March 2018 Gran Turismo Sport Update 1.15

Gran Turismo Sport cracks open even more cars and a new circuit

March 2018 Gran Turismo Sport Update 1.15

With the return of cold weather expected this Easter weekend, what are you going to do once you’ve devoured the hot cross buns and polished off the chocolate? Polyphony Digital might have the answer with the latest update to the Gran Turismo Sport Playstation 4 game, and they’ve stored up the best Easter Egg many could have asked for.

You won’t need us to explain that the values of BMW E30 M3s have gone through the roof in recent years, with £40,000 now the entry point for even cars with huge mileages. However, if you’re a Gran Turismo Sport player, you’ll be able to add an E30 M3 to your garage for absolutely nothing.

March 2018 Gran Turismo Sport Update 1.15

As with previous updates, this latest one doesn’t just add one car to the game but actually throws in a total of thirteen new machines. From retro classics, to Super GT racers and crazy concepts, there is likely to be something for every motoring taste with this month’s release:

  • BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution
  • Aston Martin DB11
  • Ford GT40 Mk1
  • Eckerts Rod & Custom Mach Forty
  • Honda Raybrig Concept-GT
  • Lexus Au Tom’s RC F
  • Nissan Motul Autech GT-R
  • Gran Turismo Red Bull X2014 Standard
  • Gran Turismo Red Bull X2014 Junior
  • Lexus RC F GT3
  • Mazda FC RX-7 GT-X
  • Nissan R33 Skyline GT-R V-Spec
  • Nissan GT-R Nismo

For those familiar with older Gran Turismo games, the launch of Gran Turismo Sport may have been something of a shock with the usual roster of Nissan Skylines seriously depleted. Thankfully Polyphony has made amends with various updates, and this latest one sees the iconic R33 GT-R slotted in alongside the thundering GT-R Nismo.

March 2018 Gran Turismo Sport Update 1.15

Having new performance Nissans would be pointless without a special competition in which to race them, and this update does not disappoint. New additions to the GT-League options include:

  • Nissan GT-R Cup – Beginner League
  • Red Bull X-Junior Series – Amateur League
  • All Japan GT Car Championships – Professional League

This means you will be able to put all the new cars to use immediately with specific competitions, rather than merely worrying about creating new liveries or what best location to photograph them in. Update 1.15 does include a new location for the photography ‘Scapes Mode’ though…

With the addition of a classic racing circuit, you may want to spend more time driving than snapping, though. The reappearance of Tsukuba Circuit will be a major bonus to long term GT fans, with the short track providing a deceptively challenging environment to pit even low powered machinery against.

March 2018 Gran Turismo Sport Update 1.15

As with previous updates, 1.15 also brings a number of new technical tweaks and improvements, including official support for the Fanatec series of steering wheel controllers, and even the addition of MINI and Renault ‘museums’ to the brands featured.

Finally, you can also laud it over those stuck with Forza Motorsport, with a new time trial feature for GT Sport’s VR mode. Maybe test out that before breaking into the chocolate eggs.

Honda CR-V Roadster

Honda CR-V Roadster is April fools’ gold

Honda CR-V Roadster

The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet struck the first blow, which was swiftly followed by a knockout punch by the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Now, the Honda CR-V Roadster is here to kick you when you’re down.

Honda has quite literally left every stone unturned and taken a no-expense approach in its quest to deliver a topless SUV, which is guaranteed to turn heads, especially at the Euro NCAP offices in Belgium.

Honda CR-V Roadster April Fool

One look at those jagged edges and exposed pillars will send the safety officers reaching for their Trappist beers before embarking on a tour of the Belgian countryside in a Rover 100 without seatbelts.

Drive-through car washes and the British summer are out of the question, as the Honda CR-V features no roof whatsoever, which gives it something in common with the Smart Crossblade. But unlike the Smart, the CR-V won’t look good parked alongside a marina in the south of France. And we doubt Robbie Williams will be queuing up to place an order.

Honda CR-V Roadster April Fool

Eipururufüru, Future Opportunity Occupational Lead at Honda UK, said: “This is a bold new direction for the CR-V and opens up an entirely new non-existent market. Our sales target is somewhat conservative to start with, at zero cars, but we are confident that once the minor glitches are ironed out, such as the lack of roof and the fact it is totally structurally unsound, the car will fly out of showrooms.”

Predictably, the CR-V Roadster will be arriving in said showrooms from 1 April 2018. Alternatively, interested parties – those without taste or common sense – are politely reminded that Land Rover offers something similarly baffling and are prepared to relieve you of £45,000 for the privilege of owning one.

Seemingly, a drop-top SUV is for life, not just for April Fools’ Day.

In pictures: how Honda developed the CR-V Roadster

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2018 World Car of the Year winners: the world’s best!

The world’s best new cars have been honoured once again at the New York International Auto Show. More than 80 judges in 20 countries have spent the past six months assessing and analysing cars, for this moment – the reveal of the finest new cars to be launched over the past year.

What are the World Car Awards? The biggest car awards prizes in the world, that’s what. Presented annually, they recognise the cars that tick all the boxes across the planet, working as well in China and India as they do in Europe and North America.

For the first time, this year’s awards were presented as the curtain-raiser for the New York show: the great and the good of the car industry thus had no excuse not to be there. In front a packed room full of automotive execs, judges thus announced the first of the five World Car Awards prizes, that for the 2018 World Car Design of the Year.

