Learner driver

What do learner drivers really want to be tested on?

Learner driver

Learner drivers have revealed what they really want to be taught and tested on  and the most common desire is to experience everyday, real-life scenarios.

According to car insurer Marmalade, learner drivers aged between 17-24 indicated they want guidance and tuition on the following experiences:

  • Night driving: 58 percent
  • Rush-hour driving: 48 percent
  • Roadside wheel changes: 37 percent

What’s more, parents (for once) actually agree on what a learner needs to experience. Night driving (74 percent), rush-hour driving (66 percent) and roadside wheel changes (45 percent) also topped their list of important scenarios to be schooled in.

Learner driver

“We take it very seriously that new drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident,” said Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade.

“However, most bumps are not down to reckless behaviour, they’re caused by inexperience. Rather than apply restrictions, let’s encourage the Government to broaden their knowledge with skilled professionals, in a safe environment.”

It seems both learner drivers and their parents agree: don’t overcomplicate things, simply make sure new drivers are taught the basics, and overall driving standards may rise accordingly. 

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Drifting Mustang

This Ford Mustang just drifted the ENTIRE Nürburgring

Drifting Mustang

Drifting, love it or hate it, is a finely honed and balletic skill. It’s an impressive demonstration of car control wherever you see it.

And this is a drift well worth seeing: Vaughn Gittin Jr and Ford have just set the benchmark for the ultimate drift challenge – all 13 miles of the famous Nürburgring, smoking and sideways in his Mustang.

It’s the sort of thing a group of young lads would speculate about on the playground. “Reckon you could drift the whole Nürburgring?” one would speculate. “No way!” the others would respond.

It’s that unbelievable, but Vaughn Gittin has taken his 900hp supercharged RTR Mustang for the hairiest lap of the Green Hell ever.

Lairy enough that the lap had to be split into sections. Why? One set of tyres was never going to last a whole sideways lap of the ‘Ring. In the end, a full three sets were sacrificed.

“Drifting the Nürburgring represents the ultimate challenge to me,” said Gittin Jr.

“It is something that many question whether it would be possible and whether the car and driver could do it and come out in one piece.

“Something inside of me had to take this on to find out.” And how…

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Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N revealed ahead of Paris debut

Hyundai i30 Fastback NThe Hyundai i30 Fastback N is a five-door GT coupe version of the i30 N five-door hot hatch, which Hyundai hopes will prove a fast and value-packed alternative to models such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. It debuts next week at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

From the front, it’s largely the same as the i30 N hatch, the range-topper of the i30 five-door range.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

It’s the slinky hatchback rear that’s the standout aspect. Hyundai would rather us refer to it as a four-door coupe, thanks to its sweeping roofline and elegant tail.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Instead of the upright rear of a hatch, it’s more curvaceous and more like one of those premium German alternatives (it doesn’t have a rear wiper either, which should be interesting in rainy wintry Britain…).

Yet it should still have a reasonably roomy rear and the 450-litre boot is actually bigger and more practical than the hatch.

It extends to a yawning 1,351 litres with the seats down. So the sexy-looking version of the i30 N is actually the more practical version too – at least until Hyundai decides to be bold and give us an i30 N Estate…

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

As with the hatch, the 2.0-litre turbo’s offered in both 250hp and 275hp Performance guise. The latter gets a limited-slip differential, plus bigger 19-inch wheels that are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tyres and hide enlarged brakes. Its dual-exit exhaust is fruitier, too.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Performance? 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds for the regular i30 N Fastback, with the i30 Fastback N Performance Package doing it in 6.1 seconds. Top speed is again capped to 155mph.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N

Expect prices to show a mild hike over the regular i30 N, which costs £25,760 in regular guise and £28,760 as a 275hp Performance. But as the regular Fastback is only around £350 more than the hatch, it may not be as step as you think.

We’ll find out more at Paris next week – and bring you first live images of the better-looking Fastback four-door coupe alternative to the i30 N hot hatch.

McLaren 600LT scale model

Mac Mini: buy a McLaren 600LT scale model for £65

McLaren 600LT scale modelThe new McLaren 600LT hasn’t just launched to the world’s press for first drives, it’s also been launched as a scale model, with prices starting from £65.

The TSM-Model McLaren 600LT is a factory-approved version that rolls out to coincide with the introduction of the real thing in McLaren retailers.

