High Quality Car Servicing, MOTs and Accident Repair

We are a friendly, professional and family run business based conviently off the A3. We have been servicing the motoring needs of Surbiton near Kingston Upon Thames and surrounding areas for over 30 years.

 

           

Welcome to Maypole Motors Ltd


            We are a friendly, professional and family run business based convien

Family run business

With a team of qualified car mechanics and technicians, you can be assured of a truly personal service with all aspects of repairs to your car. Being a member of 'Checkatrade', we are openly vetted and monitored and we welcome any feedback from our customers.

First registered in 1976 we have expanded from a small recovery and service garage employing three staff to its current all encompassing motor group employing in the region of forty-five people. The combination of the services we provide still holds strong links to our initial well known friendly beginnings.

Expansion over the years has merely enhanced the service we provide to all our customers. Our hand picked staff still have the pleasantries of a small local garage and the benefits of large investment in technology training and equipment.

View our promotional video here : http://bcove.me/gz6dumyp

Max Reisböck - the father of the BMW 3 Series Touring

Reisböck built the first 3 Series Touring prototype from his own money
The E30 3 Series wasn’t roomy enough for BMW employee Max Reisböck, so he made his own estate version, inadvertently creating a hit for the firm

Big companies are fond of saying that 
they are only as good as their employees, but it’s rare that one man can make as 
big a difference as Max Reisböck did at BMW in the mid-1980s.

This, though, is 
a story of one man’s endeavour swaying both the path of a corporate giant and the automotive landscape.

Launched in 1982, the second-generation, E30 3 Series was always destined to adopt more bodystyles than its predecessor, but there were no plans for an estate to join the line-up. Quite simply, estates – especially compact ones – weren’t considered to be either premium or in demand.

No matter. Reisböck, a BMW prototype engineer in Munich by trade, had a growing problem that he needed to address. Back in 1984, he was married with two young children and foresaw a difficult future when it came to taking the family and their assorted bikes, trikes and baggage on a drive.

“My motivation was to build a car with a bigger boot, pure and simple,” he says. “There was no Touring, and other vehicles were too small. There was a four-door 3 Series, so in my head the project looked pretty simple. I just needed to spend some time and money and start from the C-pillars.”

His solution was to buy a well-used 323i saloon, move it into a friend’s workshop and set about it with only his imagination to hold him back. In fact, Reisböck didn’t even bother drawing up blueprints – and it was all done in his own time, with his own tools and with no factory involvement.

“There were no notes – just what was in my head,” he says, smiling. “Before I bought the car, I walked around for four or five months playing with what was possible in my head, and then I had to adapt and adjust those plans as I went along. I had an agreed budget with my wife – 30,000DM [about £7000 today] – and so I knew I could not create anything new. I had to use what was available.”

The work took about six months, and by the end of the build, Reisböck had moved the C-pillars back to the corners of the car and taken pre-cast bodywork to fabricate the additional length of the roof panel and new rear door frames. The rear side windows were trimmed from Plexiglas and the car was given a fresh coat of paint. The rear windscreen, though, was more of an issue.

“It was law that a rear windscreen had to be certified, but I couldn’t find anything that was the right size or shape,” says Reisböck. “Then one day there was a big football match at the Olympic Stadium here in Munich. While everyone else went in, I went to the car park and measured all the screens. It turned out the Volkswagen Passat had exactly what I needed.”

Throughout his project, though, Reisböck knew he had a looming deadline with his bosses, because his contract explicitly forbade him from creating anything that wasn’t officially sanctioned. “I knew that I had to show them, because there would have been big trouble if I had taken it on the road without permission,” he recalls. “It was a relief when the reaction was positive, but a surprise when one board member came to see it – and then another at 7am the next day.”

They were so impressed that they commandeered the car on the spot. “I remember it so well. One of them said: ‘The good news is that it is gorgeous. The bad news is that it must never leave BMW premises again.’ I was compensated, of course – although not perhaps in the way Pininfarina might have been! – and the overwhelming feeling from my wife and I was one of pride. It was not about money.”

It was almost three years later that the production 3 Series Touring went on sale – a relatively fast development cycle back then but helped by there being a full-scale, working model.

“There were members of the design team who took a look and then started talking about changing this radii and that proportion, but the board members just said: ‘No, leave it as it is’,” 
says Reisböck. “As a company, we learned so much from that project. In fact, from that moment on, my team in prototype engineering started growing fast as the value of full-scale models was understood. I retired in 2008 and I don’t think there was a BMW, Mini or Rolls-Royce that made production without my team building the first one or two examples for examination.”

The production 3 Series Touring was launched in 1987 and was almost entirely faithful to Reisböck’s original, save for a few tweaks here and there, not least of which was the famous ‘beer crate’ dip in the load lip, created to aid access to 
the boot and perfectly proportioned to slide a Munich beer crate through.

Laughing, Reisböck recalls that after his prototype was taken away, he went out and bought a VW minibus to take his family around in. Although he was immensely proud of the Touring, he wasn’t in a position to buy one. However, on 2 February 1994, coincidentally his birthday, the last of that generation of Touring, a 318i, came down the line and was presented as a gift to Reisböck. It was a well-earned honour, as BMW had sold more than 100,000 Tourings in the previous seven years.

Reisböck’s legacy is far beyond what he imagined his goals to be when he set about modifying that car more than 30 years ago, but he’s rightly proud that his inventive spirit has led to such success.

“Even today, my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, whenever they see a Touring, they call it ‘my’ car, and that makes me incredibly proud,” he says. “But it is not just a story about me. I was at BMW from 1973 until 2008, and as the influence of my department grew, so did our responsibility. We were given fantastic opportunities – and the Touring really helped make that possible. I got to work on these prototype projects all my life. In reality, I was the one who was very fortunate.”

Read more:

Celebrating 40 years of the BMW 3 Series

James Ruppert's guide to buying and selling a BMW 3 Series

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Buying and selling a BMW 3 Series - James Ruppert's used car buying guide
As a BMW car salesman in Park Lane in the 1980s, James Ruppert had a front-row seat for the 3 Series revolution

The 1980s had it all: decent music, hairspray-assisted hairstyles and the BMW 3 Series. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and even luckier to get a 316 as my first demonstrator.

That may not sound like much, but back in 1983 no salesmen had them; they were too busy flogging the things. Compared with the British rubbish and assorted Eurotrash I’d been used to, it was a revelation. No wonder everyone wanted one.

It may be hard now to realise just what a giant leap in car technology, brand building and all-round automotive awesomeness the E30-generation 3 Series was. I mean, it actually handled. The doors shut with a reassuring ‘gerthud’. Nothing ever rattled. Sitting in a 3 Series made you feel confident. Driving one turned you into a demigod. Not owning a brand-new 3 Series was not an option, and I was there to help.

The customers came in all shapes and sizes as BMW developed the compact executive car to the point where absolutely everyone wanted a 3 Series. The yuppies may have been the early adopters, but there were also company car buyers who would dump their user-chooser Ford Sierra Ghia in a heartbeat for a chance to pilot a boggo-spec three-door 316 in Henna Red.

The brilliant thing about all German cars was that everything was an extra. What made me smile was ‘radio preparation’; that’s 50 quid. For that, you got a couple of speakers, a few wires and a manual aerial.

Yes, it was all about the extras. That’s because it was all about profit. We were not playing the ‘park ’em deep, discount ’em cheap’ game like Henry Ford. More profit in the deal meant more money in my double-breasted suit. Some dealers did discount, but we never did. It was pretty much a sackable offence. Indeed, it was our job to raise the retail bar and it was relatively easy to get customers to spend comfortably over £20k on their car.

All I needed was a customer with a 323i and a sense of adventure whom I could steer towards a dog-leg, close-ratio gearbox, limited-slip diff, alloy wheels, air-con and all the technical wonders that Bavaria could provide.

But there was more. Much more. We were well ahead of the customisation curve at Park Lane, because we had the facilities to do anything to make your 3 Series look a lot less like the one belonging to your mate on the foreign exchange floor. This may have been a good thing for my bank balance, but it did lead to some aesthetically challenging bodykits, colours and leather trim.

A 3 Series needed the right spec and we always pre-ordered stock with a sunroof and central locking as the bare minimum. I did have one customer who insisted on keeping the solid roof on the grounds that someone would dive through the sunroof and onto his daughter, for whom he was buying the car. I explained that it would knock the resale value for six. He went ahead and ordered a 320i without a sunroof. He needed to worry less about resale and sunroof divers and more about the salesman doing the handover.There was nothing else like the 3 Series around. Nothing. Well, Mercedes-Benz tried with the 190. We got a left-hand-drive, part-exchange car and drove it around the Mayfair block. It was no 3 Series, although clearly accountants would love it. No, the appeal of the 3 Series widened with the introduction of each model: the Baur Convertible, Convertible, Tourer. This is where BMW began to mine multiple niches.

The 1980s marked the birth of the best 3 Series and the rebirth of BMW. These days, it’s possible to sate your 3 Series desire for not a lot of cash. Here’s what to look out for across the first five generations.

E90 (2005-2013), from £4400

This is the ‘Bangle-ised’ one (as in Chris Bangle, former BMW design boss), and is all the more expressive for his sharp-edged input.

That said, the E90 generation has yet to find itself a place in the affections of the diehard 3 Series fan and has been under attack from the lithe 1 Series, which is, in effect, the E30 3 Series reborn in a new body.

But that apathy should be taken as a major result by us fans of used car bargains: look around and there are some great-value models to go for.

With just £4400 to play with, you can get a proper 320i SE from 2008. You may reasonably expect an M Sport car to take you towards a five-figure sum, so a 2008 3.0 325i M Sport doesn’t seem bad value at below £5k.

E46 (1998-2006), from £4500

For some, including me, this is the last time that the 3 Series looked right, and there are loads of lovely things to choose from here.

The big-engined petrol models are the place to be. The 2002 330Ci with an electric roof and a low mileage is yours for £4500. With a roof, a 330Ci Sport Coupé is the same money with a full history. Swap over to an M3 from the same year and that’s £7995 or so, and a 2004 facelift blips the price up to £9995. The competition package CS can start at £15k, and that has to be a tip for the future, but lower-milers are £23k-plus.

E36 (1990-1999), from £4000

Early examples of the E36 weren’t that great when it came to build quality, but it got better and ended up being what most people think a 3 Series should be.This generation became the most abused of the lot when the cars trickled down to all the wrong owners.

Plus there is a whole heap of M3s to choose from, in coupé, convertible and saloon forms. This is the eye-opener, because you can climb on board an M3 coupé for £4k. However, you would be far better off paying something closer to £8k-£9k.

It is, though, becoming difficult to find the M3 saloon, and I would tip that as the E36 model most likely to be a future collectable.

E30 (1982-1994), from £3000

The classic 3 Series that is modern enough to still be taken seriously as a proper driving machine. But which one? As with the E21 generation, it is worth finding standard cars that haven’t been mucked about with. Six-cylinder models are worth the effort and the 320i is underrated.

There are some ‘one family owner’ examples out there, but also some real rubbish. Restorations below £1000 are not worth it, but £3000-£5000 gets a decent car and that has to be underpriced for a six-cylinder car.

The sleeper remains the 318iS, the BMW idea of a hot hatch that you can now get for £3500. M3s are pulling away from us now into the stratosphere; your starter will be £35k if you’re lucky.

E21 (1975-1981), from £2000

If I can give would-be buyers one piece of advice, it is that they shouldn’t forget about the original. Many do, and that’s a mistake.

Here is the 3 Series in its purest form. I would heartily recommend a 316 on steel wheels to anyone that will listen. At least it won’t kill you, whereas a 323i can have you facing the wrong way on a roundabout.

Rust has been killing all early 3 Series cars for some time, and that’s what you need to worry about. You can get parts but they are pricey. So an unfussy 316i in tidy condition starts at £2000 to £2500.

It doesn’t take long to get into five figures, because immaculate 323is start to skim £10k and a concours example is on its way past £14k.

Read more:

Celebrating 40 years of the BMW 3 Series

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage hints at future extreme production models

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage
BMW shows a modern take on its classic 3.0 CSL model with a one-off creation that points towards possible lightweight production models

BMW’s iconic ‘Batmobile’ has been reinvented for the 21st century with this dramatic concept car, the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage.

Revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the 3.0 CSL Hommage is a one-off recreation of the classic 3.0 CSL from the early 1970s, racing versions of which were nicknamed 'Batmobile' after their extreme aero packs were added.

While BMW insists that the concept is a one-off creation with no production future, Autocar understands that the concept does still hold some significance for BMW’s future production models.

Senior sources have revealed that the concept is a statement of intent for the BMW M division to build more extreme, lightweight models, which would be pitched as M’s answer to its great rival Mercedes-AMG’s Black Series versions.

This strategy is said to have the strong backing of new BMW M boss Frank van Meel, who recently joined the company from Audi’s RS division.

The first model built to this strategy is set to be the M4 GTS, which is being readied in close-to-production concept form at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August ahead of a launch in the summer of 2016.

“The 3.0 CSL Hommage is a show car to test out some design features," van Meel told Autocar at the Nurburgring 24 Hours earlier this month. "We are looking into a response to the show car but for us it’s always to get the feedback on whether people think it’s really cool. It’s not an overall concept we are thinking to make.”

The 3.0 CSL Hommage is the third Hommage car from BMW in recent years, following on from the M1 Hommage from 2008 and the 328 Hommage which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the 328 racer in 2011. Like the 3.0 CSL Hommage, both the previous Hommage concepts were revealed at Villa d’Este.

The latest concept car is a large two-door coupe that is marginally bigger than an M6. It is 4997mm long, 2018mm wide and 1302mm high, with a wheelbase of 3190mm. For comparison, the M6 is 4898mm long, 1899mm wide and 1374mm high, with a wheelbase of 2851mm.

BMW hasn’t confirmed technical details of the car, other than the fact its rear-wheel drive and below the long bonnet is a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine in combination with an ‘e-boost’ electric motor to aid with acceleration. 

Living up to its Hommage name, the modern-day 3.0 CSL concept car is constructed from an extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, much of which is visible, and a material BMW extensively uses on its i and M cars. The original 3.0 CSL was some 200kg lighter than the 3.0 CS on which it was based thanks to an extensive use of aluminium in its construction.

The aerodynamic body of the new concept car is as dramatic as its forbearer’s. There are vast flared wheel arches with extensive aerodynamic sculpting to channel the air towards the rear of the car. The wheel arches house 21in alloys shod in 265/35 tyres in front and 325/30s at the rear. Other notable exterior design features include the extensive air intakes, the large fixed rear wing, roof spoiler, front splitter, and huge side exhausts.

In profile there is a nod to the roofline of the original 3.0 CSL, with a roofline that doesn’t flow into the back-end of the car.

A further nod to the original 3.0 CSL is the Golf Yellow paint finish on the Hommage, the same colour as the original was first finished in. A more modern feature on the model is its laser and LED headlights.

The interior is pared down and made almost exclusively of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, save for some wood for the instrument panel, which is also a structural part. This wood is a reference to the wood interior of the original 3.0 CSL. Key driver information such as the speed, revs and gear selection is shown on a display on the steering column.

BMW design chief Karim Habib said: “For BMW designers like us, the BMW 3.0 CSL is a style icon. Its combination of racing genes and elegance generates an engaging aesthetic that continues to win hearts even today.

“The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage celebrates many of those characteristic features but without copying them. Indeed, some of the parallels are not immediately obvious. We wanted people to sense the family resemblance rather than see it straight off.”

BMW Group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk added: “Our Hommage cars not only demonstrate how proud we are of our heritage but also how important the past can be in determining the future.”

That determining of the future will be seen with the M4 GTS. The M4 GTS will be inspired by both the 3.0 CSL Hommage and the M4 MotoGP safety car, which gets more extreme bodywork including a large fixed rear wing as well as significant mechanical changes. These include a water injection system for the engine intake, a feature which BMW said had production intent when it revealed alongside the safety car.

This was again confirmed to Autocar at the Nurburgring 24 Hours event earlier this month by van Meel, who added on the more general subject of special lightweight models: “We will do some projects in the future regarding small limited number editions because that’s one of our strategies.”

BMW also inadvertently hinted at the model’s imminent arrival by briefly having an M4 GTS available to order under the 4-series section of its US website last week.

The GTS badge has only been used once before, on an extreme version of the previous-generation M3 in 2010. This was a lightweight, stripped-out version of the M3 of which only 150 were built by hand.

However, BMW has no immediate plans to go one step further and develop an out and out GT3 road car, although it is an area of the marker the firm is observing. It recently revealed an M6 GT3 racer weighing some 500kg less than the road car on which it is based at just under 1300kg.

"We might take a look into that but we have a lot of other projects we are working on,” said van Meel. “We need to look and see if the market is big enough for that product."

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Mass-produced Honda fuel-cell cars here by 2020
Japanese manufacturer to bring hydrogen fuel-cell-powered cars to market by the end of the decade

Honda is planning to mass-produce hydrogen fuel cell cars by 2020.

The Japanese car maker’s FCV was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March and was described as a late-stage concept.

“It’s relatively close to the production car,” said Thomas Brachmann, head of powertrain development at Honda. “We may need to revise some body parts, but it’s very close.”

Brachmann wouldn’t be drawn on how many FCVs the firm intended to produce but said it didn’t want to distribute just 250 to 1000 cars a year.

There are hurdles still to be overcome, such as the infrastructure required to refuel the cars, but Honda believes the technology has its place. “Norway, for example, was focusing on electric cars two years ago, but now they want something with a longer range,” said Brachmann.

The zero-emissions FCV has a range of about 300 miles and be refuelled in five minutes, but Brachmann estimates that it will be 10 to 15 years before the technology is widely accepted.

