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GIANT TEST

AUDI VS MERCEDES-AMG VS INFINITI New S5 and C43 Coupe battle 400bhp Q60

MARCH 2 0 1 7 ISSUE 656 £ 4 . 7 0

MARCH 2017 £4.70 ISSUE 656

Volkswagen strikes back! Driven!

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H O R AC I O ’S V E R D I C T

Pagani on Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren

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M3, M5… 601bhp limo WWW.CARMAGAZINE.CO.UK

MOTORSP ORT

Scary, relevant & spectacular DRIVES

21 ca Cou


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It’ll take quite something to replace the Golf. Here it is…

MARCH 2017

Features

Insider

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8 Global car buying trends: what’s hot and what’s not 12 Wacky races: 2CV endurance racing in Norfolk 13 Revealed: Citroën’s cuddly new compact SUV

We drive the new Golf…

14 Jaguar’s second SUV spied on test

On the road in the GTI and the super-economical 1.5, plus self-driving tech put to the test

16 Tech innovators dream up radical e-cars 18 Million-pound wristwatch; new Lexus LS 22 The CAR Inquisition: Ginetta’s Lawrence Tomlinson

Tech

30

Most poweful Bentley tested

The inside story of the next-generation hatch that will help VW move on from Dieselgate

24 Voice-operated in-car controls 26 Does it work? Your real-world lap stats on GT6

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7 Toyota leads low-mpg crusade 27 28 Merc’s Ola Källenius on self-driving future Benzes

Flat out in the BMW M760Li

First drives

The fastest production BMW is a long-wheelbase limo. Plus we meet a mad-keen M collector

30 Bentley Continental Supersports Plush, powerful 33 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Best of the bunch

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34 Lamborghini Avantador S Entry-level upgrade 7 Mazda MX-5 RF Folding hard-top reinvented 37

Inside the new Pagani factory

38 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Economical? The truth

Visionary supercar genius Horacio Pagani guides us around the factory he designed himself

40 Nissan Micra Aims to be everything the last one wasn’t 41 Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic Bling, zing Test Tricked-up city cars compared 42 Quick Group T

Opinion 46 The CAR R columnists: Gavin Green & Mark Walton

R interactive: your views and your photos 51 CAR

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… and probe the next Golf

106

Great start for new-look WRC

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Coupe shootout New Audi S5 tests its performance-prestige mettle against Merc-AMG and Infiniti alternatives

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World Rally reborn for 2017 New rules, new cars deubt in Monte Carlo

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Countryman vs the country Does the new-gen 4x4 Mini work in the sticks?

Rear End 124 Icon buyer New Porsche 308 GTi vs used Civic Type R Mugen

130 Our cars Hello Porsche Macan, Caterham, Infiniti Q30

143 GBU: every car rated! What we say about your car – and your next car

162 The CAR Top 10 Car-based commercial vehicles


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WELCOME

Akio Toyoda, y the car guy at the top I

Akio Toyoda: ‘The feel of a great car on an open road is one of the best in the world’

FROM THE ARCHIVE

NEW WAVE VOLKSWAGENS

CAN’T TAKE MY eyes off Toyota at the moment. And that’s not just because the latest Prius is so angular and gawky, and the C-HR looks like a Transformer that’s got stuck midway between killer robot and car. Toyota’s premium offshoot, Lexus, has an equally attention-seeking design ethos. One wag of a car designer skewered its approach in one word: ‘multi-faceted’. Not that I’m knocking the company’s bravery; the C-HR and new LC look sensational. Having spent years groaning at the conservative Yaris and Auris, let’s celebrate diversity. And let’s celebrate more of Toyota, because the intrigue goes far deeper than the skin. At the risk of sounding anthropomorphic, the Toyota Motor Corporation has been transformed into a body where car guy passion rules, guided by the petrolhead at the top, Akio Toyoda. He took over the company pronouncing: ‘I’m a car nut, and I race because racing helps us develop our cars. And the feel of a great car on an open road is one of the best in the world and I want to share that feeling with customers.’ Toyota will soon give us two cars developed to that pledge. From the umbrella of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing motorsports team comes a Yaris hot hatch, a cousin to the new World Rally Car (see p106). With 210bhp, it’ll be at the pinnacle of small-hatch performance: pre-Akio Toyota would have been more worried about insurance group digits than benchmark peak power. It’ll be followed by the reborn Supra. Its aggressive front bumper, big-bore tailpipes and double-bubble roof are pictured on p14 in the most revealing spyshots yet. Power comes from the trademark turbocharged six, and whispers say the Toyota is more hardcore than its sister car, BMW’s Z4 replacement. Another sports car arrives in 2017, the Lexus LC. Its foundation is a fabulously balanced chassis (the like of which Lexus hasn’t had since the £340k LFA), with its mass low and central, responsive steering and oodles of rear-drive feel. This platform, developed with input from Toyoda himself, will underpin all future Lexus. And Toyota has the same approach for its front-drive GA-C architecture, equipped with independent rear suspension to improve ride and handling. The result? The first ever Prius which is engaging to drive, and the fun and eager C-HR. This platform will be rolled out globally, conceivably making mainstream Toyotas more dynamic the world over. Toyoda took the helm as Toyota was embroiled in its ‘unintended acceleration’ scandal in the US, and he helped the company bounce back from billions in losses. In my mind, the bigger achievement is to transform the company’s ingrained conservatism, to convince a successful organisation to take risks, to champion cars that are more exciting to look at and drive. In doing so, he has turned the world’s most boring car PHIL MCNAMARA company into one of the world’s most interesting. Editor

Front-drive and liquidcooling are ubiquitous today, but in March ’76 CAR, intrigued by the Beetle’s successors, investigated the dynamics, reliability and owners’ views of the Polo, Sirocco, Passat and Golf. ‘Their thoughtful, efficient designs are above average in a world with too many inferior models,’ we said. They were onto something… 2017 Golf driven p56 ALSO IN THAT ISSUE… Setright indulged in an odd couple, the Merc 450SL and Honda Gold Wing bike Should we bail out Jensen? A moot point, it turned out Refined, economical Ford Granada beat Opel Rekord

AROUND THE WORL WORLD WE’RE ALSO PUBLISHED IN:

BRAZIL

CHINA

INDIA

ITALY

KOREA

SPAIN

THAILAND

TURKEY

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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Cars, people, scoops, motorsport, analysis: the month according to CAR US

The car world’s

The Japanese locked out the non-SUV market again, as they have for 20 BEST-SELLING CAR years, while the US Big Three Ford F-150 were once again embarrassed by their flaccid car sales. Indeed FCA Fiat-Chrysler even killed its Focus-sized Chrysler 200 saloon, sending Chrysler-brand sales down to 18th. The US makers instead gave praise for SUVs, which (together with pick-ups) grabbed over 10m of the country’s 17.5m sales.

820,799

WINNING BIG Ram +11.1% FALLING FAST Chrysler -27%

UK

I

BEST-SELLING CAR

Fo

ta

120,525

WINNING BIG Jaguar (+45%) FALLING FAST Renault Twingo (-41%)

BRAZIL Chevy’s Onix supermini clings to the top of the wreckage of Brazil’s fast-shrinking car market for the second year after ending Fiat’s 30-year run at the top, while Toyota is successfully scavenging for sales, partly using its Hilux pick-up (pictured). Fiat sales dropped a painful 31% last year, but help is at hand in the form of its new Toro sub-Hilux pick-up. Stablemate Jeep, meanwhile, rose to 10th place.

BIG

Toyota

+3%

BEST-SELLING CAR Chevrolet Onix 820,799 FALLING FAST Everyone else

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h 2017

Last year’s record UK car market (at 2.7m) was boiling hot for SUVs and premium brands, but its unpredictability sunk some and rescued others. The Renault Twingo plummeted to 149th with just 3250 sales. MPVs are dead? Not for Ford, whose S-Max and Galaxy outsold the Mondeo with almost 19,000 shifted. Jaguar’s XE rose 41% with 13,498 sold, and the F-Pace SUV made a solid start with 8182 out of the door, more than Volvo sold of the XC90, for instance.


GERMANY Last year VW’s sales in its home market fell further in percentage terms than any other volume brand bar the swirling Citroën spin-off DS. That could be Dieselgate fallout, but it’s also because the best-selling Golf was heading for a facelift. So buyers waited, and sales of the Golf dropped by more than Honda’s entire German total for the year.

RUSSIA BEST-SELLING CAR

VW Golf

270,952

Last year the inconceivable happened. For more than 40 years a Lada has topped the model sales table, but Russia’s new BES CAR favourite car became the humble Hyundai Solaris Hyundai Solaris, a local version of the i20. It might be temporary. Renaultcontrolled Lada is still the biggest brand with almost one in five new sales. Nissan on the other hand was last year’s biggest victim in a market that has halved to 1.4 million from its 2012 high.

90,380

WINNING BIG Bentley +73% FALLING FAST VW -4%

WINNING BIG Lada -1% FALLING FAST Nissan -23%

ITALY Fiat sells three times the next biggest maker (VW) on its home turf, and over a third of that is the Panda. No other maker – let alone another model – outsold the tiny city car. Italian car sales have pulled themselves out of the doldrums, rising 16% to 1.8m, and that has dragged along everyone bar Nissan, which currently doesn’t satisfy Italian demand for small ’n’ cute. BEST-SELLING CAR: WINNING BIG Fiat Panda Renault +25% FALLING FAST Nissan -4%

147,291

CHINA The winner might be the Hongguang MPV, but in 2016 China was all about WINNING BIG demand for SUVs, nine million SUVs of them in a market that rose to a boggling 28 million new car sales. By and large the SUV boom bolstered Chinese makers, although VW continued to do well. The Haval H6 (pictured) from Great Wall was the second-best selling car overall with more than 580,000 sold.

+45%

BEST-SELLING CAR Wuling Hongguang 650,018 FALLING FAST Peugeot -14%

INDIA G BIG The volume end of Renault India’s 3m-strong new-car market is normally a lock-out for Maruti Suzuki (which takes nearly half) and second-placed Hyundai. Last year the amazing happened. Renault’s dinky new Kwid SUV (pictured) reached eighth, pushing the French maker’s sales there up 148% to 132,235. Honda felt the pain most, down nearly 50,000.

+148%

BEST-SELLING CAR Maruti Suzuki Alto 245,094 FALLING FAST Honda -23%

JAPAN Whatever your reservations about the Prius, Toyota doesn’t care, having sold almost a quarter of a million of them in Japan last year. This is the land of hybrids, people movers and teeny kei cars. A place where SUVs have a long and rocky road to climb compared to their smooth glide to acceptability elsewhere. Only the Honda HR-V (Vezel) made inroads, putting it eighth in the non-kei charts. WINNING BIG Mini +16% FALLING FAST Mitsubishi -18%

BEST-SELLING CAR

Toyota Prius

248,258

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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isn’t an SUV? Or it might be a sign of the fact that anyone challenging the established premium hierarchy is up against some huge brand loyalty; BMW, Audi and Mercedes are, respectively, the nation’s fourth, fifth and sixth most popular brands. Further afield there are some curious developments. Renault is growing quickly in two very different markets, India and Italy, despite its much reduced profile in the UK and some other markets where it was once very strong. Russia and Brazil have both crashed. Blame the economy. Brazil’s new-car market is now below two million cars a year – half what it was in 2012. The SUV is in serious growth pretty much everywhere except Japan. Local tastes are a long way out of kilter with Western Europe’s – except when it comes to the Mini, a huge success there. The Toyota Prius is the top seller in Japan; it’s a good car, but don’t overlook the effect taxation can have on buying trends. In the Netherlands, France and elsewhere, there is increasing political attention being paid to the polluting effects of the car. It could mean lots of things, but is very likely to mean that hybrids and electric cars become more popular and cheaper. VW took a hit in its home market, while still being the world’s biggest car maker by volume (10.3m). The long-term effects of Dieselgate may take a while to emerge, but based on the 2016 figures it’s far from the showroom meltdown that might have been expected, and suggests the new Mk 7.5 Golf featured in this issue could easily regain much of the lost ground – and the ID concept shows that a more digital, electric VW is just around the corner. If Brexit’s likely effects on car buyers and manufacturers are far from clear, the consequences of President Trump’s protectionist tendencies are even harder to predict. And with elections coming up in France and Germany, there’s the possibility of currently stable economies with thriving car markets taking a dive.

Much-improved Mustang is now not just a US phenomenon

The world’s best-selling sports car IT’S NOT CONFIRMED yet but the Ford Mustang looks on track to take the title of world’s bestselling sports car, as it did in 2015. A big reason is because Americans bought just over 100,000 of them in 2016. That figure is actually 13% down on the year before, but is

nonetheless huge. And it’s not just the USA that loves the Mustang, now available in right-hand drive. Last year it was the best-selling sports car in India (152 sold, but a win is still a win), Mexico (3022), China (nearly 5000 shifted) and Korea (811). But sorry Ford, the

Europeans’ favourite sports car is still homegrown: the Audi TT. That sold 21,022 across the 29 EU countries last year, including the UK. Brits like the TT so much it outsold all other sports cars: 9336, more than Germany, making us the biggest market for the car.

Meanwhile, there are some things you can always rely on… like the Ford F-series continuing its quarter-century run as America’s best-selling car (broadly defined). Last year Americans bought more pick-ups than we bought cars of any type in the UK. A third were Ford F-150s. Dodge spin-off brand Ram thrived with its range of big, very big and huge pick-ups. But don’t expect that trend to be replicated closer to home. Thanks to Bestsellingcarsblog.com and JATO Dynamics (www.jato.com) for their help with this story.

IT PAYS TO CLONE

Another year of the SUV ALMOST EVERYWHERE you looked in 2016, the big growth in sales came from SUVs. Across Europe they rose 21% to 3.9 million sales, taking a quarter of the market. The Renault Captur joined the Nissan Qashqai in the top 10. In China they rose 45% to nine million, in the US SUVs combined with pick-ups

now account for over half the market. Get the design right, and they will overcome consumer distaste for your brand. In the UK, the Vauxhall Mokka in 11th place overall is the second best-selling SUV after the Qashqai. The Kia Sportage in 13th spot is the brand’s best-selling car here, as is Captur for Renault in 24th

10 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

place and the Tuscon for Hyundai in 25th. The trend is manna for Jaguar Land Rover. Last year we in the UK bought more Range Rover Evoques than Audi A4s, or even Skoda Octavias. Globally the Jaguar F-Pace became the brand’s bestseller, just outselling the XE despite not clocking up a full year of sales.

Land Rover was rightly incensed when Landwind ripped off the Evoque to sell the X7. But Landwind didn’t care and now is now cashing in with a car that costs around a third of the small Range Rover. The company doesn’t break down its sales figures between models, but Matt Gasnier, editor of global sales aggregator Bestsellingcarsblog and frequent China visitor, reckons the X7 (pictured) was responsible for nearly all Landwind’s 80% increase in sales to 80,002 last year: ‘You see them everywhere. It’s paying off big-time for them.’ It’s far outstripping sales of Land Rover’s Chinesebuilt Evoque at just 12,759 last year. Zoyte is another shameless copyist. The company launched its Porsche Macan clone, the SR9, in November and by the end of December had sold 10,033. That could translate to sales of 100,000 in a full year, eclipsing Porsche’s total 2016 Chinese sales – for the whole brand – of 65,200.


Norfolk and 45bhp racers: where did it all go wrong, Le Mans?

WACKY RACES #4

The wonderful world of Citroën 2CV racing There is nothing more French than a Deux Chevaux, but it’s in Britain that it’s forged an unlikely racing career Body roll ahoy!

Wheel to wheel racing?

24 hours? Really?

When’s it occurring?

Soft, standard 2CVs roll like a ship in distress, but the racers are lowered and relatively composed by comparison. ‘They handle like any small, front-wheeldrive car,’ says the 2CV racing club’s Chris Yates. ‘I used to race Minis and the feeling is the same. We use decent shocks, and they only weigh 500kg.’ Good job; max power’s 45bhp.

Oh yes. Cars frequently run four abreast, and swap places constantly. ‘In such a low-powered class you can’t afford to make a mistake; momentum is crucial,’ Yates explains. ‘Everyone has trouble with the umbrella gearchange, essentially an H-pattern on its side mounted on the dashboard. Only the French could come up with that...’

The 2CV 24 Hours has been running since 1990, originally at Mondello Park in Ireland, and now at Snetterton in Norfolk. Blown engines are common (blame the awkward gearchange), so all cars use the lighter 602cc unit, which can be lifted by a single person. Experienced crews can perform an engine swap in 10 minutes.

The season kicks off at Oulton Park on 18 March, with the 24 Hours in August. Regular races have two 20-minute races with two qualifying sessions, so a car could be shared by two drivers. ‘I’d say it’s the cheapest form of circuit racing out there,’ Yates says. ‘We want to be the grassroots of circuit racing.’

NEW CAR DEBRIEF > SEAT IBIZA

1

Whoa! We’re going to Ibiza? Looks like it’s actually worth the trip this time, as the poor man’s Polo shapes up into a smart-suited mini-Leon for 2017. This is the first VW Group model to use its fresh ‘MQB A0’ small car platform; the next-gen Polo will follow a little later down the line.

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Let me guess: bigger inside? Now five-dooronly, the Ibiza gets a longer wheelbase to boost kneeroom, despite being a smidge shorter (but wider) overall, with a 63-litre bigger boot. Square-cut interior packs wireless charging and a smartphone-fluent 8in touchscreen.

3

And smaller bits under the bonnet? A turbo’d and intercooled 1.0-litre petrol triple comes in 94 and 113bhp flavours; it’ll be joined by the Golf’s 148bhp Evo 1.5-litre, and a 79bhp/94bhp 1.6 turbodiesel. Little engines get five gears, bigger ones six; 7spd DSG’s an option.

4

When does it reach the UK? July 2017, in four trim levels; FR gets lower suspension and go-faster bumpers, the un-spellchecked Xcellence revels in chrome. That new A0 platform enables adaptive cruise control and front collision warning, and wheels up to 18in.

IMAGES: MARIA COOKE, WORDS: JAMES TAYLOR

Whose idea was this? Off-road 2CV Cross racing has existed in France for about as long as there have been 2CVs, but some bright spark imported the same template to Britain’s circuits in 1989. Over a quarter of a century later the 2CV Racing Club is still going strong, with an epic annual 24-hour endurance race the flagship event in its multi-circuit championship.


Citroën

W C3 ROOTS, GM PLANT The dashboard layout is familiar from the C3 supermini, as are the engines. But it’ll be built beside the Crossland X in GM’s Spanish factory

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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Imminent E-Pace is smaller and cheaper than Jaguar’s smashhit F-Pace

DS SUV lim range is about to be l of a mid-size DS SUV. e DS7 Cross sits on tform. Sharing its etrol and diesel 8, the DS SUV

Jaguar E-Pace Evoq ER 3

SEEN HERE FIRST!

Peugeot 508

Incoming! Kia B-SUV Do t cal and toda drive. B the su turbo t

Toyota Supra

BMW 8-series cabrio derway for an place the 6-series market to take on the in offs Now our spies

Reborn Toyota Supra coupe will be twinned with BMW Z4 roadster and is set to inspire the GT86 replacement

|


Vapourware catalogue: concept cars dream big at CES 2017 Future-gazing concept craziness at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, coming to a showroom nowhere near you… eventually. By James Taylor

Toyota Concept-i Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech was a recurring automotive theme at CES 2017. Toyota’s vision for the year 2030 features an on-board assistant it calls Yui, designed to ‘build a relationship with the driver’. Yui manifests itself as a series of animated 2D graphic circles, appearing on the door panels to say hi as you approach, and popping

up intermittently on the dashboard and door panels to interact with occupants. It can read your facial expression to ascertain if you’re stressed, in which case it might offer to take the wheel for you (there’s a fully autonomous mode), recline your seat and give you a massage, or put a pick-me-up playlist on the stereo. ABS, ESC and now BFF as standard.

NEED TO KNOW

Faraday Future FF 91 Anything Tesla can do, including naming itself after a dead scientist, Faraday Future fancies having a go at too. This hugely complicated creation previews the US-based EV specialist start-up’s first production car. It’s pencilled for production in 2018 and Faraday’s taking deposits now, but with the firm’s new factory on pause and a fast-revolving door spinning in the boardroom, how

much of the four-door’s ambitious spec – including a 1000bhp+ powertrain, sub-2.4sec 0-60mph time and facial recognition in lieu of a key – will make it to the street remains to be seen. Somewhat embarrassingly, the FF 91’s ‘driverless valet’ system (whereby the driver can leave the car to park itself) refused to play ball in an on-stage demo at CES. Doubters remain very vocal.

> What is it? Scissor-doored future pod wants to be your friend > Tech specs Aerodynamic wheel covers, full EV drivetrain, autonomous driving capability > Aimed at? Needy types in the year 2030 > Chances of making production? Yui-style AI assistant tech is coming. May differ a tad from this vision, though

NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Four-door, four-motor leviathan, and potentially the world’s quickest EV > Tech specs 783kW (1050bhp) peak power, 130kWh LG battery system, 435-mile range > Aimed at? People who find Tesla’s Model S old and slow >

Rinspeed Oasis Swiss automotive tech consultancy Rinspeed’s latest concept is a ‘manoeuvrable speedster with an integrated small garden plot behind the windshield’. This dash-mounted flowerbed has ‘enough space for growing radishes or even little Bonsai trees,’ and a front-mounted access panel for tending to its contents. The real point of the Oasis is as a platform

to showcase various automotive supplier companies’ latest tech (giant windscreen HUD graphics, on-board cinema systems, etc), and Rinspeed’s vision for a future in which individual autonomous cars could be privately owned, publicly hired, or used commercially at different times during the day. If we can all just learn to share.

NEED TO KNOW

Honda Neuv Just like Toyota’s Yui AI interface, the Neuv (pronounced ‘new V’) city car concept packs a virtual assistant of its own. This one’s called Hana, appearing as an emoji-style face on the instrument panel and fulfilling a similar job description. One of her functions is to look after inexperienced drivers, restricting the car’s power and warning of

upcoming dangers on recognised dangerous roads. The Neuv can have multiple jobs too; once you’ve reached the office for the day, Honda envisages the autonomous Neuv driving itself away to play taxi as a lift-sharing vehicle. You can complete your journey using the on-board electric skateboard, while leaving Hana to park the Neuv for you.

NEED TO KNOW > What is it? Occasionally autonomous city car concept. Looks like a Smart crossed with a Glacier mint > Tech specs s They haven’t designed any. Nominally it’s an EV > Aimed at? Anxious parents, Tony Hawk fans > Chances of making production? Some of the interface ideas might; the skateboard, probably not

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CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

> What is it? A self-driving two-seater city car, with on-board topiary > Tech specs Two in-wheel ZF torque-vectoring electric motors, 20in wh l f > data a > conn


W AT C H E S

Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1 £996,500

Return of the car guy chronograph Inspired by classic motorsport-friendly wrist wear, this trio of timepieces makes the most of future tech

A

S A MEANS of measuring time, wrist-worn mechanical chronographs were rendered redundant long ago. Accurate car- and circuit-based lap-timing (pioneered, ironically, by watchmakers Heuer) made a driver’s chrono more decoration than use in motorsport by the end of the ’70s. Yet we still seem to love them, and watchmakers seek endlessly to improve them. These three have just been launched with radical new takes on how chronographs should operate and fit, and how much they should weigh and cost. BEN OLIVER @thebenoliver

Hard to do this watch justice. It’s not really a watch at all but a work of mechanical and scientific art. A collaboration between Richard Mille and McLaren, it uses graphene (the stuff for which two University of Manchester professors won Nobel prizes) to strengthen and lighten the carbon case, the rubber strap and the supercomplex tourbillon movement; the latter has hundreds of components yet weighs only 7g. The whole thing weighs just 40g, making it the lightest mechanical chronograph ever made. Yes, it’s nearly a million quid, but it will fetch far more at auction in a few years’ time. richardmille.com

Breitling for Bentley Supersports B55

Bulova Curv

NEW CAR DEBRIEF > LEXUS LS

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All hail the fifth-generation Lexus LS, which claims to inject a dose of dynamism into the limousine’s trademark civility. Adopting Lexus’s stiff new global architecture drops the centre of gravity, trims 90kg despite its 5.2m length, and pushes the engine back in the nose. It’s a recipe that delivered on the LC500 coupe.

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The first engine announced is a twinturbo, 3.5-litre V6 mustering a prodigious 415bhp, coupled with the smooth and snappy 10-speed torque converter auto. With all-wheel drive, it’s good for 0-62mph in 4.5sec. No word on whether this V6 will come to the UK: a hybrid is a cert when sales begin early 2018.

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The LS is saddled with the acronym VDIM: Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management. This chassis control system sounds anything but dim, adapting air suspension, steering, brakes and powertrain to help create that dual character. Active anti-roll bars, and suspension geometry heighten steering response.

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The philosophy of omotenashi – Japanese hospitality – has shaped the LS. That means 28-way powered front seats that heat, cool and massage, as do the rear perches that can be reclined by 48deg. The new focus on driving dynamics is clearly not at the expense of comfort. It also sports the world’s largest colour head-up display.


CAR-FU! 5

reasons to see JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO, the movie where cars, guns and kung-fu collide


1 2 3 4 5 IS RELEASED IN CINEMAS EVERYWHERE FROM FEBRUARY 17

FOR ITS LOVE OF CARS! John Wick, the world’s most relentless hitman, has unfinished business. His beloved 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 remains stashed with the criminal gang that forced him out of retirement, by taking away the things John loves: the puppy gifted him by his late wife – and his muscle car. That’s an emotional connection all car enthusiasts will relate to. In the cult first film, the Mach 1 was a key plot trigger but it stayed out of o, it’s sucked into the mayhem… the fray – in John Wick: Chapter Two

FOR ITS UNSTOPPABLE ACTION! Yes, that is the Mach 1 oversteering in mid-air. It’s John Wick liberating his ‘Stang from its captors, a sequence which stunt co-ordinator Darrin Prescott recalls with real pride. ‘I pushed stunt driver Jeremy Fry to his absolute limits. His flying drift is one of the greatest manoeuvres I’ve ever shot. It wasn’t easy!’ Eschewing the computer trickery that underpins so many of today’s action movies, the filmmakers immersed cars, motorbikes, stuntmen and even their lead actor in the carnage. ‘I love the driving,’ says Keanu Reeves. A new handling skill learnt on John Wick: Chapter Two o? A whipcrack reverse 180º turn.

FOR ITS STAR CAR! The Ford Mustang defines the American muscle car. Iconic ‘Stangs came thick and fast in the late ‘60s – the GTs created by racer Carroll Shelby, the Boss 302 to qualify for Trans-Am racing – but the Mach 1 held its own. US magazine Car Life e hammered the CJ Mach 1 from standstill to a quarter-mile distance in 13.86sec, ‘the quickest standard passenger car we’ve ever tested’. A V8 engine and sports suspension were mandatory, along with some racecar mods: a pop-open gas tank cap, and pins and cables to lash the hood shut. Handy, given the punishment John Wick subjects it to…

FOR REUNITING THE MATRIX STARS! Laurence Fishburne debuts as ‘the Bowery King’, a mysterious New York assassin. It reunites Keanu Reeves and Fishburne for the first time since 2003’s Matrix Revolutions. ‘I thought the action in John Wick k was really cool and it had dark comic overtones,’ says Fishburne. ‘So I told Keanu that I’d love to come play with him if the opportunity arose.’

FOR ITS TRADEMARK ‘GUN-FU’! The four-wheeled action is dubbed ‘car-fu’, an extension of John Wick’s hyper-kinetic ‘gun-fu’ fighting style. ‘He integrates judo and jiu-jitsu and even uses the car as a weapon,’ says Keanu Reeves. Strap yourself in for more of the stylish assassin’s balletic kills mixing martial arts with closeo the scope spreads beyond quarter gunplay. In John Wick: Chapter Two New York, as the legendary hitman is forced out of retirement once again and heads to Rome to face off with the world’s deadliest killers…

PHOTOGRAPHY: NIKO TAVERNISE

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO

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‘The unaffordabilityy of F1 is off-putting. p g Young drivers now dream of GT racing’ What to do next when you’ve built a successful sports car company? Battle Porsche at the very top of endurance racing, according to Lawrence Tomlinson

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lot of factors: the weather, the mechanics, the drivers.’ Tomlinson’s success has spanned many fields: construction, chemicals, care homes, software, sports car builder, sports car racer, talent spotter, hammer of greedy bankers, guru for entrepreneurs… His history with sports car and endurance racing pre-dates his ownership of Ginetta; he was purely a punter, and that grassroots experience has never left him. He was a relatively late starter to racing, not competing until his late 30s. He first raced at Le Mans in 2004, in a TVR, and by 2006 he was winning the GT2 class in a Panoz. Ginetta was founded in 1958 and has been making cars ever since. When Tomlinson took over at the end of 2005 it was in a sorry state but it’s now thriving, and ready for the ambitious move into LMP1. ‘What crystallised the idea for us was our bidding to be an LMP2 chassis builder [which was declined by the

ILLUSTRATION: SENOR SALME

AWRENCE TOMLINSON HAS the calm, confident air of the man who backed the right horse. Actually, he didn’t just back it, he also bred it, trained it, selected the jockey and organised the race. Tomlinson, the owner of Ginetta since 2005, is a hugely successful man. None of that success seems to be down to luck. So now that he’s announced that Ginetta is stepping up into the biggest league in his chosen sport, you need to take him seriously. From 2018, three teams will be competing in LMP1, the top class of the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours, in Ginettas. ‘This Thursday, we’re watching engines on the dyno,’ says Tomlinson of the project’s progress. ‘Then to the wind tunnel. Track testing should start in August. The target is podiums in year one. There aren’t that many cars in LMP1, and there are a


series organisers],’ explains Tomlinson. ‘We thought, why not put the resources into P1? The biggest part of the budget 6 questions only is running the car, not building the car, we would ask… so there’s not that much difference beTell us about your first car… tween being in LMP2 and LMP1. It’s a ‘Where do you start? I was very interesting category and there’s no always around cars, bikes, higher level in sports car racing. If you’re trucks and engines growing up, looking to put some sponsorship money and bicycles too.’ Which achievement makes into a race team, you’ll want your brand you most proud? to be on the one at the front.’ ‘Winning the VdeV endurance The teams who will be running the championship in 2016 was Ginetta chassis are not just customers, tough. It’s a proper series. We needed to win the last race, they’re part of the development. ‘We’ve at Estoril. It pissed down. I already got people involved. It’s very led from pole. My stint was in much working with them. In the first terrible weather, and it was year, the cars are going to be very simidifficult enough to keep it on lar. But this is a five-year commitment. the island, but we did it.’ What’s the best thing you’ve They will have the opportunity to work ever done in a car? with us going forward to develop their ‘Winning Le Mans GT in a Panoz individual requirements, especially in 2006. That was quite an with aero.’ achievement.’ Supercar or classic car? For the LMP1 project, Tomlinson has ‘I’ve got quite a collection signed up racecar design legend Adrian of older cars – I love 911s, Reynard. ‘We’ve got a very talented Quattros, TVRs…’ in-house design team, and our aero is Tell us about a time you the quickest in LMP3. But when you go screwed up… ‘Sometimes things don’t go into LMP1, it’s completely open. There’s according to plan. Distractions much more wind tunnel work involved come up and divert you.’ than in other categories. People like Company curveball… What Reynard have forgotten more than I’ll happened to the first Ginetta, the G1? ever know about aero. Adrian is a friend ‘That was destroyed by a tree of mine, so it would be ridiculous not to stump a long time ago [one of get him involved in the detailed areas Ginetta’s founding brothers, where he’s already got lots of experience, Ivor Walklett, lost control of the and we haven’t.’ one-off based on a Wolseley Hornet on the family driveway]. Dieselgate aside (Tomlinson’s in no I’ve got a G2, though…’ bt that Audi’s decision is rooted in ed for the VW Group to be seen to aving money in the wake of the scan, he thinks that the days of big-name nufacturers pouring vast resources sports car racing are numbered. w long do Porsche and Toyota want eep spending 100 million, 200 milOut with Audi, in with… Ginetta. lion euros a year on this?’ The highest tier of sports car Although clearly delighted at the racing has a new contender prospect of Ginettas winning Le Mans, he’s still committed to the grassroots, to getting new driving talent into the sport, through both junior championships and categories designed for time-strapped mature newcomers. ‘When people come to Ginetta and sign up for one of our series, most used to say they ultimately wanted to be in F1. But now 70% say it’s GT and endurance racing. The complete unaffordability of F1 is off-putting.’ As well as helping people get a start in racing, Yorkshire-based Ginetta is also a significant employer of engineering talent, away from the Oxfordshire/Northamptonshire motorsport belt. It employs about 80 people, many of them taken on as engineering graduates. ‘We don’t want to produce thousands of cars; about 300 a year is right. We want to keep our cars relatively exclusive. The aim is to keep on doing what we’re doing, but better.’ COLIN OVERLAND

CAR’S CURVEBALLS

Connect 4 VW MICROBUS CONCEPTS VW just can’t stop designing camper concepts. Nor can it bring itself to build one – yet

ID Buzz concept (Detroit 2017) Biggest of the Microbus (or ‘Buzz, in American slang) concepts, and one that might finally make production. Built on a stretched version of VW’s MEB platform (the one that’ll underpin VW’s electric future), it seats eight in theoretically autonomous, tritely two-tone comfort.

Budd-e (CES 2016) Almost a year to the day before the Buzz’s debut, VW pulled the covers from the slightly smaller, less overtly retro Budd-e. A 101kWh battery in the floor juices two electric motors to a theoretical range of 373 miles. All-electric powertrain, MEB platform, tipped for possible production by 2020. Déjà vu?

Bulli concept (Geneva 2011) The most compact Kombi concept of the bunch, the Bulli squeezed two rows of three-abreast seating (which could fold flat into a bed) within a wheelbase smaller than a three-door Golf. It too was electric, with just the one motor up front. ‘Could make production,’ speculated everyone.

The first second coming Microbus concept (Detroit 2001) This teasing’s been going on since the turn of the century, but the original Minibus concept is still looking good 16 years on. Hippies and hipsters alike promptly started saving for the production version, and they’ve no doubt accrued plenty of interest since – a production run was pencilled for 2003… March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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Voice operation of your car will transform cabin design and road safety. Car makers are racing to implement it – with the help of some tech giants. By Phil McNamara

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ILLUSTRATION: AERIFORM

Incoming: the voicecontrolled car butler!

SING TODAY’S voice control in cars is like being imprisoned in a nightmarish comedy sketch, where using the frustratingly limited script to request a Little Mix song results in a call to your hostile ex-wife. But Nissan, Ford, VW and others envisage a less alimony-inflating future, where artificial intelligence and cloud computing power allow drivers to control car functions with free-form commands. Companies have enlisted the support of tech giants – Microsoft in Nissan’s case, Amazon for VW – to realise their visions. VW is striving to marry up Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant, Alexa, with its CarNet apps and services. The aim is for you to be


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able to tell Alexa to add reminders to your shopping list, or switch on the lights in your connected home, as you drive. VW is vague about the activation date. Stateside, Ford promises you’ll be able to request weather reports, control your music or add to a shopping list this summer, by starting a command with ‘Alexa’ once you’ve hit the in-car voice button. You can also access car features at home, by ordering your Amazon Echo to ask the car to relay its fuel tank capacity and range, or preheat the car on a cold day. Sure, such limited features are already available via apps, but replacing minutes of smartphone-tapping with a quick Alexa chat is quicker and more convenient. What’s Amazon’s ulterior motive? To

sell you goods: VW used the drab example of Alexa ordering new wiper blades, because it knows your car’s precise spec. More appealing is for drivers ultimately to stream Amazon Prime content in-car: Jeremy Clarkson could watch The Grand Tourr in his next Golf GTI. That’s Nissan’s more out-there vision, with drivers watching content while the car does the driving. ‘Autonomy is also about content – consuming media, the internet, Skype calls or working – and how it’s shown to the driver and passenger,’ says Ogi Redzic, senior VP for connected vehicles and mobility services. He predicts that connected services will become more compelling to the masses than today’s benchmarks, such as 0-62mph times.

Soon all appliances will join the Internet of Things. Just don’t programme the kettle to drive to Belper

The transformation doesn’t end there. ‘It’s an opportunity for us to reimagine the car interior,’ continues Redzic. As natural language becomes bulletproof for operating cars, designers will be able to eliminate switches and screens. There’ll be a massive safety benefit too, with drivers able to keep their eyes on the road – and the temptation to tap out a text at the wheel eliminated. Concludes Redzic: ‘This is what tomorrow holds, and we’re putting the building blocks in place today.’ @CARPhilMc March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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Does it work? Hooking your Nissan GT-R Nismo up to a PlayStation

Re-live those moments of abject, oversteerinduced terror

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HE £150,000, 592BHP Let’s see that again Nismo is the most extreme Nissan GT-R of the lot, with GT3 race-spec turbos and bespoke k carbon b b bodywork. d k But B we went to Silverstone to test its USB port. That’s because buried in the further reaches of the Nismo’s spec list is a telemetry function called NissanConnect Nismo Plus. Plug a USB stick into the centre console, press the record button, and if you happen 1 2 to be at one of the real-life racetracks PLUG IN GO DRIVE featured in PlayStation 3 game Gran Start the engine, watch for If you’re at a track in GT6, that Turismo 6, it’ll log every scrap of data a green light to indicate it’s is. In the UK that includes found a GPS signal. Connect multiple layouts at Silverstone from your on-track exploits, pooling the USB, press a switch to and Brands Hatch. Others figures from both the car’s on-board start recording, go do some include Spa, Laguna Seca and sensors and GPS. hot laps the Nordschleife Plug said stick into a PS3 after and If you’re a committed track driving kind of person it can replay your entire session (or up to 32GB of it) within the environs of GT6, replaying the car’s (and I imagine a Nismo owner would be, assuming every move from any angle, together with real-time they’re willing to risk their £150k-worth of collector’s readouts for rpm, vehicle speed, throttle position, catnip GT-R), it gives you the sort of telemetry you’d g-force, gear changes, and practically anything else pay a motorsport data engineer a princely sum for. It’s clearly not perfect – perhaps affected by the weather, you’d ever need or want to know. A pointless gimmick? Quite honestly I’d expected the GPS positioned the replay car about 6in over to it to be, but the results are weirdly fascinating, and the left, touching the grass at certain corners where I offer genuine insight. The in-game replay’s uncanni- didn’t in real life (honest!), and the brake pedal trace ly accurate; when the car slid in real life (Silverstone was clearly a little awry. Less crucially, Gran Turismo was very wet that day) its digitised replicant on 6 renders Silverstone in blazing sunshine rather than screen does exactly the same, at the same speed and that day’s drizzly reality. Still, even if it’s marginally the same angle. The GPS overlays the car’s lines each less accurate than a V-Box or similar, it’s fascinating lap, so you can review what works and what doesn’t – – and fun – to watch back. JAMES TAYLOR @JamesTaylor_5 exploring wider lines in the wet, for example.

