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News and views about cars, bikes and motorsport. Covers new cars and motorcycles, auto industry news, motoring issues and motor racing.

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    Mitsubishi has announced that a specially-prepared Outlander PHEV is going to compete in October’s Baja de Portalegre 500.

    The event, which is the tenth and final round of the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, is run over 500 kilometres (310 miles) of mainly gravel-covered roads in eastern Portugal.

    Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Cross Country Rally 2015 (Rendering) Front Side

    Naturally the all-wheel drive Outlander plug-in hybrid will be extensively modified.

    Based on the latest post-facelift model, the alterations are due to include tougher longer-travel suspension, larger tyres and the fitment of various mandatory safety items. A higher-capacity battery pack plus a returned engine should help deliver some extra performance, too.

    Hiroshi Masuoka - who won the Dakar Rally in 2002 and 2003 behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero - has already been named as the Outlander’s driver and team leader.

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    Production of the original Land Rover Series I began in 1947, ahead of its launch the following year. Since then, two million examples of the Series and Defender models have left the Solihull factory.

    To celebrate that milestone, a one-off ‘Defender 2,000,000’ has been created with the help of some enthusiasts, brand ambassadors and people with connections to the vehicle’s long history.

    Land Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon '2,000,000' (2015) Front SideLand Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon '2,000,000' (2015) Badge Detail

    This unique Defender 90 is painted in Indus Silver with a contrasting Santorini Black finish for the roof, wheels, grille and door mirror caps.

    A map of Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey (where brothers Maurice and Spencer Wilks first devised the Land Rover concept) appears on the leather-covered seats, plus it’s engraved into one of the front wings. There’s also a commemorative aluminium plaque on the driver’s seat plinth, along with several ‘2,000,000’ badges and logos.

    Land Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon '2,000,000' (2015) InteriorLand Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon '2,000,000' (2015) Side

    After making various public appearances during 2015, ‘Defender 2,000,000’ is going to be auctioned by Bonhams in December. All proceeds will be split between the Red Cross and the Born Free Foundation.

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    With preparations for its GT3 racing programme continuing, Lexus has decided to enter an RC F GT Concept in this month’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

    The car, which will be driven by ex-FIA GT2 World Champion Justin Bell, is going to run in the Time Attack Division for production-based vehicles.

    Lexus RC F GT Concept 2015 Front Side

    Lexus RC F GT Concept 2015 Interior

    Power comes from a 467 bhp (348 kW / 473 PS) 5.0 litre V8 engine that’s connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Carbon fibre body panels and polycarbonate glazing are among the measures employed to keep the GT Concept’s weight down to just 1,420 kg (3,130 lbs).

    Now fully tarmac-covered, the Pikes Peak course is 12.42 miles (19.98 kilometres) long. It incorporates 156 turns and rises to an elevation of 14,115 feet (4,302 metres).

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    Alfa Romeo has celebrated its 105th birthday by (finally) unveiling the Giulia.

    As a compact sports saloon, the new arrival will have to take on talented rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE. To say that’s no easy task is an understatement.

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (2016) Front Side 1

    It replaces the 159, which ceased production in late 2011. After such an inordinate delay there can be no excuses if the Giulia exhibits any major shortcomings.

    Significantly, both rear- and all-wheel drive will be offered. In this segment front-wheel drive lacks cachet, plus it struggles to deliver top-notch handling balance. Many Audi A4 owners might disagree, though.

    Excellent driving dynamics are promised. Alfa Romeo claims that the steering response is best-in-class, while the suspension comprises double wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear. Furthermore, a Torque Vectoring system allows the rear differential to distribute torque separately to each wheel, thus maximising traction.

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (2016) Rear

    Keeping the weight down and splitting it evenly between both axles were other key objectives. To help achieve those aims, the range-topping Quadrifoglio model makes use of carbon fibre or aluminium for many of its body panels. Carbon ceramic brake discs are fitted too and the rear crossmember is made from an aluminium and plastic composite.

    Powering the Quadrifoglio is a six-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit that has been developed with input from Ferrari. It produces 503 bhp (375 kW / 510 PS), which is enough for a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of just 3.9 seconds. The rest of the engine line-up has yet to be revealed.

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (2016) Front Side 2

    As well as performance, styling is an important aspect of any Alfa Romeo. The Giulia doesn’t disappoint. In particular, the proportions work well thanks to a long wheelbase and short overhangs.

