Middle East Car Magazine - July August 2017

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July / August 2017

PLUS

Tyre smoke and ode to Ecclestone at Goodwood 2017

MAGNETIC

ATTRACTION Jeep Compass points the way to crossover craze


SMS MW3 TO 4881 FOR MORE INFO


E di tor ’s No te

TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ Is it too soon to be talking Motor Show? It seems there’s a lull in the region as we edge nearer the bi-annual Dubai showpiece, and while there’s rumours and musings of auto manufacturers taking a backseat for the show itself, that will inevitably start a scrum of activity in the months preceding the big event. So what can we expect before the show? We already know Tesla will open its doors on Sheikh Zayed Road in the coming weeks – nothing out of the ordinary there, then. But where will we stand in the autonomous segment? Is it still too early to expect something somewhat functional? Audi have recently tested terrifying hands-free Autobahn driving; should be the next big thing; mark our words. As was to be expected, it’s quiet around town for now. Overseas jaunts have lessened, but we still got our hands on a fair few whips, including a feisty little Fiesta from Ford. There’s no denying that the American marque is missing a trick by not offering its multi awardwinning EcoBoost engine – Hey, maybe it’ll come for the motor show – but it’s still a little bit of fun. Speaking of the EcoBoost, the -1.0litre variant has just taken out all

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its competition for the sixth consecutive year at the International Engine of the Year awards. That’s a phenomenal achievement. If we can only convince the consumers of its virtues, maybe Ford will do us a solid and offer it on their more affordable models – I’m looking at you, EcoSport. One constant we can always count on, is the excitement of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This year, along with the usual smattering of loud, powerful supercar debuts, Lord March opened his driveway to the latest in electric racing tech, drifting champions and stunning classic racers. Is the time of the electric-only engine upon on? Volvo seems to be leaning that way. While the once Swedish-owned automaker isn’t quite ready to call it quits on internal combustion engines, it is heading towards offering every model on its production line in electric-guise. It’s a smart move, when you consider that some countries are toying with the idea of banning solely ICEs. The purist in us, though, will not go quietly into the night. We can all accept that hybrids and electric have their place in the world, but we’re not ready to let go of that burning ember of internal combustion just yet. Times, they are a changin’.

Editor-in-Chief Malek Mahfouz malek@rms.ae Managing Editor Ian McGuinness editor@rms.ae

Contributors James Nickless Sarah Green Maria Schurzhanskaya Administration Kawtar Boudrai

Distribution Abu Dhabi Media Co. Printed by Al Nisr Publishing Dubai, United Arab Emirates Levant: Fit To Print, Beirut, Lebanon

Editorial Consultant John MacDonald Art Director Syed Ahmed

Photography Mustafa Halwani Jorge Ferrari

Published under guidance by the National Media Authority-Approval No: 2395 Middle East Car is compiled with great care, but we accept no responsibility for statements by advertisers and contributors whose views do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission.


CONTENTS July / August 2017

05 News

All the latest from the motoring world for the month, with insight, intrigue and impressive headlines

22 Best of Goodwood

The engines have been turned off after another Goodwood Festival of Speed, leaving just a faint fog of tyre smoke around the estate

28 Camal Power

With electric motors and autonomous tech running the show, future vehicles could take on very different shapes and forms

32 Engine of the Year

As emissions standards get tighter, you might think International Engine of the Year would go to a clever compact powertrain

34 Pitstop

An in-depth look at the world of international motoring from all angles, including smart mobility, down-sizing and art

SPECIAL REPORT

74 Transitioning Modifications

Van life has become such a big trend we’re not even sure it’s counter-cultural anymore.

TEST DRIVES

38 Jeep Compass

Jeep points its Compass in the right direction, though there’s still some soul-searching to do

44 Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R is a sight for sore eyes, and rewards precision and commitment according to Ian McGuinness

68 Accessories

When having the car isn’t enough, there is always a selection of add-ons and optional extras

50 Range Rover Vogue SE

Range Rover Vogue SE proves luxury off-roader is the prevailing fashion of our time, says Jon Sedrick

54 Kia Rio

Kia’s little hatchback is no game-changer, but it does continue the South Korean marque’s push for market share

60 Ford Fiesta

Ford fails to get the party started with the new Fiesta, but there’s hope on the horizon for the supermini

78 Motorsport

Highlights of all this month’s international and local news from rallying to F1


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BMW to make Mini electric car plant decision by end-September

BMW will decide whether to build its new electric Mini car in Britain or elsewhere by the end of September, its board member for sales told Reuters, in a test of the country’s ability to continue to attract investment as it leaves the EU. Mini makes around 70 per cent of its approximately 360,000 compact cars at its Oxford plant in southern England but the car industry is concerned about the effect any loss of unfettered access to the EU, its largest export market, could have on plants after Brexit. BMW is deciding between its English site, a plant in the Netherlands where it has built more of its conventional line-up in recent years, and its Germany plants at Leipzig and Regensburg for the new low-emissions variant. The firm’s board member for sales told Reuters that the electric Mini investment, likely to be worth tens of millions of pounds, would come in the next three months and the board was currently considering a number of factors including Brexit. “One of the elements is what is the likelihood of a tax regime and if there’s a tax regime, how would it apply,” Ian Robertson said during an interview at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England. “If you made the motor in a German plant and you then assembled the car in a British plant, and you took the cars back to the German market, then the duty that you would pay would be reclaimed,” he said, in an example of the options companies are examining to plan for any duties or tariffs. The automaker is also looking into where the uptake of greener models is strongest and where the best supply chains are, he said. Britain could approve its first major electric battery hub in the next few weeks after officials in central England submitted proposals to ministers in May. But last month, the car industry issued its strongest warning yet on the need for politicians to strike a transitional Brexit deal after two-

year talks to ensure unfettered trade is maintained. Uncertainty has also been heightened after a snap election which left Prime Minister Theresa May without a majority and has led to ministers in her administration hinting at different versions of Britain’s likely post-Brexit future. Last year, May’s administration helped secure two new models at Japanese carmaker Nissan’s plant in the north of England after what a source said was a government promise of extra support to counter any loss of competitiveness caused by Brexit. But, asked whether the government could make promises now regarding future tax or tariff arrangements as BMW neared its decision, he said he did not believe that ministers were in a position to do so. ME CAR 5


NEWS

VW ex-manager should stay in Germany A lawyer for one of the former Volkswagen managers sought in the United States in connection with the carmaker’s diesel emissionscheating scandal has advised him not to leave Germany, she told a German daily. “I have urgently advised my client not to leave Germany. Only here is it safe,” Annette Voges, representing Heinz-Jakob Neusser (pictured) told Bild Zeitung in comments published recently. Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported the United States had issued international arrest warrants for the ex-managers and developers. It said they are indicted for conspiracy to fraud and violation of US environmental rules. A sixth person, former VW manager Oliver Schmidt, was arrested in February in Miami as he was about to fly to Germany. Voges said the managers would likely have to continue to forgo foreign travel because they could not rely on a statue of limitations, which would exempt them from charges after a certain

amount of time. Under the constitution, German citizens can only be extradited to other European Union countries or to an international court. But leaving Germany could pose the risk of being extradited to the United States from a third country. VW, the world’s largest automaker by sales, admitted to US regulators in September 2015 that it had cheated on emissions tests there using software installed in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide.

Tesla’s autopilot software head quits in less than six months

Tesla said the head of its autopilot software, Chris Lattner, left the company in less than six months since joining the electric carmaker. “Chris just wasn’t the right fit for Tesla, and we’ve decided to make a change,” a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters in an email. “Turns out that Tesla isn’t a good fit for me after all,” Lattner, who worked at Apple for more than a decade before joining Tesla in January, tweeted. “I’m interested to hear about interesting ME CAR 6

roles for a seasoned engineering leader!” Tesla said it hired Andrej Karpathy as director of artificial intelligence and Tesla Vision team, the spokeswoman said. Karpathy, who most recently worked as a research scientist at OpenAI, will directly report to chief executive Elon Musk. Karpathy will work closely with Jim Keller, who now has overall responsibility for autopilot hardware and software, she added.


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Daimler presses ahead with Mercedes-Benz plant in Russia Germany’s Daimler began construction of a new Mercedes-Benz plant near Moscow recently, following through on the first new investment by a major foreign automaker in Russia since Western sanctions were imposed three years ago. Daimler said in February that it will invest more than $279 million in the factory, contrasting with widespread wariness among international investors after a prolonged downturn brought on by sanctions and a collapse in global oil prices. But Russia’s economy has recently shown signs of recovery, while its car market is returning to growth after four years of decline. Speaking at a ceremony to lay the factory’s first stone, Markus Schaefer, a member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said Daimler had made the decision after a “very, very successful conversation” with the Russian government. Moscow Regional Governor Andrey Vorobyov said President Vladimir Putin had personally signed off on the deal, allowing the regional government to offer unspecified conditions previously not available to foreign investors. “Ultimately, we want to build cars where customers are,” Schaefer said at the construction site in the town of Esipovo, 60 km from Moscow. “We are confident in the long-term potential of Russia.” Global automakers had viewed Russia as a promising growth market until the 2014 sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and the economic downturn prompted companies to put projects on hold. Car sales have more than halved from a 2012 peak of almost three million a year and US auto giant General Motors quit the market in 2015. Though Mercedes’ Russian car sales dropped 11 per cent last

year to 36,888, according to the Association of European Business (AEB) lobby group, Schaefer said he expects numbers to show an increase in 2017 and continue growing after the new plant opens in 2019. The company’s Russian car sales in May jumped eight per cent year on year. The factory will employ more than 1,000 people working across a 85-hectare site to produce more than 20,000 Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs a year. Hoping to benefit from a future rebound in Russian car sales, some international manufacturers have recently started to strengthen their presence in Russia. Germany’s Volkswagen has announced projects to boost its VW and Skoda brands as well as commercial vehicles. ME CAR 7


NEWS

FORD’S CHINA MOVE CASTS NEW CLOUD ON MEXICAN CAR MAKING A second U-turn this year by Ford in Mexico has raised the specter of Chinese competition for local car making, adding to pressure on the industry after repeated threats by US President Donald Trump to saddle it with punitive tariffs. Ford announced it would move some production of its Focus small car to China instead of Mexico, a step that follows the US automaker’s January cancellation of a planned $1.8 billion plant in the central state of San Luis Potosi. The scrapping of the Ford plant was a bitter blow, coming after US President Donald Trump had blamed the country for hollowing out US manufacturing on the campaign trail, and threatened to impose hefty tariffs on cars made in Mexico. Since then, rhetoric from the Trump administration has become more conciliatory, and Mexico and the United States have expressed confidence that the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade deal, expected to begin in August, could benefit both nations. But the loss of the Focus business is an unwelcome reminder of competition Mexico faces from Asia at a time China’s auto exports and the quality of its cars are rising. “For a long time, the quality of vehicles coming out of China was not to global standards. There was a gap in quality that (favoured) Mexico – but that is closing,” said Philippe Houchois, an analyst covering the auto industry at investment bank Jefferies. “That is probably a threat to Mexico.” In the past decade, global automakers have invested heavily in Chinese factories to make them capable of building cars at quality levels that make the grade in developed markets. Ford’s decision to shift Focus production for the United States market to China from Mexico shows automakers have increasing flexibility to choose between the two countries to supply niche vehicles to American consumers or other markets. ME CAR 8

