Land Rover SVO reveals €400,000 bulletproof Range Rover Sentinel

Land Rover SVO reveals €400,000 bulletproof Range Rover Sentinel

Land Rover SVO reveals €400,000 bulletproof Range Rover Sentinel

Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has revealed a bulletproof version of its Range Rover, designed to withstand the most damaging of threats.

The Range Rover Sentinel has has been engineered to provide ‘class-leading’ levels of protection to occupants under extreme attack, says Land Rover, and can withstand penetration by 7.62mm high velocity, armour piercing incendiary bullets.

It can even cope with TNT blasts and grenade explosions from both beneath the floor and above the roof.

Set to debut at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) show at London’s Excel on 15-18 September, the Range Rover Sentinel is aimed primarily at export markets and will be built to special order with a guide price of around €400,000 plus taxes.

Designed to look like a regular Range Rover, the Sentinel boasts the usual luxury buyers would expect. Power, meanwhile, comes from a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine, usually found in the Jaguar F-Type.

Land Rover’s keeping quiet about how much the Sentinel weighs, but we doubt it’ll be particularly swift.

As standard, the Sentinel is equipped with an anti-tamper exhaust, an auxiliary back-up battery and even a self-sealing fuel tank.

The windows feature anti-smash privacy glass while the special 20-inch alloys are chod with run-flat tyres.

Optional extras include fire suppression systems, sirens and emergency service lights. Buyers can even spec an external loudspeaker system.

A driver-training system is included as standard – as is scheduled visits each year by a specialised technician as part of Land Rover’s global aftersales support.

Orders will open later this month, with each Range Rover Sentinel made to order with a guide price of around €400,000.

Land Rover SVO reveals €400,000 bulletproof Range Rover Sentinel

Bilbao to Birmingham in a BMW

Bilbao to Birmingham in a BMW

Bilbao to Birmingham in a BMW

Bilbao is lovely. You’d go on a driving holiday there: be smart and you can get the Bilbao ferry from Portsmouth, saving you the trek across Europe.

Birmingham is the reality for most of us. We work in places like that to earn the money to go to places like Bilbao.

Enter the latest MR driving challenge: from Bilbao to Birmingham in a BMW 3 Series. If it’s the ultimate driving machine, it should do this at a canter – and be as nice at the start in Bilbao as it is at the end in Birmingham.

It should also be as pleasant in both environments, from holiday heaven to real world dredge. People buy premium cars like this to make themselves feel special even when sitting in traffic on the way to pick up new toner cartridges. A bit of the getting away from it all verve should still be there when you’re far from it.

There’s another stern challenge waiting for the BMW when we get it back, too. For 40 years, BMW’s claimed to be the best at doing the whole premium compact car stuff. 14 million sales and counting suggest it’s onto something.

But Jaguar wants a slice of the action with the new XE. And our initial drives suggest it may have got closer to the BMW than any rival to date.

The crunch test, therefore, is how both perform in the UK. We’ve got the everyday-spec 163hp diesel Jaguar waiting in Blightly; we’re bringing back the 163hp BMW from Bilbao to meet it, fresh from the launch of the recently-facelifted 3 Series BMW has rolled out to coincide with the launch of the XE.

BMW is taking the challenge from the XE seriously. And Jaguar hasn’t been messing about, either. Next week, we’ll find out which is the victor.

In the meantime, we’ll find out just how well the BMW fares in the Bilbao to Birmingham cross-countries challenge…

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week’s debut

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce has released these teaser images of its new model ahead of an online debut on 8 September – a week before its unveiling in the metal at the Frankfurt motor show.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn will be a drop-top version of the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Its name is a blast from the past for Rolls-Royce – having previously been used on models such as the Silver Dawn.

Sharing its underpinnings with the Rolls-Royce Wraith, the Dawn is expected to feature the same backwards-opening doors.

It will also share the same 6.6-litre V12 engine producing 632hp, but the Dawn is likely to be more of a boulevard cruiser than the driver-focussed Wraith.

Set to go on sale early in 2016, the Rolls-Royce Dawn will start at around £250,000.

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

Rolls-Royce has released these teaser images of its new model ahead of an online debut on 8 September – a week before its unveiling in the metal at the Frankfurt motor show.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn will be a drop-top version of the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Its name is a blast from the past for Rolls-Royce – having previously been used on models such as the Silver Dawn.

Sharing its underpinnings with the Rolls-Royce Wraith, the Dawn is expected to feature the same backwards-opening doors.

