Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport

Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport revealed – but there’s a catch

Porsche Cayman GT4 ClubsportPorsche has revealed a 385hp race-ready Cayman GT4 Clubsport at the LA Auto Show 2015 – and for those keen to race it in the 2016 season, the firm will start taking orders for it immediately.

There’s just one problem for those thinking it could take the Cayman GT4 it’s based upon to even greater highs: it’s only for the racetrack and is not road-homologated…

Which is a bit of a pity as it sounds amazing. It has a race-spec PDK transmission with steering wheel shifters (the road car is famously manual only), a mechanical LSD and a lightweight front axle taken straight from the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport

The rear suspension also uses 911 GT3 Cup bits, there are 380mm steel discs all round and six-pot aluminium fixed front calipers. Want adjustable ABS? You’re in luck: the Cayman GT4 Clubsport offers you a choice of 12 settings.

The stability control system has also been tuned for slick tyres: they’re 18-inch rims all round and use Michelin tyres.

Overall, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport weighs 1,300kg – and that’s complete with a welded-in roll cage, racing bucket seat and six-point harness. Oh, and a 90-litre fuel tank: Porsche will also fit either a 70-lite or 100-litre FT3 safety tank, if you wish.

Price of the stunning-sounding Cayman GT4 Clubsport? €111,000 plus taxes: reckon on around £95,000 in the UK. Which, yes, is a lot for a Cayman. And may be why Porsche isn’t making a road-going version after all.

That won’t stop us lobbying for one, though.

Where can you race the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport?

Porsche is planning to homologate it for race series including:

  • VLN Long Distance Championship Nürburgring
  • SRO GT4 series
  • Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA
  • Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada
  • Club races run by Porsche Club of America
  • Other global club-level meetings
Van driver stories

Video: how white van man is becoming a new man

Van driver storiesRather than just selling vans, Mercedes-Benz dealer chain S&B Commercials is producing a series of videos about its customers called Van Man Stories to counter the widely held poor opinion of van drivers.

A survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK conducted for the project revealed that 43% of people agreed with the statement “van drivers are reckless drivers who don’t car about their van or licence”. Ouch.

Among Londoners, 25% of people think van drivers are the least considerate road users, and this is the opinion of 33% of men and 23% of women outside the capital.

The aim of Van Man Stories is to show more about the work and passion of the people behind the wheel to challenge negative stereotypes through real life stories.

“Our customers range from ice cream van drivers to independent taxi drivers. We hope that by the public into their lives, our customers can help improve perception of van drivers,” commented Jonathan Lingham, group marketing manager with S&B Commercials.

The importance of the project is highlighted by the increase in the number of vans on UK roads due to the rise in Internet shopping.

There are currently 3.2 million vans in the UK: that’s one for every 20 people in the country.

See what you think of the videos here:

Van Man Stories: Jon Bonar, driver of Piccadilly Whip ice cream van

Van Man Stories: Vaselin Zafirov, who uses his van for building work

Kia announces £1.3 billion investment in driverless car technology

Kia announces £1.3 billion investment in driverless car technology

Kia announces £1.3 billion investment in driverless car technology

Kia has revealed ambitious plans to develop entirely driverless cars by 2030.

The Korean car company has said it will invest £1.3 billion into the development of the technology by 2018. The first goal will be to introduce partially-autonomous driving technologies, such as a remote parking system that will make a car park itself at the press of a button on the keyfob. Cars with this technology could be on the road by 2020.

Hyundai Group’s vice president, central advanced research and engineering institute, Tae-Won Lim, said: “Fully-autonomous vehicles are still some way off, and a great deal of research and rigorous product testing will need to be carried out to make the ‘self-driving car’ a reality. Kia is still in the early stages of developing its own technologies, and we are confident that the latest innovations – both partially and fully autonomous – will ultimately make driving safer for everyone.”

Smart Kia cars of the future will have a range of technologies focusing on three areas so they can function without a driver.

They will have new sensors so they can detect other vehicles, read the road ahead and identify poor driving conditions. Advanced computing systems will enable the cars to make decisions based on the information gathered by the sensors. And the computers will use their active mechanical and electronic systems to drive the car.

