Posts

Aston Martin DB11 Volante

2017 Aston Martin DB11 Volante teased

Aston Martin DB11 VolanteAn open-top Volante version of the new Aston Martin DB11 will be launched in spring 2017 – and Aston Martin has confirmed this by releasing its own teaser shots of the new 2017 DB11 Volante.

To leave us in no doubt, it’s also launched a data-capturing area on its website so keen Volante early-adopters can get their interest officially recorded.

But while Aston’s given us the images, it hasn’t given us any information on the car itself. It’s also kept the important styling features of the rear end well-hidden: no, the final car won’t exhibit the wavy panels and poor fit of this test mule.

It’s likely to use the same Airblade ‘virtual spoiler’ tech of the DB11 coupe though: we can’t see the stick-up plastic blade seen here being a permanent feature. The hard-top DB11’s generously-proportioned rear wheelarches will also carry over, enhanced here by the gentle arc of the rear windows.

Aston Martin DB11 Volante

The DB11 Volante will use a folding soft-top roof, so it will drop down completely flush to leave a decadently open-air cabin. The roof is black on the test mule: expect a choice of colours when production cars launch.

Otherwise, expect a car very similar to the coupe DB11, 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 engine and all.

The only possible added extra we possibly can spy from these teaser images is the potential addition of a forward-facing camera on the windscreen, suggesting active cruise control could be on the way: it’s an omission on the launch DB11 some have criticised. Camera functionality would also introduce more active safety features to the new drop-top Aston.

Aston Martin DB11 Volante

We’ll find out more in coming months: take it as confirmation, though, that the next chapter in the Aston Martin DB11 story will be roofless.

Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition

Lotus Elise 250 Special Edition marks 50 years in Norfolk for £48k

Lotus Elise 250 Special EditionLotus has lived at its legendary Hethel, Norfolk site for 50 years and to celebrate, the storied British sports car company has launched a new Elise 250 Special Edition.

It’s priced at a hefty £47,900, but includes standard carbon fibre componentry that helps cut the kerbweight to below 900kg.

These include a carbon fibre front splitter, rear wing, engine cover and front access panel; they also look rather beautiful, particularly when complemented by the ultralightweight forged alloy wheels.

Offered in metallic blue, red, yellow or white (“four of the firm’s favourite colours,” says Lotus), the Elise 250 Special Edition also has a hand-finished interior including carbon fibre seats with leather stitched by someone’s fair hands and a choice of contrasting stitching colours (the leather’s either dark blue or dark grey).

Based on the high-performance Elise Cup 250, a 243hp 1.8-litre supercharged engine helps it from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and around Lotus’ Hethel test track in 1 minute 34 seconds – that’s the fastest-ever time recorded by any road-spec Elise.

Fancy performance kit as standard include Bilstein dampers, Eibach coaxial coil springs, AP Racing twin-pot front brake calipers and Bilstein rear calipers. But fancy luxury kit such as air con, Bluetooth functionality, cruise control, full carpets and extra sound insulation, cost extra.

“When we first introduced the Elise,” said Group Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, “it redefined how involving and exciting, yet civilised, a sports car could be.

“As the Elise was conceived, designed, engineered and is built at Hethel, we wanted a 50th tribute that’s even lighter than the fastest road-going Elise we’ve ever produced.

“The new Elise 250 Special Edition achieves that.”

Lotus will make just 50 Elise 250 Special Editions: ordering is open now.

The sports cars that could save you money

1If you own a sports car, you know you’ll have to make one or two sacrifices. Trips to IKEA are out of the window, packing for the weekend requires the skills of a contortionist, and if the children want to travel in the back they’ll need to ensure they don’t grow beyond the size of a pocket monkey. But according to CAP HPI, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re forced to end each month approaching your bank manager with a begging bowl. Read on to discover more.

10. Audi S5 Sportback S Tronic3

The CAP HPI analysis looks at the total cost of ownership to reveal to reveal the sports cars with the lowest motoring costs over the first three years. Whilst we’d question the inclusion of some of the vehicles in the CAP HPI top 10, we do find the figures rather interesting. We’ve ranked the top 10 cars in reverse order, kicking off with the Audi S5 Sportback. Over the course of three years, you’ll spend £27,288.44 running the Audi S5. Note: a new S5 is about to be launched.

