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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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    The winners of the 2013 World Car Awards have been announced at the New York International Auto Show.

    World Car of the Year

    No surprises here. Following its success in 2012 with the Up! city car, Volkswagen once again took the main prize. This year it was the turn of the seventh-generation Golf, which has already been named the 2013 European Car of the Year.

    Volkswagen Golf GTD (2013) Front Side
    2013 World Car of the Year: Volkswagen Golf

    The three unsuccessful models on the shortlist were the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Porsche Boxster / Cayman and Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT86 / Toyota 86.

    World Performance Car

    It seems that the jurors stuck to the safe option by giving this award to the Porsche Boxster / Cayman.

    Porsche Cayman S (2013) Front Side
    2013 World Performance Car: Porsche Boxster / Cayman

    Of the other two finalists, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was perhaps considered too ostentatious to win, but surely the originality and relative affordability of the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT86 / Toyota 86 should have seen it clinch the title?

    World Green Car

    This was a difficult category to guess, because the three contenders represent such different technologies and price points.

    Tesla Model S (2013) Front Side
    2013 World Green Car: Tesla Model S

    In the end, the electric-powered Tesla Model S was chosen as the winner, beating the Renault Zoe and Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid Diesel.

    World Car Design of the Year

    Conversely, it was much easier to predict that the Jaguar F-Type would secure the design accolade.

    Jaguar F-Type (2013) Side
    2013 World Car Design of the Year: Jaguar F-Type

    While both the Aston Martin Vanquish and Mazda 6 might have been worthy finalists, their styling isn’t as innovative as the Jaguar’s.

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  • 03/29/13--16:46: The Camaro Z/28 returns
  • Chevrolet has given its Camaro a facelift. The updated 2014 model, unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, features redesigned front and rear ends that give it a wider, more purposeful stance.

    The changes have been made primarily to improve cooling and aid high speed stability. They include a shallower front grille, a wider lower air intake, new horizontal rear light clusters and a restyled rear bumper that now incorporates a diffuser.

    Chevrolet Camaro SS (2014) Front SideChevrolet Camaro SS (2014) Rear Side

    But the big news is the reintroduction of the hardcore Camaro Z/28. Fully street legal but aimed directly at track users, the package combines extra downforce, sharper handling and less weight.

    It won’t appeal to everyone though, as Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer, explained: “While the Camaro ZL1 offers exceptional performance on the street, the drag strip and the track, the Z/28 is entirely focused on the track performance. The Z/28 will be too track-focused for most drivers, but offers road-racers one of the most capable track cars ever offered from an automaker.”

    Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2014) FrontChevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2014) Dashboard

    Powering the Z/28 is the normally aspirated 7.0 litre LS7 motor, which sends its 500 bhp (373 kW / 507 PS) to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission (there’s no automatic alternative).

    Despite the large displacement, that output is actually less than the 580 bhp (432 kW / 588 PS) produced by the ZL1’s 6.2 litre supercharged engine. However, the LS7 unit is lighter, has a broader spread of torque, can rev higher and employs a number of race-derived components.

    All are attributes that should be useful around a circuit, so it’s unsurprising that Chevrolet is saying the Z/28 will set faster lap times than a ZL1. Performance figures haven’t been released yet, though.

    Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2014) InteriorChevrolet Camaro Z/28 (2014) Rear Side

    The superior pace isn’t just down to the engine. Thanks to a strict diet, the Z/28 is considerably lighter than regular Camaro variants. Thinner rear-window glass, special 19” forged alloy wheels and a smaller battery have all contributed to the weight loss. The sound deadening and audio system have been deleted altogether, while the air conditioning system has been relegated to the options list. The Z/28 still retains a 2+2 seating configuration, but the rear bench has been modified to rid it of a few pounds.

    Its chassis has been thoroughly reworked too. Stiffer spool-valve dampers with four-way adjustment for bump and rebound are fitted, along with firmer springs and suspension bushings. Fade-free braking is provided by lightweight Brembo carbon-ceramic discs.