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3 WATCH IT BACK Relive your escapades in glorious digital virtual reality, pore over detailed telemetry, fascinate/bore all of your PS3-owning friends

DID IT WORK? Surprisingly, yes s– sounds pointless, actually genuinely insightful, and oddly mesmerising. Only in the top-dog GT-R Nismo and with GT6 6 on the PlayStation 3 for now, but expect similar capability in the latest Gran Turismo Sportt game on the PS4 – and potentially on other Nismo models in the future.


Mind the g gap! p

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High-comp

Thermal efficiency

VVT-iE magic

Hydraulic control

Cooled manifold

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 27


OLA KÄLLENIUS

The next big things Mercedes’ tech overlord Ola Källenius s is himself the next big thing, having assumed board responsibility for R&D this year. This is his vision > THE FUTURE is happening now. This isn’t a nice article about the promised land in your magazine; a unicorn you’ll never see. It’s real. > WE’RE STARTING to sell the first features as apps, independent of how you buy your car. In the past you’d choose a car, check all the options, get it built – and that was it. The first option that you could buy through our app store as opposed to the normal factory order process was the remote parking feature on the E-Class, where you can step out and park it with your smartphone. You can download that app for €139 for three years. > THIS ECOSYSTEM will grow. With the connected cars we’re working on you will see a rapid increase in the use of this kind of technology. Software is decoupling from hardware. The average lifecycle of a model – the sheet metal – in premium cars is about seven years, but the tech can evolve and be updated much faster than that. And of course we can see what people are downloading and using. Depending on what they use, we will build. > WE’RE ON our way to level 4, level 5 autonomy. That’s the destination. On

FRESH THINKING: Digitising white van man It’ll be raining Amazon if Merc’s van vision comes true One day a parcel will arrive when I’m actually home... Merc promises to outlaw pesky trips to the sorting office, with guaranteed drop-off times despite a day’s deliveries increasing by 50%. How? Its Vision Van (VV) concept, that’s how. If 007’s Q branch made a van... Not only is it fabulous to look at, but the VV is packed with gadgetry. Instead of messy humans lobbing breakables in the 28

back, this cargo bay is meticulously segmented and loaded according to an algorithm which has calculated the optimal delivery route. The driver – not supplanted by autonomy or robots in this case – uses a joystick to pilot the zero-emissions electric van to his stop, then waits by the delivery chute for the correct package. What if there’s a white van jam? Eminently possible

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

given the proliferation of vans in cities. So the VV sports two roof-mounted drones, which can be auto-loaded if air is the best delivery pathway. They’ll still be double parked on my school run... Naturally. But the caring, sharing Vision Van will use LED displays to wave traffic past, if the way is clear. And the slimline dash means no place for a copy of The Sun either. Times are changing.

My way on the highway? No way. 2017 S-Class will be able to self-drive every kilometre of autobahn

the journey we w will develop building blocks of techno ology. Some of those building blocks are available sooner: production read dy, secure, and mature. Every time a building block on that journey is readyy, we start to put it into our cars. So the S-Class already has significant auto onomous capability, and we had a big upd date in the E-Class last year. This Thi summer you will see another big step with the facelift of the S-Class. > THAT REVISED S-Class will have the first intelligent integration of the sensors and map data. [With cruise control] the car knows a corner’s coming up, so it automatically adjusts to the right speed, and then accelerates again. If you use your indicator approaching a 90-degree turn, the car will slow down so that the driver can make the turn – this we will need when we go to level 4 autonomy, when the car will make the turn itself. Level 4 also requires high-definition maps, which we’re working on with mapping experts HERE. The current S-Class can steer itself through about 80% of German autobahns and a smaller percentage of our highways, which are curvier. The new one can now do the entire autobahn network and about 80% of the highways. Cornering capability is crucial as we move towards full autonomy, and to get it right is a lot of work. > IF YOU want a Project One [hypercar], you’d better sign up now. It will be over-subscribed, no question about it. As an old Formula 1 man myself, the ultimate dream is to put an F1 powertrain into a road car. Not an F1 ‘inspired’ powertrain, but an actual F1 powertrain. It sounds crazy, and when [AMG boss] Tobias Moers and [engine chief] Andy Cowell approached us with it, there was excitement in the room, and a few questions. But they were very, very convincing. Why do we do it? Because we can. This is an historic car. > WILL IT meet all of our durability standards? Yes and no. I think the distances you would drive with this car are less than an E-Class taxi, but it will be sufficient for its purpose. INTERVIEW BY BEN OLIVER


The superlative-charged chronograph. 50 mm case in Breitlight®. Exclusive Manufacture Breitling Caliber B12 with 24-hour military-style display. Officially chronometer-certified.

B REI TL I N G. COM


11 cars tested, starring Bentley Continental Supersports, Lambo Aventador S, Porsche 911 GTS & four trick city cars

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SAM CHICK

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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UP AGAIN ST You can feel each of the massive sticky tyres constantly pawing at the ground, BETTER THAN each corner trying to apply purchase. Nissan GT-R Relatively speaking, a budget 4wd GT The result is a car that squirms WORSE THAN under acceleration. Not in a terrifying, Ferrari F12 spitty, edgy, way like an F12 – it still Wilder, slightly faster than the Conti feels like you will always be headed WE’D BUY forwards rather than sideways – but Conti V8 S and a Cayman there’s enough heavy mass movement GT luxe and to suggest that the outer limits are being B-road blaster combo pushed. Also, so great is the velocity that there’s a marked lightening at the nose, managing to heave that vast engine up into the air a touch, which means the steering goes momentarily floaty. In other words, lots going on, more so than any Conti, ever. It pours its power through the fast-shifting eight-speed drivetrain, which has a strengthened cranktrain, with new conrods and main bearings, and a softer torque converter to allow the two new, bigger turbos to spool up more before take-off. Which required a complete replumbing to allow the bellowing machine to breathe, and new high-capacity coolers had to be fitted too. The front spring rates are 45% stiffer, the rears 33, and the anti-roll bar 53, while bespoke splitters and diffusers (a different front splitter to retain aero balance if you opt not to have the showy rear wing or choose the Convertible version) apply more downforce at higher speeds. And the torque vectoring system from a GT3-R standard) are filthy: banging and application of the throttle to keep it has been fitted to a 12-cylinder Bentley for the thundering and cackling, especialfrom running wide. But you can just first time as well. LOVE ly in Sport mode, and add a more punch the throttle hard. At this point The carbon brakes, with 17in discs that are The glorious suitable soundtrack to the carnage bigger than any other production car’s, once the Supersports brakes. Counter-intuinsanity of it going on elsewhere. Of course, you itively, and imperceptibly, the torque warmed and past their wooden grabby phase can HATE can spec the Supersports to be a vectoring system dabs the inside front exert more than 1.3g in the cabin. In the eightVulgar colour options serial killer living quietly among cylinder GT3-R they are nearly too powerful. In brake to pull the nose in as the yawing VERDICT respectable society, without all the Bentley blasts from the corner, and this, they need to give everything they’ve got in The ultimate carbonfibre jewellery and signage, the inside rear brake chimes in to keep order to get the job done. Continental: a lunatic in a Savile Row suit or you can go all nouveau with it hurtling on. No wonder Bentley Once down to a speed you deem suitable for +++ ++ two-tone paint, three-tone leather, needed to increase the cooling capaca corner, the torque vectoring takes over. You chequerboard carbonfibre veneers ity if it is trying to stop itself while also might think that the Supersports needs gentle and the big wing. deploying 700bhp. Personally, I’d go understated, and give those So while a car of two and half tonnes is never going to dance like a ballerina through a corner, supermini heroes a shock: the remarkable SuperBentley Continental Supersports e £212,500 > Engine e 6.0 48v twin-turbo > Price it does deal with them incredibly efficiently, sports will beast them on the straight, outbrake W12, 700bhp @ 6000rpm, 750lb ft @ 2050rpm holding the line with grim, stoic determination them into the bend, hold its own in the corner > Transmission 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive and actually offering up some adjustability under and disappear at the exit. Over to you, internet. > Performance e 3.4sec 0-62mph, 209mph, lateral load. The steering also betrays the huge STEVE MOODY @Sjmoody37 358g/km CO2 > Weightt 2280kg > On sale e Now forces at play: light under acceleration, weighting up noticeably as mass shifts over the two front wheels during a stop, but remaining consistently accurate, if fairly long travel. While all this is going on, the ride – although noticeably firmer than a Speed – is soft edged and for the most part deals happily with any ragged B-road surface. Then there’s the noise. The silky W12 can sound hushed and remote even under heavy acceleration and so I would heartily recommend you tick the X Specification pack that adds carbon mirrors, Supersports treadplates, sinister black 21in alloy wheels and, crucially, Akrapovic Interior is unique, and is much plusher than the exhausts. These titanium exhausts (steel are sportier cabin of the previous Supersports 32

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Think of it as a Carrera S with the best options fitted as standard

PORSCHE 911 CARRERA GTS CABRIOLET

Getting ever closer to perfection Wider, more powerful, spec’d just right. If you can afford to, you should

T Straightlining is every bit as ferocious as you’d hope

If the rear wing is too ostentatious for your tastes, you can ditch it

HE NUMBERS are remarkable, but they only tell part of the story. The Carrera GTS is the latest version of the turbocharged 991.2, and it follows the same template as the GTS version of the naturally-aspirated 991. With an additional 30bhp over the current Carrera S, and 20bhp over the previous GTS, taking it to 444bhp, it’s capable of nudging 200mph. Thirty years ago, these figures were good enough to cement the 959 legend. Today, they are the stats for a 911 that doubles as weekday hack and weekend trackday plaything. Porsche 911 fans should love it, but there’s nothing here that requires you to have a backk ground with 911s – anyone who likes driving will be bowled over. There’s more power, and it goes a little faster, but the joy of the Carrera GTS lies in the specs. Aficionados will spot the smoked rear lenses, black tailpipes and 20-inch alloys, but the Turbo-style wide body is an obvious change over plainer 911s. It’s Carrera S plus 10 per cent. Despite its growth compared with older 911s, it’s not an intimidating car. The steering is weighty and precise – if lacking in feel – and the stiffened ride that comes part and parcel with the Carrera GTS package doesn’t jar too much. We’re testing the two-wheel-drive GTS in manual form. It’s a shame that Porsche reckons just 10 per cent of buyers will specify it this way, because for purity of response it’s as good as it gets. The seven-speeder shifts cleanly and with precision. As nice as the PDK is, it’s this option that summons up the full 911 experience. There are some deft touches. You can play with the driving modes via a dial on the steering wheel, giving different combinations of power steering and active damper settings. Sport Response mode is available, too, giving you a power boost for around 20 seconds. Open it up, and the small changes that turn a Carrera S into a GTS start to add up. There’s more acceleration from lower in the rev range. The flatsix engine pulls hard from as little as 1500rpm,

and there’s little indication that it’s turbocharged, such is the finesse of its throttle response. There’s the same hard-edged soundtrack that marks it out as a 911 in the classic mould. Just to be sure, select ‘loud’ mode on the active exhaust. Turn-in is as responsive as ever, and the way the front bobs up and down is still endearing. The front end bows to your will, and there’s huge amounts of traction to play with. The rear never feels Porsche 911 Carrera GTS likely to land you in the scenery Cabriolet (manual) > Price £103,158 > Engine backwards, either – so much so that 2981cc 24v turbocharged flatyou can easily lose sight of the fact six, 444bhp @ 6500rpm, 406lb the thing’s rear-engined. ft @ 2150rpm > Transmission We had the pleasure of driving 7-speed manual, torque vectoring, rear-wheel drive the GTS on a circuit, and it’s very > Performance e 4.2sec impressive. Porsche has honed the 0-62mph, 193mph, 30.1mpg, damping and braking to make 214g/km CO2 > Weightt 1520kg > On sale e Now it sharper, but not to the point where it’s challenging to drive. Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control beautifully manages damping and traction, but not at the expense of feedback. The brakes work better the later and harder you use them – the transition from deceleration to GTS also turn-in is instant and rewarding. available in Coupe The standard-fit electronically and Targa forms controlled damping deserves credit for the sheer responsiveness it can summon, and for the liberties the chassis lets you take. The GTS just grips and goes – and always LOVE More usable than a just that little bit harder than the standard CarreGT3, faster than a ra. If you want to be more precise about how much Carrera S harder, make use of the new Track Precision app, HATE where you can datalog your best efforts. Less feedback and On the road, there’s a slender but worthwhile more heft than benefit over an S. On the track, it’s more focused the 997 and will reward harder, faster driving. The VERDICT Carrera GTS is a brilliant compromise; one that The best all-round 911 delivers a little more of everything. +++ ++ KEITH ADAMS March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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More cooling, more downforce and more menace – a pay rise for that designer

LAMBORGHINI ADVENTADOR S

Rear-steer revelation We’re only talking about a few degrees of rear axle steering angle but the end result is an altogether more inspiring V12 Lamborghini. By Ben Barry

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HE LAMBORGHINI Aventador S looks much like the original Aventador from 2011. Spotters might notice the fanged bumper that contributes to 130% more front downforce, the wider vents for extra cooling, maybe the new TFT digital driver’s display, but most people won’t. This is deceiving, because the S feelss completely different. Lamborghini technical director Maurizio Reggiani remembers the first time he tried its new rear-wheel steering system. ‘I said to my team, “you f**k with me”, this is an Aventador SV!’ he says laughing. ‘It felt so much lighter, so much more agile.’ Crisp new TFT driver instrumentation gives you at least a fighting chance of keeping up with the engine

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This is good news, because while I fell completely for the lighter, more hardcore SV, I’ve never gelled with an entry-level Aventador. It needed a reinvention. In the hope of making us swear like Reggiani, Lamborghini is letting us back-to-back the previous Aventador and the new rear-wheel-steer S at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, near Valencia. They’ve set up a short slalom, but it takes just one run in each car before you’re spluttering asterisks. The original Aventador feels inert, more nose-led, and requires so much wheel-twirling you wonder if the rack hasn’t been swapped for something even slower. In comparison, the S dances through cones like a showboating premier-league striker. It’s so much more eager to change direction, you make far fewer steering inputs, and there’s a greater sense of the mid-mounted V12 adding to the agility, shifting around, helping to point the nose at apex after apex. Reggiani’s right, it does feel significantly lighter, despite the 1575kg dry weight remaining unchanged. The system works much like the technology fitted to all 911 GT3s. Below 81mph, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts by up to 3 degrees, just 5 milliseconds after you’ve made a steering input. It makes the Aventador feel shorter and fleeter. Above that speed, all four

wheels turn in the same direction, the rears by 1.5 degrees. The Aventador S feels longer, therefore more stable. The rest of the chassis is updated to match: new rear arms, springs uprated by 20%, magnetorheological dampers tweaked, variable-rate steering re-tuned. The Pirelli P Zero tyres are re-designed specially, and even the all-wheel drive has been reprogrammed to send more torque rearwards, with up to 90% in Sport mode, a little less in max attack Corsa. If you can’t find your perfect setting from Strada or Corsa, there’s now a new Ego mode, allowing Lamborghini Aventador S e £225,955 > Engine e 5498cc 48v V12, > Price 730bhp @ 8400rpm, 509lb ft @ 5500rpm > Transmission 7-speed automated manual, e 2.9sec all-wheel drive > Performance 0-62mph, 217mph, 17mpg, 394g/km CO2 > Weightt 1575kg (dry) > On sale e Now


All-wheel drive can take a mashed throttle just as early as you can bring yourself to provide the necessary

Never before has an engine badge been so unnecessary – it’s 100% a V12 in every way

you to customise. A new brain – dubbed Lamborghini Active Vehicle Dynamics – makes sense of it all. Out on track, the Aventador S continues to wow. The agility you feel on the slalom translates to a super-quick, almost nervous turn-in, and the all-wheel drive claws insane traction as you exit corners; it takes time to appreciate how early you can mash the accelerator, and it takes clumsiness to scrub into understeer. Not that the Aventador is idiotproof: go too deep on

the excellent carbon-ceramic brakes and your 8500rpm. It is, without doubt, one of the finest heart jumps as the heavy V12 tries to turn the production engines on the planet; responsive like an electric cattle prod, and with sufficient carbon monocoque into a waltzer. The S will also start to rotate in slower V12 thunder to drown an entire F1 grid. Keep corners when you’re carrying speed to the your nerve, pull the paddleshift just shy of the apex off-throttle; Lamborghini says the old 8500rpm limit and it feels like you’re knocking a fast-bowl for six, so satisfyingly car used to throw torque forwards mechanical is the connection. at this point, but now keeps a sigLOVE None of the Aventador’s frankly nificantly higher proportion at the V12 engine, agile frightening acceleration figures – back. The added eagerness to turn chassis, drama 0-186mph in 24.2sec! – is said to means you’re lined up for the next HATE have decreased, despite the extra straight more quickly. Gearbox improved, horses, a claimed improvement in The powertrain is mindbut dual-clutch aero efficiency and no additional blowing. Now with a larger inlet ’boxes still smoother weight. But to focus on stats is to plenum, lighter exhaust and a VERDICT miss the brilliance of the S: it’s an variable valve timing system A supercar without Aventador that keeps all its oldadjusted for more overlap, the rival, now without complaint school attitude and menace, but 6.5-litre V12 produces 39bhp more ++++ + adds a very satisfying dexterity. at 730bhp – just 10bhp off the SV – and screams 200rpm higher at @IamBenBarry March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV

FOR JUST £299 PER MONTH

1

PLUS DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT

LEATHER SEATS

SATELLITE NAVIGATION

4WD

AUTOMATIC

ZERO ROAD TAX

ZERO CONGESTION CHARGE2

Drive away a pre-owned Outlander PHEV, the UK’s most popular plug-in hybrid vehicle. You could own a luxury full size 4WD SUV, capable of delivering up to 156mpg3. We’ve got a limited number of these low mileage vehicles that are less than 10 months old and come with all the benefits of the Mitsubishi Approved Used Car Programme, including guaranteed service history, roadside assistance, free annual health check and a 30 day vehicle exchange plan. What’s more, they come with 4 years’ manufacturer’s warranty.

BECAUSE IT’S NEW TO YOU REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE: Pre-owned 16MY Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX4h On the Road (OTR) Price Customer Deposit 36 Monthly Payments Option to Purchase Fee (inc in final payment) Optional Final Payment

£27,000 £6,980 £299 £10 £12,120

Total Amount of Credit Total Amount Payable Duration of Agreement (mths) Representative APR Interest Rate (fixed)

£20,020 £29,864 37 5.9% APR 3.1%

1. The PCP finance plan shown above is only available between 29th December 2016 and 29th March 2017 at participating Retailers only. With PCP you have the option at the end of the agreement to: (a) return the vehicle and not pay the Optional Final Payment. If the vehicle has exceeded the maximum agreed mileage a charge per excess mile will apply. In this example, 9p plus VAT per excess mile above the maximum agreed mileage. If the vehicle is in good condition (fair wear and tear) and has not exceeded the maximum agreed mileage you will have nothing further to pay; (b) pay the Optional Final Payment to own the vehicle or (c) part exchange the vehicle subject to settlement of your existing credit agreement; new credit agreements are subject to status. The example is based upon an annual mileage of 10,000 miles. Credit is subject to status and only available to UK residents aged 18 and over resident in Mainland UK and N. Ireland. This credit offer is only available through Shogun Finance Ltd t/a Finance Mitsubishi, 116 Cockfosters Rd, Barnet, EN4 0DY. Finance Mitsubishi is part of Lloyds Banking Group. Optional Final payments and monthly repayments may vary dependent upon date of registration and mileage, examples are a guide. Offer subject to availability, whilst stocks last and may be amended or withdrawn at any time. 2. Congestion Charge application required, subject to administrative fee. 3. Official EU MPG test figure shown as a guide for comparative purposes and is based on the vehicle being charged from mains electricity. This may not reflect real driving results.


MAZDA MX-5 RF

Transformer’s sequel Clever, quirky folding hard-top version of MX-5 edges the nimble roadster towards coupe territory

RF’s extra weight doesn’t upset the handling, thanks to suspension tweaks

I

T LOOKS JUST as odd in real life, if you’re wondering. Like it’s trying on a hat that doesn’t quite fit. Last time Mazda made a hard-top MX-5 it had a simple folding fibreglass lid, but the Mk4 MX-5 RF (for ‘retractable fastback’) adopts a complex flying-buttressed arrangement of aluminium, steel and plastic, turning the little roadster into a distinctive quasi-coupe. Pressing a switch on the centre console triggers a 13-second origami display as the buttresses lift upwards, the roof panels and rear glass sweep themselves neatly away beneath, and the fairings return to their original position, without impinging on boot space. Former MX-5 programme director Nobuhiro Yamamoto tells us the engineering team explored ways to hide the roof completely, buttresses and all, but ultimately found it a lighter and less complex solution to keep them in view, whether the roof’s up or down. Hence the strange, but not unattractive, styling brew. For every angle that looks a bit misshapen,

From some angles it barely looks like an MX-5 at all

Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 SE-L Nav > Price £23,095 > Engine 1998cc 16v 4-cyl petrol, 158bhp @ 6000rpm, 148lb ft @ 4600rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual (auto an option), rear-wheel drive > Performance 7.4sec 0-62mph, 134mph, 40.9mpg, 142g/km CO2 > Weight 1120kg > On sale March 2017

1.5, or torquier 2.0-litre. The latter comes with a limited-slip diff as standard, and – for the first time on the Mk4 MX-5 in the UK – the option Buttresses stay in place of an automatic gearbox. It’s an evolution of the whether the roof six-speed torque converter available for the Mk3 is up or down MX-5 RC. Mazda only expects 8% of RF buyers to go for it, and doesn’t plan to offer it in the softthere’s another from which the RF’s sorta-targa, top. When the standard H-pattern is so much kinda-coupe lines look great. Don’t expect a fun to use, it’s not hard to see why. Despite the RF’s higher centre of gravity meaningful gain in headroom, though; if you’re (it weighs 40-45kg more than the soft-top, over 5ft 11in you’ll still feel squashed. With the roof open, there’s a relatively small depending on spec), it feels just as nimble as the aperture above your head, but enough open air MX-5 roadster. If not more so; our softly sprung to ruffle your hair, swirl a little breeze around long-termer used to flop onto its door handles at the cabin and let in the scents and sounds of the the first twitch of its steering wheel, but revised outside world. And let in more wind noise than anti-roll bar and spring settings, as well as the you might expect, too; there’s an annoyingly Bilstein dampers fitted to our test car (available resonant buffeting above and behind your head, on the Sport Nav trim in the UK) quell body enough to require you to get shouty to continue roll nicely. It’s not as precise as a Toyota GT86/ Subaru BRZ, granted, but a lovely a conversation at dual-carriageway thing to drive nonetheless. speeds. It actually seems noisier I like this oddly dressed MX-5, than I remember our soft-top MX-5 LOVE Kooky styling, and its fashion-statement hat. long-termer being with the roof roof-up refinement But with the extra roof-down down, but the flipside is that it’s far wind noise negating the improved quieter and more refined with the HATE Increased weight, roof-up refinement, and no real roof closed – quiet enough for a long price, complication extra headroom, it’s difficult to recmotorway journey. ommend the RF over the simpler, VERDICT Beneath that roof, it’s the same Good, but soft-top lighter, and £2k-cheaper soft-top. Mk4 MX-5 we know and (mostly) makes more sense love, with a choice of two four-pot JAMES TAYLOR +++++ petrols: slow-ish but eagerly revvy @JamesTaylor_5 March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

37


PORSCHE PANAMERA 4 E-HYBRID

Tangled up in green Here’s a plan: keep adding complex hybrid hardware until the four-door Porsche is groaning under its weight

O

N PAPER, THIS is a winner. A new Porsche with two engines, two driven axles and two filler caps: one for petrol, the other one for electricity. In total, this arrangement produces 460bhp and 516lb ft of torque. The harsh reality arrives the moment you drive the new hybrid version of the new-shape Panamera hybrid the way most owners drive their Porsches. The problem is that the petrol-electric five-door coupe weighs a lardy 2.2 tonnes, plus options. The extra heft may be invisible, but you can feel it through every corner, during every acceleration manoeuvre and whenever the brakes must grab all this mass and momentum. A push at the black Sport Response button can get you a memorable 20 seconds of extra e-boost, but the claimed top speed of 172mph is an elusive goal unless the system has saved enough surplus charge. The official fuel consumption of 113mpg is even more elusive. Pushed hard over salt-coated autobahns, on snow-covered B-roads and through frosty city traffic, the fully loaded test car averaged 21.7mpg – with one full battery charge thrown in for good measure.

38

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

The hybrid version is not quite as lively as the 435bhp 4S, with its twin-turbo petrol V6. Aided by plenty of instant torque, the E-Hybrid can accelerate in 4.6sec from zero to 62mph, but above 100mph the forward thrust becomes increasingly less enthusiastic, and from 135mph on progress is, relatively speaking, a slowmotion experience. Every time you give it stick, the combustion engine will cut in with soprano thunder that’s very Porsche-like but a stark contrast to the whisper of more economical running. Since the E-Hybrid’s twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 relies on high

Easy to see which source of power is being deployed, not so easy to stop the petrol engine firing up

revs to deliver the goods, going fast remains an aural stimulation. Although the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission can choose from eight forward ratios, 150mph on the autobahn equals a screaming 6000rpm in fifth, which is another reason why low consumption depends on frequent top-ups at the mains. One winter morning, with lights on, music playing and all heating elements set on cosy, the batteries showed full but the e-range had already dropped from the promised 31 to an indicated 20 miles. Not good – but good enough to quash range anxiety and waft through town like a noiseless overweight magic carpet, the car responding to throttle action as greedily as the unspooling tongue of a hungry chameleon. After 150 miles, the tank was already half empty, and the e-range display was reading - - -. Perhaps I’m the wrong driver for this car, perhaps hybrids deserve a keener commitment to saving the planet, along with a featherweight right hoof. As soon as I readjust my attitude and try to get better mpg figures, the white Porsche does indeed begin to reveal its green side. Monitoring the instruments is imperative. There are white LEDs signalling boosting


Not as fast as the petrol-only S, nor as frugal as you’d hope

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid e £79,715 > Engine e 2894cc 24v twin-turbo > Price V6 petrol parallel hybrid, 460bhp @ 6000rpm, 516lb ft @ 1100-4500rpm > Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch auto, awd > Performance 4.6sec 0-62mph, 172mph, 113mpg, 56g/km CO2 e April > Weightt 2170kg > On sale

Analogue tacho and clock are supplemented by vast touchscreen

and charging, a bar graph indicating the is sharper and faster than the previremaining range, a bunch of touch keys to ously used automatic, and the electrochoose between Hybrid Auto, E-Charge (which mechanical (rather than hydraulic) clutch sacrifices some fuel economy in order to top up which unites and separates the two the battery), E-Hold (which keeps battery level powerplants works in a seamless and progresconstant) and E-Drive. sive manner. It’s only when manoeuvring in a A circular display mirrors the throttle tight space that you notice a faint clockety-clock position so you can consciously when shifting between forward and avoid alerting the combustion enreverse. Coaxing this car into cleangine. Although the zero-emission air mode isn’t easy because the LOVE programme is active up to 88mph, transition zone between coasting Built like a vault, with all the trimmings it takes only a mild climb to trigger and recuperating, between nearthe petrol engine anywhere above silent purring and low-rev cruising, HATE 40mph. In Sport, the system is too blurred. Heavy as a vault, and it shows stores enough energy for half a While the set-up of the optional dozen boostfests; in Sport Plus, the four-wheel steering and the standVERDICT Panamera hybrid fully bares its ard air suspension doesn’t differ Not green enough, and not enough fun claws while simultaneously pepmuch from the 4S, the brakes are either ping up the battery. totally different. Designed to de+++++ The PDK twin-clutch gearbox celerate as well as to recover energy,

Braking tricky to modulate

the stopping apparatus requires a heavy yet sensitive foot to neutralise the wooden pedal feel. This makes it very difficult to absorb energy in an even and consistent fashion. The charge time varies between four and six hours, depending on whether you plug into a conventional socket or use the extra-cost onboard charger. Like every hybrid, this Porsche can only rise to its potential as long as its user is disciplined enough to pull out that black cable at night in the garage and the following morning again at the office. If you already know that you won’t bother, or won’t have ready access to a suitably charging-friendly parking space, buy something else. Even if the willpower and infrastructure are firmly in place, this is a heavy vehicle which will neither perform mpg miracles nor eclipse even the least powerful petrol-only Panamera. GEORG KACHER March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

39


L

Nissan Micra 0.9 Acenta > > > > >

LOVE Rediscovered style and dynamics HATE Cramped rear space, blindspot VERDICT Good enough to atone for the rotten previous model

+++++

40 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

>

Roomier up front than last model, and cabin has been upgraded


Nothing less than the fastest Range Rover yet

RANGE ROVER SVAUTOBIOGRAPHY DYNAMIC

Wasn’t broke, so they fixed it

Dream of a flashier, more fidgety and more expensive Range Rover? You’re in luck

G How to make red anodised paddleshifters look subtle: fit them into this cabin

IVEN ALL THE work that goes in, SVO’s efforts run to a lower ride height, revised there is of course some trepidation spring and damping rates (subtly so in the case of LOVE when it comes to removing a really the former and more drastically with the latter), Exhaust note, steering, fundamental good quiche from its oven dish. It’d faster steering thanks to a Range Rover Sport brilliance be a shame if the perfectly baked steering rack, and Brembo brakes. The engine thing of beauty ended up on your plate as a broken is the still-extraordinary house V8: 542bhp and HATE Compromised ride, heap of fabulous-tasting pastry and egg shrapnel. thunder to curdle milk at 1000 yards, but with Max Powerr detailing Or would it? Would it really matter? Fine quiche is unique calibration for a more cultured delivery still fine quiche. And, fortunately, a supercharged compared with the Range Sport SVR. VERDICT Not the Range Rover V8 Range Rover is still a supercharged V8 Range It also enjoys a unique Graphite Atlas finish to you’re looking for Rover, however it’s served up. some of the exterior trim parts (side vents, grille +++++ The endlessly named Range Rover SVAutobiand bumper accents), quad exhausts, unique ography Dynamic (are you really supposed to say 21- or 22-inch wheels and a dusting of SVO touchthe middle bit as one word, and with a straight face?) is a prodes inside, including knurled metal parts and diamond-quilted uct of Jaguar Land Rover’s performance and personalisation seats in a choice of four exclusive colourways. It adds up to a arm, Special Vehicle Operations. Part boutique, part infant discernibly different aesthetic, one that’s more successful AMG/M-esque halo maker, SVO has a reputation for vehicles outside than in, where some of the details feel close to gaudy. of uncouth charm, notably the Range Rover Sport SVR and The target buyer almost certainly has a very high tolerance the deeply talented, really quite loud F-type SVR. of anodised red parts, and the payoff for the more fidgety ride Now it’s tasked itself with creating a more ebullient, more (it’s particularly unconvincing over broken urban tarmac) is chuckable alternative to the non-Dynamic SVAutobiography a likeable agility thanks to that rack, more body control mid(now only in long-wheelbase form) and nothing less than the corner, reduced roll and the confidence to carry speed rather fastest, most dynamic Range Rover yet. If it also snares a few than brake for every curve. But the set-up feels caught between Bentayga buyers on their way to Crewe, so much the better. stools, being neither as composed under duress as a Bentayga nor as agreeably refined as a non-SVO Range Rover. The really good Range Rover stuff remains intact: the handsome proportions, sublime comfort, fantastic visibility from a peerless driving position, a sense of occasion that doesn’t fade with time, and a sense of towering capability. But for most of us the imperious, less compromised Autobiography with the supercharged V8 remains the serving suggestion to go for, not least because it’s nearly £30k less expensive. BEN MILLER

Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic > Price e £132,800 > Engine e 5000cc 32v supercharged V8, 542bhp @ 6000rpm, 502lb ft @ 3500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive > Performance e 5.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 22.1mpg, 299g/km CO2 > Weightt 2465kg > On sale e Now March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

41


Calling all L-plate Alonsos

Buy a spruced-up city car and spear through the urban sprawl like Fernando. Or Matt Joy

Volkswagen High Up 1.0 TSI Grown-up’s toy or just for the kids? Makes the Polo feel like a special edition for librarians but really the Up’s still too tasteful to be wasted on young people and their poor taste.

Coming at you like a sparkling cube of Bauhaus

Pocket money or melted plastic? £12k as standard is par for the course here, making it insufficiently more expensive than the competition for snootier potential buyers. Shame, they’ll be missing out.

Gulliver-esque or Lilliputian? Shaved-box exterior means spacious interior. Real-life tall people will actually fit, and the rear two seats will accommodate humans. What will they think of next? Ah, that’s later in the issue you say? 42

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

Renault Twingo GT Grown-up’s toy or just for the kids? Silly but charming at the same time, like that uncle you think is hilarious but your mother won’t speak to.

Pocket money or melted plastic? Even with added frippery, £15k puts it in a strong laughs-to-cost bracket. Sensible enough that the kids won’t crash it, fun enough that you won’t nod off and bin it either. Gulliver-esque or Lilliputian? Nowhere to put your left foot and daft centre console bin fouls your shin before toppling onto the floor unless you ditch it. But best rear seat space here. Chunky steering wheel, flat-ish seats.


Smart ForFour Brabus

Vauxhall Adam 1.0 T

Grown-up’s toy or just for the kids? Feels like an inflated ForTwo, which could be seen as the ultimate kiddy car made real.

Grown-up’s toy or just for the kids? Without Adam S’s tougher aesthetic, Adam T lacks presence. Colour – ex-British Telecom van meets taramasalata – does no favours.

Pocket money or melted plastic? 15 quid shy of 20 grand before options, the ForFour Brabus needs you to want it badly. And to pretend the other cars don’t exist.

Pocket money or melted plastic? Scrabble around behind, below and within enough sofas and, together with the loose coinage in the car key bowl, you’ll find the required £12k. Coming at you like cut-price custard

Gulliver-esque or Lilliputian? Disarmingly sensible use of space, with plenty of headroom even with the standard glass roof in place. Rear seats perfectly acceptable if flatter than an inauguration after-party.

Gulliver-esque or Lilliputian? For fronters it’s fine but in the rear, for adults at least, you’ll need the fire brigade to cut you out of it every time you arrive anywhere. Boot short but deep, like Yoda.

CONTINUED…

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

43


CONTINUED…

Volkswagen High Up 1.0 TSI

Renault Twingo GT

Cut-price or Fisher-Price? Please. There are few buttons, but those that exist are the elite of buttons, woken at dawn during training for push-downs, and wear their white paint with pride.

Cut-price or Fisher-Price? A happy medium, with sufficient heft to the controls but no delusions of premium. Colour schemes have the potential to offend those with a sensitive palette.

Weird dash looks like ballistic kevlar and feels as expensive

A little less class, a touch more rubberiness, but game for a laugh

MANY THANKS TO ROCKINGHAM MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR THE LOCATION. FOR 2017 TRACKDAY DATES, GO TO ROCKINGHAM.CO.UK/TRACK-DAYS

Quart from a pint pot or weedy like a plant pot? Downsized to perfection, as if the Mechanic Angel snuck into your garage overnight and fitted a 1.6 from the MkI Golf GTI. Thrummy rather than zingy.

Quart from a pint pot or weedy like a plant pot? Rear-mounted motor sounds endearingly buzzy but won’t give you a headache. Pulls strongly for a tiddler, enough power to keep you busy. And happy.

Handling by angels or manhandling by de Angelis? Lithe weight and percolating engine are good news but last degree of chuckability has been smoothed out. Up GTI should be on the money, but for more money.

Handling by angels or manhandling by de Angelis? Meaty steering keeps you reasonably informed, ESP nicely dialled in to avoid rear-engined rotation. Allows two degrees of power oversteer before winking at you.

VERDICT As sensible as life insurance; handling won’t demand that you have some. Infinitely likeable.

VERDICT The best Twingo, the second-best rear-engined car and the best car here.

VOLKSWAGEN HIGH UP 1.0 TSI > Price £12,055 > As tested £14,025 > Engine 999cc turbo 3–cyl, 89bhp @ 5000rpm, 118lb ft @ 1500rpm > Transmission Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 9.9sec 0-62mph, 114mph, 60.1mpg, 108g/km CO2 > Weight 1002kg > Example insurance quote* £206.80 > On sale Now > Rating +++++

44 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

RENAULT TWINGO GT TCE 110 > Price £13,755 > As tested £15,200 > Engine 898cc turbo 3–cyl, 108bhp @ 5750rpm, 125lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive > Performance 10.8sec 0-62mph, 113mph, 54.3mpg, 115g/km CO2 > Weight 1001kg > Example insurance quote* £239.70 > On sale Now > Rating +++++

WINNER

*Insurance quotes are from mustard.co.uk and are based on a 41-year-old married male living in Suffolk with nine years’ NCD and no claims or convictions. Insurance quotes will vary depending on individual circumstances.


Smart ForFour Brabus

Vauxhall Adam 1.0 T

Cut-price or Fisher-Price? Curious mix of the crudely stuck-on and the well nailedtogether. Brabus badges terrible, pod-mounted Brabus rev-counter ace, fabric dash inserts cool and different.

Cut-price or Fisher-Price? Mixed. Sturdy? Yes. Squidgy? In places. Quality? Up to a point. So like most smaller Vauxhalls then? Clearly you’ve rented out of an airport recently.

That shift lever is the single worst example of the breed in existence

‘Now remind me, which side of the road do they drive on here?’

Quart from a pint pot or weedy like a plant pot? Dual-clutch… gearbox pauses… in auto: better but not perfect in manual. Fizzy fuzzbox of an engine sounds busy, delivers briskish acceleration but never encourages.

Quart from a pint pot or weedy like a plant pot? Bubbly and keen, even if it shouts a horrible ‘Engine overspeed!’ warning at you should you nudge the red line. Do it anyway, if only for extra naughty points.

Handling by angels or manhandling by de Angelis? Electronics have their work cut out to overcome inherent rear-weight bias. In the wrong conditions, trouser-filling levels of oversteer are available.

Handling by angels or manhandling by de Angelis? Negotiate unholy dead spot off-centre and Adam is keen and reasonably grippy if always defaulting to safety. Flatout everywhere very much on the menu.

VERDICT Practical, which is probably the last thing on your priority list.

VERDICT The safest option here, making it very much a Brexit lifeboat of a car.

