The new Porsche 911, The Eighth Wonder of Stuttgart

Newsflash: Porsche’s released a new 911, the eighth generation of its talismanic sports car. For all its 21st century tech it’s still a 911 – and a very handsome one at that.

LIVER BLUME, Porsche CEO, is addressing the assembled media at the Los Angeles Auto Show. ‘Continuity doesn’t mean stagnation,’ he says, delivering a polite middle finger to ac-cusations of same-again laziness on Porsche’s business-as-mostly-usual 911 evolution. And he has a point. For while you might still need a little help telling this one apart from the 991-generation car, the technology beneath the 992’s skin would suggest Stuttgart’s hardly been dragging its heels.

Many will welcome the familiar Coke-bottle shape, now with a front end 45mm wider than before.

The hottest metal from the Los Angeles show

Feeling brave?

Extrovert newcomers from the LA show…
… and a Mazda that’s probably too subtle for its own good. By James Taylor

Jeep Gladiator
A spin-off of the latest Jeep Wrangler, inspired by the 1963-1972 Gladiator J-series pick-up, the new Gladiator is a soft-top, twin-cab pick-up with load-hauling ability as serious as
its off-road credentials. It’s longer than the regular Wrangler, and has a fold-down windscreen, removable doors, electric front and rear diff locks and disconnectable anti-roll bars. Inside there’s a good amount of sophisticated tech, including
a pinch-and-zoom touchscreen, and there are already more than 200 official Mopar custom parts available. Expect it in the UK in 2020.

Gran Turismo: From PS1 to FIA-Certified

The CAR Inquisition: Gran Turismo’s Maverick Maker

Awesomely successful gaming franchise Gran Turismo just held its first FIA-certified championship finals. Creator Kazunori Yamauchi talks about his ongoing merger of the real and the digital

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI ISN’T the most recognisa-ble figure, but when it comes to creating and inspiring car enthusiasts he’s as important as the likes of Gordon Murray and Colin Chapman. Why? Because he’s the creator of Gran Turismo, one of the most popular racing game series of all time.
‘While Gran Turismo’s a video game, it’s also a movement,’ Yamauchi begins. ‘That’s something I can be proud of.’

It’s true, GT Sport isn’t just a game any more – and it’s not ‘the real driving simulator’ either, as its old tagline used to claim.

Audi’s EV Charge Gathers Pace

Can Audi beat Porsche at its own game with the Taycan-twinned e-Tron GT? By Curtis Moldrich

IN AN UNASSUMING studio in Ingolstadt, Audi’s head of design is showing CAR around the most exciting project he’s ever worked on. It’s not a supercar, or an impossible show car – it’s the e-Tron GT concept, an EV that previews Audi’s take on the Porsche Taycan. A production version will follow in 2020.

Marc Lichte is so pleased with the GT because it’s stayed very close to his original vision. ‘It’s like the first sketch,’ he says. Although Audi has labelled it a concept, it’s unlikely to change in any significant way before going into production. ‘That’s why I’m really proud of this car,’ says Lichte. ‘It’s the highlight in my career.’

Rufty-tufty City Cars Quick Group Test

Ford Ka+ Active vs Dacia Sandero Stepway vs Vauxhall Viva Rocks vs Kia Picanto X-Line

This crossover fad is getting out of hand… Four city cars pretending to be big and tough compete to see which one can smash it out of the retail park. By Jake Groves

How thorough is the crossover conversion?
Active adds unique bumpers and alloys, plus roof rails as standard. Rough Road Fiesta and Focus are also suspension with a loftier available with Active bloat ride height is fitted, too, along with brown accents and rubber mats inside. The punchier of the Ka+’s two petrols and 1.5 diesel are your Active engines. No all-wheel drive, as with all these cars.

Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy Another Log on The Fire

If the Megane RS 280 leaves you wanting more heat then try the RS 300 Trophy. But does it add enough extra sizzle?

THE NEW Megane RS Trophy has very nice side windows. I noticed because most of my track time in it was spent looking through them. Goodness me, it’s one tail-happy car, partly because Portugal’s Estoril circuit was polished shiny by rain, and partly because it’s set up that way. The regular Megane RS 280 is one of the most throttle-adjustable hot hatches around, and the new, more focused 300 Trophy is no different.

The regular Renault Sport Megane has always been followed by a harder-core Trophy version, seasoned with a variety of spicy upgrades.

Mercedes-Benz GLE New Heights

Mercedes-Benz GLE It’s good – but better than an X5 good?

Like an E-Class but taller, Merc’s new GLE is a seriously well equipped alternative to the BMW X5.

HAVE A GUESS how many SUVs there were in the Mercedes-Benz range when the M-Class launched back in 1997? Four? Five? No. Two. Alongside the G-Class, the forebear to the GLE was an off-road aberration in a sea of luxury saloons and svelte two-doors.