    Additional aerodynamic grip comes courtesy of a large front splitter that works with a rear wing and an underbody panel. Completing the bodywork alterations are extended wheel arches and broader sills.

    The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro range will be available later this year.

    2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 - Preliminary Specifications
    Type Four-passenger coupé
    Construction Unitary galvanised steel body
    Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
    Type LS7 7.0 litre V8
    Displacement 7,008 cc (427 cu. in.)
    Bore and stroke 104.8 x 101.6 mm / 4.125 x 4.00 in.
    Block material Cast aluminium
    Cylinder head material Cast aluminium
    Valvegear Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder
    Fuel delivery Sequential fuel injection
    Compression ratio 11.0:1
    Power 500 bhp (373 kW / 507 PS) (estimated)
    Torque 637 Nm (470 lb/ft) (estimated)
    Gearbox Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual
    Differential Limited-slip featuring helical gears
    Front suspension Double-ball-joint, multi-link strut; direct-acting anti-roll bar; progressive-rate coil springs; inverted monotube shock absorbers
    Rear suspension 4.5-link independent; progressive-rate coil springs over monotube shock absorbers; anti-roll bar
    Traction control Chevrolet Performance Traction Management system; StabiliTrak electronic stability control
    Brakes Power-assisted; Brembo Matrix carbon ceramic front and rear discs; six-piston fixed front calipers, four-piston rear calipers
    Wheels Front 19 x 11 in.; rear 19 x 11.5 in.
    Tyres Pirelli PZero Trofeo R, P305/30ZR19

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    Images © General Motors.

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  • 03/30/13--13:09: 2014 Dodge Durango unveiled
  • An updated version of the Dodge Durango full-size SUV has made its public debut at the New York International Auto Show.

    The exterior tweaks are subtle, consisting of a mild facelift for the front end, the adoption of LED ‘racetrack’ taillight clusters and a restyled rear bumper.

    Dodge Durango (2014) Front Side

    On the inside the Durango retains its three-row seating, with a pair of captain’s chairs available for the middle row instead of the usual bench. The instrument cluster is now a 7” customisable thin-film transistor colour screen, while the redesigned centre console houses a touchscreen for operating the navigation, communication, entertainment and air conditioning systems. Voice control can also be specified.

    Technically, the most significant change is a new standard-fit eight-speed automatic transmission. Controlled via either a rotary shifter or steering wheel paddles, it’s reckoned to reduce fuel consumption by up to nine per cent when partnered with the 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 engine. As before, the alternative motor is a 5.7 litre Hemi V8 which produces 360 bhp (268 kW / 365 PS) and 529 Nm (390 lb/ft) of torque.

    To further improve efficiency, Dodge has introduced an Eco Mode. Activated automatically upon start-up, it dictates the gear shift patterns, throttle sensitivity and, for V8-powered versions, the cylinder deactivation function. What’s more, fuel delivery to the engine is cut when the vehicle is coasting.

    Given the Durango’s likely role as a family transport, safety is probably going to be a priority for many owners. For them, a number of additional features are being offered for the first time including adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning device.

    Production of the 2014 Dodge Durango is due to begin during the third quarter of 2013. Buyers will have a choice of SXT, Rallye, Limited, R/T or Citadel trim grades, although prices have yet to be announced.

    Dodge Durango (2014) SideDodge Durango (2014) Dashboard

    Dodge Durango (2014) Rear SeatsDodge Durango (2014) Rear Side

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    In the late 1980s, Peugeot twice won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with its 405 T16. This year, the firm is attempting to relive past glories by returning to Colorado with the new 208 T16.

    Full details about the car are due to be revealed later this month, but Peugeot has already confirmed that it’s going to be entered in the Unlimited class where pretty much anything goes.

    Peugeot 208 T16 2013 (Rendering) Front Side

    Driving the 208 T16 will be none other than nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb, who is being borrowed from sister brand Citroën for this one-off appearance.

    The Pikes Peak course, which is now fully paved, covers 12.42 miles (19.99 kilometres) and incorporates 156 turns. The 2013 event takes place on Sunday, June 30th.