In order to reach this stage Kia will first work on three semi-autonomous systems. Highway Driving Assist will comprise a lane guidance system and smart cruise control. Traffic Jam Assist will take over around town and prevent the vehicle getting too close to the car in front. And, our favourite, the Remote Advanced Parking Assist System, will enable a driver to park their car simply by pressing a button on the keyfob.

11 modern classics at the NEC Classic Motor Show

11 modern classics at the NEC Classic Motor Show

11 modern classics at the NEC Classic Motor Show

Around 70,000 classic car enthusiasts flocked to Birmingham’s NEC this weekend for the annual Classic Motor Show. Five halls were packed with clubs, trade stands and autojumble – making it one of the biggest events on the classic car calendar.

You may expect a show such as this to be packed with MGBs and judgmental enthusiasts, but we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of modern classics on display (and in some cases, for sale).

Some were controversial, prompting lots of ‘that’s not a classic’ muttering, but they all proved to be talking points. We picked 11 of our favourites.

1: Toyota MR2

It’s not in dispute whether the original first-generation Toyota MR2 is a classic car. Launched in 1984, not many are left, mainly thanks to its lively mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive handling and a tendency to rust if not well cared-for. But the Mk2 Toyota MR2 is currently going through a transition period from affordable sports car to classic in its own right. Prices are very much on the up, as ropey examples are starting to disappear and people are more keen to pay for a good one. We spotted this example on a trade stand with a sign in the window asking a fairly optimistic £7,950. It’s the desirable T-bar model, with removable glass roof sections. There’s no denying it’s in excellent condition, showing 70,000 miles on the clock, but is it nearly £8,000-worth?

2: Renault 5

It’d be a challenge to argue that the original Renault 5, launched in 1972, isn’t a classic car. But the second-generation model, produced from 1984 to 1996, is still seen by some as being nothing more than a cheap shopping trolley.

We found two on display at the NEC Classic Motor Show this weekend: both up for sale. One, a very low-mileage example with little more than 200 miles on the clock. We first saw this auctioned last year when it made £3,400, but now it’s being advertised with a chunky mark-up at £6,995.

A wiser buy, perhaps, would be this 1994 example, also up for sale at the NEC Classic Motor Show. Not quite as box-fresh, perhaps, with 50,000 miles on the clock, but it’s clearly a well-cared-for example.

3: Volkswagen Scirocco

The original Volkswagen Scirocco, launched in 1973, was a sporty front-wheel-drive coupe launched to rival the Ford Capri. Early examples are now very rare, but the second-generation model, pictured here and in production until 1992, is still fairly easy to find in the classifieds. Volkswagen ‘scene tax’ means they’re not particularly cheap, but are they a classic? We love this 1987 car on display in the NEC, finished in wonderfully 80s white.

4: Vauxhall Nova

Originally launched as a supermini to rival the Austin Metro and Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Nova went on to become a favourite of UK boy racers in the 1990s. Many were modified, often badly, and they often led a hard life.

As Nova owners of the past – chavs and nans alike – have moved onto newer models such as the Corsa, the Nova is definitely going through a transition period into a proper classic car.

Although we were sad to see a shortage of standard cooking-spec Novas at the show (just us?), this delightful Nova Sport caught our eye. Built as a homologation special to allow Vauxhall to go rallying (and driven by Colin McRae to win the Scottish Rally Championship in 1988), only 502 Nova Sports are believed to have been made.

5: Rover 216 Cabriolet

The second-generation Rover 200, codenamed the ‘R8’, was originally intended to replace the Maestro in Rover’s line-up when it was launched as a hatchback model in 1989. It was designed in collaboration with Honda, sharing many features with the Concerto, and was the first model launched under the newly-privatised Rover Group. In 1992, Rover made the brave move of launching a cabriolet version. It wasn’t particularly well-received – with reviewers at the time complaining of its mediocre performance. It just didn’t drive as well as some buyers would expect – chopping its roof off meant it didn’t handle as well as the coupe or hatchback, while performance from the K-series petrol engine was lacking. It wasn’t a huge sales success, but it sold in large enough numbers for you to be able to find one today – and prices are still at rock bottom. We found this superb example at the Classic Motor Show – with just 32,000 miles on the clock and a life spent in a garage, it’s no wonder it looks almost mint.

