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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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    As can be seen from the images, the Renegade’s 2019 facelift is extremely subtle. Indeed, only dedicated Jeep-spotters will be able to identify all of the changes.

    Jeep Renegade (2019) Front Side

    A revised powertrain line-up is much more significant. That’s because customers are going to be faced with a choice of three new small-capacity petrol engines:
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS), 1.0 litre, three-cylinder
    • 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder
    • 177 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder

    Jeep Renegade (2019) Rear Side

    Interestingly, there’s no mention of the current MultiJet diesel units, so they might have been discontinued. Everything should become clearer when the full technical specifications are published later this month.

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    Season five of the FIA Formula E Championship will comprise thirteen rounds.

    While Saudi Arabia is set to become a new host country, Great Britain is once again missing from the schedule. As things stand, there won’t be any events in South America, but a spare slot in January could be used to fix that surprising omission.

    Several innovations being planned for 2018/2019 should result in a very different spectacle.

    Key among them is the introduction of improved Gen2 cars. With twice the battery capacity of their predecessors, the need for drivers to swap cars mid-race disappears.

    Formula E Gen2 2018/2019 Front Side

    Furthermore, passing through a clearly-marked ‘activation zone’ is going to temporarily increase output from 268 bhp (200 kW / 271 PS) to 301 bhp (225 kW / 305 PS). Fans of Fanboost need not worry though, because it still remains.

    2018/2019 FIA Formula E Championship Calendar
    Round Date Venue
    1 15 December 2018 Ad Dinyah, Saudi Arabia*
    2 12 January 2019 Marrakesh, Morocco
    3 26 January 2019 TBA, TBA
    4 16 February 2019 Mexico City, Mexico
    5 10 March 2019 Hong Kong, China
    6 23 March 2019 TBA, China
    7 13 April 2019 Rome, Italy
    8 27 April 2019 Paris, France
    9 11 May 2019 Monte Carlo, Monaco*
    10 25 May 2019 Berlin, Germany
    11 09 June 2019 Zurich, Switzerland
    12 13 July 2019 New York, USA
    13 04 July 2019 New York, USA
    * Subject to approval and / or circuit homologation.

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    Bolder front-end styling distinguishes the revised Aygo, which is due to arrive at Toyota dealers in July.

    A choice of six trim grades will be offered. According to the manufacturer, each version is “tailored to appeal to the tastes and needs of different target customers” and there has been “a special focus on the high end of the segment”.

    Toyota Aygo 5-Door (2018) Front

    The range-topping x-clusiv, for example, features 15” twin-spoke alloy wheels and two-tone paintwork. Its generous specification also includes smart entry and start, part-leather upholstery, automatic air conditioning, an x-touch multimedia system and the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technologies.

    Every Aygo is powered by a 998 cc, three-cylinder petrol engine that develops 71 bhp (53 kW / 72 PS) plus 93 Nm (68 lb/ft) of peak torque.

    With a five-speed manual gearbox, the result is a leisurely 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 13.8 seconds and 68.9 mpg (4.1 l/100km) on the combined cycle. Opting for an x-shift automated manual transmission instead sees those figures worsen to 15.2 seconds and 67.3 mpg (4.2 l/100km) respectively.

    Trim grade Powertrain Body OTR price
    Aygo x 1.0 VVT-i Manual 3-door £9,695
    Aygo x 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £9,995
    Aygo x-play 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £11,375
    Aygo x-play 1.0 VVT-i x-shift 5-door £12,075
    Aygo x-press 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £12,630
    Aygo x-press 1.0 VVT-i x-shift 5-door £13,330
    Aygo x-plore 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £12,630
    Aygo x-plore 1.0 VVT-i x-shift 5-door £13,330
    Aygo x-cite 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £12,975
    Aygo x-cite 1.0 VVT-i x-shift 5-door £13,675
    Aygo x-clusiv 1.0 VVT-i Manual 5-door £13,895
    Aygo x-clusiv 1.0 VVT-i x-shift 5-door £14,595

    Toyota Aygo 5-Door (2018) DashboardToyota Aygo 5-Door (2018) Rear Side

    Toyota Aygo 5-Door (2018) Front SideToyota Aygo 5-Door (2018) Interior

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    When deliveries of the new 2019 Sierra full-size pick-up begin across North America later this year, customers will have a choice of four trim grades. As well as the familiar SLT, AT4 and Denali models, an Elevation variant is going to join the line-up.