SMART FORFOUR BRABUS XCLUSIVE 109HP > Price £19,985 > As tested £20,280 > Engine 898cc turbo 3-cyl, 108bhp @ 5750rpm, 125lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission Six-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual mode, rear-wheel drive > Performance 10.5sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 61.4mpg, 104g/km CO2 > Weight 1095kg > Example insurance quote* £226.92 > On sale Now > Rating +++++

VAUXHALL ADAM 1.0 T > Price £14,620 > As tested £16,445 > Engine 998cc turbo 3-cyl, 113bhp @ 5200rpm, 125lb ft @ 1800rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Performance 9.9sec 0-62mph, 121mph, 60.1mpg, 109g/km CO2 > Weight 1138kg > Example insurance quote* £224.53 > On sale Now > Rating +++++

March 2017 | SUBSCRIBE & GE T 12 MONTHS FOR £29.99! GRE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK

45


Gavin Green T

‘Before a record attempt, p Campbell p would p playy a ggame of cards and studyy them for any sign of doom’ ‘FULL POWER… TRAMPING like hell… I can’t see much and the water’s very bad indeed… I’m galloping over the top… and she’s giving a hell of a bloody row in here… I can’t see anything… I’ve got the bows out… I’m going… Uhh…’ Those were the last words of Donald Campbell, 50 years ago. As he spoke over his intercom, his Bluebird K7 jet boat rose nose-first at over 300mph, somersaulted and smashed into the lake. Debris quickly surfaced. So did Campbell’s teddy bear mascot and his helmet. The rest lay hidden in the depths of Coniston Water, in Cumbria, until Campbell’s body and the hull of Bluebird were recovered in 2001. Campbell was still wearing his blue overalls. I was a small boy at the time of his death. But I remember the day he died, just as I remember Jim Clark’s death a year later, and Graham Hill’s eight years on. They were heroes of mine. Campbell’s death was especially poignant. My dad was the Bluebird project director when Campbell successfully broke the world land speed record in Australia in 1964. He spent much of that year away from home, in isolated Lake Eyre, a giant salt lake in the Outback that promised the space, the flatness and the dry weather to coax the Bluebird CN7 4100-horsepower gas turbine car to speeds of up to 500mph. It was the long, majestic Bluebird’s second attempt at John Cobb’s record of 394.19mph. She had been engineered by the cream of British engineering talent – Dunlop BP Smiths In dustries, Lucas – back in the days when land sp front-page news, their drivers national heroes. Campbell’s first attempt was in 1960 at Bonneville in Utah, where his father Malcolm – whom he both idolised and feared – had broken the world land speed record before the war. Donald Campbell crashed at more than 360mph as he survived the fastest car acciden any man had ever experienced. The lesson from Utah was that a much longer speed strip was needed – 20 miles to speed in safety then stop. That’s where Lake Eyre, the biggest lak 46

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

in Australia, came in. It’s more than 4000 square miles, compared with Bonneville’s 40. And it’s nearly always dry. When Campbell arrived in 1963, conditions were not right. The surface was too soft, the wind too strong. Then it rained. The attempt was postponed. BP withdrew its backing. The record attempt was rescheduled for 1964, and that was when my dad got involved. He told me Campbell was the bravest man he’d ever met. He was also intensely patriotic, complex and superstitious. Each night, before a scheduled run, he would play a game of cards and study them for any sign of doom. He regarded green as an unlucky colour and referred to my dad as Evan Turquoise. It rained again, saturating the strip. A new course was surveyed, this time 12 miles long. Not long enough, said his chief engineer. We must try, said Campbell. And he did. My dad wrote: ‘A high tail of salt spray loomed above the horizon. The noise was dreadful, beyond human endurance, and rising. The salt began to vibrate… I’ve seen many racing cars at speed and they always look like devices man has made, and is controlling. But that machine looked like something from the past, from an age that man can only imagine. It was some frenzied creature, spitting fire and noise as it hurtled across the bed of a dead lake.’ That first attempt failed. The salt was too soft. On July 17 1964, Campbell tried again. ‘Again, we heard the distant thunder of the engine starting and the eerie, banshee wail of the car approaching at full power. Again, that strange sensation of part excitement, part fear that knotted the stomach. And the weird mirage effect of a monster bursting through the horizon, pursued by its vapours. The arch of salt spray, the explosive noise and then the Bluebird, side-on, beautiful, graceful, incredibly fast and chased by a noise of shattering magnitude. And like some beautiful creature pursued by demons, it vanished in a cloud of gas and spray.’ A new record: 403.10mph. On the last day of the same year, 1964, Campbell also broke the world water speed record at Lake Dumbleyung in Australia. Two years and four days later, the same Former CAR R editor Gavin Bluebird K7 boat crashed at Coniston followed his dad, writer and Water and my dad told me Donald rally driver Evan Green, into motoring journalism, and is one Campbell was dead. of the world’s most influential


Mark W Walton T

g electric cars dominate our roads, will there still be room for the Caterham Seven?’ MY FASCINATION FOR R the Wright brothers, and those beautiful black and white photos taken on the stark sands of Kitty Hawk in 1903, has led me to ‘discover’ a new industrial hero: a fellow North Yorkshireman called George Cayley. Ever heard of him? Me neither, until recently, which is astonishing – his name should be alongside the giants of the Victorian era, like Stephenson, Brunel and Crapper. Born in Scarborough in 1773, Cayley was your classic, aristocratic English inventor, a baronet who used his privilege in the cause of reason and science. Cayley was fascinated by flight from an early age, sketching bird wings and developing aerofoil ideas in his school notebooks. He went on to build an early centrifuge, NASA style, to systematically test the forces of lift and drag. In 1799 he laid out the basic principles of the fixedwing aeroplane – wing, fuselage, tail – and engraved both his design and the forces acting on it onto a silver disc. But Cayley’s work wasn’t all theoretical. In 1853, the baronet (along with his own Baldrick, an engineer called Thomas Vick whom Cayley kept on his estate) built a glider that looks like a slender rowing boat suspended below a paper aeroplane. Hilariously, it’s believed either a coachman or a butler became the first to fly in the glider, across a nearby valley called Brompton Dale, as Cayley and Vick watched. ‘Er, are you absolutely sure about this, Your Lordship?’ ‘For God’s sake man, just get in the boat and sit still!’ Cayley’s manned glider was the first significant fixed-wing flight in the world. But more than that, Cayley identified what planes would need in the future to really fly. He worked tirelessly on lightweight materials, inventing the wire wheel along the way (his spokes were made out of string, but he’s the acknowledged inventor of the principle). He also invented the seatbelt; and, incredibly, he developed an early, lightweight internal combustion engine. Understanding the need for a proper propulsion 48

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

system (back when dreamers still believed man could flap his way into the air), Cayley dismissed steam engines as too heavy, and started investigating alternatives. In 1807, he developed a working piston engine that used gunpowder for fuel. He came so close to building an actual aeroplane, a century before the Wrights. Cayley was a genius, yet most people have never heard of him. So what prompted me to think about all this, in this month of all months? A Caterham Seven of course. It’s not quite paper stretched over bamboo canes, but almost. I got to drive the Caterham 310, the new midrange model with the 152bhp Ford engine, in the middle of winter. No, I didn’t wear a flying helmet and goggles, but everywhere I went, blasting along raucously with the roof down, people stared like I was barking mad. It made me think about a time – coming soon – when electric self-driving cars dominate our roads. Safe, sterile and boring, will there be room alongside them for cars like the Caterham Seven? If so, drivers who cling to noisy internal combustion and manual control will be seen like those early pioneers of flight: wilful eccentrics, with a dangerous passion and a disregard for their own safety (well, in Cayley’s case, his footman’s safety). The Caterham brings out those feelings – a recognition that what you’re doing is a bit mad – because it’s so crude. It’s a while since I’ve driven one, and all those little details come back – the flappy doors, the canvas roof that’s too small to fit back on. The gearbox whines, and this tuned version of the 1.6 engine pops and coughs its way around town like a homemade experiment, newly pushed out of the garage. But then there’s the joy, of course. Any Caterham remains an incredible driving experience, with a steering wheel the size of a tea saucer and the jiggling, fingertip sensitivity that feels telepathic. In the end, this new 310 version feels a bit over-grippy to me, with fat Avon rubber but no ludicrous power output to match. It’s fast, but it needs winding up. The entry-model Seven, the skinny-tyred three-cylinder 160, remains my favourite blend of speed and fun – it may not be as quick as a 310, but it’s more satisfying to drive. Editor-at-large Mark’s fondness Plus, it weighs just 490kg (50 less than for simple four-wheelers was the 310). If you stuck wings on that car, it well documented in the October issue’s brilliant story about probably would fly. They could call it the buying a Fiat 126 in Naples and Cayley Seven. driving it home via the Alps


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S P O N S O R E D BY

Keeping it real > VIA EMAIL

That story in your February issue with the Lotus owners: spot on. I can take or leave the Exige Sport 380, in truth, but it was great to see those simple, elegant and (for the most part) not too expensive cars being used, appreciated and enjoyed as their maker intended. Bob Farren

Six versions of Lotus brilliance at Rockingham, shot by Mark Riccioni

A car designer who gets cars > VIA EMAIL

How refreshing to read an interview with a senior person at a major car manufacturer who provides views that are straightforward, articulate and wise. Kia’s chief designer Gregory Guillaume R Inquisition, February) asks: ‘Why (CAR is more always better?’ and goes on to make a comparison with watches: ‘A classic watch doesn’t have 14 dials, but is focused on what it is: a timepiece. Let’s not forget, the primary function of the car is to be driven.’ Wise words, in contrast to those obsessed with making cars more like offices. And this: ‘We don’t do trendy stuff that goes out of fashion quickly.’ For once somebody that makes a lot of sense and doesn’t talk in marketing/ corporate waffle or is obsessed with numbers and statistics, and does not follow the crowd like a sheep. I’m going to be paying more attention to Kia. Anthony Shilson

How to have your say:

@ VIA EMAIL CAR@ bauermedia.co.uk

Stinging rebuke > VIA CAR O N LI N E

Re the Kia Stinger: if you were mocked 10 years ago for saying ‘Soon you’ll be able to buy a Korean car as good looking as an European premium car’, your time has come.

For fear of adding to the confusion I won’t go into the other 300 SL cars – the 300 SLS and the 300 SL Panamericana – but they are equally iconic. Rory Lumsdon, PR manager, Mercedes-Benz Cars UK

Bjarte Nekstad Maroni

A grid of one’s own > VIA EMAIL

VIA TWITTER @CARmagazine Could the Stinger be the car that promotes Kia into the big league for driving enthusiasts?

VIA FACEBOOK facebook.com/ CARmagazine

VIA POST CAR magazine, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA

Not this classic, that classic > VIA EMAIL

You’ve got the wrong car pictured when you mention the Uhlenhaut Coupe in Connect 4, February issue. You’ve pictured the standard 300 SL Gullwing (if such a thing can ever be called standard). The 300 SLR was the open-top race version, as famously raced to victory in the Mille Miglia by one S Moss. The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut is an even more beguiling car.

Andrew Fogg (February’s Letter of the Month) completely misses the point regarding electric cars. Speak to any Tesla owner and ask them how often they have charged at public charge points or superchargers and the answer will be either ‘never’ or ‘once or twice’. They charge their cars overnight in their garages or drives. Mike Cliffe-Jones

Stick with what we know > VIA EMAIL

Further to Andrew Fogg’s letter in your February issue, hydrogen fuel cells would be a good solution if hydrogen were available cheaply and if it could be  March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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me much more conscious of the amount of local pollution that you see some (diesel) vehicles producing – sitting in the inevitable traffic jams makes it very apparent the amount of local pollution and noise being produced by internal combustion engine vehicles.

stored and transported easily, safely and cheaply. Unfortunately these problems can’t be easily solved even if anybody was prepared to spend the huge sums needed to create a network, which they aren’t. We already have a worldwide electricity network that is becoming cleaner and cleaner every year.

Simon Harrison

Trapped!

Andrew Kelsey

> VIA EMAIL

Gentlemen, start your reminiscing > VIA EMAIL

I was delighted to read the exce article on the Cannonball Run and the late Brock Yates in your December issue. I remember vividly the event, and followed with keen interest the daily adventures of Yates and Needham. Kudos to the magazine for reviving this exceptional automotive story and for the well-deserved tribute to Brock Yates. Coincidentally, I recently met Andrew Frankl, also mentioned in the story, and invited him to give a talk on Formula 1 here at Stanford’s School of Engineering. Not surprisingly, considering Andrew’s firsthand knowledge of the subject and his Hungarian charm, students and faculty were enthralled by Andrew’s talk. George Springer

Enjoy the silence > VIA EMAIL

I bought my nearly new BMW i3 12 months ago and, having owned many and varied cars from all the major manufacturers, I would state that it’s probably the best car that I have owned and driven. Apart from the odd short sprint off the lights, I find it more fun to drive the i3 smoothly, making the most of the silent progress and being disappointed if I misjudge the regenerative braking and actually have to use the brakes to come to a halt. I went for the range extender version even though I have only had the need to use it on my very first journey from the dealer to home. I have found that range is absolutely not an issue for me and I tend to charge the i3 overnight once a week. With this relatively light usage, I can hardly notice the difference on my electricity bill and I am now a stranger to my usual service station. I know that there are issues with where and how the electrical power for electric cars is generated, however the i3 has made 52 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

Punching above its weight > VIA CAR ONLINE I could not agree more with your positive remarks about the second-generation Mini Cooper S (Icon Buyer, January). After reluctantly giving up our much loved Audi A2 1.6 Sport, used as a second car, I shopped around for a used second-gen Cooper S with the right spec to replace it. I finally found it, thinking this car was specced exactly as I would, and probably bought new by another certified car guy. As it turned out, it was, as I found that the first owner was no less than former Bugatti boss and successful racer Dr Thomas Bscher. For me, much of the attraction with the Cooper S of this generation comes from the compact size and low weight. The 170-horsepower turbo engine together with a closely stacked six-speed gearbox gives you all the real-life driving fun you could ever want. Ok, the plastics of the interior feel like something from Toys R Us, but when you check out the sophisticated chassis, you know where the money went. It took me only a couple of days to gladly give our BMW M-Sport 335 estate family car to my Letter of the month wife, and since then I´ve wins £25 worth of been driving the Cooper S. tickets for the Dream LETTER OF THE MONTH

Olle Victorin

Car competition held by botb.com

We use our BMW i3 as a family car. After 10,000 miles, I can say that it stands up to kids very well; the cabin is strong and, other than the glovebox lid, it gives the confidence that it will stay that way. The rear doors are cool right up until you park at the supermarket and find that the kids are trapped in the back. They often need to move into the triangular gap made by front and rear doors being open then fold themselves forward to close the rear door to get free. You need to be ultra-alert to kids running out in front of the car; it’s totally silent. And everyone loves the ability to preheat the car. Mark Lapicki

Band on the run > VIA EMAIL

Our i3 is spacious enough for a family of four, and our 6ft 1in 14-year-old rugby-playing son never complains about being in the back. The boot is limited but, by dropping a rear seat, we can fit a cello, trombone and violin in. Range is great in the summer – 80 on electric – but, when winter comes, it can be nearer to 50. Petrol range seems to stick to around 70 whatever the weather. We had a charger installed at home and it takes about 3.5 hours from empty to full so you must get one but they can take several weeks to arrive. It transformed the ‘fill up’ process and is just so much more convenient than running a 13amp cable out from under the garage door. Once all the grants had been taken into account it only cost us about £100 – bargain! Colin Howard

Dog’s dinner style > VIA EMAIL

It looks like Alfa Romeo have taken a leaf out of the BMW Styling Book with the Stelvio: lots of little styling features, ‘styling’ in the sense of having little functional or logical reasoning, just keep adding. Creases, bulges, vents, chrome


accents and topped off with contorted lamp shapes. Did no one stand back and say: ‘OMG what a mess’?

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Clyde Millard

Stop crouching in puddles > VIA EMAIL

Whilst a wading depth of 900mm is impressive (new Land Rover Discovery, CAR, January 2017), describing such a pool of water to be ‘chest high’ is maybe an exaggeration. Waist high maybe. Alastair Auld

EDITORIAL i3 is roomy enough for a three-piece orchestra, or one Tim Pollard

A very Chapman day out > VIA EMAIL

A quick thank you for inviting me to be a part of the Lotus feature in the last issue (CAR, February 2017) – it’s my 2-Eleven in the story. I’ve just seen the issue and the images are stunning: Mark is obviously a very talented guy. Credit too to Ben Barry – the story is a great read and really puts you at the wheel of each car in turn. Being witness to the process of shooting and driving the cars added an extra dimension of enjoyment for me, and I was pleased that Ben enjoyed the 2-Eleven as much as

I do. The Exige 380 wasn’t bad either… I’ve R magazine since I was a been reading CAR kid so it’s nice to finally be in it. The other owners were all good fun too, with some amazing stories; Malcolm is a legend!

Editor Phil McNamara

Adrian Legassick

Associate editor Matt Joy

Unstuck in the middle

Digital editor-in-chief Tim Pollard

> VIA EMAIL

So Porsche has decided that the next 911 RSR will be mid-engined (Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser interview in February’s Tech section). Doesn’t that make it a Cayman? Julian Price

Hidden costs > VIA EMAIL

When considering the running costs of a Renault Zoe (Our Cars, February) surely, in addition to the electrical consumption cost and the likely depreciation, should be added the battery replacement cost. Christopher S G Liversedge

Do the timewarp > VIA EMAIL

CAR ONLINE g

Driven: Mazda’s ‘retractable fastback’ MX-5 RF. Overcomplicated or origami-roofed excellence? Spied: Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe. All-electric prototype for new hunkered-down SUV spotted Verdict: Nissan’s reinvented Micra tested. The pendulum has swung - it’s interesting again! Revealed: Kia’s first proper performance car. New Stinger fastback unveiled in Detroit Scoop: what is Lotus up to in 2017 and beyond? CEO Jean-Marc Gales opens up to CAR

THE CAR POLL Which Mazda MX-5 would you y go g for? Retractable fastback RF, or the regular soft-top? MX-5 SOFT-TOP 39% MX-5 RF 61%

The solution to refuelling an EV is clear, simple and complicated at the same time. It’s clear that driving into an existing fuel station and exchanging a discharged battery pack for a fully charged one is the quickest and most convenient solution to minimise non-driving time. Simple, if the manufacturers all worked to a universal design for shape, size and connection of the power source. The discharged batteries could be recharged overnight to avoid crashing the grid. Complicated because storage and security issues (remember the spate of catalytic converter thefts?) may make it more costly than refined crude. And then there’s the Government’s slice to include. Until something along those lines appears, running a cable to your car and hanging around for an hour will still be a deterrent for many. Meanwhile, I have five mobile phone chargers in my kitchen drawer. Three are obsolete and the other two only work on one phone each.

Features editor Ben Miller Managing editor Colin Overland

Online editor James Taylor Art director Matthew Tarrant Designer Rebecca Wilshere Editors-at-large Chris Chilton, Mark Walton, Ben Barry Contributor-in-chief Gavin Green European editor Georg Kacher Contributing editors Ben Oliver, Ben Whitworth, Anthony ffrench-Constant, Steve Moody F1 correspondent Tom Clarkson Office manager Leise Enright Production controller Hollie Swift

ADVERTISING Commercial director Stuart Adam Digital commercial director Jim Burton Key account manager Dan Chapman Motor-related/aftermarket 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

Phil Taylor

SUBSCRIPTIONS To take out or renew a subscription to CARR 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: CARR 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 CARR 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. CARR 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 complaints@bauermedia.co.uk THIS ISSUE ON SALE: 15 FEBRUARY 2017. NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: 15 MARCH 2017


Your month The place where you let us peek into your weird and wonderful automotive lives 1

E X P E N S I V E TA S TE

A day out in London included a visit to HR Owen on the Old Brompton Road. My son’s first sit in a Ferrari. He liked this but preferred the 488 Spider. That’s my boy! TIM EARL

SHARE YOUR PICTURES – WIN THIS £600 WATCH! Send a picture and 50 words to CAR@bauermedia co.uk, labelled ‘Your Month The best entry this month wins an Elliot Brown Bloxworth watch worth £600. We’ll also publish a selection of your entries…

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1

OUR R WINNE

2

S U R E S TA R T

Not yet three years old and my grandson is already an avid CAR reader. Well, he can’t actually read but he can name the manufacturers of 90% of the featured cars, including Alfa Romeo, Seat and McLaren. Proud grandad! BILL MARSH

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O N T H E B E AC H

Like Chris Chilton, as a 12 year old I drooled over the ‘Reds’ photo, which you revisited in the December issue; I was surprised to learn it is the place I now take my son to ride his quad bike (always thought it was in Nevada!).

3

GARETH NORRIS

4

SPEED READING

On my annual trip back to Halifax, West Yorkshire, from my base in Kuala Lumpur, I bought the latest available UK edition of CAR to enjoy on the flights back. After a quick transfer in Dubai, I settled in for the second sector to Manchester and took this photo as we cruised along at 562mph.

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SIMON CUTHBERT

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T H E E A R LY B I R D…

I took this picture on a cold Scottish morning as me and my friend set off to bag the most northerly Munro in Scotland. We drove along the northern leg of the NC500 from Thurso to the Kyle of Tongue. It doesn’t get much better than this. NICK ELEY

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S M A LL A N D FA R AWAY

This was taken on the Japanese island of Teshima. If you know how small the car is, you’ll understand how tiny the building is. DIRK BOLL

54 SUBSCRIBE & GE T 12 MONTHS FOR £29.99! GRE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK | March 2017


SUPPORTING MOUNTAIN RESCUE

Every special edition watch generates ÂŁ36 for the volunteer teams who keep us safe on hills and trails. Available from authorised stockists and at www.elliotbrownwatches.com Model shown: Canford 202-012 Mountain Rescue Special Edition on black NATO webbing strap; ÂŁ360. Boxed set also includes fitted black leather deployant strap, two screwdrivers, and commemorative insert.


Bloodied but unbeaten, VW has gone back to what it knows best: building the best hatchback known to man. With the new Mk7.5 GTI and its imminent all-electric successor, this is the case for staying true to Golf

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Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf

Do I know you? Oh yeah, you’re the hot hatch I’ve always wanted

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Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf

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LOOK, NO CLOCKS •

VW Group is bringing a first to the class by offering a digital instrument display as an option on all models. Dubbed Active Info Display, it comprises a 12.3in colour screen display, a high 1440 x 540 resolution and dispenses with physical instruments altogether in favour of configurable screens. Although already used in the Passat, Golf Mk7.5 joins its Seat Leon offshoot in going digital. It can display navigation maps in 2D or 3D and shift the rev counter and speedometer to the sides for a clearer view, in an Audi Virtual Cockpit style, plus there are five different display profiles to choose from. Contrasting colours vary with model too, with red for the GTI and blue for the GTE, naturally.

IT WASN’T BROKEN •

THE BIG SCREEN •

Since 1997’s Mk4 the Golf’s cabin has always been a cut above the humdrum, and the 7.5 Golf isn’t letting up in this regard. While the architecture goes largely unchanged there’s been some tidying here, a little quality boost there, and a stronger case than ever for falling in love with the thing the moment you slide aboard. At the same time the Golf’s had a tech boost, with all Golf 7.5s getting a bigger central screen than before. The basic monochrome and colour 5in screens are now bumped to 6.5in, colour-only and with twice the resolution. The middle offerings are now 8in and the top-line Discover Navigation Pro system delivers crystal clarity slathered across a big 9.2-inch display.

60 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

Golf 7.5 may only be halfway to a new generation (due before the end of the decade) but it’s much more than a mid-life nip and tuck. It’s the most significant tech injection in a generation, putting it a step ahead of the key competition and crucially delivering enough solidity and technology to draw buyers down from the upper levels of the premium hierarchy. Anyone doing so will recognise the cockpit feel from the driver’s seat; master of all you survey and fine materials. (Plus tartan remains an option…)


Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf LOOK, DON’T TOUCH •

not only brings with it that giant display screen but also features you won’t find on its rivals. There are no traditional buttons at all, only five capacitive shortcut keys down one side. Everything else is taken care of by touch on the glass surface or, for the first time in the segment, gesture control, as vaunted by BMW on the 7-series. Swipe left or right to scroll through menus, albums or playlists and touch to select. As with the BMW, it needs practice and accurate inputs to work as you’d want it – there’s also voice control, should your gestures prove wide of the mark. Hook up a smartphone or tablet via the in-car wi-fi and any occupant can control all the audio and video input sources, the navigation and even the calendar via an app, while a MirrorLink-connected phone allows you to answer the video intercom at home on the touchscreen via the DoorBird app.

2 .There’s detailing to die for

1 . It’s a wannabe 5-series inside Gesture control and superlative quality – the best just got better

No faux diffusers or ironing-board wings, just class SHARPER, BRIGHTER, SLICKER – while dreaming up Golfs 10 years hence, VW design boss Klaus Bischoff and his Darwin-worshipping team have taken their finest plane to the Mk7.5 in search of the perfect look; fresher, sharper and cleaner but still identifiable as Wolfsburg’s finest from 100 yards. Front and rear bumpers have been smoothed out and refreshed, while all models now get LED lights at the rear; top-spec cars get the ‘flowing’ indicator action you’ve seen on flashier Audis, too. At the front the sportiest trio (GTI, GTD and R) get their own honeycomb grilles while the regular versions wear the more discreet vaned version; models fitted with Active Cruise now have their sensors tucked behind the VW badge, for a cleaner look. The front also displays a perfect melding of new and old; the GTI’s signature chrome and red piping on the grille now flows through the DRLs and into the searing LED headlights, which replace the Mk7’s lowly xenons.  March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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3 . The GTI is ludicrously good fun to drive Threats to the crown are myriad, from within as well as without – is the joy of GTI intact?

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Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf

A

GOLF IS A Golf is a Golf. Class-defining and at the same time class-less, it has been an icon and talisman for the Volkswagen brand and its treasurers since 1974. True to the maxim ‘never change a winning team’, the design changes introduced for 2017 are subtle. The sheet metal remains untouched; bumpers, lights and grille get fresh make-up. It’s the familiar GTI but looking a little leaner, a little sharper than you remember it. There are new wheels, extra brightwork and four little red winglets underlining the LED headlights. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four gets more power, thereby matching the acceleration times of the outgoing GTI Performance: the Mk7.5 GTI boasts 227bhp in standard form and 242bhp in its Performance iteration. Gearbox options remain a six-speed manual or a DSG twin-clutch auto, but the latter gets another pair of ratios for seven in total. The first Golf GTI was, in essence, a grown-up Mini Cooper made in Germany. The 110bhp engine had an easy time bringing to life a 810kg crackerjack which made history for its amazing handling, roadholding and performance. Four decades on the very latest top-of-the-line Golf more than doubles that power output, though weight too has also soared by over 70% to 1386kg. At 6.4sec from 0-62mph, overtaking is as

effortless as ever; at 155mph, the GTI is almost always the fastest car in the fast lane; and at 44mpg, the GTI doesn’t lag far behind the super-frugal 184bhp GTD. The most telling number, however, is the midrange in-gear urge. Put your foot down hard in fifth and the GTI lunges from 50 to 75mph. Although the GTD fields an extra 22lb ft of torque, it loses that particular fraternal feud by 1.5sec. Unlike the equally cult BMW M3, which has journeyed from four-cylinder to straight-six to V8 and back to six, the engineering fundamentals of the Golf GTI have not changed much over the decades. Instead the car’s focus has wavered from lean (Mk1) through diluted (Mk3 automatic) and clueless (badge-engineered Mk4) to back-to-basics (Mk5). The latest metamorphosis is into GTI in the purest sense of the acronym; a gran turismo powered by a feisty fuel-injected and turbocharged engine. Overt sportiness is no longer the prime ambition of this high-visibility Golf with trad plaid upholstery and ’80s stripework. Instead, this is now the most refined and effortless hot hatch on the market. The Peugeot 308GTi is rawer and more chuckable, the Astra has a good deal more power, the ill-mannered Civic Type R appeals to a different audience and the BMW 125i is underwhelming 

The GTI corners with a captivating blend of grip and mighty exit speed

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and overpriced – twist things however you like but there still is no better all-rounder than the GTI. I’m driving a red four-door manual with fat 19-inch wheels and adaptive dampers. Pressing the starter button activates two sources of sound: initially, it’s Dynaudio versus EA211, but after a fingertip correction, the powerplant beats the amplifier. It emits marginally less CO2 through marginally larger-diameter tailpipes, humming along happily at idle speed. While the drive mode selector invites you to tweak engine and transmission response, damper setting and steering behaviour, it won’t let you turn up the exhaust volume. For a loop of wild Spanish C-roads, I lock the shocks in Comfort and leave the other elements in Sport. Although there is an ESP button, you can only deactivate traction control. So it’s a ‘yes’ to take-off wheelspin but a ‘no’ to lift-off oversteer. Nail-biting excitement and pulse-quickening emotion are not really what this car is about. Like its predecessor, the new GTI is no rock-solid, screaming-at-the-world street racer. While you might think you want a roadgoing BTCC racer that hops sideways on solid springs and offers a powerband just 258rpm wide, Volkswagen knows that you really want is a relaxed mile-eater with long legs, longer service intervals and plenty of low-end grunt. After all, this Golf no longer needs to prove anything. Its livery is tastefully tailored, its stance understated yet confident, it’s voice half Peter Fonda, half Sean Connery. A true Volkswagen in the Winterkorn and Hackenberg tradition, the best-seller remains built like a vault – kind of a Golf with Phaeton genes, not vice-versa. Want to hitch a ride? We’re off, out of first gear and swiftly into second, then third. Even at 4000rpm, the acoustics are still reminiscent of a padded cocoon – no suspension rumble, front axle quiver, tyre roar or driveline indispositions. The only music this car plays in your ears are the dense and delicately staggered tonalities of VW’s finest petrol engine. Equipped with sports suspension and the so-called progressive power steering, the new GTI comes well prepared for the narrow twisties that lie like serpents up and down Mallorca’s steep, mountainous flanks. You never need sixth gear on this kind of terrain, but first is a must where hairpins

climb like spiral staircases through the rocks. With the exception of short straights and occasional switchbacks, this is mainly second- and third-gear stuff. Good to know then that this Golf picks up the torque thread at a subterranean 1500rpm and spans its lofty 258lb ft peak from there all the way to 4600rpm. It does not come as a surprise that the sixspeed manual changes ratios as rapidly as the optional DSG transmission. It’s a quick and slick gearbox, precise and well staggered, complemented by a light and progressive clutch. Although redlined at 6500rpm, there is no real need to push the single-turbo 16-valver beyond its broad sweet spot. Waltzing one-two-three, one-two-three with the GTI along the southern edge of the Balearic island it puts in a controlled, restrained and eerily rapid performance. This is a car that frowns at and refrains from grand gestures. So you turn-in with restraint, stay in the taller of the two gears you had in mind, open up the steering early and feed the torque in diligently. The reward is a captivating blend of cornering grip and exit speed, a high level of composure, immaculate body control, not much understeer and plenty of feedback. You always know exactly where you are with this Golf, be it one tenth under the limit or a tenth over it. Over-driving the Golf GTI upsets the handling balance by inducing excess understeer and destructive ASR/ESP interference. It’s much better to keep this car on a long leash, give torque preference over power and maintain a steady flow. After all, this is no longer your father’s GTI, or the original I remember vividly from the press launch. This Golf has grown up. Of course there’s room for a sharper version, not to mention a Clubsport, but don’t forget that Volkswagen Golf GTI (5-door manual, non-Performance) Mallorca and its winding byways > Price £28,520 are only one side of the coin. On > Engine 1984cc faster, more expansive country roads turbocharged petrol 4-cyl, 227bhp @ 6200rpm, and motorways and it will no doubt 258lb ft @ 1500rpm collect yet more brownie points. After > Transmission 6-speed all, no contender can match the Golf manual, front-wheel drive for its blend of laid-back competence > Performance 0-62mph 6.4sec, 155mph, 44.1mpg, and absolute commitment.  148g/km CO2 > Weight 1364kg > Length/width/height 4970/2073/1846mm > On sale Now > Rating +++++

Tick the Performance Pack box for more power and a proper diff

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Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf

Time to talk about the R? No, we don’t mention the R (up to 306bhp and 4.6sec 0-62mph…)

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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4 . It’ll drive you Once the preserve of big-ticket execs, Golf delivers driver-assistance systems to the people

T

HE MK7.5 GOLF democratises advanced active and passive safety. For a modest fee (£1120/£1225), Volkswagen will install your new Golf with just about every conceivable driver assistance system available in this vehicle segment. The Lane Assist Plus package gets you Rear Traffic Alert, Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition and either High-beam Assist or Dynamic Light Assist. In combination with the DSG semi-automatic transmission, Traffic Jam Assist is the first step toward allowing the car to do its own thing while you daydream out of the side window. The speed range for the adaptive cruise control has been extended to cover everything from rest to 125mph, but

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more importantly it combines with the Lane Assist system to give Traffic Jam Assist. Golf is the smallest Volkswagen Group product to offer the technology, and within the parameters of lane-marked roads and speeds below 37mph it will take care of steering, braking and accelerating for you thanks to the tracking cameras and radar installed at the top of the windscreen – with the proviso that the driver must keep their hands on the wheel to intervene if required. Even so, it gives the Golf a signiff icant edge over rivals in terms of autonomy; they have yet to link the two features. In addition the Golf can be fitted with Emergency Assist, which will

Below 37mph the car will take care of steering, braking and accelerating


Cover story Mk7.5 VW Golf

A 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol with torque, 54mpg and soul?

Georg goes hands-free – world takes a deep breath

perform a controlled autonomous stop if it detects the driver has become incapacitated. Or fallen asleep. (And let’s face it, with nothing to do and thosee seats, it’s a possibility.) If a series of warnings fail to achieve a response it will activate the hazard warning lights, perform a gentle steering manoeuvre to warn surrounding traffic and bring the car to a halt, using the adaptive cruise control hardware to avoid oncoming traffic. It just might save your life… Does Traffic Jam Assist work? Yes it does, provided the car can pick up the required lane markings (the dash display turns from orange to green when it’s happy). Being able to switch off part of your brain in stop/start M25 traffic is undoubtedly progress, and sure enough the Golf will go with the flow, and steer, up to the system’s maximum speed, though its steering inputs are a little more all-action Gilles Villeneuve than syrupy-smooth Jenson Button. March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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6.

Because...

We love the post-Golf Golf Silent, smart, self-driving and serene, ID is nothing less than the third-generation people’s car and the next Golf in all but name. We’re sold Words Matt Joy | Photography Alex Howe

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Cover story VW ID

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W

OLFSBURG IN JANUARY’S colourless embrace perfectly encapsulates the current mood at Volkswagen. Chimneys loom through a silent screen of fog as streams of Kombis shuttle endlessly around the perimeter roads, their number conspicuously punctuated by the occasional UK-registered Bentayga. The snaking rail carriages sit silent and empty, waiting for the end product of the overnight shift to complete their laps of the tiny sign-off test track. For a factory covering 2.5 square miles it’s oddly quiet here. From the outside, then, it’s business as usual at Volkswagen, but at the heart of the company there is seismic change. There had to be. The financial cost of the emissions scandal looks to be topping out at a staggering $25 billion, though dieselgate didn’t seem to affect group or VW brand sales in 2016: both grew. But things are changing nonetheless. Sales and marketing chief Jürgen Stackmann delivered a speech ahead of the Paris show making it clear that Volkswagen’s future was electric, and crucially that it had to present ‘a new face to the world’. That face is the one you see before you. It’s no coincidence that from the front, the ID appears to meld the honesty and simplicity of the Beetle’s nose with the confident jawline of

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the new Golf. It has no mouth to speak of but, like meeting a stranger for the first time, you focus on the eyes, which have more to say than any previous Volkswagen. Or any other car. Maybe it’s the 3am start this morning catching up with me but I’d swear the ID just winked at me… ‘Headlights are getting more and more functional and this is helping consumers to understand what the car’s doing,’ explains Klaus Bischoff, head of Volkswagen Design. ‘Today’s cars have only a blinker… We wanted to give more functionality from a conceptual standpoint, so we came up with the idea of ‘eyes’ able to look around and communicate: “Okay, the car looks at me. He has seen me. The car has seen me…!” That’s something we’re able to do now, for example when you’re in traffic and a pedestrian standing on the edge of the pavement looks at you – they’ll feel reassured they’ve been noticed.’ The LED headlights work in combination with LED illumination around the rest of the car to communicate its behaviour and functions: glowing blue to indicate autonomous driving, looking further ahead as speed rises, and making ‘eye’ contact with pedestrians and cyclists. It’s a relatively small detail, and one with multiple hurdles to clear before production, but it’s an example of the forward thinking evident in the ID’s creation, and a manifestation of the notion of the car becoming a third entity in the relationship between driver and the outside world. Move along the ID’s smooth flanks and the three ages of Volkswagen are right before you. With an engine-free 


Cover story VW ID

THE FIRST T WO PEOPLE’S CARS Volkswagen Golf MkI 1974-1983

Volkswagen Beetle 1938-2003

FOLLOWED THE layout trend of the time with front-wheel drive and a transverse engine, but the Golf’s Giugiaro-penned exterior gave it both a thoroughly modern feel and distanced it from the elliptical Beetle, the car it was designed to replace. That look also set the template for the six generations to follow, with the practical hatchback body forever denting the popularity of the small saloon and its strut/torsion beam suspension set-up combining space efficiency and composed handling. ‘Premium’ – everywhere now, even on Kias – was a word yet to be applied to cars in 1974, but the original Golf was sturdily built and avoided the then standard-issue small-car sensations of feeling like a shopping cart, paving the way for a progressive push upmarket over the generations. Desirable but not exclusive – the line the Golf has trodden since, and that ID must continue.

DESIGNED TO be simple to maintain, air-cooled to avoid freezing overnight and with enough performance to cruise at 62mph on the then-new autobahns, the Beetle began life as the KdF-Wagen designed by Ferdinand Porsche. The post-war reopening of the factory led to big sales and the car’s influence spreading across the globe. Officially called the Type 1 at first, the original Beetle’s simplicity and humility made it the perfect antidote to the pursuit of speed and glamour prevalent elsewhere in the car industry. By the ’70s it’d been firmly overtaken by modern rivals but production continued in Mexico nonetheless, with imports to Europe continuing right through until 1985. Its image was so strong that Volkswagen has twice introduced new Beetles – pastiches both, and neither of which could hold a candle to the charm or purity of the original.

Look along the ID’s flanks and the three ages of VW are right before you

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LOUNGE LIZARD ‘Open Lounge’ concept bins the traditional centre console stack in favour of voice and gesture control, with the few remaining touch controls pushed out to the doors and the steering wheel, the latter allowing control of the transmission and menus. Handover of control will be crystal clear: just as you’d want it…

CLEAN LIKE NASA Stripped-back cabin reflects ID’s status as VW’s most advanced autonomy and connectivity statement; touch the badge on the wheel and it retreats into the dash, leaving you free to relax into the space freed up. Breeze the M25 while gazing at the clouds.

BUILT OR GROWN? Cabin eschews the technical look for organic, soft-radii curves designed to reflect nature and improve the sense of space. Design theme features a Möbius strip, with an interior curve that flows seamlessly into the exterior and vice versa. Maths geeks rejoice.

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QUITE AN ENTRANCE Approach the car and the handles illuminate; reach for them and they slide out to greet you. Rear doors employ hinges hidden within the sandwich floor, allowing them to pop out and move rearwards. The result is a grand entrance space with no ugly track on the body.