Made from resin, it’s offered in two sizes – 1:43 scale for £65, and larger 1:18 scale for £200. Both are a little more affordable than the £185,500 price of the road-going McLaren 600LT.

McLaren 600LT scale model

McLaren’s offerering it in two colours, Myan Orange or Chicane Effect grey. Both are the launch colours for the 600LT, and both share the same black interior.

A range of special liveries will also be offered.

McLaren scale model cars

The launch of the 600LT scale models takes the line-up of TSM McLarens to more than 75 models. Included in the range are both production and development cars, road-going and race-spec McLarens, plus key cars from the Sports, Super and Ultimate Series range.

Perfect, says McLaren, for enthusiasts of all ages to “curate their own McLaren-themed collection, by series, model, variant or even colour”.

McLaren 600LT

McLaren 600LT review: flat-out in the best driver’s car of 2018

McLaren 600LTI’ve looked forward to this launch more than any other this year. First revealed at Goodwood Festival of Speed, the McLaren 600LT is a track-focused take on the McLaren 570S. It has more power, less weight and, as a new McLaren Longtail, sizeable shoes to fill.

I’m feeling a tad trepidatious, too. My drive takes place at the Hungaroring, a pukka Formula One circuit with fast straights and tight turns. If anywhere can showcase this 600hp supercar’s talents – and expose its flaws – it’s here.

Priced at £185,500, the McLaren squares up to some of the finest driver’s cars on sale, including the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, Mercedes-AMG GT R and Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Will this hardcore hero live up to the hype? Here’s everything you need to know.

The Longtail legacy weighs heavy

McLaren 600LT

The Longtail (LT) name has an illustrious history, starting with the greatest supercar of them all. The original Longtail was a McLaren F1, specifically a development of the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR. Its elongated carbon fibre bodywork was designed to improve aerodynamics and increase downforce, giving the car its trademark stretched silhouette.

A first roadgoing LT followed in 2015. The 675LT was a harder, faster 650S, its extended rear end incorporating a huge pop-up airbrake. Demand – stoked by critical acclaim – far outweighed supply, with just 500 Coupés and 500 Spiders made.

The 600LT is the first entry-level ‘Sports Series’ McLaren to get the LT treatment and, this time, that titular tail gains a pair of Porsche 918-style top exit exhausts. Again, production will be “strictly limited” (although McLaren won’t commit to a number) and a drop-top Spider is planned, due in 2019.

It’s faster and more focused

McLaren 600LT

Fully 23 percent of components on the 600LT are different to the 570S, with the changes entirely focused on boosting performance.

Power from the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 rises 30hp to 600hp at a lofty 7,500rpm. Dry weight (without fluids), meanwhile, falls to 1,247kg, an identical 100kg saving to the 675LT. Use launch control and you’ll hit 62mph in 2.9 seconds, then a 204mph VMax.

The 600LT also stops quicker, thanks to carbon-ceramic discs from the ‘Super Series’ 720S and a McLaren Senna-inspired brake booster. From 124mph (200kph), it slows to a standstill in 117 metres – just one metre more than the P1 hypercar of 2013. That’s the pace of progress.

Track driving is part of its DNA

McLaren 600LT

McLaren says there are six strands to “Longtail DNA”. Increased power, reduced weight and limited availability we’ve covered, and we’ll come to driver engagement. The final two are optimised aerodynamics and track-focused dynamics.

This quest for circuit-based speed starts with more aggressive aero. A jutting front splitter, larger side skirts, fixed rear wing and racing-style diffuser all contribute to 100kg of downforce at 155mph: a speed, incidentally, that I’ll soon surpass at the Hungaroring.

Lighter, forged aluminium suspension, derived from the 720S, offers an 8mm lower ride height, stiffer anti-roll bars and a 10mm wider front track. Adaptive dampers are still standard-fit, but are recalibrated for a tauter, more tightly-honed response.

The final piece in the dynamic puzzle is tyres. The Pirelli P Zero Trofeo Rs fitted here are bespoke to the 600LT and have a soft, sticky compound for maximum cornering grip. Conventional P Zeros, longer lasting and better for wet weather, are a no-cost option.

Even for a supercar, it looks specialMcLaren 600LT

Forget the joy of specs for a moment: the 600LT looks sensational. From upwards-opening dihedral doors to an exuberant paint palette, its styling screams ‘supercar’. An Audi R8 seems plain by comparison.

