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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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    Jeep unveiled a revised Renegade a few months ago, so similar changes to the closely-related Fiat 500X were expected.

    Fiat 500X (2019) Front Side 1Fiat 500X (2019) Rear Side 1

    The upgrades focus on a new engine line-up. Significantly, it does not feature a diesel option:
    • 109 bhp (81 kW / 110 PS), 1.6 litre, four-cylinder, petrol
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS), 1.0 litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
    • 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
    While the 500X hasn’t really received a proper styling facelift, the lights and bumpers are different. Furthermore, the interior gains a nicer multi-function steering wheel, clearer instruments and a 3.5” TFT display.

    Fiat 500X (2019) InteriorFiat 500X (2019) Dashboard

    Equipment fitted to the entry-level Urban trim grade includes 16” alloy wheels, manual air conditioning and a Uconnect infotainment system that’s operated via a 7” touchscreen. Cruise control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist and Lane Assist all come as standard, too.

    Moving up, the City Cross adds protective skid plates, front fog lights, 17” wheels, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control.

    Fiat 500X (2019) Rear Side 2Fiat 500X (2019) Front Side 2

    The Cross Plus is the range-topper. This variant boasts LED headlights with a dusk sensor, 18” wheels, roof bars, rear privacy glass, a rear parking camera and TomTom satellite navigation.

    2019 Fiat 500X – UK OTR prices
    Trim grade Engine Transmission Price
    Urban 1.6 110 PS Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive £16,995
    City Cross 1.0 120 PS Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive £18,995
    City Cross 1.3 150 PS Six-speed DCT automatic, front-wheel drive £21,195
    Cross Plus 1.0 120 PS Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive £20,995
    Cross Plus 1.3 150 PS Six-speed DCT automatic, front-wheel drive £23,195

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    In reality not much is different, but Abarth is calling the 2019 595 range “new” nevertheless. As before, power comes from a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine, but this four-cylinder petrol unit now complies with the latest Euro 6D-Temp emissions regulations.

    Output still depends on the trim grade selected. An entry-level 595 is rated at 143 bhp (106 kW / 145 PS), the Trofeo has 158 bhp (118 kW / 160 PS) and the Turismo boasts 162 bhp (121 kW / 165 PS). If extra performance potential is required, then there’s the 177 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS) Competizione.

    All feature a five-speed manual gearbox, but the Turismo and Competizione can be equipped with the MTA robotised sequential transmission instead.

    Abarth 595 Competizione (2019) Front Side

    In terms of specification changes, an Urban Pack (comprising parking sensors plus automatic lights and wipers) becomes standard on the Turismo. This variant is also available with Asphalt Grey paintwork for the first time.

    Another additional colour is Adrenaline Green, which is being offered on the Trofeo and Competizione only. Furthermore, the Record Monza exhaust fitted to these two models gains an ‘active valve’ that alters the engine note when in Sport mode.

    Abarth’s UK dealers are accepting orders for the hardly updated 595 now.

    2019 Abarth 595 – UK OTR prices
    Model Powertrain Price
    595 1.4 T-Jet 145 PS £15,690
    595C 1.4 T-Jet 145 PS £17,690
    595 Trofeo 1.4 T-Jet 160 PS £18,480
    595C Trofeo 1.4 T-Jet 160 PS £20,480
    595 Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS £19,180
    595 Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS MTA £20,530
    595C Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS £21,180
    595C Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS MTA £22,530
    595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS £21,280
    595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS MTA £22,630
    595C Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS £23,280
    595C Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS MTA £24,630

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    Toyota’s next C-segment contender – which will be launched early next year – isn’t going to be called Auris. Instead, the Corolla nameplate is returning to Europe. This is in recognition of the model’s Toyota New Global Architecture underpinnings.

    As well as a five-door hatchback version, a Touring Sports estate has been developed. Its wheelbase of 2,700 mm (106.3”) is claimed to benefit rear legroom, while load space capacity is 598 litres according to the VDA method.

    Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Front SideToyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Interior

    Although practicality is certainly an important factor for buyers of this sort of car, a decent driving experience is also being promised thanks to a low centre of gravity and rear multi-link suspension. If required, an available adaptive variable damping system should further improve the handling.

    In accordance with Toyota’s current strategy, the powertrain line-up comprises a 114 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol unit, a 120 bhp (90 kW / 122 PS) 1.8 litre petrol-electric hybrid and a 178 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS) 2.0 litre petrol-electric hybrid. Strangely, both hybrids are purely self-charging, so they can’t use plug-in facilities. There won’t be a diesel option.

    Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Load SpaceToyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Rear Side

    The Corolla Touring Sports is due to appear in public for the first time at next month’s Paris Motor Show.

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  • 09/07/18--13:28: BMW X2 M35i unveiled
  • “Sportiness coupled with a polarising appearance” is BMW’s frank description of its new X2 M35i.

    As befits an M Performance variant, this particular ‘sports activity coupé’ is undoubtedly a quick car. The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes just 4.9 seconds, for instance.

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) Front Side

    Such pace is the result of installing a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that produces 302 bhp (225 kW / 306 PS) with 450 Nm (332 lb/ft) of peak torque. The transmission comprises a specially-calibrated eight-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel drive system.

    Chassis upgrades include stiffer springs and dampers, an M Sport Differential for the front axle, a redesigned rear axle, larger brake discs and more responsive steering. In addition, two-mode adaptive suspension will be available as a cost option.

    Unique bumpers, lightweight 19” alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes, a rear spoiler and the use of Cerium Grey for various trim elements distinguish the X3 M35i.

    European market launches are scheduled for March 2019. However, UK pricing and final specifications have yet to be confirmed.

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) DashboardBMW X2 M35i (2019) Side

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) Rear SideBMW X2 M35i (2019) Interior

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    Chevrolet has collaborated with American Expedition Vehicles to create the Bison, a more extreme version of its Colorado ZR2 mid-size pick-up.

    The additional components focus on providing more protection for the truck when traversing rough terrain. Accordingly, Boron steel skid plates shield the oil sump, front differential, transfer case, fuel tank and rear differential.

    Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Crew Cab (2019 North American Spec) Front Side

    Tougher pressed steel bumpers are fitted too. The front one incorporates fog lights and space for a winch, while the rear unit has built-in recovery points.

    Other identifying features include unique 17” x 8” alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tyres, larger arch extensions, a redesigned grille and some special decals. Inside, the floor mats and front head restraints gain ‘AEV’ embroidery.

    Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Crew Cab (2019 North American Spec) Rear Side

    Bison customers are going to have a choice of either crew cab / short bed or extended cab / long bed configurations. As per the regular Colorado ZR2, both the 308 bhp (230 kW / 312 PS) 3.6 litre V6 gasoline and the 181 bhp (135 kW / 183 PS) 2.8 litre I4 Duramax diesel engines will be available.

    Sales are due to begin this January.

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Next month’s Intermot Show in Cologne will see the unveiling of two new 125 cc motorcycles from Kawasaki.

    The Ninja 125 features a full fairing, while the Z125 is a naked bike with a more upright riding position. Both machines are built around a tubular trellis frame.

    Kawasaki Ninja 125 (2019) Front SideKawasaki Z125 (2019) Front Side

    Kawasaki Ninja 125 (2019) SideKawasaki Z125 (2019) Side

    They also share the same single-cylinder, water-cooled engine that’s claimed to deliver strong mid- and high-range performance. Full technical specifications are unknown at this stage, but output is rated at 14.8 bhp (11.0 kW / 15.0 PS).

    Similarly, prices have yet to be announced.

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    Later this month, Mercedes-Benz is going to unveil four minibus models at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover. All are based on the third-generation Sprinter van.

    In total, more than twenty different variants will be offered in both left- and right-hand drive configurations. However, their launches are due to be staggered over the next year.

    The initial line-up includes the Sprinter Mobility 23, Sprinter Transfer 23, Sprinter Transfer 35 and Sprinter City 75.

    As its name suggests, the Sprinter Mobility 23’s role is to accommodate movement-impaired and disabled passengers. Gross vehicle weight is 3.5 tonnes, so many UK car licence holders could drive this particular vehicle on not-for-profit journeys.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Mobility 23 (2019) Front Side

    The Sprinter City 75 – which sits atop the range – is intended for use on public transport routes. Measuring 8.5 metres (27’ 10”) long with a wheelbase of 5.1 metres (16’ 8”), a special heavy-duty rear axle is fitted to help achieve a GVW rating of 6.8 tonnes.

    A low floor and a quick-change securing system are other key features. Crucially, they give operators the flexibility to run with whatever combination of tip-up seats, regular seats, wheelchair / pram bays and standing room is required.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 75 (2019) Front Side

    The fourth version (and last to arrive) is the Sprinter Travel.

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  • 09/13/18--15:01: 2019 NACTOY semi-finalists
  • Following an initial ballot, the 2019 North American Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year semi-finalists have been announced.

