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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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    Continuation cars are the result of manufacturers deciding to restart production of a defunct (and usually very rare or desirable) model after a few decades. They can certainly polarise opinion.

    Supporters would argue that the practice allows a wider group of people to enjoy the ownership experience. Also, a continuation buyer is more likely to use their purchase on road or track, simply because it’ll be worth less than an original example.

    On the other hand, detractors would claim that these interlopers destroy the exclusivity of the genuine article, confuse the used market and drag values down.

    Shelby American clearly isn’t too bothered about the cynics, as it has just announced the 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. The ‘50th Anniversary’ part of that name commemorates the Daytona Coupe winning the FIA International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1965.

    Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary Continuation (2015) Rear Side 1

    Adding to the controversy is the planned build volume. Only six Daytona Coupes were constructed in the 1960s, but now Shelby intends to make a total of fifty continuation copies.

    That figure will be split between ‘authentic’ aluminium-bodied and ‘updated’ fibreglass-bodied versions.

    The former, which costs $349,995 (around £224,210 or €322,625 at current exchange rates), is effectively an exact recreation. Period features such as leaf spring suspension remain, however its tubular chassis is strengthened and disc brakes are fitted for improved safety.

    A starting price of $179,995 (approximately £115,300 or €165,930) means the fibreglass variant is a much cheaper option. As well as modern coilover suspension and ventilated brake discs, the specification gains various luxuries including electric windows, air conditioning and power steering.

    Deposits are being accepted now. Prospective customers need to be aware of two crucial details, though. Firstly, the amounts quoted above exclude an engine; secondly, the 2015 Daytona Coupe is being sold as a component car which requires final assembly.

    Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary Continuation (2015) Badge DetailShelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary Continuation (2015) Side

    Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary Continuation (2015) Rear Side 2Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary Continuation (2015) Rear

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  • 07/17/15--17:42: 2016 GMC Sierra first view
  • Like the mechanically identical Chevrolet Silverado, GMC’s Sierra full-size pick-up is getting a few minor styling changes for 2016.

    Each trim grade features its own redesigned front grille, which is now surrounded by LED headlamps and C-shaped LED daytime running lights. The bumpers have been updated too, plus the rear end gains new LED light clusters.

    GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Crew Cab (2016) Front Side

    For the time being, specification details are sparse. An enhanced MyLink infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be available, though.

    Deliveries of the 2016 Sierra are due to begin during the fourth quarter of this year.

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    Image © General Motors.

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    Since its European launch in 2014, the third-generation Nissan X-Trail has only been available with a 1.6 litre diesel engine. However, that situation is about to change with the arrival of a petrol alternative.

    The new 1.6 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged DIG-T unit produces 160 bhp (120 kW / 163 PS) with 240 Nm (177 lb/ft) of peak torque.

    That output, which is delivered via a six-speed manual transmission, is enough to accelerate the X-Trail from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 9.7 seconds. Top speed is 124 mph (200 km/h).

    Nissan X-Trail (2014) Front Side

    A standard stop-start system contributes to a respectable 45.6 mpg (6.2 l/100km) on the combined cycle. Carbon dioxide emissions of 145 g/km aren’t especially commendable, though.

    By comparison, the slower diesel X-Trail takes 10.5 seconds to reach 62 mph. As would be expected, figures of 57.6 mpg (4.9 l/100km) and 129 g/km indicate better efficiency.

    The petrol-powered X-Trail does have a major cost advantage, though.

    Prices range from £21,995 to £29,245, making it up to £1,590 cheaper than the diesel version. Such a significant difference means buyers should do some serious sums before deciding which powertrain to go for.

    UK deliveries are due to begin next month.

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    Paris is set to become a host city for the second FIA Formula E Championship. Its ePrix will be run on a street circuit around the Les Invalides area of the 7th arrondissement.

    The 2015/2016 schedule, which has just been approved by the World Motor Sport Council, includes eleven rounds.

    Compared to the just-completed inaugural season, the Miami event has disappeared. Also, the Monte Carlo race isn’t on the calendar because it alternates with the biennial Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.

    London (United Kingdom) ePrix Circuit
    Once again, the Formula E finale is going to take place in London.

    One venue has still to be revealed. However Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, gave a big clue when he said: “As for the location of the fifth round, the one on 19th March, we are working to maintain the same geographic allocation of races: the aim is to have a fourth ePrix on the American continent.”