As you’d expect, McLaren’s modifications encompass more than simply a 45mm-longer tail. For me, the hands-down highlight are those exhausts, relocated from within the bumper to the rear deck. A heat-resistant coating protects the central section of the wing from occasional flame-outs: one result of such stubby tailpipes.

A wider diffuser with taller vanes also adds visual muscle, the LT’s longer bodywork increasing its effectiveness and allowing a ‘cleaner’ airflow under its flat, carbon fibre floor.

Sadly, my favourite upgrade wasn’t fitted to our test cars. For a mere £25,000, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) will install a fully-functional roof scoop, as seen on the Pebble Beach 600LT show car – and indeed the F1 GTR Longtail.

You can sit in Senna seats

McLaren 600LT

Inside, the transformation from 570S to 600LT is less obvious, but that’s no bad thing. A low scuttle gives excellent forward visibility and swathes of Alcantara on the seats, doors and dashboard instil a race car vibe. McLaren’s rather rudimentary media system is the only bum note.

In fact, audio and navigation aren’t standard on the 600LT (saving 3.3kg in weight), and nor is air conditioning (a further 12.6kg). All are no-cost options, however, and I’d certainly sacrifice a few kilos for chilled air and 6Music. I suspect the majority of customers will, too.

If you want the lightest possible spec – and coolest-looking cabin – you’ll need the seats from the Senna. These are essentially a carbon fibre shell with seven strategically-placed pads, and weigh just 3.35kg each. They’re more comfortable than they look…

McLaren has finally sorted the soundtrack

McLaren 600LT

I’m loitering in the pitlane, awaiting my first of three track sessions. Cars are lined up, idling and awaiting a green light, and it’s immediately apparent how much louder the 600LT is.

This is the other benefit of those truncated tailpipes: more decibels, more drama. The sound is recognisably a V8, but this is no thudding, AMG-style rumble. It’s harder, harsher and bristling with urgent intent.

At speed on the circuit, the noise swells from savage snarl to bellicose bellow as the needle nears 8,500rpm. The whip-crack on downshifts is a delightfully naughty, too. Even wearing a helmet with plugged-in intercom scarcely muffles the fireworks.

On-track, it makes a 570S feel soft

McLaren 600LT

An extra 30hp feels like a token gesture in a car that started life with 570hp. However, factor in that 100kg weight loss and it’s no surprise the 600LT posts significant gains against the stopwatch. It’s subjectively quicker, too.

Driving back-to-back with its standard sibling, there’s an added physicality, a renewed brutality to how it blasts out of bends. It feels like a racing car: tightly wound and totally lacking in inertia.

The most noticable difference is under braking. Hitting 160mph at the end of the start/finish straight, then slamming on the stoppers for a second-gear bend, I feel the 570S dive a little, its rear end squirming ever-so-slightly sideways. The 600LT, however, is rock solid, staying flat and stable from even higher speeds.

It corners quicker than a 675LT, too

McLaren 600LT

Perhaps the old 675LT’s biggest claim to fame was being the fastest car around the Top Gear test track – a title it still holds today. Piloted by the Stig, its 1min 13.7sec lap bested a Pagani Huayra and single-seat BAC Mono. Yet the 600LT matches it to 62mph and, according to McLaren, can “generate circuit cornering speeds that exceed those of a 675LT”. Startling stuff.

What’s equally remarkable is how easy the 600LT’s talents are to exploit, even for a driver of my decidedly average ability. Around the Hungaroring’s final, constant-radius corner, I found I could trim the car’s line with the throttle, its chassis lucidly telegraphing the fine line between grip and slip.

Clearly, its limits are high – especially on Trofeo R rubber – but find them and the 600LT breaks away progressively and safely. Despite its track focus, it’s both agile and docile: a trademark McLaren trait.

It’s a scalpel, not a sledgehammer

McLaren 600LT

The laws of physics dictate that any car with 600 horses and rear-wheel drive can be very slideable indeed. If ‘slideable’ is even a word. But unlike, say, an AMG GT R or Aston Vantage, going sideways isn’t the McLaren’s métier.

For starters, there’s no Variable Drift Control – the system fitted to the 720S that allows increasingly lurid, driver-selectable angles of attack. Instead, it sticks with three modes: Normal, Sport and Track. The latter allows more movement before gently intervening, allowing fun that doesn’t end in a gravel trap (or worse).

And fun is what you’ll have, albeit of a more measured variety than gratuitous, tyre-smoking hoonery. The 600LT is tenacious, malleable and fantastically fast. Oh, and if you really must, there is a ‘burnout mode’ for standing starts, which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t sample.