‘Very Troubling’ Demand for small cars in the United States is waning and General Motors faces a similar situation to Ford’s with its Chevrolet Cruze compact. Were GM to go down the same path with the Cruze and shift its production out of US factories, it could give more work to its Mexican plants – but might also bring its Chinese operations in Shenyang or Yantai into play. “The Cruze is a global product that is built in multiple GM plants around the world, including the US,” said GM spokesman Pat Morrissey. “Our general philosophy is that we like to build where we sell.” Studies show Mexican manufacturing is competitive, and business leaders believe that NAFTA talks between Mexico, the United States and Canada could ultimately yield tougher regional content rules for the region that benefit local investment. Ford said its decision balanced cheaper Chinese labour rates against pricier shipping, but that in the end an already-planned refit of its


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Chinese factory saved it some $500 million over retooling both that facility and its Hermosillo plant in Mexico. The volatile state of US-Mexican trade relations also carries big risks if Trump renews his threats to impose 35-per cent tariffs on cars made in Mexico. To be sure, Trump has also threatened to levy 45-per cent tariffs on Chinese goods and his Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he found Ford’s China move “very troubling.” Trump’s threats have battered the peso, ironically making Mexico’s goods cheaper. Uncertainty over the future of NAFTA pushed the currency to a record low in January, although it has since rebounded. That same month, the Boston Consulting Group published an assessment of manufacturing competitiveness that gave Mexico an 11per cent lead over China. That advantage has prompted global firms to plow billions of dollars into the Mexican auto industry, pushing output to record highs. Some officials in the automotive sector painted Ford’s move as a one-off decision. ME CAR 9


NEWS

GM lowers outlook for US 2017 new vehicle sales General Motors now expects US new vehicle sales in 2017 will be in the “low 17 million” unit range, reflecting a widespread expectation that the industry is headed for a moderate downturn, a top executive has said. “The market is definitely slowing … it’s something we are going to monitor month to month,” chief financial officer Chuck Stevens told analysts on a conference call. “Pricing is more challenging.” US new vehicle sales hit a record of 17.55 million units in 2016 after a boom that began in 2010. A glut of nearly-new used vehicles is expected to undermine sales this year. Major automakers have reported sales declines for the past three months. GM had previously announced it expected 2017 new vehicle sales in the “mid-17 million” unit range. Stevens told analysts that sales could fall by 200,000 to 300,000 units this year but that the automaker had “somewhat insulated” itself from a downturn by reducing fleet sales, which lower vehicles’ residual values. “We are going to remain disciplined from a go-to market perspective,” Stevens said.

He reiterated the company’s target to bring US inventories of its vehicles down to 70 days’ supply by December from 110 days in June. GM also expects a higher-than-expected charge for its sale of Opel to Peugeot (PSA) to reach $5.5 billion versus its previous estimate of $4.5 billion due to additional costs associated with the deal. The company plans to issue $3 billion in short-term debt to cover pension liabilities that PSA will assume in order to finalise the transaction quickly, GM’s CFO said.

BMW to invest $600 million in its Spartanburg plant in US

Tesla said the head of its autopilot software, Chris Lattner, left the company in less than six months since joining the electric carmaker. “Chris just wasn’t the right fit for Tesla, and we’ve decided to make a change,” a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters in an email. “Turns out that Tesla isn’t a good fit for me after all,” Lattner, who worked at Apple for more than a decade before joining Tesla in January, tweeted. “I’m interested to hear about interesting ME CAR 10

roles for a seasoned engineering leader!” Tesla said it hired Andrej Karpathy as director of artificial intelligence and Tesla Vision team, the spokeswoman said. Karpathy, who most recently worked as a research scientist at OpenAI, will directly report to chief executive Elon Musk. Karpathy will work closely with Jim Keller, who now has overall responsibility for autopilot hardware and software, she added.


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Aston Martin electric car goes limited edition after LeEco exit

British sports car maker Aston Martin has scaled back production plans for its first electric model after cash-strapped investment partner LeEco pulled out of the project, chief executive Andy Palmer has said. The result, though, may be an even more exclusive car, aimed at customers who consider Tesla’s top of the range $130,000 Model S to be a little too run of the mill. Aston Martin will build only 155 of its RapidE, about a third of the initial plan, and lean more heavily on Formula One engineering specialist Williams after the withdrawal of Chinese TV and smartphone vendor LeEco, Palmer said. The setback and Aston’s response underscore the challenges and risks niche carmakers face as they scramble to address future demand for electrification from consumers and regulators. While the privately held Aston Martin brand benefits from the endorsement of fictitious spy James Bond, it lacks the backing of a large automotive parent that many rivals enjoy. “We’ve decided to make this car rare, which will obviously tend to push the price higher,” Palmer said. “Aston Martin now plans to proceed independently, funding further development of RapidE by ourselves.”

$250,000 Price Tag

Aston returned to profit in the first quarter, a decade after it was sold by Ford. Now owned by private equity groups Investindustrial and Kuwait’s Investment Dar, the company is rolling out a new model each year under a taut recovery plan drawn up by Palmer, who joined from Nissan in 2014. Without LeEco’s backing, the sports carmaker is pushing ahead as sole investor in the electric car, after paring down production and

pushing back the launch date to 2019. The plan won board approval on June 21. Aston will start taking orders next month with 10 per cent down payments on the RapidE, priced just shy of $255,000 in its home market before incentives. Batteries will come from a new production facility built by a consortium led by Williams Advanced Engineering, the F1 team’s technical division, with matched British government funding. Williams, which supplies power packs to the Formula E electric car racing series, also built the RapidE prototype unveiled in 2015. Beyond the RapidE, Aston’s first full-production battery car will be an electric version of the DBX crossover it is launching in 2019 – hoping for a repeat of the success that greeted its DB11 coupe, with a little help from the latest Bond film. ME CAR 11


NEWS

GERMANY MOVES TO CRACK DOWN ON VEHICLE EMISSIONS Germany will discuss a national plan to cut pollution from diesel engines and set up a new organisation to test vehicles to try to restore consumer confidence after Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. The moves – almost two years after the Volkswagen scandal broke – come as the German government faces growing pressure ahead of national elections on September 24 to reduce emissions or see some cities ban diesel cars themselves. Reuters reported the transport ministry was pushing carmakers to update engine management software to cut pollution in up to 12 million diesel vehicles in the country, citing people familiar with the talks. The transport ministry and the environment ministry announced the creation of a “national diesel forum” to work with the auto industry and regional governments to cut emissions, with the first meeting set for August 2. “We want emissions to fall across Germany,” Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said in a statement. Dobrindt, a member of the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has come under fire for being close to the country’s powerful car industry and for not doing enough to combat vehicle pollution. Sales of diesel cars have been falling since the Volkswagen scandal, but have dropped even faster since cities, including Stuttgart and Munich, have considered banning some diesel vehicles, blaming emissions for increased respiratory disease. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, a member of the centreleft Social Democrats that are Merkel’s junior coalition partners, said the diesel forum was an opportunity for carmakers to win back lost trust and improve air quality.

More Transparent Tests?

Separately, the transport ministry said it was setting up a new institute to ensure “more transparency and reliability” in vehicle tests, involving consumer organisations, local governments and environmental groups, as well as the auto industry and ministries. However, the KBA motor vehicle authority, which reports to the transport ministry and currently oversees vehicle testing, will remain responsible for licencing new models. The ministry said the new institute would test about 70 car models a year using realistic driving scenarios, rather than relying solely on laboratory conditions, and the emissions and fuel consumption results would be made public to allow car buyers to make better comparisons. It noted that current official tests do not take into account factors such as the use of air conditioning and radio, or the weather or style of driving, which all influence fuel consumption. Germany’s VDA auto industry association said in a statement its members were keen to give customers more information about variance in fuel efficiency and would fully participate in the new institute in the interests of more transparency. However, the environmentalist Greens questioned how independent the new institute would be given the car industry is set to pay its annual budget of two million euros. In the aftermath of the Volkswagen scandal, the German transport ME CAR 12

ministry ordered tests on the carbon dioxide emissions of 29 models. It said 17 passed the test, while 10 models still needed to be tested in the coming months. However, some versions of an Opel Zafira car and a Smart For Two produced by Daimler emitted more carbon dioxide than they should, although the Smart model still needed to undergo further tests. Both versions of the models in question are now discontinued. Zafira diesels already on the road will have to undergo a software update, the ministry said, although the licenses for both vehicles will not be withdrawn. Opel said the Zafira had passed all legal tests, noting fewer than 3,800 of the model in question had been sold in Germany. European governments have promoted diesel cars as part of efforts to fight climate change as they produce less carbon dioxide than petrol cars, although environmental groups have cast doubt over how much less they produce and have focused instead on the levels of toxic nitrogen oxides they emit.


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NEWS

HIGH-TECH DASHBOARDS SIGNAL BIG CHANGES FOR AUTO PARTS SUPPLIERS

Peer at the instrument panel on your new car and you may find sleek digital gauges and multicoloured screens. But a glimpse behind the dashboard could reveal what US auto supplier Visteon Corp found: a mess. As automotive cockpits become crammed with ever more digital features such as navigation and entertainment systems, the electronics holding it all together have become a rat’s nest of components made by different parts makers. Now the race is on to clean up the clutter. Visteon is among a slew of suppliers aiming to make dashboard innards simpler, cheaper and lighter as the industry accelerates toward a so-called virtual cockpit – an all-digital dashboard that will help usher in the era of self-driving cars. What’s at stake is a piece of the $37-billion cockpit electronics market, estimated by research firm IHS Markit to nearly double to $62 billion by 2022. Accounting firm PwC estimates that electronics could account for up to 20 per cent of a car’s value in the next two years, up from 13 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of suppliers for those components is likely to dwindle as automakers look to work with fewer companies capable of doing more, according to Mark Boyadjis, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit. ME CAR 14

“The complexity of engineering ten different systems from ten different suppliers is no longer something an automaker wants to do,” Boyadjis said. He estimates manufacturers eventually will work with two to three cockpit suppliers for each model, down from six to 10 today.

Digital Makeover

One of Visteon’s solutions is a computer module dubbed “SmartCore.” This cockpit domain controller operates a vehicle’s instrument cluster, infotainment system and other features, all on the same tiny piece of silicon. So far this year, the Detroit-based company has landed two big contracts for undisclosed sums. One, announced in April, is with China’s second-largest automaker, Dongfeng. The other is with Mercedes-Benz. Another unnamed European automaker plans to use the system in 2018, according to Visteon. Visteon is going all in on cockpit electronics, having shed its remaining automotive climate and interiors businesses in 2016. The bet so far is paying off. The company secured $1.5 billion in new business in the first quarter, helped by growth in China. Visteon’s stock price is up more than 50 per cent over the past year.


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vehicle technology. Activity in the sector was worth $41 billion in 2016, according to PwC. Analysts say German automakers are taking the lead in consolidating functions within the dashboard. Audi was the first to debut a virtual cockpit last year that combined its instrument cluster and infotainment system.

Cheaper, Lighter, Smarter

It’s a major turnaround since Visteon was spun off from Ford a decade ago. Visteon filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 before emerging a year later. “You have to be changing and adapting fast. If not, you’re not going to keep up in this market,” said Tim Yerdon, Visteon’s head of global marketing. “It’s about reinventing yourself to stay ahead.”

