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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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    For the first time, the Metropolitan Police has some hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles on its fleet. Eleven examples of the Toyota Mirai – some fully liveried, some remaining plain – are being used for general purpose and response work.

    Toyota Mirai Police Car (2018) Front Side

    Naturally, politicians and senior police officers alike are keen to point out the environmental benefits of cars that emit only water from their exhaust pipes. Taxpayers might be more concerned about cost though, because each Mirai has a retail price of around £66k.

    Toyota Mirai Police Car (2018) Rear Side

    So was the total expenditure £726k? ‘No’ is the unequivocal answer to that question, not least because the project received a grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking initiative. While the actual amount of funding hasn’t been disclosed, it’s likely to be significant.

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    Volkswagen Motorsport’s new pure-electric all-wheel drive prototype has been named I.D. R Pikes Peak.

    It’s a supremely logical choice. ‘I.D.’ is the label being applied to the brand’s electrified vehicles, ‘R’ already denotes high-performance Volkswagen models and the car will compete at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.

    Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak 2018 Top

    Technical specifications remain secret for now, but a couple of additional renderings have just been released.

    Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak 2018 Rear Side

    As has been previously declared, Volkswagen wants the I.D. R Pikes Peak to break the event’s existing electric-car record. To achieve that goal, the 12.42 miles (19.99 kilometres) course needs to be covered in less than 8 minutes 57.118 seconds.

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    For 2018, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is getting a new Safety Car. The Mercedes-AMG GT R– which replaces a GT S after three seasons – brings some more power and pace to the role.

    Indeed, with a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine producing 577 bhp (430 kW / 585 PS), the GT R can accelerate from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 3.6 seconds. Its top speed meanwhile is 197 mph (318 km/h).

    Mercedes-AMG GT R Formula 1 Safety Car (2018) Front Side

    A roof-mounted light bar, bodywork graphics and a roll-over protection bar are the obvious items of extra equipment. However, apart from the addition of an AMG Track Package and ceramic brakes, the specification has been left fairly standard.

    The 2018 F1 season begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix. Bernd Mayländer will once again be the Safety Car’s driver.

    Mercedes-AMG GT R Formula 1 Safety Car (2018) InteriorMercedes-AMG GT R Formula 1 Safety Car (2018) Rear Side

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    When announcing a new car that has sporty aspirations, the manufacturer usually gives some indication of performance potential. Not so with the Corsa GSi.

    Strangely, Vauxhall / Opel hasn’t mentioned an engine at all (but apparently the GSi will have the “efficiency of the regular model”). Seemingly the focus for now is the chassis, because it adopts the set-up currently used on the Corsa VXR and OPC twins.

    Vauxhall Corsa GSi (2019) Front Side

    The GSi is going to be offered in three-door guise only. A honeycomb front grille, 18” alloy wheels, sill extensions and a prominent rear spoiler help to create a suitably purposeful look. The theme continues inside, where features include Recaro front seats, leather upholstery and aluminium pedals.

    Sales are due to begin later this year.

    Vauxhall Corsa GSi (2019) Rear SideOpel Corsa GSi (2019) Front Side

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    Last year’s L200 Barbarian SVP limited edition must have been a success, because Mitsubishi has just announced the Barbarian SVP II. Created by the company’s Special Vehicle Projects team, the new model closely follows its predecessor’s formula.

    Indeed, a very similar specification includes a bespoke front grille, 17” alloy wheels, BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres, arch extensions, side steps and load-bed illumination. The interior meanwhile benefits from leather and faux suede upholstery, unique floor mats, foot-well mood lighting and the Smartphone Link Display Audio system.

    Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II Double Cab (2018) Front SideMitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II Double Cab (2018) Dashboard

    A striking colour scheme is what really differentiates the Barbarian SVP II. Available with either Diamond Black or Atlantic Grey paintwork, both options are complemented by numerous orange highlights (which certainly won’t be to everybody’s taste).

    Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II Double Cab (2018) InteriorMitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II Double Cab (2018) Rear Side

    250 examples of the Barbarian SVP II will be built by Mitsubishi and prices start at £29,830 (excluding VAT). As usual, there’s a choice of six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmissions for the L200’s 2.4 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine.

    Dealers are accepting orders now, ahead of the first deliveries in May.

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    Honda has confirmed that the production version of its third-generation Insight hybrid will appear at this month’s New York International Auto Show.

    The new arrival, which has a wheelbase of 270.0 centimetres (106.3 inches), is based on the current Civic’s architecture. However, Honda describes the Insight as a “premium compact sedan” that sits between the Civic and Accord in the brand’s North American range.

    Honda Insight (2019) Front Side

    A 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, an electric motor / generator and a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack comprise the Insight’s powertrain. Total system output is rated at 151 bhp (112 kW / 153 PS) with 267 Nm (197 lb/ft) of torque.

    There’s a choice of Normal, Econ or Sport driving modes, but the combustion engine runs most of the time regardless. Indeed, pure-electric range is only around one mile (1.6 kilometres). While full performance and efficiency figures have yet to be released, 55 mpg US (66 mpg UK / 4.3 l/100km) in the city should be possible.

    LX, EX and Touring trim grades are being offered. Equipment levels are fairly generous, as all variants feature three-setting regenerative braking, LED headlights, heated door mirrors, Bluetooth and a rear-view camera. Also fitted is Honda Sensing, a suite of technologies which includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Braking.

    Deliveries of the 2019 Insight are due to begin during the summer. At the moment, availability in Europe seems unlikely.

    Honda Insight (2019) Interior 1Honda Insight (2019) Interior 2

    Honda Insight (2019) Rear SideHonda Insight (2019) Dashboard

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    Bentley Motorsport is intending to enter this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a Bentayga. Competing in the Production Class, the aim is to set a new SUV record.

    To achieve that feat, the twisting 12.42 miles (19.99 kilometres) course must be covered in less than 12 minutes 35.61 seconds. Or, in other words, an average speed exceeding 59.17 mph (95.22 km/h) is required.

    Bentley Bentayga PPIHC 2018 Front Side

    The Bentayga PPIHC is fitted with mandatory safety items such as race seats, full harnesses, a roll cage and built-in fire extinguishers. However, all major mechanical components – including the air suspension set-up and the 600 bhp (447 kW / 608 PS) 6.0 litre turbocharged W12 engine – are unmodified. Even the Pirelli tyres are identical to those found on the showroom model.

    Rhys Millen, from New Zealand, has been chosen to drive the Bentley. He was the event’s overall winner in 2012 and 2015, so experience certainly won’t be an issue.

    The 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb takes place on the 24th of June.

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    Just a few weeks after the Volvo XC40 won the 2018 European Car of the Year title, the larger XC60 has been named 2018 World Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show.

    Volvo XC60 (2018) Side
    Volvo XC60

    2018’s World Luxury Car is the Audi A8, while the BMW M5 impressed jurors enough to claim the World Performance Car prize.

    BMW M5 Saloon (2018) Front Side 1
    BMW M5

    The somewhat pointless World Urban Car award (that unimaginatively seems to use size as its prime criterion) has gone to the Volkswagen Polo. Much more relevant is the World Green Car which, unsurprisingly and deservedly, is the Nissan Leaf this year.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Front Side
    Nissan Leaf

    Finally, Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar was judged to be the 2018 World Car Design of the Year.

    Land Rover Range Rover Velar (2018) Front Side
    Land Rover Range Rover Velar

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    For the first time, Nissan’s ProPILOT driver assistance system is available to buyers of the Qashqai crossover.

    The option – which costs £795 – is only being offered on the range-topping Tekna and Tekna+ trim grades, though. Another important caveat to note is that it has to be combined with a dCi 130 diesel engine and the Xtronic automatic transmission.