2018 World Car Design winner: Range Rover Velar

Just look at it. Hard to see how the Range Rover Velar couldn’t win this, isn’t it? It’s a landmark design and a bona fide modern classic.

2018 World Car Design runner-up: Lexus LC 500

2018 World Car Design runner-up: Volvo XC60

2018 World Green Car winner: Nissan Leaf

The previous Nissan Leaf was the 2011 World Car of the Year. This new one hasn’t managed to repeat that honour, but it has taken the consolation prize of winning the 2018 World Green Car of the Year. Fully deserved, too.

2018 World Green Car runner-up: BMW 530e iPerformance

2018 World Green Car runner-up: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2018 World Performance car winner: BMW M5

After its somewhat disappointing predecessor, BMW needed the new M5 to be good. It is – very good indeed, a true return to form. So much so, it’s taken the 2018 World Performance Car award with a tyre-smoking, V8 roar.

2018 World Performance car runner-up: Honda Civic Type R

2018 World Performance car runner-up: Lexus LC 500

2018 World Luxury Car winner: Audi A8

Audi set out to take the luxury limo to the next level with the latest A8. It’s the world’s first car to offer Level 3 autonomy – and it’s a formidably accomplished powerhouse that’s scooped the 2018 World Luxury Car gong.

2018 World Luxury Car runner-up: Porsche Cayenne

2018 World Luxury Car runner-up: Porsche Panamera

2018 World Urban Car winner: Volkswagen Polo

The previous Volkswagen Polo won World Car of the Year in 2010. This all-new one shows Volkswagen is at the top of its game. It’s won the World Urban Car prize at a canter – and as designer Klaus Bischoff, who accepted the prize, stated, this award will only help add yet more to the 17.5 million running sales total for it…

2018 World Urban Car runner-up: Ford Fiesta

2018 World Urban Car runner-up: Suzuki Swift

2018 World Car of the Year winner: Volvo XC60

Volvo’s done it again! Just weeks ago, the Volvo XC40 won the European Car of the Year prize. Now the Swedish firm has scooped the big one, taking the World Car of the Year prize for the XC60. It’s another incredible achievement for a company that’s really on a roll.

2018 World Car of the Year runner-up: Mazda CX-5

2018 World Car of the Year runner-up: Range Rover Velar

And let’s not forget, Volvo Cars president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson was awarded a new honour from the World Car Awards jurors, picking up the inaugural World Car Person of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show. Here in New York, with the XC60’s victory in 2018 World Car of the Year, he’s added yet another big prize to the firm’s haul.

Volvo, you’re going to need a bigger trophy room!

Classic Mini Electric at NYIAS 2018

Classic Mini Electric charges into New York

Classic Mini Electric at NYIAS 2018Mini is getting us excited for the idea of its new 2019 pure electric car… by revealing a classic Mini converted to run on electric at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

This is no early April Fool’s joke, either. Mini’s serous, and says it’s converted the classic Mini partly to prepare us for the car’s 60th anniversary next year. Presumably, so old and new electric Minis can be shown off together.

The new car, based on the Mini Hatch three-door, is currently in final development. Plant Oxford is being readied to start building it. And Mini reminds us it won’t be the first electric model to go into production – the 2008 Mini helped prove a lot of the tech that went into the BMW i3; the firm ended up building around 600 of them.

Classic Mini Electric at NYIAS 2018

It’s only going to build one classic Mini Electric. The New York model is derived from a fully-restored late-model classic Mini Cooper, and wears red paint set off with a white roof and bonnet stripes.

The soon-to-be-familiar Mini Electric logo adorns the bonnet, rear quarters and the wheel hubs. Even the fuel filler is retained, albeit converted to take an electric charging socket.

Classic Mini Electric at NYIAS 2018

Its ultra-light weight pays dividends on the road, says Mini. “The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling that helped propel the British small car in its original form to worldwide popularity.”

Not that we’ll get to drive it at New York, sadly. “With this unique vehicle,” says the firm, “Mini sends out a clear signal demonstrating its commitment to retaining the brand’s unmistakable character whilst embracing innovative zero local emission technology.”

We get the idea. The 2019 Mini Electric will be a real Mini. And what better way to underline this than by showing a real Mini, made electric.

New Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Jaguar F-Pace SVR super-SUV revealed in New York

New Jaguar F-Pace SVRThey’ve finally done it. Jaguar’s petrolhead engineers have dropped the firm’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 into the F-Pace SUV. In doing so, they’ve created an ultra-potent, ultra-desirable homegrown answer to a Mercedes-AMG GLC. At last.

The F-Pace SVR debuts at the New York International Auto Show. All 550hp of it, which is enough to take the mid-size premium SUV from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, and onto a 176mph top speed. There’s also 501lb ft of pulling power: in all, a 44 percent hike in output compared to the four-cylinder and V6 F-Pace models we’ve had up to now.

New Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Because it’s the work of JLR’s hot Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division, there’s a suitably standout visual makeover to go with all this power. An all-new front bumper has been scalloped out to feed in air, and there are vents in the sides of the wings to further aid cooling and reduce lift.

New Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Another front-end feature are the new SVR bonnet vents, which look mean (they’ll be your instant F-Pace SVR differentiator) but are also functional, helping air heated by the V8 to escape.

New wheelarch extensions wrap around either 21-inch or 22-inch alloys, and there are meatier lower body mouldings and, of course, a whopping great four-pipe exhaust at the rear, complete with the Jaguar Variable Valve Active Exhaust System. Interestingly, this higher-performance system weighs 6.6kg less than the standard setup. Note the enlarged rear spoiler as well.