    Peugeot 208 T16 2013 (Rendering) Rear SidePeugeot 208 T16 2013 (Rendering) Side

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  • 04/02/13--04:37: 2014 Buick Regal unveiled
  • Buick has launched the 2014 Regal at the New York International Auto Show.

    Outwardly, the updates include redesigned headlamps, LED daytime running lights, a more prominent front grille and bold LED rear light clusters.

    Buick Regal Turbo (2014) Front SideBuick Regal Turbo (2014) Interior

    But the biggest changes have taken place beneath the skin. The 2014 Turbo and GS models now share a retuned 1,998 cc all-aluminium turbocharged engine that produces 259 bhp (193 kW / 262 PS) with 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) of peak torque.

    For the Turbo, those figures represent gains of 39 bhp (29 kW / 39 PS) and 47 Nm (35 lb/ft) respectively, but bizarrely the GS is losing 11 bhp (8 kW / 11 PS). What makes the power reduction particularly odd is that it coincides with Buick’s decision make a Haldex all-wheel drive system available on the high performance GS for the first time.

    Buick Regal Turbo (2014) Rear SideBuick Regal GS (2014) Front Side

    The Turbo and GS both feature a Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission as standard. As an alternative, a six-speed manual gearbox appears on the options list but, in another slightly baffling move, it’s restricted to front-wheel drive versions of the GS only.

    As before, the third variant in the Regal line-up uses a 2.4 litre four-cylinder motor with the eAssist mild hybrid system. It too comes connected to a six-speed auto transmission.

    Buick Regal GS (2014) DashboardBuick Regal GS (2014) Rear Side

    Buyers will be able to choose from a more comprehensive suite of safety systems. Among these are camera- and radar-based devices such as lane departure warning, forward collision alert and rear cross traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, which can bring the Regal to a complete stop if needed, is also being offered.

    Sales of the 2014 Buick Regal are due to begin this autumn.

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    Images © General Motors.

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  • 04/02/13--14:57: 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso
  • The all-new Citroën C4 Picasso might not look as elegant as the current version, but thanks to innovative construction techniques and updated engines it promises more interior space plus better efficiency.

    Based on  PSA’s EMP2 platform (which will also underpin future Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall / Opel Zafira models), the 2014 C4 Picasso measures 4.43 m (14’ 6”) long. That’s actually slightly shorter than its predecessor, however a stretched wheelbase, wider track and lower floor mean extra cabin room.

    Citroën C4 Picasso (2014) Side
    2014 Citroën C4 Picasso. Scroll down for more images.

    Perhaps just as importantly, the kerb weight has dropped by 140 kg (308 lbs). Such a significant reduction has been made possible by the use of aluminium in the body structure and bonnet, while the tailgate and rear floor are made from composites.

    Consequently, the new C4 Picasso is as light as the smaller C3 Picasso. Together with enhanced aerodynamics, electric power steering, retuned engines and the standard fitment of stop-start on most variants, the result is an average 30 g/km fall in carbon dioxide emissions.

    In terms of fuel economy, star of the range is going to be the e-HDi 90 Airdream engine mated to a new six-speed clutchless gearbox. That particular arrangement achieves a combined 74 mpg (3.8 l/100km), with CO2 emissions of just 98g/km.

    One thing that could divide opinion is the styling. Although the front and rear ends work well, the side view is an odd collection of lines, bulges and a clumsy chrome ‘C’ motif around the windows.

    Of course appearances might not be a huge concern to many potential buyers, especially as Citroën is planning a comprehensive equipment list. Among the items available will be a park assist function, radar-controlled active cruise control, ultrasonic blind spot monitoring, a motorised tailgate and 360 Vision which uses four cameras to produce an all-round bird’s eye view.

    Sales of the 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso begin this summer.

    Citroën C4 Picasso (2014) DashboardCitroën C4 Picasso (2014) Front

    Citroën C4 Picasso (2014) Front SideCitroën C4 Picasso (2014) Rear Side

    Citroën C4 Picasso (2014) RearCitroën C4 Picasso (2014) Interior

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  • 04/03/13--15:46: 2014 Škoda Superb revealed
  • Škoda has given its flagship model a facelift. The updated Superb, which will be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month, features refreshed styling and more efficient engines.