The sticker price is only the starting point

McLaren 600LT

People say there’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ Ferrari, and the same applies to McLaren. ‘My’ 600LT had circa. £60,000-worth of options, elevating its price perilously close to £250,000.

By far the most expensive of these was the MSO Clubsport Pack, at £24,200. It includes the aforementioned Senna seats, plus titanium wheel bolts and liberal splashings of exterior and interior carbon fibre – including for the roof, rear buttresses, gearshift paddles and steering wheel spokes. Total weight saved is 9.3kg, at a cost of (ahem) £2,602 per kg.

Add a further £21,630 of ‘visual’ carbon upgrades (mirror casings, door inserts, bumper aero fins), and it’s clear the black stuff doesn’t come cheap. The one essential option fitted was the £3,860 Security Pack, which includes a hydraulic nose-lift system. Without it, you’ll be grounded at first sight of a speed hump.

It’s very probably the best driver’s car of the year

McLaren 600LT

I was right to be excited: the 600LT is another ballistically brilliant McLaren Longtail. It’s a machine that, despite its ‘junior’ supercar status (and such things are relative), is fit to follow in the tyre tracks of the 675LT and F1 GTR.

The best driver’s car launched in 2018, then? Well, the obvious caveat is that, so far, I’ve only tried the 600LT on-track. However, the way it handled the Hungaroring’s choppy serrated kerbs suggests it won’t shake you senseless over British bitumen.

For me, the obvious stumbling block here is the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, with its equally talented chassis and fearsome, 9,000rpm flat-six. But since you can’t actually buy a ‘991.2’ RS unless you’re one of the favoured few – or prepared to pay vastly over the odds – the McLaren claims victory by default. Well played, Woking.

McLaren 600LT: rivals

  • Aston Martin Vantage
  • Ferrari 488 Pista
  • Lamborghini Huracan Performante
  • Mercedes-AMG GT R
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS

McLaren 600LT: specification

  • Price: £185,500
  • Engine: Twin-turbo V8, 3,799cc
  • Drivetrain: Mid-engined, rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: 7-speed semi-automatic
  • Chassis: Carbon fibre tub, aluminium crash structures front and rear
  • Suspension: Double wishbones, adaptive dampers
  • Wheels: 19in front, 20in rear
  • Tyres: 225/35 R19 front, 285/35 R20 rear; choice of Pirelli P Zero or Pirelli Trofeo R
  • Brakes: Carbon ceramic discs; 390mm front, 380mm rear
  • Power: 600hp@7,500rpm
  • Torque: 457lb ft@5,500rpm-6,500rpm
  • 0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 204mph
  • Fuel economy: 23.2mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 276g/km
  • Length/width/height: 4,604/2,095/1,194mm
  • Dry weight: 1,247kg
  • Kerb weight: 1,356kg

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Coventry MotoFest

MotoFest event brings a £10 million boost to Coventry

Coventry MotoFest

There’s good news for Coventry businesses and MotoFest fans, as the event’s economic impact is revealed. The headline number: an estimated £10 million overall boost to local business incomes.

Power Maxed MotoFest Coventry is, in comparison to other motoring and racing events, still quite young. After just five years running, it’s impressive to see it make such a positive impact on the local area.

The numbers reveal a 35 percent rise in spending at city-centre businesses, while visitor numbers to the city were up 25 percent. The 136,000-visitor figure is higher than at any other time during 2018, making MotoFest Coventry’s most well-attended event.

MotoFest went some way to filling 98 percent of hotel rooms – 4,677 of 4,708 rooms were occupied in the city over the weekend. For reference, the average weekend sees 60-65 percent of rooms filled.

Coventry MotoFest

Businesses in the city enjoyed a superb boost throughout the weekend. The Yard and The Litten Tree – local eating and drinking establishments – enjoyed a 50 percent increase in turnover.

“The MotoFest weekend brought a great buzz to the city and I look forward to next year,” said Richard Easter from LE Projects Ltd, which operates The Litten Tree and The Yard.

“It’s great to know we are providing a £10 million boost to the city by filling the tills, hotel rooms and city centre itself during the festival weekend” said James Noble, Power Maxed MotoFest Coventry Festival Director.

