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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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  • 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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    At this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Chevrolet Performance wants to demonstrate how its crate engines can be used in restomod projects. Accordingly, three of the brand’s classic vehicles have been renovated and fitted with present-day powertrains.

    The oldest is a 1967 C/10 pick-up that features a fuel-injected ZZ6 5.7 litre V8 developing 420 bhp (313 kW / 425 PS). Other upgrades include custom bumpers, a redesigned tailgate, lowered suspension and a set of 20” wheels.

    A 1973 Chevelle Laguna boasts 755 bhp (563 kW / 765 PS) plus 715 lb/ft (969 Nm) of peak torque, thanks to an LT5 6.2 litre supercharged V8. Spoilers, 18” wheels and improved handling pay homage to this model’s NASCAR heritage, while the carbon fibre bonnet treatment is inspired by the current Corvette ZR1.

    Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna LT5 (1973) Front Side

    Completing the trio is a 1978 Silverado. This particular full-size truck gains a fuel-injected L96 6.0 litre V8 and a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Output and torque are rated at 360 bhp (268 kW / 365 PS) and 380 lb/ft (515 Nm) respectively.

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    Image © General Motors.

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    According to Ford, more than 6,500 people wanted to buy a GT when it was launched in 2016. Unfortunately, there were only 1,000 cars available, so the majority of orders couldn’t be fulfilled.

    To partly address such a huge imbalance of demand and supply, the company has announced that an extra 350 examples are going to be built between now and 2022.

    Ford GT Heritage Edition (2019) Front Side

    A strict selection process will once again determine who gets to become a GT customer. Applications can be submitted from the 8th of November for a thirty-day period, via a dedicated web site. The likely inclusion of a ‘no reselling for 24 months’ contract clause should – as before – prevent flippers from making a quick profit.

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    After seemingly years of speculation, BMW has finally launched the X7. Here are ten key things to know about the brand’s flagship SUV.

    1. The dimensions are large

    Measuring 5,151 mm (202.8”) long, 2,000 mm (78.7”) wide (excluding the door mirrors) and 1,805 mm (71.1”) tall, the X7 is certainly a big thing. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLS – an obvious rival – is 5,162 mm (203.2”) long, 1,982 mm (78.0”) wide and 1,850 mm (72.8”) tall.

    2. Imposing styling is likely to divide opinion

    Actually, careful surface detailing plus considered proportions mean that the side and rear views are perfectly acceptable. The potential problem sits at the front, where an oversized and rather ugly double-kidney grille totally dominates.

    BMW X7 (2019) Front Side

    3. There are seven seats

    An ability to accommodate seven adults is the X7’s primary reason for existing. Therefore, the interior features three rows with seating arranged in a 2-3-2 format. If individual space rather than places is the priority, then the middle bench can be replaced with two individual chairs. Luggage capacity ranges from 326 litres to 2,120 litres.

    4. A glass roof is fitted as standard

    To give the cabin an airy ambience, a three-part, power-operated, panoramic glass roof provides plenty of natural light. Four-zone automatic climate control should keep the temperature comfortable enough, but if that’s insufficient then five-zone automatic climate control and Ambient Air scent infusion are on the options list.

    BMW X7 (2019) Interior

    5. Three engines are available in Europe

    The lack of a hybrid powertrain is a puzzling omission that will probably alienate many prospective customers. Instead, the line-up comprises a trio of conventional, six-cylinder, turbocharged units.

    Model X7 xDrive30d X7 xDrive40i X7 M50d
    Engine 2,993 cc
    diesel
    2,998 cc
    petrol
    2,993 cc
    diesel
    Power 261 bhp
    (195 kW / 265 PS)
    335 bhp
    (250 kW / 340 PS)
    394 bhp
    (294 kW / 400 PS)
    Torque 620 Nm
    (457 lb/ft)
    450 Nm
    (331 lb/ft)
    760 Nm
    (560 lb/ft)
    0-62 mph (100 km/h) 7.0 secs 6.1 secs 5.4 secs
    Top speed 141 mph
    (227 km/h)
    152 mph
    (245 km/h)
    155 mph
    (250 km/h)
    Combined cycle 43.5 mpg
    (6.5 l/100km)
    32.5 mpg
    (8.7 l/100km)
    40.4 mpg
    (7.0 l/100km)
    CO2 emissions 171 g/km 198 g/km 185 g/km