6: Audi S2

Audi’s ‘S’ badge was made famous in the 1980s, thanks to the success of the firm’s Quattro S1 rally car – in the hands of drivers including Walter Rohl. But Audi didn’t attribute the desirable S badge to a road car until 1990, when the S2 Coupe was launched.

Like all of Audi’s S-cars, the S2 featured the desirable Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It was powered by turbocharged 2.2-litre petrol engine, initially producing 220hp. This was tweaked in 1993, boosting power to 230hp.

Despite being such a significant car for Audi, the S2 is yet to attract as much demand as the more powerful BMW M3. It’s a shame it’s often overlooked, we reckon, as this blue example on display at the NEC looks simply stunning.

7: Ford Escort XR3i

The fifth-generation Ford Escort, launched in 1990, is much less desirable than earlier models. Not only was it not as handsome as any of its predecessors, it also wasn’t as well made or as entertaining to drive. The same is true of the sporty XR3i model. Although the earlier XR3i was a genuine hot hatch, the sporty version of the Mk5 engine was lukewarm at best. Even in fairly potent 130hp guise, its Zetec engine took 8.5 seconds to accelerate the flabby Escort to 62mph. And the cabriolet version was best described as ‘floppy’. Like all Escorts (particularly of that age), the XR3i liked to rust. But without the fanbase to keep them on the road, they’re getting rarer. If you can find one, its dowdy image means the fifth-generation Escort XR3i is largely defeating Ford tax, and you can own a controversial fast(ish) Ford for just a couple of grand. You have to admit, there’s something rather charming about this white 1993 example on the XR Owners Club stand at the NEC. 

8: Volvo 850R

The owner of this Volvo 850R says that, as a teenager, he was a huge fan of the British Touring Car Championship. His parents owned Volvos and and he longed for a sporty 850R – and who could blame him?

With a five-cylinder 2.3-litre engine producing 253hp, the 850R family estate car from 1996 could hit 60mph in 7.8 seconds. Some would be questioning the classic status of an old Volvo estate, but as an iconic car of the 1990s, we think it’s definitely deserving of a place at the NEC Classic Motor Show.

9: Renault 19 16v

The sporty Renault 19 16v never really achieved full ‘hot hatch’ status, despite being highly praised by motoring journalists when it was launched in 1990. Its 1.8-litre engine produced a respectable 135hp, meaning it could accelerate to 62mph in 7.9 seconds. That’s commendable – and it also looked relatively discreet at a time of outrageous bodykits. They’re now getting very rare, but still very affordable if you can find one. Amazingly, you can pick up a project for less than a grand – although we doubt this extremely tidy example on the Renault Owners’ Club stand could be bought for so little.

10: E36 BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is pretty much a guaranteed classic car – the latest model to gain classic status is the E30, built between 1982 and 1993. But is its successor, the E36 as pictured here, a classic?

Values have been at rock-bottom for a number of years. You can pick up a ropey one for around £500, but many have been abused or driven hard. Six-cylinder models are more desirable, but this example we found for sale at the NEC is in remarkable condition.

It’s a fairly basic BMW 318i SE with an automatic transmission, owned by a family on the Isle of Man since new. It’s covered an exceptionally low 11,000 miles and has been ‘fastidiously’ maintained, says the dealer. Would its incredible condition tempt you to pay the £6,500 asking price?

11: Range Rover P38

The original Range Rover Classic is currently rocketing in value – with tidy examples making upwards of £50,000. It was on sale largely unchanged for 25 years, meaning Land Rover was faced with quite a challenge when it came to replacing it in 1994.

When its successor, codenamed P38, was launched under Rover Group ownership, Range Rover fans were almost unanimously disappointed. It lost its distinctive looks, with many liking it to a minicab, and in the following years it gained a reputation for unreliability.