    However, some elements do appear somewhat derivative. The outlets behind the front wheels that effuse body-side swage lines are very reminiscent of the current BMW M3, for example. Also, the rear light clusters look like they’ve been borrowed from a Maserati GranTurismo.

    Giulia market launch dates and pricing are still to be confirmed.

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    Following last month’s launch of the new sixth-generation Camaro coupé, Chevrolet has revealed a convertible version.

    The latest drop-top Camaro features a power-operated, multi-layer fabric roof. Improvements in refinement are promised thanks to better thermal and acoustic insulation.

    Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible (2016) Rear Side

    For extra convenience (and posing value) the roof can be opened remotely via the key fob, plus opening or closing can take place at speeds up to 30 mph (48 km/h). Once retracted, it’s automatically stowed out of sight beneath a hard cover.

    Just as importantly, Chevrolet is saying that the 2016 Camaro convertible’s body structure is stiffer and lighter by around 90 kg (200 lbs) compared to its predecessor. Those factors should both enhance agility and reduce scuttle shake.

    A choice of two trim grades and three engines will be offered. Deliveries are due to begin early next year.

    Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible (2016) Front SideChevrolet Camaro SS Convertible (2016) Side

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    Images © General Motors.

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  • 06/26/15--15:29: Toyota GT86 Blanco launched
  • GT White Pearl paintwork plus some red and grey body graphics identify the new Toyota GT86 Blanco special edition.

    Further adding to its unique look is a set of 18” ten-spoke alloy wheels with an anthracite finish.

    Toyota GT86 Blanco (2015) Front

    Inside, the extra specification comprises leather upholstery and heated front seats. There’s also an individually-numbered centre console plaque, although Toyota hasn’t actually disclosed how many examples of the GT86 Blanco will be built.

    The UK price is £28,500, which makes a Blanco £3,500 more expensive than the regular model. Deliveries are due to begin at the beginning of August.

    Toyota GT86 Blanco (2015) Rear SideToyota GT86 Blanco (2015) Front Side

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    Mini has unveiled the all-new 2016 Clubman, which will become part of a five-strong (and more premium) model range.

    Mini Cooper S Clubman (2016) Rear Side

    There are two obvious major differences compared to the previous version. First, an increase in length from 3,961 mm (12’ 11”) to 4,253 mm (13’ 11”) clearly indicates that this is a much larger car with enough room inside for five people.

    Indeed, the latest Clubman isn’t merely a Mini 5-door Hatch with some extra bodywork at the rear. Versus the latter, its wheelbase and width have been extended by 100 mm (4”) and 73 mm (3”) respectively.

    Mini Cooper S Clubman (2016) Rear SeatsMini Cooper S Clubman (2016) Front Side

    The second change concerns the doors. Gone is the single rear-hinged ‘Clubdoor’ that helped to provide access to the back seats (albeit from one side only). Now there are four conventional side doors - a very practical but less distinctive arrangement.

    Twin rear tailgate doors remain, although they’ve gained some rather hideous taillight clusters plus a kitsch chrome ‘Clubman’ inscription. Behind them lies up to 1,250 litres of luggage space.

    Mini Cooper S Clubman (2016) RearMini Cooper S Clubman (2016) Dashboard

    The Clubman’s launch sees the introduction of a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS). An optional eight-speed automatic transmission is going to be available for the first time in a Mini, too.

    Cooper Clubman UK OTR price: £19,995
    Engine 1,499 cc three-cylinder
    turbocharged petrol
    Power 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS)
    Torque 220 Nm (162 lb/ft)
    Transmission Standard: 6-speed manual
    Optional: 6-speed automatic
    Cooper S Clubman UK OTR price: £22,755
    Engine 1,988 cc four-cylinder
    turbocharged petrol
    Power 189 bhp (141 kW / 192 PS)
    Torque 280 Nm (206 lb/ft)
    Transmission Standard: 6-speed manual
    Optional: 8-speed automatic
    Cooper D Clubman UK OTR price: £22,265
    Engine 1,955 cc four-cylinder
    turbocharged diesel
    Power 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS)
    Torque 330 Nm (258 lb/ft)
    Transmission Standard: 6-speed manual
    Optional: 8-speed automatic

    Like its predecessor, the 2016 Clubman will be built at Mini’s Oxford plant. UK deliveries are expected to begin in the autumn.

