A modified Nissan LEAF is set to enter the 2017 Mongol Rally. Piloted by Electric Vehicle enthusiasts ‘Plug In Adventures’ the LEAF will be the first all-electric car to drive the 10,000 miles from Goodwood to Mongolia. Slimmer wheels with narrow tyres have been fitted and the rear seats taken out, while extra plates have been welded underneath to protect against rough terrain. Charging will be a challenge as the team heads further east, however the LEAF will accept a 240v ‘Commando connection’ even in the most remote areas. The Mongol Rally gets underway on the 16 July.
A development version of the all-new Honda Civic Type R has set a new lap record for front-wheel drive cars at the Nürburgring. The 2017 model, which is 16kg lighter than its predecessor, set the new benchmark of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds on its final phase of testing. New lower gear ratios boost acceleration from the 320 PS, 2-litre turbo engine, while optimised aerodynamics and wider tyres help the hot-hatch achieve higher cornering speeds. Production of the new Civic Type R will begin this summer.
A modified Hyundai Santa Fe has become the first passenger vehicle to be driven across Antarctica. Huge, low-pressure tyres were fitted for the journey along with a 250-litre fuel tank and a pre-heater for the cold weather. Celebrating 100 years since legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic expedition, the team was led by his Great Grandson Patrick Bergel. The unique Hyundai covered 3600 miles of icy terrain, coping with temperatures as low as minus 28-degrees on the epic Polar adventure.
Audi has revealed its new e-tron Sportback concept at the Shanghai Auto Show. The all-wheel drive, all-electric car is powered by three motors delivering up to 370 kW - for a 0-62mph time of just 4.5 seconds an a top speed of around 130mph. Audi claims a driving range of over 310 miles for the e-tron Sportback, which isset to enter series production in 2019.
Citroen is unveiling its new C5 Aircross SUV at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. Initially powered by the latest-generation petrol engines, the C5 Aircross will also feature plug-in hybrid technology and - with a total system output of 300 bhp - will become the most powerful Citroen production car ever. The SUV also debuts a new suspension system with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions which deliver, says Citroen, a 'uniquely smooth and comfortable ride'. The C5 Aircross will go on sale in Europe in the second half of 2018.
Aston Martin’s bespoke ‘Q’ department has built 10 examples of a new Red Arrows inspired Vanquish S. Finished in the same colour as the famous Hawk jets, each car has a white 'smoke trail' feature on the side, titanium exhaust pipes and onboard aviation-inspired instrumentation and switchgear. An exposed carbon fibre roof panel features a ‘charge' pattern mimicking the canopy design of the iconic fighter jet. Strictly limited to just nine examples, the 10th car is being gifted to the RAF’s own Benevolent fund.
Vauxhall has confirmed prices for its Insignia Grand Sport will start at just over £17k OTR. Based on a completely new vehicle architecture, the 2017 model is 175kg lighter than the previous generation and features new technology such as the Head-up-Display and IntelliLux LED matrix headlights. A choice of six petrol and diesel engines are available with an all-new 1.5-litre petrol unit pumping out 250PS, while the 1.6-litre diesel returns up to 70.6mpg. Order books for the all-new Insignia Grand Sport are open now, with first deliveries beginning in May.
British-based carmaker, David Brown Automotive, has revealed its second model - a new ‘Mini Remastered’. Based on a classic Mini, new panels are fitted while the exterior shape is refined by de-seaming the bodyshell. The reborn Mini is finished with luxurious materials and comes with modern connectivity features including Apple CarPlay, keyless-go and USB connectivity. Powered by a fully reconditioned 1275 engine with 50% more power, David Brown Automotive say there was a huge focus an ‘enormous focus’ on reliability, integrity and driving dynamics. Prices have yet to be announced.
Two new performance SUVs from Mercedes-AMG have been revealed - with the GLC 63 4MATIC+ available as either a regular SUV or as an SUV-Coupe with a sloping fastback roofline. The ’S’ trim level comes with more equipment and a bit more power, but all cars are fitted with a 9-speed AMG transmission and 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. Under the bonnet is the same 4.0-litre V8 as fitted to the AMG GT sports car, delivering up to 510 bhp for a 0-62mph time of under 4-seconds.