Cover story VW ID

POD BOTHERER Each seat gets its own door-mounted pod with touch-sensitive controls for the infotainment and navigation as well as heating and ventilation. The display changes if the door is opened or the driver switches to autonomous mode – and it’s also the door handle.

nose and drive to the rear axle there’s a clear ideological link to the 1938 Beetle, freeing up the cabin for people and luggage. The form is sci-fi Golf; the strong, kinked C-pillar is unmistakeable, as are the tail lights just below the body crease, where they’ve always been. But the proportions are all ID; the overhangs barely worthy of the name and the pinch in the waist like it’s been grasped by a 30ft toddler and squeezed. The result is as much room as a Passat within a smaller footprint than a Golf, with the batteries mounted beneath the floor for an uncluttered cabin, drive kit mounted at the rear and the heater matrix up front. The ID rides on VW’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), with the flexibility to stretch and shrink as required, with more space efficiency as well as range and power; 168bhp and up to 370 miles are the proposed figures for a production-ready ID. VW design boss Some details are show-car sexy but Klaus Bischoff: he smart enough to make production. At just can’t help but the front, where you’d expect to find get touchy-feely air intakes, the ID has a pattern of diamond-shaped metal inserts, varying in size as if they’ve been pushed out from within to pierce the vehicle’s skin. Bischoff is clearly offended when I suggest they’re a design feature without function… ‘Of course there’s a function!’ he insists. ‘You don’t find anything without a function on this car: that’s typical of Volkswagen’s design philosophy.’ The intriguing detail, matched in the pattern of the LED headlights, is a series of grilles to cool the battery in high-load conditions; if the temperature is too high, the larger metal shapes withdraw, allowing fresh air through, and are closed in normal driving for superior aero performance. ‘When it opens up it has a certain feeling to it because it’s an animated surface,’ Bischoff gestures. ‘It’s not like “Okay, open a flap”, which is what engineers would normally do, yeah?’ The design versus engineering rivalry is clearly still a healthy shade of frosty at Volkswagen. Cooling function aside, the diamond-cut vents are possibly the only element of the ID you could classify as adornment. For a concept car it is remarkably unfussy, with fewer lines and creases than many production cars. This is a deliberate choice, as the ID has to be a car with more than just enthusiast appeal. It has to perform the same miracles as its predecessors, and be at once approachable, non-threatening, inclusive, classy and desirable. It must also sell the concepts of autonomy and electrification to buyers not yet aware of what the two will mean for the driving experience. Successfully do so and the rewards will be huge. Bischoff draws an analogy with personal computing. You had to learn computing language to communicate with an ’80s Atari; Apple introduced a different way of thinking. ‘They were the first to make a computer you were able to talk to,’ says Bischoff. ‘That was my first computer because I, as an idiot in computers, was able to use it, and to do valuable things with it. Here we want to do a car that people immediately understand and that is self-explaining; that has no switches that you  

The pinch in the waist like it’s been grasped by a 30ft toddler and squeezed… March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

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don’t understand, that is easy to operate. Maybe we are not yet there, but that’s our aim.’ This isn’t just a shift of ideology for Volkswagen. For every buyer excited and engaged with the concepts of electric power and self-driving cars there are 10 yet to be convinced of the merits of such fundamental changes. Step inside the ID and – even allowing for the fact that it’s a concept – the sense of space is a revelation. And stepping inside is easier, too; the ID’s hinged rear doors allow them to open out in coach fashion, and that’s after the car’s recognised your approach with a flash of its eyes, a change of colour and the deployment of the flush door handles to greet you. Swing them open and you’re met with a refreshingly spartan space, the rear seats given as much authority as those in the front. The cabin’s thrillingly uncluttered, with the ID demonstrating Volkswagen’s proposal for the future of the human-machine interface (HMI). The standout feature is an augmented reality display, which superimposes sat-nav guidance onto the road ahead, instantly removing doubts about whether the nav

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means this turn or the next one. Bischoff is clear, though, that this is just one potential solution. This is, after all, the age of the rapidly evolving smartphone as well as the advent of automated driving. ‘We want to discuss this with our customers and see where the ship is heading,’ he says. ‘To get the interface right is one of the essentials of the product from our standpoint. This needs really to be so outstanding and so good, and of course the IT companies that try to get into the market – that’s the asset they have, so we need to come up with something really clever. With all our experience, perfecting the way in which you operate things should be very, very easy.’ Part of that is the digital identity feature, where your smartphone replaces a physical key to operate the ID. Next-generation keys aren’t new, of course, but here the suite of apps keep you permanently linked to the car, setting music and lighting to your preferences but also navigating you to appointments the system seamlessly draws from your diary. The ID takes this a step further, and close to the Internet of Things daydream/ nightmare: a compatible fridge will send a shopping list to the car as you head for the supermarket, while the car turns the heating on at home when it knows you’re nearly there on a sub-zero night. With so much tech packed into the ID to give it autonomy, exploiting that hard- and software for other means is both sensible and desirable; the notion of a car as a personal assistant might seem fanciful but the ID has the ability to do it. ‘You have to draw people to that technology,’ says Bischoff. ‘Today the [electric vehicle] market share is smaller than one percent worldwide. If we want to grow that, and we need to get the CO2 footprint down, it has to be sensational. It has to have something where the customer says, “Yeah, that’s great. I’ll buy that.” One thing’s for sure: the battery technology is still expensive so you have to have a clear benefit for the customer.’ Perhaps it is the autonomous aspect of the ID that is both the most challenging but also the most enticing. A production car, based on the ID and running on the same MEB architecture is scheduled for 2019, with four other variants spun off it to include five- and A face you can seven-seat crossovers, a premium saloon trust? ID is part and production versions of the Budd-e of righting that and ID Buzz microbus concepts. But it almighty wrong will be 2025 when a level four (capable of hands-off, no-excuses self-driving) autonomous ID arrives; this concept wears the roof pods housing the laser scanners and the steering wheel shaped to stow silently in the dash at a touch of the illuminated VW roundel. There are no claims that VW will be first to level four autonomy, but the proposed capabilities are clear and include voice-activated destination input, car-to-car communication and self-valet mode – simply jump out at your destination and let the car park itself. Is this what the third age of Volkswagen is all about? It’s not a good time for diesel, and the combustion engine generally has a minefield of tightening emissions targets ahead of it. In this context ID offers the potential for drastic reinvention: the badge that helped democratise the car in the last century doing the same for smart EVs in this one. The age of the near-silent, zero-emission autonomous car cannot be far away – the challenge for Bischoff and his colleagues is convincing people to make the transition with Volkswagen. To trust again. ‘I see so much enthusiasm and will around here to break through and to do something that is thoughtful; to deliver a truly great product to the world,’ enthuses Bischoff. ‘In all this catastrophe, this is the spark for a new Volkswagen better than anything we’ve done before.’


Cover story VW ID

Just imagine how tight VW’s shutlines will be by 2020… airtight!

A level four autonomous ID capable of hands-off, no-excuses self-driving will arrive in 2025

50 years from now, will the ID be judged worthy of this company?

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Motodrive Hard sportBMW Rallying’s M760Li return

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L of a car… but is it an M?

BMW has a new flagship, tweaked by M Division and housing a phenomenal twinturbo V12 for luxury with unholy performance. But the M760Li isn’t an M7… Words s Georg Kacher | Photography y Barry Hayden

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Hard drive BMW M760Li

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This mix of high tech, high speed and high luxury can make sports cars envious

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Hard drive BMW M760Li If our range-topper had been designed from scratch as the big brother of the M5, it would most likely boast a more aggressive stance, a louder livery, a lightweight body with composite panels, water injection, active aerodynamics and carbon-ceramic brakes. For better or worse, the M760Li has none of this. In fact, an Excellence edition is available in some countries offering extra luxury, complete with overdosed brightwork, a toned-down exhaust note and an even plusher cabin with shiny timber accents. That version would be aimed chiefly at image-greedy chauffeur-driven plutocrats. But most M760 buyers are expected to prefer the classic M treatment of wraparound aero kit and bespoke wheels: 20-inchers with 245/40 Michelin Sport (not Cup) tyres up front and an even wider 275/35 format at the rear. We meet the M760Li near Palm Springs, California. For road driving impressions the local police have cordoned off a 10-mile stretch of mountain pass with Ford Explorers as flashing road blocks on both ends. The track at our disposal is a brand-new rich man’s playground outside La Quinta which has been leased out to the BMW Driving Academy. With the former DTM champion Martin Tomcyk at the wheel of the pace car, the 760 quickly reveals the challenges faced by anyone trying to make something this big and heavy into a performance car. With so much mass, momentum and ambition entering the equation, understeer is no stranger. That relentless 6.6-litre V12 keeps asking, with increasing

It’s subtle for an M but stands out from other Sevens with its aero, wheels, trim and V12 badges

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insistence, ‘must we really turn-in now?’ Since we are under orders not to completely deactivate the traction control, the electronics interrupt relatively early, but you soon learn to play the system to your advantage by opening up the steering early and drip-feeding torque at the limit of adhesion. When subjected to a demanding sequence of hard acceleration followed by equally hard stopping, the brakes are quick to show signs of smoky exhaustion. After three hot laps, the effort required of the driver increases notably, with the brake pedal travel and responsiveness protesting at your pace. That said, the stopping system puts on a brave face, suggesting it would rather fight until the pads were shaved blank and the rotors warped than fade into premature surrender. While the 601bhp limo may not be anyone’s idea of the trackday tool, it turns out to be a remarkably capable and entertaining B-road plaything when whipped through its paces on that closed section of Highway 74. But before you fire up the app-controlled in-dash lap-timer, be sure to engage the right Executive Drive Pro setting. Forget Comfort and Comfort Plus, except perhaps to tone down the damper setting on truly rotten turf. Sport is clearly the calibration to choose, since it brings a meatier steering action and a livelier engine-transmission dialogue.

Inside you get everything fitted to all the current 7-series, including semi-autonomous capability

It turns out to be a remarkably entertaining 601bhp B-road plaything


Motorsport Rallying’s return On that particular stretch of skyward-spiralling blacktop, the M760Li feels good enough to eclipse most of its rivals most of the time, although without the other cars on hand you cannot, of course, be sure. It is, for instance, better planted and more focused than the S-class twins, and its chassis is much more compliant than the unforgivingly stiff S8. The steering is more communicative than either Benz but not as quite as transparent and linear as the pre-facelift Quattroporte. Traction? Available in abundance, period. When did we last say this about an M-badged BMW? But the brakes are still bothering me – and we’ve said that about an M-badged BMW recently. On the second downhill run, they start showing signs of stress, powdering the blue calipers with acid grey dust. Composite rotors, perhaps as an option, would make leadfoot drivers happy. But the answer from van Meel is no. ‘Not in line with the character of the car’, he says. ‘I’m struggling to picture an M760Li owner who would push the upgraded steel discs to their limit.’ As a pure performance car, the M760 makes an idiosyncratic choice. It wins you over with its kick-in-the-butt performance, the rivetting cornering grip, and the intriguing handling. Nurse the front tyres and it will inspire and satisfy, challenge and reward, as it tackles bends with verve and sharpness. The steering and throttle work together in surprising harmony. The electronic driving aids really earn their keep 

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Hard drive BMW M760Li here. Body roll is minimal. There’s a great balance of chuckabilty and directional stability. The M760’s formidable sure-footedness permits indecent cornering speeds. Similar praise would of course apply to an identically prepped 750i. But the 750 doesn’t have the charismatic V12. The trick twin-turbo motor makes all the right noises, from a bass-heavy purr at idle to a full-bodied growl when approaching the 6000rpm cut-out. Thankfully, the M boys spared us chip-induced go-faster acoustics, fake throttle blipping and computer-generated lift-off misfiring. With 590lb ft of torque available from 1550rpm all the way to the limiter, wafting along in eighth is at all times only a split second away from full-fisted acceleration in fourth. In Sport, revs and ratios interact with rubber-devouring synergy, especially when accelerating hard out of second- and third-gear corners. Not bad at all for what is a fresh metamorphosis of an olde worlde engine; no hybrid element at all, and certainly not any zero-emission Earth-friendliness. Over 380 miles, our measured consumption was 18.1mpg. ‘BMW is one of the few manufacturers who still builds 12-cylinder engines,’ says van Meel. ‘With the 7-series-based Alpina B8 covering the V8 side of the business, we took the V12 under our wing because of its awesome power and brand-shaping glory. Numbers aren’t everything in the ultra-luxury league. What matters every bit as much are the emotions triggered by this complex unit and the car it propels.’ The market in which the £130k M760Li competes is small but lucrative. Mercedes builds about 6000 AMG S-classes per year, Audi does close to 2000 S8s, and Maserati and Bentley are also doing a healthy trade in fast luxury cars. This is an impressively capable compromise, an intriguing half-breed asked to perform an incompatible set of tasks. For me, its appearance is simply not special enough, and its performance ambitions are ultimately compromised by the massive weight, the strained brakes and the preference for understeer. But that all vanishes from your thoughts when you floor the throttle for one more burst of that unreal acceleration, enjoy some of its mid-size agility in a full-size package, and embrace the thoroughly engaging driving experience. No, the M760Li is not an M7. But it is the most involving full-size BMW ever.

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BMW M760LI > Price e £130,410 > Engine e 6592cc 48v V12, 601bhp @ 5500rpm, 590lb ft @ 1550-6000rpm > Transmission 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive > Performance 3.7sec 0-62mph, 155mph (189mph with M Driver’s Package), 22.4mpg, 294g/km CO2 > Weight 2255kg (dry) e Now > On sale > Rating

+++++

M to the max

Inside one of the world’s most intriguing – and least public – collections of M cars

xDrive all-wheel drive gives immense traction on tarmac, so you need to go off-road to cut loose

F

rom the outside, the low-key unit in the midst of a scruffy industrial estate in Southern California looks more like a car graveyard than the home of a worldclass car collection. Behind the wire fence rest a good dozen incognito casualties, parked side by side, casually protected against weather by yellow covers or grey tarp, anonymous hulls with uncertain fates. Behind the roll-up gate, however, a tightly packed array of shining BMWs from the ’60s and ’70s await us in what is half warehouse, half workshop. The collector in question wishes to remain anonymous. He’s 48 years old and wants to be known simply as Rey. He made a packet in the dairy business, and is on a mission to buy whatever M cars take his fancy. When he ran out of floor space, he started stacking the surplus stock on hoists. Right now, the headcount is 52 cars, but it fluctuates because he buys and sells cars on a whim. ‘I once had 14 2002tii’s in

various stages from neglect to perfection,’ he recalls. ‘Presently, I’m down to three. I also have three carburettorfed 2002ti’s which I actually prefer to drive. They are that bit more responsive.’ He makes a point of using his cars, taking each vehicle for at least a quick spin if not a longer journey about three times a year. Current favourites? ‘As far as modern cars go, the M2. From more recent times, the 3.0 CSL and the E30 M3. Out of the older stuff, I love the 02 and the Neue Klasse from the base 1600 to the upmarket 2000tilux.’ The collection is managed and kept in good shape by four experts: Michael, a retired German racing school instructor and M1 homologation specialist; local mechanics Dave and Jason; and Rizzo the guard dog. When they are not busy prepping a car for the owner’s next road trip, the two mechanics are restoring ‘any BMW from the pre-electronic era’, as they put it. Rey buys some of his cars in batches and others


Mo

p

g E30 M3 gives away four litres and nearly 400bhp to the M760Li

Ever-changing collection includes Alpinas as well as Ms

individually, sometimes merely to save a rarity from the shredder. Among the patients currently awaiting treatment are a rusty 2000C coupe, a half-finished Malaga Red 2002ti and a US-marketonly L6 with front-end damage. Unlike many classic car buffs, he doesn’t necessarily insist on originality. ‘I own several Alpinas which, strictly speaking, aren’t originals. And I do like

crazy one-offs like the wild widebody 345i powered by a 745i motor, the stealth 2000 saloon equipped with a later-day 2.2-litre M3 unit, or the rear-engined lightweight 700RS roadster of which only two have survived.’ Rey currently also owns 15 ti and tii´s, the aforementioned CSL and a bunch of early M3, M5 and M6 models. Having started his collection in 1992, he’s still chasing a number of dream cars, among them the

ballsy 1800 Ti/SA (only 200 were made), an M1 project car (good ones fetch telephone numbers) and a 2002 Turbo that doesn’t need an awful lot of work. ‘Trouble is, to make a small fortune on classic cars requires a big fortune to start with,’ quips our host. ‘So I´m constantly looking for relatively affordable sleepers like certain limited-edition models, rare colour and trim combinations and older stuff

such as the 502 Baroque Angel or a 3200 CS Bertone.’ If money was no object, what else would he buy? Rey comes up with the answer like a shot: ‘Any two-door 502 would be nice to have, also a 503 coupe, and of course the out-of-reach 507. I also fancy something older like a 327 or 328, both in open- and closed-top form.’ How about a Z8 or an i8? ‘Nice, for sure. But too modern, too difficult for us to work on.’ Speaking of modern cars, how about a drive in the new M760Li? Rey approaches the top-of-the-line 7-series with a mix of curiosity and respect, bemused by a remote keyfob that’s the size of a small mobile phone. Adjusting the seat is easy,

but then the driver´s left knee inadvertently hits the massage button, prompting a quick tour of the gadgets. Once in gear, the sports car-like performance is the main attention getter. ‘Geez, that´s fast, man! Like riding a wave.’ Hitting the Sport button further ups the pace. By giving photographer Barry in the back seat an emphatic thumbs-up, Rey alerts gesture control and the in-dash DJ duly turns up the volume. Next, it´s assistance systems like the followme feature and automatic self-parking. Although he is impressed, it’s not for him. ‘I’m the other type of M person,’ he says. ‘I prefer old-school M creations, the rawer the better.’

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IN SID E PAGANI

HOR AC IO A N D Dreamer, engineer, go-getter, passionate car guy and now architect, Horacio Pagani 86 6

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Inside Pagani Automobili

TH E M AC H I N E has a new headquarters. Like his cars, it’s all his own work. And like his cars, it’s quite special Wo ds e O er | Ph

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T WAS FRIDAY the h 13th, h and d photogra h pher Richard Pardon and I had just taken a comedic, synchronised, arms-and-legsflailing, Laurel-and-Hardy-style tumble on sheet ice as we emerged from our hotel. This was not the day to be driving a £2m Pagani Huayra BC. We had been told that a car ‘might be available’ for us to drive at the factory. When we arrived, we were simply told that it was ‘not available’. We didn’t complain, and we didn’t ask why. We hadn’t come to drive anyway. We’d come to see the Pagani of car factories, which Horacio Pagani has built two minutes down the road from his old place in San Cesario sul Panaro, just outside Modena. He’s a car engineer, not an architect, but he has designed it himself to the same principles as his cars. It is a beautiful factory, but it is not in a beautiful location. It faces green fields but is surrounded on the other three sides by an ugly industrial estate. A hard, cold, steelgrey northern Italian day doesn’t help. Think of a multi-syllabic Italian supercar and you’ll probably picture one being driven over a sunlit Alpine road. That may be how they’re used, but it’s in places like this and on days

Suspension arms inspired the steelwork in the new headquarters

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llike k this h that h the h hard h d work k off creating them h is done. d In stories like this we usually take you through a factory gate which would otherwise be closed. Not here. Despite the value and rarity of his cars, Horacio is egalitarian on access. He hasn’t forgotten what it was like to be young car enthusiast stranded half a world away in Argentina, desperate to get to Supercar Valley and to work in a factory like this. So now for €35 you can book a tour of his, and see all this for yourself. But unless you come in with us, you’re unlikely to get your tour from the man whose name is over the door. The world’s least-scary car company boss walks through that door shortly after us and seemingly without having fallen on his arse on his way. There is still the flurry that always surrounds the arrival of a Very Important Person: conversations end abruptly and everyone’s attention swivels in one direction. Horacio is too nice to expect the attention, but you are aware that you are now in the presence of one of the great figures of supercar world. His company might not (yet) have acquired the fame or the scale or the racing success of Enzo Ferrari’s or Ferruccio

Countach Anniversary next to an early bare-carbon Zonda, chassis 6


Inside Pagani Automobili

Lamborghini’s, b h b but ffew h have b been able bl to d design and d engineer a supercar largely unaided. Horacio Pagani is better compared to engineers like Gordon Murray or Ettore Bugatti, and benign dictatorships like these tend to produce better cars. He is a diminutive, avuncular figure, dressed in a Pagani tracksuit top (the zipper is in the shape of his trademark quad exhaust pipes), purple jeans and soft grey Diadora trainers. Abundant grey-white hair is pushed up and away from his face, and his quick, sharp, expressive eyes dart around behind thin-framed glasses. They settle on a spotlight in the ceiling of the room where we’re having a coffee before taking the tour. It isn’t pointing in the right direction. Horacio summons Leonardo (his son, named after da Vinci) who supervised the construction of the factory. Leonardo appears with a stepladder, and aims it correctly. Horacio’s mind sent forth both the car You’re probably familiar with Hoand the building. Do racio’s story. By his early twenties and try not to feel at all inadequate while still in Argentina he’d designed and built his own F2 car. But local paid work as a designer and engineer was limited to making camper van conversions. So in ’83, with no money but a letter of introduction from Juan Manuel Fangio, he arrived in Italy (where his parents had been born) and got a menial job at Lamborghini. His rise was meteoric but his thinking was uncomfortably unconstrained for his employer. His Countach Evoluzione concept was among the first to use a carbonfibre tub, cutting a third from the standard car’s mass. Lamborghini wouldn’t invest in an autoclave to make its own carbonfibre, so Horacio borrowed the money to buy one and installed it at his employer, taking it with him when he left to found Modena Design in ’91. There, in what would become the first Pagani factory, he made carbonfibre parts for the Ferrari F1 team, among others. He started work on the Pagani Zonda in 1993, and it was shown at the Geneva show in ’99. That first factory and Horacio’s 

Horacio Pagani is better compared to engineers like Gordon Murray or Ettore Bugatti

Knocked up an F2 car in your spare time? You may have a supercar firm in you

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originall autoclave l have h been b overwhelmed h l db by d demand d ever since. The new factory is still only the size of a large main dealership, but it will allow Horacio to reduce his two-year waiting list by doubling production. They still won’t exactly be ubiquitous. ‘We designed all of it,’ he says, waving a hand at the room. ‘My sons Leonardo and Christopher, our design team, and me. Everything reflects our way of thinking. Even our bathrooms. We didn’t use an architect. We had a structural engineer, who we had big arguments with. But in the end we decided how it Note to self: would be. ‘The support of my family has been references from Juan Manuel Fangio very important, because I have been able open doors. Must to concentrate on the cars. I couldn’t get one forget about that side of things. I think the results are okay.’ He takes me outside into the public area, an L-shaped space which houses the museum on one side, and a customer area on the other. Its steel frame supports vast glass walls, and was inspired by an iron-framed glasshouse designed by Eiffel in the grounds of the French chateau of one of his customers. Horacio really has designed every nut and bolt of this place. He replaced Eiffel’s bolts with more modern-looking rivets, and some of the steel beams have been designed to look like a Pagani’s suspension arms. ‘The theme is the same as you see in our cars. Our inspiration is Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo was a designer. He studied engineering and combined the technology of 500 years ago with art. And that’s what we attempt to do. We pay attention to the aesthetics, even the parts that aren’t visible. Like the suspension arm: we want it to stand alone as a beautiful thing that could be exhibited in a display case. We care about beauty. It’s a word the world has almost forgotten. But because we Italians created beautiful things in the past we have a responsibility to keep beauty in mind.’ A small group of tourists is being shown around as we speak. They are among the first to get in. Production moved here last year, but the public areas are still being finished. They seem not to have noticed the clever car references in the steel structure above, but have The world’s most over-specified spotted the carbonfibre wash bathroom – as it should be basins in the loos and are photographing them. (The toilets themselves are ceramic. We checked.) They’ve also spotted the dozen or so Zondas and Huayras on display alongside the Countach Anniversary Horacio designed, his Renault-engined F2 car, and a mini-moto he made in his teens. It’s an extraordinary sight. This is the only place in the world where you can use the phrase ‘lots of Paganis’. Between the dozen here and the 18 or so we see later in the assembly hall, this place holds a year and a half of average Pagani production before it moved here: everything from an early Huayra styling buck to the Zonda Revolucion which set the Nürburgring lap record. Some of the cars have been 90 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

Pagani’s been a devout believer in the black stuff for decades


Inside Pagani Automobili Proudly pointing out photos of Fangio staying with the Paganis in Modena

b bought h b back k ffrom customers because b Horacio couldn’t ld afford ff d the luxury of keeping cars in the early years. Their spiralling values would have made them a good investment. The back wall of the museum is hung with memorabilia, including the letter which Fangio wrote to introduce Pagani to Enzo Ferrari. The wall itself is of rough, rustic, Emilian brick, at odds with the cool steel and glass construction of the showroom and a hint at what lies at the building’s heart. ‘They are two different projects in reality,’ Horacio says, as he leads us from the museum into the main assembly area through a brick corridor. It has Roman arched windows which frame a finished and perfectly lit Huayra BC in the final inspection area. ‘Outside, everything is made of steel and iron. Here we have tried to create an Italian flavour, right down to the bricks and the type of construction, and marble from Carrara; many things to make the project feel Italian.’ And I thought the Ferrari factory was the most Italian place in Italy. Horacio has clearly decided to out-Italian the old guard, but with a sense of humour. The main assembly area is about the size of four tennis courts and has been laid out like a piazza. There are original street lights, and in one corner – I kid you not – a brick campanile, or bell tower, complete with a bell which tolls on the hour and a clock, both sourced from the same foundry established in the 15th century. Inside a factory. Horacio needed to disguise a lift shaft, and thought that this might be a fun way to do it. As he shows it to me, a worker strolls past, whistling The Godfatherr theme. Maybe they do that for every foreign visitor. There are more serious, modern elements too, such as the floor to ceiling ‘green wall’ of living plants, and the gym which overlooks the main hall from a glass-walled mezzanine. The atmosphere is unlike any other car factory I’ve been in. It’s more like a high-end furniture showroom. It’s genuinely quiet and smells nice, chiefly because little dirty work is done here. It’s mainly an assembly operation: the cars are carefully and precisely bolted together from a menu of exquisite parts, mostly made by outside suppliers and often delivered in cutfoam trays like the jewellery they are. There are few noisy power tools; just a bunch of guys with torque wrenches who bolt all of this stuff together by hand. The cars pass through just five stations as they’re built. In the first, the major mechanical parts are fitted into Inside the autoclave, which is chromoly steel subframes, which then as spotless as you’d attach to the front and rear of the main expect from an engineer admired carbon tub. You can clearly see how Hoby Ron Dennis; the racio makes his cars so light. There is no respect is mutual redundancy; that steel frame just about swallows the parts it needs to hold. You can also see the love given to usually invisible components. The suspension arms which inspired the struts in the roof have been painted or polished by hand on alternate sides, and I would like to steal one. The upper balljoint is engraved with the Pagani logo, though you’d never know unless you changed a wheel yourself. The AMG twin-turbo V12 has a 

The intelligent, beautiful use of carbon has defined Horacio’s career

Here it’s more Italian than Ferrari (though Horacio’s Argentinian)

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Tyres wrapped in clingfilm on delivery-ready car with bespoke green-tinted carbonfibre

A worker strolls past, whistling The Godfather theme. Maybe they do that for all foreign visitors

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Inside Pagani Automobili

‘At the technical level, Porsche is the greatest’ THE ESTABLISHMENT, RATED

M

ost carmakers only allow their own cars to be parked in front of HQ, and most car company bosses studiously avoid even mentioning the competition. But not Pagani. Horacio’s parking space outside his new factory is as likely to be occupied by his Porsche 918 or his Ferrari TdF or his Ford GT as by a Pagani. And he doesn’t conceal his lifelong enthusiasm for the other supercar makers just because he now competes with them. Pagani on the Porsche 918 ‘Porsche is the reference point when it comes to sportscars. It is the sportscar maker. Ferrari is iconic, incredible, legendary. But at the technical and engineering level, Porsche is the greatest. Beyond doubt. I own a 918. I bought it because I like Porsche GT cars, even though I don’t like hybrids. But if you buy a car like that it’s not a rational choice. Why did I buy it? Because I love it, full stop. During the final tests for the Huayra BC at Imola we tested it against a 918. We said, “Which car is the standard that others are held up to now? Which hypercar of the last few years has the best performance?” We all agreed that it was the 918.’ On the Ferrari TdF ‘My Tour de France arrived recently. I drove it with a client a bit, and it started to sing. It sounded like Whitney Houston, it sang like Pavarotti, endless long notes (sings). It gives you goosebumps, it’s incredible. When I uncovered the car and I saw the Ferrari logo I had the urge to kiss it. Even telling the story now makes me emotional. It really hit me. ‘I drove them mad when I was ordering it, killed them, but they were excellent with me. Obviously if you make 7000 cars a year you can’t work personally with the clients like we do with our 40 clients. I got my wife, children and colleagues involved in the personalisation of the car, especially the design team. We did it the same way we did the Huayra. It was wonderful ’

On the Mercedes-AMG hypercar ‘I like the fact AMG is making a car with F1 technology. I will buy one. Mercedes has been incredible in its use of this technology, and it has shown that by winning F1. I think it’s fantastic that it is producing a supercar with that technology. Do you understand? I think it’s fantastic.’ On the Ford GT ‘I was the first to order it in Europe. In my view the designer who created that car has very good little hands. I think it’s one of the most beautiful supercars of the last 20 years; one of the most original of the last 20 years. Have you driven one yet? Perhaps the engine is a bit on the small side.’ On the McLaren P1 ‘The McLaren building is truly incredible, fantastic, one of the most amazing factories I have ever seen. I have been twice to visit. The details are incredible. Ron Dennis was there to welcome me the first time, and then I spent an entire day there with Frank Stephenson, who is a lovely guy. I promise you, if the P1 hadn’t been hybrid and therefore weighed 14001500kg, I would have bought one.’ 

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Inside Pagani Automobili Zonda R trumps a few dusty pot plants and a grumpy receptionist

plaque bearing the name and signature of the guy who made it, of course, but it’s nice to see that the bloke who built the gearbox at Xtrac in Newbury gets a mention too. Oddly, the plaque with his name also has Xtrac’s phone number. If you’ve had an accident big enough to expose the plaque and require a call to the gearbox maker, you’re probably better off chucking the car away. The technicians leave a gap between the subframes as they’re assembled. This is for the heart and soul of the car: that carbon tub. While the engine and gearbox and interior trim and paint is outsourced to other suppliers – and there’s no shortage of good ones in Supercar Valley – the carbonfibre could only be done in-house. Its intelligent, beautiful use has defined Horacio’s career. So in a room on the mezzanine (fewer dust particles than at ground level) held at a precise 20°C (to ensure perfect pliability of the pre-preg sheets of carbonfibre) and reverberating to e around a dozen a bad ’80s rock station (Toto’s Hold the Line), people, mainly women, press every curve of a Pagani into a mould by hand. Other cars might claim to be handmade, but panels are usually stamped out by machine. On a Pagani, every sinew really has been formed by hand, the modern equivalent of the way a coachbuilder would have shaped a panel with an English wheel in the past. The idea of having a stupid minor crash in one and asking these people to start that vast rear clamshell all over again is too embarrassing to contemplate. It takes around three weeks for them to make the 250 carbon parts required for every car. The biggest components, 94

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Life imitating art imitating the state of the art


Quad pipes a trademark, as is outrageously pretty detailing

like that rear shell or the tub made of carbonfibre reinforced with titanium threads, each take days to make. Building strength into stress points simply requires layering more strips of precisely-trimmed carbonfibre fabric. Getting all the fibres to line up perfectly across a huge and complex shape like a rear shell for a car that will be left naked requires witchcraft. Yet nobody works to a plan; they seem to have memorised how to build up every part. Pagani can train people from scratch, and looks for applicants with hobbies requiring precision, but most of the workers here have come from other local carbonfibre shops, such as the Ferrari Formula One team’s. Once finished, the parts are put in vacuum bags for 24 hours, then slow-cooked in batches in the vast autoclave for up to 10. Then they’re trimmed, polished and checked before

being sent out to be painted, and returned to the factory to be attached to the car. It is a relatively simple process. Even a low-volume carmaker like Rolls-Royce needs complex production-management techniques: at Pagani there isn’t a swipe card or barcode in sight. In contrast to the other CEOs who talk endlessly of expansion, Horacio would like to keep things this way. ‘We arrived in 1999. That was the starting point; day one. Without any financial support it was a very, very difficult task. But we believed in it and we did it. Not only created a new way of building cars, but created a name. Now we could create a second line of cars, thousands more, to increase our profits to €500m a year. But I don’t give a damn about that kind of thing. We never wanted to be a second Ferrari or Lamborghini. With respect to the love and passion for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and the motor history of Modena, we want to be something small but intelligent. We want to be here, in our place.’ @thebenoliver

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Giant Test

ut a o h t i w t an do finiti mus 5 c d n S a m br coupe. In di’s new u i m u g re No p , engagin take on A 43 AMG y o prett ts game t es-Benz C i raise e Merced h ni iccio and t ark R M y h p ogra Phot Joy | t t a sM Word

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I Infiniti is mounting a concerted challenge to the established German hierarchy

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Giant Testt

KEY TECH: MERCEDES The four-wheel-drive system employed by the C43 isn’t the same as the 4Matic+ layout used by the beastly E63 AMG, so there’s no variable split front to rear and no option to switch it out for rear-drive mischief. It is, however, fixed with a 31:69 bias front/rear, allowing a degree of rear slip in the right conditions and with the ESP set to either Sport mode or switched off.

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Giant Testt

8.4-inch screen works well, though it lacks a touch facility and appears hurriedly plonked on the dashboard rather than seamlessly integrated.

Premium Plus package at £2995 worthwhile; adds higher-spec infotainment, memory package, keyless go, panoramic roof and superb Burmester audio.

look a little small, even if the basic A5 shape, with its gentle curves and flared hips, is improved over the outgoing car. It almost feels like the S model is holding too much back visually in preparation for the RS5 to muscle its way in. In its own way the Mercedes-AMG is just as predictable, being firmly tied in with its saloon and estate siblings as well as the rest of the Mercedes range. But there’s nothing wrong with that when the proportions are this good; the minuscule front overhang, sweeping flanks and pert tail give a hint of muscle car, although the optional 19-inch wheels are a near-essential (and relativeKEY TECH: AUDI ly inexpensive) £595 upgrade. Some may Driver assistance find it a touch brash compared to the Adding the Tour Driver Assistance whispering discretion of the Audi, but as Pack brings a host of tech to the S5 including adaptive cruise and a piece of sculpture sat on your driveway traffic jam assist, which controls it’s most likely that the Mercedes will acceleration, braking and a degree have you pulling back the curtains for a of steering assistance below 40mph. furtive second look. Once you learn to trust the system it works well up to a point, and takes the Our route kicks off with middling, headache out of stop-start motorway out-of-town A-roads, the Infiniti leading traffic, but it can feel like the steering the pack. At a cruise the Q60 is restfully is ‘bouncing’ within the lane, overcorrecting one way and then the undemanding, with the six-cylinder unit other – pretty much the opposite of happy to thrum in near-silence and the stress-free… ride on the right side of firm for such conditions. The cabin is more of a stress at times, though, with the twin-touchscreen set-up all too jarringly feeling like two different decades colliding in the same dash. Material quality is strong, however, with the cheaper plastics sufficiently squirrelled away, and plenty of 100 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

Cabin is the best-looking here even allowing for optional leather. Design theme ties in with exterior and feels special.

leather and matte chrome tastefully applied elsewhere. There’s plenty of scope for tweaking the driving position too, and the seats are generous in their support. Those travelling in the front will have no complaints in terms of space. Should you be able to get adults in the rear, however, expect grumbles; legand elbow-room are narrowly the best here, but the headroom is simply inadequate. Save the back seats for kids or adults with persistently poor posture. There’s better balance in the Mercedes between style, practicality and space. At first the cabin feels a little more enclosed than the Infiniti, but put that down to a tighter window line and more enveloping dash. Familiar it may be but the C43’s cabin feels the most special here, even allowing for the decently priced brown leather trim at £750. The infotainment screen looks a little ungainly plonked on the top of the dash, though admittedly it’s been plonked in an ergonomically sound position, while the minor controls are well placed and easy to operate once you’re familiar with the operation of the wheel and touchpad. With the boring functionality taken care of, the quality of the design and the materials is a welcome boost; climbing aboard feels more of an event than in the other two. That’s essentially the only criticism that can be levelled at the S5. Its cabin, lifted from the A4, is a masterpiece in efficient and smart design. There’s a reassuring snap and click to all of the controls, the optional Virtual Cockpit teams well with the central screen and HMI interface, and it rarely takes more than a couple of seconds to get what you need – the possible exception being the occasionally high standards of calligraphy demanded by the touchpad. But it’s a bit sterile in here, particularly in comparison with the Mercedes, and while the quality is more than good enough for the price, a bit more of a feelgood factor wouldn’t go amiss either. 


Virtual Cockpit works well, allowing you to switch the display shown on the main screen easily – go for the tacho-centric option, also available on the R8, if you’re feeling racy.

Solid gearlever provides a wrist rest for HMI access; easy to use without taking your eyes from the road. Destination entry could be slicker, though.

Familiar Audi cabin makes it easy and quick to get comfortable and acclimatised. Flat-bottomed wheel worth the £100 extra.

Good overall standard of quality with tasteful leather and brushed chrome; cheaper plastic elements are sufficiently well hidden.

Dual screen set-up is a little confusing and mismatched, with a decade gap in the quality of the graphics. And it’s not immediately clear which screen does what.

Still a significant number of buttons here, even with a pair of screens. Steering wheel good and not crowded with supplementary switches.

