Toyota and Suzuki may partner up to develop green and safety tech

Toyota and Suzuki partner up to develop green tech

Toyota and Suzuki have announced that they are exploring entering a partnership to develop green, IT and safety technology

Suzuki and Toyota have announced the precursor to a partnership that will allow the two Japanese car makers to co-develop new environmental, safety and IT technology.

A joint statement said: “With its primary focus on small vehicles, Suzuki has been consistently refining its technologies so as to develop vehicles with high price competitiveness. However, in the face of the advanced and future technology R&D field, Suzuki is increasingly feeling a sense of uncertainty.”

It went on to say that although Toyota has been conducting R&D in environmental, safety and IT technology, it believes that competitors in European and North American markets may be ahead of it when standardising and partnering with other companies for technological development.

We’ve spied the next Suzuki Swift – read more here

Suzuki’s infamous partnership with Volkswagen ended in a bitter legal battle resulting in the two companies parting ways far earlier than the deal set out, and Suzuki buying a 20% stake back from Volkswagen.

Toyota, meanwhile, has been working on its next Supra in a joint venture with BMW that will also produce the Z5. Both of the new sports cars will be hybrids and will share many components. Development has now separated as the cars near completion, however.

Read more about the BMW Z5 here

Speaking about the deal, Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, said: “As the environment which surrounds the automobile industry has been changing drastically, we need to have the ability to respond to changes in order to survive.

“In addition to the R&D which each company is working on individually, it is very important now to have partners who share the same goal and passion.”

“We would like to always keep our doors open for new partnership opportunities, which will contribute to the making of ever-better cars as well as to the development of the automotive industry.”

Read our first impression of the upcoming Toyota C-HR here

Suzuki boss Osamu Suzuki said: “Toyota is industry-leading, and the most reliable company which is actively working on various advanced and future technologies.”

“I am appreciative that Suzuki is able to start discussions with Toyota to explore ideas on a partnership. I first spoke about this possibility with Toyota’s Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, and am very grateful that President Akio Toyoda has also shown an interest.”

Neither company’s UK spokesmen were able to give any more details on the tie-up yet, but are awaiting further information from their respective headquarters in Japan. 

Source: Car

2017 Lamborghini Huracan Superleggera to gain new fuel injection tech

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Superleggera due in March

Lightweight Lamborghini Huracán is seen again at the Nürburgring, but now it has new bodywork; its V10 will produce more than 601bhp

The 2017 Lamborghini Huracán Superleggera will come with carbonfibre bodywork and new fuel injection technology when it arrives early next year.

The track-focused model, which will debut at the Geneva motor show in March, has been spotted with Becker Carbon stickers, supporting information that it will have ultra-light body panels and trade metal for carbonfibre in parts of its structure.

Becker Carbon has experience of supplying Formula 1 and Le Mans teams with parts, so its contribution should help the Superleggera significantly undercut the standard Huracán’s 1422kg kerbweight.

The bodywork will focus on producing more downforce. Previous test cars for Lambo’s lightweight model were spotted with the exterior of a regular Huracán – as shown in older pics in our gallery – but the latest development cars flaunt large, fixed rear wings, different intakes and a new, less-restrictive twin-exit exhaust system in a raised position, like the Huracán GT3 racer.

The car’s mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10 engine is expected to have new fuel injection technology that mixes multi-point injection with stratified injection, as first used on the limited-run Huracán Avio, to produce modest gains over the standard car, which offers 601bhp and 413lb ft.

This will help the four-wheel-drive Huracán Superleggera trim the regular car’s 3.2sec 0-62mph sprint time and possibly extend its 202mph top speed as well.

Rivals such as Audi’s R8 V10 Plus are offering increasingly advanced competition for the Huracán – the R8’s 5.2-litre V10 engine produces the same power output as the standard Huracán, but the Audi has a higher top speed of 205mph.

McLaren’s 675LT, meanwhile, produces 666bhp from its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, while the Ferrari 488 GTB gets 662bhp from its twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8.

Source: Car

2017 BMW 5 Series revealed in leaked photos

2017 BMW 5 Series revealed in leaked photos

Chinese media reveals first images of new BMW 5 Series; next-gen executive saloon will gain a new plug-in hybrid model

The 2017 BMW 5 Series has been pictured for the first time in images leaked in the Chinese media.

The pictures show the front, rear and interior of the car, highlighting the design changes for the all-new model.

