Autocar RSS Feed Welcome to nirvana for car enthusiasts. 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 Mon, 30 Dec 2019 06:00:00 +0000 Mon, 30 Dec 2019 06:01:22 +0000 Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C <a href="/car-news/features/steve-cropleys-car-decade-mclaren-mp4-12c"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="McLaren 12C - car of the decade - lead" /></a> We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the last 10 years. Cropley sticks his name beside McLaren's first ever Super Series car <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The story of this car, and especially of the company that made it, could hardly fit more neatly into the decade just ended. Back in 2010, <a href="">McLaren Automobiles</a> was reconstituted from the “dormant” McLaren Cars that had produced the seminal F1 in 1992 and then gone very quiet, apart from a brief flurry with <a href="">Mercedes-Benz </a>around the good but flawed <a href="">SLR</a>.</p> <p>Company doyen Ron Dennis got serious about a road car arm, McLaren Automotive, at the start of the decade, hiring the much-experienced engineer and car-nut Antony Sheriff to create a carbon-tub supercar and get it on the road. Sheriff’s <a href="">McLaren MP4-12C</a>, the first ever Super Series car, is my choice here.</p> <p>Dennis talked from the beginning in interviews about about producing a range of cars –?and look at the range that has emerged in ten years! There is upwards of a dozen models, depending how you count. Nowadays McLarens are classified in four classes: Sports series, Super series, Ultimate series and race cars. However, my COTD here is the original MP4-12C (soon shortened just to 12C).</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The car’s faults are well known, but also, now that I look back, rather over-egged. The 12C had some deeply annoying infotainment and electronics?faults, and sometimes its early “touch” door catches didn’t work. The name was weird, too, especially since nobody ever seemed to understand the use of that figure “12” in the name of a?V8 car. Sheriff having departed, a new production and quality expert, Mike Flewitt, arrived to right the wrongs – for which he was rightly elevated to CEO – and the 12C’s name was changed to 650S as a way of moving on from the 12C’s over-publicised glitches.</p> <p>Yet in retrospect, this car’s achievements have been amazing. It has pioneered the dimensions, build techniques, powertrain and the mechanical layout of every McLaren that has succeeded it. Sure, later mainstream models have been more refined, but quite a few well-heeled 12C owners have kept their original Macca when buying a new one, because they like the original too much to sell.</p> <p>My own view is that the 12C looks especially good against its rivals today.?The 12C still steers beautifully,?<span>its interconnected suspension affords it an</span><span>?</span><span>extraordinary ride quality, it?</span><span>grips like one of its 2019 relatives and still packs explosive performance and superlative braking. The 2010-era twin-turbo V8 engine, then as now made by Ricardo, is still so powerful and efficient that it’s not entirely clear why they changed it.</span></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Finally, the 12C looks beautiful to me – restrained in its details and superbly proportioned even though it was a first attempt – and despite having the more sophisticated suspension, it’s the most affordable – and yet the rarest – McLaren going.</p> <p>For me, the McLaren MP4-12C says a great deal about the decade just past: brilliant, but bypassed. We live in an era that demands a speed of change that, back in the 1960s, might even have deprived the<a href=""> Jaguar E-type</a> of some of its time in the sun. The 12C is a fabulous, seminal car that too many of us have already forgotten.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Colin Goodwin's car of the decade: Formula E</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S</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, 30 Dec 2019 06:01:22 +0000 Used car buying guide: Alfa Romeo 156 <a href="/car-news/used-cars/used-car-buying-guide-alfa-romeo-156"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Alfa Romeo 156" title="Alfa Romeo 156" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> 156 GTA Evoluzione: For around £4000, Extreme Autos would sharpen up your GTA with a new Eibach suspension kit and a touch more power</blockquote> The Alfa 156 is a second-hand starlet with a terrible reputation for reliability. We tread through the minefield of potential ownership <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The beautiful <a href="">Alfa 156</a> was 21 this year. Around 6000 remain – a remarkably high number given the model has endured both the scrappage massacre of 2009 and, since 2015, the demonisation of old diesels. A third assailant is, of course, corrosion; a more subtle enemy that sees rust sneak up undetected until, one day, you get in the car and your foot plunges through the floorpan.</p> <p>The model was hugely popular with Alfistis but the German-buying crowd were never won over. Alfa’s reputation for unreliability hung over the 156 like a cloud. Save for a few bright spots (one owner gleefully reported 12,000 trouble-free miles in his Selespeed car), it was deserved.</p> <p>Time and again, reliability surveys ranked the model in the basement. Warranty companies bemoaned its high repair costs. After a couple of years picking up the tab for prematurely broken cambelts and tensioners on Twin Spark engines, Alfa cut the components’ replacement interval by half, to 36,000 miles. It did the same with diesels. Recalls? Best not go there.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="591" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>So make that a fourth assault on the 156. The good news is that the examples that have survived their reliability issues are likely to be fairly sound. In any case, if trouble should recur, well, with prices starting at just £500 for a dodgy 2.4 JTD and from around £1200 for tidier cars, you won’t have lost your shirt.</p> <p>The 156 was launched in 1998 in 1.8 and 2.0-litre Twin Spark (there are two spark plugs per cylinder) and 2.5 V6 forms. A year later, the gruff but punchy 2.4 JTD diesel arrived.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="591" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Optional Selespeed automatic versions of the 2.0 TS had change buttons on the steering wheel, which was cool. The 2.5 V6 was available with a four-speed auto called Q-System, which featured a traditional auto function plus an H-pattern manual change. Three so-called Sport packs brought extra kit, but Sport 1, with its lower-profile tyres and sports suspension, was the most cost-effective.</p> <p>The arrival of the 1.6 TS in 2000 triggered a range-wide price cut. A facelift two years later introduced a mix of desirable standard and optional features including a Bose sound system and xenon headlights, while the Selespeed buttons were replaced by paddles. More importantly, though, the impressive 2.0 TS was replaced by the new (and less impressive) 2.0 JTS engine with direct injection, the 2.4 JTD got a touch more power and the mighty 3.2 V6 GTA landed. With 247bhp on tap, this version should have shaken the trees but it was a flawed diamond and today is one of the few used cars that’s worth a premium when expertly modified and sharpened up.</p> <p>With the final facelift of 2003, the 156’s nose was restyled in line with the next generation of Alfas and the excellent 1.9 TD engine arrived. And then, in 2005, it was game over. Today, the 1.9 TD, 2.0 TS and 3.2 GTA are the versions to buy, but be sure you check those floorpans.</p> <p><strong>How to get one in your garage</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="591" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>An expert's view</strong></p> <p><strong>Jamie Porter, Alfa Workshop: </strong>“The 156 was a superb car and people forget it was pretty advanced. The 2.0 JTS engine had direct injection while the 2.4 JTD was the first common-rail passenger car diesel engine. My favourites are the 2.0-litre Twin Spark, 1.9 TD and 3.2 GTA. The rest you can forget. The 2.0 JTS was unreliable and suffered emissions problems, the 2.4 JTD was too heavy and not very economical, and the 1.6 and 1.8 TSs didn’t really catch on. The 2.5 V6 wasn’t very fast but it was thirsty, and the car itself was too soft. Today, rust is the biggest issue. The platform fares worst so always get a prospective buy on a ramp and poke about under it.”</p> <p><strong>Buyer beware...</strong></p> <p><strong>■ Engines:</strong> On petrols, the cambelt and water pump should be changed at 36,000 miles. On the GTA, a rubbing sound may be the cambelt fouling the cam covers. A lack of power or poor idling is likely to be the air flow meter, which lasts around 70,000 miles. On diesels, cambelts should be changed at 60k miles. A seized water pump bearing will take out the cambelt, wrecking the engine. A sticking EGR valve can be an issue on 1.9 TDs. Check for oil smoke. Check the JTD’s sump isn’t cracked.</p> <p><strong>■ Transmission: </strong>Feel for worn synchros and listen for worn bearings in the gearbox end case. A high biting point on the pedal plus a heavy action mean a worn clutch. On diesels, a clunk as you let out the clutch is likely to be the dual-mass flywheel.</p> <p><strong>■ Suspension:</strong> A creak coming from behind the dashboard may be worn upper wishbone ends. Check the rear suspension rear arm bushes and rear radius arm bushes for wear. Uneven tyre wear (toeing out is common) is likely to be a geometry issue or wear in the upper top wishbones.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="591" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>■ Body: </strong>Rust eclipses all else; floorpans suffer worst. Check front and rear subframes. Expect accident repairs but check they’re not a source of more rust.</p> <p><strong>■ Interior: </strong>On starting, check that the three warning lights – engine, ABS and airbag – go out. If the rear windows don’t operate, suspect lack of use.</p> <p><strong>Also worth knowing</strong></p> <p>Suspension squeaks bedevil the 156. Perished bushes are often to blame. Replacing them with polyurethane items such as those sold by Powerflex will not only cure the problem but also tighten up the handling. Make sure they’re fitted properly and then lubricate the area at intervals to keep corrosion at bay.</p> <p><strong>How much to spend</strong></p> <p><strong>£250-£999: </strong>Mixed bag of mainly JTDs, some in tidy condition.</p> <p><strong>£1000-£2999: </strong>Some 2.0 TSs but mostly JTS versions, including a 2003-reg JTS Lusso with 69,000 miles and full service history for £1995.</p> <p><strong>£3000-£4999:</strong> Tidier cars, including a 1998-reg 2.5 V6 with 47,000 miles, full service history and a belt change for £4995.</p> <p><strong>£5000-£17,000:</strong> GTAs start here, among the cheapest a 2002-reg with 104,000 miles for £5950. Others include a 2002-reg with 80,000 miles and full service history for £9995.</p> <p><strong>One we found</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="553" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 TS Veloce, 2002/51-reg, 74,000 miles, £1190:</strong> What appears to be a tidy 156 with a reasonable mileage and, amazingly, just one previous owner. A shame the service history is only partial, but body and interior both described as ‘excellent’, which is the main thing.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Alfa Romeo scraps plans for new GTV and 8C models</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Alfa Romeo Tonale: 2020 production car leaks online</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Alfa Romeo Giulia review</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, 30 Dec 2019 06:01:22 +0000 How did Autocar's 2019 predictions fare? <a href="/car-news/features/how-did-autocars-2019-predictions-fare"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Land Rover Defender" title="Land Rover Defender" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> New Defender, a long time coming, divided opinion</blockquote> In January, we guessed what would happen in 2019. We take stock <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Back in January, we took the foolhardy step of predicting what would happen in the car industry in 2019.</p> <p>We tried to forecast the key events and trends that would shape the motoring world, covering topics as diverse as the <a href="">new Land Rover Defender’s</a> styling, Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 title chances and – inevitably – Brexit.</p> <p>With the year winding down, it’s time to look back and see whether our predictions were on the (crystal) ball.</p> <p><strong>Jaguar Land Rover</strong></p> <p>The long-awaited new Land Rover Defender was <a href="">launched this year</a>. You may have heard already. It was, after all, one of the biggest reveals of 2019 – and the biggest from JLR for several years.</p> <p>With the firm set on reinventing the Defender for the modern era, we predicted that “the new Land Rover Defender’s design will make Brexit debates seem mild”. That was true (up to a point): everyone seems to have an opinion on it, from those who think it’s a glorious reinvention to others who insist it’s an unworthy pastiche.</p> <p>We also suggested the Defender might break our website from sheer number of readers: thankfully, <a href=""></a> stayed functioning on the big day (thanks, tech team), although you did try: the Defender was the most-read-about car of 2019.</p> <p>We also tipped a comeback for <a href="">Jaguar Land Rover</a>, reasoning it had a “series of enticing, rule-changing cars to launch this year and next”. Given JLR’s <a href="">ongoing financial struggles</a>, including having to massively write down its assets, it’s a bit of a stretch to say the comeback is on, but <a href="">there are signs of recovery</a>. It is investing in new models, and the likes of the bold new electric-only Jaguar XJ show there are some exciting innovations, too.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>The UK industry</strong></p> <p>“Will 2019 be the year that a major car plant shuts in the UK?” There’s no prediction about which we would rather have been wrong, but <a href="">Honda</a> announced <a href="">plans to close its Swindon factory</a>, while <a href="">Ford</a> is shutting its <a href="">Bridgend engine facility</a>.</p> <p>The future of <a href="">Nissan’s Sunderland plant</a> remains the subject of much speculation, but while the firm <a href="">moved production of the next X-Trail to Japan</a>, it is making the <a href="">new Juke</a> here and investing £100 million in upgrades. Brexit continues to cloud the long-term picture – as it does for <a href="">Vauxhall’s</a> Ellesmere Port site.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="470" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>One of our correct predictions was better news for Bridgend: <a href="">Ineos</a> will assemble its new Defender-inspired <a href="">Grenadier</a> off-roader in the south Wales town.</p> <p>More broadly, we predicted an upsurge in car firms partnering up on future tech. And whether it was <a href="">Mercedes</a> and <a href="">BMW</a>, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, <a href="">Volkswagen</a> and Ford, or <a href="">Toyota</a> and just about every other Japanese firm, that certainly proved true.</p> <p><strong>Sales predictions</strong></p> <p>Given we knew in January that the <a href="">Kia e-Niro</a>, <a href="">Volkswagen ID 3</a>, <a href="">Porsche Taycan</a>, <a href="">Peugeot e-208 </a>and more would be launched during the year, it wasn’t much of a leap for us to proclaim that “2019 will be an electric year”.</p> <p>Even so, the extent of the electric car market’s growth has been impressive: sales more than doubled in the UK year on year, and the quality of the new machines that are being launched is hugely impressive.</p> <p>Conversely, we correctly predicted that 2019 would be a tough year for plug-in hybrids, with UK sales collapsing by nearly 30% following the withdrawal of incentivising government grants.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="553" src="" width="830" /></p> <p>While we were pessimistic about plug-ins, we held out optimism for a diesel revival, predicting a sales lift “once the penny drops that, under new emissions regulations, the latest diesels produce cleaner real-world exhaust emissions than older petrol cars”.</p> <p>Not so much: in the UK, diesel sales slumped more than 20% this year. We’ll keep on making a case for diesel as a sensible powertrain choice in the right circumstances, but it seems the court of public opinion may have already decided.</p> <p><strong>Motorsport</strong></p> <p>It wasn’t much of a stretch to predict Lewis Hamilton would win a sixth world championship title, although the ease with which the Mercedes man secured the crown still impressed.</p> <p>We tipped Max Verstappen to be his closest challenger, and while<a href=""> Red Bull </a>couldn’t mount a consistent title bid, the Dutchman did take a number of thrilling wins. We also suggested that <a href="">Ferrari</a> new boy Charles Leclerc would pose a threat to team-mate Sebastian Vettel – but we didn’t expect the Monaco driver to upstage the four-time champion quite so comprehensively.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Away from F1, we tipped the <a href="">Volkswagen ID R</a> to break another record. In fact it set three, with Romain Dumas smashing the electric Nürburgring record, conquering Tianmen Shan mountain in China and breaking the outright Goodwood hillclimb record.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="545" src="" width="818" /></p> <p>Our suggestion that Kris Meeke would fight for the World Rally Championship title didn’t look quite so smart – although his Toyota team-mate Ott T?nak did win the title.</p> <p>But perhaps our worst prediction of the year was that Fernando Alonso would win the Indianapolis 500 for <a href="">McLaren</a>. He, erm, failed to qualify.</p> <p><strong>Other predictions</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Dyson</strong></a></p> <p><strong>What we said: </strong>“James Dyson will spark a revolution.”</p> <p><strong>What happened:</strong> <a href="">Patent suggested</a> Dyson’s long-planned car certainly could prove radical… until the project was suddenly – and sadly – canned in October.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="575" src="" width="863" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Tesla</strong></a></p> <p><strong>What we said:</strong> “Tesla will be bought.”</p> <p><strong>What happened:</strong> Plenty of <a href="">Tesla Model 3s</a> were bought, but the company continues on independently – and increasingly successfully.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>TVR</strong></a></p> <p><strong>What we said: </strong>“I’ll be amazed if a TVR customer takes delivery in 2019.”</p> <p><strong>What happened:</strong> Correct: work on the firm’s factory was heavily delayed.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Vauxhall</strong></a></p> <p><strong>We said: </strong>“Vauxhall will continue to bounce back.”</p> <p><strong>What happened:</strong> Still early days, but the <a href="">new Corsa</a> has attracted more admiring glances than anything the firm has produced in years.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Brexit</strong></a></p> <p><strong>What we said:</strong> “Trying to predict Brexit is an impossible task.”</p> <p><strong>What happened:</strong> Trying to predict Brexit was an impossible task.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><span><a href="">Why Jaguar Land Rover is back in profit</a></span></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Hamilton behind the helmet: A study of an F1 icon</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">How car firms will alter their prices post-Brexit</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, 30 Dec 2019 06:01:22 +0000 Under the skin: Why electric superchargers are gaining ground <a href="/opinion/technology/under-skin-why-electric-superchargers-are-gaining-ground"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Electric supercharger" title="Electric supercharger" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Electric superchargers are becoming more common as a way to kill lag and help emissions</blockquote> Cutting out turbo lag is a big reason that Audi and other manufacturers introduced the new tech <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>It's always good to try early prototypes of new technology, because although some fall by the wayside, plenty don’t. One such clever device is the electrically powered supercharger, generally used in conjunction with a traditional turbocharger to banish turbo lag, initially on diesel engines but now on petrol, too.</p> <p>With the current trend towards down-speeding of engines (lower revs to reduce friction losses), they’re even more relevant. Low revs equal reduced exhaust energy – worse on diesels because the exhaust is cooler in the first place. The trend to engine downsizing has a similar effect.</p> <p>One of the first major manufacturers out of the traps with production electric supercharging was <a href="">Audi</a>, which showed a prototype <a href="">A6</a> with an electric supercharger system in 2013. Positioned between the turbo and engine, the electric supercharger was bypassed most of the time until the engine management system detected exhaust pressure was too low to deliver decent response from the turbo. At that point, valves in the exhaust would open to bring the electric supercharger on stream, giving almost instantaneous boost.</p> <p>It was pretty cool and the engineer riding shotgun could switch the system on and off to show how laggy the engine felt without the electrical assistance. At the time, the 48V system needed to drive the compressor motor was still a few years off, but now electric superchargers are in production with several manufacturers, including Audi, <a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a> and, as of earlier in 2019, <a href="">Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) </a>with a new straight six petrol Ingenium engine.</p> <p>Audi’s system positions the electric supercharger close to the engine intake and downstream of the intercooler. The charge air isn’t cooled, but on the <a href="">SQ5</a>, for example, it makes only 1.4 bar of boost, the compressor instantly spooling to 65,000rpm when it’s needed. Beyond that, the conventional turbo takes over and the electric supercharger is dialled out of the equation with valves and turned off. On bigger engines, the spec gets busier and more expensive, the <a href="">SQ8</a> getting an electric booster in addition to its bi-turbos.</p> <p>There’s yet to be an example of electric supercharging on small-capacity engines of, say, 1.0-litre or less in production. That’s not to say the idea of extreme downsizing hasn’t been explored, though.