km/h autoroute speed limit) to arrive somewhere cheap and far away on the first evening. That would leave less than half the journey’s total 990 miles (predicted on a Google Maps route if you took in scenic Salzburg) to accomplish on day two. This would leave us well prepared for day three’s interviews and factory tour at Magna before we flew home via Munich in the evening. Three great days out.?</p> <p>When I arrived outside his Brixton abode at 6am, Luc was ready. By 8.15am, we were at the Channel Tunnel entrance and thus able to cross 30 minutes earlier than booked – a good start. It’s always great to begin a long day with a win, especially if you’re looking forward to the peaceful pleasure of chatting and rolling across the plains of France at a cruise-controlled 140km/h or 87mph (that figure chosen to shave time without upsetting the law). Being relieved of meetings, keyboard thrashing and most of the day’s phone calls made flicking emails during my passenger stints almost a pleasure.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Stopping only once in western France for fuel (where some ‘gilets jaunes’ protesters burning tyres on a roundabout made half-hearted attempts to impede our progress), we made it to the German border beyond Strasbourg at about 5pm. Our home for the night turned out to be Stuttgart’s Ibis airport hotel (booked via TripAdvisor with about an hour to run), where we arrived around 6.30pm. Nearly 12 hours travelling seemed enough.?</p> <p>This left us an easy 400 miles to run on the second day, especially since the autobahns feed you very simply around Munich. At mid-morning, we encountered an hour’s worth of obstructive sleet and lying snow, though the diminishing traffic levels and relief from onrushing 130mph traffic – plus the E-Pace’s unimpeachable stability with its four-wheel drive and all-seasons tyres – made a nice change as we approached the Austrian border.?</p> <p>You have to buy a €9 vignette for lawful tourist travel by road in Austria, which we did at a roadside booth. “Nine euros for nine days,” barked a woman who bore a close resemblance to Rosa Klebb, a female villain in the Bond film From Russia with Love whose menace I’ve never forgotten all these years. In a way, I remarked, it’s nice to know she’s alive and well, but Luc found it hard to empathise. That movie was all the rage 25 years before he was born…?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We closed in on Salzburg, just beyond the Austrian border. I had made the flawed judgment that the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would yield a rich selection of photo-friendly locations and we had added 30 miles to our journey on that presumption. But it turned out Wolfgang and his influence had long departed, replaced by a mix of impenetrable traffic, unsmiling local drivers and hostile parking regs. We persisted for an hour, then took again to the A1 that swept us past near-freezing lakes and the edges of magnificent mountain ranges, before we arrived at a 90-right for a longer run down the A9.?</p> <p>This swept us south-east through even grander alpine scenery into Graz where the wise choice seemed to be another Ibis, clearly close to Magna Steyr (on Walter P Chrysler Platz) because at breakfast the next day the place was half-filled with engineers talking about widgets in several different languages while tucking into their mega-breakfasts.?</p> <p>Plant Graz, as Jaguar likes to call it, is a few minutes out of town and spread out over a vast site, as you’d expect from a place that concurrently makes Mercs, BMWs and Jaguars and has half a century’s experience at keeping customers politely but firmly segregated. Premium and low-volume cars may be Graz’s stock in trade, but the businesslike aura of the site and its inmates makes it very clear from the first that there’s is no room, need or appetite here for frills. We were ushered into a spartan meeting room, our HQ for the day, that opened off a corridor that cleverly led to several more rooms just like it.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The place brightened immeasurably when I was introduced to couple of genuine JLR bigwigs – Graham Wilkins, chief programme engineer of E-Pace and I-Pace, and Gregor McLachlan, manufacturing programme director – whose pride and commitment to this operation were as obvious as their faith in their Magna colleagues led today by launch manager Robert Huemer. A native of Graz, Huemer speaks better English than we do and is one of those of multi-experienced engineering blokes who companies depend on to smooth the inevitable glitches of start-ups.?</p> <p>Glitches were mostly in the past here, everyone insisted, at least in the manufacturing sphere. One hears separate tales that the supply of I-Pace batteries could be going, but that’s not an issue for the Magna team, who just mount them in the cars. At their end, this operation is percolating.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Magna’s Jaguar partnership has grown from pre-concept meetings five years ago, and was regularised about four years ago when the deal to build cars was done. In the view of the in-house trio, it’s well and truly mature. Donning special boots and covering watches and belt-buckles (to avoid scratches on new cars), we visited a new-build, robotised plant called Hall 71 where the I-Pace’s body-in-white is assembled from panels pressed in 100% aluminium. The big jobs are done by 87 robots wielding 84 rivet guns, using 2600 rivets per shell and applying 177 metres of adhesive. Hall 71 can make about six bodies an hour, using a cycle time for each operation of 500 seconds. Quality is key, as everyone insists. Bodies are constantly measured for accuracy and one shell per shift is removed from the process for all-measuring. If the important tolerances ever exceed 0.2mm, people come running.?</p> <p>While the body shop was undoubtedly the showpiece, it was our tour-concluding visit to nearby Hall 1 (previously the home of the Peugeot RCZ coupé) that I was busting to see. Here, I-Paces and E-Paces travel one after another along the same ordinary-looking final assembly line. In a good few decades of touring allegedly flexible assembly plants, I’ve never seen two cars so fundamentally different – a £70,000 twin-electric motor saloon made entirely in aluminium and a £40,000 steel-bodied, conventionally transverse-engined SUV – living so closely together in a final assembly plant. It was an oddly moving sight; maybe the scary demands of our electric future really could be delivered.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Huemer matter-of-factly explained that careful design of assembly procedures was one reason it worked. Another was setting up super-efficient off-line operations to manufacture your larger sub-assemblies, with spot-on delivery of these vital pieces at the last minute.?</p> <p>“It is also down to our very experienced workforce,” he said. “They’ve seen and done this kind of thing before. There have been times when we’ve had up to five different models on one line, and still delivered on speed and quality. It’s what we do.”</p> <p><strong>How did the E-Pace perform?</strong></p> <p>By the time we set off for Austria, I’d already spent the weekend in the E-Pace and enjoyed it. The smaller Jag SUV never previously made my favourites list due to its relationship with the outgoing Evoque, as well as its weight, which exceeds that of its bigger (aluminium) F-Pace sibling. But it has already undergone some wrinkle-sorting since the 2017 launch. And when you add the appeal of its smoothly muscular four-pot diesel with its nine-speed gearbox, and do enough miles to relish the model’s relative compactness – which makes the E-Pace almost Golf-agile when manoeuvring – it gets under your skin.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>On this first day of our journey, the superbly surfaced French roads made road noise hardly noticeable. But even without that, the wind noise seemed subdued and the very comfortable seats (whose elevated position made views of the surrounding rolling countryside that much more enjoyable) soon made this into an ideal machine for the job. The only serious argument I can see against an E-Pace is the lack of adult-sized rear space when the front seats are comfortably adjusted – but, then, the F-Pace is waiting in the range for Jaguar owners whose kids have grown too much for comfort.?</p> <p>The E-Pace delivered 39mpg off the (apparently accurate) trip computer, a good performance given that, when possible in Germany, we cruised at between 100mph and 115mph. On the other hand, the 430-mile tank range seemed a bit shorter than a) most diesel rivals, and b) we’d have liked. No disaster, mind. Just not quite up to the rest of this practical car’s convenience levels. At the end, I found myself liking the E-Pace more at the finish than the start, and would cheerfully have driven it back to Blighty rather than suffer the tensions of a two-legged night flight. Decent test, I reckon.</p> <p><em>This article was originally published on 9 February 2019. We're revisiting some of Autocar's most popular features to provide engaging content in these challenging times.?</em></p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-review/jaguar/e-pace"><strong>Jaguar E-Pace review</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/15-countries-24-hours-bentley-continental-gt"><strong>15 countries in 24 hours with a Bentley Continental GT?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/how-jaguar-plans-follow-i-pace"><strong>How Jaguar plans to follow the I-Pace?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 11:00:07 +0100 Hyundai previews heavily redesigned Santa Fe SUV <a href="/car-news/new-cars/hyundai-previews-heavily-redesigned-santa-fe-suv"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Hyundai Santa Fe - teaser image" title="Hyundai Santa Fe - teaser image" /></a> Korean maker's flagship European SUV moves over to new platform; full reveal due in coming weeks <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Hyundai has released the first official image of its revised <a href="">Santa Fe</a>, previewing a full reveal?in the coming weeks.?</p> <p>Although effectively a mid-life refresh, <a href="">Hyundai</a> has taken the opportunity to introduce an all-new platform under the skin of the Santa Fe, despite the current model being less than two years old.?</p> <p>The overhauled Santa Fe is the first of the brand's models in Europe to benefit from the "all-new third-generation Hyundai vehicle platform". It allows for the introduction of hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants for the first time.?</p> <p>The decision is similar to rival <a href="">Land Rover's Discovery Sport</a>, which received minor updates visually but a new platform under the skin last year. It's thought the new platform also aligns the Santa Fe?more closely with the new-generation Kia Sorento, due later this year.??</p> <p>The preview image only shows the front end, which we can see benefits from a new front grille design with integrated running lights?mounted vertically below the headlights for a T-shaped light signature. The rest of the updates focus on making the SUV look more "dignified and charismatic".</p> <p>The Santa Fe's interior is also part of the roster of changes. No specific updates have been listed yet, but Hyundai claims the changes provide "premium sensibility and comfort". The model will be revealed in full next month, with first examples?arriving in Europe in September.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">2021 Hyundai 45: new electric crossover drops disguise</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Hyundai Prophecy concept previews high-performance EV</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Hyundai closes South Korean factories amid coronavirus outbreak</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 10:45:59 +0100 Opinion: What new CEO Tobias Moers will bring to Aston Martin <a href="/car-news/industry/opinion-what-new-ceo-tobias-moers-will-bring-aston-martin"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Aston Martin DBX at St Athan" title="Aston Martin DBX at St Athan" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Aston Martin's DBX at its home, St Athan</blockquote> Andy Palmer has done much for Aston Martin, but amid troubled times, we consider what Tobias Moers, currently boss of Mercedes-AMG, can bring to the renowned maker <div> <p>For many months it has been a matter of when, not whether, Aston Martin Lagonda’s president and CEO of the past six years, <a href="/car-news/industry/official-aston-martin-names-mercedes-amg-chief-new-boss">Dr Andy Palmer, would leave the job</a>.</p> <p>Things have looked bad for him since AML shares, newly listed two years ago in London at £19 amid much pomp, promptly halved in value and have since fallen lower.</p> <p>They worsened when Canadian billionaire brand entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll entered the picture in January as executive chairman,?<a href="/car-news/industry/billionaire-stroll-completes-aston-martin-investment">bringing £540 million in rescue cash</a> — especially given Stroll’s reputation for micromanagement and his avowed determination to correct what he clearly saw as mistakes on Palmer’s watch, such as an oversupply of cars and needless tinkering with Aston-badged submarines and Miami property.</p> <p>However, the most pressing questions are raised by news that Palmer’s replacement will be Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes-AMG, the performance arm of Daimler, which already holds a 5% stake in Aston Martin and provides engines, electronics and an increasing level of knowhow to the Gaydon-based company.</p> <p>Moers, an ambitious 54-year old engineer who joined AMG 26 years ago and has held many roles in the company, is successful and widely experienced at making and selling high performance cars. The managing director’s role he has had for seven years is viewed as an important training ground for Daimler executives bound for bigger things: a previous incumbent was Ola K?llenius, now chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz.?</p> <p>Moers must already have a good working knowledge of the business after years as its most important component supplier, so his arrival begs plenty of questions questions about plans Daimler may have to increase its relationship with Aston Martin, given the British company’s value as a provider of economies of scale for AMG engines and hardware.</p> <p>It may be that Moers will view the UK assignment with relief: insiders say their relationship at AMG wasn't all sweetness and light, with?Moers pressing for ever-more sophisticated cars while?<span>K?llenius</span> was a cost-cutter in the Carlos Ghosn mould.?</p> <p>Moers’ arrival will also raise concerns among the faithful about Aston Martin’s ability to continue portraying itself as a British company, as well as about the fate of its sports car racing activities, given the recent announcement that Stroll’s Silverstone-based Racing Point F1 team will be rebranded as Aston Martin from next year.??</p> <p>Aston Martin’s and Palmer’s difficulties have been greatly compounded by the effects of the coronavirus –?which has even prevented the company from staging an international launch for the new product on which it admits its success depends, <a href="/car-news/new-cars/first-drive-2020-aston-martin-dbx-prototype">the DBX SUV</a>?–?although a decline in demand for luxury goods was gathering pace even before the infection took hold. No high-end car company, not even Ferrari, is doing well at present, and many are in dire straits.</p> <p>Despite all, it would be deeply unfair to ignore the six-year contribution made by Palmer, who fostered a new atmosphere of optimism and creativity when he arrived from Nissan in 2014?and within months had drawn up a very credible 'Second Century Plan' that entailed launching a new model a year. Within three years, he had renewed Aston Martin's?existing model range and found a convincing and evidently profitable role for the always-problematic Lagonda brand.</p> <p>Most important of all, he led the creation of the DBX, opening and equipping a new factory for its manufacture at St Athan, South Wales. That car, impressive from the outset, could yet lead a revival of the company’s fortunes provided a worldwide demand for luxury SUVs survives when times improve.</p> <p>Palmer himself has been significantly enriched by his Aston Martin exploit (one estimate valued his share allotment at the issue price at over £60m),?but there's no doubt that he was totally dedicated to the assignment?and will be reluctant to leave it unfinished.</p> <p>There are few certainties (except that Aston Martin is currently in very serious trouble),?but history may still come to show that Palmer put the company on the path to eventual success.</p> <p>READ MORE</p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/industry/official-aston-martin-names-mercedes-amg-chief-new-boss">Official: AMG boss will replace Palmer at Aston Martin</a></strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/first-drive-2020-aston-martin-dbx-prototype"><strong>First drive: DBX prototype</strong></a></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 07:34:10 +0100 Official: Aston Martin names Mercedes-AMG chief as new boss <a href="/car-news/industry/official-aston-martin-names-mercedes-amg-chief-new-boss"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Aston Martin" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Aston Martin</blockquote> Updated: British firm's share price rallies after it names Tobias Moers will replace Andy Palmer as CEO <div> <p><a href="">Aston Martin</a> has confirmed that current Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers will replace Andy Palmer as the embattled firm’s chief executive officer.</p> <p>Palmer, 56, has<a href=""> led the British firm since 2014</a>, serving as both president and chief executive officer.?He will step down from his duties immediately. Moers, 55, will start as chief executive officer on 1 August?and will also serve on the firm’s board as an executive director.</p> <p>The switch was<a href=""> first reported </a>by the Financial Times over the weekend. Since it was announced this morning, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited's?share price has risen by around 30%, from 35p to around 50p.</p> <p>Keith Stanton, currently Aston Martin's?vice-president and manufacturing chief, will lead the company on an interim basis until Moers’ arrival.?Philipp Schiemer will switch from running Mercedes-Benz's Brazilian division to become the new head of Mercedes-AMG.</p> <p>Aston Martin has <a href="">posted heavy losses recently</a>, with the firm's share price falling sharply.?The move comes shortly after billionaire Lawrence Stroll <a href="">led a major investment into the firm </a>and took over as chairman. Stroll said the Aston Martin board “has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans”. He added that Moers is “the right leader for Aston Martin as we implement our strategy for the business to achieve its full potential”.?</p> <p>The German has worked at Daimler for more than 25 years?and switched to the Mercedes-AMG performance division in 1994. He became the firm’s head of vehicle development in 2002?and took over the top role late in 2013.?</p> <p>Moers has since <a href="">led a major expansion of Mercedes-AMG</a>, doubling its model range and hugely increasing sales. The Affalterbach firm sold 132,000 cars last year, compared to around 70,000 in 2015.</p> <p>Stroll said that Moers' experience of growing Mercedes-AMG would be crucial to reviving Aston Martin’s fortunes: “He is an exceptionally talented automotive professional and a proven business leader with a strong track record during his many years at Daimler, with whom we have a longstanding and successful technical and commercial partnership, which we look forward to continuing. Throughout his career, he has delivered product expansion, strengthened brand positioning and improved profitability.”</p> <p>Moers said that he is “truly excited to be joining?Aston Martin Lagonda at this point in its development”. He added: “I believe that there is a significant opportunity to harness the strengths of the business to successfully deliver the planned product expansion and brand elevation.”</p> <p>Palmer joined Aston Martin after serving in <a href="">senior management roles at Nissan</a>?and has been credited for helping the firm grow by attracting new investment, expanding its model range and cutting costs. His strategy included the ambitious ‘Second Century Plan’, which involved massively expanding the Aston Martin?range. That includes?<a href="">the new DBX, the firm’s first SUV</a>, with Palmer also leading the approval for the new St Athan factory in Wales where it will be built.</p> <p>However, Palmer also helped push through <a href="">the decision to float Aston Martin Lagonda?</a>on the London Stock Exchange in 2018. A series of setbacks since then, <a href="">including a £119?million loss in the first three months of this year</a>, led to the firm’s share price falling more than 90% from its initial value. That also prompted the firm to heavily revamp its product plan, including delaying the relaunch of Lagonda as a luxury electric car brand.