Festival of the Unexceptional

Festival of the Unexceptional: in pictures

Festival of the UnexceptionalIt is the very antithesis of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but that doesn’t make the Festival of the Unexceptional any less interesting. In fact, we’d politely suggest that the cars on display on the manicured lawns of Stowe House have touched the lives of more people than any of the priceless wonders hurtling up the hill in Sussex.

Grab your drip trays as we take a tour of some of the nation’s most brilliantly unexceptional and unexceptionally brilliant cars.

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Award winnersFestival of the Unexceptional

Some cars are more unexceptional than others. Here we see Richard Holness and his DAF 33, Mark Ashbridge and his Datsun Sunny and Colin Corke alongside his Austin Allegro. The Sunny was named as the most unexceptional car at the show (which is a good thing), the DAF finished second, while the Allegro was named People’s Choice.

Exceptional settingFestival of the Unexceptional

The Festival of the Unexceptional is open to ‘ordinary’ classic cars and commercial vehicles of the late 60s, 70s and 80s. Exchange the lake for the Goodwood hill and the exhibits for exotic supercars and this could pass as a scene from the Festival of Speed. It’s like a car boot sale, circa 1989.

Stone, Tempra, no pilotsFestival of the Unexceptional

A Fiat 128 estate, Vauxhall Firenza, Austin Montego and a Fiat Tempra: it could only be the Festival of the Unexceptional. There are fewer than 20 Fiat Tempras on the roads of Britain, making it an exceptionally rare sight. Fair play to owner Gavin Bushby for keeping the Tempra legend alive.

Life on MarsFestival of the Unexceptional

Unexceptional cars of the past are often required to act as props in period movies and television series. Peter Bell’s Renault 12TL made an appearance in the time-travelling drama, Life on Mars.

No More HeroesFestival of the Unexceptional

Volvo 740, Austin Princess, Mk1 Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 505 and Renault 12: all once familiar sights, now in serious danger of extinction. We should salute the owners for keeping these mundane heroes alive. Simon Martin, owner of the Volvo, was named best dressed man at the festival.

Ford SierraFestival of the Unexceptional

When the Ford Sierra arrived in 1982, its space-age styling was deemed to be too radical for conservative Britain. There were no such issues for the Giugiaro-designed Renault 19, but the pair are overshadowed by the lesser-spotted Clan Crusader.

Visitor car parkFestival of the Unexceptional

More than 2,000 exceptional people descended on Stowe House for the unexceptional display, with the car park no less interesting than the main event. A Fiat Cinquecento, Vauxhall Nova and Nissan Patrol are just three of the highlights.

Italian, French and DutchFestival of the Unexceptional

Further along the line we find a Fiat X1/9, Peugeot 406 Coupe and a DAF 55. The Dutch-built car has around 48,000 miles on the clock and is a Deluxe model. Trim levels were far easier to understand in the early 70s. Deluxe = posh. Well, poshish.

Porsche 944Festival of the Unexceptional

You know you’re at the Festival of the Unexceptional when a Porsche 944 looks overdressed and out of place. The Wolseley Six ‘Landcrab’ looks far more at home, while on the right you’ll find a Beetle, Bluebird and Figaro.

Hillman AvengerFestival of the Unexceptional

The Hillman Avenger was Britain’s car to take on the world, but very few remain on the road. This 1973 Avenger GLS is owned by Robert Nutter and appears to have caught the eye. Note the vinyl roof: once a must-have car accessory.

Citroen 2CV BeachcomberFestival of the Unexceptional

The Citroen 2CV was anything but unexceptional, with its simple, low-cost construction helping to mobilise an entire nation following the end of the Second World War. This 1983 Beachcomber special edition is far removed from the 1948 original.

Fiat PandaFestival of the Unexceptional

Another triumph of construction and packaging, the Fiat Panda is a true Italian great. The original was launched in 1980 but remained in production until 2003. It’s eccezionale, as they say in Italy.

Feast of the UnexceptionalFestival of the Unexceptional

Sponsors Hagerty awarded a prize for the ‘Feast of the Unexceptional’, or best picnic at the event. It was won, not by these ladies in the back of a Land Rover, but John Usher, the owner of an Austin Maestro. His Rubik’s Cube Battenberg cake pink sponge fingers were named as the dish of the day.

Childhood memoriesFestival of the Unexceptional

Angus Forsyth, managing director of Hagerty International, said “Our Festival of the Unexceptional celebrates the cars that were the workhorses of their day: the base model saloons, hatchbacks and estates that were sold in their millions between roughly 1968 and 1989, and are now so rare. I just love overhearing enthusiasts at this unique concours d’ordinaire event commenting that they haven’t seen one of those in years, the cars that we all remember from our childhoods.”

2018 Festival of the UnexceptionalFestival of the Unexceptional

The date of the 2018 Festival of the Unexceptional will be announced early next year, but Hagerty has confirmed that it will return for a fifth time. Time to prepare your own unexceptional motor?

Best 0% APR car finance deals

10 great 0% APR car finance deals for July 2017

Best 0% APR car finance dealsNobody likes paying more than they have to, so we’ve crunched the numbers to find 40 great 0% APR car finance deals. All offers here make use of Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) schemes, which offer reduced monthly payments. However, there will be final payment to make, should you want to keep the car after the finance agreement ends.

As with any finance product, always make sure you research what is affordable to you both now, and in case your circumstances were to change in the future. All the offers shown here are for illustration purposes only, are subject to status, and may be withdrawn at any time.

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Ford B-Max Titanium Navigator – £169 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

It might not be sexy, but the Ford B-Max does have sliding-door practicality. Titanium Navigator trim sounds fancy, and features 16in alloy wheels, climate control and a Sony navigation system.

You’ll need to find a £5,733 deposit here, and you’ll pay £169 for 36 months. Ford will also offer a £1,200 saving on selected models, while mileage of 9,000 per annum is included.

Nissan Pulsar DiG-T 115 Acenta – £169 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Not everybody likes to stand out from the crowd, and the Pulsar slips somewhat anonymously into the family hatchback market. At least the Acenta has dual-zone climate control and 16in alloy wheels.