Insiders have long insisted that the new 5 Series would be an evolutionary design given the ongoing global sales success of the previous generation model, but the pictures clearly reveal the car’s new look, most notably on the front end and interior. It appears BMW’s designers have also opted to give the car a subtley different look from the BMW 3 Series and BMW 7 Series in order to give it its own identity and ensure instant recognition of each individual model.

It is believed the pictures are official, as details match those shown in a video preview  made by BMW, which was posted on Facebook yesterday showing the upcoming model’s body shape and interior.

Images from the video are shown the gallery above, and reveal the car’s exterior styling and some interior features. A centrally-mounted touchscreen is the main new feature to be shown, and it reveals that the next-gen car will have a ‘pinch to zoom’ satallite navigation, just like the new 7 Series.

In the new videos the 5 Series’s LED lighting has been blurred out. However, an earlier video, shown below, BMW did offer a glimpse of the car’s tail-light design.

The lights have a similar design to those of the latest 3 Series, although they’re housed within a body that looks slightly more muscular than that of its smaller sibling.

Earlier spy shots of the 2017 5 Series have shown what the model will look like in saloon and estate guises. The exterior of both bodystyles, while undoubtedly evolutionary, give the 5 Series a more aggressive demeanour.

We know from our recent drive in a 2017 5 Series prototype in 530d xDrive form (pictured below) that the model is slightly larger than the outgoing car. The increases in length, width and height are small and aimed at increasing rear seat accommodation.

The new car will share its body structure with the 7 Series. The structure is known internally as CLAR – ‘cluster architecture’ – and uses more aluminium for its floorpan and bulkheads than the skeleton of the outgoing F10 5 Series. There’s also more use of aluminium for castings, helping to trim weight by as much as 100kg, despite the growth in size.

Powering the new model will be a familiar choice of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, with a new plug-in petrol-electric powertrain joining the ranks.

Lower-powered cars will use BMW’s latest B47 diesel and B48 petrol four-cylinder units – all in 2.0-litre form, like today’s F10 model.

BMW’s new B57 diesel and B58 petrol six-cylinder engines will offer more power. These units use a standardised 500cc individual cylinder capacity for an overall volume of 3.0 litres. One of the diesels will gain an additional electrically-driven turbo to improve low-down grunt, upping peak output towards 390bhp.

The most potent non-M model will have a newly upgraded 444bhp 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, first seen in the 750i.

The new 5 Series will also inherit hybrid technology from the 330e, 740e and X5 xDrive40e. The hybrid system is made up of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor mounted in the gearbox and a lithium ion battery located in the boot floor. The system can run in full-electric model for more than 20 miles.

The M5 model will use an updated version of the current car’s 4.4-litre V8 with a likely power output of more than 560bhp.

The new 5 Series will go on sale next year. Its rivals will continue to be the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.

BMW 5 Series – 2017 model versus current model comparison:

Source: Car

Best diesel cars for £500 – used buying guide

Best diesel cars for £500

The rise of dieselgate could only result in one good thing – some great used bargains

Diesel is deader than disco. It’s official.

A year after Oilburnermageddon, as I’ve been rather elegantly calling the whole Volkswagen emissions debacle thing, it continues to have a domino effect on the car industry. All of a sudden, oil-burning engines don’t look too clever. That has resulted in Renault hinting that the cost of meeting the stringent emissions targets due in 2020 is likely to lead to the disappearance of diesel from the range. Considering that heavy oil represents a solid 60% of its sales, these are going to be interesting times – in the used car market.

Read more: VW emissions scandal – one year on

The new car showroom might change in the next few years with all sorts of different propulsion systems under the bonnet, but down at the used motor forecourt, diesel will be with us for decades to come. This may be subject to all sorts of government incentives and penalties to switch and scrap, but diesels are not going away, so while they are worth repairing, which ones should you buy?

As a rule, I would stick to cheap, disposable ones until the whole situation becomes clear. At least that position will also make me feel better about the 530d I’ve got. So it is all about condition and history. I am wary of high-mile diesels, but if the history shows that all the injectors have been replaced in the past few years, there isn’t much to go wrong. Apart from everything, of course.

So with £500 in your pocket, you might think that the options are limited to dodgy rubbish. Well, how about a 2004 Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Ghia that’s HPI clear? Inevitably, it had a tow bar and 218,000 miles, but this was a dealer car with a year’s MOT. It would be lovely to think that you could squeeze a year out of that with not too much bother.

A few classified ads away, though, was a Peugeot 307 with a list of MOT advisories as long as your arm, so that was worth avoiding. As was a low-mile 2007 Mondeo Titanium with injector issues as spares or repair for the same money.