    2019 North American Car of the Year

    It’s notable that only one American brand – Buick – appears on this list. However, such a situation shouldn’t be too surprising, because the domestic manufacturers are increasingly shifting their focus from ordinary passenger cars to crossovers and SUVs.

    • Audi A6
    • Buick Regal TourX
    • Genesis G70
    • Honda Insight
    • Hyundai Veloster
    • Kia Forte
    • Mazda 6
    • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    • Nissan Altima
    • Nissan Leaf
    • Toyota Avalon / Avalon Hybrid
    • Toyota Corolla Hatchback
    • Volkswagen Jetta
    • Volvo S60
    Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon (2019) Side
    Mercedes-Benz A-Class

    2019 North American Truck of the Year

    Just like last year, only three candidates were named in this category. Therefore, all automatically proceed to the next round.
    • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    • GMC Sierra 1500
    • Ram 1500
    Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab (2019) Front Side
    Ram 1500

    2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year

    While GM and FCA are represented here via the Cadillac XT4 and Jeep Wrangler respectively, Ford isn’t. Indeed, the EcoSport was a nominee, but it failed to garner enough support. Other high-profile casualties in this extremely competitive category included the Jaguar E-Pace, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Porsche Cayenne.
    • Acura RDX
    • BMW X5
    • Cadillac XT4
    • Hyundai Kona
    • Hyundai Santa Fe
    • Infiniti QX50
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Jeep Wrangler
    • Nissan Kicks
    • Subaru Ascent
    • Toyota RAV4
    • Volvo XC40
    Volvo XC40 (2018) Front Side
    Volvo XC40

    Next month, the jurors will have an opportunity to drive every semi-finalist at a special event in Michigan. Then, after a second vote, the finalists are going to be declared at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

    The three winners are due to be revealed at the North American International Auto Show next January.

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    Drivers wanting a supermini that combines decent handling with insurance-friendly performance might want to consider the Yaris GR Sport. This new trim grade – which arrives at dealers later this year – has been inspired by the Yaris GRMN hot hatch.

    A lowered ride height, Sachs Performance dampers and a more rigid solid anti-roll bar all contribute to the enhanced chassis dynamics. Furthermore, extra grip is provided by a set of 17” alloy wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza RE50 205/45R17 tyres.

    Toyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) Front Side

    Power comes from an unmodified self-charging hybrid system. Comprising a 1.5 litre petrol engine and an electric motor, it delivers 98 bhp (74 kW / 100 PS) via a continuously-variable transmission.

    The Yaris GR Sport is being offered in five-door guise only. Unique headlights, privacy glass, a rear spoiler and a black roof panel are among the car’s identifying features. Inside, the specification includes front sports seats, Ultrasuede upholstery, a black headlining and some special floor mats.

    Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

    Toyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) InteriorToyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) Rear Side

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    At the Paris Motor Show in 1998, Toyota unveiled the first-generation Yaris. Now, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that event, a special version of the latest model has been created.

    The Yaris Y20 gains two-tone ten-spoke 16” alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and some unique badges. Moreover, a dark grey finish for the front grille, door mirror caps, roof panel and side mouldings adds an air of sophistication.

    Toyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) Front Side

    Adorning the interior are satin chrome trim pieces, black carpet mats and a distinctive fabric upholstery with chequered-pattern inserts.

    The first 1,998 examples of the Yaris Y20 are being built in Launch Edition specification, which means that they’ll all come with gold paintwork. Thereafter, customers are going to have a choice of black, silver or white as the main body colour.

    Toyota hasn’t announced prices yet.

    Toyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) InteriorToyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) Rear Side

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    To kick off the 2019 World Car Awards process, the candidate vehicles have been announced.

    Now the jurors have to test-drive every one of them and cast their initial votes. The sole purpose of this first poll is to determine the finalists.

    Once they’re known, another round of test drives and a second ballot will follow. The top three finalists in each category are then due to be revealed at the Geneva International Motor Show on the 5th of March 2019.

    Lastly – and most importantly – the winners are going to be declared on the 17th of April 2019 at the New York International Auto Show.