Monthly running costs: £758.01

Service and maintenance: £361.00

Fuel costs: £4,152.44

Total cost of ownership: £27,288.44

Any excuse to trawl the classifieds is fine by us. If you can’t wait for the all-new Audi S5 Sportback, this 2015 car might appeal. The one-owner car has covered a mere 2,000 miles and offers an enviable list of options and accessories. Yours for £37,500.

 

9. Porsche Cayman5

The total cost of ownership is based on a vehicle’s monthly running cost, cost per mile, service and maintenance, depreciation, insurance group, cost new, delivery costs and road tax. On this basis, the Porsche Cayman 2.7-litre finishes ninth in the CAP HPI table. This Cayman has since been superseded by the four-cylinder Porsche 718 Cayman. Note the service and maintenance cost, which is the highest in the top 10.

Monthly running costs: £685.62

Service and maintenance: £1,724.00

Fuel costs: £4,424.33

Total cost of ownership: £24,682.33

Not put off by the cost of service and maintenance, how about this 2007 Porsche Cayman 2.7? With just 25,675 miles on the clock and a price tag below £19,000, it’s an even cheaper way to run a Cayman. Cobalt Blue works for us, too.

8. Audi RS3 Sportback7

Sports car? The Audi RS3 is more of a hot hatch to us, but at least it has the ability to keep up with some of the other cars featured in this gallery. And that 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine is one of the best on the market.

Monthly running costs: £647.29

Service and maintenance: £1,253.00

Fuel costs: £4,259.53

Total cost of ownership: £23,302.53

New, an Audi RS3 Sportback would have set you back around £40,000, and that’s before you got busy with the list of options. Which makes this £25,000 RS3 a bit of a bargain. Two owners from new, just 29,000 miles on clock and full Audi service history.

7. Nissan 370Z Coupe9

Philip Nothard of CAP HPI said: “Owning a sports car comes with a heavier price tag than some of the other categories of cars, however, some vehicles offer competitive ownership costs in terms of service and maintenance, whilst others offer more economical monthly running costs or fuel costs.” These fuel costs are calculated at 10,000 miles per year. In seventh place you’ll find the Nissan 370Z Coupe.

Monthly running costs: £619.02

Service and maintenance: £1,216.00

Fuel costs: £5,588.63

Total cost of ownership: £22,284.63

You’ll spend £27,860 on a new 370Z Coupe, but this cost rises to £38,050 in full-fat Nismo spec. But why buy new when you can spend just £16,960 on this 10,000-mile example? It looks like it has been treated to one or two well-chosen modifications, including Sparco race seats and a full stainless steel exhaust.

6. Ford Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost11

If you’re looking for an excuse to order the Ford Mustang with the all-American V8 engine (pictured), look away now, because, perhaps unsurprisingly, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost is cheaper to run. If you’ll spend £4,211.26 fuelling the ‘EcoStang’ (© Rory Reid, Top Gear), just think how much it would cost to keep the V8 topped up.

Monthly running costs: £530.70

Service and maintenance: £964.00

Fuel costs: £4,211.26

Total cost of ownership: £19,105.26

The Ford Mustang is fresh to market, so used examples are few and far between. Your best bet is a dealer demonstrator, as these are often well-equipped and offer a small saving compared to the list price. At £32,495, this Mustang is EcoBoost is more expensive than the entry-level £30,995, but it benefits from many optional extras.

5. Audi S313

Again, we’d question the sports car label, but the Audi S3 offers the lowest service and maintenance cost in this gallery. At £302 per month, the S3 is nearly £1,000 less than the Audi RS3.

Monthly running costs: £515.46

Service and maintenance: £302.00

Fuel costs: £3,679.64

Total cost of ownership: £18,556.64

For some reason, this 2015 Audi S3 caught our eye. Hey, if you’re going to own and run a popular car, at least make an effort to stand out.

4. Audi TT 2.0 TDI Ultra Sport15

Is this a case of having your sports car cake and eating it? This Audi TT Sport gives you the styling and build quality of a TT, but with the efficiency and economy of a 2.0-litre TDI Ultra engine. The diesel TT offers up to 62.8mpg on a combined cycle and 184g/km CO2.