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Turn everything up in the Merc and there’s an all-round tautening of its behaviour

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Giant Testt Audi S5 vs rivals

All the visual drama was used up on the front end, leaving oddly slabby sides and rear view

All three cars offer a spectrum of modes and configuration options to suit the driving conditions, with equally varying degrees of efficacy. In the Infiniti the drive mode selector covers everything from Snow to Sport, with a personal mode allowing mashed-up selections of engine and transmission, with further sub-divisions for the adaptive steering. The original steer-by-wire system, first introduced on the Q50, proved to be as appealing as it sounded; this second-generation system is better, but still ranks behind electric and hydraulic steering for the ultimate in feel. What it does do very well is allow you to relax as it filters out the ceaseless road imperfections that can become tiresome on a long journey, the downside being it’s many of those same messages that you actually desire when the going gets interesting. Overall the Q60 delivers a high level of competence but not a great deal else; there’s traction, grip and a reasonable degree of balance but the satisfaction comes from keeping things tidy rather than really moving the car around. For some this will be perfectly acceptable, but its rivals offer more. Switch to the Mercedes and although it wears the AMG tag, it does without the Race mode you’ll find on Affalterbach’s finest. Instead you get Sport+ as the spikiest of the drive programmes with further tweaking of the gearbox operation also available. What the C43 does best is cover a variety of roles with equal aplomb; Comfort lives up to its billing, slackening off throttle response and smoothing the ride and gearbox actions to make ordinary driving effectively as relaxing as the standard car. Turn everything up as high as it will go – it’s rare you’ll want intermediate modes – and there’s an all-round tautening of its behaviour without becoming unmanageable. The steering isn’t flawless, with a centre dead-spot that’s larger than ideal, but once a few degrees in it offers satisfying levels of accuracy and feel, and is the best of the trio. That translates into the most engaging drive here; the 4Matic system is split with a rear bias (31:69) so there’s some adjustability available, and it shows keenness by seeming to shrink around you as you start to press on. It’s certainly worthy of the AMG tag in this respect. An early adopter of multi-modal offerings with its Drive Select system, the Audi’s selection is the most comprehensive here, especially if your specification choices include the sport

differential and adaptive steering. Comfort and Efficient mode don’t affect the way the S5 drives significantly, but in Dynamic mode there’s a clear increase in noise from the exhaust, sharper throttle response and greater weight to the steering. In fact it is the steering, with the Dynamic Steering option boxed ticked on this particular car, that has a significant influence on how the S5 feels to drive. There’s no questioning its responses are sharp, particularly with the Drive Select in Dynamic mode, and there’s weight to its operation rather the wheel spinning easily in your hand. Yet there’s still a level of disconnection you just don’t get with a more conventional set-up; occasionally you can turn in so quickly that it feels like it takes the rest of the car a fraction of a second to catch up. Sharpness of response is only part of the recipe for fine steering. That reflects the whole driving experience, which is lower-level quattro to a tee; efficient, capable, quick and undemanding of the driver – but ultimately a little cold. With the sport differential fitted there’s a little more scope for making the S5 dance if you want to, but it requires a level of commitment you’re unlikely to provide if you’ve shelled out £47k of your own money. It’s the car for rapid travel in all weathers, just not necessarily the longest way home. Where the established order of things is a little upset is on the performance front. It’s no coincidence that these rival coupes have such a remarkably similar layout: twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6s KEY TECH: INFINITI with four-wheel drive delivering power through an auto-only gearbox. The Adaptive helm Infiniti is the joker in the pack here, The Directive Adaptive Steering system fitted to the Q60 is a secondcrashing the party long-established by generation version, following the other two and instantly impressing criticism of the original set-up. But with its responses, engagement and it remains the only drive-by-wire even the noise. Like the other two it’s arrangement available on the market. On this version of the Q60 there are impressively quiet and smooth when six modes for the steering alone, holding a steady cruise but very little with the Sport+ mode and Dynamic+ encouragement is needed via the throttle response level selected to access the sportiest set-up. It delivers very sharp to wake the beast within. Its 400bhp responses in the most aggressive means it’s 38bhp up on the Mercedesmode, although always with next to no AMG and 51bhp ahead of the Audi, feel, which takes acclimatisation. Try and while its conventional automatic  before you buy. March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 103


Audi S5 Coupe 3.0 TFSI Quattro

Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Coupe

Price | £42,990 (as tested £48,230) Engine | 2997cc 24v twin-turbo V6 Transmission | 7-speed auto, four-wheel drive Suspension | MacPherson strut front, multilink rear Made of | steel/aluminium

Price | £47,000 (£57,895 as tested) Engine | 2995cc 24v twin-turbo six Transmission | 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive Suspension | multi-link front and rear M d f| l i i / l

Price | £47,605 (£55,935 as tested) Engine | 2996cc 24v twin-turbo six Transmission | 9-speed auto, four-wheel drive Suspension | multi-link front and rear Made of | steel

1368mm

1405mm

1395mm

Infiniti Q60 S Sport 3.0t

1850mm

4692mm

4690mm

4696mm

2016mm

1864mm

Power and torque

Weight

Power to weight

We say | Infiniti is muscle-bound, with a weight penalty

We say | Audi’s high aluminium content pays off

We say | Barely anything between all them

400bhp @ 6400rpm 350lb ft @ 1600rpm m Audi

1615kg

349bhp @ 5500rpm m

(dry)

Infiniti

1895kg

Mercedes

1735kg

(dry)

Infiniti

384lb ft @ 2000rpm

per tonne

0-62mph

Top speed

Mercedes Test

Official al 38.2 mpg

23.2mpg 2m

O Official l 31 mpg

Mercedes 155mph

Official Off cial 35.3 mpg 3 g

100

20 0

ES

Audi 155mph

23 3.5 5mpg 5mp

19 9.8m 8mpg mp

D

Infiniti 155mph

Audi T st Test

0 15

i Test

E

per tonne

We say | Gentlemen agree all round

I I IT I N FI N DI U A RC ME

per tonne

We say | Heavier and more powerful Infiniti loses out

Infiniti 5.0sec

Mercedes 4.7sec

Mercedes

Official and test mpg

We say | All rocketships; Germans break the tape together

Audi 4.7sec

Audi

211bhp 216bhp 208bhp

(dry)

50

362bhp @ 5500rpm

0

369lb ft @ 1370rpm

Fuel tank

Range

C02

Lease rates

We say | A bigger tank would be nice given the cars can do miles

We say | Biggest tank does its best to disguise Infiniti’s hefty thirst

We say | Audi delivers impressively low figure

We say | Merc is no steal but worth every penny

Infiniti Audi

170 Infiniti

Audi

Mercedes

80 58 66 litres

litres

litres

Infiniti

208 g/km

g/km

Audi

£372

24 months £3348 deposit (previous model)

Mercedes

181 g/km

104 CARMAGA Z NE.CO.UK | March 2017

£727

24 months £6547 deposit

Mercedes

£485

24 months £4367 deposit


Giant Testt Audi S5 vs rivals can’t shift as quickly as the other two the fact that it dishes out its 350lb ft of torque from just 1600rpm makes it an effortless sprinter, and one that feels always ready to play. That the Q60 isn’t the quickest car here is something of a surprise; 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds flat is undeniably fast, but in this company a kerb weight of 1892kg is relatively portly, and that mass blunts performance as surely as chips follow session. Despite the lowest power output here the S5 rattles off the 0-62mph measure in 4.7 seconds, no doubt helped by the slickness of the Tiptronic transmission – which feels no slower than a dual-clutch ’box on the way up at least – and the lowest weight, with a substantial amount of aluminium in its construction. The new V6 motor is deliciously responsive even in the most dormant of drive modes, with torque seemingly on tap instantly and, like all the best performance cars, it is rare that you need to use all the power available; sometimes you just do it for fun. The six-cylinder motor has plenty to say for itself too, with a vocal rasp available in varying volumes depending on how the car has been configured, although it is a curiously rear-biased sound, with all of it appearing to come from just below the rear seats. That strange effect is all the more noticeable after a blat in the C43. It fires with a notable blare even in the most conservative mode, although it is in no way excessive. But release the hounds a little by switching mode and this engine feels very much like a son of the 4 4.0-litre 0 litre bi bi-turbo turbo V8 in the C63; sharp sharp, vocal in a genuine sense rather than enhanced by Auto-Tune, and ready to play. It has the most torque here, with 384lb ft arriving at 2000rpm, and being almost 160kg lighter than the Infiniti means it can match the Audi in the race to 62mph. The transmission is sufficiently sharp whoever takes charge of the shifting, and with plenty of traction it is usable

2nd The script’s so well-worn we’re going to have to mint a fresh one: quickish Audi in pretty, capable but dull shocker

performance as often as possible. Pleasingly, this also feels like genuine AMG hardware. Given how laughably closely these cars are matched on the spec sheet it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they finish closely on the podium too. Nor perhaps that the unfavoured Infiniti should come third, but it is a highly credible third; it is deliciously fast thanks to that cracking new engine, offers a highly competent drive and from most angles at least is a good-looking machine. But it lacks a little edge, both in its driving experience and character. Competence is the minimum requirement at this level. The S5 takes competence to an entirely new level. Each improvement over the outgoing car is tangible and worthwhile, from the latest generation tech and the ultra-slick cabin to the new six-cylinder turbo engine; it’s even the most efficient machine here, should such things matter to you. It is a car you can buy with unwavering confidence that you’re doing the right thing and won’t be disappointed, such is its all-season and all-circumstances capability. Unless you’ve driven the C43, that is. The S5 runs it close if you go by the cold reason of the tape measure, but if you’re about to spend £50,000 on something less practical than a saloon we think you’re you re entitled to a bit of fireworks fireworks. It has more fire in its belly than the other two put together, and while it will always be little brother to the C63, it is clearly the work of AMG. Fast, engaging, fun, comfortable and with a distinct sense of style inside and out, it is the car you should choose if you want something with soul. @MJMattJoy

3rd Indecently fast and decent to drive, the Infiniti falls down on style (inside and out) and an absence of soul

This engine feels very much like a son of the mighty C63’s 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8

1st An engine to love, looks to at least fall for and real breadth to its capability – the not-quite AMG is quite alright by us. Buy one, feel good

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Motorsport Rallying’s return

OIL C HANG E D PADS RE PL AC E D SPORT FIXE D After years in the wilderness with dull cars and no edge, World Rallying’s taken a long hard look at itself. And based on this years’ season i M t it i ht j t matter again Words Ben Barry | Photography Thomas Butler

106 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


Stage 13, 2017 Monte Carlo rally. Latvala’s new-look, faster, wilder WRC car cuts a corner in a storm of gravel, dust and noise

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Motorsport Rallying’s return

L

ONG BEFORE YOU see the flamboyant new wings, it’s obvious the 2017 World Rally cars are radically different. I’m standing on a French hillside, uninterrupted views to snow-capped peaks in the distance, and there’s the noise of so much speed for so long that it’s hard to compute that I still can’t see a car. It’s not just the volume, it’s the constant pitch; the fact that the driver is accelerating for so long. I start to wonder how fast this car will be travelling when I do see it. Then a Toyota Yaris bursts out of the scenery, boxy like Lego, gunning across a plain, clawing through kinks, cacophonous anti-lag like an out-of-time marching band. A few of last year’s WRC cars are running – cars I always enjoyed – and there’s palpably less excitement as they approach. Excitement is the whole point of the new regulations, in what’s hyped as a return to ’80s Group B-style glory days – think Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta S4 – after years of WRC doldrums. As a long-time fan, I wanted to witness this new era, at the season-opening Rally Monte Carlo. The very first stage yields the worst possible start, a spectator killed when Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai i20 slithers off an icy turn. It’s an eerie echo of those wild Group B days, but could easily have happened

last year. Paddon withdraws; the show continues. The basics of the new rules are fundamentally similar to what went before, with far less diversity than Group B. Small hatchbacks are fitted with 1.6-litre turbo engines and allwheel drive, but the turbo restrictor increases from 33mm to 36mm, upping power from around 300bhp to beyond 380bhp, and the centre differential that disappeared in 2011 returns. The cars are 55mm wider, there’s impact-absorbing foam in the doors to guard against inevitably harder impacts, and the teams have more aerodynamic freedom. The aero takes effect at speeds as low as 60mph and, together with extra power, makes tyre wear a more significant factor. M-Sport (not that one) boss Malcolm Wilson describes development costs as being roughly similar to last year, but notes that the intricate aero parts are far more costly to replace. Flux among drivers and manufacturers adds extra spice. All-conquering Volkswagen quit late in 2016, leaving four-time champion Sébastien Ogier to strike a 

The worst possible start, a spectator killed when Paddon’s Hyundai slithers off

On anecdotal evidence at least the magic is back – some had been in position since 5am

|


Thierry Neuville, at this point leading in his Hyundai. See the pressure? You could smell it

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Motorsport Rallying’s return

hasty 12-month deal with M-Sport, which runs Fiestas. Citroën is back after a gap year, Kris Meeke playing the Loeb lead in a C3. Hyundai’s opted for consistency, with team leader Thierry Neuville and a gently evolved i20. But all eyes are on Toyota’s return as Toyota Gazoo Racing, 17 years after its last WRC season. Tommi Mäkinen (that one) is team boss. I’ve never interviewed Mäkinen, but it’s like seeing an old friend when we meet in Gap. He seems so relaxed considering the pressure. ‘I am so stupid I cannot take any stress!’ he jokes. ‘I don’t take the most pressure, my job as manager is to take stress off others – “I’m sure we’ll succeed guys!”.’ Mäkinen’s appeal goes beyond his marketable name. Famous for winning four back-to-back titles with Mitsubishi, he’s conversant with Japanese business culture, car set-up and the driver’s perspective. Tommi Makinen Racing was also well-established, so his people know how to prepare cars, move them around the world, and deliver during the intensity of a rally. ‘I said to Toyota, “If we go rallying, we go flat-out, no compromises”. This year, we’re here for learning, next year, ready to fight,’ he says. Juho Hänninen moved from Hyundai to help with development, and Volkswagen number two Jari-Matti Latvala was a late signing; a third driver will follow. Ogier tested the Yaris but chose the privately run M-Sport Fiesta. Interesting. The Yaris certainly looks potent in action. In the centre of sleepy St-Léger Les Mélèzes on day two, Latvala’s Yaris squirms hard under braking, then flicks around a roundabout with all four tyres spinning before its vast wing and grime– caked rear disappear down the street at a surreal rate. The cars are running past boulangeries and shuttered windows, and as the Toyota’s bassy four-cylinder soundtrack subsides, so the bluster is replaced by whoops and whistles. Tobias Spratek has driven 1000 miles from Poland with two friends to spectate; they’re impressed by the new cars. ‘They have more power, look better and are much more aggressive on the stage,’ he says, beaming. Monte conditions are proving typically tricky, with long, dry asphalt stretches snapping to icy shaded sections. Studded snow tyres provide security on the slippery stuff, but compromise dry grip; you see cars moving around, kicking up dust as they scrabble, drivers working hard. 

Elfyn Evans was demoted to WRC2 last year. Now he’s back in WRC, and recorded some fastest stage times in his Fiesta

Technicians swarm over the C3 at service. 2017 marks Citroën’s return after a year out for development

Then and now: the regs 1982-1986 GROUP B

2011-2016

2017

Engine: 2.1-litre to 2.5-litre turbos or 3.0-litre naturally aspirated motors, making up to 550bhp, anywhere in the car you’d like to put it

Engine: 300bhp 1.6-litre turbos, under the bonnet, making 300bhp

Engine: As before, only with the wick turned up to 380bhp. Noisier

Gearbox: Manual or dual-clutch (used on some Quattros)

Gearbox: Six-speed sequential

Gearbox: Six-speed sequential

Drivetrain: Rear- (for the very brave) or all-wheel drive

Driven wheels: Allwheel drive without centre diff

Driven wheels: All-wheel drive with centre diff

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Motorsport Rallying’s return

In late 2015 boss Linda Jackson signed off Citroën’s return to WRC: ‘Citroën is a car for the people, and World Rally is not an elitist sport’

Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport squad are the only privateers in WRC: still managed to bag world champion Seb Ogier

112 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


At the end of day two, Ogier has lost time sliding wide into a snow bank; he’s 45 seconds down on leader Thierry Neuville in the Hyundai, team-mate Ott Tanak another 45 seconds adrift. Latvala has his Toyota fourth, over three minutes off Neuville following a spin; team-mate Hänninen has re-started after hitting a tree at a snowy hairpin. Kris Meeke is going hard, but his rally is over after clipping a bank on stage four. There are so many variables on the Monte, as Makinen sums up: ‘If the car behaves, sometimes you are lucky, sometimes unlucky. It’s a drivers’ rally; it doesn’t tell you everything [about the car].’ That night we follow the mountain road down into Gap, world champion Ogier’s hometown. That may explain some of the jam, but the last time I was stuck in so much rally traffic, I was crawling through Cardiff to watch McRae versus Burns. We’re heading for Citroën headquarters, the team heavy with expectation after its 2016 development year. CEO Linda Jackson signed off Citroën Racing’s return in late 2015 and cancelled the World Touring Car campaign; she’s here with Peugeot-Citroën boss Carlos Tavares. ‘We’ve won WTCC three times, achieved our objectives, and we have a legacy in WRC,’ explains Jackson. ‘We’re launching a new car, the C3, Citroën’s best-selling car ever, so it made absolute sense to create awareness and show we can produce great quality. Citroën is a car for the people, and WRC is not an elitist sport.’ ‘The return on investment is good,’ adds Tavares. ‘WRC is 10% the budget of F1 and WEC. WTCC is the same budget as WRC, but receives less media coverage and has fewer fans.’ Ogier fell out with Citroën during Loeb’s era, so I ask Tavares if the relationship is too damaged for a French world champion to again drive for France. And, if not, why Ogier wasn’t signed when VW quit. ‘The relationship is good,’ replies Tavares. ‘Ogier was a young Citroën driver, and Citroën Racing contributed to his development. We have ethics, we have contracts in place with other drivers – if we’d have done that to Ogier, he wouldn’t be where he is.’ It must be both reassuring to Citroën drivers Meeke, Breen and Lefebvre, and terrifying to know Ogier is back on the market soon. We drive through early-morning darkness to reach stage 10 at La Bâtie-Montsaléon, the second stage of day three. The narrow road to the stage is already lined with dozens of cars, some fans bringing snow-suited kids, others sipping beer and lighting fires as temperatures hover at -7degC. The first car roars through, M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans. It’s an even faster section than the earlier stages, and again the cars are spectacular, except Citroën’s Meeke, who stutters through with engine trouble on a disastrous weekend that’ll culminate in a light collision on a road section. Evans blitzes across the landscape in his Ford, helicopter nose-down in pursuit like it’s about to open fire. The Welshman keeps it flat through a quick corner with minimal margin for error, correcting a spike of oversteer as he disappears out of sight in a flurry of rifle-crack gearchanges. It’s the fastest stage time, but Evans holds eighth overall after an earlier off. Later he’ll explain that, while the new cars are much faster, their speed is in balance with the chassis and aerodynamics; they’re more enjoyable to drive, but not monsters. 

Evans blitzes across the landscape in his Ford, chase helicopter nosedown in pursuit

Hänninen or Mäkinen? Your guide Citroën C3 WRC Citroën took a year out to develop its WRC C3. Mission: to return to the Loeb glory days. Give it time…

KRIS MEEKE Feisty Northern Irish McRae prodigy has intense speed. Could challenge for championship with fewer errors – and we’ve been saying that for a while.

STEPHANE LEFEBVRE Young Frenchman has multiple junior titles. Coming back after multiple fractures in heavy Rally Germany shunt, 2016.

CRAIG BREEN Another young driver gamble from Citroën, but Breen took ballsy third on Finland 2016. Driving 2016 car on the Monte Carlo.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris Plenty of development time, but cautious Toyota looking to learn this year, win next. Didn’t they say that in F1?

JARI-MATTI LATVALA Searing speed, big experience, but partial to a crash. He’s likeable, he’s Finnish, but he still needs to finish.

JUHA HANNINEN Former Hyundai bit-player had a big role in Yaris development, but the Finn still has it all to prove in World Rally.

M-Sport Fiesta Its predecessor delivered, but M-Sport developed the Fiesta on a fraction of the budget of the majors. Will that be decisive?

SEBASTIEN OGIER World champ left hanging when VW quit, now on 12-month contract with underdogs M-Sport. Spark up a Rothmans if Frenchman wins.

OTT TANAK Formerly crashy Estonian now less crashy. Placed eighth last year. Robbed of second on Monte, but showed potential.

ELFYN EVANS Son of Gwyndaf, demoted to WRC2 last year, now back with point to prove – and a world champion team-mate to beat. Welsh.

Hyundai i20 i20 is the gentlest evolution of all 2017 cars, giving Hyundai useful consistency. Smart move?

THIERRY NEUVILLE Fast glasses, blinding speed, typically consistent and i20 is proven package. The Belgian’s year?

DANI SORDO Rapid on a sealed surface, but pouty Spaniard has just one victory since 2003.

HAYDEN PADDON Young Kiwi has NZ and Production WRC titles on CV. Placed impressive fourth overall last year.

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Motorsport Rallying’s return Besides, modern WRC cars have long been faster than their Group B predecessors. My only quibble is that the base cars don’t have the desirability of old. I wanted a Quattro, an Integrale, a Cosworth. That rally-to-road connection remains absent, and when you consider relevant, desirable cars like the Focus RS and Golf R still exist, that’s a pity. Back on the stages, it’s clear how much dedication it takes to follow a rally. You stand around for ages freezing before a maximum of 10 2017 WRC cars whizz by if none have retired. The field does feel a little thin. Yet it’s enough for fantastic television – the amazing backdrops, unbelievable onboard footage, attainable but exciting cars – and it’s great to see Red Bull TV capturing it with free online highlights. Stage 13, Bayons to Bréziers, rounds out day three. The road is completely dry now, the cars on slicks, the stage times falling. Ogier fires into a hairpin braking hard, then gives his Fiesta full throttle as the road flows uphill through a left kink. You can see the tension in the car, the way it’s tearing at the surface to get the power down, and the black lines and a little bit of attitude tell you it’s on the edge of oversteer, translating all 380bhp into fearsome momentum. It must take nerve to keep the throttle pinned as rocks and trees flash towards you. Further uphill, the drivers dive far off the road onto gravel to short-cut a left-hander. They slip over the loose surface and slide to the opposite side of the road; Neuville pushes hard and slides just a little too far, his car flinching as the rightrear corner clips something. He continues, but news filters through that the rear suspension is broken. It puts Ogier ahead in the Ford, team-mate Ott Tanak second, Latvala’s Toyota third. With four stages the following day, it raises the prospect of M-Sport’s first victory in five years. ‘We’ve proved we’re got the speed,’ says team boss Malcolm Wilson. ‘We’ve had fastest times from all three drivers, but having Sébastien on board is fantastic. It’s no secret we tried to get him in 2010, 2011; it was a great opportunity, we had to do it this time.’ Wilson also confirms that M-Sport funded Ogier’s salary privately and that Ford didn’t contribute. It’s like Vatanen in a Rothmans Mk2 Escort all over again (who we spy at Ford’s base). How can you not want the Cumbrian underdogs to win? There’s a nerve-wracking wait for that to be confirmed on the Sunday though, as the slick-shod cars set out, only for snow to fall once they’re on the final stage. With a comfortable margin, Ogier takes a cautious approach but a thrilling win on his debut with M-Sport. At times a tricky character, Ogier magnanimously reflects on Neuville’s speed, and offers heartfelt praise for M-Sport’s efforts. Latvala takes second for Toyota, inherited when Tanak’s Fiesta develops engine trouble. ‘First time on a rally and to finish second is amazing,’ says the Finn. Tanak takes third in the most spectacular style, his huge powerslide over the snowy finish astonishingly lairy. It’s a fittingly tense finale to the first rally of a championship that feels reinvigorated. And while the Monte podium might be defined by attrition and mechanical hiccups as much as stand-out performances, that’s often the case with rallying. The difference for 2017 is you’ll kick yourself if you miss the next round.

Elfyn Evans out-runs the ’copter on stage 10. The Welshman went on to place sixth overall

On the edge of oversteer, the car translating all 380bhp into fearsome momentum

@IamBenBarry 114 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

A crash early on, an engine misfire, and a light RTA driving to Monte Carlo – Kris Meeke’s weekend was one to forget


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target 116 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


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on

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New Mini Countryman heads to the sticks – can Mini’s 4x4 banish memories of its dismal predecessor and impress the country set? Words Steve Moody | Photography John Wycherley

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Countryman body is available with or without variable all-wheel drive

You can laugh now, but you’ll be dressing like this in six months. Possibly

Ruts and slime pose no problems, at least until the tyres get clogged up

118 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


Countryman vs the countryside

W

ILLIAM WORDSWORTH. Alfred Wainwright. JR Hartley. Men of the country all. And to that list we can add the Mini, because they say so on the badge: Countryman. An SUV made for the ruminating, pipe-smoking chap with a far-off look in his eyes and wispy, windswept hair on his head. Except of course it’s not. I’d wager that the Mini mini-SUV, now freshly minted in its shiny new second iteration, has never had an occupant who keeps his trousers up with string, and uses the boot to ferry ferrets. It’s a smallish family car for middlingly well-off suburbanites. Who is Mini kidding? Not us. It’s called Countryman, it’s got four-wheel drive, so we should be able to take it on a pheasant shoot in Middle England, an activity intrinsically woven into proper deepditch, tweed-clad, country living. Mini would never be daft enough to let us embarrass ourselves, and the car, in such an environment. They said yes. Bugger. I’m thinking this as I swish down lanes covered in a gloopy film of mud, in the middle of nowhere in the morning dark of winter Lincolnshire. As you’d expect from a Mini, even a bigger machine such as this one (it’s 20cm longer and 3cm wider than the old Countryman), it zips along with plenty of agility. In fact, I really like the way it handles. It’s less manic than a proper sized Mini, the slightly more compliant suspension proving ideal for these roads, and the precise steering a joy. The All4 drivetrain really powers it through corners as one complete entity, with no understeer, just drifty, controlled fun. Already it’s miles better than the flaccid, rattly, half-baked previous model. Not sure about the engine, though. We’ve got the £25,590 Cooper S, 2.0-litre turbo petrol with 189bhp, and mated to the auto ’box it sounds strained and needs to be worked really hard at the top end, and sounds like a Flymo, while whatever speed you may have wrung out of it can’t be read on the slightly wonky, ludicrously indistinct dial. Fortunately, there’s a digital speedo hidden in one of the functions. There’s also the nagging feeling I have about acceptance. The inside of the cabin has more neon strips than a brothel in Blade Runner, r the seats are soft cream leather, and the washer jets are halfway down the bonnet and only have enough power to dribble onto the bottom of the window. So entirely unsuited for the

drab, grimy garb expected of a muddy day off-roading in the bushes, hunting game. In order to join in with this shoot, I’ve had to get into something a bit daft, and I don’t mean the Countryman. I’ve borrowed a pair of tweedy pantaloon-type things, which may have been either breeks, breeches, plus-fours or plus-someother-number, and made me look like an extra from Downton Abbey. y I find that when you turn up in this country clobber and everyone else wearing it too, you start to feel part of the club. Safety in numbers, part of the herd, I think as I arrive. Until, in the dark, the assembled throng see my Mini poollight logos projected onto the farmyard’s concrete floor. A few of the crowd, huddled quietly around their 4x4s, had looked a bit askance at this camp intruder. Now they just chuckle. Ice broken, I suppose. It’s immediately obvious that the assorted crowd of teeth-sucking country types are a bullshit-free zone. There appears to be two types of shooting vehicles. Once is the fancy, pristine Range Rover used by bankers, out of the City for the day, clad in super-expensive kit they bought from Farlows of Pall Mall, and brandishing a pair of antique Purdeys. 

Roomy enough for two labradors, and easier for them to get into than a tall, full-on 4x4

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Countryman vs the countryside

Rear seats can slide fore and aft by 13cm. Good headroom too

Essentially, they’ve picked up a copy of Country Life, Creating an oo-arr car a magazine for posh people and Russians who like to pretend to live in the country, and rung up its advertisers How Mini puts the country into Countryman for supplies. The other type, and the group we are with, is real-life people from the real countryside which isn’t landscaped with Capability Brown ponds and peacocks, and who couldn’t care less about that stuff either. Basically, they use their vehicle, usually an old Discovery, not as a status symbol but as a tool. So they’re adapted, with tyres that look like they’ve come off a tractor, raised ride height, CB radios, cages for dogs, and covered in an inch of hardMini’s awd Dakar Countryman – packed mud. On the inside. just the three After all, if you’ve got a small window of weather to differentials… get a day’s spraying done, the last thing you want to be doing is getting stuck and buggering about trying to get more internal efficiency, and to THE COUNTRYMAN shares to where you need to be. That costs time. Which costs be as light and as compact as its drivetrain with the BMW X1. possible. There’s a power takeUnlike the extreme, race-ready money. I ask about electronics, usually the blight of off unit in the front differential, drivetrain in the Dakar car the Land Rover, and they don’t seem unduly bothered. connected by propshaft to the (six-speed sequential gearbox, The odd window not working is irrelevant: what rear diff and axle, where a clutch Sadev centre differential, measures out the precise levels lockable and oil-cooled front matters is that Land Rovers really do go everywhere. of torque needed. It’s linked to and rear Xtrac diffs), the Oddly, with Terrain Response, Sand mode, with its all the Dynamic Stability Control road-going Countryman’s All4 wheels at high power, no-nonsense approach, is often a which manages power when it system has been developed to better option than Mud and Snow, which tends to be too detects slip. deliver torque accurately, with clever for its own good sometimes. So give them any old four-wheel drive, some baler twine, a pork pie and a screwdriver or two and they’ll patience being the primary reason. All that crawling about at find a way to get through a bog that would sink the Mini. walking speed gets a bit dull after a while and I erroneously Getting stuck in a grassy field in the prancing, metrosexual figure that fulsome application of the throttle can solve every Countryman, which they will have to help extricate when traction-based ill. Often that approach fails in hardy Land they should be out having fun with guns will pretty much Rovers, Toyotas and the like, so it could backfire spectacuconfirm every single thing they think about townies. And me, larly in a car that appears from the outside to have as much for that matter. real-world off-road capability as one of those expensive pushThe general mood among the shooting party is that this will chairs that come with knobbly wheels and suspension. not end well for me, a judgement delivered with what I detect The Mini squirms and shifts, but it never gives up its is a certain amount of suppressed glee. The countryside has no forward motion, and at a few points I do my best to hide my sentimentality. The weak are picked off and eaten. I can see grimace as we hit particularly deep bits which could ground the poor Mini ending its days in the corner of a field, rusting the underfloor and leave the tyres spinning in space. But a and being used as a well upholstered shepherd’s hut. by-product of such stiff suspension off-road is that the car’s So feeling like a skittish puppy following a pack of sage old higher ride height is maintained, so while it might not be a hounds, I venture onto the track behind the assorted fleet of great solution when presented with the need for independent weather-beaten Land Rovers as we head off to our first pegs, articulation at each corner, in this particular circumstance it and hold my breath. I’ll admit to quite a lot of trepidation. works pretty well. For a start, I’m not much cop at off-roading, with a lack of I wouldn’t say the shooting goes brilliantly. It’s fairly easy to fire a gun and not shoot your toes off, but to stand in a freezing cold field and aim at living, moving objects, and then hit them, is an entirely different matter. Fortunately, all I do is make a lot of banging noises, because although on a road pheasants are infuriatingly easy to hit, when they come flapping out of a wood and soar up into the wind, I might as well be firing my son’s Nerf gun for all the killing I do. It comes to something when pheasants are mocking you, but I’m pretty sure some of them do a couple of loop-the-loops in front of me, and give an ironic salute. The other shooters are more successful, while the dogs scoot about at high speed fetching and carrying dutifully. This continues all day. After each ‘drive’, or killing spree, we move on to another area. This of course requires driving between humiliations, but at least the Mini is keeping our end up, even if I’m not, and after our second drive (birds, not car) some of the guns (people, not weapons) decide they are going to cadge a lift in the Mini. Now, four blokes covered in sticky Lincolnshire mud hefting side-by-sides and under-and-overs don’t exactly go with the handbag- 

120 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


The countryside has no sentimentality. The weak are picked off and eaten

On the road it feels like a road car, not an off-roader, with good body control

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 121


Countryman vs the countryside

Switchable traction control is as close as you’ll get to an off-roading mode

With all four wheels straining to get going it’s hilarious, like a rally car

Better in every way than previous Countryman, and genuinely versatile

122 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017


MINI COOPER S ALL4 COUNTRYMAN > Price e £25,590 > On sale e Now > Engine e 1998cc 16v turbocharged 4-cyl, 189bhp @ 6000rpm, 207lb ft @ 460rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive > Suspension Independent strut front, multilink rear > Performance e 7.2sec 0-62mph, 138mph, 44.1mpg, 146g/ km CO2 > Weightt 1585kg > On sale e Now > Rating ++++ +

Countryman is longer, taller, heavier and wider than equivalent regular hatchback

cream leather of the Mini’s cabin, but in they clamber, and with labs in the boot. My concern is that this extra weight will find the Mini subsumed into the landscape, and the fellow occupants do venture that they might be needed to get out and provide a meaty shoulder or two. So off we set, heading back along tracks we had come down, which by this time are much gloopier and have been made deeper by the convoy on its way there. In the mud, the Mini copes fine, surprisingly well in fact, but then making a turn onto another track I have to negotiate a field of wet grass. Evil stuff for the wrong car, and – horror of horrors – the Countryman comes to a sudden halt. Now I can handle being rubbish with a gun – it’s not my skill set – but I should be able to negotiate this. But the Mini is having none of it, until I realise the traction control is switched on. The computer is detecting slippage and cutting power to whichever wheel is slipping. Which is all of them. I switch the traction control fully off, and the car springs back to life. With the application of plenty of throttle it scrabbles for traction, finds some, builds momentum and I gun it to the gate, honour intact. They enquire after the four-wheel drive system. ‘A power take-off unit integrated into the front axle differential, a propeller shaft to the rear axle and a hang-on clutch that ensures precisely measured torque to the rear wheels,’ say I. They all nod knowingly. That doesn’t happen very often. And then a strange thing happens. One of the ruddycheeked gaggle on board breaks with the norm of Mini mickey taking and proffers the opinion that the sliding rear seats offer a surprising amount of space for his garter-bedecked knees, and that if he was wearing a top hat rather than a flat cap, there would still be quite a bit of headroom. And then he points out the labs in the boot seem pretty content as well. By golly, the Countryman is winning them over. Another murmurs his appreciation at the quality of the cabin. I ask if he’s ever been in the previous Countryman, and so can see the big improvement in this model, but he points out that not bloody being a bloody lady who lunches from bloody suburbia, he’d never been near the thing, so will have to take my bloody word for it. I’ve pushed it too far. The Mini doesn’t have any off-roading modes. There’s something called the Country Timer which I hope might have some clever mud and snow function, but in fact it just measures how long you are on bumpyish roads for, awarding

you a status change from Street Cruiser (for your average townie) to Married Your Sister And Your Kids Have Webbed Feet (if you spend enough time in the Fens). Embarrassed that somebody might see me measuring how long I am more than five miles away from a skinny cappuccino with soya milk and a gluten-free croissant, I switch it off. Instead, the Countryman has Sport, Mid and Eco modes. Sport makes everything in the cabin go red, and as the only thing in Middle England that is red is the blood spurting out of a fox’s throat when the hounds catch him (allegedly) and green is for Guardian readers, I go for the aptly conservative blue of Mid. Fortunately, it’s been pretty dry this winter, and this helps the Countryman without a doubt, and at the top of one hill the track is in perfect condition. The Mini, in this environment, is hilarious. With the traction control off and all four wheels straining to get going like one of the gun dogs on a peg, it’s like a rally car, the short wheelbase that was such fun on the roads even more so now, swivelling through corners on its relatively short wheelbase like a shopping trolley powered by a lawnmower engine, with me sawing at the wheel like a WRC hero. Not exactly the usual shoot day behaviour, but they’ve had their shotgun fill and now it’s my turn. By the end of the day when we get back to the yard, nobody is taking any notice of the Clubman. This is a good sign. Acceptance. It’s clearly only suited to fairly gentle messing about in the mud, but it got much further than I thought it would, and while I’m still not entirely convinced by the big Mini/small SUV contrivance it’s way better than the previous one in almost every way and a pretty entertaining drive too. Blatting back home along the lanes in my tweedy breeks, enjoying the excellent body control and superbly comfortable and – crucially – heated seats, I’m feeling quite the smug country gent, when the Mini’s brilliant LED headlights pick out a pheasant as it darts out of the hedge. With a sharp tug of the wheel I manage to swerve round the daft bird. Missed it. Story of my day.

Cooper S All4 comes with 6.5in colour display, GPS and cruise control

@Sjmoody37

March 2017 | SUBSCRIBE & GE T 12 MONTHS FOR £29.99! GRE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK 123


Serious used car temptation, from rare Mugens to hot Audis

NEW vs USED

New Peugeot 308 GTi or used Mugen Type R? One’s a deeply talented and thoroughly modern turbo hot hatch keen on corners. The other’s something really quite special… Words James Taylor and Ben Miller | Photography Chris Teagles

Those wheels, that redline, the purity of response! Mugen a powerful froth-prompter

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 124 CARMAGA ZINE

PEUGEOT 308 GTi 270 > Price £28,445 > Engine 1598cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 268bhp @ 6000rpm, 243lb ft @ 1900rpm > Transmission 6-speed manual, limited-slip differential, front-wheel drive > Performance 6.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 47.1mpg, 139g/km CO2 > Suspension Pseudo-MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear > Weight/made from: 1205kg/steel > Length/width/height 4253/1446/2043mm > Example insurance quote* £285.88 > On sale 2015-present


T

HE MODERN HOT hatch is a more talented creature than ever before. Take the Peugeot 308 GTi; an outwardly unassuming car that can transport people and large objects in cosseting comfort, yet could also take apart a great road more ably than most supercars. Putting nearly 270bhp through its front tyres, the 308’s even more potent than one of the most hardcore hatches of recent history, the ultra-rare Civic Type R Mugen. Herein lies a fun face-off, then: one of the best all-rounders of the modern hot hatch breed meets one of the most single-minded, and thrilling, of all time. Admittedly, it’s a largely theoretical dilemma as finding a Type R Mugen for sale might take more than a quick browse on Gumtree. Specially fettled by the eponymous tuning company (fun fact: founded by Soichiro Honda’s son Hirotoshi, Mugen means ‘without limit’), only 20 Type R Mugens were originally planned for sale in the UK, and in the end just 12 cars made it to customers. Possibly its £38,599 price tag had something to do with that, back in 2009. After a few minutes behind the wheel, it feels worth every penny. The Mugen is about as visceral a driving experience as you’ll find in a car with a tailgate. Its shrieking 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, tickled to a 20% power increase by Mugen’s own pistons, cams and ECU hack, develops its maximum 237bhp at no less than 8300rpm, and with a stainless steel exhaust

(another Mugen bit), it sounds like there’s a titanium-winged wasp under the bonnet. Each engine reputedly took a week to build, which goes some way towards explaining that price tag. As does a quickshift gearbox with ratios so short sixth feels more like third (70mph in top equates to around 3500rpm) and a shift action snappier than an elastic crocodile, along with Mugen’s own springs, dampers and anti-roll bar, forged alloys and race-spec brakes, with fantastic pedal feel. Even before the VTEC system chimes in with a vengeance above 5500rpm, it feels very nearly as fast as the current, turbocharged Type R, only more responsive and, to me, more fun. On soft, barely grooved Yokohama tyres the Mugen’s handling is scalpel-sharp, without a hint of slack in the steering and with malleable on-limit handling, even on slimy winter roads. Although the ride is towards the granite side of firm, it’s not unbearably so, and you could live with a Mugen as regular HONDA CIVIC transport. TYPE R MUGEN Just as you could a 308 GTi, and then > Price new £38,599 some. Peugeot’s fastest hot hatch is also > Value now £27,000 > Engine 1998cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, its most practical, with a big boot (though 237bhp @ 8300rpm, smaller than the Civic’s enormous cargo 157lb ft @ 6250rpm bay) and five doors – the three-door family > Transmission 6-speed manual, limited-slip differential, front-wheel drive hatch is an endangered species these days. > Performance 6.0sec 0-62mph, Remember when Peugeots used to  150mph, 27mpg, n/a CO2 > Suspension MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear > Weight/made from 1247kg/steel > Length/width/height 4280/1795/1440 > Example insurance quote* £342.85 > On sale 2009-2010

*Insurance quotes are from mustard.co.uk and are based on a 41-year-old married male living in Suffolk with nine years’ NCD and no claims or convictions. Insurance quotes will vary depending on individual circumstances.