    World Car of the Year

    • Acura RDX
    • Audi e-tron
    • Audi A1
    • Audi A6
    • Audi Q3
    • BMW 3 Series
    • BMW i8 Roadster
    • BMW X2
    • Cadillac XT4
    • Citroën C5 Aircross
    • Dacia Duster
    • Ford Focus
    • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
    • Hyundai Santa Fe
    • Hyundai Nexo
    • Infiniti QX50
    • Jaguar E-Pace
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Jeep Cherokee
    • Jeep Wrangler
    • Kia Ceed / Forte
    • Kia Niro EV
    • Kia Soul
    • Lexus ES
    • Lexus UX
    • Nissan Altima
    • Nissan Kicks
    • Seat Arona
    • Subaru Forester
    • Suzuki Jimny
    • Toyota Avalon
    • Toyota Corolla
    • Toyota RAV4
    • Volvo S60 / V60
    • Volvo XC40
    Hyundai Santa Fe (2019) Front Side
    Hyundai Santa Fe

    World Luxury Car of the Year
    • Audi A7
    • Audi Q8
    • BMW 8 Series
    • Mercedes-Benz GLE
    • Volkswagen Touareg
    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Front Side
    BMW 8 Series Coupé

    World Performance Car of the Year
    • Aston Martin Vantage
    • BMW M2 Competition
    • Hyundai Veloster N
    • Kia Ceed GT
    • McLaren 720S
    McLaren 720S Pacific Theme (2018) Front Side
    McLaren 720S

    World Urban Car of the Year
    • Audi A1
    • BMW X2
    • Kia Soul
    • Seat Arona
    • Suzuki Jimny
    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 2
    Suzuki Jimny

    World Green Car of the Year
    • Audi e-tron
    • BMW i8 Roadster
    • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
    • Honda Insight
    • Hyundai Nexo
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Kia Niro EV
    • Lexus ES Hybrid
    • Lexus UX Hybrid
    • Toyota Avalon Hybrid
    • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
    Honda Insight (2019) Front Side
    Honda Insight

    World Car Design of the Year
    • All of the above models are automatically included in this category.

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    ‘Up to’ are the important words here, because the distance that Kia’s new pure-electric e-Niro can travel on a single charge depends on the version chosen.

    Customers will be able to opt for either a 39.2 kWh or a 64.0 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. As would be expected, the latter delivers much better figures according to the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure.

    In addition, the 64.0 kWh model offers extra performance, as it’s equipped with a more powerful electric motor. Recharging to 80% capacity is claimed to take 54 minutes if a 100 kW rapid charger is used.

    Kia e-Niro (2019) Front Side

    Kia intends to sell the e-Niro alongside the existing hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. Deliveries across Europe are due to begin before the end of this year, after a début at the Paris Motor Show in October.

    There’s a strong possibility that the e-Niro’s capabilities could be good enough to persuade drivers to switch from combustion-engine vehicles. However, take-up is likely to depend on the purchase prices being sufficiently attractive too, but they’ve yet to be confirmed.

    Kia e-Niro 39.2 kWh 64.0 kWh
    WLTP combined cycle range 193 miles
    (312 kilometres)
    301 miles
    (485 kilometres)
    Power 134 bhp
    (100 kW / 136 PS)
    201 bhp
    (150 kW / 204 PS)
    Torque 395 Nm
    (291 lb/ft)
    395 Nm
    (291 lb/ft)
    0-62 mph (100 km/h) 9.8 secs 7.8 secs

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    Just fifty examples of the Abarth 124 GT are going to be available in the UK. A removable, fully-lined, carbon fibre hardtop roof means that they should be fairly easy to spot, though.

    The enhanced specification also includes a Visibility Pack (comprising LED headlights, a dusk sensor, a rain sensor and rear parking sensors), 17” OZ Ultra-Light alloy wheels and a Bose audio system.

    Abarth 124 GT (2018) Front Side

    Abarth 124 GT (2018) Rear Side

    As per the regular Abarth 124 Spider, power comes from a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine which delivers 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS) plus 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) of peak torque. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.

    Buyers of the 124 GT will have a choice of San Marino 1972 Black, Portogallo 1974 Grey or Turini 1975 White paintwork. Prices start at £33,625.

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    According to Volkswagen, the I.D. Buzz Cargo could become a production model as early as 2021. This pure-electric van – which is based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform – isn’t intended to be replacement for the existing T6 Transporter, though.

    Measuring 5,048 mm (198.7”) long, 1,976 mm (77.8”) wide and 1,963 mm (77.2”) tall, the I.D. Buzz Cargo has a maximum payload of 800 kg (1,763 lbs). Access to the load space is via a passenger-side powered sliding door and a pair of barn-type rear doors.

    Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo Concept (2018 Rendering) Front Side

    A 201 bhp (150 kW / 203 PS) electric motor plus a single-speed transmission are integrated into the rear axle. While full performance figures have yet to be released, top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph (160 km/h).

