|15 Sep, 2017
Genesis G70: new 3-series rival
Hyundai has been building Genesis as a premium brand for a long time.
target at 5-series and 7-series respectively, the brand has added a new
3-series rival, G70, to the range. Outside, the new car looks more like
instead of any of its European rivals. Measuring 4685mm in
length and 2835mm in wheelbase, it is 50mm and 25mm respectively longer
than BMW 3-Series. The car's proportion implies that it is built on the
rear-wheel-drive platform of Kia Stinger, although the Kia is larger
still. Like Stinger, it will be available with AWD option.
As in the case of Stinger, the G70 rides on MacPherson struts
suspension up front and multi-link arrangement at the rear, supported
with adaptive dampers. The electrical power steering has variable
ratio. Hot-stamped ultra-high strength steel and structural adhesives
lift the chassis rigidity for better handling and NVH suppression.
The engine compartment looks almost identical to the Stinger's,
including the two diagonal braces reinforcing the strut towers. Like
Stinger again, 3 longitudinally mounted engines are offered for
selection: 2.0 GDI Turbo with 255hp / 260 lbft (252hp without sport
exhaust), 3.3 GDI twin-turbo V6 with 370hp / 376 lbft and 2.2 turbo
diesel with 202hp / 326 lbft. All drive through Hyundai's 8-speed
automatic transmission. The V6 is good for 168 mph and 0-60 mph in 4.5
seconds, eclipsing BMW 340i. It is equipped with an LSD to help putting
down the power effectively.
|13 Sep, 2017
concept cars in Frankfurt
Everybody knows the
future lies on electric, so this year virtually all concept cars in
Frankfurt are EVs.
To me, the most impressive concept in this year's Frankfurt show is
this one. Borgward is a German brand revived in 2008, but it is fully
owned by China's BAIC
which takes care of its production as well. However, the brand hires
European designers to style its cars. A year ago, ex-Mini Mk3 designer
Anders Warming joins the company as its head of design. The first fruit
of his work seems to be this Isabella concept.
This is a very beautifully proportioned fastback luxury saloon. It gets
elegant details as well, most notably the clean nose, the chromed
twisted waist line, the flying C-pillars and the wraparound rear
screen. The concept is said to be an electric car, powered by one motor
at each axle with a combined output of 300hp and 332 lbft, good for
0-60 in 4.3 seconds, 155 mph top speed and a range of 500km from its LG
battery. Don't read too much into the technical spec, but its design
theme is likely to influence the future Borgward models.
used to be a 3-door hatchback, but Kia is now looking for an
alternative. The Proceed concept is a shooting brake with a proportion
even more beautiful than Jaguar's. However, I suspect it could lose
most of its aesthetic when the production car sacrifices the
unrealistic broad shoulders, low roof line and the FR proportion. A
beautiful concept undoubtedly, but not too relevant to production.
Another interesting but unrealistic concept from the French
manufacturer. Its cabin can be configured as a living room or mobile
office, thanks to the long wheelbase and the flat-floor electrical
This one is more realistic, as it previews the forthcoming A-class-size
electric car. However, isn't it a bit too conservative for an EV? The
only innovative feature is the LED matrix front grille, which can be
configured to display different graphics, so you no longer need to
choose between the classical Mercedes radiator grille, the Mercedes
coupe grille or even the Panamericana grille of AMG ! (Well, this is
only my suggestion)
The car employs one electric motor at each axle, with a combined output
of 272hp, 369 lbft of torque and a range of 400km from its modular
Mercedes is not the only one appreciating displayed grille. Honda's
Urban EV concept also features a similar approach, as its Honda logo is
backlit at the nose and tail. The front end and the car's overall shape
look like a tribute to the original Volkswagen Golf - if the VW logo is
displayed instead of H logo, I guess most people could be easily fooled
Even though it looks as if purely concept, Honda said its production
version will go on sale in Europe within 2 years. However, I suppose
its rear-hinge doors, wood dashboard and huge touchscreen won't survive
to the production. The car is only 3.85m long, 100mm shorter than a
Jazz. No word about its electrical specifications though.
i Vision Dynamics
While Mercedes and Honda plays with the idea of displayed grille, BMW i
Vision Dynamics opts to omit the grille at all. This EV 4-door coupe is
tipped to be the future i5, but its design is disappointing (which BMW
concept cars aren't?), lacking aesthetic, elegance and character. In
fact, you might confuse it with an anonymous Chinese concept car,
especially without the double-kidney grile. It seems that brain drain
to Korean and Chinese car makers hurts BMW design very much.