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25 influential cars of the past 30 years

The most influential cars of the past 30 years

25 influential cars of the past 30 yearsSome cars enter production and fade away without anybody giving them a second thought. Others leave their mark on the industry, securing a place in motoring history. The following 25 cars have, in one way or another, shaped or influenced the car industry.

Tesla Model S

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Whatever your thoughts on Elon Musk and Tesla, it’s impossible not to give the Model S credit for its influence on the EV sector. Six years on from its launch, we’re still using the Model S as the benchmark in the premium EV segment, which just goes to prove how far ahead of the curve it was. Only now are the likes of Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes beginning to play catch-up.

McLaren F1

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

F1 by name, F1 by nature – McLaren’s landmark supercar was the first road car with a carbon fibre chassis and featured tech so advanced, it was decades ahead of its time. It was every inch an F1 car for the road – assuming you had pockets the size of Rowan Atkinson’s – and the result of Gordon Murray’s obsessive approach to car design. Even the engine bay was lined with pure gold.

Toyota Prius

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Love it or hate it, the Mk1 Toyota Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, laying the foundations for a host of rival products. Its rather humdrum styling belied a technologically advanced setup, along with a drag coefficient of just Cd 0.29. Sales of 123,000 were only half the story – the original Prius proved there was a market for hybrid vehicles, with its name becoming a generic term for the segment.

BMW Mini

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

 

In 1999, the classic Mini was ranked second on the list of the 20th century’s most influential cars, but it’s not eligible for this gallery. Instead, we’re nominating the BMW Mini even if its inclusion will upset the purists. Launched in 2001, the new Mini featured retro styling, a classy interior, keen dynamics and more personalisation options than you could shake a stick at. It wasn’t the first retro-inspired car, but it was the best overall package. The Fiat 500 followed six years later.

Audi TT

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

 

Of the Audi TT, SangYup Lee, Bentley’s former head of exterior and advanced design and current vice president of design at Hyundai, said: “It is very difficult for me to come up with one car that shocked me as much as TT. This was the most influential car when I was a student. I still remember all my classmates, “Have you seen the TT? This car doesn’t have a bumper!” That was sensational back in those days. I remember in the classroom, looking at my classmates’ sketches, somehow they all looked similar to the TT.”

Toyota RAV4

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

 

In 1994, the Toyota RAV4 was described by Autocar’s Gavin Conway as “the best-handling off-roader I have driven.” High praise, for what was an automotive pioneer – a crossover before the crossover was even a thing. Sure, there had been plenty of 4x4s before, but the RAV4 combined the high driving position and ruggedness of an off-roader with the handling and dynamics of a hatchback.

Renault Megane Scenic

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

When Renault launched the original Megane Scenic in 1996, it was Europe’s first compact MPV. Developed from the Megane hatchback, the Scenic featured seating for five, space for luggage and a host of storage options throughout the cabin. The designers even called upon their children for help with the interior. Rivals soon followed, including the Vauxhall Zafira, which debuted as a concept in 1997.

Nissan Qashqai

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Like it or not, the Nissan Qashqai has secured a place in the big book of motoring history. Nissan began working on the Qashqai as far back as 2002, during the development of a new Almera, but a shift in direction led to the design of a car offering the practicality of an SUV with the efficiency and dynamics of a hatchback. A raft of me-too rivals followed, but the Qashqai remains the country’s most popular crossover.

Lexus LS40025 influential cars of the past 30 years

Lexus went to extraordinary lengths in its quest to make the world’s finest luxury car, leaving no stone unturned in its crusade to out-Mercedes the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In 2012, Car magazine placed the LS400 40th on the list of the 50 greatest cars of the past 50 years, saying it “exposed the contemporary S-Class as unrefined and crudely made: Lexus didn’t so much raise the bar in mechanical refinement and body engineering, as heave it heavenwards. It eclipsed the BMW 7 and Jaguar XJ.”

Ford Explorer

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Until the Ford Explorer arrived for the 1991 model year, Americans went about their daily lives in station wagons. No vacation was complete without a heavily-laden wagon – just ask the Griswolds. The Explorer was based on the Ranger pick-up, but unlike its predecessor, the Bronco II, the SUV was available as a four-door, making it more attractive to families. By the mid-90s, it had cemented a position as one of the top 10 best-selling cars in the US.

Mazda MX-5

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

To this day, the answer remains MX-5. Or Miata, in the US. Or Eunos, in Japan. The fact is, the Mazda MX-5 rewrote the small sports car rulebook, taking lessons from the past to create the blueprint for a modern, affordable sports cars. Other manufacturers have tried and failed to replicate its magic.