    Arguably, the most important component is the lithium-ion battery pack. The MEB architecture allows various sizes to be fitted, thereby giving operators a choice of capacities that start at 48 kWh and go up to 111 kWh. Estimated range according to the WLTP cycle is between 205 and 341 miles (330 and 550 kilometres).

    Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo Concept (2018 Rendering) Rear Side

    Recharging times obviously depend on the method used. Replenishment to 80% can take as little as fifteen minutes when plugged into a dedicated DC rapid charger, for instance, but an ordinary domestic supply is going to involve a much longer wait.

    The I.D. Buzz Cargo is also equipped for cord-free inductive charging, a convenient process that simply involves parking over a special plate set in the roadway. Furthermore, a roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cell is reckoned to add an extra 9 miles (15 kilometres) of ‘free’ driving distance per day in the right weather conditions.

    As befits what is for now a show vehicle, there are numerous other attention-grabbing features. These include a 3D augmented reality head-up display instead of conventional instruments, rear-view cameras rather than mirrors, and I.D. Pilot mode that delivers Level 4 autonomy.

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    A BMW motorcycle line-up without a twin-cylinder boxer engine is almost inconceivable. However, it needs to remain relevant, which is why an updated version has been developed for the new R 1250 RT touring bike and the adventure-focussed R 1250 GS.

    As the ‘1250’ label suggests, capacity is up from 1,170 cc to 1,254 cc. Together with the adoption of BMW ShiftCam Technology – essentially variable valve timing and valve stroke – the claimed results are improved output, efficiency and refinement.

    For instance, power rises to 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) at 7,750 rpm, while peak torque becomes 143 Nm (105 lb/ft) at 6,250 rpm. Previously, those figures were 123 bhp (92 kW / 125 PS) and 125 Nm (92 lb/ft) respectively.

    BMW R 1250 RT (2019) Front Side 1

    Standard equipment for the entry-level R 1250 RT includes ABS Pro, an electrically-adjustable windscreen, panniers, a lower-front spoiler and a 5.7” TFT colour screen within the instrument cluster. Automatic Stability Control and Hill Start Control are fitted too, plus there’s a choice of ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’ riding modes.

    The SE variant gains Dynamic ESA automatic adaptive damping, cruise control, a heated saddle and preparation for a GPS device. If even more specification is required, then the range-topping LE additionally comes with Gear Shift Assist Pro, central locking, an anti-theft alarm and a chrome exhaust.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, BMW wants to further tempt customers with a comprehensive options list. Among the available items is Riding Modes Pro, a suite of technologies that combines Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Hill Start Control Pro and an extra ‘Dynamic’ setting.

    Starting prices in the UK are:
    · R 1250 RT – £14,415
    · R 1250 RT SE – £15,615
    · R 1250 RT LE – £16,700

    BMW R 1250 RT (2019) Side 2BMW R 1250 RT (2019) Instruments

    BMW R 1250 RT (2019) Front Side 2BMW R 1250 RT (2019) Side 1

    Related post:
    2019 BMW R 1250 GS first view

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    BMW has revealed an improved version of its iconic twin-cylinder boxer engine, which is appearing first in the new R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT.

    As well as a capacity increase from 1,170 cc to 1,254 cc, variable valve timing and valve stroke now feature thanks to the introduction of BMW ShiftCam Technology.

    Consequently, output is up by 11 bhp (8 kW / 11 PS) to 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) at 7,750 rpm. Peak torque has benefited too, rising from 125 Nm (92 lb/ft) to 143 Nm (105 lb/ft) at 6,250 rpm.

    BMW R 1250 GS (2019) Side

    Customers in the UK will have a choice of five R 1250 GS variants.

    R 1250 GS – from £13,415

    The basic model comes with ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’ riding modes, Automatic Stability Control, Hill Start Control, pannier fastenings, an LED headlight and a 6.5” colour TFT display screen.

    R 1250 GS TE – from £16,200

    Moving up to the TE grade adds Riding Modes Pro, a collection of components comprising ABS Pro, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic ESA automatic adaptive damping and three supplementary riding modes.

    For extra comfort and convenience, Keyless Ride, heated handlebar grips, LED indicators, radiator and frame guards, Gear Shift Assist Pro, cruise control and Tyre Pressure Control are also fitted.

    R 1250 GS Exclusive TE – from £16,500

    Compared to a standard TE, the Exclusive TE boasts a more distinctive look courtesy of a unique colour scheme, a black finish for the powertrain and a chrome exhaust.