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 125


ride beautifully? Those days are still here, at least as far as the 308’s concerned. Even though the GTi is 11mm lower than standard on 19in wheels, and 64% more stiffly sprung at the rear, it still turns bumpy B-roads into shagpile. Remember when Peugeot hot hatches used to handle brilliantly, too? Happier still, those days are back. The GTi is a great driver’s car. Soft-ish front suspension to bite the Michelins into the tarmac on turn-in, and a firm rear for off-throttle adjustability, it’s a well-judged chassis. In top 270 spec you also get a mechanical limited-slip diff, 380mm front discs (even bigger than the Mugen’s) and 268bhp from a small but mighty 1.6-litre turbo four. You miss the Type R’s instant response, but the Peugeot’s extra turbocharged torque means it punches harder in the mid-range. Both cars’ mechanical diffs create plenty of torque steer to tighten your sweaty palms on their respective wheels (especially in the Civic), but impressive traction too. Apply throttle midcorner and in both cars you feel the front tyres tuck in tighter where ordinarily they’d wash into understeer, a sensation as counter-intuitive as it is addictive. Despite a tasty set of alloys the 308 looks demure, almost forgettable next to the comically giant-winged Civic, but its vanilla image cuts both ways. The Mugen’s Midnight Club vibe isn’t without considerable appeal, but after a while you get a bit tired of people staring/smirking and crave a little of the Pug’s smart but understated invisibility. > SERVICING AND RUNNING COSTS You’ll need to book your 308 GTi in for a service every 12 months or 12,500 miles, whichever arrives sooner. Same deal for the Mugen. ‘Service intervals are as per the standard Type R, so every 12,500 miles,’ explains Honda UK’s press fleet technician John White, who personally signed off the 12 Mugen Type Rs built (plus two pre-production cars) – impressive intervals when you consider the quite serious engine tune. ‘Oil consumption is minimal; a litre every 2000-2500 miles, if that,’ continues White. ‘We use Castrol SLX 5w-30, with an oil and filter change and a warning lights and fluid levels checkover every 12,500 miles. Honda use an optional servicing schedule, so some items are compulsory where others, like fresh anti-freeze, are optional, depending on customer preference. The first major one on the Mugen is at 37,500, when the valve clearances are checked and adjusted.’ You can still get hold of the Mugen’s standard-fit Yokohama A048 Advan tyres, though they’re around £200 a corner. Budget around £160 each for the GTi’s 19in Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Both cars sit in insurance group 34, although you’ll be best seeking a specialist for Mugen cover. Our long-term 308 GTi’s been averaging mpg in the low 30s, around 15mpg lower than its quoted figure; Honda quotes 27mpg for the Mugen… > RELIABILITY ‘Honestly, the Mugen-built engines are extremely reliable,’ says John White. ‘The expense will come when it comes to Mugen-specific consumables. The exhaust is a full stainless ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 126 CARMAGA ZINE

Tiny wheel takes no getting used to, so good is the car beneath it

It’s a machine, certainly, but drive it and it’s alive


MY PERSONAL ICON

Aston Vantage A true English gent in Switzerland: Mark Abbott’s V12 crushes continents and tip runs with ease

item, so expensive should you need a new one [£1860.23] but realistically that’s only going to be the case with accident damage – they don’t corrode. The one-piece Mugen calipers mean specific pads, which are nearly four times the price of the normal Type R pads [£51.10 + VAT for standard FN2 Type R front pads; £184.35 + VAT for Mugen’s front pads…], and the discs aren’t cheap either. The Mugen uses specific gas shocks too, though mileages are low so these shouldn’t be an issue.’ > KEY OPTIONS The 308 GTi comes in two specs: 250 and 270. We’d take the 270 – £1600 more and you get another 20bhp, a limited-slip diff, bigger brakes, those 19in Pilot Super Sport tyres and nicer seats. We’d skip the £500 panoramic roof – you can’t open it, and it raises the centre of gravity. The Type R Mugen’s not to be confused with the Mugen 200 edition, a purely cosmetic upgrade of which 200 were built. Each Mugen proper was built to individual customer specs by Mugen Euro, in any colour you liked as long as it was Championship White. One or two extremely rare cars were fitted with bored-out 2.2-litre engines. > VERDICT After years in the wilderness, the Peugeot hot hatch is back. Everything that made the 306 GTi-6 great – playful handling, supple ride, surprising practicality – applies equally to the 308 GTi. It’s not only good enough to live up to Peugeot’s back catalogue but to worry any other car with a GTi badge you care to mention. Impressive though the 308 is, the Civic Type R Mugen is a more visceral, more involving, more addictive experience. A wilfully weird interior, questionable image and lack of rear doors can’t stop me wanting one far more than I do a 308. Start the search now.

Peugeot practical like a fleece; Honda crisp like a January frost

> ‘I BOUGHT A V8 Vantage in about 2008, and absolutely loved it. Then I got a call from the supplying dealer who was short of stock and they offered me such a good price that I exported it back to the UK. Then I needed a new car; maybe another V8, but then I figured out I could afford a V12. It was everything the V8 Vantage did, but probably 50 or 60% more performance. And it does fly. Obviously you can’t use that performance at all in Switzerland, not even in the mountains; there’s a couple of times when you can get away with it but the thing is they hear you coming a mile away!’ F the last > ‘IT’S ONE OF regular V12 Vantages; it came from some guy’s collection and he just got bored with it. It came with quite the loudest sports exhaust I have ever heard – I don’t know how that is legal here – even the standard exhaust system is loud, but this was unbearably loud so I had them put the original exhaust back on. But of course the first thing you do is to throw away the fuse that quietens everything down.’

> ‘AFTER TWO YEARS S it’s on about 20,000 kilometres [about 12,500 miles]; I don’t use it daily, I just use public transport. But it goes to the supermarket, it goes to the tip, all of those things that you’re not meant to do. It’s had two or three flat-out runs to Spa, up through Germany, it’s been down to the bottom of Italy. It’s been to Le Mans. I’m kind of using it for big holidays in the summer.’ X [in Switzerland] > ‘THE TAX is not very funny, and nor’s the insurance – it’s quite a bit more than the UK. To give you an example of the difference, road tax is about £3000 a year. But what it is, surprisingly, is weirdly economical. The fuel gauge goes down just as fast if you’re caning it as if you’re driving slowly. So you might as well enjoy it. It came on very thin Pirelli tyres which were exceptional in the dry, but in the damp you could spin the wheels in top. I just had it put back on whatever normal tyres they specified, that just made it much more of an all-rounder. But given we’ve got five centimetres of snow in most places at the minute, in the winter it’s a nogo, even on winter tyres. The little road I live in is flat and it’s not even going to get out of there. You don’t want to be thatt guy. You’re going to look a bit silly prick if you’re that guy in a V12 Vantage…’

One we found 2010, 20,100 miles, premium audio, carbon seats, tenspoke wheels, £87,000

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 127


PERSONAL DEALER

Rings of fire There’s an overwhelming number of fast Audis on the used market. Tim Saunders, director of VAG specialists The Phirm, guides us through some of your options. Interview by Matt Joy

Audi TT RS 2480cc 5-cyl, 335bhp, 4.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph > Is this a good idea? ‘The TT RS is a good platform. They are a very dynamic car to drive. If you get an S-tronic then you don’t have to put clutches in them.’ > How much? ‘You’d be looking at nearer £20k for a good one with low mileage.’ > What’s going to break? ‘Even though the brake discs are bigger than the B7 RS4 the calipers are smaller >

£16k-£30k, 2006-2008 | Audi RS4 (B7)

>

4163cc 8-cyl, 414bhp, 4.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph

Is this a good idea? ‘They’re a reliable car but they do take a lot of maintenance. They’re a brilliant all-rounder, a lovely package, but they really come into their stride at higher speeds – that’s their sweet spot.’ > How much? ‘Probably £16k is your entry level now. Like any car, the ones that have been well maintained hold their value, but we see a lot of cars that have been seen by normal garages and they miss out on all the little tricks, like the airbox flap seizes.’ > What’s going to break? ‘Because it’s a direct port injection engine the inlet valves coke up quite heavily, so for that reason you need to lift the inlet manifold out of the chamber and clean the inlet valves; that comes into play at about 90,000 miles. The shock absorbers can cause issues; a lot of people when they have problems replace them with aftermarket shocks because it’s cheaper than factory. They’re also heavy on the brakes, warping the discs.’ > Crippling running costs? ‘Budget for a couple of grand a year in the first year but it should be less than that once the common problems are sorted.’

NOW WITHIN REACH

Mercedes SL55 AMG When AMG got serious about performance, the SL55 was born

> THERE WERE PLENTY Y of quick Benzes that had benefitted from AMG’s magic, but the SL55 marked a watershed for erformance d. Not was it the powerful uction Merc e but it complete rmance age.

5934cc 12-cyl, 493bhp, 5.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph

FIND YOUR PERFECT USED CAR WITH CAR MAGAZINE. MORE THAN 200,000 USED CARS FOR SALE AT CARMAGAZINE. CO.UK/CARSFOR-SALE

> WITH ITS SUPERCHARGED 5.4-litre V8 making 493bhp, speed was not in short supply. Nominally restricted to the usual 155mph, a ticked box could get that bumped to 186mph – a German magazine cracked 202mph at the Nardo test track in Italy with the limiter removed.

> Is this a good idea? ‘We see a lot whose owners don’t want to keep throwing money at them; they end up on four odd budget tyres.’ > How much? ‘You want one with as much history and the longest warranty you can get.’ > What’s going to break? ‘Air-con pipes, propshaft centre bearing, headlight bulbs, parking sensors. The cupholders sit ahead of the MMI unit; if you spill your Costa it’s £700 to replace.’ > Crippling running costs? ‘You could spend £2500 to get it all together but it’s cheaper after that.’

> THE KEY MECHANICALS are tough. The engine is a beefedup evolution of the naturally aspirated SL500, but check the supercharger for undue noise and any leaks from its charge cooler. Check the auto selects ratios cleanly and has had its fluid changed every five years.

> ALL SL55S USE the hydraulic Active Body Control system, which needs checking for leaks. Recalls were issued for faulty fuel pumps and the brake control system, so check these have been carried out. The roof mechanism has known issues but fitting later parts can sort it.

One we found 2003 SL55 AMG, 66,000 miles, full Mercedes service history, sat nav, xenons, £16,750

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 128 CARMAGA ZINE


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THE UK’S LARGEST PRIVATE NUMBER PLATES DEALER Established 1982 • Over a Million Satisfied Customers Over 48 Million Numbers Online • Free Celebrity Magazine

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A month in the life of 14 cars – starring Porsche Macan, i8, Passat, Caterham, Disco Sport & more

Here comes the £80 000 Qashqai Porsche’s idea of a crossover is the same as Nissan’s, but a lot more Porschey. By Ben Oliver

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 130 CARMAGA ZINE


Extras boosting the price by £18,000 include upgraded leather in Macan’s already classy cabin

THE NISSAN QASHQAI is Britain’s fifth best-selling car and the British car industry’s most popular export. Crossovers like the Qashqai give people what they actually want from a car, and not what we enthusiasts think they ought to want. A little extra ride height lets us bounce over the odd kerb and makes it easier to see out, but without the nuisance of a big, hard-to-park SUV body. Take these qualities and add a famous name, an excessively well-made cabin and (in this case) a 394bhp twin-turbocharged V6 engine and you get the Porsche Macan. My new car is essentially an £80,000 Qashqai: it’s only a school ruler longer. I’ve started calling it the Porschqai. And it’s as popular as you might expect: the queue is currently nine months long and there’s an ‘overs’ market for certain models. I’m lucky enough to be running one for a few months to see if it really can unite everyday practicality with not-everyday performance. Poor me. When I started road testing cars back in 2000, the 996 Turbo had 400bhp and I couldn’t imagine anything faster across country. Now here’s the same power in a Porsche hatchback on stilts. I’ll admit I’m well-disposed towards the Porschqai. It was a fast drive on UK roads in a Macan Turbo that finally dissipated whatever remaining philosophical objections I had to high-performance, high-riding cars. If you shut your eyes when driving a Macan Turbo (really LOGBOOK not recommended) you simply PORSCHE MACAN wouldn’t know that it was a crossoTURBO ver. It feels like a fast estate to drive, > Engine e 3604cc 24v and the qualities that make us buy bi-turbo V6, 394bhp @ Qashqais by the million don’t 6000rpm, 406lb ft @ corrupt the Macan’s appeal. Who 1350rpm > Gearbox 7-speed twin-clutch, allare we to tell Porsche that they wheel drive > Stats 4.8sec shouldn’t be building these cars, or 0-62mph, 165mph, 208g/ customers that they shouldn’t be km CO2 > Price £62,540 buying them? > As tested £80,743 > Miles this month 965 Those waiting lists mean I > Total miles 6630 didn’t get to specify mine. It’s an > Our mpg 21.0 ex-test car with 6000 miles on the > Official mpg 31.7 clock, an entire Qashqai’s worth > Fuel this month £238.09 of options and a Carrera White > Extra costs £0

HELLO MONTH 1 PORSCHE MACAN TURBO

paintjob which looks sensational when clean but is an utter disaster in an English winter and when you live down a country lane where traffic and emissions are mainly equine. The big-ticket items are the ceramic-composite brakes at £5463, the active air suspension at £1004, the torque-vectoring system at £1100, an upgraded leather interior also at £1100 and the sports exhaust and 21-inch wheels at just over £1600 each. Lots of other surprise-and-delight options like the Macan-shaped key painted in same Carrera White (£248) lift the price of this car from the Turbo’s standard £62,540 to £80,743. Less cripplingly expensive Macans are available. Early impressions? It coped with a family Christmas better than I did, carrying (separately) the Christmas tree and the baggage of two relations back from the US for three weeks. It feels wieldy and parkable in the city, and on longer trips in foul winter weather its brakes and all-wheel-drive system feel reassuringly over-specified. Probably the best compliment I can pay it is that I spent a week putting 1250 miles on a 600bhp 911 Turbo S for a story, and when I got back into the Macan it felt like a close relation, and not much slower. Fuel consumption is predictably Trumpian. Porsche claims 31mpg and in the real world this car does two-thirds of that. At between 20 and 23mpg, putting 70 litres into the 75-litre tank gives a range of between 300 and 350 miles, a reminder of the Macan Turbo’s two-tonne kerbweight. But that’s to be expected: the only unexpected flaw so far is the reversing camera, which is rendered useless almost instantly by wet or dirty roads. Mercedes has a system in which the hi-def camera rotates down from a housing giving you a clean image even when the roads aren’t. But it doesn’t feel like there’s much else Porsche needs to learn from its rivals: in fact, on hearing that I’m driving one a couple of very senior execs at rival car makers have admitted that the Macan is their internal benchmark in a growing class. I suspect that the next few months will leave us feeling the same way. @thebenoliver

Doesn’t feel slow, even when you’ve just climbed out of a 911 Turbo

CHRIS TEAGLES

What price an unflappable brake pedal? £5463 on the nose

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 131


Sci-fi supercar vs the real world MONTH 6 BMW i8

We’ve always known it’s an amazing car to drive, but we’re learning more about living with the i8. By Lewis Kingston CHRIS TEAGLES

LOGBOOK BMW i8

Access denied

Full charge ahead!

The i8’s dihedral doors can be opened fully in a tighter space than a conventional door. However, if an unwitting motorist parks fractionally too close, you’ve no chance of creating any meaningful aperture at all. Misjudge the gap from inside, similarly, and you may cleave the door mirror clean off the adjacent car.

Want to preserve a decent level of battery charge so you can quietly idle around town using only electric power later? There’s a dedicated Hold State of Charge mode to enable just that. Battery out of charge? Fear not. Put the i8 in Sport mode, which runs the engine continually, and it’ll top up the battery as you drive.

Cleared for departure

Dogged paddling

Fire up the BMW Remote app, or scroll to the relevant menu in the car, and you can set timers that will automatically bring the cabin up to temperature by the desired departure time. So, no more battling with ice scrapers or scorching seats. Best enabled when the parked car’s plugged in, to preserve the battery’s charge.

In Sport mode the i8 will not engage sixth gear automatically. So, if you’re just cruising, you’ll need to select it manually using the paddles – otherwise you’ll stay in fifth and burn through a lot more fuel. Also in Sport mode, charging the battery from empty (to its average 13-mile-remaining mark) takes around 40 minutes of driving.

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 132 CARMAGA ZINE

> Engine e 1499cc 12v turbocharged 3-cylinder, 228bhp @ 5800rpm, 236lb ft @ 3700rpm, plus 129bhp e-motor with 184lb ft > Gearbox 2-speed auto (front), 6-speed auto (petrol engine) > Stats s 4.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 49g/km CO2 > Price e £104,540 > As tested £109,065 > Miles this month 1484 > Total miles 9828 > Our mpg 28.7 > Official mpg 134.5 > Fuel this month £291.71 > Extra costs £0


MONTH 5 SKODA SUPERB ESTATE

LOGBOOK > > > > >

> > >

>

> >

CHRIS TEAGLES

Throughout the Superb range, handling and ride are excellent

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 133


‘I’ll be in the garage’ Covet a hermit-like existence of nocturnal activity in dimly lit spaces? Then why not build your own Caterham? By Ben Miller WHEN IT’S GOOD, building a Caterham is really, really good. I’ll give you an example. It’s the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year. Much of the world is furiously approaching bankruptcy in the ‘sales’, hitting retail parks like Viking hordes descending on a coastal village in Yorkshire. Me, I made a coffee, slid into the garage before the rest of the house was even awake and stuck on the radio. Then, for five hours, I methodically took parts – clean, unblemished, rust-free parts – from labelled boxes, checked nuts, bolts, washers and spacers against build sheets and, using a pretty impressive suite of equally fresh and unabused tools, built part of a car. The front suspension and steering, in fact; rack, wishbones, dampers, track rods – the lot. During those five hours I thought of nothing other than what I was doing, except for a couple of moments in which I thought about cake. And when I felt I’d reached a suitable point at which to call it a day, I headed inside aglow with the satisfaction that comes only with achieving something tangible with your hands, your brain and some physical tools. Roughly half of the UK’s Caterham buyers self-build and, in moments like this, you wonder what on earth the other 50% were thinking when they stumped up £2500 for a factory build. When it’s not going so well, building a Caterham can be a little frustrating. The manual uses many, many words, not many pictures and an at once logical but unhelpful running order. A new manual is, you’ll be pleased to hear, in the works. Caterham has recognised the sheer brilliance of the instructions you get with a Tamiya radio control car. These kits have a similar number of parts to a Caterham, and use build steps of comparable complexity, but where the Caterham manual looks like a spiral-bound phonebook, Tamiya manuals run to 16 pages tops, transcend language barriers with their fine, word-less illustrations and result in remarkably few errors, despite the tear-arsed hurry in which most kids are throwing their buggy together on Christmas morning. Frustrating too is the time spent finding the bits you need. A pie chart of my time spent on the project so far would be 60% finding things in boxes and bags and 40% bolting them together. But be in no doubt: I’m enjoying myself immensely. Building a Caterham has been on The List for decades. Now I’m doing it, boredom is a distant memory and the idea of running as fast as I dare into, say Paddock Hill bend, in a car I’ve put together is at least as exciting as it is terrifying. The Caterham range – now with logical model names loosely based on power-to-weight ratio – runs from 160 to 620, and in R (hairy) or S (relatively refined) trims. But we’re building an Academy car, the road-legal but race-ready model eligible for Caterham’s built-for-novices motorsport series of the same name. Close in specification to the 270 road car, the Academy uses a 125bhp 1.6-litre Ford four-cylinder engine, a five-speed gearbox,

HELLO MONTH 1 CATERHAM ACADEMY

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 134 CARMAGA ZINE

De Dion rear suspension and an Avon control tyre that looks like something off your neighbour’s self-built plywood trailer. In every detail, though, the Academy car is track-ready: roll cage, fire extinguisher in the boot, wafer-thin Tillet race seats, sixpoint harnesses. Fun though putting it together is, the wait to slide aboard the thing, start it and actually drive it is killing me. And when the car’s complete, certified as safe and ready to roll – what then? Spanning seven events (two sprints and five circuit races), the Academy package (£24,995 if you self-build, and you keep the car) is aimed squarely at people like me: 40-year-old men coming LOGBOOK around to the idea that they probably won’t CATERHAM ACADEMY now reach Formula One, but for whom > Engine e 1595cc 16v 4-cyl, 125bhp @ PlayStation virtual reality isn’t scratching 6100rpm, 119lb ft @ 5350rpm the itch. > Transmission 5-speed manual, open But I’m getting ahead of myself: as I differential, rear-wheel drive write, the season’s coming up fast and my > Stats s 5.0sec 0-60mph, 122mph, n/a g/km CO2 > As tested £24,995 (for car’s engine and gearbox only made it into the car in kit form – price includes race the chassis last weekend – the rear suspenseason but excludes delivery, paint and sion, rollcage, much of the cooling system tool kit) > Miles this month 0 > Fuel and the interior all need fitting. If you need this month n/a > Extra costs s £80 me, I’ll be in the garage. (engine hoist hire)


The DIY Caterham survival guide

1

HAVE SPACE You’ll need a clear garage in which to build the car – trying to do the job outside, in a British winter, doesn’t bear thinking about. But the dream would be plenty of additional space in which to carefully unpack all the boxes and lay out their contents – doing so would knock whole days off the build time.

2

GET THE DRAPER KIT An investment at £474 but Draper’s kit will turn even the shabbiest tool collection into one ready for racecar assembly. Includes the all-important torque wrench, myriad sockets, an embarrassment of screwdrivers and the axle stands you’ll need to sit the car up while you build it.

Scenario 64 from Ben’s list of Painful and Embarrassing Ways to End a Race There’s all this still to attach before the Academy race season starts

3

GO CAREFULLY Much of the bodywork comes prepainted and fitted to the chassis, so there’s potential for slipped-screwdriver disaster. Several assembly steps ask that you protect painted surfaces with tape and cardboard: you only ignore that advice once.

ALEX TAPLEY

4

USE DEREK He’s patient, he knows everything, he’s always on standby at the other end of an email and he hides his despair at your ineptitude magnificently.

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 135


In a post-truth world, this is great There are no bad cars any more, they say. They may be wrong, if our first impressions of Infiniti’s hatch are anything to go by. By Mark Walton

136 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

ALEX TAPLEY

THE INFINITI Q30 1.5D is an awful car. What a way to start a long-term relationship, eh? But I’m afraid there’s no avoiding it. Everyone at CAR R who’s driven the Q30 gets out with the same initial impressions: it’s slow, lumpy, uninspiring, simply the worst car they’ve driven in a long time. I mean, that does at least make it special, right? These days, an unremarkable five-door hatch is a oneway ticket to slack-faced apathy – at least the Infiniti inspires a strong emotion, right? That’s good, right? Even if that emotion is, well… scorn. So what’s the deal? Well, on paper it should have been plain sailing all the way to Apathy Street: the Q30 shares a platform with the third-generation Mercedes A-class, its engine is borrowed from Renault, and it’s built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Surely that should make it average? But while the Mercedes DNA does undeniably lend the Infiniti a certain Germanic solidity, our 1.5 turbodiesel is hardly Renault Renault’ss greatest moment. It represents the entry-level diesel in the Q30 range, and it’s attached to a six-speed manual; but it’s a dozy, uninspiring workk horse that drones its way to a paltry 107bhp. It takes 12 seconds to reach 62mph. Insert scowly-faced emoji here. Then there’s the interior: park a Mercedes next to our Infiniti and check out the two interiors, you’ll soon see the shared architecture – the positions of the vents, the heater controls, the indicator stalk… But an A-class has much more interesting styling, with big round vents and an iPad-style touchscreen; the Infiniti, by comparison, is ordinary, predictable, and altogether a bit Nissan. That’s especially disappointing given the exterior

HELLO MONTH 1 INFINITI Q30

design. The Q30 is pleasingly swoopy and slashy, giving it a much more dynamic look than its German rivals. I like the looks. Just a shame they bottled it when it came to the dashboard. In terms of equipment, our model is a Sport (hence the Q30S badge on the back, which is very confusing – at Geneva last year, Infiniti announced a new top-of-the-range 4x4 version, with a 2.0-litre turbo engine… called the Q30S). The Sport equipment level adds a redesigned front bumper and grille, 19-inch alloys, sports suspension, half leatherette/alcantara trim (that means fake leather and fake suede) and sports seats. Our car also has the InTouch sat-nav option, which is an almighty £6800 extra. That’s right, nearly seven grand for satnav, DAB radio and ‘traffic sign recognition’ which warns you when you’re speeding. Add a further £670 for our Ink Blue paint, and you’re up to £28,250. For a 1.5 diesel! Infiniti calls the Q30 a ‘premium active compact’, and it sure is charging premium prices for it. And frankly, bottom line, it’s just not a good car. The engine is noisy, slow, and completely uninspiring. The Sports suspension lowers the car by 15mm, but it doesn’t feel agile or ‘sporty’ at all – it feels like its got balls of clay stuck to each corner, makk ing it pound over potholes like a Nissan Navara pick-up. The speed-sensitive steering is sharp enough, precise enough, but Mark, you’ve left there’s zero feel to it. the parking brake The driver’s seat is a comfortable place to be, but it’s oddly off. Mark! It’s cramped in the interior, especially in the rear. The tech level is going to roll off adequate, with a colour screen and Bluetooth connectivity, but the edge. Mark! it breaks no new ground in the premium sector. Altogether then, this is a car that’s not going to win any group test with a Golf, an Audi A3 or even a Ford Focus. Which LOGBOOK INFINITI Q30 may leave you wondering, why the hell SPORT INTOUCH have we invited such a dud onto CAR’s > Engine e 1461cc 8v turbodiesel 4-cyl, long-term test fleet? Well, the whole point 107bhp @ 4000rpm, 192lb ft @ 1750of reporting on a car over several months 2500rpm > Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Stats s 12.0 sec and thousands of miles is that we learn 0-62mph, 118mph, 109 g/km CO2 > Price more about it, discover its inner talents. £27,580 > As tested £28,250 > Miles this Over the coming weeks, then, I plan to dismonth 1106 > Total miles s 2898 cover what’s good about the Infiniti. Next > Our mpg 39.5 > Official mpg 67.2 month, I’ll start with the steering wheel. > Fuel this month £158 > Extra costs s £0


A zen g garden on four wheels MONTH 3 TOYOTA PRIUS

M

ALEX TAPLEY

The first bonnet hinge of spring

Like the paper-free office, the zero-maintenance car hasn’t happened. That’s no bad thing. By Anthony ffrench-Constant JUDGING BY Y the amount of information MONTH 8 screen-sponsored VW PASSAT yelling at me the car ESTATE has been doing of late, it would appear that – despite the Passat still having over 10,000 miles to run until it’s due for a first service – it’s, oh Lordy... maintenance time. The scope of my technical knowledge being almost exclusively limited to old British Hi-Fi components and the adjustment of telescopic sights for the purposes of mid-range rat slaying, I have, thus far, managed to studiously ignore the presence of a second cap under the fuel filler flap mysteriously marked AdBlue. Recently, however, the flashing warnings became increasingly strident and expletive-laden, to the tune of ‘Look, knucklehead; if you don’t add AdBlue within a couple of hundred miles, the car won’t start and your missus simply will not stop.’ My curiosity piqued, Google has finally explained to me after all these years why it was that my dad so assiduously peed on his compost heap every night. For AdBlue, I gather, is about one third urea (as in urine) and two thirds deionised water, and injecting this mixture into the exhaust gas stream is fundamental to sufficiently reducing NOx emissions to

make the Passat’s turbodiesel engine Euro 6 compliant. Gleeful visions of the massed ranks of VW employees being required to pee into bespoke containers within corporate lavatories were sadly shattered, however, upon learning that synthetic urea production is commonplace, and a regular ingredient of fertiliser. Good job it’s so ubiquitous, though, because, less than 8000 miles in, the shouty screen informed me that I needed to slosh a minimum of six litres of the stuff aboard to keep the engine happy. Now, the maths, as you can imagine, are beyond me, but with an additive tank capacity of some 13 litres and the first service not due for 18,000 miles, ever reaching the latter without recourse to attending to the former would appear to fall into the Fat Chance category. Further exercising the bonnet hinges, a second phalanx of warnings has danced the pas de deux with the AdBlue countdown, suggesting that coolant levels were also low. Happily, an extremely nice man at my local VW emporium explained that the 2.0-litre bi-turbo’s cooling system is quite complex and a considerable length of hosing is involved. From new, said hose stretches a tad over time, and the coolant level drops a whisker accordingly... And there was I thinking the age of home car maintenance was no more.

LOGBOOK VW PASSAT ESTATE GT 2.0 BI-TDI 4MOTION > Engine 1968cc 16v 4-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, 237bhp @ 4000rpm, 369lb ft @ 1750rpm > Gearbox 7-speed automatic dualclutch, all-wheel drive > Stats s 6.3sec 0-62mph, 147mph, 140g/km CO2 > Price e £36,550 > As tested £43,310 > Miles this month 486 > Total miles s 7553 > Our mpg 38.7 > Official mpg 52.3 > Fuel this month £77.80 > Extra costs s £12.70

ARITAL HARMONY Y isn’t a job, it’s a lifetime’s vocation, and one that should be entered into reverently, soberly and in the fear of God. I would stay a long way away from saying that my better half is difficult to please; more that she has exacting tastes and is forthright in her opinions. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to cars, where old is gold, eight cylinders is a minimum and sub-400bhp equals irrelevance. A keeper, then. Selling her the idea of the Prius as the main mode of transport for a whole year was something of a stealth mission, as the frequent reappearance of a nonLamborghini red wedge on the driveway was arousing suspicion. But I need not have worried. A busy couple of weeks spent scurrying around the country was the perfect window for the Prius to sell its mood-enhancing qualities. A long motorway journey is the time to shine; dial in a sensible and relatively hushed 70mph on the radar cruise control, flick the heated seats on and select a suitable DAB station so that the JBL system’s inherent quality comes through. It’s like a zen garden rendered in bio-degradable plastics. ‘I’m not disliking this’ was high praise indeed. The Prius might seem undesirable because it’s offering something different; if sex sells then selling the idea of chastity is always going to be… er, hard. You don’t need to be a 100% dyed-in-the-hessian greenie to want a relaxing holiday, so what’s wrong with owning a relaxing car? I also have to thank reader George Mitchell, who quite rightly pointed out that our Prius, despite being an Excel spec has actually had the standard 17-inch alloy wheels junked for the boggo 15-inch steels. It might not seem like much but it cuts the official CO2 figure to 70g/km. MATT JOY @MJMattJoy

Overkill corner: this paint is Hypersonic Red

LOGBOOK TOYOTA PRIUS EXCEL > Engine e 1798cc 16v 4-cyl, 97bhp @ 5200rpm, 105lb ft @ 3600rpm, e-motor 71bhp, 120lb ft > Gearbox x Electric CVT, fwd > Stats s 10.6sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 85.6mpg, 76g/km CO2 > Price £27,755 > As tested £28,300 > Miles this month 1699 > Total 4238 > Our mpg 62.7 > Official mpg 85.6 s None > Fuel £61.29 > Extra costs

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 137


£6185 MULLINER DRIVING SPECIFICATION

£1935 SPORTS EXHAUST £805 NECK WARMER

ALEX TAPLEY

Set the sat-nav for Wonderland Stranger things have happened, but not many: we’ve gone through the looking glass and we really are running a Continental for a few months. By Steve Moody SO THE OTHER day I was driving my Bentley, roof down in beautiful sunshine, to my French A-Level exam, when I realised I had done absolutely no revision for it, and in fact couldn’t speak a word of French. And I was completely naked. I stopped at some traffic lights, whereupon a large pink elephant called Maurice, wearing a bowler hat and with a large daisy poked in the end of his trunk, asked for a lift to Didsbury. And then I woke up. It had all been a very vivid, very surreal dream. I got up, stretched and looked out the window. The Bentley was still there… Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce, with a healthy dollop of wide-eyed, pinch-myself incongruity (and a little nervousness) I shall be running a Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible for six months. Bonkers. HELLO MONTH 1 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL

£2815 HAND CROSS STITCHING Like you did at primary school, just slightly more skilled. In a choice of colours.

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 138 CARMAGA ZINE

Now, you might wonder how such an insignificant footnote in the estimable pantheon of CAR R writers should be spending half a year ensconced in the bountiful embrace of Crewe’s finest? I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself, other than most journalists working for the magazine need a car that can actually transport their muddy families, rubbish, smelly dogs and baggage about because they are committed, selfless individuals. Me, I’ll happily tell those nearest and dearest who don’t fit that they’re taking the bus, or leave them standing on the pavement in their muddy shoes if need be. In fact, I’m pondering going the whole hog with the multi-millionaire lifestyle and binning the lot of them for six months, renting a pad somewhere swanky and getting myself one of those Eastern European brides called Melania I’ve seen on the telly. This will be an interesting challenge for my brain, trying to sponge away the vast ponds of serotonin that form from tooling about in this machine, and exercising some journalistic impartiality, restraint and gimlet-eyed critical faculties. For Bentley claims that the drop-top Conti is a car you can use every day, the luxury boulevardier that happily queues on the commute in a miserably misty, frosty British winter. We’re going to see if the triple-layer roof, VW Group electronics, obsessive, very personal, attention to build quality, winter tyres and neck heater will prove this to be true. The V8 S is for me the sweetest spot in the Continental range, offering a twin-turbo engine with a dash more power (521bhp versus 497) than the standard one, and marginally better han-

Lowered ride height is part of the V8 S package, but grey paint and black wheels are extras Fancy audio provides an alternative to invigorating V8 soundtrack


£4825 STORM GREY PAINT £1400 VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEM

dling too thanks to 10mm lowered suspension, stiffer springs and roll bar, more precise steering and less strict traction control. The big V8 has way more charisma than the hushed, more expensive W12. Should you want to buy a bog standard one off the shelf, it would cost you £164,800. Our car has £31,775 worth of options. I should point out we did not spec this car – and, frankly, wouldn’t have had the nerve to go this far. It’s one thing to tick the box for leather and a DAB radio on your Kia and add a few hundred quid to the price, but I would have found it very challenging to absolutely insist I must have hand cross-stitching and stick £2815 on the bill, or £425 for a small spectacle case. Fortunately then, nice people at Bentley – more at home with such preposterous figures – specified it for us, resulting in a car that tops out at £196,575, although I had one concern with this approach in that we might end up with a car in a lurid colour and eccentric trim that looked like I’d made millions conning

£6895 PREMIER SPECIFICATION

£2125 ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL

£480 STORAGE CASE

people with my ‘Nigerian prince’ email scam. But the sight of this car rolling onto my drive in Storm Grey paint and dark beluga leather on 21-inch black limited-edition wheels allayed that worry. It’s a beautiful-looking car, classy, muscular and conspicuous without being showy. So I’ve gone from spartan Renault Zoe LOGBOOK to profligate Bentley in the blink of an eye. BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT I was really impressed with the Zoe, but V8 S CONVERTIBLE when I slipped into the soft, thick chair, > Engine e 3993cc 32v twin turbo let my heels sigh into the deep carpet, V8, 521bhp @ 6000rpm, 502lb ft inhaled the sweet odour of richly crafted @ 1700rpm > Gearbox x 8-speed wood and leather, pressed the starter auto, four-wheel drive > Stats 4.3sec 0-62mph, 192mph, 258g/km CO2 and heard eight cylinders explode into > Price e £164,800 > As tested £196,575 an insistent, urgent rhythm, I laughed > Miles this month 365 > Total a slightly delirious laugh and thought ‘I miles s 365 > Our mpg 22.3 > Official must be bloody dreaming’. But I’m not. mpg 26.7 > Fuel this month £89.04 @Sjmoody37

> Extra costs £0

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE ZINE.CO.UK CO UK 139


grunt to haul the Land Rover up to 62mph in 8.4sec. That’s a little slower than its lighter German rivals. Sport’s role in fast JLR family But it doesn’t suffer from the laggy throttle response growing is clear: whatever that afflicted our 2012 Evoque. you want it to be While the Jag XE had a silky smooth eight-speed ’box, transverse Ingenium engines have a different Whatever you ask the seven-seat Discovery Sport to nine-speed unit. The theory is that more ratios give do, it does it exceptionally well. By Phil McNamara the engine more bandwidth to operate at economical speeds; the problem is that the transmission OUR FAMILY SPLITS with the seven-seat doesn’t half rattle through the cogs, and shifts can be quite GOODBYE Discovery Sport on Friday. The next day, my obtrusive, especially when the oil is cold. Some team memMONTH 12 brother flies into the country, accompanied bers preferred to take charge using the plastic shifters. LAND ROVER The Disco’s heft ensured we did not set any hypermiling by a vast holdall. With the Disco, the four DISCO SPORT of us could collect him from the airport, records. Over 12 months, it averaged 33.8mpg, a miserable bundling one of the child seats into the 36% off the official combined figure (though our S-Max and Passat turbodiesels are similarly missing their marks). I third row to create space. Without it, our loss is Avis’s gain. Once a month, we used the six- or seven-seat capability. did go easy on the throttle in August, trying to obey the onThe back benches can accommodate adults for short jour- board ecotraining programme (hardly Super Mario Run but neys, so long as the second row sacrifices a little of its boun- addictive all the same), ekeing out a personal best of 36.3mpg. Some elements of the cabin feel off the pace: the tiny touchteous space. The boot is big in five-seat mode, and with the screen with a response time slower than a teenager getting middle row down it’s more spacious than a Mondeo wagon. But the ride can be more knobbly than a ’4 0s summer at out of bed, and the antiquated graphics (both since updated). Butlins. The HSE Luxury spec’s 20-inch rims can crash into The seats are firm but comfy and stylish, though having potholes and jar the body over crests, all accompanied by a to plough through a sub-menu to turn on the heaters still percussive kiddy-seat rattle. In fast bends, the body rolls grates. Software niggles froze the touchscreen on occasion, over, and things can feel a little untidy with too enthusiastic playing iPhone music by Firewire connection was temperaan entry speed or unexpected camber changes. The Disco mental, and the air-con fan bizarrely packed up for an hour. Sport corners like a Range Rover, but without its pillowy ride Upkeep was not cheap: the 21,000-mile on the straights. But it steers like a Jaguar: firmly weighted, service cost £358 and replacing a nailed eager to turn in, accurate to place on the road, best in class in 245/45 R20 Continental SportContact LOGBOOK LAND ROVER my opinion. The chassis gives plenty of feedback: the front- tyre £238, both before VAT. DISCOVERY SPORT HSE Our Disco Sport didn’t have the star end grip allows you to whip the Sport along nicely, though LUXURY AUTO quality of our Evoque, or waft like the the high centre of gravity curbs your enthusiasm. > Engine e 1999cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, Land Rover has been fettling the Discovery since its Range Rover that followed it. But we 178bhp @ 4000rpm, 317lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 9-speed auto, 4wd launch, with JLR’s 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel replacing the will always have that family holiday in > Stats s 8.4sec 0-62mph, 117mph, 139g/ original Ford unit, for example. We’ve run two examples of France, and two Christmas expeditions, km CO2 > Price e £43,400 > As tested the engine: it was ‘disappointingly coarse and vocal’ in Ben boot fully loaded, and the odd ride for £46,615 > Miles this month 2124 > Total Whitworth’s Jag XE, but noticeably less garrulous in the seven. Versatility and spaciousness are miles s 26,862 > Our mpg 33.8 > Fuel this Disco Sport. With 317lb ft of torque to surf, there’s sufficient rather loveable traits, it turns out. month £341.87 > Extra costs s £0

Steers like a Jag, hauls like a van

ZINE.CO.UK CO UK | March 2017 140 CARMAGA ZINE


THE REST OF THE FLEET

Ford Edge

Audi R8

Peugeot 308 GTI 270

MONTH 3 By Ben Miller

MONTH 4 By James Taylor

MONTH 8 By Ben Barry

JAGUAR LAND Rover has the Activity Key, its surf-ready ‘wearable’ that lets you lock your actual keys in your F-Pace/Discovery and head out to do whatever it is you do (canoe, ski, eat cheesecake in a paddling pool), then simply hold the heat-, cold- and water-resistant bracelet up to the car’s rear badge to be granted access. With the Edge I just lock it, tuck the key fob in my crisp white sports sock, hope the puddles aren’t too deep and run slowly thinking about crisps.