</p> <p>Stroll added: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Andy for his hard work, personal commitment and dedication to Aston Martin Lagonda since 2014. In that time, the company has successfully renewed its core sports car range, with the DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera and has brought the brand’s first SUV, DBX to a point of readiness for deliveries to start in the summer.</p> <p>“Furthermore, the development of the era-defining Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar has paved the way for the mid-engined range to come. I would also like to recognise his leadership through the current challenges and uncertainties presented by Covid-19.”</p> <p>In the statement issued by Aston Martin, Palmer said: “It has been a privilege to serve Aston Martin Lagonda for almost six years. The launch of many new products including the new DBX demonstrates the dedication and capability of our employees. I would like to thank my management team and all the staff for their hard work and support, particularly during the challenges presented by Covid-19. I'm proud of you all and it has?been an honour to work with you.”</p> <p><strong>Mercedes-AMG names new boss</strong></p> <p>Philipp Schiemer will replace Moers as the new chief executive officer of Mercedes-AMG. Schiemer has worked at Daimler since 1987?and has previously served as project manager for the A-Class and Mercedes-Benz's head of marketing. He has led the firm's Brazilian arm since 2013.</p> <p>Jochen Hermann, currently the head of e-drive development for Daimler, will take over from Moers has Mercedes-AMG's chief technology officer. Hermann was AMG's vehicle development chief from 2014 until 2016, before switching to his current role leading electric powertrain development.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Aston Martin loses £119 million due to Covid-19 impact</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Billionaire Stroll completes major Aston Martin investment</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>New Aston Martin chairman Stroll on rescue deal and F1</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Analysis: Aston Martin is not out of the woods yet</strong></a></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 07:11:27 +0100 Opinion: No more excuses for Maserati under new watch <a href="/opinion/new-cars/opinion-no-more-excuses-maserati-under-new-watch"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Maserati Levante Tropheo" title="Maserati Levante Tropheo" /></a> PSA ownership could bode well for the Italian brand, but nothing is guaranteed <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Many major events and launches in the automotive world have been postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the more tantalising of which was <a href="/car-news/new-cars/maserati-postpones-bold-brand-relaunch-until-september">the relaunch of the Maserati brand</a> that’s been pushed back from May to September.?</p> <p>Maserati, like <a href="">Alfa Romeo</a>, has been promised a lot by its parent firm Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) owner over the past decade or more, but been given the chance to deliver very little to realise its full potential.</p> <p>And what has come from Maserati, the likes of the <a href="">Ghibli</a> and <a href="">Levante</a>, has been well short of rivals including <a href="">Porsche</a> and <a href="">Mercedes-AMG</a>. While actually creating at least some of the cars has been an improvement on some of the revival plans of the past, creating them to match and better the ever-higher standards has been beyond Maserati thus far.?</p> <p>Now there is a new plan, and an even more ambitious one at that. As we reveal, it includes up to 10 new models, including derivatives, before 2023, kicking off with a dramatic carbonfibre <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mc20-supercar-will-lead-bold-maserati-revival]">mid-engined supercar called MC20</a>. The investment runs into the billions.?</p> <p>If it feels like we’ve been here before with Maserati, we have. However, there’s one key difference this time.</p> <p>FCA’s upcoming merger with PSA puts Maserati’s feat under the ultimate control of Carlos Tavares, the future head of the combined PSA-FCA. No-one has a better track record in recent years of turning around brands, as he has shown both with <a href="">Peugeot</a>-<a href="">Citroen</a> and then again even more impressively for Opel-<a href="">Vauxhall</a>, loss-making in each of the 17 years previous.</p> <p>Under Tavares’s watch, there can be no excuses for Maserati this time.?</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mc20-supercar-will-lead-bold-maserati-revival">MC20 supercar will lead bold Maserati revival</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/opinion/new-cars/opinion-psa-charge-maserati-can-finally-flourish">Opinion: With PSA in charge, Maserati can finally flourish</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/maserati-postpones-bold-brand-relaunch-until-september">Maserati postpones bold brand relaunch until September</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> Opinion Tue, 26 May 2020 06:01:23 +0100 James Ruppert: making drive before you buy more fun <a href="/car-news/used-cars/james-ruppert-making-drive-you-buy-more-fun"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mazda MX-5 cornering" title="Mazda MX-5 cornering" /></a> New test drive rules mean now's the time to book that solo evaluation <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>News as I write: car dealers can now bolt on trade plates and allow you to take a solo test drive.</p> <p>In my experience, decent dealers will be prepared to do that anyway, and it’s a great way to make a sale. The psychology is that you actually end up selling it to yourself, and you can be very persuasive. With that in mind, which cars and which dealers should you be bothering in order to get the drive of your life?</p> <p>The <a href="">Mazda MX-5</a> is a ‘must drive before you die’ cliché, but clichés exist for a reason. I can remember every MX-5 I’ve driven <a href="">through all four generations</a>, and they’re truly wonderful. It was interesting to find a 20th Anniversary car (one of almost countless limited editions) from 2010 with just over 60k miles. It looked in prime condition and the price struck me as eminently reasonable, at £5300. It was only 88 miles away, too.</p> <p><a href="">Land Rovers</a>, especially the proper old ones, still offer an almost unique driving experience – not least because it’s so very lorry-like. Plus, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that prices have started to become relatively sane.</p> <p>I was rather heartened to discover that a 1960 Series 2 Soft Top with reassuringly faded green paintwork was just £7995. Yes, all patina’d up. A freshly painted 1970 Series 2 Hard Top was just a grand more. Both are with dealers who might be happy to let you tackle a ploughed field.</p> <p>Every home should have an <a href="">Alfa Romeo</a> on the drive, and each ought to be lovely to look at and have a characterful engine under its pretty bonnet. That’s why I have a massive soft spot for the <a href="">Brera coupé</a>, which is such great value. I would go for the 3.2 V6 JTS Q4 SV, and I’ve found one with 75k miles on offer at just £5995. That’s enough to tempt me to travel 175 miles just for the fun of it.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>When it comes to fun of the uncompromising variety, it has to be a <a href="">Caterham</a>. The Seven is all about steering and very little about comfort, or indeed a functioning roof. There are some mad ones and you can pay an awful lot, but you don’t have to. There are a lot of privately advertised cars with fairly marginal mileages. Dealers have equally interesting examples, though, and I want a Prisoner-spec one anyway.</p> <p>For £14,995, you could buy a 2003 1.6 Beaulieu, which had the model-run-out Morris Ital suspension and an eight-valve Vauxhall engine. Now that does seem like a laugh, especially if you can manage to keep it on the road. The bottom line is that test driving a used car is the most important and possibly the most exciting thing that you can do this year.</p> <p><strong>What we almost bought this week</strong></p> <p><strong>BMW 728i: </strong>James Ruppert has filled many a page with stories of his Shed 7, and this late-E38 7 Series is your chance to fulfil dreams of similar high-luxury, low-cost enjoyment. At £1395, the <a href="">BMW</a> looks in good nick cosmetically inside and out given it’s travelled 106,000 miles since 2001. We might go for it, if only to pretend the telephone inside still works.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Tales from Ruppert's Garage</strong></p> <p><strong>Land Rover series 3, 131,449 miles: </strong>In-Lorry entertainment has always been a bit dicey, and I’m not truly bothered any more whether it works or not. I have been spending a lot of time with the old girl, though; I’m lucky enough to be busy, and the not-really-that-cavernous but conveniently high load bay makes life easier for an old boy like me. Anyway, the radio reception is terrible, as it is in every car out here in the sticks. I use my phone to listen to things, but I soon realised that costs money if you don’t download before leaving the house. Anyway, the stereo issue turned out to be a loose wire. Sorted.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Reader's Ride</strong></p> <p><a href="">Mercedes</a> E2320: Reader Phil thought we’d like to see his daily driven W124 E220 Auto, and obviously we do. “I paid £1000 for it 18 months ago and have covered 15,000 troublefree miles since,” he says. “The MOT history backed up the low mileage. There was some main dealer history from years ago, although not much recently. Incredibly, everything works, including the electric mirrors and roof, and the ’box shifts smoothly. It has quirks but I’ve found that if something stops working, giving the fuses a wiggle sorts it out. I give it the respect a 25-year-old car deserves, and it gets about 35mpg on my 100-mile daily commute. When I hear people talking about their horrendous experiences with unreliable modern cars, I know Bangernomics works if you pick the right car!”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Readers' questions</strong></p> <p><strong>Q. </strong>What impact will the coronavirus have on used prices? Should we buy now, or will we get a better deal after lockdown?</p> <p><strong>A. </strong>Nobody can say with any real certainty at present. Sales have dropped dramatically during the lockdown, but many dealerships still have an active presence online. So with dealers desperate for sales and nobody buying cars, you may find quite a bit of leeway in negotiating right now. If you find something that you want, get in touch with the seller and make an offer. And if you’re worried about picking up the car while restrictions on movement are still in place, many dealerships will allow you to strike the deal now and pick up the car later.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Q. </strong>My daughter loves horses. I don’t. But I do love cars. Is there something out there on a budget of £5000 that can keep me entertained and tow a horsebox?</p> <p><strong>A. </strong>An E61 <a href="">BMW 530d Touring</a> will be fun and sensible, while a <a href="">Volvo V70 R</a> puts out 296bhp and could tow the whole stable. Or if you’re feeling brave and flash, a <a href="">Porsche Cayenne Turbo from 2005</a> will do the job for the same money, and a lot quicker – so long as your horses don’t suffer from motion sickness…</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Coronavirus: What motorists need to know??</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/features/how-buy-car-during-pandemic">How to buy a car during a pandemic?</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/advice/dvla-approves-solo-test-drives-car-buyers-maintain-social-distancing">DVLA approves solo test drives for car buyers to maintain social distancing?</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 06:01:23 +0100 Autocar confidential: SUV-inspired styling set to remain for EVs, PSA talks innovation in electric cars, and more <a href="/car-news/confidential/autocar-confidential-suv-inspired-styling-set-remain-evs-psa-talks-innovation"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Peugeot e-2008" title="Peugeot e-2008" /></a> Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>In this week's round-up of automotive gossip, we talk EV innovation with the head of PSA, take stock of sales figures from elsewhere across the Globe in April, and examine how some countries have been able to resume some degree of normalcy sooner than others.</p> <p><strong>A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING</strong></p> <p>Despite having a population of around 1.353 billion, India’s total passenger car registrations for the month of April was… zero. The country was put under full lockdown from 25 March, meaning the manufacturing and selling of cars was halted entirely. Nearly a quarter of a million cars were sold during the same month last year.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>STAYING SAFE ON THE CONTINENT</strong></p> <p>While new car launches have been cancelled in the UK, Autocar’s European editor is still able to attend such events in Germany. For the recent prototype drive of <a href="">the new BMW 4 Series</a>, journalists were provided with disinfectants, masks and gloves. Cars are driven alone and disinfected after every drive. Social distancing is adhered to at all times, and even meals come individually packaged.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>TIME TO OPEN EVS TO MORE CUSTOMERS</strong></p> <p>There needs to be “more innovation in the market” for electric cars, according to <a href="">PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares</a>. He said rural dwellers and those who need greater space and range must also be served. PSA is due to reveal three more EVs this year and a plug-in hybrid. The group has set itself a target of 100% electrified sales by 2025.</p> <p><strong>MERCEDES WON'T ROCK THE EV BOAT</strong></p> <p>Don't expect the trend of electric cars having SUV-style designs to disappear any time soon, according to <a href="">Mercedes-Benz </a>design boss Gordon Wagener. “If you look at electric cars, you’re adding a battery that’s probably six inches in height,” he told Autocar. “But even six inches can make a car more SUV-like from the off. I think we will see more of that.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/opinion/industry/how-lockdown-has-hit-wider-car-industry">How lockdown has hit the wider car industry</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/industry/uk-plant-closures-cost-car-industry-£82bn">UK plant closures to cost car industry £8.2bn</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/features/how-buy-car-during-pandemic">How to buy a car during a pandemic</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 00:01:24 +0100 Opinion: With PSA in charge, Maserati can finally flourish <a href="/opinion/new-cars/opinion-psa-charge-maserati-can-finally-flourish"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Maserati small SUV render - static front" title="Maserati small SUV render - static front" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> New Maserati SUV will form part of revival</blockquote> French group boss Carlos Tavares has a knack for getting the best out of brands <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Maserati’s suggestion that it will be able to lift annual production from today’s 30,000 units to around 100,000 in two years’ time is par for the course for the old Italian brand,<a href=""> soon to be part of the PSA Group stable</a>.</p> <p>Predicting far-fetched sales increases is part of <a href="">Maserati’s</a> heritage. Back when it launched the current <a href="">Quattroporte</a>, I attended a bullish presentation in Italy where they also forecast the arrival of the <a href="">Ghibli</a> saloon and <a href="">Levante</a> SUV and talked big numbers that would only be half-achieved.</p> <p>There are two fascinating differences this time.</p> <p>First, all-seeing PSA chief Carlos Tavares will ultimately propel both this plan and its execution, which means it’s not daft and that Maserati’s bosses will strain every sinew to reach the targets. Tavares, anything but aggressive, has a unique way of encouraging people to do their best.</p> <p>Second, Maserati is embracing electrification across the board: it plans to launch plug-in hybrid saloons, turn the <a href="">Granturismo</a> and <a href="">Grancabrio</a> electric and then take a long step further with a battery-powered version of the <a href="">MC20</a>.</p> <p>The quality of execution of any new Maserati really matters: the firm hasn’t done true justice to its exalted image for years – since before the <a href="">Biturbo</a> of 1981, I’d say.</p> <p>As with <a href="">Alfa Romeo</a>, this underperformance hasn’t yet made any material difference to the mystique of the name or the anticipation of great future cars, but consumers’ patience isn’t endless.</p> <p>Maseratis have always sold on Italian character generated primarily from styling, sound and driving qualities. Without PSA overseeing things, I’d be concerned about another helping of not-quite-good-enough. But when the car industry’s second great Carlos (even greater now than the disgraced Carlos the First) has his hand on the tiller, it’s legitimate to hope that greatness can return.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">MC20 supercar will lead bold Maserati revival</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Updated 2021 Maserati Quattroporte to gain plug-in hybrid option</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati postpones bold brand relaunch until September</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati previews electric powertrain of Granturismo successor</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> Opinion Tue, 26 May 2020 00:01:24 +0100 MC20 supercar will lead bold Maserati revival <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mc20-supercar-will-lead-bold-maserati-revival"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Maserati MC20 render 2020 - static front" title="Maserati MC20 render 2020 - static front" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> MC20 (rendered by Autocar above) will rival likes of the Aston Martin Vantage and Audi R8 </blockquote> Italian firm will follow mid-engined super-sports car with new Granturismo, Levante, Quattroporte and a BMW X4 rival <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Maserati is starting to enact its most ambitious revival plan yet, with billions of euros of investment, a model line-up overhaul and a target to nearly triple its sales in less than three years.</p> <p>The Italian brand’s new dawn will be spearheaded by an all-new, in-house-designed <a href="">mid-engined “super-sports car” called the MC20</a>, which is set to be revealed this September.</p> <p>The big relaunch – one of many throughout <a href="">Maserati’s</a> history – was meant to begin in May with the MC20’s debut. That has been postponed due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, but we still know a substantial amount about Maserati’s first supercar since the <a href="">Ferrari Enzo</a>-based <a href="">MC12</a> homologation special of 2004.</p> <p>It will be no watered-down Maranello model this time. In fact, the MC20’s very existence is permitted by the fact that Maserati parent company<a href=""> Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) </a>sold its <a href="">90% stake in Ferrari back in 2016</a>. Maserati was never allowed to tread on the toes of its Italian peer prior to this (the ultra-limited-run MC12 being the exception); now it has been allowed creative freedom to build a much-needed halo model. This will also be the car that enables Maserati to return to racing, the company has confirmed.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The MC20 marks a speedy departure from the previous plan, in place as late as last summer but revised under new management. The first new model was originally due to be dubbed the <a href="">Alfieri</a>: a two-seat electrified sports car offering plug-in hybrid and battery-electric propulsion options.</p> <p>A rethink has resulted in a surprise about-turn, with the MC20 instead coming to market first with a mid-mounted combustion engine (with some form of electrification likely) and electric cars set to follow.</p> <p>Autocar understands the price point for the MC20 will reach into the low six figures, but it will stay well clear of the £165,000 Ferrari Portofino.</p> <p>Following in 2021 will be a convertible version of the MC20 that’s expected to use a fully electric hood mechanism.</p> <p><strong>Maserati MC20: platform and powertrain</strong></p> <p>The basic underpinnings for the MC20 will be a newly specified carbonfibre tub. Early teaser images released by Maserati showed a powertrain test mule clearly having much in common with sibling brand <a href="">Alfa Romeo’s now-discontinued 4C</a>, which also featured such a tub.