</p> <p>The Hyboost project masterminded by a consortium including <a href="">Ricardo</a> and <a href="">Ford</a> a few years ago did just that, aiming to emulate the power, torque and drivability of a baseline <a href="">Focus</a> 2.0-litre model using a 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine. So, too, did the Ultraboost with Supergen project in which both JLR and <a href="">Lotus</a> Engineering were involved. The aim there was to produce the power and drivability of a 5.0-litre V8 from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The Hyboost project used the electric supercharger in the normal way, but also for “exhaust energy recapture by electric turbo-compounding”, which means using the turbo as an exhaust-driven generator to convert unwanted heat energy in the exhaust into electricity to be stored in the battery.</p> <p><strong>1400bhp from 1.5 litres</strong></p> <p>Probably the best examples of making huge power from a small engine were the 1.5-litre <a href="">BMW</a> M12 and M13 engines of the Formula 1 turbo era in the 1980s. Boosting with a colossal turbocharger to 5.5 bar, BWW eventually extracted 1400bhp using a single turbo (933bhp per litre). It was ragged-edge stuff. Engineers at BMW Motorsport’s engine shop in Munich at the time kept a demolished engine block as a trophy, taken from Nelson Piquet’s <a href="">Brabham BT53</a> after the engine had exploded.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Under the skin: Why mix and match is a good idea for electric powertrains</a>?</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Under the skin: How Tesla is making cars think like humans</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Under the skin: The hidden technology of brakes</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 Mon, 30 Dec 2019 00:01:23 +0000 Mercedes-AMG GT 73 plug-in hybrid teased in new video <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mercedes-amg-gt-73-plug-hybrid-teased-new-video"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes-AMG GT 73 prototype" title="Mercedes-AMG GT 73 prototype" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The Mercedes-AMG GT 73 prototype, as pictured in the company's new video</blockquote> Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid rival expected to have over 800bhp when it arrives in 2020 <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The upcoming <a href="">Mercedes-AMG GT 73</a> has been previewed in prototype form in a video clip, giving us our first glimpse of the latest GT 4-door Coupé in motion and hinting at a plug-in hybrid powertrain.</p> <p>The GT 73 is reportedly based on the <a href="">2017 AMG GT Concept </a>and will supplant the <a href="">GT 63 S</a> as the range-topping model in the lineup.</p> <p>Following the example of the Concept, the new variant looks set to receive a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with an electric motor on the front axle.</p> <p>A whirring sound?emitted by the car as it speeds away from the video camera seemingly confirms its powertrain, suggesting it will arrive as?a plug-in hybrid.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Between them, the V8 and electric motors?will allegedly produce north of 800bhp - considerably more than the GT 63 S’s 630bhp, and that of the 671bhp <a href="">Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid</a>.</p> <p>Power is expected to be transmitted to all four wheels via the same?nine-speed automatic gearbox?as the GT 63 S, while accelerating from 0-62mph should take less than 3.0 seconds.</p> <p>The new model is also expected to be the most economic in the lineup, with an electric-only range of up to 31 miles.</p> <p>While <a href="">Mercedes</a> has confirmed that the GT 73 will be launched in 2020, the exact date has yet to be specified. The <a href="">Geneva International Motor Show</a> in March, however, would be a natural time?for the debut.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">800bhp+ hybrid Mercedes-AMG GT 73 4-door Coupe coming in 2020</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mercedes downplays 75% AMG range restriction claims</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Matt Saunders' car of the decade: Mercedes-Benz C-Class</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 Sun, 29 Dec 2019 14:40:56 +0000 Autocar's 10 most-read news stories of 2019 <a href="/car-news/features/autocars-10-most-read-news-stories-2019"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar top stories of 2019" /></a> Icons reborn, bold new projects launched and industry-shaking rumours – this is Autocar's year in news <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>It's not been a quiet year for the automotive industry. The big topic of 2019 was, perhaps inevitably, the electrification of most mainstream manufacturers' line-ups, but there were?plenty of combustion-flavoured industry developments, as well.?</p> <p>This year gave us our first look at <a href="">Land Rover's</a> long-awaited <a href="">new Defender</a>, the eighth iteration of <a href="">Volkswagen's</a> segment-leading <a href="">Golf</a>, <a href="">Porsche's</a> first electric car and tonnes of other important new models, but we also got an idea of what?to?expect from other manufacturers in the years to come. Take a look at the hottest stories from the last twelve months:</p> <p><strong>10. <a href="">Mazda</a> could revive RX sports car lineage</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Speculation that Mazda could revive its line of rotary-powered sports cars was fuelled in September, when details emerged of an <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mazda-developing-‘rx-9’-sports-car-new-patent-suggests">unmistakably performance-oriented chassis patent </a>the company had filed. Two months later, the company’s R&D boss told Autocar that rotary technology being developed for use in the firm’s new range of hybrids could soon find its way into a sporty successor to the legendary <a href="">RX-7</a> and <a href="">RX-8</a> coupes. One obstacle is the relative inefficiency of a rotary motor, but electrified powertrain trials will help Mazda to confirm the technology’s production viability.</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mazda-rx-9-hopes-boosted-new-rotary-engine-technology"><strong>Mazda RX-9 hopes boosted by new rotary-engine technology</strong></a></p> <p><strong>9. <a href="">Nissan 370Z</a> and <a href="">GT-R</a> could go electric</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Nissan’s 370Z and GT-R sports cars are longer in the tooth than most other production cars on sale today, but a conversation with the firm’s product planning boss at the <a href="/car-news/tokyo-motor-show">Tokyo motor show</a> revealed that the pair could be electrified for their second coming. The firm acknowledges that the extra weight of an electric powertrain could be a threat to the cars’ dynamic qualities, but strongly hinted that work is underway to develop a well-balanced formula.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/motor-shows-tokyo-motor-show/nissan-committed-replacing-370z-and-gt-r"><strong>Nissan committed to replacing 370Z and GT-R</strong></a></p> <p><strong>8. Volkswagen reveals eighth-generation Golf</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The <a href="/car-review/volkswagen/golf/first-drives/volkswagen-golf-2020-review">eighth-generation Golf</a> places a higher emphasis on technological advancement and refinement than any previous iteration of the 40-year-old hatch. The <a href="/car-review/ford/focus">Ford Focus</a> rival now offers a range of mild hybrid powertrain options, an overhauled digital cockpit and enhanced connectivity functions. The most powerful model from launch is the 241bhp GTE plug-in hybrid, but a 286bhp GTI variant will arrive in 2020, followed later by a <a href="">Mercedes-AMG A45</a>-baiting ‘R Plus’ with up to 400bhp.</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/2020-volkswagen-golf-pictures-performance-on-sale-date"><strong>New 2020 Volkswagen Golf gains mild hybrid engines, new technology</strong></a></p> <p><strong>7. 2021 <a href="">Range Rover</a> to pack <a href="">BMW </a>V8</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Prototypes of<a href="/car-review/land-rover-range-rover"> Land Rover’s reinvented flagship</a> have hit the roads ahead of an unveiling in 2021, and our sources tell us there’s a BMW-derived 4.4-litre V8 packed into its familiar front end. It’s not the first time the luxury 4x4 has looked to Munich for motivation, but it’s likely to be the first production model to emerge from a new technological partnership between the British and German firms.</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-range-rover-2021"><strong>New 2021 Range Rover spotted with BMW V8 engine</strong></a></p> <p><strong>6. <a href="">Bentley</a> launches all-new <a href="">Flying Spur</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The third-generation Bentley Flying Spur represents a “quantum leap in technology, performance and innovation” over its predecessor, according to the people who made it. The figures are certainly interesting; there’s a 207mph top speed for example, a sub-4.0 second 0-62mph time, a 626bhp and, perhaps most amazingly, a 2.4-tonne kerbweight. Something to keep the <a href="/car-review/rolls-royce/ghost">Rolls-Royce Ghost</a> up at night, then.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/motor-shows-goodwood-festival-speed/new-bentley-flying-spur-207mph-luxury-sports-saloon"><strong>New Bentley Flying Spur: 207mph luxury sports saloon breaks cover</strong></a></p> <p><strong>5. Porsche reveals new <a href="">Taycan EV</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The unveiling of Porsche’s first electric car was always going to attract a crowd. The four-door performance EV is unmistakably related to the <a href="/car-review/porsche/911">911</a> and <a href="/car-review/porsche/718-boxster">718</a> in its design, and promises of class-leading acceleration and handling were music to the driving enthusiast’s ears. We’ve <a href="">now driven the Taycan</a> in each of its available guises, and are no less confident that this has the potential to be one of the most capable electric cars in the world.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/porsche-taycan-specs-sale-date-performance"><strong>New Porsche Taycan 'set to rewrite performance EV benchmarks'</strong></a></p> <p><strong>4. <a href="">Ford Capri</a> could return</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Could <a href="/car-reviews/ford">Ford</a> bring back the Capri after a 33-year absence? According to the firm’s European design boss, the dream of resurrecting ‘Europe’s <a href="/car-review/ford/mustang">Mustang</a>’ is alive and well, with the likelihood of such a move bolstered by the recent revival of the <a href="">Puma</a> name. It’s not yet known what form a modern Capri could take, but <a href="/car-news/features/back-popular-demand-reinventing-ford-capri">Autocar’s own interpretation</a> blends styling cues from the first-gen model with up-to-date flourishes, and rides significantly higher than the low-slung original.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/ford-capri-could-still-be-revived-says-design-boss"><strong>Ford Capri could still be revived, says design boss</strong></a></p> <p><strong>3. New <a href="">Jaguar F-Type</a></strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>One of the last new cars to be unveiled in 2019, Jaguar’s updated F-Type evolves the <a href="/car-review/jaguar/f-type">sharp design of the original </a>with slimmer headlights, a new clamshell bonnet and revised bumpers at the front and rear. The headline change, though, is the axing of the mid-range V6 variant, which leaves the model offering?the choice of a 5.0-litre V8 or 2.0-litre turbo four-pot.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/2020-jaguar-f-type-revealed-revised-looks-no-v6-engine"><strong>2020 Jaguar F-Type revealed with revised looks, no V6 engine</strong></a></p> <p><strong>2. Dyson's EV rollercoaster</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Technology firm Dyson made the headlines in May when it <a href="/car-news/new-cars/dyson-electric-car-new-patents-show-mould-breaking-design">gave Autocar exclusive details</a> of a premium electric car it was developing as a<a href="/car-review/tesla/model-x"> Tesla Model X</a> rival to arrive in 2021. Things looked promising; the unnamed SUV was set to pioneer a radical new style of EV design and could even have featured groundbreaking solid-state battery technology. Unfortunately, just five months later, the project was axed having been deemed not commercially viable.?</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/dyson-axes-electric-car-project"><strong>Dyson axes electric car project</strong></a></p> <p><strong>1. Reborn Land Rover Defender</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>No surprises here. The Defender was, by far and away, our most popular story of the year. Land Rover’s blocky off-road icon has been reinvented as a mainstream model for the global market, and will be offered in three bodystyles with a range of powertrain options from March 2020. We’ve ridden in a pre-production prototype, which demonstrated an ability - like the original - to tackle even the toughest of tracks, while adding a hefty dose of luxury and refinement into the package, to boot.</p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-land-rover-defender-2019"><strong>New Defender: all the details on Land Rover's reborn icon</strong></a></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news"><b>All the latest car news from Autocar</b></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/autocars-top-10-reviews-2019"><strong>Autocar's top 10 reviews of 2019</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/autocars-top-10-videos-2019"><strong>Autocar's top 10 videos of 2019</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 Sun, 29 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 Matt Prior's car of the decade: Nissan Juke <a href="/car-news/features/matt-priors-car-decade-nissan-juke"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Nissan Juke - car of the decade - front" /></a> We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the past 10 years. Matt Prior eats humble pie and picks a car that reshaped the compact hatch market <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>“Maybe you need to buy into the concept. I’m afraid I don’t.” Not my words, Carol, the words of BBC Top Ge … oh wait. No, actually, they are my words.</p> <p>In 2007 I wrote them about the then new <a href="">Nissan Qashqai</a>, a car that was, to my eyes, basically a taller version of a regular hatchback, quite good but nothing particularly special, and which Nissan had launched because its <a href="">Almera</a> hatch could never get near to <a href="">Ford Focus</a>, <a href="">Vauxhall Astra</a> or <a href="">VW Golf </a>levels of sales.</p> <p>At that sort of length but taller and with a higher price, though, the Qashqai,?could lead?<span>Nissan</span>?onto something. I wasn’t so convinced. It felt a bit cynical. Dare I say a bit pointless – a tall car that didn’t do off-roading. It didn’t do a lot for me and I didn’t think it’d do much for the good denizens of motoring.</p> <p>Shows what I know because I couldn’t have been more wrong. It reshaped the market.</p> <p>You could make an argument that the Qashqai was the car of 2000-2010. Even the car of the millennium so far – the car that has rewritten what the family hatchback looks like. Before Qashqai, there were hatchbacks. After it, everyone had to have a C?or D-segment SUV or crossover.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Fortunately it’s not like the nice people at Nissan, without fail, remind me about my initial take on this, at length, every single time they see me, which most recently was when they launched the new <a href="">Juke</a>.</p> <p>Because if the Qashqai is the car that changed the large family hatch, I’ve nominated the Juke as my car of this decade not because I love it, but because it has done to the compact hatchback what the Qashqai did to the large hatchback. If you are going by the ability to reshape what buyers want, I think you’re looking at the most important vehicle launched in the past 10 years.</p> <p>The Juke arrived in 2010 with its weird headlight array making it a compact crossover that looked like nothing else, but once it pinged into the list of this country’s best selling cars, it just stayed there. And then rival manufacturers introduced similar cars, and they outsold regular hatchbacks too.</p> <p>Being replaced this autumn, only a few months before the end of the decade, the Juke has had a much longer life than mainstream cars usually do too. Just recently at the launch of the new car – where Nissan very graciously didn’t remind me, again, how wrong I’d been about the Qashqai – the old Juke was still performing sufficiently well that in 2018 it was Britain’s 21st?best-selling car.</p> <p>Nissan has stretched the MkI out beyond all normal standards but it still outsold its rivals, of which there are now loads. And even now, when Nissan has brought a second-generation compact SUV to the market, some car makers are still pulling on the bootstraps of their first one.</p> <p>So at least it wasn’t just me who didn’t see it coming.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Colin Goodwin's car of the decade: Formula E</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110</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 Sun, 29 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 Top of the shots: Autocar's best photos of 2019 <a href="/car-news/features/top-shots-autocars-best-photos-2019"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar photos of the year 2019 tile" /></a> Another year, another photo album crammed full of world-class pictures of amazing cars doing incredible things. Our snappers choose their favourites <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>“Could you jump a bit higher, please?” asked snapper Luc Lacey to driver Richard Lane ahead of this spectacular <a href="">Bowler</a> jump shot (below). Not happy with Richard’s first attempt, Luc could have no complaints about the second – more concerted – effort.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>You can see why Wales is so popular with our photographers after looking at the trio of photos featuring the Bowler, <a href="">Lamborghini</a> and <a href="">Alfaholics GT-R</a>. Olgun Kordal said it was worth getting dust in his eyes for the low-down Lamborghini tracking shot, and worth ruining a pair of Converse plimsolls for the equally stunning shot of the gorgeous Alfaholics GTA-R (you wore Converse in Wales, in November, Olgun?).</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>“I love the contrast of the greenery with the ribbon of Tarmac running through it,” says Max Edleston of his shot of the spectacular Great Orme road.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>“A rear-wheel drive, rear-engined car with Mauro Calo at the wheel always makes for a dramatic image,” says Olgun Kordal of his <a href="">Porsche 911</a> shot.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>If the 911’s natural habitat is a track, then the <a href="">Range Rover Velar</a> felt just as at home on the off-road course at <a href="">Land Rover </a>Experience West Country. “It reminds me of a photo in National Geographic magazine, of a tiger creeping through towards a lake and it’s prey,” says Max Edleston. “I feel this is the automotive equivalent.” Maybe, Max, if you squint a bit..</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Luc Lacey had his own pitch for National Geographic on his trip to the Carta Rallye in Morocco. “This young lad was slightly perplexed at finding a car full of cameras documenting his daily commute,” he says.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Our resident artist Ben Summerell-Youde has been busy again previewing the cars of the future – or, in some cases, the cars of his own mind. Starting at the bottom, this rally raid-style <a href="">Peugeot 208 </a>sadly will remain the stuff of Ben’s dreams. “As soon as the new 208 pictures landed I wanted to create a <a href="">208 GTi</a>, but the factory yellow paint just shouted <a href="">405 Dakar</a> to me,” says Ben, who rates the 208 as the supermini segment’s best looker. White wheels and a body kit were the order of the day for the sporty <a href="">Honda E</a>, too. “I got a bit carried away, which is fine, because no one actually has to build what I come up with.” The <a href="">Maserati Alfieri </a>is destined for production, however, and we hope <a href="">Maserati</a> is taking inspiration from Ben.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Bravo to <a href="">Audi</a>, <a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a> and<a href=""> Aston Martin</a> for filling our concept car podium this year, each chosen by our in-house designer Ben Summerell-Youde. “It’s good to see a concept that doesn’t just have wider arches and some knobbly tyres,” says Ben of the <a href="">Audi AI-Trail</a>. “Silent, battery powered off-roading appeals far more than plug-in sports cars.” Ben feels the <a href="">Mercedes EQS</a> really shows how electric propulsion can benefit proportions. “I hope the new <a href="">S-Class</a> isn’t too dissimilar.” There’s not an electric motor to be seen on the <a href="">Vanquish</a> concept, Aston’s preview of a mid-engined supercar. “It looks fresh, and has a better visual balance to it than the <a href="">Valhalla</a>,” the latter car the Vanquish’s big brother.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="637" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Central London rush hour traffic in fading light threatened to turn this <a href="">David Brown Mini Remastered </a>shoot into one to forget, until a gap appeared on Chelsea Bridge. “It looks a bit like being back in the ’60s,” reckons Max Edleston, who was born in the 1990s…</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>“I’m quite a fan of the cool, relaxing tones of this one,” says the cool, relaxed Luc Lacey of his <a href="">Fiesta ST </a>snap, taken at dusk. “A simple long exposure and a passing car highlighting the curves of the road lead your eyes through the landscape.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>And it’s a fading-light, last-shot-of-the-day hat-trick with Olgun Kordal’s <a href="">Ferrari</a> shot. “The light was finessing the side of car, highlighting its muscular stance.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>“A unique angle on two unique machines,” says Luc Lacey of the<a href=""> Dallara Stradale </a>and <a href="">Ariel Atom </a>he caught together at <a href="">our Britain’s Best Driver’s Car contest</a>. “A bit of camera trickery was used here, with the camera being mounted six feet from the car.” Sshh, Luc, you’re giving away all the secrets…</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Olgun Kordal is giving a sneek peak here of a feature we’re running next month, starring this <a href="">Ferrari F40</a>. “It’s a dream car and was a joy to shoot even if it was a very busy Cotswolds road,” says Olgun. A slow shutter allowed the background to blur into insignificance.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>‘Insignificant’ isn’t a charge you’d level at the size of the <a href="">BMW Concept 4’s </a>grille, not that Olgun’s shot here shows it (thankfully).