    2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship - Provisional Calendar
    Round Date Venue
    1 17 October 2015 Beijing, China
    2 07 November 2015 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    3 19 December 2015 Punta del Este, Uruguay*
    4 06 February 2016 Buenos Aires, Argentina*
    5 19 March 2016 TBA
    6 02 April 2016 Long Beach, United States
    7 23 April 2016 Paris, France
    8 21 May 2016 Berlin, Germany
    9 04 June 2016 Moscow, Russia
    10 TBA London, United Kingdom
    11 TBA London, United Kingdom
    *Subject to confirmation.

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    One of the cars competing in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be wearing a very unusual colour scheme.

    The BMW Z4 GT3 of Alessandro Zanardi, Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler is getting a livery inspired by fictional Belgian comic book racing driver Michel Vaillant.

    BMW Z4 GT3 2015 #9 (Rendering) Michel Vaillant Livery

    Cartoon portraits of the three real-life team mates appear on the bonnet, while ‘Vrooaaw’ is emblazoned along the Z4’s sides. It should certainly be instantly recognisable.

    The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the fourth and penultimate round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series.

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    Buick has added a Sport Touring trim grade to its Encore crossover range.

    Identifying features comprise a rear spoiler, colour-coded door handles and a set of 18” alloy wheels. Also fitted as standard is the Convenience package, which includes remote starting, dual-zone climate control, fog lights, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert.

    Buick Encore Sport Touring (2016) Front Side

    Power comes from a new all-aluminium 1.4 litre petrol engine. Thanks to direct injection and a turbocharger, output is estimated to be 150 bhp (112 kW / 153 PS) while torque peaks at 240 Nm (177 lb/ft).

    The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic, but buyers will have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

    Buick Encore Sport Touring (2016) Rear Side

    Although fuel economy figures have not been released yet, efficiency should benefit from the use of low-friction components and a stop-start system. Buick is claiming that refinement is much improved, too.

    Sales of the 2016 Encore Sport Touring are due to begin later this year.

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    A unique grille, 22” polished wheels, quad-beam LED headlights and a chrome front bumper identify the new Ford F-150 Limited.

    Inside, the leather-covered seats are heated, with those in the front boasting cooling and massaging functions too. Eucalyptus wood trim, an exclusive instrument cluster design and a laser-engraved VIN plate further add to the upmarket ambiance.

    Ford F-150 Limited SuperCrew (2016) Front Side

    Also fitted as standard to this range-topping model are powered running boards, a panoramic sunroof and a remote tailgate release. A 360° camera, adaptive cruise control, a ten-speaker Sony radio and CD player, the Sync 3 infotainment system and a lane-keeping device are among the Limited’s technology highlights.

    Power is provided by a turbocharged 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6 engine, which delivers its 365 bhp (271 kW / 370 PS) via a six-speed automatic transmission. Customers can choose either rear- or four-wheel drive.

    Sales of the 2016 F-150 Limited are due to begin this winter.

    Ford F-150 Limited SuperCrew (2016) DashboardFord F-150 Limited SuperCrew (2016) Rear Side

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  • 07/22/15--14:12: 2016 Yamaha XSR700 unveiled
  • Yamaha's 'Faster Sons' philosophy involves creating modern motorcycles that have been strongly influenced by the brand's back catalogue. The latest bike to receive this retro treatment is the XSR700, which is based on the current MT-07 but pays homage to the classic XS650.

    Minimalist styling focusses on an aluminium fuel tank, unique instruments, wide handlebars and ten-spoke alloy wheels shod with Pirelli Phantom tyres.

    Yamaha XSR700 (2016) Front Side

    Like the MT-07, power is provided by a 689 cc parallel-twin engine that's mated to a six-speed gearbox. Sitting within the backbone frame as a stressed member, it produces 73.7 bhp (55.0 kW / 74.8 PS). A restricted version developing 46.9 bhp (35.0 kW / 47.6 PS) is also going to be available.

    With an upright riding position, a wet weight (including full tanks) of 186 kg (410 lbs) and standard anti-lock brakes, Yamaha wants the XSR700 to appeal to novices as well as more experienced riders. A seat height of 815 mm (32.1”) might be off-putting for some, though.

    When sales begin in November, buyers will have a choice of Forest Green or Garage Metal paintwork. A range of official accessories is being offered for any of them who want to personalise their purchase.

    A UK price has yet to be announced.

    Yamaha XSR700 (2016) Rear SideYamaha XSR700 (2016) Side

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    Subaru has confirmed that the WRX STI NR4 Spec competition model is going to be offered in Australia. Homologated according to the FIA's NR4 regulations, only motorsport users will be able to buy it.

    Subaru WRX STI NR4 Spec 2015 Front Side

    Prices start from A$38,000 including GST. An FIA-approved roll cage must be ordered and fitted prior to delivery, while Possum Bourne Motor Sport is developing a range of optional packages to further increase the final invoice amount.