    Selected territories outside of Europe are also due to get the X7 xDrive50i. This version boasts a 4,395 cc turbocharged petrol V8 that produces 455 bhp (340 kW / 462 PS) with 650 Nm (479 lb/ft) of peak torque. While a 0-62 mph time of 5.4 seconds sounds good, the 24.7 mpg (11.4 l/100km) and 261 g/km efficiency figures are less palatable.

    6. Just one transmission is being offered

    Regardless of the engine chosen, the X7 is equipped with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

    BMW X7 (2019) Rear Side

    7. All variants have all-wheel drive

    Torque is usually delivered to the rear axle under normal highway conditions. However, when required, the xDrive all-wheel drive system can direct output to the front too. Furthermore, self-levelling air suspension allows the ride height to be increased by up to 40 mm (1.5”) when traversing rough terrain.

    Anybody who envisages leaving tarmac on a regular basis might want to consider the optional Off-Road package. As well as an electronically-controlled rear differential lock, this includes front under-body protection and four special driving modes.

    8. There are no conventional instruments

    Under the umbrella of BMW Live Cockpit Professional, the dashboard incorporates a digital instrument cluster and a centrally-mounted configurable Control Display. Each element has its own 12.3” screen.

    BMW X7 (2019) Dashboard

    9. Prices start at £72,155

    BMW has already confirmed the following on-the-road prices:
    • X7 xDrive30d – £72,155
    • X7 xDrive40i – £74,155
    • X7 M50d – £87,240
    To give those amounts some context, the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz GLS currently costs from £73,940 to £106,870.

    10. Deliveries begin in 2019

    The X7 – which will be manufactured at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina – is scheduled to arrive at UK dealers during April 2019.

    BMW X7 (2019) Side

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    Toyota has unveiled the Hilux Invincible 50, a limited edition that celebrates the ubiquitous pick-up’s fiftieth birthday. Significantly, it has been created in collaboration with Arctic Trucks, so the enhancements aren’t merely cosmetic.

    Modifications include an upgraded Bilstein suspension set-up. In addition, bespoke 16” satin black alloy wheels shod with 265/75R16 BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tyres sit beneath extended arches.

    Toyota Hilux Invincible 50 Double Cab (2018) Front Side

    Another notable feature is a double-hoop sports bar, which incidentally serves as the mounting point for four very bright LED spotlights. Black paintwork, rear parking sensors, a bed liner, a numbered plaque on the centre console and numerous special badges complete the specification.

    Power is provided by the usual 2.4 litre turbocharged diesel engine. In the absence of a manual gearbox alternative, its 148 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS) and 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) of peak torque are delivered via a six-speed automatic transmission.

    Toyota Hilux Invincible 50 Double Cab (2018) Numbered PlaqueToyota Hilux Invincible 50 Double Cab (2018) Rear Side

    Only fifty examples of the Hilux Invincible 50 are going to be offered in the UK. Toyota dealers will begin accepting orders on the 1st of November, but a price has yet to be confirmed.

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    A rugged-looking Fabia Combi has been launched by Škoda. Although the new Scoutline package doesn’t include all-wheel drive or a special differential, it should provide some extra protection for the bodywork.

    The front bumper gains a prominent silver spoiler, while at the rear there’s a matching diffuser. They’re linked by some matt black trim that runs around the wheel arches and along the side sills.

    Skoda Fabia Combi Scoutline (2019) Front Side

    16” ‘Rock’ alloys come as standard, but 17” ‘Braga’ rims can be ordered instead as a cost option. A silver finish for the door mirror caps and roof rails adds some further visual interest.

    Škoda has still to announce whether or not the Fabia Scoutline will be offered in the UK.

    Skoda Fabia Combi Scoutline (2019) Rear SideSkoda Fabia Combi Scoutline (2019) Side

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    Next year, Škoda is going to launch an all-new five-door hatchback named Scala. In the meantime, photographers needn’t waste their time trying to get any spy shots, because some official ones have already been released.

