41 years after the debut of the Golf GTI, Volkswagen has revealed a compact, sporty car in the spirit of the original hot hatch. The special ‘up! GTI’ concept was previewed ahead of its public unveiling at the annual Lake Wörthersee GTI Meet for VW fans, boasting similar performance figures to the 1976 Golf with 0-62mph taking 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 122mph. Finished with GTI badging and trim, the turbocharged up! runs on 17-inch alloys and sits 15mm lower than the standard car. The Lake Wörthersee meet takes place from the 24 to 27 May.
The first performance car from Hyundai’s new N sub-brand has taken to the UK’s most challenging roads as part of its continuing development. The 2.0-litre powered, i30 N prototype was tested to fine-tune the car’s adaptive suspension and different drive modes. With the N logo said to resemble a chicane - as well as standing for the Nürburgring where it was developed - a near standard i30 N will race there later this month, ahead of a market launch in the summer.
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.
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 Abarth 595 Trofeo will start at £17,290 OTR when it hits showrooms later this month.
Renault has taken its all electric ZOE hatchback and added some Formula E race-car knowhow, to create the striking ZOE e-sport concept. The battery-powered hot-hatch is driven by two electric motors delivering a total system output of almost 460bhp - launching it from rest to 62mph in just over 3-seconds. Aerodynamics additions include a flat undercarriage, a rear diffuser and a large carbon fibre tailgate spoiler.
The Audi RS 3 is being reintroduced in five-door, Sportback guise. Powered by a 400PS TFSI engine, 0-62mph takes 4.1-seconds and - with the optional dynamic package plus - the de-restricted top speed is 174mph. The RS 3 is 25mm lower than a regular A3, and has flared front arches to accommodate a wider front track and the standard fit 19-inch alloys. At the rear there’s an elongated RS roof spoiler, a rear diffuser and an RS exhaust system with large oval tailpipes.
The most powerful MINI Clubman yet has gone on sale, starting at £29,345 OTR. Receiving the full John Cooper Works treatment, the new Clubman features upgraded suspension, styling tweaks and an all-wheel drive system as standard for maximum traction when putting the hammer down, unleashing 231 bhp for a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds. If you require an eight-speed sports Steptronic transmission, that’ll cost you an extra £1600 while a Chili pack - with heated seats and 19-inch alloys will set you back an extra £2,000.
The Volkswagen Golf has been updated with a focus on digital technology, becoming the first compact car to feature gesture control. Exterior changes are subtle with redesigned bumpers and restyled headlights with LED daytime running lights, while on the inside there’s a completely new generation of infotainment systems. Powertrain revisions include a new 150 PS, 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine plus a power boost for the GTI model up to 245 PS, while a new 7-speed DSG transmission which will gradually replace the old 6-speed box. UK pricing and specification for the new VW Golf has yet to be announced.
It isn't all Concepts and performance cars in Paris as many forthcoming production models were also on show. Kia revealed its all new fourth-generation Rio. With a ‘progressive’ new design and a longer wheelbase, Kia promises class-leading practicality and safety. Nissan’s all-new 5th generation Micra is aimed at the European market as opposed to the global design of its predecessor. It will come with a 0.9-litre petrol engine or a 1.5-litre diesel unit when it launches in March 2017. The new Audi RS 3 made its debut in saloon form. The RS 3’s transversely-mounted 2.5-litre TFSI engine delivers a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds, and a top speed of 174mph. Hyundai pulled the covers off it all-new i30. Designed in Europe the i30 features a newly developed Cascading front grille, while power comes from a downsized engine line-up including an all-new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Clubman will debut at the Paris Motor Show next week. The latest member of the JCW family is powered by the same 231 bhp engine as the Hatch and Convertible models, for a 0-62 time of 6.3-seconds and a top speed of 148 mph, while returning 41.5mpg on the combined cycle. The JCW Clubman also features sports suspension, an uprated braking system and more aggressive front and rear styling. Orders books are open now, with prices starting at £29,345 on-the-road.
