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Nissan's Mitsubishi Motors acquisition approved by European Commission

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Driverless Volkswagen coupe shown in new patent images

Autonomous Volkswagen coupe shown in new patent images

Futuristic VW model does away with a glass windscreen and features active aerodynamics

Design images of a sleek Volkswagen coupé have been published on the Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website, offering the first glimpse of a potential future autonomous model to come from the German marque.

The low-slung model looks like a two-door coupé with active aerodynamic features, including an extendable rear fin. The above view also shows that it features gull-wing hinges for its doors, and the design’s lengthy shape suggests it has been crafted with minimal air resistance in mind.

No technical details have been revealed along with the images, but the alack of glass windscreen hints that this could be an autonomous concept developed to demonstrate driverless technology.

VW revealed its first purpose-built all-electric model, the ID, at the Paris motor show last month. The model was claimed to closely preview a production EV model that’ll arrive in 2020.

It’s plausible that the patent images seen today are for a following model that’ll influence a later coupé production model in VW’s future electric line-up.

Read more:

Is the Volkswagen ID a game-changer?

Source: Car

Apple no longer building its own car

Apple iCar artist's impression

Apple’s tumultuous Project Titan no longer has the objective of making its own car

Apple is no longer making a car of its own, and will instead focus on providing autonomous technology.

Although nothing final has been announced, Bloomberg reports that the months of disarray in the project have culminated in Apple changing the goal of the project, while around 1000 members of the team have either resigned, been dismissed or reassigned.

The news echoes similar reports regarding Google’s efforts to produce an autonomous car of its own.

A final decision on the Apple car project’s outcome will be decided before the end of 2017. This gives Apple the scope to either design its own vehicle in the future, or start by working with other car makers, providing its technology to power a car under an existing marque. 

Apple and McLaren were previously reported to be in talks in which the tech giant was said to be looking into a takeover bid of the UK-based supercar maker. The talks have since closed, and both parties declined to comment on the matter.

There has always been a level of secrecy around the commonly called Apple iCar, as well as an ongoing trickle of headlines about Apple’s hiring process from Tesla, vice versa, and Faraday Future’s hiring from both. This report seemingly puts an end to the numerous rumours surrounding Apple’s first foray into motoring, though.  

Read more:

Why the Google car is in trouble

Tech giant Apple well advanced with autonomous car

Apple focusing on driverless technology development

Who should autonomous cars save in a crash?

Source: Car

New Land Rover Discovery will have class-leading UK residual value, says CAP

New Land Rover Discovery has class-leading UK residual values, says CAP

Market analyst CAP predicts class-leading residual value for the new Land Rover Discovery

The new Land Rover Discovery has been analysed by market analyss CAP, and it’s predicted to have class-leading residual values.

CAP, which predicts the residual value of cars, states that the Discovery, which was only revealed late last month, should retain 59% of its value over three years or 36,000 miles of ownership.

For comparison, over the same period and mileage, the BMW X5 retains 52% of its value, and the Volvo XC90 holds on to 56% of its value. According to CAP’s senior forecasting editor, Andrew Mee, the large premium SUV segment is one of the most lucrative for high-residual-value cars, along with the luxury car segment. 

It’s not known yet if the Discovery’s strong initial residual value reflects its high level of differentiation from previous models or its strong impact since launch. However, depending on its sales success, residual values could go down if the used market becomes crowded with Discovery models. Mee said: “As with every model range, RVs are most likely to be highest when the model is new and there are few examples on the used market. RVs will change over time as the model progresses through its lifecycle and as the economy affects the supply and demand of used vehicles.

“However, relative to some of its peers,  Discovery volumes are likely to remain low and demand is likely to remain high, so RVs are likely to remain strong compared to peers at a similar point in their life cycle.”

The Discovery’s off-road and towing capability, ability to seat 7 adults in comfort, and improved fuel consumption also stand the model in good stead to hold its value well, according to Mee.

CAP has formerly lauded the BMW X5 – one of the Discovery’s key rivals – for its running costs; in 2014 it was one of the best cars on the market for long-term ownership costs. However, the X5 has now slipped from first place to fifth, knocked back by the Ford Fiesta, Seat Alhambra, Ford Focus and Range Rover Evoque.

The arrival of the Evoque in the top four suggests a trend for modern Land Rover products to hold onto their value.

Jaguar Land Rover’s UK managing director, Jeremy Hicks, said: “The new Discovery is Land Rover’s most versatile and capable vehicle to date. It’s a do anything, anywhere vehicle that will appeal to new and existing customers.