</p> <p>Autocar understands the MC20’s tub will be similar in concept to that of the 4C (itself co-developed with Italian chassis specialist Dallara and weighing just 65kg), and Maserati may even use the overhauled remains of the 4C production line to build it.</p> <p>However, the similarities with <a href="">Alfa Romeo’s</a> unsuccessful rival to the <a href="">Porsche Cayman </a>and <a href="">Boxster</a> end there.</p> <p>For starters, as is evident in more recent prototype shots showing a near-production body, the MC20 will be significantly longer and a bit wider than the much cheaper 4C, while an extended wheelbase should make it far more manageable at the limit.</p> <p>The suspension will be completely overhauled, too, with FCA engineers hoping to create a more dynamically rounded car than the oft-criticised Alfa Romeo.</p> <p>Power for the MC20 will come courtesy of a longitudinally mounted turbocharged V6 engine, Autocar understands. This fits with recent videos of prototypes in which a throaty six-cylinder note can clearly be heard. Maserati has also confirmed that an electric variant is on the cards.</p> <p>The origins of the MC20’s engine are unknown at this stage. However, we do know that Alfa Romeo was well into development of a hybridised V6 making more than 600bhp for its <a href="">8C supercar</a> and<a href=""> GTV coupé</a> before both<a href=""> were cut from the product plan</a>.</p> <p>Since then, Alfa Romeo has squeezed 533bhp out of the 2.9-litre V6 that it created with assistance from Ferrari for use in the <a href="">Giulia Quadrifoglio</a> to create the <a href="">GTA</a> and GTAm. However, even that output wouldn’t be sufficient for the MC20’s market positioning.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>It’s therefore most likely that the MC20 will make use of a version of Alfa Romeo’s hybrid system, with the electric part giving the low CO2 emissions required to meet future EU targets while supplementing the engine to give a combined total of more than 600bhp.</p> <p>With the relative lightness expected from the carbonfibre underpinnings, this should give the MC20 a 0-60mph time in the low-three-second region and a good chance of smashing the 200mph barrier.</p> <p>Supplementing engine drive to the rear axle with an electric module on the front axle would provide the MC20 with torque-vectoring capability and the grip needed to effectively translate its power to the road.</p> <p>This would allow it to compete properly with the supercar establishment. <a href="">Aston Martin</a>, Ferrari and <a href="">McLaren</a> are working on their own hybridised V6s, while the <a href="">Honda NSX </a>already has one.</p> <p>Such a set-up would also leave the option for a cheaper MC20 variant that ditches the electric element, lowering power but also weight and driving the rear wheels alone.</p> <p>Don’t expect a manual gearbox for any MC20, though. Instead, a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic is expected.</p> <p>There’s even the possibility of active aerodynamics: again, Alfa Romeo promised this on the canned 8C project in 2017, and if work had progressed far enough, it would make sense for Maserati to utilise it.</p> <p>The MC20’s name linking to the MC12 is no happy accident. With the MC standing for Maserati Corse (Italian for racing), the brand claims it’s the “natural evolution” of the MC12, which competed in the FIA GT series for six years, racking up 22 race wins and six teams’ championships.</p> <p><strong>Range revamp: hybrids and EVs in, V8 engines out</strong></p> <p>While the exciting new MC20 will serve as the halo model, Maserati’s more everyday range isn’t being ignored. Far from it: this year, we will also see updated versions of the <a href="">Ghibli</a> and <a href="">Quattroporte</a> saloons and the <a href="">Levante SUV</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>All three revised models were set to enter production in Turin in July, but that start date will almost definitely be pushed back due to the ripple effect caused by the pandemic. Public debuts for all three can now be expected in September. However, Maserati has already detailed their key new features.</p> <p>The revamped Ghibli is due to be the first to market, and it will become the first Maserati available as a plug-in hybrid once production can begin.</p> <p>The origin of the <a href="">BMW 5 Series</a> rival’s new powertrain is unknown. It will almost certainly include a petrol engine, but whether Maserati wants to focus on fleet sales with a frugal four-cylinder model or look for performance with a turbocharged six-pot remains to be seen.</p> <p>Either way, its official fuel economy and CO2 emissions will play a key part in reducing the fleet average figures of Maserati – and by extension FCA – through 2021.</p> <p>Complementing the plug-in hybrid Ghibli will be a mild restyling inside and out for all three models, plus new technology that will finally enable Maserati to catch up with its German rivals by offering semi-autonomous driver assistance functions.</p> <p>The updated trio will serve as stopgaps, with all-new iterations due in 2022 and 2023. Maserati’s saloon sales are dwindling, so the Ghibli won’t be directly replaced; instead, a new Quattroporte will shrink in size to make it less of a full-size luxury offering and more of a rival to the <a href="">Mercedes-Benz CLS</a>.</p> <p>Before that, however, we will see another volume-growing model: a new sub-Levante SUV to compete with the<a href=""> BMW X4 </a>from 2021. Details of that car remain scarce, but we do know that it requires a new production line (which Maserati had planned to complete this spring) and should also feature an electrified powertrain.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The long-standing <a href="">Granturismo</a> hasn’t been forgotten in the new era, either. While production ended late last year, taking with it Maserati’s charismatic naturally aspirated 4.7-litre V8, it will be replaced in 2021. A drop-top <a href="">Grancabrio</a> successor is then due the year after that.</p> <p>It’s thought that the Alfieri – first previewed with a concept in 2014 – will effectively morph into the new Granturismo and Grancabrio from 2021. They are set to get electric variants, too.</p> <p>The size of the new pair isn’t yet clear. The Quattroporte-based models were nearly five metres long, but such large coupés are falling out of favour: Mercedes won’t produce another generation of the two-door <a href="">S-Class</a>, for example. Still, the slightly smaller <a href="">BMW 8 Series </a>could become Maserati’s benchmark.</p> <p><strong>History of mid-engined Maseratis</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati Bora</a>:</strong> Featuring one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s most widely revered bodies to reach production, the Bora of 1971 was also the first mid-engined Maserati model. It used a 4.7-litre or 4.9-litre V8 and was capable of up to 174mph.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati Merak</a>: </strong>Effectively a baby Bora, the Merak of 1972 took much of that car’s structure and some of its bodywork but was more compact and cheaper, featuring a 3.0-litre V6 engine and a pair of tiny rear seats.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati MC12</a>:</strong> The jaw-dropping MC12, which emerged in 2004, was effectively a Ferrari Enzo underneath and signalled Maserati’s return to racing after 37 years. Capable of 217mph flat out, just 50 road-going models were made.</p> <p><b>Maserati's highlights (and lowlights)</b></p> <p>Maserati’s racing history (before 1957, when it moved solely to road cars) is second to none, but the past five decades have been a series of real highs and lows.</p> <p>Many view the brand’s golden era for production cars as between 1957, with the creation of the<a href=""> 3500 GT</a>, and the early 1970s, when the stunning Bora, Khamsin and Merak were introduced under <a href="">Citro?n</a> ownership.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>This period turned sour after barely six years, as the oil crisis of 1973 focused attention on the profit-dwindling Italian company. Its number of employees had tripled under its French masters, yet the number of cars it built had reduced. In 1975, Citro?n declared Maserati bankrupt.</p> <p>Enter Alejandro de Tomaso, who bought a chunky stake in Maserati, trimmed its management, halved its workforce and began a brand relaunch with the Biturbo, Ghibli II, Quattroporte III and Kyalami.</p> <p>The Biturbo was meant to be an affordable, volume-driving rival to the <a href="">BMW 3 Series</a>, but poor quality and a lack of development hampered success.</p> <p>Perhaps Maserati’s lowest ebb was in 1989, when it was reduced to helping Chrysler launch the TC – a rebodied <a href="">Dodge Daytona</a> with a four-cylinder 2.2-litre engine from Modena. It was, again, unsuccessful.</p> <p>Due to poor health, de Tomaso sold his 51% share in 1993 to <a href="">Fiat</a>, where Maserati finally received the investment it deserved. The 3200 GT of 1998 was the turning point for most, but management changes came again as Ferrari gradually took full control from Fiat.</p> <p>There was another big relaunch in 2004 with the Mk5 Quattroporte, which proved a moderate success. Just a year later, Ferrari rescinded ownership back to Fiat. Under the umbrella of Alfa Romeo, Maserati scored its first profit in 17 years of Fiat Group ownership.</p> <p>With sales once again dropping below expectations, Maserati is on the cusp of yet another relaunch. With an ambitious target of tripling sales by the end of 2022, it remains to be seen if the turnaround can work again.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Updated 2021 Maserati Quattroporte to gain plug-in hybrid option</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati postpones bold brand relaunch until September</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Maserati previews electric powertrain of Granturismo successor</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Tue, 26 May 2020 00:01:24 +0100 Government to allow car showrooms in England to open on 1 June <a href="/car-news/industry/government-allow-car-showrooms-england-open-1-june"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="" /></a> Prime Minister Boris Johnson says dealerships can open doors at start of next month <div> <p>Car showrooms in England will be able to open from 1 June onwards, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.</p> <p>The Prime Minister made the announcement during the Downing Street Daily Briefing today (Monday), saying that the decision was based on the progress made to control the spread of Covid-19 by the lockdown that has been in place since mid-March.</p> <p>Car dealerships and outdoor markets will be able to open from 1 June, with other 'non-essential retail' outlets set to open from 15 June onwards. The Prime Minister said that the decision was "thanks to the country's collective effort" in obeying the lockdown rules implements to <a href="">tackle the coronavirus pandemic</a>.</p> <p>Johnson said that the government is publishing new guidance for the retail sector outlining steps outlets should take "to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards". He added: "Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen. This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take."</p> <p>The decision to allow car showrooms to open will be welcomed by the car industry, with<a href=""> sales of new cars virtually halted since retail outlets</a> were forced to close in March. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has been <a href="">leading industry calls for the government to allow dealerships to open</a> as soon as possible.</p> <p>Sue Robinson, the director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) said the decision to allow dealerships to open was "positive" news that was "vital" for the industry.</p> <p>She added: "The NFDA has worked closely with SMMT to produce guidelines for retailers in line with the Government’s recommendations. Retailers have been working hard to put all necessary measures in place to ensure social distancing can be observed.</p> <p>“Following our lobbying efforts where we highlighted it was vital to include dealerships in the first wave of non-essential retail reopening, it is positive that the Prime Minister has confirmed the Government intends to reopen car showrooms from 1 June.</p> <p>"As lockdown measures start to ease, many of us will need cars to get back to work and it is crucial that automotive retailers are open to serve the workforce. The retail automotive sector looks forward to welcoming customers back into showrooms."</p> <p>The government decision to allow showrooms to open only applies to England. Decisions on when dealerships and other retail outlets in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can open will be made by the?devolved governments of each country.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Coronavirus and the car world: full news and updates</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>BMW: coronavirus will affect new car demand for rest of 2020</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Sales of new cars slump by 97% in April due to coronavirus lockdown</strong></a></p> </div> News Mon, 25 May 2020 19:18:48 +0100 Mercedes-Benz reveals first official image of new S-Class <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mercedes-benz-reveals-first-official-image-new-s-class"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes-Benz S-Class" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Mercedes-Benz S-Class</blockquote> BMW 7 Series rival set to be launched later this year despite disruption due to coronavirus <div> <p><a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a> has released the first official image of the upcoming seventh-generation <a href="">S-Class</a> – and confirmed its flagship saloon will be unveiled later this year.</p> <p>The firm has released a single image showing the front grille of the <a href="">BMW 7 Series</a> rival. The front of the car had already been seen in a <a href="">low-resolution image posted on social media recently</a>.</p> <p>There have been recent reports that the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could force Mercedes to delay the launch of the S-Class until next year, but the firm’s chairman, Ola Kallenius, has insisted that it is on track.</p> <p>The first official image of the new S-class, which goes under the internal codename W223, reveals its conventional styling. Key elements include a prominent chromed grille with three horizontal blades and angular headlamps with three projector beams.</p> <p>Describing it as a "technological tour de force", Mercedes-Benz chairman, Ola K?llenius, says the company has put its "brightest minds and most creative people" to work on its new flagship model.“It’s a completely new level in terms of artificial intelligence and needs-based electrification,” he said.</p> <p>The <a href="">Audi A8 </a>and BMW 7 Series rival?is set to receive a variety of drivetrain options, including 48-volt mild-hybrid petrol and diesel units and new plug-in hybrid powertrains</p> <p>Production of the new S-class is planned to commence in September 2020 at Mercedes-Benz’s Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, Germany. It will be joined by a slightly smaller <a href="">pure electric EQS model</a> at the same facility in 2021.</p> <p>Commenting directly on the <a href="">Telsa Model S</a> and <a href="">Jaguar XJ</a>-challenging EQ S for the first time, K?llenius said it would use CO2 neutral battery cells sourced from an unnamed supplier.</p> <p>The partial reveal of the S-Class comes as speculation mounts that the chairman of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance car division, Tobias Moers, is set to depart the company to take up the position of <a href="">CEO at British car maker, Aston Martin</a>.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Reports: Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer set to be replaced by AMG chief</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Mercedes-Benz S-Class partially leaked in social media shots</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Mercedes-Benz EQS executive luxury limo to spawn hot AMG version</strong></a></p> <p>?</p> </div> News Mon, 25 May 2020 16:45:12 +0100 Used car buying guide: Mazda RX-8 <a href="/car-news/used-cars/used-car-buying-guide-mazda-rx-8"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mazda RX-8 used buying guide - hero front" title="Mazda RX-8 used buying guide - hero front" /></a> Rotary engines are exciting, and this four-seat sports car represents your last chance to own one. It’s dirt cheap, too – but there’s a catch <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The <a href="">RX-8 was the last rotary-engined car</a> sold in the UK and, now that <a href="">Mazda</a> is considering a revival of its famous Wankel concept for a new hybrid powertrain, it seems pertinent to consider its virtues.</p> <p>This friendly looking four-seat sports car (Mazda actually referred to it as a quad coupé) has a relatively diminutive powerplant of 1.3 litres. However, it won favour with performance enthusiasts worldwide, thanks in part to its class-leading dynamic capabilities and to that innovative engine’s 9500rpm redline.</p> <p>What’s more, the RX-8 offers a sub-1400kg kerb weight, a near 50:50 weight distribution and rear-hinged ‘freestyle’ doors that are as unusual as they are arguably impractical.</p> <p>When the RX-8 was launched in 2003, buyers could choose from a 190bhp entry-level model or the 228bhp range-topper. Although an automatic gearbox was offered in other markets, only the row-your-own version was available in the UK. An update in 2008 brought revamped styling, stiffer suspension and shorter gear ratios for improved acceleration, while the less potent variant was done away with.</p> <p>Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the RX-8 eventually succumbed to the ruthless onslaught of European emissions legislation in 2010, before production in Hiroshima finished once and for all in 2012.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>For better or worse, the RX-8 has yet to attain the same cult-classic status as <a href="">the Nissan 350Z </a>or <a href="">Mk4 Toyota Supra</a>, so you can pick up a usable example for less than it would cost to spend a fortnight in Majorca.</p> <p>It goes without saying that the cheaper the car, the more careful you should be, and this is no truer of any car than the RX-8. The rotary engine will be expensive to maintain, even if it’s in good nick, and its impressive ability to get through a tank of petrol is secondary only to its unquenchable thirst for oil – a characteristic of all Wankel designs. Mazda reckons the RX-8 will get through 250ml of the black stuff every 1000 miles.</p> <p>Ignore the recommended service intervals at your peril; the reason there’s such a plethora of seemingly immaculate RX-8s being broken for parts is because the engine’s rotors wear down over time, allowing air and fuel to travel between its combustion chambers, which results in poor efficiency, diminished performance and, eventually, complete failure.</p> <p>You’ll know a good RX-8 when you see one; most sensible sellers have a compression test professionally carried out before listing their car in the classifieds (you can’t use an ordinary piston compression tester) and it’s likely any horrors will make themselves known on start-up.</p> <p>The general consensus is that the engine will manage 60,000 miles before it needs some serious attention, so check the odometer reading tallies with past MOT receipts and really give it the beans on your test drive.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>An expert’s view</strong></p> <p><strong>Aimee Bradley, Rotary Revs: </strong>“Over the years, and despite the copious amounts of praise that the RX-8 has acquired, engine failures, high fuel consumption and relatively high running costs have given it a ‘problem child’ label, putting off potential owners who are looking at all the boxes of positives it ticks. It goes without saying that not every RX-8 is a bad one. With some knowledge on what to look for, it can be easy to pick up and enjoy an absolute bargain.”</p> <p><strong>Buyer beware…</strong></p> <p><strong>■ ENGINE: </strong>Rotaries are much more mechanically simple than piston-powered engines, but failure of the RX-8’s unit can be fatal. See that it starts in less than two seconds when hot or cold, check for flat spots under acceleration and listen out for knocks and rattles. And a compression test is essential.</p> <p><strong>■ SUSPENSION: </strong>Failing anti-roll bar linkages will knock over bumps but aren’t prohibitively expensive to replace. A sagging rear is a sign that a spring has corroded and snapped. Early cars were recalled to have faulty front lower arms replaced.</p> <p><strong>■ STEERING:</strong> Notchy steering can usually be attributed to a failing universal joint, but intermittent power steering assistance is caused by a leaking coolant hose dripping on the sensor. If it hasn’t begun to rust, a thorough clean will usually rectify the fault.