The concept is sized between the 3 and 5-Series. Its production version
will go on sale in 2021, so there is plenty of time for BMW to improve
its design and develop the next generation battery technology, which is
said to be a big step forward from the current i3. It offers a range of
600km and 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds.
|13 Sep, 2017
As expected, the hot version of Swift is powered by Vitara's 1.4
Boosterjet direct injection turbo engine, producing 140hp and 170 lbft
of torque, up 6hp and 52 lbft from the old car's 1.6 engine. It employs
a 6-speed manual gearbox. As expected, suspensions are stiffened and
fitted with high-performance shock absorbers. The new car is 80kg
lighter than before at only 970kg, so performance should be greatly
improved. Expect 0-60 mph in the low to mid-7 seconds range.
|12 Sep, 2017
The most relevant stars of the Frankfurt motor show must be Renault
Megane RS, because while Mercedes-AMG Project One is the most stunning,
the Megane RS is what most driving enthusiasts could afford. Based on
the Megane IV, the new RS is inevitably larger (with a 2670mm
wheelbase) and available in 5-door form only. Its shape is also less
radical than its predecessor's. However, it is still prettier than
Honda Civic Type R or Ford Focus RS, and more interesting than the too
civilized Golf R or 308GTi. The car's front and rear end design is
particularly stylish, thanks in part to the new fog lamps, centrally
mounted trapezoidal exhaust and diffusers.
Power comes from the downsized 1798c.c. 4-cylinder turbo engine like
Alpine A110. However, while the Alpine is rated at 252 hp and 236 lbft,
the Megane RS is much stronger at 280 hp and 288 lbft, produced at 6000
rpm and 2400-5000 rpm, respectively. Compared with the old 2.0-liter
unit, its main advances include direct injection, a twin-scroll turbo
and plasma spray coating on cylinder bore. This explains why it could
squeeze out more power and torque from 200 less c.c. while torque curve
is also improved. The low-friction coating allows the engine to rev to
7000 rpm, although there is no reward to do so. Certification is yet to
be finalized, but Renaultsport guarantees sub-6 seconds 0-60 and a top
speed exceeding 155 mph.
The standard transmission is the old car's 6-speed manual, carried over
without changes. A new 6-speed EDC twin-clutch gearbox is added as
option for the first time. Although the EDC trademark has been made
notorious by Clio RS, this one is a completely different unit. Nor it
is shared with the new Alpine. It is a heavy-duty wet clutch unit,
versus the dry-clutch units of the smaller cars. It is capable of
multiple downshifts as well. We shall see if it lives up to expectation.
The chassis gets adequate upgrade as well. The front and rear track are
widened by 60mm and 45mm respectively from the lesser Meganes. The old
car's PerfoHub strut front suspensions are carried over to tame torque
steer. Besides, as in the lesser Megane GT, the electrically actuated
4Control rear-wheel steering is fitted as standard. It tightens the
turning circle at low speed and improves stability at high speed.
Thanks to the latter, Renaultsport team can make the steering ratio 20
percent faster to improve agility without worrying of nervous handling.
The rear-wheel steering also helps cutting body roll by 10 percent
without resorting to too stiff suspension setting. In addition to
hydraulic bump stops, the Megane RS should ride more comfortable than
before. The standard RS is fitted with 235/40R18 tires and huge, 355mm
front brake discs with Brembo calipers.
As before, there is Cup chassis option for more committed drivers. Its
suspension stiffness is dialed up by 10 percent, 19-inch wheels and
245/35 tires are fitted, and a Torsen LSD is added. Lighter
aluminum-hub compound brake discs is a further option to the Cup
But the ultimate Megane RS has to be Trophy. It has the engine boosted
to 300 hp and 295 lbft, while the chassis is equivalent to Cup, albeit
with lighter wheels. It might still trail Civic Type R for straight
line speed, but whether it can take back the Nurburgring front-drive
crown remains to be seen.
|12 Sep, 2017
The production Yaris GRMN hot hatch has been unveiled at Frankfurt
motor show. It is powered by a 1.8-liter Dual-VVT-i engine fitted with
a supercharger, producing 212 hp / 6800 rpm and 184 lbft of torque at
5000 rpm. Gearbox is 6-speed manual. The 1135kg little car is good for
143 mph and 0-60 in 6 seconds flat. Among B-segment hot hatches, only
Audi S1 and Mini JCW are faster.