“This is likely unless we change the marketing strategy and also society, in which case it might be faster,” he said. “But we are prepared to have a wide powertrain mix over time until everyone appreciates and accepts fuel cell electric vehicles.”

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Celebrating 40 years of the BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series name first came to market in 1975
The BMW 3 Series saloon celebrates its 40th birthday this month. We study the storied history of the car that turned around the fortunes of its maker

Really, the first BMW 3 Series went on sale in 1966, and had it been called by that name, we’d be celebrating its half-century next year.

The car that set the template for what today remains by far BMW’s most successful and important car was called, according to engine, the 1502, 1602, 1802 or 2002.

It took BMW, which was still recovering from being close to collapse in the 1950s, and set it on the course to becoming the massively respected global player it is today.

It was the 2002 that brought to market a state-of-the-art compact saloon that not only made sense for the family but also appealed to the driver, and it was the 2002 that, with the introduction of the Tii and Turbo, pioneered the concept of the ultra-sporting small BMW saloon.

These, in all but name, were the actual first M cars. History does not recall it as such, but it is the 2002 that was the true hero of this story, but because of a change of naming strategy, it must now prematurely depart the scene.

But not before it had proved the concept and made massively easier the job of designing its successor. It arrived 40 years ago and was known internally as the E21 but to everyone else very simply as the 3 Series.

These cars were all two-door saloons, which sounds like a contradiction in terms these days, but back then that was simply how it was done in that size category.

In mechanical terms, they broke no new ground but were robustly built and engineered and featured an all-new interior with some of the clearest, best-looking instruments ever to be fitted to a road car, elements of whose design can still be found in BMWs today.

The early E21 cars were actually quite clunky, with their four-cylinder, carb-fed motors and limited performance, but they quite quickly got a lot more interesting with the introduction of fuel-injected six-cylinder engines of 2.0-litre and 2.3-litre capacity and the kind of options you just don’t find today, including a limited-slip differential and a close-ratio gearbox.

And the 143bhp 323i needed both, because not only was its engine quite peaky, but its semi-trailing arm rear suspension also made it want to oversteer pretty much everywhere, especially in the wet. It was hugely successful and set BMW thinking that maybe that fast 3 Series idea was a theme worth developing.

By the standards of the day, the E21 didn’t last that long. It was replaced in 1982 by the E30, which was probably the most significant of all 3 Series generations.

Whereas the E21 had been offered as a two-door saloon only (although Baur made convertible versions), closed E30s would in time be offered with two, four and, in Touring form, five doors and the convertible would be brought in- house.

This was the first generation of 3 Series to be fitted with diesel engines and, most significant of all, it was the E30 platform that hosted BMW’s first volume-built M car, the M3 regarded by many to this day as the finest car BMW has ever built.

For those unwilling or unable to go the whole hog, BMW produced other, less powerful yet still superb driving machines on this chassis, including the 325i and still very underrated 318iS, which, with its twin-cam, four-valve 1.8-litre engine, rightly earned the reputation as being an M3 for those who couldn’t afford an M3.

The E30 spent a decade in production and was replaced by the E36 in 1992, a car that will never receive the same plaudits as the E21 or E30 but which was, in fact, probably a finer effort than either. Until then, the 3 Series had always been fun and sufficiently quiet and comfortable to fit into family life, but priorities changed subtly for the E36. 

Although the car remained more dynamic by far than the Mercedes-Benz 190 and the C-Class that would appear during the E36’s lifetime, it also reached a level of sophistication that no previous 3 Series would recognise.

Partly this was due to greater interior space and dramatically improved materials lending the car a new sense of occasion and maturity, but the perhaps bigger yet hidden change was the deletion of semi-trailing arm rear suspension and the adoption of BMW’s multi-link Z axle. True, it meant less oversteer for the drift jockeys, but the seven-league leap in ride quality and stability was of rather greater use.

E36 cars had their detractors, none more so than the M3, which lost its motorsport-focused four-cylinder motor and on-the-limit feel and crispness, but for most people this was not only the best 3 Series yet but also the best small saloon (or coupé, hatch, estate or convertible) in the world.

Which is why the E46 that replaced it in 1998 was entirely evolutionary in approach and, in that respect, the complete antithesis to the clean-sheet design that had been the E36 in 1992. The platform was new but, architecturally, very much informed by that of its predecessor.

No more body configurations were added as BMW focused on optimising the earlier design by improving aerodynamics, reducing weight and increasing torsional rigidity. Few thought the E36 in any need of replacement, so the success of the E46, which was better in all respects that mattered, was assured.

However, it did herald major developments. This was the era in which diesel power went from being a novelty niche performer to a major player and the E46 introduced the 320d, a car capable of close to both 130mph and 50mpg, a combination never seen in a road car before, and the 330d, a diesel car that would hit 62mph in less than 8.0sec and reach more than 140mph, numbers unimaginable for any diesel car just a few years earlier.

This was also the generation in which BMW sought to re-establish the credentials of the M3. Out went the slow-selling saloon version and in came a 3.2-litre motor that hit 8000rpm and developed a stunning 343bhp without a turbo in sight.

There was BMW’s first production SMG paddle-shift transmission (better in theory than practice) and, perhaps most significant of all, the M3 CSL, which dropped 110kg in weight, added a carbonfibre roof, featured stiffer suspension and gained a 16bhp power hike.

Just 1400 were built, although those who missed the boat could get a far more affordable CS that lacked the CSL’s wacky materials and hot engine but retained its steering, brakes and suspension.

By 2005, an entirely new 3 Series was required, but on the basis of not fixing what was clearly not broken, the all-new E90 sought to expand further on the theme of the E36 and E46 without fundamentally changing the formula. The number of bodystyles didn’t change (although the convertible gained a retractable hard-top), but the powertrains offered an ever greater choice of performance and economy options, or blends between the two.

It was the E90 M3 that eschewed the straight six motors of the two previous models for a howling 4.0-litre V8, and it was the E90 that introduced BMW’s most powerful six-cylinder diesel up to that point: the 286bhp 335d, offering as much power from a 3.0-litre diesel as BMW had offered from a 4.4-litre petrol V8 10 years earlier.

And so to the current car, the F30, which in many ways is the most revolutionary 3 Series since the E36. Emissions and economy are now the most important considerations, which is why even a 328i has just four cylinders, sixes being saved for the 335i, 330d, 335d and, of course, the first turbocharged M3, a radical step in its own right.

You can now buy a hybrid 3 Series, a four-wheel-drive 3 Series and a new body shape in the form of the large hatchback 3 Series GT. What you can no longer do, in name at least, is buy a coupé or convertible 3 Series, these now rebadged 4 Series.

The past 40 years have taken the 3 Series on an incredible journey and, en route, provided the bedrock for the success that BMW enjoys today. But although the cars have changed beyond all recognition, the design brief has not.

Then, as now, if you buy a 3 Series, you expect a car that will not only do all the things you require of any everyday compact family car, but also to a standard at least as good as anything else that amount of money will buy. And it will still put a smile on your face, its key USP these past four decades.

While BMW continues to deliver on that promise, it is hard to see the 3 Series doing anything else than continue to be the most coveted car of its kind in the world.

Driving the E30 M3 and F30 320d

Their internal codes may be separated by just one letter, but there’s 30 years between them. In concept, the gulf is perhaps greater still. But that’s precisely what proves the point of those who say the 3 Series was then and is now the greatest car of its kind.

These two are here because, of all the thousands of variants produced over the decades, they are probably our favourites – one a 30-year-old road-going racing car, the other perhaps the most perfectly evolved daily hack there is.

We’re not here with a view to finding a winner because, four-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and propellor badging aside, they have remarkably little in common. Except that when you drive the E30 M3, you’ll probably not be out of the car park before becoming infused with a sense of well-being.

It is, of course, partly because you already know that today is going to be one of the better days and that for balance, steering feel and driver involvement, there remains much to be learned from the original M3, even by its modern equivalents. But so, too, are you aware of being in a car that is supremely fit for the purpose for which it was designed. There’s nothing gimmicky about an original M3, nothing there purely for show. It is a product of minds obsessed with engineering excellence first, second and third.

And you can say exactly the same about the diesel F30 saloon. Now, of course, there are any number of 3 – or more likely 4 – Series that can be bought by those more interested in show than go, but while BMW continues to make the staple product, and make it as well as this, we have no problem with that.

A 320d is not flash, but despite all the efforts of Audi and Mercedes over the years, it is the best car in its class, a comment that can be applied to almost all 3 Series for almost all of the 40 years they have been in production, reflecting an ability to stay at the top of its table rivalled perhaps only by the Porsche 911 and Mercedes S-Class.

But although our purpose here is not to compare an E30 M3 with an F30 320d, we can at least use them to shed some light on the progress made in the interim. In 1985, a car designed to homologate a race car made 197bhp from its 2.3-litre engine (86bhp per litre), enough to propel the car to 62mph in 6.7sec and on to 146mph.

In 2015, a car designed to trudge up the motorway has 184bhp from its 2.0-litre diesel engine (92bhp per litre) and will hit 62mph in 7.5sec before reaching the same 146mph. But where the old M3 would do 30mpg at best, the new 320d should do 60mpg with ease.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

New Land Rover Defender 'to be built in Eastern Europe'

The all-new 'indestructible' Defender will be built on JLR's aluminium architecture
Jaguar Land Rover looking at Poland and Hungary as potential sites for a new facility which will produce the next-generation Defender

Jaguar Land Rover is poised to build a new factory in Eastern Europe according to a report in the Financial Times.

However, Autocar can reveal that the plant will build models based on the company’s new aluminium architecture and that the upcoming Defender replacement is the lead candidate for overseas production.

Known internally as ‘Project Darwin’ and codenamed L663, the new Defender should be the main product line for the new facility. However, if sales of the Range Rover Sport continue to boom and the Jaguar F-Pace crossover is also a sales success, lack of capacity in the UK might mean another model has to be made at the new plant.

Autocar understands that the current thinking among JLR planners is that the Discovery 5 – codenamed L462 – could also be made at the new facility.

Sources say JLR bosses have narrowed down the potential factory site to two areas.

The first possibility is near Gyor in Hungary, which would allow the company to take advantage of the supplier base built up by Audi for the local production of both the TT coupe and its four-cylinder engines.

The second possible site is somewhere in Poland, though the sources could not be more specific.

Although the move to build an East European plant might prove controversial, JLR’s three UK plants are already packed to capacity.

The Evoque and Discovery Sport – both based on JLR's steel D8 platform – are currently built in the north west at Halewood, which is thought to be operating at maximum capacity.

The Castle Bromwich site will build the new XF and the F-Pace, which are based on the smaller D7a aluminium architecture.

Solihull is building the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and the Jaguar XE. Trying squeeze in both Discovery 5 production as well as the expected third Range Rover model could result in the Discovery 5 being made in Eastern Europe.

This production plan seems to suggest that Range Rover models should be made in the UK, but Land Rover models could be sourced from outside the UK.

JLR also has plans to relieve the pressure on Halewood, according to Autocar sources. The company is considering moving production of some of its steel platform models to the Magna facility in Graz, Austria.

Magna, which has built cars for many companies, including the Countryman for Mini, could potentially build some Discovery Sport models. Sources say Magna might also build a potential baby Jaguar crossover, which would be based on the same platform as the next Range Rover Evoque.

JLR sources privately insist that opening a plant in central or Eastern Europe and moving some production to Austria is not a vote of no-confidence in the UK, but simply a function of the UK plants getting close to capacity and the need to spread its production footprint, following the lead of rivals such as Mercedes and BMW.

JLR already has production in China and is ‘strongly considering’ opening a plant in Mexico.

News that significant levels of future production will be moved outside the UK by JLR is likely to contribute to the political debate about the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

However, spreading production across different continents and currency zones has become standard practice by all global car makers.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam name changed to Adam S
New Vauxhall Adam S gets 148bhp

The production version of the Vauxhall Adam S goes on sale in March
More potent version of Adam supermini drops Grand Slam badge in favour of Adam S to avoid confusion

Vauxhall's direct rival to the Abarth 595 Turismo has changed its name from Adam Grand Slam to Adam S to avoid confusion for its customers. It's on sale now with a starting price of £16,995.

Powering the Adam S is a turbocharged version of the existing 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which develops 148bhp and 162lb ft. Vauxhall says the performance Adam can reach 62mph in 8.5sec, with a top speed of 124mph. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

Official fuel economy is rated at 47.8mpg combined, with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

Styling changes over the standard Adam include a body kit, tuned chassis, uprated springs and dampers and VXR brakes borrowed from the previous-generation Corsa VXR. The model sits on 18in alloy wheels.

Inside, the Adam S features special floor mats, pedals and door trim. Vauxhall's Intellilink infotainment system features on the options list, as do Recaro seats.

Although weight-saving measures on the Adam S include a cast iron engine block with hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts and a plastic intake manifold, the car's kerb weight is set at 1178kg - 58kg heavier than the Adam 1.4 Slam.

The Adam S was first seen in pre-production form at the Geneva motor show last March, when it was badged as Adam S before its short-lived change to Grand Slam for UK markets.

Vauxhall UK boss Tim Tozer says the Adam S "has been designed for people who want to enjoy a sporty driving experience in a car with a unique and individual look".

The Adam S also rules out any VXR-badged version of the Adam being made.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Audi Q8 and electric Q6 confirmed as part of new product push

Audi has shown a teaser image of the Q6 at its annual press conference
Audi boss Rupert Stadler confirms range-topping Q8 will launch in 2019, and will be preceded by the electric Q6 in 2018

Audi has confirmed a new electric SUV, likely to be badged Q6, will join its growing line-up of SUV models in 2018, with a larger, range-topping Q8 model to follow in 2019.

Speaking at the firm's annual conference, Audi boss Rupert Stadler said the company's range would expand from its current line-up of 52 models to 60 by the end of the decade. As well as the Q6 and Q8, Audi's SUV range will also be bolstered by the arrival of the Q1 in 2016.

Alongside its extra models, Audi will also benefit from an extra €24 billion worth of investment, to be spent between 2015 and 2019. Audi says 70% of that investment will be put into developing new models and technologies.

Audi's new Q6 is based on the same basic MLB platform as the Q7, but it is built around a battery pack which could be as large as 100kWh - bigger than the 90kWh battery in the new R8 e-tron.

The R8 e-tron has a predicted range of 280 miles, so the bluffer and less aerodynamic Q6 is expected to have a range of at least 250 miles on a full charge.

Speaking to Autocar, Stadler said that regulations in eight US states requiring 15% of new cars to be electric by 2025 have ensured that premium car makers will have to "build a range of all-electric vehicles".

As Tesla established, it is customers at the top of the market who are most in tune with the idea of limited-range electric vehicles. Premium priced electric vehicles also make more sense for car makers, which need to accommodate costly battery packs in the factory cost of the car.

Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s research and development boss, told the annual press conference in 2014 that the Q6 was currently under development and that the final styling would take much from the Prologue concept car. The new A6, A7 and A8 models will also share design traits with the Prologue.

He added that MLB platform had been designed from the outset to be flexible enough to accommodate a battery pack as well as plug-in hybrid and gas tanks for natural gas power.

Hackenberg also revealed that the next generation Audi A4, which is based on the smallest version of the MLB platform and due to be seen later this year, will also come as a gas-powered version, dubbed the g-tron.

The crossover Q6 SUV will challenge the likes of the BMW X6, Range Rover Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. It is also aimed directly at the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV, which is due to be launched later this year. Like the Tesla, the Q6 e-tron will have electric motors driving the front and rear wheels.

"When the Q6 arrives," said Hackenberg. "It will be something new, following designs established on the Prologue concept [revealed at the LA show]. It will be positioned as something more emotional and more sporty than the Q7. The Q7 will be a car for seven people, the Q6 will be more coupé-like."

The Q7 will be one of the last Audis with the current design language. Hackenberg said he and new chief designer Marc Lichte arrived at the firm too late from Volkswagen to influence the look. To that end, the Q8 will have some visual differentation to the Q7 both inside and out. 

Audi Q8 to follow electric Q6

The upmarket Q8 forms a crucial part of Audi’s growth strategy that will see it extend its line-up.

“We see a great deal of potential, particularly in the SUV segment and in the especially prestigious full-size category,” said Stadler earlier this year. 

The Q8 has been conceived to extend Audi’s reach at the top of its line-up and to provide the company with added sales in potentially crucial markets such as China, the Middle East and the United States.

In terms of performance and technology, the Q8 is described as being on a par with Audi’s A8 flagship saloon, albeit with the added ability to head off-road thanks to its raised ride height and, on top-end models, adjustable air suspension. 

Ingolstadt’s big new SUV, which will have an overall length of more than five metres, has a projected price range of between £50,000 for an entry-level turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol model and £90,000 for a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 RS Q8 flagship.

A range of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines will be offered, alongside plug-in hybrids and an electric version. 

The Q8 is set to receive its own, unique five-door body styled under the stewardship of Marc Lichte. Among the various elements expected to set it apart from the more practical second-generation Q7 is a racier front end with a more sporting grille, more obvious tapering around each corner, shallower side glass, a generously sloping roofline and a more heavily angled rear window. Unlike the traditional, bluff off-roader styling employed by the Q7, the Q8 will be much sleeker.

The five-door hatchback Q8 will have a higher waistline, lower roofline and shallower side windows than its Q7 sister model and will be available in both five and seven-seat configurations.

The basis for the Q8 is the second-generation MLB (modular longitudinal architecture) platform. The structure forms part of a family of platforms, the development of which is being led by Audi. It is set to underpin a wide range of upmarket SUVs, including the new Q7, the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, the third-gen Volkswagen Touareg and the Bentley Bentayga.