    Available in double cab guise only, the Sierra Elevation features 20” alloy wheels, LED headlights and a body-colour finish for the bumpers and grille surround.

    GMC Sierra 1500 Elevation Double Cab (2019) Front Side

    Undoubtedly the truck’s most controversial aspect is its standard powertrain: a four-cylinder, 2.7 litre, turbocharged, all-aluminium gasoline engine which sends 310 bhp (231 kW / 314 PS) and 471 Nm (348 lb/ft) of torque via an eight-speed automatic transmission. However, if that’s totally unacceptable, then a 5.3 litre gasoline V8 and a 3.0 litre turbo-diesel I6 are the alternatives.

    Both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are being offered. Furthermore, an X31 Off Road package promises enhanced rough-terrain capabilities, because this option includes under-body skid plates, a two-speed transfer case, a locking rear differential, bespoke suspension with Rancho dampers, Hill Descent Control and special tyres.

    Pricing for the 2019 GMC Sierra has yet to be confirmed.

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    Image © General Motors.

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  • 06/15/18--14:40: 2019 BTCC calendar announced
  • As has become the norm, 2019’s British Touring Car Championship will consist of ten events that each include three rounds. However, there are going to be some major changes.

    The most significant sees Rockingham disappear from the schedule. In its place, a second Thruxton meeting is planned for August (which seems an odd choice of date given the high-speed track’s reputation for tyre issues in hot weather).

    BTCC Logo

    Also, compared to the 2018 season, Croft and Oulton Park have swapped slots. Knockhill is being pushed back by three weeks, while the traditional Brands Hatch finale is due to happen two weeks later in murky mid-October.

    2019 British Touring Car Championship - Calendar
    Date Circuit Location
    7 April Brands Hatch (Indy circuit) Nr. Dartford, Kent
    28 April Donington Park Nr. Castle Donington, Leicestershire
    19 May Thruxton Nr. Andover, Hampshire
    16 June Croft Nr. Darlington, North Yorkshire
    30 June Oulton Park Nr. Tarporley, Cheshire
    4 August Snetterton Nr. Attleborough, Norfolk
    18 August Thruxton Nr. Andover, Hampshire
    15 September Knockhill Nr. Dunfermline, Fife
    29 September Silverstone Nr. Towcester, Northamptonshire
    13 October Brands Hatch (Grand Prix circuit) Nr. Dartford, Kent
    Dates shown are the Sunday of each race weekend.

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    Between September 1940 and July 1941, fighter squadrons 71, 121 and 133 were formed by the Royal Air Force. Remarkably, almost all of their pilots were volunteer American citizens, so they were officially known as the Eagle Squadrons.

    That Second World War episode is now being commemorated by a unique car. Ford Performance and RTR Vehicles have collaborated to create the Eagle Squadron Mustang GT Fastback, which wears a period-inspired camouflage colour scheme. Also part of the look is a roof-mounted decal depicting the eagle emblem worn by Eagle Squadron personnel on their uniforms.

    Ford Mustang GT Eagle Squadron Fastback (2018) Top

    An RTR wide-body kit and a Tactical Performance suspension upgrade are among the other modifications. Furthermore, fitting a supercharger has helped to lift the 5.0 litre V8 engine’s output from the usual 460 bhp (343 kW / 466 PS) to 700 bhp (522 kW / 709 PS).

    The Eagle Squadron Mustang is due to appear at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. A couple of weeks later, at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh event in Wisconsin, it’ll be sold via auction in aid of the EAA’s youth education activities.

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  • 06/18/18--14:18: 2019 Suzuki Jimny first view
  • Suzuki has published a few photos of its all-new Jimny. The current model was originally launched over two decades ago, so this replacement is long overdue.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 1

    While few specification details are known, the mini off-roader retains a separate ladder frame chassis, a part-time four-wheel drive system and a dual-range transfer case.

    The engine line-up is expected to comprise 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbocharged and 1.2 litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol units.

    Both single- and two-tone paintwork options are going to be offered.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) ChassisSuzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 2

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 3Suzuki Jimny (2019) Dashboard

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    For nineteen years BMW has been without an 8 Series Coupé in its range, but that situation is about to be reversed by the arrival of a second-generation model.

    Here are ten things worth knowing about the all-new 8 Series:

    1. Low and wide dimensions mean purposeful proportions

    At 4,843 mm (190.7”) long, the 8 Series Coupé is 93 mm (3.7”) shorter than the current 5 Series Saloon. However, the two-door car is 34 mm (1.3”) wider and 138 mm (5.4”) lower.

