By Wayne Gorrett
Hand-picked highlights from recent auto industry’s news. This week, news from:
JAGUAR ➤ With menace aforethought, here’s the new F-Type SVR
I’ve driven several variants and I can tell you that the Jaguar F-Type is a truly great sports car and an integral part of the company’s Tata-infused renaissance. It looks superb, sounds phenomenal, and has a wide variety of powertrain options to satisfy nearly anyone. At least we all thought so…because now it has one more.
Named the F-Type SVR, it’s a special version of the F-Type stuffed to the roofline with wow after wow. It is available in coupé and convertible body styles and is the first Jaguar to ever wear the SVR badge – named after the Jaguar Land Rover ‘Special Vehicle Operations’ division behind the project.
The SVR has a supercharged 5.0 litre V8 producing 575 bhp, along with upgraded aerodynamics, an even more aggressive exhaust system, new suspension and a raft of go-faster options like a carbon fibre roof panel and carbon ceramic brakes to bring all that energy to a safe halt.
It’s mighty quick to boot. Once you have (very carefully) chosen your location, top speed is 200 mph for the coupé which makes it the fastest series production car ever built by Jaguar. Standstill to 60 mph is reached in a cornea-shifting 3.5 seconds.
Popping over an advisory to your bank manager is recommended as pricing for the F-Type SVR is given as £110,000 for the coupé and £115,485 for the convertible – which places it deep in 911 Carrera GTS territory.
The order book is open, with first deliveries expected during the summer.
VOLKSWAGEN ➤ Dads rejoice! Touran receives new R-Line styling
Volkswagen’s popular seven-seat Touran MPV is now available for the first time in R-Line trim which is good news for seasoned dads who, with damp eyes, recall their three-door Golf GTi from a previous life.
The R-Line trim level brings sporty equipment and a raft of exterior and interior styling upgrades meant to enhance kerb appeal, cabin ambience and on-road gravitas.
The new range-topping Touran R-Line is available with turbo-charged petrol or diesel engines ranging in capacity from 1.4-litre TSI to 2.0-litre TDI, with outputs of between 148 and 187 bhp. These are paired with transmissions which are led by engine choice and comprise either six-speed manual or six- or seven-speed DSG automatics gearboxes.
All new Touran R-Line models feature technologies such as start/stop, brake energy recuperation and low rolling resistance tyres. The official combined fuel consumption varies between 49.6 mpg for the 1.4-litre TSI 148 bhp six-speed manual, to 62.8 mpg for the 2.0-litre TDI 148 bhp six-speed manual. Emissions range from 117g to 133g CO2/km.
Along with unique R-Line badging, additional exterior design enhancements include unique front and rear bumpers, radiator grille, side skirts, chrome mouldings for the rear bumper and 18-inch ‘Marseille’ alloy wheels.
In the cabin, the new Touran R-Line adds ‘black lead grey’ inserts in the dash, centre console and front doors; a black roof lining and grey stitching on the leather-clad, multifunction steering wheel which also includes aluminium inserts and R-Line logo.
The seating includes side bolsters and R-Line logos on the front seat backrests. There are also stainless steel pedals and R-Line sill protectors.
Prices start from £27,740 for the Touran R-Line 1.4-litre TSI six-speed manual, with the top of the range 187 bhp, 2.0-litre TDI, six-speed DSG coming in at £31,505. The new Touran R-Line is available to order now.
EAGLE ➤ Jaguar’s E-Type lives on in the Eagle Spyder GT
Eagle last week announced the third in their trilogy of hand-crafted, special edition E-Types – the new Eagle Spyder GT folding top variant which follows hot on the heels of the Eagle Speedster and the Eagle Low Drag GT.
The Eagle Spyder GT roadster is an all-aluminium E-Type lightweight, based around an original 1960’s classic and each of the very few produced will have an entirely bespoke specification determined by the specific desires of each client.
Engine choice comprises of three straight-six units (there is no V8); an upgraded specification 3.8- or 4.2-litre as offered in the original E-Type, or Eagle’s own specification 4.7-litre power plant. All are coupled to Eagle’s five-speed manual gearbox.
Being the stunning, hand-crafted classic remake that it is, you would expect the investment cost to reflect accordingly and you’d be right – commission prices start from £695,000.
The first Eagle Spyder GT will be presented to commissioning customers during the forthcoming summer.
VAUXHALL ➤ First Astra Sports Tourer rolls off Ellesmere Port lines
Vauxhall and sister company Opel celebrated the start of Astra Sports Tourer production at its plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England.
The plant is a significant contributor to the local and national economies building over five million vehicles since 1964. The factory is a major exporter with more than half of production going to 25 European markets. At full production it is estimated the plant will build around 680 cars per day and 120,000 per year.
“The all-new Astra is of critical importance to Vauxhall and its manufacturing facility in Ellesmere Port. I’m very proud of the men and women who build this vehicle to world class levels of quality and productivity,” said Rory Harvey, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director.
Like its much-improved five-door hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology. Depending on the model and trim level, the car is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. The weight of the body shell alone was reduced by 20 per cent from 357kg to 280kg.
The Sports Tourer has the same external dimensions as the outgoing model, but offers much more space for passengers and luggage. Front occupants get 26mm more headroom, while those in the rear enjoy slight more (+28mm). Cargo capacity is now a handy 1,630 litres, thanks to more efficient packaging.
Like its five-door hatch sibling, the Astra Sports Tourer also features OnStar connectivity technology now available across Europe. OnStar includes high-speed 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery alert, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the an upgraded version of the IntelliLink infotainment system.