    The totally redesigned front end adopts the new Škoda family look as already seen on the Rapid and Octavia. It’s a similar story at the rear, where both the hatchback and estate get LED light clusters and modified tailgates.

    Skoda Superb Hatchback (2014) Front SideSkoda Superb Estate (2014) Rear Side

    In pursuit of reduced fuel consumption figures, all diesel-powered variants (as well as 1.4 litre TSI petrol models) now feature kinetic energy recuperation and stop-start systems. Škoda says the result is savings of up to 19%, and it’s claimed the GreenLine version will achieve an average of 67.3 mpg (4.2 l/100km) while emitting 109 g/km of carbon dioxide.

    Available equipment includes an upgraded park assist function that can handle both parallel and reverse parking, keyless entry and hill hold control.

    Skoda Superb Hatchback (2014) DashboardSkoda Superb Hatchback (2014) Rear Side

    European sales of the 2014 Škoda Superb are due to begin at the end of June 2013. UK prices and specifications have yet to be confirmed.

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    Almost three-quarters of a century after production ceased, the Detroit Electric brand has been resurrected. The Michigan-based firm is planning a new range of electric cars, the first of which is the two-seat SP:01.

    If the SP:01 looks similar to the Tesla Roadster, that’s because both are based on an aluminium Lotus chassis. The bodywork is made from carbon fibre, which helps to keep the weight down to just 1,067 kg (2,354 lbs).

    Detroit Electric SP:01 (2013) Front Side

    Of course, a lack of bulk should mean better handling, performance and range. With power coming from a mid-mounted 201 bhp (150 kW / 203 PS) electric motor, the SP:01 can accelerate from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a very impressive 3.7 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

    Unusually for an electric car, drive is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. An automatic transmission is on the options list, though.

    Feeding the motor is a 37 kWh battery pack that delivers a range of over 180 miles (290 kilometres) according to the New European Driving Cycle test. Reasonable enough, however it’s not known to what extent that figure suffers if the SP:01 is driven to its full potential. Replenishing the battery takes an acceptable 4.3 hours using a bespoke ‘360 Powerback’ domestic recharging unit.

    Production of the SP:01 begins this August, but Detroit Electric only intends to build 999 examples. Prices will start from $135,000 (around £88,700 / €104,500 at current exchange rates) including a three-year warranty. The battery guarantee can be further extended to five years, but rather meanly that’s a cost option.

    Detroit Electric SP:01 (2013) RearDetroit Electric SP:01 (2013) Front

    Detroit Electric SP:01 (2013) SideDetroit Electric SP:01 (2013) Rear Side

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  • 04/06/13--09:25: Top 10: UK car sales Q1 2013
  • Fears that superstition would harm ‘13’ number plate registrations have proved to be unfounded.

    According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a total of 394,806 new cars were registered in March, a 5.9% increase on the same month last year.

    That brought the total for the first quarter up to 605,198 - a year-on-year improvement of 41,642 which was marginally ahead of the SMMT’s forecast.

    In a continuing trend, much of the additional volume came from the private segment, although the fleet and business sectors also showed signs of growth.

    Compared to 2012’s top ten table, both the BMW 1 Series and 3 Series are notable absentees. They have been replaced by the Peugeot 208 and Nissan Juke, while the other eight models appearing on the list remain unchanged.

    As expected, the Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular car.

    Ford Fiesta ST 3-Door (2013) Front Side
    The Ford Fiesta: Still topping the UK car sales chart.

    Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2013
    Position Manufacturer Model Registrations
    1 Ford Fiesta 34,309
    2 Ford Focus 25,081
    3 Vauxhall Corsa 24,561
    4 Vauxhall Astra 17,202
    5 Volkswagen Golf 15,726
    6 Nissan Qashqai 14,601
    7 Volkswagen Polo 11,753
    8 Peugeot 208 11,108
    9 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 10,301
    10 Nissan Juke 10,010

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  • 04/07/13--10:50: Smart fortwo edition21
  • Given the steady stream of special editions, it hardly seems worth bothering with a regular Smart fortwo city car. The latest, called the edition21, is based on the 70 bhp (52 kW / 71 PS) mhd pulse coupé or cabrio.