    A bold reinterpretation of the trademark double kidney grilles and an extremely shallow angle for the rear screen are among the key styling elements.

    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Front Side

    2. Inside, there are four seats

    Yes, four people can be transported, although headroom might be an issue for passengers relegated to the back row. If carrying things is a higher priority, then folding down the rear seats either individually or together increases luggage capacity.

    3. A race version already exists

    Generally, homologation for motorsport purposes follows the introduction of a road-going variant. Not so with the 8 Series.

    The M8 GTE (developed by BMW Motorsport for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) actually competed for the first time in January 2018.

    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Interior

    4. All-wheel drive is standard

    Every 8 Series Coupé is fitted with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive. Under normal conditions, all output is sent to the rear axle only. When traction requirements dictate, an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch is able to direct torque to the front axle too.

    5. A petrol V8 engine offers the best performance

    In the absence of a street-legal M8 (for now at least), the M850i xDrive is the quickest 8 Series.

    The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes just 3.7 seconds, thanks to a 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 that generates 522 bhp (390 kW / 530 PS) with 750 Nm (553 lb/ft) of peak torque. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).

    Most prospective customers probably won’t be too bothered about fuel consumption. Nevertheless, for the record, the combined cycle figures are 28.3 mpg (10.0 l/100km) with 228 g/km of CO2 emissions.

    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Rear Side

    6. A diesel straight-six engine offers the best efficiency

    European car buyers are deserting diesel in their droves, so BMW’s decision to make the 840d xDrive the sole alternative to the M850i xDrive seems like a bewildering and serious misjudgement.

    A 3.0 litre displacement plus turbo assistance equals 315 bhp (235 kW / 320 PS) and 680 Nm (501 lb/ft). That’s sufficient for a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.9 seconds, so it’s certainly quick enough.

    Of course, 46.3 mpg (6.1 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 160 g/km on the combined cycle are the 840d xDrive’s headline numbers. Admittedly, they’re fairly impressive, but a similarly economical result could have been achieved by using the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain from the 740e instead.

    7. Only one gearbox is available

    Regardless of the fuel type chosen, an enhanced eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission will be part of the specification. Shift paddles on the steering wheel and Launch Control should help to provide a more involved driving experience.

    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Dashboard

    8. There’s a big price disparity

    In the UK, the 840d xDrive costs from £76,270, while the outlay required for an M850i xDrive is £100,045. The huge variance in those amounts further supports the argument that an ‘entry level’ petrol or petrol-electric hybrid is needed in the line-up.

    9. Production is taking place in Germany

    The 2019 8 Series is going to be built at BMW’s factory in Dingolfing, Bavaria.

    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Side

    10. Deliveries are due to begin before the end of this year

    November 2018 is the planned launch date for the Coupé.

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    With production of the UK-built Avensis due to end soon, Toyota has had to decide whether or not to continue offering a non-premium large car. It is, after all, a market segment that has suffered significantly from reduced demand in recent years.

    The chosen solution is actually rather sensible. Rather than develop a new model, the existing Camry saloon is going to be introduced across western Europe during 2019. This Avensis substitute – which is based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform – will be imported from Japan.

    Toyota Camry Hybrid (2019 European Spec) Front Side

    Toyota is intending to equip every Camry sold here with a ‘self-charging’ (i.e. non-plug-in) hybrid powertrain. Comprising a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, low CO2 emissions are promised. That should appeal to fleet customers, but the lack of a five-door estate version might alienate some potential users.

    Full specifications and pricing details have yet to be announced.

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    For its all-new mid-size crossover, Chevrolet has resurrected the Blazer nameplate. The 2019 model boasts distinctive looks thanks to a high beltline that flicks up towards the rear, some intricate surfacing, a large front grille and separate elevated LED daytime running lights.

    Chevrolet Blazer (2019) Side

    Inside, there’s room for five people, but if required the rear seats fold flat to give up to 1,818 litres (64.2 cubic feet) of luggage space. A standard touchscreen-controlled infotainment system offers 4G LTE wi-fi hot-spot capability, as well as compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    Available equipment includes wireless device charging, a dual-pane power sunroof, adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera.