It will also share the same 6.6-litre V12 engine producing 632hp, but the Dawn is likely to be more of a boulevard cruiser than the driver-focussed Wraith.

Set to go on sale early in 2016, the Rolls-Royce Dawn will start at around £250,000.

Rolls-Royce Dawn teased ahead of next week's debut

JAGUAR F-PACE SHANGHAI

New Jaguar F-Pace first official look ahead of Frankfurt debut

JAGUAR F-PACE SHANGHAIJaguar has revealed the first image of its new F-Pace SUV ahead of the crossover’s world debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Described as a ‘performance crossover’ by the brand, the image confirms the new F-Pace seems barely altered from the popular C-X17 concept car revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt IAA.

Jaguar’s fourth all-new car in 2015, the five-seat F-Pace is, like the XE and XF, based on its new lightweight aluminium architecture.

The firm is being careful not to refer to it as an SUV though. Perhaps mindful of sister brand Land Rover, the term performance crossover is used instead, as JLR chief marketing officer Gerd Mauser showed:

“Today is a proud moment for Jaguar as we launch with our first performance crossover.”

The new F-Pace will go on sale in 2016, says Jaguar: at the Frankfurt show, it will reveal full information including tech specs and prices.

Keen to see more of the Jaguar F-Pace? You have 10 days to wait: the key date is 14 September, when Jaguar will reveal a “dramatic presentation” of the F-Pace from 1915h BST.

Needless to say, following #FPACE on social media channels will feed you everything: so too will Motoring Research because we’ll be reporting live from the event – come back then for first official images and details of the new Jaguar F-Pace.

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

For the first month after I bought it, almost everyone, including those who should know better, have asked me a) why I bought a Saab 96, and b) had I always wanted one?

No, I’d not always wanted one, but my friend John Simister has one and I’ve grown to admire it. Then that TV programme For the Love of Cars restored a Saab 96, and I went down to Coys for a look, pre-auction. And hence I got dragged along a well-trodden path that some will surely recognise.

The Coys car was in great condition, and had had stupid amounts of TV money spent on it. But it also sold for silly money. I missed the initial auction in January, when it went for an unprecedented £8,000. Then the buyer put it back into auction in April where it raised £15k, for charity. Add in Coys buyers fees and that’s almost £18,000. Crazy money.

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

Meanwhile Mr Simister had got the bit between his teeth and found a Saab 96 on a German website. This one had much to recommend it. It was a very early model, with the original “bull nose” rather than the less pleasing extended bonnet of later cars. And it had an original three-cylinder two-stroke engine, not the Ford V4 of the auction car.

I got in touch with Philip in Sweden who owned it, and his cousin Daniel in Germany who was looking after the car. They send over 80 pictures, half a dozen videos and I was smitten. Enough to book two one-way tickets to Stuttgart with my pal Ralph Morgan.

Mid-June we arrived in Stuttgart, got picked up, ate cake, gave the Saab a once over and a quick drive, then headed off on the 1000km trip back home. It was a great excuse for a road trip in a little car with no safety belts and a top speed of 100kph. Maybe faster, but we were cautious. The Saab has a semi-sporting exhaust, which is very fruity but important on a two-stroke where getting the gases out of the engine as easily as possible releases a few extra horsepower.

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

The Saab bats along surprisingly well, even though it has only three gears on the steering column-mounted change. At 30mph you can’t help reaching for 4th gear, but after a bit you simply get used to the engine smoothing out as the revs rise.

Then there’s the freewheel. As soon as you lift your foot off the throttle the engine drops back to idle and the Saab 96 simply coasts along until you re-engage drive by accelerating (being careful to avoid a transmission jolt).

The two-stroke side of things means there’s no sump for oil, but instead you simply pour a litre of two-stroke oil into the petrol tank before adding 30 litres of unleaded. It’s a piece of cake.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Saab, and have proved it can knock off hundreds of miles in one go with out any problems. Well only one. On a long downhill stretch, freewheeling, the engine has a tendency to get bored with idling and just stops altogether. We think it may be too much fuel pressure, so it’s getting a fuel regulator as the next step. And a touch of welding on a front upright. It is 55 years old, after all.

1960 Saab 96: new arrival

McLaren F1 designer to open this weekend's Shere Hill Climb

145 vintage cars racing up Shere hill climb this weekend

McLaren F1 designer to open this weekend's Shere Hill Climb

Miss the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed? Then rock on down to the Shere hill climb this Sunday, 6 September, to grab a piece of classic and supercar action.