GRMN stands for "Gazoo Racing tuned by the Meister of the
Nürburgring". It is so named because the car's ride and handling
is tuned by Toyota's technical center located near Nurburgring circuit.
Its suspension is uprated with Zachs dampers, thicker anti-roll bars
and stiffer springs which lower ride height by 24mm. The front
suspension is reinforced by a tower bar. 17-inch BBS alloy wheels,
205/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050 rubbers, larger brakes and a Torsen
LSD complete the upgrade.
|12 Sep, 2017
The new RS4 Avant follows RS5 to adopt a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 that
produces 450 hp and 442 lbft, the latter is a whooping 125 lbft more
than its predecessor's 4.2-liter V8. Transmission is changed to 8-speed
automatic. The Avant weighs 1715 kg DIN, 80 kg less than the old car
but 60 kg more than RS5 Coupe. Compared with the 2-door, it takes
two-tenths longer to do 0-60 mph at 4.0 seconds. Top speed is regulated
at 174 mph if dynamic package is optioned.
|12 Sep, 2017
After countless of teasers, Mercedes-AMG finally shows its Project One
supercar to the public in Frankfurt motor show. However, officially the
car is still a "concept", as development will continue in the next 18
months. This means the production car won't be delivered to customers
before Q2 2019. AMG confirms that 275 units will be built, each
costing €2.3 million before tax, about the same as Bugatti Chiron.
The Project One - don't know if it will get a proper name like Cxxx -
is going to be Stuttgart's first supercar since CLK-GTR
Many compares it with Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren
P1, especially the former, since it is also a new generation
hybrid-powered supercar. However, unlike them, the AMG has a stronger
link to Formula One technology, because its powertrain is largely
adapted from what powering the current Mercedes F1 cars. We shall see
that soon, but first let's look at its design...
Like an endurance prototype racer, the Project One is shaped largely by
aerodynamics and the need of cooling. Is it beautiful? I don't think
so, although it has some ressemblance to the mighty McLaren F1, most
notably the flanks and the roof-mounted engine intake. Its body is
long, low and wide but the cockpit section is rather narrow, obviously
designed to minimize frontal area hence drag. The carbon-fiber door
mirrors extend exaggeratedly to overcome its broad shoulders. The waist
line is low and curvy, while a step at the side window avoids the
visual mass of Pagani Huayra. Above the front fenders are some movable
ventilation louvres, which open at speed to release the pressure built
inside the wheel wells, contributing to downforce.
Like many supercars these days (the first one was McLaren F1), the AMG
employs butterfly doors that open parts of the roof to ease access to
the cockpit. The rear end of the car is unusually low and long, like Le
Mans cars. This enables low drag and a huge diffuser to generate ground
effect. The fastback features a vertical fin like Le Mans cars as well.
The rear window is largely blocked by the fin, the roof-intake duct and
ventilation openings, no wonder the car utilizes rear-camera instead of
Apart from diffuser, the tail is also equipped with active rear
spoiler, which rises at speed and its center section can tilt to
generate further downforce.
As expected, the car is constructed around a carbon-fiber monocoque
chassis. It is still not known how the engine is mounted to the
monocoque, but the rear suspensions are mounted directly to the
engine/transmission in racing fashion.
The all-multi-link suspensions use racing-style pushrod-operating
coil-over dampers, but disappointingly, the dampers are passive. Note
that the coil-over dampers of both sides are interconnected in a
special way. This saves the need for a tubular cross-member, while roll
control is believed to be improved as well.
The car rides on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubbers with bespoke
compounds, sized 285/35ZR19 up front and 335/30ZR20 at the rear. The
light forged alloy wheels are covered with semi-aero seals made of
carbon-fiber. Brakes are carbon-ceramics, of course.
Now the most important part: powertrain. As mentioned before, the
1.6-liter DOHC direct-injection single-turbo V6 is derived from
Mercedes' F1 engine,
employing the same cylinder block and heads, including the F1-style
pneumatic valve springs, although the internals, fuel injection,
lubrication and cooling etc. are different. Predictably, the engine is
built by the company's F1 engine center in UK instead of Affalterbach,
so it won't come with the signature of an AMG technician. It keeps the
oversquare combustion chambers of 80mm bore and 53mm stroke. In
addition to the pneumatic valves, no wonder it can rev to a
record-breaking 11000 rpm, some 1750 rpm higher than the current record
holder, LaFerrari. On the downside, the V6 needs to be rebuilt every
50,000km (31,000 miles) to address its wear. Admittedly, most supercar
owners don't drive too long.
