24 Mar, 2016
Nissan GT-R facelift

The mighty Nissan GT-R is entering the 9th year of production, but Nissan has yet to start developing the next generation. This means it has to receive yet another facelift. However, the latest facelift is more comprehensive than the ones we see in 2010 and 2012. Outside, it spots the biggest change in the front grille design as well as the addition of cosmetic (fake) intakes situated immediately below the headlamps. Nissan claims the slightly larger grille enhanced cooling without altering the 0.26 Cd.

Inside, the dashboard is redesigned, although its basic architecture is more or less the same. Compared with the old car, you can see the center console is rearranged to include a new, slightly larger touch screen. 2 of the circular air vents have been replaced with square ones located below the central screen. Thanks to the new infotainment software, the number of physical switches is greatly reduced. The gearshift paddles are now mounted on the new steering wheel instead of the steering column. I'm not sure if it is a good change.

Compared to the 2012 version, the engine enjoys a boost of 20 horsepower and 4 pound-foot of torque thanks to slightly higher turbo boost and individual ingition control for each cylinder. With 570 hp and 470 lbft, it is still not as powerful as the Nismo edition though, which possessed 600 hp and 481 lbft. However, the new titanium exhaust should make an angrier noise in acceleration. On the other hand, Nissan claims the car easier to live with in normal driving, as the remapped gearshift is smoother, the retuned suspension is softer and there are enhanced sound insulation such as acoustic windscreen, new sound deadening materials and active noise cancelling system.

24 Mar, 2016
New Subaru Impreza

The current Subaru Impreza is only 4 years old, but it feels outdated in some key areas already, so it is a relieve to see its replacement comes early. The new Impreza is said to be built on a new global platform which uses extensive high-strength steel to boost rigidity by 70 percent. Its wheelbase is stretched by 25 mm to 2670 mm, while overall length and width are marginally increased. The styling remains odd and outdated though, and the key components of chassis seem to be carried over from the old car. This means the same suspensions and permanent 4WD system.

US-spec Impreza is again propelled by the FB-series 2.0-liter boxer engine and CVT transmission. Although the former has added direct injection from the BRZ sports car, its output is barely improved by 4 ponies to 152 hp. I expect the Levorg's 1.6 DI turbo engine with 170 hp could be offered as option at a later date.

The biggest improvement is unlikely to be the mechanical aspect but the interior. As seen in this picture, it is made more stylish without deviating from the intuitive approach of Subaru. The center console is dominated by a larger, higher mounted touch screen with updated infotainment system.

24 Mar, 2016
Battle of Prius and Ioniq extends to plug-in

In January we already saw how close Hyundai's new hybrid car, Ioniq, matches Toyota Prius. Now their battle extends to plug-in hybrid.

Prius Prime is the plug-in version of Prius. It gets a radical restyling at its nose (including the all-new LED headlamps). Inside, there is a Tesla-style portrait touch screen measuring 11.6 inches (though no match with Tesla's 17-inch item), which dominates the redesigned center console. Mechanical-wise, it is bascially the same as the regular Prius except that the lithium-ion battery is enlarged to 8.8 kWh, and it can be charged from outside or (slowly) from the roof-mounted solar cells. This gives it an electric range of 22 miles (35 km) for a speed up to 84 mph.

Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid takes a different approach but the result is remarkably similar. Its exterior is hardly distinguishable from the regular Ioniq, as is the interior. The battery capacity is virtually the same as Toyota's at 8.9 kWh. Electric range is estimated to be 25 miles (40 km). Since the electric motor on the Ioniq hybrid is too small (it produces only 43.5 hp), the Plug-in Hybrid uses a larger motor with 60 hp. This means it won't be as quick as the Prius Prime in EV mode, although once its 1.6 GDI engine intervenes it could be faster than the Prius.

Apart from hybrid and plug-in hybrid, the Ioniq is also available in pure electric form. The Ioniq Electric runs a 28 kWh battery for 110 miles range. Its motor is more powerful again, with 120 hp and 215 lbft of torque on offer.