    The entry-level engine is a 2.5 litre four-cylinder gasoline unit that produces 193 bhp (143 kW / 195 PS) plus 255 Nm (188 lb/ft) of torque. Alternatively, customers will be able to order a more powerful 3.6 litre V6 which raises the output figures to 305 bhp (227 kW / 309 PS) and 365 Nm (269 lb/ft).

    Both options are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and they can be specified with either front- or all-wheel drive.

    Intended to slot between Equinox and Traverse in Chevrolet’s range, the 2019 Blazer is due to arrive at North American dealers early next year. Prices have yet to be confirmed.

    Chevrolet Blazer (2019) InteriorChevrolet Blazer (2019) Rear Side

    Chevrolet Blazer (2019) Front SideChevrolet Blazer (2019) Dashboard

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    Images © General Motors.

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  • 06/24/18--13:34: 2019 Toyota Century unveiled
  • Lexus might be considered the more upmarket brand, but in Japan captains of industry and other luminaries who like to be chauffeur driven prefer a particular Toyota. The subject of their attention is the Century.

    For the first time in twenty-one years, this imposing yet understated limousine has just been completely redesigned. However, elegant three-box proportions, subtle styling details and a highly-polished paint finish are retained, so the car’s traditionally conservative customer base shouldn’t feel at all alienated.

    They’ll also appreciate the plush interior. Or, more specifically, the rear compartment with its privacy curtains, wood trim, 11.3” entertainment monitor and 7” touchpad that controls numerous functions.

    Toyota Century (2019) Interior 1

    The left-hand back seat – the one nearest the kerb – benefits from an integrated massager and a power-operated extending leg rest. In addition, the door sills are now lower to aid ease of entry and headroom has been increased.

    A smooth ride and a quiet cabin are essential when trying to create a luxury ambience. Consequently, the Century features electronically-controlled adaptive air suspension, bespoke tyres, plenty of sound insulation and active noise control.

    Power is provided by a hybrid system that combines a 5.0 litre V8 petrol engine, an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total output is rated at 425 bhp (317 kW / 431 PS).

    Toyota is hoping to sell fifty examples of the Century each month in Japan. The starting price there is ¥19,600,000, which equates to approximately £134,700 / US$178,600 / €153,200 at current exchange rates.

    Toyota Century (2019) Front SideToyota Century (2019) Dashboard

    Toyota Century (2019) Interior 2Toyota Century (2019) Side

    Toyota Century (2019) Rear SideToyota Century (2019) Interior 3

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    At this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a Bentley Bentayga driven by Rhys Millen achieved a time of 10 minutes 49.9 seconds. That feat – which set a new Production SUV record – meant the 12.42 miles (19.99 kilometres) course was covered at an average speed of 66.5 mph (107.0 km/h).

    Bentley and Mulliner (the company’s in-house bespoke division) have wasted no time in creating a celebratory model. Appropriately named the Bentayga Pikes Peak Limited Edition, it features two-tone 22” wheels, a carbon fibre body kit and a complete absence of chrome.

    Bentley Bentayga Pikes Peak Limited Edition (2018) Front Side

    Customers should opt for the distinctive yellowish-green Radium paintwork but, if they really want something more subdued, Beluga black is the sole alternative being offered.

    The interior boasts leather and Alcantara upholstery, an Eliade technical fabric headlining, carbon fibre trim pieces and a Pikes Peak dashboard graphic. Key Lime accents meanwhile add some colour to an otherwise very black environment.

    Like the Bentayga that competed at Pikes Peak, power is provided by a 6.0 litre twin-turbo engine. This W12 unit delivers 600 bhp (447 kW / 608 PS) plus 900 Nm (663 lb/ft) of torque via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a permanent all-wheel drive system.

    Air suspension, Bentley Dynamic Ride anti-roll control, the Touring Specification Pack and a sports exhaust are also included on the standard equipment list.

    Bentley dealers in Europe and the USA will begin to accept Bentayga Pikes Peak Limited Edition orders in August, but pricing hasn’t been announced yet. Just ten examples are going to be built.

    Bentley Bentayga Pikes Peak Limited Edition (2018) InteriorBentley Bentayga PPIHC 2018 Rear Side

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    In February, Vauxhall and Opel unveiled their all-new Combo Life‘leisure activity vehicle’. Now the cargo-carrying version has made its début.

    The Combo panel van (which is virtually identical to the latest Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Partner) will be offered with a choice of two wheelbases. In short guise, overall length is 4.40 m (14’ 5”), load-space length is 3.09 m (10’ 1”) and maximum freight volume is 3.8 m3 (134.1 cu. ft.).