The Q8 and Bentley will be the plushest and most premium of the SUVs, but Stadler believes the pair won’t clash, as “Bentley can’t fill the gap” of less than £100,000 into which the range-topping Q8 will be pitched. 

Insiders say the MLB structure has far greater flexibility than that used today, with added scope for variability within the wheelbase and track widths in a move that, it is suggested, will lead to a wider differentiation between the models planned by the Volkswagen Group’s various brands.  

The key development, however, is the adoption of aluminium, thinner-gauge high-strength steel and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, which together promise to bring a significant reduction in weight of up to 300kg in the Q7 and a kerb weight below 2000kg for the base Q8. 

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

What's coming when - the new cars arriving in 2015 and 2016
What’s coming when - your guide to the new cars arriving in 2015 and 2016

Welcome to Autocar's new car calendar - your guide to what's coming when in 2015 and 2016
Autocar's new cars calendar gives you all the information on 2015 and 2016's new arrivals, as we round up all the new models going on sale in the UK

With models including the new Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Bentley Grand Convertible and the all-new Vauxhall Astra launching in the next two years, plus myriad launches from the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, there's truly something for everyone to be excited about.

Our new cars calendar is your one-stop shop for keeping track of 2015 and 2016's new cars, so keep checking back to this page as we'll be updating it regularly with new car unveilings. 

Here's Autocar's round-up of the new cars coming in 2015 and 2016.

Alfa Romeo

Giulia – Late 2015

Alfa’s BMW 3-series fighter ushers in a new era for famous Italian firm with new platform, engines, styling and tech. 

Ariel

Nomad - Summer 2015

The Atom's 'mucky brother' will cost around £30,000 and can reach 60mph in 3.4 seconds.

Aston Martin

Vantage GT12 – Summer 2015

Though initially called GT3, Aston Martin was forced to change the name of its £250,000 sports car by Porsche.

DB9 - 2016

Aston's DB9 replacement will get a twin-turbocharged AMG engine and possibly a new name.

Audi

Q7 – August 2015

The Q7 sheds more than 300kg in weight for its second generation, and costs from £50,340.

A4 – Summer 2015

All-new A4 arrives with a lighter weight, economical new engines and lots of new tech as it raises its game against the BMW 3-series.

A6 - 2017

A more stylish look is promised for Audi's next BMW 5-series competitor, designed under Marc Lichte.

R8 – May 2015

Second-generation supercar goes on sale this summer, with prices starting from £119,500.

Bentley

Grand Convertible – Late 2015

Azure returns in all but name as a convertible version of the Mulsanne, seen in concept form at the LA motor show 2014.

Bentayga – Early 2016

Expect to see Crewe’s first SUV before the year is out, ahead of 2016 sales. Styling said to be totally overhauled compared with previous concept version.

Sports car - 2016

Expect Bentley's extreme rear-drive sports car to be more hardcore than 2014's GT3-R, and cost around £300,000.

BMW

3 Series facelift – Summer 2015

Three-cylinder engines will be offered as the headline news in the revised 3-series range.

2 Series Gran Tourer – September 2015

BMW's first seven-seat MPV arrives in the UK in September.

X1 – Autumn 2015

Compact SUV will swap rear-wheel drive for front-wheel drive in its second generation.

X3 - 2017

Next BMW X3 has already been spotted testing.

7 Series – Late 2015

BMW’s flagship gets a lighter chassis, hi-tech engine derivatives and a plush, tech-rich cabin.

5 Series - 2017

Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitor will get plug-in hybrid powertrains and styling inspired by the larger 7 Series.

M2 - Late 2015

Expect BMW's junior M car to command a price tag of around £45,000.

Bristol

Project Pinnacle – Summer 2015

Bristol returns with an all-new model, and new London showroom in 2015. A hit-tech hybrid is also in the works. 

Cadillac

CT6 - Early 2016

Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival gets three petrol engines at launch, including a twin-turbocharged V6 with 400bhp.

Chevrolet

Camaro - 2016

Sixth-generation car to take on the Ford Mustang in Europe.

Chrysler

300 facelift – Summer 2015

Minor styling tweaks for US executive saloon.

Detroit Electric

SP:01 – Spring 2015

Start-up firm claims its 155mph two-seater will be the world’s fastest electric sports car.

Elemental

RP1 – 2016

Britain’s newest sports car maker has created a a lightweight, mid-engined roadster with 500bhp per tonne.

Ferrari

488 GTB – Summer 2015

The Ferrari 488 GTB is the company's replacement for the 458 Italia and comes with a turbocharged V8.

Fiat

Aegea Project – Early 2016

Fiat's four-door saloon will go on sale in 40 countries, still to be decided if the UK will be one of them.

124 – Early 2016

Compact Mazda MX-5-based roadster was an Alfa, is now a Fiat.

Ford

S-Max – Summer 2015

Second-generation S-Max gets Mondeo-inspired looks and a plush new cabin.

C-Max/Grand C-Max facelift – summer 2015

Ford’s compact five-seat and seven-seat MPVs get styling and spec changes in line with Focus.

Mustang – autumn 2015

Ford’s muscle car is to be sold officially in the UK in right-hand-drive form for the first time.

Fiesta - 2017

Next-generation Fiesta has been spotted testing.

Focus RS - 2016

Third-generation RS will produce more than 316bhp and gets all-wheel drive for the first time.

Ka – Late 2015

A rethink for the Ka city car should see it repositioned as a budget global offering.

Edge – Late 2015

The Edge SUV arrives in the UK and Europe for the first time as part of the One Ford policy.

EcoSport refresh – 2016

Ford has tweaked the EcoSport to make it more Euro-friendly.

Galaxy – Summer 2015

Sister car to the S-Max, the larger seven-seat MPV arrives this summer to fight the likes of the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra.

GT - 2016

The all-new Ford GT supercar arrives in 2016, powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine developing over 600bhp.

Honda

Civic Type R – July 2015

Honda’s 306bhp, front-drive hot hatch sprints from 0-62mph in a claimed 5.7sec and runs to 167mph. Costs from £29,995.

Jazz – Summer 2015

Spacious city car gets more spacious still in all-new form. Greater refinement also promised.

HR-V – Summer 2015

Honda wants a piece of the booming compact SUV segment with its all-new HR-V.

NSX – Late 2015

NSX sports car offers around 550bhp from its hybrid powertrain, which incorporates a V6 engine and three electric motors.

Hyundai

ix20 - Late 2015

We expect the facelifted compact MPV to be at the Frankfurt motor show.

Tucson – September 2015

Hyundai's ix35 replacement gets the Tucson name.

Santa Fe refresh – Late 2015

Subtle refresh for big SUV will actually make the i10 city car Hyundai’s oldest car by end of 2015.

Infiniti

Q30 – Autumn 2015

Infiniti hopes to step up from a niche player with its Mercedes A-class-based and British-built Q30 hatchback.

QX30 - 2016

QX30 will join the Q30 hatchback in a growing compact SUV line-up from Infiniti.

Jaguar

XJ facelift – 2015

Updates to Jaguar’s now six-year-old flagship luxury saloon are expected to focus on the interior.

XF – Autumn 2015

Jaguar's second-generation XF goes on sale in the UK in the autumn. Expect a lightweight aluminium architecture and styling close to that of the XE.

F-Pace - 2016

Jaguar's first ever SUV will take styling cues from the C-X17 concept, and will be powered by the Ingenium engine range.

Jeep

Grand Cherokee facelift – Late 2015

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ future product plan has revealed a revised version of the Grand Cherokee is due.

Kahn

Flying Huntsman - Spring 2015

Land Rover Defender-based sports SUV comes with 6.2-litre V8 engine and up to 450bhp.

Vengeance coupe - late 2015

Aston Marting DB9-based coupe

Kia

Sportage – Early 2016

Kia will be hoping for another design hit with its second-gen Sportage SUV.

Optima – Late summer 2015

Kia will maintain its presence in the shrinking Mondeo-Passat segment with an all-new Optima, which will be offered as a hybrid. 

Kia Cee'd - 2017

New version of Kia's family hatchback will get a new 1.0-litre engine, with a hot GT-badged version to follow.

Koenigsegg

Agera RS - Late 2015

Hardcore Agera RS supercar gets 1144bhp and just 25 examples will be made.

Regera - Late 2015

The first hybrid created by Koenigsegg is powered by the combination of a V8 engine and three electric motors.

Lamborghini

Huracan Spyder – Summer 2015

Still not confirmed, but Lambo’s new sports car is due to lose its roof in an expanded range. 

Aventador SV - 2015

Range-topping Aventador SV comes with 740bhp from its V12 engine

Land Rover

Evoque facelift – Summer 2015

Evoque is getting subtle styling changes and efficient new engines.

Evoque convertible – 2016

The Evoque Convertible will arrive in 2016. 

Range Rover SVAutobiography - Summer 2015

At £148,900, the SVAutobiography is the most expensive Range Rover ever made, and is also billed as the most luxurious.

Lexus

GS F - Late 2015

Lexus' BMW M5 fighter offers up 467bhp from its 5.0-litre V8 engine.

RX - Late 2015

Fourth-generation Lexus SUV gets new styling and uprated engines.

Lotus

Evora 400 - August 2015

New Evora 400 features more power, and improved packaging and handling.

Maserati

Levante – Early 2016

We’ll see the final version of Maserati’s new luxury SUV before the year is out.

Mazda

CX-3 – June 2015

The SkyActiv-based CX-3 is Mazda’s Nissan Juke rival and will be offered with four-wheel drive.

MX-5 – Late summer 2015

Fourth-generation sports car brings the MX-5 back to its compact, lightweight roots.

McLaren

P1 GTR – Summer 2015

Even harder and faster version of the P1 will be restricted to track use only.

540C - late 2015

Second Sports Series model is aimed at the Asian market, and should come with around 535bhp.

675 LT - July 2015

Hardcore new McLaren is intended to bridge the gap between the 650S and the P1 hypercar.

Mercedes-Benz

E-Class - 2016

The next-generation E-class will take styling cues from the C-class, GLA and S-class coupé, with latest test mules showcasing a new large infotainment screen inside the cabin.

C-Class Coupe - 2016

The new C-Class Coupe will make its debut at the Frankfurt motor show.

Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Summer 2015

The Maybach badge returns in a bigger, more luxurious version of the S-class.

Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman - Early 2016

Six-seat version of the S600 should offer even more luxury, and is aimed at the booming Chinese market.

S-Class Cabriolet - 2015

Drop-top S-class gets a folding fabric roof, and will battle close to the territory of the Bentley Continental GTC.

GLE – September 2015

Former M-Class will face off against the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne, and brings with it new hybrid options.

GLE coupé – summer 2015

The GLE coupé is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW X6, and will go on sale in the UK in June. It'll cost around £10,000 more than equivalent GLE models.

GLC - autumn 2015

The C-class-based SUV formerly known as the GLK arrives in the UK for the first time.

A-Class facelift – autumn 2015

Expect a new look for the A-class in line with the recent changes to its B-class sister car.

G500 4x4 - 2015

A successor to the monstrous G63 AMG 6x6, the G500 4x4 could come with as much as 537bhp.

SLC - 2016

The facelifted Mercedes-Benz SLK will morph into the new SLC as part of Merc's rebranded range.

C350 Plug-In Hybrid - June 2015

Mercedes second dedicated plug-in hybrid model, the C350 promises to return up to 134.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 48g/km.

C450 AMG - June 2015

The second of Mercedes' new AMG Sport range, the C450 AMG will go on sale in both saloon and estate forms.

GLE63 Coupé - June 2015

Hot version of the new GLE gets 577bhp from its twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 - 2016

Hardcore track-focused version of Mercedes-AMG's GT sports car will be based on the Geneva concept of the same name.

Mini

Clubman – Summer 2015

The Clubman will be reborn as a bigger, more spacious estate car with four proper passenger doors.

Countryman - 2016

All-new Countryman will come to market with updated styling and larger dimensions.

Mitsubishi

L200 - September 2015

New version of the L200 pick-up truck is on the way

Outlander facelift - 2016

Mitsubishi hasn't said when the facelifted Outlander will come to the UK, but the upgraded car was shown in New York.

MG

GS - 2016

MG's first production SUV gets a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and CS concept-inspired looks.

Mitsubishi

ASX - 2016

Qashqai-rival could spawn an Evo version.

Shogun - 2017

All-new off-roader will stick to its 4x4 roots.

Nissan

Murano – Late 2015

Big SUV returns to the UK with a plusher cabin and more premium positioning.

Pulsar Nismo – Late 2015

Paris motor show 2014 concept car is tipped to make production with 1.6 turbo petrol power.

Peugeot

208 facelift – Summer 2015

New look for Peugeot's best-selling car.

Porsche

911 facelift – Late 2015

Frankfurt show reveal mooted for revised 991-generation 911, which will switch to turbo power.

911 GT3 RS – May 2015

Packing 493bhp, the most powerful 911 variant costs £131,296 and weighs just 1420kg.

Cayman facelift – Late 2015

A new GT4 version will be the star attraction in the revised Cayman line-up.

Boxster facelift – Late 2015

Four-cylinder boxer engines will be offered in the revised Boxster, the new estimated 400bhp units also destined for the Cayman.

Boxster Spyder - July 2015

The lightest and most powerful Boxster yet gets 370bhp from its 3.8-litre flat-six engine, and costs £60,459.

Panamera - Late 2016

Porsche is planning big changes for the second-generation of the saloon.

Renault

Alpine - 2016

Rear-drive, two-seat coupe will revive the sporting Alpine brand.

Kadjar – Autumn 2015

Renault’s next major launch is its own version of the Nissan Qashqai.

Rolls-Royce

Dawn convertible – Autumn 2015

The Ghost-based Wraith coupé will spawn a convertible version.

SUV - 2017

Rolls-Royce has confirmed that it's working on an SUV model, codenamed Cullinan.

Seat

Ibiza facelift – Autumn 2015

One last round of changes for the popular supermini before an all-new version is launches in 2016-2017.

Leon SUV – 2016

A Leon-based SUV should significantly improve Seat’s sales volumes.

Subaru

Levorg – November 2015

The new Legacy won’t be coming to the UK, but the Levorg estate version is set to arrive in the autumn.

Skoda

Superb – autumn 2015

The new Superb will be one of the biggest cars on the MQB platform, complete with a longer wheelbase than the VW Passat.

SUV - 2016

Skoda's new large SUV, due in in 2016, will be closely related to the Volkswagen CrossBlue.

SsangYong

Tivoli – June

After several concept cars, SsangYong will finally enter the booming compact SUV segment with the Nissan Juke-sized Tivoli, priced from £12,950.

Suzuki

B-segment hatch - late 2015

Mild hybrid power and 1.0-litre turbo petrol for new Suzuki supermini

Tesla

Model X – Autumn 2015

The Model X is a seven-seat SUV based on the four-wheel-drive Model S electric saloon. 

Trion

Nemesis – January 2016

The world’s first 2000bhp supercar is lightly pencilled in for production in 2016. 

Toyota

Mirai – Summer 2015

Toyota’s commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell cars begins with this futuristic-looking saloon. It'll cost around £60,000 when UK sales start.

Prius – December 2015

Fourth-gen Prius will usher in a new modular platform for Toyota. 

RAV4 facelift - December

Fourth-generation SUV's updates include the addition of a new hybrid model.

Vauxhall

Viva – June 2015

New budget city car will be entry point to Vauxhall’s range.

Astra – October 2015

Expect Vauxhall’s new Ford Focus fighter to launch soon after a Frankfurt show debut in September.

Volvo

V60 Cross Country – June 2015

Rugged Cross Country version of the V60 estate will be Volvo’s answer to the Audi A4 Allroad.

S60 Cross Country - Summer 2015

Having given a similar treatment to the V60, Volvo has created a jacked-up, all-wheel drive version of the S60 which will come to market with two engine options.

S90 - 2016

Range-topping Volvo will take styling inspiration from the 2011 Volvo Concept Universe concept, and will look to take on Jaguar's XF.

Volkswagen

Golf GTD Estate - June 2015

High-performance diesel Golf Estate is arriving here in June.

Passat GTE – Summer 2015

Potent Passat hybrid gets 215bhp covet fashion cheats and 141mpg combined fuel economy.

Passat Alltrack - September 2015

Rugged version of the Passat Estate.

Touran - November 2015

Third-generation MPV is set to be available in five- and seven-seat forms.

Transporter - late 2015

New T6 Transporter will be on sale before the end of the year.

What cars are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2016 Audi SQ7 spotted - first pictures
Performance version of Audi's range-topping SUV to arrive in 2016, powered by twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 with 414bhp

These are the first pictures of the new Audi SQ7, a performance version of the Ingolstadt firm’s range-topping SUV.

Due to arrive in 2016, the SQ7 is expected to feature a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre diesel V8 with around 414bhp and 664lb ft. Power will be sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

That’s less power than the old 6.0-litre V12 diesel engine available in the previous-generation Q7, in which it produced 493bhp and 738lb ft. That model was capable of reaching a top speed of 155mph, with a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.5sec. The new SQ7 is expected to beat both those benchmarks.

The SQ7’s engine will be assisted by an electric turbocharger, which is designed to boost low-end response before the V8's twin turbochargers take over.

Audi’s electric turbocharger technology, first unveiled on the RS5 TDI-e concept earlier this year, requires the use of a new 48-volt electrical architecture, which will make its debut on the SQ7.

The new electrical architecture will then be used on the next A8 and A6, both due in 2017.

Visual differences between this early test mule and the regular Q7 are slight, but new twin exhaust outlets can be seen at the rear, while bespoke dials - which include the SQ7 name - can be seen inside. The mule also appears to ride significantly lower than the regular Q7, suggesting tweaks to its suspension systems.