</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Finally, Luc was up at 4am to shoot the <a href="">Evoque</a> in Greece. “I love the calmness the mist and motionless turbines give to this image.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Autocar's best photos of 2018</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">The finest car photos on Instagram</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Six years?of amazing car photos from Autocar</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 Sun, 29 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 Land Rover's McGovern honoured with OBE <a href="/car-news/industry/land-rovers-mcgovern-honoured-obe"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Land Rover Gerry McGovern" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Gerry McGovern</blockquote> Design boss recognised 'for services to automotive design' <div> <p>Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern?has been recognised as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.</p> <p>The British firm's design director has helped shape a major overhaul of Land Rover's range, with a key role in developing key models such as <a href="">the Range Rover Evoque and Velar</a>, and styling the reborn <a href="">Defender</a> that was <a href="">unveiled earlier this year</a>.</p> <p>McGovern is one of 229 people due to receive the OBE from Her Majesty The Queen, and is the only UK automotive industry figure among almost a thousand in total to be recognised on the wider list of OBEs, MBEs, CBEs and other awards.</p> <p>McGovern, 63, now <a href="">has a design career stretching back more than four decades</a>, and including early stints at Chrysler UK and Austin Rover Group. While at the latter,?he led several key Land Rover model replacement programs.</p> <p>After working at Lincoln and Ford/Ingeni, he returned to Land Rover as director?of advanced design?in 2004, appointed by Ford design supremo J Mays. He was appointed design?director of?Land Rover, in 2006 and as chief?creative?officer?for the brand in 2008.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Gerry McGovern on the Defender and future projects</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Gerry McGovern on the challenge of reinventing an icon</strong></a></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Behind the scenes at Land Rover's design studio</strong></a></p> </div> News Sat, 28 Dec 2019 08:40:27 +0000 Autocar's 10 most-watched videos of 2019 <a href="/car-news/features/autocars-10-most-watched-videos-2019"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar top 10 videos of 2019" /></a> From pick-ups to Porsches, hypercars to hot hatchbacks – we've had a lot of fun on YouTube in 2019 <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>2019 has seen?no shortage of excitement on Autocar's video pages. We've run more than our fair share of drag races, track battles, off-roat torture tests and supercar shootouts - but we could only pick ten to be our favourites.</p> <p>The following?are the films that made the biggest impression on our presenters, and which earned the most views from you, the readers. And if you aren't already subscribed - what have you been doing? <a href="">Head to the Autocar YouTube channel</a> and sign up now, so you'll never miss another video.</p> <p><strong>10. BMW E30 M3 vs E46 M3 CSL vs M2 Competition – what is the best M Car of all time?</strong></p> <p>As part of our ongoing Autocar Heroes video series, we gathered three legendary <a href="/car-reviews/bmw">BMW</a>s to see which deserves to wear the ‘Greatest M Car’ crown. The tail-happy <a href="/car-review/bmw/m2-competition">M2 Competition</a> and iconic <a href="/car-news/features/bmw-m-face-m3-csl-vs-m2-competition">E46 M3 CSL</a> are in with a chance, but remember that they follow in the footsteps of the <a href="/car-news/features/btcc-then-and-now-2019-bmw-3-series-meets-1991-e30-m3">angry and angular E30 M3</a>. Eighteen cylinders come together to shred rubber in the name of science.</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><strong>9.?Track battle: 2020 Ford Focus ST vs Honda Civic Type R</strong></p> <p>A car would have to be pretty darn capable to knock our reigning champion - the <a href="/car-review/honda/civic-type-r">Honda Civic Type R</a> - off our hot hatch top spot. <a href="/car-reviews/ford">Ford</a> has equipped its new <a href="/car-review/ford/focus-st">Focus ST</a> with a <a href="/car-review/ford/mustang">Mustang</a>-derived turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine that sends 276bhp to the front wheels - making it?quicker through the mid-range than the old Focus RS. Which is more fun, then? We hit the twisties at Llandow Circuit to find out.?</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><strong>8.?2020 Porsche Taycan review | new electric Porsche driven</strong></p> <p>‘Chuffing fast’ is the two-word takeaway from our first drive of Porsche’s first electric car. Not a bad place to start, but the Taycan is charged with offering more than just brutal acceleration. Electrifying a brand so intrinsically associated with old-school performance as Porsche is no mean feat, so the new GT-style EV has to incorporate just the right amount of Stuttgart spirit in its futuristic formula.</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><strong>7.?Greatest Porsche GTs: 718 Cayman GT4 meets 911 GT2 RS and GT3 RS</strong></p> <p>We sent three of our favourite models from <a href="/car-reviews/porsche">Porsche’s</a> GT division into battle to see which would emerge as the greatest. The fresh-faced <a href="/car-review/porsche/718-cayman-gt4">718 Cayman GT4 </a>has made a brilliant first impression on our testers, with its newly developed 4.0-litre flat-six providing the perfect balance between aggression and accessibility, but can the newbie steal the limelight from the formidable <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-gt3-rs">911 GT3 RS</a> and <a href="/car-review/porsche/911-gt2-rs">GT2 RS</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> <p><strong>6. Geneva Motor Show 2019 | The 18 cars you must see</strong></p> <p>The <a href="/car-news/geneva-motor-show">Geneva motor show</a> is always a highlight of the automotive calendar, and the 2019 edition gave us our first look at important new machines from across the motoring spectrum. <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-goodwood-festival-speed/new-alfa-romeo-tonale-2020-production-car-leaks-online">Alfa Romeo’s bold new Tonale concept</a> appeared for the first time, alongside a <a href="/car-news/motor-shows-geneva-motor-show/aston-martins-new-mid-engined-hypercar-named-valhalla">trio of stunning new Aston Martins</a>, an <a href="/car-news/new-cars/first-drive-volkswagen-id-buggy-concept">all-electric beach buggy from Volkswagen</a> and so much more besides. Join Matt Prior as he gets up close and personal with the event’s star cars.</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><strong>5. Mercedes-AMG GT63 S vs Porsche Panamera Turbo S | Which Luxury GT is best?</strong></p> <p>Cars like the <a href="/car-review/mercedes-amg/gt-4-door-coupe">Mercedes-AMG GT63</a> and <a href="/car-review/porsche/panamera">Porsche Panamera Turbo S</a> are, sadly, not long for this world, as the?focus shifts to electrification.?For now, though, the luxury GT segment is among the market’s most highly contested, and in this 1300bhp twin-test, we found out which of the pair offers the best combination of refinement, performance and space.?</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><strong>4.?2020 Volkswagen ID 3 driven | Will VW's EV change the world?</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-review/volkswagen/id-3/first-drives/volkswagen-id-3-2020-review">Volkswagen revealed its new ID 3</a> earlier this year as a bold first step in a plan to sell 22 million fully electric vehicles over the next decade. The hatchback is the first production model to use the modular MEB EV platform, and will be available in a range of trims offering up to 341 miles of range. We went to Wolfsburg for an early spin in a camouflaged prototype, and came away with an understanding of just how profoundly the ID 3 could impact the world of electric motoring.?</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><strong>3.?Drag Race: 2019 BMW S1000RR vs McLaren 720S vs Ariel Atom 4</strong></p> <p>Could any machine with just 207bhp on tap possibly stand a chance against <a href="/car-review/ariel/atom">Ariel’s biblical track-focused Atom</a> V8 and the lightning-fast <a href="/car-review/mclaren/720s-spider">McLaren 720S Spider</a>? Well, yes, actually. The BMW S1000RR?has a higher power-to-weight ratio than a Koenigsegg One:1, and will accelerate from 0-60mph in a scarcely believable 2.6 seconds - standing it in good stead as we embark on a quest to find the fastest no-roof road vehicle.</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><strong>2. What's the best 4x4 pickup truck? | 2019 megatest</strong></p> <p>A slightly slower-paced battle here, but one that’s no less important. Just what do you buy when your daily commute involves crossing quarries and lugging large loads? We gathered some of the UK’s most promising pick-ups for a five-way shootout to determine the best all-rounder, before pitting the winner up against the undisputed champion of churning up mud - the <a href="/opinion/anything-goes/why-mercedes-benz-unimog’s-70th-birthday-big-deal">Mercedes Unimog</a>. Then we went home and put a wash on.?</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><strong>1.?McLaren F1 vs. P1 vs. Senna: Ultimate Series review</strong></p> <p>A momentous occasion, this. <a href="/car-review/mclaren/f1-1992-1998">McLaren’s seminal F1 supercar</a> had never come face to face?<span>with its?</span><a href="/car-review/mclaren/senna">Senna</a><span>?and?</span><a href="/car-review/mclaren/p1-2014-2015">P1</a><span>?descendants?</span><span>on a track</span><span>, until our look back at Woking’s Ultimate Series lineage gave us an opportunity to evaluate the three-seater’s ongoing influence. This was the very car, in fact, that graced the pages of Autocar’s exclusive road test back in 1994, and the unflappable grin on our man’s face is testament to how well that 627bhp V12 has aged.?</span></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><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/bmw-m-face-m3-csl-vs-m2-competition"><strong>BMW M face-off: M3 CSL vs. M2 Competition</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/autocars-exclusive-mclaren-f1-road-test-25-years"><strong>Autocar's exclusive McLaren F1 road test: 25 years on</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-review/porsche/taycan"><strong>Porsche Taycan review</strong></a></p> </div> News Sat, 28 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Colin Goodwin's car of the decade: Formula E <a href="/car-news/features/colin-goodwins-car-decade-formula-e"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Formula E - car of the decade - panning" /></a> We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the last 10 years. Goodwin opts for the unexpected <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>During an interview Bernie Ecclestone was asked if he’d seen a Formula E race, ‘No,’ said Bernie, ‘not many people have.’ Good old Bernard.</p> <p>I’ve been to one:?the round in Paris in 2017. The weather was stunning and my ticket, which wasn’t a special one for press, got me into areas that Formula One won’t even let you look at from afar. And the racing, Col? What did you think about that?</p> <p>Not a lot. Couldn’t see very much because of the high barriers. Didn’t like the noise much, either. Not so much the lack of ICE but the squeal of tyres and whine of electric motors. I gave this new form of motorsport a shot, but, a few weekends later, I went to Dijon to watch a mate racing a <a href="">Cologne Capri </a>and other people racing equally dramatic machines. Dijon, if you forgive me, recharged my batteries.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>But Formula E is the future, no question. I’m also sure that it will one day replace Formula One. Or to put it another way, F1 will become an all-electric series. Why? Because I can’t see motor manufacturers such as <a href="">Mercedes</a>, <a href="">Renault</a> and <a href="">Honda</a> ploughing huge amounts of money into racing cars that have no relevance to their core products.</p> <p>Of course these companies will be building I/C engines for a while longer, but will they want to spend a fortune promoting?when what they really need to do is push the argument for pure EVs forward? Moto GP went from two-stroke engines to four-stroke because the bike manufacturers were no longer developing two-stroke motors and therefore didn’t want to waste money building them for racing.</p> <p>Formula E was never going to seduce me, it wasn’t intended to. It’s for future generations who are fascinated by software and who grew up gaming; not someone who looks at a gallon of petrol in a can and sees a world of possibilities. Formula E racing cars might be technically uninteresting for an old school racing fan, but they represent the future.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C?</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="">Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S</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 Sat, 28 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 How Volvo makes its crystal glass gearsticks <a href="/car-news/features/how-volvo-makes-its-crystal-glass-gearsticks"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Volvo glass" title="Volvo glass" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Volvo gear selector has a fiery, laborious gestation</blockquote> Amid all the high-tech, some Volvos have an exquisite gear selector made using processes and skills that are centuries old <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>When the glassworks in the small Swedish town of Kosta was founded, its owners didn’t foresee it would one day make gear selectors. It was 1742, after all, when demand for car parts was somewhat limited.?</p> <p>Yet 277 years later, Kosta’s hot shop is an unlikely hotspot for the production of <a href="/car-reviews/volvo">Volvo</a> gear selectors. Not regular gear selectors, of course: Orrefors Crystal Eye units are handmade from crystal glass, forged and shaped using tools and techniques that are near identical to those employed in the 18th century.?</p> <p>They’re beautiful, terribly fancy and, of course, entirely unnecessary: swapping a regular selector for a glass one doesn’t improve the shift times of an <a href="/car-review/volvo/xc90">XC90 Inscription</a> at all. But they’re increasingly popular and Volvo is widening their availability in its range.?</p> <p>“I loved the idea of taking something from outside the industry and bringing it into a car,” says Anders Bergstr?m, Volvo’s colour and materials designer. “We wanted to build on our Scandinavian heritage, which gave me the idea to use crystal glass.”?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A gear selector works, Bergstr?m says, because “it needed to be a big lump. The beauty of crystal glass is that you see it come alive. The gear selector is in the centre of the car and you touch it, so you feel the material and enjoy it that way as well.”?</p> <p>Amazingly, it took 10 years to turn that idea into reality. To find out why, we headed deep intro rural Sm?land, the heart of Sweden’s Glasriket – the Kingdom of Crystal.?</p> <p>Natural resources – silicon-rich sand and ample forests to provide fuel – nourished the glass industry there and dozens of glassworks are dotted around the region.?</p> <p>The town of Kosta is named for the founders of the glassworks there. The nearby town of Orrefors gained its own glassworks in 1898. The Orrefors and Kosta Boda firms merged in 1990 (consolidation isn’t just a car industry trend) and, since 2013, their handmade operations have been combined in Kosta.?</p> <p>The town is, predictably, dominated by the glass industry: the Kosta’s Art Glass Hotel, for example, features a glass bar, glass sculptures of food on the breakfast buffet and glass artwork on the bedside tables (our review: not child-friendly).?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The hot shop is the heart of the Orrefors-Kosta Boda operation. Inside are a number of large furnaces, each of which is the centre of a glass production line. It’s a far cry from a modern car factory, with no robots or automation. Everything is done by hand.?</p> <p>Each furnace is crewed by a team of four and two teams make two types of Crystal Eye: one for the <a href="/car-review/volvo/xc40">Volvo XC40</a>, and a larger one for the<a href="/car-review/volvo/xc60"> XC60</a>, <a href="/car-review/volvo/xc90">XC90</a> and<a href="/car-review/volvo/v90"> V90</a>. “Bigger cars need a bigger selector,” says Bergstr?m. “It’s a bit posher.”?</p> <p>A glass gear selector starts life as sand. The lead-free pelleted batch is prepared locally by sibling firm Glasma to what Lars Sj?gren, head of the Crystal Eye production team, calls “a special secret recipe”. Yes, secret sand. “It’s all about the mix of elements,” says Sj?gren.?</p> <p>The first task is to melt the secret sand, which takes 16 hours at 1400deg C and is done in a clay pot in each furnace. Because of the limitations of how much sand can be melted in a pot, each team uses two furnaces, swapping halfway through each day. Once the sand is melted, the oven is turned down: at 1400deg C, molten glass is too hot to work with. At 1180deg C, apparently, it’s just right.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Production begins with a glass maker expertly hooking a suitably sized lump of molten glass onto the end of a metal rod and carefully lifting it to a bench, where it’s rolled roughly into shape.?</p> <p>It’s formed into its gear selector shape using a cast-iron mould before being placed on a rack. It’s then rotated while it’s moved down a line, variously being cooled by a fan or heated by a flame. It looks random, but it’s science: the process strengthens and polishes the glass.?</p> <p>On a frequent basis, a glassmaker will pause, look closely at the gear selector they’re working on, sigh slightly and then plunge the metal rod into a nearby bucket of water. That’s a rejection and the standards are exacting. The team makes around 50 units an hour, but only 35 or so will make the cut.?</p> <p>According to Sj?gren, employees spend at least five years at the firm before they even start to learn glassmaking. Most have been there for decades and focus on a single product. At this stage, I’ve been in the hot shop about 30 minutes but am still determined to try.?</p> <p>A glassmaker eventually allows me to ‘help’ by carrying a rod loaded with a molten glass selector from one station to the next. He helpfully warns me that it’s hot (although the glowing molten glass on the end is a clue). I feel I’m doing a decent job of twirling the selector, although every unit I go near is then dumped straight into the water bucket. I succeed only in bumping up the rejection rate.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The surviving gear selectors are placed into an annealing lehr, a sort of oven in which the glass is put through another heating and cooling cycle, emerging eight hours later at room temperature. Then the Orrefors logo is printed on the XC40 selectors and on the larger unit is created inside it in a 3D effect. Sj?gren won’t explain how. It’s another secret. Still, the logo is a mark of respect.</p> <p>Once that’s done, there are more checks by another expert glassmaker, who minutely examines each selector. Next to him is a bin filled with gear selectors that failed to meet his standards. The most common fault? “Bubbles,” says Sj?gren, with a shudder. Sj?gren hates bubbles. “If there’s one bubble, we’ll reject it.” Since I clearly have no future making glass, perhaps I can help with quality control. Except, rummaging through the rejection bin, I find units with bubbles so small that I can only see them when Sj?gren points them out.?</p> <p>Fortunately, the high rejection levels don’t create waste: rejected units are simply melted down and used again. “Sustainability is really important to us,” says Sj?gren.?</p> <p>By Sj?gren’s count, each gear selector is checked at least six times before being shipped to Volvo, ready for installation into a car. The multitude of checks is partly for standards, and partly due to the challenge of meeting the exacting regulations required for car parts.?</p> <p>“It’s not easy being a supplier to a car firm,” says Sj?gren. “We have to be able to guarantee the production of every gear selector is the same. We’re not an automobile manufacturer: we make glass tableware. It took a lot of help from Volvo to sort.”?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The gear selectors also had to undergo extreme temperature tests and prove they could survive when a Volvo was driven on extremely bumpy roads – not tasks usually required from, say, a champagne glass. So far, not a single selector has broken. “It will never happen,” says Sj?gren. “Never, never, never.”?</p> <p>Both companies think the effort is worth it. “It’s helping us to become more innovative and raise awareness of our firm,” says Orrefors boss Ulf Kinneson. “It shows what else we can do.”?</p> <p>The pride shines through, as does the amount of effort that goes into production – for something that is, essentially, entirely unnecessary. Except that in a world ever more focused on technology, the glass gear selectors are a tangible link to something more solid. “It’s something real customers can hold onto,” says Bergstr?m. “Crystal glass is a cutting-edge, timeless material – but we’re using it in a new way.”</p> <p><strong>It’s a material world: unusual materials in car production</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Going for gold:</strong> If crystal glass isn’t exclusive enough, how about making car parts from gold? That’s what McLaren did when it created the F1 back in 1992. Borrowing concepts from its grand prix cars, it finished the <a href="/car-news/features/quick-check-servicing-mclaren-f1">heat shield for the F1’s V12 engine</a> with gold foil. That wasn’t just to show off: gold is excellent at absorbing heat.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Going beyond gold: </strong>But if gold still isn’t exclusive enough, how about ruthenium? It’s an ultra-rare precious metal from the platinum group, with only a limited amount produced. It’s used to craft the ‘gallery’ of the ultra-luxurious <a href="/car-review/rolls-royce/phantom">Rolls-Royce Phantom</a> Gentleman’s Edition, created by the British firm’s Bespoke arm.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="597" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Bentley’s 4800-year-old interior:</strong> <a href="/car-reviews/bentley">Bentley</a> teamed up with the Fenland Black Oak Project charity, which is creating a 13-metre table out of a 4800-year-old Fenland Black Oak reclaimed from former swampland in East Anglia. Strips of the material featured inside the <a href="/car-news/new-cars/bentley-exp-100-gt-revealed-spectacular-take-grand-tourer">Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car</a> – although given the scarcity of the wood, wider usage is unlikely. Still, wood is an integral part of many cars: <a href="/car-reviews/morgan">Morgan</a> machines still feature frames crafted from ash.