SEAT has been putting the durability of its new Leon X-Perience to the test, across the extreme terrain of the Sahara desert. Travelling hundreds of miles across rocky ground and dunes, the rugged estate had to cope with huge temperature variations - from below zero at night to plus 50 degrees during the day. The Leon’s airtight passenger compartment held up well, ensuring that not even a micron of dust got into the car, even during sandstorms. The SEAT Leon X-Perience is on sale now, priced from just over £28k OTR.
Skoda’s new Kodiaq has been awarded a maximum five star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests. The large SUV achieved full marks in the side-barrier collision offering good protection of allareas at a risk. The Kodiaq continues the Czech brand’s run of good form, as all recently tested Skodas have been rated with five stars. This is thanks in no small part to the fitment of advanced driver assistance features such as the Automatic Emergency Brake system that detects pedestrians as well as other cars.
Renault has confirmed pricing for its facelifted Captur, kicking off from £15,355 OTR. Design tweaks bring the revamped Captur closer in style to its crossover siblings - the Kadjar and Koleos. It also features a more ‘luxurious and refined interior’ says Renault with the addition of a new top-of-the-range Signature S Nav model. There are five trim levels with the engine line-up promising CO2 emissions as low as 95g/km and fuel economy of up to 78.5mpg. UK order books are open now with first deliveries expected in July.
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.
SEAT has fully restored a classic 600 as part of the model’s 60th anniversary. Launched in 1957, SEAT’s version of the original FIAT 600 offered many Spaniards the chance to finally take to the road, and went on to sell nearly 800,000 examples. Over 1,000 original parts had to be sourced, along with 50 metres of exclusive fabric and 15 litres of new paint - before a team of 30 people could painstakingly rebuild the car in time for the 2017 Automobile Barcelona show.
More than 60 years after the original Lister Knobbly first raced, a dedicated road-going version has been unveiled. Just 10 of the special Knobblys will be made, with notable changes for the road including roll over protection, indicators, the addition of number plates and a sunken fuel filler cap. Beneath its hand-beaten aluminium body is a Jaguar 3.8-litre engine almost identical to that in the D-Type. Despite the ‘old school’ technology the engine is still capable of 330bhp – for a top speed of 181mph and a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds. Prices start at £225,000 OTR.
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.
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.
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.