As I get older, I find myself looking at Rovers, and I thought a 2003 25 2.0 TD would be a laugh for £500. It had just 50k miles on the clock, too, so it shouldn’t be worn out or anything.

If diesel Brits are your thing, I saw a 2005 Jaguar S-Type 2.7D Sport with fancy alloy wheels and lots of blacked-out chrome at just under £2000. It looked like a laugh, was a bit blingy and had done 164k miles.

Diesel, then, is still with us and there is a tonne of cheap stuff around. The opportunities are at the lower end and it’s the safest place to buy. Just don’t freak out, people.

Source: Car

Smart Fortwo long-term test review: fending off attack

Smart Fortwo long-term test review: fending off attack

It may be small, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe from attack

How on earth do you hit a Smart? Apparently, quite easily.

Yes, ours is now sporting a long, rather ugly scrape on the nearside of the rear bumper, complete with the light-coloured paint of its attacker. Luckily, there’s only the tiniest of marks on the exposed silver Tridion safety cell next to it, so hopefully that can remedied with a rubdown and some touch-up paint.

With the Smart being a city car, I suppose it’s inevitable it’ll get dinged, especially in public car parks such as where this offence took place. I guess the car’s minuscule size actually counts against it, because some drivers simply don’t see it in time.

Still, the sheer selfishness of the driver in question has made me investigate to see if CCTV footage of the incident is available, if only to make said driver stop to think of the consequences of his/her actions. Looking at the damage, I believe the driver must have known there was contact with my car.

That drama aside, I’ve been enjoying life with the Smart. The best way to drive it in town is to stick it in Sport mode, then push the gearlever to the right when in Drive to engage the auto ’box’s manual shifting. It’s respectably nippy and the auto’s responses are much snappier.

The Fortwo is also surprisingly practical by city car standards. The 260-litre boot is supplemented by a 100-litre compartment that’s hidden in the lower part of the split tailgate and is useful for smaller items I don’t want rolling around the boot. No load lip and a flat floor are convenient, too.

Some people aren’t fans of a split tailgate, but I like the one on the Fortwo. Even when there’s a car parked very close behind, I can still easily access the boot. And the lower section can take up to a claimed 100kg when it’s folded down, so it’s really handy for perching awkward items on, such as heavy shopping or my saxophone case, when loading and unloading. 

SMART FORTWO PRIME COUPE

Price £12,415 Price as tested £14,750 Economy 37.5mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 14.9.16

Read our first report here

Source: Car

2017 BMW 5 Series interior tech previewed in new videos

2017 BMW 5 Series previewed in new videos

Latest videos show body shape and interior; next-gen executive saloon will gain a new plug-in hybrid model

The 2017 BMW 5 Series has been previewed in new official videos posted on Facebook, showing the upcoming model’s body shape and interior.

Images from the video are shown the gallery above, and reveal the car’s exterior styling and some interior features. A centrally-mounted touchscreen is the main new feature to be shown, and it reveals that the next-gen car will have a ‘pinch to zoom’ satallite navigation, just like the new 7 Series.

In the new videos the 5 Series’s LED lighting has been blurred out. However, an earlier video, shown below, BMW did offer a glimpse of the car’s tail-light design.

The lights have a similar design to those of the latest 3 Series, although they’re housed within a body that looks slightly more muscular than that of its smaller sibling.

Earlier spy shots of the 2017 5 Series have shown what the model will look like in saloon and estate guises. The exterior of both bodystyles, while undoubtedly evolutionary, give the 5 Series a more aggressive demeanour.

We know from our recent drive in a 2017 5 Series prototype in 530d xDrive form (pictured below) that the model is slightly larger than the outgoing car. The increases in length, width and height are small and aimed at increasing rear seat accommodation.

The new car will share its body structure with the 7 Series. The structure is known internally as CLAR – ‘cluster architecture’ – and uses more aluminium for its floorpan and bulkheads than the skeleton of the outgoing F10 5 Series. There’s also more use of aluminium for castings, helping to trim weight by as much as 100kg, despite the growth in size.

Powering the new model will be a familiar choice of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, with a new plug-in petrol-electric powertrain joining the ranks.

Lower-powered cars will use BMW’s latest B47 diesel and B48 petrol four-cylinder units – all in 2.0-litre form, like today’s F10 model.

