BMW M3 30 Years American Edition

BMW M3 30 Years American Edition revealed – but there’s a catch

BMW M3 30 Years American Edition

Not everyone will like this BMW 30 Years American special edition. One MR staffer described it as ‘marmite’, and he really doesn’t like marmite. Some do, however, but that’s irrelevant – as it’s a one-off special edition model that will probably never ever make it across to the UK.

Revealed to celebrate 30 years of selling the BMW M3 stateside (a year after the 30 Jahre was launched (celebrating 30 years of M3 worldwide), the American Edition has been styled by BMW’s Designworks division and built by its Individual department.

It features distinctive Frozen Red II paint – a nod to the iconic Henna Red of the original M3 from the 1980s, says BMW – with black accents. One-off M Performance gold alloy wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear) are reminiscent of the M3 E30 DTM racing wheels, while a carbon fibre rear spoiler completes the ‘race car’ look.

Things are just as in-your-face inside, too. BMW says “the interior could not be less special,” and we’d find it hard to disagree with that. It screams “USA, USA, USA” with its red, white and blue leather seats. While the interior isn’t quite to our tastes, it’s good to see a manual gear stick in front of the Alcantara-covered cubby box.

Mechanically, it’s the same as any other BMW M3 with the Competition Package. That means its 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six produces 444hp, taking it to 62mph in 4.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. Not bad for a four-door saloon car.

If you want to buy the 30 Years American Edition – well, frankly, you’d be very lucky, as it’s a one-off. But BMW has said that, after its debut at the SEMA performance car show in Las Vegas, it will be up for sale. As for the price? No doubt significantly more than the £61,580 an M3 Competition Pack will set you back in the UK…

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>NEXT: BMW reveals 2018 M5 MotoGP Safety Car


MG ZS set to double firm’s UK sales


MG’s new Juke-rivalling crossover, the MG ZS, will double the firm’s annual sales, says its sales and marketing chief Matthew Cheyne.

Speaking at the media launch for the new compact SUV, Cheyne explained that the new ZS would mark a ‘new era’ for the brand.

“ZS will, quite simply, double our sales, and push MG towards 10,000 sales in the UK next year,” said Cheyne.

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), MG has registered 3,321 cars so far in 2017. Cheyne said the manufacturer is on track to hit a target of 4,500 cars this year – a record for the company since it was reborn under Chinese ownership in 2006.

MG Motor broke the 1,000 cars registration barrier for the first time in 2014, with 2,326 cars sold in the UK. In 2015, 3,152 new MGs were registered, rising to 4,192 in 2016.

Cheyne added: “We retail nearly every single one of our cars. We don’t have dealers with forecourts full of pre-registrations, which is really important for us. Our cars are bought by people’s own money.

“The ZS is definitely the best car, the greatest car we’ve launched. We’ve listened to all of our customer feedback from previous models.

“[It] builds on all the positives and improves on all our other models, to keep the MG brand growing and moving forward. Our early years were more about re-establishing the company rather than actual sales growth. But for the last four years, since 2014, we’ve been growing organically.”

By the end of 2017, MG will have 90 dealers across the UK, giving it more than 65 percent coverage of the UK.

The firm controversially announced in 2016 that it would stop assembling cars at the old MG Rover plant in Longbridge, Birmingham. Previously, it would manufacture cars in China before shipping them across to the UK for final assembly.

The MG ZS was originally supposed to be called the XS, until it emerged that Land Rover owned the ‘XS’ trademark. A last-minute change of plan led to it taking the name of a 90s Rover 45-based hot hatch.

>NEXT: 2017 MG ZS first drive review: cheap but not cheerful

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

In pictures: Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

As last week’s Wilsons Auctions’ sale of sci-fi memorabilia auction highlights, crime doesn’t pay. The lots formed part of a convicted drug dealer’s collection of television and movie memorabilia, assembled at the cost of £1m. When the hammer fell on the final lot at the Belfast auction, the entire group sold for just £340,000. We round up the automotive highlights.

‘McLaren F1’ kit car

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Why spend upwards of £10m on a McLaren F1, when this Toyota MR2-based replica is almost as good as the real thing? We say ‘almost’, while acknowledging that this kit car is about as close to the genuine article as that Rolex you bought from a mush in Shepherd’s Bush.

Pontiac-based ‘Lamborghini Murcielago’

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

We had a quick look on Auto Trader, where we discovered that Lamborghini Murcielago prices range from £130,000 to £500,000. Quite why you’d spend half a million quid on a proper supercar when this Pontiac-based ‘replica’ could have been yours for £11,000 is anyone’s guess.

‘Lamborghini Countach’ kit car

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Wouldn’t you just love to turn up at an exclusive concours event and park this Ford V6-powered ‘Lamborghini Countach’ kit car alongside the world’s most expensive metal? We doubt you’d get further than the entrance gate.