24 Mar, 2016
New Kia Cadenza / K7

The new Kia K7 / Cadenza is a subtle improvement over the last generation. It is built on the existing platform thus dimensions deviate very slightly. The exterior styling is further polished from the existing architecture, but the Buick-like waterfall front grille is not as special as the original "tiger nose" grille, even though it might look classier by some. Other design details are definitely more elegant than the old car.

As before, this is a large front-wheel-drive sedan major on comfort and value for money rather than sophistication or driver appeal. Its suspension still rides on cost-effective amplitude selective dampers rather than electronic-controlled adaptive dampers, so I suspect the basic setting should be rather soft. However, the new chassis has its rigidity increased by 35 percent thanks to high-strength steel and structural adhesives, thus it should be a good basis for higher refinement.

The old car's 3.3-liter GDI V6 is carried over. Figures are yet to be released, but expect no more than the previous 294 hp. This means any improvement in performance should come from the new 8-speed automatic which replaces the old 6-speeder.

Inside, the new interior seems to be the biggest improvement of the car. Its dashboard looks like an upscale version of that of K5 / Optima, which means higher quality and up-to-date electronics.

24 Mar, 2016
Mazda MX-5 RF

The retractrable roof MX-5 returns with a new name, RF, or Retractable Fastback. Since the new MX-5 has a shorter boot, it cannot accommodate a full retractable metal roof like its predecessor, thus it has to switch to a Targa-style roof. This means a pair of flying buttresses is left behind the seats regardless the roof is open or close. The roof mechanism operates like Porsche 911 Targa: at a press of a button, the flying buttresses rise high up in the air, revealing a large opening for the small, 2-piece roof panel to retract from the boot together with the rear glass window. The process takes just 12 seconds. Mazda did not say how much weight it adds to the car.

The rest of the car is unchanged from the roadster, including the choice of 1.5 and 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engines.

With the flying buttresses in place, the RF looks a little old from side.

24 Mar, 2016
Industrial News

VW Phaeton: end of road

Volkswagen Phaeton went out of production last week. The last Phaeton, a 4.2 V8 model, rolled off the production line at the Dresden "glass factory", ending an unsuccessful life that started well back in 2002.

17 Mar, 2016
Last fast Falcons: XR6 Turbo Sprint & XR8 Sprint

The XR6 Turbo Sprint and XR8 Sprint are the very last fast Ford Falcons. Before the production line to close in October 3rd, Ford is going to build 550 units of XR6 Turbo Sprint and 850 units of XR8 Sprint to feed its fans in Australia and New Zealand.

What do these cars bring? More power, of course! The XR8 Sprint has its 5-liter supercharged V8 boosted by 13 horsepower and 4 lbft of torque to 462 hp and 424 lbft. Sounds peanuts, but now it is available with a 10-second overboost to 536 hp and 479 lbft if ambient temperature is lower than 25degC. Meanwhile, the XR6's 4-liter straight-six is benefited by a bigger turbo and intercooler to allow significantly higher output, rising from 362 hp to 436 hp and 393 lbft to 425 lbft. Overboost will take it further to 496 hp and 479 lbft. It can be mated with only ZF 6-speed automatic, whereas the V8 can pair with either the auto or 6-speed manual. Since the XR6 Turbo Sprint is lighter and has wider spread of torque, it is actually faster than the XR8 Sprint in the real world.

Due to limited development budget, not much is changed on the exterior and interior. However, Ford still fits some goodies from its performance parts bin, such as larger Brembo brakes and performance tires. Their suspensions have been retuned, too. The XR6 gets firmer setting, while XR8 gets softer springs and stiffer dampers.

16 Mar, 2016
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

This is the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Like the last generation, it is the range-topping model of the Camaro family. Power comes from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 - yes, the same LT4 engine as Corvette Z06. It is rated at a whopping 640 hp and 640 lbft, some 60 hp and 84 lbft more than the last gen. Meanwhile, sitting on the new Alpha platform it is nearly 100 kg lighter than before, although a kerb weight of around 1760 kg is by no means lightweight.