Nissan will offer you £500 to get into this Pulsar, but you’ll still need to find a £4,784.13 deposit to secure £169 per month for three years. Mileage is capped at 10,000 per year.

Renault Kadjar Signature Nav TCe 130 – £229 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Taken by the Nissan Qasqhai, but wanting a mid-size crossover with more Gallic flair? If so, the Kadjar could be a strong contender with this 0% deal. Signature Nav includes a panoramic sunroof, Bose sound system, and full LED headlights.

Deposit £5,266 into the bank account of a Renault dealership, and you’ll be paying £229 per month for three years. As before, servicing for two years is included, and a 6,000-mile per annum limit applies.

Honda Jazz 1.3 EX – £189 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Don’t save your pension, your grandchildren will only waste their inheritance once they get their hands on it. Instead, check out this deal on a new Honda Jazz, which includes five years’ complimentary servicing, said to be worth £1,195 alone.

A deposit of £2,761.06 unlocks this deal, and results in 36 monthly payments of £189. Contracted mileage stands at 10,000 per annum, but exceeding this costs just £0.03 a mile.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid Design – £189 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

As one of the smallest hybrids around, the Yaris has a certain niche appeal. On top of two years’ free servicing, you’ll also get privacy glass, 16in alloy wheels, cruise control and DAB multimedia system.

To pay £189 per month for 42 months, and cover 8,000 miles per year, you’ll need £3,501 for a deposit contribution. Toyota will also add in an extra £1,000 – how nice.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 6.4 Hemi – £839 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Buying a large SUV, powered by a giant 6.4-litre Hemi V8 engine, needn’t result in you paying more than 0% APR. But you’ll need the cash to fuel the Hemi’s thirst for unleaded.

Helpfully, Jeep will contribute £5,500 towards the deposit, along with an extra £2,500 discount for test-driving one before the 31st July. Buyers will then need their own £7,749 deposit, to secure paying £839 per month for three years. A 10,000-mile annual allowance applies.

Mazda 6 150ps Sport Nav Diesel – £259 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Usually associated with business users, the Mazda 6 is available to private buyers with 0% APR deals. Sport Nav trim includes 19in alloy wheels, LED headlights, black leather seats and a Bose sound system.

You’ll need to make a substantial upfront deposit payment of £7,276.38, but Mazda will add an additional £2,500 to the deal. You’ll then spend 36 months paying £259, but a 9,000 miles per annum allowance applies.

Skoda Yeti Outdoor SE L Drive 1.2 TSI – £279 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Time is running out before the Yeti becomes extinct, but there’s still time to bag a car from an era where Skoda still had a sense of fun. With a new Karoq on the way, the run-out Outdoor SE L is loaded with kit, including touchscreen satellite navigation, bi-xenon headlights and parking sensors.

Not only will Skoda contribute £1,500 as a deposit contribution, order by the 17th July and you’ll get £500 worth of free fuel, too. With a customer deposit of just £279, this will result in payments of £279 again for the next 42 months. This price includes an allowance of 10,000 miles per year.

BMW 730d M Sport – £520 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

Even high-flying executives can get in on the 0% finance deals and generous deposit allowances currently offered by BMW. The 730d M Sport would cost £70,300 in cash, but becomes less dramatic when financed over 48 months.

Buyers need a £8,587.40 deposit, with BMW topping things up with a further £10,936. Pay £520 per month for the four-year term, and keep the mileage below 10,000 per annum.

Lotus Elise Cup 250 – £0 pcmBest 0% APR car finance deals

The 0% finance deals offered by Lotus are slightly different than regular PCP deals, with no monthly payments, but the need to stump up half the the cost of the car from the outset.

For the Elise Cup 250, that means an initial payment of £23,275, followed by 23 months of paying absolutely nothing at all. Buyers will then, in theory, be in a position to pay the remaining £23,275, having had almost two years of interest-free motoring fun.

Peugeot Festival 2017

Celebrating the world's greatest hot hatch

Peugeot Festival 2017Fans of the Peugeot 205 GTI – and other hot Peugeots – gathered at Prescott Hillclimb near Cheltenham for the annual Peugeot Festival. In addition to (non-competitive) runs up the hill and a hotly-contested concours, this year’s event included a line-up of special VIP cars.

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McRae on displayPeugeot Festival 2017

Topping the list of VIPs was a Peugeot 309 GTI rally car raced by the late Colin McRae before he won the World Rally Championship with Subaru.

A 205 T16 – the only black example, formerly owned by the King of Bahrain – was also showing off its mid-engined innards, while the Dimma-kitted 309 GTI Goodwood was also unique.

Dakar dreamingPeugeot Festival 2017

Many cars and clubs made the journey to the festival from around Europe. Peugeot Sport in France even provided their 2008 Dakar racer, offering showgoers the chance to sit in Carlos Sainz’s driving seat.

There were celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the 106 GTI & 406 Coupé, too – plus the 25th anniversary of the rarest 205 GTI, the 1FM special edition. Only 25 GTI 1FMs were made to celebrate 25 years of Radio 1, and no less than seven of them drove in convoy up the Prescott Hill.

The 205 GTI’s legacyPeugeot Festival 2017

The Peugeot Sport Club traces its roots back to 1985, when it was known as the Peugeot 205 GTI Club. The club was started by Peugeot UK to help owners enjoy their cars as part of its marketing strategy at the time. In 1988, the organisation of the Club was handed over to a small team of enthusiastic members, and the 205 GTI ceased production in 1994. But the club lives on: now open to all Peugeot owners.

Check out our gallery for photos of many cars at Peugeot Festival 2017. From an unrestored 305 saloon to a modified, wide-body 306 cabriolet, there’s something for everyone.

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Peugeot Festival 2017

Celebrating the world’s greatest hot hatch

Peugeot Festival 2017Fans of the Peugeot 205 GTI – and other hot Peugeots – gathered at Prescott Hillclimb near Cheltenham for the annual Peugeot Festival. In addition to (non-competitive) runs up the hill and a hotly-contested concours, this year’s event included a line-up of special VIP cars.

