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Alfa Romeo Tonale: Brera’s beauty lives on in hybrid SUV

Alfa Romeo Tonale

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept has been revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show and by heck, have they done it again. Alfa Romeo, in its second attempt at an SUV, has made another looker. If any marque was going to manage it, it was Alfa.

Yes, it’s a hybrid, but let’s go through the looks first, because the Tonale owes quite a bit of its handsomeness to its ancestors, Alfas of old.

A new-era hybrid SUV inspired by the Brera

Alfa Romeo Tonale

First, you look it dead in the snout. We’re in very familiar territory at the front of the Tonale, with the “three plus three” light design evoking the Brera and the SZ before it. The teledial wheels run deep through Alfa’s heritage.

The body is muscular but not excessive, with a strong belt line and distinctive arches. The surfaces down the side are very smooth and clean, as the window line flourishes upwards at the back.

At the rear, we’re back on the Brera, with the centrally tapering window and “three plus three” design continuing in the lights.

‘Alfa Romeo Lifestyle and Social communities’

Alfa Romeo Tonale

The interior is dominated by the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch touch screen. It is via these that you can access the ‘Alfa Romeo Lifestyle and Social communities’… 

‘Alfista’ gives you access to marque-specific clubs, events, gatherings, drives and meets. In between RSVPing to these, you can read up on all the latest Alfa Romeo news.

The ‘Paddock’ is the Alfa Romeo market for upgrades for your Tonale and merchandise, all available at your fingertips. Hmm…

Under the skin

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Under that delightful Brera-inspired skin is a hybrid powertrain that can be deployed in different ways via different driving modes. The ‘DNA’ system we see in current Alfa Romeos has been adapted for this hybrid application.

’Dual power’ mode replaces ‘Dynamic’ for maximum shove, while ‘Natural’ mode continues, managing both electric and internal combustion powertrains automatically for optimised performance. ‘Advance E’ takes the place of ‘Advance Efficiency, in this case prioritising electric power. The interior fully lights up to correspond with your driving mode, the above being ‘Dual Power’.

Wait… Tonale..?

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Yes, it’s an intriguing name. They haven’t plucked it out of thin air, though. Tonale comes from the name of an Alpine pass, not far from the Stelvio, incidentally. Alfa’s future SUV naming strategy ought to become clear at this point…

We’ll forgive the cheesy social media waffle and the strange name on one condition, Alfa. Make the production version look like this. If the world must be flooded with SUVs, they might as well be as pretty as this.

Everything incredible about the new 300mph Koenigsegg Jesko

Koenigsegg Jesko

Koenigsegg has revealed the long-awaited successor to its Agera RS hypercar. You know, the one that smashed the record for highest top speed for a road car, with a cumulative average of 276mph, and a 284mph V-max…

Naturally, the Jesko, as it’s called, is an orgy of engineering, incredible figures and smile-raising stories. Let’s break down the Jesko one megafact at a time.

It can produce up to 1,600hp

Koenigsegg Jesko

On E85, the subtly reworked 5.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine can produce a faintly ridiculous 1,600hp. This, thanks to new larger turbochargers that have their own blown air feed via a compressor and a 20-litre carbon tank, to fight lag.

Also new are the reworked cylinder heads, a 5kg lighter flat-plane crankshaft and individual combustion chamber management. Thanks to catalytic converter heaters and various other tech, it’ll be globally emissions compliant until 2026…

Light Speed Transmission: The cleverest gearbox fitted to any car

Koenigsegg Jesko

What’s putting all that power to the wheels, then? Well, Koenigsegg is known for its clever transmissions. The Regera gets no gears (direct drive) and the Jesko gets nine. Yes, nine gears.

It has a highly compact lightweight design with a lot of internalised components, immediately giving it an advantage over dual-clutch systems. It can shift between any of the gears instantly, sort of like on a bicycle.

How? Well, like on a bike, there are multiple clutches managing six cogs for a total of nine ratios combined. Seventh to fourth? Fine, just nudge a lever two notches and the Ultimate Power on Demand (UPoD) system will select the best gear for acceleration within the Lightspeed Transmission. Yes, that is what it’s called…

Suspension-crushing downforce

Koenigsegg Jesko

The Jesko’s sculpted and evolved bodywork can produce over 800kg of downforce at 155mph, 1,000kg at 171mph and, allegedly, as much as 1,400kg at an as yet undisclosed (and we suspect, untested) top speed.

That’s like sitting a BMW 1 Series on the top of it at a standstill. To cope with the immense forces, the car has a triplex damper at each end to manage the load. The entire suspension system has been beefed up, too.