Like the Mercedes F1 engine, its big single-turbo has its compressor
turbine and exhaust turbine separated by a long shaft so that one
located at one end of the engine and another located at the other end.
This avoids the heat transmitting from the exhaust side to the cold air
side, ensuring better volumetric efficiency. The big turbo is assisted
by an electric motor, or MGU-H (H for Heat) in F1 language, so that it
can bring up to full speed in a fraction of a second to cut turbo lag.
When back off, the motor works as a generator to reduce turbine speed
to match the engine rev, recapturing the exhaust heat energy that would
be otherwise lost through the wastegate.
Another electric motor, or
MGU-K (K for Kinetic) is mounted right behind the engine and works just
like conventional hybrid, providing an additional 120kW / 163hp to the
rear axle through a step-down gear. Engine power transmits to the rear
axle via an Xtrac 8-speed (single-clutch) automated manual gearbox,
chosen for lightness and availability instead of shift quality.
Mercedes has yet to reveal the output figures of the V6, but it said
the combined rear-wheel output is more than 500kW / 680 hp. This
implies the V6 alone is good for about 520 hp. Although that is
remarkable for something displacing just 1.6 liters, for a supercar
engine it is peanuts. BTW, LaFerrari's V12 produces 800hp.
Well, the AMG Project One is a lot more electrified than its rivals,
Porsche 918 included. Apart from the rear motor, it has 2 more electric
motors up front, driving each front wheel individually to provide
traction and torque vectoring, or double as generators in braking. Both
produce 120kW / 163hp as well, so the car has an electric output of
360kW / 490hp, versus 286hp on Porsche. Moreover, all 3 electric motors
here are F1-spec, capable of spinning to 50,000 rpm instead of 20,000
rpm of its rivals. This means they can be used to propel the car at any
speed (as long as battery level allows), no need to disengage at speed.
As a result, combined output is just the summation of engine and 3
motors, or more than 1000 hp. Besides, Mercedes claims that this
powertrain combo returns a thermal efficiency of over 40 percent,
matching diesel and Atkinson-cycle engines.
The end result? No 0-60 mph figure is given, but 0-124 mph is claimed
to take under 6 seconds. For comparison, Bugatti Chiron has just timed
6.1 seconds to do so, while LaFerrari and McLaren P1 took 6.9 and 6.8,
respectively. Koenigsegg claimed 5.8 seconds for its One:1, but that is
yet to be verified. Regarding top speed, the Project One claims more
than 350km/h / 217 mph like its Ferrari and McLaren rivals.
We are still waiting for the kerb weight figure, but it seems that
earlier rumors about sub-1000kg is wide of the mark, because the V6 and
gearbox weigh about 200kg, the electric motors and power electronics
etc. 320kg and the battery pack adds another 100kg. Expect more than
1200kg, I guess.
The F1-style battery operates at 800V, double that of production EVs,
so to reduce current hence the size and weight of cables. Its capacity
is 4 times larger than F1 car's, and it can be charged via plug-in, but
still it offers an electric range of only 25 km or 15.5 miles, worse
than 918 Spyder (30km).
The battery pack is located in the floorpan under the legs of driver
and passenger, so seating comfort is likely to be affected. As in
LaFerrari, the seats are integral with the monocoque's floor, but the
backrests, steering wheel and pedals are adjustable. The cockpit seems
narrow and cramped. It offers a pair of 10-inch LCD screens, one acting
as instrument. The F1-style steering wheel is square and incorporates
many controls, as well as an LED rev indicator at its top to help you
judging shift time. Air-con, power windows and infotainment system are
Undoubtedly, the Project One is the closest thing on the road to the
current Formula One race cars. However, does that make it any better
and more enjoyable to drive? If its single-exhaust sounds as ugly as
F1, I really doubt. To me, a V12-powered LaFerrari or Aston Martin
Valkyrie seem to be more fun.
|12 Sep, 2017
The 911 R returns as a permanent production model ! No, this is
actually a GT3 losing its racy rear wing and fitted with 6-speed manual
as standard, but its concept is just the same as the 911 R, which is
optimized for driving fun on the road. The Touring pack version offers
better rearward visibility, but otherwise it is just the same as the
GT3, without any more comfort features.
|12 Sep, 2017
Don't be fooled by its name, the new R8 RWS does not have rear-wheel
steering, but the term stands for Rear Wheel Series. This means it has
ditched the Quattro for rear-drive, like what Lamborghini did for its
Huracan LP580-2. Doing this saves the car 50kg and shifts its balance
further rearward to 40.6:59.4 instead of the Quattro's 42:58.