Read more:

2015 Audi Q7 revealed

2015 Audi Q7 review

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

New Ultra engine for Audi A3 range
Audi A3 Ultra brings CO2 emissions down to 89g/km and boosts economy

The new Audi A3 1.6 TDI Ultra is now available, with CO2 emissions down to a new low of 89g/km for the hatchback range.

The new model also boasts combined fuel economy of 83.1mpg in both three-door and five-door Sportback versions. The three-door gets from 0-62mph in 10.5sec, while the Sportback takes 10.7sec. Both have an official top speed of 124mph.

The A3 Ultra models come with low-rolling-resistance tyres on five-spoke 16in alloy wheels and sports suspension as standard. To aid its focus on economy, several items of equipment are not available even as an option. A tyre-inflation kit replaces the space-saver spare wheel while neither a panoramic glass sunroof or a tow bar are offered on the economy-focused model.

The A3 1.6 TDI Ultra SE and SE Technik models take the place of the 1.6 TDI SE and SE Technik models, while the Sport and S line versions remain unchanged.

Pricing for the new Ultra models starts at £20,865 - a £40 increase over the outgoing non-Ultra version. The SE Technik starts at £21,615 while the Sportback version of both trims adds £620 to the price. Buyers can now order the Ultra models for delivery in August.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Coventry Motofest street circuit and driver line-up confirmed

The 1.5-mile circuit along Coventry's ring road will feature a series of chicanes
BTCC driver Rob Austin and seven Renault Clio Cup teams will race on the 1.5-mile street circuit

An array of racing and rally cars have been confirmed to tackle the 1.5-mile temporary street circuit at Coventry's Motofest, which takes place between 29 and 31 May.

British Touring Car Championship driver Rob Austin will put his Audi A4 touring car through its paces, while seven teams from the Renault Clio Cup series will also be in attendance, including Lichfield-based local driver Ant Whorton-Eales, who currently leads the Clio Cup championship.

A pan-European club called Slowly Sideways will be showcasing a variety of Group B rally cars around the city's ring road. The Rover BRM gas turbine race car - the first gas turbine car to compete at the Le Mans 24-hour race - will also appear on Coventry's ring road, the first time it has been run in more than 50 years, since it was road tested in the city back in the early 1960s.

Other highlights during the three-day motoring festival include the Falken Tyre UK drift team doing demonstration laps of the course.

The 1.5-mile long temporary street circuit will take in a section of the ring road beginning just before the slip road on Junction 6, before heading all the way down to Junction 4 and then returning back to finish at Junction 6. The circuit’s official start line will begin at the slip road just before Junction 6, setting off into the new Friargate tunnel.

On the circuit, drivers will negotiate chicanes before heading under Junction 5 toward the London Road before looping back on themselves back toward Junction 5, again negotiating chicanes before taking the finish line just before the new Friargate tunnel back at Junction 6.

A paddock is being created on the ring road itself underneath Junction 8 at Holyhead Road, with a ‘turn around’ created by city engineers in the central reservation.

The track will feature a series of chicanes, crash barriers and marshal points, along with various viewing areas and spectator zones around the route.

Motofest festival director James Noble said: "We are so excited to announce the line-up of vehicles we now have confirmed to take part on the new ring road sprint circuit.

"Motofest 2015 is bigger and better than ever this year, and with the sprint circuit, demonstration events and parades, static displays, live motorsport arena and the live music events, it's going to be a fantastic celebration of the city's motoring heritage."

Tickets for the three-day festival are available here.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Zagato to reveal new Maserati Mostro at Villa d'Este
Five examples of Zagato's new Mostro will be made to celebrate Maserati's 100th anniversary

Italian design house Zagato has revealed plans to unveil its new Maserati Mostro at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Eleganza later this month.

The Mostro, which has been created to celebrate Maserati’s centenary, is a direct homage to the Maserati 450S Coupé Zagato, designed in 1957 and raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours by Sir Stirling Moss.

Described as being created “for pure racing mechanics”, the Mostro coupé features a Ferrari-Maserati 4.2-litre V8 engine under its bonnet and a carbonfibre monocell construction. The car’s bodywork is made entirely of carbonfibre.

Power is sent via a six-speed automated manual transmission. The Mostro has double wishbone suspension front and rear, and sits on 19in alloy wheels. Although designed primarily for the track, Autocar understands the Mostro remains road legal.

Just five examples of the Mostro will be made, with each having already been sold. All examples will be with customers by the end of the year.

In 2013, Zagato partnered with Aston Martin to celebrate the firm's centenary, revealing the DB9 Spider Zagato Centennial and DBS Coupé Zagato Centennial in July of that year. In May 2014, the company revealed a Zagato-bodied version of the Lamborghini Gallardo, a one-off special which received the approval of both Lamborghini and Volkswagen.

Zagato's most recent creation, the Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake Zagato, was revealed in September last year.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Istanbul – a show on the way up, or a flash in the pan?
Istanbul is looking to grow its motor show into a full-blown international event in the coming years . We take a look at where it's starting from

Hosting a motor show is a tough business. The big names are well entrenched, with the likes of Geneva, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and Frankfurt being the ones that immediately spring to mind. But given that London hasn’t had what could be referred to as a headline-grabbing show since 1999, even with the UK’s car industry in rude health at the moment, this is a tricky market to enter.

For now, the Istanbul motor show is largely a local affair, designed to take the cars that have made their global debuts elsewhere and show them to the Turkish fans and buyers. The 2015 show, for example, only played host to two world premieres, and not exactly glamorous ones at that. Despite this, the organisers behind the show are hoping that the next one in 2017 will be a truly international event, attended by a host of journalists around the world, coming to get their first glimpse of the latest production and concept cars.

There were a few signs at this year’s show that this could happen, and what was said by the executives at the press conferences of the two cars making their global debuts should give the Istanbul show-goer hope.

Volkswagen chose to show off the MPV version of its latest T6 Transporter van - the Caravelle - and execs from VW spoke glowingly of the country’s importance in the commercial vehicle market. Apparently Turkey is the second-largest market for the likes of the Caravelle and Caddy, which was also being displayed on the stand.

The more notable debut was for the Fiat Aegea project - the as yet unnamed new saloon that Fiat plans to sell in 40 markets in the Europe, Middle East and Africa from later this year.

Not only was the Istanbul show chosen for the fact that the Aegea will be built in the Bursa factory in Turkey but Fiat also chose the Aegea holding name in order to pay tribute to the region. It certainly seemed to elicit a positive response from the Turkish gentlemen sat next to me in the press conference.

The Bursa plant was established in 1971 and since then has turned out 4.6 million units. It currently has a capacity of 400,000 cars per year. However, while Fiat executives were singing the plant's praises, the 6500 employees at the factory weren't making a single Qubos or Doblos due to industrial action. The strike has been reportedly attributed to workers demanding wage increases in line with other industrial firms in the area.

This does at least suggest, however, that the Turkish automotive industry is heading in the right direction, as does the fact that almost every major manufacturer was represented at the show. However, the smaller hall at the Istanbul show, which played host to the lesser-known names, showed that not everyone in Turkey wants an affordable saloon.

Going by the vehicles on display in Hall 8, there is a market for modified and supremely luxurious versions of the Mercedes V-Class. There were three separate stands within metres of each other, all showing V-Classes with interiors that would put many private jets to shame, complete with TVs, thick carpets, plush leather upholstery and many gadgets.

Hopefully the next Istanbul show will have a little more of this wacky hedonism, a few more concept cars and a little more glamour to go alongside the many production models on the show’s stands.

Matt Prior's tester's notes - from concept to reality
Time was that concept cars had to be taken with a pinch of salt, but more recently it looks like designers are finally being set free

Who doesn’t love a good concept car? Elon Musk, boss of Tesla, that’s who. Or, rather, he likes a good concept car but doesn’t like what it too often doesn’t become: a good production car.

“Hate it when companies bring out an awesome show car then you can never actually buy it,” Musk said recently in fewer than 140 characters. “So lame.”

I take his point. The first question posed to any manufacturer when you see a terrific new car, daintily poised on a spinning turntable on a motor show stand, is an entirely reasonable: “Will you build it?”

The answer is often along the lines of what sounds, to the layman, far less reasonable: “Ah, well, you know… design study… gauge customer reaction…advanced technology… debut of our new design language…”

It’s the sort of answer that means nothing to most impartial onlookers. And I think that a lot of us in this game – perhaps me included – get a bit blind to that.

If I went to any consumer or trade show as an interested observer, walked over to a stand and thought, “Flipping heck, I’d like one of those”, only to be told that, “Actually sir, I’m afraid we don’t make those. How about this uninteresting product instead?”, I’d feel a bit let down.

Auto industry case in point: an Infiniti Emerg-e (oooh!) and Q50 diesel (oh). “Look at what we could do for you – but won’t.”

However, I can see how the industry gets here. It gets here through decades of carefully managing product cycles that have given it big factories with huge capacities. Huge capacities that it can’t afford to risk making idle, given how small profit margins are and how twitchy shareholders will get. It breeds conservatism.

Dipping a toe into the exciting and relatively cheap waters of concept cardom is sometimes a design team’s only liberating outlet.

Then here comes Elon Musk, whose other job is trying to get a space rocket to autonomously land not just any old where but on a remote platform floating in the middle of the ocean – and he tells you you’re lame for doing it.

Actually, I still think he has a point. Bold decisions – such as Audi putting the TT concept into production almost unaltered and changing the perception of its cars, or Nissan abandoning boring hatchbacks and opting to make the Qashqai instead –
were some of the smartest moves in the past two decades.

What were once niches are the new normal, and – this bit still seems to surprise some mid-market car makers – people don’t have to buy boring cars any more. They have a choice, and design sells. The short of 
it is, if a show car makes a punter’s jaw drop, why would you not try to sell him one?

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Bespoke Land Rover Defender revealed for Rugby World Cup
Jaguar Land Rover SVO reveals a one-off Land Rover Defender, which will be used to carry the Webb-Ellis Rugby Cup around the UK

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Operations Division has revealed a bespoke version of the Land Rover Defender, which will be used to transport Rugby’s Webb Ellis Cup on its 100-day tour around the UK.

The bespoke Defender, which was revealed in London earlier today, features a trophy cabinet at the rear, while its lighting, temperature and locking mechanism are controlled by a specially developed app. A 40in television screen also features.

Based on the Autobiography edition, which was announced earlier this year, this Defender gets 148bhp from its 2.2-litre diesel engine. The seats are trimmed with Windsor leather, while the exterior sports LED headlights and bespoke graphics to celebrate the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

SVO boss John Edwards said: “It’s been a privilege to work on this one-off Land Rover. The Rugby World Cup 2015 Defender is the perfect showcase for the ability of our Special Vehicle Operations division to make bespoke vehicles.

"From the illuminated trophy cabinet at the back to its luxury interior, every aspect of this unique and special vehicle has been carefully engineered to provide the ultimate platform for the Webb Ellis Cup as it travels around the UK.”

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Mitsubishi eyes Nissan Juke rival

Mitsubishi XR-PHEV was seen at the Geneva motor show 2014
Bold but not wacky design style promised from new design chief

Mitsubishi’s proposed rival to the Nissan Juke would incorporate design that is “bold without being wacky”, according to the company’s UK boss.

A competitor for the big-selling B-segment crossover is believed to under consideration at Mitsubishi, which has been revitalised by a recent upswing in sales of its key models.

Just over a year ago, Mitsubishi poached designer Tsunehiro Kunimoto from Nissan. A senior designer on the Juke, Kunimoto has been charged with establishing a new design studio in Frankfurt, Germany and overhauling the identity of the firm’s models.

Forthcoming cars will adopt the ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language, which was signposted in recent concept cars such as the XR-PHEV, seen at Geneva 2014.

“Mitsubishi has permission to be bold without being wacky,” said Lance Bradley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors UK. “Our cars can be more expressive, and we need to be confident enough to build cars that some people love and some don’t.”

Bradley didn’t rule out Mitsubishi going into partnership for a proposed B-segment SUV, but pointed out that the size of Mitsubishi’s parent company meant it wasn’t a given.

“You have to remember that Mitsubishi Corporation is huge, and that selling cars is just part of it, so we don't need a partner,” he said.

“But the flip side is that we are building a reputation as a niche 4x4 maker, so small cars aren't our core area and, because it's an area of the industry where profits are tiny, sharing technology to get scale is very beneficial.”

Autocar understands that Mitsubishi was involved in talks about a platform share deal with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but that discussions have recently stalled.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen's Golf GTE is priced from £28,035
The industry's biggest power makes a plug-in hybrid for the masses We’ve already had the all-electric e-Golf pass through a full Autocar road test; now it’s the turn of the plug-in hybrid version, dubbed GTE.Plainly, that ‘E’ is for electricity, but what Volkswagen means by the rest of the badge is ‘Gran Turismo’ – as it does for the GTI and diesel-powered GTD.Positioning your hybrid as a sporty option is certainly not new, but it does burden the GTE with additional buyer expectation. Not only does the first hybrid Golf have to be studiously parsimonious, but it also has to go about its business with a degree of hot hatch verve.That’s a tall order when you consider that the model’s sister car, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, failed to set the world alight when we tested it at the end of last year.However, there are reasons to be cheerful – not least that this is a Volkswagen Golf we’re talking about here, and the world’s biggest car maker is renowned for getting things right when it comes to its prodigal son.The rewards for doing so are potentially seismic. With the demonisation of diesel likely to hit a higher gear in years to come as European emissions legislation takes greater account of nitrogen oxides and particulates, Europe’s buying public is likely to take a wider interest in hybrid technology than ever before.The prospect of finding a household name at every VW dealer, virtually indistinguishable from the real thing and apparently free from compromise, is feasibly the nudge many may need to finally embrace the idea of plugging a car into the mains electricity every night.For others, specifically business users, the nudge is already unnecessary. They will not need this test to tell them that running a GTE will mean a substantial benefit-in-kind company car tax saving versus a diesel.That this five-door-only car gets GT-strength status in the first place is conceivably a ploy to lure middle managers out of their beloved GTDs. Or it might just be the real thing. Let’s find out.

New Volkswagen T6 Caravelle MPV revealed
New VW Caravelle has been unveiled ahead of its UK launch later in 2015

The Volkswagen Caravelle has been revealed at the Istanbul motor show ahead of officially going on sale later in 2015.

The Caravelle is the MPV equivalent of the T6 Transporter, which was shown at the Amsterdam motor show in April. The van-based people carrier is set to go on sale at a similar time to the Transporter later this year.

Updates over the previous models include improved technology, more efficient engines and styling tweaks to bring the Transporter in line with other products in the Volkswagen range.

Power will come from a range of 2.0-litre diesel engines that produce from 83bhp on the entry-level model, up to 201bhp on the most powerful. All engines will come with an automatic engine stop-start system as standard, helping to make the T6 on average 15% more economical than the outgoing model. More powerful engines will be available with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The T6 will be available with a range of seating configurations. A long-wheelbase version will also be available shortly after launch.

There have been a number of specification updates. Optional automatic tailgate operation will make life easier for owners, especially considering the tailgate is nearly two metres high when open. All models will also come with Bluetooth and a touchscreen infotainment system similar to that in other Volkswagen Group products.

Volkswagen has made a range of safety equipment available on the T6, too. Buyers can specify adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and a driver alert system.

Pricing and UK specification information will be announced nearer the on-sale date, which is expected to be later in 2015.

A spokesman for the company confirmed that a new California camper van will follow the Transporter and the Caravelle, but not until after these two more popular models are launched.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Final Edition not coming to the UK
Final run-out special edition of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X won't be coming to this country, company bosses say

Plans to bring a limited number of the run-out Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition to the UK have fallen through.

Mitsubishi built a run of 1000 examples to commemorate the end of production of the iconic model, but none of them will be officially sold in Europe. 

“We tried our best to get a small allocation of the final run of 1000 cars, but it proved impossible," said Lance Bradley, boss of Mitsubishi Motors UK. "It's a real shame, as the demand is there, but we couldn't make it happen.” 

Although Bradley wouldn’t expand on the reasons behind the decision, Autocar understands that negotiations over price may have stalled plans to import some of the cars, while demand in Mitsubishi’s home market has ensured that the entire production run has already been accounted for. 

The Lancer Evolution X Final Edition was previewed by a concept at the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon. The production version is based on the GSR trim. It features a five-speed manual gearbox, blackened front grille, garnish of chrome, 18in alloy wheels, special suspension and Brembo brakes.

Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and although specific performance figures have yet to be issued, Mitsubishi says it has improved the mid-range and top-end characteristics of the power delivery.

The Final Edition costs 4,298,400 yen in Japan. While that equates to £22,600, import costs would have swelled the UK price tag considerably. 

Read more:

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Final Edition revealed

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Fiat Aegea project revealed at Istanbul motor show
Fiat shows off new compact saloon, which is due to go on sale in 40 markets later this year

The Fiat Aegea project has been shown off at the Istanbul motor show, and will go on sale in 40 countries from November.

The Aegea is a new four-door model, which Fiat says was originally designed as a saloon, rather than being the spin off of a hatchback version. However, Head of Fiat functional range Europe, Antonella Bruno confirmed that there will be two more models following on from the Aegea - a compact hatchback and an estate.

These are expected to be revealed later this year before going on sale in 2016.

The car will not be called the Aegea when it goes on sale, with the final name set to be revealed closer to the launch date.

The Aegea measures 4.5m in length, and is 178cm wide and 148cm high - and is designed to be able to carry five passengers. It has an overall boot capacity of 510 litres.

It comes with equipment such as Fiat’s Uconnect system, with a five-inch colour touch screen, Bluetooth, USB and Aux inputs and steering wheel controls all as standard. It is also available with an optional TomTom satellite navigation system and a rear parking camera.