Oh how times have changed. Skip forward 21 years and you’ll find seven SUVs proudly wearing the three-pointed star, with more on the way. It’s not only Mercedes that’s expanded its SUV line-up, of course, and the new GLE is up against a crowded field. Accordingly, Mercedes has made sure the GLE is as well equipped as its E-Class cousin.

Mercedes-Benz A35 Warm and Friendly

Boiling Under

An even hotter A-Class is coming, but don’t shun AMG’s plenty-hot-enough A35.

MIDDLE GROUND is a dirty phrase to some. Finding it means compromise and making concessions – something looked down upon particularly in the performance car world. But AMG – increasingly keen to move beyond its hardcore heartland to bring more mainstream buyers into the fold – has risen to the challenge in an interesting and largely successful way. The full-fat A45 will arrive in the middle of 2019, but the new A35 will actually suit some people much better.

It’s a familiar German hot hatch recipe: smooth 2.0-litre turbo with 300bhp-plus on tap, grippy all-wheel drive

Peugeot’s Design Boss on The Past and The Future

The next big things Following fashion’s lead

Gilles Vidal, head of Peugeot design, on what car makers can learn from luxury brands

> DIFFERENTIATION AND brand strategy is a big thing at PSA. Thierry Metroz [at DS], Alex Malval [Citroën], Mark Adams [Vauxhall/Opel] and I meet very often and show each other our future projects, our future design trends, our future design DNA.
> IF BY mistake, or by luck mixed with mistake, an idea would look similar to someone else’s idea, we talk about how we move this to an even more Peugeot thing or an even more DS thing, or who stops what to let the other one do it.
> WHAT COUNTS more than anything is what a brand stands for, and what are its codes.

New Ford Focus vs New Crash Test Rules

Reborn hatch punches above its weight in tougher, techier tests.

A CAR’S CRASH TEST performance is a matter of life and death, which safety body Euro NCAP has spent more than two decades assessing in its ever-evolving mission to raise standards. Its focus is increasingly turning to active safety: driver assistance technologies that aim to avoid a crash in the first place. New tests introduced for 2018 assess automated emergency braking systems, pedestrian and cyclist detection and lane-keeping devices.

The current Ford Focus is the biggest-selling UK car so far subjected to these 2018 regs. Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen notes: ‘The Focus delivers a very balanced package of driver assistance technologies,

Inside Formula E’s Next-Generation Cars

Formula E’s Brave New World

In comes a glut of works teams, faster cars and no more embarrassing mid-race car swap. Formula E just got serious.

THIS IS WHEN it really gets interesting. Formula E has been around for four years now, but the imminent fifth season marks a step change in its technical intrigue. A radical new chassis and aero kit means Gen 2’s cars will certainly look quicker, while freer regulations mean they’ll actually be faster, too – and their batteries will last an entire race.

With 22 cars on the grid, more manufacturer support than ever and an increasingly high-profile driver line-up, this is when Formula E starts to look like a serious alternative to F1.

Does it work? Mercedes Energizing Comfort

HOW THIS IS something a little bizarre to be doing while driving: vigorous muscle stretches. Mercedes’ Energizing Comfort system, which first debuted on the S-Class, interconnects various functions in the cockpit such as the air-con, fragrancing, audio and seat heating/cooling/massage functions to help boost the comfort of its occupants or even change their mood.

Depending on which Mercedes you have, there are up to six programmes: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Com-fort and Training. That’s Training as in a personal trainer of sorts: a voice sug-gesting muscle-stretching techniques to activate, relax or bring ‘balance’ to your body.
We tested it using an AMG E53 Coupe fitted with Freshness and Vitality programmes that tweaked the fragrance, audio and airflow, plus Training. (The car wasn’t fitted with massaging seats, without which you can’t get the Joy and Comfort programmes.)

The Defender Went Out of Production Still Wearing Parts Designed by Oil Lamp

I AM AMERICAN, so it’s easy for me to talk about Jeeps. You know the drill. The first Jeep, the ancestor of today’s Wrangler, helped win a war. An entire marque from the crucible of wartime engineering. Early Jeeps were once derided as little more than farm implements, but there are now family Jeeps, comfy Jeeps for old folks, cheap Jeeps for young people. There is the Wrangler, the base model of which makes 270bhp and can literally climb mountains, but there is also the 700bhp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with the kind of elephantine accelerative violence that makes you wonder if Detroit engineers snort ground-up hallucinogens for breakfast.

Because I am American, I once attempted to eat a hamburger while launching a Trackhawk at full blat. Flecks of bun flung into my nose.

If The Price of a W16 Bugatti Today is Sterile Battery Power Tomorrow, Can’t We Find a Middle Way?

NTERESTING FACT: when the Apple iPhone was launched in 2007, Twitter users were tweeting 5000 times a day. By 2010, that had grown exponentially to 50 million. Now it’s 500 million – nearly 6000 tweets per second.
On the other hand, the TV licensing authority recently revealed there were still 7161 black-and-white TV licences issued this year, more than 50
years after the BBC first introduced colour TV in the UK (for the vividly green 1967 Wimbledon tennis tournament, in fact). The TV agency is confident it’s not just people dodging the higher cost of colour; apparently there are still 7000 people who prefer to watch snooker in black and white.

