Subaru WRX STi Final Edition

This is your last chance to buy a new Subaru WRX STi in the UK

Subaru WRX STi Final Edition

Subaru has revealed a limited-run special edition WRX STi as it announces that the legendary super saloon will soon be no more in the UK.

The WRX STi, previously known as the Impreza WRX STi, can trace its roots back nearly 25 years. It’s the car that Colin McRae made famous, and one of the first affordable performance cars on the market.

But, as hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf R get ever more competent, versatile and affordable, the WRX STi has been living on borrowed time. It’s no surprise, then, that Subaru is wielding the axe on its legendary flagship model. Unfortunately.

If you want to get your hands on a brand new WRX STi while you still can, get your order in for Final Edition as soon as you can. Subaru’s taking orders now, with just 150 available and prices starting at £33,995.

This isn’t a half-hearted special edition. While the standard 300hp 2.5-litre turbocharged flat-four remains, the WRX STi now boasts 19-inch alloys. This isn’t just for aesthetics – they house bigger Brembo brakes with yellow calipers, offering better fade-resistance and performance when driving on the limit, says Subaru.

A multi-mode driver’s control centre differential, meanwhile, shuffles power around to provide maximum traction at all times.

The front bumper has been redesigned with a more aggressive look, while the grille has been enlarged to aid cooling.

Red stitching and seatbelts along with glossy black inserts brighten up the interior, while heated front seats add a touch of comfort. There’s also a larger 5.9-inch infotainment screen at the top of the dash, incorporating DAB radio and a reversing camera (just in case you can’t see over the large rear wing).

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>NEXT: 2017 Tokyo Motor Show: the star cars

Opinion: Why financing a brand new Suzuki Jimny is a brilliant idea... or is it?

Opinion: Why buying a Suzuki Jimny on PCP is a brilliant idea… isn’t it?

Opinion: Why financing a brand new Suzuki Jimny is a brilliant idea... or is it?

The Suzuki Jimny is a flawed, outdated 4×4 that has barely changed since 1998 and is well overdue the axe. Suzuki knows this, which is why it’s finally going to bring out a new model next year.

But, despite its faults, we quite like the outgoing Suzuki Jimny. It’s got character, in a way the Defender had (remember that?), yet its dinky dimensions make it a funny thing to drive. Being Japanese, it’s less likely to break down than a Defender, too.

So much so that, when taking my parents to a Suzuki dealer to convince them of the merits of a new Swift, I found myself convincing myself that buying a Jimny would be an excellent idea.

Of course, the sensible thing to do would be to hit Auto Trader and spend as little as £1,000 on a secondhand Jimny. The earliest examples may be nearly 20 years old, and possibly led a hard life, but they’ll fundamentally be the same as a brand new one. And the £12,000-plus saved would go a long way towards upgrading a ropey example.

However, that’s like saying a pair of secondhand hiking boots are identical to a brand new pair bought from Millets. They might look similar, and do the same job, but buying new gives you more choice and the chance to wear them in yourself. The boots will be yours from day one – never having been soiled by someone else’s smelly feet. So, if I buy a Jimny, I want a brand new one.

Unfortunately, a brand new Jimny starts at £12,999, and I’ve not got that kind of cash to spend on impulse on a Jimny. So I did what the majority of new car buyers do – and started looking into PCP deals. With 0 percent finance stickers plastered over the Swift, I was hoping that offer might extend to the Jimny. It doesn’t. But let’s not write it off as a mad idea just yet.


How does PCP work?

The majority of new car purchases are now made using some form of finance – usually Personal Contract Plan (or PCP). PCPs are usually split over three years (occasionally slightly more or less), and are made up of three main factors:

  • The deposit. This is often around 10 percent of the car’s value, but does vary a lot between manufacturers. It can be as little as £0, other times it’s a third or even half the car’s value. The bigger the deposit, the less you’ll have to pay each month.
  • The monthly payment. You’re essentially paying off the car’s depreciation here – not its value. If, for example, you buy a £15,000 car that’ll be worth £5,000 when your PCP is up, you’ll pay £10,000 during your time with the car. If your PCP runs for 36 months, and you pay a £1,500 deposit, that’ll equate to monthly payments of around £235.
  • The balloon payment. Also referred to as the ‘guaranteed future value’, this is how much the finance company thinks the car will be worth when the PCP is up. If you wish, you can pay this figure and buy the car outright (this could be worth doing if the balloon value is rather conservative… i.e. lower than what the car would be worth on the private market). Alternatively, you can hand your car back to the dealer at this point, without any extra fees to pay unless you’ve gone over the mileage allowances or there’s more damage than reasonable wear and tear. Most buyers decide to ‘swap’ their car for another new model, extending their PCP.