New Jaguar F-Pace SVR

It’s not all for show, either. “The F-Pace SVR delivers the handling and agility to match its performance,” says JLR handling guru Mike Cross. Spring rates are up, by a hefty 30 percent at the front, and a new anti-roll bar cuts body lean by five percent in corners.

The lightweight forged alloys wear tyres 25mm wider at the rear than the front, and the 22-inch rims are up to 2.4kg lighter than normal. Hiding behind them is a performance brake system with two-piece discs that are 395mm in diameter on the front, 396mm at the rear.

Jaguar has fitted its rear electronic active differential to the F-Pace for the first time. This has been honed for the SVR – indeed, said Cross, “everything from the steering to the bespoke suspension set-up has been tuned specifically for our performance SUV”.

New Jaguar F-Pace SVR

Inside, there are slimline front sports seats that look like they’ve been taken straight from the F-Type. Who knows, maybe they have – and they’re matched by two more in the rear. They’re SVR-branded, as is the steering wheel, and the paddle shifters are cool aluminium metal. There’s a choice of four interior colour schemes as well.

Prices start from £74,835 in the UK and ordering will open in May. Want to be the first in line? In the usual Jaguar way, head to the firm’s website and register your interest. Bosses tell us this really is worth doing – the people at the front of the queue generally do this as early as possible…

Waymo Jaguar I-Pace self-driving EV

Self-driving Jaguar I-Pace is Waymo’s first autonomous EV

Waymo Jaguar I-Pace self-driving EVJaguar Land Rover has announced a huge self-driving car partnership in New York – the Jaguar I-Pace is to become the first autonomous electric vehicle in the Waymo test fleet.

Described as a long-term strategic partnership, the JLR deal with Waymo – formerly Google’s self-driving car project – will see first testing of the I-Pace electric SUV begin in late 2018.

By 2020, the Jaguar I-Pace will join the Waymo driverless test fleet, bringing genuine self-driving electric cars (with nobody in the front seat) to public roads. As Waymo is planning to launch the world’s first self-driving transportation service later this year, it means the public will eventually be able to request an autonomous I-Pace via an app on their smartphone.

Waymo Jaguar I-Pace self-driving EV

The Waymo I-Pace will be on show at the New York International Auto Show this week. It’ll be a first look at a car that could in time become a familiar sight: JLR speaks of building a whopping 20,000 I-Pace in the first two years of production for Waymo’s driverless service.

They could serve as many as one million trips every day.

Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, JLR CEO, said: “Our passion for further advancing smart mobility needs expert long-term partners. In joining forces with Waymo, we are pioneering to push the boundaries of technology.”

John Krafcik, Waymo CEO said: “While we’ve been focused at Waymo on building the world’s most experienced driver, the team at Jaguar Land Rover has developed an all-new battery-electric platform that looks to set a new standard in safety, design and capability.

“We’re sure Waymo riders will enjoy the safe, premium and delightful experience that the self-driving I-Pace will provide.”

JLR bosses say this arrangement is potentially the first in a number of collaborations with Waymo, the ambitious Mountain View, California self-driving car firm. To date, Waymo has concentred on a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacificas.

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) is North America’s first and most-attended motor show, dating back to 1900. As the last big show of the international season, this is a chance for manufacturers to showcase any new metal that might be left in the cupboard, as well as springing a surprise or two. Read on to see the hottest new cars in New York.

Cadillac XT4

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

You’ll have worked out by now that life isn’t always fair, so while you really fancy a Cadillac ATS-V coupe or CTS-V saloon, you’re more likely to end up behind the wheel of an XT4. It’s the latest in a seemingly never-ending line of compact crossovers, which slots in below the XT5 in Cadillac’s range of crossovers and SUVs. The front- or all-wheel-drive XT4 is powered by a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 235hp, which is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It fills a massive hole in the Caddy range and goes head-to-head with the likes of the Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace and BMW X3.

Kia K900

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

This is the second-generation Kia K900, with the saloon treated to a comprehensive overhaul for its New York debut. It’s longer and wider than before, with a rear end that isn’t too dissimilar to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The front and rear overhangs are shorter, pushing the wheels further out to the corners of the car to create a larger cabin. The dashboard is dominated by a 12.3-inch screen, which is accompanied by an analogue clock developed by Maurice Lacroix. The Korean-built K900 will go on sale from the second quarter of 2018, but is unlikely to be sold in the UK.

Toyota RAV4

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The RAV4 – that’s ‘Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD’ – arrived in the UK in 1994, with Toyota aiming it at “those with active lifestyles, a sense of fun and who want to be a just a little different.” Back then, a crossover was a leftfield choice, which is in stark contrast to the car industry of today. This is the fifth-generation RAV4 and, while it might have lost its sense of fun, it remains one of the most popular cars in the world. Last year, some 770,000 RAV4s found a home, making it the sixth best-selling car on the planet.

Subaru Forester

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Speaking of best-sellers… While the Subaru Forester might hold niche appeal in the UK, it’s actually a strong seller in the US and accounts for 25 percent of the firm’s overall production. This is a much sharper Forester than before (the old car is pictured), with a look that draws heavily from the Viziv concept of 2015. There’s no word on the specs for the UK-bound Forester, but there are rumours Subaru will drop the diesel engine and manual gearbox.