    Opel Combo Panel Van (2019) Front Side

    Alternatively, the equivalent figures for the long Combo are 4.75 m (15’ 7”), 3.44 m (11’ 3”) and 4.4 m3 (155.3 cu. ft.). Both models can transport a payload of up to 1,000 kg (2,204 lbs), plus there’s sufficient distance between the rear wheel arches to accommodate a Euro pallet.

    For extra flexibility, a crew van variant provides seating for five. When required, the rear bench folds down and the partition that separates people and goods slides forward.

    Numerous driver aids are going to be available. They include Automatic Cruise Control, Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Lane Keep Assist, an ‘always on’ rear camera system and an over-weight indicator.

    Prices (and engine options) for the fourth-generation Combo van haven’t been announced yet. Deliveries are scheduled to begin during December 2018.

    Vauxhall Combo Panel Van (2019) Rear SideOpel Combo Panel Van (2019) Interior

    Vauxhall Combo Panel Van (2019) Front SideOpel Combo Panel Van (2019) Side

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    Just in time for the peak holiday season, Italy’s Carabinieri has taken delivery of a Jeep Wrangler that will be deployed along the Romagna Riviera.

    A key part of the vehicle’s specification is the Mopar One Pack. Intended to improve off-road ability, it includes 17” Performance Gladiator alloy wheels, 32” all-terrain tyres, a front steering stabiliser and a Fox Performance 2” lift kit.

    Power comes from a 2.8 litre turbo-diesel engine that’s mated to an automatic transmission and, of course, a four-wheel drive system.

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    Think of the new 600LT Coupé as a quicker, lighter and more aerodynamic version of the existing 570S Coupé.

    As the ‘600’ label suggests, output from the familiar 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 has been increased to 592 bhp (441 kW / 600 PS), while peak torque has risen to 620 Nm (457 lb/ft). Performance figures remain a mystery for now, though.

    McLaren 600LT Coupé (2019) Front Side

    The ‘LT’ part of the name stands for Longtail. Previously, that suffix has only been applied to the F1 GTR, 675LT Coupé and 675LT Spider, so it’s a rare accolade.

    In this case, LT denotes a larger front splitter, redesigned side sills, an extended diffuser and a fixed rear wing. Bespoke carbon fibre bodywork and a special exhaust system with top-exiting pipes are among the weight-saving measures employed.

    Although the 600LT is road-legal, McLaren expects that many customers will want to use their cars on circuits too. Consequently, the chassis components have been upgraded and Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres are fitted. Pedal response is keener, the recalibrated steering offers better feel and the interior gains Alcantara-covered carbon fibre race seats.

    Limited-volume production is scheduled to begin during October 2018. In the UK, prices for the 600LT Coupé start at £185,500 (which usefully includes an on-track driver training session).

    McLaren 600LT Coupé (2019) InteriorMcLaren 600LT Coupé (2019) Rear Side

    McLaren 600LT Coupé (2019) RearMcLaren 600LT Coupé (2019) Side

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    To celebrate the GT-R’s fiftieth birthday, Nissan Design Europe and Nissan Design America worked together to create a unique car. The result is the GT-R50.

    Surprisingly, engineering and fabrication for this prototype – which is based on a 2018 GT-R Nismo – was entrusted to Volkswagen-owned Italdesign. Such a partnership might seem odd, but Nissan reckons it makes sense because this year also marks the Italian company’s half-century.

    Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2018) Rear Side

    Bespoke elements include a restyled roof that lowers the silhouette by 54 mm (2.1”) to 1,316 mm (51.8”). Furthermore, the bonnet is flatter, thin LED headlights are fitted and a smaller back screen appears to flow downwards towards four characteristically circular light clusters.

    As well as helping to break up the visual mass, an abundant use of Energetic Sigma Gold provides contrast for the Liquid Kinetic Gray paintwork. Custom 21” wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres and an adjustable rear wing complete the external transformation.

    Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2018) InteriorNissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2018) Front Side

    Italian leather and Alcantara upholstery features inside, along with plenty of carbon fibre trim pieces and some fairly subtle gold accents.

    The modifications aren’t just cosmetic, though. Thanks to strengthened internal components, high-flow fuel injectors, GT3-specification turbochargers and bigger intercoolers, the 3.8 litre V6 engine produces an estimated 710 bhp (530 kW / 720 PS) with 780 Nm (575 lb/ft) of torque.

    Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2018) Top

    That increased output is delivered via a reinforced six-speed dual-clutch sequential transmission. Upgraded suspension and braking set-ups complement the extra performance potential.

    A European début for the GT-R50 by Italdesign will happen sometime during the next few weeks. At this stage, Nissan doesn’t intend to offer a production version.

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    Electric cars usually cost more than their combustion-engine equivalents. That’s certainly the case with the Hyundai Kona Electric, which will soon be available to order in the UK (albeit only via the brand’s Click to Buy website).

    Whereas prices for the petrol-fuelled Kona range from £16,450 to £26,245, the outlay required to purchase a Kona Electric starts at £29,495 and goes up to £36,295. However, the government’s Plug-in Car Grant – currently £4,500 – significantly reduces those amounts.

    Hyundai Kona Electric (2019) Front Side

    Three trim grades are being variously offered with two battery / motor combinations.

    All feature a unique front bumper design, special 17” alloy wheels, climate control, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a DAB radio. Smart cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition are among the small SUV’s standard safety devices.

    The mid-level Premium variant adds numerous items. These include front parking sensors, satellite navigation, wireless device charging, an upgraded eight-speaker audio set-up and rear privacy glass.

    For some extra luxury, the Premium SE gains heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel. A head-up display and LED headlights are fitted too.

    2019 Hyundai Kona Electric – UK prices
    Trim grade SE Premium Premium SE
    Battery capacity 39 kWh 39 kWh 64 kWh
    Power 133 bhp
    (99 kW / 135 PS)
    133 bhp
    (99 kW / 135 PS)
    201 bhp
    (150 kW / 204 PS)
    Price £29,495 £30,870 £36,295
    Prices shown exclude £4,500 Plug-in Car Grant.

    Hyundai Kona Electric (2019) InteriorHyundai Kona Electric (2019) Rear Side

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    At the moment, every volume manufacturer needs a small B-segment SUV in their range. Volkswagen’s rather late entry to this market niche is the T-Cross, which will be officially launched in the autumn.

    Volkswagen T-Cross Prototype (2018 Rendering) Rear Side

    Measuring 4,107 mm (161.7”) long, the T-Cross is a similar size to rival models such as the Ford EcoSport, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. Volkswagen plans to offer its new arrival in China, Europe and South America.

    Engine and transmission options have yet to be announced, but every T-Cross is going to feature front-wheel drive. Likewise, specification details are currently unknown.

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    Sixty years after the original Super Cub was launched, Honda has confirmed that the latest version of its enduring scooter will soon be available in Europe.

    Certain elements such as the steel backbone frame and retro step-through styling have clear links to the past. However, in other respects, the new Super Cub C125 is very modern.

    Honda Super Cub C125 (2019) Side

    For example, 17” ten-spoke cast aluminium wheels are fitted, single-channel anti-lock braking is part of the standard specification and all of the lights use LEDs. In addition, Honda’s Smart Key controls the immobiliser and ignition without having to be inserted anywhere.

    Power comes from an updated air-cooled, four-stroke, fuel-injected 125 cc engine. This single-cylinder unit delivers 9.5 bhp (7.1 kW / 9.6 PS) plus 10.4 Nm (7.6 lb/ft) of peak torque via a strengthened automatic centrifugal clutch and a four-speed transmission. Fuel economy is 188.4 mpg (1.5 l/100km) according to the WMTC measure.

    When sales begin, customers are going to have a choice of Pearl Niltava Blue or Pearl Nebula Red paintwork. A price has yet to be announced.

    Honda Super Cub C125 (2019) InstrumentsHonda Super Cub C125 (2019) Front Side

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    Following the release of some initial images last month, Suzuki has now confirmed most of the technical details for its new Jimny.

    The fourth-generation model – which, as expected, is being offered in three-door guise only – retains the diminutive dimensions of previous versions. Overall length including the rear-mounted spare wheel cover is just 3,645 mm (143.5”), for instance.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 1

    Being small means the Jimny isn’t heavy. Despite having a separate ladder-frame chassis, minimum possible kerb weight is a slight 1,090 kg (2,403 lbs).

    Consequently, a huge engine isn’t required. Power comes from a 1.5 litre, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated petrol unit that produces 100 bhp (75 kW / 102 PS) plus 130 Nm (95 lb/ft) of peak torque.