    Nissan Qashqai Pilot One Edition (2018) Front Side

    ProPILOT essentially uses a camera and a radar to automate acceleration, braking and steering when travelling within a single lane. Activated via a steering wheel button, the technology has been calibrated to work in stop-start traffic as well as at higher speeds. Indeed, the absence of a clutch pedal allows ProPILOT to bring the vehicle to a halt in heavy congestion without the risk of stalling.

    To mark the introduction of ProPILOT, the Qashqai Pilot One Edition has been created. Based on the Tekna+, equipment includes extra exterior chrome, nappa leather upholstery and sports pedals. Unique door sill guards and a centre console badge are also fitted.

    Nissan Qashqai Pilot One Edition (2018) Steering Wheel DetailNissan Qashqai Pilot One Edition (2018) Rear Side

    Tekna and Tekna+ customers who prefer a manual gearbox haven’t been entirely forgotten. For them, there’s the £495 Drive Assist Pack that comprises Intelligent Lane Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist.

    Trim grade Option Powertrain OTR starting price
    Tekna Drive Assist Pack dCi 130 manual 2WD £29,525
    Tekna Drive Assist Pack dCi 130 manual 4WD £31,225
    Tekna ProPILOT dCi 130 Xtronic £31,275
    Tekna+ Drive Assist Pack dCi 130 manual 2WD £31,325
    Tekna+ Drive Assist Pack dCi 130 manual 4WD £33,025
    Tekna+ ProPILOT dCi 130 Xtronic £33,075
    Pilot One Edition N/A dCi 130 Xtronic £33,380

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    Since its launch in 2015, the Cadillac CT6 has only been offered with four- and six-cylinder engines. Now, though, the range is gaining an all-new V8 – a move that should appeal to the brand’s traditional customer base.

    Displacing 4.2 litres (255 cubic inches), the aluminium unit incorporates a ‘hot V’ layout which places a pair of low-inertia twin-scroll turbochargers in between the two cylinder banks. Cadillac says that this arrangement minimises turbo lag while benefiting packaging.

    Cadillac CT6 V-Sport (2019) Front Side

    Two versions are planned. In standard guise, estimated output is 500 bhp (373 kW / 507 PS) with 750 Nm (553 lb/ft) of peak torque. For the high-performance V-Sport variant those figures increase to 550 bhp (410 kW / 557 PS) and 850 Nm (627 lb/ft) respectively.

    Both options will be combined with a Hydra-Matic 10L90 ten-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

    To help efficiency, the CT6 V8 features Active Fuel Management (to deactivate four of the cylinders under light throttle loads), a stop-start system and direct injection. However, the key miles per gallon stats have yet to be disclosed, so their effects remain unknown.

    Cadillac CT6 V-Sport (2019) InteriorCadillac CT6 V-Sport (2019) Rear Side

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    Images © General Motors.

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    With a growing number of cities imposing access restrictions or levies on diesel vehicles, more urban delivery operators are going to need a zero-emissions alternative. The new MAN eTGE is intended to satisfy that demand.

    Initially, this additional variant is being offered in standard-wheelbase panel van guise with a high roof. The eTGE is front-wheel drive but, in order to accommodate a 36 kWh battery pack beneath the load area, the rear-wheel drive TGE’s bodyshell is used because of its slightly higher floor.

    MAN eTGE Panel Van (2018) Front Side

    A maximum range of around 99 miles (160 kilometres) isn’t particularly impressive. However, MAN reckons that average daily driving distances in built-up areas rarely exceed 62 miles (100 kilometres).

    While nine hours are required for a full recharge via a domestic socket, a dedicated AC wallbox is able to accomplish the task in five and a half hours. Alternatively, a 40 kW rapid charger can replenish the batteries to 80 percent capacity in forty-five minutes.

    In terms of performance, a 134 bhp (100 kW / 135 PS) synchronous electric motor with 290 Nm (213 lb/ft) of immediately-available torque should provide fairly brisk acceleration. Understandably, top speed is less relevant, hence a 55 mph (90 km/h) restriction.

    eTGE prices start at a considerable €69,500 (approximately £60,650 at current exchange rates). As deliveries are limited to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway for the time being, UK customers won’t have to decide whether or not that amount is too much.