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Seatbelts made from seatbelts:</strong> As sustainability becomes more important, car firms are increasingly using recycled materials in their cars. <a href="/car-review/renault/zoe/first-drives/renault-zoe-r135-ze-50-2019-review">The new Renault Zoe</a> features seatbelts and other interior trim produced using a recycled fabric made from plastic bottles, textile strips – and old Renault seatbelts.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/dependable-disruptive-reinvention-volvo"><strong>From dependable to disruptive: the reinvention of Volvo?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/volkswagens-currywurst-factory-motorings-strangest-production-line"><strong>Volkswagen's currywurst factory: motoring's strangest production line?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-reviews/volvo"><strong>V</strong></a><strong><a href="/car-reviews/volvo">olvo reviews</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 Sat, 28 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110 <a href="/car-news/features/andrew-frankels-car-decade-alpine-a110"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Alpine A110 - car of the decade - front" /></a> We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the last 10 years. Frankel went for the acclaimed Porsche-rivalling A110 <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Just occasionally a car will come along that will change the game completely, by providing a level of performance unimagined until that very moment. The <a href="">McLaren F1</a> did it in 1994, and I very much suspect the <a href="">Aston Martin Valkyrie</a> will do it all over again in 2020.</p> <p>But there’s also the opposite kind of game changer, and, because our interest in them need no longer be merely academic?but actually born out of experience, these are even more special. These cars are so rare that,?in the 31 years I’ve been doing this job, I’ve seen just two. The first came three decades ago and was called the <a href="">Mazda MX-5</a>. The <a href="">Alpine A110</a> is the second.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The Alpine has an importance that stretches far beyond those svelte lines. Like the little Mazda, the Alpine is a car to make us stop dead in our tracks and question everything we have come to believe about how to make sporting cars. It took the existing narrative that said faster was funnier, grip was good and that size really mattered, and shredded it.</p> <p>My admiration for the board who were presented with A110 is boundless. The pitch would have gone something like this: <span>‘</span>we want to make a two seat sports car that’s not very fast either in a straight line or around a corner, it’s going to cost a fortune to develop because it needs a brand new, bespoke platform and, because it only has a four cylinder engine and a brand without much recognition, we can’t even charge that much for it.<span>’</span> And the suits sitting around the table would have to have gone: ‘yup, sounds good to us.’ You just don’t expect that kind of thing these days.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="608" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Their hunch – that people would recognise talents that can’t be expressed in 0-60mph or Nurburgring lap times but which are no less real or valuable for that – proved entirely correct. Alpine have been making A110s as rapidly?as?they have been able ever since launch.</p> <p>What is not yet clear is where Alpine goes from here, but?maybe as an outpost of <a href="">Renault</a> it will be happy just to continue making A110s. When Mazda hit the big time with the MX-5, it always expected the competition to respond in kind. In fact it has gone on almost unchallenged for three decades now, so good as to be impregnable. The A110 is fast gaining a similar aura around it. Long may it last.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Colin Goodwin's car of the decade: Formula E</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C?</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="">Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S</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 Fri, 27 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Fun facts: Autocar's miscellany of motoring 2019 <a href="/car-news/features/fun-facts-autocars-miscellany-motoring-2019"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Andrew Frankel with car collection " title="Andrew Frankel with car collection " /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Our man's motoring knowledge knows no bounds</blockquote> ’Tis still the season of goodwill, so, pray, let our veteran road tester and jolliest man entertain you <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>As the last of the leftovers are unceremeniously binned and the final round of Monopoly is brought to its long-awaited climax, it's time to dig out some traditional Christmas trivia to impress your friends and family.</p> <p>You might know what the <a href="">Porsche</a> 909 Bergmeister's wiring loom was made from, but do you have any idea where the East London race track is (wrong), or just how many types of gearbox there are? Sit back, relax, and learn from the master of motoring minutiae, Andrew Frankel.?</p> <h3><strong>Random racing facts</strong></h3> <p>1. The top six finishers of the 1973 Monaco Grand Prix finished in the same positions as they would at the end of the championship.</p> <p>2. The 2020 British Grand Prix marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Formula One World Championship in 1950. It was also the British Grand Prix and also held at Silverstone.</p> <p>3. Britain and Italy are the only countries to have held grands prix in every year since the start of the F1 World Championship</p> <p>4. Where fathers and sons have raced in F1, fathers have been twice as likely to win a race.</p> <p>5. The Indy 500 was part of the F1 World Championship for 11 seasons, from 1950-’60.</p> <p>6. Claudio Langes tried to qualify for 14 grands prix, all in 1990, and never started a race.</p> <p>7. The wiring loom of the Porsche 909 Bergspyder was made from silver thread.</p> <p>8. The Lotus 76 of 1975 was fitted with a clutchless transmission and V-shaped brake pedal to allow its drivers the option of left-foot braking.</p> <p>9. When Brands Hatch was first used, cars and bikes raced around the circuit anti-clockwise.</p> <p>10. The Marathon De La Route was the world’s longest motor race and was held at the Nürburgring between 1965 and 1971. In 1967 it was won by a <a href="/car-review/porsche/911">Porsche 911</a> driven by Vic Elford (among others), his winning margin over the second placed car being just short of 1000km.</p> <p>11. Alan Stacey became a works <a href="/car-reviews/lotus">Lotus </a>F1 racing driver despite having an artificial lower right leg and having to use a twist grip motorcycle throttle. He was killed at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, some say after being hit in the face by a bird.</p> <p>12. The knob on the gear lever of a Porsche 917 is made from balsa wood and its ignition key drilled, both to save weight.</p> <p>13. Drivers who have won the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours??<strong>Tazio Nuvolari</strong>, <strong>Maurice Trintignant</strong>, <strong>Bruce McLaren</strong> and <strong>Fernando Alonso</strong>.</p> <p>14. Drivers?who have won the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix? Just one - <strong>Juan Pablo Montoya</strong>.</p> <p>15. What about drivers who have won Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500? Again, just one -?<strong>AJ Foyt</strong>.?</p> <p>16. And finally, the?only driver to have won the Indy 500, Monaco GP and Le Mans? The legendary <strong>Graham Hill</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="584" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>Extant brands owned by General Motors</h3> <p>1. Cadillac</p> <p>2. Chevrolet</p> <p>3. Buick</p> <p>4. GMC</p> <p>5. Holden</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Automotive urban myth</strong></h3> <p>Duncan Hamilton drove while drunk to win Le Mans in 1953</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="516" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Film stars in cars</strong></h3> <p>1. Steve McQueen came second in the 1970 Sebring 12 Hours sharing a Porsche 908 with Peter Revson, despite having a left foot in plaster. Had he been anything like as fast as Revson, they’d have won.</p> <p>2. Paul Newman came second at Le Mans in 1979, driving a Porsche 935 in usually very wet weather. The race was won by brothers Don and Bill Whittington, who would both later serve time for fraud.</p> <p>3. James Garner was such a natural driver than he actually doubled for other members of the cast during the filming of Grand Prix.</p> <p>4. Burt Reynolds owned his own NASCAR team, called Mach 1 racing.</p> <p>5. Gene Hackman raced a<a href="/car-reviews/toyota"> Toyota</a> for Dan Gurney at the 1983 Daytona 24 Hours, finishing in 57th place.</p> <p>6. Successful sports car driver and actor Patrick Dempsey would rather be a racing driver than a film star.</p> <p>7.?Princess Grace of Monaco died in a Rover P6.</p> <p>8. Rowan Atkinson used to own a <a href="/opinion/motoring/one-got-away-lancia-thema-832">Lancia Thema 8.32</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Some car makes beginning with ‘A’</strong></h3> <p>Aga?</p> <p>Albany?</p> <p><a href="/car-reviews/alfa-romeo">Alfa-Romeo?</a></p> <p>American Bantam?</p> <p>Amplex?</p> <p>Arrol-Johnston?</p> <p><a href="/car-reviews/aston-martin">Aston Martin?</a></p> <p>Atalanta?</p> <p>Austro-Daimler?</p> <p>Avanti?</p> <p>AZLK</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="552" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Presenters you forgot hosted Top Gear</strong></h3> <p>1. Angela Rippon</p> <p>2. Noel Edmonds</p> <p>3. Kate Humble</p> <p>4. Brendan Coogan</p> <p>5. Jon Bentley</p> <p>6. Sue Baker</p> <p>7. Frank Page</p> <p>8. William Woollard</p> <p>9. Jason Dawe</p> <p>10. Jason Barlow</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Current or former motorsport facilities</strong></h3> <p>1. Barbagallo Raceway (Australia)?</p> <p>2. Bushy Park (Barbados)?</p> <p>3. Autodromo Internacional Ayrton Senna (Brazil)?</p> <p>4. Dracon Race Track (Bulgaria)?</p> <p>5. Calabogie Motorsports Park (Canada)?</p> <p>6. Circuits des Remparts Angoulême (France)?</p> <p>7. Solitude (Germany)?</p> <p>8. South Dakota Circuit (Guyana)?</p> <p>9. Irungattukottai Race Track (India)?</p> <p>10. Autodromo Riccardo Paletti (Italy)?</p> <p>11. Mellaha Lake (Libya)?</p> <p>12. Agadir (Morocco)?</p> <p>13. Pukekohe (New Zealand)?</p> <p>14. Ponce International Speedway Park (Puerto Rico)?</p> <p>15. East London (South Africa)?</p> <p>16. Rest And Be Thankful (Scotland)</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>?</h3> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/anything-goes/frankels-miscellany-motor-cars"><strong>Frankel's miscellany of motor cars?2018</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/slideshow/strange-odd-and-generally-fascinating-car-facts"><strong>Strange, odd and generally fascinating car facts?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/slideshow/shortest-lived-cars-uk-history"><strong>The shortest-lived cars in UK history?</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, 27 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 An alternative day out for the motoring enthusiast <a href="/car-news/features/alternative-day-out-motoring-enthusiast"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Goodwood Motor Circuit" title="Goodwood Motor Circuit" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Goodwood Motor Circuit is a classic-minded motorist's dream</blockquote> A day out for the car lover doesn’t have to mean race tracks and motor shows. Read on... <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Please join me for an enthusiasts’ day out in which we make a small tour of some of my favourite establishments.</p> <p>Editor Mark Tisshaw has given me a free hand to go where I want in what I want. This is going to be a day escaping from all talk of connectivity, fast charging and autonomy and from testing bland and dull-to-drive Korean and <a href="">Volkswagen Group</a> SUVs and crossovers, all of which have snuck into my professional life uninvited.</p> <p>I’ve chosen something very much the opposite of a <a href="">Volkswagen T-Cross</a>: a brand new <a href="">Chevrolet Camaro</a>, supplied by Ian Allan Motors down the road in Virginia Water. Ian Allan is the only official <a href="">GM</a> dealer in the UK and is the establishment that lent us a Corvette in which I had <a href="">a very pleasant day driving from Brooklands to Brighton</a> earlier this year. The Camaro has the same engine as the ’Vette. So let’s fire up the 6.2-litre V8 and select D for our first port of call.</p> <p>In the past two years both of my local garages have shut. They weren’t dealerships – that wouldn’t have been a great loss – but traditional garages staffed by mechanics who really knew what they were doing. The sort of place that would remove a broken-off stud in a cylinder head in exchange for a pint.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>But it’s not all disaster, because just a bit farther away from home, still in Hampton and still within walking distance, is Broad Lane Garage. It is one of the coolest garages I’ve ever seen. Its small yard always contains something interesting, like a ’50s <a href="">Buick</a>, a beach buggy or, as it does today, a family tree of VW vans. There are two split windows, a bay window and several T4s. I’m having a cup of tea with Mike Scotney who, along with his sister Jane, runs the garage that their father founded with a partner in 1960.</p> <p>Scotney doesn’t just cater for the enthusiast, he is one himself. In reception there’s a flathead Ford V8 bare block, a more complete version of which is in Scotney’s own toy. “I’ve got a Model T roadster with a ’37 flathead V8 in it,” he explains. “I take it down to Pendine Sands for the hot-rod races. I tow it behind my 1949 <a href="">Chevrolet Station Wagon</a>. It’s known as a Tinnie and is the cheaper version of the famous ‘woodie’ wagon, which is what I’d really like to own.”</p> <p>I’d love to spend longer with Mike and Jane but we’ve got more people to see. Next stop is only about 10 minutes away, an outfit called Moto Technique, hidden away on a light industrial estate in East Molesley.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>I’ve been a regular visitor at this place for more than 30 years and have been mates with founder Kevin O’Rourke for the same length of time. He and his team have restored some incredible machines over the years. I’ve seen at least two 250 <a href="">GTOs</a> having ground-up restorations, along with dozens of other <a href="">Ferraris</a>, <a href="">Lamborghinis</a>, <a href="">Maseratis</a> and pretty much any exotic you care to mention being brought back from the dead to be concours winners. O’Rourke has shifted with the times. Restoration has always been the core business but a few years ago Moto Technique did a lot of insurance work. I remember a crumpled <a href="">F40</a>, and a 288 GTO before that.</p> <p>O’Rourke’s current passion is resto mods. Lined up in the squeaky-clean workshop are three <a href="">Ferrari 308 GTBs</a>, each undergoing tasteful upgrading. The green one has strengthened wishbones, 360 Modena brakes and a Moto Technique-manufactured carbonfibre engine lid that saves an enormous amount of weight.</p> <p>Off in the even cleaner engine shop a thorough reworking of the cars’ 3.0-litre V8s is taking place. They’re bored and stroked and fitted with throttle body injection and a full engine management system. I’ve driven a <a href="">246 GT </a>that O’Rourke had given the engine management treatment to and it was transformed. His own Dino is fitted with an <a href="">F355</a> engine and is a work of art. These 308s are going to give their owners a lot of pleasure.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>If I have an interesting car to test (and it’s sadly rare these days – see dull crossovers and SUVs) then I head down into Sussex to Goodwood for a sarnie and the hope of seeing something interesting circulating the track – which is what Luc Lacey and I decide to do today.</p> <p>The Camaro most definitely fits into the ‘interesting’ category. It’s a wonderful car to drive slowly. I much prefer Chevrolet’s pushrod V8 to Ford’s 5.0-litre overhead-cammer in the <a href="">Mustang</a>. Kevin Hurl at Ian Allan will sell you one of these gems for only a few quid over £40,000. When he’s run out of his stock of coupés and convertibles it’s unlikely that any new Camaros will come to our shores. It’s not even certain that Chevrolet will continue to build its iconic pony car for much longer.</p> <p>We’re in luck. There seems to be some sort of manufacturer-customer day in progress at Goodwood. <a href="">McLaren</a> is here with a few <a href="">720Ss</a>, <a href="">Aston Martin </a>has a <a href="">Vantage</a> wearing the company’s famous AML 1 number plate, Ferrari has a <a href="">812 Superfast </a>and there’s a <a href="">Singer</a> here too. Aside from the<a href=""> Singer 911 </a>I’d rather have the Camaro than any of these exotics.</p> <p>More luck, Derek Bell is here. Bell is a constant presence in our world, popping up like Zelig at car launches and various events. If you’ve had the pleasure you’ll know what a warm-hearted bloke he is. “You’ll never believe it,” he exclaims, “I’ve just spun that <a href="">BMW M4</a> at Madgwick.” If I’d come out with this sentence the world would have replied, ‘and so?’, but D. Bell losing it is unusual. “It’s modern steering: no feel for what the car is doing.” Quite.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We must crack on as we want to be at our next stop for afternoon tea. We’ve got to negotiate the A27 east of Brighton and then head north to the village of Buxted in East Sussex, home of Crosthwaite & Gardiner. Put simply, this outfit is one of the finest automotive engineering companies in the world. A bold statement, but given that <a href="">Mercedes-Benz </a>and <a href="">Audi</a> trusted the company to build replicas of their Silver Arrows racing cars, the claim is somewhat justified.</p> <p>Dick Crosthwaite, who set the company up in 1969 with the late John Gardiner, is now semi-retired and his son Ollie runs the business day to day. There is much going on at C&W that we’re unable to photograph or talk about, but that doesn’t overly restrict us as there’s plenty to gawp at and ogle. The machine shop is fascinating, with cutting-edge computer-controlled tools producing parts to ridiculously tight tolerances.</p> <p>A trip around the stores is worth another couple of hours of our time. Beautifully turned nuts (with integral washers) for <a href="">Bugattis</a>, brand-new D-Type cylinder heads. Talking of which, C&W will supply a brand-new E or D-Type racing engine ready to go. Or a 2.5-litre Coventry Climax engine for a <a href="">Cooper</a> or <a href="">Lotus F1</a> car. Then there’s the room where hundreds of patterns are kept. The last time I felt this in awe of history I was standing in the Museum of Cairo.</p> <p>Dick Crosthwaite might be retired but he can’t keep away. He was pottering about the place when I last visited and he’s here today. He’s full of stories, as is Ollie. I could stay for hours but Lacey and I have to hit the road again.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="711" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We’re winding up our day out with supper at the Ace Café on London’s North Circular Road. The café holds a meeting virtually every evening and tonight it’s British sports cars and performance cars. Our Camaro fits the latter category, then. The traffic is horrendous on the A40 into town (we went north on the A22 from Buxted and then followed the M25 around to the M40), and I’m beginning to wish we’d not bothered and instead stayed longer chatting cars with Dick and Ollie. I’ve been to the Ace Café when its car park was rammed, but that was on a balmy summer’s evening. Tonight there’s just us, a <a href="">TVR Griffith</a> and an Aston Martin Vantage. London is so busy these days that unless you’re local to the Ace or come by motorcycle it’s a nightmare to get to. It’s a pity that Caffeine and Machine is a bit too far away.</p> <p>But never mind, it’s been a great day out. A simple one with friends met, lots of coffee drunk and good company in a great car that’s full of character. There will be lots of grand days out in the future.</p> <p><strong>Other options</strong></p> <p>A lifetime of being around cars has blessed me with a fat address book, and there are lots of options for future tours like today’s. Next time I might head west, drop in on Nick Mason (like Derek Bell, arch enthusiast Mason pops up everywhere) and kick the tyres of his amazing collection that’s based in Gloucestershire, and visit a company nearby called Retro Track and Air, which is a bit like Crosthwaite & Gardiner but specialises in rebuilding <a href="">Rolls-Royce Merlin</a> engines. Then finish the day with a blast up the Fosse Way to Caffeine and Machine.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">UK sales of Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro to end in August</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Chevrolet Corvette could get hybrid or electric versions</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Chevrolet Corvette Convertible gets folding hard-top</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 Fri, 27 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Volkswagen mobile robot revolutionises electric car charging <a href="/car-news/industry/volkswagen-mobile-robot-revolutionises-electric-car-charging"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Volkswagen robots" title="Volkswagen robots" /></a> Prototype robot is summoned by app, tows 25kWh 'battery wagon' then plugs into EV and charges <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Volkswagen has developed a robot that can charge electric cars autonomously - effectively allowing any parking space to become a charging point.</p> <p>The mobile charging system is comprised of two units: a robot and an energy storage device.</p> <p>The robot is summoned by drivers via a smartphone app or through a connected car system?and tows the storage device with it to a vehicle. The robot is then capable of opening a charging port and connecting a plug. It can then go and charge other vehicles, returning to collect the energy storage device once the charging process is completed.</p> <p>Each ‘battery wagon’ contains 25kWh of power?and is capable of DC fast-charging at up to 50kW. The robot is fitted with a range of scanners and sensors to ensure it can move freely around the car park.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="450" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Mark M?ller, the head of the?