Dashboard Deals

Visteon’s makeover hints at the coming battle between suppliers fighting for real estate in the digital cockpit. The trend is already triggering acquisitions, as companies look to boost their offerings to automakers. Visteon in 2014 bought Johnson Controls’ electronics business, which was also developing a domain controller. In March, Samsung completed its $8-billion purchase of infotainment company Harman. France’s Faurecia, a top seating and interiors supplier, last year purchased a 20 per cent stake in Paris-based infotainment firm Parrot Automotive SAS in a deal that could make Faurecia the biggest shareholder by 2019. Deal-making in the wider automotive sector has been at a fever pitch over the past two years fuelled by the race to develop autonomous

Streamlined dashboards can lead to cost reductions for manufacturers, who can save as much as $175 per car with an integrated cockpit, according to Munich-based management consulting firm Roland Berger. They can also help with fuel efficiency. That’s because vehicles are lighter when there are fewer behind-the-scenes computers, known as electronic control units (ECUs). Vehicles today contain 80 to 120 ECUs, numbers expected to fall sharply in coming years. But perhaps the biggest motivation for fancy cockpits is sales. Drivers accustomed to the seamless technology of their smartphones are finding today’s dashboard offerings clunky and non-intuitive. A JD Power study released this month found the most complaints from new vehicle owners stemmed from audio, communications, entertainment and maps systems. Better cockpits could prove crucial to attracting younger consumers, who are not showing the same enthusiasm for cars, or even driving, that their parents did. Research company Mintel found that 41 per cent of millennial car buyers are interested in having the latest technology in their vehicles. Disjointed dashboards “are one of the most noticeable gaps in user experience – what you see right in front of you,” said Andrew Hart of UK-based consultancy SBD Automotive. On many car models, he said, audible warning systems to alert the driver to a potential collision are not in sync with the radio, meaning your favourite song could drown out the warning beep. “That’s a crazy example of something when you don’t consolidate ECUs,” Hart said. Industry watchers say this and other safe-driving features are among the systems ripe for integration. Additional targets include rear-seat entertainment systems and so-called heads-up displays that project data such as the car’s speed onto the windshield for easy viewing. ME CAR 15


NEWS

India considers private cars for ridesharing to cut traffic India is examining the use of private vehicles as shared taxis in an effort to reduce car ownership and curb growing traffic congestion in major cities. India’s federal think-tank, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has partnered with companies including ride-sharing firm Uber to assess the economic and environmental impact of using private cars as taxis, a government official involved in the process said. Increasing the availability of cars that can be used as cabs would be welcome news for Uber and its SoftBank backed local rival Ola, although it could heighten tensions with taxi operators that typically pay higher fees for commercial licences while facing more rigorous vehicle testing. India’s government wants to reduce private car ownership, the official said, adding the three-month study will look at the safety, regulatory, tax and insurance implications. While the study is in its early days, the broad idea is to set up a clear and reasonable regulatory framework for ride-sharing so it allows companies to operate in India without ambiguity, another source involved in the process said. Although Uber is allowed to use private cars for ride sharing in countries such as Australia and Singapore, their use has faced opposition from taxi operators in other parts of the world. An Uber spokesman said sharing private vehicles can help cut congestion and ensure more efficient use of cars. “We are engaging with a range of stakeholders in India about the best way to realise this vision,” he said.

Car Sales Impact

But such a move could dent car sales in India where the ownership ratio is already low compared with other countries. There are fewer than 20 cars for every 1,000 people in India. ME CAR 16

Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata are among the top-selling carmakers in the country, which is forecast to be the world’s third-largest car market by 2020. Uber and Ola have built their taxi “fleets” in India by offering incentives such as free smartphones and cash bonuses to drivers, but both are now cutting back on these in an attempt to be profitable. Allowing the use of private cars as taxis would improve the supply of vehicles at a low cost, say analysts. “If most of these cars are affiliated with Ola and Uber then it’s a win for them,” Neil Shah, research director at consultant Counterpoint Research, said. The proposal, however, could antagonise current drivers, who have paid hefty fees to get a commercial taxi licence. Concerns around the safety of passengers would also need to be addressed, said Shah, adding that any new law must ensure private car drivers go through the same background and safety checks.


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Tesla Model 3 deliveries to begin in July Having announced the Model 3 in 2016, Elon Musk has revealed the most affordable Tesla is ready to hit the roads. The company founder – and mercurial would-be inter-planetary explorer – says the first owners will be getting their cars before the end of July. According to Musk, the first 30 customer cars will be handed over at an event on July 28. Production will be slow to start – Tesla expects to build just 100 cars in August – but things should speed up significantly from there. The company wants to build more than 1,500 cars in September, and hopes to be running at 20,000 cars per month by December. In a first for Tesla, that means the Model 3 will actually start production ahead of schedule. The Model S and Model X were both heavily delayed, and there were plenty of complaints about the build

quality of early examples. Although not ideal, the audience for those cars was cashed-up early adopters, most of whom were willing to accept a few rough edges in exchange for the smug satisfaction (and cool factor) associated with being an early owner. Given it’s priced to compete with the Chevrolet Bolt, the Model 3 can’t afford to have the same teething issues. Tesla has an estimated 300,000 preorders for the Model 3, which means you won’t be able to wander into a dealership and just drive away in a car. At the moment, the Model 3 page on the Tesla website says new orders will be delivered in mid-2018. The car will offer a 346 km range when it arrives, and Musk has promised a sub-six-second sprint to 97 km/h. ME CAR 17


NEWS

McLaren sees more growth; calls on UK to continue influence Luxury sports carmaker McLaren Automotive has said it expected to post another record performance this year after reporting a 70 per cent increase in pre-tax profits in 2016 off the back of an all-time high in sales. Founded in 1963 by Bruce McLaren and known for winning Formula 1 titles with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, McLaren set up a separate sports car maker known as McLaren Automotive in 2010 to rival the likes of Ferrari and Aston Martin. Since then the firm has grown rapidly, with sales doubling to 3,286 vehicles in 2016 and profit rising by 70 per cent to 9.2 million pounds. The carmaker said earlier this year it would create 200 jobs as part of a 50 million pounds investment to build carbon-fibre chassis in northern England, its first purpose-built site away from its headquarters in the southern English town of Woking. With a range of new models expected to drive further growth, the firm’s director for sales and marketing said he expected another all-time high this year. “Having the new, second-generation Super Series and the first ever Sports Series convertible in showrooms will give every one of the 80 McLaren retailers worldwide the opportunity to contribute strongly to another record year,” said Jolyon Nash, executive director, Global Sales and Marketing, McLaren. The firm expects to reach sales of 4,500 vehicles by the end of 2022, with at least half equipped with hybrid powertrains. McLaren has also said that it was important for the UK to continue to influence European Union car industry regulations after Brexit, ME CAR 18

which in some cases help smaller manufacturers by easing stringent rules on emissions. “We are specifically looking for the UK to continue to influence the regulatory environment of not just the European Union but other markets outside the EU,” said chief financial officer Paul Buddin.


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US cars a tough sell in South Korea even as Trump targets trade deal

US auto imports from the likes of General Motors and Ford Motor must become more chic, affordable or fuel-efficient to reap the rewards of President Donald Trump’s attempts to renegotiate a trade deal with key ally South Korea, officials and industry experts in Seoul say. Meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, Trump said the United States would do more to address trade imbalances with South Korea and create a level playing ground for US businesses, especially carmakers, in the world’s 11th largest auto market by sales. While imports from automakers including Ford, Chrysler and GM more than doubled last year largely thanks to free trade deal which took effect in 2012, sales account for just one per cent of a market dominated by more affordable models from local giants Hyundai and affiliate Kia. Imports make up just 15 per cent of the overall Korean auto market, and are mainly more luxurious models from German automakers BMW and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, which also benefit from a trade deal with the European Union. “Addressing non-tariff barriers would not fundamentally raise the competitiveness of US cars,” a senior Korean government official told Reuters, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. “What we really want to say to the United States is: make good cars, make cars that Korean consumers like.”

Taste Barrier

In Korea, US imports are seen as lagging German brands in brand image, sophistication and fuel economy, industry experts say. US imports do have a competitive advantage in electric cars: Tesla Motors’

electric vehicles are seen as both environmentally friendly and trendy, while GM has launched a long-range Bolt EV. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had cited a quota in the current trade deal as an obstacle to boosting imports. The quota allows U.S. automakers to bring in each year 25,000 vehicles that meet US, not necessarily Korean, safety standards. Should GM, for example, decide to bring in more than its quota of one model – the Impala sedans – it would cost up to $75 million to modify the cars to meet Korean safety standards, the company told its local labor union. ME CAR 19


NEWS

More venomous Hennessey emerges from the shadows

Hennessey doesn’t have the engineering might of Bugatti behind it, but that hasn’t stopped the tuners in Texas from developing cars capable of breaking speed records. The Venom F5 was first teased last year, with John Hennessey proudly proclaiming it would top 467 km/h. Now, we have a shadowy first look at the finished product – and it looks mean. But first, what’s in a name? The F5 moniker might sound like a meaningless add-on to the existing Venom name, but it’s actually a reference to the Fujita Scale for tornadoes. It’s the highest, most

powerful rating on the scale, and is applied to winds between 420 and 512 km/h. The Venom F5 will have a top speed right in the middle of that range. Coincidence? Certainly not. Hennessey is aiming directly at the Bugatti Chiron with the new Venom, make no mistake. There are no hard and fast numbers on power, but bigger turbochargers and upgrades to the intercooler should make for a power output around 1,400 hp. The extensive use of carbon fibre will also help, with a target weight of about 1,300 kg.

Electric beach buggy concept opens up to the Elements Every year, Skoda gives members of its trainee programme the freedom to create a unique concept. The results have been impressive in the past few years, with students creating funky compact pickups and fastback city cars, but the latest trainee team has used the sea and sand as inspiration, turning the Citigo into an electric beach buggy called the Element. Although it’s based on the Skoda Citigo – which itself is based on the Volkswagen up! – the Element has a completely unique look. Given the team of 22 students poured about 1,500 hours into its development, that’s probably not entirely surprising. Gone are the doors and windows, and there isn’t any sun protection in the form of a roof, either. This is a proper outdoorsy buggy, designed to put its two passengers out in the weather. Power comes from an electric motor making 60 kW (80 hp). Skoda hasn’t released details about predicted range, but the VW e-up! makes exactly the same amount of power and has a claimed range of 180 km from its 18.7-kWh battery pack. So if it were to hit the road as a production car, the Element would likely manage similar numbers. “Electromobility is not just a temporary trend – it is the future,” says student Daniel Launa. “That’s why we have opted to build a car with an electric drive system.” ME CAR 20

The Element joins a growing line of student-built cars from the VW Group. Along with the Skoda Funstar and Atero, trainees over at Volkswagen have fettled the Golf GTI and R at Worthersee in the past as well.