It’ll do 300mph

Koenigsegg Jesko

There’s a lot of debate around what is the first 300mph car. Could a Bugatti Chiron do it if it was let off its lead? Possibly. Is Hennessy very openly gunning for it, almost building a car specifically to take the title? Absolutely.

The problem is that until any of them do it, none are 300mph cars. The Jesko, as purported by Christian von Koenigsegg, will crack the triple-tonne. With 1,600hp and a low-drag set-up, we’re not here to doubt that it can and based on the marque’s prior track record, we reckon they’ll give it a shot.

That low-drag version is, per Christian’s presentation at Geneva, going under the working title ‘Jesko 300’. Yeah, he’s confident…

It’s a tribute to Christian von Koenigsegg’s father.

Jesko isn’t quite Ragnarok, is it? The latter is a Norse mythological word for the end of the world, the former is the name of Christian’s dad. Jesko it is…

Way back when a wide-eyed and ambitious 22-year-old was setting up his hypercar company, Jesko, his dad, instead of poo-pooing the idea, invested his own hard-earned cash. Through bad times and good, Koenigsegg has emerged triumphant.

The Jesko will be built to 125 units – the longest run of Koenigsegg’s yet – and it carries Jesko’s name by way of a tribute and a thank you. They even kept the name from him until the show stand reveal at Geneva.

Supercars are supposed to have heart and soul and we’re damned if that tear-jerker of a story doesn’t have it in spades. Not that Koenigseggs are particularly cold and emotionless as they are…

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited aboutOne of the biggest motoring events of the year kicks off next week, with no fewer than 60 manufacturers heading to Palexpo for the 88th Geneva show. Whatever your tastes, from a new Toyota Auris hybrid to a stripped-out Ferrari 488 Pista, you can expect to be well catered for.

We’ve rounded up the 10 cars that excite us most. With the new Citroen Berlingo and McLaren Senna included, we really have got all bases covered…

1: Polestar 1

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

Want to launch a range of premium or sporty vehicles that don’t particularly fit in with your brand image? Just create a new offshoot carmaker. It’s what Citroen’s done with DS, Seat’s doing with Cupra and Volvo’s trying with aftermarket-tuner-come-electric-car-specialist, Polestar.

While it’s easy to take a cynical view of any rebranding exercise, Polestar is at least kicking off with an almost entirely new model – and an extremely attractive one, at that. The S90-based Polestar 1 is a two-door, four-seat GT car powered by a 600hp hybrid drivetrain.

There’s a catch, though. Polestar won’t be producing a right-hand-drive version, and prices will start at around £115,000 when it finally arrives in the UK.

2: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

OK, the A-Class isn’t one of the most exciting cars that’ll be revealed at Geneva but, as the best-selling Mercedes in the UK last year, it is one of the most significant. Besides, Mercedes has been hyping it up for so long that we can’t wait to see it in the metal (if only to check whether it’s as droopy as pictures suggest).

Other highlights from the Mercedes stand will include the AMG GT4 – a four-door AMG GT that’s a little more exciting than the A-Class, admittedly, but also strikes us as a niche within a niche, surely guaranteed to steal buyers from the new Mercedes CLS.

3: Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Over on Porsche’s stand we’re expecting to see the new 911 GT3 RS. Before you get too excited, it’ll only have two pedals and a PDK gearbox. But still, a 520hp naturally-aspirated flat-six and a 3.2-second 0-62mph time is plenty to get excited about, right?

Porsche engineers have also been spotted testing the new 718 Cayman GT4 which, with the GT3’s flat-six NA engine, promises to be very exciting. Will it be at Geneva? Not if Porsche wants all the attention on the GT3 RS…

4: Range Rover SV Coupe

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

Tucked away on Land Rover’s stand somewhere at Palexpo, the SV Coupe promises to be the most exclusive (and expensive) Range Rover yet. A rival to the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan, we’ve already seen a teaser in the form of an interior shot showing individual rear seats and a wide, wooden centre console that stretches the length of the cabin.

Only 999 will be made by Land Rover’s Special Vehicles department, with prices expected to be close to £250,000. That’s a lot of money.

5: Ferrari 488 Pista

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

The 488 Pista follows the 458 Speciale, 430 Scuderia and 360 Challenge Stradale in Ferrari’s line of track-focused specials. The supercar manufacturer is – naturally – making some bold claims for the Pista (which is Italian for ‘track’, FYI).

Described by the brand as a ‘significant step forward’, the 488 Pista is powered by the standard car’s twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 with a significant power hike to 720hp. That makes it the most potent Ferrari V8 engine ever, boasting a 2.85-second 0-62mph time. And 124mph (200kph) is reached in 7.6 seconds.