Monthly running costs: £514.87

Service and maintenance: £315.00

Fuel costs: £2,345.44

Total cost of ownership: £18,535.44

This has the potential to be quite a find. It’s a 2014 Audi T 2.0-litre TDI Ultra with just 1,000 miles on the clock. The ad says it was a custom build purchased new from Exeter Audi and comes complete with Virtual Cockpit, S-line specification and remainder of warranty. Bargain?

3. Subaru BRZ SE17

Now here’s a proper sports car – the front-engine, rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ in entry-level SE trim. Over the course of three years, it will cost £18,136.56 to run what is one of the best sports cars of the modern era. Believe us when we say: that’s £18,000 well spent.

Monthly running costs: £503.79

Service and maintenance: £1,115.00

Fuel costs: £4,106.56

Total cost of ownership: £18,136.56

But why spend upwards of £22,495 on a new Subaru BRZ when you can spend less than £15,000? This 2013 car benefits from being sold through a Subaru main dealer, as well as the more luxurious SE Lux trim.

2. Toyota GT86 Primo18

Finding it hard to choose between the Subaru BRZ and its Toyota GT86 sibling? Well, according to CAP HPI, the Toyota will save you £600 over the course of three years. Spend this on fuel and enjoy a few extra dawn raids.

Monthly running costs: £486.24

Service and maintenance: £1,013.00

Fuel costs: £4,106.56

Total cost of ownership: £17,504.56

Be still our beating hearts. This 2015 car has covered a mere 8,827 miles from new and is available for £19,000. The Primo might be the entry-level GT86, but it retains the same purity of drive.

1. Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport21

Which brings us to the number one car: the Audi TT 1.8 TFSI Sport. It might lack the B-road thrills of the GT86 or BRZ, but you’ll save money in the long run. The £313 cost of service and maintenance is the major reason for the TT’s success.

Monthly running costs: £477.34

Service and maintenance: £313.00

Fuel costs: £3,156.21

Total cost of ownership: £17,184.21

According to CAP HPI: “When it comes to evaluating the 10 sports cars with the lowest total cost of ownership, for the first three years from new, our research shows that the Audi TT Coupe is the lowest.” We say: have you considered this 2014 car for just £17,490?

TVR preview rendering

Reborn TVR to make first public appearance at London Motor Show

TVR renderingTVR will attend its first motor show since being revived under the ownership of British businessman Les Edgar at the 2016 London Motor Show – but the all-new TVR won’t be.

Despite huge public interest (and a multitude of cash deposits), the firm says it’s too early to show the new car: its reveal is being pencilled in for autumn 2016.

But visitors will not be disappointed, promises TVR. Instead, it will be revealing a concept teaser of the new car: and both chairman Les Edgar and ace car designer Gordon Murray – who’s created the architecture underpinning the new TVR – will showcase the preview during the reborn firm’s press conference at 5pm on Thursday 5 May.

Les Edgar said: “We have built enormous momentum over the past 12 months, to the point at which we now hold more than 350 deposits from enthusiastic individuals who are keen to be proud owners and drivers of the new TVR.

“Our appearance at the London Motor Show will be a perfect platform for us to show a physical representation of the car and we hope to use the opportunity to tantalise the public and provide a strong indication of the look of the production vehicle.”

TVR: what we know so far

TVR’s creating its new sports car around Gordon Murray’s innovative iStream carbon reinforced chassis. This is ultra-lightweight, minimises start-up assembly costs and is being dubbed ‘the biggest revolution in high volume manufacturing since the Ford Model T’.

In TVR tradition, it will pack a brawny V8 engine, developed by Cosworth. It’ll be rear-wheel drive and a ground effect chassis will give it modern-era aerodynamics.

The new TVR will be built at a factory in South Wales, as part of a five-year, £30-million investment plan. Demand is already high: the current order rate will see the new factory working at capacity until the end of 2018.

The firm says London Motor Show-goers will get an opportunity “to appreciate the silhouette and see the physical shape in a full-size representation of the new car”.