NE W S

Jaguar adding E-Pace to fast-growing utility vehicle line-up Jaguar is eager to keep the utility vehicles rolling out, and understandably so, since the ever-stylish F-Pace helped it achieve an 83 per cent sales bump last year. It already has the I-Pace in the works for 2018, and now it’s released the first details about the E-Pace, a smaller crossover designed to combine the looks of a slim, sexy athlete with the fortitude of an unwearying nomad. We would have expected Jaguar to take it easy on the first days of summer, after a rather buzzy XF Sportbrake reveal late last month. Instead, it’s moving right along to the next man up, teasing the E-Pace, which will be fully revealed soon. Jaguar promises a proper combination of sports car styling and ride, small SUV utility, and some of its latest features and technologies. “The combination of sports car looks with Jaguar performance will ensure that the E-Pace stands out,” declares Jaguar design director Ian Callum. That sounds like the usual car teaser rhetoric, but Callum has more credibility than most, given his role in shaping the F-Pace, easily one of the best-looking SUVs on the market. Like that larger stablemate, the E-Pace will feature a choice of several petrol and diesel Ingenium engines. Its sports car-derived all-wheel drive should help it deliver a more satisfying ride than the average chunky AWD hatch. The fuller of two teaser pictures floated by Jaguar shows the E-Pace’s full profile, and it appears Jaguar’s design team has taken the “like the F-Pace, only smaller” brief quite seriously. The E-Pace is a natural little brother, wearing F-Pace styling compacted down into a shorter package.

The E-Pace’s short hood, slim rear overhang and rather sharply cut rear-end make it look as though a pair of giant hands literally clapped the F-Pace into smaller form. The roofline sweeps back much like the F-Pace’s, only it’s slightly curvier as result of the shortened length. The side windows have a crisper, pointier shape.

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Goodwood Festival of Speed

SPEED ON SHOW ME CAR 22


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he engines have been turned off after another Goodwood Festival of Speed, leaving just a faint fog of tyre smoke around the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. Along with the usual smattering of loud, powerful supercar debuts, Lord March opened his driveway to the latest in electric racing tech, drifting champions and stunning classic racers.

Ode to Ecclestone

As is tradition, the central Festival of Speed installation is designed around one particular theme. In a break from tradition, however, that theme isn’t a car manufacturer. Instead, the soaring sculpture focuses on ex-Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone this year. Designed by Gerry Judah, it consists of five F1 cars chosen to celebrate his time as a racer, manager, team owner, impresario and legend in the sport.

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Goodwood Festival of Speed

“Coming up with a sculpture for Goodwood is always a challenge,” says Judah. “They have to be different, dynamic and dangerous, as motorsport itself. This year is no exception given we are celebrating an individual, a phenomenon, and what better way than producing a firecracker.”

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Getting drifty with it

This year’s Festival of Speed played host to the first ever Goodwood drifting competition. A troupe of Formula Drift stars, including three-time world champion Chris Forsberg, went head-to-head in a thoroughly entertaining (and incredibly smokey) event on the track.


The five competitors were judged on their mid-corner, along with how well they kept their cars sideways up the 1.86 km Hillclimb. The public also had a say, voting Mad Mike Whiddett and his quad-rotor MX-5 the first ever Goodwood Festival of Speed Drift Champion.

Coming up with a sculpture for Goodwood is always challenging. They have to be different, dynamic and dangerous, as motorsport itself ME CAR 25


Goodwood Festival of Speed

Seriously powerful Porsche

The Porsche 911 has an extensive back catalogue of powerful, lightweight special editions, but the new GT2 RS makes them all look a bit tame. With 700 hp on offer from its twin-turbocharged flat six engine, the most powerful road-going 911 ever built will hit 97 km/h in 2.7 seconds on the way to a 340 km/h top speed. Along with the more powerful engine, Porsche has put the GT2 on a serious diet. Titanium has been used for the exhaust, magnesium features in the roof construction and a healthy smattering of carbon fibre parts cut kerb weight to just 1,470 kg in ME CAR 26

standard trim, although a Weissach Pack can be added to shave another 18.1 kg from that sticker. Porsche has reworked the stability control system, presumably because 700 hp is, well, a lot of power to channel through rear wheels. Drivers can turn the stability and traction control completely off, too, and find out if the GT2 RS lives up to the “widowmaker” billing bestowed upon its predecessors.

Lightening quick, stealthy and silent

The Festival of Speed is always littered with stunning classic cars,


but that doesn’t mean fans don’t get to enjoy the latest in racing technology as well. Mahindra sent its Formula E car up the hill this year, cutting through the usual storm of engine noise with its highpitched electric whine. Roborace also had a car on display, but the self-driving racer didn’t make a run up the hill. Maybe that’s something we can expect next year? This is just a brief taste of the metal on show at Goodwood this year. Take a look through our 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed gallery for some stunning shots of modern supercars, classic F1 cars, hulking fourwheel drives and everything else in between.

Drivers can turn the stability and traction control completely off, too, and find out if the GT2 RS lives up to the “widowmaker” billing bestowed upon its predecessors ME CAR 27


Camal Power

RESHAPING THE AUTONOMOUS CAR

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utomakers and design studios have spent much time exploring the new possibilities that semi- and fully autonomous technologies open up inside the car, but not as much time pondering the new exterior possibilities. With electric motors and autonomous tech running the show, future vehicles could take on very different shapes and forms than the ones we’ve become accustomed to. The Camal Viva concept shows plays with one such form, a pod-like, three-wheeled carriage drawn by technology (and actual horse power). So far, automakers and design houses have seemed content to package autonomous design into either traditional car form or some version of a rolling bubble-pod. This seems a bit uncreative, given that autonomy and electric powertrains eliminate the

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need for a hood, clear, upright front and rear windshields, and traditional front-facing seats. Sure, that freedom has given way to vis-à-vis seating and the aforementioned bubble-pods, but why aren’t we seeing all kinds of different shapes and layouts? Why not go nuts with aerodynamics and efficiency and create a passenger car streamliner built to bullet ahead with as little wind resistance as possible? Maybe a rolling ground plane, like the Acabion Da Vinci or some of those space-age concepts from the 50s and 60s? We’re just talking concept cars – they don’t have to meet regulations or be practical or feasible for production, just flash a vision of what could be possible beyond eggs and semi-rounded cubes. Be careful what you wish for.


With the Viva, Italian design studio Camal, whose previous work includes an 800-hp off-road supercar, lets its creative juices flow more freely than most... so freely, the whole thing goes tumbling off a cliff. Camal plays liberally with forms and dimensions, creating a very different style of autonomous car it envisions as the future’s own horse-driven carriage – quite literally. The stretched seven metre long , 2.5-metre wide three-wheeler has a smooth, pod-like body held up by an exposed chassis with thick side runners. To put that stretch into perspective, the Viva is about 254 mm longer than a long-wheelbase Ford Super Duty with crew cab and 508 mm longer than the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman – or it would be, if it existed off paper. With only four seats, it definitely won’t feel cramped. ME CAR 29


Camal Power

Where Camal really gets creative is in replacing the usual two rear wheels with a centrally mounted sphere. It refers to it only as a Goodyear sphere, so we’ll assume it’s one of the Eagle-360 spherical concept tyres Goodyear showed at the 2016 and 2017 Geneva Motor Shows. The axle-less Eagle-360 tyres rely on magnetic levitation, offering advanced maneuverability and integrated suspension. The Viva’s rear sphere would help the mega-long car swing its tail around corners and tight spaces. Up front, the Viva has a more traditional dual-wheel set-up below its runners. Where the Viva concept sort of runs off the rails is in Camal’s addition of actual horses in a sort of 19th century-meets-21st century hybrid layout. Those two horses aren’t just there to create an artistic picture; they actually pull the Viva during basic, everyday commuting. Should they start to tire or slow, the electric ME CAR 30

motors cut in to take over some of the workload. The horses can also be unhitched, allowing the Viva to manoeuvre autonomously under electric power alone. So add hitching posts and water troughs to the list of infrastructural upgrades this particular autonomous car will require to operate effectively. Camal hasn’t done much with the interior, showing only that it puts an asymmetrical spin on the concept of vis-à-vis benches. We had to mention it, but if you go ahead and ignore the whole horse-and-buggy sideshow, and just think of the Viva as an electric car with autonomous capabilities, it’s an interesting and very different autonomous concept. Needless to say, the Viva won’t be giving way to a production version – ever – but hopefully it will inspire more creative autonomous concept cars from other parties, pushing the limits of autonomous design.


Where the Viva concept sort of runs off the rails is in Camal’s addition of actual horses in a sort of 19th century-meets-21st century hybrid layout. Those two horses aren’t just there to create an artistic picture; they actually pull the Viva during basic, everyday commuting ME CAR 31


Special report

FERRARI TAKES HOME TOP GONG

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s emissions standards get tighter, you might think International Engine of the Year would go to a clever compact powertrain, or an engine that mixes miserly fuel consumption with punchy performance. Turns out the panel of 58 automotive journalists in Stuttgart weren’t thinking that way, and instead handed this year’s top award to the a twin-turbo Ferrari V8.

Overall Winner

That’s right, the International Engine of the Year was awarded to the twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 from the Ferrari 488 GTB. Even though it’s 600 cc smaller than the naturally aspirated engine it replaces, the bi-turbo V8 makes a whopping 660 hp of power and 760 Nm of torque. Claimed fuel consumption is 11.2 l/100km – impressive for a supercar, but not particularly parsimonious by any other measure. “This blend of heart-thumping performance on both road and track, with a glorious V8 Maranello rumble and an ultraME CAR 32

sophisticated design that’s loaded with advanced technologies, makes the Ferrari V8 unbeatable,” says Dean Slavnich, cochairman at the International Engine of the Year Awards.

Best New Engine of the Year

The high-end madness continues with Best New Engine of the Year, awarded to the hybrid powertrain in the Honda NSX. It makes use of three electric motors that are hooked up to turbo V6 engine. The first electric motor is hooked up to the crankshaft to provide instant torque to the rear wheels and filling any torque holes potentially created by turbocharging. Backing the crankshaft-mounted motor are a pair of motors on the front wheels. They’re integral to the (deep breath) Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, and allow Honda to cut understeer through proper torque vectoring. Total system output is 573 hp, 500 hp of which comes from the turbocharged V6 petrol engine.


Best Green and Best Electric Powertrain Although green engines and electric motors are two entirely different things, the judges have given both awards to the Tesla Model S and Model X. Don’t worry, we’re confused too. The Model S/X can be configured with two or four electric motors, and both cars offer battery capacity between 75 and 100 kWh. Maximum range is 623 km.

Best Engines Between 2.0- and 4.0-litres

The judging panel clearly has a penchant for sports car engines, awarding the prize for the best engine between 2.0 – 2.5-litre to the turbocharged five-cylinder from the Audi RS3 and TT RS. Best engine between 2.5- and 3.0-litres went to the turbocharged flat-six from the Porsche 911 Carrera, which beat the twin-turbo six from the BMW M3 and M4. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 3.9-litre twin-turbo Ferrari V8 won the award for the best engine between 3.0 and 4.0-litres, and the naturally aspirated 6.3-litre V12 from the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was given the award for engines displacing more than 4.0-litres.

Best Engines Between 1.0- and 2.0-litres Porsche was awarded best engine between 1.8- and 2.0-litres with the four-cylinder from the Boxster and Cayman, while the threecylinder hybrid powertrain from the BMW i8 won the award for engines between 1.4- and 1.8-litres. The three-cylinder turbo engine shared across the PSA Peugeot Citroen range took out the award for best engine between 1.0- and 1.4-litres.

Best Sub 1-0-litre Engine

Ford has locked this category down in recent years – the 999 cc EcoBoost engine has won its category six times in a row now. The engine has been constantly revised over that period, and will come with cylinder deactivation from early next year. It’s available in everything from the entry-level Fiesta to the family-hauling Grand C-Max.