THE R8 continues to ace the everyday car brief, with the exception of one inconveniently sized chink in its armour: a shoebox-sized boot. While a 911, or even a McLaren or Ferrari 488, can pack a surprising amount of gear into their ‘frunks’, you’ll struggle to fit more than one (very) squashy bag in the R8. The price you pay for packaging an extra set of driveshafts, I suppose. Arguably worth it for the Audi’s winter-beating traction, though. Out of slow corners the front tyres claw into the tarmac like a rock climber’s fingertips finding a handhold, and fill you with confidence on the sort of bumpy, slippery B-roads that would bring most other supercars out in a cold sweat. At slower speeds it’s beginning to sound like a family of squirrels have moved into that boot. Sometimes it sounds like it might be the suspension bushes, sometimes maybe the intersection where the dashboard meets the windscreen, but something’s definitely getting squeaky when the going gets bumpy. I spoke to another journalist recently who’s logged plenty of miles in another new R8 and they reported similar squeaks over speed bumps. While you’d probably forgive that in a harder-core supercar, the Audi’s premium standpoint and otherwise luxurious cabin make it harder to overlook. Squeaking it might be, but our R8’s now no longer beeping as the curious case of the panicking parking sensor (see Month 2) is closed: turns out the number plate had come partially unstuck, justt far enough to catch the sensor’s beam. @JamesTaylor_5

THE 308 needs servicing every 12,500 miles (some rivals add 50%), and the first was due when I visited family over Christmas. A quick search revealed Kendal dealership David Hayton undercut those near CAR by about £30. I booked online, and unchecked ‘also change spark plugs’. The dealership was no-frills and friendly. In three hours it was serviced and washed (though the kid-muddied interior was ignored) and I was £146.71 poorer. @IamBenBarry

LOGBOOK FORD EDGE > Engine e 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp @ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm > Gearbox

6-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive > Stats s 9.4sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 48.7mpg, 149g/km CO2, 1949kg > Price e £34,495 > As tested £39,965 > Miles this month 977 Total miles s 8767 > Our mpg 31.4 > Official mpg 48.7 > Fuel this month £172.77 > Extra costs s £0

BMW i3 MONTH 2 By Tim Pollard OUR R i3’s optional, big-but-skinny 20in wheels wear Bridgestone Ecopia tyres. Designed to cleave the air with minimal drag, they don’t put a huge amount of rubber in contact with the road, so we’ve been pussy-footing around at this chilly, slippy-slidey time of year. Why the caution? I had a big, unintentional skid on a mucky country lane in a different i3 last year. Nothing untoward has happened in this i3. Yet. @TimPollardCars

LOGBOOK AUDI R8 V10 PLUS > Engine 5204cc 40v V10, 602bhp @ 8250rpm, 413lb ft @ 6500rpm > Gearbox x 7-speed dualclutch, all-wheel drive > Statss 3.2sec 0-62mph, 205mph, 287g/km CO2 > Price e £132,715 > As tested £149,645 > Miles this month 750 > Total miles s 3070 > Our mpg 20.5 > Official mpg 21.9 > Fuel this month £147.36 > Extra costss £0

LOGBOOK BMW i3 RANGE-EXTENDER > Engine 125kW electric motor (equivalent to

168bhp, 184lb ft), with 647cc 2cyl petrol to top up battery > Gearbox x Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive > Stats 8.1sec 0-62mph, 93mph, 13g/km CO2 > Price e £31,560 > As tested £37,009 (prices quoted after government Plug-in Grant) > Miles this month 540 > Total 2953 > Our mpg Haven’t refuelled yet! > Official mpg 471mpg > Fuel this month £0 > Extra costs s £0

Nudist colonies are popular destinations for R8 owners forced to leave their bags at home

LOGBOOK PEUGEOT 308 GTI 270 > Engine e 1598cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 268bhp @ 6000rpm, 243lb ft @ 1900rpm > Gearbox x 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive > Stats s 6.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph (limited), 47.1mpg, 139g/km CO2 > Price e £29,870 > As tested £28,455 > Miles this month 1557 > Total miles s 12291 > Our mpg 34.1 > Official mpg 47.1 > Fuel this month £238.26 > Extra costs £146.71 (service)

Mercedes E63 AMG MONTH 5 By Chris Chilton TO check our bargain Benz isn’t an anomaly I had a dig around on the Mercedes used car locator and turned up several. Here’s one of my favourites, a 64-plate non-S in Obsidian Black that’s covered 20,000 miles, for under £40k. The cheapest current E-class wagon you can buy, the E200d SE, costs £36,735. You get the same dealer experience and proper warranty plus almost 400 more nags. And you can moonlight as an Uber hearse to claw back the extra fuel cost. @chrischiltoncar LOGBOOK MERCEDES E63 AMG > Engine e 5461cc 32v turbo V8, 550bhp @ 5500rpm, 531lb ft @ 1750-5250rpm > Gearbox 7-speed auto, rwd > Statss 4.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph > Price e £76,530 (when new) > As tested £41,000 (now) > Miles this month 1511 > Total miles s 20,401 > Our mpg 21.0 > Official mpg 27.7 > Fuel this month £383.04 > Extra costs s £0

March 2017 | SUBSCRIBE & GE GET T 12 MONTHS FOR £29 £29.99! 99! GRE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK ZINES CO UK 141


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Totally y unique q guide g to EVERY car on sale in the UK, with a punchy p y view on all of them – yours included

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly ABARTH

VANTAGE V12/GT12 

NEW IN THIS MONTH

500  > Pricey pocket rockets, all powered by 1.4-litre turbos in various stages of steroidal overcompensation. Divine details, dodgy dynamics > VERDICT Like a small yappy dog: noisy, excitable and likely to give you a headache

Renault Zoe 40 ‘Clever new battery with more power solves range anxiety, potentially induces wealth anxiety instead with £4k price premium. Unless you’re smart and lease it’

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 T At least it’s got its looks. No, wait. It’s an ugly Alfa. It’s got nothing

GIULIETTA  > Looked like a credible Golf rival for a while but now the game has moved on. Keen prices, but rivals are roomier, classier and more fun to drive > VERDICT Miles better than a Mito. Miles better than a 4C, even. Miles behind a Mk7 Golf

4

Vauxhall Maloo e have so many n incorporated a single vehicle. ectacularly fast, absurd, useless, Australian and brilliant all at the same time’

153

> Good grief – an Alfa Romeo we can finally recommend that you buy. New, auto-only 3-series rival has sharp steering, sultry looks, great driving position. Bellissimo! > VERDICT T Note to dealers: don’t cock it up

D3/B3  > 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 T Try an xDrive D3 Touring – it’s what the M3 wants to be when it grows up

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?

end of the Vanquish. A pity, because the DB11 is both fresher and cheaper. Oops > VERDICT Instant respect, even though you’ve bought the wrong Aston > 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 T Pretty, but interior more dated than a New York socialite and as hard on your wallet

AUDI 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

A3 HATCH/S’BACK/SALOON HATC 

GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO 

ALPINA

VANQUISH S  NEW ENTRY and sorted underpinnings come too near the

RAPIDE 

GIULIA 

> 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 T The closest you can get to a four-door Ferrari. Really. Thatt good.

DB11  > First genuinely new Martin in a decade gets slick aero slinkiness, belting V12 turbocharged charmer and most crucially, Mercedes help with the wiring > VERDICT T Finally the right blend of much needed new stuff and classic Aston charm results in a cutabove GT. Eat your heart out, Europe! > Not quite funeral parlour dressing but lipstick

Bentley Bentayga Diesel ‘They said it would neve happen, but we knew it would. Now you get to use the dirty pumps and only need to stop every other minute’

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 T Shoots for the moon, hits itself in the foot. Elise more fun, Cayman a better bet

> Cramming a huge V12 into the V8-sized engine bay was apparently the easy bit; it’s taken Aston until 2016 to add a manual gearbox. Worth the wait > VERDICT Chassis finally has the stick shift it deserves. Buy it no other way

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 T M5 alternative with Touring body option you can’t have with the real thing

B7  > BMW doesn’t make an M7, but Alpina does. Twin-blown petrol V8 delivers ‘bahnbusting performance that’s best enjoyed in Germany > VERDICT T Niche S63 alternative hamstrung by ugliness of the raw materials

XD3  > 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 Munich leaves to Alpina, maybe ’cos Porsche Macan is better

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

> Mid-life update adds exterior angles, three-pot engine and optional digi-dash. Still king of quality in this sector, but adrenalin isn’t amongst extra standard kit > VERDICT T Brilliant hatch and not much financial gulf to a Golf. Try sporty S-Line on supple SE chassis

ARIEL ATOM 

A3 CABRIOLET 

> 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 T Spectacular toy. Great on track, barmy on road. Chassis doubles as a clothes airer, which is just as well…

> 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 with Sport trim > VERDICT T Asexual drop-top for sensible shoes types. Worth the £2k premium over Golf

NOMAD  > Not content with terrifying on tarmac, Ariel now offers the off-road Nomad. Gains a rollover structure but still no doors… > VERDICT Don’t forget to put the hot water on – you’ll be needing a bath when you get home

ASTON MARTIN

S3 / RS3  > Further proof that the Germans are still power junkies at heart. 296bhp S3 is trouble enough, while new 362bhp RS3 will do 174mph. Achtung, baby. > VERDICT Far better than they used to be, but not as exciting as they should be. Buy a Golf R

A4 SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD SALO 

VANTAGE V8/GT8  > 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 Belucci’ on the age/ desirability scale; madcap GT8 tactile but not as fast as it looks

> All-new A4 is Captain Obvious in every way: lighter, smarter, better to drive – and only microscopically different to look at > VERDICT T As you were, except inside, where tech obsession offs elegance. Rivals remaining calm

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 143


AUDI > FORD RS4  > Brutal RS treatment makes a monster of REPLACED ho-hum A4. No 4dr, no manual and no turbos, SOON this wicked wagon’s V8 redlines higher than Ferrari’s 488GTB > VERDICT T Pace and space, but rides like the tyres have a tic. No match for new C63

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

TT COUPE/ROADSTER  > Brilliant coupe gets virtual dash, and sharper handling. Try 2.0-FSI. Boot big, but rear seats for handbags only (some men have them, you know) > VERDICT T A proper real-world sports car – but same money buys an early R8!

A5 SPORTBACK 

TT RS 

> In a class of one until BMW finally got its act, and the 4-series Gran Coupe, together. Pretty and practical, but like its drivers, feeling its age > VERDICT Fatherhood doesn’t seem so bad with family cars this handsome. Then you drive it

> At the outer limits of the TT’s dynamic envelope a 17% power hike ekes 395bhp from five pots and targets wounded Cayman > VERDICT T Audi springs the offside trap, rounds the keeper, but hits the bar. So close!

REPLACED SOON

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  > Has iconic Quattro arches, but feels like it was engineered down the Arches at Phil Mitchell’s EastEnders den of bodgery. Cramped too > VERDICT T Great V8 can’t save misfiring flat-footed coupe. Buy a BMW M4, or the better RS4

REPLACED SOON

A6 SALO 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 better-handling Jag XF

RS6  > For wealthy mentalists who think the S6’s 444bhp isn’t enough, RS6 delivers 25% more and gives the new R8 V10 a hard time at the lights > VERDICT T Beautifully finished allweather family wagon that scares supercars silly

A7 SPORTBACK  > Slant-roof A6 takes styling cues from pretty ’60s 100 coupe but can’t out-cool Merc’s CLS. More grippy than a sloth whose been sloppy with the superglue > VERDICT Stylish GT with sensible engines, but a sports saloon? My RS, maybe

RS7  > Pricier, less practical RS6 with fastback rear, same guts but gets clever rear diff as standard for oversteer here, there and everywhere given room > VERDICT T An Aston Rapide for the AAgrophobic, but we’d have the naughtier RS6

A8 SALOON  > Audi’s elder statesman for elder REPLACED statesmen has more tech than CES at SOON Vegas but who wants people to think they’re being chauffeured in an A4? > VERDICT Gadgets galore, but Merc’s incredible S-class nails the luxury basics better

Q2  > 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 T The Q doesn’t stand for Quasimodo. Probably

Q3  > Dumpy dinky faux field forager is a yummy mummy fave. Forget 4wd and the diesels and go for light, zippy, 1.4 TFSi > VERDICT T So much better to drive than it looks. Which it’d have to be, right? Unless it was an Alfa

RSQ3 > Audi’s first tall-boy RS model. Hearing of the £45k price or unleashing that 335bhp five-pot both elicit same incredulous gasp > VERDICT Who needs this stuff? Short people in a rush? What we do know is it’s better than a GLA45 AMG

Q5  > Car-like SUV offers everything from meek 180bhp front driver to a ballistic SQ5 bi-turbo diesel delivering RS performance without the fuel bills > VERDICT Still one of Audi’s best. Beats a top-spec A4, if not a bottom-spec Macan

REPLACED SOON

Q7  > German heavy metal turns techno as Mk2 Q7 sheds weight despite megaload of extra gizmos. High-performance SQ7 TDI mind-bendingly adept > VERDICT T They thought of everything but the charm

NUMBER CRUNCHING

CO2 HEROES AND VILLAINS Some manufacturers are making a better fist of cutting their range-average emissions than others

THE BEST

THE WORST

PEUGEOT T 103.5g/km

ROLLS ROYCE 331g/km

Clear winners, thanks to a focus on smaller cars and some of the most efficient diesels available.

You can expect this to fall in the coming year, but big V12s don’t help.

R8 V10/V10 PLUS  > Friday afternoon restyle meets Monday morning mechanics. New R8 offers no V8 for now, but V10 is back with 533bhp or Lambo-equalling 602bhp > VERDICT T A Lamborghini Huracan for £50k less. Friendly but ballistic; playful chassis a joy

BAC 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 T Sublime track-tool with a six-figure price that’d net you a Cayman GT4 and an Atom

BENTLEY BENTAYGA  NEW > Cynics will say it’s a Q7 in expensive ENTRY jewellery, but The World’s Fastest SUV matches 187mph top speed with superb chassis. We flambéed the brakes > VERDICT Super-lux options include £110k Breitling clock. Or spend the same on a two-bed semi in Crewe

BENTAYGA DIESEL  > 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

CITROEN 105.7g/km

CORVETTE 329g/km

Peugeot’s PSA partner Citroën is almost but not quite as good – blame all those big MPVs.

The turbo revolution hasn’t reached the ’Vette. Yet.

CONTINENTAL GT G COUPE/ CABRIO  > The repmobile of millionaires. Reliable, well-built and yes, full of VW bits. Death Star smooth W12 now sounds more rebellious, while twin-turbo GT V8 S is joyful > VERDICT More of a sportscar than its hefty GT image suggests

REPLACED SOON

CONTINENTAL GT3-R  > Bonkers road racer with Max Power styling, no rear seats and shouty exhaust. Surprisingly nimble using 4wd and torque vectoring, and epically fast thanks to tricked up 580 V8 T Uncouth drag racer for rich Russians > VERDICT

RENAULT 105.9g/km

LAMBORGHINI 317g/km

With more small turbocharged petrols coming, PSA’s arch rival is likely to cut this figure further.

This figure is 13g/km down on the year before, helped by the Huracan.

FLYING SPUR  > New 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 pampered rear-seat recliners > VERDICT T Think of it as a bargain Roller rather than a pricey A8

MULSANNE  > Huge, handbuilt anachronism, with twin-turbo V8 born in the ’50s, buffed to perfection, and a field of cows sacrificed for your arse’s pleasure > VERDICT Buy the Speed – any less outrageous display of consumption is just poor form

BMW

TOYOTA 107.7g/km

ASTON MARTIN 313g/km

A broader range of petrol hybrids than anyone else helps to keep Toyota’s average low.

With the DB11 now on sale Aston Martin might even sneak below 300…

NISSAN 114.3g/km

FERRARI 299g/km

A figure slightly up on the previous year, but impressive considering it includes planet eaters like the GT-R.

…just like Ferrari has, validating the move to turbo. A bit.

1-SERIES  > Only rear-driver in its class. Good for handling, not for cabin space. Just facelifted so now 3% less grotesque. 118i petrol a brilliant all-rounder > VERDICT T Want a roomy, well-appointed hatch that’s great to drive and look at? Buy an A3

M135i  > Last of the downsizing deniers, BMW’s hot hatch stays with six-pot power when all rivals offer four. Undercuts mechanically identical M235i by £4.5k > VERDICT T Storming drivetrain, but VW’s incredible Golf R just pips it

FACELIFT SOON

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; 4cyl 228i a cut-price, cut-down M235i > VERDICT T Plainer than a margarine sarnie, but TT and RCZ can’t touch its space/pace combo

144 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

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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 T Ignore the Golf R temptation and > VERDICT 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? You’ll need the 7-seat Gran Tourer. Boom boom! > VERDICT T The ultimate driving (to the park/crèche/post office) 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 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

3-SERIES GT  > High-rise Touring alternative almost as vast as a 5-series thanks to wheelbase stretch, but way more hideous. Another BMW design disaster > VERDICT A £35k Mondeo with a BMW badge. Why bother when the same-price X3 is so good?

4-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO  > 3-series in a shell suit subtly better to drive, but same great engine choices and almost as practical. Shame about the carryover cabin > VERDICT T Crushes Audi’s ancient 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 std leather. Five belts but only four seats > VERDICT T Smart and useful, much more than a niche exercise. But why isn’t this the 3-series?

M3/M4  > Oh thank God – there’s finally a Competition Pack to breath some life into this staid M-car duo. £3k more = 444bhp and light-up seat badges. Classy > VERDICT Buy an M2

5 SERIES SALOON/TOURING 5-SERIES  > Hard to fault the default exec. Go for 520d or REPLACED 530d M Sport, ZF auto, adaptive dampers. SOON Ace adaptive headlamps a £545 option > VERDICT Stylish as Teflon trousers but that drip-dry gusset is just so handy. Best exec bar none

5-SERIES GT  > BMW GB: ‘The contours… make its attraction instant. Stylish presence of a saloon combines harmoniously with the sporty elegance of a coupe’ > VERDICT T Munich’s Vel Satis. Hated by critics, loved by owners. All three of them

M5  > While our enthusiasm for the twin-turbo V8 is tempered slightly by the artificial engine noise, it’s sublime to drive and gets better with every iteration > VERDICT Still the fast saloon daddy. 592bhp ‘30 Jahre edition’ utterly magnificent

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 T Desirable enough to leave the 6-series coupe in the shade/showroom

M6  > Six-figure M5 in a shiny suit is even better to drive. Two-door looks good value beside Merc’s

S63 coupe, but can’t touch a 911 11 G GTS for kicks > VERDICT M6 GC almost makes M5 redundant, but at £100k/18mpg you’ll need two jobs

7-SERIES  > So high-tech BMW presumably ram-raided BEST IN Google’s R&D bunker, confident the ‘carbon CLASS core’ construction would enable it to drive back out > VERDICT T Gesture control, remote parking, active anti-roll – it’s got it all. But not the kudos of the S-class…

X1  > 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 fwd Mini platform. Swallow that bile now

X3  > Studiously un-gangsta SUV shuns petrol power – and M Power – options for solid dieselonly 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. £4-5k more than an X3, but better equipped and annoyingly better to drive > VERDICT T Depressing X3 spin-off 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 T 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. And keep taking the evening primrose

REPLACED SOON

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 off a 911 > VERDICT T Fascinating and fabulous. The future of the sports car is in safe hands

BUGATTI CHIRON  > ‘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 We’ve yet to drive it, but predict a riot

CATERHAM SEVEN  > Still the benchmark for bobble-hatted TerryThomas wannabes, the adaptable Seven comes in flavours from 160 3-cyl to mental road racers > VERDICT T 80bhp 160 underpowered, 310bhp 620R lethal, 180bhp 360 model just right

CHEVROLET CORVETTE  > Farm machinery meets space lab in fabulous 460bhp V8 symphony of composite materials, leaf springs and push rods. Shame it’s left-hook only > VERDICT £60k for a bargain berserker. £20k more for the 650bhp Z06

CITROEN C1  > Trying hard to escape the clutches of its sister cars, the C1 can have a funky Airscape cloth roof and half-hearted personalisation options. 1.0-litre has most pep > VERDICT T Good, solid proletarian urban fare rather than hipster cool

C3  > Citroen produces a great small car by looking up its own Wikipedia entry and remembering what it’s good at; spacy, compliant and different T Are Citroëns cool again? 2016 has > VERDICT been sufficiently bonkers.

C3 PICASSO  > Compact supermini-based box that’s fun to drive (avoiding the petrol one, mind) and wellpackaged. Might not set pulses racing, but you’ll get very protective of it > VERDICT Picasso was a cubist, so why not name a box after him?

REPLACED SOON

C4  > 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 T Nobody would hate you – or notice you – if you bought one

C4 CACTUS  > An architect’s wet dream. Sloppy to drive but otherwise a roomy family car with kid’s toy colour combos. Airbumps will stop it kicking off in the car park > VERDICT T Cheap yet brilliant. Why can’t the French be this good all the time?

C5 SALOON/ESTATE  > Be aware: this car is still in existence. Slow selling but roomy estate is fairly stylish and practical with Hydractive rear suspension > VERDICT T There have been great French family saloons. This is not one

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 T Drives like a shed. Who cares, if Satan’s brood shut up?

BERLINGO MULTISPACE  > Recently refreshed with SUV aspirations, but still a wipe-clean tin lifeboat for cagoulewearing Thermos-sipping birdwatchers. Rattles and drives like a van. Is a van > VERDICT Dogging cheap seats for aspiring Bill Oddies

DACIA SANDERO 

488 is more playful and even easier to drive. A stunning i achievement hi > VERDICT TE Even the h looks grow on you after a while. Rivals better dust off their gracious loser faces

CALIFORNIA T  > L-plate Ferrari first of Maranello’s new turbo cars. Boost management mimics naturally aspirated engines. Looks better, sounds worse > VERDICT Forget the unfair 488 comparisons, it’s an SL65 rival and well worthy of the badge

F12/F12TDF  > Jumbo GT steers like a supercar, cruises BEST IN like a limo, drifts like a nitro-lit M3. Also CLASS available in taste-redacted 769bhp ‘Tour de France’ guise for £100k more > VERDICT Stick with 730bhp original unless you’ve an unholy appetite for extra vents and carbonfibre

LAFERRARI  > 1000bhp hybrid hypercar where the electric BEST IN bits exist to save tenths not icecaps. 499 to be CLASS 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

GTC4LUSSO  > 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 fourwheel drive and 680bhp V12 > VERDICT T Closest Ferrari will ever get to an SUV, apparently. Take a moment to think about that…

FIAT TIPO  > Oh god, really? Fiat has another crack at the C-segment, this time sensibly playing the value card. So dull it’s already been replaced yet still the best Fiat hatch since the last Tipo – 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 Still – to drive, this is the MX-5 you’ve been waiting for

PANDA 

> 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?

> Spacious city car with ‘squircle’ obsession, as roly-poly as blobby looks suggest. Two-pot TwinAir willing but thirsty > VERDICT VW Up costs less, drives better and is nicer inside

LOGAN 

500/C 

> Estate looks like a Sandero that’s reversed into phone box. Cavernous boot, but dreadfully unrefined thanks to all the brittle plastic and tin > VERDICT T You put things in it. It will carry them for you. You can take them out. Job done

> 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 T Fashion victims rejoice! The cupholders actually work now

DUSTER 

500L/MPW 

> 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 effect > VERDICT The Neighbourhood Watch will never be the same again

> Bloated supermini-sized people carriers, desperately attempting to cash in on city car’s chic. Seldom has the point been so massively missed > VERDICT T In-car coffee machine option the only purchase excuse

DS

500X 

DS3 HATCH/CABRIO  > Best-selling DS gets robo-croc snout and Apple CarPlay but ‘premium’ claims increasingly lost in translation > VERDICT T Like Prince Wills’s bonce, the Gallic charm is wearing thin

DS4/CROSSBACK  > 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 T Medium rare luxy-Frenchness. Germany reportedly not worried

DS5  > Office joker in testosterone world of Serious Business Men. Quite appealing, with a lovely aerostyled cabin. Diesel Hybrid4 a good idea not executed properly > VERDICT T Bland ubiquity will always beat charming quirkiness

FERRARI 488 GTB  > We were worried the turbos would ruin it, but while we’ll miss the 458’s 9000rpm wail, the

> Compact crossover is Arnold Schwarzenegger of the 500 range – steroidal and somewhat limited in its range of abilities, but actually rather likeable > VERDICT T Worthy Nissan Juke alternative works the 500 thing surprisingly well

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 off the royalties. Drives a red Bentley > VERDICT T Vanbased 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 Hails from South America, like the Ecosport. Isn’t rubbish, unlike the Ecosport

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 145


FORD > MASERATI

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs > VERDICT T The fat goth of the premium hatchback segment

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 T Buy with a 1.0 Ecoboost triple and > VERDICT Zetec trim for maximum school-run fun

MASERATI QUATTROPORTE GTS

“A blend of Maranello turbo V8 in some gracefully ageing Maserati bits”

FIESTA  > Still brilliant after all these years, Fiesta is BEST IN poised and practical. Terrific new triples make CLASS up for an interior that would make the Chinese blush > VERDICT The best driving supermini. Even 1.0 models feel like hot hatches in waiting

FIESTA ST/ST200  > Bargain banzai hot hatch shreds that BEST IN tricky gyratory complex with style to spare CLASS thanks to torque vectoring voodoo. ST200 costs £5k more than base; misses point spectacularly (if not the apex). Softer suspension now > VERDICT The one that you want

ECOSPORT  > Third-world hand-me-down is no fun to drive and reasonably roomy interior ruined by a daft side-opening tailgate. Nissan Juke monsters it > VERDICT T A rare Blue Oval balls-up channelling the complacent Mk5 Escort spirit

FACELIFT SOON

FOCUS HATCH/ESTATE  > Looking all the better for its 2014 refresh, the Focus shows Ford’s chassis engineers know their stuff. So it’s just the designers who have lost it > VERDICT T Great to drive but the Golf is a more polished destination for your dough

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 fwd ST was impressive > VERDICT T In bhp/£ stakes, both are mega value. But only the RS does donuts

MONDEO HATCH/ESTATE  > Delayed so long dealers will soon be doing MOTS and PDIs at the same time. Huge space and you can even have the 1.0 Ecoboost > VERDICT T Everybody wants them new-fangled SUVs these days, but this is a great family car

KUGA  > Fine-handling MPV now available with a 178bhp diesel – but not a dashboard that doesn’t look like an earthquake in a switchgear factory. Small boot T Good, but top-end versions stray > VERDICT into X3/Evoque territory

FACELIFT SOON

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 amidst premium rivals

C-MAX/GRAND C-MAX  > More a roomier Focus than full-blown MPV, C-Max delivers driving pleasure to blot out family pain. 7-seat Grand version gets rear sliding doors > VERDICT Rivals are roomier, but none is better to drive. Just pretend it’s the wife’s

S-MAX  > Exploits latest Mondeo’s undercrackers to full effect. Pricey, but still the best of the sevenseaters to drive > VERDICT T Toys include electric everything and speed-correcting cruise control. 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 T Ecoboost 4-cyl torquey but tedious; it’s the V8 you want, if not its 18mpg thirst

> VERDICT Basic motoring done not just well but with a dash of style. Mid-spec 1.0 our choice

GALAXY 

i20 HATC HATCH/COUPE/ACTIVE 

> Goose to the S-Max’s Maverick, new Galaxy is based on the same Mondeo-derived platform. Just as high-tech, but more spacious > VERDICT T Great if you need a big 7-seater – fits adults in all rows with no human rights violations

> Update adds Active crossover to 5dr Hatch and 3dr ‘Coupe’; suitable for somnambulant warranty fiends only. Turbo triple lumpy > VERDICT T Fur-lined tartan slippers, Horlicks and early to bed; repeat

GINETTA

i30 HATCH/TOURER 

G40  > Pint-sized road-legal racer. Two models: G40R (civilised version, with carpets) and GRDC (actually a race car with number plates) > VERDICT T Tiny, twitchy and top fun. Pick the £35k GRDC and get free entry to race series

> 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 T ‘Tries hard but lacks imagination’ would be the i30’s school report card

i40 SALOON/TOURER 

HONDA

> Vast Mondeo rival with huge boot and lots of kit. Facelift resembles a lizard with an Audi grille for a mouth > VERDICT T Nearly-but-not-quite mainstream alternative plays value card well

JAZZ 

iX20 

> Brilliantly packaged supermini with typical genius mismatch of brain and social skills. Ordinary performance, more refined than before > VERDICT T If a Skoda Fabia had seats this smart, other superminis would call it a day

> Compact MPV and Kia Venga’s ugly stepsister; roomy but ultimately forgettable > VERDICT Sorry, what were we talking about?

CIVIC HATCH/TOURER  > Wilfully different, won’t-fully-want-one Golf with origami rear seats and huge boot. Desperately needs in-coming small-capacity turbo engines > VERDICT T Capacious wagon makes most sense but a Golf is still more satisfying

CIVIC  > 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 T Easy to admire, loving requires recreational drugs.

HR-V  > It took Honda 10 years to build a second HR-V, and you’re still left wondering why they bothered. Almost wilfully generic > VERDICT Jazz platform’s magic packaging the only saving grace

CR-V  > Roomy but unremarkable SUV with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. Unlike most Hondas won’t need ear defenders to drown out road noise > VERDICT T Kuga has the chassis, Qashqai has the style, but neither is as practical as 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

TUCSON  > Promising initial impressions of shiny-looking ix35 replacement tarnish quickly: it’s dull to drive, duller inside and poorly refined > VERDICT T We had high hopes. Someone get the Tucson a stepladder

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 T A Hyundai you can choose without shame. Looks fresher than Waitrose parsnips

i800  > Massive van-based people carrier that’ll seat eight and still have space for their luggage. Ideal for part-time airport mini-cabbers > VERDICT T 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. Has silly new winged badge and handles like a waterbed > VERDICT T Step one of Hyundai’s move upmarket. Well, it worked for Infiniti. Oh, wait…

IONIQ  > Korean take on the Prius minus Gwyneth Paltrow smugness and drawn-in-the-dark exterior. Hybrid, EV or upcoming PHEV – a version for all shades of greenie > VERDICT Challenges neither your pulse nor your helmsmanship, doesn’t encourage eye-gouging

INFINITI Q30 

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

> 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

Q50  > Another American-market Japanese premium product that’s lost in translation. Shame it wasn’t lost at sea on the way over. Hybrid mega quick > VERDICT T Like a tiny speck of fluff the Mercedes C-class casually brushes from its sleeve

FACELIFT SOON

Q60 COUPE/CABRIO  > Nissan 370Z after a back, sack ’n’ crack. No diesel but V6 sounds ace and S models (4ws and LSD) are tidy in the bends. Looks dated > VERDICT T Not without merit, but without a hope of talking us out of buying a BMW 4-series

FACELIFT SOON

Q70  > Does it look like a rubbish Maser QP, or a slightly cooler Daewoo Leganza? Either way it’s a novelty act without the novelty > VERDICT Worth considering over a 5-series, but only if Harald Quandt ran off with your wife

QX50  > Blandly-styled EX crossover got a new badge but precious few new fans. Well equipped, but costly to run and not that great to drive > VERDICT T Nothing to see here people, move on – to your local BMW dealer and its excellent X3

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 T Taxi for Infiniti! Porsche’s Cayenne has this one covered, old timer

JAGUAR XE  > Straight-bat styling hides exotic aluminium chassis and class-leading handling. Bit tight on space though, and engines not a high point > VERDICT T Rivals are better packaged but this is the driver’s car in the class and a proper little Jag

XF  > Second-gen XF now 75% aluminium, looks like an over-inflated XE; bigger inside, smaller outside, still a great steer > VERDICT Diddy diesels moo more than a dairy; insert your own joke about cats and cream

XJ  > Questionable styling but unquestionably excellent steer – although passengers may mutiny. Interior looks lux but lacks intelligence, even with latest infotainment > VERDICT Hollywood baddies’ limo of choice, flawed

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 More rare-groove than Elvis’s first acetate, but spectacular – if you’re up front

F-TYPE COUPE/ROADSTER F TYPE C  > Posh pauper’s Aston sounds superb, goes well too. Forget basic V6 and choose from V6S and mental V8S. Now with manual and 4wd options > VERDICT T 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

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pills at home > VERDICT T All this drama or an ‘ordinary’ 911? Tough choice…

F-TYPE SVR  > JLR’s new SVO black ops division delivers a 567bhp all-wheel drive F-type that goes and sounds like an elephant on MDMA T Quilted leather and 200mph – but > VERDICT terrible hi-fi for a car that costs twice the entry V6

F-PACE  > Jag’s first SUV is a road-biased Macan botherer. Built light to be nimble, body control brilliance and pokey engines prove family DNA > VERDICT T Macan remains most sporting choice, but more rounded F-Pace has plenty of bite

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)

OPTIMA  > Sexless Mondeo clone cobbles together some mojo via the addition of sharp-suited Sportswagon and a plug-in hybrid > VERDICT T All the car you’ll ever need, but not the car you want

VENGA 

> VERDICT Perfectly balances picnicking luxury, farming legwork and small-c conservatism

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE  > Definitive posh mum’s SUV, now also available as convertible. Well, that was one way to resolve the classy interior’s claustrophobia triggering tendencies. Ingenium engines commendably hushed > VERDICT T Pricey, but perfectly pitched.

RANGE ROVER SPORT  > 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 T Nobody likes a show-off

JEEP

> Weird sit-up supermini-cum-MPV packs Focus space into near-city-car dimensions. Hard to get comfy though. 1.4 petrol best > VERDICT T Too pricey and too ordinary to drive for us to care

RENEGADE 

CARENS 

> Strange but true: yoof-targeting junior Jeep is built in Italy alongside Fiat 500X that donates its platform. Even stranger: it’s not terrible > VERDICT T Lower spec models outdriven by rivals; only the top Trailhawk cuts it in the rough

> Big, versatile, value-packed seven-seater. Go diesel – 1.6 petrol is wheezier than emphysemariddled asthmatic with a punctured lung. > VERDICT T For all its pseudo-premium Euro aspirations, this is the stuff Kia still does best

CHEROKEE 

SPORTAGE 

LC500 

> Gimlet-eyed Discovery Sport rival looks like the banjo-playing inbred from Deliverance. Despite generous kit, we’d leave it on the porch. > VERDICT T Feels too cheap to be premium, too pricey/ugly to beat Qashqai

> 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, and before they knew it… > VERDICT T Improved in every way. Except to look at

> A serious sports car from the most serious of car makers gets clever hybrid or tasty V8, 10-speed automatic and less bovine acoustics. It’s even quite sexy > VERDICT T It’s no longer the Japanese Mercedes

GRAND CHEROKEE 

SORENTO 

CT 

> Proper off-road credentials backed up by sensible running costs, but feels cheap. Ludicrous SRT8 version demolishes 62mph in five dead > VERDICT T Makes sense at $30k in the US, but doesn’t drive or feel like a premium car

> Ambitious new flagship SUV reckons it’s a real > Pig-ugly premium Prius a bizarre mix of STEER decent handling, woeful performance and a Land Rover rival. Now bigger than ever, and so is CLEAR the price: up to £40k. 2.2 diesel only engine. ride so poor it makes a black cab feel like an > VERDICT T Impressive, but lacks the badge and S-class > VERDICT T Rubbish. Wouldn’t merit a single performance of genuine premium off-roaders sale if company car tax bills were less CO2-focused

WRANGLER  > Incredible off-road, and much better than a Defender on it, but that’s like saying Pol Pot was more benevolent than Stalin > VERDICT T When North Korea nukes us, this cold war cast-off will be all that’s left moving

KOËNIGSEGG AGERA  > Evolution of Lex Luthor’s original CC8S supercar features twin-turbo 5.0 V8 and carbon fibre wheels. R version even runs on E85 biofuel > VERDICT T Yahoo! Yin to Volvo’s yawning yang keeps Sweden’s car output balanced

KIA PICANTO  > Tough-looking budget Korean mini twinned with less funky Hyundai i10. Three-pot 1.0 is slow but sweeter than 1.25 four. Smart interior, small boot > VERDICT T You’ll never benefit from the 7-year warranty and VW’s Up is better to drive

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 too many better rivals

CEED HATCH/SW/PROCEED HA  > Good-looking Korean Golf wannabe is big on equipment and not bad to drive. Ceed is 5dr, Proceed gets 3, and SW is the wagon > VERDICT T Recent update brings new downsized turbo engines. Europe still ahead. Just

KTM X-BOW  > 22nd century Ariel Atom from Austria’s barmy motorbike maker mixes carbon construction with hardy Audi turbo’d 2.0 four > VERDICT T Big money, big grins, but single-seat BAC Mono gives more racecar-like experience

LAMBORGHINI HURACAN 

RANGE ROVER  > A benchmark in luxury SUVs. V6 diesel BEST IN perfectly acceptable, supercharged V8 CLASS petrol hilarious > VERDICT T The perfect car for smuggling cash to Switzerland, skiing, turning up at a ball, game shooting and being smug

LEXUS

AVENTADOR/SV 

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

DISCOVERY  REPLACED SOON

> Middle England metal edifice brilliantly capable at driving over lefty hunt saboteurs, mud and street furniture. Only one diesel

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 T Still sensational, but a 10-year old example does the same job for half the price

EXIGE  > Gym-bunny Elise with supercharged V6 retains beautifully connected unassisted steering. Superb new 350 Sport turns up the wick > VERDICT T 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 T The chassis and steering are Lotus at its sparkling best. Sublime, but you’ll still buy a Cayman

McLAREN

IS  > Sharp-suited, well-specced 3-series rival finally gets decent rear space. Good chassis, but 250 V6 irrelevant, and frugal hybrid hobbled by nasty CVT > VERDICT T So close. Give this a proper auto ’box and it would be right up there

GS/GSF  > 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 different GSF good fun

LS  > Way more accomplished Gallardo successor, > Monstrously expensive but so refined it makes twinned with new R8. Dual-clutch ’box mandatory, 602bhp V10 flicks Vs at turbos > VERDICT Beats REPLACED a library feel like a sound-off competition (which SOON the Mark Levinson hi-fi could probably win) 488 for aural and visual thrills but nothing else. > VERDICT T Built for those in the back, but the S-class So we’ll have the Spyder. On me head, sun! makes every seat worth buying a ticket for > The F12 may be better in every respect, but this is what a supercar should look like. Limited run 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

LOTUS

NX  > Trumps Audi Q5 with a fabulous interior and arrest-me (for persecuting curves) exterior design. Fwd or 4wd with electric motor at rear > VERDICT T Doesn’t work as a driver’s car, so take the NX300h hybrid over faster, costlier NX200t

540C  > The world’s first decontented supercar is somehow still worth donating a ball to put on your driveway. Entry-level doesn’t get any better. > VERDICT Ron could do worse as a leaving present.