<a href="">Volkswagen?Group</a>?Components division, said the system “will spark a revolution” because it can “bring the charging infrastructure to the car and not the other way around.”</p> <p>The system is designed for use in a range of car parks, with <span>M?ller</span> claiming it has “enormous economic potential” by reducing the need for fixed charging points to be installed. It would also end the problem of charging bays being blocked by charged or non-electric cars.</p> <p>The system is currently “a visionary prototype”, but?<a href="">Volkswagen</a>?claims it could be “made into reality quite quickly”. It added that is has not set a date for a market launch yet.</p> <p>Volkswagen is working on a range of solutions for electric charges. It is one of the firms behind the?<a href="">Ionity 350kW charging network</a>?and has previously shown a prototype of a portable charging station.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen-backed firm opens high-power UK charging station</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen to launch 34 new models in 2020</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen ID 4: electric SUV winter tests in curious disguise</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 Thu, 26 Dec 2019 09:31:22 +0000 Matt Saunders' car of the decade: Mercedes-Benz C-Class <a href="/car-news/features/matt-saunders-car-decade-mercedes-benz-c-class"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Mercedes-Benz C-Class - car of the decade - front" /></a> We asked leading Autocar writers to pick a favourite car of the last 10 years. Saunders chooses Merc's saloon over its German counterparts <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Next year will bring us an all-new, fifth-generation<a href=""> Mercedes C-Class</a>; and we already know what a different prospect that car will be to the one it’s replacing. There will be no multi-cylinder engines this time, we hear (not even in <a href="">AMG</a> versions), as part of a bid to make the world’s biggest-selling Mercedes models do their bit to drive down the brand’s corporate carbon emissions. Sounds ominous to me.</p> <p>I wonder, in fact, how long it’ll be until we have another C-Class that represents such a titanic leap forwards for its maker as the ‘<a href="">W205</a>’ did; or that stands as such a potent symbol of success for a firm riding the crest of a Zetsche-era wave that propelled it beyond both <a href="">Audi</a> and <a href="">BMW</a> to become the world’s biggest-selling luxury car brand.</p> <p>The outgoing C-Class was a crowning achievement for its maker. When it appeared in 2014, it did what none of its forebears quite managed by so successfully miniaturizing the lavish ‘big Benz’ luxury character of its larger sibling saloons. It had big-saloon perceived quality, super-sophisticated onboard technology and greatly improved cabin space.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>To drive, it felt more comfortable and self-possessed as a refined, relaxed, mature choice in a saloon niche where its rivals squabbled over pre-eminent claims to ‘sportiness’. It looked great, too: every inch the boil-washed <a href="">S-Class </a>limo. When we sent out a <a href="">BMW 3-Series </a>to the European press launch on the Cote d’Azure, I wrote up the comparison – and it was one of the toughest verdicts I’ve written. At the time, as I remember, the Merc’s slightly agricultural 2.1-litre four-pot diesel gave the BMW’s better 2.0-litre just enough momentum to secure the win; but then that old engine was replaced as part of a mid-life facelift.</p> <p>And, boy, did it ever sell. Helped by local production and popularity in the increasingly important Chinese market, the W205 was Mercedes’ biggest-selling model year after year. Even last year, with a brand-new <a href="">A-Class hatchback </a>and countless newer SUVs for company, it continued to account for every fifth three-pointed star sold anywhere in the world.</p> <p>Very few car-makers can claim they’ve had a more successful decade than Mercedes, it strikes me – and that success story has been fuelled pretty squarely by a car whose qualities probably aren’t praised roundly or highly enough.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Richard Bremner's car of the decade: Tesla Model S</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Andrew Frankel's car of the decade: Alpine A110</a></strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong>Steve Cropley's car of the decade: McLaren MP4-12C?</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 Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 Our favourite video of 2019: Ariel Nomad vs Triumph Scrambler <a href="/car-news/features/our-favourite-video-2019-ariel-nomad-vs-triumph-scrambler"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Ariel Nomad vs Triumph Scrambler" title="Ariel Nomad vs Triumph Scrambler" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Even with a 0-60mph time of under 4sec, the Nomad struggled to stay close to the sprightly Scrambler</blockquote> Two and four-wheeled British marques battled off in our favourite video of the year. Our man in the Nomad reflects on the experience <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>This year, <a href="">Triumph</a> launched a new version of its <a href="">Scrambler</a> motorcycle. It’s a 1200cc twin and is almost as ruggedly handsome as the bloke riding it here, a former off-road champion called Matt Reed who runs the Triumph Adventure Riding Experience in Wales.</p> <p>Triumph was going to take the bike to Matt to shoot some promotional video in a deserted forest and, well, the short of it is that I love the <a href="">Ariel Nomad</a> and it had been a while since I last drove one. So I pitched up too.</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>So there we were, in Wales, with Reed on the motorcycle and me in the Nomad, and between us we came up with a long, rough circuit coursing through the trees, with a pretty simple brief to shoot some brilliant pictures and video and end up with a ‘lap’ time at the end of it, to decide which was quicker. A lap of a place I’d never been to before but where Reed operates on most days of his working life. (Sorry, just wanted to get my excuses in early.)</p> <p>You can buy the Scrambler in two forms, XC or XE, with this range-topping XE model getting better dampers and costing from £12,500. It’s a bit retro, to the extent that technically Triumph calls it a Bonneville derivative and lists it in its ‘modern classics’ range. In classic style it gets twin rear shocks, one each side of the wheel, whereas proper modern dirt bikes would have a single big shock mounted to a swing-arm ahead of the rear wheel, allowing greater and quicker suspension movement.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>But the bike magazines rate the Scrambler as much more serious than it looks. Triumph throws in a free GoPro video camera when you buy one, too, to encourage owners to take it on some adventures and bring back the footage.</p> <p>I know my way around four wheels a bit better than two, which is why I’d arrived in a Nomad, <a href="">Ariel’s </a>first foray into off-roading and still my favourite SUV. I know it’s only two-wheel drive but it’s as capable as any 4x4 I could want. Light and with a 245bhp, 2.4-litre <a href="">Honda</a> engine driving the back wheels through an H-pattern gearbox, I know it’s a riot. Ariel offers three sets of dampers, from ‘quite good’ through to ‘WRC-spec’, and on increasingly aggressive off-road tyres, with this example’s in the middle.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>There’ll be a new Nomad at some point, using some of the learnings from the latest Atom 4, but this one, launched in 2015, still has so much going for it. It weighs a little under 700kg and although you can get a supercharged version, 245bhp is plenty for me in dust like this. The Nomad is responsive and has a remarkable ability to smooth out or skip over lumps that most off-roaders would pound into. What I perhaps like most is that it retains a sports car-like balance on account of being so light, and rear-drive only.</p> <p>I got it around our course in 3min 42sec. It was a long course and I hadn’t seen it much before, okay? Reed went next on the Triumph and lapped 13 seconds faster than me, in 3m 29sec which, really, I didn’t think was too bad. If it was at the end rather than the start of the day I’d have better known where I was going and might have been closer. So it was more bloke beats bloke than bike beats car and I can live with that because the idea was to make a great vid. I think we did. You can find it, plus our other favourites from this year, online.</p> <p><strong>Our favourite 10 videos of the year</strong></p> <p><strong>What's the best?4x4?pick-up truck? </strong>Want to know which is the best 4x4 pick-up truck? Check here for a not entirely objective set of tests, although some do include pulling a Unimog.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="">McLaren</a> <a href="">F1</a> vs <a href="">P1</a> vs <a href="">Senna</a>: </strong>To get a McLaren F1 on a circuit is a special occasion. To line one up alongside both a P1 and a Senna is remarkable. One of our favourite videos ever.</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><strong>Restomods: <a href="">Alfaholics?GTA-R 290</a>, <a href="">JIA Interceptor?R</a>, <a href="">Tuthill?Porsche?911</a>: </strong>Old cars get given new leases of life thanks to creative people and some fabulous, if pricey, engineering.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Greatest <a href="">Porsche?GTS</a>: <a href="">Cayman?GT4 </a>meets?<a href="">911 GT2 RS</a> and?<a href="">GT3 RS</a>: </strong>What’s the best car in <a href="">Porsche’s</a> series of GT-badged cars? Is it 2, 3 or 4? We endeavoured to find out.</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><strong>Drag race: <a href="">BMW S1000RR</a> vs <a href="">McLaren 720S</a> vs <a href="">Ariel Atom?4</a>:</strong> Superbike?meets supercar meets a super car, albeit not a supercar, against the clock on a deserted runway.</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><strong><a href="">Porsche Taycan</a> review:?</strong>Porsche’s first EV, the Taycan super-saloon, gets driven on the road ahead of its public launch.</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><strong><a href="">Toyota Supra </a>vs <a href="">BMW M2 Competition</a>?vs <a href="">Alpine A110</a> vs <a href="">Porsche 718 Cayman</a>:</strong>?The sports car test of the year: the new Toyota Supra goes up against its closest rivals.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW E30 M3 </a>vs <a href="">E46 M3 CSL</a> vs M2 Competition: Which?is the best?M-Car?of all?time? </strong>Just how good is the latest BMW M2 Competition compared with others from the M-car back catalogue?</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><strong><a href="">Honda Integra?Type?R</a> meets?<a href="">2019 Civic?Type?R</a> (and?VTEC explained):</strong> How does the latest Civic Type R feel alongside perhaps the best-handling front-wheel-drive car of all time? Here’s the answer.</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><strong>How to build a supercar?/ <a href="">Honda?NSX </a>factory tour:</strong>?Ever wondered how you build a supercar? We went behind the scenes at the US factory where Honda builds the exclusive NSX.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Ariel Atom 4: A?wet road trip in the lightweight two-seater</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Ariel assault: Atom 4 and the Ace motorbike driven</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Top 10 best lightweights 2019</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 Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 Grand flicks: Autocar's favourite car movies <a href="/car-news/features/grand-flicks-autocars-favourite-car-movies"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Grand Prix" title="Grand Prix" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Strong plot and deft filming makes Grand Prix Frankel's choice</blockquote> We round up some of the best car-related films that will keep you strapped to your sofa this Christmas <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>If you're looking for a dose of automotive movie action instead of the usual Yuletide flicks this Christmas, take our advice and dig out these films that feature cars in leading roles.</p> <h3>Grand Prix (1966)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by John Frankenheimer; starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand</strong></p> <p>Grand Prix is just as well filmed as Steve McQueen’s Le Mans but comes with the sizeable benefit of actually having a plot. But my interest here is personal, because I once spent a day with its star, the late James Garner. He was so good he not only did all his own driving but also doubled for other actors who were too scared to get behind the wheel. And when he bails out of his burning ‘Yamura’ at Brands Hatch, that really is Garner you’re seeing. Far more importantly, he was also not only an incurable petrolhead but one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. <em>Andrew Frankel</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="506" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>School for Scoundrels (1960)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Robert Hamer; starring Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Alastair Sim</strong></p> <p>For a start, that wonderful celluloid cad and bounder Terry-Thomas is in it – and not only that, he’s also driving a Benelli. Well, actually an <a href="">Aston Martin DB3S</a>, but here’s your first clue that this is no ordinary film, which uses four-wheeled plot devices. Hero Ian Carmichael is conned by Peter Jones and Dennis Price into buying the preposterous Swiftmobile, which underneath the serpent and elephant bonnet ornament is actually a 4.5-litre <a href="">Bentley</a>. It all comes good in the end as Carmichael part-exchanges it for a <a href="">Healey 3000 </a>and £100. <em>James Ruppert</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="506" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>Cars (2006)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by John Lasseter and Joe Ranft; starring Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman</strong></p> <p>Yes, it’s a computer-animated kids film about a world populated by anthropomorphic cars. But beyond the talking cartoon jalopies and Nascar racers, Cars celebrates the joy and romance of open-road motoring like few other films. The characters’ personalities encapsulate the spirit of the (surprisingly accurate) cars they represent, while the plot – racer Lightning McQueen gets stuck in the sleepy town of Radiator Springs – is really a touching lament to a golden age of motoring ended by the rise of highways. Plus it helped to make petrolheads of a generation of kids growing up in a world hostile to cars. Sadly, follow-up Cars 2 was turgid, although I will forever love Cars 3 for containing a Jocko Flocko reference. <em>James Attwood</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="506" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>The Cannonball Run (1981)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Hal Needham; starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett</strong></p> <p>There’s no point pretending car chase films are high art; they’re all about entertainment. And you can’t get more entertaining than the hammed-up megastar-fest that was The Cannonball Run. The cast read like a Hollywood who’s who: Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Fonda and – most importantly – the god-like Burt Reynolds. All they did was have a daft race across the US, but it was hilarious: the cars were brilliant and the character cameos likewise. Jackie Chan drove a rocket-powered <a href="">Subaru GL</a>. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr dressed up as Catholic priests, for heaven’s sake. What’s not to like? I haven’t seen it for years, but as a teenager my best mate had a copy on VHS that we wore out over a couple of otherwise uneventful summers. And I will remember the title sequence, with the white <a href="">Lamborghini Countach</a> on the run from the patrol car that gets ‘resprayed’ red, for as long as I live. <em>Matt Saunders</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="506" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>Baby Driver (2017)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Edgar Wright; starring Ansel Elgort, John Hamm, Jamie Foxx</strong></p> <p>The exhilarating blend of epic driving scenes and hip soundtrack makes Baby Driver my winner. Main character Baby is a music lover coerced into working as a getaway driver for a crime kingpin. Cue the six-minute opening scene, with Baby pulling in to pick up his partners in a <a href="">Subaru Impreza</a> then driving like a (skilled) maniac to evade the police. It sets the tone for an outstanding driving movie scored by tunes such as Harlem Shuffle and Know How. <span>If only we could all be as cool as Baby</span>. <em>Rachel Burgess</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="498" src="" width="748" /></p> <h3>The Bourne Identity (2012)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Doug Liman; starring Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox</strong></p> <p>A drive from Zurich to Paris doesn’t sound promising but when the car is a <a href="">Mini</a>, even 10mph looks like a high-speed chase. Things really kick off, though, when Bourne is pursued through Paris. It was a stroke of genius to lump him with a Mini, because we find ourselves rooting for the little car. Obsessives can enjoy the way the crew had to swap it (early on the steering wheel says ‘Mini’ but later on ‘<a href="">Cooper</a>’) while manoeuvring the same <a href="">BMW 7 Series</a> into multiple scenes. Add cameo appearances from a cast of 1990s European hatchbacks and this is a car movie to savour. <em>John Evans</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="499" src="" width="748" /></p> <h3>Duel (1971)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Steven Spielberg; starring Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Carey Loftin</strong></p> <p>A nail-biting horror – and no, that’s not a description of the burbling Plymouth Valiant in which the great Dennis Weaver spends most of this movie sweating first in confusion, then in cold fear. Weaver plays salesman David Mann, who is cruising on a business trip through the Mojave desert when he inadvertently triggers road rage in the driver of a rust-riven tanker. Bad luck for our hero: the truck driver, who we never see, just happens to be a demented psychopath, who relentlessly pursues Mann’s Plymouth to an inevitable conclusion. The second feature from a promising young director foreshadows the chilling tension and sheer terror he’d tap back into four years later in a slightly more successful movie starring a shark. But forget about not going back in the water – Duel is your worst nightmare. <em>Damien Smith</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="355" src="" width="533" /></p> <h3>Le Mans (1971)</h3> <p><strong>Directed by Lee H Katzin; starring Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen</strong></p> <p>A lack of realism – affecting everything from the Fast & Furiouses to Rush – bothers me. Step forward, then, Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen and with action so authentic that the film crew had a camera car drive during the race itself, while an accident in filming cost David Piper his leg. McQueen was apparently an unpleasant man so is no hero of mine, but he was an intense on-screen presence to accompany what I think are the best car visuals – and sounds – ever put on the big screen. <em>Matt Prior</em></p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">The best cars from science-fiction movies</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Movie motors: where Hollywood finds its cars</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Racing lines: Le Mans '66's greatest triumph? Getting made</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 Thu, 26 Dec 2019 06:01:23 +0000 World's fastest tractor video review: 1000bhp JCB Fastrac driven <a href="/car-video/worlds-fastest-tractor-video-review-1000bhp-jcb-fastrac-driven"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="JCB Fastrac 2" /></a> Our festive road test subject is big, loud, and very fast. We get the technical low-down, then head out on a high-speed run <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The JCB Fastrac - with, er, a <em>few</em> modifications - has been crowned the world's fastest tractor.?</p> <p>Its driver, former bike racer and speed addict?Guy Martin, took the Fastrac to a world record speed of 135.191mph, with a peak speed of 153.771mph, in 2019.</p> <p>Now, for<a href=""> Autocar's famous Christmas Road Test</a>, we not only bring you a full walkaround and technical specification of the JCB Fastrac, but we drive it flat out too.</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>Matt Prior pulls on his race suit and helmet for the last time in 2019 to bring you one of the more unusual high-speed runs featured on <a href="">the Autocar YouTube channel</a>.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Christmas Road Test 2019: The world's fastest tractor</a></strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/festive-road-trip-christmas-hamper-hunting-bmw-520d-touring"><strong>Festive road trip: Christmas hamper hunting in a BMW 520d Touring</strong></a></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-news/features/2019s-best-cars-autocar-road-testers-christmas-dinner">2019's best cars: the Autocar road testers' Christmas dinner</a></strong></p> </div> Video Wed, 25 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Christmas road test: the world's fastest tractor <a href="/car-news/features/christmas-road-test-worlds-fastest-tractor"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="JCB Fastrac Two" title="JCB Fastrac Two" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The JCB Fastrac Two is the world's fastest tractor</blockquote> The JCB Fastrac has 150mph potential. Yes, really. We drive it <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Six months ago, this tractor did not exist. JCB had just set a new land speed record in a Fastrac tractor, an impressive 103mph. But, as you may have seen on Channel 4 recently, the JCB team and their nominated driver, Guy Martin, didn’t think that was fast enough.</p> <p>So JCB went away and didn’t just set about upgrading the tractor that has set the July record but built an entirely one, from the ground up. So now there are two very quick JCBs.</p> <p>In late October, this, the Fastrac Two, set a new world record for a modified tractor, at 135.191mph over a two-way average, with a peak speed at the end of Elvington’s runway of 153.771mph. Directly from there, it was taken to London and put on static display, and from there, it was trailered to Autocar’s preferred test base for this kind of thing, in Rutland. There, we became the only other people to date to drive the JCB Fastrac Two World’s Fastest Tractor. This year’s Christmas road test is the world’s fastest tractor.