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P I T S TOP

Volvo commits to electric future

Luxury car brand Volvo has followed last year’s aggressive EV sales target with a commitment to only launch electrified vehicles from 2019. The company hasn’t totally given up on the combustion engine just yet, but has said that no future Volvos will be ICE only – announcing five new pure electric cars and giving the remainder of its range hybrid powertrains. Volvo, a once Swedish brand that’s been owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group since 2010, hasn’t quite gone all electric like Smart, but has confirmed that every car it launches from 2019 will include an electric motor. “This is about the customer, said the company’s Håkan Samuelsson. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.” The new pure battery-electric models will be introduced between 2019 and 2021, and will comprise three Volvo EVs and two vehicles from the company’s performance arm, Polestar. No specifications have been released at this early stage. The remainder of Volvo’s catalogue will be made up of petrol and diesel plug-in hybrids and 48 volt “mild hybrid” options. ME CAR 34

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”


STORIES FROM AROU ND THE MOTO RING W O RL D

BMW’s Krueger to become car industry’s youngest CEO as Diess named head of VW cars

Self-driving cars could soon be making decisions based on morality The development of autonomous cars has raised plenty of questions, including the tricky problem of autonomous systems making potentially life-or-death decisions. Should self-driving vehicles protect their owners at all costs, or should they sacrifice them to save a bigger group of people? Although there’s no concrete answer, a research team in Germany says morality could soon be playing a role in how selfdriving cars make decisions. Common knowledge suggests human morality is too dependent on context for accurate modelling, which means it can’t be effectively integrated into a self-driving algorithm. Researchers from the University of Osnabrück in Germany suggest this isn’t actually the case. In virtual reality, study participants were asked to drive a car through suburban streets on a foggy night. On their virtual journeys they were presented with the choice of slamming into inanimate objects, animals or humans in an inevitable accident. The subsequent decisions were modelled and turned into a set of rules, creating a “value-of-life” model for every human, animal and inanimate object likely to be involved in an accident. “Now that we know how to implement human ethical decisions into machines we, as a society, are still left with a double dilemma,” says Professor Peter König, an author on the paper. “Firstly, we have to decide whether moral values should be included in guidelines for machine behaviour and secondly, if they are, should machines act just like humans?” The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has recently defined 20 ethical principles for selfdriving cars, but they’re based in the assumption that human morality can’t be modelled. They also make some bold assertions on

how cars should act, arguing a child running onto the road would be less “qualified” to be saved than an adult standing on the footpath watching, because the child created the risk. Although logical, that isn’t necessarily how a human would respond to the same situation. So, what’s the right approach? The University of Osnabrück study doesn’t offer a definitive answer, but the researchers point out that the “sheer expected number of incidents where moral judgment comes into play creates a necessity for ethical decision-making systems in self-driving cars.” And it’s not just cars we need to think about. AI systems and robots will likely be given more and more responsibilities in other potential life-and-death environments, such as hospitals, so it seems like a good idea to give them a moral and ethical framework to work with. ME CAR 35


P I T S TOP

Continental details speaker-free in-car audio systems If luxury car manufacturers are to be believed, more speaker hardware is the best way to deliver a quality in-car audio experience. But a concept from Continental suggests ditching speakers altogether, and instead creates sound by vibrating some parts of the car’s interior trim. Continental likens the Ac2ated Sound concept to a string instrument. Rather than using a combination of tweeters, midrange speakers and subwoofers to deliver sound, the system relies on a set of compact actuators. They’re made up of a magnet and coil, and operate in a very similar way to the coil you’d find on a conventional speaker. Rather than connecting the actuators to an oscillating membrane, Continental uses them to excite existing pieces of interior trim and, in turn, create sound. The company says a few different parts of the cabin are suited to different frequencies – the A-pillar lends itself to higher frequencies, door linings have good proportions for creating medium frequencies and bigger areas like the roof lining or parcel shelf could play the role of subwoofer.

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A similar approach to creating sound has been used in home audio like a TDK CD player and mini speakers from Damson, but it hasn’t really made any real impact on the market. Although they can create a bigger sound by vibrating the surface to which they’re attached, they’re also heavily reliant on having the right surface nearby. Combined, these existing elements of interior design could be used to replicate the “3D sound” effect some manufacturers are trying to deliver with optional sound systems that include between 10 and 20 speakers. Whereas these systems can weigh around 15 kg and require around 30 litres of box volume, the Ac2ated Sound setup weighs just one kg and requires just one litre to deliver the same effect. Although it’s a small thing, being able to remove speaker grilles and chunky subwoofers will make interior designers happy as well. It will be interesting to see if these benefits are enough to make manufacturers look seriously at cutting speakers in their cabins. Given many have partnerships with the likes of Burmeister and Naim, there might be bigger factors at play.


TEST

FIRST DRIVES AND CONSUMER TESTS AT HOME AND ABROAD

DRIVES

HONDA CIVIC TYPE R CIVIC TYPE R IS A SIGHT FOR SORE 44 HONDA EYES, AND REWARDS PRECISION AND COMMITMENT

RANGE ROVER VOGUE SE ROVER VOGUE SE PROVES LUXURY 50 RANGE OFF-ROADER IS THE PREVAILING FASHION OF OUR TIME, SAYS JON SEDRICK

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JEEP COMPASS

FORD FIESTA FAILS TO GET THE PARTY STARTED WITH 60 FORD THE NEW FIESTA, BUT THERE’S HOPE ON THE HORIZON FOR THE SUPERMINI

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Tested: Jeep Compass

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H E A D I N G

N O R T H

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Tested: Jeep Compass

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Jeep points its Compass in the right direction, though there’s still some soulsearching to do, says Carlton Frawl

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It was never so obvious until the reveal of the new Compass, for if you squint, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between this new compact crossover and Jeep’s famous near-luxury offering, and as far as designs go, that’s a good thing

s it stands, the 2017 Jeep Compass is both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That’s because there are, in fact, two versions of the 2017 Compass, with Jeep’s product planners carrying over the first generation model into the calendar and model year 2017 despite production ending in December, but also deciding to release the all-new global platform Compass to the world this year, badged as a 2017 instead of a 2018 model for unknown reasons. Regardless, the old Compass is one of the most miserable new cars you can buy – seriously, under no circumstances should you allow your local Jeep dealership to push a first-generation Compass on you, or the Patriot for that matter. The all-new Compass arrives at the perfect time, then, as petrol remains cheap and the crossover craze continues to ramp up, especially for anything with a seven-slatted grille. Globally, this model will be built in four different countries – Brazil, China, India, and Mexico if you were wondering – for dozens of markets around the world, as the brand aims to consolidate two miserable models into one (more than) passable one. The brand’s designs follow two distinct languages, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, and all present and future Jeep models fall under one of those two umbrellas. The Renegade and Wrangler obviously occupy the former, and the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, future Grand Wagoneer, and now the Compass all fall under the latter. It was never so obvious until the reveal of the new Compass, for if you squint, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between this new compact crossover and Jeep’s famous near-luxury offering, and as far as designs go, that’s a good thing. Tight, clean lines make for a sleeker profile than the Renegade, and handsome touches like the flowing character line, floating “shark fin” D-pillar, black painted roof, and the seven-slatted “jewel box” grille makes this Jeep more valet-able than its slightly-more-compact platform mate. Inside, the Compass mimics the Cherokee family, too, with a dedicated, trapezoidal infotainment and air vent section of the dash, and clean lines throughout to create an immediately familiar and ergonomically pleasing cabin. The interior comes in several colour and fabric options, but my personal favourite is the two-tone black cloth and ivory vinyl setup on the Latitude trim. A panoramic, two-panel sunroof is available and doesn’t cut into headroom, and while there are a few “Easter Eggs” throughout like the snake graphic on the rear glass, the Compass is less kitschy than the Renegade in every way. ME CAR 41


Tested: Jeep Compass

The Compass will undoubtedly sell, likely equal to or better than what the previous model was able to achieve, but if only because of admittedly good looks and that unquenchable Jeep thirst I mentioned earlier

Specifications Engine: 2.4-litre I4 Power: 172 hp Torque: 224 Nm 0-100 km/h: 10.7 seconds Price from: AED 99,900

Limited models get chrome trim, deeper air dams, and standard 18or optional 19-inch wheels, the latter of which are handsome but almost cartoonish on such a small crossover. The Trailhawk trim combines red tow hooks, a black anti-glare hood, underbody skid plates, knobbier tyres, blacked-out accents and badges, and two-tone 17-inch wheels to form the Jeep look you (or at least I) really want. While its looks may suggest that this is a Grand Cherokee for the working man or woman, the Compass’s character would suggest otherwise. While the GC has become highly sought after for its compliant ride, strong powertrain, buttoned-down feel, and class-less kerb appeal, the new Compass only has, well, one of those things. Based on a stretched version of the Renegade platform, this new SUV is more Giuseppe than Jeep, though you may have noticed by now that most Fiat Chrysler products are getting more Italian as the years go by. That’s not to say it’s an unfavourable quality, but the tight ride and steering definitely feel more Fiat than anything. The new Compass’s Renegade roots are even more apparent inside, not in terms of design or material quality but overall space. While rear

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legroom is adequate for a compact SUV (bordering on subcompact territory), and headroom is decent too, where the Compass severely lacks is in the width department. The whole car feels undeniably narrow, and even sitting two abreast in the front seats, my co-driver and I were almost touching shoulders. The powertrain is nothing to write home about, either, with only one engine making it to the region in the form of the 2.4-litre Tigershark four-cylinder, mated to a six-speed automatic. Acceleration is anemic, though there’s a decent amount of torque right off the bat. Power output figures of 172 horsepower and 224 Nm of torque are enough to get the job done, but this SUV could do with some help from a turbocharger. The new Compass boasts 8.2 inches of wheel articulation, 8.5 inches of ground clearance, and some moderately impressive specs on the Trailhawk trim for light off-roading. The Trailhawk manages a 30-degree approach angle, 24-degree breakover angle, and 34-degree departure angle thanks to shorter and higher front and rear overhangs, and a one-inch lift over the


more road-suited trims. It can also ford 482 mm of water and offers towing capability of more than 900 kg, something many other crossovers can’t quite manage. It also boasts a rock mode in the terrain selection menu, and can lock the front and rear differentials and keep you in four-wheel-drive low for some more serious rock climbing. As far as tech options go, the Compass follows standard FCA procedure, though something new is afoot for this model. The re-vamped UConnect infotainment system gets a new processor, sharper graphics, and is much more pleasant to use overall, and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can have the full infotainment experience. A suite of available active safety features, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with full stop, and automatic braking assist will help boost the Compass’s safety ratings (especially over the last generation), but as far as safety and convenience tech go here, there’s nothing groundbreaking.

Those who have owned an older car for a while will be impressed, and while UConnect is one of my favourite infotainment systems, the Compass doesn’t push the tech envelope in any big way. Road noise and pavement blemishes were accentuated by the big wheels, and the vinyl-and-cloth-equipped mid-tier Latitude model with more comfortable 17-inch wheels and virtually the same options was altogether a more enticing package, even if the seats are still stiff as heck. The Compass will undoubtedly sell, likely equal to or better than what the previous model was able to achieve, but if only because of admittedly good looks and that unquenchable Jeep thirst I mentioned earlier. With the Renegade and Grand Cherokee bookending an evenlyspaced SUV lineup – and the Wrangler thrown in for adventure enthusiasts – Jeep has built a very strong lineup, but the Compass, like the Renegade and Cherokee, can’t truly be considered a segment leader just yet. It’s certainly pointing the way, though.