The BMW group has revealed a new ‘MINI Vision Next 100’ concept as part of its centenary celebrations. The Vision concept looks to a future where fully automated car-sharing will be available 24/7. Wrapped in a silver skin, like a blank canvas, the car displays different colour as well as personalised messages. On the inside, a new ‘Cooperizer’ centrally-positioned dial acts like the car’a brain, controlling personalised settings for each driver, and features an ‘Inspire Me’ button which checks downloaded user data for a perfectly personalised driving experience.
Renault Sport celebrated its 40th anniversary by revealing a special Clio R.S. 16 concept car. Revealed at the Monaco Grand Prix, Renault’s F1 driver Kevin Magnussen took the Clio R.S. 16 for a spin around the famous circuit. Featuring a wider body and 19-inch wheels, the Clio concept is powered by a 275-horsepower 2.0-litre unit borrowed from the Mégane R.S. Trophy-R - along with the cooling and transmission - while the suspension was reworked to match the car’s performance characteristics.
Volkswagen will be celebrating 40 years of the the Golf GTI with a special Clubsport S edition, set to debut at the 35th GTI Meet in Wörthersee, Austria. It will be joined by the whole generation of Golf GTI models, from a mark 1 to the new GTI Touring car. The legions of VW fans will be able to get up close to the 310 PS GTI Clubsport S, which earlier this week broke the Nürburgring record for a front-wheel drive production car, completing a lap in 7:49.21.
Nissan has revealed a new, uber powerful Juke-R 2.0 concept. Borrowing the engine and running gear from the Nissan GT-R, the uprated Juke-R is capable of pumping out 600 bhp. Styling tweaks include a heavily redesigned front bumper with the cooling apertures now double in size to stop the monster power-plant from overheating. Sporting the Nissan ‘R’ matt black finish, the concept is an even more muscular, bolder and powerful version of its predecessor. No word yet as to if the Nissan Juke-R 2.0 will make it into production.
After 10,000 km of testing, Skoda's new Fabia R5 Rally car has been officially approved for competition. The new hot hatch, seen here in the hands of Skoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky, is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine mated to a five-speed sequential gearbox. The FIA's green light means the new four-wheel drive R5 can now continue the Czech manufacturer’s 114-year involvement in motorsport.
Rinspeed has revealed its latest autonomous car – the BMW i3-based Budii. The new concept features technology from the Swiss company’s 'idea factory' – including a robotic arm that literally hands over the steering wheel to the occupants when they fancy some fun at the wheel. Other quirky features include a function enabling the car to follow you when you go for a jog – and then you can switch on the taps to run a bath so it’s ready when you get home. The Rinspeed Budii will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3.
Audi has revealed its new RS 3 Sportback will start at £39,950 OTR when it goes on sale next month. The most powerful production five-cylinder engine in Audi RS history offers 367PS and 465Nm of torque, for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a potential top speed of 174mph with the limiter removed. With a lower weight, faster-shifting seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox and faster-reacting quattro drive the new RS 3 Sportback is set to storm out of showrooms when first customer deliveries kick off in the summer.
Ford has previewed its all-new high-performance Focus RS – with Ken Block behind the wheel. Powered by an upgraded version of the new Mustang's 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, it pumps out in excess of 320PS. The hot hatch also features sports suspension, Dynamic Torque Vectoring and All-Wheel-Drive. Running on 19-inch alloy wheels the RS has been aerodynamically optimised for zero lift and high-speed handling. Further details will be announced later this year.
Honda says the Civic Type R Concept points to the styling direction of the production version that will debut in Europe next year. The 'racing car for the road' signals the most extreme Civic Type R yet, with a sleek, aerodynamic profile and 20-inch wheels reflecting a car designed for high performance. Full technical details have yet to be confirmed but power will come courtesy of a two-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder VTEC Turbo engine from the Earth Dreams Technology range -- pumping out at least 280PS!