    The Scala – which is based on the familiar Volkswagen Group MQB platform – measures 4,362 mm (171.1”) from bumper to bumper. That’s actually 104 mm (4.1”) longer than a Volkswagen Golf.

    Skoda Scala (2019 Prototype) Side

    Škoda is keen to point out that interior space is on a par with its slightly larger Octavia, thanks partly to a body width of 1,793 mm (70.6”) and a 2,649 mm (104.3”) wheelbase. Such parity is bound to lead to some intra-brand sales cannibalisation, though.

    Power will come from a selection of one diesel and three petrol engines. All are turbocharged and outputs vary from 88 bhp (66 kW / 90 PS) to 148 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS). A unit that runs on natural gas is also due to be offered, but only in selected markets.

    Skoda Scala (2019 Prototype) Front SideSkoda Scala (2019 Prototype) Rear Side

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    To celebrate the Corsa’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Vauxhall has devised a special version of the hatchback. The Griffin – which is available in three- and five-door guises – gets its name from the mythical creature that appears on the brand’s emblem.

    Regardless of the main bodywork colour chosen, the roof, door mirror caps and front grille bar all have a black finish. Rear privacy glass, gloss black 16” alloy wheels and some unique badges complete the exterior look.

    Vauxhall Corsa Griffin 3-Door (2018) Front Side

    As well as a couple of Griffin-themed floor mats, the interior boasts plenty of equipment. Standard items include automatic lights and wipers, satellite navigation, heated front seats and a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel.

    Every Corsa Griffin is powered by a 1.4 litre petrol engine that can be specified with either 74 bhp (55 kW / 75 PS) or 88 bhp (66 kW / 90 PS).

    Planned production volume hasn’t been disclosed, but dealers are accepting orders now. Prices start at £11,695.

    Vauxhall Corsa Griffin 3-Door (2018) DashboardVauxhall Corsa Griffin 3-Door (2018) Rear Side

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    Buyers of the all-new fourth-generation BMW X5 will be able to adorn their vehicles with various M Performance Parts. Many are purely cosmetic, but some also improve the aerodynamics or reduce the overall weight.

    A selection of carbon fibre components includes air intake trims, bumper winglets, door mirror caps and a rear diffuser. Matt black foil appliqués for the lower body sides add further visual impact.

    BMW X5 with M Performance Parts (2019) Front Side

    Also available are 22” Star Spoke wheels which are reckoned to be around 4 kg (8 lbs) lighter per set than the regular rims. Alternatively, customers can order 20” matt black alloys that come shod with all-terrain tyres.

    Mechanical upgrades focus on the brakes. Larger 19” perforated discs are being offered, along with special red-painted aluminium calipers.

    While an X5 is unlikely to be used on track, the M Performance Drive Analyser might interest anybody who likes data logging. It comprises a smartphone app plus a small device that plugs into the on-board diagnostic socket.

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    A distinctive paint shade called Bronze Sand Metallic identifies the 2019 ATS-V Coupe Pedestal Edition and the CTS-V Sedan Pedestal Edition.

    These new variants – which are being introduced to mark fifteen years of the V-Series sub-brand – also feature black chrome trim and their respective Carbon Fiber Packages. The lightweight forged alloy wheels have an ‘After Midnight’ finish, while some contrast is provided by red Brembo brake calipers.

    Cadillac ATS-V Coupe Pedestal Edition (2019) Front SideCadillac ATS-V Coupe Pedestal Edition (2019) Interior

    Cadillac CTS-V Sedan Pedestal Edition (2019) InteriorCadillac CTS-V Sedan Pedestal Edition (2019) Front Side

    The upholstery is a mixture of black semi-aniline leather and light beige micro-suede. Recaro front seats are fitted, plus the CTS-V model additionally gains the Luxury Package and the Performance Data Recorder system.

    In the USA, prices for the ATS-V Coupe Pedestal Edition start at $77,090 and the CTS-V Sedan Pedestal Edition costs from $102,590. Both will be offered in Canada and the Middle East too, but total production is going to be limited to 300 units.