Porsche Boxster

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

By the early 90s, Porsche was in a mess. Sales were in freefall and the company was too reliant on the 911. It needed a car offering more than just specialist appeal – one that could help it ride out the recession. Step forward the Boxster – a car that would trounce the opposition and show the world how to build a sports car for the new millennium.

Ford Puma

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Rumour has it that BMW bought a couple of Ford Pumas when it was developing the new Mini. Why? Because the ‘New Edge’ coupe was arguably the best small front-wheel-drive car you could buy, making it the perfect benchmark for the soon-to-be-launched Mini. In a stroke, the Puma rendered all other small coupes obsolete – sorry, Vauxhall Tigra.

Nissan Leaf

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

The Tesla Model S might be the glamorous star of the EV segment, but the Nissan Leaf is the volume hero. Designed from the ground up to be an electric car, the original Leaf was spacious, relatively affordable, ‘normal’ to drive and accessible. In January 2018, the company announced that it had sold the 300,000th Leaf, making it the best-selling electric vehicle in the world. Today, a new Nissan Leaf is sold every 10 minutes across Europe.

Ford Focus

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Ford caught the industry napping when it launched the Focus. Even in its most basic form, the Focus was a hoot to drive, propelling the ‘New Edge’ hatchback to the top of the class. By comparison, the Volkswagen Golf felt bloated and unwieldy. What made the Focus even more remarkable was the fact that it replaced the tired and outmoded Escort. Amazing.

Bugatti Veyron

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

James May described the Bugatti Veyron as “our Concorde moment”, with Clarkson labelling it “the greatest car ever made and the greatest car we will ever see in our lifetime.” It continues to fire our imagination and it remains the go-to supercar of choice for a new generation of young motoring fans. Bugatti’s single-minded pursuit of speed – and the associated records – has encouraged engineers to continue pushing boundaries, and the rest of us to keep dreaming.

Volvo XC90

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

It’s no coincidence that this gallery features more than a couple of SUVs. The Sport Utility Vehicle has replaced the estate car and the MPV as the default choice for family transport, as highlighted by the success of the original Volvo XC90. At the turn of the millennium, Volvo was a brand built on the estate car, but the XC90 changed everything, becoming a hero of countless soccer moms and dads. Today, the Volvo range features no fewer than three different SUVs.

Land Rover Discovery II

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

The original Discovery of 1989 was good, but the Discovery II was a quantum leap forward. It looked like the Disco I, but Land Rover – now under BMW ownership – was heavily revised, with a tweaked chassis and changes to almost every body panel. Safety was improved, the side-facing seats were good for more than just occasional use, and it felt more luxurious than before. In short, it had become the posh 4×4 to beat.

BMW X5

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

BMW had learned a great deal during its ownership of Land Rover, which is why the X5 was such an accomplished SUV. Actually, BMW decided to launch it under an entirely new category – Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). In other words, it offered the luxury of an executive saloon, the performance of a sports car and the off-road capabilities of an SUV.

Porsche Cayenne

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Anything BMW can do, Porsche can do slightly differently. The Boxster may have saved the company, but the Cayenne secured its future, opening the brand to a new audience and generating the profits required in order to do crazy things with 911 models. Without the Cayenne, there might not be a pick ‘n’ mix of Porsche models to choose from today.

BMW 3 Series

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

If you don’t believe the BMW 3 Series is influential, wait until the Paris Motor Show and the number of headlines, features and column inches dedicated to the world’s most popular premium saloon. Make no mistake, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi will be keen to get their hands on the new 3er, which, we suspect, will remain the class leader in terms of dynamics and driver appeal.

Chevrolet Volt

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

The Chevrolet Volt – along with its badge-engineered sibling, the Vauxhall Ampera – was the world’s first plug-in hybrid built by a volume manufacturer and should have been a springboard to greatness for GM. That it was a commercial flop shouldn’t take anything away from its influence on the segment. And, let’s remember, the Volt arrived at a time when people were still getting used to the idea of batteries and plugs. If nothing else, the Volt will have influenced the development of the Bolt – Chevrolet lost money on every Volt it sold.

Lexus RX

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

In 1997, Toyota unveiled the Sport Luxury Vehicle (SLV) concept at the Chicago Auto Show, with the production car debuting as the Toyota Harrier in December 1997. The following year, it was exported as the Lexus RX 300, and soon became the best-selling vehicle in its line-up. It was one of the first examples of a premium crossover and proved to be particularly successful in the US, where it was the only car to be seen in for image-conscious soccer moms and dads.