</p> <p><strong>■ BRAKES: </strong>This generally isn’t a problem area, but if the car has been laid up, check that the single-piston calipers haven’t seized and that the discs aren’t too rusty. Braking components are readily available and not too costly.</p> <p><strong>■ BODYWORK: </strong>Early RX-8s rust, so you’ll struggle to find a clean pre-2006 car. Check that aftermarket bodykits aren’t hiding anything untoward and get up under the wheel arches with a screwdriver. The boot floor and subframe are also well worth a good check for corrosion.</p> <p><strong>■ ELECTRICS:</strong> Electrical gremlins are low down the list of potential worries. Heated leather seats in early cars might only warm up the bolsters, mind, and a faulty coolant level sensor will throw up a dashboard warning light. If the ignition coil hasn’t been replaced, budget for a new one.</p> <p><strong>■ ALSO WORTH KNOWING:</strong> Enthusiasts fret over ‘stationary gear bearing failure’, which necessitates a complete engine rebuild. It happens when oil pressure drops at low revs and the e-shaft is improperly lubricated, and the inbuilt diagnostics programme usually won’t issue a warning until it’s too late. If the engine knocks on startup, drones at idle and clatters at high revs, call a specialist – and quick.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>How much to spend</strong></p> <p><strong>£1000-£1999: </strong>2005/06 cars taken as part-exchange by dealers. Watch out for write-offs.</p> <p><strong>£2000-£3499: </strong>Mostly low-mileage 228bhp cars with good compression and a fresh MOT.</p> <p><strong>£3500-£4999: </strong>Comprehensively specced pre-facelift cars, including a rare 40th Anniversary edition sold with a 12-month warranty.</p> <p><strong>£5000-£7000: </strong>Well-cared-for post-facelift models with reassuring documentation and fewer than 50,000 miles on the clock.</p> <p><strong>One we found</strong></p> <p><strong>Mazda RX-8 2009/09-Reg, 73,000 miles, £4495: </strong>This nicely specced post-facelift car has done 73,000 miles but looks to be in fine fettle. And for your peace of mind, the dealer has recently carried out a full service and compression test.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mazda-rx-9-hopes-boosted-new-rotary-engine-technology">Mazda RX-9 hopes boosted by new rotary-engine technology</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Five brilliant cars that are worth the trouble - used car buying guide</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mazda celebrates centenary with new special editions for 2020</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Mon, 25 May 2020 06:01:25 +0100 Under the skin: how camless engines make 300bhp per litre with 20% less fuel <a href="/car-news/technology/under-skin-how-camless-engines-make-300bhp-litre-20-less-fuel"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Camless engine" title="Camless engine" /></a> Koenigsegg's freevalve engine promises performance and economy, but how does it actually work? <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Being all things to all people is something combustion engines have never been much good at but supercar maker <a href="">Koenigsegg</a> may at last have that one licked with its Freevalve technology.</p> <p>Freevalve does what the name neatly implies: frees inlet and exhaust valves from the constraints of the traditional camshaft used to open and close them. The technology was aired in the TFG (The Friendly Giant) engine of <a href="">the Koenigsegg Gemera</a> at the virtual Geneva motor show in March and is due for production in 2022.</p> <p>The so-called ‘camless’ engine isn’t a new idea and many concepts have emerged from companies such as <a href="">BMW</a>, <a href="">Renault</a>, <a href="">Fiat</a>, Lotus Engineering and, more recently, British company Camcon. Fully individual control of valve timing and lift (when they open and close and by how much) potentially offers huge benefits such as reduced fuel consumption and emissions together with ultra-high performance.</p> <p>The TFG engine can run unthrottled, so the amount of air entering the engine can be controlled internally by opening the valves less, rather than restricting it by an external throttle upstream of the engine. That saves energy. The engine can easily run in the efficient Miller cycle, where the volume of air ingested occupies a smaller volume than the expanding gases of the power stroke, increasing efficiency.</p> <p>Most toxic emissions on a modern engine still occur inside half a minute from a cold start due to cold internals, cold catalysts and limited fuel-air mixing at low start-up rpm. The Freevalve system manipulates the valves to promote internal exhaust gas recirculation, thoroughly mixing hot combustion gases with fresh charge to reduce emissions by a claimed 60% when compared with a traditional three-cylinder engine with camshafts.</p> <p>Earlier attempts at camless technologies were relatively simplistic, usually involving electro-magnetic solenoids, or electrohydraulic actuators. The Freevalve system uses pneumatics to actuate the valves and electro-hydraulics to stop the valve in a given position and dampen its movement.</p> <p>It also enables cylinder deactivation by closing all the valves in individual cylinders and cutting the fuel injection. Plans include using artificial intelligence to let the engine figure out the best combustion strategy at a given moment.</p> <p>The engine’s brain (electronic control unit) decides exactly what each valve is going to do depending on the load on the engine and what the driver is asking it to do via the accelerator pedal. The turbocharged engine has a two-stage turbo system, but instead of using valves to control which turbo actuates when, the Freevalve does that by connecting three of the engine’s six exhaust valves to the turbine of one, and three to another, controlling turbo boost of each independently.</p> <p>The results look impressive. The TFG is a 2.0-litre three-cylinder engine producing 600bhp and 443lb ft, with fuel consumption claimed to be 15-20% less than a typical direct-injection 2.0-litre. It can run on a variety of fuels and is said to be CO2 neutral using second-gen renewable alcohol fuels.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>BMW's alternative take</strong></p> <p>BMW launched its Valvetronic variable valve lift system in 2001 and it’s still going. Although there’s still a camshaft in play and all inlet valves are actuated at once rather than individually, Valvetronic is effective and simple. Used in conjunction with Vanos to vary the camshaft timing, the combination is cost effective and goes a fair way to giving the benefits of camless tech.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/new-koenigsegg-gemera-revealed-1700bhp-four-seat-hybrid">New Koenigsegg Gemera revealed as 1700bhp four-seat hybrid?</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/technology/under-skin-how-better-acdc-inversion-will-boost-evs">Under the skin: How better AC/DC inversion will boost EVs</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-koenigsegg-raw-concept-imagines-entry-level-supercar">New Koenigsegg Raw concept imagines entry-level supercar</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Mon, 25 May 2020 00:01:23 +0100 Next Mercedes-Benz SL will return to sporting roots <a href="/car-news/new-cars/next-mercedes-benz-sl-will-return-sporting-roots"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercdes-Benz SL Autocar render" title="Mercdes-Benz SL Autocar render" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Mk7 SL will take cues from 1954 original without going retro</blockquote> The upcoming SL will look to draw inspiration from its legendary predecessor <div> <p>The next?Mercedes-Benz SL, which is due to be revealed next year, will hark back to the <a href="" target="_blank">original model</a> of the 1950s more than any generation that followed, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Daimler</a>’s chief design officer.</p> <p>Speaking to Autocar, Gorden Wagener admitted that he’s “not a fan of <a href="" target="_blank">retro designs</a>”, so the new SL won’t wholly revive the two-seat, gullwing look of the formative car. However, he said that the SL is moving away from the <a href="" target="_blank">GT-style roadster</a> ethos of the past few decades, returning to its sporting roots. To this end, <a href="" target="_blank">AMG</a> is heavily involved in its development.</p> <p>“For me, the most beautiful SL is the original, the 300,” said Wagener. “And I think we’ve taken some of that DNA, starting with the proportions, the surface treatment, things like that. In that respect, the new SL is probably the closest to the first one ever.”</p> <p>Our best sighting yet of the new <a href="" target="_blank">Porsche 911</a> Cabriolet rival has been of a prototype with a cover half-removed at a research and development facility in Germany. This spy shot (below) shows that the car retains its classic long bonnet and cab-back profile but uses a fabric convertible roof instead of the current SL’s folding metal item.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Its platform will be adapted by AMG for the <a href="" target="_blank">next AMG GT</a> but, when asked if there will be any crossover between the two, Wagener said: “The GT is more of a race car and the SL is more of a sports car. You will clearly see the differences.”</p> <p>Wagener also discussed the <a href="" target="_blank">next S-Class</a>, which will be shown towards the end of 2020. He described the model as a “milestone in design” and a “digital S-Class of the next decade” but admitted it will evolve Mercedes’ existing design language rather than lead it into a new era.</p> <p>He said: “Back in the old days, the S-Class invented a new kind of style every time for the rest of the brand. But that was back when we only had three models, and it’s impossible to do now. There are still a lot of people who love the S-Class how it is, so that’s probably the last car we would want to change [radically].”</p> <p>Wagener said the most “progressive aspect” will be the interior, where his team has put “even more emphasis on the digital side”. Spy shots show prototypes have a <a href="" target="_blank">Tesla</a>-style portrait touchscreen dominating the dashboard.</p> <p>The Mercedes-Maybach version will continue to serve the ultra-luxury segment, too, but Wagener said its focus is on “traditional luxury values: craftsmanship, materials and so on” rather than just tech.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Maybach</a> won’t be the only different version of the S-Class: an all-electric <a href="" target="_blank">EQS</a> model is due in 2022 to sit at the top of Mercedes’ EQ range, above the <a href="" target="_blank">EQE</a>, an E-Class-equivalent saloon. The EQS will look “radically different from normal S-Classes”, according to Wagener, and will target “a lot of different customers”.</p> <p>“Our Vision concepts have always been 80-90% close to the production car,” he said. “So that will have completely different proportions. It’s a very innovative vehicle.”</p> <p><strong>READ MORE:</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Mercedes to reduce model line-up, platforms and powertrains</strong></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Mercedes to launch 32 new models by 2022 in massive rollout</strong></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Facelifted Mercedes E-Class gains new engines and interior tech</strong></a></p> </div> News Mon, 25 May 2020 00:01:23 +0100 Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer set to be replaced by AMG boss Moers <a href="/car-news/industry/aston-martin-boss-andy-palmer-set-be-replaced-amg-boss-moers"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Aston Martin's Andy Palmer" /></a> Aston confirms management talks following Financial Times report that AMG boss Tobias Moers is being lined up to take top job on Tuesday <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p><a href="">Aston Martin</a>?has confirmed it is reviewing its management team, following speculation that?boss Andy Palmer will be replaced at the helm of the company by <a href="">AMG</a> boss Tobias Moers on Tuesday in a report in the <a href="">Financial Times</a>.</p> <p>The British sports car maker has responded to the report in a brief written statement. It said: "Aston Martin Lagonda notes recent press speculation. The company confirms that it is reviewing its management team and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate."</p> <p>Palmer's position as chief executive has been the subject of speculation since billionaire Lawrence Stroll led a consortium that bought 25% of the firm last month, selling part of that shareholding on to another consortium led by?Mercedes-AMG F1 team principal Toto Wolff.</p> <p><a href="">Last month</a>?Stroll reiterated his belief in the product plan set out by Palmer and his team, focusing initially on the launch of the new DBX SUV, then the Valkyrie hypercar?and then a new mid-engined supercar, called Valhalla.</p> <p>However, with Palmer having led the firm to its public IPO in 2018, and then overseen setbacks - including a £120m loss in the first three months of this year - that led to the share price falling by 90% from that point, his position now appears to be under threat.</p> <p>When asked?by Autocar to confirm that Moers was leaving the firm a spokesman said: "We do not comment on speculation."</p> <p>Moers has notably grown AMG's presence and profits since taking the helm of the lucrative performance division of Mercedes, which owns a stake in Aston Martin and is an engine and component supplier to the firm.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Aston seals funds for DBX production but issues long-term warning</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mercedes to discuss Formula 1 withdrawal, potentially triggering sensational Aston Martin buyout</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Billionaire Stroll takes major stake in Aston Martin</a></strong></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> <p>?</p> </div> News Sun, 24 May 2020 17:32:28 +0100 Top 10 sport saloons 2020 <a href="/car-news/best-cars/top-10-sport-saloons-2020"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Top 10 best sports saloons 2020 - lead" title="Top 10 best sports saloons 2020 - lead" /></a> Slotting beneath super saloons in the motoring hierarchy, these more affordable alternatives are still guaranteed to entertain <div> <p>When you’re in the business of testing the latest and greatest new cars, you invariably devote a great deal of effort, brainpower and words defining and expressing what separates a truly great supercar, sports car or hot hatchback from one that is merely very good.</p> <p>And while that’s often a captivating process, it’s important to remember one universal truth: that, for most of us, the very best kind of driver’s car is the one you can afford. It’s the one you can justify to yourself. Often it’s also the one that suits the kind of driving you’ve got in mind for it; that will best serve your practical purposes, too; and which makes you feel content and secure - and sufficiently unselfconscious - to want to own and be seen in it.</p> <p>It’s that particular happy real-world compromise that the cars in this top ten chart are intended to address. The sport saloon is a time-honoured vehicle concept too little written about these days, because upper-level ‘super’ saloons are easier to write headlines about or to get mind-blowing laptimes out of.</p> <p>Generally, sport saloons are less powerful than super saloons but they’re also more affordable, more usable, often more compact, less highly strung and easier to enjoy on public roads. Many are four-wheel drive, making them suited to being driven every day, all year round and almost wherever you fancy. Some are more understated – stealthy, some might say – than others. And yet the very best still count as absolutely first-class driver’s cars based on the involvement they provide and how often they can be enjoyed.</p> <p>Stand by to find out which fast four-doors deliver for a smaller outlay.</p> <h3><a href="/car-review/bmw/3-series/first-drives/bmw-3-series-m340i-xdrive-2019-review">1. BMW M340i xDrive</a></h3> <p>What is, for now at least, the car at the very top of the BMW 3-Series derivative tree has an unbeatable sporting hand. The combination of its 369bhp turbocharged straight six engine, its agile all-wheel drive handling, its roomy, well-equipped and solidly hewn interior, its BMW-brand desirability and its sub-£50k starting price make it so complete as a sport saloon that – as the 3-Series has for so long – it deserves to be the default choice in this class.</p> <p>With adaptively damped M Sport suspension as standard, the car has specially tuned suspension geometry and axle kinematics to take it above the already high dynamic standards of a regular 3-Series. Our testers report that, while it’s got a firmer and shorter-feeling ride than other Threes and feels more aggressively firm over certain sorts of surface, it remains a very livable and civilised compromise well-enough suited to the rigours of the everyday.</p> <p>The car adopts a standard torque-vectoring locking rear differential, too, in order to make even better use of its rear-biased xDrive driveline; and that adds just a touch of throttle-adjustable cornering poise to the car’s handling, depending on selected driving mode. The car’s fast, smooth and sweet-revving when you want it to be, then; but can feel surefooted in bad weather, or lithe and lively if you prefer. The M340i really has, and does, it all.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Save money with new 3 Series deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/alfa-romeo/giulia/first-drives/alfa-romeo-giulia-veloce-280-2019-review">2. Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce</a></h3> <p>A multi-cylinder engine would be a bit of a miss for any sporting Alfa Romeo, when so many have come with such memorable V6s over the years. That caveat, as well as a classier-feeling cabin and more adjustable electronic stability controls, are really all that prevent this car from topping our sport saloon pile. There can certainly be no doubting that, in terms of handling balance, incisiveness and all-round driver appeal, the Giulia Veloce has what it takes to stand out.</p> <p>A chassis of unequalled dynamic agility and super-direct steering makes this car feel more like a sports car, at times, than a practical five-seater. It has really wonderfully well-balanced grip levels also, and deserves a properly switchable stability control system that might allow you to explore and exploit those grip levels to maximum amusement. Sadly, the range-topping Quadrifoglio is the only Giulia on which you can fully deactivate the electronic nannies.</p> <p>Alfa’s turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine gives the car a healthy 276bhp, and it sounds fairly pleasant and revs freely by 4-cyl turbo standards. It’s just a shame that’s not quite what the chassis is worthy of, or what rivals for the same money will provide; because in other ways this car is little short of brilliant.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Giulia deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">3. Kia Stinger GTS</a></h3> <p>Kia’s top-of-the-range Stinger is something of a rarity amongst modern performance cars, championing old-fashioned bang-for-your-buck value as it does. As a survey of its rivals in this list will confirm, there are now very few ways to get into a rear-driven, multi-cylinder performance car with more than 350-horsepower, capable of 62mph from rest in less than 5.0sec, for only a smidgeon more than £40,000. That was the kind of proposition a Vauxhall VXR8 offered a decade so ago -? albeit with much less associated style and premium-brand quality, and a couple of additional engine cylinders.</p> <p>The Stinger’s turbocharged V6 has great mid-range torque and revs tunefully; not quite with the ferocity of some performance motors, granted, but stoutly enough to make what is a pretty big saloon feel pretty brisk.The car’s chassis compromise is closer to that of a long-striding performance GT than a really poised and compact four-door, and both body control at high speeds and handling balance leave just enough to be desired that you might notice the deficiency. Having said that, a slightly laid back, good-looking, big-on-value performance car might be exactly the sort of fast four-door to suit your requirements.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Save money with new Stinger deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">4. Jaguar XF 3.0D S</a></h3> <p>Considering how much of Jaguar’s sporting reputation has been built by big-engined, rear-driven sport saloons, it’s surprising to find how scant the choice has become for Jaguar buyers who want a smooth multi-cylinder engine and the purity of a driven rear axle in their modern fast four-door.?</p> <p>Although it wasn’t always the case, the XE doesn’t offer one at all; and the XJ is now so big and so old that you might not even consider it. The only model that fits that time-honoured template is a mid-sized XF - and it’s one with a turbodiesel V6; not a car, surely, to ease the furrowed brows of brand traditionalists.