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Among the vehicles that Honda is displaying at this year’s SEMA Show is an adventure-ready pick-up. The Ridgeline Overland Project, which is based on a 2019 Black Edition, has been built in collaboration with Jsport Performance Accessories.

    A suspension levelling kit, special wheels and all-terrain tyres are fitted to improve off-road capability. Usefully, additional skid plates provide some extra under-body protection.

    Honda Ridgeline Overland Project (2019) Front Side

    For overnighting, a Roofnest tent is mounted on a cargo-bed frame. Above the cab there’s a substantial roof rack unit that can accommodate the spare wheel and a portable electricity generator.

    All of the components seen on the truck are available for customers to buy.

    Honda Ridgeline Overland Project (2019) Side 1Honda Ridgeline Overland Project (2019) Side 2

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    Nissan Motorsports wants the Project Clubsport 23 to serve two purposes: as well as fulfilling a parts development brief, it’s intended to inspire owners who are considering modifying their own cars.

    This unique creation – which has been unveiled at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas – is based on a 2012 370Z Nismo that features a Gloss Burnt Orange wrap. Other visible additions include a carbon fibre front splitter, a customised rear bumper and a set of 18” five-spoke Rays alloy wheels shod with Hankook RS4 tyres.

    Nissan 370Z Project Clubsport 23 (2018) Front Side

    However, the most significant changes are beneath the bodywork.

    An engine swap, performed by Nissan and MA Motorsports, promises some extra pace. The usual 3.7 litre V6 has been replaced by a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 unit, thereby increasing output from 350 bhp (261 kW / 355 PS) to 400 bhp (298 kW / 405 PS).

    A standard six-speed manual transmission is retained, but the dual exhaust is bespoke. Furthermore, a cold-air intake kit, blow-off valves and a heat exchanger are fitted.

    Chassis upgrades consist of KW Variant 3 coil-overs, Eibach rear springs and a three-piece body brace. Z1 Motorsports two-piece slotted discs plus Nismo HC Street/Track pads should mean that the brakes are much improved, too.

    As the Project Clubsport 23 is designed primarily for circuit use, the interior gains a welded-in roll cage, a fire suppression system, Sparco QRT-R seats and six-point harnesses.

    What happens next will be determined by customer reaction. If the response is favourable, then Nissan Motorsports might offer the various components either individually or in packages.

    Nissan 370Z Project Clubsport 23 (2018) InteriorNissan 370Z Project Clubsport 23 (2018) Rear Side

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    It’s not even on sale yet in the United States, but that hasn’t prevented Kia from displaying four unique interpretations of the new Telluride at this year’s SEMA Show. The customised vehicles, which have been built in conjunction with LGE-CTS Motorsports, each follow their own off-road theme.

    However, some of the upgrades are common to all of them. They include a bespoke straight-pipe exhaust for the 3.5 litre V6 engine, a set of Black Rhino wheels and some Milestar Patagonia M/T tyres.

    Every member of the quartet also features an enhanced suspension set-up. Comprising KW Motorsports three-way adjustable dampers, King hydraulic bump stops and specially-fabricated control arms, the changes result in increased travel and wider tracks.

    The black Telluride Baja Glider also gains tube bumpers, extra skid plates and plenty of LED lights.

    Kia Telluride Baja Glider (2020) Front

    A green and black colour scheme gives the Telluride Cadet Leader a military-inspired look. Frontal protection is provided by a hefty brush guard, while a roof rack and Rotopax carriers on the rear quarter panels allow more equipment to be carried.

    Kia Telluride Cadet Leader (2020) Front Side

    Similarly, the tan Telluride Desert Drifter is fitted with a brush guard, skid plates, a roof rack and bonnet-mounted Rotopax carriers.

    Kia Telluride Desert Drifter (2020) Front Side

    Completing the line-up is the bright orange Telluride Horizon Roamer. Designed to tackle trails such as the Rubicon, this variant should be able to ford fairly deep water thanks to the presence of a snorkel.

    Kia Telluride Horizon Roamer (2020) Front Side

    The regular production Telluride is due to appear in public for the first time at next January’s 2019 North American International Auto Show.