Renault Clio Williams

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

The Renault Clio Williams was the definitive hot hatch of the 90s, and it laid the foundations for a future of Renault Sport products. It’s thanks to the ‘Willy’ that the the likes of the Clio 172 and 182 exist. And for that, we must be thankful.

Uber taxi

25 influential cars of the past 30 years

Autonomous cars and ride-hailing apps – who knows what the future might hold? The Uber cab you took into town on Friday night might be playing a part in the next development of the motor car. In 10 years time, you might not be driving at all…

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Lotus Mark 1

Lotus needs your help to find its first ever car

Lotus Mark 1

In its 70th year, Lotus is rightly looking back at all aspects of its history, while also looking forward to a new era of investment from Geely. In going back to the very beginning, however, Lotus might just need your help. The marque is on the hunt for the very first car its founder, Colin Chapman, ever built: the 1948 Lotus Mark I.

It’s no surprise that Lotus is having a job tracking the car down. Despite its existence being well documented, there’s been no trace of the Mark I since it was sold in November 1950.

The car was based on an Austin 7. Typically, Chapman’s modifications comprised mainly of reducing weight, along with extensive chassis and suspension improvements. The car was campaigned in English Trials – primordial British rally events. His continued modification of, and success with, the Mark I proved to Chapman he had a future in motoring and racing. The “holy grail of Lotus’ history”, indeed.

Lotus Mark 1

“It’s the first time that my father was able to put his theories for improved performance into practice when designing and building a car” said Clive Chapman, Colin’s son and director of Classic Team Lotus.

“To locate this landmark Lotus, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary, would be a monumental achievement. We want fans to take this opportunity to look in every garage, shed, barn and lock up they’re allowed to.

“It’s even possible that the Mark I was shipped from the UK, and we’d love to know if it survives in another country.”

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Lamborghini

The car firms NOT attending the 2018 Paris Motor Show

Motor show rebels

In case you hadn’t noticed, an increasing number of car manufacturers are choosing to stay away from motor shows, focusing more on smaller events, social media and direct-to-consumer activity. It means that this year’s Paris Motor Show is notable as much for the list of absentees as it is for the cars on show. Here, we guide you through a list of no-shows at this year’s motor show.

Abarth

Abarth

Abarth won’t be in Paris, which means you won’t be able to see the new 124 GT with its carbon fibre roof. But don’t worry, you could always pop down to your local Abarth dealer. According to FCA, the potential sales and publicity aren’t enough to warrant the spend on the show.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo

Which means you won’t find a new Alfa Romeo gracing one of the halls at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. What are you missing? Well, Alfa recently launched a new B-Tech package for the Giulia, Stelvio and Giulietta, and there are rumours of a further two SUVs and a new supercar. Fingers crossed the latter comes to fruition.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin

The chances are, Aston Martin would have used the Paris Motor Show to reveal plans for its next-generation hypercar due for release in late 2021. But, as Aston isn’t in Paris, it announced the details earlier this week, with ‘Project 003’ poised for a 500-car production run. It’ll feature active aerodynamics, active suspension and a hybridised turbocharged engine.

Bentley

Bentley

There will be a big, Bentley-shaped hole in Paris, but that doesn’t mean Crewe doesn’t have anything new to show. In August, Bentley unveiled the limited edition Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner at Monterey Car Week. The car pays homage to the company founder’s personal 8 Litre car, and just 100 will be built.

Fiat

Fiat

Don’t head to Paris in search of the refreshed 500X and the 500L S-Design, because Fiat is staying in Italy. Meanwhile, Fiat Professional has been at the Hanover Motor Show, showcasing the Ducato, Fullback and Doblo. Contain yourself.

Ford

Ford

Back in the 80s and 90s, it would have been unthinkable for Ford to be absent from a major international motor show, especially with such an important car to display. If you fancy a gander at the new Focus, simply head to your nearest Ford showroom. They’re not hard to find.

Infiniti

Infiniti

These days, many manufacturers use more intimate and specialised events to showcase new cars and concepts. The Infiniti Prototype 10 was revealed at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and hints at future design cues from Nissan’s posh arm. Cool thing.