More than 145 vintage, specialist and sports cars will be demonstrated, each running up the hill 3 times. There’s a busy spectator paddock and a showground with displays, fairground rides and stalls. Fun for the whole family and a great social day out.

McLaren F1 designer to open this weekend's Shere Hill Climb

Last year around 4,000 spectators attended the event and enjoyed the entertainment. This year you’ll see action ranging from a brand new Aston Martin N430 roadster, through Porsche 911 Turbo and Shelby Cobra to a 1907 Berliet Curtiss.

The bulk of the, entries, however, are classic British sports cars, including that of Motoring Research’s Peter Burgess, driving his 1970 red Lotus Elan; come and say hello in the paddock.

The event runs all day on Sunday, though the earlier you get there, the easier parking will be. Tickets are £10 for adults, while under 10s go free. The event takes place near Guildford, in the Surry hills, just off the A246, postcode GU4 7RL. More on Shere hill climb’s website.

Renault Alaskan concept previews new pick-up truck

Renault Alaskan concept previews new pick-up truck

Renault Alaskan concept previews new pick-up truck

Renault has revealed a new concept vehicle previewing a pick-up truck set to be unveiled early next year.

The Renault Alaskan concept features a one-tonne payload and aggressive looks – enhanced by chunky 21-inch wheels and a purposeful stance.

Renault’s senior vice-president, corporate design, Laurens van den Acker, said: “The styling of the Alaskan Concept sticks to the rules of the pick-up segment, including impressive dimensions and a visual sense of power and robustness. At the same time, we have dialed in specific Renault cues in the form of an attractive, status-enhancing front-end design.”

The Alaskan is powered by Renault’s twin-turbocharged, four-cylinder diesel engine used in the Master van range.

The manufacturer says the Alaskan draws on its experience with crossovers such as the Captur to combine practicality for business users with demands from private buyers.

It hopes to cement Renault’s success in the commercial vehicle market across Europe – with a platform that will be shared with Nissan and Mercedes-Benz.

Nissan’s version of the pick-up truck, the NV300 Navara, is set to debut at the Frankfurt motor show later this month.

Nissan to invest £100m in Sunderland plant ahead of new Juke launch

Nissan to invest £100m in Sunderland plant ahead of new Juke launch

Nissan to invest £100m in Sunderland plant ahead of new Juke launch

Nissan has announced it will build its next-generation Juke crossover in the UK – pledging £100m in investment for its Sunderland plant.

The move will lead to thousands of jobs being created at its UK factory – as well as a knock-on effect within its supply chain.

Chancellor George Osborne welcomed the announcement: “It’s fantastic news that Nissan will be building their new car here in Sunderland and securing valuable jobs for thousands of working people in the area.

“Our ambitious plan to build the Northern Powerhouse means building on the area’s strengths – including manufacturing – and this announcement is an important sign of Britain being chosen as a global leader in car production.”

The plant currently makes around 500,000 cars a year – with 80% of these being exported around the world.

The Nissan Juke kickstarted the booming small crossover market, and received a mid-life facelift last year.

We expect the new model will look similar to the current Juke – but it’ll be based on a new Renault-Nissan CMF-B platform.

This is also set to underpin the new Nissan Micra and Renault Clio, and will improve production efficiency and increase numbers.

Nissan Europe chairman, Paul Willcox, said: “With the next generation Juke now confirmed for future production, customers can be assured that Nissan is going to remain the benchmark in the crossover segment for many years to come.

“This announcement also gives security to our Sunderland plant beyond 2020, which the team has earned through many years of hard work and their ability to continually raise the bar on quality.”

According to industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, UK car production has never been so successful.

Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Future Top Gear host Chris Evans regretted taking his McLaren 650S to Carfest this weekend – as a hapless driver reversed a trailer into it.

According to The Sun, Evans was about to pull away in the supercar on Monday morning when a car towing a trailer reversed back into it.

Witnesses said the television and radio presenter seemed unperturbed by the collision, leaving his passenger to exchange details as he drove off.

Evans is a well-known petrolhead, but is planning to auction off a number of his cars at Goodwood Revival later this month.

It’s not the first time he’s been involved in a prang – in 2005 he crashed a Ferrari 550 Maranello near his home in Surrey, and in 2001 Radio 2 presenter Vanessa Feltz reversed her Mini into his Ferrari 599 GTO.