“We have seen a fantastic response with more than 6000 people registering on our website in just two weeks to find out more as we launch in the UK.”

Source: Car

Nissan Qashqai tyre update reduces running costs

Nissan Qashqai updates reduce running costs

Nissan claims that the UK’s fifth best-selling car will be cheaper to run with updates to improve emissions and BIK tax bands

The Nissan Qashqai now comes equipped with a cost-saving new tyre for 18in-wheeled models.

Nissan claims the low-resistance tyre brings the running costs of those cars down to that of cars with smaller 17in wheels. Larger alloys traditionally cause the car to have higher CO2 emissions.

The Qashqai is the UK’s fifth best-selling car, read the rest here

The new tyres reduce the CO2 output of Qashqais in Acenta Premium Pack, N-Connecta and N-Vision specs by 4g/km, but reduces the emissions of the dCi 130 2WD Xtronic by 6g/km. All of the spec levels which have been subject to the tweak have also had their benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bands reduced by 1%.

In addition to this, the vehicle excise duty (VED) of DIG-T 115 2WD manual, DIG-T 115 2WD Xtronic and dCi 130 4WD manual have also been downgraded, meaning a £130 saving per year for each.

A Nissan spokesman was unavailable to comment whether the tyres are more expensive than those they replace, or if models with other sizes of alloy may benefit from a similar tyre down the line. 

Source: Car

BMW i8 roadster confirmed for 2018

BMW i8 roadster confirmed for 2018

The BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept previews how the roadster could look

New drop-top model will be part of a BMW i8 facelift that could up power output to 420bhp

The BMW i8 roadster is on course to arrive in 2018 as part of a mid-life facelift for the model range.

The drop-top hybrid’s development has long been rumoured, but company CEO Harald Krueger confirmed its launch year to Autocar at the Paris motor show.

BMW’s boss refrained from revealing any more details, but the convertible, which could adopt the BMW i8 Spyder name, is likely to be first be shown at the end of 2017 when the i8 facelift is revealed.

The roadster’s design will incorporate some features of the BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept (pictured) that was at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including a pair of rear buttresses.

Like the rest of the updated range, the i8 roadster will also adopt an upgraded petrol-electric powertrain with a more potent motor than the 129bhp unit used by the existing i8.

Combined with a lightly fettled 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, the front-mounted synchronous electric motor is claimed to provide the facelifted i8 with a boost of more than 10% in power over today’s model, lifting the 2018 i8’s output to around 420bhp.

The i8’s cabin will also be upgraded with new technology, which, like the car’s design, could take influence from CES 2016 concept and gain a more interactive infotainment system with gesture control technology.

The i8 roadster will sit above the i8 coupé in the model range. A small increase in price is expected for the entire range, meaning the roadster could cost start at more than £110,000.

Source: Car

Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain

The top 10 best-selling cars in Britain

The latest list of Britain’s best-selling cars hints at changing trends as well as showing the continuing popularity of some stalwarts, but what car is top?

Established brands and models dominate the top 10 list of best-selling cars in the UK and the hatchback rules supreme. However, the list of sales in 2016 so far shows that some newer additions to Britain’s roads are growing in popularity, perhaps foreshadowing a change in preferences among buyers.

The latest figures cover the year to the end of August and show that superminis are the order of the day. The Ford Fiesta continues to fly out of dealerships, with the Vauxhall Corsa is chasing hard but some way behind in overall sales. Ford also wins the battle of the compact hatchback, with the Focus attracting plenty of fans, but the Volkswagen Golf retains fourth place despite VW’s recent tribulations.

Nissan’s Qashqai shows the continuing popularity of small SUVs by holding on to the fifth place it achieved in 2015. Meanwhile, Vauxhall’s Mokka – 10th overall last year before climbing to ninth, has been knocked out by the Audi A3, with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class climbing into ninth place.

The Vauxhall Astra continues to sell well, albeit not in the numbers needed to trouble the Focus, and the Volkswagen Polo shows that there are plenty of buyers willing to pay extra for a more classy supermini.

The latest-generation Mini hatchback has climbed to eighth from its 2015 position of ninth.

1: Ford Fiesta – 96,139 registrations

The Fiesta has been a British favourite for decades and that shows no signs of changing, even though the latest incarnation is now eight years old. Its sales figures are well ahead of its closest rivals’, even though it’s not the cheapest choice in the segment. Its sales performance is well deserved, though. We describe the Ford supermini as “hugely impressive” in our four-star review, lavishing particular praise on its ride and handling, interior quality and smooth engine range.