More Peugeot on Motoring Research: 

McRae on displayPeugeot Festival 2017

Topping the list of VIPs was a Peugeot 309 GTI rally car raced by the late Colin McRae before he won the World Rally Championship with Subaru.

A 205 T16 – the only black example, formerly owned by the King of Bahrain – was also showing off its mid-engined innards, while the Dimma-kitted 309 GTI Goodwood was also unique.

Dakar dreamingPeugeot Festival 2017

Many cars and clubs made the journey to the festival from around Europe. Peugeot Sport in France even provided their 2008 Dakar racer, offering showgoers the chance to sit in Carlos Sainz’s driving seat.

There were celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the 106 GTI & 406 Coupé, too – plus the 25th anniversary of the rarest 205 GTI, the 1FM special edition. Only 25 GTI 1FMs were made to celebrate 25 years of Radio 1, and no less than seven of them drove in convoy up the Prescott Hill.

The 205 GTI’s legacyPeugeot Festival 2017

The Peugeot Sport Club traces its roots back to 1985, when it was known as the Peugeot 205 GTI Club. The club was started by Peugeot UK to help owners enjoy their cars as part of its marketing strategy at the time. In 1988, the organisation of the Club was handed over to a small team of enthusiastic members, and the 205 GTI ceased production in 1994. But the club lives on: now open to all Peugeot owners.

Check out our gallery for photos of many cars at Peugeot Festival 2017. From an unrestored 305 saloon to a modified, wide-body 306 cabriolet, there’s something for everyone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cars at the Palace 2017

Supercars blast into Blenheim Palace

Cars at the Palace 2017The grandiose courtyards of Blenheim Palace echoed to the sounds of supercars as Winston Churchill’s former home played host to Cars at the Palace 2017. More than 100 Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Aston Martins and other exotics gathered in the summer sunshine, their owners chatting with enthusiasts and camera-toting tourists. The event is a forerunner to Blenheim Palace Classic & Supercar on Sunday 3rd September – and we’ll be there, too.

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Jaguar F-Type Project 7Cars at the Palace 2017

First on our list of highlights is a Jaguar F-Type Project 7 – one of just 250 made. This skunkworks special was the first car from JLR’s fledgling Special Vehicle Operations, since responsible for hardcore, SVR-branded versions of the F-Type and Range Rover Sport. Its hump-backed bodywork evokes the classic D-Type, while its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is tuned to 575hp. At launch, the car commanded a hefty £43,000 premium over the regular V8 R roadster.

Porsche Carrera GTCars at the Palace 2017

Cars don’t come much more ‘super’ than this. The 2003 Carrera GT was Porsche’s long-awaited follow-up to the 959, and boasts a carbon fibre chassis and racing-style inboard suspension. Let’s not forget that mid-mounted, F1-derived V10 either. It develops 612hp at a screaming 8,000rpm – good for 60mph in 3.5 seconds and a 205mph top speed. The 887hp 918 Spyder that followed would go even faster, but the Carrera GT is a purer driving machine.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0Cars at the Palace 2017

Speaking of driving machines, those in ‘the know’ rate Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS 4.0 as one of the finest ever created. This was the last hurrah for the 997 GT3 and its race-derived ‘Mezger’ engine, and Porsche celebrated with 600 of these sought-after specials – offered to existing customers only. We’re not fans of the stickers, but we’d gladly look past those for 500 horses and a tacho that doesn’t call time until 8,500rpm. The ultimate 911?

Ferrari F12 TDFCars at the Palace 2017

Go-faster special editions? Ferrari does those, too. The F12 Tour de France – named after the sports car race, not the cycling event – is a track-focused take on Ferrari’s outgoing V12 flagship (just replaced by the aptly-named 812 Superfast). Its 6.3-litre V12 sends a mildly terrifying 780hp to the rear tyres – sufficient for 62mph in 2.9 seconds. On a dry road, obviously. Supercar spotters can identify a TDF by the three vents on its rear haunches.

Ferrari 458 SpecialeCars at the Palace 2017

The even-faster 458 arrived in 2013, badged ‘Speciale’ and with power increased to 605hp at 9,000rpm. Active aerodynamics and a re-calibrated E-Diff mean it laps Ferrari’s Fiorano test-track 1.5 seconds quicker than a standard 458 Italia – and make it more rewarding on the road. This Rosso Corsa example, parked at the entrance to Cars at the Palace, belongs to one of the event organisers: Andrew Bagley.

Lamborghini Huracan SpyderCars at the Palace 2017

This was the first Huracan Spyder we’ve seen and, in the name of actionable consumer journalism, we can confirm that it looks knee-tremblingly gorgeous in the metal. The lack of a roof also means your eardrums get unfettered access to Lamborghini’s feral 610hp V10, in all its snarling, exhaust-popping glory. That’s almost worth the £200k price of entry alone.

Aston Martin DB11Cars at the Palace 2017

Nestled among the Aston Martins was this new DB11. Its evolutionary styling traces its roots back to the 1994 DB7, but nobody can deny the inherent ‘rightness’ of Marek Reichman’s design. It’s a subtle supercar, and none the worse for that. There’s nothing subtle about the DB11’s performance, however: a 608hp 5.2-litre V12 means 60mph in 3.9 seconds and 200mph flat-out.

MG XPower SV-RCars at the Palace 2017

Here’s a rather different take on the British supercar. And subtle it ain’t. The X-Power SV started life in Italy as the Qvale Mangusta, then MG bought the company and Peter Stevens (he of McLaren F1 fame) provided an aggressive new look. Only around 82 cars were made. This is uprated SV-R version, with a 390hp 5.0-litre Ford V8. Spot the Fiat Punto headlights, too.

KTM X-BowCars at the Palace 2017

KTM is best known for making motorcycles: the X-Bow (say it ‘Crossbow’) is the Austrian company’s first full-size four-wheeler. As you expect from its function-over-form styling, this is very much a road-legal track machine, with pushrod suspension, carbon fibre bodywork and a lap timer atop the steering wheel. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged Audi engine – enough to keep pace with most of the supercars here.