And as for the production-ready car itself, “the full exterior design will be unveiled to all customers who placed an order at an exclusive preview event later this year, which will be an important milestone in the programme.”

Follow Motoring Research’s full coverage of the 2016 London Motor Show

MY17 Toyota GT86

Toyota GT86 facelift for NYIAS 2016

MY17 Toyota GT86Toyota is facelifting the GT86 and will give the remodelled rear-wheel drive coupe its world debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show next week.

It’s more than just a simple spit and polish, too: front-end changes give the MY17 GT86 much more attitude, with a fresh bumper boasting a bigger central air intake, more sculptural slide air intakes plus new LED headlamps.

MY17 Toyota GT86

New LED tail lamps show the visual power of simply revising lights, while there are new alloys and a suspiciously Subaru BRZ-like metallic blue paint colour option.

Inside, Toyota says it’s upped the quality, with new trims and the option of Alcantara-wrapped instrument panels and door trims. Audio controls are coming to the new-look steering wheel as well; it also gets an ‘86’ logo on the centre boss.

Visual changes extend beneath the surface: there’s revised tuning for the springs and dampers, which make it more agile yet easier to control on the limit (clever work by Toyota, as the two sound contradictory to us).

There’s still no turbo for the flat-four 2.0-litre boxer engine though: this remains unchanged, driving the rear wheels in all its purist glory.

After its NYIAS 2016 showcase, Toyota will prepare the GT86 for its market launch, but don’t hold your breath: it’s not coming until the end of 2016.

Expect for bargains on the current one over the summer.

Lotus Elise Cup 250

Lotus Elise Cup 250 is fastest road-going Elise ever

Lotus Elise Cup 250Lotus has announced a new Cup 250 version of the long-running Elise that’s more powerful and less heavy than the Cup 220 it replaces – making it the fastest road-going Elise yet launched.

21kg lighter, it now weighs just 931kg. As the name suggests, it’s also gained power, with a 26hp boost for the supercharged 243hp 1.8-litre making it capable of 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds.

> More car news on MR

More exciting is the 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds: presumably there’s a gearchange involved somewhere between 60 and 62mph.

It has a scorching top speed of 154mph too – in an Elise! Good job there’s an aero-tuned bodykit as standard, that gives 66kg of downforce at 100mph and a stonking 155kg at 154mph.

That’s 16% of its overall kerbweight!

Buyers can save an extra 10kg with the Carbon Aero pack, which replaces the front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extensions with carbon fibre. Yup, this takes it down to 921kg (we’ve yet to find out how much the Carbon Aero kit costs, mind).

Elise Cup 250: motorsport-bred

Lotus Elise Cup 250

The Cup 250 has the same motorsport-style suspension as the 220 Cup. The front anti-roll bar is adjustable, there are Bilstein sports dampers and Eibach coaxial coil springs, AP Racing twin-pot front calipers and Brembo single-pot rear caliers.

Yokohama AO48 tyres are fitted as standard.


Read more:


Lotus also now offers a sport mode in the Dynamic Performance Management traction control system. It ups throttle response, lowers slip thresholds and stops sensing for understeer. Result: more slip-slide fun before it kicks in.

Entirely coincidentally revealed on the same day as Alpine’s new Vision concept car (yeah, right), Lotus will roll out the new Elise Cup 250 from the spring in all major markets apart from North America. UK price? £45,600.

Making it one of the most expensive road-going Elise yet sold too…

Alpine Vision

Alpine is back: is this Renault’s Porsche Cayman?

Alpine VisionThe Alpine sports car brand will return in 2017 with a production version of the retro-modern Alpine Vision show car that is expected to debut before the year is out.

The mid-engined Alpine Vision will have Porsche-like performance, a Porsche-like four-cylinder turbocharged engine – indeed, it may even have a Porsche-like price tag.

> More car news on MR

Yes, the new Alpine sports car is going straight after the Porsche Cayman.

Alpine Vision

It’ll have some good genes behind it: Groupe Renault, Renault Sport and Formula One know-how will all go into the car chairman and CEO describes as “an exciting next step in our strategy to leverage talent and technology between road and track.”

Just to confirm the French-built sports car is going after Porsche’s mid-engined Cayman, Ghosn added: “We look forward to reaching new customers in the sports premium cars segment.”

