M AY 2 0 1 8 ISSUE 670 £ 4 . 8 0
TON VANTAGE DR IVEN! 78 9 B H P M CL A R E N SENN A ON TR A CK! EXCLUS IVE!
EXCLUSIVE 5 00-MILE VER DICT
MODEL 3: TES LA’S £30K SUPER HERO It’s here to sav e
us, not drive l ike
a BMW: Musk
Hyundai i30N vs Civic Type R & Focus RS
’s marvel does
We take our hot hatches on a two-day Welsh B-road blast BUYING USED
Your dream Lotus Elise, Evora & Exige in the £25-35k sweet spot
PLUS NEW REAR-DRIVE AUDI R8 VS MCLAREN 570S The Audi supercar we’ve been waiting for?
VW T-ROC BATTLES CROSSOVER RIVALS Mini and Toyota take on the £19k do-anything Volkswagen
70 YEARS OF LAND ROVER The rustbucket 4x4 that launched the legend
92 FEATURES INSIDER
Tackling LA in humanity’s four-wheeled saviour
Once more with feeling – new CLS driven
Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
8 BMW’s M2 gets the Competition treatment 12 EXCLUSIVE! On track in the McLaren Senna 14 F-Pace SUV plus raging V8 equals genius! 16 Audi’s A6 Avant & Porsche’s Mission E Cross Turismo 18 Inquisition: Lamborghini’s Stefano Domenicali 20 Supra, Auris, RAV4 – the wild world of new Toyota
The humble hatchback’s doomed. Isn’t it?
26 DS7’s night vision tested
27 Who’s on the pace with future tech? 28 Audi’s Peter Mertens future-gazes
VW T-Roc Giant Test
Crossover takes on Toyota C-HR & Mini Countryman
30 Mercedes CLS The genre-bender’s back
33 Ford Mustang Small changes, big diference 34 Range Rover Sport SVR Loud, crass, excellent
35 Range Rover PHEV Now with a battery. (Why?)
OPINION 44, 46, 46 Gavin Green, Mark Walton and Sam Smith 48 CAR Interactive: your hopes, fears and photos
Rear-drive Audi supercar battles the benchmark
8 reasons why new Focus matters
24 New Fiesta ST’s go-faster tech
36 Defender Works V8 Can you guess how this goes?
23 Watches: spurn the Swiss, get more for less
38 2018 Land Cruiser Quick Group Test Monster SUVs
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3
108 The future, by Andy Palmer
The wonderful world of the Members’ Meeting
Aston Vantage driven! New Vantage. On road and track. At last
The CAR interview: Andy Palmer The boss on Aston’s next chapter
70 years of Land Rover The Series 1 that started it all
REAR END 122 Icon Buyer Buy your first Lotus – without being terrified
128 Our Cars Crossover funk: the title fight
Audi RS5, Civic Type R, Merc E-Class All-Terrain…
141 GBU: every car rated! Plus how to spec a fine Bentley Conti GT
162 The CAR Top 10 Cars based on vans based on cars
ALL-NEW PHONE EDITION CAR’s digital version is now available for smartphones as well as tablets. Get the app then visit www. greatmagazines.co.uk for the best subscription deals.
128 Our fleet’s hot hatches call in sick, then head to Wales. Naughty
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THIS MONTH ON PLANET
Less is more, from T-Roc crossover to V10 Audi supercars Sufering for his art
t, March. If photographer Sub-zero temperatures, Kielder fores so slightly spent, that’s ever and ed drain s Alex Tapley look t sets of images ever to fines the of because he’s just shot one and an Audi R8 RWS 570S grace the pages of CAR. A McLaren pensated for a brutal com that her weat did as part, played their . lack of warmth with stunning light , p64 Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
Working the vroom
d an in-house app, ‘Where’s my Word is Aston Martin has develope Andy Palmer. Giving it his all? CEO?’, so furiously busy is main man But even Palmer pauses for . diary his by ing judg e, som And then ant new Vantage on page port all-im the on ict CAR – read our verd (blue jacket) story on ra’s ama McN Phil 102, then editor-in-chief g next. goin are n where Palmer and Asto Aston Martin’s Andy Palmer, p108
THAT THE SWEETEST version of a car might not be the one at the top of the spec tree – where the equipment list runs to pages of ticked boxes and the monthly payments look like a second mortgage – is nothing new. As long ago as the Peugeot 205 GTI it was seen as painfully obvious to express a preference for the 1.9. Better to knowingly mutter something about the ‘lighter nose’ and ‘sweeter balance’ of the 1.6 over the ‘over-tyred’ 1.9 before gazing enigmatically into the middle distance. But less so often is more, and more so now than ever: as technology gently saturates every aspect of driving, from rain-sensing wipers to slightly wobbly lane-keep assist, so the option of going without (and thereby going without all the implicit weight, faﬀ and complication) grows more tempting. On page 92 you’ll ﬁnd our story on the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, and in particular the absolute ball had by ex-McLaren development driver Chris Goodwin. The nub of his job is blessing digital systems with the honesty, transparency and consistency of feedback that deﬁne good cars. To remind himself of how those attributes feel – and why they matter – Goodwin raced his featherlight Lotus at Goodwood, a car with less power than a McLaren P1 GTR’s electric booster motor. Then there’s the Audi R8 RWS on p64 – the ﬁrst R8 without four-wheel drive and, not coincidentally, the most enthralling iteration yet of Ingolstadt’s supercar. And just a few pages later there’s VW’s T-Roc without the 2.0-litre engine, twin-clutch ’box and four-wheel drive it would be tempting to unthinkingly throw at it. Slick, capable and charming, it’s a crossover to convert the doubters – if not quite a 1.6 205 GTI. Enjoy the issue.
Ben Miller Editor
in late summer: warbirds in a The Goodwood dream is Revival torturing still hotter tyres nes engi race hot and sky cloudless ’s the recent Members’ there then And alt. asph on sun-kissed to stay conscious gling strug Barry Meeting, and CAR’s Ben ningful notes with mea make e after 30 hours’ exposure, let alon useless fingers and a frozen pen. ’ Meeting, p92 Inside the Goodwood Members
AROUND THE WORLD
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May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Cars, people, scoops, motorsport, analysis: the month according to CAR
M2 Competition: BMWâ€™s 404bhp giant killer Canâ€™t shake that 2-series in your mirrors? Could be the new Competition, the car the M2 wanted to be all along By Ben Miller & Georg Kacher
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
HITE-WITH-STRIPES 2002 Turbo. Black ’n’ orange Alpinas, low on fat slicks. Roll-caged Schnitzers at every conceivable angle of oversteer. It’s fair to say Munich’s back catalogue heaves with outstanding examples of quick, compact saloons fettled to kill giants. And now we’ve a new one, the M2 Competition. The M2 you’ll remember from the world’s rapturous response way back in 2016. Lighter, more aﬀordable, better balanced, usefully compact and with a more satisfying engine than the M3/ M4 above it in BMW’s hierarchy – a turbo six that loves to rev freely, feeling closer to the sparkling M140i than the grunt-laden M3 – the M2 was immediately hailed as M division’s return to form. ‘The E30 M3 reborn!’ screamed the hysterical masses, and to an extent they had a point. Trademark M visual menace, delicious throttle adjustability you didn’t have to be Winkelhock to enjoy and, if you were of sound mind, a six-speed manual gearbox – as a proposition it was enticing enough to swallow the hefty £47k asking price. (As ever, PCP helps. Right now BMW will do you an M2 for £400 a month if you can ﬁnd a £7k deposit.) The new M2 Competition enjoys a clearer position than the mildly baﬄing relationship between the standard M3/M4 and the Competition Pack cars. With an M3 or M4, the Competition Pack version eﬀectively replaces the standard car – in truth if not in actuality – by bringing such a tangible increase in driver appeal (not to mention visual appeal) via its bigger, wider wheels and re-tuned suspension, and for such a meagre premium
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Lightweight alloy sports exhausts give the game away at the rear
(£3k) that the Pack may as well be standard-ﬁt. With the M2 it’s simple: the Competition is the M2 now, replacing the 365bhp car we’ve come to know and love with something even more desirable: faster, tauter, meaner. The M2 Competition is one of the ﬁrst petrol-engined BMWs to meet the latest EU emissions standards, employing a particulate ﬁlter in order to do so. Such ﬁlters typically strangle output but Munich’s engine whisperers have thoughtfully wound up the S55 3.0-litre turbo six to more than compensate. Peak power heads north of 400bhp (404bhp: 39bhp up on the standard M2) while peak torque is a useful, tyre-troubling 406lb ft. For the modest price hike – at £47,260, the Competition’s £2545 dearer than the outgoing M2 – those are decent gains. The 0-62mph sprint time drops a tenth from 4.5sec to 4.4sec for the manual, and to a rapid 4.2sec for the DCT-equipped car. Top speed, with the limiter removed, is 181mph. But it’s the detail stuﬀ that’ll have wavering buyers grabbing their credit cards and making The Call. The M2 Competition rides lower on revised springs and dampers, promising still greater highs on roads with the space and the spice to do the car justice. The standard wheels are new Y-spoke 19-inchers, with optional 20s available, and they set oﬀ a body given a decent wedge more road (or track) presence by extended ‘shadowline’ black detailing, a new lower front bumper, trick new M-spec wing mirrors unique to the M2 Competition and two new metallic colours, Sunset Orange and Hockenheim Silver. Inside, the 2-series cabin’s lifted by M sports seats (standard on UK cars), the M5’s red starter button, new M-speciﬁc dials and M drive manager to calibrate and corral the car’s various steering, powertrain and damper settings. Pop the bonnet, as M
10 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
deviants are sure to do regularly, and you’ll ﬁnd a delicious crossbrace in glossy black carbonﬁbre. Want more from the M2? Sources suggest a still more extrovert M2 CSL hangs in the balance, its future hinging on production capacity. Think M4 GTS in terms of character – raw and a little wild, with no back seats, big power (440bhp via water injection) and less weight – and price: in excess of £85k. Until then the M2 Competition will tide us over nicely.
Little tykes: BMW’s feisty compact saloon CV
2002 TURBO, 1973
Truth is the 1800TI doesn’t look like much – a kind of Bauhaus Lotus Cortina without the stripes or the Scot at the wheel. But this was the first BMW to validate the template Munich’s used ever since: sports car-bothering speed from a subtle, more practical saloon. Big valves and gaping ports helped provide 110bhp and on-demand oversteer, wet or dry.
Tacked-on wide arches, cool graphics, a dynamic whif of jeopardy – key DNA strands for any selfrespecting M car, and they were present and correct back in the ’70s when BMW’s engineers fitted a KKK turbo to the 2002’s 2.0-litre four to create the light, grunty Turbo. Drive one now and the overwhelming impression is one of delectable chuck-ablity.
325TI (E46) COMPACT, 2001 Okay, so it’s just a hacksawed 3-series, and not pretty. But it doesn’t matter that the Compact looked nasty from either end because it was beautiful underneath: sweet and smooth M54 straight-six under the bonnet, rear-wheel drive and actual steering feel so that going into corners was almost as much fun as coming out of them.
McLaren Senna: in the 789bhp hypercar hot seat Nobody outside of McLaren has sampled its latest creation, the high-downforce, high-drama Senna – until now. By Ben Barry
HE MCLAREN SENNA is billed as ‘the ultimate road-legal track car’. A dry weight of 1198kg and 789bhp combine for a 659bhp-per-tonne power-toweight ratio, and mind-bending acceleration: 2.8sec to 62mph, 6.8sec to 124mph, a 9.9sec demolition of the quarter mile and a 211mph top end. We’ve come to the Goodwood Members’ Meeting to get a world exclusive passenger ride in a ﬁnal veriﬁcation prototype. Vehicle line director Andy Palmer (the other Andy Palmer is on p108) will be driving, and heroically navigated the £750k Senna from Woking through snow at 5.30am. This prototype is tasked with signing oﬀ the Senna’s dynamics, levels of reﬁnement and electrics. Palmer says
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
he was pondering some small tweaks to the steering on the drive down – minor alterations to the suspension geometry and steering-pump map, perhaps – and chats me through the incredible spec. The Senna is built around an evolution of the McLaren 720S’s MonoCage III carbon tub, but with a new rear crash structure, which means it shouldn’t require a rollcage should it race (which it probably will). The body is entirely carbon – the front wings weigh just 0.66kg, and even the doors are under 10kg, half that of a 720S door. Select Race and the hydraulically interconnected suspension drops 30mm at the front, 22mm at the rear, opening the door to ground-eﬀect aerodynamics. But it’s perhaps the Senna’s active aerodynamics that are most astonishing: the rear wing weighs
Vast and active rear wing instrumental in the breakfasttroubling levels of brute downforce
just 5kg but can generate up to 500kg of downforce alone as it adjusts through 45°. The front splitter is 150mm longer than a P1’s but the red aero blades under the front lights automatically adjust to balance out the rear wing’s movement. The result is up to 800kg of downforce at 155mph – 40 per cent more than a P1. I lower myself into the laid-back, embryonic embrace of a carbon seat that weighs just 3.5kg. Palmer ﬁres up the twinturbo V8 and immediately you feel one key diﬀerence versus the mechanically similar 720S: there’s a much stronger ﬁzz of vibration through the seats, like you’re sitting on a lightly struck tuning fork. Solid engine mounts are responsible, and they promise to contribute to the Senna’s sharper dynamics. You hear more of that engine too, because the carbon doors and bare ﬂoor let more noise in, so already the Senna feels alive with mechanical energy. The digital dash ﬂashes up a ‘caution frost’ warning, and puts tyre temperatures at 0°C. ‘I don’t know if we actually have a minus reading,’ jokes Palmer. As we ponder the wisdom of 789bhp on a slippery track, I ask if the P1 wasn’t already far beyond the capabilities of most drivers, and if the Senna is only further out of reach – its lap times, after all, are said to be comparable to the track-only, slick-shod P1 GTR. ‘The Senna is easier to drive,’ replies Palmer. ‘We’ve worked hard on our control systems, tyre technology has improved, and the active aerodynamics make a big diﬀerence too.’ As we head out onto the track in a ﬂurry of wheelspin, tarmac blurs through the Gorilla Glass in the lower doors, and I’m struck by how unintimidating the Senna feels. But there’s no doubt it’s scarily quick, and even moderate
throttle punts it down the straights like it’s been kicked up the backside. No consideration was given to adding a P1-style hybrid powertrain, but power and torque are up 79bhp and 22lb ft on the similar 720S engine, and the 4.0-litre gets lighter cams and pistons, plus a recalibrated ECU. Throttle response is sharper too, and there’s more aural drama as air is dragged through the roof snorkel and into the induction system (as it was to such great eﬀect on the F1-apeing 650S LM), more turbo whoosh when Palmer releases the throttle, and a louder roar from the iconel and titanium exhaust when he ﬂattens it. But this remains the domestic appliance of supercar soundtracks. As Palmer carries good speed up to the chicane, though, it’s the authority of the way in which the Senna changes direction, how it snaps down through the faster gearchanges and, above all, how it stops thanks to 390mm carbon ceramic discs and six-piston monobloc calipers that really shock. We go out in the Sport chassis and Track Powertrain setting ﬁrst, switching to max-attack Race mode later and feeling the dramatic increase in suspension stiﬀness, but the conditions mean we get only a glimpse of the Senna’s staggering performance for now. The Senna will be limited to 500 examples, plus prototypes like this, which have a cult following that dates back to the McLaren F1 XP prototypes. This car’s story isn’t over yet. With the Senna soon going into production, it’s likely to be converted into GTR spec, a track-only evolution with more power, more downforce and slick tyres. For now, let’s just hope for better weather when we drive a prototype Senna at Silverstone for the June issue of CAR. O Inside the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, p92
CAR with McLaren’s Andy Palmer, who can be forgiven for looking a touch pensive
It’s the authority of the way in which the Senna changes direction that really shocks
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
F-Pace with a V8 What’s not to like?
adaptive dynamics and all-wheel-drive systems all get their own go-faster SVR modiﬁcations. Other details making the F-Pace SVR unique include 21-inch standard or 22-inch optional alloy wheels, stiﬀer Jaguar’s Macan Turbo rival squeezes a supercharged anti-roll bars and an active exhaust V8 into an upgraded chassis. By Jake Groves that’s not only 6.6kg lighter than the standard F-Pace system but also allows T WAS ONLY a matter of time before JLR’s Special Ve- that supercharged V8 to howl. ‘Everything from the steering to the bespoke suspension sethicle Operations department got its hands on the F-Pace, and here it is: Jaguar’s ﬁrst high-performance SUV. The up has been tuned speciﬁcally for our performance SUV,’ says F-Pace SVR crams in a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 and a Mike Cross, chief engineer for vehicle integrity at JLR. ‘The result is a vehicle that lives up to the promise of both the F-Pace feast of chassis and cabin upgrades. There’s 542bhp and 502lb ft on tap, good for a 0-62mph and SVR names.’ At the front there are huge air intakes to feed the engine and sprint in just 4.3 seconds, maxing out at 176mph. But as SVO’s Duncan Smith says: ‘It’s not just the engine. There are really cool the brakes, while at the rear there are bulbous ﬁns in the special brakes and important work done on the suspension and rear bumper and a ﬂip-up spoiler to keep the car pinned to the road at speed. chassis. It’s a complete package.’ Inside, the rotary gear selector has been replaced by a The uprated brakes – 395mm discs at the front, 396mm at the rear – are joined by rear tyres that are 25mm wider trigger-like shifter for the transmission. Leather sports seats than the fronts (a handling-enhancing trick also used on the with bespoke SVR detailing are standard, as is a digital Porsche Cayenne) and an electronic active diﬀerential for the instrument display and Jag’s InControl Touch Pro system with rear wheels, all optimised to make sure you can make the most a wireless 4G hotspot. Yours for around £75,000, and available of that V8. The automatic transmission, torque vectoring, to order this summer.
BEEFY V8 Supercharged 542bhp powerplant a favourite within JLR; capable of 0-62mph in 4.3sec and 176mph flat-out here
SVO LUXURY Lozenge stitching on leather seats, unique SVR steering wheel and up-to-date tech all standard
THUNDEROUS NOISE Variable Valve Active Exhaust means bellowing V8 can sing like a Jag should
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
CLEAN AERO Deeply vented bumpers, fins in the rear flanks and a flip-up spoiler amp up cooling and reduce drag
MAXIMUM GRIP All-wheel drive, electronic active rear diferential and mixed-width tyres make for a sticky recipe
Back with a bang And then it all goes very quiet Audi and Merc favourites fight on, while our electric future closes in fast. By Jake Groves
Mercedes C-Class facelift The updates to every body style of the Merc rival to the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 are individually minor but add up to a significant tech upgrade and some serious new hardware. A wider infotainment screen is available in the increasingly digital cabin, which hosts a new steering wheel and fresh upholstery.
The warm C43 gains a 23bhp power boost from its V6. Go for the unhinged V8 C63 (pictured) and, while power outputs are unchanged, you get an electronic limited-slip diferential and a nine-speed Speedshift auto instead of the old seven-speeder. The hotter 503bhp C63 S gets active engine mounts.
NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Merc’s updated C-Class family (saloon, estate, coupe, cabriolet) > Tech specs Digital instrument display, new transmission for the C63 > Aimed at? Keeping up with premium rivals > Chances of making production?
Orders open now; first cars delivered from summer. Autumn for the AMGs
Audi A6 Avant Audi’s A6 hasn’t even gone on sale yet and they’ve already cranked out the estate version. It follows a well proven formula: take one A6 and give it a bigger rear. Luggage space is rated at 560 litres with the seats up – 10 litres shy of the BMW 5-series Touring and 80 litres short compared to the Merc E-Class Estate.
All engines have mild hybrid assistance, while quattro and automatic transmissions are fitted across the range. If you’re after a more spirited driving experience, rear-wheel steering, a quattro sport diferential and sports suspension are all optional, as are air springs and Audi’s Drive Select mode system.
NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Audi’s fatter-bottomed A6 exec > Tech specs A8 interior, mild hybrid engine assistance, quattro all-wheel drive across the board > Aimed at? Taking the A6’s usability up a couple of notches > Chances of making production? Bound for showrooms in the second half of 2018
Hyundai Le Fil Rouge concept What is it with car makers getting kinky with their design language? Mercedes has brought us Sensual Purity and now Hyundai is upping the ante with Sensuous Sportiness. This long four-door grand tourer concept is here to point to design elements in Hyundai’s future model range. Hyundai says the name translates
into ‘the common thread’, which ‘is a reflection of Hyundai’s belief that the brand’s past, present and future designs are all connected’. Inside, there are four separate seats positioned facing a wraparound dashboard that uses lots of swoopy wood and a haptic display for infotainment and climate controls.
NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Grinch-mouthed design study from Hyundai > Tech specs Aeronautics-grade aerodynamics, panoramic and haptic driver display > Aimed at? Injecting some emotion into Korean car design > Chances of making production? The shapeliness will influence future Hyundais
Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept The sleek, low-slung Mission E electric coupe concept that featured in our December 2017 issue has now spawned this four-door, four-seat electric crossover, previewing a 2019 production car. It has two electric motors delivering around 600bhp and on-demand allwheel drive, with a claimed 0-62mph
time of less than 3.5 seconds, and 0-125mph in 12 seconds. It rides on 20-inch wheels with adaptive air suspension. Styling borrows heavily from the Panamera Sport Turismo at the rear, but with contrasting wheelarch and door sill extensions and – in case you were too polite to notice – blue wheels.
NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Jacked-up Mission E hit with ugly stick > Tech specs Two hefty electric motors, all-wheel drive, 250-mile recharge in 15 mins > Aimed at? Realising the potential in the Mission E platform > Chances of making production? Production model coming 2019
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
The CAR Inquisition: Stefano Domenicali
‘Urus had to feel like a Lamborghini’ Relatively new to Lamborghini, Stefano Domenicali recently unveiled the company’s most divisive car yet, the Urus SUV. Flak? The glare of the spotlight? All in a day’s work for the former Ferrari F1 boss
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Did Lamborghini CEO and president Stefano Domenicali ever have the tiniest worry that a new SUV might sully the Sant’ Agata maker’s hallowed Ferrari-rivalling supercar reputation? ‘No,’ he says when we meet in Geneva, just a few hours after the Urus is unveiled. ‘The biggest challenge was to make sure it had the soul of a super sports car. It had to have the design, technology and – very importantly – the feel of a Lamborghini.’ I haven’t driven it yet. But our man Georg Kacher, who has (see CAR, January 2018), says it feels like a proper Lambo – albeit from an elevated perch. There is even a Corsa mode for track use. Almost 70 per cent of those ordering the Urus, according to Domenicali, are new to Lamborghini. So, like the Bentayga and Cayenne, it’ll mean signiﬁcant extra business for its maker. Lamborghini production will jump this year to almost 7500 cars,
ILLUSTRATION: SENOR SALME
T THIS YEAR’S Geneva motor show, a new sharply styled 190mph tallboy Lamborghini was one of the stars. Unlike many of the new upmarket SUVs scattered through the halls of the Palexpo, the Urus at least has some 4x4 pedigree. Remember the ’80s ‘Rambo Lambo’ LM002, the ﬁrst SUV with supercar genes? If you’ve ever seen one, they’re impossible to forget. That monster, originally conceived as a (failed) military vehicle, was the most outrageous, thirstiest, and most in-yer-face SUV of its time, and probably of all time. No big car, in history, has ever intimidated other road users quite like an LM002. It was powered by a Countach V12, so no SUV has ever sounded like it, either. It was also the fastest SUV of its day. Owners included Sly Stallone and Mike Tyson.
from 3800 last year. It’ll also be the ﬁrst Lamborghini, ever, designed for everyday use. (Something that could never be said of the LM002.) Disappointments include a less Tell us about your first car… ‘A 1984 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. My adventurous style than the Urus dad was an Alfa fan.’ concept – though it’s hardly going to go unnoticed at Sainsbury’s – and the What achievement makes you most proud? lack of a Lambo V12 up front. Instead, ‘Winning the Formula 1 drivers’ we ﬁnd a VW Group twin-turbo V8 and constructors’ world and a Q7-like platform. Domenicali championship in 2000, with insists turbocharging is right for an Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. After so many years of being so SUV, and why not use the (modiﬁed) close, we were world champions VW Group platform, when it was again. [Domenicali was team available and so much more cost manager, working under Jean Todt, whom he eventually eﬀective? The car is to be made at Sant’ replaced as team principal.] Agata, in a new factory alongside the Huracans and Aventadors. A LamWhat’s the best thing you’ve borghini, says Domenicali, must be ever done in a car? ‘Driving in the Dolomites in a made in Italy. Huracan Spyder. The road, the A Lamborghini must also have a fresh air, the sun, the car…’ V12, at least the sports cars. DomenTell us when you screwed up… icali conﬁrms the next generation ‘In 2010, in Abu Dhabi, I trusted Aventador will get naturally aspirated the strategy guy to get the V12 power, including electric hybrid pitstop timing right. I felt it was wrong. But I followed procedure. assist. The V10 will continue too, So, I take responsibility for unturbocharged, but with hybrid help. that [Alonso’s ill-timed pitstop Before joining Lamborghini in may have cost him the world 2016 – replacing sharp-suited German championship].’ Italophile Stephan Winkelmann – Supercar or classic car? Domenicali was team principal of ‘A new supercar. I’d buy a the Ferrari F1 team. He guided the Huracan Spyder. But my favourite Lamborghini ever is the Miura.’ Scuderia to the Constructors’ championship in 2008, and under his watch Company curveball… When was the team narrowly missed the drivers’ the Miura introduced? championship with Felipe Massa ‘It was born in 1966. The first-ever Lamborghini, the 350GT, was in 2008 – ‘we were champions for 22 unveiled in 1963 [at the Turin seconds, I think’ – and with Fernando show. A production version came Alonso in 2010. a few months later, at the 1964 Geneva Show].’ Domenicali, 52, says running Ferrari has helped him manage a car company. ‘In F1, everything is fast, including decision making and car development. In the automotive industry, things are slower. But we are now in a world of very strong competition, and not just from mature companies. Fast decision making and development now is crucial. I also believe we can be the reference for the VW Group. We’re small. We can help them do things faster. ‘But it isn’t just about speed. In F1, everything is about pure performance. Here, you need to balance speed of decision making with the demands of the market and proﬁtability.’ Which is more stressful, running a car company or an F1 team? ‘The spotlight, as an F1 team manager, is very strong. You’re in the public eye all the time, especially when you run the most famous team in motor racing. It’s a bit like being a football manager. But I loved the excitement and the adrenaline. I was born to go racing [he is from Imola, near the racing track, and managed the Mugello circuit before joining Ferrari’s sporting department]. Now it’s a new experience. But look how lucky I am! An Italian who has run the Ferrari racing team and now another Italian icon, Lamborghini!’ GAVIN GREEN
6 questions only we would ask
Connect 4 CIVIC TOURING CARS Want to win in BTCC? Get a Civic – champion five times since 2011
The scary new one Honda Civic Type R FK8 (2018) This is based on the current Type R and built by Team Dynamics. Slight hitch: although Matt Neal is still driving, threetime champ Gordon Shedden has nafed of to drive Audis in the World Touring Car Cup. Still, replacement Dan Cammish is handy – he won the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2015.
The one that outstayed its welcome Honda Civic Type R FK2 (2017) While the current roadgoing Type R was winning friends and admirers, the Civic being raced in the 2017 BTCC season was the last-generation FK2 car. It was a winner in 2016 – Gordon Shedden taking his third title – but struggled in ’17.
The estate Honda Civic Tourer (2014) The Civic Tourer was the first estate to finish in the top three of a BTCC race (doing it three times at Brands). And Gordon Shedden later went the whole hog and won at Donington Park. It didn’t, unfortunately, prompt Honda to ofer a Type R estate.
The first winner Honda Civic Type R EP3 (2002) There had been Hondas in BTCC for years, but the real breakthrough came in 2002 when the EP3 Civic Type R got its first race win at Knockhill, driven by the future European Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Toyota gets its mojo back Fun used to lurk near the bottom of Toyota’s agenda. That’s all changing, says Jake Groves
AYING TOYOTA is on a roll is quite an understatement. Traditionally, understatement is a very Toyota quality – but that’s changing fast, and soon you won’t be able to avoid seeing the signs of Toyota’s newfound ﬂair and conﬁdence. In its engineering, styling and ambition, Toyota is getting loud and proud. The company is going through fundamental and far-reaching changes in what it makes and how it’s made. Fuel eﬃciency continues to be a priority, but it’s now joined by vibrant motorsport and performance car divisions. Its previously deadly dull family hatch has just had a complete
TOYOTA’S 2019 STAR CARS: THE LOWDOWN
RAV4 goes funky Auris stops being boring It’ll be built in the UK. Styling is transformed, while the engine choice is the C-HR’s 1.2-litre turbo and two hybrids, a 1.8- and 2.0-litre. A Gazoo version is on the cards.
overhaul that ramps up its desirability, while its SUVs and crossovers are set to stand out from a packed ﬁeld. The brand’s latest Golf-class platform – Toyota New Global Architecture, or TNGA – underpins most of it. First seen on the current Prius, TNGA’s ﬂexibility means it’s now used in the funky C-HR and will underpin the new Auris and RAV4 SUV. It’s good enough for the Lexus UX baby SUV too. Toyota claims a 65 per cent rigidity boost compared to its previous platform, and allows engine bay components and suspension mounts to be positioned lower, improving the centre of gravity for better handling. The design of mid-size Toyotas has delivered equally radical changes. The quirky C-HR – as featured in this month’s Giant Test – is selling like the warmest of buns, and the wildly styled Prius is still one of the best-selling hybrids. The new Auris hatch, due on sale in the UK in early 2019, is as eye-catching but much better resolved. Although Johan Van Zyl, Toyota’s European boss, reckons the previous Auris did what was asked of it, selling around 460,000 units since 2010, this latest version is way more exciting. Adds Toyota’s global design general manager, Simon Humphries: ‘Our primary goal was to create the most bold and dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising interior usability.’ The RAV4, meanwhile, was North America’s best-selling car in 2017. That sort of success might once have made Toyota play safe with its successor, but not this time around. Design-wise, it’s clearly inspired by last year’s maximum-lifestyle FT-AC concept, and it’ll come to Europe with petrol or hybrid power and four-wheel drive in early 2019.
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Like the Auris, there’s no diesel power for the next RAV4, which reaches Europe next year – choose between a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.5-litre hybrid on the TNGA platform.
The pinnacle of Toyota’s rebirth, though, comes in the form of the new Supra – a car the Gazoo Racing team has had a hand in. Gazoo Racing may only be a minnow in the performance car world, but it’s going from strength to strength: 2018 began with podium success in the Dakar rally, the Yaris has been competitive in the World Rally Championship, and Fernando Alonso will co-drive a Toyota at Le Mans this summer. Much of Toyota’s previous motorsport activity has occurred in a vacuum, but now it’s clearly joined up with the road-car range; the Yaris GRMN wasn’t just a quirky novelty. It’s understood there will be two versions of the Gazoo Racing performance car models. Gazoo Racing Meisters of the Nürburgring, or GRMN, are hardcore performance models: the Yaris has just had the supercharged GRMN treatment. More accessible but still potent will be the GR models: think VW Golf R and GTI respectively and you’re not far oﬀ. This is all feeding into next year’s Supra, co-developed with the next BMW Z4 and to be built alongside it by Magna Steyr in Austria. The ﬁfth-generation Supra will deploy straight-six petrol power – a far cry from the Verso, Avensis and other old-school Toyotas. Van Zyl even ﬁstpumped the air when the wild-looking Supra GR Racing concept took the stage at the Geneva show. ‘This concept is a clear signal of our intention to bring back one of our most legendary sports cars to the market.’ You can understand his excitement – after so much tedium, Toyota is making its family cars exciting again, hammering out clever new tech left, right and centre, and resurrecting a performance icon.
Toyota’s five-step path to a brighter future
Make more powerful hybrids If you thought Toyota had been going big on hybrids, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Half their passenger car range has a hybrid powertrain variant, and more than 40 per cent of Toyotas sold in Europe are hybrids. The familiar 1.8 is being joined by a more powerful 2.0-litre option in the new Auris.
Shun diesel Toyota’s investment in hybrids looks spookily prescient, allowing it to ditch diesel from its cars by the end of the year. The fuel accounts for just 6% of UK sales from just two models, the outgoing Auris and anonymous Verso MPV. Vans, the Hilux pick-up and Land Cruiser remain diesel-powered for now.
Go wild with the style The next Auris and RAV4, like the current C-HR, may not be to everyone’s taste, but Toyota’s designers are turning heads not just with marginal models but with mainstream big sellers.
Breathe new life into the legend We’re expecting a Supra with substance. Developed with BMW, the rear-wheel-drive coupe will be ofered with four-pot and straight-six engines. It’s not badge-engineered like the GT86 and its Subaru BRZ twin; Z4 is a roadster, Supra is coupeonly and hardcore. ‘There are only about eight common parts,’ claims a source.
5 The Supra is reborn Look beyond the motorsport bodykit – the Supra Gazoo Racing Concept previews the 2019 production car. Insiders vow it’s far more hardcore than its BMW Z4 sibling.
Go racing The motorsport team has been taking on the Dakar, the World Rally Championship and the World Endurance Championship, with Fernando Alonso among the driver lineup at Le Mans. And there’s now a direct road car link; the hot Yaris GRMN.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
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W AT C H E S
Nomos Autobahn £3800
Time on your Hans German watches with the same skinny elegance as an early 3-series THIS MAGAZINE IS often accused of a bias towards German cars. And British cars. And Italian cars. You get the idea. But we’re deﬁnitely guilty of a bias towards German watches. Unlike their four-wheeled compatriots they are often the aﬀordable, leftﬁeld choice, and these three new models typify the German watchmakers’ usual design restraint. BEN OLIVER @thebenoliver
We hear Juicy gossip from the CAR grapevine FERRARI’S product plan is set until 2022, boss Sergio Marchionne has revealed. It contains the first series production hybrid, because the V8 will be electrified. ‘With LaFerrari, it’s an interesting add-on but in the case of the next hybrid, it needs to become more traditional because it needs to fulfil a diferent role [ie delivering on emissions,
We’ve long loved Nomos watches for their unshowy simplicity, and for the fact that the firm helped restart the German watch industry in Glashütte, near Dresden, after reunification. Prices have crept up, though, and it has now been tempted into doing a driver’s watch like all the Swiss brands ofer. But name aside, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with motoring: it’s just a really great-looking watch by acclaimed product designer Werner Aisslinger. With 100m water resistance and a slightly more macho diameter than most Nomos watches, its appeal will be broader. nomos-glashuette.com
Braun AW10 £200
Junghans Max Bill Edition 2018 £490
Legendary German designer Dieter Rams applied his Bauhaus-inspired, minimalist look to countless Braun products, from travel clocks to radios and record players. This was his first analogue watch, launched in 1989 and just reissued unchanged in its unfashionably small 33mm case. Much of Germany’s look in the late ’80s can remain un-reissued: the loafers, white socks, bright ski jackets and mullets. But the AW10 is a stone-cold design classic, and if you have an E30 3-series you need the watch to match. braun-watches.com
Junghans is a long-established German watch maker that once made watches for the Luftwafe. In peace, it asked the Swiss Bauhaus artist and designer Max Bill – who studied and worked extensively in Germany – to design its watches. This dial, first seen in ’61, is a perfect example of German watch-making’s usual simplicity and balance. This limited-run 2018 special edition adds a Max Bill graphic artwork from 1972 on the caseback, and subtle green highlights taken from the art on the date numeral and the strap’s stitching. watches-of-switzerland. co.uk
not just power]. We’ve got mules running about now.’ The supremo confirmed the hybrid drivetrain for 2019, which means it will be ready for the forthcoming CUV (which could look like the image below). The four-door, all-wheel-drive coupe will leave McLaren as the last SUV-free zone. What about Jag-style continuation models? ‘Reinventing the 250, for example, is a tough gig. We’re
not going to bank on this because living of the spoils of your past ain’t a happy place to be.’ Marchionne says there’s an ‘opportunity’ to take the simpler elements of Ferrari’s classics ‘to a diferent space’ – could that mean limited runs of retro designs on modern mechanicals? Runs contrary to design chief Flavio Manzoni’s ideals though... Ferrari HMI was dismissed as ‘prehistoric’ but ‘in the next car you will see significant improvement’. And while Aston is busy following the Ferrari blueprint (see p108),
Marchionne sees potential in the gran turismo segment. ‘The world of Aston Martin is one that we are not in. We’ve left them alone to do the DB11 and DB9 – phenomenal cars. But I think we can
match or exceed.’ Over at Audi, executives have confirmed production of the electric coupe revealed by CAR back in January – the e-tron GT. Spun of Porsche’s Mission E
platform, the four-door EV will be propelled by 400, 530 or 660bhp motors. Boss Rupert Stadler says the target price is around €80,000, and the EV will be built at the Neckarsulm plant from 2020. The J1 components set should spread wider than just Audi: Bentley’s ambitions for a small coupe could realise the Barnato, and Lamborghini might resurrect the Espada coupe. It’s even caught the imagination of new Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann, said to be considering a Royale ultra-luxury limo…
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 23
The innovations transforming our driving world
5 steps to hot hatch heaven The old Fiesta ST was a joy to drive, and still at the top of its game as it retired. Fortunately Ford is throwing everything at the sequel. By Chris Chilton
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
E KNEW WE got the handling right on the old ST,’ Leo Roeks, Ford’s European performance car chief tells CAR at an ST preview at Ford’s Lommel test track, where we got to ride shotgun ahead of the car’s May launch. ‘But the ride could be a little… harsh,’ he admits. ‘With this car we looked at retaining all of the fun but adding some polish to the reﬁnement to make it more usable.’ We’ve come to Belgium to get a ﬁrst taste of this new, more cultured replacement for the greatest junior GTi in the game. Ford test vehicles rack up over 3.5 million miles every year during testing on Lommel’s 50 miles of dirt, gravel and asphalt tracks. But the chunk of track we’re using is the most fun of all. Lommel’s Route 7 is a Disneyland B-road: 2.7 miles of the smoothest, twistiest and yumpiest road you can imagine. And you’ll never encounter anything coming the other way. The advances in the ST’s comfort and road-noise suppression are immediately obvious, but don’t think for a minute that Ford has gone soft on performance. Under the very similar-looking skin there’s a high-output three-cylinder engine, wider track, 278mm front brakes to match the old ST200’s, and a special brew of Michelin Pilot Sport tyre. A clever set of dampers promises adaptive-level sophistication for zero outlay, and vital kit like the Recaro seats – now sitting on lower frames than other Fiestas – is standard across the ST range. You’ll still be able to spend more than the likely £20k base price by upgrading from ST to ST2 or ST3 spec. Really serious about your fast Fords? You’ll want the optional Performance Pack. Price is still unconﬁrmed but the highlights include launch control, shift lights and a Quaife torque-biasing diﬀerential to help put all 197 horses to the ground.
Ford Fiesta ST > Price £20,000 (est) > Engine 1499cc 12v turbocharged 3-cylinder, 197bhp @ 6000rpm, 214lb ft @ 1600rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 6.5sec 0-62mph, 144mph, 51mpg (est), 125g/km CO2 (est) > Weight 1205kg (est) > On sale June
1 THREE-POT MAGIC
The ST’s big news is a switch from a 1.6-litre turbocharged four to a 1.5-litre triple. Despite the pot drop, power is rated at the same 197bhp the old ST made on overboost, when it briefly swelled output from 178bhp, along with a generous 214lb ft of torque. Zero to 62mph flashes by in 6.5sec – four ticks quicker than the old ST. Like most triples it doesn’t pick up revs quickly but it makes a wicked offbeat burble that’s amplified both through the speakers and via an exhaust valve that’s open in the Sport
1.5-litre turbo triple delivers more on less fuel
2 GOT QUAIFE
Rush through the Ford configurator without ticking a single box and you’ll end up with an ordinary open dif and a brake-based pretend torque-vectoring system to tame the understeer. But an optional Quaife ATB dif already available on the Focus RS Edition biases torque away from the spinning inside wheel for more cornering fun. Even from the passenger seat the diference feels huge, the Quaife car reeling in every apex and letting you get back on the gas super-early.
3 ADAPTIVE RIDE
Adaptive dampers are a clever but costly way to serve both ride and handling masters. The ST uses a mechanical ‘selective frequency’ system from Tenneco to do it for a fraction of the price. When the shocks sense low-frequency inputs (associated with hard cornering) they firm up, then slacken with higher frequency inputs by opening a valve.
4 REAR SUSPENSION Full Fiesta ST drive next month. Until then we’ll just keep counting down the hours
and Track driving modes. A six-speed manual is the only transmission option, but there’s launch control and a flat-shift feature that lets you storm through the gears without lifting your right foot. The smartest tech, though, is cylinder deactivation, which allows the engine to drop to two cylinders at speeds up to 4500rpm in just 14 milliseconds. We’ve seen this before, but not on a triple due to noise and vibration issues. It works so well on the ST most drivers won’t even notice it (or, admittedly, the claimed six per cent fuel saving).
For reasons of cost and packaging the Fiesta sticks with a torsion beam rather than the Focus’s multi-link rear. But the beam is thicker than on lesser Fiestas, for more anti-roll efect – strong enough to cock a wheel (17-inch as standard; 18-inchers optional) under really hard cornering. The ‘vector’ springs are interesting too: their banana shape helps improve lateral stifness.
RACK 5 STEERING Ford’s bean counters weren’t happy but Roeks was insistent that the ST get its own quick-ratio steering. The 12:1 electrically assisted rack is 14 per cent quicker than the old ST200’s, itself significantly faster than the original ST’s. We’ll have to wait until the next issue to know how it feels, but judged on previous experience Ford’s unlikely to mess it up. Certainly, watching Ford’s test driver flinging STs around Lommel’s hairy Route 7 loop from the passenger seat, there didn’t seem to be much kickback or torque steer spoiling his fun.
True blue ST pilots won’t countenance a car not fitted with the optional Quaife differential; less understeer, quicker roundabout exits
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Infra-red camera in grille supplements excellent adaptive LED headlights
HEN YOU’RE DRIVING Spots hazard, sounds alarm, leaves the rest to you at 30mph you’re covering 44 feet per second. A miracle, frankly, that you notice anything at all at the roadside. And then the sun goes down, and many of the people and creatures at the roadside start behaving even more erratically than they had been in broad daylight. So a little help might come in handy. The DS7 Crossback is available with a bunch of driver-assistance systems including Night 1 2 3 Vision. The general idea is familiar, espeNOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT RED ALERT WATCH OUT! cially if you’ve driven a Mercedes S-Class Most pedestrians are either Pedestrian stepping into Confused bloke with a death in the last decade. But what’s new is that ignored or put in a slightly road gets a red box, but wish triggers visual warning spooky yellow box he’s a good distance off accompanied by beeping it’s ﬁtted (as an option priced £1100-£1600, depending on which spec your car is) to a relatively aﬀordable car, as part of a package of system is happy to accept adults walking across your path when you’re stationary at traﬃc lights, experience-enhancing and life-preserving features. DID IT WORK? An infra-red camera mounted in the grille looks even if they’re very close to the car. Yes. Even in heavy rain, Night Vision can be on or oﬀ, and if it’s on it can at the road ahead for about 100 yards and can disthe camera was extremely play what it sees on the screen in front of the driver. be set up to provide a live stream in the instrument effective at spotting Mostly it’s greyed-out trees, cars or buildings. panel in front of you, or only ﬂash up if it’s got somethings before I did, and Exhaust pipes, brakes and living creatures (over thing for you to worry about. the system seemed well The ﬁeld of vision is narrow, focused on road and 50cm tall) show up lighter. able to judge the level But here’s the clever bit. It’s programmed to spot pavement, so it’s not alerting you to people doing of likely hazard. But the potential for distraction is which of these living creatures you need to worry night-time rose-pruning in their front gardens. But high if you have the Night about. Most pedestrians on the pavement are either it’s remarkably eﬀective at spotting adults, children Vision screen on at all ignored or highlighted by a yellow rectangle. If, and dogs at almost a football-pitch distance ahead times. And although it will however, they seem to be a likely hazard – perhaps of you, giving you time to decide whether any sometimes help, there are because they’re moving towards you, or lurching action is required. It’s good at ignoring the glare of other times when you still into the road, or because they’re a child or a dog oncoming car headlights. And the driver is still very don’t have time to take – they’re put in a red box, or a red triangle, and her- much in control – a red box doesn’t trigger the car’s evasive action. emergency braking or take over the steering. alded by a bonging noise. While kids and dogs get special attention, the COLIN OVERLAND
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Does it work? DS7 Crossback Night Vision
Which car makers will survive tech Armageddon? New research reveals who’s most serious about going green. By Phil McNamara
LECTRIFICATION, autonomy, tough emissions targets and disruption from mobility companies such as Waymo – we all know the trends turning the car world upside down. But which car makers are best placed to weather this perfect storm? CDP, a research company probing
climate change, has pulled together a fascinating report, Driving Disruption, which ranks 16 of the largest publicly listed car companies on their readiness for the low-carbon future. The report scores the car makers on three factors: their ability to meet threats such as tough CO2 targets; their progress
The big threat: tightening CO2 targets
The report considers the emissions crackdown facing the industry in the US, China and Japan, but it’s Europe where the toughest targets are closest. The 16 car makers need to step it up, and fast: they reduced their fleets’ CO2 on average by 3% a year between 2010 and ’16 – but now need to make a 4.5% cut every year to avoid fines.
With heavy SUVs rising in popularity and diesel in decline, some companies need to make 20% of their sales electric to stand a chance: a sobering thought. CDP estimates half the car makers will face financial penalties, with Fiat Chrysler most at risk. It’s dragged its feet on electrification and Jeep’s thirsty SUVs don’t help the cause.
Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover is ranked top on meeting European emissions obligations. As a niche manufacturer, its 2021 target is only 130g/km (compared with 95g/km for others) – and the i-Pace’s introduction will lower the average and protect sales in the Chinese and Californian markets.
in electriﬁcation, autonomy and mobility services; and their corporate carbon footprints. It paints a picture of who’s leading on autonomy (GM and Ford) and who’s top dog for alternatives to the combustion engine (the Japanese), with the highest ranked companies performing strongly in all three disciplines.
The big opportunities: autonomy and electrification
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
BMW DAIMLER TOYOTA NISSAN HONDA VW RENAULT TATA/JLR PSA FORD MAZDA GM HYUNDAI SUZUKI FCA SUBARU
Hidden factor is corporate carbon footprint; if a company is making clean cars in a dirty way it scores badly
Patent data shows the US leading on autonomous vehicles, with General Motors filing the most per employee. GM is also one of only six car makers testing autonomous vehicles on Californian roads, and it’s invested heavily in mobility services provider Lyft. But its overall score is dragged down by lagging badly for fleet emissions in the crucial Chinese market. When it comes to advanced powertrains, Toyota is the top dog. Only it, Honda and Hyundai have fuel cell vehicles on the market, and it’s scooped up 6.5% of the world’s hybrid sales. Half the cost of an electric vehicle is from the battery pack. But CDP predicts BEVs will cost the same as cars with combustion engines by 2022 – helping ofset one of the greatest barriers to take-up. BMW is doing well on electrification: second behind Nissan for EV sales, and top for plug-ins. Throw in BMW’s progress with autonomy – the fewest driver interventions of any car maker testing in California – and strong board level commitment to sustainable car making, and the Ultimate Driving Machine is now the ultimate low carbon manufacturer.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 27
Pop.Up Next vertical-take-off electric concept developed with Airbus and ItalDesign
The next big things From self-driving to flying cars Audi R&D boss Peter Mertens guides us through 10 years of increasingly ambitious transport ideas > THE GROUP has made a bold commitment to electriﬁcation. We will have two electric platforms: MEB, the equivalent of the Golf’s MQB platform, and Premium Platform Electric, equivalent to [Audi’s] MLB. Together with Porsche we are developing PPE for all cars from A4 upwards; all the cars below will be MEB. In 2025, we expect 30 per cent of our cars to be electriﬁed, including plug-ins. Half will be pure EV. > WE’VE MADE a very brave decision to have dedicated architectures. There’s a combustion architecture and a battery-electric: they’re so diﬀerent in terms of package, weight distribution, proportions, silhouette. > THERE WILL be lots of improvements in conventional lithium-ion batteries, performance and range, size and weight.