McLaren 650SCars at the Palace 2017

There was one solitary McLaren at Cars at the Palace this year – a sign, perhaps, that it’s still early days for this fast-evolving British brand. The 650S is a development of McLaren’s original 2011 MP4-12C, and has just been replaced by the 720S. With 650hp (hence the name), it’ll reach 62mph in 3.0 seconds, plus a VMax of 207mph.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSCars at the Palace 2017

Any Porsche with a Rennsport badge gets enthusiasts salivating, even when it lacks a manual gearbox. Use the Launch Control and you can blast to 62mph in 3.3 seconds, accompanied by the ferocious howl of that 4.0-litre flat-six behind the rear wheels. More commonly seen in its trademark Lava Orange, the 991 GT3 RS looks equally eye-catching in Ultra Violet – or ‘purple’ to you and me.

Lamborghini Aventador SVCars at the Palace 2017

We were lucky enough to drive this very Aventador SV, which also belongs to Andrew Bagley, earlier this year. At the time, we described it as “awe-inspiring and magnificent; it’s the supercar turned up to 11 – a double Sambuca washed down with a Red Bull”. However, even this 750hp V12 missile looks relatively low-key compared to the modified SV alongside it…

Porsche 911 SC 3.0Cars at the Palace 2017

This Martini-liveried 1977 911 is a project car for Private Motor Club magazine. Owner Tim Hutton drives it to numerous events. “One of the most exciting prospects is taking the time to learn how to drive the car well. Unlike a modern car the clutch is tricky, the gearbox requires firm confident changes and there is very little adjustment in the driving position, “ he explained.

Alfa Romeo GT 1600 JuniorCars at the Palace 2017

One of our favourite cars at Blenheim was actually in the car park outside. This delightful Alfa 1600 Junior is much rarer than the 1300 version – particularly so today, as most have rusted away. Period modifications include spotlamps, bullet mirrors and a chrome luggage rack on the boot.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS is the most powerful 911 ever

Porsche 911 GT2 RSPorsche has revealed the new 911 GT2 RS at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – a 700hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo beast that’s the most powerful Porsche road car ever made. It can do 211mph, 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, weighs less than 1500kg and, simply, is the most ferocious iteration yet of the world’s most famous sports car.

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Porsche already pushed the turbo motor from 580hp to 607hp in the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The GT2 RS adds a ludicrous amount of extra power, so much so that it needs a custom-built seven-speed PDK gearbox that’s strong enough to cope. Porsche is promising a mesmerising sound, even for a turbo engine, thanks to a lightweight titanium exhaust that weighs a hefty 7kg less than the standard system and delivers a noise that’s “without precedent”.

It puts all this power to the ground through steamroller-like 325/30 ZR21 rear tyres (the widest ever fitted to a 911), with 265/35 ZR 20s at the front. Stopping is courtesy of standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and, through the corners, rear axle steering and specially calibrated stability control give it the dynamics to match its crazy power output.

Of course, there’s lots of lightweight stuff: carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used for the front wings (and their vents), door mirrors, air intakes, bonnet and some of the rear end. Meanwhile, Porsche has actually made the roof from magnesium.

You can go further, too. Remember how you could have an optional Weissach package with the 918 Spyder hypercar? You now can with the new GT2 RS. Saving 30kg, it includes yet more carbon fibre reinforced plastic and titanium bits: we’re talking carbon fibre anti-roll bars here, magnesium wheels, a carbon fibre roof – with a body-coloured central stripe on the luggage compartment lid and roof to differentiate the Weissach cars.

Surprisingly, Porsche leaves the Chrono Package on the options list, so you’ll have to pay extra if you want to monitor your lap times. As you undoubtedly will, particularly as the system now includes a lap trigger – with the Porsche Track Precision app and some external timing markers on a course, you can ‘cross the beam’ just like they do in F1. That’s surely a must-have, no?

This is the second special Porsche to have its own watch. Porsche Design has worked with Porsche Motorsport to create the 911 GT2 RS Chronograph – using Porsche Design’s very first clock movement, which took it three years to develop. It includes a motorsport-inspired ‘flyback’ function, that automatically does all the choreography used when timing laps. Again, priorities.

The watch costs €9,450 in Germany. The car? It’s from €285,220, which equates to roughly £251,000 in the UK (and £8,300 for the watch). We’re at Goodwood this weekend to hear more from Porsche bosses about the new 911 GT2 RS. 

Mark Webber: “She’s a beast”

Porsche racer Mark Webber helped reveal the new 911 GT2 RS at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. “This is probably the 911 I’ve driven most pre-launch,” he said. “Andreas (Preuninger, Porsche GT boss) got me on board… I’ve already driven it plenty, including at the Nürburgring. Believe me, it’s a beast…”

Apparently, some of Webber’s ex-F1 buddies are already on the phone to him, seeing if he can get them ahead in the waiting list. But it sounds like it’s on Webber’s hit list, too – because of it’s all-round usability. It’s comfortable and usable on public roads,” says Porsche. “Compared to the last GT2 RS, we have civilised it, a little bit.”

Webber picked up on this. “A lot of the GT cars I have in the family… I always take navi and air con.” Not that this has at all softened it, he added. “In general, she’s a thoroughbred, an absolute beast, but you can take it on the road no problem.”

In pictures: New Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Mint crisp: Sharp new 2017 Volkswagen Polo revealed

New 2017 Volkswagen PoloThe all-new Volkswagen Polo has been revealed in Berlin boasting crisp new styling, availability of equipment normally found in posh Audis, much more interior space and a promise from management “it will remain number one”. 

All set to go head-to-head with Ford’s new Fiesta, which we’ll be driving in a few weeks, the new sixth generation Polo will build upon 14 million sales of its predecessors primarily by furthering its status as the supermini sector’s classiest small car. 

It will offer the digital instrument display first seen in the Audi TT, class-leading active safety tech including autonomous emergency braking, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, even a range of smartphone apps. 

Excitingly, there’s even going to be a Polo GTI available from launch – with, no less, a 2.0-litre turbo engine producing 200hp! 