Apart from the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, the ZL1 offers the industry's first ever 10-speed automatic. It is developed jointly by GM and Ford thus will be widely seen in the truck line-ups of both groups.

Everything else is predictable: Magnetic Ride suspension, Performance Traction Management, electronic LSD, fat tires (285/30ZR20 front and 305/30ZR20 rear), large Brembo brakes, additional spoilers and Recaro seats. It will be another performance bargain.

11 Mar, 2016
Mercedes-AMG E43 packs 401 hp

The new E-class gets the first AMG treatment. E43 is powered by a tuned version of the 3.0 twin-turbo V6 that produces 401 horsepower and 383 lbft of torque, which is 34 hp higher than C43. The extra power is contributed by larger turbos that produces up to 1.1 bar as well as remapped ECU. It is sent to the standard 4matic system through the new 9-speed automatic, whose shift time is reduced in the AMG version. The 4WD system has a standard torque split of 31:69 front-to-rear rather than the usual 50:50 in order to deliver sportier driving characteristics. 0-60 mph sprint takes 4.4 seconds, while top speed is still capped at 155 mph.

The air-sprung suspension, now called Air Body Control instead of Airmatic, is retuned with stiffer setting, stiffer bushings and more negative camber. The front axle gets different steering knuckles and a variable-ratio power steering to enhance feedback. The standard 19-inch wheels (20-inch optional as pictured) house 360 mm disc brakes at all corners. Cosmetic changes include a sportier front grille and quad-exhaust. Not much. It might be deliberately understated to leave room for E63.

2 Mar, 2016
Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin enters a new era with DB11, which showcases the firm's new generation VH platform and styling theme. The replacement of DB9 is marginally longer, wider and lower, but its lines are tauter and the details get more elegant. The front grille gets larger and more pronounced, while the tail is a big departure from existing Aston Martin designs.

The car has its wheelbase stretched by 65 mm to 2805 mm. This allows the engine to be positioned further back for a weight distribution improved to 51:49 front-to-rear, while the cabin also shares more space. The driver enjoys 10 mm more headroom. The rear seats are finally suitable to small children, thanks to the gain of 87 mm legroom and 54 mm headroom. It is now a true 2+2.

As before the updated VH platform is a mix of bonded aluminum pressings, extrusions and castings. It is claimed to be lighter, stronger and occupies less space. The outer panels are made of aluminum pressings (bonnet, roof and doors), composites (front fenders, boot lid and rear haunches) and plastics (bumpers, front splitters and diffusers). The roof rails are formed from extruded and pressed aluminum.

The V12 engine is downsized slightly from 5935 to 5204 c.c., but it is added with twin-turbo for the first time. Power output is 608 hp and maximum torque is 516 lbft, 61 hp and 59 lbft more than the outgoing DB9 GT. Considering its rather low state of tune, I suppose the engine could gain a lot of power for future applications in Vanquish etc. The V12 still lacks direct fuel injection, but it gets cylinder deactivation, which shuts down a full cylinder bank at lighter loads, and automatic stop-start to save fuel. The engine continues to work with an ZF 8-speed automatic and limited slip differential.

Performance is improved a lot. Top speed is lifted from 183 to 200 mph, while 0-60 mph is cut by half a second to 3.8 ticks.

The interior design is all new, although not as elegant as I would like. There is a new TFT intrument panel and new sat-nav system. The infotainment system supports rotary control, touchpad and even gesture control. Say thank you to Mercedes.

1 Mar, 2016
Porsche 911R

To the hardcore fans of Porsche, the development in recent years is not comprehensively satisfying. The latest 991.2 Carrera has switched to turbocharging which has a slight but noticeable negative effect on sound and character. They might turn to the more hardcore GT3 and GT3 RS, but since the 991 generation they have replaced traditional manual gearboxes for PDKs, which rob the pleasure of pure driver control. Moreover, the big spoilers of the GT3 duo are designed for race tracks instead of road use. The new 911R tries to fill the gap missed out by the GT3 duo. It is designed for road use, but it is manual-only and has the best naturally aspirated flat-six ever made.