Jaguar Classic has revealed the first ‘Reborn’ E-type to leave its new purpose-built facility in Coventry. Each restoration starts with a base vehicle sourced by Jaguar before being completely stripped and rebuilt, with unique access to original build records and drawings. The donor vehicle here was originally exported to California in1965, where it amassed 78,000 miles before going into storage in 1983. As much of the original vehicle is retained or refurbished using authentic parts where needed. Prices for a Jaguar E-type Reborn start at £285k.
The all-new Nissan Micra goes on sale this week, priced at just under £12k OTR. The fifth-generation supermini is available with two petrol engines - a 1.0-litre or a 0.9-litre turbo - and a 1.5-litre diesel, which returns up to 88 mpg. With a choice of 5 trim levels and over 100 personalisation options, the range tops out at £18,765 OTR for the Tekna trim which comes with Bose speakers in the driver’s head rest as standard.
Porsche has added a new bodystyle to its Panamera range - revealing the more spacious Sport Turismo. The new model is based on the sports saloon, yet is more versatile with an increased luggage compartment of up to 570 litres - thanks to a raised roof line and larger tailgate. The new model will be available with five engines borrowed from the sports saloon, offering up to 550 bhp. The new Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is set for market launch in October.
McLaren has confirmed pricing for its new 720S will start at just over £208k OTR. The latest model from the Super Series was official unveiled in Geneva, and is lighter and faster than its 650S predecessor. A new twin-turbocharged V8 pumps out 720PS - hence the model’s name - for a 0-62mph time of under 3 seconds, taking just 5 seconds to hit 124mph on its way to a maximum speed of 212mph. Available in three trim grades, the new McLaren 720S is on sale now.
SEAT’s new flagship Leon Cupra 300 was in Lapland for a fun challenge - to test the brand’s most powerful model to date, against a pack of huskies, in their own back yard. The dogs are perfectly suited to the -5 degree c temperature and can run at up to 25mph while the 300 horsepower Leon Cupra can hit 62mph in 4.9 seconds.. on dry land. The Cupra used its 4Drive function and snow tyres to try and compete with the grip from the snow dogs’ paws in the closely fought battle - which seemed to end honours even.
The new Lamborghini Huracán Performante has broken the Nürburgring’s lap record for a production car, with a time of 6:52.01. New lightweight technologies reduce the Performante’s weight by 40kg while active aerodynamics combine with a revised chassis set-up and a further improved, 640 bhp powertrain for a 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of over 200mph. The most powerful V10 Lamborghini to date will cost just over £173k when it goes on sale in the Summer.
Porsche has reveals its new 911 GT3 in Geneva. The German brand says the road car’s 500 horse power, 4-litre engine is virtually identical to the one in the 911 GT3 Cup race car and - with the six-speed sports manual gearbox - it sprints to 62mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 198 mph. The new two-seater sits 25 mm lower than the 911 Carrera S while improved aerodynamics such as the large carbon fibre rear wing ensure it stays on the black stuff. The new Porsche 911 GT3 is on sale now priced at just under £112K in the road.
The new Abarth 595 Trofeo will start at £17,290 OTR when it hits showrooms later this month.
Bentley has revealed the all-electric EXP 12 Speed 6e concept. The open-top sports car previews the luxury brand’s electric car strategy and features a new, advanced powertrain which includes rapid inductive charging. Cutting-edge technology and fine materials combine inside the luxurious cabin with plenty of leather and a handmade cut-away steering wheel which comes with an instant boost button on top. Bentley’s electric car roll-out kicks off with a hybrid Bentayga in 2018.
Hyundai’s first high-performance model - the i30 'N' - is being put through extreme winter testing in Sweden. World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville got behind the wheel, powersliding through snow and ice over a frozen lake to get a feel for the new car’s performance and handling. Reporting back to the engineers, the aim is to fine tune the Electronic Stability Control, Limited Slip Differential, steering, suspension and tyres. The Hyundai i30 N is set to hit showrooms later this year.
Volvo has revealed its second generation XC60. The new SUV is described as one of the safest cars ever made - and includes additional new crash avoidance technology such as Steer Assist and Oncoming Lane Mitigation. The all-new model is available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, while a 407 bhp petrol-hybrid tops the range - delivering a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds. The new Volvo XC60 is set to go into production next month.