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Tested: Honda Civic Type R

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R I N G

M A S T E R

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Tested: Honda Civic Type R

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Honda Civic Type R is a sight for sore eyes, and rewards precision and commitment, according to Ian McGuinness

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here’s a video on the internet where you sit behind Christian Menzel, the Porsche Supercup race driver, as he manhandles this bewinged family hatchback around the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring in Germany. Through the 24.4 km and 154 turns of the “green hell”, Menzel calmly revs, squeals and screeches Honda’s latest Civic Type R to post a time faster than that of Nissan’s GT-R or Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS. More significantly, the new Type R’s lap time is seven seconds faster than its short-lived predecessor and three and bit seconds faster than the previous hot-hatch class record holder, VW’s Golf GTI Clubsport S. What does that all mean? Good question. Welcome to a bonkers world where lap times around an ossified German racing circuit can dictate an entire model programme and result in cars that look as if they’d rolled off a Hot Wheels track. I mean, just look at this thing. The wings have wings on them, there are winglets on the roof, diffusers under the rear valance, the front is covered in air intakes, it has three exhaust pipes and if it had underpants it would wear them outside its trousers. If you tend towards subtle understatement in your life, this Honda is not for you. Type R, or Honda’s ‘red badge’ first appeared on the original NSX and there have been about 10 such-badged models since, five of them based on Honda’s family-sized Civics. This fifth generation of the superCivic is structurally very different from the outgoing model, which was on sale for just 18 months and sold only about 2,500 examples, which will make it one of the rarest-ever Civic Type Rs. So the new car is based on this year’s Civic, which marks a return to a full multi-link rear suspension set-up. Its new chassis platform is much stiffer than its predecessor, and the Type R’s rigidity is further augmented with glued as well as spot-riveted seams. The fuel tank is moved from under the front seats to under the rears and the MacPherson-strut front suspension gets an expensive Dual Axis Strut, which separates the steering knuckle and strut, which in turn divides steering and suspension loads, and helps reduce torque steer. There’s also a three-position driving dynamics selector, which changes the damper valves, steering weight, throttle response, stability and traction control and the way the engine is blipped on downchanges. The settings are: Comfort; Sport; and +R, with Sport as the default setting. ME CAR 47


Tested: Honda Civic Type R

A truly record time requires the precision and commitment of Christian Menzel of course, but you can go quite fast and have a lot of fun in this car and for the most part it will forgive mistakes and help you on your way

By the time of the Type R’s debut at the Paris Motor Show last autumn, all the aero testing had been done, so the concept was effectively the production car. Unlike rivals, the aerodynamics don’t just cancel lift at speed, but actually create downforce. Changes to the transverse-mounted, 316 hp, 400 Nm of torque 2.0-litre twin-cam engine are few. So it retains its conventional Mitsubishi turbo, sodium-filled valves, oil-cooled pistons and an exhaust manifold cooling jacket. Only the variable exhaust valve lift mechanism and the variable camshaft timing have been recalibrated to speed exhaust gas flow and liberate another 10 hp. It drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a Quaife-type, helical-cut limited-slip differential. Performance is scintillating, with a top speed of 272 km/h, 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds.

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The cabin is a nicely realised melee of mad surface changes, scarletupholstered racing seats, carbon-fibre dash inserts and an aluminiumtopped gear lever, which gets too hot to touch in the sun. The driver faces a half-round rev counter and digital speedometer and there’s a red change-up light just past the 6,500 rpm red line. It’s a family hatchback so it’s reasonably practical in spite of those surprisingly comfortable but large front seats. There’s room enough in the back for at least a couple of adults, while the 420-litre boot is a decent size. When it bursts into life, the engine is slightly less buzzy than previous Type Rs, as the third exhaust outlet disrupts the exhaust pulses at high revs, which reduces the booming. The clutch is firm and the gear lever feels mechanical and precise, like a proper race car. With no twin-scroll turbo trickery, the engine


Specifications Engine: 2.0-litre turbo Power: 316 hp Torque: 400 Nm 0-100 km/h: 5.8 seconds Price from: N/A

needs some numbers on the tacho before it gives of its best and around town it just feels like a mildly uprated hatchback. The ride is firm but on most surfaces supple, if jiggly. The tyres have hardly any sidewall, though, so they smash into small bumps and crunch their way into potholes. At very high speeds, the downforce pushes the rear bodywork down on to the springs so the ride feels choppy and nervous. Comfort mode just puts cotton wool around everything and Sport is the best setting, where there is still some body movement in corners but the throttle and steering feel precise and ready to answer the call. The steering is a bit dead in the centre position, but loads up progressively in corners, with a degree of feedback that is a sizeable improvement over the outgoing model. It will torque steer if you go looking for it, but the lack of huge amounts of low-rev torque is actually a benefit here.

On the circuit, Sport is again the best setting, giving a degree of suspension movement which allows you to ride a bit of kerb without upsetting the balance. And it’s that balance that is the key to the Type R’s appeal and to getting a good lap time. You can ease the throttle to point the nose into the corner and lift it completely to get the tail to slide out. A truly record time requires the precision and commitment of Christian Menzel of course, but you can go quite fast and have a lot of fun in this car and for the most part it will forgive mistakes and help you on your way. That’s the point really. While some folk (perhaps the majority) wouldn’t be seen dead in a car this lairy, for others it’s automotive catnip. The Civic Type R wears its heart on its wings, going fast on the race track is what it does best; everything else is just motoring.

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Tested: Range Rover Vogue SE

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Tested: Range Rover Vogue SE

Range Rover Vogue SE proves luxury off-roader is the prevailing fashion of our time, says Jon Sedrick

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and Rover gave its flagship model – the Range Rover – a minor freshen up for 2016 but it remains what it always has been for the past 45 years – a go-anywhere, luxury off-roader. A dune-basher, definitely, but it isn’t the kind of car you want to drag through muddy tracks and rocky off-road courses; even if it is still capable of doing that. But what does wanting one of these say about you? In short; that you want the finest things in life, but you can’t stretch to the range-topping Autobiography and SVAutobiography models. Land Rover, at one point, used to have a reputation for unreliability but recent quality surveys have typically seen them closer to the top of the class. It isn’t cheap but you do get a lot of car for your money. Plus, it is competitively priced against its rivals. After nearly 50 years on sale the Range Rover is a common sight on the road, particularly in recent times as luxury SUV sales have boomed. But the latest model has an imposing and stylish presence, particularly

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out test car which was fitted with the optional black pack that gives it a sinister look by adding black alloys and black badging. Despite all its luxury and comfort the Range Rover remains a true off-roader. It features Land Rover’s latest Terrain Response 2 system that will allow you to take it further off the beaten track than many of its rivals. Inside is like sitting in your lounge room. The leather seats are wide and comfortable, the materials and trims are top notch and there is plenty of space inside to seat four adults in comfort. The Vogue SE comes standard with an excellent 825-watt Meridian sound system. It provides plenty of power and clarity. But it isn’t up to your standard you can option a 1700-watt Meridian signature reference sound system. The supercharged V8 petrol engine is the most powerful engine in the Range Rover line-up, and the 740 Nm of torque has no trouble pulling the Rangie along despite its considerable size.


Specifications Engine: 5.0-litre V8 SC Power: 503 hp Torque: 625 Nm 0-100 km/h: 5.4 seconds Price from: AED 529,000

It turns corners, but not with any panache. Being such a big, tall and heavy SUV it needs to be coaxed rather than hustled around bends. But the handling is neutral and reasonably responsive. The Range Rover shrugs off most imperfections in the road with ease. The suspension absorbs the impacts and leaves the cabin isolated for a serene driving experience. It would be at the top of my list if I was in the market for a luxury SUV. It not only fits a family in high levels of comfort it also performs with ease and grace. Plus after four decades the Range Rover has become an icon of style and makes a real statement on the road. There are no shortages of luxury SUVs to choose from these days. The most obvious new rival is the Bentley Bentayga w. But you could also add the new Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and the Maserati Levante as well as the Range Rover’s slightly smaller brother, the Range Rover Sport, to your (not so) short list. So why would you buy it? Because it is an excellent luxury SUV. The

cabin is spacious and luxurious. The high seating position and tall body give you excellent visibility down the road. The V8 engine provides effortless performance despite its considerable size. And it has an onroad presence that few SUVs can match.

Despite all its luxury and comfort the Range Rover remains a true off-roader. It features Land Rover’s latest Terrain Response 2 system that will allow you to take it further off the beaten track than many of its rivals

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Tested: Kia Rio

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R E L I A B L E

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Tested: Kia Rio

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Kia’s little hatchback is no gamechanger, but it does continue the South Korean marque’s push for market share, says Clayton Frawl

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Kia has got the basics right with the Rio by offering a decent amount of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, while the seats themselves stand up well to long journeys, despite lacking an adjustable lumbar support

ia’s five-door hatchback Rio isn’t quite as spacious as its rivals – such as the Ford Fiesta – but it’s really not far off. The boot will accommodate smaller baby buggies (for larger versions you’ll still need to remove a wheel) or a couple of medium-size cases, although you don’t get the option of a false boot floor to divide the load space. This is a shame because the Rio’s load lip is quite high and there’s a big ridge in the floor when you fold the rear seats. Space for those in the back is impressive, with just enough room for one tall adult to sit behind another and plenty of head room, too. The lack of a lump in the middle of the floor is also good news if you want to carry three in the back, and the fact the rear doors open wide means access is good. Lots of storage in the front (including a big glovebox) completes what is a pretty spacious package for this class of car. Kia has got the basics right with the Rio by offering a decent amount of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, while the seats themselves stand up well to long journeys, despite lacking an adjustable lumbar support. The engines aren’t overly vocal either, whether you choose the 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre – both in-line four-cylinder front-wheel drives. What lets the car down compared with a Fiesta or Hyundai i20 is the firm ride and excessive road noise, with the rear in particular seeming as though it needs more sound deadening material. On 16-inch wheels the Rio fidgets over low speed bumps and thumps through potholes, and upgrading to 17-inch rims makes things significantly worse. While the dashboard materials are all rather hard, the textured finish means they don’t look at all cheap and the clear dials and responsive touchscreen (five-inch or seven-inch depending on your spec) both look smart and are easy to read. The separate cooler controls look quite Audi-like in design, but are not as tactile to use. The Rio’s controls might be very light to operate, but they also lack the feel you get from other marques, so it’s not as intuitive to drive as its main rivals. That said, it’s still a small car with good visibility (save for the usual over the shoulder blind spot), so you shouldn’t find parking a problem, particularly as all but the basic version have not only rear proximity sensors but also a reversing camera as standard. ME CAR 57


Tested: Kia Rio

Body lean is also well controlled, and there’s plenty of grip to rely on, even if you have no feel for it through the controls. The days of Kias being sold at bargain basement prices are long gone, but the Rio is still at the more affordable end of the price scale for the engines and specs on offer. Kia is one of the first manufacturers in this segment to offer an autonomous emergency braking system across all spec levels. These kind of systems monitor the road ahead and can warn the driver if a collision is imminent. If the driver fails to respond the system can then automatically apply the car’s brakes to avoid or at least minimise the impact. Such systems have been shown to reduce front into rear crashes by almost 40 per cent. Lane departure warning is also standard on spec models above base, while all Rios are fitted with an electronic stability programme to help you regain control if the car begins to skid. ME CAR 58

The Rio range starts with one specification, which includes airconditioning, remote central locking, Bluetooth phone connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo system. Upgrading adds a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with alloy wheels, leather trim for the steering wheel and gear lever, electric folding wing mirrors, cruise control, reversing camera and autonomous emergency braking. Opting for the top spec increases the size of the wheels from 15- to 16-inch and introduces a seven-inch touchscreen with satnav and full smartphone connectivity (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), climate control and faux leather upholstery. The Kia Rio might not be the most fun car to drive in its class, or as comfortable as some rivals, but it scores well in most other areas, whether it’s in the space on offer, the low running costs, excellent reliability record, or value for money.