That engine is actually the same one as the GT3 RS, i.e. a 4.0-liter unit good for 8800 rpm and 500 horsepower. It is mated to a standard 6-speed manual gearbox, not the 7-speed you can find in other 911s as overdrive is considered irrelevant to this hardcore model. The powertrain is mounted on adaptive engine mounts.

The chassis is based on the GT3, including its front bumper, axles, suspensions, wheels, tires as well as the 4WS system. However, it skips the fixed rear spoiler for the retractable one of lesser 911s. Meanwhile, GT3 RS donates many lightweight components, such as carbon-fiber bonnet and fenders (the roof is magnesium alloy like GT3 and GT3 RS), plexiglass rear screen and rear quarter windows, and the powerful PCCB ceramic brakes.

Inside, the 911R is even more hardcore than the GT3 duo. Apart from lightweight door panels and fabric door pulls, it is devoid of air-con and audio system (both are standard on GT3 and GT3 RS). Classic-looking bucket seats are adopted. All these efforts means a kerb weight of 1370 kg, 50 kg less than the GT3 RS.

However, the loss of PDK means too much. Porsche said it takes 3.7 seconds to go from 0-60 mph, 0.6 sec more than GT3 RS or 0.4 sec more than GT3. Even the new, turbocharged Carrera S can match it. On the plus side, its 201 mph top speed is the highest ever for a naturally aspirated 911, thanks to the lack of fixed rear spoiler.

Porsche is going to build 991 units of the R model to satisfy its hardcore fans. Incredibly, it is even more expensive than the GT3 RS at £137,000.

1 Mar, 2016
Abarth 124 Spider

If the Fiat 124 Spider unveiled a couple of months ago in USA is a big disappointment, then its Abarth version is likely to be more so. Why? Because we expected it to be the go-faster version, but it turns out to employ the same 1.4 MultiAir turbo engine. For European market, it is rated at 170 hp and 184 lbft of torque, not even the best it could manage. The 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox comes directly from Mazda MX-5 despite of revised final drive ratio. The car is quoted a kerb weight of 1060 kg, which is remarkably light if you don't know the 2-liter MX-5 is good for 1000 kg DIN. Anyway, with extra punch and wide spread of torque it still manages better performance, i.e. 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and 143 mph flat out. But what lifts it beyond the lesser Fiat model? I'm not quite sure... maybe the standard LSD, maybe stronger brakes or stiffer suspension tuning. Just don't tell me the matt black-painted bonnet which gives it a visual link to its classic predecessor.

1 Mar, 2016
Lamborghini Centenario

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in 1916. To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the birth of its founder, Lamborghini introduces the limited edition Centenario. Only 20 coupes and 20 roadsters will be built for buyers already placed orders. Each costs €1.75 million plus tax. A bargain compared with Bugatti Chiron, but then again the Lambo is less special.

As you could imagine from its looks, it is practically a rebodied Aventador. The 6.5-liter V12 is tuned further from the SV, gaining 20 hp to a total of 770 hp. The rev limiter is set 100 rpm higher at 8600 rpm. The chassis is basically the same, except that it has added 4-wheel steering for the first time (expect lesser Aventadors will get the same hardware in next update). The 4WS can sharpen its steering response in tight corners/at low speed or enhance directional stability on highway.

The new bodywork is fully made of carbon-fiber, of course. It is far more aggressive than the SV, thanks to counterless of exposed fins. The rear spoiler is normally recessed but can be raised by 150 mm or tilted up to 15 degrees. However, Lamborghini did not say how much the new bodywork has improved drag or lift. Perhaps its main function is to look cool.

At 1520 kg dry, the Centenario is merely 5 kg lighter than the SV, so it is not surprising to see it is quoted the same performance figures, i.e. 217+ mph top speed and 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds.