Dodge Challenger: £11,500

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

The Dodge Challenger: the vehicle of choice for the drug dealer who doesn’t fancy flying under the radar. This 2010 example has been converted to run on LPG because even drug lords hate spending more than they need to on fuel.

Laser 917

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Elite Enterprises constructed fibreglass cars from its base in Minnesota, with the Laser 917 arguably its most famous creation. The Porsche 917 replica was built on Volkswagen underpinnings and, according to Fiberclassics, some 679 units were sold between 1972 and 1982. Movie fans might remember the 917 in Herbie Goes Bananas.

BMW 633CSi


Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

The DeLorean DMC-12 might be the most famous car from the Back to the Future franchise, but Griff Tannen’s hovering BMW 633CSi is almost as cool. This is the actual car used in the movie, but it has yet to be registered in the UK. It sold for £20,000, which strikes us as a pretty good price for an authentic movie car. Sadly, you’ll need to take an awful lot of drugs before this thing starts to hover.


Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Remember the Batpod from The Dark Knight movie? This isn’t the real thing, but it still managed to sell for £13,000 at the Belfast auction. The 10-ft long bike is powered by a Honda 340GX and comes with a pair of Hoosier tyres.

Batman Glastron V-174 replica

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

The Batman speedboat was based on a 1966 Glastron V-174, and while this isn’t the genuine article, it’s thought to be one of two replicas in Europe. It sold for £15,000, and the price included the trailer, which meant would-be Caped Crusaders could tow it home from Belfast behind their Batmobile.

Ford Gran Torino

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

This Ford Gran Torino is a replica of the car driven by David Starsky in Starsky & Hutch. It sold for a not-at-all unreasonable £7,500.

Reliant Rialto

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

The three-wheeler used in Only Fools and Horses is often incorrectly referred to as a Reliant Robin, or worse, a Robin Reliant. It was, in fact, a Reliant Supervan, based on the Regal. Just to confuse matters, the auction car is based on a 1986 Reliant Rialto. It sold for £6,000.

Postman Pat van

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

We’ll say one thing for the convicted drug dealer: he had a somewhat eclectic taste in cars. This tribute to Postman Pat is based on a Lambretta Willam, and it sold for £3,500 at the Wilsons Auctions sale.

Ford Popular ‘Ratmobile’

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

In 2015, this ‘Ratmobile’ replica sold for £1,250 on eBay. We’re not sure about the final hammer price in Belfast, but we do know that it came with Roland and Kevin soft toys.

BMW Isetta

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

According to the auctioneer at the Belfast sale, this 1958 BMW Isetta makes “one hell of a sound”. It sold for £10,000.

Mini Walls ice cream van

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

This 1967 Mini was converted into a Walls ice cream van and sold for £15,000 at the government auction. Look out for it at a classic car show in 2018.

Noddy car

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

It’s not in the best condition, but the auctioneers said: “This car is made from glass reinforced plastic, has twin electric motors driving the rear wheels and rechargeable 12v batteries. With the ability to turn 360 degrees.” It’s the perfect car for London, then?

Daewoo Musiro concept car

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

This Daewoo Musiro sold at a Brightwells auction in 2015 for £800: a bargain price for a one-off International Automotive Design (IAD) concept car.

Morris Mini-Minor

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

At some point, somebody has made this 1968 Morris Mini-Minor even more mini. It is the very antithesis of the modern Mini Countryman.

Volkswagen Caravelle

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Wait, are those Land Rover Discovery headlights? This 1983 Volkswagen Caravelle has been given a makeover to give it the look of an armoured truck. It’s, er… interesting.

Mitsubishi steam train school bus

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

It’s an auction catalogue description you thought you’d never read: a Mitsubishi ‘steam train school bus, imported from Japan.’ Amazingly, this thing has done 204,000 miles but is in need of an MOT.

Citroen DS

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

Not everything in the sale of sci-fi memorabilia auction is weird, but this Citroen DS is undoubtedly wonderful.

Mercedes-Benz SL 500

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

As is this 1987 Mercedes-Benz SL 500, although the MOT history doesn’t make for encouraging reading.

Beauford Series 3

Bizarre seized ‘supercars’ in government auction

The Beauford Series 3 is a popular wedding car, built in the style of a 1930s grand tourer. Other items sold at the Belfast auction included a life-size Terminator statue, Willy Wonka waxwork and a 3-ft E.T. with an illuminating finger.

>NEXT: In pictures: Britain’s quirkiest classic car auction

2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car

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Honda Civic Type R crate engine

You can now buy a Honda Civic Type R engine in a crate

Honda Civic Type R crate engineThe current-generation Honda Civic Type R’s mighty 2.0-litre i-VTEC Turbo engine is now available in a box, with the launch of a U.S. ‘crate engine’ programme at the 2017 SEMA performance car show in Las Vegas.