    R 1250 GS Rallye – from £13,950

    The Rallye follows a markedly different theme. Taking an entry-level R 1200 GS as a starting point, its specification includes the HP Style Package, wire-spoke wheels, radiator and frame guards, a smaller windscreen, a special saddle and wider enduro-style foot pegs.

    R 1250 GS Rallye TE – from £16,975

    Along with the usual TE upgrades noted above, this model gains a Passenger Kit (consisting of the regular windscreen and saddle, plus a centre stand) and a chrome exhaust.

    BMW R 1250 GS (2019) InstrumentsBMW R 1250 GS (2019) Front Side

    BMW R 1250 GS Rallye (2019) Front SideBMW R 1250 GS Rallye (2019) Side

    Related post:
    2019 BMW R 1250 RT first view

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    Following last year’s launch of the i30 N five-door hatchback, Hyundai has created a Fastback five-door coupé version.

    The technical specifications of both models are essentially identical. Accordingly, the i30 Fastback N uses a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine which sends 246 bhp (184 kW / 250 PS) plus 353 Nm (260 lb/ft) of peak torque via a six-speed manual transmission. The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes 6.4 seconds and the car’s top speed is 155 mph (250 km/h).

    Hyundai i30 Fastback N (2019) Rear Side

    To satisfy customers who require even more pace, Hyundai is also offering the Performance Package. This increases output to 271 bhp (202 kW / 275 PS), thereby lowering the 0-62 mph time to just 6.1 seconds.

    Visually, the i30 Fastback N can be identified by its unique grille, redesigned bumpers, larger wheels, tailgate spoiler and dual exhaust pipes. Front sports seats, metal pedals and a special N steering wheel augment the interior, while red stitching provides some contrast in an otherwise very grey environment.

    UK prices have yet to be confirmed.

    Hyundai i30 Fastback N (2019) DashboardHyundai i30 Fastback N (2019) Front Side

    Hyundai i30 Fastback N (2019) RearHyundai i30 Fastback N (2019) Interior

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    For the first time, Honda is going to offer a hybrid SUV in Europe. The new CR-V Hybrid features a 2.0 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, a generator, a lithium-ion battery pack, an electric motor and an innovative single-speed transmission.

    Total peak output and torque are rated at 181 bhp (135 kW / 184 PS) and 315 Nm (232 lb/ft) respectively. Although performance capabilities remain unknown, some efficiency data has been released.

    According to the revised NEDC test, the front-wheel drive version achieves 53.3 mpg (5.3 l/100km) while emitting 120 g/km of CO2. Opting for all-wheel drive instead sees those figures worsen slightly to 51.4 mpg (5.5 l/100km) and 126 g/km.

    Honda CR-V Hybrid (2019) Front Side

    A key element of the hybrid set-up is the intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) management system, which automatically switches between three driving modes without any driver intervention.

    EV Drive turns off the combustion engine and enables pure electric operation. Regarding battery endurance, Honda’s information is frustratingly cryptic: “At a moderate cruise, the CR-V Hybrid will typically run in EV Drive for more than half of the time, whilst at faster speeds, the car will be in EV Drive for approximately one third of the time.”

    Hybrid Drive functions as a range extender setting. When activated, the combustion engine powers the generator unit to supplement the energy already stored within the battery pack. The electric motor remains responsible for turning the road wheels.

    Engine Drive is intended primarily for extra-urban highway use. It simply connects the combustion engine to the road wheels via a lock-up clutch, with any excess energy being used to top up the battery.

    Honda CR-V Hybrid (2019) Side

    Deliveries of the Honda CR-V Hybrid are due to begin in early 2019. Prices have yet to be confirmed.

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    Following a twelve-month trial with various operators in London, the Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid will soon make the transition from prototype to showroom model. The new arrival has the potential to seriously disrupt the medium van market.

    Importantly, its range-extender powertrain doesn’t affect the load space or payload capabilities.

    An under-floor 14 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack transfers current to an electric motor, which in turn drives the front wheels. A 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine is also a key part of the specification, but this three-cylinder unit is used solely as an on-board generator.

    Ford Transit Custom PHEV (2019) Front Side

    Performance and overall efficiency figures have yet to be released. However, Ford reckons that range in ‘EV Now’ pure electric mode should be around 30 miles (50 kilometres).

    Two other settings can be selected. ‘EV Later’ deploys the combustion engine to maintain the battery’s charge state, while the default ‘EV Auto’ chooses the most appropriate energy source without any human intervention.

    Fully replenishing the battery via a domestic 240 volt / 10 amp supply takes about five hours. Alternatively, plugging into 240 volt / 16 amp or 240 volt / 32 amp sockets would reduce that time by a couple of hours.