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    Ford has unveiled the GT Carbon Series, a limited edition that’s a bit lighter than the standard model.

    Unique components such as carbon fibre wheels, a polycarbonate engine cover and a titanium exhaust all contribute to the diet. Furthermore, cup holders and a storage bin have been deleted from the inside (but air conditioning, the SYNC 3 infotainment system and a radio remain).

    Ford GT Carbon Series (2019) Front Side

    Consequently, total weight is down by approximately 18 kg (40 lbs).

    As befits its name, the Carbon Series features exposed carbon fibre on the twin body stripes, A-pillars, lower side panels, interior sills and centre console. If an even more eye-catching look is desired, then an optional accent package matches the brake calipers, centre stripe and door mirror caps in a choice of blue, orange, red or silver.

    Ford GT Carbon Series (2019) Interior

    Anybody who has already passed Ford’s GT customer selection process can order the Carbon Series now.

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    Nineteen examples of the Jeep Grand Cherokee will soon be serving with the Italian Carabinieri’s anti-terrorism unit.

    Jeep Grand Cherokee Carabinieri (2018) Front

    In addition to gaining numerous LED warning lights and the familiar Carabinieri livery, the SUVs feature various modifications suited to their specialist role. For example, the body, windscreen, side windows and tyres have all been armoured. Reinforced suspension components are fitted, too.

    Jeep Grand Cherokee Carabinieri (2018) DashboardJeep Grand Cherokee Carabinieri (2018) Front Side

    Power is provided by an unaltered 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine. Its 187 bhp (140 kW / 190 PS) is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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    First things first: spending more than £64k on a Volkswagen California seems absurd, especially when a similar outlay could buy a larger camper van or motorhome with much better habitation facilities.

    Nevertheless, as can be seen below, that’s where prices start for the new 30 Years version. Based on the existing California Ocean, this special edition (unsurprisingly) celebrates the passing of three decades since the original California was launched.

    UK OTR prices California Ocean California 30 Years
    2.0 litre diesel
    147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS)
    DSG
    £57,605 £64,307
    2.0 litre diesel
    196 bhp (146 kW / 199 PS)
    DSG
    £60,915 £67,097
    2.0 litre diesel
    196 bhp (146 kW / 199 PS)
    DSG 4Motion
    £63,927 £70,629

    Only 999 examples are going to be produced, of which thirty have been allocated to the UK.

    Volkswagen California 30 Years (2018) Side

    Identifying features include a contrasting Indium Grey or Reflex Silver finish for the elevating roof panel and door mirror caps. Furthermore, a unique badge on the B pillar shows the build number.

    Apart from those cosmetic changes, the enhanced specification comes from the Ocean’s options list. Among the extra items fitted to the 30 Years are LED headlights, parking sensors, 17” ‘Cascavel’ alloy wheels, an outdoor shower connection and a removable tow bar.

    The driving experience should be improved too, thanks to the addition of a Discover Media Navigation Pro infotainment system, the App-Connect tool and Side Scan lane monitoring with cruise control.

    Certainly, the California 30 Years costs a huge amount of money, but relative rarity, ‘official conversion’ status and the prospect of strong residual values are in its favour. Volkswagen won’t struggle to find enough customers.

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    A special version of the Amarok pick-up is intended to appeal to customers who want a more upmarket offering. Named Aventura, it combines a distinctive exterior with a luxurious interior.

    The enhanced specification includes 20” ‘Talca’ alloy wheels and power-folding door mirrors. A body-coloured ‘sports bar’ and a protective coating have been added to the cargo box as well, but a bespoke roll-top cover is a cost option.

    Volkswagen Amarok Aventura (2019) Front Side

    Inside, ErgoComfort front seats, black Nappa leather upholstery and unique floor mats increase the opulence levels. Discover Media navigation and the Lights and Vision pack come as standard, too.

    A 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Although output is ordinarily rated at 254 bhp (190 kW / 258 PS), that figure can rise briefly to 268 bhp (200 kW / 272 PS) when using overboost.