Specifications Engine: 1.6-litre I4 Power: 123 hp Torque: 151 Nm 0-100 km/h: 11.5 seconds Price from: AED 48,000

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Tested: Ford Fiesta

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M O R E T H A N

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Tested: Ford Fiesta

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Ford fails to get the party started with the new Fiesta, but there’s hope on the horizon for the supermini, says Ian McGuinness

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Ford boasts that the new Fiesta is the most technologically advanced small car, with big-car features such as camera- and radar-based city braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure, blind-spot and cross-traffic warnings, as well as adaptive cruise control

uestion: do you love a car despite its faults or because of them? People certainly love Ford’s Fiesta; more than 17 million have been sold since it debuted in 1976. Yet among owners, including friends, family and folk I’ve just approached in car parks, there’s tacit acknowledgement that while the Fiesta feels almost magically nimble and is the best allround supermini, it doesn’t excel in any single area, has cramped rear seats and rides like a deckchair on an oak staircase. Perhaps relief is at hand with the new Fiesta, in five-door form and priced from AED65,000? Actually it’s not really all new, but we’ll come back to that. Do you soften it at the expense of the vivacity that so many owners love? So what has Ford done for this seventh-generation of a car which Henry Ford II green-lighted in 1972 as the ‘Bobcat’ project, styled by Ghia’s Tom Tjaarda, with a name borrowed from an Oldsmobile estate? Strangely, given that the looks are so similar, Ford has changed virtually everything – even the wheelbase is extended by 4 mm to get the one-inch larger standard wheels under the arches. The expensive tools to press the body panels have been changed, the hard points (the bits you attach the major components to) are slightly different and suspension pick-up points have been replaced, moved or both. Seamus McDermott, the programme manager, says: “Out of 2,500 parts, we’ve saved about 200.” That can’t have endeared him to Ford’s legendarily tough cost accountants. Yet previous generation and new are virtually indistinguishable. The outgoing model’s bonnet’s creases have disappeared, reappearing on the sides of the doors, new bumpers are a bit bigger and the roof spoiler is stubbier. Under the skin the suspension, developed by a team under vehicle dynamics manager Wolfgang Helbert, is all new. Still MacPherson-strut front, with a twist-beam rear, but with a wider track, and frictionreducing top mounts and better lower-arm bushing for the front, and larger bushes and a redesigned twist beam for the rear. Together with the larger wheels (15 to 18 inches), new-generation Michelin tyres, 4 mm larger diameter front discs and the adoption of rear discs for engines, the hardware looks good. While rumours of an Ecoboost engine abound, for now we must content ourselves with the 1.6-litre I4 front-wheel drive version. The transmissions a six-speed automatic. Ford boasts that the new Fiesta is the most technologically advanced small car, with big-car features such as camera- and radar-based city braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure, blind-spot and crosstraffic warnings, as well as adaptive cruise control. ME CAR 63


Tested: Ford Fiesta

That’s not entirely true, however, as you also have to buy most of that technology as options. Ford’s My Key system is also included where you can programme youngsters’ keys to restrict radio volume, top speeds and ensure seatbelt use. Rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are also available. And while none of the options seem exorbitant, there are a lot of them and by the time you’ve bought your safety packs and parking aids, you could be looking at as much as 30 per cent of the price of the car. The cabin feels pleasantly updated, with new materials and contrasting inserts in the dash. For the most part, there’s an impression of good quality and fine workmanship, but the door handles are made of horrible cheap plastic as scratchy as a mole in a bucket, and there are no roof lining grab handles which help old folk to get in. The new centre touchscreen is clear and relatively easy to use and – give a muted cheer – rotary volume and zoom controls are retained, though the ventilator below the screen means your fingers freeze if you linger on the controls. The satnav works fine, but the Bang &Olufsen stereo sounds over-bright, occasionally shrill. The new front seats have strange, V-shaped backs and are ME CAR 64

supportive but not altogether comfortable. The rear seats aren’t overly generous. At 330 litres, the boot is far from huge, but has a clever and useful swing-up false floor. The steering feels over-assisted and a bit lifeless on turning into corners, body roll is initially excessive and the damping control is poor if you drive hard on rough roads, where it feels ill at ease, rolling into corners, jolting and bouncing over mid-corner bumps. It’s not all bad, however. The refinement is improved, wind noise is down (though the test cars had a pronounced low-speed tyre rumble), it’s comfortable and braking performance is much improved over the old model, but the thrill of this remarkable little car simply isn’t there. As ever, Ford’s marketing department has determined how the new Fiesta will be perceived as much as the designers and engineers. In the softer guise, which includes the Ambiente trim, the latest Fiesta isn’t taut enough, hasn’t got that extraordinarily communicative steering and feels less fun and vivacious – in fact it’s more pipe and slippers. Usually we say that none of this matters since the Fiesta will sell by the bucketload, but with VW’s Polo replacement due soon, it does matter.


Specifications Engine: 1.6-litre I4 Power: 120 hp Torque: 152 Nm 0-100 km/h: 12.5 seconds Price from: AED 65,000

Still a formidable supermini, but the most popular models have lost the previous generation’s sublime combination of ride and handling. The boot is still tiny and the rear seats cramped, especially if you are unwise enough to choose the Titanium version. So maybe you wait to buy the ST-Line (living in hope it’s not just wishful thinking), and then you’ll understand what made the Fiesta special, but models with the softer suspension are vulnerable to forthcoming rivals.

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Fashion

Herschel Supply X Keith Haring Voyage Coach Jacket

Oliver Spencer X David Austen T-Shirt

Having established itself as the goto bag brand for cool kids in even cooler neighbourhoods, Vancouverbased Herschel Supply has finally launched its first apparel line. To mark the debut collection, pop artist Keith Haring has reworked this lightweight coach jacket with his iconic all-over dancing man print.

British style legend Oliver Spencer has been an immovable fixture on the menswear scene for years, so no doubt you’ll be excited at the opening of his new Notting Hill store, which is selling this limited edition T-shirt by artist David Austen. Those outside England’s capital can still put this week’s pay cheque to good use online.

Converse One Star x Tyler The Creator Tyler Okonma, better known as Tyler the Creator, is already making waves in the music world and now looks set to follow the well-trodden path into style. Teaming up with Converse, the Odd Future frontman has reworked the classic One Star court shoe with light blue suede uppers and one-of-akind graphics on the sock liner.

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Fashion

Frescobol Carioca Leme Tailored Swim Shorts Any man with a well-thumbed passport will know the importance of decent swimwear and they don’t come much better (or more difficult to pronounce) than Frescobol Carioca. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, the brand has a beach pedigree that allows it to turn out a range of smartly tailored swimmers that wouldn’t look out of place at the bar.

Fila X Disney Basketball Long-Sleeve T-Shirt ‘Nineties sportswear has come back in a big way during recent seasons and few do #throwback vibes like Fila. Channel two childhood heavyweights with this collaboration between the South Korean brand and Mickey Mouse, exclusive to Urban Outfitters.

H&M Linen-Blend Jacket Slim-Fit Helping to make smart summer dressing a breeze, H&M has produced a series of sartorial allies just in time for wedding season. The line of lightweight, breathable linen-blend suits comes in a range of colours, including this on-trend khaki, meaning you can stay stylish, not swampy, in the heat. ME CAR 67


Accessories

This Is Ground Tech Dopp Kit First deployed to GIs in WWII, the grooming dopp kit has been repurposed to suit the needs of modern, tech-savvy men. Cut from premium and durable leather, and with compartments for phones, tablets and cables galore, LA-based This Is Ground’s version deserves nothing less than a medal of honour.

Louis Vuitton iPad Case Heavy branding may be gauche on a truckload of travel trunks, but for a hint of logomania, Louis Vuitton’s hardcase iPad cover is the ultimate. With an ultra-slim design and durable leather construction, it’s blatant, sure, but that’s what makes it all the more brilliant.

Montblanc Meisterstück Leather Briefcase Dress for the job you want, as the old cliché goes, so add some chief executive chic to your armoury. Montblanc – German purveyor of corporate-friendly cases – has crafted a sleek leather laptop holder-cumbriefcase that’s more Apple than Apprentice. You’re hired.

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Accessories

Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk Canyon bicycles is collaborating with famed electronic group Kraftwerk to produce a limited edition run of bikes. Called the Ultimate CF SLX Kraftwerk, the 21 bikes produced will feature a geometric black-and-white design that harkens to Kraftwerk’s signature aesthetic developed by founding member Ralf Hütter. It’s the most complex design ever applied to a bike by Canyon; every reflective strip is cut to measure and hand-laid, taking a total of seven hours per frameset to complete.

Native Union Marble Apple Watch Dock A handsome timepiece deserves an equally attractive home when not in use. Native Union’s Apple Watch dock is carved from a solid marble base that magnetically holds the smartwatch in place while also charging it. Marbleous.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon The most elaborate watch ever produced by Patek Philippe, the Sky Moon Tourbillon requires two dials to fit 13 outrageous complications. The most audacious is a celestial chart of the northern hemisphere that allows the wearer to chart the course of the moon and stars, alongside a perpetual calendar, retrograde date and mean solar time function. Because, why not? The otherworldly piece is housed inside an 18-carat white gold case with intricate enamel hand-carved over 100 painstaking hours. ME CAR 69


Technology

Here One This pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds sound incredible. Unlike Apple’s AirPods, these buds create a seal to isolate audio. Using the earbuds is a breeze – just tap either bud and your music will pause. Where they shine through, though, is with their filter technology. One filter for example, should you be on a plane, is able to silence the engine, but increase the volume of the flight attendant’s voice, all while listening to your music in the background.

Essential Phone

Apple HomePod Apple’s new home speaker has six microphones at the top, a four-inch upward-facing woofer, and seven tweeters in its bottom. Powered by Apple’s A8 processor, the same as in the iPhone 6. Like with Google Home or Amazon Echo, you activate the speaker with a phrase – “Hey Siri” – to give it a command or ask it a question. Expect to see it available this coming December. ME CAR 70

Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, has manufactured a smartphone of his own. Outfitted with a gorgeous 5.7inch edge-to-edge display and made from premium material like titanium and ceramic, this device is a stunner. It doesn’t sport branding of any kind and is comparable to many of today’s flagship devices. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and has 128gb of internal storage.


Technology

LG W7 OLED TV Pictures just don’t do the LG W7 justice. It’s just a tenth of an inch thick and blends seamlessly into its surroundings. LG sells both a 65- and 77-inch variant. Its picture quality will blow you away. The TV has a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar that sounds just as good as this television looks.

Nintendo Switch Nintendo’s newest gaming console has been nearly impossible to get due to such high demand. The Switch features a unique design and offers one of the most versatile gaming experiences. The console is simply a 6.2-inch tablet with small controllers called Joy-Cons that attach to the sides of the screen to can be remove to use as wireless controllers.