    Market launches for the Ford Transit Custom PHEV are scheduled to begin during the second half of 2019. Admittedly, it’s still too early for pricing to be announced, but any premium over the diesel versions is highly likely to influence demand.

    Ford Transit Custom PHEV (2019) InteriorFord Transit Custom PHEV (2019) Rear Side

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    BMW has announced that the 2019 i3 and i3s will feature a 42.2 kWh / 120 Ah lithium-ion battery. Although energy capacity is up by almost a third compared to the previous 33.2 kWh / 94 Ah version, its physical size hasn’t grown so packaging is unaffected.

    BMW i3 (2019) Front Side

    As might be expected, the main benefit is increased maximum range.

    BMW i3 120 Ah 94 Ah
    NEDC range 223 miles
    (359 kilometres)
    186 miles
    (300 kilometres)
    WLTP range 192 miles
    (310 kilometres)
    158 miles
    (255 kilometres)
    BMW i3s 120 Ah 94 Ah
    NEDC range 214 miles
    (345 kilometres)
    174 miles
    (280 kilometres)
    WLTP range 177 miles
    (285 kilometres)
    152 miles
    (245 kilometres)
    NEDC = New European Driving Cycle
    WLTP = Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure

    In real-world conditions, BMW reckons that both variants can be driven for at least 160 miles (around 260 kilometres) before recharging is required.

    Topping up from fully depleted to 80% via a standard domestic socket takes approximately fifteen hours, but using a dedicated BMW i Wallbox reduces that time to just under five hours. Alternatively, a 50 kW DC rapid-charging station would do the same job in only 42 minutes.

    Prices for the 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS) i3 start at £35,180, while the quicker 181 bhp (135 kW / 184 PS) i3s costs from £37,670. Sales are due to begin in December.

    BMW i3 (2019) InteriorBMW i3 (2019) Rear Side

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  • 10/02/18--14:24: The Suzuki Katana returns
  • “Retro appeal but with a modern twist” is how Suzuki is describing its new Katana. This reinterpretation of the 1980s original follows last year’s Katana 3.0 concept, which proved that the name and distinctive design still have customer appeal.

    Visually, most of the bike’s mass sits towards the front. Typical Katana styling cues include a low-set half fairing with protrusions either side of a rectangular LED headlight.

    At the rear, there’s a very stubby tail unit. To help create an uncluttered look, the number plate and indicators are attached to a swingarm-mounted support.

    Suzuki Katana (2019) Side

    Built around a twin-spar aluminium frame taken from the GSX-S1000, the Katana is powered by a 999 cc four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a six-speed transmission. 148 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS) plus 108 Nm (79 lb/ft) of peak torque are intended to deliver flexibility right across the rev range.

    Three-mode traction control, a Bosch anti-lock braking system and USD suspension components are all fitted as standard. A contemporary LCD dashboard completes the specification.

    The 2019 Katana will appear in public for the first time at this month’s Intermot show in Cologne. UK deliveries are expected to begin next spring.

    Suzuki Katana (2019) Front SideSuzuki Katana (2019) Fuel Tank Detail

    Suzuki Katana (2019) InstrumentsSuzuki Katana (2019) Rear Side

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    Audi Sport has unveiled an enhanced version of the R8 LMS GT3.

    Various changes focussed on reducing operating costs for customer race teams and improving durability. Furthermore, the cooling system and aerodynamics received attention too.

    Audi R8 LMS GT3 2019 Front

    The 2019 R8 LMS GT3 is priced at €398,000 (excluding VAT), which equates to approximately £353,200 or US$458,300 at current exchange rates. Deliveries are due to begin next month.

    Owners of the previous model can modify their cars to the latest specification courtesy of an evolution kit. It costs €28,000 plus VAT (£24,800 / US$32,200).

    Audi R8 LMS GT3 2019 TopAudi R8 LMS GT3 2019 Rear Side

    Audi R8 LMS GT3 2019 SideAudi R8 LMS GT3 2019 Front Side

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    Toyota is still the world’s top automotive brand, according to the 2018 Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands study. As in previous years, that assessment was based primarily on financial performance, competitive strength and influence over purchasing decisions.

    Toyota GT86 Blue Edition (2018) Front
    Toyota is Interbrand's most valuable automotive brand of 2018.

    Generally, the results didn’t change much compared to 2017. Nissan and Volkswagen both overtook Audi, while Harley-Davidson slipped behind Mini and Ferrari. Indeed, the American motorcycle manufacturer suffered a significant drop in its overall worth.