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Design and engineering</strong></p> <p>Tractors, by definition, are not designed to travel at fast speeds. ‘Traction’ units are designed to haul – using lots of torque – large, heavy objects. So making a tractor go fast is anathema to the agriculture/ construction business.</p> <p>The regular Fastrac has an innate advantage over most tractors in that it has a separate chassis, whereas most agricultural examples do not. They often don’t have rear suspension but instead suspend the cab on the drivetrain at the rear, with front suspension only. The Fastrac, meanwhile, has full suspension front and rear, which gives it better road manners than most tractors. And although the Fastrac has a slightly lower top speed than a Mercedes Unimog four-wheel-drive truck, it has a high top speed for a tractor. So as farms grow in size and fields may be miles apart, this means farmers can use a tractor rather than a truck.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>You’ll note that its top speed of 43mph, though, is still some way short of 155mph. So to make the WFT that fast while trying to keep it true to its tractorish roots required some extraordinary measures and it’s only when you see the two machines side by side that you really see the lengths JCB’s team has gone to.</p> <p>The Fastrac looks fairly dynamic for a normal tractor, but with a cab high above your head and tyres that come up to your eyeballs, it’s still a tractor. Next to it, the record-breaking Fastrac Two looks like a computer rendering of a concept.</p> <p>For one, it’s lower. The Fastrac has two deep chassis rails running from front to rear and the weight of those has been halved. It’s in kind of three sections: there’s a rear section around the suspension, a front section around the engine and a centre section near the cabin. The whole thing has been dropped, with the engine significantly lower and the front drivetrain, which makes the usual Fastrac four-wheel drive, removed. The conventional Fastrac uses a two-ratio CVT transmission, but the WFT doesn’t. Instead, JCB has brought in an old-school ZF six-speed H-pattern manual truck gearbox. Behind the ’box runs a beefier propshaft (albeit one from a tractor), running through to a rear axle that features a tractor crown wheel and pinion, with a spool differential that locks the rear wheel rotation together. In some ways, if you want to go fast in a straight line, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect set-up: a front-mounted, longitudinally positioned, perfectly smooth six-cylinder engine driving through a manual gearbox to a locked rear diff, with four big wheels aligned to point in the same direction.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Those wheels, incidentally, which come up to your shoulders rather than your head, are standard tractor affairs and built by GKN, the usual supplier, although they’re the smallest fitted to a JCB tractor and constructed to a tolerance of less than 1mm, rather than the usual 3mm. They also carry wheel weights, up to 1kg, to balance the tyres, which tractors don’t usually bother with because they don’t go fast enough.</p> <p>The tyres themselves still carry the ‘A8’ speed rating markings from the mould they’re made in – which is a 25mph-rated standard tractor tyre. However, they carry two internal bands to limit exterior expansion to no more than 2mm at 150mph, they have more natural rubber in the compound and they have had their tread pattern buffed down to 10mm from the standard 27mm. We suppose they could have gone further but this is, after all, still meant to be a tractor.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Aerodynamic body addenda diverts air around a standard-shaped bonnet (it’s aluminium rather than steel) and around a cabin that looks standard at a glance but is anything but. It has been reduced in width by 300mm and height by a further 200mm, so in all, its roof is 400mm lower than a normal Fastrac’s.</p> <p>Finally, then, to the details of probably the most important bit: the engine. In July, when JCB originally set the record, it had an engine that produced approximately 500bhp. It’s a JCB 672 engine, an inline sixcylinder pushrod four-valve diesel, and its power was good enough for three figures. But to go half as fast again, they wanted twice as much power. Which meant things got very, very serious, very quickly.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="623" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The new engine has the biggest turbocharger you’ll find fitted to a tractor. It produces 5.0 bar of boost and, as big turbos do, doesn’t boost big until it has a lot of air going into it. So there is an electrically powered supercharger to keep the turbo spinning at low revs, while during gearshifts on what is a leisurely H-pattern ’box, there is a scuba-dive tank at the rear, which fires air at 100 bar into the exhaust and keeps the turbo spinning while the clutch is in.</p> <p>So the big turbo is spinning all the time, which is ace. But a 141bhp-per-litre diesel generates lots of heat, which radiates into the intake air, which ideally you want cool. So there is a huge ice-cold water-to-air intercooler between the turbo and the intake manifold. JCB’s engineers load that with 25kg of ice prior to each run, and by the end of a runway, it’s all gone. But in the meantime, it’s taking air from the turbo at 280deg C and cooling it to 10deg C before it comes out of the intercooler.</p> <p>The air goes into the engine via standard inlet valves, into a cylinder whose compression ratio has been reduced from 18:1 to 11:1, via machining the tops of the standard pistons. They push on forged con-rods but do drive a standard crankshaft. The exhaust valves are the same size as usual, but because of the extreme combustion temperatures, they’re made from a different material, after which gases reach an exhaust manifold that is 3D printed from Inconel because it reaches nearly 1000deg C. It glows red not just when the engine is on a test bed, but even when it’s running at speed in cool air.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>So all of that combined gives this machine performance that we’ll come to in a moment but it also means it’s incredibly fragile at those power outputs. After the record runs, JCB discovered some microscopic cracks and saw torque peaks of up to 3300lb ft acting on the propshaft. So the wick was, sadly but inevitably, slightly turned down for our test, leaving us a little over 500bhp to get on with. That’s why the performance figures quoted here are from the record-setting runs, at which point in-gear the Fastrac Two will give a <a href="">Ford Focus RS </a>a run for its money at higher speeds. In the 500bhp form we ran it, and on a shortened runway, it still did 112mph and left a <a href="">Ford Ranger Raptor</a> in its wake.</p> <p><strong>Interior</strong></p> <p>If the outside looks like a tractor that could have rolled in from the set of a science fiction film, it is pure race car inside. There’s a single <a href="">Cobra</a> race bucket seat with head bolsters and a five-point harness and, around you in this fairly spartan cabin, there is polycarbonate instead of glass for the surfaces, with two escape hatches, a fire extinguisher and the biggest FIA-approved roll-cage we’ve seen bolted directly to the chassis. Fixed to that are a few screens: a Racelogic speedo hooked up to a GPS data logger, a tyre pressure and temperature sensor, and a big central screen, showing some temperatures and a rev counter.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>To your right is the six-speed ’box, with magnetic sensors at the end of each gate because different gears get a different throttle and torque map so as not to destroy the diff or spin up the wheels (a very real possibility, terrifyingly). Behind that is a flat panel with light switches, display switchgear and the most important thing of all: the start switch.</p> <p><strong>Performance</strong></p> <p>To start a conventional tractor, you turn a key, there’s some whirring and, after a while, away it goes, because these machines have big batteries and compressors and an alternator on board. The whole thing is self-contained.</p> <p>The WFT is not so simple because it has gone from being a machine you’d run all day for days on end to one you run briefly not very often. In taking it from nine tonnes to less than five tonnes, JCB opted to delete some equipment, in addition to giving it a lower and lighter chassis and making it slightly smaller. So there is no power take-off, for example, because there is no on-board compressor for hydraulics, or air. And, in fact, no alternator.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>So to start the WFT, you have to hook it up to a generator or battery on a truck, which then follows it around in case you stall. Not that there’s as much chance of that as is usual in valuable, rare cars, where a nervous owner will say: please, don’t slip the clutch because it costs a fortune, wears out quickly and nobody makes them any more. It’s different here. JCB designed an eight-plate clutch that runs in a huge bath of oil and is so robust that the way it is tested is to fit it to a tractor, running it at top speed while towing 20 tonnes, selecting reverse gear and slipping the clutch until the set-up is driving backwards.</p> <p>So it can easily handle the WFT’s five tonnes setting off from rest. JCB’s engineers suggest you select second gear, wind on 2500rpm (max revs are at a 3400rpm hard limiter and 3000rpm is a good change-up point) and slip the clutch almost all the way through second gear while keeping those revs high. This is slightly easier said than done when the clutch pedal is so light and there is no discernible feel through it but, once rolling, it’s that much easier.</p> <p>Even with less than maximum power, this is still a powertrain with a very narrow operating window. Guy Martin has said you could drive off into a field and plough with the WFT, which sounds great but is not even close to accurate. Running this is like an agricultural-sized F1 car.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Because of the low compression ratio, combustion doesn’t come easily if temperatures are too low so there is a grid heater to pre-warm air at low speeds (yes, that’s reheating air that has just passed through a massive intercooler), but this heater switches out as speeds and revs rise because the thinking is that there’s sufficient heat to keep combustion going nicely. In between those two states, though – once the grid heaters are off but before the tractor is going flat out – it doesn’t run happily. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the sort of low, constant speed that we like to drive at for photos and video. Here, the Fastrac Two is such a smoking, banging, recalcitrant mess that at one point we thought it had exploded. If you want to run at tractory speeds, then, you can’t: it likes to be at idle, or flat out.</p> <p>And flat out, it’s amazing. A support car like a Ford Ranger Raptor struggles to keep pace with it, even in its 500bhp tune. The performance figures on full power show it reaches 60mph from rest in 9.86sec, but the way this huge, five-tonne machine keeps on pulling is what’s so impressive.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Even on a far shorter runway and with much less power than during the record run at Elvington, we saw 112mph, which would have made us land speed record holders earlier this year and still leaves us the second-fastest tractor drivers in the world (if you don’t count JCB’s in-house testers). Which is quite pleasing.</p> <p>Once rolling, it’s surprisingly easy to keep the WFT going fast. After gearchanges, the clutch and engine take-up is no more difficult than in a regular car, you’ll never miss a gear on the big-gated manual gearbox and the in-gear flexibility comes without holes or torque gap. It’s a smooth and responsive if noisy engine.</p> <p>But then there’s the stopping. There are air brakes, massively over-served, and the standard discs are just as up to the job of stopping five tonnes from 150mph a few times on a runway as they are nine tonnes plus whatever it’s towing countless times on the road. But you’ll remember we said there is no on-board compressor: instead, two air canisters on the back must be filled before each outing, because they provide air to the system, and once they’re empty, they’re empty, and you’ll have no braking apart from an ineffectual parachute. The engineers think there are 40 stops in the tanks and they usually recharge well before 20. But still, worth remembering.</p> <p><strong>Handling and stability</strong></p> <p>The Fastrac Two runs nitrogen dampers on its three-link suspension, with live axles front and rear, and although the cabin is not suspended, ride comfort is pliant. Granted, we’re only running it on a runway, not in a field.</p> <p>The steering is hydraulic, with three turns between locks, and there is no direct mechanical link to the front wheels, so you can end up in a situation where the standard JCB steering wheel isn’t showing straight even though the wheels are pointed straight. But the only truly weird thing about the driving experience is remembering that the rear wheels are locked, so the turning circle is a runway’s width. It’ll do tighter turns but I don’t imagine the rear axle will thank you for it.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>But whatever crosswinds or headwinds, despite the blocky shape of the machine, this is a straight-line monster. It’s completely stable, with absolutely no drama whatsoever as you run it through the gears. Starting in second and getting through to fifth, it’s huge testament to its engineering that it doesn’t want to do anything other than track totally straight, despite all controls bar the throttle pedal being light. There’s no great brake feel and it’s a bit like a Dallara Stradale in that there’s a lot of movement in the pedal. And you don’t heel and toe: you just knock the stick into neutral and, when going slowly enough, slide it back into gear. It’s an undramatic but deeply, deeply impressive driving experience.</p> <p><strong>Buying and owning</strong></p> <p>JCB is disinclined to say just how much it has spent on not just one but two tractors, but it clearly thinks it’s worth it, not only as a marketing exercise but also, given it’s an engineering-led company, as a technical exercise. There has been some help from Williams (aerodynamics) and Ricardo (engine), an existing JCB partner already, but there’s no question this is an expensive machine to make and a complicated one to run. We started setting up the WFT at 8am and it wasn’t ready until midday, having been in a hangar with heaters blowing at its important bits for several hours because the gearbox oil is uninterested below 70deg C.</p> <p><strong>Verdict</strong></p> <p>What’s so refreshing and exciting about spending time with Fastrac Two is not just the machine itself, but also meeting the engineers who arrive with it, who designed it, who put it together and who run it. JCB has put a small, talented and young team in charge of the project in a similar fashion to the way <a href="">Lamborghini</a> put brilliant young engineers, designers and test drivers in charge of developing the <a href="">Miura</a>. And beyond the headlines and the JCBWFT hashtags and the TV programme and even the record itself, their experience matters most. Because although JCB knows that creating the world’s fastest tractor has benefit to it as a marketing tool, it also has massive merit as a technical exercise, and in the world of agricultural and construction equipment, engineering counts for more than styling, marketing or advertising.</p> <p>So here’s to a five-star speed record, a five-star machine and its five-star engineers. If you want to do 150mph in a tractor, there’s nobody we’d trust more.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Production one also world's fastest</strong></p> <p>JCB offers two base ranges of Fastrac tractor, the 4000 and 8000. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Fastrac Two record tractor is based on the higher-spec 8000 unit.</p> <p>The 8000 is the world’s fastest production tractor, with a top speed of 43mph. Chief among the differences is that the WFT uses JCB’s own engine, the 672 unit, which it puts in its own vehicles and sells to others (and is used in the 328mph Dieselmax land speed record car). The standard Fastrac 8000, though, uses an 8.4-litre engine from Finnish engine maker AGCO Power and it develops up to 349bhp and 1062lb ft.</p> <p>On a regular Fastrac, that torque goes to all four wheels via a two-range continuously variable transmission – low speed up to 25mph when pulling, the higher speed from rest to 43mph in lower-stress operation. The wheels have reduction hubs, too, so the wheels are spinning more slowly than the transmission – not something the WFT gets. The production tractor has electrohydraulic four-wheel-drive engagement and locking front and rear differentials, and vast options for electric and hydraulic power take-off front and rear.</p> <p><strong>Tester's Notes</strong></p> <p>It’s just about possible to climb up the rear tyre and swing into the cabin without stepping on the fragile body but easier to use a small set of steps.</p> <p>Although glass has been swapped for Plexiglass, standard door catches remain. Plus taped-in escape hatches.</p> <p><strong>Jobs for the facelift</strong></p> <p>? Fit some steps</p> <p>? Broaden the operating window</p> <p>? Refit a big hitch to go for a towing record. Your correspondents are available to drive</p> <p><strong>We like</strong></p> <p>? Strong straight-line performance</p> <p>? Impressive stability</p> <p>? Built so well that mammoth performance feels entirely effortless</p> <p><strong>We don't like</strong></p> <p>? Narrow operating temperature window</p> <p>? Rubbish at ploughing</p> <p><strong>Road test rivals</strong></p> <p><strong>JCB Fastrac Two WFT: </strong>Based on the 8000-series Fastrac, it’s the best and, in fact, only way to do 150mph in a tractor at the moment. Exquisitely built, and hard to run. It’s like an F1 team and car, only made much, much bigger.</p> <p><strong>Allis Chalmers D19:</strong> Ohio father and daughter tractor pull race veterans hit 108mph in their vintage Allis. They told “they’ll be waiting” if anybody else comes along and goes faster.</p> <p><strong>LeBlanc Track-Tor: </strong>Some motoring programme’s ‘tractor’, with a 500- horsepower 5.7-litre Chevrolet engine. Not entirely clear how much tractor there is beneath the orange paint. Currently SORNed.</p> <p><strong>JCB Fastrac 8330: </strong>The world’s fastest production tractor can pull 10 tonnes across a field and yet is still fully suspended, comfortable and as capable as some trucks on the road. A great British machine.</p> <p><strong>Bigtrak: </strong>Programmable six-wheeled electric toy that could trailer an apple to your dad, according to the adverts. Harder than it looked to achieve top speed without running into a sideboard.</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">2018 Christmas road test: RNLI Shannon Lifeboat review</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">2017 Christmas road test: 1948 Peppercorn A1 ‘Tornado’ steam locomotive review</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">2016?HMS Bulwark: Christmas road test</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, 25 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Frankel's big fat Christmas car quiz <a href="/car-news/features/frankels-big-fat-christmas-car-quiz"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Fiat 126" title="Fiat 126" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> What do the two-cylinder 500cc of a Fiat 126 and the 4.5-litre V12 that powered Ferrari to its first grand prix win in 1951 have in common?</blockquote> Stop your brain seizing up over the festive period with our motoring-themed quiz <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>If charades isn't your thing - never fear. Try our veteran car boff Frankel's Christmas quiz.</p> <p>The following 50 questions are all from the world of automotive. How many can you get right? Answers at the bottom of the page.</p> <p>1 - What animal will you find on the badge of a <a href="">Gordon Keeble</a>?</p> <p>2 - What was the name of Karl Benz’s wife?</p> <p>3 -?Which WW1 flying ace inspired <a href="">Enzo Ferrari</a> to use the prancing horse emblem?</p> <p>4 -?In which town and country were <a href="">Porsches</a> first built?</p> <p>5 -?Which two drivers put the equal greatest number of years between their first and last Le Mans wins?</p> <p>6 -?What do the two-cylinder 500cc of a <a href="">Fiat 126</a> and the 4.5-litre V12 that powered <a href="">Ferrari</a> to its first grand prix win in 1951 have in common?</p> <p>7 -?Who founded<a href=""> Alfa-Romeo</a>? Clue: it was not Nicola Romeo.</p> <p>8 - What do the three points on the <a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a> star represent?</p> <p>9 - What was the make and name of the first mainstream production radial tyre and on which car was it introduced?</p> <p>10 - From where was the famed <a href="">Aston Martin DB5</a> ‘gadget car’ from the film Goldfinger stolen in 1997?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>11 - What was unusual about the <a href="">Ferrari 166S</a> in which Clemente Biondetti contested the 1950 Italian Grand Prix?</p> <p>12 - What was unusual about the Kurtis Kraft that took pole position for the 1952 Indianapolis 500?</p> <p>13 - Which car manufacturer also makes condiment dispensers?</p> <p>14 - Which man was known as ‘the hyphen in<a href=""> Rolls-Royce</a>’?</p> <p>15 - What is the only car manufacturer selling cars in the UK whose name begins with a double letter?</p> <p>16 - Who was the only woman to finish in the points in a world championship grand prix?</p> <p>17 - Who was the first person to win a race in a car using disc brakes?</p> <p>18 - What and where was the world’s first purpose-built race track?</p> <p>19 - Which is the world’s oldest motorsport facility to have been in continual use?</p> <p>20 - What role in the James Bond film The Living Daylights did then <a href="">Aston Martin </a>chairman Victor Gauntlett turn down?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="576" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>21 - What is the unique claim to fame of Louis Chiron, after whom the <a href="">Bugatti Chiron</a> is named?</p> <p>22 - Why in 1964 did Porsche change the name of its new sports car from <a href="">901</a> to <a href="">911</a> after just 82 had been built?</p> <p>23 - What was unusual about Eddie Hall’s participation at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1950?</p> <p>24 - What four companies do the four rings of <a href="">Audi</a> represent?</p> <p>25 - What was unusual about the door bins of the <a href="">Lancia Stratos</a>?</p> <p>26 - Where are the interior door handles of a <a href="">McLaren Senna</a> located?</p> <p>27 - Who was the first person to travel at greater than 400, 500 and 600mph and where did he do it?</p> <p>28 - What was unusual about Vittorio Brambilla’s victory in the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix?</p> <p>29 - Which was the last grand prix not won by one of <a href="">Mercedes-Benz</a>, Ferrari or<a href=""> Red Bull</a>?</p> <p>30 - Which was the first production road car to use monocoque construction?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>31 - Which was the first production road car to use independent suspension?</p> <p>32 - Why did the 1939 <a href="">Bentley Corniche</a> fail to make it into production?</p> <p>33 - What was unique about the engine of the <a href="">Cizeta-Moroder</a>?</p> <p>34 - How many valves does a <a href="">Ferrari F355</a> engine have?</p> <p>35 - What was unusual about the <a href="">Ferrari Tipo 116</a> engine?</p> <p>36 - Which was the first production road car with a turbocharged engine?</p> <p>37 -?What was the name of Wales’s only indigenous production car manufacturer?</p> <p>38 - What were cars produced at the <a href="">BMW</a> Eisenach factory called after WW2 when the factory was located in East Germany?</p> <p>39 - What make of car was apparently driven by all Janis Joplin’s friends?</p> <p>40 -?What was the first car to come with anti-lock brakes?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>41 -?What was the only four-wheel-drive car to win a Formula 1 race?</p> <p>42 - For what is Eleanor Velasco Thornton most famous?</p> <p>43 - For what car was the engine of the <a href="">Ferrari F40 </a>originally conceived?</p> <p>44 - In which song does the following lyric appear? ‘Told my girl I’ll have to forget her/Rather buy me a new carburettor’</p> <p>45 - Who is the only driver to have scored maiden F1 victories for three different constructors?</p> <p>46 - Before what year is a car entitled to call itself ‘vintage’?</p> <p>47 - What is unusual about the <a href="">Citro?n 2CV Sahara</a>?</p> <p>48 - What was the nickname of Ferdinand Porsche, son of Ferry Porsche and designer of the 911?</p> <p>49 - For which two brands was the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix an F1 maiden win?</p> <p>50 - In which year did <a href="">Lotus</a> dealer <a href="">Caterham Cars </a>become a manufacturer in its own right when owner Graham Nearn bought the rights to the <a href="">Lotus 7</a>?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="746" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3>The Answers</h3> <p><strong>1</strong> Tortoise <strong>2</strong> Bertha <strong>3</strong> Francesco Baracca <strong>4</strong> Gmünd, Austria <strong>5</strong> Luigi Chinetti (1932-49), Hurley Haywood (1977-94) – 17 years <strong>6</strong> Both were designed by Aurelio Lampredi <strong>7</strong> Pierre Alexandre Darracq 8 Land, Sea, Air <strong>9</strong> Michelin X, Citro?n 2CV <strong>10</strong> Boca Raton airport. It has never been recovered</p> <p><strong>11</strong> It was powered by a Jaguar engine <strong>12</strong> It had a diesel engine <strong>13</strong> Peugeot <strong>14</strong> Claude Johnson <strong>15</strong> Ssangyong <strong>16</strong> Lella Lombardi. She scored 0.5 points in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix after the race was shortened from 75 to 29 laps <strong>17</strong> Stirling Moss in a Jaguar C-Type at Reims in 1952 <strong>18</strong> Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, which opened in 1907 <strong>19</strong> Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, founded in 1905 <strong>20</strong> KGB colonel</p> <p><strong>21</strong> He is the oldest person ever to take part in a World Championship Grand Prix, coming sixth at Monaco in 1955, aged 55 <strong>22</strong> Peugeot claimed the right to all three-digit numbers with a zero in the middle <strong>23</strong> He drove the race solo <strong>24</strong> Horch, DKW, Wanderer and Audi <strong>25</strong> They were shaped to accommodate a helmet <strong>26</strong> Above the occupants’ heads <strong>27</strong> Craig Breedlove, Bonneville Salt Flats, between 1963 and 1965 <strong>28</strong> He lost control and crashed his car after taking the chequered flag <strong>29</strong> 2013 Australian Grand Prix. It was won by Kimi R?ikk?nen, Lotus E21 <strong>30</strong> 1922 Lancia Lambda</p> <p><strong>31</strong> 1922 Lancia Lambda <strong>32</strong> A Luftwaffe bomb fell on the only prototype on Dieppe docks as it waited to go home <strong>33</strong> It was and remains the only transversely mounted V16 used in a road car <strong>34</strong> 40 <strong>35</strong> It had two cylinders <strong>36</strong> 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire <strong>37</strong> Gilbern <strong>38</strong> EMW <strong>39</strong> Porsche <strong>40</strong> Jensen FF</p> <p><strong>41</strong> Ferguson P99 in which Stirling Moss won the 1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup <strong>42</strong> She was reputedly the model for the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot <strong>43</strong> Lancia LC2 Group C racer <strong>44</strong> I’m In Love With My Car by Queen 45 Dan Gurney: Porsche, Brabham and Eagle <strong>46</strong> 1931 <strong>47</strong> It has two engines and four-wheel drive <strong>48</strong> Butzi <strong>49</strong> Honda and Goodyear <strong>50</strong> 1973</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">New Lotus Evija electric hypercar makes dynamic video debut</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Lotus Elan in frame as Boxster rival in revival plan</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Lotus at 70: the highs and lows</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, 25 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 Autocar magazine 24 December - on sale now <a href="/magazine"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar magazine 24th December - on sale now" /></a> New Seat Leon hot hatch detailed, Audi RS Q8 super SUV driven, Autocar's 2019 road test yearbook and more <div> <p>This week’s cover story reveals that a plug-in hybrid hot hatch will crown the line-up for <a href="">Seat’s</a> fifth-generation <a href="">Leon</a>, which is due to go on sale in 2020 following the arrival of its <a href=" review/volkswagen/golf/first-drives/volkswagen-golf-2020-review">Volkswagen Golf</a> sister car.</p> <p>Evolutionary styling, tech-heavy interior and new engines are all due at the <a href="">Geneva motor show</a> in March, but we’ve got all the details on the 241bhp PHEV ahead of launch.</p> <p><strong>ALSO IN THIS ISSUE</strong></p> <p>This week’s news section looks at <a href=" reviews/lamborghini">Lamborghini’s</a> plans to incorporate unique electric technology into its first hybrid supercars, using supercapacitors to store electricity in their bodywork. Meanwhile, <a href="">McLaren</a> has launched a new road-ready race-spec model. Christened the <a href=" shots-emerge">620R</a>, it is limited to only 350 examples and costs £250,000.</p> <p>Elsewhere, things are hotting up in the already competitive compact crossover segment as <a href="">Mercedes</a> reveals a new <a href=" prototype">GLA</a>, while <a href="">Toyota</a> puts the finishing touches on the next <a href=" cars/rally-bred-toyota-gr-yaris-hot-hatch-set-january-reveal">hot Yaris</a>.</p> <p>And as 2019 draws to a close, we look back on an eventful 12 months, analysing everything from <a href="">Tesla’s</a> unexpectedly good finances to the industry-changing merger agreement between <a href=" reveals">Fiat Chrysler</a> and <a href=" numbers-behind-fca-and-psa-merger">PSA</a>. We then expand our gaze to the whole of the last decade, counting down the main changes since 2010.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h4><strong>Reviews</strong></h4> <p>The <a href=" shows-la-motor-show/2020-audi-rs-q8-arrives-591bhp-mild-hybrid-v8">Audi RS Q8 </a>leads the way in this week’s first drives. We first <a href=" news/new-cars/2020-audi-rs-q8-first-ride-ring-record-breaking-suv">hitched a ride </a>in Ingolstadt’s super-SUV after its record-breaking lap around the Nürburgring, but now we’re doing the driving. We also get behind the wheel of the equally rapid <a href=" focused-radical-rapture-hits-goodwood">Radical Rapture</a> to see if a road-legal race car can deliver oodles of fun on the track while still being usable away from it. Next, it’s the turn of the all-new <a href=" show/new-vauxhall-corsa-and-corsa-e-make-joint-public-debut">Vauxhall Corsa</a>, which gains an aggressive new look and a price bump, before the <a href=" uk">Volvo S60 T8</a> steps up to the challenge of the Autocar road test. The S60 aims to combine plug-in hybrid economy and performance saloon pace, but does this ostensibly promising combo yield fruit?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Features</strong></h3> <p>To mark the last issue of 2019, we reflect on the last twelve months of the automotive industry. Our bumper road test yearbook covers motor shows, new car reveals, industry shake-ups and, of course, every car subjected to the notoriously demanding Autocar road test. From chunky crossovers to lithe-limbed track cars, we’ve put a huge selection of classes and models through their paces this year, and now we get to look back to see what stood out the most.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Opinions</strong></p> <p>It’s been another busy week for Steve Cropley, with a sit down with legendary engineer Gordan Murray and an evening of sophisticated motoring chat with the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club. Elsewhere, Matt Prior ponders the pleasures of a clean(ish) notebook.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src=" image/public/t.50_rear_shot_copy.jpg?itok=undugbGc" width="900" /></p> <h3><strong>Deals</strong></h3> <p>Swapping a van for an estate car throws up a lot of choices, according to James Ruppert, with everything from a <a href=" review/saab/9-3-2002-2011">Saab 9-3 D </a>to the<a href=" review/mazda/6"> Mazda 6 </a>viable options. In our nearly new buying guide, we shine a light on the catwalk-ready lines of the 2016 <a href=" benz/e-class">Mercedes E-Class</a>. Once £36,000, you can now nab a good one for less than half that. The <a href=" guides/used-alfas-anyone-here-are-my-favourite-secondhand-hard-tops">Alfa 156</a> is another stunning car, but requires a thorough vetting before you pull the trigger. We steer you through the minefields of potential ownership in our used guide.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Where to buy</strong></p> <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 Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:56:46 +0000 Autocar's 10 most-read reviews of 2019 <a href="/car-news/features/autocars-10-most-read-reviews-2019"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Autocar's top 10 reviews of 2019" /></a> We round up the most important reviews from one of the most varied and surprising years in Autocar history <div> <p>2019 saw hundreds of new cars introduced and driven for the first time. But which were the ones that resonated most with Autocar's readers?</p> <p>These are the ten reviews that proved the most popular over the past twelve months - and, while there are a few familiar faces, there are one or two surprises as well.</p> <p><strong>10. <a href="/car-review/mclaren/600lt-spider">McLaren 600LT Spider?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> 4.5/5?</p> <p><em>“Convertible supercars of the calibre of the 600LT Spider, so little afflicted by dynamic compromise compared with their fixed-roof relatives and so compelling to drive at their best, are truly rare.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The 600LT is no stranger to praise on this site, having shown us a good time on a 48-hour blast back from Romania, before going on to defeat all comers in 2018’s Britain’s Best Driver’s Car contest. It’s not really a surprise, then, that the new Spider version nabbed itself a four-and-a-half-star verdict in its road test earlier this year. Removing the roof just adds another layer of enjoyment to driving the 600, and even its?weighty convertible mechanism doesn't tarnish the poise and engagement offered by its taut chassis and Trofeo R tyre combination.?</p> <p><strong>9. <a href="/car-review/volkswagen/id-3/first-drives/volkswagen-id-3-2020-review">Volkswagen ID 3?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> 4.5/5</p> <p><em>“The most encouraging sign we gleaned? That this isn’t just a credible new EV, but an interesting small car with plenty else besides zero emission to recommend it, and feels like an authentic VW to boot.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Ah, a rear-motored Volkswagen that's destined to reshape the automotive world with minimalistic styling, class-leading affordability and a deep-seated commitment to practicality. Sound familiar? Well, it should. Wolfsburg is no stranger to making motoring history, and the new ID 3 is tipped to attain the same dizzying heights as its Beetle and Golf forebears. A spin in a disguised prototype gave us an indication of just how easy the firm’s new flagship will be to pilot in urban environments, and suggested that the company’s claims of a 250mile-plus real-world range are far from just PR puff.?</p> <p><strong>8. <a href="/car-review/porsche/taycan">Porsche Taycan?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> 4.5/5?</p> <p><em>“It’s better to drive than a Panamera or Cayenne, or Model S or Jaguar I-Pace or Audi E-tron. I think the only times I’ve enjoyed an EV more are driving a Renault Twizy, the original Tesla Roadster, or a Nissan Leaf with plastic back tyres and that was all kinda different.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Early impressions of the Taycan were that a Porsche doesn’t stop being a Porsche when you throw away the flat-six (or V8, or V6, or even turbo flat-four…). Here’s an EV that competently disguises its 2.3-tonne kerbweight in corners, and is so mind-bendingly fast in a straight line that it leaves conventionally fuelled rivals for dust. It’s a sign that driving for fun needn’t become a phenomenon of the past, and that electrification could bring us sports cars with less compromise than we’ve ever seen before.?</p> <p><strong>7. <a href="/car-review/toyota/supra">Toyota Supra</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> 4/5?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><em>“Perhaps we’ll be treated, in years to come, to a Supra with a manual gearbox and an engine to truly rise above the mid-engined alternatives, with even sharper handling and with less compromise made for the benefit of touring comfort.”</em></p> <p>No unveiling this year seemed to provoke as much debate among enthusiasts as Toyota’s new GR Supra. The BMW Z4-based coupé had a lot to live up to, and fans were concerned that an automatic gearbox and Munich-developed straight-six engine might not complement?the lineage of its?revered predecessors. Happily, though, the fifth iteration is far from a?disappointment. A row-your-own gearbox option wouldn’t go amiss, and we can’t ignore the more flagrantly Germanic interior elements, but addictive straight-line performance and confident handling characteristics are proof that this is a Supra in more than just name.?</p> <p><strong>6.?<a href="/car-review/mg-motor/zs-ev">MG ZS EV?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict: </strong>3/5??</p> <p><em>“By all measures, this is a seriously affordable and impressively practical electric vehicle, with a powertrain that offers perfectly agreeable performance and drivability.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A budget-friendly compact SUV may seem a surprising?inclusion in our ‘top reviews of 2020’ rundown, but there’s no denying the significance of the ZS EV. Not only is it the reborn MG’s first electric car, but it’s also one of the UK’s most affordable, the first examples to be driven out of UK dealerships cost?a hair under £22,000 - significantly less than its Kia E-Niro and Nissan Leaf rivals. Our testers weren’t fans of the model’s sub-par handling or comparatively low real-world range, but the ZS EV?certainly marks an early step in the democratisation of electric motoring.</p> <p><strong>5. <a href="/car-review/volkswagen/golf/first-drives/volkswagen-golf-2020-review">Volkswagen Golf</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict: </strong>4.5/5?</p> <p><em>“The attention to detail in its engineering gives the new Volkswagen an immediate feeling of deep-seated integrity from the very first mile.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>A good start from one of Volkswagen’s most important new models (even in spite of the arrival of the pivotal ID 3 electric hatch). Our first stint behind the wheel of the finished product highlighted a pleasingly practical interior layout, a decent amount of ‘oomph’ in the mid-range and nicely judged handling from the familiar MQB platform. It remains to be seen how the Golf will fare on harsher UK roads, and in different guises, but it’s sure to remain in contention for family hatch greatness in any case.?</p> <p><strong>4. <a href="/car-review/bmw/3-series">BMW 3 Series</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> 5/5?</p> <p><em>“The BMW 320d has been as consistent a contender for the title of ‘best car in the real world’ as the industry has made in decades – and the new G20 version has unquestionably raised its game.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Recipient of one of just two five-star verdicts issued by our road test team in 2019, the new G20 BMW 3 Series scored high marks across the board for performance, frugality, refinement and dynamism. Testers brought to attention its real-world fuel consumption of roughly 60mpg, a frugality that belies the saloon’s ability to sprint to nearly 150mph as quickly as most bona fide sports cars. All that’s left to find out is how well the formula will translate to the 500bhp-plus 2020 M3...</p> <p><strong>3.<a href="/car-review/ford/focus">?Ford Focus?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict: </strong>4.5/5</p> <p><em>“What makes [the Focus] an even more compelling prospect, is that it’s now better than ever at what has always been its raison d’être: the way it drives.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We like the fourth-generation Ford Focus;?our road test concluded it was more practical, more attractive and more technologically advanced than any Focus to have gone before. When we subsequently brought the test car back for a stint on our long-term fleet, it continued to impress with engaging handling and unfaltering usability, establishing itself as a true contender for the all-conquering Golf.?</p> <p><strong>2. <a href="/car-news/new-cars/first-ride-2020-land-rover-defender-prototype">Land Rover Defender</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> N/A</p> <p><em>“No rigid axles, eh? And no separate chassis? Lordy – there’ll be much muttering among the green welly crowd on that score. That’ll be why it feels so comfy, modern and dynamically sophisticated, then.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>We couldn’t wait for the wraps to come off Land Rover’s reinvented Defender. In the lengthy run-up to the 4x4 icon’s rebirth, fans and critics alike were extremely vocal about what it needed to do, with doubts centred around whether it would be able to demonstrate the same rugged dependability as its forebear. Thankfully, our first ride at Land Rover’s Midlands-based off-road test track laid to rest any concerns that the blocky British icon would be incapable on the rough stuff, and made us excited about getting our hands on a production-ready version in early 2020.?</p> <p><strong>1.?<a href="/car-review/tesla/model-3">Tesla Model 3?</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Rating:</strong> 4/5</p> <p><em>“We suspect plenty will embrace this car just as it is – more than enough, at any rate, to fuel the continued growth of its maker, to spread the reach of electric cars by quite some way.”</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="596" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Tesla’s first ‘affordable’ model was unveiled to great fanfare back in 2016, but only made its way to this side of the pond in summer 2019. We put the Model 3 up against the formidable new BMW 3 Series initially - to see if it stood a chance of claiming the executive saloon top spot - before subjecting it to a full road test in mid-spec Standard Range Plus guise. A 254-mile range and sub-£40,000 price tag make it an attractive proposition for any driver looking to make the switch from internal combustion, and it impressed our testers with its addictive performance and genuine all-round usability.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/2019s-best-cars-autocar-road-testers-christmas-dinner"><strong>2019's best cars: the Autocar road testers' Christmas dinner?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/cars-autocar-team-bought-2019"><strong>The cars the Autocar team bought in 2019</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-reviews"><b>All the reviews from 2019</b></a></p> </div> News Tue, 24 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 2019's best cars: the Autocar road testers' Christmas dinner <a href="/car-news/features/2019s-best-cars-autocar-road-testers-christmas-dinner"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="Christmas road test" title="Christmas road test" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> The road testers' Christmas lunch: a meeting of cars, minds and strong appetites </blockquote> Autocar’s merry band of road testers has once again convened to discuss the merits of their favourite cars of the year. Can they all agree on a winner? <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>Just make sure you’re at the Beckford Arms by 9am, said Saunders, our organiser, not sounding excessively Christmassy. Truth be told, 9am did seem a touch early for something billed as a convivial pub lunch where a group of road-testing mates would embrace the Christmas spirit, especially as said Georgian public house is a good two hours from the office in wildest Wiltshire.</p> <p>Of course, we knew the real reason for the early start. The one thing about gatherings of drivers and cars – from which words and photographs will be extracted – is that they begin in an early, time-eating frenzy of car arranging and cleaning, followed by an extended bout of camera action and then some more arranging and shooting after that, just to be sure.</p> <p>Then will come action shots, during which (especially at this time of the year) the cars get covered with road gunge in their first 100 yards, so you’ll have to clean them again. Sure, there will be a nice lunch in the middle of it all, but the surrounding activities will ensure the day doesn’t end until daylight runs out around 4.30pm – and I’ve seen many a photographer (to a person, they’re obsessives) extend winter shoots by illuminating one car with the headlights of another.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Not that I want to sound less than profoundly enthusiastic about our Christmas junket: this was, after all, a gathering of the finest road-testing talent this side of the equator; a team of enthusiasts driving and gassing as usual about their favourite cars and little else. For a whole day.