BMW’s new B57 diesel and B58 petrol six-cylinder engines will offer more power. These units use a standardised 500cc individual cylinder capacity for an overall volume of 3.0 litres. One of the diesels will gain an additional electrically-driven turbo to improve low-down grunt, upping peak output towards 390bhp.

The most potent non-M model will have a newly upgraded 444bhp 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, first seen in the 750i.

The new 5 Series will also inherit hybrid technology from the 330e, 740e and X5 xDrive40e. The hybrid system is made up of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor mounted in the gearbox and a lithium ion battery located in the boot floor. The system can run in full-electric model for more than 20 miles.

The M5 model will use an updated version of the current car’s 4.4-litre V8 with a likely power output of more than 560bhp.

The new 5 Series will go on sale next year. Its rivals will continue to be the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.

Source: Car

Zotye SR9 is a Porsche Macan clone

Zotye SR9 is a Porsche Macan clone

Revealed in Beijing, the Zotye SR9 takes advantage of relaxed Chinese laws to copy the look of Porsche’s Macan

Chinese car maker Zotye Auto has unveiled the production version of its controversial SR9, revealing a five-door SUV that closely resembles the Porsche Macan.

Set to go on sale in China on Wednesday at a price around £12,300, the Zotye SR9 will initially be sold with just one engine – a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit sourced from Mitsubishi developing 187bhp and 184lb ft of torque.  It drives through a standard five speed manual or optional six-speed dual clutch gearbox.

A smaller turbocharger 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 148bhp and 104lb ft is planned to be added to the SR9 line-up in 2017.

Despite threatening legal action when the new Zotye was shown as a concept back in 2014, Porsche is yet to officially sue for copyright infringement, according to officials at its German headquarters in Stuttgart.

Autocar’s exclusive comparison pictures reveal the extent of Zotye’s plagiarism. As well as copying the overall proportions and silhouette of the Porsche Macan, the SR9 also features similar shut lines and exterior detailing.

The interior of the SR9 also bears close similarities to that of the Macan.

At 4744mm in length, 1929mm in width and 1647mm in height, the Zotye SR9 is 63mm longer 6mm wider and 23mm higher than the Porsche Macan. It also rides on a 43mm longer wheel base than the car from which it is clearly inspired at 2850mm.

Zotye is well known for its plagiarism of successful car designs. The Yongkang-based car maker current sells the SR7, which is heavily reminiscent of the Audi Q3 and the T600, which is styled to resemble the Audi Q5. Other copycat models within its range include the Damai X5, a close take on the Volkswagen Tiguan, and the recently unveiled Damai X7, a clone of the Volkswagen Crossblue Coupe concept.

Zotye Auto was founded in 2005.  Its first model was the RX6400, a compact SUV bearing a close resemblance to the Daihatsu Terios R.

More copycat models:

History of the Chinese copycat car: picture gallery

2015 Landwind X7 – Chinese Range Rover Evoque clone revealed

JLR continues legal battle against Landwind

Source: Car

UK driverless pod trial is first in public space

Driverless car trial takes place in the UK

A UK firm has started a trial of 40 driverless pods in pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes

A trial of 40 self-driving pods has begun on an area of pedestrianised pavement in Milton Keynes.

Members of the public are also being involved in the trial, which is being run by the LUTZ Pathfinder project. Despite the pods being labelled as ‘driverless’, each is occupied by a trained custodian, and unlike a recently proposed trial in the US featuring autonomous vehicles with no control inputs, the pods undergoing testing in the UK have steering wheels and pedals.

Read more: is the Google car doomed?

The project has previously used test drivers, but the latest trial will involve transporting members of the public around the 0.6-mile area, with 

The pods use a software package called Selenium, which has been developed by an Oxford University-affiliated robotics company, to navigate their way around, and they have a top speed of 15mph, although will likely travel much slower than this most of the time.

Programme director Neil Fulton said: “When this project was setup two years ago we had three main objectives, the first of which was ‘How can we help develop technology with Oxford uni to run in this type of vehicle in this environment?’, the second was ‘How do we feel as occupants and pedestrians? We’re interpreting the public’s reaction to the vehicles. The third was ‘How well suited is Milton Keynes to vehicles like this? Will changes to infrastructure be required for pavement vehicles?’. 

“We’ve been taking the vehicle around for months in manual mode, gaining map data, allowing the public to see it in operation, and we’re getting there with the level of trust and reliability that we need. It’s the first time that a vehicle has been driven driverless in public in the UK.”