    It comes with a choice of black or white finishes for the tridion safety cell and body panels. Completing the package are discrete edition21 logos, a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel, black fabric and faux leather upholstery, a cup holder (wow!) and LED daytime running lights.

    Smart ForTwo Edition21 Coupé (2013) Front Side

    Smart ForTwo Edition21 Coupé (2013) Interior

    Available now in limited quantities, the Smart fortwo edition21 costs just £100 more than the standard fortwo pulse. That means a £9,575 price tag for the coupé, while the cabrio is £11,075.

    But perhaps the bigger incentive is a year’s free insurance for any edition21 buyers aged over 21. To further help sweeten the deal, Smart is also offering a special zero percent PCP finance scheme.

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    Škoda has launched a special edition of its special edition Fabia Monte Carlo.

    Called the Monte Carlo Tech, it features a satellite navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity which combined would usually be an extra £875.

    Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Tech (2013) Front Side

    Those two items might be the only specification upgrades, but Škoda has also slashed prices by £2,230.

    Consequently the petrol-powered 1.2 litre TSI 105PS Monte Carlo Tech costs £11,990, while the 1.6 litre TDI 105PS diesel version is £12,960. That makes them cheaper than their respective SE variants, which seems like quite a bargain.

    However, just 1,000 units of the Fabia Monte Carlo Tech will be available in the UK. Paintwork choice is restricted to Corrida Red or Candy White, and both colour options come with a contrasting black roof.

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  • 04/11/13--15:58: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Camper
  • Volkswagen has added the new Caddy Maxi Camper to its UK range of factory-built camper vans.

    More compact than the existing Transporter-based California and California Beach, the Camper might be better described as a camping car rather than a full-blown camper van.

    Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Camper (2013) Front Side 1Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Camper (2013) Rear Side

    That's because the original five-seat layout of the Caddy Maxi has been retained, meaning it can still be used as an everyday family vehicle. The limited modifications are based around a clever boot-mounted double bed, which folds out over the collapsed rear seats and comes with a built-in privacy screen.

    However, there are no built-in cooking or washing-up facilities. Another potential downside is that the stowed bed takes up most of the available cargo space, although it can be removed altogether when the Caddy isn't being used for camping trips. Nevertheless, a top-box could end up being an essential purchase.

    The package includes an integrated electric cool box (i.e. not a proper fridge), as well as a portable table and two chairs for outside use. Another standard feature is the tailgate-mounted awning which should make overnighting in the Camper a much more practical proposition.

    Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Camper (2013) InteriorVolkswagen Caddy Maxi Camper (2013) Front Side 2

    With prices starting from £23,397, the Camper is almost £4,000 more than a regular Caddy Maxi Life so it isn't especially cheap. Buyers have a choice of two diesel engines: either a 1.6 litre with 100 bhp (75 kW / 102 PS) or a 2.0 litre that produces 138 bhp (103 kW / 140 PS).

    For those on a tighter budget it's worth remembering that a similar effect could be created with an after-market removable camping box such as the Boot Jump from Amdro. While it's a more basic product, the cost including an awning is a relatively affordable £1,680.

    Another alternative is a comprehensive conversion such as the Danbury Caddy Dynamic, which boasts a double bed and rear-mounted kitchenette with a two-burner hob, grill, fridge-freezer, sink and electrically-pumped water supply.

    The Danbury retains the Caddy Maxi's rear seats meaning it's just as practical as he Camper. But prices range from £26,199 to £30,599 depending on engine and transmission choice, while an awning is a £399 option. For even greater versatility an elevating roof can be specified for an extra £1,495.

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  • 04/12/13--15:58: Renault Twin'Z concept
  • Unusually, Renault has chosen to unveil the electric-powered Twin'Z concept at a furniture exhibition, not a motor show. Revealed at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, it has been created in collaboration with British designer Ross Lovegrove.