Fiat has chosen to launch the Aegea at the Istanbul show as the car will be built at Fiat’s plant in Bursa, in Turkey, alongside the likes of the Linea, Qubo and the Doblo.

It will come with a choice of four engines - two Multijet II diesels and two petrols, with power ratings between 94bhp and 118bhp. Fiat claims that they are capable of as much as 70.6mpg - on a par with the likes of the smaller Panda model.

Bruno confirmed that the company is still assessing whether to bring the car to the UK, and that it will be offered with Euro 6 compliant engines if it chooses to do so.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Mitsubishi Evo to return as high-performance ASX
ASX crossover is poised to bring back the Evo badge as a high-performance hybrid, if sales allow

Mitsubishi’s record car sales in 2014 have increased the prospects of the revered Evo badge returning on a high-performance version of the second-generation ASX crossover, which is due next year.

Fuelled partly by high demand for the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi broke its own records last year, with year-on-year UK sales surging by 158% and the global picture looking similarly healthy.

The sales picture bolsters the likelihood of a high-performance ASX Evo, which would feature a hybrid powertrain and four-wheel drive.


“Ultimately it all comes down to the financial case for it and whether the company has the resources to do it,” Mitsubishi’s UK boss Lance Bradley told Autocar.

“But the company had a record sales year in 2014 and the more we have success the easier it is to do these things. It's a project that we know would benefit the company, but until now it has been a case of getting the building blocks in place step by step.”

Speaking to Autocar earlier this year, Mitsubishi's global boss Tetsuro Aikawa said: “In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with Evo characteristics. In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king - Evo.”

The high-performance ASX is understood to have been previewed by the XR-PHEV II concept at the Geneva motor show last year. An Evo version would be four-wheel drive, in line with past Evos, and not front-drive like the concept.

Aikawa said: “It has to be light and fast - something performance-orientated. That’s what we want.”

Lessons learned from the Pikes Peak racer, the MiEV Evolution, could aid the development of a hybrid high-performance SUV. However, Mitsubishi would not be drawn on when the new model may come to market, stating only that it would be “far in the future”, after the planned 2016 launch of the next ASX.

Aikawa said: “To develop these kind of vehicles, we have to sell a lot of the base models, so we can cover the research and development costs.”

Product boss Kanenori Okamoto has also previously said that the Evo will be “replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance”.

A high-performance model that made use of Mitsubishi’s hybrid technologies would additionally further promote the brand’s efficiency-minded offerings, such as the popular Outlander PHEV.

The XR-PHEV II concept, in standard form, features a plug-in hybrid petrol-electric system with a claimed 160bhp output. 

Read more:

History of the Mitsubishi Evo - picture special

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2015 DS 5 BlueHDi 150 S&S review
The DS 5 is hard to pigeonhole but it works as a package. Impressive French-style long-range cruiser, albeit at strong money for an unproven brand The facelifted DS5, which is no longer a Citroën but a standalone DS model and the first ‘new’ car since DS became an independent entity last June.The most obvious changes are to the styling of the car’s nose, where the new DS corporate grille makes its debut. It has a more upright stance and gets a wide, polished aluminium-effect surround, and replaces the old nose which wore the twin Citroën Chevrons as its main signature.There have also been tweaks to the headlight design (which combines three distinct LED units and Xenon main beams, another DS signature) and the design of the lower bumper.Inside, the highly distinctive ‘cockpit’ interior now gets a 7in touchscreen, Mirror Link for compatible smartphones and the curiously-named ‘eMyWay’ sat-nav system as standard on both the UK DS5 Prestige and Elegance trim levels.The most important changes to the new DS 5, however, are under the skin. When the original DS 5 was launched to the press in 2011 it was immediately panned for the chassis’ exceptional inadequacy in dealing with sharp-edged obstacles.Not only did the original car stumble over the edges of craters and the like but the rear suspension’s attempts to absorb the shock also resulted in a resounding thump through the structure. Running changes shortly after the car was launched did help, but the new model features a more comprehensive cure.The new car has had its its ride height raised "by a few millimetres", according to DS, and it gets new shock absorbers with a longer compression stroke and "pre-loaded valve technology" that limits sudden changes in damper force.The revised DS 5 line-up offers three strengths of BlueHDi diesel engine - with 118, 147 and 178bhp outputs - and a 162bhp turbocharged petrol motor.The unusual 4x4 Hybrid model, which gets a 2.0-litre diesel engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor driving the rear wheels, also remains in the range as the flagship model. In top-end Prestige trim, the showroom price for that is £34,890.The cheapest DS5 is the entry-level Elegance 118bhp BlueHDi diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox and a showroom price of £25,980.

2016 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD review
More traction and nothing separating Jag's monstrous V8 mouthpiece from your ears. It's the shoutiest, priciest F-Type on sale, but is it the best? There are many things with which the Jaguar F-Type R has no issue. The first is noise - I'm still genuinely amazed that Jaguar gets away with the R being as loud as it is; it frightens elderly people and makes children cry, and driving the Convertible, you experience that noise in its purest form. Another is speed; the R's 186mph top speed is a staggering figure by any measure. The trouble is, its monumental performance has always felt a little distant in the real world, largely because on a soggy B-road in November, with the traction control switched off, it can feel like a hot rod competing in a rallycross stage. It has to be constantly and closely managed in anything but Miami-like conditions. For its 2016 model year refresh, that could be a thing of the past - if you want it to be. S and R F-Types now get the option of an on-demand all-wheel drive system, while torque vectoring is now available as an option on the entry-level V6. Also included now is JLR's latest Incontrol multimedia system, while the bonnet has been raised slightly in order to house the AWD componentry. But most noticeable could be a swap from the previous generation's hydraulic steering rack to an EPAS system and a stiffer suspension set-up over rear-drive cars to better manage the extra weight.

2017 Mitsubishi Shogun to keep off-roader roots
Mitsubishi bosses confirm the next Shogun SUV will remain an authentic off-roader and will use the firm's plug-in hybrid tech

The next Mitsubishi Shogun will remain true to the vehicle’s original positioning as an authentic off-roader, company chiefs have confirmed.

Indeed, the next generation of Mitsubishi’s utilitarian 4x4, which is expected to arrive in 2017, is likely to be positioned as a less-expensive alternative to the Land Rover Discovery and will incorporate Mitsubishi’s increasingly popular plug-in hybrid technology.

The basis of the current Shogun is 15 years old, although the vehicle underwent a significant revamp in 2006, and its replacement has been the subject of much internal deliberation. The Mitsubishi GC-PHEV concept car shown at the 2014 Geneva motor show was a preview of the replacement vehicle.

Mitsubishi markets around the globe recently assessed 4x4s and crossovers made by other car makers in order to define what a true Mitsubishi should be. In the case of the Shogun, it was decided that it must stay true to current values.

Lance Bradley, boss of Mitsubishi Motors UK, said: “A lot of the rivals are more beautiful or more refined but the Shogun needs to be an authentic off-roader: not fancy, not a school-run car but for people who tow horse boxes or actually go off-road.


“Of course, that market is limited, but look at the Discovery - there is room for vehicles with utility at their heart. The Discovery is very good but very expensive and we see an opportunity in providing a less-expensive alternative in terms of pricing and running costs, particularly with our plug-in hybrid technology.”

Bradley believes Mitsubishi’s 4x4 expertise gives it a significant advantage when it comes to taking on companies such as Land Rover.

“There are other car makers looking to slot in below Land Rover but they all have a broad range of cars," he said. "We are SUV-biased, and that gives us a core focus and reputation the likes of Nissan don't have. The customer has to understand why you are selling a particular car - anything 4x4 will get instant acceptance from our customers.”

Sales of the outgoing Shogun have surged by 66%, which Mitsubishi credits to greater awareness of the brand off the back of the success of the Outlander PHEV


“The Outlander PHEV has already proved that if the product is good enough you can change people’s perceptions of our brand, and we expect to make ground in the same way with the Shogun,” said Bradley.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider review
The 4C improves, and the Spider is a good conversion, but it remains dynamically troubled and absurdly expensive It isn’t saying how, but Alfa Romeo has been improving its mid-engined, carbonfibre-tubbed 4C sports car. Take the steering. In earlier 4Cs, its weight would vary as you swivelled it, a disconcerting sensation in any car let alone a rapid sportster with a low centre of gravity and fat wads of grip.We’ve now sampled a smoother-riding 4C too, the smaller-wheeled, higher-sidewalled standard version, which also does without a rear anti-roll bar, managing a usefully better job of absorbing sharp-edged bumps. The right-hand-drive version of the 4C has also emerged, and unlike many past Alfas, the conversion leaves a pretty decent driving position unspoiled. These discoveries arrive with the launch of the Spider version of the 4C, whose removable roof adds yet another dimension. However, the 4C Coupé came a resounding last in our 2014 Best Driver’s Car test, its dartingly inconsistent steering, wayward directional stability, uncertain brakes and cacophony of industrial-strength din turning every drive into a battle, even if it was grippily brisk. So the arrival of the 4C Spider, whose main area of modification obviously majors on the roof, promises little dynamic improvement. Still, the conversion, which consists of the fabric roll-up top supported by carbonfibre windscreen surround reinforcement, a modified rollover hoop and an engine-bay strut brace, adds only 15.5kg. The Spider also gets air conditioning, parking sensors, a leather-skinned dashboard and heftier, less ugly headlights, adding further weight and an absurd £14,500 to its price, taking it beyond Porsche Boxster GT4 money. 

Elemental RP1 edges closer to production - exclusive studio pictures
The first model from British start-up Elemental will launch in 2016, offering competition for the likes of KTM, BAC and Vuhl. We meet the men behind the project

It’s been nine months since we last caught up with the team behind Britain’s newest niche sports car, the Elemental RP1.

Designed by a small group of engineers with experience at McLaren, Jeep, Porsche and numerous works BTCC teams, the RP1 is destined to rival high-performance, low-volume cars such as the BAC Mono, KTM X-Bow and Vuhl 05.

Since the pre-production car appeared in our exclusive studio pictures in August 2015, the team at Elemental has refined its original design even further. Such is the pace of development on the project, however, that even the late-stage prototype you see here is different from the final design.

That model, which currently exists only as a series of highly detailed CAD drawings, will come to the mass market early in 2016, but three production-ready models will be developed this summer as part of a Beta testing programme. Customers on the programme will pay for the car but will also play a part in the RP1’s final testing.

Project co-founder and finance director Jeremy Curnow said: “We will be working with and supporting those Beta customers, encouraging them to use it and abuse it. We’ll support them and if we find something doesn’t perform to our expectations, we will upgrade it. There will be tweaks which will take until the end of the year to fine tune.”

Final prices for the RP1 have yet to be set, but Curnow says it will cost more than the £39,900 Lotus Elise and less than the £110,000 BAC Mono. That’s some margin, but previous estimates have placed the RP1 at around £40-£50,000.

At launch, the RP1 will be powered by two Ford Ecoboost petrol engines. An entry-level 1.0-litre option, with around 180bhp and 177b ft, will be capable of accelerating the car to 62mph in around three seconds and keep going to a top speed of around 150mph. Perhaps most significantly, though, the whole package will weigh just 540kg.

A higher-powered 2.0-litre Ecoboost, with around 280bhp and 325lb ft, will reach 62mph from a standing start in 3.1sec and will have an estimated top speed of 170mph. In this form, the RP1 will weigh 580kg.

The low weight of the RP1 - in 1.0-litre EcoBoost form it will weigh 336kg less than a Lotus Elise - is one of its key selling points. Curnow said: “We’re using Colin Chapman’s ethos - less is more. We’ve got that far more nailed than Lotus has.”

A 999cc Honda motorcycle engine will come later, but Elemental’s team says it’s not planned for the launch line-up.

There’s only one transmission option: a six-speed sequential gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles. The shifts are ECU-controlled, meaning the RP1 will rev-match for optimum performance.

Even in this early stage, Elemental technical director John Begley says more engine options could be used in the future “Somebody has already asked us about using the flat six from a Porsche," he says. "It’s possible to fit other engines. The engine is bolted in from underneath, so the design has been done so that different powertrains can be put in with ease.

“You can wind these engines up to more horsepower, but of course that has a detrimental effect on the lifespan of the engine and the gearbox. Part of the testing that we’re doing is with servicing intervals - currently it’s all very favourable.”

Key to the RP1’s success will be its ability to adapt to different driving styles. Begley says adjustments can be made with the bare minimum of tools and time, meaning customers who have driven to a circuit will have no trouble in preparing the car for the track. “You can take the whole car apart with next to nothing, just a few spanners and allen keys," says Begley. "It’s kept as simple and as clean a design as possible.

"This is man-sized Meccano. You’re supposed to play with it, you’re supposed to use it and change it. There’s a plethora of things you can do to the car to make it drive how you like.” 

To accommodate the RP1's low-slung, seat-up driving position, design director Guy Colborne (whose credits include the first-generation Ford Kuga and Focus RS) says he used inspiration from cars such as Vauxhall's VX220, Italdesign's 1988 Aztec concept and the Pininfarina Ferrari Rossa to style the original RP1 prototype. Looking around the car, patterns of design emerge from its strucure - indeed, the Elemental logo came from the shape of the RP1's wheel arches.

The cabin is snug, with the RP1's carbonfibre side pods limiting shoulder room for the larger driver - although Elemental says this will be changed in the final car. Important information is displayed via a small digital readout, while race-style steering wheel puts most functions at the driver's fingertips. Luggage can be stowed in two 100-litre storage bins at the rear.

The next step for the Elemental team is to move into its purpose-built factory in Hampshire. The company says it wants to sell up to 40 cars in its first full year on sale, and up to 60 in 2017. After that, production will reach peak capacity at around 100 units per year, although Curnow says much of Elemental's volume will come from expansion into international markets. "We went with the Ecoboost engines because they are world engines, and we will market the car in the US and Asia," he says. "Europe we will go into as soon as we can.”

Although the RP1 is fully road legal in the UK - and is expected to sail through FIA certification - it’s likely that it will exist as a track-only model elsewhere. That doesn’t worry the Elemental team, though, as Curnow realises that “this will be a third, fourth or fifth car" for many buyers.

“We are increasingly confident that it will be received well," he says. "It is a more complete package than anything on the market. I can say that unequivocally, in terms of the technology, the performance and the weight. Our competitors - BAC, KTM, Vuhl - all of those cars have good points, but none of them bring all of those best points together in one package.

“If you look at all of the iconic cars that have been produced by any company, whether it is a multi-national or a tiny outfit, all of the best and purest cars are designed for a small, focused group of people.

“We’ve been in the industry for all this time, and we’ve seen people who will launch a car and just start taking deposits. We appreciate that we are the new kids on the block. We want to under-commit and over-deliver.”

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

London charity event to commemorate life of Ayrton Senna
Formula 1 figures will share their memories of the Brazilian legend at a charity evening next month

A charity event next month will see Formula 1 figures share their memories of legendary racing driver Aryton Senna.

The Life of Ayrton Senna Q&A, which will be in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals charities, will take place in London on Tuesday 30 June at 7pm.

Organised by Hexagon Modern Classics, the evening will be hosted by Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham and include an auction of F1 memorabilia as well as an original F1 Lotus on display.

Paddy Lowe, David Coulthard, Patrick Head, Martin Donnelly and Manish Pandey will be among the speakers.

After Senna’s death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Coulthard took the Brazilian's place on the grid for Williams, where Head was design chief.

Irishman Donnelly raced against Senna in 1990, and Pandey wrote and produced the award-winning biopic of Senna’s life, released in 2010.

Click here for more information

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 UK review
The C63 may have lost its big V8, but its replacement makes it difficult to mourn The new Mercedes-AMG C63, on the cusp of a full road test examination. Before that, though, we had to retrieve the car from Scotland - chance enough to get an initial taste of its road-going character. Unlike those we’ve previously tested abroad, this C63 is the standard model, meaning the turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that it shares with the GT delivers ‘just’ 469bhp and 479lb ft of torque. We’ll save an exhaustive description of the car for next week, but suffice to say it comes with some modest body enhancements (arguably too modest), AMG’s seven-speed Speedshift automatic gearbox and a lowered, overhauled version of the C-Class’s multi-link suspension. Also present and correct is a mechanical limited-slip differential, as opposed to the electronically controlled version on the more powerful S trim. With options including a £1000 adaptive exhaust system, it costs £63,920. 

Volkswagen Golf R400 - first spy pictures

The R400, which is based on the Golf R, has 395bhp
Super-hot hatchback with 395bhp will come to market - no launch date set, but prototypes have been spotted at the Nürburgring

The production version of the Volkswagen Golf R400 concept has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring for the first time.

This test car features a widened front and rear track, as well as large wheels reminiscent of the original Golf R400 concept car. The photographing of this early prototype comes only weeks after VW technical chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser confirmed the model was entering development.

Interestingly, our spy photographers report hearing the what sounded like a five-cylinder engine on this test mule. While the car's powertrain hasn't been confirmed, it's expected to run the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the Golf R, which in the concept produced 395bhp and 332lb ft. 

However, it's worth remembering that one of the R400's chief rivals, the Audi RS3, features a 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine producing 362bhp.

The R400 is all-wheel drive and uses a six-speed manual gearbox. It can hit 62mph from rest in just 3.9sec and reach a top speed of 174mph. 

Neusser gave no indication of a launch date for the most potent Golf model yet. 

One of the main challenges in bringing the R400 to production is understood to come from finding a gearbox suitable to handle the R400’s 332lb ft torque output. VW also wants an automatic option to give the model greater global appeal. The Golf R’s six-speed DSG ’box is only rated for torque loads of up to 280lb ft. 

The Golf R400 concept car was originally shown to display the firm's engineering prowess, as well as the range of customisation options open to its customers. If given the green light for production, the new model would do battle with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and the BMW M235i.