An autonomous track day is coming to the UK – read more

“The UK has a challenge to develop autonomous technology as it doesn’t have a home OEM base like France, America or Germany. A lot of research is done with JLR and Nissan, but the UK government is trying to open doors for research and development and attract autonomous developers here.”

Source: Car

Ford Mustang performance kits released for V8 and Ecoboost models

Ford Mustang performance kit released for V8 and EcoBoost models

Ford has revealed four performance kits for the Mustang, one of which can add 25bhp to the Ecoboost-engined version

The Ford Mustang now has a range of performance enhancing kits, available for the 2.3-litre Ecoboost and 5.0-litre V8 variants in the US.

Ford’s performance pack for the Ecoboost Mustang brings its total power up to 335bhp from 310bhp, but the biggest gain is the 70lb ft leap in torque – with the pack fitted, the Mustang will have 390lb ft on tap. 

Gains at specific points within the Ecoboost engine’s powerband are more substantial, with an extra 100bhp now available at 6,000rpm. On average, there’s 40bhp more with the pack fitted, and 60lb ft-plus extra between 2,500 and 5,000rpm.

Meanwhile, the 5.0 V8 Mustang GT gets three different performance kits. The mildest of these adds 13bhp and 16lb ft, and the mid-range pack provides 21bhp and 24lb ft. The most potent kit provides a power hike of 37bhp and 5lb ft, and extends the engine’s redline to 7,500rpm.

The most basic kit for the V8 engine costs from $599, which is about £487. The most comprehensive of the V8’s power kits consists of upgraded air filters, cold air intake, throttle body and an intake adapter from the Shelby Mustang GT350, and costs $2,395 – about £1946.

“Ford Performance Parts is a key part of our product strategy,” said Doug White, Ford Performance parts manager. “Mustang is all about performance, and we know our customers look to us for performance options that are both 50-state-compliant and warranty-friendly.”

There’s no word as to whether the kit will be made available to British Mustang owners. An insider said that even if Ford does decide to launch it here, it likely won’t reach the UK market for many more months.

Interestingly, as Ford Performance product development boss Raj Nair predicted back in April, sales of the 2.3-litre engined Mustang are catching up with the V8. In Britain, the Ecoboost model now accounts for around 40% of sales. Nair said he expected global sales to be split 50/50.

Demand slumps for Mustang

The Detroit News has reported that demand for the Mustang has fallen, calling for the Flat Rock Assembly Plant to halt production for a week. 

Mustang sales have been promising in Europe; the car has been successful in the sports car market despite instability in its segment, although the report also claims that Ford has an 89-day supply of Mustangs, where usually it would aim for closer to a 60-day supply, further suggesting that demand isn’t matching supply. 

Ford recently reduced its investment in its Bridgend plant – read more here

It’s not yet known how the factory’s stoppage will affect the UK’s supply of Mustangs. Autocar has reached to Ford spokesmen for further comment on the matter.

Source: Car

Ferrari F12 given carbonfibre makeover by Spanish tuner

Bengala F12 Caballería is a pure carbon Ferrari F12

Just 10 examples of this Ferrari F12-based model will be produced; it’s the first car to come from Spanish firm Bengala’s Privilege Program

The Bengala F12 Caballería is a Ferrari F12-based supercar that features an all carbonfibre body inspired by Ferrari’s GT racers.

The new model, of which just 10 examples will be built, is the first to come from Spanish design house Bengala’s Privilege Program and demonstrates the level of customisation the firm can offer.

Every panel of the F12 has been redesigned, and Bengala cites Ferrari’s GT3 models, such as the Ferrari 488 GT3, as inspiration for the new shape.

Underneath the new lightweight exterior is the same engine and running gear as a regular F12, meaning the F12 Caballería is powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V12 that produces 731bhp and 509lb ft.

Bengala doesn’t reveal how much weight, if any, has been saved with the new carbonfibre body panels. In standard trim an F12 can hit 62mph in 3.0sec before going on to pass 100mph in 6.5sec – any improvements on this would push the F12 into the realms of a hypercar.

Bengala is also declining to reveal the price of its ultra-exclusive model, but expect a substantial increase on the regular F12’s £241,073 starting price.

Speaking about his company’s first Privilege Program model, Bengala CEO and founder Shoghi Saeidnia said: “We bring to our customers an interpretation of their desires, based on their dreams. Put it simply, we mastered and created a unique piece of design and engineering, the Bengala F12 Caballería.”

All 10 examples of the F12 Caballería will be produced by summer 2017. Bengala says following Privilege Program models will arrive annually, with five to 10 units of each being produced

Source: Car