Based on the entry-level SZ3 (the one I want – no privacy glass, alloy wheels or leather seats on my Jimny, thank you very much), Suzuki’s offering a 6.9 percent APR PCP deal based over four years. That’s with a £2,273 deposit – not outrageous, even if it could buy you a secondhand Jimny outright – and 48 monthly payments of £195. That starts with a ‘1’, so is good enough for me.

What would I do after four years? Hand back the Jimny with nothing to show for my cash? Not a chance. By then, Suzuki reckons it’d be worth a meagre £4,372. So, if I divide that figure over the 48 months I’ll have ‘owned’ the Jimny so far, it works out at just £91.08 per month. If I stick that money into a savings account each month, after four years I’ll be able to buy my Jimny outright. And by that point, Suzuki will have replaced the Jimny and mine will be well into future classic status. It’s practically an investment.

It’s worth noting that there’s a 6,000-mile limit on this deal – no good for most if you want to drive a Jimny every day. But as it’d share a garage with a Toyota MR2 and I’d be planning on buying it outright anyway, the mileage limit wouldn’t be a huge concern for me.

There’s a ‘but’ though, and it’s a big one. Assuming I can afford the £2,273 deposit, and I’m definitely planning on keeping it after four years, I could just get a bank loan for the remaining £11,000 and buy the Jimny outright in the first place. With banks offering low interest rates on loans at the moment, that means I could buy a brand new Jimny for around £240 a month. More than the PCP alone, but less than the PCP plus the extra £91 going into a savings account allowing me to keep hold of it.

The moral of the story, I guess, is that it’s worth doing some research if you’re looking into car finance. PCP deals often work out if you want a new car every three years, but do your homework first. There are often cheaper ways of buying a new car.

Will I buy a Jimny? Watch this space…

>NEXT: The Suzuki Jimny needs a proper send-off

Jaguar I-Pace Concept

Futuristic British electric cars win top awards

Jaguar I-Pace ConceptTwo advanced all-electric British electric cars, the Jaguar I-Pace Concept electric SUV and Hipercar Consortium electric sports car concept, have respectively won the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Award and Simms Medal for 2017.

The two awards are considered among the most prestigious recognitions of new British automotive engineering achievement; they are only awarded in years when Royal Automobile Club technical experts feel they are merited. That both awards went to groundbreaking British road-going electric car projects is also significant.  

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth was on hand at London’s Pall Mall to accept the Dewar Trophy for Jaguar. The Simms Medal was presented to the Hipercar Consortium’s Nick Carpenter of Delta Motorsport, Neil Yates of Ariel and Ian Foley of Equipmake, the three key partners in the consortium.

Dewar Trophy 2017 – Jaguar I-Pace Concept

The Jaguar I-Pace Concept previews the firm’s new all-electric SUV – already being considered its Tesla-beater. The clean-sheet design boasts a 400hp electric motor that delivers 90kWh of lithium ion battery power to all four wheels; it does 0-60mph in four seconds and, said the car’s technical director Russ Varney, still drives like a genuine Jaguar. It also has a 310-mile range, wrapped in elegant bodywork penned by Ian Callum.

The I-Pace Concept was the unanimous winner of the 2017 Dewar Trophy, with its technical committee chairman John Wood MBE explaining it was the car’s combination of Jaguar DNA and innovation that so impressed the judging committee; it was “extremely impressed with every aspect of the I-Pace Concept”.

Simms Medal 2017 – Hipercar Consortium

The Simms Medal was awarded to the Hipercar Consortium because, said Wood, “If it had been the product of a major international vehicle manufacturers, it would be remarkable enough, but it is the result of three SMEs, who have worked together on an immense technical challenge.

“The Hipercar Consortium is helping to reduce emissions, safeguarding or creating jobs and developing UK automotive capability. As such, we have no hesitation in awarding the group the Simms Medal for 2017.”

The stunning four-wheel drive gas turbine range-extender electric sports car was revealed to a fanfare earlier this year. It produces a total of 1080hp, has an electric motor for each wheel and was delivered to “near-impossible timescales”.

“Not only is HIPERCAR going to be one of the fastest vehicles in the world,” said Ariel director Simon Saunders, “but also one of the most cutting edge.

“The fact that it has been developed in the UK and supported by UK government agencies shows just how important the vehicle and the technology is to us and the UK economy.”

The Grand Tour Series 2: everything we know so far

The Grand Tour series 2: launch date set for 8 December

The Grand Tour Series 2: everything we know so far

Amazon Prime Video has announced that the second series of The Grand Tour will make its debut on 8th December 2017.