Volkswagen five-seat SUV

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

This is a five-seat SUV concept based on the seven-seat Volkswagen Atlas, but don’t get too excited because it’s not coming to the UK. Like the Atlas the as-yet-unnamed concept is designed and engineered for the American market and will be the third VW model to be assembled at the Chattanooga factory.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The updated Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon and estate made their debut at the Geneva Motor Show, now it’s the turn of the coupe and cabriolet. Scheduled to go on sale in the US by late 2018, the 2018 models feature new front and rear ends, standard-fit LED headlights, a larger media display as standard, and a range of new alloy wheels and colours. UK buyers won’t have as long to wait, as the coupe and cabriolet will go on sale in April, with first deliveries in July. All UK-spec cars will feature sports suspension as standard.

BMW X4

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Fresh from its reveal in Geneva, the BMW X4 is set for its North American debut, this time in M40i guise. It’s powered by the same six-cylinder engine you’ll find in the more practical X3 M40i, meaning 355hp and 365lb ft of torque. The new M40i – which features a wider track and a lower centre of gravity – will hit 60mph in 4.6 seconds.

Cadillac CT6 V-Sport

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Remember that Cadillac XT4 from earlier? To paraphrase Chris Tarrant, we really don’t want to give you that. This is the new CT6 V-Sport: the first ever V-Performance version of Cadillac’s flagship saloon. It’s powered by an all-new 4.2-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which develops 550hp and 627lb ft of torque to deliver what we’d expect to be outstanding performance figures. “With its lightweight architecture, an all-new Cadillac Twin Turbo V8 coupled with the tightened suspension and revised AWD torque split, we’ve enhanced the CT6 to be well-balanced and capable of all conditions,” said Lyndon Lie, CT6 chief engineer.

Hyundai Kona Electric

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Americans will have to wait a while before they can get their hands on the Hyundai Kona Electric – it will launch in Europe first – but we expect the Korean EV to give the Chevrolet Bolt a run for its money. In the UK, you can expect to pay around £25,000 before government grants for the Kona Electric, which sounds like great value for an EV with up to 186 miles of range and a five-year warranty.

Ford Fusion

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The Ford Fusion (Mondeo in the UK) is the first Ford vehicle to be equipped with the new Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technology, which includes emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot information, lane-keeping assist, rear camera and auto high-beam. Meanwhile, the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid model has been tweaked to deliver an electric-only range of up to 25 miles – nearly 20 percent greater than the current model. A small number of minor cosmetic upgrades and a suite of new colours complete the updates for the 2019 Fusion.

GMC Sierra AT4

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Unveiled in New York City, ahead of the motor show, the GMC Sierra AT4 is “designed for the customer who wants an elevated presence on the road and the capability to venture off life’s beaten path,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC. It’s also the pick-up for those who can resist the lure of the all-conquering Ford F-150. It rides two inches higher than the regular Sierra, and comes with standard features such as four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differentials and skid plates. Power is sourced from a 5.3-litre V8, although 6.2-litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre turbodiesel options are available.

Jaguar I-Pace

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Both the XK120 and E-Type made their North American debuts at the New York Auto Show, and now it’s the turn of the production version of the Jaguar I-Pace. Boasting 349hp and 512lb ft of torque from its twin electric motors, the I-Pace takes just 4.5 seconds to accelerate to 60mph, while its 90kWh battery can deliver up to 240 miles of range. In the US, the I-Pace will cost from $69,500.

Range Rover SV Coupe

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Also making its North American debut, the SV Coupe is the fastest and most exclusive full-size Range Rover ever. Just 999 will be made, each priced from £240,000 in the UK or $295,000 in the US. Its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine develops 557hp and 516lb ft of torque, enabling the luxury SUV to hit 62mph in 4.5 seconds and 176mph flat-out.

Nissan Altima

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The all-new sixth generation Nissan Altima is here, but all we have ahead of its reveal is this teaser sketch. What else do we know about Nissan’s mid-size saloon? Well, it’ll feature the same ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous technology found on the Nissan Leaf and is expected to be larger than the outgoing Altima.

Toyota Corolla

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Wait, don’t skip to the next slide, because the new Toyota Corolla is quite exciting. For a start, it’s powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which is rather refreshing in a world of downsizing. It’s also offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and features a revised sport-tuned suspension. We think it looks rather good.

Volvo V60

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Yes, yes, yes… the XC90, XC60 and XC40 SUVs are all well and good, but where would Volvo be without a good looking wagon? And few estate cars are as alluring as the new Volvo V60, which makes its North American debut in New York. In the US, the V60 will be available with a T5 front-wheel-drive powertrain with 250hp or T6 all-wheel-drive with 316hp.

Lincoln Aviator

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The last Lincoln Aviator rolled off the production line in 2005 following years of disappointing sales. But now the mid-size luxury SUV is back, although Lincoln is giving nothing away. We do know that it will be based on the Ford Explorer platform and will come with an electrified powertrain option.

Acura RDX

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The third-generation RDX has been designed and developed in America for the first time and is being billed as the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade. The 2019 RDX marks the return of the Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) to the line-up and pairs it with a new 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged engine and a segment-first 10-speed transmission. The A-Spec variant (pictured) looks particularly interesting.