FRESH THINKING Living, breathing, talking tyres… Mossy sidewalls help counter urban air pollution This tyre has got moss growing in it… Leave a car stationary for long enough and it will start to turn green, but the moss on these Goodyear Oxygene concept tyres is a key part of the construction. They’re non-pneumatic tyres, instead using a lightweight rubber shockabsorbing construction that involves recycled materials. The tread is designed to absorb moisture from the
road. This moisture goes into the living moss in the sidewalls. There it reacts with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, through the process of photosynthesis, breathes oxygen out, helping ease urban pollution. Blimey. What other tricks can it do? Electricity is produced during photosynthesis, and that’s used to power the electronics embedded
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
in the tyre, which include sensors, a processing unit and a light strip that can change colour to signal diferent manoeuvres. Data from the sensors can be transmitted to other connected vehicles and to roadside infrastructure as part of a broader smart mobility project. Sounds expensive… It won’t go into production; it’s exploring sustainable urban transport possibilities.
The next step will be solid-state batteries. The problems we have now will be solved in this [solid-state battery] concept, like the cooling, all the chemistry, the danger of ﬁre, and it will further reduce weight, improve performance and range. If we’re lucky it will be here around 2025. > THE SWITCH to [new emissions standards] WLTP and RDE is a diﬃcult journey for us – it’s a signiﬁcant journey for the industry. You have to imagine how many powertrain combinations we have; all cars, even existing vehicles in the market, have to be re-homologated by 1 September 2018. It’s maybe the biggest challenge we have. > WE HAVE the ﬁrst vehicle in the industry which is prepared for Level 3 autonomous driving, meaning it can take over [legal] responsibility, so it needs redundancies in the system. In our veriﬁcation, we see system faults, which is no surprise: it sees some pictures of trucks or people and it thinks it’s real but it’s only an advertisement. Easy to resolve but it shows the complexity. > TOGETHER WITH the German authorities, we’re in the process of homologating. We’re breaking new ground with them, making progress, but they need to ﬁnd a methodology of verifying it. That’s a challenge we have right now – it takes months and months, millions of kilometres to verify the system. Will we be ready this year or longer? I can’t say. > SPORTINESS IS one of the most important brand pillars we have. We will have sports cars, and in diﬀerent ways in the future. Motorsport, sportiness, sustainable sportiness is important for us. It will become a bit more diﬃcult in the future with autonomy and other technologies. Sustainable sportiness is still to be deﬁned. > FLYING CARS will deﬁnitely come. There are areas of the world where infrastructure can’t be expanded any further; there’s only one way to go and that’s up. The idea we showed with ItalDesign and Airbus combines two worlds: a car that adapts to go into the air. But it will take 10 years plus. PHIL MCNAMARA
10 cars tested, starring the Mercedes CLS, Land Rover Defender V8, Range Rover hybrid and four tough 4x4s…
Behind the curve Merc started the coupe/saloon gold rush but it’s toned down the drama for CLS Mk3. Has the magic gone with the shapeliness? By James Taylor
30 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
OGGY, SNOW-LINED autopista north of Barcelona, cruise control engaged. The new Mercedes CLS is keeping itself within its own lane, and its own distance from the car ahead (an appealingly careworn Renault 4, if you’re interested). Should that come to a halt, so will the CLS, before autonomously following it away again up to 30 seconds later. Using map data, it can slow itself in advance of changing speed limits, junctions and roundabouts. Feeling trusting? Nudge the indicator and it can swap lanes autonomously. Feeling stressed? Select a ‘wellness programme’ for the most zen possible combination of seat heating/cooling/ massage motors, ambient lighting and music.
About to hit something? If the CLS detects an impending collision neither you nor it can avoid, Pre-Safe Sound plays a brief rushing noise through the speakers to trigger your stapedius muscle reﬂex to try to protect your eardrums. Suﬃce to say, the CLS is crammed with tech. Some of it’s from Merc’s ﬂagship S-Class, and some from the latest E-Class family, with which the CLS shares much of its underpinnings. This is the third generation of CLS. The big, banana-shaped coupe ﬁrst swooped its way onto the world stage in 2004, and kickstarted the fastback-with-four-doors luxury niche since joined by the likes of Audi’s A7 and BMW’s 6-series Gran Coupe (reborn as the 8-series). Many of the original’s design hallmarks May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Not convinced genius is close to insanity? Exhibit 1: CLS cabin lighting
remain: arched waistline, plenty of rear overhang and the illusion of a rooﬂine that drags the boot down with it as it falls away – but I’m not sure the new CLS possesses quite as much visual drama as its ancestor. Despite being a big car it carries less presence than it used to. It’s as slippery as it looks, though, with a drag coeﬃcient of 0.26. There won’t be a ﬁve-door Shooting Brake estate version this time (a successor was deemed just a bit too niche, even for today’s markets). The coupe compensates by becoming a ﬁve-seater (previously its rear chairs were divided by a console), with 40:20:40 split-folding seatbacks. And the boot’s still big – big enough to accommodate a 5ft 11in road-tester with space to spare… mobsters take note. However short your rear passengers, they’ll need to stoop to duck their heads under the roof as they climb in, but headroom’s okay inside, as is kneeroom, courtesy of new, very slim front seats. Slim but enormously comfy, they’re so supportive you could happily degenerate into a corpulent sack of potatoes on a long journey, each elbow propped on a heated armrest until the tank runs dry. You don’t even need any core strength to hold yourself up as the
Two diesel sixes and a petrol six are available now, with a petrol four due to catch up later this year
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
actively ﬂexing seat bolsters do it for you. It’s a typically swoopy modern-era Mercedes cabin, with a blend of familiar E-Class architecture and bespoke details, a highpoint being the jet turbine-shaped air vents, which illuminate in blue or red depending on what you’re doing with the climate control temperature. There’s further ambient lighting everywhere, with more than 60 changeable colours to pick from if you’ve time on your hands. Two widescreen digital displays stand upright within the dashboard’s curves, with customisable instruments and a reversing camera display that makes bay-parking look like a blockbuster movie. All versions are all-wheel drive, and from launch the core range oﬀers a choice of straightsix petrol and diesel engines, with a four-pot petrol option on the way this autumn. The diesel versions are, nonsensically, branded CLS350d and CLS400d – that’s the same 2.9-litre engine but diﬀerent outputs, 282bhp/443lb ft and 335bhp/516lb ft respectively. The petrol CLS450 is a more complex beast. Its 3.0-litre six is partnered with EQ Boost, which combines starter motor and generator in a powerful electric motor housed between the engine and transmission. It can provide an extra 22bhp/184lb ft slug of acceleration when called upon, as well as energy recuperation and a gliding function to save fuel. The 362bhp/ 369lb ft petrol six itself uses one conventional exhaust-driven turbocharger, with an additional electric compressor to help vanquish turbo lag. It’s all quite complicated. You might just ﬁnd the straightforward diesel 400d is the most pleasing CLS variant to drive, however. With a monster 516lb ft of torque (a Huracan Performante has 443lb ft), the top diesel CLS is seriously quick, yet quiet at a cruise, aided by the laminated (and still frameless) windows. The optional air suspension prioritises comfort over poise, the CLS dipping its
Less distinct looks easily confused with GT 4-Door or E-Class Coupe
door handles at roundabouts like a small plane dipping a wing, but its large body’s movements are well controlled. It’s wafty without being wallowy. It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that poor weather meant every CLS we tested was ﬁtted with winter tyres on smaller-than-standard 18-inch wheels (19s are standard; most customers are expected to choose bigger than that). So torque-rich is the 400d that, in a straight line at least, it feels no slower than the top Mercedes-AMG CLS53. Yep, there’s still a ﬂagship AMG version of the new CLS, although unlike the previous Aﬀalterbach-fettled CLS63 variants the new 53 model doesn’t have a rip-snorting V8. As the lower number suggests, it employs the same 3.0-litre straight-six/48-volt mild hybrid powertrain as the regular CLS450, albeit wound up to 429bhp/384lb ft, with the EQ Boost shot in the arm available here too. It’s blessed with a linear power delivery, but it feels quick rather than fast, not quite the full sledgehammer experience you might expect Mercedes-Benz CLS400d 4Matic AMG Line > Price £60,410 > Engine 2925cc turbodiesel 6-cyl, 335bhp @ 4400rpm, 516lb ft @ 1200rpm > Transmission 9-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 5.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 47.9mpg, 156g/km CO2 > Weight 1935kg > On sale Now
Now with added 21st century
LASTIC SURGEONS SAY the best facelifts are the ones that are hard to spot. In the Mustang’s case the telltale stitches behind the ears include lower-set headlights, LED rear lamps and, on the V8 GT, M3-style quad tailpipes.
from a high-end AMG. The 1980kg kerbweight car’s upmarket positioning. It’s nimble for its might have something to do with that. It sounds size, however, feeling keener to change direction reasonably rorty without being intrusive, with than the 400d, presumably down to the lighter a muted rasp and a slightly synthetic-sounding load in its nose. Prices start from around £57k for the whumph from the exhausts on upshifts. The nine-speed auto transmission tends to take a CLS350d and CLS450, rising past £60k for the while hunting for the right gear – it does have top diesel 400d. AMG prices are yet to be cona lot to choose from, after all. Once it’s decided ﬁrmed, but will head north of £70k. Incidentalon one, traction is stupendous (the 53 gets fully ly, the new AMG GT 4-Door super-grand-tourer variable torque distribution as opposed to the revealed last month will also be available with regular car’s ﬁxed 45:55 front-rear split), and the the 53 powertrain, but Mercedes says there’ll be steering feels as quick and precise as you’d hope a ‘signiﬁcant’ price jump to that car, avoiding of an AMG; air springs and adaptive dampers overlap with the CLS. If you’re going to sink £60k into a big coupe, are standard on the 53 (optional on the regular you want it to feel special. In many ways, the CLS), along with revised geometry. CLS does; it’s epically comfortable, We have a brief drive in the loaded with interesting tech, and upcoming four-cylinder petrol LOVE possesses one of the more visually CLS too. This also features a Superb comfort, arresting interiors on sale. I just 48-volt starter-generator, albeit a 400d’s torque and wish it had a little more of the belt-driven one, similarly able to refinement original CLS’s theatre, both to look recover energy and provide a bit of HATE at and to drive. The more time you extra oomph under acceleration to No Shooting Brake, spend with it, the more it grows ﬁll the natural torque gap. There no AMG 63, no drama on you – but surely a car like this is still noticeable turbo lag on an should grab you straight away? On admittedly hilly test route, but once VERDICT ﬁrst acquaintance, the new CLS into its powerband the four-pot A fine car, but doesn’t swagger like feels as if it’s missing just a little of can punt the heavy CLS along at a a CLS should that elusive sense of occasion. handy lick, although its coarse note +++++ at higher revs feels at odds with the @JamesTaylorCAR
Inside there’s more metal (or metal-look) jewellery, plus some hand stitching on the console and an optional 12-inch digital instrument cluster that’s got plenty going on to distract you from the road ahead. Just as well Ford’s updated the safety kit with stuf like pre-collision assistance and pedestrian detection to boost the last version’s retro two-star Euro NCAP score by one star. The soulless EcoBoost 2.3 is now rated at 286bhp instead of 313bhp, but the 5.0 V8 gets a boost from 410 to 444bhp, a wicked new exhaust soundtrack and, in the case of the optional auto, an extra four ratios thanks to a new ’box co-developed with GM. Giving a burly Yank V8 10 gears sounds about as crucial an upgrade as fitting an extra pair of legs to a caterpillar. The real reason is this north-south transmission was engineered for Ford’s F-series trucks, which need more cogs for towing. But since the Mustang’s 389lb ft actually peaks at a high 4600rpm, the new transmission makes it easier to keep in the sweet zone. The ability to skip multiple ratios on the way down the ’box is useful; a Dragstrip mode, which sacrifices refinement in search of tenths, isn’t, but is fun anyway. The real shock here, though, is how much better this Mustang is over a tough road on its retuned suspension and new optional Magneride dampers. It doesn’t turn like a hot hatch but it feels tight and together. Pity about the 22mpg economy and now £43k+ price. CHRIS CHILTON
Lights are new, and set lower, but the bigger changes are under the skin, and very successful
Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT > Price £43,095 > Engine 4951cc 32v V8, 444bhp @ 7000rpm, 389lb ft @ 4600rpm > Transmission 10-speed auto, rear-wheel drive > Performance 4.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 23.3mpg, 270g/km CO2 > Weight 1831kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++ VERDICT More gears, more go, more money
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR
Hang the expense It’s the fastest Land Rover ever, and one of the brashest… and maybe the new SVR is also one of the best. By Anthony french-Constant
ERIOUSLY VULGAR RENDITION, in case you’re wondering. Especially presented in Madagascar Orange which, like a queasy orangutan on an Alton Towers rollercoaster, changes hue when glimpsed from diﬀerent angles. This Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Not Remotely Streamline Baby boasts just the one exterior detail of any artfulness whatsoever: the junction between paint and exposed mat on Land Rover’s ﬁrst carbonﬁbre bonnet (a weight saving of 25kg) is wonderfully, obsessively seamless. Less subtle details are easier to hunt down; a choice example being the Starship Trooper rank insignia masquerading as engine bay vents aft of the front wheels. On board, mercifully, all is much easier to like. The crisp, ruthlessly padded architecture is dominated by the two 10-inch screens of a Range Rover Sport SVR > Price £117,260 > Engine 4999cc 32v supercharged V8, 567bhp @ 6000rpm, 516lb ft @ 3500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 4.5sec 0-62mph, 174mph, 22.1mpg, 294g/km CO2 > Weight 2310kg > On sale Now
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Touch Pro Duo infotainment system hatched in bespoke front seats. Whereas the seats of the the Velar and now range-wide. ‘Pro’ is a useful phull-phat Range Rover oﬀer all the lateral word in this context, optimistically distancing hold of a previously owned sherry triﬂe, those the system as far as possible from its woefully of the SVR make a far more decent ﬁst of tardy predecessor. Indeed, an image of George actually maintaining an appropriately head-on Gilbert Scott’s phone box is about the only relationship between driver and helm. relic to survive the transition to a far faster and And this is a Good Thing because – although more graphically pleasing oﬀering which, like it’s brazen as bare legs on a Newcastle night so many current touchscreens, is best left on to out in February and vulgar as streaky fake disguise the symphony of ﬁngertip smears that tan – the Sport SVR is a gigglingly, guineaquickly accrue. a-minute enthrallingly quick bungalow, and But the driver’s binnacle centre screen embarrassingly loud. requires an ecstasy of steeringAs before, JLR’s 5.0-litre wheel-switchgear fumbling to supercharged V8 is pressed into manipulate. When you do ﬁnally service, but power has been LOVE Power, noise, allﬁnd the presentation you require, boosted by 25bhp to 567bhp, and round capability a simple conﬁrmatory stab is torque by 14lb ft to 516lb ft. This HATE insuﬃcient; you must also then shoves the Sport SVR to 62mph Vulgarity, waiting painstakingly back-track through in 4.5 seconds, and on into a wall forever at junctions the menu to where you started of air that becomes solid enough VERDICT before activation occurs. One to halt proceedings at 174mph. Soon to be appearing slip and – pausing only for your It’s delivered via an eight-speed all over a Premier ﬁrst glimpse at the road ahead automatic transmission with League car park since yesterday evening – you must ﬂappy paddles (and a conventional near you +++++ start again. gearknob to make manual access Best of all, and saving 30kg, are easier) and all-wheel drive.
RANGE ROVER PHEV
This one will tax your patience
O, WHO BUYS a plug-in hybrid Range Rover?’ I asked a senior JLR bod. ‘Well, I haven’t got their names,’ he snapped back – deploying what seemed an unnecessarily stout salvo of huﬀ in riposte to an innocuous query elicited by the pronouncement that some 20 per cent of Range Rover buyers will henceforth opt for the PHEV variant. One opulently cosseting smear on tarmac and an occasionally challenging squelch oﬀ it later, I’m still none the wiser... Hunting down a £35k deal on a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with the tax-friendly promise of 41g/km and 166mpg I vaguely get. But if you’re forking out over 100 grand to get your nose higher in the air than anyone else, do you care about the price of petrol? You’d better, because, despite a quoted average of 101mpg, my day’s driving rewarded me with 21.4mpg. And there’s the rub: must we now wave goodbye to engineering for excellence in favour of engineering to exploit ill-conceived regulation? The 31 miles of all-electric driving is so quiet that Land Rover has installed a ‘synthesised sound for pedestrian alert’ which cannot be heard from on board. What can be heard, though, is the wince-worthy rasp of metal-on-metal under regenerative braking. Land Rover has also gone to a deal of trouble to ensure the 85kW (114bhp) electric motor doesn’t deliver maximum torque from zero rpm when oﬀ-roading; what’s 6.8 seconds to 62mph sauce for the goose on the loose isn’t such an asset for the gander getting to grips with the gloop. The 2.0-litre turbo makes an unseemly racket in getting two and half tonnes moving with any alacrity, while dealing with the extra weight of the batteries elicits an over-tough ride by Range Rover standards, and brake pedal modulation lacks ﬁnesse. All of which hardly adds to the long list of attributes we already admire in the stock Range Rover. ANTHONY FFRENCH-CONSTANT
Quad pipes are tuned for two stages of loudness; stock wheels 21-inch
Infotainment is from Velar; steering wheel is bespoke
Bury the throttle, and the SVR leans back on its haunches like a Riva Aquarama as the screws bite (albeit without the yacht’s beauty), and blares oﬀ the line with absurd alacrity and a not inconsiderable racket in the ﬁnest V8 tradition. Gearchanges – both automatically and manual selected – are seamless, but the sudden, cacophonous appearance of the 7th Cavalry ﬁring from the saddle, most notably on downchanges, is hardly conducive to the imperceptible swapping of cogs. The SVR rides on air springs, adaptive dampers and active anti-rolls bars both fore and aft, the settings of which have been ministered unto with a view to shackling pitch under throttle and braking (almost), and to optimising the turn-in, body control and cornering grip of 2310 bags of sugar. This makes for a decidedly ﬁrm straight-line ride, but it’s never uncomfortable. This, allied to meaty steering, allows this monstrosity to be hustled down a sweeping A-road at a fair old lick. It all does feel rather more like grip than handling, however, and you need to be smooth with your inputs. Clearly not to everyone’s taste, but you can see why some would happily cough up over £100,000 for something so vulgar, so overtly shouty and attention seeking, so swanky on board, so extraordinarily capable oﬀ-road, so hilariously loud, and, above all, so absurdly, gloriously, thrillingly rapid.
Carbonfibre on the engine, the bonnet, the centre console… Seats are brilliantly supportive
Heavy batteries in the boot afect the handling, and if your journey is more than the 31-mile battery-only range then they’re dead weight
Range Rover P400e Autobiography > Price £105,865 > Engine 1997cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 296bhp @ 5500rpm (plus 114bhp electric motor), 472lb ft @ 1500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 6.8sec 0-62mph, 137mph, 101mpg, 64g/km CO2 > Weight 2509kg > Rating +++++ VERDICT Show us an owner who’s ever going to plug it in
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
LAND ROVER DEFENDER WORKS V8
History, physics and economics You can’t currently buy a new Defender. But for a while you could buy a secondhand one with 400bhp – until they sold out… By Jake Groves
EVENTY YEARS IS an awfully the sofa, as Jaguar did with the recently long time, but that’s how long Land announced D-Type continuation cars, Land Rover’s go-anywhere 4x4 has been Rover has instead prodded the team at JLR around; from embryonic Series 1 Classic to take used Defender 90 or 110 Station (see p112) through to the late, fairly Wagons registered between 2012 and 2016, strip them down and rebuild them around the great Defender. While the eternal wait for Defender’s aforementioned V8 at its Coventry facility. replacement goes on, Land Rover’s wheeled out The result is this, the Defender Works V8 70th Edition. the birthday cake, lit the candles There have been factory V8s and pumped up the bouncy castle before, of course, notably 1998’s to celebrate the 4x4’s platinum LOVE Engine, speed, 50th Anniversary car, but none as anniversary. character potent as this. The 70th Edition Less conventionally, it’s also uses the 400bhp unit already in crammed a big-capacity V8 under HATE Price, thirst, handling, service within the JLR range, just the bonnet – which is an interesting driving position without the usual supercharging development direction since few VERDICT you’ll ﬁnd in the Range Rover or people have ever driven a Defender A loud and silly Jaguar XJR575. Continuing the and wished it was much, much triumph/oddity cost-eﬀective, known-quantity, faster. parts-bin approach, the Works Rather than pluck some unused +++++ Defender also uses JLR’s beloved chassis numbers from beneath
eight-speed ZF automatic, which lets you enjoy manual shifts with an F-Type-style trigger shifter. The transmission comprises a dual-speed transfer box with a centre diﬀerential able to shift up to 90 per cent of the shove fore or aft. Fortunately the suspension boasts upgraded springs and dampers, bigger brakes (335mm discs up front; 300mm at the rear) and all-terrain tyres as standard. Quite a recipe then, and Gregory King – the Works V8 restoration co-ordinator – admits the Classic team have pushed the Defender chassis just as far as it will go. No kidding. For all this modiﬁcation work, the car still looks like a Defender – 70th Edition-speciﬁc detailing includes 18-inch ‘Sawtooth’ alloys and a couple of positively tasteful badges. Clamber into the body-hugging and heated Recaro sports seats and bask in the contrasts of high-grade Windsor leather upholstery mated with stalks, buttons and dials that look and feel decades old. There’s infotainment with nav, but you’d be forgiven for missing it – the screen’s no bigger than your phone’s and set so low you have to duck down to read it. Fire it up via a good old-fashioned key and the burly V8 shudders into life, the car trembling like a greenhouse in the wind. Stripped of its supercharger it may be, but this is still an absolute corker of an engine. Burbling, growling and ﬁzzing at a cruise, it dominates the whole driving experience like a habanero chili pepper in your porridge. Stamp on the throttle pedal and a cacophony of snorts, howls and bellows
Petrified of screwing up the sequel, Land Rover busied itself with engine transplants
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
After a ten-tenths thrash, Giles parked up and went for a little lie down
MINI COOPER S
Cute! British! And still good INI IS A British brand – a blindingly obvious statement, but Mini thinks you might have forgotten the fact judging by its refreshed hatch and convertible models. So now we’ve rear lights that look like illuminated Union Jack flags… just in case Union Jack roofs weren’t enough to remind you. Very little else has changed with the update – because the Mini formula is a winning one. All cars now come with full LED front lights, there are some new colour and wheel choices, and you can now have your name 3D printed onto parts of the car, or even beamed down onto the ground by the puddle lights if you feel so inclined. Mini owners are clearly a forgetful bunch. The Mini does at least drive as well as it always has. When presented with a series of tight and twisty bends, there are few cars as chuckable as the Cooper S. And as the road unfurls again the engine pulls strongly from low revs all the way to the redline, letting out a naughty crackle from the exhaust whenever your throttle foot wavers. In true Mini fashion, the rear of the car is ever-mobile – which might be unnerving were it not for the hefty, feelsome steering that lets you know exactly what’s going on. For all this trad Britishness, there must be a hat-tip to Mini’s German parentage, though. That BMW’s comprehensive catalogue of tech has been shoehorned into the Mini’s tiny body without corrupting its incorrigible, fun-loving nature, is an impressive achievement.
Out of place… until you put your foot down
erupt once the auto ’box has dropped suﬃcient ratios, the Land Rover squatting as it launches itself into the middle distance. Then you reach a corner, and immediately regret your heavy-footed approach. The brakes, for example, will stop your Defender but they’re nowhere near as sharp nor as eﬀective as something you’d get on a modern SUV, and to say the steering’s vague would be quite an understatement. The wheel itself requires signiﬁcant eﬀort to turn – its huge diameter and increased leverage doing nothing to counter the system’s innate heft – and there’s a disconcerting lack of any sort of feedback. The Defender pitches and wallows midcorner, and if you chicken out of the speed you’re carrying it will engage in a little lift-oﬀ oversteer like an ’80s French hatchback just to make sure your heart rate stays sky high and your throat dry like the Namib. So lobbing a V8 into the Defender hasn’t magically created a reﬁned, urbane, agile Porsche Macan rival – no surprise there. What’s more, this is an expensive toy, costing £150k for the 90 and £160k for the 110. The driving position is crummy, leaving you no obvious place to tuck your right arm or left leg, fast cross-country driving is a challenge, using the
navigation nigh-on impossible and you’ll need to break into Fort Knox if you’re to keep it in 98-octane fuel. But chances are you won’t stop laughing when you’re behind the wheel. As a car this thing’s just so silly, so unnecessary, so… lovable. You ignore all of those signiﬁcant yet somehow inconsequential ﬂaws and just enjoy the Works Defender for what it is: an expensive, uncomfortable, thirsty and dynamically challengingly 4x4. Give it some welly, take in that sensational soundtrack and try not to accidentally stuﬀ it in a ditch. That said, it’ll eﬀortlessly haul itself out of said ditch anyway. One for the hardcore, then, and the investors no doubt. Just 150 units will be built, with Land Rover claiming demand has far outstripped supply. Further proof of the Defender’s enduring, slightly masochistic appeal, and of the fact that – fortunately – there’s a good deal more money in the world than sense. Defender 110 Works V8 70th Edition > Price From £160,000 > Engine 4999cc 32v V8, 400bhp @ 6000rpm, 380lb ft @ 5000rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive (with low-range) > Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph, 106mph (limited), 19mpg, 352g/km CO2 > Weight n/a > On sale Sold out
TOM GOODLAD Everyone’s talking about the Union Jack lights. They should be out driving
Mini Cooper S > Price £20,630 > Engine 1998cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 189bhp @ 4700rpm, 221lb ft @ 1250rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 6.8sec 0-62mph, 146mph, 47.1mpg, 138g/km CO2 > Weight 1235kg > On sale Now > Rating +++++ VERDICT More of the same (in a good way for once)
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
MERCEDES-BENZ GLE250D Give me the back story… Pre-2015 this was the M-Class; it sits above the GLC and below the GLS. Five seats rather Handy for keeping up with the than seven, but uses double-barrelled Joneses the space to provide a humongous boot instead. Also available in a muscle vest with a V8 or V6, but this is the entry-level diesel four-pot. Country mud-plugger or catalogue model? It’s the M-Class shell with a C-Class nose job, and it looks the most road-ready of this quartet, more likely to be seen on a school run than near a chicken run. Spec optional ofroad package for dif locks, low-range ’box and underbody guards, then proceed to the school gates as the crow flies. ANGUS MURRAY
Fleet-footed back on terra firma? A pleasant mode of transport to cruise around in, with air suspension biased more toward squidgy comfort than keen direction-swapping. The 2.1-litre diesel can be clattery in other Mercs but is more mufled within the giant GLE.
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER Give me the back story... Toyota’s tectonic plate with wheels has been facelifted, but its longrunning recipe remains Handy for surviving a the same: a big body zombie apocalypse on a big frame, five or seven seats, and the ability to drive around/over/through anything in its path. No V8 in the UK any more; just a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. Country mud-plugger or catalogue model? Definitely the former, although new Jeep-esque grille means re-nosed Land Cruiser no longer resembles Predator’s fizzog. Plethora of mysterious dashboard buttons adjust ride height and transmission for crawling, wading, descending and sundry advanced of-roadery. Fleet-footed back on terra firma? Feels as big as it looks. On tall tyres and taller suspension, the body never quite stops moving after a bump or a corner, like a jelly being couriered to a table by a waiter.
Flintstones vs Transformers Timeless 4x4 virtues live on in the Land Cruiser and Shogun, but do they ofer anything their more sophisticated rivals don’t? By James Taylor
MERCEDESBENZ GLE250D Distant cement works on a par with these four for handling alacrity
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER INVINCIBLE
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN LWB
Give me the back story... Now into its fifth generation, the onceboxy biggest Landie has smoothed of and now Handy for just about resembles an Evoque anything and everything gradually digesting a wardrobe. You can get a petrol or diesel V6, but this is the entry-level diesel four-pot. Still costs more than 50 grand.
Give me the back story... The world’s least pretentious SUV, and one of its more capable ones. Believe Handy for actual of-roading, it or not, the current tarmac-based driving less so fourth-gen Shogun has been around since 2006. Actually not so hard to believe, because it feels even older than that to sit in and to drive.
Country mud-plugger or catalogue model? With poshness pouring from every pore, the Disco’s parked closer to its Range Rover stablemate’s patch than ever. About as big as an actual disco, like Studio 54 on wheels, but curiously tall and narrow with polarising rear styling. Still the best-resolved, most modern design here, though.
Country mud-plugger or catalogue model? In a world of faux-by-four crossovers, the Shogun is the real deal. As GBU says, if you don’t think you need this car, you don’t need this car. Chunky arches look great, but the clear tail lights could be from a rushed Max Power project car.
Fleet-footed back on terra firma? Equally at home in Knightsbridge or Kathmandu, the Disco can wade deeper than the Cruiser and crawl over bigger obstacles, yet could also look the part picking up a VIP from a party. Not sure the other three could pull that of.
Fleet-footed back on terra firma? Like a full-size Suzuki Jimny, it excels of the road as much as it makes life hard work on it. Shakes, rattles and body-roll make every journey feel like going on safari. Actually quite quick in a straight line but makes a heck of a lot of noise getting up to speed. Brake early to avoid disappointment.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SD4 HSE
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN LWB SG3
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
Interior made of Gore-Tex and tarpaulin? Aluminium trim and swathes of man-made leather, yet the GLE’s interior feels curiously underwhelming for a premium-brand, premium-price car. Back-dated switchgear doesn’t help. Luxuriously roomy, though.
Interior made of Gore-Tex and tarpaulin? Monumental slabs of plastic designed to look like aluminium (they don’t), now with a bigger touchscreen and a redesigned centre console. Huge body to work with, so why the knee-bashingly low steering column?
Looks cheap, feels cheaper, costs £52k. Eh?
From before Merc interiors were interesting
Best toys to bore my friends about are... Puddle lamps project the Benz three-pointer onto the pavement like some kind of misdirected Bat Signal; optional towbar has its own ESP system with trailer stabilisation for up to 3.5 tonnes; downhill speed regulation (DSR) enables ‘Look mum, no feet!’ descents.
Best toys to bore my friends about are... Might not be the nicest-looking interior, but it wants for nothing on the kit front. You name it, it’s got it; bird’s-eye parking cameras, chilly ventilated seats in the front and toasty ones everywhere, powered coolbox between the front seats...
Can I carry lots of skis/furniture/family/other cliches? This is the only five-seater in the test (to carry six passengers you’ll need the more expensive GLS), but there’s business-class legroom and the same braked towing capacity as the Disco and Shogun (and more than the Toyota).
Can I carry lots of skis/furniture/family/other cliches? Easily. Electric seats (as in powered by electric motors, not capital punishment) rise out of the boot floor to carry kids or yoga-practising adults, and the second row is split three ways – drop the middle seat as a ski hatch, or just to create more elbow-waggling room when travelling four-up.
VERDICT Pleasant, but pricey. Not memorable enough to stand out in a class of big characters.
VERDICT When Donald’s blown the world to smithereens, Land Cruisers will still be standing.
40 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
MERCEDES-BENZ GLE250D 4MATIC AMG LINE
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER INVINCIBLE 7-SEAT
> Price £53,690 > As tested £55,185
> Price £52,295 > As tested £57,330
> Engine 2143cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 201bhp @ 3800rpm, 369lb ft @ 1600rpm > Transmission 9-spd auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 8.6sec 0-62mph, 130mph, 42.8mpg, 156g/km CO2 > Weight 2165kg > Example insurance quote* £830.14 > On sale Now > Rating +++++
> Engine 2755cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 174bhp @ 3400rpm, 332lb ft @ 1600rpm > Transmission 6-spd auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 12.7sec 0-62mph, 108mph, 38.1mpg, 194g/km CO2 > Weight 2125kg > Example insurance quote* £819.04 > On sale Now > Rating +++++
*Insurance quotes are from mustard.co.uk and are based on a 41-year-old married male living in Sufolk with nine years’ NCD and no claims or convictions. Insurance quotes will vary depending on individual circumstances.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN LWB
Interior made of Gore-Tex and tarpaulin? Quite the opposite, actually. This is a beautifully finished interior, with soft-touch trim for doors ’n’ dash like dolphin skin, thoughtful storage solutions and impressive-feeling quality. Shame to get it muddy, really.
Interior made of Gore-Tex and tarpaulin? Cheapest dash plastics known to man, liberal quantities of leatherette, and an obfuscating generic radio-nav touchscreen. Some fixtures feel discouragingly flimsy and, arm-achingly, the steering column doesn’t adjust for reach.
Toyota take note: this is how you do fake aluminium
Let’s party like it’s (a particularly grey day in) 1999
Best toys to bore my friends about are... Remotely lowering the suspension to make it easier to lift your shopping into the boot; stomach-wobbling bass from the 380W Meridian sound system; the Bond-esque hidden compartment behind the air-con panel.
Best toys to bore my friends about are... Bless it, the Mitsu’s a little behind the bunch here, but it can shyly boast a useful reversing camera, Bluetooth connection, heated leather seats and air-con for all three seat rows. Not much in the way of new-fangled USB ports.
Can I carry lots of skis/furniture/family/other cliches? Second-row seats slide in two sections and drop their three backs individually (optional Intelligent Seat Fold lets you do it via a phone app), the lid for the enormous centre cubby is double-hinged to act as a tray table for the back and while there’s no longer a split tailgate there is a powered folddown ledge to sit on. The picnic dream is alive.
Can I carry lots of skis/furniture/family/other cliches? Second row of seats manually fold and tumble forwards easily to access two fold-up chairs in the boot (next to a giant plastic subwoofer, handy for short-legged D’n’B fans). Middle-row seatbacks can be tilted to almost any angle to create more or less space, and the Shogun can haul up to 3500kg of braked trailer behind it if the boot’s full.
VERDICT Go anywhere, do anything, feel smug about it. The best 4x4x7 seats by far.
VERDICT Likeably honest, and a lot of car for the money, but feels outmoded in this company.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SD4 HSE
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN LWB 3.2 SG3
> Price £55,595 > As tested £59,970
> Price £38,305 > As tested £38,305
> Engine 1999cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 237bhp @ 4000rpm, 369lb ft @ 1500rpm > Transmission 8-spd auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 8.3sec 0-62mph, 121mph, 43.5mpg, 171g/km CO2 > Weight 2184kg > Example insurance quote* £660.72 > On sale Now > Rating +++++
> Engine 3200cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 187bhp @ 3500rpm, 325lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission 5-spd auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 11.1sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 30.4mpg, 245g/km CO2 > Weight 2300kg > Example insurance quote* £700.45 > On sale Now > Rating +++++
May 2018 | SUBSC RIB E TO CAR & SAVE UP TO 62 %! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR
‘Designers are a timorous bunch. In the 21st century, their caution is less excusable than it was’ L
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
it liberates a vast amount of cabin space. The driver and front passenger sit much nearer the front wheels. So there’s more backseat room and boot space. The i-Pace has the same footprint as a Porsche Macan but is roomier than the bigger Cayenne. It looks like a mid-engined sportster on steroids, and the closest Jaguar to it, in style, is the stillborn (and stunning) C-X75 supercar. Electric cars need less cooling than petrol cars. So EVs can have lower noses, to help aerodynamics and style. Yet most don’t. The i-Pace’s lower nose helps to give it a clean aero proﬁle, accentuating its mid-engine stance. Callum admits he could have made it lower still. ‘Instead we made it a little higher to retain that Jaguar presence.’ EVs also don’t need gearboxes, clutches, bell-housings, exhausts and petrol tanks – their omissions should all liberate cabin space. Heating and ventilation can also be more compact – see the Tesla Model 3. There are encouraging signs that the car industry is about to throw oﬀ the petrol-car design shackles. Volkswagen’s quartet of upcoming ID electric cars are all freshly styled and superbly packaged, although still a few years from market. New concepts from Lagonda and Porsche hint at bold new design possibilities. Meanwhile, most new EVs are still electric conversions of existing petrol or diesel cars: too heavy, poorly packaged and little more than convenient EV entrées for their manufacturers. This is true of all EVs currently sold by Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Peugeot, Citroën, Mitsubishi, Smart, and others. Even bespoke EVs – the Leaf, the ﬁne Zoe, the innovative Model S – are mostly cautiously designed, probably to avoid frightening circumspect petrol-car owners whom they wish to woo. But, Mr Sutton, the times they are a-changing. The Geneva show was proof that, to quote Dylan, the old road is rapidly agein’. And, very soon, he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.
ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STRAIN
Gavin joined CAR just 33 years ago. He’s driven one or two horseless carriages in his time
ETTERS PAGE CONTRIBUTOR Gary Sutton writes, ‘Why are electric car designers persisting with the decades-old three-box paradigm?’ (CAR, March 2018). And he’s right to ask. Most electric cars are cautious petrol-car clones, which fail to utilise the numerous packaging and styling advantages of their electric powertrains. And this caution is, sadly, not new. We saw it more than 100 years ago, when petrol cars ﬁrst stuttered into life (and Karl Benz’s ran well enough to hit a brick wall). Perhaps not surprisingly, they were clones of the form of transport they usurped: motorised carriages minus the horses. There was no need for their big dashboards (a barrier of wood to stop mud being ‘dashed up’ from horses’ hooves), tall wagon-style wheels, open bodywork or their high exposed seats (to see over the horses). Just as there is no need for three-box (or even two-box) architectures, voluminous front engine bays and upright grilles on electric cars. Car designers are a timorous bunch. In the early 21st century, their caution is less excusable than it was in the late 19th. Some horseless-carriage compromises continue. We still have dashboards that are mostly mere space-grabbing ornamentation. Issigonis dumped it on the early Minis, which had a central instrument pod and a useful front storage shelf instead. On the new Phantom, Rolls-Royce has turned it into a display case for artwork. On most luxury cars, the dashboard is simply a useless piece of wood applique. It took a few decades for the horseless carriage to morph into a ‘proper’ car. It may well take the electric car a similar length of time to evolve. The Jaguar i-Pace at least hints at the possibilities. Its design is the work of Ian Callum, a man more used to styling long-bonnet sportsters than compact electric cars. ‘It’s the most exciting project I’ve worked on in 40 years as a car designer. It’s a new hero Jaguar for a new era,’ he told me at the recent Geneva motor show. He believes the i-Pace is the most signiﬁcant Jaguar since the E-Type. Packaging all the major mechanicals in a ‘skateboard’ ﬂoorpan gives enormous design freedom. Most modern electric cars continue – unnecessarily – with bulky front engine bays, high noses and deep grilles. Rejecting all this allowed Callum and the engineering team to use a cab-forward design, as on a mid-engine sports car. This not only looks desirable and sporty,
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‘Redact your Xs and embrace the Z. It’s the end of the alphabet, not The End Of Days’ T
44 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
And don’t think that this naming policy has anything to do with Generations X, Y and Z. Conventionally, there’s a 20-year divide between these demographic groups, but the car makers aren’t carefully targeting 20-year-olds, 40-year-olds and 60-yearolds. For starters, no matter what the date or the car or the target market, the manufacturers launch all new models at the Geneva show with some dreadful ’90s hip hop and a cheesy dance troupe wearing their baseball caps backwards. To a middle-aged car executive for whom wearing a baseball cap is unthinkable, let alone wearing a baseball cap backwards, this represents the very essence of eternal youth. In fact, I’d love to see a launch using actual Generation Zeds like my teenagers: the lights would go up, and a bunch of kids would wander on stage in silence looking at their phones, before glancing up at the audience and mumbling ‘What?’ Anyway, those X days are gone now and (apart from that old-fashioned electric Jaguar thing) the era of i is over, too. We’ve entered the Epoch of Z – Z for zoomy and zesty and zingy and zero emissions! And er… faltering… er… autonomouz… and optimiztic. Z-car drivers are ﬂamboyant and colourful and they’re completely at ease upgrading an operating system without losing all their contacts. Z drivers care about kittens, meadows of wildﬂowers and the environment and all that stuﬀ, but they’re not going to let it stop them having fun! It’s the end of the alphabet, not The End Of Days! So redact your Xs and don’t ask Y, it’s time to embrace the Z, buy with Bitcoins, put aside your Brexit fears and embrace Brezit! (Wait, I sense you have reservations. How long will it last, you ask? Dunno, maybe a year or two. And where next, now that we’ve exhausted the alphabet? Dunno. WTF?)
ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STRAIN
A master of the alphabet, editorat-large Mark is convinced brewing up sexy car names is as easy as ABC
HERE WAS A clear trend at this year’s Geneva motor show, a sign that we have ﬁnally moved on from our grey and foggy past to enter a bright new chapter in the history of the automobile. It’s the arrival of the perennially futuristic letter Z. Just to recap, the 2018 Geneva show featured the latest Danish supercar from Zenvo and the Italdesign Zerouno Duerte. Renault unveiled its EZ-Go taxi, alongside the latest Zoe hatchback. Volkswagen went the full hog with its maximumstrength, double-zed Vizzion. Subaru unveiled its Z-enabled Viziv (or was it the Ziviz?), and Lamborghini was there with its electric Terzo Millennio. Mazerati was also present, though its stand was unfortunately blighted by a small spelling mistake. Of course, many of these new cars were just concepts, not production-ready cars, but what does the arrival of the Z mean for the rest of us, in our day-to-day lives? Well, this represents the culmination of decades of development by the car manufacturers, as they have ranged up and down the alphabet looking for model-name nirvana. It all started with the Model T in 1908, though Henry Ford soon realised he’d got things all mixed up and in the wrong order and launched the Model A in the ’20s. By the ’60s we’d moved on from primitive ABC and everything had to be a GT – Ford Cortina GT, Capri GT, Mini 1275 GT, MGBGT GT. Then, in the ’80s, there came the racy GTi. The shift from two letters to three showed clear progress – things had changed, and no mistake. Then the i shed the G and T (they were holding it back, creatively) and struck out on its own. We’ve been living in an i-world for two decades now, ever since Apple launched the iMac in 1998. So, since 2000, there’s been an avalanche of i cars – Toyota unveiled a string of i concepts like the i-Unit and i-Road; Mitsubishi launched its i-Miev electric car; Hyundai adopted an ‘i’ naming policy across the range; and BMW unveiled a whole ‘i’ sub-brand. What’s so surprising is how concentrated these trends are. Take the X – ooh, what an exciting and mysterious letter, an X! No kidding. Within the space of about three years between 2004 and 2007, the world went X crazy. At the Geneva motor show alone there were concepts called the Ix-onic, the Trixx, the Flexa, the gen-X, the Xasis, the Hybrid X, the Xover. Land Rover unveiled the LRX, Honda the FCX and Jaguar the C-XF.
‘Sunshine and hills! Attractive individuals in tight pants! Neat cars everywhere! Also kind of a toilet’ B
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
should leave work without notice and just crack oﬀ to a canyon or a beach. The sweet smell of eucalyptus up in the Angeles Forest, north of downtown, where the pavement is cambered and singsongy for miles, sprinting to the Mojave Desert through empty and painted hills. And the rest of the state, over the mountains, a world as varied as the LA basin is predictable, Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada and everything else California, massive, heartbreakingly pretty, and mostly empty. Later that day, out of curiosity, I emailed a man named Rob Dickinson. Rob moved to California from England in 2003, and runs Singer Vehicle Design. You’ve probably heard of his cars. Restored and re-imagined Porsche 911s, they’re ass-engined Fabergé eggs. Famously unique, famously expensive. I asked Rob why he crossed the Atlantic and came to Los Angeles. What made it worth it? ‘Optimism,’ he said. ‘Incredible light, skill, talent, and yearround car madness. I realised I could do whatever I wanted here – nobody to tut-tut and to say, “You can’t do that.” Bliss.’ I thought about Rob’s words for a bit. I may have thought about them on Latigo Canyon Road, high above Malibu, while parked and staring at the Paciﬁc. Possibly after more than an hour of turning the Tesla’s tyres to powder, on one of city’s best roads, in some of the prettiest and most unaﬀordable real estate on Earth. In that moment, staring at the ocean from atop a mountain, the beneﬁts of LA seemed both intangible and endless. A fuzzy possibility set that you work to remember on the ground, so you don’t get swamped in the more obvious negatives. But also something you don’t get anywhere else. A value exchange. A terrible, horrible place. A crowded smog by the sea. But then, I’m biased: like a lot of people, I’m thinking about moving there. It sounds perfect.
ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STRAIN
US journalist Sam is equal parts helmsman, car geek and speed freak. He’s editor at large at Road & Track magazine
RITISH PEOPLE MOVE to Los Angeles. Especially in the city’s car circles, where UK expats seem to grow on four-wheeled trees. Over here, a 911 at some Cars and Coﬀee show, disgorging two London accents. Over there, a Ford GT40 carrying a man who spells that nonferrous metal A-L-U-M-I-N-I-U-M, instead of just saying ‘lightweighted freedom steel’ like every colonial south of Canada. Car collectors, journalists, racing drivers, anyone who has decided that rain is stupid – the type list of British imports is endless. Some parts of LA sound more like Blighty than Blighty. None of this should be surprising. Los Angeles is famously a city of transplants, and everyone knows why: you see the region in movies, and it looks good. (Sunshine and hills! Attractive individuals in tight pants! Neat cars everywhere!) Then you visit and realise that it’s also kind of a toilet. (Infamous pollution and living cost; nasty sprawl, because all those individuals have to live somewhere; horrendous traﬃc, because everyone is constantly driving to the store, buying the latest in tight pants.) Like many things American, Southern California makes its ﬁrst impressions in blazing neon, whether you want that or not. I pondered all this while driving around the place last month, testing the Tesla Model 3. The photographer on the job, a lovely dude named James Lipman, grew up outside London. He moved to California a year ago. We discussed the implications of that move, mostly while stuck in traﬃc in the Tesla. Lipman loved Los Angeles, he said, but – like a lot of people there – couldn’t stop thinking about its problems. It occurred to me that I was in the same boat, despite not living there. Every visit produces the same train of thought on the town’s trade-oﬀs. Call it one of those odd quirks of human nature: we can seem hard-wired to focus on the negative, even if we don’t want to. Perhaps this quality is rooted in some pessimistic cavemannomad urge to perpetually improve our personal lot. While talking to Lipman, I did a reﬂexive inventory of the good I could see from the road. The way old cars are street-parked everywhere, unrusty and patinated, from faded ’60s muscle to carburetted Ferraris. How the city’s borders of ocean and mountains somehow help it feel vast and homely at once. The impossible air clarity when the smog retreats, and how the weather always manages to be just warm enough to make you wonder if you
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S P O N S O R E D BY
The early bird catches the worm > VIA EMAIL
Hmm, not convinced about the looks of the LC500 featured in your April issue, or indeed any current Lexus. But the Californian roads you shot it on looked wonderful. The only time I drove there, the whole state appeared to be ridiculously congested, not just LA. Either you got up very early indeed or I need to go back to California and try some of the roads you mentioned. Just hope they’re not full of other CAR readers… Ray Morrison
Want to know where the great curves are? Follow the drones…
Skills shortage > VIA EMAIL
I have been singularly unimpressed by the reaction to a few inches of spring snow. I dug the car out this morning and went for a drive as I couldn’t get a bus – despite local bus companies having skilled staﬀ perfectly capable of driving in these conditions. All the major roads were black. Side roads were passable with care, although there was no sign of any salting even on comparatively busy ones like my own. And our local supermarket, with empty shelves reminding one of the best of Soviet-era Russia – and milkless like everywhere else in town – had closed their car park rather than grabbing some unemployed or homeless folk and giving them a bung to dig out the access road. Sadly, the skills of driving in snow and ice seem to have been lost – much skidding around at totally inappropriate speeds. And don’t start me on the incompetents in the latest-model cars with spinning wheels failing to do hill starts. John Hein
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
How to have your say:
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Nurse! The screens! > VIA EMAIL
It’s not safe to use a mobile phone while on the move as it takes attention away from the act of driving. So why do car manufacturers seem hellbent on pursuing more and more touchscreen functionality in a car? The following points, all made in the March 2018 CAR, betray a little unease with the way things are progressing. Audi A7: Having spent 20 years perfecting its MMI set-up, Audi has binned the lot for a pair of touchscreens, which require you to take your eyes oﬀ the road for longer than the old system. Bad. Lucid: Volume and basic climate controls are analogue. Good. Audi A8L: Headlight control is a ﬂush panel. Bad. Mercedes S350: Touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel are harder to use than the switches they replace. Bad. VW Golf GTE: Cannot see the on and volume controls in the dark. Bad. Just because it can be done does not
mean it is a good idea. More tech is not necessarily better; I cannot understand how these ideas get signed oﬀ and into production. Yes, they are clever but ultimately take away from the concentration and focus needed to pilot two tonnes of metal on the roads safely. David Loveland
Dim view > VIA EMAIL
It’s time someone took a stand against silly so-called privacy glass. All it does is ruin the lines of the car, make the quick look over the shoulder harder and keep the kids in the dark so that they have to resort to more screen time. Give them light! Let them see out! Let them read books!! Get them playing I Spy and dreaming about making billy carts!! Dr Philip Thomas
Who cares about 0-60? > VIA EMAIL
Like Chris Waite (CAR Interactive, April 2018) I too ﬁnd the high-performance
cars I enjoyed while younger no longer feel appropriate in 21st century traﬃc. My last two cars have been a ‘pipe and slippers’ Mercedes C200 (great car, ridiculously pushy dealer trying to persuade me to upgrade regularly from three months after I bought it brand new), and now an ex-demonstrator Lexus GS300h: a comfortable, extremely quiet cruiser, and the front end gives better conﬁdence on twisty roads than the Merc. It returns fuel consumption in the mid-40s (12 per cent better than the Merc) and is more comfortable. The problems with the CVT that you harp on about are irrelevant as you rarely get the chance to accelerate hard. Advice for Steve Moody, though (Our Cars, April). I had the same problem as him with the reversing camera on the C-Class. It doesn’t need to be that dark as you can adjust it. Read the manual. Took me six months then changed my life at night. And it’s better than the Lexus one because of the ﬂap that protects the camera when reverse isn’t engaged. Reg Holmes
The book of Elon (1) > VIA FAC EBO O K
I fear for Tesla. At the moment the cars feel like a proof of concept for the battery tech. The big boys, with their manufacturing bases already established, will be able to ramp up far quicker once the appetite for electric vehicles starts to hit. Aindriú Raghallaigh
The book of Elon (2) > VIA FAC EBO O K
Producing the Tesla Model 3, and producing the car with suﬃcient quality control, are two diﬀerent things. The Model S scores low on ﬁt and ﬁnish. But the owners don’t care. They are like cult members who think they are saving the planet by buying this car. They will take anything Musk gives them. Chris Arnone No time to chat – planet to save
And what if that flap gets iced shut in the winter?
The heat is of > VIA EMAIL
In the headlong rush to embrace electric vehicles one critical safety issue appears not to have been given the prominence is deserves. In January several hundred motorists were stranded for up to 13 hours on the M74/ A74 as a result of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. The mountain rescue services had to be deployed. If such a circumstance were to happen again in 30 years’ time, when a significant proportion of cars, vans and even trucks may be electric, the situation may well escalate from an emergency to a catastrophe for those involved. Given the M74/A74 is a main trunk road, many of these electric vehicles would be approaching the limits of their battery range. They would then be totally reliant on the same battery technology for cabin heating and this at a time when, due to the sub-zero temperatures, the performance of the existing battery technology will be at its poorest. Delays in the re-opening of the route will undoubtedly be extended due to the need to recover significant numbers of stranded vehicles with low or flat batteries. Thankfully such adverse weather events are relatively Letter of the month wins £25 rare, but I suggest this issue worth of tickets for the Dream Car may have been overlooked. competition held David Harvey by botb.com LETTER OF THE MONTH
a Porsche 997. I still enjoy driving enthusiastically when road conditions and traﬃc permit, but agree with him that the public now take a dim view of this. Yet when I venture onto any motorway it seems like the Wild West. I drive mostly in the high 70s, traﬃc permitting, and am tailgated and overtaken (on both sides) by everything from diesel vans to city cars. On occasion I fear for my life as they cut in front of me and brake, all totally unpoliced. I now avoid motorways when possible, but today’s traﬃc often ensures a boring drive, moving at the pace of the slowest, and reluctant to overtake lest I arouse ﬂashing headlights and blaring horns. Call me nostalgic, but how I long for the days when motoring was skilful, courteous and fun, and parents used to say to their family, ‘Let’s go out for a drive’. Rob Fidler
Still fun to be had > VIA EMAIL
Regarding Chris Waite’s letter in the April issue, I became enthralled with cars and driving through reading the epistles of Setright in CAR from the age of 14. Thanks to the high standards established by the likes of LJKS, Mel Nichols and Steve Cropley, CAR has helped ensure that I’ve never lost my appetite for wonderful cars and fast driving. It’s true that it is now socially unacceptable to go haring around on public roads in excess of the increasingly reducing speed limits, but there’s still immense fun to be had! As soon as the weather improves, we will be oﬀ on another 3000-mile European tour in our Ferrari 575M. (A dream realised in 2014 just before Ferrari prices really started to rise.) Not enough enthusiasts venture onto the continent, where there are brilliant driving roads. These days, bikes provide more excitement than cars within UK legal limits but there’s too much traﬃc for my liking so I take to the rural roads of France on my brilliant Triumph Tiger 800. Unlike the other Chris, I have no intention of giving up my enthusiasm for driving in retirement. That old adage is right – you really are as young as you feel. Chris Sheldrake
A true hero > VIA EMAIL
Double standards > VIA EMAIL
Like letter writer Chris Waite in April’s issue I’ve owned some great cars – currently
I was simply astonished that the feature Top 10 IndyCar Heroes in the April issue of CAR omitted the great Jim Clark. Jim won the Indy 500 in 1965, becoming the
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
ﬁrst European to do so for 51 years, and in the process broke multiple records including becoming the ﬁrst to complete the race at an average of over 150mph. On the way to victory, he led for 190 0f the 200 laps. It was also the ﬁrst Indy 500 to be won by a rear-engined car. He remains the only driver to win the Indy 500 and the F1 World Championship in the same year. In 1963, his ﬁrst attempt, he came second and would have won if the winner Parnelli Jones had been black ﬂagged for dropping oil. In 1964, while leading the race, he had a rear tyre and suspension failure. In 1966, he came second to Graham Hill but it is thought by many that he should have won that race due to an error in lap counting. How can it be that, in comparison to Jim Clark’s amazing record, Fernando Alonso is regarded as being meritorious for leading 27 laps in one race?
> INSTANT RE ACTIONS VIA FACEBOOK
IKCO SAMAND At last! An interesting article not about the latest 911 that cost as much as my house and it’s identical to the one you told us about last week. Bravo! Phil Smith
What happened to all the Hillman Hunters? Tim Gosling Go to Iran and drive other IKCOs and other Iranian cars. Sajad TomCat They were good in the ’90s. Phil Hearley
Tech vs emotion > VIA EMAIL
Just read Georg Kacher on the Porsche GT2 RS (December 2017), and it’s exactly why I love CAR magazine so much. Although some of my friends say the magazine is too technical for them, I believe this gets the balance right – brilliantly written, in a way that can help anybody understand the technical side of a special car, even if it was just as a passenger. Please keep it this way. As a follower of CAR magazine for 20-plus years I still appreciate your hard work and the way you share your ﬁndings with us readers. Mauricio Barron
CAR ONLINE 5 most read stories on carmagazine.co.uk Geneva motor show 2018: A-Z lowdown of new metal New Merc A-Class: the 2018 hatch is here with a new shape and fresh interior 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt: Ford resurrects an icon Best electric cars: our guide to 2018 EVs New Range Rover SV Coupe: images, specs and news
THE CAR POLL Which reborn classic 4x4 would you happily spend your money on? LAND ROVER WORKS DEFENDER V8 43%
JEEP WRANGLER 14%
50 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Looks like something Skoda would have made in the ’90s. Daniel Kuhlmeyer
Dr John Macrae
MERCEDES G-CLASS 43%
and so my shortlist is very diﬀerent to what it was even ﬁve years ago, and I start contemplating more sturdy and resilient models such as the Wrangler. Just reading this morning that Ford may be bringing the Bronco to the UK in 2020 – perhaps the car manufacturers are thinking the same way? Or is it just me?
4x4s are the future > VIA EMAIL
Can you have as much fun in a Jeep Wrangler as you can in a Porsche Boxster? I pose this question primarily because of the state of UK roads. I have owned a Boxster for some years and still enjoy driving it, but much less so when I am dodging the increasing number of potholes on every journey. I live in Oxfordshire, which I suspect is not much diﬀerent to most counties across the UK in terms of having a local authority unable to maintain our roads. When thinking about my next car purchase I am taking this into account
Read the manual (1) > VIA EMAIL
Just received my March 2018 CAR and in the Our Cars section Tim Pollard is all wrapped up in his Tesla charge cables, while Colin Overland is baﬄed that his Golf GTE can’t quick-charge his 8.7Kwh battery. Really? Contrast this to Ian Adcock who tells us the ins and outs of OLED screens and MBUX. So one writer can come to grips with new multimedia technology but ‘electric cars are sooo complicated’. It’s about time you came to grips with them and explained them to your readers. It’s your job, remember. And for those journalists having diﬃculty, I’m 57, have been driving a Model S for three years now and have had no diﬃculty with understanding charging concepts, so what’s your excuse? Mark Melocco
Read the manual (2) > VIA EMAIL
In recent reviews of new Audis you have chided the manufacturer for placing the Drive Select button too far away from the steering wheel on right-hand-drive models. A simple interrogation of the MMI system can transfer this function to the ‘user assigned button’ on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. Changes can be made from Comfort to Dynamic using this button as a simple ergonomic function without having to remove hands from the steering wheel. I encourage other owners (and reviewers) of these superb vehicles to make similar adjustments. Gordon Moller
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Your month The place where you let us peek into your weird and wonderful automotive lives
EDITORIAL Editor Ben Miller Editor-in-chief Phil McNamara Managing editor Colin Overland Deputy features editor James Taylor Staf writer Jake Groves Digital editorial director Tim Pollard Online editor Curtis Moldrich Art editor Mal Bailey Designer Rebecca Wilshere Editors-at-large Chris Chilton, Mark Walton, Ben Barry, Ben Pulman Contributor-in-chief Gavin Green European editor Georg Kacher Contributing editors Ben Oliver, Ben Whitworth, Anthony french-Constant, Steve Moody, Sam Smith F1 correspondent Tom Clarkson Ofice manager Leise Enright Production controller Richard Woolley
THE WHITE STUFF
V E T TE ’ S C O R N E R
In the last week of February a sudden and unusual blast of icy air from Siberia dumped a load of snow in my garden, covering my white E350 (on the right). The Mercedes does not do well in snow but for 99 per cent of the year it is perfect for us, commuting and doing four trips a year up and down through the length of France, returning 40mpg.
I bought a 1981 Corvette in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s got a 360hp ZZ4 350 ‘Crate’ engine, which is a decent upgrade on the original 190hp. Toured the main petrolhead tourist spots, including Gas Monkey Garage, before shipping it to the UK.
H O M E WA R D B O U N D
H AVA N A L AU G H
My ‘Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious’ relocated from Bedford to Thetford to release some garage space.
I’ve just returned from a holiday in Cuba, including a two-hour guided tour of Havana in a 1956 Buick, as yet unrestored, unlike the immaculate cars in the picture.
ADVERTISING Commercial director Stuart Adam Digital commercial director Jim Burton Key account manager Dan Chapman Account manager Claire Meade-Gore Regional sales Graham Roby
PUBLISHING Marketing manager Rachael Beesley Direct marketing manager Julie Spires Direct marketing executive Rebecca Lambert Editorial director June Smith-Sheppard Managing director Niall Clarkson Group MD Rob Munro-Hall
H E LLO AGA I N , D O LLY Thought I’d mark the thirtieth anniversary of the ending of Citroën 2CV production in Paris by sending you a pic of my recently restored, Paris-built 1986 Dolly. When I’d completed
the restoration I drove the car back to the site of the factory at Levallois. The factory’s long gone, of course. Colin Maddock
SUBSCRIPTIONS To take out or renew a subscription to CAR visit greatmagazines.co.uk/car. For enquiries or problems call +44 (0)1858 438884. Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm, Sat 8am-4pm, and Sun 10am-4pm. Fax number: 01858 461739. Or write to: CAR Subscriptions, Freepost (MID 16109), Leicester LE16 7BR (UK enquiries) or Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF. BACK ISSUES To order call 01858 438884. If you can’t find CAR via your regular outlets call 01733 468000. COMMERCIAL REPRINTS If you require multiple reprints of a feature, tel +44 (0)20 7295 5470. PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION © CAR ISSN 0008-5987. Printed in the UK by Southernprint Ltd. Distributed by Frontline Ltd, Park House, 117 Park Road, Peterborough PE1 2TR tel: 01733 555161. International distribution by Seymour International Ltd, 86 Newman Street, London W1T 3EX, +44 (0)20 7396 8000. Published 12 times a year by BAUER CONSUMER MEDIA LTD Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, PE2 6EA tel: 01733 468000 © All material published remains the copyright of Bauer Automotive Ltd. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. CAR can’t accept responsibility for unsolicited material. COMPLAINTS Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (www.ipso.co.uk) and endeavours to respond to and resolve concerns quickly. Our Editorial Complaints Policy (including full details of how to contact us about editorial complaints and IPSO’s contact details) can be found at www.bauermediacomplaints.co.uk. Our e-mail address for editorial complaints covered by the Editorial Complaints Policy is email@example.com THIS ISSUE ON SALE: 18 APRIL 2018. NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: 16 MAY 2018
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3
Words Sam Smith | Photography Jamie Lipman
FOR D’S MODEL T The Model 3 matters. It will either usher in
IS SIGONIS’S MINI the electric age or destroy Tesla. Built to save
MUSK’S MODEL 3 humanity, is it actually any good to drive?
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3
HUNDREDS OF MILES AROUND CALIFORNIA FOR TWO DAYS STRAIGHT – CALL IT THE COMPLETE EXPERIENCE the car might have been diﬀerent. Better, probably, because that is how Tesla works; the company constantly updates its cars’ software, over-the-air. New Model 3s built six months from now have a chance at being better still, because Tesla is still sorting out how to make cars like this, at this price, in a hurry. As of March 2018, the 3 carries a list of technical service bulletins – factory ﬁxes, applied after the car is sold – that includes leaky rear lights, pre-production parts sneaking onto production cars and whole motor assemblies in need of replacement. Some owners have even developed post-delivery checklists, shared on the internet, so Model 3 people can make sure their car left Tesla whole and proper. (Actual questions from one of those checklists: Are there waves in the glass? Are all interior lights present?) This is a strange car. Potential for a lot of hassle. Good thing it’s wonderful.
Low-resistance Michelins but the Model 3 loves a good corner
F YOU’RE GOING to nitpick, it is a car to nitpick. The dash controls – everything from the cruise control to radio and climate – are accessed almost entirely through a 15-inch touchscreen. Even adjusting the heater vents requires pulling your eyes from traﬃc. Panel and trim ﬁt ranges from Toyota-perfect to embarrassing. You can’t turn oﬀ stability control, which is ﬁne for ordinary people but depressing for you and me. The front boot is so small, it should be labelled ‘second glovebox’. The rear view is a letterbox. The list goes on. That’s if you’re going to nitpick. If you’re not going to nitpick, this is arguably one of the most impressive machines in history. A landmark, like the Ford Model T or original Mini. Assuming, of course, that its manufacturer can meet demand. More than half a million people have put down refundable deposits (£1000 in the UK). And the car maker in question has never built this many vehicles, ever, in any form. That is also assuming that said manufacturer can make car-making into a proﬁtable business. Meet the Tesla Model 3. Or rather, meet the Tesla Model 3 as built in late 2017 and experienced in early spring of 2018, in left-hand drive, in America, on a Monday and a Tuesday. If we had tried it on a Thursday or a Friday or maybe a week later,
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
AT THE MOMENT, new Model 3s have been delivered only in America. So we went to Los Angeles, where American car culture is simultaneously at its best and worst. Given the discussion around Tesla’s production ramp-up and quality, we passed on a press car. Instead we rented a privately owned Model 3, in good nick, with more than 4000 miles on the clock. It wasn’t ﬂawless, but it wasn’t an unrealistically perfect media tester, either. We drove that car around Southern California for two days straight: hundreds of miles in traﬃc and on the freeways. I got lost in the canyons and idled by the beach. I even sat in a Tesla service centre, waiting on a replacement key. The sun was out, relentlessly, because that’s California. Call it the complete experience. The base Model 3 costs $35,000 (£25,000) in the US. Or at least, it will cost $35,000 once you can buy it. Every customer Model 3 to date has featured a long-range, 75-kWh battery ($9000, or £6500), a 120,000-mile, eight-year powertrain warranty – the base model is 100,000 and eight years – and the mandatory inclusion of Tesla’s Premium Upgrade package. The latter includes leather, open-pore wood trim, upgraded audio and a glass front roof (a glass rear roof is standard). Plus items like power seats, power-fold mirrors, LED foglamps and a centre console with covered storage. Small digression. If that last bit seems a bit unlike a premium option, consider that the base Model 3 features an uncovered centre console. That feature is thus obviously for plebeian dipwits. Or those who have never driven a new car, most of which give you covered console storage for free, and which might talk to your phone through something smarter than Bluetooth. (Bluetooth is currently the only way a Model 3 communicates with a phone, despite the fact that Tesla is one of the world’s leading tech companies and run by Elon Musk, a man who built himself a self-landing, reusable miracle of a space rocket simply because he needed it.) Sometimes, you wonder if the people at Tesla just want to be diﬀerent for the sake of it.
Only single motor so far but the Model 3 never feels slow
The Tesla electric railroad loco is surely only a matter of time
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
‘Listen, you back up. I’m the future and you’re history’
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Model 3s sold to date oﬀer a 267bhp, 307lb ft electric motor driving the rear wheels. Tesla says the car is good for 310 miles of range (220 on the base 50kWh model), 0-60mph in 5.1sec (the base model will be 5.6sec) and 140mph with your foot to the ﬂoor. This upgraded spec leaves few options. Chief among them are 19-inch wheels (dumpy-looking 18s, as ﬁtted to our test car, are standard), metallic paint or the auto-steering, lane-changing version of Tesla’s best-in-the-business Autopilot cruise control ($5000, or £3500). You can also spend $3000 (£2100) on what Tesla calls ‘future compatibility,’ to make the car fully capable of driving autonomously, entire journeys without a human at the wheel, when such software is ready. Call that last bit one more of those diﬀerent-for-the-sake bits. Tesla’s online conﬁgurator says: ‘It is not possible to know exactly when [that autonomous software] will be available.’ If you’re even a little cynical, that might smell like a long-term, interest-free loan to a currently unproﬁtable car
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3
Other, more exciting colours are available
IN SPORT MODE THE STEERING SNAPS TO CENTRE AND MURMURS WITH ACTUAL FEEDBACK
Really want to de-clutter your life? Start with a Model 3 Tesla
company, remittance date unspeciﬁed. For a car that looks remarkable from some angles – the wind-slicked oﬀspring of a bullet and a pompadour – and fat-headed and generic from others. With a front bumper recalling that creepy moment in The Matrix when Hugo Weaving erased Keanu Reeves’ lips. On paper, this all sounds mildly ridiculous. The details grab you. The neat little tri-fold alcantara ﬂap over the sun-visor mirrors, held down with magnets, which you play with endlessly, because it’s cool and simple and a sheer delight to touch. The motion sensor that shuts oﬀ the boot light when the lid has been left open too long. How the damped console doors are held shut by magnets, a soft little two-jawed ballet every time they open or close. The nav system that just plain works, and is faster and more intuitive than any other nav system on the planet, at any price. The way the window switches and door handle are both hidden and obvious at once, blended into the door panel. The interior
in general, simple and staggeringly clean, like a dreamy sketch come to life. It’s like someone drew up a car and then removed all the things you think you might want, and then realise you don’t want them, so who cares? You marvel over this stuﬀ, in little wake-up moments, over the ﬁrst few miles. The cabin is tighter than it looks, airy but surprisingly close quarters. The roof rails are low; I’m only 5ft 10in, but the 3’s window tops fell below my eyes while sitting in the rear seat. But the rooﬂine between those rails gives lots of headroom, front or rear, and the cockpit feels airy, thanks to that low dash, the low doors, the acres of roof glass. The combined eﬀect gives the odd and not unpleasant sensation of sitting in a bathtub, surrounded by bodywork like water. At the wheel, the bonnet duck-bills in front of you, low, like a ’90s Honda. Visibility is great everywhere but directly aft, where the high trunk collapses the rear view into a glass sliver. The steering is interesting. Electrically assisted, with three settings. Comfort is woolly and distant; the car mushes into a lock and stays there, hands-free. It seems to aggressively want to be driven with a ﬁnger – use two hands, and you tend to struggle with maintaining a course, never a light-enough touch. The wheel just ends up gooping back and forth, as if the car’s nose were sat in a vat of pudding. The steering’s Standard setting is more lively and heavier, but still muddy. Sport is the best of the bunch. You hit the button on the touchscreen and ﬁnd yourself wondering if someone has monkeyed with the suspension and somehow dialled a bunch of caster into the car. It snaps to centre and murmurs actual feedback, loading up like magic. I went to the hills ﬁrst – the Angeles National Forest, north-east of town, and the canyons outside Malibu – because LA traﬃc is terrible and hills are not and I desperately wanted to know if the car was going to be any fun in a corner at all. It was, but in an odd way. Most EVs shout their weirdness at you. In the Model 3, you don’t think so much about what makes the car diﬀerent as forget that it’s diﬀerent at all. The seats are fantastic, supportive and free of fatigue.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
IT’S NOT QUICK BUT IT’S NOT SLOW EITHER, AND THERE’S A SOLID SMACK OF TORQUE FROM TIP-IN TO FULL THROTTLE
Coil- rather than air-sprung, and all the better for it
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3
Road and driveline noise are hushed, the interior eerily quiet. At speed, you mostly hear the air-conditioning fan blowing in the ducts, and tyre scrub – the subtle grumble of shifting tread – from the low-resistance Michelins. Plus a surprising lack of wind noise. Like Tesla’s Model S (but not the X, which suﬀers from excessive wind shout), the car just glides around in a subdued whirr. This is not a light car. Tesla says the 3’s kerbweight is 1730kg, and you feel it. Most of the 3’s mass is in the battery pack and motor, and that stuﬀ lives low in the car’s frame, as it does on the Model S. But a few engineering band-aids help. There’s enough spring rate to hold up a house, for one. There are also steel coils here, unlike the Model S’s air suspension, so the car reacts a bit more traditionally in transitions, and over lumpy Tarmac. Body roll could be measured with a microscope; the dampers and anti-roll bars are stout enough to keep the car feeling locked down, with a ride that’s ﬁrm but never ﬂinty. The hills around LA look like Spain, if Spain were less uptight. They’re dappled with bony trees and the smell of eucalyptus. On weekends, they ﬁll with slow parades of Corvettes and motorcycles, trains of hot hatches and a hundred classics. But during the week, the place is mostly empty. So you ﬁnd where the road gets giddy, and you see how slow you can make your hands, to compensate for the 3’s bulk. The Tesla skates through corners, much of its compliance in the tyre. The car isn’t quick but it’s not slow either, and there’s a solid smack of torque from tip-in to full throttle. Which means you use the throttle for glassy little instantaneous acceleration hits, leaning on the car’s nose like you can’t in a Model S, doing silly and inadvisable things in canyons. So you lean on it, and then you lean on it more, because it’s fun and pretty talkative and seems to want it. The nondefeatable stability control tends to grab a brake caliper in quick transitions, or when the road compresses or yumps suddenly; if you put the system in its ‘Escape a snowy driveway’ slip mode it gives up a smidge of yaw, and the car does tiny little scrabble-slides on throttle. It feels like an odd cross between slaloming a boat through choppy seas and dancing with working feet but wooden knees. In the city, the Model 3 feels more normal. That instant torque again makes the car feel quicker than it is, because there’s always enough squirt on tap for darting into traﬃc gaps. The battery appears to sip charge in normal driving, even with the air-con on; after two days on the move
Does the US road-trip dream evaporate when you’re not running on gas?
MUSK & THE TICKING CLOCK When SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket in early February, it gave to the world a couple of technically impressive and quite profoundly moving moments of wonder. The first was the choreographed return, post-launch, of two of its three booster rockets, which touched down on nearby launchpads instead of smashing into the ocean. Where launchers have traditionally been seen as fire-and-forget, SpaceX’s commitment to re-usable hardware is key to Elon Musk’s cost-reduction sums – sums that have seen SpaceX move from near-bankruptcy to domination of the global commercial launch market. The second moment of wonder came later in the same space flight, when the rocket opened to reveal a red Tesla Roadster silhouetted against the swirling blue and white marble of Earth. While humbling NASA sounds even more far-fetched than transitioning the world to electric cars, Tesla is the more troublesome of the two ventures. And ‘ventures’ is the right word: Musk insists the motivation for both is a desire to better humanity’s lot, not to make money. Which is just as well. Tesla’s expected to burn more than $4 billion this year. Production ramp-up remains the key challenge. Musk’s charisma and vision grants his companies an astonishing amount of goodwill, as do their still uniquely desirable products and services, but the fact is Model 3s are being built at a fraction of the rate promised just a couple of years ago. In 2016 Tesla claimed it would be building 5000 Model 3s a week by the end of 2017, and 500,000 cars a year by the end of 2018. The latter looks unlikely given Model 3 production for the last three months of last year was just 2500 cars. But so long as they can’t go anywhere else – and for now they can’t – people are willing to wait for Elon.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
500 miles in Tesla’s Model 3 Model 3 drivers must pay for Supercharger use – S and X pilots ‘fuel’ for free
3 is a five-seater – and almost entirely normal back here
AFTER TWO DAYS IN LA, TESLA’S CLAIMED 310-MILE RANGE FEELS PESSIMISTIC
in LA and two charges, Tesla’s claimed 310-mile range feels pessimistic. Most of the complaints are rooted in the build. Quality is noticeably dumpy in places. Our test car exhibited varying fender gaps and door seals with whole inches of untrimmed mould ﬂashing. If you open the door in a hurry you can beat the automated window-drop mechanism, clanging the frameless glass against the body trim, because the glass has a huge drop to get past the roof. (Likely because it tucks extremely deep into the seal when you shut the door, to minimise wind noise.) As on the Model S and X, that touchscreen can also be genuinely maddening. It is an enormous billboard of light, even when dimmed, and perpetually distracting. It occasionally goes reﬂective in direct sunlight. You can’t use it eyes-free. And while most of the controls are logically placed, you can ﬁnd yourself on a crowded road, wanting simply to change some minor detail of the car’s interior or behaviour or stereo, and having to pull over simply to yell at the dash and madly poke around for the right sub-menu. Especially if it’s a feature you might use a lot. The Model S
and the Model X sit their main controls for Autopilot on a column stalk, and the system’s critical road-display and ‘prepare to take the wheel back’ graphic lives in the instrument cluster. But the Model 3 places both those items in that centre screen. It was annoying enough to use – the S and X make the system a delight – that I eventually slogged through LA freeway traﬃc without touching Autopilot, fuming at the screen. These are not small issues, but they are solvable. The funny thing is, you ﬁnd yourself wondering how much they matter. I’ve met several Model 3 buyers or reservation holders over the past six months. All followed car news, which means all were aware of Tesla’s production stumbles. None cared. Which says something about the car’s appeal, and why people are buying it. It’s so good at being a stylish, functional, innately special thing, you brush over the unpleasant bits. In other words, to borrow a phrase from one of those customers, ‘Why should I care about fender gaps? I don’t want anything else. And what would I get, at this price, anyway? All the other EVs for similar money are commuter penalty boxes. This is a real car.’ Maybe that’s you, then. If you’re buying the car in America and want the cheaper Model 3, get in line. Delivery starts
MODEL 3: THE 30 -SECOND BRIEFING EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HUMANITY’S SAVIOUR i IN A NUTSHELL In size, the 3 is a compact saloon – think BMW 3-series with sawn-of front and rear overhangs (maximising wheelbase and battery packaging) and an oversized passenger compartment (facilitated by the compact powertrain).
i HOW MUCH? UK pricing is still subject to confirmation. A refundable £1000 deposit gets you a place in line but it’s likely to be a long wait (1218 months minimum) – right-hand drive production doesn’t start until 2019. Basic cars (215-mile range) will cost $35k in the US – reckon on £30k here. Long-range, twin-motor cars will cost north of £40,000.
60 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
i CONSIDER ALSO Right now, at this price point, not much. A loaded Nissan Leaf costs £28k and, at 235 miles, goes toeto-toe with the Tesla on range for the money but gives ground on interior space, speed and driver appeal. On the plus side the Leaf’s available now, as is BMW’s i3 (now also in S guise: 181bhp, 174 miles, £37k) and the VW e-Golf (134bhp, 186 miles, £31k).
i THE THREATS The mainstream is coming for Tesla but it’s taking its sweet time. While the Jaguar i-Pace arrives imminently to give Model S and X buyers a dilemma, true Model 3 rivals won’t arrive until next year, in the form of VW’s ID hatch and Mercedes’ GLC-sized EV crossover.
later this year. Ditto if you want the coming all-wheel-drive version, or left-hand drive outside America. UK pricing has yet to be set, and Tesla says right-hand-drive vehicles will start leaving the plant in 2019. ‘Says’ is the key word there. Tesla is a company of caveats. But it also has the ability to tweak its course more than most; to revamp its production process, chasing quality issues, or to software-ﬁx mistakes while you sleep because those processes are so new, and the company is so motivated by the desires of the ﬁrm’s detail-obsessed, micro-managing chief executive. (Musk describes himself as a ‘nano-manager’.) If Tesla wants to make the touchscreen easier to read and use, to make it more justiﬁably replace a traditional dashboard, the company can do that in an air reﬂash, for every Model 3 in a given market. If they want to solve control problems by making the entire car voice-activated, they can chase that, and they might actually pull it oﬀ. And at the end of the day, the basic product is sound. Like
the Model T, the Model 3 democratises a previously ﬂawed and bourgeois experience; like the ﬁrst Mini, it resets a blueprint while sneaking a bit of fun-to-drive under the radar. It works remarkably well as a car. It works even better as a stylish, usable piece of tech that makes most current EVs feel stuck in the Dark Ages. Is that enough to continue ﬂoating a company? Are Tesla’s factory staﬀ capable of jibing ambition and potential with the kind of quality you need to sell half a million cars without excuses? If it is, and if they are – if Elon Musk can do all that – he will have truly launched the ﬁrst genuinely cool and aﬀordable EV. A luxury that isn’t a one-trick pony. Which means he will have legitimately changed the world. If Musk can’t do it, then we can at least salute one hell of an idea. And hope that, years from now, we won’t have to point to the Model 3 with a little sadness, saying, ‘Shame, isn’t it? That a good car just wasn’t enough’.
Tesla Model 3 (75 kWh) > Price £43,000 as tested (from £30,000, est) > Engine Rear e-motor, 267bhp, 307lb ft > Transmission Single-speed, rear-wheel drive > Suspension Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear > Performance 5.1sec 0-60mph, 140mph, 310-mile range, 0g/km CO2 > Weight 1730kg > On sale Now (UK deliveries 2019)
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Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
64 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
How do you bring Audi’s R8 to life and challenge the epic McLaren 570S? Easy – just whip out the front driveshafts Words Ben Barry | Photography Alex Tapley
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
High-performance Audis can now unshackle their front driveshafts like theyâ€™ve discovered the key to a chastity belt
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
T Carbon-tubbed, turbo V8 Brit seeks youngat-heart V10 German for good times
HE MATRIX BOARDS ﬂashed severe weather warnings when I pointed the Audi R8 north up the A1 last night, on towards Kielder Water. Those warnings gave just a day to bag this drive, but next morning the weather’s creeping in: ﬂecks of snow dance over the road as it stretches up past the reservoir, hypnotic like static interference on a television, thankfully melting away quickly into the frostbitten surface. Temperatures hover around zero as we push over the border into Scotland. Timber lorries bustle past in noisy, turbulent assaults, coating the road with clag dragged from clear-cut hillsides. Thick initially, the mud bleeds to almost nothing a few corners later, like a corpse pulled from a diner in a maﬁa thriller. Grip up here is tricky, but the draw is roads that endlessly coil and challenge, and so little traﬃc that the clear-cutting could be mistaken for some devastating nuclear aftershock. The Audi’s V10 thrums away sweetly behind me, its range rising from the smooth bass of lower revs to a vicious high-rpm wail that’d make a modern F1 driver swoon – and instils just a little fear when you unleash the 8000rpm fury. We’re keeping up a good pace, CAR features brain James Taylor in the McLaren behind, the Brit’s V8 boosty and gruﬀ and sci-ﬁ futuristic all at the same time, its chassis so intimately communicating road-surface texture that there’s no fear in smearing its tyres delicately over the modest limits. ‘It’s that cocktail-stick feeling,’ says JT, ‘like there’s one stuck in the centre of the car around which everything pivots.’ Normally, these conditions tip the balance in favour of quattro all-wheel drive. But switch oﬀ all the Audi’s electronic guardians, carry some speed into a corner, pin the accelerator early and our R8 will drift through the apex like no Audi you’ve ever experienced before. That’s because this is the Audi R8 RWS, or Rear-Wheel Series, Audi’s ﬁrst ever rear-wheel-drive production model. Not long ago, the RWS would’ve been impossible. Audi’s performance division was called Quattro GmbH, a name synonymous with all-wheel-drive technology proven in part on the forest rally stages around here. Hot Audis had to be all-wheel drive. But in late 2016, ex-Lamborghini main man and then Quattro boss Stephan Winkelmann re-christened the division Audi Sport, paving the way for high-performance Audis to unshackle their front driveshafts like they’d discovered the key to a chastity belt. Available as a Coupe or Spyder, the R8 RWS is the ﬁrst; the lightest, purest R8 you can buy, its ditched hardware contributes to a 50kg reduction over all-wheel-drive variants – 1590kg for our Coupe. There’s the same 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 with 533bhp as the non-Plus R8 quattro, so the power-toweight ratio is improved by 10bhp, though the traction-limited 0-62mph sprint drops a couple of tenths to 3.7 seconds. The RWS template was already there, of course: the Lamborghini Huracan – from which the R8 is spun – is available with rear-drive. Audi also points out that its R8 LMS GT3
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
This is his elated face, honestly
Virtual Cockpit handy for at-aglance navigation at speed
racer is rear-drive, if not that racing regulations forced its hand. Like Lamborghini, Audi positions the R8 RWS at the gates to R8 ownership. Priced from £112,450, it’s almost £14k cheaper than the quattro R8 (almost £29k cheaper than the Plus) and options like Dynamic steering (normally £1200), adaptive dampers (£1600) and ceramic brakes (£7700) are unavailable. Our test car gets a relatively restrained £4k of options; £1800 goes on a sports exhaust to unleash all kinds of sonic majesty, particularly the deeply rich tones unlocked in Dynamic mode. Just 999 examples of the RWS are being assembled almost entirely by hand at Audi Sport’s Böllinger Höfe facility. Could it be that the cheapest R8 is also the best? Fact is, there just isn’t anything comparable at this end of the market, other than the £43k costlier, bit-too-similar Huracan. The McLaren 570S comes close, and easily wins the showroom showdown. Bystanders gravitate towards its cab-forward, nose-down, low-slung proportions that immediately communicate sporting intent and supercar otherworldliness. Like Audi tapping into the beneﬁts of its ownership of Lamborghini, economies of scale trickle down to the 570S. It’s built around the same carbon cell as the recently replaced and signiﬁcantly more expensive 650S, and borrows the same dual-clutch gearbox and 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8. The latter is de-tuned by 79bhp, if still good for 3.2 seconds to 62mph. The 570S costs from £149,000, but there is an even more relevant McLaren, the modestly de-contented 540C. It’s yours for a slightly more comparable £135k and serves up the exact same 533bhp as the R8 RWS. But just as most UK buyers upgrade to the 570S, so too have we. We’ll cut the R8 slack for that. You reach under the suspension-bridge-like beam that
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
spans the McLaren’s dihedral door, lift it up and peer into a cabin that looks minimalist if intensely driver-focused all the same – though spoiled by our car’s interior drawing inspiration from a highly aroused baboon. Step over a chunk of (carpeted) carbonﬁbre sill a handspan wide, and you sink into seats dramatically low on the ﬂoor, accelerator pedal close to the carbon tub, brake pedal dead ahead of your left foot. The McLaren instantly feels special, no matter how slowly you drive. Carve up through these hillsides and its hydraulically assisted steering is fast-paced, weighted modestly enough to make the car feel sparky and nimble, if heavy and consistent enough to contextualise lateral loads building through the suspension. Thin, solid and wrapped in alcantara, the wheel trembles continually with delicious analogue feedback. The chassis is equally tactile. The track feels wide, the centre of gravity low, and despite a more conventional set-up than the inter-connected dampers of pricier McLarens, the 570S still pulls oﬀ that Woking witchcraft of zinging the road surface out in unﬁltered detail, yet shushing bumps too. The carbon tub contributes to a kerbweight some 138kg ﬂeeter than the Audi’s, and you feel that lack of mass in the energy of its direction changes, and how weight transfer is so expertly controlled through quick corners and under heavy braking. Today’s supercars are in another league of demented performance, so the 570S – billed a Sports Series by McLaren – feels more manageably fast in comparison, and yet it’s still riotously quick, still powers past traﬃc like Gulliver striding over Lilliputians, and still feels restless when you try to keep it below 90mph on the autobahn. Its delivery is pretty thuggish too: almost entirely without a pulse at low revs, there’s a snap of boost at around 3500rpm that sends shockwaves through the rear rubber if it’s damp, and a hold-on-tight run to a manic 7400rpm when you ﬁnd the space and courage to give the V8 its head. Intense doesn’t quite cover it. But after the clarity of the suspension and steering, there’s a fuzz to the McLaren’s powertrain like a camera a fraction out of focus. The throttle has a certain mush to its travel, and while the gearshifts are quick and bang down through multiple ratios eagerly, there’s a small disconnect between you clicking the carbonﬁbre paddleshifter and something mechanical actually happening. The standard carbon-ceramic brakes betray a similar blurriness, though other 570s I’ve driven felt better. It’s not that their outright stopping power is in doubt, because they’ll stop the McLaren like security spotting Ron running through Warm air pours from the back of the Audi, even when it’s -2°C
Perversely, the RWS R8 is both entry level and limited edition. Eh?
Thin, solid and wrapped in alcantara, the McLaren’s wheel trembles constantly with delicious analogue feedback
There is a McLaren ‘below’ this one, the 540C, but if you ever see one, congratulate yourself
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S
I run up the hillside quickly and fall completely under the R8 RWSâ€™s spell
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
the McLaren Technology Centre, but there’s an inch or so of travel where the feel is nebulously deﬁned, so you press harder and they suddenly wake up. There’s another, more causal counterpoint to the vivid immediacy streaming through the McLaren driver’s palms: a more highly strung feeling on longer journeys. The seats are great, the ride fantastic, but that carbon tub, Pirelli P Zeros that measure 19 inches up front, 20 at the rear, and the ﬁrm suspension bushings transmit road noise like breakers hitting the beach. And because McLaren is a low-volume producer, the infotainment is unintuitive and patchy. There’s no doubt that the Audi does the daily stuﬀ better, and perhaps that’s what dilutes its specialness, why people pass it by like it’s a TT and gawp at the McLaren; the R8’s more rounded, no matter that the more knowledgeable will be dumbstruck by the V10 showcased through the rear window, or know that the aluminium body has a rigid carbonﬁbre transmission tunnel and rear bulkhead like a capital T at its core. You open the door with a conventional – boring! – door handle, it swings open in – yawn! – the normal way, and you sit in a nice seat spoiled by what feels like a command driving position after the McLaren. The upside of all this sensibleness crystallized as I took that late-night run up the A1: less road noise permeates the Audi’s cabin from its 19-inch P Zeros, and you get the virtual cockpit and all the intuitive logic of Audi’s MMI-based infotainment. If you want to chat to your passenger and not get lost as you drive somewhere, there’s appeal in that. Many people do. The only chink in the Audi R8’s daily-driver armoury is its ride quality. Clearly, with only 999 units – and Coupes and Spyders carved out of that number with diﬀerent set-up requirements – tuning passive and adaptive dampers wouldn’t have made sense. So passive dampers it is, meaning the Audi must strike a compromise where the McLaren’s adaptive set-up allows it to morph from long-distance comfort to apex destroyer. At times, whether at low speed in town or during faster runs on the A1, the R8’s damper travel is too choppy. But on the fast, smoother roads that ﬂow north of Kielder, they’re very eﬀective, controlling the body neatly, but always allowing the breathing space to build a rhythm. There’s no escaping that the McLaren has the more communicative steering and chassis, though. There’s less surface information to process, less raw energy to how the R8 changes direction, and more body roll too. But the RWS is still very sweetly balanced.
Just enough funk, with the Audi solidity you expect
The 50kg reduction isn’t particularly noticeable in itself, but the eﬀects of losing the driveshafts are more transformative on the steering. There’s still gloopiness to push through oﬀcentre, but no longer does it stiﬀen when you accelerate hard from corners – a beneﬁt of torque no longer being channelled to the front axle and corrupting the linearity of the steering. The McLaren feels quicker, partly because it wins the power-to-weight war with 387bhp per tonne to the Audi’s 335bhp per tonne, but also because its turbocharged delivery is full of violence. But the Audi’s naturally aspirated V10 is better. It still hauls hard from low revs, no matter that the relatively modest 398lb ft takes 6500rpm to kick in, and there’s an intoxicating second wind that bursts in from around 6000rpm and surges towards 8000rpm like a 1500-metre runner mugging everyone at the ﬁnish. That ﬁnal hurrah sounds inconsequential when I tap it into a keyboard, but when you’re in the meat of it, consumed by the mechaniThe big questions Audi R8 RWS cal ferocity of it all, feeling the R8 gather pace like a rollercoaster suddenly falling faster than expected, well, it becomes almost the entire point. Yes, it lacks the mad adrenaline rush served up by the Can I have If it were a race Call the divorce I don’t faster R8 Plus, but give a specialist likeLitchﬁeld some more driver, who recognise lawyer? Motors £1200 and they’ll magic that diﬀerence please, sir? would it be? your name, but No need. R8 is away with an easily reversible tweak. For sure it would Certainly. your fez seems comfortable, Perhaps the purity of this concept deserves a The R8 range be like James familiar… well equipped, stretches up to Hunt: strikingly Possibly not so rowdy on manual gearbox but the S-tronic gearbox is punchy the all-wheelgood looking, because the the motorway and smooth, even if it does strangely interrupt drive Plus, smooth and R8 looks like and has good engine braking during downshifts, like there’s a with an extra suave when it a bigger TT, sat-nav too. 69bhp from the needs to be, and possibly If you’ll share little slip. glorious V10. because its hard but with a the driving but For all its disruptive rear-wheel-driveness, Sadly that’s wild streak points betray the other half’s one thing remains very much Audi: the stabilverboten with bubbling just the Huracan not massively the RWS, but a below the beneath. A car-fussed, ity control. It allows so little slip in its default they’d probably prefer it. Don’t mention mpg.
supercar in a sensible wrapper.
surface. Careful with that 98 octane, chap.
chip-tuner can easily remedy that.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Audi R8 RWS vs McLaren 570S These two, er, bridge the gap between normality and the likes of the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 720S
setting that leaving a junction can be a struggle, and while you can relax that by progressing up through to Dynamic mode, you can still sense the hand-wringing in Ingolstadt. It’s this, along with the conﬁdence-inspiring linearity of the V10, that encourages me to disengage the R8’s electronic systems ﬁrst. The threat of snow has melted away, and early-evening sunshine glows over the landscape, leaving the road smeared with a palette of greys and whites and blacks. I run up the hillside quickly and fall completely under the RWS’s spell. Lean hard on the front end as you carve into a corner until you feel the front tyres squirm, back oﬀ the throttle quickly, and you sense the R8 is keen to rotate into oversteer – you’ve already set a pendulum in motion, and the weight of the V10 does its best to continue it. Wind on opposite lock and accelerate and you’ll crack open that ﬁnal layer of involvement that the RWS perhaps hides on ﬁrst acquaintance. It helps that there’s bandwidth to this engine like a yo-yo on a extra long piece of string. It’ll loosen the rear end with what feels like just a few thousand rpm on the dial, and then stretch on and on as the rear tyres spin up, the engine smooth if wavering just a little at the highest notes, like a Clapton vibrato riding into squalls of feedback. It’s such a refreshing balance after the all-wheel-drive version, which turns manically neutral given similar treatment and hauls itself out by the front driveshafts. Truth is you take a deeper breath before turning oﬀ the McLaren’s stability control – and endure more faﬃng to get there. There’s a more neutral feeling to the McLaren’s chassis, a sense that you can overstep the limits and then retreat, where the R8 driver battles more weight transfer once committed. Less progressive is the McLaren’s power delivery – catch it oﬀ-boost and the rear end remains stubbornly inert, but get the fuse lit and the oversteer needs a quick response. The McLaren still feels benign and trustworthy at the limit, and it’s hard not to be sucked in by the burning intensity of its delivery. Ultimately, though, it’s more enjoyable to thread the McLaren fast and smooth cross-country, easing in and out of the throttle, marvelling at the pace you can keep up, feeding oﬀ
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
the messages ﬁltering up through its chassis and tyres. We run on into the darkness, our convoy moving further north into Scotland, headlights ﬂicking over the fast crests and dips that run through the evergreens. It’s an intense journey, the brief respite of a T-junction broken when the sat-nav instructs us to follow the road for 39 more miles. I laugh out loud. Thirty nine more miles of this? In these cars? Oh, go on then. The McLaren 570S blends analogue feedback with digital performance to deliver an experience that’s rewarding and challenging in equal measure. It’s a bargain in this rareﬁed market, and there’s mischievous black-sheep provocation in owning an Audi with rear-wheel drive, too. That neither the R8 nor its stunning, turbo-free V10 are long for this world lends the RWS still greater appeal. You might also feel more reassured that it’s a supercar you can service at your local Audi dealer. On a great stretch of road, and judged on driving dynamics alone, the McLaren is ultimately the more capable car. But the Audi R8 RWS represents something so unique and so unlikely to be repeated that it’s the car I’d buy.