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  • 04/05/18--07:45: Top 10: UK car sales Q1 2018
  • 474,069 new cars were registered during March 2018, a drop of 15.7% compared to the same month last year. Such an apparently dramatic reduction needs to be viewed in context, though.

    Firstly, March 2017 saw a spike in demand as customers rushed to avoid revised Vehicle Excise Duty rates that were introduced in April 2017. Secondly, as the graph below from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders illustrates, anything between 400,000 and 500,000 units should be considered ‘normal’ for the period.

    SMMT March New Car Registrations 2002 - 2018

    The fuel type figures reveal that buyers are continuing to eschew diesel. Indeed, its first-quarter market share fell from 44.0% in 2017 to 33.5% in 2018. Significantly, the ‘alternative’ (i.e. hybrid and pure-electric vehicles) category still only accounts for 5.1% of sales, so petrol clearly remains the preferred substitute.

    Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2018 - By Fuel Type
    Fuel 2018 2017 Change Change %
    Diesel 240,614 360,518 -119,904 -33.3%
    Petrol 441,182 426,093 +15,089 +3.5%
    Alternative 36,693 33,405 +3,288 +9.8%
    Total 718,489 820,016 -101,527 -12.4%

    Unsurprisingly, the Ford Fiesta was – by a huge margin – the most popular model.

    Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2018 - By Model
    Position Model Registrations Market Share
    1 Ford Fiesta 32,808 4.6%
    2 Volkswagen Golf 21,203 3.0%
    3 Nissan Qashqai 16,914 2.4%
    4 Ford Focus 15,560 2.2%
    5 Vauxhall Corsa 15,352 2.1%
    6 Ford Kuga 13,096 1.8%
    7 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 12,213 1.7%
    8 Mini Hatch 11,724 1.6%
    9 Vauxhall Mokka X 10,885 1.5%
    10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 10,832 1.5%

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    Lotus has seemingly become addicted to producing special editions. The latest one is the Exige Cup 430 Type 25, which involves some cosmetic changes and a rather hefty price tag.

    As might be guessed from its name, this particular Exige Cup 430 is inspired by the Type 25 Formula One car that achieved numerous successes during the 1960s.

    Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 (2018) Front Side

    Accordingly, the specification features Lotus Racing Green metallic paintwork with yellow stripes (although if such a scheme doesn’t appeal, then an Old English White finish with green highlights is the alternative). Side-skirt extensions and some unique decals complete the exterior alterations.

    Inside the Type 25, a wooden gear knob is fitted, various trim elements are body-coloured and the black Alcantara upholstery gains contrasting stripes and stitching. An enhanced standard equipment list includes carpets, floor mats, air conditioning, cruise control and an audio system.

    There are no mechanical upgrades so, like a regular Exige Cup 430, power is provided by a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 engine. Thanks to 430 bhp (320 kW / 436 PS) plus 440 Nm (325 lb/ft) of peak torque, performance is very impressive. The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes just 3.3 seconds, for instance.

    Fittingly, twenty-five examples of the Type 25 are going to be built. Exclusivity is assured then, but incredibly the outlay required is a six-figure sum – £110,000, to be exact.

    Lotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 (2018) InteriorLotus Exige Cup 430 Type 25 (2018) Rear Side

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    With one in ten 570S Coupé customers currently ordering the Track Pack option, McLaren’s decision to begin offering it to 570S Spider buyers as well makes a lot of sense.

    The Track Pack’s main components are carbon fibre race seats, ten-spoke forged alloy wheels, Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres and a sports exhaust. Together, they contribute to an overall weight saving of 33 kg (72 lbs).

    McLaren 570S Spider with Track Pack (2018) Side

    An Alcantara-covered steering wheel, extra carbon fibre cabin trim pieces and the McLaren Track Telemetry system are also included.

    In the UK, the Track Pack – which can’t be retrofitted to existing cars – adds £17,160 to the invoice for a new 570S Spider.