    With a five-speed manual gearbox, NEDC combined fuel economy is 41.5 mpg (6.8 l/100km), WLTC CO2 emissions are 178 g/km and a modest top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h) is achievable. Opting instead for a four-speed automatic transmission worsens those figures to 37.7 mpg (7.5 l/100km), 198 g/km and 87 mph (140 km/h) respectively.

    Decent off-road ability is likely to be a key Jimny selling point. Thanks to a part-time four-wheel drive system and a low-range transfer gear, there’s a choice of 2WD High, 4WD High and 4WD Low driving modes. Furthermore, rigid axles with coil-spring suspension are fitted front and rear to benefit traction.

    When traversing rough terrain, a 37° approach angle, a 28° ramp break-over angle and a 49° departure angle should minimise under-body damage. Ground clearance is 210 mm (8.2”).

    Jimny deliveries are due to begin early next year, but Suzuki hasn’t divulged UK prices yet.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) ChassisSuzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 2

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 3Suzuki Jimny (2019) Dashboard

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  • 07/07/18--12:09: Top 10: UK car sales Q2 2018
  • A fairly strong second quarter now means that cumulative new car registrations are only 6.3% behind last year’s total.

    Almost two thirds of the shortfall are accounted for by the Business and Fleet sectors. However, rather than economic conditions being responsible, some pundits believe that uncertainties surrounding future restrictions and tax rates for diesel-fuelled vehicles have delayed purchasing decisions.

    Consequently, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is urging the government to formulate a “technology-neutral strategy giving motorists confidence to buy [the] right car and right technology for their needs”.

    In the meantime, diesel’s year-to-date market share has dropped to just 32.6%. Uptake of pure-electric and hybrid cars is growing slowly, but only 5.5% of customers are currently opting for them.

    Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q2 2018 - By Fuel Type
    Fuel 2018 2017 Change Change %
    Diesel 428,612 613,985 -185,373 -30.2%
    Petrol 812,535 729,168 +83,367 +11.4%
    Alternative 72,847 58,658 +14,189 +24.2%
    Total 1,313,994 1,401,811 -87,817 -6.3%

    Compared to the previous quarter, the top ten model list looks very similar.

    Unsurprisingly, the Ford Fiesta retains its customary first-place position, while the Ford Focus has moved up to third spot. Perhaps the most significant change saw the Vauxhall Mokka X being replaced by the Volkswagen Polo on the table.

    Ford Fiesta ST 5-Door (2018) Front Side
    The Ford Fiesta is still the UK's most popular car.

    Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q2 2018 - By Model
    Position Model Registrations Market Share
    1 Ford Fiesta 56,415 4.3%
    2 Volkswagen Golf 39,930 3.0%
    3 Ford Focus 30,757 2.3%
    4 Nissan Qashqai 30,066 2.3%
    5 Vauxhall Corsa 28,003 2.1%
    6 Mini Hatch 23,641 1.8%
    7 Volkswagen Polo 22,027 1.7%
    8 Ford Kuga 21,784 1.7%
    9 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 20,002 1.5%
    10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 19,684 1.5%

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    In 1958, Fiat launched the 500 Jolly Spiaggina. Notable for having a high price, no doors and a fabric canopy instead of a proper roof, it was built by Carrozzeria Ghia and aimed at wealthy seaside dwellers.

    Fiat hasn’t resisted the temptation to introduce a special edition to celebrate the Jolly’s sixtieth anniversary. The 500 Spiaggina '58 – which is being offered in convertible guise only – features Volare Blue paintwork and an ivory-coloured soft-top. Retro 16” alloy wheels, vintage-style badges and chrome door mirror caps also add to the exterior look.

    Fiat 500C Spiaggina '58 (2018) Front Side

    Grey and ivory two-tone upholstery, bespoke floor mats and a Volare Blue dashboard panel continue the theme inside. Power is provided by a 68 bhp (50 kW / 69 PS) 1.2 litre petrol engine.

    Fiat 500C Spiaggina '58 (2018) InteriorFiat 500C Spiaggina '58 (2018) Rear Side

    Just 1,958 examples of the Spiaggina '58 are going to be built, but UK availability has yet to be confirmed.

    The regular production model isn’t the only Jolly commemoration. Garage Italia and Pininfarina have collaborated to create a heavily modified 500C named, appropriately, Spiaggina by Garage Italia.