6: Toyota Supra

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

Toyota has revealed it’ll be taking its ‘modern racing concept’ to Geneva, saying it “signals its commitment to bring its most iconic sports car back to the market.”

Pictures of the Supra concept have already been leaked all over the internet, but that doesn’t stop us being excited by the Gazoo-branded sports car. Developed as part of a joint venture with BMW, the Supra will used a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine shared with the new Z4. Hybrid versions are expected to follow in the future.

7: Aston Martin Vantage

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

We’ve been waiting for the new Aston Martin Vantage for what feels like forever, but we’ll finally see it in the metal at Geneva. Sure, we already know what it’ll look like and almost everything about it, but still.

Powered by a Mercedes-AMG engine, the twin-turbo V8 coupe is replacing a model that’s been around, with a few minor tweaks, since 2005. Available to order now with prices starting at £120,900, the new Vantage will hit 62mph in 3.6 seconds and is good for 195mph flat-out.

Alongside the Vantage, Aston boss Andy Palmer has hinted that there may be one or two surprises in store at Geneva. We’ll definitely be checking out Aston’s stand to find out more when the show kicks off next week…

8: Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

The Morgan Plus 8 will soon be deprived of its wonderful 4.8-litre BMW V8 engine, and to mark the occasion (and the small matter of 50 years since the original Plus 8 was launched) the small-time British firm is taking a 50th Anniversary model to Geneva. We don’t know much about it, other than just 50 will be built. But as the Plus 8 still looks remarkably like it did in 1968, we doubt any big changes are on the horizon.

From the teasers, we can tell it’ll have motorsport-style decals and each car will be individually numbered.

9: Citroen Berlingo Multispace

10 Geneva Motor Show stars we’re really excited about

Look, you have to allow us the odd real-world indulgence. The van-based MPV isn’t being defeated by the crossover craze just yet. And it looks pretty good, to us, with Cactus-esque styling and ‘Airbump’ plastic cladding to prevent trolley dings.

There’s loads of room inside, as you’d expect, with sliding rear doors to help rear access. Expect more connectivity and improved tech over its predecessor. Now, back to normal…

10: McLaren Senna

McLaren’s most extreme road car ever, the Senna boasts 800hp, 800Nm of torque and 800kg of downforce. Named after three-time F1 world champion Ayrton Senna, we first saw the new McLaren at a special event in Woking last year. Geneva will be its public debut, however.

It’ll hit 62mph in 2.8 seconds, 124mph in 6.8 seconds and 186mph in an incredible 17.5 seconds. Only 500 will be made, with production starting later in 2018. Prices will start at £750,000.

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DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback premium SUV revealed

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

The new DS 7 Crossback SUV shows the French premium brand wannabe is about to get serious with a high-end crossover SUV that’s gunning for the Range Rover Evoque. Set to launch at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the firm has revealed it in full ahead of the Swiss spectacle. 

Styled under the leadership of DS design director Thierry Metroz, the new DS 7 Crossback is less wilfully odd than previous DS models, and more in tune with the sort of cars buyers are seeking. The firm’s also gone big on high-end detailing, in an attempt to further its promise of offering French luxury in the premium car class.

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

Lights are a particular focus here. The original DS 3 made great play of its signature LED lighting and the DS 7 Crossback continues that. Full LED headlights perform fancy start-up tricks and the LED running lights now form vertical beads. At the rear, laser-engraving tech has been used to create striking illuminated units. 

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

Inside, the quality lift evidenced by the Peugeot 3008, whose platform the DS 7 Crossback shares, is very much in evidence. Again, it’s a unique interior, with twin 12-inch screens: one in the centre of the dash and one in the instrument binnacle. DS claims the centre one is a sector-first, controlling navigation, DS Connect, MirrorScreen and multimedia. 

There are endless interior trim options, or ‘ambiences’, too. Reflecting (it says here) owners’ lifestyles, buyers can choose from Bastille, Rivoli, Opera or Performance Line. All boast their own Haute Couture trimmings and the ‘obsession with detail’ DS is keen to become characterised by. 

DS 7 Crossback engine tech

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

A headline powertrain for the DS 7 Crossback is a plug-in hybrid petrol set-up, boasting 300 hp, four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It has a 1.6-litre THP 200 engine, two electric motors and can do 37 miles on electric power alone. 