The big questions McLaren 570S
Call the divorce lawyer? Might as well. The McLaren rides nicely but there’s a tonne of road noise. And while people will stare at you, you could have had a very nice kitchen, bathroom and holiday for the price diferential to the Audi.
I don’t recognise your name, but your fez seems familiar… The 570S is part of McLaren’s Sports Series range and most comparable to the 650S that just went of sale, with the same carbon tub and a de-tuned version of its V8.
If it were a race driver, who would it be? For sure it would be Michael Schumacher in his scarlet, dominant pomp. Ruthlessly capable and remorselessly fast, the 570S delivers like a cyborg on repeat; no mistakes, no mercy.
Can I have some more please, sir? Not yet, but you can have less. McLaren 540C is actually the entry-point to the Sports Series range. It looks much the same as a 570S, costs £14k less, and loses just 30bhp. Expect a hardcore LT version soon.
AUDI R8 RWS
MCLAREN 570S > Price £149,000 > As tested £161,610 > Engine 3799cc 32v twin-turbo V8, 562bhp @ 7400rpm, 443lb ft @ 5000rpm > Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive > Suspension Double wishbones all-round > Performance 3.2sec 0-62mph, 204mph, 26.6mpg, 249g/km CO2 > Weight 1452kg > On sale Now
> Price £112,450 > As tested £116,550 > Engine 5204cc 40v V10, 533bhp @ 7800rpm, 398lb ft @ 6500rpm > Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive > Suspension Double wishbones all-round > Performance 3.7sec 0-62mph, 198mph, 22.8mpg, 283g/km CO2 > Weight 1590kg > On sale Now
Truth is you take a deeper breath before turning of the McLaren’s stability control
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Analysis New Ford Focus
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
REASONS NEW FOCUS WILL SAVE THE HATCHBACK The hatchback is on the ropes, reeling from the rise of the crossover. But Ford is fighting back. Hard Words Phil McNamara | Photography Olgun Kordal
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
ERE’S A BRAIN-TEASER for you: name the most inﬂuential cars launched in Europe over the last 20 years. How about the Qashqai for inventing the crossover, the Leaf and Prius for popularising alternative powertrains, the Mini for making superminis aspirational and the X5 for making SUVs sporty? But there’s one more, a car that exerts a faintly mystical power on 40-something road testers, an unpretentious family hatchback that’s celebrating its twentieth birthday this year with an all-new model. That car is the Ford Focus. You know the story: before Focus, CAR dismissed Ford as the cynical purveyor of attractively styled but mechanically stunted ’80s cars. But a gaggle of engineers led by Welshman Richard Parry-Jones convinced management the Mk5 Escort’s replacement would be diﬀerent. ‘It transformed us as a company,’ says Joe Bakaj, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) engineer on the ﬁrst Focus, now Ford of
Lowered ST-Line gets bespoke springs, dampers and anti-roll bars; costs from £21,570
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Europe’s product development boss. ‘And it set new standards for design, packaging, technology and driving dynamics.’ That it did, Joe, that it did. The 1998 Focus was a hatchback gamechanger, blooding a multi-link rear suspension with unequal-length arms, to alter the camber as the body rolls in corners. The enhanced grip accounts for some of that road-tester love, but the Focus did comfort too. It raised the bar for hatchback ride and handling; VW had to follow suit with the Golf Mk5’s independent rear end. The Focus also gave feelsome rack-and-pinion steering to the masses. And its New Edge design was the automotive equivalent of Cubist art, rendering neat and tidy designs like the Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 306 as outmoded as Impressionism. But that was 20 years ago: how do you make the Focus matter in 2018? Can it stem the ﬂight to crossover SUVs? How does the new model, ahead of UK sales in September priced from £17,930, balance driver aids and driving dynamics? And how does the drivetrain line-up adapt, with such pressure on economy, emissions and electriﬁcation? Here’s how.
Analysis New Ford Focus
Under that handsome skin lurks a box-fresh chassis 'THIS WAS A one-time chance with an all-new vehicle,’ says Helmut Reder, the Focus’s vehicle line director. The new architecture gave Ford the opportunity to transform the proportions, cabin space, weight, electronics and aerodynamics. In short, everything. This ﬁve-door hatch (here in ST-Line trim) is barely a thumb-width longer than the outgoing car, but it’s now class-leading on interior space, Ford claims. The base car’s 16-inch wheels have been dragged out to the corners, freeing up 2700mm between them (a 52mm wheelbase increase). That’s good for the proportions, as is the lower roof – and the ST-Line is dropped a further 10mm on its sports suspension, over 17in rims. And the new design, led by European design director Amko Leenarts, has lovely attention to detail. The line of the windscreen pillar points downwards precisely to the front wheel centre caps, and the triangular rear pillar sits directly over the back rim. Wraparound tail lamps visually extend the width of the car, and the voluptuous sheet metal on bonnet and doors is pinched to create muscles that beautifully catch the light. This design adds something no Focus has managed before: genuine desire. The architecture employs a mix of metals and thicknesses to get the optimum blend of stiﬀness, weight saving and crash performance. The front structure and one crash load path are made from aluminium, while boron steel – which adds strength while reducing mass – is also used. This patchwork quilt of materials yields a maximum saving of 88kg compared with the outgoing car, while torsional rigidity improves by 20 per cent – but by up to half in an area that’s crucial for driving dynamics: suspension attachment.
More powerful and heavier models get SLA suspension
No hatchback prioritises dynamics like this one 'THESE DAYS, DYNAMIC performance isn’t enough to sell cars. Connectivity, cabin space, the manmachine interface – if you’re not up to customers’ expectations, you don’t get considered,’ says Joe Bakaj. That said, the development chief has reassuring words for car enthusiasts, and for customers who appreciate a diﬀerent kind of connectivity, that between a communicative steering rack and a responsive front end. ‘With the new architecture, you still get a car that’s fun to drive and our trademark steering feel, things that customers have always loved about the Focus. It puts a smile on your face on a country road.’ Two rear suspensions are oﬀered. The smaller engines (1.0-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel) use a similar twist beam to the Fiesta ST, featuring Ford’s patented force vectoring springs, which channel cornering loads into the spring to boost lateral stiﬀness and sharpen turn-in. Bigger engines, plus the estate, plusher Vignale versions and the Active (think Focus that’s wandered onto an Audi Allroad production line) all get short-/long-arm (SLA) suspension. Rubber isolation bushes between body and rear subframe are claimed to reduce noise and vibration. Customers can link the SLA with adaptive damping, which adjusts the shocks every two milliseconds based on inputs from the body, suspension and steering. And all models get the Focus’s ﬁrst adaptive drive mode system, which varies the feel of the electric powerassisted steering, throttle, automatic transmission and even the Active Cruise Control through Eco, Normal and Sport modes.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Analysis New Ford Focus No digital dash While you can see digital info between the analogue dials, it can’t switch to full-screen 3D nav mode, unlike in a VW. Driver’s seat drops nice and low, addressing an ageold Focus bugbear
Its aero is just one class-leading attribute MARGINAL GAINS were the making of cycling’s Team Sky before its reputation went downhill faster than 130km/h descent king Marcus Burghardt. Ford too has been layering on incremental performance enhancements, to make its family hatchback cleave the air more smoothly. So all Focus models now have a vent outboard of the foglamps to channel part of the front airﬂow through the body and into the wheelarch. A secondary ﬂow follows the lower bumper’s contours to the wheels, where the two streams unite to calm the air in this incredibly turbulent area of the car. There are heaps more eﬃciency-boosting measures: a standard active front grille shutter, stiﬀer brake calipers to reduce drag from the pads, a host of underbody shields to smooth airﬂow under the car. And Ford has worked with Michelin to co-develop a new line of tyres that slash rolling resistance by one-ﬁfth, supposedly without making the car handle like Bambi on ice. The upshot is a ﬁve-door hatch with a drag coeﬃcient of 0.273 – that’s ‘best-in-class by a big margin’ according to Helmut Reder. It also sums up just how diﬃcult it is to extract improvements – the outgoing Focus posted 0.274. So to Ford’s best-in-class claims for handling and spaciousness you can add aerodynamics. That slickness helps yield a double-digit improvement in fuel eﬃciency.
Because there’s a Focus for everyone 78
FOCUS ESTATE The estate preserves the hatch’s handsome side glass and surfacing, while grafting on a big rear overhang for a 1.7m load length. SLA rear axle frees up a 1.15m-wide load bay, and Ford is delighted with a parcel shelf you can work one-handed and stow easily.
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Shortcuts Today’s Focus is worst-in-class for ugly switchgear proliferation, but Ford has binned half of them on the Mk4. But there are still shortcuts to control climate and audio – ’it’s not the autonomous age yet,’ says design boss Amko Leenarts
FOCUS ACTIVE Surprisingly attractive crossover variant, adding 4x4 styling and 30mm ride-height boost, without an SUV’s dynamic compromises. Doesn’t look over-bodied despite the platform limiting wheel size to 18s. Cabin gets textile seats and rubberised trim.
FOCUS VIGNALE Luxury trim (from £25,450) is fulfilling its raison d’etre of driving up Ford transaction prices. Vignale is marked out externally with unique colours and a satin chrome strip across the car’s chin; inside there's leather upholstery and dashboard inserts made of fine-grain wood.
Third-gen SYNC ST-Line has the 8in touchscreen that comes with Ford’s Sync 3 interface, powered like many cars by a BlackBerry OS. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus improved voice control
Auto ain’t boxy Ford has blatantly stolen Jaguar’s rotary gear selector to operate its new eightspeed automatic transmission. Essential to unlock full benefits of driverassist technologies
The cabin ofers space in spades
Focus will be the first European Ford with headup display; drivers can customise the info shown
LET’S BE HONEST, the new Focus’s cabin will not have Volkswagen’s interior team stringing themselves up by their designer scarves. It majors on rational beneﬁts rather than surprise-anddelight design or material ﬂourishes. The dashboard has been pushed 100mm closer to the engine, freeing up more space for occupants. Those in the rear are particularly spoiled, with more leg and shoulder room than in rival hatches. And Ford has made the middle rear seat more accommodating by minimising the central tunnel, to reduce knee and ear skirmishes. That has an engineering implication: no room for a propshaft, which scotches the prospect of conventional four-wheel drive. Sources say Ford is considering a hang-on electric rear axle, as used by the Mini Countryman PHEV, as one
approach for hybridisation and all-wheel drive. Which would be an intriguingly leftﬁeld solution for the next Focus RS... The big breakthrough – at least for Ford – is in connectivity, if customers specify an embedded modem. You can turn the car into a 4G wi-ﬁ hotspot which works up to 10m away, even with the engine oﬀ, and tether up to 10 devices. Downloading the Ford Pass app enables you to remotely locate your car, check the fuel level and whether it’s locked, and warm up the cabin on cold days. The car will be able to alert the emergency services in the event of an accident too. There’s also Ford’s ingenious MyKey: programme your testosterone-addled son’s key to restrict top speed and incoming calls, and disable the audio system if seatbelts aren’t in use. And that would be terminally damaging to his street cred, especially if the car has the 675 watt B&O Play sound system.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
If we won’t buy into Ford’s clean diesels there are plenty of petrols
It has a fulsome fan base
Mk1 (1998-2005) Looked and drove like nothing else around; 3m sold in its European lifetime. Back then, SUVs were less than 4% of the C-segment market
Mk2 (2005-2011) Dificult second album syndrome, though five-pot ST started something great. 2.2m sold in Europe. By 2011, SUVs totalled 16% of segment
Mk3 (2011-2018) The global Focus, with big Chinese sales and a US footprint, was world’s top-selling car in 2012/13. Last year, C-SUVs took 34% of Euro sales
80 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
The drivetrains promise punch and parsimony FOR A STEP CHANGE in fuel eﬃciency you need new engines, and three of the four Focus powerplants are box-fresh. The UK’s Dunton diesel R&D centre has developed a new 2.0-litre, while the 1.5 diesel is a joint eﬀort with PSA Groupe. High-pressure common rails carefully meter out fuel to boost economy and suppress noise, while exhaust gas recirculation occurs over a wider operating range to minimise nitrogen oxide emissions. Also helping in the war on NOx is an AdBlue urea injection system on the 2.0-litre. The big diesel also features Ford’s ﬁrst steel piston: its physical size and maximum extension are reduced, as crucially is friction. Max power is 148bhp; the 1.5-litre comes with 94 or 118bhp. Joe Bakaj admits Ford can’t predict diesel demand due to the uncertainty facing the fuel: ‘Exhaust after-treatment to meet the Real Driving Emissions test means diesels are clean; it’s a shame society is turning away from them.’ That means the top-selling engine will likely be the upgraded 1.0-litre turbo petrol, available with 84, 99 or 123bhp. This triple gets a new cylinder head, higher-pressure injection and a catalyser that heats up more rapidly to minimise CO2. The 1.0-litre – and its 1.5-litre three-cylinder brother – also feature cylinder deactivation and exhaust ﬁlters, reducing particulate emissions by 90 per cent. The 1.5-litre is largely the same as the unit in the new Fiesta ST (see page 24) but tuned for low-end torque rather than peak power. Transmission is via six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic ’boxes. And what about fuel economy? Ford predicts an 11 per cent improvement, and base CO2 emissions of 94g/km for the 1.5-litre diesel, and 108g/km for the 1.0-litre petrol.
Analysis New Ford Focus
It’s more high-tech than today’s Golf FORD’S BIG PITCH for the last Focus was its suite of driverassistance tech; the Mk4 doubles down on that promise. ‘We have more driver-assistance systems than our closest competitors, the Golf, Astra and new Ceed,’ vows chief programme engineer Glen Goold. The Focus is introducing two technologies we’ve tested in CAR’s Tech section: ZF’s Wrong Way Alert, which monitors no-entry signs to warn a Focus driving the wrong way down a motorway on-ramp, and Bosch Evasive Steering Assist, which adds or subtracts torque from your steering input to help avoid an upcoming obstacle. Another claimed family-hatch ﬁrst is pre-collision detection system monitoring for cyclists, as well as pedestrians or other cars. But perhaps the most appealing bit of kit for drivers using Britain’s network of gummed-up smart motorways is Active Cruise Control with Traﬃc Sign Recognition. The forward camera will monitor the variable speed limit and speed up or slow the Focus according to the road signs; throw in the car’s lane-centring and stop/start abilities and the Focus can theoretically surf jams all on its Level 2 lonesome, so long as you keep your hands on the wheel. The headlamps can be smart too, automatically dipping to avoid dazzling oncoming
One advance is active cruise that obeys variable speed limits
drivers, bending through curves and even adjusting the beam pattern to best illuminate upcoming corners. There are more chapters to be written in the Focus tech story. Sources say a mild-hybrid Focus will follow in 2019, and the new architecture is future-proofed for plug-in capability too. And ‘the Ford performance team is hard at work at Lommel’ to up the ante on Focus driving dynamics with a hot ST version, admits Joe Bakaj. But that’s for another day. With this forensically conceived update, Ford looks good to deliver on Bakaj’s goal: ‘To achieve the ultimate evolution of the Focus species.’ And be a worthy successor to one of the most inﬂuential European cars of the past 20 years.
Smart lighting anticipates corners and dips automatically
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Toyota C-HR 1.2 Turbo Dynamic
Toyota’s C-HR and Mini’s Countryman are crossover sales go
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Giant Test VW T-Roc vs rivals
Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design
Mini Cooper Countryman
d. Can VWâ€™s much-vaunted, very polished T-Roc pan them? Words Jake Groves | Photography Greg Pajo
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Miniâ€™s recipe is simple: retain the hatchâ€™s character but give the buyer more of everything
This is what success looks like in 2018: bold, bright and family-friendly
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Giant Test VW T-Roc vs rivals
W OLFSBURG IS PINNING a lot on the new T-Roc, its shiny new crossover. VW killed oﬀ the Scirocco in order for the crossover to take the slow-selling coupe’s place on VW’s Portuguese production line. Head honcho Herbert Diess says VW is ‘evolving into an SUV brand’, and VW counts two versions of the Tiguan (regular and Allspace) and the Touareg among its SUV oﬀerings in Europe. A Seat Arona-based T-Cross is coming later in 2018, and a T-Roc convertible will be built in Austria from 2020. Why? Because the ‘dual-purpose’ segment was the only part of the UK market to grow in 2017. One in every ﬁve new cars sold was of the chunky, tall-riding kind. VW UK expects the T-Roc to become one of its three top sellers, joining the Polo and Golf, while doubtless stealing
some sales from those traditional hatchbacks. It’s 24mm shorter than a Golf, but taller and wider and with a much bigger boot nestled beneath that angular, coupe-like rear hatch. Perfect for those aiming to trade up. It shares elements with the Golf and that burgeoning VW Group collection crossovers and SUVs, but T-Roc has personality enough to merit being treated as an entirely distinct product. Your engine choice (all turbo) spans 1.0-litre petrol to 2.0-litre petrol and diesel, with a 1.5 petrol in between, and a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes. All-wheel drive is reserved for the big engines. It’s available in four trim levels; S, SE, Design and SEL. The T-Roc faces oﬀ against one of the UK’s most popular crossovers, the Mini Countryman. By some margin the biggest car Mini makes, if I had a pound for every time I heard someone say ‘they should have called it the Maxi’ I’d have enough to buy one. But it’s such a success because the recipe is simple: retain the Mini hatch’s character but give the buyer more – more space, more drivetrain options and more ﬂexibility. It has the same brief as the T-Roc – to give Mini hatch owners something familiar to trade up into. The recipe is clearly working. Now in its second generation, the Countryman is the second most popular car in Mini’s line-up: with more than 11,000 sold in 2017, that’s a 17 per cent share of all Mini sales in the UK. Its underpinnings share much with the BMW X1, but the two cars don’t look or feel alike. The Countryman
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Dash materials not from the Group’s top drawer and bodycoloured inlays look cheap. At least switchgear and steering wheel feel solid.
Crisp, glossy infotainment a doddle to use and thankfully keeps a couple of manual dials. Think Blue training feature neatly encouraging eco driving.
is available in various combinations of petrol or diesel, manual or auto, front- and all-wheel drive, with the familiar Mini family choice of Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works spec, with a load of options and packs to pick from. The Toyota C-HR (Coupe High Rider) has a slightly diﬀerent mission. It’s less KEY TECH: VOLKSWAGEN about appealing to those trading up and Cylinder deactivation more about getting people interested in If the thrummy triple isn’t enough for you, VW’s other engine choices Toyota in the ﬁrst place – moreprecisely, include a clever 148bhp 1.5 turbo a diﬀerent, younger bunch of people who petrol. This TSI Evo uses cylinder weren’t browsing the Toyota range at all, deactivation tech to assist in fuel because they couldn’t picture themselves eficiency, shutting of two cylinders smoothly under low engine load. in an Avensis or RAV4. Toyota has given We’ve tried it and it really helps mpg. its wilder side a rare outing, said ‘stuﬀ it’ to design and packaging conventions and carved a brave new path for its compact crossover. With its elaborate rear lights, whopper of a rear wing and over-sized alloys, it wouldn’t look out of place as a show-stand concept car – it certainly turns heads on the public road. It’s a truly striking package. Pry oﬀ the badges, park it next to an Avensis and few would guess they were from the same brand. At the very least it’s thoroughly un-boring to look at, even if enthusiasm for its looks isn’t entirely universal. It’s ﬁnding plenty of owners in the UK; Toyota sold 14,677 of them – around 14 per cent of all Toyota’s 2017 annual sales – last year. That wild exterior isn’t there merely to disguise mundane underpinnings. The C-HR’s chassis is based on the same hardware as the Prius, but heavily modiﬁed for duty here, with the development work carried out on European roads and
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
T-Roc’s pews flatter than a steamrollered pancake, and are more than happy to give the driver a numb bum after as little as an hour at the wheel.
racetracks. As well as our 1.2-litre turbo four, there’s a 1.8 petrol hybrid, derived from the current Prius. The 1.2 is the only version available with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive – hence its inclusion here. The hybrid comes with a continously variable transmission (CVT), which is also available with the 1.2. There are three main spec levels; Icon, Excel and Dynamic (tested here). All three test cars have a small-capacity turbocharged petrol engine, a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. The weeniest is the T-Roc’s 113bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI – the same engine used in a lot of small and mid-size VW Group cars including the Skoda Octavia, Seat Ateca and excellent Up GTI – while the C-HR adds a couple of hundred cc to the party for one extra bhp. Punchiest on paper is the Countryman: you’ll ﬁnd a 1.5-litre turbocharged triple under that bulbous bonnet, good for 134bhp. It’s the same unit that sees action in the Mini hatch and BMW’s 1-, 2- and 3-series. All three are also personalisation-ready, with options lists bringing the scope to tweak every detail. Mini has been doing this for almost 20 years, though this test car isn’t perhaps the greatest showcase for the possibilities on oﬀer – white with black wheels gives it a grumpy panda look. Our C-HR is a decent combination, if on the restrained side, but rest assured there are some far more challenging colour combinations available if you want them. With the T-Roc you need to buy into Design spec (or higher) if you want to go all Jackson Pollock with the paint, roof and interior trim options. I start out in the Countryman, thrumming along gently twisting and turning rural A-roads that reveal quite a lot about the big Mini from the get-go. You’re struck ﬁrst by how little of the engine you hear at speed. There’s generous soundprooﬁng, so that on the move you’re left with just a little tyre roar and
Giant Test VW T-Roc vs rivals
Mini’s animated LED halo around infotainment system a gimmick but well executed. It can show start-stop activation, drive mode changes and more.
Widescreen infotainment screen is BMW iDrive in disguise with high frame-rate animations and a premium feel – shame it’s too low for lankier drivers.
Supportive, body-hugging seats can be specced in this part-leather, part-tweed combo. Looks great, feels durable and adds character.
Toyota’s infotainment system looks behind the curve compared to rest of interior; easy to use, though, and JBL sound system is stellar.
Many, many diferent materials living together in something like harmony. C-HR’s design translates inside and metallic blue blade gives a real concept-car vibe. Diamonds really are the C-HR’s best friend – the shape is everywhere from the climate buttons to the cupholders and indentations in the headlining.
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
A modest, front-wheel-drive spec brings out the best in Volkswagen’s new baby wind noise. It’s only when you push it that it gets really vocal, and a tad gruﬀ. Power is progressive through the rev range, right up to the redline, but it never feels urgent. What strikes you ﬁrst, though, is that the Countryman doesn’t actually feel that crossover-like. Firmly grip the fatrimmed wheel and you quickly get a sense of the weight and precision of the steering, even at low speeds. On weaving roads the responsive steering and well-resolved body control make for a car you’re happy to hustle, barely slowing for corners. But these three aren’t destined to spend much time hustling, which makes the Countryman’s adherence to Mini’s brand DNA both admirable and mildly puzzling. Crossovers should excel squeezing into car parks, negotiating city centre traﬃc and swerving around badly-parked cars in cul-de-sacs. Bowling into Leicester’s frantic city centre means dealing with a rapid-ﬁre succession of traﬃc lights, speed cameras and erratic traﬃc – and the Mini isn’t entirely comfortable. A family-centric car shouldn’t feel like it’s tapping its ﬁngers in traﬃc, on edge like a junkie in the throes of withdrawal. The clutch is supercar heavy, making your left leg beg for mercy in stop-start congestion, while the short, meaty shifter – just moments ago your trusted ally on those twisty B-roads – works against you now, jarring with its weighty clunkiness. The ﬁrm springs don’t help, struggling over even modest potholes. It all
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Giant Test VW T-Roc vs rivals
If your driving ever takes you outdoors, all-wheel drive is available
T-Roc light and easy in trafic, while C-HR smothers potholes
adds up to the feeling of a ﬁsh out of water. Jump from the Countryman to the T-Roc and the VW feels woolly by comparison. The T-Roc’s just so much more chilled out, with a slick six-speeder at your left hand and a much more pliant ride that deals happily with scarred surfaces. VW’s little TSI is the most eager engine here too, despite being the KEY TECH: MINI weakest. It’s always ready for the sudden Rev matching bursts of urgency you sometimes need in The Mini hatch’s rev-matching tech town, complete with a gravelly growl and for slicker gearshifts – rarely seen this side of a Civic Type R – features a hearty glut of midrange torque. on the Countryman. It’s active This conﬁguration brings out the best regardless of the Mini’s drive mode – in the VW. When I ﬁrst drove the T-Roc Green, Mid and Sport. The C-HR has the tech too, activated by the i-MT on the European press launch the test switch far down the dash. cars were all high-powered TSIs or TDIs with all-wheel drive and DSG twin-clutch boxes. For all that those niceties bring, that engineering adds a whole load of extra weight. They felt a little stodgy and provided little to write home about in terms of driving dynamics. It’s a diﬀerent story here, up to a point. Squirt it down the same road as the Mini and the T-Roc is less inclined to let you know exactly what’s going on, for better or for worse. Where the Countryman
feels tight and communicative on decent road, the T-Roc does a good impression of a Golf; rapid and trustworthy, if a touch numb. That’s no bad thing, but it’s the Mini that has the last word in driver involvement here. Trying to get a word in edgeways is the Coupe High Rider. Is it a tall-riding go-kart like the Mini? Not really. Is it a super-light traﬃc breezer like the VW? Nope, not really that either. The Toyota’s steering is neither progressive nor light enough to pip the VW, With a young nor meaty and pin-sharp like the family, the textbook shift from hatch to Mini’s. The pedals lurk in this same Countryman… slushy void; they’re light enough for town driving but bring little to the party when the road opens up. It’s the comﬁest car here by some margin, riding over pockmarked roads without a ﬂinch, yet body roll is equally well contained – impressive stuﬀ, were it not for that disinterested steering. The ﬂat, fairly dull four-cylinder engine doesn’t help the C-HR’s conspicuous lack of dynamism. Its delivery is impressively linear but the only way to make what feels like decent progress is to rev it hard. Torque is frustratingly scarce. Truth be told the comfy ride and soft-edged driving controls are a better ﬁt with the Prius-derived hybrid C-HR. It’s not that much more expensive, running costs should be lower – should… – and the electric motor alone provides more torque than this 1.2-litre turbo four. When the C-HR plays the suburban prowler so well, why rev when you can waft and whirr? So the C-HR’s no go-kart but there’s much to like here, not least what must be by some margin the wildest Toyota interior of all time. There are more material types and unexpected shapes on show here than the catwalk at London Fashion Week, including a striking blue blade that scythes right across both doors and over the top of the infotainment screen, tying together everything from the soft-touch plastic dash to the leather-bound armrests and the diamond-relief door inlays. That diamond theme’s everywhere in the C-HR: the wheel and dashboard buttons; indentations in the headlining; the cupholder
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design
Mini Cooper Countryman
Price | £24,595 As tested | £28,235 Engine | 1197cc 16v turbocharged 4-cyl Transmission | 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, double-wishbone rear Made of | Steel
Price | £22,440 As tested | £30,740 Engine | 1499cc 16v turbocharged 3-cyl Transmission | 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear Made of | Steel
Price | £21,125 As tested | £24,385 Engine | 999cc 16v turbocharged 3-cyl Transmission | 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear Made of | Steel
Toyota C-HR 1.2 Turbo Dynamic
Power and torque
Power to weight
We say | Toyota’s extra cylinder trumped by Mini’s extra capacity
We say | Hollow interior probably helps with T-Roc’s dainty weight; Mini lardy in comparison…
We say | …yet the Mini is the punchiest here; Toyota lags behind in outright grunt
113bhp @ 5000rpm VW 148lb ft @ 2000rpm Toyota
114bhp @ 5600rpm Toyota 136lb ft @ 1500rpm 134bhp @ 4400rpm Mini
162lb ft @ 1400rpm
Oficial and test mpg
Top speed We say | Well, they aren’t exactly sports cars, are they?
Toyota 10.9 sec
100 0 15
We say | Toyota needed biggest post-test drink out of the three
0-62mph We say | Mini only one to dip under 10sec, T-Roc feels more eager than its figure admits
We say | Our Mini test car has larger fuel tank as part of Activity Pack
We say | Countryman’s big tank isn’t enough to pip the T-Roc here
We say | Toyota relies on the hybrid C-HR to balance out the numbers
We say | Watch out for the VW’s much bigger up-front payment
VW: 408 miles Toyota: 301 miles Mini: 364 miles VW
50 50 61 litres
36 months, 10k miles pa, £2460 up front
90 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
36 months, 10k miles pa, £4508 up front
36 months, 10k miles pa, £2243 up front
Giant Test VW T-Roc vs rivals
1st The best all-rounder of the three: perky engine, easy to drive and good value
surrounds. There’s real attention to detail in here, even if the infotainment and instrument binnacle displays have the screen resolution of one of those cheap VTech tablets parents give their sprogs to keep them quiet in supermarkets. At least the JBL audio system is up there with the best on the market. What the interior lacks, though, is any sense of space. The low coupe rooﬂine makes the whole cockpit dark, with the rear especially claustrophobic. That swooshing rear window line might look cool from outside but it means your little ones have an ice cube’s hope in hell of getting a view from the window – not something they’ll appreciate on a long drive. The boot is also measly in outright capacity and the rear seats don’t fold ﬂat like those of its rivals, making lugging boxy things a faﬀ. By contrast the Mini feels – and is – refreshingly spacious. It’s by far the most practical cabin and boot here, with even a lanky 6ft 3in driver like me having the room to sit behind myself with legroom to spare. The big boot also has a low load lip. From the driver’s seat the Mini’s less roomy, but you don’t mind because the cabin is well designed and built from quality materials. Every button or dial is either comically sized or oddly shaped, but press, ﬂick or twist anything and you get a comforting sense of robustness. Still, there are a couple of ergonomic niggles. The infotainment screen is way too low to glance at easily and the armrest between the seats gets in the way more than it helps. It also irks that you can’t really get away with having a truly basic Countryman, because Mini is criminally tight with standard kit. Tick the Chili Pack box and you’re treated to a smattering of luxuries that not only help you feel pampered but also help your wallet at resale time. VW, meanwhile, can tart up the T-Roc’s cockpit with bright inlays all it likes but there’s no escaping how budget the dashboard feels and looks compared to the other two. The body-coloured inlays, while eﬀective at piercing the traditional VW interior gloom, don’t feel built to last, and the seats are about as supportive as your mum when you went through ‘that
Comfortable cruiser, striking inside and out but impractical and gutless
Great fun to drive, well built and the most practical but lacks last degree of usability
phase’. Will you care, though? Maybe not, especially given the glossy infotainment system nicked from the Golf, the excellent driving position and the melange of genuinely useful storage spaces. It’s austere in the back, but at least it’s roomy enough for your lanky, brooding teens and the boot is only ﬁve litres smaller than the Countryman’s. I doubt your dog would want to be cooped up behind the KEY TECH: TOYOTA coupe-cut tailgate, mind… Hybrid alternatives The really good news? That going If cheaper fuel bills and a bit of silent running are more your thing, you can crossover doesn’t mean accepting pick the C-HR Hybrid, which uses dullness. The C-HR shines best when the Prius powertrain to great efect. you’re out showing oﬀ its zany looks to A plug-in hybrid Countryman is available, too, with a claimed electric your neighbours, revelling in its cuttingrange of 25 miles. edge interior design and gliding like a Range Rover over those huge potholes on the school run. But your kids won’t appreciate being forced into the back seats, if they can even reach the rear door handles to climb aboard in the ﬁrst place. The Mini is the most practical car here and by far the best to drive, with crisp controls and a taut chassis worthy of a hatch. But there are a couple of interior niggles, and there’s no doubt it’s by far the least cosseting of this trio. If you just want to tune out, the Mini’s not the place to do it. The T-Roc’s budget-conscious interior smarts, particularly as the Design speciﬁcation costs £2175 more than the S, but there’s a high level of kit and the VW’s almost as practical as the the Mini – it’s a rounded, pretty compelling package. And this is deﬁnitely the best way to spec it. Keeping it simple helps keep it light, with the engine from the Up GTI and drive to the front wheels via a sweet manual gearbox. So the T-Roc edges the win, if only by a ﬂy’s eyelash. For a slick, distintive all-rounder, look no further.
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IN SID E THE G O ODWO OD MEMBERS ’ MEE TIN G
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND What does the world’s best development driver do to relax? Race in the world’s best classic event, naturally. Join Chris Goodwin and his Lotus at the 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting
Words Ben Barry | Photography Richard Pardon
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
UNDAY OF THE 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting and Chris Goodwin is pondering the suspension set-up of his Lotus 23B. In a few hours’ time he’ll race in the Gurney Cup, but for now the ﬂimsy rear bodywork is propped open to reveal the 1600cc Lotus Cortina twin-cam engine. He’s talking me round the rear suspension with its tiny dampers and springs and slender anti-roll bar. ‘That’s all there is,’ he laughs. ‘All I can do is play around with those three things and try to go faster.’ The wind’s so cold that my ﬁngers are mottled pink and white, and grapple torpidly with pen and paper, the track’s damp after snow the night before, and gut feel says Goodwin should soften oﬀ the suspension, to give it more compliance so that the tyres can bite into the greasy surface. Goodwin disagrees. ‘Maybe if it was wet and warmer I’d go softer,’ he smiles, ‘but I need to get heat into the tyres, and that means a ﬁrmer set-up.’ I don’t argue. Not only is the 51-year-old an expert race driver who’s previously won the Gurney Cup, he’s best known as McLaren’s ‘chief test driver’, a key cog in the machine responsible for McLaren Automotive’s rise from patchy MP4-12C to sublime 675LT and 720S. He seemed like a McLaren lifer. Then in December last year, Goodwin walked away from 20 years at Woking, taking on a new challenge at Aston Martin and the far superior job title of ‘expert high-performance test driver’. Some say he left because of a clash with CRS Racing; Goodwin has an interest in the race outﬁt, which prepares McLaren GT3 cars, but McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt wants to take that business in-house. Goodwin is too diplomatic to say as much. He’s busy. This week he’s been at Portimao, testing on the back of the Vantage launch (p102), at Paul Ricard in GT3 machinery, and in the simulator at Red Bull. Most of us would be exhausted, but Goodwin is relaxing with a weekend’s racing on one of the country’s most demanding circuits. His dad’s here, so too his wife, and post-race they’re all eager to get to the pub. Not before Goodwin’s left his mark on this fantastic event, though. If you’ve been to the Festival of Speed or the Revival, the Members’ Meeting will feel quiet. This is intentional. ‘When we re-opened the circuit in 1998 after it closed in 1966, we got ﬁve days’ planning permission to run events,’ recalls the Duke of Richmond, the aristocrat formerly known as Lord March, and owner of the Goodwood estate. ‘The Revival accounted for three days, so we wondered what to do with the other two. We looked at motorbikes, but the Members’ Meetings were real grass-roots events at Goodwood. There were seven or eight a year in the early days, and there’d been 70 or 71 of them before the closure. They’re an important part of our history,so we wanted to recreate that feel with an event that opened the season and gave something back to our members.’
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Inside Goodwood Members’ Meeting
TO RELAX, GOODWIN’S RACING AT ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST DEMANDING CIRCUITS
Far smaller crowds than Goodwood’s other events make for great access
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Goodwin fends of Richard Meins’ thundering Ford GT40 prototype
THE FORMULA 500 RACERS’ ‘MINUTE OF NOISE’ IS A THUNDEROUS, VISCERAL RACKET 96
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Inside Goodwood Members’ Meeting
Only members can buy tickets, which means paying at least £39 to join the Goodwood Road and Racing Club Fellowship. A weekend ticket is then at least a further £120. There’s no dress code (unlike the Revival), less ﬂuﬀ in terms of presentation (though the Main Hall eaterie has a Hogwarts vibe and St Trinian-types singing), and around 20,000 visitors compared with the 160,000 who show up for each day of the Revival. The Revival’s insistence on originality is also relaxed. ‘Would you allow the new “continuation” cars from Aston and Jag to come along?’ I ask. ‘Good question,’ ponders the Duke. The low-key atmosphere puts the spotlight ﬁrmly on the metal. Some of the invited cars do overlap with the Revival, so you’re still treated to waist-high Ford GT40s, to the warm burble of Aston DB4 GTs throttle-blipping past you in the paddock, to skinny-tyred Bugatti Type 35s with pirate-ship steering wheels, and there’s still top-class racing courtesy of motorsport royalty.
You want Emanuele Pirro revving the nuts oﬀ the ex-Count Volpi Ferrari 250GT SWB ‘Breadvan’? World Touring Car champ Rob Huﬀ drifting an E-Type and going faster than anyone else? We saw all that at the 76th Members’ Meeting. ‘It’s a pensioners’ day out,’ jokes BTCC legend Patrick Watts, now 61, after he’s punted oﬀ the track in the Gerry Marshall Trophy. ‘But if rock stars can keep on touring, why shouldn’t we keep on racing? We’re no slower than we were!’ Wander the paddock and you’ll ﬁnd more modern cars too, many of them high-performance Ford Fiestas, Escorts and Capris, but BMWs, Rovers and Porsches, too – indeed, Watts is driving a Capri. For a Generation X-er like me, there’s more of an emotional pull to those formative years. Cars invited to the Revival competed during the circuit’s ﬁrst era, from 1948 to 1966; the track is fast and unforgiving, and never was upgraded to the safety standards required for quicker machinery. The Members’ Meeting gets more free rein, but those safety concerns still throttle it back. Cars like the Porsche 935 ‘Moby Dick’ run in high-speed demonstrations with a handful of period rivals. Later on Sunday we watch as Jochen Mass squeezes out past the rollcage and hands over to stick-thin Dan Harper, the latest Porsche Carrera Cup GB scholar. It’s the driver-change as generational baton-pass, and we eavesdrop as the old master carefully details where to take it easy before the young hotshoe heads onto the circuit in a rush of ﬂat-six turbo chatter. ‘Huge credit to those who raced these cars in that era,’ Harper says later. ‘I didn’t realise how challenging they’d be.’ Formula 5000 racers are allowed on the circuit with similar ‘demonstration run’ caveats. These single-seaters combine backof-a-fag-packet aerodynamics with – usually – thumping great Chevy V8s with over 500bhp. They honour commentator Henry Hope-Frost, killed in a road accident in March, with a minute of noise, and they make such a thunderous, visceral racket that your instinct is to run away, far from Goodwood, not climb into the driver’s seat, buckle up and head out. We watch the demo runs in actual snow on Saturday, wincing as one slithers over the snow-ﬂecked grass and punches the tyre wall. Other post-1966 cars race for real. The distinction, explains motorsport director Lloyd McNeil, comes down to lap times – contain the times and the MSA will let newer cars race. This includes the brilliantly eclectic Group 1 category, which closely resembles production-car speciﬁcation. Competitors include a Datapost Austin Metro, plus Rover SD1s, Camaros, Capris and Mk2 Escorts. Back in the day they’d have been on slicks for
‘My hat’s warm, if a little itchy. Yours?’ ‘Can we just talk about the racing?’
THE UNMISSABLE RACES
GERRY MARSHALL TROPHY AND SPRINT Who’s it named after? That burly bloke who raced Vauxhall Firenzas The era 1970-1982 The cars Capris, Camaros, Fiestas, Minis… The talent Blundell, Soper, Blomqvist… The talking point A firstcorner shunt put a Capri and an SD1 in the wall
CARACCIOLA SPORTWAGENRENNEN Who’s it named after? Rudolf, the first non-Italian to win the Mille Miglia The era 1920s and 1930s The cars Alfa 8Cs, Bugatti Type 35s… The talent Jochen Mass in a Mercedes 710 SSK The talking point Priceless, powerful cars going at it in a snowstorm
MOSS TROPHY Who’s it named after? Stirling, obviously The era 1960-1962 The cars Aston DB4 GTs, Porsche 356s, Jaguar E-Types and more The talent Stig Blomqvist, Rob Huf, Anthony Reid… The talking point Huf oversteering past the Ferrari Breadvan
GURNEY CUP Who’s it named after? Dan, the recently departed US race driver The era 1960s The cars Lotus 23Bs, GT40s, Shelby Daytonas, Porsche 910s… The talent Aston test driver Chris Goodwin The talking point Goodwin putting the Lotus up the sharp end
SEARS TROPHY Who’s it named after? Jack, two-time British Saloon Car winner The era 1958-1963 The cars Jag Mk2s, Lotus Cortinas, Alfa Giulias… The talent BTCC aces Andrew Jordan and Steve Soper The talking point The four-way Lotus Cortina battle for victory
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Inside Goodwood Members’ Meeting
The Duke of Richmond insists the Members’ Meeting is an important counterpoint to the riotously popular Revival and Festival
Nick Mason’s delicious Maser Birdcage defies the weather to bring the glamour
BUILDING A WINNING FORD AT GOODWOOD, the drivers who aren’t famous are sometimes as interesting as those who are. Take Kerry Michael. The businessman was the commercial director of the RAC until last year. He paired with Mark Blundell in a beautiful Group A Mk2 Escort RS2000, in which he’s only around a second a lap slower than Blundell. His Mk2 was built from scratch especially for last year’s Members’ Meeting. Group A spec means even
CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
the brakes are standard, but Michael estimates a £80k-£100k total build cost. ‘There was already an abundance of Camaros, Capris and Rover SD1s, so we went for the Escort,’ explains Michael. ‘I love Mk2 Escorts because they’re awesome to race. They have such a lovely, predictable balance. You can just chuck them into corners and they’re very predictable, talking to you all the time where a Lotus Cortina can snap.’ Blundell and Michael drove the Mk2 to victory in the Gerry Marshall Trophy. ‘It was quite hairy out there with the weather. It’s quick and unforgiving anyway, and if you lose concentration for a second you’ll have a moment,’ said Michael afterwards, ‘but I do love racing here.’
dry races, but here they’re on treaded rubber, whatever the weather. They can lap in the high 1min 20s. The Group 1 Gerry Marshall Trophy signs oﬀ Saturday. They race into the dark, and we watch from above the pits, teeth chattering as the rasp of four-cylinder Mk2 Escorts mixes with the rumble of Rover V8s and the roar of V6 Capris. But it’s Mark Blundell and businessman Kerry Michael (see panel, left) who take the win, chased all the way by Mike Jordan – father of BTCC ace Andrew – in a gorgeous 3.0S Capri, the pair balancing right on the limit of grip to deliver a thrilling ﬁnale. ‘Life in the old dog yet!’ says Blundell as he energetically bounces around parc ferme. As we leave, I text Goodwin and ask where to meet tomorrow. He could’ve just said ‘12.30pm, paddock’, but he adds that ‘it was freezing today and I qualiﬁed mid-grid. Ahead of all the other 1600s but in amongst the big V8s… a lot of fun!’ Even without an emoji, the buzz is palpable. The next morning the Duke of Richmond anxiously eyes the circuit, which was earlier specially treated to clear the snow. ‘It
Porsche 911s (and 904s) swelled the grid for the Ronnie Hoare Trophy
was so cold last night we even had our own gritters out on the public roads at 4am,’ he grimaces. ‘But people are coming from all over, it’s incredible – I met one bloke from Adelaide who remembers snow at the April 1965 meeting!’ As temperatures hit 0.5°C, snow ﬂurries return and the opentopped ’20s and ’30s sports cars of the Caracciola Sportwagenrennen head out to the track. One commentator notes that ‘it’s warming up a bit’, which makes us feel immensely patriotic, but the show can’t carry on entirely regardless: all motorbike races have been cancelled, and their owners reluctantly pack up. At the appointed 12.30pm I hook up with Goodwin, who talks me round his Lotus 23B. Conceived for Group 4 competition in the ’60s, the 23B was built around a spaceframe chassis and ﬁbreglass body that makes the GT40s he’ll compete against look like leviathans. This car was ‘a bag of scrap’ when Goodwin bought it but he’s worked at it with his dad, and now it’s restored back to the speciﬁcation in which it raced in Swiss hillclimbs, right down to the cream with twin red stripes livery and the ‘T22222’ serial code by the headlights. ‘I wanted it to be as authentic as possible, so I could feel what life was like in that era,
IN QUALIFYING, GOODWIN CAN’T USE FULL POWER IN FIFTH GEAR, SO TRICKY IS THE GRIP not an improved version of it.’ The 23B makes 180bhp but weighs around 450kg and yesterday in qualifying Goodwin couldn’t use full power in ﬁfth, so tricky was the grip. His best lap of 1:54.44 around the 2.4-mile circuit will tumble if the snow holds oﬀ. Goodwin also owns a McLaren M6 Can-Am car, a Formula Junior, and even gets kicks in Rotax-powered go-karts, and he insists it’s all relevant to the day job. He’s been brought in to Aston Martin to develop its ﬁrst ever mid-engined cars, overlapping with ex-Lotus man Matt Becker ‘like a Venn diagram’. First comes the Valkyrie hypercar, designed by F1 brainiac Adrian Newey. Later comes a Ferrari 488 rival, plus a second May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK
Inside Goodwood Members’ Meeting
GOODWIN SCORCHES INTO VIEW AND RUNS THE CHICANE WALL SO CLOSE THE DAFFODILS FLINCH hypercar to sit below Valkyrie and pick up where the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari left oﬀ. ‘I’m a big believer in basic principles,’ says Goodwin, ‘and a car as pure as the Lotus reminds you what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. I was racing my Can-Am car, jumping out of that feeling more alive than ever, then tuning the McLaren P1. Now I’m playing around with the Lotus’s anti-roll bars while also working on active aero and active ride control on the Valkyrie. There are some engineers developing cars and they’re the best cars they’ve ever driven; they don’t have the benchmarks.’ Two hours later, Goodwin takes up his 12th slot on the grid. With a wave of the ﬂag the cars roar oﬀ the line and jostle into Madgwick Corner before disappearing out of sight. We stand by The hardy folk of the Caracciola Sportwagenrennen
the chicane, framed by what looks like a brick wall but is actually polystyrene blocks – though the potted daﬀodils on top are incentive enough not to crash into it. Goodwin scorches into view chasing a blue Ford GT40 on his ﬁrst lap, with a Shelby Cobra closing fast. He runs the wall so close I swear the daﬀodils ﬂinch. Earlier, Goodwin had said that it’s this last sector that he really relishes. ‘Most people over-slow for that, so I can make up some places through there.’ A couple of laps later and the much more powerful Shelby is through, but it’s an action-packed race, and I get so caught up watching another Lotus 23B get increasingly lurid through that chicane – and gasping as another car spins and stalls just oﬀ the racing line – that I lose track of where Goodwin is. The race ﬁnishes, and we dash back to the paddock to catch up. He’s still ﬂushed with excitement when we arrive and says he gained ﬁve places to ﬁnish seventh and rank as the fastest of the four-cylinder cars. He’s ahead of some GT40s and McLarens too, and his best lap of 1:26.958 is only 1.8sec oﬀ the fastest time set by the far more powerful Shelby Cobra. ‘I got a good start, but the grip was very low and there was a fair bit of oil, so I had some big moments in fourth gear and had to make some big catches.’ What, I ask, does Aston boss Andy Palmer make of his new signing racing other marques? ‘He’s cool with it,’ says Goodwin, who hopes to do something more on-brand soon. ‘I’d love to race an Aston DB4 GT while I’m developing the Valkyrie,’ he says. ‘I have to ﬁnd a way to do that.’ Then a German gentleman approaches. He runs a race series and invites Goodwin to bring his Lotus to the Norisring. ‘Sounds like fun, and I’ve never been,’ says Goodwin. ‘Why not?’ With that, he packs up and heads to the pub with his family. It’s hard not to be impressed by his ‘live it, breathe it’ attitude. After all, if Goodwin puts the same enthusiasm into his 9-to-5, those mid-engined Astons are in safe hands. Goodwood Festival of Speed: July 12-15. Goodwood Revival: September 7-9. For both, see ticketing.goodwood.com
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Much like the dogfights of the Battle of Britain, only the German on your tail’s a BMW 530i
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AD VA NT AG E
Huge ambitions, a healthy balance sheet and now this: the Vantage that delivers on Astonâ€™s Porschebaiting promises
Words Ben Barry
102 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
At last! New Vantage driven
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 103
At last! New Vantage driven
Digital rev counter gives that ‘my other car’s a Eurofighter’ feel
HERE’S A SEQUENCE of corners at the Portimao race circuit in Portugal where the new Aston Martin Vantage’s strengths settle right between the crosshairs. It starts when you pop over a blind brow and run downhill towards the ﬁshhook Turn 6. You probably braked sooner on your ﬁrst laps, but experience says you can leave it much later, so you hold the throttle ﬂat in ﬁfth long after the kerbing starts strobing red and white. With the gravel trap rushing up, ﬁnally you stand on the pedal and the optional carbon-ceramic brakes wipe oﬀ speed like a child skipping into a conservatory door. You drop three gears – crisp, quick shifts the lot of them – kiss the apex in second, then feed in the torque as you run back up the hill. Third pulls hard, fourth barely registers the higher ratio or increasing uphill gradient as 505lb ft gets toiling. The track’s damp, so pull for ﬁfth before you tease it through the fast-left kink at the crest, give the brakes a quick dab and drop to fourth when you’re straight. Take a deep breath and commit to the fast downhill right-hander – the Vantage pivots for the apex, the rear slips obediently out of line with the ﬂuidity of Tesco’s best-maintained trolleys and you glide out to the kerbing in the most beautifully balanced four-wheel drift. A few laps in and already you’re asking where you sign and how much it costs. Ah, yes, that… The new Vantage costs £120,900. The last
104 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
model was pitched just a little above a Porsche 911 Carrera S, but the new one misses its braking point at one-notch-higher Carrera GTS money and stops just £8k shy of the 911 Turbo with a squeal of tyres and judder of ABS. Similarly, performance slots between the two 911s, with 503bhp, 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a 195mph top whack courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG. I won’t blame you if you buy without so much as a test drive. The proportions of the old Vantage are still echoed in the long bonnet and Manx-cat tail, but there’s a complexity and deﬁnition to the steel bodywork’s muscle tone that betrays a giant leap in production processes. Looks great. The interior feels similarly racey. The seats are low-set, comfortable yet supportively bolstered, the windscreen dramatically raked, the glasshouse like a hot-rod from American Graffiti. The leather and alcantara ﬁnishes impress, the central digital speedo provides a kind of ﬁghter-jet theatre to proceedings, and the Mercedes infotainment is a quantum leap to what went before – later, the little controller will budge back slightly and a manual gearstick will sprout from here. Shame some of the buttons seem very oddly positioned – it took entire laps to ﬁnd the traction control. And the quality falters sporadically: the buttons that control drive modes from the steering wheel click unresponsively and unconvincingly. All too often you’re not sure whether you’ve engaged a mode, and have to scroll through them all to check. The air-con controls and paddleshifters look cheap, especially ﬁnished in silver; graphite looks better. Underneath, the Vantage’s bonded aluminium platform is derived from the larger DB11, and you get the same double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, but naturally the springs and dampers have speciﬁc tuning overseen by vehicle attribute boss Matt Becker (who learnt his trade at Lotus), and the 20-inch Pirelli P Zeroes are bespoke too. The rear suspension subframe is solidly mounted – the DB11 gets mushier, more comfort-focused bushings – and there’s an electronically controlled diﬀerential, a ﬁrst for Aston Martin. Some of these changes can be felt a soon as you move away. Aston has gone for a much more aggressive set-up on the Vantage compared with the DB11, something evidenced by adjustable settings for the chassis and powertrain that kick oﬀ in Sport (not GT like the DB11), and move through Sport Plus and Track levels of seriousness. The suspension does a great job of wafting over some pretty fragmented bumps, especially considering how focused it is, but it also feels very tightly controlled over sharper undulations, even in that initial Sport setting – at times it’s like you’re the toddler being given a ‘tractor ride’ on a parent’s knee. And plenty of road noise seeps up through that unpartitioned boot and from the fat 295-section rear tyres. The standard exhaust system is noisy, but this is a good kind of noisy, a deep, rich, bassy noisiness that’d get a lion tamer sprinting, even if the occasional pops and bangs on the overrun are more measured than those of the AMG GT. This is more than a substitute for the old 4.7’s ﬂamboyance – and the sports system is like removing your earplugs in comparison. I’d never tire of it, although there are times when I’d be glad of the don’t-wake-the-neighbours button. Already, on the autoroute, the 4.0-litre turbo V8 feels much stronger than it does in the perfectly-fast-enough DB11, not because it is – 503bhp and 505lb ft is near-as-dammit the same – but because the Vantage is 129kg lighter, sings louder to take care of the psychological side of things, and drops
Preview AMG Project One
Key underpinnings are from the DB11, but this is a lighter, nimbler car
Invisible gear stick expected to be replaced by real one later this year
ASTON HAS GONE FOR A MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE SET-UP THAN ON THE DB11
It’s not just the paint that’s lairy. DB11 is bewitching with its electronics of
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THE SPEED OF THE VANTAGE IS NOT LOST AMID THE RELENTLESSNESS OF THIS INCREDIBLE PLACE
its ﬁnal-drive ratio from 2.7:1 to 2.9:1. This engine always feels ‘on’, pulling from little over idle speed, with a big kick at 2400rpm, and a relentless pull to the 7000rpm redline, like there are two Red Bulls as well as twin turbos plumbed into the engine’s vee. There’s a trigger-happy yet surprisingly controllable reaction to every little throttle twitch; it has performance everywhere, and yet delivers it in incrementally more thrilling bursts. A Carrera GTS might be around 160kg lighter than the 1630kg Aston, but no one told the V8. Like the engine, the gearbox feels transformed compared to the version in the DB11. It’s still an eight-speed auto, still a transaxle positioned between the rear wheels to complement the front-mid-mounted engine and help hit the 50:50 weight distribution. The shifts are as subtle as you like for low-speed mooching, but now punch with more mechanical conviction, if not with any greater speed. Smoke and mirrors, yes, but all this calibration and dialling in of emotion is what separates the best modern cars from the merely very good.