Unfortunately, the rear-drive fun is only available to the base R8 with
540hp engine. Losing all-wheel traction means 0-60 mph takes 0.2s
|12 Sep, 2017
Chiron set new 0-400km/h-0 record
Tested by the factory and witnessed by inspection firm SGS-TUV Saar,
Bugatti Chiron has set a new 0-400km/h-0 (0-249mph-0) record in 42
seconds. Perhaps more important to us is the first set of acceleration
0-100km/h (62mph): 2.4 sec
0-200km/h (124mph): 6.1 sec
0-300km/h (186mph): 13.1 sec
All slightly faster than previously claimed. For your record, the old
Veyron SS did the same acceleration in 2.5 sec, 6.7 sec and 14.6 sec,
respectively. However, Koenigsegg claimed it timed the One:1 to 300km/h
in 11.9 sec. Any chance for Koenigsegg to do a 0-400-0 run?
|10 Sep, 2017
Griffith: more tech info revealed
A bit more technical info of the new TVR Griffith has been revealed
today, including these 2 pictures. From the above picture, we can see
its iStream chassis construction. Tubular steel spaceframe is
reinforced with carbon-fiber panels at the sills, bulkhead and
transmission tunnel. Just as I predicted, the front crash structure
ahead of the engine cradle is made of extruded aluminum sections for
their better crumpling properties.
Another picture shows the powertrain layout. The entire V8 engine is
mounted behind the front axle line - not just behind, but by almost
half a feet! This means the car doesn't need a rear-mounted transaxle
to achieve 50:50 weight distribution. The picture also shows that the
exhaust manifolds route up to what seems to be high-mounted catalytic
converters/silencers, as the engine compartment has to house all these
stuffs before the dirty gas exits at the side exhausts. No wonder a
pair of ventilations are opened at the top of the front fenders, right
above the cat/silencers.
TVR has also released 2 videos. The first one
claims the V8 produces 480bhp, a bit less than the 500hp we
anticipated. If so, the car needs to weigh 1200kg to keep the promise
of 400hp/ton. The second
shows more its development and assembly, in which Gordon
Murray said this is the first ever TVR that you can drive everyday!
Let's hope so!
|8 Sep, 2017
with 200mph+ Griffith !!
200mph is always an exciting figure, but even more so is the formal
relaunch of TVR, the British sports car specialist that closed its door
at Blackpool in late 2006 under the ownership of young Russian Nikolai
Smolenski. In 2013, a boy in London's street accused Smolenski, "You
killed TVR!". Soon afterwards, Smolenski sold all the rights of TVR to
Les Edgar, a computer game entrepreneur and TVR lover who had
approached the Russian for the purchase. Thanks that boy!
Les Edgar had no experience in car design and manufacturing, but he
hired Gordon Murray's company to engineer the new TVR. Murray in turn
asked freelance designer David Seesing to style the new car, which is
finally unveiled to the public today. It gets a familiar name,
Griffith. If you don't remember Griffith, read here
The new Griffith has a nice proportion that appears a bit classical
without feeling old-fashioned. Its long, flat bonnet implies the V8
engine to sit completely aft of the front axle line to achieve a true
50:50 weight distribution and low polar moment of inertia - and it
doesn't need an expensive / bespoke transaxle to do so. The 2 occupants
sit just ahead of the driven wheels. It is a classical FR 2-seater,
just like most TVRs before. The design details might not be as radical
as the last 10 years of Peter Wheeler, but it is fundamentally pleasing
to eyes and good to aerodynamics. My only doubt is the build quality,
as assembly gaps seem large and varying, something not unusual to low
volume manufacturers like TVR but the last TVR cars managed to hide
them very well.
As you might have already known, the new Griffith is made of Gordon
Murray's patented iStream construction, and the production process is
also called iStream, confusingly. Its main chassis is a tubular steel
spaceframe (probably supplemented with aluminum crash structures),
reinforced with bonded carbon-fiber inner panels. This concept was
already previewed by the Yamaha Sports Ride concept (see News Oct 2015
at the LHS). It is guaranteed to be light yet stiff, better than an
aluminum construction used by Lotus etc. Outside, the body work is made
of mainly carbon-fiber composites, with a few aluminum panels. This is
for the initial 500 cars of Launch Edition costing £90,000.