    Subaru was a new entry, with clarity, authenticity and engagement being cited as key attributes. Tesla disappeared from the list, though.

    Interbrand Best Automotive Brands 2018
    Overall ranking Ranking change Brand Value
    (US$ million)
    Value change
    7 0 Toyota 53,404 +6%
    8 +1 Mercedes-Benz 48,601 +2%
    13 0 BMW 41,006 -1%
    20 0 Honda 23,682 +4%
    35 -2 Ford 13,995 +3%
    36 -1 Hyundai 13,535 +3%
    40 -1 Nissan 12,213 +6%
    41 -1 Volkswagen 12,201 +6%
    42 -4 Audi 12,187 +1%
    52 -4 Porsche 10,707 +6%
    71 -2 Kia 6,925 +4%
    78 -5 Land Rover 6,221 +2%
    80 +8 Ferrari 5,760 +18%
    90 -3 Mini 5,254 +3%
    93 -16 Harley-Davidson 5,161 -9%
    100 New entry Subaru 4,214 New entry

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  • 10/07/18--14:56: Top 10: UK car sales Q3 2018
  • Being a plate-change month, September is usually a good indicator of the strength of the UK new car market. Not in 2018 though, because the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and the associated Real Driving Emissions (RDE) assessment created chaos.

    The two regimes came into force at the beginning of September. After that, any unevaluated models could not be sold within the European Union.

    Dealers rushed to shift non-certified vehicles before the deadline, of course. 94,094 registrations during August – an abnormally high figure which represented a 23.1% year-on-year increase for the month – were evidence of this.

    By contrast, September’s total was just 338,834 units, a drop of 20.5% versus 2017. Supply issues caused by manufacturers struggling to comply with WLTP and RDE requirements explained much of the shortfall.

    The overall result was a cumulative 7.5% volume reduction. As expected, diesel’s share continued to suffer as customers chose petrol or alternative fuels instead.

    Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q3 2018 - By Fuel Type
    Fuel 2018 2017 Change Change %
    Diesel 607,092 884,188 -277,096 -31.3%
    Petrol 1,189,154 1,088,098 +101,056 +9.3%
    Alternative 114,574 94,125 +20,449 +21.7%
    Total 1,910,820 2,066,411 -155,591 -7.5%

    Despite the upheaval, the top ten individual models list remained almost identical to last quarter’s.

    Nevertheless, the Vauxhall Corsa swapped positions with the Ford Focus, while the Kia Sportage replaced the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

    Kia Sportage (2019) Front Side
    The Kia Sportage is now the tenth most popular car in the UK.

    Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q3 2018 - By Model
    Position Model Registrations Market Share
    1 Ford Fiesta 79,416 4.2%
    2 Volkswagen Golf 52,162 2.7%
    3 Vauxhall Corsa 43,481 2.3%
    4 Nissan Qashqai 41,943 2.2%
    5 Ford Focus 40,222 2.1%
    6 Volkswagen Polo 34,353 1.8%
    7 Mini Hatch 33,876 1.8%
    8 Ford Kuga 32,480 1.7%
    9 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 31,800 1.7%
    10 Kia Sportage 28,779 1.5%

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    Nissan and the American Red Cross have devised a special emergency response vehicle. The one-off Ultimate Service is based on a Titan XD Midnight Edition Crew Cab, which is powered by a Cummins 5.0 litre V8 turbo-diesel engine.

    A bespoke chassis-mounted box replaces the truck’s usual cargo bed. This lightweight unit contains a bed and first aid equipment for casualty care, a blood storage refrigerator, communications gear and a slide-out kitchenette. Its specification also includes an elevating roof, solar panels, a generator and a wi-fi hotspot.

    Nissan Titan XD Ultimate Service Crew Cab (2018) Front Side

    Incidents don’t always occur in convenient locations. Therefore, to ensure that the Titan XD can traverse rough terrain, an Icon suspension lift kit and Icon Compression wheels shod with Nitto Ridge Grappler tyres are fitted. If extrication is ever required, then the custom front bumper incorporates a Warn Zeon winch.

    The Ultimate Service Titan is currently being displayed at the Miami Auto Show. Afterwards, it’ll be donated to the American Red Cross for use in southern Florida.

    Nissan Titan XD Ultimate Service Crew Cab (2018) Rear Side 1Nissan Titan XD Ultimate Service Crew Cab (2018) Interior

    Nissan Titan XD Ultimate Service Crew Cab (2018) SideNissan Titan XD Ultimate Service Crew Cab (2018) Rear Side 2

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