    The 2019 Amarok Aventura is available to order now. On-the-road prices start at £39,960 excluding VAT (or £47,891 including VAT).

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    A year after the C 400 X was launched, BMW is introducing a second mid-size scooter. The new C 400 GT has been designed to provide better weather protection and extra comfort.

    Both models share the same tubular steel frame, 34 bhp (25 kW / 34 PS) 350 cc engine and continuously-variable transmission. Consequently, the C 400 GT’s main differentiator is its unique styling.

    BMW C 400 GT (2019) Front Side

    A much more attractive front fairing incorporates twin LED headlights and a higher windscreen. Another distinctive feature is the one-piece saddle, which has a separate rider backrest. Pillion passengers get to rest their feet on boards rather than basic pegs.

    The standard specification also includes Keyless Ride, Automatic Stability Control and an anti-lock system for the disc brakes. A 6.5” TFT multifunctional instrument display is among the available options.

    UK prices for the C 400 GT start at £7,050. By comparison, the C 400 X and the C 400 X SE currently cost from £6,200 and £6,985 respectively.

    BMW C 400 GT (2019) InstrumentsBMW C 400 GT (2019) Side

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  • 11/07/18--15:42: CBR650R replaces the CBR650F
  • As part of its model updates for 2019, Honda is introducing the CBR650R. This new sporty middleweight all-rounder supersedes the CBR650F.

    Styling changes give the bike a more purposeful look, especially at the front where a revised fairing incorporates dual LED headlights and twin ram-air intakes. A stubbier tail unit, lower clip-on handlebars and repositioned foot pegs move the rider forwards and downwards, but seat height is still 810 mm (31.9”).

    Honda CBR650R (2019) Front Side

    Power continues to be provided by a 649 cc, four-cylinder, fuel-injected engine that’s mated to a six-speed gearbox. However, compared to the CBR650F, maximum output is up from 85 bhp (64 kW / 87 PS) at 11,000 rpm to 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) at 12,000 rpm. While the peak torque figure of 64 Nm (47 lb/ft) is virtually identical, it now arrives at 8,500 rpm instead of 8,000 rpm.

    The addition of a slipper clutch and the Honda Selectable Torque Control system are among the other major upgrades. Also helping to bolster the CBR650R’s performance potential is a reduction in kerb weight to 208 kg (458 lbs), which is mainly the result of alterations made to the fuel tank and steel frame.

    Some front-end chassis modifications complete the enhancements. An adjustable Showa Separate Function Fork becomes part of the specification, along with a pair of floating brake discs and their radially-mounted four-piston calipers.

    Honda has yet to announce a UK price for the 2019 CBR650R.

    Honda CBR650R (2019) SideHonda CBR650R (2019) Instruments

    Honda CBR650R (2019) TopHonda CBR650R (2019) Rear Side


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    A couple of years ago, Kawasaki had to stop selling the W800 in Europe because it didn’t comply with stricter emissions regulations that were being introduced. Now, though, the retro-styled bike has been resurrected.

    While the 2019 model looks almost the same as before, around 90% of the components are new (including the frame). Another major development is Kawasaki’s plan to offer Street and Cafe versions.

    Kawasaki W800 Street (2019) Front Side

    Both guises a powered by a twin-cylinder engine that’s still a 773 cc, air-cooled unit. Target output remains at 47 bhp (35 kW / 48 PS) and, of course, the latest Euro4 pollution standards have been achieved.

    LED lighting, a rear disc brake and an anti-lock system are among the specification enhancements. Full details are due to be announced early next year.

    Kawasaki W800 Street (2019) InstrumentsKawasaki W800 Cafe (2019) Front Side

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    As expected, BMW has introduced an Adventure version of its F 850 GS. This new motorcycle is intended to primarily appeal to customers who want to do some serious long-distance travel on varying road surfaces.

    An enhanced equipment list includes a larger height-adjustable windscreen, hand guards, engine protection bars, wider enduro-style footrests and a stainless steel luggage rack.

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure (2019) Front Side

    Like the regular F 850 GS, the Adventure is powered by an 853 cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine. 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) and 92 Nm (67 lb/ft) of peak torque are delivered via a six-speed transmission and a chain drive.