If all these are familiar, it is because Lamborghini did a similar thing 3 years ago with Veneno.

1 Mar, 2016
Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine: out-pull a Pullman

Rolls-Royce used to have some long-lasting coachbuild partners, most notably Park Ward and Mulliner. Since the separation of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the former got Park Ward and the latter turned Mulliner into its coachbuild division. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine pictured is the latest work of Mulliner. Many aspects of the huge limousine mirrors those of Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Both have their wheelbase extended by a massive 1000 mm to accommodate an extra pair of rear-facing seats. However, the Bentley manages to out-pull the Pullman thanks to its slight extra length (about 100 mm) and a 6.75-liter V8 turbo that delivers more torque (752 lbft vs 612 lbft). The Bentley is also likely to be taller, as its roof is raised by 79 mm.

Apart from more seats, the cabin gets features like fold-out tables, iPad charging and docking stations to work as a mobile office. The rear cabin is separated from the front seats by a glass partition whose transparency can be adjusted.

1 Mar, 2016
Bugatti Chiron goes official!

Bugatti displayed the last or 450th Veyron last year in Geneva motor show. This year at the same place it brings the new generation model, Chiron. The car is named after Louis Chiron, a racing driver serving Bugatti in the 1920s and 30s. The company plans to build a total of 500 units, each to be sold at €2.4 million before tax. It goes without saying that derivatives like Supersport and Gransport could be added afterwards.

The styling of the new car is clearly evolved from its predecessor. It keeps the trademark horseshoe front grille and the cockroach shape, but the details have been updated. Up front, the new LED headlamps get wider and thinner, and they consist of 4 lamps each side. At the side, there is a big arc forming a distinctive graphical signature behind the door. It also hides the huge air intake which draw cold air towards the big engine. At the back, the tail of the car is much modernized, dropping the round theme for a kamm-style tail. Rear fenders get more pronounced. As a result, the Chiron appears to be slimmer and sleeker than Veyron, even though it is actually a bit larger. Measuring 4544 mm long, 2038 mm wide and 1212 mm tall, it eclipses the old car by 79 mm, 38 mm and 7 mm respectively. The wheelbase is unchanged at 2710 mm.

As before, the monocoque chassis is made of carbon-fiber. Its torsional rigidity is said to be 50,000 Nm per degree, 10,000 Nm/degree lower than the old car but is still a staggering figure. As before, fore of the monocoque is an aluminum subframe which supports the front suspensions. At the back, the aluminum engine cradle is replaced with one made of carbon-fiber, like Porsche Carrera GT. This should help offsetting the weight gain of the engine.

The engine remains that 8-liter W16 with quad-turbo, but its output is boosted from 1200 hp to 1500 hp at 6750 rpm, just like what we heard before. Peak torque is lifted slightly from 1106 to 1180 lbft, and it is now available at a wider band, i.e. 2000-6000 rpm, compared with the previous 3000-5000 rpm. More hp per liter yet wider spread of torque, how is this achievable? The answer is the use of 2-stage turbocharging. 2 of the 4 turbos start working at low rpm, while the other 2 join from 3800 rpm to provide full boost. As expected, the higher power engine needs upgraded cooling and lubrication systems. The fuel injection is also upgraded to dual-injection, with a port injector and a direct injector in each cylinder. 6 huge catalytic converters and a titanium exhaust ensure lower back pressure and lightweight.

The Ricardo-built 7-speed twin-clutch transmission seems to be altered little from the Veyron - considering the minimal increase of maximum torque, it might need no mechanical upgrades other than slightly larger clutches. As before it sits fore of the engine within the transmission tunnel to improve weight distribution. The active 4WD system seems to be much the same as before, too. It features a wet multi-plate clutch to split torque between front and rear. The front axle has a mechanical LSD, while the rear axle gets a new active differential to enable torque vectoring. A new "Drift" mode is introduced to take advantage of the torque vectoring. Hopefully it could silence those criticising the old car's handling too dull.

