2017 Honda Civic Si prototype previews US performance model

Honda Civic Si prototype previews US performance model

Warm-spec prototype will influence a production model that’ll sit below the Type R next year

The Honda Civic Si prototype has been revealed in LA and previews a warm addition to Honda’s next-generation Civic line-up.

Next year’s Si will be a US-focused model that’ll sit directly below the Type R, offering comparably warm performance and a slightly lower purchase price.

Available in coupé and saloon bodystyles and using a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine with dual variable cam timing, the next Civic Si is claimed to be the fastest and most powerful new-generation model yet. Honda hasn’t revealed a power output for the prototype, but given that the 2.0-litre-engined Type R is expected to produce more than 300bhp, something in the region of 230bhp is expected for the production Si.

The prototype’s engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that sends drive to the front wheels via a limited-slip differential. The Si also gets a new active damper system and active steering.

Sat on 19in 10-spoke forged alloy wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1 Sport, the Si prototype has a factory performance aero kit made up of a rear spoiler and front and rear splitters. A centrally mounted exhaust completes the performance look.

Inside, a pair of sports seats in the front get black upholstery and red stitching, and there are aluminium pedals and a dry metal carbon covered instrument panel.

“With the new Honda Civic Si, we’re injecting even more sporty goodness into our 10th-generation Civic line-up,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda USA. “This will be, hands down, the fastest, best-handling Si we’ve ever offered to our customers.”

Like its predecessors, the Si won’t be coming to Britain. The UK’s only hot Civic will be the Type R, which was previewed with a prototype at the Paris motor show in September.

Watch a video of the 2017 Honda Civic Type R prototype below

Source: Car

Genesis G80 3.3T Sport revealed in Los Angeles

Genesis G80 3.3T Sport revealed in Los Angeles

New hot model added to US line-up of Hyundai’s luxury sub-brand; engine is a turbocharged 3.3-litre V6

This is the Genesis G80 Sport, a performance-focused variant of the G80 that’s been launched for the US market at the Los Angeles motor show.

The car is powered by a turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 that produces 365bhp and 376lb ft of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The G80 Sport’s chassis uses continuous damping control and unique 19in alloy wheels, and is said to have been set up for performance and handling as the sharpest G80 variant on sale.

Inside, there are leather sports seats and steering wheel, as well as carbonfibre trim and aluminium sports pedals. There’s also a 9.2in touchscreen infotainment system and a 17-speaker sound system.

Erwin Raphael, general manager of Genesis in the US, said: “The G80 3.3T Sport reflects our continual commitment to provide drivers with compelling vehicles that meet their individual needs.”

“Extending the G80 model line-up beyond the 3.8 and 5.0-litre engines, the 3.3T Sport expands G80’s range of pure performance capability and competitiveness within the mid-luxury sedan segment.”

The BMW 5 Series-rivalling G80 will arrive on US roads next year. The Genesis brand isn’t currently in Britain but it’s due to arrive here in 2018, meaning the G80 could be sold here in right-hand-drive form in the future.

However, parent company Hyundai said the first Genesis model to be offered here will be an SUV. That will then be followed by a smaller SUV, suggesting the focus in Europe will be for such models.

Source: Car

Why MG’s small SUV looks good, in a bad way

MG ZS Juke sized SUV

Same mum? Mazda’s CX-5 (top) bears a striking resemblance to the MG ZS (bottom)

MG is bringing a Nissan Juke-sized SUV to the UK next year. It looks good, but there’s a reason

The Nissan Juke-sized SUV is prime news fodder. They’re all at it – most manufacturers either have one already or will in less than 18 months.

Chinese-owned MG having a go too, with what will be – in the Chinese market at least – called the ZS. Official design renders were released by MG’s Chinese headquarters, and they show the car to be sleek and handsome from most angles, and recent official images and spy shots of the same car confirm this.

Unfortunately, though, there’s a lot of other cars in the design. Strong comparisons were drawn between the ZS and the Jaguar XE when MG’s parent company SAIC revealed its first design sketch of the car.

These latest official renders still show that, but also bear a striking resemblance to Mazda’s SUVs, the CX-3 and CX-5. It’s not enough to prompt Chinese copycat headlines, but in a market that’s home to some properly characterful cars – think Juke, CX-3, Renegade – the rather samey ZS is a little underwhelming.