    McLaren 570S Spider with Track Pack (2018) InteriorMcLaren 570S Spider with Track Pack (2018) Dashboard

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    Guests of Audi attending Formula E races in Europe can now experience passenger rides in the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo.

    This unique pure-electric car was originally a virtual creation for Vision Gran Turismo, a project that commemorates the PlayStation game’s fifteenth anniversary.

    Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo (2018) Front Side

    The physical version features three motors (two for the rear axle and one for the front axle), permanent all-wheel drive and variable power distribution. Its total system output of 804 bhp (600 kW / 815 PS) is combined with a surprisingly heavy curb weight of 1,450 kg (3,196 lbs).

    Nevertheless, a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of less than 2.5 seconds indicates that performance will be impressive. Audi hasn’t disclosed battery range or recharge times, though.

    Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo (2018) SideAudi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo (2018) Rear Side

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    While the updates might be hard to spot, the post-facelift Outback can be recognised by its redesigned front end. Inside, the changes are equally as subtle, but gloss black trim pieces, silver surrounds and enlarged touchscreens are the telltale signs.

    Equipment upgrades for 2018 focus on safety. In particular, Lane Keep Assist – which automatically applies steering corrections to prevent course deviations – has been added to the EyeSight suite of assistance technologies.

    Subaru Outback (2018) Front Side

    Furthermore, extra exterior-view cameras are now fitted to the front grille and the base of the passenger-side door mirror. For enhanced night-time driving on twisty roads, steering-responsive LED headlights come as standard for the first time.

    Prices for the SE version start at £29,995 and the SE Premium alternative costs from £33,010. Additional kit on the latter includes leather upholstery, electric adjustment for both front seats, a sunroof, a powered tailgate and bigger 18” alloy wheels.

    Subaru Outback (2018) Rear Side

    Significantly, Subaru is no longer offering a diesel-powered Outback, so the only available engine is a 2.5 litre, naturally-aspirated, four-cylinder petrol unit.

    At first glance, 172 bhp (128 kW / 175 PS) and 235 Nm (173 lb/ft) of peak torque seem acceptable enough. However, they don’t translate into decent performance or efficiency, primarily because the rest of the powertrain consists of a Lineartronic continuous variable transmission and permanent all-wheel drive.

    Such an unusual amalgamation allows the Outback to accelerate from rest to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 10.2 seconds, before going on to a top speed of 123 mph (198 km/h). 38.7 mpg (7.3 l/100km) with CO2 emissions of 166 g/km on the combined cycle are the figures that will deter many prospective customers, though.

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    Toyota has added a two-seat, cargo-carrying model to the Land Cruiser range. Named Utility Commercial, it’s being offered in both short- and long-wheelbase guises.

    The load area – which is separated from the cab by a metal bulkhead with a mesh upper section – features full-width non-slip flooring. Body-coloured panels are fitted instead of rear windows for enhanced practicality and security.

    Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial SWB (2018) Front Side

    With no rear seats, the Utility Commercial SWB can take a payload of up to 593 kg (1,307 lbs) in a space that’s able to accommodate 1,574 litres. The equivalent figures for the LWB version are 756 kg (1,667 lbs) and 2,216 litres. Maximum towing capacity is 3,000 kg (6,614 lbs) gross, provided the trailer is braked.

    17” steel wheels and cloth upholstery clearly indicate that this is a working vehicle. However, the specification isn’t entirely lacking, because automatic headlights, tyre pressure warning, smart entry, Bluetooth, cruise control and manual air conditioning all come as standard. Driving aids include Active Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control.

    Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial LWB (2018) Load Space

    Like every other Land Cruiser currently sold in the UK, power is supplied by a 2.8 litre D-4D turbocharged diesel engine.

    This four-cylinder unit is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and a permanent four-wheel drive system. Output is rated at 175 bhp (130 kW/ 176 PS), while the peak torque figures are 420 Nm (309 lb/ft) and 450 Nm (331 lb/ft) for the SWB and LWB respectively.

    Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial LWB (2018) Front Side

    Land Cruiser Utility Commercial deliveries are due to begin in July. Prices for the SWB start at £27,546 and the LWB costs from £28,509 (both amounts exclude VAT).

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    A major update has given the Honda PCX125 restyled bodywork, a new tubular steel duplex cradle frame and lighter eight-spoke cast alloy wheels shod with slightly larger tyres.

    Power still comes from a single-cylinder, fuel-injected, water-cooled 125 cc engine that’s mated to a V-Matic continuously variable transmission. However, thanks to a bigger airbox, a wider throttle body and a modified exhaust, output has risen by 0.4 bhp (0.3 kW / 0.4 PS) to 12.0 bhp (9.0 kW / 12.2 PS). Peak torque is 11.8 Nm (8.7 lb/ft).

    According to the WMTC measure, fuel economy is rated at 134.4 mpg (2.1 l/100km / 47.6 km/litre).

    Honda PCX125 (2018) Front Side 1

    Practicality and comfort remain key PCX125 selling points. For the 2018 model, there’s more legroom, the under-seat storage compartment’s capacity has been increased to 28 litres and repositioned rear dampers (plus the adoption of tri-rate springs) are claimed to improve the ride quality.

    Saddle height is now 764 mm (30.1”) and the scooter’s kerb weight is a manageable 130 kg (286 lbs).

    Standard equipment includes an LED headlight, a 12V socket, Idling Stop, LCD instruments and an anti-lock system for the front disc brake. Heated handlebar grips, a top box and a windscreen are among the available accessories.

    Customers will have a choice of Pearl Nightstar Black, Matt Carbonium Grey Metallic, Pearl Splendor Red or Pearl Cool White paintwork. A UK price for the 2018 PCX125 has yet to be announced.

    Honda PCX125 (2018) InstrumentsHonda PCX125 (2018) Side 1

    Honda PCX125 (2018) Rear SideHonda PCX125 (2018) Front Side 2

    Honda PCX125 (2018) Storage CompartmentHonda PCX125 (2018) Side 2

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    As foretold by last year’s Aventura Exclusive concept, Volkswagen’s Amarok pick-up is now available with a higher-output 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine.

    The headline figures are 254 bhp (190 kW / 258 PS) – or 268 bhp (200 kW / 272 PS) briefly on overboost – plus 580 Nm (427 lb/ft) of peak torque. By comparison, the next state of tune down delivers 221 bhp (165 kW / 224 PS) and 550 Nm (405 lb/ft).

    Volkswagen Amarok Aventura (2018) Front Side

    An eight-speed automatic transmission is fitted as standard, which is mated to a 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive system. The 190 kW Amarok achieves 33.6 mpg (8.4 l/100km) with CO2 emissions of 220 g/km on the combined cycle. Its top speed meanwhile is 127 mph (205 km/h).

    Only the existing Highline and the new Aventura trim grades can benefit from the upgraded motor, though.

    The latter variant gains front cornering lights, 20” ‘Talca’ dark graphite wheels, rain-sensing wipers and electric-folding door mirrors. Inside, the Aventura’s specification includes black Nappa leather and a matching roof liner.

    In Germany, the 190 kW Amarok Highline and Aventura cost from €43,180 and €48,800 respectively (both amounts exclude VAT at 19 per cent). Deliveries there are due to start in June.

    UK prices have yet to be announced, but Volkswagen says that imports won’t begin until September.

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    Next month’s Overland Expo West event in Flagstaff, Arizona will see the public début of the one-off Armada Mountain Patrol.

    Nissan USA Trucks wants its Facebook and Instagram followers to help finalise the SUV’s specification. Between now and the 10th of May, they’re being asked to vote on a vinyl wrap design, the style of roof-mounted tent and the tyre type.

    Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol (2018 Rendering) Front Side

    Full details of the other modifications have yet to be revealed. However, Nissan reckons that “the ultimate overlanding vehicle” is going to result from the various equipment upgrades.

    Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol (2018 Rendering) Rear Side

    Like a regular Armada, the Mountain Patrol is powered by a 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine that delivers 390 bhp (290 kW / 395 PS) via a seven-speed automatic transmission.

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    Toyota dealers will soon begin retailing the extreme Hilux AT35. Fortunately the conversion by renowned Icelandic company Arctic Trucks is fully approved, so the pick-up’s five-year manufacturer warranty is unaffected.

    Toyota Hilux AT35 Double Cab (2018) Front Side 1

    Ground clearance is significantly increased thanks to a revised suspension set-up and some 17” x 10” wheels that are shod with 315/70R17 all-terrain tyres. As a result, the approach and departure angles have become 37° and 28° respectively.

    Toyota Hilux AT35 Double Cab (2018) Front Side 2

    Available in double cab guise only, the Hilux AT35 is powered by the familiar 2.4 litre turbocharged diesel engine. This four-cylinder unit delivers its 148 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS) and 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) of peak torque via a six-speed automatic transmission.

    A UK price has yet to be announced.

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    Some staff at BMW obviously didn’t feel that the M2 was hardcore enough, because it has just been replaced by the M2 Competition.

    BMW M2 Competition (2018) Front Side

    Numerous enhancements include a new engine based on the straight-six unit that’s used in the current M3 and M4. While the 3.0 litre displacement is unchanged, output has risen by a substantial 39 bhp (30 kW / 40 PS).

    BMW M2 Competition (2018) InteriorBMW M2 Competition (2018) Rear Side

    To take advantage of the extra performance potential, the chassis, steering and brakes have all been modified as well. Visually, double-arm door mirrors and a redesigned front bumper assembly identify the latest model.

    BMW M2 Competition (2018) SideBMW M2 Competition (2018) Dashboard

    The upgrade to Competition specification has increased the car’s cost to just shy of £50k. Direct rivals at this price point with similar levels of ability and practicality are certainly scarce.

    That said, anybody with such a budget to spend is probably going to consider the Porsche 718 Cayman S too (provided they can live without any rear seats). A bit of lateral thinking could also add Ford’s Mustang GT to their short list, even if the American contender is a significantly cheaper proposition.

    As can be seen from the figures below, all three demonstrate comparable straight-line pace. Lap times around a twisty circuit might tell a very different story, though.

    Manufacturer BMW Porsche Ford
    Model M2 Competition 718 Cayman S Mustang GT Fastback
    Engine 3.0 litre,
    2.5 litre,
    5.0 litre,
    Transmission Six-speed manual
    (seven-speed M DCT optional)
    Six-speed manual
    (seven-speed PDK optional)
    Six-speed manual
    (ten-speed automatic optional)
    Power 404 bhp
    (302 kW / 410 PS)
    345 bhp
    (257 kW / 350 PS)
    443 bhp
    (331 kW / 450 PS)
    Torque 550 Nm
    (405 lb/ft)
    420 Nm
    (310 lb/ft)
    529 Nm
    (390 lb/ft)
    0-62 mph (100km/h) 4.4 secs /
    4.2 secs*
    4.6 secs /
    4.4 secs*
    4.6 secs /
    4.3 secs*
    Top speed 155 mph
    (250 km/h)** /
    174 mph
    (280 km/h)^
    177 mph
    (285 km/h)
    155 mph
    (249 km/h)
    Combined cycle 28.5 mpg
    (9.9 l/100km) /
    30.7 mpg
    (9.2 l/100km)*
    34.9 mpg
    (8.1 l/100km) /
    38.7 mpg
    (7.3 l/100km)*
    22.8 mpg
    (12.4 l/100km) /
    23.3 mpg
    (12.1 l/100km)*
    CO2 emissions 225 g/km /
    209 g/km*
    184 g/km /
    167 g/km*
    277 g/km /
    270 g/km*
    UK OTR price from £49,285 £51,853 £38,165
    * With optional transmission.
    ** Electronically limited.
    ^ With optional M Driver’s Package.