2: Vauxhall Corsa – 64,925 registrations

The Corsa is another established doyen in the UK and Vauxhall’s perennial rival to the Fiesta. The latest generation arrived in 2014 and offers something for most people, from the 74bhp 1.4-litre petrol option to the 202bhp snorting VXR version. It’s competitively priced, drives and rides well and is designed and specced to please the car’s large fan base. It’s hard to see it dropping far down this list anytime soon.

3: Ford Focus – 57,137 registrations

The Focus has delivered an outstanding drive since it replaced the Escort with aplomb in 1998, offering impressive road manners at a volume price. It has been so good, in fact, that we were slightly disappointed by the diluted dynamics of the latest version. However, as our review notes, it’s still a very appealing, complete car. It looks good, has a strong, economical engine range and offers a lot of quality for its price.

4: Volkswagen Golf – 54,934 registrations

Just a short distance behind the Focus, the Golf is another classic name in motoring that attracts legions of diehard fans to keep it riding high in the charts, even with Volkswagen’s recent scandal. Emissions concerns aside, the seventh-generation Golf is a consummate all-rounder. In our 4.5-star review, we called it the best hatchback in the world, and we’ll stand by that assessment.

5: Nissan Qashqai – 50,923 registrations

Is it really a decade since Nissan’s now ubiquitous crossover first arrived? Its blend of hatchback size and SUV pretensions have proved a huge draw for customers and it’s now the best-selling small SUV in the country, leaving a trail of imitators in its wake. The second-generation model, released in 2014, keeps dynamic, economic and interior standards high, garnering a 4.5-star review from our road test team. No wonder it’s holding firm in the sales charts.

6: Vauxhall Astra – 44,771 registrations

The Astra is something of an also-ran to the Ford Focus, but the latest generation, launched in 2015, is a thoroughly decent car in its own right. Well equipped with sharp handling and economical engines, it earns a strong four-star review from us, although we had reservations about its ride and styling. Overall, though, it deserves to be considered as one of the best compact hatches you can buy.

7: Volkswagen Polo – 43,642 registrations

Volkswagen’s supermini offers a touch more class and sophistication than the Fiesta and Corsa, albeit at a higher price. It’s more mature and conservative in its demeanour, but many of the British car-buying public embrace such traits, which is why the Polo is a top 10 stalwart and scores four stars in our review. Now in its fifth generation, it could easily be mistaken for a smaller Golf, which is no bad thing.

8: Mini – 36,738 registrations

The release of the ‘new’ third-generation Mini in 2014 prompted the characterful hatchback’s climb into the UK’s top 10 best-seller list and we’re pleased to see it here because it’s a great little car. In our 4.5-star review of the Cooper model, we praise the new-found maturity and quality lacking in earlier cars. It also still hangs on to the sense of fun that attracted the attention of so many people in the first place.

9: Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 34,994 registrations

It’s unusual for a premium car to find itself in the top 10, but it’s testament to the C-Class’s appeal, particularly among fleet customers, that it’s shifting so many units for Mercedes. Looking like a miniature S-Class doesn’t hurt the latest version, which was launched in 2014. It’s an excellent offering that garnered a four-star review from our test team, who fell for its high-quality interior and alluring looks. Good residual values do it no harm, either.

10: Audi A3 – 33,240 registrations

It’s more unusual for two premium cars to crack the top ten, but the Audi A3 has done it, knocking the Vauxhall Mokka out of the running. The A3 accounts for every fifth Audi registered worldwide, and with a range of body styles to choose from including convertible, saloon, three-door and five-door hatches, as well as blistering S3 and RS3 models, it’s clear to see why it has a place among the UK’s best-sellers. 

Phill Tromans

Source: Car

BMW M5 leaks ahead of reveal

BMW M5 leaks out ahead of reveal

Image credit: CamVanDerHorst

A factory insider has leaked CGI renderings of the front and rear styling of the next BMW M5, ahead of the car’s expected unveiling early in 2017

The BMW M5 has been revealed in images leaked by a company employee.

Full front and rear styling renderings of the car show the performance saloon’s bumper treatment. The images were first revealed to a host of ‘The Cammed & Tubbed Podcast’.

The BMW 5 Series has been officially revealed – take a look here

The M5 is expected to be revealed in pre-production form at the Geneva motor show in March of 2017. BMW plans to launch the car far earlier in the next-generation 5 Series’s life cycle than it has with previous generations. The model will go on sale in the following months.

Just as the 5 Series underwent a subtle styling overhaul between this generation and the next, the new M5 appears to be fairly restrained when compared with the more extreme M4. However, more significant updates have taken place under the bonnet.