It’s disheartening to say the least, with the Icon concept of 2012 drawing so heavily from MG’s heritage, incorporating MG B styling cues in a chunky SUV body style to create something which, like the Juke, would genuinely have stood out on the road for all the right reasons. As the Juke nears replacement, a production MG Icon would have filled its shoes perfectly ahead of the new car. Even the larger MG SUV, the GS, adopts some of MG’s familiar styling, more so than the ZS.

Calling an MG B-styled SUV the ‘Icon’ clearly shows MG’s recognition of its past, but it seems that despite the brand’s promises of an innate ‘MG-ness’ to its cars, it’d rather follow the crowd with these SUVs than tread the path of its innovative, interesting and iconic namesake.

Don’t think of this as a cheap shot against a small, bargain-priced car company, but frustration at such a golden opportunity missed. With any luck, the styling will change for the UK market – after all, it doesn’t even have a name here yet – but I won’t hold my breath. Let’s hope it’s hiding its true talents inside.

Source: Car

Reborn McLaren F1 confirmed for production as hyper-GT

McLaren F1 confirmed for production as 'hyper-GT'

McLaren F1 as imagined by Autocar

High-powered, hybrid three-seater will be launched in 2019 as a limited-run model

McLaren has confirmed it will launch a three-seater inspired by the original F1 that will bring hybrid power to the company’s line-up for the first time since the P1.

The new model is being billed as a ‘hyper-GT’ rather than a hypercar in the mould of the original F1 and its P1 successor. According to McLaren, this means it is “a car designed for long journeys but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren”.

Just 106 examples will be built, the same number as the original F1, and each has already been sold.

Codenamed BP23, the model is the work of the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division, headed by ex-Caterham and Zenos boss Ansar Ali. The ‘BP2’ in the codename signifies that this is the second bespoke product to come from MSO and the ‘3’ refers to its three seats.

McLaren has revealed a sole image of the model, an abstract bird’s-eye preview sketch. Look closely at it and it reveals the car’s most significant feature: a threeseat layout, with a central driving position and a seat on each side of it, just like the F1.

Owners have been told that the model will be produced as a coupé only, with no open-top or track-focused GTR variants planned. This is in keeping with McLaren’s brief to make a hyper-GT. The firm reckons a fixed roof is most befitting of the ultimate grand tourer.

McLaren has given little away about the as yet unnamed model’s powertrain, save for the fact that it is a hybrid. It has also revealed that the car will be one of the most powerful McLarens yet produced.

As with all McLarens, a version of the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine will be at its heart, but this time it will be hooked up to an electric motor and battery pack, as with the P1. The fact that its power output is described as ‘one of’ the largest yet seen suggests it will not top the 903bhp of the P1 but will exceed the 666bhp of the 675LT. Insiders previously mentioned a figure far greater than 700bhp. 

McLaren’s Track22 business plan, announced in March by company boss Mike Flewitt, confirmed more hybrid models as part of the 15 new cars — both regular production and limited run — it plans to launch by 2022, of which this F1 homage is one.

The car recognises and promotes the increasing influence of the MSO division, which offers McLaren owners anything from individual paint finishes and trims to fullblown one-off creations. It has created one bespoke product before: the one-off X-1 of 2012.

This new F1 homage will showcase MSO’s ability to develop its own models, with insiders promising a “streamlined” exterior “shrink-wrapped in a carbonfibre body of great elegance” and an exquisitely finished interior with bespoke switchgear. Each of the 106 owners will work with MSO to create bespoke colour, trim and personalisation combinations for their individual cars.

McLaren has given little away about the styling of the car, but it has revealed that its dihedral doors, a feature of all McLaren Automotive models to date, will be powered for the first time and extend into the roof, as on the F1. Sources have revealed that there will be other nods to the F1 in the styling, with a roof-mounted air scoop among the features.

Performance will be explosive, but McLaren will also focus on making the F1 homage its most refined car yet. A McLaren statement read: “The car will deliver the highest levels of refinement, enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard.”

McLaren has not yet confirmed pricing, but sources have indicated that the new car will cost around £2 million when it arrives in early 2019. 