    As per the road-going WRX STI, power comes from a 2.0 litre turbocharged boxer engine which is partnered with an all-wheel drive system.

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    When sales begin in September, the all-new Honda Jazz will cost from £13,495.

    A choice of just three trim grades should make the buying process fairly straightforward. Included on the entry-level S model's standard equipment list are cruise control, automatic lights, air conditioning and City-Brake Active to help avoid low-speed collisions.

    Honda Jazz (2016) Front SideHonda Jazz (2016) Dashboard

    The SE version adds the Honda Connect app-based infotainment system, which runs Android and is controlled via a 7” touchscreen. Also part of the specification are 15” alloy wheels, parking sensors, heated door mirrors and a Driver Assistance Safety Pack that relies on radar and cameras.

    Topping the range is the EX. As well as larger 16” wheels, it features climate control, smart entry and start, a better stereo and front fog lights.

    Honda Jazz (2016) InteriorHonda Jazz (2016) Rear Side

    A 1.3 litre i-VTEC petrol unit producing 100 bhp (75 kW / 102 PS) is the only engine being offered. Customers are going to be able to choose either a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission, though.

    2016 Honda Jazz – UK prices
    Trim grade Transmission On the road
    S Manual £13,495
    S CVT £14,595
    SE Manual £14,595
    SE CVT £15,695
    EX Manual £15,715
    EX CVT £16,815

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    To commemorate 65 years of the Plus 4, Morgan's racing division AR Motorsport has created a limited edition called the AR Plus 4.

    It's the most powerful 2.0 litre Morgan ever, thanks to a Cosworth-developed engine that produces 225 bhp (167 kW / 228 PS). Although performance figures have yet to be released, the extra output is complimented by numerous chassis upgrades.

    Morgan AR Plus 4 (2015) Front Side

    Most significantly, a new five-link suspension set-up replaces the usual leaf springs. Spax adjustable dampers are fitted too, plus there's a revised rear axle ratio and the brakes have been improved. The AR Plus 4 rides on matt black 16” wheels shod with Yokohama AD08R tyres.

    To reduce weight the bulkhead, floor panels and doors are made from aluminium. Other unique bodywork elements include LED lights front and rear, a domed panel where the spare wheel would usually be, a rear diffuser and a redesigned front valence that incorporates cooling ducts.

    Morgan AR Plus 4 (2015) Interior

    Interior highlights comprise a bespoke dashboard layout and plenty of exposed aluminium. Refinement hasn't been forgotten either, as additional soundproofing is part of the specification.

    Just fifty examples of the AR Plus 4 are being produced. Each has a price tag of £54,995, a figure that includes VAT but excludes on-the-road costs.

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    Following a protracted teaser campaign, Honda has finally revealed its CRF1000L Africa Twin.

    Built around a steel cradle frame, the all-new adventure bike is powered by a 998 cc parallel-twin engine. With two spark plugs per cylinder, an eight-valve cylinder head and a 270° phased crankshaft, it produces 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) and 98 Nm (72 lb/ft) of peak torque.

    Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin (2016) Front Side 1

    Unusually for this market segment two different gearboxes are being offered. As an alternative to a conventional six-speed manual, there's a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that boasts three shift modes (of which two are fully automatic).

    Like the original 1980s Africa Twin, the CRF1000L has been designed for use on rough terrain. Accordingly, ground clearance is a generous 250 mm (9.8”) and the suspension consists of a Showa upside-down front fork plus a Showa rear damper with hydraulic preload adjustment.

    Aiding traction is the optional Honda Selectable Torque Control system, which features three assistance levels and an 'off' setting.

    Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin (2016) Front Side 2

    Included in the specification are twin headlights, wire-spoke wheels and a saddle that can be adjusted to heights of either 850 mm (33.4”) or 870 mm (34.2”). Switchable anti-lock brakes will also be available.

    European deliveries of the 2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin are due to begin late this year. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed.

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    Given that the current L200 is the most popular pick-up in the UK, the fifth-generation version is going to be immensely important for Mitsubishi's sales figures. This all-new model, which will be offered initially in double cab guise only, arrives at UK dealers in September.

    The line-up comprises four trim grades. All are powered by the same 2.4 litre turbo diesel engine that features variable valve timing.

    Developing 178 bhp (133 kW / 181 PS) and 430 Nm (317 lb/ft) of peak torque, it can be joined to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearbox. Both transmission options come with part-time four-wheel drive.

    Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Crew Cab (2016) Front Side 1

    While the L200 Series 5 is unlikely to be ever considered particularly sporty, a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 10.4 seconds suggests that performance is actually rather respectable. Combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are 42.8 mpg (6.6 l/100km) and 169 g/km respectively - class-leading figures, according to Mitsubishi.

    To improve refinement larger shock-absorbing body mounts are used and overall the structure is stiffer. The suspension set-up has been revamped too, with an emphasis on bettering the L200's cornering ability. Consequently the front gains stiffer springs, recalibrated dampers and a thicker anti-roll bar. Traditional leaf springs are still used for the rear axle, though.

    At the business end, the cargo box is deeper and more voluminous than before. It's also stronger, thanks to toughened tailgate pillars and reinforced cross sills that are joined directly to the chassis.

    2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 – UK starting prices
    Trim grade Price
    4Life Double Cab £19,749
    Titan Double Cab £20,749
    Warrior Double Cab £23,049
    Barbarian Double Cab £23,799

    Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Crew Cab (2016) DashboardMitsubishi L200 Series 5 Crew Cab (2016) Rear Side

    Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Crew Cab (2016) Front Side 2Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Crew Cab (2016) Rear Seats

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  • 07/28/15--12:37: 2016 Infiniti Q30 first view
  • Infiniti’s entry into the extremely competitive premium compact hatchback segment is getting closer.

    The all-new Q30, which is due to be unveiled at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, will be a rival for models such as the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Lexus CT. Of course the Mercedes-Benz A-Class can be added to that list too, because the Q30 shares its underpinnings.

    Apart from a single official image, details from Infiniti are sparse. The issued blurb mentions ‘dynamic drive characteristics’, ‘confident and responsive performance’, ‘excellent ride and handling’ and ‘crafted trims’ - but what else is the PR department supposed to write?

    Infiniti Q30 (2016) Front Side
    The production Infiniti Q30...

    Infiniti Q30 Concept (2013) Front Side
    ...and the 2013 Q30 Concept.

    However, one thing is clear: the production Q30 looks almost identical to the striking concept version that first appeared almost two years ago. Consequently, the styling is made distinctive by large wheel arches, confident surfacing and Infiniti’s trademark rear-pillar kink.

    Market launch dates have yet to be announced.

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    Electric bicycle manufacturer HNF is using an innovative drive unit swing arm on its latest model, the Heisenberg XF1. The component, which was originally developed and patented by BMW's 'i' division, brings some significant benefits.

    For example, integrating the swing arm, Bosch electric motor and lightweight Gates carbon fibre drive belt means full rear suspension can be fitted. Furthermore, there's no need for a belt tensioner because the motor's spindle position relative to the rear wheel is always constant.

    HNF Heisenberg XF1 (2015) Side

    At the system's core is a complex four-bar mechanism that links a frame-mounted Rock Shox damper to the other elements. This solution allows up to 150 mm (5.9”) of suspension travel, plus the swing arm won't stiffen under hard acceleration. Consequently, HNF says grip and traction can be maintained regardless of the terrain.

    In Germany the HNF Heisenberg XF1 costs from €8,345. That's around £5,900 at current exchange rates.

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    When the current Colorado pick-up was first announced in November 2013, Chevrolet said a diesel option would be introduced across North America for the 2016 model year. Now, sure enough, it's here.

    The engine is a 2.8 litre, four-cylinder Duramax unit that features an iron block and an aluminium cylinder head. A variable-geometry turbocharger, common-rail fuel injection, a balancer shaft and an exhaust brake are also part of the specification. It can be run on B20 biodiesel, plus a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system helps to reduce emissions.

    Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Diesel Crew Cab (2016 North American Spec) Front Side

    Power output is 181 bhp (135 kW / 183 PS) at 3,400 rpm but, as with most diesels, more important is the 500 Nm (369 lb/ft) of peak torque that arrives at just 2,000 rpm. Disappointingly, fuel economy figures have yet to be released.

    Fitted as standard is a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission. For better refinement, this incorporates a 'Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber' damping mechanism.

    Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Diesel Crew Cab (2016 North American Spec) Rear Side

    Available in Crew Cab guise with a choice of LT or Z71 trim grades and two- or four-wheel drive, sales of the diesel-powered Colorado are due to begin later this year. Prices in the United States will be $3,730 more than the equivalent gasoline V6 versions, which could potentially offset any fuel cost savings.

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Thanks to a larger 'GenThree' supercharger, triple intercoolers and a high-flow air intake, Callaway's modified Corvette Z06 boasts some impressive figures.