Jeep

Jeep

Jeep is another victim of FCA’s decision to give Paris a miss, which means visitors will be denied the opportunity to see the new Cherokee, revamped Renegade and all-new Wrangler.

Lamborghini

Lamborghini

An international motor show without Lamborghini is like a trifle without a cherry. A picnic without a Scotch egg. Juventus without Ronaldo. A pizza without pineapple. No, wait, not the last thing.

Mazda

Mazda

Mazda has tweaked the 2.0-litre motor in the MX-5 to produce 184hp – 26hp more than before. It means that, cutting a potentially long and wordy review short, the best affordable sports car is better than ever. But you won’t be seeing it in Paris. Unless one happens to drive by when you’re on a romantic weekend away with your significant other.

McLaren

McLaren

It has been a busy year for McLaren. The 600LT made its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Senna was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, before gracing the cover of Forza Horizon 4.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV won’t be in Paris, but fear not, because it’s already on sale in the UK. Buy one, and impress your friends with some killer stats, such as 46g/km CO2, an EV range of 28 miles and WLTP combined fuel economy of 139mpg.

Nissan

Nissan

Nissan might not be in Paris, but it hasn’t turned its back on motor shows. The Navara Dark Sky Concept, built in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), was unveiled at the Hanover Motor Show. It can tow a mobile astronomy laboratory, which makes a change from caravans and horseboxes.

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce

This is the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge owned by Benjamin Treynor Sloss, vice president of engineering at Google. He took delivery at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In other news, Rolls-Royce recently opened a new showroom in Leeds, which is the UK’s fastest growing city. Fancy that.

Subaru

Subaru

Subaru might not be in Paris, but earlier this year, the brand returned to The Game Fair as the official sponsor of the Shooting Line, with a Forester offered as the top prize. Feels more authentic than taking a few highly-polished cars to the French capital.

Vauxhall/Opel

Vauxhall

Despite being owned by the French PSA Group, Vauxhall and Opel will be skipping Paris. “We made the decision to put a stronger emphasis on our own events for the upcoming product launches,” a spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen

Audi, SEAT and Skoda will be in Paris, but Volkswagen is taking a break. It’ll use the time to celebrate the five-star Euro NCAP safety rating for the new Touareg. The large SUV scored 89 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for child occupant safety, 81 percent for safety assist and 72 percent for pedestrian safety.

Volvo

Volvo

On the subject of motor shows, Bjorn Annwall, Volvo’s senior vice president of strategy, brand and retail, told CNBC: “Why stand in a crammed hall together with all the competitors shouting when you can have a more intimate relationship and discussion with the relevant journalist at home?”

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DS Store Manchester showroom

ALL new cars will be bought on finance within 10 years, says Auto Trader

DS Store Manchester showroomCash is no longer king when it comes to buying a new car: within 10 years, predicts automotive marketplace Auto Trader, every new car sold in Britain will be bought using some form of finance.

Already, many brands say around three in four new cars sold to retail buyers are bought on PCP finance schemes. This trend is set to continue, says Auto Trader, as new types of finance roll out.

Key to the end of traditional car ownership will be the growth of subscription models. These will further broaden the choice of finance and leasing options available and make the idea of paying many thousands of pounds upfront for a new car seem quaint and old-fashioned.

“The age of traditional ownership is coming to an end,” said Auto Trader CFO and COO, Nathan Coe.

“As consumers increasingly source their cars in the same way they do their music or movies, the route from business to motorist will need to evolve alongside it.”

There are many new schemes emerging that offer the flexibility of services such as Uber with the independence of regular use of a car. Examples include Drover, Audi On Demand and new VWDS Rent-a-Car. 

Finance ‘ownership’

Cash has already been happily substituted by finance for most people. Of the 13,500 people interviewed for the bi-annual Market Report, 98 percent who purchase on finance claim they own the car – even though, in reality, they do not.

“Motorists seek the comfort and certainty of exclusive access, or usership, and find it hard to distinguish this from true ownership.”

One thing’s for sure though – people don’t want to share their cars with others. Eighty percent overall (and 86 percent of ‘future car owners’ aged 16-21) demand exclusive access to a car. More than half are simply unwilling to share with others.

Which itself is good news for car dealers, added Coe. “Contrary to speculation, these new access models don’t signal the death knell for the industry.

“Instead they will fuel the market by making driving more accessible to a wider demographic, offering manufacturers a new way to get consumers behind the wheel, and will complement rather than cannibalise existing retail models.”