Afterwards, TVR will produce cheaper versions using glass-fiber body
panels and without carbon-fiber chassis parts.
The Griffith is very compact by class standards. It is just over 4.3m
long, 1.85m wide and 1.24m tall, with a wheelbase of 2600mm. You can
see how it compares with Porsche 911 and AMG GT etc. in the spec. table
at the bottom. The compact size, the carbon-fiber materials and the
simplicity of its mechanical design allows it to claim a dry weight of
less than 1250 kg, making it lighter than all its rivals bar Lotus
Evora, which is about the same.
Yes, simplicity is important to its lightweight. The Griffith rides on
double-wishbone suspensions all round. It has adjustable coil-over
dampers and concentric springs but no electronic adaptive dampers or
even a rear anti-roll bar (like many Gordon Murray's designs). It has
ABS and configurable TC but not an LSD, let alone active differential,
stability control, torque vectoring etc. To call it placing weight
saving to first priority is probably overstated, the real cause is
limited resources. Anyway, the car is gifted with great inherent
balance, and it is fitted with proper footwork (Avon ZZ5 tires,
235/35ZR19 front, 275/30ZR20 rear) and brakes (AP Racing floating
ventilated discs, 370mm / 6-pot calipers front, 350mm / 4-pot rear).
The aerodynamics seems to be pretty advanced, too. It is said to be
only the second front-engined produciton car to feature a fully flat
underbody for ground effect. (This raises my interest which car is the
first...) The car employs Viper-style side exhausts, so it has space
for large rear diffusers to enhance downforce. The picture also shows a
pop-up rear spoiler, something not many low-volume manufacturers
willing to engineer.
What about the engine? As announced earlier, it is a 5.0-liter Ford
Coyote V8 as used on Mustang GT, but modified by Cosworth. The biggest
difference is converting it to dry-sump lubrication so that it could
sit lower in the chassis. Its ECU is said to be remapped, of course,
but no words about other modifications. It retains the Mustang's 11.0:1
compression and Ti-VCT DVVT system, but unlike the 2018 Mustang, it
doesn't have the latest direct and port injection. TVR is yet to
release its output figures, but it said the car is good for 400
horsepower per ton. If the car weighs less than 1250kg, the horsepower
count should be close to 500, up from 435 hp on the outgoing Mustang.
This gives the car a claimed 200mph+ top speed and 0-60 mph easily
under 4 seconds. I wonder if the GT350's high-revving flat-crank unit
could be adopted in the future, but it seems that TVR is more
cost-concious under the leadership of Les Edgar, which is probably good
to its survival.
In the cabin, the Griffith features some strange designs, like the mode
buttons beside the instrument pod, but the fundamentals like visibility
and space (especially foot well, unlike all previous TVRs) seem to be
good. The instrument is a TFT screen, while the center console has a
small portrait infotainment touchscreen in McLaren style. The steering
wheel connects to an electric power steering system, surprisingly. The
front of the transmission tunnel houses a Tremec 6-speed manual gearbox
and a lightweight multi-plate clutch.
Despite the debut, the new Griffith still undergoes further
development, testing and production prepration. Production will take
place at Rassau Industrial Estate in Wales, hardly as graceful as
Maranello, Sant'Agata or Hethel sound. First customer delivery is
expected to take place in 2019 Q1. By the next year, TVR hopes to build
1000 cars annually and eventually grow to over 2000 cars with
derivatives joined. I hope that London boy don't need to shout again.
|4.0 V8 DI twin-turbo
|4.0 F6 DI
|6.2 ohv V8 DI supercharged
|3.5 V6 supercharged
|est 500 hp
|est 1440 kg
|est 1340 kg
|est 1502 kg
|est <1320 kg
|7 Sep, 2017
Evora GT430 Sport
Just one and a half month ago Lotus introduced the go-faster Evora
GT430, which is Hethel's fastest road car. However, now this title is
shifted to Evora GT430 Sport, at least in terms of straight line speed.