    The Twin'Z is the latest member of Renault’s 'flower' series, which has already given us the DeZir, Captur, R-Space and Frendzy concepts. The programme sets out to develop the firm's design strategy 'through parallels with threshold phases of human existence'... whatever that means. Anyway, the Twin'Z is supposed to represent 'play'.

    Renault Twin'Z Concept (2013) Front Side

    Featuring a rear-mounted 67 bhp (50 kW / 68 PS) electric motor and rear-wheel drive, Renault reckons the Twin'Z has been inspired by models such as the 5 and the Twingo. Arguably its powertrain layout is more akin to the likes of the Dauphine and Floride from the 1950s, though.

    Energy is supplied by four lithium-ion battery packs that are located beneath the floor. They're said to offer a range of 100 miles (160 kilometres), while top speed is 81 mph (130 km/h).

    The Twin'Z's carbon fibre bodywork clothes a tubular frame chassis, a construction method that results in a weight of just 980 kg (2,160 lbs). It might measure only 3,627 mm (11' 11”) long, but 18” alloy wheels, minimal overhangs and a high waistline are intended to give distinctive proportions plus plenty of interior space.

    Entry to the cabin is via four power-operated doors that all open from the centre outwards, with access made easier by the lack of a B-pillar. Once inside, the driver isn't faced with a conventional dashboard. That's because the instruments have been replaced by a smartphone and control of the car's systems is via a centrally-mounted touchscreen tablet.

    Renault Twin'Z Concept (2013) InteriorRenault Twin'Z Concept (2013) Rear Side

    Renault Twin'Z Concept (2013) DashboardRenault Twin'Z Concept (2013) Side

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  • 04/14/13--15:46: 2013 Honda CRF250M
  • Honda has unveiled its new CRF250M supermoto.

    Based on the existing dual-purpose CRF250L, the 'M' version might look similar but there are a number of technical changes. These include the 17” wheels with their wider road tyres, an upgraded front brake, revised suspension settings and different gear ratios.

    Honda CRF250M (2013) Front Side

    UK sales of the CRF250M are due to begin this summer. The on the road price has been set at £4,099, making it £100 more expensive than the CRF250L.

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  • 04/15/13--12:47: MG CS concept teased
  • MG has released the first renderings of its CS concept, which will be unveiled at the Auto Shanghai show later this month.

    MG CS Concept (2013 Rendering) Front Side

    A compact 'urban SUV', the CS is being aimed directly at the young and trendy in an effort to broaden the brand's appeal.

    MG CS Concept (2013 Rendering) Rear Side

    While the distinctive-looking concept previews a production model, MG has yet to confirm whether it plans to build the CS in the UK as well as China.

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  • 04/17/13--15:21: Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
  • Earlier this month, Peugeot Sport confirmed its plans to enter the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. And now the car that will be contesting the Colorado event has been unveiled: the 208 T16 Pikes Peak.

    Because the 208 is going to be running in the Unlimited class, similarities between the T16 and the showroom version are purely superficial. While its basic silhouette might appear identical, the Pikes Peak car features a massive front splitter, extended wheel arches and a huge rear wing borrowed from the 908 LMP1 racer.

    Peugeot 208 T16 2013 Front Side

    The bodywork is constructed from carbon fibre but, apart from that, few technical details have been released by Peugeot. Even the engine, which looks like it could be rear-mounted in the T16’s spaceframe chassis, remains a mystery for now.

    Peugeot 208 T16 2013 Interior

    Peugeot 208 T16 2013 Rear

    As previously announced, nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb will be behind the wheel of the T16. So the campaign certainly won’t be lacking driving talent.

    The Pikes Peak course, which is now fully paved, covers 12.42 miles (19.99 kilometres) and incorporates 156 turns. The 2013 event takes place on Sunday, June 30th.

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  • 04/18/13--11:06: Yamaha X-MAX 400 launched
  • Yamaha has added to its maxi scooter range with the introduction of the X-MAX 400.