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Last month, we got to grips with a ﬁnal-veriﬁcation prototype on an ice-rink in Northern Finland, but the near-deserted N267 winding over Portuguese hillsides provides a more instructive insight. Despite being no faster than a DB11’s, the electric steering feels signiﬁcantly more responsive. Try to trick it with almost imperceptible inputs and it’ll respond eagerly, and feeds back with both a chunky if not overly heavy detailing and a wieldiness that immediately makes the Vantage feel nimble. It’ll swoop in to corners as quick as you can eye the apex, carves like it needs a dictionary to decode understeer, and controls its limited body roll with a progressive, ﬁrmly cushioned authority. Clearly, powerslides are up for grabs, yet it’s possible to drive neatly within the stability control settings on the road without feeling like you just pressed the nitrous button in a Fast & Furious ﬁlm. All this translates rather well to the Portimao racetrack, a place that rubbishes any notions that modern tracks must be
At last! New Vantage driven
ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE > Price £120,900 > Engine 3982cc 32v twin- turbo V8, 503bhp @ 6500rpm, 505lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive > Suspension Double wishbone front, multi-link rear > Performance 3.6sec 0-62mph, 195mph, 26.8mpg, 245g/km CO2 > Weight 1630kg > On sale Now +++++
sanitised. Just a decade old, it rollercoasters over the terrain like someone’s tarmacked over Roadrunner’s tracks. Abrupt stops, big-commitment curves, blind crests, scary speed – it’s all present and correct. The Vantage is right at home, still feeling eager to change direction, and still composed in the way it resists body roll and understeer (unless you go out of your way to trigger it). The way it tries to come back into line if you really provoke it is a little aggressive, and it’s much sweeter when you just drive it hard. And, of course, there’s that magic run through Turn 8, where you revel in the sweet adjustability of the Vantage’s chassis. Some of the faster, longer turns did induce an irritating lateral oscillation from the rear axle, while at low speeds the traction needs careful attention if you switch all the stability systems oﬀ. The speed of the Vantage is not lost amid the relentlessness of this incredible place. There’s also no doubt that a mid-engined machine would feel more agile still, nor that a Porsche
911 feels a purer sports car with less weight to manage, and that the Vantage could ﬁzz with a little more communication, both through your driving gloves and corduroys. But the Vantage already feels like a great sports car, one with a ruthless turn of speed and a chassis entirely in balance with it all. There are, of course, more variants coming. An entry-level version could work well with the new AMG 53 six-cylinder engine, something that would reduce the Vantage’s hefty price tag and make this an even more accessible drive. Aston boss Andy Palmer insists it won’t happen. ‘This,’ he says, ‘is already our Ferrari Dino.’ But there are nods and winks – if not outright conﬁrmation – that the stronger 4.0-litre V8 from the 604bhp Mercedes E63 S will ﬁnd its way under that bonnet, and that the DB11’s V12 will deﬁnitely ﬁt too. Great car already, but the Vantage journey only gets more serious from here.
911 Carrera S is less expensive, lighter, slower and more obvious
Turn the page for the CAR interview with Aston CEO Andy Palmer
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‘FERRARI IS THE ONLY BENCHMARK’ Phew – the new Vantage isn’t a dud. Now for the next phase of Aston CEO Andy Palmer’s masterplan: become the British Ferrari Words Phil McNamara | Illustration Senor Salme
The CAR Interview Andy Palmer
ORSCHE, FERRARI, move aside: Aston Martin is back!’ That was the ﬁnal ﬂourish with which Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, presented the new Vantage to the world. Though its V8 engine is at the opposite end of the car, the second-generation Vantage (see page 102) is clearly a serious rival for Porsche’s 911. But it’s the company that sold 33 times fewer cars than Porsche last year, the pinnacle of performance car makers, that Palmer is truly targeting. From Formula 1 to a ﬁnancial ﬂoat, from luxury brand aspiration to developing mid-engined supercars, Aston Martin is taking the ﬁght to Ferrari head-on. It’s an incredibly ambitious strategy founded on last year’s groundbreaking ﬁnancial results, new levels of strategic planning and an inherent belief in the potential of the 105-year-old company. ‘Ferrari is the only benchmark,’ says Palmer when we meet. Not in the type of cars, he caveats, though there will be convergence there: 2019 will herald the mid-engined Valkyrie, the hybridised V12 hypercar co-designed with Red Bull engineer Adrian Newey, gunning to be the fastest car ever. Take that, LaFerrari. No, Aston’s 54-year-old CEO is referring to how he wants to position the company, before it’s ﬂoated in an initial public oﬀering (IPO). Aston’s majority shareholders are investment groups from Kuwait and Italy (with a slither owned by tech partner Daimler), and they will want a big payday when they sell their stakes. ‘They’ve asked me to study various options,’ explains Palmer, when I ask him what dictates the correct timeframe for going public. ‘The longer you hold on, your quarters of success become years of success and the comparison to Ferrari and its IPO becomes ever more powerful. On the other hand, the longer you wait, the more you risk a bull market becoming a bear market, or unexpected events happening in the world. ‘Ferrari established the principle that a car company can be a luxury company,’ continues Palmer, citing the fact that its company worth (called ‘enterprise value’ in ﬁnancial circles) is around 18 times its projected EBITDA (earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation – a measure of its annual income). ‘Every other car company is two or three times,’ says Palmer. ‘In my view, there really is only one other company that could replicate that – us.’ Given Aston Martin was heavily indebted and lost £72m in 2014, the year Palmer took over, the company has come a long way: DB11 sales drove record revenue of £876m in 2017. Equally it has a long way to go yet: Ferrari raked in €3.4bn (£2.98bn) in revenue. Aston’s 5117 retail sales lagged Ferrari’s by more than 3000 units too. This year the Brits should close the gap, with a full 12 months of DB11 V8, plus the Volante roadster and new Vantage coming on
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The CAR Interview Andy Palmer
Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne (right) has suggested the company may opt out of F1 – in which case Aston’s keen to opt in
stream. If 7200 cars in 2007 was a record year (when, pointedly, earnings were less than half 2017’s total), what’s the production limit on Aston Martin’s secondcentury plan? ‘I would say 14,000,’ the former head of Nissan product development responds. ‘Gaydon is land-locked: it can’t expand any more. On a properly eﬃcient system we can produce 7000 cars at Gaydon and we’ll hit that in the second half of this year. Then you’ve got St Athan [the Welsh factory that will assemble the DBX crossover from 2019]. It’s being kitted out for 5000 cars initially, but the line is sized so it could be further upgraded to 7000 cars. That’s 12,000-14,000. ‘But exactly where the peak is no one really knows. It’s not 250,000 like Porsche or 40,000-50,000 like Maserati, but could it be 20,000? I don’t know. The temptation is always to push. The reality is build the capacity, then run that capacity at maximum.’ The mid-engined supercar will help keep Gaydon at full steam, by arriving as the DB11 and Vantage age. Why else do that car? ‘Let’s set aside that we’re all petrolheads and would like to develop a mid-engined Aston,’ is Palmer’s gratifying answer, before he outlines the business case. ‘It’s also about the average transaction prices of the company: we peak at Vanquish, broadly £200,000. If you want to look like Ferrari or Rolls-Royce, you need to have an oﬀer that’s £250,000, £300,000, £350,000. Going into other segments allows us to do that.’ Like the Valkyrie, the mid-engined cars are being developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies; Aston will relocate 130 staﬀ to the F1 campus, and establish a design centre there. The collaboration’s biggest goal is to reduce mass: ‘Adrian Newey is a man possessed on weight, and weight is the evil of the car,’ says Palmer. And will the engine come from another partner with F1 links, Mercedes-AMG? ‘We’re not simply tied into buying other people’s engines,’ the CEO says. ‘The V12 we did ourselves…’ And must it be electriﬁed to reach the 800bhp threshold Ferrari will surely achieve? ‘It will use a hybrid KERS system; by the middle of the 2020s we’ll oﬀer a hybrid in every model line, but not plug-ins. That’s one of the technological choices we’ve made. We will continue to develop V-conﬁguration engines, and we will do an EV, but we won’t do downsizing to inline-four engines, diesel or hydrogen.’ Aston’s mission to revive Lagonda as a pure-electric brand epitomises the company’s relentless advancement under Palmer. ‘There’s a duopoly in Rolls-Royce and Bentley, but both are very conventional and the intention of Lagonda is to disrupt. So we’ve got a car that’s broadly the overall length of a Ghost but with the interior space of a Phantom. We wanted to show a car which doesn’t need to have the Parthenon grille. And we’re saying this brand will only be EV – which is exactly the space Tesla sits in.’ Rolls-Royce reacted somewhat peevishly when the Financial Times relayed a similar Parthenon comment from Aston design chief Marek Reichman: I suspect the straight-talking Palmer would only have chuckled at the resulting furore. Well, here’s a grenade for Elon Musk too… ‘It’s about to get much harder for Tesla because everyone’s coming with an electric car now. The car industry is often called a dinosaur but we are phenomenally good at making [volume
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manufacturing] work. The likes of Tesla need to get their act together quickly or die. How many months is the Model 3 behind schedule and struggling with build quality?’ Ouch. But the ultimate disruption is targeted at Ferrari. Aston is the headline sponsor of this year’s Red Bull Formula 1 racer, but the CEO admits it’s about marketing rather than technology transfer. For now. ‘[F1 chief] Ross Brawn has published his [2021 engine] draft speciﬁcation, and it’s now in consultation. Ferrari and Merc hate it and we like it. To some extent Renault and Honda sit on the edges. If it’s going to have heat recovery we won’t be doing the engine. If it isn’t, there’s a good chance we will be doing an engine.’ Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne has threatened to pull Ferrari – an ever-present – out of the series, if the company’s know-how in exhaust and brake energy recovery becomes redundant. Which leads to a fascinating notion: could Ferrari bow out of F1, leaving space for its aspiring luxury brand rival? You can bet this calculation is all part of Palmer’s masterplan. Making a Midlands Maranello? You’d better believe it.
SEVEN ASTONS FOR SEVEN DEMOGRAPHICS: THE PLAN TO 2022 Palmer’s plan is built on seven core models (excluding special series like the Valkyrie), each designed to cater for the needs of seven diferent target customers DB11 2016 In a nutshell: 2+2 Gran Turismo with V8 or full-fat V12, from £150k Aimed at: Aston traditionalists seeking style, grunt and comfort Vantage 2018 In a nutshell: Strictly two-seat sports car packing V8 power, from £120k Aimed at: Executives in a hurry who find the Porsche 911 passé New Vanquish summer 2019 In a nutshell: Flagship front-engined GT built on honed DB11 V12 mechanicals, from £230k Aimed at: Wealthier Aston traditionalists DBX crossover late 2019 In a nutshell: All-wheel-drive crossover, with petrol, hybrid and EV power Aimed at: ‘Charlotte’, an affluent, 30-something American Supercar late 2020 In a nutshell: Mid-engined hybrid supercar co-developed with Red Bull – Valkyrie (right) is the tech testbed Aimed at: Ferrari and McLaren Lagonda 1 2021 In a nutshell: An all-electric, all-wheel-drive SUV Aimed at: People who like the idea of a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but not its V12 Lagonda 2 2022 In a nutshell: Electric like Lagonda 1 but limousine body and 400 miles of range Aimed at: Silicon Valley squillionaires
THE COMPANY HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE PALMER TOOK OVER: DB11 SALES DROVE RECORD REVENUES OF £876M IN 2017
Palmer is deadly serious about challenging Ferrari. You wouldn’t argue with him
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Land Rover at 70
70 years ago, at the 1948 Amsterdam motor show, this very car heralded the arrival of Land Rover. Unrestored, it is the essence of the marqueâ€™s utility 4x4 DNA Words Mark Walton | Photography Wilson Hennessey
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THE GOVERNMENT WAS ONLY SUPPORTING FIRMS ABLE TO EXPORT THE NATION OUT OF ITS KNEE-HIGH FINANCIAL MANURE
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Land Rover at 70
Massively overengineered tailgate didn’t make final production
ERIOUSLY, AFTER ALL this time, you’d think there’d be no more barn ﬁnds left to ﬁnd. With the classic car market frothing like champagne in a blender, surely there isn’t an unopened shed left in the world. Everyone’s dream is to lift a rusty garage door and discover your elderly aunt has been hiding a long-lost Facel Vega, once owned by Elvis. In 2018, aren’t we at least decade too late for all that? Well, the stories keep coming: in 2016 a Lamborghini Miura was dragged out of a tiny back-street garage in the US, covered in dust, after nearly 20 years in hibernation. In 2017, Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang, no less, turned up in a Mexican scrapyard after being lost for nearly 50 years. And now this car. Not just any old Land Rover. Not just one of a handful of super-collectable pre-production cars. This is the actual launch car from the 1948 Amsterdam motor show, where the Land Rover was ﬁrst revealed to the world, 70 years ago. An incredibly important car that until recently was abandoned in a back garden about three miles from Solihull. In some ways this story is even more remarkable than those of barn-ﬁnd Lamborghinis and long-lost Ferraris. Not because of value but because Land Rovers are for nerds, obsessives and trainspotters. The early Series 1s have got to be among the most energetically researched and documented cars of all time: chassis numbers are catalogued, archives are trawled, former engineers are tracked down, dragged out of old people’s homes and pumped for information. No one escapes the Series 1 Inquisition! So how could the Amsterdam show car disappear for so long? To answer that, we need to go back to the beginning – and if you’ve heard this story a thousand times, feel free to skip a couple of paragraphs… The Land Rover story begins in 1947 on Anglesey. Maurice Wilks, the technical director of Rover, owns a farm there, where he uses a demobbed army Jeep as a farm hack. Raw materials are scarce in post-war Britain, and the government is only supporting ﬁrms that can export the nation out of its knee-high ﬁnancial manure. Wilks knows that, as a luxury car maker, Rover isn’t going to be building luxury cars any time soon, so he has an idea: how about an agricultural vehicle, a lightweight car-tractor? A British Jeep, in other words, that improves on his old farm hack? So, using another ex-army Jeep as a guinea pig, Wilks develops a single, crude prototype with a Rover P3 engine and gearbox, three seats and a steering wheel in the middle (which at the time seemed like a good idea for exports, but proved to be a terrible idea for legroom). Moving with suitable we’re-all-about-to-go-bust post-war haste, Rover quickly progresses from that single proof-ofconcept to the pre-production stage: 50 chassis, of which 48 are built up into completed cars, all numbered 01, 02, 03 etc, preﬁxed with either an R or an L depending on whether it was right-hand or left-hand drive (the centre-steer idea was dropped as soon as someone tried to drive it). The remains of those 48 pre-prod cars are now holy relics to the Land Rover fraternity. Mike Bishop, Land Rover Classic’s Series 1 expert, tells me around 20 pre-prod cars have
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Steering wheel is original, as is the horribly corroded front bulkhead
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Land Rover at 70
survived. ‘There are a couple where literally a buﬀ logbook is all that’s left,’ he says, ‘but at least we know when their lives ﬁnished. Of the complete cars, they rarely come up for sale – R12 sold about eight years ago, but it wasn’t really public. They tend to sell from one collector to another.’ I ask him how much they go for. ‘I’m probably not the best person to answer that, because I own R16!’ Bishop admits. ‘But it’s easy to speculate it would be in six ﬁgures nowadays for a pre-production Land Rover.’ The most famous of the early cars is the ﬁrst, chassis R01, known as ‘Huey’ after its number plate HUE 166. Huey’s a celebrity – the ﬁnal, limited edition Defender Heritage models in 2015 all had HUE graphics. Huey was built in March 1948, and he was saved for posterity by Maurice Wilks himself. ‘In 1949, Huey was put to use on a farm near the Wilks’ home near Kenilworth,’ explains Bishop. ‘It was there until 1955, when Wilks rescued it and put it in the Birmingham Science Museum. It was used for Land Rover’s 10th birthday celebrations in 1958, when it was placed on a massive cake. It’s now owned by the British Motor Museum.’ Just six chassis after Huey, Rover built the car you’re looking at now. Susan Tonks takes up the story – Susan’s an engineer who has been with Jaguar Land Rover for 18 years, the last six months of which has been with Land Rover Classic, and she’s now this car’s restoration project leader. ‘It was originally left-hand drive, so the chassis was stamped L07,’ she explains. ‘It left the factory on 27 April 1948, and was driven to Amsterdam in time for the car’s oﬃcial unveiling on the 30th.’ Ha! Anyone who’s driven a Series 1 Land Rover for three
ANYONE WHO’S DRIVEN A SERIES 1 WILL GUFFAW AT THE IDEA OF A 300-MILE DRIVE
miles will guﬀaw at the idea of this car, canvas ﬂapping and gearbox droning, driving 300 miles to the Netherlands. ‘They put chassis L05 on the stand, inside the show itself,’ continues Tonks. ‘This car was the exterior driving demonstrator, used by the press.’ Of course, we know how well the show went – Rover’s postwar, stop-gap model became a gigantic success, and a global brand in its own right. But between the launch in April and the ﬁrst cars going into production in July, there was still a lot of work to do. ‘After the launch, L07 went to Rover’s engine department, where parts were changed, tested and upgraded to production spec,’ Tonks explains. ‘We believe this is when it was converted to right-hand drive, and you can see on the chassis where they stamped an R over the L to make it R07.’ It stayed at Solihull until 24 June 1955, when it was sold to its ﬁrst private owner, but here’s where its importance as the 1948 show car begins to get lost in the fog. On the dispatch note it’s recorded as E07, presumably because it was the Experimental Department that built the pre-prod cars. Also, its ﬁrst registration number – SNX 910 – never showed
The wheels are later additions and the towbar is a farmer’s bolt-on, but much of the bodywork is original
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If, like us, you love the paint finish, you’ll need a Welsh field, a Midlands garden and time
up in Rover’s own records, because it was registered by its new owner the day after he’d bought it. So, like a rare Roman coin slipped into your pocket, R07 disappeared into all that loose change on Britain’s roads, and was lost. The original logbook (which miraculously still exists) shows the car was sold on to new owners in Sutton Coldﬁeld, then Stratford-upon-Avon, before ending up in Wales in 1968. It was parked in a ﬁeld and used as a static power source for 20 years, its power take-oﬀ running a farmer’s wood saw. Twenty years of sitting out in the rain and the frost, overgrown by nettles and inhabited by wildlife, until eventually the engine seized and its working life was over. In 1988 it was sold to a collector of early Land Rovers who – ironically – lived just three miles from the Land Rover factory, back in Solihull. This enthusiast knew the car was special, possibly a prototype, but didn’t realise its full signiﬁcance. So the car stayed in his garden, awaiting a restoration that never came, until 2016, when he decided to clear it out. By then the car was up to its axles in mud, and it had to be jacked up before it could be hauled out of its shallow grave. Through a network of tip-oﬀs, news of the car reached Land Rover Classic, who bought it for an undisclosed sum. It’s worth noting Mike Bishop already knew the signiﬁcance of the car before it was found: ‘From documentation and photographs, we knew the only cars that were built and available to go to Amsterdam were chassis 01 to 08, and we
knew they were both left-hand drive, which means they were odd numbers [apart from Huey, right-hand-drive chassis were evens]. By a process of elimination, we knew the missing L07 was one of them. ‘Other early cars had been traced though old MoT records, that kind of thing,’ explains Bishop. ‘But 7 was one of the few pre-prod cars we didn’t have the registration for, so we had no knowledge of what had happened to it. There were all kinds of rumours – one was that a family had gone to the show in 1948 and bought a Land Rover directly oﬀ the stand, and they’d gone on an expedition from Amsterdam to South Africa. They’d gone to look after a lighthouse, and number 7 was supposedly still there, at this lighthouse. It always seemed far fetched, but that’s the way with Land Rovers and stories. ‘So we had nothing, absolutely nothing, about 07,’ he goes on. ‘For it then to just appear, out of the woodwork, was fantastic. I was at home late one evening and a friend of mine who’s a Land Rover historian rang up and said, “You’re never going to believe this, I’ve got someone who’s got chassis number 7!” He sent me a photo and as soon as I saw it, I knew; I could tell by the pre-production features. I went to have a look at it about a week later, and conﬁrmed it – we’d found the missing number 7.’ Hand on heart, I cannot claim that an audience with the 1948 Amsterdam show Land Rover is like being in the presence of a Mille Miglia-winning Maserati or an ex-Senna
IT WAS PARKED IN A FIELD AND USED AS A STATIC POWER SOURCE FOR 20 YEARS
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Land Rover at 70
The modest 50bhp 1.6 petrol four is original, though itâ€™s seized after years of punishing work
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DIRT PROWESS IS LAND ROVER’S CORNERSTONE– AND UK BOSS HICKS KNOWS IT Company sales may boom. There have never been so many people keen to buy posh Range Rovers, often for upwards of £100k – the 70-year-old name plate has never had it so good. And yet Land Rover without a true adventure/ utility model is a house without foundations. Currently, there is not a single new Land Rover or Range Rover that looks ready to conquer the Sahara or the Serengeti. Although in reality, to prove that looks can deceive, both the Range Rover and Discovery could tackle such terrain. ‘The lack of a new Defender hasn’t hurt our image,’ insists Hicks, MD of Jaguar Land Rover UK. ‘That’s because we’ve said all along that it’ll be back.’ The new Defender, due 2019, will likely be Land Rover’s best of-roader. ‘It’s an essential part of who we are,’ notes Hicks. Although there are some who wonder why Land Rover persists with class-leading ofroad ability when most customers rarely venture from tarmac, Hicks insists all-terrain prowess will always define the brand. ‘People like having the technology. Even if you don’t use it, it’s good to know it’s there.’
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THE CHASSIS IS AMAZINGLY SOLID GIVEN IT SPENT FOUR DECADES PLANTED IN THE GROUND LIKE A CARROT
Land Rover at 70
McLaren. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were looking at scrap. But if I could get poetic for a moment (cue rousing music) there’s something beautiful in the scars and scrapes, a nobility in its ﬂaking paint and sagging suspension, the hallmarks of a life lived to the full. It’s called patina and it’s worth a fortune. The paint is like some kind of Jackson Pollock, a random mosaic of three distinct colours, with an alloy base-layer beneath. ‘The light green is the original paint from the Amsterdam show,’ explains Susan Tonks. ‘It was then painted dark green, and at some point in its life it was painted blue.’ Most of the panels are original, and just by tapping you can hear the thicker alloy in the outer wings and the one, surviving pre-prod door. ‘The curves on the front wings are slightly diﬀerent too – they were obviously trying things out on the pre-production cars.’ The rear tub is also prototype, though the rear lights are later additions; the tailgate is pre-production with a lot more reinforcement than the ﬁnal spec. The bonnet, windscreen and axles are all original. The engine is seized, but it too is original, stamped number 6. The brakes were an experimental Lockheed system, later converted to production-spec Girling. The plan is to re-make the Lockheed system from scratch using archived drawings. Amazingly, the steering wheel is original too, its Bakelite proudly polished up by the Classic team. How on earth did that brittle plastic survive 70 years of neglect and hardship? There are so
many details that make you shake your head in wonder. ‘It’s undoubtedly the most original survivor of all the pre-production cars,’ says Tonks. Most amazing of all, though, is the condition of the steel chassis. Hand-made back in 1948, it was galvanised, unlike the later production cars that were painted (galvanising was dropped for mass production because of the ﬁnishing required, drilling the zinc out of all the blocked-up bolt holes). Climbing under the car for a closer look, the chassis is amazingly solid given it spent the best part of four decades planted in the ground like a carrot: here and there you can still see the silvery galvanised ﬁnish; elsewhere there’s a white, salty looking crust, but no rust and no ragged holes. That can’t be said of the bulkhead, the vertical steel wall between the engine bay and the cockpit. This is the weak spot of all Series 1s, so much so they’re re-manufactured and galvanised nowadays, for restorers. This car wasn’t so lucky – again, it’s clearly handmade and crudely formed compared to later production cars, and it was painted. The weather has ravaged the steel, and there are big holes in the footwells. Of course, it can be ﬁxed – cut out the rust and weld in the new – but the bulkhead question goes straight to the heart of the challenge facing the Land Rover Classic team: how far should they go to restore this car? Should it be rebuilt at all? And if so, to which spec? Left-hand-drive Amsterdam? Or Welsh farmer sawmill? The bulkhead is key: there are lots of early Series 1s coming over from Australia these days with a lovely patina. But it looks really odd if the faded panels are left but the rusting bulkhead is restored to a glossy, greeny newness. Patina is as fragile as a snowﬂake – touch it and melts away. ‘It deﬁnitely won’t be a Reborn car,’ says Tonks, referring to Land Rover Classic’s factory-fresh Series 1 programme. ‘The idea is to preserve the patina – though to return it to a proper, functioning condition we do need to decide, what do we replace or repair? Do we repair then “age” the bulkhead, so it looks in keeping with the rest of the car?’ Whichever way the team decides to go, the plan is for the car to take centre stage in Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations this spring, and then it’ll be painstakingly dismantled, documented to death and rebuilt within 12 months (somehow). But if you think that’s the last one, don’t worry. The other car at the Amsterdam show in 1948, chassis L05 has also never been found – it might still be out there, sitting in a ﬁeld or a garden, up to its axles. Even more intriguingly, the whereabouts of the original centre-steer prototype has never been conclusively pinned down either. Was it torn apart, or turned back into a Jeep and sold, or did Maurice Wilks save it and park it up somewhere? I’ve decided to go to Anglesey this weekend, to start opening barn doors.
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THE PORSCHE 911 FRIGHTENER Lotus Evora, from £35k
THE PERFECT START Lotus Elise, from £25k
HITTING THE SWEET SPOT High performance, low running costs and a great incentive to avoid succumbing to middle-aged spread
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The planets of price, age and quality have aligned. Now’s the time to buy a modern used Lotus Words Ben Barry | Photography Alex Tapley
THE ELISE WITH A HOT V6 Lotus Exige, from £35k
E LOVE OUR Lotuses here at CAR – whether it’s steering, chassis, looks or that hard-to-quantify feelgood factor, all of it makes our hearts beat faster. But new prices do rule them out for many. The very cheapest, slowest Elise retails at £31,500 new, the Exige is almost £60k these days and the Evora keeps the throttle pinned past £73k. But there’s good news for secondhand buyers, because all of the current line-up (bar the very niche 3-Eleven) have been around since at least 2012, and as far back as 2009 in the case of the Evora. These lightweight sports cars are not bargain-basement territory, but for a budget of £25k-£35k you can get in an earlier example of the Elises, Exiges and Evoras that remain on sale today. Chances are you’ll
You’ll retain much if not all of your initial outlay because Lotuses depreciate so lightly retain much if not all of that outlay, because Lotuses depreciate lightly and typically hold their value well following the initial dip. Combine that with some reasonable running costs and the overall price of ownership can be refreshingly aﬀordable. To ﬁnd out more, we’ve jumped in an Elise, Exige S and Evora from Bell & Colvill – ‘the world’s longestserving Lotus dealership’ – and asked their experts to enlighten us…
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LOTUS ELISE S > On sale 2010 to present > Price then £27,450 (1.6) > Value now From £25k > Engine 1796cc 16v supercharged 4-cyl, 217bhp, 184b ft > Transmission 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Performance 4.2sec 0-62mph, 145mph, 37.7mpg, 145g/km CO2
Lotus Elise S3 2010-present THE ELISE HAS been core to Lotus since it saved the company in 1996. The thirdgeneration S3 arrived in 2010, essentially a very lightly facelifted S2 (produced from 2000) with even the chassis settings unaltered. Notable diﬀerences were more generic headlights and a new 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine. With 134bhp it’s quick enough if you’re willing to work it hard, but our test car gets the 1.8-litre supercharged unit. It stirs a far ruder 217bhp into the equation, with the shriek of supercharger whine injecting extra drama too. It’s the one we’d buy. Whatever the engine, the Elise zings with communication and handles with instinctive purity – thank unassisted steering, a lizard-low centre of gravity and
a modest 900kg for that. Perhaps most impressive is how the suspension delivers both a ﬁrm and focused ﬁzz without brittleness. It’s almost easier to go arse-ﬁrst into a postbox than it is to land in the Elise’s pared-back cabin, but it’s actually highly comfortable once you’re in, especially the seats, which cup you ﬁrmly and yet still feel comfortable after a two-hour stint. Rolling back the soft-top makes entry and exit easier too – as well as unlocking an extra dimension to the Elise’s sensory experience. The Elise has a large number of subvariants, including the Club Racer and Sprint, but ultimately it comes down to naturally aspirated or supercharged
NEED TO KNOW
> Upgraded interiors with
> Check the air-con blows
> A stereo and extra sound
alcantara, leather and aircon are sought after
cold, and that all three heater speeds work
> 2008-2011 S2 Elises
> Headlights can
got the 2ZZ Yamaha-built Toyota engines, where 2012-on cars get a 2ZR Toyota engine – more torque, but it’s less revvy
> Budget on around £400
insulation were initially standard, but they were removed to create the Sport around 2015. Most people optioned them back in, thankfully
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delaminate on Elise, Exige and Evora for an average annual service at Bell & Colvill
models. Today, most S3s tend to hover around the mid £20k to mid £30k mark – the car we’re driving is a 2013 model up for £30,995 at Bell & Colvill with 16k miles. We wouldn’t expect it to depreciate, unless you plan to use it much more regularly than most owners. And because the Elise is light, it’s easy on its (aﬀordable) tyres and brakes, and can turn in 45mpg as a 1.6 too. For such an irrational purchase, it’s unusually sensible. Other Lotuses might be more powerful, but it’s the Elise that distils the Chapman DNA to its purest essence. Nothing else here strikes a ﬁner balance for the road.
Air-con, radio, cupholder inspired by butterfly net… this is Elise luxury
Lotus Exige S 2012-present THE EXIGE S is essentially an Elise with the Evora’s V6 supercharged engine – the bonded aluminium tub at the centre of the car is shared with the Elise, but there’s new bodywork front and rear. You notice that the suspension is still resolutely ﬁrm and focused, but the damping seems even more sophisticated than the Elise’s, perhaps because the Exige S weighs over 250kg more. A faster steering rack adds extra energy to direction changes but demands even more of your attention – it’s not nervous, but every input elicits a response. Most of all, though, you notice the grumble of the single-mass ﬂywheel at idle, the didgeridoo exhaust and the visceral thump of that 345bhp V6. It’s a whole new level of performance versus
NEED TO KNOW > Both coupe and roadster models are available, but coupes are easily converted into roadsters
> The Race Pack included the brilliant Bosch Dynamic Performance Management with
the Elise, and comes closest to the intense buzz of a quick Caterham in a more sensible package. Priced from £52,900 new, Exige S coupes now typically hold ﬁrm at around the high £30k to mid £40k mark – the car we’re driving is up for grabs at Bell & Colvill for £44,995, with 5000 miles. But sales manager Jamie Matthews also highlights what great value the roadsters are. ‘The coupe has a 172mph top speed, but the roadster is limited to 142mph,’ he explains. ‘That puts oﬀ some people and makes the roadster really good value, with most in the mid-to-high £30k bracket.’ Coupes are also easily converted to roadster-spec – basically you’re just swapping the roof panel for a fabric
diferent modes to suit road or track driving
> Race-spec suspension was optional at £2k, so too Pirelli Trofeos, an additional £800 over standard P Zero Corsas. The Trofeos are no longer road-legal, however
> The Premium Pack added full leather and full
carpets. Premium Sport gave a choice of alcantara or leather and less sound insulation – the latter is a popular option
> Budget around £500 for an annual service at Bell & Colvill. Pirelli Corsa tyres are £210 for fronts, £282 per rear. Brake pads are £240 per axle
alternative – which brings the open-air experience without the limited top end, though, clearly, that speed was restricted for a reason. The Exige stepped up a notch in late 2015, with an exposed gear linkage and a better shift quality, less weight, and a range that stretched from Sport 350 to Sport 380 and 430 Cup, with those numbers reﬂecting the power outputs. The torque converter IPS auto was oﬀered too. These later Exiges start from at least £45k for a Sport 350, but even if £35k is your max, the Exige S roadster makes an excellent choice for Sundays and trackdays.
It could be an Elise, until you floor the throttle and discover what a supercharged V6 can do
LOTUS EXIGE S > On sale 2012 to present > Price then £52,900 > Value now From £35k > Engine 3456cc 24v supercharged V6, 345bhp, 295lb ft > Transmission 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Performance 3.8sec 0-60mph, 170mph, 28mpg, 236g/km CO2
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LOTUS EVORA S > On sale 2009-present > Price then £47,500 (non-S) > Value now £35k > Engine 3456cc 24v supercharged V6, 345bhp, 295lb ft > Transmission 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Performance 4.6sec 0-62mph, 172mph, 33.2mpg, 235g/km CO2
Lotus Evora 2009-present THE EVORA WAS the ﬁrst all-new Lotus in 15 years when it launched in 2009, and immediately romped to our Performance Car of the Year award. Two basic variants were available: one with a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre Toyota V6 making 276bhp, and a supercharged S version with 345bhp. Transversely mid-mounted, the engine location also provided space for optional +2 seats, which most owners speciﬁed. The majority of UK cars are manuals, but the IPS auto was oﬀered from 2011. Pricing starts from the high £20ks for an early naturally aspirated model, but the S we’re driving recently sold at Bell &
NEED TO KNOW > Premium Pack introduced full leather; stock cars are part leather
> Evoras can leak, so check for wet carpets
> If your car doesn’t have
Colvill for £35,995 with 32k miles. The Evora is a much more mature, more usable machine than Elise-based Lotuses. It’s easier to climb in and out of, more comfortable and reﬁned too, but it also takes Lotus out of its pared-back comfort zone – the more luxurious cabin introduces more complexity, after all, and some of that shows in the ﬁt and ﬁnish. The leather Recaros are world-class, though, both in terms of the hide and the manner in which they hold you. The drive, too, still shines. There’s less immediacy than the Elise/Exige due to extra weight and power steering, but there’s still benchmark delicacy to the
power-fold mirrors, just fit the button – the motors and wiring are there already
> Listen for knocks from the anti-roll bar bushes
> Reversing cameras were optional. Early cars had the
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poor Alpine Blackbird head unit but most are updated
> Budget on around £500 for an annual service at Bell & Colvill. The Evora came with 18in front (£162)/19in rear Pirelli tyres (£234), or optional 19s (£300) and 20s (£375)
chassis and steering, plentiful urge from our car’s supercharged V6, and an agility and precision to the way the Evora ﬂows down even a badly surfaced B-road. It’s also a far better daily driver than the Elise and Exige, explaining why Evoras generally wear higher mileages. Early ‘launch edition’ naturally aspirated manuals had accelerationblunting fourth and ﬁfth ratios, but a sports ’box with lower ratios was available soon after, and is ﬁtted to all S models. Key options included the Sport Pack (sharper throttle, increased rev limit from 6800 to 7200rpm, slackened stability control) and the Tech Pack (sat-nav, reversing sensors). Both are must-haves, but the Tech Pack can be retro-ﬁtted. The Evora has since been overhauled with a frankly bewildering array of 400, GT410, GT430 and GT430 Sport derivatives, but almost a decade on an early Evora is still a great drive and a compelling alternative to the default 911. With thanks to Bell & Colvill, bellandcolvill.co.uk
Evora interior is well-specced cheese next to the sparse chalk of Elise and Exige
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WARRANTY I SERVICE I MOT I REPAIRS I GAP I TYRES
Duncan McClure Fisher Founder and CEO
The smart way to run your car
A month in the life of 16 cars – starring the Merc All-Terrain, Peugeot 5008 and our three hot hatches
DRIVING ASSISTANCE PLUS PACKAGE £1695 This is Merc’s full suite of driving aids – the only major package you can add. It brings the ability to steer itself within lane markings so long as there are frequent ‘check-ins’ from the driver, and can perform motorway lane changes with just a flick of the indicator. A simpler package for those happy to change lanes for themselves costs £595.
METALLIC PAINT £695 Why is metallic paint still a cost option on a £60k car? Honestly…
4x4 minus all the flab THESE LONG-TERM tests require us to HELLO swap cars every few months, which is ﬁne MONTH 1 MERCEDES E350D until you have one which you’d happily ALL-TERRAIN keep for the rest of your life. My outgoing Volvo V90 was one such car. A premium diesel estate has long been on my list of cars I’d buy and drive forever if I gave up this job – although the diesel element of that plan may soon need to change. I was left wondering what to replace the Volvo with, knowing that my next car would probably ﬁt into my life slightly less well. Yes, I know, poor me. Brilliantly, I hit on the plan of replacing it with… another premium diesel estate car. But this time, with a twist. As part of its plan to occupy every market niche, MercedesBenz has produced this All-Terrain version of the E-Class estate. Volvo got there ﬁrst 21 years ago with the Cross
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Country variants of its big estates. The ﬁrst Audi Allroad arrived a couple of years later, but BMW has left the jackedup estate market alone, for now. Volvo reports that over its long lifetime the Cross Country has accounted for around a quarter of V70 or V90 sales. That percentage is far higher among private buyers, given the large numbers of standard models which go to ﬂeets. This E-Class All-Terrain’s spec suggests that Mercedes is aiming it at the same relatively cost-insensitive, discretionary private purchasers. The 350d V6 diesel is the only engine oﬀered, the kit list is impressive, but at £59k the list price is high to match. The All-Terrain gets the Premium Plus package from the standard E-Class estate, which brings keyless go, a panoramic sunroof, memory seats, intelligent LED lights and a Burmester sound system with its beautiful ﬁligree
Real of-road ability combined with traditional estate refinement? Sounds like a dream come true for Ben Oliver
PREMIUM PLUS PACKAGE It’s an option on other E-Class estates, but part of the All-Terrain deal: panoramic sunroof, memory seats, posh audio.
WINTER TYRES You see the car here on 19in wheels and winter tyres, but it’s about to switch to standard 20in wheels. Will it make a diference? We’ll see…
speakers. Underneath, there’s a nine-speed transmission and Merc’s 4Matic system, giving a 31/69 torque split in normal driving. Air springs and 20-inch rims together give a 29mm boost in ride height, and an oﬀ-road mode in the Dynamic Select system puﬀs it up another 20mm. My car is currently on 19s wearing Pirelli Sotto Zero winters. It hardly looks undertyred, but the standard wheels will go back on soon. First impressions? In Selenite Grey with hazelnut leather, I like the way it looks, but I’d like it more if Mercedes had resisted the predictable design shorthand for ‘this is our jacked-up estate’ and not compromised the standard E estate’s lovely lozenge lines with black plastic wheelarches and a slightly tacky grille and rear venturi treatment. Proper SUVs do without plastic wheelarches: I’m not sure why less capable vehicles need to look more butch. Inside, the E’s cabin still provokes a little ‘ooh’, even after the V90’s ﬁne eﬀort. If you order an All-Terrain now, yours
will feel even fancier, with a stitched leather dash top-roll in place of the plastic on mine. I appreciate that this is atypical, but I live at the end of a three-quarter-mile unmade, muddy, heavily potholed track. I use oﬀ-road mode at least twice every day. And when I reach the asphalt, a long, sweet and often empty stretch of B-road, I switch everything to Sport Plus, and even on winter tyres and with its extra ride height the All-Terrain LOGBOOK MERCEDES-BENZ does a very close impression of a E350D 4MATIC ALL-TERRAIN standard fast estate. It’s satisfying to > Price £58,880 > As tested £61,260 feel that you’re using the entire span > Engine 2987cc 24v turbodiesel V6, 254bhp @ 3400rpm, 457lb ft @ 1600rpm > Transmission of your car’s ability, and not paying 9-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance in money and weight and bulk and 6.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 179g/km emissions for oﬀ-road capability CO2 > Miles this month 759 > Total 3274 you’ll never use. I’m missing that > Our mpg 34.3 > Oficial mpg 41.5 > Fuel this month £131.07 > Extra costs None Volvo a little less already.