The Sport differs from the non-sport model only by stripping its
aerodynamic kits, i.e. the front splitter and massive rear wing. This
means it not only looks purer, but also returns a lower drag, lifting
its top speed from 190 to 196 mph. Inevitably, downforce is reduced
from 250 to 100 kg at top speed, thus the Sport will be slower on
track. The reduction of aero kits also cuts its dry weight by 10kg to
1248kg, and drops its price slightly to £105K.
|6 Sep, 2017
generation Nissan Leaf
The second generation Nissan Leaf is better than its predecessor
everyway, except perhaps look. Well, its new sheet metal is sleeker and
more sculpted, but it is also more conventional looking, blame to the
rather ordinary headlamps and fascia. In fact, the only way to spot it
as an electric car is the lid above its nose which gives access to the
charging plug. Otherwise, it looks just like a conventional family
hatch. Some might even find a new Micra more futuristic.
The new car is built on a platform adapted from the original car. Its
lithium-ion battery pack is again placed under the cabin, while the
electric motor and power electronics are situated between the front
wheels like a conventional 4-cylinder engine. The battery is physically
the same size as before, but thanks to improved packaging of cells, new
chemistry and new electrode materials, both power and energy density
are increased, so is its capacity, which is increased from the outgoing
car's 30kWh to 40kWh (note: the original car was 24kWh before battery
upgrade). This extends its driving range massively, from 155 to 235
miles as measured by NEDC, or 107 to 150 miles by EPA or 280 to 400km
by JIS standard. While Chevrolet Bolt has an even larger, 60kWh
battery, the Nissan will offer an option of 60kWh as well from next
Meanwhile, the electric motor gets more powerful, too. It produces
150hp (110kW) instead of the outgoing 109hp (80kW), while maximum
torque is lifted by 20 lbft to 236 lbft. Hopefully this will improve
its 0-60 mph time from 11 seconds to about 8 seconds, although Bolt and
the new i3s are still beyond its reach.
The rest of the car does not change as much as its powertrain though.
It is only 35mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm lower than before, while
the 2700mm wheelbase is unchanged. Aerodynamic drag is lowered slightly
from 0.29 to 0.28. Suspension is still space-saving struts up front and
torsion beam at the rear.
Inside, the cabin looks too conventional. There is a TFT instrument and
a 7-inch touchscreen at the center console. Cabin space should remain
remarkable, whereas the boot is enlarged from 370 to 435 liters.
The new Leaf offers a semi-autonomous driving system called ProPilot.
It is basically an adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping and auto
braking function, but it works only on single-lane roads. Another new
feature is e-Pedal, which is said to save the need of touching the
brake pedal during 90 percent of drive in urban area. When you release
the throttle pedal, it applies regenerative braking and then mechanical
braking for a deceleration of up to 0.2g. For harder braking, however,
you still need to use the brake pedal. I suspect the driver might fail
to react quickly to emergency braking once they get used to the e-Pedal.
With a cumulative sales of 283,000 units, the first generation Leaf is
the world's best selling EV for sure, although it didn't quite match
Renault-Nissan's original projection. Last year, it still sold 47,000
units, thanks to the lack of competitors at its price level. With an
entry price about the same as before, Nissan hopes to double or triple
|5 Sep, 2017
S-class Coupe/Cabriolet facelift
Following the S-class saloon, its coupe and cabriolet siblings also get
a facelift and mechanical upgrade. The new AMG models get the AMG GT's
"Panamericana" front grille with vertical elements, which make them
angrier but less beautiful in my eyes. The regular Mercedes models keep
the existing grille, just have their front bumpers reshaped, with
larger intakes. At the rear, the design is largely unchanged, but you
can find revised details like OLED tailights. Inside, the cabin gets
updated infotainment system. Besides, the car received the same safety
equipment upgrade already found on the saloon.
Predictably, changes to the engine bay mirror the saloon's as well.
S560 now employs the downsized 4.0 V8 with 469hp (+14hp), but the
American market-oriented 2-door is yet to get the new straight-six, so
its base model settles with the existing 367hp 3.0 V6, at least for the
while. AMG 63 uses 612hp version of the 4-liter V8, accompanied with
9-speed MCT gearbox and rear-biased 4matic+ system (right-hand drive
model is mandatory with RWD, as the 4WD hardware occupies the space for
the steering. S65 remains unchanged.
|5 Sep, 2017
The last Leon
had 25hp more than the Cupra, while the first generation
even used a different engine. Comparatively, the new Cupra
R is a bit disappointing, because it is only a slightly tuned version
of the Cupra. Since earlier this year, the EA888 2.0TFSI engine on the
Cupra is already improved to 300hp. The Cupra R lifts that figure to
310 (matching the latest Golf R), but that is available only to the car
fitted with manual gearbox. If you opt for the DSG, it remains at
300hp. The chassis gets more negative camber up front and retuned
adaptive dampers to improve cornering prowess. The rest of the
modifications are cosmetic, i.e. different paint job, carbon finishing
on aero kits and spiced up interior trims. Even Seat itself knows the
limited appeal, so it is going to build only 799 units.
|1 Sep, 2017
and RDE emission test
Today is not only a big day to AutoZine but also an important day to EU
car market, as the new WLTP and RDE emission tests come into force,
replacing the outdated (and usually misused) NEDC test. New type
approval has to use these tests with immediate effect, while those
already type approved should apply the new test methods within 2 years,
otherwise they cannot be sold anymore.