    The new arrival combines the compact dimensions of the existing X-MAX 250 models with a more powerful 395 cc single-cylinder engine.

    Yamaha X-MAX 400 (2013) Front Side

    An output of 31.1 bhp (23.2 kW / 31.5 PS) plus a ready-to-ride weight of 211 kg (465 lbs) result in swifter acceleration, as well as a top speed of over 90 mph (145 km/h).

    Included in the standard specification are LED lights front and rear, car-like instruments, an on-board computer, alloy wheels and dual-floating front disc brakes.

    Available from the end of May, the UK on the road price for the Yamaha X-MAX 400 is £5,399. Buyers will be able to choose from Midnight Black, Matt Grey or Absolute White paintwork.

    Yamaha X-MAX 400 (2013) SideYamaha X-MAX 400 (2013) Instruments

    Yamaha X-MAX 400 (2013) FrontYamaha X-MAX 400 (2013) Rear Side

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  • 04/18/13--15:00: Fiat Punto Jet Black edition
  • The Punto might still be one of the best-looking superminis available, but its age and some strong competition mean the Fiat isn’t at the top of many buyers’ shopping lists. To help remedy that situation - at least in the short term - the Jet Black limited edition has been created.

    Distinguished by its metallic black paintwork, matt black stripes and 17” smoked alloy wheels, the specification also includes sports suspension, adaptive cornering front fog lights, rear parking sensors, privacy glass, a start-stop system, side skirts and a rear spoiler.

    Fiat Punto Jet Black (2013) Front Side

    On the inside, equipment levels are equally as generous. Automatic climate control, electric front windows, cruise control, a voice-controlled multimedia system with Bluetooth, five airbags and a leather-trimmed steering wheel are all fitted as standard.

    The only engine available is the fairly basic 1.4 litre 8-valve unit that develops 76 bhp (57 kW / 77 PS). Nevertheless, it gets the Punto from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 13.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 103 mph (165 km/h). Combined cycle fuel consumption is a respectable 49.6 mpg (5.7 l/100km), while carbon dioxide emissions are 132 g/km.

    Perhaps the best thing about the Punto Jet Black is its on the road price of £12,000, which seems like good value compared to the rest of the range. However, production for the UK has been limited to just 300 units.

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  • 04/18/13--15:49: Suzuki Intruder C800C
  • Suzuki has added the Intruder C800C to its cruiser line-up.

    Compared to the regular C800, the changes are purely cosmetic and are limited to the fitment of some cast alloy wheels and a special two-tone paintjob. Buyers will have a choice of either Glass Splash White and Metallic Mystic Silver or Glass Sparkle Black and Candy Cherry Red colour schemes.

    Suzuki Intruder C800C (2013) Side

    The UK on the road price for the C800C has been set at £6,998, making it £175 more expensive than the C800.

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    Rolls-Royce is marking the 100th anniversary of its success in the gruelling Austrian Alpine Trials by introducing the Ghost Alpine Trial Centenary Collection limited edition.

    The 1913 event saw four Silver Ghosts take part. Three were works entries, but it is the car of privateer James Radley that serves as the inspiration for the special 2013 model.

    Rolls-Royce Ghost Alpine Trial Centenary Collection (2013) Front Side

    Although some might consider a brand like Rolls-Royce exploiting its heritage in this way rather vulgar, the result is tastefully done.

    On the outside, the pale blue paintwork and black finish for the grille and wheels mimic the Radley Silver Ghost. Completing the effect are a silver satin bonnet and hand-painted coachlines.

    Rolls-Royce Ghost Alpine Trial Centenary Collection (2013) Dashboard

    The interior features a unique clock design that shows the original rally stages and timings, while inlays on the dashboard and rear picnic tables recall the topography of the Alpine Trials course.

    As part of the celebrations, Rolls-Royce has also confirmed it will be entering the original Radley 1913 Silver Ghost and a 2013 Ghost Alpine Trial Centenary Collection in the 20-Ghost Club re-enactment of the 1913 Alpine Trial. Starting in Vienna on the 14th of June, the route will take competitors through Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia before returning to Vienna just over a fortnight later.

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