BENTLEY ➤ New Flying Spur V8 S – Luxury just got a whole lot quicker
Bentley has introduced a new model to its range – the Flying Spur V8 S. Slotting neatly between the Flying Spur V8 and family flagship W12, the V8 S is tuned for power and performance, with increased engine output and revised suspension offering a more dynamic and engaging driving experience.
On the outside, the Flying Spur V8 S features a black radiator grille and rear diffuser along with a unique grille insert, all of which add a touch of drama and gravitas to match its enhanced performance.
Bentley’s tuning engineers have squeezed another 21 PS from its renowned 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 S engine which now delivers a heady 528 PS (521 bhp / 388 kW) and a colossal 680 Nm (502 lb.ft) of torque from a lowly 1,700 rpm. This propels the Flying Spur V8 S from a standing start to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, topping out at 190 mph.
The V8 engine offers variable displacement, in which four of the eight cylinders shut down when cruising, reducing fuel consumption without loss of refinement. When more power is required, the engine switches seamlessly back to the full eight cylinders.
As is the Bentley norm, power is delivered to the road via an all-wheel-drive system with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split for a sure-footed and focused drive in all road and weather conditions.
The Bentley Flying Spur V8 S will make its global debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, to be held between 1st and 13th March. First customer deliveries are expected to begin in the summer.
LOTUS ➤ The eleventy-hundredth Lotus variant – the Elise 250 Cup
Seemingly arriving at a rate of one a month, Lotus has announced another variant on a now familiar theme; this time it’s to do with an ageing Elise and a new 250 Cup.
Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a damn fine driver’s car – as is anything to have worn a Lotus badge during the last 15 years. They’re just a bit, you know…samey. Here, the only real difference you need to be aware of is the extra 26 horses extrapolated from the ever-maturing Toyota 1.8-litre supercharged four-pot. And a generous helping of ‘250 Cup’ badging.
Headline news is that it is the fastest Elise yet with a 3.9 second 0-60 mph time and a 154 mph top speed. The long-serving engine now puts out 243 bhp (26 more than the previous 220 Cup) at 7,200 rpm and 250 Nm of torque between 3,500 rpm and 5,500 rpm.
Now 21kg lighter at 931 kg, the Elise Cup 250 enjoys further weight savings from a lithium-ion battery, carbon-fibre seats and forged alloy wheels.
It’s a handsome little beast for sure and a welcome reminder that, despite some of the company’s recent adventures, Lotus is still in business and making cars. Yet the company’s modest-at-best development budget has meant that this car still shares its chassis and much of its design with the Series II Elise introduced as long ago as 2000.
Perhaps, one day, I can write about a genuinely new Lotus. Now, that would be something.
LEXUS ➤ Lexus puts hybrid fire in the belly of its LC 500 sports car
Looking back, perhaps the most impressive reveal at the Detroit Auto Show in January was the Lexus LC 500 coupé. It’s an astonishingly good-looking car that will hopefully kick-start a renaissance of appreciation for all the good stuff that Lexus is up to these days.
Now, Lexus will finally put some spark into its hybrid range with its first petrol-electric sports car. The Japanese car maker has revealed official images and limited details of its next iteration of the company’s new flagship two-door LC 500h coupé ahead of its public debut in Geneva.
Lexus says the LC 500h introduces the brand’s next-generation hybrid powertrain, dubbed ‘Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System’, designed to offer ‘enhanced driving pleasure, more performance and greater efficiency’. The Lexus LC 500 is joining the BMW i8 as one of the only hybrid GT offerings available.
It has yet to outline exact details of the new set-up, but it is expected – indeed, hoped – to offer significant improvements in power and fuel economy over the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid currently fitted as its highest output petrol electric set-up in vehicles such as the GS saloon and RX SUV.
Considering the 5.0-litre V8 in the petrol-only LC 500 generates 467 bhp and 530 Nm of torque, it is anticipated that the hybrid set-up will produce at least 400 bhp and could exceed its torque output thanks to new-generation battery and electric motor technology. All hail the Torque!
On the flipside, the LC 500h is expected to offer a limited electric-only driving range to counteract its performance and lower its claimed fuel consumption to a level similar to a small hatchback.
More details of the hybrid coupe’s mechanical package hiding under that gorgeous blue skin will be revealed at the Geneva motor show.
VOLVO ➤ The new V90 Estate revealed ahead of Geneva
The much anticipated Volvo V90 Estate was revealed last week in Stockholm, Sweden. The four-wheeled cavern is the latest in the premium car maker’s all-new, top-of-the-line 90 series, alongside the new XC90 SUV and the recently launched S90 premium saloon.
Riding the crest of Volvo’s estate car heritage which began more than 60 years ago with the Volvo Duett (inset), the new V90 leads the premium estate forward in terms of aesthetics, materials and finish, while living up to the ultimately practical nature of any true estate. It really is what they do best.
The new V90 is the third car unveiled in Volvo’s top-of-the-line 90 series, all of which are built on the company’s specially designed and fully modular scalable product architecture (SPA), which has opened up a range of new opportunities in terms of how future Volvos can be designed, built and equipped.
The new V90 delivers cutting-edge Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive technology, the most advanced standard safety package on the market, including large animal detection (a.k.a. errant London cyclists), ‘run-off road mitigation’ and top-end connectivity which includes smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay.
“We have a very strong offer in the V90. Our PowerPulse technology is designed to deliver a distinct performance boost to our diesel engine, while the T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid (as experienced on the XC90 T8 SUV) will deliver around 410 bhp and a pure electric range of around 31 miles,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President of Research & Development at Volvo Cars.