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    3.5 million examples of the original Chevrolet Cruze have been sold around the world since it was introduced in 2008. Undoubtedly the all-new second-generation model, which has just been unveiled, will be under tremendous pressure to emulate that success.

    Chevrolet Cruze (2016 North American Spec) Front Side

    Ahead of deliveries beginning early next year, here are ten things to know about the 2016 Cruze:

    1. It’s still a four-door sedan

    Don’t be fooled by the sleeker profile, because the compact Cruze is being launched in four-door saloon guise. Whether or not five-door hatchback and estate versions are in the pipeline remains to be seen.

    2. Dimensions are up

    Like the 2016 Vauxhall / Opel Astra, the latest Cruze is based on GM’s D2XX flexible platform architecture. As a result, overall length has grown by 68 mm (2.7”) to 4,666 mm (183.7”), and its wheelbase is 2,700 mm (106.3”). That means more interior space, especially for rear-seat passengers.

    3. Weight is down

    Thanks to a bodyshell made from high-strength steels and the use of aluminium for some chassis components, the Cruze’s bulk has been reduced by up to 113 kg (250 lbs). Furthermore, Chevrolet is saying the structure is stiffer than before.

    4. There’s just one engine

    Initially, at least. It’s an all-aluminium 1.4 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol unit. Producing 153 bhp (114 kW / 155 PS) with 240 Nm (177 lb/ft) of torque, it can be mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The estimated 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time is eight seconds.

    5. A diesel alternative is coming

    This is promised for 2017, by which time pollution concerns might have devastated demand for diesel-powered cars.

    6. Four trim grades will be offered in North America

    The selection comprises L, LS, LT and Premier, plus an optional RS appearance package.

    7. Two rear suspension set-ups have been developed

    Premier models feature a sophisticated Z-link rear axle, which is claimed to deliver better driving dynamics. L, LS and LT variants make do with a cheaper and simpler torsion beam.

    8. Plenty of safety devices are going to be available

    Present on the list are ten airbags, collapsible pedals, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, a rear-view camera, Lane Keep Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Alert.

    9. Infotainment won’t be lacking

    As well as a standard MyLink system that uses a 7” dashboard screen, complete smartphone integration can be provided by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Among the other technology highlights are wireless phone charging and OnStar 4G LTE with its associated Wi-Fi hotspot.

    10. Cruze continues to be a global car

    Starting with North America, more than forty markets are due to get the 2016 Cruze. However, they’re unlikely to include any in Europe following Chevrolet’s revised strategy for the continent. Also, it’s worth noting that the version already sold in China is slightly different.

    Chevrolet Cruze (2016 North American Spec) InteriorChevrolet Cruze (2016 North American Spec) Rear Side

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Following an appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Subaru has announced that the Levorg estate is going to be offered in the UK.

    Here, it’ll be known as the Levorg GT. Full specifications have yet to be revealed, but one powertrain option already confirmed is a 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS) 1.6 litre boxer petrol engine combined with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.

    Subaru Levorg GT (2016) Front Side

    All-wheel drive is of course set to be a major selling point. However, Subaru also seems keen to emphasise the Levorg’s refinement, interior space and premium cabin feel.

    Sales are due to begin in September.

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    As part of a mid-life refresh for the entire A-Class range, the high-performance Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic version is getting a series of technical and cosmetic tweaks.

    The changes start with the 2.0 litre turbocharged engine. Power is up by 20 bhp (15 kW / 21 PS) to 375 bhp (280 kW / 381 PS), while torque has risen from 450 Nm (332 lb/ft) to 475 Nm (350 lb/ft).

    Together with revised ratios for the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the result is a drop in the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time by 0.4 seconds to 4.2 seconds. Top speed remains electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).

    Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic (2016) Front Side

    The AMG Dynamic Select driving mode selector becomes part of the specification for the first time. Offering a choice of four settings, it alters various parameters such as the exhaust note, steering feel, transmission response and traction control sensitivity.

    Optionally available is an AMG Dynamic Plus package. To maximise traction, this features a front axle differential to augment the standard 4Matic all-wheel drive system. AMG Ride Control adaptive damping and an additional ‘Race’ mode are also included.

    Styling revisions have focussed on the front end. There’s a reprofiled bumper, plus LED headlights are now fitted.