Other engines are more familiar. There are 1.2-litre PureTech 130 and 1.6-litre THP 180 turbo petrols, plus 1.6-litre BlueHDi 130 and 2.0-litre BlueHDi 180 diesels. Pick from a range of gearboxes – the eight-speed EAT8 sounds preferable to the older EAT6. 

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

DS is promising clever driving tech to smooth out the DS 7 Crossback’s ride. Active Scan Suspension comprises adaptive damping that uses a camera in the windscreen to monitor the road ahead. It’s linked up with chassis sensors to fine-tune the suspension in real time. Bringing the traditional Citroen ride quality into the 21st century? Here’s hoping. 

In pictures: DS 7 Crossback

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Alpine A110

Official: Alpine A110 sports car revealed

Alpine A110

Alpine A110

Renault has officially revealed the new Alpine A110 sports car, ahead of its global debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show next week. The new production car is the latest step in the rebirth of the famous Renault-owned Alpine brand.

No technical details are being revealed at this stage, but Renault has confirmed the new Alpine A110 will be constricted fully from aluminium – both the platform and upper body are made from it, for “optimum weight saving and agility”. All part of being an authentic ‘Berlinette’, says the brand.

Alpine A110

Alpine A110

More specs will be revealed during the press conference at Geneva, scheduled for 1215h UK time on 7 March, meaning we can for now instead savour the images of Renault’s new sports car rival to the Porsche 718 Cayman and Audi TT. It’s clear from the images this is going to be a compact car; the front end has the classic Alpine face and its curves are a nice mix of modern and traditional: we love how the tail gently falls away, for example, and the wraparound rear screen is neat.

There’s some smart detailing at work. The classic Alpine round driving lamps have been reinterpreted with modern LEDs. The French flag in the rear pillar is cute and, behind it, cooling inlets for the engine reside. Also note the Alpine logo on the front wing and, at the rear, what looks like a substantial diffuser just poking out the bottom of the bumper.

As for its sports car credentials, it’ll be a mid-engined design, with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, so hopes are high. There’s talk of 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds plus the sort of handling you expect from a Porsche rival – expect it to be more driver-focused than a TT, for example. Remember, the crack Renault Sport team will have been working hard on this…

We like the fact Renault has stuck with the traditional A110 name too, harking back to the 1961-1977 original. There was speculation this new car would carry the A120 name, but today’s announcement debunks that: A110 it is.

This car has had something of a complicated birth. It was back in 2012 when Renault first announced it was teaming up with British sports car maker Caterham to co-develop a new model. By 2014, Caterham was out, leaving Alpine to go it alone. In 2016, we saw the Alpine Vision concept, confirming they were making good progress: finally, at Geneva 2017, we’ll get to see the final production car.

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Mitsubishi has teased a new SUV ahead of its reveal at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show – and hinted that it could be a ‘turning point’ for the brand in the UK.

The Qashqai-sized crossover is rumoured to be named the Eclipse and will sit between the ASX and the Outlander in the company’s range.

The Japanese carmaker saw UK registrations plummet in 2016 – down nearly 20% to 18,237 sales last year. In recent years it’s been relying on sales of its popular Outlander PHEV crossover, which has been hit by reduced government incentives for plug-in hybrid cars.

Mitsubishi teased the new crossover in concept form as the XR-PHEV II at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

At the time, Mitsubishi UK’s managing director Lance Bradley told Motoring Research it had potential to double the manufacturer’s sales figures in the UK.

He explained that, in 2015, Mitsubishi UK was expecting to sell 10,000 Outlander PHEVs. As the C-segment crossover sector is three times larger than the D-segment SUV, the firm could potentially sell 30,000 Qashqai-rivals a year.

“I’m not saying that’s going to happen,” Bradley told Motoring Research. “We’re going to be conservative in our numbers. But when I went to Japan, Aikawa [former president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation] ambitiously suggested that it might be possible.”

The new crossover will use a shortened version of the Outlander’s platform and will feature a more stylish, coupe roofline.

Although a plug-in hybrid version would appear to make sense following the success of the Outlander PHEV, reduced incentives and high costs mean the firm might stick to more conventional powertrains for the Eclipse.

A new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is expected to be popular, while a 2.2-litre turbodiesel will also be offered. The SUV will be available with two- and four-wheel-drive powertrains.

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi’s fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Mitsubishi has teased a new SUV ahead of its reveal at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show – and hinted that it could be a ‘turning point’ for the brand in the UK.

The Qashqai-sized crossover is rumoured to be named the Eclipse and will sit between the ASX and the Outlander in the company’s range.