Source: Car

BTCC star Andrew Jordan joins WSR from 2017

BTCC star Andrew Jordan joins WSR from 2017

The 2013 British touring car champion will drive West Surrey Racing’s BMW 125i M Sport

Andrew Jordan has signed a two-year contract to race for the West Surrey Racing British Touring Car Championship team from the start of next year.

The 2013 BTCC champion and reigning independent champion joins 2016’s top-ranking team to drive one its BMW 125i M Sport racers (pictured in 2016 spec below). He leaves the Motorbase team and its Ford Focus ST, where he ended this year’s season eighth in the standings.

Jordan, aged 27, brings with him experience from 16 race wins and 53 podium finishes. His 2013 title is joined by three independent titles (the class for drivers competing in non-manufacturer teams).

WSR has won five overall BTCC titles and nine independent championships, meaning this new driver/team pairing is one of the strongest on the 2017 grid.

Jordan said after the announcement: “I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen of the way WSR operate and am sure that we can be right at the sharp end throughout the 2017 season.

“I’ve never raced a rear-wheel-drive car in the BTCC, but the BMW has proven to be one of the best cars on the grid and I’m looking forward to learning plenty over the winter.”

WSR team principal Dick Bennetts added: “Andrew is one of the fastest and most successful drivers in the BTCC and, crucially, knows how to win a championship.

“Being able to announce this exciting news in November enables us to make the best possible use of the time available between now and the start of the 2017 season and kick off our winter testing programme with Andrew before the end of the month.”

The 2016 BTCC championship was won by Gordon Shedden of Halfords Yuasa Racing, who pipped Sam Tordoff of Team JCT600 with GardX to the top position by three points. The drivers will return to the race track for round one of 2017 at Brands Hatch on 1 April.

Watch highlights of this year’s closing round below

Source: Car

2017 Porsche 911 RSR – Le Mans racer all but revealed in preview

2017 Porsche 911 RSR – Le Mans racer could go turbocharged

Porsche releases a preview game for its 911 RSR which shows most of the car; intakes hint at a boosted engine

A preview image of the 2017 Porsche 911 RSR has been released ahead of the model’s LA motor show debut, and it suggests the future Le Mans and World Endurance Championship racer will have a turbocharged engine. A preview clip also shows much of the car’s appearance, albeit deliberately blurrily.

The main image, which comes in the form of a colourless sketch, appears to show an air intake that’s much bigger than those used on the current RSR. This change could simply have been made to improve cooling, or, if rumours are correct, it comes to feed a turbocharged flat-six engine.

The outgoing 911 RSR is powered by a naturally aspirated flat-six engine that sends 464bhp to its rear wheels, which could still be retained in an updated form. However, the power output of the car’s biggest rivals, such as the Ford GT LME, are often closer to 500bhp, so Porsche might move to forced induction to close the gap.

Porsche is also expected to have shifted the 911 RSR’s engine and gearbox forward to improve handling balance. However, the sketch does little to prove or disprove this theory due to the unchanged rear roofline and back bodywork. If the engine is shifted forward, it still might not be enough to class the car as mid-engined.

The new car’s aerodynamic set-up looks significantly more aggressive than the current RSR’s. The rear wing, mounted higher up the back, reaches back further due to bent arms to help increase the amount of downforce on offer. The use of a significantly larger rear diffuser should maximise this effect.

The 2017 911 RSR will make its world debut at the LA motor show this week. More information will be revealed when it does, so check back here for updates.

Source: Car

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf will be the most British EV on sale

Volkswagen e-Golf

The 2017 e-Golf will look largely unchanged from the outgoing model, pictured here

The e-Golf does zero emissions as discreetly as possible so as not to upset the Joneses

Wraps will be pulled off the updated Volkswagen e-Golf later this week in LA, with the promise of a greater range and better performance thanks to an uprated battery.

However, this improved performance won’t be matched by a new look, because the refreshed Golf EV will, as confirmed by a glimpse at the Paris motor show, look largely unchanged from the current car. This is good news for polite Brits. Let me explain why.

Buying an EV is increasingly becoming a decision based as much on design as on environmental, economic or social reasons. Models like the BMW i3, while undoubtedly cool looking, just don’t blend in. Even the Renault Zoe flaunts its tree-hugging personality with a cuddly design and the Nissan Leaf looks quite different from the rest of its maker’s range. Imagine pulling onto your driveway in one of those: the curtains of neighbouring houses would be twitching like mad.