The suspension continues to offer adaptive dampers that reacts to driving mode and speed. Ride height will drop at speed to enhance stability and lower drag. Ditto the active aerodynamics that include the retractable rear spoiler (not shown in these pictures). It can be set at 4 positions, i.e. retracted (for low speed), fully extended (high speed), slightly extended (for attacking top speed) and fully tilted forward (to act as air brake).

Braking is provided by carbon-ceramic brakes, with 420 mm discs and 8-piston calipers up front, 400 mm discs and 6-piston calipers at the rear. The discs are each 20 mm larger than before. They need so, because the Chiron has gained 155 kg of weight. It tips the scale at 1995 kg.

Michelin continues to supply the Bugatti with special tires capable of withstanding its 420 km/h (261 mph) top speed. They are 285/30ZR20 up front and 355/25ZR21 at the rear.

The 261 mph top speed actually trails Veyron SS by 7 mph, strangely. However, this is electronically limited to protect the tires. Bugatti does not say how fast the car could go were it unrestricted, but it said "this is by no means the end of the road for the Bugatti Chiron", hinting a lift of restriction and a record-breaking run could be carried out in the future.

1 Mar, 2016
Volkswagen Phideon

Volkswagen is bringing a large executive sedan to China. The Phideon is not exactly a replacement to Phaeton, as it falls into the class of Audi A6, but it is as large a car Volkswagen can offer until the new, electric-powered Phaeton arriving in around 2020. The Phideon is to be built exclusively in China by the joint-venture with SAIC, so it is unlikely to be sold elsewhere (there is little market opportunity for such a large Volkswagaen anyway).

The car is the first VW building on the MLB platform, therefore, like Audi A6 its engine is mounted longitudinally at the nose. Base model will be powered by a 2.0 TSI engine with unspecified power and drive through front wheels only. The car shown in Geneva is the range topping 3.0 TSI model, whose turbocharged V6 delivers 300 hp and 347 lbft of torque, slightly lower than the similar engines adopted by Audi. It is coupled with Audi's 4WD system but badged 4motion here. The car measures 5.05 meters from nose to tail. We don't know its wheelbase yet, but expect around 2900 mm. It could be widely used as company and government cars in China.

1 Mar, 2016
Lotus Evora Sport 410

Another derivative of the Evora family. Sport 410 is obviously more hardcore than the existing Evora 400. Its supercharged V6 is tuned to deliver an extra 10 horsepower (as implied by its name), but more important is a weight saving of 70 kg. This is achieved by using carbon-fiber materials to construct its seats, roof panel and the new louvered tailgate, as well as the full set of aero kits. The new forged alloy wheels and lighter door inner panels also contribute to weight reduction. The new aero kits reduce lift by 15 percent without adding drag. Due to reduced weight, the rear suspension is retuned with revised geometry and damping. Ride height is reduced by 5 mm.

The car lapped Lotus' own test track at Hethel some 3 seconds quicker than Evora 400.

1 Mar, 2016
570GT - McLaren's Lusso

Were it built by Ferrari, it would have been called Lusso. Yes, the new McLaren 570GT is essentially the luxurious version of 570S. It is equipped with a tinted panoramic glass roof (similar to that of P1) and a glass rear hatch door giving access to an additional luggage space installed above the engine compartment. This gives it an extra 220 liters if you are willing to sacrifice rearward visibility, bringing the total luggage capacity to 370 liters. Inside, the car gets full leather trim and enhanced equipment including a dual-zone climate control, upgraded audio system and electrically adjustable heated seats with memory function. Predictably, the suspension setting is softer (spring rates are lowered by 15% up front and 10% at the rear), sound insulation is improved and a quieter exhaust is opted. The Pirelli P-Zero rubbers it adopted generates less road noise, too. The steering ratio is set 2% slower. Cast iron brakes replace the carbon-ceramic items on 570S in a bid to make the braking response more linear while saving money. All these changes add 37 kg to the dry weight, but at 1350 kg it is still pretty light.