</p> <p>So it’s a good job that this is a particularly sweet-handling option. Really naturally paced, intuitive steering and a supple chassis delivering both poise and ride comfort in impressive measure make the XF 3.0D S the Jaguar saloon you’d pick from the current crop to save for posterity.?</p> <p>It’s not nearly as roomy as a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes E-Class and isn’t much smaller than either, but it does feel spry and engaging on the road in a way they don’t. Meanwhile that V6 diesel engine has mid-range torque to spare, and knows reasonable economy, too, when you need it.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new XF deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">5. Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered</a></h3> <p>You might have expected at least one plug-in hybrid option to rank more highly than this in a list of modern sport saloons, given the intriguing blend of performance and everyday efficiency they promise. The fact is, even the very best PHEV sport saloons have yet to be developed to a level where they might displace the most convincing traditional performance options here for slickness, richness, drivability and all-round driver appeal as well as for outright responsiveness, pace and efficiency. A BMW 330e, while very good, isn’t yet a car we’d recommend over an M340i, for example.</p> <p>Helped by the fact that it is the defacto performance option in its model range however, a Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered is the most convincing driver’s car in the S60 lineup (although that isn’t saying too much). Combining a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with twin electric motors, this car develops a peak 400bhp on paper, and nearly 500lb ft of torque; which, in this company, is more than enough to get your attention.?</p> <p>On the road, it never really feels like it’s in possession of quite that much firepower despite the four-wheel drive; it needed more than five seconds to hit 60mph from rest in our hands, although its in-gear roll-on acceleration was a lot stronger.</p> <p>More impressive than Volvo’s petrol-electric powertrain, though, is the job that Polestar has done on the car’s suspension. Expensive manually adjustable dampers at each corner lend a remarkably highly developed kind of body control for a car so heavy, and both grip and handling precision are first-rate.?</p> <p>If the car had a powertrain whose performance crystallised under pressure in quite the same way as the chassis, one capable of putting power exactly where it was needed precisely when you asked for it, this would be a really convincing effort. As it is, it’s certainly on the way to becoming something quite interesting.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new S60 deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/audi/s4">6. Audi S4 TDI Quattro</a></h3> <p>For Audi to decide to switch so many of its brisk but businesslike ‘S express’ sporting derivatives from petrol- to diesel power last year was a bold decision, considering the last few years that the firm has had. It’s also a key sign that some of the most thorough engineers and key decision-makers in the car industry still accept the notion that, for those who want both real-world speed and drivability from a sport saloon as well as efficiency and refinement, there is still nothing to beat a big diesel engine.</p> <p>And so a big diesel engine is what the Audi S4 now comes with. Specifically it’s a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel with a 48-volt electrical architecture and an additional electrically driven turbo in the mix, producing 342bhp and 516lb ft. That’s enough to send this car to 60mph in 4.6sec thanks to a very effective launch control system which governs the car’s torque-vectoring all-paw driveline. From there the car rifles through the intermediate ratios of its 8spd auto box very quickly indeed, piling on speed without really giving you much cause to notice.</p> <p>The S4 is easy to drive quickly and very assured with it, although the driving experience it creates isn’t terrifically exciting or rich. That V6 isn’t particularly memorable to listen to, and while it’s ever-composed, the car’s handling only comes alive and begins to engage you really if you commit to over-driving it; which, on the road, you’ll likely seldom if ever do.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new S4 deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">7. Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4Matic</a></h3> <p>Smaller can quite often mean better when you’re comparing one driver’s car to another. Does it mean as much, then, in the case of Mercedes’ smaller, lower-order-AMG, four-door coupe: the CLA 35? Frankly, it depends what you’re comparing it with.</p> <p>The CLA is, for starters, the smaller of two Mercedes four-door coupes, and does offer much more of the elegance and style of the bigger CLS for a cut-down price than the original CLA managed. Being part of Mercedes’ compact-car model family, however, the CLA is less practical, arguably, than even an A-Class hatchback. Meanwhile, being transverse-engined, it’s only ever four-wheel drive in fairly transient and qualified terms, and can’t compete with natively rear-driven 4WD options for throttle-on handling balance.</p> <p>The ‘-35’ suffixed AMG version uses a 302bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine which has plenty to recommend it, as does the car’s meaty, tactile steering and its measured-yet-composed ride and handling. The car’s two-pedal, twin-clutch gearbox is less slick, though, and can disappoint with its roughness as well as its unpredictability.?</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new CLA deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">8. Audi S3 Saloon</a></h3> <p>Audi’s four-door S3 didn’t become a part of the wider S3 model family until the third-generation car arrived in 2013, but quickly seemed to make itself at home in the model range thereafter. Nobody does fast, smart business saloons quite like Audi, after all; and this one had all the visual presence and the neat proportions of its bigger siblings, as well as quattro drive and a grown-up power output.</p> <p>The current version delivers just under 300-horsepower to all four wheels from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, but has a longer wheelbase, a lower roofline and wider axles than other S3s. Our testers have identified it as a better-handling S3 on several occasions.</p> <p>Trademark Audi design appeal comes together with plenty of material cabin quality here, in a car that feels composed and secure on the road. It’s a little reserved, perhaps, delivering its speed through a luxury filter which kills some - although far from all - of the fun factor.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new S3 deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">9. Peugeot 508 GT</a></h3> <p>Peugeot’s sporty-option 508 saloon comes in petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid guises. The last of those is the newest; although only being rated for 222bhp and only offering front-wheel drive, it’s not powered by the same all-corner, twin-motor powertrain as used by the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 or the DS7 E-Tense.</p> <p>All 508 GTs handle with appealing directness and keenness. These are relatively compact and spry saloons designed from the outset to appeal to the driver, and they manage that fairly well.</p> <p>The hybrid has strong in-gear performance (once the slightly clumsy transmission has decided which ratio to pick) although in outright terms doesn’t feel any quicker than either of the other two derivatives. You’d pick it for the benefit-in-kind tax savings; although, since it’s still a £40k car, even those might not be as lucrative as you think.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Save money with new 508 deals from What Car?</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">10. Vauxhall Insignia GSI</a></h3> <p>Vauxhall looked to relaunch its once-desired ‘GSi’ performance model badging on the Insignia a couple of years ago, but has thus far failed to tempt as many owners as it must have hoped for.?</p> <p>In 2018 you could choose between 2.0-litre petrol and -diesel motors in the car, both getting torque vectoring four-wheel drive. Subsequently, when WLTP emissions certification loomed, Vauxhall deleted the petrol engine and concentrated on the diesel to go after fleet success. And now that new company car tax rules have made anything but a ‘PHEV’ a very hard sell as a company car, they’re phasing out the diesel and bringing back the petrol in pursuit of private buyers. And if any of this should suggest to you that the bold, new-age Vauxhall GSi has yet to be effectively defined, or to find its true audience; well, we dare say you’d be about right.</p> <p>We’re yet to sample the facelifted version of the Insignia GSi, but found the 2018 diesel fairly precise and composed in its handling, if a little lacking in both firepower and driver entertainment value. As a lower-order value-driven sporting option, it’s not without merit being a good-sized, usable saloon. Still, it couldn’t be upwardly mobile, even on this list, unless and until becoming a driver’s car of greater ambition.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Save money with new Insignia deals from What Car?</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="124" src="" width="900" /></p> </div> News Sun, 24 May 2020 06:01:25 +0100 How McLaren is making a comeback in F1 <a href="/car-news/features/how-mclaren-making-comeback-f1"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="McLaren F1 car" title="McLaren F1 car" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> McLaren is chasing a return to the front after eight years away </blockquote> After 182 Formula 1 victories in its first 46 years, McLaren has been absent from the front of the pack for the past eight. We meet the man turning it around <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>McLaren was heading into the <a href="">2020 Formula 1 season</a> with a real sense of momentum, generated by the combination of a strong 2019, a renewed sense of direction, two talented young drivers and a new engine supply deal for 2021. <a href="">McLaren</a> was on the way back to the sharp end of the grid.</p> <p>This year was about putting the final pieces in place, ready for greater things in 2021. Then, of course, a global pandemic began and now McLaren’s plans are, like most of society, on hold.</p> <p>The team – which is based in Woking, Surrey – actually found itself at the centre of <a href="">F1’s own coronavirus crisis</a>, as the sport pressed ahead with the season-opening <a href="">Australian Grand Prix</a> in mid-March, right as the disease became a global emergency. A positive test for a McLaren employee who was due to work in the Albert Park paddock prompted the team to withdraw, triggering the events that led to the <a href="">race’s abrupt cancellation hours before practice was to begin</a>. The teams packed up and headed home – and haven’t done too much since.</p> <p>The good news for McLaren is that all of its team members are now back from Melbourne and healthy. The bad news is its momentum has been arrested and the rebuild is on hold. Still, team principal Andreas Seidl remains optimistic.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>“The most important thing at the moment is to get through this crisis and survive it as a team and as Formula 1,” he says. “Then we have a clear plan in place of what we have to do in the coming months and years to move up the grid. The shutdown is the same for everyone, and I’m confident that as soon as we are through this crisis, we can continue the positive momentum.”</p> <p>Previously the head of <a href="">Porsche’s</a> squad in the World Endurance Championship, the 44-year-old German has played a key role in McLaren’s revival since he joined last May. He’s in charge of the on-and off-track management of the team, working under McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown.</p> <p>The grand McLaren Technical Centre in which Seidl now works contains numerous reminders of the team’s glories: 12 drivers’ championships, eight constructors’ championships, 486 podiums and 182 race wins. The building is dotted with cars and trophies highlighting those achievements, carrying the names of drivers such as James Hunt, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton.</p> <p>But McLaren hasn’t won a race since 2012 – an eight-year drought stretching back 140 races that’s unprecedented in the team’s 54-year history. During that tumultuous span, long-time boss Ron Dennis was forced out after a boardroom battle and a much-anticipated reunion with engine supplier <a href="">Honda</a> in 2015 ended in an early and acrimonious divorce after just three seasons.</p> <p>So while Seidl joined a team with a rich history, in reality he was taking the helm of a mid-pack outfit running customer <a href="">Renault</a> engines. Still, there were already signs of improvement in form in the races held before he started last year.</p> <p>“I’ve benefited from a lot of good decisions that were made by Zak and the team before I arrived,” says Seidl, “which shaped the development direction of the car over the winter. That meant I could come in and, with James [Key, technical chief] and my leadership team, take our time to analyse where we see the weak points of the team.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Seidl is refreshingly honest in addressing McLaren’s recent failings.</p> <p>“Of course there were weak points,” he admits. “There are reasons why there was a lack of performance in previous years. There were deficits on the organisation side and deficits on the infrastructure side. But we have time to work out a clear plan of how we want to approach the future, and I’m happy with the programme we have set up.”</p> <p>One of Seidl’s first tasks was to simplify McLaren’s management structure, scrapping the complex ‘matrix’ system devised by Dennis and former team boss Martin Whitmarsh in which responsibility was shared across numerous staff and divisions. In came a more traditional hierarchy, with technical chief Key, racing director Andrea Stella and production boss Piers Thynne all reporting to Seidl.</p> <p>Seidl also says he has a good relationship with Brown: “We share a lot in terms of how to approach the task. Zak is elevating the whole organisation, and giving me freedom and support to do my job. What I like is that he’s a full-blood racer.”</p> <p>The benefits of Seidl’s restructure could be seen as 2019 went on. The team managed to build on its form after a promising start, with rapid Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr and impressive British rookie Lando Norris pushing each other to regular points finishes. Sainz capped the season with third place in the Brazilian Grand Prix: McLaren’s first podium since 2014. The result was a fourth-place finish in the constructors’ championship: best of the rest behind <a href="">Mercedes</a>, <a href="">Ferrari</a> and <a href="">Red Bull</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>But the aim isn’t to trail behind F1’s current big three: McLaren wants to rejoin them, and the gap remains huge. Budget comes into that, of course; with reduced sponsorship and customer engines, McLaren simply doesn’t have the resources of the teams ahead of it. That’s why it’s hopeful that a proposed (and controversial) budget cap may help – although Seidl insists money isn’t the main issue.</p> <p>“Independent of budget, the top three teams are simply doing a better job,” he says. “They have better organisations in place, are more efficient and have better infrastructure, better methodology and better ways of working. That’s simply something we have to catch up on, separate from any budget caps. We have to focus on ourselves.”</p> <p>Seidl can’t solve the budget cap or find more sponsorship; that’s Brown’s job. What he can do is fix the team. And revamping the structure and securing two talented drivers – while Sainz is off to Ferrari for 2021, he'll be replaced by race winner Daniel Ricciardo –?is just the start. Seidl and Brown also committed to building a new, state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Woking. It will sit on the site of an outdated old one that the team hasn’t used for the past decade, instead hiring <a href="">Toyota Motorsport’s</a> wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany.</p> <p>Seidl was also the catalyst for another big change: the renewal of McLaren’s ultra-successful engine partnership with Mercedes from next season onwards – a move that shows the change of philosophy within the team.</p> <p>McLaren used the German firm’s powertrains from 1996 until 2014, winning drivers’ titles with Mika H?kkinen in 1998 and 1999 and <a href="">Lewis Hamilton</a> in 2008. For much of that period, it was effectively Stuttgart’s works outfit, but when Mercedes bought its own team in 2010, McLaren became purely a customer, which sparked that disastrous switch to Honda.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="592" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>McLaren has run Renault engines for the past two seasons, and there’s little doubt that Mercedes makes a better unit. With no prospect of a works engine deal, McLaren has accepted its new reality and done the best it can.</p> <p>Signing the deal to start in 2021 also meant the switch would occur alongside F1’s radical new rules package, designed to cut costs and improve the racing – and which McLaren believes could level the playing field and help it to take a step forward. So the plan was simple: consolidate progress this year and aim for a big leap next.</p> <p>Now, of course, things aren’t so simple. The F1 season is on hold, and instead of consolidating success, the concern is suddenly for the immediate future. Not racing means F1 teams aren’t receiving sponsorship or television income; there are even fears that some may not survive post-pandemic. With an F1-wide factory shutdown in place, McLaren has furloughed a number of its staff.</p> <p>But the shutdown hasn’t just put McLaren’s progress on pause: it’s arguably setting it back. To cut costs, the new F1 rules package has been delayed until 2022, with teams agreeing to run their 2020 cars next season as well. McLaren will still switch to Mercedes engines and will only be allowed “absolutely necessary” changes to make the new power unit fit.</p> <p>“It’s no secret that we were pushing the new regulations for 2021,” says Seidl. “But we have to face the reality of the crisis and accept the delay. We don’t know if there will be any races in 2020 or the financial reality, so it makes sense.</p> <p>“In terms of timing, it’s clear the shift of the new regulations and the long shutdown now will cause some delays on our, let’s say, recovery programme.”</p> <p>You can sense the frustration in Seidl, but his optimism remains. That’s built on the progress made in the past year and a belief McLaren still has the ability to regain a place at the front of the grid. It just might take slightly longer than planned.</p> <p><strong>Off on the wrong foot</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>While the combination of McLaren and Mercedes is best remembered for the title glories of Mika H?kkinen and later Lewis Hamilton, the partnership didn’t get off to a good start.</p> <p>For 1995, McLaren snapped up 1992 champion Nigel Mansell to drive the radical MP4/10. But he couldn’t fit in the slender cockpit so had to sit out the first two rounds while adjustments were made. His return lasted two races before he quit F1 for good due to the car’s poor performance.</p> <p>The odd-looking car was slow and the engine was unreliable. A series of mid-season upgrades helped, though, enabling H?kkinen to claim a stunning second in the penultimate race in Japan.</p> <p><strong>McLaren chases the American dream</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>McLaren isn’t just (not) racing in Formula 1 this year: having supported double F1 champion <a href="">Fernando Alonso’s entry in the Indianapolis 500</a> twice in recent years, it has now expanded full time into the Indycar series.</p> <p>McLaren has partnered with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to form Arrow McLaren SP, which will run in the F1 team’s papaya colour scheme. The team has two promising young drivers in 20-year-old Mexican Patricio O’Ward and 23-year-old American Oliver Askew, with Alonso joining them for the Indy 500, currently scheduled for late August after being pushed back from its traditional May date.</p> <p>The project should help Alonso and McLaren regain face after they failed to qualify for the race in a self-run one-off entry last year.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New McLaren Sports Series hybrid seen in production bodywork</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">McLaren: successor to P1 hybrid hypercar coming in 2024</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">McLaren 765LT heads up Super Series with 754bhp</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Sun, 24 May 2020 06:01:25 +0100 Sweet-spot cars: fun models that aren't flagships <a href="/opinion/features/sweet-spot-cars-fun-models-arent-flagships"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Bentley Continental GT V8" title="Is the most expensive or powerful car in the range the best? It's not always that simple..." /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Is the most expensive or powerful car in the range the best? It's not always that simple...