Hyundai Santa Fe

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The Santa Fe is the best-selling SUV in Hyundai’s 32-year history in the US, with more than 1.5 million units sold. We’ve seen the 2019 Santa Fe before – first in Seoul, then in Geneva – but the importance of the North American market shouldn’t be underestimated. Three engines will be available in the US: 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol units and a 2.2-litre diesel. Seven seats are available in the Santa Fe XL.

Volvo XC40 Inscription

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

For the first time in its history, Volvo has three SUVs in its range, including the XC40. The compact SUV makes its North American debut in lavish Inscription trim, “offering unique features and an expanded list of standard equipment that is uncommon in the compact premium SUV market.” Given the success of the XC90 and XC60 in North America, we reckon the XC40 will be incredibly popular in the US.

Bugatti Chiron Sport

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Following its reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, the Bugatti Chiron Sport is making its North American debut in New York. The power and performance figures are unchanged – like anyone needs more than 1,500hp – but the Sport tips the scales 18kg lighter than the ‘standard’ Chiron. Bugatti claims that the Sport can lap the Nardo handling circuit a full five seconds faster than the Chiron. The North American market is the second strongest region for Bugatti, after Europe.

Infiniti QX60 Limited

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

It’s a busy year for Infiniti, with the new QX60 and QX80 following the launch of the QX50 premium crossover. The QX60 is Infiniti’s best-selling SUV, with the 2019 model featuring a host of cosmetic upgrades, custom 20-inch alloy wheels, stone-coloured leather seats and a suite of safety and security features.

Infiniti QX80 Limited

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The Infiniti QX80 is even larger and more luxurious, with a range of options befitting its role as the brand’s flagship SUV. Options include dark machine-finished 22-inch wheels, matte silver open-pore wood trim, illuminated kick plates and Ultrasuede headliner. Power is sourced from a 400hp 5.6-litre V8 engine.

Audi A6

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The new Audi A6 features the same infotainment system that debuted in the new A8 and A7, with the MMI touch control replacing the rotary dial and conventional buttons of the previous model. A 48-volt mild-hybrid system will be fitted as standard across the range, reducing CO2 emissions by 10g/km.

Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe and Cabriolet

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The new Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe and cabriolet models are powered by a 3.0-litre V6 engine, which now delivers 385hp, 23hp more than before. It means that the coupe can accelerate to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, while the cabriolet completes the sprint in 4.6 seconds. Other changes include styling tweaks, interior upgrades, and more personalisation options.

Lexus RC F Sport Black Line

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

Available on all RC 300 and RC 350 F Sport models, the Black Line special edition features two exterior paint colours, standard matte black wheels, orange or black brake calipers, black chrome accents, and orange interior stitching. Just 650 units will be available.

Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The Volkswagen Arteon R-Line features a choice of 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels, R-Line badges, a unique front bumper, R-Line air inlets, and a gloss black rear spoiler. On the inside, drivers are welcomed by the R-Line logo on the screen, contrast stitching and other interior upgrades. The Arteon will be available to North American customers in the autumn.

Hyundai Tucson Sport

New York Auto Show 2018: the best cars

The 2018 Hyundai Sport is now equipped with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine developing 181hp and 175lb ft of torque. Sport trim also includes a six-speed automatic transmission, blind-spot detection, push-button start, 19-inch alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control. US customers will be £25,150 for the front-wheel-drive Sport, with all-wheel drive available for an extra £1,400.

Read more:

The most exciting cars heading to the Detroit Auto Show 2018
The 10 coolest cars at the Geneva Motor Show 2018
2018 Geneva Motor Show video review: from A to Z

Just how reliable is the Citroen C3?

Citroen C3: goodbye to the beige beauty

Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair

If you’re looking for a supermini that puts comfort, a relaxing driving experience and a pleasant interior ahead of dynamic handling, the Citroen C3 could be the car for you. But what’s it like to live with the Citroen C3? And would we part with our own cash for one?

We’re spending six months with a Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair to find out what life with the C3 is like. Picking that lengthly nomenclature apart, the ‘Puretech 110’ refers to the engine: a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 110hp combined with, in the case of our test car, a six-speed automatic gearbox.

‘Flair’, meanwhile, means it’s in the highest-spec trim available. As standard, it comes with the Cactus-style Airbumps on the side of the car, as well as reversing camera and Citroen’s clever ConnectedCam integrated dashcam.

Read on to find out what life with the Citroen C3 is like.


Report 6: Goodbye to the beige beauty

Citroen C3

It’s taken time for the C3 to really get under my skin but, just as a man arrives to take it away, it’s pretty much there. Its quirky looks, characterful engine and delightful interior mean it’d be a contender if I wanted to jump on the PCP cycle with an affordable supermini.

I like how unashamedly different to every other supermini on the market it is. It feels very distinct from VW Group superminis such as the new Seat Ibiza. To drive, it’s decidedly unsporting – the ride’s on the wafty side (although I’d spec smaller alloys to amplify this) and the steering is light and easy rather than full of feedback.

Is it the best supermini on sale? I’ve explained below that, objectively, it isn’t in the same league as the new Ford Fiesta. It’s never going to be a group test winner, but there’s a definite appeal to the very French C3. Would I spec a beige one, though? Not a chance.


Report 5: How useful is the Citroen C3’s ConnectedCam?

Citroen C3

Dashcams are now so popular, it’s hard to believe that Citroen is still the only manufacturer to offer a factory-fit version on its cars. Marketed as a gimmick for the social media generation, the C3’s ConnectedCam could also prove useful in the case of an incident or collision. Insurance companies now accept dashcam footage as evidence when working out who’s to blame following a crash, while police are happy for drivers to submit footage as evidence of potentially dangerous driving.