The Volkswagen e-Golf, on the other hand, is both discreet and good-looking. It’s the electric car for the understated driver who wants to reduce emissions and save fuel costs without shouting about it too much. Its driver wants to help the world but doesn’t want to bother Mrs Jones while going about it.

When the Volkswagen ID arrives in 2020, it’ll bring with it a more striking, futuristic design. It’ll also pretty much make the e-Golf irrelevant with a significantly more advanced EV drivetrain, so the 2017 e-Golf could well be the last understated EV that Volkswagen ever makes.

Quiet and polite drivers of Britain, this could therefore be the last mainstream electric car that doesn’t shout about it. This means it might just be the last EV model that’s perfect for you.

2017 Volkswagen Golf revealed

Source: Car

MG small SUV revealed ahead of official unveiling

MG small SUV revealed ahead of official unveiling

MG’s upcoming small SUV has been revealed ahead of its Guangzhou motor show debut; it’ll share at least one engine with the larger GS and will also introduce new units to the range

MG’s upcoming small SUV has been revealed ahead of its planned public debut at the Guangzhou motor show on 18 November.

Set to slot into the MG line-up beneath the existing GS, the styling of the upcoming Nissan Juke rival differs quite dramatically from its larger sibling, receiving a much bolder looking front end featuring the Anglo-Chinese car maker’s new Jaguar-like grille, headlamps that extend into the grille frame and a heavily structured front bumper.

The new SUV has been styled by SAIC Design – a division of MG’s parent company, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, with input from its design studios in China and the UK.

The new design language aims to provide the new MG with a more upmarket appearance than the GS, with greater attention to detailing and surface forms than we’ve seen in recent MG models.

Set to go on sale in the UK in 2019, the new small MG SUV is being developed under the codename ZS. This is the name that the car will be given in China – with car news website auto.anhuinews claiming that the Z in the model’s name is for ‘Generation Z’ – the young market which MG is aiming for with the car. MG’s head of sales and marketing, Matthew Cheyne, said that this name would not be carried over to the UK, though.

Original plans for the second MG SUV model were made public with the unveiling of the retro-inspired MG Icon concept at the Shanghai motor show in 2012.

Shared engines with the GS

The SUV, which will be called ZS in China, was recently spotted testing again, but this time we know it’s running a 1.5-litre engine thanks to information available on an insurance database.

The use of a 1.5-litre engine backs earlier suggestions that the unit could be carried over from the MG GS SUV, in which it produces 164bhp and 184lb ft of torque. The GS’s six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will likely also be offered in the ZS production model – both produced in-house at SAIC.

MG’s ZS will also get a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which Cheyne confirmed would be one of the engines available in China, but couldn’t comment on whether it will be available in the UK so far ahead of the car’s UK launch. 

Cheyne also told Autocar that the ZS production model will add new engines to MG’s range as well, but couldn’t give any details. These will also be used in the next-generation MG 3, although that’s a long way off.

No final name has yet been chosen for the small SUV. The model’s internal name at MG is ZS – the same as MG’s sporty hatchback of 2001. However, despite reports to the contrary, this will not be the final car’s name, according to Cheyne. The car will, however, have a two-letter name to fit in with the GS

Price and arrival date

Prices and specifications aren’t yet finalised. Cheyne did however indicate that, like the GS, the new car would offer a large amount of equipment for considerably less money than rivals. This strategy puts the as yet unnamed car in direct competition with the Ssangyong Tivoli, which costs from £12,950 – nearly £4000 less than the Nissan Juke.

The small SUV will be revealed at next year’s London motor show, although it will still most likely not be the finished article, according to MG. Instead, it will be a near-production-ready prototype. Like the GS, though, the small SUV will be sold in China a few months before a UK-optimised version appears.

Larger SUV due later

MG’s SUV line-up will be completed by a larger SUV, similar in size to the Nissan X-Trail. No further details of this car have emerged, though, and Cheyne couldn’t comment further on its development.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) earlier this year showed that MG has grown by more than 40% in certain months compared with the same periods last year.

By expanding into other popular segments like the small SUV market, MG hopes to increase its currently diminutive market presence – it had just over 2200 registrations across this year up to the beginning of August.