The Japanese carmaker saw UK registrations plummet in 2016 – down nearly 20% to 18,237 sales last year. In recent years it’s been relying on sales of its popular Outlander PHEV crossover, which has been hit by reduced government incentives for plug-in hybrid cars.

Mitsubishi teased the new crossover in concept form as the XR-PHEV II at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

At the time, Mitsubishi UK’s managing director Lance Bradley told Motoring Research it had potential to double the manufacturer’s sales figures in the UK.

He explained that, in 2015, Mitsubishi UK was expecting to sell 10,000 Outlander PHEVs. As the C-segment crossover sector is three times larger than the D-segment SUV, the firm could potentially sell 30,000 Qashqai-rivals a year.

“I’m not saying that’s going to happen,” Bradley told Motoring Research. “We’re going to be conservative in our numbers. But when I went to Japan, Aikawa [former president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation] ambitiously suggested that it might be possible.”

The new crossover will use a shortened version of the Outlander’s platform and will feature a more stylish, coupe roofline.

Although a plug-in hybrid version would appear to make sense following the success of the Outlander PHEV, reduced incentives and high costs mean the firm might stick to more conventional powertrains for the Eclipse.

A new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is expected to be popular, while a 2.2-litre turbodiesel will also be offered. The SUV will be available with two- and four-wheel-drive powertrains.

Vauxhall will be looking to take on the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb with the smart-looking new Insignia Grand Sport. First drives are expected in spring 2017.

New 2017 Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport revealed

Vauxhall will be looking to take on the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb with the smart-looking new Insignia Grand Sport. First drives are expected in spring 2017.

Vauxhall will be looking to take on the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb with the smart-looking new Insignia Grand Sport. First drives are expected in spring 2017.

Vauxhall has released these pictures of its all new Insignia – now dubbed the Grand Sport – ahead of its official debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Increased standard spec combined with lower running costs will make Vauxhall’s Mondeo-rival even more desirable to company car drivers – along with extra connectivity and increased comfort, says Vauxhall.

The extra efficiency is helped by its turbocharged engines – although exact technical details are yet to be announced – while 175kg has been shaved off its kerb weight compared to the outgoing Insignia.

Expect the engine-range to include its predecessor’s 1.4-litre petrol turbo, along with a choice of turbodiesels.

A new eight-speed automatic gearbox will also be offered, as will a four-wheel-drive system featuring torque vectoring. This transfers the power between wheels to aid cornering – perhaps paving the way for a hot VXR version, however this is said to be unlikely.

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Vauxhall’s ‘Flexride’ adaptive suspension allows drivers to flick between ‘standard’, ‘sport’ and ‘tour’ modes, adjusting the dampers to offer a firmer or more comfortable ride, as well as sharpening up the steering and tweaking the shift points on the automatic gearbox.

The Insignia Grand Sport takes elements of its design from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Opel Monza concept. A longer wheelbase combined with a lower roofline and wider track gives it a more purposeful look than its predecessor – although, in our eyes, it does look a bit Mondeo.

A result of the sleeker looks is a drag factor of 0.26, contributing towards its reduced running costs.

This picture suggests improvements have been made inside – following in the path set by the much-improved Astra, released last year.

The cabin is more driver-focussed, says Vauxhall, with the driver sitting 3cm lower than before. With a centre console and instruments facing the driver, the manufacturer says it provides “a [driving] position similar to the one provided in a competition touring car.” Right…

Tech highlights include the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity systems, along with wireless mobile phone charging – as seen on the Astra. It will also get Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge service and an on-board WiFi hotspot.

Clever driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.

More information on the new Vauxhall Insignia, including pricing and an on-sale date, will follow at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Motoring Research will be there reporting live.

A decade of great Geneva Motor Show debuts

We look back at the last 10 Geneva Motor Shows and select our favourite debuts in 100 pictures

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This limited edition BMW i8 has special paint and double red stitching

This limited edition BMW i8 has special paint and double red stitching

This limited edition BMW i8 has special paint and double red stitching

BMW is set to unveil a special edition i8 at next month’s Geneva Motor Show – finished in unique Protonic Red paint with Frozen Grey metallic accents.

The special edition features the same hybrid powertrain as the standard i8, producing 362hp between its 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor.

It’ll come with 20-inch alloys finished in Orbit Grey metallic with hubs painted in matt aluminium.

Inside, BMW promises extra carbonfibre and ceramic trims, as well as ‘high-class red double-stitching’.

The Protonic Red Edition will be revealed at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, with production starting in July and deliveries taking place from September.

Prices start at £112,535 – an increase of around £8,000. BMW isn’t saying how many of the special edition will be made, but has said it’s available for a ‘limited period only’.