They’re not the most desirable Range Rovers, then. This example, a 2.5-litre diesel finished in white with a cloth interior and a manual gearbox would have cost £32,850 in 1995. Surprisingly, it appears to have found a loving owner as it’s in exceptional condition – but will the P38 follow the original Range Rover in becoming a classic car?

Which of these modern classics would you like to have taken home from the NEC Classic Motor Show? Let us know in the comments below, and check out our show gallery on MSN Cars here.

Volkswagen logo

Volkswagen reveals list of 430,000 new cars with 'implausible' CO2 figures

Volkswagen logoVolkswagen Group has worked out which new 2016 model year cars may have false CO2 emissions and MPG fuel economy figures – and has now published a list (see below) detailing them all.

Models affected include the latest Audi A1, SEAT Ibiza, SEAT Leon, Skoda Fabia,  Skoda Octavia, Skoda Superb, VW Polo, VW Golf, VW Tiguan, VW Passat and numerous others.

While it’s mainly TDI engines that are under scrutiny – the 1.4 TDI, 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI – petrol engines are also on the list.

It’s turbo TSI petrol engines that have questionable CO2 and mpg figures: units include the 1.0 TSI, 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI.

The 430,000 2016 model year cars affected will now be reassessed by the German Federal Vehicle and Transport Authority (KBA): new CO2 and fuel economy figures will be determined and published “without delay” by Volkswagen.

What about older VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda models?

“To what extent models of previous years are affected continues to be looked into,” says Volkswagen.

“Based on what is known at present, the Volkswagen Group continues to anticipate that this will be… around 800,000 vehicles.”

Volkswagen has already committed to swallowing any additional costs that may arise through any increases in CO2 figures – in the UK, for example, VED road tax could go up if revised CO2 figures were higher than previously stated.

The promise is that “all taxes arising in direct relation to the CO2 issue are charged straight to the Volkswagen Group and not to the customers”.

List of critical CO2 vehicles model year 2016

Volkswagen logo

Volkswagen reveals list of 430,000 new cars with ‘implausible’ CO2 figures

Volkswagen logoVolkswagen Group has worked out which new 2016 model year cars may have false CO2 emissions and MPG fuel economy figures – and has now published a list (see below) detailing them all.

Models affected include the latest Audi A1, SEAT Ibiza, SEAT Leon, Skoda Fabia,  Skoda Octavia, Skoda Superb, VW Polo, VW Golf, VW Tiguan, VW Passat and numerous others.

While it’s mainly TDI engines that are under scrutiny – the 1.4 TDI, 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI – petrol engines are also on the list.

It’s turbo TSI petrol engines that have questionable CO2 and mpg figures: units include the 1.0 TSI, 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI.

The 430,000 2016 model year cars affected will now be reassessed by the German Federal Vehicle and Transport Authority (KBA): new CO2 and fuel economy figures will be determined and published “without delay” by Volkswagen.

What about older VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda models?

“To what extent models of previous years are affected continues to be looked into,” says Volkswagen.

“Based on what is known at present, the Volkswagen Group continues to anticipate that this will be… around 800,000 vehicles.”

Volkswagen has already committed to swallowing any additional costs that may arise through any increases in CO2 figures – in the UK, for example, VED road tax could go up if revised CO2 figures were higher than previously stated.

The promise is that “all taxes arising in direct relation to the CO2 issue are charged straight to the Volkswagen Group and not to the customers”.

List of critical CO2 vehicles model year 2016

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the 'British Motor Museum'

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the 'British Motor Museum'

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the 'British Motor Museum'

The Heritage Motor Centre is to be renamed the ‘British Motor Museum’ following a multi-million pound refurbishment taking place this winter.

The museum will close to the public from 30 November while the existing museum is revamped – and a new £4 million collections centre will open when the work is complete on 13 February 2016.

The rebrand was announced today, on the opening day of the NEC Classic Motor Show.

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, which owns the museum, is a registered charity, set up in 1983 to collect and conserve vehicles and artefacts relating to the UK motor industry.