Additional reporting by Greg Kable

Source: Car

BMW 8 Series convertible spotted in development

BMW 8 Series spotted in development

BMW’s new flagship convertible has been spied testing in Germany; it’s due to go on sale in 2018

The reborn BMW 8 Series convertible has been spotted testing, ahead of an expected launch in 2018.

BMW’s flagship model will be a two-door coupé version of the 7 Series saloon, in much the same way as the 4 Series and 3 Series are related. A convertible sibling, spied here, will join it.

The 8 Series coupé and convertible will indirectly replace the 6 Series coupé, which will finish production in 2018. The 6 Series convertible will then be replaced by the 8 Series convertible the following year.

The final 6 Series variant, the Gran Coupé, despite running out at the same time as the convertible, is unconfirmed for replacement, but could be replaced with another 6 Series Gran Coupé.

Meanwhile, the 5 Series GT will be replaced late next year by a 6 Series GT, with an inside source describing it as “sleeker and sportier” than the current model. 

It might not be the end of the road for the coupé and convertible 6 Series variants though; BMW is still undecided as to whether direct replacements for the two will be introduced. 

Sources close to the company say the 8 Series will rival the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé and Bentley Continental GT when it’s launched in 2018, with pricing to compete with these, too.

The long-rumoured 8 Series will feature the same top-end technologies found in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous features.

Camouflage cladding covers much of the car, although it’s clear to see the considerable overall length of the model from the shots, as well as some styling features, including a widened version of the company’s signature kidney grilles.

Upswept headlights also feature at the front, and trapezoidal exhaust tips sit below slimline rear lights, although these are heavily disguised and are liable to change ahead of the car’s full reveal.

Being so closely related to the 7 Series, it’s likely that the 8 Series will share engines with its saloon sibling. This means that an iPerformance-badged plug-in hybrid will feature in the range, as well as the entry-level 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel found in the 7 Series and a more performance-orientated 4.4-litre V8 from the 750i xDrive, accompanied by all-wheel drive. A V12-engined model will come later in the car’s life cycle.

The naming structure of the 8 Series is expected to mirror that of the 7 Series after the first digit, so the 830d is likely to kick off the range. 

Additional reporting by Greg Kable

Source: Car

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV to be revealed tomorrow

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV to be revealed tomorrow

In another manufacturer’s first attempt at producing an SUV, Alfa Romeo will reveal its Stelvio tomorrow at the Los Angeles motor show

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio will be revealed tomorrow at the Los Angeles motor show, in range-topping 2.9-litre V6-engined Quadrifoglio guise.

Following the Giulia saloon in Alfa Romeo’s renewed product offensive, the Stelvio will break cover first as a rival to the Audi SQ5, Porsche Macan Turbo and long-rumoured BMW X3 M, before more mass-market variants are shown later on. Alfa Romeo aims for the Stelvio to be one of the most driver-focused SUVs on the market, and is using the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace as dynamic benchmarks.

Read more LA motor show news here

Specs of the Stelvio are believed to mirror those of the Giulia, meaning that the entry-level car will just take the name Stelvio, before the next-up spec will be the Stelvio Super, before Technica, Speciale and Quadrifoglio.

Engines for the Stelvio are very likely to be 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel units, with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine shared with the Giulia Quadrifoglio topping the range.

Alfa Romeo is still undecided about whether to bring a four-wheel drive Giulia Veloce to the UK, but it’s likely that if it gets the green light, a Stelvio Veloce will, too. 

We’ve spied the Stelvio testing enough times to know that the car will have a sleek, coupé-like roofline and similar front-end styling to the Giulia.

The SUV’s name comes from the famed Stelvio Pass in Italy, a winding mountain road, which is presumably to highlight the car’s driver appeal. On Alfa Romeo’s reveal site for the SUV, the road is depicted behind a countdown. 

We expect the Stelvio range to cost from around £40,000, and for that to rise to around £65,000 for the hot Quadrifoglio model. It’s one of many proposed Alfa Romeos said to be on the way in the coming years, including a BMW 5 Series rival, Giulia estate, and X5 and X1-sized SUVs. The nine new models are planned to arrive before 2021.

The Stelvio should arrive in dealerships in summer 2017.

Source: Car