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As nature intended We forget all the ‘hatch’ stuff and spend a day focused on the ‘hot’ bit as the Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and Hyundai i30N revel in some of our favourite rural roads
Feedback through the brake pedal is uncannily good on the Type R
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It was here that Curtis stopped griping about how long it took to get to Wales
THERE COMES A moment – after ﬁve hours of motorway torture – when the Focus RS and I ﬁnally click. I’ve slogged up from London to escape the day-to-day grind where this fast Ford frustrates, to get away to North Wales, to the sort of roads on which we all originally fell for this car. Meeting me somewhere ahead are Curtis and the Civic Type R and James and his Hyundai i30N. And by the time I meet them in Snowdonia, my little epiphany has me wondering whether these two newcomers are also-rans to an ageing hot hatch that’s nearly out of production. First on a shortcut I’ve never taken before, and then on old favourite B-roads, the Focus RS is just so damn fast. So quick I accidentally jump it. Twice. You stop thinking about the jarring ride, the Recaro seats mounted closer to the roof than the ﬂoor, and the diabolical range. Instead you engage Sport mode and relish the way the exhaust spits and pops, marvel at how agile and alert it feels. The Focus RS just grips and goes (whereas I’ll later discover the other two will spin their front wheels in the wet). And with all the power and torque, this Ford really does ﬂy along even the wettest, roughest roads. By the time I arrive in Betws-y-Coed covered in a thick layer of winter grime, the brakes are stinking and the tank is nearly empty but I’m thinking there might not be a ﬁner hot hatch for that moment when you’re alone on your favourite road. Which is what we’re doing here today. Hot hatches are built to cover all the bases, but for 24 hours we’re forgetting about them having to do the school run or trips to the shops. We’re escaping the straitjacket of the everyday; instead, it’s three mates, on an old stomping ground, having fun with their cars. Let me point out the faults of the others before they have a chance to get stuck in to the Focus. The Type R channels the ’90s Impreza or Evo vibe, complete with embarrassing rear wing and bonnet intake. The rear wheels look lost inside the arches, as if design forgot to tell engineering to order some 5mm spacers. At speed there’s too much road noise, while the engine is inaudible. And initially all of the N elements feel tacked onto the i30: at parking speeds the clutch and steering are in ultra-light OAP mode, and it has an inordinately thick steering wheel – one of the less welcome things N division chief Albert Biermann brought with him from BMW’s M division. The wheel also has a woeful lack of adjustment. Move beyond the foibles, though, and both start to show some real brilliance – enough to trouble the Focus RS. The Type R has great seats and a superb gearbox, and the modulation through the brake pedal is fantastic. Nothing is quite so obviously standout on the i30N, and yet the overall package might even be better. The seats are good, the gearbox is good, the brakes are good, the engine makes the best noise here (at least inside the car), but overall it’s the togetherness, the way the i30N ﬂows down a road that impresses me most.
MONTH 7 FORD FOCUS RS
Everyone sits high in the Focus RS – lanky Pulman needs oxygen
YOU GROW attached to a car when you drive it every day and use it for countless MONTH 3 HONDA CIVIC trips to Ikea while moving house. But as the sat-nav ﬂashes up a four-hour journey TYPE R time to Betws-y-Coed, I realise this is the strongest test of our relationship yet. I know I’ve a whole day of far more spirited driving in prospect tomorrow, so the majority of today’s journey takes place in Comfort mode, with the car’s lane-keeping and adaptive-cruise toys on – and it’s relatively painless. For May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 131
The cheaper, less powerful Hyundai gives both the established stars a black eye
most of the four hours the Civic Type R and I happily bomb across England, podcast on, with only a mire of traﬃc near Birmingham interrupting things. Four hours gives you plenty of time to wonder why your colleagues are dragging you to Wales – but as I draw closer to the destination, the reason soon becomes obvious. As motorway gives way to B-road and then ever more intricate winding tarmac, it’s clear that this is exactly the sort of landscape the Type R was made for. But before that I need to stop for a curry, because I’ve been warned that the hotel we’re staying at won’t be serving food by the time I arrive. Main beams on, balti, garlic naan and rice in the footwell, podcast paused; it’s time for a quick shakedown. My threemile drive from the takeaway to the hotel is more enjoyable than it should be, and would probably disqualify me from working for Deliveroo. When the road ahead invites you to attack it, the Type R does so with such unfussed speed that it’s easy to forget just how fast you’re going – and just how composed it is. It’s only after I arrive and open my grease-covered takeway bag that I realise just how spirited the driving was. We ﬁnd the garlic naan the next day. When paired up against the i30N or the Focus RS, it becomes immediately obvious just how precise the Honda is. The Type R makes you feel like you’re cheating when you’re following the Ford or Hyundai, so clearly does it seem to have been made for these roads. The Hyundai is one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve driven, and it’s one of the most silly too, but where it weaves and bobs along B-roads, the Type R surgically slices its way through
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Civic has the smallest tank but by far the best fuel economy
them, with its subtle engine note and keen steering. The brakes are predictable and intuitive too, constantly goading you to brake later – and giving you ample feedback when you’re a little too ambitious. Unlike the Hyundai there’s almost no torque steer here – it’s been successfully engineered out – and there are no electronically enhanced parps or warbles either. It’s just about going as fast as possible with the equipment provided. As for the Focus RS, I never seem to gel with it in the same way I do the Hyundai or Honda. Whether it’s the odd driving position, or perhaps the heavier four-wheel drive, I’m not sure – but it just doesn’t seem to inspire the same level of conﬁdence as the Type R. What’s more, its ride is ﬁrmer than the skateboard-like i30N’s, and around 10 minutes into my time with the Ford I’m relieved this isn’t the car I’ll be driving home. From the outside at least, it’s also rather plain, although
LOGBOOK FORD FOCUS RS > Price £32,265 > As tested £35,390 > Engine 2261cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 345bhp @ 6000rpm, 347lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive > Performance 4.7sec 0-62mph, 165mph, 175g/km CO2 > Miles this month 728 > Total 6817 > Our mpg 24.2 > Official mpg 36.7 > Fuel this month £181.21 > Extra costs None Tacky overdose of red fades next to the Civic’s dynamic brilliance
some will prefer the subtle look. It’s clearly a technically impressive car, but of this trio it’s not the one I’d want to buy. While the i30N is a cheeky, classic hot hatch, I’m leaning towards the Civic Type R. The Honda wears its character on its sleeve, with outrageous angles, edges and curves all over its widened shell. It’s supercar drama on a hot-hatch body, but somehow it also has scope to be comfortable – and still have enough room for a TV stand and Billy bookcase. It’s the car I’d part with my money for, because it just does everything. CURTIS MOLDRICH
I TURN UP in the i30N expecting it have its tailgate handed to it by the two established MONTH 2 stars. After all, it’s more than £4k cheaper, HYUNDAI its power output starts with a 2 rather than i30N a 3, and it’s the ﬁrst proper go at this sort of thing from a company with no track record in driver’s cars. But it goes on to give both a black eye and very nearly win on points. The i30 feels right at home in the Welsh hills, with tireless brakes, a neutral handling balance, and serious straight-line speed. Both Ford and Honda are fast enough to make your eyes go wide like a Warner Bros cartoon character, but it says a lot for the Hyundai that it doesn’t feel slow by comparison. As Curtis says, the Type R could have been made for these roads. Well, it was made for the Nürburgring, but this bit of Wales is kind of the same thing. I loved it on its launch in Germany and fretted it might not feel as good back in the UK, but needn’t have worried. It feels spot-on from the moment you leave the car park, the steering pin-point precise, the gearchange even more so, and the brake pedal X-raying the road surface and transmitting the data straight to the sole of your
shoe. Considering there’s 316bhp coursing through its front wheels there’s barely any torque-steer, thanks partly to a dualaxis front axle with a separate hub-carrier. The less expensive i30N doesn’t have that, and suﬀers from more torque-steer as a result, but it’s not unmanageable. Its steering is very heavy, perhaps to reinforce the idea of ‘sportiness’, and isn’t all that feelsome. Likewise its ride is overly ﬁrm, even in the adaptive dampers’ softest setting. At least, I thought it was before I climbed into the Focus. I’d forgotten just how harsh it is, bumps making it pogo like a Sex Pistols front row circa 1977. I reach for the damper mode switch (positioned on the end of the indicator stalk) to soften them – before realising it’s already in its comﬁest setting. And the turning circle! I thought the i30 was bad but at one point the Focus needed reverse to get around an empty car park. I have fond memories of great drives in the RS, but today its overservo’d brakes, overbolstered seats, overbuilt dashboard and comedy ergonomics all marr the experience. Until, that is, we reach a favourite road, and I experience an epiphany similar to Ben’s. Having the rear axle in play gives its handling an extra dimension compared with the front-drivers. Here it’s impossible not to like the Focus. You get the impression its engineers are still giggling with glee at having got its incredible bitsa running gear past the accountants and into production. It’s a great drive, but I’m not sure I’d want to live with one all year round. Despite its wild looks, the Civic is actually the most practical. It has the biggest boot, the best ride quality and the least droning exhaust on the motorway. Let’s gloss over its unfathomable touchscreen. It’s my favourite to drive, with the best damping, the best-weighted controls and incredible point-to-point pace. It’s more a go-where-you-point-it guided-missile experience than the i30, but some drivers might prefer the Hyundai’s more mobile rear axle, just as they might also prefer its vastly better ergonomics and less outré styling. In the right circumstances the Focus is the most fun, while the Civic is usually the best to drive – and as we head home from Wales I’m more convinced than ever that the i30N is the best to live with.
HONDA CIVIC TYPE R GT > Price £32,995 > As tested £32,995 > Engine 1996cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 316bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph, 169mph, 176g/km CO2 > Miles this month 2317 > Total 4525 > Our mpg 32.1 > Official mpg 36.7 > Fuel this month £431.19 > Extra costs None
HYUNDAI i30N PERFORMANCE > Price £27,995 > As tested £28,550 > Engine 1998cc 16v 4-cyl turbo, 271bhp @ 6000rpm, 260lb ft @ 1500rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, e-LSD, front-wheel drive > Performance 6.1 sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 163g/km CO2 > Miles this month 1214 > Total 2465 > Our mpg 26 > Official mpg 39.8 > Fuel this month £266.06 > Extra costs None
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The car everyone likes Kids, wife, jurors – the XC60 gets everyone’s vote… once the audio’s sorted, anyway. By Anthony ffrench-Constant WHEN, IN AN earlier round of voting, MONTH 2 m’learned colleagues VOLVO XC60 of the UK Car of the Year jury took it upon themselves to award the Performance Car gong to the most muscular iteration of the Kia Stinger, I was tempted to see just how far my toys could actually be thrown from the automotive pram. Don’t get me wrong; the Stinger’s no stinker, but a better performance car than a McLaren 570S? Seriously? Happily, said jury has now redeemed itself by agreeing with me that the XC60 is a suﬃciently Jolly Good Thing to take this year’s top slot. Moreover (and wonders will never cease), the missus is – as a motoring TV presenter who shall remain nameless insists on putting it – in ‘agreeance’, summing it up with the same enthusiasm that the baddy in RoboCop demonstrated for the Cobra Assault Cannon: ‘I LIKE it’. Indeed, such is her overall enthusiasm that, to date, the missus’ only gripe concerns the keyfob, which has been dismissed as ‘An ugly custard cream... And the buttons are far too small.’ Happily, a quick lesson in the joys of keyless entry and start (I know, I know) have gently torpedoed the latter gripe, if not the former. The hooligans, meanwhile, have complained of not being able to fade the sound
Three hours later, unplug and free up the space for someone else… if you remember
Captain plug watch Obsessing about charging opportunities is a waste of time. By Colin Overland THE PHOTO YOU see here shows that happy MONTH 5 but rare sight: a plugin hybrid plugged VW GOLF in. I don’t think it’s GTE just me who finds the fuss of finding a vacant charger, and then leaving it plugged in for more than three hours in exchange for less than 30 miles of electric-only running, rarely worth the bother. If the efect of not plugging in vs plugging in was dramatic in terms of petrol consumption, it might become worth the bother. But it’s not. You end up getting something in the region of 37mpg, and 250 miles between £40-ish fills (with about 80 miles of careful petrolonly running still in the tank at that point), come what may. Yes, it would be possible (for some people) to be very disciplined and plug in at both ends of every journey, and to drive in whichever mode made the best use of the available petrol and electricity on any given journey. But, for me, part of the attraction of a hybrid (plug-in or otherwise) is that you don’t have to worry about this much. So I’ve made the mental shift to regarding any electricity as a bonus. It’s a petrol car. Sometimes it goes in all-electric mode. Sometimes – good times! – the electricity and the petrol work together. But usually it’s a petrol car. COLIN OVERLAND
> *Price £32,135 > *As tested £38,510 > Engine 1395cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 148bhp @ 2500rpm, 258lb ft @ 2500rpm, plus 101bhp e-motor (combined maximum 201bhp) > Transmission 6-speed auto, front-wheel drive > Performance 7.6sec 0-62mph, 138mph, 40g/km CO2 > Miles this month 295 > Total 7412 > Our mpg 35.7 > Oficial mpg 157 > Fuel this month £45.45 > Extra costs £3.50 (screenwash) *Plug-In Car Grant reduces prices by £2500
134 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
LOGBOOK VW GOLF GTE ADVANCE 1.4 TSI
Exteriors and dynamics are catching up fast with Volvo’s brilliant interiors
system output more strongly towards the aft accommodation. Turns out you can do this, but not using the permanently on-screen sound adjustment panel that pertains speciﬁcally to the delicious B&W stereo installation. Rather than straightforward bass, treble, balance and fade adjustment, the B&W controls are dedicated solely to oﬀering a range of enthrallingly diverse environments for your listening pleasure: studio, concert hall, jazz dive, Minack Theatre on Cornish cliﬀs, motorway underpass reeking of wee… Turns out Volvo’s own sound adjustment platform, which does subscribe to the more traditional tweakage techniques, is buried deep within some sub-menu that requires a fair degree of swiping and prodding to unearth. Mercifully, being entirely au fait with an iPhone, the missus has pronounced the infotainment screen a veritable piece of piss to live with.
LOGBOOK VOLVO XC60 D4 AWD INSCRIPTION PRO > Price £45,655 > As tested £49,535 > Engine 1969cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 187bhp @ 4250rpm, 295lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 8.4sec 0-62mph, 127mph, 136g/km CO2 > Miles this month 741 > Total 1608 > Our mpg 30.2 > Oficial mpg 54.3 > Fuel this month £67.45 > Extra costs None
COUNT T H E C O ST
Cost new £27,165 (including £1470 of options) Private sale price £20,055 Part-exchange price £18,425 Cost per mile 15.5p Cost per mile including depreciation 94.6p
Roof and justice The hardtop MX-5 may not be perfect, but it’s always fun to drive, which is pretty close. By Mark Walton IT’S BEEN A strange year in the Mazda MX-5 RF. On the one hand, I’ve loved driving it; on the other hand, I’ve spent my whole time working out how to improve it. It’s crazy – I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve put in, mentally converting it into a proper fastback GT: working out the cool, sloping rooﬂine; the McLaren 570GT-style side-opening rear hatch; the parcel deck behind the seats. It’s like I actually work for Mazda and there’s going to be some reward for all this graft. Instead, I have to remind myself that Mazda didn’t actually build a GT – it built this. Any car that causes such nagging thoughts is clearly ﬂawed, and I think the RF is. It’s heavier than the soft-top, more expensive, the interior is noisy when the top is up and blustery when it’s down. It’s not as pure or as open to the skies as the roadster, and it’s slower to 60mph (albeit by a hair’s breadth). All this, yet Mazda tells me the RF still outsold the roadster last year: 2911 hard-tops to 1787 soft-tops. So what do I know, eh? I reckon, though – and please, any RF owners reading this, tell me I’m wrong – I reckon most RF owners drive with the roof up virtually all the time. I know I did, over the last year – I probably had the targa top down about 10 times during the course of the year, and even then, only in the ﬁrst six months. After that, it stayed up – not because of the weather, but because the ﬂappinggusts-in-face experience just wasn’t endearing. However, it’s easy to pick holes in the RF, and equally easy to gloss over its many charms. There are so few small, light,
GOODBYE MONTH 11 MAZDA MX-5 RF
rear-drive cars out there, the Mazda is worthy of high praise just for that. I actually enjoyed driving it every time I got in it; I never tired of the accurate steering, or the nimble chassis. As I discovered when I swapped it for a Toyota GT86 for a week, there are certainly more benign sports cars out there – the MX-5 has a darty, pointy sharpness that does to your eyeballs what a horse does to its ears when a dog barks – you have to be EYES FORWARD when driving the RF at speed. It’s certainly engaging and… I’m trying to think, what’s the opposite of porridge? Whatever – the MX-5 is the opposite of porridge. So, there are some cars that come and go and frankly you almost forget you ever drove them. But the Mazda is a car with character, a car to remember, a car I’ve taken lots of photos of, pictures that will get printed and LOGBOOK MAZDA MX-5 RF stuck in my family photo album, with 2.0 SPORT NAV the caption ‘This is the car I drove > Price £25,695 > As tested £27,165 > Engine in 2017’. And that says something, 1998cc 4-cyl, 158bhp @ 6000rpm, 148lb ft @ 4600rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, doesn’t it? rear-wheel drive > Performance 7.4sec Still, if you ask my advice, I’ll always 0-62mph, 134mph, 161 g/km CO2 > Miles say ‘buy the roadster’. Then you can this month 1425 > Total 12,069 > Our mpg just enjoy it, without the nagging 35.2 > Official mpg 40.9 > Fuel this month £230 > Extra costs £195 (first service) doubts.
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Premium pricing means we’re expecting a lot from our high-spec seven-seater. By Alex Tapley YEP, THAT IS indeed how we take the car-to-car shots that often grace the pages of CAR. Crazy, you might think. My view: just don’t think about it… We’re harnessed in, so we’re a safe load and shouldn’t fall out. Why are you looking at a picture of me hanging out of the boot of a Peugeot 5008? After a previous stint on CAR designing pages, I’m now one of the magazine’s regular photographers – so regular, in fact, that CAR has asked me to run a long-term test car. I do a lot of miles in a lot of different places, often having to keep up with some pretty rapid cars. I need to carry a heap of gear – and hang out the back on occasion – not to mention the demands of a young family when I’m not at work. So one way or another this 5008 is going to get thoroughly tested. We’ve gone for the high-spec GT diesel. Ours is a 178bhp 2.0-litre four with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Some ﬁddling with Peugeot’s UK line-up means the GT-spec 5008 with that engine will soon have an eight-speed auto instead of our six-speeder. It’s a seven-seater, with a good-size boot even with the removable third row in place, but the on-the-road price of £36,215 still seems on the high side. But then you look at the long list of standard safety, comfort and in-car entertainment features and
HELLO MONTH 1 PEUGEOT 5008
Seven seats and a big boot means excellent versatility
136 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
LOGBOOK PEUGEOT 5008 GT BLUEHDi 180 > Price £36,215 > As tested £37,780 > Engine 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 178bhp @ 3750rpm, 170lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 6-speed auto, front-wheel drive > Performance 9.1sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 124g/ km CO2 > Miles this month 1113 > Total 2789 > Our mpg 36.4 > Official mpg 58.9 > Fuel this month £173.28 > Extra costs None
What do you mean, it doesn’t drive itself?
it starts to make sense. The GT comes with the panoramic glass roof, full leather (on all seven seats) and multi-point massage function (only on the driver’s seat, to the annoyance of my wife). We’ve also added a few extras. Choosing metallic Nimbus Grey paint adds £525, the Focal hi-ﬁ system adds £590 and the Visio Park 2 system (360° camera with Automated Parking Assistance) a further £450. That takes this car’s price to £37,780. That’s raised a few eyebrows, so we’ll be keenly assessing the car’s value for money over the next few months. Having read about Anthony ﬀrench-Constant’s time with the Peugeot 3008, documented over six rollercoaster months in these pages, it’ll be interesting to see if the 5008 is essentially a bigger version of the same mixed bag. I suspect not; initial observations are extremely positive. The 2.0-litre diesel provides enough power to make the seven-seater a genuinely fun drive; get it ﬂowing on a B-road and it’s a riot. The i-Cockpit is mostly good, in that the design is impressive and so’s the quality of the materials used. But let’s reserve judgment until we’ve clocked up a few thousand miles and seen how the ﬁt and ﬁnish cope. As I write this ﬁrst report the car is already back with Peugeot, having a faulty electric boot repaired. The silver lining to that cloud is that its temporary replacement is another 5008, a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol in entry-level Active spec, giving me the chance to compare my car to a version that costs £10,000 less. I’ll let you know how that works out.
Naughty and nice Lack of an AMG badge doesn’t have to mean an absence of performance. By Steve Moody YOU MAY THINK I’m a right old sell-out, MONTH 6 but I’ve become very MERCEDEScomfortable with the AMG C43 C43: homely Mercedes pipe, slippers and cocoa rather than wicked AMG whips, chains and tequila. Our C43 comes equipped with Distronic Plus active cruise control and Steering Assist, which combine to let you set it up to follow other cars and lock itself into a lane. On motorways, especially when they’re busy and slow moving, I’ve taken to switching all this stuﬀ on and letting the car do as much of the work as possible. It’s hardly ever scared me, although it does leave it later than I would to apply the brakes. But on a long trip, giving a few per cent of my limited brain power a rest seems to have an exponential eﬀect in how refreshed I feel at the end of the journey. As a trade-oﬀ, I have taken to switching everything to full loony Sport Plus level every time nice winding A-roads are clear: it makes all sorts of explosions, bangs and screams as you speed up and slow down. I took some stick from Twitterers about this not being a proper AMG – trust me, in psycho mode with the nursemaiding switched oﬀ, the C43 is wild. STEVE MOODY @Sjmoody37
Jake’s SZ5 in blue and Becca’s last-gen basic Swift in white: both good, but one’s better
Survival of the swiftest
Driving our Swift back-to-back with the old generation highlights the pace of evolution. By Jake Groves
We’ll let you know when we discover that 360bhp isn’t enough. Don’t hold your breath
LOGBOOK MERCEDES-AMG C43 COUPE > Price £47,650 > As tested £56,870 > Engine 2996cc 24v twin-turbo V6, 360bhp @ 5500rpm, 378lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission 9-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 4.7sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 183g/km CO2 > Miles this month 788 > Total 4287 > Our mpg 28.9 > Official mpg 35.3 > Fuel this month £148.23 > Extra costs None
I’VE HEARD A lot from various colleagues MONTH 8 about how my Swift SUZUKI is in the same spirit as SWIFT previous Swifts, but I wanted to ﬁnd out for myself just how the little supermini has evolved. Luckily, our designer Rebecca Wilshere owns a previous-generation entry-level Swift. She’s driven mine plenty already, so I just had to have a go in hers so we could compare notes. The biggest diﬀerence is pace. Without being too rude, Becca’s Swift is achingly slow; the addition of a turbo and light hybrid assistance in mine makes it feel like a McLaren when pitted against the naturally aspirated 1.2. There’s a huge lump of shove towards the top end in Lil’ Swifty accompanied by that weird-but-lovable three-cylinder growl – neither of which you get to enjoy in its predecessor. The safety and convenience tech has leapt on, too. It’s a little unfair to compare the two cars here – mine is a top-end SZ5 while Rebecca’s is a basic SZ2 – but it does highlight how far Suzuki has come in terms of what it can oﬀer buyers. Adaptive cruise control, a parking camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay among other luxuries are ﬁtted to my car. They’re all slightly decadent features for a budget supermini, but they’re nice to have all the same, and the total price is still keen. It’s the dynamics that bring up the biggest debate, though. The eager handling
traits of my car – good grip, decent brakes and right-side-of-sporty ride – always make me smile. But Becca’s Swift has a much sweeter gearchange action, shorter pedal strokes and weightier steering, which makes throwing it around a corner that little bit more fun. Much to Becca’s dismay, I even managed to get a bit of liftoﬀ oversteer around a roundabout. Smush the two sets of handling traits together and I’m completely sold. The grip, brakes and ride of my car combined with the superior controls of the earlier model would let you make the best of the willing engine. Let’s hope the new Swift Sport can make that blend a reality – I’m really looking forward to it.
LOGBOOK SUZUKI SWIFT SZ5 1.0 SHVS BOOSTERJET > Price £14,499 > As tested £14,984 > Engine 998cc 12v turbo 3-cyl, 108bhp @ 5500rpm, 125lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 10.6sec 0-62mph, 121mph, 97g/km CO2 > Miles this month 549 > Total 9731 > Our mpg 43.6 > Official mpg 65.7 > Fuel this month £67.90 > Extra costs None
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It only happens when it rains Especially at the start of a long trip. Yep, a puncture – and there’s no spare wheel in sight. By Chris Chilton AN APOLOGY. Last month I mistakenly referred to 20in rims when whinging about the otherwise excellent Skoda’s harsh ride. Had I correctly remembered they were actually only 19s, I’d have given it a much bigger kicking. The only thing I’m kicking right now, though, is myself for not ticking the £105 space-saver option. It’s Saturday morning, ﬁrst day of the school holidays. A seven-hour drive to Granny’s beckons. The last thing we need is ﬁve stationary hours before
MONTH 3 SKODA OCTAVIA vRS
we’ve even set oﬀ. After ditching the dog at the kennel there’s an ominous thunk as we hit one of Devon’s million covert potholes. I jump out to conﬁrm the worst: the oﬀ-side front tyre is pancaked. Predictably, it’s tipping it down. I ﬂip the boot carpet. No spare. No getme-home skinny space saver, either. Just a can of foam I can’t use because foam can’t ﬁx split sidewalls. AA man Paul arrives 80 minutes later, admits this happens all the time with modern low-proﬁle rubber, jacks up the vRS and throws his yellow AA space saver on. Klang! It won’t ﬁt over the
245 vRS-speciﬁc bigger brakes. Me and two kids is one body too many to ﬁt in his van, so he can’t tow us either. So we wait while he disappears to a tyre retailer in Plymouth to get our wheel wrapped in new Pirelli P Zero. Thank God for Netﬂix’s phone app and the Skoda’s comfy seats. The ﬁve-hour ﬁasco meant the day was a total loss instead of the 10-minute inconvenience it would have been 20 years ago, when full-size wheels were still the norm.
LOGBOOK SKODA OCTAVIA vRS 245 > Price £29,930 > As tested £36,850 > Engine 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 242bhp @ 5000rpm, 273lb ft @ 1600rpm > Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto, front-wheel drive > Performance 6.5sec 0-62mph, 156mph, 146g/km CO2 > Miles this month 2127 > Total 7129 > Our mpg 29.5mpg > Oficial mpg 44.1mpg > Fuel this month £416.64 > Extra costs £150 (Pirelli P Zero)
AA man Paul’s van has its charms, but it’s no one’s idea of a dream holiday destination
Having a ball in the curves
Handling is well sorted, but ride isn’t perfect
The Jag estate can turn a commute into a pleasure, not a chore. By Phil McNamara MY COMMUTE IS like watching Blade Runner 2049: engrossing but with only MONTH 2 sporadic bursts of action. (Assuming you JAGUAR XF SPORTBRAKE overlook the visual diﬀerences between a futuristic Los Angeles and the Bedfordshire A1.) Its highlight is that unlikely chicane on the Black Cat roundabout’s northbound approach, a window into the set-up of every car. First comes a sweeping left-hander where the body rolls gently outward as the tyres grip nonchalantly, telegraphing that this chassis could swoop through here far faster than the 60 limit permits. Then a nip of the brakes to trim the speed, a turn of the lovely linear steering, and the nose locks into the tighter right turn: not a trace of understeer, even if you’re quickly back on the power because the way ahead is clear.
138 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
Dynamically, the big Jag is in great shape but it’s not perfect. The Ingenium diesel, though smoother and with less turbo whistle than our 2015 XE suﬀered, makes a bothersome groan and transmits vibrations under measured throttle load, until a 20-minute warm-up passes. I know fourpot diesels can’t sound like NASCARs, but this one’s frequency is shrill on the ears. There’s a two-tone quality to the ride too. The suspension’s primary gait is loping and lovely. But the onset of high-frequency undulations can cause choppy body movements. It’s not that the XF can’t do cruising: tyre and wind noise are pretty well suppressed. But it’s at its best in action hero mode.
LOGBOOK JAGUAR XF SPORTBRAKE 2.0 PRESTIGE > Price £37,160 > As tested £49,615 > Engine 1999cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 178bhp @ 4000rpm, 317lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive > Performance 8.8sec 0-62mph, 138mph, 120g/km CO2 > Miles this month 2007 > Total 2944 > Our mpg 39.0 > Oficial mpg 61.4 > Fuel this month £283.72 > Extra costs None
THE REST OF THE FLEET
Tesla Model S
MONTH 3 By Ben Miller
MONTH 3 By Tim Pollard
WHEN THE Beast’s snows came the RS5 proved a handy tool, if nothing like the oversteering frenzy of revs and flying ice I had in mind. Early March’s freeze hit Lincolnshire hard and without the RS5 at our disposal the last issue would have missed its print slot. In the Audi I dutifully scurried about picking up members of the team otherwise unable to get to work. But on summer treads progress was slow, alive with slides and prone to pronounced understeer whenever I dared use the throttle midcorner. But the Audi didn’t get stuck and if you ask the poor souls who spent the night marooned high on the M62, that’s the main thing. @benmillerwords
WHAT’S TESLA build quality really like? Our approved-used 2016 Model S wears its 18,000 miles lightly. But to get the bigger picture we tracked down one of the UK’s highest-mileage examples. The red car above belongs to Chargemaster, the UK’s largest EV charging specialist. The P85’s odometer had just passed 100,000 miles and I was expecting it to feel world-weary. Yet electric cars are mechanically simple – and aside from worn leather upholstery (a problem shared with our 85D) it felt robust. All the major controls operated smoothly, it rode comfortably and the structure felt stif. Only a light grumble from the rear e-motor under part-throttle gave the game away. EV performance has barely dipped; Chargemaster predicts the battery should outlive the car.
LOGBOOK AUDI RS5 LOGBOOK TESLA MODEL S 85D
> Price £63,575 > As tested £80,015 > Engine 2894cc 24v twin-turbo V6, 444bhp @ 5700rpm, 443lb ft @ 1900rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 3.9sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 197g/km CO2 > Miles this month 1342 > Total 2932 > Our mpg 22.6mpg > Official mpg 32.5mpg > Fuel this month £384.40 > Extra costs None
> Price £57,510 (approved used model) > Engine 386kW electric motors (518bhp, 485lb ft) > Transmission Single-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Performance 5.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 0g/km CO2 > Miles this month 877 > Total 18,425 > Energy consumption 412Wh/mile > Fuel this month £48.06 > Extra costs None
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
MONTH 8 By Phil McNamara
MONTH 4 By Ben Barry
AFTER SEVEN months and nearly 14,000 miles, it’s time for new Giulia Quadrifoglio boots. The rear rubber has worn incredibly evenly but is too smooth for comfort, while the fronts are down to the warning mark. Blackcircles.com doesn’t have the approved Pirelli P Zero Corsas in stock, so I phone Glyn Hopkin Alfa which carried out the 9000-mile service. The 245/35 fronts cost £452 a corner, while the broader 285/30 rears are £538 each. That’s £1980 all in, but dry grip is back to Loctite levels of adhesion. @CARPhilMc
THE 440I’S emergency-braking system played up twice in one day. First, triggered by queuing traffic in the neighbouring lane, the car beeped and briefly grabbed the brakes. The second was worse. In slow traffic on a slip road, traffic suddenly stopped. The 440i did a full – and arguably unnecessary – emergency stop, sucking the brake pedal from under my foot. The following 6-series almost hit the armco to avoid me. Did it save me from a prang? Possibly. Did it almost cause one? Definitely. Despite this, I still feel uneasy switching the system of. @IamBenBarry
LOGBOOK ALFA ROMEO GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO
LOGBOOK BMW 440I GRAN COUPE
> Price £61,595 > As tested £72,550 > Engine 2891cc 24v turbo V6, 503bhp @ 6500rpm, 442lb ft @ 2500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive > Performance 3.9sec 0-62mph, 191mph, 189g/km CO2 > Miles this month 1045 > Total 14,343 > Our mpg 24.4 > Official mpg 34.4 > Fuel this month £236.48 > Extra costs £1980 (tyres)
> Price £45,490 > As tested £57,605 > Engine 2998cc 24v turbo 6-cyl, 322bhp @ 5500rpm, 332lb ft @ 1380rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive > Performance 5.1sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 41.5mpg, 159g/km CO2 > Miles this month 1742 > Total 7373 > Our mpg 28.5 > Official mpg 41.5 > Fuel this month £344.02 > Extra costs None
May 2018 | SUBSC RIB E TO CAR & SAVE UP TO 62 %! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR 139
THE ULTIMATE IN PERFORMANCE UPGRADES AT DMS AUTOMOTIVE WE’VE BEEN UNLEASHING AUTOMOTIVE PERFORMANCE FOR OVER 19 YEARS
DMS CLS63 AMG (EVO AUGUST ‘14) “ENGINE UPGRADE ADDS HUGE PERFORMANCE AND REAL CHARACTER” DMS 1M (EVO MARCH 12) “THERE’S A REAL RIP TO THE WAY THE REVS PILE ON ABOVE 4000RPM” DMS SL65 BLACK SERIES (EVO OCTOBER ‘10) “IT FEELS LIKE THE LOVE CHILD OF AN SL65 AND A PORSCHE GT2” DMS 135I (BMW CAR MAY ‘09) “THE STANDARD CAR IS GREAT BUT DMS HAVE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL” DMS 997 TURBO 3.6 (EVO SEPTEMBER ‘08) “IT’S EPIC, HILARIOUS AND ADDICTIVE IN EVERY GEAR, YET DOCILE WHEN CRUISING” DMS 997 TURBO 3.8 PDK (EVO JUNE ‘11) “DELIVERY IS ALMOST UNCOMFORTABLY FORCEFUL”
BELOW IS A SMALL SELECTION OF OUR MORE POPULAR MODELS TO UPGRADE. WE ARE ABLE TO UNLEASH PERFORMANCE FROM SMALL FOUR CYCLINDER DIESEL ENGINES UP TO V12 SUPERCARS.
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Totally unique guide to EVERY car on sale in the UK, with a punchy view on all of them – yours included
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly ABARTH
NEW IN THIS MONTH
VANTAGE V8/GT8 ★★★★★
> Pricey pocket rockets with divine details, dodgy dynamics and a choice of 1.4-litre turbocharged engines in various stages of steroidal over-compensation > VERDICT Like a small yappy dog: noisy, excitable and likely to give you a headache
Mercedes CLS ‘Great interior and loads of tech, although it can’t match the original for visual drama’
124 SPIDER ★★★★★ > Tuning division’s take on Fiat’s take on the Mazda MX-5, with tweaked brakes, engine, steering and suspension > VERDICT A delight to drive, but the rational decision is to go for a better-value Mazda
ALFA ROMEO MITO ★★★★★ > Decent engines but generally rubbish to drive, Alfa’s soggy-handling, hard-riding premium mini is crucified by the real thing and Audi’s A1 > VERDICT At least it’s got its looks. No, wait. It’s an ugly Alfa. It’s got nothing
Ferrari Portofino ‘Sweeter, sharper and more practical – it’s measurably better than the California in every way’
> Ageing entry-level Aston has ace steering, but make sure you go manual: plodding semi-auto is as dynamic as a Ron Dennis interview > VERDICT ‘Monica Bellucci’ on the desirability/ age scale; madcap GT8 tactile but not as fast as it looks
VANTAGE V12/GT12 ★★★★★ > Cramming a huge V12 into the V8-sized engine bay was apparently the easy bit; it took years for Aston to add a manual gearbox. Worth the wait > VERDICT Chassis finally has the stick shift it deserves. Buy it no other way
DB11 ★★★★★ > First genuinely new Martin in a decade gets slick aero slinkiness, belting V12 turbocharged charmer and, crucially, Merc help with the wiring > VERDICT Finally the right blend of much needed new stuf and classic Aston charm results in a cut-above GT
VANQUISH S ★★★★★
> Not quite funeral parlour dressing but lipstick and sorted underpinnings come too near the end of the Vanquish. DB11 is both fresher and cheaper. Oops > VERDICT Instant respect, even though you’ve bought the wrong Aston
Citroën C4 Cactus ‘A proper Citroën, with all the pros and cons that involves’
> Looked like a credible Golf rival for a while but now the game has moved on. Keen prices, but several rivals are roomier, classier and more fun to drive > VERDICT Miles better than a Mito. Miles better than a 4C, even. But, unfortunately, miles behind a Golf
RAPIDE ★★★★★ > Take that, Panamera! Aston shows Porsche how to make a supercar/saloon cocktail. Forget limo pretensions, though: it’s a four-door 2+2 > VERDICT Pretty, but interior more dated than a New York socialite and as hard on your wallet
4C/4C SPIDER ★★★★★ > Sexy carbon two-seater over-promises and under-delivers on a double-your-dong-length web-scam scale. Spider a step in right direction > VERDICT Shoots for the moon, hits itself in the foot. Lotus Elise more fun, Porsche Cayman a better bet
> Good grief – an Alfa Romeo we can finally recommend that you buy. Auto-only 3-series rival has sharp steering, sultry looks, great driving position. Bellissimo! > VERDICT Note to dealers: don’t cock it up
> 3-series derivatives with twin-turbo petrol and diesel stonk and smooth auto ’boxes mated to a quality chassis, but watch for some questionable OAP-spec interior finishes > VERDICT Try an xDrive D3 Touring – it’s what the M3 wants to be when it grows up
> BMW doesn’t make an M7, but Alpina does. Twin-blown petrol V8 delivers ‘bahn-busting performance that’s best enjoyed in Germany > VERDICT Niche Merc S63 AMG alternative hamstrung by the ugliness of the raw materials
STELVIO ★★★★★ > Either we’ve collectively entered another dimension or Alfa has just built two excellent cars in a row. Now we just need everyone to start buying them again > VERDICT Worth the risk at least once in your life
GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO ★★★★★ > Like a regular Giulia doped up by Lance Armstrong, this 191mph, 503bhp rocket is a quadruple shot of espresso for Alfa’s long lamented soul. At last > VERDICT The closest you can currently get to a four-door Ferrari. Really. That good
D4/B4 ★★★★★ > Same blend of fast and frugal as above but slotted into slinkier 4-series shell. ZF auto not as snappy as M4’s twin-clutch, but much smoother > VERDICT 53mpg and 62mph in 4.6sec? And you’re alright with this, BMW?
D5/B5 ★★★★★ > Twin-turbo B5 petrol V8’s 590lb ft could de-forest the Amazon while planet-loving D5 doesn’t let meagre 155g/km prevent 174mph max > VERDICT You can’t have a real M5 Touring, but this comes close
The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs
ALPINE ALPINE A110 ★★★★★ > Desirable, cleverly packaged and dynamics to die for. A bit pricey and the interior lacks wow but the Cayman should be worried > VERDICT Reborn Alpine has smashed it out of the park
> X3 35d-based high-rise hot-rod delivers 350bhp, 516lb ft, and the horizon through your windscreen. Spoiled by a rock-hard ride > VERDICT Another niche BMW that Munich leaves to Alpina. Porsche Macan is better
A1 HATCH/SPORTBACK ★★★★★ > Posh Polo does it all, from 1.0 miser to S1 micro rocket. Not cheap, even before you’ve splurged on options; £30k is a mouse click away > VERDICT Classy Mini rival that doesn’t turn into Quasimodo when you tick the 5dr option
ARIEL ATOM ★★★★★
A3 HATCH/S’BACK/SALOON ★★★★★
> Only the Pope’s lips get more up close and personal with the tarmac than an Atom driver, but there’s zero protection when the heavens open > VERDICT Spectacular toy. Great on track, barmy on road. Chassis doubles as a clothes airer, which is just as well…
> Midlife update adds exterior angles, three-pot engine and optional digi-dash. Still king of quality in this sector, but adrenalin isn’t among the standard kit > VERDICT Brilliant hatch and not much financial gulf to a Golf. Try sporty S-line on supple SE chassis
> Not content with terrifying on tarmac, Ariel now ofers the of-road Nomad. Gains a roll-over structure but, like the Atom, still no doors > VERDICT Don’t forget to put the hot water on – you’ll be needing a long, hot bath when you get home
> Premium sun-grabber without macho sportscar posturing. A bit tight in the back, but pretty tight in the bends too. Try a 1.8 TFSI Sport > VERDICT Worth the £2k premium over Golf
A3 CABRIOLET ★★★★★
May 2018 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 141
AUDI > FIAT RS3 ★★★★★ > The superhatch/saloon for those lacking in imagination and/or driving talent, RS3 struts its stuf best in a straight line. But 4.1 to 62mph is well weapon > VERDICT Only feel a little bit ashamed for wanting one
A4 SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD ★★★★★ > Captain Obvious in every way: lighter, smarter, better to drive than the last one – and only microscopically diferent to look at > VERDICT As you were, except inside, where tech obsession ofs elegance. Rivals remaining calm
RS4 ★★★★★ > Estate-only hot A4 ditches free-revving V8 for RS5’s twin-turbo V6. Covers ground with impressive pace and ease and just a tiny bit of proper driver involvement > VERDICT An RS5 in a parka and Timberland boots
A5 SPORTBACK ★★★★★ > More tech and even better quality doesn’t compensate for a lack of personality. Better looking, then so is Dorking after eight pints. You could buy worse but you’ll definitely get bored > VERDICT It’s better to live in than to drive
A5 COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Deceptive bunny boiler – looks normal until you realise it’s killed a TT and is wearing its face. Cue B-road mayhem. Not really > VERDICT Even more of an A4 in a frock than the last one, but still better to drive
RS5 ★★★★★ > Like a bouncer in a tailored suit, the hot A5’s power bulges through the creases in its bodywork. Twin-turbo V6 has full-bodied soundtrack and quattro provides grip in spades > VERDICT A composed four-seat express that has power to spare, but it’s not the most involving sports car
A6 SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD ★★★★★ > Demure big Audi an unsung hero, refined and cheap to run. Allroad an SUV for agoraphobics; twin-blown 309bhp BiTDi a proper mischief maker > VERDICT Base models short on wow, but a solid alternative to betterhandling Jag XF
RS6 ★★★★★ > For wealthy mentalists who think the S6’s 444bhp isn’t enough, RS6 delivers 25% more and gives the R8 V10 a hard time at the lights > VERDICT Beautifully finished all-weather family wagon that scares supercars silly
The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs both elicit same incredulous gasp > VERDICT Who needs this stuf? Short people in a rush? Better than a GLA45 AMG
Q5 ★★★★★ > A4-MLB2 in Barbour, Q5 ups the comfort, tech, looks similar to the old one… textbook Audi v2.0 in other words, but still something you’d want on your drive > VERDICT Expect to be swearing at one soon
TT COUPE/ROADSTER ★★★★★ > Brilliant coupe gets virtual dash and sharper handling. Try 2.0 TFSI. Boot big, but the rear seat’s for handbags only > VERDICT A proper real-world sports car – but the same money buys an early R8
TT RS ★★★★★ > At the outer limits of the TT’s dynamic envelope, a 17% power hike ekes 395bhp from five pots and targets wounded Cayman > VERDICT Audi springs the ofside trap, rounds the keeper, but hits the bar. So close!
BENTLEY BENTAYGA ★★★★★ > Cynics will say it’s a Q7 in expensive jewellery, but The World’s Fastest SUV matches 187mph top speed with superb chassis. We flambéed the brakes, btw > VERDICT Super-lux options include £110k Breitling clock. Or spend the same on a two-bed semi in Crewe
CONTINENTAL GT COUPE/ CABRIO ★★★★★
Holy smokes! An EV that looks like a normal car! Designed to appeal to middle-class folk who don’t like too much revolution all at once.
FLYING SPUR ★★★★★ > Current Spur is sharper to drive, sharper to look at, softer to sit in, and feels less like a stretched Conti. Fridge and iPads essential options for rear-seat recliners > VERDICT Think of it as a bargain Roller rather than a pricey A8
VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF CLAIMED RANGE: 186 MILES
> Huge, hand-built anachronism, with twinturbo V8 born in the ’50s, bufed to perfection, and a field of cows sacrificed > VERDICT Buy the Speed – any less outrageous display of consumption is just poor form
> Audi’s first tall-boy RS model. Hearing of the £45k price or unleashing that 335bhp five-pot
The electric car for the masses, not the IT crowd. Now with more miles per charge, plus more sober looks that extend its appeal beyond early adopters.
> The repmobile of millionaires. Reliable, well built and full of VW bits. Death Starsmooth W12 sounds more rebellious, while twin-turbo GT V8 S is joyful > VERDICT More of a sports car than hefty GT image suggests
NISSAN LEAF MK2 CLAIMED RANGE: 235 MILES
> Odd-looking small SUV is like a Countryman that’s lost a battle with a set-square. Nice enough to drive but still a nerd to the Mini’s prom queen > VERDICT The Q doesn’t stand for Quasimodo. Probably
> Dumpy dinky faux field forager is a yummy mummy fave. Forget 4wd and the diesels and go for light, zippy, 1.4 TFSI > VERDICT So much better to drive than it looks. Which it’d have to be, right? Unless it was an Alfa
No match for the Tesla’s range or its performance, but it’s also far cheaper, making this a tricky all-round package to beat if you’ve gone electric for cost reasons.
MONO ★★★★★ > Single-seat racer that took a wrong turn out of the pits. Pushrod suspension, Cosworth-tuned 2.3 Duratec and bath-like driving position > VERDICT Sublime track tool with a six-figure price that’d net you a Porsche Cayman GT4 and an Ariel Atom
RENAULT ZOE Z.E 40 CLAIMED RANGE: 250 MILES
BENTAYGA DIESEL ★★★★★
In fact the top six EVs with the biggest ranges are all Teslas, but this version of the luxury saloon achieves the loftiest claimed range figure among Elon’s cars.
> Friday-afternoon restyle meets Mondaymorning mechanics. New R8 ofers no V8 for now, but V10 is back with 533bhp or Lamboequalling 602bhp > VERDICT A Lamborghini Huracan for £50k less. Friendly but ballistic; playful chassis a joy
> They said it would never happen, but we knew it would. Still fast, still heavy, still thirsty but now you get to use the dirty pumps and only need to stop every other minute > VERDICT You might have to lie at the golf club or they’ll make you use the tradesmen’s entrance
> Audi exec car in ‘good to drive’ shock. Ingolstadt’s limousine packs enough tech to worry Skynet and avoids being wooden behind the wheel so convincingly you’d think it had a diferent badge on the front > VERDICT The new king in the exec tech arms race
TESLA MODEL S 100D CLAIMED RANGE: 393 MILES
R8 V10/V10 PLUS ★★★★★
A7 SPORTBACK ★★★★★
> Pricier, less practical RS6 with fastback rear, same guts, but gets clever rear dif as standard for oversteer here, there and everywhere, given room > VERDICT An Aston Rapide for the AAgoraphobic, but we’d have the naughtier RS6
The crucial figure that dictates whether a battery EV has any part to play in your life: its range between charges
Q7 ★★★★★ > German heavy metal turns techno as Mk2 Q7 sheds weight despite megaload of extra gizmos. High-performance SQ7 TDI mindbendingly adept > VERDICT They thought of everything but the charm
> Think a more stylish A8 rather than A6 spin-of. Capable of incredible wafting ability and grippier than Spider-Man covered in superglue. Petrol properly refined but diesel will make better sense in the UK > VERDICT Stylish GT with sensible engines, but not quite a sports saloon
NUMBER CRUNCHING ELECTRIC CARS WITH THE LONGEST RANGE
BMW 1-SERIES ★★★★★ > Only rear-driver in its class. Good for handling, not for cabin space. Facelift made it 3% less grotesque. 118i petrol a brilliant all-rounder > VERDICT Want a roomy, well-appointed hatch that’s great to drive and look at? Then buy an Audi A3
BMW i3 CLAIMED RANGE: 180 MILES Proof you can have your concept-car looks and decent dynamics in a production electric car. We loved running ours. The sportier i3s claims 174 miles.