Snapchat Spectacles These glasses offer one of the most unique ways of capturing videos. They look and feel like regular sunglasses, provide fantastic video quality, and offer extremely long battery life. Unfortunately, Spectacles can’t capture still images and only record video. On the plus side, they come in an array of bright colours, record clear audio, and allow you to capture moments hands-free.

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Grooming

Surface Anti-Pollution Skincare Anti-pollution skincare isn’t just a new buzzword in the grooming world. Unclean air can rob the skin of its moisture stores and speed up the ageing process, so it pays to be protected. The new line-up of toxic avengers from Italian brand Surface – including a hydrating face mist – is packed with powerful antioxidants that say suck it, smog.

Uomo Salvatore Ferragamo Casual Life The original Uomo fragrance by fabled label Salvatore Ferragamo was pure Italian style in a bottle. As the name would suggest, the Casual Life follow-up, which pulls on notes of lemon, coffee and musk, is much of the same with an added air of laid-back sprezzatura.

Lqd Skincare Since 2012, Australian skincare brand Lqd has been cleaning up on home turf (both on guys’ faces and at industry awards). Launched elsewhere, recently, as part of London Fashion Week Men’s, the brand is one to know for its no-nonsense approach to using active ingredients and cutting out chemical nasties such as parabens and sulphates.

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Grooming

Frédéric Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire After Shave Balm Even though it can be a total time-suck, taking care of your skin before and after shaving is key to avoiding nasty rashes and ingrown hairs. If anyone knows the benefits of putting the work in it’s Frédéric Malle, the master perfumer who spends between six and 18 months developing scents to go into his products. Though applying his new balm won’t take quite that long.

Original Dryfish Texturising Dry Shampoo These days, there are plenty of things it’s okay to steal from the fairer sex: her fragrance, her concealer, her heels. Wait, what? Dry shampoo has been one of women’s worst kept secrets for years and now guys have got their own. The grime and oil-sapping spray by London barbers Fish is a perfect refresher four days in to a festival.

Hugo Boss Iced Staying power doesn’t just mean how long a scent lingers on the skin, but how long it can hold its place on retailers’ shelves. Hugo by Hugo Boss has been worth a sniff for more than two decades and the latest remix is just as impressive – pulling on bracing mint notes and housed in a metallic version of the signature flask-shaped bottle. ME CAR 73


Modifications

T R A N S I T I O N I N G

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Modifications

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ModVans turns the Ford Transit into a modular, modern camper van

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an life has become such a big trend we’re not even sure it’s counter-cultural anymore. Actually, it seems like a pretty nice business to get into, whether you’re tallying up followers on Instagram or selling van conversions. California’s ModVans is one of the latest to do the latter, transforming the Ford Transit into a comfy rolling abode made to wander countrysides, coastlines and cityscapes. The modular van can also convert back to passenger and cargo forms, so when van life has to cede the stage to real life, it can handle daily commutes and errands just as well as it handles open-road adventures. The Ford Transit doesn’t seem to get quite as much camper van love as the Sprinters and Transporters of the world, but Ford does in fact own a 64 per cent share of the American motorhome chassis market when you add in larger Class A and C models with Class B camper vans, according to data from Statistical Surveys, Inc. If ModVans gets its operation up and running, it’ll give Ford some help gaining more of a footing. The startup has built a Transit-based prototype van named the CV1 that looks quite well thought out. It’s now trying to get a full-fledged conversion business off the ground. After becoming disillusioned with larger Class C motorhomes, entrepreneur and ModVans founder PJ Tezza thought smaller and decided to go with a camper van build. He narrowed his base van choices down to the Sprinter and Transit, choosing the latter based on reviews and ease of serviceability. Specifically, he started with a longwheelbase (3,759-mm) Transit with 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine. From there, ModVans got to work making the most of the space inside the van, starting with a rectangular pop-up roof with built-in bed. This roof opens up 6.5 feet of standing room inside the van. The CV1 seats up to five on a combination of two front seats and a three-seat rear row with two captain’s chairs and a separately mounted middle seat. The rear seats can be set up along the driver side wall in “camp mode,” mounted parallel to the front seats ahead of the kitchen block in “transit mode,” or removed completely when it’s time to haul cargo. Tezza explains that the rear seats are sourced from a partner company that pulls them out of Toyota Sienna minivans to create wheelchair-accessible conversions. All five seats are upholstered in leather, and the front passenger seat can swivel around to face the rear cabin when parked (because of the rear seating directly behind it, the driver seat does not). ME CAR 77


Modifications

The CV1 has one two-person bed in the roof and a second in the cabin. If you don’t mind getting cozy, ModVans rates sleeping capacity at up to four adults and two children. Because of the design and positioning of the rear bench, the seats don’t just fold flat to create the bed, as in other camper van designs. Instead, ModVans has created a removable bed frame that mounts over top the storage modules on either side of the rear cabin, providing a 4 x 6-foot elevated sleeping space. The folding mattress that slides on top is actually a bouldering pad that you could use outside as well as in. When not in use, the beams of the bed frame break down and store along the driver-side wall behind the rear-row seating. The mattress stores atop the passenger-side cabinet. The kitchen is located on the passenger side of the cabin, holding a dual-burner gas stove and a sink with high-arched, residential-style faucet. The cabinet below can be used for storage. The long storage cabinet behind the kitchen houses the 85-litre ME CAR 78

compressor fridge/freezer and 38-litre fresh water tank. When you pull the folding mattress off, the top of the cabinet serves as a large worktop. While much of the interior of this rear cabinet is taken up by the water tank, refrigerator and wheel well, ModVans says you can still find room for a large backpack or duffel bag. We wouldn’t necessarily expect to see bathroom facilities more formal than a portable toilet tucked under a bench in a camper van like this, but ModVans has built out a toilet closet in the rear. A two-wall partition works with the van wall and passenger-side rear door to create a private bathroom space around the full-height portable toilet with 23-litre black water tank. The toilet room can be accessed through the outside load door or from an inside door. The portable toilet can easily slide off its floor mount, and the bathroom walls can be removed just like the other RV equipment inside so you can easily ride without the bathroom, saving the extra space for cargo.


Because of the design and positioning of the rear bench, the seats don’t just fold flat to create the bed, as in other camper van designs. Instead, a removable bed frame mounts over the top of storage modules

The rear of the driver side fills out with another storage module and the electronic control panel. Modularity is such a big part of this camper van, that Tezza puts it right into the name of his company. All of the camper components and structural pieces are secured with removable fasteners so that everything can be pulled out, leaving a five-person van with plenty of cargo space. The rear seats can also remove, leaving an open cargo van. ModVans’ structural components use aluminium and plastic construction for lightweight, easy handling and sturdy performance, both inside the van and when being moved in and out. ModVans keeps the interior comfy with a 7,000 BTU gas heater and 10,000 BTU electric air conditioner. The electrical system with house battery and 2,000W inverter powers up electric appliances, keeps the LED lights on, and lets occupants plug in everything from mobile devices to power tools. The vehicle alternator charges the battery when the engine’s running and supplies power to the roofmounted A/C to keep rear passengers cool during hot rides. The A/C unit also includes a 1,500W, 5,000 BTU heater, which ModVans says can be used in place of the larger gas heater on cool (not cold) nights when hooked to shore power. The CV1 will come standard with Ford’s 275-hp 3.7-litre Ti-VCT V6, six-speed automatic transmission and limited slip differential, and buyers will be able to upgrade to the 310-hp 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6. It will also include an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford does not offer a 4WD system on the Transit, but ModVans will offer an aftermarket option for the CV1, adding a more off-road/all-weather-ready camper spec to the lineup. ModVans has put about 27,350 km on its CV1 prototype, camping out in rain, snow, wind and pounding sun. ModVans joins Wayfarer Vans and several other newcomers in bringing new modular camper van solutions to the market. It’s nice to see a move toward smaller, more practical motorhomes that can be used throughout the entire year. ME CAR 79


Motorsport

Mechanical failures make for a fascinating Le Mans Endurance racing is a seriously brutal game, where one small fault can be the difference between success and failure – and if ever there was a race to put that in focus, it was this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Toyota was foiled by poor reliability once again, while Porsche managed to overcome mechanical trouble of its own to secure a memorable win. The last few Le Mans have been dominated by the hyper hybrids in the LMP1 class, but this year played out a bit differently. Without everdominant Audi in the mix, the headline battle was to be fought between Toyota and Porsche. A catastrophic failure left the lead #07 Toyota TS050 stranded by the pit wall with just minutes remaining last year, making this year all about redemption. Unfortunately, engine troubles ruined its campaign once again. The #07 car showed good pace early in the race, but a clutch problem forced it to retire in the 10th hour, while the #08 was stranded in the garage as ME CAR 80

the team tried to fix a problem with its hybrid system. Shortly after the #07 failure, the #09 made contact with a slower car and subsequently caught fire. If ever there was an image to sum up Toyota’s luck at Le Mans, the #09 TS050 limping back to the pits was it. It wasn’t all rosy in the Porsche garage, either. The #01 Porsche 919 Hybrid had no real reason to push hard after Toyota dropped out of contention, and instead adopted a more sedate pace to try and avoid damaging the car. But even a softly-softly approach couldn’t save the lead Porsche from trouble. An issue with the turbocharged V4 engine forced its retirement with four hours left in the race. The story was very different in the #02 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which spent around an hour in the garage with a hybrid system failure and rejoined in 56th place. Usually that would spell disaster, but Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley kept plugging away,


Motorsport

passing the race leader – the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car from the LMP2 class – with just over an hour remaining, and managing to hold on for the race win. “The car was running very well,” says Earl Bamber. “There was an engine problem in a braking zone and I felt something break. There was smoke coming into the cockpit. I thought our race was over. They replaced the entire front shaft and got the car back on the track in 45 minutes. Thanks to the mechanics. We were 18 laps down and ended up battling for first place.” The podium was rounded out by two cars from the LMP2 class, the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing and #13 Vaillante Rebellion. Toyota’s lone survivor, the #09 TS050, managed to finish the race back in ninth place. Aston Martin survived an enthralling battle with Corvette Racing to secure a win in the GTE Pro class, and JMW Motorsport took the win in GTE Am. ME CAR 81


Motorsport

Ricciardo beats Bottas in Baku, as title rivals come to blows

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won a rollercoaster Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on Sunday, as rookie Lance Stroll took his maiden podium for Williams, pipped on the line by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to fourth place, despite being penalised for dangerous driving after hitting his Mercedes rival behind the safety car. It was an afternoon of non-stop drama at the Baku City Circuit, featuring no less than three safety-car periods and a red-flag race stoppage. Ricciardo might well have sniggered to himself as he crossed the finish line. The Australian had gone from the back to the front after an early pit stop to have debris cleared from his brakes dropped him to 17th place, and was perfectly placed when leaders Hamilton and Vettel had to make unplanned pit stops after a clash under the safety car had ME CAR 82

left their entente cordiale well and truly broken. Vettel and Hamilton continued powering along, the Englishman getting within two-tenths of the Ferrari as they eventually crossed the finish line but having to settle for fifth place as Vettel increased his points lead to 14. Fernando Alonso finally opened McLaren’s account for the season with two points for ninth place and behind him the Sauber drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson collided briefly on their way to 10th and 11th places, with McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne pushing the latter all the way home. This was the race of the season, when almost all of the top finishers were drivers who met misfortune early on, though it will undoubtedly be just as well remembered for the clash between Hamilton and Vettel which has soured their previously sporting battle.


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From racetrack to road.

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