    Compared to the regular model, power from the 6.2 litre V8 engine is up by 107 bhp (79 kW / 108 PS) to 757 bhp (564 kW / 767 PS). Similarly, peak torque becomes a tyre-shredding 1,053 Nm (777 lb/ft) instead of the usual 881 Nm (650 lb/ft).

    Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (Callaway SC757) (2016) Front Side

    Unsurprisingly, the effect on performance is dramatic. Zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) takes just 2.8 seconds, while the quarter-mile sprint time is 10.5 seconds.

    Included in the specification is a specially adapted bonnet panel that allows the supercharger housing to be partly exposed. This benefits both packaging and cooling.

    Anodised aluminium door sill kickplates, unique floor mats, a build plaque and Callaway badges further help to distinguish the SC757.

    In the United States, the upgrade costs $16,995 (plus the price of a Z06, obviously). A three-year / 36,000 mile Callaway warranty comes as standard.

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    If the new Victory Empulse TT looks familiar, that's because it's essentially a slightly modified Brammo Empulse R. Victory might be better known for building cruisers and tourers, but this move into electric motorcycles is simply explained: parent company Polaris bought Brammo in January 2015.

    The Empulse TT features a 54 bhp (40 kW / 54 PS) electric motor that produces 82 Nm (61 lb/ft) of peak torque. Connected to a six-speed gearbox via a hydraulically-activated clutch, it can be operated in Eco or Sport modes. Victory says top speed is in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h).

    Victory Empulse TT (2016) Side

    A 10.4 kWh lithium-ion battery provides the bike's energy. Despite having a higher capacity than the pack fitted to the Brammo Empulse R, estimated ranges aren't notably different.

    With careful throttle use and maximum benefit from the regenerative braking system, up to 100 miles (160 kilometres) of riding is possible between recharges. However, a more realistic indicator is the Motorcycle Industry Council 'combined 70 mph (112 km/h) highway and city' test cycle, which sees that figure drop to just 57 miles (91 kilometres).

    A complete recharge takes about 8.9 hours with a standard domestic outlet, or 3.9 hours when taking advantage of the optional 'Stage 2' fast charger.

    In the United States, where sales are due to begin later this year, the 2016 Empulse TT has a starting price of $19,999. Victory is going to gauge demand before deciding whether or not to offer it in Europe.

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    Following the 488 GTB's arrival in February, Ferrari has launched the striking 488 Spider. Of course, its main differentiating feature is a retractable hard top that can be raised or lowered in fourteen seconds.

    Among the other changes is a revised aerodynamics package. The aluminium spaceframe chassis has also received attention, primarily to ensure there's no loss of torsional rigidity.

    Ferrari 488 Spider (2016) Rear Side 1Ferrari 488 Spider (2016) Rear Side 2

    Mechanically the Spider is identical to the GTB. That means power is provided by a turbocharged 3,902 cc V8 engine which comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    With 660 bhp (492 kW / 670 PS) and 760 Nm (560 lb/ft) of peak torque, the Spider has performance to match those svelte looks. It can sprint from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 3.0 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 203 mph (325 km/h).

    Ferrari 488 Spider (2016) DashboardFerrari 488 Spider (2016) Front Side

    Efficiency isn't too bad either, although many prospective owners won't be very interested in the subject. For the record, combined cycle fuel economy is 24.7 mpg (11.4 l/100km) and carbon dioxide emissions are 260 g/km.

    The 488 Spider will first appear in public at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September. Ferrari hasn't confirmed a UK price yet, but it's expected to be in excess of £200,000 when sales commence early next year.

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  • 07/30/15--15:55: Opel announces the Astra TCR
  • Next season should see the all-new Astra competing on circuits around the world, as Opel has already begun developing it for touring car racing. The competition version, which will be aimed primarily at customer teams, is going to comply with current TCR regulations.

    TCR is intended to be a more cost-effective alternative to top-tier series such as the World Touring Car Championship. All cars are powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine producing around 325 bhp (242 kW / 330 PS) with 410 Nm (302 lb/ft) of torque, but 'balance of performance' adjustments can be made to keep them evenly matched.

    Opel Astra TCR 2016 (Rendering) Front Side

    Opel Astra TCR 2016 (Rendering) Rear Side

    Under TCR rules aerodynamic aids such as a rear wing and a front splitter are permitted, but their dimensions and positioning are tightly controlled. Also allowed are larger arches to accommodate the wheels, which can be up to 10” wide with an 18” diameter. The rest of the bodywork has to remain pretty much standard, though.

    Naturally a complete suite of safety equipment must be fitted too. However, in line with TCR's money-saving ethos, various other items are banned. These include telemetry systems, driver aids and bespoke transmissions.

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    Images © General Motors.

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