The Civic Type R Crate Motor is a North American-spec engine producing 306hp, and will be sold to professional racers competing in motorsport. It’s eligible to be run on verified closed-course racetracks and “builds upon Honda’s long-term commitment to the support of grassroots racing”.

The engine, codenamed K20C1 (the latest in the long-running Honda K series line first launched in 2001), is sold through the Honda Racing Line division, which sells a raft of motorsport parts to Honda racers.

The crate engine comes complete with everything a racing team needs to get it up and running; all they need to do is fork out for it to be shipped from the North American plant that builds the Type R engine.

Price? In the U.S, it’s $6,519. How much is that in pounds sterling? Around £4,600. Rather less than the £30,995 price of an entire Civic Type R, but also indicative of just how much a top-line engine costs.

Honda has in mind racers for the new crate engine, but specialist car firms may also be interested; UK performance car manufacturers Ariel has for some time used the non-turbo predecessor to this Civic Type R engine – just imagine how satisfying a version using the latest turbo engine could be…

NEXT> 2017 Honda Civic Type R review

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Mercedes-Benz Pop-Up Shop

A million Brits have visited a Mercedes-Benz pop-up shop

Mercedes-Benz Pop-Up ShopMercedes-Benz is among the growing number of brands expanding beyond its traditional car dealer network to reach new types of car buyer – with some success: the Mercedes-Benz Pop-Up Shop concept has recently welcomed its millionth visitor.

The premium German firm’s pop-up concept sees it set up shop in major shopping centres across the UK. It was during the Liverpool ONE leg of its 2017 tour that the millionth visit was made – and they got a £250 shopping voucher as a reward.

The pop-up store has now moved to Manchester’s Trafford Centre, where it will remain until January 2017. The theme for each store is ever-evolving: currently, it’s 4MATIC, the firm’s name for its all-wheel-drive tech, and thus has a duly-equipped C-Class Estate within its pop-up walls.

Mercedes-Benz Pop-Up Shop

Clashing with the theme is an Approved Used A-Class and a special edition Smart Disturbing London, and as F1 banned all-wheel drive decades ago, the Mercedes-AMG Formula One simulator isn’t quite on theme either. Perhaps we’ll get some surprise winter snowfall and they’ll quickly drop in a G-Wagen instead.

The store, which is run by both Mercedes-Benz Cars UK and the local Mercedes dealer, is open weekly from 10am to 10pm, on Saturdays from 10am to 9pm, and on Sundays from 12pm to 6pm – hours beyond those of most dealers. 

The idea is to draw in shoppers who might casually browse cars in the same way they look at clothes (it’s next door to Zara), duly broadening the firm’s reach significantly.

You can even buy Mercedes-Benz branded clothes and other gear in it, should the allure of the three-pointed star be sufficiently strong.

Mercedes-Benz Pop-Up Shop

It’s clearly a concept that works: other brands are also running pop-up shops, such as Volkswagen’s Bullring outlet, and firms such as Hyundai and Jaguar Land Rover have also teamed up with the Rockar ‘retail store’ concept to open outlets in destinations such as London’s Westfield.  

Car dealers: coming to a shopping centre near you soon?

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New MG ZS SUV gets seven-year warranty

MG ZSThe new MG ZS compact SUV will benefit from the firm’s first seven-year warranty, bosses have announced. MG thus becomes the first brand on sale in the UK to match the pioneering seven-year warranty offered by Kia since 2010.

The new MG seven-year warranty is capped to 80,000 miles, unlike the 100,000-mile limit offered by Kia, but it’s otherwise broadly similar to the Korean maker’s offer – including being transferrable to any future owner.

MG says the seven-year warranty extends the regular manufacturer’s warranty and guarantees only genuine MG parts are used, should any warranty work be required.

Matthew Cheyne, MG Motor UK’s head of sales and marketing, said: “This is MG putting its money where its mouth is. With the introduction of a seven-year warranty, we are making a clear statement of intent about the quality of our design, engineering and manufacturing.

“Drivers can be confident that the increased warranty does not diminish the level of cover provided and is not an insurance-based product. MG Motor UK believes so strongly in the quality of the new MG ZS that it is backing the fantastic warranty itself.”


The MG ZS is the firm’s new rivals to the Nissan Juke. It launches in dealerships from 1 November, priced from £12,495, thus significantly undercutting alternatives such as the Vauxhall Mokka X, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.

MG’s also offering 0 percent finance from launch, with monthly payments starting from £199. Cheyne is bullish about the new car’s fortunes: “Benefiting from global design expertise, but reengineered specifically for UK roads, we are confident that the MG ZS will prove exceptionally popular. The seven-year warranty makes it even more compelling.”

Motoring Research is driving the new MG ZS this week: come back soon to see whether the firm’s excitement in the new car is merited…

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