JATO Dynamics is the world’s leading provider of automotive intelligence. Check them out at www.jato.com
142 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
M140i ★★★★★ > Bavaria’s hot hatch shuns four-pot power and front-drive for sonorous 335bhp 3.0-litre straight-six nuke and power to the rears. About as practical as shorts in a Canadian winter but you won’t care > VERDICT An absolute riot, just don’t have kids
2-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Boot-faced booted 1-series is a Mustang with a couple of A-levels. 218d is 8.9 to 62mph and 63mpg; 4-cyl 228i a cut-price, cut-down M235i > VERDICT Plainer than a margarine sarnie, but TT and RCZ can’t touch its space/pace combo
M240i ★★★★★ > Still hard to look at without squinting but sweet six-cylinder is even more grunty. The perfect 2-series if you pretend the M2 doesn’t exist > VERDICT Ignore the Golf R temptation and keep it rear
M2 ★★★★★ > 2-series coupe with M4 chassis and 365bhp turbo six – that’s some crowbar they’ve got at M division. All of the fun, all of the time > VERDICT Best M car since the E46 M3. Buy with manual ’box and stacks of tyres
2-SERIES ACTIVE TOURER ★★★★★ > BMW in front-drive MPV shock. Decent BEST IN drive, great interior. Need to cart OAP CLASS relatives around? Get the 7-seat Gran Tourer. Boom boom! > VERDICT The ultimate driving (to the park/crèche/post ofice) machine
i3 ★★★★★ > One of BMW’s best cars is home to its finest cabin. Electric version has short range; hybrid is noisy and has a fuel tank like a flea’s hip flask > VERDICT Carbon-chassis supermini, electric power and £30k price. Did we wake up in 2045?
3-SERIES SALOON/TOURING ★★★★★ > Celebrating four decades of overpriced, BEST IN undersized family cars. New modular CLASS engines make it better than ever, 320d (now sub-100g/km) still top choice > VERDICT Jag XE is treading heavily on its twinkling toes
4-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > 3-series in a shellsuit subtly better to drive, but same great engine choices and almost as practical. Shame about the carryover cabin > VERDICT Crushes Audi’s A5. Folding hardtop cabrio weighty but worth it
4-SERIES GRAN COUPE ★★★★★ > Pretty and practical, like a bikini car wash, hatchback GC costs £3k more than 3-series but has standard leather. Five belts but four seats > VERDICT Smart and useful, much more than a niche exercise. But why isn’t this the 3-series?
M3/M4 ★★★★★ > Competition Pack breathes some life into this staid M-car duo. £3k more = 444bhp and lightup seat badges. Classy > VERDICT Buy an M2
but can’t touch a Porsche 911 GTS for kicks > VERDICT M6 Gran Coupe almost makes M5 redundant, but at £100k/18mpg you’ll need two jobs
7-SERIES ★★★★★ > So high-tech BMW must have ram-raided BEST IN Google’s R&D bunker, confident the CLASS ‘carbon core’ construction would enable it to drive back out > VERDICT Gesture control, remote parking, active anti-roll – it’s got it all. But not quite the kudos of the Merc S-Class…
6-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Anonymous big GT best enjoyed with mighty 40d diesel power. Plenty of room for four – if you fire your passengers into the back via a wood-chipper > VERDICT Under-the-radar GT bruiser, short on sex, but not on appeal
6-SERIES GRAN COUPE ★★★★★ > Coupe? It’s a bloody saloon! And £20k more than a same-engined 5-series! BMW must chuckle at every sale. Still, rather nice > VERDICT Desirable enough to leave the 6-series coupe in the shade/showroom
488 GTB ★★★★★ > We were worried the turbos would ruin it, but while we’ll miss the 458’s 9000rpm wail, the 488 is more playful and even easier to drive. A stunning achievement > VERDICT Even the looks grow on you after a while. Rivals better dust of their gracious-loser faces
> Sportier, more stylish X1. Avoid M Sport X if you don’t want your SUV to look like Bond villain Jaws > VERDICT Great to drive and well-built inside
> Recently refreshed C4 has all the edginess of a Hush Puppy deck shoe. But it’s useful, anodyne transport, and sub-100g/km BlueHDi models are very economical > VERDICT Nobody would hate you – or notice you – if you bought one
> Studiously un-gangsta SUV shuns petrol power – and M Power – options for solid diesel-only blend of handling and handiness. Looking better post-facelift > VERDICT The BMW SUV we don’t hate ourselves for liking
X4 ★★★★★ > Blame the Evoque and people who bought the X6 for this carbuncle. Priced at £4k-£5k more than an X3, but better equipped and annoyingly better to drive > VERDICT Depressing X3 spin-of for grown-ups who still dream of being a footballer
X5 ★★★★★ > One-time Premier League fave looking more like League 1 beside better-driving and -looking rivals. Skinflint sDrive 25d is a rwd four-banger > VERDICT Still impresses with engines and quality, but thanks to Landie it’s lost its lustre
X6 ★★★★★ > All the impracticality of a coupe and all the wasteful high-centred mass of an SUV. Genius. If you must, X40d gives best price/punch/ parsimony > VERDICT Pointless pimp wagon. Buy a Porsche Cayenne or even an X5
Z4 ★★★★★ > Sports car for post-menopausal women in lemon trouser suits. Coupe-cabrio roof hits boot space when folded. Base 18i spec sub-Wartburg > VERDICT No match for Boxster. Stick with mid-spec trim
i8 ★★★★★ > Carbon-constructed 3-cyl hybrid supercar that’s fun for four, as fast as an M3 and does 40 real mpg. Minor demerit: looks like it’s crimping of a 911 > VERDICT Fascinating and fabulous futuristic sports car
CATERHAM SEVEN ★★★★★ > For bobble-hatted Terry-Thomas wannabes and the track-curious, the Seven comes in flavours from 160 3-cyl to mental road racers > VERDICT 80bhp 160 underpowered, 310bhp 620R lethal, 180bhp 360 model just right
C4 CACTUS ★★★★★ > Comfy, roomy, slightly sloppy family car, NEW ENTRY now Airbump free. Citroën claims it’s a hatch; it’s in fact just as much a crossover as the previous one > VERDICT A proper Citroën, with all the pros and cons that involves
C4 PICASSO ★★★★★ > Defiantly anti-cool family shifter. Touches like lower rear windows and sprogwatch mirror make mums go weak at the knees for its peaceand-bloody-quiet ambience > VERDICT Drives like a shed, but it makes Satan’s brood shut up
BERLINGO MULTISPACE ★★★★★ > Recently refreshed with SUV aspirations, but still essentially a wipe-clean tin lifeboat for cagoule-wearing Thermos-sipping birdwatchers. Rattles and drives like a van. Is a van > VERDICT Dogging cheap seats for aspiring Bill Oddies
812 SUPERFAST ★★★★★ > Proof that Ferrari can still make truly epic BEST IN GT cars that fly the naturally aspirated V12 CLASS flag with pride. The screaming 800hp engine is matched by laser-guided handling > VERDICT GT? Supercar? Either way, it’s astounding
LAFERRARI ★★★★★ > 1000bhp hybrid hypercar where the BEST IN electric bits exist to save tenths not CLASS icecaps. 499 to be built and all sold despite the £1.2m asking price > VERDICT The greatest single supercar of all time – except maybe the FXX K track version
GTC4 LUSSO ★★★★★
GTC4 LUSSO T ★★★★★ SANDERO ★★★★★
> Deleting four cylinders and a driven axle sneaks the GTC under the psychologically distressing £200k barrier, not that the news will sell thousands more > VERDICT Less is a little bit more, while also still very much a lot
> Cheapest new car on sale, not the worst. Yoghurt-pot plastics and pre-Glasnost styling can’t detract from a spacious sub-six-grand runabout with Renault engines > VERDICT Austerity rocks. Right, Greece?
LOGAN ★★★★★ > Estate looks like a Sandero that’s reversed into a phone box. Cavernous boot, but dreadfully unrefined thanks to all the brittle plastic and tin > VERDICT You put things in it. It will carry them for you. You can take them out. Job done
DUSTER ★★★★★ > No-nonsense SUV that’s ideal for wannabe peacekeepers on a ridiculously small budget. Buy the boggo 4x4 diesel in white for the full UN efect > VERDICT The Neighbourhood Watch will never be the same again
TIPO ★★★★★ > Fiat has another crack at the C-segment, this time sensibly playing the value card. Dull, yet still the best Fiat hatch since the last Tipo – and that dates from 1988 > VERDICT Only consider buying Fiats with numbers, not names
124 ★★★★★ > MX-5’s step-sister, seemingly intent on undermining said darling hairdresser’s star turn with its punchier 1.4 turbo blow-dryer. Awkward style, for an Italian > VERDICT To drive, this is the MX-5 you’ve been waiting for
PANDA ★★★★★ DS3 HATCH/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Best-selling DS gets robo-croc snout and Apple CarPlay as standard but ‘premium’ claims got lost in translation > VERDICT Like Prince William’s bonce covering, the Gallic charm is wearing thin
> Range now split between regular hatch and jacked-up Crossback. Softer set-up and fewer buttons a plus; rear windows still don’t open > VERDICT Medium rare luxy-Frenchness. Germany reportedly not worried
DS5 ★★★★★ > Ofice joker in testosterone world of Serious Business Men. Quite appealing, with a lovely aerostyled cabin. Diesel Hybrid4 is a good idea not executed properly > VERDICT Bland ubiquity will always beat charming quirkiness
> Spacious city car with ‘squircle’ obsession, as roly-poly as its blobby looks suggest. Two-pot TwinAir willing but thirsty > VERDICT VW Up costs less, drives better and is nicer inside
500/C ★★★★★ > Delicate job, modernising a retro cash cow. Fiat’s approach pairs a korma-grade facelift with updated tech and even more colour palette kitsch > VERDICT Fashion victims rejoice! The cupholders actually work now
500L/MPW ★★★★★ > Bloated supermini-sized people carriers, desperately attempting to cash in on city car’s chic. Seldom has the point been so massively missed > VERDICT In-car cofee machine option the only purchase excuse
DS 7 CROSSBACK ★★★★★
> France’s idea of a premium SUV. Sharp-looking interior and plenty of tech to boot, but looks like an Audi Q5 in half-baked drag > VERDICT Neatly done, but not quite there
> Trying hard to escape the clutches of its sister
PORTOFINO ★★★★★ > The transformation from California NEW ENTRY to Portofino works a treat. It’s sweeter, sharper and more practical, if ultimately lacking focus > VERDICT Measurably better than the Cali in every way
> Looking even more like a Z3 M Coupe battered by a giant spatula, this updated FF gets four-wheel steering to go with its improved four-wheel drive and 680bhp V12 > VERDICT Closest Ferrari has got to an SUV
> Farm machinery meets Spacelab in fabulous 460bhp V8 symphony of composite materials, leaf springs and pushrods. Shame it’s left-hook only > VERDICT £60k for a bargain berserker. £20k more for the 650bhp Z06
M6 ★★★★★ > Six-figure old-M5 in a shiny suit. Two-door looks good value beside Mercedes’ S63 coupe,
C3 AIRCROSS ★★★★★
C3 ★★★★★ > Citroën produces a great small car by looking up its own Wikipedia entry and remembering what it’s good at; spacy, compliant and diferent > VERDICT Are Citroëns cool again? They’re certainly getting there
> Funky mattress on wheels takes C3’s style and puts it on stilts. Thankfully retains C3 Picasso’s super-spacious interior and flexi seats > VERDICT The Vauxhall Crossland X’s much more characterful Gallic sibling
> ‘The Veyron was okay but why couldn’t it have 30% bigger turbos and 300bhp more power?’ Bugatti answers the question nobody asked – and answers it loud > VERDICT A riot
> G30-generation V8 bruiser sends shove to all four wheels now but you can still drift it like Ken Block. The sharp-suited and refined yet ballistically quick autobahn prowler > VERDICT All-wheel drive hasn’t ruined the M5
RP1 ★★★★★ > As expensive as a used Porsche Cayman GT4, but more refined than any Caterham – and it’s an absolute weapon on track > VERDICT Crazy, but worth it
> Ugly old one sold by the bucket load; all-new replacement is miles better to look at and to drive. It’s a proper mini-SUV now… > VERDICT It’s even based on the front-wheeldrive Mini platform. Swallow that bile now
> BMW’s second most important car gets the full treatment, with new chassis, slightly forgettable exterior and massive tech injection. Smart, semi-autonomous and still the best in class > VERDICT Spirit-crushingly good
cars from Toyota and Peugeot, the C1 can have a funky Airscape cloth roof and half-hearted personalisation options. 1.0-litre has most pep > VERDICT Good, solid proletarian urban fare rather than hipster cool
> Compact crossover is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the 500 range – steroidal and somewhat limited in its range of abilities, but actually rather likeable > VERDICT Worthy Nissan Juke alternative works the 500 thing surprisingly well
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FIAT > McLAREN PUNTO ★★★★★ > Been facelifted more times than Joan Rivers but is somehow still alive. Now reduced to barebones range and budget price. We still wouldn’t > VERDICT You might be tempted. Don’t be
QUBO/DOBLO ★★★★★ > Postman Pat’s wheels? Don’t be daft, Pat’s retired to the Caribbean and is living of the royalties. Drives a red Bentley > VERDICT Van-based MPVs. Practicality first, people second
FORD KA+ ★★★★★ > Hits the city car target bang-on by being the complete opposite of the old Ka (good to drive, decently spacious), but misses by being less sexy than Borat. And Plus? Plus what? > VERDICT Ahead of its time, and in danger of being overshadowed by newer arrivals, but still pretty good as far as it goes
B-MAX ★★★★★ > B-pillar-free Fiesta-based mini MPV gets rear sliding doors for maximum practicality but not the sliding rear seats of some rivals. Firm ride > VERDICT Buy with a 1.0 EcoBoost triple and Zetec trim for maximum school-run fun
The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs it now looks half decent and isn’t built out of melted wheelie bins > VERDICT Better, but still isn’t the best
C-MAX/GRAND C-MAX ★★★★★ > More a roomier Focus than full-blown MPV, C-Max delivers driving pleasure to blot out family pain. Seven-seat Grand version gets rear sliding doors > VERDICT Rivals are roomier, but none is better to drive
S-MAX ★★★★★ > Exploits latest Mondeo’s undercrackers to full efect. Pricey, but still the best of the seven-seaters to drive. Toys include electric everything and speed-correcting cruise control > VERDICT Harder to beat than FC Barcelona
MUSTANG ★★★★★ > GI Henry’s finally been posted to Europe and he’s cutting in on the TT’s dance. At last gets multi-link rear end, but rear space could be better > VERDICT EcoBoost 4-cyl torquey but tedious; it’s the V8 you want, if not its 18mpg thirst
GALAXY ★★★★★ > Goose to the S-Max’s Maverick, current Galaxy is based on the same Mondeo-derived platform. Just as high-tech, but more spacious > VERDICT Great if you need a big seven-seater as it fits adults in all rows with no human rights violations
> Still a peach to drive and now has an interior design that isn’t from the dark ages, even if material quality is still a bit ify. ST-Line suitably sporty but Vignale too expensive to justify > VERDICT You can thank the heavens they haven’t ruined it
> A very expensive hardcore supercar from Detroit that proves a global mega-seller can still cut it against Ferrari when it wants to. EcoBoost V6 is hugely fast if devoid of character > VERDICT ‘Race car for the road’ translates into ‘brilliant fun but a bit coarse’
FIESTA ST/ST200 ★★★★★ > Bargain banzai hot hatch shreds that REPLACED tricky gyratory complex with style to SOON spare thanks to torque vectoring voodoo. ST200 costs £5k more than base; misses point spectacularly (if not the apex). Softer suspension now > VERDICT This is the one that you want
FOCUS HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Shows Ford’s chassis engineers know their stuf > VERDICT Great to drive but the VW Golf is a more polished destination for your money
FOCUS ST/RS ★★★★★ > Chip-controlled 4wd RS is an overclocked 345bhp mix of outrageous drift angles and limpet traction. And we used to think the front-drive ST was impressive > VERDICT In bhp/£ stakes, both are mega value. But only the RS does donuts
MONDEO HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Huge space and you can even have the plucky little 1.0 EcoBoost engine > VERDICT Everybody wants them new-fangled SUVs these days, but this is a great family car
KUGA ★★★★★ > The best-handling mid-sized crossover, but that’s not saying much > VERDICT If you must
EDGE ★★★★★ > Stupidest Ford name since Maverick, but looks good and drives like a Ford – a big, ponderous Ford, hamstrung by 2.0 diesels and slower than continental drift > VERDICT Comfy, refined, irrelevant amid premium rivals
ECOSPORT ★★★★★ > Ford’s half-arsed stab at a crossover sold in droves despite being crap first time round. We’re more comfortable recommending it, since
of two- or four-wheel drive. Unlike most Hondas won’t need ear defenders to drown out road noise > VERDICT Ford Kuga has the chassis, Nissan Qashqai has the style, but neither is as practical as a CR-V
NSX ★★★★★ > ‘We’ve blown all our development cash on an insanely complex hybrid drivetrain. Do you think anyone will notice if we fit an interior from a Civic?’ > VERDICT Like a 918 for half a mil’ less – mind-blowing to drive, crap to sit in
HYUNDAI i10 ★★★★★ > Five-door city car that balances mature driving experience with strong value – even if it’s not as cheap as it was. Five-year warranty, too > VERDICT Basic motoring done not just well but with a dash of style. Mid-spec 1.0 our choice
i20 HATCH/COUPE/ACTIVE ★★★★★ > Update adds Active crossover to 5dr hatch and 3dr ‘coupe’; suitable for somnambulant warranty fiends only. Turbo triple lumpy > VERDICT Fur-lined tartan slippers, Horlicks and early to bed; repeat
> Pint-sized road-legal racer. Two models: G40R (civilised version, with carpets) and GRDC (actually a race car with number plates) > VERDICT Tiny, twitchy and top fun. Pick the £35k GRDC and get free entry to race series
INFINITI Q30 ★★★★★ > It’s an A-Class in an alternative frock – a slow A-Class at that. Suspension and seats comfy, just don’t look too closely at the dash > VERDICT The fat goth of the premium hatchback segment
Q50 ★★★★★ > US-aimed Japanese premium product that’s mostly forgettable. Sport Tech model has stonking V6 > VERDICT The hot one is a surprise but it’s not a car that will worry BMW or Merc
Q60 ★★★★★ > Shapely coupe has quirkiness in spades. Tech overkill includes slightly odd drive-by-wire steering while porky weight dulls performance > VERDICT Capable and direct, but those words don’t scream ‘fun’, do they?
i30 HATCH/TOURER ★★★★★
> Where the current crop of Hyundais got serious – which means it’s now in need of a facelift as the mainstream moves ahead again > VERDICT Tries hard but lacks imagination
> Does it look like a rubbish Maser QP, or a slightly cooler Daewoo Leganza? > VERDICT Worth considering over a 5-series, but only if Harald Quandt ran of with your wife
> Ex-BMW M Division head Albert Biermann has worked his magic – Korea’s first proper hot hatch is very good indeed, and cheaper than a Golf GTI > VERDICT An intergalactic leap ahead
> Once more with feeling, eh Infiniti? Mid-size SUV looks good, has plenty of kit and clever variable compression engine tech. Lack of diesel/hybrid version may make interest wane > VERDICT The best car Infiniti makes
i40 SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ G40 ★★★★★
IONIQ ★★★★★ > Korean take on the Prius minus Gwyneth Paltrow smugness and drawn-in-the-dark exterior. Hybrid, EV or upcoming PHEV – something in all shades of green > VERDICT Challenges neither pulse nor helmsmanship
> Vast Mondeo rival with huge boot and lots of kit. Facelift resembles a lizard with an Audi grille for a mouth > VERDICT Nearly-but-not-quite mainstream alternative plays value card well
iX20 ★★★★★ > Compact MPV and Kia Venga’s ugly step-sister; roomy but ultimately forgettable > VERDICT Sorry, what were we talking about?
QX70★★★★★ > Striking jumbo jeep comes with more kit than a Knight Rider convention but the lavish cabin is too small and the fuel and tax bills anything but > VERDICT Taxi for Infiniti! Porsche’s Cayenne has this one covered, old timer
> Brilliantly packaged supermini with typical genius mismatch of brain and social skills. Ordinary performance, more refined than before > VERDICT If a Skoda Fabia had seats this smart, other superminis would call it a day
> Hyundai does a Nissan by trying to make a forgettable crossover less so by over-styling it. Rear space and boot tight but plenty of kit > VERDICT You’d have to like the looks to pick it over countless others
> Straight-bat styling hides exotic aluminium chassis and class-leading handling. Bit tight on space, though, and engines not a high point > VERDICT Rivals are better packaged but this is the driver’s car in the class and a proper little Jag
> The might of Honda’s engineering prowess delivers more space, clever new engines and an exterior that looks like it was drawn on a bus on the way into school > VERDICT Easy to admire, loving requires recreational drugs
> Promising initial impressions of shiny-looking ix35 replacement tarnish quickly > VERDICT Dull to drive, duller inside, unrefined
> Bigger inside, smaller outside, still a great steer > VERDICT Diddy diesels moo more than a dairy; insert your own cats/cream joke
CIVIC TYPE R ★★★★★ > Its many angles hide a much more rounded hot hatch than ever before. Driving one day to day much easier now but its speed and agility can still take your head of > VERDICT All the ills of the old FK2 have been resolved; it’s fast, practical, agile and easy to live with
HR-V ★★★★★ > It took Honda 10 years to build a second HR-V, and you’re left wondering why they bothered. Almost wilfully generic > VERDICT Platform’s magic packaging the only saving grace
CR-V ★★★★★ > Roomy but unremarkable SUV with a choice
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SANTA FE ★★★★★
> Biggish SUV has always led Hyundai’s assault on the European market from the front. Comfortable, self-assured and easy to live with > VERDICT A Hyundai you can choose without shame. Looks fresher than Waitrose parsnips
> Questionable styling but unquestionably an excellent steer – although passengers may mutiny. Interior looks luxurious but lacks intelligence, even if it’s fitted with the latest infotainment > VERDICT Hollywood baddies’ limo of choice. Flawed
i800 ★★★★★ > Massive van-based people carrier that’ll seat eight and still have space for their luggage. Ideal for part-time airport minicabbers > VERDICT It is what it is: a van with seats in. But it’s a nice van
GENESIS ★★★★★ > Luxury saloon hamstrung by unsuitable petrol engine and they-must-be-joking price tag > VERDICT Start of Hyundai’s move upmarket. Well, it worked out well for Infiniti. Oh, wait…
XJR ★★★★★ > Absurdly track-ready limo builds on already ballistic XJ Supersport, but bumps power up to 543bhp and tightens chassis at expense of ride > VERDICT Spectacular – if you’re sitting in the front
F-TYPE COUPE/ROADSTER ★★★★★ > Posh pauper’s Aston Martin sounds superb,
and goes well too. Forget the basic V6 and choose from V6S and mental V8S. Now with manual and 4wd options > VERDICT So nearly sublime, but Cayman/Boxster duo cost less, entertain more
F-TYPE R ★★★★★ > Supercharged 543bhp almost too much fun in rear-wheel-drive form (but still less knife-edge than V8S); 4wd available if you’ve left bravery pills at home > VERDICT All this drama or an ‘ordinary’ 911? Tough choice…
F-TYPE SVR ★★★★★ > JLR’s SVO black ops division delivers a 567bhp all-wheel-drive F-Type that goes and sounds like an elephant on MDMA > VERDICT Quilted leather and 200mph – but terrible hi-fi for a car that costs twice the entry V6
E-PACE ★★★★★ > No, not the electric one, the baby F-Pace one. Wears the Evoque’s undercrackers and can be had with same engine as the 4-cyl F-Type, so there’s a solid baseline for it to sell in the bazillions. Top spec incredibly expensive, mind > VERDICT Handsome and filled with tech but lacks polish
F-PACE ★★★★★ > Jaguar’s first SUV is a road-biased Porsche Macan botherer. Built light to be nimble; body control brilliance and pokey engines prove family DNA > VERDICT Macan remains most sporting choice, but more rounded F-Pace has plenty of bite
by nasty CVT > VERDICT So close. Give this a proper auto ’box and it would be right up there
> Now has an angry face and there’s a feisty turbo triple. GT Line comes with amped-up looks > VERDICT Accomplished; avoid base 1.0
> Way more accomplished Gallardo successor, twinned with new R8. Dual-clutch gearbox mandatory, 602bhp V10 flicks Vs at turbos > VERDICT Beats 488 for aural and visual thrills but nothing else. So we’ll have the Spyder
> Twin-pronged petrol hybrid cooking range now spiced up by GSF 5.0 V8. Lack of turbos admirable but like hunting M5 bear with a peashooter > VERDICT 300h makes company car sense, wilfully diferent GSF good fun
RIO ★★★★★ > Long on space, short on enjoyment, life with a Rio is no carnival. Diesel refinement will have you driving to a favela in the hope of a carjacking > VERDICT White-goods car gets the basics right but there are many better rivals
STONIC ★★★★★ > Her name is Rio and she’s put on a bit of weight. Kia’s first stab at a bestseller has a hard ride but it’s much more practical than a Juke > VERDICT Looks good but just as forgettable to drive as any other baby crossover
CEED HATCH/SW/PROCEED ★★★★★ > Golf wannabe is big on equipment and not bad to drive. Ceed is five-door, Proceed gets three, SW is the wagon > VERDICT Now with downsized turbo engines. Europe still ahead. Just
SOUL ★★★★★ > Improved second-gen chunky spunky SUV better to drive but ride and noise suppression poor. Petrol version rubbish, but much cheaper > VERDICT A Korean with character but other SUVs are more rounded (in both senses)
> Sexless Mondeo clone cobbles together some mojo via the addition of sharp-suited Sportswagon and a plug-in hybrid > VERDICT All the car you’ll ever need, but not the car you want
> Strange but true: junior Jeep is built in Italy alongside Fiat 500X that donates its platform. Even stranger: it’s not terrible > VERDICT Only the top Trailhawk cuts it in the rough
COMPASS ★★★★★ > Qashqai rival misses the mark. Looks imposing and Trailhawk very good in the rough, but smaller Renegade more charming > VERDICT Almost as forgettable as the previous Compass
CHEROKEE ★★★★★ > Gimlet-eyed Discovery Sport rival looks like the banjo-playing inbred from Deliverance. Despite generous kit, we’d leave it on the porch > VERDICT Feels too cheap to be premium, too pricey/ugly to beat Qashqai
GRAND CHEROKEE ★★★★★ > Proper of-road credentials and sensible running costs, but it feels cheap inside. Ludicrous SRT8 version demolishes 0-62mph in five seconds dead > VERDICT Makes sense at $30k in the US, but doesn’t drive or feel like a premium car
WRANGLER ★★★★★ > Incredible of-road, and better than a Defender on it, but that’s like saying Pol Pot was more benevolent than Stalin > VERDICT When North Korea nukes us, this cold war cast-of will be all that’s left moving. Replacement unveiled but still some way from the showroom
VENGA ★★★★★ > Weird sit-up supermini-cum-MPV packs Focus space into near-city-car dimensions. Hard to get comfy though. 1.4 petrol best > VERDICT Too pricey and too ordinary to drive for us to care
CARENS ★★★★★ > Big, versatile, value-packed seven-seater. Go diesel – 1.6 petrol is wheezier than emphysemariddled asthmatic with a punctured lung > VERDICT For all its pseudo-premium Euro aspirations, this is the stuf Kia still does best
> Aventador hits the sweet spot: old enough to sort the gripes from new and young enough to not yet be the subject of 31 run-out limited editions. Semi life-afirming > VERDICT Pose to talent ratio heading in right direction
AVENTADOR/SV ★★★★★ > The F12 may be better in every respect, but this is what a supercar should look like. Limitedrun Aventador SV closes that gap with shocking power and agility > VERDICT SV is the one to have. Sub-7min ’Ring lap makes the hybrid hypercar crew look stupidly expensive
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT ★★★★★ > ‘Educated, professional luxury SUV desperately seeking decent diesel engine.’ Ingenium replied. Happy ever after? > VERDICT Comfy silence a promising start. We’ll know it’s love when they get the interior decorators in
RANGE ROVER VELAR ★★★★★ > Sport-lite or Evoque-plus? Either way, Land Rover’s centrally placed SUV is handsome, capable, well finished and worthy of its name > VERDICT The new benchmark Range Rover
KTM X-BOW ★★★★★ > 22nd century Ariel Atom mixes carbon construction with hardy Audi turbo’d 2.0 four > VERDICT Big money, big grins, but single-seat BAC Mono gives more race car-like experience
ELISE ★★★★★ > Reminds just how connected cars used to be. Slothful base 1.6 reminds how they used to go, too, so pick 1.8. Alfa 4C is a pricey, pale imitation > VERDICT Still sensational, but a 10-year-old example does the same job for half the price
RANGE ROVER ★★★★★ > Ambitious new flagship SUV reckons it’s a real > A benchmark in luxury SUVs. V6 diesel Land Rover rival. Now bigger than ever, and so is IN the price: up to £40k. Only engine is a 2.2 diesel BEST CLASS perfectly acceptable, supercharged V8 petrol hilarious > VERDICT The perfect car > VERDICT Impressive, but lacks the badge and for smuggling cash to Switzerland, skiing, turning performance of genuine premium of-roaders up at a ball, game shooting and being smug
RC/RCF ★★★★★ > RCF’s old-school unblown V8 completes charismatic package that shocked M4 in our Giant Test. Elegance of regular range can’t overcome lack of diesel option > VERDICT Deserve more success than they’ll likely get
RANGE ROVER EVOQUE ★★★★★ > Posh mum’s SUV, now also a convertible, solving the interior’s claustrophobia-triggering tendencies. Ingenium engines commendably hushed > VERDICT Pricey, but perfectly pitched
RANGE ROVER SPORT ★★★★★
> Handsome four-door grand tourer has a mountain to climb to win over German exec buyers but it’s comfy and a head-turner. Interior not as well-finished or techy as rivals > VERDICT A solid first efort; V6 GT-S is playful
RX ★★★★★ > Looks like Lord Vader’s helmet with wheels on, but interior opulence and general tranquillity make up for idiosyncratic infotainment issues > VERDICT Build quality and refinement to save the galaxy, even if the hybrid tech won’t
> A serious sports car from the most serious of makers gets clever hybrid or tasty V8, 10-speed auto and less bovine acoustics. It’s quite sexy > VERDICT No longer the Japanese Mercedes
> As luxurious as a Rangie, as practical as a Disco, better looking than an Evoque and could follow a Defender cross country. Add in impressive handling and ballistic SVR and diesel versions > VERDICT Nobody likes a show-of
> Trumps Audi Q5 with a fabulous interior and arrest-me (for persecuting curves) exterior design. Fwd or 4wd with electric motor at rear > VERDICT Doesn’t work as a driver’s car, so take the NX300h hybrid over faster, costlier NX200t
> Gen-5 Disco can climb mountains and social strata with equal equanimity; this is Land Rover in the 21st century. Worryingly close to Range Rover, slightly frustrating engine choice > VERDICT The best seven-seat party wagon money can buy
LS ★★★★★ > Looks great, and interior materials are NEW ENTRY to die for, but hybrid powertrain less than convincing > VERDICT You’d have to REALLY want to be diferent
> All-new, all-turbo SUV truly handles and rides but somehow a picture of Mr Potato Head’s face got mixed up with the final blueprints > VERDICT Improved, except to look at
AGERA ★★★★★ > Evolution of Lex Luthor’s original CC8S supercar features carbonfibre wheels and twin-turbo 5.0 V8. R version even runs on E85 biofuel > VERDICT Yahoo! Yin to Volvo’s yang keeps Sweden’s car output balanced
AVENTADOR S ★★★★★
> Gym-bunny Elise with supercharged V6 retains beautifully connected unassisted steering. Superb new 350 Sport turns up the wick > VERDICT The Lotus our tyre-frying Ben Barry would buy. Make of that what you will
EVORA 400 ★★★★★ > Thoroughly refreshed Evora loses its looks but gains easier access and thumping supercharged 400bhp > VERDICT The chassis and steering are Lotus at its sparkling best. Sublime, but you’ll still buy a Cayman
> The world’s first decontented supercar is still worth donating a ball to put on your driveway. Entry-level doesn’t get any better > VERDICT The work of a very focused company somewhere near the top of its game
> Pig-ugly premium Prius a mix of decent
STEER CLEAR handling, woeful performance and a ride so poor it makes a black cab feel like an S-Class > VERDICT Wouldn’t merit a single sale if company car tax bills were less CO2-focused
IS ★★★★★ > Sharp-suited, well-specced 3-series rival finally gets decent rear space. Good chassis, but 250 V6 irrelevant, and frugal hybrid hobbled
570S/570GT ★★★★★ > Base McLaren ditches carbon body and super-trick suspension, but keeps carbon MonoCell and twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8. Now available with glass hatchback, too > VERDICT S and GT performance near identical; both make 911 Turbo S feel too normal
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McLAREN > NISSAN 720S ★★★★★ > Big Mac’s 650S replacement turns the wick up and is measurably better in every way than a 488. Maranello won’t be pleased > VERDICT Obscenely fast and engaging – we just wish it was louder
675LT ★★★★★ > Upgraded 650S with 666bhp, stifer suspension, faster gearshifts, quicker steering and 100kg less weight. Whatever deal Woking’s done with the devil, it’s worked > VERDICT This is the McLaren you’ve been looking for
P1 ★★★★★ > £1m hybrid hypercar with aero straight from McLaren’s F1 brains. All sold, and if you haven’t got one you can’t have track-only GTR either > VERDICT Astounding, but LaFerrari feels more special (as it should for £400k more)
> VERDICT Brilliantly uncomplicated budget sports car. Dink the GTI for this
MX-5 RF ★★★★★ > When a folding fabric roof above your head is just too common to contemplate, pay more for the heavier and more complicated RF and never fold the bloody roof down anyway > VERDICT Right car in the wrong spec
MERCEDES A-CLASS ★★★★★ > Midlife refresh has softened the A-Class, but it’s still a little tasteless > VERDICT Expensive and cramped – A3 and 1-series do it better
A45 AMG ★★★★★ > Mad turbo four-pot now makes 367bhp and 350lb ft. Goes like a banker who knows the game is up; almost as expensive > VERDICT Option the Dynamic Plus pack with LSD as well
B-CLASS ★★★★★ GHIBLI ★★★★★ > The small exec you wish you owned still drives great, still looks the business, still doesn’t have the four-cylinder diesel that will get it on your shopping list. A shame > VERDICT An alcohol-free Quattroporte
QUATTROPORTE GTS ★★★★★ > Because Ferrari doesn’t ‘do’ saloons you can have a brilliant blend of Maranello turbo V8 wrapped in some gracefully ageing Maserati bits. Remains the coolest four-door car money can buy > VERDICT It won’t let you in unless you’re in a suit or chinos
GRAN TURISMO/GRAN CABRIO ★★★★★ > Four genuine seats a rarity in this class, but fill them and you’ll regret choosing the weedy 4.2 over the 4.7 at the first snif of a hill > VERDICT Podgy, pretty, practical GT for folk who hate four-door faux coupes. And luggage
GT MC STRADALE ★★★★★ > Defies hulking 1770kg mass (and that’s after a 110kg diet) and modest 444bhp to deliver an engaging driving experience. Epic noise > VERDICT Massively underrated. A GT3 for an Italian lothario with a ’Ring season pass
LEVANTE ★★★★★ > Maserati’s long-awaited SUV is better than the Ghibli. And the UK is getting petrol, after initially being threatened with diesel-only line-up > VERDICT Far from flawless but it’ll show you a good time
MAZDA 2 ★★★★★ > Shot-in-the-arm supermini packs good value, handling and looks, leaving sweat marks on the shirts of the VW Polo marketing team > VERDICT Under-radar Fiesta threatener gatecrashes the top table
3 HATCH/SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Another Mazda that’s great to drive and cheap to run. You like shifting gears? You’ll love the 118bhp unblown 1.5. If not, go diesel > VERDICT Don’t buy a family hatchback until you’ve tried one. Oh, a Golf? Apart from that
6 SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ > Boss won’t let you have a BMW 3-series? This makes an impressive alternative. Handles well but rides like the tyres have DTs > VERDICT Swoopily styled, tax friendly, entertaining alternative to po-faced VW Passat
CX-3 ★★★★★ > Late arrival to the compact crossover party, but worth a look thanks to smart cabin and crisp, engaging drive. Pity about the firm ride > VERDICT Pricey, but better than most and well equipped. Ideal MX-5 social life support truck
CX-5 ★★★★★ > How an SUV should drive. Better than ever, still unfairly ignored over inferior rivals > VERDICT It’s the closest you’ll ever get to a five-seat MX-5
MX-5 ★★★★★ > Shorter than the ’89 original, and in real terms half the price. 1.5 sweet but a little slow; 158bhp 2.0 quicker but charismatically challenged
> Posh MPV big brother to the A-Class misses out on the looks and the charisma, but is far more homely and just as technically savvy > VERDICT So boring the BMW 2-series Active Tourer actually begins to make sense
CLA SALOON/SHOOTING BRAKE ★★★★★ > CLS clone based on the A-Class, now with swoopy Shooting Brake estate. Lacks gravitas of former and sex appeal of latter > VERDICT Just because you can make something smaller doesn’t mean you should
C-CLASS SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Latest C impresses with mini-S-Class looks and almost all the same on-board tech. Denies muttering it wishes the 3-series would drop dead > VERDICT BMW still better to drive, but if you want a relaxing techno cocoon, this is it
C-CLASS COUPE ★★★★★ > All-new sexpot version of latest C-Class (no shrinking violet itself) now 10cm longer and available with air suspension. Still tight in the back > VERDICT Much more of an event than the 4-series, but new A5 right back in the game
C63 AMG ★★★★★ > Sounds madder than ever despite switch to bi-turbo 4.0 V8; coupe gets unique 12-link rear suspension for sharper responses > VERDICT Saloon, estate or coupe, you get mega traction and one of the best turbo engines ever
E-CLASS SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > It may look like a fat C-Class but this techno tour-de-force thinks it can drive better than you. Exceptional interior out-luxes all comers > VERDICT New 4-cyl diesel so smooth it churns motorway miles into butter
S63/S65 AMG ★★★★★
COOPER S/JCW ★★★★★
> Twin-turbo 577bhp V8 and 621bhp V12 S-Class variants, because being richer than the world isn’t enough and you need to out-drag it, too > VERDICT S63 V8 is bonkers, S65 V12 utterly certifiable. Does your chaufeur deserve it?
> Upsized BMW 2.0-litre four-pot-powered 228bhp JCW most powerful Mini ever. Terrific turbocharged fun, if a tad overwrought and synthetic > VERDICT Beware the cost of the options list
> Confused A-Class on stilts with lifestyle pretensions and unnecessary surplus of interior air vents. GLA45 AMG is entertaining but simply unnecessary > VERDICT An A-Class for the bewildered. Maybe you thought you were ordering a GLC?
> Replace circus-freakery of old one with full complement of portals, add longer wheelbase, bigger boot; now bake > VERDICT Loaf-alike maxi-Mini freshness, the grown-ups’ choice
GLC ★★★★★ > GLK replacement project, now available in right-hand drive. Sounds like you shouldn’t care, but the interior might just make you moist > VERDICT Rivals are cheaper, better to drive – GLC makes you feel special inside
MIRAGE ★★★★★ > Facelift can’t hide the Mirage’s catastrophic lack of style or charm. As well suited to the small car segment as a Sopwith Camel is to executive short-haul flights > VERDICT Want your kids to stay of the roads? Buy them one
GLE/GLE COUPE ★★★★★
> Rebadged M-Class is heavy, ponderous and depressingly cheap inside. Plug-in hybrid plays the tech card, new Coupe an alternative to X6 > VERDICT As you were: it’s perfectly adequate in a class dominated by the outstanding
> Box-ticking small SUV feels like it was designed on a spreadsheet. At least it’s relatively cheap and well kitted > VERDICT Best bought on the internet
GLS ★★★★★ > Luxo-monster seven-seater lacks Range Rover panache but it’s comfy and refined, and the infotainment doesn’t come from Poundland > VERDICT Active anti-roll essential, but otherwise it’s a brilliant bus
SHOGUN ★★★★★ > Great-value old-school workhorse for those whose workplace is covered in mud, oil or bomb craters. Big, noisy diesel, chunky underpinnings and reliable, with hose-down cabin > VERDICT If you don’t think you need this car, you don’t need this car
SL ★★★★★ > The plastic surgeon was worth every penny: post-facelift SL is far more MILF than Morph. Turning up the sporty makes the most of the super stif structure, too > VERDICT Think twice about that Ferrari California. No, seriously
AMG GT ★★★★★ > SLS replacement is smaller (just), cheaper (considerably) and blessed with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 > VERDICT It’s got the muscle but maybe not the finesse
AMG GT C ROADSTER ★★★★★ > Roadster delivers extra buzz without massive compromise, at massive expense > VERDICT Current GT sweet spot, for five minutes at least
MG MG3 ★★★★★
CLS ★★★★★ > Comfy four-door coupe has great interior NEW ENTRY and loads of tech, although it can’t match the original for visual drama. AMG 53 is punchy > VERDICT Slick
S-CLASS ★★★★★ > Enormously technically accomplished, with camera-guided ride quality and stacks of safety kit. Maybach and Pullman variants immensely flash > VERDICT Makes 7-series/A8 seem like toys. Captains of industry should insist on it
> Tough-looking, spacious supermini has handling that lives up to the promise of that badge. As does the woeful build, crap engine and concrete ride > VERDICT The Chinese are coming! But so far they’ve only got to Tajikistan
GS ★★★★★ > Spacious, duck-faced SUV hamstrung by coarse 1.5 turbo petrol, shonky gearboxes and shoddy interior. Handles okay, if you can hack the firm ride > VERDICT Cheap, but not suficiently so. Dacia will sleep well tonight
ZS ★★★★★ > Was called the ZS, then XS, then ZS again. Also looks a lot like a Chinese knock-of of a Mazda CX-3 and has the knock-of driving dynamics, build quality and price to match > VERDICT It’s quite an achievement to come stone dead last in the most competitive car sector out there
S-CLASS COUPE/CABRIOLET ★★★★★
> Over 5m of barking mad indulgence; Coupe carries it of like Errol Flynn on a bender but, like a model-turned-MP, will regret going topless > VERDICT Howard Hughes would approve, but he went crazy in the end
> Bigger and less charming, but lovely engines are smooth and peppy, while ride has improved without ruining handling. Five-door in danger of being practical > VERDICT Better than ever to own, even if you love it a little less
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ECLIPSE CROSS ★★★★★ > The last of the old Mitsubishis or the first of the new Renault-Nissan ones? Of-road ability says former, but cushy ride and renewed interior quality says latter > VERDICT Petrol-CVT combination sounds wrong but it’s civilised and looks sharp
> Buy the SLC43 AMG and it’s like an uglier but cheaper F-Type with a nicer interior. Buy any other SLC and you’ve lost your mind > VERDICT Come back 718 Boxster, all is forgiven
E-CLASS COUPE ★★★★★
AMG E63 ★★★★★
> Cold War relic that’s so solidly built it could ram raid a bank vault. Obscene special editions a growing – literally – Mercedes obsession > VERDICT You shouldn’t want one, but… Will outlast any Defender. And possibly the planet
> Swish, clever and satisfyingly capable, as long as there’s six cylinders up front. Like coupes used to be before everyone decided they needed to be ‘Ring-meisters > VERDICT Middle age has never been so appealing
> Only AMG would ofer the E63 with an all-wheel-drive system that you can switch of in Drift Mode. Which is exactly why you should buy one, and possibly open an account at Kwik Fit > VERDICT Go S or go home
COUNTRYMAN/PACEMAN ★★★★★ > A Mini SUV that drives like the hatch. Spacious, solid inside and just funky enough, but expensive > VERDICT A respectable family car now, rather than just a chubby brand extension
OUTLANDER ★★★★★ > Midlife overhaul brings sleeker looks and lifts cabin ambience by miles. Diesel still a bit of a tractor but PHEV comfy and refined > VERDICT The UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid finally makes sense
MORGAN 3-WHEELER ★★★★★ > As comfortable as riding over Niagara Falls in a barrel and equally sane. Not as quick as it feels, but quick enough for a three-wheeler on bike tyres > VERDICT Brilliant Caterham alternative without the macho trackday posturing
AERO ★★★★★ > Droptop was first of the new-era Morgans and goes it alone since Aero Supersports, Coupe and Squify Perkins bought it at the Somme > VERDICT Two worlds collide. And with 367bhp they may not be the only ones doing the colliding
PLUS 4/FOUR FOUR/ROADSTER ★★★★★ > Entry-level Mog still with ‘traditional’ ash frame and ‘traditional’ (ie, awful) dynamics. Four-seat 4/4 is surprise eco champ: 44mpg > VERDICT Cheap, considering the craftsmanship, even at £33k, but if you want an old car, buy an old car
PLUS 8 ★★★★★ > Don’t be fooled by tally-ho styling, 8 is built on ‘modern’ bonded and riveted Aero chassis. Fidgety like a child with worms > VERDICT Classic Morgan style, modern BMW V8 poke, manners like a five-term borstal veteran
NISSAN MICRA ★★★★★ > So much better than the old car, the current Micra is on Wikipedia right now deleting all mention of its predecessor. Proves that a car designed by Europeans will appeal to Europeans, amazingly > VERDICT Bigger and better, and now providing a serious alternative to the latest Ford Fiesta
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NISSAN > TOYOTA JUKE ★★★★★ > Mould-breaking compact crossover; you think it would look like that if the mould hadn’t broken? Cheap interior and so-so dynamics belie the hype > VERDICT Does it still count as ‘diferent’ if everybody’s got one?
NOTE ★★★★★ > Like a Honda Jazz with middle-age spread, this is a small, practical MPV-hatch with limited aspirations to greatness > VERDICT An automotive cardigan: deeply uncool but good at what it does
LEAF ★★★★★ > Less gawky then the pioneering first generation and promises better range to boot. Shame about the dull and unintuitive interior > VERDICT Version 2.0 of people’s EV now far more… normal
The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs at a stroke makes a decent car more credible > VERDICT Not so much leaping on the SUV bandwagon as hitching a ride… but it’s an attractive hitchhiker
3008 ★★★★★ > Tell friends you’ve bought one and they’ll laugh until they see it. Sharp to look at, surprisingly good fun to drive and not too weird > VERDICT Just make it clear you’ve not bought the old one
> Edgy design inside and out hides genuine practicality and, in the 5008, seven seats. Rejoice as Peugeot demonstrates it really has got its act together > VERDICT Annoy the Germans and buy French
PULSAR ★★★★★ > So dull it can only be explained by a conspiracy theory claiming it owes its entire existence to a long-range Qashqai sales-boost strategy > VERDICT Buy a Focus. Or a Golf. Or a Ceed. Or an Auris. Okay, maybe not an Auris…
QASHQAI ★★★★★ > Crossover for the masses gets more luxury and a facelift > VERDICT It’s no Volvo XC but still has huge family appeal
X-TRAIL ★★★★★ > The X-Trail used to be a rough, tough ofroader designed on an Etch-a-Sketch. Now it’s a Qashqai put through a photocopier at +10% > VERDICT It still ain’t exciting. But it’s probably going to sell a lot better
GT-R ★★★★★ > Now with a slightly thicker veneer of luxury (and another 20bhp) – but still basically a hardcase moments from rage > VERDICT Drivetrain sounds like a drum kit falling down the stairs; leaves your brain feeling much the same
PAGANI HYUARA ★★★★★ > Spectacular cottage industry supercar with active aero, AMG-built 720bhp twin-turbo V12 and an interior more decadent than a Roman orgy > VERDICT Want one but they’re all sold
PEUGEOT 108 ★★★★★ > Pug-faced city car. Go for 82bhp 1.2: the 68bhp 1.0 is so slow we were all monkeys when it set of and it still hasn’t hit 60mph > VERDICT Reasonable no-frills city car but boot and rear space tight. Skoda Citigo is better
208 ★★★★★ > Refresh more than just a prettier face as dynamic update adds handling chops to 208’s interior chic > VERDICT Pug’s recovered that VaVaVoom from the back of the sofa. No, wait – that’s the other lot
308 HATCH/SW ESTATE ★★★★★ > Hushed 308 at its best when eating motorway miles, or when you’re watching it out of the window of your Golf. Fiddly touchscreen > VERDICT Hatch isn’t up to scratch, but roomier SW wagon is worth a look
308 GTi ★★★★★ > Discreet styling hides playful proclivities; LSD keeps things tight up front while fantastic chassis delivers lively rear > VERDICT 250 and 270 variants both great, but 270 gets more kit
508 SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Little-seen XL Pug with unconvincing cod German accent. HYbrid4 gets 4wd via 37bhp ’leccy motor on rear wheels > VERDICT RXH is poor man’s Audi Allroad. Rest of range is padding on your company car list
PARTNER TEPEE ★★★★★ > Spacious, versatile Tepee so useful it could almost be a van. Funny, that. More practical than a regular MPV, drives okay > VERDICT Make your own clothes? Live in a yurt? This is the car/van for you
2008 ★★★★★ > Welly-wearing 208 gets a facelift which hits on the idea of actually resembling an SUV, and
718 BOXSTER ★★★★★ > The turbo revolution continues as Boxster bins the six for a brace of faster forced-induction fours. Updated face now flatter than Brian Harvey’s > VERDICT Whole lotta lag; chassis still a stairway to heaven
718 CAYMAN ★★★★★ > Eficiency march means sublime outgoing model ditches choral flat-six for punchy but industrial turbo four. Gets uglier in the process, still handles like you wish all cars would > VERDICT Better by the numbers but... know any nice 981s for sale?