The current NEDC test method is widely criticized for unrealistic and
offered too many loopholes for car makers to play tricks. For example,
car makers can seal the body panels with tapes to reduce drag in the
test, use higher tire pressure to reduce rolling resistance, or use a
base vehicle without equipment to reduce weight. Moreover, the test is
conducted in laboratory on rolling machine, and the test cycle pattern
does not fully reflect the actual usage on road. As a result, the CO2
emission and pollutant emission figures are seriously underestimated.
Most real-world tests found the fuel consumption far exceeded the
published figures, while NOx emission of diesel cars is on average 7
times higher than the maximum limit allowed by the standard! These
problems call for new test methods to address.
The new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) is
still conducted in laboratory to make sure test results repeatable.
However, its test conditions are much stricter and clearly defined. The
test cycles consists of more acceleration and deceleration as in actual
usage, and it runs the vehicle up to 131km/h (81mph) instead of the
previous 121km/h (75mph). Both cars fitted with most and least
equipment shall be tested. Car makers should use the recommended tire
pressure, and no more modifications could be allowed. Besides, the test
now runs 30min instead of 20min, increasing the difficulty for cheating
software, which usually switches off the aftertreatment device just
after the test duration.
The WLTP result will be used for the CO2
emission and fuel consumption figure. Initially, NEDC figures will be
shown alongside during the transitional period of 2 years, after which
only WLTP figures will be published. However, the corporate CO2
fleet average of 95g/km for each manufacturer or group will continue to
be based on NEDC figures until 2021, because there is no way to pass
the limit using the new test method.
Apart from WLTP, vehicles shall be subjected to real-world test as
well. RDE (Real Driving Emission) test is conducted on a variety of
real-world roads using portable measuring equipment fitted to the car,
so that cheating by software is virtually impossible. It will measure
only the harmful pollutants rather than CO2
or fuel consumption. Previously, NEDC allowed cars to switch off the
aftertreatment device if there is risk of excessive soot accummulation.
The RDE is no longer, because it measures the pollutant emissions over
the entire test period. Predictably, results will be much higher than
the current limits. Therefore the results of RDE are subjected to
higher limits. For example, the current EU6 standard specifies 80mg/km
limit for NOx emission of diesel cars. Under RDE, the limit is
168mg/km, but this will be tightened to 120g/km by Jan 2020 so to push
manufacturers to improve. Cars already type approved will be subjected
to the 168mg/km and 120mg/km limits by Sep 2019 and Jan 2021,
respectively. EU hopes to tighten the limit further to 80mg/km by 2023,
but it is subjected to further study.
Besides, RDE Act 3 expands the requirement to fine particulate matters,
or PM 2.5. Even gasoline cars will be difficult to meet the requirement
without resorting to particle filter. No wonder recently many car
makers announced that their cars will be fitted with gasoline particle
filters as standard.
|1 Sep, 2017
This is ATS GT, a new 1 million dollar Italian supercar. ATS is an
Italian sports car maker once existed in the 1960s. It was founded by
ex-Ferrari men and built only 12 cars before collapsed. More people
remember its participation in Formula One racing, but the adventure was
We don't know whether the reborn company has any links with its
original founders, or just taking its name to launch a new supercar.
Anyway, the new GT has an adventurous look designed by ex-Bertone man
Emanuele Bomboi. It has proper specifications as well: mid-engined,
rear-drive, butterfly doors, carbon-fiber chassis, 3.8-liter twin-turbo
V8 with 700hp and a 7-speed twin-clutch gearbox. Aren't these familiar?
Also its shape? If the car is not a revamped McLaren super series
(MP4-12C or 650S etc.), I will eat my words...
Since ATS plans to build only 12 cars, it won't be difficult to find
enough McLaren on the used market as basis. Problem is, it costs
US$1.15 million each, 5 times the price of the latest McLaren 720S,
which is actually faster.