Viva la evolution

Of course, you’re thinking, it looks familiar. Naturally: it’s a Volkswagen, and Volkswagen does evolutionary styling, not revolutionary. Even so, the new Polo does actually look like a new car, with tight body creases, a broader stance and modern VW design cues such as the headlights and chiselled body sides. 

Inside is where the big news is. The current Polo’s interior is humdrum. This all-new one is a huge step on, with a modern look that’s designed around a high-set central touchscreen that brings Volkswagen’s latest widescreen glass-front systems into its best-selling supermini. Small car buyers are in for a treat here. 

Even better, the same Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display first seen in teh Audi TT is now offered on the Polo – and it looks just as fantastic here. This is the first time a supermini has offered such a comprehensive instrument display and, although it won’t be cheap, it’s set to be a highly desirable option. 

The introduction of more colour, thanks to configurable contrast colour strips is also a welcome new Polo feature. Indeed, to complement a choice of 14 exterior colours, you can pick from fully 13 different dashpad designs. 

The biggest Polo everNew 2017 Volkswagen Polo

Size-wise, this is the biggest Polo ever. It’s 4,053mm long, making it one of the few superminis over the four-metre mark. The wheelbase is a yawning 94mm longer, which is great news for interior space, and also probably for ride quality as well. A measure of just how much it’s grown is boot space: 351 litres is 25 percent larger than the outgoing car.

It’s based on Volkswagen’s newest platform called MQB: a version of this is also used by the Golf, and a diverse selection of other cars such as the Audi TT. It offers a choice of eight engines: six petrol – that’s 1.0 MPI 65hp or 75hp, 1.0 TSI 95hp or 115hp, 1.5 TSI 150, 2.0 TSI 200 – and a 1.6 TDI diesel with either 80hp or 95hp. 

Volkswagen isn’t saying much about the exciting new GTI at this stage, other than that it will have a standard sport chassis and optional ‘Sport Select’ setup, 17-inch or 18-inch alloys, GTI styling cues and, of course, ‘Clark’ tartan seats inside. As Ford downsizes the Fiesta ST to a three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo, the decision to drop the Golf GTI 2.0-litre turbo into the Polo GTI is more than a little exciting.

The new Volkswagen Polo goes on sale later in 2017, with prices yet to be confirmed, but almost certainly not straying too far from the £12,600 entry-level price of today’s model. 

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35 hot new cars still to come in 2017

35 hot new cars still to come in 2017

Just because we’re halfway through the year doesn’t mean we’re running low on new cars to get excited about. Here are 35 new models currently scheduled to roll off the production line before the end of 2017.

More new car advice on Motoring Research

Ford Fiesta

There might be a new Fiesta on the way, but that hasn’t stopped the outgoing version from topping the sales charts across the UK and Europe. But all good things have to end, and the new seventh-generation Fiesta will be on sale next month, with prices starting at £12,715. The regular hatchback models will be available first, including fancy Vignale trim, with the Active crossover and ST hot hatch following on later.

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen has teased the new sixth-generation Polo but we’re only a month off the full unveiling now. Debuting on the 16th June, styling changes are will be evolutionary rather than dramatic, based on the leaked images and spy shots. Using the same VW Group MQB A0 platform as the new Seat Ibiza, expectations are high for improved refinement and technology.

Mazda CX-5

The compact SUV market continues to heat up, and the all-new Mazda CX-5 brings good looks inspired by the smaller CX-3. On sale from the 30th June, UK buyers have a choice of Skyactiv 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel engines, with AWD also on the options list. Prices begin at £23,695, with generous standard equipment levels. A special Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint also promises to increase paintwork brightness by approximately 20% compared to the previous CX-5.

Skoda Karoq

The Yeti is dead, long live the Karoq. Replacing a cult-classic like the Yeti was always going to be difficult. However, we can’t help but be a little saddened that Skoda has forgotten the quirky qualities that made the Yeti so popular. Undoubtedly more mature, the Karoq has more than a passing resemblance to the related VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca. Given the success of the larger Kodiaq, we have no doubt the sensible Karoq will still prove to be a winner when it goes on sale later this year.

Hyundai Kona

This is Hyundai’s first ever sub-compact SUV, and it plans to take on the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. Bold looks are important in this segment, so Hyundai has pulled no punches in making the Kona look as distinctive as possible. Promised to be on sale by the end of 2017, the Kona is named after the eponymous district on the Big Island of Hawaii, apparently famed for its energy and unique lifestyle. The Tucson and Santa Fe are well regarded, so there’s no doubt Hyundai has SUV prowess.

Kia Stonic

Sharing a platform with the Kona will be Kia’s own take on the compact SUV segment. With a name derived from a portmanteau of speedy and tonic – yes, really – the Stonic looks as unique as it is badged. Expect engines to be taken from the Rio supermini, with the Stonic majoring on strong equipment levels and Kia’s generous seven-year warranty to battle the ageing Nissan Juke.

Citroen C3 Aircross

Hot off the press, and heading to showrooms on the 1st November, Citroen has killed off the C3 Picasso MPV and replaced it with a compact SUV. With even the ability to do some light off-roading, the Aircross is an important car for Citroen, which has aims of boosting total brand sales 30% by 2021. The Aircross will emphasise customisation, with a choice of 90 colour combinations, but also technology such as wireless smartphone charging and a colour head-up display.

Nissan Qashqai

Despite being a byword for the compact crossover market, Nissan cannot afford to take market dominance for granted with the Qashqai. New rivals are appearing constantly, so it should be no surprise that the second-generation car is getting a facelift. The changes are mild, with the adoption of the new corporate grille and reshaped headlights being the biggest difference. Inside, and under the bonnet, remain virtually untouched with the option of a high-end Bose sound system being the only notable alteration.

Jeep Compass

Looking very much like a shrunken Grand Cherokee, Jeep is reintroducing the Compass and it’s set to be sold in 100 countries worldwide. It’ll also be built in four global locations, with European-spec cars produced in India. Sadly UK buyers won’t be getting the amusingly named ‘Tigershark’ 2.4-litre petrol engine offered in the USA. Instead we’ll be receiving 140 and 170hp varieties of the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, or 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels. Despite wearing the Jeep name, four-wheel drive is merely optional.