Neusser also confirmed that, despite rumours, the VW Beetle would survive for a third generation. It will be based on the new MQB platform and is likely to be built alongside the Golf and new Tiguan in Mexico.

Despite plans to drop the low-selling three-door layout for the next Polo, Neusser confirmed that the Golf-size MQB-A platform would retain a three-door layout.

When asked if the current Scirocco would be replaced, Neusser said cars such as the small coupé were “emotional cars” and that there had to be “an evolutionary step for these type of cars” in the next generation, which suggests 
a much more stylistically radical replacement.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2016 Ford GT - first spy pictures of production car

The styling of the model references the previous Ford GT
Race team Multimatic Motorsports to build Ford GT super car, which goes on sale at the end of 2016 and will be priced at around £240,000

These are the first spy pictures of the all-new Ford GT, which will go on sale at the end of 2016 for a price which is understood to be around £240,000.

First unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January this year, and subsequently shown in Geneva in March, the road car will look to compete against the likes of the Lamborghini Aventador.

Ford officials have already confirmed the show car is very close to the production version which will go on sale. This early prototype ditches the bright blue paintwork of the show car, but keeps the concept's shape.

Dave Pericak, the Ford performance boss, said of the GT: "We didn't unveil a concept car. This car is 95% how the production car will look."

The GT road car will be built in Canada by Multimatic Motorsports, which has worked with Ford on its race programmes for more than 30 years. It will start production late next year and will hit showrooms before the end of 2016. It will be sold in global markets, including Europe. 

Ford's group vice president and chief technical officer, Raj Nair said: "It will be made in a limited series, even more exclusive than the 2005 GT." Ford design boss Moray Callum also confirmed that availability would mean hundreds of units, rather than thousands.

Power comes from a mid-mounted 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine that develops more than 600bhp and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The car's body - predominantly carbonfibre, with aluminium structures at either end to house the engine and suspension - is expected to result in a light kerb weight. Indeed, Ford says the GT will have one of the best power-to-weight ratios "of any production car".

Though performance details have yet to be revealed, Ford says the new model will offer "outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency".

"This is the ultimate Ford, a new halo," said Nair. "The ultimate embodiment of all our innovation - everything from the wheels, aerodynamics, engine. All this new technology is important for future Fords. The GT is the flagship for this innovation, and that's why we're building it.

"There are loads of new innovations here, and the hi-tech Ecoboost engine is a perfect fit for the car," he added. "The 3.5 V6 has more power than the 6.2 V8, and better economy. That blend of performance with efficiency is so important."

The new GT's styling keeps hints of the look of its predecessors by sitting low and wide and riding on 20-inch wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup rubber. The suspension is a torsion bar and pushrod arrangement, and incorporates adjustable ride height settings. Carbon-ceramic brake discs feature in all four corners.

It also features a rear wing that is height and pitch adjustable depending on driver input, and a large rear diffuser.

"Aero plays key role in efficiency - there's fully active aero. The teardrop shape is very efficient and the body surfaces reduce drag," said Nair. "It's important to improve aerodynamics to aid efficiency, and also cooling, because these smaller, power-dense engines need plenty of cooling."

Inside, the two-seat GT offers what Ford calls a "purposeful" interior, which is accessed via upward-swinging doors. The driver and passenger seats are bolted directly into the floor.

The rear-wheel-drive GT is one of 12 new models that will be launched under the Ford Performance banner by 2020. Other vehicles that will form part of the Performance sub-brand include the Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and recently unveiled GT350R.

The new GT will come to market to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford's GT race cars placing first, second and third at the 1966 Le Mans 24Hrs.

Speaking at the unveiling of the model, Ford boss Mark Fields said the company had been "thinking and kicking around ideas about how we can use innovation to make the ultimate ford performance vehicle".

Executive chairman Bill Ford said: "I have chassis number one of the 2003 GT, and I didn't think we'd top it; I think we just have, though."

Callum says that fewer than 50 people saw the GT before its Detroit unveiling - something which, combined with the lack of focus groups, he says has been a massive help.

The Ford GT will be one of the headline cars within the new Ford Performance sub-brand. Nair believed that Ford Performance vehicles would have a positive effect on the Blue Oval's conventional model range.

"It's good for business to make cars like this," he said. "Performance vehicles attract new customers, keep existing customers and allow us to bring in younger, wealthier buyers into the brand.

"There's an obvious, large new investment in Ford Performance. The real fun is to watch how these new cars will influence future Ford products. Performance is our passion, but importantly innovation with cars like this drives the rest of the range.

"Ford Performance is a halo under which we will deliver performance cars. It will increase our engineering capabilities. Cars like this are a proving ground for passionate engineers.

"[Cars like this] generate great business - sales have been up 70% in the US since 2009, and even more so in Europe. They are bought by younger and better educated buyers."

He added that existing hot ST-branded models helped lay the groundwork for Ford Performance: "ST has helped us create this foundation: 65% of ST buyers are new to the brand. 50 per cent of performance Ford buyers buy a Ford as their next car. 50 per cent of ST buyers are under 35, and 30% earn $100k or more a year."

Nair said a hybrid system would not have suited the new Ford GT's attributes: "We've a lot of work going on around electrification, but the GT is all about efficiency. It's not hybrid because it would add too much weight. We chose to reduce weight, a real focus as this benefits all attributes."

As for the timing of the confirmation of the new GT model, Nair said: "[2014] was a good year for sales [2014] but even through the tough times we've always invested in performance models. Doing it now is not because we're doing well as a company, but instead it's about where we are with the technology.

"Cars like this are embodied in our DNA. I can't imagine our company not producing cars like this. It's good for us and it's in our blood."

Rumours abound that Ford will go racing with the new GT next year in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with the original Ford GT.

On that subject, Nair said: "Clearly the car makes a great platform for racing. Right now we're focusing on production but that's an interesting question."

Q&A with Moray Callum, Ford design boss

How do you set about redesigning a classic?

"It was important to us to design a car that was all about how you'd design a car with the ethos of the GT40 today, as opposed to redesigning the GT40. Yes, we wanted to pay homage to what had gone before - and there are details all over the car that do that - but there majority of the car was created to achieve today's goals.

"Above all, it couldn't be a cartoon of what went before. Frankly, the availability of materials like carbon fibre make things possible today that weren't even close to being available all those years ago."

How quickly has the project come together?

"We started just 14 months ago, and it has come together incredibly quickly. We did a quick scale model, then a full size one in foam and then a clay model really fast. There was a team of seven or eight designers working on the car in a room that we opened and kept out-of-bounds.

"It was a skunkworks project, and we were having meetings in the evenings and at weekends to ensure word didn't get out. That had the benefit of meaning decisions were made quickly and by a tight group."

How early was the powertrain set?

"Very early on, and that helped. We could fix the plan view, work out the cooling requirements, the frontal area and proportions and so on. Having an EcoBoost engine also validates the car - it makes it relevant. But the packaging is still tight, we've had to work very closely with engineering to meet their requirements, hit the aero targets and achieve our design goals."

How close is this car on display to reality?

"Probably 95 per cent. The project is ongoing and developing, but it'll be things like the door mirrors and headlamps that might be refined, nothing more. The intriguing aspect is that a lot of this car is a genuine test bed for us: we're learning so much about construction techniques, material usage, aerodynamic influences and so on."

Read more Geneva motor show news

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2016 Skoda SUV - latest spy pictures

Five- and seven-seat versions of the SUV will be offered
Skoda's new large SUV, due in in 2016, will be closely related to the Volkswagen CrossBlue

These are the first pictures of Skoda's large new SUV, which is due to launch in 2016.

The new model is based on the largest version of the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform and is set to be a derivative of VW’s own CrossBlue SUV, due to be launched in the US this year. 

Spied at the Nurburgring, the testing mule is longer and wider than the Skoda Yeti and the suspension is higher as well.

In our first spy pictures, the MQB chassis of the new model was hidden beneath the body of a long-wheelbase version of the Yeti, which is sold in China. 

The as yet unnamed Skoda SUV will be a class up from the VW Tiguan, and insiders suggest it will measure around 4.6m in length. It will be offered with five-seat and seven-seat configurations, and with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Diesel-electric hybrid technology will also be offered.

Its four-cylinder engine range will be borrowed from the new Skoda Superb, which was revealed at the recent Geneva motor show. A 1.6-litre turbodiesel will be the base unit, and no engine will be greater than 2.0 litres in capacity.  

The new model is understood to be positioned as a more refined rival to the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. Skoda technical chief Frank Welsch previously described the new SUV as “the right concept for Skoda; it works perfectly with our brand values”. 

The new SUV currently exists as a full-size clay model in Skoda’s design studio, and, as these pictures prove, early engineering work is now under way. 

Skoda design chief Josef Kaban said: “Larger Skodas like this will employ bolder, more provocative styling - slightly different from the mainstream.”

Skoda is also plotting a third SUV which will be a similar size to the Yeti. The new model, which is expected to form part of the Yeti family, will adopt a more traditional SUV appearance. They Yeti itself will grow in size slightly in its next generation and switch to an MQB base. A sporty Range Rover Evoque-style SUV has also been hinted at by Skoda insiders. 

Formula 1 fans invited to air their views in Global Fan Survey

The Global Fan Survey 2015 is now underway
Results of new fan survey set up by F1 Racing, Autosport and Motorsport News will be presented to opinion-makers in the Formula 1 paddock

Formula 1 enthusiasts are being invited to have their say on the current state of the sport in a new survey set up by Autosport, F1 Racing and Motorsport News.

The three publications, all sister brands to Autocar, have established the Global Fan Survey 2015, which aims to unearth what F1 supporters around the world really want from Formula 1.

The results will be presented to senior figures in the F1 paddock next month to gauge their reactions to the survey’s findings.

Click here to participate in the Global Fan Survey 2015.

Haymarket's motorsport group editor Anthony Rowlinson urged all fans to take this opportunity to air their views: “This gives the chance for Formula 1's hardcore fans to express their views on the technical, sporting and political aspects of Formula 1 and to help shape its future.

“It is an opportunity for F1 fans around the world to have their voice heard. We want to know what's important to fans, and how they would change the sport for the better."

Fans have until Thursday 28 May 2015 to fill in the multiple-choice survey, which takes approximately five minutes to complete.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - latest spy pictures

The Aston Martin DB11 is expected to be launched as a 2017 model
Aston's DB9 replacement will get a twin-turbo AMG V12 engine, as the first mules have been spotted testing

These are the latest pictures of Aston Martin's DB9 replacement spied testing - dubbed the Aston Martin DB11 by insiders.

The new model, which is due to go on sale in 2017, has been spotted at the Nürburgring. Despite being heavily disguised under dark camouflage, the basic shape of the DB9 successor is apparent, with an abrupt rear end and a low roofline.

Our source's interior shot also confirms this DB11 prototype is powered by a twin-turbocharged V12 engine, with the labelled switches clearly visible at the bottom of the instrument panel.

The DB9 replacement will be built around an all-new bonded aluminium platform and is also set to be powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine designed and built by Mercedes-AMG.

Mercedes-AMG will not provide a bespoke version for Aston. Instead, off-the-shelf engines will be modified to sound, respond and feel like an Aston Martin engine. Spy photographers have reported a particularly loud sound coming from this early test mule.

Modifications would extend to bespoke engine management and exhaust systems and possibly revised turbo boost pressures but no internal mechanical changes. 

Even if no more power is liberated, the base 503bhp tune of the new V8 is close to the 510bhp of the existing 5.9-litre V12, but it comes with 479lb ft at just 1750rpm, compared to 457lb ft at 5500rpm for the current unit.

Installed in a car claimed by an insider to be “dramatically” lighter, performance will improve. Economy and emissions figures are also set to be 20 per cent better than those of the current DB9.

The motor will be mated to Mercedes’ new nine-speed automatic transmission. In the meantime, the existing DB9 will use the old six-speed ZF unit rather than be upgraded to a new ZF eight-speed unit.

Aston Martin executives have already admitted the new car might not carry the DB9 name. Speaking to Autocar last year, Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman said: "It’ll definitely be a DB, but what number will follow that is yet to be decided.”

Reichman also hasn't ruled out simply reusing the existing name – an idea some senior Aston executives are known to be keen on.

The car is unlikely to carry the DB10 name, with that designation going to the car which will accompany James Bond on his 24th big screen adventure, Spectre. The styling of the DB10 is understood to closely preview that of the DB9 replacement. Instead, the name DB11 has now emerged as a possible nameplate for the new Aston.

Reichman said the shape of the new car would be more than an evolution of the current model. “There’ll be a little more revolution in it,” he said. “It will be unmistakably an Aston and a DB at that, but it will look fresh and modern.”

Read more about the Aston Martin DB10

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS review
493bhp GT3 RS represents a new level for the 911 - faint hearts need not apply The purest realisation of what Porsche estimates a sports car to be. The new 911 GT3 RS is not a car made faster by the addition of turbos or hybrid drives, but through the deletion of weight and provision of more power via the delightfully back-to-basics formula of shoveling a bigger engine in the boot.So today’s GT3 RS displaces precisely the same 3996cc and produces an identical 493bhp at an indistinguishable 8250rpm as the last 997-based GT3 RS, despite their engines being entirely unrelated. The difference is that while the 4.0-litre 997 GT3 RS was a limited-edition special, this 991-derived machine is part of the standard model line-up. No 911 has ever been fitted with a bigger engine.The extra capacity has been achieved by fitting a longer-throw crankshaft to increase the stroke, so while there is no change to the speed at which peak power is delivered, peak revs have been pegged back a couple of hundred rpm, meaning its poor owners will have to content themselves with a sluggish 8800rpm limit. The flipside is a small increase in torque and a flatter curve, albeit still peaking at the same 6250rpm.The transmission is the same two-pedal PDK dual-clutch automatic unit used in the GT3 but with its final drive shortened slightly to counteract the effect of taller rear tyres. The paddles themselves have a shorter, sharper action.Porsche’s plan for this RS was to create more fresh air between it and the GT3 upon which it is based than has been the case with any other in the dozen years and five generations since Porsche exhumed its most revered acronym and once more applied it to a 911. So alongside all the usual RS modifications, such as a wider front track, Perspex rear screen and rear quarter lights, this RS has been enhanced in many other ways, of which the larger engine is just one.Most telling is the decision to base the RS on the ultra-wide body of the 911 Turbo, making it 28mm wider at the back than the current GT3. But there is also a magnesium roof and carbonfibre front wings to go with its carbonfibre bonnet and bootlid. The result is a car 10kg lighter than the GT3 - a fairly astonishing achievement when you consider the extra weight of the Turbo body and its larger 20in front and 21in rear wheels.As you might imagine, extensive attention has also been foisted on the chassis, where you’ll find different anti-roll bars front and rear, a completely new damper iteration and stiffer rear springs to cope with the vast increase in rear downforce. Interestingly, the front springs are carried over from the GT3, the slight increase in ride height due to the larger wheels which meant a stiffer spring was not required.The Michelin Cup tyres (and optional Dunlops) are a bespoke development for the car, too, but required far less work than expected, largely because they started life on the 918 Spyder.The traction requirements of a rear-drive, rear-engined car relative to a four-wheel-drive, mid-engined car brought changes in compound and construction but nothing dramatic. By contrast, Porsche needed to start again with the electric power steering in order to adapt it to the rigours of the additional downforce and an increase in front-end grip so great it is estimated to increase turn-in speed by up to 20%.But talk to those who did the development work and they will tell you that the seven-league difference between this RS and the standard GT3, not to mention any other road-legal 911 in history, is the aero.For years all 911s emanating from the Motorsports department have offered not merely reduced lift, but genuine downforce. The GT3 RS, however, is a world apart, its new front spoiler generating 110kg of downforce all by itself, while the massive rear wing creates a further 220kg. In total it has triple the downforce of the GT3 or, put another way, more downforce at 124mph than the last GT3 RS could muster at 186mph. Put a third and final way, here is a standard production road car offering 80% of the downforce of the Porsche’s GT3 Cup car.It adds up to a car capable of reaching 62mph in 3.3sec (clipping 0.2sec off the GT3’s time) but topping out at 193mph - 2mph short of the less-powerful GT3 thanks entirely to the additional drag of its aero package.And yes, there is a Nürburgring lap time: 7min 20sec, just two seconds shy of the time managed by the 611bhp GT2 RS, the most powerful street 911 ever built. But in fact the GT3 RS's lap was set on a cold, damp track. Porsche’s own simulations show the car to be capable of a 7min 17sec lap in ideal conditions, which would make it the fastest road-going 911 ever to take to the track.

Cropley on cars - Autosolo is accessible fun, Lotus' newest dealer
Tackling our first Autosolo of the year in a Ford Fiesta; lessons in traffic calming; post-election shuffles

SUNDAY - To RAF Thorney Island in a smart red Ford Fiesta S 1.0 Ecoboost triple to tackle (with my 30-something son) our first motorsport event of the year, a GRRC autosolo.

It’s the simplest competitive car fun going, autosolo. In a day-long event, you tackle four different courses against the clock, with seconds added for mistakes. Lowest total wins.

The course is fast enough to find your car’s limits, yet slow enough to remove any need for helmet, speed licence or driving pyjamas. It’s very different from the flat-through-Eau-Rouge kind of thing but, as decent drivers often discover, it takes serious skill and you want to win.

Which is something I emphatically failed to do. A string of ham-fisted mistakes put me two-thirds of the way down the field. Still, my son Jon won the class and was third overall behind the two most agile cars entered, a Caterham and a tiny, noisy Turner.

Rolling on smart black wheels, the Fiesta was admired by all for both looks and ‘jinkability’ – the latter ironic because as we glided back to The Smoke, you’d have sworn there was a tiny V12 under the bonnet.