570S/570GT  > Base McLaren ditches carbon body and supertrick 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

650S  > Original 12C showed real promise, 650S delivers on it in spades. Trouble is the new 675LT now makes the 650S feel like a poor relation… > VERDICT T Still two reasons to buy over the 675LT: it’s £60k cheaper and not sold out

675LT  > What happens when you upgrade 33% of the 650S? Absolute bloody magic. 666bhp, stiffer suspension, faster gearshifts, quicker steering and lighter by 100kg, whatever deal Woking’s done with the devil, it’s worked > VERDICT T This iss 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 T Astounding, but LaFerrari feels more special (as it should for £400k more)

MASERATI

RX 

GHIBLI 

> 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

> 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 alcoholfree Quattroporte

RC/RCF 

QUATTROPORTE GTS 

> 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

> Because Ferrari don’t ‘do’ saloons you can

NEW ENTRY 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 T It won’t let you in unless you’re in a suit or chinos.

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MASERATI > NISSAN GRAN TURISMO/GRAN TURISMO/ 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 sniff 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 T Massively underrated. A GT3 for an Italian lothario with a ’Ring season pass

LEVANTE  > Good news: Maserati’s long-awaited SUV is better than the Ghibli. Bad news: UK only gets diesel. That’s like Berlusconi without the bunga bunga > VERDICT T Far from flawless but it’ll show you a good time

MAZDA 2  > Shot-in-the-arm supermini packs value, handling and looks, leaving sweatmarks on the shirts of VW Polo marketing team. > VERDICT T Under-radar Fiesta threatener gatecrashes the top table

B-CLASS 

GLA 

> 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 T So boring the BMW 2-series Active > VERDICT Tourer actually begins to make sense

> Confused A-class on stilts with lifestyle pretensions and unnecessary surplus of interior air vents. GLA45 AMG simply unnecessary > VERDICT T An A-class for the bewildered. Maybe you thought you were ordering a GLC?

CLA SALOON/SHOOTING SAL BRAKE  > CLS clone based on the A-class, now FACELIFT including the Shooting Brake swoopy estate. SOON Lacks gravitas of the former and sex appeal of the latter > VERDICT T Just because you can make something smaller doesn’t mean you should

C CLASS SALOON/ESTATE C-CLASS  > 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 T 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

3 HATCH/SALOON/ESTATE 

C63 AMG 

> Another left-field, right-on Mazda that’s great to drive and cheap to run. Like shifting gears? You’ll love the 118bhp unblown 1.5. If not, go diesel > VERDICT Don’t buy a family hatch until you’ve tried one. Oh, a Golf? Apart from that

> 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

5 

E-CLASS SALOON/ESTATE 

> Ancient off-the-pace MPV that looks like its been side-swiped by a kamikaze dispatch rider. Roomy and reasonable to drive, but just no! > VERDICT T Large ’n’ loaded but there’re too many fresher rivals to warrant wasting your wedge

> 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 T New 4-cyl diesel so smooth it churns motorway miles into butter

6 SALOON/TOURER 

E-CLASS E CLASS COUPE/CONVERTIBLE 

> Boss won’t let you have a 3-series? Double your digit and try this impressive alternative. Handles well but rides like the tyres have DTs > VERDICT: Swoopily styled, tax friendly, entertaining alternative to po-faced Passat

> CLK-replacing Coupe and Convertible are still C-class derived – and old C-class at that – despite the name. Both seat four in decent comfort > VERDICT T Restrained and tasteful approach to mid-size luxury. Feeling their age

PEUGEOT 3008

“Sharp p to look at, surprisingly p g y fun to drive and not too weird” CX-3  > Late arrival to the compact crossover party, but worth a look thanks to smart, premium cabin and crisp, engaging drive. Pity about the firm ride > VERDICT T Pricey, but better than most and well equipped. Ideal MX-5 social life support truck

CX-5  > Crisply styled, commodious crossover is stonking value. Handles tidily but ride and refinement could be better. Pick base fwd diesel > VERDICT T MX-5 aside, this is the best thing to come out of Mazda for years

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 > VERDICT T Brilliantly uncomplicated budget sports car. Dink the GTI for this

MERCEDES A-CLASS  > In the manner of a stale donut nuked in the microwave, midlife refresh has softened the A-class, but it’s still a little tasteless > VERDICT Expensive, cramped and crass inside – 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 Four-wheel drive is not enough. Option the Dynamic Plus pack with LSD as well.

AMG E 63 

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 T Rivals are cheaper, better to drive – GLC makes you feel special inside

G-CLASS  > 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

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 T As you were: it’s perfectly adequate in a class dominated by the outstanding

GLS  > Luxo-monster seven-seater lacks Range Rover panache but it’s comfy, refined and the infotainment doesn’t come from Poundland > VERDICT Active anti-roll essential, but otherwise it’s a brilliant bus

SLC  > 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 T Come back 718 Boxster, all is forgiven

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 stiff structure, too > VERDICT T 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

MG MG3  > 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 T The Chinese are coming! But so far they’ve only got to Tajikistan

MG6 

> Only AMG would offer the E 63 with an all> Previous woeful also-ran now updated STEER wheel-drive system that you can switch off in CLEAR with more efficient diesel, more kit and a Drift Mode. Which is exactly why you should buy hefty price cut > VERDICT T Better, but one, and possibly open an account at Kwik Fit. > remains condemned by ghastly steering, buzzy VERDICT T Go S or go home engine. Wrong badge, wrong car, wrong owners

CLS/SHOOTING BRAKE 

GS 

> The word ‘coupaloon’ is banned from these pages. Which is fine, because we’re all slightly in love with the glamorous Shooting Brake > VERDICT T Second-gen version of the original four-door coupe continues to lead the pack

> 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 sufficiently so. Dacia will sleep well tonight

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

S-CLASS S CLASS COUPE/CABRIOLET  > Over 5m of barking mad indulgence; Coupe carries it off like Errol Flynn on a bender but, like a model-turned-MP, will regret going topless > VERDICT T Howard Hughes would approve, but he went crazy in the end

S63/S65 AMG  > 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 T S63 V8 is bonkers, S65 V12 utterly certifiable. Does your chauffeur deserve it?

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MINI HATCH/CONVERTIBLE  > Bigger and gawkier and less charming, but lovely BMW engines are smooth and peppy, while ride has improved without ruining handling. Five-door in danger of being practical > VERDICT T A better ownership proposition than ever, even if you love it a little less

COOPER S/JCW  > Up-sized BMW 2.0-litre four-pot-powered 228bhp JCW most powerful Mini ever. Terrific turboed fun, if a tad overwrought and synthetic > VERDICT Beware the options list, lest it lead to bullion robberies and perilous dangling over cliffs

CLUBMAN  > Replace circus-freakery of old Clubdoor with full complement of portals, add longer wheelbase and bigger boot; now bake > VERDICT T Loaf-alike maxi-Mini freshness, the grown-ups’ choice

COUNTRYMAN/PACEMAN  > Bigger Minis for people who don’t want slightly smaller (but still quite big) Minis. Paceman even has fewer doors for those phobic of apertures. Niche > VERDICT T Please, please make it stop. It’s all just so wrong

REPLACED SOON

MITSUBISHI MIRAGE  > Looking for the ideal car to crash into a shopfront when staging a ‘Look at this OAP selecting reverse rather than first!’ YouTube sensation? This is it > VERDICT Slow, rough, harsh, bad. Sadly it’s not a mirage, it’s real

FACELIFT SOON

ASX  > Forgotten among the slew of small SUVs, the ASX is rather good now, with decent ride and sharper looks. Selectable 2/4wd is handy, but engine is rattly and gearbox slushy > VERDICT More workmanlike than many, and better for it

FACELIFT SOON

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 need this car, you don’t need this car

OUTLANDER  > Mid-life overhaul brings sleeker looks and lifts cabin ambience by miles. Diesel still a bit of a tractor but PHEV comfy and refined > VERDICT 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 T Brilliant Caterham alternative without the macho trackday posturing

AERO  > Drop-top was first of the new-era Morgans and goes it alone since Aero Supersports, Coupe and Squiffy 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/F 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 one!

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  > As alluring as a dentist’s waiting room,

STEER CLEAR and just as noisy – modern Micra is a

shadow of its former self and unworthy of your interest > VERDICT T Judge this book by its cover: it’s dull to drive and just as cheap inside

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 ‘different’ if everybody’s got one?

NOTE  > Like a Honda Jazz with middle-age spread, this is a small, practical MPV-hatch with limited aspirations of greatness > VERDICT An automotive cardigan: deeply uncool but good at what it does

LEAF  > Gawky looking EV pioneer now with 20% extra range. Updated interior even more like a Star Trek k shuttle, and not in a good way > VERDICT BMW i3 far funkier, Renault Zoe far cheaper, internal combustion still superior. Beam us up


STUFF

LEADING THE WAY IN

AUTOMOTIVE

DETAILING TECHNOLOGY

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NISSAN > ROLLS-ROYCE 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 T Buy a Focus. Or a Golf. Or a Ceed. Or an Auris. Okay, maybe not an Auris…

QASHQAI  > Second-gen crossover carries on exactly where the original left off: meandering ominously in the middle lane to the tune of ‘are we there yet?’ > VERDICT T Likeable, with a side order of resting on its own laurels

X-TRAIL  > The X-Trail used to be a rough-tough off-roader apparently designed on an Etch-a-Sketch. Now it’s a Qashqai put through a photocopier at +10% > VERDICT T It still ain’t exciting. But it’s probably going to sell a lot better

GT-R  > 2017MY brings a slightly thicker veneer of luxury (and another 20bhp) – but this is still basically a morally ambiguous hardcase moments from rage > VERDICT T Drivetrain sounds like a drum kit falling down the stairs; leaves your brain feeling much the same

PAGANI HYUARA  > Spectacular cottage (villetta?) industry supercar with active aero, AMG-built 720bhp twin-turbo V12 and an interior more decadent than a Roman orgy > VERDICT T Want have, can’t have: they’re all sold. But a roadster is rumoured

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 off and it still hasn’t hit 60mph > VERDICT T 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 T Pug’s recovered that VaVaVoom from the back of the sofa. No, wait – that’s the other lot

308 HATCH/SW ESTATE  > Handsome, 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 T 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 French chassis delivers lively rear > VERDICT 250 and 270 variants both great, but 270 gets more kit and extra power

508 SALOON/ESTATE  > Little-seen XL Pug with unconvincing cod German accent. HYbrid4 gets 4wd via 37bhp ’leccy motor on rear wheels > VERDICT T RXH is poor-man’s Audi Allroad. Rest of range is

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padding on your company car list

PARTNER TEPEE  > Spacious, versatile Tepee so useful it could almost be a van. Funny, that. Slothful, spartan, but drives okay and ‘real’ MPVs can’t match practicality > VERDICT T Make your own clothes? Live in a Yurt? This is the car for you

2008  > Welly-wearing 208 gets a facelift which hits on the idea of actually resembling an SUV, and 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 fun to drive and not too weird. > VERDICT Just make it absolutely clear you’ve not bought the old one.

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 T Almost overshadowed in the P1LaFerrari posturing war, but easily as good

MACAN  > Baby Cayenne is even better than dad – BEST IN and Evoque. Base car with Golf GTI 2.0 makes CLASS no sense when S and S Diesel are pennies more > VERDICT T GT3 RS for trackdays, Cayman GT4 for weekends, this for everything else. Sorted

CAYENNE  > Porsche’s cash-cow is a prize German Angus now, handsome and the best SUV to drive. V6 S quick, too quiet, Diesel S dynamite > VERDICT TA proper Porker? Turbo S’s sub-8min Nürburgring lap time says yes

5008 

PANAMERA 

> Woah! Do they still make that?! Who’d have thought? Stacks of space and at a decent price, but an S-Max is vastly better > VERDICT T Sound medium-MPV choice – if you live 34,678 miles from your nearest Ford dealer

> When they said four-door 911, this is what they meant. The Mk1 was just throat-clearing; this Mk2 is the opera. Drips with tech, innovation and better dynamics – and it looks perfect > VERDICT T A lesson in making nonsensical niches make perfect sense

REPLACED SOON

PORSCHE

RADICAL

718 BOXSTER 

SR3 SL 

> 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 T Whole lotta lag; chassis still a stairway to heaven

> Properly type-approved (street legal) SR3 gets a 300bhp blown Ford 2.0 instead of a bike motor, a heater and even a 12v socket. It’s almost lavish! > VERDICT T Toned down for occasional road use but still hairier than a cave man with hypertrichosis

718 CAYMAN  > Efficiency 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 T Better by the numbers but...know any nice 981s for sale?

CAYMAN GT4  > Junior GT3 is first Cayman to get more power than current 911. 380bhp, manual ’box, LSD and a grin wider than a Glasgow smile > VERDICT Porsche finally admits that the Cayman and not the halo 911 is its real sports coupe

911  > 991.2 may not look much different 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 GT3/GT3 RS  > New engines, PDK-only, electric steering and rear steering too for this generation. Epic drive > VERDICT T Both have won our end of year Sports Car Giant Test (2013, 2015). Enough said

RXC TURBO  > Play out those Le Mans fantasies on the commute with this Peterborough-built Polaris. Sequential ’box 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 traffic lights

ZOE 40  > Splendid Zoe solves range anxiety by clever

NEW ENTRY new battery with more power, potentially

induces wealth anxiety instead with £4k price premium. Unless you’re smart and lease it of course > VERDICT At least you can guarantee the emissions are genuine.

911R 

TWINGO 

> 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

> Rear-engined rwd runabout isn’t as nippy as it sounds, but is roomy, with clever smartphone connectivity. More cheeky than sister Smart, and cheaper > VERDICT T Lower-power 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 T Fiesta more fun, Clio more stylish

FACELIFT SOON

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 offset awful auto ’box > VERDICT T Brings its own Trophy but still doesn’t win. Rumoured RS Wooden Spoon pure speculation

FACELIFT SOON

CAPTUR  > It’s a Clio on stilts – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. No 4x4 pretensions means focus is on personalisation. Good engines. No Juke to drive > VERDICT T Technicolor clown car if you’re not careful with the spec, otherwise okay

MEGANE  > All-new French Golf looks like a foie-grased Clio outside and a low-rent Tesla inside. Is thus an instant, infinite improvement over the old one > VERDICT T Renaultsport-fettled GT with rearwheel steering a keen drive, too. Sacré bleu!

MEGANE RS  > Continues as the old three-door for now; raucous 2.0 turbo, manual ’box, awesome chassis – this a proper, pulse-spiking hot hatch > VERDICT Buy one before they ruin it like the latest RS Clio

SCENIC  > 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 stiff ride could see you arrive too early > VERDICT Console your manhood with the fact that 20s are standard

KADJAR  > 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

ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST  > A little posher, with more bespoke options to hide BMW-ness, new gearbox for the V12 and minor fettling to the metal. > VERDICT Perfectly built and pitched and more individual. A Phantom for millionaires not billionaires

WRAITH  > A 624bhp twin-turbo V12 sporting vehicle that drives like no other. Dismisses distance but would never lower itself to squeal through bends > VERDICT T Whisper it, but Rolls has produced an amazing driver’s car

PHANTOM  > Simply the best luxury car money can buy, DIES SOON with a cabin to embarrass a superyacht, opulence to make Donatella Versace blush (if she could), and a V12 pulling you along. Not that you’ll hear it > VERDICT T Every car on earth starts with ambitions of being a Phantom

MERCEDES-BENZ E200 AMG LINE£388pm There’s a new one about to arrive but that means good deals on the old one Spec c 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol, rwd, 7-spd auto, 181bhp, 44.8mpg List price £42,035; £387.76/month for 48 months Initial paymentt £3489.85 Mileage allowance e 10,000/year

FORD MUSTANG 2.3 ECOBOOST CONVERTIBLE £451pm It might only have four cylinders but it’s still cool and quick Spec 2.3-litre 4-cyl petrol, rwd, 6-spd manual, 313bhp, 34.4mpg List price £34,835; £451.21/month for 48 months Initial paymentt £4060.89 Mileage allowance e 10,000/year Via fleetprices.co.uk

150 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GTC V8£2606pm

FIAT 500C 1.2 POP £140pm

Quite a stiff monthly payment, but it can be done if you’re keen enough

One of the cheapest ways to get maximum headroom, charming with it

Spec c 4.0-litre 8-cyl petrol, awd, 8-spd auto, 507bhp, 25.9mpg List price £155,295; £2606.34/month for 48 months Initial paymentt £23,457.06 Mileage allowance 8000/year Via selectcarleasing.co.uk

Spec c 1.2-litre 4-cyl petrol, fwd, 5-spd manual, 68bhp, 60.1mpg List price £13,495; £140.12/month for 48 months Initial paymentt £1261.09 Mil ll 10 000/

All prices inclusive of VAT and correct at time of going to press

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The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

DAWN 

SUPERB SALOON/ESTATE 

> Wraith with the roof cut off – 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 T Nothing between the stars and the stars

> Now so vast inside it echoes. Sharp lines, stacks of kit and double the number of umbrellas. Shame about the dull interior and stiffer price > VERDICT All the family car you’ll ever need. Only bigger

SEAT ATECA  > 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!’)

MII  > 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 T VW Up more desirable, pretty Skoda Citigo cheaper. Siesta time in Seat’s prod dept?

IBIZA HATCH/SC/ESTATE  > Angular, angry-looking supermini, possibly because it knows how much better a Fiesta is to drive. It’s not bad though, and ST wagon is huge > VERDICT T Not as sporty as it likes to think, but holding up in face of newer, better-driving rivals

IBIZA CUPRA  > 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 outright thrills, this for everything else

TOLEDO  > 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 T This and identical Skoda Rapid duke it out for UK’s dullest car. Czech please!

LEON HATCH/ESTATE  > 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

LEON CUPRA  > Much to the amusement of tyre manufacturers everywhere, the front-wheel-drive Leon Cupra now has 290bhp. GTI who? > VERDICT Ballistic, and best bought with a manual transmission

ALHAMBRA  > Subtlest of subtle facelifts belies 15% efficiency improvement. Still a big box with slideydoors and seven proper seats; put your family first for a change > VERDICT T Genetically identical to the VW Sharan, but nearly £2k less

SKODA KODIAQ  > Commendably vast SUV takes the Octavia’s approach by bulking out on a shared platform, but unfortunately doesn’t share its dazzling personality > VERDICT T The most comfortable place to die a little inside

CITIGO  > 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!

FABIA HATCH/ESTATE  > Very mature little supermini with bodywork creases a Corby trouser press would be proud of. Estate version ideal for Jack Russells > VERDICT T Roomy, well made and unexciting – like a low-rent VW Polo. Which is what it is

RAPID HATCH/SPACEBACK HA  > Long, narrow notchback hatch is automotive

STEER CLEAR equivalent of Eastern Europe refugee. Big boot.

YETI  > Ikea wardrobe on wheels – so practical BEST IN you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. CLASS Good news is you don’t have to assemble it yourself > VERDICT T Bigger engines are better. Choose Outdoor model for that rugged look. Grrr

SMART FORTWO  > Chunkier new ForTwo has middle-age spread compared to the last one. Wider, with a much better ride, higher quality cabin and slicker auto, it is older, but wiser > VERDICT T Less of a compromise, and still a brilliant city runabout

FORFOUR  > Renault/Merc tie-up means ForFour is accomplished with a classy cabin, although ludicrous pricing seem at odds with budget city car buyers > VERDICT T Sister car Twingo is more than two grand cheaper. Work that out

SSANGYONG

A wealth of hardware and software choices await a 5-series buyer. Here’s how we think you should go

Firstly the hardest choice. The 520d performs virtual miracles in offering almost 70mpg and 0-62mph in 7.5sec. But diesel is hardly flavour of the month, so be ahead of the curve and have the 530i: 249bhp, 0-62mph in 6.2sec but still the potential for 48mpg. Pay the extra £3300 for the M Sport version – you don’t want to look like some kind of rep. Starting price: £43,420

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 T Huge, handy and hellish value, but we’d have a pre-reg Qashqai or CX-5 any day

REXTON W  > Like that weird 1960s Izal bog roll, Rexton kind of does the job, but is hard and shiny to the touch and not that nice to use. Deals better with mud > VERDICT Plenty of space, but dynamically, like Izal, it’s gone down the pan

TURISMO  > Marginally less odious than the old Rodius, but every bit as practical, this giant 7-seater is slower than the Crossrail boring machine > VERDICT Has mini-cab written all over it, or soon will, which will handily help disguise the ugliness

TIVOLI  > There’s no getting away from it: Korea’s alsoran carmaker has built a contender. Great value, spacious and – shock – well-finished inside > VERDICT Dross heritage now under threat

SUBARU IMPREZA  > Yes, it still exists beyond WRX and STi. No, you don’t want one. Boggo Impreza reduced to a 1.6 petrol hatchback only with optional CVT. Shudder > VERDICT Have you got a brand new combine harvester? It’s probably a better drive

WRX/STI  > 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 T Brilliant, on its day, in its day. But that was yesterday, so let’s call it a day

LEVORG  > 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 T Levorg is grovel backwards; dealers may need to. Niche

XV  > Hopelessly expensive half-way SUV half-wit. Suspension thumps so intrusive you’ll think the Stomp musical is performing in the wheelarches > VERDICT T In the tough crossover market Subaru makes up the numbers, and the price

If you plan on really spanking your 530i ignore the M Sport Plus package – it’s just bigger wheels and a smarter stereo. Instead tick the Variable Damper Control box for £985. The Technology Package seems a relative snip at £1495 – head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot, the swish Display Key, wireless charging and the sometimes hilarious Gesture Control. Running total: £46,150 BMW would love it if you dropped a sizeable £2250 on Driving Assistant Plus, which brings in the highest current level of autonomy available. So there are (in theory at least) a number of situations where you can take your hands off the wheel and let the car do the work. If you spend significant time on the motorway and could do with reducing stress then give it serious consideration. Running total: £48,400

As you might imagine, the standard BMW colour palette for the 5-Series is somewhat conservative. The only option that isn’t grey, black or white is Mediterranean Blue, which is actually more like the Med at midnight in tone and will make you stand out in the company car park… but not too much. M Sport gets you tasty 19-inch wheels as standard but for another £250 you can have them in black. Do it, if only so it’s less obvious when they’re filthy. Running total: £43,670 There’s five free choices of leather trim as well as three at extra cost. The Dakota Night Blue is subtle but not black. Add some brightness back in with the Aluminium Rhombicle trim – it’s free, while all the other options are wood or piano black, which is about as contemporary as a Jim Davidson gag. Running total: £43,670

Of the remaining plethora of individual options we suggest £60 for the Remote Services is a bargain, allowing you to remotely lock or unlock your car and send navigation info to it via either the app or a call centre. And should that smartphone be fruit-based, £235 for Apple CarPlay isn’t cheap but is worthwhile to save you from the temptation of fiddling on the move. Final total: £48 635

FORESTER 

OCTAVIA HATCH/ESTATE 

> Appealingly functional square-rigger the kind of crossover that existed before we had ‘lifestyles’. Good on road, great off it, but not cheap > VERDICT Old-school Subaru honest, charming. Tweed cap, pipe, sheep flock optional

> Basically the same as a Golf and A3 underneath, but bigger, cheaper and more functional inside. Hot vRS versions old-school ballistic fun. 4x4s practical > VERDICT T It’s a lot of car for the money

> The unloved Legacy’s only UK legacy is this Allroad-style crossover. New for spring 2015, it’s huge inside and the 4x4 look isn’t all for show

Spaceback is shorter, more ‘stylish’, still dross > VERDICT T Unless you’ve got a lot of potatoes and no other way to carry them, just don’t

SPEC EXPERT BMW 5-SERIES

OUTBACK 

152 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | March 2017

TOTAL PRICE: £48,635


> VERDICT T Still more niche than a cragside crevice. Dependable, not desirable

> VERDICT T We’re convinced by the tech, but there’s nowhere to refuel it yet

and brilliant all at the same time > VERDICT The fastest way to stick it to the taxman.

BRZ 

AVENSIS SALOON/TOURER 

MERIVA 

>Gloriously simple but under-nourished rear-drive Boxer coupe, crying out for a supercharger. GT86 twin marginally more ‘fun’ T Loveable car we wanted them to > VERDICT make but you don’t want to buy

> Journeyman company car is like a small oil-field drill: does little well – despite new BMW diesels. Tourer marginally more stylish T White goods. Also available in light > VERDICT grey, medium grey, dark grey. Not beige, oddly

SUZUKI CELERIO  > 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

SWIFT  > An unsung hero, and not just the excellent 134bhp Sport. Handles well, spacious and cheap. Upgraded Dualjet motor sweet > VERDICT T Buy one and challenge anyone who questions your choice to a fistfight

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 – you’ll have to stop and get out less > VERDICT T A crossover to be cross over

JIMNY  > A box with a four-wheel-drive system bolted onto the bottom, and a 1.3-petrol engine hanging out front. There are seats too > VERDICT T The swamps the Jimny can easily drive over were probably primordial when it first launched

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 T Rutting Rhinos and pink paint are a thing of the past: it’s a serious family car now

TESLA MODEL S  > Embarrassing car makers everywhere who said it can’t be done, the staggering electric Model S has near 400-mile range, alluring infotainment and, in the P90d, hyperdrive T Star Trekking, across the universe, in >VERDICT the Tesla Model S along with Elon Musk…

FACELIFT SOON

TOYOTA TOYOTA C-HR  > New compact crossover is stylish, huge fun and kooky inside too. And no, you’ve not just read a Trip Advisor review for the Soho Hotel > VERDICT T Buy one and Toyota will never make another dull car. Possibly

> Suicide is painless, goes the theme tune to M*A*S*H*, * clearly not referring to tight car parks and the Meriva MPV’s back-tofront rear doors > VERDICT T Nice idea, but does anyone care about mainstream MPVs anymore?

REPLACED SOON

VERSO 

ZAFIRA TOURER 

> Safe, stodgy seven-seater with snore-worthy chassis and a big-selling BMW-sourced 1.6 diesel that feels like half its horses are asleep too > VERDICT Does as little badly as it does well, but easy meat for Ford C-Max or Citroën Picasso

> Large MPV with slick seating arrangement and much more spacious than the old bus it replaced. Struggles in the face of S-Max greatness > VERDICT T Accomplished but outflanked by crossovers’ rise to dominance

RAV4 

VAUXHALL MOKKA X 

> Was a soft-roader pioneer back in ’94 but has settled for fluffy slippers in its old age. Trump card is boot big enough for a casino table > VERDICT Roomy, reasonable, unremarkable. More dynamic SUVs deserve your dosh

> Facelift filed under ‘about f***ing time too’, Mokka gets a better cabin, some new engines and pointless suffix. Driving misery reduced by half > VERDICT X marks the spot where the ball was – about five years ago

LAND CRUISER/V8 

ANTARA 

> Actually two distinct models but both proper 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

> Old-fashioned SUV based on the Chevrolet Captiva. Chevrolet has subsequently quit selling cars in the UK altogether. You do the maths > VERDICT T Comprehensively outclassed by Kuga etc. Felt dated at launch in 2007

GT86  > Identical to Subaru BRZ but dealers have FACELIFT actually sold more than three. Same SOON delectable handling, shameful dearth of go from unblown 2.0 > VERDICT T Sensational to drive, but such hard work only a handful of folk have found out

VAUXHALL VIVA  > It may look like it was dropped before it had set, but is comfy, roomy and refined for a city car, and comes with plenty of standard kit > VERDICT T 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 T 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 T Vauxhall keeps trying, but Fiesta still cheerfully waving from way out in front

CORSA VXR 

VXR8  > 577bhp Aussie import that’s £20k cheaper than an M5. Optional auto ’box’s bid to add sophistication akin to serving lager in cut crystal. But who gives a 4X? > VERDICT T Big, brutish charm. But row your own, mate

VOLKSWAGEN > Box on wheels with VW badge is the kind FACELIFT of city car the Japanese have been building SOON for years, except much better quality > VERDICT T Hyped as a revolution and hardly that. But a spacious small car with a strong image

POLO  > Bothered by the Fiesta’s Airfix plastics? Buy a Polo instead – brilliant engines, bank-vault build quality and almost as good as the Ford to drive > VERDICT Small capacity turbo petrols are a riot, and increasingly efficient, too

POLO GTI  > Baby GTI right down to the tartan seats, now with bigger balls. Vastly improved by introduction of manual gearbox. Surprisingly strong value > VERDICT T Where’s the nearest Byron Burger drive-thru?

GOLF HATCH/ESTATE 

ASTRA HATCH/ESTATE 

GOLF CABRIOLET 

> Massive step forward in terms of driving dynamics and interior design, added techno-charm of OnStar concierge and Apple CarPlay a bonus > VERDICT T In hatchback grandmother’s footsteps, Focus and Golf turn round to find Astra standing right behind them

> The swot’s sexy top-dropping sister promises open-air thrills but remains a sensible homebody at heart. Your parents would approve > VERDICT T Or will you always be thinking about the A3 Cabriolet you almost bought?

AURIS 

PRIUS  > Putting the faintly ludicrous 94mpg claim to one side, Prius v4.0 boasts entirely new structure, improved suspension, and is no longer totally joyless to drive > VERDICT T A Toyota hybrid that handles? Hold the front page. Electric-only range still pathetic

MIRAI  > Weird on the outside, Star Trek on the inside and a hydrogen fuel-cell underneath. But for all that it drives just like a very refined regular car

CASCADA  > Brave attempt to take on German compact cabriolets, but chassis has less integrity than Sepp Blatter. Good value if you don’t mind the image (What image? Exactly!) > VERDICT T Marty McFly wouldn’t. Doc Emmett Brown just might

INSIGNIA SALOON/TOURER  > Much improved by mid-life facelift, still handsome, spacious and loaded with kit. And then along came the all-new Mondeo and Passat > VERDICT T An out-of-date car in a dying sector, latest rivals leaving it behind

MALOO  > Never before have so many stereotypes been

NEW ENTRY incorporated into a single vehicle.

TOURAN  > It’s still more Millets than House of Fraser, but the all-new Touran does family stuff irritatingly well. Makes the C-Max seem somehow shoddy > VERDICT T MPV meets MQB, nearly goes VIP

SHARAN  > Large seven-seater sliding-door people carrier. Nice enough but made to look silly by the all-but-identical and significantly cheaper Seat Alhambra > VERDICT Get the same car from Seat for less. Or try the Ford Galaxy

TIGUAN  > All-new Tiguan is accomplished but achingly predictable. Have Seat or Skoda made more of the MQB platform with their versions? > VERDICT T No sex please, we’re VW

VOLVO

UP 

AYGO 

> Most Aurises sold are hybrids, mainly ’cos rest of the range is pants and other makers haven’t got their hybrid acts together yet > VERDICT Only worth picking as company wheels if you have a Starbucks-like aversion to paying tax

> Previous Passat on a night out – but we aren’t talking clubbing and a kebab. Awfully close to being genuinely sexy, even if it is a CLS knock-off > VERDICT T Like all great knockoffs, it’s almost as good and cheaper

REPLACED SOON

TOUAREG 

> Bright-looking, stupidly-cramped city car with a characterful three-pot motor is as cheap to run as it feels. See also (ropey) Citroën C1, Pug 108 > VERDICT T As ‘Up’hill struggles go, battling VW with this is like climbing north face of the Aygo

YARIS 

CC 

> The people’s Porsche Cayenne. Do the people still want their own Cayenne? Well, it is nearly £10k cheaper… > VERDICT T Big, comfy, competent SUV. Great on and off road

> Quality, refinement and safety put this at BEST IN the top of the family car class. So it’s a swot, > Luton’s hooligan now smoother round the CLASS edges. Unless you pay extra for the slippy diff and basically. And we all know swots are boring hardcore suspension. Thug life. > VERDICT T Better > VERDICT T The obvious choice. A3 offers extra but still not best. Lacks Fiesta ST’s polish and sparkle flash for a bit more cash, Focus better to drive

ASTRA GTC/VXR  > Sizeable but soulless, Yaris can’t match rivals’ > Astra 3dr remains as was for now; ie still dynamics or pocket luxury feel. Clever but costly hybrid version slashes fuel bills and boot REPLACED stylish enough to stand comparison to SOON Scirocco. VXR fearsomely fast but moody space > VERDICT T Largely joyless supermini last > VERDICT T The sexiest Vauxhall. Let’s hope to be picked for the school football team replacement doesn’t lose its mojo

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 T Mega mile-muncher for the undemanding. Aesthete to Mondeo’s athlete

GOLF GTD/GTI/R  > GTD is your dad in running shoes. GTI is BEST IN your dad when he was wild, young and free. CLASS R is your dad having a mid-life crisis. All are ace > VERDICT T After seven generations, VW has this hot-hatch thing nailed. Buy without regret

GOLF SV  > 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 T Not a bad choice, but now the BMW 2-series Active Tourer is breathing down its neck

BEETLE HATCH/CABRIO  > Although better to drive it lacks the design purity of its predecessor and the charm of the original. > VERDICT T Even wannabe retro hipsters are, like, so totally over this cynical marketing exercise, man

SCIROCCO  > Old Golf in a slinky dress. Scrubs up well. Fun, friendly, and more generous in the back than Audi TT > VERDICT Ballistic R version definitely worthy; low-power diesel not so much

V40  > Smart Swede in a sector dominated by Germans. Efficient D4 engine and impressive kit, but it’s a bit bloated in seat, suspension and steering feel > VERDICT T 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. No such things against the very nature of being exist, do they? > VERDICT Handsome, safe, efficient estate hamstrung by one issue…

V90  > Sacrilegiously abandons the space race for style while prioritising comfort and refinement over German machismo. Lovely inside. A genuine alternative now > VERDICT T If there’s such a thing as Swedish zen, this is it

S90  > Smart-looking, well-crafted and (shock) adepthandling exec saloon dances a merry jig on the grave of unloved outgoing S80 > VERDICT Loudly purring Swedish cat enters the 5-series/E-class pigeon enclosure

XC60  > Space, sharp looks, competitive pricing, family safety and a wipe-clean cabin. Only grumbles are grumbly D5 diesel engine and high CO2 > VERDICT Volvo really is good at SUVs. XC60 hard to beat, even by much newer competitors

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 T If you don’t like having a dozen brace > VERDICT of shot pheasant in your boot, don’t buy one

XC90  > It was worth the (long) wait: luxurious seven-seat interior, a smorgasbord of clever safety tech, efficient four-cylinder and plug-in drivetrains, and refined drive > VERDICT One of the most complete cars on sale at any price

ZENOS E10/E10S  > Flyweight track car with carbonfibre recycled from fighter jets, created by ex-Caterham brains > VERDICT Glorious handling, ferocious speed

Spectacularly fast, absurd, useless, Australian

March 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 153


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Weird commercial vehicles Knock out a few windows, add some sheet steel and you can move into a wh new market. The resulting vans and pick-ups can be quite odd. By Matt Joy

1

2

MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

SKODA FELICIA FUN

Car-derived vans can offer a slice more sophistication than most. But SUV-derived commercials – the semi-windowless Outlander being a prime example – just end up looking like the first choice of kidnappers everywhere. With this much space, no one can hear you scream.

The Felicia came from the heady early days of Skoda v2.0, with VW money in the bank but the old guard decision-making. How else could you explain a pick-up with a hinged rear bulkhead allowing two additional chairs to be deployed? You’d have to be mad, or a redneck.

3

FIAT PUNTO VAN Not even an Italian plumber (called Mario or anything else) would choose a Punto van. Ignore the stylish heavy aero look of the metalled-in side window; there’s no point offering a 24-hour call-out service if 23 of them are spent under the bonnet with a set of jump leads.

4

5

6

7

PROTON JUMBUCK

MORRIS 310

MINI CLUBVAN

DISCO 4

A pick-up based on the Proton Wira, even one designed and engineered by Lotus, isn’t going to hold much appeal for the more value-focused entrepreneur. It had a petrol engine when everyone wants diesel, while the ladder-frame rear is simply attached to the car-ish front end. Delightful.

Laugh all you like but the original Metro was impressively space efficient, so a van version made some sense. Austin Rover even badged it as a Morris to avoid cheapening the car range, but that just gave it the dubious honour of being the last Morris ever made.

As if more proof were needed that BMW comprehensively raided the ideas cupboard when they moved in at Longbridge, here’s the Mini Clubvan. It was greeted by much frothing at the mouth from North London estate agents. Pretentious doesn’t get any more capacious and artisanal than this.

If the Outlander commercial is the choice of abductors, a glass-lite Discovery 4 will be beyond the budget of all but the most successful. Which means the Disco, with its blacked-out rear and long load bay, is sure to get two terrifying words stencilled down its flanks: Private Ambulance.

9

1 10

FORD P100

RENAULT SALINE4FUN

There’s no quicker way to learn about oversteer than a quick spin (ho ho) in a Ford P100. Originally Cortina-based before becoming a Sierra centaur, the P100 needed a de-tuned 2.0-litre Pinto to avoid perpetually rotating within its own length. That’s probably why the race series was so short-lived.

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8

MERCEDES-BENZ X-CLASS There’s no end to the niche exploration of premium German brands. This might be a Merc commercial rather than a passenger car but what kind of business needs a pick-up this posh? Loft conversions for tree houses? Regardless, it’s still a Nissan Navara with a hip-hop nose job.

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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


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Car uk issue 656 march 2017