Seat Arona

Don’t confuse the name with the Arosa – Seat’s version of the Lupo city car from the late 1990s. No, the Arona is set to be a new compact crossover from the Spanish brand, which should look rather similar to the pictured IBX concept. Pitched as another rival to the Nissan Juke, and using the MQB A0 platform from the Ibiza, the Arona will be a five-door compact crossover. The finished version should be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with sales possible as early as November.

Volkswagen T-Roc

After several years of playing it cool on the whole crossover segment, Volkswagen finally seems to have woken up to the big new trend. With the Tiguan pushed further upmarket, the T-Roc will be Volkswagen’s Golf-sized entry into a busy marketplace. Ignore the three-door stance of the pictured concept car, shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, as the T-Roc will be a practical five-door. Engines and drivetrain options will be borrowed from the Golf hatchback, with sales set to begin by the end of 2017.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Like the Volkswagen Tiguan, but wish it had seven seats instead of five? Your prayers will be answered by the new bigger Allspace version, which looks virtually indistinguishable from the regular Tiguan SUV. With a wheelbase stretched by 109mm, and overall length by 215mm, the Allspace has the option of an extra pair of seats in the rear. Luggage space has also grown by 145 litres, with the potential for a cavernous 1,920 litres with the rear seats folded flat. Expect sales to commence soon.

Volkswagen Touareg

Planned for a big reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, we might have to wait until 2018 to actually drive the new Touareg. Expect styling to change very little from the pictured T-Prime concept vehicle, which was shown off at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, previewing the increased size of the next Touareg. Volkswagen promises a more upmarket experience, with a high-tech interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid GTE version. But, as with the current second-generation car, don’t expect a V10 diesel engine to make an appearance.

Renault Koleos

Do you remember the original Koleos, sold from 2008 to 2010 in the UK, and badged as the Samsung QM5 in South Korea? No, we thought as much, given that less than 3,000 examples made it to these shores. The new Koleos is a far more convincing SUV, sharing a platform with the Nissan X-Trail, although still built at Renault’s Korean factory. Prices start at £27,500 for a front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre diesel, rising to £34,200 for the top-spec 2.0-litre diesel with four-wheel-drive and automatic gearbox.

Range Rover Velar

According to Land Rover, the Velar fills the ‘white space’ between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. Named after prototypes for the original Range Rover, the Velar is the fourth model in the Rangie family. Related to the Jaguar F-Pace, expect road-biased dynamics, a premium interior, and funky door handles that sit flush with the body until the car is unlocked. Land Rover assures us that the Velar will still get dirty off-road. Prices begin at £44,830, with sales commencing in July. We can confirm that Ellie Goulding is not included on the options list.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa is on something of a roll at the minute, with the new Giulia saloon receiving fairly positive reviews across the board. The Stelvio shares the same platform as the Giulia, and is another piece in the Italian company’s plans to expand sales across the globe. Although Alfa displayed a 510hp twin-turbo V6 Quadrifoligio model last year, UK cars will initially be a choice of either 280hp 2.0-litre petrol turbo, or 210hp 2.2-litre diesel. All will have an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and use Alfa’s Q4 4WD system. Prices will be confirmed closer to the official launch date this summer.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Mercedes-Benz has seemingly been on a mission since the turn of the century to try and cover virtually every niche possible. Enter the X-Class – a pick-up truck that will be even more luxurious than the Volkswagen Amarok. Based on the Nissan Navara, the X-Class will have a usable payload of more than 1.1 tonnes. Sales will begin later this year, although European buyers may have to wait until 2018 to finally get their cars. Mercedes has had such unprecedented demand it’s had to create a bespoke website in the UK to handle reservations for the first models.

Ssangyong Rexton

South Korea’s other car manufacturer is upping the pace in the UK with another new SUV. Last year’s concept version may have had plush shag-pile carpets, but sadly they don’t seem to have reached the production Rexton. But Ssangyong still promises a refined interior, with Nappa leather seats and Apple CarPlay as standard. Mercedes-Benz supplies the seven-speed auto’ gearbox, powering all four wheels courtesy of a 2.2-litre diesel engine. Expect prices under £28,000 when sales begin in the autumn.

Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

Vauxhall is making a major effort with the latest Insignia and, on the back of the coupe-esque four-door Grand Sport, comes the new estate version. Undoubtedly handsome, the new Sports Tourer boasts more load space with 1,665 litres of room for all your junk in the trunk when the seats are folded flat. Set to be on sale very soon, prices for the Insignia Sports Tourer will begin at £18,615, representing a £1,500 premium over the four-door version.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

After months of titillation, Sir Andy Murray was responsible for finally pulling the covers off the XF Sportbrake. It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in the motoring world, with only the bizarre tennis ball camouflage disguising the finished product. Production cars will be in showrooms by the end of the year, with engine choices mirroring the saloon equivalent.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain

Despite the insistence of Mercedes-Benz on tackling every segment possible, somehow the brand had avoided the off-road estate market. Until now, that is. With standard air suspension and larger tyres increasing ground clearance by 29mm over the normal E-Class, the All-Terrain also benefits from robust plastic body mouldings and trim pieces. A 4Matic AWD system is standard, with the choice of 2.0-litre straight-four or 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines.

Hyundai i30 Tourer

This might not seem like the sexiest of new estates debuting in 2017, but for those in the real world it’s still an important addition to the wagon market. With one of the biggest boots in the segment – boasting 602 litres with the seats up, and 1,650 litres with them down – the i30 Tourer has practicality on its side. It also majors on safety, with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, and Driver Attention Alert just some of the features included. Sales begin at the end of the summer.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

On the other hand, this is quite possibly the best-looking estate we’ll see going on sale this year. It does lose out to the i30 on luggage space though, with a meagre 1,390 litres of space with the seats folded down. We doubt that most buyers expecting their cars in October will really care, and instead will revel in the shooting brake styling. Priced from £73,017, the range-topping Turbo Sport Turismo is substantially more costly at £117,247. That does bring a 550hp twin-turbo V8 engine to the party, however.