    Fiat 500C 'Spiaggina by Garage Italia' (2018) Front Side

    Most of the upper bodywork has been removed and a hefty roll-bar is fitted to maintain structural rigidity. A leather-trimmed bench is provided for the driver and a passenger, but there are no rear seats. In their place is cork-floored load space that incorporates a shower for washing off sand after a day at the beach.

    Fiat 500C 'Spiaggina by Garage Italia' (2018) Rear Side 1Fiat 500C 'Spiaggina by Garage Italia' (2018) Rear Side 2

    While the Spiaggina by Garage Italia is currently being described as a show car, customer orders for replicas are already being accepted.

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    Just in time for summer, Nissan USA has built a one-off show vehicle that’s designed for beach life. The Surfcamp, which is based on a Titan XD Midnight Edition Crew Cab, features a Cummins 5.0 litre V8 turbo-diesel engine.

    Exterior upgrades include a retro-inspired vinyl wrap, a Fab Four Vengeance Series front bumper and Icon Alpha wheels shod with Nitto Ridge Grappler tyres. An Icon Stage 5 lift kit is also fitted to further enhance the truck’s off-road abilities.

    Nissan Titan XD Surfcamp Crew Cab (2018) Rear Side

    Nissan Titan XD Surfcamp Crew Cab (2018) Side Detail

    Transporting surf boards, paddle boards, fishing rods and other leisure gear is one of the Surfcamp’s primary functions. Accordingly, a drawer system in the load bed, a Leitner Design cargo rack and a Rhino-Rack roof rack are all part of the specification.

    For camping purposes, Nissan has added a Freespirit Recreation Elite Series Automatic roof tent, a Rhino-Rack Batwing awning, a Yeti cooler and a solar-powered shower. Interior changes are limited to some rubber floor mats and Wetskinz neoprene seat covers.

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    Walter Owen Bentley founded his eponymous motor company in 1919, so next year will be the brand’s centenary. The launch of a special Mulsanne has already begun the celebrations.

    Fittingly, just 100 examples of the new W.O. Edition by Mulliner are going to be built. Distinguishing elements include Beluga black wheels, a chrome bonnet strip and some suitably discreet badges. A chrome radiator shell and grille are optional.

    Bentley Mulsanne WO Edition by Mulliner (2019) Front Side

    Heritage hide upholstery, lambswool rugs, rear privacy curtains, a rear-seat entertainment system and dark burr walnut veneer adorn the interior. Either a bottle cooler or a cocktail cabinet is provided too for refreshments on the move.

    Bentley Mulsanne WO Edition by Mulliner (2019) Interior

    Each W.O. Edition also features a piece of the original crankshaft taken from a 1930 8 Litre model during its restoration. Significantly, that particular car was Walter Bentley’s personal vehicle. The relic is housed within the rear central armrest, beneath a marquetry panel which uses aluminium and four types of wood to depict the 8 Litre’s grille and headlights.

    Bentley Mulsanne WO Edition by Mulliner (2019) Interior Detail

    Customers can order their W.O. Edition in regular Mulsanne, Mulsanne Speed or Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase guises. Following a public début at Monterey Car Week in California next month, deliveries are due to start sometime during 2019.

    Prices haven’t been announced yet.

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    Customers in the UK can now place their orders for the Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING and Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING. However, prospective purchasers need to act quickly, because just 108 examples of each model have been allocated to the entire EMEA region.

    As the NRING moniker indicates, these limited editions were inspired by exploits at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. In particular, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s best lap time of 7 minutes 51.7 seconds, which set a production SUV class record.

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING (2018) Front Side

    In addition to unique Circuit Grey paintwork and a numbered dashboard badge, the NRING standard specification includes numerous items that are usually confined to the options list.

    They include carbon fibre door mirror caps, a carbon fibre grille surround, the carbon-ceramic brake upgrade, Sparco Carbonshell front seats, adaptive cruise control, a Harman Kardon audio system and an Alcantara-covered steering wheel with carbon inserts. What’s more, the Giulia gains a bare carbon roof panel, while the Stelvio features an electrically-operated panoramic sunroof.

    Unfortunately, the extra equipment comes with a shockingly high cost premium versus the regular Quadrifoglio variants:

    UK OTR starting prices
    Giulia Quadrifoglio £61,625
    Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING £82,500
    Stelvio Quadrifoglio £69,500
    Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING £89,500

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING (2018) Rear SideAlfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio NRING (2018) Dashboard

    Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING (2018) Front SideAlfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING (2018) Rear Side

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