SPEC EXPERT BUILD THE PERFECT BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT Configuring the Continental GT of your dreams? Allow Bentley’s Romulus Rost, head of interior design, to steer your thinking
There’s just one engine to choose from until the V8 arrives, so this custombuilt Continental GT is powered by a 6.0-litre W12 making 626bhp and 663lb ft, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.7 seconds. The challenge is to finish the car in a manner that reflects this high performance and modern engineering while also nodding to Bentley’s rich heritage. Starting price: £159,100
CAYMAN GT4 ★★★★★ > Junior GT3 is the first Cayman to get more power than a current 911: 380bhp, manual gearbox, limited-slip dif and a grin wider than a Glasgow smile > VERDICT Porsche finally admits that the Cayman and not the 911 is its real sports coupe
This Conti is a First Edition model, which for an extra £34,800 has enough equipment to satisfy even the most extravagent tastes, including 22-inch alloys, Bentley’s rotating dash display, the Touring pack (extra driving tech), City pack (more kit designed for easy living in town), a whole load of upholstery upgrades and stitching, deep-pile carpets… we could go on. That and the Extreme Silver paintwork, as part of the Extended Paint range (£4500), and chrome bumper inserts (£945), is plenty to get started. Running total: £199,345
911 ★★★★★ > 991.2 may not look much diferent from the 991 but under the skin lurks a whole new range of turbocharged engines. The most grown-up 911 yet > VERDICT Rear-engined appeal lives on. Proper Turbo now utterly ferocious, Turbo S unhinged
911 GT2 RS ★★★★★
> As close to a racing-spec 911 you can get and still deserves its Widowmaker nickname; raw, blisteringly quick and sounds truly evil > VERDICT Is it REALLY worth £100k more than the GT3?
911 GT3 ★★★★★ > Yes, another brilliant 911, but you didn’t really think Porsche would get this one wrong, did you? Optional manual ‘box makes car nerds everywhere weak at the knees > VERDICT More accessible, more fun and more GT3-ish
911R ★★★★★ > The 911 that Porsche secretly wants the 911 still to be. It’s an anti-991.2: a non-turbo 4.0 bruiser in retro disguise, with 493bhp and manual ’box > VERDICT Supple, poised, supreme fun. But we’d still have a Cayman GT4
918 ★★★★★ > Epic 4wd hybrid can waste GTis with 6sec 0-62mph electric mode, then slay Lambos by adding 600bhp V8. Superb electric steering, too > VERDICT Almost overshadowed in the P1-LaFerrari posturing war, but easily as good
Yes, we did say ‘get started’. Inside, our Conti also features a Grand Black over Liquid Amber veneer (£1800), the Côtes de Genève centre console (£1395) and a heated, single-colour steering wheel (£390). The Diamond Knurling pack (£1470) replaces the slightly – very slightly – rough rotary dials and switchgear from the Bentayga for a smoother finish. Running total: £204,400
As for bonus tech, our extreme-specced Continental has a high-end Naim audio system (£6500), digital TV tuner (£965), wireless phone charger (£280) and a remote preheating system (£1840). To top it all of, there’s an air ioniser (£250), first aid kit (£105), valet key (£220) to keep your gold bullion safe in the boot while your car’s being parked, and a £3600 four-piece luggage set. Total price: £218,160
> Baby Cayenne is even better than dad – BEST IN and better than the rival Evoque too. Base CLASS car with Golf GTI 2.0 makes no sense when S and S Diesel are pennies more > VERDICT GT3 RS for trackdays, Cayman GT4 for weekends, this for everything else. Sorted
CAYENNE ★★★★★ > Porsche’s cash-cow is masterclass in how to make a big SUV handle and slick Panameraderived interior is great place to sit and be. Turbo brutally fast, too, but whole thing feels anally retentive > VERDICT Impressively capable but Macan more engaging
PANAMERA ★★★★★ > The Mk1 was just throat-clearing; this Mk2 is the opera. Drips with tech, innovation and better dynamics – and it looks perfect > VERDICT A lesson in making nonsensical niches make perfect sense
148 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | May 2018
TOTAL PRICE: £218,160
RADICAL SR3 SL ★★★★★ > Properly street-legal SR3 gets a 300bhp blown Ford 2.0 instead of a motorcycle engine, a heater and even a 12v socket. It’s almost lavish > VERDICT Toned down for occasional road use but still hairier than a cave man with hypertrichosis
RXC TURBO ★★★★★ > Play out those Le Mans fantasies on the commute with this Peterborough-built Polaris. Sequential gearbox welcome in town like an EDL demo > VERDICT When you’ve outgrown your Caterhams and 911 GT3s, here’s the answer
RENAULT TWIZY ★★★★★ > Part electric scooter, part social experiment, it’s easy to love the doorless Twizy, especially on balmy evenings along La Croisette. Grimy days in Doncaster a tougher ask > VERDICT Transportation of the future, if it’s never wet in the future and you like chatting at trafic lights
ZOE 40 ★★★★★ > Splendid Zoe solves range anxiety by clever new battery with more power, potentially induces wealth anxiety instead with £4000 price premium. Unless you’re smart and lease it of course > VERDICT At least you can guarantee the emissions are genuine
TWINGO ★★★★★ > Rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive runabout isn’t as nippy as it sounds, but is roomy, with clever smartphone connectivity. More cheeky than sister Smart, and cheaper > VERDICT Lowerpower version with ’80s F1 Turbo paintjob the way to go
CLIO ★★★★★ > Welcome return to form for the five-door Clio with even boggo ones looking handsome, a well sorted cabin and sprightly driving qualities. Three-cylinder turbo petrol a (slowish) hoot > VERDICT Fiesta more fun, Clio more stylish
CLIO RS ★★★★★ > Remember when Clio RS was king of the hill? No? Probably for the best, because even new, more powerful RS Trophy can’t ofset awful auto gearbox > VERDICT Brings its own Trophy but still doesn’t win. Rumoured RS Wooden Spoon version is pure speculation
its Nissan roots > VERDICT Neither great nor rubbish – c’est bof
ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST ★★★★★ > A Phantom for millionaires not billionaires > VERDICT Perfectly built, highly individual
OCTAVIA HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★
FORESTER ★★★★★ > Appealingly functional square-rigger is the kind of crossover that existed before we had ‘lifestyles’. Good on road, great of it, but not cheap > VERDICT A solid old-school Subaru, honest and charming. Tweed cap, pipe, sheep flock optional
PHANTOM ★★★★★ > Enough opulence to make Blenheim Palace look like an abandoned warehouse yet just the right amount of tech and personalisation to keep start-up tech billionaires happy > VERDICT By far the world’s best luxury car
DAWN ★★★★★ > Wraith with the roof cut of – although actually 80% of the exterior panels are new. Best-looking Roller, it rides like a liner and costs more than a VW software decision > VERDICT Nothing between the stars and the stars
SEAT MII ★★★★★
> Nissan may rue the day it left the parts BEST IN store door ‘Kadjar’, as Renault’s take on the CLASS Qashqai bests the original in every way > VERDICT Aggressive pricing, smooth ride, great refinement, squishy seats
KOLEOS ★★★★★ > A five-seat-only X-Trail that took a gap year living at a French vineyard and has come back with an accent, more stylish clothes and an avant-garde view on life. Façade doesn’t hide
> Commendably vast SUV takes the Octavia’s approach by bulking out on a shared platform, but unfortunately doesn’t share its dazzling personality > VERDICT The most comfortable place to die a little inside
> Renault/Merc tie-up means ForFour is accomplished with a classy cabin, although ludicrous pricing seem at odds with budget city car buyers > VERDICT Its sister car, the Renault Twingo, is more than two grand cheaper. Work that out
> OAP special whose sole interesting
STEER CLEAR feature is that while it looks like a boring
saloon, it’s actually a boring hatch! Massive interior > VERDICT This and identical Skoda Rapid duke it out for UK’s dullest car. Czech please!
LEON HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★
SSANGYONG KORANDO ★★★★★ > Borderline rubbish to drive but more practical than the Teflon-coated trousers you’re probably wearing if you’re giving it serious consideration > VERDICT Huge, handy and hellish value, but we’d have a pre-reg Nissan Qashqai or Mazda CX-5 any day
SX4 S-CROSS ★★★★★ > The cheap way to clone a Qashqai. Won’t score any points for style, in fact you might hide it at the back of the school car park. Diesel is the best bet > VERDICT A crossover to be cross over
JIMNY ★★★★★ > A box with four-wheel-drive bolted onto the bottom, and a 1.3-petrol engine hanging out front. There are seats too, if not much of a boot > VERDICT Simple and highly efective, albeit extremely limited
VITARA ★★★★★ > Two-tone cross-dresser to rival the Juke, with a handsome body and usefully economical diesel engine. Cabin could do with some work, though > VERDICT Rutting rhinos and pink paint are a thing of the past: it’s a serious family car now
TURISMO ★★★★★ > Less odious than the old Rodius, but every bit as practical, this giant seven-seater is slower than the Crossrail boring machine > VERDICT Has minicab written all over it, or soon will, which will handily help disguise the ugliness
TIVOLI ★★★★★ > There’s no getting away from it: Korea’s also-ran car maker has built a contender. Great value, spacious and – shock – well-finished inside > VERDICT Dross heritage now under threat
> Subtlest of subtle facelifts belies 15% IMPREZA ★★★★★ eficiency improvement. Still a big box with slidey > Yes, it still exists beyond WRX and STi. No, doors and seven proper seats; put your family first for a change > VERDICT Genetically identical to REPLACED SOON you don’t want one. Boggo Impreza reduced to a 1.6 petrol hatchback only with optional the VW Sharan, but nearly £2k less CVT. Shudder > VERDICT Have you got a brand new combine harvester? It’s probably a better drive than this
SWIFT ★★★★★ > An unsung hero, and not just the excellent 134bhp Sport. Handles well, spacious and cheap. Upgraded Dualjet motor sweet > VERDICT Buy one and challenge anyone who questions your choice to a fistfight
> SY’s poshest SUV yet, which admittedly isn’t saying a huge amount. Think old Discovery and you’re not actually that far of > VERDICT Far less rubbish than the last one
> Spanish latecomer to the SUV party gets the dress code right, isn’t the life and soul but neither will it bore you into leaving early. Another sangria please! > VERDICT SE, petrol, Manuel (‘I am from Barcelona!’)
SUZUKI CELERIO ★★★★★
> Angular Spanish supermini nabs A0 platform before VW, thoroughly grows up in the process. FR versions irritatingly don’t look that sporty any more > VERDICT Ibiza by name, but no longer by nature
> Update to 189bhp 1.8 turbo with manual ’box makes this a brilliant budget blast. Great interior, finessed details, tempting choice > VERDICT Fiesta ST for thrills, this for everything else
BRZ ★★★★★ >Gloriously simple but under-nourished reardrive boxer coupe, crying out for a supercharger. Toyota GT86 twin marginally more fun > VERDICT Loveable car we wanted them to make but you don’t want to buy
> Braking-phobic city car otherwise spacious, full of kit and cheap. Three-cylinder petrol only plus all the handling vim of a B&Q Value wheelbarrow > VERDICT Dowdy and rowdy. Be glad you’ve got DAB and a cupholder
IBIZA CUPRA ★★★★★
OUTBACK ★★★★★ > The unloved Legacy’s only UK legacy is this Allroad-style crossover. It’s huge inside and the 4x4 look isn’t all for show > VERDICT Dependable, not desirable
> Much to the amusement of tyre manufacturers everywhere, the front-wheel-drive Leon Cupra now has 297bhp. GTI who? > VERDICT Ballistic, and best bought with a manual transmission
SKODA KAROQ ★★★★★ >A miniature Kodiaq: practical, sharply-styled and comfy in a good value package. Shame it’s not as likeable as its predecessor > VERDICT RIP Yeti
> Wider than the last one, with a much better ride, higher quality cabin and slicker auto > VERDICT A brilliant city runabout
> All-new French Golf looks like a foie-grased Clio outside and a low-rent Tesla inside. Is thus an instant improvement over the old one > VERDICT Renault Sport-fettled GT with rearwheel steering a keen drive, too. Sacré bleu!
> Fourth-generation compact MPV trades the practicality that made your wife want one for an exterior sharp enough that you’ll consider having more kids, although the stif ride could see you arrive too early > VERDICT Console your manhood with the fact that 20s are standard
SUPERB SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > So vast inside it echoes. Sharp lines, stacks of kit, double the number of umbrellas. Shame about dull interior and stif price > VERDICT All the family car you’ll ever need. Only bigger
> Tedious-looking city-box is far less funky than Renault’s Twingo but roomier and good to drive. You don’t look at the mantelpiece, and all that > VERDICT VW Up is more desirable, pretty Skoda Citigo is cheaper. Siesta time in Seat’s prod dept?
LEON CUPRA ★★★★★
> Basically the same as a Golf and A3, but bigger, cheaper and more functional. Hot vRS versions old-school ballistic fun. 4x4s practical > VERDICT It’s a lot of car for the money
> Long, narrow notchback hatchback. Big boot. Spaceback is shorter, more ‘stylish’, still dross > VERDICT Unless you’ve got a lot of potatoes and no other way to carry them, just don’t
XV ★★★★★ > We admire the engineering that goes into the XV but you have to pay through the nose for it and you’re limited to a petrol, all-wheel-drive and CVT powertrain that dims the driving pleasure > VERDICT Another very niche Subaru
> Mid-life evolution for Leon means new engines and tech, plus non-surgical facelift. Will still be shunned for a Golf > VERDICT Eminently likeable, just by too few buyers
> Sport is a credible hot hatch all-rounder but it doesn’t thrill like the pokier Cup. Go for a manual Cup version and you have a properly sorted Civic Type R rival > VERDICT Hurrah! They haven’t ruined it like they ruined the Clio RS.
RAPID HATCH/SPACEBACK ★★★★★
backwards; dealers may need to. Niche, as is all too common with Subaru
> A 624bhp twin-turbo V12 sporting vehicle that drives like no other. Dismisses distance but would never lower itself to squealing through bends > VERDICT Whisper it, but Rolls has produced an amazing driver’s car
> It’s a Clio on stilts – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. No 4x4 pretensions means focus is on personalisation. Good engines. It’s no Juke to drive > VERDICT Technicolor clown car if you’re not careful with the spec, otherwise okay
MEGANE RS ★★★★★
> VERDICT Roomy, well made and unexciting – like a low-rent VW Polo. Which is what it is
> Skoda’s all but identical version of the VW Up and Seat Mii. Pick your badge – they’re all well packaged but too noisy and slow > VERDICT Cheaper than the Up, but not by much. Hyundai i10 also worth a look. Yes, actual advice!
> Sorry WRX, I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me. No, it is you, it’s definitely you and your crashy ride, nasty dash and inflexible engine > VERDICT Brilliant, on its day, in its day. But that was yesterday, so let’s call it a day
FABIA HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★
> Very mature little supermini with bodywork creases a Corby trouser press would be proud of. Estate version ideal for Jack Russells
> Impreza estate with a silly name. Single choice of 1.6 petrol with CVT auto and 4wd means it’s got a silly drivetrain too > VERDICT Levorg is grovel
TESLA TESLA MODEL S ★★★★★ > Electro-rocket gets a new face and in P100D guise kidney-thumping amounts of acceleration. The future, with a cabin from the recent past > VERDICT Crush supercars, emit nothing
TESLA MODEL X ★★★★★ > You can scare the bejeezus out of your six passengers by reaching 62mph from zero in 3.1 seconds. Efective, albeit in one dimension > VERDICT Musky
TOYOTA AYGO ★★★★★ > Cramped city car with a characterful three-pot motor is as cheap to run as it feels. See also Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108 – both are basically the same car, with details and dealers the only diferences > VERDICT As ‘Up’hill struggles go, battling VW with this is like climbing north face of the Aygo
YARIS/GRMN ★★★★★ > Standard hatch is soulless, while clever but costly hybrid slashes fuel bills (and boot space). Feisty GRMN limited edition is fun in a raw kind of way but ludicrously expensive – and sold out in any case > VERDICT GRMN is the only one that makes any kind of sense
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TOYOTA > VOLVO AURIS ★★★★★ > Most Aurises sold are hybrids, mainly because the rest of the range is pants > VERDICT Only worth picking as company wheels if you have a Starbucks-like aversion to paying tax
PRIUS ★★★★★ > Prius v4.0 boasts entirely new structure, improved suspension, and is no longer totally joyless to drive > VERDICT A Toyota hybrid that handles. Electric-only range still pathetic
MIRAI ★★★★★ > Weird on the outside, Star Trek on the inside and a hydrogen fuel-cell underneath. Drives just like a very refined regular car > VERDICT We’re convinced by the tech, but there’s nowhere to refuel it yet
AVENSIS SALOON/TOURER ★★★★★ > Does little well – despite using diesel engines from BMW. Tourer marginally more stylish than saloon > VERDICT White goods
VERSO ★★★★★ > Safe, stodgy seven-seater with snore-worthy chassis and a big-selling 1.6 diesel that feels like half its horses are asleep too > VERDICT Inferior to Ford C-Max and Citroën Picasso
C-HR ★★★★★ > Compact crossover that’s stylish outside, huge fun and kooky inside too > VERDICT Buy one and Toyota will never make another dull car. Possibly
RAV4 ★★★★★ > Soft-road pioneer has settled for flufy slippers in its old age. Trump card is boot big enough for a casino table > VERDICT Roomy, reasonable, unremarkable. Many more dynamic alternatives
LAND CRUISER/V8 ★★★★★
> Both bare-knuckle ladder-frame brawlers that wouldn’t know a latte if you spilt it on their rigger’s boots > VERDICT Rough, but if we were stranded in the desert we’d trust it over a Rangie
GT86 ★★★★★ > The slowest fast car you can buy is slightly better than before thanks to new aero, revised suspension and better cloth trim. B-road heaven > VERDICT As pure as Jon Snow. Both of them
VAUXHALL VIVA ★★★★★ > It may look like it was dropped before it had set, but it’s comfy, roomy and refined for a city car, and comes with plenty of standard kit > VERDICT More generous than it may appear at first glance. We’d still buy an Up, though
ADAM/ADAM ROCKS ★★★★★ > Obese Fiat 500 wannabe with huge options list and comedy naming shtick. Adam S warm hatch worth a thought; Rocks crossover flaccid > VERDICT Revitalised by new 1.0-litre turbo triple. Buy a paper bag and try it
CORSA ★★★★★ > Made-over Corsa looks like a candidate for When Plastic Surgery Goes Bad, but it is more
refined and better to drive. 1.0T a good motor > VERDICT Vauxhall keeps trying, but Fiesta still cheerfully waving from way out in front
CORSA VXR ★★★★★ > Luton’s hooligan now smoother round the edges. Unless you pay extra for the slippy dif and hardcore suspension > VERDICT Better but still not best. Lacks Ford Fiesta ST’s sparkle
ASTRA HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Massive step forward in terms of driving dynamics and interior design, plus added techno-charm > VERDICT In hatchback grandmother’s footsteps, Focus and Golf turn round to find Astra standing right behind them
ASTRA GTC/VXR ★★★★★ > 3dr stylish enough to stand comparison REPLACED to Scirocco. VXR fearsomely fast but SOON moody > VERDICT The sexiest Vauxhall. Let’s hope replacement doesn’t lose its mojo
INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT ★★★★★ > Lack of inspiration makes it too close to how you’d hope an Insignia isn’t > VERDICT Fine if you’re given one
CROSSLAND X ★★★★★
> Practical Meriva replacement sits beside the Mokka X for size. Designed to be the more pragmatic choice > VERDICT Genuinely practical if as dull as Luton’s skyline to drive
UP GTI ★★★★★
> Pokey engine, near go-kart level dynamics and great value for money all play second fiddle to the simple fun this little tyke provides by the skipload > VERDICT A compelling mini hot hatch package
> The people’s Porsche Cayenne. Do the people still want their own Cayenne? Well, it is nearly £10k cheaper… > VERDICT Big, comfy, competent SUV. Great on and of road
POLO ★★★★★ > Mini-Golf isn’t that mini any more. It’s practical, has a sharp interior and well built… but so’s the Seat Ibiza > VERDICT Accomplished but lacking the fun factor
POLO GTI ★★★★★ > Baby GTI right down to the tartan seats. Responsive engine, sorted chassis, OTT electronic aids. Wait for the manual > VERDICT The new Fiesta ST should be nervous
GOLF HATCH/ESTATE ★★★★★
> What every rival would like to be if only it BEST IN could get away with charging this much. CLASS Tweaked and preened but perpetually desirable, made for a life of Waitrose car parks > VERDICT Never knowingly undersold
GOLF GTD/GTI/R ★★★★★
> GTD is your dad in running shoes. GTI is BEST IN your dad when he was wild, young and CLASS free. R is your dad having a midlife crisis. All are ace > VERDICT After seven generations, VW has this hot-hatch thing nailed
GRANDLAND X ★★★★★
GOLF SV ★★★★★
> It’s a Pug 3008 in disguise, but diferent enough to appeal in its own right. Not exciting, but a very good family crossover > VERDICT Up there with the Astra as Vauxhall’s top car
> The artist formerly known as the Golf Plus. And by ‘artist’ we mean medium-sized MPV. The car you always knew the Golf would grow up to be > VERDICT Not a bad choice, but now the BMW 2-series Active Tourer is breathing down its neck
ZAFIRA TOURER ★★★★★ > Large MPV with slick seating arrangement. Struggles in the face of S-Max greatness > VERDICT Accomplished but out-flanked by crossovers’ rise to dominance
MOKKA X ★★★★★ > Facelift filed under ‘about f***ing time too’, Mokka gets a better cabin, some new engines and pointless sufix. Driving misery reduced by half > VERDICT X marks the spot where the ball was – about five years ago
VXR8 ★★★★★ > 577bhp Aussie import that’s £20k cheaper than a BMW M5. Optional automatic gearbox’s bid to add sophistication is akin to serving lager in cut crystal glasses. But who gives a 4X? > VERDICT Big, brutish charm
MALOO ★★★★★ > Never before have so many stereotypes been incorporated into a single vehicle. Spectacularly fast, absurd, useless, Australian and brilliant all at the same time > VERDICT The fastest way to stick it to the taxman
BEETLE HATCH/CABRIO ★★★★★ > Although better to drive it lacks the design purity of its predecessor and the charm of the original > VERDICT Even hipsters are, like, so totally over this cynical marketing exercise, man
PASSAT SALOON/ESTATE ★★★★★ > Interior design and refinement so good it shames some limos, cutting-edge kit and elegant looks. If only it wasn’t so dull to drive > VERDICT Mega mile-muncher for the undemanding. Aesthete to Mondeo’s athlete
ARTEON ★★★★★ > Here we go again: Volkswagen tries to be properly premium and almost pulls it of. Great interior, huge boot and there’s standard safety tech aplenty, but it’s a bit dull > VERDICT For SUV-resistant saloon fans… or those who can’t aford a BMW
TOURAN ★★★★★ > It’s still more Millets than House of Fraser, but the current Touran does family stuf well > VERDICT MPV meets MQB, nearly goes VIP
> Large seven-seater sliding-door people carrier > VERDICT Nice enough but made to look silly by all-but-identical and cheaper Seat Alhambra
> Box on wheels is the kind of city car the Japanese have been building for years, except this is much better quality and has a VW badge > VERDICT Not a revolution but a spacious small car with a strong, appealing image
> Accomplished but predictable. Have Seat or Skoda made more of the platform with their versions? > VERDICT No sex please, we’re VW
> Golf-sized SUV aimed at hashtagging, selfie stick-wielding millennials. Massive tech options list and scope for personalisation make up for brittle interior and hefty price tag > VERDICT The funkiest VW
VOLVO V40 ★★★★★ > Smart Swede in a sector dominated by Germans. Eficient D4 engine and impressive kit, but it’s a bit bloated in seat, suspension and steering feel > VERDICT Sitting uncomfortably between Golf and A3. A rock and hard place
V60 ★★★★★ > A Frenchman who can’t cook. A Jackson who can’t dance. A Volvo estate which can’t carry much. Why? > VERDICT Handsome, safe, eficient estate hamstrung by one rather fundamental issue…
V90 ★★★★★ > Sacrilegiously abandons the boot-space race for style while prioritising comfort and refinement over German machismo. Lovely inside. A genuine alternative to the 5-series, E-Class and A6 now > VERDICT If there’s such a thing as Swedish zen, this is it; much more successful in its class than the 60 is in its
S90 ★★★★★ > Smart-looking, well-crafted and adepthandling exec saloon dances a merry jig on the grave of unloved outgoing S80; four-door version of the V90 > VERDICT Loudly purring Swedish cat enters the 5-series/E-Class pigeon enclosure
> No thriller to steer but fetching premium crossover has sharp look, practical interior and charming personality > VERDICT Feels good to be in and it’ll look after you. Many, many cosmetic and equipment choices
> It’s now a shrunken XC90, which is no bad thing. Calming isolation chamber on wheels > VERDICT Surprisingly good to drive now and super safe
XC70 ★★★★★ > A V70 in breeches, with raised ride height and 4x4 option. Awd starts at less than 40 grand, which is good value if you find SUVs crass > VERDICT If you don’t like having a dozen brace of shot pheasant in your boot, don’t buy one of these
XC90 ★★★★★ > It was worth the wait for Volvo to evolve the XC90 this far: luxurious seven-seat interior, clever safety tech, choice of eficient 4-cyl and plug-in drivetrains, refined drive > VERDICT One of the most complete cars on sale, of any style, at any price
KIA STINGER GT S £466pm
AUDI S5 SPORTBACK £441pm
BMW 440i GRAN COUPE £451pm
INFINTI Q50 SPORT TECH £441pm
A hoot to drive, if a tad thirsty
Sober but very accomplished
Arguably even better than an M4
Beast of an engine, so-so package
> Spec 3.3-litre V6, rwd,
> Spec 3.0-litre V6, awd, 8-spd auto,
> Spec 3.0-litre 6-cyl, rwd, 8-spd auto,
> Spec 3.0-litre 6-cyl, rwd, 7-spd auto,
8-spd auto, 28.5mpg > List price £40,495 > Initial payment £4195; then £466.18/month for 48 months > Mileage allowance 10,000 miles > Via jetvehiclefinance.co.uk
> List price £48,850
> List price £47,020
> Initial payment £3975.12; then
> List price £45,490 (M Sport spec) > Initial payment £4062.36; then
> Initial payment £3968.14; then
£441.68/month for 36 months > Mileage allowance 10,000 miles > Via vehiclesavers.com
£451.37/month for 48 months > Mileage allowance 10,000 miles > Via planyourcar.com
> Mileage allowance 10,000 miles > Via fleetprices.co.uk
£440.90/month for 48 months
All prices inclusive of VAT and correct at time of going to press
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S3 ABE £750 SI ABP £850 N28 ABY £650 CI8 ACE £I200 LE03 ACH £650 PE05 ACH £650 P2I ADE £650 M8 ADH £750 P24 ADM £650 ADR I6H £I500 BR03 ADS £950 RE03 ADS £850 GI AEB £850 XI2I AJB £650 P27 AJH £650 J777 AJM £750 46 AJN £2500 N27 AJS £650 K2I ALF £850 P24 ALF £850 ALY 4N £3900 P24 ALY £850 S7 AMA £I300 NI3 AMC £750 P28 AMG £I300 K55 AMH £650 F9 AMM £950 BE55 AMS £750 N27 AMY £I300 900 AN £3900 H23 ANA £I500 GR04 AND £750 W700 AND £650 PL03 ANE £750 DU04 ANE £950 P23 ANG £I400 Y333 ANG £950 M8I ANN £I600 E753 ANN £650 774 ANN £4900 SE07 ANS £950 APL 3Y £I700 F9 APM £750 LI APW £I300 SH05 ARA £950 NI ARF £850 PE03 ARL £650 HE03 ARN £750 N2I ARN £850 EW08 ART£I500 P2I ART £750 N28 ART £750 C55 ART £750 B5 ARW £850 P3I ASH £I200 D2I ATH £750 G83 ATH £650 587 ATR £950 CO07 ATS £I500
PR04 ATT £950 R28 ATT £650 693 AUT £750 LI9 AVA £650 40 AX £5I00 74 AY £4500 H3 AYE £850 923 AYF £650 444 BA £4500 890 BAH £950 284 BAR £2I00 P26 BAS £650 T30 BAS £750 BAS 44N £II00 BAS 855 £I800 F6 BAT £850 N3I BBS £650 N2I BBY £650 P28 BEK £650 N30 BEK £650 N24 BEN £I400 T222 BEN £II00 G2 BET £950 CII BET £750 C6 BEV £I800 NI5 BEV £I500 R27 BEV £I500 BEV 49S £I500 DI3 BEX £750 P23 BEX £850 N3I BEX £750 BF 5870 £I500 BIL 6322 £850 600 BJ £4300 S7 BJS £850 BL 60 £5900 400 BL £3900 K5 BLU £650 W26 BMW £750 V900 BMW£650 P23 BOB £II00 H9 BON £I300 T9 BON £I300 NI3 BOX £650 WI8 BOX £650 P24 BOX £750 775 BP £3800 4000 BR £3300 D2 BRE £650 R6 BRY £I400 LI0 BRY £850 CI4 BRY £950 673 BRY £I800 KI BSB £950 Y9 BSB £650 I7 BU £3900 R23 BUD £650 T40 BUD £650 S8 BUG £I200
C20 BUG £850 L55 BUG £750 N2I BUR £650 P2I BUS £650 R2I BUS £650 A4 BUX £650 65 BV £3800 42I BWE £750 2I92 BY £650 I984 C £4500 I985 CA £3400 BII CAG £650 N24 CAM £850 R48 CAM £850 CAR I0D £5500 CAR I7Y £3500 N3I CAS £850 MY04 CAT £950 P24 CAT £950 M400 CAT £650 EI CAY £I300 N3I CCO £950 C8 CEE £950 GII CEL £650 T6 CEM £650 N2I CER £650 534 CER £I900 X9 CGS £650 N2I CHO £750 CIG 383 £650 NI2I CJB £650 K44 CJM £650 PI23 CJW £650 JO07 CKS £I500 RO07 CKS £I500 N666 CLK £650 P24 CLO £650 NI2I CLO £650 CO 6503 £I700 S4II COE £950 N2I COL £2500 V70 COL £I500 NI2I CON £650 COO 7K £6500 COR 7Y £4500 PA05 COS £950 N3I COS £750 TI6 COX £850 Y444 COX £650 B555 COX £850 M8 CPM £650 C8 CPW £650 HI6 CRA £650 CSK 859 £950 35 CY £3900 299 DA £3500 V5 DAB £I300 XI0 DAD £650 DAL 9E £4500
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Tel: 01380 818181 elitereg.co.uk All registrations are offered on a first come, first served basis. All are subject to VAT and the £80 Dept. for Transport transfer fee. Prices may fluctuate. See website for full terms. We have been trading for over 40 years. Write: P.O.Box 100, Devizes, SN10 4TE PI23 DAN £I500 398I DW £2600 2378 FS £I700 NI2I HAN £750 N24 JAY £I300 KAS IK £4500 B20 LEN £750 8943 ML £2200 K9 DAT £750 JO07 DYS £I500 RI0 FUN £850 8000 HB £3400 6 JCP £5700 KAT I7N £3500 LEO 328 £2700 L8 MMS £950 £3900 HBC 705 £950 LI JCW £I500 KAY 9S £3300 P5 LES £I700 TK54 MMY £750 N27 DAV £650 ECP I79 £750 III FV D44 DAV £950 RI2 EDD £750 75 FY £3900 I87 HBF £650 3333 JE £3900 P25 KAY £750 MO07 LES£2500 V55 MOL £750 N24 DAW £650 EDD 77S £I400 976 GAC £I300 HC 6624 £2500 88 JEF £5500 N3I KAY £I400 AI6 LES £I200 LE03 MON £950 TO07 DAY £I500 FR03 EDS £850 HO07 GAN£I500 44II HE £I500 MY04 JEN £I500 TO06 KEN £950 LIL 696 £I200 735 MR £5700 98 DCD £I200 N2I EEL £950 RO07 GAN£I500 D2 HEL £I500 JEN 6R £3500 M44 KEN £I500 3302 LJ £950 G2 MRD £950 4I55 DD £I500 87 EG £4300 GAV 7X £I500 HFW I95 £850 N24 JEN £I700 N222 KEN £850 54 LN £3700 N8 MRH £750 JO07 DDY £I500 EHA 642 £850 W3I GAV £950 7777 HH £3900 V400 JEN £I300 300 KEN £3900 LUX 962 £I300 MSF 542 £II00 P94 DDY £I500 5I08 EL £I300 NI2I GAV £850 K47 HHH £I500 P25 JES £I300 N2I KER £850 EM06 LYN £I500 7426 MU £850 P23 DEB £I700 NI23 ELA £750 GAZ 6685 £650 M47 HHH £I500 JET 2IE £I600 P2I KER £850 N24 LYN £950 S99 MUM £750 DE03 DEE £850 E3 ELD £850 E5 GEF £I700 HIL 4665 £650 J222 JET £850 M90 KER £750 MAC I3Y £4500 8984 MX £750 P23 DEE £950 S6 ELD £750 GEF 385 £2200 S8 HOE £850 JEZ 343 £650 VO07 KES £I500 N25 MAC £I500 I69 MYD £850 N24 DEE £950 NO03 ELS £I500 N27 GEM £950 H3 HOG £I500 JF I03 £4700 R2I KES £750 R9I MAC £I500 DO07 NAL £I500 W88 DEE £950 EMA 5A £3700 GER 3T £2500 P9 HOP £I400 705 JFC £I200 N28 KES £750 MAL IIW £2500 E9 NAL £750 £I500 KEZ 565 £650 M40 MAL £I500 RO07 NAN£I500 MO07 DEL£I500 N2I EMS £750 LA04 GER £950 I999 HR £2800 JI JGH 440 DEL £2800 EO 8769 £650 C8 GES £I500 4444 HS £3900 602 JGN £950 999 KJ £4300 MAL 82IW £750 JO07 NAS £I500 444 KL £4800 S54 MAR £950 NAT 8N £6500 9000 JJ £2900 HUG 2H £7500 N2I GES £850 P24 DEN £I400 27 EP £3900 N3I DEN £I300 ER 342 £3300 GES 768 £I700 W4 HUG £750 Y2 JKM £750 59 KN £3900 V77 MAR £850 J200 NAT £750 DER 8IV £850 M7 ERL £850 GIL 5887 £650 900 HW £4700 306 JKP £I500 790 KPF £750 RO07 MAS£I500 857 ND £2500 DES 2M £2200 N4 ERN £850 2000 GJ £3200 HY 7354 £I300 G3 JMA £850 KPR 288 £I300 N26 MAS £750 WA04 NDA£I500 5I6 DES £2900 8I8 ETM £950 74 GK £5500 P24 JAC £I400 JOD 9Y £6500 8I27 KR £I700 N27 MAT £I200 P23 NDY £750 50I6 DF £I300 EVE 7S £3900 800 GL £4300 R25 JAC £I400 PI0 JOE £2000 200I KT £3300 PI2I MAT £850 XG54 NDY £950 2573 DG £I400 N2I EVE £I400 68 GN £4900 TI0 JAD £950 R23 JOE £I500 467 KTA £650 MAV 4W £850 85 NE £4300 LO07 DGE £I500 P23 EVE £750 6000 GP £4400 XII JAG £I500 GIII JOE £2500 I00 KU £3600 LO06 MAX£I500 N2I NES £850 DIL 679 £II00 R29 EVE £850 N23 MAX £I400 I955 NJ £2900 5555 DJ £4I00 600 EVE £2400 R24 MAX £I700 700 NK £3900 V53 DJB £750 T8 EVS £750 SIMILAR REGISTRATIONS WANTED S29 MAX £I700 53 NN £4300 3I9 DJU £750 60I EYE £950 R24 MAY £II00 S50 NNA £I200 7775 DK £I600 G3 FAN £850 A92 MEL £I400 BO04 NNY £I500 I65 DKH £I300 FAY 7X £2400 VIII MEL £I400 MO07 NRO£I500 683I KX £950 JON 2A £7500 T55 JAG £II00 DO07 GRA£I500 8I8 FAY £2800 4849 DN £I500 PI2I MEL £I200 NSV 8I4 £750 T7 DOL £950 I59 FCG £750 NI2I GRA £750 P2I JAH £750 R23 JON £I700 LAD I53 £I500 EL04 MER£I500 97 NT £5900 DON 23V £I300 95 FD £3700 GRN 53I £950 JAK IN £4500 N27 JON £I700 42 LAN £4I00 HO07 MER£I500 OBW 550 £950 XI00 DON £750 FG 4447 £I600 GSU 675 £750 P27 JAK £I500 46I JON £3500 B5 LAW £I600 R2I MER £750 OC 28I6 £I900 T333 DON £850 236 FHO £750 I6 GU £3800 L33 JAM £I500 R28 JOY £950 R26 LAW £I500 93 MER £3I00 OD 4338 £I200 P66 DOT £850 FIL I733 £650 G37 GUY £950 JAM 85Y £3500 MI00 JOY £850 6000 LC £3500 YI MES £750 TO07 OTH£2500 £4I00 JAN IIM £2900 243 JOY £2500 LCW 450 £II00 C6 MEW £750 C5 PAB £I200 £4I00 54 GY 994 DOT £I200 75 FL I366 DP £I900 K9 FOS £950 8026 HA £II00 N24 JAN £I600 8384 JP £3900 LEE 3J £3600 737 MFK £950 SI0 PAM £I700 L5 DRS £I200 G25 FOX £I400 699 HAB £I200 B92 JAN £I500 N23 JRS £750 P23 LEE £I800 MHS 5I4 £I500 PAM 85IM £850 DS 8968 £I300 P26 FOX £I400 HAL I5X £I500 N28 JAS £I300 N2I JUL £750 R23 LEE £I800 MIG 929 £650 D48 PAT £I300 R3 DSC £750 I52 FRH £II00 JO04 HAN £I500 F77 JAS £I300 E6 KAB £750 N26 LEE £I400 B6 MJE £750 D32I PAT £850 DSN I3 £I600 D3 FRY £I500 HAN 4T £3400 P23 JAY £I400 SO07 KAL £I500 YI LEN £I900 2533 MK £I600 PAU 9L £II500
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896I PE £I700 JI PEA £I300 PEG IY £4700 P9 PEG £I500 M45 PEN £850 PO07 PES £I500 I585 PG £I500 I520 PH £I600 F7 PJG £750 97 PN £4300 POT 33R £2500 9900 PP £3200 I7 PU £4300 800 PU £3300 PUR 33X £950 GI PWR £850 29 PY £3700 MC04 RAE £750 RII RAF £750 RAH 905 £2200 W99 RAJ £850 HO07 RAN£I500 CO07 RAS £I500 DO07 RAS £I500 G22 RAY £2500 T22 RAY £I700 S44 RAY £I700 P200 RAY £750 I982 RC £3200 X8 RDH £750 LO07 RDS £I500 REE 5X £5500 W8 REE £850 AI REO £I800 GO07 RES £I500 REX IC £3300 H6 REX £750 D7 REX £750 I7 RFC £2200 RIB 979 £750 RIJ 74 £950 9000 RJ £3200 MA04 RKO£I500 YO07 RKS £I500 P2I RKS £750 RLG 86I £950 EA04 RLS £950 RM 9699 £3400 C5 RMC £850 2000 RN £3200 RNO 642 £950 KI8 ROB £I700 N23 ROB £I700 ROB 48IY £950 ROC 9K £3500 ROD 5Y £6500 A62 ROD £750 857 ROD £2500 R999 ROD £750
AR03 RON£I500 R2I RON £I700 YI2I RON £750 E5 ROO £750 WI7 ROS £750 R65 ROS £850 M78 ROS £750 MI0 ROY £I500 S29 ROY £850 AI00 ROY £I500 ROY 778W £750 BI RPS £750 MO07 RSE£I500 C9 RSH £850 RSY 4D £950 RUT 3H £6500 RO07 RYS £I500 R23 SAL £950 66I SC £4600 C2 SCL £750 N6 SED £750 P24 SHA £950 JO07 SHY £I500 SIJ 7I3 £650 SIL 456 £650 H4 SJT £850 P27 SJW £750 P5 SLK £I500 528 SME £I300 555 SN £5500 V77 SSA £750 N2I STA £I300 XI STD £750 STU IL £4700 K90 STU £I800 MI55 STU £I500 VI72 STU £750 J9 SUE £2800 N23 SUE £I700 SUE 50M £2800 B72I SUE £950 R777 SUE £I300 SUL 33Y £5500 G6 SUT £I300 SYB 6IL £750 C8 SYD £950 600 SYF £I500 B6 TAD £950 A5 TAK £950 J7 TAS £850 N3I TAS £750 TAZ 595 £750 TBK 85I £750 WI0 TED £750 RIII TED £750 P23 TEL £950 SII5 TEV £850 59 TG £5300 M8 THJ £750
7242 TJ £I500 272 TKJ £950 I25 TL £4900 67 TN £3900 70 TO £6300 TO 685 £2700 J3 TOP £950 AS05 TOR £I300 WI8 TOY £750 TSU 670 £750 GO07 TTS £I500 M477 TTS£2500 GO07 TTY £I500 HA07 TTY £I500 P28 TTY £950 75 UE £4700 44I2 UK £I300 UPR I50 £650 UPV 98 £950 URT 44I £850 57 URY £3500 DE07 VAL £I500 DU07 VAL £I500 GI9 VAL £I300 54 VAL £4900 8853 VB £850 BI0 VEL £950 HA04 VEN £I500 NI2I VEN £750 69 VJ £4500 70 VL £4300 VMR I34 £650 GO06 WAN£750 K7 WAX £750 WBE 22I £II00 WBR 36 £I400 HY03 WEL £I500 N3 WEL £2300 CO07 WEN£I500 L77 WEN £750 PO07 WER£I500 LO07 WES£I500 WES 89M £850 I000 WL £3800 WOC 922 £750 76 WP £5700 WSY 698 £850 700 WT £3900 734 WYC £650 AL04 WYN£I500 N9 WYN £750 XBK 63I £850 XWJ 908 £650 YOR 285 £650 YS 4I38 £I400 I24 YTW £650 YUM 773 £750 8369 YZ £650 MA04 ZDA£I500
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Cars based on vans based on cars Suddenly they’re everywhere. But where have they come from? And which are the good ones? By Colin Overland
CITROËN BERLINGO MULTISPACE
The Berlingo (and its Peugeot Partner twin) is the zenith of the no-nonsense approach to LAVs (for leisure activity vehicles, as some unwisely label them). ZX parts meet space for dogs, kids, luggage and wheelchairs. Room for everything except driving pleasure.
The Kangoo has been through a couple of generations since its 1997 debut, but the idea was right from the of. A five-seater based on a van based on the Clio Mk2, it’s been a hit wherever practicality is prized above all else. Our favourite is the 2002 allwheel-drive Trekka.
VW CADDY LIFE A bit posher and more car-like than the dominant French trio, the Life version of the Caddy van has been around since 2004, joined three years later by the longer Caddy Maxi Life. There’s Touran in there, and a dash of Transporter.
DACIA LOGAN MCV
MERCEDES CITAN TOURER
VAUXHALL COMBO LIFE
Fiat may have lost its magic touch with mainstream minis, but this is a superbly practical and rather stylish alternative. It’s based on the Fiorino van, with Grande Punto underpinnings, but sprinkled with alloys, roof bars and cheerful paint. Although it’s small, the rear passenger doors slide.
Not the current one, but the 2007 Logan Maximum Capacity Vehicle. It wasn’t directly van based, which makes this a slightly rogue entry, but it’s here to highlight the convergence between estate cars and small vans and MPVs and SUVs. A huge hit in France, but never sold in the UK.
The long-wheelbase version houses seven, the regular one manages five. It’s essentially a rebadged Renault Kangoo (itself based on the Scenic), with tweaked suspension, a new dash and more soundproofing. It’s also extra ugly, which is odd when you consider how handsome Merc’s vans are.
Vauxhall’s first entry in the full-size LAV segment is partnered with the new versions of the class-defining Peugeot and Citroën, and shares their 308 roots. Like them, it comes in five-seat and longer seven-seat versions. With the Zafira having edged upmarket, this is family utility transport, 2018 style.
They’ve not been made for 15 years, but they’re still everywhere in rural France, where fussy British work-time/ family-time distinctions don’t apply; nor does the French tax man insist that a van has no side windows. Based on the Mk2 Renault 5, it had proper rear suspension, unlike most vans.
Okay, so it’s a van. A van with windows. A slow van with windows. But it inspired everything you see above. Built for a decade from 1977, it’s based on the Dyane; the name is a play on AK (Citroën’s van prefix) and Dyane. It was ofered as a van or as a Mixte, with rear bench seat and sliding rear windows.
FORD TOURNEO CONNECT It’s based on a van, but a van that has taken great strides in an MPV-wardly direction, coming close to bridging the gap between commercial-vehicle crudity and S-Max/Galaxy sophistication and equipment levels. Check the
huge styling overlap between the Tourneo and Transit vans and those MPVs. Original design work on the first Tourneo Connect (and Transit Connect van) of 2002 was by a post-Volvo Peter Horbury; the underpinnings were part-Focus.
WWW.WARRANTYWISE.CO.UK 0800 121 4801 car, 0008-5987 is published 12 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to CAR, Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Subscription records are maintained at Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 9EF, United Kingdom. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent. Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is registered in England and Wales, company number 01176085. Registered address: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA
GAP Insurance to fall back on A GAP insurance policy tops up an insurerâ€™s payout in the event of -ub|;ĹŠo@Äˇ7;|o-11b7;m|ou|_;[ oum;ouv;71-uvÄˇ0o]_| o|ub]_|ouomCm-m1;Äˇ1o ;u=uol-vŃ´bŃ´;-vĹŹĆ“Ć–r;u;-u
â€œThis was the best price by far for my Gap bmvu-m1;rŃ˛vvloo|_;-v|u-mv-1omÄś what more could you ask!â€? Chris, February 2018
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