Fortunately, my time with the Citroen C3 has been rather incident-free. During my day-to-day driving, I’ve not crashed into anyone, nor has anyone done anything particularly outrageous in front of the C3’s camera. Good news, perhaps, but bad news for my desire to try out the ConnectedCam.

There was one incident, though, where a guy in a mini cherry picker drifted across four lanes of the M25 and came within inches of striking the central reservation. Because I went on the brakes fairly hard, this triggered an ‘incident’ on the ConnectedCam, and it saved HD footage 30 seconds before and one minute after the near miss.

While I hate the whole dashcam culture (the internet is awash with videos of people doing silly things in cars and I get a big enough fix of that on the M25), I appreciate that the ConnectedCam could have been very useful had there been an incident.

As well as saving footage in an incident, you can also press a button to manually save footage or a picture. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is connect your phone to the camera via wi-fi and download the pictures and footage via a dedicated app. You can even set it up to automatically post to social media, if you so wish.

A downside of downloading video footage is the length of time it takes. If you wish to download a clip at the end of your journey, it’ll take several minutes of sitting in your car doing so. By which time, you’re probably better off forgetting about it and making a cup of tea.


Report 4: Just how reliable is the Citroen C3?

Just how reliable is the Citroen C3?

There was a time when, as a journalist running a French car for six months, you could guarantee it would break down. While that wouldn’t be a good thing for owners, for us it can be a good thing. It gives us something to write about.

Indeed, in 1990, Autocar and Motor magazine ran a Citroen XM long-termer. James May, during his time as a serious(ish) journalist, complained that he was running out of space to write about it. Why? Because the box listing faults was taking over the page. These included transmission judder, graunching brakes and excessive pitching to name a few, not to mention random warning lights and a torn driver’s door seal.

Last year, we were looking forward to spending a few days with Citroen’s DS heritage car. The 1961 ID19, true to form, failed to start after being delivered to our man Tim’s house. Its fancy-pants hydropneumatic suspension caused a headache when a delivery truck came along to collect it, too.

I’m ever-so-slightly disappointed, then, that several months into our time with the Citroen C3, nothing has gone wrong. Not a single warning light has appeared. Not even a mildly annoying squeak has unearthed. It’s certainly never left me stranded.

“Ah, but modern cars don’t break down,” you may say. And that’s kind of true. We get different cars in on test every week, and it’s unusual when one refuses to start. It does happen, though – we recently had to call the AA out for a certain Italian car we had on loan from the press office.

According to What Car? magazine’s recent reliability survey, Citroen still performs fairly poorly, coming in position 28 out of a total of 32 manufacturers. Its reliability rating of 55.2 percent is certainly lower than average, but our experience with the C3 suggests it’s no less reliable than, say, a Ford Fiesta.

Yes, this is based on a scientific sample of, er, one… But we’re keen to know how other ‘owners’ are getting on with their C3s. Do you drive one? Has it let you down? Or is doing a commendable job of shifting Citroen’s much-maligned reputation? Comment at the bottom of this page or drop me an email.


Video: Citroen C3 long-term test


Report 3: The Citroen C3 isn’t the best – but don’t dismiss it just yet

Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair

We touched on just how good the C3’s rivals were in our first report on our long-term test car. The more time we spend with the new Ford Fiesta, the more convinced we are: it’s brilliant. Arguably class-leading, if it wasn’t for the pesky Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo also being replaced at the same time. In many ways, the Citroen C3 just doesn’t compare to the competition. If we were to put them all up against each other, objectively, the C3 would be way down the pecking order in a supermini showdown.

Why is that? Well there’s the frustrating infotainment system, for starters (we’ll come onto that in a future report), while not everyone will find the seats particularly comfortable. The Puretech 110 engine is noisy, and the cabin’s ergonomics are a bit… French. And not in a good way.

But all this doesn’t necessarily mean you should dismiss the Citroen C3 as your next car. If you’re already considering one, you probably like how it looks. We certainly do (even if the MR team is divided over the pale beige hue of our test car), and with the Airbumps it looks every bit the mini-Cactus. While superminis are constantly attempting to appear sportier in their appearance, the C3 is unashamedly not sporty.

Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair

And that’s true for the driving experience, too. The steering is light and uncommunicative, but that translates into an easy drive around town. The automatic gearbox – a proper, six-speed torque converter, rather than the automated manual of its predecessor – is generally pretty satisfying to use, changing gears at the right times and not being the hindrance some auto ‘boxes are. If you’re considering an automatic for the first time, it suits the C3’s character well, particularly as the manual gearbox isn’t particularly satisfying to use.

Even with the large 16-inch alloys of our test car, the C3’s ride is relatively supple, adding to the old-school French feel. It does get flustered over bigger speed bumps and potholes, but it’s going to be kinder to your back than the likes of the new Fiesta.

While the Citroen C3 is never going to be our stock response for anyone looking for a supermini, it will suit some people. We like its unashamed lack of sporting aspiration, and for anyone looking for a comfortable, easy-to-drive car, it ought to be on their shortlist.


Report 2: The C3’s stop-start is infuriating us

Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair

Most cars we review these days come with a stop-start system. If you’re not familiar, it essentially turns off the car’s engine when you come to a halt and restarts it when you want to move off. The idea is to save fuel (and therefore reduce CO2 emissions) when you’re sitting in traffic and not going anywhere.