Volkswagen Arteon

In theory the all-new Arteon follows on from the old Passat CC, but in reality Volkswagen wants this to be seen as a further push into premium territory. So whilst it shares a platform with the current Passat, it’s longer and wider, while also likely to be considerably more expensive. Initial engine choices will be a 280hp 2.0-litre petrol turbo, or 2.0-litre turbo diesel with 240hp, and will both feature 4WD as standard. Trim choices will be either the sporty R-Line, as pictured, or the slightly subtler Elegance version. On sale from October, but will it tempt buyers from Audi and BMW?

Kia Stinger

It’s safe to say a rear-wheel-drive Kia saloon, with the option of a 370hp twin-turbo V6 engine, wasn’t top of most predictions for what would be launched at the Detroit Auto Show. Kia took many by surprise with the Stinger, and especially with it being so close to ready for production. Available to buy at the end of the year, UK buyers will have the option of a 255hp 2.0-litre petrol turbo, 200hp 2.2-litre diesel, or the aforementioned 3.3-litre turbo V6.

Audi A8

Although Audi is currently keeping quiet on the finalised design of the new A8 saloon, it isn’t being shy when it comes to the technical details under the skin. Mild hybrid electric technology will be standard across the range, allowing energy recuperation and coasting to save fuel. The Audi Space Frame will use a mixture of aluminium, steel, magnesium and carbonfibre, helping to save weight but keep structural rigidity high. The finished product will be unveiled next month, but expect styling cues to be taken from the 2014 Prologue concept car.

Honda Civic Type R

As the first Civic Type R to be built for the global market, including the USA, Honda has high hopes pinned on this car. A new Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record has been set, which is almost de rigueur for any serious hot hatch these days. The 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo engine now produces 320hp, with the gear ratios for the six-speed manual gearbox lowered to aid acceleration. Hitting forecourts next month the base car is priced at £30,995, with the higher specification GT model an additional £2,000. Both versions come with that bodykit though…

Renault Sport Megane

This may be another car that we’ll see before the end of the year, but buyers might have to wait until 2018 to play with. Building on the legacy of previous Megane generations, expectations are high for the full reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. While Renault is playing coy on the exact details, we do at least know the new performance Megane will have the option of a traditional six-speed manual, or EDC dual-clutch gearbox. Much to the delight of Renault Sport enthusiasts everywhere we imagine.

Hyundai i30 N

Anyone who doubts how seriously Hyundai is taking development of the I30 N hot hatch should look to the recent performance at the Nürburgring 24 hour race. Two production-spec I30 N models were entered, racking up more than 6,000km between them. Hyundai has also tested the I30 N on UK roads, which should hopefully mean it suits our broken tarmac. Full details will come in September, but we do know the front-wheel drive hatch will feature a 2.0-litre turbo engine producing in the region of 260-290hp.

Toyota Yaris GRMN

First things first – GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring. Catchy, we know. Built to coincide with Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship, this supermini-sized hot hatch is a genuine hardcore machine. Powered by a 1.8-litre supercharged engine producing more than 205hp, with a limited-slip differential and six-speed manual gearbox as standard, this is not your Grandmother’s Yaris. Whilst we’re still awaiting an exact on-sale date, expect the first cars before the end of 2017.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

It might still have a fabric roof, but Mercedes is keen to point out that the new E-Class Cabriolet can be enjoyed all year round. Not only does it feature the optional Airscarf to blow warm air around your neck, but also a new Aircap system can be specified which reduces roof down turbulence. Engine choices are shared with the Coupé version, whilst 4Matic 4WD is available for the first time on a soft-top E-Class.

Lexus LC

Despite looking much like a concept car, the new LC coupe is genuinely a production-ready GT. Aimed at enhancing the sporting credibility of the Lexus brand, but with a unique slant on things, think of this as a leftfield alternative to a Porsche 911. Curiously, pricing is the exact same amount at £76,595, regardless of whether buyers opt for the 467hp 5.0-litre V8 LC 500, or the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid LC 500h. Deliveries will begin to UK customers in August this year.

Audi RS5 Coupé

Gone is the 4.2-litre V8 engine for the new RS5 Coupé, and in comes a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 engine with 450hp and 443lb ft of torque. So while the V8 noise may have departed, performance is still suitably rapid with 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. Audi also seems to want us to know the RS5 can drift, presumably thanks to the Quattro Sport Differential, which all UK cars receive as standard. This apportions torque more effectively to rear wheels, allowing for things to get a little lairy. With the RS5 having been available to order since May, the first customers should receive their cars later this summer.


Another special edition BMW M4? Oh yes, indeed. Designed to sit between the hardcore M4 GTS and M4 Competition Pack, the CS blends elements of both cars together. Power is upped to 460hp, with suspension settings carried over from the Competition Pack machine. The carbonfibre bonnet and rear diffuser from the GTS make an appearance, but the CS features rear seats and does without a roll cage. Sales begin next month, priced at £89,130 – more than £30,000 cheaper than the M4 GTS.

Alpine A110

Recreating a sports car first introduced in the 1960s, the new Alpine A110 is a modern reinterpretation of that retro machine. The engine has moved from the rear to the middle for 2017, with a 1.8-litre turbocharged unit producing 252hp. The initial launch edition ‘Premiere’ model is priced at €58,500 (£51,427) and is limited to 1,955 models. While customers in left-hand drive countries will receive their cars by the end of 2017, UK buyers will have to wait slightly longer for right-hand drive versions.

Champions League 2017: when cars play football

This weekend, all footballing roads – or more specifically the M4 and A48 – lead to Cardiff as the Uefa Champions League bandwagon rolls into town. At the end of the day – read: 19:45 – Juventus and Real Madrid will kick-off with high hopes of scooping Europe’s biggest prize since Amar Pelos Dois won the hearts of Kiev.