</p> <p>Besides road test editor Matt Saunders, who chose to appear in a vast red and black <a href="">Jeep Wrangler Rubicon</a>, there was Matt Prior in a svelte 600bhp <a href="">Polestar 1 </a>plug-in hybrid coupé, Andrew Frankel in a magisterial <a href="">Porsche 911</a> and James Disdale in a <a href="">BMW 320d Touring</a>, his version of 2019’s perfect family car. Simon Davis’s choice was a <a href="">Toyota Supra</a>, almost scary in its extreme yellowness, and Ricky Lane’s <a href="">McLaren 600LT</a> was the major eye-grabber of the group despite a calm grey-green paint job. Finally, there was me in a white <a href="">Tesla Model 3 Long Range</a>, a car that has profoundly surprised and impressed me during the year. I looked forward to justifying my choice to the blokes.</p> <p>This event has become an Autocar Christmas fixture: we each choose a recently launched car that we especially like, ideally to illustrate a personal preference in cars per se, and we take it to a photogenic location, with lunch attached. We drive, eat, talk, snap and finally head homeward, realising as the year ends how greatly we love this job and want to keep doing it next year. Also just how different from one another a clutch of great cars always are. “There are no really bad cars any more” goes the pub litany, and that’s just about true. But this year-end exercise always shows how diversified cars continue to be and how healthy that is for buyers, drivers and the industry that makes them.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Last year, we chose a far-flung location atop coastal cliffs in Devon, not far from the northern edge of Exmoor. This year’s destination, the Beckford Arms near Tisbury, is a pub in which I’ve dined a dozen times with friends who live nearby, never failing to have a good time. When we approached them with our Christmas plans, the proprietors were friendly and obliging, giving us the run of a large apron in front of their imposing building. (There was a large car park at the side for patrons whose routine was likely to be disrupted by our seven-car set-up.) I already knew the cuisine was great and the building had a beautiful bay window enveloping a large luncheon table through which – later – photographer Max Edleston would be able to frame food, people and cars in one image.</p> <p>If all that wasn’t enough, the Beckford Arms stands at the top of a picturesque avenue running through the beautiful Fonthill estate, flanked at this time of the year by the exotic colours of late autumn trees in echelon. The pub is at one end and a magnificent stone arch stands a mile away at the other. This was our almost-private drive for the day…</p> <p>Saunders was late, protesting about the traffic as is traditional for people who don’t get up on time. We had the other six cars in their camera positions by the time he arrived around 10, so no time lost. It was the sunniest, bluest, crispest, most perfect day (after a week of unending dankness) so Max was practically in orbit. That’s another thing about photographers: when the weather’s decent, they get excited and start giggling and running about with the excitement of it all. While Max ran, we talked cars…</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Polestar 1 - Matt Prior</strong></p> <p>Our silver-tongued editor-at-large showed up in the coupé flagship for an all-new Swedish-Chinese electric marque, despite the fact that all Polestar 1s were supposed to be in Italy doing their stuff on the European launch. At the outset of our talk, he quoted from his first drive story a few months ago: he has been charmed by the car but also called it “nerdy, weird and expensive”.</p> <p>A vital point of enjoyment for Prior is that the Polestar 1’s ultra-rigid carbonfibre structure has a passive suspension beneath, featuring highly sophisticated 22-stage Ohlins dampers. “I just like it,” said Prior. “They could have given it air springs and adaptive dampers like everything else in the price range, but instead they thought: let’s tune this to be sporty and have a bit of fun.”</p> <p>The fact that it’s got 600bhp plus a sophisticated PHEV powertrain featuring advanced torque vectoring – most noticeable when you’re playing in high-speed corners – means it never feels like a Volvo, something that might have been a concern.</p> <p>“I love the bodystyling,” said Prior. “It’s impressive, but it’s also the kind of car you can take anywhere. The <a href="">Volvo</a>-inspired cabin shows it can be comfortably stretched to £140,000 and I especially like the wit of the transparent panel over the electrical gubbins in the boot that makes it look like a flux capacitor. It’s great and, above all, it’s cool.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Porsche 911 - Andrew Frankel</strong></p> <p>We should have known Frankel would appear in a Porsche 911. He’s a lifelong devotee, a former owner, and has punted more rear-engined Porkers than most of us have driven <a href="">Vauxhalls</a>. What’s more, he’d freshly witnessed the stellar performance of this very car at our recent Britain’s Best Driver’s Car contest, based on the Anglesey circuit.</p> <p>But there’s far more to his regard for this car than that. Frankel sees a palpable gap between the capabilities of this <a href="">992</a>-series 911 and last year’s 991: “It’s a quiet car, a comfortable car, and everything works so well now. It has a total, leave it outside, get it dirty, use it and abuse it capability, but when you need it to perform, it’s absolutely magical. I just don’t buy what people say about the latest 911 being too big. Sure, it’s bigger than older 911s, but if you relate it to rivals like the <a href="">Audi R8</a>, it feels compact.</p> <p>“Originally, I felt slightly affronted by the idea of a turbo for every 911, but the way this car’s engine uses the torque to challenge the chassis, and makes good sense of the gear ratios, means it’s a better car than any predecessor.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Jeep Wrangler - Matt Saunders</strong></p> <p>For Saunders, the new Wrangler’s story is mostly about toughness and versatility – he loves cars like that – but it’s also about <a href="">Jeep’s</a> classy new iteration of a classic model: “The previous edition didn’t move the dial. It didn’t look or feel special, although it did the big thing, which was to keep Wrangler traditions alive.</p> <p>“This one’s much better executed. You’d never mistake what it is – it’s like the Porsche 911 in that way – but it’s clearly better designed and built. You soon form a decent mind picture of the customer it’ll attract, someone who understands it and may have owned other Wranglers. It’s all about lifestyle: you can imagine towing a caravan to the Lakes with the kids aboard, then ditching the doors and folding the screen, sticking a barbecue in the back and heading to the water. Jeep has been consistent with this model, and now that the <a href="">Land Rover Defender</a> has moved away from having a frame chassis and ‘proper’ axles, there’s nothing like it.”</p> <p>The Wrangler isn’t exactly refined, said Saunders, especially with the hardcore Rubicon’s knobbly tyres fitted. “The refinement doesn’t match regular SUV standards,” he said, “but if you have a normal family car and only this for ordinary driving now and again, it’s absolutely fine.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="695" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Toyota Supra - Simon Davis</strong></p> <p>Very few cars are quite as yellow as the new Toyota Supra that Simon Davis brought to our lunch venue, but it certainly wasn’t the paint job that encouraged him to choose it. It was something more cerebral. “It’s not that I’m a massive fan of the way the Supra drives,” he said, “although it’s pretty good. Mainly, I like what it says about <a href="">Toyota</a> and the future.</p> <p>“At a time when performance car projects are being shelved – especially by companies well into hybrids and electrification – this represents a heartening commitment to pure performance cars by Toyota. A rear-drive straight six is a brave model to launch today. More than that, the Supra introduces a new design language, has been deliberately configured to encourage aftermarket tuners and runs alongside a renewed <a href="">GT86 </a>programme. Toyota clearly means what it says.”</p> <p>Sure, the Supra looks like a <a href="">BMW</a> inside, Davis admitted, which has encouraged some critics to label the Supra a BMW in different clothes. But if this is how you sustain great sports cars, said Davis, then we enthusiasts should be happy. It gets agreed around the lunch table that this Toyota is a bit sharper to drive than its <a href="">BMW Z4</a> relative – quite a result for the Japanese.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>BMW 320D xDrive Touring - James Disdale</strong></p> <p>Soon after arrival at Beckford in a neat-looking BMW estate, Disdale began to take criticism for being “the guy who’d brought the pool car”. Of our seven choices, his was the cheapest and most common. But that, he robustly argued, didn’t prevent his choice from being both apt and impressive.</p> <p>“It’s one of those rare cars that strikes you as being all the car you’ll ever need,” he said, citing his own situation as a married man with a young family. “They used to call the <a href="">Merc S-Class </a>the best car in the world, but given the progress of technology and quality, and taking into account its more sensible size, I’d say that accolade now belongs to the <a href="">BMW 3 Series</a>.”</p> <p>Why a 320d? Because it’s torquey, decently quick and sensationally economical. The top-end performance of the <a href="">pricier 330d </a>that Disdale could have chosen would rarely be utilised. Why an estate? Because it’s as good as a similar-sized SUV without the economy-sapping frontal area. Why an xDrive? Because it often rains in Blighty, and sometimes snows.</p> <p>In the end, it was Disdale’s sheer enthusiasm for this very available model that sold it to the rest of us. “We all love cars,” he declared, “but mostly we can’t have <a href="">McLarens</a>. In a 320d, you’ll still want to take the long way home.”</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Tesla Model 3 - Steve Cropley</strong></p> <p>On a first drive earlier this year, I was deeply impressed with the Tesla Model 3, and not just because of the usual electric car stuff – refinement and acceleration. It was a major shock to see how well the company had kicked on from its bigger, less advanced, much more expensive <a href="">Models S</a> and <a href="">X</a> to produce a car whose entry level (after £3500 of UK government aid) started at only £38,500 – not far above well-praised Japanese and Korean battery-electric vehicles with less performance and shorter ranges.</p> <p>Throw in the existence of Long Range (350 miles) and Performance (0-60mph in 3.2 sec) models and you had a simple but comprehensive model line-up. My own mini comparison of a single-motor Model 3 Standard against a <a href="">Jaguar XE</a> earlier this year showed that the quality and finish of materials were now acceptable. I yearned to drive one of the twin-motor four-wheel-drive Model 3s – and this came to pass on the Beckford run. My 280-mile three-legged trip to Wiltshire from London via Coventry was easy. The Long Range proved that it will do a reliable 300 miles, even in winter.</p> <p>But there was more to my appreciation of this car than dynamics. I love <a href="">Tesla’s</a> screen-based info-switchgear layout. The seats are brilliant, the ride is firm but decent and there’s not much intrusion of road noise into the cabin, given the near silence of the powertrain. Six months ago, I’d have been profoundly surprised. Not now.</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>McLaren 600LT - Richard Lane</strong></p> <p>Lane is solidly addicted to supercars and rates the 600LT as one of McLaren’s best, especially on engine note grounds. Which is an achievement: “<a href="">Ferrari</a> and <a href="">Lamborghini</a> have had many decades of tuning exhausts – they’ve shown it’s an art form – but the 600LT is McLaren’s best yet and the Spider body, with that little roll-down rear window, lets you appreciate it best.”</p> <p>Engine “music”, said Lane, is starting to match McLaren’s other, more generally agreed areas of excellence: the driving position, visibility, steering and layout of major controls. Other somewhat crustier members of Autocar’s road test fraternity were a shade sceptical of Lane’s emphasis on noise, but everyone concurred the 600LT takes McLaren to a place, dynamically, above more mainstream relatives.</p> <p>Our table agreed there’s more ‘daylight’ between a 600LT and a <a href="">570S</a> (about £40,000 cheaper) than a <a href="">Ferrari 488</a> and a rarer, pricier <a href="">Pista</a>. This, stated Frankel – possessor, arguably, of the loudest voice – is the real argument in favour of the 600LT. If you want a wonderful noise, buy a <a href="">Lamborghini Huracán</a>, he said. That car emits a noise “so fabulous, you want it played at your funeral”!</p> <p><strong>Our most eagerly awaited cars in 2020</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="473" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Volkswagen ID 3</a>?- James Disdale</strong></p> <p><strong>?</strong>A rear-engined <a href="">VW</a> designed to mobilise the masses as efficiently as possible? We’ve been here before. But there’s every reason to believe this innovative electric hatch could prove just as significant as the Beetle turned out to be.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Audi RS6 Avant</a>?- Simon Davis</strong></p> <p>Early reports suggest this new RS6 has been injected with some of the much-needed panache and engagement recent <a href="">Audi Sport</a> models have lacked. That it also looks the bee’s knees, and retains a V8 engine, is encouraging, too.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Porsche Taycan</a>?- Matt Saunders</strong></p> <p><strong>?</strong>The electric car is set to take a huge leap next year. I haven’t driven a Taycan, which should be a pretty memorable occasion – but I wonder if introducing the VW ID 3 to its rivals might be even more important. Watch this space.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW M2 CS</a>?- Richard Lane</strong></p> <p>Come on, this is obvious. The M2 was very good and the M2 Competition sensational, with its muscle-car character and dynamic precision. The lighter CS should be better still, and you’ll even be able to have a manual ’box. Heaven.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Fiat 500</a>?- Matt Prior</strong></p> <p>Loads to anticipate in 2020 from a professional and technical standpoint. And where the city car goes next (if anywhere) will be fascinating. And I love small, light, cheap cars. So sign me as excited for the next Fiat 500.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Land Rover Defender</a>?- Steve Cropley</strong></p> <p>Phew! There are so many. But the serious choice has to be between<a href=""> Aston DBX</a> and Land Rover Defender, two cars whose fortunes are crucial to their makers. Do I really have to choose? Oh, all right, Defender…?</p> <p><strong>The cars that disappointed us?most in 2019</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Lamborghini Huracan Evo</a>?- James Disdale</strong></p> <p>?After the sublime <a href="">Performante</a>, hopes were high for the Evo. Yet what we got was half-baked. The engine is a masterpiece but the chassis feels like the front and rear axles have been developed by different teams who never spoke to each other.<em>?</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Toyota Yaris GR Sport</a>?- Simon Davis?</strong></p> <p>What an entirely ill-conceived car: a 98bhp hybrid supermini with effectively the chassis from the excellent <a href="">Yaris GRMN</a>. So not only does it barely have enough power to get out of its own way, but it’s also a city car with a fiendishly sharp-edged ride.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="/car-review/bmw/z4">BMW Z4</a> - Matt Saunders</strong>?</p> <p>I didn’t really dislike it but was sad at its lack of ambition. To be honest, a new 3 Series is a better driver’s car than this two-seat convertible and that is absolutely not how it should be. I’ve been waiting for years for stock Z-cars to raise their games. The wait continues.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Lamborghini Urus</a>?- Andrew Frankel</strong></p> <p>There’s just no hiding the clear sense of loathing of the wider world around you when driving one of these. I was shocked by how fast it was, and how capable on track, but I ended up feeling all the worse about myself for how much less I cared about my impact on those around me.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Mini John Cooper Works</a>?- Matt Prior</strong></p> <p>Not the worst car I’ve driven but the one that makes the least of its constituent parts. It has all the right ingredients. So why is it hyperactive on turn-in and so unsettled all the time? So uncomfortable yet unfocused? A missed goal.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW 7 Series</a>?- Richard Lane</strong></p> <p>BMW has raised the 7 Series’ game in terms of rolling refinement, cabin opulence and, most of all, the freakish way in which this luxo-barge will take apart roads better suited to hot hatches. But that grille is still unforgivable. Moreover, it’s likely a bellwether for BMW’s design future.?</p> <p><strong>The cars that surprised us?most in 2019</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">BMW 1 Series</a>?- James Disdale</strong></p> <p>A front-drive 1 Series? Surely, BMW had blown it this time? Yet it works, and brilliantly at that. It’s brimming with driver-centric entertainment, yet with the packaging that finally makes it work as a properly practical family hatchback.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Aston Martin Vantage Manual</a>?- Simon Davis</strong></p> <p>?Never entirely warmed to the Vantage when I first drove it, but I’m a big fan of the manual. The meaty dog-leg ’box really helps extract an extra level of charm and character from Aston’s baby sports car.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Toyota Corolla Touring Sports</a>?- Matt Saunders</strong></p> <p>Two surprises here: first, that Toyota’s <a href="">Focus</a> rival could take such a dynamic leap forward, and second, that it could be offered with a four-pot hybrid powerplant with clear sporting appeal.<em>?</em></p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Ferrari Portofino</a>?- Andrew Frankel</strong></p> <p>This is a Ferrari for people only interested in the image they project, not the car they drive. Right? Wrong, it turns out. I was amazed at how improved it is over the California. Bodes well for the<a href=""> new Roma</a>.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="599" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong><a href="">Alfaholics GTA-R 290</a>?- Matt Prior</strong></p> <p>I’d read good things about what Alfaholics did to 105-series <a href="">Alfa</a> coupés but didn’t expect this to be one of the best 10 cars I’ve ever driven. Magical handling and an engine and transmission that are old-school involving.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p><strong>Tesla Model 3 - Steve?Cropley</strong></p> <p>Sorry to be one-speed about this. I’d thought of Teslas as rather crude, cumbersome and poorly finished, but the Model 3 – even with basic single engine – has a well-packaged interior, looks great, is sized to suit UK roads and always fun.?</p> <p><strong>READ MORE</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Britain's Best Driver's Car 2019: Meet the contenders</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">The 50 greatest cars on sale now</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Car of the Year 2020 – the shortlist</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, 24 Dec 2019 06:01:24 +0000 New 2020 McLaren Speedtail hits 250mph in final tests <a href="/car-news/new-cars/new-2020-mclaren-speedtail-hits-250mph-final-tests"><img src="" width="190" height="125" alt="2020 McLaren Speedtail testing at Kennedy Space Centre" /></a><blockquote class="image-field-caption"> Three-seat Speedtail is spiritual successor to the F1</blockquote> Three-seat hyper-GT officially surpasses the F1's top speed as production begins in Woking <div class="iframe-container-www-youtube-com"> <p>The new <a href="/car-news/new-cars/mclaren-speedtail-revealed-250mph-and-0-186mph-128sec">McLaren Speedtail</a> has concluded its final testing phase with a series of 250mph runs at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.?</p> <p>A development prototype, named XP2, was taken to its top speed more than 30 times on the Johnny Bohmer Proving Ground’s three-mile runway, confirming its status as the fastest car McLaren has yet built. That title was originally held by <a href="/car-news/features/flat-out-mclarens-ultimate-trio-f1-vs-p1-vs-senna">the firm’s iconic F1 hypercar</a>, which achieved a 231mph top speed following its launch in 1994.?</p> <p>McLaren’s chief test driver Kenny Brack was at the wheel of XP2 for the high-speed runs, which followed previous tests at locations including Idiada in Spain and Papenburg in Germany.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>The company calls the £1.75m Speedtail “a showcase for the brand’s expertise in lightweight engineering”, and notes that it is more aerodynamically efficient than any of its previous models.?</p> <p>The hypercar is <a href="/car-reviews/mclaren">McLaren</a>’s first series-production hybrid model since the <a href="/car-review/mclaren/p1-2014-2015">789bhp P1</a>, and its first three-seater since the F1. At 5137mm long, it is also the longest production car to come out of Woking.</p> <p>McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt said: “The Speedtail is a truly extraordinary car that epitomises McLaren’s pioneering spirit and perfectly illustrates our determination to continue to set new benchmarks for supercar and hypercar performance.”</p> <p>At its unveiling in 2018, McLaren said the Speedtail will be a true driver’s car. It has been designed as a ‘hyper-GT’, and is said to balance “a mature, stiff ride with comfort and speed”.?</p> <p><img alt="" class="image-body-image" height="600" src="" width="900" /></p> <p>Exact details of the Speedtail’s 1055bhp petrol-electric powertrain remain under wraps, but McLaren claims the battery pack has a power density of 5.2kW/kg, giving it “the best power-to-weight ratio of any automotive high-voltage battery system”.?</p> <p>With testing now complete, the Speedtail has now officially entered production at McLaren’s Woking factory, with deliveries of the 106 cars already sold set to begin in February 2020.</p> <p><strong>Read more</strong></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mclaren-speedtail-revealed-250mph-and-0-186mph-128sec"><strong>McLaren Speedtail: all the details on 250mph flagship?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/features/flat-out-mclarens-ultimate-trio-f1-vs-p1-vs-senna"><strong>Flat out in McLaren's ultimate trio: F1 vs P1 vs Senna?</strong></a></p> <p><a href="/car-news/new-cars/mclaren-elva-revealed-804bhp-ultimate-series-roadster"><strong>McLaren Elva revealed as 804bhp Ultimate Series roadster?</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 Mon, 23 Dec 2019 13:00:00 +0000 污污直播app-污污直播破解版永久免费版