MONDAY - A traffic lesson on the way to work: a dozy Land Rover Freelander driver crowds a bloke in Ford Transit, who swerves to assert his rights and gets close to a bloke on a Vespa. It all happens at 15mph, so it’s untidy rather than unsafe. At the next lights, the trio blow up a storm of shouting, contorted faces and raised fingers.

The whole thing is so inappropriate – they look so stupid in their synthetic outrage – that I resolve (again) to keep calm in traffic no matter what.  

TUESDAY - Dropped in for an early evening canapé at the South Kensington emporium of Hexagon Classics, Lotus’s newest dealer and its first in inner London for years.

Chairman Paul Michaels, who knew Colin Chapman and sold Lotuses as a dealer nearly 40 years ago, says he returned to the fold after reading of Lotus’s recovery in the Financial Times and being impressed by the quick reaction to his subsequent approach by CEO Jean-Marc Gales and his team. “I saw the story over the weekend and contacted the company on Monday. They came to see us on the Tuesday – and by Wednesday we’d done the deal.” 

THURSDAY - The people spoke decisively at the ballot box a fortnight ago, but it occurs to me that some in the car game might be sorry to see the departure of business secretary Vince Cable, a staunch and effective supporter of UK manufacturing. I rang industry guru Richard Parry-Jones (Cable’s co-chairman at the Automotive Council, the successful government-industry planning and ideas body) to get his thoughts.

“He was sceptical at first,” RPJ told me, “because the council began under the previous government. But it didn’t take him long to understand what we were doing and come on side. After that, he never missed a meeting, was a good ally and provided us with a good mixture of encouragement and challenge. I don’t know his successor, but we believe he understands what we’ve created and will want to keep going in the same direction.” 

FRIDAY - Cripes! Another driving challenge. Weeks ago, I lined up a battery-powered Renault Zoe – improved with a set of Clio RS wheels and tyres – to investigate the record for electric cars at the forthcoming Bugatti Owners’ Club meeting, La Vie en Bleu (at Prescott Hill, near Cheltenham, 24 May).

Now comes a request from Renault Central that I share the jaunt with another driver, none other than Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, one of the country’s most experienced professional racing drivers and a Prescott specialist. Whizzo’s a good bloke, but he isn’t going to be slow. I’m going to have to lift my game.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

New Renault Kwid hatchback revealed
A-segment hatchback will be offered in India in the second half of this year, and could find its way to other emerging markets

Renault has revealed a new A-segment hatchback dubbed Kwid, which will be launched in India in the second half of this year.

Based on the KWID concept of 2014, the new hatchback is described as “eminently modern” and comes with “unprecedented features for its segment”.

The Kwid is based on the new CMF-A platform - part of the Common Module Family architecture produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Designed to be as versatile as the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the CMF architecture represents significant cost savings for Renault-Nissan.

The new hatchback features SUV-inspired styling, including plastic body cladding around its lower edges and a bold, aggressive front bumper. It’s also raised up, with 180mm of ground clearance.

Inside, the five-door Kwid gets a digital instrument cluster and a 7.0in central infotainment screen.

Interior dimensions haven’t yet been specified, but Renault says the Kwid will offer Indian customers best-in-class boot and interior space.

Renault has only released details of one engine which will be offered in the Kwid, a new 0.8-litre petrol unit which will be "extremely well positioned in terms of fuel consumption." A new five-speed manual transmission will also be offered.

The company currently offers its Pulse hatchback in India with 1.5-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol engines.

Renault refers to the hatchback as a global model, suggesting it could find its way to other emerging markets and countries - such as Russia, Brazil and China -  in the future. The company has confirmed there are no plans to bring the Kwid to Europe.

Currently, 46% of Renault’s sales come from outside Europe, compared to 37% in 2010. With national sales increasing, India stands to be the world’s third-largest market by 2020. A-segment cars currently account for 30% of the country’s retail sales.

The French firm says it plans to increase its share in the growing Indian market from 2% to 5% in the medium term.

Renault first entered the Indian market as an independent brand in 2010, and has its own design centres in Mumbai and Chennai. It had 157 dealers across the country in 2014, a figure expected to increase to 205 dealerships by the end of this year.

Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said: “The Kwid will enable Renault to continue its expansion and address the needs of customers who want a vehicle that is stylish, robust and easy to use.”

Renault says the Kwid will be launched in India with a price tag of between 3 and 4 lakh rupees, which equates to roughly £3000-£4000.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Citroën's Mark Lloyd wins Autocar's Sturmey Award for 2015
Head of Citroën design strategy Mark Lloyd is presented with Autocar's Sturmey award for innovation, celebrating the designer's success on cars such as the C4 Cactus

Autocar has awarded Citroën’s head of design strategy Mark Lloyd with its prestigious Sturmey Award for 2015.

The award, which was presented at the Autocar Stars event in London this evening, recognises innovation and excellence within the motoring industry.

Named after Autocar’s founding editor Henry Sturmey, the award is presented to an individual chosen by Autocar’s panel of judges.

The award was presented by Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, who said: “Mark Lloyd has done amazing work, not only leading teams that produce successful individual cars, such as the much-admired and very successful Citroen C4 Cactus, but also in balancing his company’s reputation for avant garde creations against a need to produce serious cars that please modern buyers who love function.

“His company is selling plenty of cars, yet its reputation for pushing design barriers is as good as ever. Combining those things is a tremendous achievement.”

Receiving the award, the British designer said: “I am tremendously honoured to receive the prestigious Sturmey Award, and am delighted to have been chosen by Autocar.

“Beyond being a personal award, this goes to Citroën. A brand that incarnates a creative spirit which allows, even obliges, original thinking and ‎great ideas.

“That is why I, along with many others, joined the company in the firm belief that the spirit set in motion by André Citroën in 1919 will continue to lead to great things. The machine is very much in motion. Autocars’ recognition of this collective effort is a tremendous encouragement to continue developing new forms of expression and user-driven solutions, and above all to continue to defy convention.”

Read more:

Autocar Stars awards 2015 - everything you need to know

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Frugal Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion averages 76.3mpg
As the latest Passat Bluemotion goes on sale in Germany, Volkswagen reveals its impressive fuel economy figures

Official fuel economy figures for the new Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion saloon and estate have been revealed as both cars go on sale in Germany.

The frugal models returned 76.3mpg in official testing while emitting 95g/km of CO2. Both are powered by a 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine that’s connected to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Bluemotion models get 16in alloy wheels, a radiator grille designed to improve the cars’ aerodynamics and a radiator shutter, all of which boost fuel efficiency.

German customers can buy the Passat Bluemotion saloon for 29,425 euros and the the estate version for 30,500 euros.

Volkswagen will open the order books in the UK at the beginning of June, when prices and specification will be confirmed. 

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

I’m revved up for rallycross action at Lydden Hill

World Rallycross Championship heads to Lydden Hill this weekend
Why this weekend's visit of the World Rallycross Championship to Lydden Hill will be giving me flashbacks to 1989

If part of me was still debating whether to head to Lydden Hill in Kent for this weekend’s World Rallycross Championship event, the news that Will Gollop will be present in his Silkolene-backed MG Metro 6R4 has clinched the deal.

When I was young I hoovered up any motor racing I could find on BBC Grandstand. The end of the year was always a fruitful time, with the Formula Ford Festival and then the British Rallycross GP, both at Brands Hatch.

On television, Gollop’s 6R4 – which will appear this weekend at Lydden as part of a special historic celebration – was one of those motorsport machines that just looked perfect to me, along with the Silk Cut Jaguars at Le Mans and Nigel Mansell’s 1989 Ferrari F1 car.

After watching the event on television, I'd seek out the reports on the British Rallycross GP in the following week’s Motorsport News (then called Motoring News), so it is apt that our sister publication is backing this weekend’s event at the Kent circuit as part of its 60th birthday celebrations.

Rallycross has been around almost as long, but the sport’s prominence has burst through the stratosphere in recent years - chiefly, I suspect, because it is the ideal motor sport for the modern generation. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone; this drag race between a rallycross car, Ariel Atom and superbike is one of the most popular ever on our video channel.

Rallycross's mixed-surface races are short, sharp and attention-grabbing - you might say it's perfect for the younger generation who find their attention diverted by social media on their smartphones every five minutes.

The cars look and sound aggressive, replete with suitably garish sponsorship liveries. Whereas during the 1980s and 1990s these cars would have looked like high-speed fag packets, they now resemble energy drink cans.

There’s plenty of strength in depth on the grid too. For Lydden Hill, there are 30 cars in the top Supercar class alone, with Audi, Citroën, Ford, Mini, Peugeot, Volvo and Volkswagen all represented.

Adding extra spice this weekend will be the return to rallycross of Andrew Jordan, now plying his trade in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship but moonlighting in a Peugeot 208 this weekend, and the debut of Guy Wilks, a double British rally champion, in a Mini.

The barometers of their performances will be reigning champion Petter Solberg, who is leading the points after three events in his Citroën DS3, and Topi Heikkinen, who won last time out in Belgium for Volkswagen.

The purist in me rankles slightly at rallycross’s ‘joker lap’ format, where each competitor must take a detour once per race. I can understand the reasoning behind it, but it feels to me that a world championship should be a ‘pure’ competition rather than feature any kind of contrived stunt.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing how this all works as a live spectacle as opposed to on television. And I reckon witnessing modern and historic rallycross cars powersliding through Chesson’s Drift at a lurid angle will be enough to reawaken my inner child.

2016 Renault Alpine - Goodwood display celebrates 60th anniversary
French firm confirms it plans to launch its new sports car in 2016, with the Alpine brand due to be celebrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Renault will re-launch the Alpine brand with a new sports car in 2016, which is tipped to cost around £50,000.

As a precursor to the car's launch, Alpine will celebrate its heritage at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer with a 60th anniversary display. Models which will feature as part of the display include the 1955 A106, the A110,  the 1978 Le Mans-winning A442b and the A450b, Alpine's current World Endurance Championship car.

Having been spotted testing at the Nürburgring since summer 2013, it's understood that development on the 2016 sports car is entering the final stages. The rear-drive, two-seat coupé will be used to revitalise the Alpine brand and bring it back into mainstream recognition. Early test mules hid under Lotus bodywork, while the car is believed to sit on an all-new platform.

The team testing the mule at the Nürburgring was high-performance suspensions specialist Ohlins, known for its work on Renaultsport models.

Renault officials have previously said the new car must become a halo model for Alpine, fulfilling a similar role to that of the Porsche 911. Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker said: "The challenge with Alpine is to somehow fill this gap of more than 20 years and do a product that is believable.

“I feel the car really needs to create the foundation of Alpine. We need to create the 911 of Alpine. If we do that properly then we can consider [making] cars like the Panamera.”

The seeds of the project, which began with a joint development programme with Caterham, were sown in 2012. However, after a series of disputes the two companies went their separate ways in 2014.

A concept version of the Alpine appeared at the Goodwood Festival of speed in 2012. Power for the Alpine 110-50 concept came from a 3.5-litre V6, which produced 395bhp at 7200rpm and 311lb ft at 6200rpm. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical limited-slip differential.

Originally designed to celebrate 50 years of the Alpine A110 Berlinette, references to the original include the 1962 car’s central foglights alluded to with a pair or half-domed LED rings on the new concept, a 3D rear window that reveals the mid-mounted engine, and a new take on the classic Alpine Blue paint to cover the carbonfibre bodywork.

Since then, Renault has bought out the remaining stake held by Caterham in its sports car business, with both manufacturers saying they will continue development of their respective cars individually.

Problems between Renault and Caterham first surfaced at the beginning of 2014, with insiders admitting to creative tensions between the two brands. The development of the Alpine car has also reportedly been delayed due to design changes, after an early prototype received mixed reviews at customer clinics.

At the time of its split, Renault said the decision to cancel the joint development programme had been made by mutual consent, and didn't rule out working with Caterham again in the future.

Described as the "Berlinette of the 21st century", it is understood that the complete design, including the car's interior, has now been signed off.

The current launch date of 2016 is around a year later than first planned.

Caterham's design for its own sports car, known internally as C120, is believed to have been ready for some time, but as both cars were due to be launched together it's likely this contributed to the ending of the partnership.

It's understood that the British company will continue to use the tech it has already developed with Renault for its own car. The company has admitted that there will be some job losses at its Norfolk-based tech centre as a result.

Caterham insiders are also refuting rumours that the firm has acquired beleagured German sports car maker Artega to make use of its mid-engined platform and production facilities. Caterham's finished car is expected to have around 300bhp available, while Renault's Alpine is tipped to have around 250bhp and a kerb weight of some 1100kg.

Both cars will have separate bodies and interiors, and their handling and driving characteristics will be tuned differently. Caterham also intends to launch more versions of its car with varying power outputs after the first model goes on sale.

Alpine bosses have been open about the future of the brand, with plans for a whole family of models openly discussed. Speaking to Autocar at the Moscow motor show last year, van den Acker said there was “a hope” that the sports car would spearhead a range of Alpine-branded vehicles.

“As with many things we need to have a good business first. We all love Alpines but we all want to make money as well. Let’s get the first car right and then I hope I can start doing Alpines for the rest of my life,” he said.

Final details are being kept closely under wraps, as Van den Acker admits “I’ve been a bit cagey to talk too much about it. Sports cars are an endangered species – there are always ten reasons not to do it.”

Van den Acker is understood to have shelved plans to design a production version of the Renault DeZir concept in favour of working on the Alpine car. "Even I’d admit that’s not necessary," he said "I gladly defer DeZir in order 
to do an Alpine."

The design of the car is understood to have been delayed at several stages, as creative tensions with Caterham surfaced. Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald declined to comment on specifics of the joint venture, but admitted the project had fallen behind schedule and that there were creative tensions between the former partners.

“There are ongoing frustrations on both sides," he told Autocar in 2014 "but we knew there would be challenges from the start. It was never going to be easy: we are a small, agile company and they are a large, corporate firm. That’s causing frustrations for us and, I’m sure, for them.”

The departure of then Renault boss Carlos Tavares - a long-term supporter of plans to revive Alpine - from the company in 2013 is not said to be the reason the project has stalled.

Officials have warned that the final Alpine design won't look anything like the concept seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2012. Renault has in recent weeks unveiled an Alpine-branded virtual racer as part of the Vision Gran Turismo project, but although that car features Alpine colours it's unlikely to preview the design of the sports car.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2016 Bentley Bentayga SUV - new pictures

The Bentley Bentayga is continuing to shed its disguise ahead of its imminent reveal
Bentley's first SUV, dubbed Bentayga, will go on sale in 2016 for a starting price upwards of £130,000

Test mules for the Bentley Bentayga SUV are continuing to shed their camouflage ahead of its reveal later this year. 

The spy pictures reveal that the production Bentayga will bear little resemblance to the EXP 9 F concept, after that car divided opinion at its 2012 Geneva motor show debut. The Bentayga is due to go on sale early next year and is claimed to combine "pinnacle luxury and performance". 

The new "ultra-luxury" SUV is now in its final test phase, Bentley chairman and CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer recently told Autocar, and the model will come in W12, V8 and plug-in hybrid guises.

He revealed that the hybrid would be capable of covering 30 miles on battery power alone, to cope with future zero-emissions legislation in cities. "This will be a very luxurious model," he said, "but it will also be very fast and very capable." Hybrid versions of the Bentayga are expected to follow around a year after the launch of conventional models.

Bentley has previously revealed the luxurious cabin of the upcoming Bentayga SUV in a video.

The video revealed that the Bentayga will come with a touch-sensitive driving mode selector, which also incorporates the engine's starter button. The driver's display has also been shown, revealing that - in this early depiction at least - the Bentayga's speedometer ends at 320km/h (200mph). That could prove relevant, as from the early stages Bentley bosses were said to have set an ambitous 200mph top speed target for the SUV. 

An advanced night-view assistance package is also showcased as part of the video, as well as a multi-function instrument cluster display that appears to be configurable by the driver.

The Bentayga's unusual name comes from the Roque Bentayga, a dramatically rugged mountain landscape on Gran Canaria in the Atlantic. Initial speculation suggested the model might take the 'Falcon' name.

The Bentayga was previewed by the EXP 9 F concept car at the 2012 Geneva motor show, although rumours of the SUV project go as far back as 2011. Confirmation that Bentley would build the model came in July last year as part of an £800 million investment in the firm's Crewe headquarters.

The final design, which has been aerodynamically optimised to ensure stability at high speeds, is said to have an overall width of around two metres. 

Last summer, Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke revealed that the production car's shape had been signed off, saying: "The concept is completely set apart and was done separately. After Geneva 2012, I was told to do a new one. It's completely different from the concept car.

"The concept was only intended to pose the question, 'Can we do a Bentley SUV?', rather than showing a production car. I started with new parameters and a clean sheet [of paper]." Indeed, Donckerwolke has never seen the EXP 9 F concept in person.

From the outset, Bentley officials are understood to have targeted the car towards emerging but profitable markets such as China and Russia.

Reviewing results of the company's fifth straight record year, which show a 9% increase in sales to 11,020 cars, 87% of which were exported, Dürheimer also hinted at a smaller Bentley SUV model in the future. He said he had great enthusiasm for the SUV market, which was "expanding three times faster than the market as a whole".

Previous predictions of annual sales of 3000 for the full-size SUV "could be conservative", said Dürheimer, who is working towards building 20,000 cars a year at Crewe by 2020. The company says it already has 4000 serious "expressions of interest" in the big SUV, which is yet to be seen by customers. The starting price of the Bentayga is likely to be around £130,000.

Initially, it was understood that Bentley would look to build the SUV in Bratislava, Slovakia, if production at Crewe could not be confirmed.