Leaked documents recently revealed that the M5’s closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG E 63, will produce 603bhp and 627lb ft. It’s expected that the M5 will closely match these figures, using an updated version of the current car’s 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

It’s also believed that the next generation M5 will be the first non-SUV M car available with all-wheel drive as an option. It is understood that BMW is concentrating on making the next M5 more driveable, with more mechanical grip and improved traction thanks to the xDrive four-wheel drive system and revised engine mapping. 

The optional xDrive would add to what is expected to be a £75,000 starting price for the new M5. That figure represents a slight increase over the current car.

Source: Car

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia on sale in Britain from £29,180

Alfa Romeo Giulia

UK order books for Alfa’s BMW 3 Series rival are now open; hot Quadrifoglio range-topper costs £59,000

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is now on sale in Britain, priced from £29,180.

The entry-level model costs £4020 more than the base version of its key rival, the BMW 3 Series, but the Alfa comes with a larger, more potent engine than the BMW and a generous list of standard features, ensuring it should be a strong contender against its established rivals.

British buyers can choose from five trim levels for Alfa’s new saloon: Giulia, Giulia Super, Giulia Tecnica, Giulia Speciale and the range-topping Giulia Quadrifoglio. More details for each can be found below. The range-topping Quadrifoglio version of the car, which features a Ferrari-derived 3.0-litre V6 with 503bhp, starts at £59,000.

Besides the Quadrifoglio model, three engines will be available in the Giulia. These include a 197bhp, 243lb ft, turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol, which is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Compare that with the entry-level BMW engine, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit, and even the base Alfa looks suitably well endowed.

Next are two 2.2-litre diesels, the most powerful of which produces 178bhp and 332lb ft of torque. It’s capable of emitting less than 100g/km of CO2 in Eco specification. The other diesel comes with 148bhp and 280lb ft.

Both engines can be had with either a six-speed manual transmission or the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Read our review of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 Multiair

Technical specs

All models will have rear-wheel drive as standard, but all-wheel drive will be available on some versions. Alfa Romeo says the car has a perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution and it features multi-link suspension at the rear and double wishbones at the front.

The Giulia has an unladen weight of 1374kg in 178bhp 2.2-litre diesel form.

Alfa Romeo says electronic aids on the Giulia are used only to make the driving experience more exciting. For example, the new integrated braking system mixes the traditional stability control set-up with a servo brake, reducing weight and vibrations through the pedal.

Other safety and assistance systems include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, optional adaptive cruise control and blindspot monitoring.

Drivers can choose from three driving modes via Alfa’s DNA drive selector. In addition, range-topping Quadrifoglio models get a Race option.

Read our review of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 Multijet 180 Super

The five-seat cabin features an 8.8in infotainment system, controlled via a rotary pad on the centre console. The system features compatibility for Apple and Android devices, Bluetooth and satellite navigation. Depending on the specification, the Giulia has either a 3.5in or 7.0in colour display as part of the instrument cluster.

Five-trim levels

In entry-level Giulia form, the car sits on 16in alloy wheels and has LED rear lights, a fabric interior, 3.5in TFT driver’s information screen, 6.5in infotainment screen and a leather steering wheel. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control and lane departure warning are three of several key features offered as standard.

Pay £30,880 for a Super model and Alfa will add 17in alloys, twin exhaust pipes and part-leather seats, as well as an 8.8in infotainment screen and two-tone interior trim. Add £115 to that price and the Tecnica falls into reach, bringing a rear reversing camera, privacy glass, chrome window surrounds and a cooled glovebox.

The highest-spec non-performance Giulia, the Speciale, costs from £34,150 and has bi-xenon headlights, heated front seats, a leather-clad steering wheel, 18in alloys and sports bumpers front and rear.

The Quadrifoglio range-topper gets an even more aggressive look and optional Personalisation Pack, which brings features such as wheel-mounted paddle shifters, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors and electric front seats. There’s also an autonomous emergency braking system and blindspot monitoring to head a long list of driver assist features.

Alfa Romeo says the new Giulia “embodies the core elements which have made Alfa Romeo one of the world’s best-loved automotive brands: distinctive Italian design; innovative powertrains, perfect weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best weight-to-power ratio.”

Alfa’s newly announced pricing ranks the Giulia above some of its key rivals, including the £25,160 BMW 3 Series, the £26,350 Audi A4, the £27,665 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the £26,990 Jaguar XE. But the Alfa has arguably one of the strongest engine line-ups in its class and a lengthy list of standard equipment to help it fight its cause.

Source: Car