When Fitted to Manual Cars, Electronic Parking Brakes are Hateful Devices

HE LATE RUSSELL Bulgin’s favourite pop group, the Pet Shops Boys, sang ‘It feels so good’, and everyone from Michael Jackson to Stevie Won-der, from Kanye West to Charles Aznavour, has sung about ‘feel’ too. (‘Can you feel it?’, ‘You can feel it all over’ etc.)

And that’s the trouble with so many modern cars. They have no feel. From steering to brakes, from gearshift to throttle response, from switchgear
to radio buttons, most moderns are about as feelsome and deliciously nuanced to operate as your iPhone’s on-off button.
Take the parking brake. Just 37 per cent of all cars are now fit-ted with manual handbrakes. The rest are electronic. Only Dacia and Suzuki have conventional handbrakes on every model.

Everyone Needs a Place Outside Their Normal, a Way to Unplug; The Garage As a Sanctuary

By Sam Smith, The Gear Head

WAR IS HELL, as the man said. More so if the main weapon is a garage full of rump-logs. I have been engaged of late in a furious and titanic battle with my dog. When no one is looking, she sneaks into the garage, hides behind a car, and poops.

I am afflicted with several vehicles. Most are slightly tatty, because owning and using good cars on a writer’s budget often involves tattiness.
The only nice machine in the stable is a 2001 Acura, an Integra Type R. Unmodified, original paint, tight and clean, no rust. Not coincidentally, the Acura is the only car I own that lives at home, under a roof, behind a locked door. One of the best front-drivers in history. I like it. Its presence is calming. This is almost certainly why the dog dumps at it.

The Full Story 70 Years of Land Rover from Export to Catwalk

It started as a go-anywhere workhorse. Seven decades later it’s a luxury brand selling £300k Range Rover ‘coupes’.

1948 Life’s a beach
The Land Rover debuts in Amsterdam in April, less than a year after Rover chief engineer Maurice Wilks sketches Jeep-based ideas on Anglesey beach, with brother Spencer, Rover’s chairman. A centre-steer prototype on a Jeep chassis with Rover mechanicals promptly follows. If these guys were still around new Defender would be finished by now.

1953 Making Britain Great again
The Solihull factory is booming, with hardy Land Rover already outselling luxury Rover saloons. Short-wheelbase (86 inches) joined by long-wheelbase (107 inches) in 1955.

McLaren 600LT Giant Test

Triple Distilled. Pure and Punchy Track-Ready Two-Seaters

Take three supercars, re, and sidmmer on Wales’ g driver-focused formhe most potent hit?roads. Which givePs tajo

OUR-WHEEL DRIVE and rear-wheel drive; midengined and rear-engined; naturally-aspirated and turbocharged; £141,000, £185,000 and £215,000. Rarely does a CAR Giant Test contain three cars so different in the way they go about their business. The common ground, the musketeers’ hand pileon, the weird bit at the middle of a Venn diagram, is the exact nature of that business. It’s not simply going fast. Any supercar can do that. These cars are only one tiny step removed from the racetrack, and as perfectly at home on it as they are parked at a Cars and Coffee meet serving as a handy armrest while you regale onlookers with tales of track heroics.

Inside Land Rover’s 70th Birthday


More religion than car brand, Land Rover inspires obsession in its disciples. Can a pilgrimage to its 70th birthday party, in a last-of-the-line Defender and a 1948 Series I, make us true believers?

I CAN’T QUITE work out why I’m so happy. Some elements of my present situation – the rugged, photogenic landscape of scrub, rock and crumbling ruins; the sun-soaked late-summer heat; the fact that there’s an engine and movement involved – are long-established good-time ingredients. But others aren’t accepted mood improvers. Stuff like the heavyweight vibration, the mild poisoning by engine fumes, the fact that my un-creamed skin is turning angry with exposure to sun and wind, the advanced dehydration and the fact that a 70-year-old slab of aluminium is hammering my backside like a sheet-alloy battering ram.

When you find yourself racing a McLaren 570 GT4, you need all the help you can get. We had Brune Senna

Bruno Helps Us from No-hopers to Podium

When you find yourself racing a McLaren 570 GT4, you need all the help you can get. We had Brune Senna

NUMBER FOUR: I was on old tyres. Number 74: I didn’t get a clear lap without traffic. Number 452(A): the sun was in my eyes… I’m scanning my increasingly well-thumbed mental copy of The Big Book of Racing Drivers’ Excuses, Volume 1 to try to justify my best lap in first practice being nearly six seconds off the pace. Okay, the other drivers have been in the car all season (excuse number 42), but… six seconds? Six seconds. In racing terms that’s a fortnight. I need help.

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