    Another potential competitor is the £52,480 Audi TT RS Coupé. However, stocks are now limited, so getting hold of one might be tricky.

    Nevertheless, for the record, this TT features a five-cylinder 2.5 litre TFSI motor that’s mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and a quattro all-wheel drive system.

    394 bhp (294 kW / 400 PS) plus 480 Nm (354 lb/ft) of peak torque translate into a 0-62 mph time of only 3.7 seconds and an electronically-limited 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed. Efficiency is fairly respectable, as evidenced by 34.4 mpg (8.2 l/100km) on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 187 g/km.

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    Ford is returning to the small car-derived van market. The all-new Fiesta Van, which has been unveiled at the Birmingham CV Show, arrives at dealers in the autumn.

    Based on the three-door bodyshell, its load compartment features a front bulkhead, tie-down hooks, a rubber floor covering and side trim panels. Approximately 1.0 cubic metre of cargo can be carried, while the maximum payload is around 500 kg (1,102 lbs).

    Ford Fiesta Van Sport (2018) Front Side

    Customers will get a choice of four engines:
    • 84 bhp (63 kW / 85 PS) 1.1 litre three-cylinder petrol
    • 123 bhp (92 kW / 125 PS) 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
    • 84 bhp (63 kW / 85 PS) 1.5 litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS) 1.5 litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel

    Ford Fiesta Van Sport (2018) DashboardFord Fiesta Van Sport (2018) Rear Side

    Available equipment includes adaptive cruise control, an adjustable speed limiter, PreCollision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Active Park Assist, a blind-spot warning device and the SYNC 3 touchscreen-controlled infotainment system.

    Furthermore, fleet operators can specify FordPass Connect. This just-announced technology uses an on-board modem and a smartphone app to deliver improved vehicle connectivity and productivity.

    Ford Fiesta Van Sport (2018) Side

    A Sport variant is going to be offered too. There aren’t any performance enhancements, but redesigned bumpers, alloy wheels (up to 18” diameter) and a unique interior treatment combine to create a striking look.

    UK prices for the 2018 Fiesta Van have yet to be announced.

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    An exclusive Performance Blue metallic paint colour identifies the new Ranger Wildtrak X. Contrast meanwhile is provided by a black finish for most of the exterior components including the grille, wheels, side steps and load-bed cover.

    This special edition pick-up, which is being offered in Double cab guise only, also features black leather upholstery with grey stitching.

    Ford Ranger Wildtrak X Double Cab (2018) Front Side

    The Wildtrak X is powered by a 3.2 litre, five-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine. It sends 197 bhp (147 kW / 200 PS) via a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.

    Pricing and planned build volumes haven’t been announced, but Ford reckons that deliveries will begin in August.

    Ford Ranger Wildtrak X Double Cab (2018) InteriorFord Ranger Wildtrak X Double Cab (2018) Rear Side

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    Nissan has become the latest pick-up manufacturer to offer an officially-sanctioned Arctic Trucks conversion. The Off-Roader AT32, which will be available across Europe in Double Cab guise, promises much better all-terrain abilities than a regular Navara.

    A key enhancement is the modified suspension set-up that raises the ride height by 20 mm (0.8”) to 243 mm (9.6”). As a result, the approach angle has increased from 30.4° to 35.0°, while the break-over angle is up by 1.8° to 24.0°.

    Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 Double Cab (2018) Front Side

    17” Arctic Trucks alloy wheels are also fitted. Sitting beneath some fairly subtle arch extensions, they’re shod with specialist tyres that have a diameter of 32” (hence the AT32’s name).

    Additional under-body protection for the engine, transmission components and fuel tank completes the standard package. For anybody anticipating more extreme use, a front differential lock and a snorkel appear on the cost options list.

    Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 Double Cab (2018) Rear Side

    The Off-Roader AT32 upgrade doesn’t affect the Navara’s five-year warranty, plus the Arctic Trucks parts come with a similar guarantee. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, though.

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