What is the Alpine Vision?

Inspired by the famous Alpine A110 of the 1960s and 1970s, the Vision is low, rounded and petite, reflecting the lightweight construction Renault’s promising us. Even at first glance, it’s clearly a modern Alpine relative to the A110.

Alpine Vision

“The Alpine Vision is aimed at aficionados and connoisseurs, and 80% of the style of our forthcoming road car will be reflected in it,” said Alpine design director Antony Villain.

A mid-engined two-seat sports car, it will be powered by an as-yet unspecified engine: given how the Vision has a paddleshift gearbox, it could be the 1.6-litre turbo from the Renault Sport Clio, or even the forthcoming turbo engine from the bigger Renault Sport Megane.

What next for the Alpine Vision?

Alpine has a busy 12 months ahead. On its to-do list is building a production car “very close to today’s show car in terms of design, weight, handling, agility and attention to detail”. It will also have to expand its brand personnel and dealer network – and then finally, it adds, go racing with it.

Alpine Vision

Whatever, performance will be swift: Renault’s promising the Alpine will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.

It’s not restricting the production Alpine Vision to Europe, either: it’ll launch here in 2017 but will follow in other markets worldwide. How tantalising.

“All of us at Alpine are proud to have been entrusted with the task of bringing back Alpine to sports car lovers around the world”, said Michael van der Sande, Alpine’s recently-recruited MD.

“Our job is to faithfully re-interpret famous Alpines of the past and project Alpine into the future with a beautifully designed, agile, high-performance sports car.”

Alpine Vision

Alpine is back: is this Renault's Porsche Cayman?

Alpine VisionThe Alpine sports car brand will return in 2017 with a production version of the retro-modern Alpine Vision show car that is expected to debut before the year is out.

The mid-engined Alpine Vision will have Porsche-like performance, a Porsche-like four-cylinder turbocharged engine – indeed, it may even have a Porsche-like price tag.

> More car news on MR

Yes, the new Alpine sports car is going straight after the Porsche Cayman.

Alpine Vision

It’ll have some good genes behind it: Groupe Renault, Renault Sport and Formula One know-how will all go into the car chairman and CEO describes as “an exciting next step in our strategy to leverage talent and technology between road and track.”

Just to confirm the French-built sports car is going after Porsche’s mid-engined Cayman, Ghosn added: “We look forward to reaching new customers in the sports premium cars segment.”

What is the Alpine Vision?

Inspired by the famous Alpine A110 of the 1960s and 1970s, the Vision is low, rounded and petite, reflecting the lightweight construction Renault’s promising us. Even at first glance, it’s clearly a modern Alpine relative to the A110.

Alpine Vision

“The Alpine Vision is aimed at aficionados and connoisseurs, and 80% of the style of our forthcoming road car will be reflected in it,” said Alpine design director Antony Villain.

A mid-engined two-seat sports car, it will be powered by an as-yet unspecified engine: given how the Vision has a paddleshift gearbox, it could be the 1.6-litre turbo from the Renault Sport Clio, or even the forthcoming turbo engine from the bigger Renault Sport Megane.

What next for the Alpine Vision?

Alpine has a busy 12 months ahead. On its to-do list is building a production car “very close to today’s show car in terms of design, weight, handling, agility and attention to detail”. It will also have to expand its brand personnel and dealer network – and then finally, it adds, go racing with it.

Alpine Vision

Whatever, performance will be swift: Renault’s promising the Alpine will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds.

It’s not restricting the production Alpine Vision to Europe, either: it’ll launch here in 2017 but will follow in other markets worldwide. How tantalising.

“All of us at Alpine are proud to have been entrusted with the task of bringing back Alpine to sports car lovers around the world”, said Michael van der Sande, Alpine’s recently-recruited MD.

“Our job is to faithfully re-interpret famous Alpines of the past and project Alpine into the future with a beautifully designed, agile, high-performance sports car.”

Has the crossover killed the sports car?

Has the crossover killed the sports car?

Has the crossover killed the sports car?

The sports car is officially dead, according to BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson, with sales nose-diving since the global recession began in 2008.

Read more