In some ways, stop-start systems work better combined with an automatic gearbox than a manual one. In a manual, you have to take the car out of gear and your foot off the clutch for the stop-start to kick in. And, realistically, how often do we do that under normal driving? An auto, meanwhile, kicks in as soon as the car comes to a complete stop – or sometimes even before.

Some people hate stop-start. We don’t. Not ordinarily. It’s technological progress, and anything to improve the air quality in urban areas ought to be welcomed. But the stop-start system on our automatic C3 is very, very annoying.

It waits for the least opportune moments to kick in. Even trying to modulate pressure on the brake pedal doesn’t work – simply coming close to a stop is enough for it to cut out, usually as you’re looking for a gap at a roundabout. Move your foot onto the gas and it’ll suddenly wake up, lurching forward. It makes it very difficult to be smooth when sitting off from a (near) standstill.

Yes, you can turn it off. But even that isn’t easy. You have to navigate through the car’s settings on the infotainment system, and then it turns back on whenever you turn the ignition off. What’s wrong with a big button to turn the feature off? Or a stop-start system that stays off?

And, while we’re on irritating little niggles… the infotainment screen is far too bright when driving in the dark. Like the stop-start system, it can be turned off, somewhere in the settings. But as soon as you press any button, it lights up again. And that includes changing the volume using the steering wheel controls.


Report 1: Is the Citroen C3 the best supermini on sale?

Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair

Supermini buyers have never had it so good. The new Ford Fiesta is brilliant, while the latest Seat Ibiza is hard to criticise. Even the 2017 Nissan Micra is a gazillion times better than its predecessor. If you’re a car manufacturer wanting to stand out in this sector, you have to do something different.

Fortunately, Citroen is good at different. It’s proven that with its C4 Cactus. Despite its flaws (and there’s no shortage of them), the C4 Cactus is widely loved by the motoring press and buyers alike. So, when it was time to introduce a new C3 supermini, it made perfect sense to give it a dose of individuality by following the same approach as the Cactus.

Looking beyond the Airbumps on the side of the car, the Cactus approach means a trendy interior, no fewer than 36 exterior colour combinations and suspension set up for comfort rather than outright driving dynamics. We’re going to be running a new Citroen C3 for the next six months to find out whether it’s as flawed as the Cactus, or whether it’s good enough to take on popular competitors such as the Fiesta.

First impressions are positive. While the Soft Sand colour of our test car wouldn’t be the first choice of many buyers (especially paired with a white roof), it won’t take long on Citroen’s online configurator to find a scheme that works for you. And while we’re fans of the Airbumps (standard on our car, the top-spec Flair), if you’re not you’ll be pleased to read the entry-level Touch does without them. They’re an option on the mid-spec C3 Feel.

Where the C3 really impresses in the first instance is its interior. Our car has the ‘Colorado Hype ambiance’ trim, which consists of contrasting black and orange fabrics with ‘chevron’ detailing. It looks good – much more characterful and modern than most supermini interiors. It’ll be interesting to find out whether we still like it a few months down the line, or whether it starts to irritate.

While the C3 stands out in terms of its appearance and interior, there are other areas where it’s less impressive. The engine, a three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol producing 110hp, is a vocal unit. While it’s the most powerful engine available in the C3, it’s not as lively as its noise suggests. The handling, meanwhile, falls short of the new Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza.

We’ll be spending more time with the Citroen C3 to see if it really is competitive in this tough sector.

>NEXT: Car-spotting in Citroen’s point and click supermini

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

2018 Vauxhall Insignia GSI first drive: fun but not fast

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

A warmed-up Vauxhall Insignia. Not exciting, on the face of it, but don’t click away just yet. The new Insignia received pretty much universal praise when it arrived last year, and this sporty version has been engineered on the Nurburgring. We’ll come onto whether you should care about that shortly, but the fact that it’s 12 seconds faster around the famous German circuit than the old Insignia VXR  despite being 65hp down on power  is enough to pique our interest.

First impressions

So what exactly has Vauxhall done to the Insignia to make it worthy of the first GSI badge since the Vectra GSI was canned in 2005? Buyers get a choice of engines available elsewhere in the range: a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 260hp and a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel with 210hp. Fact fans will note there’s no extra power over lesser models in the Insignia range, but Vauxhall says the GSI isn’t about outright power.

There are various cosmetic upgrades, of course, including 20-inch alloys (18-inchers are available in other markets but deemed too understated for the UK), big chrome air intakes at the front of the car and a fairly restrained spoiler at the rear. In standard form, we think the new Insignia is quite a handsome car. The GSI upgrades add to that, although it’d look less in-your-face in a colour other than the bright Lava Red of our test car.

First seat

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

On the face of it, the inside is business as usual for the Insignia, aside from some aluminium pedals and sporty seats developed in-house at Vauxhall with inspiration from the Corsa VXR’s Recaros. Lighter than the Recaros, these standard leather sports seats feature adjustable side bolsters making it easy to get comfortable. As well as being heated and ventilated, they even offer a massage mode. This isn’t exactly a track-focussed, lightweight car.

We’d like to see a few more sporting touches in the cabin – seats and a few minor touches aside, this could be a high-spec repmobile (which, arguably, is exactly what it is). We can’t criticise the spec list, though: there’s an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which works with Bose speakers to provide a premium sound experience. Or something.

There are also myriad driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control and parking sensors (although we’re surprised at the lack of a rear-view camera), while even passengers in the rear get heated seats.