Like the last series, new episodes of The Grand Tour will be released weekly, with viewers needing an Amazon Prime membership to stream them.

A new trailer has been released alongside the announcement of the launch date. It shows the three presenters sliding down the side of a snowy mountain while Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die from the 1973 James Bond film of the same name plays out.

Clarkson, Hammond and May have been working hard during filming of series two – but it’s not been short of issues. First, Hammond fell off a motorbike during filming of The Grand Tour in Mozambique in March. Details of the crash are sketchy, but it doesn’t sound too serious: “Put it this way, I don’t think I can get a book out of it,” joked Hammond at the time.

But then, in June, Hammond was involved in a more serious crash when an electric hypercar he was driving left the road while taking part in the Hemburg time trial. The Rimac Concept One was written off in the incident, which saw Hammond rushed to hospital by air ambulance. Fortunately, his injuries didn’t turn out to be too serious, with just a fractured knee to report.

The incident did delay filming, though, which brings us on to…

When will The Grand Tour return?

Although Hammond once said (in a since-deleted tweet) that the new series will be available to watch on the 19th November, Amazon has confirmed it’ll be 8th December before fans can stream the new series.

What will we see in series 2 of The Grand Tour?

The first trailer for series two appeared in July, showing Clarkson, Hammond and May driving a variety of vehicles in their usual lighthearted way. It also shows Hammond at the wheel of the Rimac Concept One, saying “watch this” before taking off up the hillclimb.

The latest pictures show the Grand Tour trio in a variety of locations, including Colorado, Dubai, Mozambique, Croatia and Switzerland.

How can I watch The Grand Tour?

Like the first series of The Grand Tour, fans will need to subscribe to Amazon Prime to stream the new episodes once they’re released. This costs £79.99 a year or £7.99 a month. Amazon does occasionally offer special offers, particularly around the launch of high-profile new programmes such as The Grand Tour, so it’s worth keeping an eye open as we get closer to series two arriving.

If you missed the first season, or just want to watch it again, it’s still available to watch on Amazon Prime.

We’ll be keeping this story updated as we find out more information – keep checking back for all the latest on The Grand Tour.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep has accidentally revealed its new 2018 Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler

The new Jeep Wrangler is set to make its debut at this month’s LA Auto Show – but official pictures of the 2018 model have appeared during a presentation at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

In a hastily released statement sent to US media, Jeep describes the new Wrangler as “the most capable SUV ever”. Sketchy about details, the statement promises “advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, more open-air options, and… more safety features and advanced technology than ever before.”

In truth, it doesn’t look a great deal different from the outgoing model. But when it’s a design that can be traced back to the Willys Jeep of the 1940s, that’s not a huge surprise. Jeep insists aerodynamics have been improved – a surprise considering its boxy shape – while the windscreen can be folded down for wind-in-your-face motoring.

The current 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine is believed to have been dropped in favour of a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, along with a 3.6-litre V6. It’s not been confirmed which engines will make it to the UK – or if an electric powertrain could be offered.

We’ll find out more about the new Wrangler when its revealed on November 29th at the LA Auto Show. MR will be reporting live.

>NEXT: The SEMA modified car show 2017

SEMA 2017

In pictures: the SEMA modified car show 2017

SEMA 2017

The SEMA modified car show in Las Vegas is an annual gathering of aftermarket tuners, mainstream manufacturers and modified car fans. What started off as a low-key trade show is now one of the wildest car shows in the universe.

As well as a strong mix of modified machinery, car makers have used SEMA 2017 to make some interesting announcements: from Ford’s ‘Drift Stick’ to Honda’s Type R engine in a box.

Ultimately, however, SEMA is about one thing: modified monstrosities. Click through this gallery to see some of the craziest creations on display at this year’s SEMA show.

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>NEXT: 7 of the craziest concept cars at the SEMA auto show 2015

Ford Focus RS 'Drift Stick' takes handbrake turns to a whole new level

Ford Focus RS ‘Drift Stick’ takes handbrake turns to a whole new level

Ford Focus RS 'Drift Stick' takes handbrake turns to a whole new level

Think the electronic parking brake will mean the death of handbrake turns? Think again – as Ford has revealed an electronic handbrake designed to encourage its Focus RS to go sideways.

Developed by the same Ford Performance team behind the Focus RS’s controversial Drift Mode, the Drift Stick exploits the car’s all-wheel-drive and anti-lock brake systems to initiate drifts by using clutches to lock the rear wheels at the pull of a lever. Said lever is an aluminium device that sits between the driver’s seat and the manual gear stick – just where you’d find a ‘normal’ handbrake.