    Automatic Stability Control (i.e. traction control) and a choice of ‘Road’ or ‘Rain’ modes are among the standard features. If additional rider aids are desired, then the Dynamic package (which comprises ‘Enduro’ and ‘Enduro Pro’ modes plus ABS Pro and Dynamic Traction Control) and Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment are both cost options.

    The F 850 GS Adventure is being offered in a choice of regular, Exclusive and Rallye colour schemes. UK prices start at £10,600.

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure Exclusive (2019) SideBMW F 850 GS Adventure Rallye (2019) Rear Side

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure (2019) InstrumentsBMW F 850 GS Adventure Rallye (2019) Side

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    A mid-capacity sports bike would certainly fill a gap that currently exists in the Aprilia range. The Concept RS 660, which was unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, offers a preview of such a model.

    Power is provided by a 660 cc parallel-twin engine. Derived from the company’s existing 1,100 cc V4, this compact unit sits inside a lightweight aluminium frame as a stressed member. Indicative output and performance figures haven’t been revealed yet, though.

    Aprilia Concept RS 660 (2018) Side

    The minimalist bodywork looks suitably attractive. However, it’s worth noting that efficient aerodynamics were another core design objective.

    According to Aprilia, target buyers are likely to be younger riders across Asia, Europe and North America who want to graduate to a more powerful machine. A production version of the RS 660 should appeal as a downsizing proposition, too.


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    Following the recent launches of the R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT, BMW has installed its latest twin-cylinder boxer engine in three other motorcycles. They are the naked R 1250 R, the sporty R 1250 RS and the tough R 1250 GS Adventure.

    BMW R 1250 R (2019) Front Side

    The début of BMW ShiftCam Technology (which varies the valve timing and valve stroke) plus a capacity increase from 1,170 cc to 1,254 cc bring various benefits. For example, power is up by 11 bhp (8 kW / 11 PS) to 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) at 7,750 rpm, while peak torque becomes 143 Nm (105 lb/ft) at 6,250 rpm.

    BMW R 1250 RS (2019) Front Side

    Standard equipment on all of these bikes is fairly generous. The list includes Automatic Stability Control, a couple of riding modes, Hill Start Control and a 6.5” colour TFT display instead of conventional instruments.

    BMW R 1250 GS Adventure (2019) Front Side

    UK starting prices are:
    • R 1250 R – £11,215
    • R 1250 RS – £12,100
    • R 1250 GS Adventure – £14,415
    However, if customers are tempted by the myriad cost options and accessories being offered, then they could end up paying considerably higher amounts.

    Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment and Riding Modes Pro are among the available extras. The latter is a rider aids package that consists of Dynamic Traction Control, ABS Pro, Dynamic Brake Control, Hill Start Control Pro and two additional mode settings.

    Dealers are accepting orders now.

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

    BMW R 1250 RS (2019) SideBMW R 1250 RS (2019) Instruments

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

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    Next year will be very significant for Harley-Davidson. That’s because the LiveWire – its first production pure-electric motorcycle – is due to arrive at selected dealers across North America and Europe during 2019.

    The bike features an aluminium frame which uses the powertrain as a stressed member for extra rigidity. A fully-adjustable Showa suspension set-up comprises an SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork-Big Piston) at the front and a BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock at the rear.

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Front Side

    Brembo brake components include Monoblock calipers for the dual front discs. Of course, an anti-lock system is fitted, plus traction control comes as standard too. To help make the most of such technologies, there’s a choice of four fixed and three customisable riding modes.

    Energy is supplied from a lithium-ion battery (or Rechargeable Energy Storage System, in Harley-Davidson parlance) that’s contained within a cast aluminium housing. A permanent-magnet electric motor is joined to a single-speed transmission, so the LiveWire doesn’t have a clutch lever or a gear shifter.

    All of the above sounds rather interesting but, as with any electric vehicle, prospective customers are likely to be most curious about output, range and recharge times. Unfortunately, those crucial details haven’t been announced yet.

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) SideHarley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Rear Side Detail

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Front Side DetailHarley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Rear Side

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