</blockquote> Not enough leaves you wanting more, but more can be too much. So, we picked a path through driver’s cars that upstage pricier variants – not too hot, not too cold, but just right <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>It was a drive in the new 4.0-litre <a href="" target="_blank">Porsche 718 Cayman GTS</a> that did it. I took the car on the exact same route on which I’d recently driven the <a href="" target="_blank">Cayman GT4</a> – just to see whether the normal GTS could get even to within viewing distance of standards set by its vaunted sibling and product of Porsche’s fabled Motorsport division.</p> <p>But, as I drove, something appeared to be wrong. It wasn’t meant to be like this. I was actually having just as much fun in the GTS as I’d had in the GT4. You couldn’t use the GT4’s extra grip on the public road, but you could certainly appreciate the surer foot of the GTS’s less extreme tyres on the often wet surfaces, as well as the clearly superior ride quality.?</p> <p>Was the steering any less lucid? You’d need them side by side to tell. Was it significantly slower? Did it sound any less good? Was I, in short, enjoying myself any less as a result? Not that I could see. But the GTS costs £11,000 less than the GT4, so does that not make it therefore the better car?</p> <p>It’s certainly possible, and I’d say definite for someone looking for such a device as a daily driver, rather than occasional recreation. Which started me thinking about other ranges where the headline grabber may not actually be the best of the bunch. What about those cars which are neither too hot nor too cold, but just right?</p> <p><strong>Defining the automotive Goldilocks principle</strong></p> <p>I am not the first to have thought about this. Indeed, it’s a well-documented concept with applications in medicine, economics and science called, predictably enough, the Goldilocks principle. By far the largest and most obvious example is our planet, as we’d all find out to our considerable cost were we ever rash enough to try to live on Venus or Mars.</p> <p>Goldilocks cars are nothing new. They’ve been around at least since the 1920s, when the six-cylinder Bentley Speed Six was at times compared unfavourably with the four-pot 41/2-litre model because, as someone put it, ‘I miss that bloody thump’. More recently, the 3.8-litre six-cylinder <a href="" target="_blank">Jaguar E-Type</a> was a far better driver’s car than the flabbier 5.3-litre V12 E-Type that followed it at a discreet distance.?</p> <p>An Aston Martin DB4 is a better driver’s car than a DB5, a <a href="" target="_blank">Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI</a> nicer than the same car with 16 valves. And an original S3 Lotus Esprit is a better car than an Esprit Turbo as well. Controversial, I know.?</p> <p>More recently, the shining example has to be the original <a href="" target="_blank">Audi R8</a> with its super-sweet V8. The V10 that joined it sounded cool, but it spoilt the balance in terms of its handling neutrality and feel, and the balance between the powertrain and the chassis in determining your progress.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Honing the formula</strong></p> <p>That cars should subscribe to such a formula is not so surprising as it may seem. If you were designing a car, which version would you have as your template? The entry-level model needing myriad changes to turn it into a flagship, or vice versa? Or would you not just take a sensible mid-point and adjust up and down accordingly? And does it not follow that this mid-point car is the one on which most attention has been lavished?</p> <p>There are other reasons the go-faster version may not be the best. Unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money on clever materials, more speed almost always means more weight. Because, even if more powerful engines got that way simply by rewriting software, as is the case with the Cayman, these things are never done in isolation.?</p> <p>A more powerful engine requires bigger brakes, beefier suspension and tyres that are not just wider but more robust, too. Heavier, in other words. Which is why, despite presumably no extra engine mass and what I’m sure were the best efforts of the wizards of Weissach, the Cayman GT4 is actually a little heavier than the GTS.</p> <p><strong>Mini Cooper: size really does matter</strong></p> <p>Goldilocks cars happen at all price points, and sometimes their existence appears to be for entirely conceptual reasons.?</p> <p>It is, for instance, not immediately obvious to me that there is any other reason why for the nearly 20 years that <a href="" target="_blank">BMW</a> has been building <a href="" target="_blank">Minis</a> I’ve not yet driven one I preferred to a <a href="" target="_blank">Cooper</a> hatchback. Not the base One model, mind, which has always needed a bit more get up and go, but a still-simple, straightforward Cooper.</p> <p>I think it ultimately boils down to the kind of car I want a Mini to be, which is small and fun but affordable. There is an authenticity about a Cooper hatchback that you just don’t find in a <a href="" target="_blank">Countryman</a>, and it’s the same across the board: a <a href="" target="_blank">Cayenne</a> may be a very capable SUV but, to me and regardless of the fact that most are anything but these days, a Porsche is still a two-door coupé with a flat-six motor in its boot.</p> <p><img alt="Mini Cooper" class="image-body-image" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Porsche 911: defying conventions</strong></p> <p>And while we’re on the subject of the <a href="" target="_blank">Porsche 911</a>, there’s a Goldilocks car in its range, too, although here, as in so many other fields of its endeavours over the generations, it doesn’t quite obey the rules.?</p> <p>It used to: back in the early 1970s, when there was a 911 T, E and S, it was the mid-range E you wanted, a point largely lost on the market today. The truth was an S was only a little more powerful, had less shove in the mid-range where you most needed it and was, of course, more expensive.</p> <p>But today, and indeed for the 30-something years I’ve been employed to drive cars, it has always been the base-model 911 to which I’ve been most drawn, if you exclude GT models.?They are always the least powerful but somehow the most engaging. Because they tend to be lighter than their siblings, less broad in the beam and have skinnier tyres, they are easier to thread along difficult roads and provide better feel through the chassis and steering, which is what driving such a car should be all about.?</p> <p>If there was an exception, I’d say it was the first generation of the 991 series, whose stock Carrera offering featured a normally aspirated 3.4-litre motor that needed to be worked too hard before it would perform properly.</p> <p><strong>Alpine A110: too much on the side</strong></p> <p>Of course, if there are just two cars in the range, the Goldilocks principle is in need of adjustment on account of there having been three bears. But it’s still apposite to point out examples where a slower, cheaper car somehow gets the job done better than a faster, more expensive stablemate.</p> <p>The most obvious example today is the <a href="" target="_blank">Alpine A110</a>. Although quick, this car was never about speed for the sake of speed. It is about feel, delicacy and balance – none of which has ever been improved by chucking a ton of horsepower at it.?</p> <p>Actually, the <a href="" target="_blank">A110 S</a> is a brilliant car and we like in particular how Alpine has resisted making it look like the ‘go-faster’ model. It’s still compact, utterly driver-oriented and excellent to drive. But is it as good as the base-level car??Actually, no. The problem is not the extra 40bhp but the bigger wheels, fatter tyres and stiffer suspension that has been brought in to marshal it. And you know what I’m going to say next: what it has gained in raw point-to-point pace, which is of not much good or interest to anyone, is not matched by the loss of that near magical ability of the A110 to breathe with the road.</p> <p><img alt="Alpine A110" class="image-body-image" src="" /></p> <p><strong>BMW M2 Competition: the right price point</strong></p> <p>There are some perhaps more surprising Goldilocks cars. Why, exactly, do I enjoy driving a <a href="" target="_blank">BMW M2 Competition</a> so much more than its bigger sibling, the <a href="" target="_blank">M4 Comp</a>??</p> <p>Here, I think value really counts: at just over £50k and therefore comparable with Caymans and A110s, but with the advantage of rear seats and a big boot, the M2 makes sense to me in a way that, at not far off £70k, the angrier, more dramatic M4 does not.?</p> <p>But really the M2 is just a better car to drive. Its limits are easier to find and once there it’s better balanced. It is a far easier, more accessible car than the M4, and I love the fact that it has manual gears, too.</p> <p><strong>Bentley Continental GT: More power isn’t always better</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, it’s a very close call between the Goldilocks car and the flag bearer. I agonised at length over whether the outgoing <a href="" target="_blank">Volkswagen Golf GTI </a>really was preferable for the money to the <a href="" target="_blank">Golf R</a>, because I’m a huge fan of both cars. But I think that it is, just about.</p> <p>At other times, the distinction is night and day, and I can think of no better example than the <a href="" target="_blank">Bentley Continental GT</a>. The 6.0-litre version, bought by those for whom engines with fewer than 12 cylinders are barely engines at all, is a fairly titanic piece of kit. But the 4.0-litre V8 is better in every single way that matters to me.</p> <p>Who really cares that it’s a couple of tenths slower to 62mph when both will get there in less than four seconds? But the fact that the V8 sounds so much more atmospheric, has superior handling and greater range? These are things that really matter in grand touring cars like this. You could say the same of all those V12 <a href="" target="_blank">AMG Mercs</a> over their V8 siblings, were they still in production.</p> <p><img alt="Bentley Continental GT V8" class="image-body-image" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Escaping the bears?</strong></p> <p>There are others. I’ve not driven the <a href="" target="_blank">F8 Tributo</a>, but I always rated the <a href="" target="_blank">Ferrari 488 GTB</a> more highly than the <a href="" target="_blank">Pista</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">Audi TTS</a> over the <a href="" target="_blank">TT RS</a> and even the <a href="" target="_blank">McLaren 720S</a> over the <a href="" target="_blank">Senna</a>.?</p> <p>Even in the electric car world, the Goldilocks car lives on, as anyone who has driven both a <a href="" target="_blank">Porsche Taycan 4S</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Taycan Turbo S</a> should be able to tell you. But there’s no need to pick them all apart here because I am sure that by now you have got the picture.</p> <p>So often, top-of-the-range cars are bought for no other reason than that they are top-of-the-range cars, meaning you don’t therefore need to explain why you bought the cheaper model. Just remember that faster isn’t necessarily funnier any more than bigger is necessarily better. The secret is to make like Goldilocks and go for the one that’s neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.?</p> <p><strong>THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Aston Martin DB11</a>: </strong>The DB11 V8 is a fine car but the rorty AMG-sourced motor is better suited to its Vantage application. The smooth and sonorous V12 in the DB11 AMR is, by contrast, born for the DB11’s grand touring role.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Ford Mustang</a>:</strong>?I don’t think it’s too contentious to say that the Mustang is far better served by a normally aspirated V8 than a four-cylinder 2.3-litre. The four actually works well elsewhere, such as in the old <a href="" target="_blank">Focus RS</a>, but when it comes to traditional American muscle, there’s no substitute for the V8.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Mazda MX-5</a>:</strong> A closer call this, and I respect and understand those who say the little sports car is better served by the 1.5-litre engine in the entry-level car. But I’d still go for the 2.0-litre, just because it’s better able to exploit the superb chassis, especially when fitted with Bilstein shocks and a limited-slip diff.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Mercedes-AMG A45 S</a>:</strong> It would be so tempting to think of the A35 as a prime Goldilocks candidate, right up to the moment you drive the A45 S. While the A35 is decent enough, it doesn’t stand out among its competitors. The utterly nuts A45 S clearly does and it has the chassis to go with it, too.</p> <p>READ MORE:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Matt Prior: Farewell Focus RS, my bold friend</strong></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>The Porsche Taycan makes electric hypercars seem absurd</strong></a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Three of a kind: Alpine A110 vs A110 S vs Life110</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> Opinion Sat, 23 May 2020 06:01:24 +0100 Daimler to DeLorean: How Coventry became the UK's motor city <a href="/car-news/features/daimler-delorean-how-coventry-became-uks-motor-city"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Coventry Transport Museum " title="Coventry Transport Museum " /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> 1 - Coventry Transport Museum </blockquote> Few cities have as many car-related places, gems and secrets as this one. We commandeer a taxi and explore <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>On Priory Street, in the shadow of Coventry cathedral and down a short flight of steps that takes you below pavement level, is a length of old brick wall supported at intervals by stout buttresses. Much of the old pointing around the bricks has disappeared. In fact, some of the bricks themselves have disappeared. The work of souvenir hunters? Possibly. After all, this forgotten stretch of brickwork is all that remains of the huge Triumph factory that once stood here.</p> <p>Coventry is full of glimpses into its motoring past such as this: a short length of iron railings beside a busy road, a grand gatehouse outside a business park, once handsome head offices now a city centre bar… These and other little-known locations today form what we’ll call ‘Coventry confidential’ – those factories and offices that once earned this enterprising city the nickname the British Detroit but now go largely unrecognised today.</p> <p>Autocar set out, pre-lockdown, to discover some of them during a day with Coventry studies officer and transport specialist Damien Kimberley, an authority on the city’s motoring past. But just so that the day wasn’t spent solely wallowing in history, our first appointment was at the London Electric Vehicle Company just outside Coventry, to collect our carriage for the day: a TX range-extending electric taxi.</p> <p>Note: to see where each landmark?appears on the?map, just match the markers with the numbers in the subheads</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>1 - Coventry Transport Museum - Millennium Place, Hales Street, Coventry, CV1 1JN</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>It can’t be often that a taxi ventures onto the plaza in front of Coventry’s transport museum. Still, I see no traffic wardens so I park up and within moments am joined by Damien, who’s bursting with information and anecdotes about the area and where Coventry’s car-making story begins.</p> <p>“Close to this site was St Agnes Lane, where James Starley, formerly of the Coventry Machinists, Britain’s first bicycle manufacturer, went into business with William Smith in 1871,” he tells me. “At first, they made sewing machines but went on to produce bicycles. Later, in 1883 at West Orchard (now a shopping centre just around the corner), <a href="">Rover</a> was founded by John Starley, nephew of James. It, too, produced bicycles but in 1901, under new ownership, it began building cars in earnest. It was entrepreneurs like these who laid the foundations for Coventry’s car-making future.”</p> <p><strong>2 - Rover HQ and showroom - 1 Warwick Row, Coventry, CV1 1EX</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We drive down Hales Street to Warwick Row. Here on the left is the Litten Tree bar and restaurant where, on Fridays and Saturdays, drinks cost from just 99 pence. Back in the 1930s and until the Second World War, a mug of tea would have been your lot because this was the Rover showroom. It fronted the enormous factory behind it.</p> <p><strong>3 - <a href="">DeLorean</a> HQ - New Union Street, Coventry, CV1 2PS</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Moving on, we enter New Union Street, to be greeted, on the left, by the sight of the brand-new Wave indoor water park. On this site were once the offices of John DeLorean. He was charged with fraud and tax evasion but he wasn’t Coventry’s first motor mogul to be so disgraced. That ‘honour’ falls to Henry Lawson who, in 1896, founded the <a href="">Daimler</a> Motor Company in Coventry, having bought the rights to the name from Gottlieb Daimler. Lawson was eventually charged with conspiring to defraud and sentenced to hard labour.</p> <p><strong>4 - Coventry Climax factory - Cheylesmore car park, Coventry, CV1 2HJ</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="670" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Also on New Union Street is the Cheylesmore car park, previously the site of engine maker Coventry Climax, founded in 1919. It moved to Friars Road, behind the car park, in the 1930s. Some 20 years later, it became famous for making the Feather Weight racing car engine.</p> <p><strong>5 - <a href="">Triumph</a> factory - Priory Building, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The ruins of Coventry cathedral stand as a powerful witness to the horrors of the Second World War. But for the presence of car manufacturers large and small in the region today, you could say the old brick wall opposite the cathedral, which is all that remains of the Triumph factory, stands as a witness to the death of the old British motor industry.</p> <p><strong>6 - Coventry test circuit - Butts Park Arena, Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3GE</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Today, it trembles with the boots of blokes chasing an egg-shaped ball but, way back, Butts Park was Coventry’s cycle track and a test venue for the city’s cycle, motorcycle and car manufacturers. Bert Yates, a motorcycle rider for Humber, won the first British amateur motorcycle race here.</p> <p><strong>7 - The Maudslay Motor Company - The Maudslay, 190 Allesley Old Road, Coventry, CV5 8GJ</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="682" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The Chapel Fields area of the city was home to that other branch of Coventry industry, watch making. However, in 1902, Cyril Maudslay founded his eponymous motor company here, making car engines. One of its early motors, a six-cylinder with an overhead camshaft launched in 1903, is thought to be the first of its type to be mass-produced. Reginald, his cousin and business partner, founded the Standard Motor Company in the same year.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>8 - Carbodies - BMW Sytner, 128 Holyhead Road, Coventry, CV5 8NA</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>It’s fitting that our tour now takes us to Carbodies, where our<a href=""> LEVC taxi’s </a>ancestors were produced. The company was founded in 1919 but, like so many Coventry car makers, endured multiple changes of ownership before finally throwing in the towel in 2012. Today, part of the site is occupied by <a href="">BMW</a> Sytner.</p> <p><strong>9 - <a href="">Alvis</a> factory - Alvis Retail Park, Holyhead Road, Coventry, CV5 8BW</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Across the road from Carbodies was premium car maker Alvis, also founded in 1919. Today, the site is a huge retail park marked by a plinth recording that it was opened in 1992 by Princess Margaret. She only got the best gigs. Alvis still trades in Kenilworth, about six miles from Coventry, where it makes superb continuation models.</p> <p><strong>10 - Daimler factory fire station - The Old Fire Station, Chetton Avenue, Daimler Green, Coventry, CV6 3LA</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="471" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Like a distraught Buzz Lightyear sipping from a child’s empty teacup in the role of Mrs Nesbit, the once grand Daimler fire station is now home to a children’s nursery. Daimlers were built in this area until the 1990s but today the area is called Daimler Green and filled with smart new homes.