    The 2016 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic is due to arrive at dealers in September. A UK price has yet to be announced.

    Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic (2016) InteriorMercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic (2016) Rear Side

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    Bentley has unveiled the Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series. Created by the firm’s Mulliner division, it promises to be a very exclusive limited edition.

    That’s because just seven examples are going to be built. As the name suggests inspiration has been provided by the Breitling Jet Team, which flies aerobatic displays using seven Aero L-39C Albatros jets.

    Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series (2015) Front Side

    An Onyx and Hallmark two-tone paintjob with yellow highlights matches the colour scheme seen on the team’s aeroplanes. The same bright shade is used to provide some contrast inside, too.

    Also part of the package are special logos for the head restraints and some unique doorsill kick plates. As a finishing touch, the carbon fibre dashboard panel incorporates a graphic showing the Breitling Jet Team in ‘Avenger’ formation. Each car will have a different Albatros picked out in yellow.

    The intention is for delivery to take place at next month’s Boeing Seafair Airshow in Seattle, but only after the seven customers have been flown in the Breitling Jet Team L-39C that corresponds to their new Bentley.

    Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series (2015) DashboardBentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series (2015) Rear Side

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    Forty models have been provisionally named as candidates for the 2016 European Car of the Year award.

    The final list is due to be published at the beginning of December, after which a first jury vote will choose seven nominees.

    Then, a second ballot is going to decide the winner. Organisers intend to announce the result on the 29th of February, just ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

    The European Car of the Year title usually goes to a worthy (but not necessarily very exciting) contender from a mainstream manufacturer. The last three victors were the Volkswagen Passat, Peugeot 308 and Volkswagen Golf, for example.

    On that basis, the likes of the Renault Kadjar, Škoda Superb and Vauxhall / Opel Astra would have to be favourites this time.

    Vauxhall Astra (2016) Front Side
    The new Vauxhall / Opel Astra is one of forty
    2016 European Car of the Year candidates.

    The 2016 candidates are:
    • Alfa Romeo Giulia
    • Audi A4
    • Audi Q7
    • Audi R8
    • BMW X1
    • BMW 7 Series
    • Ferrari 488 GTB
    • Fiat Aegea
    • Ford Mustang
    • Ford S-Max / Galaxy
    • Honda HR-V
    • Honda Jazz
    • Hyundai Tucson
    • Infiniti Q30
    • Jaguar XE
    • Jaguar XF
    • Kia Optima
    • Kia Sorento
    • Land Rover Discovery Sport
    • Mazda 2
    • Mazda CX-3
    • Mazda MX-5
    • McLaren 570S
    • Mercedes-AMG GT
    • Mercedes-Benz GLC / GLC Coupé
    • Mercedes-Benz GLE / GLE Coupé
    • Renault Espace
    • Renault Kadjar
    • Renault Talisman
    • Škoda Superb
    • SsangYong Tivoli
    • Subaru Levorg
    • Subaru Outback
    • Suzuki Vitara
    • Tesla Model X
    • Toyota Mirai
    • Vauxhall / Opel Astra
    • Vauxhall Viva / Opel Karl
    • Volkswagen Touran
    • Volvo XC90
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  • 07/07/15--15:14: Top 10: UK car sales Q2 2015
  • A total of 1,376,889 new cars were registered in the UK during the first six months of 2015, which was the highest half-year figure ever recorded.

    In fact, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows that the market grew by 7% versus the same period last year.

    One trend seen during the first quarter has continued, however: the Fleet sector was responsible for 89% of the 89,624 extra year-on-year units registered so far in 2015. By contrast the Private category rose by a relatively modest 2%, which would indicate that true retail demand is merely holding steady.

    The top ten league is certainly evidence of UK car buyers' consistent tastes. Compared to last quarter, the models occupying the first nine positions are unchanged. Only the appearance of the Mini Hatch in tenth spot (replacing the Fiat 500) prevented the table from looking identical.

    Mini John Cooper Works 3-Door Hatch (2015) Front Side
    The Mini Hatch finished the second quarter
    as the UK's tenth most popular car.

    Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q2 2015
    Position Manufacturer Model Registrations
    1 Ford Fiesta 71,990
    2 Vauxhall Corsa 50,125
    3 Ford Focus 45,078
    4 Volkswagen Golf 38,261
    5 Nissan Qashqai 34,501
    6 Vauxhall Astra 29,966
    7 Volkswagen Polo 28,980
    8 Audi A3 25,765
    9 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 24,676
    10 Mini Hatch 23,455

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    No prizes for guessing the type of customer that Mini is targeting with the new Countryman Business.

    Based on the existing Cooper D variant equipped with the ALL4 all-wheel drive system, its extra kit is intended to lure corporate users away from more obvious fleet-orientated marques (which nowadays includes BMW, by the way).

    Mini Cooper D ALL4 Countryman Business (2015) Front Side

    The enhanced specification list features satellite navigation and cruise control. They should help to make long journeys on the UK’s congested roads slightly less stressful.

    Automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors, a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, the storage compartment pack and automatic air conditioning are also fitted as standard.

    Mini Cooper D ALL4 Countryman Business (2015) Rear Side

    Completing the upgrades are some 17” 5-Star Triangle Spoke alloy wheels, which replace the usual 16” items.

    The Mini Cooper D All4 Countryman Business has an on the road price of £22,455.

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    Volkswagen Motorsport has transformed the seventh-generation Golf into a race car that’s set to enter the TCR International Series.

    The TCR touring car championship - which is in its inaugural season and was originally known as TC3 - aims to provide global competition at a reasonable cost.

    So far, the Seat Leon Cup Racer has dominated by winning nine out of fourteen races. That’s actually good news for Volkswagen, because Seat is helping its sister brand with the Golf’s development.

    Volkswagen Golf TCR 2015 Front Side

    Power is provided by a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection. Its 325 bhp (243 kW / 330 PS) and 410 Nm (302 lb/ft) of torque is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    Along with 18” wheels that sit beneath widened arches, a front splitter plus a prominent rear wing visually differentiate the Golf TCR from a regular showroom model. As expected, the stripped-out interior features a substantial roll cage and a single seat.

    Liqui Moly Team Engstler is going to run two cars at each of the four remaining rounds of 2015. The campaign starts at the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend.

    Officially, the Golf TCR is still a concept. Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, commented: “We will use the rest of the season to test the car under competitive conditions and evaluate a possible customer racing project from 2016.”

    Of course, being ready to race means it’s not really a concept. And the talk of ‘testing’ in such a public environment? That just seems like a PR insurance policy in case the Golf fails to perform well.

    Volkswagen Golf TCR 2015 InteriorVolkswagen Golf TCR 2015 Rear Side

    Related post:
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    Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA has confirmed that 21 races are set to constitute the 2016 Formula One World Championship.

    Along with the addition of two more events, the season start date has been pushed back by three weeks to the beginning of April. Those factors combined should make for an extremely busy schedule.

    The other major changes versus 2015 are:

    • Russia moves from October to May.
    • Austria and Britain swap places.
    • Azerbaijan joins the series courtesy of the inaugural Baku European Grand Prix.
    • Germany returns to the calendar.
    • Hungary moves from July to August.
    • Malaysia moves from March to September.
    • Japan moves from September to October.
    Baku (Azerbaijan) Circuit
    A new Baku street circuit will host the 2016 European Grand Prix.

    So quantity is definitely promised, but most fans will be hoping for quality also. That’s going to be hard to achieve if a single team rapidly establishes dominance (something which has happened far too often in recent years).

    2016 FIA Formula One World Championship - Provisional Calendar
    Round Date Event
    1 03 April Grand Prix of Australia (Melbourne)
    2 10 April Grand Prix of China (Shanghai)
    3 24 April Grand Prix of Bahrain (Sakhir)
    4 01 May Grand Prix of Russia (Sochi)
    5 15 May Grand Prix of Spain (Barcelona)
    6 29 May Grand Prix of Monaco (Monte Carlo)
    7 12 June Grand Prix of Canada (Montreal)
    8 26 June Grand Prix of Great Britain (Silverstone)
    9 03 July Grand Prix of Austria (Spielberg)
    10 17 July Grand Prix of Europe (Baku)
    11 31 July Grand Prix of Germany (Hockenheim)
    12 07 August Grand Prix of Hungary (Budapest)
    13 28 August Grand Prix of Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
    14 04 September Grand Prix of Italy (Monza)
    15 18 September Grand Prix of Singapore (Marina Bay)
    16 25 September Grand Prix of Malaysia (Sepang)
    17 09 October Grand Prix of Japan (Suzuka)
    18 23 October Grand Prix of USA (Austin)
    19 30 October Grand Prix of Mexico (Mexico City)
    20 13 November Grand Prix of Brazil (São Paulo)
    21 27 November Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

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    Deciding how cars that compete in the World Rally Championship should look is a tricky business. To provide a dramatic sporting spectacle they need to appear purposeful, yet the manufacturers’ marketing people will still demand some visual similarities to their showroom models.