First drive

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

When you hear the words ‘developed at the Nurburgring’, it’s often a pseudonym for rock-hard suspension and over-eager steering. Fortunately, that’s not the case for the Insignia GSI.

There are four different drive modes: Competition, Sport, Touring and Normal. An unnecessary amount, really, tweaking the dampers, stability control and throttle response as well as piping synthetic noise into the cabin to make your four-cylinder Insignia sound rortier than it really is.

We drove the diesel (the sales rep’s favourite, even in 2018) and most of the time were happy to leave it in Normal, but selecting Sport during pacier driving isn’t as horrid as you might expect. Even with the dampers firmed up, it’ll flow pleasantly along broken British roads, and even the fake noise doesn’t get too jarring. In fact, in Sport, the Insignia GSi is quite an enjoyable drive.

Turn the car into a sharp bend and torque-vectoring works with a twin-clutch mechanical diff at the rear to send power to the wheel with the most grip. You can feel it working, a clumsy input of right pedal mid-bend actually tightens things up as the car resists running wide. It’s still, of course, a diesel Insignia, but enthusiastic company car drivers learn there’s fun to be had here.

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

We still think a power upgrade would have been welcome for many buyers, though. A 160kg weight-saving over the first-generation Insignia VXR contributes towards a 7.3 second 0-60mph time (6.9 seconds for the petrol), and although it feels quick, it’s not exactly forceful. Like most modern-day diesels, overtaking is easy thanks to mid-range grunt, but you’re unlikely to ever get the wheels scrabbling as they struggle to handle the power. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

Most Insignia GSIs will spend their time on the motorway, but we did manage three laps of Bruntingthorpe to play around with the Insignia’s Competition mode. A few taps of the ESP button turn it off entirely, allowing the rear-end to pivot around the front axle when hard on the brakes. It’s fairly neutral, though – despite sharing a GKN Twinster diff with the Focus RS, this isn’t exactly a drift mode.

More importantly, the Insignia GSI is perfectly relaxed on the motorway. Wind and road noise are fairly subdued at 70mph, and the dampers left in Normal mode provide a cosseting ride.

First verdict

Vauxhall Insignia GSI

You could look at the Insignia GSI as nothing more than a lazy attempt by Vauxhall to renew interest in last year’s model. In essence, it offers company car drivers a few sporty trinkets without the tax and fuel economy penalties incurred by providing any form of performance upgrade. Think of it as a BMW 118d M Sport of the mainstream D-segment.

But it’s more than that, really. It’s a fairly polished attempt at turning the fleet driver’s favourite into a driver’s car using methods other than simply giving it more power. Fast Vauxhall enthusiasts will be better off waiting for the new Insignia VXR (although we don’t know when that’s going to arrive) but, for now, this is a pretty impressive high-spec, slightly sporty Insignia.

There is, of course, a catch. Prices start at £32,975 (that’s for a diesel hatch), while you’ll pay £34,875 for the estate version in petrol flavour. That’s a significant amount of money  a premium of more than £4,000 over high-spec Insignias  especially when you consider the likes of Kia’s hot new Stinger can be had for similar money.

Five rivals

Ford Mondeo
BMW 3 Series
Kia Stinger
Skoda Superb
Mazda 6

Prices

Vauxhall Insignia GSI Grand Sport diesel: £32,975

Vauxhall Insignia GSI Grand Sport petrol: £33,375

Vauxhall Insignia GSI Sports Tourer diesel: £34,475

Vauxhall Insignia GSI Sports Tourer petrol: £34,875

Specifications: Vauxhall Insignia GSI Grand Sport

Engine: 2.0-litre biturbo diesel/2.0-litre turbo petrol

Power: 210/260hp

Torque: 354/295lb ft

0-62mph: 7.3/6.9 seconds

Top speed: 145/155mph

Fuel economy: 40.4/32.8mpg

Length/width/height: 4,897/2,093/1,455mm

Boot space (seats up/down): 490/1,450 litres

Read more:

Is this the trickiest driving manoeuvre?

Is this the trickiest driving manoeuvre?

Is this the trickiest driving manoeuvre?

A survey of 2,000 drivers has revealed that parallel parking is the driving manoeuvre we dread the most.

According to the poll, commissioned by the Accident Advice Helpline, many of us are happy to drive almost a hundred metres further just to find an easier place to park.

“Parallel parking has been a thorn in drivers’ sides since the invention of the motor car,” said Accident Advice Helpline’s David Carter.

“We’ve all felt the pressure of getting into a tight parking space on a busy street when there are others watching.

“So it’s no surprise that twice as many people said they dread parallel parking as the next most difficult manoeuvre.”

Reversing into a parking bay and reversing around a corner also made the list of drivers’ more challenging manoeuvres. Motorists also admitted to being daunted by reversing in a straight line.

The survey found that nearly half of drivers admit to attempting a parallel park that went so badly wrong that they gave up halfway through. A quarter have exited the car and let someone else finish off for them.

It’s no surprise, then, that respondents put a reversing camera to the top of their wish list to make parallel parking easier.

10 trickiest parking manoeuvres

1. Parallel park
2. Reverse into a parking bay
3. Reversing around a corner
4. Turn-in-the-road/three point turn
5. Driving forward into a parking bay
6. Reversing in a straight line
7. Parking close to the kerb
8. Navigating a roundabout
9. Emergency stop
10. Pulling up on the right of the road

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