“The passionate engineers at Ford Performance are also enthusiasts,” said Ford Performance global director, Dave Pericak. “Everyone here is encouraged to think outside the box, so project ‘Wicked Stick’ was born. Our engineers will leverage the learnings from its development for many future products for Ford Performance and, ultimately, take back even more of an innovative spirit when they rejoin our mainstream engineering teams.”

Ford Focus RS 'Drift Stick' takes handbrake turns to a whole new level

Revealed at the SEMA modified car show in Las Vegas, Ford says its Drift Stick is available for Focus RS owners in the US and Canada to buy from December for $999. Installation is easy, says Ford, as there’s no welding or hole drilling required, making the modification fully reversible. And it won’t void your car’s warranty.

Unfortunately there’s no mention of whether the Drift Stick going on sale in the UK any time soon. We can but hope…

Watch Ken Block demonstrate the Ford Drift Stick

>NEXT: New Ford Focus RS Edition with LSD costs £35,795

Peugeot advert BANNED because this built-in feature is dangerous

Peugeot advert BANNED because this in-car feature is dangerous

Peugeot advert BANNED because this built-in feature is dangerous

An advert showing a Peugeot 208 driver glancing at a text message displayed on his car’s infotainment screen has been banned for encouraging irresponsible driving.

Five separate complaints from viewers over the advert, which aired on TV in July, led to an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

As part of the Peugeot 208’s Mirror Screen system, which mirrors the driver’s phone onto its infotainment screen, drivers can read incoming text messages and send pre-written templates. In the advert, a driver can be seen reading a message which says “I’m bored without you!”.

Responding on behalf of Peugeot, Clearcast, a firm which pre-approves adverts for television, said the Highway Code permitted a driver to adjust music or the radio. They believed the action of the driver looking momentarily at a message on a screen in the dashboard was no worse and less distracting than that.

The ASA disagreed, however, noting that the Highway Code advises drivers to avoid distractions, giving “starting or adjusting any music or radio” as an example of a distraction (rule 148); that using hands-free equipment was “likely to distract your attention from the road” (rule 149); that there was “danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multi-media, etc” and that drivers “MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times”.

It upheld the complaints, saying that reading the text message “amounted to a distraction that would have prevented him being aware of, and/or being in control of, other actions that were necessary for safe driving”.

Peugeot has been told it cannot display the advert again in its current form, and that its future ads should not condone or encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving.

>NEXT: Citroen’s ConnectedCam ISN’T distracting for drivers, rules ASA

Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate

Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate is the ultimate send-off

Aston Martin Vanquish S UltimateAston Martin’s range-topping model, the Vanquish, is nearing the end of the life. To give it the send-off it deserves, the firm has created a line of ‘Ultimate’ models, limited to just 175 cars in either Vanquish S Ultimate Coupe or Volante guise.

The Ultimate doesn’t get any more power than the 595bhp Vanquish S, now are the eight-speed automatic gearbox or carbon ceramic brakes any different to what you’d get on a series S.

No, the difference with the Vanquish S Ultimate is visual. Aston is offering it in a choice of three unique colourschemes, each enhanced with carbon fibre side strakes finished with a rose gold ‘Ultimate’ badge.

Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate

The first so-called Designer Theme is Ultimate black with Copper bronze graphics for the front air intake, side sills and rear diffuser. A black leather interior is highlighted with Chestnut tan and Aston says the overall colourscheme references the original Vanquish S Ultimate Edition from a few years back; it’s pictured here.

Too moody? Try Xenon grey paint with Cobalt blue graphics, which looks a bit like a piece of designer sportswear, reckons Aston. It has yellow brake calipers and, inside, Electron yellow and Spectral blue stitching for the Phantom grey leather.

Too much? How about White gold paint with bronze graphics, Chestnut tan leather with black accents and a gorgeous carbon fibre fascia? And if even that doesn’t tick the box, you can choose any other exterior and interior colourscheme for free, which sort of defeats the point of offering a range of limited edition Designer Themes, but there we go.

Aston Martin vice president and chief sales officer Christian Marti said: “As the much-loved and highly-acclaimed Vanquish S nears the end of production, we wanted to celebrate its success with a limited run of very special cars.

“The Ultimate edition perfectly captures the spirit of Vanquish and is sure to be sought after by collectors around the world.”

First deliveries of the runout Vanquish S Ultimate begin in Q1 2018, but ordering is open now: the Coupe costs from £211,995 and the Volante is priced from £223,995.

NEXT> Lotus has created ‘the ultimate Elise’