In December 2014, the trust gained ‘designated’ status from Arts Council England, confirming that its collections are of national significance. It says that the renaming of the museum will more accurately reflect its significance.

British Motor Industry Heritage Trust managing director, Julie Tew, said: “We are delighted to announce these exciting new changes which will significantly enhance our status and appeal.  The museum refurbishment and the new collections centre will enrich our visitors’ experience and showcase our collections to their full potential.”

The changes to the existing museum will include new themed zones – such as those for movie cars, prototypes and sports cars.

Jaguar Land Rover, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation have supported the new £4 million Collections Centre, which will store around 250 vehicles from the reserve collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust.

Previously, the Heritage Motor Museum has not had enough room to display all the classic vehicles it had access to.

Tew added: “Not only will our prized collection of 300 historic British cars be far more accessible, but our Museum will give people the chance to learn more about the past, present and future of the British motor industry, its technology and its people.”

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the 'British Motor Museum'

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the ‘British Motor Museum’

Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre to rebrand as the 'British Motor Museum'

The Heritage Motor Centre is to be renamed the ‘British Motor Museum’ following a multi-million pound refurbishment taking place this winter.

The museum will close to the public from 30 November while the existing museum is revamped – and a new £4 million collections centre will open when the work is complete on 13 February 2016.

The rebrand was announced today, on the opening day of the NEC Classic Motor Show.

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, which owns the museum, is a registered charity, set up in 1983 to collect and conserve vehicles and artefacts relating to the UK motor industry.

In December 2014, the trust gained ‘designated’ status from Arts Council England, confirming that its collections are of national significance. It says that the renaming of the museum will more accurately reflect its significance.

British Motor Industry Heritage Trust managing director, Julie Tew, said: “We are delighted to announce these exciting new changes which will significantly enhance our status and appeal.  The museum refurbishment and the new collections centre will enrich our visitors’ experience and showcase our collections to their full potential.”

The changes to the existing museum will include new themed zones – such as those for movie cars, prototypes and sports cars.

Jaguar Land Rover, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation have supported the new £4 million Collections Centre, which will store around 250 vehicles from the reserve collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust.

Previously, the Heritage Motor Museum has not had enough room to display all the classic vehicles it had access to.

Tew added: “Not only will our prized collection of 300 historic British cars be far more accessible, but our Museum will give people the chance to learn more about the past, present and future of the British motor industry, its technology and its people.”

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Mercedes-Benz makes the best model cars

Readers of German model car magazine Modell Fahrzeug have voted Mercedes-Benz as the ‘top benchmark brand’ for miniature replicas of its cars.

Readers were also able to vote for a total of 162 model cars in 22 categories. Four miniatures based on Mercedes-Benz vehicles came first in their field. These include a 1/43 scale Mercedes-AMG GT and a remote control Unimog.

Fans can currently buy a total of 350 Mercedes-Benz model cars in various scales.

Which Mercedes-Benz would you like to see a model of?

Learner drivers: pass first time and get your money back

Learner drivers: pass first time and get your money back

Learner drivers: pass first time and get your money back

New proposals to give refunds to learner drivers who pass their driving test first time are being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The move is hoped to encourage younger drivers not to take their driving test before they’re ready – which would, the DfT suggests, reduce crashes involving new drivers.

  • 80 years of the driving test: everything you need to know

Currently the driving test fee is £62 or £75, depending on when you take it. But just one in five learners pass their driving test first time.

Under the new proposals, all learner drivers would have to pay the fee, but it would be refunded to those who passed on their first attempt.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We want to make learning to drive safer and more affordable. This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their test.

“These common-sense proposals mean that all learner drivers can feel the benefit. This consultation is a really important step and we want to hear all views.”

Figures released earlier this year revealed that pass rates vary on the test centre – with one Scottish village boasting a pass rate of 93.8% in 2014. Less than a third of candidates pass their first time at the Belvedere test centre in south east London.

Statistics show that one in four 18-24 year olds (23%) crash within two years of passing their driving test. Drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious crashes.