</p> <p><strong>11 - Daimler offices - Harp Place, 2 Sandy Lane, Coventry, CV1 4DX</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The extent of Daimler’s once flourishing operation is clear when, after a longish drive across town, we find ourselves outside one of the company’s office blocks. Built in 1901, it’s still a handsome edifice and is now an adult education centre.</p> <p><strong>12 - Daimler engine house - Sandy Lane Business Park, 7 Sandy Lane, Coventry, CV1 4DQ</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A few yards from the Daimler offices is one of the company’s former engine sheds. We have to wait to exit the business park it stands in while the driver of an HGV, who has backed into a van, makes his excuses…</p> <p><strong>13 - <a href="">Riley</a> factory - Aldbourne Road, Coventry, CV1 4EQ</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Evidence of how Coventry’s car factories operated cheek to jowl is here in the form of the Riley plant located a stone’s throw from Daimler. It’s slap in the middle of a dense housing area today. Some of the old buildings, which can still be glimpsed from the surrounding streets, are occupied by a variety of businesses, including a metal fabricator.</p> <p><strong>14 - Standard Motor Company factory - Cash’s Lane, Coventry, CV6 5AQ</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="655" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A short drive over the canal via Cash’s Lane bridge takes us to the former site of the Standard Motor Company, now dominated by a Kwik Fit branch. The company was founded in 1903 and by the following year was producing one new car every three weeks. The Cash’s Lane site was acquired by Standard in 1907.</p> <p><strong>15 - <a href="">Jaguar</a> - Swallowgate Business Park, Holbrook Lane, Coventry, CV6 4BL</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="698" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>This was the site of Jaguar’s first Coventry factory after it relocated from Blackpool in 1927. Next door was Coventry Motor Panels, where the body for Donald Campbell’s <a href="">Bluebird CN7 </a>land speed record car was built. Today, that company is called Cad Cam Automotive. It can trace its origins back to 1899 and Coventry engine makers White and Poppe.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>16 - <a href="">Humber</a> factory - Humber Road, Coventry, CV3 1BA</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="609" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The Humber plant must have been huge since it appears to have encompassed one whole corner of Coventry. Today, a short length of perimeter railing on the corner of Humber Road and Anglian Way is about all that remains. Humber was founded in 1897 but became part of the Rootes Group in the 1930s. One of its most famous cars was the Humber Super Snipe Montgomery used after the D-Day landings. See it at the transport museum.</p> <p><strong>17 - Humber Hotel - Humber Road, Coventry, CV3 1BA</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Legend has it that 100 pints would be pre-poured and awaiting the first Humber workers quick enough to grab one. Eddie Sheridan, the landlord, says he recently rejected an American customer’s offer of £40,000 for the pub’s original bar.</p> <p><strong>18 - Calcott Bros factory - 165 Far Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5DH</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Despite the Luftwaffe’s best efforts, many fine buildings remain in Coventry, including this, the Calcott Brothers car factory. Today, it looks like a particularly posh wine merchants but it was where the brothers made cycles from the 1880s and cars from 1913. It was bought by Singer Motors in 1926.</p> <p><strong>19 - <a href="">Morris</a> engine plant - William Morris Building, Coventry University, Gosford Street, CV1 5DL</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Another fine building is this, the former Morris engine plant. During the First World War, Hotchkiss made machine guns here but in 1921 Morris acquired the building for engine manufacture. BSA cars were built here, too.</p> <p><strong>20 - <a href="">Singer</a> HQ - Singer Hall of Residence, 619 Canterbury Street, Coventry, CV1 5NR</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="505" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The gleaming white head office of Singer Motors stands proud among rows of terraced houses. Singer, founded in 1874, was another car maker that started out as a cycle manufacturer only to be bought out by the city’s mighty Rootes Group.</p> <p><strong>21 - <a href="">Armstrong Siddeley Motors</a> factory - London Road, Coventry, CV1 2JT</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Another factory that was pretty much plumb in the centre of the city. The area it occupied is called Parkside and today, but for a small plaque recording Armstrong Siddeley’s presence here from 1919 to 1959 and a section of factory gate, you’d never know.</p> <p><strong>22 - London Road cemetery - London Road, Coventry, CV1 2JT</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>All things must come to an end, and for automotive heroes such as George Singer (1846-1909), a former Coventry Machinist and founder of the company that would eventually become Singer Motors, they did right here. Unfortunately, the cemetery took several direct hits from German bombers targeting the nearby Armstrong Siddeley factory. A memorial marks the mass grave of 808 civilians killed in the Coventry blitz on 12 October 1940.</p> <p><strong>Taxi for Mr Evans: our LEVC TX black cab</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>If you dread three-point turns, get yourself an <a href="">LEVC TX</a>. It has a turning circle of just 8.5m and you soon find yourself spinning back the way you came just for the hell of it. And guess what: nobody toots their horn.</p> <p>But the TX is a black cab so it should be able to turn on a sixpence. It’s just a relief to find that despite all its advanced tech – aluminium-intensive body, electric motor supported by a Volvo-sourced 1.5-litre range-extender petrol engine, comprehensive touchscreen controls – it does. It also carries six, oversized, 21st-century tourists, smoothly conveying them along our battered inner-city roads to leave them with a misplaced respect for the UK’s infrastructure.</p> <p>It pulls strongly from a standstill, cruises comfortably at the legal maximum and, at least in the case of our Vista Comfort Plus model, comes loaded with kit, including a panoramic sunroof. Taxi? Family car with a difference, more like.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Inside Alvis: reviving a long-lost British car maker</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Virtual Tour: Treasures of the Coventry Transport Museum</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Coventry-based firm to be largest EV battery maker in UK</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Sat, 23 May 2020 06:01:24 +0100 2022 Honda Civic Type R: next-gen hot hatch seen for first time <a href="/car-news/new-cars/2022-honda-civic-type-r-next-gen-hot-hatch-seen-first-time"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="2022 Honda Civic Type R prototype - front" title="2022 Honda Civic Type R prototype - front" /></a> Honda's hot hatch set to go hybrid for its new generation and could be unveiled as soon as next year <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The first prototype of?the next-generation<a href=""> Honda Civic Type R</a> has been caught testing on German roads ahead of the hot hatch's expected 2022 debut.?</p> <p>The early sighting, on roads near the Nürburgring, comes before we've even seen any spyshots of the standard Mk11?<a href="">Civic</a>, which is likely to be unveiled in late 2021 and go on sale in 2022. The Type R could be revealed at the same time, however.?</p> <p>The <a href="">Renault Mégane RS</a> rival is heavily camouflaged in these shots?but, unlike the current model, it doesn't appear radically different from its predecessor externally. The overall body shape, with its low, wide stance, saloon-style bootlid and big rear wing is familiar.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="601" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A close look reveals the spoiler features?a new raised mounting, while the smaller lip spoiler on the bootlid no longer appears to dissect the rear window.? The lights front and rear are different, too, while this prototype doesn’t feature a centrally mounted exhaust. Further visible changes include a lower shoulder line, a lower bonnet line and lower headlights.</p> <p>A view of the interior shows?what looks like different steering wheel and dashboard designs, alongside a dashtop-mounted touchscreen, although it's difficult to draw conclusions from this early prototype.?</p> <p>Autocar understands that the <a href="">next Civic Type R will receive a hybrid powertrain</a> as part of Honda’s electrification plans, which were accelerated last year with the aim of making all the brand's European sales electrified by 2025.?</p> <p>It's also suggested that it will use a powertrain linked in concept to that of the <a href="">NSX</a>?supercar,?which mates a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 with three electric motors. It's unclear whether that means four-wheel drive, but it's likely if Honda goes full-hybrid in this way.</p> <p>Such a development would also give Honda more performance potential, as engineers have previously hinted the current car is close to to the realistic limit in terms of power put through only the front wheels.</p> <p>One thing is for certain: the new Civic won’t be built at Honda’s Swindon plant, because?<a href="">that will?close?in 2021</a>. It’s unclear where the Japanese company intends to produce the next-generation family car.?</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-review/honda/civic-type-r"><strong>Honda Civic Type R review</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/updated-2020-honda-civic-type-r-gets-two-new-variants"><strong>Updated 2020 Honda Civic Type R gets two new variants?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-review/honda/civic-type-r/first-drives/honda-civic-type-r-long-term-review"><strong>Honda Civic Type R long-term review?</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 16:58:52 +0100 Renault could “disappear” without aid, warns French minister <a href="/car-news/new-cars/renault-could-%E2%80%9Cdisappear%E2%80%9D-without-aid-warns-french-minister"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="" /></a> Finance minister warns brand could go bust without help after reports of factory closures and model culling <div> <p><a href="">Renault</a>?could be forced out of business if it doesn't receive help from outside sources, France’s finance minister has warned.</p> <p>In a <span>Europe 1 radio?</span>interview earlier today, Bruno Le Maire warned the car maker “could disappear”?and repeated the calls prime minister édouard Philippe made earlier this week for the Renault plant in Flins, outside Paris, to remain open.?</p> <p>The comments are in response to French media reports earlier this week claiming a number of Renault factories could be closed?and core models axed?as part of a cost-cutting plan to save €2 billion (£1.8bn).?</p> <p>The European Union has granted approval for Renault to receive a €5bn (£4.5bn)?loan backed by the French government <span>to help it cope with a slump in demand and reduced liquidity due to the coronavirus pandemic</span>.</p> <p>However, Le Maire admitted in a separate interview with newspaper Le Figaro that this hasn't yet been signed off and discussions are still ongoing.??</p> <p>First revealed by weekly newspaper Le Canard Encha?né, the reports suggest the Dieppe facility, which produces the <a href="">Alpine A110 </a>sports car, is also in the firing line, along with the Choisy-le-Roi spare parts plant on the outskirts of Paris and the Fonderie de Bretagne engine-and-gearbox plant in Morbihan near Lorient.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>It's reported that Flins won't close directly but won't produce models beyond the current lifecycle. The facility currently makes the <a href="">Nissan Micra</a> under the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi?Alliance, but this supermini?has struggled for sales in the face of newer rivals?and the <a href="">electric Renault Zoe</a>.?</p> <p>The Dieppe plant was overhauled in a €36 million (£32m) investment in 2017 to produce the A110, alongside the previous-generation Clio in Renaultsport?form. The specialist facility employs 150 people. Demand for the A110 fell substantially in the first quarter of 2020, with just 61 examples registered across Europe in February. Its future is uncertain as a result.?</p> <p>The factory closures are just the start, however. The newspaper also reckons five models won't live beyond their current lifecycle: The <a href="">Mégane</a> hatchback/estate, <a href="">Koleos</a> SUV and Talisman saloon could join the previously reported <a href="">Espace</a> and <a href="">Scénic</a> MPVs for the chop.?</p> <p>Only last week, the Financial Times claimed that Nissan is <a href="">in discussion with Renault</a> to build the?Captur and next-generation Kadjar at its plant in Sunderland, England.?</p> <p>Renault UK refused to comment when approached by Autocar.</p> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 16:12:21 +0100 Volvo boss predicts post-lockdown lack of demand for ICE cars <a href="/car-news/industry/volvo-boss-predicts-post-lockdown-lack-demand-ice-cars"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Volvo XC40 Recharge - front boot" title="Volvo XC40 Recharge - front boot" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Volvo's CEO thinks that EV sales will recover faster than those of traditional cars</blockquote> Buyers won't flood to showrooms for petrol or diesel cars after lockdown, reckons H?kan Samuelsson, so it would "be good to promote" electrification <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Volvo's boss has claimed it would be “naive” to expect consumers to flood back into showrooms for petrol or diesel cars after the <a href="">coronavirus-enforced lockdown</a> is lifted.</p> <p>Speaking at the recent Financial Times Global Boardroom conference, H?kan Samuelsson labelled the idea of <a href="">scrappage schemes</a> to subsidise sales of ICE cars “a waste of money”.</p> <p>“Electrification will go faster. It’d be good to promote new technology – good for governments to support electric vehicles, which are more expensive in the first years,” Samuelsson continued.</p> <p>He also admitted that weak demand is a bigger issue than restarting production; <a href="">Volvo’s</a> main plant in Sweden is running a three-day week at present.</p> <p>“Demand in Europe is around 30% what it is normally, but demand in China is 20% above where it was before the virus. If those signals are right, they speak for a good recovery,” he said. “I really hope this is the case, and anything else will be a disaster for the business.”</p> <p>The Swede also highlighted the concept of "revenge buying" that is aiding a recovery of sales in the US, whereby consumers fed up of lockdown restrictions are more keen to purchase a new car for a psychological boost.</p> <p><span>The crisis has also revealed the issue of sourcing multiple parts from one country, said Samuelsson: “Europe and the US need to have more manufacturing jobs. We need to build cars where we sell them. We can’t rely on China to build everything.”</span></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">From dependable to disruptive: The reinvention of Volvo</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volvo ditches petrol and diesel engines on S90, goes hybrid-only</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Coronavirus and the car world: Dealers “ready to get back to business”</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 15:37:30 +0100 Volkswagen T-Roc gains Black Edition trim <a href="/car-news/new-cars/volkswagen-t-roc-gains-black-edition-trim"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Volkswagen T-Roc Black Edition 2020 - static front" title="Volkswagen T-Roc Black Edition 2020 - static front" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The Black Edition gives the T-Roc a darker look</blockquote> Compact SUV receives extra kit, black exterior details and rear privacy glass <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Volkswagen has introduced a new trim to its <a href="">T-Roc</a>, bringing black styling details and upgraded equipment to the popular SUV.</p> <p>Called Black Edition, the package builds on the mid-range SE trim, with prices starting from £23,750 for the 1.0-litre 113bhp TSI petrol version.</p> <p>The Black Edition introduces a dark finish to the T-Roc’s grille trim, door mirror caps, roof rails and exhaust pipes. The detailing also extends to the T-Roc’s 18in alloy wheels.</p> <p>In addition, each car gains rear privacy glass and what Volkswagen describes as an “eye-catching” new decal on the C-pillar. LED headlights are also added.</p> <p><a href="">Volkswagen</a> claims the additional equipment over the SE trim, which starts at £23,350, “represents a considerable value boost” and adding such features individually would cost more than?£2000.</p> <p>The T-Roc Black Edition follows in the footsteps of the <a href="">recently introduced Touareg Black Edition</a>.</p> <p>T-Roc product manager at Volkswagen UK Claire Haynes said: “The T-Roc, with its focus on personalisation and individuality, already has abundant style. The Black Edition builds upon this, with its exclusive black-coloured trim and C-pillar decal adding an even more eye-catching edge to the funky T-Roc."?</p> <p>Inside, Black Edition buyers can expect 'piano black' dash pads, black rooflining, a leather-wrapped gearshift knob and multifunction sports steering wheel with contrasting grey stitching, and white ambient lighting and footwell illumination.</p> <p>As with the rest of the T-Roc range, the Black Edition can be specified with Vienna leather upholstery, a Beats?audio sound pack and sports suspension, all available as additional options.</p> <p>Further standard equipment includes adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and electrically heated and foldable door mirrors with integrated puddle lights, carried over from the SE variant.</p> <p>The Black Edition T-Roc is available exclusively in front-wheel drive. Buyers can choose from four powertrain options, which comprise 1.0- and 1.5-litre TSI petrol engines and 1.6- and 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines, generating 113bhp and 148bhp respectively.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen has enough SUVs now, says R&D chief</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen design boss: 'wrong' not to develop dedicated EVs</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">First ride: 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI prototype</a></strong></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 14:35:42 +0100 UK technology firms plot country's first battery gigafactory <a href="/car-news/industry/uk-technology-firms-plot-countrys-first-battery-gigafactory"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Tesla gigafactory - Nevada" title="Tesla gigafactory - Nevada" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The planned factory could match the output of Tesla's Nevada facility</blockquote> Britishvolt and AMTE Power to collaborate on £4bn project to match output of Tesla's Nevada battery facility <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Two British start-ups have announced plans to build the UK’s first ‘gigafactory’, which will supply batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage purposes, by 2023.</p> <p>Scotland-based battery producer AMTE Power and tech start-up Britishvolt have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly produce battery packs and are considering a public offering to fund the project, which is anticipated to cost up to £4 billion.?</p> <p>The move could be a lifeline for the UK’s struggling automotive industry, which has been identified as less advanced than other countries in terms of EV adoption and infrastructure. <a href="/car-news/industry/analysis-why-uk-needs-battery-gigafactory-and-fast">Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth said last year</a>: “If batteries go out of the UK, then automotive production will go out of the UK.”</p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/analysis-why-uk-needs-battery-gigafactory-and-fast"><strong>Analysis: Why the UK needs a battery gigafactory - and fast</strong></a></p> <p>The planned production capacity of 30 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year matches the output of Tesla’s Nevada facility and could create up to 4000 UK jobs, according to Britishvolt CEO Lars Carlstrom.</p> <p>Carlstrom said: “Meeting Road to Zero targets and moving the UK into a low-carbon economy will necessitate the unprecedented electrification of vehicles, and reliance on renewable energy will require extensive battery storage.