    The latest homologation regulations mark a clear shift towards the first of those requirements. They have just been approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council and are due to apply from 2017 onwards.

    Bodywork changes focus on a defined ‘free zone’. This permits front and rear overhangs that can be longer by 60 mm (2.4”) and 30 mm (1.2”) respectively, bigger door sills and additional aerodynamic elements ahead of the front wheels.

    World Rally Car Concept 2017 (Rendering) Front Side

    A larger fixed rear wing plus more design freedom for the rear diffuser are also part of package. Overall width is to be limited to 1,875 mm (73.8”), while the car’s length must be at least 3,900 mm (153.5”).

    Better performance is promised by a 25 kg (55 lbs) weight reduction combined with a power rise to around 375 bhp (280 kW / 380 PS).

    Key to achieving the latter is an increase in the turbo restrictor’s diameter from 33 mm (1.3”) to 36 mm (1.4”). The 1.6 litre engine capacity and 2.5 bar turbo boost pressure limit are unaltered.

    Just as importantly, currently homologated cars will remain eligible to compete in the WRC beyond 2017. That could give an opportunity for more privateer teams to enter the series.

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    A special TripleBlack version is joining BMW’s R 1200 GS range for the 2016 model year.

    Of course, that name is a big indicator of how the bike looks. Black metallic paint covers the fuel tank and front mudguard, while the fork slider tubes gain a black anodised finish.

    BMW R 1200 GS TripleBlack (2016) Front Side

    Contrast is provided by a grey frame, together with a unique two-tone seat which has a ‘GS’ motif on the pillion section. Cross-spoke wheels with gloss black rims - as usually seen on the R 1200 GS Adventure - complete the distinctive specification.

    The TripleBlack’s arrival coincides with the introduction of two optional safety features for the R 1200 GS and R 1200 GS Adventure.

    Firstly, ABS Pro allows the anti-lock braking system to be used when cornering. Sensors that measure bank angle determine how swiftly brake pressure can build up, thereby preventing the motorcycle from suddenly changing direction or trying to get upright mid-bend.

    Secondly, the dynamic brake light function warns following vehicles of a sharp deceleration. When slowing from speeds above 31 mph (50 km/h), the brake light flashes. Then, as the bike gets below 9 mph (14 km/h), the hazard lights come on too. Availability is going to be limited to EU countries, though.

    Both the regular R 1200 GS and the Adventure variant are getting a new selection of colour schemes for 2016, but that’s the only other change.

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    A redesigned front end identifies the 2016 Silverado full-size pick-up. More contemporary than before, it features a lot less chrome as well as revised lighting.

    Full specifications have yet to be revealed, but Chevrolet is promising the increased availability of eight-speed automatic transmissions.

    Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 Crew Cab (2016) Front Side

    From a technology perspective, one highlight is going to be an enhanced MyLink infotainment system. This will incorporate Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for the first time.

    Sales of the 2016 Silverado are due to begin later this year.

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    Image © General Motors.

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    As facelifts go, the one being applied to the Mazda BT-50 is extremely subtle.

    Styling changes are limited to new lights front and rear, a redesigned grille and some different wheels. A choice of three cab types remains.

    Mazda BT-50 Dual Cab (2016) Front Side

    Inside, Mazda is claiming a higher level of refinement for its Thai-built pick-up. One notable addition to the available equipment list is a rear-view reversing camera.

    Mechanically things are entirely unaltered, which means the engine line-up still comprises a couple of turbocharged diesel units. The 2.2 litre four-cylinder option produces 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS), while the more powerful 3.2 litre five-cylinder alternative boasts 197 bhp (147 kW / 200 PS).

    Sales of the 2016 BT-50 are scheduled to begin later this year. Australia and Thailand will be the first markets to receive it.

    Related posts:
    2016 Mazda CX-3 first view
    Mazda BT-50 Freestyle

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