To reach its aggressive production targets, Bentley will spend £280m this year on building a new R&D centre, across the road from its traditional Pyms Lane site, and plans to add 300 new jobs to its workforce, making 1300 in all. By 2016, total expenditure to ensure that capacity at Crewe "is no longer an issue" will amount to £840 million, Dürheimer said.

See footage of the Bentley Bentayga testing in the video below:

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Autocar honours Porsche R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz with Issigonis Trophy
Porsche director of research and development Wolfgang Hatz is presented with the Issigonis Trophy at the Autocar Stars event in London

Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche’s director of research and development, has been awarded the Issigonis Trophy at the Autocar Stars event in London.

The award, which was presented by Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, honours the individual who has contributed the most to the health, excellence and competitiveness of the European motor industry.

The Issigonis Trophy invokes the name of Sir Alec Issigonis, who designed the original 1959 Morris Mini, which changed the face of the motor industry forever.

Speaking at the ceremony, Steve Cropley described the award as “Autocar’s very personal compliment to a man whose accomplishments in motoring have been enormous.

“Take a long look at the wonderful, market-leading cars Porsche has created in the past few years - everything from the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar to the Macan SUV, via the latest 911 GT3 and the Cayman GT4, and you soon understand the scale of our winner’s achievements and what they mean to all who love great cars.”

On receiving the Issigonis Trophy, Hatz said: “When I moved into my office four years ago as head of R&D an old team-mate dropped in and said 'I never would have thought that one of us could ever become head of Weissach'. It was good to be back home and I thought it can’t possibly get any better than that. But that was before we developed the 918 Spyder and so many other true Porsches. And that was before we returned to Le Mans with our 919 Hybrid.

"One reason I feel very much at home among our fans and customers in the UK - obviously including journalists - is their sound judgment of cars in general and sports cars in particular. This award gives me great pride."

Earlier in the evening, Citroën's head of design strategy Mark Lloyd was presented with the Sturmey Award. Named after Autocar's founding editor Henry Sturmey, the award recognises innovation and excellence in the motoring industry.

Read more:

Autocar Stars awards 2015 - everything you need to know

Citroën's Mark Lloyd wins Autocar's Henry Sturmey Award for 2015 

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Autocar's five-star road test cars honoured with awards

Ferrari 458 Speciale
The Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari 458 Speciale and Range Rover Sport SVR join the ranks of our road test champions at the Autocar Stars event

Autocar has honoured its five-star road test cars at its annual awards celebration in London this evening.

The Porsche 918, Ferrari 458 Speciale and Range Rover Sport SVR have all received coveted five-star road test verdicts in the past 12 months and were honoured as part of the annual Autocar Stars evening. The manufacturers of those vehicles receive a trophy commemorating their acheivements.

Describing the three newest road test champions, Autocar editor Jim Holder said: "Quite rightly, this is a rare and hard-earned accolade - and tonight we have just three to add to the distinguished list."

Autocar's verdicts on the three winners are as follows:

Porsche 918 Spyder - This is a Porsche and Porsche is rarely caught out. Accelerating in gears, through gears, on the road and on a circuit, the 918 Spyder has nothing to fear from any other car in its class.

Ferrari 458 Speciale - Like all great performance cars, it feels over-provisioned for the sheer grip and agility, it communicates effusively and challenges you to get on its level or find the limit of your own in the process. It's sensational in its handling and extravagant in its commitment to the pursuit of speed and thrills.

Range Rover Sport SVR - No rival better mixes handling prowess, off-road talent and an SUV sense of functional plsuhness. But, more importantly, none comes close to capturing the perfect savagery and lewd sense of fun it keeps so amply on tap.

In 2014, cars which were honoured for receiving top marks in our road test include the Toyota GT86, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 320d Sport, Porsche Cayman, Morgan 3 Wheeler, Ferrari 458 Italia, Jaguar XFR and McLaren P1.

Read more:

2015 Autocar Stars - everything you need to know

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Renault angered by new French finance laws

Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was described as being "furious" at the news
French government secretly raises its stake in Renault and passes new laws in a bid to influence the firm’s operations

Renault has been plunged into direct conflict with the French government after the government changed shareholding laws and then spent £880 million increasing its stake in the car manufacturer to 20%.

There is reportedly great concern within the Renault-Nissan Alliance about the French government’s level of influence because Renault also owns 45% of Nissan and effectively controls its successful Japanese partner.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, was described in reports as being “furious” after he was out-manoeuvred by the French government in a conflict over new laws concerning the voting rights of long-term shareholders.

Ghosn had been in long-standing negotiations with 
the French government to 
try to prevent these new 
‘anti-speculation’ laws from being applied to the Renault-Nissan operation.

The French government introduced the new legislation earlier this year. It is intended to give shareholders double voting rights if they have 
held the stock for more than two years.

While Ghosn was in tense negotiations with the government, the state secretly increased its shareholding in Renault from 15% to 20%.

This stake was then unexpectedly used by the government to prevent Ghosn from passing a resolution to restrict Renault shareholders to ‘one share, one vote’.

The French government’s move to have more influence over Renault is likely to have been driven mainly by the 
fact that the vast majority of the best-selling Renault and Dacia models are now made outside France.

The French government has vowed to prevent its domestic manufacturing base from being hollowed out, although many analysts say France has notably high labour costs, which are putting its manufacturing industry under great pressure.

Moreover, Nissan’s success has meant that it is substantially outselling its French parent company. Of the 8.47 million cars sold globally by the alliance in 2014, just 2.7m came from the Renault/Dacia/Samsung brands.

The greater use of shared platforms and factories will make it easier for future Renault vehicles to be built outside France. Indeed, the highly successful Captur compact crossover is made in Spain, as is the upcoming Kadjar crossover. The 
Kadjar will also be built at Wuhan in China.

Even the current Mégane hatchback is made outside France, although the Scénic MPV is made on home ground. Although the new Espace and Laguna will be built in France, they are unlikely to be as big-selling as Renault’s small cars.

It’s not known if the French government will use its boardroom influence to prevent other new models from being built overseas. However, it seems possible it could argue that the next-generation Mégane should be built in France after the Captur and Kadjar were allocated to Renault’s Spanish plants.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Porsche trademarks GT5 name
Trademark registrations and applications suggests new motorsports-developed Porsche may be in the works

Porsche has been granted the trademark ‘GT5’, suggesting that a new motorsports-developed version of one of its line-up may be in the works. 

Historically, the company’s flagship high-performance models have always featured numbers that correlate with the FIA class in which they are designed to race. For example, the Porsche 911 GT3 was designed for use in the FIA Group GT3 class. 

Given that there is no motorsports equivalent of GT5, however, it may be the case that the new GT version is unlike anything seen in the current motorsports environment. The new car may, as a result, take the form of a flagship version of the Panamera or Macan.

A Porsche spokesperson said: “There’s no comment on that [GT5] in relation to what our future product might be.”

The flagship versions of Porsche’s cars are developed by the company’s Weissach-based GT division, which applies its motorsport expertise to develop more focused and capable cars.

Andreas Preuninger, head of the GT division, had previously indicated that he thought there was room in the company’s line-up for more focused models. 

When asked whether the increasing sales of Porsche’s SUVs would be followed by more motorsports-developed cars in order to maintain the brand’s sporting spirit, he said: “Absolutely my suggestion.” 

Production of GT models is usually limited but interest in the line is growing, in part thanks to the recent launch of the more affordable Cayman GT4. Widening the range would allow Porsche to further capitalise on its appeal. 

The German trademark office received the company’s request for the GT5 trademark in August 2014, at the same time that it applied for the GT4 name. Approval was later granted, in October 2014.

Porsche has since applied for the GT5 trademark at the European office. This application, which was submitted on 13 January 2015, is still under examination.

“In this increasingly competitive world it makes sense to cover any bases,” said Porsche’s spokesperson.

Read more:

Porsche working on new Ferrari 458-beating supercar

New Porsche 911 GT3 RS packs 493bhp

Porsche to take on BMW 5 Series with new electric saloon

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Top coupés for a super commute
The daily drive to work needn’t be a dreary slog. Here are some classy, comfy two-doors to consider

Is there such a thing as a commuter car? I’d argue that there probably isn’t. Buying a new car for just one regular journey sounds a bit daft, unless you can afford it. Also, commutes come in different flavours: some have traffic jam slogs, others could have clear runs on thrilling twisties.

The used car market, however, makes everything much more affordable. So here is a slightly bonkers guide to motors that might make your journey better.

For the classic dismal commute, what you need is an automatic gearbox, air-con and just a couple of seats. Well, make that a couple of doors. I’m thinking more stumpy barge than low-down sports car - an old-fashioned coupé, if you like.

You don’t want rock-hard suspension or low-profile tyres, either, so the obvious choice is a Mercedes-Benz CLK. Early ones weren’t built during the company’s finest hour, but a petrol one that isn’t rusty will at least be cheap. You can bag a CLK320 in Elegance trim for under a grand easily.

There are also some old-school E220s knocking around with big miles and silly alloys, but how about a CL500? It would be a world of financial pain if it goes wrong but is a lovely way to travel. A 2001 example is £3750 and could be stressful when it comes to fuel economy, but then you shouldn’t really care.

There are some lovely ones for £4000 with full history, and I see it as a better bet than a 2002 Bentley Continental GT, which will cost at least £20k more. I’d still like one, though.

If I was going to be super-sensible, I’d track down what’s left of the dwindling supplies of Honda Accord Coupés. For £700, you’ll get a 3.0 V6 on an X plate with leather and pretty decent history. Someone should start saving them, and that person might have to be me.

Upping my budget is easy enough, and that would mean an Infiniti G37 3.7 V6. I like their anonymity and the fact they are so rare and so well made, but £18,495 might sound a lot to some. Still, it buys a refined 2010 GT Premium from a main dealer, and it will be immaculate.

And seeing as I haven’t managed to get out of the world of coupés, I can’t leave without mentioning Jaguar. The old XK was a lovely thing and you can come across proper golf club refugees that have barely been run in.

There isn’t enough space left here to give them full credit, but let’s be honest, if you’re going to commute, at least make every journey a memorable one. So don’t buy a diesel hatchback. Please.

2015 Lotus Evora 400 to cost £72,000
Lotus Evora 400

The new Lotus Evora 400 costs £72,000
New Evora 400 features more power, and improved packaging and handling, and goes on sale in August

The new Lotus Evora 400 will cost from £72,000 when it goes on sale in August, the company has revealed.

Described as a faster, lighter and better-packaged version of the company's flagship, the Evora 400 will be the fastest production Lotus yet built, is the first fruit of a dramatic sales and product push masterminded by Jean-Marc Gales, the firm’s boss, whose aim is to treble volume to around 3500 cars a year in the next three years.

The revised Evora carries the ‘400’ tag because the output of its supercharged 3.5-litre V6 has been raised by 16% to 400bhp.

For its asking price, customers also get AP racing brakes, climate control and an infotainment system. The options list includes Alcantara or leather trim for £2500, cruise control for £300, and metallic paint for £900. Also available is a 'Black Pack', which colours some of the 400's body parts black for £1250.

Lotus recently confirmed the Evora 400 had lapped its Hethel test track six seconds faster than the old Evora S. It made its public debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

In total, 60% of the car’s parts are new. It has an all-new nose and tail styling, the cabin is completely redesigned and major modifications have been made to the extruded aluminium chassis tub which now offers greatly improved cabin access. The car’s dynamics have been refined, high-speed downforce has been improved and kerb weight has been cut by 22kg.

Sales for 2014-2015 are already up 63% year on year and are on target to beat the first-year mark of 2000 cars set by Gales.

Lotus is so confident of the Evora 400’s enhanced appeal that it is creating two production lines at Hethel (separating the Elise/Exige line and that of the Evora) and hiring an extra 150 production workers. This all forms part of a plan to lift production from the current 45 cars a week to around 70 by September, while incorporating a 10% cut in build times in order to feed a worldwide increase in dealers from the present 168 to more than 200 by the year’s end.

Gales calls the Evora 400 “a true supercar for today whose looks and performance can only be matched by cars costing much more”. He cites as evidence the 400’s compact dimensions, luxurious new interior, 186mph top speed and 0-60mph time of 4.1sec. Its Hethel lap time of 1min 32sec now equals that of the Exige S, the lap record holder in the current range.

These revisions are the first major changes to the Evora since its launch at the British motor show in 2008. The revised exterior adds 30mm to the overall length but contributes (with lighter seats and wheels) to the lower kerb weight.

The cooling apertures are larger and the front spoiler, rear wing and diffuser have been redesigned to double the downforce at 150mph. There’s no increase in frontal area, but the extra vents and downforce slightly increase the drag coefficient from 0.33 to 0.35. 

The Toyota-sourced V6 gets a bigger supercharger and a more efficient intercooler, both fitted by Lotus, plus improvements to its engine management and a three-inch exhaust tailpipe with a driver-activated valve that reduces back pressure (and sharpens the exhaust note) at higher speeds.

Modifications to the six-speed manual version’s powertrain include a new clutch and a lighter flywheel to smooth out gearshifts, while the optional six-speed automatic gearbox (which costs £2000) gets a new, sportier shift strategy and an elegant pair of column-mounted shift paddles. Selectable combinations of traction control and chassis stability functions give the choice of Drive, Sport and Race modes.

The biggest cabin news is a much-needed improvement to access and space. The chassis sills are now 43mm narrower and 56mm lower, footwell space is widened and door inners are thinner and lighter, giving occupants similar space and convenience to rivals, with no degradation in chassis rigidity.

Lighter front bucket seats each save 6kg and are more supportive, while occasional rear seats are also wider and lighter, while saving a further 3.4kg. There is an all-new fascia design incorporating the familiar instrument binnacle but with clearer graphics, and a new ventilation and air conditioning system. Lotus will offer a choice of three different trim levels with a luxurious full-leather edition at the top of the range.

Gales said: "The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced. It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance and our global dealer network of 179 dealers which will grow to 200 by the end of the year is excited to be able to deliver this high performing benchmark handling supercar to the ever growing customer waiting list.”

Read more:

Autocar talks to Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales

New Lotus crossover to take on Porsche Macan

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2016 Chevrolet Camaro prototype review
New Camaro is lighter and more powerful than ever before and has set its sights firmly on the new Ford Mustang The all-new, 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, which makes a shift from the aging Holden-sourced Zeta platform to the Alpha structure that underpins Cadillac’s ATS and CTS saloons. The result is that this sixth-generation Camaro is not only markedly more modern but also smaller and lighter.On the outside its proportions are unmistakably Camaro, but the design of Chevy’s pony car is more modern than retro, marking a stylistic departure that no longer pulls design cues directly from the model's history. It’s more of an evolution of the fifth-generation car than it is influenced by anything from the 1960s to the 1990s.The switch to the newer Alpha platform, allied to a weight-conscious engineering programme, results in a coupé that is at least 90kg lighter than before, depending on the configuration. Most of the mass was taken from the body structure itself – about 60kg – while extensive use of aluminum suspension components assisted in the overall weight loss.With subtly smaller dimensions - it's just 21mm narrower and 67mm shorter - the Camaro still has the same imposing visual presence as before. In addition, according to GM product boss Mark Reuss, the new Camaro has 28% greater structural rigidity, which will make a better foundation for the anticipated performance variants.Changes in powertrains satisfy both fuel conscious and performance-minded drivers. The top motor is the powerful 6.2-litre V8, which is shared with the Corvette Stingray and makes 455bhp and 455lb ft. The engineering mule we drove was fitted with the new 3.6-litre V6, which produces 335bhp and 284lb ft.As Ford has done with its Mustang, Chevy is making available for the first time a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in its pony car. It’s also found as the base engine in Cadillac ATS, and in here in the Camaro it produces 270bhp and 295lb ft. Each engine is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or, as on our prototype, GM’s excellent eight-speed automatic. This new auto ’box replaces a sleepy six-speeder and is something we’ve experienced in both Corvette Z06 and Cadillac ATS, where it performed magnificently.Previously reserved for the supercharged musclecar version of the Camaro – the ZL1 – the SS will be available with GM’s active damping tech, Magnetic Ride Control.The interior of the previous Camaro left much to be desired, with its odd ergonomics and retro-above-all-else design. The new model’s cabin benefits tremendously from the redesign and is clean, functional, modern, and spacious.

2015 Autocar Stars to be announced tonight
The winners of the 2015 Autocar Stars will be announced this evening in London, as we salute the best vehicles, people and processes in the motor industry

The winners of the 2015 Autocar Stars will be announced tonight, as we salute the finest vehicles, companies, processes and people in the motor industry.

Among the accolades to be awarded tonight will be the Issigonis Trophy. Named after legendary car designer Sir Alec Issigonis, the award goes to the individual which has contributed the most to the health, excellence and world competitiveness of the motor industry.

In 2014, McLaren Group chairman and chief executive Ron Dennis received the award.

The second award of the evening will be the Sturmey Award. Named after Autocar’s founding editor, Henry Sturmey, it recognises innovation and achievement in the motor industry. Tesla Motors received the award in 2014.

Tonight’s event will also honour the cars that have achieved a full five-star rating on the Autocar road test. Manufacturers whose cars have scored top marks on our road test in the past 12 months will receive a trophy, marking the fact that Autocar’s road test process is far more thorough than that of any competitor. 

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley said: “These are very personal awards - for people who not only have the creativity and leadership abilities to reach the very top, but whom we like and admire."

The winners will be revealed at an event taking place at the Hurlingham Club in south-west London.

You’ll be able to follow the event live on Periscope, and we’ll be tweeting throughout the evening with the hashtag #AutocarStars.

Alternatively, stay tuned to the website this evening as we reveal the winners.

Read more:

2015 Autocar Stars - everything you need to know

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

With a team of qualified car mechanics and technicians, you can be assured of a truly personal service.
 
Book MOT Online Now