</p> <p>“It is costly and carbon intensive to have lithium ion batteries imported from the Far East?and this gigaplant would cement a solid onshore supply chain to ensure quality and eliminate future uncertainty of supply.”</p> <p>AMTE and Britishvolt aim to raise £1.2bn in 2021 in order to fund the first of two factories, which will take initial production capacity to 10GWh. Further investment will help them achieve the ultimate 30GWh objective with a second facility.</p> <p><a href="http://" target="_blank">Automotive News Europe</a> reports that Britishvolt is considering five potential sites between the south-west of England and the Midlands, and that the pair of companies?hopes to secure a supply deal with Jaguar Land Rover, which currently uses cells from Korea-based LG Chem.</p> <p>The site quotes Carlstrom as saying: “JLR is a very important player. And they’re also very picky in terms of having the right product. We feel we will compete with LG Chem on quality and pricing.”?</p> <p>The deal between the two firms was facilitated by the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which encourages collaboration between UK-based start-ups as part of?a bid to keep the country competitive in terms of low-carbon powertrain development.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to the Financial Times</a>, AMTE has already held discussions with various vehicle manufacturers about supplying batteries but needs to scale up its output before it can meet their demands. The firm’s current factory, in the north of Scotland, employs 50 people.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/world-will-need-‘-least’-10-more-ev-battery-gigafactories-2025"><strong>World will need ‘at least’ 10 more EV battery gigafactories by 2025</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/chinese-start-seres-searching-uk-battery-partner"><strong>Chinese start-up Seres searching for UK battery partner?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/government-increases-investment-uk-electric-battery-centre"><strong>Government increases investment in UK electric battery centre</strong></a></p> <p><span class="wysiwyg-embed"></p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe><p></span></p> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 12:38:37 +0100 Top 10 best luxury cars 2020 <a href="/car-news/best-cars/top-10-best-luxury-cars"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes-Benz S-Class" /></a> Luxury cars are not just defined by their cosseting ride, extensive levels of technology and refinement, but the level of prestige they bring. But which one has the most class to top our best ten list? <div> <p>Luxury cars – a class comprised in significant proportion of large traditional limousine saloons with one or two oversized hatchbacks and demure SUVs included – are the cars in which high-end executives choose either to drive or to be driven in.</p> <p>That means they need to offer outstanding comfort both in the front and back seats, a silky smooth ride, excellent drivability and refinement, ample performance – and they must also serve as better status symbols than most things on four wheels. High levels of in-car technology and infotainment are a must, and connectivity systems that will allow such machines to be used as mobile offices are increasingly important.</p> <p>This list takes in cars that are both incredibly comfortable, great to drive and great to be driven in; and the ones at the top of our rankings are capable of more besides. For our super luxury top ten, meanwhile, where you’ll find the <a href="/car-news/best-cars/top-10-best-super-luxury-cars">even pricier Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Mercedes-Maybachs of this world, click this way</a>.</p> <h2>10 best luxury cars currently on sale</h2> <h3><a href="">1.?Mercedes-Benz S-Class</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class">When Mercedes-Benz sets out to make a new S-Class</a>, the brief is to make the best car in the world. While it might not visually?<a href="/car-review/jaguar/xj">seduce like a Jaguar XJ</a>, the big Merc offers an ownership experience that should be even more appealing.</p> <p>This car does what it’s supposed to do superbly?and is functionally exceptional. It was conceived as a long-wheelbase saloon, giving it unprecedented torsional rigidity, and the ride is helped by standard air suspension with adaptive dampers.</p> <p>There’s a choice of four?petrol and two?diesel engines, with a?nine-speed automatic ‘box standard equipment. An advanced 48v hybrid electric powertrain technology used to boost both performance and efficiency in some?derivates, while the <a href="">plug-in hybrid S560e</a> will be the default choice in the range for anyone liable to pay?benefit-in-kind tax (it attracts less than half as much BIK tax as any of the other derivative). For those who don't care a bit about such things, meanwhile, there's always the 600-horsepower S63.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class/first-drives/mercedes-benz-s-class-s350d-l-amg-line-2017-review">The S-Class is engineered to operate?quietly and comfortably</a>?at all times. On both town roads and motorway it could hardly ride better, and it steers directly and precisely, with luxury-appropriate?isolation.</p> <p>The interior is spacious and supremely comfortable; not quite as well-festooned with technology as some of its rivals, owing to the car's relative age - although the assortment does?include?a 12.3in infotainment screen and Mercedes’ Comand Online system as standard, and a suite of rear-cabin infotainment equipment available as an option.</p> <p>On ride comfort alone, the S-Class even?challenges <a href="/car-review/rolls-royce/phantom">the likes of the Rolls-Royce Phantom</a>. <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class/first-drives/mercedes-benz-s-class-s400d-4matic-review">Where the S-Class leads</a>, the rest of the car-making world follows.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Mercedes S-Class deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">2.?Range Rover</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/land-rover/range-rover">The latest Range Rover,?the fourth generation of the model</a>, is as revolutionary as any in history, with an?aluminium monocoque chassis and an unashamedly luxurious?agenda. That?it is a luxury car first and 4x4 second is not to run down its capability offroad one jot, however.</p> <p>The spacious interior exudes quality and luxury, the seats are excellent and the driving position is first-rate, making it easy to drive for a car of its size. The heavy bodyshell provides excellent isolation from rough surfaces and, while <a href="/car-review/porsche/cayenne">it doesn’t offer the driving engagement of a Porsche Cayenne</a>, it’s easy to make enjoyable and brisk?progress should the need arise.</p> <p>Land Rover's engine range still includes six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel options, without a weak or under-endowed-feeling option among them. The one fleet operators will be interested in, however, is the<a href=""> plug-in hybrid P400e</a> (77g/km, 25 miles EV range) which qualifies for company car tax at just 18% BIK.</p> <p>The car’s heavy but its weight is a small price to pay for a car of its incredible breadth of ability. Few cars make you feel as special to ride in, none has better visibility or a more commanding or assured driving position, and very few put a better complexion on your day.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Range Rover deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/audi/e-tron">3. Audi E-tron Quattro</a></h3> <p>We’re now entering reasonably well established times for the premium electric car. There have been fast ones, very fast ones, big ones, small ones, expensive ones and cheap, and some that even attempt a bit of four-wheel driven versatility.?</p> <p>Never has an electric car come along and done onboard luxury better than <a href="/car-review/audi/e-tron/first-drives/audi-e-tron-2019-uk-review">Audi’s first stab at the zero-emissions template: the E-tron Quattro</a>. This car combines four-wheel drive and?a commanding outright performance level?with SUV-level space, convenience and usability?and with <a href="/car-reviews/audi">Audi-brand desirability</a>.?But what really makes it stand out is how superbly hushed, comfortable and refined it is. When we road tested one, our decibel placed its cabin noise level closer, at a 70mph cruise, to <a href="/car-review/rolls-royce/phantom">that of a Rolls-Royce Phantom</a> than <a href="/car-review/tesla/model-x">a Tesla Model X</a>.</p> <p>Audi-brand modern luxury comes with state-of-the-art onboard technology too, of course, while the potential for 150kW public rapid charging, combined with an everyday range of between 200- and 250 miles on a charge, also makes the E-tron a more usable electric car than some of its ilk. Right now, there is no more luxurious electric car in the world than this one.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new E-tron?deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">4.?Tesla Model S</a></h3> <p>The first bespoke creation from electric car pioneer Elon Musk’s firm, <a href="/car-review/tesla/model-s">the Model S is the machine that brought</a> credibility, luxury, pace and useful range to the electric car market.</p> <p>With lesser-capacity derivatives now discontinued, there are effectively only two Model Ss to choose from, both using?<a href="">a 100kWh battery pack - and the 'long range' version getting?a claimed 379-mile WLTP-certified range</a>?that Tesla claims makes it the longest-legged EV in production.?You’ll need to drive the car pretty conservatively to reproduce that range figure in real-world use, but even getting within 80 per cent of it would make this a singularly usable electric car for a great many.</p> <p>The Model S can take off with the ferocity of a super saloon, but even more wonderful is how precisely and effortlessly you can meter out its pace, and how quietly it can be delivered. The car’s credentials as a luxury car are very good, while its large, quiet cabin and massive cargo spaces are also key selling points. For a select niche, it will make financial as well as environmental sense -?especially allowing for the 0% benefit-in-kind tax status that has been recently restored to UK-registered EVs.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with?new Tesla Model S deals at What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">5. Audi A8?</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/audi/a8">The latest Audi A8 features?even more advanced</a> chassis, powertrain and in-car technology <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class">than the latest Mercedes S-Class</a> including, when it’s finally switched on, what promises to be the greatest capability for autonomous driving of any production car in the world.</p> <p>There’s a choice of turbocharged engines – <a href="/car-review/audi/a8/first-drives/audi-a8-50-tdi-2017-uk-review">a 282bhp diesel</a> or 335bhp petrol – with four-wheel-drive as standard and a 48V electrical system that gives it mild hybrid status. Higher up the model range you'll find the tax-saving six-cylinder petrol <a href="">'60 TFSIe', whose refinement and effortless responsiveness really boost the appeal of the car's driving experience</a> - as well as the range-topping V8-powered S8 executive express.</p> <p>The A8's quality interior feels like it was built to outlast civilization itself, <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class/first-drives/mercedes-benz-s-class-s400d-4matic-review">although it lacks the elegance and ambient warmth of the S-Class</a>. The ride is smooth and the car is?easy to drive, although it's not quite as pillowy and luxurious as its key German rival, and not quite the Mercedes' equal in the ways that matter most.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Audi A8 deals from?What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">6.?BMW 7 Series</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-news/industry/bmw-greatest-cars-1927-1999">Since launch in 1977</a>, the 7 Series has been <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class-2006-2013">in the shadow of the Mercedes S-Class</a>, but this <a href="/car-reviews/bmw">latest version is BMW’s most committed attempt yet</a>?to fully crack the luxury saloon market. The car?combines?optional adaptive air suspension?with?pioneering infotainment and convenience features, and offers?a choice of two wheelbase lengths and rear- or four-wheel-drive.</p> <p>The interior trim conjures a sense of space, integrity and usability, although <a href="/car-review/bmw/7-series/interior/car-review/bmw/7-series/interior">the fascia is perhaps a bit too similar to that of lesser?BMW</a>?saloons and lacking in lavish material flourish. Engines are quiet, powerful and efficient,?the range opening up with the familiar six-cylinder turbodiesel option, but also taking in the most BIK-tax-friendly plug-in hybrid option in the limousine class in the shape of the <a href="">745e</a>, and culminating with one of only a handful of remaining?twelve-cylinder limousine?options?in the <a href="">M760Li</a>; and both are impressive works of engineering. Handling is more poised and precise than rivals?– although the ride isn’t quite as well-isolated.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/bmw/7-series">An unexpectedly?appealing?driver’s car</a>, then, but it falls behind rivals in the luxury stakes.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new BMW 7 Series deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">7.?Jaguar XJ</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/jaguar/xj">There has been a Jaguar XJ</a> at the pinnacle of the firm’s saloon range since 1968, and the most recent version is a confident, forward-looking expression of the firm’s revival.</p> <p>The sportiness hinted at by those sleek lines is?reinforced by an?excellent-handling chassis. <a href="/car-review/jaguar/xj/interior">The XJ’s cabin offers a sense of </a>style?and drama German rivals can’t muster, even if it doesn’t compete in terms of sheer material quality?and trails in terms of interior tech.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/jaguar/xj/first-drives/2015-jaguar-xj-30-v6-diesel-autobiography-lwb-review">But the XJ is defined by how it drives</a>?-?possessing something?of?<a href="/car-review/maserati/quattroporte">the sportiness of a Maserati Quattroporte</a> and <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class">the aloofness of a Mercedes S-Class</a>. The only engine now available is?Jaguar Land Rover's long-lived 296bhp SDV6 diesel. But what?results is a car with rare poise and decent performance, without too many compromises, and a really likeable GT car to boot.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Jaguar XJ deals from What Car??</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="/car-review/bmw/x7">8. BMW X7</a></h3> <p>Don’t think of this as <a href="/car-review/bmw/x5">an enlarged X5</a>, says Munich, but rather a jacked-up 7-Series that’s been readied for limited off-roading work. That description doesn’t much account for the fact that the X7 is a seven-seat, two-box passenger car with an extended roofline, of course – but it does tell you about the priorities that BMW’s designers and engineers had when it came to refining and tuning the car.</p> <p>The car comes with a choice of two turbodiesel and two?turbo petrol engines in the UK. The ‘M50d’ version of the car offers fully 394bhp and more than 500lb ft of torque, while the V8 'M50i' petrol winds the performance dial all the way out to 523bhp.</p> <p>On the road, the X7 handles its size and bulk well, feeling surprisingly precise and athletic when cornering. Even the car’s diesel engines are smooth and refined, developing enough torque to move the car along easily, while its ride is comfortable without running out of control.</p> <p>A slightly ordinary cabin, light on special material touches and differentiation from BMW’s lesser SUVs, and that controversial front-end styling are the car’s biggest disappointments. With that oversized grille, some would call the X7 ugly – but few would deny its competence or its completeness as a luxury car.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money on new X7 deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">9.?BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo</a></h3> <p>A large five-door hatchback, <a href="/car-review/bmw/5-series-gt-2009-2017">the 5 Series GT replacement</a> is an interesting, if oddball, choice of luxury transport.</p> <p><a href="/car-review/bmw/6-series-gt">The 6 Series GT has the same wheelbase</a> as <a href="/car-review/bmw/7-series">the 7 Series</a> and, despite a lowered roofline, retains the <a href="/car-review/bmw/5-series-gt-2009-2017">raised seating position of the 5 Series GT</a>. The interior feels comfy, upmarket and well-appointed,?with plenty of room for four.</p> <p>BMW's six-cylinder?296bhp diesel engine confidently transmits power through the all-wheel-drive system, although you need to rev it to hear the six cylinders. It's probably the engine best-suited to hauling the car's mass, with a cheaper four-cylinder 620d option and a four-pot?630i turbo petrol also on offer (although they struggle to provide the right kind of effortless aura) and a range-topping 640i six-pot turbo petrol (whose talents seem a little bit wasted in the car).</p> <p>Add a strong though slightly brittle ride?and, while it might <a href="/car-reviews/aston-martin">not be as elegant as an Aston Martin</a>?or as outwardly desirable as the luxury car norm, the 6-Series is exceptionally roomy and reasonably well-qualified as a leftfield executive GT.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with?new BMW 6 Series deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href="">10.?Lexus LS</a></h3> <p><a href="/car-review/lexus/ls-2007-2017">The LS has always been a niche choice</a> in the UK, but its success elsewhere has guaranteed?this latest version a seat at the top saloon table.?</p> <p>The car's had a major styling overhaul, and the interior feels both modern and?luxurious in a likably?unconventional way. There are four trim levels, the top one?coming with?plenty of equipment and, spec-depending, also a rare kind of material richness that few cars in the world can match.</p> <p>Dynamically, the LS is?less convincing as a luxury item.?The 3.5-litre hybrid V6 has to work?hard to cope with the car’s 2420kg weight, and while the car's handling is quite impressive, its noisy and slightly brusque runflat-shod ride is quite the opposite.</p> <p>Against <a href="/car-review/mercedes-benz/s-class">the latest S-Class</a>, <a href="/car-review/bmw/7-series">7 Series</a> and <a href="/car-review/audi/a8">A8</a>, the LS is an interesting alternative but still not the most credible of rivals.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Save money with new Lexus LS deals from What Car?</strong></a></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><a href=""><img alt="" class="image-body-image" src="" /></a></h3> </div> News Fri, 22 May 2020 09:23:30 +0100 Land Rover Defender <a href="/car-review/land-rover/defender-2020"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Land Rover Defender 2020 road test review - hero front" title="Land Rover Defender 2020 road test review - hero front" /></a> It promises unrivalled off-road performance with on-road niceties. But does it deliver? Now for the real test, then.We’ve already tried the new Land Rover Defender in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth, in off-road locations where its mechanical credentials were taxed to the extreme. But not anywhere as harsh as those that really show up a car’s character: the relentless, thoughtless daily grind, the urban jungle and motorway schlep, family abuse from morning till night, the get-in-and-drive as mechanical process.The kind of use, in short, that the new Defender – arguably the most important and interesting car of the year – will have to undergo when it starts filtering into customers’ daily lives.To recap: the new Defender is available in 90 and 110 forms and this five-door 110 has arrived first, with a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines. This is the range-topper. Available in X trim only, it’s a mildly hybridised straight-six-cylinder petrol engine, badged P400, and it’s expensive. But we majored on the diesel in our first drive report, so let’s find out what this P400 has to offer and see just what heights – in terms of prestige – the car can scale.The Land Rover Defender line-up at a glanceGrades are base, S, SE, HSE and X. Base gets steel wheels, fabric trim and analogue dials. S adds part leather, alloys and digital dials. SE has different wheels, full-powered seats and a camera in the rear-view mirror. HSE means full leather, sunroof and heated steering wheel. Sound systems and driving aids take a walk upwards through the range, too.X and the P400 engine are exclusive to each other; kit is closest to HSE. The D200 can’t be an HSE. The base trim can only be a D200. Car review Fri, 22 May 2020 08:01:24 +0100 污污直播app-污污直播破解版永久免费版