1 Mar, 2016
Audi S4 abandons supercharger

Following the industrial trend, the new generation Audi S4 has abandoned mechanical supercharger for more efficient turbochargers. A pair of turbos give the 3.0 TFSI V6 some 354 horsepower, up 21 hp, and 369 lbft of torque from 1370 to 4500 rpm (previously 324 lbft from 2900-5300 rpm). This enables 0-60 mph to be achieved in just 4.5 seconds.

The S4 is again available in sedan form and Avant wagon. Expect the latter to take a larger portion of sales as keener drivers are likely to be lured by its BMW and Mercedes counterparts. Other aspects of the S4 are just predictable. Its suspensions are stiffened, lowered by 23 mm and get adaptive damping as standard. The Quattro system still employs mechanical Torsen differential and has its torque split default at 40:60 front to rear (by the way, Audi has introduced a more fuel-efficient new Quattro system to lesser cars, which could disengage the rear axle and its internals when not used to reduce frictional losses). The Q-car is just too predictable to catch our attention.

1 Mar, 2016
Ford Fiesta ST200

The current Ford Fiesta ST is the most exciting driver's car in its class, but one thing it does lag behind many rivals is horsepower. With only 180 hp from the 1.6 Ecoboost engine, it is no where as quick as its 200-hp-plus rivals like Renault Clio RS Trophy, Opel Corsa OPC and Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport. Now the gap is filled with the new Fiesta ST200. As suggested by its name, its engine is tuned to deliver 200 hp, while peak torque is increased from 177 to 214 lbft. A 15-second overboost may lift the figures further to 215 hp and 236 lbft (previously 200 hp and 214 lbft). Besides, final drive ratio is shortened by 6 percent to improve acceleration. 0-60 mph now takes a claimed 6.4 seconds, two-tenths quicker than before. Top speed is lifted from 137 to 143 mph.

The rest of the car gets adequate upgrade, too. The suspension's springs and dampers have been retuned, along with 15 mm drop of ride height. The rear torsion-beam is stiffened. The brakes are enhanced with larger master cylinders and rear discs. The steering gets faster ratio, shorter steering arms and revised steering knuckles. The electronic stability control and torque vectoring software have also been retuned.

1 Mar, 2016
Volkswagen Up facelift

The baby Volkswagen has been given a mild facelift together with a new 1.0 TSI direct injection turbo 3-cylinder engine which sits above the existing naturally aspirated unit. The forced induction lifts horsepower from 75 to 90 hp, and most important, maximum torque is improved from 70 lbft to 118 lbft, which is available from 1500 rpm. The range-topper is good for 115 mph and 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds.

1 Mar, 2016
Bentley Mulsanne facelift

Another facelift from the Volkswagen group. The new front grille has switched to vertical elements and is mirrored at the bumper. It gets more conservative and closer to Rolls-Royce, unfortunately. There are not many changes to the mechanical aspect though.

1 Mar, 2016
Renault Scenic IV

Renault unveiled the first pictures of its 4th generation Scenic. Two things catch our attention: it looks really stylish, and it has become a crossover between MPV and SUV ike the larger Espace in a bid to catch the rising trend of SUV. As always, the car rides on the Megane platform (now CMP-C/D) and shares all powertrains with its sibling.

1 Mar, 2016
Industrial News

ECOTY: Opel Astra

Opel Astra has narrowly beaten Volvo XC90 to win the 2016 European Car of the Year title:

1. Opel Astra: 309 pts
2. Volvo XC90: 294 pts
3. Mazda MX-5: 202 pts
4. Audi A4: 189 pts
5. Jaguar XE: 163 pts
6. Skoda Superb: 147 pts
7. BMW 7-Series: 143 pts

C450 AMG renamed AMG C43

Mercedes has changed its naming strategy for semi-AMG models. From now on, the Mercedes C450 AMG will be called Mercedes-AMG C43 instead, so it is now officially an AMG model. The car, however, is just the same. This means, its 367 hp 3.0 twin-turbo V6 is built at the standard production line rather than at Affalterbach by a single technician.

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