These days, football and cars are as intertwined as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ferrari 599 GTB and the tunnel beneath Manchester Airport. In Cheshire, (dis)tastefully modified cars are as common as fake tan, must-have handbags and sunnies the size of dinner plates.

But while it’s easy to poke fun at footballing car culture – hat tip to Stephen Ireland for services to the industry – the fact remains that football is big business for the car industry. And that’s not a throwaway cliché, Clive.

The Champions League gives 110%

Nissan certainly thinks so, which is why you’re forced to endure endless ads when Gary, Jake and co. have finished over-analysing misplaced passes with old pros. The Japanese firm signed a four-year Uefa Champions League sponsorship deal in 2014, reported to be worth €54.5 (£45m), replacing Ford, which had sponsored the tournament for 22 years.

Whichever way you look at it, that’s an awful lot of Nissan Micras. Or 3,750 base-spec models, to be precise.Champions League 2017: when cars play football

For Nissan, the benefits are obvious. Around 200 million fans are expected to watch the final on June 3, not to mention the countless others who have tuned in since the tournament kicked off back in June 2016. Although quite how many cars Nissan sold off the back of The New Saints vs. Tre Penne is anybody’s guess.

“The Champions League has massive power in terms of views that it can give us,” Jean-Pierre Diernaz, vice president for marketing, Nissan Europe, told the BBC in 2016.

“We are a growing brand around the world, but with the exception of Japan, and possibly the US, we are a challenger brand. To go a step further we need to grow awareness. The Champions League has massive power in terms of views that it can give us.

“It is working in terms of making sure our brand is growing,” the Frenchman said.

Interbrand’s Top 100 Best Global Brands ranks Nissan as number 43, with the brand valued at $11.066m in 2016, an increase of 22%. Messrs Iniesta, Thiago Silva and Aguero kicking a ball about in a studio are doing more than just bookending the commercial break.

A game of two halves

But the car industry’s involvement with the Champions League final goes far deeper than Yaya Touré kicking a football through the roof of a Nissan X-Trail. Real Madrid vs. Juventus presents a compelling automotive sideshow in Ingolstadt vs. Michigan. Or Audi vs. Jeep.

Audi calls itself a “partner of premier international clubs” and has been the vehicle partner of Real Madrid since 2003. The internet is awash with photos of players smiling gleefully at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as they’re presented with the keys to their new highly-specced Audi.

Hats off to the Audi PR team for convincing Ronaldo to risk a moment of ‘helmet hair’ in the name of corporate sponsorship. He’s probably just thankful that he escaped the possibility of being given a club Chevrolet when he left Manchester United. Hard luck, Rooney, De Gea, et al.Champions League 2017: when cars play football

Not that Audi is a one-club company. Its sponsorship of FC Ingolstadt 04 is understandable, as are its links with Bayern Munich – that must sting, BMW – but a partnership with FC Barcelona? Proof that business is more important than fierce rivalries. When sponsorship deals get Messi…

Jeep: a no-nonsense player

Jeep’s sponsorship of the ‘Old Lady’ dates back to the 2012-2013 season when it signed an initial three-year deal worth €35m, or €11.7m per season. To outsiders, seeing the famous Jeep logo adorning the equally famous black and white stripes of Juve might seem like just another sponsorship deal, but to car enthusiasts and those with a thing for economics, the link is more obvious.

Juventus is controlled by the billionaire Agnelli family, the investment company with a 29.41% share in Fiat and a 22.91% share in Ferrari. In 2015, the Fiat-founding family signed a merger agreement with Chrysler, which created Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and created an indirect link between the American SUV brand and the city of Turin.

Not that Juventus has encountered anything other than smooth roads this season. Having secured the Serie A title, Juve made light work of Barcelona at the quarter final stage and saw off the attacking threat of Monaco in the semis as the Italians marched to the final in Cardiff.Champions League 2017: when cars play football

Top, top cars

Victory at the National Stadium of Wales – Uefa regulations prevent it being called the Principality Stadium – would net the winning team €15.5m, while the other finalist will receive €11m. Enough for the clubs to pick and choose from their corporate sponsor’s range of vehicles.

Leaving aside the fact that the players are given the keys to the cars of their respective club sponsors, you’re unlikely to see Ronaldo splashing out on a new Q2 or Buffon spending any time using the Renegade online configurator. The players can pick and choose from the world’s elite range of supercars.

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The animal arrive👍🔝

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s car collection has been well documented and includes a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse he bought to celebrate winning Euro 2016 with Portugal. He announced the purchase on Instagram with the simple caption: “The animal arrive.”

Not to be outdone by his Real Madrid teammate, Karim Benzema often arrives at training in a black and chrome Bugatti Veyron. Meanwhile, Toni Kroos drives a Ferrari 488 GTB.

Welshman Gareth Bale, who is hoping to recover from an injury to play in the Cardiff final, reportedly gave up driving supercars because he believed it was the root cause of a succession of hamstring injuries. Bale was a member of a £30,000-a-year supercar club.Champions League 2017: when cars play football

Legendary Italian ’keeper, Gianluigi Buffon is unlikely to suffer any supercar-related injuries ahead of the Champions League final. The 39-year-old Italian is more interested in clean sheets than expensive motors, choosing to squeeze his 6ft 3in frame into a Fiat 500. In his first year as a pro he’d turn up at training riding a Vespa. Once a legend, always a legend.

Predictability, many of Buffon’s teammates at Juve don’t share his love of mundane motors, with some opting to keep it in the family by driving a Ferrari. For Dani Alves it’s an FF, Leonardo Bonucci drives an F12berlinetta, while Claudio Marchisio has chosen a 599 GTO.

At the end of the day…

Not that this precludes the Juve players from partaking in the odd promotional job for Jeep. “Smile and think of the paycheque,” mutters Giorgio Chiellini as he manages something that might pass as a grin. Almost.Champions League 2017: when cars play football

Come Saturday evening, Juventus will be all smiles if they overturn the odds by beating the favourites Real Madrid. Will Italian-American grit triumph over German precision engineering in the battle of the sponsors, or will the Japanese score on the break?

It’s back to you in the studio, Gary.